Friday, September 30, 2005

Security Silliness

While I'm posting stuff others have already posted, I think you should read this:

90% True

It speaks for itself.

Funny Scientists

I found this at the Lehigh University Department of Biological Sciences site:

Department Position on Evolution and "Intelligent Design"
The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function. This commitment carries with it unwavering support for academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also demands the utmost respect for the scientific method, integrity in the conduct of research, and recognition that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypothesis testing, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others.
The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of “intelligent design.” While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.

How sad for this man that his own co-workers don't like him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Prayers to the Unknown.

I found these on Panda's Thumb.


Our Intelligent Designer,
Who art in the unspecified-good-place,
Unknown be Thy name.
Thy flagella spin, Thy mousetraps snap,
On Earth, as it is in the
Give us each day our unchecked apologetic.
And forgive us our invidious comparisons,
As we smite those iniquitous DarwinistsWith rhetoric.
And lead us not into encounters with people
Who ask us to state our theory,
But deliver us from biologists
Who know what we’re up to.
For Thine is the irreducible complexity,
And the wiggly parts of bacterial bottoms,
And the inapplicable theorems,
Now and forever.



Our Flying Spaghetti Monster,
Who art in orbit around Ramen 324,
Hallowed be thy Noodly Appendage.
Thy Pasta al dente, They Sauce be done,
On earth as it is on dishes.
Give us this day our daily meatball,
And forgive us our diets,
As we forgive those who eat fried chicken.
And lead us not into starvation,
But deliver us from tofu.
For thine is the Meatballs,
And the Pasta,
And the Sauce,
Now and forever.



From the Book of Pasta: Chapter 23

1) The Flying Spaghetti Monster is my buddy; I shall not starve.
2) He maketh me to lie in green parsley: He leadeth me beside marinara.
3) He filleth my stomach: He leadeth me in the paths of satire for entertainment’s sake.
4) Yea, though I walk through the world of the low-carb craze, I will fear no diet: for thou art with me; thy noodly appendage it comforts me.
5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of Parmesan: thou annointest my salad with oil; my beer foameth over.
6) Surely meatballs and garlic will follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of good food forever; RAmen.


And now for one I had forgotten about. I know. I know. I should be ashamed. Shhhhhhhhhhh.

The Agnostic's Prayer
(Roger Zelazny, Creatures of Light and Darkness, © 1969)

Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.


Man, those are fun.

Random Thought

I don't care what anybody says. Flibbertygibbet is a fun word to say.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Fathers and Heroes

My father was my first hero. I know that’s not all that unusual, but it’s important to me for obvious reasons. What is a little more unusual is that he’s still one of my heroes, and he has never once stopped being one. I’ve added others along the way, people like Robert Heinlein, Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer, who exemplify what I want to be like. But Dad has always been first and foremost.

Dad was instrumental in making me who I am today. He gave me the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given, or heard given to anyone else: “Everything has consequences, good and bad. If the results are worth the consequences, then do it. If not, then don’t.” I doubt those are his exact words, but they’re close enough. And they may seem self-evident now, but to a teenager who was struggling with trying to be an adult, they were words to live by, and they still are. This advice underlies my entire philosophy of life, and it was just something Dad tossed off one day. But, boy, did it strike a chord with me.

Incidentally, he also gave me the best piece of “college advice” I’ve ever heard: “I don’t want anybody falling out of a window drunk. I don’t want anyone coming up HIV positive. Other than that, you’re on your own.”

Heck, every hobby I have is either directly or indirectly linked to something my Dad did with me. He introduced me to comic books (Superman movies and BSG comics), science fiction (Star Wars and Doctor Who), gaming (River Raider and Kaboom!), fantasy (Shannara and Dragonlance), good music (The Moody Blues and Kansas), and chess. I think we discovered anime (Akira and Nausicaa) together, but I may be mistaken.

