I know, everyone's tired of the stupid bullshit from Premise Media and the Expelled crew. I'm tired too. The thing is, the people making it are so retarded that they apparently don't even have a dictionary to check out the meaning of "ironic". At their site they have a section called "Big Science Academy" where they have a picture of Charles Darwin and the following text under the heading "President's Welcome":
At Big Science Academy we take our motto seriously: “No Intelligence Allowed.” And this year, we are proud to report that in every subject but Science, students and faculty are free to challenge ideas, and seek truth wherever it may lead.
But Science is different. In Science, there is no room for dissent, for dissent is dangerous. That is why we at Big Science simply refuse to allow it. Like dancing, “dissent” can lead to other things.
As Class President Richard Dawkins put it so well: “Shut up!”
As you know...last year we had the misfortune of “presupposition of design” rearing its ugly head, with several students challenging Neo-Darwinian materialism, and arguing incessantly for the right to examine Intelligent Design.
They were all Expelled, of course – but still: it just goes to show where academic freedom can lead, if not shut down immediately!
Charles Darwin Principal, President, Admissions and Diversity Affairs Officer, Big Science Academy “No Intelligence Allowed”
*Sigh*, it's so tiring to deal with the same shit again and again. These people are like the Pope, constantly yammering on about "God says 'this'" and "God wants you to 'that'", without ever showing a shred of the supposed evidence they demand so stringently from scientists.
So I'm just going to address one point in the above; the "In Science, there is no room for dissent" bit. Allow me to introduce these folks to Mr. Isaac Newton. He was the fella who described that the force that made things fall to Earth (apples, books, peach marmalade) was the same force that kept the planets where they should be around the Sun. It was revolutionary. The calculations were so accurate that they can, for all intents, be used today. Newton admitted, however, that he could only describe gravity, but he didn't understand how it worked.
Then Albert Einstein came along and, first with Special then General Relativity, he made some changes to Newton's idea. It wasn't much, but it challenged the ages old theory in ways that made a noticeable difference. Einstein's predictions actually worked when tested. This small change to a major scientific theory changed everything.
So...where is the "no room for dissent" in that story?
Is the Newton/Einstein thing too old? How about in 2003? A serious scientific theory about ancient polar forests was overturned because new evidence came to light. There are many more to report but what's the point?
Science is about dissent, about questions. When you get a kid interested in science, you teach him or her to question everything. The answer to "Why is the sky blue?" is not "Because God made it that way." That is a dogmatic, uninteresting, and wrong answer. The actual answer is so much better, predictive, testable, falsifiable, and correct. There's no "debate" about whether or not "Bluists" are dominating the academic landscape with their fancy talk about "wavelengths", never allowing the idea that a Designer made the sky blue because it's easy on the eyes.
The assumption that these movie-makers throw out to the viewers is that no scientist has seriously examined "intelligent design". Here's an article from the New York Times from 2005 with this quote from Charles Harper Jr. of the you-would-think-sympathetic Templeton Foundation:
The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research.
"They never came in," said Charles L. Harper Jr., senior vice president at the Templeton Foundation, who said that while he was skeptical from the beginning, other foundation officials were initially intrigued and later grew disillusioned.
"From the point of view of rigor and intellectual seriousness, the intelligent design people don't come out very well in our world of scientific review," he said.
Hm, that's odd. You'd think from the tub-thumping of the movie-makers that there's a bevy of evidence supporting this idea, and yet, there's...what's that term? Oh right, "Not One Goddamn Shred".
The world of science depends on dissent to progress, so that accusation is false and helmet-headed. The assumption that no one has checked into "intelligent" design is also false and, moreover, an outright, blatant lie. I'm curious as to whether the movie will pick up any attention from the general public at all, but if it does, I hope when people google "Expelled", they get directed to Eugenie Scott's site instead. That'd be the best.
As many of you know, I'm a massage therapist. As many of you may also know, massage is a field absolutely rife with flakes and nutbags. Now, I practice in Ontario, Canada and as such, I am a member of the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) which all people calling themselves Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) must be. We all have to do what are called Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for the purpose of skill upkeep and for the betterment of our profession.
From time to time I get mail in the form of courses offered at the schools around town that we can take to get our required CEUs. These courses range from very useful to absolutely retarded and worse-than-useless. Recently I got a flyer that certainly belonged to the latter category. It was offering a course in something called "Meridian Massage".
