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Friday, April 29, 2005

[+/-]
 Today's quote: Twain

If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be... a Christian.
~ Mark Twain

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[+/-]
 Detainee questioning faked

Chimpy McFlightsuit's secret military fuckheads staged the interrogations of terrorism suspects for members of Congress and other officials visiting the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to make it appear the government was obtaining valuable intelligence

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

[+/-]
 Today's quote: Hitler

"Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work."
~ Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

[Nanovirus does not endorse this opinion, but selected the quote for illustrative comparison with current leaders of state that would justify evil policies in the name of religion.]

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha good one. Next comparison: Vietnam.

12:27 AM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

Bush gave props to you last night:

BUSH: Well, I can only speak to myself. And I am mindful that people in political office should say to somebody, "You're not equally American if you don't happen to agree with my view of religion."

As I said, I think faith is a personal issue. And I take great strength from my faith. But I don't condemn somebody in the political process because they may not agree with me on religion.

The great thing about America is that you should be allowed to worship any way you want. And if you chose not to worship, you're equally as patriotic as somebody who does worship. And if you choose to worship, you're equally American if you're a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim.

And that's the wonderful thing about our country and that's the way it should be.

10:40 AM  

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[+/-]
 Bible poop quiz

To ensure that you are taking as close a walk as possible with the Lord by at least feigning interest in His fetishes, it behooves you to brush up on the Lord's favorite scatological scripture.

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[+/-]
 Whose nation under God?

Robert Kuttner argues that President Bush, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, and company are playing with serious fire:
America, which separated church and state precisely to protect the private right to worship, has long had its share of religious absolutists who have wanted to harness the power of the state to their own view of revealed truth. But never before in our history has the government deliberately and cynically intervened on the side of the zealots....

What's under siege here is nothing less than the Enlightenment.... The philosophers of the Enlightenment were men of science who understood that faith could not be disputed but that reason could be subjected to the test of logic and evidence....

Today's religious extremists are not only trying to use the state, with all its power, as religious proselytizer. They oppose science when it happens to conflict with their version of revealed truth. They twist history to claim that the Republic's freethinking Founders, like Jefferson, Adams, and Madison, were really theocrats like themselves. They long for the predemocratic world of absolutes circa 1500.

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[+/-]
 Fundies hate business

Some christian taliban pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and morning-after pills, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

GMU Economics Professor Russ Roberts explains why privacy in commerce is useful:
In America at least, our culture would be offended by an owner who only traded with people he approved of morally, politically and religiously. Privacy is respected by both buyers and sellers. The only disclosure requirement is the color of your money (or the validity of your credit card) and the quality of the product that is received in return.

That culture that respects privacy helps produce the extended order of human cooperation that sustains our well-being.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

[+/-]
 Today's quote: Russell

"Religion is based... mainly on fear... fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.... My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race."
~ Bertrand Russell

2 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

Thre is nothing to fear in religion. It is fear that religion removes from a person not the other way around.

10:12 PM  
Blogger MichaelBains said...

I first heard Russell on a video shown by my Theology teacher at Lorain Catholic HS when I was 15.

I don't recall the how or why of that occasion, only how grateful I am to have seen that clip.

Religion removes Reason and replaces it with Faith. Both replace Fear but only Reason proves that the need for a fear isn't real or insurmountable. Faith kills the self. Reason exalts it.

5:24 AM  

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[+/-]
 Tom DeLay steals a frisbee

Check it out.

1 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

Is that an attempt at hummor?

9:08 AM  

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[+/-]
 Bush in love

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to Preznit Bush:
I have traveled halfway around the earth to spare you certain assassination in my homeland. And so, as reimbursement for my valuable time wasted here in your cesspool nation, I shall feminize you in the eyes of your rabidly homophobic countrymen, so that they might see you for what you (and they) are: the petrochemical equivalent of a crack whore, an addicted slave to her pimp, who'll surrender her last shred of dignity in exchange for a fix.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

[+/-]
 Today's quote: Jefferson

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason than of blindfolded fear.... Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences."
~ Thomas Jefferson

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[+/-]
 Let atheists back into office

Mike Whitney laments that there is but one rule for American nonbelievers: keep your head down and your mouth shut.
[H]ow is it that politicians, entertainers or whomever can expound ad nauseam about God and, yet, the views of atheists are scrupulously omitted from the media. (With all the religious programming on TV and radio, have you ever heard an atheist offering his point of view?) If 90% of the population were so secure in their beliefs, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get a second opinion, would it?

The fact is atheism simply doesn’t exist in America. It is the forbidden topic, like homosexuality 20 years ago.... The fact that the vast majority of Americans accept the existence of some super-human phenomenon, of which there is no scientific proof, shows that religion has been the most successful PR campaign in the history of mankind. Regrettably, in our "free" society, no one is even allowed to openly debate the issue.

2 Comments:

Blogger Angie said...

I don't follow this rule at work. Just as my co-workers can discuss their religious beliefs, so do I discuss my non-belief in a god(s).

10:08 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

Simply put that is Bull Shit! While I was serving in the Air Force I talked openly with other about my non belief and there were many like me. You know what, there were plenty of people ready to try to turn me into a beliver and none succeeded. The problem with most of the Atheists today that aren't out in the open is that they are simply cowards. I had great discussions with people about my way of thinking. But you know why I was successful in talking to them? It was because I didn't have a problem with them believing in God. I don't have a problem today with any one from any religion. I don't think it is a problem for people to bring their thoughts to the table and share what they believe or don't believe, because most intellegent people can accept others for who they are, because they are in the same human family. So stop fucking whining about being some pathetic minority that doesn't get the attention you want.

10:09 PM  

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[+/-]
 Do you really want the truth about god?

Why do you suppose it is that a child born in Iraq will likely become a Muslim while a child born in Utah will likely become Mormon and a child born in Central America is likely to become a Catholic while a child born in Alabama is likely to become a Protestant? Do you think the argument for Islam is any more compelling in Iraq than it is where you live? Do you think the argument for fundamentalist Christianity is any more compelling in Alabama than in Utah? No. We are products of our environments. Link

1 Comments:

Blogger Angie said...

And those of us who are atheists?? What happened to us?? (parents are not btw)

10:07 PM  

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[+/-]
 CIA's final report: no WMD found in Iraq

Not that anyone will care, but America's anti-war left has been correct all along:
"After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted," wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall.

"As matters now stand, the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible."

In 92 pages posted online Monday evening, Duelfer provides a final look at an investigation that occupied over 1,000 military and civilian translators, weapons specialists and other experts at its peak. His latest addenda conclude a roughly 1,500-page report released last fall.

