Monday, August 31, 2009

What's a Sedalian?

A Sedalian is a person who can't distinguish two things others appreciate as distinct.


1. Sedalians confuse science and religion.
2. Sedalians can't tell a fact from a personal feeling.
3. Sedalians don't know what's a mountain and what's a molehill.
4. Sedalians mistake their own ass for a hole in the ground.
5. Sedalians grab the shit when they want the Shinola.


A: "I read about those town vigilates who terrorized a pediatrician thinking she was a pedophile.

B: My God. What a bunch of Sedalians!"

Just for fun: Google "sedalian" and see where this post appears in the results. Clicky to push it up.

Debating Creationists: Kicking the Habit

I went to ERV where I learned about the Sedalia MO high school band t-shirt kerfuffle. The band teacher created a graphic to represent the evolution of brass intstruments from the 1960s to the present, using the olde timey image of monkey-hominids-humans in sequence.

Sadly, some parents and students felt the allusion to biological evolution -even if only as metaphor- was offensive. I suppose that's no suprise, given the thickness of anti-intellectualism in many small towns.

But this bit on the part of a school official surprised me:
While the shirts don’t directly violate the district’s dress code, Assistant Superintendent Brad Pollitt said complaints by parents made him take action.

"I made the decision to have the band members turn the shirts in after several concerned parents brought the shirts to my attention," Pollitt said.

Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.

WTF? Evolution = religion?

Here I am, end of my less-than productive workday, considering the time I wasted reading the comments posted on the two articles at the Sedalia Democrat. My emotional reaction to the burning toopid has left me fatigued and disoriented.

I gotta stop getting suckered into these creationist debates.

Y'all must save the world without me. I'm beat.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Religion as LARP

Nice essay by Steve Zara: Creationists are honest.

Dr. Zara informs us that we are doomed to disappoint when we try to convince creationists that the theory of evolution and some variant of creationism are compatible notions.

It's true. God isn't required for natural selection and the emergence of humans as a distinct species. And by implication, God probably isn't necessary to explain other events in the history of the universe, such as the origin of self-replicating molecules from non-living matter or the Big Bang at the start of it all.

Maybe there is a God who fiddles with our material world somehow. Who knows? I dunno. But I do note that the physicists, chemists, biologists, and mathematicians to date have not required God in their explanations of how stuff works.

Creationists assert that humans require God. God is not optional. From the creationist viewpoint, any model of the history of the universe that makes no reference to God is not just wrong. It's willfully wrong and offensive, as all lies are offensive.

But what of the liberal believer who is content to read Genesis as metaphor? The believer who respects science but who also finds the notion of a loving Creator-God comforting? Can't the theory of evolution get along well enough with such mild religious claims?

Well, typically, the religious propositions asserted by liberal believers are incoherent. What they say they believe and how they live and what they accept as evidence in a court of law and what they understand about the actual world we share don't add up. The mess of personal belief is self-compatible only insofar as it's shielded from scrutiny.

Ever wondered why some liberal religionists called you cold when you threw a bit of logical argument their way? It's the wool in their heads. Apparently it does more than merely dampen cognitive dissonance. It also helps to keep them feeling cozy-warm. Consequently they are not keen to give it up, you heartless godless bastards.

Maybe one day everyone will recognize that God is not required to explain much of anything. Per the parsimony rule, any entity not required is a non-entity, and so there will be no God. No real God, anyway. The LARP or "live action roll play" God(s) humans have enjoyed for centuries can carry on as before. All that will change is our mindfulness of the boundary between LARP and IRL action.

Captain's Log, #4

Hurricane Danny, you rock! Winds in the high teens! Wave surfing! w00t!

Learned stuff:
- Don't try to launch near a bunch of trees all by myself with both sails up when there are gusts over 20 knots.
- When you see cat's paws on the water ahead, hike out. It takes less energy to prevent the boat from heeling than to level to boat once the windward side is up.
- Sheet in before the puff so you can sheet out if need be.
- Downwind if the boat starts rocking, turn up a little and the rocking will stop.
- Beware pointing too close to the wind and hiking out hard.
- Don't just lean out when hiking. Lift your legs against the straps as if you were trying to pull the leeward side of the boat up.
- The main sheet ratchet is noisy and useless in light air. But you need it on during a blow unless you want to loose all feeling in your hands.

Mah blog has a boring

I've neglected you, dear web readers. Those of you who've been following along can guess where I've been.

Oh wait. Gotta update the Captain's Log. BRB.