Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Atheist Thanksgiving Grace

One solution of how to say grace around the Thanksgiving table.

It comes full circle. First on this blog then made as a YouTube video now embedded here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Creation "Museum" Gets

So thanks now to Teh Professor we find out they that the "museum" security must have been photographing our cars. And according to Ken Ham we need to be prayed for because:
Actually, I believe some of these messages really do reflect what the devil offered Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, “you shall become as gods . . . .”
So Mr. Liar for Jesus, did you photograph all the license plates that had any type of not your brand of True Christian(TM) bumper sticker on it too. How much paranoia do you need to have with guard dogs and "museum" security that resemble Kentucky state troopers. Well probably a lot you are on a mission to deny harsh reality after all.

Although I am offended the science fish on my car didn't make the blog.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


So for the basics met this gentlemen Keith at the Creation "Museum" and one of the conversations was on Intelligent Design. He agreed it was a bad idea. Although for different reasons that me. While we can have completely different ideas on the development of life on Earth at least we can agree that Intelligent Design arguments suck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dialog at the Creation Science Museum. Traffic Laws and Morality

Attending the creozerg at the Creation "Museum", one of the first things that happend is I ended up in a conversation with a couple. I am there in a jacket with my Skeptic pin and my Out Campaign T-shirt. I was photographed in front of the green screen. Normally attendees at the "museum" get some dinosaurs added behind them, for a nominal fee. Somehow it was more ironic to just leave it green. So green is the color of reality.

Dressed as I was it wasn't too long before this couple asked me, "If I didn't believe why did I come out?" I think my answer was "why go to an amusement park." And thus began at least a half hour long conversation. We seemed to cover all the things that creationists want to call evolution. Which would be: evolution, abiogenesis, and big bang cosmology. Of course we also end up talking about things like geology, development of morality, and traffic laws. Yes, traffic laws. I seems way too many creationists have tried to blur the line between natural/scientific laws and criminal and civil laws. Generally summed up in the statement how can you have a law without a law giver. So for them it seems no god equals no existence of natural laws, and therefore a completely random universe. Well, a universe with no consistency and no order is probably one we could not developed in. Therefore by the Anthropic Principle we need to have some type of order in the universe.

The conversation turned rather bizarre in that they were asking me how did traffic laws evolve. Duh, we made them up because we needed them. For the longest time we had feet and horses and wagons. Probably not too complex to get along, and if accidents happen, well they happen at low enough speeds not to be a big deal. Now as soon as we had enough cars moving at fast enough speeds we had to come up with some rules. Is going 5 miles over the speed limit immoral? No. Is going 100 miles over? Well yes and no. I don't know if I would ever consider speeding by itself immoral. Speeding where you are showing reckless regard for the safety of yourself and others, seems like it would be. Actually here you have a good example of moral relativism. Can I give you an absolute freeway speed that is good or bad, no. But we can come up with rules that solve the problems better than others.

This is were we also entered the concept of group selection in evolution. All of us have some innate revulsion against killing. Also two very universal taboos are against incest and pedophilia. Why do those taboo exist? Probably because stone age tribes that didn't have them didn't do too well and were out competed by tribes who did. I pointed out to this couple, animals that have dominance contests, such as moose compete by knocking their antlers together. If you wanted to kill the other animal goring it in the side would be more effective. This would however leave a lot of dead in the herd whereas just locking antlers, solves the problem of creating a hierarchy without death.

The question that kept coming up in the conversation for items like this. "Well how do those animals know." The concept that they don't but the ones who didn't adapt this way aren't around don't seem to fit into their head. They are back to looking for the lawgiver.

The conversation ended with them saying I was smart and well read, but they didn't want to study so many books for their morals when they already had one. The very real problem seems to be their mind is made up and just don't confuse them with the facts. The Creation "Museum" is ready made for them because it re-enforces their world view and makes them think it is rational and scientific without making them think too hard.

