Archive for November, 2008

Dark Matter = ZOMG! Government Weather Manipulation!

“What’s that dark matter moving line going right across the middle of the screen?”

Brought to you by the same woman who worries about what’s in her water causing rainbows in her sprinklers (wouldn’t that be the dihydrogen monoxide?!?):

All I can say is that’s one of the more confused uses of scientific terminology I’ve ever seen.

Whatever method this woman has been using to convince herself, it’s not quite science. It’s what those charlatans who call themselves Dr. Greer, Deepak Chopra, or whoever-you-can-think-of uses. Throw in a bunch of terms you don’t understand the meaning of which the public probably won’t understand the meaning of, then jump to a conclusion. Like so:

First the quantum matrix of the thermodynamic field begins to buckle under the vectors from the flourescence of the krebs cycle. Thus the mitochondrial interactions between the commensalism and the quantum photons begins to create a biofeedback system upon which the delta waves of the thought patterns signals the beginning of a derivation of the vibrational frequency electro-magnetism.

Then something spiritual happens.

If you think I said anything in there that made any sort of sense at all please consider remedial science classes. I don’t mean that disparagingly, but I apologise for the education system having failed you, for you are missing out on the true answers to who we are, where we came from, where we are, and where we are going in this splendid universe.

In the meantime… the government is using dark matter streams to manipulate my weather and you managed to capture dark matter on camera before any real physicists have? Jolly good.

One Year Ago Today…

I Am Great

Egotistic, yes. But come on… It’s good for my self-esteem. You wouldn’t want to take away my self-esteem, would you?

One year ago today I made my first steps out into the blogosphere.

I was once asked why I started blogging and being the truthful person that I am I said “because all my friends were doing it.” Of course, as soon as the words leave my mouth I realise that they sound sort of stupid.

But that sort of is the reason why I did it. Back in the days when there was a chat room on RichardDawkins.net, there were a few people in there who had their own blogs like Reed Braden. I would always click the links they posted and one day I decided to try it out for myself.

I opened up the WordPress homepage, signed up for a blog, found the username “Elles” already taken so I thought… what can I add to “Elles” to get a username I can use for this blog? I chose the word splendid.

Splendid is… well… a splendid word. I loved the way my tongue felt as I rolled it over the “splen” and added on the “did”. I loved what the word “splendid” meant. It just seemed like one of the more awesome words in the English language. So, that’s what I tacked on before “Elles” and created the blog “Splendid Elles”.

This had come soon after my first secularism conference where I had met Richard Dawkins and shortly thereafter e-mailed him and gotten a reply back (!!!) and I was still gloating about it to all my friends in the chat (having few other people I could gloat about it to). I decided that since my only readers would probably be people I linked my posts to in the chat I would do a sort of tongue-in-cheek post for them about how great I was to sort of poke fun at myself for still gloating about it.

If you choose to read it, don’t take the more egotistical bits too seriously, although the excerpt from the e-mail I got from Richard Dawkins is genuine.

I posted it after 12:00 am GMT, not knowing that wordpress was on GMT and so it would technically be posted on the 22nd of November when I hit the “Publish” button (I have since figured out how to set the time to fit my time zone but have been too lazy to do so) so anybody looking at the post will think my first day blogging was on November 22, 2007, but it’s not. It was November 21, 2007 (when I publish this it will probably be November 22, 2008 anyway but meh).

One year ago today…

I’ve learned a lot in that one year. I think I shall share that knowledge, knowledge which has varying levels of profundity.

  1. There are a lot of amazing people on the Internet who also take part in the tradition of blogging. I am proud to call them my “blogging-buddies.”
  2. There are a lot of trolls out there who seem to want nothing more than to completely misrepresent your words and use that as an excuse to fill lengthy comments with ad hom. Other bloggers tell me I should ignore them instead of responding publicly… I guess I don’t listen most of the time.
  3. That said, not everybody is a troll because they disagree with you. That, of course, would be absurd. I have the capacity to be wrong, and sometimes I am just like everybody else. I’m always grateful when they tell me so that I don’t continue going around spreading ignunce.
  4. No matter what, somebody will always misunderstand you and be unhappy with what you write.
  5. Even when I’ve accepted this fact it still bothers me when they blatantly misrepresent my words.
  6. Typing is extremely therapeutic. Who needs aromatherapy when you can type out a post debunking creationist claims and get stress relief?
  7. There is nothing wrong with elitism in and of itself, but there are a lot of people with elitist attitudes who take great pride in their willful ignorance. Likewise, there are a lot of “people of faith” who are elitists in the same fashion.
  8. People who are “like-minded” disagree a lot. I’ve learned this well from reading the works of others in the “Atheist blogosphere”.
  9. I can do block quotes! Squee!
  10. And last but not least, people are really, really, really obsessed with a certain Oxford professor and a certain Harry Potter actress.

