Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ghosts of exmo expo recently passed

Hey all. Sorry I was unable to attend the expo. I am improving and wish I had been there. Shane was kind enough to give me a smattering of the dicussions. Cricitisms of the "new atheists", I am sure, was discussed. Shelly, Thanks for giving it a go.

I would suggest that this article may be of interest. It is PZ meyers, and he responds to some (empty) criticisms of the anti-neoatheists group. It addresses, in a more consisce way than I am able, my percieved fallacies of the critics (hedges included).

Here is a sample:

"Brown does something interesting: he attempts to define the six characteristic premises of the New Atheism, and invites everyone to keep score. OK! Let's see how I stack up.



* There is something called "Faith" which can be defined as unjustified belief held in the teeth of the evidence. Faith is primarily a matter of false propositional belief.

Hmmm. "Unjustified" I'll accept, but I don't agree that faith is necessarily false. Still, I'll give it to him in my case: +1 for PZ.

* The cure for faith is science: The existence of God is a scientific question: either he exists or he doesn't. "Science is the only way of knowing - everything else is just superstition" [Robert L. Park]

Again, there are two things muddled up here, and I accept part but not the other. The existence of a god certainly is a scientific question. If there exists a prime mover or a cosmic watchmaker or a meddling tinkerer or a thunderbolt-flinging patriarch, and if it had or is having an effect on the universe, then yes, god is something we should be able to detect. If god is some nebulous entity that is not part of or is not involved in affecting our existence, then it is irrelevant and can be ignored."

---

Here is Brown's Original article (just for balance).
HH =)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Funny... Maybe I am one of God's favored...




YOu may wish to double-click and enlarge to view.

HH =)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rhetorical Pugilism, and a long needed self-critique:

Recent exchanges with the wife, kids, and others are leading me towards the need for a critical self-analysis. I am coming to the conclusion that discussion and debate are often much like a pugilistic endeavor, for me. In verbal conversation my methods are clear. Writing, however, I find a chore. It provides no pleasure. The responses are often perfunctory and obtuse. Thus, my economy of words often leaves the reader with gaps in information that I am often, too lazy, to fill.

A recent interaction with my lovely wife was illustrative. She was pointing out that often our family diet consists of too much sugar, and not enough roughage. A simple topic that should have been quickly agreed with. However, this was not taken as an opportunity to evaluate and discuss. Instead, it turned into a verbal barrage of fallacy pointing-out, name calling, defensive posturing, and bell ringing (nothing physical mind you just a time-out of silence and regrets).

There are often times I miss opporunities to demonstrate the value of reason that I iterate to my kids. My children have often heard me say, “do it because I said so.” Generally it would take a few moments to give them rational justifications for my requests to clean their rooms, turn of lights, wear a heavy coat, etc. But, often the “authority” scepter is wielded as a poor replacement for the opportunity to practice what I preach.

In the blogger world my comments are often based upon very literal interpretation of others writings. This is short sighted, given that those s blogs are visited with most freuency, are professional writers and educators. People gifted with words. These people use words, not just as communication devices, but as art. Wording for words sake. Often meaning was lost because I leapt over necessary questions about content and meaning, and moved to posting a refutation based upon my response to question which wasn’t mine to answer. Shane’s most recent (jaw-droppingly beautiful) post is a prime example. I leapt from the precipice of reading to putting on the rhetorical gloves and going for the argument. Poor outcome regarding knowledge to be gained. Even worse for maintaining a most cherished friendship.

Are my understandings so flimsy that I must fight, and alienate the people I so care for, just to say “I won”? Is it all rhetorical muscle flexing? As with the boxer, there is a tendency to focus on the goal, and shut out the “other” around. Perhaps the causes may be in my learning history. It does go back to religion (my oldest theme).

The epiphany that the LDS religion was false, hit harder than once thought. From the cradle it was taught that there was an infallible, infinite, undiminishable, truth endowed to me. Is was taught that it was a blessing to have been born into such a truth. Royalty and elevation by birthright. It was fed through mother’s milk, and lived as an absolute. When the house of cards came crashing down it was emotionally devastating. How could I have been SO blind for so long? How could the reality have been missed when it existed so clearly? Now that I pinder it the answer is simple: those beliefs were defended with veracity, and pugilistic fervor. The tools used then, although slightly modified, are the tools used now. They work. Not perfectly, but effectively.

Perhaps, there is an inverse relationship between emotion and knowledge. As Bertrand Russell once wrote, “... the less one knows, the hotter one gets.” Do I fear my world-view being wrong (again) so much, that I must use the same old methods to defend it? Could I be as wrong now as I was then? Could all of the pontificating and study have lead to more Red-Herrings?

It also retraces to social learning and friendships. Another driving force is a certain social awkwardness. I have never had a close friend until I met my wife. It was always best to keep people at arms length. When avoidance didn't work, argumentation did. The methods started for one reason and continue for another. The energy generated from the excitement of friendships with others so enlightened, educated, and gifted is often exercised in verbal/written ways. The times when I feel closest to people have been when the gloves are off, and the banter flies with voices raised, and arms flailing. My responses have often been in single shell bullet form. Take what I hear and open one hole (and begin to attack it in order to continue the dialogue ). Win just one piece and the others case falls. Often within the discussions I have been in almost perfect agreement with the other persons views(as with my wife). IN effort to gain knowledge through rational argumentation, the conversation has become stifled. The inherent contradiction/hypocrisy in my behavior is obvious.

Given these areas of weakness, there are reasons to be hopeful. The justifications (or rationalizations) for my religious beliefs ranged from irrational to non-existent. I was married to the idea of their correctness back then. Now, however, I wish to disabuse myself of false beliefs. Second, reason and science are the guides of my current world view. Although not perfect (a silly notion of itself), they have shown to be consistently successful, as approaches to knowing, in their own rights. The odds are much more in favor of coming closer to truth. Faith plays no role for me. That is one area will I will never again cede ground.

So how can I change?

By being conscious about my interactions. I need people to take my assertions not as statements, but as questions. How can I do this? By actually asking questions. In the end it has been difficult to accept that beliefs are held the individual. A person will believe what he/she will. The big idea is to learn WHY people believe what they do. And, that insight is only gained by asking for MORE information, not less.

By determining meaning (NOT just through the words)but, through the context in which they occur will be a large step. Although I admit my rather autistic approach to expressionistic writing, it can not be ignored that people are often emoting, and expressing rather than analyzing in conversation (be it written or verbal). A thorough pondering of context before writing must occur.

Finally, I ask my fellow humans for patience, and help. Every now and again a statement like, “Travis perhaps that would be better phrased as a question rather than as a statement.” would be beneficial. I come from a scientific background with definition, variables, controls, and data. Precision in communication is imperative. This is why definition is important. My experience has been to utilize this medium to communicate results. Ambiguity is not only foreign and scary (like marriage and teenagers)... vagueness punished... abstraction a failing...unfamiliarity weakness.

I am rather late to the language-as-art party, and must be educated. I don’t demand, but ask. This must be a two-way street. I need to offer (from my logical-positivist/empiricist perspective), some form and function in describing my world view as well.

Life as student and teacher.

So, I drop the gloves. The temptation to reglove will be constant. The desire to win will remain. Every now and again feel free to drop a reminder that we aren't fighting, but raising each others consciousness. My rhetorical behavior will (hopefully) metamorphasize into something more enlightening and wonderful. I, too, am learning how to see again.

HH

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holy smoke...

When I have some time on my hands I tend to read and respond a little too much. Like Ron wrote, "need to save some for the exmo gathering."

I need another logical positivist in the group to make sure that I don't get double-teamed by the postmodernist-anarchist champs. Shelly??? Rod??? Maybe I"ll just wear a flack jacket.

See y'all soon. Shane- Drive Safely. We drove over the mountain into Brigham City today and we white-knuckled it.


Happy_Heretic

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fodder for upcoming exmo expo

Shelly: Here is a little Hedges for you. =)



Perhaps I feel a little TOO giddy over discussing this.

HH =)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rush - "Faithless"




Neal Pert is the greatest drummer of ALL TIME! This has officially become my favorite Rush song (okay... Red Barchetta still makes my motor roll).

Exmo-expo III is taking shape. Lisa, if you can jet out to Utah I am inviting you too.

Recently I found out that people get rather miffed when you point out the particular fallacies of their arguments, rather than providing an alternative theory. My wife doesn't enjoy arguing with me about trite issues. She rather, prefers Shane's form of discussion and perspective expression. I need to work on my verbal rhetorical skills I guess. We tend to get heated of late. I am thinking of adopting Ben Franklin's approach. If some historical portrayals are accurate he was maddeningly tolerant and indecisive. Kind of a stoic approach to problems (truth is an illusion so why get all bothered about it).

Perhaps the real difference is that I pursue doubt first. Others are looking for the best position given pragmatism and a dash of reason thrown in for good measure??

There has been some stirring in my extended family related to Mormonism. Three siblings have expressed doubt to me about the veracity of the LDS church in the last week. One of them I would NEVER have expected doubt from. My responses to all three were the same. None. I desperately wish to believe they are on paths away from the cult, but that flickering hope has been doused too many times before.

