Thursday, December 15, 2011

The horseman has gone forth.

Damn it. We lost another good one. And he will be missed. I, along with countless others, pay homage to his ability to so thoroughly dissect that which he did not agree. So instrumental was his voice in my deconversion that I still quote him from time to time.

Hitch, you have helped so many out there who didn't know there was a word for what they believed. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Implications of Drug Testing on Welfare Recipients

So this is a continuation of a discussion I was having on FB with someone.

Basically, I addressed the debate on a financial level. There seems to be sentiment that welfare recipients are cretins who rape their children while high on crack that they bought with Uncle Sam's money. I showed this to be a myth- that welfare recipients have a rate of drug use that is consistent (if not a little teeny bit lower than) general population in the US.

I pointed out that it would be fucking ridiculous to drug test every welfare recipient when:

- Roughly 2% of people on welfare use drugs
- There is no infrastructure in place to do the amount of frequent testing required
-The fact that marijuana offenders are SOL when it comes to testing (its a harmless drug that stays in your system much longer than 'hard' drugs).

It would just be financially stupid to waste resources that could be allocated to helping those in need. In fact, Florida already tested those waters. And it didn't look good.

So why else would I object to drug testing for welfare recipients? Because of the ethics behind it.

You, right now, are living in an age of profound human capability- unseen before in history. We have more wealth and resources than ever before, but they are arranged in a manner that those who need it most have the hardest time accessing it. As a liberal secualar Humanist, I believe that there are man- made solutions to man- made problems. Welfare is one of those solutions (albeit it weak, at best) to the problem of poverty, which must be addressed. So let's get to the meat of it:
Let's pretend that I am a Federal or State entity with the purpose of serving a needy population. You come to me for help. Because of this social contract we have with you being a citizen that contributes to my existance, I, in turn, contribute to your well-being. I cannot deny your request for assistance based on your skin color, religion, sexual prefence, and *gasp* your decision to use drugs. You are a citizen and it is my duty to help you. It would be wrong to deny you because my only function is to recognize need and address it regardless of your disposition.
It is unethical to deny someone in need help on the basis that they have may have an illegal drug in their system. They have a need and that need is independent of whether they are brown, transgendered, Buddhist, or a user of drugs (note:I'm not saying equating drug use to these groups).

TL;DNR if my purpose is to help everyone who needs it, it is unethical to deny anyone who needs it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Attention International Readers!

I have noticed more international traffic as of late. (I'm looking at you Malaysia). There have been some Brasileiros and Kiwis in there as well.

I think it would be great if you introduced yourself in the comments section or drop me an email.


Friday, October 14, 2011

For my two greatest friends.

"A pair of powerful spectacles has sometimes sufficed to cure a person in love. " 
Tomorrow at four o'clock, two beautiful people will be taken off of the market. Though, science hasn't yet produced a lens so fined-tuned as to find flaws in this couple.

Those who know, know. Ben and Krista are some of the brightest and most pleasant people to be around. (Seriously, I don't do well in the company of others, this is a huge compliment.) I couldn't think of two better people to be trapped in an elevator with. And tomorrow is their big day.

So I raise a toast to thee, intrepid lovers. A toast via blogger. I would wish you happiness, but I know you have found it. I would gift you fulfillment, if it wasn't inanimate. In the (relatively) short time that we have known each other, I have felt a very strong connection to both of you. It is uncommon for me to meet two uncommon people so perfectly matched for each other. I'd say that it is a blessing but, well, you know...

From sharing yogurt to sharing evenings, there has been much that you two have taught me about life. From the moment I met you two, I have felt welcomed in your presence, and I thank you. You may not read this for a few days, I understand (though I cannot imagine why you aren't giving me full attention t-21 hours from your wedding). But nonetheless, I hope you receive this heartfelt message: I love both of you and am not only happy to see the both of you getting married, but honored to be even a small part of your life.  Here is to a wonderful union, with the occasional visit from your favorite band minor.

With love and scorn for Krista,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If we are going to move on.

So I have read everything you wrote. Every last word. I don't even know what to make of it.


 I don't need you trailing around, and making excuses how science is a business and you won't be published.

I need you to familiarize yourself with what we are talking about. Because, simply put, you don't get it.

You say claim that there are these holes, that the 'real' evidence is falling through this. You claim that RID is faulty- yet you cannot show why. You have anecdotes. Give me your numbers.

You start making accusations and going on tangents because you don't know the material. If you were to take a test on any of this, you'd get a big fat F. And that isn't because there is some conspiracy- it is because you didn't do your homework.

My obsession with Ph.D's? With experts? I don't really have one; I just like to point you in the direction where the foremost knowledgeable people in the field are and what they have to say. This is the wonderful thing about science- something that your religion can never do; an amateur can enter the arena with the hard facts and sound research and over turn the field. Literally.

Why haven't Ken Ham or Kent Hovind done this? Is it because of a conspiracy? Or is it because they don't do their homework? Why doesn't the Discovery Institute do actual research?

My obsession with peer-reviewed work? This is what is accepted as science. This isn't just some people saying "Hey, lets print out what we have to say and sell it or distribute it on the street." This is people going through a rigorous process of having their worked checked by other experts. These colleagues shoot holes and pick flaws in everything from data to methodology. This isn't just a few people self publishing. This is science.

So when I ask you to publish this knowledge that only you seem to have, I am being a smart-ass. It serves the purpose of calling your bluff.

In conclusion, I don't want to engage with you if you don't know the subject. Don't pretend. I will give it to you- study it. Then come back with something thought-out to say. Not just rhetoric and talking points that your pastor gives you. I want thoughtful criticism.

We'll start with this single link. It is one of the best resources on the web to date. It looks like it was created in the stone age- because it was forged when the internet was still new. It cites everything it claims, so you too can look at the research done behind it.

