Evidence

I recently encountered a very trollish troll on another blog (/waves @ Mak) This trollish troll likes to presume infinite knowledge and attempts to word game his way out of answering a direct question, and then red herring his way along with another question. I am done with this trollish troll and will not sully a good mans blog with more interactions with this trollish troll. However, I have had a couple of days to dwell on this last question, it just kept nagging at me and I think I have an answer that satifies me. This may not satisfy someone else’s take on the situation, but at this point in time, it suits me. The red herring question left to me was one of evidence. What would I consider evidence? I should hope that a guy with a blog entitled Evidence Based Reality, could come up with a decent explanation…

Evidence. Evidence comes in many categories, from weak, to good, to excellent.

Weak evidence would be hearsay, or that which would be circumstantial. As in perhaps someone being caught with a counterfeit 20. If you have one on you, it doesn’t mean you printed it in your basement, it could have been picked  up getting change at the gas station or the donut shop. Someone’s brother’s cousin that heard from someone else’s grandma that you were a counterfeiter would be hearsay, and lousy evidence.

Good evidence is much more convincing. Any reasonably intelligent parent can tell you a look on their childs face is evidence of their guilt in a matter. Let’s say you left the room, and when you came back, the fresh box of donuts you just bought was missing 1 glazed donut. Your child has glaze all over their hands. Between the look on their face and the glaze on their hands this is pretty convincing evidence they ate the donut, even though you did not see it happen.

Let’s consider a murder scene. Fingerprints, footprints, DNA from a strand of hair are all good evidence. All found together at a crime scene, and all matching a certain perp would start adding up to excellent evidence. The perp is now put at the scene, even though there is still a chance of their innocence of the crime. The more evidence made available makes all of the existing evidence stronger. Which brings us to…

Excellent evidence. This would be many converging lines of good evidence. Add up the fingerprints, footprints, DNA, toss in the murder weapon, a motive, plus a confession and you have probably found your murderer.

This kind of converging evidence is what we have for evolution, the age of the universe, and most science in general. Excellent scientific evidence is observable, repeatable, and falsifiable. When many lines of evidence from many different bodies of science converge and point to the same conclusion, I would consider this the strongest kind of evidence available.

This evidence that exists to support both evolution, and the age of the universe pretty much slam dunks straight into the trash can, the possibility of any bronze age mythologies being true.

Oh, and the kind of evidence that exists for religion? It’s weaker than weak. “Cuz reverend Billy Bob said so” is not evidence. “Cuz it says so right thar in my magic book of fables” is not evidence. “Cuz I feel the power of jayzus” is not evidence. “Cuz I know in my heart it must be true” is not evidence. “Because the sunset is beautiful, therefore my dog exists” is not evidence. “Because some philosophers or so called scientists have a certain predisposition to believing in some sort of creationism” is not evidence.

If you religious types have anything else to consider as evidence, I am certain the scientific community and many of us plain old non believing heathens would just love to hear it.

Convergent evidence for evolution : http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/lines_01

I thought this was an interesting read on the age of the universe: http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/bigbangredux.html

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Many Students Killed By Religion In Nigeria

A great number of children, ranging from 29 to 43, to 59 depending on which news outlet is running this story, have been murdered in cold blood. All of them attending a boarding school in Nigeria. Their crime? Attempting to get an eduaction. Murdered by who? The infamous Boko Haram, a severely deranged Islamic group that wantonly kills anyone that dares to defy their creed. See here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26338041  or here: http://news.yahoo.com/suspected-boko-haram-gunmen-attack-nigeria-school-military-115523625.html  or here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-26/scores-dead-in-boko-haram-nigeran-school-attack/5284250

What would drive a group to murder their own people? What has been the catalyst for many a genocide, wanton murder, or good old fashioned revenge killing all through the ages? Religion. Doesn’t matter much what particular cult shares the headline, they are all the same in their mannerisms. Take a group of people anywhere, indoctrinate them into a religious cult, convince them that anyone and everyone that does not believe as they do is an enemy to be despised, spat upon, or just killed outright. Toss in a few self procalimed interpreters of the particualr “scriptures” of said cult, that hold a hardline view and like to stir up the pot. Then allow them to whip up the congregation into a justifiable murderous frenzy and let ’em go. After all it is written that their deeds are godly in some way or another, so they are just doing gods work. It is tough work but someone has to do it for the good of society, as seen through the lens of the twisted psychopaths known as clerics, priests, shamans and reverends.