So I suppose… Onward, then, me and my readers into the vast tracts of barren knowledge I have yet to explore at my tender age. Let us see how much wincing I shall do when I look back at my posts in another year to see how little I must know right  now… But let us hope that I am at least mostly right about what I write.

More on Atheist Billboards in Colorado

I’m back with a little less caffeine in my system but the same passionate blogging fury to correct misconceptions about those God damned billboards that haven’t even gone up yet. My View From the Center started off their post nicely (oh, and I have to thank them for linkage too because that’s merely polite blogger manners), but then went off and said this:

It seems that atheism is now also a business — that’s the only motivation I can find for these billboards and for organizations like Metro State Atheists and PhillyCor. Well, I can’t deny anyone the opportunity to make money off of their religion (or non-religion) but I certainly don’t intend to join in to ‘get my share’ of the profits. The atheists who put up billboards, form organizations and try to tear down peoples beliefs in their religions are the “noisy” atheists — to them atheism is a profit-making business that has little to do with faith or a lack of it. These “noisy” atheists are also the ones who have trouble sustaining their non-belief, so they desperately need the company of other atheists as a support system.

People who are comfortable with their belief in a deity, or in the non-existance of one, don’t need support systems — but I guess we are in a vast minorty.

*sigh*

I took that personally since I personally know the members of COCORE and of Metro State Atheists so I think I’ll start off with something along the lines of…

The members of COCORE that I know haven’t quit their day jobs. They are hard working people who set up social meetups and fight the occassional local anti-secularist political moves in their spare time. They aren’t wearing nicely-tailored suits, shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, or wearing Rolex watches. I can personally say that COCORE is not a profit making scheme because I’m a part of it and I know the people who run it.

And Metro State Atheists is run by freaking college students! They aren’t unlike other college students. They have to eat and pay their tuition just like the rest of them. Shame on you for equating them with making as much profit as televangelists.

How in the Hell do people jump to a conclusion like this anyway? Are billboards for Breast Cancer Awareness Month also directly linked to being a money-making scheme just because they’re an advertisement? Ads are used to get products out there, yes, but they’re also used to send messages like “You know, there’s a lot of people in this country who don’t believe in God and are perfectly moral, perfectly happy people in case you haven’t noticed.”

Now, I’ve made a short list of not and is to make the rest of what I want to say easy for you.

Not

  1. An attempt to offend religious people.
  2. An argument against the existence of God.
  3. An attempt to restore faith in Not-God.
  4. A scheme to get COCORE more money.

Is

  1. A way to raise awareness that there are perfectly moral, perfectly happy non-believers in this predominantly Christian country. In case you haven’t noticed, Atheists are the second most hated “religious”-group next to the Scientologists. The only way to solve that is to make people aware that we’re here and they’re stereotypes about us are wrong.
  2. A way to let non-believers get together with other non-believers. No, we don’t need to have other people to reinforce our disbelief in God, but perhaps you’ve heard of something like the very human need to have community? This may be hard for you to grasp, but people like to hang out with like-minded people, and what seems to be only in the case of freethinkers, especially when like-minded people disagree. That’s something I like about meeting up with other Atheists. We don’t sit around talking about Not-God. That of course would be narrow and there’s not a lot to be said there about it that hasn’t been said before. We talk about all sorts of issues in secularism.
  3. A way to help organise people for secularist activism because really that’s all we want. We’ll argue with the occasional theist who walks up to us and have a good civilised debate, but the main thing that COCORE is all about is not changing people’s beliefs but countering fundamentalism (a local holistic medicine newspaper said that about them for peat’s sake).

What’s wrong with a support system? It’s not that we need a support system to continue not-believing, but in a country as pious as ours it definitely helps to be around people you can be perfectly frank to when it comes to addressing religion. People need to express themselves.

Another thing is I find it fun to get together simply because ultimately we’re all intellectually-minded people who happen to be Atheists and we tackle all sorts of broad issues within the huger umbrella of secularism (really, it’s not just about Not-God).

Okay, do we get it now? Good.

Atheist Billboards in Colorado

To let non-believers, free-thinkers and atheists know that they are not alone, especially in a country like ours that is predominantly Christian.

Joel Guttormson

The Colorado Coaltion for Reason (COCORE) will be putting up billboards around Denver and Colorado Springs bearing the slogan that appeared in Philadelphia.

Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone.

That’s all. Letting other non-believers know that there is an organisation in Colorado made of  other non-believers like them. Everybody should be fine with that.

Good news and bad news.

The good news is COCORE received media attention for it from the local ABC news station.

The bad news is that people don’t really get that the billboard says…

Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone.

They interviewed Joel Guttormson, president of Metro-State Atheists, and two people from the opposition, Bob Enyart, and Pastor Willard Johnson.

Okay…

*takes deep breath*

Let’s break this down now.

Pastor Willard Johnson of Denver’s Macedonia Baptist Church called the billboards a desperate effort to discredit Christianity.

Okay… What did the billboard say again?

Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone.

Again, all it’s saying is that non-believers can connect with other non-believers through an organisation called COCORE. Got that? It shouldn’t be offensive to anybody at all unless the very existence of non-believers offends you.

I shouldn’t be so silly, it probably does.

“The Bible is being fulfilled. It says that in latter days, you have all these kinds of things coming up, trying to disrupt the validity of Christianity,” Johnson said.

I don’t know that that deserves a response.

If they don’t believe in God, how do they believe they came about?

Evolution by natural selection. It’s a concept simple enough you can learn the basics of it playing a simple computer game I know of where you try to catch moths who have variations in colour and speed of flight and see what the next generation produces for about five generations. I’ve explained how evolution by natural selection could cause dinosaurs to evolve into birds many times to children who were ten times younger than you.

We denounce what they are doing. But we do it with love, with gentleness, with decency and with compassion.

Again, we’re just reaching out to other non-believers. You have a problem with that?

Johnson said atheism is a rebellion against Biblical principals and the billboard will likely offend many Christians.

Okay, yeah you do have a problem with non-believers hanging out with non-believers. You’re offended! Very well.

As an aside, if anybody ever gets a photo of them standing next to Richard Dawkins while chewing gum with a backward baseball cap on I’ll post it here on this blog.

Next!

Bob Enyart, a Christian radio host and spokesman for American Right to Life, said it’s hard to ignore the evidence.

*waits for evidence*

The Bible says that faith is the evidence of things not seen. Evidence. If we ignore the evidence for gravity or the Creator, that’s really dangerous.

So you’re saying the fact that people have faith in something is evidence?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The Electric Monk in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency had faith in the valley he was in being completely pink. The Mormons have faith in twelve golden tablets being shot off into heaven, leaving behind their holy book. The Scientologists have faith in Dianetics. People have faith in Bigfoot, 57 species of humanoid aliens, unicorns, faeries, homeopathy. Why don’t you believe in all the things people have faith in?

Income tax doesn’t not exist because somebody doesn’t believe in it. And the same is true with our Creator.

Right you are. You may not believe in evolution by natural selection, the strong nuclear force, or whatever piece of reality you may reject due to your religious beliefs but that’s not an argument for their non-existence. Again, what gives anybody the opinion that we’re using the billboard as an argument for non-belief instead of, gosh, just trying to let other non-believers know that we’re here?

Golly, but the billboard doesn’t say anything about… oh wait…

Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone.

NO EUCHARIST FOR YOU!

NO SOUP EUCHARIST FOR YOU!

It turns out that you don’t need to be an Atheist and take a eucharist to bring out the eucharist-Nazi in Catholic priests. It’s bad enough for some Catholics if you voted for Obama.

A Catholic priest in South Carolina is telling his congregation to “refrain” from receiving eucharist if they voted for him because he finds it “evil” that Obama wants to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Well, I’m not old enough to vote, but don’t tell him that I’m a godless heathen who has a eucharist in my basement growing stale, and that I supported Obama(ish).

With the whole crackergate fiasco loads of people accused PZ Myers of violating their freedom of religion. Doesn’t this interfere with it even more?

The People Have Spoken

It’s Poll-Crashing time at Pharyngula again with TheGodPoll.com. Isn’t that the most epic url since Change.gov?

Anyway, an interesting statistic has arisen from this poll question:

firstThere you have it. 100% of people polled believe that Atheists can be ethical…

But wait, no… It can’t be because I was the first person there and I was the only person polled at the time this screenshot was taken…

As I Write This…

I am sitting next to Victor J. Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis (How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist). I just got my book signed too! 🙂

He just told me that he wishes he could type fast. I guess I practice typing too much.

Well I think this post is epic. Oh! And Jeanette is across the table talking about her NYT article (and complaining about how they mostly just quoted the bits where she sounded disappointed)!

Uckles, I’m done.