This is a 20 day course consisting of four 5-day sessions that are all approved by the CMTO to give participants 60 CEUs (we're required to get 30 every three years). The course costs from $650 - $750 depending on how early you register and as a teaser of what you'll learn, the flyer advertises that you will:
Learn a therapy that allows you to have immediate control of the effectiveness of the treatment
Learn a treatment that does not only treat the whole body but also the spirit and soul
Learn a treatment that very gently removes blockages inside the sacro iliac joint and all other joints.
Now, I know what you're thinking - "Mike, you enjoy treating people's souls! When are you signing up? This sounds like just the course for you." Well, you'd be wrong. I think if I signed up for this horseshit, I'd end up in jail.
I want to stress that this is advertised as being approved by the CMTO, my College, my governing body. If you go to the link above and click on the "course description" button, you'll see a wide variety of amazingly retarded things such as:
* Gentle removal of joint blockages using the ear-reflex-zone-control * Scar disturbance removal through the aura * Aura treatment with methods by the Elfins (Dusty Miller XIV.) * Point treatment options with methods of the Elfins (Dusty Miller XIV.)
In case you're wondering who "Dusty Miller XIV" is, why not go to his blog where you'll read about his special talent for talking to trees. Yeah, you read that correctly. See, he's an Elfin person and he trained under his father to talk to - and get answers from - trees, as he explains in his series of posts entitled The Truth About Trees. Here's a bit of an exerpt from those posts:
It was back in the forties, when I first started talking to the many ancient trees that my family worked with.
Although I spoke in human words, using my LeftBrain; they answered me in a RightBrain manner, with inner feelings and motions, sounds and impressions, subtle sensations and inner visions.
My RightBrain had no problem with this, but there were times when my LeftBrain had great difficulty translating the pictures and sensations into words of explanation to others...
At first, all my conversations with the ancient trees...were only what you could describe as ‘ small talk’ or ‘ polite conversation’, as after all, I was only a small boy.
After a few years of this, my father felt that I was growing up quick and introduced me to the sophisticated picture language that our tree friends use for ‘ serious instruction’.
This involved the deliberate use of my RightBrain, to mentally project and receive, moving visual images, as an internal teaching aid...
As an Hereditary Witch I’d come of age.
So we had a family party to celebrate, and I grew my moustache. It looked a bit stupid on a thirteen year old, but I liked it.
And this bit just about made me fall over laughing and making dolphin noises as I tried to get enough air to continue my hysterical fits of convulsive amusement:
One of the first things I discovered by talking to our tree friends was that, unlike us, they are Group Entities with what appears to be a host of separate bodies...
If you touch any one of these trees, all the trees in the group will feel your hand, as they are all one and the same entity.
If, for example, a small boy were to kick a tree as he enters a wood, all the trees in the group would feel the blow and shout "Ouch!" and all the other trees, for about ten miles in any direction, would be saying to it’s neighbour, "Watch that boy, he kicks trees!" The word can get around, causing consternation, faster that a wasp at a picnic. So be careful what you do...
Oh man, that's rich.
After I regained my composure, I just got more and more angry. These two jackasses (Dusty and Karin Leffer, the other chick teaching this "meridian massage" course who has "trained" in just about every fucked up, nonsensical thing you can imagine including "Shamanism" and something called "Family Constellation Therapy" - I love the "holographic understanding" bit in the third paragraph) are as flaky as they come with all their blather about "energy" and "ley lines" and "vibrations", and they're going to be instructing a course worth six years of CEUs to Ontario massage therapists. It is seriously no wonder that doctors roll their eyes when I tell them I'm a massage therapist. Fuck, I roll my eyes when I think it!
Shame on the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario for endorsing this nonsense. At best it is ridiculous quackpottery masquerading as "therapy", and at worst it will keep some innocently ignorant patient from getting the actual help they need in favor of ineffective stupid shit taught by self-deluded hippies.
Ever heard the old urban legend about people having 20lbs of undigested meat in their colons? Well, whether you have or haven't, it's wrong. If people took seven seconds to check out what they heard, we'd all be a little better off - that goes especially for all my family and "friends" who keep sending me that fucking "Bill Gates is giving away his fortune!" chain letter.
Well never doubt the ability of shrewd marketing to turn urban legend into a money-maker. I give you Evercleanse. Evercleanse uses the fear of "toxins" and the popularity and "common sense" appeal of the "meat-gut" urban legend to get ignorant folks to take their silly shit.
