Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Biblical "experts"

     There is one christian, who shall go by the name "Norman" here, who insists that in order to make a determination on whether the biblical god is good or evil, one needs the leadership of "experts." Look, Norman, I know the party line. These "experts" are going to claim that the biblical god is good and make up excus-- er, justifications for his supposed actions and commands. A true expert should be unbiased. Now, I'm not unbiased. I have come to a conclusion myself and so could only serve as advocate.
     I consider genocide inherently unjustifiable. Any being who commands it or carries it out himself is evil. Some biblical advocates, including Norman, will say that it was some kind of "capital punishment." But ponder this: What was the "crime" of the infants? No, the bible is quite clear about the reasoning. Those people were killed because they were already there in the land the Israelis wanted. Anything else is an excuse made up after the fact.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Net Neutrality

     The basic idea behind net neutrality is that Internet Service Providers should not be able to interfere with the ability of their customers to access sites that the provider doesn't like or is paid to interfere with. Apparently the Republicans in Congress and McCain from my own state in particular don't like that idea. I will use an analogy to express the idea. Let's say that you need to have to have groceries delivered to your home because you can't go shopping for yourself. Further, let's suppose that your primary options for this service are MegaCorp (a multi-billion dollar company) and Sal's Groceries (a small company.) For whatever reason (price, personalized service, whatever it turns out to be) you prefer to use the service of Sal's Groceries. MegaCorp, of course, would rather you use their services. Under a policy similar to what the Republicans seem to favor, MegaCorp could pay your phone provider to interfere with your calls to Sal's Groceries. They could add static on the line or have you wait for an hour before even letting the phone ring at Sal's. Or... they might block access to Sal's number outright so that Sal's Groceries doesn't get any incoming calls. Now, for the people that prefer MegaCorp anyway, it's not a big deal. But for those who prefer other options, this is a bad deal.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I think it is a good time to remind my readers...

     I think it is a good time to remind my readers of the christian song of humility.

          Oh, lord, it's hard to be humble,
          When you're perfect in ev-e-ry wa-ay.
          I can't wait to look in the mirror.
          'Cause I get better lookin' each da-ay.

     Now, I don't pretend to be humble. There are things of which I am proud. More importantly, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But we have all seen these christians that say they are humble. And their behavior suggests they don't know the meaning of the word. They will say that true christians are humble. Well, if true christians are humble, then these people are in for a rather nasty shock. Because that would mean that these people will find themselves rejected by the being they claimed to serve.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Why are so many christians, at least the ones who advertise the fact, so dishonest?

     It is my experience that people who call themselves christians and draw attention to it, even when they are not asked, are dishonest. Now, I can't say that all such people are dishonest. There may be some honest ones that I just haven't run across. But, in my experience, they are dishonest. They will lie about what non-believers say and then ask why the non-believer is too prideful to admit he wrong about something he didn't even say. It has been said that you shouldn't judge a faith based on the actions of the supposedly faithful. And it is certainly true that "bad apples" are far more conspicuous. But I would like to know why these people act the way they do.
     I seek understanding. Tell me in your own words. What motivates you? Do you think you are serving a higher cause with dishonesty? If so, what is it? Do you think that you are forced to be dishonest? If so, how? I really want to know.


     I will not challenge any reasoning you give, as your reasons are, of course, your own. However, if you make the claim that your actions are not dishonest, I may challenge that, especially if I think I have evidence that you are dishonest.

A response to Romphaia:

     "Why can't you just admit when you are wrong?"
     You have not convinced me that I am.
     "Now- I told you that speeding laws apply to all. To use your term, blanket all. (Just as God's laws are blankets over all.)"
     The problem here is that you are trying to jump from the universal applicability of a law to universal applicability of a verdict. To use your analogy: I agree that laws against speeding apply to everybody. I do not believe that everybody is guilty of breaking them. I will reject any blanket verdict of "guilty." A law is universal in its application. My personal guilt or innocence is still dependent on my personal actions.
     "I doubt that I could ever find another human being who would tell me that they are exempt from them, unless they are severely mentally impaired."
     And I don't see where you get the idea that I think myself exempt from laws. I said that to find me guilty of violating them you need evidence of me personally actually doing so.
     "Speeding is a blanket law, it applies to all. Say it PBS. Just humble yourself and say it and I might have some respect for you."
     It doesn't require any humility. I already agree that the speeding laws apply to all.
     "You talk as though speeding has to be proved, that is a lie."
     So, you disagree with the concept of "innocent until proven guilty"?
     "If the cops say you are speeding, you get a ticket."
     Let me lay out the scenario for you. You are travelling down a city street at 32mph. The posted speed limit is 35mph (fairly standard.) A police officer pulls you over and says you were going 120mph (maybe he's trying to meet some sort of quota.) I don't know how I can make any plainer that the law is not in dispute. Now, certainly the police officer is writing a ticket; but you challenge it in court on the grounds that you were not, in fact speeding. Now, if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that your actual innocence is completely immaterial and that there should be no actual recourse if a police officer erroneously or fraudulently writes a ticket.
     "You said it is the job of the prosecutor to prove your guilt"
     That is how the legal system is set up. I believe the exact terminology is "beyond a reasonable doubt."
     "Then when that little side street led nowhere for you- you spoke as though the courts and judge hear a bunch of speeding ticket challengers, and proof has to be made by the cop. That's a lie."
     I identified the court system as a recourse for the wrongly accused. I'm not sure whether you are misunderstanding me or deliberately misrepresenting me. I do not presume that people who really were speeding and deserved their ticket regularly challenge them in court. The avenue is a recourse for the innocent.
     Tell you what, if you are deliberately misrepresenting me, say that you don't want to hear from me or something like that.
     "Do your homework. 95% of people who get tickets NEVER challenge them on any level."
     That's not in dispute. After all, I said the courts are there to provide recourse to the innocent. Those actually guilty may reasonably assume that the evidence will prove it.
     Now, here's the point. I am not challenging the existence of a blanket law. I have asserted that I am not guilty. It is now your place, as my accuser, to provide evidence (not that the law is on the books, that is not being challenged here) but that I am actually in violation of that law. And if all you have is a 2000-year-old text that says "all have sinned," then you have failed to make your case.

     The above is a response to the comment here. Now, she asks why I can't admit that I am wrong when she is acting like I was making claims that I didn't make. I don't know whether she was wrong or lying, although I am inclined to suspect the latter.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A request for help

     Over here, I was asked for help with the difference between people who have a moral conscience and people who don't. Well, I have a moral conscience and I have encountered quite a few who don't. So I can help. People without a moral conscience have no problems wishing or perpetrating harm on others. The best clue is in justifications for actions. Some who gives "god commanded me to kill those people" as a justification has no conscience. Someone who says "those people were coming to kill my friends and family" probably does. Fundamentalist christianity has a great allure for those without conscience. They are promised eternal paradise for "obedience." And they pretty much get to decide for themselves what their god is commanding them to do. Now, not everyone who subscribes to fundamentalist christianity is without conscience. It simply holds a special attraction for those who are. Fundamentalist islam likewise holds a special attraction to those bereft of conscience. If someones reason for his faith is because he thinks it will get him into heaven, and especially if good works are not important, he has no conscience.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fruit of the Spirit

     I present to you this "fruit of the holy spirit" at least as practiced by a couple people who claim to be devoted servants of god. There is no need to tell me that these two people are not representative of christians in general. I know that. There are a lot of christians that you wouldn't even know were christians unless you asked. But this is fairly representative of those who would "browbeat you with the bible" as I am inclined to put it. Now, these two people will claim that they love non-christians and only want to lead them to salvation through Jesus. I certainly hope they are in no way representative of the "saved."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What constitutes hate?

     I put the question to my readers. What constitutes hate? Me, I think that trying to kill someone, trying to sabatoge someone's career so he can't feed himself, and framing someone for a crime he didn't commit so that he is thrown in jail are all examples of hate. But simply disagreeing with someone and voicing the reasons for the disagreement is in no way indicative of hate. There are some people who like to say that any disagreement with their position is hate. Only arguments in favor of their desires conclusions are allowed. Interestingly, these people tend to call me prideful. It reminds me of of "pot, meet kettle; comment on color."
     So, why are some people so eager to throw around accusations of "hate"? Well, I can't say for certain. After all, I'm not a mind-reader. But I can make some intelligent guesses. They want to think highly of themselves but only manage to do it through an illusion. They don't have any accomplishments that fill them. And they want to have something. So they associate themselves as "belonging to the right group" or "being god's chosen people" or something like that. But dissent can bring that crashing down.
     When you are pleased with yourself about something you did, you can remain satisfied even if the accomplishment is meaningless to others -- because it is still something you accomplished. There's a lot of satisfaction to be had for that. But belonging to an exclusive club, having the "right" parents, being invited to a great party, those are hollow. Oh, sure, they can be nice experiences, but they don't mean anything about who you are, only where you are. I think that many people don't like dissent or challenge because, deep down, they don't have an identity. They see themselves as a cipher or a placeholder.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giving up hope

     I am afraid that I have given up hope of leading Stormbringer to a life of honesty. It's not just that it is taking time. But he is getting worse. In this post, he is essentially bragging about his dishonesty and how nothing will change him. It's sad, really. Still, there is always the possibility that some day he will grow up on his own.


