Owner of a Lonely Heart

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, May 30, 2010 | Published in

Sorry that I haven't posted much lately. I had a very hectic week. I am currently frantically trying to move all of my earthly possessions out of one apartment to another slightly bigger one exactly 2 blocks to the west. This is all to prepare for another addition to my family that will arrive around the middle of August. I don't think I've mentioned that here before. It's going to be a boy. Feel free to offer name suggestions in the comments.

On top of that I won't be able to post much next week either because I will be without internet access for three or four days. I can already feel the withdrawal symptoms kicking in. Ironically (or not) time away from the internet usually gets me motivated. Maybe I'll actually do some writing. I've got at least 2 posts in my head that need to come out.

Anyways, in order to tide you over here is a new video just released by the wonderful George Hrab covering Yes's "Owner of a Lonely Heart".

Personally, I think that it's a tad below his cover of "And You and I" from his Hall of Fame Geologic Podcast episode #36 but I still love it for being a VideoSong in the style of Pomplamoose.

For his next video I request, nay! demand Yes's "Heart of the Sunrise". Sure there's not much demand for ten and a half minute long progrock songs and it has one of the most complex rhythm parts in the history of contemporary rock music but who doesn't love a challenge? Barring that I want to see him to do either Lady Gaga's "Telephone" in the country-western/bluegrass style or Camera Obscura's twee-pop hit "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken". Mainly because I can't go those damn songs out of my head lately. If he can't do those then I have two words: Cuddlecore. Don't make me use the infamous non-existent sex tape as black mail, Hrab!

Darwin the Movie and I Ain't No Kin to the Monkey

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, May 24, 2010 | Published in

Here's a pair of evolution themed vids making the rounds right now. First off, Dana Carvey IS DARWIN!!!

Secondly a fun little Christian song called "I'm No Kin to the Monkey". I really really want this to be a Poe but I suspect that it's not.

(Tip of the hat to Pharyngula and Unreasonable Faith respectively.)

Draw Muhammad or Die

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, May 20, 2010 | Published in

I assume that most of you are already aware of the big to-do earlier this year about Comedy Central censoring an episode of South Park that featured the Super Best Friends, in particular Muhammad. As a form of protest today has officially been declared Everybody Draw Muhammmed Day. Of course as with any major project like this has it's own Facebook Group. Or if you want a real laugh go over the counter protest group called "We Stand Against Draw Muhammad Day" which has this paragraph in it's information section:
We all unite against draw Muhammad day, This sickens us to see the so called civilized nation acting in this barbaric manner !
First off which is more barbaric: drawing a cartoon of a long dead "prophet" or attempting to hurt or kill someone for drawing that picture? Secondly, yes hatred is freedom of speech. Freedom of speech doesn't mean that you just allow speech you agree with. It means that you have to put up with letting assholes have their say because at any time you might be one of those assholes. And freedom of speech means that you definitely DON'T have the right to never be offended. In fact, it guarantees my right to be as offensive as possible safe in the knowledge that the government cannot punish me (unless I stray into libel/slander territory).

Personally, I am a horrible artist. I was just going to put up a stick figure drawing with the caption "This may or may not be the prophet Muhammad" but I'm sure someone has already done that. Instead, I was inspired by the always great YouTubers AronRa who repurposed a drawing of Subgenius figurehead J.R. "Bob" Dobbs into a picture of Muhammad and ZOMGitsCriss who said that she was, in fact, the prophet Muhammad. I'm not nearly that talented so I found a better picture and added my own caption.

Tip of the photoshop brush to Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta who has a huge compilation of Muhammad pictures.

Eris's Wager

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, May 19, 2010 | Published in

You'll be excused for not noticing but the other day one of my very very old posts was hit up by a drive-by troll. In my award-winning post about Questions that Creationists Can't Answer the anonymous coward posted the following:
look up radioactive halos at halos.com
think about this:
if creationism is wrong and the bible is wrong than are we any worse for beliveing it? but what if it's right? than you have a lot to worry about. better safe than sorry!
The first part isn't even worth answering. If you want to know about the creationist claim that polonium halos somehow prove that the earth is young there is an excellent article about it on TalkOrigins.