I really won't respond to you unless you put forth something thoughtful. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but in reality, I have no good reason to share my time with you if you won't be intellectually honest with me and anyone who reads this. I am giving you a level playing field and you are digging holes in it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What I need.

Haven't touched the blog in three days! Busy, busy, busy!

So in light of some recent activity, I have come to the conclusion that the people I am engaging in are not attempting to communicate on the same level. We aren't speaking the same language.

So this is what I need:

Serious discussion. The phrase "claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" has never held more weight. I don't want to read through paragraphs of anectdotes and claims of why the scientific community is profit driven hence ID is not allowed. I don't want conspiracy theory. If you have something to say. Back it up with the numbers and the evidence.

Do Not:

-Go on tangents about totally unrelated topics. (What keeps you from raping children if there is no god).

- Start praying for me. (I appreciate your thought behind it, but do it behind closed doors, as your book says)

-Shift what is being discussed immediately to religion. Note: I do not use biology to deconvert you. I don't say "Hey look, evolution, therefore no god." If you want to make the argument against evolution, bring up something that you feel cannot be explained by the existing body of knowledge.

- Cherry pick science. Do not dismiss things that you disagree with and latch on to that which can lend you support.

-This one is important- do not bring the masons into it. Really. It makes you look like the kind of person rational people don't want to talk to.


-Support your claims. Cite evidence. Really, out of your paragraphs of text- I have nothing to address. Why? Because these are claims you pull out of nowhere. You cannot just claim something counter to me without citing it. That doesn't interest me. Really, if you have a point to make throw it in my face. Show me how your position is what is accepted as reality. Do not say that the establishment is against you. I will just say to go make a tinfoil hat.

-Stay on topic.

-Ask questions. Seriously, outline them! I would like to help answer something that you may have a question about. At the very least I can point you to the way of resources.

- Keep in mind that I was a Christian for nearly two decades. I really really know your material. I also really really know the material of young earth creationists. I do. I have read and heard it all. There is nothing compelling they have to offer.

That is all that comes to mind for now. I will add more as I see fit.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oh, dear.

Mississppi. Look at you. You should be ashamed.

In the words of Ayn Rand- the bitch all the libertarians love:

Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate apotential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.
         - Ayn Rand (someone I don't quote often)

The majority cannot simply decide on this when the majority haven't even the most basic understanding of fetal development.

People, please stop asking my why I want to move out of this country.

I'm back, and this is for you.

After a tumultous week, (one that doesn't need much explaining) I am back. This is for my pal, Gus Gus.

Gus left me some comments:

I really don't need to address them. They stand on their own. You scored an own goal, Gus Gus. You don't make sense, you are trying to put things together that you really don't understand- and it shows.

Here is the problem; don't take a smug position and pretend that you have knowledge that the scientific community doesn't. Don't pretend like you are the first person to think of these things. Because you look like a giant tool when somebody presents a thorough refutation to everything you have to say. People can tell you are being dishonest.

You are also being arrogant. That isn't cool- because when you take that position, people really can tell that you are not concerned with evidence. You are concerned with assertion of your own world view.

Your undelying argument is that we cannot know how old the earth is- you use this strategy to undermine the sciences of biology and geology; and by extension, physics. The supreme irony is that you communicated this by using a machine that is built on the science you claim is flawed. You do realize this, right?

I am sure you know that by saying RID is wrong, you are saying that our understanding of quantum mechanics is wrong.

Additionally, quantum mechanics, when combined with statistical mechanics, provides the foundation for solid-state and semiconductor physics. Modern quantum mechanics was developed in the mid-1920’s, and the transistor and laser followed approximately a generation later.  There would be no computer hard drives, magnetic resonance imaging, light emitting diodes, cell phones, laptop computers or iPods without quantum mechanics.
                             -Scientific American,  Semptember 2011

This isn't religion, Gus. You cannot pick and choose what science you accept and what you throw out. You cannot sit there and tell me that RID, something that is supported by vast mountains of evidence, is wrong by typing on a machine built on the understanding of quantum mechanics.

But don't take my word for it. Let's ask experts in the field.

If you find something wrong with this, do something about it. This is how science works. We love to prove our colleagues wrong. Go publish your work. Do it now. I am waiting. I am waiting for you to present your hard work and upturn the scientific community.

What's that? You won't? Is it because every scientist on earth is part of a grand scheme to stomp on your worldview and suppress the truth? Am I being arrogant? Hell yeah I am. Because, unlike you, I am have no need to assert. Here are the facts. Here is the evidence. Here is sound support. Note: I am not talking out of my ass. I am not trying to understand things I have no business dabbling in. I have what the experts agree on.

It must be really easy to believe a conspiracy theory when reality is your enemy. Gus, I like you. I just implore you to think a little harder next time.

Friday, September 2, 2011

For Yung'N


I wrote a piece for Dale, posted it on Yung'N's wall, and a little conversation ensued. Yung'N asked me a few questions and I said I would respond. Here is his message to me on FB:

I got you, yes please explain to me how the first cells got "here" because that is all I wanted to know. Where did they or it come from? How did it create itself from nothing? Why? Why did they need to evolve if there was no reason to (no need for survival of the fittest then, etc)? How did something non-living evolve to living? And how come we haven't ever seen a non-living thing become alive? Just a few random thoughts.

So this is what I will set out to do with this post.  I will address:

1. How the first cells 'got here' and how they were able to self assemble.

2. Why haven't we seen anything non-living become alive?/ How did we make the jump from non-living to living?

             2b.  How did the first cells evolve?

So let's begin!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo; On Eternity.

As child, I distinctly remember the fear that was harbored and implanted into my mind on Sunday mornings. I can still hear our priest proclaiming that hell is a very real place and a very real threat to nonbelievers.

