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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

81 is a Conspiracy

The new Skeptic's Circle is up over at Conspiracy Factory. Go see what all the murmuring is about...the come back and tell me. I'm out of the loop.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Holy Cow "Expelled" Looks Bad

Go check out this review of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and after laughing out loud, watch the little trailer embedded there.

How retarded is Ben Stein?

At one point he asks something like, "Why is it that in this nation we're allowed the freedom to choose, except in this area (science)." Well, Ben, because that's like "choosing" to believe that you can fly in the face of gravity. Or maybe "choosing" to believe that you have a third arm, contrary to all evidence.

Or, in Stein's case, "choosing" to believe you're anything but a hack wannabe intellectual waving your ignorance around for all to see.

And I love that he bitches about "Darwinists" not wanting dissent or discussion about their pet theory, but he and the film company releasing this pile of shit (yeah, I called it that without seeing it - but I plan to subject myself to a viewing and a review when it's released, so bite me) are screening it to religious sycophants while getting everyone to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Fortunately, the reviewer linked to refused to give the ol' John Henry.

To top it all off, how low do you have to stoop to use a fucking Ferris Bueller reference? Seriously man, that was 22 years ago. Get over it. Get a new reference. Oh, wait, I guess that's sort of like asking Arnold to stop using catch phrases from his shitty '80s action movies in his political speeches.

Finally, stolen blatantly from King Aardvark who took it from Hemant, I give you this:Ben Stein Visine
As Colbert would say: "Ahh, the Truthiness!"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Well, She Turned Me Into A Newt!

Bedevere: What makes you think she is a witch?
Villager: Well, she turned me into a newt.
Bedevere: A newt?
Villager: I got better....
Ok, seriously, is this a fucking joke? How can anyone take Saudi Arabia as anything other than a colossal waste of intellectual space? A country that the United States calls a "key ally" that is presumably going to execute a woman for being a witch.
This woman, who is illiterate, by the way, was:
...detained by religious police in 2005 and allegedly beaten and forced to fingerprint a confession that she could not read.
Nice. Women's rights are in such a dismal state in that excuse for a country that, according to the Human Rights Watch World Report for 2007 (which documents events from '06):
In February 2006 the Transport Committee of the Shura Council declined a motion to discuss the possibility of allowing women to drive. Minister of Information Iyad al-Madani, however, said that there was no obstacle to women applying for driver's licenses.
I love that - you can't drive a car, but you can get a license! Isn't that good enough for you, ladies?

Now, to be fair, in January of 2008 there was a story saying that the Kingdom will lift the ban on women drivers "soon", but if you read some of the asinine comments in that piece, your brain will likely vomit. Religion truly does fuck your mind up deeply and hard.

Then there's this:
Among her accusers was a man who alleged she made him impotent.
I mean, really. Why not just say that she turned him into a newt? It's the same fucking thing. Why would any authority figure take something this helmet-headed into consideration. I think they should kill that guy. I mean, if the public's intellect and safety is really your concern.

Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to King Abdullah which said in part:
...the woman was tried for the undefined crime of witchcraft and that her conviction was on the basis of the written statements of witnesses who said that she had bewitched them.
There are no words for how stupid people can be sometimes. This illiterate woman is likely going to be put to death because religious assholes are convinced that she "bewitched" them. I know there's a large time difference between Toronto and Riyadh, but I wasn't aware that it was 1300 years.

The last bit is this:
When an appeal court decided she should not be executed, the law courts imposed the death sentence again, arguing that it would be in the public interest.
You know what's not in the public interest? Making your country the laughingstock of the world. How can Saudi Arabia's judiciary be like the crowd in the duck scene of Grail? The lesson is - don't ask how. Just laugh and laugh and laugh...then cry a little.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

John Mayer Rocks

I heard that he was inspired to learn guitar after watching Back to the Future and seeing Michael J. Fox tear up Johnny B. Goode. Whether or not that's true, Mayer certainly lights it up and stokes the fire with this acoustic version of his song, Neon. Enjoy, especially the solo.

