Here It Is

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, October 1, 2010 | Published in

Netaungrot has graced us with a new, fun PDF for use in future PosterGASM operations. Enjoy!

View on Scridb:
Here It Is

International Blasphemy Rights Day 2010

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Published in

September 30th has rolled around again. That means that it is time for International Blasphemy Rights Day. This year is different since they added the word "Rights" to the name. That makes things more positive, I suppose. That's not going to stop me from blaspheming everything right and left though. (Fuck your god, whichever one you worship.)

The Center for Inquiry has also been doing a Campaign for Free Expression and had a video contest. They just announced the winner and I thought it was particularly moving:

He's makes an excellent point. The first amendment isn't there to protect popular ideas. They can take care of themselves. The first amendment is meant to protect unpopular, unsavory and yes, even downright hateful ideas. It protects my right to say "fuck all gods" but also protects Fred Phelps, the KKK, holocaust deniers, idiots who want to burn Korans, and even idiots who want to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan. Freedom of speech means that sometimes assholes win, but that is infinitely better than the alternative of allowing the government to squash dissent with impunity. Today is about celebrating the fact that everyone has right to be wrong. If we don't allow others to exercise it then we all lose.

Louie, Louie, You're Gonna Cry

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Published in

I love Louis CK. I'm man enough in my sexuality to say that. He's easily my favorite stand up comedian right now. That's more than likely because I'm a balding, pudgy middle man with two kids. He has an amazing ability to capture the quiet desperation that most American men seems to shamble through these days. (Plus he's not afraid to get extremely dirty with his jokes.) I'm not quite ready to give him Discordian sainthood yet because he needs to do something amazing to reach that plateau.

Currently he has a hilarious show on FX simply called Louie. It's mostly clips of him doing stand up interspersed with scenes of him dealing with his family and wondering aimlessly around NYC. Brilliant stuff (especially the guest spots by Rickie Gervais as his asshole doctor). If you are in the US you can watch all 13 episodes on Hulu.

I'd especially like to call attention to episode #11: God. In it he flashes back to when he was a Catholic school kid. An evil nun brings in a creepy medical doctor to scare the hell (literally) out of the kids by going into gory detail about the horrors of crucifixion. I didn't go to a Catholic school but I went to enough Good Friday services as a kid to hear the exact same sermon as an impressionable youngster. The episode raises some interesting issues about how religion uses fear and guilt to convert children who don't know any better. There's also a very touching scene with his mother near the end that shows a good example of how skeptics should present religion to their own children. You can check the episode out here:

But if you are outside the US or are reading this post after the video expires then just enjoy this clip from when Louis was on the old Conan show.

Or this clip where he investigates the Catholic Church:

All clips NSFW, obviously.

St. Anselm's Pizzeria

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Published in

1. If I am thinking of the Greatest Pizza Thinkable, then I can think of no pizza greater
1a. If it is false that I can think of no pizza greater, it is false I am thinking of the Greatest Pizza Thinkable
2. Pizza is greater than no pizza
3. If the pizza I am thinking of does not exist, then it is false that I can think of no pizza greater.
4. If the pizza I am thinking of does not exist, then it is false that I am thinking of the Greatest Pizza Thinkable
Conclusion: If I am thinking of the Greatest Pizza Thinkable, then I am thinking of a pizza that exists

What God Wants, God Gets

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, September 1, 2010 | Published in

"God wants goodness. God wants light. God wants mayhem. God wants a clean fight." Roger Waters

If God is omnipotent (and we are told by his followers that He most definitely is) then we have to assume that this is the universe that He wants to exist. What God wants, God gets. Therefore God wants pain, suffering, famine, death, disease, and war. If He wanted it any other way He'd just snap His fingers and make it all disappear. He must really love seeing humans in pain. (And don't give me that nonsense about God not wanting to interfere with our "free will". An omnipotent/omniscient being would find that problem trivial.)

The logical conclusion then is that God is a dick or He is not omnipotent (or both). Either way that is not an entity worth of worship. Better to stick with Eris instead. You know where you stand with Her. Yes, she is a heartless Bitch but you know She just does it out of boredom, not malice.

Discordian Hymnal #033

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, August 30, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #033 "F_ck, Sh_t St_ack" by Reggie Watts. (NSFW, obviously)


Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, August 25, 2010 | Published in

Ok, now that I've gotten that off my chest... How the hell are you? I have not had much of a chance to blog lately because last Tuesday this happened:

That's right. I am now the proud father of two beautiful children. Little Andrew Lawrence was born on August 17th and weighed a whopping 8 pounds 12 ounces. Everyone is doing fantastic despite missing lots of sleep. (BTW, if you like the shirts that Eris and I are wearing there are some still available on Suu's website)

So yeah, between that and a horrible new work schedule means that I haven't had as much time to blog lately. For some reason my company decided that they wanted to move everyone on second shift to third shift. That means since the start of June I have been working 9 to 5, but not the good version of 9 to 5. On my old schedule I had a good rhythm. I usually got inspiration to blog around 2 or 3 in the morning and the words flowed through me without much thought. Now I'm stuck at work at that time and don't get any free time until I get home at 6 in the morning, completely wore out and unable to think of anything but sleep. At some point I'll have to work out a better routine and start blogging again. Until then here are a couple of quick review of some new albums:

Two artists that I have mentioned here before, George Hrab and Baba Brinkman, have released albums recently. George's is called Trebuchet and is just fantastic. If you want a preview go over to his podcast and listen to episode #170 but you really need to go buy the physical CD from because the liner notes are very well done. My favorite tracks right now are "Everything Alive Will Die Someday" and "When I Was Your Age" but I have to point out that George halfway fulfilled my request by hiding a couple of bars of Yes's "Heart of the Sunrine" into "Happy Birthday, Baby". Who knew I had that kind of power?

Baba Brinkman  has gone from rapping about evolution to rapping about human nature on his new album aptly titled "The Rap Guide to Human Nature". It's a very smartly done album that covers morality, sexual selection, and evolutionary psychology. It's available as a "name your price" download on his website. Here's a video of his soon to be smash hit single "Short-Term Mating Dance":

The Mosque of Fear

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, August 24, 2010 | Published in

Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with people? This whole "Ground Zero Mosque (that isn't really a mosque and isn't really at Ground Zero)" debate has turned people into mindless idiots. We used to be a country that believed in freedom, liberty and justice, right? Did we at some point not freak out when someone slightly different from us moved into the neighborhood? We used to believe in the Constitution, didn't we?

