Sunday, September 30, 2007

Criticism: what to whom.

If criticizing fundamentalists: Good they should be criticized. However, they aren't the nice nuanced modern day faiths to which reasonable people adhere. You can reasonably criticize the religious nuts but why react with atheism. There always sensible, reasonable, moderate faiths to believe in.

If criticizing moderates: Why are you trying to take something comforting away from people? You should criticize fundamentalists, they are the ones causing the problems after all!

If criticizing atheists: Psalms 14:1... the BIBLE IS REAL AND YOU SHOULD BELEIVE IN GOD THIS IS ONE NATION UNDER GOD! IN GOD WE TRUST! REPENT! I Know in my Heart that GOD IS REAL!!!11!!one!!

If criticizing postmodernists: the emperor has no cloths. Those words are strung together and are complete gobbly-gook. To say that that crap makes no sense doesn't make me look stupid, it makes me look human. I'm smart enough to understand large tracts of those words and they are nonsense of the first order.

4 "witches" beheaded in India.

She turned me into the newt!

Last I checked dying from a deadly snake bite is what happens when you're bitten by a deadly snake. A local town council member reported ordered the "witches" killed because his kid died to poison. I wonder if they were suppose to heal his son or something? The witches were less effective than antivenom? Go figure.

We should respect beliefs right?

“We're investigating from all possible angles,” Mr Das said.

I think that should be,

“We're investigating from all possible angels,” Mr Das said.

Just to make the psychosis complete. Religious ideas = bad ideas.

Carnival of the Godless #76

Latest Carnival of the Godless up on A Load of Bright.

Colorado Students walk out at pledge...

Including the words "Under God" is clearly giving recognition to a monotheistic deity who is "above", this isn't permitted it is clearly a law "respecting an establishment of religion" and kudos to Michael Newdow in this respect.

Hell yeah. Some Colorado students finally take a stand.. That pledge is completely unconstitutional and having worked as a substitute teacher in the past I can attest to the fact that it's largely ignored and when it isn't it's just annoying. Most of the students don't even stand when it is even read, and when they do they don't bother to say the thing. And frankly, since nobody seems to care, it's unconstitutional to make them care (unconstitutional in a different way).

I believe that because West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette was decided on free speech grounds (the state has no right to compel speech) nobody has to recite the Pledge. And, as nobody is really upsetting class by nobody doing anything (and as standing up counts as speech)... I don't think students can be compelled to care if they don't and nobody minds that they don't.

In the Colorado case, I love the suggestion of holding it in the auditorium during lunch. I could think of nothing more optional or more useless.

Condoms laced with HIV claims Catholic archbishop (liar and stupid).

A Catholic Archbishop in Africa where people are constantly has claimed, as many other have consistently claimed in Africa though denied when asked about it in the West, that Condoms are laced with HIV. The conclusions are two fold.

First, Catholicism has even more blood on its hands, directly responsible for death in the African AIDS epidemic. Sam Harris, in Letter to a Christian nation, notes on page 34 that "the Vatican is currently opposed to condom use even to prevent the spread of HIV from on married partner to another... Needless to say, if Church doctrine changes as a result of these pious deliberations, it will be a sign, not that faith is wise, but that one of its dogmas has grown untenable." The Catholic church is, in places where there is no other information about HIV, encouraging people to die.

Second, you actually couldn't catch HIV from an HIV laced condom. Oddly enough the virus dies rather quickly outside the body. Assuming that the condom wasn't laced two seconds ago, it would be nearly impossible to get HIV from a condom. Beyond being murdering asshole lying dirtbags the priests are wrong in the implication, you actually couldn't catch HIV that way even *IF* it were true!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Argument from Good.

An all-evil deity wouldn't allow good to exist. If God is all powerful, then he is able to remove all the good. If God is all evil, then he would want to remove all good. Why is there therefore any good in the world if such a deity existed. At most this deity is either impotent or not all-evil... you'll need to settle for a less powerful deity or a little less evil one.

Counterargument: All good in the world is really an attempt to jerk us around and achieve a greater evil. If it was all evil all the time, how would we know how bad we were being screwed over.

Rebuttal: If God were truly all powerful he could achieve this evil without needing to use good to do it.

Counterargument: Good is the result of free will. God is so evil that he trusts a bunch of stupid apes to make their own choices in order to not only have evil result but make it actually their fault. As such, good is just a unintended side effect of free will.

Rebuttal: There are many good things which happen which have nothing to do with free will. For example on Friday the 13th in 2036 an asteroid called Apophis will narrowly miss Earth. This is good, however it isn't good because somebody messed up, nobody's free will played any part in this. In short, ignoring free will... the world could be worse.

Counterargument: This world is minor and temporary. Regardless of what passing good might but in the long run it is moot because you are going to burn forever and ever and ever in hell regardless of what you do. Though, if you do do too much good God may send you to Heaven, this isn't because he's good but because that's what you earned. This in no way implies that God is anything but pure evil.

Rebuttal: Giving a person a life in paradise to live peacefully is the antithesis of omnimalevolence!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Spoilers... best to ruin the end.

Quote: Frederick Douglass

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." - Frederick Douglass

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not important enough to warrant rage at the time. But Bill O' is a moron...

Back a month or so ago, Bill O'Reily was whining about how somebody on Daily Kos called the pope a Primate. This was pretty pathetic even for him. There are three definitions of primate given by Merriam-Webster's dictionary for 'primate'. The pope meets all three.

1 often capitalized : a bishop who has precedence in a province, a group of provinces, or a nation
2 archaic : one first in authority or rank : LEADER
3 [New Latin Primates, from Latin, plural of primat-, primas] : any of an order (Primates) of mammals that are characterized especially by advanced development of binocular vision, specialization of the appendages for grasping, and enlargement of the cerebral hemispheres and that include humans, apes, monkeys, and related forms (as lemurs and tarsiers)

The Pope is the Primate of Italy, the first in authority, and a member of the order of primates as are all humans.

UD is filled with liars.