If this report does cause any consternation among the wingnuts they should enlist. After all, it is unfair to let others suffer for your mistakes.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dave S. said...

Even a stopped watch is right a couple times a day.

I still don't believe it though.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Easy now... your cognitive dissonance is showing.

I think you are eligible. Go for it.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

No it's not. I never believe the CIA. I was going by Clinton's policy. I guess I just believe that Clinton would never lie about it.

Funny how we cozy up to CIA reports when they support our misguided ideology.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

HMMMM, I am on the anti war right and i didn't give a shit if they had WMD.

10:13 PM  

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[+/-]
 Jesus is HUGE

How big is Jesus? JWZ ponders transubstantiation, the belief of many branches of Christianity that when you take communion, the bread and wine transform physically into the flesh and blood of Christ:
If you conservatively assume that these are the End Times and that Jesus will soon be completely consumed (a detail that I do not believe is a part of mainstream Christian dogma), then he weighs twenty million times more than you, and contains ninety-two billion times as much blood. (20,282,528× and 92,000,000,000×).

(If you assume that only the priest drinks the wine instead of every supplicant having a sip, then the blood ratio is smaller by around two orders of magnitude, depending on the priest/non-priest ratio.)

By comparison, the largest living animal on Earth is the Blue Whale, at a paltry 150 tons (a mere 2,500× bigger than you). It is believed that the largest dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus, weighed only 90 tons.

1 Comments:

Blogger lepton said...

..like that one joke in The Family Guy where, during communion, Peter says "Wow Jesus must've been wasted"

Ahyway, i'm working on a deconstructionalist philosophy to try to explain things like this.

11:50 PM  

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[+/-]
 Neochristian taliban force minorities off campus

UPDATE: An African American student has confessed to sending racist hate mail to three fellow students at her Christian college, apparently because she was unhappy and wanted to be pulled out of the school.

My apologies for suggesting that the neochristian taliban at the school forced minorities off campus. Apparently the neochristian taliban at the school have done no such thing.
-----
African American and Latino students at a "christian" college in the Chicago suburbs were moved from dormitories to an undisclosed hotel Thursday, as the FBI and other law enforcement began investigating a racist letter threatening violence on campus. The letter was the latest in a series of three sent over two weeks.

They will know we are christians by our love, right?

3 Comments:

Blogger Dave S. said...

Musta been a humaniod who wrote that letter.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

Actually, as is more frequent in these types of things, it was black student right there at the college.

I'll look forward to your retraction.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

Well done! I take back everything. Humanists are great.

4:05 PM  

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Monday, April 25, 2005

[+/-]
 Today's quote: Paine

"All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
~ Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

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[+/-]
 Pope Palpatine I Photo Gallery

Collected from around the internets...







1 Comments:

Blogger Brinstar said...

Hilarious!!!

1:30 PM  

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[+/-]
 Ratzinger obstructed justice in pedophilia cases

Pope Palpatine I is being accused of obstructing justice after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.

The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.

"Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret," Ratzinger's letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.

Daniel Shea, the lawyer for the two alleged victims who discovered the letter, criticised the order that abuse allegations should be investigated only in secret tribunals. "They are imposing procedures and secrecy on these cases. If law enforcement agencies find out about the case, they can deal with it. But you can't investigate a case if you never find out about it. If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10 the priest will get away with it."

UPDATED! Check out the Pope Palpatine I photo gallery!

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[+/-]
 Carnival of the Godless #11

Check out another set of godless goodness over at Freespace.

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Friday, April 22, 2005

[+/-]
 Today's quote: Asimov

"I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."
~ Isaac Asimov

3 Comments:

Blogger MichaelBains said...

That quote is very similar to my own experience. It's also one of the reasons I cried a bit when dude died.

Well, that and that sometimes I can be a silly wuss...

Thanks

10:28 AM  
Blogger Electro said...

The reason he never had the evidence to prove God doesn't exist, is that it is impossible to prove a negative. Try as you may you can not succeed. I guess the only way to find out if God isn't there is to die and find out, but then if He is not there you won't know it by the fact that you are dead.

2:03 PM  
Blogger lepton said...

That is such a great quote!

11:15 AM  

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[+/-]
 Pope Palpatine condemns Spain gay bill

Pope Palpatine I has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals. The bill, passed by parliament's Socialist-dominated lower house, also allows gay couples to adopt. A senior Vatican official described the bill - which is likely to become law within a few months - as iniquitous.

Iniquitous. As in wicked. And I suppose he would say the same about pedophilia?

"I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign.... [O]ne comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion" Link.

Oh. Isn't that convenient.

Meanwhile, Pope Palpatine's elder brother, Georg Ratzinger, a retired priest ordained on the same day as his brother in 1951, has voiced concern that the new Pope lacks the stamina for his role.

"Of course I'm proud of him, but happy? I have to admit I am not," he said from his home in Regensburg, in the south of Germany. "I had hoped he would be spared ... I could only cry on hearing the news. He is someone who has been considerably ravaged by age."

UPDATED! Check out the Pope Palpatine I photo gallery!

1 Comments:

Blogger Angie said...

(sighs) And it continues.

5:15 PM  

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[+/-]
 Hyde admits Clinton impeachment was payback for Nixon

ABC News in Chicago has yanked and replaced a story in which retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) indicated that the attempt to impeach President Clinton came in retaliation for the impeachment of President Nixon because they felt the story was too opinionated. Check it out.

1 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

OK, I am tired of people saying that tricky Dick was Impeached. HE WAS NOT! Of course he resigned to avoid it and since the numbers were there in the senate to convict he resigned. Nontheless he was never impeached, only two president have been impeached: Bill Clinton and Andrew Jackson. neither of whom were convicted. So now that we are clear about that lets not forget that Dick Nixon was one of our best Presidents ever!! I rank him #4

6:37 PM  

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[+/-]
 Republican schism

Neo-christian rethuglican attempts to impose their will on the country aren't sitting well with religious people who don't share those extreme views:
Religious groups, including the National Council of Churches and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, plan to conduct a conference call with journalists on Friday to criticize Senator Frist's participation in the telecast.
The National Council of Churches is asking members to organize news conferences denouncing Dr. Frist.

Additionally, 406 clergy members signed a petition prepared by the Interfaith Alliance urging Frist "to defend the nation from efforts utilizing deception and fear-mongering to manipulate Americans of faith."

