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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Quick Thought Experiment

Imagine for a second that you know nothing about religion. No concept at all, you just flew here from another English-speaking planet or something and the first person you talked to said this:
Some rabbis want to buy some sheep so they can find one that is perfect to kill so their God will be happy, but there's a bit of controversy because they want to kill the sheep at the place where the Muslims think their prophet flew to Heaven on a winged horse.

I really don't think there's too much more to say. The worst part about that retarded quote is that it's a real story. Holy crap...I think for this level of stupidity both the rabbis and the Muslims involved get the coveted Heathen Helmet Award. Enjoy.
Heathen Helmet

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Creationists Came - The Final Chapter

I dislike Dave Hunt.

After the friendly minister from a local church tried to chat me up during the second break (using Pascal's Wager, guilt, and a wide variety of other techniques), I entered Hunt's talk about 10 minutes late. This was the second of his lectures I tasted as he had done one the previous evening that contained the memorable line, "...what good is part of an eye?!" Yeah. Needless to say, I didn't expect too much.

Again, he managed to lower the bar. I mentioned in the last episode that he turned this bible meeting into a Clan rally and that's not much of an understatement. He began by saying that Satan owns this world. We are all sinners, we're bad, we're horrible...blah blah blah. Standard religion stuff. He's one of those speakers who almost pleads with his audience to believe him. He says, "ok?" and "alright? a lot at the end of his sentences with rising intonation - which gets rather annoying after an hour.

He mentioned UN resolution 181, The Partition of the Land and how it was a bad thing, see, 'cause "Palestine" isn't a country! In the Bible it's the land of Canaan! Ok? Alright? There's no such place as "Palestine"!

What a douchebag.

He said some vague thing about God being angry because no one would save Jews. No one bought Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust to save them from death for $2 a head. I haven't seen that figure, but I have read a bargaining process describe going from two hundred dollars per person to a final price of a thousand. A group of just over 1500 people supposedly made it safety in Switzerland for that price. As Gil Grissom would say, "cite your source." Plus, if "God" was so pissy, why didn't HE save anyone? Lazy-ass motherfucker....

He got a real hard-on for hating Muslims at this point and said that Islam is out to "wipe out all the Jews". He kept repeating that "Palestine" isn't an Arab place and that Jews can be "Palestinian", but it was really Canaan. He said that there, "...never was a Palestine..." and that it is a "fraud", much like the intellectual honesty displayed by the present speakers.

He said, "They (Arabs) lie, they change their tune." Fuck, this was an old man angry as hell at a religion not his own seemingly making headway in the world. Now, I'm no fan of Islam (or any religion), but if you want to believe in the whole "Winged Horse" bullshit, fill your boots. Just stay the fuck away from me with it. Same goes for Hunt (you may, at this point, say that I attended his lecture and as such he didn't come to me - well fuck you because the flyer in the newspaper advertising the talks said "Dear Skeptic", and that's me).

Ok, so then he said a bunch of shit about the people there not "speaking up" or writing letters to their newspapers (about Muslims, I guess), about Sudan following Sharia law and as such are slaughtering Black farmers (which, I guess has nothing to do with the quest for power by Sudan's leaders, taking the black farmer's land, or just buck-wild craziness), and about not being able to walk the street in Saudia Arabia with a bible or you'll get thrown in jail(!).

Along the same lines, there was the "we allow these people to come here and take part in our freedoms and they're planning in their mosques to blow us up" bit, which was answered in the crowd by at least one "That's right!". It was then that I hastened to leave. As I said, I'm no fan of religions, but once you go from twisting facts and gross mis-understandings to using that ignorance to foster hatred and...well, outright violence, that's the stopping point. And that's the entire problem I have with religion in a nutshell. Ignorance equalling violence against "these people" who have no beef with you at all based totally on a RETARDED assumption about a Man in the Sky.

Hunt said on numerous occasions during both his talks, "I'm just trying to use a little common sense here". The problem with "common" sense is that it's often outright wrong. When you read PZ's article in Seed Magazine about the eyeless cavefish, initially you may think, "Hm, these fish live in a dark environment and as such don't need eyes, therefore natural selection worked to eliminate a useless feature - makes sense." Well, I was certainly wrong and the answer is so much cooler - but definitely not common sense. Hunt's version of "common sense" is sort of like a drunken, 8 year-old kid with Down's Syndrome pontificating about Black Holes - he just makes shit up.

I'm glad that Dave Hunt is old. The other guys at this lecture series seemed ok (although Bruce Malone is incredibly stupid or ignorant or both and he took on a snarky assholic tone when confronted, so he's probably a douchebag), but Hunt is a whackjob. He's like Grandpa Simpson only way more hateful and not quite so yellow.

I was glad I went to these talks because I rant and rave about these weirdos all the time and call them names. It wouldn't be honest of me to keep doing so unless I showed up and saw them doing and saying the stupid shit they are always accused of doing and saying - and now I have, so...

FUCK ME! I have never in my LIFE seen so much complete and utter BULLSHIT foisted on an ignorant crowd of believers under the pretense of answering questions from "skeptics". The level of inquiry was sub... It was sub... Fuck, it wasn't even CLOSE to what I'd expect of a kid's school project in fucking grade NINE! I literally spent no more than an hour doing research for all three of these posts and the claims made by these idiots were completely answered and rebutted. I could take a chicken by the fucking legs and smash its head into a wall for seven minutes and when I was done, the chicken would make more sense than Bruce fucking Malone.

I don't think we have to worry about these retards getting much done politically, but I'll be damned if I won't be there to ask more questions if/when they come back - and next time I will have read more.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Rollin' With Sagat

Illest motherfucker in a cardigan sweater.

Who you rollin' with? Man...I'm rollin' with Sagat.

The Creationists Came, pt 2

Ok, so we took our seats for Bruce Malone's second talk (the first being The Evolution Delusion the previous evening) and I obviously didn't expect too much, but he managed to sink beneath even my limbo bar of flaming crap.

This talk was titled Astounding Evidence for a Young Earth and he started with likening the belief in the existence of God with the belief in the existence of gravity. Yes, you read that correctly. He saw no difference between believing in an imaginary man in the sky and "believing" in the force that makes objects fall to the lowest point available. That was one of the more "astounding" things this delusional fellow said during his speech.

He regurgitated the old Dostoevsky bit about "no God = everything goes", but re-worded it to say, "If truth is relative, then we make our own rules". It's like he thought this was a bad thing, even though we've made our own rules in societies for generations now and generally speaking, we're doing ok. This was painful to sit through, let me tell you.

Malone said that the age of the earth is about 10,000 years, tops, and was created by God in six 24-hour days. Again, yes you read that correctly. He used this lovely little argument for the Sabbath:
If God made the entire Universe and all in six days and rested on the seventh, it's 24 hours. If 'days' equals 'millions of years' then you could not rest on the seventh 'day' because it would be millions of years.

