Thursday, 11 August 2011

skydivephil's "Debunking the Kalam Cosmological Argument of William Lane Craig"

An excellent video that does exactly what it says in the title.

Approximately 29 minutes and 80 to 360 MB according to preferred format.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Rupert Murdoch Theme (by John Williams)

So what would be the perfect musical accompaniment to Rupert Murdoch's appearance before the parliamentary select committee?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

In defence of the indefensible

Rebecca Watson’s The Privilege Delusion in which she describes how she had an uncomfortable encounter in a lift, has caused quite a storm with the eye centring squarely (well roundly) on an ill-judged post made by Professor Dawkins at  pharyngula.

That conversation has now been terminated with extreme prejudice at… wait for it ... 1282 posts! “This thread is closed due to excessive length and prolonged stupidity.” PZ Myers wrote. Amen

It seems that Professor Dawkins post was at least partly responsible for the inordinate length, and I have to admit that his comment did make me wince, but I think I’d defend him by saying he was being sarcastic.

Yes that's right, sarcastic: A crude rhetorical form involving exaggeration.

I doubt that he actually thinks (as has been characterised by many including Ms Watson) that western women should shut up because there are women who are worse off elsewhere, nor I'm sure does he think rape is trivial, but I imagine that he believes the situation for women in Moslem countries is far FAR, worse (and of course it is), and is frustrated by our COMPARATIVE lack of interest in that subject.

And the shitstorm that followed seems to rather bear out the notion. After all, would all that flying effluent have been generated if the article had been about say female circumcision? 1282 comments? I seriously doubt it. A couple of dozen maybe...

It’s the disproportionality I think was probably the source of Dawkin’s irritation. And why he reacted with (say it again), SARCASM.

But unfortunately he came across as patronising to those with faulty sarcasm detectors (or perhaps it’s a Brit thing that Yanks don’t get?), and he didn’t help himself with his second post “clarifying” what he meant.

I think if I had been him I’d have resisted the temptation to justify myself, or if  I couldn’t resist, then just quietly pointed out it was exaggeration for effect.

Anyway PZ has another thread for people who still wish to comment, and the count there is up to 747 already  ...

The News of the World to close! (Then to reopen a week later)

 So the scandal rag that is also "a newspaper institution", The News of the World and one of the oldest parts of Rupert Murdoch's  media empire. is to close because of the phone hacking scandal, and all, of course, politically rather than ethically motivated ...

The Dirty Digger you see is anxious to avoid the blocking of his planned takeover of BSkyB, and the move, hopefully will be seen as utter disingenuous and self-serving.

And the more so, because the Sun on Sunday or whatever it will be called will surely be launched in no time at all ... and then maybe a year or two down the line (and after Rupert has wheeled his deal) the old name will be revived due to "reader preasure" or some such.

And business as usual.

But will the plan work? The cynic in me says it probably will.

Anyway, I wonder if Rupert's phone was one of those that got hacked ...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Phootean ... Ballman

With the reorganisation of the Linux Outlaws forum, I've linked my contribution to the Ballman thread here:

as Dr. Evilball and MiniBall

as Darth Ball

as Windows 7 (of 9)

as Ernst Stavro Bloball

as Hanni-ball the Canni-ball

"No Mr Torvalds, I expect you to die!"

as Gene Simmons

as Jean Simmon (as Varinia)

"I ate Novell with some fava bean and a nice chianti: Thu! Thu! Thu!"

If Steve had never met Bill ...

If Steve had never met Bill ... meet Capt'n Sweatpants

The Ballfather will make you an offer you won't understand

A masterpiece of modern horror: The Fleecing

Pretty Awful

The Ballman and the monster in Young Frankenstein ...
Are they perchance related? I think we should be told.

No longer any doubt: They have the same mole!

Grand-mère, de grandes dents que vous avez!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Deuteronomy 22: It's a man's world

Brothers and Sisters, today's lesson will be taken from chapter 22 of Deuteronomy which begins with instructions on looking after your neighbour's lost property, to some questionable advice about animal husbandry:

1Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. / 2And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. / 3In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. / 4Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. / 5The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. / 6If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: / 7But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.

And so on to verse ... no wait ... hang on what's with verse 5? ...
Amongst the various livestock tips is a non sequitur warning of the perils of cross dressing... Did God's fingers slip on the keyboard perhaps? Put it done to an accidental clipboard paste. Well we've all done it (not cross dressing! I mean keyboard accidents!).

