Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page
Over the weekend Blizzard announced Diablo 3. Diablo 2 was released in June, 1998.
Diablo was the first franchise that I can remember playing over the internet, which makes it memorable to me for that reason. Diablo 2 was an amazing game for its day, played by millions. Thousands still play it today, over 10 full years later. Even I play it sometimes.
But in the wake of World of Warcraft, will Diablo 3 really be able to compete? I’ve played my share of both Diablo 2, and I was a closed beta tester for World of Warcraft. Diablo 3 doesn’t need to woo players away from World of Warcraft (as that would cost them money, since we can assume WoW will be charging a monthly fee when D3 is released and D3 will not) since that would be a cannibalistic practice. But Diablo 3 does need to convince people to log off WoW long enough to go buy Diablo 3 and play it long enough (and enjoy it) to tell their friends about it.
In light of what World of Warcraft has to offer now, and what Diablo 2 offered then, here’s a short list of the criteria that would require me to play Diablo 3 (over World of Warcraft):
- Fun, diverse combat. From the look of the gameplay demo, it’s good so far. But mostly they showed the barbarian doing a lot of the same (leap and whirlwind). Now I understand this is early in development, and I will also give them credit for showcasing how different tactics need to be used for complex monster behaviors (e.g., there were skeletons with shields guarding archers – they block until you stun them, then they can be easily killed). But this needs to be implemented exhaustively and be unique for every class. This is going to be the biggest challege. Currently, World of Warcraft suffers two major flaws as far as combat is concerned. First, each class has exactly 1 method for killing every monster that they use over and over and over again. Mob tactics vary only very slightly. The second problem is that World of Warcraft is balanced for 1v1 combat. Most classes can’t, or don’t want to, fight multiple monsters at the same time because even though you may survive, it guarantees that you’ll need to sit and rest for 30 seconds after the fight is over. This breaks any kind of pace and is not exciting. Diablo 2 scored in this area, since it focussed on mass killing of smaller monsters (some of whom were very tough to take down!) but Diablo 2 did not score in the diversity area. I played a sorceress and while you could make different sorceresses that focussed on different spells, you typically picked one or two spells (frozen orb, CB, enchant, etc) and used that exclusively. This made the game a monotonous XP grind at higher levels.
- A lot of content. The Diablo series has always been awesome even with very little content (the original only had 4 meager tilesets!) because of the randomnization factor. Based on the gameplay video, I would be amazed if Diablo 3 has true randomnization of its maps. Hellgate: London was made by the people who pioneered map randomnization for the first two titles and they failed to deliver as soon as it was expanded to 3D. Now, Diablo 3 is not true 3D – it still appears to be a fixed isometric camera. This is not a problem. 3D cameras are good for FPS’s and MMO’s, but in a game like Diablo, randomnization and replayability are more important than being able to view the environment at very angle. I’d rather the D3 team hide their sins by locking the camera than trying to make true random 3D and failing. If they can pull off the detail in the demo video (scripted events, monsters leaping out of walls, trapped chest rooms, etc.) with enough randomnization to make every adventure unique, they can get away with fewer tilesets at launch.
- No open B.Net. Diablo 2 had 2 multiplayer modes. The first was a direct-hosted TCP/IP version like the original Diablo had – one player acted as the host and other players connected to them. They decided to create something called Open Battle.Net which was little more than using the game client as a specialized IRC client that aided players from around the world to connect for these TCP/IP hosted games. The other mode was true Battle.net in which Blizzard owned, operated, and controlled servers hosted the games and stored your character files. While open Battle.Net was a good idea in theory, the only thing it did was encourage hacking. A lot of players, especially the younger ones, were enticed to use open Battle.net so they could use trainers and create max level characters with all the goodies right away. Unfortunately this not only motivated hackers to create trainers since they had a freely available test platform, but it ruined the experience for a lot of people. It also gave the hackers a testing playground to try out bot technology, so once the bots were released onto closed Battle.net, the game’s “economy” went to crap, and so did all of its random multiplayer. Any game you joined was likely to be instantly joined by farm bots and thus ruined. You could kick/ban them from your games, but there’d be a hundred other new ones the next day. Open Battle.Net should be eliminated. Single player characters should exist, and if they want, so should TCP/IP for small group play with close friends (and for lans!) but nix the idea of Open Battle.Net.
