Thursday, December 06, 2007
It felt good to just get up there and ramble for 5 minutes and actually have people laugh at it. Like I've said before and I'll say again, I am an attention whore.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Let me break down why this truly annoys me. Science searches for answers through a method as follows:
1. Ask a question.
2. Do background research.
3. Construct a testable hypothesis.
4. Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment.
5. If the hypothesis fails, construct a new hypothesis based on the failure and test again.
6. Analyze your data and draw a conclusion.
7. Communicate your results.
Intelligent Design fails to properly follow this as the hypothesis they form has the inherent flaw of being untestable. When you are forced to fiat a premise, you have already lost the debate. It isn't science because there is no way to test all of the tenants of the hypothesis. Proponents use the claim, "well you can't disprove an intelligent designer." They conveniently forget that it is the responsibility of the one making the claim to substantiate it. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far Intelligent Design supporters have presented no evidence that wasn't based on flawed reasoning. To prove an intelligent designer one must prove its existence.
I would like to challenge any intelligent design proponent to scientifically back their claim of a designer by proving its existence. Until then, it is categorically NOT science.
Monday, October 29, 2007
On the topic of secular humanist goals, we have been looking for a local cause to champion and I think we have found one, the Corpus Christi Food Bank. The warehouses are nearly empty and the holidays are coming. I am working this week to put together something to assist the Food Bank in providing for those who would otherwise go without. To have anyone go hungry in a town where people can afford to drive BMW, Mercedes, and Hummer is inexcusable. In my next post I hope to have a plan laid out and info on how you can help. Stay tuned...
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I am going to do what I can and donate to the Red Cross. I ask that everyone who sees this do the same. You can donate online at http://www.redcross.org/donate/donate.html.
Your fellow Americans need you. Every donation, even the tiny ones, counts. If you can do more, contact your local Red Cross office to ask how you can help. Arrange for your office or church group to put together food and water shipments. Some employers could even start a donation matching program. This nation has more resources than any other so we have no excuse for not helping these victims of disaster. Thank you.
Monday, October 22, 2007
She has obviously had that on her mind because this morning as we got in the car she looked at me with a very serious face and said, "Daddy, I thought about it and I want to trick-or-treat for UNICEF, at least at some of the houses." My little girl, part of the "ME, ME, ME generation", wants to give up on part of what promises to be a huge haul of candy to help poor kids have food to eat. Moments like this give me hope for the world.
I am going tonight to the Hallmark Gold Crown store to pick up the donation box. It helps children all over the world and won't cost you a penny in dental bills.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I have spent some time of late reflecting on the life of one of my heroes, my grandfather, Jerome Joseph Clarkson. He was a soldier in World War II and nearly gave his life defending his platoon. What makes him my hero was the life he led after he returned from the war. He fathered my father and uncle, raised his family and worked for everything he had.
When my dad was about 7, roughly 1952, they were all driving down the road in the family car, my dad, his brother, and an aunt in the back seat and my grandfather and grandmother in the front. A drunk driver coming the other way struck the head on, injuring my grandfather's legs and sending my grandmother through the windshield. She suffered brain damage sufficient that doctors recommended she be committed and he move on with his life.
My grandfather stayed by her side, raising my father and uncle and caring for her till the day he died in 1989. On October 2nd, his wife and my grandmother passed away. I received a tearful call early that morning from my father reporting that cancer had finally claimed her. She had suffered with breast cancer and myriad other forms of cancer for 20 years now so death was a peaceful release. During that entire time she never complained. The one memory I carry most of her is her smile. Always kind, loving, and just happy to be alive.
I attended her funeral and spoke with my family for the first time in two years. All of these events brought up thoughts of my hero and I asked myself now what he would think of the man I have grown to be. Over the ensuing couple of weeks my family and I have made amends and a weird kind of peace has returned to that relationship.
On another front I went to church with my in-laws again and surprisingly the Bay Area Fellowship is still standing. The sermon that day was quite inspirational and it moved me to ask what is so important to me I would risk my life for it. Aside from the obvious, "my wife and family" answers, the things we would risk everything for should take priority in our lives.
