Monday, December 31, 2007

Dance Monkeys Dance.

I think I never bothered to post this. Sorry for the oversight. I'll dig up a copy of all our base soon too.

Town gets phone prefix changed....

Town finally succeeded in getting their phone prefix changed from 666.

Can I get one?

Poetry: Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes. But I laugh, And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow I'll sit at the table When company comes Nobody'll dare Say to me, "Eat in the kitchen" Then.

Besides, they'll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed,--

I, too, am America.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Will cook for brains.

I have had a passing interest in human evolution ever since I became human (don't ask). Well, it seems as though the link between cooking and brain size has become less speculative. Not that it was that bad anyhow, it's simply a bit more obvious.

There seems to be a rather massive shift in human evolution about 1.8 million years. Certainly adaptations for running, taller, less muscle bound, secondary adaptations. Probably all kicked off from fire.

Fire allows cooking. Cooking gives more calories from typically inedible food. Less muscles are needed. Running with improved calories and bipedalism becomes improved strategy for scavenging and for running down prey (you could chase an animal until it can't run marathon style). Hairlessness evolves as to improve sweating ability and regulate heat better for running and existence in the savanna, downside of freezing at night countered by shelter and fire. Humans then are quite efficient. Able to hunt successfully and have a much more broad range of possible foods and do not require large digestive tracts or half a face of muscles to chew (don't let a chimp bite your finger). This extra time, allows humans to sit around the camp fire solving sodukos and jumbles, until their brains got big.

Okay, needs a bit better picture for that last step. Having the resources to do well in many climates why an absolutely massive brain? No other improvement rendered any greater survival rates? Socialization significantly advantageous? Prediction of resources? Necessity to replicate the acts of making tools and fire? Need for complex language to help describe the processes required? Our brains do largely differ in our mirror neuron systems so we are more able to replicate and learn by seeing the acts of others. Needed success in a new arms race between groups, required intelligence to accelerate the evolution of tools and strategies?

Or, if one is to believe the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, all this research is just poppycock and the truth has something vague to do with water.

Don't push, really, it takes forever and you can't stop.

Put The Big Red Button on your site

Lacking content, must steal interesting content from Scientia Natura

Ah, content...

Christmas went well. No complaints. Didn't get a watch. Must now kill family, buy watch, or fix the watch I have. Got stuff I wanted and didn't know I wanted. Playing around some more on getting less shiny.

Argued a couple times on "In God We Trust" being unconstitutional. Lost once, won twice.

I think I could have won a debate that the Bible was infallible (not not infallible). But, all the typical Christian voters were probably pushed away when I made a comment about how stupid anybody would be for believing any lick of this argument. *sigh*. I won a few arguments against a crazy person.

Fun. Still alive. Cold (for some reason Southern Cali is chilly / I know the rest of the States are frozen but nippy isn't typical).

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas presents.

I got:

A nice jacket.
A 4 gig thumb drive.
Keychain flashlight.
The Quotable Atheist.
Lava lamp.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Xmas.

And remember, keep the Christ out of Xmas. Geez, it's Xmas enough of your religion crap! Crickey!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Morality and IP

David Pogue recently lamented the moral divide of digital rights between the generations. Noticing that his shades of gray style debate goes plunk when it applies to the younger generation. For outright movie download instead of paying for it he managed to get only 2 out of 500 students to say that that is wrong.

Cry me a river!

The laws and morality in people's heads does not include corporations. They aren't people and people do not think of them as people. So, it seems as though information should always be free... but if you want to make a penny on it you can't unless you own the property rights. Seriously, rather than asking them about if they think downloading copyrighted material is acceptable, toss in a question about selling downloaded media and see the objections flow. The only rights to sell the material is reserved for the artists.

As these youngsters age, the media industry is in for a painful shock. In the morality of youth, they are worthless, they are over-glorified dvd-burners. The argument that artists and the makers of entertainment will crumble and die is silly. All the money to be made off such media belongs to the artists and nobody has a right to make money from the artists material without the artists say so. This right completely respected and somebody should figure out a way to make the art pay.

This is actually largely a greater view of artist rights than the current legal rights. Money is only to be made by the owners and so long as no money is changing hands, information is free. This is hardly the nightmare imagined. This is beyond the nightmare imagined by the companies who take the media and sell the media as it stands.

