Wednesday, August 31, 2005

And my last post just got slammed with four comment spams in a couple minutes. I don't want to turn off anonymous commenting, but I did turn on word verification. That will display a picture of some letters that you then have to type into a text box when you post your comment. Comment spam is almost always automated and word verification at least requires that a human is leaving the comment, not some script.

If you find word verification a problem or have issues trying to leave a comment, let me know.
More on my web stats (you know you care): I just did some more digging and realized I had hits from all six inhabited continents in the month of August. I didn't think I had anyone from South America, but I just found a hit from Ciudad Universitaria in Tucuman, Argentina and another from Distrito Federal in Brazil. Cool. I guess endlessly repeating the phrase "debbie's boob job" really made a difference.
This is a recreation of my post. Blogger ate what I had typed, which of course was the most brilliant writing I have ever done. The worst part is that Blogger works just enough to inspire the confidence to not copy/paste every post to Notepad before hitting the publish button. Then it does you in. I think part of it is the junk computer I have at work, but I don't think that is the entire story.


Maybe I shouldn't have whined so loudly about paying 2.999 for a gallon of gas. Prices have gone up another dime or so today with no end in sight. I probably shouldn't be complaining; at least my house isn't under 20 feet of water like most of the residents of the lake formerly known as New Orleans. Of course, it isn't likely I would ever find my house sitting in 20 feet of water as I had the foresight to not build it below sea level. But that is a topic for another time; after the bodies have been found and buried, at the very least.

I do get a kick out of the damage estimates on the news. Call me a skeptic, but how can anyone think they have any idea of what it will cost to rebuild an entire modern city? Estimates are based on past experience. Now someone please remind me of which American city has been reclaimed from the bottom of a lake and rebuilt. All the news media needs to do is show the photographs and/or video of New Orleans. Made-up damage estimates cannot in any way increase the impact of just seeing what has become of the city. So please; people in the news media, shut your pie holes. Your drivel adds nothing.

In any case, the thoughts and prayers of the Frost household go out to all those trying to deal with this ...well... I can't think of an adequate word for it.

Bob Thompson has an interesting proposal to deal with the recidivism rate of child molesters. I find little to argue with, except for what the law considers a "child" (anyone old enough to obtain a fake ID, use it to obtain entrance to an adults-only establishment, then go home and have sex with someone is not a child even if they are chronologically 16 or even 14 years of age). If anyone thinks this is being overly harsh, rent the movie The Woodsman. All will become plain.

It looks like after ten years, the antibodies are starting to kick in. President Bush did no favors to the Intelligent Design movement by his advocacy. I think this will be viewed as the beginning of the end of ID's little flash in the pan. The money quote:

All over the country we see both communities, scientists, religious people, educators and media people come to the realization that not only is Intelligent Design scientifically vacuous but also theologically risky.
ID is nothing more than a God-of-the-gaps hypothesis with God being confined to an ever-shrinking array of unexplained phenomenon. Is this really what Christians want to do to God? Not just put Him in a box, but a shrinking one besides? If you want to believe God poofed the universe into existence 10,000 years ago, or 6,000 years ago, or last Wednesday; fine. That is a miracle and science won't touch it. (Aside: I think this belief raises other serious theological issues about the nature of God, but I will leave those for some other time.) But if you advance that belief as a scientific hypothesis, whether ID or "Scientific" Creation, expect to get pummeled from every direction, because that is what happens to every scientific hypothesis. I've watched this in action. It is brutal. A guy spent years writing up a paper, tossing it out, watching as it got completely shredded, go back and rewrite it, toss it back out, and so on. Toss, shred, rewrite. Toss, shred, rewrite. And that was just to get his paper in shape for initial publication for peer review where the whole process would start again with a larger group. At first, I thought people just didn't like the guy, until I talked to a few of the people involved. They told me it wasn't personal; everyone gets treated like that. If the situation were reversed, they would be disappointed if he were any less ruthless with their own work. But the ID/creationist camp wants to bypass all that and get their ideas taught in high school science classes. Not going to happen.

And that's probably enough for today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pucker up, boys!

I feel violated. I just paid $2.999 for a gallon of diesel. That's $94.50 to fill up the truck. That's also a 30 cent per gallon increase from when I left for work this morning.

Squeal!! Squeeeeal like a piggy!!!

