Thursday, September 2, 2010

Not Here

I've been using my Wordpress site more these days, and not cross posting here. So go there if you was to see what I have to say.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Big Beautiful Bubbles

Very soothing. And impressive.

Found here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The courage of our convitions

Glenn Greenwald gets it right:
The reality is -- and this has long been clear -- that Americans have little respect for, and even less interest in, people who stand for nothing and seem afraid of their own belief system. Clarity of principle and courage of conviction are almost always more politically appealing than muddled incoherence, calibrated careerism, or muted cowardice. The GOP's recognition of this fact was the primary cause of George Bush's otherwise inexplicable political success (the key line from his 2004 RNC Convention acceptance speech: "Even when we don't agree, at least you know what I believe and where I stand"). And many of the Democrats' failures have been due not to excessively strong advocacy of liberal views, but to the opposite: confusion about what they believe, if anything.

Now, how does this apply to the Framing/Accommodation wars? Well, the Gnu Atheists insist on forcefully and clearly arguing for their position. You know what they stand for and why.

The Fraccommodationists, on the other hand, think pro-science types should keep their atheism to themselves. We shouldn't challenge other people's ideas. We should avoid doing anything that might upset them.

Judge rules Californians are irrational

OK, the title's a bit too strong, but Judge Walker did rule that there's no rational state interest served by outlawing same-sex marriages.

For the majority of California voters (who voted for Prop. 8), this seems to leave four possibilities:
  1. They were misinformed about the consequences of gay marriage.
  2. They were trying to impose their personal religious/moral convictions on others (in the absence of a legitimate secular justification).
  3. They were irrational.
  4. They were bigots.
(Of course, for any individual, more than one answer may apply.)

Excerpts from the ruling after the fold:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Robert Lanza

I don't know Robert Lanza, and I've only seen a very small bit of Robert Lanza's writing. What I have read reminded somewhat of Barbara Streisand

Perhaps someday I'll find out more about Robert Lanza and delete this post. Perhaps not.

An Anti-Catholic?

As someone who was raised Catholic, I was a bit surprised by my results for this Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz:  The top results are pretty good, but Catholicism is at the very bottom of the list?  Below Islam, Scientology, and Christian Scientists??

I suppose part of the problem is that they don't have many questions on acceptance of science (e.g., evolution), tolerance for dogma produced by science fiction writers, and severity of restrictions on women, punishment for "blasphemy," how seriously we should take religious texts, and so on.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Explaining Mooney

By way of the Mad Biologist, I find new insight into the nature of Chris Mooney. Chris is a member of the Church of the Savvy.

Here's Jay Rosen on savvy worship:
[F]or this belief system to operate effectively, it has to continually position the journalist and his or her observations not as right where others are wrong, or virtuous where others are corrupt, or visionary where others are short-sghted, but as practical, hardheaded, unsentimental, and shrewd where others are didactic, ideological, and dreamy. (link)

Chris is a journalist who isn't interested in having persuasive arguments. Instead he wants us to be impressed with his detached, pragmatic insight into how the world really works.

That is, he wants us to know that he's savvy, and he wants us to join his Church.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blocked Comments

The below is a comment I was unable to post on Butterfly and Wheels, presumably b/c I'm at a cafe and this IP has been used by spammers. So, for convenience, I'm pasting it here.

I'm assuming that my apparent ban at the Intersection does not have a similarly innocuous explanation. Does this mean I'm biased?
It seems that I was banned from the Intersection, presumably for this comment.

At least I have the comfort of sharing that distinction with OB.

I'm also glad they linked to the post that led them to ban OB. Scanning through the comments, one can only be astounded that M&K feel that OB's criticisms justify banning. M&K are worse off than I thought.

Here are the sort of vicious comments from me that Mooney will no longer be subjected to:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Are Christian terrorists Christian?

An open letter to Andrew Sullivan in response to this claim:
Surely we can all assent to the notion that a Christian militia of the type now accused of planning domestic terrorism is not Christian. This is why I call them Christianist. Anyone planning to murder innocents by way of IEDs cannot plausibly call himself or herself a follower of Jesus of Nazareth.

I'm not so sure. Can we also surely assent to the notion that an army that invades Iraq or Afghanistan is not Christian? Are you saying that all followers of Jesus need to "turn the other cheek" and be total pacifists?

Just to be clear, I think these militia folks are totally crazy and immoral. And I do appreciate your term "Christianist."

But it seems that main reason that you expect everyone to agree that these aren't *real* Christians is because we all accept two claims.
  1. 1. The police are not a legitimate military target in a legitimate military struggle; they are "innocents" as you say.

  2. 2. A person who can "plausibly call himself or herself a follower of Jesus of Nazareth" would not attack innocents.

Now, the crazies would presumably accept Point 2 (allowing for some "collateral damage" as we do in wars); their disagreement lies with Point 1. However, this seems irrelevant to their status as Christians. That is, the teachings of Jesus don't tell us that Michigan police officers are innocents. So we need to point to something besides their delusions here to argue that they're not *real* Christians, if we're going to allow that the pilots of drones killing al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan do get to be "True Christians" (TM).

It seems like you want us to accept the claim that no *real* Christian would engage in such horrible plots, because *real* Christians are (by definition?) not evil. This sounds like a perfect example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.

(For the record, I do of course agree with Sullivan's second point that "every single one of these terror suspects is innocent until proven guilty, and shouldn't be seized as enemy combatants and tortured until they confess.")

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Craziness at FOXNews

I'm starting to develop an extremely unhealthy habit.

I've been reading comments at And the craziness and mind-numbing stupidity there is truly stupefying.

On the article discussing the threats on Democrats in the the wake of passing health care reform, you've got half of the commenters claiming that the threats are are a Democratic hoax: