Vic Toews: Gun registries are invasion of privacy. Internet snooping is great though!

During the Conservative fight to fool everyone into believing the long gun registry is a bad idea, one of the most frequent and most proximate reasons the CPC and their spambot flaks gave for dismantling and bonfiring the database was that it served as an invasion of privacy that allowed the government too much insight into its citizens’ lives by telling them who had guns and where. One of the folks touting this line was Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who primarily expressed concern that an NDP or Liberal government would get their hands on that info.

He said then, “In order to protect the privacy of law-abiding, long gun owners, those whom that member and his party subjected to gross violations of their privacy, records held by the Canadian firearms program on currently registered long guns will be destroyed.”

Fast forward a few months, and Vic Toews has introduced the Tories’ newest salvo on freedom in bill C30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.
[Read more...]

A few quick thoughts on gamifying religion

There’s still a lot I need to unpack from this article at Kotaku about gamifying religion. I wanted to get a few thoughts out about the base idea of creating a “morality hub”, a sort of user-driven voting scheme like Reddit where people can submit ideas about what morals should be followed and let the crowd vote up and down what should be prioritized. The corollary idea that the most popular morals become the most valuable (points-wise) morals to express is a bit disturbing.

First, there’s the ever-present fear of people gaming that sort of system, where on the internet, with anonymity, people give in to their baser ideals. Look at those places where giving offense is considered the highest virtue. The integrity of the voting system and the integrity of the submission system is quesitonable from the outset.

Second, there’s the very idea of competing with one another for the ability to do certain “moral” deeds. Must we elbow one another out of the way to tackle the little old lady looking to cross the street? And what of “grinding” certain low-level, easy to complete positive moral actions?

Third, is it really decent morality if you’re doing it for some (earthly or otherwise) reward? If you stop a mugging just because it’ll win you twenty points, is that a net good for society, or would people look for more altruistic reasons to stop that mugging before it’s considered moral?

Gamifying religion seems to suffer from every poor outcome and exploit that video game karma systems do. It might have some benefits in the real world, though. What do you folks think?

Christian rap from the 90s

Via Everything Is Terrible, some rapping straight from the streets and the soul. Just another episode in the ongoing series of ways Christians need to Jesusify everything. Fucking secular rap, how does that work?

Admittedly, it’s light on the rapping, and heavy on the justification for why these Christians are representing for the Middle-East Side.

Okay, I’m just posting this for that one joke. I admit it.

Canadian acupuncturist: “Cervical cancer is for prostitutes”

Our allies at Skeptic North cover a Canadian acupuncturist who claims that cervical cancer is a disease for prostitutes and promiscuous women.

My research about cervical cancer at the time told me it was very rare and that it occurred most often in women who had multiple sexual partners, who also had multiple sexual partners. In other words, the nurse said, it’s mainly a disease of prostitutes.
Well, I said, “That’s not me!”

Although my gut instinct was horror that she would imply that women with cervical cancer are prostitutes or they deserve their illness, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was simply recounting what this extraordinarily judgmental nurse had told her. Maybe she wasn’t actually implying that only whores** get cervical cancer as some sort of retribution for their immoral behaviour. (Though in my head I couldn’t help wonder if she also feels that AIDS is a “gay disease.”)

[Read more...]