Thursday, December 30, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
October 1, 2010 Urban Word of the Day
The manipulation of scientific data to provide evidence for intelligence design.
Did you watch that beautiful episode about intelligent design?
Yeah, as usual, the producers totally godshopped all the complex images of nature and left out rational explanations provided by evolution.
Monday, September 27, 2010
His new album is a real treat to listen too. the title track, the sound of sunshine is very uplifting. Franti has talent that is for sure. If you ever have him come thru your town, take the time to see the group perform.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
My name is ____________. My birth date is __________. I was baptized and confirmed on __________________. I hereby resign my membership from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I hereby terminate my consent to be treated as a member of said church and I withdraw my consent to submit to the church's beliefs and ecclesiastical disciplinary procedures. You must now treat me as a nonmember in all your dealings with me. From this day forward, I expect that my name will be removed from all church records, and that I will not be contacted by any church representatives for any reason, except via email verification of the receipt of this resignation.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
"I, like many others, are repulsed by the mindless tea party crowd! As we've witnessed so many times in the past/present, politics/religion are an unhealthy alliance that breeds extremists who are volatile, dangerous people! Reason is thrown to the wind, rights are selectively marginalized, freedoms are denied/ Government is villainized! In our world, conservative republican, right-wing fringe paranoia is reinforced by mindless, vindictive, hateful rhetoric/bigotry! Their message is loud/clear! These divisive purveyors of hate care about themselves/ their agenda exclusively... the rest be damned! Rebuttal to this disgusting mindset is required, must be convincing, to the point/capable of clearly exposing a low-life agenda so all can plainly see who they are/what they are about! These fanatics cannot be allowed to spew hate without consequence! Rational people, muslim community, State/Local Governments are trying to undo the damage that has been done! We'll have to see how it all works out! "
One video I saw was a person I know talking to Fundie Christians at the site. They wanted to have mosques banned all over the US. What about our rights and freedoms in America? That goes against the constitution and bill of rights. The fundies are their own flavor of the Taliban. Just a Christian one.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Evidence only counts if it confirms your beliefs.
Apologists have everything to lose when it comes to belief about their beliefs. They will count evidence only if it confirms their beliefs but will deny it is it does not.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped int the flag and carrying a cross." -- Sinclair Lewis 1835
I believe it. When we look at the Christian Right and what they want to do, it is nothing short of fascism.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Here is one of their techniques...
Proof by verbosity - a rhetorical technique that tries to persuade by overwhelming those considering an argument with such a volume of material that the argument sounds plausible, superficially appears to be well-researched, and it is so laborious to untangle and check supporting facts that the argument might be allowed to slide by unchallenged.
They also like to use the proof by resorting to smarter people...
"I am smarter and far more well-read than you are. Leave these troublesome matters to your spiritual and intellectual superiors. Go back to reading your faith promoting material and 'strengthening your testimony'- there is nothing to see here."
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a
Homosexual Orientation in Our Community
We, the undersigned Orthodox rabbis, rashei yeshiva, ramim, Jewish educators and communal leaders affirm the following principles with regard to the place of Jews with a homosexual orientation in our community:
1. All human beings are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect (kevod haberiyot). Every Jew is obligated to fulfill the entire range of mitzvot between person and person in relation to persons who are homosexual or have feelings of same sex attraction. Embarrassing, harassing or demeaning someone with a homosexual orientation or same-sex attraction is a violation of Torah prohibitions that embody the deepest values of Judaism.
2. The question of whether sexual orientation is primarily genetic, or rather environmentally generated, is irrelevant to our obligation to treat human beings with same-sex attractions and orientations with dignity and respect.
3. Halakhah sees heterosexual marriage as the ideal model and sole legitimate outlet for human sexual expression. The sensitivity and understanding we properly express for human beings with other sexual orientations does not diminish our commitment to that principle.
4. Halakhic Judaism views all male and female same-sex sexual interactions as prohibited. The question of whether sexual orientation is primarily genetic, or rather environmentally generated, is irrelevant to this prohibition. While halakha categorizes various homosexual acts with different degrees of severity and opprobrium, including toeivah, this does not in any way imply that lesser acts are permitted. But it is critical to emphasize that halakha only prohibits homosexual acts; it does not prohibit orientation or feelings of same-sex attraction, and nothing in the Torah devalues the human beings who struggle with them. (We do not here address the issue of hirhurei aveirah, a halakhic category that goes beyond mere feelings and applies to all forms of sexuality and requires precise halakhic definition.)
5. Whatever the origin or cause of homosexual orientation, many individuals believe that for most people this orientation cannot be changed. Others believe that for most people it is a matter of free will. Similarly, while some mental health professionals and rabbis in the community strongly believe in the efficacy of “change therapies”, most of the mental health community, many rabbis, and most people with a homosexual orientation feel that some of these therapies are either ineffective or potentially damaging psychologically for many patients.
We affirm the religious right of those with a homosexual orientation to reject
therapeutic approaches they reasonably see as useless or dangerous.