Apparently UD has "My Failed Simulation" some article about a mathematician who wrote a program that failed to produce libraries with a simulation of all the particles on Earth... on his laptop. Now, I fully understand that the only people who read UD are evolutionists who think it's funny that Dembski is so stupid... but come on! Really?

Where to start. First off "computers have come a long way" since 2000? Um, no. In 8 years you can do a quick application Moore's law (8 years / 18 months) 5.3 (rounding up to 8 years), now 2^5.3 = 40 So that's the total difference, the computers have gotten 40 times faster since 2000, back when I was running my old 500 mhz computer... having gotten it for college. Well, now I run a dual core 1.9 ghz Athlon XP 3600 (sounds pretty low-end for today but the 3600 Brisbane core is actually a thing of beauty, I bought it more for heat, power usage, and price for performance than for speed). So, what can this amazing computer do that the old computer couldn't? --- NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Rather than taking "a few minutes" to run this amazing simulation would take a couple hours (time taken in 2008 * 40 = time taken in 2000).

This lying sack of crap wants me to believe that he simulated the entire planet on his laptop and didn't come up with libraries... oh la-di-da! If he actually had done this, it would overwhelm his memory, it isn't possible to do. He would need to simulate every chemical reaction in order to get life started. He would honestly need to track every last atom and guess what? You can't do that with a laptop! The fact is it would take at the very least one atom to record information about one atom and thus, at the minimum, you'd need your computer's memory to be the size of the planet. Also, he says he wrote it in Fortran! Because everybody simulates things in Fortran! Wait... that's perhaps the last programing language I'd use.

To show you what kind of processing power this takes look no further than real computer scientists who in March 2006 simulated a virus for 50 billionths of a second, using U.S. National Center for Supercomputing Applications systems, on a program the researches spent a DECADE creating called NAMD or NAnoscale Molecular Dynamics written on top of a parallel processing language. Why use parallel processing? Oh yeah BECAUSE IT TAKES A HELL OF A LOT OF PROCESSING POWER AND YOU NEED TO SPLIT THE WORK UP BETWEEN THOUSANDS OF COMPUTERS!

Well, at least this would count as rather astounding work by an IDiot. Release the source code or the precompiled binary. I'd love to take a look at it. I mean, that's some impressive code you have there, and in Fortran! Wow. Show me that code and I take back EVERYTHING I've ever said about creationists or those who believe in Intelligent Design. In fact, this work should be published in a real journal. There's more than a few who would be impressed with a world simulator that can run 4 billion years of every atom on Earth in a couple minutes on a laptop. I know they don't give Nobel Prizes for Computer Science or for Mathematics, but the secondary effects on chemical simulation alone should earn you a nod for a chemistry Nobel Prize.

This is amazing by itself, though it doesn't prove your suggestion that running a simulation once didn't produce something, so nothing could be produced. It's like rolling the dice once and since you didn't roll a six, a six isn't possible to roll.

Give me the code and I'll check through it, fix any problem, run in a few more times to give you a better count of simulations. It would be far more interesting than running these evolutionary algorithms all the time, which by the way work exceedingly well and predictably create amazing results (not predictable results, but amazing results predictably so).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Training the next generation.

When kids are the future... the future is leet.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Amoral atheists and the more annoying canard...

PZ beats the dead horse of the Christian myth of amoral atheists some more.

What really gets me about this claim, isn't the obvious implicit statement "you are amoral" -- rather it's the suggestion that the Bible or simply a "belief in God" makes one magically moral. How the hell does that work? You need to ignore massive chunks of the Bible to even make it coherent, and damn near all of it to make a moral system out of it. Pretty much the only thing you are left with is the Golden Rule and that's been produced hundreds of times (in fact Matthew 7:12 where it appears attributes it as "for this is the law and the prophets" rather than Jesus saying he made it up himself). Also, it's more moral in the negative creation than the positive creation. Do not do unto others as you do not wish them to do unto you. If you don't want to be killed, don't kill. However, in the positive formation it would be fine for the mafia to murder a snitch, because they would expect the same.

How does belief in God make a person moral? What magical criteria does one use to sort the nasty bits out of that book? Implicit, almost always, in the claim that atheists are amoral is the claim that religion makes religionists moral or theism makes theists moral. That's the bigger lie.

I dare say it is slightly incumbent on me to explain why I'm moral, or which moral theories I tend to prefer (though it's nearly impossible to come to that conclusion without some major problems in your thinking). However, the assumption that they are moral because of religion or God belief, can't be established. The better response is to turn the question around and ask them where they get their morals and when they say "the Bible", backup slowly, apologizing, and pleading to not be stoned to death.

As if people don't natively understand the very basics of morality. A lot of human instinct has been tuned to this purpose. Empathy, love, reciprocity, pain, anger, sense of fairness, mercy, and other deeply ingrained bits of ourselves goes into keeping us moral, worked out over millions of years by tinkering and they want to give credit to their book. Moral systems take a lot of time and energy to evolve and they want to say that it magically flows from their book! A central focus of which is small amounts of moral understanding between ingroup members and no respect for outgroup members. This isn't the source of morality, these are moral understandings best left to die in order to give rise to better and improved morality within changing zeitgeist of moral philosophy. However religions want to give them a pedestal. It is a testament to human morality that so many religious individuals are moral in spite of the Bible.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blogosphere as evolutionary algorithm.

What causes a story to propagate among mainstream media? Usually there is a combination of factors, but the main cause is it gets picked up by a wire service which other newspapers use to create the stories the propagate. This formation has shown to be the most useful due to the cost and profits of running a newspaper consisting of only custom content. Rather than self-produced content, one main service like AP runs a story and duplications are made from there.

For example, if we look at a news story such as:
Florida Democrats keeping their primary at January 29th despite threats from the party not to count their delegates. We see about 35 original stories on Google News, and 554 if we include the duplicates. We have a central source feeding the lesser sources. The propagation is mostly due to a centralized sources AP feeding stories from one source into multiple sources. The structure of the beast is such that news is centralized and duplicated, but the reasons for picking up the story for the wire is easily influenced. If the story isn't picked up, the success for that story to propagate is nearly nil.

