I woke up bright and early this morning and checked my newsfeeds and of course, what riveted my attention was the story about the passing of Christopher Hitchens. I wish I could say it was a shock and a surprise, but it’s been obvious for the last few months that his end was close. I won’t discuss his death, it’s unimportant. It’s his life that matters, and the indelible mark he has left on those of us left behind.
I first became aware of Hitch with his blistering expose’ of ‘Mother’ Teresa. I was awestruck at the sheer balls of the man in tearing into a ‘beloved’ icon with simple, readily available truth. He didn’t speak with temerity from the crowd, he grabbed a bullhorn and screamed out, the “Emperor is bloody naked!”.
From that point on, I tried to read everything he wrote, even the political things with which I must admit, I didn’t agree.
We lost Christopher Hitchens last night. Many of us have a feeling of emptiness today, we know how amazing he was. Many of us have been influenced by his style, and because of this he will live on. Because we read his books and use his arguments, quote him in arguments, and are influenced by him, he will live on. Christopher Hitchens seems irreplaceable. It's only in the strength of our collective voices do we consider the notion that we could possibly fill his shoes. And we will try, this is obvious to us, all of us had a collective atheist head nod today. We know we must pick up where he left off.
Hatred gets slick…
It’s a clean, professional website, I’ll give them that.
It’s an antiseptic cover for a cesspool of the vilest and most disgusting rhetoric possible. I’m speaking of course of the site known as www.Godhatesfags.com, which is the internet home of the Westboro Baptist Church, that gaggle of forty or so inbred cretins spawned by Fred Phelps.
The Church itself, ostensibly a mix of Primitive Baptist and Calvinist theology has been polluting the quiet residential neighbourhood in which it squats in Topeka, Kansas since 1955. But the odd and colourful career of Fred Waldron Phelps goes a bit further back.
“The June 11, 1951 issue of Time Magazine included a story on Phelps, then a Pasadena street preacher who lectured lunch-hour students about "sins committed on campus by students and teachers." The sins Phelps cited included promiscuous petting, evil language, profanity, cheating, teachers' filthy jokes in classrooms and pandering to the lusts of the flesh.”
The Transformation of Fred Phelps The Topeka Capital-Journal
By Joe Taschler and Steve Fry
There is no god.
There, I've said it.
"Oh but LC, you can't PROVE there is no god to the .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001, so he MIGHT exist."
Summary: Third person shooter, with melee capability. Based on Earth in the Marvel universe. Featuring Iron Man and War Machine.
Controls: The control scheme for this game is sufficient to beat the game, but is not particularly intuitive. If the game were more challenging then this would have been a bigger problem than it is, but it still affects enjoyment of the title.
The graphics in this game are reminiscent of the PS2/XBox generation. Environments and characters are more blocky than most current titles. In fact, FFX (2001) on the PS2 had superior graphics.
There are no significant problems with the sound, but it does give the impression of being unfinished. Mostly due to the story.
The voice acting was provided largely by the movie cast, and is as good as one can expect for the most part.
The setting varies mission to mission. Russia, the US, and unspecified airspace are the primary settings.
Summary: Third person melee action adventure game. Based in a portion of Gotham City, in the DC universe. Featuring Batman, with add on content featuring Catwoman and Robin/Nightwing.
Controls: One of the most intuitive and responsive games out there, but the sheer number of options in a fight tend to mean you stick with your favourites in order to prevent "deer in headlights" syndrome (what do I hit him with next? Oh shit I died..).
The graphics in this game are top notch. I never noticed a single clipping problem, or any graphical artifacts. Settings and person's look as real as one can expect from a comic setting.
The sound is similarly excellent. Voice acting generally provided by the actors from the cartoon in the mid 90's is on cue and well performed.
The setting is Arkham City, a walled off section of Gotham designed to replace Arkham Asylum. As Bruce Wayne you are thrown inside, and begin the task of attempting to discover who is doing what, and what the ultimate purpose of the city is.
Let’s examine the story of the birth of jesus, shall we?
Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
Luke 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
This neatly frames the timeline of the events preceding the birth of jesus. He was born after the census of Cyrenius and during the last years of the reign of Herod the Great. It is clear, concise and unequivocal, it is also historically impossible.
Here are the facts, Herod the Great, died in the year 4 BCE.
Cyrenius became Governor of Syria in the year 6 CE, partly due to Herod’s death.
If you accept the part of the story that tells us that Joseph packed up the pregnant mizzus and made the trip to Bethlehem because of the census decreed by Cyrenius, then the parts about Herod, particularly the ‘slaughter of the innocents’, wherein Herod ordered every child under age 2 in the region to be killed become absurd. Since Herod was dead at least ten years past, the slaughter story, the wise men from the east, indeed, the reason for Joseph and family to high tail it to Egypt at all disappears in a ‘poof’ of reality.
Here is a definition of Religion drawn straight from that bastion of veracity and impartiality, Wikipedia.
“…a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.”
Or perhaps the Dictionary which assures us that Religion is "... a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: i.e., the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion."
What then, is Atheism? (from Wikipedia) "...Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist."
Once, long ago when I was working as a paramedic out of Fitzsimmons Army Med center in Denver, we got a call for an O.D. coincidentally in my apartment complex. When we arrived we found a girl, about 20, lying on the floor with the tell tale white froth on her lips. We went to work and I ripped open her blouse, cut up through her bra with my trusty scissors and initiated CPR. The girl hit the cosmic lottery, and we got her back.
A few days later, my commander called me in and informed me that the Mother had filed a complaint against my partner and I because we had 'exposed' her daughter... (he got our side of the story, and tossed the complaint in the round filing cabinet). I saw the girl on a daily basis, and I gotta say, she WAS hot... but to this day, I can't remember what she looked like 'exposed'...I had other things on my mind than 'boobies!'
I see a lot of complaints that us skeptics aren't polite... that we tend to be unfair and quick to judge 'alternate' ideas as bullshit... and say so.
A lot of 'alternate' ideas are simply dangerous. If not in themselves, then in the fact that they take time away from legitimate and effective solutions. Homeopathy... if it were just quacks peddling pure water as a pick me up...I'd just snigger and let it pass. But it's a case of desperate people wasting valuable time on utterly useless treatments.
There is no way of knowing how many have died from pursuing 'alternate' cures. Homeopathy, Orgone Therapy, Prayer, Faith Healing and other types of quackery.
I've been having the usual running discussion over the issue of Objective versus Subjective morality with a young lad on another venue.
Oh, to be young and convinced that mine was the one true way to view the world, and if I just repeat myself often enough, everyone will SEE that I'm right...
Here's how I see it.
Morality is a set of cultural definitions, most if not all of which can be and are changed as the culture itself changes.
Our current set of values, which seem so true and right to us are merely the most recent iteration...
I brought up the subject of racism, noting that in my youth, it was a deeply ingrained moral value that blacks and whites should not marry, so deeply a part of the common psyche, that there were laws written to prevent it...
The lad tried to argue that it was all an aberration, not a moral thing at all... I pointed out that he was viewing it all in a subjective moral hindsight, a sort of ad hoc moral objectivism. After all, he reasons, if it's wrong now, it was always actually wrong. The majority of the folk I grew up with would beg to differ...
I remember those times, I was a child of them and those values were hard to shake.
Slavery is wrong. I believe that to the core of my being.