The Bible is very clear as to what will happen to unbelievers. I promised to write this entry today for someone who's mother is a Buddhist, and obviously, not a believer in Christianity. This person told me, sincerely, that he is worried about the future of his mother's soul; that she will be damned.

Some basic terminology and background.

This is the second half from my reply to Dale. This way, nobody has to go through the first part of my beliefs.

Theory: The scientific meaning of this word is not the same as  the colloquial or lay man's definition. In science a theory is a complete body of knowledge. A theory becomes a theory when all available evidence suggests that it is probably the case. If a single piece of evidence comes up, the theory must either be refined or thrown out.

A scientific theory does two things:

i. Accounts for and explains all available evidence.
ii. Makes predictions as to what we can expect to find in the related field.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For Dale.

Well this is the theme of my blog; educating people on science and writing about bad, and ineffective thinking.

This post is for Dale. I think he would like for me to address a few things:

1. Why I lost my belief in a god.

2. Creation 'science'.

So let's begin! Yay!

1. Why I lost my belief.

I was raised in a very Catholic family, with strong ties to our local church. I was your typical True Believer (TM). It was my duty to live the life god assigned through scripture. I did. For many years I did.

Why am I an atheist?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For my (virtual) friend, Gus.

Sorry to get this out so late, I have been pretty tied down lately with Chemistry (argh!). Also, my faithful chariot took a dump (yay, Ford engineering!) So with no further adieu, I present to you this quick blurb as to why I like Gus. (Last name withheld for his anonymity).

Recently, I have been scouring the internet to find places that no skeptic has gone before. Most 'public' forums make you register and await moderation from an admin. I couldn't get in with my stated beliefs- and I didn't want to lie.  Little did I know that right under my nose there was a wealth of people who held the beliefs I so desperately wanted to study (non-academically, of course.)

Some of the beliefs held by this group, to the best of my understanding, are as follows:

- Belief that the Illuminati/ Freemasons/ Unknowns are secretly controlling society and more specifically, the music industry.

- These same Illuminati not only control; but they worship Satan/Lucifer and persecute Christians.

- Rhianna is harboring the anti-Christ in fetal form.

- HAARP is controlling weather; causing catastrophes such as hurricanes and even earthquakes. (Yes, you read this correctly.)

-Anchor proteins; therefore god.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Observations on an [un]enlightened society.

We sat on a bench watching lightning hit about ten miles off. The rain had stopped fifteen minutes earlier and the air was still and crisp- a most welcomed time in the desert. The night was dark with the only illumination coming from the park lights and the warm city glow on the horizon. If you have never witnessed a desert thunderstorm, I highly recommend making a pilgrimage during the 'wet' seasons.

The power of each electrical disruption is belittling. Each strike sends waves of energy at Mach speeds for miles around. Booming with impact, thunder settles through the valley, disturbing freshly gathered dew on window panes and making parents hush their little ones to sleep. These violent interactions captivated our ancestors for thousand upon thousands of years. These storms erect our most primitive fears; the fears of the unknown.  Before you read on, watch this wonderfully cogent video. (EDIT: Video is embedded above, stupid Blogger interface.)

This, my dearest reader(s), is the topic of tonight's blog: how science calms the fearful giant, and how individuals must be scientifically literate if they want to be respected members of our society.

I remember first reading Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World, and feeling enlightened, and hopeful, and genuinely optimistic about the capabilities we, as humans, can rise to. Sagan's book is a much more lucid, and in- depth work than what I could ever hope to write here, so I recommend reading or re reading his book. But he has some really great points that I want to touch on- back to the thunderstorm.

Lauren and I (Bert Dog too) sat talking for a few minutes about the misery that shadows the lives of billions on this planet. We talked about how life must genuinely suck when living in ignorance of the workings of our universe.

In your mind you may draw caricatures of frantic people, full of fear, living on edge, ready to fire off at the next site of lightning. You may think that in today's society, these people do not exist. But it is a sad reality that in our modern age, in our rapid streams of knowledge, we have people still decomposing at the depths of willful ignorance- and it is ruining the water supply for the rest of us.

The modern world is a progressive place. If you want to not only stay afloat, but prosper, then you must also have a knowledge of the world we live in. Reading just a few bits of information no longer cuts it. You must be scientifically literate in order to be respected.

In our modern age we have people undeserving of respect and I, as a member of society who has expectations of progress, must publicly denounce. The people that I denounce are those that are in strict opposition to science. These are those most willfully ignorant and academically dishonest people around. These are the people jumping in fear at the sight of a lightning bolt.

When you don't understand how the world works, you are misled to believe many heaps of bullshit. As I have encountered with this group of people. I admit, I have given them a fair share of 'trololling', but in all fairness it is just too easy. You see, these people have forfeited any critical capacity of thought, and accept any idea as true, based on who told them.

Here is a list of some of the absurdities I have encountered:

- Illuminati run the world. (obviously). But it doesn't just stop at that- more specifically they run the record companies. And control music. But only crappy hip-hop, apparently. The illuminati also really, really, hate Christians. See: Christian persecution complex and Christian History Revision.

- So I have already mentioned these people are Billboard Top 40 hip-hop enthusiasts who are also Christian enthusiasts. But they are also, you guessed it, young earth creationists. The most flagrantly misinformed people of the world- and also the loudest. So yes, this means they deny any science contradictory to their claims (see: any piece of science every published.)

-Government is using mind control via chemtrails and the HAARP project. (This I will touch on later.)

-The government/ Illuminati are using HAARP to create massive weather storms as well as trigger the recent earthquake and hurricanes on the east coast.

-Ancient peoples (Mayans, Egyptians, et al.,) Had far superior technology and knowledge than we do today.

I am not making this stuff up. Go. See. Now.

These people are the living, breathing, corporeal counterparts to that caricature in your head. When handed a diagram to build a heating unit, they throw the plans on the fire in their cave to stay warm. They refuse to learn. And this is why they cannot be respected members of our society.

