left biblioblography: June 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fans Of Michael Jackson Are More Likely To Commit Suicide Than Atheists, Apparently…

The First Suicide of Michael Jackson Fan happens in Tunisia

A young Tunisian girl from El Manar in the North of the country took her life in desperation following the death of her idol Michael Jackson

The First Suicide of Michael Jackson Fan happens in Tunisia
A young Tunisian girl from El Manar in the North of the country took her life in desperation following the death of her idol Michael Jackson. She spent the day in her bedroom watching Jackson videos and later swallowed a large amount of tablets. Jackson gave his first ever African concert in Tunisia in 1996 in front of 65,000 fans.
Meanwhile in Russia reports have emerged of a Jackson double, Pável Talaláyev who attempted suicide following the news of his idols death. Despite the fine efforts of the emergency services to save him he declared,
‘This is not just a loss, it’s the worst tragedy of my life and I do not want to live any more. I don’t know why they had to save me. I want to be with him’

Yeah, chances are pretty strong that he’d not be anywhere if he’d been left unrevived.

Really, this is just another illustration of how belief in an afterlife is poison.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Signs That Star Trek Is Firmly Embedded In Our Culture

This is a pretty funny story:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A surveillance picture released by police Wednesday afternoon shows a man armed with what appears to be a small Klingon sword, holding up a 7-Eleven convenience store.

That same man robbed another 7-Eleven store store a half-hour later, and remains at large, Colorado Springs police Lt. David Whitlock said.

The first robbery was reported at 1:50 a.m., at 145 N Spruce St. The clerk told police a white man in his 20s, wearing a black mask, black jacket, and blue jeans, entered the store with a weapon the clerk recognized from the Star Trek TV series.

The robber demanded money and left with an undisclosed amount.

A half hour later, police received a call from a 7-Eleven at 2407 N. Union Blvd., where a man matching the previous description entered the store with a similar weapon. He also demanded money from the store clerk. The clerk refused and the robber "transported" himself out of the store on foot.

Both clerks described the weapon as a Star Trek Klingon-type sword, called a "bat'leth."

Neither clerk was injured in the robberies.

The Startrek.com Web site describes the Klingon weapon as crescent-shaped and about a yard long. However, the weapon that the man was wielding appears to be smaller than that. The bat'leth has points on both ends, two points in between and a handle on the outside.

Police said they don't know if the sword used by the robber was made of metal.

Pretty hilarious. I’d have liked to see if he was any good with the damn thing, but that’s just me.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Allegories Gone Wild – Fatima And The Sundog

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!


Strangenesses abound in our world – enough so, that our ancestors mistook the sound of wind in the trees for the wailings of lost souls, and rains of frogs as some sort of sign from on high.

In the category of oddness, however, the Catholics sometimes hit the ball right out of the park.

In this instance, I have been looking at the weird little case of the Three Secrets of Fatima. Some of the facts are baffling.

The Three Secrets of Fátima consist of a series of visions and prophecies claimed to be given by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, on July 13, 1917. The three children claimed to have been visited by a Marian apparition six times between May and October 1917. The apparition is now popularly known as Our Lady of Fátima.

On July 13, around noon, the lady is said to have entrusted the children with three secrets. Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 in a document written by Lúcia, at the request of José da Silva, Bishop of Leiria, to assist with the publication of a new edition of a book on Jacinta. When asked by the Bishop of Leiria in 1943 to reveal the third secret, Lúcia struggled for a short period, being "not yet convinced that God had clearly authorized her to act." However, in October 1943 the bishop of Leiria ordered her to put it in writing. Lucia then wrote the secret down and sealed it in an envelope not to be opened until 1960, when "it will appear clearer." The text of the third secret was officially released by Pope John Paul II in 2000, although some claim that it was not the real secret revealed by Lucia, despite assertions from the Vatican to the contrary.

That there was such a long period of time between the alleged ‘visions’ and the actual documentation of such, should be enough to dispel any doubts.

First secret

The first secret was a vision of Hell:

Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.

Wow. Postulating (but not seriously) that such an entity exists, traumatizing a child with such a thing is sadistic beyond measure.

Second secret

The second secret is a statement that World War I would end and supposedly predicts the coming of World War II should God continue to be offended and if Russia does not convert. The second half requests that Russia be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart:

You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light*, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

This secret's controversy is second only to the supposed final secret of Fátima, as it seemingly predicts both the all-encompassing World War II, the radical, bloody, and extreme anti-religion ideology of the Soviet Union; the proxy wars and limited direct confrontations that would be initiated between the Western Democracies and the Soviet Bloc. Some critics have noted that the "Prophecy" was not disclosed until August 1941, after World War II had already begun. Pope Pius XII subsequently consecrated Russia on July 7, 1952, not long before the death of Stalin and the subsequent destalinization campaigns of Khrushchev, and almost 40 years before the fall of Communism.

Also note that the ‘Prophecy’ was not only undisclosed until 1941, but that it ‘occurred’ in the same year as the Bolshevik Revolution. And, as we all know, consecration has about the same impact as sticking needles into voodoo dolls (read: NONE).

Third secret

The third part of the secret was written down "by order of His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and the Most Holy Mother ..." on 3 January 1944. Bishop Silva, visiting Lúcia on 15 September 1943 while she was bed-ridden, first suggested that she write the third secret down to ensure that it would be recorded in the event of her death. Lucia was hesitant to do so, however. Finally, in mid-October, Bishop Silva sent her a letter containing a direct order to record the secret, and Lúcia obeyed. In June 1944, the sealed envelope containing the third secret was delivered to Silva, where it stayed until 1957, when it was finally delivered to Rome.

So, did you catch that? Lucia had the vision in 1917, for the ‘third secret’, but didn’t put it to paper until 1943? That sounds inherently untrustworthy on multiple levels.