Now, how does the evolution of blogosphere stories differ from this? What is the difference in the structure and propagation reasons. In the blogosphere a good portion of the content is either original or comes from traditional news sources (which in turn come from the wire services).

For example, the same story about Florida Democratic Party decision is picked up by the blog Pushing Rope, which references the blog The Buzz (run by a traditional newspaper) of Karen Thurman's response to the decision. As well as referencing the FDP's new website to try and make the national party give in, a Fox news article that says the DNC isn't, as well as a blog radio podcast about the story.

Blogs tend to echo the same story as well, though each with different input, and additional crosslinks. The stories aren't centralized and rather seem to form more of a mesh, and in different parts a tree. Such as the previous blog entry about breastfeeding on Facebook being carried through four different blogs each linking from one to the next.

Now, what causes the propagation of the blogs seems to be the real marked difference. Rather than having a single chance to set off a series of secondary pickups there seems to be a mesh of content. Rather than having the same story propagate out through all the blogs, stories tend to propagate through a sparse tree of blogs dedicated to the same sort of content. Certain blogs will link to other blogs and get a fairly broad listing of the story, though far from universal. And it all depends on how many people write about the story in question. Within the MSM paradigm, a single "picked up" event can make all the difference. Blogs amount to a decentralized specialized network for story propagation.

The decentralized structure has less ability to be managed or destroyed. For example if aliens destroyed the AP, the AP would be unable to report about it and a number of newspapers would be unable to carry the story. Bloggers, however, would be unaffected by the destruction of a large number of bloggers and blogs. The centralized structure for propagation allows for quick updates, for example if a story is several minutes old it is nearly impossible for any significant propagation among blogs to have occurred. Whereas MSM could already have achieved saturation. This MSM saturation could lead to the primary sourcing of the same story among many bloggers, fitting primarily into the centralized paradigm in such a situation.

Which provides better content? -- I would have to believe the blog content has typically been deemed at least interesting by multiple parties before the story appears, typically with some original content. And due to the specialization of the blogs themselves the content is more customized to the consumer.

Which is faster? -- Traditional media, is centralized and quick to respond to a story by creating thousands of locations for output for the identical story. It is doubtful that blogs could replace breaking news in any capacity.

Which is more robust? -- I would say blogging would be more robust simply because there is no head to cut off, nothing really to control.

Which is apt for tampering? -- If anybody could interject or prevent stories from being picked up within the centralized location then propagation of the story is nearly impossible. One could easily control the news with a centralized source, whereas a decentralized network would be nearly impossible to control. And nearly impossible to tamper with.

Which is biased? -- There is generally a concerted effort within MSM to be unbiased, though there is considerable problems with it, I daresay they should get the nod. They can actually prevent bias by being able to control the news, whereas many blogs are specifically biased towards one view or another. Though, they wear it on their sleeves... for example I am a godless, liberal, atheist, pro-choice, anti-death penalty, mythicist, in favor of universal health care... whereas Fox News is Fair and Balanced... they swear! Though there's a lot to the idea that if you know where somebody is coming from you can account for opinions. Very few people have a problem with Fox News having a bias, they strongly object to not admitting this bias.

Which is best?
-- I don't know. Certainly there is a niche for story propagation here. Though, there may be different optimal propagation depending on the type of story. So far, it seems, that MSM is dying out or at least suffering at the hands of blogs. I'm obviously leaning towards blogging. Mainstream media has an advantage in that they can propagate information quickly, for breaking news important to everybody this is extremely useful. However, they never provide me with information about what's up in the atheist community, or what some particularly stupid creationist is doing this week.

Which provides better information?
-- I don't know. The selection for the stories is not based on the truth content thereof, but the chance that the story is duplicated and blogged about for whatever reason. For example, there are a large number of people who actively blog about how vaccines cause autism, even though they don't, and never have. There is also a major difference between what MSM finds to be newsworthy vs. what users themselves find to be newsworthy. Which may cause a rather marked difference between information attained. A world affairs test might not be a proper metric as certainly MSM might do a better job at that than the number of atheism and science blogs I read. However, my religious and scientific knowledge compared to MSM users would easily be superior.

One primary difference between the two is the game theory strategy used. Mainstream media optimally provides the worst still important news available. The broadest and blandest, where the solution provided will still result in a net gain among all people. Mainstream media finds the best average appeal to a largest number of agents, whereas blogs can serve much more limited numbers of people with far more specialized content. So consumers have more control over the information they receive. So the fitness of a story with rapidly changing information is greater within the mainstream media, whereas a story about the closing of the Arecibo Observatory finds consumers more aptly and propagates better within a certain subsection of the blogosphere. Whereas the broad appeal of the story may be limited and thus isn't part of the best average solution, it could be part of a very specialized solution of astronomy or science blogs.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's about time!

It is a little known fact (not even known to me as of 10 minutes ago) that I was traumatized by a picture of a breastfeeding baby on Facebook. It was horrific, there I was looking through Facebook at pictures of scantily clad young women when I came across an image of a breast... but rather than being there for my sexual enjoyment it was expressing milk to feed a baby human! EWWWWWW!!!! HAVE SOME SHAME WOMEN! BREASTS HAVE A PURPOSE AND IT'S NOT THAT! Needless to say, I've never returned to Facebook because of this trauma. So imagine my thanks when I found out that Facebook was deleting those images (Via Afarensis, via Adventures in Ethics and Science, via Aetiology, Via One small step for breastfeeding...)!

By lo, cell hi!

In a press conference Thursday, Bush deflected an economics question by saying that 'you should talk to an expert. I got a B in Econ 101, but an A in keeping taxes low. HE HE HE.' Apparently he passed a class they never offered which magically applies to only the rich. Which if you were to look at the US as a business is a sign of a bad leader. More so considering the already massive debt and huge deficits (currently just shy of 9 trillion).

The real lie in the whole thing? He got a B in Econ 101... He really got a C-.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Radiovores? Fungus grows on Chernobyl radiation?

How odd.