     "My pet troll Norman is more than just a pet troll. He's also a 'type' or 'concept,' so I may be able to build on that. After all, someone that is a legend in his own mind, fancies himself a scholar, cannot be reasoned with, irritating seven ways 'till sundown — hard to believe that most of this is someone that we have experienced online. Almost like Norman is a committee instead of an individual."
     He is definitely describing himself, here. That's hardly surprising as "Norman" is but a figment of his imagination. I also know that there are several people that he blocks comments from several people -- though, obviously, I can't know how frequently.
     "Don't want him getting publicity."
     You know, that sounds just like a lot of evolution supporters talking about propents of creationism. Well, people are alike all over. It's not surprising to see Stormbringer encouraging actions in his supporters to which he objects when applied against his positions.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The "sovereignty of god" combined with the "responsibility of man"

     A lot of christians like to say that their god has sovereignty over all decisions while claiming that man is morally responsible for any adverse results. There are a few variations on this theme; but it's all baloney. No one can be reasonably accountable for anything beyond his control. This idea was rather eloquently (I think) expressed in the children's story "The Little Prince." If a king gives one of his subjects a command that he cannot fulfill, whose fault is the lack of fulfillment? Naturally, it is the king's fault. It cannot be otherwise. I cannot reasonably be expected to perform acts that I have no power to perform. If you insist that all people have a "sin nature" and cannot be "sin-free," then it is unreasonable to expect them to be so. It doesn't matter that you say your god has an "alternate plan of salvation." If the so-called first plan is pure undoability, then the "alternate plan" is the real first plan.
     The reasoning is inescapable. However, christians don't like to say that "accepting Jesus as lord and savior" (or whatever the verbiage du jour is) is the first plan. The conscience rightly says that that is wicked. So, they present a fake "first plan" that they think sounds better on the surface to quell their conscience. Something that would be an unreasonable requirement for Plan A might be taken as reasonable for Plan B. But I look more closely. The stated "Plan A" is impossible and is therefore only there as an illusion.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Answer to trivia question

     As everybody knows, IP stands for Instruction Pointer. I'm rather surprised that no one responded. I know I don't have many readers. But the trivia question was easy. Maybe you were upset that it was too easy. I'll try to make it a little more difficult next time.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I have some comments on Stormbringer's recent post

     And since he lacks the honesty to let my posts through, I will make my comments here.
     "I am not one of those people that sees persecution lurking behind every tree or hiding around every corner."
     My observations tell me otherwise. After all, if you didn't see "persecution" hiding around every corner, you wouldn't be so heavy-handed with your censorship on your blog. Yes, yes it is your blog and you can run it however you like. But the way you choose to run runs counter to your claims.
     "Note: Other groups experience it as well, but I am doing one of the first rules of writing, and limiting my topic to the persecution of [c]hristians."
     Gee, I didn't know that imposing an artificial limit to create false appearances was the first rule of writing. Discussing persecution in general would seem a more natural fit. However, sometimes a limit to the scope of discussion is imposed because one only wishes to cover the part that should be emulated or only the part that should be changed. I am going to assume that you don't want the persecution of christians to be emulated. This suggests that you only want to stop the persecution of christians and that you think the persecution of non-christians is acceptable or (given your propensity for name-calling) even desirable.
     "The Fairness Doctrine was targeting Conservative radio, because it was successful and liberal radio was failing because nobody wanted to listen to it. After all, radio is a business and it is market driven."
     Stormbringer, child, you need to realize that radio stations do not get their revenue directly from listeners. They get their money from advertisers. The businesses that typically pay for the advertising like stories and editorials to have a "conservative" slant. And they say it with dollars. The concept of "liberal media" is mostly a myth. I say mostly because there are some media that derive their revenue primarily through donations -- like PBS.
     "It is one thing to have community standards (including decency), but it is quite another to have bureaucrats in charge."
     Not really. The bureaucrats can treat "decency" just as vaguely as "public value."
     "Just because I cite Christian sources or use Conservative news sources does not make something untrue."
     Strictly speaking, that's true. You can make a true statement even if you don't supply any sources. However, the point you seem to be missing is that when you make a claim which, on its face, looks invented, you are using the source to overcome the initial belief that your claim is not true. If your source is untrustworthy and is, itself, likely to invent the sort of story that you are trying to get me to believe, it still leaves the impression that the story is invented. If you are trying to convince someone that a claim is true, it is most useful to use a source that he is likely to regard as genuine. This is, for example, the reason why when I try to convince christians and evangelicals in particular of the truth of something, I tent to identify Fox News as a source. (Heavily christian sources that you like will suppress any news item that does not support the christian illusion. And I think they invent news items that do support it.)
     "We serve a holy and righteous [g]od who does not tolerate that kind of thing, so it's ridiculous to label [c]hristians as a whole to be habitual liars."
     No, you say you serve a god that does not tolerate lying, among other things. But... when you false claims like "living in mommy's basement," you are demonstrating an outright willingness to lie. If you serve a god at all, it would seem that he not only tolerates lying but actively encourages it. Now, I certainly don't take the premise that anyone who happens to be christian is lying. But the sources you like are actively trying to sell christianity. And I do regard the word of any salesman, when he is trying to push his product, to be automatically suspect. Christian sources do make the claim that persecution validates the assertion that they are serving the "one true god." Therefore, when they print stories claiming persecution, they are using them to push their product. And I regard them like I regard the salesman pushing his product.

Monday, December 06, 2010

I thought I'd make a post about Stormbringer's latest post.

     The post is here. He is claiming he gave "obviously good advice" to "Norman." There is no "Norman." Giving him the maximum amount of credit, he has simply created a strawman to excuse his dishonest deletions of people's comments. And I guess we can see what a promise from Stormbringer to stop hitting delete on my sensible comments means. Every time he hits delete he breaks his word. My comments have never been in violation of his rules -- unless he is applying an unwritten rule that pointing out deception on his part is forbidden.
     Well, I'm going to provide some hints for Stormbringer. When you create a fake name for the purpose of insulting someone or a composite of people, you damage your credibility. Until you drop the "Norman" act and stop deleting people's comments wholesale, no advice you give can meaningfully be taken as good, or even sincere. I realize you find me, and a couple other people, inconvenient because you've lied and I've exposed you before. You are far too cavalier with your claims that everyone is "full of hate" (with the notable exception of those you think are "True Christians™" or that you think you can turn into same.) I am inclined to think that the hate you see emanates from yourself. You don't know people's private lives, so even if somebody were "living in mommy's basement," which I strongly doubt; and I know the claim was false when you made it of me, you wouldn't know. But then, that's probably the point. If it were true of someone, you would likely have no hope of getting the emotional response you desire. Indeed, given your continual "full of hate" claims, you would probably allow my comments had I taken the bait and responded in a way you could say fit your claim.
     But I do not think you are beyond hope. I want to see you become an honest person. You don't even have to give up christianity. There are plenty of honest christians. I simply disagree with their belief in christianity. I'm making you a project. I want to help redeem you. One of the steps is getting you to stop with the dishonest deletions. To this effect, I will save and repost this comment repeatedly until you decide it is easier to be honest and let it through. I'm thinking about once a day. I am hoping that if I make it too much work for you to be dishonest, you will start being honest instead.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Okay, here's an easy one

     I've decided to chime in with an easy trivia question. What does IP stand for? And because I'm just that kind of guy, I'll make it even easier by making it multiple choice.

A) Idiot Potential
B) Inspiring Puzzle
C) Instruction Pointer
D) Image Production
E) Improved Processing

     I know, I know, I make this too easy. But I have to work with stuff I know off the top of my head.

Days gone by.

     There was a time when I could Google my own name |You didn't really think I was going to tell you my name, did you?| and come up with no matches. Those days are gone. Now, I doubt my name shows up more than the typical person. In fact, it probably shows up a good deal less, as I am not inclined to give it out. This suggests that nearly everybody's privacy is being invaded to a frightening degree.

Friday, December 03, 2010

I am not particularly impressed with the idea of "64-bit programs"

     Yes, yes, I know it's supposed to sound impressive. But the floating-point unit really hasn't changed. And most processing is still done in 32 bits even in 64-bit mode. The 64-bit mode is intended primarily to increase the available address space. But running through such a large address space is time-consuming. This makes it not as useful as one might think.