- Much better PvP. It took Blizzard years to refine World of Warcraft – people were asking for arena back in closed beta. If Blizzard spent a few extra months and developed a few PvP “battleground” mode games similiar to AB, WSG, AV, etc. where you could take your characters and participate in death-match style games, they’d sell millions. I don’t know if Blizzard is planning a console version but the potential for this on XBox Live is huge. Thus a key to the development of the character classes should be to balance them in PVP, which is something Blizzard considered with Diablo 2 only as an afterthought. Grinding levels and gear makes it easier to kill monsters better, but a lot of people are motivated to grind levels and gear to be better than all their friends (and to prove it by kicking their asses, preferably publicly). Don’t ignore this drive in your audience, Blizzard.
From what I saw in the gameplay video, Diablo 3′s graphics are beautiful and the actionlooks like exactly the kind of action Diablo is famous for. I am rooting for them, but I’m also not holding my breath. I would be shocked if we saw this title before late 2009. I hope it’s worth the wait – by then it will be almost 12 in the making.
My post in response to the God Is Imaginary people has generated a lot of interest. One of the incoming links to that post is from atheist.net in which literally hundreds of responses were generated from a link to my post – which is supposedly an unbiased look at the workings of the Christian brain. I’m not sure if I should be flattered or annoyed since I believe I firmly stated in the forematter of the post that I am neither a Christian nor an atheist – I am at present a neutral party. I am attempting to give equal treatment to both arguments.
I will now present you 10 questions that I have asked myself, through the lens of atheism, and have been unable to come up with sufficient explanations. I welcome any intelligent atheist to comment in response to all of some of these questions and offer your answer to them as an atheist. I will also present these questions with my own commentary (I do not present these as answers since, as I said, I am unable to sufficiently answer these).
1. Are you a moral relativist, or do you believe in absolute morality? In other words, do you believe that cultures, or even individuals, can define their own rules on what is moral and what is not, or do you believe that every action has one unique, absolute, and true moral assessment?
I have written about this one already, but it’s an important one, since Biblical morality, and the assertion that a God is responsbile for defining and dictating actions as moral by many Christians is a point of contention and is frequently used in arguments on the matter. This issue is compounded by the fact that the morality as defined by the Old Testament is different than the morality defined by the New Testament which is different than the morality exercised by most people today (in general, people today believe the Bible is immoral, including many Christians on many points such as slavery, the killing of homosexuals, and so forth).
As an atheist, if you are to be consistent, then as I see it, two scenarios follow depending on what you believe. If you are a moral relativist (you do not judge other cultures, such as the Iranians, because their moral code is different than your own), then you must necessarily also not use the morality argument as a reason to be an atheist – simply because the morality of Scripture was practiced by a now extinct culture does not mean it alone can be judged. If you believe in universal morality, then the answer to another question becomes central to your belief system: who or what determines which actions are moral and which are not? This is my dilemma. I do believe in absolute morals, but I cannot reconcile the fact that I do not trust any human being, no matter how smart they are, including myself, to prescribe to me what is moral and what is not. Sure, I go by my gut, and I consider myself a pretty moral person, but I am also not so arrogant to believe that I uniquely know what is moral and what is not especially since I will readily acknowledge that the older I get the more moral I become – actions I would have considered moral 10 years ago I consider immoral today, so how am I sure that I will not also think that actions I take today as moral will not be immoral to me 10 years from now?
I have seen a few atheist writings about this topic that attempt to create some logical formula for judging an action, such as this one from ebonmusing: “Always minimize both actual and potential suffering; always maximize both actual and potential happiness.“
I am not convinced. Although his essay is thorough and attempts to explain how and why morality can be universal and where it comes from, I don’t buy most of it, nor do I even think his rule is valid. I have several simple examples which defeat it, and I’ll post them in a comment if you can’t come up with them on your own (they are trivial).
This example shouldn’t distract you from the fact that question above still isn’t sufficiently answered. Think on it. I think you’ll be hard pressed.
2. Is your trust in science based on faith or based on science?
What I mean is this: how much do you actually know about the science most atheists parrot? Most atheists know as little science as most Christians know as little theology. Just as a Christian trusts his priest to tell him what he believes, an atheist trusts scientists with a Ph.D. tacked to their name to tell them what they believe. But how many times have the scientists turned out to be wrong? I only ask this because it seems this is central to the problem that most atheists have. They are repulsed by the phrase “believe” – they are addicted instead to the phrase “know”. But honestly, do you really know, or are you just believing what you’re told? I would like to remind you that in the 1970′s the scientists of the day were seriously concerned that we were about to enter an ice age, and less than 30 years later they are now convinced Earth is about to turn into a desert.
