Posts Tagged idiocy

Slicing and Dicing: Responding to a Reader’s Comment

This started out as a reply to a recent comment on an older post of mine, but the commenting system told me it was too long, so I figured I’d address it out here.

In the original post, I was mocking an article the WorldNutDaily had published where they tried to prove “scientifically” that the jews were ruining the world. From the original article:

University of Wisconsin geologists analyzed the chemical composition of individual rings that formed the stalagmite growing up from the floor of the Soreq Cave near Jerusalem between 200 B.C. and 1100 A.D. Geologists John Valley and Ian Orland concluded the climate was drier in the eastern Mediterranean between 100 A.D. and 700 A.D., with steep drops in rainfall around 100 A.D. and 400 A.D. – a period of waning Roman and Byzantine power in the region.

WND used these studies as confirmation of a jewish rabbi’s claims that this was the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy.

Now, to address Mike’s comments…

You sure get excited/angry about this stuff. Here’s a couple thoughts.

Thanks for noticing!

You’re mocking and saying how stupid the report is, yet you aren’t refuting any of the scientific studies involved. Your argument basically sums up to, “That’s true, but they’re stupid.”

My intention was not to refute any of the scientific studies involved. I have not read them and have no beef with trying to figure out, scientifically, what the changes in the climate have been in a particular region of the world. What I’m mocking is the completely unsubstantiated claim that the rainfall patterns in the middle east have anything to do with the supposed “prophecy” of a book written by a bronze-age group of men.

If you’re going to argue or debate against something, at least have evidences available to debunk the evidence coming from the other side.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It’s not my job to un-prove something, it’s the job of the person making the claim that there is something supernatural going on. And, no, I don’t accept “the bible said so” as extraordinary evidence. Try again.

You’re mocking the fact that some people are pointing out that the land of Israel/Palestine dried up right around the same time that the Jews were dispersed and almost entirely destroyed by the Roman Empire. You’re mocking the idea that there is any sort of link. There is no giant sign saying, “God removed the rain when the Jews left.” But these are two events that took place at the same time, the drought lasting many centuries. So when you’re attacking the report, I find myself a little confused. Are you saying that the science that says the rain stopped at that point in time is false? Are you also saying that the Jews were not dispersed or nearly wiped out by the Roman Empire around the same time? See, you’re ridiculing the idea that there is a link, yet the facts remain. Whether or not there is any link at all, nothing changes the fact that these two events occurred at about the same time.

correlation != causation (“!=” means “does not equal”, for all you non-computery folks)

Let’s try this one: at the same time I picked my nose, a cat died. The facts remain, these two events happened at the same time. Therefore my nose-picking caused the death of a cat. They must be related. See what I did there? I could write for the WorldNutDaily!

No doubt there is a perfectly scientific and natural explanation for the rain drying up when it did, but that simple fact doesn’t change the fact that God could have arranged it that way on purpose through subtle or not so subtle nudges. [emphasis mine]

Shyeah, and monkeys could fly out of my butt! (to paraphrase one of the great philosophers). Just because something could happen doesn’t mean that it did happen. You have to provide evidence that what happened wasn’t the result of observable, testable, repeatable natural phenomena, otherwise my claim about monkeys is just as likely as your claim about the intervention of a god. See Russell’s teapot.

Another example is a person trying to stay warm. He might add wood to a small fire and bundle up in warm clothing in order to warm up. He gets warmer, that’s the result, but it didn’t just happen by itself. He made it happen through the use of natural processes (he put on warm clothes and added wood to the small fire).

I’m not sure what this has to do with anything. Are you saying that god makes us want to get warm? I don’t get it.

I’m not defending the beliefs put forward in the article, however to undermine something from the standpoint of, “It’s not possible because I don’t want to believe it” sets yourself up for a serious knock down.

If I did try to “undermine something from the standpoint of, “It’s not possible because I don’t want to believe it” “, I would, indeed, be set up for a serious knock down. However, I did nothing of the sort. Reading comprehension much?

Coming from the core of, “God doesn’t exist,” is fine, but you’ve gotta backup an argument with a lot more than something as intangible as the existence of God (true or not).

Um, yeah, that was kinda my whole point. The entire WND article was conclusions based on nothing more than “something as intangible as the existence of God “. I was just pointing out how ridiculous such “logic” is. I like to share the lulz!

In the end, the rain stopped, the Jews left at that time, and it’s an interesting coincidence if nothing more.

And it will appropriately be regarded as nothing more than an (un)interesting coincidence until more substantial evidence than, “IT’S IN THE BIBLE!!!11!!” is provided.

Attacking a belief with a different belief is like two ghosts trying to have a boxing match, each punch completely incapable of connecting or causing any harm to the other.

Nice strawman, but I never attacked “belief with a different belief”.

Thanks for playing! Come again!

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What kind of idiot walks into an open manhole while texting?

I asked myself that question when I first heard about this. Geez, talk about stupid.