Monday, February 18, 2008

BigHeathen Not So Sexy...Yet

I guess I just don't have the traffic to be included in this poll. Maybe after the new Skepdude calendar comes out - I'll be in it, you know - that'll all change and I'll be swamped with adoring...well, we all know the reality so let's leave fantasy alone.

Absence Explained

So I've been just about as slack as a blogger can be with respect to new posts. There've been a couple little video cop-outs and notifications and such, but no content of substance for quite a while. Basically it's just that I'm either too busy or I'm underwhelmed by the news.

Family and the newfound interest in playing guitar (as of the end of last year) and trying to get back into school -*sigh*, again- have taken most of my free time away. Then, when I do get to read the news and have a chance to get all riled up, it's the same bullshit again and again. Archbishop Cunterbury PooBah Whatsisface over in England trying, very badly, to explain why they should somewhat incorporate Muslim law to be, you know, sensitive. Or Canada easing up on its legislation of "natural health products", it's all just so painfully repetitive that my brain hurts.

I mean, read this from Rowan Williams' little speech:
"...if we are to think intelligently about the relations between Islam and British law, we need a fair amount of 'deconstruction' of crude oppositions and mythologies, whether of the nature of sharia or the nature of the Enlightenment"
No, ass, we need to educate the Islamic folks that religion is just that - religion. It's not a basis for laws in a secular society and if you think it is, boy are you in the fuckin' wrong country. Believe what you want to believe, but in a country of free people, if you want sharia recognized as anything but an outdated, barbaric sky-daddy system of instutional misogyny and silliness, you better bring a lunch while you wait.

So that's why I've been absent for a bit. It's a bad case of the "WBs", or "Why Bother?" syndrome. I mean, if the government can't figure out why the fuck it's a bad idea to let assholes claim to cure cancer with goddamn vitamins, then the game's basically over. And don't get me wrong, I'm reasonably confident that part of the rationale is that the legislators know it's a bad idea, but they don't care because it's the uneducated and gullible who will buy this shit and die. But more importantly, they don't really give a shit because most folks won't have cancer, they'll just be scared and eat vitamins they don't need and have really expensive pee, with taxes and subsidies for all.

My favorite bit from the above is this:
The changes to the federal rules, which take effect June 1, represent a significant boost for the natural health industry, which is eager to increase its credibility and capitalize on a booming market for vitamins and botanical supplements by directly marketing their health claims to consumers.
How telling. The "natural health industry" is eager to increase its credibility by making claims. You know, last I checked, in science, to get more credibility, you have to show that your shit works the way you say it does. Funny how that seems lost in the shuffle.

This bit also kills me:
Companies in the industry say the changes will help Canadians choose products that have the potential to help them..."Consumers want to understand the products that they're purchasing and what the benefits of those products are," said Penelope Marrett, president of the Canadian Health Food Association.
Well, with due respect to Canadians' medical training, I can tell you that most of the people I treat (and I'm just a fuckin' massage therapist) have no idea about their health or how their bodies work. Not to mention the not-inconsequential fact that people could become more educated about the products they're purchasing IF we were guaranteed that the fuckers making the "natural health products" couldn't blatently LIE to people. But the government doesn't seem to care about that little tidbit.

Plus the fact that if I had a nickel for every time someone mentioned "toxins" or how the muscles in their neck is where they "hold their stress", I'd be giving Billy Gates a run for financial security. People ask me about reflexology, ear candling, reiki, cranio-sacral therapy, cupping, acupuncture, iridology, magnet therapy, homeopathy, human energy fields, and all sorts of other stupid shit that, if you're in the business and have any sense of normalcy and skepticism, you know is only for the helmet-headed. But letting charlatans and nutritional con-men (and women) tell the public anything with no repercussions is asking for trouble because a large portion of the population will believe whatever's on the bottle.