Through the years, Dad taught me to not judge people by what they are, just who they are. By example, he showed me what a good work ethic was, and that rules existed for a reason, and should be enforced for those reasons. He also showed me that there were times when the rules should be broken. (I’ll never forget the time he snuck me into the observation room for my first look at my baby sister.) He encouraged me in thinking for myself, and being self-reliant. I watched him cry over the loss of his grandfather, and because of that, I realized that all the macho male bullshit that is so prevalent in America is just that, bullshit. He’s always wanted me to be my own person, and I think I am, mostly because of him. He always gave me his best when I was growing up, and I benefited from that more than I will ever know. I love him more than I will ever be able to express. I'm sure he's made some mistakes along the way (although I'm hard-pressed to think of one at the moment), but it doesn't matter. He is my only model for what a good father should be, and he makes me want to be the same way with kids of my own someday.

That’s what’s so frustrating about my current situation. My wife and I are having some technical difficulties in the parenthood department, and I get so depressed at times that I can barely stand it. It doesn’t help that most of the people my age around me, friends and strangers alike, are having kids. I feel an ache in my heart every time I hear that yet another person is going to be a dad, while I keep waiting and waiting.

What’s worse is that my wife wanted to start trying to have children years ago, and I said no. She pushed every emotional button I had, and I said no anyway. It hurt me to the core of my being to do it, because the part of me that wanted to be like Dad was jumping up and down in agreement. But the part of me that IS like Dad knew that I wasn’t ready to give a child my best effort yet. If my wife had gotten pregnant unexpectedly, then I would have welcomed it wholeheartedly, and done my best. But, given the choice, I had to wait. I wanted a better financial situation, I wanted better living conditions, I wanted a stronger relationship with my wife and I wanted to grow up a little more. I had a plethora of reasons to wait, and only one reason to go ahead. And the fact that L. wanted a baby RIGHT NOW just wasn’t enough for me to justify giving my (potential) children less than my best.

Then, a little over three years ago, I finally had everything I wanted, except better living conditions. So, I made a deal with L. that if we could buy a house, we could start working on a family. My wife, being the amazing woman she is, then went out and found a way for us to buy a house. All-righty! Children, here we come! L. went off birth control and we anxiously anticipated our coming parenthood.

Time passed, and although we had a few near misses, we’re still not parents. Then two of our friends get pregnant. I’ve got to say, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was hard as hell for me to be happy for them, because here I am, having worked hard to get ready to have kids, and then have some trouble having them, and here they are, swanning through life with their “If you wait until you can afford it, you’ll never do it” attitude, having their first easily. It was a bitter pill, but I kept telling myself that Mother Nature’s funny like that. My time would come.

It was about this time that one of those friends tried to tell my wife that I was resistant to having kids because I didn’t want to change my lifestyle. That I was comfortable and didn’t want kids to come along and mess things up for me. I must admit, I was pissed. I had what I thought were very good reasons for doing things the way I had, and here is my friend, who is supposed to know me so well, saying that I didn’t even want children! But, I tried to take it as constructive criticism, so I took what he said and I looked at it from every angle, poked it with sticks, and then blew it up so that I could look at it from the inside. And I realized something.

He was full of shit.

I have never in my life NOT wanted children. I have looked forward to having kids since I met my wife. Met her, not married her. I want children, and I definitely want L. to be their mother. I ache inside, waiting for this to happen. So, how could this friend of mine be so off base about me? To this day, I don’t know.

But I also know that even though L. tried to use emotional judo on me right after we got married, I was right in waiting. Hell, I didn’t even know I had an emotional disorder back then. I can’t even imagine what my kids would have been like if I’d jumped in the parent pool right after I got married. But, hurt as much as it did, I did hold out, and I am immensely glad that I did. L. finally came around, too. She looks back at where we were and shudders at how badly things could have gone. She’s grown up, I’ve grown up and we’ve grown together in ways that would never have happened if we hadn’t waited. I don’t regret it one minute.

