Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jesus the Bartender


For fun, I lurk around Fundies Say the Darndest Things. That particular link will take you to the following quote by Andy Schlafly, Phillis Schlafly's brain-dead son and, um ... author of Conservapedia. Follow the link if you want to see the rest of the commentary.

"The second chapter of the Gospel of John describes the conversion of water into wine by Jesus at a wedding reception. Intuitively one would expect the conversion to occur before anyone tasted the drink. But under quantum mechanics, it is not until observation that matter acquires a definite state. John 2:9 describes this precisely as required by quantum mechanics, and the KJV misses this subtle issue of timing in the conversion." - Andy Schlafly, Conservapedia, Biblical scientific foreknowledge

Of course, trying to derive quantum mechanics from a Bible quote is like trying to get a signed prenuptial agreement from a blow-up doll. Really, there are just so many levels of fail! Here, thanks to another poster on FSTDT, is what the Bible passage says.

John 2:7-10

7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." So they filled them up to the brim.
8 And He said to them, "Draw some out now and take it to the steward." So they took it to him.
9 When the steward tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom,
10 and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now."

Sure.

My first comment was to state that this is an often-repeated parlor trick that has nothing to do with magic and/or miracles. So many people have reproduced this that I can't understand why anyone would pay any credence to this. I fear I was less than diplomatic. My exact words were:

It's an f-ing parlor trick you dipshit. How many people have to repeat it before you admit that it isn't magic? It's fraud!

Water: H-O-H
Wine: A complex mixture of water, alcohol, esters, organic components of grapes, Lactobacillus vini, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and other agents of fermentation. It is a product of the controlled decomposition of juice pressed from grapes. You don't happen across it. You find it in barrels, casks, bottles and boxes because humans made it and put it there.

Maybe you should try to explain it with cold fusion, or wormholes to a parallel universe.

Andy: ever the dipshit.

This comment drew the following observation from a poster going by the name of nutbunny.

@ breakerslion:
He is Jesus.
He can do anything.
Chemistry means nothing when God decides to fuck around.


That got me thinking about this in a whole different way. What proof could one offer directly from the narrative that this was a gimmick and not a miracle? This is what I came up with.

(Yes, but) starting with that premise opens up a larger can of worms.

1. Is the end product real wine or synthetic pseudowine? (edit: To be clear, is this a whomped-up, exact chemical copy of wine, or did it come from grapes?)

2. If real, where did it come from?

3. If synthetic, why was it necessary to start with water? Where did all the other elements come from (Carbon, Nitrogen, Misc other trace)?

4. If real, why was it necessary to start with water? Was this some kind of "packrat" teleportation, and some poor slob wound up with several wine jars full of water? Stealing is not all that miraculous.

5. Why allow your minions to get close enough to fuck with it? A really impressive miracle would be, "Go pick up that empty wine jar," and hey presto! it's full again!

In short, if this is a miracle, why did it need a stage magician's set up?

There is one explanation that occurs to me that does not require chicanery on the part of the god-man alleged to be Jesus in this story. The story is pure fiction, written from the perspective of a first century storyteller. Water is a necessary ingredient in the transmutation into wine because water is one of the four elements, earth, air, fire, and water. At the time this story was circulated, people believed that anything could be created from the proper combination of these four "elements". Wine being liquid, the closest "element" to wine is water, and this becomes the natural starting point for any being incapable of grasping all the ramifications of "all-powerful".

Unfortunately for the credibility of our storyteller, no matter which way you look at it, the universe doesn't work that way.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pissing on Great Moments in History: The Boston Tea Party


Proudly copied from Urban Dictionary without permission but with all advertising links and attributions intact. What's a dictionary for?
















6. teabagger 2700 up, 2170 down

A misinformed, right-wing corporate media consumer who often fails to understand that BOTH major parties represent a corrupt plutocracy that steals from the middle class by taxing labor and profiting from corporate tax subsidies.

A teabagger also often fails to acknowledge that George W. Bush and his neo-conservative minions perpetrated one of the boldest and most egregious executive power grabs in the history of the United States. Furthermore, teabaggers mistakenly continue to blame a newly elected President Obama for all that ails the United States of America, based on a grossly flawed perception of reality (including latent racial prejudice) and despite the fact the U.S. economy collapsed on the previous administration's watch.

Teabaggers are also known to base their misguided, right-wing-media-inspired beliefs about President Obama on stupid conspiracy theories about totalitarian takeovers, FEMA camps, etc., despite the fact these very same theories have been circulating around on the Internet for years, and were originally ascribed to neo-conservative cabalists at a time when Barack Obama had not even entered national politics. Teabaggers also are known to be particularly paranoid, xenophobic and intolerant, especially with regard to immigrants and anyone who isn't white.

