The Pretzel God

Ham-Nye-debate-in-a-nutshell-via-exploring-our-matrixI found myself once again engaged in that never-to-be-solved conversation with a creationist, commonly referred to as a YEC’er (young-earth creationist). That such conversations are tedious is obvious. I never sought it, rather the usual folks just have to respond when you make fun of their favorite belief.

The other day I posted  a thing from Buzzfeed, which merely and perfectly objectively showed the “questions” that some YEC’ers would have asked Bill Nye after attending the “debate” at the Creation “Museum” run by Ken Ham. Ken Ham is either a silly lunatic who believes the nonsense that spews from his mouth, or he is a grifter. I’m not quite sure which.

Actually Buzzfeed, I now find, has answered these 22 questions, sometimes humorously, but always factually as far as my knowledge goes. My post was met by, not a reasoned response but the highly laughable video created by one Ray Comfort called Evolution vs God. In it Ray confronts a few professors but mostly students and demands that they produce a “change of kinds” that he can see, peppered with the now standard question, “were you there?” The upshot seems to be the rather bizarre notion that Ray has that if “you were not there, you can’t prove it happened.”

Now we already know Ray from his enormous boo-boo in the Banana Proof, calling it the “evolutionist’s nightmare. Here Ray tells us that the banana is clear evidence of something created by God just to fit the hand of the human being. We will skip his retraction when he learned about how the banana has been altered by humans and no longer resembles what it did originally and well, how monkeys of course seem to have hands that work pretty darn good too in eating bananas.

Now I did not watch the famous debate between Nye and Ham. Both sides undoubtedly have not changed their mind one whit nor anyone elses. Both sides will claim victory. That Ham, as I’ve been told, made lots of assertions without any proof such as “it is not proven that the earth is old”, when it clearly is, is par for the course.

The reality of all this is that the only real loser here was Intelligent Design. Actually I was a bit surprised to learn that the ID folks hate the YEC folk. See, the ID people actually in some cases are scientists, and they are trying mightily, though usually falling short, in bringing some actual science to the discussion. They, for instance, don’t believe at all in a young earth. They simply believe in a grand master God who created such things that they say are “irreducibly complex”–God is the designer of such things as the eye , and the blood clotting cascade. So Ham really screwed them  in their longed for resurrection from the damned which occurred in the case of Tammy Kitzmiller, et al vs. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707, Docket no. 4cv2688).

The meme above gives voice to the real problem with these fringe fundamentalists. And fringe is what I do mean. While Ham and his cohorts often tout the “fact” that nearly 50% of all Americans believe in creationism, that is not at all accurate. As with all polling, how the question is framed matters greatly. When you get to the extreme of a Ham–the earth is only a few thousand years old, ditto the universe, and Adam and Eve were the original humans, and the bible (usually only the KJV translation) is the literal word of God–we are talking about something less than 10% of the population.

The problem is this: faith is a matter of belief. People who assert (and it’s always these ultra uber “Christians” or extreme fundamentalists who do) that they are “positive” “sure” “absolutely certain” that what they belief is true, are deluded by their own arrogance. Faith is belief. More clearly it is belief in the face of doubt. Some of the most famous of saints struggled the most with their faith–languishing for years in doubts and questioning. Ironically, if God were as the uber fundies contend–a god of judgment, they would fail. It is no great thing to believe what is proven. Faith is believing in spite of doubt. I suspect a god of judgment would favor the one who believes in spite of doubt rather more than the one who believed because he was convinced the proof was complete. Don’t the atheists do as much?

Worse, the YEC’er likes to claim that they “follow the word of God”, in other words, they do the bidding of God which is clearly set out in their translation. But this is false. For the bible is not something that is capable of one and only one meaning, not in its sum or in its parts. It is an interpretive document, informed by many other disciplines. For instance the word na ‘ar in Hebrew literally means “youth”. The word zaqen literally means “old”. However it would be a mistake to conclude that a youth is younger than an old person. For from learning about the sociology of ancient Israel, we learn that the term youth is attached to any male not yet head of a household, while old is attached to any male who is head of a household. Thus a na ‘ar can be older than a zaquen. (From Method Matters: Essays on the Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, “Sociological Approaches: Toward a Sociology of Childhood in the Hebrew Bible” pg. 262,[Society of Biblical Literature: Atlanta, 2009]

Fundamentalists will deny all this simply because they truck in being able to discern the meaning of scripture by reading it. In that way it is they who believe in the “their own vain thoughts”, not the scholar who knows that the texts are not literal in nature, and that translation and context mean everything to meaning. God is twisted in the fundamentalist mind to fit what the mind needs Her to be.

