claidheamhmor: (Fiday)
The Bad Astronomer posted an article mentioning links to Science and Religion surveys. Fairly interesting, especially if you read the stats afterwards.

Here they are:
Science quiz
Religion quiz

I got 15/15 for the science quiz, and 14/15 for the religion quiz (I got the last question wrong).

My tweets

Monday, 12 September 2011 12:23
claidheamhmor: (Default)

My tweets

Saturday, 6 August 2011 12:15
claidheamhmor: (Default)
  • Fri, 18:11: RT @DrTwittenheimer: Everyone knows about the separation of Church and State in the USA, but did you now that they have since reconciled?
  • Fri, 18:14: RT @DrTwittenheimer: I bet I have deleted the words "Shortcut to" more than 10 million times at this point. <- *sigh* Me too...
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
A church in Australia is trying to get more bums on seats, by appealing to fans of fantasy literature.

Conservative Christians slam fantasy church service in Romsey
By Shannon Deery
From:Herald Sun
April 06, 2011 9:12AM

A CHURCH service where the angels and saints make way for wizards and warlocks has been damned by conservative Christians.

Fans dressed as Wookies and vampires will be among the throng to hear passages from those bibles of fantasy The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter at a "Sci-Fi and Fantasy Friendly Church Service".

The Reverend Avril Hannah-Jones is behind Sunday's service at the Uniting Church in Romsey, north of Melbourne, which is aimed at getting more bums on pews.

The sci-fi enthusiast said the service would explore parallels between fantasy and Christianity, taking inspiration from Dr Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Wars.

But traditionalists have slammed the service's irreverence and lack of emphasis on scripture. Sources close to the church told the Herald Sun the plan had split locals.

"There are some that aren't very happy about it, especially because it just sort of happened out of the blue," a parishioner said.

Other church leaders said it was blasphemous and could encourage witchcraft and supernatural ideas.

"I don't have a problem with people enjoying sci-fi, but church isn't the place to encourage escapism and fancy dress," Mentone Baptist minister Murray Campbell said.

"It is the time where real people with real lives need to hear the real God speak his word, the Bible.

"We really ought to get our theology and world view from the Bible, not Frodo Baggins - as cool as he is."

Catholic priest Gerald O'Collins said: "There should be no need to dress it up.

"There is a magical story there already - We just have to start selling ourselves properly."

But Australian Baptist movement spokesman Rod Benson said the service was a unique opportunity to introduce more people to Christianity.

Mr Benson, an ethicist and public theologian, said the innovative approach was commendable.

"Baptists affirm the biblical teaching condemning occult practices, but this Uniting Church congregation's sci-fi/fantasy theme is commendable if it connects with the community and serves its purpose well," he said.

"What matters is how the church leaders frame the cultural theme within a Christian context.

"The supernatural is not the sole domain of malevolent forces. Indeed, Christians affirm that every aspect of life has a spiritual connection."

Mr Benson said familiar stories, such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Buffy, and Dr Who involved people wrestling with moral choices.

"(They) show the triumph of human virtue and the good over all kinds of moral and spiritual challenges," he said.

Uniting Church moderator Isabel Thomas Dobson said Sunday's service had the full support of the church authorities.

"We're always looking for ways in which we can connect the community with the truth of the gospel.

"We're talking fantasy, not reality," she said.

"It's a once-off."

Source: Herald Sun

I must admit, I find the irony palpable.

For example: Catholic priest Gerald O'Collins said: "There should be no need to dress it up. There is a magical story there already - We just have to start selling ourselves properly."

Or: "We're always looking for ways in which we can connect the community with the truth of the gospel. We're talking fantasy, not reality."

My tweets

Friday, 4 March 2011 12:00
claidheamhmor: (Default)
  • Fri, 10:51: RT @Predeceased: RT @merinnan: "You know you've created god in your own image when it turns out he hates all the same people you do." - ...

My tweets

Wednesday, 26 January 2011 12:00
claidheamhmor: (Default)
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
Can anyone see what's wrong with this sentence, from the Daily Mail's article "Hitler's Christmas party: Rare photographs capture leading Nazis celebrating in 1941"?

"Hitler believed religion had no place in his 1,000-year Reich, so he replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas with the Norse god Odin and urged Germans to celebrate the season as a holiday of the ‘winter solstice’, rather than Christmas."
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in the US conducted a 32-question survey on religion (specifically, knowledge of the Bible, world religions and what the Constitution says about religion in public life), and polled 3400 Americans.

Some interesting results: atheists and agnostics scored highest (no surprise there). Bible-belt Southerners scored lowest. Only half of Catholics were aware of transubstantiation. Educational level was the best predictor of results.

CNN: Don't know much about religion? You're not alone, study finds

News articles

Wednesday, 15 September 2010 10:46
claidheamhmor: (Aes Sedai)
Some interesting news articles this week.

Horror video shocks parents
Basically, parents of children enrolled at a child care centre saw a video which showed children being abused. Naturally, most parents withdrew their kids from the place immediately. What I found interesting was this:
When teachers register their children at the school, they sign a document which states "I give permission for my child/ren to be disciplined within limits".

"Within limits means a whack on the bum. It's not a blow with a wooden spoon on the head or across the body," said the mother.
Apparently even parents aren't too clear on the law: a "whack on the bum", technically speaking, is illegal. From my point of view, there absolutely no way I would give any school permission to punish my child physically.

Why Belgian Catholic church is ignoring hundreds of abuse victims
The Belgian Roman Catholic Church is afraid to give a full apology for the sexual abuse of children by its priests. Bishop Guy Harpigny said: 'If we say "mea culpa", then we are morally responsible, legally responsible, and then people come wanting money'

I think this is symptomatic of the whole problem. The Church, by protecting abusive clergy, is morally and legally responsible for the abuse. If it had handed abusers over to the police and cooperated fully, no-one would have been able to fault the church; by protecting and concealing the abusers, and moving them from parish to parish, the Church becomes an accessory to the crimes. Monetary compensation and an apology should be the very least the Church should be doing to atone for it.

Metro police hunt PigSpotter
There's a Twitter user called @pigspotter who is tweeting the whereabouts of police speed traps and roadblocks in the Joburg area. The the police want to track him down and catch him for defeating the ends of justice. Personally, I don't see what the problem is: he is making people slow down where there are traps. Isn't that what the police want? As for roadblocks - I'm all for the police catching criminals and drivers of unroadworthy vehicles at roadblocks, but I'd like to know where they are so that I can avoid the resulting traffic jams if I'm in a hurry.

Church policy

Tuesday, 18 May 2010 14:35
claidheamhmor: (Vendetta 2)
Over the last couple of months I've been seeing the news articles about the Catholic Church's latest crisis. Today I happened to read an article on The Onion dating back to 2002. The Onion is supposed to be satire; this article doesn't feel like satire though, and it could be taken seriously, given some of the weasely statements made by various church leaders.

Pope Forgives Molested Children )

The most disturbing thing, I think, about the whole child molestation crisis is not that it happened at all, but how it's been dealt with. After all, child molestation is not unique to the Catholic Church; it happens in most environments where there are vulnerable children, like schools, Scouts, youth groups, etc. The disturbing thing is that the Church has, for decades, simply moved offending clergy around to fresh environments, allowed them to retire peacefully, kept them within the Church, and covered everything up. Almost no cases were reported to legal authorities. To me, this makes those responsible just as guilty as the perpetrators were; essentially, by covering offences up, facilitating them, or not reporting them, the church leaders responsible became accessories to the crimes.


Friday, 1 January 2010 12:33
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
Blasphemy is now illegal in Ireland. Based on the quotes in the article linked here, it is presumably no longer legal in Ireland to publish certain books or sayings by Mark Twain, Salman Rushdie, Pope Benedict XVI, nor to publish the Bible or Koran.

Atheist Ireland Publishes 25 Blasphemous Quotes
claidheamhmor: (UnderworldEvolution)
Faith healers
I read the headline of the article below, and for a moment, thought the quack faith healers were doing something useful by cleaning the country's roads. Sadly, it appears that they're slaughtering chickens and putting snuff and beer on the roads instead.

Faith healers cleanse city's dangerous roads )

A night in the shop
This was amusing: shoppers at a department store in Britain were trapped by snow, and spent a lovely night in the bedding department. Sounds like the kids had a lot of fun. Nice going by the store management!