I forgot to mention that according to my stats I have had visitors from Australia and Switzerland. If this keeps up, I'll have visitors from every permanently inhabited continent. Most of them get here through Yahoo searches that have absolutely no relevance to anything on this site. But I'll take the hits in any case.

That's it.
First, thanks to all who continue to visit even while I haven't been posting much. I'm back on a schedule now, so maybe I will get something posted on a more routine basis. I don't really have much to report from the last week other than I nearly killed myself working outside on a variety of projects. I got a lot done, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. Cleaning out and organizing the garage and the shed took most of the two weeks. That also includes debris disposal, which involved keeping a continuous fire going for over two days. But I can now focus on other things.

Jerry Pournelle has a lot of good stuff up last week. The entire week is worth reading and thinking about.

More on the Lawrence Summers flap. There are many important lessons to be learned. One of which is to make sure that what you think you know is actually true. One good test is to find out if the person speaking has even a passing familiarity with what they are yapping on about. The squealing from the female part of Harvard's faculty is very much like the criticism of The Bell Curve by those who bragged of having never read it.

Paul Graham takes on attempts to eliminate economic inequality. It isn't possible. That's the short version. Go read his article for the somewhat longer version.

And just a little something to go along with my response to Lindsey's comment on Wednesday's post.

And that's about it for today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

All Done

My new phrase is All Done. I am All Done dealing with the incompetent hicks at places like Brown Lumber and Lark Lawn and Garden. All Done. They have wasted enough of my money and enough of my time. I will not even extend them the courtesy of a phone call because that would take time and I am All Done. I have a feeling that phrase will come up again and again over the next few weeks. I'm tired of dealing with the slackers and retards that make up what most days seems to be the bulk of the Northern Michigan population. I see now why so many people drive the hundred-plus miles downstate to make major purchases.

Anyway, it's 3:30AM so this will once again be short. Here is a good an explanation of the scientific method and what does and does not use it. Of course the people that need to read it won't, but, whatever.

I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Another quick post just to let everyone know that we are still alive. I have been spending most of my days outside cleaning out the garage and shed. I am making good progress on both, but I will need to keep a large fire going for several days to be rid of all the stuff piled in the back yard.

The big news since I last posted is that Nestina has a job at a local video rental place. She is very excited, and so are we. I'm really hoping this works out for her. The person that hired her seems to think she will do well.

This weekend, we were down in Burt, Michigan for Debbie's younger brother's retirement party. It looked like it would be raining, but everything cleared up just as the party started. Lots of people, food, etc.

While we were there, we took Nestina to her first-ever Catholic church service. She really enjoyed it, which I expected. The church itself was more visually interesting, and she really enjoyed the verbal give-and-take between the congregation and the priest. This will likely be the first of a series of visits to a variety of churches and traditions.

The Onion weighs in on the origins debate with this wonderful article. If the Intelligent Design folks could just open their eyes to how their arguments sound to those with even an average education, they would be shamed into silence.

And more on the shooting in London of a suspected terrorist. It seems that the official version of the story had very little truth to it. I'm shocked. To think that any government would shoot and kill someone, then lie to make themselves look better. I'm completely stunned.

My statistics continue to accumulate. Thanks to all who continue to check in even though I have not had much in the way of updates lately. It makes the effort of writing more worthwhile knowing a couple dozen individuals check this place every day or so.

And that's all I have for today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Before I hit the sack, I wanted to leave some reading assignments for everyone.

This is important. Which, of course, means it will be ignored. The short term effects are bad; the long-term effects could be unimaginable.

And Fred Reed takes on our "anti-terrorism" measures, which of course, aren't.

And that's all I can keep my eyes open for.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hold on to your bippies folks. I know the excitement and tension in some of our posts here are hard to take, but they pale in comparison to what's been going on in the Frost household the last five days or so.

I've been working on the property.

woo hoo.

Cutting, hauling, burning, stacking, arranging, digging. And that's just the beginning. I have all these and more looking at me every day until I go back to work on August 29th. That's right. I gave Munson the ol' heave ho for two full weeks so I can cut, haul, burn, stack, arrange, dig, etc.

Here is wishing all you could be here to share the joy!!