This is certainly no where close to where the law is set up. However, if applied universally it would protect the rights of the artists and completely wreck the media companies whose job is largely to charge 15 dollars for something any teenager can make for 10 cents.

As the law stands, it isn't allowed, but in the moral sense the prohibition against sharing is non-existent (within current youth morality) whereas the prohibition against making money off somebody else's work without the owner getting a fair share is iron-clad. The logic goes something along the lines of, I would not pay for this so I won't pay for this. Either way, they aren't getting my money. If there's any money to be given it doesn't go to "they" it goes to the artists.

Faceless corporations are seen as non-moral agents. Sharing is not viewed as wrong. Profit is viewed as evil, if benefiting non-artist entities. Some people advocate the destruction of the media industries, an end to the MPAA and RIAA, as a sort of freedom movement for the artists. These are the faceless corporations taking money from the artists and from the people. They are the epitome of immoral. They do not let the information be free, they do not share, and they do not give all the money made to the artists.

Unless people realize that the younger generation doesn't consist of immoral information thieves who want to steal albums, movies, and media, but rather have an entirely different moral zeitgeist which differs from the law in critical ways, they are going to fail to properly adapt. I understand that they have the law on their side and have been doing well for a long time. However, as far as the main cash-cow of information distribution... I'm sorry but the next generation is going to start downsizing your industry and outsourcing it all over the world to people who work for free.

If you can find a way to deliver media to people without the corporations and the profits going to the artists. Like Itunes without any bother with DRM and the money going right to the artists. You'd have the core of the market for the next generation. When information is free, selling it isn't much of an industry. However, there's certainly a silver lining... if you rock people will gladly give you money so long as some corporation doesn't take a cut. -- Not sure how you can make money off this new world... unless you're an artist, and really... that ain't bad.

Atheist Experience: Best Video Ever

Why don't you die if the sun goes down?

Will Smith: Good actor, and right about Hitler... for the most part

Will Smith commented that "Hitler was a good person" and is probably going to take some flake for it. Though, from the actual comments he didn't actually say that.

He says, "Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'Let me do the most evil thing I can do today'.

"I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good'. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming."

Well, yeah, though he was twisted and wanted to kill the Christ-killers and antisemitic hate was pretty much ready and willing for authority to come by and control it, having been left over from the dark ages (when the church controlled everything and everybody believed in God). There was a lot of hate floating around. I don't actually think, and nor does anybody else, that Hitler was trying to do evil.

Hitler wasn't good, but he probably thought he was.

Spoon benders.

What's so sad, is it's exactly like that.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holy crap. Dr. Corbett is a riot.

Seriously, where was this guy when I was in school. I loved my teachers, but this is over the top good. I'm reading through the complaint and am stunned over and over again by how witty and on the ball this guy is.

"Dr. Corbett: If you're poor, and you live in the inner city, um, chances are actually greater that one parent will be at home, and that you will be living in an apartment. You guys, most of you, have parents, two parents, who work. And if you want to smoke a joint, you can walk out into the backyard, sit down by the swimming pool, and smoke it. You do not have to worry about some copy driving by and busting you. In the inner city, you can't smoke with your mom in the apartment, so you go down to the street corner. There is no place to hide. They get busted all the time there. Here, you know, the dealers - I'm sure there are people in here who know people who will sell pot. That's one of the ironies of teaching here and one of the ironies of our own judicial system is that - every year I ask my class this question, and every year I know what the answer is. I say, if - I'm not going to do this. Let's get that straight. If I made this offer - I am not making this offer. If I made this offer, and the offer is: The first person who leaves this room for lunch, who comes back with either alcohol or marijunana will get an 'A' for the year. What would I have? Alcohol or pot?

The Class: Pot.

Dr. Corbett: So the illegal substance is more available to you than the legal substance. Anyway, um, you know, we've had several presidential commissions look into our judicial system, penal system, and they've all concluded the same thing: It simply doesn't work. And the systems in other nations do work. Sweden, for example, the longest you can spend in prison for a crime - machine-gunned a kindergarten class - the longest you can spend in prison is 10 years.

Unknown Student: Oh, what?

Dr. Corbett: Why are you outraged by taht? They have the lowest crime rate in the industrialized world. Where would you rather live if you're worried about crime? Here or there... There, obviously."

