The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday Double Tap

Part the First

Pam Anderson took her clothes off in Stella McCartney's store window. That's the most entertaining part of what I'm about to write for this bit, so if you've already lost 1.4 hours on Barbed Wire, you might want to jump ahead.

Pammy said at the event, "...please start using fake fur...people see stars like J.Lo and Beyoncé wearing fur and they don't think about the cruelty that goes into it." Apparently Pam has never tried to stomach watching V.I.P. You'd have to be paralyzed and have your eyes clamped open like Malcolm in A Clockwork Orange to make it through to the first commercial break.

And why wear fake fur? Isn't that just perpetuating the fashion drive towards real fur anyway? You'd think Pam would push fashion towards more man-made fabrics and materials like, oh, silicone. (yeah, yeah, they're saline - but that doesn't work for the joke, assholes)

Another PeTA douchehat, Louise Redknapp, said, "If you can put a fur jacket on you should be able to watch the animal being slaughtered...." Right. So I should be able to watch an animal being killed for my chicken dinner, my steak on the BBQ, my leather jacket and belt, my fur coat (if I owned one), and my cousin's insulin. Well, I know this may shock Ms. Redknapp, but I'm perfectly ok with that. I'm not some sadistic fuck; I love animals but if I need to eat, something's gonna die.

When you look at a sheep or other similarly fuzzy creature, you may at first think to yourself, "wow - I bet that fuckin' thing is nice and warm when it's cold out!" Then you'd kill it and wear its skin and fur and go, "hm..maybe I should cook the meat and use the bones and make use out of as much as I can so it's not wasted - not like all that Hollywood money spent on SHITTY movies."

PeTA, Pam, and all the "celebrities" in attendance can go blow a goat. Supporting a silly-ass, hypocritical, terrorist supporting organization makes you a non-member of the humans, you damn dirty apes.

Part the Second

Oh the Vatican. Just the name brings to mind images of majesty and tradition, cathedrals, and men in dresses and funny hats. Really, they're a tribal beat and a few dozen sit-ups away from a gay pride parade (which brings up the question of why they hate the gays so much).

Anyhoo, today's fun comes courtesy of Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo who said that excommunication awaits any scientist who participates in embryonic stem cell research. "Alf", said to have long brownish hair, a distinctive long and ridged nose, and to enjoy eating cats, is reported to have told Famiglia Cristiana, "Excommunication applies to all women, doctors, and researchers who eliminate embryos".

Why not just excommunicate anyone who supports stem cell research as well? I mean, why dick around with just scientists when there's a TON of folks who are all in favor of finding cures for horrible diseases? Damn those people elongating life spans and bettering the human race with their "science"!

Actually, just excommunicate gays, people who support gay rights, anyone who uses contraception (especially those perverted hell-bound Africans), all safe-sex educators, anyone who has ever touched their own genitals, all scientists, all people who think for themselves, and anyone who has ever had a laugh at Klinger on M.A.S.H. (that transvestite gaywad).

Once all the excommunatin's done, it'll just be Pope Joey Ratz and Alf hangin' in St. Peter's Square trying to retain some semblance of regalty while deciding who's holier.

The church is so far from being any kind of "moral voice" that it's laughable. Enjoy your boy's club, jag-offs.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Explain This To Me Like I'm Four....

"It's a simple fourth grade science lesson: the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold."

Global warming. It's a phrase that still conjures up mixed emotions even though it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by scientists all around the globe. It is a fact much the same as evolution is a fact - the parallels are as plain as the sight of Lake Bourbon Street.

Science is about understanding the world around us. One of the most powerful aspects of the scientific method is its ability to predict far better than, let's say, Miss Cleo or John Edward. Because global warming is a worldwide phenomenon (as the word "global" would indicate), scientists everywhere are privy to the data and results. An article recently noted that, "...worldwide, such downpours have been increasing markedly over recent decades — exactly as predicted by scientists."

So this thing is happening that a bunch of smart folks who specialize in that particular thing said was going to happen. Do you start to listen to them? Not, apparently, if you are the president and (more importantly) an oilman with richy rich friends in the Texas and worldwide oil business whose interest you have to protect. Said Bush:

"I have said consistently that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary … to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil…" (emphasis mine) What a huge douchebag. The douchiness of that statement refects a level of douchedom that few even strive for, let alone attain. He ignores the specialists who have nothing to gain from being correct and he sits on the fence, patiently listening to the oil companies and their "scientists" who, as far as I can see, sit in their dank labs all day doing horrific experiments on puppies and orphans.

Again the article says:

"One small group of special interest businesses leaders — those of some fossil fuel companies — have been well documented by journalist Ross Gelbspan and others to have been fighting a PR campaign for 15 years to keep the American public confused about the wide and deep scientific consensus on this." Much like the few religious fuckhats with deep pockets who keep the "debate" over creation & evolution alive and squirming around like a worm on hot pavement.