6. Jews with a homosexual orientation who live in the Orthodox community confront serious emotional, communal and psychological challenges that cause them and their families great pain and suffering. For example, homosexual orientation may greatly increase the risk of suicide among teenagers in our community. Rabbis and communities need to be sensitive and empathetic to that reality. Rabbis and mental health professionals must provide responsible and ethical assistance to congregants and clients dealing with those human challenges.
7. Jews struggling to live their lives in accordance with halakhic values need and deserve our support. Accordingly, we believe that the decision as to whether to be open about one’s sexual orientation should be left to such individuals, who should consider their own needs and those of the community. We are opposed on ethical and moral grounds to both the “outing” of individuals who want to remain private and to coercing those who desire to be open about their orientation to keep it hidden.
8. Accordingly, Jews with homosexual orientations or same sex-attractions should be welcomed as full members of the synagogue and school community. As appropriate with regard to gender and lineage, they should participate and count ritually, be eligible for ritual synagogue honors, and generally be treated in the same fashion and under the same halakhic and hashkafic framework as any other member of the synagogue they join. Conversely, they must accept and fulfill all the responsibilities of such membership, including those generated by communal norms or broad Jewish principles that go beyond formal halakhah.
We do not here address what synagogues should do about accepting members
who are openly practicing homosexuals and/or living with a same-sex partner.
Each synagogue together with its rabbi must establish its own standard with
regard to membership for open violators of halakha.
Those standards should be applied fairly and objectively.
9. Halakha articulates very exacting criteria and standards of eligibility for particular religious offices, such as officially appointed cantor during the year or baal tefillah on the High Holidays. Among the most important of those criteria is that the entire congregation must be fully comfortable with having that person serve as its representative. This legitimately prevents even the most admirable individuals, who are otherwise perfectly fit halakhically, from serving in those roles. It is the responsibility of the lay and rabbinic leadership in each individual community to determine eligibility for those offices in line with those principles, the importance of maintaining communal harmony, and the unique context of its community culture.
10. Jews with a homosexual orientation or same sex attraction, even if they engage in same sex interactions, should be encouraged to fulfill mitzvot to the best of their ability. All Jews are challenged to fulfill mitzvot to the best of their ability, and the attitude of “all or nothing” was not the traditional approach adopted by the majority of halakhic thinkers and poskim throughout the ages.
11. Halakhic Judaism cannot give its blessing and imprimatur to Jewish religious
same-sex commitment ceremonies and weddings, and halakhic values proscribe individuals and communities from encouraging practices that grant religious legitimacy to gay marriage and couplehood. But communities should display sensitivity, acceptance and full embrace of the adopted or biological children of homosexually active Jews in the synagogue and school setting, and we encourage parents and family of homosexually partnered Jews to make every effort to maintain harmonious family relations and connections.
12. Jews who have an exclusively homosexual orientation should, under most circumstances, not be encouraged to marry someone of the other gender, as
this can lead to great tragedy, unrequited love, shame, dishonesty and ruined
lives. They should be directed to contribute to Jewish and general society in
other meaningful ways. Any such person who is planning to marry someone of
the opposite gender is halakhically and ethically required to fully inform their
potential spouse of their sexual orientation.
We hope and pray that by sharing these thoughts we will help the Orthodox
community to fully live out its commitment to the principles and values of
Torah and Halakha as practiced and cherished by the children of Abraham, who
our sages teach us are recognized by the qualities of being rahamanim
(merciful), bayshanim (modest), and gomelei hasadim
engaging in acts of loving-kindness).
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Blaise Pascal: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." This quote is often attributed to Sam J. Ervin, Jr. from his book: "Protecting the Constitution." (1984). But it was originally said many years before by Pascal.
Socrates: "The only good is knowledge. The only evil, ignorance."
"Any possible universe could be explained as the work of some sort of designer. Even a universe that is completely chaotic...could be supposed to have been designed by an idiot." 6
"Journalists generally have no bias toward one cosmological theory or another, but many have a natural preference for excitement."
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
"Nothing changes itself. Apparently self-moving things, like animal bodies, are moved by desire or will—something other than mere molecules. "
This is, of course, untrue. If you want an example of molecules changing, concider the hydrogen inside the Sun being converted to helium. There are enormous-but-well-understood forces at work - mainly high temperature and pressure - which cause these molecules to change from one form to another. No desire, no will. That's just how molecules behave under those conditions. The same argument used to be made about lightning. What caused lightning? Must be the gods' wills! Once we understood static charges, the need for god simply vanished.
Oh CZ. You so misunderstand the way things work. The Hydrogen would not turn to helium without the Flying Spaghetti Monster touching each and every one with his (or is it her?) noodley appendage. Its like balls on a billiards table. Duh! It takes someone with the magical pool stick and a cue ball to get the balls going!
Friday, March 5, 2010
The last few months have been a whirlwind. My younger son played freshman high school basketball. The poor guys lost every game. But they had fun and didn't get to down. They had a great coach. He did an amazing job just getting them to where they were at by the end of the season. They just didn't quite meld.
Health is still problematic. I'm now handicapped and don't like being restricted in activity. My heart is in bad shape. Circumflex artery is completely gone. I'm still able to teach fencing and fence a bit with the students. I still can give them a run for their money. But its tough and I fight angina and breathing problems every day. Gets depressing at times but class picks me back up. I put everything I have into it.