Jesus Glasses.

The context on the Jesus Glasses comment of Dr. Corbett:

"How do you get the peasants to oppose something that is in their best interests? Religion. You have to have something that is irrational to counter that rational approach... [W]hen you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth."

I think taking it out of context to make it seem like "you" and "your" means Christians in the class is disingenuous. In fact, it clearly means, you serfs of the middle-ages.

I Am Legend-arily bad.

{{Spoiler Warning}}

I hate to say it but there's so much potential there. You even see the original ending there, ready made for the movie. However, pow, God did it. Really, had the reasoning for the survivalist colony been "I heard on the radio from somewhere else" or "I have actual information from the mainland and you've been cut off from everything for years" sure. It was attributed to God. And I daresay 90% of the world population dropping dead, 9% going zombie, and 1% surviving to be eaten by the zombies is a good argument for the non-existence of an all-powerful benevolent god. Certainly, atheism is called for, but a mountain town... not really.

Also, if you have three years and know exactly what you're fighting. You might want to have a better defended base of operations.

The original ending to the film was that he was the monster. The people were still alive and kind of messed up, but he was the monster going about and killing them. He kidnapped a woman. The same man who tried to save her by running a bit out in the sun was the same who set the trap with the manikin, and who lead the attack on his house at the end. Really, he was trying to save the woman the doctor took. He was just going around murdering people willy-nilly... and it was really he who was the monster. Zing. That would have been the right ending, and a good one at that... but no... atheist doctor can't even believe in a mountain town. If you can't believe in God you can't believe in anything. Also, a number of his defenses were actually good enough. You're telling me a vault in the basement isn't enough? And what the hell good were those lights? He used them a lot for being completely ineffective.

It was 98% of a great movie. I hope they offer alternate endings on the DVD.

Irony: Jefferson Nickel / In God We Trust

Has anybody noticed that Jefferson (the origin of separation of church and state) is kindof frowning facing the "In God We Trust"? I think it's odd. A US president on a government coin next to a religious motto. Apparently putting "United States of America" on one side of the coin and "In God We Trust" on the other side qualifies as separation of church and state these days.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Teacher teaches AP history, comes off criticial of religion.

Go figure. Teaching AP European history involves being critical of religion. Sure European history heavily involves the church in so far as they ran the place since the fall of the Roman Empire, but do you have to teach them so well? What next are US history teachers going to say that the US *wasn't* founded as a Christian nation.

"How do you get the peasants to oppose something that is in their best interest? Religion."

How little things change. The point to learning history is to avoid repeating it. Perhaps in the larger sense as well as in the narrower sense. I do enjoy some of the student's comments. Mostly because they are AP students and off in college now for the former ones. One Good Move has a copy of BillO's show interviewing the kid who apparently jumped straight to lawyers as step one, even though the LA Times article quotes Chad's (the kid) sister as saying they exhausted their options. The lawyer makes a comment about a former student who is now a "intolerant Christian-Hating know-it-all" due to Corbett's (teacher) teaching. He must be good.

Definition: Ceremonial Deism

Ceremonial Deism - A legal term meaning that "Under God" in the pledge and "In God We Trust" on our money are ceremonial deism. *waves arms* LEGAL!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Taking something out of context.

Yes, the Bible does condemn homosexuality, see...

Lev. 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

-- You're taking that out of context.


-- Yes, you took that quote out of context.

Um, the rule before it is if you have sex with your sons wife you get murdered. The rule after it says if you marry a woman and her mother you get put to death. It's a list of laws. It stands alone.

-- So there was more? You took it out of context.

I quoted it.

-- Yes, but the quote appears in a specific part of the text and you didn't copy the entire text.


Theology Non-Rule #19, Taking things out of context is knockdown argument against pretty much any quote in or out of context. One needs never justify the accusation or show how quoting all relevant text and citing the place taken somehow loses context information.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Where you can shove ceremonial deism.

It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, and read:

A letter from Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania, to Secretary Chase in 1861. The following letter is a copy of sent which was the direct cause of adding "In God We Trust" to our currency. I only bring this up because the arguments in favor of the coinage are going to be pretty clearly along the lines of "ceremonial deism" which is to say just little God comments that we do, ceremonially... like stamp and engrave on our money.