There has to be a way to pass a law that says something to the effect of "if you stand to gain in any capacity from the outcome of this debate, you are immediately disqualified from any type of investigative efforts to find out the cause and/or solution to the problem." Poof! No religious douchenozzles in the creation/evolution "debate" and no oil company Scrooge McDuck/Puppy and Orphan killers in the global warming "debate". Wouldn't that be nice?

So to repeat, "It's a simple fourth grade science lesson: the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold." The trouble is, Bush can't grasp fourth grade science.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Middle Finger Isn't Vestigial, Bastards

I was reading some creationist writing over at Fish Don't Walk this morning. It was frustrating to keep hearing the same arguments over and over again - the tired old ones that we've all heard 8000 times before.

"I pulled out my keys and put them on the counter. I asked her: what if I said there was a metal factory, next to a plastic factory next to a paint factory . All three factories blew up and the result was this set of keys."

How many variations of the 747/hurricane fallacy are we going to hear in the next 50 years? I know most people can smash this to smithereens, but I'm going to here anyway just for the sake of doing it.

This fallacy of "throw and bunch of small shit together and POP!, out comes a bigger more complicated thing" started with Fred Hoyle in a radio interview in 1982. His point was as follows:

"A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing-747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? "

Sounds fairly reasonable, comparable to the "give a monkey a typewriter and calculate the odds that it will type King Lear" line of thinking. The thing is, this argument is a disasterous misunderstanding of natural selection and evolution. They are suggesting that evolution happens all at once - like getting your entire life salary in one lump sum. It doesn't work like that in life (although it sounds like a good idea on first look). Natural selection is just that - a selection of the best types of a species for the environment. As Talk Origins says on their "Common Misconceptions About Evolution" page: "Chance certainly plays a large part in evolution, but this argument completely ignores the fundamental role of natural selection, and selection is the very opposite of chance."

So to change the hurricane scenario to one more fitting of what actually happens, say all the parts of a 747 are in a junkyard. A hurricane blows through and, by chance, a piece or two pass through their appropriately correct spot. They would stay there, frozen in place, because they are "beneficial" there. Sort of like a mutation creating a single photosensitive cell on the forehead area of a salamander - it gives this particular creature the survivial advantage of being able to know when it is hidden, thus selecting this creature to be better suited to the environment. It will have a better chance to reproduce because it may live longer and pass its genes along to its mate. Thus begins the long, slow evolution of the salamander eye.

As more hurricances pass through this wonderful junkyard over the centuries, more pieces fly through their correct place and get frozen there. As time passes, centuries and millenia, the entire plane just may come into being - or at least a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile.

See, the other assumption creationists make is that we are well-"designed". They have no real answers to the question of why I have an appendix, whose job is to chill out in my abdomen and wait for the perfect opportunity to expand and blow up, killing me. Sort of what the lysosome is to the cell, only for the whole body. At Answers in Genesis, they say that the appendix has a crucial use (oddly, found out by science over time) in immunologic function. They say:

"Today, the appendix is recognized as a highly specialized organ with a rich blood supply. This is not what we would expect from a degenerate, useless structure.

The appendix contains a high concentration of lymphoid follicles. These are highly specialized structures which are a part of the immune system. The clue to the appendix’s function is found in its strategic position right where the small bowel meets the large bowel or colon. The colon is loaded with bacteria which are useful there, but which must be kept away from other areas such as the small bowel and the bloodstream."

Fine, I'll agree to that. The appendix has a function in the immune system. However, I'm curious if a cancerous tumor could be classified as a "highly specialized organ with a rich blood supply". The creationists fail to say why, if their creator was so smart and wonderful and had such an important role for the appendix to play, is it perfectly ok to remove? Can't remove both kidneys or your liver and be fine and dandy, can you?

The use of old strawman arguments by creationist websites and books ("irreducible complexity" goes from the eye - disproven - to smaller and smaller things ending up at the "motor" for the bacterial flagellum - now also disproven) is going on strong. We must continue to address these outpourings of misinformation, exposing what the perpetrators are doing. It's not that hard and it can be great fun bringing someone to a better understanding of the world around us. To quote Miracle Max: "Have fun stormin' the castle!"

Friday, June 23, 2006

8 Simple Rules

There's a great discussion in the comments over at God is for Suckers (see link at right) regarding religious tolerance and how far society should go to make sure everyone is comfortable in public settings. Instead of posting over there I thought I'd throw something up here and get my point across.

They have some examples of Muslims wanting concessions from gyms and schools to accomodate their beliefs. A wall, for example, between a co-ed workout area and a women-only area because the men could see them. Also a different article said that a Muslim school wanted its women's basketball team to be able to play road games against public schools but only if men and boys were not admitted. Finally, a pool in Washington set up a swim time when all men, including male lifeguards, were banned.

To me, this is not a case of religious tolerance, it is caving to religious pressure. Most of these cases would be shown to be frivolous if the decision makers would only ask one simple question: why?

Case One

Religious Person (RP): "We'd like a wall between the co-ed area and the women's only area."
Decision Maker (DM): "Why?"
RP: "Because men can see us exercising."
DM: "Why is that bad?"
RP: "Because it will get the men excited and it makes us uncomfortable."
DM: "People look at you all day long, get over it."

