THIS BLOG IS NOW DEFUNCT AND HAS BEEN ARCHIVED.

Please see the last post for details. Hope to see you again!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An end and a beginning – an intro and an outro

This is officially the end of Respectful Defiance. Well, not exactly – the blog's not going anywhere; I'm keeping it online and available as an archive for anyone wishing to peruse it, but I shall no longer be posting here.

I will be keeping comments open however, and will respond to any received.

I became irked with the title itself for multiple reasons, plus the blog's template has become so hopelessly mangled (by me) that I cannot in good conscience keep using it as it is. And so, I am pleased to introduce you to my new haunt:

I hope to see you all migrate there as I have. It's really quite nicer, methinks. =)

Continued ...»

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Canine: Yellow warning signs

Continued ...»

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Closin' up shop – soon (hopefully)

I've been debating this for a little while, and I've finally decided that Respectful Defiance is coming at an end. Well, not exactly – I won't close the blog, it will remain open for any and all to read at their leisure, and I'll also allow you to comment if you wish – but meanwhile I'll be setting roots somewhere else.

I've had a nice run here at RD, but ultimately I've done all the customizing as a noob and now the template is so mercilessly mangled I can't do anything more with it without succumbing to crippling errors. And so, I'm just gonna spawn a new Blogger blog.

Keep an eye out for a brand-new blog with a fancy Latin name soon. ;)

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No, Vox, what's absurd is how you continually miss the point as though you can't comprehand basic implications

Perusing Vox Popoli (hell of a misnamed blog if ever there was one) I came across this latest entry where – surprise! – Vox completely misses the point:

On the other hand, climate change that isn't happening is as dangerous as terrorists who aren't attacking:

Massive crop devastation, melting glaciers, water shortages, millions of displaced people -- all of these will drag the US military into conflict if global climate change goes unchecked, a Senate panel was warned today.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, convened by Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, focused on what so far has received only modest attention in the climate change debate: the effect it is bound to have on national defense.

"Addressing the consequences of changes in the Earth's climate is not simply about saving polar bears or preserving the beauty of mountain glaciers," retired Navy Vice Adm. Lee F. Gunn, president of the American Security Project, told the panel. "Climate change is a threat to our national security."

And frankly, even if AGW/CC was occurring, I don't know if the U.S. military would be up to the challenge of defending the American people from rampaging super-evolved aquatic polar bears anyhow.

Um ... ever heard of "civil unrest", you wanker? And what part of "millions of displaced people" doesn't immediately make you think "massive military involvement to try and uphold stability"? Seriously?

Vox Day: proving day after day, with increasing obviousness, that even a supposed genius can be a total dumbass.

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Daily Dose o' Comfort: Man comes from the soil – the proof is we share six common constituents!

It's becoming increasingly hard to read Ray Comfort's daily posts without bursting out in pure derisory laughter. Seriously. The complete absence of any critical thinking or even remote signs of intelligence have me continually baffled – though mostly just amused.

Now, Comfort examines the Biblical claim that humans were created from the Earth and its soil (always fun, Biblical literalism is). And what's his "proof" that mankind was indeed molded from the dirt? That we share six common elements.

Just wait 'til you read it – it's even more mind-boggling.

Right from the very first paragraph he says something completely stupid and contradictory, and this time I honestly did let slip an amused guffaw just reading it:

It was eminent scientist, Stephen Hawking, who said, "There have been various ideas, but for me the most attractive is that the universe was spontaneously created out of absolutely nothing." So it’s not too difficult to take that a step further and believe that it was God who spontaneously created the heavens and the earth.

Uh – what the hell? No, Hawking specifically said "out of absolutely nothing"! What part of "from absolutely nothing" translates into "Goddidit"!?