My fundamentalist opponent dropped her side of the conversation after I produced any number of critiques of Ray Comfort’s silly video. That is the way of all such people, for in the end, they have no facts that they can articulate beyond scraps of talking points that they essentially don’t understand in the first place. She left with this parting shot, from Matthew 7:6:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast
ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them
under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Ironically, it is one of the more controversial passages from the Sermon on the Mount, and there is much disagreement of what it means. But I’m betting she is sure what it means. And that says it all.

Did You Know That. . . .?

Thinker_thumbA lot of disparate thoughts travel through this brain case I can safely inform you. You know me well enough to recognize the dangers of entering into my sandbox of synaptic pleasures. I’m either hopelessly unfocused or a cobbled together unrecognized genius. Some days it’s more one, other days, well.

I’ve come to see it as a blessing of sorts. At least I try to see it that way. I should have been a college professor, but of course that but begs the question–on what subject?

Any the hoo, I have a lot of thoughts about Syria but not a lot of coalesced conclusions, so I’ll beg off at the moment. Is it too trite and cowardly to just say, I’m conflicted?

I had a bizarre discussion with fellow high-school mates about the issue of spanking as discipline which proved to me once again how easy it is to stay with ideas that are both comfortable and supported by simplistic memes that denote little if any critical thinking. More and more I conclude that indeed advances in the human condition are the result of a very few minds indeed, and put into place by mostly brain-dead human hordes who are spoon fed some “reason” for implementing them.

If all that sounds rather cloudy and vague, well, it’s a cloudy and vague day here in Las Cruces. It’s been raining off and on for several days, which is highly unusual, at least for us recent arrivals–we saw so little rain last year that it made one appreciate water as a life-giving commodity surely. This year, we were told, as of Monday at least we had not yet received four inches of the wet stuff, and we might get at least that during this week. Since the desert is nothing but sand covering a rock hard-pan, the danger in these parts is floods in low-lying areas. Water races to its lowest place and rushes along, making gullies and rivulets through the desert. These become ditches or arroyos as we call them here, and eventually the Grand Canyon if you can stick around that long.

So anyway, here are some things I’ve read this week that you might find interesting.

horse_1456083iVlad, who appears to be in the driver’s seat at the moment internationally that is, has some things to say and said them in the NYTimes.

It’s an interesting “open letter to the American people“. Part propaganda, part history lesson, part chutzpah, it is worth a couple of minutes to read.

Having a power mad ex-president of the Communist party and ex-KGB officer, Putin deigns to give America a lesson in democracy. One can but admire the rich irony of that alone!

What he has to say about the subject of exceptionalism is worth reading. There is truth in those words.

As I said, my thoughts on the subject of Syria are unclear. That Putin wants to be a “player” is clear. What it will cost is not so clear.

A man so determined to show off his “masculinity” bespeaks something surely. What that is, I am not at all sure of.

 

¤

geniusI did mention the possibility that I am a hidden genius didn’t I?

That is almost surely a good reason for concluding that I am not.

Like “hero” we bandy about the word genius rather loosely these days.

If you would like to read an interesting take on what genius is and is not, then read I Dream of Genius over at Commentary. I found it a good read.

At least you can see if those you think of as geniuses are what the author does.

¤

If you would like to look at the mind in a different way, a more evolutionary way perhaps then you might want to pick up a new book out there by E. O Wilson, emeritus professor of biology at Harvard.

If you are unsure of whether you want to invest in The Social Conquest of Earth, then you can read through a review of the book from The Spectator.

HINT: once more we are compared to insects. All it all, it looks worthy of some good reading and some very good thinking ahead if you opt in. The review is not favorable on Wilson’s book. See if you agree. In either case, it seems a worthwhile read.

¤

Cosmic archaeology, need I say more?

Some say that aliens have looked and found us. But there is a thriving scientific community that spends its time looking for them. This is way more than looking for Goldilocks planets my friends, much more.

This is the type of scientific speculation that leads young boys and girls to dream of going into space, and leads them to enrolling in our best science and technology universities.

