You couldn't be here if stars hadn't exploded.
To the question, “Why me?” the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, “Why not?”
Atheist: Natural Morals, Real Meaning, Credible Truth

30 June, 2008

Conversation with someone

An email conversation I had with someone: italics are my replies.

 Bush appointees help save the 2nd admendment rights in a historic 5-4 vote today.   I used to vote the issues/candidate. Since Sen. Fineswine's attack on the 2nd. admendment along with other, I can't vote for a Democrat.

 Sure, vote for the yahoos who got us into this $Trillion war, wasted our economy, have shown no forsight or leadership in energy conservation and evolution, care nothing about your health care, and rape the Constitution.  Just because you got slighted by a senator who thought the right thing to do about gun deaths was to have registration.  Gun deaths that yearly far outweigh total 9/11 deaths and Iraq war losses.  Free speech, fair trials, and privacy are easily as important as gun rights.

 It is like the people who helped to re-elect Bush because they didn't like gay marriage.  People are dying and being maimed in that fucked up war and they re-elected Bush because they are afraid of gay marriage!  How incredibly stupid.

 Will out lawing gun ownership to law abiding citicens stop gun deaths? Second admendmend IS the constitution. Diane Fineswine nominated a judge to 9 th district court. Passed though the Clinton approval. .     Some fuck named Morales took a girl to a vineyard in Lodi. Beat her TO DEATH with a hammer. Jury convicted the man. Judge followed sentancing guidelines. Sentanced Morales to death. This Fineswine judge got a stay based on the penalty was crual. Fuck that guy. Should beat him with a hammer. Bitch has her agenda of no guns, no death penalty. I don't care about homos but that is her deal also. San Fran.  Free speech? The lib want to ban Rush. See anyone blowing up shit in US? No. Take it to Iraq. Demos won't allow nuke power but don't care what Iran, or N. Korea do. gas prices began the big rise after 2006 congress.   I will give Hillery gredit for one thing. In a debate Obama stated he would start to  pull troops as soon as he took office. Hillery would not not commit to a time table. She stated there was no telling what a person might learn in office faced with all the facts. Just like Truman. He had no idea about the atomic bomb. Hill knew all things can't be disclosed.   Who got us into Vietnam?  Do you think Bill would have been elected if Ross hadn't run?

 Heh, thought that would get a rise out of you.

At least Feinstein's agenda is public and legal.  She works through the legislative process.  The Bushies go around, under and through the Constitution wherever they think they can.  They think the Constitution is an obstacle.  We don't want to ban Rush, we just want his audiance to see what a buffon he is and lose his job.  Freedom of speech is not negotiable.  We've lost more in Iraq than 9/11 and all other terrorist actions combined.  We've also started on the path to eroding Constitutional rights out of fear.  Bush is finally making some progress with the N Koreans with negotiation!  What Democrats have been saying all along!  You think we can force the Iranians to stop their nuclear program?  We have to make it worth their while.  Nuclear power is not off the table for Democrats.

 I don't think the death penality is worth the cost.  Spend millions to execute.  It is cheaper to let them rot in prison.  Kind of like the $Billions we spent to execute Saddam.  Sure, if someone killed my daughter I'd want them dead, but I don't think the government should be in a position to execute it's citizens.  There is no way to insure it is absolutely accurate and fair.  Mistakes are not acceptable with the death penalty.

 The state vote for the death penalty. She got a judge appointed to toss it out. The legal process is expensive. Trying to save the bastard. Putting a guy in prison 40 years?

  Harry Reid called for Rush to be censored. I like Hannity better.

  With all the talk about eletric cars and plug in Hybreds, need nukes for the power.


We did vote for the death penalty, but does that mean it should never be questioned?  Some numbers we didn't know about when it was voted for:

673 currently on death row

13 executions since 1978

59 have died of other causes

6 have been freed because they were found innocent before they could be executed

$117 Million per year EXTRA to have a death row in this state

$174,000 per year EXTRA for each death row inmate


To me it just isn't worth it since 10% die of old age or disease and especially since 1% are innocent.

