Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Science is Generous

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     Despite the blabbering rants of religious zealots, science enthusiasts can be pretty generous. For example, Phil Plait asked his readers last night if they would like to donate money to help some gradeschoolers put their experiment 'off the ground.' I was actually online when he put up an addendum:

Note added May 31, 1:00 p.m. Pacific time:
I removed the donation button; the goal of $1000 was reached within a few hours of this blog entry being posted!
If you want to help out, just click the button above. It’ll take you to the PayPal site, and you can pay via credit card if you don’t have a PayPal account.
These kids need the money, and by giving them some you’ll be helping the next generation of explorers. Thanks.
Hat tip to NASAWatch for this story.
(Quote is condensed by me)

Pretty neat, huh? Phil has since put up a thanks to his readers.

     Let that be a lesson to anybody who thinks secularists or anybody who does not agree with the religious right is selfish. Thanks to one man's blog, Cameron Wade and Billy Shannon, as well as their teacher Pamela Ghaffarian can see the fruits of their labor in person.

     This is story is certainly relevent to the guys and gals of ScienceBlogs right now, if they ever get around to checking up on bablog. For the last week, they have been answering an important question: What do scientists owe to the public for their funding? There are lots of good answers. My answer is simply this: to do their damned scientific best. As for the kids' experiment, when donations go to any kind of generosity, that is a good deed, indeed.

Editor's Note: Phil Plait has noted to me in the comments that readers may misunderstand and believe that only Bablog readers contributed the sweet, sweet cash. Both Phil and I did show that NasaWatch.org is responsible for our awarenes of the story, but we did not point out that they had their own donation pool going. I will leave it to Phil to get the numbers for whom contributed what.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Christian Videogames: Mo' Murder, Mo' Better.

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     PZ Meyers already has the scoop (and its main topic is a popular one at ScienceBlogs.) on this new game based on the Left Behind book series, but as a blogger that advocates sciences over religiogion/religiosity, it really gets my goat. Now more than ever, the United States has a problem with Christian Dominionism. In doubt? Skeptics and authors have been warning us for years. The Infidel Guy interviewed Joan Boaker of Theocracy Watch (I hope podcastdirectory.com can forgive me for hotlinking), and I suggest you give it a listen.

I know. At first, you may think this is an elaborate parody. After all, you can switch sites and play as the AntiChrist, and relased hooved demons onto conservative Christians, right? Well, do not forget What the Left Behind Series Really Means. I think we should all take some time and think about the trouble this game is sure to cause.

Already we have all sorts of people demanding that video games be more regulated because they allegedly cause all underage violence. Some relgigious rights groups want video games eliminated because they do not contain strong Christian overtones, and are mad that some games do not do well simply because they do. Will the NaXis behind this Left Behind game take responsibilities for the people who will surely take the game as their final cue to begin the last crusades with their own hands? I doubt it.

Why can we not have a video game based on the end of the world, such as "Muffin Explains Teleology to the World at Large" by James Alan Gardner?

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Raving Atheist Is Not My Representative.

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Mind Rape and Body Rape - Fri, May 5, 2006 Religion and rape, it's frequently said, are all about power and control. I've never understood why people accept those arguments or bother to raise them. First, power and control aren't inherently bad or dishonorable things. Everybody wants to be empowered, everybody wants to be in control. They're actually good motives. We elect people to exercise power and control, and call them leaders. Second, power and control aren't the motives behind faith or rape. People worship because they believe in God -- it's a question of stupidity, not power. There may certainly be people who don't believe and merely use religion as a means of controlling the masses, but they're not religious. So you can't say that their religion arises out of a subconscious urge to control, because they don't have any religion. And for the religious people who are being controlled, the religion is about belief -- they wouldn't let themselves be controlled if they didn't believe. But the belief doesn't arise out of a desire to be used. Rape is about sex. An erect penis is indispensable to the act. Saying it's about power and control gives it more far more dignity than it deserves, and I don't understand why people think that attributing those higher motives to the rapist demeans him. He's an out of control pervert seeking some quick, selfish, animal gratification. The last thing on his mind after raping is running the woman's life. He doesn't care what she does with herself, and if he attempts any further intrusion into it her life the purpose is just to ensure than she doesn't facilitate his apprehension. And the notion that woman is thereafter "controlled" by the resulting anger is just wordplay. She's certainly injured by it, but she's not controlled in the sense that she thereafter acts out of a compulsion to conform her behavior in a way that would meet with the rapist's approval. The power and control thesis isn't raised as frequently with respect to other beliefs or crime. People may cling to stupid philosophical or scientific ideas, but the embrace of empiricism or astrology generally isn't attributed to those motives. And no one claims that the guy who holds up a convenience store is on a power-trip. In the way that the rapist is after sex, he's after money -- the motive is greed. He doesn't want to control the 7-11 and couldn't care less what it charges for its slurpees after he leaves. It also perfectly irrelevant what the psychologists, psychiatrists and anthropologists say. With respect to faith, every study I've seen begins with the circular argument that religion is obviously false and that there therefore must necessarily be some motive other than belief. With respect to rape, all the data as to motivation comes from rapists -- and why would you believe them? If you did, you might as well believe their protestations that they are innocent, or that the woman consented to the act. Try to think of the issue in terms of what I'm doing now. No doubt some of you think I'm after power and control. But if the arguments above are correct, well, then, I'm correct, and your judgment regarding motives to me in this case are most likely to be in error. If I'm wrong, and you think my arguments are so stupid that not even I could believe them, then I couldn't possibly believe that they'd have any hope of persuading or controlling you. And clearly you aren't being controlled by them -- unless you submit to my will by leaving some idiotic comment explaining how wrong-headed and power-hungry I truly am.
BOLD EMPHASIS MINE

      Oh, my. One may wonder why I do not link to many atheist blogs or blogsets, even though I am openly atheist. I think most atheists content with being atheists behave online and publically as a Stand Alone Complex - "a theoretical mental complex that arises when groups or individuals engage in seemingly organized or coordinated behavior when really, each is acting on unique personal motivations." We tend to be individualists, and do not need to rant about it to whoever will listen. We do not validate ourselves by reaching an audience; argumant from popularity is a logical fallacy, and we avoid that obvious crap.

      Please, when you think of atheists and my blog, do not associate me with this fool.

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