Sunday, June 28, 2009

Men and Women in Advertising

The Supreme Court ruling of Safford Unified School District v. April Redding

The case was well known. A 13 year old girl was strip searched by the school because a student tip said that she had so ibuprofen. In an 8-1 decision they found that apparently you can't strip search teenagers on a whim. But, the more important implication is that the case reestablishes a Judiciary point that Clarence Thomas is fucking jackass.

Thomas warned that the majority’s decision could backfire. “Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments,” he said. “Nor will she be the last after today’s decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school.”

Yeah, the majority decision is going to backfire. If you tell children that the school can't force them naked at whim they might think they have rights.

Popemobile Protection...

Friday, June 26, 2009

A more generalized reply to 'y tey stil monkie'.

Explaining natural selection and evolution in an easy and understandable way does seem to be the way to go. But, I think there might be something to the idea of outrage.

YOU CHRISTIANS THINK I'M RELATED TO MUD!? I'm dirt? Fuck you. Calling me dirt. You're just full of insults. Modified mud. Am I mud on my father's side or my mother's side?

I am great ape, a primate. You're saying I share no relationship with any of nature. Nature is just there for no real reason? I'm not a part of it? I'm just modified dirt? I have no connection with the transcendence of nature, with the beauty, and majesty of the natural world? I'm just a bit of fucking mud, like on the bottom of my shoe? Oh, and apparently I'm evil mud. Evil mud-man suffering the sins of my mud-ancestors who ate magical fruit from a magical tree on the advice of a talking reptile. Here's a question for you Christians, if mud was made into man, why is there still mud?

Fuck you. I ain't mud! You can hate yourself and think you're dirt, but don't drag me into your sad little fairy tale. Where does your morality come from? Humans, chimps and other apes have well developed and highly evolved moral sense. Mud doesn't! It slides down hills killing without mercy or remorse. I share 97% of my DNA with other great apes, how much DNA do I share with dirt? None. It's dirt!

I'll think for you poor misguided animals. I'm sorry that you're so confused and despondent that you deny being one with the tranquility the natural world. Your separation from nature is so great that you think you're dirt. I feel so sorry for you. You should know, that you are special and billions upon billions of less fit cousins of your direct ancestors died for your genes. Their sacrifices within the natural world allowed the bootstrapping gradual rare genetic improvements over several billion years, which led to you! You're not dirt, you're the end result of a million generations of winners, each one having the good fortune to mate and reproduce! You're one of the lucky ones.

Explore. Reason. Understand.

Update: added the why is there still mud question. Few modifications, generalized. I am probably overdoing it now...

Quotes: Sir Geoffrey Warmock

"To be clear-headed rather than confused; lucid rather than obscure; rational rather than otherwise; and to be neither more, nor less, sure of things than is justifiable by argument or evidence. That is worth trying for." - Sir Geoffrey Warmock

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fundie Quote:

"How can one defend or prove the Bible without quoting scripture. It's impossible. If you don't want me to quote the Bible, then don't mention the Bible. Fair?"

The Song of Wandering Aengus

by: W.B. Yeats

I WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Buffy + Twilight... certainly an improvement

If you've ever seen Twilight it has some unfortunate implications as TVtropes notes.

Bella is apparently very white for living in a sunny area, the Vampires sparkle and aren't creepy when the stalk you, aren't creepy when they sneak into your room at night, and aren't creepy when they act very very creepy.

Comparing this to Buffy, we get a much better picture.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh the stupid it burns...

I'm no completely convinced. No flood. I didn't realize you had a doctorate in anciet archeaological flood evidence. Have you personally been an of these floodsite evidential gatherings? Have you examined the evidence yourself? Do you know exactly what to look for? Does it vary by climate? R there some places that are impossible to get to, to gather evidence? What about if natural disasters have occured? Or if atmospheric condition variance? You must have some advanced knowledge that no one else seems to. Can you post some of this evidence?

Just out of curiosity - what is your evidence to show that there was a global flood?

Genesis 6 and 7

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Gods by Ingersoll

A worthwhile product.

Science and religion are not two peas in a pod.

We cannot just declare religion an answer in the same way science is an answer. It's absurd and wrong. If true, tell me one great mystery that religion has solved sans evidence?

Religion is wrong. Science is not wrong. As far as the evidence goes. We use science to build technology, what technology has been built off religion? What ideas have become useful to the masses? Which ideas have been found to be true, which did not find their origins within the realm of science?