If you think your particular cult is immune to these kinds of atrocities, you just haven’t done any research. You have yet to dare to investigate that little cult you belong to. Don’t believe me?

I lifted all of this from here: http://www.skeptically.org/hhor/id4.html

“A pig caused hundreds of Indians to kill one another in 1980. The animal walked through a Muslim holy ground at Moradabad, near New Delhi. Muslims, who think pigs are an embodiment of Satan, blamed Hindus for the defilement. They went on a murder rampage, stabbing and clubbing Hindus, who retaliated in kind. The pig riot spread to a dozen cities and left more than 200 dead.

This swinish episode tells a universal tale. It typifies religious behavior that has been recurring for centuries.

Ronald Reagan often called religion the world’s mightiest force for good, “the bedrock of moral order.” George Bush said it gives people “the character they need to get through life.” This view is held by millions. But the truism isn’t true. The record of human experience shows that where religion is strong, it causes cruelty. Intense beliefs produce intense hostility. Only when faith loses its force can a society hope to become humane.

The history of religion is a horror story. If anyone doubts it, just review this chronicle of religion’s gore during the last 1,000 years or so:

— The First Crusade was launched in 1095 with the battle cry “Deus Vult” (God wills it), a mandate to destroy infidels in the Holy Land. Gathering crusaders in Germany first fell upon “the infidel among us,” Jews in the Rhine valley, thousands of whom were dragged from their homes or hiding places and hacked to death or burned alive. Then the religious legions plundered their way 2,000 miles to Jerusalem, where they killed virtually every inhabitant, “purifying” the symbolic city. Cleric Raymond of Aguilers wrote: “In the temple of Solomon, one rode in blood up to the knees and even to the horses’ bridles, by the just and marvelous judgment of God.”

— Human sacrifice blossomed in the Mayan theocracy of Central America between the 11th and 16th centuries. To appease a feathered-serpent god, maidens were drowned in sacred wells and other victims either had their hearts cut out, were shot with arrows, or were beheaded. Elsewhere, sacrifice was sporadic. In Peru, pre-Inca tribes killed children in temples called “houses of the moon.” In Tibet, Bon shamans performed ritual killings. In Borneo builders of pile houses drove the first pile through the body of a maiden to pacify the earth goddess. In India, Dravidian people offered lives to village goddesses, and followers of Kali sacrificed a male child every Friday evening.

— In the Third Crusade, after Richard the Lion-Hearted captured Acre in 1191, he ordered 3,000 captives — many of them women and children — taken outside the city and slaughtered. Some were disemboweled in a search for swallowed gems. Bishops intoned blessings. Infidel lives were of no consequence. As Saint Bernard of Clairvaux declared in launching the Second Crusade: “The Christian glories in the death of a pagan, because thereby Christ himself is glorified.”

— The Assassins were a sect of Ismaili Shi’ite Muslims whose faith required the stealthy murder of religious opponents. From the 11th to 13th centuries, they killed numerous leaders in modern-day Iran, Iraq and Syria. They finally were wiped out by conquering Mongols — but their vile name survives.

— Throughout Europe, beginning in the 1100s, tales spread that Jews were abducting Christian children, sacrificing them, and using their blood in rituals. Hundreds of massacres stemmed from this “blood libel.” Some of the supposed sacrifice victims — Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, the holy child of LaGuardia, Simon of Trent — were beatified or commemorated with shrines that became sites of pilgrimages and miracles.

— In 1209, Pope Innocent III launched an armed crusade against Albigenses Christians in southern France. When the besieged city of Beziers fell, soldiers reportedly asked their papal adviser how to distinguish the faithful from the infidel among the captives. He commanded: “Kill them all. God will know his own.” Nearly 20,000 were slaughtered — many first blinded, mutilated, dragged behind horses, or used for target practice.