This was part of his argument against old-Earth creationism that says, as I'm sure you all know, that God made everything, but time is relative and "day" could have meant a huge amount of time to the Creator. Malone thinks that is revisionist bullpucky. God said it, I believe it.

Malone then went on at length about the radiometric dating methods for both old and young (as in 6000 years) material and how these are flawed. He mentioned that in old rocks, specifically zircon ("supposedly" up to 3 or 4 billion years old), when radioactive material breaks down, it leaves helium as a by-product and there are way too many helium atoms in rocks for there to be an old old Earth. There you go, case solved. That's proof, right?

Well at the end of his talk I got the chance to ask another question which I think was phrased something like this:
The way that the scientific method works, the best way for a scientist to gain popularity, become noticed, and win the highest awards - like the Nobel Prizes - is to take a well-established scientific theory or idea and overturn it. Tweak it to show that it isn't quite correct. What you've said about there being too much helium in supposedly old rocks is physical, tangible proof that can be measured. My question is why hasn't anyone come forward in the science world to show this and open up a new area of scientific study and perhaps win a Nobel Prize in chemistry?

He said a bunch of stuff in an attempt to answer, but it boiled down to a conspiracy theory. He suggested that I was naive about the workings of the scientific community and said something to the effect of, "Do you think all those people in geology, astrophysics, and biology want to lose their jobs?" I believe I may have seen a straw over his head, floating just out of reach, his fingertips flickering in desparation trying to grasp it, tightly, lovingly to his chest for reassurance.

It was a sad sight.

Obviously I wasn't there to change minds and I don't think anyone was going to say, "wow, that was an excellent point...I think I'll go home and learn more about radiometric dating methods to check if Dr Malone was correct." See, if they did and spent, oh, maybe 17 seconds looking online, they may have come across an article from Talk Origins on how the dating method used by creationists, specifically Dr. D. R. Humphreys is horribly flawed. Here's a taste to whet the appetite for destruction (and man do I wish I had read this before I went to the lecture):
...his helium diffusion experiments were performed under a vacuum rather than at realistic pressures that model the subsurface conditions at Fenton Hill (about 200 to 1,200 bars; Winkler, 1979, p. 5). McDougall and Harrison (1999), Dalrymple and Lanphere (1969) and many other researchers have already shown that the diffusion of noble gases in silicate minerals may decrease by at least 3-6 orders of magnitude at a given temperature if the studies are performed under pressure rather than in a vacuum.

Yeah, three to six orders of magnitude. If that Humphreys fella is a scientist and didn't even know to look for that, or didn't pay attention when other scientists looked at his work and went, "Hey, Hump, maybe you wanna take a look over didn't account for the added pressure, fucknut", then he's not a person worth trusting - particularily when he obviously has a creationist agenda.

Damn I wish I had read that before I went.

Malone said that there was a dinosaur discovered that hadn't decayed. That was a shocker to me; he had a video clip of Ron Reagan Jr. interviewing the paleontologist loaded but the audio wouldn't cooperate (damn modern technology). He had to just talk about how the dinosaur was found with flesh still on it and he was incredulous - "How does that happen in an old Earth?" he asked. I just didn't know...

Until I looked around online for about 21 seconds and found an article about a mummified dinosaur found in Montana with the "flesh" still on the bones and the last meal still in its stomach. However:
The actual tissue has decayed over the millennia, and has been replaced by minerals. What's left for scientists to study is a fossil of a dinosaur mummy...

A fossil?! How'd that get there? But maybe he wasn't talking about that one in particular. Another 19 seconds led me to a short article about a fossilized baby dinosaur found in Italy in 1983:
The intestines, the colon, the liver, some muscles, and the windpipe are intact. Though fossilized, they allow scientists to study the anatomy of the dinosaur as if it were truly a mummy with soft tissue.

Dammit, another fossil. I wonder it that one is "transitional"?

Then, however, I found what Malone had been talking about. Actual, seemingly soft tissue in a T-Rex discovered in Montana, sample name MOR 1125. The other articles I found that didn't have a religious lean to them all reported that the remains were 70 million years old, dated by the location the skeleton was excavated from, sandstone called the Hell Creek Formation.

When I looked at the Answers in Genesis site, they said it was proof that the Earth was young, because, "It is inconceivable that such things should be preserved for (in this case) '70 million years'. We're just flummoxed by the whole situation, so God did it!" Ok, I added that last sentence in there for a lark, but you get the meaning. They also said that, "Unfortunately, the long-age paradigm is so dominant that facts alone will not readily overturn it." They seem to be leaving out the whole, it was dated by geology, not biology bit.

Is it a question, yes. Does one interesting discovery overturn all the other evidence, no. But you'll never convince them of that. And when the situation is explained, it'll just fade away and never be mentioned again, except in lectures like this one from Bruce Malone. PZ Myers at the time had this to say:
So, basically, these cells were entombed in a thick mineral sarcophagus, protected from bacteria and other external insults. There have to have been other factors at play—cells are full of enzymes that trigger a very thorough self-destruct sequence at death—so I'm definitely looking forward to the molecular analysis. Even if their form was preserved, I expect these cells to be denatured monomer soup on the inside.

The other stuff from the lecture was just retarded. He said that "sheer plastic shifting" after the biblical flood would have caused rapid continental drift (like, moved everything around in years, rather than millenia), and with respect to a question about global warming Malone said, "Look at the evidence through biblical glasses and it'll all come clear." Yeah, just be biased right up front so we can all smell it on you. As Penn Jillette says, "Well there it is, just hanging out all pink and naked."

Ok, so that's it for part two, there's one more to come on the hate-filled Dave Hunt and the tale of how a bible meeting rapidly turned into a clan-rally. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sans Psychic Oscar

I have just stopped trying to predict the Oscar winners. I was 4 for 13. That's a horrible record unless you're keeping track of how many times you get shot while playing paintball.

I'm no psychic.

Literary, Am I (and apparently similar to Yoda)

Via Sandwalk...

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.

An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.

You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.

A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Creationists Came

Long post warning.

Ok, after spending some relaxing time cooking dinner (a nice shepard's pie) and watching Silence of the Lambs I'm ready to write about the last two painful days of sitting through some lectures put on by the Institute for Creation Research. I have to say that it was enlightening with respect to seeing how these folks actually think (if that's the right word) about the world/Universe around us.

The good stuff first: They were quite nice to me, especially once they found out that I was an actual skeptic/non-believer. Several people approached me and attempted to convert or convince me of the error of my ways and to get me to, in one case, head on over to his church. Never rude or anything, just concerned. A guy named Paul who ministers at a church close by in Oshawa took a particular interest in me...or I guess my eternal soul, which was in jeopardy.