It was announced on 13 May 2000, 83 years after the first apparition of the Lady to the children in the Cova da Iria, that the third secret would finally be released. The text was published on 26 June 2000:

The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 July 1917.
I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

That, my friends, is one helluva fever-induced hallucination. And here’s a nice surprise: the voice of skepticism is none other than Benedictine himself!

Along with the text of the secret, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published a theological commentary, in which he states that:

"A careful reading of the text of the so-called third 'secret' of Fatima ... will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled."

After explaining the differences between public and private revelations, he cautions people not to see in the message a determined future event:

"The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them."

He then moves on to talk about the symbolic nature of the images, noting that:

"The concluding part of the 'secret' uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith."

As for the meaning of the message:

"What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the 'secret': the exhortation to prayer as the path of 'salvation for souls' and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion."

The reason any of these ridiculous assertions were given any credence whatsoever, was the Miracle of the Sun:

The Miracle of the Sun (Portuguese: O Milagre do Sol) is an alleged miraculous event witnessed by as many as 100,000 people on 13 October 1917 in the Cova da Iria fields near Fátima, Portugal. Those in attendance had assembled to observe what the Portuguese secular newspapers had been ridiculing for months as the absurd claim of three shepherd children that a miracle was going to occur at high-noon in the Cova da Iria on October 13, 1917.

According to many witness statements, after a downfall of rain, the dark clouds broke and the sun appeared as an opaque, spinning disk in the sky. It was said to be significantly less bright than normal, and cast multicolored lights across the landscape, the shadows on the landscape, the people, and the surrounding clouds. The sun was then reported to have careened towards the earth in a zigzag pattern, frightening some of those present who thought it meant the end of the world. Some witnesses reported that their previously wet clothes became "suddenly and completely dry.”

This account becomes a little more clear with accumulated detail:

Estimates of the number of witnesses range from 30,000-40,000 by Avelino de Almeida, writing for the Portuguese newspaper O Século, to 100,000, estimated by Dr. Joseph Garrett, professor of natural sciences at the University of Coimbra, both of whom were present that day.

Those are obviously guesses, and not good ones either: how does one guesstimate these sort of numbers? Note the wide variance.

The most widely-cited descriptions of the events reported at Fatima are taken from the writings of John De Marchi, an Italian Catholic priest and researcher. De Marchi spent seven years in Fátima, from 1943 to 1950, conducting original research and interviewing the principals at undisturbed length. In The Immaculate Heart, published in 1952, De Marchi reports that, "[t]heir ranks (those present on 13 October) included believers and non-believers, pious old ladies and scoffing young men. Hundreds, from these mixed categories, have given formal testimony. Reports do vary; impressions are in minor details confused, but none to our knowledge has directly denied the visible prodigy of the sun."

Um…if one actually does read some of the document descriptions, the impressions vary on major details. As to the critical evaluation of the event:

De Marchi claims that the prediction of an unspecified "miracle", the abrupt beginning and end of the alleged miracle of the sun, the varied religious backgrounds of the observers, the sheer numbers of people present, and the lack of any known scientific causative factor make a mass hallucination unlikely. That the activity of the sun was reported as visible by those up to 18 kilometers away, also precludes the theory of a collective hallucination or mass hysteria, according to De Marchi.

De Marchi, however, was a Catholic priest, and as such, more prone to grandiose rhetoric.

Despite these assertions, not all witnesses reported seeing the sun "dance". Some people only saw the radiant colors. Others, including some believers, saw nothing at all. No scientific accounts exist of any unusual solar or astronomic activity during the time the sun was reported to have "danced", and there are no witness reports of any unusual solar phenomenon further than forty miles out from Cova da Iria.

Pio Scatizzi, S.J. describes events of Fátima and concludes

The ... solar phenomena were not observed in any observatory. Impossible that they should escape notice of so many astronomers and indeed the other inhabitants of the hemisphere… there is no question of an astronomical or meteorological event phenomenon …Either all the observers in Fátima were collectively deceived and erred in their testimony, or we must suppose an extra-natural intervention.

Steuart Campbell, writing for the 1989 edition of Journal of Meteorology, postulated that a cloud of stratospheric dust changed the appearance of the sun on 13 October, making it easy to look at, and causing it to appear yellow, blue, and violet and to spin. In support of his hypothesis, Mr. Campbell reports that a blue and reddened sun was reported in China as documented in 1983.

Joe Nickell, a skeptic and investigator of paranormal phenomena, claims that the position of the phenomenon, as described by the various witnesses, is at the wrong azimuth and elevation to have been the sun. He suggests the cause may have been a sundog. Sometimes referred to as a parhelion or "mock sun", a sundog is a relatively common atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with the reflection/refraction of sunlight by the numerous small ice crystals that make up cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. A sundog is, however, a stationary phenomenon, and would not explain the reported appearance of the "dancing sun". Nickell suggests an explanation for this and other similar phenomena may lie in temporary retinal distortion, caused by staring at the intense light and/or by the effect of darting the eyes to and fro so as to avoid completely fixed gazing (thus combining image, afterimage and movement). Nickell concludes that there was

likely a combination of factors, including optical and meteorological phenomena (the sun being seen through thin clouds, causing it to appear as a silver disc; an alteration in the density of the passing clouds, so that the sun would alternatively brighten and dim, thus appearing to advance and recede; dust or moisture droplets in the atmosphere, imparting a variety of colors to sunlight; and/or other phenomena).

Paul Simons, in an article entitled "Weather Secrets of Miracle at Fátima", states that he believes it possible that some of the optical effects at Fatima may have been caused by a cloud of dust from the Sahara.

Kevin McClure claims that the crowd at Cova da Iria may have been expecting to see signs in the sun, as similar phenomena had been reported in the weeks leading up to the miracle. On this basis he believes that the crowd saw what it wanted to see. But it has been objected that McClure's account fails to explain similar reports of people miles away, who by their own testimony were not even thinking of the event at the time, or the sudden drying of people's sodden, rain-soaked clothes. Kevin McClure stated that he had never seen such a collection of contradictory accounts of a case in any of the research he had done in the previous ten years, although he has not explicitly stated what these contradictions were.

