Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Can I have a religious exemption to work?

Is anybody [sane] on the side of the crazy pharmacists who don't want to do their damned jobs and give out pills?

Can I still get paid if I have a religious exemption to work? What if I am a follower of Abrahamic Judaism and believe in the validity of Islam, the Bible and the Torah? Can I get paid for work on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday even if I just show up and respect the Sabbath?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Anti-atheist bigotry: Saving Grace

So the TNT show Saving Grace is on. I bothered to finally watch the pilot and holy shit. That's some crazy bigoted nonsense. There's certainly the possibility that somebody has a bunch of those qualifications just as it's possible that a number of Mexicans are lazy and stupid... and that some show might only include those individuals. But, there's a certain point where there's no more "maybe this just happened."

So about ten seconds into the show Grace (the main character and eponymous individual) proclaims atheism. So Grace smokes, drinks, has sex with married men, flashes old people, parks in handicapped places, abuses police sirens (she's a cop and has access but uses it for joy riding), scoffs at ethics, has no hope for kidnapped children, encourages others people to ignore their children, and has promiscuous sex.

While drunk driving, she manages to runs over a guy and says "Dear God, please help me." -- Whooshed off to the grand canyon by an angel. *eye roll* *groan*

Other fun bits:
Brother/Priest doesn't want teeth kicked in for giving her a Bible. In the next scene Grace spills liquor on it, then she finds red grand canyon dust in her shoe.

She meets the angel again, because she needed to rule out crazy and explains some things... or rather doesn't:

Problem of evil: "doesn't work that way."

That was the angel's odd response. Babies are drowned and children molested because... it doesn't work that way. The Holocaust, the Boxer Day Tsunami, Fraggle Rock... it just doesn't work that way. An all powerful, all good God wouldn't prevent evil? That doesn't work that way. I would prevent those things if I could! So either, I'm not good for wanting to do that, or God is not powerful enough to do that, or God is not as good as me.

Why can't he give her the answer: "there's no room for faith."

Really? AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN SWOOSHER HER OFF TO THE GRAND CANYON... and you can't be told why the crazy nonsense makes sense when it obviously doesn't because that would ruin faith? It's a pretty sick meme when the idea that if there were evidence it wouldn't be as meaningful. This is an odd self defense meme religion has cooked up. It certainly defends it from the truth: the only reason anybody says you need faith is because there's no evidence.

We don't have any evidence, so we can only accept it on faith. In fact, this clearly implies from a rather empiricist standpoint that only lies require faith to believe as most truth has good reasons.

Rather than that we get this: We don't need evidence, in fact, if we had evidence then the belief would be shallow and meaningless... like your belief in reality!

Now, maybe Grace is just messed up and that's it. And though, the show title says "Saving" and "Grace" in the title the atheism is just link in the chain. Clearly, I'm not suggesting this show casts alcoholics in a bad light, Grace may just happen to be one.

Well, she wasn't the only atheist in the show. There was also a suicidal child-molesting pedophile teenager who did drugs, whose last act was to ask Grace, "Do you believe in God? Do you believe in God!?" Grace, now having had actual evidence presented to her says "Yes." -- Kid says, "you're an idiot" and jumps over the edge (he was on some bleachers) killing himself.

It isn't just me right? Being a non-suicidal, non-smoker, non-drinker, non-pedophile, non-teenager, non-drunk-driver, non-drug-user, non-adulterer, non-handicapped-places parker, non-old-people-flasher, non-ethic-scoffer, non-promiscuous-sexer, non-bible-booze-spiller atheist... who has not only read the Bible, but the Koran and several chapters of the BoM. I'm not wrong to think that maybe they are portraying atheists in a bad light, right?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hitchens v. McGrath

Hitchens v. McGrath

Hitchens: Either the Bible is true or it isn't, and it seems bloody obvious that it isn't.

McGrath: I want to say that there are respectable opinions and you've said something very interesting. We can't simply dismiss different...

McGrath has the lowest signal to noise ratio of any theologian.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jewish and Catholic ten commandments skip the 2nd commandment?