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[+/-]
 In health care, competition is the problem, not the solution

The United States spends far more on health care than other advanced countries. Yet we don't appear to receive more medical services. And we have lower life-expectancy and higher infant-mortality rates than countries that spend less than half as much per person. How do we do it? Professor Krugman explains.

1 Comments:

Anonymous mutant cat said...

Perhaps because something like healthcare works better when not motivated by making profit. And also because of the number of people who don't have healthcare, which must bring the avaerage way down.

8:48 AM  

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[+/-]
 Bush's FBI protecting Osama bin Laden's privacy

Guess what Judicial Watch, a solidly conservative organization, found in documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request? Evidence that
...the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") has invoked privacy right protections on behalf of al Qaeda terror leader Osama bin Laden. In a September 24, 2003 declassified "Secret" FBI report obtained by Judicial Watch, the FBI invoked Exemption 6 under FOIA law on behalf of bin Laden, which permits the government to withhold all information about U.S. persons in "personnel and medical files and similar files" when the disclosure of such information "would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." (5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) (2000))...

"It is dumbfounding that the United States government has placed a higher priority on the supposed privacy rights of Osama bin Laden than the public's right to know what happened in the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "It is difficult for me to imagine a greater insult to the American people, especially those whose loved ones were murdered by bin Laden on that day."

1 Comments:

Blogger lepton said...

Back in 1999 at my college they had this Saturday fun day where they brought a monkey in for the students to play around with. Unfortunately, I was having eye surgery then and didn't get a chance to get in on all the fun. Now it turns out I might get a chance to finally see one. Bush is speaking at Calvin College's graducation and my little sister's graduating from there. It's not a sure thing I'll actually get a ticket, but if I did, it would be fun.

Here's how weird I am, I think it would be cool to protest Bush by showing up to events he's at dressed up as "The Man in the Yellow Hat".

5:31 PM  

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

[+/-]
 A disturbing lack of faith

Okay, I promise to stop mocking Pope Palpatine.

It really is an unfair comparison: Palpatine is the leader of an outdated, backward, greedy empire which has persecuted people through lies and bullying and has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people through the years.

(guffaw!)

On a serious note. Why do I mock him? Paleo sums up my feelings better than I can:
With the selection of a medieval, Hitler Youth, Pope, it is now clear that there can no longer be a middle ground in the so-called "culture war." On one side stands reactionary Catholics, fundamentalist Protestants, Orthodox Jews and Taliban Muslims. These forces, relatively harmless when separate, have now joined, officially or unofficially, in a movement to take the world back to the middle ages.

On the other side stands the forces of the Enlightenment: modernism, science, humanism, separation of church and state and constitutional democracy. The time of tolerating and humoring the neanderthals on the other side is over. Those on the side of the enlightenment need to start fighting back and setting forth a positive case on such issues as the rights of gays and women or else see the world fall back into an age of darkness.

It shouldn't be too difficult to figure out which side I am on. I hope that the future is on my side, too. Even a god couldn't help us if it isn't.

UPDATED! Check out the Pope Palpatine I photo gallery!

3 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

Can you tell me where the Church is against women's rights? or Gay rights?

11:59 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

With the amount of time you spend trolling this site, I am sure you can devote some effort to doing your own research. However, as a goodwill gesture, here is something to get you started:

Cardinal Ratzinger has railed against gays in his writings. According to Richard J. Rosendall, In 1986, Ratzinger issued his Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons stating that "the inclination [toward homosexuality] itself must be seen as an objective disorder." While condemning anti-gay violence, Ratzinger wrote: "[W]hen civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase." In the same letter, Rosendall wrote, "Ratzinger called gay rights advocacy a threat to the family."

9:46 AM  
Blogger Brinstar said...

Clearly Electro doesn't know two whits about Catholicism...

1:32 PM  

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[+/-]
 Pope Palpatine is an ape

No, really. As are you and I:
Cardinal Ratzinger is an ape. He is driven by oh-so-typical ape motivations, the desire for dominance, the need to control the reproductive behavior of other members of his clan, the back-and-forth of social feedback. His brain contains circuits of reward and punishment we can find in rats. His neurotransmitters and the signalling cascades that modulate his neuronal activity are present in worms. The ion channels that mediate transmembrane potentials are inherited from single-celled eukaryotes. The machinery of his cells can be mapped back billions of years. I suspect that troop of primates dwelling in the Vatican could learn a great deal from the objective eye of a primatologist.

Who has the more sophisticated understanding of human nature: the man who thinks he can squeeze our history into a span of a few thousand years and the isolated vision of a single species and worse, the limited traditions of a single culture, or the one who aspires to comprehend the full breadth and depth of our place in the universe?

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[+/-]
 Bush congratulates Pope Palpatine I

Bush sends his congrats to Ratzinger:
[A]s two dudes who are firmly committed to building a bridge back to the 13th Century, me and Veinydick agree on lots of stuff.

For instance, based on his record of virulently anti-gay rhetoric, I am totally confident that Pope Veinydick will stand up to the homos – which I think is especially admirable coming from a guy who looks like the anal love child of Zell Miller and that Beretta guy.

This new Pope also understands that the fight for the life of one white Florida vegetard who'd been declared mentally dead fifteen years ago is worth way more than the lives of thousands of Nigras in the Sudan, Mooooslim children in Bahgdad, or the five million juveniles in the wealthiest nation on earth who can't even get basic medical care. And that's the kind of Compassionate Conservatism I groove on.

Yes, that is satire :) Here's some non-satire:

South Africa's Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu expressed disappointment on Wednesday in the choice of Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope, calling him a "rigid conservative" out of step with the times.

Turkey's Daily Sabah and daily Cumhuriyet reported the election the new pope on Tuesday under the headline, "New Pope is anti-Turk," because of Joey Ratz's opposition to Turkey's aspiration to join the European Union because it's an Islamic society.

UPDATED! Check out the Pope Palpatine I photo gallery!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

[+/-]
 The religious are the moral relativists

Frederick Smith makes a strong case that humanists are more moral than the religious:
As a secular humanist, I often wonder if faith-based-moralizers are capable of morality. Faith of course is basically believing without evidence. It follows then that all faiths are correct, and since many faithful folk cling strongly to their own set of “morals”, and since many faiths directly conflict, it would seem that what's right and what's wrong is indeterminate at best once you step outside and look at humanity as a whole; a type of extreme relative morality.

2 Comments:

Anonymous mutant cat said...

Of course religious people are moral relativists. They either do whatever they would do anyway if they didn't believe in their god, or they find something in the bible or whatever book they use to twist and justify their actions, and claiming that it's an absolute, thereby giving it a false kind of respect. More people need to be willing to stand up and say "bullshit!"