It is SNOWING right now. Rather heavily too. Nice to hunker down in my warm home and just let my thoughts drip from head to Blog. Just one more week of work, and then 2 weeks of sleeping in, overeating, and holiday chaos.

So, whether you believe in Jesus, Mithra, the cycles of the sun, Allah, Santa, etc...

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

HH =)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Visitors in the shadows...

Come out... come out... wherever you are. I am certain that there are family members (the wife's, and mine) who have browsed my little corner of the web universe, and simply have not offerred a response.

I just wanted to let you know that I am delighted that you visit. Some of you may be surprised at my rather aggressive assaults on religion (particularly yours). Others, may just have clicked through Shane's, Ron's, or another person's blog wondering who this rather "bitter" "liberal" is. Its me, Travis.

IRL(in real life)I don't confront these issues much with extended family. I think it more important to maintain civility whenever possible. No reason relationships should suffer over philosophical differences, and conundrums. I love my wife's family, as well as my own parents and siblings.

I must admit, however, there have been many times that I held my tongue when someone has made a blatantly false comment on religion (e.g., "church is a good place for children to learn morals." and, "it is necessary to be mormom in utah, the culture demands it. Otherwise our children will be alienated.").

When anyone ever asks me my views, I tell them clearly and without apology. I find that my life committed to reason and science is vastly more fulfilling, joyous, and honest; than my life before of faith, and dissonance. The stress and depression are gone.

I, do love to debate, and for those lurking in the shadows of my blog, I invite you out to chat. Whatever topic is discussed, I assure you that I will harbour no emotional feelings when we disagree. Please afford me the same courtesy. Otherwise... be on your way. If you are republican and/or LDS my comments will only frustrate and anger you. I don't wish you to be frustrated and angry.

HH (Travis- Happy_Heretic)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Need a reason to resign from the LDS church?




Couldn't have said it better. I proudly state that I am NOT member of an organization which proffers so much hate, ignorance, and stupidity.

"He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire.


HH

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No one called down the thunder, but everyone around is getting the "boom."


My kids used to watch the dumbest video:






This video is a retelling of Hansel and Gretal, starring Howie Mandel as the Sandman (don't ask, just take LSD before watching). In it, an ogre (Bobcat Goldthwaite) picks a fight with the sandman. The sandman retorts, " you called down the thunder..."

My mood, of late, makes just about as much sense as that horrible movie. I am GRUMPY. I feel fury all the time. I repress this behavior during work hours... come home... and, skulk about like a rattlesnake looking for a rat.

Last night my teenagers decided to poke the snake with a stick.

Teenagers argue.

I get it.

But, I offered them no rattle in warning. I simply opened my can of stupid and mean, and gave them an earful of profanity that would have made a sailor blush. As they protested, I used physical intimidation as my next brilliant move. I moved just inches from my sons face and gave him a little push backwards. His sister (sitting on a stool beside him) attempted to verbally come to his defense. Brain-surgeon me would have NONE OF IT. I pushed my wonderful daughter off the chair. She hit the floor, and sat frozen, and bewildered at her fathers behavior.

Not to end things, but make them worse, I moved back into my sons face. I moved forward, and he moved backwards. His eyes began to tear with fear. He looked at his sister. And said, "c'mon sis, let's get out of the house." With that they headed outside.

The competition between my shame and fury was quite the battle. For 20 minutes, or so, my fury won out. As the blood began to seep, slowly, back into my cerebral cortex I began to realize what an asshole I had been.

The two people in this world which I have the obligation to make safe and happy, had (as the result of my actions) found someone who made them sad and afraid. "F" in parenting yesterday... that is for damned sure.

Twenty-four hours later, things are starting to move towards normal. We are making eye contact again. But the wife is doing all the talking.

Yet, I am still so angry. Why? All I want is to scream, strut my hour upon the stage with sound and fury, and weep. Where the hell is it coming from?

Perhaps politics, work, and repressed client-induced therapy pain are converging to thunder the storm upon my psyche? It needs to abate soon, or find release. Either way... it sucks to behave like such an ass. Just sayin'

unHH =(

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Finally..



Pat Condell has been banned because he believes that Sharia law should not carry any legal weight in British courts. YOUTUBE needs its ass kicked! Here is his video:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jeez..

I really need to come with a new post. Hmm..

Until my brain unfreezes here is something for you:



Okay... one just for the regulars:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hit and run...

The recent spate of e-mails flying back and forth have been VERY interesting reading. The topic may have met its final fate, but mutations of it will certainly arise over the months and years.

I came across a wonderful site. YOU SIMPLY MUST SEE! Click here.

Perhaps the whimpy Democrats are finally getting some Chuzpah?



HH

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Just a thought I had today...

A kindergartner at a school I cover was having some behavior problems. He refused to be quiet and let the teacher teach the rest of the class. The teacher would, for example, be teaching the concept "b" by showing a "b" and then having the class say it in unison. The little boy would shout "no its not! My dad says its a plane."

The teacher tried a few simple techniques, to no avail. I was asked to consult. After watching for a while it became apparent that this little boys behavior was reinforced by attention. We decided to have the teacher "ignore" the behavior. As usual there was an "extinction burst" (a temporary increase in the behavior before it disappears). Within 20 minutes this boy was sitting with his peers engaged in appropriate unison responding.

The teacher thinks I know magic. She stated that she has tried arguing with the boy, and his behavior "got worse."

Ijust read an article in a British Newspaper which the author was criticising Tony Blairs record of supporting religious indoctrination in schools. After the article there was a place to post comments. The religious folks were out en mass to criticize the author as being a militant atheist. As I look over the recent flourish of religiosity in America it seems the same. The more people take issue with religion, the harder religion fights back and survives and grows (like the bad behavior of a kindergartner).

It is my belief that religion will die, not by fighting it (attending to it), but ignoring it. Watch god finally fade from existence like the remaining smile of an ever fading Cosmic Cheshire cat...

HH

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Love beyond death...

This was found at an archaeological dig in Northern Niger. Analysts indicate that is is a women and two children (5 and 8) holding hands. Pollen was found covering them, suggesting that they were buried with flowers covering them. A mother's love for her children lasts beyond their deaths. A dichotomy so wonderful and tragic all in the same moment.

I was struck at how moved I was by this picture. It is all an outgrowth of my thoughts of late.

My son is a fan of the series "Boston Legal." So am I. The friendship between Denny Crane and Allan Shore is something for which I long. Yet this is off the point. IN one episode two lawyers from the firm are sitting in a bar listening to a song called, "Thanks Again." Essentially it is an adult child saying thanks to his/her lifelong friends... Mom and Dad.

I listened and was reminded of my wife's parents. They fit the song almost perfectly. My mind attempted, to no avail, to put my parents into the song. They just didn't fit. I am always surprised, as a child of divorce, how easily may parents failed at their most important role. Further, how long-lasting those effects have been. Hell, I am 42 years old, and I am still learning how to be a decent parent from other people's folks.

Will my wonderful children listen to such a song and wax rhapsodic about how hard I tried to serve them well? Will they ever understand how brilliant I was to con their mother into marrying me (evil grin)? Will they ever understand how much they were loved before they were even a twinkle in our eyes? Given their status as normally developing teenagers (that is to say abnormal in almost every way) there is no way they get it now. Oddly enough, after writing this I am off to my father's for our weekly Sunday dinner with shallow conversation, and tales of the latest neighbor being put into the bishopric. Thank Poseidon for work on Monday...

On the outrageous religious control front... There is a book you will never read entitled "The Jewel of Medina." It is about the 6-year-old girl named Aisha who was married to the Islamic pedophile, and prophet Mohammad. Random House Pulled the book from publication because of fear of offending the religious zealots in Islam. Of course you can read the tale of horrific immoral conduct in the Hadith and Koran, but heaven forbid that it receive scrutiny from rational folk.

As John Hari, of the British newspaper "The Independent" writes:
"Some people will instantly ask: why bother criticising religion if it causes so much hassle? The answer is: look back at our history. How did Christianity lose its ability to terrorise people with phantasms of sin and Hell? How did it stop spreading shame about natural urges – pre-marital sex, masturbation or homosexuality? Because critics pored over the religion's stories and found gaping holes of logic or morality in them. They asked questions. How could an angel inseminate a virgin? Why does the Old Testament God command his followers to commit genocide? How can a man survive inside a whale?"
---

Reminds me of an H.L. Mencken Quote (He had so many good ones):
"
The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame." - The Baltimore Evening Sun, (September 14, 1925)

My negativity abounds. So what good is there? Fall is on the way. The nights are starting to cool. The sun is setting earlier. The "smell" of the school year is in the air. My grass is green... flowers in full bloom... Trees are heavy with leaves... Nature provides such wonder and peace. Nice to be able to appreciate it.

My in-laws purchased a boat. We went with them to a local dam and spent some time on the water. The day was hot and the water was warm. MY son was the first to jump from the boat into the water. My 60-year-old father in law was next. I was last. We just floated around the boat. Now that is a perfect way to worship on a Utah Summer Sunday.