To be fair, in this case it seems that the women signed up to the Fitness USA club with the understanding that there would be women's only days. The club took the money and then changed what was understood to be the policy. I wonder, however, if there were "mens' only" days as well, or just co-ed and women's?

Case Two

RP: "We'd love to play road games against other teams, but only if no men or boys are allowed in the gym to watch."
DM: "Why?"
RP: "Because men will get excited and become unable to control themselves.
DM: "Where do you live?
RP: "Right here.
DM: "So when men see the other women in society who aren't Muslim, who are dressed for summer, why don't they just lose control and start groping and raping? Your argument makes no sense."

Sayyid "Maulana" Abul A'La Maududi, a Muslim theologian, made the point that with respect to men, "If a thing appeals to him, he is urged from within to acquire it." I absolutely hate this line of thought because it labels every single man helpless to his inner urges and says that in order to keep myself under control, I need a very precise set of conditions - women being covered under loose, head-to-toe robes being primary. It's fucking retarded and speaks of animalistic times when if you wanted a woman, you clubbed her over the head. No society should cave to this sort of pressure.

Finally, Case Three

RP: "We'd like a private swim time for women."
DM: "Sounds fairly reasonable. Why?"
RP: "We want to swim by ourselves. Oh, and no men can be admitted, including lifeguards."
DM: "No lifeguards? That's a little excessive. What if the women's swim happens when a male lifeguard is scheduled to be working?"
RP: Tough. No men.
DM: Tough for you. Your swim time will be ok, but if there happens to be a male lifeguard on duty, you have to deal with that."

This point is dealt with nicely over in the GifS comments. If your silly rules are making someone lose out on salary simply because you don't want to be seen by a member of the opposite sex, fuck you. I remember talking to a female (non-Muslim) supervisor when I worked at a group home in past years and she said that she would be uncomfortable with a male nurse at a hospital. I was so pissed because she could not get past the "man thing" to see the professional nurse working. I understand that with respect to personal cleaning and such there would possibly be a level of uneasiness, but it's their job. It's not like it's pleasant for the nurse.

There is a certain amount of, "When he sees me he won't be able to control himself" in these comments. All I have to say to that is, get the fuck over yourselves. Most of you women, like me, aren't that attractive. Any woman, seeing me in a Speedo, would definitly lose control, but it would be with laughter. Flip the situation around and the majority of men seeing most women in a string bikini, would certainly keep control of their sex drives.

Finally, I remember a case in Canada where a Sikh man wanted to wear his turban while being a member of the RCMP. Many people said, "why not? It's his religion, let him do it." Personally, I feel that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has its uniform and traditions and if you want to be a part of that, you follow their rules. I'm not going to go into a synagogue and say, "Hey, I'm going to be a Jew now but I'm going to wear a Rasta hat instead of the little beanie thing, k? It's part of who I am." If your religion dictates that you wear some item of clothing that conflicts with your job uniform, then you have a choice to make - job or religion. It's as simple as that.

We must ask the most basic of questions when confronted with religious backwardness. A simple "why?" will usually shine a light on how archaic and unnecessary most rules and guidelines are. If you choose to follow them in your religion, great, but don't expect the rest of us to have to deal with them.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I'm Back And This Time I'm Jesus.

I think I'm just going to say I'm Jesus.

Wouldn't that solve a bunch of stuff outright? All I'd have to do is convince the Xians that I'm their guy and then tell them to chill the fuck out. Since Jesus is also a prophet who led a sinless life in Islam, I could tell them that Allah told me to pass along a message: chill the fuck out. Drop that knowledge and then bickity bam, religious killings, wars, and general violence gets cut down to a quarter of what it is now.

I could talk to Penn & Teller and Criss Angel to get some bitchin' illusions under my belt so the religiosos would be on my side, then just get a cable show like Jesus on South Park to market myself. I'm sure once I prove myself I could get picked up and hit a major network. Fuck, Tom Green did and he jacked off a horse the first chance he got to make a movie - so what's the bottom limit on talent...really?

T-shirts could be made and sold to support my crusade (not the best word?) to reach every Xian on the planet and get them to chill. Once all the Jesus folk are placated, we move on the the Muslims. Heck, I'd even give the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jews a go. They might listen if they really believed, and with Angel on my side, I'd be cutting bitches in half and walking across swimming pools. You can't mess with that!

I'm going to have to start tomorrow.

Numerology: Thirty Seven and Ten Thousand

Two quick things - the new Skeptic's Circle is up over at Autism Diva. It's number 37 (Dante from Clerks says: "Thirty seven!?" haha) and it looks great.

Secondly my counter just rolled over 10,000 and I wanted to say thanks to everyone who stops by to check out my (recently slagging) postings. I have an idea for a book that I've been working on plus I'm trying to get my upcoming skeptic's circle post in shape for July 20, so my ranting and squealing like a piggy has been a tad slow of late.

P.S. I just came to my senses and realized the implication that "squealing like a piggy" has; that is, that some readers may think I have been raped in the woods over a log by a hillbilly. Thankfully no, and condolences to anyone who has experienced that horrible fate (that's for you, Ned).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! Oh, Right...It's a Bird.