Dear Sir: You are about to submit your annual report to the Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances.

One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins.

You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is that instead of the goddess of liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words PERPETUAL UNION; within the ring the allseeing eye, crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words GOD, LIBERTY, LAW.

This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters.

To you first I address a subject that must be agitated.

We need to put God on our money to save us from the ignominy of heathenism. We wouldn't want the future generations to believe us to be heathens, would you? What about the future heathens who like to be heathens? Jackass.

Shorter: Damon Linker

Shorter Damon Linker,

Liberal Atheists are illiberal, and though they may not be closet totalitarians they hate you and want to lock you up for opposing them.

Mike Huckabee, the rubes are taking over the Republican Party.

How odd. The idea to bring the religious into the Republican party was a pretty easy one. If you want a ready group of voters who don't need evidence and are pretty much a ready made pot of buying whatever bullshit you offer, the religious right are a pretty obvious group. So don't use big words, give them a few kick backs, and pay lip service to God, and here and there change your foreign policy to fit with their end times mythos. However, the Republican party is in such complete disarray that they rubes are the most powerful group.

That's right, Huckabee is actually soring. He doesn't dress like a women, believe the native Americans are a lost tribe of Israelites, hug the person whose campaign accused of fathering a black baby, or get laughed off stage... Mike Huckabee, he's actually as crazy as he claims.

The point of the Republican Party is to have a party which, gives lots of money to the rich and keeps the troughs filled... they have to con a few rubes to do it, but the rubes are suppose to stay rubes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Saudi King pardons rape victim.

Apparently a rape victim in Saudi Arabia is actually getting pardoned. Basically a man and women were abducted and raped (taken from separate places) and stuffed into a car. The seven rapists were given sentences up to 9 whole years in prison. The woman was sentenced to 90 lashes and jail time for the crime of being in the car with somebody who wasn't close family. She was later given another 200 lashes to her sentence for appealing the decision.

Well, now she's being pardoned. So you see, religions really can learn to grow and change. After that teddy bear naming pardon the only real complaint people can muster is that THOSE AREN'T REAL CRIMES IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU IGNORANT FUCKS WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?! Which, obviously is a cultural difference rather than a religious one, for example our culture wants people punished for violating arcane rules in the Bible. Whereas in their culture it's customary to punish people for violating arcane rules in the Koran. So don't anybody go blaming religion.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A quote worth quoting.

In the 9th Circuit decision in Newdow v. Elk Ridge a line stuck out that I think bears repeating:

To recite the pledge is not to describe the United States; instead it is to swear allegiance to the values for which the flag stands: unity, indivisibility, liberty, justice and -- since 1954 -- monotheism

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The year was 1954, the place Washington D.C.

It was a different time, it was a simpler time. In 1954, in an act including the line: "the inclusion of God in our pledge therefore would further acknowledge the dependence of our people and our Government upon the moral directions of the Creator." (Not a Creator, the Creator). The United States put forth a policy of forcing school children to declare, on a daily basis, that there, not only, exists one single monotheistic deity but that the location of said deity is generally upwards. And as they raised the flag playing "Onward Christian Soldier" they never once fathomed that their actions would be misconstrued as religious.

In other news, on the December 4th 2007, Dr. Rev. Michael Newdow finished oral arguments in the 9th circuit court for both the case against "under God" and the case against "In God We Trust". Prometheus Retold has a good couple links to his original case, including an MP3 of the arguments themselves. So the decision should be sometime in a few months and it should perhaps make the news at least the decision to knock down the "In God We Trust" on account of being new whereas the previous Elk Grove Cave already knocked down the "Under God" phrase and probably won't cause as much of an uproar... though we can always hope.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Still more fun with debate.

I can't argue with entertaining. So the votes on my Queen debate oddly have me doing pretty good. Whereas the the argument on Once Saved Always Saved is that much worse. I'm actually close to lose. It's pathetic, he didn't even have an argument. *sigh*

Still. It's a bit like that.

My latest is on Iraq. Apparently I'm a flaming liberal!

Considering the interests of the Iraqi people, the U.S. and Allied troops, and the honor and integrity of this great nation, we must stay in Iraq until the job is done.

