Monday, December 21, 2009

Harvey Harvey

Harvey Solipsist everyone!

Monday, November 16, 2009

QoTD

“Faith is no reason.” - K.Peters

Thursday, September 17, 2009

some saint i suppose

our lady of perpetual anguish

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

enfer

someone asked, what does it mean to infer, and I almost shouted out...

"Infer", say lez otters.

ok, fairly random, even I will admit.

enfer, c'est les autres.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Portable Atheist

This book may have made atheism so boring that i'd just about be willing to try any religion that promised to keep me awake. yadda yadda, there is no god. i get it. why so many pages!!! jeeeze

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Darwin based toys

"HEY MOM, WHERE DID HUMANS COME FROM?"NEW EVOLUTION TOYS FROM CHARLIE'S
PLAYHOUSE HAVE THE ANSWER

Scientist Mom Creates Line of Kids' Toys Teaching Darwin's Theory of
Evolution

Pawtucket, RI (August 28, 2009) - It happens to all parents at some point.
Their child looks up with big beautiful eyes and asks an impossibly
difficult question: "Where did humans come from?", or "What came before the
dinosaurs?" or worse, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" Questions
like these inspired one scientist mom to create a toy line that introduces
kids to evolution. Charlie's Playhouse, named affectionately after Charles
Darwin, offers kids as young as 4 years captivating games and toys to
stretch their scientific literacy.

"Our children deserve to know about the dazzling history of life on this
planet," explains Kate Miller, PhD, founder and president of Charlie's
Playhouse. "Toy stores are brimming with educational toys on every
science -- physics, chemistry, geology, even biology -- but nothing on
evolution. Dinosaur toys are everywhere but they don't talk about evolution.
We know from our research that parents and teachers are looking for these
products."

Dr. Miller has created the first-ever line of products that fills this
gaping hole. Shop Charlie's Playhouse online at www.charliesplayhouse.com or
at select museum shops and specialty retailers for the following products:

Giant Evolution Timeline Playmat * $49 * Ages 4+
The flagship product of the company, this richly illustrated mat lets kids
skip, jump, and play through the history of life, accompanied by "Charlie"
Darwin, 67 amazing creatures from the fossil record, and much more. The size
of a coffee table book when folded, it expands to fully 18 feet long. The
playmat is printed on an environmentally friendly synthetic paper called
Polylith(tm), and comes with a boisterous Activity Guide for ages four to
ten, a glossary and FAQs for kids, adults and educators. Printed in the US.
This product just won the Dr. Toy Green Products Award.

Giant Evolution Timeline Poster * $29 * Ages 4+ The same graphic as the
Giant Evolution Timeline Playmat, but smaller and suitable for hanging on
the wall. Ten inches tall and twelve feet long -- perfect for hanging at
child-eye height in a hallway! The poster comes with a boisterous Activity
Guide for ages four to ten, a glossary and FAQs for kids, adults and
educators. Printed in the US.

Ancient Creature Cards * $19 * Ages 4+ Each of the colorful 67 creatures
from the Giant Evolution Timeline gets its own card with illustration, fun
facts, size comparison figure and more. Printed on generously sized 8.5" by
5.5" cards. Great alone or in combination with the Giant Evolution Timeline.

Apparel * $11.19 and up * Sizes Infant to Adult
Show off your scientific literacy on all-things-Darwin with these clever
tees, totes, hats and sweatshirts with slogans like "98% Chimpanzee" and
"Product of Natural Selection."

Taking the toy line one step farther, Dr. Miller blogs on a range of topics
at www.charliesplayhouse.com. Parents and children can click and discover
such topics as:

... nyctosaurus, a pterosaur with a difference. It had no hands on its
wings, so it couldn't climb or crawl -- scientists think that it rarely ever
landed on the ground, staying afloat in the air for most of its life!

... meet Socotra Island, plopped in the Indian Ocean and cut off from the
nearest land for 18 million years or so. And yup, it's got bizarre plants
and animals not to be found anywhere else. Check out the Dragon's Blood
tree, or Dracaena Tree.

Click on the resources tab at Charlie's Playhouse website (www.
charliesplayhouse.com) and you can also find a free bibliography of
children's books on evolution, including picture books, story books,
pop-ups, comics, coloring books, activity books, books in Spanish, very old
books, very new books -- all for readers aged three through fifteen.
Charlie's Playhouse has highlighted its top twelve picks and selected some
"recession buster" books that everyone can afford. The company also links to
recommended science websites where parents and teachers can learn more about
evolution.

The toy industry and the general public has taken notice of Charlie's
Playhouse. This month the young company won the Best of Rhode Island 2009
Award featured in the August issue of Rhode Island Monthly. Dr. Toy anointed
the Giant Evolution Timeline with her Best Green Product for 2009. The award
honors green products made by companies striving to inspire children to
appreciate the environment and help them learn to take better care of our
natural resources. And TD Monthly featured Charlie's Playhouse in its June
2009 New Toys column for Science and Nature.

