Monday, November 06, 2006

Trouble with PETA

From PETA’s mission statement,
“PETA is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry. We also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and other "pests," and the abuse of backyard dogs. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.”
Although I do agree that humans must take responsibility for our treatment of animals, I disagree with PETA’s stand and many of their characterizations of how animals are treated by people. PETA has undertook good activities, but bringing to light some serious mistreatment, such as in the fur farms. But they’ve also overplayed their position on many occasions.

I remember listening on TV to one individual complaining about California cheese ads with the slogan, “Real cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.” He was going on about how the ads are misleading and how bad cows are really treated on a daily basis. From his description, one would assume conditions resembled those of WWII concentration camps. His description may have worked on some New Yorkers who’ve never been seen open land. However, I grew up in a region that has a lot of farms here in California. I’ve seen just how cows are treated first hand. His description wasn’t just misleading. It was false. Beyond that, the ads are obvious funny and not meant to be taken literally. I do understand they aren’t treated as one would treat people, but they aren’t people. They are a source of food. As such, they are treated pretty damn well.

This brings me to a second point: animals as food. I’ve seen pro-vegetarian literature written from both Eastern and Western perspectives. Unfounded statements generally file pages of arguments against the eating of meat. The underlining goal is to convince the reader that humans are not meant to eat meat which is complimented by some moral or ethical reasons. I just have to laugh when I see these arguments. One argument compares the human intestine to that of a wolf. Of course, the argument never makes a similar comparison to truly vegetarian animals, such as cows. That’s because the human digestive system doesn’t resemble that of either carnivores or herbivores.

In fact, our digestive system has specifically evolved to eat something that no other animal on the face of this planet ever has before. Our digestive system has evolved to take advantage of cooked meat! Even our close cousin, the Neanderthal didn’t make that evolutionary leap. 80% of their diet was raw meat, making it likely that their intestine actual did more closely resemble that of a wolf.

A third point is that all flora and fauna have the same origin. Plants, animals and fungi all have a common ancestor. From a truly unemotional perspective, there isn’t a whole lot of different between munching on a head of lettuce and munching on strip of bacon. Actually, there may be a different. The bacon is already dead when we eat it. The lettuce is still alive! Experiments from the 20th Century proved that plants experienced rudimentary reactions to things happening to them (such as leaves being trimmed) that may be interpreted as emotional responses, such as fear. Should we stop eating plants now too?

How far are we supposed to go to protect other live forms? Our bodies may be invaded by parasites, such as tape worm or malaria. These are also animals. Is it wrong for our bodies to defend themselves against these invaders?

Is it ok to kill bacteria? Our body kills millions (maybe billions or trillions) of bacteria throughout our lives. Are we to take a moral stand against that as well?

Bottom line, all life feeds off of other life to sustain itself. The only reason why members of groups like PETA try to protect certain types of life forms is because we as humans tend to identify with them. If a person makes a personal choice to not use other animals for any purpose (food, clothes or otherwise), that is their choice. However, they should not try to enforce their own beliefs on to others, especially when those beliefs are based on emotion instead of fact. PETA often reminds me of a religious cult whose god is the idea that animals are somehow more special than other life forms.

My own personal belief is that we should use animals to fulfill our needs. This should be balanced with some level of humane treatment to avoid unnecessary suffering. Additionally, I believe that humans are responsible for the proper care of animals we have domesticated for co-habitation (pets or labor animals), whether born as such or feral. But how far we go in these areas should not be determined by self-righteous organizations that do not have a clear foundation for their reasoning.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sci-Fi Tipping

I read a book one time that illustrated just how complex the math gets when figuring out a split dinner bill. In this book, calculating each person’s portions of a dinner bill was used as the drive for an interstellar space craft. Apparently, the math is so complicated that simply trying to figure it out is all it takes to move a ship thru space at ludicrous speeds. I forget which book exactly, but it is one of them in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.

I’m going into this because I got an email originally written by a former waitress that mentioned how to tip. Of course, being by a former waitress, it was complete nonsense. I replied with more correct rules for tipping. When I proofread my reply, it was so complex that it reminded me of that scene from Hitchhiker book. It goes something like this:

Statement: “4. For the love of GOD, leave a freakin’ decent tip. Look at your bill. The total bill including tax. Move the decimal point one place to the left and double that. There's your tip. Servers work very hard and get paid very little. Plus a lot of the cooler places pool tips which means what you leave goes in a big bucket and is divided between servers, bartenders, bussers, etc. You need to make up for the jerk wad who left $6 on his $50 bill.”