Why are people not able to judge? What makes lay people bad judges of the conclusions of knowledge? This seems a pretty elitist opinion that science doesn't share. Brainwashing is rather specific, I'm ready to change my opinions on subjects, just give me some evidence.

That we progressed from ignorance to knowledge, from religion to science, from wrong to right, doesn't give credit of the former to the latter. We do not credit astrology with astronomy any more than it warrants credit. We do not credit alchemy for chemistry. We give credit where credit is due, and none is due to religion.

The attempts to conflate the two as different ways of knowing is a disservice to science and an unwarranted complement to religion.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's not about proof, it's about evidence.

It's not about proof. It's about evidence. Is there evidence to believe in an an afterlife? If there is none, and I'm pretty sure that's the case. Then we should not live our lives with respect to that idea. Without an actual and existing belief in the afterlife, who would die for religion? If you are losing the rest of your life and if your life is all you have, then that decision is unreasonable. However, if you believe that by giving up your life it will slingshot you directly into paradise and you and your family will be saved, then it's the unreasonable choice not to do such a thing.

The fact that there's no evidence in favor of the proposition is entirely the reason why you shouldn't accept it. The heterodox nature of skepticism is that you should not believe a proposition for which you have no reasons to suppose that that proposition is true. Even with ideas like the afterlife, which on the surface seem to have no impact on our world, are actually sources for great mistakes and dire problems. You are mistaking the fact that there is no evidence in favor of them to conclude that, they have no effect in reality. For the actual thing this is true. There is no afterlife and therefore afterlives don't permeate our reality, by definition we are unaffected by the non-existent. However, belief in the afterlife does exist in our world and can do great harm.

Advocating for things because they do no harm, while the beliefs in them can do harm, and using that to justify the beliefs is a recipe for belief in a plethora of nothings. We should condone belief in leprechauns because there are no leprechauns, and therefore what can it matter? While some people might *really* believe in leprechauns and spend all their waking hours chasing rainbows to find a pot of gold.

While, this may see alien to us and amusing, it is no less absurd than spending 1/7th of a notably short life in church and a solid 1/2 of the days we tend to have free, praising non-existing self-sacrificing deities who died and rose from the dead fewer times than Xena: Warrior Princess. The beliefs themselves torture the minds of children and poison the minds of adults, they raise the specters demons, spread hate and bigotry and consume the lives of millions with superstitious nonsense.

The fact that believers have no proof is entirely the reason not to accept those claims.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Been picking on ignorant people lately...

You'd be astounded how often people think evolution says they evolved from a monkey. I'm thinking of getting a generalized reply to the claim:

Common ancestry suggests that humans have common ancestors with monkeys. This common ancestor seems to have lived about 30.5 million years ago. It isn't that one species or group turns into another but the variation within the previous group in the past lead to all the successive species.

Humans are members of the following groups in descending order of size.
cellular organisms; Eukaryota; Fungi/Metazoa group; Metazoa; Eumetazoa; Bilateria; Coelomata; Deuterostomia; Chordata; Craniata; Vertebrata; Gnathostomata; Teleostomi; Euteleostomi; Sarcopterygii; Tetrapoda; Amniota; Mammalia; Theria; Eutheria; Euarchontoglires; Primates; Haplorrhini; Simiiformes; Catarrhini; Hominoidea; Hominidae; Homininae; Homo

Japanese Macaques are members of the following groups in descending order of size.
cellular organisms; Eukaryota; Fungi/Metazoa group; Metazoa; Eumetazoa; Bilateria; Coelomata; Deuterostomia; Chordata; Craniata; Vertebrata; Gnathostomata; Teleostomi; Euteleostomi; Sarcopterygii; Tetrapoda; Amniota; Mammalia; Theria; Eutheria; Euarchontoglires; Primates; Haplorrhini; Simiiformes; Catarrhini; Cercopithecoidea; Cercopithecidae; Cercopithecinae; Macaca; Macaca fuscata

Common ancestry doesn't suggest that humans came from monkeys but rather humans came from Catarrhinis and monkeys such as Japanese Macaques also came from Catarrhinis some time in the past. And where variation with species are minor, those small variations in separate groups over the last 30.5 million years have lead to greatly varied species such as humans and gorillas on one side of the divide and macaques and baboons on the other. The theory of evolution suggests that the slight variation between species such as the gray and red squirrels could become as great as the variations between the different primates. It isn't that we are related to monkeys, but rather that if you go back far enough, we are related to all life on this planet.

