Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Here is my challenge to you. I have an envelope on top of my T.V. set. Very simply - what's inside? For bonus points, what is written on the envelope?
1. The envelope is 4 1/8" X 9 1/2" or standard letter size.
2. The envelope is not sealed.
3. For my remote viewing friends - let me narrow your search. I'm in Lincoln, NE 68512. I live in a third floor apartment.
4. If you need to know what I look like for some reason, check here.
5. I will be e-mailing the answer to 3 people - Skeptico, The 2% Company, and my webmaster. The time stamp on my e-mail will show that I did not change my answer after the fact.
6. For those who believe my negativity will have an adverse effect on your ability to "see" the object, please be assured I think it highly possible someone will guess correctly.
7. I hereby give everyone w/ paranormal superpowers full access to my thoughts/mind/soul.
8. You can e-mail me at rockstarryan AT rock.com or leave a comment with the answer. Just make sure I have a way of getting back to you if you are right. Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous will, just let me know.
9. If there is anything unfair about this challenge, please e-mail me. All reasonable requests for change due to unfairness will be taken care of.
10. Some people have expressed concern that there is a "trick" item in the envelope. No, the answer is not "nothing" or an intangible noun like "honor" or "hope". The envelope contents would be a standard noun/nouns.
11. This is by no means a replacement for the very serious JREF Million Dollar Challenge. This is not a joke, I just hope the Amazing One is not offended. On a cool note, he did e-mail me back! (I'll never wash my computer again...)
Why should you do this? Well for one, if you can pass my challenge, you have a pretty good shot at passing Randi's challenge for one million dollars. Fair enough?
Here is the answer!
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
People with a Jesus fish on their car can not drive.
My buddy Mike pointed this out to me several years ago.
When we were in college, we made weekly trips to the Super K-Mart for the essential supplies: Beer, cigs, chips and a few personal hygiene items. Mike is the stingiest person I know, and would compare the "price per ounce" to see what box size of Lucky Charms was cheaper. I always asked him why he didn't just get the size he needed. I'll never get Mike, ever...
Anywhoo, one day we pulled up to a stoplight.
Mike: Oh shit dude, a Jesus Fish.
Ryan: Yeah, so what?
Mike: Ryan (imagine someone saying your name, but meaning "Asshole". That's how Mike always says my name) everyone knows that people with Jesus Fish on the back of their cars can't drive. Watch this guy. He's going to do something stupid before the next stoplight.
Sure as Pat Roberts and apologetics, the JF guy swerved between 3 lanes, prompting Mike to scream "GET A LANE, BUTT-BRAIN!" I'll never get Mike, ever...
It was maybe a year later when I tested this hypothesis with some of my friends. Through my own observation, I noticed a correllation between Jesus Fish and bad driving.
Ryan: Uh-oh. Jesus Fish.
Ryan's Friends: So what?
Ryan: This chick is going to do something stupid before the next stoplight.
Sure as Sylvia Browne is a big fat idiot the moron cut directly in front of me, swerved back to the other lane, cut back in front of me, and swerved into that little limbo area in between lanes, where she stayed for the next block or two.
Now, I realize that correllation does not equal causation, but I'd like to know if anyone else has experienced the Jesus Fish effect?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Tell you what. I've had it.
We keep writing in our blogs in the hope that, somehow, reason will come to the people of the world and crap like this will disappear. Yet these con-artists continue to separate the clueless from their money, thereby staying in business. It defys all logic. Aren't we (the Skeptical Blogosphere) the good guys? Not anymore friends. Your Rockstar is going to get us the cut we deserve!!
Here's how: We're going to create our own Woo-machine, make a ton of outrageous claims about it, use real big scientific-sounding words, charge a shitload of money for it, and scoff when the so-called skeptics say it doesn't work. We'll marvel the masses with our appeals to popularity! We'll astonish them with our amazing testimonials!
