Atheist Buses Approved in South Bend

After initially being approved and then unapproved, the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign has been approved again to have its ad on buses in South Bend. It completely misses the point of advertising while Obama was in town for Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony, but at least it was approved. One has to wonder if foul play was involved, though…

Because I’m a masochist, I decided to read the comments on the article. Oh boy. You know what, these don’t even need my commentary. Let me show you some of the gems:

“Running scared transpo? Afraid of a law suit? I would let them sue. I would not give these idiots the time of day.”

“I am appalled that we as citizens of a Christian nation are going to allow buses to have ads denouncing God. I am a veteran of a foreign war and I have seen enough crazy things in this world to let me know that there is most definitely a God. The 86% of us in this country need to tell this 14% minority to just be quiet and keep to themselves. Like the ten commandments debate on many courthouse steps; if you don’t believe in God fine, but aren’t the ten commandments a pretty good set of rules to live by anyways?”

“Exactly! This country and its democracy was built from Christian beliefs by Christian forefathers? Our money says, as a Nation “In God We Trust” If they don’t like living in a Christian nation, then move! Don’t use the Chrisian Money from the Christian nation if you’re affraid some good Christian values might rub of on you. Remember God said love your neighbor. Actually the best thing we can do as Christians is to prey for those lost souls. Hopefully before they die, they will be saved.”

“I agree 100% this is a sad statment to the condition of this country. We have gone from “In god we trust” to ” it isn’t wrong if you do not get caught” The Christian Majority need to stand up and say ” this is not right””

“You can be good without God, but you will still go to Hell. Should be what it reads…… Sorry to burst the bubble.”

“Thankfully we all have the right to choose our own religous preferances or none at all. Why atheists want to advertise the fact is beyond me. I don’t see what they have to gain by this. Maybe it’s the old “the devil made me do it” thing. Anyway, they will lose in the “end”, literally.”

“Atheists are stupid beyond belief………how the hell do you think you got here……………………..poof……..I don’t think so. The world is going to hell if you stupid people get ANY rights. God is GREAT”

And this is why we need to be vocal about our nonbelief.

By the way, there’s also a poll to the right of the article asking if you think the ads should be allowed. Yes is failing miserably. I think you all know what you need to do.

(Via Friendly Atheist)

Humans vs. Animals

Many parts of this image annoy me (click for bigger version), but my biggest gripe is this quote: “Humans have long considered themselves truly unique. But it turns out that the better word from ‘unique’ is ‘more advanced.’”

Sigh. No, “more advanced” isn’t the better word. In fact, it’s worse than unique. At least it’s true that we’re unique in that we have a certain combination of skills that other animals don’t have, though I’d still argue all animals are unique. But viewing humans as more advanced than the rest of the animal kingdom is a fallacy. It goes back to the Scala Naturae, or the Great Chain of Being. This was the idea that everything in the universe could be ranked in order of how perfect or advanced it was, with God at the top and amoebas and dirt at the bottom. Mammals are better than birds, hawks are better than pigeons, trees that bear fruit we eat are better than ones we don’t, etc.

But that’s not how things work. Through evolution, everything has had the same amount of time on this planet to evolve. Bacteria are just as adapted to their environment as a tree or a tiger or a human. While they’re less complex, I wouldn’t say they’re less advanced. Advanced implies that there’s some end goal in mind that we’re comparing them to, usually the wonderful Homo sapeins. Think of it this way. What if other animals considered themselves the most advanced, and were comparing us to them?

Dolphins: They can only hold their breath for a couple minutes? And they can’t echolocate? Ha! Even bats can do that!

Ducks: They can’t sleep with one half of their brain at a time? But what if a predator wants to come and eat them in the middle of the night! How will they escape if they don’t keep one eye open? Man, they are goners!

Swallow: Humans can’t instinctively migrate thousands of miles to a place they’ve never been before? They need maps and GPS, and they still get lost trying to find the Walmart that’s 15 minutes away? Wow, just wow.

Clark’s nutcracker: I can remember where I stored thousands of seeds across a 15 mile area over the winter, and you can’t even find your car keys. Humans.

Thermus aquaticus: A toasty 160 degrees F is the perfect temperature for me. You start breaking a sweat at 90?! What a bunch of pansies!

Yeah, we wouldn’t fare too well (and I could probably keep going with this list forever). There are plenty of things animals do better than us, but we don’t view those traits as important because we don’t necessarily need them. The environment we evolved in is different than that of a Clark’s nutcracker, so we don’t need that awesome of a memory. It goes both ways – Clark’s nutcrackers don’t need to have language or build fires or have long distance stamina. That doesn’t make them less advanced – they just had different evolutionary needs.

