Scams, exploitation, adaptation and delusion

Check out this NASA “photo of the day”; it is a panoramic view of the night sky over Hilo, Hawaii. Click on the thumbnail to see the full size version, complete with explanation of what you are seeing.


Do you see the caterpillar in this photo? Without the red circle, I wouldn’t have either. This is a type of animal mimicry; in this case the caterpillar decorates itself material from its surrounding, much in the same way that a soldier might use camouflage.

Surf to Jerry Coyne’s blog to see more photos and to read an explanation.

Also on the blog is a post about large feathered dinosaurs (clearly the feathers had no “flight function”; were these for temperature regulation….there is some evidence that some of the dinosaurs were warm blooded). Hopefully, this “about to be signed” law in Tennessee that would indirectly encourage the teaching of creationism and ID in public school class won’t get in the way of kids learning about topics such as this one.

This brings us back to “religion”: when it comes to “knowing” things about the universe, “faith” or “it says so in this holy book” just doesn’t count. Frequently, people are offended when religious ideas are critiqued. Peter Boghossian discusses why this “being offended” shouldn’t really matter.
Now I’d like to be clear: I’d never say that “you are a horrible, stupid person” because you hold religious belief X (unless “X” was a truly noxious belief, such as that people of a certain race are inferior, or that people should be allowed to die rather than get a blood transfusion, etc.) But I will say, IF asked or if an idea is presented in public, “that idea is illogical” or “that idea makes no sense.” People are worthy of respect, but not all ideas are.

Exploitation In the book The Kite Runner there was a character named Hassan who was raped as a young boy…and then his orphaned son ended up being a “dancing boy”: basically, he was a sex slave for adult men. I didn’t know how widespread this practice was. Unfortunately, this practice is getting stronger again….due to the Taliban growing weaker. So as horrible as the Taliban is, they did stop some terrible practices.

Racism and good intentions
Of course, it is good to stand up to injustice, but no white person (in the United States) has any business saying “I am Trayvon”. This young woman explains why:

Note: I don’t think that “the system” was designed to pick on black people per se; it is designed to reward conformity and to reward monetary success, and one is far less likely to be successful if one comes from a poor background.

Be wary of what causes you join though. There is a blogger named Crystal Cox, who lost a motion to be viewed as a “journalist” by the law. But this isn’t a “bloggers aren’t journalists” type of stand; it is THIS blogger isn’t a journalist. Basically what she did was: set up internet blogs and pages that attacked someone, and then offer the target of those attacks her “online reputation services” at a steep fee. Read the details here. I was alerted to this story by Randazza, who was the subject of one of her attacks.

April 6, 2012 - Posted by | astronomy, biology, Blogroll, blogs, creationism, economy, evolution, racism, religion, social/political, superstition, world events

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