Leo Madigan believes that the various witness reports of a miracle are accurate, however he alleges inconsistency of witnesses, and suggests that astonishment, fear, exaltation and imagination must have played roles in both the observing and the retelling. Madigan likens the experiences to prayer, and considers that the spiritual nature of the phenomenon explains what he describes as the inconsistency of the witnesses.

Author Lisa Schwebel claims that the event was a supernatural extra-sensory phenomenon. Schwebel notes that the solar phenomenon reported at Fátima is not unique - there have been several reported cases of high pitched religious gatherings culminating in the sudden and mysterious appearance of lights in the sky.

It has been argued that the Fátima phenomenon and many UFO sights share a common cause, or even that the phenomenon was an alien craft. see main article: The Fatima UFO Hypothesis

Many years after the events in question, Stanley L. Jaki, a professor of physics at Seton Hall University, New Jersey, Benedictine priest and author of a number of books reconciling science and Catholicism, proposed a unique theory about the supposed miracle. Jaki believes that the event was natural and meteorological in nature, but that the fact the event occurred at the exact time predicted was a miracle.

The event was officially accepted as a miracle by the Roman Catholic Church on 13 October 1930. On 13 October 1951, papal legate Cardinal Tedeschini told the million gathered at Fátima that on 30 October, 31 October, 1 November, and 8 November 1950, Pope Pius XII himself witnessed the miracle of the sun from the Vatican gardens.

So Pope Pius actually witnessed this 4 times in 1950? Which ‘miracle’? The sundog, the ‘dancing sun’?

While much of this is paramount to mass hysteria on a more subliminal level, here’s the topic I’d like to broach: how did the 3 shepherd children know about the day that the alleged event occurred?  Do note that mock suns have been known to astronomers since Aristotle’s time.

Discuss among yourselves.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can You Hear The Lambs Screaming, Clarice?

So I took this quiz – and guess who I scored as?

You Scored as Hannibal Lecter

You got Hannibal the Cannibal, yum!!!

Jason Vourghees
Michal Meyers
Hannibal Lecter
Buffalo Bill

Of course these are all fictional characters – but I actually put down Strongly Disagree on the Cannibalism question, and still got old Hannibal the cannibal? Hmmm…. 


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Allegories Gone Wild – Abducted By An Angel? Say What?

Nephelim photo

Cross posted @ God is 4 suckers!

1 Enoch 39:1–And it shall come to pass in those days that the elect and holy children will descend from the high heavens, and their seed will become one with the children of men.

Let it be said – I rather enjoy trolling the deep, sometimes stagnant waters of the Internet. Because regardless of what you’re looking for, you’ll stumble upon some truly mind-boggling material. In this episode, I discovered a truly strange and difficult (to read) site that tries to amalgamate modern technology with ancient Hebraic text.

"At that time I beheld the Ancient of Days, while he sat upon the throne of his glory, while the book of the living
was opened in his presence, and while all the powers which were above the heavens stood around and before him." Book of Enoch 47:3 (Ethiopic, Artisan pub)

Since it's English translation in the 1800's from texts found in Ethiopia in 1768, The Book of Enoch (known today as 1st Enoch) has made quite a stir in academic circles. 1 Enoch has been authenticated as existing and in wide use before the church age (most scholars now date it at 200 BC). Multiple copies were discovered in 1948 in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This of course has caused many to wonder why it is not included in modern Bibles...

Because it’s considered Pseudepigrapha, which translated for the layman means: “are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded; a work, simply, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past.” (Of course, this covers a huge percentile of the wholly bibble as we know it anyways, but when the crazies exclude crazy work, well, that says something about the work in question, does it not?)

Particular to this site, parts of The Book of Enoch tell the story of wicked angels who abducted and mated with human women, resulting in the hybrid race known throughout secular and Biblical history as the Nephilim (giants, KJV).

Ah…secular history? Umm…no proof that they ever existed? Hello?

While this account encompasses only the first four verses of Genesis 6 (but see also Genesis 3:15, 2 Peter 2:4-6, Jude 6-7), Enoch 1 relates this story in great detail. It lists the names of 18 "prefect" angels - of 200 - who committed this sin. According to the text, these angels also taught mankind the "making of swords and knives, shields and breastplates (metallurgy); ... magical medicine, dividing of roots (medicinal and hallucinogenic use); incantations, astrology, the seeing of the stars, the course of the moon, as well as the deception of man."

I gotta admit, it makes great copy. But there’s no reality behind any of this.

By Noah's time, "The earth also was corrupt (wasting - KJV notation) before God, and the earth was filled with violence... all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." Gen 6:10-11. Afraid of the consequences, these angels appeal to Enoch to intercede with God on their behalf; God instead uses Enoch to deliver a message of judgment against them. Aside from the "taking of wives," God states that he would not forgive them for teaching mankind magical arts and warlike ways.

Which of course, ‘gawd’ was supposed to know all this beforehand, but kids will be kids, won’t they?

"According to the Book of Enoch (Not a Canonical Text), God judged the angels for producing the Nephilim. God decreed that the fallen angels (Watchers) were to be cast into Tartarus. The Nephilim were also judged and it was determined that their bodies were to return to the earth in peace but their souls were doomed to wander the earth forever (as) wandering spirits..."

Tartarus? That place exclusive to Greek Mythology, where the wicked are sent for their sins? Yeah…that’s a slight indicator that the writer isn’t who he claims to be, isn’t it?

