Thought of the day

Anyone who says science takes the beauty out of life has never heard a microbiology professor proclaim how gorgeous a colony of bacteria was.

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More demanded respect

The separation between church and state – a fundamental concept to the secular nation of the United States – goes quite far. One way it is commonly applied is in exceptions to the law. Many times they are fair exceptions. But other times religions just think they should be allowed to do as they damn well please:

The Supreme Court will decide whether a teacher at a church-run school is a religious or secular worker when it comes to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The high court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School of Redford, Mich.

Cheryl Perich, a teacher and commissioned minister, got sick in 2004 but tried to return to work from disability leave despite being diagnosed with narcolepsy. She taught third and fourth graders

The school said she couldn’t return because they had hired a substitute for that year. They fired her after she showed up anyway and threatened to sue to get her job back.

Here we have yet another example of unearned and undeserved respect being demanded by a religious group. Perich was a teacher, not a priest or Rabbi or any other sort of religious leader. Her job was secular and she functioned within it in a purely secular way. To act as though she loses her rights because religion is involved is absurd.

We can be sure Scalia and Thomas will be ready to side with the religious group, ignoring everything to do with the law as usual, but I don’t see how the school as a leg to stand on.

Causes

I was reading The A-Unicornist’s blog by that swell chap otherwise known as Mike when I just had to stop. Mike had earlier pointed out to me some silly comment from the king of silly comments, Jack. But as hilarious as that comment was, Jack topped himself:

Actually, [William] Craig speaks primarily from a position of reason and logic; he doesn’t simply assert God, he considers certain premises that are logically valid – that causes are necessary for things to begin to exist

This is a common error that Christians make. The idea that we can apply the idea of cause and effect to the time prior to the Big Bang makes no sense. Cause is another way of describing force. Forces are products of the Universe that we know, of the Universe that we can understand. The whole reason why we say every force has an equal and opposite force is because we can deduce as much within our framework of laws. Once we go beyond that framework (that is, beyond the Universe), all the laws we know go out the window. We absolutely cannot say the Big Bang was caused by something on the basis of our knowledge of cause and effect – we are throwing out that very basis the moment we begin to talk about anything ‘prior’ to time.

Some people just aren’t smart enough for this stuff. Mike, fortunately, is. To put what I just said in his words:

Even if the universe had a beginning, Craig has no basis for assuming that a physical process such as causality exists outside of the universe – just because things within the observable universe require a cause does not mean the universe itself does.

Even if I’m wrong and all our laws remain intact ‘prior’ to the Big Bang, there still is no valid scientific basis for asserting so. Try again, theists.

Thought of the day

This has no relation to anything personal nor is it some sort of message to one of the various groups of people I find annoying. I just like the song.

Marty Soule is a good person

It always makes me feel good when I see people promoting smart ideas:

The March 13 letter to the editor warning about not supporting Planned Parenthood because it offers the Gardasil vaccine would have wide-reaching effects if the warning were followed.

One would need to avoid all pediatric and family medicine practices; all physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses; the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The reason that health-care providers support the use of Gardasil and other vaccines is that they help to protect our children from terrible diseases. Immunizations given early in life allow our immune system to prepare so that it can protect us from disease later in life.

Gardasil helps to prevent cervical cancer. A friend of mine died of cervical cancer several years ago. I want to do what I can to protect others from that same fate.

Marty Soule

Readfield

Well done, Marty.

Double standards

This video is both awesome and sad at the same time.

When I decided to be straight

I think it was around 2000. I was 15 and in my freshmen year of high school. Adolescent hormones raged inside me. Everything in life was so busy, so much more complicated. I had all these new feelings inside me. Which sexual orientation was I to choose?

I created an excel flow chart that I worked on weekend after weekend. If I was going to figure out what I liked, I was going to need to make a rational decision with some hard data. I listed all the attributes I liked in guys in one area of the chart and all the attributes of girls I liked in another area. It was going to be a tough competition.

I took my sheets and translated them into tables and graphs. As I looked at the boys, I noticed several things I liked: We all seemed to like being assholes to each other, only guys seemed to want to go to the arcade, and we all had the same juvenile sense of humor. “What’s that, Billy? An armpit fart? Ho-ho, har-har! Well done, my friend! Well done! You are certainly in the running!”

I took a look at the tables and graphs for the girls. It looked like they had these magical things called “boobies”.

Then, to play it safe and sure, I rechecked the data, specifically looking at the graphs. Here’s what I got for the boys:

And for the girls:

There the science was right in front of me. I clearly had far more hard data in favor of the girls than the boys. I even compared my data set to those of my friends. Some had the same numbers. Others had more mixed information. Still others had just the inverse. I even found out girls had these things called “minds”. My choice was clear.

So when did you decide to be gay or straight? What sort of scientifically accurate charts did you make?