Unless you’ve observed something yourself, or observed and interpreted the evidence yourself and drew your own conclusions, you are just as guilty as faith as any religious person. I will demonstrate this fact by asking you, the atheist, the following questions.
These are all questions that would typically appear on a 100 level biological anthropology couse taught in universities around the world. They relate to your favorite topic: evolution. I will post the answers (and the reasons why you should believe me) at the bottom of the post:
- Name the major extinct hominid species from which human beings are presently believed to have evolved.
- How long ago did the modern human (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) come into existence?
- How long ago did early hominids leave Africa?
- How long ago did hominids split from the other primates?
- Which biological feature is believed to be the most important in the evolution of man, and why?
- Name one phyisical trait or behavior that is unique to the genus Homo.
- Who were the neanderthals? Where did they live, when did they live, and why are they gone?
- A major event occurred approximately 70,000 years ago very relevant to the evolution of humanity. What was the event, and why is it significant?
If you can’t answer these questions, I think my point is illustrated. And please don’t dwell on the fact that even if you don’t know the answers, the answers exist. Because if you could answer these questions you would know enough to know how little we actually know about these topics.
3. Where does language, art, music, and religion come from?
This question is related to #2 – most atheists will parrot something about cranial evolution (without knowing the slightest bit about the topic) – but this is in fact one of the most baffling questions in anthropology today and it remains unsolved.
Approximately 50,000 years ago (the numbers vary), we suddenly see an explosion in things like archaic flutes, abstract cave drawings (not just represntations of observations like antelope and men with spears), venus figurines, evidence of ritual burials, etc. Before this date: nothing.
Why? Survival? I don’t think so. Our hominid cousins, the Neanderthals, who lived at the same time, in the same place, and for much longer, didn’t need any of that to survive. The hominids before either of us, H. Erectus, lasted even longer without any of those things. Greater mating potential? Maybe, but you’re stretching, and you know it. And you have what? No proof. So, I ask you, where does it come from?
You’ll find that in order to explain this you have to rely on the same kind of faith in evolution and natural selection that Christians use in defending their faith. Same basic human behavior, different parameters.
4. Suppose, hypothetically, that you met with someone who knew nothing about you except your first name. And this person was able to accurately name deceased family members, dicuss in detail how they died, and describe intimate personal details about your relationship with these people (including people you aren’t consciously thinking about). How would you explain this?
I ask because this is a documented phenomenon. I am highly skeptical of these “mediums” myself. However, my two parents and two family friends (one of whom was the mother of Meghan Kanka of Meghan’s Law) went to see such a medium by the name of George Anderson. This man was able to pinpoint all of the things I described in my hyoptheticals for both Mrs. Kanka, our other guest, and my parents – up to and including the supposition that my deceased grandmother has forgiven my mother for not holding her hand while she was dying, a fact which has kept my mother away from her mother’s grave for two decades.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – you don’t believe it. Neither did I, until I heard the tapes. Now, I can’t explain any of this, and neither can you, unless you start making enormous stretches – for example, that he had some preordained knowledge of the guests, or that he said things that were too vague and could apply to anyone, etc. I’ve heard it all. I am statistically intellectually smarter than 95% of the population. I am not easy to convince about anything, but I am convinced that it was real. I can give you more examples of facts that he couldn’t have possibly known even if he had a private investigator tracking my parents for 40 years prior to their meeting.
So, I ask, what enormous stretch are you going to make to prove that this is nonsense? Is he reading peoples’ minds? How known is that to science? Any explanation you could make is as much or more absurd as any claim a Christian makes about how Jesus rose from the dead.
5. Is absence of proof the proof of absence?
This belief is fundamental to the atheist position. You must answer yes to this question or you have a very hard time denying most, if not all, religious beliefs. However, you should also see how absurd this statement is. The fact that it is always impossible to prove that something does not exist does not change the fact that it cannot be known that something doesn’t exist. So mustn’t you be agnostic? I’ve heard responses to this one too, but they have so far been illegitimate and unsatisfying.
6. What does the atheist position offer people? How has it improved your life? Why will it improve others’ lives?
This question stumped Richard Dawkins, so maybe you have a better answer.
