Religions would squirm

Recent evidence suggests Europa has enough oxygen for life.

The global ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated.

The research says various openings in the top of Europa’s massive oceans could provide a pathway for oxidizers to deliver an oxygen content which could quickly exceed that of Earth’s oceans.

All this makes me wonder. What would the religions of the world do? What would they do if life was found elsewhere? I know many would adapt their teachings pretty quickly; they would ignore that a central part of their beliefs is that humans are special (the arrogance!). It may take a period of adjustment, but none of them would let go of what they’ve always believed. They’d just pretend like their holy book was ballparking its claims and move on (just like they do when they claim “days” really means “millions of years”). But what about the other guys? The creationists and likewise country bumpkins? While they tend to be some of the most dishonest people around, I do think they would maintain their point of view. Whereas most of religion would shift uncomfortably for a period, the more literal-minded mooks would squirm. They’d deny facts, twist evidence, make false associations and accusations. I guess I’m basically saying they’d continue exactly what they do now.

Hubble

More Hubble.

The Star Pillars of Sharpless 171

The Star Pillars of Sharpless 171

Sometimes they get it right

While many people obviously put little thought into their letters to the editor, that isn’t true of everyone. Here is one example.

Today, I read a front-page article called “Changing the Law” and I decided to take a stand in Question 1 debate.

Your article noted two important factors in the debate, and I have a comment about each.

To Mainers I ask: Why do we allow tax-exempt status to an organization that collects political contributions alongside donations to the ministry? It sounds to me that the Catholic Church has abused its influence and blurred the line between worship and activism. I also ask the church, why do you ignore your members who share a different view, who accept homosexual marriage as a civil right, separate from faith?

A second factor is the influence of out-of-state groups. Why don’t we agree to keep the debate local? We don’t want transplant volunteers from Massachusetts or New Hampshire just like we don’t want copy-cat advertisements from California scare groups.

When we vote on Nov. 3, let’s remember what makes us Mainers: We respect everyone in our community; we do things our own way; we value reason over rancor; and we don’t vote on other peoples’ rights.

This November, please vote “no” on Question 1.

Padric Gleason

Dresden

I recently wrote about the Catholic Church abusing its tax-exempt status. Religions shouldn’t be exempt from taxation in the first place, but since they are, they should at least obey the law. Padric Gleason understands that; his comments deserve respect.

More letters to the editor

Do people put thought into what they write before sending their letters off to the editor?

I was reading Vivian Ellis’ letter (Oct. 11) regarding Judge Nancy Mills conduct in regards to the Leo Hylton trial for the house break-in and assault on the Guerrette family: “…He should be comfortable with his legal defense.”

Yeah, right! This travesty of justice is an old story with Judge Mills. Her typical sentencing is of the “20 years, all but 2 suspended…” variety.

How do we get rid of these liberal judges and replace them with judges with some spine? I do not know the answer, perhaps someone can shed some light on this subject. This business of letting murderers go free after 15 or 20 years is another example of the failure of our judicial system. The bleeding heart reply to stiffer sentences is, “the jails and prisons are overcrowded.”

Build more and bigger jails, get rid of the cable TVs, commissary, freebie this and freebie that, etc. In my opinion, jails and prisons should not have the “country club” status they have now. That’s a big part of the problem. Check out Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. Here’s a guy that’s tuned into reality!

Convicted murderers and sex offenders: Issue brown uniforms, glue antlers on their heads and turn them loose into the woods next month! Those that make it get to serve out their sentence.

Finally, what ever happened to the concept of a speedy trial? Lawyer shenanigans can result in a wait of two years, maybe more, for a case to come to trial.

Robert Schena

Whitefield

I almost wrote about the referenced letter last week. I decided against it because I told myself most people don’t buy into such inanity. I guess I was wrong.

Quick summary: Guy machete’s a family (which survives). He gets a lawyer. Recently, he asked for a different one and his request was granted. Some mook writes that this is absurd. Now we get the above letter.

Why don’t people understand that bar a few requirements, defendants have a choice in counsel? That anyone would think this absurd is tantamount to saying the Constitution is absurd. But my favorite part of this letter is the reference to a speedy trial. This concept specifically relates to the defendant. What Robert Schena suggests is that the state has a right to a speedy trial. At the very least his criticism should be that it is the fault of the state for allowing the defendant a new lawyer. This doesn’t mean the defendant should be denied his rights because the state is slow to act. To think otherwise is clearly illogical. Of course, this is all moot because Schena hides in language by referring to “lawyer shenanigans”, not any specific event. And if he is referencing this supposed “shenanigan”, then he is wrong. It doesn’t take years.

It’s utterly clear that these people who whine about this sort of thing are just emotional infants who have no concept of individual rights. ‘What? The bad guy wants something? Noooo! Waaaahhh!” Grow up, Schena.

New Central Maine Publication

By Staff

Welcome.

Without Apology is a free monthly publication devoted to spreading good ideas throughout the central Maine region.

No idea is so sacred as to deserve unquestioned deference. Indeed, many ideas are just bad. All ideas should be open to criticism.

In this vain, Without Apology is an open-forum, editorial-style format. There is no one agenda for this publication except insofar as a presentation of good ideas is an agenda. And with this non-agenda agenda comes a storm against bad ideas. These are given too much respect all too often.