Ok, on to the weird and/or bad stuff. First was Friday night. I showed up, perhaps naive, to face a crowd of about a hundred folks there to see Bruce Malone talk about the "Evolution Delusion". After that was a man named Dave Hunt who was going to talk about "Spiritual Deception in the Name of Christ". Well, was I in shock or what after the first lecture - I actually expected to hear something (anything!) new or perhaps thought-provoking by way of evidence. What I heard was old and busted "arguments" about monkeys at typewriters, tornados blowing through junkyards, incredulous remarks about the astounding complexity of protein strands and the "randomness" of evolution and the staggeringly astronomical odds against us just popping into existence.

Then he went on to tell us how God made everything literally "pop into existence".

Malone didn't seem to see a problem or contradiction in what he was saying at all and neither did the adoring crowd. They tittered along with the "my grandpa wasn't a monkey" jokes and they nodded in agreement when he did a demonstration where he took the "magic tin of evolution" (which was what looked like a coffee can) and took a pen apart into its seven parts, put the parts in the can, and shook it up. Shockingly it didn't go back together to form the pen! The odds that it would form a pen are...well, let's just say it's impossible to form a pen. He added the "spark" of life in the form of a firecracker to the tin, which made a loud BANG and everyone was quite entertained, and there was the pen! But it was a trick, that bastard. Evolution couldn't have happened!

I was dumbfounded that such out-dated, horrifingly poor strawmen were being trotted out and slain, but moreso that the audience actually bought them. The fact that we are all related by DNA was explained away by saying simply that God is the common Creator and as such He chose to use the same stuff to make us. It was the "God said it, I believe it, that's that" argument.

Dave Hunt's presentation was no better. He is big on using "common sense" to sort through things. Mr Hunt is an author (read as much as you can of this before your head melts) who seems to hold some rather large duffel bags of hate in him - but more on that later.

Friday gave me the opportunity to see the Argument from Ignorance in full force. Hunt actually said, "What good is part of an eye?!" Yeah, it was that bad. Malone used the same argument but went with the more modern version, Behe's bacterial flagellum. He also commented on the complexity of protein strands and how if just ONE of the codons is in the wrong place we get a disease.

Basically what they were both saying was the God-of-the-gaps retardedness: "the problem is really really hard to God did it."

Malone talked about the Big Bang theory and how it's just silly to think that something came from nothing, and mentioned Stephen Hawking as saying that any explanation of the beginning of the Universe by necessity had to include a Creator. This will likely be news to Hawking.

I wanted to ask a question that night but they ran out of time. I had to wait until today to go back for another dose of Vitamin J (Jebus, that is).

Saturday at 1pm gave me a talk by Dr John Barnett. He's a minister with the Tulsa Bible Church in Oklahoma and did a talk about the "Astounding Evidence for Divine Inspiration of Scripture". He said that there were no scientific discoveries made that weren't predicted in the Bible and that, despite all the books and chapters of the Holy Book being written by different people in different places, that it was one cohesive unit with no contridictions.

Wow. That takes some balls to say. No contridictions? What about these? The size of cantelopes, they are. To quote Bill Hicks, "He must have a specially fitted uniform in which to place those giant testicles".

He said that God put an "authentication code" in the bible, specifically in Jeremiah 1:12
Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.

Odd, that seems pretty random. He went on to list seven ways to explain his authentication:

1. Jesus believed in the bible, therefore it's true (he neglected to mention that the bible was written WAY after Jebus was killed). He also said that he was on a radio show with some "liberal priests" and he asked the host if he trusted The Word. He said he wanted to see if "this guy was ready to say he didn't trust Jesus - he lived in Tulsa, the buckle of the Bible Belt". Bullyish intimidation at best.

2. The prophets/apostles believed. Good for them. Who cares?

3. The "absolute unity" of the Bible, whatever the hell that means. Please see the above link to the Skeptic's Bible and the contridictions.

4. The "incredible survival" of the Bible. Great, what about the "incredible survival" of Marcus Aurelius? Hamlet?

5. The fact that the Bible is "absolutely scientifically accurate". Wow. Again, that's an astonishing amount of testicle. Just for contrast, see this clip of an Islamic scholar talking about the "scientific accuracy" of the Koran. Oh, and apparently gravity is explained in the Bible in Job 38:31
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

Did you all understand that? Now do you see how a curved space-time makes matter follow an accelerated path? It's crystal clear!

6. The Bible is historically accurate. Well, I guess we should re-write some texts because Job 9:6-7 says:
Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.

Hm. That seems to say that the Earth is on pillars and that the Sun can be commanded to not rise, hence the Sun goes around the Earth. Screw you Nic Copernicus...screw you hard.

7. Finally, "His promise that only He can predict the future and have it come true". Yeah, prophesy. Barnett said, "Every prophesy in the Bible has been fulfilled literally, to the T" and "Trust the only God who knows the future". Please see the above fifteen minute talk by the Muslim scholar about that claim.

Personally, I think they're both full of ca-caa.

Barnett then mentioned Peter Stoner's calculation of the probability of prophesy and accuracy as being next to impossible, thus proving the Bible as a prophetic book. Well, check out the Wikipedia entry for Stoner, in particular the critic who said:
...the author has fallen into the commonest error of using only these facts which bolster his hypothesis, and of discarding or controverting those which do not. For example, his discussion of the theory of evolution is not only misleading; it displays an abysmal ignorance of recent evolutionary studies.

Yeah, "abysmal ignorance". About as accurate a phrase as I could ever think of.

It all came back to the "God said it, I believe it, that's that" argument, and if that works for you, fine. But when they start in with the it's science! crap, that's when it's not ok anymore. After Barnett's talk, I asked a question that went something like this:
When modern "psychics" try to help police find, say, a missing body, they often will say something like "I see and 'H', and water, and I smell gasoline", and then the police follow evidence and leads and eventually find the body. The "psychic" can then look at the scene and say, "Look over there, it's a hotel, that's the 'H' I saw, and in the lobby there's a fake waterfall, that's the water, and there's cars in the parking lot, that was the gas smell." Well what they're doing is retro-fitting what they said into what was found to have actually happened. Please explain how what you are doing with the bible being scientifically accurate is not the same thing.

He verbally tap-danced a bit, but basically he admitted that he believed in psychics and that he essentially is retrofitting and wouldn't be able to convince me otherwise.

I had, at that point, outed myself as a skeptic in a room full of true-believers. The speakers took a 10 minute break and I tried to grab a coffee but was approached by a gentleman who gave me these:
Mmmm...Chick Tract goodness
Yeah, Chick Tracts. Painful, but the fella seemed nice enough. While he was trying to talk to me, a gentleman who I noticed during the lecture who looked like Daniel Dennett approached me. His was one of the only other heads in the room that remained unbowed during the ending prayer that Barnett did and he said, "Mike? I didn't recognise you without your horns."

It was a welcome relief to have another person there who was as skeptical as myself. He introduced himself as Tony Burns and we chatted through the break - during which another man told me about Evidence That Demands a Verdict, which includes data from the aforementioned dumbass, Peter Stoner, and a third fella who interjected to give me an "e-bible" on CD-ROM:
Creationists Holy Bible E-Sword
and a booklet called Final Destiny:
Creationist Final Destiny
This is an odd title, because as George Carlin says, "All destinies are final, that's the meaning of the word, destiny, final...if you haven't gotten where you're going, you're not there yet."

