Par for the course

PZ is shocked, shocked that a prominent atheist calls for committing genocide:

Basically, what Hitchens was proposing is genocide. Or, at least, wholesale execution of the population of the Moslem world until they are sufficiently cowed and frightened and depleted that they are unable to resist us in any way, ever again.

This is insane….

This whole last third of his talk had me concerned about the first part. He had just told us in strong terms about the failures of religion and its detrimental effect on our culture, and now he was explaining to us how the solution in the Middle East was to simply kill everyone who disagreed with you. He didn’t relate the two parts of his talk, which was unfortunate. I’d like to know whether he thinks the way atheists ought to end religion in America is to start shooting Baptists, or whether he sees other ways to educate and enlighten … in which case I wonder why he doesn’t see any virtue in applying those same methods to Islam. I didn’t ask the question since the line for the microphone was long, and I had a depressing feeling that the solution would involve sending the Baptists over to Iraq to kill and be killed….

But while I agree with his goal of working towards a rational, secular world, a triumph of enlightenment values, I disagree entirely with his proposed strategy, which seems to involve putting a bullet through every god-haunted brain. To have a clearly stated position to which we can respond with clearly stated opposition is actually a kind of gift.

Atheists interested in politics and power always end up wanting to kill everyone. This is hardly the first, or even the fortieth time this has happened. It’s not only not new, it’s entirely predictable. Hey, it’s all just rearranging atoms anyhow, right?

If I can borrow Sam Harris’s amusing little formulation, PZ should know that the way he is now regarding Hitchens is exactly the way that Christians, Muslims, Hindus, most theists and more than a few agnostics regard PZ and the rest of his fellow atheists.

A St. Bud sighting!

From Peter King’s weekly SI column:

“I learned from Bud Grant that every coach needs three things — a loyal dog, a faithful wife and a heck of a quarterback. Finally, we’ve got a guy giving us good, consistent play.”
— Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden on Jeff Garcia

The funniest thing about that, if you know anything about Bud Grant, is that order he gives is totally hierarchical. Nothing against wives, but they don’t retrieve now, do they.

There was an amazingly funny TV interview with Bud Grant a few years ago, where the reporter clearly knew that Grant’s priorities were just a little different than the high profile coach these days. The look of utter disbelief on St. Bud’s face when asked if he regretted not being a head coach now because he could have things like his own cologne really had to be seen to be believed.

And yes, I am liking that Adrian Peterson pick right now, thank you very much. I’m not entirely sold on Tavaris Jackson for the future due to his accuracy issues, but he’s got a pocket discipline, he doesn’t throw many dumb passes and he’s definitely no Slash/Vick clone. In fact, twice I was screaming at him to go ahead and run the three yards for the first down when it was right there in front of him.

Speaking of the Vikings-Bears game… never EVER kick the football to Devin Hester. In fact, just give up punting altogether, I don’t care if it’s fourth-and-fifteen on your own twenty, your odds are still better than kicking it to Hester. And forget chucking, hit him with a baseball bat when he lines up as a wide receiver. A flag and 15 yards is better than 80 plus a touchdown. Yesterday, I felt a bit like all the other teams facing Randy Moss in 1998 must have felt.

Oh, and Childress, when it’s second-and-five on the 33, you only need a field goal to win and your running backs have rushed for approximately six thousand yards, how about NOT calling a FREAKING SLANT PATTERN!

New book from Stross

I’m in the middle of Halting State right now. It’s very good, the sort of massively technophilic orgy of creative extrapolation that shows Stross at his best. I’ll write a full review next week, in the meantime, suffice it to say that if you like tech porn or games, you have to get this book.

Text sample: “Good, I need to go get something to eat; I’m starving.” She paused for a couple of seconds. “Well, see you tomorrow, then.”

You smiled. “See you.”

A minute later, you sat bolt upright in your chair and swore at yourself for missing a hidden query – but you’re more at home with SQL than socialization: innuendo wasn’t a language they taught in CS lab.

Discuss amongst yourselves