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Because I Hate Bad Arguments…

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

People are often very invested in creationism*. For most, it is a moral imperative – the Bible says it is so, and if that part of the Bible is wrong, then what’s stopping the whole thing from being wrong? Or, it’s a matter of fear – not wanting to dare tread on the toes of the insitution they’ve been raised in. A minority don’t believe evolution because they’re ignorant of science.

For me, the most frustrating thing about most creationist arguments is that they’re just plain untrue. Half of them betray a complete misunderstanding of the Theory of Evolution. The rest of them betray a complete lack of a science education or basic research. Or they’re off-topic. One that continually drives me bat-shit-insane is “Vestigal organs, like humans losing their tail, are proof that evolution is false, because evolution is about advancing and gaining function, not losing it!”

If you don’t understand why this argument is wrong, then the rest of this post is probably too advanced for you. You should spend the time reading basic evolutionary theory instead, then come back.

What most creationists don’t realise (I assume…) is that the claims they gather so eagerly off the internet (seriously?) are so very untrue. Very few sites cite sources; fewer sites cite scientific research as sources. Creationists, I can again only assume, seem to think that these ideas they’re spreading around are completely new and untested. Perhaps believing that scientists wouldn’t deign to look into matters like religion, or more likely, that scientists are too scared to test these ideas in case they were proven correct! (*Gasp*) But, as so often, creationists are wrong again. While perhaps few of the arguments have been directly tested, science itself is advanced enough that most of these crazy new ideas are disproven quite easily.

Unfortunately (but understandably), in order to come up with reasons why these creationist arguments are false usually requires at least a decent understand of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and argumentative fallacies and at most a good poke around in the scientific literature. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to even know where to start looking, never mind where to find the answer.

Luckily, these days we have the Internet. And these days we have someone intelligent enough to realise that only having scientists and professors, scattered over many fields, well-enough equipt to refute and give proof that these arguments are false is not a good enough defense against hoards of list-waving people screaming out reasons why evolution can’t exist that they don’t even understand, never mind came up with. At least, not a good enough defense if the common person can’t access a scientist or professor for the truth when confronted with these reasons. And these days, we’re lucky enough to have someone kind enough to spend the time to make a website of happy!!!

I present: Index to Creationist Claims

This website is a compiled list of pretty much every creationist argument ever made, and perhaps every personal question you’ve ever pondered about evolution. And every argument has a refutement – and every refutement has citations! Hooray! It has answers to the simpler arguments we’ve all probably come across, like:

  • Some systems are too complex to be explained by evolution [answer]
  • The second law of thermodynamics prohibits evolution [answer]
  • Ockham’s Razor says’s the simplest explanation is prefferable, and creationism is simpler [answer]
  • The eye cannot have evolved gradually – that means at some point there would have been ‘half an eye’ and that would be useless! [answer]

And the more complicated ones**:

  • Does chirality make the chance of simple chemicals/structures forming too small? [answer]
  • If DNA is replicated by proteins, but proteins are formed by DNA, how could one form without the other already being present? [answer]

So go, browse around. Have a look for yourself. There is no real science behind creationism. It’s the sad truth. If you want to disreguard science, that’s your personal choice, but please understand there’s no more reason for doing so than your own personal convictions. And please understand that your own personal convictions do not make science into a ‘pick and choose’ buffet line – evolution is proven far well enough to be taught everywhere, just like all the other hard sciences, so whether it’s controversial or not, we must include it, or degrade our own scientific system.

To quote:

“Evolution matters because science matters, and too many people (including some presidents) are willing to believe that science is something you can pick and choose from, with “good” science being anything that supports your own views and “bad” science being anything that doesn’t. …Too many people can’t accept that although scientists are not perfect, and do make mistakes (sometimes whoppers), science isn’t something you can pick through like a buffet, accepting only what is to your “taste” and designating the rest inedible. If people feel free to reject the science of evolution, they feel free to reject any science on no better grounds ” [source]

* For the purpose of this post, I’m clumping ‘creationism’ and ‘intelligent design’ together, because if you strip away the BS and politics, they are the same thing. Yes, really. To quote from the site referenced above, “A solution to a problem must address the parameters of the problem, or it is just irrelevant hand waving. Any theory about design must somehow address the agent and purpose, or it is not really about design.” [link] So you can argue your heart out that intelligent design isn’t about God, but it’s pretty obviously some kind of deism. I chose to use ‘creationism’ because it’s shorter.

