Archive for December, 2008

Oh, oh – I know the answer to that question! Unfortunately, the 2012 mania is already in swing. I happened to stumble onto this movie preview the other day (put out by the appropriately named “the disinformation company”):

Another video about the same movie here. Seems to follow the same pattern set down by “What the Bleep do we know?” – put a bunch of “expert” talking-heads on video, as if they know what they’re talking about. At least this seems to be going straight to video. But, it’s not the only one jumping on the 2012 bandwagon. The History Channel is putting out “Nostradamus 2012” next week, too.

Of course, I’m not particularly worried. I’ve lived through my share of apocalypses. I lived through “88 reasons Jesus will return in 1988” (a best seller) and the slightly-less popular sequel: “89 reasons Jesus will return in 1989“. And, the Concerned Christian’s destruction of Denver, Colorado on October 10, 1998. I survived the Y2K timebomb. Then, only five months later, I survived the ultimate disaster: 5/5/2000. The end of the world in 2001. I lived through the House of Yahweh’s nuclear war on Sept 12, 2006. (I mean June 12, 2007 .. er, June 12, 2008.)

It would be nice if people would actually learn something when December 21, 2012 comes and goes uneventfully, but we’ve already got plenty of failed predictions through history, and plenty clustering around the year 2000. They haven’t learned yet.

Now all I have to do is find some people willing to bet that December 21, 2012 is actually going to be the apocalypse. Easy money.

Read Full Post »

This is pretty funny – and unexpected.

Read Full Post »

Every once in a while I stumble on some funny Christian apologetics. The most recent one was an online book titled the “Handbook of Personal Evangelism“. It has 23 chapters of delightful non-sequiturs and bad logic. Some of my favorite arguments:

Below are reasons we believe in God:

3. A person who doesn’t believe in God will have to face the problem of trying to substantiate a negative. This particular negative would be impossible to prove. Here is why.

How can a person prove there is no God? Has this person been everywhere within and without the universe? If there is somewhere he has not been, God might be there. Does this person know everything? If there is something he does not know, that something might be God.

A reason to believe is that you can’t prove it’s not true? This one is always funny to me. No doubt, Dr. A Ray Stanford also believes in bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness monster, and elves. Further, he believes they all live together … with the smurfs – afterall, no one can prove that it isn’t true.

Reasons for Believing the Bible

2. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, said something like this: The Bible was written either by –

(a) good men,
(b) bad men, or
(c) God.

(a) If good men wrote the Bible and then claimed it was written by the inspiration of God, they would be liars, and liars are not good men. They would be deceivers, and good men don’t purposely deceive people.

(b) If bad men wrote the Bible, they would be condemning themselves because the Bible condemns sin. Bad men tend to justify themselves, but the Bible never justifies sin. Bad men couldn’t have written the Bible because the Bible is a good book.

(c) Since neither good men nor bad men wrote the Bible, the only person left is God. God wrote the Bible, and it is a MASTERPIECE OF HIS HANDIWORK!

Ah, it’s the old “there are only three possibilities, two are wrong, and therefore the last one must be right!” By this logic, every religion which preaches good is true. And that’s why I’m a Mormon… and a Muslim. And a Cathar, a buddhist, a Bahai, a Hindu, and Hare Krishna. Crap, there’s a lot of religions and cults that taught some good things.

Oh, here’s a bizarre one:

9. The Bible is scientifically accurate.

Jeremiah 10:12 – Einstein’s theory, E=MC^2

Wow. The book of Jeremiah has Einstein’s equation in it?

It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.
Jeremiah 10:12

You can’t get any clearer than that. Now I’m starting to think Einstein stole his famous equation from Jeremiah. In fact, I think I’m going to start referring to it as “Jerimiah’s equation of mass–energy equivalence”, and Wikipedia needs a bit of updating. To all you nonbelievers: “Checkmate!”

Read Full Post »

Want to hear something depressing? Type this into google: “humans apes 46 48 chromosomes”. If you’re knowledgeable about biology, you know that humans have 46 chromosomes, while gorillas, chimps and orangutans have 48. Further, human chromosome #2 looks very much like two chromosomes have fused together into one — neatly explaining where the “missing” chromosome went – and revealing that at one time humans had a chromosome layout just like our ape ancestors. It’s pretty darn good evidence for common descent. (Here’s a video by Ken Miller explaining it.)