I asked in particular how HAARP can be used to manipulate weather patterns and disrupt fault lines. My response ranged from 'its obvious' to 'they use volts to shoot in the atmosphere.' I searched an searched from an answer from them and couldn't get it. (If any of you are reading this, I still challenge you to prove me wrong. Show me the mechanisms by which weather can be manipulated using HAARP.)

This is why critical thinking is important. If these people had it, they would know what auroral means and what HAARP does. They would know that radio frequency cannot magically produce 'volts' (as on commenter claimed). They would know that the radio frequency used  will only temporarily excite high atmospheric ions, which will immediately return to a low energy state after stimulation. They would also know we do not even have enough human resources needed to create the amount of energy needed to create or disrupt weather patterns. But fuck that shit. They cannot even grasp that HAARP deals with the outer-most limits of our atmosphere- the ionosphere (which is ever changing and oh-so-mutable). They don't have a fucking clue that weather DOES NOT GENERATE THERE.

Now I'm pissed the fuck off. Look up troposphere. Read about it. What the fuck does the Wiki have to say?

 Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere.
God damn it. Read people. Think. So how does a low energy stimulation of the top layer of the atmosphere produce weather change in the lower most part? Hint: It doesn't. It cannot. It will not. HAARP can only produce the amount of energy equivalent to sun shining on an area the size of a football field for about fifteen minutes. You could boil some water with that.

Though I don't respect the ideas of these people, I don't think that they are second rate or second class. Their beliefs certainly are, yet at the end of the day, they are my fellow humans. Wrong as they may be, they are still our neighbors. And this is why I interact with them- because the wonderful thing about facts, and science, and knowledge, is that everyone can learn it.

So society, ask yourself: Do you want your neighbor clutching tightly to pearls of deception? Or would you rather have them understand the basal workings of the universe- not experts, mind you, but have at the very least knowledge of how the significant things work?

FYI my future blog posts will be debunking the shit they believe. Gives me something to do in between coursework and labs. Oh yeah almost forgot:

[Edit: Ignore the many typos, this was done at 2 am.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rant: Legal Systems, Failing Grades, and Why Rick Perry Shouldn't Become the POTUS

I'll be the first to admit my knowledge of the U.S. Justice system is sub par (to say the least). I know the basic tenets- but when it comes down to it, I get confused on ruling, procedures, and technicalities. I do not go onto public forums and act as an armchair lawyer, because my ass will be handed to me.

This being said, I do understand the law and what can violate the Constitution. I understand that lines may be blurred and rulings can become very subjective (see: WBC and Free Speech). However, though this may not be my field of study, yet I can spot injustice (for the most part.)

Let us explore a little scenario:

Yesterday the West Memphis 3 were freed, for the most part. (Again, I have some confusions as the implications of the Alford plea). So this is well and good, and justice has (partially, and quite minimally) been served. I can agree with it- or not. I can pretend that my 'expertise' in the matters predicted that this would eventually be the outcome for the WM 3. So let's pretend, though, that I am convinced of my abilities as an armchair lawyer. Just by watching CNN or Fox, I can predict the outcome of cases. Let's say that I am so confident, that I decide to run for county judge.

We can easily see that my knowledge (in all its limitations) does not qualify me as a respectable candidate. I am sure, come election time, voters would want to see my qualifications to be a judge. The voters have standards and these offices have requisites that must be met.

So what does this have to do with Rick Perry? I'll make the ties later- but first some background on this asshat.

Rick Perry is the governor of Texas, and is responsible for the death of an innocent man.  Dick Perry is also (in case you have been in a cave, with bitchin' WiFi) a serious contender for the GOP presidential nomination. Like me, Rick Perry does not have a law degree. Shocking, I know. However where we differ is that I am 100% confident I would run this country into the ground if I were elected; because I do not have the back ground that is a required minimum of someone who is to take position as POTUS. Neither does Perry. Take a look at his grades as an undergraduate at Texas A&M.

O faithful readers, I beseech ye, in all thine wisdom to gloss thy eyes of fortitude into the abyss that is Rick Perry's transcripts.  Tell me, what stands out to you?

Is it the 'D' in economics? Or maybe the 'C' in American History? Maybe it is that 1.97 GPA. I know outside of academia, grades generally don't mean squat. However, Perry's work ethics shine through in this case, and it is evident that he is a person that does not care (in many meaning of the phrase.)

So now let's draw some parallels between my hypothetical candidacy for a judge and Perry's very real run for POTUS.

1. The candidate is not minimally qualified for the position.

Rick Perry is not a qualified candidate and it isn't merely based on his grades. A pile of shit is residue every time this man opens his mouth. However, this is something that shouldn't be overlooked. He lacks the basic competence that goes with this job. How will he dictate the Fed without a proper understanding of economics? How will he make sound choices when being pridefully ignorant of history? How will he decipher bullshit if it is given to him? 

2. Well I really just wanted to focus on the first item.

I cannot dole out enough contempt for the arrogance that is Rick Perry. This man is not only confident in himself to fill the role as president, but also feels he is the best person for the job. Our country is hurting, and D's in economic policy aren't going to help us. 

But Rick Perry doesn't stop there. He is actively trying to undo decades of rights fought for by women, minorities, and the GLBTQ community. Rick Perry thinks the Constitution will become his 'Welcome' mat. Rick Perry thinks that he will shuffle legal systems, congressional powers, and eliminate checks and balances.

Fuck you, Rick Perry.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oooh... Climate Denial!

This will be relatively short- I have to go study middle Rio Grande ecology before it gets too late. For anybody who wants to know what I'll be doing- this trip may consist of me feeding M&Ms to ants and using my flawless turkey call to try and communicate with cranes and geese.