Come and dream for a few minutes. What can it hurt?

Go and read Distant Ruins.

¤

What happens when we both hear and see something? Do these two senses work together to enhance our fact gathering?

Is there a hierarchy of the senses? Do some matter more? Does one?

Oh I’m sure in the late recesses of a bleak and cold winter’s night, you too have asked this question.

So go and get the answer: Who did you hear, Me, or your lying eyes?

HINT: You might just have been McGurked!

¤

Another thing I imagine you’ve given a lot of thought to is why we are so fascinated by the lives of the writers we read and admire. I mean how much has been written about the life of Hemingway for instance? Are we not enthralled with the secret world of Proust, or Dickinson? How about Emerson or Fitzgerald? Balzac? Oh come now, you know you are curious.

A biography writer, shares some thoughts on what we can and cannot learn about those whose words cause us to depart this reality and enter another, one that sometimes we would rather inhabit.

Good reading here.

¤

Finally, if you have ever had the occasion to be “linked” to a “scientist” or other “expert” on something like global warming or evolution, or biblical literalness, American exceptionalism, the Judeo-Christian roots of American government, or similar things, you know what you are up against.

If you had the resources and or time to do the research,  you would almost surely find that most of these experts are anything but. Some our out-and-out failures who can be bought for a price, others are traveling into areas for which they have no formal expertise at all, and others are simply grifters, ready always to make a buck upholding any cockamamie “theory” that comes down the pike.

There is a great little site called Encyclopedia of American Loons. You can look up the biography of a startlingly large group of imposters and get the real low down on what they know and don’t know. An invaluable site. Since they seem to be novice bloggers I asked to them add the widget for a search engine and they have. Now you can enter a name and find out if they have bio’ed him or her. Or if you just want some fun reading, just go read a few.

So, now that I have solved all your reading needs for the weekend, I’ll leave you to it, with promises of more to come.

 

Preachin’ and Teachin’ and Face Palming to the Point It Hurts

beatadeadhorseI am singularly aware that I bang a drum slowly, preach to the choir, and will change not one mind. Those minds that need to change, I fear are so atrophied by lack of use at this point as to be irredeemable.

However, why should that stop me?

I preach because in the great unwashed population, I sense a great number of hanger-ons, barely listening, hardly conscious of that which is beyond their own field of vision. They are the “average” person in American, and perhaps in the world. People so busy making ends meet, schedules kept, children raised to do more than gnaw raw bones on the front lawn, that they have little time for other “stuff”.

In other words, what polls show is perhaps hiding the truth rather than exposing it. I speak of yesterdays revelation from the PPP poll, to the question of whom is to blame for Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath? Nearly a third, 29% thought that Obama was to blame, while ONLY 28% thought George Bush was. A full 44% had no clue.

Now, this means but one thing. Twenty-nine percent of the people in Louisiana are dumber than the dirt they stand upon. Or are they? Granted, those that truly believe this, well they are lost to us. They should be kept in locked houses, taken for walks on leashes, and fed a low-fat diet and given a few chew toys for amusement. A car ride once in a while will suffice to keep them happy.

But I reckon those are just a few. I would hope that they are no more than 10% of the fine people of Louisiana (I reserve judgement on say, Alabama, where the number might be much higher however *wink*.) Most, I would argue, are that group from above, that are barely aware of what day of the week it is. Syria is “some place over there” and “the war to end all wars” was that movie with Tom Cruise. Asking them a serious policy question is akin to asking the average three-year-old what they think of Keynesian economics versus those espoused by Friedman and the Chicago school.

See, it really doesn’t matter what “they” think, since thinking is an experience they have had precious little experience with.

Do we stop there and just go on about grown-up business therefore? Do we just ignore the vast array of childlike innocence portrayed by much of the hard right?

Unfortunately not. I say unfortunately, because gosh darn, lots of people flourish in relative happiness in their ignorance. Some say (Thomas Gray to be specific–go look it up) ignorance is bliss. They might well be right. It’s all fine if everyone has an opinion on everything under the sun and above it for that matter, with one tiny proviso:

THOSE WITH AN ELFIN MIND HAVE NO BUSINESS IN THE PUBLIC’S BUSINESS, I.E., THEY SHOULD NOT BE VOTING ON ANYTHING BEYOND WHAT COLOR TO PAINT THE NEW SWING SET AT THE TOWN PARK!

