Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I fought tooth and nail to get to you tonight, dear reader. You may not realize what goes on within the domain of a single-computer, dial-up household--after all, from what I hear, each family now has 2.5 computers, broadband up the ass, and a child for every MP3 player that needs programmed. Since not all of us are so blessed, this is how it goes here:

Me: Babe, I need to blog.
Rich: Uh-huh... Five more minutes...

[Thirty minutes later...]

Me: Babe, I need--
Rich: Yeah, I heard you, I'm just in the middle of looking up something for your birthday...
Me: Didn't you do that yesterday? And the day before? Honestly, how much are you spending?
Rich: Enough, but I need... You'll have to... Five more minutes...

[Thirty minutes later...]

Me: Babe, I--
Rich: Hey, I'm sure your millions of fans aren't that worried. You can blog tomorrow. It's just that--
Me: --wanted to know if you want some ice cream... Smarty...
Rich: Oh. Um, no thanks, I... Uh... Five--
Me: --more minutes, uh-huh... I'll just blog tomorrow... Again...
Rich: At least it's for your birthday present! [Big grin...]
Me: Lemme guess. For my birthday, I'll get to use the computer again? Oh, goodie!
So, in the interests of allowing a certain someone to get back to eBay to spoil me rotten just 21 short days after the gift orgy known as Christmas, I'll keep this brief. Granted, each of the following topics were to be much grander, much longer, and much more awe-inspiring with the intent of leaving you in a state of rapturous wonder at my wordy wisdom, but I digress safe and secure in the knowledge that I'm about to get more gifts, and you will be left wondering what that gift is... :D
Brief Topic Number One: God doesn't want his followers to have Christmas trees:
Jer 10:2-4: 2. Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen [...] 3. For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Brief Topic Number Two: Bathrooms have many nooks and crannies--and you don't want to be in most of them...
It also amazes me how people actually get paint all the way behind the toilet for uniform color on a wall. At this point I would upload pictures of the new black floor (which, if truth be told, is the result of a quasi-lost battle on my end), my hand-made wooden blinds custom colored to match the walls, and the spectacular end result, but blogger's pic feature seems to be down at the moment of this posting, so that'll have to wait. Trust me, however--it looks fabulous! Black floor and all...
Brief Topic Number Three: You can put too many chocolate chips into a cake.
Cake then collapses into a half-baked chocolate mush pile that your dog just loves to knock over the garbage for, and you end up buying a package of Oreo's to bring to the family get-together. Much is made over the effort you must have put into said Oreo's, and you grin and bear it, as that is what family is for. :) I have to say, I have the best family in the world, even if evil grandmother lied about bringing her traditional graham cracker pies. I think this is the first holiday EVER in which they were not present (the pies, not the evil grandmother...) Personally, I think she was just trying to think of a way to piss us all off, but none of us took the bait. It's nice to know she can bring so much joy to our family just by being a typical bitch when we refuse to play by her mind-game rules. (I think I feel a Tiny Tim moment coming on...) But I digress.
That'll have to do for now--a certain someone is saying he must check on an auction for the upcoming 3rd anniversary of my thirtieth birthday, so I'll leave you all with this:

Have a happy new year, have fun, and in the words of my awesome Uncle Scott: If you can't be good, be careful.

Ta ta for now, my friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Immorality of Creationism...

I know, I know, dear reader. You think me a slacker--a lazy, good-for-nothing blog-abandoning sloth. The truth is I've been so busy in the physical world my digital world has suffered, and I do apologize for that.

But as I sat down tonight--my first night of leisure in what seems an eternity--I read something so entirely disturbing I had to rip myself away from the leisurely pursuit of reading other blogs to post about it. Mind you, you may think it not a big deal and actually kind of a bore, but as it's my blog, I think my concerns take a bit more precedence than yours. ;)
I think it important to "know thine enemy," as it were, and after spending about two hours reading those blogs I generally enjoy and agree with (when it comes to blogs of opinion and not just daily life), I like to take some time to see what all the fundies are up in arms about. What's getting their goat lately, what's eating their cheese, what's taking the "fun" out of "fundamentalism," so to speak.