Fast forward to today. I’m on a family trip to Disney. Walking through the park the idea strikes me that it would be fun to tweet what’s happening. No need to stop, I can tweet on the go. I was going at a pretty good clip, too, when an evil pole jumped in my path. Running into a waist-high pole at approximately 3mph is not a pleasant experience. My first thought was, “oh shit, didn’t Houdini die from an unexpected blow to the gut?”

The internal bleeding has probably slowed to a trickle by now. I’ll save the pics until the bruise really starts to ripen and look impressive.

So I found out what kind of idiot walks into open manholes (or silver poles) while texting. Me.


Now that's impressive!

Now that's impressive!

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If I were in charge, I’d fire Pat Buchanan

I am still amazed at the depths of racism in this country. One of the best side effects of electing Barack Obama is that the GOP has decided to finally reveal itself as what it truly is: a bunch of racist rednecks, drunk on power, incapable of recognizing reality even if she sat on their face and wiggled. What kind of person can hire Pat Buchanan and still look at themselves in the mirror? He’s always been a douchebag, but now he just comes right out and admits that he’s a racist. Here’s a sample of his eloquence:

White men were 100% of the people that wrote the Constitution, 100% of the people that signed the Declaration of Independence, 100% of the people who died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, probably close to 100% of the people who died at Normandy. This has been a country built basically by white folks, who were 90% of the nation in 1960 when I was growing up and the other 10% were African-Americans who had been discriminated against. That’s why.

Watch Rachel not give an inch to this fucking moron.

Rachel, you’re a better person than I am to not try to reach through the monitor and rip is fucking head off.

ht: Atheist Revolution

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Even a broken clock is correct twice a day

What is this world coming to? I actually agree with something written in the WorldNutDaily. According to an article over there by Bob Unruh, a professor at Los Angeles City College allegedly called a student a “fascist b——“. I’m assuming the redacted word is “bastard”. The student is now suing the school, represented by the Allliance Defense Fund. Apparently the student, Jonathan Lopez, was giving a speech in Professor John Matteson’s speech class. The assignment was to give a six to eight minute speech on “any topic”.

During the November, 24, 2008 class, Mr. Lopez delivered an informative speech on God and the ways in which Mr. Lopez has seen God act both in his life and in the lives of others through miracles. In the middle of the speech, he addressed the issues of God and morality; thus, he referred to the dictionary definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and also read a passage from the Bible discussing marriage,” the ADF explained.

At that point, the professor interrupted him and refused to allow him to finish his speech, ADF said. Matteson then called Lopez a ‘fascist b——” and dismissed the class.

Later, the professor left an evaluation form on Lopez’s backpack without a grade, instructing him to “Ask God what your grade is.”

Professor’s grading of student’s speech

The professor also warned on the evaluation form, “proselytizing is inappropriate in public school.”

If the details of this case are correct, this professor is completely out of line and needs to be disciplined. Treating a student with that kind of disrespect, regardless of differences between your beliefs, is unacceptable. I don’t know the specifics about what topics were permitted under the syllabus or if the professor indicated that certain controversial topics were off-limits in class, but even if the student had violated those rules, the professor’s response would still have been inappropriate.

The classroom is not the place for teachers to promote their personal beliefs nor to abuse students for the beliefs they hold. My initial reaction is that the teacher needs to have his sorry butt thrown out. Allegedly, this isn’t the first time the teacher has gone off on a personal tangent in class. In a statement from the lawer for the ADF:

Yet several weeks earlier, Matteson has announced to the class, in connection to the California vote Nov. 4 in support of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman only, that, “if you voted yes on Proposition 8, you are a fascist b——.”

However much I personally agree with Matteson, the classroom is not the place for that kind of shit. This teacher needs to be raked over the coals just as much as one who promotes christianity in the class. Why the hell can’t teachers just teach and leave the moral pontification out?



You can have my garden when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers

A recent letter from the friendly neighborhood homeowners association:

On behalf of your association’s Board of Directors, we are writing to advise you that your property may be in violation of the governing deed restrictions of the association which may be corrected as follows:

Upon receipt of this letter, you will need to remove your vegetable garden. This is a violation of Association Documents.

[emphasis mine]

Oh, yeah, you read it right. Remove my vegetable garden. Over my dead body.

In this day of pressing climate concerns, rising fuel and food prices and global eco-consciousness, with every other house in the neighborhood being foreclosed on or for rent, they’re seriously going to try to get me to take out a vegetable garden? We’re not talking about a tacky statue of a gnome (sorry gnome-lovers) or a pink flamingo on a stick. These are well maintained living plants providing food for my family. See here for some pics.

They’re going to have a hell of a fight on their hands. I’m generally very non-confrontational. After my last house, I’ve deliberately avoided participating in the HOA. Now they’re going to discover why you don’t want to bring stupidity to my doorstep. Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

I’ll post more when I’m not so pissed off and can establish a rational strategy.

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