No two galaxies are alike

NASA has recently taken an image of a galaxy which is suppose to resemble a snowflake. I guess I can see it, but it’s hard not to just think “Oo, a spiral galaxy” instead.

Thought of the day

The whole Jew zombie, Jesus thing is predicated on sin which was caused by Adam and Eve. This presents a massive problem for those reasonable enough to know that neither Adam nor Eve ever existed but who are just irrational enough to still believe a zombie/god/man died because of the actions of Adam and Eve.

More religious killing in Nigeria

If religion could fuel our vehicles and homes, we’d never have an energy crisis.

Sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims in central Nigeria left 326 people dead last week, a state police commissioner said Monday, pledging to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.

There are conflicting accounts about what unleashed the recent bloodshed. According to a state police commissioner, skirmishes began after Muslim youths set a Christian church ablaze, but Muslim leaders denied that. Muslims say it began with an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home in a predominantly Christian neighborhood that had been destroyed in November 2008.

There is disagreement on the minutiae of the violence, but there is clear agreement that religion is the root of it all.

Tackling faux medicine

A UK group known as 10.23 is planning a protest where 300+ people will ingest full bottles of pills and other large quantities of homeopathic ‘medicine’.

Martin Robbins, a spokesman for the society, said: ‘The remedies themselves may not be directly harmful, but there is a real danger in misleading customers into thinking that homeopathy is somehow equivalent to real medicine.

‘Patients may believe that they are treating themselves or their children adequately, and delay seeking appropriate treatment; or they may receive dangerous advice after consulting with homeopaths rather than their GPs.’

He added: ‘The ‘overdose’ is a dramatic way of demonstrating to the public that these remedies have literally nothing in them. If eating an entire box of homeopathic sleeping pills fails to send one person to sleep, then how on Earth can their sale be justified?’

This comes after a homeopathic quack leader told the British government that there is no evidence that these ‘medicines’ do anything whatsoever. He has since defended, at the least, his right to sell the crap. But such a right only exists when there is no other risk to public safety. Homeopathic medicines do provide that risk and should thus be banned all together.

Now such a demonstration needs to take place in the U.S.


In my recent post where I show how Suzanne Franks wants to find sexism where it doesn’t exist, I skipped one important point because I didn’t want to derail the specific topic at hand. The truth is that my concern over her post stems in part from a disdain for active obesity. But that term needs explaining because it just begs to be misinterpreted.

By “active” I mean obesity which is still receiving contributions, if you will. People who are obese and do nothing about it are immoral. Here’s the way I get to that conclusion.

If it is agreed that one ought to treat humans with respect and a certain level of care, then that principle should be extended to one’s self (henceforth referred to as “the self”). No convincing reason exists for why the self should be excluded from generalizations of how one ought to treat humans. Afterall, a human is a human is a human.

This then means that if overeating can be considered a mistreatment of a human being (and I think it can), active obesity is thus immoral. But just to be sure there are no misunderstandings, this is not to say that merely being overweight or obese is inherently immoral. Plenty of such unhealthy people do things to improve their health. No one expects them to be perfect at it; it’s a struggle. But the fact that they have put forth a reasonable effort brings them into morality.

Now, there are a huge number of caveats to this and I won’t be able to address them all. Are obese kids immoral? On the whole, no, because blame can generally be placed upon the parents (not to mention the inherent short-sightedness of being a child). Those with disorders or disabilities? Presuming a reasonable effort is being put forth (which may be well less than what an average person can do), then of course not. Should one expect a perfect exercise and diet regiment in order to call a person moral? Here I would appeal to a utilitarian perspective where it is necessary to maximize pleasure. Whereas overeating inherently undermines pleasure for most (because it increases the likelihood of death, not to mention all the other displeasing things that come with obesity), living an anal retentive life of absolute health will probably also not make one very happy. I don’t think an exact point of balance can be drawn for anyone, but it is possible to find a reasonable balance of a healthy lifestyle and still having fun. And the caveats go on and on.

So when I see that picture on CNN (see my post on Franks), I see a somewhat justified objectification. Active obesity is a bad thing and should not be respected. Now, there’s no way to know if the obese people in the image are trying to correct their behavior or not (hence the phrase “somewhat justified”), but it is obvious that most overweight and obese people do not put forth an honest effort. (In fact, even thin people don’t put forth much of an effort.) We should roundly denounce that and actively tell them to take care of their bodies. And, again because misinterpretation is begging to happen here, that doesn’t mean we ought to mock and belittle the overweight and obese. Personally, I favor doing what I can to help. In my own life, I will often discourage others from eating crappy food (provided they do it as a routine, not a rare treat). I don’t go too far, however, because I am careful not to tread on their personal choices. Unlike the bigots who have so often made marriage a privilege for heterosexuals, I do not believe my ideas of morality should be imposed upon others.

Finally on an aside, all this philosophy originally comes from a consideration of why suicide might be wrong. I always had a fascination with the laws many places have which make suicide illegal, so that naturally raised the question of why it ought to be illegal. Ultimately, I concluded it was equivalent to homicide based upon the principle embodied in “a human is a human is a human”.