Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Inconceivable Nature of Nature

The Symphony of Science series is a project by John Boswell to turn science knowledge into songs using the auto-tune technique.

This is called, "We are all connected" featuring Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye.

It's so, so beautiful. Amazing. It actually brought tears to my eyes.

Our majestic cosmos.

To see another song featuring Carl Sagan & Stephen Hawking, go here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Guess the theme!

Here are a series of interesting pictures that I found on the internet.

I'll let you guess the theme (and the moral of the story) by yourself.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Making stuff up, Missler-style!

You may have all heard about the concept of 'Bible Codes', 'Torah Codes', or 'Koran Codes'.

Well, the fellows down at AE have stirred my statistically critical ire with their post analysing the problems with Bible Codes. I couldn't agree with them more.

I'm particularly annoyed at the way that I swallowed the concept of Bible Codes with total credulity when I was a child, particularly through the teachings of international business man, prophet, and former Branch Chief of the Dept. of Guided Missiles*, Chuck Missler.

Chuck Missler has an entire section of his website dedicated to elucidating the prophetic codes apparently hidden in scripture.

More specifically, the idea is that if one examines the hebrew Torah (the first five books of our 'Bible'), you can find words spelled out by picking a beginning letter and moving along equidistantly to spell out a word. The problem is, the equidistant letter system (ELS) is deeply flawed. For one thing, there are no rules as to how far along you have to move, nor where you must begin. In fact, ELS can pretty much be used to spell out all manner of nonsense.

Here to prove that particular point is Dr James D. Price and his website that uses ELS to produce negative bible codes.

Yes, you heard it correctly. Dr Price uses ELS to produce contradictory statements ("There is no Spirit. There is a Spirit"), anti-biblical messages ("God is not YHWH", "Jesus is not God"), and some just plain funny ones like, "Jehovah is dead" (go, Nietzsche!), and "Satan is Jehovah" (O rly? Srsly?).

Next time somebody tries to foist the totally uncritical and spiritually abusive practice of bible codes on you, or perform retroactive post-dictions of historical world events somehow 'hidden' in scripture, just look at their Bible and tell them: "There are signs. There are no signs."

[* if Missler really knows about this kind of stuff because of his professional career, then either he knows what statistical nonsense he is teaching and is therefore a dishonest liar, or he doesn't realise what he is doing because he has drunk too much of the koolade]

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Conservative Bible Project part 2

I just couldn't resist putting something else up about this Conservative Bible Project going on over at Conservapedia. It's so bad it's almost impossible to call it between Poe's Law and Poe's Corollary, but the weird part is that whether it began as a faked, mocking article or not (C-pedia IS a wiki, after all) it has picked up a life of its own.

Here are some more examples of why Conservo-bible will be better than plain ol' regular bible:

First Example - Liberal Falsehood

The earliest, most authentic manuscripts lack this verse set forth at Luke 23:34:

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do
not know what they are doing."

Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible.

Second Example - Dishonestly Shrewd

At Luke 16:8, the NIV describes an enigmatic parable in which the "master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly." But is "shrewdly", which has connotations of dishonesty, the best term here? Being dishonestly shrewd is not an admirable trait.

The better conservative term, which became available only in 1851, is "resourceful". The manager was praised for being "resourceful", which is very different from dishonesty. Yet not even the ESV, which was published in 2001, contains a single use of the term "resourceful" in its entire translation

of the Bible.

Third Example - Socialism

Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification. This improperly encourages the "social

justice" movement among Christians.

For example, the conservative word "volunteer" is mentioned only once in the ESV, yet the socialistic word "comrade" is used three times, "laborer(s)" is used 13 times, "labored" 15 times, and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") is used 55 times.

You've gotta be kidding me, now the NIV is being Communist for mentioning a laborer in a field? Give me a break.

And none of this horrid mention of "shrewdness", either, we all know that the statistics show that Christians are qualitatively better than all other
social demographics. It just wouldn't do to have such worldly terms for God's people. Jesus didn't REALLY mean it when he commissioned his Disciples in Matthew chapter 10 and said, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." Everybody knows that snakes are 'resourceful', not shrewd... just check Genesis chapter 1.

Oh, and of course Conservative Jesus (with a short haircut and a business suit) has a new motto: Father, send them all to Hell for they know exactly what they are doing.

Yep, Conservative Jesus is a Jesus that will make up for all those years of Buddy Jesus.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Big Book of Multiple Choice

The lunatics behind the Conservapedia are doing their best work yet:

As if a wikipedia-style website dedicated to the ideology of anti-Obama, anti-gay, anti-liberal, Fox-News style, right-wing, hardline evangelical U.S. Christian conservatism wasn't enough.

The Conservative Bible Project is a way to reclaim the Bible from the claws of the namby-pamby, hippy, marxist, commie, darwinising, liberal, NIV reading heretics.

No more of this 'gender inclusive' stuff, the original hebrew be damned!

Apparently the bulk of the work is going to be done by translating the KJV into modern english. Yeah, there's no way you'd get any translation errors with that. Hebrew and Greek lexicon? What's a lexicon?

They say that as of 2009, none of the existing bibles meet the ten guidelines requires to be a fully conservative translation:

  1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
  2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
  3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level
  4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
  5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
  6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
  7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
  9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
  10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."

Now the Big Book of Multiple Choice has even more choices - now includes Fundiejelical flavour!

If all goes to plan, the Conservative Bible Project will produce a bible that U.S. Conservatives will be PROUD to standardise for use in schools.

Good luck, Comrade.