Here’s a kicker:

The increasing acceptance and popularization of this important book among theologians helps cast light on the extra-terrestrial hypothesis (ETH) in general. Enoch is an ancient writing which states that angels (not true space aliens, as stated by many UFO cults, and popular modern authors Erich Von Daniken and Zechariah Sitchin) visited ancient Earth and polluted mankind's DNA. While this case can easily be made solely from the canonized Bible , Enoch is yet another witness against these bad interpretations of Earth's predelulvian era (i.e., before the flood of Genesis 6). The fact that they also gave mankind technology which supposedly "advanced our race" (but which we actually used to destroy each other, and to incur God's judgment), lends itself to a more sinister understanding of today's UFO phenomenon...

(Yeah, let’s ignore the reality that there is absolutely no proof that the Deluge ever occurred, outside of a bunch of shared mythological stories.)

So, get it straight people! Those tall grey androgynous humanoids aren’t really aliens, they’re actually angels (all this based on an unrecognized text rejected from a book of fables)  flying around on Ezekiel’s wheeled chariot. Doubtless this clown has his own theory based on non-canonical pseudepigrapha which explains why they regularly hand out  prostate exams to drunken rednecks out in Bumfuck, Egypt.

To paraphrase the Beatles: the crazy people, where do they all come from?

Till the next post then.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fuck Oprah – Queen Of The Woo-sters

I was in the dentist’s office when I read this article – and to be honest, I never could stand her. And anyone taking medical advice from her show instead of consulting their doctor is a moron, regardless of gender.

Live Your Best Life Ever!

Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever!

In January, Oprah Winfrey invited Suzanne Somers on her show to share her unusual secrets to staying young. Each morning, the 62-year-old actress and self-help author rubs a potent estrogen cream into the skin on her arm. She smears progesterone on her other arm two weeks a month. And once a day, she uses a syringe to inject estrogen directly into her vagina. The idea is to use these unregulated "bio-identical" hormones to restore her levels back to what they were when she was in her 30s, thus fooling her body into thinking she's a younger woman. According to Somers, the hormones, which are synthesized from plants instead of the usual mare's urine (disgusting but true), are all natural and, unlike conventional hormones, virtually risk-free (not even close to true, but we'll get to that in a minute).

Next come the pills. She swallows 60 vitamins and other preparations every day. "I take about 40 supplements in the morning," she told Oprah, "and then, before I go to bed, I try to remember … to start taking the last 20." She didn't go into it on the show, but in her books she says that she also starts each day by giving herself injections of human growth hormone, vitamin B12 and vitamin B complex. In addition, she wears "nanotechnology patches" to help her sleep, lose weight and promote "overall detoxification." If she drinks wine, she goes to her doctor to rejuvenate her liver with an intravenous drip of vitamin C. If she's exposed to cigarette smoke, she has her blood chemically cleaned with chelation therapy. In the time that's left over, she eats right and exercises, and relieves stress by standing on her head. Somers makes astounding claims about the ability of hormones to treat almost anything that ails the female body. She believes they block disease and will double her life span. "I know I look like some kind of freak and fanatic," she said. "But I want to be there until I'm 110, and I'm going to do what I have to do to get there."

That was apparently good enough for Oprah. "Many people write Suzanne off as a quackadoo," she said. "But she just might be a pioneer." Oprah acknowledged that Somers's claims "have been met with relentless criticism" from doctors. Several times during the show she gave physicians an opportunity to dispute what Somers was saying. But it wasn't quite a fair fight. The doctors who raised these concerns were seated down in the audience and had to wait to be called on. Somers sat onstage next to Oprah, who defended her from attack. "Suzanne swears by bioidenticals and refuses to keep quiet. She'll take on anyone, including any doctor who questions her."

What do doctors say? Why, at least one medical expert (yes, not a fucking pseudo-doctor, an actual degree holder in the field of medicine) disagrees:

That would be a lot of doctors. Outside Oprah's world, there isn't a raging debate about replacing hormones. Somers "is simply repackaging the old, discredited idea that menopause is some kind of hormone-deficiency disease, and that restoring them will bring back youth," says Dr. Nanette Santoro, director of reproductive endocrinology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and head of the Reproductive Medicine Clinic at Montefiore Medical Center. They just don't need as much once they get past their childbearing years. Unless a woman has significant discomfort from hot flashes—and most women don't—there is little reason to prescribe them.

Another snippet:

This is where things get tricky. Because the truth is, some of what Oprah promotes isn't good, and a lot of the advice her guests dispense on the show is just bad. The Suzanne Somers episode wasn't an oddball occurrence. This kind of thing happens again and again on Oprah. Some of the many experts who cross her stage offer interesting and useful information (props to you, Dr. Oz). Others gush nonsense. Oprah, who holds up her guests as prophets, can't seem to tell the difference. She has the power to summon the most learned authorities on any subject; who would refuse her? Instead, all too often Oprah winds up putting herself and her trusting audience in the hands of celebrity authors and pop-science artists pitching wonder cures and miracle treatments that are questionable or flat-out wrong, and sometimes dangerous.

Here’s more asshattery from the TV diva:

In 2007, Oprah invited Jenny McCarthy, the Playboymodel and actress, to describe her struggle to find help for her young son. When he was 2½, Evan suffered a series of seizures. A neurologist told McCarthy he was autistic. "So what do you think triggered the autism?" Oprah asked McCarthy. "I know you have a theory."

McCarthy is certain that her son contracted autism from the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination he received as a baby. She told Oprah that the morning he went in for his checkup, her instincts told her not to allow the doctor to give him the vaccine. "I said to the doctor, I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn't it? And he said no, that is ridiculous; it is a mother's desperate attempt to blame something on autism. And he swore at me." The nurse gave Evan the shot. "And not soon thereafter," McCarthy said, "boom, soul gone from his eyes."

Of course he swore at you, you twit: you were saying something absolutely bugfuck stupid. This is proven science. In fact, Time magazine debunked this frivolity recently. Of course, McCarthy is one of those people who want to blame the consequences of genetics and evolution on somebody, anybody, because mothers in her position are only human, they want to have assurances that it wasn’t their fault (and guess what? It’s nobody’s fault. This poo-poo occurs).

