Daily Archives: June 20, 2009

Subdue the Evolutionists

Through the filter of time … a repost that may still be interesting to you from two years ago.

I had a dream last night that I was in the kitchen cooking Calamari, when several medium sized octopi crawled out of the pot and led me to the basement, beckoning me to come near the computer. They formed a stack, one on top of the other, and the top octopus took the mouse in one tentacle and opened a web browser. Then it typed in a URL and up came a post by PZ Myers extolling me to blog about an entry on the Chalcedon Foundation web site. I awoke in a cold sweat and tried to forget about the dream, but it kept haunting me all day long.

Never let it be said that I don’t know a sign from god when I see one.
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Human Trafficking Report Issued by US State Department

“The ninth annual Trafficking in Persons Report sheds light on the faces of modern-day slavery and on new facets of this global problem. The human trafficking phenomenon affects virtually every country, including the United States. In acknowledging America’s own struggle with modern-day slavery and slavery-related practices, we offer partnership. We call on every government to join us in working to build consensus and leverage resources to eliminate all forms of human trafficking.”
–Secretary Clinton, June 16, 2009

Highlights:

  • There were over 5000 prosecuted cases of trafficking globally last year.
  • Good news: That is a decrease from previous years.
  • The categories of trafficking identified in the report include: forced labor, bonded labor, debt bondage among migrant laborers, involuntary domestic servitude, forced child labor, child soldiers, sex trafficking, child sex trafficking and related abuses

More information and the report itself is available here.

Great White Sharks

Through the filter of time … a repost that may still be interesting to you from two years ago.

The only place I’ve ever seen Great White Sharks in the wild (I’m not a SCUBA diver!) is in South Africa, where you can see them from cliffs, swimming back and forth looking for penguins (and seals?). I’ve heard there were some recent attacks near Cape Town (False Bay) by great whites, but I think they generally don’t eat too many people there. That is probably because most South Africans either stay out of the water entirely or go all the way … in SCUBA gear, or otherwise just keep a careful eye out. I mean, these are BIG fish and hard to miss.

Here is a post discussion the practice of volunteers hanging out on the beautiful cliffs in this region observing for sharks and warning life guards when the see them.

I’m reminded of my first time to the coast with a colleague, to whom I’ll refer as “G” (because his name has a G in it). G and I were staying with a dozen others in a place along the Garden Route, and one morning we decided to walk down to the ocean. G is local, and he knew that I would enjoy seeing this beach.

On the way down the hill, we walked through and around many back yards, on a winding path used mainly by the local kids. There was a particularly large and dangerous looking dog at one point held in by a weak fence that tried to get at us. Later, when we were down on the beach, the dog broke free of the fence and came running at us at high speed. So, I picked up a big piece of kelp-stem, waved it around, and tossed it into the huge, rolling and breaking surf, in which we could see breeding whales (and presumably the great whites roamed).

The dog immediately lost interest in us, headed for the ocean, dove into the surf to get the “stick” … and was not seen again.


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Homicidal Fantasies

Through the filter of time … a repost that may still be interesting to you from two years ago.

… are probably normal. I remember an HBES conference in which we were subjected to a very boring talk. It was not boring at first. The speaker, a well known evolutionary psychologist, started out by asking for a show of hands as to how many people had homicidal fantasies now and then. In the room of about 300, a dozen hands went up. Then the talk started.
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These two school administrators need to be driven into the swamp with torches and pitchforks.

Check it out:

ATLANTA – A suburban Atlanta principal who resigned during an investigation into cheating on students’ standardized tests was arrested Friday and accused of altering public documents.

The school’s assistant principal also turned herself in to local police Thursday night in a case that the head of a state teacher’s group described as rare. School officials allege that the two changed answers on fifth-grade standardized tests to improve scores and help their school meet federal achievement standards

This sort of behavior (only alleged so far in this case, but whatever …) can not be tolerated at all, because we need less, rather than more, blindingly bureaucratic oversight in our schools. Accreditation should mean “doing a good job and we trust them” and not “no one has been arrested for any felonies lately.”

Jeesh.

Details here.

“Towing Jehovah:” James Morrow on Atheists Talk Sunday

First, let’s suppose that Jehovah God is real. Good News for the religious, right? Then, let’s twist it a bit and see what happens should Jehovah die. This would cause a major problem for at least the Abrahamic religions. After all, how could we hope for eternal life if the Provider Himself is subject to mortality? The guarantee of eternal life in His Presence would at that time become null and void. Steps must be taken and a coverup must be carried out. Hiding bodies is difficult enough, but when the body of Jehovah falls from Heaven and turns out to be two miles long, complications multiply. The beauty of novels is that they allow absurdities to shed light on reality, and James Morrow uses the device of the dead god to illuminate our notions on religion and philosophy. Scott Lohman, President of the Humanists of Minnesota, will interview Morrow on our show.

“Atheists Talk” is produced by The Minnesota Atheists Mike Haubrich is the host and director for today’s show.

Details here.

Cronkite Less Ill …

… than previously reported. The word from his assistant, interviewed earlier today with the report coming out in the last ten minutes or so, indicate that Cronkite is going to be fine. Really old and stuff, but fine.

“he is aging. He’s suffering the challenges of age, but he’s not gravely ill. Only God knows when life will end and for Walter, it’s not imminent.” said Marlene Adler, Cronkite’s assistant.