As for the rest of that post, if you've studied theology for longer than five minutes you would recognize it as a creationist version of Pascal's Wager. The wager can be summed up as follows:
If you erroneously believe in God, you lose nothing , whereas if you correctly believe in God, you gain everything. But if you correctly disbelieve in God, you gain nothing, whereas if you erroneously disbelieve in God, you lose everything.

Obviously there are many things wrong with this. The first is the assumption that believing in God means you lose nothing. Then there is the assumption that God will reward you solely on your beliefs and not your actions (and not punish you for you simply hedging your bets). And there is the assumption that the Christian God is the correct one and not the millions of other gods and goddesses that have been worshiped since mankind first bowed to the sun.

Therefore, I have taken to come up with some new wager's of my own.

Cthulu's Wager: The god that exists may be the most malevolent being possible so it is best to worship Cthulu and hope that He eats you first instead of torturing you for eternity.

Dawkin's Wager: It is better to lack belief and do good on earth then hope that whichever god is up there rewards works and intellectual curiosity over mere belief.

Eris's Wager: All of the gods and goddesses might actually exist so it is best to worship as many as you can before you die in order that one might favor you enough to give you a VIP pass to the afterlife.

Discordian Hymnal #029

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, May 18, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #029 "No Children" by The Mountain Goats.

The Spitefulness of Belief

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, May 17, 2010 | Published in

F.D.R. Stuart claimed that the purpose of POE was to accelerate the dialectical process of evolution toward the classless society where all would live in peace, prosperity, and socialist solidarity, and there would be no cops.

The real purpose of Stuart's activities was to get even.
- Schrödinger's Cat

In case you hadn't heard, over the weekend the Episcopal Church ordained their second openly gay bishop. This time a lesbian reverend canon from the Diocese of Los Angles. As you can imagine this has created quite a stir in the church and will likely cause a major schism much like the issue of slavery did in the 1850s. That's not really what I wanted to talk about right now though. Interdoctrinal issues has never been my thing especially since I'm never even stepped foot in an Episcopalian church.

I find the Episcopalians' acceptance of homosexuals to be very progressive and open-minded and should be commended even if we do disagree on many many other points. It does bring up the question of how the world would be different if all other denominations were as friendly to gay people. I thought it such an interesting topic that I posed the question to the one online forum where I thought I would get the best possible answer: Yahoo Answers.

Yes, I know what you are going to say. Yahoo Answers is one of the dumbest places on the internet. It has successfully proven wrong the hypothesis of the Wisdom of Crowds over and over again and is more known for people asking "how is babby formed" and needing to "do way instain mother". It's not exactly the highest form of conversation over there. Half of the people are trolls and the other half you wish were trolls. But still, I have an obsession with the Religion and Spirituality section. In practice, it is just a bunch of people yelling at each other over their beliefs. The fast paced style appeals to me though which is why I'm a level 6 with over 14,000 points. (Yes, I really do need a life).

So, in order to see what the general feeling was about this topic I asked the simple question:
Would there be less atheists if Christianity was more accepting of homosexuals?
(I like to keep my question on YA as simple and straightforward as possible. Adding details is usually worthless and, I'll be honest, you get funnier answers from the idiots that are not smart enough to understand the question.)

It must have touched a nerve because I was able to get more than 30 answers on an otherwise slow Sunday afternoon. Many of them fell into the following categories: God doesn't change (LOL!) so we should keep on hating the gays, most people are atheists for other reasons than how Christians treat gays or WHARRGARBL. (That last one is typical of any question asked on YA).