I stopped at one web site I hardly ever check on anymore, mostly because I find it's authors so totally warped and wrapped up in the dogma as to make the Pharisees of Jesus' time look like kittens who hugged too much.

Their latest "comment-getter" can be surmised as such: Teaching evolution causes people to kill people. Creationism and Genesis are the only things that can save us from ourselves. Which, to say the least, is about as dogmatic and simple-minded as it gets. I said as much (putting it as nicely as I could), but then I felt the need to come back here and say my own piece. I'm sure the author's will follow back here (and perhaps be a bit dismayed to find I'm a bit harder on them over here than I was over there) but such is life. After all, if I can't please everyone, I may as well blog about it, yes?

What really got my goat (if we are so inclined to beat a metaphor like the proverbial horse in need of an undertaker) was the following statement from the article to which they were "discussing":
The president of Creation Worldview Ministries says decades of teaching "evolution only" in public schools and universities is partly responsible for crimes such as the mass shooting earlier this week in Virginia.

Dr. Grady McMurtry [...] says, public schools and universities have taught the theory of evolution as fact, with no opposing viewpoints — and the result, he contends, is a lack of respect for human life.

Therefore, he asserts, people should not be surprised when mass shootings occur, such as the one on the Blacksburg university campus on Monday.
As you can tell, this article (and most likely this blog post by them) is a bit dated, but nonetheless speaks to the dangerous mindset of fundamentalism.

It's still a bunch of hogwash. Let me explain:

As I touched on in a few earlier posts (here, here, and here, just to name a few), teaching creationism as if it were a science, let alone pretending it's some semblance of a good argument, is one of the most immoral things fundamentalists have tried to do for years. Not that trying to claim humility and humbleness while claiming you are special enough to be worth the death of a god wasn't a bad enough irony-laden position, but now to actually try to spin your fairy tale as "science that will prevent murders"? It's like they are in a one-man race toward the bottom of what it means to be stupid while appearing to be smart--and failing miserably.

To begin with, evolution is not about us being "glorified animals." It is a theory (much like gravity and flight, which I'm sure will be the next bone of contention among fundamentalist circles) which explains, quite succinctly, adequately, and truthfully, about the diversity of life upon this, the third rock from the sun. It does not speak to humanities supposed "greatness," it does not dwell on our "superiority," and is not a driving philosophy to fill the empty hours when people who wish for something just a bit more than life itself say such boorish things as "Why am I here?" and "What is my purpose in life?" As if we all have the time to give you meaning and purpose. Get a life.

Second, if anything serves to drive down meaning and purpose (again, as if living life itself weren't wonderful enough), creationism teaches nothing more than that god was bored one day, just he and his other two supposed personalities in their timeless existence, and he decided to create mud that he could play with and bring to life. And not content just to play with that life, he pretended to kill one of his personalities for the sake of "buying back" the "souls" of his Ken and Barbie dolls so that he wouldn't have to place them in the trash compactor. Splendid. I feel full of fuzzy warms already. "You mean he loves me sooooo muuuuuuch that he'll burn me forever if I don't grovel at his feet and stroke his ego? Sign me up!" If that doesn't teach you that god thinks life is disposable, nothing will. He killed his kid (or, if you prefer, he allowed his son to commit suicide [how do the Catholics explain THAT one!]) for crying out loud! And we're supposed to think he holds our lives as sacred? Seriously?

