Monday, March 12, 2012

Plans and a Comic

Well, my blog's been in limbo for a long time. I'm once again thinking about attempting a revival, though I'll probably set a more modest goal and work up from there: One post a week, but it won't be here. It'll be a WordPress blog, and the URL will probably be more accurate (Edit: It's ), rather than this old holdover from Ryan's days. I'll be doing some rewrites of Doggerel, applying what I've learned over my time as a blogger and commentator. I'll probably recruit my brother to handle the coding and layout.

On politics, I felt the need to share a comic about an executive trend I continue to be outraged about, regardless of who's in office.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Funny Thought

1. According to the Justice League cartoon, Nth metal is an isotope of iron with an atomic weight of 676.

2. According to the Bible, god can be fought off by iron chariots.

So, just how badly would an Nth metal chariot mess up god?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Cynicism Dump

I'm all in favor non-USA countries having their own space programs, but this just feels awkward. On other blogs, I've often commented on how we're falling behind in the world. I originally put the phrase "feels like" in the previous sentence while I was typing it.

I'm really losing confidence in the US these days, and I think I'm likely in partial denial about it by saying we're at the beginning of various downfalls. I used to say that we were at the early stages of a breakdown into a police state with the war on drugs getting more insane each year, the continuing destruction of our freedoms, and the ongoing consolidation of executive power in the wake of 9/11. I think it's time I moved onto assuming we're at least in the middle of the breakdown.

Politics is not one of my strengths, but it's hard for me to imagine that past Republicans were as insane as the current crop of them. Before 9/11, I was able to imagine a Republican being voted into the presidency without it being an outright disaster for the nation. It doesn't help that our current Democrat president is doing many of the same things Bush did. He's essentially doing the opposite of what I voted for him to do: Crack down on US war crimes and civil rights abuses. I will not be voting for him ever again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quote ot the Time Being: The Spoils of War

Today's quote comes from Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars, on a topic I recently thought about, again:
Probably the single biggest passage that did it for me was Numbers 31. This is the attack on the Midianites. The Israelites believed that two Midianite women had “tempted” two men to worship their god instead of Jehovah. As a result, Moses commanded — supposedly because God told him to do so — that all Midianites be slaughtered. Except for the virgin females, who were divided up among the soldiers as the spoils of war. And it occurred to me that this is something that even Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin didn’t do. Even Nazi Germany didn’t force the women they’d conquered to marry the men who had slaughtered their fathers and brothers. That’s how barbaric it was, it went beyond anything even the worst human beings would do. And this is the same being that supposedly commands us to love one another and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us? It just didn’t add up for me.
To make things worse, a lot of fundamentalists believe Moses is being rewarded with eternal bliss for leading a "holy" life.

As for the evils of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, the fact that they didn't order anything like this suggests that even our archetypes for complete monsters are still less evil than the god of the Old Testament. Even if you try to detach the god from the barbarism, it still makes a far more horrifying vision for humanity than anything modern fundies can confabulate for the "degradation" of our civilization. How exactly are rock and roll, Harry Potter, and equal marriage rights going to produce anything even remotely as bad?

Friday, November 04, 2011

Andy Hamilton's Search for Satan

I thought I'd go ahead and point this out. Andy Hamilton does a humorous documentary about Satan and how the idea has changed over time. The link has an embedded YouTube video that will probably end up being taken down sooner or later, so if you don't have access to BBC Four, you should probably watch while you can.

I'm only partway through as I type this, but it's looking fun so far. I'm curious just how much (or rather, how little) information about Satan is actually in the Bible. I pretty sure a huge bulk of the common perception will be linked to Dante's Inferno.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quote of the Time Being: Being Right

Thanks go to The Christian Cynic for providing it:
The desire to be right and the desire to have been right are two desires, and the sooner we separate them the better off we are. The desire to be right is the thirst for truth. On all counts, both practical and theoretical, there is nothing but good to be said for it. The desire to have been right, on the other hand, is the pride that goeth before a fall. It stands in the way of our seeing we were wrong, and thus blocks the progress of our knowledge.
---W.V.O. Quine and J.S. Ullian, The Web of Belief

Fundamentalism Corrupts

Unsurprising news: Obama sides against a terrorist group. Rush Limbaugh sides with those terrorists because they identify themselves as "Christian." It turns out those Christian terrorists are very, very depraved.

