Freedom Begins When You Tell Mrs. Grundy To Go Fly A Kite

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/freedom_begins.html

Lee Ellis is a retired journalist and a former vice president of both CBS and Gannet. He is also seriously ignorant about what's in our country's Constitution.

[link] A few days ago, the majority of the Supreme Court ruled as if it were using the Constitution of France instead of the Constitution of the USA. The French Constitution states that its nation is a secular one, while our Constitution states that we are a nation under God. One would not know this if the majority of the Supreme Court today is to be believed.

No, sorry, Lee old bean, but our Constitution states no such thing. In fact, the only religious reference in our entire Constitution is a prohibition on religious tests for public office. Surprise, surprise, our Constitution is a secular one as well.

Monte Kuligowski is an attorney who writes on topics of social, religious, political and legal interest. He also is misinformed about our Constitution.

[link] What about the free speech of displaying the Commandments? What about every village's, county's, city's and state's right of freedom of speech to display its values without the federal courts intervening and saying, "No you can’t."

Monte, where in the world did you get the silly idea that villages, cities, states, and counties have the "right" of "freedom of speech"? The right to freedom of speech is present in individual human beings, not in towns or cities. The reason for this is because giving towns and cities and states civil liberties leads directly to majority rule and the tyranny of the majority - which is exactly what our Constitution's Bill of Rights was designed to avoid.

Damn. You can dress them up and send them to school, call them "vice presidents" and "attorneys", and they're still idiots when it comes to their own country.

Amazing, but not surprising, I guess. Human beings are human beings, after all. If we have learned anything at all from our species' history, it is the fact that people will try to legislate their own petty beliefs and desires into laws governing their fellow people "for their own good".

1:1

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/11.html

You know, every person that I have read, or talked to, who has attempted to answer the question "What is Intelligent Design?" has responded along these lines:

ID theory says that life and living things show signs of having been designed. ID's primary argument is that life is too complex to have "just happened".

What exactly does that mean? I'm reading the words, I understand the individual words, but what the heck does it mean and how the heck can it be considered scientific?

Let's put it back on to boil for a little while longer. Here's what we get, finally, with all the big, scientific-sounding words and double-speak evaporated out:

"I don't know how it happened, so god did it."

That about sums it up for me. The "Magic Man In The Sky Made It All With Magic" theory.

So very scientific. Let's shove it into the school curriculum along side Scientific Astrology and Phlogiston Theory, shall we?

Feed Me, Seymour!

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/feed_me_seymour.html

skeptics-circle_bloglink_grayscale.gif

In just about a week, July 7, 2005, UTI will be hosting the 12th Skeptic's Circle!

Woo Hoo!

However, as of today, we have only had two, count-em, two, submissions - which will make for a pretty boring Circle.

Boo Hoo...

So, send me some skeptical treats to snack on! If you have a blog, please crosspost my request there as well! There's lots of things to be skeptical of out there!

Why, just the other day I received an exciting, stupendous email from a Dr. George Dubouch, touting a Dr. C.J. Mertz using "glyconutrients" as a miracle cure for, well, everything, it seemed like. Cancer, shingles, stinkfoot, rickets, jock-itch, noisy lifters, dirty carburetor, you name it. It sounded like complete horseshit to me - after all, the guy is taking endorsements from chiropractors, for goodness' sake - but after a few minutes on the web, I'm not so sure anymore.

I emailed and asked Dr. PZ Myers of Pharyngula fame for a brief comment about these mysterious, miraculous-sounding "glyconutrients", and he was kind enough to respond in his own esteemed professorial way:

It's quackery.

"glyco-" just refers to sugars and starches. There is some real interesting stuff going on with glycoproteins -- proteins that are secondarily modified with sugar chains -- but it's all going on in cell metabolism. There's no specific benefit from ingesting weird sugars. The digestive tract is loaded with enzymes that break them down into monomers, so anyone telling you of the wonders of their fancy glyco-goop is selling you snake oil.

Well, PZ sure sounds sure, but being the complete idiot that I am, I tend to try and get at least one other source of skepticism located, checked-out, and confirmed before totally writing something as cool-sounding as "glyco-goop" off as snake oil.

Anyone care to corroborate? I'll give you first spot in the Circle. Maybe. If you come up with a cooler-sounding name than PZ's "glyco-goop", that is. Heh.

C'mon, folks, let's not let the Skeptics Circle wither away! Submit your own skeptical post, or submit someone else's - I don't care - just submit!

"At the heart of science is an essential tension between two seemingly contradictory attitudes -- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense." -The Late Dr. Carl Sagan, 1987

New Tangled Bank Up!

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/new_tangled_ban.html

The 31st Tangled bank is up at Science and Sensibility. And may I say that the layout the blogger used is about as slick and professional as it gets!


What is the Tangled Bank and how can you be linked? You can find the details here ... when PZ gets his server back up. It's the best science blogging on planet earth and the longest running, most successful Carnival I know of. You don't have to be a scientist to submit an entry, but you do have to be able to play one on the Internet.

