Wednesday, June 25, 2008

christian god’s Gay Pride

PZ Myers made a post about how silly Ray Comfort is. Prompting this post was one that Ray made in which he condemns gays in California and blames CA wildfires on them. Ray Comfort is an archaic tool that still thinks the gods control the weather, punishing anyone who transgresses. Now we know why New Orleans was hit so badly; it was god's wrath for New Orleans eating all that shellfish. The best thing about Ray's post is something PZ missed, the post directly under it.

The title is "Thank god for Science". The whole post is all about light, the bible and god. Ray states that "god is light", and to help illustrate his point he uses a nice visual aid. It's the above picture which I have renamed to "god is Gay and Proud". Not only does the picture suggest that god is gay, but it also suggests that it's natural, because it's from light. I personally agree that being gay is natural and that there isn't anything wrong with it. I'm surprised that a conservative christian would think so though. Honestly, if you think about it, if god is all knowing then he must know what really great butt sex feels like. He must also know what it's like to give a bj, and to get snowballed, right? Blumpkin? Yeah, he knows how to give one helluva good one.

Thanks for the laugh and the great picture Ray, hope god doesn't punish you for calling him gay.

Monday, June 23, 2008

His name was George Carlin.

His name was George Carlin.
His name was George Carlin.
His name was George Carlin.
Repeat Ad infinitum.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two small blog things.

First - Blogger added a different blogroll page element. I switched to using it because it uses RSS feeds. It now arranges them by most frequent post, and adds the title of some of their posts. It will only display the top ten most recent, so once my blogroll gets a little longer it won't take up to much space.

Second - Anyone with Blogger know how to make pages that have a "fold" to them? I tried using Blogger's help section but it wasn't too clear. The very first bit of code it says to insert, I can't figure out where to insert it. If any of my readers don't know then I will try the group help feature, but thought I would ask here first. Just trying to fold some of my really long posts to clean up my blog a little.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I was in the army for four years starting in November of 2001. By the end of my time I knew it wasn't for me. I didn't like that I had no choice in my life. The army decides everything. When I first joined I was single and care free. I would go anywhere and do anything. I spent a year in South Korea and really had a great time.
More after the fold.

My goals in life changed drastically when I met my wife, also a soldier, and we started a family. Being in the army is terrible for families, especially now with the Iraq war going on. I wouldn't have been against going when I was single, but married with children is entirely different. Long deployments are bad for everyone in the family, and that's if no one gets injured or killed while over there. So when my time came up to reenlist, I didn't.

One thing many people don't realize is that when you join the army, even if it's only for 2yrs, you have an 8 year commitment. However many years you join up for active army is subtracted from 8, and what ever number you get is how long you will serve in the inactive reserves after you complete your active portion. So no matter what you sign up for, you get at least an 8 year commitment. I signed up for 4 years active, and 4 years inactive. Inactive didn't really mean anything before Iraq because they had no need to pull you from inactive to active. When I was getting out of active I knew of a few people that had already gotten pulled from inactive. My job (MOS) in the army was fixing electronic military intelligence systems. My MOS is a shortage MOS, meaning they never have as many of us as they want to. Since my chances were pretty high that I would be activated and sent to Iraq, I decided to join the Texas National guard. They gave me 2yrs stability (meaning I can't deploy), and a decent bonus. They would pay for college classes and would also give me an extra few hundred dollars a month for drilling.

Gambling with 2yrs instead of 4yrs seemed like the better bet, especially since they were paying me also. It seemed like a good idea, but it didn't work. My unit is going to Afghanistan, and they fully intend to take me with them. I'll be starting training probably in September, and once I start I'll basically be gone for 5 months. At the end of the 5 months I'll go to Afghanistan, supposedly only for 9 months. The only good thing about it is that when I come back my contract will be completely fulfilled and they can never touch me again, even if they add a draft (supposedly). What really sucks is that even though I'm going to be deploying (perhaps because I'm deploying), my civilian job is still going to send me on two business trips. One of them will be 4 weeks long, and the other one will be 3 weeks long. The four week long one will be in Austin, so my wife and kids can visit me, but I will be very busy.

I'll give more info about it later once I know more about it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How does an Atheist respond to a sneeze?

I have photic sneeze reflex. I sneeze anytime there is a significant change in the light from dark to bright. It's actually quite sensitive and I end up sneezing a lot. Living in the bible belt I get a lot of "god bless you"s. Depending on the mood I'm in, and with whom I am in the company of, I respond differently to sneezes and blessings than most might to reflect my heathenistic ways (I'm an atheist if you don't know it). With strangers and at work, I tend to stay with the polite, simple and god free "gesundheit" (German for good health) if they sneeze, and "thank you" if they bless me after I sneeze.

When it comes to family and friends I prefer to be a little more controversial. I don't say any of the following in a mean way, they are just jokes. I don't give anyone too hard of a time because they were after all just being polite. I also realize that most people that say god bless you aren't even aware of the words they are saying; it's probably more of an obligatory remark as uncontrollable as a sneeze to anyone raised to be polite. The main reason I don't just say gesundheit or thanks and ignore the topic is specifically because people aren't aware of what they are saying. If you are just robotically repeating something that you don't even believe is it really politeness? The majority of people that say god bless you don't actually think that god is going to take time out of his busy schedule and perform a miraculous exorcism of the offending dust particle in my nose. So if they don't believe it, why say it? There are many ways to be polite regarding sneezes with out invoking the power of a god. For some generic things to say from various languages and some general info check out this wiki article.

Here are some phrases I have said to friends and family when they say "(god) bless you" to me after I sneeze.

Are you sure you are qualified to wield that kind of power? I'm going to have to see your license.

Woh, careful with that, I'm allergic.

Ahhhh, it burns! (Followed by me running around and flailing about�)

Don't you think god has more important things to worry about?

Can I re-gift? I'd rather one of the starving kids in the world have his blessing.

Can I choose which god? I like Loki, he's funny.

No thanks, but thanks for the offer.

Thanks, but I'm full. I had a big breakfast.

Thanks Allah

Things I say when someone else sneezes. I try to avoid the awkward silence following a sneeze by replacing it with an awkward religious comment.

Our Father, who art in heaven, bless this child for he hath sinned against you. Cast out the evil spirit and protect him from evil (sometimes said in the kneeling position or at least with my head bowed down and my hands clasped; always said very dramatically and serious.)

God bleeee… god bleeee… god bleeee…hmm, god won't let me say it.

My authority having been revoked I must instead only wish you good health.

Bob (or dog) bless you.

High five! (Insert Borat voice here)

Ewww, you got your soul on me.

God damn you! Oh wait, is that how you are supposed to say it? I get so confused by your human customs.

That's really all the ones I'll say, or at least versions of those. I don't get up in arms about this or anything so don't take this as an angry atheist post. It's really all in fun. It doesn't even end at the god part, as I think it's funny that we say anything at all. So the next time you are around a sneeze whether it be your own or someone else's consider having a little fun with it. Don't be afraid to step out of the societal mold.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Company

Here is a short video from the Dublin bottling company. It's a little shaky because I hadn't had anything to drink all day and I was probably dehydrated. To top it off, right before shooting this at the start of the tour I downed two free Dublin Dr Peppers. My wife doesn't like Dr Pepper so I got hers as well as mine. It was very tasty.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Dr Pepper!

Today was Dublin Dr. Pepper's Birthday. We drove about 2 hrs to go celebrate it in Dublin, Tx. It was a little hot, but other than that it was a lot of fun. There were free museum and bottling company tours. There was also an arts and crafts kind of show going on. They had a magician and a band. We never did see the magician because we kept forgetting to go back to the stage at the right time. Here are some pictures.

My Daughter and a Dr Pepper fan.

The sign over the bottling factory.

Two really cool DP trucks in front of the Bottling factory.

The town is renamed to Dr Pepper, TX for a week a year in celebration. Notice the population is 10-2-4, the actual population is a little over 3000. The man wearing pink pants was an Elvis impersonator. He served me some fajitas. I said thank you, he said "Thank you, Thank you very much". It was rather amusing to me.

This place makes Dr Pepper floats that are worth the drive on their own.

Here is a shot of the bottling process. These ones are complete and awaiting three shakes to mix the soda water and the syrup and then the light inspection to check for foreign debris, coloration and cracks.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dublin Dr. Pepper

This weekend is father's day, and also happens to be Dublin Dr. Pepper's birthday. For this whole week the town of Dublin will be renamed to Dr. Pepper, Texas. On Saturday there is going to be a celebration with free museum/bottling plant tours, a marathon, some music and magic shows, and of course free Dublin Dr. Pepper. If you don't know what Dublin Dr. Pepper is, it's the only DP that is made that still uses Imperial cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. They only distribute in a 44 mile radius and online. Technically where I live is out of the range of the distribution, but it's usually in our HEB (grocery stores for you non Texans). It's a little sweeter and doesn't seem to leave that coating sodas leave in your mouth nearly as much. I've heard that it's not nearly as bad to drink as regular DP because your body processes sugar much better than high fructose corn syrup. Either way, except for this coming weekend, I've been drinking the diet Dr Pepper anyways. Well, point of this post is that I'm going to be there as one of my Father's day presents. I'll take some pictures with my other father's day present, my new camera! Expect a follow up post soon.

The bible was right!
There is such a thing as a unicorn! Maybe there is some hope for bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the cockatrice! Renew the hunt! When can we cut the unicorn's horn off for it's magical powers?

Monday, June 9, 2008


As usual, I'm always thinking of the phenomenon of the belief in god. I've found an interesting way to explain the lack of such a phenomenon. I'm sure this isn't the first time it's been put this way, but it's the first time I've put it this way. This is a long post, and may or may not be worth the read 

First, I want to describe someone, and you think about who/what it is.

Source of morals
Maintains justice and equality
Punishes injustice
Listens to and answers prayers

Who might that be? Sound like god? How about some more descriptions to narrow it down a little?

Steeped in tradition
Red and white traditional attire worn on special occasions
White beard
When he laughs his belly shakes like a bowlful of jelly?

Okay, I'm talking about Santa Claus. He's not exactly omnipotent, specifically, but he does have some amazing powers that defy logic/physics. He can visit every house in the world in one night, squeeze through chimneys that are much too small for his large stature, even making chimneys for houses that don't have them, to deliver toys to all the good kids. He must stop time, or transcend reality and be in multiple places at once to accomplish such a feat. Aside from the short time line, he also has all those toys for every good little girl and boy in one sack that he carries on a flying sleigh led by flying reindeer (one such reindeer purportedly even has a glowing red nose!). So maybe not capable of making a rock that he couldn't lift, but still pretty amazing. Omnipotent may be a stretch of the word, but it may not, seeing as we don't know his limitations, just some of his abilities.

I admit omniscient may be a stretch as well, but it may not be. He knows if you have been good or bad, if you are sleeping, etc. He may actually know everything and not just a whole lot that he couldn't know through natural means. He is at least locally omniscient. I would say that he is a source of morals, but that he doesn't tell you what they are. He obviously has a list of good and bad, and judges you based on it. Unfortunately you won't know what you did wrong, just that you did something wrong. He also doesn't do much in the way of justice and equality. He really only encourages the right thing by bribing you with goodies or giving you coal in your stocking if you are bad.

He doesn't exactly listen to and answer prayers either. He does let you write a letter with all of your wishes (prayers), and he sometimes gives you what you want, and sometimes doesn't.

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Not St. Nicholas, but the modern magical Santa Claus. If you are an adult, then I would presume no.

Do you believe in god?

Is that a fair question?

They really don't have all that much in common do they? God listens to and answers prayers (in mysterious ways), and provides you with a source of morals (homosexuals are bad mmkay?). He is omniscient (What's pi again?) and omnipotent (Chariots of iron? You don't say) and maintains justice (Who's O.J.?).

What if I said that if you don't believe in Santa Claus you are going to hell? You will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity because of your lack of belief. It really doesn't change anything does it? Santa Claus isn't real. Parents buy the presents, wrap them, put them under the tree, and eat the chocolate cookies (my favorite tradition!). I assume that most adults know this. Once you know the truth, you can't go back. If you don't believe, and you have never heard of Santa, it's possible I could convince you to believe. Maybe I could show you all the good things that he has done; all the gifts that he has given, all the great children that were raised believing in him, etc. If you happen to have already heard of him, and know that it's a lie, could I convince you? Would it matter what I showed you? You do know that N.O.R.A.D tracks Santa Claus every year right?

The whole point of this is that Santa Claus and god are both imaginary. Many good things are done in both of their names, but the fact of the matter is, they are not done by them. If Santa is so great, how come he doesn't give presents to all the kids in the world? What about all the starving kids in the world? Does he give them a present and no food? How come Santa gives more and nicer presents to richer families than poorer families? As someone who knows that Santa is make believe, these questions are easy to answer.

The main difference between god and Santa is that the parents that deceive their kids about Santa actually know that Santa is a lie, while the parents that deceive their kids about god actually believe in god. They grew up with their imaginary friend and never stopped believing. This belief in a god has been passed down from parent to child for thousands of years. It originated because humanity was naïve of how the world worked and yearning to explain the chaos did the best they could in that time. Now we are stuck with all these weird religions and all of these even weirder traditions.

If you happen to believe in god and you feel like sharing, please think of it like Santa. Could I convince you that Santa was real?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Coming out!

This article on the american atheist's website is about "coming out" of the other closet, atheism. It talks about 5 degrees of outness.

Degree 1:
Completely closeted. Not even your spouse knows. You tell everyone you're a believer, and you may even attend church services to convince those around you. You're living a lie, terrified that someone may learn the truth.

If you fit into this category something must change in the near term. Your spouse, who loves and trusts you for who you are, needs and has the right to know.

Degree 2:
Mostly secret. Your spouse knows, but most of your family and friends don't. You avoid the subject at all costs at work, and if it does come up, you will hide your atheism.

Degree 3:
Somewhat open. Some family members and most friends know, but you are hesitant to bring it up in conversation. It's still a secret at work, unless you are very close friends with a coworker or two who know. You have friends who are atheists, and may belong to an organization like American Atheists for moral support and connectivity. You may write a letter to a congressperson, but not to the local paper, because you don't really want your atheism published. You may avoid the subject when it comes up, but if pressed you will not call yourself a believer (though you may soften the blow by using the term "agnostic" or "freethinker", even if you're an atheist by definition).

Degree 4:
Mostly open. Almost anyone who knows you knows you don't practice religion. Coworkers, perhaps including your boss, all your friends and your entire family is aware. You don't shout it from rooftops, but you make no effort to hide your atheism when it comes up in conversation, and may occasionally raise the conversation yourself.

Degree 5:
Completely open. Every time the subject comes up, you state your disbelief with pride and frankness. Anyone who doesn't like you because of your atheism is a bigot and is not your concern. You've written letters to the editors of newspapers on the topic, and you may have an atheist bumper sticker on your car.
I've never really been in the first and second degree. My process of realizing that I've pretty much always been an atheist and defining what kind of atheist I was, was done with my wife and a few of my close friends. I guess that basically put me in to the 3rd degree to start out with. My only friend (that I've met in person at least) that is an atheist is my wonderful wife.

I inadvertently jumped into the 4th degree when I took my copy of The God Delusion with me to my TEXAS National Guard drill weekend. I took it because I was right in the middle of the book and didn't want to wait to finish reading it. I wasn't really aware of how many fundamentalist christians there were in Texas until then. I barely got to read anything because of all the questions, debates, and proselytizing. It was good in a way though because it made me more comfortable in my atheist skin. Not long after my drill weekend, I brought it up with a few of my coworkers at my real job. I was pretty uncomfortable about it because there are quite a few bible thumpers, including my boss. I haven't really talked about it with my boss, but I wouldn't be surprised if he has gotten wind of it. So far everyone has taken it pretty well. There have been a few debates, but not very heated ones at all. There has been a falling out with a friend/coworker of mine, but that's another story for another post and has less to do with my atheism and more to do with other differences.

When I read Dale's post on his blog The Meming of Life about Mr. Cunningham I was inspired by one of his statements...

That’s why it’s important for those who differ from the majority — blue people in red states, red people in blue states, gays, atheists, the works — to be out of the closet, to be a smiling, normal, ethical contradiction to all the fearful assumptions. So I try to convince nonreligious folks to seize those “Hey, Mr. Cunningham” moments and put a human face on disbelief. And it’s equally important for us to avoid drawing a caricature of all religious belief — to recognize the normal, sane, ethical believers all around us. That’s the way the caricature crumbles — one person at a time.

So I've jumped into the 5th degree at least in one aspect. Here are my new bumper stickers.

Exploring life's Origins

Here is a good website on abiogenesis, it is detailed, but not incredibly long winded. There are also a lot of short videos and pictures, all available for download. Could be pretty helpful if you are a teacher. I just liked all the pretty colors.

I have a proto cell as my desktop background now :)