Sunday, December 31, 2006

Have a Safe & Happy New Year Celebration!

  1. Don't drink and drive; designate a driver who won't drink!
  2. Aim your guns at the ground, not into the air; or better yet, bang pots and pans together instead! Just as loud and more fun!
  3. Have fun!
You guys have made it a great year, and hopefully there are more arguments, laughter, and silliness to follow in 2007. Have a good one everyone!!
Also! I forgot to tell you aboput an amazing movie I watched last night: MirrorMask. Awesome! By Neil Gaiman and Dave McCean, a great fairy-tale type story with the amazing artistic talents of Dave McCean--highly recommended and family friendly for those who care about that sort of thing. I'll be purchasing it later this week, it was that good!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Easy Ways to Make Time Stand Still; or
Today's Fountain of Youth Program**...

1. Let your nephew play with your GameCube. It provides him with hours of entertainment, as well as great practice at hand-eye coordination, and makes every hour seem like five. Trust me.

2. Watch the news to hear constant coverage of:
  1. Gerald Ford's funeral
  2. James Brown's funeral
  3. Saddam Hussein's impending funeral (which, incidentally, he was executed just now at
    10 p.m. EST; 6 a.m. Iraqi Saturday morning...
    go figure)
You have a hard time caring about any of them, yet they seems to be the only three things that are happening on the earth today.

3. Try to deposit your paycheck at lunchtime. Now I know why I've never tried to do so before. It makes your hour-long lunch break seem like 2.5 hours when, even though you'd rather be eating the awesome pizza you purchased the night before, all you've done is stand in line and watch people argue with the tellers about why they keep getting charged $27 for bounced checks (as if it's the teller's fault) as they spent too much to buy their loved one's love through gifts--much like the wise men tried to buy a place in the kingdom they thought was coming when they tried to buy off Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus by bring him expensive gifts (and people try to blame "commercialization" for gift buying--blame the wise guys!!!)

4. Algebra. Need I say more?

5. Balance your checkbook while your nephew keeps asking for your help to find his horse on the GameCube Game. And you thought you couldn't figure out where that 35 cents was before! You actually accomplish nothing while at the same time getting in some great bonding time.

6. Listen to how Rich's day went. And you thought my mom left long comments... He had off all day--you'd think he'd have nothing to say after sitting in the house all day, but really he just stores it all up so he can talk your ear off while helping Henry find his horse (while also trying to keep him from getting killed by the "bad guys") and balancing your checkbook.

7. Wait for your dog to take a crap in 25 degree weather. Seriously, I could smoke a whole pack of cigarettes waiting for that bowel movement. Really, is it that important to find a spot to shit on? This is a never-ending story on its own...

8. Read this list. Asleep yet? Feel any younger?

9. Try to come up with a number 9 so you can hopefully round out the list at 10. Yeah, really, that's number nine. You'll get over it.

10. It's Friday at 4:15 p.m., you found out your nephew Devin was rushed to the hospital with a severe asthma attack, and you want to get home so you can find out if he's okay and to make sure Henry will be entertained and have stuff to eat, but 4:30 is even farther away than it was as your clock suddenly seems to be going backwards as when you look at it again, it says 4:13, even though you could swear it was just 4:15, and your computer froze... AGAIN!!!
**The Today's Fountain of Youth Program should not in anyway be construed as actual medical or psychosomatic advice. If you or a loved one are suffering any symptoms such as "feelings" or "caring" or perhaps "happiness," please consult your family physician before beginning the Today's Fountain of Youth Program. Some side effects include sleepiness, headache, certain types of liver or heart problems, death, destruction, pillaging and raping of your neighborhood, and an urge to call yourself "Frank" and refer to yourself in the royal "we." Nursing, pregnant, or women who plan on becoming pregnant with quadruplets should see their doctor or a licensed quack before starting the Today's Fountain of Youth program. You should not operate machinery or GameCube's when starting the Today's Fountain of Youth program until you know how it will affect you. See our web site for money saving coupons and a free five-year-old nephew for trial use. Does not come with GameCube, some assembly may be required. See our web site for complete details. Delivery of nephew cannot come to PO Boxes or any but the 48 contiguous states. Residents of New York, Michigan, and South Dakota will be charged a convenience fee of $65 on Saturdays and on nights of a full moon; residents of Oregon, North Dakota, and Kentucky $45 on Tuesdays if you are wearing purple socks at time of delivery. West Virginia is flat OUT, as you have a high number of beatings of red-headed step-children and other nefarious creatures of the devil (as you so claim). Purchase of five-year-old nephew does not construe any obligation on the part of the Today's Fountain of Youth Program to supply child support, food, clothes, money, batteries, presents, cake, education, BMW's, or Taiwanese transgendered prostitutes. No purchase is actually necessary to enter any form of sweepstakes or contest that may or may not be going on at any given time and winners are usually loved one's or friends of company executives, so don't get your hopes up. See our web site for complete details. Batteries not included.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Worship of Man...

So now that Gerald Ford is dead, people are going to be lining up in droves to walk past the casket of a dead man. Much like when the Pope died, hundreds--perhaps thousands--of persons will line up just to walk by the corpse of someone almost none of them knew personally from a distance probably of about fifty feet.

Never mind the paranoid view that Gerry really isn't dead and that Shrubya simply locked him at Gitmo and is traipsing around a mannequin of a corpse so that no one will ever fight for his civil rights after he lambasted Shrubya's moronic campaign to "free Iraq." I just don't get "mourning" the loss of the man, really.

It bothers me that so many will be visiting the coffin nonetheless. No one would argue that the masses in general are a bunch of stupid dolts whose insipid whims beget monstrous waves of terror and idiocy. Even when personally close loved ones have passed away, yeah, I was a little sad--but I cried more for the loss of my cats Spot and Pavement than I ever did for grandparents or great-grandparents. Not that I didn't love them; in fact, I was very close to my Grandfather Zartman! All us five kids were! But when he died, it was just--over. Granted, he laid in a coma for a year and a half, so the mourning process was dragged out over weeks and months. But I never really saw death as an "end," and I still don't, even with my non-belief in an afterlife. I certainly don't see crying over a dead body as worth my time, as the person I knew is gone from that corpse.

A person is always so much more than just their physical body. They are feelings, emotions, thoughts and deeds. They are more than just an oxygen-processing machine, I think on that we can all agree. Even I, as an atheist, can say that people are more than their physical parts--although that shouldn't be construed to be any more than what it is at face value. I appreciate what people do for the world at large and at small. But this parade of mourning and carrying-on just seems to me to be a waste. The man stood up for values, for ideas, for things that he and his wife hoped would better humanity. I don't see traveling cross-country in a casket as accomplishing anything for the greater good...

Am I a calloused bastard? Perhaps. But all of these shenanigans over a dead body simply looks like more man-worship at most, propaganda at the very least. Holding up a person beyond human status, making him a martyr almost. Was he a good and decent man? I think so, from what I've read and seen about him. But is it really worth all this pomp and circumstance? I don't think so.

I've told Rich several times, when I'm dead, give to science what they want and burn the rest. I'm not in the body any longer. I'm dead. If he really really wants to, he can do all the ceremonious stuff, but I'd rather he just let me go when I'm gone. While I cannot say if I'm going to end up in "a better place," I know one thing for sure--I'll no longer be using my body.

And it seems all that anyone is doing to poor Gerald--using his body, but I fear, not for the betterment of anyone...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some Announcements...

1. I'm Officially Mike K.'s Bitch at Work.
The man needs a chill pill in some form or another. Seriously, we've just come off a nice 4-day weekend and only work 3 days this week, you'd think the man would be as relaxed as the rest of us, but nnooooo, as he isn't normal to begin with. I felt for Kia when she was in this boat, but now I'm in it bailing as fast as I can just to keep my head above the pile of papers on my desk... If he could learn to multi-task with just a modicum of happiness about him, life would be great at work, but since even the smallest 1 error AA sets him into panic mode, all I can hope for is someone else to get promoted, then I officially will stop being his bitch and can stress about my own work, and not just the shit he feels like throwing on me "as a teaching tool."
2. I'm Going to Be an Uncle Again.
Yes, my lovely in-laws down in Maryland have announced that they're expecting in early August--Whoopee!!! I was just bugging the siblings on Saturday about how 7 nieces and nephews just ain't enough, but since all my siblings seem to be done procreating, besides Rich and myself, Rich's brother and his wife are the only chances I now have of having more kids in this family... And since Rich isn't planning on having kids anytime soon (he still feels we're too poor--which we are, but notwithstanding, we ain't getting any younger!!!), Mike and Wendy are in the forefront of blessing our lives with more bundles of joy... Of course, it's one more to keep track of, but the more the merrier, I say!
3. The Legends of Zelda: The Twilight Princess.
By far the best Christmas gift I received! I've already logged in over 24 hours of game time, and I've only had it for two days!! Yes, this is the geek in me, I love the Zelda series for Nintendo, and am hoping that, even though they have this "Wii" thing out, they'll still produce more games for the GameCube... Of course, Windwaker was a sucky-ass game, but they've more than made up for it with this latest entry in the Zelda series. As an added bonus, this is the first time I've owned a Zelda game before Tom, so perhaps I may even beat it before he does! (Now that I think about it, though, I think I beat Windwaker before he did as well...) Oh well, it's one of those things: sibling rivalry. Tom was always better at these games than I was, so even all these years later, I still think of it as a great personal accomplishment when I beat these games before he does, even though we are no longer in head-to-head competitions... It also helps that we no longer live in the same house, so I don't see him doing these things better than I anymore either...
4. Snow sucks.
Luckily, global warming has kept all but the merest of dustings from falling on my home. But some stupid-ass lady who works back in the warehouse saw some little snowflakes falling just now and went off about snow and its beauty.
  1. It's only the barest of flurries
  2. It's 40 degrees outside
  3. It's going to be 60 degrees again by New Year's Eve
  4. 10 to 20 snowflakes do not a snowfall make, and your over-excitement about it just confirms what a dumbass you are
  5. Come shovel out my driveway, then we'll talk
Am I being too hard on her? Maybe. Is she still a dumbass? Yes.
5. Poor Gerald Ford.
6. Happy New Year
if I don't get a chance to blog again before Dec. 31st. After all, I have Zelda to play!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And People Wonder Why There Are Polish Jokes...