MY daughter is getting some length and shows physical signs of womanhood. That boys will be thinking of her the way I thought of girls at that age outrages me. Wish I could go back in time and kick my own ass. Instead I will project my emotion unconsciously onto her and be an overprotective bastard. Yeah, that's the ticket... Whimper.

HH

Friday, July 18, 2008

a creed...

Written by PZ Myers at Pharyngula:

An Atheist’s Creed

I believe in time,
matter, and energy,
which make up the whole of the world.

I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind,
the only tools we have;
they are the product of natural forces
in a majestic but impersonal universe,
grander and richer than we can imagine,
a source of endless opportunities for discovery.

I believe in the power of doubt;
I do not seek out reassurances,
but embrace the question,
and strive to challenge my own beliefs.

I accept human mortality.

We have but one life,
brief and full of struggle,
leavened with love and community,
learning and exploration,
beauty and the creation of
new life, new art, and new ideas.

I rejoice in this life that I have,
and in the grandeur of a world that preceded me,
and an earth that will abide without me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A fitting memorial..

Independent.co.uk
San Francisco to vote on naming sewer after George Bush

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
Friday, 27 June 2008

Some presidents get carved into Mt Rushmore; others have airports, motorways, and even entire cities named in their honour. But when George Bush leaves office, his most visible memorial may be a mouldering patch of human effluent.

In November, alongside casting their ballot for the next president, the people of San Francisco will also vote on a measure to rename one of the city's largest sewage works the George W Bush Sewage Plant, to provide a "fitting monument" to the outgoing commander-in-chief's achievements.

Activists from the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco, a mischievously-named group behind the move, will ask supporters to participate in a "synchronised flush".

It may sound like a student prank, but the proposal is almost certain to be passed. Democrats usually secure between 70 and 80 per cent of the vote in San Francisco – and in 2006 passed a proposition to impeach Mr Bush and his Vice-President Dick Cheney by a majority of almost two to one.

"In 50 years from now, we want people to see George Bush's name on that plant, and ask each other what went wrong," said Brian McConnell, the Memorial Commission's organiser. "We want them to be reminded of the Iraq war, and his other dramatic mistakes, and this is the perfect way to do it."

The ballot takes advantage of local government rules, which state that any proposal supported by a petition carrying the signatures of more than 7,168 voters must go to the polls. At present, the supporters of the sewage plant proposal claim to have 8,500 signatures, and counting. If the measure passes, city authorities will be forced to erect a prominent sign bearing the legend "George W Bush Sewage Plant" at the site of the bayside facility.

Local Republicans call it an "abuse of process" and promised to "use all means" to defeat it, Howard Epstein, the party's spokesman, told the San Francisco Chronicle: "There's no use to this other than to make these nutcases feel good." The proposal even jollified yesterday's White House press briefing, where a spokesman three times refused to comment.

However, Mr McConnell claimed to have only noticed two forms of opposition during his campaign so far. "First, we get people who say they just want to forget George Bush's presidency," he said. "Second, we hear from those who say that sewage plants perform a valuable public service and, as such, it does not make sense to name one after George Bush."

-----------------------
'nuff said

HH

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Laughing and crying

I know... Happy are you one of those Monty Python geeks? Yup! I want to relish life's absurdities, colloquial stupidities, and I want to walk funny. Mostly, I'd like to be remembered like this:



----------------------------

Just to make sure I don't forget a jab at religion (must keep up the Heretical persona)..

"Religion: If this [word] offends you, welcome to the world of sane and realistic critical thought. More harm has been done to the collective human psyche by religion than by all the fucking and cocksucking since the dawn of time. By the way, many religious people (including the ordained) fuck and suck each other's cocks all the time."
-- George Carlin

I miss the funny men of late. I want to chuckle, belly-laugh, and cackle a bit. Perhaps a Python weekend is in order??

HH

Sunday, July 06, 2008

President Bush Tours the damage...

The compassion of the conservatism... The reasonable judgement of this moral jauggernaut... the agony of my feet.


Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Must get back to boarding up my house.

HH =)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Karma

Okay, so my daughter and her friend ran a 10K race at Bear Lake this morning. They did great! We, parents, decided it would be hilarious to make it obvious that our teenage daughters were in the race. You know how much they love their parents bringing about attention to them. Well... Here is the rest of the story:

video

Yes, that was me. Nothing more need be said...

No animals were hurt in during the making of this video.

HH

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I Love this!

This is where we need to be... 30 years ago.




He is proof that the older generation (60+ yrs. old) isn't COMPLETELY stupid.

What is wrong in America? One simple word "greed." IT seems to me that, economically, the oil companies (big business in general) follow the "addiction" model. Get em addicted, and then they're dependent. Rip off the addict and make huge amounts of money. Time for some "oil" withdrawals and a "clean" lifestyle.

Three simple steps to a better life:
1. Reduce debt,
2. Simplify (less "stuff", more substance), and
3. Save (for the love of Nature put away 10% of income monthly).

I fixed my bike tires yesterday (damned flats). Guess who is getting into shape? Every mile I ride is one big "kiss-my-ass"a to the status quo. I am such a rebel. Feels pretty good. I'm even getting in shape. And... Good for me! =)

HH

Friday, June 06, 2008

What a miserable Friday...

It rained all day. Kind of HAD IT with the miserable and cold weather. Utah is supposed to be a desert for heaven's sake!

Also, the Market took a turn for the worse. It teased me in the morning with a nice little up-tick in most of my holdings. Alas, it was a head-fake. I smiled comfortably until near the end of trading. I even pondered selling a few positions that were up ~5% or so. Too stupid to be disciplined and take my profits, the quotes turned red. I won't say exactly how much I lost (on paper), but new hybrid car is right out of the question at the moment!

I am delighted that OIL shot up today (over 10.00 per barrel increase). I think a little tough love is what we Americans need to "green-up" our act. I hear stupid Republicans saying "let us drill in ANWAR and everything will be just fine." Bullshit! We already get the majority of our oil from Canada and Alaska. F'ing oil companies want to rip us off until BUSH leaves office and won't protect them anymore. To make a prediction then, oil priced will increase until Jan. 21st, 2009. After that, a precipitous drop will "magically" ensue. Mark this.

On other issues, the EXMO-EXPO II was a delight! Being around such articulate and well-read people is a rare treat for me.

Well, my poor mood shall improve once there is consitant evidence that SUmmer has, indeed, arrived. See you in the sun!

HH =)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Just had to post this. Poe's Law

Poe's Law
From RationalWiki
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Poe's Law relates to fundamentalism, and the difficulty of identifying actual parodies of it. Generally, it suggests that it's hard to tell fake fundamentalism from the real thing, since they both sound equally ridiculous.

The Law states:
“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing.”

It was originally created by Christianforums.com user Nathan Poe.[2]


For Example:

Saturday, May 31, 2008

For Example...

On Sat, May 31, 2008 at 9:00 AM, *HappyHeretics Realitive* <####.com> wrote:


Hi *HappyExmo*,

I thought a lot about the 'cult' idea while doing a temple session
yesterday, and yes there are certain signs and tokens given during the
ceremony, but everyone has the opportunity of learn and participate as
members. So in my mind I don't classify them as secretive and hidden
away. It is a test of faith for me to wonder if and when the information
we learn there will ever be needed, but I carry on, because being one of
the ten virgins whose lamp was empty when the time comes, is not for ME.
I did go there yesterday with one main purpose in mind...what, if
anything did the temple ceremony have to say about the B of B (SIC- Meant BoM) and Joseph
Smith. Nothing, absolutely nothing, the Bible and D&C are mentioned
briefly, but that's all; I was thrilled. Funny why that should matter to
me, but it does..."


There is more, but the rest is just a lovely and kind interaction with a *relative*.

--------------------------- My Response--------------------------------

*Relative*,
Nice to hear from you. I admit that I was rather puzzled with your opening statement. I went back into my e-mail archive and read my preceeding e-mail. Now that I am caught up...

You wrote: " I thought a lot about the 'cult' idea while doing a temple session
yesterday, and yes there are certain signs and tokens given during the
ceremony, but everyone has the opportunity of learn and participate as
members."
--- I would love to be satisfied with your response. Unfortunately, it doesn't hold up to reason. The FLDS and other LSD offshoots also practice their ceremonies, tokens, and oaths in private, but allow others of the faith in on the secrets. So the arguement that LDS are "different" still falls to a "special pleading" fallacy. Also, my argument is that they hide it from non-LDS folks because they are either ashamed (sure sign of the nail, ugly magic undies, Michael Ballam's poor acting as Satan, washing and annointings, etc.), or it is part of the social coercion (i.e., brainwashing) process which requires isolation, indoctrination, and demonization of independent thought.

Your statement, "It is a test of faith for me to wonder if and when the information
we learn there will ever be needed, but I carry on, because being one of
the ten virgins whose lamp was empty when the time comes, is not for ME."
-- Proves my point. You don't assert, and support your beliefs with your own fully capable brain, instead you turn to allegory that has been spoon fed you by someone else. The story of the virgins is a story, not a justification or argument.

