Tuesday, February 28, 2012
"Is There a God?", Bertrand Russell (1872–1970)
"Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time."
vania heymann, doesn't actually mention Russell's writing or his teacup, often referred to as the Celestial or Cosmic Teapot, as the inspiration for his video. But intended or not, it seems an accurate depiction of Russell's idea.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Posted by Youtube user: Thunderf00t
For those of you unfamiliar, Thunderfoot’s is a popular Atheist/science/freethought/Free Speech channel on Youtube. Obviously, that means the views expressed within his videos are typically offensive to the average believer’s sensibilities, when it comes to the level of respect they feel their precious ideals deserve; that level being absolute and unyielding, of course.
But fragile sensibilities of the credulous aside, the reality is that Thunbderfoot is one of the more thoughtful and deliberate critics of religion you’ll find on the net. Who, at worst, one could fairly complain occasionally allows his language to stray towards the PG-13 end of the spectrum. He’s certainly nowhere near as disrespectful towards others as say, oh, I don’t know… ME. So the idea that his videos are now being removed by YouTube moderators for “Religious HATE SPEECH” is so absurd, it would be comical, if it wasn’t so infuriating or so ominous a sign of things to come, where the future of free speech on YT and the net in general is concerned. But that’s exactly what happened.
And it’s going to start happening more and more. Not just on YT but all over the net, if we don’t start making noise about this sort of thing right now.
So I’ll delve deeper into my own opinions on all this later. For now, go watch, like, favorite, and share the video above. Subscribe to Thunderfoot’s Channel if you’re not already, and if you really care, you can download copies of the blocked videos in the details section of the video above, and then mirror them to your own channel. Which I have just started doing myself, HERE.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Well then, now that I've depressed you all, and/or, just pissed you off with tales of rapey pastors and faith-based greed. Let's move on to something a little more fun, and 100 % less.. molesty. Fallout NukaBreak- Episode 2
As you probably don't remember, since it was several months ago now. I previously shared with you all, Wayside Creation's Fallout inspired fan-film NukaBreak, along with episode one of the web series of the same name. I love this. Which is precisely why intended to make sharing new episodes of the series part of my weekly posting habits. Aaaaannnnd... then I didn't. Cause... I forgot..and... stuff.
I'M DOING IT NOW!
Why are you always judging me?
Friday, February 24, 2012
Christ Tabernacle baptist church, in Jacksonville Fl, recently decided to ban children from Sunday services. No, not because they're unruly or disruptive. But for the sake of pastor Darrell Gilyard, who just so happens to be a registered sex offender not allowed unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18, as a condition of his parole. Though Gilyard's lawyer is currently working to alter those conditions so that children can again attend his services. So, ya know, if you were somehow harboring some hope that the church was trying to protect the kids rather than the creep, you can go ahead and let that go.
In a text message to a Jacksonville reporter, Gilyard had the following to say about his current circumstances:
"Somehow I will prove that life isn't over when one has committed a crime for which he receives this heinous label,"
Presuming Gilvard was using the term to imply it was somehow unfair for him to be labeled a "Sex offender", which, he clearly was. I think it's safe to say that, while there may arguably be a number of ways in which one could end up labeled a sex offender in a "heinous" or unfair way -public urination, nudity, ETC- being convicted of having had sexual contact with a fifteen year old, is not one of those circumstances. Particularly when you admit to having committed the crime in question.
Not surprisingly, allegations of "sexual misconduct" against Gilyard, didn't begin with the crimes for which he was ultimately convicted. According to the website, The Christian Post, the first accusations of "sexual impropriety" against Gilyard, came in 1993, while he was serving as pastor for Victory Baptist Church in Texas, one of the nation's 10 fastest-growing congregations.
After successfully dodging the bullet at Victory babtist, Gilyard then went on to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, in Jacksonville Florida. Where, by 1996, a new sexual misconduct allegation made against him, presumably for the acts of which he was ultimately convicted, had to be settled.
In 2004, Darrell Gilyard allegedly admitted to having fathered a child with a woman who accused him of raping her during a counseling session- though the pastor was never actually charged with any crimes relating to this particular incident.
And finally, in 2009, after admitting to having molested one fifteen year old girl in his congregation, and sending a dirty text message to another. Darrell Gilyard plead guilty to one charge of Lewd conduct, and another of "Lewd" molestation -which is presumably worse than, well, whatever other kind of molestation Florida apparently thinks exists.