** These arguments actually deal with the origin of life, which can be argued seperately from evolution. (Yes! It can! I could believe God threw a bunch of one-celled bacteria into the ocean and then it evolved into everything we have today.)

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Get Your Favorite Anti-Evolutionist to Read This!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Hello again!
Well, this is a little long, but I’d definitely like to hear what’s to be said about it.

So there’s this thing in your genome. Well, maybe not yours, but plenty of people’s. It’s called the PMP-22 gene. I don’t know what it does. It’s not really important until later. What is important is what’s in front of it. A region called CMT1A repeat. Hey, guess what’s it’s called a repeat! Cuz there’s two of them! One in front of PMP-22, one behind it! Here, let me draw a picture:

DNA: —-Proximal CMT1A repeat——–PMP-22——–Distal CMT1A repeat—–

This might seem really happy, huh? Well, it’s not. Because as you might remember from whenever you last took biology, our chromosomes do this crazy thing called crossing over. That’s during meiosis, which you might remember, is how you form gametes (eggs or sperm, depending), since they only have 1/2 the DNA of other human cells (which is why it takes two to make offspring!).

So, during crossing-over, homologous chromosomes (ex: both of your number 17 chromosomes, one from your mom, one from your dad) line up next to each other like buddies, and then they do this crazy thing where they both break a section of their DNA off, and swap sections with the other chromosome! Obviously, they it’s important that both chromosomes break at the exact same place, otherwise you could end up missing some genes! Usually this goes down just fine, since the broken piece wouldn’t reattach well if it didn’t ‘match’ the other chromosome’s broken end.

However, if you’re one of those unlucky ones who have the two CMT1A repeats, this is a problem! Because your body does not know which one is distal and which one is proximal! So chromosome 17 #1 might break at the distal location, and chromosome 17 #2 might break at the proximal location…. oh no!

Now chromosome 17 #1 has two copies of PMP-22, and chromosome 17 #2 has NO copies of PMP-22!!!

Now while the CMT1A itself is just a repeat, not a gene, it has no function. It doesn’t really matter if you have it or not, the PMP-22 is definitely a gene, and it is definitely important.

If you end up with two copies of PMP-22, you get Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease 1A. If you end up with ZERO PMP-22, you get neuropathy and palsies. Not fun!

So why do we have this repeat? Who put it here!?!? Well, it’s probably the old remnants of a ‘jumping gene’ – they copy themselves and reinsert themselves. They’re very random, though, so it’s very, very rare that they insert themselves into the exact same place in two different occurrences.

So why did God give us jumping genes? They’re kind of handy in evolution, but we all know God doesn’t believe in that, so why? They’re pretty dangerous – they can insert themselves right into the middle of a gene, rendering it useless! Dangerous!

Someone told me once that it was punishment for our sin. Ah, I see. Well, that’s a good Biblically correct answer. I know if someone I knew ate an apple when I told them not to I’d totally curse their children with genetic defects.

But wait, so, you’re saying that we have this repeat-crossing-over-problem with CMT1A because of our sins?

Well, I suggest you start preaching to chimpanzees and bonobos then, because they have the exact same defect.

That God, huh? Such a quirky guy!

*Bows*
Thank you, thank you! Have a wonderful evening everybody, and remember, evolution is real!

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Evolution Revisited

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

As always, I continue to argue against creationism and show the overwhelming evidence that supports evolution. I am always looking around for new evidence and new examples – an ever-present lens I view the world through (which, to me, makes it so much more amazing through my eyes). I had an interesting thought last night that I thought should definitely be shared.

If evolution is false, then why do animals have mating rituals?