The process by which organisms change is called evolution, and the mechanism is natural selection. Given any population of crickets for example if allowed to reproduce such that every offspring were able to grow to adulthood and have more offspring themselves the entire world would be several feet deep in crickets within a few generations. Therefore there must be forces which are restricting the ability of crickets to carry out their natural exponential growth. Predation, access to food, access to mates, etc limit the cricket population. Now, if in this necessary struggle for life a change were to occur in a cricket's DNA which was beneficial to it's possessor in this struggle for life, that cricket and those crickets with that gene would do better than those organisms without that gene. If it were not useful it would either quickly die or be less successful in the struggle for life.

What once was very little variation, over eons becomes very large variations. So what once was several millions of years ago only a slight change within a species become a small change between two species such as gray squirrels and red squirrels and as time goes on and more and more beneficial changes are added into the genomes as they better and better adapt to different and changing conditions of life, independently and among the great tapestry of lifeforms and selective pressures.

Taken to the intellectual limits this suggests that all organism on the planet are related and explains the biology, genetics, design, development, distribution, and every other aspect of life on this planet.


Somehow I think it needs a toss in with the theory of evolution by natural selection. A sentence or two with some oomph that if thought about would explain the theory.

update: added a couple paragraphs describing the main thrust of the theory.

Algorithmic Darwinism?

Generally evolution isn't just a theory but an algorithm for beneficial change in direction of the selection. So if variations occur within a species and any of those variations are, for any reason, beneficial to that organism it will increase at a rate greater than that of the average population. So whatever seeks to keep a population down will keep only a certain subset of the population down. The population which can avoid being naturally selected against will flourish. If there is a general ability (like that in DNA) to change and engineer very specific structures and organs and organisms then this process will spiral up creating organism of ever increasing adaptation, complexity, and functionality. Further as every species is undergoing this process they all will play off each other in complex and wonderful ways like newts so poisonous that they could kill thousands of people with a drop of poison and snakes that regularly eat them. Like cheetahs running quickly and gazelles running about as quick. Like the antlers of a deer that weigh so much that they make the deer far easier prey and the females who mate with the males with the largest antlers. It's a very simple process but, even a cursory look will show that such a process would work, and when we look at nature there are abundant artifacts that are only explained by exactly that process.

It's all a work in process. Whatever explain the theory in an understandable way in a pretty short read is certainly the most fit variation of this.

Science, Progress, and Knowledge.

Science isn't black and white right and wrong. Some ideas are better than other ideas in that they accurately explain more facts than the other idea.

For example if you look at the Aristotelian idea of gravity that objects have a desired location and hard objects like the earth are attracted to the earth, just as gassy substances are of the heavens and attracted to the heavens. This idea isn't absolutely completely 100% wrong. It's only mostly wrong. It makes proper predictions about things and explains much of the data we see before us.

Newton came along building on some of the work of Galileo and properly explained gravity as a force of attraction between all matter. That not only does the gravity make the apple fall, but it makes the worlds revolve. He showed that gravity is a universal force, Newtonian physics. Newton worked with expert precision and records were kept in exacting detail.

Then Einstein came and offered a new insight into gravity by way of the relative nature of the speed of light. He offered that gravity was actually a warping of spacetime and that gravity itself works by changing the fabric of space. This would also result in a slowing down of time itself near a gravity well. This was particularly important because those records of Newtonian movements I mentioned, were slightly off. Mercury needed to be adjusted because it was running a little bit slow. Einstein explained all the motions of the planets just as Newton did, but also explained the slight error with mercury. He explained how gravity worked and why it worked.

Now, did Newton contradict Aristotle? The general observation that gravity existed had been made and Aristotle gave an explanation. It wasn't a useful observation though and we don't use Aristotelian physics. Newton explained a lot. In fact, he gave us the first complete set of laws of gravity. School children still learn about Newton and use the same equations he laid out hundreds of years ago.

Now did Einstein contradict Newton? Einstein's physics are better. They explain more. They work when things are really heavy and really fast. Are they contradictory? Not really. Einstein's theory is built under the understanding of Newton. In fact, you can derive Newton's formulas from Einstein's. It isn't so much that Newton was wrong and Einstein was right, it's that Einstein is less wrong than Newton, and Newton is less wrong than Aristotle.

Science isn't black and white. Rather science as it progresses doesn't contradict the scientists who came before but improves on their ideas and propose their own theories which are less wrong than the ones which came before. They build on one another improving our understanding. When some bit of long standing science gets dinked and exceptions are found, it isn't a loss for science, it's a triumph.

The other day a group of scientists released findings of an effect called colossal magnetoresistence which seems to be 1000 times stronger than giant magnetoresistence. We don't understand the physics. We use giant magnetoresistence in hard drives to make them hold terabytes of data and stay very small. The discoverers were given the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2007. And colossal magnetoresistence offer the prospects of significantly smaller drives, but we even have our first slightly wrong theory. -- We just don't know.

Science isn't a bunch of contradictory ideas, it's the process of discovery itself. It isn't that the old ideas are wrong or that one person wins or another loses. It is that we progress in our understanding, that we have new ideas and new understanding that better explains the world. Science is progress.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Time Tree: Awesome Site.

Compare different species and the time they diverged. Hyenas are cats not dogs. Genetics are fun.

(via ERV)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Did you know that that Jesus idol people worship is really Satan?

I didn't either. That was the impression I got from this video when I could hear it over my own laughter (thankfully it doesn't need the sound so you can laugh your ass off without missing any segment).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If you watched that last video and your computer is intact...

Treat yourself.


This guy talks really long about crap he made up.

Subject yourself to it. I command you. It's long boring and complete shit. It's like a field of shit permeating the universe at its most base levels and condensed in the vibrating molecules of sound waves within the gases of the atmosphere of this planet.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Can't stop laughing.

Yahoo answers, where dumb meets dumber. I've been rolling for a solid hour off this site. (More)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Scientfic materialism.

I'm a materialist. I don't necessarily think that because I look at a book that that is what the book is. Senses don't really work like that. My perception of the book may be something quite alien from the objective reality of the book. Molecules, and ink, held together with chemical bonds absorbing and reflecting and allowing radiation to pass through it at various wavelengths. I don't know what that actually *is* in any sort of metaphysical sense. I do, however, know what my perceptions convey to me and it's a consistent picture of reality. It may not be real reality, but even if I were a brain in a vat it would be absolutely consistent. Further, if I read the book and it conveys to me ideas which are likewise insights into further consistencies of this world, I will accept those ideas as truth, but more importantly I know that I didn't do the real work required to produce such insights. So I can conclude that there are other minds.

The idea that senses confirm senses and therefore is circular is unreasonably shrift and trivializing a very non-trivial subject. The same way we scientifically investigate phenomenon in the universe that we can't easily directly detect with our senses and still find consistent and predictive theories about what is occurring, we can likewise make predictions about our perceptions of reality. While we should be careful to understand that our perceptions are not necessarily reality itself, they are however useful and can be used to find commonalities about reality. The same way we can scientifically determine gravity is truth, we can scientifically determine the rocks we drop are also truth. This is not circular, this is various forms of very distinct evidence leading us to a conclusion based on those points of evidence. I am not saying that reality is a logical conclusion, I am saying it is a deductive conclusion based on robust evidence. If it does like reality does, if it thinks like reality thinks, if it feels like reality feels, if it doesn't go away when we stop believing in it, then it's probably reality.

I'm saying that the epistemology which allows me the conclusion that reality exists is a scientific epistemology. Science is the only epistemology. And, it does, very much predicate itself on the idea that the future will be like to the past. I do not hold this an issue, because outside of logical absolutes, I regard most truths, especially about our world, as experimental and the product of deduction. Only ego and flawed cognition allow one to conclude perfect cognition. Our brains don't work in such a way as to produce or require perfection.

I really wrote this elsewhere but figured it was so good I needed to post it here too. Besides somebody might want to know what my epistemological foundations are in the future and it's nice to look em up on my blog.

Scientists find Crockaduck.

The famed predicted animal that Kirk Cameron predicted that evolutionists should find if evolution were true! It was located. Reported one scientist, "Wow, that's odd, the existence of that thing absolutely demolishes the theory of evolution. We have to scrape pretty much all of it." Another added, "Yeah, there's no way that thing conforms to common descent, we're pwned."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Schizotypal personalities and Medicine Men

Army of God

Definitely worth watching...

House on Atheism

Probably won't last long, but it's pretty great.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bible Based Marriage

I'm somewhat depressed she doesn't mention that a Bible based marriage is also between one man and that man's dead brother's wife.

Crazy praying guy escapes cops.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bad Planning Just Killed My Dogs.

No not canius familarus, but my legs. I walked for an hour and thirty four minutes. Ouch.

Live and learn.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Roald Dahl: Vaccine Hero

I'm always torn wanting stupid people to get comeuppance, but the only thing not vaccinating your kid hurts is your kid. Sometimes life fails to hurt the people who most need hurting.