Friday, November 30, 2012

Non Sequiturs as a Cultural Rule

I'm sure, if any of you follow any of the other atheist blogs, you've probably seen by now the recent furor over a textbook being sold in Indian schools which attempts to espouse the virtues of vegetarianism.  The grounds for their advocacy are mostly religious, and among the awesomely hilarious arguments they use include that God did not include meat among Adam & Eve's diet (because death didn't exist until after the fall, this apparently includes the death of animals).  Among other things, the book claims that the Japanese live very long because they're largely vegetarian...  Huh??  That claim, of course, is patently false, as Japanese eat more fish per capita than any other culture.  Hell, I've been to Osaka, and I was at my wit's ends trying to find any real substantial -- read : "meals", and not snacks/desserts -- items that were really vegetarian (shojin-ryori) to eat half the time.

The one really bizarre claim that stood out was the claim that people who eat meat are more likely to curse, lie, cheat, steal, commit violent crimes, rape, you name it.  In other words, eating meat apparently causes you to be a bad person....  or so the writers are brazenly willing to insinuate.

Now to anyone who reads that sort of claim, they're sure to scratch their heads and wonder how on Earth one follows from the other.  That's because it doesn't.  It never possibly could.  But then, this sort of non sequitur is nothing new.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Proof of Hopeless Idiocy

I'm rarely ever shocked by anything Pat Robertson says.  I mean, the guy has a long history of being a delusional idiot, misogynistic, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-reality living monument of utterly criminal disgrace to all of humanity.  So when he comes out and claims that Haitians made a pact with the devil which caused their Mega-earthquake, or secular ideals caused Sandy and so on...  it's pretty much on par with all he ever says.

Then he floored me with this one. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why is Science Hard to Learn?

One of the movies I'm working on happens to contain a wide variety of the sorts of caricatures of evolution that one would expect from the likes of Kirk Cameron.  From the trailer alone, you can see things like 4-winged flying turtles with sauropod-esque necks, giant ursine carnivores with owl-like heads, gourd-shaped marsupial primates, and a brightly-colored sabre-toothed feliforme that also has tusks.  Compared to this, the infamous crocoduck seems to barely scratch the surface.  But of course, the key difference is that nobody is purporting that The Croods is a documentary anymore than anyone telling a joke sincerely believes that a horse will enter a pub and order a drink.  The main reason such absurdities are even put forth is for sheer entertainment value, and I would hope that much is at least obvious.

Nonetheless, while I think many people would recognize that this is merely entertainment, it's interesting nonetheless that these types of wacky chimeras fall in line with the sort of picture that a lot of people have about evolution.  You have people like Deepak Chopra who can distort quantum mechanics to pretend it has something to do with the soul, and nobody can realize he's full of crap.  You have products out there which claim to emit frequencies in line with the nonexistent ones your body produces, and people swallow this crap.  Why is that?

Oh, if only I could count the ways...