In Chernobyl, a fungus has been found that feeds on radiation left over from the Chernobyl disaster. This is pretty damned interesting. There's certainly energy there and it's certainly possible, though I wonder if the fungus evolved there or if there's some fungus that simply feeds on a bit of radiation and improved its ability to do so.

In any event, this is pretty useful stuff. Interesting too. Has some survival potential for space even, as there's plenty or radiation in space. What other creatures have this ability? Does the mutation in question have an easy path towards absorbing solar radiation like plants? Plants seem to miss out on the buffet that is green light and if this fungus could evolve that ability, it could wipe out all life on the planet, and that would be awesome (I assume it doesn't leave some O2 as a byproduct). Wait, I'm life on this planet. Hm. Still pretty damned cool.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

1 Dollar Canadian? What's that in real money? Oh, 1 dollar.

We are so screwed... 1 dollar Canadian = 1 Dollar US

USDCAD=X 1 Sep 20 1.0015 1.0015 1.0015 1.0018

Redefining 'planets' to keep Muslims down.

12:4 When Joseph said unto his father: O my father! Lo! I saw in a dream eleven planets and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves unto me.

In Surah 12:4, the SAQ makes this note: "Joseph saw in a dream eleven planets. Does this mean that according to the Quran there are eleven planets in our solar system?"

What's funny about this is we only have 8 planets, but what would be the case if we didn't change the definition of planets? We would have added Ceres, Pluto, Eris to our counts. We would have had 11! My goodness, thankfully we redefined planets just in time to prevent the Koran from being correct. We never would have heard the end of it!

Thank you astronomers. Shhh... nobody tell, I don't think the Muslim have stumbled on to this yet.

Religion vs. Science...

Edit: One Good Move still has the videos.

The View's cohost, Sherri Shepherd's silly bout of geocentrism, gets blamed the following day on nervousness of needing to defending religion in public. There's an oddity with discussions of Religion vs. Science, and it's this: when ever people talk about religion and science, they're going to end up looking like a moron or an atheist.

This concept doesn't seem to phase atheists because we don't think atheism is a bad thing and, duh, science. We see people looking like morons trying to defeat science with no science knowledge and an extremely unscientific explanation of "magic man done it". So we get the best of both worlds. The amount they disagree is the same as the amount they look foolish... and we're all for this. Looking like atheists ourselves isn't even seem like an downside to us... looking more atheistic makes us feel suave.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Today on the View: Is the world flat.

I'm astounded. When evolution comes up, Whoopi gives the question as mellow, presents it as theistic evolution... then asks if the world is flat... she doesn't know.

I mean, you have non-evolution, theistic evolution, and no clue whether the world is flat. Apparently when the call it the view, they don't mean to suggest they see the world as a rational place. I feel worse about today's culture than I have in the past. Although, some of that is because PZ, referenced Pandagon, whose comments pointed me to the YouTube comments on this abuse video and slowly my optimistic humanist side started to die a little.

You know, even though I spend a good amount of time checking out the darker, dumber, side of the web... I get the impression that the real juicy ignorance can't even figure out the computer (although, they probably can work a voting machine).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Goebbels would be proud!

WASHINGTON - President Bush, cheered on by Iraq war veterans and their families on the White House's South Lawn, urged lawmakers Tuesday to back his plan to withdraw some troops from Iraq...

President Bush asks congress to back his plan to withdraw troops. Hey jackass it doesn't count as withdrawing troops if those are just the 5700 kids you aren't allowed to keep there forever and have to rotate them a bit. My goodness, this latest push is pure propaganda and it seems to be tossed around like candy. That entire line there seems to give the distinct impression that:

Bush wants to withdraw troops.
Congress is opposed.

What kind of sick joke is this? Bush isn't at all drawing down any troops at all. He might as well count those kids coming back in wooden coffins as troops he's withdrawn... they are the ones he can't force to stay there and this smug bastard wants to claim the high ground? Man, that is pathetic!

I'm impressed. This is a level of game the Bush administration hasn't been playing since the run up to the war. They are fighting tooth and nail to try and make the idea of a forever-war at least not political suicide.

Downhill, strawmen, and the Dead Zone...

The Dead Zone has been going down hill for a while. I recently caught episode 609 which dealt with religion and faith.

Spoiler Alert: On the freakish off chance that you don't want to know how a three week old episode of some show you probably don't watch plays out stop reading this post.

Faith vs Science is a topic the Dead Zone has covered here and there and always with crap and straw men. Our intrepid psychic protagonist has interplay and crisis... he's had visions where Father Tony said that he thinks he killed X (not censuring her name, I don't recall it) in a confession no less. He's had vision of bloody clothing being found near Father Tony, and the dead woman's wedding ring being physically found in his quarters. -- This is too much, all these "visions" and "science" overrule the elder priests "faith" and Johnny goes to the police. Just to throw the wrong person in jail! Oh, the humanity... he should have trusted faith!

With added throw in lines like "Faith's let me down Father." Even though as a long time viewer, I've never seen such a thing happen... no faith in things... no being let down by said faith. The real problem with this is Johnny is stupid. If you see somebody unsure that they killed somebody in a confession that's a little odd. And why not ask to see the bloody clothing? Why not try to get a vision off Father Tony himself? Why not try for a vision on the husband? The entire episode isn't faith vs. science it's ignorance vs. different type of ignorance.

We see this same thing in the microcosms of the theme when the Johnny argues that he believes his visions are science (because he got in an accident and now he has visions)... and well if true he could win the JREF prize and certainly it would be science. Even if nobody could say how it works there would be plenty to suggest *that* it works. Compared to the priest's claim that it's spiritual with no backup at all (though, there's no way to back that up... and that's kind of the point).

This show has gone downhill. The first couple seasons seemed atheistic with Rev. Purdy being a clearly sinister character, embezzling, sinister activities, perhaps even murder? -- Well, they quickly reversed that and every religious character is portrayed as good and insightful. When they aren't, it's because they are having a crisis of faith or being lead astray by demonic folk (the large story arc people are seen as demonic). Often with faith besting the visions of Johnny Smith. This is usually achieved by Johnny being completely stupid and assuming things that actually don't fit the data. Father Tony going through an exorcism and loopy right now, it must all be an elaborate hoax. The show has been declining for a while, but the religion episodes are the worst.