— The Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 proclaimed the doctrine of transubstantiation: that the host wafer miraculously turns into the body of Jesus during the mass. Soon rumors spread that Jews were stealing the sacred wafers and stabbing or driving nails through them to crucify Jesus again. Reports said that the pierced host bled, cried out, or emitted spirits. On this charge, Jews were burned at the stake in 1243 in Belitz, Germany — the first of many killings that continued into the 1800s. To avenge the tortured host, the German knight Rindfliesch led a brigade in 1298 that exterminated 146 defenseless Jewish communities in six months.

— In the 1200s the Incas built their empire in Peru, a society dominated by priests reading daily magical signs and offering sacrifices to appease many gods. At major ceremonies up to 200 children were burned as offerings. Special “chosen women” — comely virgins without blemish — were strangled.

— Also during the 1200s, the hunt for Albigensian heretics led to establishment of the Inquisition, which spread over Europe. Pope Innocent IV authorized torture. Under interrogation by Dominican priests, screaming victims were stretched, burned, pierced and broken on fiendish pain machines to make them confess to disbelief and to identify fellow transgressors. Inquisitor Robert le Bourge sent 183 people to the stake in a single week.

— In Spain, where many Jews and Moors had converted to escape persecution, inquisitors sought those harboring their old faith. At least 2,000 Spanish backsliders were burned. Executions in other countries included the burning of scientists such as mathematician-philosopher Giordano Bruno, who espoused Copernicus’s theory that the planets orbit the sun.

— When the Black Death swept Europe in 1348-1349, rumors alleged that it was caused by Jews poisoning wells. Hysterical mobs slaughtered thousands of Jews in several countries. In Speyer, Germany, the burned bodies were piled into giant wine casks and sent floating down the Rhine. In northern Germany Jews were walled up alive in their homes to suffocate or starve. The Flagellants, an army of penitents who whipped themselves bloody, stormed the Jewish quarter of Frankfurt in a gruesome massacre. The prince of Thuringia announced that he had burned his Jews for the honor of God.

— The Aztecs began their elaborate theocracy in the 1300s and brought human sacrifice to a golden era. About 20,000 people were killed yearly to appease gods — especially the sun god, who needed daily “nourishment” of blood. Hearts of sacrifice victims were cut out, and some bodies were eaten ceremoniously. Other victims were drowned, beheaded, burned or dropped from heights. In a rite to the rain god, shrieking children were killed at several sites so that their tears might induce rain. In a rite to the maize goddess, a virgin danced for 24 hours, then was killed and skinned; her skin was worn by a priest in further dancing. One account says that at King Ahuitzotl’s coronation, 80,000 prisoners were butchered to please the gods.

— In the 1400s, the Inquisition shifted its focus to witchcraft. Priests tortured untold thousands of women into confessing that they were witches who flew through the sky and engaged in sex with the devil — then they were burned or hanged for their confessions. Witch hysteria raged for three centuries in a dozen nations. Estimates of the number executed vary from 100,000 to 2 million. Whole villages were exterminated. In the first half of the 17th century, about 5,000 “witches” were put to death in the French province of Alsace, and 900 were burned in the Bavarian city of Bamberg. The witch craze was religious madness at its worst.

— The “Protestant Inquisition” is a term applied to the severities of John Calvin in Geneva and Queen Elizabeth I in England during the 1500s. Calvin’s followers burned 58 “heretics,” including theologian Michael Servetus, who doubted the Trinity. Elizabeth I outlawed Catholicism and executed about 200 Catholics.

— Protestant Huguenots grew into an aggressive minority in France in the 15OOs — until repeated Catholic reprisals smashed them. On Saint Bartholomew’s Day in 1572, Catherine de Medicis secretly authorized Catholic dukes to send their soldiers into Huguenot neighborhoods and slaughter families. This massacre touched off a six-week bloodbath in which Catholics murdered about 10,000 Huguenots. Other persecutions continued for two centuries, until the French Revolution. One group of Huguenots escaped to Florida; in 1565 a Spanish brigade discovered their colony, denounced their heresy, and killed them all.