As a note, I have decided that the argument ‘because God wanted it that way’ just does not cut it when having a scientific discussion. It is forever deemed by me to be a non-answer, about a relevant as saying ‘I like tacos’. Think of all the hundreds of things we’ve deemed unexplainable in the past – rainbows, conception, whether the earth is the center of the universe, chemical reactions, gravity – that we explained away with ‘it is the will of God (or Allah, or whatever)’ that we now can explain with science and well-known scientific laws and facts. To believe that we’ve suddenly and mysteriously hit a ceiling where God’s workings are so mysterious we will never be able to see the forces working in the background is to bury one’s head in the sand in the face of reality. If you’re going to have a scientific argument, you’ve got to have some science in there – as many creationist arguments do, or attempt, at least.

Also, it makes God seem like a whiny three-year-old – ‘because I WANT IT’. And I don’t like to think of God like a three-year-old.

So why, then, do animals have mating rituals? Many mating rituals are dangerous – deer, rams, and others clash antlers/horns that can result in serious physical damage. Lions, sea lions, and some monkeys fight each other directly, causing injury and even death. Those that are not directly dangerous consume time and resources – peacocks make themselves a slow and flashy target for predators, birds waste time having elaborate displays and preparing collections of objects or nests when they could be gathering food, walruses stand for hours on beaches making a noisy display to attract females.

Certainly a better option would be to just mate with whoever is the closest member of the opposite sex, then return to normal life. After all, if evolution is false, it doesn’t really matter who you mate with – your species is safe, no matter who mates with whom. It will remain at exactly the same fitness level and will not become stronger or weaker. So with such security, why waste such resources??

I could only really think of two arguments.
1. Females like to pick the best mate.
Well, yea. But why do they like to do this? To ensure fitness of their offspring. Fitness only matters if evolution is true.

2. Males want to have lots of children by mating with lots of females (fighting off other males).
Well yea, but why do they want to have lots of children? These aren’t humans – they don’t actually love their kids – in most species, they won’t even help raise them. In many species, they’ll actually try and kill them if they run into them! So why would they want to have lots of kids? Oh right, to pass on genes. But that only matters if evolution is true.

So apart from the argument that God really loves watching lions, monkeys, and sea lions mauling each other to death on a seasonal basis (which, from reading the Bible, isn’t too hard to believe, actually…), I feel that mating rituals are a pretty good example that there’s obviously some reason why picking a good mate is worth the effort expended and risk induced. That reason is evolution.

Change in frequency of alleles in a population. Fitness.

Please do let me know if you have any other arguments, as I like to test all my theories and ideas to the limit to make sure they stand up. Otherwise, perhaps I must reconsider my stance.

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‘Protecting Innocence’ means ‘It Makes me Uncomfortable!’ I Play You a Tiny Violin

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I’m tired and I don’t have the time or energy to write a long post, but I wanted to write something before it slipped my mind.

It’s occurred to me that one of the main obstacles in this world is the unwillingness of grownups/parents to accept their child will, someday, be a sexual being, just like most of the rest of us end up being. The problem is, of course, all the more pronounced with little girls. Now before you get all ‘OMG PEDOPHILE’ on my ass, let me direct you to the article that re-sparked this thought: My Daughter Has a Hand Mirror. Basically it’s an article laughing at some conservative blogger freaking out because a book for young people on sexuality seems to endorse young girls looking at their genitals with a mirror.

It’s rather befuddling. Why would anyone be opposed to this? Honestly? I guess people believe that discovery of sexual organs leads to interest in sex? People seems to be so obsessed with this ‘violation of innocence’. Well, here’s a newsflash – your daughter figuring out where her clitoris is isn’t going to be violating any innocence. Most likely she’s going to think nothing of it and go about her little life just like normal. Why this belief that she’s suddenly (apparently) going to become some different person? Why this idea that knowing about sex puts this huge burden on someone? I mean, come on, when you found out about sex, how deeply did you fall into depression? How did you mourn the passing of your childhood? I don’t remember a time I didn’t know what sex was, and I never remember it being distressing, and certainly it didn’t make me grow up any faster. Hell, I lived in my own imaginary world for probably way too long. (I might even stretch to add here that if learning about sex is overwhelmingly distressing, whatever they’ve just been taught is probably an overall distressing version of what sex is that would even cause me distress.)