It seems that a couple of fundies, I'm sure with the "best" of intentions (HA!) decided that they should make Jesus Christ (you know him as the dead son of sky god) an honorary king in Poland...

From the article:

Lawmakers have drawn up a resolution naming Jesus Christ as the honorary king of Poland, but have failed to win support from the country’s powerful Roman Catholic church.

Lawmakers for the ruling Law and Justice party and League of Polish Families as well as the opposition Peasants Party back the resolution, said Szymon Ruman, spokesman for parliamentary speaker Marek Jurek.
Oh, did you hear that? A family values group, and a "peasants party" (what the fuck is that?) "backed the resolution." Brings new meaning to "blessed are the poor," doesn't it? Can you hear them now? "I'm a peasant, dammit! Bless me!"

In a bold, new turn-around for religious fundies, a couple of bishops had this to say:

"Let parliament deal with passing better laws that we need," Gdansk Archbishop Tadeusz Goclowski said.

"This kind of action, although it may stem from good will, sounds a bit like propaganda," said Bishop Tadeusz Pieronk.
Of course, if the American "Family" Association and Fred Phelps had their way, this could easily be an American joke, and not a Polish one... The part where the bishop says "Sounds like a bit of propaganda" makes one wonder what they consider it when they claim Jesus as "the reason for the season." Are you telling me that isn't propaganda?

And of course the Roman Catholic Church won't endorse it! Why, that would take away worshippers from the Pope!

I wonder what actually goes through someone's mind to make them think up this crap... I mean, on the one hand, if sky god's kid is already king of kings and lord of lords, need it really be a Polish law? And if he isn't already, well then, it does make crowning him king seem a bit pretentious. I mean, how effective--how "honorary"--could crowning a dead guy be? Sure, it means your taxes won't get raised--at least, not by him. But it would make holding court a bit--drab? Boring? Deadly?

One must also consider if this isn't another silly attempt to bring about the Apocalypse. Seriously, a little while ago, a bunch of loony right-wingers decided that they needed to up their missions world-wide not because of the souls in need of hearing the gospel (although I'm sure they thought that was a nifty side-benefit), but because they think the bibble says that when every soul on earth has heard the "gospel," Christ will return... perhaps within two decades! (So much for my thirty-year plan... On the up-side, we won't have to bother solving that pesky "social-security" thing, now, will we?)

an estimated 40% of Americans believe that a sequence of events presaging the end times is already underway. Among the believers are pastors of some of the largest evangelical churches in America, who converged at Faith Central Bible Church in Inglewood in February to finalize plans to start 5 million new churches worldwide in 10 years.

"Jesus Christ commissioned his disciples to go to the ends of the Earth and tell everyone how they could achieve eternal life," said James Davis, president of the Global Pastors Network's "Billion Souls Initiative," one of an estimated 2,000 initiatives worldwide designed to boost the Christian population.

"As we advance around the world," Davis said, "we'll be shortening the time needed to fulfill that Great Commission. Then, the Bible says, the end will come."

An opposing vision, invoked by Ahmadinejad in an address before the United Nations last year, suggests that the Imam Mahdi, a 9th century figure, will soon emerge from a well to conquer the world and convert everyone to Islam.

"O mighty Lord," he said, "I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace."

At the appropriate time, according to Shiite tradition, the Mahdi will reappear and, along with Jesus, lead Muslims in a struggle to rid the world of corruption and establish justice.

For Christians, the future of Israel is the key to any end-times scenario, and various groups are reaching out to Jews — or proselytizing among them — to advance the Second Coming.

A growing number of fundamentalist Christians in mostly Southern states are adopting Jewish religious practices to align themselves with prophecies saying that Gentiles will stand as one with Jews when the end is near.

Evangelist John C. Hagee of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio has helped 12,000 Russian Jews move to Israel, and donated several million dollars to Israeli hospitals and orphanages.

"We are the generation that will probably see the rapture of the church," Hagee said, referring to a moment in advance of Jesus' return when the world's true believers will be airlifted into heaven.
Some fundies will never learn. It boggles my mind how, even when it comes to the so-called "end times," all the religions are falling all over themselves in an attempt to get their god to come back. Not out of any great concern for others--out of concern for themselves... True colors, people--they're showing.

The truly sad, sad part is--when god never does come back, 10,000 years from now they'll still be people worshipping him, saying it's just around the corner...

Meanwhile, the rest of us will have solved social security, cancer, heart disease, and made twinkies healthy as we sun-bathe on the rings of Saturn...

Oh, That YHWH...

I forget why... but I was researching something for another post which I totally forget the reason for (perhaps I'll remember when they stop frying my brain at work) but I came across this silly, silly passage in Leviticus that I just have to add my own personal commentary on. If you mind to much, you might as well just not read. If you are an easily offended Christian, you may as well not read. But, unlike a lot of the medicines you hear about on TV, you will not end up with a failing liver, a three-headed child, or a heart condition inadvertently caused by your new heart medication. Oh, the ironies...

Leviticus 11:13-25
The Gist: God is giving a list of the birds that it is okay to eat or not eat as a Hebrew wandering the desert in search of a promised land that they supposedly can't enter for a water faux pas from earlier in our little fairy tale...
The Verses: (The following in italics are mine, in case you confuse the wisdom of my words with the "wisdom" of sky god...)
13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
15 Every raven after his kind;
16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Pardon? The bat is a bird? What evolutionary tree is sky god looking at? A bat is a bird... sheesh!)
20 All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. (Hmm, yeah, those four-legged chickens--wait! Um... "Four-legged fowls"...? Anybody know where I could find one of these things? Could sky god possibly be referring to a flying squirrel? Did they even live in the desert?)
21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; (Sky god say what? Perhaps he's referring to insects? He does mention "locusts" next, but even locusts have six legs, as do most insects... Perhaps sky god can't count? I mean, after all, where could he have gone to school if he is the end all be all?)
22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
23 But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. (Um, excuse me... not to interrupt this catastrophic lesson on insectology, but you didn't even mention any bugs that have four feet! This may explain some of the confusion around the whole six-day "creation" process... I mean, if sky god can't even count how many legs a bug has, who's to say he even knows how long it took him to create anything?)
24 And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even. (Here that? Ever picked up a dead bug? You are unclean until the even!!! Okay, yeah, don't get too tough on the wandering Hebrews! "Until the even!" Shudder, shudder... I wonder if Moses and Aaron had boots to shake in?)
25 And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. (There's that "even" again... dear lord, how does one deal with the uncleaness! Until the even, even!)

Oh, that sky god! Perhaps when some of you fundies do reach Nirvana, you may want to bring some flash cards... and a science book.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

My Brain Is So Fried...

Man, my head hurts! But I keep telling myself, "If Rita Neuhauser can do this job, I can do this job!"

Trust me, it's a great mantra...

And if any of your kids ever ask, "Why do I need to learn algebra anyway. No one in the real world uses it!" You can say, "That's not true. I know someone who does."

But, unlike in school, at least I get to use a calculator. Thank goodness for small favors....

I'm reminded of that commercial,
"This is your brain."

"This is your brain on drugs."

"Any questions?"

except that I didn't need the drugs to feel fried. Just algebra, and an inadequate teacher that, in spite of perhaps being moderately good at his job, sucks at teaching others how to do it...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rewriting History = We Will Be Doomed...

So I suppose you've all heard about Iran's little party in which they are gathering all of the "intellectuals" of the world who think the Holocaust never happened (they've even managed to talk some Jews into attending) to try to prove that the Holocaust never happened. So-called "great minds" from all over the world have taken plain, train, and automobile to get together and discuss the fact that while they all believe the Holocaust never happened, they need to find a way to get the rest of the world to agree with them (possibly by the nuclear force they are trying to develop, no doubt.)

For all of those who didn't pay attention in history class in high school (and judging by some of the history teachers I had, perfectly understandable), the Holocaust is when a man who proclaimed himself to be the "right arm of god" tried to eradicate anyone and everyone he deemed to be "not of god," or "unclean," or even just plain in disagreement with him. In recent weeks, a fundie has brought to my attention an article that actually claims that atheists were behind the holocaust as Hitler's actions were so anti-Christian that they didn't want to claim him. Silly, isn't it?