So I present you this. What we have here is something exceedingly common, and something that I have recently talked about. We have a decrease amongst those who accept the current climate change as man- made. As such, there has also been a increase in those who believe that there is not consensus as to the cause of the global warming within the scientific community (especially climate and geologic-based sciences).

Why do we have this negative trend of (un) acceptance? We see that there has been a shift from complete denial that the world's climate is changing, to the attitude that we are not to blame. The leading counter- argument is thus: We don't know enough about CO2 levels to conclude that it is playing a part in the green house effect.

Never mind that since 1861 we have known about the absorption of long wave radiation by CO2. Forget mountains of evidence we have staring not only us, but future generations of stubborn assholes in the face. Never mind that we have numbers screaming at us, telling us that green house gases do in fact have an effect on global warming.

We live in a free country. We don't have anyone dictating what we believe, nor what information we have access to. So when I see someone actively denying global climate change, and our role in it, I see a fool. To deny the work of so many hard working scientists, is to be not only willfully ignorant, but arrogant to the highest degree. Dunning- Kruger. Look it up.

Edit: Source 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Female Priests in the RCC.

Well, kind of.
In 2002, seven women were secretly ordained as priests by two Roman Catholic bishops in Germany. After their ordination, a kind of domino effect ensued.
Those seven women went on to ordain other women, and a movement to ordain female priests all around the world was born. The movement, named Roman Catholic Womenpriests, says more than a hundred women have been ordained since 2002, and two-thirds of them are in the U.S.
Women?! In my patriarchal society?! Call my lawyers!

I know this is a lot to take in, but bear with me. The original bishop who ordained these women, in my best educated guess, contradicted Catholic Dogma. (This link is vile, click on it if you must, see for yourself.)

Surely, this will be resolved by the RCC by simply dismissing the female priests and nullifying the matter. But it does raise many interesting questions, such as: Why do these women pursue a doctrine that has no interest in equality? Note: I am not arguing about the existence of a god here. I am not saying they should just leave their faith altogether. I want to know why they don't simply switch teams, like so many others do. Even mainline Protestants allow women folk to dress up and talk to Jesus.

The RCC cannot defend this one.
Certain.aspects of the sacraments may change over time, such as the language of the liturgy or the manner in which penance is received. However, male-only ordination is something that has never changed, nor can it ever be changed. The Church’s attitude may appear archaic, but it is one of fidelity to a universal tradition in both the East and the West, extending throughout the history of the Church.

It comes down to this: Na na na na, I have a penis. You don't.

Seriously, these are the people that have a monopoly on morality. Got that, ladies?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fightin' words I tells ya!

You haven't heard too much from me over the past two months- and for good reason. I solidified my cocoon, and had an extended time of introspection; yes, Lauren put me in timeout to think about what I had done. Alas, I am back, pouring what little I have to offer into the Blogosphere. Let us begin.

If you don't have the time to read this, just go get a bit of foil and chew on it- this will essential produce the same sensation. 

Our topic of the day:  Scare Words!

Think back to grade school, circa October 29th. You are ten years old and just got back from your fifteenth recess of the day. You are sipping high fructose grape drink when the teacher assigns you your last bit of work before the three day Halloween weekend. You must write a scaaary story, and the key is to use descriptive words, or "scare words", to captivate your 4th grade audience.


The corn sugar rushes through your veins; pupils dilated, you shake as you formulate a plan to produce the most bitchin' Halloween story any Fourth grader has ever written. You look over at your classmates; ghosts, headless horsemen, zombies. Your immature sebaceous glands make pathetic attempts to sweat. You glance up at your teacher, Mr. Flynn, casually reading World Magazine, when it hits you. It is obvious what you must do- and that is start off with a bang.

You bring the tip of your refillable pencil to the paper. 

The full moon lit the entire graveyard- but in the shadows lurked a...

You shake with frenzy and anticipation, knowing Mr. Flynn will be scared shitless.


Your mind is racing but you focus on bringing it home.


You lean over and whisper in your best friends ear, she replies with the information you need.


That's right a gay man, and he is talking to a secularist about abortion rights!

Ok, so I jest. Obviously not all people reading a conservative Christian publication will get spooked over queers and godless liberals, but many do. In fact, so much so that since Joseph McCarthy screamed "Communists!", Republicans have built a campaign model around fear. 

Guess what? It works. The Pew Research center has data that supports the notion that if you are an atheist you are still unelectable. Tough news if you are gay as well. Brown? Things are looking up, but you're still fucked. This is what rhetoric does. It strips a significant portion of people from their ability to think critically about who runs their country.

I cannot understand the rationality that goes into supporting a party of bigots. If you are a woman, poor, Hispanic, Hindu, gay, or any other minority, I hate to say it, but you are stigmatized by the Right. If you are a minority you are not viewed as an equal and your life is intrinsically less valuable. But the Republicans are able to manipulate and scare and create tension within minorities. The Mexicans are worried about the Muslims who are worried about the queers- and we are all competing while the GOP laughs and spews more propaganda, further continuing this cycle. 

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich labeled Obama a "national secular European socialist."
You read correctly; this is how bad it has become- they are trying to scare their base by using words that are not scary. Our government is secular. Deal with it. Socialism has been in practice in the United States since the first rail road tracks were regulated and made public. Deal with it.

Newt "The Fucking cancer of society" Gingrich is unjustified with his scare tactic. He negatively marks secularity as if that isn't a Constitutional cornerstone that separates us from being a theocracy of any kind. Honestly, why even throw 'European' in there? Most of them are doing better than us, so his point just becomes muddy. But what really irks me is that he, along with many others, still conflate socialism with communo-fascism. And that is wrong.

That is all for the night. At this point I am just rambling. Good night, y'all.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Thoughts for the day.

