Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Virgin Mary Crying Blood?

From CBS News:

Outside Sacramento, at the small Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs church, a statue of the Virgin Mary appears to be crying, reports The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

"Just the fact that it's coming from the eyes, and it's a red color like blood, I would say that there's a miracle either way," said Dave Leatherby, who visited the statue. "Even if there's a natural explanation, it's a sign."

Ok. Of course there's a natural explanation for this. Obviously there must be holes near the eye sockets for this to happen. Unless water is just appearing out of nowhere. Which is possible (condensation.) Either way, let's say there are holes present. These holes may have been cut or eroded away by water that is trapped within the head of the statue. The water begins to leak out and reflects a red color. If you look at the picture, it already appears that the statue has a pinkish tint to it. So the first thing people say is, "IT HAS TO BE BLOOD!" Yes. Because all statues bleed. Honestly, is that the first (il)logical conclusion that people can think of? If you saw some sort of substance that appeared to have a tint of red in it coming from a shoe, would you think this was blood? I'm sure at work here is some sort of logical fallacy (fallacy of exclusion?).

"So maybe this is happening for a reason. I just think she's crying for all the sins of the world and everything."

Then she should have started crying a long time ago.

"We came here Thanksgiving night," Vivian Valles said. "The blood was on her chest. We came back the next day and it had run all the way down her dress."

Yes, liquids do tend to travel at relatively quick speeds, especially in a downward motion. This is due to gravity, obviously an unknown concept to Christians.

But father James Murphy of the Sacramento diocese shies away from calling this a miracle.
"These kinds of phenomena are fairly common," he said. "But the number that turn out to be miraculous are very, very rare."

Oh my Flying Spaghetti Monster. This guy can't be real. One from the church claiming it may not be a miracle?!? Well, it seems that some who practice religion have some logic. Yet he still believes in miracles. Maybe he'll come around...

However, it does bring more people to the church.

Exactly. This is simply a ploy to get more to come to church. By exploiting "miracles," those who have been lacking faith will surely come back to the church and pray for forgiveness. These sinners see it as a sign, possibly that the world is ending. Way to go church. Everytime people start to think a little more logically, you keep making them into wackos. PRAISE THE LORD!

Church officials say they will investigate if the phenomenon continues. But for believers, or those seeking guidance, healing or inspiration, there is no need for proof.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Dowsing for Oil in Rockstar's Backyard

A recent Lincoln Journal Star article has me concerned for small credulous oil companies here in Nebraska. Now that oil is up to $754,789 a barrell (or somewhere near there, right?), there is a renewed interest in drilling for oil in a state not necessarily known as a powerhouse in the industry. So the small companies need a cheaper method of prospecting for oil. Their solution?


Here's the problem. Gather round close now all...ready?


Got it? It doesn't work. Hogwash. Flim-flam. You'd be better served to wipe your ass with all those dollar bills you gave to the dowser; at least then you'd get some use out of them.

The article did a horrible job of presenting dowsing as anything but paranormal nonsense. The "evidence"? According to Bill Sydow, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner, "I've seen it work."

Very compelling evidence Bill. The article continues:

A self-described “new Earth creationist,” Sydow says the business of prospecting should be waged with imagination and intuition. He even believes it’s possible some oil is derived from a chemistry not directly linked to plants and animals that decayed at the bottom of ancient seas and lagoons, the known source of oil.

The Commissioner...of the Nebraska Oil...and Gas Conservation...is a Young-Earth Creationist. Please help me. This man believes all oil and natural gas is less than 10,000 years old and was put in its current place wholly by God. And it's possible that some oil is derived from an unknown chemistry. True, but it's also possible small gnomes live in our asses. Possible, not likely, and since there's no evidence to prove it, I call bullshit.

“Oil and gas,” he added, “is found in the minds of men.” (Aha! So it's not in the ground anymore? That's why I can't find any and retire Jed Clampett style!!)

That's like having Pat Robertson as Commisioner of Evolutionary Processes. It is a known fact that oil comes from ancient plants and animals that when combined with mud and under pressure for eons. Doesn't one have to have a working knowledge, nay, a basic understanding, of how oil is made to head up this commission? Not in Nebraska. Praise the LORD!

The only bit of skepticism I found was this little blurb:

Mainstream scientists have long disputed the idea that people can pinpoint minerals hundreds — even thousands — of feet below the surface by holding a branch or brass or any other so-called dowsing rod.