8When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

Watch those building regs!

9Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

... is some advice about making the best of your wine crop. Perhaps God likes a quality tipple? ...
On to the next verse:

10Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

Hmmm ... perhaps God is softening up his audience here with some surreal humour, for there are grim things to come, but not quite yet:

11Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

... is some advice with which Trinny and Susannah might well concur ... no advice on colour coordination though

12Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.

... and some advice that the fashionistas might argue with: Well fringes are so 1970s aren't they?
Next we have another of those jarring changes of direction (perhaps God should have taken a course in creative writing before setting out on such an ambitious work?)
Anyway, It's going to be hard to find humour in the next few verses:

13If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, / 14And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: / 15Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: / 16And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; / 17And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. / 18And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; / 19And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 20But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: / 21Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

... So if a man accuses his wife of not being a virgin on her wedding night -- and she can't prove she was a virgin (ah-hum! as this is a family show best not to dwell on the "tokens of virginity" I feel), then she is to be stoned to death.
I'm afraid that is going to be something of a theme from here:

22If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

... some rare even-handedness there at least!

23If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; / 24Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

... really should have screamed "rape!" louder, sweetheart!

25But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die. / 26But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: / 27For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

... Ah! Not the girl's fault for once!

28If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; / 29Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

... The rapist must pay! (But only if he's caught? Otherwise it's okay?)
And another fixed penalty notice ... doesn't God understand about inflation? The punishment gets less with the passing years.
And what if the rapist is already married? Polygamy allowed presumably.
Oh yes, and the girl's feelings in the matter seem irrelevant ... perhaps she wouldn't want to marry her rapist?

And finally:

30A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.

... which begins with some good public health advice ... but I'm at a loss to explain the last bit: "nor discover his father's skirt"? Whatever could that mean...?

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Golden Rule is OLD

Of cause it's good that the Bible has the Golden Rule just don't let Christians claim they invented it. This cartoon from tells it like it is.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Quotean ... atheism

  • In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe.  How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought!  The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant.  God must be even greater than we dreamed”?  Instead they say, “No, no, no!  My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” — Carl Sagan

  • "The Kalam cosmological argument: something cannot come from nothing. Therefore there is something that came from nothing."  — GrandSupremeDaddyo — comment to Why the Kalam Cosmological Argument Fails

  • "There's a Bible on that shelf there. But I keep it next to Voltaire — poison and antidote." — Bertrand Russell


"The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." — Ferdinand Magellan

"Creationism lost its best argument when the Catholic church stopped burning people at the stake" — Anon

(Earlier quotes I've liked and used as forum signatures)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Billion Dollar Lottery

This is a response to the YouTube video:  William Lane Craig not understanding math and science, in which Craig argues that the universe is so narrowly tuned that it must be the work of God. Craig claims that the four fundamental forces -- strong and weak nuclear, gravity and electromagnetism -- operate in such a narrow band that the smallest fluctuation in any parameter would mean the universe was not conducive to life or might not even be able to exist at all.

Imagine a lottery with a $1billion dollar prize. Along with billions of other people you find it too tempting to resist and buy yourself a ticket.

The day of the draw arrives and you sit down to watch ...

Well sorry my friend but you didn't win. You're a little disappointed but you can hardly be surprised when you consider the absolutely enormous odds stacked against your winning.

But wait! Someone out of all those billion of people who bought tickets has won!

Now for that person the win may well appear miraculous and the result of intervention by some designer, but actually it's just about a statistical certainty that someone will win.

This is of course an analogy. Think of this universe as that lottery winner and Craig as part-owner of the winning ticket is looking around and says "it can't be chance! It must be designed!" But it's no more designed than the $1billion dollar ticket owner's win is designed: It can be very simply explained in terms of probabilities.

Consider the following proposition. The Big Bang was not a single isolated event but rather just the latest in a potentially infinite series of expansions and collapses of a process analogous to the scientifically observed quantum fluctuation, though obvious on an enormous scale.

Well if there were a gazillion previous bang/crunches before OUR Big Bang* then what Craig says is miraculously, and just right, and fine-tuned, isn't any of those things: It's almost surely the case that  over such a sequence on some occasion the ingredients will ignited "just right", then BANG! There's your lottery winner!

Anyway, "we're living in a universe which is fine tuned to us," is like visiting the Galapagos Islands and saying "isn't it wonderful the way God made all these animal to be ideally suited to the conditions in this peculiarly isolated place!" Well no, the animals adapted to the conditions surely, not the other way round. Or at any rate, which is the more likely scenario?