Finally, you talk about a "test of faith." Is it really. Or is that someone else's story coming through you. What is faith? What is its merit? How does faith lead the LDS person to truth, and the muslim, jew, atheist, scientologist, mithraist, flying-spaghetti-monster-ist, etc. to falsehood? For, if the LDS is the "true" gospel, then the others must, by definition, be wrong. Why is your "faith" effective, and others ineffective? In my view "faith" has no merit. As Mark Twain wrote, "faith is believin' what you know ain't so." It amounts to wishful thinking. I can't imagine why any decent person would want the bible, koran, B of M, etc. to be true? The god(s) in those books are petty tyrants who, rather than being worshiped, deserve to be denounced. The God of the Old Testament is a petty, jealous, and cruel monster. The God of the new testament is no better. At least in the Old testament when god was done torturing his creations with plagues, famine, pestilence, and death, it was done. In the new testament God isn't done with you at death. Now he creates a place called hell where is can watch you suffer for eternity. Is this decent? Is this morality? Is this even believable to a person with any compassion and knowledge of reality? I think not. Even if it were true who the hell would want it to be?

You can have your church, ceremonies, special handshakes, prayers, and Sunday dronings from the pulpit. I have decency, morality, peace, and an independent mind which will never be satisfied accepting any assertion without proportional evidence. And, I have all this without believing in fairy tales. And, I think, deep down, you know its nonsense too.

*HH*
---------------------------------------------


Judge me... please...

HH =)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jesus Bombs and Rockets..

Lately, I have been receiving a bit of religious nonsense from family. If this refers to you... please understand that I can NOT be re-converted. Religion is just dumb. God does not exist and Joseph Smith was a fraud. I Hope this ends the nonsense in my in-box.

I have made more in the stock market this year than my wife and I made in our jobs. I think that trading, for me, is beginning to take hold. I took my winnings from Bear Sterns, and bought into Chinese solar panel makers(ahh... moral relief). I have more than doubled my money as a result. Every stock I pick seems to launch like a rocket. And, the sky is the limit. I am going to make "trading" my summer job. Given my recent (2 year) track record it looks as thought this could become a 2nd career.

Is there a balance to be found between luck, leisure, and work? I long to live like Shane... Spend like my Step-Brother... and passionately exist like one of my good friends. Can I be moral, and rich at the same time, and under these same circumstances?

I know... "gee I wish I had your conundrum HH." Piss off...

HH =)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

More on transitional forms and Global Warming...

Bad Day To Be A Climate Change Denying Christian Creationist?

Try as they might to undermine science, those who reject evolution and downplay the impact of man-made climate change will have to work overtime to deny newly revealed evidence of both.

Time and again, creationist’s contend that the fossil record lacks the transitional forms of life to support the theory of evolution. Unfortunately, time isn’t on their side since each passing day seems to reveal another piece of the evolutionary puzzle. With the discovery of a creature that seems to be a combination of a frog and a salamander (frogmander), creationists will have another formidable hurdle to overcome.

From Yahoo News:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The discovery of a “frogamander,” a 290 million-year-old fossil that links modern frogs and salamanders, may resolve a longstanding debate about amphibian ancestry, Canadian scientists said on Wednesday.

Modern amphibians — frogs, salamanders and earthworm-like caecilians — have been a bit slippery about divulging their evolutionary ancestry. Gaps in the fossil record showing the transformation of one form into another have led to a lot of scientific debate.

The fossil Gerobatrachus hottoni or elderly frog, described in the journal Nature, may help set the record straight.

“It’s a missing link that falls right between where the fossil record of the extinct form and the fossil record for the modern form begins,” said Jason Anderson of the University of Calgary, who led the study.

The fossil suggests that modern amphibians may have come from two groups, with frogs and salamanders related to an ancient amphibian known as a temnospondyl, and worm-like caecilians more closely related to the lepospondyls, another group of ancient amphibians.

Many of these same individuals have also taken to denying the existence of man-made climate change…arguing that God is in charge and has a plan for his creation and that means we needn’t spend time and money fretting about carbon emissions or minor shifts in temperature that scientists consider significant. With the finding that western oceans have a rapidly expanding acidity as a result of greenhouse gas pollution, these deniers may want to consider the possibility that God, in granting us free will, expects us to use our brains to preserve the planet on which we live.

From Wired:

Greenhouse gas pollution has acidified the coastal waters of western North America more rapidly than scientists expected, says a study published today in Science.

In a survey of waters stretching from central Canada to northern Mexico, researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Richard Feely found cold, unexpectedly low-pH water “upwelling onto large portions of the continental shelf.” In some locations, the degree of acidification observed had not been expected to occur until 2050.

Ocean acidification is a side effect of excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide, lesser-known but no less troubling than climate change.

In September of 2005, Feely was among the authors of a Nature article predicting that acidication would claim Antarctic Ocean waters by 2050, spreading into the subarctic Pacific by 2100. “Our findings indicate that conditions detrimental to high-latitude ecosystems could develop within decades, not centuries as suggested previously,” they wrote.

“Water already in transit to upwelling centers is carrying increasing anthropogenic CO2 and more corrosive conditions to the coastal oceans of the future,” write the authors. Ocean acidification “could affect some of the most fundamental biological and geochemical processes of the sea in the coming decades.” If anything, the clinical language of science only makes their words more disturbing.

No doubt these two findings are part and parcel of the march towards science fully eclipsing the validity of Bible based beliefs that often form the basis of religious doctrine. Regardless, each discovery appears to generate a new rationalization intended to preserve the literal interpretations that have proven so effective in granting and maintaining the authority of religious leaders and the institutions they promote.

I suspect these two items will simply give fuel to those religious leaders who suggest that we are entering the period that will culminate in the Rapture…the final piece of an end of days prophecy that is also derived from the Bible. Nothing like bending each and every fact to fit a faith based fallacy.

Unfortunately, I’m not yet convinced that the manipulated masses will be willing to follow these zealots into their vision of the fatalistic abyss…even if they promise to deliver the lot of them into the perpetual happiness they guarantee is just beyond the horizon. In the end, I expect most mortals will choose the surety of science over the abstract assertion of an after life.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wish we were here...



I am so damned busy that Lisa seems like a lazy wuss. Just sayin'.

HH =)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Just having fun with religion again...




My son showed me this one. A few fallacies in his arguments, but overall pretty clear stuff.

HH =)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

You can't argue with this guy..

Impeccable logic (almost sounds post-modern *wink*)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Those damned dogmatic Darwinists!

The chief argument against Evolutionary biology is that "there are no new species." "Scientists have been bombarding flies with radioactive waves and nothing has changed."

"Nonsense" says I! Just in case you are one of those who holds such a false belief here is a website for you. Plenty of examples of speciation there.

For those who demand direct proof (their own eyes) there is a very simple example that we are all familiar with. Before I tell you I need to define what I mean by "speciation." Speciation means the divergence of one or more specific family of organisms which is UNABLE TO INTERBREED WITH ITS OFFSPRING. In other words the "new" species is unable to procreate with the other.

Now, having set up my argument I am going to give you, not ONE, but TWO examples! I know... you get double for your money! The first, (drum roll for the fundies sitting with their mouths agape) is... the Mule! That is right, mules are the outcomes of Donkey's and Horses breeding. Funny thing is that the Mule can not breed with EITHER of its parent species. Therefore, in your lifetime you may observe speciation.

The second is a little closer to home... You ready??? Trisomy 21 homosapiens. That's right, people with Down's Syndrome. They can not reproduce with non-trisomy 21 homosapeins.

So those who to argue(terribly)that They "didn't come from no monkey..." Well... You and monkey's have a common ancestor like it or not. If you would like even more resources (Professional Journal articles) on this just ask. I have 150 peer-reviewed studies that might help. SOmething to sink yer teeth into.

You fellow scientific simian,

HH =)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Talking to teens...

You know... I seem to have no problem making a connection with other people's high school kids. Not to brag, but I get incredible feedback from the medical community and parents regarding my ability to make change in their patients/child's lives.

Yet, I am ready to ship my own son off to boarding school... scratch that... military school. The boy just can't think outside himself. He is a FANTASTIC student (A average)... He is a bright kid (read smart ass that gets his dad's goat. Fu"ing genetics {G-pa Petersen here})... When he is kind and considerate there is no one I admire more. Yet... He can't think more than 15 seconds into the future. He thinks only about his next acquisition. What other people have seems so enticing to him. How did I raise such a materialist? His Apple Ipod Touch seems to enjoy more attention than his mother.

Okay.. to be fair... he is at Parent-Teacher-Conference with his mother right now. I refused to go (circumstances today made me furious and I just want to watch him squirm while he can't: watch my TV, enjoy my food, and use MY internet). Why? I really won't say. Not out of secrecy, but out of privacy. He has the right NOT to have people know how dumb he acts (at times). Now, uncle Shane would be telling his dad that he needs to relax, and that the lessons that will change his behavior will come, as they have for all of us, through the natural environment. To Shane I say, "I hate it when you speak sense. Please stop it."

In all, he's a great kid. I just need a hug perhaps. My parents warned me about teenagers. Too bad they did it when I, myself, was actually a teen (brain damaged).
How do I be his "bud" and be his "teacher" at the same time? I guess my own advice may come in handy here. "Your role is to be a parent, not a friend. That is what you chose." Damnit!