And of course, Poprah doesn’t actually handle anything with a two-sided account. Oh no. In her little make-believe world, the celebrity trumps all:

But back on the Oprah show, McCarthy's charges went virtually unchallenged. Oprah praised McCarthy's bravery and plugged her book, but did not invite a physician or scientist to explain to her audience the many studies that contradict the vaccines-autism link. Instead, Oprah read a brief statement from the Centers for Disease Control saying there was no science to prove a connection and that the government was continuing to study the problem. But McCarthy got the last word. "My science is named Evan, and he's at home. That's my science." Oprah might say that McCarthy was just sharing her first-person story and that Oprah wasn't endorsing her point of view. But by the end of the show, the take-away message for any mother with young kids was pretty clear: be afraid.

Oh, but wait, Pope-ra actually had a real doctor back this claim up:

McCarthy is not the only guest who has warned Oprah's viewers off vaccines. Last summer Dr. Christiane Northrup, a physician and one of Oprah's regular experts, took questions from the audience. One woman asked about the HPV vaccine, which protects women against a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer. Northrup advised against getting the shot. "I'm a little against my own profession," she said. "My own profession feels that everyone should be vaccinated." But Northrup cautioned, "There have been some deaths from the vaccine." She suggested a different approach. "Where I'd put my money is getting everybody on a dietary program that would enhance their immunity, and then they would be able to resist that sort of thing. All right?"

And the basis for this claim?

It is true that of the millions of women who have received the vaccine, 32 have died in the days or weeks afterward. But in each case, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration investigated the deaths and found that they were coincidental and were not related to the shot.

And to top that off, ‘Dr.’ Northrup is a major league wooster:

Northrup holds a special place in Oprah's constellation of regular guests. A Dartmouth-educated ob-gyn, she stresses alternative therapies and unseen connections between the soul and the body that she believes conventional doctors overlook, but that she can see. She has written about how she has used Tarot cards to help diagnose her own illnesses. (On her Web site, she sells her own "Women's Wisdom Healing Cards.") In other words, she gets right to the center of Oprah's search for hidden mystical meanings. Oprah says she reads Northrup's menopause book "just like it's the Bible. It's the book next to my bed. I read the Bible. I read that book." (Disclosure: NEWSWEEK correspondent Pat Wingert, who worked on this article, and contributor Barbara Kantrowitz are coauthors of a book on menopause.)

Tarot cards? The bible? I used to read the Tarot myself – trust you me, there’s nothing in the cards that points to hypothyroidism, autism, or any sort of ‘-ism’ that afflicts the body. So, does she recommend the Leviticus cure for leprosy?

And not only that, Oprah actually recommended a procedure called thread-lifting (a form of plastic surgery with wires), that’s been since decried by the AAAAM as bunk. She also supported a fad called Thermage. Of course, the fact that it’s prototypical, that it was still a work in progress, was left out, along with the advice to consult one’s doctor.

As to her firm belief in the ‘Secret’, well, I think this idiotic anecdote says it all:

On one of the Secret shows, Oprah gave an example of the scientific power of the concept. She said that once, while she was hosting an episode about a man who could blow really big soap bubbles, she was thinking to herself, "Gee, that looks fun. I would like to blow some bubbles." When she returned to her office after the show, there, on her desk, was a silver Tiffany bubble blower. "So I call my assistant," Oprah told the audience. "I say, 'Did you just run out and get me some bubbles? 'Cause I got bubbles by my desk.' And she says, 'No, the bubbles were always there. I bought you bubbles for your birthday and you didn't notice them until today'."

There are many lessons that might be drawn from this anecdote. One is that if you give Oprah a thoughtful gift, she may not bother to notice it or thank you for it. This is not the lesson Oprah took away from her story. Because the way she sees it, her assistant hadn't really given her the gift at all. She gave it to herself. Using the power of The Secret, she said, "I had called in some bubbles."

I think the chronological sequence is irrelevant there. She’s the Queen of Woo, and she’s polluting people’s minds with this crap.

According to The Secret, however, the Law of Attraction can use the vibrations of the universe to deliver more than just bubbles. The book that Oprah urges everyone to live by teaches that all diseases can be cured with the power of thought alone: "The question frequently asked is, 'When a person has manifested a disease in the body temple … can it be turned around through the power of "right thinking"?' And the answer is absolutely, yes." The book then offers the testimonial of a woman identified as Cathy Goodman. "I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I truly believed in my heart, with my strong faith, that I was already healed. Each day I would say, 'Thank you for my healing'." Goodman watched "very funny movies" to make herself laugh. "From the time I was diagnosed to the time I healed was approximately three months. And that's without any radiation or chemotherapy."

So this is just the Placebo Effect, retrofitted to suit mass consumerism. We of course are treated to the selected highlights – the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy written large. Anecdotal ‘evidence’ to support the ‘theory’, and absolutely no contradicting stories to oppose it. (How many cancer patients have used this, and not succeeded?)

The message got through. In March 2007, the month after the first two shows on The Secret, Oprah invited a woman named Kim Tinkham on the program. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and her doctors were urging surgery and chemotherapy. But Tinkham wrote Oprah to say that she had decided to forgo this treatment and instead use The Secret to cure herself. On the show, Oprah seemed genuinely alarmed that Tinkham had taken her endorsement of The Secret so seriously. "When my staff brought this letter to me, I wanted to talk to her," Oprah told the audience. "I said, get her in here, OK?" On air, Oprah urged the woman to listen to her doctors. "I don't think that you should ignore all of the advantages of medical science and try to, through your own mind now because you saw a Secret tape, heal yourself," she said. A few weeks earlier, Oprah could not say enough in praise of The Secret as the guiding philosophy of her life. Now she said that people had somehow gotten the wrong idea. "I think that part of the mistake in translation of The Secret is that it's used to now answer every question in the world. It is not the answer to all questions," she instructed. "I just wanted to say it's a tool. It is not the answer to everything." The Law of Attraction was just one law of many that guide the universe. "Although I live my life that way," Oprah said, "I think it has its flaws."