But L.’s attempts at emotional judo did make me ponder some things pretty hard, and I’ve come to a realization, about life in general, not just having children.

If someone says, “We have to have a baby before I’m thirty because…”, then they are pushing an agenda. It may not be a bad agenda, but it’s an agenda. This applies to “You should buy a house before you’re 25.” It applies to “We have to do a bike tour across Europe before summer ends.” These are ultimatums. I know that it probably doesn’t feel that way, and L. will feel bad when she sees that I’ve put it this way, but saying, “I want to have a baby before I’m thirty.” is an ultimatum. It’s really saying, “You have until this date to come around to my way of thinking, or else.”

Now, I know that there are doctors that say that pregnancy after thirty is an at-risk pregnancy. I also know that there are other doctors that say thirty-five. And there are still other doctors that help post-menopausal fifty-somethings get pregnant and have children. Doctors are experts, but they are not infallible. There are no magic numbers. There are no definitive cut-off dates. If you get pregnant when you’re twenty-nine and a half, are you at risk? How about thirty and a half? Right, every case is a different case, and needs to be treated accordingly.

Guess where I got that idea from.

That’s right. My father. So, as much as it pains me to watch those around me getting the things I want so badly, I am patient. Everything comes about in its own time. I can be content in knowing that I have done the best I can for myself, my wife, and my future family. That’s what a good father does. I can’t say that from an actual father’s viewpoint yet, but I can say it from an appreciative son’s perspective. And in time, I will be able to say it from both.

Thanks, Dad.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Evil Atheist Conspiracy

I have now tried two different times to join the Evil Atheist Conspiracy and it just won't let me. I'm beginning to think there's a conspiracy to keep me out. Damned Evil Atheists.

(BTW, their website isn't broken, just evil. You'll see.)

Random Thought

You can't scientifically study the sound of one hand clapping.

Holy Confused Holidays, Batman!

Halloween is my Christmas.

And I don't mean that I like Halloween more than Christmas. I mean that I literally get the two confused when I'm talking about them to other people. I will switch the words around in the middle of a conversation. It's weird. I'm sure Freud would have had a field day with it.

I just love Halloween. The ability to become someone else is appealing to me, and I get into my characters every year. Note, I said characters, not costumes. I have backstory on every costume I've worn since I stopped wearing store-bought plastic ones. But I must say that the characters/costumes are secondary.

I just love scaring the bejeezus out of people!

It's getting kinda weird, actually. Our front yard has become an October attraction. I know this isn't unheard of, but I live in a small town in what amounts to suburbia. But every year, I manage to turn our street into a fog-laden creepfest. And none of my neighbors decorate anywhere near as much as I do. I was kind of hoping that I'd get some competition going, you know, like some people do at Christmas with the lights and such, but so far, no dice. It's depressing. But it does a heart good to see two fog machines going full blast all night long, causing a fog halo around street lamps for a quarter mile in every direction. This year, I'm adding a fog chiller, though, so we'll get the creepy low-lying fog effect, but may not actually fog up the neighborhood. We'll see.

What I would really like to do is rent some space somewhere and run a real haunted house. For some strange reason, my wife won't let me let strangers into our house every year so that I can scare them. What's up with that? Anyway, I could charge just enough admission to cover costs. I'd work for free, and shanghai my friends.....ummm.....I mean, uh, convince my loved ones to do it with me....yeah.

I'm not sure where this obsession with being scary comes from, though. I can remember my mom and dad taking great delight in surprising (read: scaring) each other when I was younger, but that was back when they still acted like they liked each other. Maybe that's where it comes from, though. I know I get more pleasure out of scaring my wife than I do scaring anyone else, even if I do stalk my co-workers at two in the morning like a hunter stalks his prey. That's on night shifts, of course, not me hiding in the bushes near their houses, or anything weird. I like to keep my weirdness confined to my own house, thanks.

