Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fairpoint: Worst Phone Company Ever!

Last year, Verizon sold it's land lines in New Hampshire to Fairpoint Communications. the turnover was delayed and delayed until about January of this year. One ice storm later, Fairpoint was so backlogged with repair requests that they were struggling to fulfill customer expectations. Their solution? Take two weeks off to regroup.

This was enough to make me consider dumping them, but now this shows up on my bill:

"Starting mid-March, monthly billing statements were issued on regular cycles so your statement was sent to you on your regularly scheduled date. However, due to our recent system changes, prior to March, you may have received your monthly invoice later than your regularly schedule (sic) date. For this reason, if your payment for the invoice that we delivered to you late was not processed by the time your next billing statement was sent to you, your new invoice may (might, goddammmit!) reflect (state!) a past due amount. Remember, (ok...) you will always have 30 days to pay your bill from the date indicated on the bill. The past Due status on the indicator may (grrr!) not be accurate."

Seriously, WTF-ing F is the average person supposed to make of this?

Translation into 1960's Business English:

We have recently made a change to our billing cycle. Your bill might reflect a payment past due if your previous payment was not received before the current bill was issued. Please disregard, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

I'm moving my business to Comcast. I have no faith in their abilities either, but they're the only other game in town.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Religion - watch more funny videos

"Religion" Video banned on YouTube. Meanwhile, Venomfangx.... Proving once again that the delusional have no tolerance for anything that challenges the delusion.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nobody Takes me Seriously

Not that I really care, and not entirely true perhaps, but true about one particular attitude that I have adopted in recent years. I no longer attempt to argue logically with Theists. Instead, I tend to fight irrationality with irrationality. I seem to have lost credibility with this tactic. I think it’s a perfectly logical response to the bullshit. Here’s why.

Take for example, This is a textbook example of my problem with theistic argumentation. It’s full of what Robert Anton Wilson would label fnords. First you have the name. Anyone who would try to preempt your good judgment by telling you that they are about to tell you the truth is probably about to bullshit you. This web site does nothing to refute that hypothesis. Like most theistic arguments, they stack the deck, lay down the cards, and then act like they have done something amazing.

Here’s what I’m talking about.

"Hasn't the existence of God been disproved?"

Christian Response: The person who asks this question usually believes that the existence of God has been disproved by philosophy, psychology, or science.

That’s nice. How many times…. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. You cannot shift the burden of proof away from your claim that such a fantastic and impossible being exists. Your belief in an unsubstantiated god is nothing short of delusional. It is not necessary to disprove the existence of some entity whose existence has not been proved. No serious pragmatist or philosopher would ask this question. The person who builds this straw man is trolling for the easily confused

Philosophical Objections to the Existence of God

The Problem: The major philosophical objection to the existence of the God of the Bible involves the problem of evil. Christianity teaches that God is both all-powerful … and all-good … Christianity also maintains that God created everything ... Yet, evil exists in the world. Therefore, many atheists argue that either God is not all good and is the author of evil, or God is not all-powerful and cannot do anything about evil. Either way, the atheist contends that the all-good and all-powerful God of the Bible cannot exist.

Christian Response: Christians answer the philosophical arguments against the existence of God by reaffirming the Christian doctrine of creation. Unlike pantheistic religions, Christianity teaches that God has created that which is not God. The doctrine of creation teaches that the universe is not a part of God, nor is it an illusion in the mind of God. Christianity teaches that God has invested His creation with true existence. Not only did God create something separate from Himself, but also made part of His creation in His image ... According to the Bible, humanity has been made in the image of God. One of the implications of being made in God's image is the ability to make decisions. People are not programmed robots or animals controlled by their instincts-but possess free will.

When theologians refer to human beings possessing free will they do not mean that people have unlimited options, but simply that they have the ability to choose between available options.

When God created humanity with free will He gave the ability to truly love or reject Him. God gave the ability to freely obey or disobey Him. God does not force anyone to love or follow Him …. Christianity teaches that it is the misuse of free will that allowed evil to come into the world ...

I’ve removed the Biblical references from the above. You don’t have to prove to me that your delusion is internally consistent. I grant that this is what you believe because somebody wrote it down and someone else swears by it. Loudly. And repeatedly. Ad Nauseum.

How many ways has the deck been stacked here? First, this is not the major philosophical objection, just one of many, and an old one known as the Problem of Evil (POE). The alleged “misuse” of Free Will does not answer the question, it begs it. How exactly can one “misuse” free will? (A thing for which we are beholden to no external entity, by the way.) The point is, you either have it, or you don’t. Having it, all options are possible, and none by definition can be “misuse”.

There is also a nice, simplistic view of options presented here. One either loves God or rejects God. No nuance of believing but hating versus thinking the whole religious edifice is built upon a crock of bullshit. One is never rejecting the religious corporations, one is rejecting the alleged and conveniently absent god. People have been successfully murdered through this deliberate misdirection. Maybe that’s one reason why the major monotheistic religions keep pushing their holy books and downplaying their own history.

