Bible on chip smaller than pinheads who read it

Snarfy mode on.

Finally, a bible smaller than the brains of the pinheads who believe it is the word of god.

Happy Festivus.

Mormon

Love this image. I can't… I'm Mormon It looks like she really wants to, as well… (Flickr, via Limbicnutrition)

Petition against new SA Legislation

I don’t have the newspaper article in front of me, but I am riled up by this story. Basically, some church-type fellows have raised a petition about some “anti-religious” laws, that, apparently, “limit people’s right to free speech.” Now, before we get started, let me state that Australia, and South Australia do not have the same rights to free speech for citizens as the USA. Secondly, one of the arguments that is made by the preacher in the article is that it will erode moral values. What makes Christians think they have the dibs on morality anyway? Because the bible tells them so? Let’s have a quote from the bible:

Suppose you go to war against your enemies and the LORD your God hands them over to you and you take captives. And suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her and want to marry her. If this happens, you may take her to your home, where she must shave her head, cut her fingernails, and change all her clothes. Then she must remain in your home for a full month, mourning for her father and mother. After that you may marry her.

Okay, so according to Deuteronomy 21:10-14 you can take a woman against her will. Nice. We call that rape. But it doesn’t stop there:

Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants.

Hmm, it’s okay to punish people for what their ancestors have done. (Isaiah 14:21) I’m really sorry, Australian Aboriginals.

When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.

Wait, this one’s a triple-whammy. Firstly, it’s okay to own slaves. Secondly, it’s okay to beat slaves, as long as they don’t die from it. Thirdly, if they survive for a day or two, and then die, well, that’s okay too. (Exodus 21:20-21) So, how’s your moral superiority looking now, Mr. ne’er-do-evil god-bothering preacher. I’d guess more people have been killed by believers than non-believers. I reckon it’s we atheists who can take the moral high ground. I spit on your vile, disgusting, misogynistic, racist, slavery-supporting, hate-creating religions. Ahh, that feels better.

Ned Kelly's Last Words

Every Australian Child knows the story about Ned Kelly. The famous outlaw was captured while wearing body armour made from old farm equipment, and is an iconic figure in Australian history. I came across a picture today, that was a replica of the banners proclaiming his execution. I’ll quote the last part of the text:

His last words before he was executed were, “I guess it has come to this.” And shortly after “Such is life”

Apparently, he was still able to talk after being executed…

Die Teddy!

Found this one on Boing Boing, and just had to pop it up here: Apparently handmade by Patricia Waller.

Review: Awake! March 22, 1993

I got onto a bus today, and found a rather old (I actually didn’t realise it was this old until I just typed the date in) edition of one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses magazines, Awake! Published in 1993, it probably contains virtually the same stuff as a recently published edition. However, it is interesting to examine it in a little bit of detail. The covers were missing, as were a couple of the outer pages, and the first “story” was A Composite Sign of Many Parts: The World’s End - How Near? Having read (and watched) White Teeth, by Zadie Smith, which deals in some detail with the continued prediction of the end of the world by the JWs, I thought this might be worth reading. It starts out with the old parable about the six blind men who “saw” an elephant, and depending on which part of it’s body they touched, came away with a different idea about what an Elephant is like. Thus, only seeing part of the picture often paints a false image of the whole. I’m not sure if it was an acceptance that each other time they have predicted the end of the world they were wrong, but it sounds an awful lot like it. It then goes on to discuss how immediately after the Great War, there has been a worsening of the various signs that the bible says predict the second coming of Jesus Christ, and on first reading (thinking that this was a recent edition) it sounded about right. So, “We got it wrong last time, but this time the end of the world really is nigh!” seems to be the gist of the piece. This becomes even more ironic when you consider that this was published almost exactly 13 years ago. Students I teach were not even born then, and clearly the JWs were believing (hoping?) that the world would end at the Millenium. Bad luck for that, hey? What amuses me is that there is a significant amount of scientific reference in the magazine. There is a (as far as I can tell) accurate single page article about Shooting Stars, which they correctly refer to as meteors, although no mention as to the difference between them and meteorites. There is also a nice story about music, with a definite undertone of the evils of popular music - but to their credit they aren’t saying that our parent’s music was alright. Only our distant forefathers. However, finishing this article is a blatant advertisement for Kingdom Melodies, put out by the Watch Tower Society. So even JWs aren’t afraid of advertising. Another article: Drawing Close to God Helped Me Cope begins with the line:

I had no interest in religion. All organized religion seemed hypocritical to me. I couldn’t see that it did much for other people, except make them intolerant of other people.

Now, this just seems to be a formula start, like the beginning of Penthouse letters:

I never thought I’d be writing a letter to Penthouse Forum. I always thought those stories were made up, either by the editors, or by people writing in. That was, until one day…

Don’t even ask how I can quote the start of a letter from a pornography magazine by heart… Anyway, that was all I read of that one. Even for the sake of a review, I knew I’d rather give up than have my mind explode (like a hand grenade) because of too many cliches. Flicking through, the next thing that caught my attention was on page 25 (for those playing along at home, or in church) Where Man and Turtle Meet, by Awake! correspondent in Australia. It’s a reasonable guide to the nocturnal habits of Queensland turtles, and doesn’t even mention God at all. The article would not be out of place in a nature magazine, or any other type of magazine, with a single change of word in the last sentence:

As more people become aware of these hazards and learn to take greater care of the environment, increased opportunities will undoubtedly come for man and turtle to meet - impressing and enthralling humankind with yet one more marvel of creation’s amazing reproductive cycle.