I'm trying to get inspired for another podcast as well. I've been way too slack with those - and they're fun to do! Keep popping back and there will be new stuff up, if only weekly as the moniker states. The writing and podcasts will become more regular again because if I've learned one thing it's this: Never underestimate two things - how smart the truly intelligent can be, and how fucking retarded everyone else can be.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mmmm...Valentine Skepticism

Brand spankin' new Valentine's Edition of the Skeptic's Circle is up over at Bug Girl's Blog. Go have a heapin' helpin' of lovely skeptical brain chocolate.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Threatening to Kill a Cartoonist, Eh?

So a few insane Muslim fanatics were plotting to kill one of the Danish cartoonists - the guy who drew Mohammad with a bomb for a turban. So the newspaper he works for and several others republished the cartoon in response to the threat. Good on them. Here's the cartoon for you to check out again. Consider it republished here in solidarity:
If you can't see this, it's a picture - a cartoon, you might say - of the
Fucking jerkoffs. If you kill the guy, you'll only look more like the violent asshats you say you're not.

"Islam's the 'religion of peace'." Riiiight. Tell that bullshit to the tourists.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chuck D's Day!

It's Darwin Day, everyone! Go evolve a third arm or something, will ya? Geez, friggin' lazy asses.

Think about it: three arms equals being able to triple-fist beers. Yeah, you're listening now, arent' you? I thought so. Get on the ball.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mmmm...Typing Test

62 words

Touch Typing

That's right. Sixty-Two, bitches. Anyone want to step up?

(this is about as tough as I get...bragging about a fucking typing test. Go me)

tip to Unexamined Life.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Henry Rollins Gets It Right...Again.

Ok, I completely stole this from PZ, but it's just too awesome not to cross-post it here too. Henry Rollins rocks the fuckin' world.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hilarious Family Guy Moment

One of the best exchanges between Stewie and Brian ever. Over.

Joey Ratz Talks, Benny Gets Protested 18 Years Later

This is a bit old but I still have to giggle at the inanity of the current Pope. Seriously, he's bordering on levels of retardedness only previously reached by Deepak and maybe Kevin "I'm a huge douche" Trudeau.

Check out some of these fabulous quotes from the article:
In an age when scientific developments attract and seduce with the possibilities they offer, it's more important than ever to educate our contemporaries' consciences so that science does not become the criterion for goodness
Fuck me, where to even begin with this fucking guy!? Science doesn't attract and seduce, it figures out. This is different from religion, which makes shit up. It's a small but important distinction. Also, science is not any criterion for goodness, whatever the hell that even means. I seriously hope he's not implying that religion is a criterion. That'd only take about six seconds to demolish as an argument.
Man is not the fruit of chance or a bundle of convergences, determinisms or physical and chemical reactions
Again with the chance thing? Really? Sure, chance plays a part, but to just state it like that harkens back to the days when millions of monkeys sat at millions of typewriters. Please think about what you're going to argue for a minimum of seventeen seconds; at least then maybe we'd get to deal with something that seems original.
The Pope reiterated a plea, made in many speeches since his election in 2005, for mankind to be "respected as the centre of creation
Who the fuck thinks we're the centre of creation? What balls! As the stellar comedian Bill Hicks once said, "He must have a specially fitted uniform in which to place those huge testicles." I guess the vastness of the Universe is lost on Ben. That's what happens when you put too much thought and effort towards choices in dashing hats. He's obviously never seen and read (or if he has, he's not appreciated) Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot. Centre, indeed.

Benny was, "criticized (for) his views on science, saying a speech he gave in 1990 showed he would have favoured the church's 17th-century heresy trial against Galileo." The church said the protesters "misunderstood" the speech - given back when the Pope was just "Joey Ratz". Here's the speech from 1990. Some of my favorite parts:
According to [Ernst] Bloch, the heliocentric system – just like the geocentric – is based upon presuppositions that can’t be empirically demonstrated...

