Booking it September 27, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging.
I owe Sketchgirl a response to her meme, so here goes:
A book that changed my life: This one is hard. Um, The Sacred Balance (David Suzuki), The Beauty Myth (Naomi Wolf), Emily of New Moon (L. M. Montgomery) … I could go on, but I’ll spare you.
A book I’ve read more than once: Lots of books. I tend to re-read books obsessively.
A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island: Probably Ulysses. I think I could really get it given an unlimited amount of time.
A book that made me laugh: Catch 22. I know, I have a strange sense of humor.
A book that made me cry: America, Return to God. It also made my eyes bleed.
A book that I wish had been written: Dubliners.
A book that I wish had never been written: I don’t really believe books should be unwritten, but if I have to pick, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Deerslayer, which remains one of the most offensive, poorly written, and ill-conceived books in history.
A book I’ve been meaning to read: Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison.
I’m currently reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The value of a secular state September 26, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, Religion.
Crooks and Liars does a lot of good work, and provides invaluable support to progressives trying to keep abreast of the actions of the mainstream media. but John Amato’s latest contribution seems to miss the point. Discussing a very creepy “Jesus Camp,” Amato adds this
The directors claim that, among those who see the movie, cracks can be spotted within this conservative Christian movement (though they feel the movement “hasn’t peaked”). Their claim was that the cracks are represented by individuals who say “My faith is not represented by these people; I don’t think my faith should be a part of politics.” However, I would STRONGLY suggest that cracks are more likely identified in groups (like Jim Wallis’ group, Sojourners) that say “this kind of politics does not represent my faith.” I want to be as straightforward as possible about this, Jim. I’m with Amy Sullivan on this one: if Dems feel it necessary to take the “separation of church and state” argument to defend their position — where separation of church and state means that the state has been bleached of all remnants of religion (which I call a fundamentalist secularism), WE WILL LOSE and LOSE BADLY for a long time. Not only that, but we will have to undo the gains of a more humanistic government in the last century and a half: abolition, suffrage, child labor laws, and the civil rights movement, to name a few, will have to also be bleached of the critical public voices of religious activists (try scrubbing MLK of his religious overtones, for instance).
The troubling ethical implications of the truth September 26, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Science, Uncategorized, wingnuts.
Red State Rabble reports that there’s a new creationist website out there, with great info like this:
There is a modern controversy over Darwin’s theory of evolution and the neo-Darwinian synthesis, and this has considerable social, spiritual, moral and ethical mplications. Truth in Science promotes the critical examination of Darwinism in schools, as an important component of science education.
Note that they’re not even talking about a scientific controversy about evolution–there is none–but about an ethical controversy. Even were they right: even if evolution’s philosophical implications were indeed troubling, that would still make this one of the more foolish pieces ever mentioned here, for one simple reason: the ethical implications of evidence does not change our evaluation of the evidence. Since there is a mountain of evidence for common descent, this common creationist argument is the same as the Inquisition threatening those who said the earth revolved around the sun. “But that doesn’t fit with out worldview,” creationists say, “and so it must be wrong.”
Reasonable people, of course, take the opposite tact: when the evidence consistently opposes your worldview, it is the worldview, not the evidence, that needs adjusting.
Just in case you missed it September 25, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Iraq, Terrorism.
Defenders of the Iraq war, let’s here from you: what’s your defense of the “Bush Doctrine” now?
Good news for the Discovery Institute September 21, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Religion, Science.
A 3.3-million-year-old skeleton of a young child curled into a ball no bigger than a cantaloupe — a unique fossil described as “a bright beam of light” on human evolution — was unveiled Wednesday by paleontologists working in the sun-baked badlands of Ethiopia.
But now that they’ve found yet another transitional fossil, of course there’s the question of where are the transitions to the transition. See, every time we find a missing link, creationists demand that we fill in those gaps to, so that the demand is we find every transitional form ever produced. Each time more evidence is found, then, creationists pretend that it is a problem for evolution, and not for them. Unfortunately, this is pretty hard to explain away:
The fossil offers clues about how the species blurred the line between ape and human. From the waist down, the skeleton looks like a human’s. But her upper body had many apelike features. Her brain was small, her nose flat like a chimpanzee’s and her face long and projecting. Her finger bones were curved and almost as long as a chimp’s.