Ok, bad joke. Sorry.
They say a lot of typical pseudoscience crap like:
synergistically designed to provide everything you need to cleanse, detoxify, replenish and maintain a healthy digestive system
and it claims that you will achieve...
weight loss, improved bowel function, decreased bloating and other post-meal issues, greater regularity, increased energy and vitality, better looking skin, hair and nails.
Hm...that sounds pretty good, unless you know anything about how your colon actually works. Here's a little site that pretty much picks up the Evercleanse folks, shakes them violently, anally violates them, then smacks them on the ass and lets them go. My favorite part is when she easily blows their entire "pounds of rotting poo" argument up in two short paragraphs:
Have you ever had a colonoscopy? If you have, then you know that in the days leading up to your procedure, your doctor has you follow a fairly strict regimen of food and drugs to empty your colon. Yet, no one doing this type of cleanse ever reports passing black, rubbery bowel movements like the ones you see on colon cleansing web sites. And if you've ever accompanied your spouse to his or her colonoscopy, you know that all the doctor sees is pink, clean tissue.
Where did all the "dried up" or "excess" fecal matter go? It wasn't voided during the pre-operative cleanse and it doesn't show up on camera during the procedure. Thousands of colonoscopies are perfomed every year in this country but not a single one has ever found evidence that we're all walking around with "dried up" fecal matter just waiting to make us sick.
The Skeptic's Circle - Every One Of You Is Expelled!
(For this week's Circle, guest host and cdesign proponentist Ben Stein will introduce the entries. Enjoy.)
Hello. I'm Ben Stein. You may remember me from the movie I was in back in 1986... ...or perhaps from my game show. I'm moderating today to keep you all honest and to ensure you take into account all possible explanations during this close-minded little Darwinist hate-fest.
I agreed to all this to raise awareness for my new movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which you also may have heard of due to the fact that your fundamentalist leader, PZ Myers, was ejected from a screening because he crashed the gate and was wildly brandishing a pistol. Here's an unfinished trailer from my movie to show you what he missed. Ok, roll it: That was it, right? Ok.
Ok, so to start off, we have a person called the "Skepbitch", which I don't approve of at all. Don't these atheist Darwinists do anything other than swear? Well, her post about the Jesus Hitler is pretty far from recognizing the reality that God is her creator. She does get right to the point though when she admits that, "Atheists are not religious. Therefore, Atheists are bad". Maybe she'll get in to the scientific community of Heaven after all.
Keeping with the Hitler theme you all love so much, a person supposedly named "Skeptico" has a submission about best buddies Hitler and Darwin. What a shock. Even though he is, by all appearances, a close-minded, hopeless, believing-in-nothing, atheist, Mr. "Skeptico" at least has the heart to admit:
I’m happy...that...There are (at least) three...valid argument(s) against evolution...by...creationist(s).
Well, sir, there are far more than three, but you are on the right track.
(I)n my opinion...Periodically...make...healthy...vigorous...love of (meaning "to")...Loki (a pagan Darwinist-type god).
I think my case against Ms. Christina rests. Read her post at your own mental risk.
A site called "Evolved and Rational", which is a contradiction of terms since no one evolved and rationality only comes from God, gives you two posts, one about the impossibility of Darwinism and another about Jesus' loving sacrifice on on the cross. I skimmed the first one and liked the letter; the second one has an obvious religious tone so I know it will be great. I like this guy.
"Andrea" is next, if that is her real name. Her writing talks about new "logical fallacies". This post is fine as long as you realize that there are things that we will never ever understand and that we should base our beliefs on the thinking of the smartest and brightest in the theological community, ignoring the Darwinist tripe. We need to know that God exists because if he didn't, life would just be meaningless. Atheist Fundamentalists are just so dogmatic and full of hate....
Next is this person called "Bug Girl" who talks about having Sea Monkeys in your Pants. If ever there were evidence for atheists being freaky future hell-dwellers, it's in this writing. Goodness, isn't basking in God's infinite love enough for you heathens? Sex with animals...you're worse than homosexuals.
Speaking of infinity, some "Akusai" person at a site called "Action Skeptics" (again, no subtlety about being a Darwinist) writes about just that concept. I do, however, enjoy the frankness of Mr. Akusai when he admits that we came from monkeys:
...our monkey-brains can hardly deal with billions and trillions much less infinity.