I imagine it’s something along the lines of, “I’m free from a silly delusion!” which I would reduce to, “I used my enormous intellectual powers of intelligence to conclude that I am right!” I also believe that what follows is a comfortable level of superiority over all of those misguided, stupid Christians who are obviously not nearly as smart as you are. If that helps you sleep at night, I guess. But in what I’ve seen, at least of the vocal atheists floating about the internet, this is almost unilaterally the case. Just watch any one of the atheists on YouTube. They give off such a condescending vibe it makes your head spin. Of course, to admit that this is true for you is pretty impossible especially since you’ve probably gone over this in your head so many times that you truthfully believe that you are merely right, not merely arrogant. And maybe you aren’t arrogant, but if you aren’t, you should have a good answer to this question.
I don’t. And while I admit that Christianity has been the cause of great suffering for many people over the years, I also believe that it has been the cause of great happiness for many people over the years. Does the good outweigh the bad? I am inclined to think yes. Personally, I’d rather take the good with the bad than take nothing at all, which is the atheist position as I see it.
7. When you attempt to use logic to conclude facts about religion, are you starting at the conclusion (God is not real), or are you starting at true premises? Be honest. If you are starting at true premises, then what are they? And how are they true? Think about #5 when you answer.
This one has been a real problem for me when I listen to the majority of atheist arguments. They claim that they are the logical ones, and that absence of logic results in faith, but I watch them constantly do exactly what I’ve described in the question. How do you know any premise is true? Most people gloss over this fact by correctly observing the fact that no one really ever knows anything since this question can be applied to anything, up to and including your own very existence. But how does this fact change anything? You still don’t know whether any of your logical premises are true.
As I’ve said before, logical debates work because both opposing parties agree on premises as being true before they start. Otherwise, you end up in this trouble. The example is this: the abortion debate focuses on whether a fetus is alive or dead because both sides agree that killing humans is bad. In order to make abortion not bad you have to prove that a fetus is not a human life.
Since there are few, or no, premises that can said to be definitively true on this topic, how on earth can you use logic to work out anything?
8. If all Christians believed that the Bible was entirely allegorical, what would you argue in support of your position?
I have heard very few atheists intelligently debate this issue without bringing up the Bible. Let’s assume that it is totally allegorical and Christians didn’t literally believe in Jesus and believed only that the Bible books were stories told by God to illustrate his word. Would this change how you viewed the belief in God? If not, why not?
9. Why is it important to you that everyone is an atheist?
I find that many atheists tend to b extremely dogmatic. They are intent on converting everyone they meet. Many atheists don’t care, but if you do, why do you feel so strongly about it? How is your preaching different than any religious preacher attempting to convert you?
10. Do you believe in extra-terrestrials?
I saved the best for last. I want you to think long and hard about this. We have as little or less evidence that E.T. landed in Roswell than any evidence we have for the truth in any part of the Bible and yet almost every single atheist I meet believes that we are not alone in the universe despite there being no evidence whatsoever. They hand-wave me to death with stories like, “even if only one in a trillion stars had planets and only one in a trillion planets had life and only one in a trillion planets with life hosted intelligent life there would still be eleventy-gazillion earths in the universe”, or they make up fairy tales about Area 51.
If you are an atheist, I am going to require that you also do not believe in E.T. And if you acknowledge that E.T. has not been observed but is likely to exist, I demand that you also acknowledge that God has not been observed but is likely to exist.
Comments if you like.
The real fear-mongerers are pretty much every journalist in the country.
If you listen to the news lately – typhoons in Burma, floods in Missouri, any speech by Barack Obama, this endless talk about gas prices and the “recession” - you might conclude that the world is in shambles.
But then, when I pause for a minute and ask myself whether a single one of these events has affected me in a specific, tangible way, the answer is no. The only good it does is stir emotions of, lately, fear, that America is headed toward a black hole of oblivion and unless we elect the right politician in November, we will surely disappear from the earth.
The only reason I hear about any of this shit is that universities are churning out idealistic jouranlists into an extremely competitive, and from what it appears, petty, industry where the only thing anyone cares about is ratings. They get ratings by making completely irrelevant stories sensational, and lately, it’s all been fear mongering.
I haven’t starved because gas is $0.50 more a gallon, and I am really sick of celebrities whining about Fox news and O’Reilly as if what they say actually matters. It doesn’t – not to its supporters or its protestors. The fact that the swishy douche from Coldplay would sing about Fox news indicates an extreme break with reality in which the news matters. It only matters if you let it – don’t let it.
Just don’t listen to the media, or journalists. Scum of the earth. I’d rather just not know, especially since even if I had the energy to attempt to change something, the requisite numbers of people who agree with me don’t exist because an object at rest stays in rest. It’s just innertia, folks.