I could go on, but it’s just more of the same. The site refers to “good and evil” and “sin” with no understanding or admission that this is all part of the religious paradigm. It is a gross oversimplification of the human condition and always has been. People like black and white solutions, but the world is in color and shades of gray. It’s just so much easier to jerk people around by their previously implanted black-and-white prejudices/sensibilities. We do not live in a comic book with comic book heroes and villains. Don’t get me wrong; there is ethical, and unethical behavior. There are honorable, and dishonorable, and altruistic, and self-serving behaviors. All can be justified. All justifications are not equally compelling. Manipulating a person’s sense of shame in order to make them subservient and a lesser human than their full potential will allow is criminal. This is the primary crime of religion.

Long story short, there is no arguing with a person who argues from within an internally consistent, closed-loop delusion. This is why I prefer to tell the believer, “Your god has wings, and wheels, and looks like a big Tylenol!” … or something like that, usually with a bit more contextual relevance. Even if they don’t see it, I hope the juxtaposition will make some other reader realize that what the religious zealot believes is no less ridiculous than what I can invent on the spot.

The image is actor Frank Fontaine, a.k.a. Crazy Guggenheim.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What the Internet Can Teach Us About the Bible

Every couple of years, I get one or more of these emails from well-meaning but naive individuals. You have probably seen one like it if not this one.

From, Example of a hoax that has been circulating since 2002:

This information arrived this morning, from Microsoft and Norton. Please send it to everybody you know who accesses the Internet.

You may receive an apparently harmless email with a PowerPoint presentation called "Life is beautiful.pps."

If you receive it DO NOT OPEN THE FILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, and delete it immediately.

If you open this file, a message will appear on your screen saying: "It is too late now, your life is no longer beautiful", subsequently you will LOSE EVERYTHING IN YOUR PC and the person who sent it to you will gain access to your name, email and password.

This is a new virus which started to circulate on Saturday afternoon. WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO STOP THIS VIRUS.

AOL has already confirmed its dangerousness, and the antivirus Softs are not capable of destroying it. The virus has been created by a hacker who calls himself "life owner", and who aims to destroying domestic PCs and who also fights Microsoft in court! That's why it comes disguised with extension pps. He fights in court for the Windows-XP patent.


In March 2008 a warning began circulating that erroneously linked the (real) Mail Server Report worm with elements of the 'Life is Beautiful' virus hoax and claimed that the resulting amalgam "HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY SNOPES"

Lots of nice “word salad” here, with Microsoft, AOL, and Norton bacon bits to add the appearance of substance. What it lacks is anything like a firm date that might cause one to suspect that it is as old as dirt. Instead, you get vague references like, “This morning” and “Saturday”. This dog has been be-boping around, and pissing on mailboxes for SEVEN YEARS. This is what can happen in a culture that is at an historic pinnacle of communication and information availability.

Now lets rewind back to the early Iron Age. We are now discussing a time when there were no phones, no telegraphs, no newspapers, not much literacy to speak of, no understanding of chemistry, psychology, physics, or the causes of weather. What happened in the next town could be a matter of conjecture, or rumor, or outright bullshit without any simple way to verify.

One of the many Christian arguments against the theory that the Apostle Paul was full of shit is, there is not enough time between the alleged death of Jesus and Paul’s preaching for a legend to be born.

From The Origins of Christianity and the Search for the Historical Jesus Christ by Acharya S.


Horus of Egypt

The stories of Jesus and Horus are very similar, with Horus even contributing the name of Jesus Christ. Horus and his once-and-future Father, Osiris, are frequently interchangeable in the mythos ("I and my Father are one").41 The legends of Horus go back thousands of years, and he shares the following in common with Jesus:

Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger 42, with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.43He was a child teacher in the Temple and was baptized when he was 30 years old.44

Horus was also baptized by "Anup the Baptizer," who becomes "John the Baptist."He had 12 disciples.He performed miracles and raised one man, El-Azar-us, from the dead.He walked on water.Horus was transfigured on the Mount.He was crucified, buried in a tomb and resurrected.He was also the "Way, the Truth, the Light, the Messiah, God's Anointed Son, the Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word" etc.He was "the Fisher," and was associated with the Lamb, Lion and Fish ("Ichthys").45

Horus's personal epithet was "Iusa," the "ever-becoming son" of "Ptah," the "Father."46Horus was called "the KRST," or "Anointed One," long before the Christians duplicated the story.47

In fact, in the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis - the original "Madonna and Child" 48 - and the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra 49, who shares many qualities with Jesus and who existed as a deity long before the Jesus character was formalized. The Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced 50. Virtually all of the elements of the Catholic ritual, from miter to wafer to water to altar to doxology, are directly taken from earlier pagan mystery religions.51

“Several years ago, 500 people witnessed the appearance of the once-crucified, and resurrected after 3 day Godman. Pontius Pilate and Herod do not want you to know this. Don’t be fooled! Spread the Word! Tell everyone you know! If you believe this and tell ten people by nightfall, good luck and a luxurious afterlife will come your way. If you break the chain, you will be roasted without basting for eternity. Please give us your money so we can continue our work and save other people from this terrible fate. POPES CONFIRM THAT THIS IS NOT A HOAX!”