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.