P.S. I do get a three-day break from all the excitement to attend Debbie's brother's retirement party next weekend. Just so no one thinks it's all just fun and games; I have a very serious party to attend.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Today I had a visitor from Canada. Who knew there was such a vast, untapped international market for reading about boring people...

And another search term:

earliest known mathmatical depictions

Note the misspelling of "mathematical." Our site is now home to bad spellers everywhere.
Last night was another night working the phone. It looks like we will have enough girls for a team, assuming everyone that said "yes" actually follows through. I watched Dancer in the Dark as well. "Different" is pretty much the only thing that comes to mind. "Leisurely stroll" is another. And "odd." Definitely "odd."

From today's skim of the internet:

Another retired NASA engineer calls for the grounding of the shuttle and the development of a new vehicle. Money quote: "The United States is presently fourth in the ability to put humans reliably into space, behind Russia, China, and Burt Rutan." Ouch!! That's going to leave a mark.

FedEx demonstrates how to create a public relations nightmare. A guy who cannot afford real furniture uses FedEx shipping boxes to build his own, then publishes pictures of it on the internet. FedEx threatens legal action under DMCA. Huh?!?!? I would think FedEx could afford lawyers that know the difference between copyright and trademark infringement. I would also think that FedEx could afford PR people that had the balls to smack down the lawyers before they do something monumentally stupid.

Speaking of a public relations nightmare, this is what a corporation looks like when it acts the part of a two-year-old child sticking his fingers in his ears and saying "La la la la la la la la la I can't hear you!!"

That's all I have time for today.
I was just poking around in my stats so far. I've been running fairly consistent at 25 hits a day. I received another hit from Tokyo yesterday. I'm not sure why I'm so popular in Japan. Is checking in on American nutjobs' blogs the new hobby there? Anyway, I took a peak at the search terms that people have used to find this place through Yahoo or other search engines. So far we have:
debbie's boob job
tokyo steve

Yep. That pretty much sums up the contents of this blog.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Not much to report. Last night was just phone calls to potential soccer players, the rest of a movie I had started yesterday (the original Dune), then bed.

And just to beat a patch of grass where a dead horse used to be, I want to restate one point that I have made before, but maybe not as explicitly as I should have. In the whole evolution vs. creation debate, I'm not looking to make any converts. If someone asks, I will tell them that I have been convinced after years of studying the evidence, that the earth is ancient and all living things on earth are related via common decent. If someone wishes to believe God poofed the world into existence 6,000 years ago, I really don't mind. If someone wants to believe in a global flood and all living things on earth in a big wooden ship, I really don't mind. Try to use my tax dollars to teach it as science? That I mind a great deal and will fight to my dying breath. Creation Science and its bastard offspring, Intelligent Design are frauds. Every "evidence" they cite to support their case is bogus. Every "flaw" they point to in evolution, geology, cosmology, or whatever branch of science has caught their attention, is bogus. Intelligent Design is not science. Creation Science is not science.

That's all I have the energy for.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Thursday, I had a soccer meeting after work. The meeting had a lot of information, most of which completely went past me. There seems to be some issue with lost registrations and such, so this whole thing ought to be interesting. Leaving the meeting, I had a pleasant little shouting match with Dick-Head Paul, the director of the Kaliseum. He was upset with me for turning him in for violating child labor law as a matter of organizational policy. So it is all my fault, see, because I expect an organization supported by my tax dollars to obey the law. Silly me.

Friday, I went in for an eye exam and to get my glasses on order. Great news!!! I get to wear bifocals!!! Woo Hoo!! Nestina promptly started calling me Bifocal Man, instead of just Old Man. Great. Debbie had to take me to work because my eyes were dilated and I didn't have glasses. Debbie, Nestina, and Debbie's two nieces met me in Traverse City after work for dinner and dessert.

Saturday was a work day. Debbie took her nieces back downstate to drop them off at home, and Nestina and I hauled around rocks, cut up trees blown down by the various storms over the last few weeks, and did some cleaning and organizing in the garage.

Sunday, Debbie drove me to Houghton Lake for another soccer meeting. That went much better and I feel like things are getting on track. I got to meet several of the other coaches and was able to get a much better picture of how AYSO works.

Monday was just work, shopping, then home for dinner, a movie, and some internet browsing. Tonight will likely find me working the phones trying to put together a soccer team. We need to start practicing pretty soon, so I don't have a lot of time to mess around.