Evolution Explained - Dinosaurs, Chimps and Hallucigenia - Oh My! .... It's
an
unequivocally huge hit with the kids around our place. What kid doesn't love
animals? And particularly dinosaurs. It features amazing creatures from the
fossil record that are intelligently arranged on sea, land and sky. The
poster is perfect for hanging at kids' eye height in a hallway, and my kids
love to walk on the play mat and act out evolution in their own highly
creative and hugely inaccurate way. Educational for everyone, hilarious for
the onlookers!
--The Opinionated Parent

Evolution is a controversial topic, admits Dr. Miller. "I discovered that
our national science standards don't mention biological evolution until high
school, or middle school at earliest. I was raised in a household where
evolution was normal, like gravity, so hearing about evolution for the first
time in high school strikes me as odd, like learning that the Earth revolves
around the Sun sometime around your junior prom. As a member of the
standards panel later told me over coffee, that recommendation was driven
not by children's inability to grasp the concepts but by elementary
teachers' discomfort with the material," explains Dr. Miller.

"Why is there no infrastructure for presenting evolutionary ideas to young
children? No doubt it's due to political concerns in corporate America, yet
for most people evolution does not contradict their beliefs in any way." Dr.
Miller continues, "Many parents who have been looking for evolution-themed
toys have found their way to me; these parents are religious, they are
secular, they are home-schoolers, they are mainstream, they are everyone.
Why should this majority be deprived of educational fun stuff for their kids
because of the few who politicize the issue? At the very least, kids have to
be aware of evolutionary ideas for the same reason that they need to know
about religion: it's basic cultural literacy."

Working against the notion that evolution is at odds with religious belief,
Charlie's Playhouse has teamed up with Butler University Professor Michael
Zimmerman, creator of The Clergy Letter project. This project gathers
signatures from numerous clergy of various denominations on a letter
affirming their embrace of evolutionary theory as a core component of human
knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith. In February 2009, Dr.
Miller distributed Giant Evolution Timelines to five clergy signatories in
RI, who used them in their sermons or schools. In 2010 she plans to offer
products nationwide to all signatories of the Clergy Letter Project.

ABOUT CHARLIE'S PLAYHOUSE

Rhode Island-based Charlie's Playhouse LLC makes the first-ever games and
toys that teach children about evolution, natural selection and Charles
Darwin. The company was founded by scientist and mom Kate Miller, Ph.D.,
after she was unable to find fun, educational products for her two young
sons that addressed evolution.

Dr. Miller is a consultant to the Evolution Readiness Project at Concord
Consortium in Concord, MA. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the
project is creating a computer-based curriculum to teach fourth graders
about evolution, to be tested in a dozen schools in MA, TX and MO.

Prior to founding Charlie's Playhouse, Dr. Miller researched women's
reproductive health in sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. She holds a
Ph.D. in demography from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of
Public Health from Columbia University. Visit www.charliesplayhouse.com for
more information.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

just feed me to the lions

and get it over with. or, wait, that was the x-tians. why do they get all the fun? first come first served?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

no god

no hell below us, above us only sky - lennon

it's easy

it's easy
you get to choose
you can try to force the evidence line up with your worldview.
or you can let your worldview line up with the evidence.

either way, is a journey
we all have to take
either way, is a journey
fraught with peril

it's the best game in town.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sarah Palin

Honestly, all this coverage of Sarah Palin. I'm tired of it. It is distracting. It seems like the R's just put her out there as a lightning rod for the party. All the hoopla around her resignation is the best thing that ever happened to them. Takes all the pressure off everybody, including Rush and Hannity and Beck, for all the other stupid stuff that's going on. Just wait, this is not a ploy about Palin, it's a ploy for the R's in general to regroup under the cover of this smokescreen they put her up to. Grand Circus. Just wait and see.

I wanted to say that this Palin escapade is her Jumping the Shark, but, no, I think it is far more well thought out than that.

Palin hasn't quit politics. She IS politics.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Black Swan

A rambling book by a glib and self indulgent author. It is laced with anecdotes and illustrative stories even while cautioning against the use of such devices. The central theme is that random and unforeseeable events (such as the "discovery" of black swans when all swans were thought to be white) have a great impact on our lives, and that most of what we see as progress is the result of these discontinuities, as opposed to the results of hard work. He calls for skepticism in all things.

I think he's looking at things the wrong way, and cherry picking to support his arguments. He also sounds like the kind of person I would get stuck listening to at a cocktail party. Clever, but without direction.

One primary theme throughout the book is that sudden change comes about suddenly and is of greater impact than the daily machinations of the average person. He gives several examples, the internet being one, as if it just sprang into being one fine day without decades of work being put into it by thousands of scientists and enginners. OK, so we can forgive his blindspot. When something arrives to his conciousness he might well think it just happened recently and miraculously without any forsight, and it might indeed have great impact on him. But that doesn't mean it "just happened". This is the kind of thinking leads one to believe in saltation of species as opposed to the slow and methodical processes that we know to be true.

Much of it seems wrong, being based upon reasoning by analogy. Much of the rest seems obvious, such as the admonishment not to cross the street while wearing a blindfold. A lot of it is pretty obviously made up, such as the story about Yevgenia Krasnova. In the end, there's very little you can take away from this book, except perhaps fodder for your own cocktail conversations.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Faith v Reason

Read an interesting post recently about Faith vs Reason, and I think it was off the mark entirely. Yes I know that Martin Luther called reason the enemy of faith, but let's face it, he was just another religious whack job.

Here's my reasoning. Or you can take it on faith. Faith depends on reason. Why? Well, take any of them, judism, xtianity, islam, they all derive certain rules, laws, morals, etc. from whatever "sacred" texts were handed to them. They start from certain givens, and through reasoning, i.e. some thought process, they arrive at their conclusions.

Reasoning is central to creating dogma, to creating a church, to creating a faith. If you just start with the sacred texts, you don't have much to form a society on. So, religious folk use reasoning to support their conclusions based on whatever their starting point or givens were.

Great. So reasoning is essential to religion. Then how did someone as smart as Martin Luther, let alone others, ever come to the idea that reason was bad?

Here's my thought. religious and non-religious reasoning use the same mental tools, but they start with different givens, and possibly stop before they've reached their ulimate conclusion.

So, a bible literalist might start with a 6,000 year old earth, and then use reasoning to support what he sees today. He starts from a given, sees fossils in the grand canyon, and comes up with reasoning to support the conclusion in light of the given.

A rational person might look at fossils, not start with a 6,000 year old earth, but rather start with a knowledge of processes that produce fossils and come up with a much older earth.

So starting point or givens, and ending point, in something that needs explaining, and the reasonable and creative thought process that one needs to undertake to connect the two.

The genius is the ability to explain things appropriate to your givens, and be able to support it, or not really support it, but support your givens, so that enough other people who support the givens will also pick up your thread of reason.

Reason is the workhorse of the faithful, not it's enemy. It's just that the faithful have different starting points than most of us, so that our reason scares them in some way. It's still the same creative process.

An epiphany, or realization, is the changing of a fundemental starting point. I came to the realization that x... it changes my starting point, that I had to change my understanding or belief in order to support what I see around me to be true. This has far reaching consequences.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Scientology

On trial in France for alleged organized fraud but I ask you, which religion cannot be considered organized fraud? h/t dawkins.net

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

All in your head

NPR asks "Is god all in your head?" To which I answer, "No, duh, where else would it be?"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

30 Rock quote

Science was my most favorite subject, especially the Old Testament.” - Kenneth

Friday, May 1, 2009

Religion questions

Religion answers the unanswerable? Or is it that Atheism questions the unquestionable?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

God Man

http://www.salon.com/comics/boll/2009/04/30/boll/index.html

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Starting the countdown

I'm starting the official countdown to the time the first evangelical announces that the swine flu is brought upon us by wrath of an angry god.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Misplaced thanks...

I'm eavesdropping. A guy says to the phone, "If there is a god I'd like to thank him for getting these scanners installed and reducing our workload." (The woman on the other end says, "Yes, I know exactly what you mean"). In this case it is either misplaced thanks, or meant to be shorthand thanks for the dozens of people that went into making that scanner project a reality at his office. Wouldn't it have been nicer for him just to thank George, the guy whose idea it was to get the scanners in there in the first place? I have no idea what the woman was thinking. Did she know exactly what he meant? Did he mean that there really is no god but he'd like to thank someone anyway? I have no idea what he meant. Funny.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Saints

Science has produced no saints, but why would it? Saints are theological constructs.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

admirer?

"I like the contradictory nature of your name; sleepiness combined with an insect considered to be one of the most destructive pests!"

even a tiny aphid has big dreams

Google Books

What a fine thing Google Books is for primary research.

Happy Yeaster

The yeast is risen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Even Better Saturday

The yeast is definitely rising.

On a side note, many photos and stories of whack-a-loons flagellating themselves, tying (and even nailing !!!) themselves to crosses and parading themselves through the streets. I guess nobody has the lock on lunacy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

The yeast is rising.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

One of the things I really like about christian culture... hot cross buns. I love the flavor and the texture, the raisins, and the lemon. You know, they probably are not christian in origin. Like so many good things they were probably co-opted. I'll have to look this up some day.