On a lighter note, it seems one of the three top search phrases that brings people to this blog has recently become the following:
gayness is illogical to a vulcan
Here’s a heavy one for you this morning:
It doesn’t matter if you are right. About anything. It is totally irrelevant.
The older I get the less I care about being right. I believe there are four prevailing reasons for this:
1. There are so few things on which “right” doesn’t equate to some belief that is subject to change and can legitimately vary between two thinking people. This may sound surprising coming from me if you have read some of my other rants. Even when I am bashing people for being stupid, irrational, and liberal, I understand where they’re coming from and why they believe what they believe – my objection to, well, everything, is that from a practical standpoint their beliefs are impossible and dangerous. Nevertheless, the fact that I believe universal healthcare is wrong and so many other people believe it’s right is a debate that is impossible to settle – I’m right because it can’t possibly be implemented well and will result in disaster, but they’re right because if it were easy and free it would be a fantastic idea. This leads me to my next point…
2. People’s minds are virtually impossible to change. By the time someone is a young adult their opinions – and their method for choosing opinions on new issues as they arrive – are set in stone. No amount of discussion, logic, or proof is going to change their minds. So, no matter how right I am, it doesn’t matter, because if I can’t convince someone else that I’m right, then truth is totally irrelevant, isn’t it? Which leads me to…
3. Even when you succeed in convincing someone of the errors in their ways, they hate you for it. Nobody likes being wrong, and nobody likes having how wrong they are illustrated in technicolor by a jerk who’s always right about evertyhing. There are very few circumstances and issues where you can convince someone of something and have the result be positive for both people involved. The list is short and is always occupied by totally inconsequential things like convincing the driver that she should make a right at this light instead of a left. Just try and convince someone that global warming is bullshit. It can’t be done, and even if it could, they’d be embarassed that they carried the flag for something so patently stupid it makes most intelligient peoples’ heads spin.
4. Being right requires energy and quite frankly, that energy could be spent doing something other than wasting your breath and the emotional investment you have in your rightness. I mean, think about it – for all the time I’ve spent writing diatribes about why liberals are idiots, I could have written – and maybe even published – a novel. Instead I’m filling the internet with trollbait on issues that are divisive and will always be unreconciliable.
I couldn’t have comprehended this only a few short years ago. For most of my life I have cared desperately about being right, convincing everyone, and proving it. These days, after years of failing even when my position is irrefutable, I’ve given up the pursuit and I have concluded that it is a total waste of time.
It doesn’t matter that you’re right – nobody cares.
The sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be.
One thing I’ve noticed that is rife among people who like to berate religion is their opposition to the so-called amorality of the Bible.
I would only ask you this: why are these so-called attrocities so wrong?
That’s it. Why?
Why is slavery bad? Why is the oppression of women bad? Why is killing homosexuals and anyone who works on the sabbath, or teenagers who do not honor their parents bad?
Please. I’m not saying they are or they aren’t, I’d just like to illustrate a pretty important point here.
Simply because your ideals of morality conflict with the ideals of morality as they were in the past does not make your views necessarily any better or worse. I believe a lot of atheists become atheists because they are unwilling to look past this issue. They are fixated upon it. They are obsessed with the fact that the Bible says that God commands us to do all of these “wicked” things and that God’s law is truth, but if that’s true, then it conflicts with their perceived rules of morality, and therefore, rather than draw the conclusion that they are the ones who are immoral, they draw the conclusion that God is not real.
I’d like to reiterate that because it’s the thrust of this post: you and the Bible disagree on your definition of what is moral and what is not. Since the two of you disagree, and there must be an absolute moral truth, there are only three possible scenarios that result. 1) you are wrong, 2) the Bible is wrong, and 3) you and the Bible are both wrong.
In absence of some kind of supreme moral authority that most atheists readily acknowledge does not exist (partly since Christians like to claim God serves that role, and anything a Christian believes must be wrong), why, and more importantly how, do you conclude, that you are right and the Bible is wrong?
The answer is simple. You are arrogant and are, in your mind, impervious to being wrong.
Put another way, your morals are bone-deep, ingrained into you from the time you were an infant until today. These morals are the morals that modern Western culture agrees upon and prescribes to its children. You are no less a victim of your morals being served to you against your will by your culture than Moses, Mary, Joseph, Paul, and Pontius Pilate.
