Epic week of epicness


I have had just about zero time to blog all weekend. And what spare time I did have, I spent instead with my beloved wife. Now that beloved wife has gone to bed, and I can sleep in slightly more than usual tomorrow (plus I had a nap this afternoon), I should really get back to flexing my writing muscle. Use it or lose it, they say. Whoever they are, they’re probably right. And anyway, I don’t want to alienate you, my loyal readers. (Whom I can probably name, and count on one hand.)

Moved Mark and Sara into their beautiful new home today, which is a stone’s throw from ours. No, literally. Just a sec, let me prove it. … On second thought, that stone came a little close to a window, let’s not try that again. They have an absolutely gorgeous enclosed outdoor space with a watertight sunroom / greenhouse thingie — a screened in area that would allow them to enjoy the outdoors without all the outdoorsy things like bugs and such. And they have a sunroof in the kitchen. I’m muy jealous. A major advantage to our co-marriage-ers moving so close, is that Jodi can now carpool to work with Sara, saving us on the literal tripling-up on the amount of driving I have to do daily. Jodi’s work is about the same distance from our house as mine is, only in the exact opposite direction, so dropping her off in the mornings entailed driving her out to the vineyard then backtracking to my office. It sucks for Sara that she’s moved so much further from her work (she was almost within walking distance before the move!), but it benefits us, so I’m not going to complain.

We also got a bunch of work done on the house that we’ve been putting off. Mowed the lawn for the first time in three weeks, after the lot owners passed out flyers to the houses with the longest grass saying “mow or we’ll do it for you and send you the bill”. Good motivation to do it. Well, for most people… it just stuck in my craw, making me want to put off mowing another day in defiance. I did it anyway though. What a rebel, huh?

We also got a pressure washer and cleaned off the algae from the house siding, which I’m guessing has been building up since the house was built almost four years ago. The previous owners were not much for maintaining this place, evidently, between the sudden discovery of the wholly un-caulked back sill and the previous mold problem they spot-repaired, and the air exchanger that we cleaned last week, where there was so much gunk built up that it was preventing any air at all from getting exchanged. That exchanger is supposed to be serviced quarterly, but I’m guessing the previous owners had never done it, ever, judging by the filth and dead insects that caked the filters. Now that they’re all clean, it’s amazing just how obvious it is that it hasn’t worked since we moved in. We really should have looked at it sooner, I guess.

Three big moves have happened over the past week. Mark and Sara, as I just mentioned; Stilgar got moved into his finally-completed cage, which I mentioned when it happened; and we moved Jen and Opal out into their new apartment on Wednesday, so we’ve finally got the house to ourselves. I won’t be ashamed about saying it — there has been pantslessness in rooms that have not seen pantslessness in almost a year. Plus I can shower in the master bathroom now, which has a tub, as opposed to the stand-up shower in the ensuite that I’m just evidently far too gangly to manage showering in without banging elbows and such. Not even with a year of practice.

Now, a blogospherics rant below the fold. Skip it if you don’t care.

I can only imagine my wrap-up on the prayer series is going to be slightly delayed, but then, people don’t really seem to be reading it judging by the post views, except for part 1 which got some off-topic argument going. It’s kinda sad in a way, since everyone seemed to be so up in arms over my writing on the topic at first, like I was daring to snatch away a baby’s pacifier. I was kind of hoping for people to take on the substance of my argument with the same zeal. Oh well. It’s almost not surprising though. Sure is easy to get on your outrage horse when you’re not confronted with the actual reasoning behind my beliefs, huh?

Just to make it perfectly clear to everyone: this blog is about stuff I want to talk about. That includes my beliefs. Chief among these beliefs is that PEOPLE are entitled to respect, but not their BELIEFS. Yes, even mine. Which means that, by presenting it to you, I don’t expect you to back off and say “well, man, you’ve thought it out, and I disagree, but I don’t dare challenge you on them, because I respect your beliefs.” Frankly, that’s bullshit. If you disagree, tell me why. It’s not that I’m open to being swayed by anything but sound logic and evidence, but if you have the cajones to step up and tell me WHY you think I’m wrong, that redoubles my respect for you. And, you know, if you’re right, you might even convince me if your logic and evidence is more sound than what originally convinced me of my own beliefs. If not, at least we’ve both gotten a bit of debating practice in, and neither of us is the worse for it, right?

