Mar 112015
 

So, the trial of Boston Bomber Joker Whatshisname continues. Recently revealed evidence includes the inside of the boat where he was eventually found. He had scrawled a message on the inside of the boat, sort of a short-form manifesto explaining the Surt-worshipping creed that had caused him to decided blowing up random civilians was a good idea. And after he scribbled it… the cops showed up and poked some holes in the side of the boat with firearms. As a result, some of the missive was lost, due to having a sudden appearance of a bullethole. Thus the transcript uses [hole] where a bit of the original text was shot out. And the results are… well, entertaining.

I’m jealous of my brother who

ha [hole] ceived the reward of jannutul Firdaus (inshallah)

before me. I do not mourn because his soul is

very much alive. God has a plan for each person.

Mine was to hide in his boat and shed some

light on our actions I ask Allah to make me a

shahied (iA) to allow me to return to him and

be among all the righteous people in the highest levels

of heaven.

He who Allah guides no one can misguide

A [hole] bar!

I bear witness that there is no God but Allah

and that Muhammad is his

messenger [hole] r actions came

with [hole] a [hole] ssage and that

is [hole] ha Illalah. The U.S.

Government is killing our innocent

civilians but most of you already

know that. As a M[hole] I can’t

stand to see such evil go unpunished,

we Muslims are one body, you hurt

one you hurt us all, well at least that’s

how Muhammad (pbuh) wanted it to be [hole] ever,

the ummah is beginning to rise/awa [hole]

has awoken the mujahideen, know you are

fighting men who look into the barrel of your

gun and see heaven, now how can you compete

with that. We are promised victory and we

will surely get it. Now I don’t like killing

innocent people it is forbidden in Islam

but due to said [hole] it is allowed.

All credit goes to [hole].

Heh.

 Posted by at 3:52 pm
Mar 082015
 

WESTON LECTURE | MARCH 6

Augustine College is pleased to announce the 17th annual Weston Lecture, a free public lecture given this year by Dr. R.R. Reno titled Against Critical Thinking.

Dr. Reno has served as the editor of First Things, America’s most influential journal of religion in public life, since 2011. He received his PhD in theology from Yale University and taught theology and ethics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska for twenty years. He has published in many academic journals, and his opinion essays have appeared in Commentary, the Washington Post, and other popular outlets. His most recent books include Fighting the Noonday Devil, Sanctified Vision and a commentary on the Book of Genesis.

In his talk, Dr. Reno will argue that the life of the mind is based on our capacity to know and affirm truth. Today’s academic culture overemphasizes critical questioning and doubt. This fails to train us how to assent to truth. For that we need a pedagogy of piety, which means an approach to instruction that is ordered toward that affirmation of truth.

 

 Ahhhh…

And there’s the requisite propaganda poster which draws heavily from science fiction iconography, and seems to be claiming that things like “doubt” and “skepticism” and “questioning everything” are “evil.”

 

Weston_Lecture_2015

And of course there’s also this:

A freewill offering will be taken.

Yup. A “freewill offering.”

The irony here is that Augustine College is probably named after St. Augustine. While Augustine tried and failed to use logical arguments to prove his faith, he did have the occasional bit of wisdom. Wisdom that the good Dr. Reno should take to heart:

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. “

Since this lecture has presumably already occurred, it might be interesting to find out how it went. Whether there were any hecklers. Or even just any critical questions or comments. Like “why should I believe you?” Or “Since I don’t need to think critically, I’m’a gonna go join an ashram.”

 Posted by at 12:11 am
Feb 262015
 

What’s dumber than a western political leader calling for government funded homeopathy and astrology? How about a pack of Surt worshippers trashing their own cultural heritage? Gentlemen… behold:

And on top of trashing a museum full of artifacts, the Islamic State representatives did this:

Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul’s libraries

Remember, kids: you’re a racist if you think some cultures suck.

 Posted by at 6:21 pm
Feb 252015
 

Astrology could help take pressure off NHS doctors, claims Conservative MP

level of stupid

He criticised the BBC and TV scientist Professor Brian Cox for taking a “dismissive” approach to astrology, and accused opponents of being “racially prejudiced”. …

“I do believe that astrology and complementary medicine would help take the huge pressure off doctors.

brosci

“Ninety per cent of pregnant French women use homeopathy. Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart.

“And, yes, I have helped fellow MPs. I do foresee that one day astrology will have a role to play in healthcare.”

twaddle

I looked this dumbass up on Wikipedia. Apparently he’s for real. And apparently his interest in BS “alternative medicine” is real and not new:

Tredinnick supports alternative medicine including homeopathy and chiropractic.[9] In October 2009, he told Parliament that blood does not clot under a full moon; a spokesperson for the Royal College of Surgeons of England warned his colleagues would “laugh their heads off” at the suggestion.[10] In the same debate, Tredinnick characterised scientists as “racially prejudiced“.[9]

Health journalist Victoria Lambert has interpreted Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s call for traditional Chinese medicine to be available on the NHS as an endorsement of Tredinnick’s call for integrated alternative healthcare. Tredinnick claims that “herbal medicine is not quackery”, is cost-effective and, unlike Western medicine, has been used for thousands of years in China.[11]

In July 2013, Tredinnick sponsored an Early Day Motion congratulating a farmer for his decision to use homeopathy.