My reply: “Nope. This list must’ve been written by a waiter. Tip varies from place to place. $6 is a lot for a $50 bill in some areas (that’s well over 10%, which is common for many areas). In Silicon Valley, great or impressive service is 20%, and does NOT include the tax portion of the bill. Not-so-good to normal service is 15% of the dinner bill. Bad service is 5 to 10%, depending on just how bad. Service that is extensively rude or outright insulting is 0 to 5%, even if the meal is comp’d by the manager. However, the tip is based on service, not the food itself. Don’t punish the wait staff for the cook’s mistakes. Also, 15% of the wait staff’s tips often go to the bussers and greeters. Some people get lazy and multiply the sales tax by two to make that the tip, and this is fine too, but it depends on the area. The base CA rate is 6%, which means in some areas, doubling the tax is 12%. If the tip rate is 10% in that area, it’s fine, but if it’s 15%, that’s a bogus tip. Additionally, if the meal is comp’d or discounted, you tip based on what the full price would’ve been.”

Just as a side note, here was another person’s response: “Yes I remember working in the business and you get compensated for what you do. If you are stupid/forgetful/drunk (as most of us were in college) you get a crappy tip. Stop complaining and give good service, its your job. Oh yeah and when I was a cook, these bastards [on the wait staff] rarely split a sufficient amount of the tip. I just made the food right? It was they who carried it to a table 15 feet.”


Sufficiently confusing?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Evolution meets reality

The Theory of Evolution doesn’t exist as a counter to the bible or belief in gods.  It is founded upon geology, paleontology, archeology, biology, chemistry, etc.  It exists to provide common-sense, factual explanations of the evidence, as a result of using the principles upon which it stands, based on scientific discoveries made throughout the 17th to 21st Centuries.

In particular, discoveries in geology forced scientist to recognize that Earth is far older than stated by common interpretations of the bible.  These discoveries are summed up in a series of geological principles. Andrew MacRae of TalkOrigins states, “Most of these principles were formally proposed by Nicolaus Steno (Niels Steensen, Danish), in 1669, although some have an even older heritage that extends as far back as the authors of the Bible.  An early summary of them is found in Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, published in 1830-32, and does not differ greatly from a modern formulation.”

The principles are as follows:

  1. Principle of Superposition - in a vertical sequence of sedimentary or volcanic rocks, a higher rock unit is younger than a lower one. "Down" is older, "up" is younger.  This is more commonly called "Law of Superposition" nowadays.
  2. Principle of Original Horizontality - rock layers were originally deposited close to horizontal.
  3. Principle of Lateral Continuity - A rock unit continues laterally unless there is a structure or change to prevent its extension.
  4. Principle of Cross-cutting Relationships - a structure that cuts another is younger than the structure that is cut.
  5. Law of Included Fragments - a structure that is included in another is older than the including structure.
  6. The principle of "uniformitarianism" - processes operating in the past were constrained by the same "laws of physics" as operate today.  This particular principle is not longer viewed as a necessary factor of modern science, but was important for those who lived in a time when most people considered ancient myths as fact.

In science, a principle (or law) is a description of a phenomenon in a particular situation without considering the cause based on evidence.  Laws are commonly retested just as everything is in science.  If a scientist comes across evidence that seems to contradict a known principle or law, that scientist understands that the principle needs retesting to determine how their new data fits into the overall collection of observations.  For example, the principle of original horizontality basically says that sedimentary layers of rock in the ground must be laid horizontality.  However, many rock formations are made up of sedimentary layers that are nearly vertical.  Is the original horizontality wrong?  No.  The layers where originally laid horizontally. Shifts in the Earth’s crust caused the layers to be moved into a nearly vertical position long after they were laid.  This particular observation was a factor in allowing scientists to eventually discover Plate Tectonics.

What does this have to do with the Theory of Evolution?  Even before radioactive dating, these geological principles forced scientists to realize that the Earth must be at least millions of years old.  Further, fossils of life forms are present in various layers of rock.  The fossil record shows a progressive change in life forms on Earth over time.  There is no period in which every species (particularly plants and animal) exist at the same time.  This led curious minds to ask, what is the process for bringing about new species over time?  Creationism said that all creatures were created in the beginning, but the fossil record shows that species come into existence and died out over different and vast periods of time.