And now, onto Comfort's unique brand of reasoning that allows him to demonstrate how humans come directly from the soil:

But the Book of Genesis goes on to tell us that God then made man from the soil of the earth. Such a thought seems a scientific impossibility. However, according to Yale university, the elements that make up the soil are:

1. Potassium, 2. Calcium, 3. Magnesium, 4. Phosphorous, 5. Iron, and 6. Manganese .

If God made the human body from the soil, it make sense that both the soil and the body would be made up of the same elements. Let’s then see if these six elements that are present in the soil are also in the human body:

1. Potassium: "Potassium plays an important role in smooth muscular and cellular functioning, cardiovascular functioning, muscle contractions, nerve transmission, in conversion of glucose into glycogen and muscle building etc."

2. Calcium: "Calcium comes in many forms, and is a whitish substance which is a primary ingredient in things such as chalk, ivory, pearls, and bones. It is known as the fifth most common element in the earth’s crust and is a primary mineral in the human body."

3. Magnesium: "Magnesium is essential to the functioning of the human body because it transmits nerve impulses, causes the contraction of muscles and is integral to healthy development of teeth and bones."

4. Phosphorous: "Phosphorus is present in bones and teeth and combines with calcium to form calcium phosphate which is the substance which gives the skeleton rigidity. It is also present in every cell in the human body and in the body fluids as well."

5. Iron: "Iron is a mineral found in every cell of the body. Iron is considered an essential mineral because it is needed to make part of blood cells."

6. Manganese: "Manganese is an essential element to the human body..."

Is it then a coincidence that the same six elements that are in the soil are also in the human body? That’s what you have to figure out before death takes you into eternity . . . when your body decomposes and turns back to the soil, from which it came.

Nearly impossible to read that with a straight face, isn't it?

Sure, those basic six elements are found both in soil and in the human body. But, um – they're also found in animals. And bugs. And trees. And mountains, plains, rivers and oceans. I'll even bet some distant planets have 'em (though I'm not certain, lacking in astrophysicist degrees as I am). That's because they are incredibly basic elements of nature, elements that constitute most of the known world around us. The fact that we also include them is proof of absolutely nothing, other than that we come from this world and not some strange alternate dimension where potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and manganese don't exist naturally.

But that's not the stupidest aspect of his claims. The problem with Comfort's assertions that us containing these six basic elements constitutes proof we come directly from the soil, is that we – and other lifeforms in general – also hold many, many other elements within our bodies. A few seconds of basic biological research will show this. And those are elements not found in the soil, nor found via combinations of earthen constituents. They are unique to biological tissue and life.

Saying that humans and soil having the same six elements is proof of our Creation is tantamount to claiming the Earth comes from the Sun because they also share common chemical and physical elements. It doesn't necessarily prove anything, though, does it now?

(I'm also tempted to point out how humans do not return to the soil per se as he claims, instead undergoing very complex processes of decomposition and basically becoming mulch, but that's time wasted, really.)

Continued ...»

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Just 'cause Science doesn't know everything doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale"

He's got a tough accent to decipher (for me anyway), he's bald, and he's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time: Dara O'Briain speaks his mind about homeopathy and "horseshit peddlers".

I want his sack. And a crate of firecrackers.

(via Pharyngula)

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Hey, I like Little House on the Prairie, too, but this is a bit overzealous ...

Minnesota is in a bit of trouble. Take a look at what kind of nutjob is running for governor:

John Charles Wilson announced on Tuesday that he would run for mayor of Minneapolis with the support of his newly founded political party, the Edgertonite National Party. Wilson says part of the reason he is running is to “unseat local officials who condoned police brutality at the [Republican National Convention].” He calls Minneapolis’ current mayor “Raymond Thomas ‘Tear Gas’ Rybak.”

Wilson’s Edgertonite National Party is based on the Lauraist religion, a movement he created that believes Laura Ingalls Wilder is God and that the Lauraist homeland will occupy an area within a 240-mile radius of Minneapolis.

“A new nation, to be called Edgerton, with its capital at Minneapolis, should be created on the land from approximately Hibbing to Des Moines, and from Fargo to Madison,” says Wilson’s campaign Web site.