Fundie: Listen, I know that our religion supposedly has a bloody history, but, I mean--come off it! Hitler obviously wasn't a Christian. Look at how he treated the Jews!
Atheist: So you claim that, because you disagree with his actions, despite the fact that he claimed his actions were endorsed by the creator much like you claim your actions are, he couldn't have been a Christian despite the fact that all of you claim no one can know the mind of god, and therefore, never quite know what Sky god endorses and what he doesn't.
Fundie: Um, no... I mean, it's obvious--
Atheist: It's obvious he was a rotten human being that used religion to justify the killing of millions of Jews, blacks, homosexuals, and many more, all in the name of God.
Fundie: But Hitler was obviously not doing the work of the Christian god--
Atheist: But he was doing what he was doing in the name of god, which isn't any different than what you do.
Fundie: That's preposterous! I've never--
Atheist: Killed a Jew? No, you only manage to judge, try to pass laws, and take away people's rights to live life as they want. Sort of like how you try to, say, ban gay marriage? Abortion? Gambling? Drinking? You try to tell people how they should live their lives regardless of whether they hold to your brand of morality, and you try to get leaders in power that will make people live up to your code. Trying to do the work of sky god. Just like Hitler, you believed so strongly in your religious values, you screw over the very system that allows you to hold those beliefs and practice them regardless of whatever others believe and practice. The only true values of America are be free, and let others do so as well. As long as you aren't trampling someone else's right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, you are free to do whatever you wish for the most part!
Fundie: God would never--
Atheist: God never took away a choice. Your bibble says so. Tell me, after you get all the "sinners" under control, what's next? Those Christians who hold differing values? What about those believers who think divorce is fine? What about Christians who think it's okay to have a drink now and then?
Fundie: Er...
Er... is right. There is no clear bottom to this slippery slope, is there? Where does it end? With something like the Holocaust, that's where. Scary, isn't it? So not only are some hard-core Muslims trying to claim the Holocaust never happened, if only to try to prove that Israel shouldn't exist, hard-core Christians are trying to claim that Hitler hadn't a religious bone in his body.

And neither of which are true.

Now, I am not advocating that all Christians are fundamentalist law-makers out to crusade by law for god, much of what Hitler tried--and nearly succeeded--in doing to all of known Europe. What I am saying is that religion, like anything, is only good in moderation and in the context of the true human condition. And while I'm also not saying that Hitler was necessarily a good Christian (as it should be fairly obvious), just because you disagree with his conclusions about his religion doesn't mean that he suddenly wasn't a Christian. Listen to some of these excerpts from speeches that Hitler gave:

"The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially of God's will, and actually fulfill God's will, and not let God's word be desecrated. For God's will gave men their form, their essence and their abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord's creation, the divine will." --Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
"I say: my Christian feeling tells me that my lord and savior is a warrior. It calls my attention to the man who, lonely and surrounded by only a few supporters, recognized what they [the Jews] were, and called for a battle against them, and who, by God, was not the greatest sufferer, but the greatest warrior. . .

"As a human being it is my duty to see to it that humanity will not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did that old civilization two thousand years ago, a civilization which was driven to its ruin by the Jews. . . I am convinced that I am really a devil and not a Christian if I do not feel compassion and do not wage war, as Christ did two thousand years ago, against those who are steeling and exploiting these poverty-stricken people.

"Two thousand years ago a man was similarly denounced by this particular race which today denounces and blasphememes all over the place. . . That man was dragged before a court and they said: he is arousing the people! So he, too, was an agitator!" --Adolf Hitler, in a speech delivered on April 12, 1922.
"We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." --Adolf Hitler, in a speech delivered in Berlin, October 24, 1933.
"Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise." --Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf.
"Imbued with the desire to secure for the German people the great religious, moral, and cultural values rooted in the two Christian Confessions, we have abolished the political organizations but strengthened the religious institutions." --Adolf Hitler, in a speech at Reichstag, Berlin, January 30, 1934.
"The advantages of a personal and political nature that might arise from compromising with atheistic organizations would not outweigh the consequences which would become apparent in the destruction of general moral basic values. The national government regards the two Christian confessions as the weightiest factors for the maintenance of our nationality: their rights are not to be infringed." --Adolf Hitler, in a speech at Reichstag, Berlin, March 23, 1933.
"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." --Adolf Hitler, in 26 April 1933, from a speech made during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordant of 1933.
Now, take away the fact that these speeches were made by Hitler. Does an atheist come to mind as having said these words? I think you can agree that the answer is no. In fact, it sounds a lot like religious leaders in America today, doesn't it? "Put prayer back in schools!"; "We need true Christian leaders in office!"; "We need laws to protect us from the infidels/sinners/world!"

So as Iran tries to deny the brutal, religious atrocity that was the Holocaust, and as fundamentalist Christians in America try to erode the very freedoms of this country in the name of sky god, I ask you to very carefully look at your motives for whatever you do. As dangerous as the lie that "we were created a Christian nation" is, I fear a religious welling up that will lead to even more dangerous times--beginning with these two articles: Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history by Dinesh D'Souza, and Holocaust conference begins in Iran as reported by Yahoo News. These two articles alone should speak of the horrors that religion plans on bringing to our doorstep.

As the two "great" religions of the world unite in rewriting history, I hope the rest of the moderate religious believers, as well as the atheists and agnostics, will stand together, not united by a religious belief, but by a faith in honesty and accurate history. I ask everyone to learn from the past, and not make it fit into your preconceived mold.

Otherwise, in fifty years, if anyone is left, they'll be discussing if the second Holocaust actually happened--not the first.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You Can Keep Your Fuckin' Crumbs...

New Jersey is just one more casualty of bowing to the right-wing's desire to keep marriage as a special right for straight people only.

What do they want? A thank-you? So you approved fuckin' civil unions. Big fuckin' whoop. Tell me, what's a civil union, eh? Does it get Rich my Social Security benefits if I were to suddenly die? Does it ensure that he doesn't have to "buy out" my half of the house if I die? Or me his? Does it guarantee that if I were in a coma he would be the sole person to make my medical decisions? It's also not recognized as marriage anywhere else in the world for that matter. Cause it isn't. It's nothing.

"But it's the "M" word," you whine. "God intended marriage for straight, monogamous people only!" you cry. Horse shit, and you know it.

You can keep your fuckin' crumbs, New Jersey. I wasn't happy when Vermont offered them, and it doesn't cut the mustard now. Never will, if you really want to know. Separate but equal is not equal, and you know it. It also scares the shit out of you, doesn't it? You hide behind sky god, you hide behind "tradition," but you won't federally ban it, and you know why? Cause you know it isn't right to discriminate simply because you find something "icky." Be honest, that's what it boils down to, doesn't it? Unless it's lesbians, then you're all hot and bothered, thinking they're just dying to get with you. But gays? It offends your sense of "manliness," makes you uneasy. You find it "icky," but have the convenient sky god of your own making to say it's icky for you. Guess what, fundie? The only person you're screwing is yourself. (Which, of course, is incestuous, self-mutilating gay sex...) You know society isn't hurt. Just your "ick" factor...

I will be married. In Pennsylvania. In my hometown. Before my friends and family, with my husband.

Until then, keep your fuckin' crumbs. You'll need them as a consolation on my wedding day, when you find out that your relationship isn't special--it's exactly the same as mine. And though it scares the ever-lovin' shit out of you, it's something you're going to have to get used to. Just like your closed-minded friends of old who had to get used to those "icky" blacks voting, to those "simple-minded" women voting and owning property.

Well this "icky" gay is going to be married.

And there's nothing you can do to stop it.

Cause you know you're wrong.

And that's what's even scarier for you...

Okay, Habla Espanol?

I'm not sure what all the hoopla is about. We've always been a "melting pot" in this country, let's be honest. But there seems to be this wave of "Speaka Ze English?" gripping the country. And while I "Speaka Ze English," I personally could care less what you speak. What's the big deal if people sing the national anthem in Spanish? Who cares if we all end up eventually speaking Spanglish? Or Spanish?

I recently heard someone go on a rant about it, and I've received more than my fair share of forwards stating in no uncertain terms that we should demand our legislators pass some sort of law making English our official language--but no one has yet to make a case about why it seems to matter. Sure, someone mentioned something about our "culture" being robbed form us, that Spanish-speaking people are here to "rob us of our cultural heritage." But as I look at our language, what is known throughout the world as "American English," our culture, such as it is--a meshing of several languages, traditions, art forms, architectures--we have assimilated many "foreign" words into our everyday use. Be it "amigo," "malaise," "bouquet," "chaise lounge"--you'd be hard pressed to make a complete sentence without a word which didn't originate in England proper! Most of our city names alone reflect the amalgamation of the cultures we have absorbed and--get this newsflash!--we still function as a country while saying things like "Hamburg," "Las Vegas," and "New Orleans."

Even if we were to all suddenly in 50 years be speaking Spanish alone (which, even with the so-called "worst" scenarios, wouldn't happen), who cares? Interestingly enough, the same people who worry about speaking Spanglish also worry about gay marriage, abortion, and flag burning--all things shown to not only not affect anything in any way, shape, or form--don't help or harm humanity in any meaningful sense. Now, if we are debating whether the homeless should eat soup or salad, I'd say "At least we're feeding them!" and at least a small part of our human plight would be in the works of a practical, helpful solution to an actual problem.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

:D :D :D

I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!

Between that and lowering my car insurnace premiums (as the car is now no longer financed, I'm saving over $380 a month...

I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!

Things are looking up. I think I may no longer have negative income....

I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!
I just paid off my car!!!!!

Holy Mary Mother of... What?!

