Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This blog has moved

In my never-ending quest to provide world-class blogging to my millions of imaginary fans (and the handful of real ones) I've decided to move over to Wordpress. Since I'm in a low post-density mode anyway due to being on vacation I decided I might as well make the move now.

This blog's new address will be http://quarkscrew.wordpress.com at least for now. I'm giving serious consideration to going self-hosted with a proper domain, though; anybody out there made that leap and have advice/warnings/comments?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Taking off

Well, I'm off on me vacation for the next three weeks, so posting will be spotty at best. Here's a barn-burner from Pat Condell to keep you going - unusually good even for him!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, "There's a Chaplain who never visited the front."

Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Quote Of The Day

What...can we surmise about the likelihood of someone's being caring and generous, loving and helpful, just from knowing that they are a believer? Virtually nothing, say psychologists, sociologists, and others who have studied that question for decades.

Alfie Kohn, in "Psychology Today"

Monday, January 14, 2008

Quote Of The Day

Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Quote Of The Day

The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance... logic can be happily tossed out the window.

Stephen King

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Quote Of The Day

To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy.

David Brooks

Friday Frog

Okay, so it's Saturday, sue me - life gets busy sometimes. To make up for it, here's an extra cool frog for you, so cool it's named after Charles Darwin!

Rhinoderma darwinii, or Darwin's frog, lives mostly in the beech-tree forests and swamps of central to southern Chile and western Argentina. What makes them particularly fascinating is that when the eggs are ready to hatch into tadpoles Daddy scoops them up in his mouth and keeps them in his vocal pouch - what the heck, he's done serenading Mommy anyway - and keeps them there for a couple more months, feeding them in there on secretions analogous to milk, until they are fully developed into froglets.

Who says guys can't be nurturing, eh? :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Quote Of The Day

The habit of religion is oppressive, an easy way out of thought.

Peter Ustinov

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quote Of The Day

In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination.

Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Quote Of The Day

I believe in the religion of reason the gospel of this world; in the development of the mind, in the accumulation of intellectual wealth, to the end that man may free himself from superstitious fear, to the end that he may take advantage of the forces of nature to feed and clothe the world.

Robert G. Ingersoll

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Quote Of The Day

To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell

Marquis de Sade

Monday, January 7, 2008

Quote Of The Day

If people had to choose between a god and an afterlife, most people would choose the afterlife and forget about God. They only choose god belief because it’s the only way they know of to fulfill their desire for an afterlife.

Edward Tabash

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Quote Of The Day

You can't be a rational person six days a week and on one day of the week go to a building and think you're drinking the blood of a two thousand year old space god.

Bill Mahr

Saturday, January 5, 2008

But it's WRITTEN!

If you accept the Bible's chronology the Flood happened between 2500 and 2300 BC.

The Egyptians, a civilization which features prominently in the Bible and were certainly local enough that a flood which covered Mount Ararat would have covered them even if it weren't truly a worldwide flood, have continuous written records stretching back to 2925 BC.

Those records include extensively detailed tax rolls, listing things like harvest amounts, populations of villages, trade agreements with neighboring states and so on. What they don't include is a description of the year the entire kingdom was under water. They contain no mention of any flooding even remotely of that magnitude, only of normal, localized floods along the Nile.

The Sumerians and the proto-Elamites, similarly, have written records covering the entire period. Those of the Sumerians are similarly detailed concerning harvests and so forth, and again make no mention of any such deluge affecting them. We can't read those of the proto-Elamites, sadly, but they can be dated and they also show no indication of any universal calamity in the timeframe of the supposed flood.

Since there is no physical evidence whatsoever of such a remarkable flooding, and at least two major local civilizations failed to record it, the simplest explanation is that it never occurred.

Incidentally, the records of the Egyptians also make no note of the series of plagues which the God of the Hebrews supposedly visited upon them in the following book of the Bible - not even the deaths of the firstborn, which would have affected any number of inheritances, including that of the Pharoah's throne. Similarly, in the New Testament the Slaughter of the Innocents left no traces in the records of King Herod's tax collectors, and went unrecorded by any of the neighboring literate states, even the notably bureaucratic Romans.

This to say the least should cast doubt upon the historical reliability of the ancient Hebrew scribes.

Quote Of The Day

Humanity's first sin was faith. The first virtue was doubt.

Mike Huben

Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday Frog

G'day mate! This Corroboree Frog, Pseudophryne corroboree, is a beautiful frog from the mountains of New South Wales, Australia. This one is probably from the Snowy Mountains, where the species tends to show the brightest yellow stripes; the ones from the Brindabella and Fiery ranges tend toward a lighter greenish yellow. They live in sphagnum bogs and grow to be about 25 millimeters in length.

Quote Of The Day

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.

Seneca the Younger (4? B.C. - 65 A.D.)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

61% of Americans believe in evolution?

That's the word I read in a poll. I'll probably post further, but it's late and I'm just going to post the putative fact itself for now. Suffice to say that I've long suspected that the numbers normally reported in the US are due more to social pressures than genuine belief (but I'm an optimist).

Quote Of The Day

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Quote Of The Day

"There is no ox so dumb as the orthodox."

George Francis Gillette.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Thanks for the grin, CaSiO!

I just noticed that the date display on my digital watch is showing a flashing "1-1! " - with the exclamation point and all. I love it!

I can just picture the chip designer chortling away as he put that circuit path in...

Happy 2008, everyone!

It's just an arbitrary day on the calendar, of course, but those are the best days to be happy on. I raise my glass to you all. Slainte!