You can’t even conceive of a world where slavery is morally acceptable. You can’t wrap your head around the idea that had you been born 400 years earlier, you would be capable of being a slave owner without even questioning whether it is good, right, and true. This requires that you necessarily pass judgments on any set of morals that are different than your own (unless doing so would make you appear to be close minded, as in the case of certain cultural practices most Americans find amoral, like FGM or most or Iran). Since passing judgments on an extinct moral value system like the one described by the Bible is both fashionable and won’t offend anyone who is currently alive, it’s perfectly okay.
I often hear atheists come up with all sorts or justifications – they are usually overflowing with them – but none of them are new. They are all the same canned responses that come with the morality-injection we all receive merely for being born and raised in America. They are all the same canned responses that were used to eradicate certain cultural traditions that we now frown upon (e.g., slavery). They try to generalize these into broad sweeping statements like, “I believe in equal human rights for all people” and “I believe in life, which means never taking a life for any reason, whether it is capital punishment, or killing someone on the sabbath, or stoning someone to death (except abortion – that’s okay)”. They try to get all academic about it, like, “morality is defined by the interactions between two humans, if an action done by one human can inflict harm upon another, then it’s immoral, etc.” That’s all well and good but it still doesn’t answer the question.
Why. Why. Why.
There is no answer. There is no solid reason why I shouldn’t harm people to better myself, which leads to another endless, circular, philosophical debate about the nature of morality in general.
So what’s my point to all of this?
Only that if you’re an atheist who likes to use the morality angle, you should do a little bit more thinking. You will sit for hours on YouTube and wax idiotic about how ridiculous the notion of a book like Genesis is because you don’t understand it and therefore it is stupid and silly, but then you’ll forget the fact that the very nature of morality is equally baffling, but that won’t stop you from using it as an argument against Christianity.
You’re as much a victim of your own culturally-ingrained value system as the Bible writers were of theirs, and there isn’t any evidence whatsoever to suggest that God – if he does exist – would necessarily like our present cultural value system more or less than the one described in the Bible as coming from God directly.
Does this mean that we should simply reject the Bible then, because its morality system is different, no matter what the cause? A lot of people have, and there is a validity in that course that is hard to deny. If the Bible has so much repulsive material in it, why should you listen to any of it?
Well, there are a few issues here. First, like virtually everything in life, there’s good stuff in there and bad stuff. If you dwell on the bad stuff, you’ll see it as all bad. For every discussion of killing homosexuals, beating slaves, and demeaning women in the Bible, there are 10 discussions about loving thy neighbor, turning the other cheek, and doing ‘un to others as you’d have them do to you. This leads us straight into our next issue.
If the Bible is the word of God, why is it so inconsistent then? God is supposed to be perfect, right? Well, I’m no Biblical scholar, but God, especially the Old Testament edition, was pretty fickle. Pretty tempermental. He changed his mind a number of times, didn’t he? He created us in His image, and we change our minds all the time. Is there anything wrong with that? “But why then doesn’t God clarify that in the Bible? Why doesn’t he write a final book that says: here it is. This is how I feel, and this won’t change until I tell you again.” I would argue that such a book would make everything far too easy, and it’s not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be hard. I’ll get to that in a moment…
A correlary of this last issue that I want to briefly touch upon is the problem of “all or nothing” when it comes to the Bible. A lot of atheists like to claim that you aren’t a true Christian unless you take everything in the Bible literally. And when they start out on these tirades about it, they always make this caveat the second anyone suggests to them, “hey dude, why don’t you just ignore the parts about beating your slaves because even if God does want us to have slaves, he’ll just have to forgive us for being born in a world where it is impossible to own slaves, so these parts don’t apply.” They realize that their argument hinges on a handful of examples of “repulsive” Biblical passages and the only way that they can convince Christians to abandon it is if they imply that you can’t be a true Christian unless you are a complete Bible literarist and if you aren’t a true Christian then you might as well be an atheist.
I think one of the beauties of the Bible, and Christianity, and religion in general is that it isn’t easy to understand. The reason I am taking interest in it now (after many years of laughing at it the same way I watch atheists do all over the internet) is because only after I have gotten older has any part of it begun to make sense to me. One of my favorite authors, Tertullian, is quoted as saying that a Christian cannot be born, a Christian must be made. And I think that’s the reason the religion has endured as long as it has. If you open your mind instead of closing it, you might be surprised.