     The following experiment will give Windows users a feel for what I am talking about. First select "Run" from the Start Menu and run debug.exe. This will bring up a window that, aside from the title bar is mostly black. But if you look closely, it has white text and starts off with a single, solitary dash. Now for this next part, I will use bold text for the text shown by the program, regular text for the text you as the user will enter, and italics for any commentary. Hit enter at the end of each line.

0B33:0100 mov si, 0 As shown on my system.
0B33:0103 mov di, 0 The text before the colon may vary.
0B33:0106 mov dl, 0
0B33:0108 mov bx, 1000
0B33:010B mov ax, [bx]
0B33:010D add si, 1
0B33:0110 adc di, 0
0B33:0113 adc dl, 0
0B33:0116 jnc 108
0B33:0118 int 3
0B33:0119 <Here you just hit enter without typing anything>
The window will appear not to do anything for a while as it simulates access of about 2 terabytes of memory. On my system, this takes about 26 minutes.
AX=C033  BX=1000  CX=0000  DX=0000  SP=FFEE  BP=0000  SI=0000  DI=0000
DS=0B33  ES=0B33  SS=0B33  CS=0B33  IP=0118   NV UP EI PL ZR AC PE CY
0B33:0118 CC            INT     3
q This will exit the program. Do NOT click on the X in the upper-right corner. That would be... bad

     Okay, I know that that program is not as "user friendly" as some of you may be accustomed to. It pretty much assumes that you know what you're doing, although it does have a help feature in case you forget the syntax of some of the commands. There are some biases in the simulation. Because the simulation accesses the same memory repeatedly, this will be placed in faster "cache" memory to speed up the process. Actual use in a real 64-bit program accessing a real memory space will be slower.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You know, the only reason I would think that Stormbringer is lying in his most recent post...

     ...Is because I don't think he's that old. I am familiar with vinyl records and can tell the difference between a 45 and a 33 by sight. (I've never seen a 78 or a 12.) I expect the reason he doesn't give an example of issues with 8-tracks is because he doesn't know what those issues are. They could only be played sequentially, although you could change track. If you missed the song you wanted to hear, you had to wait for it to come back around. There was no rewind. And fast-forward was only a feature of the recorders.
     Ooh, I also like how he gets the drawback of CDs wrong. The CD audio format has not changed. It always had higher fidelity than the vinyl records or cassette tapes. But the typical consumer couldn't record his own CDs. (CD-Rs were a ways off yet.) Let's face it. The typical commercial CD has one or two songs that you want to listen to and a lot of songs that you don't. When you bought a single, you only got one song that you didn't necessarily want. That was the flip side. (Okay, trivia question, what was the flip side to "In the Year 2525"? Come on, Stormbringer, if you are as you say you are, you should know this. Now, admittedly, there are many songs that I could not name the flip side to. But that one stands out. And it was released with only the one flip side. I would not, for example, expect anyone to remember that "At the Movies" was the flipside to "Popcorn.")
     I am somewhat resistant to new technology. For example, I still prefer a good command line interface to a graphical user interface. (Don't worry, Stormbringer. I don't expect you to know what a command line interface is.) I think this is probably due to the fact that I like to have control. New technologies are normally set up so that you can only do exactly what the big-business makers want you to do.

UPDATE: Hmm... According to Wiki that other speed was 16 rather than 12. I remember the player setting reading 12. Oh, well, I never used that setting (or even that player very often) I could be remembering the number wrong.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Here's some food for thought.

     I want you to imagine, for a bit, that you are an early christian writer and you are one of the elite that knows that christianity is all a big scam. So, you know that when people ask to see the miracles that confirm that you are speaking on behalf of a true deity, none will be forthcoming. Even worse, the true creator of the universe might send a prophet like Elijah is supposed to have been to expose that your fake deity is powerless and may back that prophet up with miracles. What do you do?
     Well, the first part is fairly simple. You just tell people that no signs will be coming to the wicked who seek them. Sure, this is contrary to existing belief, in which the deity frequently uses miracles to draw people to him. But you can say that it is a "new covenant." The second part is a little more difficult. You don't want people leaving your little deception to follow the real deal. What to do? And then it hits you. You tell your marks that there is an imposter who performs lying signs and wonder in an effort to deceive even the saved. If they believe that, they will become so trapped in a prison of their own minds that they will never see their way out.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Here's a good quote

     The most certain test by which we judge whether a country is really free is the amount of security enjoyed by minorities. Originally said by Lord Acton. (He was christian, by the way) Sources for the quote are here and here.

     Now, some people are advocating treating muslims as second class citizens. Some suggest that muslims and only muslims should be subject to very invasive "security checks" at airports. Some are opposed to allowing them to build any structure which might get used in part as a mosque too close to ground zero (i.e. anywhere in the country.) I've heard the excuses. They are, no doubt, very persuasive to those who want to treat muslims like second class citizens.
     But, if we allow oppression, anyone could be next. And that is what that is about. Muslims make for a good target for oppression in this country because there are few of them here and because it is easy to find nutcase leaders abroad. But, right now, I think it is time to speak up.

A comic I think my readers will like.

     I am only going to provide a link, mostly because the alt-text is funny. Now, as someone who apparently overobsesses about the sort of thing knows, I use IE when I browse the internet on a Windows machine. (On Linux, I use Mozilla -- No, I did not say Firefox; I have no interest in needless upgrades.) At some point, I may even examine the source code for Mozilla.

Ah, Stormbringer...

     He has altered his profile to make excuses for himself. It's not really surprising. But it is funny. The fact is that when reason and thought enter the fray, he hides under the bed (figuratively speaking, of course.) He already turns around and calls anything that he doesn't want to answer because it's too inconvenient for him "whining."
     On Ray Comfort's blog, the other day, I don't remember in which thread it was anymore, he was accusing someone of pretending to have god-like knowledge about people's motives and also made various slanders libels about people, including myself. I pointed out that the person in question didn't need god-like knowledge about motive as he had, in fact, provided a comprehensive list of possibilities. I also asked him by what oracle he claimed to have knowledge of people's personal lived. He really needs to throw that oracle away as it is catastrophically wrong.

UPDATE: So far, the only reason that anyone would think that s_lightning is a sock puppet of yours is because you brought it up, Stormbringer. A guilty conscience, perhaps?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Please substantiate this assertion"

Garbonzo Beans:

     "If Dimensio is being dishonest in his tact, take it up with him, it is not between you and [me.]"
     I have. I find that it is about as useful as trying to get Sye to be honest. However, your comment that you love the way he gets under people's skin constitutes an endorsement. I can certainly take that endorsement up with you.
     "The content of his requests both cohere, and remain untreated."
     I remember reading posts by christians that attempted to be substiantiations, not that I necessarily agreed with them. And rather than a description of what was wrong with the substantiation, the response that came back was... you guessed it, "please substantiate this assertion."
     "Any frustration that might stem from such circumstance, is a product of an insistently dishonest approach to a reasonable request, and not from the repetition of said request."
     Have you attempted the exercise I suggested yet? You don't even need to wait for Ray's comment moderation. Just imagine that you got "please substantiate this assertion" as the response to your statement (which as a one-shot could be passed off as reasonable) and then got the same line back for every attempt to support it. Let me know how many rounds it takes before you start thinking it's not reasonable. You can stop at one million. If you make one million attempts to support the statement and support the supports of the statement and so on and still accept someone giving nothing more than "please substantiate this assertion" to your one millionth attempt as reasonable rather than a frustration tactic, I will accept that you consider it reasonable ad infinitum. Oh, and if you do that, I'd be interested in seeing those one million attempts. You can post them to my blog.

     I consider the endless repetition of "please substantiate this assertion" to be a dishonest tactic. Now, the first several times I saw Dimensio use it, I thought it was a sincere request for supporting information. But it started getting monotonous. And later I noticed that he would just use the same response when people would try to give what they considered to be supporting information. I determined that he was just being a broken record and called him on it. Not too surprisingly, he just pulled "please substantiate this assertion" repeatedly with me. Now, Garbonzo Beans is endorsing the tactic as reasonable. I would like him to see it the way I see it. When I examine tactics, I try not to rely on whether I actually support the position they are being used to favor. I first look at whether they can be used in favor of the opposing position. If the same tactic can be used to support opposing positions, then either both positions are reasonable (in which case the issue cannot be resolved on then existing evidence) or, more likely, the tactic is unreasonable.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Note to Stormbringer

     If your desire is to draw attention to the fact that there is persecution in the world, I would suggest that you not focus on christians exclusively as the targets. Oh, there's persecution here in the US. But it's persecution by christians, not persecution of christians. For example, some people think that it is acceptable for a "good christian" to take a homosexual, bind his hands and feet, tie him to the back of a pickup truck, and drive around town. If you want to speak out against persecution in general, you will find that I agree that it should be stopped. On the other hand, if you want to play the "christians are victims" card, you will find me quite unimpressed.