PeTA Pam is apparently in talks to strip down to her naughty bits in the window of Stella McCartney's store. She has some reason for doing this that has to do with animals and stuff, but that's nothing new - she's supported those hypocritical dipshits for a long time now.

She's potentially going to be naked in a public place to "draw attention to PeTA's campaign to ban the use of fur in fashion." The thing is, she's been naked everywhere else already so there's no real shock value. Wow - a naked bimbo. Fantastic.

That's like saying, "In order to raise awareness of my campaign to stop celebrities from taking any type of political stand, I'm going to park my car in my driveway in plain sight of all who pass by. It's a Civic...nice beige colour...four doors.... Oh, and it has power steering! That's shocking."

Monday, June 19, 2006

I Wanna Be...A Macho Man & Scientology Cult Asspicks Catch a Beatdown

I think everyone's happy that the Era of Queer Eye has passed us by. It looks like now we're back to "machosexual" instead of the flamboyant "metrosexual". Excellent - I never got into wearing "product" in my hair. I use shampoo that costs $3 for a litre and a half and I shave in the shower with no cream. I buy my shirts at Winners and when I'm being a nice husband, I buy my wife flowers - not cala lillies with greens and baby's breath, flowers. Maybe that's what I bought her, I don't know...they're flowers and that's all I know.

Maybe that will also mean that it'll be ok to have chest hair again. I never got rid of mine, but perhaps at least now some of the male clothing models in magazines won't look fifteen anymore.

And on a totally different topic, it seems like the douchefucks of crazy ol' Scientology have sent a cease and desist order to the chaps/chickies of YTMND who didn't take too kindly to said letters. They just added more stuff and harsh beatdowns to the cult. If you'd be so kind as to go the link and check out "top rated ytmnd's", you'll see what I mean. The one titled "The Unfunny Truth About Scientology" is just that, so be prepared for some not so pleasant images - but they warn you too.

(thanks to the great Two Percent Co. for the tip off)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Like Skull and Bones, Only Way More Awesome

I've just joined a secret club. The Abimelech Society was passed on to me by a kind commenter who goes by the so-Evil Dead-awesome-I-wish-I'd-thought-of-it nickname, "b00m5t1ck". Now I have a mission. I'm going to start right after I have another beer and some more chips and cheese dip.

Maybe that's why atheists aren't well-organized....

Lincolnish and Truthy

Colbert Hammer

Watching The Colbert Report the other night, Stephen interviewed Congressman Lynn Westmoreland. I haven't seen someone more perfectly embody the ignorance and soft-headedness of the religious right for quite some time and Colbert played it to the max. You can see the video here if you are so inclined.

Colbert made some general pokes about him being the "do-nothing'est" person in Congress, got Westmoreland to say that cutting the department of education would be a good way to save money, and made him uncomfortable with a bit about being a "Georgia Peach". He then brought up the Congressman's co-sponsoring of a bill that required the display of the Ten Commandments in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Colbert played him like a master:

Westmoreland: "The Ten Commandments is (sic) not a bad thing for people to understand and to respect. Where better place could you have something like that than in a judicial building or in a courthouse?"

Colbert: "That is a good question. Can you think of any better building to put the Ten Commandments in than in a public building?" (fantastic comeback)

Westmoreland: "No. I think if we were totally without 'em we may lose the sense of our direction."

Colbert: "What are the Ten Commandments?"

Westmoreland: (silence) "What are all of 'em?"

Colbert: "Mm hmm"

Westmoreland: "You want me to name 'em all?"

Colbert: "Yeah, please."

Westmoreland: "Mmmmmmm...(thinking)..."

Colbert: (holds up two fists, ready to count off on fingers)

Westmoreland: "Mmmmm...don't murder....don't lie...don't steal...uhhhhh...I can't name 'em all."

Colbert: (stares straight at him, expressionless)

It was an amazing exchange vividly showing the sanctimony and vapidness of some leaders. Yes, we should "understand" the commandments, which you'd think may entail knowing what the hell they are in the first place. This Westmoreland fella is just a microcosm of many Xians who yell in your face about how we should use the stupid bible and all that it entails as a moral guide to make people better (and make fags and all other religions die a horrible death), while not having the faintest clue what are between the covers of that retarded book.

Colbert...irony like a hammer.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

Just Say No

I remember reading one of those small "Introduction to..." books on Stephen Hawking a few summers ago. It was fantastic and quite enlightening to read about his ideas regarding space, time, black holes, and the retention of information. When he applied science and thought to the mysteries of the universe, he came up with innovative solutions to the difficulties before him. Any time someone shows that much creativity within a scientific field and uses the resources surrounding him/her, it draws the attention of the church.

Hawking said that Pope John Paul II asked him not to study how the universe came to be, saying, "It's OK to study the universe and where it began. But we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of God." You know, it truly is amazing to hear the desire for ignorance come out like that; just dangling there all slippery and disgusting. That is the desire of religion stated blatently by the Head Water Buffalo himself. Heads bowed down so god can shit on the back of your neck.