Who knows? In that perhaps infinite chain of universes each bookended by bang and crunch, and each with some difference or other, perhaps there has even been a precursor to William Lane Craig looking about and saying "isn't it just amazing how the universe is so perfectly fine tuned to Strontium-based life forms! There must be a designer!"

Now both our explanations are speculation of course, but mine is surely much more plausible than a claim that involves a completely undetectable being that fine tuning the universe for us, and that, itself, then needs an even bigger explanation  ...

* Before OUR Big Bang is of course a meaningless term since space-time emerged from the Big Bang. This is a failure in the English language, not the principle being speculated upon.

Quotean ... humo(u)r

Dwight: Dude. Who ripped an egger?
Cubert: He who smelled it, dealt it.
Dwight: Well, he who denied it, supplied it.
Cubert: Well, he who articulated it, particulated it.
Dwight: Well, he who refuted it, tooted it.
Cubert: ... Stalemate. — Futurama - Bender's Game

Quotean ... The late great Bob Monkhouse

Archived humorous quotes

Quotean ... computers

  • “There are only two kinds of programming languages: those people always bitch about and those nobody uses.” — Bjarne Stroustrup
  • “PHP is a minor evil perpetrated and created by incompetent amateurs, whereas Perl is a great and insidious evil perpetrated by skilled but perverted professionals.”  — Jon Ribbens
  • “Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.”  — Stan Kelly-Bootle
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station. 

  • “If Java had true garbage collection, most programs would delete themselves upon execution.” [Robert Sewell]

  • “Saying that Java is nice because it works on all OSes is like saying that anal sex is nice because it works on all genders.” [Alanna]

(Earlier quotes I've liked and used as forum signatures)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Quotean ... The late great Bob Monkhouse

  • I saw a specialist who said: 'Have you heard of faecal impaction?' I said: 'I think I saw that one. Didn't it star Glenn Close and Michael Douglas?'.
  • Where do the homeless have 90 per cent of their accidents?

  • "It got up to 94 degrees today - that's pretty good at my age."

The Best God Joke Ever

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!"

He said, "Nobody loves me."

I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?"

He said, "A Christian."
I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me, too! What franchise?"

He said, "Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region."

I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912."

I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Hitch number 8

Hitch Number 8

Christopher Hitchens is currently listed as Time Magazine  eighth most influential person in 2011 as voted by you. (I'm not sure if this is the final list or if it is still open for voting.)

I must confess to being a little disappointed.

Even though these things are arguably superficial (just look at the top seven!), I would still have loved him to receive the validation of being voted the most influential, especially as this might well be his last hazar. (We can still hope he makes a complete recovery, though no nonsensical "praying for a miracle" of course ...)

Anyway he beat the execrable Glen Beck and that must be a source of satisfaction.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Phootean ... Darkly Dreaming Sysyphean

Darkly Dreaming  Dexter Sysyphean

It seems there will be a new season of Dexter: You know? The story of the lovable psycho we can all root for!
This is great news of course, with one proviso: they better not end with a cliffhanger then cancel the series! Especially when they came so close to tying up the story at the end of season five! This IMO is one of the most annoying things about US TV:. Reaper anyone? WTF!
Anyway, this phoot combines my (shameful) admiration of the Dark Dreamer, with my (perennial) hatred of Windows.

Call it an over-compensation fantasy ...

Friday, 22 April 2011

Happy first full moon after the spring equinox!

Happy first full moon after the spring equinox to all my readers! 

(78 visitors, count 'um! I feel so loved!!)

Wait: First full moon after the Spring equinox? Can you get much more pagan than that? But that's how they calculate Easter BION.

And xians get upset when you point out the dubious origins of their faith...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Linux Outlaws 200!

One of my favourite webcasts has reached 200 episodes and is still going strong.
Linux Outlaws 200 (mp3) / (ogg)

But clearly, in a major gaff, Google have failed to acknowledge this landmark, so, in my much less artistic way, I'm happy to fix their blunder.

Maybe at 300 episodes Google will celebrate it properly?