Third: To teach that evolution is nothing more than a "guess" does a serious disservice to the science community, which has proven the usefulness of evolutionary sciences in the fields of biology and medicine to provide life-saving medications and treatments. Not only has evolutionary theory kept us thriving for the last hundred years (the turning point being the polio vaccine, in my opinion), it has actually allowed humanity to be a much greater moral species--it has allowed us, using our brains and our senses, to find new ways to help one another, to save one another, to make one another's lives better! Not just to survive, but to thrive! Where people use to just sit and pray and light candles, they can now be proactive and get medicine and therapy built on the very evolutionary sciences that fundamentalists are scoffing at! Where people use to blame god's wrath or anger, we can now prevent certain conditions, heal wounds, and even bring back from death those very same people that, just even fifty years ago, would have been proclaimed as having been "called home to heaven." And people thank god? Thank a scientist! Thank a doctor, a pharmacologist, a university professor, an inquisitive mind! Thank Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and a host of others disregarded, ridiculed, and sometimes banned and killed by the church for "witchcraft" and "blaspheme." These are the people, the pioneers, of today's life-saving medicines. (And if you think these forefathers to modern scientists are unrelated to this discussion, you are worse off than I even considered!)

When it comes right down to it, however, this is really a moot point, as science never has, and possibly never will, speak to the existence of imaginary beings outside of our realms of inquiry. Believe it or not, the purpose of science is not to "attack" Christianity any more than it's purpose is to prove that jelly is, in fact, butter. The purpose of science is to ask questions, provide answers, and then keep hammering and hammering and hammering at those answers. This is the very truth of the scientific method. To continually seek new data, see how it fits into what is previously known, and change what was thought to be known based on what is now known. Science is not static (much to the chagrin of many a fundie), as they are constantly revising and updating and finding new information. Every year, in fact, there are huge arguments within the scientific community as notions are challenged, ideas are placed on the table, new data is verified, tested, and re-examined by anyone who is anyone. It is because of this method, this very morally justifiable method, that most people are even around to argue the silliness of creationism as there are today. If not for the scientific method, 90 percent of us wouldn't be here today, including myself, because we all would have sat around, staring at each other, thinking god was angry and not being able to do anything about it except more staring and praying.

Believe what you wish--science ultimately doesn't care, mostly because what you believe has little to do with anything outside of your own head. But don't you dare claim that what you believe is justifiable as an alternative to facts. Because it isn't.

Ultimately, creationism (most fundamentalist positions, actually) is very self-serving and ultimately self-defeating. The more they try to "prove" creationism by cutting out everything that doesn't fit, and then claiming that left over 1 percent is "evidence," will eventually lead to (hopefully) the eye-opening reality check for the fairy tale that it is. What's truly sad is so many hold dogma and doctrine in much higher regard than their own world and lives, and so many of them (fundies) will continue to scream, stomp their feet, and demand that they, and only they, can have the answer because of an old Hebrew text told by word of mouth for thousands of years before finally being put on paper, during captivity by the Babylonian Empire, to be read for thousands more.

To summarize: To deny and prevent the use of the evolutionary sciences will harm humanity as a whole, not only knowledge-wise, but in the very scary realm of disease, pestilence, and death--a very immoral position which places humanity in jeopardy from future problems and issues relating to virus's, bacterium, and genetically destructive mutations. Therefore, if we reduce the ability of sciences to cure, prevent, or treat human causes of suffering over "theologically important" views, an immoral and deadly position has been staked. Ergo, to support evolutionary facts and discoveries, and opposing false sciences based on theological criteria, is the right and moral thing to do.

To quote a pretty well-known Latin proverb, "Unless what we do is useful, glory is vain." Indeed, creationism holds nothing useful, not even to Christians. It will only continue to erode the very "rock solid" foundation they claim to stand on. And while many modern Christians have indeed realized that science is not a threat to their belief (and in fact, many have revised their interpretations of scripture so that they are in fact quite complimentary), whenever something is viewed as "unchanging," it will always get left behind.

And until fundamentalists realize that evolutionary sciences aren't a life philosophy, and are in fact actual truths and laws, the sooner they can give up wasting time fighting it and spend more time loving their neighbors and worshiping their god(s). Anything more would be glory for glories sake, and vanity of the highest order. Anything less would be immoral.

Monday, December 8, 2008


A new year. A new president. A new dog. A new InDesign program.