There are actually many things I like about christian culture. I'm sure I'll think of some. You know, if it were not for christian culture there would not have been all of those churches and monasteries for my ancestors to plunder back in the middle ages. All that wealth to redistribute. Then where would we be?

Plundering buns.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Is it?

Is the yeast risen yet? Is it? No? Soon then. It will certainly be a miracle when it happens.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mn Indulgences

I remember taking a history course in 7th grade and talking about Martin Luther and how one of the things that split the church apart was the selling of indulgences. Most of us laughed about how stupid the idea of indulgences sounded these 500 or so years later.

But now they are selling them again in Minnesota

Friday, April 3, 2009

Aposty in Argentia

They are renouncing their catholic souls down south, as well they should.

http://www.rue89.com/2009/04/03/un-millier-dargentins-renoncent-a-la-foi-catholique

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Battlestar Galactica

On the whole I have liked this Battlestar Galactica series. But the overwhelming god content and focus on intelligent design of the last hour just left me reeling. Yuck!

Oh look there are hominids on this planet, and they have DNA that is compatible with our own, we could mate with them, (why would we want to?) this is proof that there must be a universal divine creator / designer. WTF?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Evil Giants

This is precisely the case that we are talking about. Pascal's wager in a nutshell.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marriage

"God created sex. Priests created marriage."- Voltaire
or not... S.A.

If it were not for the church we would have have a Valentine's day to celebrate, and maybe we'd be all the better off for that.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Evidence

There really is no scientific argument against the evolution at this point. There hasn't been for many decades. There are religious and cultural arguments against it, but not scientific arguments and certainly not scientific evidence against it. So where we are today is we have religious and cultural "leaders" hoping to wrap themselves in opposition to evolution in order to gain power of the poorly educated masses. The dumb leading the dumb.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Let it go

You should fear losing your religion. Once it is lost, it is lost for good. But also for the better. All those things they tell you about going to hell, about having no morality, about being empty and bitter and having no joy. That's what they have to tell themselves about us. They have to fear the great transition from believer to unbeliever. To build this artificial barrier. This barrier to competition. But once you give those things up, one by one, realize you're not going to hell, that you've always been the master of your own morality, that you are more full of joy and full of life than ever before, that you can let go of empty promises of an afterlife that is never going to happen and live in the moment. You can be at peace. No guilt. And the best part? You can still pray and mediate and whatever else you want to do and nobody is going to judge you. Prayer and meditation work to calm the spirit even if you don't believe in the deity that you might be praying to. I've been known to use phrases like "god damn it", "lord only knows", and "amen to that", because I like the way they sound. They have a place in the language. So even though billions of smarter people than me have found excuses or reasons for wanting to believe, just take my advice and let it go. You'll be happier that you did.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the revealed truth of God

"We have nothing against freedom of religion. Everybody should be free to believe whatever they want, and no religion should get special treatment. But when it comes to the Bible, we aren't talking about religion. The Bible is the revealed truth of God." h/t - mt

Thursday, January 15, 2009

HHS Increases Doctors' Conscience Protection

...employees who refuse to participate in care that they find ethically, morally, or religiously objectionable.

So, if they find it objectionable to provide health care to an atheist, or member of another minority group, would they be covered by this law? I don't really know. But I'd like to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tex us puh leeze

Texas School Board says (by way of discovery institute) ...students to examine the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories in order to strengthen students' critical thinking skills.

See, I am absolutely for the idea that students should strengthen their critical thinking skills. I know that I should strengthen mine as well, as far as that goes. And this is why I completely agree that students, especially those in Texas, should examine the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories. Very few of us understand the degree of critical thinking that goes into proper scientific method, and if we did understand we would hopefully see things in a clearer light, one that can lead to true progress. So comparing something built on critical thinking, such as the current scientific body of work, against something that is not at all built on critical thinking, this might just strengthen America's future. And more importantly, the result of such an examination, leading to honed critical thinking skills for
the Texas student population that , would inexorably show the so called holy books for what they are, nothing other than myth and superstition. So given that, let's do battle in Texas.

Friday, January 2, 2009

goD in the Comics

I used to poke fun at BC for Johnny Hart's's blatant xtian ramblings. But they seem to have toned it down since Johnny hart passed on in 2007. For the last week or so we've had Jumpstart's little infants asking questions about gd. Today's was so funny because it implied that some god exists that actually has the power to dial a phone and call the police, clearly mistaking parents for a higher power. We had some godheads in Zippy last month as well. I wonder what other people feel about using comics in this way? For me, it clearly answers the question of the existence an imaginary creature that a large part of our culture has adopted and empowered to guide and control their lives. I just keep wondering what purpose it serves them?