But now everyone has turned into a spineless jellyfish because a group of Muslims that are in no way associated with terrorism wants to build a community center within walking distance of Ground Zero. It wouldn't be so laughable if they didn't pick on the most liberal imam in America. This guy is literally the Muslim version of Rick Warren. He's been on several interfaith tours for the State Department preaching tolerance, for chrissake! (Yes, he basically says "no comment" when it comes to Hamas but he has the right to say that.) It's like telling Joel Osteen  that he can't build a church in Oklahoma City because the Christian Identity movement was behind the Murrah Building bombing.

Instead of treating this like a local zoning issue people in this country are shitting their drawers. They are willing to infringe on the rights of their fellow Americans because of fear. They are willing to strip away religious freedoms, free speech, property rights, the freedom of assembly, and even the concept of innocent until proven guilty. We have become a nation of easily manipulated cowards who run scared anytime an Arabic-looking man walks down the street. All over a fucking building that 99% of them will never be within 100 miles of.

All of this just proves that terror and fear still work, even 9 years after the fact. People are too easily swayed by emotionally charged language from cynical politics looking for a vote. We too easily are willing to give up our liberty in order to slay the scapegoat du jour. And above all, there is no way to have a rational political conversation in this country any more. Sixty percent of our population has given up their senses in order to feel a little safer at night.

ADDENDUM: And while we are at it, let's stop this foolish talk about "hallowed ground". No piece of land is sacred no matter what happened there 10, 50, 100 or 500 years ago. Land is land.

Discordian Hymnal #032

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, July 29, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #032 "White, Discussion" by Live

Classic Skepticism: Randi and Peter Popoff

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, July 26, 2010 | Published in

If you are a fan of the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast you probably have already heard this week's interview with James Randi and Banachek. Here's the video they were discussing of Randi debunking faith healer Peter Popoff from way back in the 80s. It was pretty ingenious how Randi, Banachek and Alec Jason were able to use some high tech gadgetry to figure out that Peter's wife was using radio communication system to feed him information in the 39.17 MHz range. The debunking caused Popoff to go bankrupt in 1987 but of course it didn't finish him for good. He's still making hundreds of thousands of dollars "healing" people and selling water that is supposedly from the Dead Sea. As Randi says, Popoff is an unsinkable rubber duck and he is very good at tricking desperate sick people into giving him money.

Right Wing Paranoia

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, July 25, 2010 | Published in

Believe it or not, despite many similarities in style the following quote IS NOT from Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's classic Discordian novel "The Illuminatus! Trilogy"
America, according to Frazier, LaHaye and many other leaders in the movement, is being ruled by evil, clandestine organizations that hide behind the veneer of liberal, democratic groups. These clandestine forces seek to destroy Christians. They spread their demonic, secular-humanist ideology through front groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, the Trilateral Commission and "the major TV networks, high-profile newspapers and news magazines," the U.S. State Department, major foundations (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford), the United Nations, "the left wing of the Democratic Party," Harvard, Yale "and 2,000 other colleges and universities."
That quote is from the book "American Fascists" by Chris Hedges. And he is not talking about Mothers March Against Liberal Elite but Gary Frazier, head of Discovery Ministries, and Tim LaHaye, founder of the Council for National Policy and co-author of the Left Behind series which has sold over 65 million (!!!) copies.

This is what has happened to the world, people. We can't even write good parody anymore because reality has become too absurd. Poe's Law has rendered satire completely meaningless. I mean, if you were attempting to write a scathing spoof of modern right wing paranoia you wouldn't include  the Trilateral Commission and every single college in the United States. That would be too far out and no one would believe it. But modern conservative Christian leaders just blow right past that point without batting an eye. And somehow these people have political power. Welcome to the 21st century!

Phil Plait's Bad Universe

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, July 23, 2010 | Published in

Phil Plait has finally revealed his sooper secret project that he has been working on for the last year or so. Discovery Channel gave him his own show called Bad Universe. From the preview it looks like a cross between MythBusters, How the Earth was Made and the History Channel special "Seven Signs of the Apocalypse". Looks like a lot of fun.

The Om Nom Nomicon

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, July 22, 2010 | Published in