Speaking of internet browsing, Vox Day has a new column up that is sure to start some screaming. My contention has always been that feminism was a bad deal for women in many ways, and is a flat out disaster for our children. I'm sure many will disagree. He has some follow-up statistics on his blog that show just what women in the work force has done to individual and household income.

And we have a pair from Kip at A Stitch in Haste. The first takes on the contention made by creationists and IDists that evolution can only be accepted by faith. The second one takes on an issue I have mixed feelings about. Schools have pushed since I was in the elementary grades, to drop the summer break and go to all-year school. It is logical in one sense, but I think my ambivalence stems from my complete distrust of public schooling. I view summer as a time to de-program all the PC, historical revisionism, moral relativism, etc. that gets shoved down the kids' throats. On the flip side, I do know that most of the school year is just review of the last year because everything fell out of the kids' heads during the three-month break. I also know that August has the highest incidence of vandalism, petty theft, shop-lifting, teen drinking and drug use, teen sex, etc. In other words, by August, most school kids are going stark raving mad with boredom. But probably the worst result of the three-month break is the expectation it breeds into teens when they enter the real world. In generations past, summer break was a time of back-breaking work on the farm or some other job. Now it's a three-month vacation. Who, other than teachers, gets three months off work a year?

Anyway, I'm still hungry and now it is way past time to start for home.
Almost a week has slipped by without a post. Sorry about that. It's not that I've been busy so much as just distracted. I can't seem to write a coherent paragraph. So I apologize in advance for what will likely be a bit of a mess.

First, I have continued to play with the links over on the right hand side of the page. You will notice a distinct change from serious to not-so-serious. Every politician from the dog catcher (or in the case of Kalkaska, the director of the Kaliseum) to the President is a liar and a thief, and considers himself above the law. I know that, you know that, everyone knows that, yet we as a nation continue to elect the same liars and thieves to public office. I guess I've grown weary of reading about it and would rather read about Waiter Rant's latest rude customer or a bouncer's Guido stories.

I also registered with a traffic statistics site about a week ago. It's interesting the number of people that read this blog that I do not know. I even have a reader from Tokyo. I would have never believed that this site would get over 100 hits in five days. That completely blows me away. Some of the site traffic is obviously members of Debbie's or Nestina's or my family (one thing Web-Stat does for me is to show me a map of the world with little circles on the cities that my traffic comes from). But many of them are truly a puzzle as to how they found this place.

A while back, I promised a reply to Eric after I had some time to think about what I wanted to say. Others have since posted comments, sent me private e-mails, or had private conversations with me. I would have to write a 500-page book to address every question, comment, or concern. I will pick out a few that I think raise key points and answer them here. By no means can I cover everything. Not only do I not have enough time (or bandwidth), I don't necessarily have everything figured out in my own head yet. There are things I know. There are things I believe. There are things I really don't have an opinion about.

Let me repeat: I don't pretend to have everything figured out at this point. I truly envy those of you that are completely assured of your beliefs. (There is no sarcasm in that statement; probably a first for this blog.)

Which leads nicely to my first point: The tone of this blog has been described (not by me) as sarcastic, cynical, know-it-all, and, most recently, flippant. Honestly, I'm not trying to be any of those, and if that bothers you, I am truly sorry. But this is how I write, and at 40 years of age, I don't foresee any change. If it bothers you to the point of offense, all I have to suggest is that the internet is a big place and I'm sure there are others that say much the same things you read hear, only in a tone that is more to your liking. I'm not saying that to be a jerk; I don't intend to anger people (at least not most of the time), but PC I'm not, nor will I ever be. If reading this blog angers you, might I recommend a more constructive use of your personal time?

2: I have no illusions that anything said here is going to change anyone else's mind on much of anything, be it the value of the King James Version of the Bible or the validity of evolution. I will state my views (this is my blog) and anyone reading them can accept them, reject them, or whatever. But understand that the converse is also true. I have spent every moment I could spare (and many that I really couldn't) in reading, prayer, and not a few tears while considering the origins question, and all that followed from that. Please don't insult me by thinking I am going to abandon my present stance and come running "back into the fold" because someone quotes a verse or tosses a factoid or hurls a few insults.