Did ya hear about it?

Mary Cheney is pregnant. Daughter of the right-wing vice-fascist Dick Cheney is due in late spring sometime. Yep, you heard it right. Mary is pregnant.

And--surprise, surprise--conservatives are a bit pissy about it. Not happy that Shrubya couldn't get discrimination written into the constitution, but simply usually embarrassed by Dick's little wayward sheep, she is front and center once again, but instead of the left being pissed that she worked for the homo-bashers of the United States, she's pissed off the other half of the country by wanting to be a mother.

From the article:

"Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn't mean it's a good idea," Earll said. "Love can't replace a mother and a father."
Are they kidding? Study after study proves that having two penis' or two vaginas' as parents is neither better nor worse than having one of each. (You can see here, here, here, or do your own search and find hundreds of articles by non-biased sources on how the scare tactics of the right are just hot-air...)

What amazes me, actually, is just how fast this not only became off the air, but how, with such a high-standing "moral majority" public official as patriarch of this family hasn't been called out by the right-wing big-whigs, like Dobson, Falwell, or even Robertson. Why are they suddenly mum? When did they get scared of "calling sin a sin"? Now because it's "one of their own" so-to-speak, they just hope it will go away?

I'm also wondering what Mary and her partner are thinking here. They live in Virginia--one of the most anti-gay family states you could possibly settle in. Heather won't be able to make medical decisions for her children, take them to the doctor, sign a field-trip notice--nothing. You think I'm exaggerating, but ask a gay couple with children who live in such a state, they'll tell you what's what. I wonder if Dick will look back on the legislation he helped to sponsor, always spoke up about--will he regret any of it? Now that his grandchild--his grandchild--won't have the same opportunities or even care that any children of straight (even unmarried straight) parents do. Have they discussed this?

I must give kudos to Dick and his wife, though. The only statement they released said, "They look forward to the birth of their new grandchild." Nothing more. No judgments, no "we're embarrassed" remarks, all very low-key and supportive in its absence of hatred. And really, what's a Dick to do? Forbid his almost 40 yr old daughter from having a child? Ground her? Wait, I know, I know--make her get an abortion, but then claim it was because Mary's health was in danger (from screaming mobs of peaceful fundamentalist Christians trying to protect families...). Yep, that's it.

It's almost a shame that the original Mary ruined that excuse for pregnant women everywhere--that it was sky god's child, and therefore a miracle. We all still think births are miracles in our personal lives--every time I look at one of my nieces or nephews, I look at them in wonder. Hopefully, Mary and Heather's child won't face the hatred others have before. Perhaps this kids' very powerful grandpa will pull strings, get the kid the rights that all same-sex couples should have to protect and care for their children. We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Congratulations, though, Mary and Heather. I hope you all have very happy, wondrous lives, and that Mary, you will think twice now before you support your father anytime he wants to discriminate against you and your family. Maybe it will take having your child to see this--who knows?

Who knows... Perhaps it will take this family's first-hand experience to realize that it isn't that gays that want special rights--it's straight right-wingers that want to keep their own rights special.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Time to Prune...

I stared at the tree. The giant apple tree in my yard, that graces my yard with fragrance and white flowers every spring. That beckons deer and other various wild four-legged creatures to enter what I so bravely claim as "mine," and snack on the spicy, tangy fruit as it begins to drop in the fall. It is huge, massive... and dying very, very slowly.

So we broke out the chainsaw. You know, the machine that sends tremors through bark thicker than your grandmother's beard. I felt bad for the tree--my nosy, old neighbor who thinks no one has anything better to do on any given day than talk to him for hours on end told us that the tree was the only one left from an orchard that use to span acres up here in our little town. We stare at it, and I wonder briefly what the proper way to say goodbye to something nearly 100 years old. Something that, unknowingly sentient to us, has seen more of the world than I will probably ever will.

But she is dying. We break out the ladder, and I climb up her as far as I can, noting all the woodpecker holes, the knots, which limbs seem already dead and which ones seem like they may survive another year. The massive trunk splits into four columns that climb toward the sky in reverence to the life-giving sun it has looked toward for decades, and I straddle between these columns, trying to see if any of them are salvageable through the wick alone.

We decide to give it another year overall, but that two of the four columns must come down. It's either the tree or the house. And though we have home-owners insurance, and the old tree has certainly been here since even before our home was built, we're going to try for this compromise.

That compromise is put on hold for about an hour as we wrestle with the freakin' chainsaw. I wonder if the tree views us, trembling, pissed, scared, perhaps even hopeful as pull after pull on the starter cord produces nothing more than a whine and a whirr. How many generations have plucked a juicy, bright red apple from her limbs? Enjoyed nourishment and life due to her plump, flavorful fruits?

We get ol' Bessie started. It may be my imagination, but the tree seems to bend away from the noise, like a four year old scared of her first visit to the hair dressers. I touch her trunk, and nod to Rich. It's time to take off the limb hanging in the rear, whose branches are all half-dead and rotted. He feels no such compassion for the life he is chopping apart. He hates trees, thinks they are messy litter makers that make it hard to mow in straight lines. (This has been a point of contention as I survey the many many baby trees I have planted since we bought the home five years ago: three Poplars, a hybrid Poplar, a Weeping Willow, a green Japanese maple, two silver maples, three nut oaks, a few birch, some cherry trees... Yeah, I'm a tree nut. I'm expecting four walnut trees to pop up in the spring...)

But none of them will compare in size for years to this majestic queen of the yard. She is joined by six other huge trees, to be sure. Two very large blue spruces, a gigantic hemlock, and two silver maples I'm told are about fifty years old each. But she was the crown jewel. The provider of the yard, dressed in flowers each spring as its long bouquets dipped down to the grass; feeding the bees, ants, humming birds and woodpeckers; again in the fall, when the deer, squirrels, raccoons, and rabbits would gather each dawn to eat the fallen fruit on the ground. Birds would nest, squirrels would race up and down her long limbs from our roof to the hemlock, from the hemlock to the roof, back and forth in a never ending game that none of us could figure out, but seemed to be very enjoyable.

It isn't long before we hear that CRACK which signaled the end of one of its columns, it's massive, over-arching columns. While Rich busied himself with chopping the wood into burnable size pieces, I counted the rings on what I am referring to as Casualty Number 1. Casualty Number 1 was 88 years old. Eighty-eight. A long, full life. As I look over at the bits and pieces of what remains, and I can see the hollowness, the emptiness which was her heart in the upper branches.

She was dying anyway, I tell myself. She was dying. We call it a day, and I rub the stub that created a trio. Next weekend, we will evaluate Casualty Number 2. I have a knowledge that she will also come down, but I also know that 3 and 4 are healthy and strong, solid and sturdy. They will bear fruit for years to come, and will also keep intact the Squirrel Superhighway above the pool, from the hemlock to the house, from the house to the hemlock.

As we climb into bed that night, I pull back the curtains. The neighbors light shines brighter now, with one column now gone. But I know that, with this pruning, the other two branches will produce better, juicier fruit. It's veins will bring more nutrients to the remainder, and in turn, make the tree stronger and healthier. And though the pruning is hard, scary even, we all need to prune occasionally. If only to remember life, and the many fruits to be enjoyed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


It was a splendid weekend! As a Christmas gift to Richard and I, our good friend Michele paid for us to attend Philadelphia's GayBingo, a non-profit game whose proceeds go towards paying for medications, rent, and other needs for those living with HIV/AIDS. There theme this month was La-La-Leather! Two drag queens host every month, and several others roller skate through the crowds at the tables cracking jokes and verifying actual bingo winners. It was all for a great cause, though, and they managed to raise a couple thousand just last night alone (Saturday). I think they host these in various cities throughout the country, and I would highly encourage anyone who wants to have a good time while doing something for those in need to check it out! Here's a link to the Philadelphia location: Aids Fund Gay Bingo.
It seems there has been some confusion as to what the word "hypocrite" actually means, and even though a good friend did post the true definition under "comments" in my last post, here it is again for all those who seem to use some other "god-blessed" dictionary that others may not be privy to:

1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Hopefully that will help clear up some confused individuals and their somehow skewed definitions of the word. I guess we'll see.
This is shaping up to be another very busy week at work, but before I forget, we need to give props to mom, whose birthday was yesterday. She miraculously seems to have turned 25 again! Go mom! Of course, at this rate she'll never see a dime of those Medicare benefits that we hear so much about... On the same day my nephew Henry turned a giant 4 years old. Happy Birthday Henry!
Not really much else to report on the front lines of the war against terror--Oops! I mean radical Christianity (tomato, tomahto), but as soon as something pops up, you might expect to hear about it here. And when you do, I hope you'll drop a line to let us know your thoughts, even if we rabidly disagree about it. It's what helps make the world go round. Or, at least, this blog.

Catch ya's later!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Brandon, Brandon, Brandon... A History Lesson About the Winter Holidays, With a Dash of Common Sense and Lick of Sarcasm...