In the immortal words of John Lennon-
Half of what I say is meaningless; but I say it just to reach you.
And that is for you my dearest reader(s). As the winds tear across the desert, whipping sand and chapping lips, I have become contemplative. Sadly, my mind can only reach focus for what seems like only a microsecond. It seems as if my brain is too tired to churn up anything interesting- much less present you with any creative material. I haven't felt like playing guitar, talking to friends, riding my bike, or studying. I feel like rationalizing. And as I sit here, listening to the harmonica solo in The Beatles' "Little Child" I can't help but try and make understanding of the world around me.

Last night I had a friend over, and was once again reminded about the varieties of human experience. I believe that in daily life we take for granted the complexities of human relationships; whether they be human-human, human- nature, or human-thought/beliefs. I wanted to become a psychologist because I wanted a firmer understanding of behavior, thought, and the underlying processes of those dyadic interactions. I wanted to understand how we process the world; yet I now wonder if the world we exist in is unprocessable? (I am 99.8% confident that I made that word up.)

Take a look around, what do you see? Do you see the workings of a finely tuned universe, whirling harmoniously and glorifying its' own necessity in creation? If so, how I envy your naiveté. This thought is antiquated- stuck between the realm of ignorance and make-believe. We do not live in the best of all possible worlds, we live in a universe in which there is no direct cosmic predetermination, and the human condition is purely a result of our own doing. We do not owe our triumphs and failures to gods on mountaintops; the course of our lives are not divinely shaped.

We live in a mad universe that is much too queer for any individual to completely comprehend. The vastness, the intricacies, and the subtleties lead cautious men to yield pursuit of knowledge for mere assertion of creation. Yet we do not live in cautious times, the moments we live in are imperative.

Staring into to the abysmal universe and surrendering all false notion is a noble task. To simply turn your back on this great wonder and dismiss it as creation does a disservice, not only to the natural world, but to humankind itself.  Scientist painstakingly study every dark corner, firmly evacuating the demons and replacing them with beacons of light. Perhaps the most demon haunted realm exists not in the cosmos, but in our own mind.

To quote Bertrand Russell:

What we need is not the will to believe, but the will to find out.
What old Bertrand is talking about, is the underlying motivation for science. Through a scientific lens, humanity can better understand the intricacies that underly our existence. We can discover solutions to the very problems that undermine us. The idea that a benevolent God is watching and intervening strips all meaning off of our current situation. This gives us satisfaction with ignorance, and negates our motivation to understand and our push to become better.

From chaos, every living thing, every bit of matter, has sprung into existence and evolved. There is no cosmic dictator, no supreme judge that vanquishes evil. We assign our own meaning to life. To have a mind rely on a benevolent supreme being to explain every situation in the universe is to cede all will to explore the universe. To say that a supernatural being will return and 'fix' things is a surrender of all culpability in the matter.

My understanding is thus:

We are our own measures of judgement. There is no passing the buck. I see murder and rape and genocide. These are incompatible with the existence of a just and loving god, we are solely accountable for this. I see the height of human progress and the depths of human ignorance; one corresponds to Russell's will, and the other to the forfeit of thought in lieu of a deity. These are my thoughts, indeed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Trophy Wife (to be) has something to say!

This is a guest post written by one of my lovely friends, enjoy, also note that names were redacted for privacy. VF= Vegetarian Friend, TF= Trophy Wife. Yes, they are eloped.

Now, onto less tuna related topics and onto more “exciting” things, such as Laundry.  As you may or may not know, I adore doing laundry—this will hopefully be the beginning and end of my domestic “to-do” list as Trophy Wife.  My favorite part is all the laundry accessories!  (you may think I'm joking here, but seriously, I'm not)  I have wash bags to extend the life of my clothing, three different laundry detergents for different types of clothing, bleach, fabric softener and of course bounce sheets (look at all that free advertising!).  This may seem excessive...and it is.  But, this is what really gets me going.  I told V.F.™ that a w/d was the only deal breaker in the scheme of searching for a place—that’s right, bitches, we’re living in sin before getting married—a bathroom was negotiable, laundry room was not.  

With all this background information, you can understand my horror (horror!!) when the crazy new landlord said that the washer water was used to water the plants in the yard (grey water) and I would be forced (forced!!) to buy biodegradable detergent and my days of using bleach and fabric softener were over.  Note here that I care a lot about water (like a crazy water nazi), but that's how much I care about my fabric softener!  I still am devastated.  There is nothing better than air-drying clothes (see?  I care about the environment!  Just in different ways) with the subtle scent of Downy filling the house.   

V.F.™ already uses that hippie shit, but I guarantee that it will in no way clean my clothes as well as Tide and Downy.  I might have to start going to a dreaded Laundromat just to clean my clothes the way I want to!  This new crazy landlord is cramping my style and now I’ll be all static-y in my not entirely clean clothes.  I fully intend to wash my clothes as much as possible while still at my old place, killing the environment one Downy cap-full at a time.    

I suppose I have bigger things to concern myself over at the moment.  You know, like research papers, work, planning the fucking wedding or ending world hunger. 

On a side note, if I truly want to be a Trophy Wife and not actually intelligent at all, I need to dumb down my understanding of the world and how society truly works.  You know, pretend I was raised a pageant queen or in North Carolina or something.  For now, though, I’ll just have to wave elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist my laundry accessories goodbye.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Will blog for money.

That is in fact what I am doing.

Your beloved narrator/ moral compass/ voice in your head, has been reduced to a statistic today. That's right, as of today, I no longer am a civil (indentured) servant. Say what you will about my work ethic; I know there will be slander enveloping all ensuing conversation.