I want to wrap him up, and kick his ass, all in the same moment. 18 just will NOT come soon enough. As bright as I am, and as skilled with "others" kids, why can't I get it right?

F*ing reality. Perhaps I need religion to give me solace. No... I just can't delude myself that much.



;)
HH

Saturday, April 19, 2008

given a new "rush" of religious posts..

There has been a cacophony of new posts on religion. I have a hard time believing that there are people willing to dismiss their own atheism. Yes I wrote what you just read. "I am no Atheist" you may respond. "Yes you are," I retort. You don't even know the names (much less the qualities)of the, literally, thousands of gods you do not have a belief in. You also, don't appreciate the art, poetry, and ethereal-ness of those other religions to which you do not adhere.

The new movie "expelled" comes out on Tuesday. It is being shown in 2 large theaters in town. However, the simple movie "Sicko" wouldn't appear in the same theater's here. I HIGHLY doubt that "Religioulous" (a movie with Bill Maher) will be shown anywhere in Utah. It makes me ill that closed-mindedness is allowed, nay worshipped, here. I am deeply ashamed of my fellow Utahn's. LDS (crap) films are booked in every theater in town, but reality is just to harsh to be shown!

It seems that my bitterness was not as abated as I thought. The trigger was the visit of the Pope to the USA, and the recent posts about religion and gods. I heard one of my fellow liberals (I use the term loosely) try to slam someone, on the right, for calling out the pope for allowing (defending) child rape. "How dare he be so bigoted against catholics? People who do such good works in the world?" -- Fah! How about telling people the "truth?" Doesn't that matter? If the pope was CEO for some child day-care company, he would be in jail!
I hear those who say, "yes, the church is false/evil/dogmatic, but we did get great poetry and art from those theisms." No offense, but "bullshit!" Do the costs of religion outweigh the benefits? Hell no!
Anybody wish to say that the Sistene chapel makes up for even one priest ripping a young boys anus until bloody? I DARE YOU to defend that position! I dare you to defend the position that LDS art somehow compensates for the Mountain Meadows Massacre! That the child rape of Joeph SMiths 14 & 15 year old wives, tne the children in the Texas FLDS cult somehow doesn't reflect the base nature of relious belief is just plain ignoring reality. How dare it be suggest that the music, poetry, and art generated from a rligious context somehow make religion tolerable and decent!? If you believe this you may go Straight to the hell of your own imagination!

Sound rough? Some have said we ought to respect and tolerate religious beliefs of others. This is usually code for: "don't challenge their delusions. We don't want to hurt their tender feelings. We don't want them mad at us."

I don't want them mad or upset either. And, if believers keep their religious beliefs to themselves there is no need to have it even come up. However, when it comes up I won't give people the impression that I agree through passive concession, acquiescence, nor seeming behavioral indifference.

Is this rational dogmatism? No. And here is why. I am MORE than willing to change my mind if someone makes one reasonable argument. Not many... one. Is the opposition as honest? If one is willing to listen to all arguments and make a reasoned judgment; and another is unwilling to consider the same. Who is the dogmatist? The dogmatist ignores information and selectively and passionately adheres to beliefs no matter how clearly wrong. I don't pick the fight, but I am damn sure willing to brawl when someone else drops the gauntlet. In my country the religious right has thrown down the gauntlet (and they do it on a continual basis). So when Dawkins, and other atheists fight back (they/we didn't picks the fight) They are not being raucus and rabble-rousing. They/we are defending a position which is, and has been for some time, under assault and demonized.

HH

Addition: I saw this on a response to a youtube discussion: "The Church of Science doesn't conduct nearly enough indoctrination, miseducation and molestation of children to fit the criteria of a proper religion.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Just a link worth following

Expelled

Ron has a post about religion on his blog. Here is a debate which
gives both sides of the argument. Judge for yourself whether "god", faith, and religion really deserves some order of respect.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Contempt for reason...

Just had to snicker. Watch to about half way through. The discussion turns to the Texas FLDS situation. Maher nails it!



Here is another. If you don't like the "F" word DONT WATCH THIS! NSFW!



Finally, on the political front... I wonder how long Hillary will stay in fightin'?



I'm tired, but the sun is shining and we MAY hit 65 degrees today. We got us a heatwave.

HH =)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Are you supposed to watch or look away??

As I stand alongside the curb something quickly glints the corner of my eye. My head turns, and my hair hackles. Something has put my mind on high alert. Looking down the street I spot a neighbor crossing the road chat with her spouse, who is standing amidst the driveway of their home. What she was doing across the street? I couldn't guess.

As she b-lines towards home, her attention is focused on her goal. She misses the car traveling towards her at 40mph, just in her blind-spot to the right. A cry from me could not travel fast enough to save her from the impact. Nervous pain surges down my legs and my muscles tense as my mind registers what is going to happen. Complete helplessness.

Then, the most absurd thought hits. "Do I watch her get hit? Or, do I squint my eyes, and avoid the terror I am about to witness?"

This was not a true happenstance. More of a metaphor really. When someone, you care for, is about to be hit emotionally by the proverbial speeding car, and you are helpless to effect safety, or abate the pain that is going to hit... what does one do? Its kind of like watching another guy get kicked square in the nuts. I cringe and cry in pain every time... yet, I always watch. But this is different. Someone's life is going change.

I guess I'd watch to the final split second, and then strain to shut my eyes as the sounds of the impact pierce the air. Sheer terror.

Some go through pain while others can only watch, listen, and cover our allegorical crotches. For you in pain... my crotch is covered, I am bent over, and moaning in pain for you. Helpless.. God, I hope the car swerves or the foot misses its mark. Doesn't look good... *closes eyes* *covers ears*

HH =)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Spring Break..

The wife and I had decided to head south for a few days during the next week. Spring break just began and the long... er scratch that... never-ending... another scratch... seemingly eternal and dreary winter has taken its toll this year. A little warmth and sun would be just the ticket. Yet, a glimpse of the forecast made us cancel our reservations. A lovely cold-air mass decided to extend the misery for another eon. Damnit!

Shane will shake his head, but my stock portfolio has had a VERY good run of luck. When Bear Sterns tanked I bought a bunch of shares at 2.50. Just 9 days later I sold them for 10.00 a share. Being a responsible investor I also bought into 3 solar energy concerns (one in China and on American). Both are up ~40% since bought just 3 weeks ago. I HIGHLY recommend that if you have some investing money sitting around that you consider investing in American Solar Energy companies (SOLF, FSLR, CSIQ, ESLR, SPIL, XSNX.ob[this is my favorite],etc.). No matter which big-party candidate wins the Whitehouse it is obvious that alternative energy and global warming will be at the forefront of the agenda moving forward ("moving forward" - I hate that so damn much that I can't believe I used it---- F'ing mainstream media is seeping into my thick, thick, skull).

My feelings about religionists, of late, have turned from anger to pity. I had a discussion with my mother last weekend. She was up to "sit" with my sister's kids (while my sister went on a cruise with a friend). We chatted about a lot of things, but religion (hers in particular- LDS) came up. I was amazed at how my questions were so easily dismissed without so much as a blink. Sad really, how little it seems that believers actually think about what they actually purport to believe. Kind of weird to pity a parent. But, the religious habit is so long entrenched that there is no hope of reason ever taking hold. I love my mom and wish better for her.

I wish her a happy dinner, pleasant sexual congress with her husband, and a warm and happy Spring Break.













Flowing (rather than ebbing),

HH =)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Drive-by posting...

I just read this on a blog and had to steal it:


You can have your "Under God" back when I get my "Liberty and Justice For All" back.


HH =)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Rush

Sorry I have been poor about posting. IT has been a whirlwind of activity of late. The warm day yesterday had the wife and I outside readying flowerbeds and basking in the sun warming our front porch. I need to respond to SE's flush of posts, and I really want to respond to Ron's post on teaching. Lisa is looking a bit overworked... need to get to her blog. And, Shane, well... I need to re-respond to about four of his last posts. The end of the week is looking better for time.

Enjoy the hint of spring.




HH =)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Truth... value or absolute?

I have been tossing this idea back and forth for a bit with some VERY brilliant people. Is truth subject to the whim of "truth-seekers?" Or, is it something to be discovered? Further... is science the venue to look to for guidance on how truth ought to be applied? Is there some other system of understanding which leads people to better outcomes?
Lately these questions wake my gentle slumbers. They do so, through metaphor, insinuation, and parallax within the context of my dreams. Am I questioning the very nature of truth itself in the billowing ethereal realm of REM sleep? Perhaps...

Yet, as I doubt and question my in-tact brain (read consciousness) it seems to stubbornly adhere to the tenets of reason and science. Am I so entrenched in my own "system" of thought that paradoxes are ignored/dismissed? Zeno's paradox's come to mind suddenly. Zeno looked at the wall and thought, "should I take steps towards that wall eventually I will be half way there. Should I, then, take more steps I will be another half way there. By this reasoning I should, forever, be half way there. Yet, I reach the wall. Touch it and recognize this fact." Two opposing possibilities. Yet, in practice, only one some to fruition. Should I dismiss reason in order to accept the data of my senses? The answer is simple. Of course I should!

