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busy, busy, busy

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Crusade Against Evolution

Excellent article from Wired on the evolution versus intelligent design "controversy".

"What these people want is for there to be a debate... People in the audience say, Hey, these people sound reasonable. They argue, 'People have different opinions, we should present those opinions in school.' That is nonsense. Some people have opinions that the Holocaust never happened, but we don't teach that in history."

The same people who want ID taught because it is a "differing opinion" are the exact same people who blow a gasket when Islam is taught to be a peaceful religion instead one dominated by murderous fanatics who want to kill all Christians.

"Intelligent design advocates say that teaching students to 'critically analyze' evolution will help give them the skills to 'see both sides' of all scientific issues. And if the Discovery Institute execs have their way, those skills will be used to reconsider the philosophy of modern science itself - which they blame for everything from divorce to abortion to the insanity defense. 'Our culture has been deeply influenced by materialist thought,' says Meyer. 'We think it's deeply destructive, and we think it's false. And we mean to overturn it.'"

What's more troubling to me than that last bit about overturning material culture (which, by the way, seems to be a bit more than offering a different opinion) is the "see both sides" comment. That's the problem with their "culture": nothing has more than two opposing sides. There is no in-between, nothing outside of two rigid possibilites. There certainly isn't any overlap or compromise. Just mark your X or get a zero for the day.

"The notion is noble enough: In a democracy, every idea gets heard. But in science, not all theories are equal. Those that survive decades - centuries - of scientific scrutiny end up in classrooms, and those that don't are discarded. The intelligent design movement is using scientific rhetoric to bypass scientific scrutiny. And when science education is decided by charm and stage presence, the Discovery Institute wins."

I finally picked up the Donnie Darko soundtrack today. I haven't listened to it yet, but I plan to let it carry me away to sleepyland tonight.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Evolution defenders anticipate new fight

Here we go again, and this time around I get a front row seat. It's nice to see "Evolutionists" (whom I prefer to call "People Who Think") getting proactive rather than waiting for something to happen. I'll be looking forward to all the letters to the editor, yard signs, and bumper stickers this "offensive" will produce; I'll even sign a petition if presented with one.

Of course, the end of the matter will never be in doubt; The Creationists have all the advantages except for one--evidence. In this debate, evidence--facts--do not matter. Creationists have shaped the debate since day one, and it has ever been a war between beliefs. It doesn't matter that the study of evolution--or any science, for that matter--proscribes belief; if this were purely a debate over evidence and facts the creationists would have been crushed a long time ago.

The leaders of the anti-evolution movement have framed the issue in a way the majority of fundamentalist Christians can understand: believe in the Bible and go to Heaven, or "believe" in evolution and go to Hell. One can't have it both ways and still expect an eternal reward. To accept evolution is to deny God. There is no middle-ground, no compromise. Science is Satan's plaything.

Creationists do make use of "science" in order to appear reasonable to those outside of the debate, but it is merely a diversionary smokescreen. When their "proof" of creation is deconstructed and showed to be expert suppositions, misunderstandings, omissions, or outright lies, they simply fall back on the Bible and God and claim certainty in their beiefs. Their "science" is just a tool to gain support from legitimate individuals or groups who know nothing about science or evolution in the first place.

This is not a war that can be won. Creationists can be buried in real evidence supporting evolution and dig themselves out still certain that it is a lie perpetrated by the system to eradicate Christianity. They don't have a choice; their only other option involves Hell.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I have an odd habit of saving random images I come across on the Web. One could call it a compulsion, even. Initially I started saving them "just in case" I ever needed them for some unforeseen reason, but even after I realized they would probably never be put to any constructive use I continued to collect them.

I've created a very simple web page to display the images. It has no purpose, no design, no meaning. It's as random as the pictures I collect. If they're going languish somewhere unused, better in place where maybe others can see them than in an isolated folder on my hard drive.

As a matter of disclosure, I lifted most of the images from The Guardian.

The Clash London Calling: 25th Anniversary Edition

There is no good reason not to own this. Already have "London Calling"? Not the one with twenty-one extra songs and DVD. Don't have the $30 to pay for it? Steal it. Don't like The Clash? You'd better fucking like The Clash.

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense

Until articles like this one are condensed into tract form, they're never going to accomplish anything. More pictures, less words.

Friday, September 24, 2004

"Promoting the Ideals of Conservatism"

I can visualise the headlines a few months, maybe a year, from now:

The United States is at war with Iran. The United States has always been at war with Iran. Iraq is our friend and ally against the evil forces of Iran.

Now, if I didn't sit and read news all day long, I wouldn't have such troubling premonitions. I could be stupid like everybody else, which sometimes really doesn't seem like such a terrible idea.

Are you tired of hearing all the bad news, or at least hearing about hearing all the bad news we supposedly hear? If so, I've got some damn good news for you. The best part: it's forgery-free.

Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain to be given deluxe expansion next month.

Then there's this, which you better believe I'm getting the second today's paycheck is in the bank.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Okay. I've been wondering about this all day.