When the Catholic church finally recognized that the Earth was not the centre of the universe and that Copernicus was correct, they also had to admit that they treated Galileo poorly. Of course Pope JP2 didn't just come out and say the church was wrong and acted horribly, he said the imprisonment was due to, "tragic mutual incomprehension." Right. That's sort of like a guy beating the crap out of his wife and then, years later, trying to right that unforgivable act by saying there was a "mutual misunderstanding."

If religion had their way, any area where their precious Invisible Man lives would be out of bounds to study. Ideally, there would be complete regression of knowledge so the population could be controlled and made to bow to the "truth", which is actually more like "truthiness". Hawking said that JP2 told him, "God chose how the universe began for reasons we could not understand." The underlying message is much like what you'd imagine the Mob saying: Lay off the pokin' around, Ironsides. This is a God 'n Jesus town.

Hawking still works and forges towards a more complete understanding of the universe. Other sciences continue to delve into the mysteries of life and shine light on the few dark corners out there. The Pope and his minions try and try to keep the shroud of confusion and ignorance over everyone, but it is to no avail. The only weapon against overbearing ignorance is books and learning - something the sciences have in spades.

There's Sacredness in the Holes!

Go here and take a long look at the surface of Mars. Then I'm going to start taking bets as to how long it will be before the numerologist retards and "canal" dipshits start saying there's a "sacred alignment" of craters or something. Any takers for this Saturday? Next Monday? Anyone?

Oh, and the Tonight Show with George Carlin and Ann Coulter was a non-event. George only asked once (under Jay) for Ann to clarify what she meant by the title of her book, Godless. Her hands did seem to be shaking a bit, but she just towed the party line and didn't prod Carlin (which was to her credit - let sleeping lions lie). If you've ever heard George go after a heckler at one of his shows, you know what I mean.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Vatican Ass-tronomer Seems Like Almost a Nice Guy

Well "anonymous" was kind enough to point me to this article about the Vatican's astronomer, "Brother" Consolmagno, and his opinions on creationism. He seems to think that creationism is a sort of "superstitious paganism" that devolves us back to earlier times when "nature gods" ruled the Earth.

He said that religion needs science to "keep close to reality", but science needs religion "to have a conscience." Now, "Brother" Consolmagno seems to be a normal, mostly rational fella. The bottom line, however, is that he works for the Vatican and recognizes that the Pope is "the Boss, the final authority." That puts quite a lot of badness in his hands, regardless of how reasonable he sounds.

See, science does need a conscience, but it doesn't need religion to provide one. This is another false image given by a religious figure to make sure his organization doesn't lose relevance. The good things in religion (any religion), and there certainly are some, can be aquired from any number of sources - a lot of which do not require you to believe in some tempermental, absentee soul-lord who will bitch-slap you for using "bad" words.

"Bro" Consolmagno sounds like a good guy, just deluded. That's the problem with faith and religious belief; it takes what would be a great scientist and twists his mind so he has to say stupid crap like "don't use condoms" because of their "immorality". Smart enough to do complicated math, yet brainwashed enough to not question the rampant destruction of a continent's people because of archaic "moral" laws. B-B-B-Benny is the Boss....

*sigh* It's sad to see what would be a great mind so clouded by the haze of faith.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Life's Good - Nothin' Pissin' Me Off

Bit of a case of writer's block happenin'. I'll get back on the horse soon enough. One or two days, tops. Then something's guaranteed to piss me off enough to get riled up about.

Until then, watch George Carlin on MAD TV doing his brilliant Touched By An Atheist bit. It's great, just like everything else he's done.

(the video was removed from YouTube due to "copyright infringement" - apologies and thanks to beepbeepitsme for letting me know)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

While the Cat's Away, the Commenters Get Attitide

Geez, can't a guy have a bit of a holiday without getting told off?

I went to a buddy's bachelor party at a cottage this past weekend and had a great time, thanks for asking. Beers, golf, poker, was fantastic. Then I get home and see that some guy named Andrew called me "juvenile" for wanting al-Zarquawi dead. He thinks I should grow up and watch fewer movies. Thanks Andy, I'll keep that in mind next time I want the opinion of some little chucklehead about how I should write. He is dealt with in the comments section of my post below.

Then in response to my piece on Al Gore's movie where I mentioned Dale Earnhardt's death, "Anonymous" (if that is your real name) was a bit snippy when he decided to call me to task for questioning experts and brought up Dr. Steve Bohannon's testimony at NASCAR's press-conference. He's a doctor who didn't think Earnhardt's injury was caused by "head whip" (which the HANS device is designed to protect against), but from a broken seatbelt and a chin impact on the steering wheel. Anonymous even used the cocky conversation-ender "QED".

Our bud Anonymous, however, failed to mention that Bohnannon was paid by NASCAR. How is that an impartial opinion?

I especially like the quote from that piece where it says, "After reviewing the medical examiner's report, Dr. Barry Myers concluded that the basilar skull fracture that killed Earnhardt and caused the chin injury happened as a result of head whipping, instead of an impact with the steering column, as NASCAR physician Bohannan suggested."