3: Many have communicated their support in various ways. Thank you. You have no idea (and I hope you are never in a position to find out) how much that helps, especially after being "voted off the island" by members of my own family.

4: Several people have expressed sadness at what has happened to me. Don't be. I'm not, even though this has cost me in ways I cannot even think about right now. If you truly believe that God is in control, then this is happening for a reason. If He isn't, then ...well... (shrug) none of this really matters, now does it?

5: As far as being flippant about people going to hell, it is true that I made a flippant comment about people going to hell; that is not necessarily being flippant about individuals going to hell. If I were, I doubt I would have spent as much time over the last few years in ministry. I doubt I would have voluntarily cut my hours (and my pay) by 20% to be more available. I doubt I would have spent nearly $20K on a Christian education. I'm not saying that to brag, but only to point out that it isn't likely that I am casual about hell.

I do have to wonder about just how serious the average evangelical takes hell. (Understand this isn't directed at Eric, Steve, Tom, Mike, Jon, Lindsey, etc.; all of whom are active in ministry.) How much money and resources are spent on politics by the average evangelical? How much is spent on cable and satellite TV? How much is spent on politics to try to clean up what comes in on cable and satellite TV? How much on movies? How much on politicians who denounce movies? I could fill, pages, but I think my point is made: if anyone is flippant about people going to hell, it is an attitude picked up in the church.

Taking another shot at this from a different direction: I have spent 40 years listening to Christians casually condemning millions of other professing Christians to hell because they are Roman Catholic, or Pentecostal, or attend a church with a woman pastor, or use the NIV Bible, or accept evolution (and yes, I've been told I'm going to hell). Again, if anyone is being flippant, including myself, it is a learned behavior. Hell is where you put anyone you don't like, or holds a view you don't like, or makes a point that you don't have a good refutation for.

6: Bible translations (actually, English Bible translations). Here, I will address a number of sub-points.

a: All English translations of the Bible have problems. Every. Last One. Of. Them. None are inerrant.

b: All of the existing manuscripts, including those used to create the Textus Receptus, have errors. Every. Last. One. Of. Them. None are inerrant. There are over 5,000 copies of the New Testament, but only 50 are complete, and no two are the same.

c: The KJV has one major deficiency completely apart from translation issues or what manuscripts were used; for anyone that has not grown up in the church using the King James, it may as well be written in Latin. I guarantee that it is unintelligible to anyone currently in the youth group. Many of the words used have had significant shifts in meaning since 1611, and several have actually reversed meaning. The Apostles wrote the New Testament in common Greek, rather than the scholarly "high" Greek to ensure that it was available to average people. What has changed in the intervening 2,000 years that we must use an English version of the Bible that is unapproachable by the average person?

d: The New Testament KJV is not based on the Textus Receptus, which was first published in 1624. It was based on the Stephens of 1550, which was used, along with other manuscripts, to create the Textus Receptus.

e: The original KJV had over 8,000 marginal notes, including alternate translations and indications of disagreement between the manuscripts. In the preface to the 1611 KJV, the translators defended this practice, as well as calling for continuous updates as new manuscripts came to light and the English language continued to evolve. Oddly, this preface has been removed from subsequent versions.

f: The original KJV included the Apocrypha. It began to be omitted around 1769.

g: The first Bible to make landfall in the Americas was the Geneva version. The KJV was considered a "Papist" translation, and was shunned by evangelicals in favor of the Geneva version.

I could go on, but the alphabet is only so long and I'm getting carpal tunnel. My point is that no translation is perfect, and every translation involves interpretation. In my previous post, I mentioned the word translated as "created" in Genesis 1:1. Here we are five words into the Bible and we have a serious problem with a literal translation: as Eric mentioned, the verb in the Hebrew text is in the infinitive form. But that makes no sense in English: "In the beginning God to create the heavens and the earth." So interpretation comes into play, and we have the past tense, "created," in most English Bibles. But how true to the original text is that given that Hebrew does not have a past tense?

One could easily write a book on this (and many, many have) so I'll just stop at an arbitrary point. If you want to read more, just Google "KJV problems" (or "NIV problems" or "NLT problems" or "NKJV problems" or "NASB problems" or...). You will find sites for, against, and everywhere in between on every English version of the Bible back to Wycliff. Many contain extensive bibliographies that could keep you reading for years to come.