What it means to win a debate

     A person wins a debate before an audience if he persuades audience members who did not agree with him beforehand that his position is correct to a degree that his opponent fails to meet. A person wins a debate absent an audience if he persuades his opponent that his position is correct. Please note that it is possible for a skilled debater to win a debate even when the position he holds is completely incorrect.
     Gary, on Dan's blog, claims that he always wins debates againsts but they don't admit it. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say he hasn't been persuading audiences. This leaves him claiming that he wins by convincing his opponent without actually convincing his opponent. Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to me either.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dan has actually written a post I agree with.

     The post is here. This is something that would be far too easy for government to abuse. Now, officially, the proposed law would be to combat piracy. In actual practice, authorities are likely to blacklist sites because they produce unpopular writings like, for example, my blog.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hate mail and insults

     There is one fellow talking about the "hate mail" he says he receives. (I have seen no evidence of this. But he does seem to think that anyone who doesn't fall at his feet in worship is guilty of "hate." So, it's difficult to tell if he believes what he says.) He has copied a link to a "pick your insult" page. Quite frankly, I don't need it. I don't rely on insults. I am, for example, not the one who said, "forged in the feeble minds corrupted by methamphetamine and the fungus on the walls of Mommie's basement." I criticize actual actions. I don't invent things that I could not possibly know if they were true. (I do sometimes reflect accusations back onto my deceptive accusers. It is often true that such accusations are not wholly invented, but are instead true of the original accuser. And if they are not true of the accuser, then the original accuser should stop making them.)
     Of course, I enjoy rational discussion. But the fact is that some people are only good for other sorts of entertainment. And I can get a decent amount of enjoyment watching and commenting on the hypocrisy and stupidity of other posters. So, that guy can keep his insult list. I am quite sure that he will make extensive use of it. But the only use I would have is to see if his taunts matched up.

The biblical claim of Judas the betrayer

     The claim in the bible of Judas as a betrayer just does not fit the way that christians would have people believe. Now, personally, I think that the story is fictional outright. However, for the sake of discussion, let us assume that the events happened more or less as described.
     Christians like to say that it is proper to condemn Judas because "he betrayed Jesus simply because he wanted the money." Did he? Then why would he cast the money down in the temple and leave without it? These are not the actions of a man motivated by greed. It just doesn't work. We need a more plausible explanation for the betrayal.
     One meaningful possibility is that Judas voluntarily played a role to allow Jesus to obtain a greater victory. In such a case, Judas did not keep the money because his part in the play was finished. That would leave some of the surrounding claims to be embellishments. But this would make Judas really a hero for the christian religion. He sacrificed himself and his image to serve a greater cause. Needless to say, christians don't like to think about things that way.
     Another possibility is that his free will was suspended and the biblical god forced him to play the "villain." In this case, the discarding of the money would simply be what happened when he was once again in control of his own actions. For that, Judas did not betray at all. His body was used as a puppet in order to play the role of "betrayer." But it is inappropriate to condemn someone for actions that were completely beyond his control.
     No matter how you look at it, there is no cause to condemn Judas. That he is condemned by people whose belief that they have acquired salvation is entirely dependent on him is truly sickening.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Presuppositional Baloney

     There is a fellow on Dan's blog who is claiming that loaded questions are reasonable (at least, as long as they are used to advance christianity.)
     "Indeed, of course its loaded. So?
     "Let the atheist answer it without [expletive] himself."
     Of course, the "standard" (int the sense that apparently just about everybody is familiar with it) loaded question is "Do you still beat your wife?" asked of a defendant who has, in fact, never beaten his wife; but is spuriously charged. Answering it straight is effectively to confess to a crime one did not commit.
     This is how I see evangelism in general. These people are fully aware that they have no evidence to support their religion. But they want to win converts (for whatever reason.) So they resort to playing word games. They construst verbal traps of varying degrees of subtlety. Or, more accurately (since I see the same traps over and over) someone, somewhere has contructed the traps and the rank-and-file evangelicals just repeat them to unsuspecting victims.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Some christians say that christians are singled out for persecution because of Jesus.

     I don't see it. Of course, this post reveals my thoughts on what I think passes for persecuting christians here in the US.
     Now, I'm sure that evangelicals would point out that christians really are being persecutied in China and Iran. And that's true. But they aren't singled out. Any non-muslim group is persecuted in Iran. And China persecutes any group thought to be a threat to the ruling party. The people slaughtered at Tiananmen Sqare weren't christians.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just a little mild humor from him this time

     Yes, I am refering again to Stormbringer. Like the line in the cartoons "I like him, he silly." It's been a while; so I don't remember which cartoon. I think it was from Warner Brothers, though.
     "Have you ever hated anyone? I'll admit to it, but it's rare."
     Rare? Well, I'm not a mind-reader; but his actions are certainly consistent with wholesale hate. We are talking about inventing derogatory names, falsely attributing actions and telling people only to listen to his representation of targets. I do not ordinarily associate such activities with love. And he'll do that with anyone who disagrees with him. (Well, on the various blogs at any rate. I haven't seen him in his personal life. And, out of concern for my safety, I don't care to.)
     "It's a fascinating psychological study to watch the other person doing their hate thing."
     How would he know? I don't think he has that capacity to look objectively at his own actions.
     "Eventually, you feel like you know their thoughts and motives; wow, you understand the very soul of the object of your hate."
     Gee, I thought he said this was rare on his part. I've seen him claim to know the thoughts and motives of quite a few people. Strange that, according to him, they're all "filled with hate."

Stay funny, Stormbringer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dos "Satan" have free will?

     I've probably posted about this before. But christians have never really answered this. Accordintg to christian beliefs, does "Satan" have free will? This is especially significant in light of the predictions of Revelation. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that "Satan" exists, he is certainly aware of the predictions. Given his supposed hatred of the nameless god, he could simply refuse to play the role set for him. Alternately, christians might believe that "Satan" is no more than a puppet who cannot help but play the role. But, in that case, it is really the biblical god who "leads people astray."
     Now, it has been nearly two thousand years. Some people will, no doubt, say that means there was no supernatural force behind the bible. I cannot rule that out. However, it would appear that, if a supernatural entity inpired the bible, the fellow tagged as "Satan" has, indeed, refused to play his role. And, quite frankly, I don't blame him.

Monday, November 15, 2010

About dubious "awards"

     There are people who go around bestowing dubious "awards" to people they don't like. For example: Ray Comfort is called the "bananaman." Presumably the purpose of such awards is to poison the well so that others don't listen to what the target has to say. Leaving aside, for the moment, my general principle that those who would silence opposition have no confidence in their beliefs, such activity is really an admission of a kind of inferiority. There would be no purpose to making the claim of Ray if he were not influencing people. The mere fact that they take the trouble means that he is on the public radar and having an effect. Now, I think that Ray's effect is harmful. And I will say, to whoever will hear, why I believe he is harmful. But I will not invent some "award" for him, even to sound atrocious, for a simple reason. I don't think he's better than me. He is more effective at getting his message across. That probably has to do with having more money than I do. But I don't need to insult and misrepresent him in order to feel superior.
     And that is the nature of the abusive "awards." They are bestowed because the bestower feels inadequate. He is putting on a false face in the hope of getting people not to listen to someone he sees as his better. Drawing attention to such an award is seldom much better -- although I have indicated to our resident clown that he seemed to be working toward earning one about which he had previously complained. Does he have a great effect? Maybe. But he's funny. And every time I post about him, I acknowledge that he has an effect -- mostly to make me laugh. But I also know this, those who would take him seriously will do so despite my laughter and my posts. I'm not sure he has anyone who isn't himself.
     I'm not too worried about those who would try to make me feel bad about myself. (Unfortunately, there is still an initial irrational reaction. I am human, after all.) There aren't that many of them and, when I think about it, I realize that they are unwittingly paying me a true homage. They are indicating that I am intellectually and spritually higher than they can ever hope to achieve. And should there ever become many of them? That would indicate that I had achieved a reach beyond my expectations.

Does anyone think that the OpenID account "nickyandolini" is NOT a Stormbringer sock-puppet?

     I'm not talking about the ultimate website that the fellow who wants to be called "Pubes" pretends is the author of the account. He can Use OpenID to link the account with any web page he wants. He could even pretend our president, Obama, was agreeing with everything he said. That wouldn't really fool anyone. But I don't think he's fooling anyone other than himself now. (And, given his penchant for projection, I am inclined to think that he is on drugs. I can't prove it. I could be wrong. But he does tend to accuse me of his own behavior.) Oh, and Stormbringer, any other names you want to be called, just have "Nicky" attribute them to me.