On page five of "Final Destiny", it says "There is no risk in accepting the Bible as our final authority." Unless, of course, you're gay, or have a foreskin, or you like to fuck animals, or you say bad things about your parents. I could go on and on, but what's the point, really?

So that was the end of the first talk. I'll do a post on the second and third talk tomorrow or thereabouts, but right now it's wine time, friends. My brain needs alcohol. It was cool to meet Tony and I look forward to getting together with the Toronto Skeptics/Secularists soon.

More to come....

Friday, February 23, 2007

My Brain Hates Me

Wow. Creationists are crazy.

I thought it would be a lot better than that. I mean, my expectations were quite low to begin with, but hoooooleeee shit. There were more strawmen there than a Wizard of Oz Ray Bolger tribute festival.

There'll be a longer, more in-depth post to come on this, but I have to say, for a series of lectures put on ostensibly for "skeptics", I heard more old-ass, busted "arguments" for creation than I even thought possible. And there were rows upon rows of people giggling at the little jabs and jokes, nodding at all the "evidence", with hardly a skeptic in sight.

"We didn't come from apes", "life is too complex", "a billion monkeys typing for a billion years...a tornado blows through a junkyard and makes a 747", "the bacterial flagellum can't work without all its parts", "the eye is too complex...what good is part of an eye?" were all points made seriously and with gravitas. It was shocking.

I have to go to bed now or my brain will rebel and initiate the shut-down sequence that will lead to my termination. To be continued after the lectures tomorrow....

Do You Have Any Weapons or Boobs on...Damn

A new x-ray machine has been developed that is able to see through clothes. What could possibly go wrong?

(hint: I bet they won't be looking at the overweight fella in the picture)

Tonight is the Night - The Creationists are Coming

In my town tonight, a man from the Institute for Creation Research and Bible Skeptics is doing a lecture called The Evolution Delusion. I'll be attending for a lark and to maybe ask a question or two during the Q&A - and I'll have a tape recorder so I can transcribe the happenings in a post tomorrow. Should be fun.

Dr Laurence Moran of Sandwalk is coming as well. Good times on a Friday with a creationist confrontation! Just as a sidenote, on their flyer it asks specifically for "skeptics" to show up and bring their questions. It even says this wonderfully silly paragraph:
If there were ANY chance that you could be wrong - and that a literal hell does exist - isn't that too great a gamble for eternity? Shouldn't you be 100% certain?

Yeah, so aside from the grammatical point that these folks believe that this "hell" place actually exists, which would make it a proper noun and as such should be capitalized, the paragraph is again the tired old Pascal's Wager bit that has been totally picked apart too many times to get into.

Using the Wager as a draw for the general population in their flyer seems to indicate they are expecting fairly green "skeptics" to show up, if any at all. We'll see if they're at all prepared.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Insecure About Women in Politics? Shoot One in the Head!

Ahhh the glory and majesty of religion. It truly is fantastic to see the stunning Creator inspire people to go beyond their normal cultural prejudices to help others and make the world a better place. It's almost enough to get an atheist bastard like me to rethink my whole "god isn't real" thing.

Ok, I'm just shitting you. Some of the more astute news readers may have caught wind of the tale from Pakistan of Zilla Huma Usman who was the minister for social welfare in Punjab province. She was a bit of a strong woman and, on this particular occasion, wasn't wearing a headscarf. She was also, obviously, involved in politics.

This got the back up of religious fella Mohammad Sarwar (call the mortician but don't pop the balloon 'cause I'm gonna die of not-surprise that his name is "Mohammad") who did what any fervent believer would in this situation - he shot her in the head.

Just to set the stage, Sarwar was held in 2002 for the killing and mutilation of four prostitutes but wasn't convicted because there wasn't enough evidence. Does that mean that there weren't four trustworthy guys around to say he did it (I especially love the line in that link where it says, "Religious parties boycotted the vote, saying the bill encouraged 'free sex'" - classic)?

The really psycho part of the story is that Sarwar is not in the least bit remorseful or sorry for what he did. He is quoted as saying, "I will kill all those women who do not follow the right path, if I am freed again." This guy is certifiable. He is also just following his faith (albeit fanatically). The thing that bothers me the most though is that when an obviously disturbed person like this guy has religious faith, it becomes the only time when other people witness his horrifying acts of violence and say, "Oh, right, he's a fanatical believer".

Well what the fuck does that say about the beliefs?

In another article about the murder there is a bit about Usman's involvement in a "mini-marathon" that included women athletes. This event ended up with riots occuring because armed Islamic douchebags freaked out and disrupted the race, making police intervention necessary. Islamic extremism is said to be on the rise in Pakistan and violence against women in particular - some incidents are thought to be instigated by Mullahs who are opposed to women's emancipation. These same assholes are campaigning against the Women's Protection Bill (this protects women who have been discriminated against by Sharia laws).

Misogynistic much?

I've said this many times before, but Muslim dudes really need to grow a pair and start catching up with at least the 18th century. Women are in politics now, they can vote, they get equal pay for equal work, and a lot of them are a WHOLE lot smarter than you - and these are all great things. If you can't handle it, take your insecure self back to the Dark Ages and see how well that works out for you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gambia President Says Allah Loves AIDS Patients

Yahya Jammeh, the president of Gambia, says that he can cure HIV/AIDS. You may have seen or heard of the article. You may not, however, realize that he's a complete nutbag. He spouts all the standard bullshit like this classic line:
Whatever you do there are bound to be sceptics, but I can tell you my method is foolproof

And the always popular:
Mine is not an argument, mine is a proof. It's a declaration. I can cure Aids and I will.

Mmmm...can you smell that? The stench of pseudo-scientific retardedness. It's sort of like the smell of burnt hair and not-cured dead people decaying in the African sun. Mr Jammeh requires his patients to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs, saying that it he doesn't want any "complications" - you know, like getting better or not dying.

The saddest part is that the actual medical personnel are still being polite to this fucking douchebag. I realize that he's a dictator who took power in a coup, but come on, let's stop pretending that he's rational. The health ministry actually issued a declaration of support and Dr Antonio Filipe, who is the local head of the W.H.O., said that he, "respected the president's point of view". And then in one of the most impotent statements ever made, he added, "As the World Health Organisation, we would like to state quite clearly the following: No 1, so far there is no cure for Aids."

Thanks, Dr Filipe - didn't you once play Jack Tripper's assistant on Three's Company? Love those high standards.