So why would a church choose to hire a registered sex offender, and then go so far to try and preserve his freedom, as banning children from church services? Members of the church insist of course that Gilvard's presence is all about forgiveness and second chances. But that's all pretty much standard operating procedure whenever any church is caught harboring a known and repeated sexual predator.
Sadly, yet predictably. The real reason for Darrell's new position at the church seems much simpler than any quest for redemption. Cause everyone seems to agree, He's a real good preacher. Why, he even preached on Jerry Falwell's TV show once! In fact, despite any objections from the community. Since the self-confessed-molester's arrival late last month, weekly attendance at the church has jumped from a mere 5-10 parishioners at a time, to a far more respectable 150 plus. Which, it should go without saying, means not only a lot more people to preach to, but a lot more cash in the collection plate.
Oh, and BTW, those increased donations also represent how the church plans to pay Darrell in order to avoid actually having a registered sex offender on the church payroll.
Source: Reality Check
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Every geek comes with his or her own personal obsession with a particular bit of future technology. Weather it's something born purely of the imagination of a sci-fi writer like a light saber, or some speculative bit of real world technology that's seemingly just around the corner, we all have one. Mine, well... one of mine, is the promise of the manipulation of the human body and immune system, through the use of nanotechnology. And while true nanomachines are admittedly still a distant dream, nanotechnology itself is a very real part of our world, and NASA's newly designed, disease treating Biocapsule implant, is a particularly stunning example of that fact.
Designed by Dr. David Loftus, NASA's new Biocapsule is a tiny device built from carbonnanotubes that would be surgically inserted just beneath the patients skin. These Biocapsules would be filled with cells primed to to detect and cure specific ailments, and would do so automatically, by releasing therapeutic molecules (proteins, peptides), via diffusion across the capsule wall. Though designed to treat astronauts during long-term missions -specifically for radiation exposure- these devices could obviously also be adapted to treat any number of illnesses right here on Earth. They could even be used to administer targeted chemotherapy treatments or perhaps take the place of insulin injections, as explained by Dr. Loftus:
"The capsule would contain pancreatic islet cells (from animals) or would contain engineered cells designed to behave like pancreatic islet cells, with both glucose-sensing and insulin secretion function. Patients with low-insulin requirement might benefit from implantation of a single capsule (containing perhaps a million to 10 million cells); patients with higher insulin requirement might require implantation of more than one capsule."
Though it will still likely be another 15-20 years before we can realistically hope to see these capsules put to use on human patients. Unlike so many other speculative advances in technology and medicine, the implants in question actually already exist, and are set to move on to the animal testing phase sometime in the near future. So while it's tempting for me to dismiss headlines promising these devices to be set to " change the future of medicine", as just another bit of wishful thinking that's just too good to be true. From time to time, some amazing thing comes along that isn't based solely on hopeful speculation, and really could have world changing implications. And this -seems anyway- like it might actually be one of those things.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Posted by YouTube user: XtremeScope
So obviously, I've been slacking on my blogging duties again. But this time, I have a really good excuse. Ya see, last week, I discovered the joy of Skyrim! Okay... So, maybe it isn't a great excuse. But it has been fun!
Now, I realize that this game has been out for some time. Hell, it's already managed to spawn a now dead meme, with the whole, "arrow to the knee" thing. So I'm not gonna bother reviewing it as though it's some brand new thing you've never heard of. But, since purchasing it last week for my PS3, I have become hopelessly addicted, though I am thankful that the dragons don't actually look like my Little Ponies. But after a week of playing , I think I've had my fun now. And I promise to do more blogging than dragon slaying this weekend.
I'll try... Seriously.
Don't look at me like that, I will!
Friday, February 10, 2012
After roughly twenty years of effort, a team of Russian researchers announced last Sunday, that they had officially broken through to the surface of Lake Vostok; a large body of freshwater that has been isolated from the world above for the past 20 million years or so, by over 2 miles of Arctic ice. Samples to be taken from the lake later this year could potentially reveal the presence of microbes or other more complex organisms, living in the ancient lake's dark icy waters. If they do, such a discovery would not only expand our understanding of life on our own world, but could potentially provide insight into alien life as well. As Jupiter's moon Europa, and Saturn's Enclades, are both believed to posses similar sub-surface bodies of water.