It’s a journey. A hard journey, especially for the modern American. You have to come to terms with a lot of the major intellectual problems that we face because we are Americans in order to even begin to accept anything that religion has to offer. We are taught morals that conflict with the morals of Jesus’s day. We are taught a very science-heavy education that values observation, absolute truth, and the logical process. Our culture and our world changes so fast that it’s easy to look at anything that happened more than 100, or even 50 years ago with anything other than an air of skepticism and an attitude of condescension. All of these attributes make us exactly the kind of people who would be repulsed by an old tradition that isn’t taught, and when it is, it’s taught the way it was taught to 19th century farmers, not 21st century scientists. It just doesn’t work.
As for me – I want to believe, but it’s not easy. And I’m certainly not all the way there. But, I’m closer than when I started, mostly due to thought experiments like the one I’ve just shared with you. Take the same air of skepticism that atheists apply to Christianity, and apply the same air to their arguments. If you want to believe that they are as wrong about their beliefs as much as they want to believe they are right about them, it’s not hard to find as many or more holes in their thinking than it is for them to find holes in Noah’s Ark.
I’ve been seeing those ads for that weird movie The Happening all over TV so, on a bit of downtime I decided to find out what actually is happening in that film.
I’d warn you about spoilers but they’re so stupid you’ll hardly believe me.
The plants are defending themselves from evil mankind by releasing a neurotoxin that makes humans commit suicide en masse.
Are you f’ing kidding me?
Aside from the obvious global-warming-nutjob undertones, anyone who takes this premise seriously for more than 10 seconds should be stripped of any credentials, academic, or otherwise. Or perhaps they should just make like the Happening and end it all.
A glaring issue with this preposterous dreck is that there is an implication that this is somehow a consciously planned effort on behalf of all plantlife world wide as if 1) they can think, 2) they are smart enough to concoct such a plan and 3) they’re in it together. All three of those implications are absurd.
Even if you doubt this implication, you’d still have to rationlize this as some kind of evolutionary defensive maneuver. The sheer mechanics of such a thing are impossible on so many levels. First, such a neurotoxin would have to exist. The likelihood of a poison that can induce complex behavior like premeditated suicide existing is remote. In order for it to be epidemic, this “poison” would have to be some how airborne, and in what form? A chemical toxin would need be a solid, a liquid, or a gas. Perhaps tiny evil pollen? Perhaps evil scent molecules? Perhaps a devious plant fart? Next, plants, or a plant, would have to produce this toxin in large quantities. Next, there would have to be a lot of these plants, in a largely distributed area. If this is a toxin, it doesn’t behave like a biological vector that enters the host, reproduces inside the host, and can therefore transmit from host to host. Next, the emergence of this toxin would have to occur all over the largely distributed area at the same time. Next, the first place where this would occur would be rural plant-rich areas (The Happening starts in a city, by the way). And on. And on. The chance of any one of thse things happening is almost zero let alone all of them. A monkey is more likely to fly out of your butthole than any of the premises of this film.
Even if you can suspend your disbelief, the final nail in the coffin of this stupid piece of shit is the fact that plants would have no reason to do this in the first place.
Listen up, morons. In the last 100 years, thanks to humans, all plant life has been flourishing. While it is true that we tear down rainforests, we also cultivate many billions more plants than we destroy every year. This fact aside, however, the real reason plants are flourishing is because we are increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Plants breathe CO2. The rate at which plants can metabolize due to higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere has increased drastically. They are much better off because of us.
You will be much better if you keep your $10 and skip this piece of shit. Go watch the Incredible Hulk instead. It’s a little bit more believable.
I’d say the headline says it all:
“I couldn’t believe it,’ Percival said. “This was the baby I thought I’d terminated. At first I was angry that this was happening to us, that the procedure had failed. I wrote to the hospital, I couldn’t believe that they had let me down like this.
In November, Finley was born three weeks premature. He had minor kidney damage but is expected to lead a normal life.
“I still struggle to believe just what he has fought through. Now he’s here I wouldn’t change it for the world.“
Every woman who has ever had an abortion and then gone on to mother children has regretted her abortion. Be responsible, people.
Some dipshit, worthless, waste of time HR employees who are bored decided that they should inflict extra work on the employees who actually produce what our companies sell so they can have something to list as an accomplishment of their own vacuous careers. It’s called the IDP, or “Indepdent Development Plan”. It involves some pointless form that we are supposed to fill out about how we’re planning on growing or some shit. Look, guys, I’m here to get paid, and you’re my boss(es). I’m not here to grow as a person. If my execution of the job for which you are paying me a salary displeases you, then fire me. But please don’t waste our time with this horse shit.