T̩̤̥̝̹͓̱͑̿o͓̦̰͑́̿̀̃͑̀̓ ̙̦͌̌̃ͅi͔͈̅̉͋͆̚n̼̥̦͛ͭ̅͒̋͆ͥ̾v͖̘͌̈́̈ͥo̥͓͈̐ͤ̒̉̔̽̓k͚̠̙̟̹̜̍̄̏e̩̩̓ͣ̒̍ͤ́̇̈́ ͙͎̗̦̜͈͍̞̯͒͒ͪt̼͇̜͛̉ͨ̀h̩̞̞̳̝̘̙̍̓͂̃̇ͤ̿̚ḛ͋ͤ̋ ̪̪͎̞͚̩́̇̔h͇̻̳͖͍̙͉͌ͫͪ̋̍ͤ͌̋͂i͕̲̞̬ͪṽ͕̦͚̜̺ͨȅ̬̩̬͔͐-̥͔̳ͮ͒ͧ̒̓m̠̮̙̤̯̝̤̿̐̈́̀ͫ̅́̋͌ͅi̩̫̹͍̬̻̤̙͗͋̂n̮̫͚ͥ́̓͋̏͗d̫̦̖̗̎̃ͦ̈͗ͯͬ̑̈ ̩̝̞̃̌̈́ͤͧ̌͊̔r͓͚̥̞̠̟͉͈͂̆͑̓̂e̪̫̜͓̻̩̟̣͋ͅp͈͖̮̱͔̝ͨ̈́͌r̬̪̟͖ͤ̍͂ͧ̽̚ẽ͓̯̟̖̻ͤ̿̂ṣ͚̆ĕ̱̮̻̱͖̥ͮ̃͗ǹ̪̙̬̙̄̍̔̂̀͌t̳͈͎̣̙̟͉ͬ̂ͤ̂ͣͣi͎̘̜̠̓ͮ͒ͯ͂ͭ͌ͬn̠̯̅̅̀ͮġ̗̼̺̖̮͎̉̏̀̋ ͙̖̗̑ͬ̃̐ͅc̻̮̜̪͆ͦ̌͆̾h͖̟̎̾̍̏ạ͔͙͇̱͖̓ͭ́͛͆͒ͭo̞̻̳̥̗͑ͦś̺͖͙̤̖̩̠̯̌͊̚.͙͙̦̥͖͙ͪ̋̅͒͋͌
̪̰͖͍͔͇͐̆̈́I̼̳͇̩͈̮̋ͯͨ͂͒ͥ̚n̦̩̭̝͉̪͋ͩv͓̦͙̮̯̜̦ͤ͐̽ͅo̳̳̰͒ͧ̎k̖̪͕̭͙͙̯̜͂̌ͬͫ͋͂̒̊̑ͅì̯͓̞̱̗̟ͯ̋̾̓̈́̋̓n͎̪͚͗ͨ͋ͪ͂̏̃g̪̫͊ ̰̥̞̿̑̅́̈́t͔̜͉̲ͥ͋ͭ͑̐̅̆͂h̓́ͅẻ͍̹̙̫͎̳͈̜ͯ̿ ͚͚̺̙̻͎̻͓͇̐̇̊̈̒f̯̦̍̔̄́̌ͤ̄̃e̺͉͎̠̞ͫ͒ͭ͌͗̚e͕̓̽̇̈̚l̳͔̫͖͕ͫ̊ͧ̽ͫͬi̜̘͉̩̝͉͚̰͕ͨ̾n̳̪͓͔̼̖̳̰͂ͦ̆̒̈́̚g̱̬̥̳̼̽̓͛ͨ͊̽̍̍̇ͅ ̝̳͇̾ͭ̌̈́o͚͉͔̣̊̒̄̄ͤ̑f̥͙ͬ̋ͧ̔ͫ͂ͩ ̝͚̟̼̾̑c̜̲̳̣̜̥̓ͨ̊̊͒̚h̜̪͕̫̰ͫ̈̋ͦ͒a̟͔͔͍̞ͪ̔o̜̱͙̲̟͍͉̳ͬ̀ͭ̂̈́ͭs̳͓̘͍̥̻̗ͦ͐̇͐̔.̟͕̙̝̠̩̈̍
̮̤͉̝̏͑Ẇ̗̝̙̦͙̫̺ͨ̆ͪ͒͊̊i͖̻̼̭̲͓̔͌ͯ̚t̬̥̩̖̳͊ͭͨh͉̣̳̠̻̞͚̠͊̽̅ͩ̎͐̾ͯ ̯̲̭͚̪͙̽̇̈́̄͋̌͑͌o̙̙͖͕̥͍͗ͤͣͯ̍ͯ̈́u͍͉͊͐͊ͦ̂ͦ̈́̓ͅt̻̖͔̗̜͚̟̤̓̔ͅ ̼͔̻̤͔̋ő̫̝̱̺̬͍̼͔̆̿͒r̤͚̉d̙̲̫̺͎̫͍̉̐ͦe̘͕͖͖͖̰̩͇̓ͥͤͅr̙̪̳̫̪̔̌̏̈̎͂̈́ͅ.̤̰͉̜̎ͩ͐ͥ
̘͍̼̽͒́̂͒̓͊̚T̙͈̠̬̝͇̖̄ͤ͒ͩ͛̋h̟̆͑̌ͤ̊̚è̯̗̹̙͚̞͑ͮ̅̄ͮ̀̀̚ ̪͈̦͕͇̹̗̯̇̏͂̈́̿N̻̭͔͚̈́͛͆̒̉̿e̮ͭͯ̐ͭ̅̾̎͗ẑ̫̝̳̹̯̏ͯ͗́̈́ṗ̲̼̬̲̜͒͛̑é̖̲͂ͥ͌̉͂̾r͈̤͈͎͚ͥ̋̓̌̔́d̫̮͎͍̮̫̫̄̽i͍̤̦̳̾̈́̀ͧ̎ǎ͚͖̻̱̪͓̭̝̦ͤͣ̎̅ṉ̭̬̳͕͙̹ͮ͛̇ͅ ̫͍͈̼̘͆͂ḣ̩͔̜̙͓̙͉ͥ̂̏͛̉i̘̠̤̘̬ͬ͊͆͂ͯ̓ͦv͙̱̰̄̓ë̼̬͓͍́͋͂-͉̘ͯͦͧm̮̞̳ͯ̊͊͋̈ͅỉ̩͈̳͈͚ͪ̉n͕̗̤̲͔̹̄ͪ̈́͗ͬ̊d͚͔̠̦̥͓͚͈̾̃͌ͦ̿ ̲̱̋ͤ͛̇ͧͅo̜͓͈͙̼ͬͤͮ̔ͯ̾ͫͤf̪͕̜͚̃̎̉ͮ̈ ̫͉̟ͦc͚̖̣̭͕͉̲͔̄̃̃̊h̝̦͖ͭͯͭ̓͋̔͊ͅa̟̣̣̺̠͎͔̔͛ọ̻ͫ̽ͮ̅͗s̳͕̥̀ͭ̄͗ͅ.̪̫̞̝͇̗̲̐ ̺̖̠͂ͭͬͦZ̭ͧ̋͌ͩ̀ấ̪̼̥͚̺̗̭̂̄ͦ͋ͫl̺̩̗̻̟̪̭ͪ̋̊̋ͨ̅̄g̠̘̩̳̩̔ȍ͔̙̾̇̂.͈̺̠̪̺̺͚̬ͣ̆ͩ̑̚ͅ ̼͙͇͇̬̱̥͚̘ͧ̽ͬ̄ͭ͊
͎̰̤̞̂̓̄̑ͯͅH͈̼ͧ̆̆ͮͩe̯̩̪ͯ͛̓̈́͆́ͮ͗ ̫͙͉͖͔̝̪ͬ̃̎̏ͧͬ͌ͨͅw̻̱̟̮̌ͣ̔̿͒̂͒̒h̳͚͗o͚̼̙̝̲̲̠͇̜͛ ̯̩͈͈̱̝̺̠̏̏ͥ̓̽̈́̉̉W̬̄ͮͭͥͩa͚̬̜̽̓i̭͈̬̘͔̠̳͓ͦ̈́̃̈́ͪ̚t͙̞̤̏ͬ͆ͮͣ̀ͤ̅s͈͕̖̳͗ ̳̳͈̞̦̼͂̏͐ͅB̠̯ͭ͌̊̒̎ͣ̈̽e͎̼͖̤̳̝̦ͪ͐͂ͧ̿h̥͖̹͈̩̮̦ͪ̅͆i̝̳̫̱͎̐̽ͭ̒̋n̖̹͎͕͚̘̈̋̅̐̓͒́̈́d͇̗̯̭͈͓̱͚ͧ̒ͩ͗̇ͣ́ ̫̟͈̼̞̖̇ͨ̈͊̉ͣͅT̝͍͔̈ͭ̈́ͯȟ̻͕̫̗̖ͮ͋̆ͯ̃̾̚ḙ̗̹ͫ͂͑̓ ̝̟ͣ̍W͚͚̣̟̙̳͎͇̤͋ͣͮ̾͛͌a̞̰̮̪͍̠̝͈̐̂̏̐̾̋͂̈́̊l̞͚͙̞̬͓̦ͭ̀͌͛̚l̹̟̮̯̩̺͙̗ͪ̔͐ͩ.͖̘̦͈̘̋̊̅
Om Nom Nomicon July 2010

