Saturday, March 22, 2008

That didn't take long

I think the whole kerfuffle over Expelled is pretty well-known by now, so there's no need to reinvent the wheel there (vague pun intended). The latest observation from Bad Astronomy bears mentioning, though. It seems that an Expelled supporter has already invoked Godwin's Law. It's sad, really. I want the implosion of the ID movement to continue at its present rate of gemoetric growth, but I almost feel bad for the people who have permanently hitched their wagon to the movement. Almost.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I do believe

Excellent post at Skepchick about what a particular atheist does believe in. Assuming I have time, I want to add my own positive beliefs, but for now I'm going to carry one commenter's belief around with me for a little while:
I believe that we were put on this earth to take care of dogs. I believe our reward for that is that we get to take care of dogs.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The real problem with ID

I have been following the renewed ID/creationism/evolution "debate" with much interest, mostly so I can further educate myself about science and the fascinating array of knowledge and experience to be found in the natural world, but also to marvel at the colossal waste of time and energy expended in an ever-increasingly-desperate effort to keep evolution out of children's minds. The particulars of the "debate" have been discussed ad nauseam, but for me it really comes down to one, simple, painful conclusion.

Intelligent design is supremely, fantastically boring.

The basic premise seems to be this: This biological mechanism is so apparently complex that I cannot conceive of a natural means by which it may have evolved; therefore, an Intelligent Designer must have created it.

That's it. Whatever science has not yet been able to explain (and in most cases of supposed "irreducible complexity," already has explained) must be the work of some supernatural desginer. End of story. Go grab some chips & queso and see what's on TV.

Seriously, what's the point? How does this help anything?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How would Jesus curse?

Skepchick has a funny piece on whether non-theists should invoke the name of God or his ilk when cursing:
My hubby was on a message board the other day where someone was telling him that when an atheist says “Goddammit,” it implies at least some vague belief in God.
I find that notion somewhat nutty, and perhaps a bit self-contradictory. Truth is, though, that a good hearty G/D is sometimes the most effective way, on the spur of the moment, to express one's true feelings. She offers some alternatives to the old standards, of which the following are my favorites:
“Holy Curie’s Isotopes!”

“Mother of Galileo!”

“Great Merciful Hawking!”
One commenter recommends dropping into another language (vaffanculo!), which can be both effective and amusingly confusing to your listener. I will admit to dropping some ordinary German and Russian exclamations (Scheisse! Жаль.), but my favorite came from a Spanish-speaking friend back in college. Just try saying it:
¡Hijo de la fregada!
Babelfish translates it as "Son of the mopped one," but I've also been told it means "Son of that which bothers me." What it shows, though, is that in this crazy, technological, postmodern world, there are more than enough cursewords to go around, in just about any language. Try using a completely innocuous, yet reasonably uncommon, foreign word as a swear, and see how soon it starts to sound a little inappropriate in polite company. Imagine you just swung a hammer straight into your thumb, and then recite the following words:





See what I mean?

In closing, I have to note that the Wikipedia entry on the cumbersomely-named Hawaiian fish above states that its name is one of the longest words in the English language. Do I really need to point out that it's not in the English language?