I suggest we call it the Intelligently Designed Astrological Quantum Homeopathizing Titanium Prayer Wheel. It will create homeopathic remedies, Kabbalah water, and increase your athletic ability. Our Woo Machine will make your sex life better, and cleans the air in your home. It will grant you eternal life and money.
Gather round fellow skeptical bloggers!! Leave your ideas here so we can get to work on the project.
I've decided the company be named Woo Enterprises, Inc. But I'm up for suggestions. Being modeled after the White Mountain organization, Woo Enterprises Inc. still needs the following positions:
*Vice President in Charge of Apologetics
*Vice President of Biased Study
*Chief Appelate to Popularity
*Director of Big Scientific Sounding Words
Let me know what we're forgetting...
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
In a surprisingly un-Christ-like move, Pat has decided that we now need to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. According to the AP:
"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said recently on his T.V show. "We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."
Now Pat gets real fanatical:
"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it," Robertson said. "It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
He thinks we're trying to assassinate him. So we should. Very Christian of you Pat.
Apparently now this is just a big misunderstanding. According to Pat on the 700 Club:
"I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping," Robertson said on his "The 700 Club" television program. "There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted."
So when you said "if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it", you must've forgotten what 'assassinate' means. Let me remind you:
IT MEANS YOU'RE GOING TO FUCKING MURDER SOMEONE!
Any more questions regarding the English language?
*UPDATE 2 - 8/24/05
DIDN'T YOU JUST SAY YOU DIDN'T SUGGEST WE ASSASSINATE CHAVEZ?? Pat, caught in lie #2 is now trying to weasel his way out of trouble. He says:
"Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him."
I guess that makes it all OK now, right? He was speaking in frustration.
I think he was speaking out of his ass. Anyone else?
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Part I, or "David Should Worship the Sun!"
Samara, your (sic) afraid of people being indoctrinated in ID???!!! Hmmmmmm……………..Lets see again. ID has been the predominant public belief of our beginings for 6,000+ years. Nothing has lasted that long.
David: first, you and the rest of your clan only recently decided to call Creationism Intelligent Design. A coy plan to mask your religion in science. Second, are you fucking kidding me??? Creationism has been the public belief for 6,000 years and that proves it's right??
People in the past have worshipped the Sun and believed that blood-letting was a viable cure for disease. Sound silly? It is.
Do me a great favor David. Ask yourself why these ideas are silly. When you have your answer, you will know why we think Intelligent Design is a very Neanderthal system of beliefs.
Part II, or "David Gets all Political and Stuff"
It is now against the law to teach ID in school.
No, it's not. It's rightfully suggested that ID not be taught in science class. Teaching ID in science class would be like Kenneth Lay teaching business ethics.
Evolution is taught to our children in school all throughout thier formidable years and into higher education. But polls show something like 70% of the population believe ID over evolution.
Please show your work. I'd like to see how the questions were asked, and what the sample was. A proper survey would include random sampling, not designated by region. It would have to give at least 3 choices: ID/Creationism, Theistic evolution, or evolution by itself. Most of the people taking the survey probably support theistic evolution, but like my father, don't comprehend the difference between Creationism and Theistic evolution.
Part III or "The Science of ID is that Evolution is Wrong"
There is no evidence of evolution.
I beg to differ shithead.
If you have evidence and want to make a quick $250,000 then go to drdino.com. Dr Kent Hovind will pay anyone with irrefutable evidence of evolution $250k. For over 10 years noone has taken the challenge.
Not correct. Hovind is a moron, and will not accept the evidence at talk.origins. He wants to see a frog give birth to a dog. Read his incredibly dense website, you'll never see a greater collection of apologetics.
Part IV, or "WTF are You Talking About??"
The big bang theory and evolution defy most of the laws of physics, thermodynamics and statistical probablities. But we force our children to learn it and nothing else anyway.
BWAHAHAHAHA! These nonsensical ideas are still around?? First, what the fuck does the big bang theory have to do with biological evolution? Second, I'm sorry my friend, even your cretinous companions have debunked the thermodynamics arguments. See here for proof. Third, the statistical probability thing is yesterday's news too. Use your wee noodle: Because we're here, we should doubt it? If I dealt you a bridge hand, the odds of getting that exact hand would be something like 13 billion to one. Should you not believe you are holding that particular hand due to it's unlikelyhood??