Trapped shoppers take it lying down )
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
Sometimes The Onion comes up with amusing stuff...

Sumerians Look On In Confusion As Christian God Creates World

December 15, 2009 | Issue 45•51

Members of the earth's earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, looked on in shock and confusion some 6,000 years ago as God, the Lord Almighty, created Heaven and Earth.

According to recently excavated clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, thousands of Sumerians—the first humans to establish systems of writing, agriculture, and government—were working on their sophisticated irrigation systems when the Father of All Creation reached down from the ether and blew the divine spirit of life into their thriving civilization.

"I do not understand," reads an ancient line of pictographs depicting the sun, the moon, water, and a Sumerian who appears to be scratching his head. "A booming voice is saying, 'Let there be light,' but there is already light. It is saying, 'Let the earth bring forth grass,' but I am already standing on grass."

"Everything is here already," the pictograph continues. "We do not need more stars."

Historians believe that, immediately following the biblical event, Sumerian witnesses returned to the city of Eridu, a bustling metropolis built 1,500 years before God called for the appearance of dry land, to discuss the new development. According to records, Sumerian farmers, priests, and civic administrators were not only befuddled, but also took issue with the face of God moving across the water, saying that He scared away those who were traveling to Mesopotamia to participate in their vast and intricate trade system.

Moreover, the Sumerians were taken aback by the creation of the same animals and herb-yielding seeds that they had been domesticating and cultivating for hundreds of generations.

"The Sumerian people must have found God's making of heaven and earth in the middle of their well-established society to be more of an annoyance than anything else," said Paul Helund, ancient history professor at Cornell University. "If what the pictographs indicate are true, His loud voice interrupted their ancient prayer rituals for an entire week."

According to the cuneiform tablets, Sumerians found God's most puzzling act to be the creation from dust of the first two human beings.

"These two people made in his image do not know how to communicate, lack skills in both mathematics and farming, and have the intellectual capacity of an infant," one Sumerian philosopher wrote. "They must be the creation of a complete idiot."

Source: The Onion
claidheamhmor: (Vendetta 2)
So it seems that the reports on child molestation in the Irish Catholic Church came to light.

Bishops hid child abuse )

It's bad enough that the molesting happened in the first place, but such things can - and do - take place in other churches, at schools, and in other organisations or places where children are in the care of sickos. What makes it so awful was that the Church covered everything up, the police cooperated with them, and the Church moved the perpetrators to other parishes or areas where they could carry on their foul deeds. A betrayal of children on a massive, decades-long scale.

In related news, I discovered that the priest who was school chaplain when I was at school, and who was (if I'm not mistaken) convicted on some child porn charges a few years ago, is now a canon in the Anglican church, and is Diocesan Education Officer for the city.
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
Saw this article regarding the Vatican's standpoint on paedophilia.

Now, paedophilia is by no means unique to religious institutions; what's important, though, is that churches, like schools, are places where adults are in a position of trust and authority over children, and should thus be held to higher standards. What's really galling with regard to the Roman Catholic Church, though, is that in many cases, abuse went on for years, and instead of defrocking priests and handing them over to the police, church authorities would shuffle the perpetrators off to another parish where they could start again.

I'm not amused by the Vatican's weasel-words over the definition of paedophilia. What it's called doesn't change the abhorrent nature of the crime.

Sex abuse rife in other religions, says Vatican
Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent, and Anushka Asthana, Monday 28 September 2009 22.41 BST

The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.

In a defiant and provocative statement, issued following a meeting of the UN human rights council in Geneva, the Holy See said the majority of Catholic clergy who committed such acts were not paedophiles but homosexuals attracted to sex with adolescent males.

The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse.

He also quoted statistics from the Christian Scientist Monitor newspaper to show that most US churches being hit by child sex abuse allegations were Protestant and that sexual abuse within Jewish communities was common.

He added that sexual abuse was far more likely to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbours, and male children were quite often guilty of sexual molestation of other children.

The statement said that rather than paedophilia, it would "be more correct" to speak of ephebophilia, a homosexual attraction to adolescent males.

"Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17."

The statement concluded: "As the Catholic church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it."