Change is everywhere. In fact, there’s ninety-seven cents of it in my pocket at the moment. (I just checked.) Granted, not even enough to spend at the dollar store, but it is change, nonetheless.

For me, change begins every year the night of Thanksgiving. After stuffing ourselves full of food, I tend to go home and bring down all my holiday decorations from the attic (which, if truth be told, could also use a little change, but that’s a project for my father’s finely-honed wood-working skills when he finally retires...)

As I figure out what lights work (and don’t work), hang wreaths, and remind myself of all those little things that need done before the family comes over to eradicate the hours spent cleaning my home, I remember the seasons past as I unwrap my great-grandmothers’ ornaments (sans glitter); my aunt Ruth’s hand-crocheted elves (Freddy Kruger-esque); my mothers’ tea set that she purchased the year I was born, decorated with holly leaves and berries and the year "1976" in festive, red lettering (Ahh, the seventies...). My acquisition of these items required change on their part, whether simple changes in decorating taste or something more life-altering, such as a move or a death...

Any type of change creates a past. (Honestly? Puberty creates a past, but I digress...) We can only embrace change if we are willing to say good-bye to something else (and not in a Target sort of way: "Hello, Good-buy, Hello, Good-buy!"), and that isn’t always easy. Whether it be to finally retire that T-shirt from high school, or toss the gaudy wreath my mother-in-law gave me five years ago ("Rich, did you not hear me tell her 'No pink!?' "), or even something as simple as going right instead of left on your way home (I knew I should have taken that left turn in Albuquerque...), change IS good, even if we don’t think it at the time...

As I look forward to the New Year, and the many changes in store both personally and professionally ("What do you mean, we’re upgrading to Quark Five—thousand...?"), I can honestly say while I don’t expect all change to be good or easy, I do expect all change to bring with it memories, a past, and a lifetime I shall never regret living. After all, what good is living life if we never expect to learn or change anything about ourselves? Our homes? Our lives?

As we all gear up for the holidays and the New Year, I want to wish all of you a year filled with wonderful things, and a past filled with wonderful memories. I know none of us can promise that everything that happens will be good, or even best, but inevitably something, somewhere in our lives, will change. And I hope that change brings personal growth, happiness, and all the best that humanity has to give...

Happy holidays, everyone!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

You Know How It Is...

... when you read a blog, then follow a link... then follow another link, read something else, click here, click there...

And you end up coming across something like this:

It took me about five minutes to stop laughing!

Now think about it--given the gihoondous number of "land animals" we know of, do you honestly think that they all fit on Noah's wooden flotation device? Never minding the fact that they must have been expert Animal Containment Specialists™ (ACS's), that long-lost ancient art so revered in biblical times... I mean, Noah lived to be what--600 years old? Plenty of time to figure out the best way to stack earth worms on turkeys on hippos on T-rex's... Not to mention the magic behind keeping them from eating one another!

Or perhaps, due to national security concerns at the time, Noah was only allowed dinosaurs that could fit in a 3-ounce bottle as a carry-on? That would certainly limit the "kinds" and sizes of dinosaur Noah could rescue from extinction! Lord knows I only get my travel-size dino's at Target--usually only when on sale (economic crisis and all...). Or maybe Noah hid them in cans of shaving cream á la Jurassic Park? Perhaps Ken Ham has some of those on display at the Creation "Museum," eh? I imagine that sign would read something like:

"Even more reasonably-sized 'kinds' of dinosaur
traveled with Noah in these Babylonian aluminum
barrels labeled 'Gillette,' which Bible archaeologists
have determined is Hebrew for Stego-pony-saurus."

Did you catch that on the sign? "Reasonably small"? One pictures Noah standing there with a tape measure next to one of those "You must be THIS SHORT to ride this ride" signs, pointing at it angrily while staring up at the rather large Brachiosaurus and saying, "Aren't there any of you more reasonably sized? This isn't the QE 2, ya know!"

Ah, creationists... Well, you know how it is...