"I heard he was fired, such a bad work ethic, lazy fuck."
"He was fired for  accidentally the whole office!"
"I heard he inserted PENIS into VAGINA. "
"What I heard was that there was serious internal ethical problems within his department. On various occasions he tried to blow a whistle but was diverted and told to keep silent; a true hero of his league." ***

***  One of these is (exaggeratedly) true. To put all false notions to rest; I was not fired. (Yes I was).

Now that all this is transparent, I would like to take some time to inform you, my beloved reader, about some things I have learned over the course of my federal employment.

*Spoiler alert- anecdotes ahead*

1. If you are a student employee with a federal agency, you have no rights or provisions to protect your employed state. It says so in the handbook and is made clear every day. They may fire you at any time, without warning, and without cause. The only protection you have is against discrimination based on gender (lol, as if they care), race, religion (but not lack thereof), et al.

2. I have learned that if you aren't happy- change that. This goes for all things, especially your employer. If you don't like it, opt out. I wish I would have fully understood this the first day at work. I knew this when I saw that there was literally a departmental club designed for a small group to dick around and label it 'team building.' Fuck. You. Guys. I am sorry that I wasn't a part of you ego- boosting clique because I wasn't 21 and couldn't go to bars.

When did I realize I wasn't comfortable in that setting?

- Maybe it was when a naked co worker, brandished with a broken wine glass, threw my end table out of my hotel room because I refused to sleep with her.

- Maybe it was when I realized that I was nothing more than a pawn, doing personal tasks for my bosses and having everyone throw their mundane work at me. But that's alright, I'm just the student. I don't work and attend school full time to earn a degree in something a little more complicated than faxing invoices and adding numbers. I'm sorry that all the math you glorified accountants needed was taught to you in elementary school.

- Maybe it was when I was alone, in the presence of an individual with known PTSD (amongst other psychosis) who drew a gun. Hey it's alright, I didn't report this. He's my friend, right? I was just trying to help the guy.

- Maybe it was when I had to administer first aide to my friend who went into a clonic seizure on two separate occasions while people just watched. I was helped by two other staff, and one other jackass who tried separating me  from my friend so he could 'pray the demons out'. I am not making this up.

-Maybe I was made uncomfortable by the innumerable times that I was made to feel incapable because of my sex, and most importantly, my age. Maybe it was also because I did not partake in your thinly veiled religious activity this winter. You know I am not religious. Why the hell did you decorate my cubicle with shit I hate?

This has been, yet another rant. Thanks to anyone who may have read this. If you have some work related B.S. to get off your chest, feel free to do so in the comments. Oh, and throw an extra five spot to the panhandler on the corner, it could be me. Peace y'all.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Cut out your uterus, ladies.

You won't need them anyway in our de facto theocracy, here in the US of A. Alongside Republicans' top priority of of compacting the government to 'git of our prawperty', we see this.

On December 23, 2010, Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant woman who was suffering from a major depressive disorder, attempted to take her own life. Friends found her in time and persuaded her to get help. Six days later, Shuai underwent cesarean surgery and delivered a premature newborn girl who, tragically, died four days later. 
On March 14, 2011, Shuai was arrested, jailed, and charged with murder and attempted feticide.
Take a minute of your life to read that story. Understand what is really happening on a social level. Think about all the variables in god's precious equation that were manipulated to get this result. This lady needs treatment, and help. Not prosecution. Holy Desu. Why don't we just pass a law that sweeps all the feminists, brownies, niggers, and poor folk into into a vacuum. What's that? We don't need a law to do this because our society is already stratified, and pathetic? Yeah, you're right.

We blame poor people for their poverty; 'boot straps ain't lift they selves'.What happens when you aren't even provided the luxury of a boot? We blame and stigmatize women for having sex, then deny them access to any type of reproductive education or medical care. They deserve to be faced with murder charges, right? Because a woman with depression hasn't suffered enough and now needs to be faced with this, right?. How about we make it legal to kill a doctor who performs a medical procedure on a consenting woman. Republican legislation has been staunchly anti- women, anti- minorities. Their laws cannot be justified from a secular stand point.

I recently attended a monologue with my Monetarily Significant Other, Vegetarian Friend and his Trophy Wife (well, soon to be). I heard women speaking about their vaginas. Some were comical renditions of what their vagina would say or wear. Most, however, were the tales- explicit and raw- about the reality of what women are faced with. Something that few of us men are faced with daily, if ever.

I wonder what the depressed woman's monologue would sound like?

I cannot speak for this woman, but I can speak out against the system that produces such horrific circumstances. As a society we cannot play blame the victim anymore. This is savage. I guarantee, unless you have suffered from depression yourself or are a competent Psychologist, that you haven't a complete understanding of a depressed mind. Blaming someone for taking (or attempting to take) their own lives is as repulsive and ignorant as it can get. Furthermore it lends credence to the victim-blaming mentality that permeates our culture.

Be aware that there is active legislation that targets women . Couple that with our society's stigmatization of mental illness and you quickly realize the volatility of our frayed safety net.

/end rant

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nude Pictures of Someone You Know If You are My FB Friend.

PSYCH! You should all be ashamed for scrolling to the bottom. Ya pervs!

I have lured you here with the promise of free nudes, but just like that stranger with candy when you were five, I ain't delivering. Maybe he did with the nudes part. In that case I am so sorry. Childhood victimization is a horrible thing. Look here.

Anyway, instead of cleaning the house like I told the significant other, I am giving you all something much more meaningful. I am giving you my art- my metaphorical soul pixelated and stylized for your viewing pleasure. Emphasis on pleasure. Ooh yeah, now we're talking, big boy.

I give you:

 Le Art Michel.

This. Ah, reminiscing  about this day makes me quiver like the Virgin of Delphi. It was a brisk, snowy-yet-clear, morning. Fresh snowfall blanketed the usually naked desert. Every photon emitted by Ra was buzzing with energy (literally) and the air was so clear; without any faint distortion. I needed a subject. I fumbled clumsily with my mittens, trying to find the perfect object; the perfect angle! I was spinning in frantic confusion and frustration and anger when, alas, my eyes fall to my muse- my beloved dog. He was glorious. Hunched over in his little sweater. Perfect arch! Perfect form! He was dropping a massive deuce, thankfully, and I was able to capture multiple stills.