The Holy See launched its counter–attack after an international representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Keith Porteous Wood, accused it of covering up child abuse and being in breach of several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Porteous Wood said the Holy See had not contradicted any of his accusations. "The many thousands of victims of abuse deserve the international community to hold the Vatican to account, something it has been unwilling to do, so far. Both states and children's organisations must unite to pressurise the Vatican to open its files, change its procedures worldwide, and report suspected abusers to civil authorities."

Representatives from other religions were dismayed by the Holy See's attempts to distance itself from controversy by pointing the finger at other faiths.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, said: "Comparative tragedy is a dangerous path on which to travel. All of us need to look within our own communities. Child abuse is sinful and shameful and we must expel them immediately from our midst."

A spokesman for the US Episcopal Church said measures for the prevention of sexual misconduct and the safeguarding of children had been in place for years.

Of all the world religions, Roman Catholicism has been hardest hit by sex abuse scandals. In the US, churches have paid more than $2bn (£1.25bn) in compensation to victims. In Ireland, reports into clerical sexual abuse have rocked both the Catholic hierarchy and the state.

The Ryan Report, published last May, revealed that beatings and humiliation by nuns and priests were common at institutions that held up to 30,000 children. A nine-year investigation found that Catholic priests and nuns for decades terrorised thousands of boys and girls, while government inspectors failed to stop the abuse.

Source: The Guardian
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
This article, mentioned by [ profile] polymale, was rather interesting:

How races and religions match in online dating

It's a set of correlations (astrological sign, religion, and race) from around 500000 online dating users on OkCupid. Some of the comments are interesting, and some totally daft.
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
I think this is pretty damn poor customer service...

Bus company offers only 'godly' shows

July 24 2009 at 08:34AM
By Craig McKune

A quarter of Intercape's passengers complain about its "godly", "anti-Darwinian" onboard entertainment, but the long-haul bus operator stands by its message.

"We're a godly company and we believe we need to show Christian-based entertainment," company spokesperson Adre Zandberg said on Thursday.

Peet Louw, director of Humble Pie Entertainment, which manages Intercape's onboard entertainment, said an internal census showed 25 percent of the mainliner's passengers "are not 100 percent happy". But he said they had only heard "about three complaints out of 150 000 customers", and they were catering for the country's 80 percent who claim to be Christian.
'They don't have to travel Intercape if they don't want to'

Louw said Humble Pie manages the content for Intercape's 65 buses, which transport between 60 000 and 100 000 passengers a month.

The entertainment is played on the buses' television screens with the sound broadcast from speakers which passengers cannot control, he said.

Speaking on CapeTalk radio on Thursday, one caller described how, on her trip to Port Elizabeth and back, she was offended by the "gospel" content she was forced to watch. But both Zandberg and Louw stood by what they called "simply good clean 'Intertainment' with a message".

"If we get a few complaints from other religions, we don't care about them. They don't have to travel Intercape if they don't want to," said Louw.

The programming avoided sexually suggestive or violent content and focused on family values, he said.

"We're not forcing anything down anybody's throat in the same way that Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor are; not forcing the occult, sex or witchcraft. You can decide for yourself whether or not you accept it."

He said the programming was "unashamedly" anti-evolution.

"Most of those complaints you mention are from evolutionists, but we of course know there is no proof for evolution. The origin of species is really a lie," he said.

Intercape's programming offered documentary-style content, wildlife features from a creationist standpoint, movies, music videos and advertising.

Intercape passengers arriving in Cape Town on Thursday said they had watched only comedies on the screens and had no complaints.

Two Intercape employees, however, said the DVDs were usually shown "because our boss is Christian".

Although Christian, they did not agree with the programmes. "A lot of our customers are Muslim or Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist. What about them?"

Zandberg said the programming had been shown for about six months, although they used to show Christian DVDs before that.

Source: IOL

""We're not forcing anything down anybody's throat in the same way that Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor are; not forcing the occult, sex or witchcraft."

Please. You have a choice of movies to watch at a cinema. When you go on a bus trip, you're not expecting to be bombarded with religious movies.

""Most of those complaints you mention are from evolutionists, but we of course know there is no proof for evolution. The origin of species is really a lie," he said."

He's an ignorant idiot.

Mother found guilty

Saturday, 23 May 2009 18:46
claidheamhmor: (Cylon Raider)
So, the mother who killed her diabetic daughter by not taking her for medical treatment has been found guilty. Good.

Mother found guilty in Wausau prayer death case )

I was shocked by this, though:
Leilani Neumann's stepfather, Brian Gordon of San Diego, said he was disappointed by the verdict and the jury was mistaken. He said his stepdaughter did nothing wrong in trusting in God to heal her daughter.

"We should have that right in this country," he said.
No, people should not have the right to kill their children.
claidheamhmor: (Default)
This sort of thing really pisses me off.

Here we have a deluded mother who essentially killed her child because of her own religious beliefs.

Mom expected divine healing )

And then, we have the Daniel Hauser case, where Daniels parents stopped cancer treatment in favour of vitamins. Now, I'm all in favour of people making their own life decisions, but Daniel is 13, and his parents' version of home schooling has left him illiterate (he apparently cannot recognise the word "the"). He simply is not capable of making such a life-changing decision; his parents are effectively letting him die. Now, there's obviously no guarantee that chemo will actually save his life - but vitamins definitely won't.

Mother, son missing in forced chemotherapy case )

How can parents be so deluded as to do this to their children? I truly don't understand it.
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
This sort of thing really pisses me off.

Here we have a deluded mother who essentially killed her child because of her own religious beliefs.

Mom expected divine healing )

And then, we have the Daniel Hauser case, where Daniels parents stopped cancer treatment in favour of vitamins. Now, I'm all in favour of people making their own life decisions, but Daniel is 13, and his parents' version of home schooling has left him illiterate (he apparently cannot recognise the word "the"). He simply is not capable of making such a life-changing decision; his parents are effectively letting him die. Now, there's obviously no guarantee that chemo will actually save his life - but vitamins definitely won't.

Mother, son missing in forced chemotherapy case )

How can parents be so deluded as to do this to their children? I truly don't understand it.
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
This satire by Hayibo was amusing:

Pick n Pay bows to Amish pressure group, pulls Popular Mechanics off shelves

CAPE TOWN. Retail giant Pick n Pay has announced that it will withdraw the latest issue of Popular Mechanics from its shelves following protests from Amish lobbyists who say that the magazine attacks their lifestyle and values. The move follows last month's decision by the retailer to pull student magazine Sax Appeal from stores after complaints from offended Christians.

Attacks on Christianity and Jesus Christ unleashed a storm of protest against the University of Cape Town's student magazine in February, with many Christians abandoning meekness and a possible shot at inheriting the earth in favour of stinging attacks on the magazine's editorial team.

Pick n Pay subsequently pulled the issue from its shelves, agreeing that it was deeply insulting to Christian people.

Asked if it would pull gossip magazines You and Heat, both of which are deeply insulting to intelligent people, a spokeswoman for the retailer said that it "probably wouldn't".

"Religious beliefs are much more important than intelligent principles," explained Chastity Haliburton.

"Which is why we are taking the Amish protest very seriously. Even though they choose to live in the 16th Century, and would rather die of gangrene than use an Elastoplast, it is a belief system and therefore beyond criticism."

According to Ms Haliburton a group of twelve Amish farmers staged their protest outside the Kommetjie branch of Pick n Pay yesterday morning, obstructing the entrance to the store with wooden wheelbarrows, a horse-drawn buggy, and five crates of women.

The protest lasted from 3am until 3.15am, at which point the farmers had to go home to make sure that their wives were not slacking over the butter churn.

According to the group's spokesman, Ezekiel Yoder, Popular Mechanics was "the Devil working through the diabolical device of the printed word".

"This magazine openly mocks us and our way of life," said Yoder. "It strikes at the foundation of our beliefs."

Asked why the Amish had opted for protest instead of a traditional boycott of the store, Yoder admitted that they had in fact been boycotting Pick n Pay since it installed fridges and cash registers in the 1970s.

But he said their "hand had been forced" when they discovered the "satanic magazine" this week, after Esther Stoltzfus had been tempted into the store by the smell of freshly baked buns.