Heck, I like being scary so much that I almost answered the door with a battle axe when some religious kook knocked yesterday. I had my line all planned out. "What is it? I'm getting ready to sacrific a virgin in here!" Alas, I chickened out, mostly from fear of having the law called on me.

Speaking of the law, we had a cop come watch our Halloween display last year from a neighbor's porch for hours. At the time, I thought he was looking for a reason to shut us down, maybe thinking we were violating some city ordinance or something. But he never did, so I'm beginning to think he was just watching the show. It'll be interesting to see if he comes back this year or not. And if we get a little visit before Halloween weekend, so the cops can chat with us.

Anywho, I'll definitely have pictures up from this year's display. We try to make it a little better every year. Eventually, I want to have an integrated, creepy, haunted house feel, instead of just having different little displays. That's why I bought a house with gray siding and black shutters in the first place, after all. It's the perfect color for a suburban haunted house, don't you think?

See you at the creepshow.

Every Breath You Take.....

I added a site meter to the site. You can see it over on the right, there. Just thought you should know that now I can track when you visit and how long you stay. Hehe. This should be interesting.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Confession Is Good For The Non-Existant Soul.

My grandmother recently invited herself to stay in my home some time in the near future. I don't particularly mind, since I haven't seen her or my grandfather in quite some time. It will be nice to catch up and show her around my house, since she has never been here before.

So my wife asked me what we needed to hide and put away before she comes, and I decided not to hide anything at all. I didn't ask her to come here, she invited herself, even if she did leave it up to me just when she comes to visit. So I figure that if she sees something she doesn't like, well, I didn't push it on her. It's my home, after all.

But this got me to thinking about the things about me, my wife and my life in general that my grandmother probably doesn't want to know about me. Here's my list, so far.

1. Let's start with the big one. I'm not a Christian. I don't believe in any deity, much less Yahweh. I am, to use the fancy jargon, an agnostic nontheist. I'm pretty sure there's no divine father figure in the sky watching over my shoulder. But if you can give me some evidence, I'll look at it. Considering how rabidly Christian my grandmother has been her whole life (once accusing me of living a sinful life because I had a mullett), I doubt she would appreciate my rationalistic, materialistic world-view. Much else, although not everything, on this list flows from this.

2. I had sex before I was married. I even enjoyed the last two years of my pre-marital sex life. Incidentally, this coincides with the time I met my wife. I am unabashed about this. I defy all the bullshit studies that say pre-marital sex can ruin a marriage. I defy all the bullshit studies that say that living together before marriage leads to shorter marriages. The friends of mine that were having sex before marriage and did live together pre-marriage are all still married, happily so, and have strong relationships with their spouses. From my own anecdotal evidence, it's the psychos who wait, or require a promise of marriage before putting out that are screwed up in the head. Sex predates religion by millenia, people. Get over the hangups and enjoy yourselves.

3. My favorite artist is
Luis Royo, who does some seriously twisted art, most of it erotic, much of it nudes. My wife likes him, too, although probably not as much as I do. Her twisty-ness goes less towards the sci-fi and more towards the fantasy, so she tends to like the scary-fairy stuff. Which is why we have gothy fairies up in the hallway upstairs. I doubt my grandmother will appreciate those very much.

4. Speaking of gothiness, I am, essentially, bipolar (
cyclothymic, to be exact). Thus, I regularly go through bouts of the doldrums, to put it mildly. This lends itself to gothiness in general, although I don't live the lifestyle. I just like some of the styles. I appreciate the existentialism implicit in goth, even if I don't go so far as to be nihilistic. Life can suck, but it can have great joy, as well. Embrace both, I always say. This is something that my grandmother will probably never understand. The basic philosophy statement she could grasp, but I doubt she'd ever understand that, to get through my life, sometimes I have to enjoy being depressed. Laugh, cry or die. She is one of those people that can never, ever have a family member not jumping for joy in her presence, except when she is crying herself. Then it's okay.