Complete missed opportunity to wipe the shit off the proverbial boot this article was. From Richard Romine, famed Nebraska dowser and self-deluded fool, we get this little anecdote:

“There’s oil on this property, I just know it,” Romine remembers his granddad saying as they walked to the mailbox. Romine jumped in with both feet, building up some oil-prospecting contacts, bringing more dowsers into the area. Four of the five, he said, detected oil. They used more than rod work to help detect oil, including radiometric mapping. Prospectors use it to help find subsurface high spots by measuring variations in the natural radiation of an area. The measurements showed a likelihood oil was there, Romine said. The company brought its rig to the prairie dog town in mid-October and drilled down to the shale. Surface casings were set for the pipe to protect groundwater, concrete poured around it. When the round-the-clock drilling started, Romine stayed — all night, sleeping in his Tahoe.

Over four days, the drill bore down.

Finally, at 4,672 feet, Romine learned a lesson: “When a hole comes up dry, your heart goes right down to your toes.”

It didn't work. He admits it doesn't work. But rather than question him, the journalist lets him explain it away. They just picked the wrong spot...Or maybe quit drilling too soon...Or maybe dowsing doesn't work.

One thing is for sure Nebraska Oil Companies - if you trust a dowser to prospect for you, you'll never pack-on-up and move to Bev-er-lee.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

22nd Skeptic's Circle

The 22nd Skeptic's Circle is now up at Mile Zero. You gotta feel for the yeti these days, what with all the rampant skepticism of their existence...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Activist stresses logic, not religion, in anti-abortion debate

**Edit: I realize now that in this post I was basically ranting. I also realize that I kind of made my own logical fallacy: ad hominem. I didn't conclude this very well because I didn't show that I proved him wrong. So I'm sorry. I don't think he can be proven wrong, but I was trying to make the argument (which I did very poorly) that if he was thinking logically and not religiously, he would see that it's nothing more than some cells trying to make the right connections to become a human being. Thinking religiously, one would say that this thing has a soul from the beginning of conception and is, therefore, a human being from conception. Do I make more sense? I'll try to keep on topic and do better on my next. I also realize that the abortion topic is one that is very sensitive for most, so I'm sorry if I've offended anyone.**

The article highlights points made by Scott Klusendorf, president of the Life Training Institute and anti-abortionist, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. The man is attempting to use logic in his debate regarding abortion, though conclusions point towards the use of religious values. Let's see just how logical Mr. Klusendorf is.

Klusendorf spent more than an hour defending his position using logical principles instead of religion.

We shall see.

He said the basis of the argument comes down to defining the unborn.


If someone can prove fetuses are not actually human beings, Klusendorf said he could find no reason to oppose abortion and embryonic stem cell research.

Edit: Logical fallacy - shifting burden of proof.

Klusendorf said from the point of conception, embryos are whole human beings.

Wait just one second here. How do you know this? Is there any proof that a human being is what is present after a sperm and ovum collide? Three to five days after conception, the "human being" is simply a mass of cells that have yet to differentiate (form into different types of cells), yet continue to proliferate. Do you consider this mass of cells a human being? If you want logical standards to determine if something is a human being, follow the Personhood Theory. It claims, "The criteria a person must have in personhood theory are one or more of the following:

  1. Consciousness.
  2. The ability to steer one's attention and action purposively.
  3. Self awareness, self bonded to objectivities.
  4. Self as longitudinal thematic identity, one's biographic identity."
These criteria make sense. If a being is to be considered human, it must act in a way that differentiates it from other species. A mass of cells that is proliferating is simply acting like a cancerous mass. When the cells begin to differentiate and appendages and organs are formed, it could be a member of any mammalian species, though it would be an odd-looking pig. (Note: Although these cells contain human DNA and the potential to develop into a human being, this does not necessarily indicate that they will develop into a human being. For example, in the case of spontaneous abortions, these cells have human DNA but were not able to develop into a human being.) It all comes down to the following: certain neural connections (involved with the ability to speak and reason logically, etc.) have made and continue to make human beings different from other species. That's it.

He also discussed public policy issues and said he would initially support any bill that would prohibit abortion, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother. However, he said: "Hardship doesn't justify homicide."

Well, it's about time you showed your religious personality: a blood-thirsty fuckhead (refer to the episode of "Trading Spouses" where one mother goes insane because her children were subjected to a mother that was not Christian.) "Hardship doesn't justify homicide." Is he serious? Does he not understand what a mother-to-be endures during a pregnancy? Normal mothers must deal with extra weight that limits them physically, but also endure some sort of mild depression during the pregnancy. For a mother-to-be who has been a victim of rape, incest, etc., the emotional stress is increased ten-fold. It's unnecessary, considering that most victims are younger and not prepared for such instability. I've no thoughts on prohibiting abortions to prevent danger to the life of the mother, but it should be allowed. And once again, it's not homicide if the thing isn't a human being.