That said, the rub is, who decides, and what are the standards. I leave it there, for I admittedly have no answers. Feel free to mingle and talk among yourselves.

That the issue is however reaching critical proportions is evident by a few of the following statistics:

  1. Forty-six percent of Americans would agree that God made humans pretty much as they are today.
  2. Only 58% of Americans see climate change as a problem, DOWN from 63% in 1989.
  3. Eighteen percent believe that the sun revolves around the earth.
  4. Twenty-five percent believe that vaccines cause autism.
  5. Seventeen percent believe Obama is a secret Muslim.

I could go on with a list that would run to several pages of idiotic things that Americans believe. One can find lists of urban legends that denote the belief that Obama is gay, lost his license to practice law in Illinois from some mysterious illegal thing. There are plenty of folks who don’t believe we ever landed on the moon, plenty believe that aliens walk among us, and so on and on.

Most of it doesn’t matter.

But it matters a great deal when it has to do with evolution and our need for continued funding in medicine, geology, and many other disciplines that help us understand disease and how we can stop it. It matters a great deal when it has to do with our response to the increasing danger of man-made climate change, something that 95% of all scientists engaged in this study now believe. (Ninety-seven percent believe in that we are in a time of global warming man-made or otherwise.) It matters because in North Carolina, scientists and their predictions about increased sea levels are PREVENTED from being used by state planners in determining the future allocation of funds to protect the shore lines. DID YOU READ THAT? They are prevented from considering SCIENCE in making decisions about the future of their coastline!

As to evolution and climate change, millions upon millions have been spent in order to convince people that these things are untrue. The evolution deniers write books, create museums, and prepare homeschooling material for profit. They have a great desire to increase the number of people who “don’t believe in science”. The same is true of fossil fuel producers. They are almost the sole funders of the “science” that passes for anti-climate change. They have everything to lose by a weaning of American off of fossil fuels and a turn toward green energies.

We, on the other hand, present the evidence, but we don’t spend a lot of money to spread the word. We have been content mostly to giggle at the “stupid” people and pay no further attention. But they are voting, and they are electing people who are prepared, through either their own dumbness or because it’s lucrative to them, to speak for them, and against truth.

We can no longer remain quiet. We must beat the drum, loudly, rapidly, and continuously, until we break through the thick shell of “I don’t have time for that” mentality that affects probably 80% of our people.

I learned a new term today. Lysenkoism. It happened in Russia, or more properly the Soviet Union, when it attempted to veer off the evolution track into their own sort of biology that gave the results they wanted rather than where the science drove them.

It means:

the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.

This is what we face in America. And we cannot assume or wait for our ignorant friends to “learn from history”, they won’t because they won’t expend the time to learn anything. Fox with its few seconds of sound bites is the most they can absorb, and only that when it is repeated continuously all day and all week long.

We, who can and do think. We, who do read, and do so critically,  and across the board of left to right, must be the voice that repeats the message again and again until we drown out those voices of personal gain who would lead our society to ruin for their own benefit, who would teach our children ideologies rather than science and truth.

This is why we beat the dead horse.

 

The Funky World of Creationism

creationismCreationist people are funny. I mean that literally. It’s only fair, they take everything literally too. Well, sort of. It’s a well-known fact and easily provable, that creationists only take what they like in the bible literally–the rest, they ignore.

I continue to post really great stuff on Facebook, most of it from scientists who happen to also be believers. I spread it around. There are Catholics, and Lutherans, and Presbyterians, you know, mainstream religious folks. And they all point out the silliness of trying to claim that the earth was formed in six days.

Normal people nod their heads and wonder what all the fuss is about, since logic is a part of daily life you know. I mean if evolution were not true, then when the human genome project was completed, there would have been a hue and cry of world-wide proportions had the DNA not supported our evolution from “lesser”beings. As it turns out, we learned something we had not thought true–some homo-sapiens today actually have DNA from Neanderthals in their bodies, proof that a more primitive humanoid actually mated with those who would ultimately become us.

All this is beyond the average creationist of course, since they are unable to wrap their compartmentalized minds around actual facts. Life is so much simpler when you simply decide what would make you happy and then “make it so” in your mind. There are dozens of shysters out there willing to take you money in return for a good sounding story that meets your needs.

bothsidesOf course, such mindless ones are also prone to “doubt” anything else that they find troubling in their white-centric (and that is most always the case) world. They stout-fastly deny that the earth as portrayed in the bible is FLAT and that the “heavens” are a dome which keeps out the “waters” which surround everything. No, that doesn’t work for them, so literalism takes a flying leap off the edge on that one.

