Priorities!

What’s really important to the Christian Coalition?

The Rev. Joel Hunter, of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., said he quit as president-elect of the group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson because he realized he would be unable to broaden the organization’s agenda beyond opposing abortion and same-sex marriage.

He hoped to include issues such as easing poverty and saving the environment.

“These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about,” Hunter said.

Well, I suspect Jesus would have been fanatical about a lot of old rabbinical minutia that we’d find distinctly creepy nowadays, but never mind that—Christianity is clearly the institution to be in if you’re a fussy, petty prude who is most interested in policing what people do in their bedrooms, so Hunter was obviously out of touch with his flock.

Duluth

First, I have to assure you that Duluth is nowhere near Morris. It’s 240 miles away, on the other side of the state. Besides, the guy is from Wisconsin.

Second, to answer the question raised, I don’t think it should be illegal to have sex with a dead animal. It’s sick and disgusting, but no one is being harmed. Just please, I’d rather not spend any time with the pathetic little slug.

Taser tales

This tasering stuff is getting a little out of hand:

ABC News report that Oakland police tasered a man having an epileptic seizure because he became agitated when restrained. They subsequently prosecuted him for assault and disorderly conduct. You couldn’t make it up if you tried.

Oh, I don’t know. I can make up some pretty good ideas if I try. I mean, we had someone tasered for overstaying his welcome at a library, and now someone tasered for having an epileptic fit. What’s next?

Look at Michael J. Fox. The man was out of control, head weaving and wandering, hands moving around, and he was annoying true patriots. He was definitely a candidate for the taser. And just think how entertaining Rush Limbaugh’s imitation would have been!

Another case: Terry Schiavo. Mere police presence would not have silenced her moans and random wiggling, but 50,000 volts? That would have taught her a lesson. As a real bonus for the Republicans, when her muscles all tensed and she arched her back and groaned uncontrollably, they would have been able to say, “See? She does respond to stimuli!”

You want to know what problem really makes people “agitated when restrained,” subject to irrational excesses of exuberance, uncontrollably loud and hyperactive? Youth. If you’ve ever been in a restaurant when little kids are shrieking and running amuck, you know what I mean. One zap, though, and the little bastards will calm right down.

I think there is real potential for civilizing the populace here.

I want a taser of my own.

First thing I’m going to go looking for: a cop with the hiccups.

Chopra gets brainy

Stop him before he assaults his readers’ minds again: Chopra babbles about consciousness and the brain. Supposedly, this is a response to something in The God Delusion, but Dawkins really doesn’t discuss mechanisms of consciousness much at all (the book is a little bit excessively broad as it is, so I’m relieved he didn’t try to throw that bit of the kitchen sink in there). The most appropriate section I could find in the book was this one:

Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain. An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles— except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don’t yet understand. If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural. As ever when we unweave a rainbow, it will not become less wonderful.

So Dawkins’ position is that thoughts emerge from complex interconnections in the brain—I’d agree with that. What is Chopra’s interpretation of Dawkins’ words?

[Read more…]

A defense of PowerPoint

OK, if you’re familiar with the usual PowerPoint bashing, you might be entertained by this explanation of why PowerPoint is not Satan’s pull toy. I can distill it down a bit:

  • Have something interesting to say
  • Design a talk, don’t just string slides together
  • Keep the slides simple, clean, and consistent

Basic common sense, I think—PP is just a tool that is very easily abused. There are also many more specific detailed suggestions at that link, though, so don’t just go by my suggestions.

What evil lurks near you?

Brock at Stupid Evil Bastard finds a fascinating map of US hate groups at the Southern Poverty Law Center. If you’re wondering what nastiness can be found in your neighborhood, it’s a handy reference. Minnesota has more Neo-Nazis and Christian Identity groups than I like to see, but you’ll have to look at the maps of California and Texas to see more scary stuff than this.

i-6ff5c499132fc9b07d6c16a59ba7c500-mn_hate.gif

This is a slightly weird map—the Christian Identity group that looks like it is close to Morris is actually in Burnsville, south of Minneapolis, and should be way over to the east, near the cluster of swastikas. More accurate information can be found in the text accompanying the maps at the SPLC.