The Jewish commandments tend to split up the first between "I am the Lord your God who delivered you out of Egypt" (which is a statement not a commandment) and "thou shall have no other gods before me." The catholics divide up covet wife from covet house/slaves/property. Why does everybody dislike the second commandment?

It isn't hard to figure out, though it's the longest commandment for being shortened to "no graven images" it really says:

20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

How hard is that? Don't make any images of any animals, birds, fish etc or bow down to them or God is going to punish, you, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren, and your great great grandchildren. This is clearly the basis for our modern laws, for example, my great great grandfather Ole Peter Christiansen drew a picture of a goat... which is why I'm writing this in prison.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

World Oil Officially Peaked.

It's about time. World oil peaked and now we are all dooomed!

Really it means that oil prices will slowly increase from now until when oil isn't economical to pump. More and more as the price goes up we will get more and more from the oil sands, which is massive though dirty and a pain to get. If anything touches supply oil prices will skyrocket. Oil prices are currently at 90+ dollars a barrel.

This may already sound familiar... that's because it peaked in 2006. It just takes a while to confirm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Review: Built To Last

So I managed to get a Creationist booklet via my sister via some free box from a yard sale. Built To Last by Dwight K. Nelson. Let me just say, I haven't laughed so hard in a long while, at one point. Though, it doesn't manage to make the reading a non-negative experience.

Chapter 1:
It makes a great start by assume the Bible a priori. This is justified because a prioris are everywhere. Your belief in Thomas Jefferson is a priori because you assume he existed and despite the mountain of evidence for his existence a posteriori we must assume this a priori and thus God is safe to assume out of the blue (even without any good reasons to believe)... so we might as well assume the Bible.

Since Godel proved that you need to make assumptions which can't be proved [within the system itself] therefore mathematics would be a religion. And we all trust math right? See, so it's okay to make unproven assumptions for Christianity too!

Chapter 2:
Pick out some fossils. Disregard them. Claim there are massive gaps in the fossil record. Somehow mentioning Nebraska man, which isn't even a fossil. Apparently his research consists of Jack Chick tracts. Page 34 contains what must be the most compelling segue in history:
But in case you are still not ready to embrace the creation accounts of Genesis, let us look elsewhere in Scripture.

At this point I burst out laughing and read the line to multiple people.

Chapter 3:
Darwin's Black Box: Cue Behe's tired arguments about irreducibly complexity. For example think of an arch, an arch is impossible to build. You cannot remove any brick and have the arch stay up, thus no arch could be built from the ground up. Therefore God has built all the arches that exist.

Not really... there's just scaffolding just as there are intermediate parts which evolution later weeds out as unneeded once all the bricks are in. You can very clearly build an arch one piece at a time.

Chapter 4:
Big bang, yadda yadda, Genesis says, God exists.

Chapter 5:
Oddly enough this chapter is one of the most misguided of all the misguides of misguideville. He starts off by pretending that sexual reproduction is some difficult problem. It's certainly an interesting one. Breaking down the walls and allowing for genes to independently assort and evolve more independently and adding selection not just in what species get to live but in what species gets to mate is more than enough to pay for the whole only half your genes get to move on to the next generation thing. Frankly it's a good idea for genes to jump ship for the success of all genes.

Dawkins wrote the Blind Watchmaker which was a challenge to Paley... rather than explain how exactly evolution works he gives Paley's argument and let it sit there. Then suggests Dawkins just wants to be an atheist, which I assume he does when you consider the alternative. Not that that is at all a response. Ten years after Dawkins wrote his 'odd grasping for straw book', Behe came around and proved scientifically that complex systems are just too complex. *sigh*

Chapter 6:
Oddly rather than the more standard Dinosaurs are real but they vanished and survived the ark. He takes the view that dinosaurs are monsters which God needed to drown. Noah's ark rather than being so large it couldn't float is an amazing design because it's really big. Because, if it were a myth they would have said it was a smaller boat.

Tyrannosaurus rex is no figment of the imagination! But the production of horrible mutant creatures was terribly out of sync with God's original plan of interspecies harmony.