— Members of lndia’s Thuggee sect strangled people as sacrifices to appease the bloodthirsty goddess Kali, a practice beginning in the 1500s. The number of victims has been estimated to be as high as 2 million. Thugs were claiming about 20,000 lives a year in the 1800s until British rulers stamped them out. At a trial in 1840, one Thug was accused of killing 931 people. Today, some Hindu priests still sacrifice goats to Kali.

— The Anabaptists, communal “rebaptizers,” were slaughtered by both Catholic and Protestant authorities. In Munster, Germany, Anabaptists took control of the city, drove out the clergymen, and proclaimed a New Zion. The bishop of Munster began an armed siege. While the townspeople starved, the Anabaptist leader proclaimed himself king and executed dissenters. When Munster finally fell, the chief Anabaptists were tortured to death with red-hot pincers and their bodies hung in iron cages from a church steeple.

— Oliver Cromwell was deemed a moderate because he massacred only Catholics and Anglicans, not other Protestants. This Puritan general commanded Bible-carrying soldiers, whom he roused to religious fervor. After decimating an Anglican army, Cromwell said, “God made them as stubble to our swords.” He demanded the beheading of the defeated King Charles I, and made himself the holy dictator of England during the 1650s. When his army crushed the hated Irish Catholics, he ordered the execution of the surrendered defenders of Drogheda and their priests, calling it “a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches.”

— Ukrainian Bogdan Chmielnicki was a Cossack Cromwell. He wore the banner of Eastern Orthodoxy in a holy war against Jews and Polish Catholics. More than 100,000 were killed in this 17th-century bloodbath, and the Ukraine was split away from Poland to become part of the Orthodox Russian empire.

— The Thirty Years’ War produced the largest religious death toll of all time. It began in 1618 when Protestant leaders threw two Catholic emissaries out of a Prague window into a dung heap. War flared between Catholic and Protestant princedoms, drawing in supportive religious armies from Germany, Spain, England, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, France and Italy. Sweden’s Protestant soldiers sang Martin Luther’s “Ein ‘Feste Burg” in battle. Three decades of combat turned central Europe into a wasteland of misery. One estimate states that Germany’s population dropped from 18 million to 4 million. In the end nothing was settled, and too few people remained to rebuild cities, plant fields, or conduct education.

— When Puritans settled in Massachusetts in the 1600s, they created a religious police state where doctrinal deviation could lead to flogging, pillorying, hanging, cutting off ears, or boring through the tongue with a hot iron. Preaching Quaker beliefs was a capital offense. Four stubborn Quakers defied this law and were hanged. In the 1690s fear of witches seized the colony. Twenty alleged witches were killed and 150 others imprisoned.

— In 1723 the bishop of Gdansk, Poland, demanded that all Jews be expelled from the city. The town council declined, but the bishop’s exhortations roused a mob that invaded the ghetto and beat the residents to death.

— Islamic jihads (holy wars), mandated by the Koran, killed millions over 12 centuries. In early years, Muslim armies spread the faith rapidly: east to India and west to Morocco. Then splintering sects branded other Muslims as infidels and declared jihads against them. The Kharijis battled Sunni rulers. The Azariqis decreed death to all “sinners” and their families. In 1804 a Sudanese holy man, Usman dan Fodio, waged a bloody jihad that broke the religious sway of the Sultan of Gobir. In the 1850s another Sudanese mystic, ‘Umar al-Hajj, led a barbaric jihad to convert pagan African tribes — with massacres, beheadings and a mass execution of 300 hostages. In the 1880s a third Sudanese holy man, Muhammad Ahmed, commanded a jihad that destroyed a 10,000-man Egyptian army and wiped out defenders of Khartoum led by British general Charles “Chinese” Gordon.

— In 1801 Orthodox priests in Bucharest, Romania, revived the story that Jews sacrificed Christians and drank their blood. Enraged parishioners stormed the ghetto and cut the throats of 128 Jews.