Enter Darwin’s exploration.  He studied modern examples of plants and animals, and understood the fossil record.  His research and publication led to the discoveries of evolution and natural selection.  Why does life change over time?  It evolves.  What is the main driving force of evolution?  It is natural selection.

Darwin didn’t actually create the Theory of Evolution.  A theory cannot be made by one person.  A theory is the working explanation for repeatable observations and predictions in nature that are supported by scientific evidence and verified multiple times by various groups of researchers via peer review processes.  To briefly paraphrase Karl Popper, scientific theories must have testability (ability to test the theory), falsifiability (test if the theory is false), or refutability (test if the theory is refutable).

Evidence collected and verified by this process throughout the 20th Century did nothing but continue to reinforce the Theory of Evolution.  The fossil record became more complete and understanding of genetics improved.  Richard Lenski states, “Using DNA sequences, biologists quantify the genetic similarities and differences among species, in order to determine which species are more closely related to one another and which are more distantly related.  In doing so, biologists use essentially the same evidence and logic used to determine paternity in lawsuits.  The pattern of genetic relatedness between all species indicates a branching tree that implies divergence from a common ancestor.”

In the 21st Century, new discoveries in biology are not only further proving evolution; they are actually using knowledge of evolution to make new discoveries, particularly in areas of battling diseases, as mentioned in the article “Antibiotics in Action” at Pharmaceutical Achievers.  In other words, the Theory of Evolution is practical science benefiting humankind directly.  This puts the Theory of Evolution in the same league as Universal Law of Gravitation, Music Theory, theories within Mathematics, and General Relativity.

So, why is this important?  The key difference between notions based on Creationism such as Intelligent Design and actual theories such as Evolution is in their value to science.  Intelligent Design is the end of knowledge. It cannot be tested. It leads to no further discoveries.  It does not improve our understanding of the world around us.  On the other hand, Theory of Evolution is the beginning of knowledge. It is a model of science being used in practical ways. It also leads to more discoveries with endless possibilities.  The value of Theory of Evolution is that is expands our knowledge.  Just as geology opened the door to discovering Evolution, Theory of Evolution is opening the doors to many other sciences involving biology, biotechnology, infectious diseases, genetics, environmentalism, farming, etc.  It leads to a better understanding of the world around us as a logical result of the many observations we make of that world.

Andrew MacRae
Karl Popper
Richard Lenski
Antibiotics in Action

Monday, October 30, 2006

California Props 2006 (quick note)

My main problem with the California propositions this year (2006) is that most of them are trying to sneak something by the voters. I've commented on some of this on a previous entry.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Getting wet in Capitola, CA

Here's Miriam about to get soaked up to her butt. Posted by Picasa

Capitola, CA

After many attempts and many negotiations of time, Miriam and I finally got to go on a get-away Friday. We headed to Capitola for the day. We started by having lunch on the waterfront at Margeritavilla (not the Jimmy Buffet one). Neither of us have been this portion of Capitola before. We didn't even know it was here. It's a very charming area with 4 million dollar waterfront condos. The day was perfect.
At lunch, these two young girls were sat at a table near us. We couldn't help but over hearing their conversation. I coulda swore they were filming the MTV show Laguna Beach right there! To break up the "fun", a pigeon flew in and demanded attention from the girls. The little blonde started feeding it tortilla chip crumbs right out of her hand. The moment got a bit tainted cuz them the other girl was trying to get her to take a picture of it, followed by Miriam trying to do the same too.
Afterwards, we relaxes on the small pier, then got some towels and relaxed on the beach. Of course, it wasn't long before she wanted to chase the crashing waves. Neither of us were dressed for such beach activities, and getting soaked meant staying soaked, which happened to here. I was a bit more cautious, but it didn't save my pant legs.
It was a very relaxing afternoon, but we had to get back. I'll definitely be coming back, maybe with Allie for an overnight stay at the $200 novelty hotel made to look like tiny Spanish villas. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Friday's Afternoon