The one who earned my Best Answer was Kevin B. since he was the only one who seemed to understand what I was getting at:
There may be more Christians, but I doubt it would convert many atheists. A Church not acceptiong (sic) homosexuals leads you to leave that Church, not change your belief in God.

If every single church in the world suddenly decided that they were going to cut the crap, stop calling homosexuality an abomination and finally give all homosexuals equal rights I don't expect any atheists to automagically convert back to Christianity. It just doesn't work that way.

However, it is more interesting to wonder how many people would have never left Christianity in the first place. For many people the treatment of gay people was the last straw (or one of the many straws) that finally broke the camels back. There are large numbers of people who were Christian and either gay or were close friends of a gay person who was made to feel an outcast for not thinking that love was a sin. There are similar controversies like that that have driven people out of their churches. For me it was creationism. For others it is the overwhelming politicization over the last several decades. For still others it is the oppression of woman that has been preached from the very beginning of Christianity. For some it was just a personal slight by another church member that drove them over the top.

But if you notice in each one of those issues it wasn't theology or reason that made them abandon their faith. Many current atheists who were raised Christian made an emotional decision to stop believing in God and then rationalized their way backwards. (It doesn't help that Christianity is unable to answer many basic questions.) Most people need that catalyst to break the spell religion has put them under.

Because, let's face it, humans suck at making rational choices. We often pick our religious and political beliefs in a reactive rather than proactive way. We believe one thing over another because FUCK THOSE OTHER GUYS! I'll cop to it. A long time ago I was added to the daily e-mail list of OneNewNow, the propaganda arm of the American Family Association. Very right wing and very very religious. I automatically assume that any story being reported by them is wrong and has at least one lie by omission. Why do I do that? Because FUCK THOSE GUYS. Granted, this method has actually worked 90% of the time but that doesn't mean it is right for me to be so biased.

So, what does this mean for us? First off, it means that we probably shouldn't try to rationalize people out of being religious. As the old saying goes, "You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into." I know that it's considered dirty and underhanded to use appeals to emotion in a debate but 1) they started it and 2) it actually works. Secondly, we should be more introspective and check our emotions at the door. Being your own Devil's Advocate is a very handy mindfuck. Don't be afraid to question your beliefs at all times. Don't let anger and spite cloud your judgment.

(One last thing: Yes, I realize that most of this post doesn't address people who weren't raised as religious and weren't exposed to faith at an impressionable age. And yes, there are people that are smart enough to rationalize their way out of religion. You are probably one of them. Also, you smell nice. Is that a new cologne?)

Harmonic Energy Oscillation

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Published in

Awesome Aussies Richard Saunders and Dr. Rachie from the Skeptic Zone podcast have graced all of us with a wonderful video on the new advanced quantum science of Harmonic Energy Oscillation. Ok, so Harmonic Energy Oscillation doesn't really exist. Instead Richard Saunders explains how applied kinesiology works and how you can do neat party tricks with it.

A Discordian Contemplates Turning Thirty

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Published in

I am in the twilight of my youth, not that I'm going to remember it - Ryan Adams

Dorothy wake up, it's time for work - Cursive

My grandfather on my dad's side never made it to the age of sixty. He worked for the railroad in the 70's. Ended up dying of a massive heart attack using a handcart. Right in the middle of a big intersection in my hometown. Going by that standard I am now middle aged at 30. I know better than that though since my dad and almost all of his brothers have successfully reached the age of 60. (Besides, longevity doesn't seem to be genetic).

However, I can't help but feel that my best days are behind me now. Not that I had much of a Glory Day in the first place. I didn't turn out to be the super genius that my math teachers predicted. I didn't end up being the ultra-successful evangelists that my fellow church goers prophesied (LOL, true story). I didn't even become the brilliant chemist that I wanted to become. I would be sad about not achieving my goals except for the fact that I have a horrible habit of not setting goals in the first place. (Keeps ya from being disappointed, don't ya know?) I've somehow managed to make it through the angsty part of my twenties without being too scarred. Sure, everything I was told as a kid was a lie but I got over it!