7: The statistics you find tossed around casually in creationist literature are simply bogus. They are based on complete ignorance of chemistry and biology. DNA, amino acids and proteins are not the precise, fragile things that creationists like to present them as. There is wide variation that is possible (and in fact is found in nature) while still retaining their function. The whole process of transcription from DNA to protein is far messier, flexible, robust, and interesting to study than any description from creationist literature (or, unfortunately, most high school biology text books) would lead you to believe.

In addition, even if I grant that the odds are anything more than just random numbers pulled out of thin air, creationists completely ignore the number of "tries" that are possible. An example: the odds of me rolling 1,000,000 5's in a row with a single, six-sided die are astronomical. But if I roll 1,000,000,000 dice, it is a near-certainty that 1,000,000 of them will be 5's. How many molecules are in a gallon of sea water? in a billion gallons of sea water? in the Pacific Ocean?

I could obviously go on and on, but life is short, and I'm getting hungry. I will likely make a more typical post later today to update everyone on all the stuff going on in the Frost household.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

There is a very long response that took some thought that Eric made to yesterday's post. It deserves a well-thought response, which I cannot supply today on my 4 hours of interrupted sleep. So instead, today will be another link-fest.

Paul Graham has a new article up that discusses what business should be learning from the open source phenomenon. Note that he doesn't believe they will learn, just that they should.

Fred Reed, who has spent more time inside a squad car than anyone other than cops and some career criminals, takes on community-based policing (CBP). The short version is that CBP handicaps the police while avoiding the root problems. Definitely worth reading and thinking about.

Here is a bit from The Panda's Thumb on President Bush's remarks in support of the teaching of Intelligent Design in the classroom. I will say it again: Intelligent Design is not science and has no place in a public school science class. It is politics with a dash of bad theology, and its very foundation is flagrant dishonesty.

Vox Day explains better than I could why I got out of libertarian politics. The whole enterprise reminded me of trying to sell spinach-flavored ice cream. You can not sell what people do not want to buy. Most people living in the United States do not desire a republic and are terrified at the very idea of living in one.

And a hat trick from A Stitch in Haste:
Guns in Parking Lots, Revisited
Don't Blame Fund Managers for Pension Shortfalls
Bush, Intelligent Design and "Totalitarian Libertarians"

Here and here are a pair of very sad posts. At a loss for a reason, indeed.

In other news, it's been a crazy couple of days. As I have previously mentioned, Tuesday was my debut as a soccer coach. We won, but I can't take any credit whatsoever. I just let the girls do their job. I was mostly a spectator. Of course we picked the second hottest day of the year to play.

Yesterday, the hottest day of the year, we took the youth group out to North Bar Lake in the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Park. It was great; lots of surf and it felt really good to be in Lake Michigan. The only downer was that I lost my glasses to a rogue wave. I was just wading in the shallow water keeping an eye on the bobbing heads that I was responsible for when I got smashed by a wave that was easily eight feet high. I tried to grab for my glasses, but it was too late. The surf literally sucked them right out of my hands. Ah well; I'm about two years over-due for a new pair anyway.

Tonight is another soccer meeting, so maybe I will finally get the word on what is happening for the fall season and what I will be coaching.

That's it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I haven't checked my e-mail in a while, so I missed an anonymous comment posted to an entry that had already slipped into the archive. I'm posting the response here because a) it will likely be too long as a comment, b) no one is likely to read it because the entry itself is no longer on the main page (Yes, in fact I am vain and I want people to read what I write; otherwise, why have a blog?) , and c) this is a very good example of the sort of "logic" that True Believers (tm) think is devastating to science.


While you are giving history lessons, allow me to throw out a few historical facts of my own.

Charles Darwin was studying to be a minister when he began the field research that led to his most famous work Origin of Species. He was hardly an "unbeliever." He became estranged from his church largely because the church leaders didn't like his work.

The Bible says many things that have in the past been taken literally which are then reinterpreted to match science, usually after a bit of struggle between scientists and clergy. Google "Sir Isaac Newton" for details of one such incident. [I will leave this as a perfect example of what happens when I write a post in a hurry. Of course, I actually meant to type "Galileo Galilei."] I haven't heard many preachers in my lifetime arguing that the earth is set on a foundation and doesn't move. (Bonus points for knowing who said that). Of course we still have the Flat Earth Society.