Communism is the mode of government of said nation, with an abolition of all laws except those necessary for public safety.

Wilson has written two books, “The Principles of Lauraism” and “The Conscience of a Communist.”

...

Wilson says he was institutionalized in the early 1980s because of his political and religious beliefs.

No. Shit.

(via Pharyngula)

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Lying for Jesus, with fraudery!

Remember that ridiculous "Proclamation of Morality" from godbot Oklahoma rep. Sally Kern? You know, the one that basically pinned the blame for all the evils in America on abortion, porn, homosexuals and a lack of Bible-thumpers? Well, it's gaining momentum as it's collected a few signatures from government officials – or at least, it would be, if it weren't a complete fraud:

Now, a new controversy has taken center stage involving The Baptist Messenger, a weekly paper with about 68,000 subscribers put out by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. The publication reprinted the proclamation in its July 16 edition, complete with state seal and a signature by Governor Brad Henry and Secretary of State Susan Savage.

"It is not anything that the state is sponsoring, so to see it on such an official document that we filed is really surprising," Savage said.

Savage's office has to verify the governor's signature on all proclamations and affix the seal. Savage believes the paper took another proclamation signed on July 2 and merged the bottom half with the Kern proclamation.

"I think it's unfortunate especially when it's something that's potentially controversial to have there be any misrepresentation of the state's official position on it," Savage said.

So Bible-thumpers are trying to pass a dubious Christofascist proclamation for (their screwed-up version of) morality via fraudery and forging government officials' names onto the paper? Yeah, I'm shocked too.

Now that the story's been blown wide open the godbots are, of course, backpedaling furiously, claiming that it was just a mistake:

The paper issued a statement saying, "the artwork used was from previous editions of the paper and was used without the consent of the governor and secretary of state."

That's just stupid. So they admit that, on some previous version of the article, they'd purposefully and deliberately Photoshopped the officials' names onto the paper whilst fully knowing they didn't have their consent. Which means ... nothing at all. Other than they flat out lied. Again, how surprising.

Below is a picture of the actual publication itself, courtesy of Bruce Prescott from Mainstream Baptist via Ed Brayton:

Those names do indeed look so accidental, don't they?

(via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)

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New Song: 'Death of Innocence'

Death of Innocence
By Joé McKen

'Death of Innocence'
Composed by Joé McKen

I've been reading some fiction stories around the web (really random stuff), and I came across one in particular that dealt with a rather poignant tragedy of sorts. Basically put, it dealt with a paramedic's attempts to comfort a rape victim. Sounds kinda gloomy, but let it be said it's a very touching story – plus it's written so damn well it really came alive in my imagination.

The story in question: [Warning – very NotSafeForWork, the website is][http://europe1.yiffstar.com/?pid=87609] (the scene where the paramedic tries to convince the traumatized victim to board the ambulance with him).

And so, it gave me inspiration for a song, just for the fun of it, and this is what I came up with. This is the sort of theme I'd hear in the background if the scene in question (the very first scene in the story linked above) were on film.

(PS – No comments with furry-hating, 'kay? Let's try and be mature for more than five seconds here. It's just a style, no better or worse than Trekkies or ... any other fandoms. Also, I'm not a furry myself; I just enjoy the art (graphic and written). If you don't like it, sue me.)

Don't forget to view in High Quality!

Written & recorded with Sibelius 6.
I got the picture off DeviantArt. No copyright infringement intended.

Rate, comment & enjoy! =)

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New Song: 'The Finale'

The Finale
By Joé McKen

'The Finale'
Composed by Joé McKen

Don't forget to view in High Quality!

I've been watching a few Sci-Fi films lately (I'm the type that binges) and so I had inspiration for a sort of "finale" song, as would play over the ending of an ethereal, mystical climax or such. Kinda hard to explain.

Written & recorded with Sibelius 6.

Rate, comment & enjoy! =)

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Why be so upset over this?

