Sunday, 23 September 2007

Mr. B.

I wrote about the Beaumont Children a while ago it was my second post.

Then I read this today.

So they call Bevam Spencer von Einem a suspect in the Beaumont case. Brilliant.

There is only one thing that I can think of that might be positive. It might change the status of Mr. B (a witness in Von Einems trial for the murder of Richard Kelvin, son of the newsreader). Mr. B has been portrayed currently as something of a crackpot.

It might make him less crazy in the eyes of history.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Hovind the Censor

I saw this on the JREF forum.

This wasn't new news to me but it does put a digital face on the actions of Kent Hovind.

It seems that his organisation has claimed that people who are critical of him are using copyrighted material.

Now if you have never heard an argument from Hovind then I direct you to this site (it's mentioned in the JREF forum thread already linked to). And then to this page that refers to copyright. It also, if you are like me, gives you the impression that he seems very punchable, at least his voice does anyway.

Now all this would normally conjure up the old DMCA is screwing people over.

But it seems to get worse from here.

This Wired blog points out that a group has been banned over this. Now personally I doubt that the reason was that it complained about it's videos being pulled down, but I suspect that it might have been because of all the spurious complaints by Hovind's group.

Good news is that they have not been banned but it is an annoying thing to know that people like him and his organisation can use spurious claims to remove opposition.

If I remember correctly the Internet is now the place where people can say whatever the hell they want. If people want to claim that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time then they can, but they have to remember that their claims are still open for people to disprove, debunk or counter.

Was this what people perceived the Internet to be? A place where people's views are silenced because they differ from someone else's?

If that is the case then I guess all the scientists could come up with a way to get rid of all the bad science sites...

Now playing: Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

This is a blog post

Today is my first 'blindingly obvious' post.

Men want hot women, study confirms

Just like I am writing this post.

Now playing: Ishii Yasushi - Hatred Guy Of Sinfulness
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

If you are ever in a argument...

And you find yourself being attacked instead of the argument then you have managed to do one of the following:

  1. Been really stupid and started a flamewar.
  2. Decimated the opponents argument so badly that this is all they can do.
  3. Decimated the methodology the opponent used so badly that attacking you is all they can do.

I only write this because that is what has happened to me regarding a 9/11 thread. I started to point out methodological flaws in the persons argument because he stopped listening to counterarguments. To be honest he didn't listen to them to begin with.

I mentioned that I was Australian and have pretty much been told to bugger off. He asked me to say why I was here, and now my reasons have been labelled excuses.

So until he answers the questions I gave him I have decided to not listen to his crap. If he wasn't before he has now morphed into a troll.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Thoughts on Creationism

Recently I have gone back to arguing with creationists instead of 9/11 CTists. However one question has provoked me to write this.

The question may be found here.

It asks why so many Christians feel the need to disprove evolution.

Firstly we have to remember that in the USA primarily there are people that question evolution. This is not so much the case here in Australia.

However many of these people believe in some form of biblical literalism.

Many of the denominations grouped as Protestant believe in some form of literalism. The Lutherans for example have the idea of Sola Scriptura. Although the idea has changed slightly over time the basic idea is that the Bible is an authority in itself and that scripture interprets scripture.

Many people follow most of the ideas in the bible, but to be honest people do pick and choose what they follow. There are rules laid down in the Bible that people would not follow today involving various slavery rules like selling your daughter into slavery (Ex 21:7), stoning blasphemers (Lev 24:14), getting tattoos (Lev 19:28) and pretty much all of Leviticus 15.

People do follow many of the rules because they have become integrated in our society eg. murder, incest, rape.

When you look at a basic creationist you will find that they are religious, follow one of the Protestant denominations (to be fair Michael Behe, one of the biggest supporters of ID is a Roman Catholic), and is a literalist.

Literalism is really the biggest problem with the creationist.

Because they believe in a literal interpretation of the bible there is very little room to move around.