Part V or "Dude, You are Making This Entirely too Easy"
Contrary to all this, I can turn on the television anytime I want and see something about how we ‘evolved’ from apes. Whether it be a passing comment or a 2 hour long documentary. But it is very rare, few and far between that I see anything on ID.
You're making this easy. We didn't 'evolve from apes' you uneducated ass. Seriously, if you're gonna debunk evolution, at least know what you're talking about. We evolved from a common link. And you can turn on one of the religion channels and get all the ID goodness you like. I like the one with the fat ass nun who has big ass jowls. She makes me laugh. However, you'll not see anything on ID on a science channel, because it's not science you twit.
ID people dont try and silence evolutionists, they just want equal time. But evolutionists do everything they can to silence IDer’s. From outlawing them to google bombing them. Why? Because thier afraid of indoctrinating people in ID???!!! LOLOLOL Please.
No. You can think anything you want. If you prefer to go about your merry way thinking that Giant Lizards, Aliens, Invisible Pink Unicorns, or a magical man in the sky created everything one by one and continues to do so, then fine. Keep your faith to yourself. Scientists (that is, people who do science for my ID believing readers) do not want ID taught in science until these questions can be answered before it can be taught as an alternative to evolution:
*Who is this designer? Is it God? Is it aliens? Invisible Pink Bunny Rabbits? (For fun, do as Orac suggests and ask ID proponents if the desinger is God. Normally they will not give an answer, or say that there are no limits. Then ask if it is Pink Invisible Bunny Rabbits or Giant Lizards. L. Ron Hubbard I love Orac sometimes...)
*How do you propose to prove who/what this designer is?
*How did the designer operate?
*What process was used? It is fact evolution occured, but there are many theories as to how.
*You will need to provide new evidence proving speciation and mutation occur independentlyfrom natural selection. We have proof, show our evidence is flawed.
*Why did the designer create flaws in our design?
Part VI or "The End"
Okey dokey Creationheads. Lemme know why I'm wrong now. And please, show your work.
"Faith means believing in something you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Monday, August 15, 2005
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
Truer words have yet to be spoken...aside from "Dude, Natalie Portman is fuckin' hot".
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I've just found through Yahoo News a new study performed by Valerie Clark of Cornell University showing evidence of convergent evolution in Poison Frogs. The study basically shows two separate ecosystems developing the same traits over time on two different continents, South America and Madagascar.
The Boring Part, or "Here Comes the Science":
The frogs can not produce their own poison, so they feed on alkaloid rich ants to secrete the poison from their skin. Clark explains the evolutionary process involved:
First, species of ants high in alkaloids had to evolve on two separate continents. "The ants had to be there with alkaloids for the frogs to evolve to get alkaloids in their skin," Clark told LiveScience. Then the frogs had to develop a resistance to the alkaloids--instead of spitting out the ants or passing the alkaloids through their systems, the frogs became able to keep their ant dinners down. Then they evolved to make use of the alkaloids themselves. Also, both the frogs in South America and Madagascar evolved to have "don't-eat-me" skin colorings, the final step in a remarkable tale of multi-step convergent evolution.
The Fun Part, or "Making Fun of IDiots Again"
Nice design. It doesn't make sense to me why our "designer" decided to make such a simple process so long and drawn out. Why not just make the damn frogs poisonous in the first place? I suppose that God just works in mysterious ways...oh, wait, the IDiots don't call it God anymore.