Since I was peppering the Facebook page with a lot of actual *gasp* science, one of our creationist types figured to “get enlightened” so on the advice of others of her myopic kind, she ordered her some books from a site that specializes in helping people remain god-awful ignorant of the truth.

And she read them.  Or at least tried to.

And then she told the Facebook crowd all about what she had learnt. It had to do with “if the earth was so old then we would all be buried under tons of cosmic dust”, and something about you know crab nebula only occurring once every 100 years, so where are they all? And if you count people the right way, and not the scientific way, somehow, it comes down to just 2 people some 6,000 + years ago. General junk like that.

Which proved that not only did she not think of any of this stuff herself, she didn’t understand most of what she read in the first place.

vignetta creazionismoAfter I had deciphered the “arguments” I went to the science. Most of the really good and big ones just have an archive of these silly assertions and a scientific proof to explain the errors.  (Talk Origins is great for this by the by should you get asked one of these “yeah so, explain this” questions).

Some of you may recall that there was a thing that ran around Facebook a few weeks ago about a test given to grade schoolers about “science” and most thought it a joke, until the school system (a Christian school) fessed up and said it was theirs. Anyway, at the end, was a question which tells you that this is all about indoctrination and not about actual science. The question was “And what do we say when people tell us that the earth is millions of years old?”

The answer is “Were you there?” Yeah that’s what crazy fundie parents are teaching our children to say in response to a scientific fact. And lo and behold that question also exists on the Talk Origins “creationist arguments”.

I found every single one of the lady’s “arguments” on Talk Origins. They are simplistic and easily dispelled. The offerer of course doesn’t understand a thing about what they just regurgitated. They aren’t meant to. They are happy to find somebody who agrees with them, who writes in a way that sounds all scientific-y, and is not understandable by them certainly. (This makes it likely to be true).

I cited scientific responses and the appropriate links to read the truth in full. (By the way NCSE is another great site for scientific responses and information on evolution and climate change).  Of course there was no response from the creation lady.

When I asked for her sources, since her arguments were not hers but something she admittedly read in a book, I got the stonewall. “You won’t read them anyway!” she whined. No of course I’m not going to line the pockets of a charlatan, but I will look up his name and read reviews of his book(s) and alert others where to go to read about his credentials.

But she won’t give them to me. Plagiarism is a darn sight less dangerous in her eyes than giving her sources up to scrutiny by others.

Truth is scary stuff to some.

I suppose next she will be telling me that Revelation is all about the Catholic Church being the beast. That seems to be the level where those of her kind end up.

What does all this mean?

Not much. It is just that willful ignorance of this sort is that voice that I hear that tells me that these folks shouldn’t be allowed to vote, and definitely not raise children. They should be set down on farms far away from normal people where they can engage in their fantasies without harming others.

But then that conflicts with the other voice that tells me that I don’t approve of limits to who can vote (heck given their level of duh, I figure we couldn’t go too wrong with letting chimps vote either), and I don’t think we want to go down the road of who can procreate either.

The nice thing is that the two voices conflict and I have to resolve the dilemma, something the fundie mind can avoid. So far I come down on the side of freedom, but if these people don’t stop annoying me with their nonsense, well, I might be persuaded to at least make chocolate unavailable to them. I mean it’s a treat they should be denied, just for being so darn goofy.

Creationists

What a Difference a Mind Makes

witchcraftYou know it’s really funny. Prepare you face for it. To laugh that is.

When I talk about faith or religion here, it brings out the new atheists and their smarmy yak-yak about believing in fairy tales. When I talk about faith or religion on my actual religion blog, Walking in the Shadows, I sometimes get folks who deign to explain to me that I’m not practicing the right kind of Christianity from their point of view.

Yesterday, I was asked, after making a number of statements regarding various fairly technical aspects of Christian theology (atonement theory, faith/works), the sort of things that some of us love to discuss, whether I was a “follower” of Jesus.

I guess it caught me oddly since I can’t imagine why anyone would spend all that much time on a subject of which they had no interest. But then I thought of a few rather well-known scholars who had started their studies in faith, and then lost it, and remained in the discipline. So I guess it wasn’t so odd.