Instead, I became domesticated. Just another cog in a massive corporate machine. A bland suburbanite with a loving wife, 1.5 kids, and a stack of bills. That's difficult for anyone to come to grips with but how should I, as a Discordian, feel about it? Us Discordians are supposed to be wacky and chaotic. I'm dull and predictable even down to clocking into work at the exact same time every night. I'm not a dancer, a poet, an artist, a magician, a clown or a maniac. My philosophy and theology came from a Cracker Jack box. I'm not even the social butterfly type since I am painfully introverted. My cabal has always consisted of one.

So, have I failed Discordia? Did I really lose the Essence of Eris? Do I have to stop using the label "Discordian"?

No, of course not. I know that me focusing on a arbitrary number of revolutions around the sun has put me into this brown funk. I still have the urge to mindfuck people at every chance. I still feel the need to "spit on my hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats". I'm still entranced by the fractal patterns of Jupiter's clouds. Eris's spirit is in everyone, whether they want it or not. I know that I have many decades of Chaos still in front of me. Now, if only I could figure out the spell to wake me from this slumber.

Intermittens #10

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Published in

I almost completely missed the fact that the tenth issue of Intermittens has been published (hat tip to Professor Cramulus for that). This time the editor was Placid Dingo. I'm not exactly sure what the theme was supposed to be but the artwork came out very nicely (warning! some of this is NSFW). There's lots of comic strips from Bonejangles and a couple of articles from Cramulus. I highly suggest reading "Why I Put Up Posters" on page 15. There's also a great Discordian point/counter-point about anarchism via Cain and Ratatosk. The fake ads scattered throughout are a nice touch too.

Inter Mittens 10

As always, you can also read Intermittens over at Scribd.

Rationalist Anthem

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Saturday, May 8, 2010 | Published in

I covered Baba Brinkman's awesome Darwinistic one man show almost a year ago. Now he's back with a little Rationalist Anthem about how awesome science is called "Off That". Feel free to dance along.

National Day of No Prayer

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, May 5, 2010 | Published in

The National Day of Prayer is a very unusual holiday here in the United States. Its origins (like that of "In God We Trust" on our money and "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance) can be directly traced back to the heyday of the 1950s where everyone was screaming, "At least we aren't like those damn godless Commies!" It's weird in the fact that almost no one actually goes out of their way to celebrate it. A bunch of fundies swarm DC looking to glad-hand some VIPs, beg for money and twist some arms to get Congress to pass a non-binding resolution saying how much the Founding Fathers loved Baby Jesus. For everyone else it is just another Thursday in May (except for me since it occasionally falls on my birthday). I agree with the Freedom from Religion Foundation that it is unconstitutional and is a massive waste of time.

Now, what I would really love to see is Congress declare one day a "National Day of No Prayer". I want them to pass a non-binding resolution telling people to not pray for exactly one day. Just to see what would happen. I know that most people would ignore because, hey, it's freaking Congress. The fundies would go absolutely apeshit but no one pays attention to them either. At any rate, I'm dying to know how people would react if they didn't have the crutch of talking to their imaginary super friend for a little bit. Would they end up huddled in a corner by noontime? Or would they finally get off of their knees and do everything that they were expecting God to do for them?

Nah, I'm not that pollyannaish enough to believe it would work like that. Prayer is one of the single best examples of the Law of Fives. The prayer gets a positive answer: God answered our prayers! The prayer gets a negative answer: It's all a part of God's Plan. The prayer gets no answer at all: God wants us to wait. As always God gets all of the credit and none of the blame. Nice racket He's got going there. He doesn't even have to lift a finger. You might as well be praying to a jug of milk.

So, I know that a National Day of No Prayer would accomplish nothing, much like the National Day of Prayer does right now. It'd be nice to see people use some critical thinking about it for once though. Or at the very least did a day's worth charity instead of sitting in a stuffy church all day.