Except, I guess I have a little bit of a problem with trolls who jump on requests for help for my cancer-ridden friends to espouse their pet viewpoints that wi-fi causes every sort of cancer and illness known to man. But that’s mostly because they have so little proper scientific evidence to back up their chosen viewpoints — because they came to the conclusion and are searching for the evidence that best fits it. That really bugs me, when people pick their belief based on some small amount of convincing logic from a charismatic conspiracy theorist, and they thereafter engage in the Dunning-Kruger effect so hard that they couldn’t possibly recognize their position for the unscientific gobbledygook that it is. But that’s neither here nor there. The fact is, when people see what they espouse and under what circumstances, they will hopefully recognize the tactics for the grave insult that they are. If they don’t, then they weren’t likely to be swayed by sound logic to the contrary to begin with.

I can’t fight every battle against pseudoscience single-handedly, on every front, simultaneously. Obviously the rampant stupidity that comes from fundamentalist theism is my particular specialty, but I’m up to just about any challenge anyone wants to bring me, given enough time and resources. I’ll have to do some more research on this wifi-causing-cancer junk before I can do anything but trust real doctors that say it really can’t cause cancer. I certainly can’t trust the loons screaming about corporate cover-ups and conspiracy, when it smacks so much of the people who are wrong about other things *coughvaccinationcough*. So that’s another post that might be a while before I can get to it. Boy, fighting teh stupidz is a never-ending, painful, and almost impossible job, isn’t it? It’s like trying to plug a firehose with my face.

So, yeah. That’s my week, and my minor rant about a discrepancy I’ve noticed lately in commenting frequency. Thought I had to get all that off my chest.

Comments

  1. says

    Sounds like it’s been quite a week!! Mine has been somewhat restful, as suggested to me by physicians. I’ve managed to create two new 3D building models today, which is a nice bit of productivity. Now if only I would take the time to read my favorite blogs in between naps! LOL

    One cancer-related note that I saw on an extremely woo-filled site:

    They mentioned something about people who were not predisposed to having cancer (people not exposed to certain chemicals, radiation, etc.) having an almost random distribution that was on the rise.

    Pardon me for busting their point, but cancer detection is on the rise because of our increases in medical technology. Stage I cancers can now be detected in many cases where it would have had to reach stage II previously. This is a good thing. A random distribution is what you would expect to see in the population at large. Some people just wear their stupid on their sleeve.

  2. says

    And that’s exactly my problem — there’s an entire cottage industry of FUD springing up for just about every advancement humankind ever comes up with, overnight, every time there’s some new advancement. This wifi thing has sprung up out of the ashes of the old “power lines cause cancer” crowd, all because we’re getting better at detecting and curing cancers. Because we’re better at detecting cancers, the numbers appear to be going up.

    But they’re not! Between having more people to GET cancer than ever before (humanity’s number increases exponentially), and us getting better at detecting it much earlier and treating it at earlier stages, we’re only just starting to get an idea as to exactly what percentage of the population IS predisposed to cancers. How we can make the leap so abruptly to “this particular technology is ‘insulting’ us physically”, despite a total lack of correlation between the technology’s prevalence and the epidemiology behind the diseases in question, is beyond me. I don’t say “it’s not possible” that wifi isn’t hurting us. Maybe it is. But by what mechanism? And how is it so invisible to the general medical community, when it’s so obvious to the cracked conspiracy theorists?

    Bah. What can you do but try not to beat your skull out over it?

  3. says

    Okay, I may not be “people” exactly, but I’ve been reading the prayer series as it came out. It’s kind of abstract for me, as prayer is something I seldom come into direct contact with, but it is nice to have the arguments laid out logically together in one place.

