Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gay Scientists Isolate Christianity Gene

Finally, the idea that Christianity is a lifestyle choice can be put to rest. If you're a Christian, you cannot help it for you were born that way.

hat tip slatev

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'll give you a "Brief for Whitey," Pat Buchanan

Wow MSNBC Political analyst Pat Buchanan has really lost it in A Brief for Whitey. He doesn't get the reasons for the racial divide in this country, but thinks he does like many lily white rich men. And he wants black people to show gratitude towards white people. Really. He sounds like the rich, white, well to do racists I grew up with... he's got all their talking points down, but he misses the whole point. Sad.


Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.

Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

Pat Buchanan doesn't speak for this white American and I would never dare to say such things to a black person like "You should be grateful that your slave ancestors came to America so that you could be saved by Gawd Almighty in our most christian country blessed by Gawd himself." If I were a christianist, I suppose I could console poor black Christians by saying, "At least you won't go to hell."

Oh but wait. Here's the stuff that when spoken by anyone in my presence causes me to get up and walk out of the room:
Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America? [YES, pretty much] Is it really white America’s fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent? [YES, pretty much]

Is that the fault of white America or, first and foremost, a failure of the black community itself? [Whitey]

As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time? [I don't believe that. Prove it.]

Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse? [I don't believe that. Prove it.]
Well another day, another step back in American history. Same old, same old.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Blogs against Theocracy 2008: Silliness from teh Senate

Brownback, Lieberman Introduce Ten Commandments Resolution
Thursday, March 13, 2008
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) today introduced the Ten Commandments Weekend Resolution, which would designate the first weekend of May 2008 as Ten Commandments Weekend.

"It is important for Americans to remember the importance the Ten Commandments have in our nation," said Brownback. "The Ten Commandments are the cornerstone to the faith of millions of Americans of many faith traditions, and are a cornerstone to a fair and just society. We as a nation should take a weekend to reflect on the impact the Ten Commandments have had on the foundation of America's national life."
S Res 483
(1) recognizes the first weekend of May 2008 as `Ten Commandments Weekend';
(2) celebrates the Ten Commandments as a significant aspect of the national life of the United States; and
3) encourages citizens of the United States to reflect on the integral role that the Ten Commandments have played in the life of the Nation.

There are lots of "Where as's" but this one stuck out:
"Whereas President Harry S Truman affirmed, "The fundamental basis of this Nation's law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul. I don't think we emphasize that enough these days. If we don't have the proper fundamental moral background, we will finally wind up with a totalitarian government which does not believe in rights for anybody except the state.'';"
Oh Harry. The basis of our Bill of Rights? Really?
First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I didn't see anything else in the bill of rights pertaining to keeping the commandments except for how you might be tried for stealing, killing, lieing, etc.

Silly Senators. When I finished laughing at the resolution, I got to thinking about the 10 commandments themselves and how they do not influence the daily lives of elected lawmakers who support big business over the will or well being of the people. In fact, I don't think that most "devoutly religious" Americans really contemplate the 10 Commandments and if they did that on the first weekend in May every year, we might end up with complete anarchy and an overthrow of the government using our second amendment rights.

I also wonder how many people can name the 10 Commandments. Quick, ask a conservative politician what they are. Chances are that he hasn't a clue. Ask him to compare the Bill of Rights to the commonly accepted version of the 10 Commandments. Chances are he doesn't know the Bill of Rights offhand either.

There a couple of versions of the 10 Commandments and Catholics have a different version from the Protestants which seems rather divisive. The Jews have different ones as well. So do Muslims. Who decides which version is the official US version anyway? There are more than 10 commandments in each biblical version as well. Who decides which ones would be chosen? Furthermore, after studying Moses in a Catholic Seminary for my masters degree, we learned that scholars dispute Moses' authorship. Conservatives tend to not think about it and willingly accept that God did in fact dictate only 10 Commandments to Moses. People who think want to know how ALL the commandments were whittled down to 10 for religious purposes and how a burning bush means that god is near and not the result of a bolt of lightning or maybe an alien spaceship coming in to pick up Moses (which to me seems like the only logical explanation).

The first few commandments are unconstitutional but let's look at some of the others.

Thou shalt not commit adultery. According to the gospels, Jesus himself warns that if you get a divorce and then remarry while your previous spouse is still alive then you are in the state of adultery. More than half of marriages end in divorce... imagine how many people are adulterers according to the bible? But if you're Jewish, it's ok to remarry. If you have a chippy on the side, it's a huge scandal, but it's not against the law unless you pay for it.

Thou shalt not covet. Our economy runs on consumer coveting. What does the president tell you to do to help the ailing economy or recover from trauma such as that of 9/11? Shop. What motivates you to shop for non-essentials? Coveting. That's one sin that is encouraged by the powers that be.

A detailed version of thou shalt not covet is as follows and makes you think that not coveting would be positively anti-american:
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
Keeping the Sabbath Holy should be merged with 'not coveting' and then duly disregarded. For Jews the Sabbath is Saturday and for Christians it's Sunday. We used to have blue laws and Christians did sort of keep the Sabbath holy because there wasn't anything else to do on Sunday except go to church. Today the stores are jammed on weekends. If the Sabbath Day's are so holy to religious Americans, why is everyone shopping (and even working)? In the summertime, people go to the shore on the sabbath to swim and covet thy neighbor's ass.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Sure it's against the law, but hardly anyone takes it seriously, let alone Joe LIEberman. Or how about being lied into wars? How can an elected official even pretend to care about the 10 Commandments as long as this is an official commandment in all 3 versions?