— When the Baha’i faith began in Persia in 1844, the Islamic regime sought to exterminate it. The Baha’i founder was imprisoned and executed in 1850. Two years later, the religious government massacred 20,000 Baha’is. Streets of Tehran were soaked with blood. The new Baha’i leader, Baha’ullah, was tortured and exiled in foreign Muslim prisons for the rest of his life.

— Human sacrifices were still occurring in Buddhist Burma in the 1850s. When the capital was moved to Mandalay, 56 “spotless” men were buried beneath the new city walls to sanctify and protect the city. When two of the burial spots were later found empty, royal astrologers decreed that 500 men, women, boys, and girls must be killed and buried at once, or the capital must be abandoned. About 100 were actually buried before British governors stopped the ceremonies.

— In 1857 both Muslim and Hindu taboos triggered the Sepoy Mutiny in India. British rulers had given their native soldiers new paper cartridges that had to be bitten open. The cartridges were greased with animal tallow. This enraged Muslims, to whom pigs are unclean, and Hindus, to whom cows are sacred. Troops of both faiths went into a crazed mutiny, killing Europeans wantonly. At Kanpur, hundreds of European women and children were massacred after being promised safe passage.

— Late in the 19th century, with rebellion stirring in Russia, the czars attempted to divert public attention by helping anti-Semitic groups rouse Orthodox Christian hatred for Jews. Three waves of pogroms ensued — in the 1880s, from 1903 to 1906, and during the Russian Revolution. Each wave was increasingly murderous. During the final period, 530 communities were attacked and 60,000 Jews were killed.

— In the early 1900s, Muslim Turks waged genocide against Christian Armenians, and Christian Greeks and Balkans warred against the Islamic Ottoman Empire.

— When India finally won independence from Britain in 1947, the “great soul” of Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t able to prevent Hindus and Muslims from turning on one another in a killing frenzy that took perhaps 1 million lives. Even Gandhi was killed by a Hindu who thought him too pro-Muslim.

— In the 1950s and 1960s, combat between Christians, animists and Muslims in Sudan killed more than 500,000.

— In Jonestown, Guyana, in 1978, followers of the Rev. Jim Jones killed a visiting congressman and three newsmen, then administered cyanide to themselves and their children in a 900-person suicide that shocked the world.

— Islamic religious law decrees that thieves shall have their hands or feet chopped off, and unmarried lovers shall be killed. In the Sudan in 1983 and 1984, 66 thieves were axed in public. A moderate Muslim leader, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, was hanged for heresy in 1985 because he opposed these amputations. In Saudi Arabia a teen-age princess and her lover were executed in public in 1977. In Pakistan in 1987, a 25-year-old carpenter’s daughter was sentenced to be stoned to death for engaging in unmarried sex. In the United Arab Emirates in 1984, a cook and a maid were sentenced to stoning for adultery — but, as a show of mercy, the execution was postponed until after the maid’s baby was born.

— In 1983 in Darkley, Northern Ireland, Catholic terrorists with automatic weapons burst into a Protestant church on a Sunday morning and opened fire, killing three worshipers and wounding seven. It was just one of hundreds of Catholic-Protestant ambushes that have taken 2,600 lives in Ulster since age-old religious hostility turned violent again in 1969.

— Hindu-Muslim bloodshed erupts randomly throughout India. More than 3,000 were killed in Assam province in 1983. In May 1984 Muslims hung dirty sandals on a Hindu leader’s portrait as a religious insult. This act triggered a week of arson riots that left 216 dead, 756 wounded, 13,000 homeless, and 4,100 in jail.

— Religious tribalism — segregation of sects into hostile camps — has ravaged Lebanon continuously since 1975. News reports of the civil war tell of “Maronite Christian snipers,” “Sunni Muslim suicide bombers,” “Druze machine gunners,” “Shi’ite Muslim mortar fire,” and “Alawite Muslim shootings.” Today 130,000 people are dead and a once-lovely nation is laid waste.

— In Nigeria in 1982, religious fanatic followers of Mallam Marwa killed and mutilated several hundred people as heretics and infidels. They drank the blood of some of the victims. When the militia arrived to quell the violence, the cultists sprinkled themselves with blessed powder that they thought would make them impervious to police bullets. It didn’t.