We may never know if Saddam Hussein actually had W.M.D.'s in Iraq. Reports do show that he had acquired W.M.D.'s and may have filtered them through other countries over the past 20 years. Regardless, Saddam and his government were responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens. There were ordered executions of political opponents and advocates of free speech.

I firmly believe that if we pull out of Iraq right now we will lose the integrity and honor that American servicemen and women are fighting for this very hour. We cannot leave the Iraqi's with false hopes. We must defeat the enemy on their ground or we will have to fight that war on our turf, amongst our neighborhoods, and with our children watching it with their own eyes.

To which I responded:
What job? Which job are we doing? Fighting both sides of a civil war? Establishing democracy in a region barely governable by tyrants? Stealing the oil? Getting rid of the WMDs? Attacking them there so they won't swim the Atlantic and attack us here? To replace a dictator who opposed the terrorist with terrorists and funding operations for terrorists?

Most of your arguments are sunk cost arguments. They are the flawed logic that leads people to wrongly refuse to cut their losses. The logic which makes people bet their bottom dollar on bad cards, or support a losing effort simply because we have lost by supporting it. The costs and losses, failures and successes, in the past, are irrelevant to the choice to stay. The question you should be asking yourself isn't how much we've lost for so little and what we can do to make it mean something. You should be asking yourself if, we know today what we know today... would you put the troops on the ground? If Iraq is as war-torn and messed up as today, do we put boots on the ground knowing what we know? There are no weapons of mass destruction, no Saddam, no greetings as liberators. Do you invade a gutted country with little hope for anything? I say the answer is no. Now, the sunk cost fallacy says that each time you weigh the decision, what you've "invested" is irrelevant. The millions of displaced and murdered Iraqis, the couple trillion dollars this war has cost, the thousands of American Soldiers lives, and the international loss of faith are irrelevant, not to mention the bogus reasons for waging the war. The question is, would you put boots on the ground today? If the answer is no, then we shouldn't have boots on the ground. Just as you shouldn't invest another billion dollars in a project which has produced nothing and doesn't show signs of producing something. Just as you shouldn't keep calling to the river with a hand you invested too much with on the flop. You don't throw good resources after bad.

You cut your losses with the situation you have today.

As you brought up some of these pointless notes allow me to address them:

* The only reports showing Saddam Hussein had some W.M.D.s were the once receipts of those weapons we gave them during the Iran-Iraq war. After that point the good intelligence suggested that he wasn't developing them, and it took a considerable amount of cherry picking to invent a story that he had them or was even developing them. We had weapons inspectors on the grounds before Iraq's infrastructure was destroyed. If we actually wanted to look for these phantom weapons that would have been the time to do it. We had the world community ready to pressure the hell of Iraq. We had that threat contained. If that was the intent, deciding to go to war anyway was beyond stupid.

We cannot justify staying in Iraq today because the president mislead the American people. What happened then is a treason, but has nothing to do with the question at hand. Is it worth it to stay, when we look at what we can gain or lose in the future? We know how much we are losing in this war, and we know what we won't lose if we leave.

* As for the question of "IF" he had weapons. The Duelfer couldn't have been any more clear, there were no weapons of mass destructions in Iraq. Just as Iran has, as we learned recently, shut down its program as well. The entire line of debate concerning the completely botched job selling the American people this war doesn't matter. Yes, it was horrible. Yes, it was wrong. No, it doesn't matter.

We cannot justify staying in Iraq today because the president mislead the American people. Presenting phantom "reports" which suggest he magicked away his reportedly massive stockpiles doesn't matter at all. To put this in perspective, imagine if Saddam had massive stockpiles, we found them and we removed them all during the war and we are now in a situation where Iraq is exactly like it is, and we managed to stop a massive threat. This would perhaps justify the invasion in 2003, but it would not justify a continued presence in 2007. Again, that's the sunk cost fallacy. What are we going to gain if we stay there? What are we going to lose?

* As for the claim that the war is justified because Saddam is a bad man, that is also a sunk cost. It doesn't matter. We aren't fighting Saddam anymore, we are watching as millions of Iraqis are murdered and displaced. While we try to secure a small area in order for the Iraqi government to sit around and do nothing.

Sure, Saddam was bad. There are a lot of bad men in the world. However, it doesn't justify staying. It cannot justify staying. If we were still fighting Saddam, that might have been a point to argue. Though, we could have done that with a sniper bullet rather than a full ground war. But we aren't still fighting Saddam.