One of the poisons in society that pisses me off like few others is the oppression that is censorship. You know, someone ordering you (or forcing you) to shut up just because they don't like what you're saying, despite it being your inalienable right to say whatever the fuck you wanna say (as long as it's not overly dangerous or libelous of course – gotta stay legal).

But this story that's been running along the blogosphere has got me a little perplexed. Basically put, it's a rather popular and risqué blog (not pornographic or overly brutal, just a little bit of strong language and taunting imagery), Just a Girl in Short Shorts Talking About Whatever, over which Blogger inserted an "objectionable content" disclaimer for anyone trying to access it. This obviously had the expected result of greatly reducing her flow of visitors.

As a result, she's now closing up shop completely, pissed at the thoughtcrime and perceived censorship. And this is what I find to be ... well, silly, really.

Some readers complained to Google, and the “objectionable content” splash page was inserted, no doubt by the click of some rather low-level Google employee—tyranny of the constable is often much more oppressive than the King's tyranny.

The blog, which had remarkably high page rankings on a number of topics, is disappearing from the search engines by the minute--when an entry is not totally scrubbed it is replaced with an Objectionable Content Warning. Besides, I am not going to maintain a blog which is publicly identified and indexed as objectionable.

I may be called an insensitive clod for this (wow, that'd be a first), but really, this is Becky's problem, not Blogger's or society's (meaning that censorship is a societal issue, not an individual one). There is no censorship taking place. She is not being told to shut up, her content is not being deleted (that I know of), and she is not being forced off the Web. All that's going on is that Blogger's placed a warning before entering her site, informing visitors that the blog contains topics that could be offensive to some. It's not exactly screaming "This is vile stuff, avert yer eyes NOW!".

This seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. I know it's not the most pleasant thing to have one's readership suddenly cut short, but frankly, she brought it upon herself by hosting a blog that along fair conventions can be called risqué, or even offensive to some. If you want a shitload of people to find you and read you, don't post stuff that's liable to insult them – or to find yourself stuck behind an "objectionable content" disclaimer. It's not ideal, but it is reality, so as they say: you just gotta deal with it.

Closing her blog altogether is far more an act of defeat and submission than "in your face". It's certainly not teaching anyone a lesson; it's a blogger that got pissed and left. Nothing more.

The rebellious thing to do, had Becky chosen that route, would've been to keep the blog nonetheless, and if anything, try and spread it as far and wide as possible. Thinking that search engines like Google are the only way a blog is found is ignorant and silly. Include the address wherever you post (forums, comments on other blogs or websites, eMails, whatever). Hell; even better, enter a tirade against Google or those who complained against her. That, while perhaps a little petty, would've been entertaining. Going away in defeat is just ... sad.

(via The Agitator)

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More opaque policies from Obama

President Obama is rapidly losing credibility when it comes to his promise for transparency in Washington. Here's yet the latest case: Obama recently met, somewhat secretly, with healthcare industry executives at the White House to discuss the upcoming healthcare changes (and what a joke that's turning out to be). A watchdog group's request for information concerning the meetings has been denied:

The still sort-of new Barack Obama Democratic administration has again adopted yet another policy straight out of the administration of his much-criticized Republican predecessor George W. Bush.

Obama administration officials have rejected a watchdog group's request for a list of healthcare industry executives who've been meeting secretly in the White House with Obama staffers to discuss pending healthcare changes being drafted there and in Congress.

According to the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, which is suspicious of the influence of health industry lobbyists and company officers, it received a letter from the Secret Service citing an Obama Justice Dept. directive and denying access to visitor logs under the "presidential communications privilege."

Sound familiar?

All too much.

It's all the more stinging that we aren't being told what's going on with these meetings, considering this is the ailing national healthcare system we're talking about; somehow, I think people have a right to know what's being projected in Washington concerning their healthcare, no?

*Sigh* President Obama may still be white over black compared to Bush and his cronies, but he's still giving us plenty of reasons to be disappointed. Let's hope he breaks out of this "do what Bush did" streak soon.

(via The Agitator)

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