The First Ever Democratic and Free Elections currently scheduled for Iraq will absolutely under no circumstances be cancelled or postponed, despite the administration's certainty that terrorist attacks will increase in intensity as election day comes closer.

We must not back down in our unwaivering resolve for the cause and perpetuation of freedom. We will not give in to terrorism.

The currently scheduled elections in the United States will almost certainly be postponed, according to the administration, in the event of a terrorist attack or attacks (which we are constantly told WILL happen).

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

While I write about Godzilla and Boobahs, Mac goes and makes stunning speculations about the basics of human existence.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I must confess: I love Godzilla movies. They were on every weekend when I was a wee youngster, and they were very much an integral part of my weekend routine. Nowadays, unfortunately, the most Godzilla I get is a "marathon" of one or two movies on the Sci[ence]-Fi[ction] Channel every few months.

Although it's not going to satiate my appetite for the movies, the Pop Goes Godzilla: Japanese Pop Culture & Globalization exhibit at KU's Spencer Museum of Art looks pretty damn interesting, and I may try to check it out this weekend. Feel free to join me.

Monday, September 20, 2004

I grew up in an age when kids' television shows were obviously created and executed by people who regularly consumed large amounts of psychedelic drugs. Psilocybin mushrooms, mainly.

Much of today's childrens' programming is no less bizarre, only the results seem to be that of people who wedge open their third eye with... well, I can't even begin to guess what, but keep it away from me, please.

I mean, how else can you explain the Teletubbies? And if you can explain them, how about the latest spawn of the Teletubbies' creators, the Boobahs? What was the pitch meeting for this one like?

Guy #1: Well, you see, it's like this: picture a disembodied clitoris--
Guy #2: Wait--a what?
G1: A clitoris. Disembodied. You know, just a clitoris, with arms, hands, and peg legs.
G2: A clitoris with peg legs?
G1: A disembodied clitoris. Actually, there will be five of them. Each a different color.
G2: Ah. So, what do these, eh...
G1: Clitorides.
G2: Huh. I figured it would be "clitori" or something to that effect. So--
G1: Yeah, words are funny like that
G2: Um, so, what do they do, these peg-legged, multi-colored clitorides?
G1: Oh, the usual, they bounce around, fall down, make funny noises. Stuff like that. You know, for the kids.
G2: Except they closely resemble female genitalia?
G1: The peg legs make it kind of hard to tell, plus they fall down a lot.
G2: Right. What purpose do they serve?
G1: They'll make little kids want to bounce around, fall down, and make funny noises. It's pretty simple, really.
G2: Dancing clitorides... Sounds like a winner to me! Call PBS!

Or something like that.

"One of Satan's materpieces is Islam."

Everybody's favorite Jesus-addled hack cartoonist has now made a film. Apparently it's "controversial". Unfortunately, I don't think we'll find any of these left on toilets in public restrooms. But, good news! There are some free movie clips on the website. The first clip is even worth rather longish download time.

I'd like to be optimistic and hopeful and think that most Christians aren't stupid enough to fall in with such utter intellectual refuse as this, but I've known too many Christians to be optimistic and hopeful.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Finally, a reason to sit through television commercials.

Also, a very unique and constructive way to use Jazz Hands to rescue subway commuters. (via BoingBoing)

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Doritos makes some darn good chips; some store brands are even better. Unfortunately, despite the fun packaging and life-affirming flavor, I find most snacks to lack one essential element: an engaging hip-hop worldview totally devoted to lifting disadvantaged urban youth out of the depths of crime, drugs, and undereducation and, at the same time, providing hip-hop entertainers relief from the grueling and endless task of exploiting themselves by doing it for them.

Rap Snacks are the answer.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

I absolutely despise politics. I can't stand to think about politics, and I certainly hate to talk about politics. Rudy Rucker sums up my feelings on the matter quite well:

"Bottom line: fuck politics, it'll just rip you off and break your heart. Focus on getting your own life in order."*

So why is it, then, that just about every blog I read on a daily basis is a politcal blog? What's my deal? Yeah, I strive to be an informed member of society and all that crap, but reading a few newspapers would take care of that.

I think it might be that I thrive when I'm pissed off about something over which I have no control. Maybe. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

*From the introduction to Seek!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Bob Harris at This Modern World. Read it.

"We are numb now.
We are killing. We are killing in large numbers. And we are numb to what we are doing.
That's it. Game over. We have lost.
Not the war. Ourselves.
The war and much more will follow, soon, if we can't wake up from our savage numbness."

I had the great luck to see the same Wolf Blitzer coverage during the five minutes I watched television yesterday afternoon. He betrayed absolutely no recognition or concern that the footage he was broadcasting was of innocent people being blown to fucking bits by the United States. Right there. People standing around. Explosion. Blood on the fucking camera lens. The reporter repeatedly screaming "I'm going to die."