Any Intelligent Design proponent out there care to answer my question? Why did God, I mean, ID, use such a long process to provide our little Kermits with don't eat me skin? Wouldn't proper design be more like this:
FROG -----> POISONOUS SKIN
And not this:
FROG (----->ABILITY TO CONSUME ALKALOIDS) -----> ANTS (-----> ALKALOID RICH SKIN) ----->TURN ALKALOIDS INTO POISONOUS SECRETIONS IN SKIN
I'm going to help ID supporters right now. Yes, your Rockstar who hates the very notion of Intelligent Design is going to help them. You, ID man, can prove me wrong. Simply explain why ID went through this long drawn out process that simulates everything we know about evolution. Where are the benefits in this design? How did ID do it this way? See, science is easy and fun!! I'm talking to YOU Kent Hovind! For being a "religion masked in science", evolution sure fits pretty well here.
If you are a holder of the faith, please leave a comment. I'd love to see how you explain this one.
Wait, I'm going to use my psychic powers...there we go...
Your argument will consist of no scientific merit, only "ID works in mysterious ways".
Randi, write a fucking check right now!!
JK JR, I love you man!
Monday, August 08, 2005
Take that, morons!
Friday, August 05, 2005
I feel like I jumped into this thing unprepared, and my writing has suffered. Maybe blogging about my motives a la Respectful Insolence will do me some good.
I got into this thing several months ago, as a forum to express myself in all issues skeptical. Influenced by gentlemen such as James Randi, Skeptico, and Bob Carroll of the wonderful Skeptics Dictionary website, I wanted to join in.
Chapter I, or "Mom's Imaginary Friend"
A lifetime skeptic, I recall being just a little boy when my Mom told me that I should love God more than anything, even my family. As this was an insane statement, even to a child of four, I asked Mom if that meant she loved God more than me. Now, my mother is an amazingly intelligent woman (just ask her), but I remember the anguish in her face as her "beliefs" were questioned by a toddler. She knew the answer she was supposed to give, but could not bring herself to tell her little boy that she loved some invisible man living in the sky more than he. Although she has yet to say it, I do not believe my mother has any religious inklings anymore.
I also developed an interest in paranormal activity, such as ghosts, UFO's, the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, etc. This fueled my interest in real science, such as archaeology, the Saragasso, history, and music. I read every book I could on the subjects, but unfortunately there was not a lot of material skeptical of the paranormal. At least none readily accessible to me at the time. Still, it was interesting, though I didn't believe everything.
Growing older, I was forced to attend church. I hated church. It was boring, and everyone there had this attitude of "well, it's Sunday, so we have to be here". I recall not understanding, even thinking it foolish. Was church just some sort of social event, or did these people really believe that a mystical prophet who died 2000 years ago is going to come back to Earth and save us all from...whatever? I was a prick in Sunday school, too. Bible inaccuracies were abound, and I loved to point it out.
Little Ryan: "How did Jesus turn the fish and bread into enough food for 5,000 people?"
Sunday School Lady: "He just did. Jesus performed miracles."
This is how all my questions were answered. Anyway, I was baptized because "that's what you were supposed to do". I do remember a strange "tingling" feeling afterward, which I attributed to religion (ie, God had just washed my sins away). In fact, this feeling was the basis for continuing to believe for many years, though I now attribute it to the excitement of having "grown up". The baptized kids got to sit at the adult tables, join adult Sunday school, take communion, etc. It's like I just got promoted to grownupdom.
Chapter II, or "Pastor Bob: OWNED!"
Eventually, we lost all of our "normal" pastors in favor of a Young Earth Creationist. Boy did we hit it off well. This man had a Phd from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, yet could not properly debate an 8 year old child. Maybe he saw me as a project, because I distinctly remember this conversation:
Little Ryan: So if you accept Jesus, you get to go to heaven no matter what?
Pastor Bob: That's right. He died so your sins are forgiven.
LR: What about murderers?
PB: The Lord will forgive them.
LR: What about Hitler?
PB: (a little slower this time, and I'll put accents to show how strangely this man spoke) If Hiittler renounced eeeevil and accepted Christ into his heart before he died, then yes, the Lord will forgive him.
LR: What about Buddhists? What if they never commit a sin, but don't believe in Jesus? Do they go to Heaven?