Which brought me to the well-known principle that on just about every subject known to man and woman, people see things very differently. To this person’s mind at least, because I didn’t believe as she did, I must not be a follower of Jesus as she was. There was one way to follow Jesus, and I wasn’t doing it.

Similarly, whether it be economics or climate change, or any of a host of human and worldly problems, you discover that people have views that seem idiotic to you. Yet, when you talk to them, they have the same passion as you do. They are just as sure. Well, I guess that’s not totally true. I always figure that I’m never totally sure about much of anything. Doubt to me is part of the package. Those who are diametrically opposed to what I think, they seem to be very sure.

Therein lies the rub as Shakespeare was wont to say. The “follower of Jesus” if asked, would assure me that her belief is absolute, without question. That seems to me to be the total opposite of faith. For to me, faith is such in the face of doubt. It’s a choosing to believe even when there is no proof that you are right, just no proof that you are wrong.

It led me to conclude that that is probably true about most people who are given to being “absolutely sure”.  I’m also engaged with a very reactionary type who is “very sure” there is no such thing as global warming. Even though logically he can’t be, since he has no training in any science even remotely related to the subject. He is adamant that he is right, because the people he aligns himself with say what he wants to be true.

A scientist will tell you that you can’t be absolutely sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. Something catastrophic could always happen. Is it true that only the reactionary right are “sure” about things? I wonder.

I’m not completely sure where this comes from. One can refer to the fundamentalist mind. People think it refers to super conservative church people, but it actually is a mindset. It refers to a person who likes things in neat little boxes, all tidy and a whole world gets constructed of rights and wrongs. Once they have established this nice world, they can finally relax, they have all the answers. Nobody is allowed to jeopardize that with actual facts to the contrary. They must be defeated, and they are, by naming them as suspect. They are “purveyors of lies”, they are “Marxists” or “socialists” or “one-world government” nuts. They are hucksters conspiring  to obtain grants based on known falsehoods, for the “money”. (of course nobody explains how tens of thousands are all in on this conspiracy and waste their careers getting grants to do things they know already are false). Nobody explains the lack of logic of it all.

One can refer to self-interest, and that explains a lot too. When you poke at the angry all too sure person, they generally erupt in a retort of “we’re going to be taxed to death, and all for nothing!” That is the crux of the issue when you puncture the pus-filled wound they carry around with them. They hate taxes, hate everything they perceive is keeping them from retaining every dime they make.

That is why the GOP mantra is so attractive. They not only support the angry right and it’s desire to pay less taxes, they give them all the reasoning as to why they need not feel guilty about it either. If you show them statistics that prove that raising the minimum wages doesn’t result in an uptick in the unemployment numbers and that it results in raising up the wages of all workers, they retort with a firm “no it doesn’t, all it does it deny poor black kids a chance at a job, and perpetuate poverty, which is all Democrats want because then they have a ready-made electorate who want those handouts.”

It’s so nice when people tell you aren’t racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or wrong period. It’s nice to be told that you are right in denying full rights to gay couples because “God wants it that way.” Nice to deny SNAP to women and children because it just “encourages laziness and relying on the government”. It’s nice to  leave the planet in a mess to the next generation because a few opportunists are willing to assure you that it’s really okay and you shouldn’t be scammed by and forced to pay more taxes to encourage green technology.

So, add another point to how to determine when you are hearing the truth, or when you are hearing what somebody wants you to believe for their own purposes. Are they sure? If they are, and they don’t have the background to make that determination, look for something else at play, and tread carefully when you make your decision of what you believe.

Belief and surety are not the same.

I’m Arabically Dsylexic He Cried

timeWe start with the faux reality that time is and ever was and not a function of space. After all, it is called the SPACE-TIME continuum is it not? This is the reality that the Contrarian lives within, where time has always existed. This somehow makes him comfortable rather than the TRUTH which is that time has no meaning unless it has something to relate to like MATTER and SPACE!

Okay, calm yourself. That is hardly the story here.

You see, it is the Contrarian’s JOB to get up in the morning, turn on my coffee and wake me gently at 5:45 a.m. so that I can have a few sips of coffee with Morning Joe before I am hauled into the desert for romping with Diego. Simple enough, right?