— Today’s Shi’ite theocracy in Iran — “the government of God on earth” — decreed that Baha’i believers who won’t convert shall be killed. About 200 stubborn Baha’is were executed in the early 1980s, including women and teenagers. Up to 40,000 Baha’is fled the country. Sex taboos in Iran are so severe that: (1) any woman who shows a lock of hair is jailed; (2) Western magazines being shipped into the country first go to censors who laboriously black out all women’s photos except for faces; (3) women aren’t allowed to ski with men, but have a separate slope where they may ski in shrouds.

— The lovely island nation of Sri Lanka has been turned hellish by ambushes and massacres between Buddhist Sinhalese and Hindu Tamils.

— In 1983 a revered Muslim leader, Mufti Sheikh Sa’ad e-Din el’Alami of Jerusalem, issued a fatwa (an order of divine deliverance) promising an eternal place in paradise to any Muslim assassin who would kill President Hafiz al-Assad of Syria.

— Sikhs want to create a separate theocracy, Khalistan (Land of the Pure), in the Punjab region of India. Many heed the late extremist preacher Jarnail Bhindranwale, who taught his followers that they have a “religious duty to send opponents to hell.” Throughout the 1980s they sporadically murdered Hindus to accomplish this goal. In 1984, after Sikh guards riddled prime minister Indira Gandhi with 50 bullets, Hindus went on a rampage that killed 5,000 Sikhs in three days. Mobs dragged Sikhs from homes, stores, buses and trains, chopping and pounding them to death. Some were burned alive; boys were castrated.

— In 1984 Shi’ite fanatics who killed and tortured Americans on a hijacked Kuwaiti airliner at Tehran Airport said they did it “for the pleasure of God.”

Obviously, people who think religion is a force for good are looking only at Dr. Jekyll and ignoring Mr. Hyde. They don’t see the superstitious savagery pervading both history and current events.

During the past three centuries, religion gradually lost its power over life in Europe and America, and church horrors ended in the West. But the poison lingered. The Nazi Holocaust was rooted in centuries of religious hate. Historian Dagobert Runes said the long era of church persecution killed three and a half million Jews — and Hitler’s Final Solution was a secular continuation. Meanwhile, faith remains potent in the Third World, where it still produces familiar results.

It’s fashionable among thinking people to say that religion isn’t the real cause of today’s strife in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, India and Iran — that sects merely provide labels for combatants. Not so. Religion keeps the groups in hostile camps. Without it, divisions would blur with passing generations; children would adapt to new times, mingle, intermarry, forget ancient wounds. But religion keeps them alien to one another.

Anything that divides people breeds inhumanity. Religion serves that ugly purpose.”  END QUOTE

This entire collection of atrocities, I doubt, even comes close to the actual amount of pain, suffering, anguish, and death heaped upon humanity by that supposedly benign and loving enterprise known as religion. The real numbers must be gut wrenchingly incredible. We haven’t even got started on all of the little children raped by priests yet. Or the many various abuses swept under the rug for centuries. There was no mention in all of that of the people murdered by Saddam Hussein or what is going in in Syria right now, or what has been happening between Israel and Lebanon. Or several other religious hot spots.

Religion is a bloody scab upon society, that needs to be relegated to the dustbin of history. A parasite that sucks the decency and morality from people, and all the while it’s claiming the opposite. The history, the facts, the things we still see today all speak for themselves. Religion is not anything like what it idenitfies as, it is something much more…evil. To top it off, there is no evidence of any sort to support the existence of any deities, no matter what name they go by. How is that for some fucking irony?

I will close with one of my signature statements. “There ain’t nuthin that scares me more than a bunch of good (insert religion here)”

Quote of the Month

January was such a mess for me, I do believe I skipped a month in this series. Well we are well into February and I have no good excuses for letting this month slide. With no further ado, the quote of the month…this one by one of my favorite free thinkers, Thomas Jefferson.

“They [preachers] dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live.”