    The first time I remember running into prayer was in kindergarten, when we were supposed to pray over our juice and cookies for whatever reason. It never made sense to me–I mean, if there were an all-knowing beneficent being out there looking out for my interests, wouldn’t it stand to reason that it would know better than I would what was useful for my health and well-being? And wouldn’t it know what I wanted without me asking it anything? The whole thing seemed utterly pointless to me. And what would the mechanism be? “It’s just like this light switch here,” my fifth grade teacher used to explain. “Nobody knows what electricity is, or how it works, but when I touch the switch here” (and she would illustrate by turning the switch from the “off” to the “on” position) “the light goes on up there. That’s how prayer works.” Well, I’d seen my father wire our house and I’d even built simple light switches with battery, wire, and flashlight bulb, so that explanation kind of shot by me. Mostly I’d see prayer on television shows or in comic strips. It always seemed kind of remote to me, like cannibalism or dancing for rain.

    Anyway, this is the kind of series people will probably be stopping by to read for years to come.

    Oh, and by the way, Dan J–it’s good to see you back online again.

  4. George W. says

    Jason,
    If I don’t comment it is because I agree with what you are posting. I don’t usually post positive feedback unless I have something to add. Perhaps you could take the non-posting as a compliment to your thorough examination of the topic….
    Or
    I could start posting “Yeah, what he said.” after reading your posts?

  5. George W. says

    P.S.- If you could tell me how to not have the pink geometric avatar every time I comment, that would be cool.

    I don’t want to sound gay or nothing, but….

  6. says

    I only hope my series has the kind of longevity you’ve suggested. It might have to benefit from a bit of polish before I’ll believe any such prediction.

  7. says

    Naw man, don’t worry about doing the “yes-man” stuff. I was more concerned with certain elements who were quick to attack my thesis before reading the arguments and now that my arguments are mostly complete (only one post to go!), they’ve evaporated.

    I’m using Gravatar for my commenting icons. Basically, it takes your e-mail address that you post on whatever site you use, and it hashes it and retrieves your chosen icon via the hash. Nobody gets to see the e-mail you put in that field but me. That way, your e-mail is used as a unique identifier and always retrieves your chosen icon, without exposing you to spammers. It’s actually pretty brilliant.

    If you don’t have an account, it uses that hash to generate an avatar for you, that stays the same from comment to comment. Lots of other blogs use Gravatar, so you may want to get an account there and put your e-mail that you use. http://en.gravatar.com/site/signup/

  8. George W. says

    It’s family guy and I just browsed through pictures till I found one that looks kind of a little like me.
    And by a little I mean “has glasses and a big chin”. At least till I get a good “real world” picture…

  9. George W. says

    I know this has a touch of irony in that I just questioned your “nerd-cred” over in WPIN4 but- If you could create a post or send me an e-mail on how to make my responses look like I know WTF I’m doing (or at least make my tired arguments LOOK pretty), that would be helpful.
    Ex. when you quote a Poster it’s always in those pretty off coloured boxes.
    or how to link a page to a word in your text.
    also anything else that looks cool.
    thanks…

  10. says

    Haha, no problem, will put together a quick primer shortly, soon as I get some work squared away. There’s a quick reference of tags you can use by clicking on the “you can use these html tags” link above the comment box, but if you don’t know what’s what, it’s not very helpful.

  11. says

    I apologize for not responding to any of the posts on prayer.
    I’ve also been a little under the weather mentally lately, so there are a lot of potential replies and posts that have gone unwritten because I didn’t feel up to the task of writing something decently coherent. Besides, I don’t think that very much of what you are saying is wrong, with the important exception of prayer diverting attention from more practical attempts to address a problem. I’ve already stated that I think that prayer is usually a manifestation of concern about a particular problem, so a religious person who prays is more likely to take other action as well because they are concerned. There didn’t seem to be much point in bringing that up again.

  12. says

    By all means, Paul, take care of yourself first. You can be my foil on your own time; those harsher words weren’t actually specifically directed at you in fact, despite your being in on the initial conversation. Thanks for letting me know where you’re at, though.

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