* The claim that pulling out of Iraq will dishonor the integrity of the troops is laughable. They do what we ask of them, even if we just set them in the middle of a civil war and give them nothing to do. Just as bringing them home will be easily followed.

They have done nothing wrong. They have not been dishonored nor have had their integrity questioned. The Administration is dishonored. The Administration is without integrity. The reason the sunk cost fallacy is so powerful is because of pride. People hate to realize that they lost a lot and gained nothing (less than nothing in this case). Losing a lot more in order to pretend a chance exists that those losses are not in vain is dishonorable and shows an extreme lack of integrity. Declare victory and bring the troops home. They did everything we asked of them, and though those who asked were incompetent it should not, and would not, make the troops look bad.

* The majority of the "enemy" only exists on their turf. We are talking about people who have some stolen Iraqi weapons from depots we left unguarded with perhaps an old Iraqi soldier from Saddam's disbanded army. These aren't the kinds of people who can fly across the Atlantic very easily.

I will however grant you that, of all of your arguments, this is the one and only argument which isn't sunk cost. It is the only argument which doesn't say... we screwed up so bad we must stay. We screwed up so bad that we might as well stay. We screwed up so bad that we will look bad if we don't stay. We gained a small bit for the massive losses and those things justify our staying. We are actually discussing future downside here. We are looking at a consequence of leaving with regard to future events. This weak nothing of a pathetic argument is the only shred of anything which even remotely qualifies as a reason to stay. How sad is that? The only 'real' argument you have is that if we don't have easily available American troops to be murdered by cowardly roadside bombs some poor Iraqi is going to travel five thousand miles to stick out like a sore thumb and try to kill some American here. How about we spend one tiny fraction of what we spent on the Iraq war to make sure people can't do that rather than putting troops in harms way as fodder! If the Iraqis don't have some local Americans to kill they will have to come to our turf where they have no upper hand. That isn't an impressive argument. Moreso when one considers the facts that our boots on the ground in Iraq are breeding more terror. Terrorism numbers have been skyrocketing as a result of our actions. And in the future, looking at the numbers we will have more terror if we stay than if we go.

We will save 8 billion dollars a month, thousands upon thousands of American lives, and prevent terror by leaving. If we stay, we will lose billions, respect, lives, and continue to make Iraq a hotbed of terror.

We should cut our losses. Take our victories, declare victory, come home, throw a parade for the troops and focus our efforts on security. I don't care if doing so will dishonor the Administration for making really bad choices.

Which I daresay is pretty good... which could mean anything.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Once Saved Always Saved / Queen

So checking out the About Agnosticism/Atheism forum (which I frequent) somebody noted that there's a site called I registered up and decided to debate: My first debate was that if you are Once Saved Always Saved as an element of Christian doctrine. I argued point #2 of Five Point Calvinism, that you are elected by God to be saved. And thus you are not saved until your dead and saved. Thus, as salvation is forever and you can only get it once. I win. Well I should win, my debating skill was pretty clearly superior as were my arguments.

It was kind of funny. At the end he said I was an atheist and shouldn't be allowed to argue or something. Classic.

I then accepted a debate that Queen was not easily the most popular and influential band in the history of the post-Beatle era. I tried. But it's like arguing that 2+2=5. After I finished my arguments, I voted for the Pro side.

Occam's Razor proves God.

Theology Non-Rule #78: Occam's Razor is purely a length operation. If a good explanation of evolution or the Big Bang takes more letters than "God Did It" then those things are false by Occam's Razor.

You don't fulfill the criteria of Occam's razor if you explain nothing and create more questions rather than fewer. God as an explanation, provides negative explanatory power. You trade a mystery for a mystery wrapped in bullshit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Treaty of Tripoli: A Christian nation

Some people note that the Treaty of Tripoli says that the US is in no way a Christian nation. This statement drafted under Washington and ratified under Adams is pretty clear cut. But, do they bother to note that the US later went to Tripoli and killed them all? Hasn't anybody come to realize that the a lying treaty and subsequent military attack ARE very Christian things to do?

Definition: Judeo-Christian

Judeo-Christian: Christian (however give it whatever legacy or gravitas is due to Judaism).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Romney finally remystified his speech.