The Myth of Violence

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, July 16, 2010 | Published in

I finally found a TED Talk that I've been searching for for months. It's the 2007 talk of linguist Steven Pinker about the myth of violence in modern society. In it he shows that despite the large scale wars of the last 100 years the actual rate of violence has gone down considerably especially in the areas of murder and capital punishment. The death rate from wars has also plummeted since the end of World War II. He doesn't mention it in this talk but the rates for assault, burglary, and rape have also been in decline since the 1960s.

It's an interesting debunking of the religious (and sometimes secular) myth that the world is constantly spiraling down the drain. Our moral code has been steadily making progress despite all the complaints that we are the worst generation headed on a bullet train to Hades. We've managed to get this far thanks to improved education and effective deterrents.

I don't think we will ever get to the point where violence will be completely eliminated (it's too much a part of human nature) but we should endeavor to push that number as low as we can without also giving up our freedoms. Strife will always be with us, but we are civilized and creative enough to find non-violent solutions for our problems.

Little Known Skeptic Facts

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, July 15, 2010 | Published in

I was unable to attend the Amazing Meeting yet again this year. I am constantly cursed with the worst work schedule in the world. However, I did psychically send a spy to check out all of the scienctastic skeptics that attended and this spy has brought back some amazing information. Without further ado, here are some Super Secret about your favorite Skeptics:
  • Little known outside of Australia, but Richard Saunders was one of the original Wiggles. He was fired after a very unfortunate accident with the Big Red Car. However he was able to use his contacts inside the industry to get Dr. Rachel Dunlop a job as the voice of Dirtgirl.
  • Everyone's favorite Skepchick Rebecca Watson was slated for the starring role in the upcoming Wonder Woman movie but lost out because she was unable to do her own stunts.
  • George Hrab was not in attendance at TAM but I discovered from another source that Geo was, in fact, born wearing a suit. Scientists are still baffled how he was able to tie a 4-in-Hand knot with such small fingers.
  • Jo Benhamu's name has been used as a chant in Buddhist temples for decades.
  • It has finally been revealed that Phil Plait and Richard Wiseman are the exact same person. Any picture showing them as two separate people is an optical illusion produced by a very very large mirror.
  • Skeptical Rogue Bob Novella revealed to all that he is Team Jacob while brother Jay is Team Edward. Brother Steve, Team Van Hellsing.
  • The ghost of Martin Gardner made a very brief appearance to confirm that the afterlife exists, but before they let you into have you have to explain Curry's Paradox in detail.
  • Hemant Mehta, not exactly "friendly". More of a "generally cordial".
  • Richard Dawkins admitted that he really does believe in God, he just does the atheist shtick for all the ladies.
  • During some late night hot tubbing it was discovered that Michael Shermer wears a pair of bicycling shorts AT ALL TIMES. 
  • Now that her career at Purdue is over, Jennifer McCreight of Blag Hag can finally admit that she was more of an IU fan all along.
  • DJ Groethe, not a real disc jockey.
  • PZ Myers was also not in attendance but photographic evidence has confirmed that he currently has a school of zebrafish living in his beard.
  • And finally, in a shocking turn of events James Randi admitted that he is a half-elf sorcerer who has been using magic spells during Million Dollar Challenges in order to make woo-meisters look foolish.

How Do You Want to Live Your Life?

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | | Published in

I've noticed over the years in debates that Christians often say that they don't like atheism and evolution because it allows people to live however they want to live. This then raises the question: Does this mean that Christians don't live how they want to live?
Do they not want to be Christians? Are there things they would want to do differently if you could stop being a Christian? Would they sin more if they didn't have the guilt hanging over your head? I have actually heard certain Christians say that if they didn't believe in God then they would go out cheating and stealing, raping and pillaging. (It's probably best that those sociopaths stay Christian if that is the only dam holding them back.)

Maybe there is some undercurrent among Christians that they feel that they must deny themselves of earthly pleasure in order to be more godly. That typically means not enjoying alcohol and pretending that they don't like having sex. That's always seemed backwards to me though. If God created (or allowed to exist) all of these magnificent things around us then why shouldn't we enjoy them to the fullest? I say "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry for tomorrow Jesus may come back and ruin the party."

St. Timothy the Lucky Bastard

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | Published in

Heinlein's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

IO's Razor: Never attribute to intelligence that which is adequately explained by sheer dumb luck.