PB: That's up to the Lord. (I swear he said this) Maybe the Lord will take all the love and devotion they showed to Buddha and accept them into heaven.
LR: Doesn't God love everyone? Why do good people go to Hell because they never found out about Jesus?
PB: (I know he was quaking here, he started to backtrack) The Lord has a plan. Good people follow the teachings of Jesus, so they will go to heaven.
LR: What about the Buddhists then? (PWNED!!11!!1)
PB: Everyone will have a chance to be introduced to Christ. If they don't take him into their heart, then they are not good people.
LR: What about people who live in deepest darkest Africa?
He went on about how the Lord sends missionaries to them, so they had their chance! He also told me that he does not believe in evolution because there are no "half-cats", and that the world is less that 10,000 years old because Noah's flood made major changes in the face of the earth, and anyway, God made the universe to look old.
I will never forget. This is when I started to question Christianity. I guess in a strange Bizzaro world sort of way, I owe Pastor Bob. Thanks, I guess...
Chapter III, or "The Amazing One"
I stopped attending church (except Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Christmas) at about the age of 10 to the extreme displeasure of my parents. Yes, I would rather stay home and watch WWF All-American Wrestling. Once in a while I was forced to go outside of the holidays because it was "good for me". L. Ron Hubbard, I'm never doing this to my kids...
High school came and went, with me attending church rarely. My interest in paranormal continued, but I started to hear and understand the other side. Then I saw him.
The Amazing Randi.
This guy was awesome! Uri Geller - BAM BITCH! Evangelist healers - BAM BITCHES!
Having been innundated with psychics and their bullshit, he was a breath of fresh air.
John Edward came on. I have to admit, Young Adult Ryan was still suceptible to these people. Being just a kid, even the smartest amongst us can be duped. (Shit, Pastor Bob had a doctoral degree!) But after a while, it seemed like he was just yelling out initials...and not really getting things crystal clear...
During college, the Crazies came out in force. There was this one family of "missionaries" who preached every year at the same place. It was more than ridiculous, it was scary. Their children did not go to the doctor, they received the healing power of prayer, which we know doesn't work. They told us that the girls were prostitutes and the boys were heathens, though by that time we were waaay too smart to buy into their bullshit.
However, even amongst my years at the U, I still held true to the belief of a "blind watchmaker". I considered myself a deist up until a few years ago. Deism basically states that there is an omnipotent force that created the universe, but then it backed away and does not interfere. Fortunately, by reading the sites and bloggers I mentioned above, I learned about Carl Sagan and Occam's Razor. I learned to eliminate some of the steps. For instance, here is deist thought:
1. The universe is here. 2. The universe could not come from nothing. 3. There must be a blind watchmaker that created it.
Now I think like more this:
1. The universe is here. 2. There is no such thing as "nothing", since before time, time did not exist. 3. The universe has always been.
Chapter IV, or Why the Hell do I do This?
After reading that, I hope everyone can understand why I passionately hate all this shit, and my blog is a way to put it all out there. Here's what I'd like to accomplish:
*My goal is to have no more superstition taken as fact. Keep your religion and your paranormal to yourselves until you can prove it.
*Science is not a religion. I do not have "faith" in the laws of physics/nature/mathematics. They have been observed and proven to be true. I only believe things that are proven true by this method.
*I want the USA to jump back into the 21st century and be a leader in science and philosophy, not believing in caveman ritualistic nonsense. Seriously, it is 2005 and people still think an invisible man is responsible for everything we do or say.
*I also want to point out all the absurdities that these silly beliefs set forth. For instance prayer. If God has a grand plan, doesn't it already know what's going to happen? Why should we be so vain as to take the creator of the universe's time to insinuate it should change that plan?
Thanks everyone. I feel better now. I'll be changing the writing style I use a little bit, if nothing more than to show my compatriots I'm not just a smart ass junior skeptic...Ok, I'll always be a junior skeptic, but just because I love that title!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
I do realize that he has no say in what is actually taught in schools, but it does make the leader of the free world look like a complete dumbass. One more time: Religion can not be taught in schools as fact!! It is OK to learn about them, but not through them.
