Archive for February, 2009

Random stuff

February 27, 2009 Leave a comment

I realize I’m like a month late, but I just got around to reading Dirk Benedict’s rant about the current BSG. You can’t not love an article with a line like this:

Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as Hamletta. Nor does Hans Solo as Hans Sally. Faceman is not the same as Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars. Women “hand out” babies. And thus the world for thousands of years has gone’ round.

Lots more craziness. It’s great.

If you’ve run into the Internet “movie” by the name of Zeitgeist, you should give this a read. It’s a take down of the first, anti-Christianity, half of the film, where the creator tries to claim Christianity is some kind of astrological cult. It’s almost as silly as the rest of the film, but I hadn’t seen a good rebuttal until now.

Categories: Culture, Religion


February 24, 2009 1 comment

My inner gaming geek is winning out over my inner politics and religion geek, so Street Fighter 4 is winning out over blogging, probably for most of this week. Not that I post much anyway these days.

On the other hand, I now have my very own copy of Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great about Christianity?, so that could provide some fodder. Reading that will make me irritable, though.

Categories: Blogging, Religion

A bad idea?

February 21, 2009 3 comments

There’s apparently a bill in the Montana legislature to require an American Indian on the state Board of Pardons and Parole.

As it stands, Board members are required to have “training in American Indian culture and problems.” And, as Jamie notes, Montana requires that:

As vacancies occur and appointments are made, all appointing authorities of all appointive boards, commissions, committees, and councils of state government shall take positive action to attain gender balance and proportional representation of minorities resident in Montana to the greatest extent possible.

As Jamie also notes, 42% of the current board is American Indian. So why does this bill exist? This is the reason given:

Our greater concern, and the concern of Indian leaders who have fought hard for this bill for many sessions, is with who will make these appointments after our current leaders are gone.

Doesn’t this seem kind of weak? There is no problem with the board now, according to Jamie. He doesn’t claim that the current provision for training on American Indian culture and problems is insufficient for the board to carry out its responsibilities fairly. He doesn’t claim that the parity requirement isn’t effective. It’s just that, maybe, in the future, our leaders might allow the board to lapse to a point where American Indians are not treated fairly.

Whatever you think of affirmative action-type measures (I am generally opposed to them, though I do support some of the more minor forms), I think most would agree that they are not ideal solutions, but may be necessary. If we’re going to take the extraordinary step of mandating that a certain position be filled by someone of a specific racial background, I think we need a very compelling reason. We would need to be reasonably confident that our current provisions are failing. Perhaps it’s unfair to Jamie, who just put up a blog post about this, but I don’t think he even hinted at compelling reasons for a new measure above and beyond what we already have.

Categories: Montana

More religion stats

February 16, 2009 1 comment

So the last post got me looking more at that Pew religion survey, which is still fascinating. A few items:

  • 70% of those polled say many religions can lead to eternal life, including most evangelicals(!)
  • 60% of the country believes in a personal god.
  • Religious affiliation declines with education (you knew I was going to sneak that in, right?)

In any case, the survey isn’t new, but I always find something interesting when I look at that information.

Categories: Religion

Religion and morality

February 16, 2009 1 comment

There’s an interesting table over at Gene Expression regarding a question from the Pew Religious Landscape survey. The question is “When it comes to questions of right and wrong, which of the following do you look to most for guidance?” The choices are religious teaching, philosophy and reason, practical experience/common sense, scientific information, and don’t know. I’m not going to reproduce the table here, but in summary, practical experience wins out among most religious groups (the exceptions are Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormons).

Razib describes this as surprising, but is it? There’s research indicating that people agree about basic moral choices, regardless of religious belief. It’s not like most of the religious groups have radically different beliefs about morality, either. Lying, stealing, murder…there isn’t a group on there who condones that.

That common sense category is tricky, though. I think a fairly significant chunk of the religious population would say that God gave them that sense. So it doesn’t mean religious teachings on morality are less important, but that their religious beliefs help them use that sense (or something; I’m shouldn’t be trying to describe that).

Categories: Religion

The Montana Meth Project racket

February 16, 2009 Leave a comment

If you haven’t been reading Pogie’s writing on the Montana Meth Project, you’ve been missing out. There’s some great stuff over there.

Categories: Montana

All hail Gaia

February 13, 2009 1 comment

I think this is the best comment ever left on this blog:

What makes liberals such a bunch of annoying pests why do liberals when they are hurt in a accedent or get ill from their own bad habbits hire a lawyer and sue to solve their problems BECUASE THEIR ALL A BUNCH OF WHINNY SNIVELING LITTLE WUSSIETARDS TO STUPID TO KNOW WHERE THE SUN GOSE AFTER IT SETS IN THE EVENING THEY THINK THE SUN SINKS INTO THE OCEAN AND IS SNUFFED OUT THEN LIT EVERY MORNING BY GAIA THE EARTH MOTHER THEY WORSHIP

Real or not, it’s quite a journey.

Categories: Silliness