Oh, and Bohannon did say what Anonymous quoted in my comments, but he left out the next line where the doctor said,"He had blood in his airway. He had blood in the ears that we see with basilar skull fractures. But really no other external evidence of trauma. So yeah, maybe the HANS wouldn't have helped, but he suffered the exact injury that is expected from this sort of accident. Hm.

I said people should trust experts after they prove themselves. That's really the key part. In this article (scroll down) Dr. John Melvin, a Detroit-based biomechanical engineer and crash expert, said about Bohannon's opinion, "Bohannon was not very qualified to make such a statement.

"Doctors don't understand how injuries occur quite often...They know how to treat them, but they don't really get schooled in how they occur.

"That's my field - biomechanics of energy - and it happens to be Dr. Myers' field. He's an M.D., but he's also an engineer who has studied these things. It's a very specialized field that basically isn't taught to doctors in medical school."

Dr. Bohannon was pretty far from being an "expert" and was shown to be lacking by people with the pertinent qualifications. Thanks to Dr. Myers and others like him, NASCAR might be a little bit safer for all drivers, which was the point of getting access to the autopsy photographs in the first place.

I believe the QED is back in my court.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Small Vacation

I'm off to a cottage for the weekend for a bachelor party. Fishing, poker, golf and beers - it's going to be a good few days. Back on Monday.

And hooray! Just hit 9000 on the counter! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oh My God! They Killed al-Zarqawi! Those Bastards?

Watching the news today it was brought to my attention that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi got hisself blowed up. Excuse me while I don't shed a tear.

Seems just about everyone is happy about the death of this fucknugget. I'm only upset that he wasn't caught alive so he could be dipped in whatever it is that bees eat, then fed to thousands of hungry bees in a plexiglass case on pay-per view. I'd buy the show.

I am apparently different from the father of Nick Berg, one of the several people decapitated on video on the internet, allegedly by al-Zarqawi. Michael Berg said:

"I have no feelings of revenge...I would like these people to be stopped. I would like them to be arrested. I would like them to receive justice. I would not want to see any of them killed. And I don't want revenge. I don't want to personally attack those people."

It would be fantastic if we could just be all squishy and warm-fuzzyish about dealing with retarded religious fanatics who kidnap people and cut off their heads, but that's just not the reality. Crap...I keep bringing up reality to folks who believe in invisible people. Dammit.

Mr. Berg is, I guess, just a better man than me. If someone killed my son and then posted the murder on the internet, I would want a series of movie violence to be inflicted upon him. Allow me to indulge -

A hammer to the toes, á la Mel Gibson's Payback.
A beating similar to Joe Pesci in Casino.
Fed into a wood-chipper by a psychopath, just like Steve Buscemi in Fargo.

That would be all I ask and I don't think it would be too much. Those who oppose violence at every turn need to put down the daisies and realize that if we are to go on having lattes and driving hybrid Hummers and buying sneakers with wheels in the heel for our kids, sometimes we are going to have to blow up a giant douchebag and a bunch of his buddies.

Good riddance, al-Zarqawi. I only wish it had been the bees....

Pssst...the 36th Skeptic's Circle is Here. Pass It On.

Smacked on the bottom and wrapped in a fuzzy blanket to keep it warm, the new Skeptic's Circle is up at Dr. Charles' Place. Go have a peek, but don't wake it; a sleeping skeptic's circle is a happy skeptic's circle.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

So...So You Think You Can Tell, Heaven From Hell....

I'm intrigued.

While pondering today I was struck by the line I see. It is a line between two factions of the same group of people. If you are a regular reader of my site, you will probably guess that I'm talking about religious folks. Hear me out.

When most people talk about religious folks, they are talking about "good people." Everyday believers are, without a doubt, good and kind. It is their faith that supposedly plays a large part in why they are so good. Many people go so far as to say that it is only through faith that anyone can be good or just or moral. Rabbi Avi Shafran comes to mind along with many others.

Once a person goes deep into faith, however, there is a line that is crossed and they become "crazy." Christian nutbars abound (how sorry do you feel for those kids?), ranting, raving, blowing up abortion clinics, shooting doctors (thankfully this has not happened in a while, but the stats - scroll to the chart - speak for themselves, especially through the 90's), and generally being unlikeable. Muslims try and sometimes succeed to blow up buildings, monuments, ships, and everything not of-Allah.

When does one cross this line? Is it a matter of personality (Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel with James Dobson's level of faith will kill anything that doesn't believe in Christ) or the same for all (arbitrary amount of faith will tip the scale into religious madness)?

It seems to me as it has always been: the uneducated and ignorant are controlled by the "powerful" to do their bidding. Trailer park/ramshackle huts + desire for something better + smooth talker - rationality = dangerous people. Take a look at that video link above (the "nutbar") again. She's off her rocker, but she obviously has kids, a husband, a house, probably a job.... How often does she trip out like that and scare the hell out of everyone? How often do you think she comes in contact with "dark-sided" people like most of you reading this? She is in a thick bubble that needs to be popped in the worst way so she can deal with the world around her instead of being a "warrior for Christ" fighting the evils of equal rights and non-discrimination based on belief (or any other factor, for that matter).

If you can see the line I'd love to hear from you. I'm going to have some eggs and toast. Maybe coffee. I have some of that flavoured creamer that is caramel and's really good.

Monday, June 05, 2006

We're Fighting Them There So We.... How Does That Go Again?

So as many of you know, a bunch of dickhat Islamic retards were arrested this week here in Toronto for being involved in a terrorist plot to blow some shit up. How'd they know the dickhats were going to blow shit up, Mike? Well, they had previously bought some three tonnes of ammonium nitrate - usually used for fertilizer, but certainly not in that quantity unless you are a professional. Just for a bit of scale, the Murrah building in Oklahoma was blown the fuck up with only one tonne of the stuff.

Seventeen of these assholes were taken into custody - which is wicked good and the RCMP, CSIS, and all the other agencies deserve a round of beers and our eternal gratitude for stopping them. The thing is, now all the "it's not Islam" people are coming out from under the eastward-facing carpets, out from their offices on Parliment Hill, and away from the trees they were just hugging to let us know that religion is not the problem.

Yes it is.

Christie Blatchford in today's Globe and Mail (thanks M) writes a nice peice called Ignoring the biggest elephant in the room where she says about the statements at a news conference at the Islamic Foundation of Toronto: "(S)o frequent were the bald reassurances that faith and religion had nothing - nothing, you understand - to do with the alleged homegrown terrorist plot...that for a few minutes afterward, I wondered if perhaps it was a vile lie of the mainstraeam press or a fiction of my own demented brain that the 17 accused young men are all, well, Muslims."

For Muslims, it must be a hard pill to swallow to acknowledge that your religion is one of war, killing, and fighting. Hell, just to write that will offend many - but I'm not doing this to make friends and just so no one can try to kick my ass, here's some quotes from the Koran to, as the kids say, "back my shit up":

"But if ye cannot (accept Islam) - and of a surety ye cannot - then fear the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones - which is prepared for those who reject Faith. 2:24

"And slay them (those who "fight" you) wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith." 2:191 What, exactly, constitutes "fighting"? Ironically, two verses later in 2:193 the Koran says, "...let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression." Ummm, what?

I could go on and on, but Sam Harris has done a fine job in his book The End of Faith, compiling a fab list of horrible quotes from this hateful fucking text. You can find them in the hardcover edition on pages 117 to 123 - that's correct, there's five full pages of quotes with small overflow. Harris says in the paragraph immediately following, "Anyone who can read passages like those quoted above and still not see a link between Muslim faith and Muslim violence should probably consult a neurologist."

Reading in the paper today, I saw that two of the accused are in prison in Kingston for weapons smuggling charges. These two fucknuggets are from Somalia, but came here because of the civil war. One of the men, Yasin Abdi Mohamed, used to bitch at his siblings for not praying more - the newspaper article quoted his mother as saying, "He told his brothers: 'You wake up, you never say thanks to God. Are you animals?'"

The thing is, he also tried to steal a pair of headphones from an Extra Extra Discount store just after his 18th birthday in 1999, subsequently getting into a fight with the store clerk. In 2005 he went to the U.S. with his butt-buddy, Ali Mohamed Dirie, to smuggle guns back home. They got caught because of alert border guards and because they were, what's the term...? Dickless fuckholes.

Now that Mohamed is in jail, he told his mother that he feels, "screwed by life". Sorry? Life didn't fuck you, YOU fucked you because you listened to idiots who told you to do illegal shit. The words of Voltaire have never been more apt: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Why are these guys still in Canada? If you get caught smuggling guns into the country when you have a previous assault record, you should get a one-way ticket back to the fabulous sands of Somalia where you will be entertained by the gangs of roving youths and machete-brandishing freaks scattered throughout your neighborhood. Harsh? Damn straight.

Lastly, I have to make a quick comment on the lawyer for these fellas. Rocco Galati, who has defended some complete scumbags in the past (yet, I have to say, his is a thankless but necessary job in a fair and just society), has requested that one of his clients be given his reading glasses and copies of the Koran. Am I an ass for wanting to say no? Fuck the Koran - if that is the book and religion that is inspiring you to blow up the city, NO you can't read it. It's not curbing your freedom to read, it's not "cruel" or "unusual" punishment to take away a kid's toy when he's been bad. Islam in the hands of these people is potentially a very dangerous toy which needs to be removed and destroyed.

And that's all I have to say about that for the moment.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

"There Are Some Things We Don't Wanna Know! Important Things!"

Today I went with my friend Melissa to see An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's global warming movie. I enjoy seeing films with her because she's smart, funny, and knows about the world around her - she really brings out the best in me.

The movie itself is at once scary, funny, enlightening, and entertaining. It's one of those movies like Spellbound or March of the Penguins where you wonder how the hell they're going to make that interesting, but they do.