Thou shalt not kill. It is only against the law if you are not legally authorized to kill. Sure it's against the law unless Congress or the President declare war or as it's commonly called today, liberating.

Thou shalt not steal. I don't think anyone needed a commandment from god to figure that out. Again, there are certain authorities in our country that steal and it's neither a crime nor a sin.

It's all just another perfectly ridiculous reason to preach from the Senate.


In the gospel of Matthew when Jesus was asked which commandments one should follow, Jesus gives him 6, one of which is not in the "official" 10 commandments. Jesus added the concept of love to the mix.
19:18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Jesus goes on about the biggest obstacle towards human perfection is having "too much stuff."

19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
This is hardly an American value as put forth by most religious organizations and our very own federal government.

But Jesus sums it all up in Matthew's Chapter 22 and it's really quite universal when you think of it:
22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
It's quite true. If you have love in your hearts, you won't need any other laws or commandments for we wouldn't hurt each other. Even if you don't believe in the "god" of the bible, loving all creation including the people, the animals, the plants, the fish, everything, the world will be in harmony. You can throw all the rules and regulations out there for people to follow, but guiding people on how to behave for fear for breaking a rule, does not a true harmonious society make.

Further reading:
  1. S. RES. 483
  2. Senate Resolution for "Ten Commandments Weekend"
  3. Brownback, Lieberman, and the "Ten Commandments Weekend"
  4. Which Ten Commandments?
  5. Overview of the Ten Commandments
  6. Text of George Carlin on the 10 Commandments
  7. Video of George Carlin on the 10 Commandments
  8. The Ten Commandments Hubbub

Some of my posts on the 10 Commandments:
Are the 10 Commandments the Basis for Our Laws? Part I
Are the 10 Commandments the Basis for Our Laws? Part II
Are the 10 Commandments the Basis for Our Laws? Part III
Are the 10 Commandments the Basis for Our Laws? Part IV
Are the 10 Commandments the Basis for Our Laws? Part V

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Earthlings Play God.

Plans for 'doomsday ark' on the moon
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor, Telegraph

Plans are being made for the first experiments to pave the way for a "doomsday ark" on the moon.

The ark would contain DNA, embryos and all the essentials of life and civilisation, to be activated should Earth be devastated by a giant asteroid, a climate flip or nuclear holocaust.

The information bank would provide survivors on Earth with a remote-access toolkit to rebuild the human race, said Bernard Foing, the executive director of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group (ILEWG). continued

Add that to the Doomsday Seed Vault in Norway and the universe won't have to worry about being without earthlings for all eternity.

I wonder what kind of DNA they are going to put on the moon to restock humans?

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Second Enlightenment? I wish.

One article at Wired Drugs, Body Modifications May Create Second Enlightenment that talks about a "smart pill" bringing on a second "enlightenment", inspired me to look up more information on the connection between coffeehouses and the enlightenment in Europe, particularly London, in the 17th century. Even without reading anything, one could easily surmise that caffeine served up in coffeehouses produced more intelligent discourse than alcohol in ale houses which were the common meeting places in the middle ages.

Open discourse frightened authority types who preferred a more "mellow" (and drunken) populace. During the middle ages, Europeans (were pretty loaded and) didn't have access to the news of the day, but when coffeehouses appeared in England, people began to get caught up with reading the news and then sharing new ideas.

"Runners were sent round to the coffee-house to report major events of the day, such as victory in battle or political upheaval, and the newsletters and gazettes of the day were distributed chiefly in the coffee-house. Most of the establishments functioned as reading rooms, for the cost of newspapers and pamphlets was included in the admission charge...

Naturally, this dissemination of news led to the dissemination of ideas, and the coffee-house served as a forum for their discussion. As the eminent social historian G. M. Trevelyan observed: "The 'Universal liberty of speech of the English nation'...was the quintessence of Coffee House life." (English Coffee Houses.)

This enlightenment started in cities where people lived closer together. The internet today may be part of a "second enlightenment" which could be even larger and more widespread simply because our ideas are not confined to our locality.

You might even say that the anonymity of the internet today gives people a chance to engage without class distinction as it did in coffeehouses in the past. From The Fall of Public Man By Richard Sennett
"...the talk [in coffeehouses] was governed by a cardinal rule: in order for information to be as full as possible, distinctions of rank were temporarily suspended; anyone sitting in the coffeehouse had a right to talk to anyone else, to enter into any conversation, whether he knew the other people or not, whether he was bidden to speak or not. It was bad form even to touch on the social origins of other persons when talking to them in the coffeehouse, because the free flow of talk might then be impeded."
If I recall clearly the 60's and 70's, when I was sort of a hippie, there was no class distinction among my peers. It could have been that we were high, but then again, we weren't always high. I wasn't anyway. It could have been that we dressed like "freaks" and let our hair down literally so that you could tell who was like minded or open to chatting about important issues of the day (war). You really couldn't tell who came from money or who was the most well educated and you didn't really care. After a while though, many people just got too fucked up on drugs, lost interest in fighting the man after the war ended and the advent of mindless disco music led way to the Reagan years and the rest is history.

The wired article suggests that the smart pill may inspire people to go on the internet to disseminate ideas and information, but quite frankly, there are already a lot of smart and philosophical people out there from all walks of life... and I don't think that the brainwashed are going to want anything to do with smart pills because they have Fox News and already think they are smart.