Monday, 2 May 2011

Osama bin Laden Dead

As everyone now knows, bin Laden is dead and his body disposed of at sea to negate any chance of his gravesite becoming a "rallying point" for extremists. Unfortunately, a picture of the deceased appears to have been photoshopped (Warning: disturbing images).

Shh... can you guys hear those weird scuttling noises? It's the sound of conspiracy theorists crawling out of the woodwork.

That isn't to say the man is still alive and well, as the composite could have been created for any number of reasons (his face was unrecognizable, etc). Nevertheless, it will undoubtedly create "controversy" within certain circles, something that is most unfortunate since we should be spending this time congratulating the U.S. and celebrating their victory.

Oh, and a moment of entertainment: Faux News is at it again.

In their wildest dreams.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Election Day

Today is May 2nd and, after thirty-something days of strange and interesting campaigns, I just wanted to remind any of my Canadian followers that today is ELECTION DAY! Go out and exercise your rights and responsibilities as a citizen!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Happy 4/20!

I'm not a user but I'm a staunch supporter of legalization. So, you can imagine my excitement when an Ontario judge ruled that the marijuana laws are unconstitutional. The federal government made an appeal and they have three months to modify the laws before weed, medical or otherwise, is legalized in the province. Quebec has an even larger percentage of smokers, so I'm sure that if, by some miracle, the feds couldn't make a successful appeal, my province would be first in line to follow Ontario's lead.

I know I shouldn't get my hopes up. The Conservative Party, while still a minority, wants to toughen punishment for small growers, including mandatory minimum sentences. When asked a couple of years ago why he's against legalization, Prime Minister Harper has two basic reasons (that I can recall):

1. To protect children. See, his two kids are reaching the age of experimentation and he wants to keep them safe, which obviously means that he has to prohibit the substance for 30,000,000 other people too. Whenever a politician tries to ban something because of his personal (usually religious) ideals, they will, without fail, claim that it is for the benefit of the children. I'm pretty sure the British and Australian governments used the same excuse when they tried to censor Internet pornography.

2. Legalizing the drug would be like funding criminal organizations. Since the exact opposite is true, I can only conclude that Harrper is pretending to live in a parallel universe where everything is opposite of reality. That would explain why he's trying to turn a predominantly left-wing country into a social conservative utopia.

But despite the fact that he is woefully uninformed, one major part of his election campaign platform is stricter drug laws. What a tool. I'm itching for the May vote, even though he will only end up in charge of a minority government again. The longer we can keep this flaming moron from the reins of total power, the better.

Here's a pot-related article that made me chuckle (the first part, anyway):
Pot Activist Smokes Joint in House of Commons

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

What's Your Zombie Plan?

Before this turns into an entirely religion-centered page, I'll veer off course for awhile and entertain some of my other interests: primarily, the zombie apocalypse. TheLanderson27's latest blog entry about the prediction of end times in 2012 got me thinking about this topic again. I've always thought zombie invasions were the easiest of apocalyptic scenarios, far better than nuclear war or airborne viral disease. The contagion is passed only through physical transfer which makes it easier to avoid, and unlike a nuclear disaster, all infrastructure is left intact. Food is still available and growable, water is drinkable, air isn't irradiated. It's like Apocalypse Lite.

That said, escaping from crazed cannibals is still far more terrifying than wandering through a desolate wasteland. Security from outside contact is a number one priority. How can one get all the resources they need at a moment's notice, without having to venture outside their fortified domicile?

Personally, I favour an apartment rooftop outfitted with a greenhouse to grow crops. With the fire escape dismantled, it is virtually unreachable. It allows for open air and easy waste disposal, as well as offering ample opportunity for rainwater collection. It also provides sufficient shelter from weather of all types. The worst part of this plan is becoming vegan, but it's something I think I could deal with until the last of the zombies rot away.

Speaking of which, do zombies decompose like normal corpses? If so, finding shelter in the desert may also be a good choice, where the heat can turn the freshly dead into a pile of sun-bleached bones in a relatively short period of time. Conversely, one should avoid northern temperatures where zombies can be frozen solid for years and years before thawing out and continuing their infestation. These are some very serious concerns that should be explored by the foremost scientists of our time.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Gleanings in Genesis Part Two

"By one man sin entered the world, and death by sin. The spirit of insubordination possessed him; he rebelled again his Maker; he ate of the forbidden fruit; and terrible were the consequences that followed."

The notion that there was no death before the fall of man is a sentiment I have heard expressed more than once during my forays into creationism. This is the first half of the premise on which Christianity is based (as explained by Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15). Adam committed the first sin, Original Sin. For this, God curses all of mankind. We are all born tainted and presumably there was no way to cleanse ourselves of this for about four thousand years. Luckily there was no Hell at this point, so when we died our souls simply ceased to exist.