In a historic speech meant to parallel JFKs speech that he wouldn't be influenced by the pope. Romney dropped a few things which struck the ears of people a little oddly, including lines about how we need a country of faithheads in order to be free. Because, highly religious countries like Saudi Arabia are a model to look up to. Some reporters apparently asked him question:

Unsatisfied, another reporter pounced. "Do you think an atheist or non-believer or non-spiritual person can't therefore be a free person?" he asked.

"Of course not," Romney responded. "That's not what I said."

"But you said 'freedom requires religion'?"

"I'm talking about the nation," Romney snapped.

See, atheists just are free people... they aren't bound up and constrained in what people refer to as 'the nation'. Freely outside the government of the people?

Lawrence O'Donnell on Mormonism... right with bad arguments.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of Mormonism. I am a fan of Mormons though, having never met one I didn't like. Same goes for Wiccans, they all seem pretty nice... though outside of fundamentalism it's hard to find unlikable people. In any event, Lawrence O'Donnell goes on an interesting rant about Mormonism, he has, for the most part, facts on his side. He's right Mormonism is a racist pro-slavery religion founded by a criminal in the most absurd manner. However, there are a couple problems with attacking the religion. First, you aren't establishing they are wrong. Second, Tu Quoque.

The fact that Mormonism is inherently racist, or was until push came to shove and the Church leaders suddenly got a new vision, is not a logical mark against it. Did Mr. O'Donnell consider the possibility that blacks actually did have their skin color changed to reflect their evil nature prior to the creation of Earth, just as the Lamanites had their skin color adjusted to match their wickedness? It is an ad hominem as stated: that has nothing to do with how truth or falseness of a religion. However, the Book of Mormon contends that it was written in 600 BC (it says that, this book is being written 600 years before Christ, it calls it a prediction) and at that time, there wasn't any racism. In fact, racism wasn't invented until the 17th century. Moreover, it was very common place in the time and place that Joseph Smith lived. Racism can and does contribute to an argument of anachronism. If a religion was formed in 600BC Israel it should not be racist. If a religion was formed in the 1800s America it should be.

Secondly, as Pat Robertson notes (I have before been impressed with his commentary, he's a blowhard when it comes to religion, but with commentary he's sometimes on the mark) that Christianity brought slavery to America. Slavery is permitted in the Bible. It specifically says in Leviticus 25:44-46:

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever.

And the holiest of holies the Ten Commandments drops the nice little line at number ten (Exodus 20:17):
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

Listing off slaves as another bit of property.

The dumbest line was "I am not comfortable dissing an entire religion. We are a pluralistic nation." -- Who cares what you are comfortable with! I'm comfortable with dissing all religions. Pluralism is just a silly way to say that there are many many one and only one Gods.

A rather devastating non-argument against Mormonism gets matched up with a crowd which notes that Christianity sucks too (Pat Robertson) and a we should just declare and embargo on discussing any religions in specific language.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Stupid Starcraft/Brood War.

For some reason when I'm feeling retro and play Starcraft/Brood War, I must host the game or else I lag to hell and back. It's stupid. I've tried everything I can to not lag and I have a bachelors degree in this crap (Computer Science)... but can I fix some decade old game? No. It lags when I join. It goes fine when I host. And few people join my game. *sigh*

I guess I'll play some Doom II online (you can actually do that, it does require Zdoom (Doom ported to Quake engine), with Zdaemon though, and I won't actually be doing that).


The Offical God FAQ

The Official God FAQ.

For a small site, it's remarkably complete.

The Four Fs of Human Motivation.

Watching Beyond Belief 2, there's more than a few really really well done lines and more than a few really well made points and quotes of such. One favorite so far is in regard to the human evolutionary motivations for certain actions.

The Four Fs: Fleeing, Feeding, Fighting, and Reproduction.

Sherri Shepherd: Nothing predates Christianity.

Lets see:
Christianity started ~2000 years ago. The universe is ~14,000,000,000 years old so lets say about 14 billion years predated Christianity. That's only, 99.999999% of the history of the universe. So, lets just call it close enough.

Whoopi's comment: "Not on paper." is actually great. I had to chuckle at that one.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Family Tree: God driven Evolution.

So simple.