I took off early from work last Friday in order to get a bunch of stuff done. I got home to make myself a lunch a relax for a little while. I then headed down to the Voter Registrar to update my address and get the Nov 2006 California Ballot (see my previous entry about this). I was a bit surprised to find it was two sheets long. I was prepared on the Props, but didn’t have a clue about the local elections, so I took it home with me.
I did my additional research and completed the ballot.
I think had to find my old cable modem to return to the cable company to remove $100 from my final bill. Once in hand, I headed to the cable company local center to drop it off. Then, I headed to DMV to pick up their change of address form. On my way back, I dropped off my ballot at the Voter Registrar.
I filled out the DMV change of address form and prepared it for mailing. I think contacted the company that made my company mother board in order to get a RMA to return it for replacement or fixing. It turns out they had to mail me a form first. ::rolling my eyes::
It took all afternoon, but it’s all done. Just in time to figure out where I’m going to find time to do this weeks errands.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Watch not Watch

Much like the telegraph, male brimmed formal hats, milk delivery men, and other faded cultural norms of the past, the wrist watch is no longer needed and is losing popularity. I remember when I was growing up; it seemed almost alien to be without a watch. My mother and I had discussions about the different ways to wear them. Lefties usually wear their watch on the right hand; right handed people wear theirs on the left. Some people had the clock face on the top of the wrist, and others wear it to the inside of the wrist. The watch could be worn high on the wrist or dangling against the hand.
If you look at any old photo of me that shows my arms, you’ll see the signature small clock with band wrapped around my wrist. Sometime in my early to mid twenties (in the mid 1990’s) I began feeling as though I was walking around with too much gadgetry. I got rid of my cell phone, stopped carrying a pager, stopped trying to use a planner, stopped wear belts unless I really needed it, and slowly, I stopped wearing watches. I vowed to myself that I would wait until all-in-one electronic devices came out before I’d considered carrying or wearing any of that stuff again. I enjoyed the new freedom. I didn’t really need a watch because almost everywhere I go; I can get the time just by looking around for a couple of seconds.
Over time, I’ve developed the habit of specifically making it a point not to wear watches. I still might wear one to a special event for fashion, but I’ve never think about it when such events come up, so it never happens.
It seems for whatever reasons; watches are fading in popularity across our culture. I’m personally glad to see the watch go. It really serves very little purpose now. Some watch makers are trying to increase the value of their watches by adding functions to them, such as compasses or calendars. But it’s a gadget that’s time as past. Good riddens (or riddance if you are so inclined).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Trouble with Its Trouble

Despite my best intentions, it appears I've only achieved an evil factor of 31% Phoowie!

This site is certified 31% EVIL by the Gematriculator

California Proposition Nov 2006

Prop 83 - Known as Jessica's Law. This law is extremely unrealistic. Some of the provisions of the law are good, but many are simply ludicrous. The onthingng that I find completely insane in the requirement for people tagged as "sex offenders" to wear a GPS tracking device for life. WTF? Not only is that completely pointless, it is a complete waste of public funds to maintain a system that has to keep track of these people. It is the first step to requiring more and more minor offenses to also have this GPS requirement limiting their freedoms. Sure, none of us like sex offenders, but I also don't like the fact that society feels it has the right to tell an undefined segment that it can go here, but can't go there, for LIFE! This is a slippery slop to totalitarianism. First it was repeat offender drunk drivers, now this nebulous class of sex offenders, then terrorist, then supposed gangbangers, then violent criminals, then any criminal, then any group who's views don't fit the social order. One day, it will be political opponents, and maybe the general population. Think I'm kidding or exaggerating? Just take a look at the end result just this kind of control over the population in North Korea! Already, the term "sex offender" has been expanded to include people that might be a bit surprising to many. It even has been applied to people that have never been convicted of a crime! How's that possible?! Imagine such limitations being applied to someone that has never been convicted of anything! It will happen. I'm reminded of the book 1984. Another fact that makes this prop just silly is that only 7% sexual assults are committed by registered sex offenders. Most incidents are perpetrated by someone that the victim knows from within their family or circle of friends. Should we next put GPS devices on everyone to prevent the other 93% of incidents? Jessica's law is far too broad. It needs to be more well thought out, and limited to increasing law enforcement's ability to catch perpetrators, increase of prison time, and increase of parole terms. It should also make medical treatment more dominate during and after prison terms. Anything else should be scrapped as unworkable or just ridiculous. NO!

Prop 84 - Proposition to protect and improve our water and nature resources infrastructure. I'm marginally yes. I don't have a strong opinion about this one though. Yes.

Prop 85 - This proposition seeks to establish a waiting period and Parental Notification before a minor can have an abortion. The previously rejected proposition for this same purpose attempted to define when life began in a first step to completely outlaw any abortions. I am in favor of requiring parental notification for any medical activity for a minor, but I'm against the attempts to erode away at a woman's right to choose. So, NO!

