Saturday, October 12, 2013

Random Bible Verse of the Day: Genesis 1:1

It's been a while since I did a Random Bible Verse of the Day post, and now I'm feeling shameful and unfit for a loving, benevolent Dog.  Let's get back on the crazy train of popular Bible verses to see what pablum the masses are lapping up these days.

Hmm well we've hit the #1 verse (John 3:16), #2 (Jeremiah 29:11),  and #3 (Romans 8:28).  I'm going to skip #4 because its so banal and move right to #5.   Genesis 1 verse 1, come on down!
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Really, this is the fifth most popular verse?  I mean in one sense, given that it is the very first of the Bible its kinda weird that it isn't higher.  But the content itself is so lacking in content that you have to wonder what is it about this verse that is so popular.

But of course, we all know why this is such a popular verse.  It's a comforting reminder to those that don't like the implications of the fact of evolution that their god is behind everything.  In a way, its purpose is to affirm the existence of a god and that this god has agency.  And a god with agency is critical to the attendant myths of original sin and Jesus the savior of human sin.

This notion is the very foundation of any religion.  And not even for religion, but most if not all cultures have some creation story as a means of attempting to explain its place in the cosmos.  Its no surprise that such stories focus on humans, but perhaps the ubiquitous obsession with where we fit in the universe is, even in those cultures that deny it, a tacit recognition of our insignificance relative to the vastness of space.

In my former life as a moderate Christian, I never really thought much or drew much inspiration from this verse.  So I wonder, if on a day-to-day basis, believers feel the need to re-read this to comfort themselves...

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Stupidity of a Syria Strike

The Obama Administration really wants to bomb Syria, ostensibly for its use of chemical weapons against its own people.  And of course a good number of Congress people want to bomb Syria as well for reasons ranging from loyalty to Obama on the left to good old fashioned imperialism on the right.

And then there are the citizens that see this issue as a proxy for conservatives versus liberals, rather than a policy decision that should be weight by the costs and benefits.
“I thought he didn’t like Democrats. Why is he all of a sudden backing the president?” she said.
Of course, such partisanship is endemic to Obama era conservatives.  Obamacare being a carbon copy of Romney care doesn't make a bit of difference to them, only their ability to identify with the politician personally.

But this is getting away from the purpose of this post.  So despite the public being overwhelmingly against bombing Syria, Congress may still vote in favor of it.  And even if it doesn't pass Congress, Obama may still go forward with it.

And the Congressional Budget Office isn't even capable of forecasting what a strike would cost with so few details as to the scope of the attack even though Secretary of State Kerry has said it would be "unbelievably small and limited".  Thanks for the details.  Though according to defense and national security sources for the DailyMail, a 90-day engagement could cost between $5-21 billion.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Juicy, Oblivious Irony

The continued exposure of the US Security State and the blatant Constitutional subversion as revealed by Snowden and Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald highlights not only the abuses explicitly exposed, but also the hypocrisy of Official Washington from mainstream 'journalists' to the Obama administration.

One facet of that hypocrisy smacked me in the face this morning while reading a Yahoo news article when I read this passage [emphasis added]:
The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Road to Equality is Paved with Millions of Pebbles of Support

Last week's Supreme Court rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA were positive in their ultimate effect on marriage equality (despite the narrowness of each and the problematic reasoning that got the positive result in the case of Prop 8).  And despite the narrowness of each ruling, it is clear that public opinion of marriage equality is moving in the right direction and at a rapid pace.  

A 2013 poll by ABC News and the Washington Post found that 58% of Americans support legalization of same sex marriage.  In 2004 public support was at 32%.  That's pretty dramatic change in public opinion and there's no reason to believe it won't continue to rise.  And while there might be an upper limit to public support in the short term, at some point public support will reach a 'critical mass' where opposing and/or not supporting marriage equality will be politically problematic.  Its possible that we we are in the process of crossing that fuzzy threshold.  The Supreme Court rulings will likely serve to further legitimize the idea of marriage equality (to say nothing of the fact that the court basically punted and that the Supreme Court should hardly be seen as a beacon of justice, ironically enough).

But this brings me to the point of this post, which I have actually been meaning to write since the court started hearing arguments back in March on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.  This is when the facebook meme of posting the graphic to the right went viral.  It was rather refreshing to see so many 'friends'  expressing support for equality.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Don't Debate, It's Impolite!

I happen to follow the Progressive Secular Humanist Examiner page on Facebook, which I would encourage any like-minded people to do so as well.  A couple days ago I saw a post from them, however, that is the kind of thing that really bugs me.  Here it is:


Fortunately the commenters realize the bullshit this post is spewing.

F that.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Nature isn't Patentable!

Quikkie post to ease back into the groove...

Yesterday the Supreme Court unanimously (!) ruled that human genes can't be patented.

Previously some corporation had patented the BRCA1 gene that is used to determine the risk of breast cancer.  No, not the method of determining whether this at risk gene was present, but the very DNA itself.

Sound bizarre?  Good, you are thinking human being. I'm not a patent lawyer, but that seems to me like patenting hunter green (not the name, but the actual light frequency that produces 'hunter green').  I wonder if they could hypothetically sue individuals for creating that gene since it is property of a corporation?

Anyway, this was preventing other companies from developing their own methods of detecting cancer. And its kind of ironic that patents are supposed to encourage competition, but prior to the Supreme Court ruling, such a patent was undeniably stifling competition, essentially creating a de-facto monopoly.

Now the cost of getting tested for risk of breast cancer should drop and more people's lives will be saved.

Yay for such a strong decision by an other wise split court.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Please Remember That Funding Terrorists is Illegal...mmmk?

Cross-posted at AtheistHobos.com

When I saw the Salon.com headline NFL under scrutiny for “gay checking" - NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the NFL's Roger Goodell to investigate, I was initially glad to hear that the NFL was getting some real pressure on this.  After all, what the hell does one's sexual orientation have to do with whether or not you can run fast or catch a ball?  It doesn't.  But NFL recruiters are concerned with gays because hyper-pseudo/faux-maculinity (of which homophobia is an integral ingredient), is a defining characteristic of football culture.

But as I read on, I felt nagged by something that I couldn't quite put my finger on.  The AG writing to Commissioner Goodell:
We ask that the league immediately issue a statement that any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation by league teams or players against potential recruits or players constitutes a violation of state, local and, in some cases, contractor law and will not be tolerated.
There it is.  We ask.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vitamin C Megadosing & the Nobel Disease

Cross-posted at AtheistHobos.com

Anyone that has ever been to one knows that the gym locker room is a curious place as one often over-hears others' conversations (not to mention the strange predilection for some guys to feel compelled to walk around in nothing but a t-shirt).  

Last week I overheard two strangers talking about the cold season and how its especially bad this year.  Then one of them offered a solution: megadosing on vitamin C.  Oh boy, here we go; some dumbass is going to start offering some dubious medical advice to a stranger (at least I assume they're strangers to each other as one guy asked the others name when they departed).  His protocol was to basically take about 30,000mg of vitamin C over the course of the workday.  First you start out taking 500mg; an hour later, 1,000; another hour 2,000; and keep doubling until you get up to 16,000mg.

Sounds brilliant, right?

My favorite part was when he said "Yea man, its intense.  The thing is, you just gotta get through the nonstop diarrhea for about a day and you'll be good." 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Penn Sate and Steubenville, OH - Not So Different

Cross-posted at AtheistHobos.com

The fallout from the Sandusky scandal and the ensuing Penn State coverup continues.  Pennsylvania's Governor, Tom Corbett, has filed suit against the NCAA claiming that the sanctions it levied against Penn State were "arbitrary and capricious" and that the "punishments threaten to have a devastating, long-lasting, and irreparable effect on the commonwealth, its citizens, and the economy."

This is a very curious lawsuit in my unprofessional opinion since as far as I can tell, the economic impact resulting from the sanctions is the primary complaint and basis for the lawsuit.  This is curious because that is precisely what the intended impact was.  Sanctions without any detrimental effects would fail to adequately punish the institution that so blatantly covered up child rape in service of its football team, not to mention that it would fail to serve as a meaningful deterrence to other would-be obfuscatory institutions.

Additionally, it seem that detrimental effects to the economy shouldn't be a sufficient standard for a state to claim a liability.  For starters, there should be consideration to the ethical underpinnings of what is causing the detrimental economic effects.  For example, if an economy was highly dependent on slave labor, would the eradication of slave labor be cause to award damages to the state that had previously benefited from such a practice?  I think most people would agree that that would not be sufficient.  Detrimental economic impacts directly resulting from the actions of an organization should not be the sole basis for awarding damages.