I look at the things I am most passionate about and I have to say, I would risk my life if speaking out against intolerance and hatred in "God's" name could save just one innocent life. If the movement I start here could spare one person, my life has meaning. Ironic, the words of a preacher inspiring an atheist to action to stop religion from poisoning minds and hurting the innocent...
In the end, I look at my grandfather and the values he passed on to me through his actions. He was never a deeply religious man but believed always in giving all one could to help his fellow man. When all is said and done, if I have given even half of the love and effort that great man gave the world, I will have done well. All of that while maintaining my grandmother's smile and I will have changed the world, even if it is only my corner of it.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
On Sept. 8, Kathy Griffin, a bawdy, foulmouthed comedian, accepted an Emmy Award for her reality show, "My Life on the D-List," and in her acceptance speech she explained that while other actors might thank Jesus for such an honor, she wouldn't consider it. "Suck it, Jesus," she exuberantly added, waving her statuette in the air. "This award is my God, now."
I almost sprayed my monitor with coffee I was laughing so hard. I love Kathy Griffin for the sole reason that there is no filter between her brain and her mouth. Her statement is hilarious and was meant to annoy the crowd that thinks Hollywood worships the idols of fame and fortune. I am guessing she didn't count on getting their collective panties in that much of a wad though. For extra fun check out http://www.suckitjesus.com. They are running a petition not to censor the statement in future airings of the broadcast. To put in my two bits worth, anyone offended over what she said can suck it to. Put on your big girl panties and grow a sense of humor.
In further news, during the lull in my blogging I have turned into quite the activist for Atheism and rational government. I spoke on the steps of the state capitol, have written a letter to the editor, and am active in the Corpus Christi Atheists, a fledgling activist group just getting off the ground. I hope to get back into the swing of things with my blogging but don't hold your breath. Until later...
Monday, July 23, 2007
We as a people have given silent consent to the trampling of our most basic liberties out of fear of terrorism. In doing so we have allowed the terrorists to win. Terrorism's sole purpose is to inspire terror for political or ideological gain. The terrorists wanted our freedom taken away. When we all fear of another attack to take over and give our liberties up, they win that objective. Fear has crippled our nation into giving our power as a people to the government. This government has shown nothing save a propensity for mis-using that power. They have struck at the very thing that makes this nation worth defending, the Bill of Rights. This is no longer a political debate. This has become a call to arms for all true Patriots. No more should we allow those in lock step with our government to call dissenting voices "un-American". No more will bigots, liars, and tyrants hold the reigns of power un-checked. My Grandfather's blood was not spilled in WWII for me to remain silent. This nation was not built on the backs of those who simply "fell in line" but the fire and passion of men willing to die for my right to speak out. I leave you with this quote as a parting thought:
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -attributed to Ben Franklin and used as the Motto on the title page of, "An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania" published by Franklin in 1759.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The conversation turned to our old car which is now in the possession of one of the hot Roller Derby girls we know. I had spoken to her last week and she said the car needed a new head gasket. Of course this leads me into detail about what is entailed in a head gasket repair. My wife responds by saying, "blah, blah, blah, gasket."
I spend all my time with them talking about girlie shit but they can't take a moment to learn a little about the guy world? It isn't like this is complex stuff here. I was even explaining in layman's terms, avoiding things like "removing the intake manifold" and replacing it with terms like "taking the top half of the engine off." I, on the other hand, know in excruciating detail how to use a douche even though I don't have any of the required equipment.
I am not saying women should learn everything there is to know about this stuff. I am saying women should take the time to be able to converse with the man they love intelligently about the stuff he loves. Now my wife goes further than most in having learned guy stuff and I am proud of that but there is still a huge gap between the amount of stuff she knows about guys and the amount of stuff I know about girls. Her eyes still glaze over at the mention of a "bored out 308 with a 4 barrel carb and Flowmaster exhaust manifold" not because she is incapable of learning but because she just doesn't care to learn. So I have to know what a Manolo Blahnik and Dooney & Burke are but she doesn't have to know what Flowmaster and Roushe are?