Prediction: Christian Gay Rights Movement

In the future, Christians will be arguing that Christianity was responsible for the success of the Gay Rights Movement (after it's successful).

In the past, it was common to find bigotry against gays for their sexual orientation and many people derided it as a "choice". However, some good and pious Christians stood up to this bigotry, and through a lot of struggle and hard work secured the rights of homosexuals. You see, without Christian love and tolerance, and the Christian understanding that all people are created equal in God's eyes this injustice would still exist today! Just as Christianity stood up against the supporters of slavery during the abolitionist movement and launched the civil rights movement, Christians are, through their faith in God and the expectations of the Almighty, compelled to fight injustice. - Faith head circa 2030.

Theology Non-Rule #9: Whenever there is a group of secular people supporting a cause and a few secular minded Christians in opposition to the more religious Bible believing Christians, if the secular group is shown to be correct this is a Christian victory for morality. This shows Christianity is just, tolerant, and the source of all morality.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Daniel Dennett: Impolite books.

Daniel Dennett on why the mainstream atheism books are impolite,

"There is no polite way to say 'With all due respect, sir, have you considered the possibility that you have blighted your whole life with fantasy and are polluting the minds of defenseless children with dangerous nonsense.'" - Daniel Dennett

Beyond Belief 2.0! Videos Out

Beyond Belief 1.0 was fantastic. Now, the Beyond Belief 2.0 videos are out.

Monday, December 3, 2007

British Teacher Pardoned for Teddy Bear.

A teacher in Sudan was sentenced to 15 days in prison (a slap on the wrist compared to the typical sentence) for having her class name a teddy bear and accepting the name Muhammad (the students favorite name). Well she was thankfully pardoned and deported back home. Though, in the yahoo rundown of the story taken from AP I kind of missed a point. See if you catch it:

A British teacher jailed for letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad as part of writing project headed home Monday after being pardoned — ending a case that set off an international outcry and angered many moderate Muslims.

Hard-line Muslim clerics here denounced Gibbons, saying she intentionally aimed to insult Islam. A day after her Thursday trial, several thousand Sudanese massed in central Khartoum to demand that Gibbons be executed. Many of the demonstrators carried swords and clubs.

There was apparently an angered "moderate Muslim group" but the angry folks seem to be those out protesting demanding she be murdered for allowing a teddy bear be name Muhammad. Is that what qualifies for moderate? Is the scale somehow weighted so that where moderate would be between 'let her go it shouldn't even be a crime', 'let her go it was an honest mistake', and 'fifteen days is a slap on the wrist' in what we typically think of moderate. Whereas in a different group moderate counts as: 'Fifteen days! She insulted Islam!', 'She should be put to death!', and 'She should be beheaded!' -- So the protesters demanding she be killed are actually moderates?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Massacre Day.

We have won. It's hard to tell, and most people can't tell but the War on Christmas has succeeded and it was a total massacre. Our success is historic!

I propose that we commemorate our victory by mocking those we have achieved victory against. We should celebrate Christ-Massacre day, Christmas for short, by buying trees and decorating them (in direct violation of Jeremiah 10:1-4) buying each other presents as rewards in our victory, and finally by setting up an elaborate God mocking system with an unevidenced person doing amazing things, much like the Flying Spaghetti Monster but with some bizarre explanation for how the presents we gave to each other got there. In much the same way as people use to help people out and have credit promptly given to God for what you just did for the other person like two seconds ago as that person watched.

Doctor: "Well after 14 hours in surgery and 4 pints of blood, I and my well trained staff of nurses and aids managed to remove the tumor in your wife and with a couple drugs researched and discovered by a number of scientists she should make a full recovery."
Man: "Thank God!"

Something mocking that, like saving spending two months worth of pay in order to buy a large number of gifts for people and then giving credit to North-Pole-Man. That needs a bit of work with the name, right now it's northern-hemispherist and the north pole is just a bunch of water now due to global warming. We'll have all the kinks out by what would have been Christmas before the defeat and will now be Christmas in commemoration of our victory!

Republican Primary Parody Attack Ad.


Epistemology poem.

When faith's a virtue and doubt's a vice.
No reason or proof could ever suffice.
No common ground for reasoned debate.
Ghosts and Gods are the immutable fate.
Points ignored and arguments ducked.
Theists are epistemologically fucked.