Prop 86 - Tax on cigarettes. One issue that hasn't been addressed is the fact that this proposition does remove some level of accountability by Hospitals. Why would a simple tax want to have any say in how Hospitals operate? It is very suspicious. No.

Prop 87 - This is a tax on California oil to fund Alternative Energy research, production and incentives. This is a very good idea. We need to pay for this now or later, and it is always more expensive later. Right now, Texas and Alaska get paid for the oil pumped from their states, but California does not. In fact, even though much of the oil we use is from our own state, we have traditionally paid much more for gas than any other state! We need to kick this oil habit, and this proposition is a big and correct step in the right direction to that goal. It will decrease our dependency on all oil (not just foreign). It takes money from oil company profits (billions of dollars) that should be paid to California anyway. For too long, the oil companies have been taking or oil, making too much money from us by selling it to us at the highest rates in the country. I'm voting Yes.

Prop 88 - I don't have a strong position on this one. So, since it is a tax without any strong purpose for me, I am voting no. (BTW, it's something to do with Education funding).

Prop 89 - It's called Political Campaigns. Public Financing. Corporate Tax Increase. Contributions and Expenditure Limits. Initiative Statute. It seeks to regulate public financing for campaigns, especially for all these propositions. However, it does go way to far. I like the idea of limiting corporation financing of political campaigns, but I'm against many of the other provisions, including taxing corporations to pay for public funding of political campaigns. I don't see the value in this. It would be much better to require TV and radio stations to provide certain amounts of free airtime dedicated to the political campaigns. This would go much farther to evening the playing field between the rich and powerful with grass roots. The more support one has by the people, the more airtime earned. So, while limiting corporations in their funding of pthingcal campaigns (a very good thang), this proposition is over reaching by forcing the bulk of all funding to come from the government. This can be used to eventually silence the minor or grass roots instead of helping them. In my opinion, this Prop is nothing more than a power grab attempt by particular unions. NO!

Prop 90 - This proposition seeks to limit State and Local government use of eminent domain for any other purpose other than public use. It also narrowly defines public use. It does a few other things too, which make the proposal a bit more palatable. I'm pretty much dead set against this proposition. In an attempt to limit government powers regarding eminent domain, it in fact opens the door for developers to do pretty much whatever they want, increasing urban sprawl, while allowing inner city degradation. Cities much develop both by expanding at reasonable rates and by urban renewal. Taking away a government's authority to carry out its responsibility to the people to keep our cities vital, this proposition tries to pull us back to a period in which cities expanded without regard, ignoring their interiors without any an organized overall plan. It puts communities at the mercy of large land owners and developer by taking away the public's right to have any say in the process. It will cost money strapped communities millions to revitalize city interiors, and open them up to unlimited lawsuits regarding any move towards urban renewal. Someone thought, "hey, it would be a good idea to limit government power." But what this proposition really does is limit the people's power to determine the course of their community's future. This is libertarianism taken to an unrealistic and poorly executed extreme. NO!

Prop 1A - This proposition strengthens Prop 42 on how sales tax revenue can be used for transportation purposes. Limiting government's power to fund projects is normally well intentioned, but usually has consequences. A marginal No from me.

Props 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E or all much needed bond measures. I'm marginally Yes on these.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sharing spaces

I’ve been living with my fiancé for about a month or so now. She was already living in the place I moved into, so it was kinda like me moving into her space. It’s taken her a bit to realize just what’s involved to share space with another person, but physically and emotionally. But for the most part, everything is going pretty well. Not much else on this topic to talk about. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Metaphors of Religion