Partway through his presentation, Klusendorf showed a short video on abortion. The audience of about 45 students and Lincolnites sat in silence as they watched pictures of bloody aborted fetuses and miniature body parts.

Logical fallacy: appeal to pity. Obviously showing this type of tape will appeal to anyone who has a heart, but those who think logically will realize that it is simply a necessary product of some action. You can not justify something because it makes others weak at the knees. Plus, I'm sure that movie was gross. :D

After his presentation, Klusendorf said he hoped attendees would be more confident they could rationally defend their anti-abortion position without involving religion. He also said his goal was to encourage the audience to put their thoughts into action.

Yes, because all thoughts presented involved logical rationalizations and were not in any way, shape, or form influenced by any religious ideals. Throw me a friggin' bone. He showed no proof of any of his claims, nor did he prove that he was even attempting to think logically. This is simply my interpretation, but it seems that if he didn't believe this thing had a soul, he would be able to see it as just that: some kind of thing. A mass of cells is not a human being, but if this mass already has a soul, it's human. I don't know how they think, but these people are crazy.

"I think we need to re-invent ourselves," he said. "I think we need people who are both passionate and informed."

No more of these people, please! We all hate seeing them protesting everywhere!

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Logical Fallacy

Logical Fallacy:

Religious Thinking


(1) There's grass on the ground because...(insert choice higher being)didit.
(2) I believe in (insert choice higher being) because I do.
(3) (Insert things that are invisible) do exist; I (alone) saw them!

Astrology is Bullshit...Again

*A Rockstar Ryan Classic. Enjoy!*

I've been wanting to do this for quite some time - take a whole week of horoscopes and compare them to what really happened the next day. The amazing Astrologer/Psychic/Author/Bullshit Artist
Rochelle Gordon has kindly taken some time out of her busy day and obliged me. I put in my exact birthdate, hit "send", and later I received a whole week of predictions designed just for me! What a great opportunity to show not only how useless astrology is, but what an idiot she is! You can read my horoscope here. I'm not even going to concern myself with proving it doesn't work. We know it doesn't. For pity's sake we'll go to the Land of Make-Believe where Rochelle lives with the fairies, leprechauns and Jesus. We'll pretend astrology works. My goal: to prove that even if the planets controlled my destiny, whatever these nutbars tell us is absolutely useless.

So I decided to keep a running diary comparing what Rochelle said me and the other 300,000 people who share my birthday and date would experience this week, and what happened in the real world. We'll skip all the horsecrap at the beginning about the moon of Virgo entering Uranus (huh-huh) and sup on the meat of stupidity. Here goes:

June 13, 2005

Today you may find yourself more concerned than usual with issues concerning health and wellbeing. You should try to remember that being robust and strong is often a question of mind over matter.

But I was ill last week! If I'd have had this amazing foresight in time, I could've gone to the doctor, told him a magic lady said I'd be sick, and gotten a prescription! Oh, wait, she doesn't say I'd be sick. She said I may find myself more concerned about issues concerning health and wellbeing. So what, I need to prepare for a lot of concerning? Thanks for the tip.

Your daily responsibilities are likely to increase now, but they won't be without their rewards. Observers will admire the efficient way in which you approach your duties.

Strike two!! My boss told me just the opposite regarding my efficiency. Probably because I'm always writing in my crappy blog...

You may feel torn between doing your own work and helping a friend. Put your chores aside for the moment in favor of assisting your pal. That way, you may be able to get a boost when you need it most.

There's that "may" crap again. I "may" be concerned about stuff. I "may" feel torn between work and a friend. I might do a lot of things. But I did not need to put any chores aside to help a friend. I guess Rochelle was right, since I may or may not have done it, correct? Astrology is not a very precise pseudo-science...

I suppose I'm not doing a good job in the Land of Make-Believe and shoehorning these predictions into what happened to me yesterday. I guess my mind doesn't work that way. Probably because I'm not a mopey, fat 40 year old divorced woman holding a power crystal hoping to find Mr. Right. (Feel free to e-mail me though, baby, I'm Mr. RIGHT NOW)

Social events may surround such activities as health care, diet and exercise routines or lectures or gatherings involving personal well- being. Your sense of responsibility includes a good sense of humor.

I "may" be involved with my personal well-being? (Wait, it's well-being now and not wellbeing? I suppose I concern over one and involve the other) No, I will be involved with my personal well-being. Otherwise I'd be like these idiots. The only social event I participated in was a rock show, opening for Dark New Day. She is right about one thing though - I feel responsible for showing the rest of the world what a scamming/defrauding/only-uses-a-hyphen-50%-of-the-time kind of person she is, and will do so with a good sense of humor.