Since the very first days of Discordianism we have always revered the most absurd of characters and raised them up to saintly status. Of course the archetype is Joshua Norton, the First Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico. It has come to my attention though that there is another early American that should be revered as highly as Emperor Norton.

His name is Lord Timothy Dexter. Wikipedia immortalizes him thusly:

Timothy Dexter was born in Malden, Massachusetts. He had no schooling to speak of and was working as a farm laborer at the age of 8. When he was 16, he became an apprentice to a leather-dresser.

In 1769 he moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts and began his trade. He was successful enough to attract a wife, a rich widow Elizabeth Frothingham, and buy a big house. He was considered a lackwit by his social contemporaries, and they gave him bad business advice in order to discredit him and make him lose his fortune.

At the end of the American Revolutionary War he bought large amounts of depreciated Continental currency that was worthless at the time. When trade connections resumed, he had amassed a fortune. He built two ships and began an export business to the West Indies and to Europe.

Because he was basically uneducated, his business sense was peculiar but extremely lucky. Somebody inspired him to send warming pans for sale to West Indies, a tropical area. His captain sold them as ladles for local molasses industry and made a good profit. Next Dexter sent wool mittens to the same place. Asian merchants bought them for export to Siberia.

His next venture was selling coal to Newcastle, which should have been a sure failure. His ships happened to arrive in the time of a coal miner's strike and potential customers were actually desperate.

He exported bibles to East Indies and stray cats to Caribbean islands and again made a profit. He also hoarded whalebone by mistake, but ended up selling them profitably as a support material for corsets.

At the age of 50 he decided to write a book about himself - A Pickle for the Knowing Ones or Plain Truth in a Homespun Dress. He wrote about himself and complained about politicians, clergy and his wife. The book contained 8,847 words and 33,864 letters, but absolutely no punctuation, and capital letters were sprinkled about at random. At first he handed his book out for free, but it rapidly became popular and ran into eight editions in total.[citation needed] When people complained that it was hard to read, for the second edition he added an extra page - 13 lines of punctuation marks - asking readers to "peper and solt it as they plese".

One day he began to wonder what people would say about him after he died. He proceeded to announce his death and to prepare for a burial. About 3,000 people appeared for the wake. However, Dexter's wife refused to cry for his passing, for which he later caned her, and so he decided not to appear to his guests at all. Timothy Dexter actually died in 1806.
St. Timothy truly was the luckiest bastard to ever grace this earth. He couldn't fail even if he tried. He was the living embodiment of Born Lucky. He is the type of character that, if he hadn't existed in real life then an author such as O. Henry or Washington Irving would have had to invent him. If you would like to see some of Lord Timothy's writings you can find his “A PICKLE FOR THE KNOWING ONES; or Plain Truths in a Homespun Dress” online. Don't try to understand it, just let the words roll off of your mind.

In a way, Mr. Dexter shows that fate can be a very fickle thing. Lady Luck sometimes plays favorites. In this case she took an uneducated man who could barely write and knew almost nothing of business and made him one of the richest men in post-colonial New England. He used up so much good luck in one lifetime that you'd swear that he had a rabbit's foot constantly shoved up his arse. He is truly an inspiration to us all.

So, by the power divested in my by the Supreme Goddess Eris I dub thee St. Timothy the Lucky Bastard.

(Tip of the papal hat to Pope Tom for bringing Lord Dexter to my attention)

Discordian Hymnal #031

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, July 1, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #031 "Theologians" by Wilco

Applied Ignosticism

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | Published in

If you've been following me long enough then surely you remember my post on ignosticism, the belief system that says that the term God is meaningless. Personally, I don't think that I did the concept justice but I was young at the time and felt that the idea needed to be out there so others can know about it (plus it got me featured in the Skeptics' Circle so it wasn't all bad.

I wanted to revisit the idea because it occurred to me that it's not just the term "God" that is meaningless but there are many other theological terms that are equally nonsensical or under-defined.

Take for instance "heaven" and "hell". I believe that the current definitions for the two are "spending eternity in God's presence" and "spending eternity separated from God" respectively. (YMMV, since some have an idea of heaven that includes pearly gates, fluffy clouds, and streets of gold while hell is either fire and brimstone or a cold grave.) Notice that both of definition are dependent on the concept of God, which we've already said is undefined.

Another fuzzy term is "sin". Sin is typically considered "an action or thought that goes against God's Will". But how can we know what is God's will if we don't even know who he is? At this point we are all just guessing about what he wants.

To give you an example of the effect all of these ill-defined terms have on theology discussions I will take a paragraph that I was recently able to provoke over at Yahoo Answers. God is now "Lof". Heaven is now "Nevel". Hell is now "Nimm". Sin is now "wub".

Nimm is a place of eternal separation from Lof, and people go there when they die because they chose to separate themselves from Lof while living on earth. Lof created us with a free will to make our own choices and separating ourselves from Lof is one of the choices we are free to make. Our free will is a wonderful gift from Lof in that he does not force us to love Him or to follow him. With out our free will, we would be nothing but puppets or robots, which does not please Lof, and certainly does nothing to better our lives. While Lof desires that everyone would choose to love him, many people will choose not to. These people will die in their wubs and be separated from Lof forever in hell. Man from the beginning has Lof’s law written in his heart, and has the power to obey it, and yet was capable of disobeying, being left to the freedom of his own will. Man was created with holy character prompting him to holy actions; but man was fallible, and did fall from his integrity. Many would say that this is unfair, and that a loving Lof would never set up a system such as this; it is precisely God’s love for us, and the fact that He is perfectly just, that tells why nimm exists, and why men and women will choose to go there. Lof loves us so much that He respects our freedom of choice. If we choose not to love Him, then why would He want us to live with Him eternally in Nevel? Wouldn’t living for eternity with someone we don’t love be a kind of nimm any way? Lof wants to spare those people who don’t love Him from having to live with Him and be under His rule for eternity.

Clear as mud, isn't it? I don't know how that could possibly make sense no matter what words you put in the place of God or hell. Add to it all of the mental wankery that is "free will" and that paragraph isn't even worth reading. This is why I see most of theology a waste of time. It's nonsense talk to give comfort to the ignorant masses.

I'll leave you with a real definition provided by Ambrose Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary:
Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.