If you'd like a glimpse of how scientific and reliable Mr Jammeh's "cure" is, part of the whole process is this lovely little tidbit:
Mr Jammeh held up the Qur'an, pointing it at each of the patients in turn: "In the name of Allah, in three to 30 days you will all be cured,"

Yeah, bet the farm on Allah getting rid of a viral infection, see how far that gets you. Let me make a prediction that'll make Sylvia Browne shit green envy-money for a week: The HIV/AIDS rate among those "treated" by Jammeh will increase and his "patients" will start dropping off like AIDS-infected flies.

The End of the Race

Remember those old conversations about "who was better/prettier/more talented", Britany or Christina?

Bald Brit

Christina won. Wasn't even close.

A Conversation with Marcus Ross

As has been mentioned repeatedly about Marcus Ross on other blogs, I thought it would be an interesting mind-experiment to have an imaginary chat with "Dr" Ross.

BigHeathenMike(BHM) - Hi Mr Ross.

Marcus Ross(MR) - It's actually "Dr" Ross.

BHM - Really? Because it seems that you don't agree with the stuff you learned in university.

MR - Well I wouldn't say that.

BHM - How could you not say that? You think the Earth is not more than 10,000 years old, right?

MR - That's correct.

BHM - But your doctoral presentation, or whatever it's called (I'm not a scientist at all), was on fossils that are known to be 65 million years old.

MR - That's correct.

BHM - does your head compute those conflicting dates?

MR - There's no conflict.

BHM - Haddaya figger?

MR - That there is an intelligence that designed everything on Earth and in the Universe is the best explanation according to the observation and the available science.

BHM - And you're ok with the mass majority of other scientists and, specifically, geologists who are going to think you drank some bad Drain-o to end up at the idea that 10,000 is the maximum age of the fossils?

MR - Yes, I am.

BHM - So about those 65 million year-old think some other process was involved that made them appear to be WAY older, or they were just put there by an "intelligence" to fit the data?

MR - Something like that, yes. It's a lot to explain.

BHM - Right, it would take a long time and because you are studied in this subject, like many other scientists and geologists, you could take the time to teach me, were I in a university or something where you were an instructor.

MR - I am working as a professor at Liberty University right now.

BHM - Right. But how is it that you are not misrepresenting yourself, either now or when you did your doctoral thesis thingy?

MR - I never misrepresented myself!

BHM - Well, either you believe that the Earth is less than 65 million years old, as you say, in which case you were dishonest in saying it is that old (and, by implication, much older) in your thesis thingy, OR you do believe that the Earth and its fossils are very old and you are being dishonest currently in your job teaching Young Earth Creationism. Which is it?

MR - The science shows that...

BHM - I'm not talking about science now, I'm talking about you, personally. In which instance are or were you dishonest?

MR - Look, I have students I have to get back to.

BHM - Yes, and it seems that you, much like a "doctor" who advises homeopathy to fix someone's ailments, are misusing your position of influence over people who don't know any better. Just because one is medicine and the other is Earth science doesn't mean it is any less damaging in the long run.

MR - I'm not misusing anything. This is what the science shows. As it says in my DVD presentation with my partner, Stephen Meyer:
Meyer and Ross argue why design is a better scientific explanation for the Cambrian explosion. They argue that this is not an argument from ignorance, but rather the best explanation of the evidence from our knowledge base of the world.

BHM - That's exactly my point. You actually believe that the science shows that design is the way things work and you actually believe that the science shows that the Earth is around 10,000 years old - which means that you were completely dishonest in your doctoral thesis thingy and therefore only did it to get your doctorate which you are now using as an authority document to ensure your students listen to you and learn crap that is entirely contrary to what you presented as if it were what you believed in your thesis thingy.

MR - I have students to teach.

BHM - I believe the word is "mislead", you dishonest assface. Integrity should count for something.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why Is There Always So Much Doubt From Christians?

Geez, they bitch and whine about their "savior" coming back to judge everyone, but then when someone says he is Jesus reincarnate, they get all "Oh no you're not! We'd know Jesus by his flowing robes and beard", and apparently not by the "666" tattoo on his arm.

Just exactly what sort of proof do Christians need? This guy says he's got the same soul as Jesus, he explains that the whole "anti-Christ" thing is just a misunderstanding, and he says angels came to him in a dream and said they were waiting for him for 2000 years. How the hell is that any different from Moses coming back from the mountain?

This guy, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, lives lavishly and has three (count 'em, three!) diamond encrusted Rolexes plus he drives around in armoured Lexuses and Beemers. He has an annual salary of around $136,000, which is just about what Ted Haggard is getting for being banished from Colorado Springs, only without (so far) the humiliation of blowing a prostitute while high on crystal meth.

Christians really need to relax and just accept their savior when he shows up. What's with all the skepticism, anyway? I thought that's what they always bitch at me about. "Stop being closed minded...You must live a shallow, depressing existence, not having hope and all", you'd think they'd be happy. I don't know how to make these folks happy.

Let the Rapture begin!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hard to Give Up Squishy Specialness

I listened today to the new Point of Inquiry podcast where DJ interviewed Barbara Forrest on the "Intelligent" Design wedge document and the scourge that is creationism. I figured that because on Friday I'm going to a creationist lecture entitled "The Evolution Delusion", I may get some good points to keep in mind.

While the time passed and the interview went smoothly on, I started thinking about the past. The major scientific revolutions of years and centuries past were pretty much all rebelled against by the church of the day. Galileo was hauled in front of the damn pope so he could renounce the heliocentric universe (or become a victim of the Inquisition), which he did so he could live the rest of his life under comfortable house arrest. Giving up the special spot that whatever god you happen to worship has given us is hard to do.

But the facts won't be denied. As time goes on and new generations get aquainted with the way things seem to be, the old guard dies off and ideas change. Johannes Kepler was one of the first people to get a full education with the idea that the Sun was the center and the Earth moved around it, which influenced his math and how he viewed the Universe. The result are his three laws of planetary motion which kick just about all the ass I have - not much to be sure, but still, ass kicked nonetheless.

The same thing is happening here and now with the creationists. Evolution happened and gradually around the world the new generations will come to accept that as the high-level scientists have now. When the Goddies start falling behind in science, losing jobs and technology to other countries that know what's what, the young kids will learn what they need to in order to survive. That's the good thing about truth: it wins out regardless of the circumstances.

As long as we keep the religious folks on their toes by not backing down or being polite to their weirdness (when it matters), we'll be good. And on that note, it's beer o'clock.

Guess I Know "The Secret"

I just won almost $900 in a radio contest.

Hm. I guess that means the "Universe" rewards evil, hate-filled, heathenous, atheist bastards after all.

Problem solved.

Part One of a 200 Part Series - The Discovery Institute's List

Many of us know that the Discovery Institute has published a list of scientists Dissenting from Darwin. There are about 200 people listed, presumably all doubt the idea of evolution by natural selection, or what most of them annoyingly call "Darwinism".

I am going to start a series of posts (possibly a 200-part series!) looking at each of these people and see where they are coming from and if (a) their science or their religion came first and (b) if their ideas are at all credible from their peer's perspective - because I'm a tool and have no scientific credentials. The first on the list is Dr Henry F. Schaefer.