No, Pope-ra, it’s not a tool. It’s a marketing device to rob the marks of their hard-earned money. Yes, it has a major flaw – it’s unmitigated crap.

I’ve never liked Oprah. From her ridiculous temper tantrum at the Hermes store (she yells ‘Racist!’ at a Store Closed sign), to her Mad Cow scare, to all her various stupidities on-air, I always ask this out loud: “Who voted her the voice of reason?” Obviously, the dim-witted viewers. I recall many years ago, she’d have these relatives who’d been lost to each other for decades. Of course, it all had to be 'staged’ i.e., long-separated mother and son (or father-daughter, or name your combination) had to wait until they were under the bright lights for their teary reunion.

There may be those who berate me, saying I’m threatened by a strong smart black woman, but I say she warrants only one of those adjectives, and it ain’t ‘smart’, nor is it ‘strong’. For my money, I’d go with Whoopi Goldberg. She’s funny, she’s extremely intelligent, and by far, she qualifies as a strong smart black woman and leaves Poprah way behind in the dust. However, the morons vote for the wrong person regularly.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The It Crowd – Time For A Little Hilarity

A friend at my old job turned me on to this show titled the IT Crowd. If you’ve ever worked IT, it’s an exceedingly funny show.

Bit o’ back story for this clip. Jen (the Relationship Manager in the show) goes on a date with an utter dud. She tells her employee Moss to get  rid of the guy if he comes around the office (everybody works in the same office building). Problem is, Moss is seriously socially challenged, and has problems gauging lies. So he tells Bill Crouse (that’s the dud’s name) that Jen has died.

The following clip always makes me laugh till I cry. Every time.



Saturday, June 13, 2009

Allegories Gone Wild – More Xenubites In The News, And Some Good News Sprinkled In With Some Rogue Clambake

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!


We all Wiki to some extent, do we not? (Personally, my favorite is Answers.com – it provides far more multiple cross-references to different sources than the wiki version, and besides, it provides some pretty nifty tools to add to your browser and right-click menu.) Now it can’t be considered a primary source, mostly due to the fact that anyone can go in and edit sections. (Hey, I’ve done it myself on occasion, mostly to correct egregious errors, like an old Wiki page for the Negative Proof fallacy that claimed that believers and atheists shared the burden of proof.) The honor system principle is much like the concept of communism – they’d both work well if people understood the concept of sharing.

So the latest news is that the Xenubites have officially been excommunicated from the Wiki site. I (of course) don’t agree with the author’s article for the most part – Scientology is a vicious viral meme, and should be treated with iron fists, no velvet gloves allowed. There’s  rumors that they’ll try to start their own Wiki (think Conservapedia, only a lot crazier with the martyr complex), but we’ll see.

Norway is considering prosecuting Scientology for fraud. Another smart nation, France, is also following suit (pun intended)

An online opinion survey released by the White House this week ranks legalizing pot, playing online poker and cracking down on Scientologists as far more important issues.

And (no surprise here) Axiom 10 productions is actually policing the wimps at YouTube, demanding that any videos unfairly persecuting providing incriminating evidence against their religion cult be removed.

And in other news (not necessarily good), there are now schisms in the cult, and there are actually splinter sects known as Free Zones (and the folks that belong to these are called…you guessed it, Free Zoners). So now I’m guessing it won’t be long before there’ll be a ‘No True Scientologist’™ fallacy making the rounds.

On a different note, there is now a Freethought Pedia – definitely worth a look see.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And Here I Am Again – And When Did I Get So Damn Old?

So last Saturday, June the 6th, I went and competed in another Wushu tournament. Three Gold medals and a Silver (I almost lost my heavy metal fan, and kept pushing my glasses back up my nose, which is why I placed second). And yes, I need to lose that weight, but I conveniently blame my hypothyroidism.

Still, pretty spry for an old guy, or so I keep telling myself…


Monday, June 08, 2009

Lies The Christians Tell: George Bernard Shaw

I'm an atheist and I thank God for it. - Shaw

Deathbed recantations are especially obnoxious. Have you heard this one yet?

The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt Its counsels which should have established the millennium, led instead directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped destroy the faith of millions of worshippers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost the faith. – George Bernard Shaw

Do a Google on select portions of this quote (in quotation marks), and guess what pops up? You got it – religious websites decrying atheism. Closer inspection shows (surprise!) that not one of them ever cites the work this quote is from.

It took a bit of searching, but I double-checked the fact listed here, which states:

Evangelist and editor Homer Duncan has been instrumental in spreading this fraud. The words are actually from Act 3 of Shaw's 1932 play Too Good to be True. Shaw, incidentally, was not an atheist (Free Inquiry, Winter 1985/86: 37-38).

And sure enough – it is in Act 3, the character of the Elder, and I quote:

THE ELDER [rising impulsively] Determinism is gone, shattered, buried with a thousand dead religions, evaporated with the clouds of a million forgotten winters. The science I pinned my faith to is bankrupt: its tales were more foolish than all the miracles of the priests, its cruelties more horrible than all the atrocities of the Inquisition. Its spread of enlightenment has been a spread of cancer: its counsels that were to have established the millennium have led straight to European suicide. And I--I who believed in it as no religious fanatic has ever believed in his superstition! For its sake I helped to destroy the faith of millions of worshippers in the temples of a thousand creeds. And now look at me and behold the supreme tragedy of the atheist who has lost his faith--his faith in atheism, for which more martyrs have perished than for all the creeds put together. Here I stand, dumb before my scoundrel of a son; for that is what you are, boy, a common scoundrel and nothing else.