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Quotean ... Atheism Archive

Mostly Humorous Observations by Atheists etc

  • "to be honest.... i think Wendy Wright wins this debate -- there's no way natural selection could be true if she exists"
    [A Youtube comment on "Richard Dawkins Interviews Creationist Wendy Wright . 7 parts -- part 2 is blocked in the UK due a crazy Channel 4 policy , so use a proxy server (!) ]


  • "My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them." - Abraham Lincoln

  •   Man I'd tap those Westboro chicks. They'll probably fuck anything as well. [Youtube comment on Louis Theroux - America's Most Hated Family IN CRISIS]

  • "No Evidence of Non-existence – Welcome to the Twilight Zone.
In an oddly distorted, negative universe Christian apologists declare that there is "no evidence" for their godman's non-existence, as if it should be quite natural to believe in the most fantastic, illogical and unsubstantiated claims unless there was evidence to the contrary. If this stance had any viability, why stop at Jesus? Why not believe in Zeus, leprechauns and the tooth fairy?"
[Kenneth Humphreys --]

  • if we were made in god's image, then why aren't humans invisible too? [50 best atheism quotes]

  • god doesn't exist. so, i guess that means no one loves you [50 best atheism quotes]

  • Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time [Richard Dawkins]

  • The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts [Bertrand Russell]

  • For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. [Carl Sagan]

  • "intelligent design" helping stupid people feel smart since 1987

  • if atheism is a belief, then not collecting stamps is a hobby

  • Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

  • The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully -- Richard Dawkins

  • "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" -- Douglas Adams

  • "Remember what the goldfish said? There must be a god! I mean, who changes the water?" - Juggernaut

  • "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further" -- Richard Dawkins

  • "That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence" -- Christopher Hitchens

  • “In God We Trust.” I don’t believe it would sound any better if it were true [Mark Twain]

  • Religion is God’s way of telling us he doesn’t exist.

  • If Uri Geller bends spoons with divine powers, then he's doing it the hard way. [James Randi]

Quotean ... Humo(u)r Archive

A Collection of Humourous Quotes & Observations

"We're in pursuit of a speeding individual driving a red ... car license number Eggplant Xerxes Crybaby Overbite Narwhal"  [Eddie Edison -- The Simpsons]


"Don't thank me, thank the moon's gravitational pull." ["MacGyver" in The Simpsons]

  • Hank: What about the time I chipped my tooth on the bathroom urinal? What the fuck is so comical about that!
Larry: It was a back tooth Hank. [The Larry Sanders Show]

  • The Dude abides. I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. [The Big Lebowski]

  • One more anal-probing gyro-pyro levitating ectoplasm alien anti-matter story and I'm going to take out my gun and shoot somebody [Mulder - The X Files]

  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak

  • Me no Leica! [one-line review of 'I am a Camera']

  • Sturgeon's Law states that 90% of everything is crap: surely this needs revising upwards in the age of the internet?

  • Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here! [The Dude nearly spills his drink in The Big Lebowski]

  • The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it -- John Gilmore (in 1993!)

  • "Get that cheese to sick bay!" -- Star Trek: Voyager

  • "These are the Cubans, baby. This is the Cohibas, the Montecristos. This is a kinetic-kill, side-winder vehicle with a secondary cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst. It's capable of busting a bunker under the bunker you just busted. If it were any smarter, it'd write a book, a book that would make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon. It would read it to you. This is my Eiffel Tower. This is my Rachmaninoff's Third. My Pieta. It's completely elegant, it's bafflingly beautiful, and it's capable of reducing the population of any standing structure to zero. I call it 'The Ex-Wife' " -- Iron Man 2

  • I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep, not screaming in terror, like his passengers -- Bob Monkhouse

  • It has been observed that there are many more horses asses than horses

  • This is Papa Bear. Put out an APB for a male suspect, driving a... car of some sort, heading in the direction of, uh, you know, that place that sells chili. Suspect is hatless. Repeat, hatless. -- Chief Wiggum

  • Face, we haven't got time for that! Boy George is waiting behind the Sheriff's office - we've got to go! -- Murdock (The A Team)

  • I've learned that if you upset your wife, she nags you. If you upset her even more you get the silent treatment. Don't you think it's worth going the extra mile?

  • People laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian - well they're not laughing now -Bob Monkhouse

  • What happens in Cygnus X-1 stays in Cygnus X-1 -- Futurama

  • ☿ then ♀ ⊕ ♂ ♃ ♄ ♅ ♆ but not ♇ (since 2006). What am I?

  • people seem to know that I'm from Kent - I hear them whispering it as I walk by [Bob Monkhouse]