Gaynor Advocates Blasphemy Laws

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/gaynor_advocate.html

Michael J. Gaynor wants to bring back blasphemy laws, apparently. He quotes from the 1824 Grand Jury indictment of Abner Updegraph (Updegraph v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 11 Serg & R. 393, 394, decided by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1824):

[link] "Abner Updegraph . . . not having the fear of God before his eyes.. . contriving and intending to scandalize and bring into disrepute and vilify the Christian religion and the scriptures of truth in the presence and hearing of several persons . . . did unlawfully, wickedly and premeditatively, despitefully and blasphemously say. . . : 'That the Holy Scriptures were a mere fable: that they were a contradiction, and that although they contained a number of good things, yet they contained a great many lies.' To the great dishonor of Almighty God [and] to the great scandal of the profession of the Christian religion."

Gaynor continues his commentary:

[link] Updegraph was indicted under Pennsylvania's law against blasphemy and found guilty by the jury.

Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws, introduced in 1766, had been the law book of the Founding Fathers and so the Court turned to it for the legal definition of "blasphemy":

"Blasphemy against the Almighty is denying His being or Providence or uttering contumelious [insulting] reproaches on our Savior Christ. It is punished at common law by fine and imprisonment, for Christianity is part of the laws of the land."

By the legal definition, Updegraph obviously had violated the law.

[...]

These days the United States Supreme Court says the opposite, although there was no constitutional amendment designed to change the law in the interim.

Anyone still under the impression that Real True Christians™ like Michael J. Gaynor are not advocating for an American Christian Theocracy?

If so, then I have to ask you if you're as ignorant as you sound, or are you just selectively ignorant when it comes to your own religion? This type of commentary is coming from the "Christian Nation" folks every single day. You'd have to be lying to yourself to rationalize this nonsense.

Carnival Of The Godless #16

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/carnival_of_the_15.html

COTG

Check out the 16th Carnival Of The Godless Positive Liberty. Jason Kuznicki does a fantastic job putting together a great collection of godless links.

The next COTG, #17, will be held on July 10, 2005 at Tobias Buckell Online. Send in your submissions to cotg-submission@brentrasmussen.com.

If yopu would like to host a future COTG, please email me at cotg-host@brentrasmussen.com, and I'll get you listed on the schedule.

Hire Normal Bob

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/hire_normal_bob.html

Hi Folks - That fun-loving atheist icon, Normal Bob Smith, needs our help. He's a fantastic web designer, and an even better artist. If you know of anyone who needs some graphic design done, a t-shirt designed for your blog to sell in Cafe Press, or a web page designed/overhauled, Normal Bob's your man.

[link] ​​​Okay, I'll just say it. I need work. And this isn't some joke or sarcastic rant I'm spinnin'. I need freelance jobs so that I can continue to pay my bills and bring you the hilarious, fun things I do. And I'm not saying that you owe me or anything like that. I love giving it all away, but this month (my birthday month of all months) has been DRY! So if you have a job you need done or know someone who does let me know! I'm really good! Look at this portrait I drew, and this beautiful dress up page I designed! And my prices are very reasonable. Here, check out my Hire page.

And there it is. I've bared my soul to all of you, so let me know you're there and care. I'm serious! Don't let them say "It's a sign from God! Repent and pay rent!"

Thank you for your patience.
Bob
bob@normalbobsmith.com

Let's all try and give Bob a little lovin' and send some work his way.

Thanks, folks!

Electric Koolaid

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/electric_koolai.html

Update: Speaking of delusional states, Operation Blame the Democrats for Iraq is on. Four words my war hawk friends: You Own This War.

And now for some satire followed by tragic reality ...

Baghdad Bob raving at a news conference:

"Whenever we attack, they retreat. When we pound them with missiles and heavy artillery, they retreat even deeper. But when we stopped pounding, they pushed to the airport for propaganda purposes."

Dick Cheney raving on CNN:

"The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

Are the Iraqi Disinformation Minister and "Dick" both sneaking sips from the same pot of drug laced koolaid?

Here's the reality; Last night in Iraq five marines were killed-three of them women-and a dozen injured in a single suicide bomb attack. This is not funny.
You think Rove and BushCo slimeballs are above trying to use this tragedy? First one who sends me a link of a winger or a politician blaming this on Durbin/Dems (Because really there's nothing else they can do at this point) I'll promote into this post. Then we'll keep a running tab on who tries using same tactic.

The Dinosaurs Among Us

http://www.brentrasmussen.com/archives/2005/06/the_dinosaurs_a.html

OH! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter's silvered wings
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds
And done a hundred things you have not dreamed of- wheeled and soared and swung high on the sunset silence ...

Who among us has not dreamt of flight? To coast effortlessly along on lazy thermals on a sunny day, the distant tapestry far below painted in pastel blues, browns, and greens? To dive at the ground at over 150 MPH and then pull out and blaze over a blurred landscape at breathtaking speed? From Daedalus to Da Vinci to Apollo and beyond, it is a vision that has driven mankind. The idea of flying informs our dreams, infiltrates our legends, and invades our nightmares. And now that we can fly by way of machines, it turns out to be every bit exciting as we imagined. But why are the birds heir to this ability? Why and how were they chosen to be among the lucky few who would take to the air and go on to dominate the land, sea, and sky?

Huge Grahics Below!