5. Which brings me to my next point. I don't like spending holidays with my grandmother and the rest of the family. My immediate family is okay, but beyond that, everyone manages to either turn Christmas into a celebration of death or run away from said celebration. It's embarassing to watch a grown woman cry over the decade-old death of her mother. I understand that you miss her. We all do. But we move on. What's worse, though, is the others. They are either embarassed by it all, like my father, who sits in the TV room out back of the house and smokes while everyone else is "celebrating". Or else they get caught up in the heat of the moment and start crying, wailing and gnashing teeth right along with my grandmother. I have never seen a group of Christians cry at Christmas like my father's family. I grew up with a really twisted idea about Christmas because of this. While the average American household was celebrating Christ's birth, my grandmother (and her familial cronies) were crying because he died on the Cross for our sins. Hey, goobers! That's EASTER! We have a whole different holiday for that. But you know what, I've always suspected that there's a bit of showmanship involved here, because I don't ever remember her actually breaking down on Easter, and crying over Jesus' crucifixion. Of course, there wasn't anywhere near as big an audience at Easter when I was kid, either.

What's worse is the big fakers who stand there and look all solemn, because they don't want to look embarassed in front of everyone and show their disloyalty to the Dona. I don't know who's will they're trying to keep themselves in, because my grandparents don't have enough money to justify this behavior. Maybe they've just bought into the whole die Familie uber älles thing. I don't know. To me, my family is the one group of people I am associated with which I had no control over or choice of. I know there's a strong streak of "family loyalty" that runs through us hillbillies, but I guess it never took that strongly with me.

My personal favorite bit of loathsomeness is my father's brother. He's a thug, at best, and a hypocritical, insecure, 40-something school-yard bully at worst.

6. I'm a registered Democrat, although I would rather be an Independent. The Democrats are marginally less distasteful to me because they at least throw the little guy a bone every now and then to protect their power base. But I believe that George W. Bush is one of the greatests evils of the 21st century, and it's only five years old. That's saying a lot. My grandmother is, of course, staunchly conservative Republican.

7. I think Mousy (a distant family member, possibly my father's cousin, although I'm not sure) deserved to have his butt thrown in jail for life after he killed his girlfriend with a large-calibre pistol. He did it. He admitted to doing it. He deserves to be in jail, if not worse. I don't know how true it is, but I have heard through the grapevine that she begged for her life before he did it. As far as I am concerned, he doesn't deserve forgiveness. Ever. My grandmother disagrees. By this point, she has almost convinced herself that he didn't even do it, much less deserve to still be in prison for it.

8. And finally, I have a hard time appreciating the help my grandmother gave me when I was in high school and college. I can't say that I wouldn't be where I am now without her, but she sure made it easier for me along the way. But I have a hard time appreciating it all, because I feel as if there were invisible threads tied to it all. Not to mention the unspoken resentment it caused in my cousins, aunts and uncles. For a while, I was my grandmother's favorite. And it showed. I took ruthless advantage of that, in my own idiotic teenage way. But my grandmother has built up an invisible web of unspoken obligations and guilty feelings throughout my father's family. I got sick of it a long time ago, and walked away. That's why I haven't been to her house in years, and why I don't like to visit when she comes to this state. I'm sure she would say that all those things were just gifts, or at least loans. But as money-centric as she can be at times, I doubt she'd accept payment for the help she gave. That makes me even more sure that there were invisible costs. I don't like having debts that I will never be able to pay off, and those "invisible" ones are the worst.
Needless to say, most of these things would hurt my grandmother's feelings pretty severely if she knew I felt this way. It would hurt a lot of the rest of the family, as well. I make them out to be pretty bad in this post, and in fairness, I should point out that they all have their good sides. They all have their "good Christian values" sides. And some of the problems I stated above are "vices of your virtues" kinds of issues. But I can't help it. That's how I feel. That's why I've stayed away from the rest of the family for so long, because I feel this way. Being around them literally makes my teeth and jaws ache after a while, because I grind my teeth to keep from saying something that would hurt their feelings or cause a ruckus. I can't be myself around them. I haven't been able to do so since I was a teenager. I saw which way the wind was blowing when I was about to enter college and I was being questioned by my uncle (mentioned above) about what I wanted to do. I said something to the effect that I would eventually like to get into genetics. His response: "Why? So you can build the perfect man?" My reply: "No. More like trying to build the perfect tomato." I was serious. He thought I was joking. That's pretty typical, all told.