When they look at Evolution and also the current age of the Earth they get scared. In those two things they see a big threat to their beliefs and ideals. Some hear about former Christians who became Atheists because they learnt about evolution and it just heightens the fear.

Some would not want to actually learn about evolution because they fear that their world will come crashing down.

They want to believe in a God. Throughout history people have believed in deities. Today the top two religions are monotheistic, and the only polytheism that could compare is Hinduism.

Deities were created by men to help try and explain the world around them. Gods were created to explain the nature of the oceans (i.e. Poseidon is angry), thunder (Thor's hammer), volcanic eruptions (Vulcan is angry) and more.

Ideas were formed as to why various phenomena happened, diseases were caused by demons, or the wrath of the Gods. The Ancient Egyptians had the idea that the sun was pushed across the sky by a scarab beetle, in the same way that it pushes dung along the Earth.

In regards to Creationists it all lies in the first chapters of Genesis. The creation stories.

Being literalists they mainly follow the six day creation plus a day of rest idea.

Evolution, being a process over millions of years is a direct challenge to this. The Bible does however have lines that claim things like a day being a thousand years, but these are not really followed by the creationist.

The age of the Earth is also a problem, the current calculated age is 4.55 billion years.

The age of the Earth is not as much of a problem. The bible deals with that. Many creationists are 'Young Earthers'. Using the Bible, and following the 'names' and death 'ages' of various biblical people, they have managed to come up with an age of 6000 years minimum but you will see estimations of 10 000 years as a maximum.

Coupling this with some rather crappy arguments as to why radiometric dating doesn't work and arguments based on magnetic fields or the loss of helium they have convinced themselves that the Earth is a young one.

Evolution is a bigger problem. There is far more evidence that supports evolution, and the creationist knows it.

Instead of finding ways of reconciling the facts with their faith (Theistic Evolution is one such way), they instead have decided to attack Evolution making outrageous claims as to why it is false.

Many of them, woefully prepared, make arguments as to why their idea is the correct one in light of evidence to the contrary or that many claims are beyond the scope of scientific methodology (the Myspace forums seem to get many of these people).

Strangely enough members of other denominations, or even other religions, don't seem to have these problems. Hinduism works on a completely different creation model but it follows the idea that the universe runs in cycles of trillions of years. The Christian denominations that are not literalist also have fewer proponents of ID (which is really a predominantly Christian thing anyway), St. Augustine of Hippo wrote on the allegorical nature of Genesis (believing that everything was created in one instant) and this has been the predominant interpretation of the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox Churches, and the Anglican Church.

Also Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish scholar who also wrote on Genesis being an allegory.

All these groups have managed to reconcile the facts with their faith, and nothing bad has happened yet.

Perhaps the creationists should stop listening to their pastor on evolution, stop reading the creationist material and actually learn about the idea that they seem to have created a hatred of.

They may find that they too can reconcile their faith with the facts.

Now playing:
Mozart - Lacrymosa
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, 16 September 2007

RAN + Bigger Breasts For Sailors = ?

I found this on BBC News.

Apparently the Royal Australian Navy or most likely the Defence Department paid for the breast enlargement of two female sailors setting the taxpayer back $20 000.

I don't really know what to think here.

What exactly would potentially sexier sailors help the RAN in it's fight against, umm... , last time I checked it was illegal immigration?

Unless the plan is for them to help the male sailors on their long lonely voyages away from women except those...

Ok enough of the silliness the article says that it was for psychological reasons. So I guess that it might make it a bit better then because people with psychological problems of some sort are not really the best people for the defence forces, but I still feel a little annoyed that my tax dollars went towards this.

The Defence Department is already pretty bloated, overly bureaucratic and inefficient, for all we know this money could have gone towards something better.

Why isn't this an election issue?

On a side note for us Firefox users Foxytunes has released a new toolbar that allows you to add what you are listening to to your blog posts. If you are a person, like me, who has moved from say Myspace, where you can add what you are listening to blog posts and do kinda miss it, then this is the place for you.

Now playing: Ishii Yasushi - Soul Police Chapter's Reverse Side Circumstance
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 13 September 2007

I love...

