12.31.2008

Gonzo Forgets He Doesn't Remember

Is Alberto Gonzales writing his memoir? From a recent Wall Street Journal online article,
Alberto Gonzales, who has kept a low profile since resigning as attorney general nearly 16 months ago, said he is writing a book to set the record straight about his controversial tenure as a senior official in the Bush administration.

Maybe Gonzo doesn't remember that he can't recall specific details of just about anything that happened during his tenure in the Bush administration. He has said he remembered meetings that happened, but he doesn't recall what was said or if he even took part. So, is he writing his "Memoirs" or his "I Don't Rememoirs"?

Illumination

How different would the bible be if its very last word was "lol"?

Take this last comment from the Elwood Library Nativity dust up (in which some folks are really p.o.'d that they were asked to remove a nativity from the public library):
let me tell you what happened to my husband, he said so what's the big deal its just a bunch of plastic , let them take it down..then we fought, he couldnt get much sleep that night, he lost to credit cards the next day and some more things started to happen to ruin his day till he told God he was sorry for what he said ..then things began to look up..the clouds parted in other words..so maybe you better think before you act...lol
That "lol" quenches all the fire and brimstone talk, doesn't it? So, let's take the first few lines from the Book of Genesis and see how we might bring it up to speed:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. :P


Now that's illuminating. :)

H2O + Einstein = Homeopathy

Energy equals the speed of light (E = c) and Stephen Hawkings gave us string theory. Cells are tiny and we are made of cells, therefore we have infinitesimal mass, therefore we are energy. We can't create or destroy energy, all we can do is transform it. Disease then is energy that has been transformed from a good state to a bad state. All we have to do is transform it back to the good state by using other energy: light, sound, homeopathy. Because of string theory, everything has a vibration. We vibrate with a plant, a mineral, or an animal. A pellet with the right energy vibrations can be used to return your bad energy state to a good one. "It's so miraculous, it's so exciting."



None of what Dr. Werner said has any basis in science. She either has no idea what she's talking about or she's making it all up. The only factual thing she said was "a dog poops in the yard". Now that I can believe.

(Found at Admirável Mundo Louco)

12.30.2008

Hmmm, I Wonder...

If intelligent design is not based on religion, why does the Discovery Institute spend so much time defending God and christianity?

Tis The Season For Psychic Frauds


Boy, when it rains it pours. Here's another incident of a psychic scamming money from women:
Psychic Accused Of Stealing $65,000 From Broward Women
Authorities are looking for a self-proclaimed psychic who scammed five Broward County women out of nearly $65,000.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said 35-year-old Gina Marie Marks claimed she was a psychic with special powers. Over the phone and in person, she allegedly told her victims that by giving her money, she could cleanse them of curses and evil spirits.
[...]
Marks also uses the name Regina Milbourne, under which she wrote the book "Miami Psychic" in 2006.

12.29.2008

Ironic

Man who campaigned for protection for sharks is eaten by one: Australian snorkeler snatched by shark

Hmmm, I Wonder...

Why don't UFO's turn their lights off?

Another Psychic Fraud

Yet another 'psychic' who bilked a senior citizen out of a lot of money.
San Mateo 'psychic' faces eviction from Laurelwood Shopping Center
A San Mateo woman who allegedly swindled a senior citizen out of more than $80,000 during psychic and Tarot readings could lose her business as soon today.
[...]
Prosecutors say Adams took $80,330 from an 85-year-old female client with threats that the woman's husband would die of a heart attack if she didn't pay for "special prayers."
Same old story - vulnerable person taken advantage of by psychics. This method is used by all the charlatans of the world. It's one of the reasons I believe psychics should be banned from doing business. But this particular evil went much too far based on observations from a visit by the police to the psychic's shop:
San Mateo police also had taped a search warrant to another window, and the previously tidy shop appeared to have been ransacked Friday morning. A pile of papers and objects littered the floor, and a holiday elf clad in red and green lay face down in front of the entrance.
(sniff) A dead elf over the holidays. How can anyone believe in a god after this??

The Nothing Behind Psychic Phenomena

The website for TIME magazine has an article called The Science Behind Psychic Phenomena. Since there is no science behind 'Psychic Phenomena' (not surprising, since there are no psychic phenomena outside what we imagine), then there really isn't much to write about in the article. So they spend time interviewing "former Harvard professor Diane Hennacy". She added nothing of substance to the conversation outside a few anecdotes and lame attempts to equate the four dimensions of space and time with a greater mystery of existence that only a few can access with their special abilities. Oh, and she tells us there's likely a gene for psychic abilities.

Her brand of woo leaves me unimpressed.

12.28.2008

Hmmm, I Wonder...

Do you think Rick Warren will bring water and donuts to the inaugural invocation?

Arnold Loewy's ID Lunacy

In a recent editorial in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Professor Arnold Loewy attempted to put creationism, intelligent design, atheism, and evolution into perspective. As you will see, his sense of perspective is horribly distorted:
Teaching intelligent design could help students learn to think
To begin with, it is important to disabuse ourselves of the notion intelligent design is an alternative to, or the opposite of, evolution. The opposite of evolution is creationism, the theory that the Earth was created in six days, less than 6,000 years ago.
OK...I disabuse myself of the notion that intelligent design is an alternative to evolution. I base this on the simple observation that intelligent design is not a theory, has no hypothesis, and has no testable predictions. I don't even consider what is "the opposite of evolution". Loewy claims it is creationism. What does he say is the opposite of relativity? Germ theory? Mechanics? Science helps us answer questions about the world and universe we live in. If a theory answers a question, then it supplants ignorance with knowledge. Only in that sense is a scientific theory the opposite of anything.

Yet there is more nonsense:
The opposite of intelligent design is no intelligent design, or atheism.
Soooo...the opposite of atheism is intelligent design? Loewy, at best, is etymologically challenged, considering "atheism" derives from a- + theos, meaning godless. And every school kid knows the opposite of godless is...uh, godful. According to Loewry, the opposite of atheism is intelligent design, by which he means intelligent design is godful. No arguments from me. Bravo.

Need we go further in dismembering his editorial? Ahh, why not lop something else off:
While faith is everything in religion, it is not everything in schools. Every proposition has to be empirically examined to determine its validity. Thus, when intelligent design is examined in school, there is no a priori assumption of its correctness, or incorrectness. The evidence is examined and the chips can fall where they may.
If all classes are taught without a priori assumptions as to the validity of the knowledge being doled out, then how do we expect students to ever get past simple addition and subtraction? No, the truth is that we have committees of experts who set the standards to which students are taught - i.e. those a priori assumptions. Given some of Loewy's other comments in the past, it is clear he angling towards "academic freedom" - indirectly arguing that intelligent design should be treated as a freedom of speech issue within the classroom. As a constitutional law scholar, Loewy's words carry weight. It's too bad his powers of deduction, at least as seen in his Lubbock Avalanche editorial, don't carry the same intellectualism that he exhibits as a lawyer.

Even as familiar with the Kitzmiller v. Dover case as he is, this final example represents Loewy's own "breathtaking inanity" in its complete ignorance or outright avoidance of facts:
I would propose a comparable course for high school seniors. I would have them read a book like "Of Pandas and People," a book designed by proponents of intelligent design. I would also have them read a book like Richard Dawkins' book, seeking to prove that there was no intelligent designer.
Of Pandas and People was a direct translation of a creationist text to a non-creationist text, by the simple search-and-replace of "creator" with "designer". So while Loewy has argued that intelligent design is not creationism, he proposes that our high school seniors should be taught with a whitewashed creationist text.

Loewy should stick to criminal and constitutional law as it is evident he understands little about the ID/evolution debate. Next time he should have an editor edit his editorial for lucidity.

12.27.2008

ID Booby Meeting


Friends, the Loyal Order of Intelligent Design Boobies will be meeting, according to this posting, on January 31, 2009, to hold a debate entitled Darwin vs. Design (and why it matters). Come early, booby prizes will be given at the door, as well as to each speaker. Hosted by the Discovery Institute [that bastion of scientific thinking which aims to whitewash over the theory of evolution and replace it with "God did it something really intelligent did it (just not an alien)"], the speakers are also members of the Discovery Institute. These luminary boobies include Dr. John West, Geoffrey Simmons (for comic relief), and Casey Luskin (junior grand poobah of upper butt crack). Apparently, no one from the "other side" wants to join in their reindeer games.

And just as apparently, the Discovery Institute is about to discover the sound of one hand clapping.

12.24.2008

Psychic Nikki Gives Us Her 2009 Predictions

Psychic Nikki's latest predictions for 2009 are here. Like her previous predictions, these are a scattershot of things that have a decent probability of happening (e.g. Patrick Swayze on her health/death watch) mixed with others that are so fantastic as to be laughable (aliens will land). Still, she has no qualms about putting them online and leaving them there without (too much) post processing.
Some highlights (posted without comment):

  • Danger around Barack Obama.
  • Assassination attempt around Barack Obama.
  • Assassination Barack Obama – New Martin Luther King.
  • Race riots break out in US.
  • Another planet with life will be found in the universe.
  • A commercial jet liner and a meteorite will collide.
  • A rare Green Flamingo will be found.
  • A green bear will be found in China.
  • Collapse of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Stock Market up and down.
  • Mudslides in California.
  • Part of the polar ice cap melts.
  • The Royal Crown Jewels are stolen.
  • A blimp explosion over a sports stadium.
  • A riot at a soccer stadium.
  • Fashion Prediction: Capes for men, Muffs for women.
  • The economic woes, more terrorist attacks, and wild weather will still be around for 2009 but within twenty four months the economy picks up and there will be a boom much like after the Second World War - although heads of governments have to watch out for danger.
Thanks Nikki...we'll see how you did at the end of 2009.

12.23.2008

The Big Ask Video

Pass it around.



The real solution will come from those who replace the "Men in Suits".

12.22.2008

The Pandemic vs. The Maunder Minimum

Skeptics of Global Warming (GW) like to point to the Little Ice Age as being caused by the lack of sunspots as evidence of how the sun, more than anything, can affect climate. Covering roughly 400 years and ending around 1650, the Little Ice Age is well documented in studies of glacier advances, ships' logs, and paintings of anomalous winter scenes, among others. Overlapping the Little Ice Age is the Maunder Minimum, a period of decreased sunspot activity that lasted some fifty years, breaking from the traditional 11 year solar cycle. So, hardcore GW deniers will try to convince you that the Maunder Minimum caused the Little Ice Age, explaining that a lack of sunspots means less solar intensity and therefore less heating of the Earth.

While this may be true on its face, they are exaggerating the contribution (or lack thereof) of solar intensity variability with sunspots. And they also conveniently forget that the period of the Little Ice Age was also accompanied by increased volcanic activity which served to veil the Earth in a thin cloud of ash, vastly outweighing the effects of reduced solar activity. Finally, the Maunder Minimum comes at the tail end of the Little Ice Age, so even though it may have contributed in some small way, it certainly did not cause the Little Ice Age.

Now, another contender has entered the arena, vying for its place in history as the cause of the Little Ice Age: the pandemic. Richard Nevle and Dennis Bird of Stanford have examined sediment cores and soil samples dating back 5000 years and noted a precipitous drop in charcoal ash following periods of major pandemics. This indicated a massive decrease in the clearing of forests by burning to create more land for crops. While the population recovered (remember, Europe lost 20-30 million people in the span of six years), abandoned land began to regrow. Whole new forests sprouted, sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, effectively removing layers from the Earth's thermal blanket. Moreover, their data aligns nearly perfectly (or so they say) with other information (heavy/light carbon isotope ratios) detailing the drop in atmospheric CO2 at the same time.

This is not to say that pandemics are THE cause of the Little Ice Age. Rather, it looks like they are possibly a serious contributor. And, as far as I'm concerned, this holds as much water as the Maunder Minimum correlation. GW deniers have yet to provide a workable theory beyond a few gesticulations as to how the Maunder Minimum could so significantly affect the environment.

See the Standford University News Release for more.

12.16.2008

Abiogenesis Is Soooo Boring


Hot ball of gas coalesces and ignites; dust and rocks form planets that settle into their own particular orbits; the planets cool and somewhere in the primordial ooze on the 3rd planet, a chain of molecules starts to replicate.

Yawn.

Physics professors can make this even more boring:
In a recent study called “Why did life emerge?”, two scientists, son and father Arto Annila of the University of Helsinki and Erkki Annila of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, offer some insight into the general driving force of life’s origins in terms of thermodynamics. As they explain, all organisms are composed of molecules that assemble together via numerous chemical reactions. Just as heat flows from hot to cold, these molecules obey the universal tendency to diminish energy differences, so that the most likely chemical reactions are those in which energy flows “downhill” toward a stationary state, or chemical equilibrium.
[...]
“The most important idea in our study is that there is no distinction between animate and inanimate,” Arto Annila told PhysOrg.com. “Processes of life are, in their principles, no different from any other natural processes.”
For obvious reasons, this won't play well with the Intelligent Design cabal. Never mind that no intelligence is involved; more importantly, no excitement is involved. No voice of God (i.e. James Earl Jones) saying "Let there be life", no lightning bolt from a finger tip, no harmony of angels heralding something new...

Can life just be some long, slow, silent segue of natural processes? No drum roll? No Also Sprach Zarathustra?

No wonder people still believe in fairy tale creationism. It has all the human-interest pictures without all the equations. Kind've like comic books.

12.14.2008

Have You Snapped A Sasquatch?

The time to get your Sasquatch picture is drawing near. You have one day to find a Bigfoot, take a picture, and get it in to Field & Stream's $1,000,000 Sasquatch photo challenge. Tomorrow's the last day!

12.12.2008

12.02.2008

Betty Bowers on Prayer

Witty. "Place palms together...or God won't know what you're doing." I've always wondered about why people do that. But Betty doesn't stop there...

12.01.2008

Peter Schiff: Prophet of Doom

Watch the following clip and see Peter Schiff predicting exactly what has come to pass in our economy almost two years before it happened. And watch as other big names laugh at him while claiming that Merryl Lynch was a bargain at $150 in 2007 and that the state of financial stocks back then presented a wonderful buying opportunity. Watch and see Ben Stein be completely wrong on just about everything (predicting, for example, that financial stocks would be much higher in 2008 than they were at the same time in 2007, and that the subprime mortgages were such a small fraction of the economy that they would have no impact whatsoever).



So someone tell me...why do people think Ben Stein is smart? Peter Schiff's analysis was right on target.

(Thanks go to Coby at A Few Things Ill Considered)