At the end of the day, what it boils down to is that I just don't miss my father's family that much. There's not enough connection there for me to be eager to see them. And that includes my grandmother. Maybe it's wrong of me to feel this way, but I can't help but do so. I tried to be the good grandson, and it just didn't work. So, I guess I'll have to be the real grandson, and hope she accepts me for who I am.

I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Anything Can Be Taken Too Far.

I am, at heart, a skeptic. Like Mulder, I want to believe, but like Scully, I just have to see it to believe it. Ultimately, (to jump shows) I'm like Gil Grissom. I go where the evidence leads me.

That means that I live in a world of invisible forces (gravity, for example) but those forces obey certain fairly well sussed out rules. If I drop my pencil, and there are no elaborate measures in place to affect it, it's gonna drop and hit the floor. (Then, it will probably roll under something that's really inconvenient to move so that I have trouble getting my pencil back, but that's a different issue entirely.)

I don't live in a world where some Zeus-like guy with a beard can stop the world for a few days so his precious worshippers can fight their battle all at once. Why don't I live in that world? Because I'm reasonably sure that that's impossible. I've never seen evidence of anything "supernatural" that couldn't be explained by an application of those aforementioned invisible forces. So, being a skeptic, that means that until I see something that violates the established rules of phyics, I'm gonna stay a skeptic.

But, Cor, you say, there are no "rules of phyics"! The universe doesn't have rules written down somewhere. How can you talk about there being rules when we can never really say for sure that there's not something somewhere that, naturally, violates what we think of as the "rules of phyics"?

Simple. I ignore the fact that the Theory of Gravity may be violated some day.

That's right. I ignore it. On a macroscopic, real world, keep-me-in-my-chair level, I can reasonably say that the Theory of Gravity is a "rule". After all, if it didn't hold true, then the Earth would either plunge into the Sun or wander off into interstellar space. Since that hasn't happened yet, I can be reasonably assured that it's not going to happen tomorrow.

Now, this applies to all the scientific "rules" out there. Avogadro's Law? Falsifiable, and therefore subject to someday failing. We may someday find a gas that doesn't have the same number of molecules per a given volumen as hydrogen, but we haven't yet. And we probably never will. If we do, it probably won't be normal matter anyway, so the same rules wouldn't apply. The Moon has yet to crash into my house. It probably will stay in the sky tonight, as well.

Does that mean that there is zero chance of it happening? Of course not. We don't live in a deterministic universe (I think....the jury's still out about that one), so there's always a chance for something to happen. As Douglas Adams once wrote (in Hitchhicker's, of course) "Nothing is impossible, just highly improbable." Does that mean that I'm going to walk around doing a Chicken Little act? No.

So, to all you skeptics out there who are going overboard with the "I'm a skeptic so I don't accept the validity of any statement without massive qualifiers" act, STOP IT. I'm not an intellectual cripple. I understand that we can only give conditional and temporary agreement to any scientific theory, law, rule, whathaveyou, because it may some day be falsified. But I refuse to bog my conversations down with massive strings of qualifiers when they aren't necessary. If we're discussing the nature of science itself, then yes, by all means, load up the qualifiers. It doesn't hurt to be reminded now and again. But when I'm discussing something as self-evident as the continuance of gravity, then don't presume to tell me that the Theory of Gravity is falsifiable, and therefore we can't accept it at face value. The last time I checked, I don't float to work. I have to move against the forces pulling me towards the surface of the Earth.