11:13 AM  
Blogger lepton said...

wow. i am trying to take a stab at something similar to that very question. (actually i'm trying to develop a philosophy to make branding products easier but along the way i tried applying it to a God-centric moral system)

see all the craziness

11:40 PM  

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[+/-]
 Anti-humanist news roundup

Conservative/Catholic/Wingnut Andrew Sullivan has a few words on the new Pope, and actually makes sense today:
And so the Catholic church accelerates its turn toward authoritarianism, hostility to modernity, assertion of papal supremacy and quashing of internal debate and dissent. We are back to the nineteenth century. Maybe this is a necessary moment. Maybe pressing this movement to its logical conclusion will clarify things. But those of us who are struggling against what our Church is becoming, and the repressive priorities it is embracing, can only contemplate a form of despair. The Grand Inquisitor, who has essentially run the Church for the last few years, is now the public face. John Paul II will soon be seen as a liberal. The hard right has now cemented its complete control of the Catholic church....

[W]hat is the creed of the Church? That is for the Grand Inquisitor to decide. Everything else - especially faithful attempts to question and understand the faith itself - is "human trickery." It would be hard to over-state the radicalism of this decision. It's not simply a continuation of John Paul II. It's a full-scale attack on the reformist wing of the church. The swiftness of the decision and the polarizing nature of this selection foretell a coming civil war within Catholicism. The space for dissidence, previously tiny, is now extinct. And the attack on individual political freedom is just beginning.

A former trainee priest who has accused the founder of an influential Catholic order of sexual abuse said today that new Pope Palpatine I deliberately shelved a probe into his claims for six years.

With a pedophelia epidemic running rampant among heterosexual males and Catholic priests, the question on everyone's mind, of course, is, "What Would a Texan Do?" The answer: approve legislation that would prohibit homosexuals and bisexuals from becoming foster parents. Nice job, asshats. Exclude people who could be good foster parents to thousands of children who need them.

Speaking of Texans, you know what hemorrhoids and cowboy hats have in common? Sooner or later, every asshole has one.

Speaking of assholes, Herr Gropenfuhrer says America should "close the borders in California and all across Mexico and in the United States." Gropenfuhrer, you should recall, emigrated from Austria as a young man.

The American Taliban are everywhere. The NYT reports that anti-Semitism and other forms of religious harassment have become pervasive at the Air Force Academy. There have been 55 complaints of religious discrimination at the academy in the past four years, including cases in which a Jewish cadet was told the Holocaust was revenge for the death of Jesus and another was called a Christ killer by a fellow cadet.

2 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

I wonder if some in the Catholic Church wouldn't question God Himself about how thing should be. Maybe they should read Job or Proverbs. It is difficult in our culture to accept that the Church is not a democracy and you don't get to change cannon law just cuz a bunch of folks would like to. I'm glad I am in the Majority even if it is the minority here in the States. And the fact that an Atheist agrees with the dissenters goes a long way to prove my point. I know that many walk away from the Church because they can not accept the difficult reality of the Truth, as did many of Jesus' followers when He spoke. But some remain faithful to the true teaching as would Peter when asked if he to would go, his reply, "To whom should we go? You alone have the words of everlasting life."

7:27 AM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Bring on the fucking rapture, baby! YEAH!

8:53 AM  

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

[+/-]
 Pope Palpatine I

Who is the new Pope? Is it...

(a) A former member of the Hitler Youth;

(b) The man that for the last 24 years headed up the office of the Inquisition;

(c) A man who believes that evangelization and fidelity of faith should be the church's top priority, rather than Jesus' message of responsibility to the poor and oppressed;

(d) The architect of John Paul’s internal Kulturkampf, which through intimidation and punishment created a climate of fear in the theological community that discourages honesty in areas such as sexual ethics, religious pluralism and political theology;

(e) All of the above

If you answered (e) you are correct! Meet Emperor Pope Palpatine Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger.

9 Comments:

Blogger Dave S. said...

Bow down before Him.

3:57 PM  
Blogger M@ said...

The first two options are unfair. It's not as though he had a choice about joining the Hitler Youth, and his father was an outspoken Nazi critic.

And to criticise him for being head of the Inquisition seems similar to criticising Nelson Mandela for being the leader of South Africa because racists had earlier held the office. The Inquisition today is not the same as the inquisition of the middle of the last milennium.

I don't like Ratzinger or what he stands for, but those points distort the facts by serious omissions -- something I've seen denounced (and rightly so) on this blog before.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

On the bright side, the guy is 78. How long can he possibly last?

(shrugs)

Morbid I know, but it was the only bright side I could see in this.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

M@: Agreed -- however, I couldn't not mention them.

Angie: He is the same age as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli when the latter became Pope John XXIII, and no one disputes that John had the most profound impact on Catholicism of any Pope in the twentieth century. There is, unfortunately, too much opportunity for Ratzinger to do damage.

8:06 PM  
Blogger M@ said...

: ) Fair enough.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

This is great! An atheist worried about how a man will do "damage" to the Catholic Church. It doesn't get any more screwed up than that. I hope he is the great pope for the Catholic Church that I think he will be.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

What I care about, Electrician Boy, is the 1.1 billion HUMANS who also happen to be Catholic. I would guess that I care a lot more about his flock than Ratzinger does: he has shown himself to be obsessed with doctrinal purity. He is the new leader of the latter-day pharisees. Jesus would be pissed.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous mutant cat said...

Yeah but all those millions will go to heaven when they die, so he does care, see?

11:28 AM  
Blogger Brinstar said...

Come on... As if the Catholic Church would change just because of a change in the papacy? I was not surprised at all. I would have been more surprised had any of their policies changed.

Arinze would have been better PR for the Church. They could have looked progressive for making a black man Pope, but only on the surface, as nothing would change at all.

1:36 PM  

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Monday, April 18, 2005

[+/-]
 Vast left-wing conspiracy exposed

Tom Tomorrow exposes the vast left-wing conspiracy!

0 Comments:

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Friday, April 15, 2005

[+/-]
 My "Unitarian Jihad" name

My Unitarian Jihad Name is:

Brother Holy Gatling Gun of Mindful Tranquility.

What's yours?

0 Comments:

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[+/-]
 The silent scream of numbers

The 2004 election was stolen — will someone please tell the media?
As they slowly hack democracy to death, we’re as alone — we citizens — as we’ve ever been, protected only by the dust-covered clichés of the nation’s founding: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

It’s time to blow off the dust and start paying the price.