     On to his most recent blogpost. Everybody able to find it without a fresh link? Good. I figure people should be able to find it; I've given him plenty of links.
     "A pathological liar hammered you again, and he should be honest."
     Fortunately, there are ways that help identify such pathological liars. Someone who says that you don't need to check for yourself (you know, like Stormbringer says he'll tell you all you need to know about what I say) has a good chance of lying on a regular basis.
     "If you dispense information, give accurate quotes and complete information instead of writing something inaccurate because you hate someone or are simply careless. When people find out the truth, you become unreliable. Nobody likes liars except other liars, and what good are they?"
     This explains why Stormbringer has never supplied a link to, and actively discourages people from checking, my blog. He apparently wants to delay the when-people-find-out-the-truth part. On the other hand, while I critize him frequently, I have provided many links to what he has said. When people check, they will find that I have represented him accurately.
     "I will tell you with out reservation and with full confidence who can be trusted to be faithful and reliable: God (Deut. 7.9). That's right, I said it! God, as revealed through Jesus Christ (John 1.8) and described in the [b]ible (Acts 1.3 NASB). I have examined the evidences for the validity of the [b]ible, and I would testify to its reliability, even to the cost of my life. But you do not know me, there is no reason to simply take my word for it."
     I have seen enough of this guy that, were he to declare grass to be green, I would heve to double-check. I mean, sometimes he's honest. But his track record is not good. At any rate, I have yet to see any evidence that the biblical god is reliable -- or even exists. If he's out there, he's hiding.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

PZ Myers and Ray Comfort

     PZ Myers (or maybe someone impersonating hem; I can't be sure) spends a great deal of time criticizing, ridiculing, and mocking Ray Comfort. He does not allow Ray to speak on his own behalf because, supposedly, he doesn't want to give Ray a platform. This, of course, is inappropriate. I am opposed, on principle, to the concept of "filtering the opposition." And I have to wonder. Does he really think that Ray would be convincing? I've seen Ray's blog. He doesn't convince anyone. (Note: you have not been convinced if you came in agreeing with what he is trying to conclude.) Seriously, all you do if you present him in a way that you desire without letting your audience hear what your opponent has to say in the way he wants to present it is validate the claim that you are suppressing him. It's a tactic I expect of evangelical christians. Their position has nothing going for it. But I expect better from those who pursue truth.

Friday, November 12, 2010

For a while, I was afraid he was going to get boring.

     The official main topic of this post is not necessarily inane. After all, it is certainly possible that scientists are attempting to portray a pseudo-science as a true science and leave quotes that inadvertently serve as evidence of that. I've run afoul of the "united front" people by pointing that one out myself. How does Stormbringer seem to make sense when talking about it? Well, I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. But this post is not about what he says that makes sense. It is about what he says that I find funny.
     "Today, I want to prompt you to use some rational thought, and I'm going to use hyperbole do to it." [Emphasis mine]
     Hey, I don't want him to start advocating rational thought. That would sharply decrease my entertainment value. (Examines post.) Oh, okay, no problem, false alarm.
     "Are people stupid enough to think that all of these quotes are taken out of context or made up? There are many quotes, you see." [Emphasis in original]
     Considering that the quotes are often unattributed and unsourced, it would certainly be possible for all of them to be taken out of context or invented. I only know that is not the case because I have been able to find some originals. Honest people are not worried about people finding the original sources and drawing their own conclusion. But we're talking about evangelicals here, not honest people.
     "Second, they attack Creationists and proponents of Intelligent Design. I will focus on Creation Science this trip around. I'm going to ask you this: Do you really think that people who serve a holy and just [g]od, who has told us that lying is a violation of the [n]inth [c]ommandment, are going to lie to get you to believe in [g]od?" [Emphasis in original]
     Given the actions and commands attributed to this god, "holy" and "just" are not words that I would use in its description. The words "depraved" and "corrupt" are far more fitting. However, more importantly, I think the claim that "lying is a violation of god's law" is itself a deception to prevent oustiders from looking too closely -- sort of like "islam is a religion of peace." There may be adherents who believe it. But my experience is that evangelicals are willing to say or do anything to ensnare people into the trap that is christianity. For a rather blatent example, note how Ray Comfort uses the "good person test" ostensibly to "find out if the person is really a good person." He lies when he goes into the spiel because, as he tells his followers, he has already decided that no one is good. (No link is provided because I expect my readers, few as they are, to be quite familiar with the tactic.)
     "I had one guy here recently start out with the sneering and sarcasm, and I gave him sarcasm back. Then he was civil, and got civil — and detailed — responses."
     Nope, I don't believe it. I have never seen Stormbringer be civil with anyone who wasn't in complete agreement with him. Or perhaps he thinks dissent constitutes "sneering and sarcasm."
     "Now, getting back to how all [c]hristians are liars."
     Not all christians are liars. Of course, it does seem that all christians that try to win converts lie. But I attribute that to the fact that the truth is against christianity and so there is no way to win converts without lying. And it doesn't mean that they lie when they are not actively seeking converts. (I could talk about the posts in which I think Stormbringer is being honest. But that would be boring. And there are posts that I don't address because I don't find them funny.)

     Incidentally, I am familiar with projection. I see a vivid example every time Stormbringer talks about how his critics are "filled with hate." His varied other accusations may be similarly attributed. To Stormbringer I say "Keep trying to spread the 'word.' Your antics are quite amusing. I just don't want to meet you in person (unless you're in a padded cell and I am safely outside.)"

UPDATE: A reply to Stormbringer, who has expressed a desire to be called "Pubes"

     "if you can refrain from sneering and petty attacks, not only will you not receive in kind, your comments have a much better chance of being posted in the first place. Only two people have been banned from posting here: One for being not only perpetually snide, but also for being dull."
     No, Stormbringer, you blocked my posts even though I was civil. I can't speak to whether you find me dull. However, I will point out that your perpetual use of the claim "full of hate" is itself snide.
     Oh, and, for your information, I don't say that everything you say is a lie. I just tend to address the things you say which are.

     "But let's both ignore this guy forever, OK? I'll need your help on it; I suggest that you stop visiting, getting riled and telling me so I get irritated as well, capice?"
    Oh, but then you'll need to create a new OpenID account to report all the lies you want to say about me. After all, based on your stated standards you shouldn't be letting "his" posts through anyway.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dan does not seem to know what it means to "man up."

     I refer to his post here. A man who keeps true to his word, honors his promises, and strives to do the right thing does not need to worship some god that he thinks has an ever watchful eye. He does not need to snivel at the foot of some cosmic throne. Simply put anyone who feels the need to cower before some cosmic overlord is no man. Such a person would "will stab his friend in the back. Will certainly overpower the weak. That will go against what is the right thing," certain that his god is commanding and endorsing it all. No, a true man does the right thing because he sees it as the right thing. And if his father, his boss, his government, or his god issued a command that he knew was wrong, he would stand up and say "NO! I am no coward who will do evil for the sake of those who might harm me if I don't placate them. I will endure hardship if needed to do what is right. I refuse to cower before your might." Oh, the snivelers will say many things for their vanity. Look at Dan's post. It is an excellent example.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Stormbringer filter

     Stormbringer is claiming to have been slandered on some blog. Of course, there is no way to verify the claim independently. He doesn't provide a link, or even say what the alleged slander was. Personally, I don't trust the Stormbringer filter. Stormbringer lies. But then, anytime someone deliberately withholds a verification, it looks suspicious. Now, there can be legitimate reasons. Sometimes someone's information comes only through personal experience and no independent verification can be provided. It is certainly difficult to provide independent verification of one's personal beliefs. Sometimes, a particular fact is remembered but the source is forgotten -- that would make it difficult to provide a source. And sometimes people just forget. But, if you read his blog, you will find that it is a pattern of behavior. If people were allowed to check for themselves, they might come to conclusions that didn't match the illusion that he wants to present to puff up his already bloated ego.
     Stormbringer keeps a tight control on his blog. He clearly wants to make certain that his readers do not see anything that is not supported by the Stormbringer filter. When he lies about people, the last thing he needs is for his readers to do their own investigations. There is a reason why he won't let anyone know what blog to which he allegedly refers. He can say anything he likes when no one check his claims. He can invent attackers out of thin air.
     A similar reasoning drives the fact that I provide links. I don't require that anyone take my word for it. I know that I'm telling the truth, so I don't need to hide the evidence around the subjects of my posts. After all, what kind of person would I be if, when someone asked to confirmation of one of my claims, I told him to "do your own searching"?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A common question from christians

     "Why don't you argue against UFO believers?"
     The answer is quite simple. People are not trying to get belief in UFOs enshrined into national law. People are trying to legislate christianity. I also don't see con men trying to use UFO belief to market their scams. Yes, I do see spoof merchandise. But the primary market for that is the set of people who laugh at UFO believers. I consider christianity dangerous because too many people want to use it to interfere with how I live my life.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Here is an article I found interesting

     The link is here.
     The public has gotten more conservative over the years. But they are not, as a whole, more conservative than the people the extrmists like to call "Republican In Name Only." The public does not want a return to 16-hour work days with pay being 5 dollars a week in script that is only good at "the company store." If you have to advocate that sort of thing to be a "true Republican," then I don't want any "true Republicans" in office.