But, what happens when you type those terms into google? You get these results:
1. (Young Earth Creationist) Answers in Genesis: A Tale of Two Chromosomes (Oddly, the page is blank, but the internet archive has a copy.)
2. (Creationist) Does anyone remember when humans had 48 chromosomes ? – Yahoo! Answers
3. (Neutral) Chromosome – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
4. (Pro-Evolution) Apes vs Human Chromosome Relationship
5. (Intelligent Design) And the Miller Told His Tale: Ken Miller’s Cold (Chromosomal …
6. (Intelligent Design) Evolution News & Views: And the Miller Told His Tale: Ken Miller’s …
7. (Blocked Access; You have to pay to read the article) Orthologous numbering of great ape and human chromosomes is …
8. (Pro-Evolution) Do all Primates (except humans) have 48 Chromosomes? – Evolution …
9. (Pro-Evolution powerpoint) Fusion Event
10. (Pro-Evolution powerpoint) Evolution: Part 2

Creationist spin controls the highest ranked articles, and the pro-evolution articles in the top eight do a poor job of explaining this as evidence for evolution to the common reader. It’s dismal, especially when evolutionists definitely have this nailed as evidence for evolution. I’d much rather see articles like this at the top. My guess is that google is favoring the most recent articles over earlier ones.

Read Full Post »

The latest This American Life has an interesting little story on some anti-vaccination parents – and what happened when measles spread through the community. (It starts at 14 minutes into the episode and is 22 minutes long.)

I haven’t really delved much into the anti-vaccination movement, though I hear other skeptics talk about it.

It was interesting to hear them describe the anti-vaccination movement as being driven by people who don’t trust the system (well, that and a paranoid fear of vaccination and over-protective parenting). In one part of the story, an anti-vaccination mother describes how a doctor tried to pressure her into giving her child a vaccination (or at least that’s how she describes it). She felt uncomfortable with the whole situation, and gave in. Then drew this conclusion: “His agenda really – I could tell at that point – was he was going to get a DTaP into my child because he felt like he could force me to… Doing further research … the vaccination was completely unnecessary, so that just ruined my faith even more. It sort of hit me like – wow, is it really this bad – you know? So that was – yeah, it was a big moment for me.” I just couldn’t believe it. Why in the world did she think he wanted the child to get vaccinated? What was his motive – other than doing the most responsible thing for the child? Did she think the doctor loves sticking needles into children? Did she think he had some ulterior motive? I’m sure he would’ve had the same reaction if she was letting her children play with loaded guns, or using faith-healing instead of going to the hospital. Any responsible person should get angry when misguided parents put their children at risk. Somehow, she twisted around his pressure to get her child vaccinated into some kind of a “they’re the bad people who shouldn’t be trusted”. It’s horrendously bad logic at it’s finest.

Read Full Post »

Dolphin Stampede

Very cool. This video was shot off the coast of Mexico.

Read Full Post »

This is too funny. (via exchristian.net)

Read Full Post »

I’ve been seeing this story around on some blogs lately:

While I agree with the right of atheists to have their freedom of speech, and that Christians shouldn’t get a monopoly over government buildings, I actually disagree with doing this. The main problem is: what’s the point in putting up the sign, other than to exercise the right to do it and poke a finger in the eye of Christians? Similarly, I would also suggest that Muslims avoid putting up a sign next to the Christmas tree saying that Jesus wasn’t God, people who believe in the trinity are guilty of blasphemy that will be punished severely in the afterlife, that the Koran is the only uncorrupted divine message. Similarly, if Muslims create religious displays, Christians should avoid putting up signs calling Mohammed a pedophile, and telling them they’ll all burn in hell if they don’t convert. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And it’s not like this atheist sign is going to change anyone’s mind on the issue. It’ll just reinforce the feeling (as the radio ad said) that atheists need to “sit down and shut up”.

Read Full Post »

Bird Brains

I’m often surprised by the intelligence of birds. They have such small brains, but can be surprisingly smart. My guess is that evolutionary pressures increased their brain power while under the constraint of having a lightweight brain (so it could still fly). It makes me think that maybe birds have more powerful brains per pound than mammals.

From the local news:

A babysitter’s parrot is being credited with helping save the life of a 2-year-old girl who was choking Friday at a Denver area home while the sitter was in the bathroom.

“While I was in the bathroom, Willie (the parrot) started screaming like I’d never heard him scream before and he started flapping his wings,” said Meagan, the babysitter. “Then he started saying ‘mama baby’ over and over and over again until I came out and looked at Hannah and Hannah’s face was turning blue because she was choking on her pop tart.”

Meagan performed the Heimlich maneuver on Hannah, which stopped the choking.

“If (Willie) wouldn’t have warned me, I probably wouldn’t have come out of the bathroom in time because she was already turning blue, her lips were blue and everything,” Meagan said.

Watch the bird in the second clip

Video of a crow bending a piece of wire into a tool:

Read Full Post »