Well if we came from monkeys, sir, why do we still have monkeys? Hahaha...silly Darwinists, you'll never win my money with that logic.
Someone with an almost-real name is next. "Skelliot" talks about a Christian charity that also performs exorcisms on the needy. I fail to see a problem here and would recommend that most, if not all of you people seek out a qualified priest or rabbi for an exorcism of your own. Now we go back to names that make no sense at all to me, "PodBlack Cat" writes about something called "Dragon*Con". You know, it's like you atheist Darwinists have a whole other nonsensical language you use to talk to each other. No wonder everyone hates you. Where's your lovable character in pop culture? House M.D.? I think not.
Someone with the obvious pseudonym "Orac" is next with his post on stem cells and how useless they are. Here's a quote from him:
...no validated therapies for embryonic stem cells have yet made it into clinical practice...
You can't argue with that. No use for the things equals no abortion equals God is great and Intelligent Design should be taught in schools alongside Darwinism to give children the option of believing what they want.
Also talking about how stem cells have not panned out the way doctors wanted is Dr. Steven Novella who says:
...radioactivity was (a) new and fascinating scientific discovery, (which) lead to a market for radioactive tonics good for a multitude of complaints...
See, he's open to new ideas! Other doctors should take lessons from this gentleman.
An obviously disturbed individual who calls his site "Archaeoporn" gives us a shocking bit on the Shroud of Turin. Normally I would not endorse anyone who has "porn" as part of their name, but when you see a nice quote like this from them:
At this point in the year (Easter season), as well as Christmas, they (The Discovery Channel) tend to focus on Christian themes...A good...Bible Code documentary...has...absolutely...valid research.
You just have to lend support. At this point, I would like to thank my quote mine...- sorry, "research assistant" - Casey Luskin.
"RationalEyes" has tripe on vaccines and autism on TV. Seriously, the link between those two things is so well established now that to go against it would be like going against the tornado-through-the-junkyard, so you can just skip that post altogether.
Some weirdo calling himself "Happy Jihad's House of Pancakes" drearily meanders on about Reiki for far too long. How many people are giving posts to this thing? Aren't I contracted to only be here for 10 minutes? I could use some breakfast. Oh, alright....
Ah, finally a person with a real name. Michael Meadon at a site called Ionian Enchantment talks about Five Medical Myths in his submission. I believe everything that is in bold in his post - I didn't read the explanations but I assume that he's in agreement with me and as such, I'll thank him for his support of Intelligent Design. This is looking better now.
Michael also mentioned that there was a great article talking about the aforementioned religious relic, the Shroud of Turin. I am not a big reader, but I assume that this is further confirmation that Jesus was real and was the savior of Mankind. I really like Michael.
Next is something called "The Tank Vodcast". I have no idea what a "vodcast" is or how a tank would go about it, but they talk about their Psychic Predictions, so I guess they are ok. Psychics are powerful people and I do not want to be on their bad sides. Just look at what the amazing Sylvia Browne can do:
Apparently Mr. Hal Lindsey lives on the East Coast of Canada because his blog is called "Bay of Fundie". I guess he's an uneducated Darwinist because he misspelled "Fundy", but that's what you get from atheists. I especially like the last cartoon he shows. It's right on the mark.
What? The post was about Hal Lindsey, not by Hal Lindsey? No, you're wrong. ...Why don't you read the post.
About time for another real name. Martin at "Aardvarchaeology", which, I assume, affirms the reality of Noah's ark on a mountain and Jesus' brother's bones being found, talks about weird, and obviously atheist Darwinst German siblings who have sex.Now, does everyone see where Darwinism leads? It leads to homosexuality and incest on a rampant scale. That will, obviously, lead to sex with animals. Do you all want dog-sex in the streets!?
Cripes, now there's someone who calls himself a doctor but has a name that no real doctor would have. PalMD, talks about the flu and Joseph Mercola. He also goes a long way towards confirming what we always knew about Darwinists:
There actually exists a year-round, world-wide surveillance program...the giant conspiracy to take your money and poison you with flu shots.
That's right, I know what you're all up to and I'm not going to stand for it. My movie will bring your evil conspiracies to light. My monotone voice and boring demeanor will rile up the masses and drive them towards action!