Friday, November 05, 2010

I have put up a poll...

     I have put up a poll asking readers what they think the likely result of the recent election will be. The poll will be running until about the end of this year. Since I'm asking for a prediction, it would be fruitless to extend the poll until after the new faces take office in January.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My comments.

     "[L]eftists have different standards [than] [c]onservatives."
     I haven't seen any difference. Democrats and Republicans alike used mud-slinging and attack ads. I did not see a single ad by any candidates that discussed what policies they wanted to implement or what changes in law they thought would move the country forward. This is typical, actually. Politicians only like to talk about how bad they think the other guy is.
     "To me, the label of 'Republican' means that they are more likely to reflect the values of the majority of the people (and mine, too)."
     A majority of the people? According to the most recent Gallup Poll I could find on the subject, no ideology holds a majority. Self-identified conservatives constitute the largest block at 40% -- which is still a good deal shy of a majority. Incidentally, 22% of Democrats, and all those people Stormbringer likes to call "RINOs," self-identify as conservative. But very few people like the concept of their representives taking marching orders from headquarters and ignoring their constituants.
     Now, I watched the returns. And I know that some of the Republican winners think the voters wanted to give them a blank check to do whatever they want -- or to take marching orders from headquarters. Others realized, quite soberly, that the public wasn't so much voting for them as they were against the people they are currently blaming for the bad economy. We'll have to see which concept holds more in the minds of the representatives. If the Republicans decide they can go into a corner and decide what legislation will advance with no outside input, well, they've done that before. The people have no great love for either major party. The only thing that keeps these guys in office is the general fear that voting for an outsider will effectively be a discarded vote due to the plurality system.


     Stormbringer, who is too scared ever to allow a link to my actual words, lest his readers do some actual thinking, has provided a link that he thinks supports his assertion that a majority of Americans consider themselves conservative. And it would be plausible that it supported his contention -- if you only read the headline. On the other hand, if you read the text of the article, it gives the same 40% figure in the link I was able to find. "Gallup revealed that conservatives are the largest ideological group in America: 40% of us call ourselves conservative, 35% of us call ourselves moderates, and 21% of us call ourselves liberal."
     "Oh, and by the way, selective citing, especially when lifting a part of a sentence, is lying."
     That is only the case if the meaning is changed to give the impression that the original speaker said something he didn't intend. Is he stating that he does not believe and was not trying to claim that "leftists" have different standards than conservatives? I quoted the particular point that I wanted to address. I do not feel the need to quote his entire incoherent blog entry to address certain points found therein. But for those who may somehow think I misrepresented him, here is a link to his nonsense.
     "You know, if I retired right now, some people would have nothing to talk about, since they are mostly incapable of talking about anything other than lil' ol' me."
     This calls for an experiment. Let this guy retire and see if it results in people having nothing to talk about. Here's a hint. People can spend a great deal of time talking about a particular television program. But when it gets cancelled, they find something else. Now, I admit that I talk about this guy a lot. I do so because I find him very entertaining. But, you know something, I was running my blog before he came along. I will still be running my blog if he holds his breath until he turns blue or takes his ball and goes home. But for now, I like to talk about The Stupidity of Stormbringer.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Since it's been brough up.

     I do think that it is wrong to delay getting absentee ballots to military personnell. And, yes, it may have been a deliberate attempt to change the outcome of the election. Any such deliberate fraud should result in jail time (not just fines) for the people responsible. The primary reason why fines are inadequate is that people may be quite willing to pay the fines to get their preferred representatives in office. I do not want anyone to think that such a tactic is "worth it."

Stormbringer vx. Stormbringer

     "Stifle freedom of speech
     "Shut down discussion
     "Distract your opponent
     "Bolster your own already bloated ego
     "Control the people through fear of being labeled something unpleasant"
     "SHUT UP about Bush!" Well, there's some stifling of free speech. I haven't mentioned Bush by name since (I believe) the time he left office. Of course his policy supporters are still there. Bush is only a face to attach to the policies. And people see it as more personal. I see no reason to believe that the reported actions of Bush in office were fabricated. And these actions seem to have the full support of the "Tea Party" members.
     "partisan pinheads," "country club Republicans," "RINOs," "Obummer," "El Presidente" -- Yeah, I'd say that Stormbringer relies heavily on using labels in an effort to control people.
     Shutting down discussion is achieved in the way Stormbringer deletes comments that he doesn't like. As for distracting his opponent and bolstering his already bloated ego, I invite people to inspect his blog. The evidence of that is more the continued trends of his posts rather than any one quote.

     "Since people are dishonest, lazy and downright stupid, I'll prove it (even though I'll be accused of making up these posts and back-dating them). Yes, my Republican complaints are in there:"
     I really don't know if he edited his posts or not. The term "Republican in name only" has been around that long; and it is used for those Republicans that actually think for themselves rather than following the party's dictates like mindless drones. On the other hand, he generally doesn't seem to think about those Republican who occasionally stray from the dictates of the party's leaders. So, he might have edited them after the fact. Whether he did or not, it looks like an afterthought. (Incidentally, Stormbringer, you forgot to add your "Republican complaint" to "second" and "third." You might want to go back and fix that. And concerns about complacency in Republican voters, "fourth," are quite consistent with only caring about that "R" getting in.) But, no, he didn't back-date the posts. The posts were anti-Democrat rants. He may, or may not, have added the parts about "RINOs" in the past few days for the purpose of "proving" that it wasn't "just" Democrats he was going after. The reader will have to make that determination for himself.

Monday, November 01, 2010


It's about time for all registered voters to cast their ballots. But, as Dan would say, the "Tea Partiers" should wait until Wednesday.

Stormbringer vs. Reality

     Our clown (gee, I hope I'm not offending Bozo the clown) has put up another post. Do I have to point out that he is screening his comments to avoid too much thinking among his readers?
     "When did the government at any level gain the right to tell people how to practice their religious beliefs? A single woman placed an advert in her church bulletin asking for a Christian roommate, and was slapped down by the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan. That means that this woman must not discriminate." [Emphasis in orginal]
     In essence, this woman advertised a living space for rent and said "non-christians need not apply." Those weren't her exact words; but that is the effect. Now, since I did point out that, given that she was lookiing for someone to live with her and share expenses, the situation may be out of scope of the intent of the fair housing laws. Even so, it is not religious discrimination to tell her she cannot discriminate on the basis of religion. Stormbringer is busy pretending that that part of my comment didn't exist.
     "How about when the leftists at Augusta State University told a Christian counseling student to 'change your beliefs or get out'?"
     He included a link to a press release from the group funding the attorney's for the student. I asked if he had a better source. Advocates in a litigation are not known for impartiality or fair descriptions of the facts. He edited his post to say: "To the lazy dolt that wants more proof that this happened, do your own searches." I'll take that as a "no." (I also pointed out that universities are generally privately owned and not government institutions.)
     "I have no patience for mindless sheep."
     It is my experience that he wishes to deal exclusively with mindless sheep. Looking for the "R" next to a candidate's name is just as mindless as looking for the "D."
     "Almost as bad is PBS, the governmental propaganda network (your tax dollars in action)."
     Right, any evidence that the government has been telling PBS what to say? The government does provide funding, as do individual contributors; but it doesn't seem to impose a requirement that PBS simply act as a government mouthpiece. On the other hand, Stormbringer might be upset that there is a station that doesn't have to bow to billion-dollar corporations.
     "Hey, you cry (lie) about 'voter intimidation' when a Burger King franchise owner suggests that there's a better chance for job security if people vote Republican instead of for tax and spend liberals."
     First off, it was a McDonald's. That's only important in that it shows that he didn't bother to read it. Now, I don't know about my readers, but I think "if you want to keep your job, you will vote the way I tell you" qualifies as voter intimidation. By the way, since I live in Arizona, my primary news soure is The Arizona Republican. Yes, I know they changed their name a while back. But I rather think their original name fits.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

There was one person...

     There was one person who used to respond to me with quotes from "Publius (the real one.)" I am somewhat curious about whe he thought "the real one" was. My Latin dictionary lists four of them as sources for translations -- P Ovidivs Naso, P Papinivs Stativs, P Terentivs Afer, and P Vergilivs Maro. There have been many people to carry the name. Even though this fellow wished to deny me the use of the name, it is in no way clear whom he meant by "the real one." Of course, I thought (and continue to think) that he was full of -ahem- yeah. I delete comments for using such language, so I will not include the word here.

This is important.