At least it ends on a high note, Father Tony resigns on the logic that "It doesn't matter. In the eyes of God, one broken commandment whether it's adultery or murder is as good or as bad as another."

They come to a pluralistic mesh... Johnny: "I was wrong about his guilt." Priest: "I was wrong to assume it was the devil's work." Johnny: "There's enough evil right here on Earth without the Satan talk, if you ask me." Priest: "There's still plenty of people who do God's good work as well." *GROAN!*

The Priest also says that Johnny's visions are the closest thing to hard proof that God touches all our lives. To which Johnny says "I wish I had your faith..."


Quote: daniel_j


if you had read all the posts, you would see how various people, rather than simply accepting my opinions, have forced me into attempting to justify them.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let me get this straight? Taxes are bunk but copyright has superpowers?

Creation Science Evangelism founded by Kent Hovind added a copyright to his materials.

Copyright was placed on all Creation Science Evangelism materials (no matter the production date) effective January 1, 2005.

They are not only claiming retroactive copyright of materials they placed in public domain, they are actually calling for their retroactive copyright to retroactively apply.

The Wayback machine calls up copy of Dr. Dino's site on 4/3/05 noting: help others gain a better understanding of the creation/evolution subject and to help them spread the word. (None of the materials produced by Creation Science Evangelism are copyrighted, so feel free to copy those and distribute them freely.) Our web site is another facet of our ministry...

So, the "effective" date at least four months before they stopped releasing their material into public domain.

Not that the group understands the basics of law (Hovind is serving 10 years in jail currently) but they don't understand that you can't grab things back out of public domain. The fact is... I have as much right to copyright their pre-2005 material as they do.

Which brings us to the fun part... now, having claimed copyright to public domain materials they are now sending out DMCA take down notices to anybody who uses their materials (most is just video of Hovind being stupid and as he was convicted in 2006 very little material people want to make fun of falls under their copyright). So there are plenty of atheists on YouTube, who knowing that they don't claim copyright on those videos happily used the videos and made all sorts of fun of them. Well, now many of them got their accounts turned off such as The Rational Response Squad and RabidApe.

Not that it's legal to do this, but that would be the greatest trap in history. Produce a bunch of material where you say some of the dumbest stuff possible and tell other people it's fine to use the material... then after it's saturated the market enough, declare copyright and sue. The RSS ofcourse having just gotten their YouTube account back after having it shutdown by Uri Geller who claimed copyright on something he didn't own and got sued.

The RSS should post videos about scientology and go for the trifecta.

Hm. Perhaps we should pander to the historicity.

King/God Lord Ram 1.7 million years ago, with an army of monkeys built a strip of land (which has existed for 5-7 thousand years) to rescue his wife Sita. Now the Indian government wants to build a canal through that strip of land (built by the army of monkeys, 1.7 million years before it existed for the first time).

It's totally historical! It should be a monument to how awesome Ram is.

Ouch that's close...

Not that I think it's an important milestone but the God Delusion is 35 out of 35 on the NYT best seller list for the going into the 51st week. It might actually fall short of a year on the list.

It would be a nice thing to say, spent a year on the best seller list. Oh, well, if you were putting it off grab a copy, it's a good read.

Quick Answers

How can you live without God?

-- You tell me. There is no God, and you seem to be living just fine.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

On infanticide and turning the other cheak...

Theists tend to want it both ways, I have increasingly come up against the rather stunningly silly argument that you can't judge God. For example, Curious Kitten posted a thread on About Atheism's Forum comparing God to an Abusive Father.

"You are bad. You are so bad that you should be sent far away to a place where you don't get to be around your nice Daddy who loves you. You deserve to be tortured until the end of time, and to be miserable.

"But Daddy is nice. i'm so nice that I'll give you a 'free gift.' I won't let you be tortured by strangers. Remember: You don't deserve to be happy, so I'm a wonderful father to do this for you.

All in all, a great post and interesting take on it. If God, the Father, was a father there would be several Child Protective Services calls needing to be made.

In any event, shortly there after, Sister Hydrogen Bomb of Loving Truth starts in with the that's apples and oranges argument.

A human father, or a sovereign god?

After several more rude, ignorant, and condescending posts, drops this little nugget:

This question makes no sense. God, being God, is outside of our standards.

I've seen this argument here and there before. The original note was that if God was a father we would judge such an individual as patently immoral. To the counter argument that god isn't a human and comparisons fall short.

Now, what about moral statements, does the reverse hold?

Is it moral for God to love people? Sure, it would be good if humans did it, but what about God? It's comparing apples and oranges. God's love is thusly perfectly amoral. When God commands people to murder gays, that's a fine thing to do and we cannot judge those actions as immoral. When God commands people to turn the other cheek, that's a fine thing to do and we can't judge those actions as moral.

Theists can't eat their cake and have it too. They must either condemn all the evil shit God does in the Bible or they can't prop up things in the Bible as virtuous and moral. You either say the entire bible is good from the genocide, the slavery, and the commandments to murder people for picking up sticks... or you don't get to say anything.

Everything good gets attributed to God, and everything bad... eh shit happens or the devil made shit happen. Double standards make baby Jesus cry! Unless they are in God's favor.

Marcus Brigstocke: Knowing How to Rant.

-- On Religion.

-- On America.

Fark Comment: Insulting the troops.

On troops:

In case you people didn't realize, being a high school dropout who joins the army and gets shipped off to any war makes your opinion and desires superceed that of nominally more educated and intelligent people. It also makes you more electible and never wrong on matters of foreign policy.

This unimpeachability also extends into the historical sphere, because we all know that a radio technician second class who was in the war has far more historical and geopolitical insight into the matter than any historian. Also, if they have religious views, those religious views are true because they were in a war and you weren't. And their farts smell like cinnamon buns.

Heh. Here and there it's good the shatter mythos.