In case any of you have been missing the fun, there's a new fundie who, I have to give him credit for actually putting his name on his comments, decided it would be fun to try to mock me (they say it is the highest form of flattery...), but, as everyone should be warned, generics and knock-offs are certainly not the same. (I think any of you who have tried store-brand spaghetti sauce know what I mean.) Plus, being as there are two brandons (who'd of thunk it?), this one is not to the one whom I dedicated my garbage post too, but the one who thinks he's witty (but not gay...)
To My Fundie Fan, brandon: Let's deal with the first comment you left, shall we? You decided to try your hand at dialogue (and, while not bad for a beginning to our lovely site) you failed on a few key points: You said:
Fundie: So, you hate God?
Gay Jay: No, I don't believe God is real. I just hate fundies because they are hypocrites.
Didn't your mother ever tell you to say "not like" instead of hate? It really send the wrong tone. You were right on your first point though, a bravo to you for the key distinction: I can't hate something that isn't real, but I can hate the hypocrisy of the "moral majority." Kudos!

You followed up with:
Fundie: Do you buy Christmas presents for your family and do you receive presents for Christmas from your family?
Gay Jay: Yes, I love to buy Christmas presents and I loved that new scarf Aunt Bea got me last year.
Kudos again! You realize that, though one can hate the actions of others (isn't that one of your big mottos? Hate the sin, love the sinner? I know, it is a cop-out, but then again, I'm not the one preaching you really have to love everyone, am I?) Oh, and Aunt Bea? I think your confusing Ms. Bea Dickson with one of my relatives... she's not. My Aunt Bea is dead. And it hurts. A lot. Thanks for that. I don't think I can go on... But then again, I think I can.

But then you said (and, just for reference, this is where you got off track a little--okay, perhaps a lot!)
Fundie: But wait! If you don't believe in God, then you don't believe in His son, Jesus, so then that makes you the hypocrite for celebrating Christmas. If you don't believe in God, then there is nothing for you to celebrate at Christmas time. Giving or receiving Christmas gifts at Christmas makes the atheist an atheistic hypocrite.
My, so much hogwash in so short an amount of text--you make Jerry Falwell proud! (and that's no easy feat!) So because I like to get together with my family and show my love for them by buying them presents (or making them on the leaner years) and sharing food, love and laughter makes me a hypocrite? Newsflash, Brandie: Christmas has never been about Christ. It's always been about showing love for your fellow man, an idea much older and much more noble than sky god's raping of a poor village girl and shaming her before all his "chosen people."

In fact, celebration of the winter solstice goes back thousands of years--a time when people were observing the metaphorical death of the earth, the getting together to share supplies, each other's company, and make sure everyone would be okay for the coming winter months. It was a time to reflect upon the years work--harvest, hunting, what-have-you--and make sure everyone in your family or village was going to be okay. The buying of gifts is the natural evolution of that sharing of needs to wants as people and technology made life easier.

In fact, did you know before a man named Jesus ever walked the earth:
  1. Early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many people rejoiced during the winter solstice when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to the start of longer days and extended hours of sunlight.
  2. In Scandinavia the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the start of the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, and that could take as many as twelve days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.
  3. The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so that they did not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer that had been made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
  4. In Germany people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of him for it was well-known that his nocturnal flights through the sky would help him decide which of his people would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to say inside.
  5. Brazilian archeologists have found an assembly of 127 granite blocks arranged equidistant from each other. They apparently form an ancient astronomical observatory. One of the stones marked the position of the sun at the time of the winter solstice and were probably used in religious rituals.
  6. Ancient Egypt: The god-man/savior Osiris died and was entombed on DEC-21. "At midnight, the priests emerged from an inner shrine crying 'The Virgin has brought forth! The light is waxing" and showing the image of a baby to the worshipers."
  7. Greece: The winter solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god Dionysos was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day. Later in the ritual, Dionysos would be reborn as a baby. By classical times, the human sacrifice had been replaced by the killing of a goat. The women's role had changed to that of funeral mourners and observers of the birth.
  8. Roman times: Saturnalia began as a feast day for Saturn on DEC-17 and of Ops (DEC-19). About 50 BCE, both were later converted into two day celebrations. During the Empire, the festivals were combined to cover a full week: DEC-17 to 23.
  9. Budhists: On DEC-8, or on the Sunday immediately preceding, Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day (a.k.a. Rohatsu). It recalls the day in 596 BCE, when the Buddha achieved enlightenment. He had left his family and possessions behind at the age of 29, and sought the meaning of life--particularly the reasons for its hardships. He studied under many spiritual teachers without success. Finally, he sat under a pipal tree and vowed that he would stay there until he found what he was seeking. On the morning of the eighth day, he realized that everyone suffers due to ignorance. But ignorance can be overcome through the Eightfold Path that he advocated. This day is generally regarded as the birth day of Buddhism. Being an Eastern tradition, Bodhi Day has none of the associations with the solstice and seasonal changes found in other religious observances at this time of year. However, it does signify the point in time when the Buddha achieved enlightenment and escaped the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth through reincarnation--themes that are observed in other religions in December.
  10. Druids and Druidesses formed the professional class in ancient Celtic society. They performed the functions of modern day priests, teachers, ambassadors, astronomers, genealogists, philosophers, musicians, theologians, scientists, poets and judges. Druids led all public rituals, which were normally held within fenced groves of sacred trees. The solstice is the time of the death of the old sun and the birth of the dark-half of the year. It was called "Alban Arthuan by the ancient Druids. It is the end of month of the Elder Tree and the start of the month of the Birch. The three days before Yule is a magical time. This is the time of the Serpent Days or transformation...The Elder and Birch stand at the entrance to Annwn or Celtic underworld where all life was formed. Like several other myths they guard the entrance to the underworld. This is the time the Sun God journey's thru the underworld to learn the secrets of death and life. And bring out those souls to be reincarnated." A modern-day Druid, Amergin Aryson, has composed a Druidic ritual for the Winter Solstice.
  11. Inca's: The ancient Incas celebrated a festival if Inti Raymi at the time of the Winter Solstice. It celebrates "the Festival of the Sun where the god of the Sun, Wiracocha, is honored." Ceremonies were banned by the Roman Catholic conquistadores in the 16th century as part of their forced conversions of the Inca people to Christianity. A local group of Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru revived the festival about 1950. It is now a major festival which begins in Cusco and proceeds to an ancient amphitheater a few miles away.
  12. Persia: Shabe-Yalda (a.k.a. Shab-e Yaldaa) is celebrated in Iran by followers of many religions. It originated in Zoroastrianism, the state religion which preceded Islam. The name refers to the birthday or rebirth of the sun. People gather at home around a korsee--a low square table--all night. They tell stories and read poetry. They eat watermelons, pomegranates and a special dried fruit/nut mix. Bonfires are lit outside.
  13. Judaism: Jews celebrate an 8 day festival of Hanukkah, (a.k.a. Feast of Lights, Festival of lights, Feast of Dedication, Chanukah, Chanukkah, Hanukah). It recalls the war fought by the Maccabees in the cause of religious freedom. Antiochus, the king of Syria, conquered Judea in the 2nd century BCE. He terminated worship in the Temple and stole the sacred lamp, the menorah, from before the altar. At the time of the solstice, they rededicated the Temple to a Pagan deity. Judah the Maccabee lead a band of rebels, and succeeding in retaking Jerusalem. They restored the temple and lit the menorah. It was exactly three years after the flame had been extinguished--at the time of the Pagan rite.
  14. Some Native American beliefs:
    1. The Pueblo tribe observe both the summer and winter solstices. Although the specific details of the rituals differ from pueblo to pueblo, "the rites are built around the sun, the coming new year and the rebirth of vegetation in the spring....Winter solstice rites include...prayerstick making, retreats, altars, emesis and prayers for increase."
    2. The Hopi tribe "is dedicated to giving aid and direction to the sun which is ready to 'return' and give strength to budding life." Their ceremony is called "Soyal." It lasts for 20 days and includes "prayerstick making, purification, rituals and a concluding rabbit hunt, feast and blessing..."
    3. There are countless stone structures created by Natives in the past to detect the solstices and equinoxes. One was called Calendar One by its modern-day finder. It is in a natural amphitheatre of about 20 acres in size in Vermont. From a stone enclosure in the center of the bowl, one can see a number of vertical rocks and natural features in the horizon which formed the edge of the bowl. At the solstices and equinoxes, the sun rises and sets at notches or peaks in the ridge which surrounded the calendar.
DISCLAIMER: I closed the windows before I had a chance to link my sources, but if you think I may have gotten this info from your site, feel free to let me know and I'll link you!! But mostly I used Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica Online, and a few other free-lance sources from seemingly reputable individuals for the information above.

But who cares about all of that coincidence, eh? Your fabled god-child was born--who cares what everyone else celebrates, right? I mean, perish the thought that, not only has celebrating this time of year been in humanities blood eons before the desert-wandering Hebrews even thought up a monotheistic god who possibly might care for them, but even if you are celebrating what you believe to have happened so long ago in a manger, who cares? You celebrate this time of year, I celebrate this time of year, in fact thousands celebrate this time of year for vastly differing reasons! And even though it is good PR for all you fundies to come up with clever rhymes like "Jesus is the reason for the season," everyone has their own personal reasons for celebrating--even Christians!

Now, even though this is getting kind of long, since you may be learning something, I'll next touch on some things you said in your next comment.

You said: [...] but I felt it necessary to show the other side-the right side to his blasphemous remarks. You sound a little like John Edwards, you know that? The Other Side. Ooohhhhh, creepy! You didn't show anything but ignorance as to the history of humanity on earth, deciding instead it was all about your sky god and not the other souls who live upon the earth. And, sad to say, it wasn't even a good try, just--kind of sad...