Dr Schaefer's scientific credentials, polar opposite from my own, are quite good. In this case, it seems that the science came first because Dr Schaefer is said to have become a Christian as a young professor of chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. This shows that the weirdness of religion can affect someone's brain at any stage of intellectual development and s/he will cram in the necessary delusions to make it fit with their current mindset.

We see in Dr Schaefer's current book that he is talking religion, specifically Christianity, and science and whether or not there can be reconciliation. In the table of contents we can see chapter four on The Big Bang, Stephen Hawking, and God, and chapter five on Climbing Mount Improbable: Evolutionary Science or Wishful Thinking?; Isn't a chemist talking about the views of a theoritical physicist and an evolutionary biologist a little bit like a car dealership manager trying to talk knowingly about what a mechanic and a car salesman do on a day to day basis? Yeah, they all deal with cars, but the in's and out's of their jobs are quite different.

Although Dr Schaefer seems very good at what he does (chemistry), he seems to be one of those Christians who steps outside his sphere of expertise and tries to use his position of influence where it has no business being.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gorilla Jesus and the Damn Dirty Apes

I do believe I've found my new band name.

So Brian Burgess, an artist who works in metal sculpure, created a statue of Jesus from which some people see sparks shoot. Specifically from the eyes, sort of like Nunzilla (which, not surprisingly, I own). The funny thing is that Jesus looks a lot like one of the Planet of the Apes characters.
Ape Jebus
Damn Dirty Apes
Some folks have been sucked into thinking that Ape Jebus is putting them into a trance. Really, I think they're just deep in thought because this confirms that Jebus did, in fact, come from a monkey. Evolution happened, Jebus was a monkey-man, get over it. Fabulous parting gifts for you.

And now, it's time for some Sunday Night Wine and Discovery Channel!

Shmuley Blames Us

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says that it is us who killed Anna Nicole Smith. Seriously. Because we payed attention to her when she acted like a dumbass and married a guy who was in his late hundreds and took drugs and...well, acted like a retard.

Boteach says, "I believe that Anna Nicole Smith, for all her treasure and fame, led a miserable life that was wracked with heartache." Yeah, that was painfully obvious. Anything else that your trained eye sees? "If she had married an appropriate husband and had well-adjusted children, she would not be on the tabloids radar. So instead she chose to make her life into a circus of the absurd, so desperate was she for attention."

This reminds me of a bit that Chris Rock did where he says that the world needs strippers. The only thing is, I don't want my daughter being one. Smith asked to be a focus for the shitstorm that hit her in the tits. She went after it and she got it. It has nothing to do with me or you that we watched for a bit. If someone lights themself on fire to be a roadside attraction, that's their business - and if I stop to watch I'm still ok with myself, morally speaking.

"And even the most narcissistic celebrity is still a child of G-d." Yeah, if you buy into that shit, which a lot of us don't. Some people are just train-wrecks of need, and we'll always be rubberneckers for that.

What If You Threw a Party and Everyone Came?

Holy link traffic, RadioActive Man! A guy leaves for a day to work and comes back to see a couple thousand people dropped by to read my rant below. I half expected Oprah herself to stick her two cents in and yell at me for, oh I don't know, calling her a retard. I may not have actually said that, but I certainly meant it.

Huge thanks to PZ and everyone who popped in and commented.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Here's The Secret: Blame the Victim

When I lived in Japan, I took a "self mastery" course for four days. No, it wasn't about masturbation (although that would have been WAY more useful). It was put on by some Australian dude who was a friend of a friend of mine, so I took it both because I was interested in that shit back then and as a favor to my buddy. The "teacher" talked a lot about "manifesting" and making reality what you want; he also said that he had a strong connection to water (rain, that is) and it seemed to follow him wherever he went. I remember at the time thinking, "Then why the fuck don't you go to Africa where there hasn't been rain in a decade or know, so they can grow some food?"

In any event, the course ended with my total disregard for everything he said - also because he was a fan of the paranoid delusional known as David Icke. That being said, I thought this think-it-and-it'll-come-to-you bullshit was just retarded and would be relegated to the fringes forever. Holy shit was I wrong.

Watch this video preview and then we'll talk, k? K.

So holy jumping Cracker-Jack-eating Christ. Do people actually still fall for this shit? Apparently Oprah does. I love it when people with millions of dollars start talking about "manifesting" the shit they want in life. See, for them, "manifest" means "go out and buy". When Oprah "asks the Universe" for a new Bentley, she's really asking the Bentley dealer. When Bob Doyle (in the video) says, "What will help you generate the feelings of having it now? Go test drive that car, go shop for that home, get in the house, do whatever you have to do to generate the feelings of having it now and remember them, whatever you can do to do that will help you to literally attract it", he's saying something incredibly horrible about the less fortuntate in the world.

It is truly irresponsible to show a kid pining away for a bike in a catalogue and then the goddamn thing shows up on his doorstep. How many times are we going to blame people who have nothing for "not wanting it badly enough"? I can see Oprah on her next fucking mission to Ethiopia squatting next to a starving child:
It's really easy,honey, here's The Secret - all you have to do is try a bite of this deli sandwich I had flown in from Quiznos for my lunch. Once you taste how incredible this is (and it will be, because you've been eating sand and insect shells for the last few weeks), then you'll know what it is like and you'll be able to get the Universe to attract delicious food for you and your family!

Dr Joe Vitale MSC.D (whatever the fuck those initials mean), says one of the dumbest things I've heard this week: "This is like having the Universe as your catalogue and you flip through it and go, 'wow, I'd like to have this experience and I'd like to have that product...'it's you placing your order with the Universe." First of all, the Universe isn't a thing you can chat with. The Universe is not your buddy. Secondly, doesn't the idea that you have to work for things hold any water? Man, I guess three-second bacon and 30-second cakes has really brain-fucked people into wanting stuff NOW!

Bob Proctor says: "If you do just a little research, it'll become evident to you that anyone that ever accomplished anything did not know how they were going to do it - they only knew they were going to do it". Really, Bob? My dad built the house we lived in for 13 years, he knew how to do it. He bought a book that showed him and he had some people come in from time to time to help him. I guess if dad only knew The Secret, he could have just asked the fucking Universe to build the house and woke up the next day to a brand new, sparkly bungalow. Screw those months of planning and toil!

Then comes the capper. Author Jack Canfield says the dumbest thing you will ever hear. I'll put a guarantee on that. If you hear something dumber than this, when next I see you, I'll buy you a beer (or beverage of your choice up to a $20 limit). Here's the quote:
Think of this: a car driving through the night, the headlights only go a hundred to two hundred feet forward. And you can make it all the way from California to New York driving through the dark 'cause all you have to see is the next two hundred feet. That's how life tends to unfold before us. If we just trust that the next 200 feet will unfold after that and the next 200 feet will ...your life will keep unfolding and it will eventually get you to the destination.