God must be a moron. His plans suck if a very well evolved predator/scavenger is a horrible mutant result of unforeseen events (by an all seeing entity).

Oh, and the bones just settled as such because of the flood and for some reason the heavier stuff floated to the top.

Chapter 7:
I hereby submit to the jury that the seven-day week and the seventh-day Sabbath are a perpetual testimony to the veracity and historicity of the Creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2.

Apparently there are seven days in the week and therefore the Genesis account in Genesis 1 and contradictory one in Genesis 2 are both correct. Apparently today being Tyr's day and tomorrow being Wotan's day is an argument for biblical creation. If the Bible is false, then there can't be a seven day week.

Chapter 8:
At this point he dances on the corpse of John Lennon who "died in a pool of his on blood on a New York sidewalk" -- which is inaccurate and secondly an argument against religion. John Lennon was gunned down by a crazy Christian fundamentalist (Mark David Chapman). This sack of shit (Nelson) beyond recycling bullshit apparently dances on the cooling bodies of great men for singing Imagine.
From Wikipedia:
The song "Imagine" also angered Chapman – at prayer meetings and religious rallies, Chapman and his prayer group also sang a parody with the lyric "Imagine, imagine John Lennon is dead."

He recycled nonsense for seven brief chapters then in the one where he said he would make his own statements, he cheers for murder. Built To Last is a horrific pile of trash. Dwight K. Nelson is a bastard. The negative aspects and downright evil depressing scum-words outweigh the funny nonsense where his ignorance is amusing. Some creationist books have ignorance/scum ratios such that reading them is more amusing than disturbing... this isn't one. The only time he steps out beyond the Bible and recycled nonsense and ignorance, he does so to dance on the corpse of a truly great man. Pathetic.

John Lennon was shot by a crazy Christian so we should all become Christian! My sister got this book for free... she paid too much.

FEMA is on its way... we're screwed.

At least the winds have died down. But, when FEMA and president Bush come out for a photo-op you know you're screwed. Apparently Bush is coming on Thursday. And somehow the news thinks that will bring "attention". I've seen the news coverage, other states have been great about sending the fire resources... I don't see how it matters.

Although, he does command the prayers of the nation. I don't know how he as a secular leader controls the telepathic wishes of others but it's odd to say the least.

I'm still safe, family is still fine... although my brother did go to work up the hill and my sister went out to San Diego. So apparently my siblings have business in the heart of the major fire centers.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Break, Burn, Blow.

So apparently another year of really bad fires like four years back. Though this time we have crazy strong winds. My house is kinda in shambles. In so far as the fence blew down the roof part of the annex tore up. RV in back got shredded. House is filled with dust. It's raining ash. My brother is trapped up the hill. My sister is trapped at my other sister's house because frankly the whole let's go to San Diego thing is a total lost cause. I'm still trapped without internet. The power comes and goes. The air is smoke filled from time to time. The freeway system is clogged and nearly unusable. I'm out of soda. Hundreds of thousands are evacuating. Mass walkouts in local high schools (about half of all the kids, only the one I know about). Little mountain burnt down. I could have had one more piece of cheese cake. I don't have work in the morning. I'm going to get work in the morning. My title is an allusion to John Dunn. Which is itself a pun on the father, sun, and holy spirit (all of Dunn's poems are either about Sex or God and they both have both in them). A bunch of cans blew somewhere in the yard and I need to go find them and put them in a bag. There is no set pattern to these notes.

I'll Huff and Puff...

So funny thing. San Bernardino is well lets just call it windy mc fireseverywhere. Well, it turns out the church two doors down blew down. It was mostly just a tarp and such but it is totally thrashed. Praise Wotan!

Not that I just randomly hate churches for propagating really pathetic lies. Rather they play loud music on Saturday... and it kind of bugs.

Those infidels praise some first century wish-granting zombie who they somehow think that telepathic communication with is feasible and though the complete lack of acknowledgment packets (as any proper communication system should use) they also think it's praise worthy... but somehow they also do this on Saturn's day, tempting fate if you ask me.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malibu Fires...