Additionally, teabaggers generally echo stupid myths about entitlement spending (it actually only accounts for about 1% of federal budget spending), have no idea that most poor people in America are not lazy, actually do work and don't want to be on welfare, and have no idea what socialism actually means or that socialist reform in this country is actually what allowed a middle class to flourish and ultimately make the U.S. one of the most prosperous nations in human history.

Furthermore, teabaggers incorrectly equate socialism with Stalinism, think a system that rewards greed (capitalism) is the divine preference (despite Gospel evidence to the contrary), and are shameless champions of a misguided belief in American exceptionalism. Teabaggers also fail to recognize the inherently unpatriotic nature of their failed every-man-for-himself ideology that ultimately vilifies anyone who supports public policy aimed at reaching out to fellow Americans in need. They celebrate an exploitative corporatocracy (holy creator of jobs, blah blah blah) while denigrating the little guy for being "weak."

Interestingly, teabaggers uphold an immoral, morbidly obese, twice divorced, draft-dodging, college dropout and known drug addict as their de facto leader, and are even known to advocate burning books. Of course, teabaggers fail to recognize the blatant hypocrisy within the GOP and tend to oversimplify all political debate and social issues, much like their pseudo-intellectual, fat-ass leader.

Finally, incredibly, teabaggers fail to recognize the hysterical double entendre associated with their proudly adopted teabag moniker.

Every village has its idiots, of course, but it's sad when citizens of any nation allow themselves to be whipped into a frenzy en masse by a state-run propaganda machine masquerading as a legitimate, fair, balanced and independent news organization. Teabaggers are right to believe the future of the U.S.A. is in jeopardy, but sadly they have not yet correctly identified the real enemy. Perhaps when teabaggers finally grow up and mature into thinking adults, they will see the right-leaning power establishment for the oppressive and cunning beast that it is.

Teabagger: We don't care that George Bush tripled the deficit and lied us into a war. The new administration only cut taxes for 90% of the population... fascists. Let's go throw some Lipton tea bags into a fountain!

"Reality is defined by the craziest person in the room" - Scott Adams

I am unimaginably weary of having my reality defined by the ignorant, senile, deliberately misinformed, and the lunatic fringe, or some combination thereof.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Messed-Up Bible Stories 4: Noah's Ark

If civilization were to fall tomorrow, would Gilligan's Island be inerrant Truth 2500 years from now?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Idiots are Taking Over NOFX Kinetic Typography

That would explain it. I have a Life magazine from the Eisenhower era. Cover story: "What's Wrong With Our Schools?"

Hello little pigs, welcome to the ideological sausage factory.

Those treated like caged animals tend to revert to animal behavior. Good examples of this can be found in the alpha ape behavior that can be observed in our prisions and in the schoolyards. The more repressive the regime, the more animal behavior it produces.

Parents and teachers alike seem to think it's important that young children know fun facts like, "George Washington is the Father of our Country." That and $1.50 will buy you a cup of coffee. Nobody teaches these kids how to think, reason, and argue because no one likes a wise-ass kid. Then too, such a child is less easily exploited in later life. There's only so much room at the top, after all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Boned Agian


I wrote about this the first time when I read the book and found myself simultaneously furious and disappointed at the ending. I'm talking about The Lovely Bones. Now, one of my favorite young actresses, Saoirse Ronan, is playing the dead-girl lead, Susie Salmon. Isn't that a name that just screams DC Comics? Right up there with Lois Lane, or Lex Luthor, only cutesy, wholesome, and innocent, like Raggedy Ann.

I'm sure she'll do just fine, financially and career-wise, but I think making someone so alive "do" dead is a criminal act. That's not to mention the mental gobbledy-gook this "story" reinforces. I was so annoyed by the book that I went looking for reviews that might help me understand the cause of such a visceral reaction. I found Wonder Bread, by Melvin Jules Bukiet, on The American Scholar. He nailed what is so profoundly wrong with this lovely finger painting of a picture much better than I ever could.

(Spoiler alert) Excerpt:

Generally speaking, the sex-murder of an adolescent offers little that’s good. But in The Lovely Bones, mom and pop hook up and so do Ray and Ruth, whose body Susie is allowed to occupy just long enough to have real, true, beautiful sex for once in her afterlife. “I had never been touched like this,” she tells us. “I had only been hurt by hands past all tenderness. But spreading out into my heaven after death had been a moonbeam that swirled and blinked on and off. . . . Inside my head I said the word gentle.” The book ends with a glow.

