This is a list of things that personally offends me, alongside the reason for avoiding it. I’m not advocating that they be shut down, but you probably would try to avoid them if you’re anything like me.

This list will be updated when I feel like it.

1. Kotaku

This isn’t just about gamergate, but more of the general attitude Kotaku and its readers take towards things:

are two examples, article + comments. Of course I’m slightly nitpicking here, there are also articles like these with imo reasonable comments:

but generally Kotaku articles and their commenters bear a somewhat P.C. stance that I dislike. I still sometimes visit kotaku for the news when its convenient, but I’d avoid anything that remotely resembles an opinion piece.

Actually, Kotaku seems to have some writers with differing opinions. In any case, its probably a specific few writers to avoid.

2. Jonathan Maberry

I was reading Jonathan Maberry’s The Dragon Factory, and it offended me.

It was the book’s main characters (admittedly about the good guys stopping hyper evil terrorist supervillains) constantly postulating the existence of “pure evil”, as well as claiming to that a third element outside of genetics environment and life experience determine who someone is (because a boy who was a clone of a bad guy decided to be good, thus free will somehow exists) (which is untrue, every action has and can be predetermined by socioecopoliticalbiologicalhistoricalgeneticalenviornmental motives and conditions, nobody chooses to be “good” or “evil” for no reason).

Also, in the book White Supremacist Nazis screen their employee evil scientist candidates for atheism (because “atheists don’t have a conscience” thus will comply with terrorism) (also wrong because Nazis were actually Christian), and he makes the statement that the aforementioned atheist scientists are committing suicide because they have a conscience, but then makes the mistake of stating that “most atheists are either closet agnostics or disappointed believers”, and that the aforementioned atheists somehow have a fear of damnation [as their moral compass].

Here’s what would actually make an evil atheist scientist commit suicide out of guilt:

As social animals human beings are evolutionarily wired to have some form of morality embedded in our physiology, eg. disgust of gore and violence, the ability of compassion vicariously experiencing someone else’s pain, and the feeling of guilt etc. People aren’t aware of it, but when someone says “that ain’t right” what they mean is that the immoral event has made them feel wrong via the aforementioned physiology, which is what some religious would confuse with an inherent “conscience” when its really evolutionary instinct. Guilt has little to do with fear of punishment, a person can be scared shitless of the police and yet not feel a single thread of guilt, vice versa a person can feel too much guilt yet not give a shit whether he hangs or gets jailed. So its entirely possible for an evil atheist scientist to commit suicide out of guilt without believing in any supernatural event.

You may point out that in the story, they were only talking about a single suicide – maybe that particular evil atheist scientist was a closet agnostic hell-believer who killed himself in hopes of limiting the bad karma, but problem is, generalized statements about all atheists were used. And to my knowledge, too many people who consciously choose to be atheists generally don’t fit these generalizations that Christians often make.

While I fully recognize that it is easy to excuse these for the context of fiction, I think I can recognize whenever its more than a character talking – the tone was so matter of fact (and also spoken by supposedly genius Nazi scientists) I’m not sure the opinion is restricted to the realm of fiction. Thus, even though the writing is really otherwise excellent, I have to refrain from reading anything else by Jonathan Maberry.

3. William Lane Craig (and religion vs atheism debates in general)

Arguably the biggest Christian apologist out there, this guy makes some really flawed arguments and it annoys the hell outta me that his charisma lends undeserved credence to his bullshit.

Here’s just a few comments against William Lane Craig that I tried to leave on a debate video a while back that debunk his arguments (but couldn’t because comments on that video were by default ghosted, because the account hosting the video is a religious university who doesn’t understand the academic benefits of discourse.): ghosting 1

But, its largely the medium that is at fault here. 2 hour debates simply have too much tolerance for error and little room for depth. Since each speaker is given less time as the rounds progressed, arguments are condensed rather than expanded, and fallacies are just let slide. Good points may be made here and there, but generally live debates seem to be nothing more than entertainment, a football match of wits if you will, where people attend to cheer their side and the debate ends with few people’s opinions being changed.

Watch a live debate, and then look at this email debate, and just note the differences. Text debates make me wanna bang my head on a wall less because almost nothing slips by the debaters, and the debaters know better than to use gotcha arguments that don’t make sense once you put some time and thought into it.

4. Hong Kong Atheists/ Hong Kong Skeptics

tldr, the admin of the organization does not believe in free speech.

Here’s the post detailing my ban from it.

A snippet of his genius: “The idea that anyone should be able to make comments without censorship is a sentiment of western philosophy and it’s not shared by me.” – David Young, 2015

Did I just advocate boycotting an entire group because of one person’s bad behavior? Well, yes, because David Young treats the groups as his personal dominion and utterly lacks respect for the ethics of debate, if you’re in Hong Kong and interested in atheism, forego the Hong Kong and go join a western group and expose yourself to a wider variation of ideas.

More to come…

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