What are my religious views? Metaphors are created to explain what is currently unknowable. Religion is formalization of those metaphors into a belief system that often involves the necessity for particular practices. Far too often, religion takes their metaphors as fact. When knowledge is increased and what was previously unknowable is finally discovered, a religion will often cling to their metaphors. They may reinterpret them to conform to the new knowledge, or may oppose the new knowledge.
Imagine a person who has never seen or heard of a banana. Now imagine that person is hungry. A kind stranger walks along and hands that person a banana and tells them that it is food. The person tries to taste it without peeling it, but really doesn’t know what to do with it. All they know is that they’ve been told is that they can eat it. So, another kind stranger walks along seeing this hungry person looking at the banana. That stranger walks up and peels the banana for the hungry person. But now imagine that instead of eating the newly exposed banana flesh, the person throws the flesh aside and continues to grasp the peel as though the peel well feed them somehow.
This is kinda how religion tends to respond to new knowledge. When the metaphor is found to no longer be useful (peeled away to reveal knowledge), a religious system will often still hold on to it instead of taking in the newly discovered knowledge.
To break free from this, a person must realize that the metaphor has its place, not as factual representation of knowledge, but as a way to explain what is currently unknown. If one can admit that they do not know something, then the metaphor can be used effectively until such knowledge is obtained. This can be an empowering position.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Lorono is one of those surnames that is just hard to figure out. Does it have a meaning? Where is it really from? Anyone remotely famous that can remotely be associated with the name?
Clues are few and far between. Family hearsay suggests some origin in the northern area of Spain normally associated with Castile. However, I was contacted a few years ago by someone who had some sort of familiarity with the name Lorono. That person provided an digital copy of an old regional map which showed the location of a little populated area that bore the name. What was interesting is that he associated the name with the Basque population in the area (north central coast of Spain, near France).
More recently, I did some digging online to find another little populated area that also bore the same name, but in Galicia (north western tip of Spain). I found that the name is listed as being of native origin in Galicia. This is kinda stunning. It’s not a commonly known fact that the people of Galicia are Gaelic. If the name Lorono has its origin in Galicia, there’s a good chance it may have Gaelic origins.
Since the name also appears in the area associated with the Basque peoples in Pias Vasco, the suggestion might be that there is some link between the use of Lorono there and with Galicia.
The Gaelic link intrigues me because I am also part Irish. (Ireland is the only independent Gaelic country in the world.) It means that my heritage has some very interesting twists and turns, and may have yet to reveal some very surprising links across the three continents that my family tree derives from: Europe, Asia and North America.
Other forms: Loroños, Loronos, Loroño.
References: Source 1, Source 3, Source 4, and Source 5.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Interviewed by the Devil?

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: No. I believe in things that are tangible or that can be proven.

Q: Do you have a car?
A: Do I have a car? Yeah, sure.

Q: What make is it?
A: What make? It’s a Ford.

Q: So Ford made your car?
A: Well, yeah. the company Ford.

Q: So your car had a maker? That maker was Ford. Your house has a maker too, just as everything must have a maker. (This statement is sometimes followed by a biblical reference). [Note: Normally, this isn’t actually a question, but a preaching point to link to the next topic, which is usually started before the interviewee can reply.]

Q: Are you a good person?
A: Sure, yeah, I’m a good person.

Q: Have you ever lied?
A: Sure, who hasn’t?

Q: What does that make you?
A: A liar.

Q: Have you ever stolen anything?
A: Sure, I guess.

Q: What does that make you?
A: A thief?

Q: Have you ever looked at or lusted after a woman?
A: Well, yeah, kind of, I guess.

Q: The bible says if someone looks at a woman with lust, they have already committed adultery in their heart. [No pause or opportunity is usually allowed before the next question is asked.]

Q: Have you every used God’s name in vain?
A: Sure.

Q: That’s blasphemy. The bible says that sinners are going to hell. Given your sins, where does the bible says you are going once you die?
A: Well, I don’t believe in the bible, but I guess if you believe in such things, it says you are going to hell. But do you think hell is a reasonable expectation for such minor things. I’m a good person and always do what I’m supposed to do. I’ve never been punished for anything I’ve done by the law, nor have I intentionally tried to hurt anyone. Do you think someone like that should go to hell?

Q: The bible only offers only one way out from going to hell. That is through our Lord Jesus Christ who came down and did something amazing for us. Do you know what he did?
A: Well, again, if you believe in such things, he died for us.

Q: He suffered for us on the Cross to pay for all of our sins and buy our way to heaven. Only by accept him can we escape hell… [At this point, it turns pretty much in to a preaching session. The interviewee is usually left a little confused and frustrated at the fact they just allowed them-self to be preached to by some thickheaded bible thumping dumb ass. If the interviewee iterates being an atheist or brings up any further counterpoints, the interviewer will excuse them-self and abruptly cut the interview short, often iterating comment about going to hell.]

The important thing to note is that the interviewer is employing conversation and thought manipulation. If the person were weak minded (or even just undereducated), they may be influenced into accepting the preached message (even if it’s just a little bit), leaving that person open to being controlled by further suggestions.