Can hearts and minds be considered won even if you have scoop them off the ground? Whatever works.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I just got me a Gmail account. I haven't received any invitations to send to others just yet, but if I get some I'll let you know. If you want one, then you'll let me know.

Oh yes, the address: zinnite@gmail.com

In other news, if you have not picked up Björk's new album, "Medúlla", please do as soon as possible. It is quite stunning.

Monday, September 13, 2004

This is a dream I really had the other night.

I was in some urban shopping area, not unlike Kansas City's Country Club Plaza or downtown Lawrence. I was sitting outside by myself watching a strange scene unfold: A solitary, riderless Segway gone bezerk on pedestrian-filled sidewalks.

It repeatedly slammed itself into the sides of buildings, alternating between seemingly calculated attacks, where it it would slowly back up to the edge of the sidewalk and wait for the right moment to charge into a wall, and ferocious rampages when it would repeatedly slam its handlebars against the brick. Occasionally it would throw itself through shop windows.

I seemed to be the only person interested in what was going on. Everybody passing by saw what was happening, but most only gave the rogue, and obviously upset, Segway the most cursory acknowledgment, as if it was something that happened all the time. The few who did stop to investigate, such as the owners of the broken windows and passing pets, fell victim to the Segway's wrath as it attempted to run them down, though it was only successful in bruising a few ankles.

The saddest part of the whole situation was that the Segway had trouble maintaining an upright position. It was constantly falling forward onto its "face", especially during its attempts to chase humans.

After a while of charging, slamming, chasing, and falling, it simply rode off down the street and disappeared. Was it frustrated with its futile attempts at destruction? Was it done, its unknown task accomplished? Or did it just need a recharge?

I wish all of my dreams were as neat as this one.

Sometimes you think you know enough about certain things to solve simple problems without seeking outside assistance. Sometimes you're right and life goes on; sometimes you find your admittedly minimal knowledge is much more minimal than previously supposed.

Then you start begging and pleading for help on the internet.

Well, it works. Here's a huge Thank You and a warm, fuzzy, virtual hug for Zed from MemeMachineGo! for schooling my stupid ass on how to get Mozilla up and running again.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Donnie Darko was quite stunning. It was great to finally see almost all of the wonderful "deleted scenes" in their proper context, and all of the little extra bits and pieces were superbly done as well.

I do have one big problem with the Director's Cut, however: Why the change in the opening song? I mean, I really like INXS, but Echo & The Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon" was the fucking perfect song to start that film. It gave it a momentum that, frankly, "Never Tear Us Apart" completely lacked. It's a good song, but not the right song.

In other news, I discovered that the horriffic coughing I have been experiencing since last Wednesday--which I had attibuted to allergies--turned out to be a pretty goddamned severe respiratory infection. I still have it, it still sucks, but it's so much more bearable now since I have a prescription for codeine-loaded cough syrup. Now that's the shit. Of course, I also now realize why people get addicted to narcotics to easily. Because they fucking work!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

I started reading Steve Erickson's "Amnesiascope" yesterday, and so far it's proving to be quite enjoyable. I came across this stunning passage last night, and I offer it in honor of W, who is yapping about something this very minute.

"They kept telling you it was a war for the soul of America, but you didn't believe them. They kept saying you were the Enemy, but you wouldn't accept that, because you just didn't feel like an enemy. Now you know they meant every word, and more. Now, as the Twentieth Century slips America's hold on it, you have become the Enemy they always said you were; and in the receding history that you see from your rooftop, you can't help being impressed. No one with a highly developed sense of his own hypocrisy can help being impressed how the amoral have become the New Moralists, how the spiritually malevolent have become the New Righteous. You can't help being impressed how the New Patriots have consolidated their power and profit in the name of an idea someone have for a country a couple of hundred years ago, or the name of a cracked visionary who died for love a couple thousand years ago. Of course it might prove embarrassing if he were to actually return as they claim to believe he will, living among the very trash these paragons hate and despise: the hookers and junkies and abandoned teenage mothers and muttering crazies who have nowhere to live but the street, the once-beautiful young men emaciated by plague, the suffering and forsaken souls he would cradle and comfort as they die the agonizing deaths in which the "moral" and the "righteous" and the "patriotic" revel. But the New Paragons have probably concluded there isn't all that much danger of him showing up anytime soon; and so every one of them can come beaming in on the airwaves these days with a little more confidence, sounding a little tougher and sitting a little more ram-rod straight, like he has a ruler up his ass to measure to the last millimeter not only the distance from his rectum to his heart but which of the two is smaller and tighter and more constricted. And then after a while you have to admit maybe you're not so impressed by them anymore. After a while you have to admit maybe you're beginning to get your fill of these gibbering corpses, and you just wish there was another thousand miles of Mojave between them and you. You have to admit you would just as soon set the desert on fire and rip up all the highways leading into town and lay a black smoke screen across the eastern sky, so there was no possibility whatsoever any of them could ever get in."

W is still talking. He's still saying the same thing he was saying when I starting typing this post. Nothing.