So my house is under rather constant attack by 30-40 mile per hour winds. There are some fires in Malibu to which the high winds and single digit humidity is problematic:

Three homes, one church, and three businesses have been destroyed, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

I'm sorry for those three homes and three businesses.

Watson Apologises.

James Watson apologized for his racist comments:

“All our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really,”

Which tended to kick off a bunch of secondary "what if he's right" kind of comments which tend to be equally as racist. What if the oddity we tend to refer to as general intelligence is valid in determining something and race isn't primarily a social construct? If general intelligence weren't a farce and race weren't a farce... he might be right. Clearly, we should assume a genetic reason because the poverty, underfunding, lack of education, and all the other things which would easily overwhelm such a difference should be ignored and neglected and we should rather blame some kid for a genetic difference which was concocted out of thin air in order to ignore all the things we know account for the difference.

It's an interesting a self-fulling prophecy enabled by just asking the question, assuming the answer, and begging the question.

Besides isn't it easier to assume that some molecule based in DNA built a different brain rather than the lack of food during brain development, the lack of educational opportunity, the lack of opportunities in life, etc. I mean, sure we just made the former out of thin air, but the latter is too hard to fix and doesn't involve me.

Without internet: Day Eight

Supplies are running low. Moral is still high as nobody has resorted to cannibalism. Though, some people appear to be rather cagey at this time *eyes dart back and forth*. The cable company was suppose to come out and reestablish the internet but didn't come out at any time between 8 am and 5 pm. I'm down to watching the short ABC miniseries Fallen about angels and crap, all the good rations were consumed early, and supplies are desperately needed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Poem: The Nut

The light that breaks,
Emblues the sky.
while proteins change,
and sick things die.

The world is oval in its path,
and when we look upon the math.
It matters not, the fraction's small.
But, tilt the world, and leaves will fall.

What chance is there that we exist?
Reality unseen would still persist.
How rare it is, that we are here?
We are not a ball of ice!
But, that's not exactly good or nice.
Though, the world is not too hot.
How impossible that we are not?

A supermodel from Denmark,
plays dice with the world.
Refusing to tell:
Who won and who played.
The rules to be had,
or how it was made.

A universe is at our feet,
with a dozen suns for each heart beat.
A trillion miles is not that far,
Just a fraction of the distance to the next star.
An hour of a day long trip.
Impossible without a skip.

Internet down.

So it turns out if you have cable internet and your aunt runs the wire down with an RV you no longer have cable internet. I suppose that according to information theory I just have a very low signal to noise ratio and rather than ones and zeros I have a Z. But, still where are the flying cars... or at least free wireless internet.

Hopefully it will be restored Friday, assuming the Cable company is plenty happy with the whole, sorry for ripping the wire down on account of having an aunt who apparently can't tell when a wire is stuck to an RV and is dragging down the cable and a good chunk of the roof (mostly awning).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dawkins' Theory Power equation and God.

Dawkins' answer to the Edge question of what's your equation.

Theory(God)-> Things explained -> Everything
---------------- ----------------
Things assumed Everything + God

Tat's Addendum: Theory power ratio of less than 1 is more worthless than no theory at all.

How is Myspace unlike C++ classes?

In the former you can never be your own friend, in the latter you are by default.*

*This joke brought to you by jokes that suck.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Optical Illusions and predictive minds.

Theory: The image is spinning counterclockwise. -- Predictions as to what a counterclockwise spin would look like are confirmed.

Theory: The image is spinning clockwise. -- Predictions as to what a clockwise spin would look like are confirmed.

So basically if you see the legs going behind or in front you'll predict one direction or another. The article that had it is suggested it right brain/left brainness which is kinda bs.

Minds are extremely predictive. We spend a lot of time intuiting what exactly is going to happen next. Constantly figuring this does this that does that. And in our minds inertia makes a lot of sense. So looking at the image knowing what's going to happen next is automatically guessed at and either guessed direction is confirmed.