Leaving them on death row. Fire up "ol sparky and get going. The one's that were inocent were likely hibituals that some cop wanted rid of. Maybe set up. The ones caght with blood on their hands, no dought, light them up as soon as possible. Cop killers. Baby rapers. Fuck them. What about health care for these people? Cary Stayner? Shooting a home boy over a drug deal, no biggy. Some sob that plans something out, or for pay, or gain, or repeat. And this bullshit like Tooky that he has changed and wrote kids books. Not. That was to save his ass after 20 years. Alot of those costs invole the fat contract Gray Davis gave prison guards.Plus liberal lawers trying to get the guy off. If they are so bent to eliminate death penalty, do it pro bono. make a name for themselves . charge more . Like OJ's team. look at what a piece of shit that guy turned out to be.

Dude, this is about as un-American as you can get.  The Constitution set things up to purposely make it hard to convict someone.  Otherwise we would be like Zimbabwe or Russia or Iran.  Too fucking bad OJ got off, the state didn't convice the jury.  They picked a bad jury, prosecutors made a bad case, the judge was a goofball.  Oh well, get over it.  Our system is designed to bias mistakes towards not finding the guilty guilty, and not to find the innocent guilty by mistake.  Sometimes the guilty goes free.  It is more important to keep the innocent from being convicted.  Some cop doesn't have the right to determine someone's guilt.  The cost of converting the 673 to life in prison (even with health care) is nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands already in prison.  The appeals are mandated by law, not by "liberal lawyers". 
If it weren't for "liberal lawyers", you would have all your email monitored by the government, every web site you visit logged, every book you read controlled, monitored, censored.  Cops could slap cuffs on you and throw you in jail with no explaination.  You would have to explain every road trip you make and get permission.  This shit happens all over the world and we are lucky to have the rights and privilages we have.  And the protection of those rights have been by veterans and lawyers.  Vets have protected us from the external threats, lawyers have protected us from the internal threats to our rights.  I respect cops a lot, but absolute power corrupts and therefore the law and lawyers, unfortunately, are necessary. 