Of course sex is the realm of adults, and of course we don’t want children involved in sexual acts with other people. But unless your kid has other issues, your daughter at age 8 isn’t interested in sex, at all! Except for maybe that shy curiosity, like I had, but hey, if it was in my mom’s home medical guide, I wanted to understand it inside-out. Telling them about sex, letting them learn about their own sexual organs, even them learning how to pleasure themselves sexually (as long as it doesn’t get out of hand/become a dependency/not in public, etc) – none of this is going to ruin their innocence, or change who they are. In fact, my best bet is that it will teach them to be more comfortable with their bodies, better love the person they are, and be better prepared for sexual experiences later in life (with a strong foundation of knowing themselves as sexual being before some man-boy comes and makes them one before their own self-realization).

Bottom line is this: The only reason you are afraid of spoiling your child’s ‘innocence’ is because you yourself are uncomfortable with the idea, and it makes you all squirmy. Well, get over yourself. Your kid is a person, and will someday be a sexual person, whether you like it or not, so don’t try and hide (‘shield’) it from them – let them learn to love their whole selves.

However, if you have some proof that 9-year-olds looking at their vaginas causes them to become street-walking whores or depressed suicidal maniacs, please let me know.

Ok, well, I hope that made some sense. I’m off to go sit in my internet-less apartment now.

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Cats and God

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I found this article online weeks ago, when I was looking for a home for Leo, the orange tabby stray I took in. It’s a story about a minister who takes in a stray cat (Katie), and I really, really like one of the points it makes. Perhaps it won’t make so much sense to ‘dog people,’ because dogs are in general more obedient/trainable, but for cat people, or even people who know cats, it makes perfect sense. I know it’s long, but I promise it’s worth reading:

“Katie never seeks self-improvement. She never petitions us to help her become a better cat. It probably never enters her cat-mind that she needs improvement.

And that is not because she is a perfectly obedient cat. She does not always do our will. She gives us our dawn-licking even though we command her to stop. She often refuses to come when called. She sometimes jumps on the dinner table even though we have clearly instructed her not to. She disobeys our commandments and ignores our will.

She even has a Pharisaic streak in her. She over-obeys one of our commandments. She obeys so well our dictum, “Thou shalt urinate and defecate only in the cat-box” that, if she is outside and needs to relieve herself, she scratches at the screen-door to come indoors to use her facilities!

She is not, by religious standards, a righteous cat. Yet, despite her breaking of our rules, we love her.

No, more than that: because she breaks our rules we love her. Her very disobedience is a part of the perfection of her felinity. She is perfectly cat-like and being cat-like includes indifference to our desires. We find her independence delightful (most of the time).

Might not God feel the same way about me? I have been told that the Lord accepts me the way I am. Might there not be more than mere acceptance? What if God enjoys me the way I am? Maybe the Holy One takes a certain wry pleasure in my indifference to the divine will, a certain amusement in my attempts to get away with something….”

(Read the whole article here.)

It’s true. I don’t love Svara because she does everything I say, or because she never jumps on the counter (she does) or never throws up on the floor (she does) or never sneaks into an ‘off limits’ room (she does). I love her because she’s her. She does her own thing – she might be ‘mine’ but I certainly don’t control her. And I have no desire to control her. In her independence I find pleasure. Is it so hard to believe that God feels the same way about us? Perhaps we don’t always follow the rules, perhaps we don’t always do the right thing. I didn’t get my cat just so I could indefinitely keep her off tables, stop her throwing up on the carpet, and barricade my off-limits rooms. And I really doubt God created us just to follow his rules.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a religious person. I created my own religion, with one member (me) (you can find details of it in previous blog-posts). I’ve always had a very peaceful, abstract idea of God and life, and it works really well for me. However, I do feel the need to talk about it from time to time just because it bugs me how vengeful, angry, controlling, selfish, and petty everyone else’s God seems to be. My God is to me as I am to Svara: no matter how many times I throw up on his carpet, there will always be a place for me in his heart and his arms.