In the words of Toby Keith, "...I wanna talk about me, wanna talk about I, wanna talk about number one, oh my me my, what I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see... I like talking about you, usually, but occasionally I wanna talk about me..."
Just a thought ladies. You want to give a man the perfect gift? Pick up a magazine about something he is passionate about that isn't girl related and read it until you can reply intelligently when he starts a conversation that would normally have your eyes roll back. There is nothing hotter than a girl who knows the difference between a carburetor and an intake manifold. Guys, pick up a Cosmo and do the same for her.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
IF YOU READ SOMETHING ON HERE THAT OFFENDS YOU, EITHER HAVE THE DECENCY TO CONFRONT ME DIRECTLY, SILENTLY SEETHE IN THE SHADOWS, OR STOP READING MY BLOG!
Nothing hacks me off more than people who whisper in the background when they lack the intellectual prowess to confront issues directly. I am always willing to entertain someone with the balls to bring a real argument to the table. Well I'm calling you out you obnoxious busybodys. Either bring your concerns to me or shut the fuck up.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle -- Army Pfc. Raymond N. Spencer Jr., 23, of Sacramento County was a study in contrasts. He liked the movies "Top Gun" and "Finding Nemo," the History Channel and "South Park," country music and rock.
Spencer was a firefighter in Placer Hills before joining the Army. He coached youth ice hockey and played the game himself throughout the U.S. and Canada, at one point harboring ambitions to play professionally.He never got to start that family. He was scheduled to be home on July 1st, in time for his sister's wedding. He is coming home now, but not in the way he intended. He died on June 21, 2007. Insurgents in Baghdad attacked his unit with IED's and small arms fire.
He cherished his family, said his aunt, and wrote on MySpace, "My family has always been there for me and support everything I do. I plan to be the same way when I start my own family one day."
Pfc. Raymond Spencer, Jr., you will always be remembered. I salute you and all of your brothers-in-arms who make the ultimate sacrifice. May your family find comfort in their time of loss.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
First, one thing that really bugs me is under-qualified people in important positions. I was listening to the radio this morning and heard one of those people being interviewed. He introduced himself as the, "regional manager of the Small Bidness Adssociation(sic)." If you can't pronounce the name of the office you are in charge of, you don't get to be in charge of it. This applies double in a position where you have to communicate effectively with business professionals. I don't care what color you are, where you are from, or how cute people say your accent is, if you can't effectively communicate in English, you are instantly under qualified to manage anything here in America. It isn't a race thing, it's a requirement of the job.
Next on my hit list are these crazy people who think the answer to illegal immigration is to build a fucking fence. Penn & Teller already showed on their Showtime series "Bullshit" how a team of illegal immigrants got through, over, and under an exact replica of the fence they are building in under two minutes. You want to stop illegal immigration? Help make the shit hole countries they are coming from livable. If you don't want people to look for greener pastures here, help fertilize their own pasture. Otherwise they will come to graze in ours, even if that means risking life and limb to get here.
Next up we have religious extremists the world over going completely ape shit. In Gaza we have the loonies at Hamas attacking the only chance at a sane, secular government in the Middle East. Here in America we have Right Wing whack jobs thinking creationism is science and every kid should be taught it in place of Evolution, a thoroughly tested and scientifically verifiable theory. Then they go further by interfering with science that could save lives because the cells they are testing could, if implanted into a mother at the right time, maybe, eventually, become a viable baby. Forget that the same could be said for the millions of skin cells you kill every time you scratch an itch. THE BIBLE IS NOT SCIENCE!
Further on the religious bent, it drives me absolutely fucking crazy when people count their religious texts as evidence when arguing a point. Note to Christians: THE BIBLE DOES NOT COUNT AS EVIDENCE! For it to work as evidence, it would need to be verifiable and it just isn't. Many of the accounts, especially the most fantastic, only appear in the Bible and nowhere else in the historical record. You would think Egypt would have recorded at least one blurb about the millions of Hebrew slaves they had. A cosmological event of the magnitude of a huge star over Bethlehem would have been written down by more than just one race. Many cultures at that time had incredibly accurate star charts and none of them include a huge one over Bethlehem. Your record loses credibility every time it makes a huge claim that can't be verified ANYWHERE. That is why it is religion and not science.