19 June, 2008

Thoughts on Science, Evolution and Morality

I think the problem is that science and religion don't mix well.  When science is being taught it depends on observation and measurement and evidence.  Mixing in a supernatural explanation for something goes against the grain and is inconsistent with trying to teach the overall strength of science which is the scientific method.  I agree, most professors do and should answer questions if students bring them up.   It is a subject worth debating and it has been since Darwin published his book.  And it still is.  And I fail to understand why except that the religious have prevented the full teaching of evolution in K thru 12 grades.  As a result, unless you get into college biology, you see very little evolution and don't get to understand its simplicity and logical results.  In this country anyway. 
Your comment below about random chance is a perfect example.  Evolution is not about random chance.  It is not about a swirl of molecules accidently and suddenly producing a living cell.  It is not an eyeball accidently through random chance appearing on the face of an animal.  Those would be enormous changes that, you are right, are unfeasible.  Evolution happens much slower with many times smaller steps, and only the changes that are beneficial to the species and allow improved survival of the species are propagated on into future generations of the species.  "Evolution By Natural Selection" is what the real name for this is.  The change and branching of species over the last billion years or so.  The random changes in DNA that take place in reproduction is only a small part of evolution.  It is like a bunch of recipes for bread being passed around.  Someone mindlessly makes a small change to the recipe.  2 1/3 tsp of salt instead of 2 1/2 tsp.  If the result is a little better, then that recipe may be in more demand.  If it is a little worse, that recipe may not be in as much demand and may not be copied as much.  But another small accidental change to it may make it really good and then it takes off.  That is the Natural Selection of evolution.  In biology, this is happening constantly, with every act of reproduction.  Usually very slowly over a very long time.  But sometimes very fast... A lizard was transplanted 35 years ago from one island where it thrived without competition to another island where it had to compete for its food.  The Turks and Greeks had a war and when biologist were finally able to return to the island, the descendants of the original lizards had changed, they had changed their digestive system slightly to better digest plant food instead of the insects they had thrived on on the other island.  There are some signs that some birds are changing due to global warming.  The point being that external conditions that a species finds itself in can cause faster "selection" than when conditions are constant and benign.  Sharks and alligators seem to have evolved slowly since they are on top of the food chains they inhabit.
The human mind is amazing.  But I think it will ultimately be understood.  And I think the way we think will be explained by evolution as well.  What I hear and read about the research that is going on explains a lot even today about why and how we think.  And it looks like it tracks right along with how we evolved from the primates on the plains of africa. 
To me, this all makes sense.  It isn't a leap of faith for me.  I only trust the scientific method.  I don't "believe" in it.  I don't have faith in it.  I trust it.  I see how it weeds out the bad ideas.  How it refines the good ideas into sharper and sharper detail.  How it answers questions and brings to light new questions to be answered.  How it doesn't fear new questions.  How it does NOT fear error and the possibility that a theory may be, in fact, wrong and have to be scrapped.  If there is anywhere where there is "tooth and claw survival of the fittest", it is in the scientific method.  When a scientist proposes a theory, the scrutiny, questioning, examination that theory receives is no less and probably much more than any Presidential candidate ever gets and usually without any pretense to politeness.  Of course, if the theory opposes the established norm, it is really going to have a rough time.  The intelligent design folks don't seem to understand that.  Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence in the scientific method... and the ID folks just haven't produced it.
Finally, (sorry, this got longer than I thought it would be) about the moral thing... Suvival of the fittest can mean many things.  I think what they are seeing and modeling is that a society that takes care of its own people internally is more likely to survive against its external enemies, whatever they are, other societies or nature.  It becomes an evolution of society and of our minds.  We feel good when we take care of our loved ones.  Most of us.  There are those who are outside the norm and don't but they don't tend to have as many children and so there aren't as many of them?  The point is that it feels good to be good.  I am sure you know better than I do what kind of people are in prison.  But really, they are a small portion of our species and I bet they did a lot of things out of anger and frustration more than taking pleasure out of it.  When disaster strikes a group, most feel concern and want to help them out.  So, to me, this leads naturally to the golden rule and I think it has existed in many forms in different philosophies and religions for longer than 3000 years.  But what would the moral measuring stick be without a god?  That is a silly question to me.  If an action causes needless suffering it is immoral.  If an action promotes happiness and prosperity at no cost of suffering to others, it is moral.  I am a bit simplistic about it and there are books on atheist morals... I have only read one so far.  But this makes sense to me, it fits what I see and do myself.  And it satisfies me. 

18 June, 2008


1 July is 150 years since Darwin published "The Origin of Species" Next February is his 200th birthday (Abe Lincoln's also). Party time!

"The reason the “Origin” was so powerful, compelling and persuasive, the reason Darwin succeeded while his predecessors failed, is that in it he does not just describe how evolution by natural selection works. He presents an enormous body of evidence culled from every field of biology then known. He discusses subjects as diverse as pigeon breeding in Ancient Egypt, the rudimentary eyes of cave fish, the nest-building instincts of honeybees, the evolving size of gooseberries (they’ve been getting bigger), wingless beetles on the island of Madeira and algae in New Zealand. One moment, he’s considering fossil animals like brachiopods (which had hinged shells like clams, but with a different axis of symmetry); the next, he’s discussing the accessibility of nectar in clover flowers to different species of bee. "

15 June, 2008

Clear the Mud: No one knows

Clear the Mud: No one knows: "No one knows it's 'time to change'. Change happens. And sometimes a useful change happens at the right time. And so the change sets into the population. But, rest assured, no one is aware of it. What they - we - are aware of is that we are living our lives the best we can."

This is one of the clearest explainations for natural selection I've seen. I need to send it to my Auntie!