Archive

Archive for August, 2008

Woo

August 28, 2008 2 comments

Random thoughts:

I’m unemployed…for the next five days. Still feels weird, though.

The new Mogwai album is stellar.

I think I’m in danger of losing my political junkie credentials; I haven’t watched hardly any of the convention. I meant to watch Hillary’s speech, but spaced it. Ditto for Biden’s. I like that choice, by the way. Biden’s views are decent and he’s amusing. I probably won’t watch Obama’s speech tonight (I certainly won’t watch all of it). Oddly, I’m looking forward to the debates.

Not content with seeing Jesus on inanimate objects, now we’re dragging moths into our idiocy.

Categories: General

Breaking: people on the Internet can be nasty

August 27, 2008 Leave a comment

According to a report at LiTW, there are insane right-wingers who occasionally comment at sites on the Internet. No word yet on whether there are crazy left-wingers also commenting on such sites.

More as the story develops.

Categories: 2008 elections, Silliness

Ignored?

August 26, 2008 Leave a comment

Last week there was a post on The Huffington Post about atheists feeling politically ignored.

As the presidential candidates come together to discuss faith and issues of morality — at Saddleback last week and at the Democratic National Convention this week, there’s a large contingent feeling excluded. American atheist and agnostic voters are increasingly feeling left out of the debate or flat out ignored and taken for granted as politicians scramble to better woo the “faithful” .

Cue links to bloggers complaining about this.

I would seem to be one to complain about this, too, but I think it’s kind of silly. Atheists will be ignored as a voting block until they a) create a significant political presence and b) actually become a voting block. I don’t quite understand why people complain about this state of affairs. It’s entirely understandable and there’s going to have to be a lot of work to get to where we’re influential as a group.

Will that happen? I kind of doubt it. Atheism isn’t an ideology. Lots of ideologies fit into it. My liberal secular humanist views, libertarianism, objectivism, etc. It’s not hard to imagine just about any political position being taken by an atheist. Creating a voting block of any significance will require us to be more united and to prioritize atheism over the various other voting blocks with which your average atheist might be associated.

I don’t see that happening and honestly, I don’t know that I want it to happen. Atheism isn’t an ideology. Atheism should give you more freedom to make your own choice and not follow the crowd.

Categories: Religion

If there is no god, whose name will we use in vain?

August 21, 2008 1 comment

Dennis Prager’s latest column has 14 consequences of a universe without a god. You’ve heard them all before. Also, the first and the last ones are the same thing, basically. I like these:

3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we suffer, we die – some horrifically, many prematurely – and there is only oblivion afterward.

I take this to mean that Prager believes life with a god is horrific and tragic…but we get stuff at the end, so it’s ok. I’m not buying it.

5. If there is no God, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers. Only if there is a good God do Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler have different fates.

I’ll give him that they’re quantitatively different, but fleecing the poor, cozying up to dictators, and providing intentionally sub-par “hospitals” and mass murder are both condemnable.

Being serious, this is true and is definitely a sad state of affairs. On the other hand, a God who forgives creates the same problem. If Hitler had been “born again” or something and prayed for forgiveness, wouldn’t he have been forgiven? Wouldn’t he have gone to heaven? My blood-lust wouldn’t be satisfied.

10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with “art” that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo’s art in the Sistine Chapel. The latter elevates the viewer – because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all men.

What? My music and movie collections are filled with inspiring art, a good chunk of which was created by non-believers. I think contemporary “art” is quite alright.

14. “Without God,” Dostoevsky famously wrote, “all is permitted.” There has been plenty of evil committed by believers in God, but the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes – specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes – dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.

In what universe were the Nazis and Fascists secular?

Categories: Religion

Hey Bozeman residents

August 17, 2008 5 comments

I have two items:

1. Good ISPs in town? Currently, my DSL is controlled and administered by a company hired by the owners of my apartment complex. This means I have less control that I want to have (and it’s slower than I want), so I’m thinking I’m going to go off an get my own. Suggestions? I don’t really want Bresnan and I’ve been looking at Bridgeband.

2. Roy Zimmerman is playing at the Labor Temple this Wednesday. If you don’t know who he is, well, watch this:

See, clearly you need to go see him. I believe it’s $15 and benefits the Montana Women’s Lobby.

Categories: Montana, Personal

Trolling for material

August 12, 2008 1 comment

When I can’t think of anything to write about, I typically troll One News Now or WND for dumb articles.

Let’s start with WND. The best article is this one, sub-headlined: “Third-party candidates pulling close to 20% of total vote.” You won’t actually find any data supporting that claim in the article, though. Unless you count the 17% combined undecided and third-party count they have. Which would be a little disingenuous (no, not WND!). Also, Joesph Farah gets an award for awkward sentences: “I don’t want to say there has been a conspiracy among the pollsters and major media to exclude any mention of the alternatives, but, until now, it is a fact, nonetheless.”

At ONN, there’s an article on the absurd Tyson Foods controversy:

Tyson Foods created an uproar when it announced recently that its Shelbyville plant would no longer have Labor Day as a paid holiday, but instead that the 1,000 affected union employees would have October 1 off, which corresponds to the end of the Muslim festival of Ramadan. The move reportedly was aimed at accommodating the 250 Somali Muslim employees who work at the Shelbyville plant. (See earlier article)

Actually, the union there requested the day and overwhelmingly voted in favor of the contract. That’s not the end of stupidity:

Jim Boulet of English First says it is a great victory for the people. “The American people rose up and said, ‘Look, in the United States its time for the immigrants to adapt to our ways — not the other way around.’”

That’s right, he just came out against religious pluralism. How American.

Boulet suggests there would be no mutual respect given if the tables were turned. “[E]specially given that an immigrant to an Islamic country had darn well better adopt Islam — and try to build a church in Saudi Arabia and see how far you get,” he adds. “But the Islamicists come to this country and they use and abuse our legal system in order to impose their religion on the rest of us. Well, for once the people have risen up and said not here, not today. It’s a big victory.”

I stand in awe of that comment. Yes, Saudi Arabia is more oppressive than us. I would think that’s a point in our favor. And seriously, you’re being imposed upon by getting a different day off? I wonder if he knows they employees don’t have to observe the end of Ramadan.

Categories: General

The affairs of others

August 9, 2008 2 comments

So the tabloids got one right and John Edwards has admitted to an affair. Cue left wingers saying this is a “private matter,” right wingers mixing feigned outrage and schadenfreude in response to the news, accusations of hypocrisy from both sides, etc. I’m excited, aren’t you?

Edwards always struck me as a little bit phony, though I never really took the time to try and justify my feelings. We know he went from somewhat conservative Democrat to progressive populist in a pretty short amount of time and gained a large amount of influence because of it. Now we know he’s so self-absorbed that he would run for president knowing he had a giant skeleton in his closet that would essentially end the election were he the nominee. That reflects poorly on him, to say the least. As does going to meet his mistress again, after claiming to have ended the affair.

Categories: 2008 elections, The Left

About those tire gauges…

August 5, 2008 Leave a comment

So, inflating your tires properly is about quadruple the savings that offshore drilling would net us. That means the core of McCain’s energy plan is so ridiculous that inflating your tires dwarfs its impact.

It’s ok though, McCain has a substantive ad featuring Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.

In other news, offshore drilling has a ton of public support and Obama has warmed to the idea. I guess this isn’t surprising and it illustrates a big problem with environmentalism. People don’t care about the environment when their pocketbook is at stake, even if they agree in the abstract with what environmentalists are trying to do. The Sierra Club can attack “Big Oil” as much as they please, but it’s not going to make a difference for the environment until energy costs aren’t the burden they are right now.

Sort of related: the windfall profits tax. Almost as bad as a gas tax holiday.

A point for the vegans

August 4, 2008 Leave a comment

I meant to post about this last week. A study about sausage preferences:

People who scored high on “social authority” – they believed it was important to support people in power – tended to label the “vegetarian” sausage as inferior, even when the vegetarian sausage was actually from a cow. Likewise, people who scored low on “social power values” tended to score the vegan sausage much higher than the beef sausage, even when they were actually eating meat.

So sometimes a sausage isn’t just a sausage. Not all foods are like this, he notes, but still (the only soy replacement product I’ve tried is mozzarella cheese. It was close, but not quite convincing).

Another lesson in why you shouldn’t trust yourself to be objective.

Categories: Skepticism

Sweet, sweet Internets

August 4, 2008 3 comments

Not having a working Internet connection in my apartment for the better part of last week has really shown me how hopelessly addicted I am to it.

On the other hand, I managed to watch four movies and significant number of Arrested Development episodes. Eventually I assume I’ll get tired of that show, but I’m nowhere near that point yet.

Clearly, I have too much spare time.

Categories: Personal
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.