The real interesting thing is how we guess directional spin without any conscious thought. We just glance and picture the spin. We can't view the image without this prediction. If you look toward the bottom of the screen or where you can't make out the human figure, you'll notice a black blob going back and forth.

Stare at her foot and imagine it going back and forth, if you can do that when ever you glance upwards your mind should stay with the last prediction and keep the directional spin.

Hm. I guess I'm kinda nerdy.

I am nerdier than 98% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

For some reason answering honestly might have made me more nerdy than answering in an attempt to be nerdy.

Skepchick nod.

Garofalo the psychic.

One Good Move has a great little blast from the past.

Oddly enough, this little internet thing has fun little records from that point in history.

spleenville (no link due to fuck them):
Ooh, Janeane Garofalo got her ass kicked on Fox and Friends on the Fox News Network. Brian Kilmeade was somewhat -- ah -- less than deferential to the august pronouncements of Ms. Garofalo. It almost makes me wish I had cable teevee so I could have watched this.

Here's a section of transcript:

-- Kilmeade: "They're still missing a hundred tons of anthrax and VX gas, where is it?"
Garofalo: "As far, okay. That's what you say. There is no proof or evidence that we're missing a hundred thousand tons of VX gas."

Garofalo: "And I would say, and everybody knows that Roger Ailes, that everybody knows that Roger Ailes is in touch with the White House all the time."
Kilmeade: "And what has Geraldo Rivera been in the past, and what has Alan Colmes been in the past? And do you ever watch any of these shows?”
Garofalo: "Yes I do."
Kilmeade: "And who is actually an independent. Is it Bill O'Reilly?"
Garofalo: "I would say that Fox News is one of the most conservative networks, and that's-"

Now, if we assume that we're all roughly living in a crap shoot and anybody could be right at any given time, I must conclude that Ms. Garofalo is psychic. She predicted no weapons of mass destruction, Fox News as a right wing mouthpiece as well as a number of other very pointed bits of info.

And the president honestly thinks that history will view him kindly. The entire right wing looks like evil warmongering asshats in retrospect.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Brian's Paradox

Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!

If the universe is perfect. This is evidence for God.
If the universe is imperfect. We are fallen. This is evidence for God.

You're blessed if you do. You're blessed if you don't.

Religion is full of cheating know-nothings, taking credit for X and ~X.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Quote: Thomas Jefferson

“This, too, is but a branch of our moral duties, which are generally divided into duties to God and duties to man. If we did a good act merely from the love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? It is idle to say, as some do, that no such being exists. We have the same evidence of the fact as of most of those we act on, to-wit: their own affirmations, and their reasonings in support of them. I have observed, indeed, generally, that while in protestant countries the defections from the Platonic Christianity of the priests is to Deism, in catholic countries they are to Atheism. Diderot, D’Alembert, D’Holbach, Condorcet, are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.” — Thomas Jefferson letter to Thomas Law Poplar Forest, June 13, 1814.

A good point to be sure.

Oooooh, I had a comment referenced.

I feel all famous and stuff.

Greta Christina cited a comment I made on Pharyngula about the Atheist's Wager and even referenced this site.

Here's how Tatarize (of God Snot, Where God's Not) put it in the Pharyngula comment: "Do good, then if there's a evil God everybody is still screwed. If there is a good God then you go to heaven, if there is no God then doing good is its own reward."

Tom Lehrer, dead birds, and religion

It seems a little odd, when just one line tends to ruin a song. One very notable example is Tom Lehrer's Poisoning Pigeons in the Park (lyrics) well, at one fairly interesting section the lyrics go:

And lack of propriety,
And quite a variety
Of unpleasant names.
But it's not against any religion
To want to dispose of a pigeon.

Well, it doesn't seem to be against any of the Abrahamic religions. If anything, the reduction of animal suffering is the furthest thing from the religious text's agendas. If anything, increase of suffering for animals seems to be the goal (in order to clean the sins of others). Although the following line is "So if Sunday you're free" -- which would count as work on the Sabbath for some Christian faiths, though much of those faiths ignore most of the commandments so there's not much of an objection there. Judaism still holds the Sabbath on the 7th day ("For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it" -- Which makes the Christian switch to the first day seem a little less hallowed). And that isn't the specific claim. The specific claim is killing the pigeons not the day of work.

However, there are rather obvious objections to killing pigeons within Jainism and wanting to kill pigeons within Buddhism. It is strictly speaking against at least one religion "to want to dispose of a pigeon" -- I have nothing against the slaughter of birds but I can't stand inaccurate song lyrics!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shorter: Lee Siegel

Shorter: Lee Siegel

"I didn't read Mr. Dawkins book but let me just say atheism destroys imagination."

We'd probably even object to Peter Pan being talked about as if he were real. Talk about buzzkills!

We few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers

Lecture on religious violence.

Hopefully a lot more material will be coming out of AAI in the coming days and weeks.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A purpose for an appendix?

A group of Duke University Medical School surgeons and immunologists propose that the appendix may serve as a safe-house for bacteria. So apparently your appendix serves to cater to bacteria. Yes Mr. Bacteria! No Mr. Bacteria! You aren't special. Your body is specially made to cater to bacteria.

Though, grains of salt. These are doctors not evolutionary biologists. Though, lets not poke too much fun at doctors, but they are doctors after all. In summation: Doctors, *eye roll*.

Modern Christianity

Oddly funny. Oddly true.

Atheists seem to focus more on the quality of religion still being false and completely undermining science, reason and rationality. Sometimes we overlook exactly how pathetic mainstream Christianity is.

There is something really hollow about religion, where the newer bits don't care they just want to be paid. And you can't exactly say they should focus on the real bits, because there are no real bits.

Atheists in foxholes...

Says more about foxholes than atheists.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Evolutionary Algorithms to avoid Patents.

If you ever wanted confirmation that patents aren't there to improve innovation take note of the Evolutionary Computation Conference which showcases (among other things) some new technology that evolved via evolutionary algorithms. One of the notes is a "high performance Wi-Fi antennae (evolved to avoid patent fees)" -- Which isn't a hard thing to note, you just put in fitness blocks that say if you use the important features here here or here you're less fit. You simply evolve a good design while avoiding certain designs. You hamstring your design process.

Which brings up an interesting problem with patents. Obviousness. Who is this criteria suppose to apply to? If it's obvious to an evolutionary algorithm shouldn't that count? I mean, isn't that the entire point of obvious criteria to determine if some idea is simply the next obvious step in the making of something and compare that to what else could be done. The point is that the obvious next step shouldn't be grabbed and patented but rather people should know that their hard work won't be for nothing and they will get paid for their innovation. This, sadly, is nothing like the patent system works.

You could in theory patent all of these adaptations and run the program again to avoid these and again and again. Sometimes there are certain bits which are needed. The Good Tricks to designing things that are obvious and are the way things are built.

Dawkins/Lennox: Download

Worth a listen.

RichardDawkins.net has the download.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Kid Nation: An attempt to earn raitings and poison souls.

So actually entertaining, not for the general "Oh look at how they are doing this they are so good at this that and the other they are doing a great job building a town." Nope. It's fun to watch because they are all little monsters and the show is trying to encourage such a thing.

Kid nation is established as a faux-capitalistic communistic oligarchy split up into factions.

The older mature kids want the 20 grand that this stupid government is able to hand out every show, and so they work hard and get pissed when it's handed out to people for having a birthday or various other reasons. One of the odder characters is Taylor who works as a beauty queen is on the council and does no work regardless what job they get assigned.

Which seemed a little bit bitchy until in the third episode she's seen comparing her leadership with President Bush. Ah, now it all makes sense. My dislike is justified. They have a nonsense economy where they play for different jobs, for unequal pay, and unequal work. The upperclass does nothing for ten times the pay and the laborers do a lot of work for pretty much nothing.

The council needs to start giving the council gold stars.

Regardless your role you get your pay for the week regardless if you do any work at all. This is the reason communism tends to fail, and so long as people can't kill you for doing nothing... why work?

All the food and such is provided by the state.