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Madonna* and the Slut

Monday, February 11th, 2008

So I was waiting for microbiology class to start this morning when some girl behind me decided to share a story that went something like this:

So my dad’s friend’s girlfriend was a TA for a micro[biology] lab in college and they were doing the thing where you swab your mouth and look at the swab under the slide to see the cheek cells and bacteria and all that. And this one girl got all excited and said, ‘Oh I think I got something, it’s swimming around!’ And the professor came over and was like, ‘That’s not a bacteria, that’s a sperm.’

Forgetting that the story in itself is doubtfully true (sperm are quickly flushed out of the mouth by saliva and broken down by our salivary enzymes (they wouldn’t live more than minutes) – and do you know my professors who would publicly announce such a thing to the class?), the reaction of the class pissed me off.

Of course the story is funny-ha-ha, and the usual ‘Oh my God!’s and ‘Eww!’ and ‘Hahaha, that’s hilarious’ went up. Nothing wrong with that. But then five or six guys started harking on and on about how they would totally tease and name-call anyone that happened to. One of the girls said, ‘But not if you didn’t know them, right? I mean, it’s one thing to tease your friends, but if it was a stranger, you don’t want to, like, make them go commit suicide.’ ‘No way!’ was the general consensus from the guys, ‘If it was someone I didn’t know, I’d tease them more!’

This really irks me, and here’s why: I am sure that these guys have had or currently have girlfriends, and I am sure that they expected, or even demanded, oral sex from their girlfriends (remember, the ‘Christian’ in TCU doesn’t really count). But when a girl actually has some evidence of having given oral sex exposed in a very unfortunate way? Oh man! What a slut! That’s so nasty! Talk about your Madonna* and the Slut dichotomy.

So remember girls, put out like there’s no tomorrow, but make sure there’s never any evidence that you’re anything but the perfect angel. The men-folks, they don’t like that.

* And when I say ‘Madonna’ I, quite obviously, do not mean the pop singer. I mean the virgin mother.

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Atheist Scientists Cause Rise of League of Whores!

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Well, everyone, I have some bad news. You see, last Friday, I got the first injection of the HPV (‘cervical cancer’) vaccination series. Yes, you know what this means. From now on, I simply have no reason not to sleep with every man, woman, and quadruped beast I met. Yes, I have begun transformation.

As I am sure is the case with many of you, it was just HPV that was holding me back in God’s holy command of not greeting everyone I meet with a ‘quickie’. Sure, I was informed about how sex can lead to pregnancy, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, HIV, Hep B, crabs, and even trichomoniasis, but nothing really hit home like HPV/herpes/cervical cancer. I mean, a baby – meh. A bloody, pus-y*, potentially-sterilizing disease – meh. But abnormal pap smears? Now that caught my eye. You know, nothing else was really serious.

I, for one, am really glad that God put HPV on this Earth. I mean, without the threat of cervical cancer, how else am I supposed to stop myself from having crazy random sex?? You’d almost think I was supposed to rely on my own moral and/or religious convictions!!! Hahaha!

So, of course, I’m really upset that these meddling atheist scientists have come up with a drug that takes away a God-given punishment for bonking like bunnies. How else are we supposed to be deterred from our actions if not through being responsible for them?? I mean, what do you think they’ll come up with next?? Drugs that help you control your cholesterol levels so you don’t have to be responsible for those years of gluttony? Surgery to help you shun responsibility for your earlier sin of sloth? Vaccinations that let you get away with close bodily contact and insufficient cleanliness??

This intervening is simply being taken too far! And now I, too, have fallen victim to the God-murdering ways of modern science, and must begin to spend my nights on the street corners. If only there were some other reason I could think of not to have sex! If only someone had taught me at a young age that there were multiple very good reasons to not have sex like a rampant rabbit in spring! And that even if one of those reasons was taken away because of some so-called ‘life-saving’ vaccine, the others (including those of my own personal convictions) remained! Oh woe upon us all!!

* Couldn’t really find much guidance on making an adjective of ‘pus’ without God mayhap thinking I was typing something dirty.

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WARNING: Religious Post

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Often, when I look back through old posts, I’m fairly impressed with what I write. True, a lot of it is psycho-babble, but I’m proud of a few where I, at least, think I make a good point. Of course, I’m probably more than a little biased, as they are by me, and they probably do make more sense to me, since I did write them, but still.

This morning I was contemplating religion while playing sudoku, which made me come into the library and look up some old posts I made on religion. As some of you may or may not remember, 4.5 years ago (god that was ages ago) I wrote a post that lay out the culmination of many weeks, perhaps even more, of thoughts on religion. Almost five years later, I still stand by the main points of this end result. I thought maybe I’d revisit the topic, and try to clarify and simplify from the jumble of words that makes up that original post. So, here’s fair warning. If you didn’t like the original or don’t want a recap, or just hate going back in time, scuttle away. Similarly, if you have a shaky foundation in your own religious beliefs and avoid all other religions/religious ideas in the fear that your faith will be shattered, or just don’t like religious topics, run away quickly!

I was never one very comfortable with the idea of sins and of the absolute word of the Bible. I remember in high school I knew a few people with many different conflicting ideas about what God wanted/didn’t want, what really pissed him off, what was a sin, and how to get into heaven. It all seemed so complicated. But from other things they said, it seemed like it should be much more simple. From the words of those who ‘knew,’ God was described as two things overall: ever-loving and ever-forgiving. And, coming in third, the father, or parent, of humanity. So I started with that – the three things that seemed most likely to be true – God loves us, He forgives us, and He’s the ultimate parent.

This is getting a little somber for me, as personally I like to take religion and God with some salsa and humour, but for now, we’ll keep it simple, and thus somber.

From God being the ultimate parents, you can obviously redraw the idea of idea of Him being loving and forgiving, but you can add that He wants what any parent wants: for us to be happy. I can’t think of any parents I know that, at the end of the day, want differently. Of course there are exceptions, but I’m thinking they’re probably not good models to use for figuring out ‘the ultimate parent’.

From God loving us and God wanting us to be happy, the conclusion can be drawn that God probably is not down with people hurting or killing each other – since that’s usually a pretty big downer on the other person’s happiness.

From the above, the two ideas that make up my whole religious belief:
1. Do Not Infringe on the Happiness of Others
2. To Thine Own Self Be True

1 is pretty self-explanatory. There are some puzzles, such as euthanasia and suicide, but that comes down to (as far as I know) the one and only dilemma in my two little kernels of religion: What is happiness? Is the person’s happiness really decreasing or being infringed upon if they’re asking to be killed because they’re going to die slowly and painfully anyway? Is it if they feel they’ve got no happiness in this life anyway and would rather zip off to whatever’s next? First, it’s obviously different for every situation. Secondly, I don’t believe I’m in a position to know conclusively what’s best for someone else.

The same issue is presented in 2. ‘To thine own self be true.’ That’s Shakespeare, by the way – and one of my favorite quotes. In non-quote-speak, it means do what makes you happy, don’t do what hurts you, don’t do what impedes your own happiness. Obviously, we can’t always be happy all the time, and we all must do things that make us unhappy, like take out the garbage. But looking at a bigger picture, is your lifestyle making you happy? Are your actions making you happy? Is your job or schooling making you happy, or setting you on a path to something that will make you happy?

Therein lies the rub: (that’s misquoted Shakespeare, BTW) to be honest enough with yourself to admit when you’re not happy. It’s so very easy to convince yourself you are, when if you drag away the self pity and denial, you’re really not as happy as you could be or you want to be. Again, it’s different for everyone, and again, I don’t think I can say conclusively what makes anyone truly happy. Sure, I can give you advice about whether I think what you’re doing is really a good idea, but it comes down to looking inward, being honest, and deciding for yourself.

AND THAT IS SO HARD! In my experience, being true to yourself is one of the hardest things in the world. I’m willing to vouch that often we really don’t even know what makes us happy, let alone can admit that we’re not happy. And that doesn’t even touch on the fact that once you do figure out you’re unhappy, you’ve got to actually do something differently to get happy!

And of course, you can’t really get much help. You can get advice, but no one else can really tell you if you’re happy or not, because your individual happiness is different from anyone else’s. I mean, they can, and they might be right, but it’s up to you to recognize that they’re right in yourself. And there are obviously some things that make most people happy, but overall, we all have individual happinesses.

So this is both the greatness and the difficulty of the second idea:
1. It’s individual! There are no set rules. So loving and having sex with a guy makes you happy, really happy. Great! Go forth and be happy! So going to church and reading the Bible makes you happy. Great! Go forth and be happy! So having sex with people for money makes you happy. Great! Go forth and be happy!
I might not be able to see how that brings you happiness. I might feel that it’s impossible for that to bring you happiness. But who am I to judge? I’m not you, I’m not God. If you’re being true to yourself, and honestly doing what makes you happy, you will love life, you will be happy.

2. It’s individual! There are no set rules. The responsibility is on you to figure out your own rules. Sorry, but the Bible just became like the Pirate’s Code: “more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.” Maybe the ideas presented in there will make you happy, maybe they won’t. It’s here that I can see why so many turn to organized religion. It’s much easier. They lay out the rules, you follow them, and they tell you the rules’ll make you happy and give you a good afterlife, cuz God’ll like you. No need for introspection and brutal, painful honesty.

So what if you’re not happy. Is it a sin? Will God punish you? Will it keep you from heaven (more on heaven later)? Why would it need to be a sin or keep you out of heaven? You’ve just lived your life not truly happy, not experiencing all the great things you might have. I’d say you probably suffered exactly proportionally to how far from actual personal happiness you were. Not really much need for further punishment. Will God be mad? Personally, I highly doubt it. In relation to him, with this omniscience and his universal powers and ability to create life, etc, we’re like 3-year-olds. I see Him being much more sad that we weren’t as happy as he knew we could have been and would have loved more than anything to have seen us be than angry that we did something wrong. Maybe He’ll remark that He hopes we learned something from that experience, and hopes we make better choices next time (if there is a next time), but I can’t imagine much more than that from an ever-loving, ever-forgiving ultimate parent.

Lastly, I’ll touch quickly on heaven. Is there one? Hell, I donno. I’d like to think there’s something just because it makes me sad to think of never seeing my friends
and family again. But if there’s nothing after this life, I doubt I’ll be worrying about it much, either.
Honestly, I think the idea of heaven is dangerous. I’ve met many people who seem to be living just to die because they’re so convinced of this wonderful, glorious heaven. To me it seems like the best idea is to live life like it’s all you get. Heaven is like a bonus round – if it’s there, great, if not, at least you had a great time while you were alive. Relying on heaven seems about as smart as relying on your teacher to drop a test grade – in theory it seems like a great back-up plan, but in reality there’s a good chance you’ll end up leaning on that crutch way too much, and then when it never happens, you’re kind of fucked.

To fill in the extra few minutes I have, I also don’t think there’s a hell. If you really really messed up on Earth, say, intentionally killing some people, my own personal belief is when you get to heaven you will be given the insight, knowledge, and understanding, to really, truly comprehend what you’ve done to the point where you feel 100% honest remorse, sadness, and pain about what you did. You’ll be in a lot of pain when you first get that dose of understanding, but once you’ve truly understood your actions and torn your heart out and wept for what you’ve done, need there be more punishment? The past can’t be undone, definitely not so by hurting you. The next best thing, it seems, is ultimate remorse and pain from understanding and feeling the pain you created. And then, a chance to be forgiven and to heal.

Honestly, I think that’s what happens to all of us if/when we go to heaven. We all get a dose of understanding and insight and feel ourselves the pain we caused others in our lives, whether minor or major. We mourn and hurt for those we hurt, and then we are forgiven, and we slowly heal, and learn.

Well, that’s my religious ramble. It was good to pass the time.

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Marinated, Grilled Sodomy

Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

I swear when I first read the title of this article I read it as Educating America’s Christian Reich. I think it’s more appropriate as that anyway. Note the excellent quote from the girl in the beginning:
“The people are the most important component of a society, and so that’s where the battle for the minds needs to be waged.”
Please tell me I’m not the only one to find that just plain scary?

Freedom of religion seems to be nearing the ends of it’s days. Or at least the full meaning of it. Of course, you can be whatever religion you want, as long as your system of values are exactly the same as the Conservative Christian Reich.