From the point of view of the concrete consequences of the turning point Galileo represents, however, C.F. Von Weizsacker takes another step forward, when he identifies a “very direct path” that leads from Galileo to the atomic bomb...

The faith does not grow from resentment and the rejection of rationality, but from its fundamental affirmation and from being inscribed in a still greater form of reason.
Fuck my ass. I can't win with this dumbass. There's such a depth of bullshit that it's hard to know where to stick the shovel in first to try and get through it. I mean, saying that both the geocentric and heliocentric systems are based on shit that can't be demonstrated...that's helmet-headed. I think he may have taken a bracing shot of anti-freeze before he wrote that speech, because after we sent astronauts into orbit and they could, you know, WATCH the Earth rotate, the whole "Earth is stationary" idea sort of falls apart.

And lastly, the assertion that faith is more reasonable than the people who use the scientific method to learn about the world and Universe around us is just the most fucking stupid thing ever. Faith, by definition is unreasonable - you're believing in the face of either no evidence, or in many instances, verifiable conflicting or damning evidence against your silly superstitions.

Ben seriously needs to take a logic course and perhaps an intro astronomy course. All this meaningless and pointless philosophy gets old quickly in the hard light of reality. Maybe he just needs a thinker hat.

You KNOW someone could make him wear that too. That's the sad part.

UFC 81

Can I tell you how happy I am that Frank Mir beat Brock Lesner? Also that Antonio ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira beat Tim Sylvia? I'm a happy fella. I'm even happier that I'm 27th out of about 17,000 people in the UFC fantasy league. Life is good, my friends. Life is good.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Wilfred Laurier Loves Jebus - Freethinkers, Not So Much

What the hell is wrong with Wilfred Laurier University? A group of students wanted to start a freethought group and were denied with this letter of explanation:
While the Campus Clubs department understands the goals and visions of your organization, they are not compatible with the guidelines of what may be approved and incorporated into our department. While the promotion of reason, science and freedom of inquiry are perfectly legitimate goals, what is most in question in regards to your club’s vision is the promotion of “a fulfilling life without religion and superstition“. While this university is indeed technically a secular institution, secular does not denote taking an active stance in opposition to the principles and status of religious beliefs and practices. To be clear, this is not meant to say that the promotion of science and reason are illegitimate goals. But due to the need to respect and tolerate the views of others, the Campus Clubs department is unable to approve a club of this nature at this time. If you wish to adjust and rethink your club’s application and vision, you may resubmit a revised proposal at any time.
I think someone needs to explain what "secular" means to this group because, apparently, dictionaries are in scant supply there.

A student named Tyler Handley, the president of the soon-to-be group, said in the comments over at The Frame Problem, "Our campus has 6 campus clubs of a religious nature." SIX groups that love Jebus or Muhammad or Buddha or some other fella of dubious paternity, existence, or distinction. You can bet your lunch money that those groups, "...respect and tolerate the views of others...." Especially atheists and agnostics. Religious folks are known for their tolerance.

A follow-up letter has been sent to the Laurier approval committee that you can read in its entirety here, but a nice excerpt I'd like to share is this:
Laurier, as you may be aware, is home to a plethora of religious groups – members of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Sikh religions have multiple clubs where they can mingle among like-minded individuals and together strive to promote a truly multi-cultural campus atmosphere. Yet, if you look, there’s not a single club devoted to those of us who profess no religious affiliation or belief system while at the same time comprise sixteen percent of the Canadian population and have personal philosophies and insights that are no less inferior to the ones of our believing counterparts.
Nice. Diplomatic, yet puts it in their face the hypocrisy that is stuck to their faces like the yolk from this morning's sunny-side-up festival at Denny's. Let's hope the committee at Laurier gets its collective balls in a bag and realizes how lame and discriminatory they're being.

(Courtesy of Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist, Ron Brown over at The Frame Problem, and Anatoly Venovcev at Cosmopolitian.)