Ye gods. And I thought American politicians trended towards derp.

 Posted by at 6:16 pm
Feb 192015
 

People practice martial arts for any of a number of reasons. It can be good exercise. It can be a sport. It can be a defensive or offensive combat technique. It can be some sort of spiritual thing.

That latter one is the one that’s most difficult to quantify, of course. But for the most part… who cares? Someone wants to wear their jammies and dance real slow while getting in touch with the Mysteries Of The Universe, hey, great, whatever. There are worse ideas. I suppose. But when the spiritual notions cross over into the more practical applications, that’s when it can become seriously silly. Take, for instance, the martial artists who believe (or at least profess to believe) that they can knock out another person without touching them. Yes, good old fashioned Jedi mind tricks. Now, if you could actually knock a person unconscious just with magical mind powers… the practical applications and implications of that would be profound. Not only self defense, but offense. Imagine if you could mug someone without touching them. Political debates would become entertaining as hell as the candidates try to force-blast each other off the stage. And then the technique would be taught to medical and police personnel: someone is drugged, psycho or injured, or just plain uncooperative… with a glance and a dramatic hand gesture, you could put ‘em into a stupor. It would be fabulously useful.

And these martial artists who claim to be able to knock people unconscious without touching them have the videos to back up their claims, with many and sundry students being shown going goofy when their “master” throws Chi Balls at them. That proves it’s real, right? Well… as it turns out, there is an armor against magic. Who would have guessed?

And this:

And this:

 

What is the armor that works against magical martial arts? Skepticsm. Simply put, if you don’t believe in it, it doesn’t affect you. (Alternative explanation: it doesn’t actually work on anybody; the students shown being knocked for a loop are just play acting. A shocking hypothesis, I admit.)

But perhaps the message to take away isn’t that disbelief renders you immune… it’s that belief renders you vulnerable. Because there is another form of “no touch knockout” that is regularly demonstrated, with apparently equivalent or even more dramatic success. Take a look at this little music video, a mashup of “no touch knockouts” using both “eastern martial arts” and “televangelists:”

On a certain level, if people want to believe in this sort of woo… well, fine, whatever. It’s a free country. But it’s the *promotion* of this sort of woo that’s problematic. If you think you can defend yourself with magical nonsense, the person most likely to suffer is… you. But if you try to convince other people that they can defend themselves with magic, then you are imperiling them, just as surely as if you were convincing them to not get vaccinated.

The televangelists are a slightly different situation. They are not, so far as I’m aware, trying to teach you how to harness this magical ability for your own ends; they are simply using it as a way to impress you at their power. Still, it’s the same level of ethics, and, really, in both cases, be it “chi masters” or televangelists, their goal is much the same: to gain power over the believer and to extract money from them.

But as the videos show, there is a defense against these dark arts: simply don’t buy their BS.

 

 Posted by at 10:29 am
Feb 062015
 

There is a growing religious movement in Iceland. But unlike the rest of Europe, this religious movement is *not* a certain Religion Of Peace…

Why Iceland Is Building a Temple to Its Pagan Gods

A collective of followers called Ásatrúarfélagið has started construction on the shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg, that will overlook the capital city of Reykjavík—for the first time since the Viking religion was superseded by Christianity.

Read about the Icelandic followers of the old gods at the link above and HERE. You may find their view of religion rather refreshing in a world full of people increasingly convinced that some old tome is the absolute Truth when it says that the world was created in six days, or that nonbelievers who should be fought and killed.

“You can’t simply erase your brain and pretend it’s the year 800.”

Preach it, brother.

“I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet . We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.”

“So yes, it’s partly a ‘romantiquarianism.’ But at the same time, we feel that this is a viable way of life and has a meaning and a context. It is a religion you can live and die in, basically.”

“We have caterers.”

 Posted by at 6:08 pm
Feb 012015
 

Fourth-grader suspended after using magic from ‘The Hobbit’

Little kid saw “The Hobbit,” brought a ring to school and told another kid that said ring could make said other kid “disappear.” SUSPENDED!

the principal said threats to another child’s safety would not be tolerated – whether magical or not.

Gah.

Anybody else here old enough to remember when “imagination” wasn’t considered something to be *entirely* stamped out in school?

People freaking out about kids using “magic” makes as much sense as people refusing to vaccinate their kids… and should be met with the same response: if you are afraid of vaccinations or magic, you don’t have to send you kid to school. In fact… you’re not allowed to. Go wipe out your *own* gene pool, leave everybody else out of your stupidity.

 Posted by at 2:50 pm