You said: What about that teenage boy who is confused about his sexuality and stumbles upon this blog through a link from some other 'gay type' blog. He'll probably think, "Wow! You mean I can be a functioning normal adult? I don't have to listen to all that crap that's says there's something wrong with me? That there are others like me?" It'll offer some hope, some humor, some truth, all with a dash of sarcasm and satire. And perhaps even, a healthy sense of self that most gay teens don't get when they're growing up. But if you'd rather he think that he's an awful, "wrong" person in need of an imaginary friend, who should feel dirty and rotten about who and what he is, then by all means--keep talking.

You said: the truth of the matter is that he may be influencing someone away from God with the things he writes. Aw, how sweet of you to offer me hope. Not that I need it. But it's nice to know I'm thought of. :D

You said: I pray that you see the day when your son denounces homosexuality AND comes to Christ (I truly will pray for that). I'm thinking asking you to hold your breath for that won't make it happen, will it? Sigh. Well, if it gives you a purpose in life, who am I to take that away? Good luck--I mean that.

You said: I feel that sometimes the best way to show someone how they sound is to imitate them. Flattery will get you nowhere. I'm a happily married man.

You said: but I get riled when someone rips my Savior. You know what your book says: "Be angry and do not sin." Do you feel you may have committed a sin? (I personally don't think you did, but then again, I'm not living with a guilt-ridden soul that make some cling to imaginary beings either.)

And finally, I saved this for last even though you said it much earlier in your comment: You said: yet you continue to justify his actions. Fundie say what? Do you even read what mom posts? Have you heard our (HOURS!) long conversations? She has never "justified" anything about my lifestyle of choice, just as I have never condoned her lifestyle of choice (or yours, for that matter!) I'm guessing you are of the whole "tough love" school of though, eh? There's a bunch of crock that needs to be placed on the backburner and forgotten about, let me tell you! But be that as it may, while mom and I share a close friendship and great relationship, there are some things about ourselves we know we disagree on, we know we'll never see eye-to-eye on, and yet--somehow we manage to make it work out of respect. Now, she knows this is my blog--where I share my thoughts about what I read, see, hear, or generally wonder about. When I'm in her home, I expect to hear, see, or listen to things she believes strongly about, and you know what? I do. And we still make our proverbial red state-blue state friendship work. Go figure, huh? The Christian and the Atheist, something that tears most families apart since fundies seem to have a hard time with that thing called respect--it's what makes them try to legislate morality, demand to hear "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays." RESPECT.

Oh, and a little blasphemy never hurt anyone--except when the Church sentenced them to death. I wonder why god can't kill blasphemer's on his own? Hmm...

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Rights of the People...

Did you know you have a "right" to garbage pick-up?

So I forgot to pay my garbage bill for this quarter--no biggie, actually; they just sent a friendly reminder that I need to send in my $54 for this quarter or my garbage will stop being picked up by the end of this year. But in this nice, friendly lettered notice, there's a thingie at the bottom that looks like one of those things they put on everybody's bill. You know the kind, where they say things like on your cable bill where it says "It is illegal to steal cable."

Well, it says on the bottom of the notice:

Please note that it is illegal to set your garbage out with another addressee's garbage. Those who are found to be setting their garbage out with another persons garbage shall have their right to garbage pick-up revoked and shall be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
A few things come to mind:
  1. When did "garbage pick-up service" become a right?
  2. Do they actually pay people to spy on the home owners who pay for garbage service to see who sets what bags out where?
  3. Who is the genius who actually got caught "sharing" garbage pick-up, and subsequently got caught?
"Rights" is a term people throw around these days like a bunch of wadded up toilet tissue: "My rights were violated because ______ (insert grievous misjustice here: i.e., "my dog was hit by a car"; "I was fired for being 5 minutes late every day"; "People aren't saying Merry Christmas, they're saying Happy Holidays") Now, granted, there are a lot of rights violations that go on these days, and not just because of the current occupant of the White House (although he has never helped). But a "right to garbage pick-up"? I'm just wondering who their lawyer is that thought up that great notice! Can you hear the board meeting for that one?

Garbage Company Regional Supervisor: How do we get people to not only want their garbage to be picked up, but to cherish the fact that their garbage gets picked up?
Office Manager: We could promise over-night delivery of their garbage to the nearest landfill, couldn't we?
GCRS: I suppose, but that's pretty much what we do now...
Secretary of Waste: How about coupons to Dunkin' Doughnuts? All those Styrofoam coffee cups will keep us in business for years.
GCRS: That's why we suppress environmental impact reports... No, we need something... Big. Something huge.
Lawyer: How about making it a 'rights violation'?
GCRS: Yes! That's it! Make the people believe they have a right to garbage pick-up! That, up until now, the competition has been withholding a right when they deny a customer! That's excellent!
Ahh,the silliness of life. It almost makes you think a fundie is running the garbage company, doesn't it?

Of course, now I'm wondering if it really is illegal to split your garbage bill with your neighbor... I mean, why would it be? (Hint: To make sure the companies get to screw everyone equally.) Ahh, that's it! That's the way America works, isn't it? As long as corporations get to screw everyone equally by getting laws passed that say you must get this type of insurance, or you must purchase such-and-such or you are in violation of the law. When did this become a country of "By the corporations, for the corporations"? Why does Congress have a hard time passing a tax-relief bill for the middle class but oil companies still get billions in tax breaks every year--even while the past two years they've had record profits at our expense!!!

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark--and it ain't the garbage either...

By the way, I hope you'll all join me in welcoming this blog's latest contributor, Ms. Bea Dickson! She recently came to my attention while I was checking my e-mail earlier today, and, as other great church ladies of the past, such as "The Church Lady" from SNL and Ms. Betty Bowers, she may or may not be a regular contributor on this blog. Give her a hearty welcome when you get a chance. Her first post is just below this one.

Catch ya later!

Bless My Soul!

Hi, Bea Dickson here. Have I mentioned how glad I am that the American Family Association is around to defend poor, defenseless Baby Jesus? Why just today, that upstanding bulwark of morality and goodness sent me a message stating that people are censoring Christmas! Can you believe it?It seems that the Gap and Old Navy, trying to appeal to everyone, has slapped Baby Jesus without so much as a "Hey! How are you?" by using the term holiday instead of Christmas--Sweet God in Heaven!

Never minding that Christmas is a holiday, but can you imagine? All you want to do is get Aunt Chloe that knitted pull-over sweater ($8.95), a few clothes for the kids to wear to school ($62.43), and a nice maroon scarf to go with that dynamite leather coat you got at Burlington Coat Factory ($14.00 and $98.00 respectively), and when you rip out your credit cards for purchasing, instead of hearing "Merry Christmas," you get a "Happy Holidays" (Priceless.) Luckily, in the grand tradition of the wiseman giving gold to a baby in a manger, MasterCard is there to get us through the "holiday blues" and back to the "Christmas joys." I tell you, if Jesus were still on earth, he'd be turning over on his cross!

In fact, just the other day, I was driving through the neighborhood, and one of those damned Jews had the nerve--the audacity!!--to put up a light-up "Happy Holidays" sign right where all the Christians could see it! What will my kids think when the school bus drives by? So after I noticed them leaving, probably for one of their dinner engagements that these Jews always seem to go to, I ripped the "Happy Holidays" sign from their garage door, praise be to Baby Jesus, cause he gave me the strength to do it! I then plastered up a large "Jesus is the reason for the season" billboard in its place! Hopefully these Jews will learn that Christians are the only ones who celebrate anything in America, especially this time of year!

As I heard Pastor Iman Azhole say it on Sunday, "We stole Christmas fair and square from the pagans 1,200 years ago, and by Lawd, we ain't givin' it back till the Rapture!" God bless Pastor Iman Azhol for speaking up against these horrible sinners, who just want to be nice to everyone and respect the beliefs and traditions of others--this is America, dammit! A Christian nation if I ever saw one!

Oh, dear, now look, you made me use a naughty word. Luckily, I'm so close to Jesus he hits the snooze button for me! I'm telling you heathens! Don't censor Christmas, or we'll-- Um, yeah we will... Hold that thought...
Bea: (ring-ring... ring-ring) Hello, Pastor Iman?
Pastor Iman: Why, hello, Mrs. Bea Dickson, how are you?
Bea: Well, Iman Azhole, I was just wondering--what do we do about the heathens using the phrase "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas"?
Pastor Iman: Well, yes, Bea, that is a problem, isn't it? Why, these folks have forgotten the reason for the season!
Bea: I couldn't agree more!
Pastor Iman: And we need to stand up and say, "I'm offended!"
Bea: Amen, Pastor!
Pastor Iman: We need to pray that the spirit of the LAWD comes down and WASHES away their respect for others!
Bea: Sing it, Pastor! LAWDY lawdy!
Pastor Iman: Go with God, sister!
Bea: Thank you, Pastor Iman Azhole, thank you! (tears streaming down Bea's face...)
Hello, heathens, still there! Well, I just spoke to my thinker-- I mean, my pastor, as he said-- Um...You are all going to hell for turning your back on Baby Jesus! I mean, he's just a baby! Baby's do not share birthdays anyhow! Especially Jesus's birthday!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go to Neiman Marcus and get that lovely set of pearl earrings for mother. Hopefully I won't have to hear "happy holidays" while doing so. I just don't know what I'd do then!

--Bea Dickson,
so important to God he puts Falwell on hold...

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

To the Drive-By Linker, About the Evolution of the Eye...