Shaw was apparently an atheist for a short while, but became a mystic, blathering about the ‘Life Force’. He also was something of a nut:

Shaw joined in the public opposition to vaccination against smallpox, calling it "a particularly filthy piece of witchcraft", despite having nearly died from the disease when he contracted it in 1881. In the preface to Doctor’s Dilemma he made it plain he regarded traditional medical treatment as dangerous quackery that should be replaced with sound public sanitation, good personal hygiene and diets devoid of meat. Shaw became a vegetarian while he was twenty-five, after hearing a lecture by H. F. Lester. In 1901, remembering the experience, he said "I was a cannibal for twenty-five years. For the rest I have been a vegetarian." As a staunch vegetarian, he was a firm anti-vivisectionist and antagonistic to cruel sports for the remainder of his life. The belief in the immorality of eating animals was one of the Fabian causes near his heart and is frequently a topic in his plays and prefaces. His position, succinctly stated, was "A man of my spiritual intensity does not eat corpses."

His political beliefs pretty much widen the eyes and drop the jaw:

Shaw asserted that each social class strove to serve its own ends, and that the upper and middle classes won in the struggle while the working class lost. He condemned the democratic system of his time, saying that workers, ruthlessly exploited by greedy employers, lived in abject poverty and were too ignorant and apathetic to vote intelligently. He believed this deficiency would ultimately be corrected by the emergence of long-lived supermen with experience and intelligence enough to govern properly. He called the developmental process elective breeding but it is sometimes referred to as shavian eugenics, largely because he thought it was driven by a "Life Force" that led women—subconsciously—to select the mates most likely to give them superior children. The outcome Shaw envisioned is dramatised in Back to Methuselah, a monumental play depicting human development from its beginning in the Garden of Eden until the distant future.

In 1882, influenced by Henry George's views on land nationalization, Shaw concluded that private ownership of land and its exploitation for personal profit was a form of theft, and advocated equitable distribution of land and natural resources and their control by governments intent on promoting the commonwealth. Shaw believed that income for individuals should come solely from the sale of their own labour and that poverty could be eliminated by giving equal pay to everyone. These concepts led Shaw to apply for membership of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), led by H. M. Hyndman who introduced him to the works of Karl Marx. Shaw never joined the SDF, which favoured forcible reforms. Instead, in 1884, he joined the newly formed Fabian Society, which accorded with his belief that reform should be gradual and induced by peaceful means rather than by outright revolution. Shaw was an active Fabian. He wrote many of their pamphlets, lectured tirelessly on behalf of their causes and provided money to set up the The New Age, an independent socialist journal. As a Fabian, he participated in the formation of the Labour Party. The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism provides a clear statement of his socialistic views. As evinced in plays like Major Barbara and Pygmalion, class struggle is a motif in much of Shaw's writing.

After visiting the USSR in the 1930s where he met Stalin, Shaw became an ardent supporter of the Stalinist USSR. The preface to his play On the Rocks (1933) is primarily an effort to justify the pogroms conducted by the State Political Directorate (OGPU). In an open letter to the Manchester Guardian, he dismisses stories of a Soviet famine as slanderous and calls reports of its exploited workers falsehoods. He wrote a defense of Stalin's espousal of Lysenkoism in a letter to Labour Monthly.

So Shaw was an anti-vaccinationist, anti-evolutionist, pro-Stalin socialist, a Lysenkoist, a vegetarian, and all-around blowhard. Good writer, though.

The video clip I’ve provided is worthwhile up until the end of Shaw’s speech: the rest of it’s ridiculous rhetoric (I’m fairly sure that Himmler didn’t cop any ideas off of Shaw anyhow).

So, no, he doesn’t qualify for the Profiles in Atheism (I usually don’t include folks who renege later in life), but he sure qualifies under Fringe Theories.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

When Philosophy Fails: The Futility Of Utility

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!calvin_happy2

I have been made aware of Peter Singer and his utilitarianism, through blogversations with atheists and theists alike – I cannot say I approve enthusiastically. In fact, I’d go as far as saying I disagree, with a slight curl of the lip. Of all the –isms to choose from, I find this one less than satisfactory.

Just because I agree with his take on religion, is not an agreement in toto.


Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all people. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined by its outcome. Utility, the good to be maximized, has been defined by various thinkers as happiness or pleasure (versus suffering or pain), although preference utilitarians like Peter Singer define it as the satisfaction of preferences. It may be described as a life stance, with happiness or pleasure being of ultimate importance.

Utilitarianism is described by the phrase "the greatest good for the greatest number of people". Therefore, it is also known as "the greatest happiness principle". Utilitarianism can thus be characterised as a quantitative and reductionist approach to ethics. It can be contrasted with deontological ethics (which do not regard the consequences of an act as the sole determinant of its moral worth) and virtue ethics (which focuses on character), as well as with other varieties of consequentialism. Adherents of these opposing views have extensively criticised the utilitarian view, but utilitarians have been similarly critical of other schools of thought. And like any ethical theory, the application of utilitarianism is heavily dependent on the moral agent's full range of wisdom, experience, social skills, and life skills.

Easily dissected, I cannot agree. As human beings (both on an individual basis as well as collective) have proven multitudinous times, the strong swim towards pleasure can often lead towards disastrous results. The sexual revolution, for instance, came about because of the ability to treat STDs like gonorrhea and syphilis with the pop of a pill (there are other reasons of course, but I consider that a primary). Decades later, penicillin-resistant strains of these poxes bedevil us still.