So, this morning, I turn over in my usual, half-dream state and just start to settle into my favorite left-leg over right leg and head snuggled into the pillow supported by my right arm which is at a 85° angle to my shoulder. Too much information? Oh, well okay.

So, just as I am settling, as I said, I hear, “babe, it’s 5:45!”

After cursing my birth, the universe, and time itself I start to roll to a sitting position, whereupon I am assaulted with the slobbery kisses of aforementioned dog, who whines quite clearly, “let’s not be late, I have bushes to pee on!”

I thereafter engage in all the processes of which you are no doubt not interested, until I have reached the point of making the bed, whereupon said Contrarian shuffles into the bedroom and whispers, “I was a little off,  about an hour,” and scurries away ducking and dodging to avoid being hit in the head with whatever might be at hand.

I curse. I fume. I cry.

I look at the clock for the first time, having until now been confident that a 62-year-old-man can be entrusted to so simple a task. Yes, it is now, 4:50 a.m.

So I endured an hour of the dog, “is it time yet?”

I got more than a few sips of coffee.

I got to see more of Morning Joe than I’ve seen in months.

As I prepared to take the walk, I wandered into his office.

“You owe me big time you know,” I assured him.

“But it’s not my fault. I’m Arabically dyslexic! I had all the numbers right, just in the wrong order.”

“The numbers are 5:45, and you woke me at 4:40 to be exact, how is that the same numbers?” I queried.

“Well, dyslexia is like that you know, it’s a most mysterious syndrome. I can’t be held responsible for such a troublesome malady.” He actually smiled at this, figuring that once again, he’d managed to come up with an air-tight excuse for his mistake.

“Find me flash cards online! I’m starting Diego’s number recognition training as soon as possible,” I sighed.

The halo GOD, if you please!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

Or, at least meanwhile.

Las Cruces, while incredibly sane and rational as cities go, has its supply of idiots, managing to exist within its environs. Take this little ditty from the local Sun-News. A man called police to report a crime. The crime? The prostitute he had hired stiffed (oh please) him out of ten minutes. Police calmly sympathized and got his location. They sent a car. Imagine his surprise when the cuffs went on him.

Meanwhile, government forces sprayed the crowd that had accumulated at the capital. Cairo? Damascus? Um, no. Try Lansing, Michigan.

It seems the GOP, unable as usual to read the tea leaves, handwriting on the wall, or any other metaphor for JUST PLAIN FRACKING STUPID, are trying to pass right to work legislation in a state that is pretty much noted for its unions. So when people came out to protest this action, the Governor ordered, first the capital closed, and then when that didn’t disperse the crowds of protestors, he had them sprayed. Yeah, the GOP has nothing left in the tank but stupid.

Meanwhile, somebody did a study and decided where the best place to be born is. Hint: it ain’t the US of A. In fact, the US is not even in the top 10. It used to be. But no more. I’m sure the far-right will blame that on the black guy in the White House. But of course we know better.

By the by, if you think all search engines are the same? No they are not. I did a search on the above story because I heard it on the news. Ask.com provided me with NO good links. Google gave me three immediately. I have no clue about Bing? Do you have a favorite search engine? Why? Grades will be given so show your work.

If you ask me, the best place to be born right this minute is Washington state. The legalization of pot went into effect at midnight or something, and well, the whole state looked pretty darn happy to me. Just sayin’.

See, I’m a big mouth. I gotta waste your time with my chatter. I think you NEED my opinion. Squatlo Rant just gives you the cartoons and lets your think for yourself. Go and enjoy yourself. I’ll stay here and keep talking.

Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate. Hurrah, Goodbye, Don’t let the door hit you in the rear. Another Tea NUT gone. Slight uptick in the IQ of the Senate. I didn’t know it was possible for the Heritage Foundation to sink to a lower low, but it has.

Speaking of people who can’t count–Mitch “The Turtle” McConnell pops to the fore. Seems the dope called for an up or down vote on the president having the authority to raise the debt ceiling on his own. Except that when he finished counting, he didn’t have the votes to win. So when Harry Reid called for the vote, Mitchy Mucho Muttonhead filibustered his own motion. And they say animals are stupid. I bet a few species could give old Mitch a run for his money.

Okay, I’ll shut up.

Until tomorrow.

When my mouth runneth over once more.

What Time is It?