I have a few brilliant associates who argue that there are things, outside my system of access, which must be accepted (through reason) which cast doubt of reason. That seems somewhat paradoxical to me. Most point to mathematical analysis (particularly Godel) as the justification for such conclusion. However, does Godel's analysis extend anywhere beyond mathematics (a man-made absolute set of constants which have application only when used non-theoretically)?

The argument from Entropy comes to mind. Some say that evolutionary theory is impossible because a closed system, like the Earths, would lead to the greatest degree of chaos (not order). They are wrong on two fronts. First, the earth is not a "closed" system. It has an outside source of energy (we call it the sun). Second, the theory of entropy is only about the distribution of energy across a certain limited space. It implies nothing about "organization" as we understand it from a biological (genetic) perspective. The fallacy of equivocation. Are my brilliant (I never use this term lightly) colleagues engaging in the same fallacy? Is Godel's theory of incompleteness" a mathematical theory; which has no implications outside a system of absolutes called "numbers?" I think so.

Chief among criticisms is that science may be dogmatic. But is science (qua science) dogmatic? Or, (as an alternative theory) are Scientists (humans under the control of non-scientific variables) as human subject to social pressure and other variables? Science, as I see it, is only a method of effective knowing. It doesn't matter who engages in it. Scientists, however, are subject to more than the data as a controlling source of their behavior. Yes, I wrote that... "behavior." What needs analysis? The research or the behavior of scientists? Sound like a false choice? It may be. BOTH deserve scrutiny! But, to draw a parallel... can the behavior of the scientist be, in any reasonable way, compared to the religionists? I don't think so. I can demonstrate a thousand times how scientific outcomes have IMPROVED mankind's life (socially, environmentally, etc.) yet I can not point to ONE way that religion has done anything but contradict decency, compassion, and kindness. If it is s choice between scientific dogmatism (useful but not error-less), Post-modernist dogmatism(what exactly is its benefit?), and religious dogmatism (wishful nonsense based upon ignorance and hatred of "other") I will take scientific dogmatism every time.

I refuse to reject the evidence of my senses (no matter how wrong they, may initially, be). That is naturalism (as I define it) and what makes me a "bright."

My head hurts again. Damned Anarchists. Damned post-modernists. I want to fit you in there too SE (but you are smarter than all of us... you refuse to accept a label).

Your input would be greatly appreciated.
HH =)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Running in someone else's running shoes...

Putting on another pair of running shoes

It's not easy being a parent, consultant, spouse, or human (for that matter). I am often shortsighted and myopic in looking at circumstances as they occur. Sometimes I raise my voice when I ought not... sometimes I use condescension as a tool of manipulation... and, sometimes it just seems impossible to tolerate those who can't accept my correct opinions with the same rationalizations that I use. Go figure.

For example, just in the last 24 hours my spouse and I had a bit of a rough patch. One person said one thing... one person contradicted the other, and so on. IT escalated to a place of quiet discontent. VERY quiet discontent (if you know what I mean).

However, in the big scheme of things we both knew we would work it out. Why? We are just that kind of couple. We committed to this relationship, and we meant it. So, now we are lightly dancing around each other until one of us has the audacity to break the ice with a joke or sledgehammer (whichever is most convenient at the time). Sometimes the quiet is nice.

I wish (s)he understood me more. I wish (s)he got it. ;)

half of two is one-
happy---runner

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bush era is on life-support.

I must admit I take great pleasure in announcing that Mitt Romney is outta there! I don't really care that he was LDS. He was the Bush-establishment candidate. I hate the current political goons. Bush took the worst of liberalism (self righteousness), and melded it with the worst of conservatism (greed, selfishness, and anti-intellectualism). Neo-conservatism has run my country into the ditch.

John McCain is no prize. Ask me 4 years ago if I could have supported him, and I would have replied with an emphatic "YES!" As soon as he bent over and let Bush roister him into support for re-election his appeal was GONE. See Below:




Fuck the Bush"ites" and every moron that voted for them! -- there I ranted. I feel better now... FUCK 'EM! --- Guess I wasn't quite through my catharsis yet? ;)

Things are looking up I think. 'Cept my stocks... damned recession!

HH =)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Las Vegas

Here is a couple of shots of the kids:

My daughter:



My boy at the bellagio:

Here is a snippet of the Bellagio water show:

video

My daughter placed first in: uneven bars, vault, and all-around. The weather wasn't "great", but it was warmer than the deep-freeze we call home.

I did end the weekend up 120.00! Craps works for me.



Mikayla says "thanks" to uncle Shane.

HH =)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Gone... for a few

Happy is headed to "sin city." Yes, he will throw away about 50 bucks gambling. HE will be spending time watching his daughter at a Gymnastics meet. Further, the 40 degree warm up will be VERY appreciated. Crap I hate Cache Valley inversions, and deep freeze winters. Bleeech.

Have a great weekend all!

HH =)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Postmodernism discussion

It all started with this e-mail to Shane and Ron:


Subject: postmodernism disrobed. Book review by
> Dawkins.

> I would love to hear your responses to this article:
>
>
Postmodernism Disrobed
by Richard Dawkins, Nature

Richard Dawkins' review of Intellectual Impostures

You can read the article Here.

Here is the back and forth thus far. Starting with Ron:

--- Ron (CI)
wrote:


> I don't have the time nor intelligence to give a
> detailed meta type
> response...I mean what do I know. But I can say that
> the first time I read
> a piece by Deleuze and Guttari I was blown away. It
> was beautiful because
> it pushed me to reimagine the world, to erase
> boundaries, to be, to use one
> of their terms, rhizomatic (roots growing in all
> directions) in my
> thinking, imagining new possibilities, instead of
> only "logical,"
> chronological, step by step.
>
> I think Dawkins and these authors oversimplify yet
> still offer an necessary
> critique. I want others to question whether all the
> pm stuff means anything
> and at times it doesn't. But to merely dismiss it
> all as blathering is
> silly.
>
> As you may know, Travis, this all goes right back to
> the debate we had
> about science. I think science needs a critque
> through language--which is
> what pm can do--because science however much it
> wants to be purely
> objective is held up by and through LANGUAGE. And,
> duh!!!, to critique it
> will mean to take language to its extreme, to its
> outer boundaries. Sure it
> will be convoluted and nonsensical at times because
> that's exactly what it
> is trying (sense, common sense, "reality") to
> dislode and disturb.
>
> Ron


Here is Shane's first response:

Interesting article. But I'm curious to know why
you're interested in my response--why you thought
of me when reading it. Are you insinuating that I'm
an intellectual imposture?

I'm also curious about why someone would go to the
lengths that the authors of "Intellectual Impostures"
did to prove that intellectual impostures exist.Of
course they do. And not all impostures are postmodernists.
Some of them are even scientists.

Even scholars who proudly adopt the postmodernist
label are aware that impostures exist. In fact,they
have a contest every year to see who can produce
the most jargon-ridden post-modernist writing samples.
And the writing looks a lot like the stuff quoted in
this review. But I hardly think that postmodernism as a
concept is "disrobed" because a few impostures have
been discovered. Just because some scientists are
still claiming that men are smarter than women
because men have larger brains (a claim that most
scientists once considered a proven fact) doesn't mean
that science has been "disrobed". Further, the whole
concept of "moral relativism" that this review really
takes aim at has nothing to do with"postmodernism" as
explained by Sartre or Derrida, the primary founders
of the "postmodernist movement" (neither of whom called
themselves "postmodernists", btw).

But Dawkins makes a few good points. For example,he
writes: "No doubt there exist
thoughts so profound that
most of us will not understand the language in
which they are expressed. And no doubt there is
also language designed to be unintelligible in
order to conceal an absence of honest thought.
But how will we know the difference?"

It isn't easy. But, to reiterate, I think it's
important not to throw out everything resembling
postmodernism just because of a few or even a vast
number of bad eggs. Let's face it, most conspiracy
theorists are quacks. But, just as true, a lot of
conspiracy theories are now proven facts.

Not only that, but I think Dawkins incorrectly
characterizes the notion of "play" in postmodern
writing. What a lot of postmodernists are trying
to dois to redefine language. In other words, they're
refuting familiar depictions of reality; they're
"playing" with concepts of what's real and unreal
in order to question the status quo version of
history--saying that reality is not totalitarian;
it isn't absolute and it can be changed. That's a
political and revolutionary stance. If you're trying
to report and define reality, there is no need for
'play'--but if you don't believe language, any language
including mathematics, can report and define all the
subtleties of experience, then you need to treat lang-
uage in a very non-reverential and playful manner--in
a way that expands rather than clarifies understanding.
Moreover, I don't think most postmodernist
writers deliberately try to be unclear. But they
do, by virtue of the nature of their ideas, try to be
unfamiliar--and that makes them difficult. The Situa-
tionists, for example, advocated a deliberately
obscure style of writing, because they saw how
effectively capitalism co-opted all forms of
resistance--how it pigeon-holed all forms of expression
into convenient categories that accommodated mainstream
viewpoints. In response, they took familiar ideas and
sources and subverted them so that the viewer could
experience the work as something new--as something
without "purpose", meaning something autonomous in its
own right rather than as an instrument to be exploited.