I am constantly impressed that the great thinkers of yesteryear saw in their times the same habits exhibited by the faithful as we do today. Indeed in this day and age entire enterprises have been developed by the faithful to denigrate, and obfuscate in an attempt to subvert or deny the many factual evidence based explanations posited by science. After all this science stuff is the Achilles heel of their beliefs. Just about every claim of fact by the faithful has been proven null and void by science. They have little else to do but sit by and cry foul, all the while extracting donations from their followers. They have no interest in providing anything useful to the topic, all they care about is the casting of enough doubt in science (even though they are always wrong in their claims), to keep those donations coming in.

That’s a pretty good gig if you can get it. Posture up claiming you know the truth, but never having to provide any evidence of said truth. Howl and wail about how science is wrong, but never have to point out exactly where and how it is, and if they do try that they are soon shown to be attacking a misconception, partaking in quote mining, or using the proven staple of outright lying. This matters not. All that matters to them is to play their part in the production. Pat each other on the back, and convince the sheep to send money.
I sometimes wish I could get in on that easy money thing, but I keep hitting some sort of wall of integrity every time I think that way. I just could not do it. I often wonder what kind of person can sleep at night, knowing everything they do and say…is just part of an enormous con? I doubt that person would be an atheist.

The obligatory link to the page I extract these quotes: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

Darwin Awards

I guess with Darwin Day just behind us it is appropriate to bring up a couple of Darwin awards. First up:

Snake handling preacher in Ky. dies from rattlesnake bite. Dumbass.  http://abcnews.go.com/US/snake-salvation-pastor-dies-snakebite/story?id=22542243 This guy had been featured in a “hey look at me I’m a dumbass” reality TV series. In this case reality rears its ugly head. Don’t tempt fate.

Next is some dingbat apparently decided to fly 4th class. That is by hiding in the wheel well of a plane. He did not survive. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/body-found-airplane-wheel-vas-dulles-22535370

Life is difficult enough to navigate without taking needless risks. Half the time I can’t even get from my home to town without some oblivious fool trying to kill me with their car. Plus I have already taken enough risks to last me a lifetime, having been a commercial river diver for the last 30 years, fighting weather, currents, and idiots in bass boats and large cruisers, as well as having to dodge towboats pushing large tows. I understand that taking risks is a part of getting through life, but behaving in a manner that can easily get you killed needlessly, will only get you on someone’s Darwin Award list. Be smart out there. Life is short enough.

 

 

Some Spam is Spammier Than Other Spam

I guess being part of the WP community, a small part in my case, is all it takes to bring out the spammers. I thought this particular piece of spam was interesting. Name and site of origin redacted to protect the guilty.

“I dгop a lеave a response when I appreciate a post оn a site or I have something to contribute
to the conversation. Usually it’s triggered by the fire displayed in the article
I looked at. And after this article The Good Stuff | Evidence Based Reality.
I was асtually eхcited enough to post a thought :
-) I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay. Is itt only me orr does it look as if like a few

of these responseѕ look like they are written by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are pksting at additional onlinе social sites,
I’d like to follow уou. Could you make a list the complete urls of your community pages like your linkedin profilе, Facebook pagе or
twitter feed?”

First that article “The Good Stuff” was basically a link to a story by Brian Switek over at Phenomena Laelaps, and had zero comments.

…The opening sentence starts with “I drop a leave?” Something wrong with that…

Then this spammer wants to know if I would post links to linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter?

I don’t do linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter. I have absolutely zero interest in any of those distractions. I did try Facebook once, I lasted 3 days before I deleted my profile. My extended family convinced me to get on FB to “keep in touch.” Let’s face it, there are some things I do not need to know about my family. They are far too RWCRFM to suit me. And I have no interest in all of those damned idiotic captioned pictures that convey some kind of RWCRFM message. I quickly realized that I am much better off seeing my family only on special occaisions or at funerals. I love most of em for the most part, but don’t need to be around them long enough for the stupid to show up.

So, no, even if I did follow those social sites, I would not be stupid enough to post links to them, providing my spammer friend with more people to spam. I am a lot of things, but being that gullible is not one of them.