Even experienced and educated persons will be trapped in this conversation. There is no real point to this interview other than to find someone who is impressionable or to make the audience feel justified in their belief system by harassing what they consider to be willful unbelievers.

One way to engage in the conversation and make it two-sided is to break up the rote pattern that is being used by the interviewer. Force them to acknowledge answers to their questions instead of just running through a list of questions culminated with a preaching service. Bring them into the conversation by holding them accountable for their questions and answers to your questions. If they are inexperienced, they will be suckered into a pointless point for point debate that they cannot win. If they are experienced, they will excuse them-self and move on to the next hapless victim. This will prevent them from using the interview in their sermons later on. Of course, avoiding the interview altogether is the best choice, but how much fun is that?

So, how about if the interview went something like this?

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Nope. The existence of a god cannot be proven.

Q: Do you have a car?
A: Sure. It’s a Ford.

Q: So Ford made your car?
A: Yup. In a manner of speaking.

Q: So your car had a maker? That maker was Ford. Your house has a maker too, just as everything must have a maker. [Interrupt them at this point.]
A: Do you have a psychology degree with a license to practice?

Q: No. I’m asking you if it is reasonable to say that your car had a maker, but not the Universe, because…[Interrupt them again at this point.]
A: No, you are using psychology conversational tools used to direct one’s thought. But instead of using it to help someone, you are using it as a brainwashing technique. That is wrong, and in your terms, it is sinful to try to control someone’s mind. If your god was real, he wouldn’t need mind tricks to try to con people into being followers. Trust me, if there is an afterlife, you are going be held more accountable for your mind control deeds than any one else you claim is a sinner only because they don’t know Christ. You know what? I’m going to report you to the authorities for practicing psychology without a license. What is your name again?

Of course, it doesn't matter whether anything you say make 100% sense, or is even true (I'm sure there aren't any laws linking flawed arguments with "practicing psychology".  The point is to take up their time so they can't harass anyone else, and to maybe scare them a bit so they think twice before continuing to practice their technique on unwitting people.

Another method is to take the line of rote questions away from them.

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Nope. I find it hard to believe in something that can't be proven. I mean, that's the difference between a car, which has a known maker, and the Universe. You can see that a car was made by humans because it is assembled to fulfill a particular role. But you don't see that in nature. In nature, everything is random. Cars and houses don't just come into being by themselves. If this Universe was created by a nurturing and caring god, one of the main things we should expect is that all of our corporeal needs are directly addressed. For example, people who raise animals feed that animal, groom it, raise it, protect it, and even clean up after its dirty business. Imagine what would happen if a cat owner didn't clean the litter box. Yuk! Yet, this Universe doesn't do any of that for us. We have to find our own food. We have to cook our own meals. We have to build the houses we live in and the cars we drive in. We even have to wipe our own asses. [At this point, the interviewer should be pretty red in the face and trying to cut the interview short. Bate them as long as possible into a pointless argument to keep them from pouncing on some other unwitting victim.]

Yet another way to ask for an insane amount of detail to explain their questions, then use their answers to prove they are not the true religion. This requires some knowledge of the bible, but can be particularly fun.

Q: Do you believe in God?
A: Which god?

Q: The God of the bible.
A: Which god in the bible. There’s several mentioned. Elohim, Yahweh, Jesus is referred to as a god, and Jesus himself calls Satan a god.

Q: The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. That is the only true God.
A: Oh, the Trinity. Which type? Do you believe in three persons, one god? Or is it one god with three facets?

Q: God is three persons and one God. [Of course, the answer doesn’t matter cuz either way, this is the answer:]
A: That's odd, I thought you said you believe in the god of the bible. There’s no mention of that god in the bible. When the bible goes into talking about the nature of god, it only mentions one person. Well, OK. You are a sinner and a blasphemer. I'm sorry. It's against my faith to talk to you about the bible. Christ makes it clear not to associate with bad apples.

Q: [If they are dumb enough to try to argue your points, let them have it.]
A: Nope, I'm sorry. You are the devil appearing as an angel of light. You use god's name, but you do not know him. Get away from me, Satan! Only by accepting the true god can you be saved. Repent now, SINNER!

Any other ideas? :) 

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I figured out what ACURA stands for

ACURA stands for A Car Under Repair Always. OMG, this is crazy. I was taking my car in the dealership for routine service, and on my way there, the transmission broke down. This is the third transmission to break down on my car since I got it back in 2003. Very annoying.