According to the Christian gospel, Jesus Christ is the only one who can offer redemption from this bleak fate. Without faith in Him, we remain burdened with Original Sin and will suffer the consequences after death. That is His basic purpose: death through Adam, life through Christ. But if one doesn't accept the idea of Original Sin, then on what grounds can belief in Jesus be necessary? His teachings provide philosophical insight, but there is suddenly no dire need for Christian allegiance: he is but another mortal man with thoughtful words.

Herein lies the apparent contradiction: we are all punished for Adam's sin, and yet we are only supposed to be accountable for our own sins (Ezekiel 18, Deuteronomy 24, 2 Kings 14).

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

What accounts for this inconsistency? Can God hold us responsible for the sins of our forefathers while telling us not to do the same, and if so, are we responsible for the sins of every one of our ancestors or just Adam?

Friday, 4 March 2011

Gleanings in Genesis Part One

Warning! This is a rant about creationism. It will probably be tired for those familiar with the "controversy."

The Book of Genesis has piqued my interest since I first began my exploration of Christianity, more than likely because I hail from a family of strong believers who have used a rather unique combination of modern science and Biblical text to account for our existence. In my younger years, I was taught what is now known as "Old Earth Creationism," wherein each of the six days God spent creating the Earth was really a far longer period of time, allowing for the appropriate billions of years for evolution to take place. Dinosaurs were wiped out during Noah's Flood (and no, as a child I did not notice the incongruities), man was created from dirt, and neanderthals were test subjects. Why God would need a test subject, I didn't know, but my parents told me these tales with such confidence that I assumed them to be infallibly true.

Now I'm past twenty and thankfully have replaced my naiveté with actual knowledge and hopefully a little bit of insight. Still, discussing creationism is one of my interests and I do all the reading I can on the subject. Most recently, this lead to the purchase of Gleanings in Genesis by Arthur Walkington Pink. Though common sense would have dictated that I research the author beforehand, for some reason I failed to do what I normally do, and as a result I expected a more objective position, a philosophical analysis of an allegory rather than a literal interpretation.

So it was that I was curled up in bed, filled with doubt after having read the introduction ("In Genesis the truth of salvation is typically displayed" - emphasis not mine) that this was what I had thought it to be, when I came across perhaps the most blatant use of circular logic I've encountered since Strobel's Case for a Creator.

"'In the beginning, God created.' No argument is entered into to prove the existence of God: instead, His existence is affirmed as a fact to be believed. And yet, sufficient is expressed in this one brief sentence to expose every fallacy which man has invented concerning the Deity. This opening sentence of the Bible repudiates atheism, for it postulates the existence of God..."

I don't consider myself to be one of what are being called "new-age atheists" or "Dawkinsian atheists," I have no grudge against religion per se and don't condescend to the faithful. Most theists hold their faith because of personal experience and while it isn't scientific in the slightest, I wouldn't do anything to try to take that experience away from them. There are certain theistic assumptions, though, that I would argue are worthy of outright ridicule. This would be one of them. Pink somehow fails to realize that the phrase "In the beginning, God created," only repudiates atheism within the Biblical context.

How can anyone make such a glaring mistake? In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the second chapter begins with "Harry lay flat on his back, breathing hard as though he had been running." There is no argument put forth for his existence, it is presupposed. Within the context of the HP series, he exists. In reality, he does not. So it is with Genesis, a narrative in which God not only exists, but communicates and carries out action. This, though, has no bearing on reality outside scripture, an obvious statement to anyone who hasn't been so deeply enveloped by blind faith that they are unable to apply even an illusion of objectivity to their arguments.

Pink goes on to insist that because the world was described in Genesis as being created, it was necessary for there to be an intelligent creator. I hardly have to delve into the mental gymnastics required to make such an assertion. He then goes on to write that any contradiction of the Bible is a fault of science; that science must adhere to the Genesis account and not the other way around which to me underlines a gross misunderstanding of the scientific method to put it lightly. It hardly needs to be said that scientific consensus is not one of opinion. Certain methods must be adhered to in order to ensure accuracy and consistency, and evidence and evidence only dictates what science regards as tentatively true as opposed to that which is utterly false.

This was all within a few pages. I had started reading the book snug under my covers expecting to drift into sleep, but instead ended up furiously taking notes in an effort to prevent a stroke. My exasperation can't be emphasized... I'll continue reading the book, and perhaps post some of the more coma-inducing arguments here, though I doubt it will be anything very new.