ID needs to answer these questions before it can be taught as an alternative to evolution:
*Who is this designer? Is it God? Is it aliens? Invisible Pink Bunny Rabbits? For fun, do as Orac suggests and ask ID proponents if the desinger is God. Normally they will not give an answer, or say that there are no limits. Then ask if it is Pink Invisible Bunny Rabbits or Giant Lizards. L. Ron Hubbard I love Orac sometimes...
*How do you propose to prove who/what this designer is?
*How did the designer operate?
*What process was used? It is fact evolution occured, but there are many theories as to how.
*You will need to provide new evidence proving speciation and mutation occur independently
from natural selection. We have proof, show our evidence is flawed.
*Why did the designer create flaws in our design?
Start with these, Mr. President. Please provide testable ways to prove your claims as well. Please keep in mind that I stood by your decision to go to war on terror. I support fully your Medicare reform (I'm also going to make a lot of money on it!) and social security privatization. But keep your beliefs in the paranormal and supernatural to yourself, lest we seem like a country of cavemen.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
According to Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Paul Nelson, "There are serious scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory, and people want to know why students aren't learning about them."
This statement is ridiculous. Students are learning to think critically about evolution. That evolution occured is a fact. There are absolutely no scientific "criticsms" that hold water disputing the fact evolution occured, only theological propaganda. However, I do recall learning the different models as to how evolution occured in my freshman biology class at the University of Nebraska. So Doctor Paul's statement is an assinine rejection of the fact evolution occured (not a more than reasonable request to criticize the mechanics of how) and a complete ignorance of even introductory biology texts.
"Those who dare question modern evolutionary theory are often portrayed as creationist simpletons with only tired, religious criticisms to offer," says Lewis Young, conference organizer.
Sounds about right. Bring the science and I'll change my mind. We've been waiting for scientific evidence that shows your "theory". Saying "ID did it" is the same as saying "Goddidit", which proves nothing. Didn't your magical friend create you in His Almighty image? Don't you want to know how goddidit??
"We're going to bury those old stereotypes by showcasing prominent scientists and scholars who find Darwinian evolution unconvincing."
Not bloody likely. But think about this: if I was able to convince a "prominent scientist", by any means necessary be it a bribe or a brain-washing religion, to say that Invisible Pink Unicorns live in my butt, would you believe it? Probably not. Frankly speaking, even if James Randi, Emperor of all Skeptics came out and said that Hobbits live among us, we'd all ask for proof right? WHY DOES THIS NOT APPLY TO ID??? Where do you draw the line as to where unprovable nonsense and ID lie? In this case, I don't care if you have 76 PhDs and a Sword of Smite-All + 16, unless you have the evidence, you can never destroy me!!
Biochemist Dr. Michael Behe will take attendees into the molecular realm and explain how the "irreducible complexity" of many cellular systems poses an obstacle for the power of natural selection to create such systems, Darwin's other major claim.
Two things wrong with the above statement. One, Behe's theroy is not based in science, only philosophy. It has been debunked so many times that only a great fool would take this as proof of a designer. Two, I'm tired of being called a "Darwinist" for not buying into religious nonsense. Don't you assholes think there has been advances in the field in the past 150 years?? Probably not, as the only advance Cretinism and ID have made is taking the word "God" out and replacing it with "designer". (Actually, I'm being unfair. They have also mightily advanced their perceived foolishness with their convoluted nonsense.) Calling a non-ignoramus a "Darwinist" for validating evolution is like calling a NASA rocket scientist a "Goddardist", a physicist an "Archimedian", or Doc Orac a "Hippocratian".
And finally, Dr. John Angus Campbell, a noted rhetorician of science, will explain how Darwinian evolution should be taught in contemporary, pluralistic American society.
What drives me nuts folks is that these "prominent scientists" have less a grasp on scientific method than a lowly, uneducated Rockstar. Bring on the science!