  1. Learn some html coding and you can make your links work like this: For I Am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. It saves everyone the trouble of cutting and pasting.
  2. Get better sources so that your "articles" are harder to refute. At least pick something that sounds good.
  3. Ashamed of being a follower of sky god that you refuse to put your name where your mouth is? Let me see, what does the great and holy bibble say? Oh, that's right: Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and [in his] Father's, and of the holy angels. Seems like you may be screwed.
But enough of dealing with your silly, silly ways. I am here to refute the link you posted, the so-called "Eyeball Conundrum" which you creationists tend to think of as your holy grail as "proof" of the insupportableness of evolution. Think of this as a learning experience, and you may find it less painful, okay?

Right off the bat, your web site of choice quotes Darwin:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.
And, as always, you think you have a point, but only because that's when you all stopped reading! None of you have ever--ever--read the paragraph immediately following it, have you? Darwin goes on to say:

Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us more than how life itself first originated; but I may remark that several facts make me suspect that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound.
This is where my mom usually says, "What? What is that in layman's terms! Speak English!" :D

Darwin acknowledges first the complexity of the eye in its various, interworking parts and states up front that, if one were to simply say the "eyeball evolved" exactly as it presently is into being, thinking so would be absurd! (As is thinking the sky god made it as it is!; but we'll get to that in a moment...) Nothing simply pops up into existence so complex! But he goes onto explain that, through small, numerous changes over periods of time involving genetic variance and natural selection, such a complex thing comes into being as it continues to need improvement for the survival of the fittest, as well as for the species itself! But, of course, being as you fundies don't like using reasoning or logic, you simply say, "Wow! It must have been a god!" and totally ignore (conveniently) Darwin's simple, clear explanation of how it came to be.

Further, many many scientists, trying to learn exactly how something so complex (yet faulty still) came into being have hit upon numerous similarities, common traits, genetic markers, and large amounts of data that show the path of the eyeball when it started out deep in the brain as just a cluster of cells that showed a sensitivity to light. But, since I doubt you'll even want to read about it, for those of you do, here are some links (which you need not copy and paste into your browser):
  1. DNA Science Workshop for VCE Biology Teachers by Elizabeth Finkel, dated 12/11/95 (which just goes to show that you all should have been searching for a new grail a long time ago...)
  2. Where'd You Get Those Peepers? by Richard Dawkins, dated 6/16/95
  3. Evolution of the Eye by Dan-Erik Nilsson, dated 2001 (and there's even a short, educational video to watch about it--how fun! Interactive learning!)
  4. Darwin's Greatest Challenge Tackled: The Mystery Of Eye Evolution by Science Daily, dated 11/1/04
Now, as to the silliness of thinking that, because our eye is complex, it must have had a designer: You know trees have trunks? Goodness, someone must have designed that! See how silly that sounds? Not only is our eye pretty piss-poor in regards to some of the other eyeballs that look upon this same world we do (and notice, none of them are saying, "Hey! I can see! Thank god!!"), our eye is not the most evolved on earth by any stretch of the imagination. It is prone to a vast amount of diseases and afflictions! (To see a list of some of the most common, you can click here.) Many animals have better vision, sharper details, see more colors (some can even see ultraviolet and infrared!), can rotate them independently, have much better protection than our flimsy eyelids--the list goes on and on! But our eyes evolved to the point now where we can certainly function pretty optimally for what we need them to do (although I'm thinking with all the radiation stories floating around lately, perhaps we should evolve the ability to see radiation wavelengths!). Regardless, some types of eyes have gone extinct with the creatures that evolved them (see this page about trilobites, a vast family of creatures now extinct, some of which had eyes made of calcite!). But, calcite eyes were probably part of some "grand design" that the eyes of these extinct creatures should be hard as a rock, eh? Hmm, wonder why these hundreds of thousands of creatures died when most of them lived on the bottom of the sea floor? It couldn't have been Noah's flood... And since there are no other world-wide disasters in the bibble.... Well, again, must have been part of the "master plan" of the sky god, right? To create these creatures, make them so prolific they leave literally thousands of fossils behind, but then wipe them out... without a catastrophe anywhere in the bibble to explain how... Must have been some of those "tough love" courses offered at Sky God University, eh? Go figure. "Mysterious ways" and all that other jazz...

Regardless, the eye, when looked at as the slowly evolving organ that it has been, following the genetics, the data, the fossils, and all of the other evidence available to our brains can easily be seen (as noted by Darwin) to have gained complexity over time through small, useful changes that allowed certain species to live better and longer. As opposed to an "intelligent designer" who not only gave us "complex" eyes out of the "dust of the ground" (talk about your dry eyes!) but a useless appendix only good for getting infected and causing near-death experiences (as personally experienced), tonsils which are only good for sore throats (as not personally experinced but seen in two siblings), and a tail while we are in utero only to have it disappear by the time we are born. Which in turn begs another grand question for the followers of the sky god: why would we need to grow tails in the womb only to lose them by birth? If we start out as a round circle, get invaded by wiggly, tiny creatures, and begin reproducing cells that are supposedly human and human alone (not having gone through an evolutionary process), why do we grow tails in utero and then lose them? And no fundie has yet told me how they explain away Neanderthal (as well as the other human ancestor fossils which are well documented and studied) as nothing more than an ape (an "ape," I remind you, that buried their dead...)

So we are still where we were before, aren't we? Evolution has facts, creationists have half-truths (as shown by their "selective" quoting of Darwin) and myths (as shown by their inability to explain even the most basic questions about our past). Ta-ta for now!

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Myth or Mystery? The Truth About Creationism's Failure to Answer the Simplest of Questions in Regards to Human Evolution...

Not content to come up with silly theories which have no scientific basis, a group of fundies in Kenya have decided that all fossils showing the evolution of man must be hidden from public view when a museum is finished remodeling.

Yes, folks, that's right. Knowing they'll never, ever get smart, average people to accept blind faith as good science, they've decided to start hiding the evidence instead. From the article:

"The Christian community here is very uncomfortable that Leakey and his group want their theories presented as fact," said Bishop Bonifes Adoyo, [despite overwhelming evidence and reproducible science which holds evolution as a true working model to explain man's evolution on this earth...] head of the largest Pentecostal church in Kenya, the Christ is the Answer Ministries [despite having never gotten a phone call returned from the Big Cheese].

"Our doctrine is not that we evolved from apes [but that the Big Cheese was playing in the mud one day and "Tada!"], and we have grave concerns that the museum wants to enhance the prominence of something presented as fact which is just one theory [with mountains of evidence that we can't refute except with bad science that we're having a hard time getting anyone to believe]," the bishop said.
I want to know what their explanation is, then, for the hundreds of fossils that show the progressive evolution of man? Are you telling me that only sickly, bone-disease ridden humans and extinct apes are your only theories, theories which don't hold up? (Yes, these were actual arguments put forth a few years ago by some Christian "scientists.") We will present three articles in which scientists refute creationist claims about the "wrongness" of evolution, and excerpts from these articles.

The first deals with the human ancestor of Australopithecines, which you can read all about by clicking the link to Wikipedia. The article in question was written by Martin K. Nickels, PhD, and professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University. From his article:

Australopithecine fossils provide an especially good example of two of the creationists' central concerns: the obvious biological similarity between humans and other organisms (particularly the apes) and the existence of creatures with a distinctive (perhaps disturbing or distressing to creationists) combination of apelike and human-like features. Creationist claims to the contrary, the hominid status of the australopithecines is quite justified, not seriously open to question today, and of special importance to the question of the evolutionary origin of humans.

Thus, creationists could conclude that they need not even concern themselves with any discussion of the australopithecines; at best, it is all a big mistake, or, at worst, merely another effort to deny and obscure the real story of the origin of humans and the world.

Dismissing the evidence or misinterpreting it, however, does not answer the question of what the australopithecines are. Their geological antiquity aside, and simply from the perspective of comparative anatomy, the combination of features evident in the australopithecines would present significant problems for creationists even if there were no evolutionary interpretations of their status. We can only wonder how Carolus Linneaus, the eighteenth-century "father" of modern taxonomy and a believer in special creation, would have classified the australopithecines when he only reluctantly excluded the "ape" from the genus Homo, even though he acknowledged his inability to find a "character" to justify any separation of the two (Green, 1959:184-185).

Consider the creationists' dilemma: the more humanlike the australopithecines are, the more difficult it is to maintain the special uniqueness of "man." On the other hand, the more apelike the australopithecines are, the more apelike modern humans are (because of the array of attributes we share with the australopithecines) and, again, the less unique and less special is "man." From either perspective, the australopithecines make trouble for creationists.
The article is an awesome read for those who have never had the chance to really study up on this well-documented ancestor that we share (despite your horror at being a relative of one, let alone the ones that still show up for family reunions very year).

Another article from C. Loring Brace, deals with the ancestor of Pithecanthropines, a close relative of the above hominid. The reason there is almost no separate web data to present as a link, the author puts forth straight away:

Modern appraisers usually do not feel that it is distinct enough from Homo to warrant a separate generic name, but Dubois' species erectus is accepted by nearly all.
After dispelling with this tidbit, Loring gets into the meat of the issue creationist's have with the following:

The dilemma of the creationists, of course, is the fact that their own preconceptions require them to categorize something as either ape or human. When they actually encounter a creature that is in between, then they have to throw it in one or the other of the modern categories, and it is not surprising that a form with genuinely intermediate features should be randomly assigned to each of the only possibilities they will accept. From the point of view of their own logic, they are both equally correct. From an examination of the actual evidence, they are both demonstrably wrong.
Creationists have consistently misunderstood or misrepresented the nature of the fossil record of human evolution. They have tended to vacillate between denying the evidence and trying to force selective parts of it into easy categories of ape (or monkey) and human (meaning modern human), despite the fact that we humans have rather diligently and successfully sought out our fossil ancestry.