Last but not least, I LOATHE those who think you have to be religious to be a good person. Albert Einstein said it best when he said, "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." I am not moral because some bearded old man in the sky will give me a cookie. I am moral because it is my civic duty. I am moral because the survival of the species depends on moral people doing moral things. I am moral for the sake of morality. Further, I base my morality on a logical set of rules, not the arcane writings of racist, homophobic, and xenophobic assholes. I like the Wiccan Rede, "An it harm none, do as thou wilt." The logic is simple and clear. If you are harming no one, do what makes you happy. I take that a step further and say all others should be allowed the same right. If you are gay, be gay! If you like to swing, then find some swingers and have at it. We have one shot on this spinning rock. Life is too short to not be yourself on account of what others may think.
Well, that was cleansing. It is cathartic to unleash the power of the written word. I hope in doing so I helped enlighten at least one of the random souls that graces this page. Until next time...
Monday, April 09, 2007
Going to Bay Area Fellowship is seriously like walking into a rock concert for Jesus. On a Saturday evening they were able to pack over 3000 people into the church and then repeat that 3 more times the next day. By comparison the average orthodox Christian church is lucky to pull in 350 parishioners on Easter and Christmas.
Bay Area is one of the new breed of churches geared to the MTV generation, catering to the short attention span with a light and sound show worthy of Pink Floyd. The pastor is part comic, part motivational speaker, and just a splash of snake oil salesman, using jokes and props to try and relate 2,000 year old doctrine to Generation X. Has Christianity turned over a new leaf? Could this new, modern Jesus be the enlightened step to freedom for millions of Christians?
I doubt it. During the sermon he said he hoped there were atheists in the audience. He then proceeded to say that to deny Christ one had to be uneducated. His source was the "Testimonium Flavianum" found in "Jewish Antiquities" by Josephus. The problem with using that text with this atheist is the fact that I am indeed educated in Christian history. Josephus was a Jewish historian who, while in Rome, proceeded to write a history of the Jews from the many accounts which he had heard. His history was published around 90 C.E., some 60 years after the crucification of Christ. The original text has long since been lost and the oldest of the copies is debatable. In what we have of the texts Josephus is quoted as saying,
"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not cease. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life. For the prophets of God had prophesied these and myriads of other marvellous things about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still up to now, not disappeared." -Antiquities, Josephus, I. H. Feldman TranslationThis version is widely regarded as a later Christian Redaction of what is contained in one of the Arabic translations,
"They reported that he had appeared to them after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."-Antiquities, Josephus, From Agapios' Kitab al-'UnwanThe question is, is Josephus proclaiming Jesus to in fact be the Messiah or simply repeating the rumors which he heard? The Feldman translation comes from manuscripts provided by the Catholic church which for me instantly puts a dubious light on them.
The pastor then went on to speak of the hundreds of witnesses to the risen Christ and their historical record. Yes, their historical record would be a damning bit of evidence for an Atheist. Even one eyewitness account would be pretty moving. Problem is, none of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, none of the gnostic texts, and none of the Epistles. We have at best third hand re-tellings of the event and at worst flat out lies.
All of this sounded eerily like the tactics of politicians, telling you something false or dubious in such a matter of fact way that you see it as fact. The sad part is, I guarantee you that every parishioner in that place would have argued that point till they were blue in the face because their pastor said it was truth. The joys of modern evangelical Christianity, giving you all of the ability to bury you head in the sand as old Christianity with all the lights and sounds of MTV. It is enough to make my head hurt.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Then it somehow took a serious turn as the solution to world hunger popped into my brain. Solve for greed and indifference. If we can solve those problems we end war, hunger, poverty, and hate. Now before everyone goes, "Boy is this guy a naive little shit" hear me out. I get that it is truly impossible to solve for greed completely. It is part of human nature. It is worth trying though.