"She has been disciplined for her temptation," said Yoder, adding that she would be betrothed to Hideous Kurt Plank, the Seven-Fingered Boy, who had finished his community service last week.

Source: Hayibo
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
Here we have the Catholic Church excommunicating the mother and doctors of a little girl, because the girl had an abortion at the age of nine after being raped by her stepfather.

This is so fucked up I'm not even sure what to say. The mother and doctors should take their excommunication certificates and celebrate; why would one want to be a member of a religion that has its priorities so screwed up?

Rape row sparks excommunications

By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo

A Brazilian archbishop says all those who helped a child rape victim secure an abortion are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

The girl, aged nine, who lives in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, became pregnant with twins.

It is alleged that she had been sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather.

The excommunication applies to the child's mother and the doctors involved in the procedure.

The pregnancy was terminated on Wednesday.

Abortion is only permitted in Brazil in cases of rape and where the mother's life is at risk and doctors say the girl's case met both these conditions.

Police believe that the girl at the centre of the case had been sexually abused by her step-father since she was six years old.

The fact that she was pregnant with twins was only discovered after she was taken to hospital in Pernambuco complaining of stomach pains.

Her stepfather was arrested last week, allegedly as he tried to escape to another region of the country.

He is also suspected of abusing the girl's physically handicapped older sister who is now 14.

Intervention bid

The Catholic Church tried to intervene to prevent the abortion going ahead but the procedure was carried out on Wednesday.

Now a Church spokesman says all those involved, including the child's mother and the doctors, are to be excommunicated.

The Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, told Brazil's TV Globo that the law of God was above any human law.

He said the excommunication would not apply to the child because of her age, but would affect all those who ensured the abortion was carried out.

However, doctors at the hospital said they had to take account of the welfare of the girl, and that she was so small that her uterus did not have the ability to contain one child let alone two.

While the action of the Church in opposing an abortion for a young rape victim is not unprecedented, it has attracted criticism from women's rights groups in Brazil.

Source: BBC
claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
This article boggled my mind...

'Saving gays is like saving rainforest' )
We have the Pope actually saying that saving the world from homosexuals is just as important as saving the rainforests. I find it hard to express any reaction to that that doesn't lead to me spluttering incoherently. It's hard to imagine someone in such a position being so ignorant - not only of humanity, but of nature too.

"He compared behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work"." How about celibacy, Benedict? How far beyond traditional heterosexual relations is that?!

And then we have this:
Paid your church tax? Okay, have a pew seat )
I find the opt-out nature of church taxes in Germany a bit of a cheek; something like that would never fly in places like the US, but then, the US is far less bound to traditional church/state ties than many European countries. Are there really so many people "opting out" of the taxes and then pitching up at Christmas Eve services that pew space is a problem?
claidheamhmor: (AthlonX2)
This was amusing...

If programming languages were religions...
Monday, December 15, 2008

"If programming languages were religions"
(Inspired by "If programming languages were cars")

C would be Judaism - it's old and restrictive, but most of the world is familiar with its laws and respects them. The catch is, you can't convert into it - you're either into it from the start, or you will think that it's insanity. Also, when things go wrong, many people are willing to blame the problems of the world on it.

Java would be Fundamentalist Christianity - it's theoretically based on C, but it voids so many of the old laws that it doesn't feel like the original at all. Instead, it adds its own set of rigid rules, which its followers believe to be far superior to the original. Not only are they certain that it's the best language in the world, but they're willing to burn those who disagree at the stake.

PHP would be Cafeteria Christianity - Fights with Java for the web market. It draws a few concepts from C and Java, but only those that it really likes. Maybe it's not as coherent as other languages, but at least it leaves you with much more freedom and ostensibly keeps the core idea of the whole thing. Also, the whole concept of "goto hell" was abandoned.

C++ would be Islam - It takes C and not only keeps all its laws, but adds a very complex new set of laws on top of it. It's so versatile that it can be used to be the foundation of anything, from great atrocities to beautiful works of art. Its followers are convinced that it is the ultimate universal language, and may be angered by those who disagree. Also, if you insult it or its founder, you'll probably be threatened with death by more radical followers.

C# would be Mormonism - At first glance, it's the same as Java, but at a closer look you realize that it's controlled by a single corporation (which many Java followers believe to be evil), and that many theological concepts are quite different. You suspect that it'd probably be nice, if only all the followers of Java wouldn't discriminate so much against you for following it.

Lisp would be Zen Buddhism - There is no syntax, there is no centralization of dogma, there are no deities to worship. The entire universe is there at your reach - if only you are enlightened enough to grasp it. Some say that it's not a language at all; others say that it's the only language that makes sense.

Haskell would be Taoism - It is so different from other languages that many people don't understand how can anyone use it to produce anything useful. Its followers believe that it's the true path to wisdom, but that wisdom is beyond the grasp of most mortals.

Erlang would be Hinduism - It's another strange language that doesn't look like it could be used for anything, but unlike most other modern languages, it's built around the concept of multiple simultaneous deities.

Perl would be Voodoo - An incomprehensible series of arcane incantations that involve the blood of goats and permanently corrupt your soul. Often used when your boss requires you to do an urgent task at 21:00 on friday night.

Lua would be Wicca - A pantheistic language that can easily be adapted for different cultures and locations. Its code is very liberal, and allows for the use of techniques that might be described as magical by those used to more traditional languages. It has a strong connection to the moon.

Ruby would be Neo-Paganism - A mixture of different languages and ideas that was beaten together into something that might be identified as a language. Its adherents are growing fast, and although most people look at them suspiciously, they are mostly well-meaning people with no intention of harming anyone.

Python would be Humanism: It's simple, unrestrictive, and all you need to follow it is common sense. Many of the followers claim to feel relieved from all the burden imposed by other languages, and that they have rediscovered the joy of programming. There are some who say that it is a form of pseudo-code.

COBOL would be Ancient Paganism - There was once a time when it ruled over a vast region and was important, but nowadays it's almost dead, for the good of us all. Although many were scarred by the rituals demanded by its deities, there are some who insist on keeping it alive even today.

APL would be Scientology - There are many people who claim to follow it, but you've always suspected that it's a huge and elaborate prank that got out of control.

LOLCODE would be Pastafarianism - An esoteric, Internet-born belief that nobody really takes seriously, despite all the efforts to develop and spread it.

Visual Basic would be Satanism - Except that you don't REALLY need to sell your soul to be a Satanist...

Source: Aegisub
claidheamhmor: (Time enough for love)
I find it interesting to see articles like Mormons Tipped Scale in Ban on Gay Marriage, essentially saying that the involvement of Mormonism was one of the major factors in California's Proposition 8 (restricting marriage to a man and a woman only) being passed.

What disappointed me was to see that Alan Ashton, one of the co-founders of WordPerfect Corporation, had donated $1m to support Proposition 8. I used to work for the WordPerfect distributor in South Africa, and the reason that distributor was chosen was because of their non-racial policies during the time of apartheid. It was sad to see someone who had obviously been pro-human rights aligning himself on the side of bigotry.

Then I was pleased to see someone else who'd also donated $1m: philanthropist Bruce Bastian, the other co-founder of WordPerfect Corporation. He, however, donated his money to oppose Proposition 8.

I wonder which way Pete Peterson would have gone. Pete owned the 1% of WordPerfect that Ashton and Bastian didn't, and was the guy involved in the day-to-day running of the company. He seemed like a nice guy; I had an email conversation with him once on how WordPerfect had failed.

Incidentally, I still miss WordPerfect; in the DOS days it was king of the hill, and the later Windows versions are still far better than MS Word at handling huge documents or documents requiring precise layout.
claidheamhmor: (Vendetta 2)
This poor 4-year-old boy was involved in a quad bike accident, and messed up his face badly.

Boy, 4, in horror quad crash )

Now, it's fairly obvious that the parents were somewhat irresponsible - letting a 4-year-old on a 50cc machine (you need to be 16 to get a 50cc licence) on a public road without any safety gear was really daft. Terrible accidents do happen due to misjudgements though; I can understand that. We've all been stupid at one time or another.

What really, really irked me, though, was hearing the poor boy's aunt on the radio this morning saying that "it was God's will".

No, it wasn't God's will - unless you believe in a God who likes maiming children. It was a pathetic attempt to shift the blame from the parents to some other entity.