One point I'll make sure to bring up if someone defends Limbaugh by saying he 'just' didn't research the group:

Why not? You think it's excusable that he just automatically assumes a Christian group MUST be doing good? That's a depraved form of moral subjectivism at work: It doesn't matter what actions you take, but which team you're on. That is exactly how religious fundamentalism has been corrupting the concept of morality for thousands of years. That's how fundamentalists justify atrocities. To them, the affiliation of an action is more important than its morality. That tribal subjectivism is the nihilistic foundation of fundamentalist Christianity AND religious fundamentalism in general. By choosing to judge them based on their professed allegiance to a deity instead of researching the morality of their actions, Limbaugh has demonstrated a belief in tribal subjectivism.

Civilized human beings don't think that way. Rape is immoral. Period. Slavery is immoral. Period. Civilized morality is not absolutely, perfectly objective, but it at least strives for something resembling objectivity, fairness, and impartiality. Actions matter more than arbitrary allegiances. I'll take an honest and imperfect effort over the nihilism and depravity that consistently results from fundamentalism.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Graphic of the Time Being

jamesmc, in a comment over at Dispatches From the Culture Wars posted a link to this image. Guess what countries the fundamentalist Christians admire.

You may need to click to enlarge.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Blasphemy Day

There most likely is no god.

Evolution is demonstrably true.

Priests, ministers, and people of faith are mere mortals like the rest of us.

The god of the Bible is a cruel, psychotic egomaniac. Thankfully, he doesn't exist, and even if he did, it's good to know he can be defeated by iron chariots.

The god of the Bible lacks the ability to feel love on par with the average human being.

Faith is an act of deceitful arrogance and hubris. Saying "I don't know" is an act of honest humility.

The universe has no inherent purpose or meaning. We create meaning and purpose.

Marriage is about love. It is not about procreation, religion, tradition, or greed.

An attack on same sex marriage is an attack on all marriage.

Religion has been used to justify countless evils, and the good attributed to it can and should be replaced with secular pursuits and institutions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Quote of the Time Being: Supernaturalism

From Sastra: "Supernaturalists seem to have a lot of trouble trying to make sense of abstractions and levels of experience: they want to take everything literally, as irreducible substances. Love is only real to them if it’s a thing, a sort of spiritual-substance which is made of neither matter nor energy because it is the immaterial essence of love. Ironically, that makes them super-materialists — spinning material into finer and finer substances until like only comes from like. Love is derived from love. Otherwise, it can only have the same properties that were there in its origin.

Despite their claims to be so comfortable with “higher levels” of reality, supernaturalists are concrete thinkers. They can only make sense of immaterial abstractions by turning them into spirit-things in a spirit-world. It’s the same sort of composition fallacy that causes people to have a serious problem with understanding how life can come from non-life. Things are supposed to be stable, discontinuous units of essential natures which are forever separated by what they ARE. If inert matter can live, it must be because a vital force made of life gets into the matter to somehow to make it live."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In Lighter News: Zombies

I stumbled on Project Zomboid one day, and something about it caught my interest. It's still early in development, and they have a deal like Minecraft where people who sign up in Alpha will continue to get updates and help contribute to the creative process. What makes this different from other zombie games I've played (Most often with my brother who's a fan of zombies. A very big fan.) is part of the premise: "This is how you died."

It reminded me of an article I read a long time ago about some old school games, especially shooters, "It's man versus machine. You know the machine's going to win, but the question is how long can you last?" Project Zomboid has no win conditions, and fittingly, it has a "sandbox mode" right now.

For the zombies themselves, the creators look towards Romero for inspiration. An individual zombie slow, stupid, and easy to splatter with a baseball bat, but you can't last forever against a horde. They're attracted to light and noise, so carrying a flashlight and firing your shotgun are generally unsafe actions. Once, while I was hiding in my safehouse, I ran instead of walked and ended up making a small thump which attracted a zombie to bang on my door, which subsequently attracted the nearby mob. I had to abandon that safehouse and run for another shelter.

Right now, the game is very solitary, but the creators plan to create more interactive NPCs. Once they have that going, the real danger may very well be your fellow humans. Got scratched by a zombie? The gun nut might prefer to shoot you now, rather than waste food on a potential zombie in the making. Hyperactive kid making lots of noise? You've got a decision to make about whether or not he lives.

Aside from keeping your belly full in the current version, there are psychological mechanics in the works. Staying indoors for days at a time causes boredom, making it worthwhile to grab newspapers and magazines along with other supplies. Psychological effects will build up into dangerous things like hallucinations and other insanity.

As I was typing this post, news on a big update comes through my brother. Things are going to get a bit more interesting. I should probably keep my food closer to my bedroom if NPCs are going to actually going to 'play the game' now.

...I hope they fix it so that I can get wood from barricades back when I take them down.