In cruel irony, this is the picture they show on the website that someone got paid thousands of dollars to put together expressly for this quixotic endeavor:
Call me a cynic, but that looks suspiciously like a bridge or an office roof. And that also looks suspciously like a douche getting ready to jump.
Plummeting at high speed toward inevitable death is preferable to completing an IDP.
Eat shit, Hillary.
McCain 2008, amirite?
Last night I mentioned off-hand that 4 out of 7 Californian supreme court justices should be disbarred. This prompted an objection. “Well, shut up, because I support gay marriage.”
Let’s walk this one through.
1. What has marriage traditionally been?
A union between two heterogendered adult human beings from the same culture/race and the same religion.
2. Let’s enumerate the properties of marriage. For the same of argument, I’m going to replace the general terms “culture”, “race”, and “religion” with concrete examples representing the majority:
- Heterogendered (one man, one woman)
3. How has marriage evolved in recent memory?
- Interreligious marriages have always existed and have always been secularly legal in the United States (at least, in recent memory). Jews marry Christians all the time. Any combo you can think. Scratch that.
- Same goes for culture/nationality – that has never really been enforced. So let’s get rid of that one too.
- Within the last 100 years, all 50 states have stricken laws prohibiting interracial marriage from the books. So let’s scratch that one too.
4. What are we left with?
5. Do you support gay marriage?
Yes? What about polygamous, man-dog and man-child marriages?
No? Congratulations, your opinion is hypocritical, stupid, and the fact that you can’t recognize an obvious slippery slope means you’re a shortsighted ass clown.
Now, if you fancy yourself to be a smart cookie, you’d have to ask me this in response:
“But Evan, does that mean you think it should be illegal to marry interracially, inter-culturally, and inter-religiously also?”
If I say yes, I’ll be accused of being a bigot. Plus, I’ll get flamed with millions of counterexamples of marriages of these types that have worked. If I say no, I’d have to lump myself in the same category as I’m putting you, which is the category of shortsighted ass clowns.
So I’m kind of stuck, unless I can figure out why the 3 that have changed are different than the 4 that have not yet changed.
The simplest explanation is the one most frequently used by the anti-gay-marriage coalition (henceforth “the majority”, as proven in California at last November’s ballot box).
The remaining 4 properties of marriage that still represent the legal minimum to qualify for a marriage contract have always been the minimum building blocks of the family unit – namely a mother and a father capable of acquiring and raising children which has been the atom of civilization since it has existed. The minute you take one of those away, you no longer have a marriage. You no longer have a family. Let’s test your pattern skills. We no longer have a _____.
You guessed it! Civilization!
Put another way: If we all keep driving SUVs and drive the earth into an ice age from which only a tiny human population will survive, what is the mininum human population required to replenish the species? The answer is one adult man and one adult woman. That’s pretty much it. It doesn’t matter if they’re black, white, brown, muslim, Christian, Jewish, handicapped, ugly, smelly, liberal, etc. They will “marry” and they will reproduce.
I wouldn’t put any hope on the two hairdressers, would you? You see the problems yet?
People try to argue this point: “Oh, well, in Virginia in 1930 it was illegal for a black to marry a white and today we all think this is ridiculous. In 70 years people will think it was ridiculous that 2 men couldn’t marry each other in 2008, LOL!”
Except that they are fundamentally different and I’ve explained why. We’ve already stripped away every requirement we can in the interests of equality without cutting at the foundation of the institution. Once you knock down the heterogendered requirement, you might as well knock down the other 3, and that’s exactly what will happen – it’s only a matter of time.
I’ve written about the polygamists in Texas already. How can you possibly support gay marriage without also supporting Warren Jeffs, who both marries plurally and marries children (and dogs, if you’ve seen the pics of his wives). The reason you can is because you’ve narrowed in one property of marriage (two), and even though you might not want to come out and say it since it should be clear by now what a hypocritical douche you are, you are repulsed at the idea of a man marrying an 8 year old girl as equally as you are repulsed at the idea of a woman marrying her german shepherd. For some bizarre reason, though, you find my repulsion toward the idea of two hairdressers marrying each other to be backwards and intolerant.
Gay marriage supporters are categorically hypocritical douche bags unless they also support plural marriage, bestial marriage, and child marriage. If you think gay marriage is “no big deal”, you should think twice. You wouldn’t want your worldview to be inconsistent, now would you?