That is some Top Shelf BrainFuckery, right there. Suggesting that driving around in the dark with only the lights from your headlights to guide you is enough to get you across the country, is just about grounds for a physical beating. So, you don't need to know your destination or any landmarks along the way, don't bring that map, you just head out, completely planless, for your end-point. Don't worry, as long as you've seen a picture of where you're going and you r e a l l y want to be there, the Universe will find a way to get you there.

Wasn't that the plot of Deliverance? Didn't Ned Beatty get ass-raped over a log by a hillbilly? I bet Ned wanted with all his heart for the Universe to stop that shit from happening.

Please don't give these people any money. All The Secret will do is succeed in making Oprah's gullible audience sit around in their mansions and four bedroom houses and trailers and think that it's the Universe that is providing for them instead of their husbands or bosses. Think about it, though - if the Universe actually provided what you desired in your heart and wished for daily, Paris Hilton would have been killed James-Dean-style two years ago.

(ed. note: I keep getting comments on this post that are either pointless or annoying, so I've stopped the chain. If you liked this post, great. If you didn't, then go learn how to do reiki or something because my site is probably not for you.)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Whack-A-Mole Chumpra Pops Up Again

Well fill up the tiny car with clowns but keep it in the garage, because I'm going to die of not-surprise. Douchepak Chumpra is at it again. It's quite painful to read - actually, it's so painful that PZ isn't touching it anymore and he seems to be blacklisting The Huffington Post because of its constant support of Douchepak.

I won't quite go that far, although I'm reasonably certain that Arianna has received Chumpra's "quantum energy by-pass" at some point in the past - that or she's just as fucking weird as he is and buys into all that mumbo-crapo. For a great takedown of the drooling, misunderstood rantings (again, by way of PZ, check out Norm Doering's A Blog From Hell.

Breaking News - Catholics Against Sex!

It has come to my attention that my former religion seems to have something against protected sex. They have the notion that people should just play Xbox or PlayStation instead of boning for fun, and if you do bone for fun, well then you should make a baby or get horribly sick and potentially die from a disease.

Edward Cardinal Egan of the New York Archdiocese and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese (aka: "Fast" Eddie Eggs and Nicky D) released a joint statement in response to the New York Mayor's plan to distribute 18 million free condoms:
"Although in their statements they give nod to the truth that only abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage are failsafe, by their actions they ignore that truth and degrade societal standards."

Well now I see the light. The only way to have societal moral standards is if everyone abides by the Catholic rules and regulations, regardless of whether or not you think the pope is full of holy-water-flavored shit.

How many times do we have to explain to these fellas that morality is not connected to religiousity? It's not connected to how often you have sex. It's not even connected to (*gasp*) the nature of your sexuality at all. As shocking to the Catholic elite in New York as it may come, there are gay people all over North America who act morally each and every day - raising kids, doing jobs, enjoying friends and family.

Geez, Mike, you sound like you're gay.

Well I'm not... Ok, I blew a guy once. But I really needed the meth. Does that mean Jesus hates me? Is there any way I can get some sort of counselling and be cured?

A Tribute to Tim Hardaway

A recent article quoted basketball star Tim Hardaway saying that he "hates homosexuals". Actually, he said:
"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people...I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

So in tribute to Tim's hate, in honor of his truly archaic, jock, asshole attitude, here it is - the video of the day from Samwell:

Enjoy your day. Tim Hardaway can enjoy being banned from NBA All-Star Weekend (not that I agree with banning him - he's allowed to be a bigoted retard - but the NBA is a private organization, hence, he's out).

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Nice Bowl of Soup at the Sandlot

I had the opportunity today to have a sit-down with Dr Laurence Moran from the University of Toronto. I first contacted him with respect to a series of creationist lectures coming up in my town to see if he would be interested in attending. Unknown to me at the time, he has a great blog called Sandwalk and has taken on IDers and creationist dumbasses for quite a long time.

We got to know each other a bit over lunch and seemed to be on the same page with respect to dealing with nonsense in private life as well as how to (and, often more importantly, not to) deal with it in public forums. At this particular private blog I often break the cardinal rule of "don't lose your temper or be impolite/rude", but I consider personal blogs a slightly less than public forum.

In any event, I am quite looking forward to the lectures (put on by these helmet-heads) and hope that some other local skeptics and scientists attend - you can never have enough dissent at a Young-Earth Global Flood Creationist talk. They are being held at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario on Friday February 23 (starting at 7pm) and Saturday February 24 starting at one in the afternoon. Come on out!

Just the facts, Ma'am...Just the facts.

It seems there's some doin's a transpirin' over at Akusai, what with a P.I. attempting to get through the day with loads of help from some skeptics. Go check out the 54th Skeptic's Circle!

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Where Do You Get Your Morals From?"

I just finished watching the CNN 'make-up piece' on atheism on Paula Zahn Now hosted, oddly enough, by former VJ of MuchMusic, John Roberts. They re-ran the 'atheists are persecuted' bit and then a seemingly heavily edited, yet still quite good interview Zahn did with Richard Dawkins, followed by the dreaded panel discussion.

This time they had American Atheist president Ellen Johnson, some Christian retard, and another quite rational woman who supported the American constitutional secular state. Apologies for the lack of names and credentials, but I was cooking supper (roast chicken, steamed carrots and wild rice - mmmmm) and wasn't paying attention.

What I noticed mostly is that the Christian retard ended up saying, "Christians get their morality from God and from the bible - where do you get your morality from?" to Johnson. She balked a bit and he just kept asking the same stupid question again and again. I wish she had answered quickly and decisively - "From living in a society that has to work together and help each other to work effectively." She could have thrown in, ", dumbass." at the end just for a punctuation mark, but that would have made her more like me, and no one wants that.

That level of immaturity was as expected for a Christian who just can't fathom how a person can be moral without believing in an invisible fatherman up in the sky. I wish Johnson had asked him which parts of the Bible should be used for morality guides: The part where Abraham obeys God and is about to slice the throat of his bound son, Isaac? What about the part where it says you should stone-to-death disobedient children and people who work on the "sabbath"? Very excellent moral guides.

Atheists get our morality from the exact same place that Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, and everyone else get their morality from - our parents and families and social groups. We just give credit where it is due instead of to a two-millennia-old book written by primitive men with a superiority complex.

(P.S. - I have since found out that the other panelists were Rachel Maddow of Air America and a priest named Jesse Lee Peterson)

Damn Close to Two Centuries

Yes, it's true. Today is the 198th birthday of Charles Darwin. Please, if you can take five minutes today to raise a glass in his honour, do so. Certainly in any deservingly long-lived society, Darwin deserves more time than Anna Nicole Smith during a typical television news day. Sadly, I'm not going to hold my breath.
Charles Darwin

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Dear Skeptic, Let's Face It....