And oddly enough makes them question morals that are almost universal like incest.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Triceritops with Saddles

On Friday I attended the Creation "Museum" along with about 285 other Atheists and Agnostics from the Zerg that PZ Myers created by posting his planned visit on his blog, Pharyngula. It was suggested the we take as much photos and video as we could of the place. I picked up a Flip video camera and this was its maiden voyage. Talk to the right people about the Tricerotops, and the above clip just writes itself.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

An Atheist Thanksgiving Grace

I was sitting in a mall food court of all places a couple days ago and this thinking is there a proper grace for atheists to say over a meal. This is what came to me:

We give thanks to the sun and the ashes of stars. The sunlight for growing the food the nourishes us or that fed the animals that nourished us. The ashes of stars that provided the matter of the solar system and ultimately us. In the act of eating we reconnect with the universe and billions of years of history. We also give thanks for a brain that is conscious of this connection. Perhaps one of the rarest things in the universe.

From the stars we come and the stars we return from now until the end of time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Guerrilla Skepticism

The forces of evil are all around me even at work. In this case it is what could be laughably called the company health fair. This is what happens when you have a crediphile who is a pilates instructor and a believer in too much new age B.S. help organize. And it clearly shows how much critical thinking skills the HR department has.

OK, so what exactly happened. First the good, you get some represenatatitves from some local gyms come out to try and drum up membership, and even have a few give aways. Some pampheletes from the American Cancer Society and some recipe books from Whole Foods Market and some fruits, juices, and nuts.

Now the bad, we get the other type of nut out there, or more accurately the quacks. The hit of the fair was this guy with this machine from Pharmanex. The machine is called a biophotonic scanner and it is supposed to measure the levels of cartinoids in your system to determine the levels of anti-oxidants in your system. Basically this is to see if the vitamins you are taking are working. Of course, if the scan is low these wonderful people will have all the wonderful vitamins you can take to boost your anti-oxidant levels.

I asked the other person workin with this machine, an acupuncturist, if there were any double-blinded studies on this machine. He said that there were plenty on the website. I looked. I couldn't find anything other than marketing type puff pieces.

Looking through about 5 pages worth of Google searches, I still couldn't find anything other than a clue that this seemed to be another MLM company. Then I found more here. So the most impressive presentation at the fair is from the person using a machine of which I have not seen any evidence of giving any useful date. Even better from their literature I see the following paragraph:
The SCS [Skin Cartenoid Score] will help you determine where you are consuming an adaquate amount of antioxidant containing nutrients. Unlike other biomarkers that you may be familiar with, it does not predict or diagnose disease.

Interesting. Let us now procede to translate bullshit into english:

The SCS score aparently has no validation by the FDA or any legitimate studies so we are not going to make any specific medical claims lest we get busted by the FDA.

Oh, I did get tested by the magic machine. Normal, which they claim is low is 19,000 by their apparently unvalidated numbers and probably no peer reviewed "research." What did I score? 32,000. This is good but the goal should be somewhere above 40,000. Now to be honest they didn't really push any vitamins while I was there, but I do see I can purchase their great LifePak vitamins directly billed for only $52.10 a month. Wow, and I get a pretty good score by trying to eat more fruits and vegtables and taking a CVS housebrand multivitamin that at a cost of $15 that should last me untl 2007.

Now where does the guerrilla skepticism come in. Simple when I saw the fair's A-list was going to be a bunch of quacks I went out to Steven Barrett's Quackwatch site. And printed out a few things quickly made 20 or 50 flyers on the office copier and tossed them on the table with a bunch of the other "literature." You might try this at work as well.

So what is some of the good bits of info I found. You might check these out:

To combat the acupuncturist I set out this:

Acupuncture, Qigong, and "Chinese Medicine"

And for the vitamin pushers this was good:

Dietary Supplements: Appropriate Use

Antioxidants and Other Phytochemicals: Current Scientific Perspective

Until next time, Non illigitamus carborundum. I know I'm trying.