If we took the amount spent on the Iraq war, we could fully insure 246,000,000 Americans, or give scholarships to 19,000,000 Americans, or build over 3,000,000 additional housing units for the poor. If we took the amount spent on projects designed to line the pockets of corporations that paid for campaigns, we could feed every hungry child in America. Every bomb we drop or missile we fire costs another $30-50,000 not counting the costs of rebuilding the country we just bombed to hell. Every soldier that dies costs this country another of its finest citizens, something we could never put a price on.
Don't get me wrong, I will support any war that defends our borders or rights civil injustices. Iraq does neither of those. It serves only to forward the interests of Haliburton and the other vultures the President has allied himself with. If it were about human rights then why aren't we in Darfur? Why haven't we sanctioned China? If it was about terrorism why haven't we taken on Saudi Arabia or Syria? Iraq was solely about greed in its most unabashed form. Why has it continued? Because Americans are so indifferent and lazy we refuse to actually take action to stop this. We accept all the garbage the media (I am looking at you Fox News) feeds us and let these greedy bastards destroy our world.
So how do we solve for greed? How can we, average citizens of the world, stop greed at its highest levels? Stop it at home. Stop running up debt to acquire crap you don't need. Stop teaching our kids it is okay to purchase $100 jeans and $500 shoes. Stop promising to donate to charity and then deciding you need something else instead. As for indifference, we who are awake to the travesties committed by our government have to shout these atrocities from the rooftops (no, not literally) and rally all of America. Our destruction comes not from a bearded asshole with a turban but from a well dressed politician claiming to protect us as our liberties are stolen slowly away.
Write your congressman, your senator, even your city councilman. Propose that your legislators support resolutions to end this war. While a city council has no real power to end this war by itself, if hundreds of cities nationwide resolve against this we can send a clear signal to our leaders they are on notice. Finally, we need to vote against any politician not willing to act to end this war NOW. Talk time is over, we must act. This is a call to Revolution, not a non-binding resolution. Take note Democrats, non-binding resolutions are impotent actions that mean nothing. It is like telling the school bully not to take your lunch money or you'll make a stern face at him. End it, or you all get cleaned out with the wash.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
I keep trying to fix things in Iraq but nobody seems to see my vision. Their president has the insane notion HE is in charge even though I keep telling him he can only be in charge when he agrees with me. I keep supporting the Shiite leaders and can't for the life of me figure out why their mortal enemies the Sunnis are all pissed off. Why can't anyone understand that I talk to God and everyone should listen to me?
Remember when you used to sit on Santa's lap and whisper your dream gift in his ear and come Christmas day you found socks under the tree instead? After a few Christmases like that your mom finally told you the man at the mall was just a hobo they paid to tell you what you wanted to hear and take your photo for $5.00 and then hand you a Saf-T-Pop on your way out. This is just like that. The "Voice of God" is just Cheney in a beard again. Stop throwing troops in the middle of two groups that hate each other. If you want to fix this you need to step the fuck out and hand it to the people who understand the situation.
You see, most of the countries surrounding Iraq are Sunni, the same branch of Islam as Saddam and the current bunch of insurgents. The Iranians and the current ruling class in Iraq are Shiite. These two hate each other like Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken and have for millenia. This is not going away because some stupid bumpkin from Texas says Jesus said so.
To stop this fighting you have to turn to the Sunni and Shiite nations surrounding Iraq, which incidentally won't help as long as we are there, and have them broker a deal. These lunatics will not listen to a nation they consider infidel invaders. They will on the other hand listen to the leaders of nations that are willing to eradicate them if they don't comply.
Now if you didn't understand any of this, tell Laura to read it and explain it to you. Hopefully for all our sakes she can get through you ignorant twit. Now go play in the sandbox and stop getting our boys killed because you are an ignorant ass that can't understand what happens when you try to break up a fight between rabid dogs.