But there should be no misunderstanding. Without Apology is not out to be disrespectful for the sake of doing so. Sometimes ideas do deserve respect, even if they are pointed in the wrong direction.

But this does not mean all ideas. Do you believe Earth is 6,000 years old? If so, you have utterly silly, inane beliefs which ignore all evidence and deserve nothing but scorn, ridicule, and dismissal. Do you believe it is okay to deny your fellow citizen rights? If so, you’re a bigot, and no one respects a bigot. Do you believe you should treat people like dirt simply because you can? If so, you should be forced to face all the criticism that comes to such demeanors.

Without Apology has no fear in taking a strong tone. It has no fear in telling people when they have bad ideas. It isn’t out to dump all over everyone; It will offer praise when praise is due. But it is not here to coddle. It is not the mainstream media.

So please explore what Without Apology has to offer. Let us know what you think.

Trivial Theology

By Michael Hawkins

It goes without notice when a theologian is asked to appear on television or in print concerning a recent disaster or a current social issue. Media and society turn to these people for answers. Has anyone bothered to ask why?

Theology really has nothing worthwhile to offer. It is a bankrupt field that says nothing true of the real world which is not trifling. Indeed, it is hardly a field at all. If not for prestige by longevity, it could very well be dismissed as little more than literary criticism with a very narrow focus.

What can theologians resolve for the world? Can they offer society any practical information which cannot be discovered otherwise? Beyond this, can theologians even resolve internal issues?

The answer is nothing, no, and no. There is no method by which theology self-corrects. It is a field which is explicitly at the mercy of subjective interpretation which, unsurprisingly, moves with the times (even if it often lags a bit). Should a person ask, “Is the story of Noah’s Ark true?”, theologians have no way to answer that. They must turn to some external source to discover the answer. (It’s “No, because it’s utterly silly to believe in such a fairy tale”, by the way.)

Theology, in fact, is not a way of knowing. It gets touted as such, of course, but no evidence is ever presented to support such a claim. How could there be evidence? Claiming a single book has self-contained answers excludes all drive for verification; it teaches there be no hunger to know beyond its bounds. More importantly, it is an audacious claim on the level of saying The Lord of the Rings must be true, so it needs no outside verification.

All theologians have achieved is a meaningless distinction in society based upon a non-field. They can tell us nothing which is not trivial – and when they try, there’s no way to verify the truth to their claims. They are those among us who happen to use their literacy in devotion to a narrow topic that cannot be resolved through any frivolous knowledge they may have.

Maine Family Policy Council and Evil

This article experienced a printing error which caused several paragraphs to not be printed. A correctional insert should come with all physical copies of the paper. The full version appears here.

By Michael Hawkins

It takes some lingual force to make one’s point crystal clear.

So it is with the point of this article that it begins with succinct force: the Maine Family Policy Council is filled with slime balls.

A quick perusal of their website (http://www.mainefamilypolicycouncil.com/) reveals a slew of articles attempting to disparage every homosexual not only as sexually deviant, but as wholly awful people with evil agendas. They excitedly report on a speaker (that they hired) who is going to speak in Maine next month and “show the horrifying truth about the radical homosexual agenda”. In other articles, they repeatedly disparage same-sex marriage proponents as being deceptive because money from groups outside Maine is being used to support their position. This ignores the fact that 1) both sides are getting outside help and 2) outside help does not make a group deceptive. But who expects logic from this crowd?

But the worst thing of all is the attempt to link murder (or manslaughter, as the case may be) to homosexuality. The MFPC apparently has no moral or logical qualm with trying to link the death of Fred Wilson by a gay man with homosexuality in general.

“One plausible scenario is that the sadomasochistic activity on the night of the killing became more and more depraved until LaValle Davidson [the accused killer] inflicted the greatest possible harm on his victim, that is, death. If the details of the crime come out at trial, the public will see a part of the homosexual lifestyle that is very different from the positive image the gay rights movement is trying to project.”

How many people are aware of this offensive rubbish? The Kennebec Journal and other major outlets in the state often allow representatives from the MFPC have a voice. Do they recognize the utter inanity these people believe?

In another article, the MFPC tries to connect Senator Larry Bliss of South Portland to the killing. In their wondrous display of utter slime ball-ness, they note that one group supporting same-sex marriage in Maine is based in Southern California. They then point out that Bliss was raised in the same general area. Finally, they think they’ve really nailed down the coffin by observing that Wilson and Davidson are also from Southern California AND that Bliss lived half a mile from Wilson in South Portland.

This is utterly loony.

The website calls this connection a “mysterious one”. Without Apology calls it inane, illogical, dubious, stupid, dishonest, a hallmark of being crackpots, obvious defamation of character, and above all horribly immoral. At no point should people who peddle this sort of, to be frank, complete crap be given any sort of respect or special outlet through the dominant media.

The Maine Family Policy Council has fallen far, far into sin. It is a disreputable organization that no serious thinking person can take seriously. It offends not only common sense, but common decency as well. It is a source of evil for which there is little immediate remedy. The best chance for Maine to show that it shuns such embarrassment in the short run is to vote “No” on Question 1 come November.