Though, they say there are no adults the town is actually crawling with them.

You have a pathetic communistic state run by children, and as the older kids have long since figured out the only real thing are the 20 grand the council hands out. The show is oddly entertaining for all the wrong reasons. All it needs is to start selling votes for the gold stars to make the corruption complete. Can children make a town work when a bunch of stupid stuff happens all the time and made up jobs are made up for no apparent reason at all.

Though beyond being faux-capitalist it's also faux-oligarchy as the producers have this amazing book they apparently wrote the day before to explain to future generations how they should try and make their town work.

Alternet ran bit about Kid Nation teaching kids to be capitalist. In reality it's teaching kids to be communists ruled by an unseen dictator.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Divinely Hidey God.

One of the comments from the God Delusion debate (see below) struck me as rather funny. I know, they are all comic gold but this one was just classic.

"Amazingly strong Dr. Lennox. If a Atheist where a thinking person surely he/she could admit they don't know all there is to know and that God could exist in the part they have yet to know."

God could exist in part they have yet to know?

"I've been looking for this God of yours for a while and haven't found it yet. So I'm an atheist."

-- "Have you checked under that rock?"


-- "How about that one?"


-- "And that one?"


-- "See GOD exists! I TOLD YOU SO!"

As if God is some kind of new species of snail.

Lennox/Dawkins Debate.

So PZ had the good sense to clue us infidels into a debate over the God Delusion, via a large number of Christian radio stations.

The format was intended to go as follows:

1) Some read from Dawkins' book.
2) Dawkins says that he wrote that.
3) Lennox pitches a McGrathian fit.
4) Goto 1.

This was admittedly "frustrating" to Dawkins who promptly started to ignore the stupid rules and rebut Lennox on his next chance to talk. The debate then had Lennox getting crushed pretty hard, mostly because Dawkins didn't need to think of new replies as everything Lennox said was stupid and long since disproven (and long since worked out with the best replies).

As I don't have a copy of the Audio some of PZs commenters pointed out the debate comments on the shows site. PZ also made the pointed out the structural problems. To the credit of Dr. Don McDonald, on the show comments he noticed it too. Dawkins should have been defense and going second rather than the pathetic situation of making the argument at the end.

The comments are rather classic:

"Dawkins conceded much more in the debate than I expected. 1. That God cannot be disproved. 2. He had no explanation for morality. 3. That we don't know the origins of the universe. 4. That the staggeringly evident hypothesis would be creation.

1. Didn't read the book. He says that.
2. Didn't read the book. He gives a good explanation for morality as he did in the debate.
3. And?
4. Complete misrepresentation.

Or as Jason Bradfield notes,
"Dawkins got owned. He got completely ripped on the morality issue and historical issues. He also got ripped on the celestial teapot stuff, which is a category mistake. Dawkins can't deal with God as He is explicitly revealed in Scripture. He has to create his own "created" idol."

Jason doesn't seem to understand a lot of what was said, but he's sure the Dawkins got kicked.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

That's it, I'll use bait to attract folks. Here creationists! Come and get it.

I only deny God because Professor Richard Dawkins tells me to.

I don't really understand evolution, but I know it lets me ignore God and sin all I want.

I hate God because bad things happened to me.

I hate God because I'm bitter.

I hate God because I don't feel love.

I have no morality, so I can sin all I want. I can tolerate homosexuals, wear clothing of different fibers, I daresay shellfish and disrepect for my parents are quite doable.

Science is my religion.

I think that atheists should get in charge and wipe out the theists.

Now that the hook is baited. Hopefully the fish start biting. Then I use those fish as bait for the bigger fish.

Come to my blog, there's a lot of creationists to laugh at!

Blessed are the ...

Blessed are the passive aggressive threateners, for their enemies will know the truth when they are burning in hell for their arrogance!