     This is an important article that I found. I don't live in Ohio. But voter intimidation affects everybody. The relevant business owners claim that it wasn't intended to offend anyone. I don't care if they offend people. As far as I'm concerned, if they want to offend people, they can do so. But intimidating people in order to influence an election is completely inappropriate. Coercion like that is something that should earn them jail time.

He can't really believe all the things he says, can he?

     Stormbringer wrote a post about the "enemies of freedom and liberty." Now, it should be noted that the people who advocated secret prisons and holding American citizens in secret facilities without charge, access to lawyers, or access to the courts were Republicans. Remember that? Now, I'm not going to say that all Republicans advocate that, because they don't. But all the people who advocate that are Republicans. He clearly has not considered what it means to be "anti-freedom." Such a position opposes the right to dissent. (When was the last time you heard someone called a "Democrat In Name Only"?) And those who oppose freedom will necessarily want to build more prisons. (There can be other reasons for wanting to build prisons. But someone trampling freedom needs more prisons to accomplish his task.)
     I'm not going to tell anyone he has to favor the Democrats in this election. The Democrats will lose seats because the economy is struggling. I know this for a fact. And some people believe that Democrats push too much government spending. Of course, I happen to like spending on libraries and research. But I can't (and will not try to) dictate others' beliefs. The facts, however, are quite plain. Any anti-freedom movement we have seen has come from within the Republican party. I would recommend that the GOP try to lose those members. They are a small (but loud) part of the party and can be considered a cancer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The "Quiver Full" movement.

     I have recently heard about a movement called the "Quiver Full" movement. Apparently, it tries to tell christians to have as many children as they possibly can. Considering the fact that we already have an issue with overpopulation, I think that is a terrible idea. With the current population, anyone who has five or more children is being irresponsible. It is possible and reasonable to avoid too many children. Celibacy is quite effective. Contraception is also very useful for those who don't like that first option.

Monday, October 25, 2010

About Stormbringer's repetition of an old joke.

     Usually, the corrupt politician is listed as a conservative. I've seen the joke many times in many forms. Personally, I think it works best without trying to demonize any political party. But I can't really expect too much from someone who, despite all his protestations, is endeavoring to turn this country into a theocracy. His bias is quite blatent.

     I saw his post where he gives his list of "possible reasons" why people voted for Democrats in the last election. They are, of course intended to sound like no sane person would ever vote for anyone but a hard-line Republican. In reality, of course people are not so tethered to the political parties, especially since one has to hold one's nose to vote. The Republicans lost in the last election because the president launched a war in Iraq for personal reasons, the economy tanked on Republican watch (not that they had any control over it, but they were in power and got the blame) and let us not forget the "majority of the majority" nonsense. Seriously, it got to a point where lobbyists were told that, if they weren't acting to try to get every seat in Congress under Republican control, their proposals wouldn't be heard. And neither party can be trusted with that kind of power. So the people voted the crooks out. Sure, they were replaced with a new set of crooks. But the action was (more or less) rational.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Calling people "unamerican"

     It is, unfortunately, a common practice to call people who disagree with you "unamerican." This is, of course, never intended to facilitate rational discussion -- but rather to suppress dissent. Why is it that people want to prevent differing viewpoint being heard? Some of you may think that I am pining for the "good old days" when open discussion was encouraged and unpopular ideas were given unfettered access to the public so that people could more readily make up their own minds. I would, except for one thing. Those days never existed! The ideal of free speech has seen little more than lip service.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stormbringer now says...

     Stormbringer now says that he took the name from an album and has modified his profile to include the image of the album cover (apparently to "prove" that was the case.) Now, me, I think after he saw that I noted that he named himself after a certain black sword, he searched for some possible alternate source for that name. After all, he does try to claim that everything I say is a "lie." I have no doubt that, had I said he named himself after the song, he would claim he named himself after the book.
     But in a sense it doesn't really matter. Based on the source I identified, he named himself after evil. Even if you take his claim at face value (which I don't) he still named himself after evil. Whether he recognized it as evil when he chose the name...
     So what's the point of all this? Well, for my part, I am quite entertained by Stormbringer's antics. Stormbringer, on the other hand, seems deathly afraid that someone might actually listen to what I have to say. It explains a lot. He spends a lot of time railing about how I am "lying," "wrong," "filled with hate," and so on. This can be explained as trying to get people who have already seen what I say to dismiss me the way he would like. On the other hand, he makes sure not to supply his readers with any links, ever, that would lead them to what I actually say and enable them to make up their own minds. In fact, when Google automatically tracks back from when I link to him, he deletes such links because he doesn't want his readers making up their own minds.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Error on Wikipedia

     I found an error on Wikipedia. It can be found here. The formula reads: (pi / (2 * M(1, 4 / s))) - (m * ln(2)) where s = x / (2 ^ m); s > 2 ^ (p / 2); p is the desired bits of precision in the result; and M computes the arithmetic-geometric mean. The formula should be ((pi * (4 / s)) / (2 * M(1, 4 / s))) - (m * ln(2)). I confirmed this empircally, by testing the algorithms to see which one gave the correct result and posted the correction to wiki. After all, if I can confirm that information is incorrect, I don't want the error to stand on wiki. Some people might be relying on this. Unfortunately, it was futile. Someone deliberately restored the error. Perhaps I am overly worried. Anyone who wants to use the algorithm can do a sanity check on the results and see that it is wrong. But it is possible to overlook the fact that correcting the factor will make it work. And I know that I could never arrive at the algorithm from scratch.

Edit: It is perhaps fitting that my rendition had its own error. I was trying to maintain the general format of the formula as stated but thinking in different terms. As x increases without bound {[(pi / 2) * x] / AGM(1, x)} - ln(4 * x) --> 0. (AGM here stands for the arithmetic geometric mean.) My initial thought was in terms of a factor adjustment. However, in the original formula (not my correction) if "4 / s" is changed to "4 * s" it comes out correctly.

Maybe he's met his match

     The fellow who names himself after a black sword has made another post here. It looks to me like he may have met someone who is, in many ways, his equal. (I wouldn't want to be his equal. I hope never to stoop so low.) Black-sword guy called unknown guy an atheist. But... given how he uses the term, that could mean that unknown guy is a christian who doesn't share all the hate for dissent that black-sword guy has.
     "It is indeed unfortunate the this craven little coward cannot back up his (?) accusations, preferring to live in a neurotic, self-created world."
     Wow, that mirrors my opinion of the black-sword guy. As he doesn't identify the unknown guy, I can't even tell if the exchange he describes is real -- although I can't rule it out either. There are a few people at Ray's blog that could match that description; and they are not all christians. But black-sword guy is one of them.
     "This is the problem that I have with the aforementioned antagonist and to many other "new" atheists who claim to love "reason" and "science" is that they have their preconceptions and cannot be shaken by contrary evidence. In fact, contrary evidence is disallowed by default: If it is not offered by an atheist scientist, then it is not science and it is bad reasoning." [Emphasis in original]
     I'm not sure what black-sword guy's objection is. He disallows evidence contrary to his beliefs himself. He has even bragged that he doesn't really read the comments of people who disagree with him. The most he'll do is skim.
     "As I have pointed out before, atheists are demanding proof for the existence of [g]od, but refuse to look at apologetics links or other arguments that are offered because 'I know what it's going to say, and it's dumb.'"
     I don't know about atheists, or even most people that black-sword guy labels as "atheists." But I generally follow a link when I am intrigued. If the summary of an argument looks promising, I will follow the link for more detail. If it looks like I'm being presented with "these links will keep you busy for a few thousand years," then I won't. Black-sword guy will list his position in the links. But that alone does not persuade me that I will find anything of merit should I follow them.
     "If one of the few intellectually honest and courageous (or curious) atheists wants to examine evidence for the existence of [g]od, or for the validity of the Bible, I have apologetics links available near the top of the page, just below that introduction box thingie. Hopefully, you won't be like that coward and dismiss things out of hand just because you're afraid of being proven wrong. Follow where the evidence leads — I dare you."
     Give a quick summary of the evidence or argument so that I can be sure that I'm not chasing a wild goose. I dare you.
     "I try to get these people to think."
     If that is true, he is rather counterproductive.
     "When I catch them in errors of logic, naturally, I get excuses and the equivalent of a rude gesture to prove that they are my intellectual superiors simply because they said so and xtians are big dumb stupidheads. So they get offended because I show them flaws in the way they use the logic that they claim to admire so much."
     Like saying "living in mommy's basement"? I have never seen this guy point out a flaw in reasoning. Then again, if he doesn't actually read people's posts, he's in a rather poor position even to identify such flaws. I have seen him go on insult-fests and wonder why people aren't impressed by his obvious superiority.
     "I've lost count of the number of times I've advised people to dump the hate because it clouds reasoning ability."
     It's a little like the kid in the story who shouted "lvpvslvpvs."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Schweikhart's recent political advert

     I have seen Schweikhart's recent advert. And I am wondering: Does he think his audience is stupid? He makes a big deal about how you shouldn't vote for Mitchell be runs negative ads and the rest of the ad is negative things (or, at least, things Schweikhart considers negative) about Mitchell. Whether you agree with his policy ideas or not, it's hard to miss the fact that he is saying you shouldn't vote for people that rely on attack ads while himself relying on an attack ad.