“Clearly, we have a species in transition,” said Lucy’s discoverer, Donald Johanson, director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. The species “sits at a critical point of human evolution.”
Wow. Human and non-human features, a unique anatomy–sounds like another one of them hoaxes put on earth by Got to test our faith.
So, to recap. Real, empirical science: 2 billion, “creation science”: 0.
C’mon, creationists, we’re still waiting for those testable predictions? Or is “God did it” really your best explanation for everything?
Here’s a must-read September 18, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Religion, wingnuts.
Giles Fraser has some important thoughts on the Pope’s comments:
For the Pope argued that in Muslim teaching, because “God is absolutely transcendent”, He is “not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality”. In other words, there is no reasoning in or with Islam. Which, surely, is another way of the Pope saying how dangerous he thinks Islam is.
For in claiming that Islam may be beyond reason, and then to claim that to act without reason is to act contrary to the will of God, is pretty close to the assertion that this religion is godless. And that’s not how different faiths ought to speak to each other – especially when we all have each other’s blood on our hands.
Read the whole thing.
Ironic, isn’t it, that the Pope would accuse Islam of being irrational.
Jesus H. Christ, people are dumb September 17, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, wingnuts.
I spend a lot of time on this blog making fun of right wingers, but of course they don’t have a monopoly on stupidity. Even people who are generally reasonable can have bouts of shocking ignorance.
A memo to idiots: if your perception of a person’s attractiveness figures into your evaluation of their worth or the quality of their argument, you are a part of the fucking problem.
(Oh, and while I’m using parenthesis everywhere: kudos to PZ Myers for standing up us not-hotties, though some people find my magnetic goatee kinda cool, or so I hear.)
Men kissing, plus I make fun of the Pope! September 17, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Religion, wingnuts.
(There. I suspect that should weed out anyone who might be offended by this post.)
The Pope has spoken about his concern about evolution:
Speaking to a 300,000-strong crowd in this German city, the former theological watchdog said that, according to such theories derived from Charles Darwin’s work, the universe is “the random result of evolution and therefore, at bottom, something unreasonable.”
As PZ Myers points out, the Pope isn’t qualified to speak on this subject. I’d add he’s no more qualified to talk about evolution than he is to blame God for the Holocaust. In other news, the Pope’s whole argument, that evolution shouldn’t be trusted because it makes him uncomfortable, is fucking stupid. All he has really said is that he rejects evidence when the evidence makes him uncomfortable, he feels the right choice is to ignore the evidence.
Let’s say that again, so there’s no mistake: when the Pope hears evidence he doesn’t like, he ignores it. If that isn’t the perfect metaphor for organized religion, I don’t know what is.
(The good news is, Ratz gets the Oscar for most ironic use of the word “unreasonable.”)
In which I don’t make fun of the Pope, exactly September 17, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Religion.
Everyone’s on Ratz’s case for his recent comments about Muslims, and it won’t surprise my readers that I’m not interested in defending him. In fact, I’ve blasted him in the past. But I’m a bit confused about this criticism. It seems to me that all he’s guilty of is being an intolerant religious jerk. And that’s more or less in his job description. I mean, isn’t the first requirement to be Pope that you believe Catholics are right and other religions wrong?
Criticizing him for being bigoted against Muslims, then, strikes me as missing the point: why is everyone pissed at our favorite ex-Nazi religious leader for saying what he obviously believes? Or maybe the Pope’s view of the world just doesn’t hold up well for those of us who don’t think that the world divides neatly into “our religion” and “evildoers.”
I, for one, would like to encourage the Pope to continue to make stupid statements that illustrate what we all know to be true: once you’ve bought into the idea that you’re a member of the “right” religion, and others are wrong, of course you’re going to be an intolerant ass. To do anything else would simply make you a hypocrite.
Now that I’m not making fun of the Pope, stay tuned for my next post, where I make fun of the Pope.
Not so political September 17, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in Science.
…but it’s worth a mention, in case you mentioned it. A planet whose density is less than water. The universe is an amazing place.
And for those who have inquired: my life is fine, just very busy. Thanks for your concern! And sketchgirl, I haven’t forgotten about your tag. :)