2 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

When will people educate themselves and learn that we do not live in a democracy and never have. Though I am sure that the Dumbocrats would like it to be one.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Knott said...

We don't (yet) live in the people's republic of AmeriKKKa, as I'm sure you would prefer, electro.

8:54 AM  

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

[+/-]
 Life in post-science America

TroubleTown gives us a view into the near future:

1 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

Well the last caption demonstrates the real lack of knowledge this person has. Uh it is the worker class of bees collecting pollen that causes pollination not the Queen and drones being sexually active. the ignorance demonstated in this cartoon can't even get a laugh. though I do like the reference to Monty Python.

11:06 PM  

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[+/-]
 Stains on the pope's legacy

From Blog for America:
Over 11,000 children were sexually abused and close to $1 billion in settlement money has been paid-out but the Pope did not go much beyond decrying "the sins of some of our brothers". He never met with any victims, he never offered practical solutions to dealing with the problem, he never addressed the decades-long cover up of the abuse. He even rejected a "zero tolerance" policy calling for the immediate removal of molester-priests, concerned that it was too harsh.

Too harsh?! This is a man who wouldn't allow a priest to become a bishop unless they were unequivocally opposed to masturbation, premarital sex, and condoms. So, in his perversion pecking order, you had to be dead-set against "self-love" but when it came to buggering little kids, there was some wiggle room.

1 Comments:

Blogger Angie said...

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

And what gets me, is that SO many still respect the guy.

(shrugs) People are idiots.

I've been saying that all day actually.

7:27 PM  

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[+/-]
 Christian terrorist Rudolph enters guilty plea

Christian terrorist Rudolph enters guilty plea.

1 Comments:

Blogger lepton said...

You missed this article featuring a church sign about a hell-bound Pope

2:39 PM  

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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

[+/-]
 A wake up call for the sane majority

What do those red-state Arkansas folk think about the rethuglican wingnuts?
Does it strike you as odd that persons calling themselves Christians are furious that the U.S. Supreme Court found executing juveniles unconstitutional? Do you find even odder that such individuals describe themselves, straight-faced, as adherents of the "culture of life"? Are you surprised to learn that people called conservatives would quote Joseph Stalin?

2 Comments:

Blogger Electro said...

The first sentence gets straight to the point. Calling yourself a Christian, doesn't make you a Christian! Anymore than claiming you are smart makes you smart. I am tired of stupid people. A Christian would be against the death penalty for minors, even if he said he was Athiest. Can we get beyond your distain for people who believe in God? What is your problem? And do the people at the parish you go to realize how you hate them?

9:54 PM  
Blogger Nanovirus said...

Dear Readers:

The comment above is an excellent example of the logical fallacy "Argumentum ad hominem."

Argumentum ad hominem literally means "argument directed at the man"; there are two varieties.

The first is the abusive form. If you refuse to accept a statement, and justify your refusal by criticizing the person who made the statement, then you are guilty of abusive argumentum ad hominem. For example:

"You claim that atheists can be moral -- yet I happen to know that you abandoned your wife and children."

This is a fallacy because the truth of an assertion doesn't depend on the virtues of the person asserting it. A less blatant argumentum ad hominem is to reject a proposition based on the fact that it was also asserted by some other easily criticized person. For example:

"Therefore we should close down the church? Hitler and Stalin would have agreed with you."

A second form of argumentum ad hominem is to try and persuade someone to accept a statement you make, by referring to that person's particular circumstances. For example:

"Therefore it is perfectly acceptable to kill animals for food. I hope you won't argue otherwise, given that you're quite happy to wear leather shoes."

This is known as circumstantial argumentum ad hominem. The fallacy can also be used as an excuse to reject a particular conclusion. For example:

"Of course you'd argue that positive discrimination is a bad thing. You're white."

This particular form of Argumentum ad Hominem, when you allege that someone is rationalizing a conclusion for selfish reasons, is also known as "poisoning the well."

It's not always invalid to refer to the circumstances of an individual who is making a claim. If someone is a known perjurer or liar, that fact will reduce their credibility as a witness. It won't, however, prove that their testimony is false in this case. It also won't alter the soundness of any logical arguments they may make.

9:24 AM  

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[+/-]
 Slime-mold beetle named for Bush

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld may not all get a library, airport or highway named after them. But each has a Cornell News: Slime-mold beetle named for Bush: "slime-mold beetle named in his honor. Hey, if it walks like a duck...

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[+/-]
 How you think Bush should fill his iPod?

Here are some suggestions. Here are some more.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

[+/-]
 Videos show RNC protestors were falsely arrested

If it wasn't obvious at the time, it should now be clear that most protestors at the RNC weren't arrested for breaking the law; they were arrested for protesting:
A sprawling body of visual evidence, made possible by inexpensive, lightweight cameras in the hands of private citizens, volunteer observers and the police themselves, has shifted the debate over precisely what happened on the streets during the week of the convention.

For [Dennis] Kyne and 400 others arrested that week, video recordings provided evidence that they had not committed a crime or that the charges against them could not be proved, according to defense lawyers and prosecutors....

Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial.

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[+/-]
 On right wingers and gangsta rappers

BigTimePatriot notes how the right wing in America can't get enough talk about death and punishment and people getting what they deserve through acts of violence:
If Tom DeLay wore a little more Bling Bling and 50 Cents could get the Russians to pay for his next $70,000 luxury vacation, we could hardly tell them apart.

Check it out.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, don't be dissing my homies by comparing them with those ho's over at the GOP...

8:33 PM  

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[+/-]
 Offshoring identity theft

Via Slashdot:
The threat of increased misuse of consumer personal data by offshore criminals was first made publicly known with the UCSF Pakistani medical transcriber scandal. Then, in a logical progression of events, it was discovered that foreign criminal interests were offering money to offshored call center workers to surrender consumer data. Now that threat has been realized: Offshored call center staffers at Mphasis BPO have allegedly stolen £200,000 using United States customers' personal information.

It is believed that East Indian police reacted swiftly to catch the thieves, but only £12,000 has been recovered so far, and it is not really known who orchestrated this theft or where the rest of that money is now. It is also unknown as of yet how much of a mess this has created for the US citizens who were victimized. Let's hope that the people whose information was stolen don't have to go through what other identity theft victims have to endure, to clean up their good name.

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

[+/-]
 Aristotle on preserving tyranny

What Would Dick Think? presents a simple Aristotelian analysis of the Bush Cartel, and hits a homerun.