Let us refer to some of the specific evidence. Figures 5 through 7 show some of the massive amount of evidence unearthed at Choukoutein. Compare them with claims that no such evidence exists. If the early discoveries are forgeries, how could the internal structure of a fossil have been faked? Figure 5 is an X-ray view of one of the early crania showing intricate anatomical details. Figure 6 is an external view. The back part of a skull found in 1934 (L3) fits perfectly with a front portion found in 1966 (Figure 7).
Again, I would highly encourage anyone to read the entire article, which goes into great detail about the argument creationist's have put forth and the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The last article which I will present I will try to keep short, as I know this post has gone on for quite some time. (Just imagine how long it would be if I quoted all the proof against creationism that exists!!) This article comes from Ernest Conrad, a California high school science and anthropology teacher who has been investigating creationists claims for many years. He is dealing with perhaps the most famous of our ancestors, the Neanderthal:

Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and australopithecine remains clearly predate modern Homo stratigraphically, morphologically, and according to a range of radiometric dating techniques. The exact placement and role of Neanderthal and the nature of the Homo transitional sequence remains debatable, but there is no question about the fact that Neanderthal were people with cultural traditions and humanlike activities, such as ritualistic burial of their dead, group support of handicapped individuals, and the beginnings of artistic sensibilities. Indeed, one of the most fascinating Neanderthal questions (totally ignored by creationists) is the nature of relationships between two possibly coexisting culture-bearing species, Neanderthal and a separate archaic Homo sapiens.

Despite a few technical disagreements, including the very basic question about whether Neanderthal is a defined taxon, a stage of human evolution, or a nineteenth-century terminological artifact, no one questions its hominid nature. As with any evolutionary topic which shows signs of lively debate concerning nuances, creationists have seized upon the nature of Neanderthal.

The creationist view of Neanderthal varies from arguments that Neanderthal is an ape, a modern human with bone disease, or an extinct form of human or ape. Transitions are ruled out, of course. Anti-evolutionists find ways to read perplexity into complexity. A few quotations show some of the range of their claims:
The Neanderthal race of cave-men (based on a skull cap attested by various experts to be that of an ape-man, a modern Cossack, a Negro, an early German and several other things, including that of an idiot) has a skeletal structure similar to that of modern day men and women who suffer from the endocrine disorder acromegaly . . . occurring in about one person in 10,000.

Yeah, so all of the hundreds of Neanderthal skeletons have a bone disease which only affects one in 10,000 people. Riiiiiight. He goes on to quote other statements creationists have made about Neanderthal:

As far as the stooped skeletal structure of Neanderthal is concerned, most anthropologists now believe this was due to disease, possibly arthritis or rickets.
--Morris, 1974

It is my opinion from the research that the adult Neanderthal features that are so ape like are the result of a heavily functioning masticatory system and extremely old age, perhaps 150 to 200 years.
--Cuozzo, 1980

In fact a number of the man fossils may represent peoples which had suffered degeneration as the result of sin.--Kofahl, 1977

Because of sin, mankind began to degenerate, and as groups left the central society for life in the wild, they degenerated even further. According to this evidence the Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon people lived near the Mid-East, while more degenerate types such as the Pithecanthropines and Australopithecines moved still further.
--Bible Science Newsletter, 1980

He then goes on to rip apart these statements which many a creationists still stands behind despite being thirty years later with a much larger treasure-trove of evidence:

To begin with, it is important to realize that today paleoanthropologists reject the shambling, bent-kneed, slouching Neanderthal as a myth stemming in part from Marcellin Boule's 1911-1913 "restoration" of an unfortunately chosen pathological skeleton which had arthritis in the neck, jaw, and spine. The La Chapelle aux Saints skeleton he studied was a pathological case not typical of the Wurm I Neanderthal who was normally as upright as modern humans. When Boule published his findings, the majority of scientific opinion welcomed his filling of the gap in the procession of ape to human. But time did not freeze in 1911; very soon, his interpretations were challenged, tested, and changed. Some creationists, however, have fixed upon such early ideas, unfairly denigrating early paleoanthropologists and their descendants who have improved drastically upon early interpretations. A good discussion of Neanderthal pathology has been summarized by Erik Trinkaus (1978) and Trinkaus and Howells (1979).

Since the diseased La Chapelle aux Saints skeleton was atypical, it should be obvious that an appeal to disease cannot be used to explain away all the clear differences between healthy Neandertals and modern humans. Some creationists, however, seem to reject the idea that any of the Neanderthals were healthy, claiming instead that Neanderthal features are simply the result of certain afflictions in ordinary humans. One of the clearest expositions of this view was made in 1978 by Rush K. Acton, an orthopedic surgeon. His Impact Series article for the Institute for Creation Research, entitled "Bone Disease Simulating Ancient Age in 'Pre-Human' Fossils," goes into some detail on disease and Neanderthals and therefore warrants a response.

Overall, Acton's article is misleading. Since he had no apparent first-hand experience with the data, his medical credentials end up contributing little to his analyses of positional and locomotor behavior of fossil forms. Some of his comments are true, some false, and some vague. Together, they do not support his conclusion: "Most examples of the 'fossil men' can best be explained as variant forms of man or ape with an occasional example of outright fraud." Let us, however, look at his main points and respond with scientific counterpoints.
Need I say, this is another great read.

In the spirit of being fair and balanced, however much one must cater to the whims and myths of creationism, here are some links to the creationist point of view if one has the time or care to so read. Since I quoted three experts on evolution, here are three "experts" on creationism:
  1. Evolution is a Myth, a could not find a profile link to this web's author or what his credentials might be, but there you are.
  2. Creation Evidence and Evolution Myths by Matthew McGee. His credentials from his web site: "I am not a pastor, nor do I have any formal theology degrees. My only degree is in engineering, and I have a full time job in that field. I study the Bible to see what God's Word says, and I do not adhere to any denomination. I take the word of no man when it comes to doctrine. That is not to say that I do not listen to other teachers, for certainly I have benefited greatly from the help of many fine Bible teachers, and I still do. I simply mean that I always check the scriptures to see how any preacher's or teacher's statements line up with God's Word. If it does not square with scripture, forget about it. I would hope that others would do the same with my writings."
  3. The Evolution Myth, by Pastor Tim. His credentials from his web site: Couldn't find any.
Looking at this sad list of people who don't even believe a text book could teach them anything, I decided to look for creationist sites that at least have some type of college degree. Here are the results of this search:
  1. Center for Scientific Creation, by Walt Brown received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He has taught college courses in physics, mathematics, and computer science. Brown is a retired full colonel (Air Force), West Point graduate, and former Army ranger and paratrooper. Assignments during his 21 years in the military included: Director of Benet Research, Development, and Engineering Laboratories in Albany, New York; tenured associate professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and Chief of Science and Technology Studies at the Air War College. For much of his life, Walt Brown was an evolutionist, but after many years of study, he became convinced of the scientific validity of creation and a global flood. Since retiring from the military in 1980, Dr. Brown has been the Director of the Center for Scientific Creation and has worked full time in research, writing, and speaking on origins.
  2. Missouri Association for Creation, by the Missouri Association for Creation (M.A.C.), founded in 1972 by two graduate students at the University of Missouri in Columbia. These students felt a need to establish a forum from which they could critically examine the scientific evidence as it pertains to the origin of the Cosmos in general and living organisms in particular. As the name chosen for the organization suggests, they were convinced on the basis of their own study that a careful consideration of the scientific evidence would overwhelmingly favor a creation model over against an evolutionary model of origins. They found that a critical evaluation of the scientific evidence for both models of origins, creation and evolution, was rarely attempted in the science classroom or in any instructional materials then in use. To satisfy their own curiosity and enthusiasm they met monthly with other interested students, faculty, and members of the local community to hear invited speakers and hold discussions and debates.
  3. True.Origin Archive, where you can find many links to many "facts."
I feel dirty. :D

Of course, the whole argument boils down to one question overall: Where did life come from? And being as science has yet to provide an answer (although there has been much discovered lately about its origins in recent years; see here, here, or here), the fundie always will revert to needing a god, or gods, to have accomplished this feat. The fault with this premise, though, is that if all the other tales in the bible don't hold up under scrutiny (which is really just a by-product of the search for truth and not the true purpose of scientific inquiry), why would this one still be held up as necessary? It isn't. It is simple default thinking which doesn't allow for a true curiosity of discovery.

The purpose of science isn't to disprove god, despite claims to the contrary. It is simply to understand and find answers in a methodological, reasoned way. And if the myths of the past don't hold up under the facts and truths discovered, only two options are left:
  1. Revise your understanding of these faith-based books, or
  2. Remain purposefully ignorant despite reality.
The origins of life is a mystery to be solved, not a myth to be upheld. It's as simple as that...

To finish reading the article that inspired this post, click here.

Sorry this got so long. I will try to master the art of brevity at some point next year... well, I'll try anyway. Thoughts? Comments?