Singer is the foremost proponent of animal liberation:

In Animal Liberation, Singer argues against what he calls speciesism: discrimination on the grounds that a being belongs to a certain species. He holds the interests of all beings capable of suffering to be worthy of equal consideration, and that giving lesser consideration to beings based on their having wings or fur is no more justified than discrimination based on skin color. He argues that animals should have rights based on their ability to feel pain more than their intelligence. In particular, he argues that while animals show lower intelligence than the average human, many severely retarded humans show equally diminished, if not lower, mental capacity, and intelligence therefore does not provide a basis for providing nonhuman animals any less consideration than such retarded humans. He also points out that many primates have learned to communicate with American sign language (ASL) or symbol languages. These include chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and an orangutan. Primates that have learned ASL or symbol languages include Washoe, Koko, Chantek, and Kanzi. Likewise, pigs, birds, primates and cetaceans can rank as being as intelligent as children. Singer does not specifically contend that we ought not use animals for food insofar as they are raised and killed in a way that actively avoids the inflicting of pain, but as such farms are uncommon, he concludes that the most practical solution is to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet. Singer also condemns vivisection except where the benefit (in terms of improved medical treatment, etc.) outweighs the harm done to the animals used.

I am foursquare and unapologetically a speciesist. Because of the commonality of biology I share with my fellow human beings, I will likely rate them higher on the value scale (there would be exceptions: people who would prey upon animals for the mere enjoyment may incite me to some level of anger, and devalue themselves). So I would still value a human being (mentally challenged) higher than a primate. I am not in favor of animal suffering: I see that as irrational.


Singer states that arguments for or against abortion should be based on utilitarian calculation which weighs the preferences of a mother against the preferences of the fetus. A preference is anything sought to be obtained or avoided; all forms of benefit or harm caused to a being correspond directly with the satisfaction or frustration of one or more of its preferences. Since a capacity to experience suffering or satisfaction is a prerequisite to having any preferences at all, and a fetus, at least up to around eighteen weeks, says Singer, has no capacity to suffer or feel satisfaction, it is not possible for such a fetus to hold any preferences at all. In a utilitarian calculation, there is nothing to weigh against a mother's preferences to have an abortion, therefore abortion is morally permissible.

Similar to his argument for abortion, Singer argues that newborns similarly lack the essential characteristics of personhood — "rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness" — and therefore "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."

I would go along with the first paragraph, but no to the second – again, my speciesist tendencies revolt. This is an evolutionary mechanism built into us. It is not the only yardstick. There is the potential future folded into the infant – it is a (non-supernatural) wonder waiting to blossom, a flowering of a new being…I could go on some rhetorical flourish, but the short version is I’d likely give my life to save a baby. Hard to argue with that, I think.

I have no argument with his stand on poverty – it’s sensible.

Zoophilianow I have an issue.

In a 2001 review of Midas Dekkers's Dearest Pet: On Bestiality,[35] Singer stated that "mutually satisfying activities" of a sexual nature may sometimes occur between humans and animals and that writer Otto Soyka would condone such activities. Singer explains Dekker's belief that zoophilia should remain illegal if it involves what he sees as "cruelty", but otherwise is no cause for shock or horror. However, Singer does not claim to endorse the views of either Dekker or Soyka, merely to be explaining them. Singer believes that although sex between species is not normal or natural, it does not constitute a transgression of our status as human beings, because human beings are animals or, more specifically, "we are great apes". Some religious individuals and animal rights groups have condemned this view.

This is a major problem – where one can indeed be too liberal. It may not ‘constitute a transgression of our status as human beings’, but regardless of the fact that we are animals, bestiality is rated as a mental disorder, and for good reason. An inability to form a sexual liaison with another adult, a frisson for something that’s not human, is decidedly abnormal. I am not committing the naturalistic fallacy when I state that animals are incapable of granting consent – so are children, because when it comes to human beings, either you can communicate, or you can’t. Silence as assent was bogus when Plato said as much, and it still is. And really, how many dumb animals can actually say no?

I would go as far to say – that the application of bioethics vis-a-vis utilitarianism lends itself to a breakdown of moral universalism (of which I’m a proponent). Consider:

It is widely considered that infants are a high value to any society at large, regardless of level (we shall grant this a high degree of universality, shall we?). It’s a survival mechanism to breed in numbers. By applying the above principles (i.e., giving animals a higher value rating than infants, despite the ability of the latter to develop cognition incrementally), we lose fundamental values we normally ascribe to potential moral agents. One might argue that the word ‘potential’ is meaningless, but we live in a society (and indeed a world) that is built on the concept of potentiality. Potentiality has value. “The children are our future!”, while somewhat trite and cliché, still stands.

The slippery slope is not my favorite specter to invoke -  I see it abused gratuitously on the internet. But there is merit in it sometimes. If we change the moral value of an infant in society’s eyes, it stands to reason the infant will become more abused. If we grant the non-human animal greater status than we grant our own children (a sentence that I personally never dreamed I would write or speak), then it is my opinion that we lose – both in the short term as well as the long term.

As to the zoophilia angles – well, I’m sorry, but there is such a thing as being TOO liberal. With the rising tide of pandemics (from the Avian flu to the Swine flu), this option is anything but viable.

Anyways, that’s my nickel’s worth. Flip it or spend it, it’s up to you.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

How Creationists View Evolution

Funny as this is, the scary part is that the large percentile of creationists actually agree with this video.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Who’s That Old Guy? Wait, That’s Yours Truly!

Last Saturday, I competed in another martial arts tournament. Yes, that’s me in the pony tail. The style I’m performing is Fu Style Tai Chi, created by Fu Zhen Sung, a Pa Kua master who created the style when he retired.

I always place with this form, and this is about the sixth time. I also brought home 3 other gold medals, and a Grand Champion plaque for my division.

It’s a little bit of all right. Funny story: right before I was ready to leave, my name was announced. I was confused, mostly because the last tournament, you had to enter 6 events, I only entered 4 in this one. Plus, I thought I had to pay extra (which I hadn’t). So I reported to the announcement table, and one of the people lugs over this HUGE trophy. I was agog. Luckily, it was a kid’s trophy (I don’t think the thing would’ve fit into my car anyways), and they brought the plaque over.

Am going to another tourney this Saturday – wish me good play, as luck’s got nothing to do with it (why do I hear a Tina Turner song in my head when I say that? Hmmm…)