Can you pick where I might have used the work nature instead? The final page in my little magazine is entitled Watching the World, and it appears to be some sort of a news update. These 5 short articles are all dripping with mis-guided, or outright wrong conclusions. They are so much fun, I’ll deal with almost all of them:

  • Infectious Disease Comeback. This one is just gold. It correctly provides evidence that indeed infectious diseases are on the comeback, but doesn’t provide all of the right reasons. No mention of the fact that many of these diseases are only new to Western society, and that they have existed in sub-saharan Africa for a lot longer. And then the kicker:

Although many drugs and antibiotics have been developed over the past three decades, microbes have developed resistance to them in various ways.

This sounds like they are accepting evolution, without really saying so! The example that is given is that bacteria can exchange genetic material, which is true. It is also interesting that they chose this one, as back in 1993, this was still a controversial topic amongst scientists. It goes against much of the perceived knowledge on the way DNA works, and I’m sure anti-evolutionists would have use this even then as an argument “against evolution.” What they are missing however, is that this still is evolution, it’s just not natural selection through random mutation, although that is indeed where the original resistance to the antibiotics must have come from. Unless God gave the chosen few “microbes” resistance, and they then just shared it around. * Pastoral Symphonies. Cows who had music played to them before being fed would then come back in from the paddock when said music was played, even months later. Okay, hands up who went to University, or even High School. Keep your hand up if you studied Psychology in any form. So you’ll remember Pavlov’s dogs, and Classical Conditioning then. Good, so I don’t need to say any more. If not, consult the Wikipedia, link previously given. * Well-Kept Medical Secret. Apparently around 5-8% of Danish children aren’t sired by who they think they are. I love the final sentence:

The men are not told of the discovery, however, lest the family be disrupted.

Nice to know. Harmony over truth, right? * “Tragedy Within the Tragedy.” I’m not going to joke about this one, mainly because it’s probably still much the same. Emergency aid to disaster areas, and general aid to third world countries is often misguided: out of date medicine, incorrect types of shelter and that many supplies never even make it to the people who desperately need it the most. I’m not sure if this article is implying that such charity is a waste of time and money, but that’s how I’ll take it. I think things like this still happen, but will take this opportunity to harp on my favourite comment from the Asian Tsunami: the amount of money donated by governments and private individuals was amazing, but caused many other charities to miss out. That is, the total amount of money given in aid for the full year still stayed about the same. The lower profile causes just got a whole lot less.

I’ve read the Watch Tower, and Awake! before, and came to the same conclusions. Call me biased, but these magazines provide a generally adequate description of things, and then go and draw the completely wrong conclusion. Anyone with any understanding of logical processes should be able to see the faults in their reasoning. I’ll continue to chase the JWs away when they come to my house. Or rather, as I did last time, totally ignore them. I was mulching some branches, and had my ear muffs on, and pretended not to realise they had walked right up behind me. The stood there for about a minute (I could see their shadows), before walking off. Worked a treat.

Creationist Nutcases

Radaractive: Darwin is Dead-The Carnival!!! Aargh! I could only read about two of the Creationist bullshit-filled comments, and my head nearly exploded. Hardly what I’d call Critical Thinking, chaps.

Which Superhero are you?

My results: I am Spider-Man

You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Cooking Eggs with Mobile Phones?

Boing Boing: HOWTO cook an egg with two mobile phones

HOWTO cook an egg with two mobile phones This site claims to provide instructions for cooking an egg by placing it between two live mobile phones

I’d very much doubt that this would be much different than just placing the egg right next to the antenna of a single phone when making a call. After all, it’s not like mobile phones connect directly to one another, is it? Don’t they connect to a base station?

Big Plot Flaw in Da Vinci Code

I’m most of the way through the abridged version of the Da Vinci Code, as read by Jeff Harding. I think I’ve come across a Big Plot Flawâ„¢, but be aware that this post contains a plot spoiler.

Now, gazing up at the spires of Rosslyn… • Dan BrownThe Da Vinci Code

Apparently, Teabing is The Teacher. He seems to have been the driving force behind the murder of the Grand Master, and the Senechals. However, there are two issues here: how did he get out of the back of the car, and how come Remy did not recognise him at their meetings? Or maybe I’m missing something here? Time to Google this… • Yup. Wikipedia shows that Teabing is the Teacher. But no mention of how he got out of the back of the car, nor how Remy did not recognise him. In fact, it says they are in cahoots. Yet Remy was approached by the Teacher to spy on Teabing. I don’t get this…perhaps this is dealt with better in the full text.

Everybody Hurts • R.E.M.Automatic For The People