I had just seen a film that inspired me. I wanted to become a street artist. I opened up photoshop, threw this beast in there and in a few short minutes I produced what may become the next influential image in the street art scene. My dog; pinching a loaf.

This is my attempts at making an otherwise fine photo, look like ass. The subject is ananymouse Asian tenant living in my building. She definitely knew how to work the shoot. Had a lot of fun taking these, in fact too much (she came over to my place and spent the night, every night for two weeks. Damn those asians get the best of me.) What you'll notice here is my supreme lack of artistic capability; using filters and tinkering with levels till it looks decent.

More you say?

This is a self portrait. It took months to complete; at first I was hesitant about the end product. I didn't want to publish it. I had a lot of negative reception from various local art galleries. One lady asked if I was mentally retarded. I said ''No, you whore, my face actually looks like that.'' Regardless, I am proud. This is who I am. This is your faithful (pun intended) blogger. Imagine me when you read my words. Imagine me when you grocery shop. Imagine me when you make the most delicate of love.

Besides, I just got more traffic for you viewing this.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This. This is the reason for today's post. D.G.'s deli. A love of mine- no, a f*cking staple of my existence. Chicken. Turkey. GRILLED! Throw some spicy mustard on that bad boy and daddy has a sexy little lunchtime date.

Om. Nom. Nom.

Satisfaction- pure bliss embodied by the convergence of two carbohydrotic layers, mangled with cheese. It is with severe cognitive dissonance I eat this.

My vegetarian friend would shun me (that and because I only have only one gear).

He may say "Michael, why eat that when you could have a literal cubic tonne of cheese packed into pizza dough, washed down by stout with a head thick enough to play marbles on?"....

...Or he may insult me by calling me the name of a popular Greek yogurt.

All this aside, my vegetarian friend would be correct in pointing at my consumption, and asserting that for my lunch two animals (at the minimum) died. To feed me.

For about a year I have tried to reduce my carnivorous behavior. Last summer I cut all meat from my diet, in hopes to sustain better health when in my triathlon class. But as time passed, I returned to eating animal based products.

There are usual arguments for a person's choice to eat meat. Such as taste. Cool. Great. You think the taste of an animal is superior. Well that can be countered with someone saying "I don't like the taste of meat." So this becomes as useful all other aesthetic arguments. So why do we consume animal products that directly result from harm of a sentient being? I eat meat, but hate all the reasons justifying it. I am a true epicurean bisexual.

My answer: I don't know. I suspect many people might have this to say as well. Maybe some haven't given thought to it, maybe some have and still prefer to eat meat. Maybe there is a reason, higher than all of us- our genes. Humans evolved to be omnivorous. Well, sure, but that is a naturalistic fallacy.

We have responsibility to minimize suffering, especially that suffering inflicted because we like the taste. Can you even recall what the best thing you ever tasted was, not just the perception of it being 'fuggin delish, yo'.?

Why do I continue to eat meat? Because I am in America- and like everything else, we have a stratification amongst who has access to to better food. I am a student. I am poor. Yet I understand that Mickey D's should not be a tolerated option. Sadly, too many people in my income bracket have to choose between a ten pound block of frozen ground beef, that will feed their family for a few days, and a few ripe veggies that cannot.

Access to alternative ways of cooking and buying food is not a reality for many Americans. Thus we support the least regulated industry in our country, many cuts to come. We are faced with our own needs, pitted against the lives of animals. And guess who wins?

Anyone want the other half of this sandwich?


This is, in no way, intended to be slanderous to my Vegetarian Friend (TM). In fact, give him all your money.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I have all the answers.

If you haven't noticed, it is, indeed, mating season.

You know what that means?

It means that the weather is getting hot, and there is no better time to get on your bike. Kill two birds with one stone, nay a whole flock, and get your ass in the saddle and ride! So what has this to do with mating? Everything I tell you, everything.

Ladies, if you are looking for a partner and have run out of ideas, let me tell you where it's at; the bike paths. So here's what you do:

1. Shave those legs.
2. Throw on some spandex.
3. Watch the heads turn.

Gentlemen, I did not forget you, oh no. You want the scoop as well? Here is my advice for you, and all you need is a sunny day.

1. Shave those legs.
2. Throw on some spandex.
3. Watch the heads turn.

Get on a bike, friends. Take in the sun, lose some pounds, and feel better.

Lauren and I will see you around!

My life is consumed, thus:

So this basically is a test.
Only in time shall we know what works and what doesn’t. This is my first blog, and to be honest, I am unsure if I will even be noticed amidst the rest of the noise occuring on this oh- so- lovely series of tubes.
To start- I am a student. I live in the desert, with my dog and girlfriend. I bike. Reasonably fast, for unreasonably short amounts of time. Many men are faster; many can ride farther; for they have multi-speed chariots, and aren’t fueled by rich blends of barley with sweet notes of citrus. In short, I ride a track bike and drink beer. That is one of the things I will spew, or ‘ejaculate’, from time to time.
In the world of academia, I am unique in that there are many, many people just like me. Psychology is what I study. Behavior, cognition and the ilk are the focus of my time; one day I will contribute to their understanding, for now I study them.
So now you know a little about my background, if you didn’t already (it is likely the only person ever to read this will be my partner, or my dog.) Stick around this blog. I hope to have cool updates about the shit I encounter daily, and the pictures I take. I hope to have updates regularly, and they will entertain you. I gurantee it. If not, register for StumbleUpon and click the damn button.
P.S. If you are looking for political or religious debates, you won’t find them here. *gigglesnort*