This extends to all the "rules of physics" and all the scientific theories (of which there aren't really that many) currently extant. When we talk about the Theory of Evolution, I realize that someday it may be disproved (Creationist Alert: No quote-mining, you vultures) but I doubt it. If it is, I'd love to see the evidence, because that would have to be a literal mountain of evidence. But I can sleep at night, snug and warm in my bed, knowing that I can be reasonably sure that I won't float out of it at night and that each generation is a bit different from the last, driving species change, etc. etc. etc.

I had this discussion with a friend of mine recently, and he brought up "spontaneous generation" as being just as self-evident to the people who subscribed to it as evolution is to us. He said that to them, life from decaying matter was self-evident, until it was disproven. And that's a good point. To us, the Theories of Gravity and Evolution seem pretty constant, with only minor modifications occuring as we refine our data. And I freely admit that we could be way off-base. I might just float right out of this chair. We may find some species that has Lamarckian heredity. But I doubt it.

And here's why: "spontaneous generation" was arrived at by laziness. That's right. Aristotle was a lazy old cuss on this issue. He never checked out any of his claims. He just observed the world, and came up with a hypothesis, which he never tested. At least I can't find where he performed any tests. (If someone can correct me, I'd like to see it.) So, he put forward as a "scientific theory" something that had very little evidence to support it, was not predictive and had never been tested. So, my response to my friend is that "spontaneous generation" may have been self-evident to the people who believed it, but so is astrology. That doesn't mean that either of them are backed up by real evidence. Quite the contrary, in fact.

And that's the cool thing about science. As we progressed in our testing ability, so too does our understanding of the world progress. Once spontaneous generation had the scientific method applied to it, it folded like a house of cards. Astrology does, too. (If only we could stamp it out like spontaneous generation!) That's a far cry from Gravity or Evolution. The more rigorously we test and search for evidence to falsify them, the more rock-solid they become, because you just can't realistically knock 'em down.

So, all you skeptic posers out there, drop the sanctimonious claptrap "in the name of accuracy". If I put my hand on my desk, I can be reasonably sure it's not gonna pass through without meeting resistance. h-bar's value just won't allow it.

Get over it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Why, Oh, Why?

I've been thinking about this blog a lot lately. I've been wondering why I wanted to put these things, my thoughts and feelings, down in a venue that was so easily accessible to the world. I suppose that there's a bit of exhibitionist in me, and I suspect that it's a bit stronger than I had ever thought, because I truly love writing for this journal. I get a massive kick out of knowing that you are reading my words right this instant. Oh, I know that not many people even look at this site. I'd be surprised if I get five hits a day. But I don't care. I think it's awesome that my friends and family can get this glimpse into my head that they otherwise wouldn't have.

And it is a glimpse into my head, have no doubt. I find that I am more and more open the more I write here. I know that's not any revelation to anyone. Writing's always been a way to release pent-up feelings and creativity. I just never thought that writing a blog would be this liberating. I can take as much time as I need to get my meaning as clear as possible. I can even go back and edit it if I realize that it's not as clear as I thought it was. Mostly, though, it gives a false sense of anonymity, and that's the really liberating thing about it. I mean, I know my friends and (presumably) my family will read this one day, if not today. It's pretty much a given that they'll stumble across it eventually. But I can sit here at my keyboard at four in the morning and say what I really mean, without having to immediately justify myself to anyone.