PSA: Don't Be a Dick

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, June 24, 2010 | Published in

Skepchick Rebeca Watson has decided to do yet another video series, this time on the subject of Not Being a Dick while being a skeptic. First episode: The Will

Discordian Chain Letter

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | Published in

=========================DO NOT MODIFY THIS TEXT=============================

Do you know who in 1923 was:

1. President of the largest steel company?

2. President of the largest gas company?

3. President of the New York Stock Exchange?

4. Greatest wheat speculator?

5. President of the Bank of International Settlement?

6. Great Bear of Wall Street?

These men should have been considered some of the world's most sucessful men.

At least they found the secret of making money. Now more than 46 years later,

do you know what has become of these men?

1. The President of the largest steel company, Charles Schwab, died a pauper.

2. The President of the largest gas company, Edward Hopson, is insane.

3. The President of the N.Y.S.E., Richard Whitney, was released from prison

to die at home.

4. The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cooger, died abroad, t.

5. The President of the Bank of International Settlement shot himself.

6. The Great Bear of Wall Street, Cosabee Rivermore, died of suicide.

The same year, 1923, the winner of the most important golf championship,

Gene Sarazan, won the U.S. Open and PGA Tournaments. Today he is still

playing golf and is solvent.



===========================KEEP THIS LETTER==================================

This letter originated in Sweden the home of the Illuminati, has been passed

around the world at least 23 times, bringing discord to everyone who passed it

on. Do not pass this letter around. Print it out and leave it randomly on

random objects in random places. Finally, bury a copy of this in a glass jar

in your back yard with $0.01c of american currency. We will contact you within

5 days at this point.

=======================DO NOT KEEP THIS LETTER===============================

Print out at least 23 copies of this letter and leave it everywhere. Staple it

to poles in the dead of the night, put it under windshield wipers in parking

lots, stack it in free newspaper dispensers, give it away! Introduce your

neighbors to chaos! Everyone who hands out at least 23 copies of this letter

will be smiled upon by Eris and is officially immune to the Illuminati. The

more copies you send out, the more immune you are! Imagine finding money on

the streets! Get Free Food! Get Gorgeous Babes and/or Handsome Men!* Win the

Lottery! Stop wars in foreign countries! Confuse the hell out of first, second

and third souled beings! Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia! Anagram this phrase!

Et In Arcadia Ego...*

=============================KEEP THIS LETTER================================

It will change your life! Bring the four angels to your aid with this letter!

Do it for the Widow's Son! Do what thou will. Remember, Bill Shakespear's

birthday is 4/23, and thats the same day as Discordian Day! Especially if it

falls on a Friday! Eat a hot dog on a bun For eris! NOw foR something

completely Different. Praise Bob, for he is Eris' brother! Did you know that

Joeseph was a Freemason? George Washington was actually Adam Weishaupt?

Jesus didnt die on the cross? Read the Nag Hammadi Manuscripts! Bring back

the Knights Templar! Achieve Gnosis! Get a really good fuck. Answer these

questions for yourself...*

1. Who was Adam the son of?

2. Does God have an opposite?

3. How many sons of God are there?

4. Are the sons of God also Gods?

5. Are any sons of God less than others?

6. What is the goal of prophets and teachers?

7. How many minds are there?

8. What is a human being?

9. Is mankind finished or in process?

10. How much can we and should we attempt?

11. What is the purpose of consciousness?

12. What is the next step?

=============================BURN THIS LETTER===============================

This is Sirius business.


If you see the mad fishmonger, give him my regards.


Schrodinger's cat and Wigner's friend

Cause us problems without end

The cat is both alive and dead

In math that's in our head

And the regression of Von Neumann

Never ceases to annoy Man

The uncertainty just has no end

Until Wigner goes to tell his friend

For, until the friend receives the news

That the cat still purrs and mews

The cat remains (suspended Fate!)

In some formal Eignstate

But if Wigner makes a beeline

To report the now-dead feline

All the friend can really know

Is just one branch of time's swift flow

For in Carter's multispace

Every time-brance has its place

So the cat remains alive

In the half cases (That's .5)

Lead us not to Copenhagen

Nor to Shylock, nor to Fagin

"The result's not parsimonious!"

Yet I find it quite harmonious

===============================EAT THIS LETTER================================


* What? Sexual preferance? How Droll.


* Its in Latin and so is the answer.


* Check these references for insight..

1) Luke 3:38

2) Exodus 3:14, Ephesians 4:4-6

3) Romans 8:14-17

4) John 10:34

5) Colossians 3:4

6) Ephesians 4:11-13

7) Deuteronomy 4:39, Exodus 3:14

8) Genesis 1:26

9) John 3:2

10) John 14:12

11) Corinthians 9:8, Luke 12:32

12) Romans 8:19

p.s. Don't believe anything you read.

begin 600 whoami

5;F5P=7)K8F5P=F9G0'=H="YJ F4*



=============================MODIFY THIS TEXT==================================

h/t to Telarus who discovered this at

Discordian Hymnal #030

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, June 11, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #030 "I am the Anti-Pope" by Zlad.

I'm Not Dead Yet, MFers!!!

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | Published in

Hey, look at that. I'm still alive. Yes, I've managed to move all of my belongings roughly two blocks to the west and didn't kill myself. I did learn several things in the last week and a half:

1) I have entirely too much shit. I actually long for the days when I didn't have as much shit. Almost exactly seven years ago I managed to fit all of my possessions (minus a futon to sleep on) into my 1989 Buick Skylark. I lost count of how many trips it took me to move my current collection of shit. Granted, not all of it was mine since my wife and daughter had to move their belongings too. I'm still saddened by how many possessions I have. Is that weird? It's almost un-American to say something like that. Most of my shit consists of half-read books and clothes I never wear anymore. I was able to get rid of some of my shit but I still feel like I have too much weighing me down.