You claim that believers have a rock to stand on that never moves, then suggest I read church history. I have. It is one long litany from day one (some say, "I follow Paul", some say, "I follow Apollos") of divisions and factions all proclaiming themselves to be the keepers of Absolute Truth (tm). Evangelicals are the new-born babes in this process with a history that only goes back a couple centuries. They are also the new Flat Earth Society denying what is obvious to everyone else, including fellow-believers. Oh. Sorry. I forget that Evangelicals are the only ones going to heaven. Too bad about all those poor souls burning in hell for eternity because Evangelicalism didn't exist prior to the 1700's. It seems God's perfect plan has some flaws.

You claim kinship with Luther, a Catholic priest who was merely attempting to reform the priesthood and had no intention of starting a break-away church. Speaking of which, have you been to a Lutheran church? Have you ever read a Lutheran doctrinal statement? Are you aware that the Lutheran church, like the Roman Catholic Church, and nearly every mainstream Protestant denomination, accepts evolution? Are you aware of the vast chasms of disagreement between Lutherans and Evangelicals on such basic doctrines as salvation and baptism?

You claim that fundamentalism has been undermined by bad Bible translations. I agree. The King James Version is an abomination to the original text. The person for whom the KJV is named had some pretty radical doctrines that he had no intention of seeing undermined by the Bible translation that was to bear his name. Here is an exercise for the reader: what tense is the Hebrew word that is translated "created" in Genesis 1:1? I'll give you a hint: it ain't the simple past tense used in the KJV and every other English translation I've seen used in an Evangelical church.

You claim "Darwinists are moving". This reflects a basic ignorance of science. Science (including biology) is constantly "moving" and it's a good thing that it is, otherwise, I would be chisling this on a rock rather than typing it on a keyboard and publishing it for every literate person on the planet to read. I thank God that science is "moving" every time I start my truck and drive the 70-mile round trip to work instead of walking it like my great-grandfather did during the depression. I thank God that science is "moving" everytime I open my refrigerator door and see a literal cornucopia of food, some of it produced thousands of miles away. And I thank God that science "moves" every night around 10PM when I fill a needle with Lantus, without which I would likely be dead in a very short time, and inject it into myself.

One more time: science is tentative, not dogmatic like, say, religion. There is no revealed Absolute Truth (tm) in science. There are theories that fit the currently known data. One of these theories says an inherent property of all matter is mutual attraction. It has grown from observations made repeatedly, in a wide variety of situations both in the lab and in nature, over a period of centuries. Another says that time is not absolute, but rather varies with a person's frame of reference. It, too, has grown from observations made repeatedly, in a wide variety of situations both in the lab and in nature, over a period of decades. Another says that all species are descendents of a common ancestor. It, too, has grown from observations made repeatedly, in a wide variety of situations both in the lab and in nature (both before Darwin and since), over a period of decades. All of these have been attacked by Biblical literalists, who have (mostly) given up on the first two, and are rapidly losing ground on the third. Good thing Christianity is such an immovable rock.

And I will never give up beating Creation "Scientists" and Intelligent Design "Scientists" over the head until they stop propagating outright lies to gullible Christians and school children who would never suspect a fellow-believer or authority figure capable of intentional deceit. It is disgusting. It is embarrassing. It is sin. It must stop and it must be stopped by believers. There is no moral difference between a deacon using his position of trust to steal from the church, a youth pastor using his position of trust for sex with teens, and Kent Hovind peddling lies that he knows are lies so he can live a lavish lifestyle while claiming zero income on his federal taxes. The first two would never be tolerated for one second in any church I've been in, yet Hovind is treated like some sort of rock star by Evangelicals all over North America.

I simply will no longer stand idly by while this goes on, no more than I would turn a blind eye to a youth worker having sex with a 14-year-old. I have become the enemy of the Kent Hovind's of the world.

Enough. I have to run.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Last night was just relaxation time. Debbie had her Bible study at the church, so that left me at home with three teen-age girls. We watched movies and played a very serious game of Cranium. I ended up getting to bed over an hour late.

Tonight will not be relaxing, although I expect it to be fun. I will be coaching my first-ever soccer game. Tonight is just a scrimmage game with the Kalkaska women's team (self-identified as the U-50 club team...). If everyone shows up that said they would, we should have 15 or so players. It will be kind of interesting to see how I do as coach. It will also be somewhat of a preview of what the fall team will be like.