 

 

If you want to start a fight in my house, just mention TIME. Yes, you heard me, I said time.

While neither the Contrarian nor myself have a degree in astrophysics or quantum physics or even the Dummies Diploma of Basic Astronomy, just mention the issue of whether time is real or not, and the feathers start to fly. (or fur)

Now Einstein said time was relative–it moved faster or slower depending on how close one approached the speed of light. And time slows down at the event horizon of a black hole. Every knows that. Steven Hawking wrote a book called the History of Time, though I’m not sure which side of the fence he sits on regarding the reality of the concept.

I would suggest that the Contrarian lacks the imagination to see the possibility that time is a human construct. It is a way of measuring change and movement in sequential bits. Before the Big Bang, (if you posit the non-existence of parallel or multiple universes), there was NOTHING, so no way to measure it.

Think of it this way: You die. In ten years you are dead. In three million years you are dead. To you, it is irrelevant. You are just as dead.

So to me, it seems realistic to imagine a “time” of no time, and a future of “no time” when our universe ceases to exist. I don’t have any problem with it.

The Contrarian, on the contrary, (*snicker*) sees time as independent of anything, and that it goes blithely on regardless of whether there is anyone there to notice.

Now scientists of the physicist persuasion, differ on this issue themselves. Some see an infinite growth of universes, such that time is eternal. Others see it the right way, as I do. No judgment of course.

So anyways that is my take on the issue. I want to be sure that my opinion is noted for the future when all this is sorted out. I’m sure that it will matter which side you are on.

It appears that when you take the stupidity of your constituents for granted, that well, you might as well go all the way.

If you recall, the Willard and his merry men of mincemeat, decided to take a Obama remark completely out of context a few weeks ago. “You didn’t build this” was said in the context of reminding us all, that the infrastructure that supports us all in our daily lives from roads and bridges to sewers, water pipes and so forth were things that helped business owners in their growth and prosperity. Most businesses could not in fact have built their businesses if they had to pay for roads to carry their goods, and sewer systems and so forth.

Willard, dependent as he is on lies, distorted that and claims that Obama actually said, that people didn’t in fact build their own businesses, but others built it for them. Of course that’s not true, and would be a ludicrous thing to claim. But no matter.

The GOP has decided to use “We Built This” as their theme. Of course the stadium they are going to do this in, was . . . wait for it. . .built by government funds.

Dontcha just love the irony?

It pretty much defies explanation. Why in all the world would sensible people want to hand the reins of governing over to a group of people who deliberately and with malice aforethought, set out to destroy a presidency before it even was sworn in?

“. . . secret meetings led by House GOPWhip Eric Cantor (in December 2008) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (in early January 2009) where they laid out their daring (though cynical and political) no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to a popular president-elect during an economic emergency. “If he was for it,” former Ohio senator George Voinovich explained, “we had to be against it.”

And we elect these people for what reason?

Gosh, I almost forgot the other wingnut of the day. This one from Texas, big surprise. You see, if you take a map of the US and you circle it on itself to create a funnel, well, as it is well known that stupid is heavier than intelligence, stupid slides southward into you know where–TEXAS. This is all a pain in the keister to regular Texans who find their state infested with vermin who should all be shipped to Alaska, where there is more room for idiots, and frankly, idiots seem more or less welcome there anyway.

So, where was I?

Yes. Texas. Lubbock County Judge, Tom Head (the surname is an old English one denoting lack of brains–play on words ya see), he figures that if President Obama is re-elected, good folks like himself cannot sit still.

He would like the good people (there must be some) of Lubbock to drop some money in the county coffers to beef up law enforcement.

Why you ask? To combat lawless protestors?

No, no. This is Texas remember, where Longhorns are more plentiful than IQ points.

Good ole Judge Tom says that beefin’ up is necessary, because he’s quite sure that civil war will ensue–Lexington and Concord kinda violence to “take this guy out”, and he is also quite sure that the President will hand over sovereignty to the UN. When the peacekeeping forces are sent in, Judge Tom swears he will be on the front lines to oppose them, musket in hand.

After receiving assurances by the PO-lice chief that he would “back him” Judge Tom advised that he wanted some “seasoned veterans” who were well armed, hence the need for a new property tax.

Yes, and you thought that fairy tales were only for children. Welcome to America–Land of the seriously stupid.

Now go out there and do something good for your fellow sane person.