I still think humans are special – we can’t deny that we have certain traits not seen anywhere else in the animal kingdom, or the fact that we’ve actually developed civilization (minor point). But as a biologist, I see all creatures as special with their unique adaptation for their environment. We shouldn’t judge them by human standards.

I'm an equal opportunity nerd offender

And for those of you who think I may have it out for Star Trek, you should know I’m almost as stupid about Star Wars. I still have yet to see the three original films in their entirety. It’s one of those things where I’ve seen all of them through bits and pieces over about a 15 year period, but I have no concept of how they go together and I’ve forgotten the majority of it. To show my ignorance, I will admit the girl in the following video has a MUCH more coherent grasp on the movies than I do. Now that I’ve covered my bases and offended my entire readership (and lost my Geek Card), watch the hilarious video:

I’m an equal opportunity nerd offender

And for those of you who think I may have it out for Star Trek, you should know I’m almost as stupid about Star Wars. I still have yet to see the three original films in their entirety. It’s one of those things where I’ve seen all of them through bits and pieces over about a 15 year period, but I have no concept of how they go together and I’ve forgotten the majority of it. To show my ignorance, I will admit the girl in the following video has a MUCH more coherent grasp on the movies than I do. Now that I’ve covered my bases and offended my entire readership (and lost my Geek Card), watch the hilarious video:

Star Trek & Angels and Demons

I hadn’t seen a movie in theaters in ages, but I actually saw two today! Two different groups of friends wanted to go at different times. Hooray. The first one was Star Trek, so now all my geeky friends can finally stop bugging me to see it. I really liked it, but keep in mind I’ve never seen a second of old Star Trek episodes or movies before seeing this one. The extent of my knowledge was basically:

-Spock is supposed to be logical
-Klingons are angry and have their own language that uber-geeks learn
-The phrase “beam me up Scotty”
-The silly hand salute thing that’s hard to do
-Trekkies like to go around screaming “KHHAAAANNN” for reasons I do not understand

Now that I’ve offended every Trekkie out there… *ahem* I’m sure someone who’s expecting something in particular has their gripes with the film. I know I’m uber nitpicky when it comes to Harry Potter. But, as a Star Trek n00b, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie from an entertainment point of view. Though I have to admit, I was oddly unnerved by how sexy Zachary Quinto’s Spock was. Not quite sure I’m supposed to be having those feelings about Spock, but yum. Oh, and who else thought every time Spock got annoyed he was going to start slicing peoples heads open and stealing their powers?

Noooo, not teh kitteh! Why do you need nine lives when you can never die?!?!

I also saw Angels and Demons, which I thought was pretty good. Definitely better than the DaVinci Code, but that’s not saying much. Now, I know people like to harp on Dan Brown, but I genuinely enjoy his novels. He’s no Shakespeare, but his plots are entertaining page turners so you can stfu if you think I’m dumb for liking them. Anyway, like I said the movie was pretty good – probably helped that I read the book years ago, so I didn’t remember it well enough to be super critical. Tried not to cringe too much at all the antimatter stupidity and told myself to suspend disbelief for a bit. I really liked the idea that God sent an atheist intellectual professor (Langdon) to save all of Catholicism – how ironic.

The one thing that bugged me was that it seemed to have a big “Science and religion are compatible, and when you think they’re not, that’s when you have problems!” message. It’s not that I just disagree with this – but the very premise of the movie seemed to disagree with it. I mean, it was anti-science Catholics versus pro-science Catholics (the Illuminati), not versus atheistic scientists. Heck, the two irreligious characters are the only ones not murdering and blowing things up – they’re actually saving the day. Maybe people will get that message out of the movie instead of the one the film trying to jam down their throat.

God's Stimulus Package

I laughed when my good friend Mark told me about this, so he typed it up. Consider this a guest post of sorts:

“I hitched a ride with my roommate’s dad to go home to do some Pre-calc tutoring this weekend. Money, hooray! Being that this is Indiana, there tend to be signs of a religious nature that pop up on the highways. I’m sure Jen has mentioned to you about the Jesus is Real/Hell is Real sign on I-65.

As it turns out, that isn’t the only sign in that area! As we were driving up US 41, we passed a very obviously pro-life sign I hadn’t ever seen before. The sign said “God’s Stimulus Package” and had a picture of a box with babies in it. After the initial shock of seeing the sign, I realized it was very thought provoking.

It got me to thinking. How WOULD extra babies stimulate the economy? Extra padding for a national food store? Alternative fuel source? What do you think?”