RWCRFM = Right Wing Conservative Republican Fundamentalist Moron.

 

You Call That a Fleet?

Image

 

Iran has proclaimed their “fleet” of ships is approaching the U.S. maritime waters. I guess this is supposed to be some kind of political posturing.

I’m pretty sure the if the crew from the Gilligan’s Island series had 2 boats, it would have been nearly as impressive as this fleet. What a joke.

This fleet could be knocked out with a girl scout troop and a couple of bb guns. So what exactly is the point? To prove that they could send a couple of ships out for a 3 hour tour? “A 3 hour tour. The weather started getting rough, the tiny ships were tossing, if not for the courage of the fearless crew the fleet would be lost. The fleet would be lost.” 

In case anyone reads this and doesn’t have a clue where this went, that last quote is from the theme song of the Gilligan’s Island series. It is possible for some not in the U.S. to have heard of this show, suffice to say it was a cheesy comedy based on the efforts of passengers and crew of a shipwrecked boat’s survival and ill fated attempts at rescue. Google is pretty handy for further info.

http://warnewsupdates.blogspot.com/2014/02/iran-announces-that-it-is-sending-its.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WarNewsUpdates+(War+News+Updates)

Third Hand Smoke?

I just read a story on third hand smoke and its effects upon mice subjected to it. Just wow. See here: http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/20236

According to the study third hand smoke is pretty much a residual buildup of the toxins from smoke, that gets all over everything in the general vicinity of smokers. This crud and I quote “ages over time and becomes progressively more toxic.”  I was a pack a day smoker for about 25 years. I had no real idea how nasty tobacco is until long after I had quit. I know full well about this toxic crud that gets all over everything, I don’t know how many times I had to clean the glass in my vehicles because of the stuff. It permeates everything in smokers homes and cars as well as bars or other gathering places that are frequented by smokers. 

This nasty grungy crud is a long way from the actual smoke itself, and I am flabbergasted by the results of the study. The mice that were subjected to this toxic crud were studied and the result?  “We found significant damage occurs in the liver and lung. Wounds in these mice took longer to heal. Further, these mice displayed hyperactivity.”

Well, that doesn’t sound so bad right? Now think about this: “Third-hand smoke is a potential health threat to children, spouses of smokers and workers in environments where smoking is, or has been, allowed. Contamination of the homes of smokers by third-hand smoke is high, both on surfaces and in dust, including children’s bedrooms. Re-emission of nicotine from contaminated indoor surfaces in these households can lead to nicotine exposure levels similar to that of smoking. Third-hand smoke, which contains strong carcinogens, has been found to persist in houses, apartments and hotel rooms after smokers move out.” Just wow! 

They also found that mice who were exposed “showed alterations in multiple organ systems and excreted levels of a tobacco-specific carcinogen similar to those found in children exposed to second-hand smoke (and consequently to third-hand smoke.)”  More wow.

A few more findings: 

 

  • In the liver, third-hand smoke was found to increase lipid levels and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a precursor to cirrhosis and cancer and a potential contributor to cardiovascular disease.
  • In the lungs, third-hand smoke was found to simulate excess collagen production and high levels of inflammatory cytokines (small proteins involved in cell signaling), suggesting propensity for fibrosis with implications for inflammation-induced diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.
  • In wounded skin, healing in mice exposed to third-hand smoke showed many characteristics of the kind of poor healing observed in human smokers who have gone through surgery. (mentioned earlier)
  • Finally, in behavioral tests the mice exposed to third-hand smoke showed hyperactivity. (which was also already mentioned)

 

My youngest son has a friend in school, they will take turns at spending the night either here or over there, and that’s great. Kids should get out to socialize and experience life through other peoples perspectives. Problem is their house tends to just stink of nasty ass smoke. I mean it hits you like a ton of bricks when you walk in. My sons first priority when he gets home from one of these trips is to take a shower and run the clothes through the wash, to get this foul stench out of his hair and clothing. I think I may have just made a decision about him staying over there anymore. He isn’t going to like it. But he can read, he is a smart kid, and I hope he sees what I see here.