... the smell of Conspiracy Theorists in the morning.

Smells like stupidity

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

September 11

Well today is September 11, the 6th anniversary of the attacks on the towers.

I hope that this day does not affect the families of those affected. Especially those who happen to be at the site of the towers.

The so-called "Truthers" will be there spewing their filth.

And that is all it is filth no matter what they say.

For example I go onto the Myspace political forum and it is full of 9/11 related crap, like it was faked, while I write this I look and see 9 threads with the numbers 9 and 1 and 1 in that order.

It is just sick. I personally am getting sick of it.

However some of those threads titled '9/11' were made by debunkers poking fun at the idiots.

I did find one important little gem.

A proper scientist has decided to tackle the 'demolition' idea. Dr Keith Seffen is a Cambridge University scientist and has published this paper in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics. We all know it is complete shit but it is rather important because, unlike the conspiracy theorists, proper scientists put there ideas up to the all important peer review.

The conspiracy theorists seem to think that they don't have to stand up to the same scrutiny as real scientists and no conspiracy theorist has tried to publish a paper that would even disprove the Bazant-Zhou paper (see the link above entitled "peer review"), they can try on the internet, and a few sites seem to try but they are not doing it on the field of science.

They are pretend pretend scientists who should be ashamed of themselves for trying to pass off this shit as real science. That link can take you to many papers that disprove the conspiracy theorists however you will never see a conspiracy theorist publish their work in a scientific journal or try to disprove those peer-reviewed hypotheses in a scientific journal.

They may make up some stupid argument as a reason why they shouldn't but all it shows is that they have no argument that can stand up to science.

I will leave you with a 9/11 related psychology thing. Look at the following two pictures that I nicked from here:

(I don't know if the pictures are working though. Stupid Australian internet).

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Buddhist Monks

And I thought Buddhists were supposed to be peaceful...

APEC - A Very Funny Moment

I just heard this on the news.

It doesn't have to do with the White House misspelling many, many places in Australia, or people from the Socialist Party getting pulled over by the Police.

No, it has to do with The Chaser's War On Everything (or if you watched yesterday The Chaser's W On Everything) (I also don't know if this link works from other countries).

Yesterday they came back on television but they might now be down two members.

In on of the best things that could ever happen some members of the Chaser might face 6 Months jail.

Why is this good?

Well, you know how the Government went on and on about all this good security that they will have to protect all the dignitaries?

Well the Chaser managed to get 10 metres away from the hotel that President Bush was staying in.

Now according to the 10 news bulletin that I just saw, they managed to get in by pretending to be Canadians.

They got black vehicles like most of the motorcades, the drivers were dressed in black suits, they had flags on the cars, and they had official looking stickers on the windscreens.

And they were waved through by two sets of police.

And now Julian and Chas are now forbidden to go anywhere near a restricted APEC zone for APEC.

I hope this doesn't count to the areas that Chas sealed off in Melbourne for APEC...

Anyway, the irony about this is that later on they showed police checking manhole covers, stormwater drains and underneath cars for bombs.

They honestly should be glad that it was the Chaser and not some terrorists doing this. It is nearly perfect, if it was terrorists they could have filled the cars with explosives driven to their target and then detonated them.

So I guess the Sydney Police should be happy because they have been shown a gaping hole in their security even though they have serious egg on their faces.

Sadly though I wish the Chaser were successful, because Chas was dressed as Osama Bin Laden, (the police confiscated the beard), could you imagine President Bush's face when Osama appears and says "George" or something like that...

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

APEC - more information

I said yesterday that President Bush arrived in Australia.

I also said that I would post links in regards to the civil libertarians getting annoyed.

I will start with an article from a news source that people have something against, and someone (*cough* Bush *cough*) has tried to bomb.

This is from Al Jazeera

In this article they say that the actions of the police is 'heavy-handed' and that they are being 'treated like terrorists'.

In this article from the ABC various groups are again annoyed, while the Human Rights Monitors will be filming the police.