What? There's more posts to talk about? *sigh*
At some place called "Skepchick" there's a person called "Sam", who gets all excited talking about frog sex. Deviant frog sex, as a matter of fact. You Darwinists will never learn. I do enjoy his use of logic though - the Creator works in mysterious ways, fabricating toads from fungi....
Lastly, also from Skepchick, Stacey talks about Academic Freedom, a subject close to my heart after my film came out. I show clearly how brilliant scientists lose their jobs because of Darwinists shutting the doors to academia and expelling intelligence. Shame on you all. I hope you accept God into your lives and become whole loving members of your communities who love your families and say your prayers. To close out this festival of hate and Nazi-loving Darwin-atheists, I just want to say: I can't believe how close-minded you all are. I mean, changing your minds all the time, flip-flopping...it's embarrassing to real science. The sort of science that never waivers from its convictions. The science that God revealed to us. I hope you all open yourselves up to true freedom and true debate so we can all agree that God's word is the final one answer to all our questions.
Oh, and stay away from my movie. None of you are invited to see it, except maybe Michael and perhaps Hal Lindsey. Why you people are against America and free speech is beyond me, but if you insist on trying to gain entrance, I'll have you forcibly gagged and removed. Besides, I don't need you. There'll be plenty of people waiting to see it as well as my new show, America's Most Smartest Model. Anyone? Anyone...?
(In two short weeks, the 84th Skeptic's Circle will be held over at Archaeoporn - make sure to go check it out!)
I'm not going to comment here because it's been so covered everywhere else, but the whole "PZ Myers getting kicked out of the showing of Expelled while Richard Dawkins, who was right next to him, got in" is hilarious. I'm going to see the film when it comes to my neck of the woods and I'll comment then, but the whole thing is turning out to be just a circus of ineptitude on the part of the "filmmakers".
Oh, and that's in quotes because I'm biased as hell when it comes to this topic and have no intention of giving the movie a fair and balanced viewing. So there.
to see how we stopped James Randi's fraudulent MILLION DOLLAR PARANORMAL challenge.....
watch carefully the consequences of Randi's *great idea*…..
For over 40 years James Randi Zwigert (is this even a REAL NAME?) has had total control over who and how the testing was conducted, yet despite all this he has terminated the challenge.
The ONLY REASON why the challenge was stopped is because he lost and refused to pay.
Apparently, Randi likes to break the rules when it serves him:
"14. This prize will continue to be offered until it is awarded. Upon the death of James Randi, the administration of the prize will pass into other hands, and it is intended that it continue in force. "
Great force.....it's over......
where is my MILLION DOLLARS, you LITTLE *NO-NAME* FRAUD
The second enlosed link is to here, the JREF application rules page. You know, if you're saying you'll give a million dollars to a potential psychic/animal "communicator"/magnetic man/martial arts magician/dowser/freak, you need some fairly explicit rules to keep the riff-raff at arm's length.
Not to mention the fact that Randi has said that the challenge has been around for 10 years now and no one has even come close to winning (when they, the challengers, design and approve the test AND Randi is not involved at all). This Mabus assclown doesn't even realize that it's only the formal JREF Million Dollar Challenge that's being shut down BUT the money's still there and the challenge is always going to be available to anyone who actually shows some promise.
What's that, David Mabus? You're a little crybaby bitch? That's what I thought.
I was reading the paper today and there was an article about an editor named Larry Smith who issued a challenge to readers: He wanted a six word memoir. It was inspired, supposedly, by Hemingway who, in response to a challenge to write a six-word novel, came up with, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
If you need some examples to choose from, go here and get inspired. I think mine would be: "Life is great. Spare some change?"
Feel free to drop yours in the comments and pass it to whoever you'd like.
I understand that if people choose to be crazy religious, it's their right. I think it's retarded, but whatever. Why should they care what I think? And for that matter, why should anyone in a religious community care what other people in their community think as long as you're following your faith in your way?
Well, throw that idea right out the fucking window with respect to insane fundie Jews. If you thought that the new indie Natalie Portman movie was going to have Hasidic actor Abe Karpen in it, you'd be wrong. See, he had to drop out because he had to hold Natalie's hand in the film (oh, and because Hollywood is evil and so are all movies), which he didn't want to do - that's against their religion as he can't even hold his wife's hand in public.
And did I mention that he's 25 years old, is married, and is a father of three? Fuck, that's crazy by itself.