Tune in next time when I announce my candidacy for President in the 2012 election running on the "Fuck You" ticket.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
"I have some questions about atheism. Maybe you know the answers."
First let me be clear, atheism is a rather broad category that merely implies lack of belief in a deity. My answers here stem from scientific atheism, or in the words of Richard Dawkins, Einsteinian Religion.Q: Do atheists believe in ghosts, vampires, zombies, returning from the dead, etc.?
A: Using the strict definitions of those words no. I will caveat that there are many strange and well documented phenomenon which to this point science has not fully explained. I like to use the rule that when one hears hoof beats he should think horses, not zebras. To me it is the zebra syndrome when one labels something supernatural before eliminating the natural possibilities.Q: Do atheists believe in any form of life after death?
A: No. There is no scientific evidence to support such a conclusion.Q: Do atheists believe that if they kill someone and nobody ever finds out, then it’s ok?
A: To claim morals come from a belief in a god is horridly irresponsible. "Thou shalt not kill" existed long before Judeo-Christian theology. If I were to follow the morals laid out by the God of the Bible I would have to stone my child to death for disobedience, my wife would have to wear a veil and not speak unless spoken to, and I could explain away killing my first born by saying God made me do it. Belief in God does not equal having a solid moral code and disbelief in one does not mean lack of moral direction. In the atheist doing that which is right is intrinsically good and is not done out of fear of reprisal from a vengeful bearded old guy in the sky.Q: Do atheists capitalize the name “Hitler”, but not the name “God”?
A: The name God refers to a specific deity also known as Allah, Elohim, Yaweh, and a myriad of other names by the big three monotheistic religions. The word god is not in and of itself a proper name as it could refer to any mythological being in the pantheon of gods and therefore, as it is not a proper noun, does not require capitalization. Hitler is on the other hand the proper name of a genocidal maniac.Q: Is there an atheist spell-checker that ignores this “error”?
A: As it is in fact NOT an error, all spell-checkers should ignore it. Google toolbar does. Microsoft word as well.Q: Do atheists think Hitler was a jerk, but only because he believed in a God?
A: Hitler was a jerk because he killed millions who believed differently than he did including gays, Jews, gypsies, and many Christians. He used God as justification for killing millions of people. If we look at the crusades and the Inquisition we see the same thing, God used to justify genocide. The book of Joshua in the Bible is filled with God induced genocide. Genocidal maniac = Bad guy, no matter what his justification.Q: If atheists don’t believe in God, why do they care if anyone else believes in God? (I don’t believe in little green men from mars, but I could give a shit if you do)
A: I only care when that belief is used to justify wars, prejudice, or arcane laws with no basis in reality. Religion is a dangerous drug. Like other drugs, most addicts do little harm to others but the ones who do make it wise to rid the world of them entirely.Q: During sex do atheists ever say “Oh God, I’m gonna’ cum!”?
A: Yes. At least I do. Beats "Oh science, I'm gonna cum!" doesn't it?Q: When angry, do atheists ever say “God damn it!” or “Go to hell!”?
A: I use "Oh, God" and "God damn it" because "Oh, science" and "Reality damn it" just don't carry the same potency.Q: Do atheists ever see the image of Christ on a bagel or a slice of toast?
A: No, but I once saw a Cheeto that looked like the Pope's hat.Q: Do atheists never feel like “somebody up there” is watching out for them?
A: Every time I hear about Bush's NSA policies.Q: Do atheists celebrate Christmas, take a Christmas vacation, or accept a Christmas bonus? If so, why?
A: I do. So does Richard Dawkins. Christmas has been a secular/pagan holiday for much longer than it was a Christian one. Jesus was just shoved in as an attempt to convert the pagans. Does anyone really still believe the man called Jesus was born in December? Really?Q: When testifying in a court of law, are atheists required to swear on a bible?
A: Only truly backwards jurisdictions would force someone to swear on a book of fairy tales.So kids, that about sums up our Ask Mike for today. Tune in next time when I tackle the question, "If I melt dry ice, can I take a bath without getting wet?" Until next time remember to smile, it makes people wonder what you are up to.