Having been disappointed with Monday's reading, I e-mailed Rochelle:


What the hell does any of this magic fore knowledge do for me? I "may" be more concerned about health and wellbeing? I "may" feel torn between helping a friend and doing work?

I "may" feel like licking a dog's butt. This doesn't necessarily make it fucking so."

I can't wait for the response.

June 14, 2005

You may be hungry for delicacies today, my friend. Indulging in finer foods can make you very happy. The appearance of your food may be as important as the taste, so pay attention to presentation.

Step 1. Find one thing useful in that paragraph. Step 2. Remember people pay astrologers to tell them these things. Step 3. Laugh. What delicacies was I supposed to maybe hungry for? Thai? Indian? Klingon? The $.99 party pizza did just fine.

Try not to get too wrapped up in the details of a complicated project, my dear. The emphasis should be on getting things finished, rather than making everything perfect.

I'm not working on any "projects" right now. Seriously, I wonder if there was some moron out there that read this and now his Lego castle looks like shit.

When under pressure or stress, are your nerves affected? This is a time for finding ways to relax and release tension. Putting your domestic and daily responsibilities in order will help you greatly.

sigh...No jackass, my nerves aren't affected when I'm under pressure or stress. When stressed, I feel like giving everyone a big hug, starting with you. But then you have to be bodyslammed.

June 15, 2005

You may find yourself scrutinizing the world around you to make sure that you can find beauty in every corner. Today can be a good day to clean and spruce up your home. Buy flowers and scented candles, too.

It wouldn't be a horoscope unless it started the day off with something I "may" do. These readings are starting to sound like the textbook they read from in the classes for the "special" kids. So far this week I'm supposed to:

1. Take care of myself.

2. Feed myself.

3. Clean.

Help Rochelle! What do I do next? And does she remember she's talking to a bunch of 25 year old kids? Half of which are men? How many Rockstars have flowers and smelly candles in their pads? And just what are the said candles supposed to smell like? Probably bullshit. Even in the Land of Make-Believe I'm starting to think my birthdate had nothing to do with my readings...

Breaking a bad habit can be made easier now; this is the time to do something about it. Your willpower is strong, so set your mind to it. You can be over the habit in a few days.

Why is breaking a bad habit easier now? She doesn't even pay me the common courtesy of letting me know that Mars is entering Virgo from the rear, or something like that. I'd say that she's just making all this up, but remember, we're still in the Land of Make-Believe. Here comes the trolley now...

Take extra care of your health and that of your family and loved ones today, my friend. Don't be in too much of a hurry on any count. Take your time and plan your actions carefully, both at work and at home.

I just don't know what to say anymore. Take care of yourself and think before you act. Guess what? I didn't use any "extra" care, and I'm fine. Again, people pay money to be told this...and you're not my fucking friend...

My letter to Rochelle for the day:


My forecast for yesterday said to clean my house, buy flowers and smelly candles, and take care of myself. Do you think I stink or something? The day before you reminded me to eat. Are your forecasts for retarded people? I think you should know I'm not a retarded person. Can you please just tell me how to win the lottery or something?"

June 16, 2005

I finally got a response from Rochelle! I couldn't wait to read it. Surely she fixed my horoscope, as it obviously got mixed up with a mentally handicapped old woman's reading.

Ok, the "exclusive free offer" thing at the top seemed weird, but she tells me it's important - she had a sense of psychic urgency when doing my reading (why'd she wait till Thursday to tell me?) that I had a burning question nagging me!

In your forecast, I am committed to giving you daily guidance that reflects my sense of how the stars and planets will affect you. And right now, the stars will be aligned in your favor for the next few precious months.
So this is your opportunity to increase your chances to win lots of money, to get what you need and want from someone you love, to find out the answer to a question that refuses to go away...

Yes! Yes! Yes! How!?

The phenomenon I am talking about is the amazing... POWER OF THE PENDULUM

Huh? The POWER OF THE PENDULUM? If the stars are aligned in my favor...

*Rockstar has had enough, and projects from the ethereal plane of the Land of Make-Believe back to the real world*

No. I just can't take this shit anymore. This woman is actually offering to sell me A FUCKING PENDULUM THAT TELLS THE FUTURE. I don't even think I need to debunk this thing, but she says:

Because the pendulum is so easy to use, it only takes moments to master it! With the help of a pendulum, you can get detailed answers to questions like...
What numbers should I play in the lottery this week?
When is the best time to move out of my house?
Does the person I love feel the same way about me?
Will these arguments with a close loved one end?
Where should I look for employment?
What can I do to stop these headaches?