Every impulse in every sane reader must shriek No! at this pabulum. It’s not lovely that Susie’s been slaughtered, hacked, and dumped in a pit. It’s not lovely that icy Mr. Harvey gets his comeuppance by a conveniently dropped icicle as the pit containing Susie’s body parts is being drained, leading us to assume that her remains will be found and that she will finally get a lovely stone.

Nice thought if you can abide it. Unfortunately, it’s false to all human experience to find “growth” in tragedy. In fact, the dull truth is that pain is tautological. The only thing suffering teaches us is that we are capable of suffering.


The Wonder Bread article is a long read, but well worth it. If you don't care to read it all, skip to the end and enjoy Bukiet's nice strong finish. You might not agree with his position, but this man knows how to support an argument.


Hat tip to the New Yorker cartoon for the tombstone idea.

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Who Wants to be a Fundamentalist?

The new game show loosely based on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

You are on the honor system for “Ask a Friend” (two lifelines) and are free to consult the archives at Rapture Ready or Free Republic as often as necessary in place of “Ask an Expert”.

Question 1, Value 10.

Complete this phrase: “The weather outside is … “

A. Frightful
B. Nauseating
C. Wiry
D. Pre-Apocalyptic

Question 2, Value 100.

Barack Hussein Obama is …

A. President of the United States
B. President of Iran
C. “Happy New Year” in Turkish
D. Satan

Question 3, Value 1,000.

Evolution Theory is …

A. The theory that living organisms mutate over time, leading to new species.
B. The theory that explains how the Earth moves around the Sun.
C. A sitcom on CBS
D. Satan’s evil plot to discredit God.

Question 4, Value 10,000.

Abortion is …

A. The premature termination of an unwanted pregnancy by medical means
B. A political hot button that gets pushed more often than a drug dealer’s doorbell.
C. A video game with killer robots.
D. Satan’s way of thwarting God’s divine right to insert souls into unborn children.

Question 5, Value 100,000.

Democracy is …

A. Government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
B. A tyranny of the majority, created by skillful manipulation of popular opinion, and mitigated by an occasionally impartial judicial system.
C. An artistic expression that is the opposite of a caricature.
D. Heretical

Question 6, Value 1,000,000.

Women are …

A. The female of the species Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
B. The most frequently underpaid and abused subset of society as a whole.
C. The adult form of girls
D. God’s accursed baby factories, and the sole property of their fathers until sold to a husband.

Question 7, Value 10,000,000.

Faith is …

A. Belief in something without the requirement of positive proof.
B. Another word for prejudice, delusion, or self-delusion.
C. Never having to say, “I don’t know.”
D. Compulsory

Question 8, Value 100,000,000.

Armageddon is …

A. The Biblical vision of the end of the world.
B. The ravings of St. John, the Mentally Deranged.
C. A famous East End nightclub of the 1960’s
D. Next Wednesday.

Question 9, Value 1,000,000,000.

The Bible is …

A. The holy book of the various sects of the Christian religion.
B. A book of Middle-Eastern mythology, badly-remembered history, and plagiarism used to indoctrinate children into subservient behavior and hierarchical thinking.
C. An instrument used for load-testing drawers in hotel bedside tables.
D. The absolute, inerrant, Word of God, written by God, edited by God, typeset by God, sold and distributed by God. The absolute pinnacle of history, science, and information available to the human race, and God’s love in convenient book form without which you will burn for all eternity in Hell. And furthermore, GodGodGodGodGodGodGod! Correction: one capital letter is not enough. GODGODGODGODGODGODGODGOD!

Answers: D, D, D, D, D, D, D, D, D.

Score: 0 = Not Fundie. 10 – 1,111,111,110 = Seek help.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

So ...


Has the Dahlia, I mean Dalai, Lama ever reincarnated as a woman? If not, why not? I would think the odds be 50 - 50, as the Great Zappa used to say. Could it be that the seekers have a misogynistic bent? How would that affect their accuracy? What story do they tell themselves to explain this lack of ... curiosity? ... flexibility? ... ability? on the part of their god-man? Inquiring mind would like to know.

Until I get a better answer, I'll just have to imagine that the monks who run that circus can't stand the idea of their leader titty f-ing some stud, or maybe getting pregnant. Pretty much anything else is gender independent. Then again, maybe it's just the old bleeding hangup. Any way you look at it, it doesn't look that enlightened to me.

Incidentally, I have no hangup about using the f-word, but other people seem to think a euphemism will protect children's sanity, so there you go. And you boys in high heels? Yes, I know about boob jobs, but can you really see the Dalai Lama getting a boob job?

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