filkertom: (Default)
Says he wasn't attacking religion, but scientific illiteracy. Yep.
filkertom: (science)
You know, the one from yesterday.

Whether you personally believe in it or not, evolution is a fact.

Biological species evolve. Period. The evidence of that is vast and conclusive.

There are two misnomers which, I think, pollute the whole debate.

First, it's always referred to as "the theory of evolution", implying somehow that it's not settled. The proper term is Darwin's theory of natural selection, which is the leading explanation of the primary mechanism of evolution. I happen to think that natural selection is that mechanism, again based on a huge amount of well-tested evidence.

Second, the difference between the actual definition of "theory" and the common interpretation of what that word means. The key is the word "hypothesis", which means "a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. For a hypothesis to be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it."

In other words, a hypothesis is speculation. A scientific hypothesis is speculation which comes with a clear notion of how it can be proven or disproven through experimentation. A theory, which in modern science refers to scientific theories, is the final result of that experimentation.

As demonstrated through the testimony of the Scopes trial (and dramatized in Inherit the Wind), there really isn't very much in the theory of natural selection that's incompatible with the Christian Creation myth. Science, by necessity, deals with the mechanics of things, and natural selection is clearly the mechanic by which species evolve.

The fear that Bill Nye has, one that I share, is that the education of the next several generations of American students may be based upon beliefs, rather than upon science and the scientific method. To eschew long-verified facts, indeed the very concept of verifying facts, is to literally deny reality. And there's a big problem with reality: It doesn't have a political or religious agenda. It does what it does.

Being unprepared for reality because you believe it doesn't conform to your philosophy is dangerous madness.
filkertom: (enoughalready)
Possibly eight -- the police say the suspect was "put down", and he was for sure shot. Utterly horrible, and condolences to the friends and families of the victims.

I was going to jump off on some rant or other, but, fortunately, the comments at Yahoo News kept me from working too hard at it.

Naturally, they start off with some equating of Sikhs with Muslims (Sikhism and Islam are nothing alike), and then there's "they might as well have shot Christians", because of course Christians are so much better than mere Muslims, and some stuff about If Only The People In The Peaceful Temple Had Had Guns Because You Never Know Etc., which I'm getting damn sick of because it's straight-up blaming the victim for not being macho enough, and and and.

At least a substantial number of the comments were of the "What's up with all these crazy people? Why does this happen?" variety.

Because maybe, just maybe, eventually enough of them will put fucking one and one together, and we might get a combination of sensible gun laws and affordable mental health treatment that might curtail some of this shit.

But, right now, for all the people who can't figure out whether the victims "deserved" to be shot because they were Sikhs, not Muslims... for all the people who can't figure out that Sikhs are in fact not Muslims... for all the people who want goddamn guns in churches and temples....

How about: They were people, just like other people, and how about we all try not shooting other people?

ETA: More in-depth coverage from a Milwaukee local at dKos, and a justifiable rant by Cartoon Peril.

ETA2: ... and an enlightening essay on crime rates vs. perceptions of our safety at Political Animal.
filkertom: (ThumbsUp)
I'm a huge fan of Rachel Maddow. I'm (still) a huge fan of Keith Olbermann. But someone else of whom I am a fan hasn't got enough love on this LJ, and that's Lawrence O'Donnell. Eloquent, heartfelt, a little bit vicious. Perhaps not quite as erudite as Keith, nor as personable as Rachel (how does she remain so calm and friendly in the face of some of the bullshit she gets?), O'Donnell is every bit as competent and passionate about the news and how it affects us all.

Click here for O'Donnell's amazing takedown of Mitt Rmoney's claptrap on civil rights. It's about eight-and-a-half minutes, and very much worth your time.

ETA: For those who want a transcript -- if you mouse-over the bottom of the video, you'll see "transcript". Click that, and it'll pop up to the left of the vid.
filkertom: (kermitflail)
From [profile] egoldberg:
Hi everyone --

For the past 4 years, producer Kristoph Klover has been dedicating sweat, passion and countless hundreds of hours of late-night studio time on a quest to deliver Leslie Fish's most evocative and crafted recording yet, capturing Leslie's personality and her guitar wizardry at its best.