Then there was a soundbite from the boy's mother saying God was protecting her son, or something along those lines. Yeah, sure it was.

Really: take responsibility for your own damn actions. Yes, it might hurt to admit that you were responsible. Deal with it, and stand up for your own actions. Learn from it, and help others learn from it. It's the right thing to do.
claidheamhmor: (Vendetta 2)
So, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that it's OK to abuse children, provided it's a regular occurrence at a church.

Dallas attorney David Pruessner said no one should think Friday's ruling would give protection to a church leader accused of abusing a child - except that that is exactly what has happened here.

[ profile] pharyngula has a nice commentary.

Court sides with church in demon case )

This comes a few days after the debacle in Louisiana, where Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a law that will permit the use of supplementary materials in the classroom for the "discussion" of certain scientific theories - basically, a backdoor into promoting Creationism in science classes in Louisiana. I certainly hope that teachers who want to "challenge theories" will start with theories of gravitation and germs, preferably on themselves.

Norse gods

Sunday, 24 February 2008 09:36
claidheamhmor: (Default)
Stolen from [ profile] gridlore.

Which Norse God or Goddess are you most like?
created with
You scored as Njord





























claidheamhmor: (Pentagram)
I recently read Francis Collins's book "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief", loaned to me by my father-in-law, who gave it to me with a faint look of disgust (I was a little surprised, as he's busy with his Masters in Theology).

Anyway, I gave it a nice thorough read.

Francis Collins is a geneticist and leader of the Human Genome Project, once an atheist and now an evangelical Christian. As a renowned scientist and Christian, this book is an attempt to provide some scientific reason for belief in God, and to show that religion and science can co-exist.

He starts off by describing his journey from agnosticism to Christianity, invoking a "Moral Law" (in other words, that people "know" what's right and what isn't), then going on to explain that everyone has a longing for God, and that essentially those two constitute a proof for the existence of God.

He then heads off into genetics and DNA, and gives a reasonably nice introduction to it all, and essentially backs up modern evolutionary science as being God's way of doing things. He provides a really good smackdown on Creationism and Intelligent Design, basically saying that they're either ignoring reality, or using the "God of the Gaps" argument (and provides extensive proof of this). He makes pleas for Creationists not to ignore the science.

Finally, he invents his own synthesis of Faith and Science which he calls "BioLogos", essentially theistic evolution. As an appendix, he deals with some bioethics issues, like stem cells and genetic testing, but sadly ignores many other issues dealing with science and faith.

Some of the criticisms I have of the book and Collins's arguments are:
  • For religious viewpoints, he relies heavily on quotes from Christian writer CS Lewis, and pays little attention to more learned philosophers, such as Plato, Maimonides, and St Augustine, and I'm not sure how valid CS Lewis's reasoning is.

  • While he talks extensively about faith and science, and so on, he's not talking about religious faith in a generic sense, he is talking specifically about the Judeo-Christian God, not about others; nowhere does he justify why he thinks God is fine, but Zeus, Ra or Odin are not.

  • He spends a lot of time talking about what he calls the "Moral Law", essentially saying that it's God-given because it doesn't exist in other animals and can't explain how it could have come about any other way. Unfortunately, his description of the "Moral Law" leaves a few gaps, and I think his reasoning there is faulty. For example, take a look at Solon's Ten Commandments, which rely on the Golden Rule, and were discussed long before Christianity. Also, I stumbled across a new article today in the New York Times by world-respected cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, The Moral Instinct, and that provides a much nicer description and basis for the moral instinct in humans (and other primates); given Pinker's credentials, I think it's far more authoritative too.

  • Collins's "Longing for God" as a basis for belief is dubious too; for example, he states that all human cultures have created gods, and that this "longing for God" is therefore a hole in the human soul that must be filled, and therefore God must exist. Again, he doesn't detail why longing for gods in general should extend to a specifically Judeo-Christian God, and he ignores the fact that many cultures have ancestor-worship rather than gods.

All in all, as a proof for God, I think the book was rather weak. On the plus side, it did provide a very strong argument against Creationism and Intelligent design, which I'm sure the Intelligent Design advocates like Answers in Genesis and the Discovery Institute will not appreciate.


claidheamhmor: (Default)

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