This is a Channel 9 News story

Another ABC article

Some opinions from The Australian

I don't know what most people will be complaining about, but some of the organisations that voiced their opinions in those articles are anti-war protesters (Stop Bush Coalition, Stop The War Coalition) and there is the already mentioned Human Rights Monitors.

Now they have compared Sydney to a police state like North Korea, Greens MP Lee Rhiannon described the precautions as 'an absolute insult (to) the process of democracy' (I nicked that from the ABC article) while the Human Rights Monitors are worried that the powers the police have been given will stay.

The powers the police have are actually quite powerful. Anyone who assaults an officer can be remanded without bail, and there is a list of people who can't enter the high security area.
The Human Rights Monitors are worried that the powers will stay in effect.

I don't think that such powers will remain after the event. Once the meeting is over there won't be any large protests and there won't be any need for lists that prevent certain people from entering parts of the CBD. Nor will there be any need for the police to have tougher powers in regards to assaulting an officer.

The reasons for the tough security have to do with terrorism, the people that are there (all high ranking dignitaries and leaders) and that if there will be any protests that turn violent it really won't be from anti-war people, because that does kinda defeat the purpose, but it will most likely be from the 'anti-globalisation' people because they seem to be the ones that turn violent.

That and the idiots who want to turn things into a riot.

Most protests are peaceful and nothing happens, however there are times when they aren't peaceful due to idiots or the ideology that those that start riots follow.

The problem is that those few idiots make it harder for the people who won't cause millions of dollars in damage.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

APEC - the arrival

Well the next APEC meeting is starting soon and the news had the arrival of President Bush on live (he was late though).

I know that it the security of Sydney was increased a lot (links to come) and that it annoyed the Civil Libertarians, but what will be interesting is to see if these measures to stop protesters will work.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Something I oveheard

A few days ago before a Chemistry lecture I overheard a girl say 'Do you know how to balance equations?'

It's a bit strange when you consider that this is not the easy Chemistry lecture.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

An Update

I don't really want to update my previous post because it would be better if it this is above the other one.

I see no problem with Theistic Evolution, it is actually a pretty good idea, since it is a good synthesis of science and religion, saying that God created the laws that govern the universe and left it at that.

What I have a problem with is trying to interpret a book, like the Bible, using outdated ideas really, really weird interpretations and modifying pictures to fit the interpretation is not on.

I don't want to see and idea like this one become twisted and this twisted form be used as an argument against evolution.

Nor do I want to see a version of an idea that is usable in a religious society end up becoming defined by a person who has written a page about it using flawed ideas.

"Theistic Evolution" Part 1

On Myspace there is a guy who has a site on what he calls "theistic evolution". His works are here.

That is all well and good except when you look at what he does.

He interprets the bible using modern ideas and terms, which is not what the Bible is going on about and uses scientific diagrams to support his interpretation and the bible.

For example the image on the left.

Now I am sorry to say that the original image, without the coloured writing and the scripture quotes was found by me as evidence against his argument.

Now what he was trying to argue goes along these lines (the source is here):

Gen. 5:4 And the days of Adam, (Ramapithecus Man), after he had begotten Seth, (Australopithecus anamensis), were eight hundred (thousand) years: and he begat (Ramapithecian) sons and daughters:

Gen. 5:5 And all the days that Adam, (Ramapithecus Man), lived were nine hundred and thirty (thousand) years: and he died.

Which is clearly wrong. He claims that Ramapithecus is the start of the human race. The problem lies with the current theory, that Ramapithecus is in fact a female example of Sivapithecus, and is an ancestor to the Orang-utan.

The second problem with his argument is that if you grab, or look online for, a copy of the bible you will see that it was a direct line sort of thing. Where the names have been placed is wrong even if there was some realism in this argument.

Lines that just end do not create the other line.

The final problem with the whole thing is that it hits a lot closer to home scientifically then Creationism or ID could ever do, but we aren't trying to stop it now, before it catches on.