Titled Avalon is Risen, this project features newly crafted recordings of Leslie's best-known and most powerful Pagan and bardic songs. Songs that are thoroughly enjoyable by Pagans and non-Pagans alike.

And I'm thrilled to announce that it's finally at the duplicators, and ready for your pre-order!

By pre-ordering, you'll be first in line to receive the first CDs on June 15th. And thanks to the Internet, you'll also receive a full MP3 album download instantaneously.

Honoring the bardic tradition of these songs, we commissioned Celtic illustrator Bradley Schenck to create a 32-page, fully-illustrated color lyric booklet that's as beautifully crafted as the CD, designed in the tradition of finely ornamented Celtic books. (And did we mention an introduction by author Diana Paxson herself?! ;-)

As an extra bonus, your pre-order entitles you a 25% limited-time discount off any of CDs or digital downloads of our other albums (featuring Julia Ecklar and friends) -- and our gratitude for your support in making this independent music possible.


If you'd like to receive the the special 25% discount pricing on our other CDs, please make pre-order from this page:

You can preview the entire Avalon is Risen album (and download 3 full MP3s at no charge):

(If you prefer to pay check, please mail $18.75 (including domestic U.S. shipping) with your mailing address to: Eli Goldberg, 4337 15th Ave NE #412, Seattle WA. Add $11.97 for any additional CDs.)


P.S. Please feel free to share this announcement with your local filk lists, friends, and anyone else who you think may be interested in this album!
filkertom: (enoughalready)
Some people are just twisted:
Sean Harris, the Senior Pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, has some words of advice for parents of possibly LGBT children: Smack them around. Beat the gay out of them. Or, in his precise words, "Give [him] a good punch!"
I followed the link in the dKos story, and listened to the audio of this yokel, this hayseed, this fucking jerk, specifically say that not only should you smack around your kids if they don't conform to your vision of what a boy or a girl should be like, he gives you "special dispensation" to do so. I'm pretty damn certain Child Protective Services and the Police Department would be quite interested in his legal authority to do so.

He would, of course, claim some sort of "moral" authority.

Except nobody -- nobody -- has the "moral authority" to punch a child. Let alone the "moral authority" to authorize others to do it.

This guy is scum.

ETA: There's a new link at the dKos story. Pastor Sean has responded, saying -- can you guess? -- he was "taken out of context" and everyone is "misquoting" him. He goes on to say that he and his followers must be "tolerably intolerant" of the LBGT community, and then details what I presume is the Acceptable Level of Disciplining Children:
... At times this may include appropriate and reasonable physical means (Prov. 10:13) employed upon the fleshy portion of the child's buttocks (Prov. 22:15; 23:13); that this method is to be viewed as correction rather than punishment (Prov. 23:13); and that this correction will result in the child's physical and spiritual betterment (Prov. 23:14). We believe a parent should correct his child with other means as well, but that they should-as led by the Holy Spirit-model the chastening of God the Father (Prov. 3:11-12) Who corrects all of His children out of love (2 Sam 7:14; Prov. 3:12; Heb 12:6; Rev 3:19) and forgives them by virtue of His Son's redemptive work on the cross (1 Pet. 3:18). The Father does this to develop His child's reverence for Himself (Heb. 12:9) and likeness to His Son Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29; Heb 12:11)....
Don't you just love that phrasing? "Employed upon the fleshy portion of the child's buttocks". I'm goin' to Hell just for reading that.

I don't even want to get into the Scripture quoted here. Suffice it to say, I won't be attending Pastor Sean's church anytime in the remaining lifespan of this universe, and I really think someone from CPS should check him out.


Mar. 15th, 2012 11:19 am
filkertom: (boomdeyada)
Love Thy Neighbor.

I love all you guys. Hope your day is going well...?
filkertom: (jawdrop)
A Green Bay, WI Catholic food pantry will not accept donations of food from Planned Parenthood.

They hate contraception, hate abortions, hate Planned Parenthood, hate sex, hate women, hate poor people so much that they turn away a donation of food for the poor because it's coming from PP. They actually invoke the sacredness and dignity of life while doing so.

I simply cannot fathom this.

Guys, is this truly what your God is about?

(By way of dKos.)

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