"It's a lot of pressure I am getting. They [the rabbis] didn't like the idea of a Hasidic guy playing in Hollywood...I have my kids in religious schools and the rabbi called me over yesterday and said in order for me to keep my kids in the school I have to do what they tell me and back out"
Yeah, and Karpen's buddy had this to say in the article:
His longtime friend Levi Okunov said the Karpens had to flee the city for the weekend. "The community wants to kill him," he said.
Kill him. For being in a fucking movie. A movie about love. Nice. Sure, they probably don't mean kill him in the literal (dare I say, biblical) sense, but in the more passive/aggressive everyday sense of, "we're really really really angry with you and will pass social judgment on you and your kids if you play act." That's sweet.
When are people going to recognize that religion - all religion - sucks and is a horrible influence on people's judgement?
As an interesting aside, the next Circle is right friggin' here, so stay tuned and send in your submissions to email@example.com - make sure to put "skeptic's circle" in the subject line, if you please :)
"(T)he reason our institutions, our traditional religions are all crumbling is because...they're no longer relevant." Bill Hicks
There was this article in Reuters about "new sins" that the Catholic church has decided to include. Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti noticed after 2000 years that certain things are bad (genetic engineering, drugs...) and was quoted as saying:
(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control...
So yeah, just knock off that research and development, will ya? I wonder if the church will ever produce a person who doesn't want to turn the technological clock back to the fucking bronze age?
In recent months, Pope Benedict has made several strong appeals for the protection of the environment, saying issues such as climate change had become gravely important for the entire human race.
Yeah, thanks, Benny. Way to catch up to modern knowledge. At least you're only about 40 years late this time. Douche.
Girotti...also listed drug trafficking and social and economic injustices as modern sins
Jebus fuck a duck...that's like walking up to the front of a crowded restaurant and yelling, "Wait! Wait! If you all eat the food, you won't be hungry anymore!" Thanks, Captain Obvious. How about you remind me to brush my teeth today and maybe wear clothes while you're at it.
Where does the Vatican get these fucking cabbages?
Girotti also bemoaned that fewer and fewer Catholics go to confession at all...(pointing) to a study by Milan's Catholic University that showed that up to 60 percent of Catholic faithful in Italy stopped going to confession.
Perhaps because people are realizing that fucknuts who say obvious shit and try to pretend like it's divine revelation are not worth "confessing" to in the first place. But here's the best part of all:
...the same study by the Catholic University showed that 30 percent of Italian Catholics believed that there was no need for a priest to be God's intermediary and 20 percent felt uncomfortable talking about their sins to another person.
Only 20%? I'd think it would be a pretty small percentage that would feel ok with admitting to being a drug dealer to a stranger in a box.
The church is no longer relevant in any respect - and that goes for any church. Sure, there is a social aspect to attending, but no more than your local judo club or yoga class. Hell, a Skeptic's in the Pub night would be just as social, WAY more fun, and it'd have beer and chicken wings!
I just read Steve Martin's memoir of his life/stand-up comedy years called Born Standing Up and I highly recommend it if you have any interest at all in comedy. He's a fantastic writer and the book deftly pulls you through Martin's life. Here's a bit from, it seems, 1979 that, as Fat Tony would say, cracks me consistently...up.
I watched 30 Days the other night, that show that Morgan Spurlock made. The premise of the show, if you're not familiar, is that they take a person of one type and put them in a situation for 30 days that may either change them or their hosts. Sort of like Wife Swap, only better.
On this episode, a religious family hosted an atheist woman. The rules were that the atheist had to live with the family, she had to go to church, and she had to attend Bible study. Easy enough. The moms bonded over stuff they had in common and because they were both mature adults who had other things to chat about like kids and work and such. The Christian dad was a bit of a harder nut to crack...so to speak.
The dad had a hard time understanding atheism because he didn't understand what she believes. He repeatedly said that he didn't get it and that she must, "believe in nothing", which is a common misunderstanding, but the godless woman didn't do a particularly good job of explaining (which, to her credit, she admitted).
The dad thought, falsely, that once you take away the belief in a supreme being, all the other attachments he has (the 10 commandments, all his "morals and values") go with it. Another common way of Christian (or just religious) thinking. Of course, the morals and values don't go away and I think this should be addressed because there are a couple of issues that tag along with atheism and its inherent marketing problem.
