Thursday, May 7, 2015

National day of prayer ...

Today is the National Day of prayer. A day I find misguided and utterly absurd in 2015 both in virtue of it's utter impotence and it's ridiculous exclusivity.

I don't disparage people who want to pray, but a national day of prayer does irk me nonetheless...

So first some history. This link gives a great rundown on a timeline behind the NDP:

I note that notable figures like Thomas Jefferson stood against the very notion .. But I won't linger on that point, because I want to be forward thinking and besides others will simply point to other notable figures in the US's venerable past who did.

I want to know what we're supposed to do with this day? What does it mean? Can we all sit together and pray away economic inequality? Crime? Dissenters on the 1st or 2nd amendment? How is this day not a national wishing day of individual vice and virtue... And by virtue here I mean the righteous virtue behind biblical sentencing...

I wonder what people pray for today. Too bad we have no statistics for prayer. Would probably be most enlightening.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Be skeptical of hasty conclusions drawn from google search suggestions

There's a patheos article going around with an image of google searches beginning with "atheists should" .. I figured it must be grossly exaggerated so I decided to try it and received the same result. Shocking? I'm not surprised. See here below:

That said, it strikes me that these two words are clearly part of a negative statement and so google's algorithm is only returning those search phrases most in line with it ...

But what about other phrases?

Next I tried with Christianity:

And then Islam:

And then for good measure a couple more:

Note that neither children nor cute puppies resulted in any suggestion from google... My educated guess is that there simply aren't enough people inclined to form a negative search string for "children" and "cute puppies." But when I did it with spiders I think I received expected results... The bunnies list of suggestion was odd...

I am not claiming this to be a scientific study, in fact I'm suggesting that this shows that we should be far more skeptical of any data taken from this type of sample: people aiming to look for other negative postings.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Je ne suis pas Charlie, mais je suis irritée

Several things bothering me at the moment regarding the world's reaction the #CharlieHebdo attacks in Paris.

1) Insisting that Muslims publicly, and formally denounce the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
What kind of since does this make? Where is the reciprocation here? Was the christian world called upon to renounce the views and actions of Westboro Baptist Church? How about the Army of God attacks on abortion clinics. What about the Lord's resistance Army


How about Breivik following the Utøya massacre? He referred to himself as a Christian Crusader for Christ's sake ( pun intended ).

2) That we should respect all religions...

I don't respect any religions at all and consider religion a net-negative in the world. I respect implicitly individual rights to practice religion, pray, and worship. That's very different from actually respecting the religious beliefs themselves. 

3) That the recent attacks have nothing to do with Islam
I think this one annoys me the most. When the perpetrators themselves claim religious justification for their actions then i'm inclined to listen. Any claim to the contrary requires an extraordinary explanation.

A better explanation would be to explain that they're part of a sect. That I can live with .. But even then it's a sect clearly justifying its actions based on the same book.

Is this unique to Islam? Not at all, and I mentioned a few of the others under point one at the top.