2) During the move I was without both cable and internet for roughly 5 days. This was mostly due to bad planning on my part and not some horrible service on the part of the cable company. It was during this time that I discovered that I have an addiction to the internet. And I'm not talking about "Tee hee, I really like the internet". I seriously have an addiction problem when it comes to the internet. I have a bad problem of obsessing about it. Regularly I would wake up, check my e-mail, read about 50-60 blog posts per day, neurotically read every single post made on the forums that I frequent, surf YouTube for a bit, watch the Twitter and Facebook feeds constantly scroll past, reload Yahoo Answers for hours at a time. The internet was no longer a form of entertainment, it was a job. I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent more than 8 hours a day on the internet. Along the way I lost who I was. My personality was gone, replaced by a tangled strand of wires and cables.

Having those 5 days away from the internet did a good job of helping me put my life into perspective. The internet used to be just a fun pastime for me and I need to get back to that. I'm not going to leave the internet, I'm just going to prioritize my time better. I don't know yet if that means more or less blog posts from me. Wait and see.

3) On a lighter note, while I was sans cable and internet I took the time to finally watch "The Men Who Stare at Goats". If you haven't heard of it, it's based off of the Jon Ronson book of the same name and stars George Clooney, Ewan McGregor and Jeff Bridges. It's mostly about the US Army's attempts to research New Age concepts and the paranormal and adapt them for combat use. Great movie. I don't have time to do a full review since I've already sent the DVD back in it's little red envelope but I'll tell you that you need to go see it now. It touches on a lot of skeptical and Discordian themes throughout the movie. George Clooney's line, "There are different ways of looking at reality," is one of the most succinct definitions of Discoridanism I've ever heard. Plus the army officer attempting to run through a wall at the very beginning of the film is a perfect visualization of The Barstool Experiment.

4) When I finally did get my internet back I avoided my usual haunts for a little while longer and found an interesting site called Digital Dream Door. Most of the site is taken up by enormous music lists like Greatest Rock Artists, Greatest Rock Guitar Solo, 1000 Songs Every Rock Fan Should Know, etc. All of the lists are completely subjective but I still found them fascinating. Some of the lists are spot on and some of them I disagree with greatly. (Greatest Lyrical Performances features Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen way too much). Overall it is a fun site that any music lover would enjoy.

I said all of that to say that that site completely changed my mind on what is the Greatest Rock Song in history. If you had asked me before last week I would have said Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" hands down. It has the best ensemble performance in rock. Robert Plant screeching his lungs out, Jimmy Page belting out one of the best guitar solos ever, John Paul Jones laying down some super phat bass lines and John Bonham hitting the shit out of his skins.

But then... I was forced to reconsider another arena rock song from another British band from the same era: "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who. It's one of those songs that I've heard a million times without actually listening to it. It's become very cliche over the last couple of decades with classic rock stations playing it a minimum of twice a day, plus it's the theme song of CSI: Miami and loved deeply by any political commentator who has become disillusion by demagoguery. But there is still something about cranking it up as loud as you can handle and screaming along with Roger Daltrey's opening notes.

I hate admitting it but it is better than "Whole Lotta Love". Daltrey's singing is better, Townsend's guitar is better (and he pulls double duty by playing one of the best syth solos ever), John Entwistle plays his bass like a god and Keith Moon is fucking Keith Moon. If you don't believe me check out the version from The Kids are Alright:

Pure brilliance.

5) And finally I learned that sleep is for the weak. For some god awful reason my work decided that everyone on second shift (including me) should completely rearrange their lives and start working third shift. So the good news is I'm now working 9 to 5, the bad news is that it's the wrong 9 to 5. Doing this on top of moving has made this one of the most stressful weeks of my life. The fact that I'm still able to make complete sentences is a small miracle.

So with that I am off to bed. I'll try to get back on a regular blogging pattern as soon as I can. Don't miss me too much. Good morning and Hail Eris!

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
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.

Tim Minchin's "Pope Song"

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, April 29, 2010 | Published in

The wonderful Tim Minchin just released a nice tribute to everyone's least favorite pope, Benedict XVI. Yeah, the guy who thinks he is the only pope. Everybody sing along!

Tip of the papal mitre to Attempts at Rational Behavior, Pharyngula, Skepchick and basically every other skeptical blog on the web. Yeah, I'm late, as usual.

The Never Ending Memeplex

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, April 28, 2010 | Published in

As I've mentioned before, Discordianism is an unwieldy concept to try to explain to someone. Just like any other religion/school of philosophy it can't be summed up in fifty words or less. What we can do though is treat it like a massive memeplex with many subcategories beneath it. Sort of deconstruct it by connecting all of the smaller memes that it touches. I don't expect this to ever be a complete list; that would be impossible. However, I do plan to update it as needed and I'm definitely asking for suggestions since I know that I have not come in contact with all the different forms of Discordianism that is out there and there are a lot of things I know I will have forgotten. Expect this post to change several times.

Original Snub
Golden apple
Greek mythology
Hot dog buns
Erisian calendar

Conspiracy theories
JFK/Oswald/Kerry Thornley
Law of Fives
Pineal gland

Black Iron Prison
Militant Subjectivism
Iron bars
Think for Yourself, Schmuck!
Eristic/Aneristic Illusions/Principles
Imposition of Order = Escalation of Chaos

Taoism in a clown suit
Zen koans
Sacred Chao
Five tons of flax
Nonsense as salvation
Everyone is Jesus in Discordia
Starbuck's Pebbles
Hung Mung

Chaos Magick
Turkey curse
Curse of Greyface
Bugs Bunny
Operation Mindfuck
Fake mustaches

Fear the Boobquake

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, April 26, 2010 | Published in


Ok, now that I have your attention... Hopefully you've been following the craziness over at Jen McCreight's Blag Hag. If not, here is a quick rundown. Last week a crazed Iranian cleric made the mistake of making a supernatural claim that could be tested. He said, "Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes." That's right, cleavage causes earthquakes. Well, he didn't mean the cleavage that occurs between rock formations but the cleavage in a woman's bossom. (Sidenote: The term penetrative cleavage proves that all geologists are massive pervs). Jen, being the science minded person that she is, decided to put it to the test:
Sedighi claims that not dressing modestly causes earthquakes. If so, we should be able to test this claim scientifically. You all remember the homeopathy overdose?

Time for a Boobquake.

On Monday, April 26th, I will wear the most cleavage-showing shirt I own. Yes, the one usually reserved for a night on the town. I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts. Or short shorts, if that's your preferred form of immodesty. With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake. If not, I'm sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn't rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it'll be one involving plate tectonics.

So, who's with me? I may be a D cup, but that will probably only produce a slight tremor on its own. If you'll be joining me on twitter, use the tag #boobquake! Or join the facebook event!

Since then tremors have passed through the internet. Going through my Google Reader I see that it has been mentioned by Skepchick, Pharyngula, Unreasonable Faith, Friendly Atheist, and ERV. She's already been covered by Rev. Barry Lynn, CNN, Mashable, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun Times, and even the New Zealand Herald. On top of that she has a completely full schedule of interviews set up during the event tomorrow (including every single Indiana based news station).

Jen has managed to set forth a skeptical quake that has reached around the globe several times over. How the hell did she do it? No one really knows. Hemant over at Friendly Atheist has several ideas as to why (pithy name, good time line, humor, youth, BOOBS!) but in the long run no one really knows why these things happen. The media is so fickle that you never know what pick up its attention. As skeptics we have to just keep hammering away until something clicks. And when your name is called all you can do is ride that dragon out until the bitter end.

And showing a bit of cleavage along the way probably doesn't hurt either.

(Make sure to follow Jen on Twitter and watch the hashtag #boobquake for updates during the day)

Motivate Your Fallacies #2

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Published in

Since my last motivation poster was such a huge success (... or not) I've decided to give it another try. This one is about a logical fallacy that is near and dear to the heart of Creationists everywhere, the argument from ignorance.

Too harsh? Sure. Do I care? Not really. My personal tolerance for willful ignorance is all used up. I'm tired of seeing people worship at the altar of the God of the Gaps. Time to get off your knees and learn some SCIENCE, bucko.

(Also, sorry that the picture quality sucks. You'd be surprised how hard it is to find a good picture of Ray Comfort with just the right facial expression.)

Discordian Hymnal #028

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Published in

Let us all rise and open our Discordian Hymnal to Page #028 "Supertheory of Supereverything" by Gogol Bordello.

Reiki Therapy: Also Crap

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Published in

As I mentioned, this has been World Homeopathy Awareness Week. Somebody forgot to tell the Indianapolis Star though because they completely skipped over it in their Health section this week. Or maybe this is one of those homeopathic things where the less reporting you do the more effective it becomes. At any rate, instead of discussing homeopathy they decided to report on something as worthless as homeopathy (but not quite as dangerous), Reiki therapy. In quick SAT analogy form:

Reiki : Massage :: Homeopathy : Medicine

Reiki is a not-so-ancient Japanese version of therapeutic touch therapy. As the Indy Star put it:

In Reiki, a light-touch healing treatment, the practitioner gently places his or her hands in specific positions on a person's body. The therapy, which originated in Japan more than 100 years ago, draws on the belief that our bodies have a universal energy source around them. Reiki practitioners harness that energy and transmit it to their clients.
Translation for those that don't speak woo: a therapist waves their hands around your body and this somehow makes you feel better. They say that they are rearranging your "Chi" but they never feel explain what exactly they mean by "chi" and "energy" nor do they tell us how we might be able to detect these things. The entire concept relies very heavily on animism, the belief in an innate soul/energy that resides in all living creatures. They also never explain how moving your hands very slowly over someones body can rearrange that energy. I'm guessing that you have to concentrate really hard, breathe slowly and hold your tongue just right.

I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you. I'm not touching you...
(Photo via the Indy Star)

The weird thing is that reiki does work... kinda. Sorta. People report that it makes them feel more relaxed and can help alleviate pain. The obvious answer isn't that reiki aligns your energy but that it is tapping into the placebo effect. You are forced to lie completely still for about an hour while someone does an elaborate (and useless) ritual around you. Of course you are going to start feeling relaxed. The article even mentions that people occasionally fall asleep during the procedure (probably from boredom). There doesn't seem to many scientific studies on reiki yet but I would love to see how it stacks up against things real massage therapy, hypnosis, or simply having the patient to rest in a darkened room while listening to soothing music. I'm guessing that they would fare roughly equal to one another.

As a side note that is sorta buried in the original story, reiki therapy is being used by nurses at St. Francis Hospital which is very obviously a Catholic hospital. That really surprised because I was under the impression that Catholic bishops were banning the use of reiki. Either they've softened lately or they haven't gotten around to Indiana yet.

Betting on Infinity

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | Published in

Qualia Soup has produced yet another great video so I am obligated to post it here. This time it is a collaboration with Theramin Trees about a piece of theology that has always bugged me: Pascal's Wager. For those not up on 17th century philosophy, Pascal said that it is better to wager that God exists and receive an eternal reward rather disbelief and lose everything. I know, you've already thought of at least three reasons why that makes no sense. The video does a great job of tackling all of those and many more. Plus it has a pretty sweet soundtrack, so feel free to dance around with your glow sticks while watching.

World Homeopathy Awareness Week

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Monday, April 12, 2010 | Published in

For some very odd reason this week is World Homeopathy Awareness Week. I don't know who gets to decide these things but there it is. To raise your awareness on what homeopathy is and how it works. Homeopathy is a form of "alternative medicine" that dilutes preparations beyond the point of usefulness while shaking the bejesus out of them. As for how it works, well It doesn't fucking work. It's based on the absurd idea that water has some magical property called "memory" and that its memory of whatever poisonous substance that was diluted to less than one molecule per liter will cure what is ailing you. Trust me, water doesn't remember shit which is probably a good thing.

Thankfully homeopathy is almost strictly a British phenomenon. I'm not entirely sure why. However, there are some homeopathic medicines sold in popular US drug stores. More often then not they are things that are alleged to treat the common cold, headaches, allergies, ear aches, or menopause. Or they are homeopathic sleep aids that contain caffeine, which the Amazing Randi made infamous.

Long story short: homeopathy is nothing but wishful thinking that relies completely on sympathetic magic married to the placebo effect. There has never been any scientific evidence to prove that it works and every proposed mechanism to explain how it works is beyond laughable. The fact that anyone would think that it works boggles my mind.

P.S. Hi, Redditors!