So why do we care about the Vatican’s position on science, anyway?

The Vatican has a chief exorcist. There is an International Association of Exorcists. They believe Hitler was possessed by a demon and tried a long-distance exorcism. Oh, and Harry Potter is evil.

Adolf Hitler and Russian leader Stalin were possessed by the Devil, the Vatican’s chief exorcist has claimed.

Father Gabriele Amorth who is Pope Benedict XVI’s ‘caster out of demons’ made his comments during an interview with Vatican Radio.

Father Amorth said: “Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations.”

Shouldn’t people be ashamed of being, for instance, the official Vatican astronomer, and having to be in the same category with these witch doctors?

(via The Indigestible)

Help Wal-Mart tread the path of righteousness

Wal-Mart has a policy in place to protect its customers from the obscenity and wickedness that writers put into books, yet they still have a few books on the shelves that are terribly indecent—one must assume that their censors are simply too busy to have read them to determine the unpleasantness of their content. In order to help them become more consistent, I urge everyone to sign the petition asking that one of these unsavory texts be removed immediately.

(via Aaron Kinney)

The joys of home ownership

It’s 1:30AM, and our daughter wakes us up, pounding on the door. We hear a babbling brook, the cheerful sound of a waterfall—wait a moment, we don’t live in a rain forest! We run to the basement to see water rushing over the baseboards, and a lake, already ankle deep. I turn off the main water valve to our house, but it doesn’t stop. We go outside, and there, rising from our lawn, is a huge dome rising up like a grassy pimple, and water gushing at a phenomenal rate from several points on it.


That’s one of those big waist-high garbage cans out there, for scale. My wife tossed it out there in a desperate and futile attempt to bail.

The red glow reflecting from the surface of the lake that is our front lawn isn’t from hellish, apocalyptic fires, although that would have fit our mood—it’s from the three police cars parked outside our house. We’d called the emergency fire/police dispatch when we realized that the water main to our house had broken, and in a small quiet town with nothing much to do, they all show up. We stood around for a while out there in the dark, listening to the happy burble, until a fellow from the city water works showed up to shut it down. It’s a 4 inch pipe, he said. A 4 inch pipe can throw a lot of water.

One of the officers tried to cheer me up. “At least since the break was before the meter, you won’t get charged for the water.”

So…no water for a day or two (I hope we can get it fixed before the weekend), a swimming pool in the basement, unknown major expenses to fix the damn thing, a night of thoroughly disrupted sleep, and a day full of classes tomorrow. I’m going to be cranky for a while.

Update your blogrolls! Um, not.

John A. Davison has started a new blog. You may recall his previous blog, or the one before that. His technique is to post one article, invite comments, and when he gets tired of them, move on…not to a new article, a new blog. His first got 881 comments (many of them consisting of Davis wondering where everyone was, or arguing with DaveScot); this is the only article there.

I have my own blog now, only because I have been banned from just about all the others. Since I am computer illiterate, don’t expect very much from me. I welcome any comments about my published papers including my unpublished “An Evolutionary Manifesto: A New Hypothesis For Organic Change.” I will tend to ignore any denigrations either of myself or my distinguished sources. I will also not take seriously comments from anonymous posters although I will respond provided they are civil.

That’s it, demonstrating that at least he was honest in saying he was computer illiterate. The second got 651 comments, again more of the same, and here’s all the content on it:

The original Prescribed Evolution blog got pretty cluttered so I am starting a new one. Hopefully I will be able to better manage this one than the original.

Whoops, no, he wasn’t any better at it. So now he has moved on, and the current one has 7 comments, on an article that says just this:

I have abandoned both of my earlier blogs, leaving their contents as living testimony to the nature and tactics of my adversaries. Since I am now convinced that creative evolution is no longer in progress I have chosen the above title. I quite busy right now posting at other forums, chiefly Uncommon Descent and ISCID’s ” brainstorms” so I will spend little time here but I welcome any constructive criticism of my several papers and my evolutionary views in general.

A testimony to the tactics of his adversaries? Be still, O My Precious Irony Meter. Let’s let this new blog die a sad, lonely death, OK?

I will say that Davison is certainly the parfait creationist—completely vacuous and so damn righteous in his ignorance.

(via Ooblog)

I recommend this as an entrance exam for the priesthood

Maybe it would have been more sensible to start with the water-and-wine trick, and later work up to the walking-on-water finale.

A priest has died after trying to demonstrate how Jesus walked on water. Evangelist preacher Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation he could repeat the biblical miracle. But he drowned after walking out to sea from a beach in the capital Libreville in Gabon, west Africa. One eyewitness said: “He told churchgoers he’d had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus. “He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat. “He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back.”

Happy 16th Birthday, Skatje

Look whose birthday it is today: Skatje! You can all go wish her a happy day, although we’re not having too much of a celebration, since it is that hectic first week of school for both of us.


Anyway, it is a tradition here that I embarrass the kids on their birthdays with ancient snapshots from their childhood. This one, though…you also get to see her funny looking dad! I may have to re-evaluate this tradition.

I threw a few more current photos below the fold.

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