Over the past weekend we received a little paper from our town. Inside was a small, well-produced flyer saying boldly on the front page, "Dear Skeptic, Let's Face It. You've been given many reasons to doubt the bible...". It was an advertisement for a series of talks put on by the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and publicized as the 2007 Bible Skeptics Conference and offering "questions by you...answers for you."

I thought, well I'm going to have to go to this. The talks are quite literally a five minute drive from my home and if they are asking me to attend (being a skeptic and all) the least I can do is attend. Plus, this is one of their arguments in the flyer:
If there were ANY chance that you could be wrong - and that a literal hell does exist - isn't that too great a gamble for eternity? Shouldn't you be 100% certain?

Yeah... If Pascal's Wager is the best you can do in your literature, you may have been spending too much time trying to convince children that people and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

In any event, there are four gentlemen associated with the ICR coming and the first lecture on Friday, February 23rd at 7pm, at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby, Ontario is called The Evolution Delusion. A man named Bruce Malone is doing the talk. I am attempting to organize a group of actual, well-read skeptics and scientists to go over to this lecture and provide these people with questions and opinions from a "reality-based" population. Feel free to join us - presently Dr Laurence Moran, possibly King Aardvark (if he can make it) and I are going. Should you be in the East Toronto area, come on!

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Random Shots on Friday

I'm very not motivated to comment this week. Sad, I know. There are several stories out there that, by rights, I should tear apart - like the group of exotic dancers who raised a bunch of money to donate to the Canadian Breast Cancer Charity Place (not the actual name), but the cash was refused because the sponsers didn't want to be associated with strippers. How retarded is it when a group of women who use the focal body part of said charity in their daily lives raise funds in memory of a friend who died from the focal disease can't even have their funds used because of a tight-ass group of repressed Mennonite wannabes? Goddamn.

Anna Nicole Smith. Waste of my time. Apparently not CNN's. Can anyone tell me where she was on Monday? No? I didn't think so. If you didn't care about where she was Monday when she was alive, why the fuck should I care now when she's dead? Right - I shouldn't.

Repressed part deux = a theater in the U.S. received a complaint about its marquee because it was advertising the upcoming showing of The Vagina Monologues. See, this woman was driving a kid somewhere and the girl kid asked the woman what a "vagina" was after seeing the word. The woman was offended that she had to answer the question.

I swear, you can't make up stupidity like that. So anyway, she complained and the theater changed the marquee to say, The Hoohaa Monologues, which, funny as it is, isn't the actual name so the organizers called and had the theater re-post "Vagina" on the sign.

I wonder if the woman told the kid that "vagina" was a flavor of ice-cream in Japan? Or perhaps she explained it as being the term for a person on vacation in Regina. No, I'd bet $10,000 that she couldn't find Regina on a map of North America in five minutes. Ah well, maybe she just calls hers Satan's Pit of Temptation.

In any event, not being motivated lends itself to a lot of laying around and watching soft-porn on a Friday night. I'm going to do that now (see, that's the sign of a good writer - the post comes full circle right back to the boobies).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Blasphemy Challenge

Sorry for the lack of video quality - I'm a techno-tard.

Watch My Head Melt - CNN Is Dead To Me

Holy fucking jumping dead and rotting Jesus. Go to this site and watch the CNN video piece on, I shit you not, "Why Do Atheists Inspire Such Hatred". Go on, watch it then come back here.

Done? Are you insane with rage like me? Debbie Schlussel and Karen Hunter...what can a guy say? Well, here's the letter I sent to CNN:

I have rarely in my life seen such irresponsible "journalism" than the piece with Paula Zahn regarding Why Do Atheists Inspire Such Hatred. It was appaulling to see three people on a panel, none of whom were godless, piling hatred and uninformed criticism upon a minority that was not there to defend itself. I almost gagged on the irony when Stephen Smith said, "the reality is that you're entitled to believe what you want as long as you're not imposing your beliefs on other people." Yes, exactly, Mr. Smith, which is what you are doing with your beloved prayer in school, In God We Trust on your money, and "one nation under God" in your pledge.

CNN should be ashamed to have such bigots on their network. Debbie Schlussel and Karen Hunter were ignorant to a degree that I have only experienced in mentally ill populations. Schlussel's comment that "...this is a Christian nation..." directly contradicts no less an authority than George Washington who signed the Treaty of Tripoli, where specifically in article 11 it states: "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

Karen Hunter saying that atheists should "shut up" was disgusting. It was akin to a bully attempting to intimidate a smaller person on the playground, and it will not work. She should be ashamed, but her blatant arrogance with respect to the undeserved position Christianity occupies in your country illuminates her ignorance in matters constitutional.

While it is true that I am Canadian and as such have very little, if any, influence on matters involving the United States, our nations are across the hall in the apartment building that is North America.* As such it is our duty to tell you when some of your flatmates are acting like idiots. Sadly, on this occasion, the idiot answered the door.

*I was mad when I wrote the letter and had to correct that sentence in this letter. It was a fragment that made me look like a dumbass and I couldn't stand it.

You should send a letter too. Just use this link. CNN, Schlussel, Hunter, Smith & Zahn are, to quote Colbert, "on notice!"
On Notice Christians
(mad props to the King, PZ for the story.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Respect My Authorataaaa!

I went to a wedding over the weekend. It was quite nice and the reception was fantastic, although the crab legs made me a little queasy for a short while. At least I think it was the crab legs. What the hell do I know. Maybe it was Jesus just making me uncomfortable for laughing in the church earlier in the day.

See, it was a big ol' Catholic wedding. I was raised Catholic so the silliness really gets to me know that I've been an atheist for 10 years or so. It truely does jump out at you after a while. Take, for instance, the fact that the couple getting married has been together for almost a decade and has been in a committed relationship. The priest is at the altar, talking to them ("lecturing", if you will) about the intricacies of being part of a couple. A man who by fucking definition must remain celibate and chaste is giving out relationship advice. Nice.

Apart from that, it's the most inane, goddamn basic advice you could imagine. "Be available for each other" - yeah, thanks. "Say you're sorry" - ok, got it. Do you have anything for me that I couldn't learn from a twelve-year-old kid who has a girlfriend he gave a promise ring to? Didn't think so.

It's a bizarre concept that we have these "special" people who make it ok to be with someone else. As if these people have some sort of connection to all that is permissable and the rest of us must depend on them - oh, wait, that's the point of religions! Keep those folks "special" so they'll have jobs.

It is time to downsize, people.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Skeptic's Circle Number 53!

The new Skeptic's Circle is up over at Slicing with Occam's Razor! And there was much rejoicing...


Seriously, there looks to be a lot of great entries to sluff away the weekend hours usually spent picking bellybutton fluff or eating Chee-tos. Wait, that's my "sit around watch Jeopardy" routine. Sorry. Go about your business.

Annotated Ranter is Back!

Ooooo...It's been a while, but the Annotated Ranter is back with a new rant! Go and check it out - it's well worth your time.