Dawkins is also correct in exposing the way concepts
originating in the physical sciences are co-opted,
often wrongly, by philosophers and new agers the
world over. I think people do this because of the
privileged position that science has in our culture.
It's a way to give yourself credibility. It has the
opposite effect on me, though.

Okay, I'd better stop. I feel like I could go on
and on here. Maybe I should develop my thoughts more
and post on my blog.

At any rate, thanks for the link! Got my juices
going this morning for sure.

Talk to ya soon, amigo!
Shane

-------------------
HH:
Shane,

I did not think of you as a post-modernest. Your
erudition is clear, concise, and (often) biting. Yet,
I do think that, at times, (as Dawkins rightly points
out) there are postmodernists who use babble as a
substitute for substance. The focus on language and
its use has delved into an ethereal world in which
ONLY language matters. Sounds very Wittgenstein-like
to me (when he wrote, "the limits of my language are
the limits of my world." He was, of course wrong on
SOOO many levels.

When those who do espouse themselves as
postmordernists, are shown reasonably to be frauds,
its seems that it is SOME data towards whether the
whole system, istelf, need be put under scrutiny.?

In my view, we use words to convey meaning. When
that meaning is diluted and changed through
postmodernist rhetoric (rather than substance), it
seems that language is short-shrifted, and
communication becomes impossible (taken to its
extremes).

You wrote, "Moreover, I don't think most
postmodernist
writers deliberately try to be unclear. But they do,
by virtue of the nature of their ideas, try to be
unfamiliar--and that makes them difficult." Where,
then, is the line between babbling inanely attempting
to appear lucid, and foggying the boundaries of the
"known" in order to teach others to reach for new
thoughts and ideas? To deliberately obscure, seems to
be equivalent to deliberately trying NOT to
communicate at all.

I do hope you post on this.

(other stuff was here, but only time will tell if it
rang true or not -- (Go Kucinich!)

------------------

Welcome to the discussion...

HH =)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Looks like Americans may have finally starting drinking coffee..

America may be waking up. I love Bill Maher's show "Real Time." Poor poor Tony Snow. Gets his ass handed to him. How do you tell your kids you worked for the worst President in History? Watch This:::




Gotta admit a little schadenfreude here.
HH =)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bulletin Boards are fun.

Over the years I have posted on chat-boards. Here is a sampling of some of my better retorts (most are about atheism v theism, so read at your own risk:

This first post is a response to the typical- god is a mystical "force" that is my "higher power" argument.


Subject: Re: My definition of God
Date: Jun 22 13:29
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
Which cosmic force are you alluding to? Gravity, weak nuclear force, Electro-magnetic? Or are you just making up a new force (invisible, untestable, unverifiable, non-existent) that explains to your satisfaction why the universe exists at all (read question-begging, and argument-from-ignorance to the nth degree).

I think my invisible birds did it. They collectively and consciously produced the universe, life, and all things. They did it with a spell book they found hidden under a supernatural rock. They decoded it using the urin and thummim they found taped to the back of a tapir. They had a huge war with the invisible supernatural crystal people. IT was a huge war with lots of pecking. The birds won and their plan to create the universe was set into motion. They require that you chant oogie noogie I like to boogie 3 times a day while facing south as worhip and gratitude. They like checks too. They don't hanlde money well, so they ask you, via me, to make the checks out for as large amounts as possible. You can make them out to:
Happy_Heretic
P.O. box 666
Goofytown, South Dakota,
zip 42.

They don't ask much and they don't give much, (just the privilege of adhering to earth's surface). Pay or fly away- thats our article of faith.



HH

This one is in response to somone who stated that god is some "ineffible" force that mankind can't understand. This is supposedly why we have to accept the concept on faith.

Subject: Wrong.
Date: Jun 22 13:08
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
When you assert there is a god then you have to accept that the term god has meaning. You are asserting that god can be differentiated from not-god. Therefore god has qualities, and thus definition. When you believe in god then you are accepting all those qualities and corollaries that come with that definition. However, when the atheist refrains from accepting a god belief then nothing further can be inferred from their rejection. If you reject my invisible bird belief, what does that entail for you? NOTHING. Same with atheism.

If you infer that god belief carries no baggage then argue your claims. Otherwise what you use the term god it is a meaningless term, like perfnick. I believe in perfinick. It doesn't mean anything therefore I am just babbling (like you about god).
I am asking you to articulate what YOU mean when you use the term god. Define it so it has some meaning other than your vacuous support for believing in it. I will wait here.

HH =)

This post was in response to an assertion that god is equivalent, in probability, with "universe."
Subject: Re: Fair enough.
Date: Jun 21 22:17
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
You wrote: I agree. For me Universe is clearly the better term than God because it is more neutral. Perhaps, there is an even better word. Regardless of our actual beliefs, a good theoretical mindset would be for everyone to treat the other side as if there was a 50%-50% chance of god(s)/no god(s). (Not necessarily in books, forums of debate, discussion, etc. - although even then in terms of civility of treatment.)

HH responds:
Lets put your thoughts into a non-emotionally evoking equivocation. Let's pretend that you say that gravity keeps us from flying off the earth into outer space. I will say that invisible all-knowing birds attach themselves to each object and flap their invisible wings (which make no sound and dont disturb the air) and hold us to the earth.

Now, based on your argument we should treat each possibility (so as not to hurt each other's tender graces) with a 50/50 probability. Forget facts, physics, experimentation, replicability, and data (and the fact that one is absolutly falsifiable)... just give each theory (invisible omniscient birds hold us down) a 50% change of being true. If you agreed to this you would have no credibility and even less integrity. IF I could get you to agree with this then I have already proven that you are unworthy of debate at all since you would be willing to throw logic and reason right out the old window.

This is where I am, as an atheist, with the god issue. I would have to be completely medicated (very heavily) and borderline psychotic before I would assent to the possibility that god is a significant finding at the .50 level.

YOu wrote: You're right, atheism is not defined by the behavior of its accepters. However, I do not agree that theism presupposes any specific behavioral requirements any more than being an atheist does. You have to look at what is claimed by the specific theist believer. Everyone, including atheists, absolutely should be defined by their behaviors and moral codes. Their beliefs are irrelevant. For that matter, in the spirit of Dennett, society should absolutely care about what being a theist or an atheist (or a whatever) does to behavior. Everybody's interpersonal interactions are fair game for judgment, regardless of their beliefs. We need one standard for everyone.

HH responds: We agree that we, as humans, make judgments about people's moral/ethical behavior all the time. Does it effect the veracity of their claims? NO. A complete turd could be completely correct, and a peachy gal may be completely wrong. You seem to disagree. We actually agree that religions differ in their moral codes. We should listen to a fellows claims about which particular religious moral code he /she professes before measuring him against them (looking for hypocrisy). I agree with Dennett on how one's beliefs effect their behavior. But Deists (Christian, Muslim, etc.) have holy writs. Given to them by god, which tell them how to act. And all I am suggesting is that when a Christian argues his claims, that his moral behavior with respect to these moral dictates can be adjudicated as to integrity, and hypocrisy. On the other hand, there is no such thing as and Atheist bible/Koran, etc. So it is to be expected that atheists will differ in their morality from on another, as much as they will differ from their thiestic counterparts.

Finally, we should avoid judging the veracity of either belief system. Athiesm has no system of belief. Atheism is the answer to one question, and one question only, Does/Do god/gods exist. No. That is atheism. If you claim there is more then argue your case. Theism has baggage, Atheism travels with a smile and thats all.

Best,

HH

This one speaks for itself:
Crystal Song wrote:
> If we could drop the idea that God and the Universe are different things, and civilly discuss our ideas about the characteristics of this unnamed entity, we could reduce the fighting.

>



God and the Universe are different things. Denying this does NOT make it true.


> God has emotion attached. And...although you may not be >aware of it, universe also has emotion attached. The >word implies that there is no possibility that it is a >conscious entity.


I am quite aware of many things. I attach emotions to things and ideas, and am aware when I do so. Since I am a part of the universe and I am conscious entity there is a grain of truth to your wishful thinking. But, I don't think that the term universe implies anything other than the vastness of the physical space, energy, and matter (which is energy) that we can access. If you wish to suggest there is more then I am delighted to hear you argue for your claims. But, until you justify that the universe is a conscious entity then you won't mind if I honestly refrain from belief I hope?.

> I believe in the possibility that a different word could >start the thinking fresh. Then each side could civilly >approach with ideas untainted by old thinking and >semantics.


I know this is not going to go over well, but my thinking is quite clear and fresh. Civility is part of an honest exchange and I know few who post on this board who are not honest in portraying their thoughts and ideas. I read responses that seem emotionally driven, but that is the writers issue, not the readers.
I also think that semantics are important. After all semantics is about meaning. If our writings convey no agreed meaning then there is nothing of cognitive value exchanged at all. We might as well be writing gibberish. I am arguing that the only context in which information may be exchanged is within a common nomenclature.