See anywhere in this mighty communique she explains how it works? Of course not. Letter to Rochelle for the week:


Apparently you have not received my prior e-mails. Here are recaps of my letters you can read on my weblog, rockstarramblings.blogspot.com.

(Here I insert THE POWER OF THE PENDULUM letter and recap my prior letters.)

Your "predictions" are bad enough, but the attached comminique is what really upsets me. The fact you are making a living as a professional fraud is bad enough, but selling THE POWER OF THE PENDULUM to sap magnets should be downright illegal.
If your magic pendulums and psychic powers really work, please sign up for the JREF Million Dollar Challenge at
http://www.randi.org/. If you can pass the test, I will retract my harsh remarks.
Until then - in my opinion you are just a fucking fraud. Take me off your list, I'm through making fun of you.
Rockstar Ryan

Unfortunately, this article is making me ill to my stomach. I can't go on. Right now, there are people basing their lives on what these assholes tell them. They are making choices involving their jobs, their lives, and their children's lives based on a FUCKING PENDULUM. This is why it's not OK to believe in Woo-Woo.

What if your physician made a diagnosis based on your zodiac sign? What if you were on trial for a crime you did not commit and the judge decided your guilt or innocence on a FUCKING PENDULUM? Think twice about the woo people, before you hurt yourself...or more importantly ME!

*You can read the response here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


We haven't had any problems yet, but since it's going around...

Our comment policy:

We can delete your comments for any freaking reason we see fit. Maybe we don't like you. Maybe your post was vaccuous. Maybe you're off topic.


Which Path Will Produce the Next Economic Superpower?

Ken Jarboe of the Athena Alliance has it right. He says:

While US schools argue about "Intelligent Design," Chinese schools are studying "Technology and Design".

Which of these paths do you think will produce the economic superpower...

I think the answer to that question is clear.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Finding Said to Boost Proof of Goliath

No, it doesn't.

Archaeologists have recently found a shard of
pottery with the name "Goliath" inscribed on it.

The shard dates back to around 950 B.C., within 70 years of when biblical chronology asserts David squared off against Goliath, making it the oldest Philistine inscription ever found, the archaeologists said.

So does that lend any significance to the historical account in the Bible? Let me get my
shoehorn out here. Urrrgghh, that data is hard to force in there!

No. While the finding is incredible, it proves exactly dick when it comes to Biblical chronology.

While the discovery is not definitive evidence of Goliath's existence, it does support the Bible's depiction of life at the time the battle was supposed to have occurred, said Dr. Aren Maeir, a professor at Bar-Ilan University and director of the excavation.

No. It proves that the name "Goliath" goes back to 950 B.C. That's all. Reading anything else into the finding is shoehorning it in to what you want to believe. It's just not intellectually honest.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The 21st Circle of Skeptics

Doth mine ears deceive me? Lo, thine angst displayed; a fortnight 'tis been since thy yonder globe of skepticism hath been displayed. Hark! A Pooflinger cometh! Let us bask in the merriment thus!

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Don't Knock it Till You've Tried it Fallacy

This one pops up quite frequently in "debates" with the Bleevers. It takes this form -

You've never tried/used/seen 'X'. Therefore, you can't have an opinion on 'X'.

I'm quite against drug use*, and the other musicians frequently throw that one on me. Woo-Woos bask in the glory of the DKTYTF.

Related to the
anecdote, this claim attempts to show that my argument is invalid since my opinion is uninformed. However, anecdotes are not always fallacious; they are simply unreliable. The Don't Knock it Till You've Tried it argument is a common logical flaw. Why?

How do you know I've not tried your bullshit? And there's plenty of ways to review and learn about 'X' other than having hands on experience. I've never smoked crack cocaine because I've learned about
the dangers of doing so (I've also watched WAY too much "COPS"). I will not try the White Mountain voice programmed remedy maker. Not only is there no evidence it works, there is evidence showing it does not work.

Likewise, what benefit would I get from wasting my time with
Phiten® Titanium? And since we know prayer is still useless, I see no reason to try it.

My smart-ass come back to any creduloid who pulls out the DKTYTF?

You've never been rogered in the ass by a 300 pound man before. Therefore, you can't know you wouldn't like it.

That always shuts 'em up...


*Before I get any slams for this, lemme sum up - I support the legalization and decriminalization of drugs for consenting, non-vehicle manipulating adults. I'd hope that just because they are legal, one would still stray from their usage.