     Erratum: It seems that name is Schweikert and I misspelled it.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is "freethinker" used as a "reserved word"?

     There is a blogger who names himself after a certain black sword. He seems to object to my belief that christians are not free thinkers. He appears to be under the mistaken impression that I consider "freethought" to be a reserved word that some people are not allowed to use. I do not so think.
     When I say that I don't think that christians can be freethinkers, it is simply a statement of fact. In fact, I will go further and say that christians do not consider freethought desirable. The only reason a christian would even want to call himself a freethinker is because the term has developed a positive connotation in today's society. The idea of "freethought" is simply that no thoughts are forbidden. As near as I can tell, christians do not agree with that. Instead, they believe their god polices thoughts and is right to do so. Certainly there are various people (and groups of people) that police thoughts. And there are many people who call themselves "freethinkers" who are nothing of the kind. Well, the word may have picked up some unnecessary emotional baggage. But the fact is that some people are using the word because they think it sounds good.

     Oh, yes, his most recent post, as I type this, reminds me of the line "don't like abortion? don't have one." It impresses me just as much -- which is not at all. I have no great love for either political party. But, let's face it, the Republicans are not the believers in small government that they pretend to be. Nor, as Stormbringer likes to pretend, do they hold their tongues when there is public advocacy for something they don't like. When there is a rally for something they oppose, they do not just "change the channel." Nor would I expect them to do so. If you do not speak out to oppose what you consider a bad idea, it is more likely to take root.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is it possible to be a christian and a freethinker at the same time?

     There is one christian, of whom I am aware, calling himself a "true freethinker." It seems unlikely that a christian could be a freethinker at all. Christians consider certain types of thoughts to be "thought crimes" and so work actively to suppress some thoughts. As such, their thoughts are not free.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Tests of randomness

     If you do a Google search you can find several sites that have "tests of randomness." Of course, the tests do not actually test the randomness of a source. Is the sequence of bits "0000000000000000" random? It could be, if, say it were generated as the result of my flipping a coin sixteen times and having it come up heads each time. The odds of such an event are a little better than 1 in 66 thousand. Still, the result "0011111011011010" looks more random. Whether a sequence of digits is random depends on how it was generated; and that cannot be tested after the fact.
     The terminology is, in fact, a type of shorthand. It is easier to say "testing randomness" than it is to say "testing statistical results for conformity to the expected range produced by a truly random source." The people who do this know what they are actually doing. Outsiders probably don't often check the sites. Still, I find it interesting.
     One thing I do find objectionable is the fact that they use threshholds that are appropriate when only more limited data are available. The 99% significance level is appropriate for a drug trial in which it is - ah - impractical to use a million test subjects. But it is a simple matter to simulate a billion coin flips using a pseudo-random number generator. The tests could be made more specific without losing sensitivity.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

An interesting interpretation

     One blogger had an interesting interpretation of a proposed New York law (it was vetoed.) He first states, "The intended law 'would have allowed the city to seize cats if they could not be identified by a collar and tag, a tattoo or a microchip containing the owner’s name, address and telephone number...Cats also could have been seized if they were considered to be lost, stray, homeless or abandoned.'" Now, in layman's terms, that means that, if a cat is wandering the streets and the owner cannot be identified or is not in the general vicinity (e.g. moved out of state) the cat could have been impounded. I was under the impression that every city in the country already had a law like that on the books; but maybe it's just for dogs.
     Now, he interprets this as an attempt by "liberals" to "pick the pockets of residents." Presumably this is because it contained a provision by which the owners of the animals would be able to reclaim their animals by paying for the time spent in custody (and presumably buying a collar and tag *rolls eyes*.)
     Personally, I think this fellow is letting his bias cloud his judgement. If the legislation had been proposed by Republicans and included provisions to enter people's homes randomly (to make sure any animals had tags) he would probably be in favor of it.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Do you notice something missing?

     I noticed something missing. Before I posted my comment, I noticed that there was a response by Bahnsen Burner. I thought I could refer to that response when making my own comment. But I was wrong! By the time I hit "Post a Comment," Dan had removed that comment. In all likelihood he planned to say that Blogger simply put it in spam. But if Blogger had put it there, I would not have noticed it. Blogger approved it as a published comment. And Dan disapproved it.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Okay, some comments really are getting tagged as spam.

     I know this because there is a comment by "ZenaT_Pinter2284" that has shown up as spam without my placing it there. Unfortunately, Blogger will not let me mark the comment as "not spam." Instead, it says it is unable to complete the request and gives the error code: bX-r5ghnx.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stormbringer's Hypocrisy

     Stormbringer has decided to do a post about lying. Well, it does seem to be his field of expertise. I thought I'd like to compare his judgements against his actions.
     "Assigning a motive. You don't know what is in someone's heart or mind 'on the fly.'"
     Stormbringer, himself, has assigned to myself and other dissenters the motive of "being filled with hate." When he sees others assign motives, he announces it as lying. Now, for me, it's a harder call. Someone is only lying if he does not believe his own claims. If he really believes what he says (which I do not think is the case with Stormbringer) he is only mistaken -- or, if correct, telling the truth.
     "Putting words into someone's mouth. This can be tricky, too. One one hand, there is the 'Ray is a homophobe,' a complete and deliberate misrepresentation of the contents of the article. The other way is to quote a line in question and saying, 'This seems homophobic to me.'"
     This is a horrible attempt to produce an example to demonstrate his claim. What he has actually given an example of is someone making a judgement. Here's a better example (read: an actual example) of putting words in someone's mouth. Stormbringer admits to having faked responses from what he calls "the main trolls" in his comment section. (He did eventually delete the falsified comments.) That was putting words in their mouth.
     Now, I think he fits his other criteria for lying quite well as well. But that comes from more general experience with him. To make a case, I would have to fill this with many of his statements. But I expect several readers are familiar with Stormbringer and can come to their own conclusions.
     Oh, yes, I will copy this post as a comment to Stormbringer's blog entry. I don't really expect him to do anything other than hit delete. But it gives him the opportunity to be "Withholding the truth." He's deleted my comments before.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Christianity is a trap.

     It should come as no surprise to anyone that reads this blog that I don't think that christianity is true. But I go further than this. Christianity is a trap. It's not even a well-disguised trap. The warnings are rather obvious. Christian leaders and those who try to convert outsiders are called "fishers of men." Well, is anyone confused about what happens to the fish that are caught by fishers? If there is any doubt, I would like to point out that, in the time that the phrase originated, there was no such thing as a catch-and-release program. As if that isn't enough of a warning, christians are called to be "sheep" with Jesus as the "shepherd." Now, I don't know about you. But I have no desire to become mutton. It is no secret that a shepherd is only interested in the well-being of the sheep until he can turn it into meat. So, sure, he protects the sheep from predators. He wants that meal for himself. Seriously, how many bright red warning labels do people need?

Philosophy as a timewaster?

     Yes, our resident clown, Stormbringer, is at it again.
     "Don't get the wrong idea, I am not saying that all philosophy is a waste of time, and reject it out of hand."
     Well, my experience is that he rejects all dissent out of hand. Of course, if I am wrong, people are free to give their evidence why that is so.
     "When discussing the nature of [g]od, or existence, or [g]od's existence, I am not interested in the opinions of the 'great philosophers' for very long. Instead, I believe that people are not interested in reaching the truth."
     Of course he's not interested in the opinions of the great philosophers. These were people who sought to penetrate the unknown and, hopefully, find the truth. But Stormbringer is quite right. Many people are not interested in reaching the truth. They prefer to use some "holy book" and not even think.
     "Me, I prefer to talk like regular people instead of putting my audience off by excessive circumlocution."
     The act of "talking around" an issue can be done without the use of fancy words and obscure terminology. I would argue that Stormbringer's own blog is a perfect example of this point.
     "So, if a discussion turns overly philosophical, don't be surprised if I bail out because I feel that it is self-indulgent and unproductive."
     Given that self-indulgent and unproductive is the general nature of his operation, I must conclude that he has some other reason for bailing out.
     "By the way, there are so many philosophers and philosophies through the ages. One reason for this, it seems to me, is because they are all incomplete. Sure, some are clever and raise some good points. But they haven't arrived at the truth which they allegedly seek."
     Personally, I think this is because truth is more a journey than a destination. Oh, and then he gives the quote "For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles." Let's put that in simpler terms, shall we? Anyone who actually thinks about christianity will come to the conclusion that it is false. The only ones who believe are the ones who do so mindlessly.