Carnival of the Godless #75

Carnival of the Godless #75 is out at Ain't Christian.

Is there something wrong with assuming everything has a purpose.

I believe there is. It's false.

It's a good assumption, in fact, I daresay it's an assumption you should make, even if it leads to nothing. Assuming there is a purpose for something, a reason for things, or a good solid answer to the why question... really does push inquiry. We learn a lot about physics when we ask "why the sky is blue", we learn a lot about biology when we ask "why plants are green". Why does pollen on water jiggle? Why do we always see the same face of the moon?

The problem with the question is, it's not actually true. Aristotle once wrote "Nature does nothing uselessly." -- strictly speaking, this is completely false... nature does everything uselessly. Purpose has no bearing on evolution. However, when we look at things in nature it's extremely useful to ascribe purposes to things. Hands are for holding. Teeth are for chewing. Legs are for running. Eyes are for seeing. Wings are for flying. If we look at it, the way nature actually works: those organisms with those traits survived better to build and expand upon their successful strategies. That's helpful in some ways, but the lie is seemingly more useful. When we look at the universe as being filled with purpose, we can say to ourselves, "Oh, wings are for flying... so when I build this airplane, I should build wings on it."

This way of thinking is useful, but not true. When we look on something and ask, "Why does the sun revolve around the Earth?" or "Why do we have an appendix?" or "What was before the Big Bang?" -- We don't have answers. But, people are inclined to shove a God-of-the-Gaps into these problems. This doesn't provide any utility to a person, and the only reason we assumed there was a purpose to things was because it's a very useful thing to assume. So basically, we're assuming there is an answer, and then shoving in a worthless answer to stop the inquiry. You might as well not ask the question, if you aren't going to honestly seek the answer.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

God Snot: Official Endorsement.

God Snot is Officially Endorsing: Alan Keyes for the Republican Nomination for President. (Via Pharngula, Via Amygdala).

My position up until now has been to: Don't sink the leaky boats until they're in the race. Well, with this new possibility, I think there is a boat *SO* leaky that it needs to be in the race. It is for these reasons that God Snot (Where God's Not) is officially supporting Alan Keyes for the Republican Nomination.

God Snot is also supporting John Edwards for President.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jews scam God.

I have a bridge to sell you...

God is apparently retarded. He's fooled by a simple fake sale to avoid a religious restriction. Next year kicks off shmita (the Sabbath year) and Jewish farms aren't allowed to grow crops. So, that's a bit of an issue if you want to farm. But, they just trick God and get around the law, they "sell" the land for the year. It's not my land, it's that guys land and I'm just here for kicks.

Thanks for the support...

Sad and true...

We're just as screwed as we've been for years, but the attempt to make us think it doesn't suck is depressing the hell out of me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book of Mormon suffers the same problem as Hamlet.

2 Nephi 1:14 Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth.

"No traveler returns"... is from Hamlet's "to be, or not to be" soliloquy.

It is problematic in Hamlet as the play opens with Hamlet speaking to his ghost of a father and being told in no uncertain terms, 'avenge me'. Well apparently there's a traveler returning. Though Amanda Mabillard opinion (which was the first I saw of the theory) seems pretty good in that the speech is suppose to be before the rest of the play.

However, Joseph's Smiths use of Shakespeare is more problematic than even Shakespeare's use of Shakespeare. First, Smith is, in effect, saying that Jesus isn't going to rise from the dead as predicted. Nobody can return from "whence" -- and secondly he closes the door Shakespeare left open. Smith's version reads "from whence no traveler can return" -- he is outright denying the resurrection is even possible.

Bush is an idiot and I hate PR.

Apparently some small withdrawals makes indefinite and untenable war tenable or so Bush would have us believe.

"The way forward I have described tonight makes it possible, for the first time in years, for people who have been on opposite sides of this difficult debate to come together," Bush said

Oh, yeah, what a way to come together. Slightly fewer troops, that's really going to make the fact that we spend billions every month and have lost thousands of lives totally worth it. Now, I can support this unsupportable war... than you Mr. President.

I now see, that when I said we had no business in this civil war, were stupid for going in, act as a lightning rod for violence, and are accomplishing less than nothing by leading to more terrorism and thus should get out right now... what I really meant was 130k people stuck in a worthless war is totally my magic number. Because, I only worry about the number of enlisted men and women and not about our presence in general and the billions of dollars it cost to keep a really crappy foothold in a war zone.

"The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home," Bush said in remarks prepared for a prime-time Oval Office address to the nation.

That's what qualifies as supporting the troops? Keeping them hostage. "Now look, I'm not the ones keeping them there, they just aren't doing very well in a zone of escalating violence and civil war. Don't blame me... blame my war!"

Fuck Bush. -- Seriously, I'm actually really mellow and nuanced, and that's my mellow and nuanced position on the issue: FUCK BUSH!

I can tolerate war, needless genocide, murder and all the little things that makes life end so cheaply... but to be insulted, belittled, and talked down to by the worst president in history and the end all and be all of governmental failure, I won't stand for it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Debunking Zeitgeist.

For those of you who don't have your pulse on the fingers of the crazies, you might not have heard of the steaming pile of crap that is Zeitgeist. A movie so horrific that even Wikipedia refuses to admit it exists. Oddly deciding that because everything it says was false it wasn't worth an article and was quickly expunged. Also, as JREF noted a lot of it was stolen from other sources. Basically it's the God Who Wasn't There, Loose Change, and crazy nutter stuff on the Fed Reserve.

The first part is actually interesting, probably because the God Who Wasn't There was actually interesting (though as noted before the added full interviews were far better). The second part was just inane and stupid... and the third part made me want to shoot myself.

For this reason I will address Part 1, which is almost exactly like addressing the God Who Wasn't There.The God Who Wasn't There Analysis is pretty good even for being written by an eeeevvvvilll Christian (his joke, not mine).

When I first read about such interesting links I looked them up... and you know what I found? Nada. For a really quick understanding of this, realize that the source for the original comparison are tenuous at best and rather extreme bullshit at worst.