Gore is an engaging speaker, completely at ease with his subject matter. He is also a great teacher who goes to great lengths to explain the topic to lay persons (likely because he was a lay person as well and had to get scientists to explain it to him after he got interested more than thirty years ago). The science behind the passion is, to be blunt, irrefutable. The amount of data presented in this film is huge; years and years of climate charts and graphs, CO2 emission and retention stats, pictures of the same area from 50 years ago and now, all pointing to (as the title states) an inconvenient truth that we must deal with. If we choose not to, we or our children (not grandchildren) will certainly reap what we sow.

I have to sadly report that the United States will not listen, in my opinion. This is why I think so: I was driving home after the movie today and I saw a sticker on a truck that was the number 03 with wings and halo over it. The NASCAR number of Dale Earnhardt. The sticker said, "God needed a driver". It seems innocent enough, but it is anything but.

Dale Earnhardt was killed in a crash while he was racing. He had what was called a "one o'clock hit" on the wall, which means that he was driving along and he turned right towards the wall, impacting on the passenger side front corner. What happens during a crash of this nature is that the driver's head comes forward and, due to the angle, does not hit the steering wheel which would normally stop the forward movement of the head. Instead, the driver's head goes farther than it naturally can and due to the forces involved causes what is known as a basilar skull fracture (a fracture of one of the skull bones at the base near where the spine attaches).

A safety device was designed and implemented into some racing cars, called the HANS device, that clipped the driver's helmets to the seat where the headrest would be in a normal car. This prevented the forward acceleration that would lead to this sort of death, but Earnhardt, ironically, was adamently opposed to what he called, "the noose". He believed this development would hang him, making it unnecessary to save him from a deadly skull fracture. Scientists had tested it, developed the system with engineers, and presented it plus the data to NASCAR, but Earnhardt would have none of it. He knew racing and that was that.

It is this attitude that pervades our collective society now. Expertise is worthless and "common sense" will win out. People love nothing better than seeing the little guy take on the goliath and win against all odds, the good 'ol boy who bucks all the "evidence" and puts the poindexters in their place. We see this all the time from the tone-deaf semi-retarded chimp on American Idol telling the judges that they can sing, dammit, to Bill O'Reilly lecturing Gen. Wesley Clark twice about the "massacre at Malmedy", only to deny making a mistake and having his network, FOX, change the official show transcript to have him say, "Normandy".

Dale Earnhardt's accidental death was completely preventable had he only defered his decision to people who knew about physics, deceleration injuries, anatomy, and medicine instead of insisting that because of his brilliance in NASCAR racing, he was qualified to over-rule all these experts and play russian roulette every roll around the track.

It is this thinking that infects not just Americans, but all North Americans and I'm sure some others. We have to trust experts once they prove themselves, and the global warming group have done as well a job at that as anyone I've seen. Go see this movie and tell all your friends to come along.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

That's Not a Knife....

Tool - a: a handheld device that aids in accomplishing a task; b: the cutting or shaping part in a machine or machine tool; c: a means to an end (a book's cover can be a marketing tool); d: a stupid, useless person.

I refer you to the recent post by wonderboy Jake Brewer at the Huffington Post. I should make it clear up front that Mr. Brewer seems to be sincere in his admirable achievements and additionally seems to have a smart head on his shoulders. My only questions come from his interpretation of Bishop Desmond Tutu's statement, "...but religion is like a knife because though a knife can be used to stab a man in the stomach, a knife can also be used to cut bread and feed the hungry..." I'm sure they're talking about a plastic-ish KFC type knife and not a Crocodile Dundee sort, but whatever.

Brewer states in his piece, "From the wheel to the microprocessor, tools are inherently neither good nor bad". I would not disagree with him in principle, but even he would admit that there are "tools" that are designed with "bad" purposes built into them. Guns come to mind, as do the differences between the above mentioned KFC plastic knife and a "Rambo" knife. Seriously, the compass on the butt was crap and would definitely get you lost, plus what the hell use is a toothpick? I've got an eight inch blade on the other end to either pick my teeth or to carve a stick down to a suitable size.

Mr. Brewer also wonders, "...might it not be time to bring the right leaders together and at least try using the power of faith and religion to cut bread and feed those who need it most?" A nice analogy to be sure. The trouble is that it is the nonsensical ideas in the minds of high-ups in World Religions that does not allow them to converse rationally and solve problems. Talks about feeding poor people and halting wars usually either completely fall apart, or they all end up finding "middle ground" because they all hate gay people so fucking much.

"Religion" as it is used in Brewer's article is inherently bad. That's not to say that there aren't potentially good traits within it, but at base level we must see that religion is convincing people of the veracity of completely irrational and non-sensical ideas. In doing so, you are doing both them and their surrounding peoples harm by ideally making them reliant on the Invisible Man and subject to the rules of those "close to God".

A knife can be used to cut bread so the poor can eat, that's true - but you can cut bread with many other things. All the good that comes from religions can be attained through alternate means without the brain-clouding hogwash of irrationality and subjugation to authority (that is, following the tools as defined above, part d).