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[+/-]
 Carnival of the Godless #10

WolverineTom hosts Carnival of the Godless #10. You will probably burn for eternity by even clicking this link, but enjoy ! ;)

The next COTG will take place at Timothy Sandefur's Freespace in two weeks.

1 Comments:

Blogger lepton said...

I implore you to buy this book now

From the amazon.com review: "Knowledge lost more than 5 thousand years ago on how the earth was created and placed in orbit around our sun is restored through more than 20 years of research by the authors. In a mere 540 pages, you'll find out who the giants were, what the Templars were really searching for, and how the Revolutionary war was really won by the American army. If you ever wondered how a planet could travel across the galaxy and end up in perfect orbit, you need to read this book."

7:32 PM  

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Friday, April 08, 2005

[+/-]
 Child-oriented search engines exhibit anti-atheist bias

As a parent I try to strike a balance between exposing my kids to all the wonders that the Internet makes possible, and protecting them from all the crap that can be found there.

If you have ever wondered how difficult it is to strike such a balance, try doing a Google image search on any of the following innocuous terms: brown sugar, teen, asian [WARNING: Images may not be work-safe].

This week I came across a list of web-search sites for children, so I was naturally intrigued. For my youngest children, any time on the 'Net is 100 percent supervised; my oldest gets a lot more free time. Could these tools assist me in managing my children's time on the 'Net? I decided to investigate.

Upon closer inspection I discovered that many of these search sites are simply searches within directories. That is, the search is limited to an organized hierarchy of web sites that are manually classified and screened for content appropriate for children. This type of search stands in sharp contrast to most major search engines, like Google, Yahoo! and AltaVista, which get their listings by "spidering" a web site and indexing its content in a centrally searchable location.

I became curious how the sites dealt with atheism. After all, some definitions for atheism include wickedness and immorality. Would these sites protect young innocent minds from the dangers of godlessness? Or, as learning tools, would they make the topic available?

Results from major web search engines:

As I was embarking on somewhat of a scientific endeavor, I needed to establish a baseline. Examining the major search engines seemed like a logical place to start. As noted above, because the major search engines get their listings by "spidering" a web site it is easy for possibly objectionable material to appear in search results. As a solution, most major search engines offer some type of filtering ability.

I conducted queries on the term "atheism" with content filtering alterately turned on and off. What I found was relatively little difference in the number of web sites available. That is, atheism was largely not filtered as objectionable.

Here are the results of my searches for "atheism" with and without content filters:

AllTheWeb:
Query: atheism
Offensive content filter off: 1,920,000 results
Offensive content filter on: 1,640,000 results
Query: god
Offensive content filter off: 215,000,000 results
Offensive content filter on: 195,000,000 results

AltaVista:
Query: atheism
Family Filter preference set to "None": 1,970,000 results
Family Filter preference set to "All": 1,680,000 results
Query: god
Family Filter preference set to "None": 233,000,000 results
Family Filter preference set to "All": 210,000,000 results

AskJeeves:
Query: atheism
Content filtering = Display Adult content without a "warning page": 708,600 results
Content filtering = Limit my exposure to Adult content: 708,500 results
Query: god
Content filtering = Display Adult content without a "warning page": 67,340,000 results
Content filtering = Limit my exposure to Adult content: 67,340,000 results

Google:
Query: atheism
SafeSearch Filtering = Do not filter my search results: 2,170,000
SafeSearch Filtering = Use strict filtering: 1,510,000
Query: god
SafeSearch Filtering = Do not filter my search results: 158,000,000
SafeSearch Filtering = Use strict filtering: 59,900,000

MSN Search:
Query: atheism
SafeSearch = Do not filter search results: 1,123,890
SafeSearch = Strict: 1,178,531
Query: god
SafeSearch = Do not filter search results: 82,433,752
SafeSearch = Strict: 82,672,962
[Leave it to the brainiacs at Micro$oft to figure out a way to retrieve more results with a filter!]

Yahoo! Search:
Query: atheism
SafeSearch Filter = Do not filter results: 1,990,000 results
SafeSearch Filter = Filter out adult Web, video, and image search results: 1,800,000
Query: god
SafeSearch Filter = Do not filter results: 233,000,000 results
SafeSearch Filter = Filter out adult Web, video, and image search results: 215,000,000

Summary of the major search engines:
  1. There are between 75 times and 118 times more web sites returned for "god" than for "atheism".

  2. The major search engines provide filtered results for "atheism" that are between 70 and 100 percent of the unfiltered results for the same term.

  3. The major search engines provide filtered results for "god" that are between .38 and 100 percent of the unfiltered results for the same term.

  4. Google seems to be a statistical outlier in both cases, providing the strictest filtering for both terms (.70 and .38 respectively). By comparison, the second most-restrictive filtering was .85 and .90, respectively.

  5. A defensible argument can be made that with regard to the major search engines, "atheism" is not filtered any more than "god" is filtered.

These results lead me to propose the following hypothesis: If queries for "atheism" are filtered out significantly more than queries for "god" in child-centered search engines, then such sites can arguably be accused of anti-atheist bias.

Baseline established, I next turned to the child-centered sites. Here are the results of my searches for "atheism" and "god". Since these sites are manually categorized, no filtering is available.

Results from major child-oriented search sites:

AskJeeves for Kids:
Query:  What is atheism?
Result: "I'm Sorry, No Results Were Found."
Query: What is god?
Result: "Jeeves knows these answers: What is the religion" followed by a dropdown menu containing 26 religions.

Yahooligans! Web Guide for Kids:
Query:  atheism
Result: "Sorry no results were found matching: atheism."
Query: god
Result: 84 matches

KidsClick! Web Search:
Query:  atheism
Result: 1 match
Query: god
Result: 13 matches

Looksmart's Kids Directory by NetNanny:
Query:  atheism
Result: "Sorry, no results were found for 'atheism.'"
Query: god
Result: 108 matches

Results from specialized child-oriented web sites:

The American Librarian Association's Great Websites for Kids search:
Query:  atheism
Result: No results returned
Query: god
Result: Three results returned

Awesome Library K-12 Education Directory:
Query:  atheism
Result: 0 matches
Query: god
Result: 33 matches

Dibdabdoo Kid Safe Search:
Query:  atheism
Result: 17 results
Query: god
Result: 90 results

Education World:
Query:  atheism
Result: 0 results
Query: god
Result: 0 results
[Does this search engine do anything? :) ]

Fact Monster:
Query:  atheism
Result: 20 results
Query: god
Result: 100 results

Family Source Kid-Safe Search:
Query:  atheism
Result: 5279 matching documents
Query: god
Result: 36601 matching documents

Kids.net.au:
Query:  atheism
Result: "Sorry no sites found"
Query: god
Result: 105 results
[Apparently anti-atheist discrimination is not solely an American phenomenon.]