Firstly, she really can't speak for all atheists. If you have a group of people who don't collect stamps, you can't say anything general about the group apart from their lack of stamp collecting. Their interests, values, morality and job/life choices would be extremely varied, and so it is with atheists. There's not one thing that atheists believe that could be characterized as a "doctrine" or "core" - apart from the "no god(s)" thing. This is a plus and a minus because, on the good side, there is no way to say that atheism is a "religion" because there are no sacred texts (no, the Origin of Species doesn't count), prayers, or deified leaders; however lacking any common ground, atheists are doomed to loose structure, poor organization and the "herding cats" phenomenon.
Here's a key that wasn't brought up on the show but needed to be. "Religious" values and morals are not the property of religion. "Thou shalt not kill" is not a religious statement; it's a statement that Christianity (and many other religions) assimilated as a good rule to live by, but it's a societal rule that governs the activities and effectiveness of any pack of animals. We live together just like a wide variety of other creatures, and if we let members of our society run around killing people the ability of our group to effectively work together and better ourselves would be seriously hampered. Hence, there is a man-made taboo/law against killing.
I mean, seriously, the 10 Commandments don't even mention rape - which they really should if they're the Lord's list of shit you're not supposed to do. And the first three are just stupid. You know...in my opinion.
Over on the right there you'll see a link to my other site that used to be for movie reviews. I've redone it because I suck at movie reviews and I needed a place to keep all the podcasts in one place, so if you want a to take a peek, go jump over. New episodes will appear here as usual, but they'll go over there as well piled up on all the old ones.
I think there are laws in the Universe. Everything obeys these laws. Thermodynamics has its three laws, the first of which is that in any process, the total amount of energy in the Universe remains the same.
I believe that there is also a first law of what I'll refer to as follicodynamics which states: regardless of location or growth rate, the amount of hair in the Universe remains the same.
What this translates into is that, when a man goes bald, another gets hair in his nose. When a person loses his hair to chemotherapy, an old woman gets a beard. Some victim of male pattern baldness cries in Boca Raton, I get bush in my ears. The amount of hair is always constant (which I will indicate as Ħ) in the known Universe.
I was at work the other day and the TV was on in the clinic. It was showing an old episode of Fame that caught my attention because of the content; the show was from season five of the series and was called A River to Cross and was about Ms. Sherwood's stage production of Huck Finn.
One of the black students decided that the play was a, "piece of crap" and that it was racist, so it should be protested and pulled. The ensuing controversy took over the school and the argument over censorship went into full swing.
There's a great scene where Leroy and the student are having a heated discussion and Leroy says that the book tells the truth and that to pretend that in Twain's time that Blacks and Whites were treated equally, then we're just pretending to make ourselves feel better.
The student says, "What's wrong with makin' us feel good?"
Leroy replies, "Your brain could die."
Pretty much sums up all the religious niceties, eh? You can look at the world as it is with lumps and all and try to deal with it as best you can, ooooorrrr you can make up a bunch of silly shit to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Oh School of Performing Arts...is there nothing you can't show us in 43 minutes of dancing and singing?
First of all, many apologies for the lengthy absence. A bad combination of being happy, enjoying the family, playing a lot of guitar, and just generally not feeling inspired to deal with the shit that's been in the news has come together in a Perfect Storm of non-blogging. I'm going to make a concerted effort to post more regularly and get a podcast a week up.
About that - I need to thank Jerry. A lot. He helped out with the linkage and advice on how to get the audio into proper format so it can be picked up at iTunes and can be played on an MP3 players. Hopefully it'll work and life will be good.
This podcast is just under 7 minutes so enjoy and hopefully the phone ringing in the middle won't mess you up too badly. I couldn't be bothered editing it out.
Click on the post heading and you'll go to the download location.
Just a quick post to say that I think Anderson Silva will be the first person to knock out Dan Henderson. I think he'll do it in round three. There. Let's see if I'm better than the "professional psychics" out there.
Things I Doubt: Ray Comfort & Kirk Cameron's ability to put together a decent argument...or a decent sandwich, for that matter; Oprah Winfrey's judgment about anything; Jenny McCarthy's anatomical conformity, by which I mean, I think she has neither a brain nor a heart; Jim Carrey's status as a Canadian - am I allowed to unilaterally decline that?; believers in acupuncture and their ability to accept that it is a fantasy; and the justness of a world where I am not rich for my truly amazing humor but Reality TV "stars" continue to rake in the cash.