I’m thinking a baby fighting ring – we’ll need the extra entertainment when the economy completely collapses, right?

God’s Stimulus Package

I laughed when my good friend Mark told me about this, so he typed it up. Consider this a guest post of sorts:

“I hitched a ride with my roommate’s dad to go home to do some Pre-calc tutoring this weekend. Money, hooray! Being that this is Indiana, there tend to be signs of a religious nature that pop up on the highways. I’m sure Jen has mentioned to you about the Jesus is Real/Hell is Real sign on I-65.

As it turns out, that isn’t the only sign in that area! As we were driving up US 41, we passed a very obviously pro-life sign I hadn’t ever seen before. The sign said “God’s Stimulus Package” and had a picture of a box with babies in it. After the initial shock of seeing the sign, I realized it was very thought provoking.

It got me to thinking. How WOULD extra babies stimulate the economy? Extra padding for a national food store? Alternative fuel source? What do you think?”

I’m thinking a baby fighting ring – we’ll need the extra entertainment when the economy completely collapses, right?

It's officially summer!

Why? While walking to lab today, I got my first cat call of the year. Woo. I don’t know if there’s something about warm weather that gets guys all worked up, or if it’s the fact that I’m no longer wearing jackets and sweaters that hide my boobage*, but this always happens in the summer. Seriously, can someone with more testosterone than me explain this phenomenon to me? I really don’t get why guys think it’s so awesome to hang halfway out of their car whistling and yelling nonsensical flirtations to some random girl. I never know if I should be flattered, or if they’re just doing it sarcastically to mock me…

Me: I don’t get catcalling, like while you’re driving away quickly. What’s the point?
Male Friend: I think it’s more about the guys in the group… guys don’t do it alone
Me: Yeah, it was the passenger in a car. I just don’t get it
Male Friend: Oh, so he was a Scrub. You don’t want none of that.
Me: lol scrubs don’t get no love from me, don’t worry

*I’ve been told that I have “surprise boobs.” Most of my shirts come up to my neck so no gratuitous cleavage, and from about September to April I’m wearing sweaters that apparently flatten me out. I’ve caused more than one guy to go wide eye with shock the first time they see me shirtless. This is why I don’t get girls that flaunt cleavage all the time – it’s so much more fun to take them by surprise! That being said, my threadless shirts are pretty tight in the chest, so I guess that shows them off a bit. You know what, I can’t help that they make those shirts for skinny A cup girls… Wow, I’ve been a bit obsessed with boobs lately, haven’t I? I can’t stop talking about them! Boobs! Boobies! Breasticles! Ahhhhhh!!!

It’s officially summer!

Why? While walking to lab today, I got my first cat call of the year. Woo. I don’t know if there’s something about warm weather that gets guys all worked up, or if it’s the fact that I’m no longer wearing jackets and sweaters that hide my boobage*, but this always happens in the summer. Seriously, can someone with more testosterone than me explain this phenomenon to me? I really don’t get why guys think it’s so awesome to hang halfway out of their car whistling and yelling nonsensical flirtations to some random girl. I never know if I should be flattered, or if they’re just doing it sarcastically to mock me…

Me: I don’t get catcalling, like while you’re driving away quickly. What’s the point?
Male Friend: I think it’s more about the guys in the group… guys don’t do it alone
Me: Yeah, it was the passenger in a car. I just don’t get it
Male Friend: Oh, so he was a Scrub. You don’t want none of that.
Me: lol scrubs don’t get no love from me, don’t worry

*I’ve been told that I have “surprise boobs.” Most of my shirts come up to my neck so no gratuitous cleavage, and from about September to April I’m wearing sweaters that apparently flatten me out. I’ve caused more than one guy to go wide eye with shock the first time they see me shirtless. This is why I don’t get girls that flaunt cleavage all the time – it’s so much more fun to take them by surprise! That being said, my threadless shirts are pretty tight in the chest, so I guess that shows them off a bit. You know what, I can’t help that they make those shirts for skinny A cup girls… Wow, I’ve been a bit obsessed with boobs lately, haven’t I? I can’t stop talking about them! Boobs! Boobies! Breasticles! Ahhhhhh!!!

I now believe in God, and his name is Wolfram Alpha

Holy shit watch the overview of what this new site can do. It’s like Google and Wikipedia had a baby genius. So…much…data! *nerdgasm*

While every other person is probably spending their weekend drinking or playing videogames or having sex, I will be entering random questions into this website. I mean, I was pretty much sold at its abilities to do integrals, but searching genomes for a certain DNA sequence? Hell yeah.

Wolfram Alpha, I love you.