In the end, I am becoming more and more convinced that as some peoples arguments fail time and time again, that the only way to hold onto belief is to change the definitions of terms to eventually mean the same thing as the oppositions. That is just plain dishonest. If GOD = Universe then there is no argument to be had. There is no consistent meaning to those terms. We might as well call the universe the Invisible Pink Unicorn and dispense with either old term. Is entropy a part of the Invisible Pink Unicorn?? This could lead to a whole new field of Para-Physics. You may be on to something.... Perhaps not.

HH


This post is about the fallacy that being emotional is equal to being wrong.
Subject: Close but not quite...
Date: Jun 20 23:49
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
I wrote of the exceptions (about my own jerkiness). There are times when it is better to act nicely, rather than to be right.

What Dagny, (if I am wrong here just butt in) and I see is that we control our own behavior. We don't control others. IF the interaction with another person is about anything other than establishing a relationship, then it is irrelevant as long as they can perform their purpose with skill and integrity (for example see onundagus' response to me in this Joseph Smith is NOT a pedophile thread). I really appreciated his facts and arguments. Even though he was rude and personal at the end. I was rude and personal in my response as well. So what??? I learned from him. Good for me. If I drop dead tomorrow he shouldn't give a tinker's damn, he isn't here looking for a personal relationship with me. And good for him IF i passed him on the street I wouldn't know it. Cyberspace is impersonal. That is its benefit and its weakness. Anyone who gets weepy over a strangers comment in here is really a little irrational. For all we know half of us are psychotic, and the other half are criminals.

HH

This response is in the same vein.
Subject: Tell me the truth. Be a complete... (swearing)
Date: Jun 20 21:39
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
jerk. Just, demonstrate competency and I could care less if you have aspergers, refuse to make eye contact, act grumpy, and answer my questions in a condescending manner. Just give me the truth. You know why people act like assholes? Because people pay them off for it. If a physician cures the painful sinus infection that three other physicians couldn't touch. He is allowed to be a complete prick Just as long as he is a competent prick. IF anyone could make a rational case for a deity, that person may use all the profanity he/she wants, and smell like a shit-covered stocking. I would thank that person for entering my life

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The search for truth shouldn't give a shit about your personal need for warm fuzzies. I perceive a person giving me the truth as the ultimate gift of kindness. I am indifferent as to how that gift is wrapped.

Are there times when being right is not as important as being happy? I think so. But I have yet to have happiness outweigh correctness at any time other than with my beloved family (the wife and kids have a way of making themselves a priority over truth... YOu know what I mean.).

HH

This was in response to someone who tried to make the "its just a theory" argument. Like non-theories are valid by simple contrast.
Subject: A short retort and then a nap.
Date: Jun 18 12:05
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
Steve,
You cite theories (e.g., Newtonian Gravity) that have been discredited as an argument that science is limited. Funny how those theories were replaced by other scientific theories. Science progresses by replacement. You have only cited theories which have been discredited by scientists. Perhaps you provide ONE example of a theory which was discredited by non-scientists.

Your fear over annihilation is driving your belief system for an afterlife. I have read many of the works you cited. You share the same logical fallacies that they do. In short you straw-man the opposition (e.g., HH is a nihilist) and then argue your parody of your own fallacies. Sad really.

I am open for public debate any time. If you would like to schedule a public debate over the merits of science I would be happy to make time for a face-to-face discourse. Would be fun. Just let me know when and where (I will pay my own expenses to make it easy for you).
Regarding epistemology and metaphysics... my epistemology is reason , and my metaphysics follows as scientific realism (empiricism) . Is that articulate enough for you?

By the way you refer to non-physical perception. Would you please articulate how this is possible? Thanks. If there is something outside the natural universe (that we can see, measure, etc., then you have the onus propandi to justify that assertion. Just because something can be imagined (mostly by you and other wishful thinkers) doesn't make it probable or even possible.

You are the one who comes off as sad and angry. You can't accept the truth with peace and understanding. I am quite content with my current understanding, no matter how wrong (in the end) I may be. It seems that you are the one loaded with fear of death, annihilation (another of your straw-men about my understanding-- how dishonest of you), etc. It seems to me that you are making your world-view fit your fears. Therefore, I conclude that I am NOT the one who has an underdeveloped epistemology.
I wish you peace and knowledge my fellow homo-sapien.

HH =)

This is a response to a person who wrote that the term "god" did not have to have definition.

Subject: Wrong. God IS the assertion being made.
Date: Jul 11 15:53
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
God can't be considered before it is an assertion. Just like you never considered AGNEHAHA before I just asserted it. Now it is open to debate. Now that AGNEHAHA is out there you may say you believe, don't have a belief, or disbelieve. Is AGNEHAHA knowable?

1. If not, there is no reason to believe and you refrain from belief (agnostic& negative a-AGNEHAHA-ist).
2. If reasons are given to believe you may adopt a belief and be a AGNEHAHA-ist.

3. If you deny the existence of the almighty AGNEHAHA (which I don't recommend because in the next life he will turn you into a donut and put you in front of Dan Peterson) you are a positive A-AGNEHAHA-ist.

4. If you don't know but believe anyway you are an agnostic & AGNEHAHA-ist (buying in to pascal's wager just to play it safe).

Best,

HH


"you can't prove god doesn't exist." "You can't prove a negative." What a canard.

Subject: Zeke, I agree with you... kind of.
Date: Jul 11 16:27
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
I don't claim that god doesn't exist because it is silly (although it is). I claim that the Christian god can NOT exist.

I have one axiom: The law of identity (a thing is itself). Given this axiom there are two corollaries: Law of non-contradiction (a thing can not be itself and not-itself w/caveats), and the law of excluded middle (a thing can not be kind-of-itself and kind-of-not-itself /w caveats).

Given this one axiom I assert that the Christian God concept(and Mormon god concept as well) require inherent contradictions. Contradictions can not exist (see above) based upon my accepted axiom. Therefore since God is contradictory it can NOT exist.

My argument is much more loaded than this because it would take me quite a lot of writing to articulate/explain why the God described by the bible, BOM, PoGP, etc. is self-contradictory. But this is the gist of proving a negative.

As a simple lay example of proving a negative I could assert that, I am , rightnow, swinging on a swingset.
Since I am typing at my computer located on my table, My assertion is not true. But, I go one step further and state that it is, in fact false. In other words, it may be denied that I am swinging on my swingset. We logically prove negatives all the time.

Best,

HH =)

This sums up my education.

Subject: I am with you.
Date: Jul 12 08:59
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
Religion taught me what to think. Primary and secondary education did the same. It was when I learned how to think that real independent thought and curiosity began. It was like breathing for the first time.


HH =)


This was just today. I used a different Name, but I hope the humor and irony are clear.
Subject: FOA's Thor. Duh! ;)
Date: Jan 10 15:58
Author: FoA
Mail Address:
I am his representative on earth. He speaks through me. I am transcribing his book right now. Just ignore the parts that appear to be copied right out of the Koran, Bible, and Bhagavad Gita. He condemns all those who use condoms, drink mulberry juice, use the word "awesome", and worship other gods! He doesn't much care for people who eat quiche either, but he says he could go either way on them.

You must wear a horn-adorned helmet and meet at a bar every Wednesday after sundown. You must partake in his sacred sacraments (beer and buffalo wings (spicy... none of that honey lemon BBQ shit)).

You must live your life with honor by defeating terrorists and lowering taxes. You must take the life of any who deny Thor's existence! For they are fooled by false prophets and the "secularists." It is not demanded, but if you want to be a Thorist you should vote Libertarian. We agree that Thorists may vote for whom they wish, but Anyone who does not vote for Michael Badnerick is probably sinning, passing social diseased, using IV drugs, or dancing on Saturday before sunrise (a big sin in Thorism).

We demand that you support our beliefs or, at least, don't question them in public! For if you do you are being a meanie meanie bo beanie! Its just bad manners!

Thor is all knowing and all-kind! HE forgives you right after he bashes you with his hammer. You can have his forgiveness for just 199.99 a month! That's 45% of the regular tithing price! Just imagine an eternity in Valhalla (white sandy beaches, in their eternal presence of God!, all the ale you can pound, half naked chicks by the dozens worshipping you, etc)!

But wait... if you start paying your tithing by credit card immediately you will get a free bonus gift! You get an amazing "koosh ball!" You have seen them on TV! You have seen mentally disabled people, and people with Autism having hours of fun squishing them in their hands, and Dangling them for hours! All this for just 199.99 a month! NO other religion is even willing to come close to such a bargain! How do we do it, you ask? Easy! We co-opt our dogma from other sources! We pay nothing for biblical statements. Zero is our overhead cost!

Sound too good to be true? Here is your payment information:

Thor Special Offer
c/o FoA
666 Heretic (under the bridge)
SLC, Utah 85564

Or, you can visit our website ministry:
ThorIsGod.com
We accept Paypal! ;)

So... save your soul today by joining the fastest growing religion in the world (I joined today and that is a daily increase of 100 %)! Know any religion that can make that claim?! Its all true!!

FoA (HH) =)