SCO is dead. Novell just ran a stake through the heart of the vampire. SCO has degenerated into nothing but a parasite on the computer industry; a vehicle for collecting money to which it has no claim and using it to hire lawyers to extract more money to which it has no claim. It's time to die, SCO. At the least, the company will be sued out of existence. At best, some or all of the upper management will get hit with criminal charges (that's the Lanham Act claims mentioned near the bottom of the article). Now I feel safe in taking the garlic cloves off of my Xandros box.

And that's about it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

No posting this weekend as things ended up being a bit of a blur, so we will start off with the Friday movies.

The two movies we saw were easily our favorites. Based on the description and the dress of the actors in the promotional still, I expected The Baxter to be British. Personally, I enjoy British comedy, but I was afraid that Nestina and her friend would hate it. As it turns out, the movie was actually American, and very funny. Typically, when the credits start to roll, most people get up to leave. Not this time; no one moved. It was like everyone was waiting for more. The best part was that there was more. After most of the credits rolled, the final scene (which was "awww" instead of "ha ha") is re-played from the point of view of a different character. Everyone walked out of the theater cracking up.

The second movie we saw was Grizzly Man. It was funny, sad, terrifying, awesome, and whatever other adjectives you can think of. The movie is based on video shot by Timothy Treadwell while he lived with grizzlies in Alaska. There isn't much I can say without giving too much away, but we were laughing most of the way through the movie, yet there are two thoughts always in the back of your mind: first, Treadwell and his girlfriend ended up being killed and eaten by a rogue grizzly, and second, that the funniest parts of the movie are the result of Treadwell essentially documenting his own slide into insanity.

Both of these are due for official theatrical release soon. If you want to really get the full impact, Grizzly Man needs to be seen on the big screen. Either one would be worth the money to see in the theater and to buy on DVD.

Saturday, Debbie was down state to pick up her nieces that stay with us for a week every summer. Nestina and I just hung out at the Alden Days festival for most of the afternoon. Debbie came home around 3 or 4PM with her nieces. The five of us swung through Kalkaska to pick up Nestina's friend (whom I had just dropped off that morning) on our way to the last graduation open house of 2005. We didn't stay very long, but we did get to talk to a lot of people that we haven't seen in a while. The next stop was back in Alden for a band that was playing at the Depot. We only stayed for one set, then headed home for the evening.

Sunday was the annual church picnic, so we didn't get home until around 4PM. We had a housefull, with the three of us, Debbie's two nieces, Nestina's friend, and Nestina's friend's boyfriend. Debbie cooked dinner for everyone, then Nestina and her entourage headed into Traverse City to watch Casablanca at the open space on West Bay. I guess these big blowup screens and after dark viewings are becoming the new big thing. I knew I had to get up for work in the morning, and we needed to get Debbie's nieces settled in, so the four of us stayed home and caught up on things.

From the net:

First up, this from Wiley and the Non-Sequitur. Given recent events in my life, it almost isn't funny.

And a little classic courtroom humor from Kip at A Stitch in Haste. It makes you wonder how much courtroom questioning is just pro forma. In spite of nasty comments I routinely make about lawyers here, the weeding out process pretty much guarantees the anyone passing the bar has at least above-average IQ. Some of these remind me of those times when I am driving to work and "wake up" in the parking lot with no idea how I got there or how many fudgies I ran over.

And still more evidence that the "law enforcement" industry is completely divorced from the real world. One marvels at the restraint in only issuing a ticket. I am shocked that this obviously dangerous 73-year-old terrorist wasn't tackled to the ground, handcuffed, then shot in the back of the head.

And from the pouring salt in wounds department, there has been a series of reports from the 2005 Creation Mega Conference over at Panda's Thumb. This is why I have no respect for Creation Science. If you want to believe that God poofed everything into existence 6,000 years ago, while making everything look like it is billions of years old, then OK, but stop talking about the scientific proof that this happened. You just make Christians, the Church, and ultimately God look stupid.

Anyway, here is the lineup:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six

The actual articles are fairly short. The comments are a lot of fun to read, but are very long and, without the background on the various personalities, not that easy to follow.

That's it; lunch is over and it's back to my exciting job.