First, points of interest: Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces is fantastic for exactly the reasons these links are not. They have fantastic backing and fit extremely well with the story outlines. The idea that the Jesus story fits perfectly within this outline whereas books like the, Autobiography of Charles Darwin, doesn't is certainly worthy of note. This is one of the reasons I am a mythicist myself (though a fairly agnostic one, I just don't see a good reason to believe in a historical figure).

But, pushing it to such odd extremes without evidence? For shame. To put this in quick perspective, keep the gospel story in mind and check out Encyclopedia Mythica's article on Horus. Notice any similarities? Neither do I.

Zeitgeist is uninteresting, plagiarized, crappy and false. That said, I'm still astounded that Wikipedia doesn't have a page on it.

In the time since this was written Wikipedia does now have a page on it. And rightly so.

Richard Carrier: Brains as evidence for Athiesm

Actually a fantastic argument. Though I wouldn't expect any less. I'm fairly sure this is from the extra interviews on The God Who Wasn't There. Such an odd trend, but the added interviews are much more interesting than the work they are a part of... The Atheism Tapes were better than A Rough History of Disbelief and I daresay the Uncut Interviews of The Root of All Evil? is probably more interesting than The Root of All Evil? was itself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kathy Griffin doesn't thank Jesus, gets censored.

In her speech, Griffin said that "a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus."

She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "This award is my god now!"

My gosh! Apparently even Apollonius of Tyana had more to do with her award than Jesus. BAN HER! EDIT HER SPEECH! BOOO! BOOO!

WMD wasn't nothing. Suddenly it's all worthless again.

On August 31st I noted that the UN found WMD. Somewhat jokingly because of the pathetic nature, well now it's even more pathetic. Stupid ass Bush.

Fragments Of Ingersoll

Robert Ingersoll,

SUPERSTITION puts belief above goodness -- credulity above virtue.

Here are two men. One is industrious, frugal, honest, generous. He has a happy home -- loves his wife and children -- fills their lives with sunshine. He enjoys study, thoughts, music, and all the subtleties of Art -- but he does not believe the creed -- cares nothing for sacred books, worships no god and fears no devil.

The other is ignorant, coarse, brutal, beats his wife and children -- but he believes -- regards the Bible as inspired - bows to the priests, counts his beads, says his prayers, confesses and contributes, and the Catholic Church declares and the Protestant Churches declare that he is the better man.

The ignorant believer, coarse and brutal as he is, is going to heaven. He will be washed in the blood of the Lamb. He will have wings -- a harp and a halo.

The intelligent and generous man who loves his fellow-men -- who develops his brain, who enjoys the beautiful, is going to hell -- to the eternal prison.

Such is the justice of God -- the mercy of Christ.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Even theists get damned for Evolution.

In a letter to Bowling, ministers in Caro, Mo., expressed "deep concern regarding the teaching of evolutionary theory as a scientifically proven fact," calling it "a philosophy that is godless, contrary to scripture and scientifically unverifiable."

Evolution is not only highly evidenced, fits a great deal of facts, it's also a mathematically sound functional algorithm. It isn't a philosophy. It is Godless (in the sense that it doesn't assume God), it is contrary to scripture, and isn't "scientifically unverifiable" -- rather it's one of the most scientifically attested theories around and forms the bedrock of modern biology.

I tend to agree with the fundamentalists that evolution is anti-religion insofar as evolution cannot be true if a literal reading of their holy book is held, and the scientific implications of evolution do exempt a good deal of facts which are core to the story of Genesis. Though, with one side having no evidence and being patently absurd, and the other part having an entire world of evidence serving as the bedrock to several sciences. It's a wonder people choose the way they do.

The Chasers: News According to Fox

They pretty well nailed it.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


What a fucked up weird cult...

Rev. Moon is a freak.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Anti-atheist bias... Up 4 points

B. An atheist
Yes No No opinion
% % %
2007 Feb 9-11 45 53 3
1999 Feb 19-21 49 48 3
1987 Aug 10-13 44 48 8
1983 Apr 29-May 2 42 51 7
1978 Jul 21-24 40 53 7
1959 Dec 10-15 22 74 5
1958 Sep 10-15 18 77 5
1958 Jul 30-Aug 4 18 75 7

Is Evolution Random?

Is evolution random?

No. Evolution is non-random. It's like rolling ten dice and rerolling all those dice which didn't roll a six, and continuing the proccess for the 15 rolls it takes and declaring it a miracle. Look the odds are 6^10 that I would roll that! I rolled it in 15 and the odds of rolling that in a single roll is 1 in 60 million! That can't be random!

Evolution, like the dice, builds upon past success. It's the antithesis of random.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Moving Story... tainted...

A 76 year old woman was found after being lost two weeks wandering in the forest. The rescue workers were scaling back operations and then they happened upon her. As I'm reading this story a little nugget sticks out at me...

A hunting party later found a disoriented Harold Anderson, but there was no sign of his wife.

"I thought I'd never see her again until the rapture," he said.

That's where I stopped caring and stopped reading.

Ladies and Gentlemen

I've always been rather amused by men getting first billing on everything that lists women and men.

Jack and Jill*
men and women
guys and gals
boys and girls
him and her
he or she
his or hers

Although, from time to time you hear 'girls and boys' though it tends to be passive voice.

With the very notable exception: Ladies and Gentlemen. Though for the life of me, I can't attribute this linguistic non-sexist oddity to women. Rather it would seem that Gentlemen just let the ladies go first.

*Admittedly there was a pretty good short lived show where Jack was guy and Jill the girl. Though, we aren't talking about obscure shows.

I hope this is an FBI pedophile sting...

It's basically a site offering teenagers for certain prices, ranging from 50k to 3k (apparently the girl for 3k is a foster kid, damaged and about to be booted out of the system). With shockingly good testimonials...

“I was SO scared getting married so young, but my husband is an okay guy and I am SO proud that because of me my parents were able to get their first brand-new car and take the trip they always wanted to. I couldn’t have done it without your site!"

—Katrina K., married at 14

Who could argue with that!