TeAch-nology:
Query:  atheism
Result: "Your search for atheism did not return any matches (5734 documents were searched)"
Query: god
Result: 21 matching documents

Oracle's ThinkQuest Library:
Query:  atheism
Result: 1 result
Query: god
Result: 103 results

Summary of the child-oriented search sites:
  1. 8 of 13 sites have no results returned from "atheism".

  2. An additional 2 sites produce a single result.

Analysis

According to our baseline, we expected to find that queries for "atheism" and queries for "god" would return a similar number of results. We found no such outcome.

One site, Family Source Kid-Safe Search, is a statisical outlier for both queries. When discarded, a query of "atheism" returns merely 39 results across 12 children's sites. Across the 13 children's sites the mean of "atheism" results is 0.3 (with the outlier discarded) or 409 (with the outlier included); the median and mode are both zero in either case.

Based on these preliminary results, an argument can be made that child-oriented search sites exhibit a strong anti-atheist bias.

Further research might focus on whether additional biases exist, such as an anti-homosexual or anti-evolution bias. Additionally, research might be conducted to determine if this bias is greater or less than other biases that might be present.

5 Comments:

Blogger SFG said...

Could it be that the freethought community has failed to develop kid-friendly pages describing their worldview? Based on my experience in Humanist and other organizations within the Community of Reason, we do a rather poor job of providing content that is not highly intellectual. Not only is it inaccessible to kids, but it is of limited appeal to many adults. Your data may, then, suggest the need to develop web resources explaining Humanism and atheism that are appropriate for various demographic groups.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

Steven does bring up a valid point. Guess what needs to be found out if there is such stuff out there for children, and then we'll know that it's being kept from children.

Also, did you notice how few "god" received in results for children? I'm actually surprised it wasn't higher.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Electro said...

Maybe you should just spend time with your kids instead of worrying about how they might be trapped into learning of God's greatness and love. Maybe you could even be an example of that love even if you deny you received the power to love from Him. I hope you don't want to push off your little project as science, there is already enough bad science out there.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous MarkL said...

I don't know that it's an attitude bias as much as a language descriptor issue. 'god' is a very generic term, and can be used in non-religous contexts. 'atheist' has worse descriptor problems - it's a 'not this', and nots are always harder to describe. I often urge folks not to use that particular word, because it's the not-us descriptor used in the language of the other side, in the same fashion as a non-Jew describing him/herself as a 'goy'.

However, when you get into positive descriptors, then attitude problems come to bear. 'Materialist' makes one sound like a money-grubber, 'naturalist' makes one sound like a nudist, and 'humanist' is pretty darn vague. I think Steven is on the right track: more accessible (and more positively descriptive) language is called for.

12:18 PM  
Blogger lepton said...

Hmm.. I don't see how this proves anything. Atheist is a more complicated word so it would seem normal that it wouldn't show up in search engines for kids. Do the same survey with "evolutionism" and "creationism" and your results might be more meaningful.

There is a lot to be disgested about within religious circles, but many Christians aren't that bad. Just look at this
Christian Economic Development book for example.

7:21 PM  

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[+/-]
 "Don't ask, don't tell" under pressure as recruiting falls

Capitol Hill Blue reports that an Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq wants a chance to remain in the military as an openly gay soldier, a desire that's bringing him into conflict with the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, of Utica, Ohio, was awarded the Purple Heart after a grenade sent pieces of shrapnel into his arm, face and legs while he was operating a machine gun on an armored Humvee last May.

"We can't keep hiding the fact that there's gay people in the military and they aren't causing any harm," said Stout, who says he is openly gay among most of his 26-member platoon.

After reading about Stout's plight it dawned on me that the current environment might be an ideal to challenge the absurd "don't ask, don't tell" policy:
The Army fell almost one-third short of its recruiting goal in March, its second consecutive month of shortfall amid concerns that the Iraq war is discouraging young people from enlisting.

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey had said recently that internal forecasts indicated the Army was likely to miss its monthly recruiting goals in March and April, although he and other Army officials have said they remain cautiously optimistic of reaching the full-year target of 80,000 recruits.
Click here

The Army has not missed its full-year target since 1999.

It will be interesting to watch the wingnuts squirm as they struggle to find more cannon fodder for their oil war while people like Stout who wish to serve get barred from doing so.

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[+/-]
 Marburg, MRSA and West Nile. Oh my!

Three rather scary virus stories in the news this morning, and a bit of good news regarding AIDS. Marburg:
A further 14 people have died from the Marburg virus in Angola, taking the death toll to 173 in the world's worst outbreak of the Ebola-like virus....

A senior WHO official told the AFP news agency that the outbreak would still "get worse before it gets better"....

Early symptoms of Marburg are diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting, which give way to bleeding....

Marburg, a severe form of haemorrhagic fever, has no known vaccine or medical treatment. Link

MSRA:

US doctors warn of small but alarming rates of a flesh-eating type of superbug....

The infections in the US community have typically manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils, in otherwise healthy people.

Although none of the 14 patients died, they had serious complications, including the need for reconstructive surgery and prolonged stay in the intensive care unit.

The disease is different to MRSA infections seen in the UK, which occur most frequently among people in hospitals who have weakened immune systems. Link

West Nile

For the first time in 2005, a bird found in San Mateo County [California] has tested positive for West Nile Virus, the San Mateo County Health Department reported today.

Though this is the first bird with the virus found in the county this year. Link

Finally, something to cheer you up:

Scientists from China and the United States said they have found a chemical that could stop AIDS virus from reproducing itself in the human body, raising hopes for a cure for AIDS. Link


UPDATE: The anti-vaccination crowd really pisses me off. If you are going to remain ignorant of scientific advances then you deserve to contract a virulent strain of flu. Even if you do get vaccinated, however, there is more you can do, of course, such as keeping your hands clean or adding certain herbal flu remedies to your diet.

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

[+/-]
 US military spending will dwarf projected Social Security shortfall

According to a new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), the additional spending required to maintain US military pre-eminence in the coming decades is likely to be many times larger than the projected Social Security shortfall.

While the United States is currently the pre-eminent military power, maintaining military dominance will be increasingly difficult as China passes the U.S. as the world largest economic power in approximately ten years, according to CEPR. The paper, The Social Security Shortfall and the National Defense Shortfall, projects the amount of additional military spending that the US will need to keep pace with China.