In other news, here are some articles I’ve found recently on BBC that have made me laugh or roll my eyes:
Man Accused of Biting Dog
Girl Eats Again After Seven Years

In other, other news, I went to the grand opening of the brand new Whole Foods World Headquarters in Austin today, with Lauren. One word: WOW! I must go back. I bought things, and they will be so good. Man, I love Whole Foods.

I put up this:
Auto response from Loweaugen: dear emma,
good luck on your biology test! you are awesome!
love emma

I got back this:
got no parachute: dear emma,
good luck on your biology test! you are awesome!
love amanda

happymaigirl: Dear Emma,
Good luck on your biology test! You are awesome!
Love Lauren
ladywolfe4848: dear emma,
ladywolfe4848: good luck on your biology test! you are awesome!
love Shalane

Quote of the week:
In reference to an “Ass-Kabob”:
Lauren: That sounds like marinated, grilled sodomy.

Edit: Wow! I completely forgot the important news that SU now has facebook! Yea… I know, I know, we’re behind. But hey, we’re smaller than Lamar so what can you expect, eh? Anyway, if you haven’t yet, go make me your friend.

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Roses, Vaginas, and Swords, OH MY!

Monday, February 14th, 2005

My guess is that today (Valentine’s Day for those of you living under rocks) must be the day that blogger get’s the most new posts. I mean, the days around Christmas must be fairly high, but people are with family, away from home (and net) and depending on how busy, post over a few days after the season, not just on one day. But Valentine’s Day? It really doesn’t have anything to do with religion anymore, it’s above all that. It’s not a time you spend with family, really. And it involves love, and reminds people of their lack of it. Think about most blogs you read. The majority are depressing and dark, wishing for love and trust. So what day brings this side of bloggers out more than ever? TODAY! And those who are happily loving someone post about the wonderful things they are doing/did/received today. Adding it up, this must be the number one blogging day of the year. And what depressing posts they must be be, most of them.

For me, today was not unlike the many other days that gang up to create a year, except for a few things. The first thing was when I left my room my room this morning I ran into a rose. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “I know you’re short Emma, but jeeze!” The reason I ran into it was because it was hanging from the ceiling by a ribbon. The ribbon-roses actually went all the way from the very last dorm on this side of the hallway (one down from mine, across the hall) to the lounge-area at the top of the stairs, over the couch, and to the coffee table, where it was covered in chocolate and hearts, with a big card in the middle that said ‘Mwah!’. I’m guessing this girl has a boyfriend.

The second thing was that we had a Vagina Carnival on the main green grassy area (or, currently, yellow grassy area). I couldnt go for long, but from what I did see, it was amusing. Cupcakes with icing vaginas traced on them and red jam in the middle. Heh heh. Also vaginas that were like pages from coloring books, with crayons. Lots of other things, but I’m lazy.

The other thing was that the food hit a new low as far as edibility. It tasted like pure salt. Wow. I am really going to starve before the end of semester, because there is just nothing here to eat.

In other news, I have had a headache for a while now that feels like someone is beating my head with a sledgehammer.
Speaking of large weapons, check this out. (If Star Telegram tries to get you to sign up for something, I’m hosting a copy of the article HERE, so go there.) Oh Lamar is a lovely place, is it not? Ian told me about it, and I looked up the article on it.
Kodomo68: they whisked him away and put the victim in the hospital, cleaned up the blood and had everyone into class by 8:00
Loweaugen: bwahaha!
Loweaugen: high school efficiency
Kodomo68: “We wanted to let the kids know that the incident was quickly taken care of and their classmate was treated at the hospital and was OK,” said Michelle Clark, an Arlington schools spokeswoman.
Kodomo68: they didnt tell us shit

You just forget, when you go to college, how crazy high school is. In a way, I miss it. Everything is so predictable here, there’s none of that crazy wildness, rebelling against the oppressive teachers, trying to sneak around the system. *sigh*

Tis all for now. Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Toodle-oo.

Please check out the post below and see if you can help me!

PS – By the slowness of Blogger, I’m guessing I’m right about today being the #1 posting day : )

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