For the low low price of 27k,

Sarah calls herself a Goth but we insisted she not dress in black for this photo. She reads and writes a lot of depressing poetry and it takes a lot to get her nose out of a book. She says she’s an Old Soul in a new young body and she’s already been married lots of times and she might die again tomorrow so why wait?

Who could refuse!?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Blow em up...

Early in the 6th season of Star Trek: DS9 the Federation placed a large series of mines blocking off the entry of the wormhole to the Delta Quadrant. Rather than your ordinary space mines these were self replicating ones. So each time they blew up a mine the nearby mines would replicate a new mine. Well, after a while the Dominion with the help of Damar figured out a way to deactivate the mines ability to replicate so they could take the mines out in one swoop after they were all disabled. The Resistance on DS9 (currently under Dominion control) tried a couple different ways of stopping the mine field from being disabled.

What they should have done was blow them up. The mines are self-replicating, and due to the week long process of disabling them all, they could have bought some time by blowing the mines up. The non-replicating ones would clearly be less fit than the replicating mines. If you take out a replicating mine you get another replicating mine. If you take out a non-replicating mine, you get a replicating mine in its place.

They could have done well to try to destroy the mine field early while they were being disabled. Sure, they protected the deflector dish and the weapons control, but it wouldn't be hard to shoot stuff at some mines and blow them up. The replicating mine wildtype would take over the pool of mines quite rapidly.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Why prostitution should be legal...

Guy left his toddler in the car in Reno when he went to a whore house. Security brought the child inside and called the police on the father.

Only point that needs to be made. If it weren't legal there that might not have happened like that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

You're the smartest person on the planet!

Nobody can understand that people are smarter than them, at least to any degree. The ability to tell that somebody is smarter than you... requires that you be smarter than them, and thus by proxy that you be smarter than yourself.

I honestly believe that everybody thinks though are roughly the smartest person on the planet. They may be tied for first with 5 billion other folks, but they are totally right up there. I personally can't gauge how much smarter a person is than me, but I can tell you how stupid they are in exacting detail. I can rank the less intelligent with absolute precision, but for the more intelligent... eh, they seem on par with me.

Intelligence is, in part, the ability to gauge intelligence.

Live Action Minesweeper...

In case you live under rocks...

Monday, September 3, 2007

When Clinton Was President...

When Clinton was President we had one category 5 hurricane: Mitch.

While Bush has been president, we've had eight! : Isabel, Ivan, Emily, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Dean, Felix

I know, what you're going to say... Oh that's just global warming and the hot water feed the hurricanes power. No. It's an amazing correlation!

Well, under Bush 41's one single 4 year term. There were two: Hugo, Andrew. Though, if you count the time they were president Elect, Bush 41 gets Gilbert added to his tally. Andrew would then not be added to Clinton because it was a month before he won the election. So since this figuring helps my cause let's count president elects.

Bush 41 had 4 years with 3 category 5 hurricanes.
Clinton had 8 years with 1 category 5 hurricane.
Bush 43 has 7 years with 8 category 5 hurricanes.

Bush 41 (R) has a .75 cat5/year index.
Clinton (D) has a .125 cat5/year index.
Bush 41 (R) has a 1.14 cat5/year index.

This also should note that in the last couple weeks Bush 43 has been averaging 1 cat 5 hurricanes a week!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Phantom Limb Syndrome and the Secret.

There is a rather worthwhile site called Why Won't God Heal Amputees. Which notes that in Mark 11:24 Jesus says, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." As well as other references to the same thing, Matthew 7:7, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 21:21, Mark 11:24, John 14:12-14, Matthew 18:19 and James 5:15-16. If you pray for something, the prayer will be answered. So why doesn't God heal amputees? God apparently deigns it a good idea to cure 95% of testicular cancers and 5% of Pancreatic cancers (or at the very least allow people with this diseases to live 5 years). Why is it so arbitrary? Why no amputees? Does god hate 5% of testicular cancer suffers (enough to give them cancer AND kill them), and 95% of Pancreatic cancer suffers... this I suppose could be the case. Why then does god hate 100% of amputees? And hates them to the point that he refuses to do what he said he'd do in the Bible.

Well, whatever the case, even if religion doesn't work shouldn't woo work? The Secret is an Oprah promoted bit of woo which says basically the universe is govern by the Law of Attraction, if you think believe good things and believe you have them you will have them as the universe will provide them. Despite the obvious problem that the opposites attract and not like forces, this idea promotes a blame the victim mentality (Oprah's ancestors must have really been negative ninnies to get slavery brought down on their heads), it also fails the amputee problem.

A number of amputees suffer from Phantom Limb Syndrome. Which is to say that they BELIEVE THEY HAVE THEIR DAMNED LIMB! Shouldn't the law of attraction provide them with an new leg or what not? I mean seriously, if you wanted a test case this is it. People honestly believe that they have the limbs to such an extent that they get hurt. They fling their body out of bed and use their non-existent leg to catch them to no avail. They walk through doors making sure to not bump their spirit arm. They suffer constant pain and aches in the missing part of their anatomy. Certainly, that's should provide some credit from the universe. They believe they have their limbs, shouldn't the universe provide it?

Spoke too soon...

Apparently for some reason the water all over the place is really really hot, and ever time a hurricane goes near it, it suddenly goes even faster...

Felix is now a Cat 5 hurricane. That didn't take long. Good bye Cancun.

Oddly enough The Intersection had a post noting how strong Felix had become so fast... My goodness already a Cat 4! Heh. Old news.

Carnival of the Goddless #74

Newest GotG is up at Atheist FAQ.

That part of mexico is so screwed...

Felix is already a Cat 2 Cat 3 Cat 4 Cat 5. That part of Mexico just loves getting hit with hurricanes. It's the only answer.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

I have a theory...

I believe the Sun travels around the Earth. It just makes sense. Geocentrism is clearly the way our planet and the Sun are situated. However, since this idea would subject me to ridicule and make me a pariah, I won't stick my neck out.

I would be the oppressed by the scientific orthodoxy just like Galileo!