Using a purchasing power parity measure, which nearly all economists agree is the appropriate measure of economic output, China's economy is already two-thirds the size of the US economy and larger than any other economy in the world. It is projected to exceed the US economy by 2016 and grow to more than three times the size by the end of the century.

"Many analysts have failed to appreciate the true size of China's economy, because they use the wrong measure of the GDP," said Dean Baker, Economist and Co-Director at CEPR and author of the report. "It is possible to debate the importance of the projected shortfall in the Social Security program over its 75-year planning horizon. But in almost any scenario, maintaining the current U.S. defense policy over this period will impose far larger costs."

The paper shows that:
  • Using a purchasing power parity (PPP) measure of GDP, China's economy is already two-thirds of the size of the U.S. economy and is projected to exceed it by 2016.

  • In a low-cost scenario, the gap between the amount of spending needed to keep pace with China's military and the amount of spending projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will be more than 2.0 percent of GDP ($240 billion at 2005 output levels) by 2030, and nearly 5.0 percent of GDP by 2050 ($600 billion at 2005 output levels).

  • In a mid-cost scenario, which assumes that China devotes the same share of its output to the military as the U.S. does at present, this military spending gap will be close to 7.0 percent of GDP by 2050 ($720 billion at 2005 output levels).

  • In a high-cost scenario, in which China matches the share of output that the U.S. spent on its military at the height of the Cold War, the military spending gap will exceed 12 percent of GDP by 2030 ($1.4 trillion at 2005 output levels) and 18 percent of GDP by 2050 ($2.2 trillion at 2005 output levels).

  • This U.S. military spending shortfall is far larger than the projected Social Security shortfall. In the low-cost scenario, the present value of the military spending shortfall over the next 75 years is $26.7 trillion, more than six times the size of the Social Security trustees projection of the 75-year shortfall in Social Security. The projected 75-year military spending shortfall in the mid-cost scenario is $35.7 trillion, nearly nine times the size of the projected Social Security shortfall. In the high-cost scenario, the projected military shortfall over the next 75 years is $89.2 trillion, more than 22 times the size of the projected Social Security shortfall.

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[+/-]
 Sony patents "Matrix" technology

Entertainment giant Sony has been granted a patent on a device for transmitting sensory data directly into the human brain. Makes me wonder about the definition of what it is to be human:
The technique suggested in the patent is entirely non-invasive. It describes a device that fires pulses of ultrasound at the head to modify firing patterns in targeted parts of the brain, creating "sensory experiences" ranging from moving images to tastes and sounds.

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[+/-]
 Americans tired of 'christian' right

USA Today reports that many Americans about the moral agenda of the Republican Party and the political power of conservative "christians."

Some highlights of the USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll survey:
  • By 55%-40%, respondents say Republicans, traditionally the party of limited government, are "trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans" on moral values.

  • By 53%-40%, they say Democrats, who sharply expanded government since the Depression, aren't trying to interfere on moral issues.

  • Americans by 53%-34% say they disapprove of Bush's handling of the Schiavo case. Congress' rating on Schiavo is worse: 76% disapprove, 20% approve.

  • Americans by 39%-18% say the "religious right" has too much influence in the Bush administration.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

[+/-]
 A new living will

Check out this living will for modern times:
I, _________________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.

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[+/-]
 The whole picture on John Paul II

Richard Cohen has a balanced post mortem on JP2:
He serves to remind that faith -- the quality most of us lack and which we therefore admire most in others -- can be a form of blindness. As the driving force behind the pope's willingness to duke it out with communism, it did wonders for us all. On the other hand, a faith-based inability to distinguish between the taking of life and the prevention of a pregnancy -- or the spread of AIDS -- is not something to be admired or, to my mind, understood.

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 An academic question

Good Krugman column:
[T]oday's Republican Party - increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research - doesn't respect science, or scholarship in general. It shouldn't be surprising that scholars have returned the favor by losing respect for the Republican Party.

Conservatives should be worried by the alienation of the universities; they should at least wonder if some of the fault lies not in the professors, but in themselves. Instead, they're seeking a Lysenkoist solution that would have politics determine courses' content.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

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 Most despised second-termer EVER

Can we stop talking about how popular Bush is now?
Here are the ratings for presidents as recorded by Gallup in the March following their re-election:

Truman, 1949: 57%.

Eisenhower, 1957: 65%.

Johnson, 1965: 69%.

Nixon, 1973: 57%.

Reagan, 1985: 56%.

Clinton, 1997: 59%.

Bush, 2005: 45%

The Chimperor is 11 points less popular than the next least popular president at this point in their term.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

[+/-]
 Doubts about the advent of Spring

Realclimate has a nice April Fool's Day piece poking fun at the climate-change naysayers:
A "consensus view" amongst climate scientists holds that the Northern Hemisphere will be warming this month, as spring is coming.... In a new novel, State of Euphoria, bestselling author Michael Crikey uncovers major flaws in this theory and warns against false hopes for the arrival of spring....

He says we should not trust computer models projecting that June will be much warmer than March in most of the Northern Hemisphere. "These models cannot even predict the weather in two weeks time - why should we believe what they say about temperatures in two months?"

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of global warming, have a look at this report about warm-water species starting to appear in the North Sea:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/conservation/story/0,13369,1450661,00.html?gusrc=rss

10:15 AM  

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[+/-]
 American soldiers arrested for cocaine smuggling

We must support our trrops when the White House stash runs low. It's the patriotic thing to do!

1 Comments:

Blogger Angie said...

Ah yes, we keep showing the world time and time again how we are to be looked up to. (groans)

6:25 PM  

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[+/-]
 The End of Reason

David Morris takes organized religion to task in the End of Reason. Check it out.
For when it comes to organized religion, no burden of proof is required. On the contrary, by definition, religion requires faith and faith renounces evidence. Taking a proposition "on faith" means to consciously and willfully refuse to examine the facts.

There is a word for this type of thinking: Superstition....

It is long past time we stopped giving a free pass to organizations that refuse to be guided by reason and would force their unreason on the entire society. A first step would be to stop calling these "faith-based institutions" and start calling them by the synonymous and much more instructive term, "superstition-based institutions."

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 How do you prove photography to a blind man?

Skeptico knows how.

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[+/-]
 The issues: liberals, conservatives and Osama

This is a terrific breakdown of how liberals, conservatives and Osama bin Laden differ on various issues of the day. See the pattern?

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