Ironic Quote of the Day: Frederick Douglass

I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress. - Frederick Douglass

There's little doubt that that quote is utter bizarre when we look at the Republican party of the day. There has been a rather odd switch in party loyalty over the years. The positions of Republicans like Lincoln and Douglass are now only found within the Democratic party and the traditional Democratic party positions are the staple of modern Republican party. It's a sad monument that the party of Lincoln died in the south. There had been a number of shifts over the 20th century and finally sealed the fate in 1963 with the Civil Rights Act, that's when the Democratic party lost the south, and in an odd twist took every position as the party of Lincoln.

House vote:

* Southern Democrats: 7-87 (7%-93%)
* Southern Republicans: 0-10 (0%-100%)

* Northern Democrats: 145-9 (94%-6%)
* Northern Republicans: 138-24 (85%-15%)

Over the next several years, the parties just flipped over. And in the 1994 slaughter-fest, the Democrats lost the south completely. And in 2006 the Republicans lost what bit of the NE they still had. Though, there are senators in Maine still and perhaps a straggler or two.

The supporters of the party of Lincoln would be the first to vote against Bush.

Amateur blogging and amphisbaenia.

So, the other day my young cousins brought some critter to me asking if it was a snake or a worm. I recognized it as an amphisbaenia, though reluctant to make the determination at the time (also forgot the word just remembered that there was a worm reptile). I told them to put it outside beyond the reach of their younger sibling (who initially found they guy). Wow, I thought to myself, I read about those things but never thought I'd see one. I looked for some more pictures of them on GIS then I remembered, that I had a blog and and a webcam. But, alas, I couldn't find the guy outside. So no, confirmation that I was right, my memories are fading perhaps it was just an odd looking snake that happen to look exactly like a worm. Perhaps it was a stick, or a piece of spaghetti... without pictures I don't know what to believe and I'm subject to second guessing. And considering there aren't any species of amphisbaenia in this area I could easily be wrong. Perhaps there's some other kind of snake that looks exactly like an earthworm with bright colors, seemingly two heads. Perhaps there's some kind of worm with a spine (from the feel of it). I just don't know.

The entire point of this post is to say, my amateurish 'wow that's awesome, let's not take and post pictures to my blog' style blogging will end. Pictures of cool stuff rather than second hand "it looked like a snake/worm, but also looked like it had two heads, was about four inches long and had some bright colors" in the future for me. Thank You. My apologies.

I'm fairly sure I got the order Squamata right.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Spirituality and the 95% withdrawal.

There seems to be a certain idea that for everything there is a Golden Mean. If there's two sides which are categorically opposed, the truth lies somewhere in the center. In reality one side can, in fact, be completely wrong. With fundamentalists and atheists we have the moderate theists who agree with atheists in spirit when they address the problems of fundamentalism but refuse rather to accept atheism is the answer rather the truth lies in the middle, not no God or too much God but the Just Enough God of spiritualism.

How can you be a rational individual while not being a crazy fundamentalists and don't want to be called an atheist? You can just take some extremely wishy-washy middle ground either it's claiming to be agnostic (not in the proper sense but in the weak atheist sense) because you don't disbelieve in God as you claim atheists do (you just don't have any evidence that he doesn't exist either), or the higher power claim laced with large amounts of special pleading. There simply MUST be something more! THERE MUST! THIS CAN'T BE EVERYTHING! Note that when they say "this", they are referring to everything. And then there's spirituality, where they believe in something vague and spiritual. Who could argue with that? Or the liberal Christianity side where you pay occasional lip service to Jesus without having read any part of the Bible or going to church.

The idea that the truth lies somewhere in the middle and that going all the way to one side opens you up to criticism. Which is pretty well the reason why the Democratic primary front runners all support this plan for a 95% withdrawal. Oh, we'll remove everybody from the Iraq except one brigade who we will have in this one bunker. You're surrendering! You're going to lose this war! "No see because I have a bunch of guys in a bunker somewhere during this civil war, that's why I don't really lose. I'm spiritual. None of this, it was a bad idea from the start and I'll completely wash my hands of it, I'll just wash my hands of as much as I can without being called a coward. I have just enough God... and just enough stupidity."

We really need to make the middle less solid ground, politically, religiously, and practically. Collaborators shouldn't be tolerated.