True, I am responsible for what I say here, and someday I will have to explain myself to someone somewhere. The nature of what I write about is too...emotionally laden...for me to not have an accounting some time. I'd love to write something as insightful as the stuff over at or as hard-hitting as Randi's weekly Commentary, but I'm just not "connected" enough for that. All I can do is respond to the stimuli of my life: family, friends, enemies, co-workers, television, radio, the Internet, etc. etc. etc. So, basically, this blog is about my life and all the people in it. And since I have something to say, I guess I made it public so that those people would know what I had to say. Seems simple enough, right? So, why write about it? Well, blogging has proliferated to the point that you can find blogs about, literally, anything. But they started out as, essentially, online diaries, and I suppose that's what Revolvo Inritus is. The difference is that I REALLY want certain people to read it.

You see, I started this for a plethora of reasons, but mostly I wanted to say things that I couldn't manage to say to people's faces, mostly because they were too emotionally charged to say calmly. I'm pretty sure there wasn't much cowardice involved, but there was a smidge here and there. But there was also a huge helping of self-knowledge. I get worked up about just about everything. It's the nature of the beast, I suppose. I feel passionate about a lot of things, and controlling my passions has never been my strong suit. That can be an advantage, but it's also very much a disadvantage at times. So, here is my blog, where I can say what I think needs saying without that nagging little voice (i.e. my conscience) telling me that I'm going too far. After all, you didn't have to read this article. You don't have to read anything I put on this blog. It's completely voluntary.

However, I will say things that are offensive. I will sound off about my idiot family and my stupid friends. I will talk about that no-good sonuvabitch currently running the Presidency and this country into the ground. But, and here's the kicker, I will also tell you about my goofs and screwups. I will admit my mistakes. I will say I'm sorry, when necessary, hard as that is for me.

That's fair, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism gets its own game!

You have to check this out:

Fly high to convert people to Pastafarianism. His Noodly Appendage is all-powerful!

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Healing Power of Children

It never ceases to amaze me how much spending time with little kids can improve my mood. I don't have children myself yet, but I've spent a lot of time with them my whole life. They never cease to bring a smile to my face. To those friends and family that trust me enough to let me spend time with their children, thank you. I love them, and you.

Friday, September 02, 2005

In Case You Hadn't Noticed, I'm A Little Upset

This says it all far better than I ever could.

I am so disgusted by what's going on in New Orleans. I know it doesn't take much to turn people into animals, and frankly, I can't blame them. The pressure those people are under is so extreme, not mention unheard of in the U.S., that what's happening is almost inevitable.

However, every scientist that ever took a look at the situation knew that this would happen some day. Every person with half a brain could figure out what the consequences would be.

And oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth! The nincomBush in Washington has angered me beyond words! But James Randi comes close to expressing how I feel. At least he starts to do so. I could rail on for a few more hours, to be honest.

See what Randi has to say here:

It never ceases to amaze me that God in His/Her/It's Infinite/Finite/Nonexistant Wisdom/Knowledge/Instinct "spares" something or someone at the expense of someone else. Think back to the December 26 tsunami. Star Jones, the big idiot, was ever so smugly talking about how "God blesses" because she had been in the region not a month before. Apparently Star Jones is one of God's little deity's pets. (You know, like teacher's pets, only infinitely more annoying.) Well, Miss Star got out ahead of the tsunami, so it only killed 160,000 other people!

And now this fiasco in Louisiana and Mississippi. Oooohhhhh, I am so angry at Bush and his ilk that I can't even begin to express myself accurately. I have held off for a couple of days, trying to calm down, and I just can't. I am nearly inarticulate over this. My wife keeps trying to calm me down, and it just doesn't get any better.

It's bad enough that this disaster has struck the Gulf Sates. It's worse that Bush gutted FEMA a while back. It's worse still that most of Louisiana's and Mississippi's National Guard units are in Iraq. But the straw that's breaking this camel's back is that the Shrub is using his patented, "Aw, shucks, I'm just a God-fearing, good ol' boy, dumb fuck everyman" routine to cover the fact that he has NO CLUE about how to handle this.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only problem with the people who voted for Bush getting what they deserve is that I'm gonna have to get it too.


"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain


Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu