All I’ve Got To Say About a Monument

Am I the only one who reads the article from Fox news, sees an alternative that acknowledges just about everybody

“Silverman said way for the city to avoid a lawsuit is to create a free speech zone where plaques representing all religions could be posted.”

suggested by American Atheists and works with each of the reasons made for using just one beam

“I’m fighting to have this cross there because I believe that someone’s story is behind that. That story needs to be told. It has nothing to do with religious faith. It has something to do with telling history.””

along with

“…There’s so much behind that. If we do not show the cross, we are leaving out someone’s story. We are basically saying someone’s emotions that day didn’t matter.”

and then notices that the alternative doesn’t even get a second glance, even seemingly ignored in favor of a method that has less work which not all people who pass by it may see, made all the more absurd by noticing details that would suggest the alternative might be fairly easy to do, such as

“James explained that in the days after the terrorist attacks, symbols like the cross and the Star of David were routinely cut out of the beams and given to family members.”

So, somebody can point to a group of atheists organized to promote alternatives that are more inclusive yet consistent with the reasons provided for using the single beam in question, and willing to use the law to do what they can to see it happen. I’m sorry if I come across as an asshole, but somehow that doesn’t come across as something to be worried about, or even decent criticism, especially when compared to the way one quote could be restated.

There’s so much behind that. If we do not show the Star of David, we are leaving out someone’s story. We are basically saying someone’s emotions that day didn’t matter.”

There’s so much behind that. If we do not show the lotus, we are leaving out someone’s story. We are basically saying someone’s emotions that day didn’t matter.”

One could go on with other images that could be used.

But, perhaps the image that might be most appropriate, and perhaps most overlooked, is an image of the flag of the United States of America, especially if such images are to be in the middle of such beams, for if the beam were to represent a mast, and the flag were to represent a nation, it would represent a nation in constant mourning and remembrance of what happened. While it would ignore what other nations lost on that day, they could have their own flags flown at half mast near the symbol.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, she saw what happened. For the last ten years, she knew what was happening. She did nothing. I’m not upset anymore. I’m actually happy. I’m happy that I won’t have to see somebody who was a passive spectator to cruelty. I’m happy that I won’t have to see somebody who contributed to an amount of anger where I have to fight the constant urge to hurt or kill others. And I’m certainly happy that I won’t have to fight the urge to let my anger out on somebody with no excuse for inaction.

I’m not upset anymore, because I feel fucking homicidal.

I’ll be brutally honest. This year, my mom died. Terminal cancer which she found out about in December. She died a few months later. Among those who were alive when that happened was my grandmother. My mom’s mom.

So, a few weeks ago, a few months after my mom’s funeral, we had my mom’s burial in a small town in Canada. My mom had grown up in the area, and had family there, most notably, my grandma. My sister and I had a private ceremony a few hours before everybody else. During the private ceremony, we buried the urn with my mom’s ashes. This upset a few people, once again, notably, my grandma.

After the funeral, we went down to the town hall, had a lunch, and so forth. When I wanted to leave there, I said told her I was leaving, to which she replied that she wanted to talk to me.

About ten hours later, around midnight, I recalled that she wanted to talk to me, so I walked from my uncle’s place to hers. I put up with her upset at what she regarded as problems with the burial related to what my sister and I had done, specifically that we

  • disregarded her wishes, as well as those of my mom’s sisters and my mom herself
  • buried her without any blessings having been performed (excluding those at the funeral, which my grandma had attended)
  • having agreed to not bury my mom’s urn (due to having stated that doing so was agreeable, a point of disagreement based on the definition of the word and differences between how we use it)

While going over that for about two hours with my aunt (one of my mom’s sisters), one thing stood out. I joked about it at first, but I kept thinking about it. This is now two or three weeks after the events I’m describing occurred, so I’ll state that its to the best of my memory. She described something that occurred ten years ago. From the details she provided, it was winter. What she stated was to the effect that her and my grandpa were visiting for a bit, and I was having difficulty finding my mitts or gloves. My mom said to not be late. What she described my dad doing, is the reason for the first paragraph. She described him as shaking me roughly and saying something along the lines of

“don’t screw up you little bastard.”

Now, to her credit, she did say she was upset and wanted to hit my dad when she saw that.  But thats it. She saw something that was far too common, that everybody in that house experienced. And she did nothing. A passive spectator to cruelty. She knew what was going on for ten years. She saw what was going on. And she did nothing.

So with problems such as those described, not to mention outliving a daughter to cancer, a disease which my grandmother has seen a number of people die from, you can guess that there were a few issues between us.

Despite all of the problems between my grandma and my sister and I, we decided we’d see our grandma before we left town to say goodbye. When we did, she was still understandably upset, however, she said

I don’t care if I don’t ever see you two again.

She may be upset that she said that, and wished she hadn’t said that afterwards. However, such sentiments describe how I feel about her. It doesn’t bother me if I never see her again. I don’t have enough respect for somebody who had enough cowardice to be a passive spectator to cruelty, especially when that cruelty was also directed at her daughter, to want to see them again. Burying her ashes early may have been against my mom’s wishes (unrecorded as they are), but I doubt any of my mom’s wishes included somebody who did nothing in the face of harm to her being her mother.

 

I’ve got my own problems relating to her knowing about what happened. At the best of times, I can make myself appear calm, mimic the signs most people show when happy, if I’m not actually somewhat happy myself. At the worst, I try to keep myself away from others because I can’t control my anger. The rest of the time, I’m merely content to control the urge to harm or kill others to such a degree that I appear normal. I normally appear strong, as though what is going on isn’t getting to me. It does, just not as much as anger, so I can control that with comparable ease. That is the product of the strain I went through. I have no problem with being easy on the one who did it, as, for the most part, I don’t see him very often, and don’t have reason to suspect that he was entirely in control whenever it occurred (the possibility of some mental issues). But despite that, some good has come out of it (although not through the best means of doing so). The paranoia I’ve lived with as a result is controlled through skepticism, something which I’ve attempted to use quite a lot while writing, as I would hope is evident here.  So I can live with what my grandma permitted to happen to me. Despite the amount of anger I have to control, I can even ignore it to some extent. However, I cannot ignore what she ended up doing to my mom and sister as a result. And for that, I don’t think I’d want to see her again. If she should read this, I’ll be brutally honest, and perhaps a bit petty.

You’re eighty one years old. At best, you have another ten years. I do regret not having taken into consideration the desires of your daughters. But knowing what you permitted to happen to mom by means of inaction, I don’t regret failing to take into consideration your desires. To the contrary. I hope you live another ten years. And I hope my actions hurt you, as much as your inaction hurt your daughter.

To anybody else reading this, I’ve attempted to provide as much detail for the basis of actions and statements made by those mentioned so as to avoid attempting to make anybody look great or horrible, while attempting to present something from which to consider for what has happened. I acknowledge that I may be unaware of a few of the factors behind some of the actions done and statements made. However, to the best of my ability, this expresses what I think.  I have no problem with saying I may have be cruel with some of the statements made.

In Angulis Intelligence Sporecast – Two Questions

Aside from reading and writing on various subjects related to religion, skepticism, science, and so forth, I spend a lot of time writing sci-fi. One of the ones I’ve been working on lately has been a series called In Angulis Intelligence, a collection of short stories, novellas, and novels which tells four stories.

  1. The collapse of the Progenitors, a technologically advanced species with unparalleled achievements, with an understanding of engineering that permitted them to build star ships that were large enough that the only sensible units of measurement would be Astronautical Units or Light Years, and an understanding of biology that permitted them to not only modify organisms through the splicing of genes, but create new species through the creation of novel genes without known parallel. Their technological development paved the way for a violent future, and their gradual collapse through the products of their work.
  2. The rise of the Uplifters, an insectoid assistant to and creation of the Progenitors, who took over, continuing the work of their creators. While less sophisticated than their predecessors, they could only modify what was already there, but like their predecessors, their actions caused their own destruction, and the radical alteration of the galaxy.
  3. The Contact War. In the year 2396 C.E., the Hil’le La, a species of anthropoid-like aliens ruled by a hierarchy referred to as the Echelon, discovered Earth. Between their support from other species and the superiority of spacecraft over aircraft, The Contact War was a brief event, lasting three years. During that time, efforts were made to ensure the survival of Homo sapiens in the face of the near elimination of life on Earth. This epoch ends with human beings beginning to spread out among the stars.
  4. Horizon. Human beings have been nomads for nearly five centuries, operating from armored shuttles to get by through paramilitary efforts, transport of precious cargo, bartering, among other methods. The few who have had a planetside home for more than three years in total is limited to a very small percentage, with the highest estimates suggesting only as many as twenty thousand individuals, out of a conservative estimate of twenty billion members of the species Homo sapiens. This changes with the discovery of one Horizon class ship, a spacecraft with what little remains of the Progenitor’s technology, and connected to a network of Progenitor systems with later connections to Uplifter systems, such as the Archives. Not only did the discovery result in a surge in technology, but the means to obtain planets for colonization, to ensure strong alliances, and develop the means to organize defense measures against other species capable of travelling through space. This epoch ends with a siege on the Horizon class ship owned by Homo sapiens.

Now, this is what I’m wondering. I’ve been using Spore to create a lot of the other intelligent species such as the Hil’le La, the Venshaw, and the Nicton among a total of about twenty that I’ve considered for one point or another, as well as create a number of ships, alien creatures, buildings, and so forth, which I’d say has helped with exploring other details that I haven’t considered when working on In Angulis Intelligence’s timeline (still a work in progress), so I’m working on details for each, going back to see how the events in any given section may effect a later one, or require events in an earlier epoch, which takes a lot of effort, but leaves me inclined to create to look at a particular idea.

Now, I know that those who have subscribed to the In Angulis Intelligence sporecast (not a lot, but still more than I’ve seen before) and those who’re subscribed to my regular creations may have something that they enjoy. For instance, seeing the life from the hot house water world of Cicero IV, or the technology that makes comfortable life on many worlds possible, such as Democritus I’s RaSPNet. So, is there a particular detail of the IAI world that you’d like to see created?

Of course, it also would help if I was better with some of the creators, but if you have any tips, feel free to provide them. So, the second question. What commentary do you have for any general themes? Such as the Nicton castes that were done recently, or the Ulutau. Those who are good at making themed creations may be better at commenting on that subject.

And my apologies for seeming a little disorganized. Writing at 7 in the morning after having been up since 2 am yesterday isn’t helping. I’ll be headed to sleep once I’ve posted this.

For those who haven’t subscribed yet, the In Angulis Intelligence Sporecast

No More Meaning Than a Rock or Tree

Rereading an earlier post, I found a comment, that should be addressed thoroughly. It has been done so repeatedly by others, but, to be able to better at addressing it, I should do it myself.

The truth is that if someone really were to be an atheist, he could never complain about being judged.  Judgment, justice and injustice would have no more meaning to the atheist than to a rock or a tree.  When you think about it, if there is no God, there is no purpose in anything.

I really have to ask. How does one conclude that concepts such as justice and injustice have no more meaning to somebody than things which one doesn’t tend to put value on? The problem with the thinking presented is that it ignores how we tend to react as a species.

We are, regardless of how we came to be, a social species. Among social species, a few behaviors have been observed. Among them are

  1. Positive
  2. Negative

The first one consists of rewards for good behavior. This can range from treats, to favorable treatment, and other responses to behavior which benefits the group.

The second one consists of punishments for bad behavior. This can vary significantly, although, it isn’t good for those that go through it.

And, regardless of if a society holds a belief in a deity, these are still acknowledged. Why would that be? Is it because these ideas are of value because a deity exists, or are they of value because we are part of a society which has the goal of prospering?

Less than a millisecond per person, or eight per second. Take your pick

I just had one of those oddball thoughts run through my head. The general idea among Christians is that Jesus had sacrificed himself to provide people with a means through which they could be saved seems odd in a few different ways, but there was one way in particular that stood out, and for a particular reason. How long one would’ve been dead, or even on the cross, if the events described are even accurate. The reason this seemed odd to me is that growing up, there were a few who had said something along the lines of “he was thinking of you on the cross.” So how long was he on the cross and dead? For the purposes of this post, I’ll go with a week. Its more than the three days mentioned in the Gospels for his death before the resurrection, and still more if you decide to include the time spent on the cross.

(60 (seconds) * 60 (minutes) * 24 (hours) * 7 (days)) / 8,000,000,000 (rounded the number of people currently living on the planet

The total comes out to roughly 0.0000756 seconds per person living today. That is, of course, ignoring everybody who had lived before, and everybody who will ever live. But, why not go with his entire lifetime? He lived to be roughly 30 (most I’ve seen have said 33), but I’ll say 35 for the sake of easy measurements.

60*60*24*365*35+(8(highest number of leap years)*60*60*24)= 1,104,451,200

In other words, one billion, one hundred four million, four hundred fifty one thousand, two hundred seconds. Thinking of roughly eight people per second during his entire lifetime. And thats just for those who’re alive today, ignoring everybody else who has been, or ever will be.

Shoot, depending on when you think the “soul” enters the fetus, then we’d have an even more for him to think of in both instances.

Now, might those who wish to say that he was thinking of anybody or everybody while on the cross try to support their claim? Because, just looking at the numbers, it seems rather unlikely. This is, of course, ignoring how much time you loose for trying to think of individual people, when in pain.

Problem of Conspiracy Theory Shows Applied to Religion – Introduction

Is there anything less credible than shows that take the stance of buying into conspiracy theories, and say that so and so controls the media? Because either

  1. the group does exists and controls the media, in which case one can say that they’re inaccurate enough that the group doesn’t care to take them off TV, or disrupt their Internet access so they can’t post online, as there is nothing being revealed about them
  2. the group doesn’t exist or can’t control the media, in which case they get significant aspects wrong
  3. one could propose a third set, that the group exists, they control the media, but it does so much more to discredit the claims by leaving them as is.

The difference in outcomes between the three simply can’t be distinguished, in which case, we can’t determine which one accurately explains the outcome of having a show taken off TV, preventing a particular episode from reappearing, or conspiracy theorists prevented from posting online. A similar set can be proposed in response to various criticisms regarding the involvement of a deity

  1. a deity does exist and does have absolute control, it simply doesn’t care about the concerns of humanity to intervene
  2. no deities exist or, if at least one exists, it doesn’t have control, meaning that significant aspects of religions are wrong
  3. a deity does exist, and does have absolute control, it simply lets bad things happen to test our faith

While variations of #1 and #2 aren’t used very often by theists or apologists, they do provide just as much of an explanation as to why a deity would not be involved. So then, how do conspiracy theorists and theists conclude their respective versions of #3? Posts entitled PoCTSAtR will be looking at the explanations provided for coming to that conclusion.

Disappointed by Marvel

Quite frankly, I’m rather disappointed by Marvel. With the dvd of their most recent movie, The Avengers, I found an advertisement for “Colantotte’s Megatitan NEO Legend.” Now, if they promoted it as simply merchandise for the movie (which is one way it is advertised as), I wouldn’t have a problem with it. However, there are two comments, that I think is misleading, and they are as follows.

“Approved as a medical device by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare”

What makes it misleading, is that looking at the site of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, and searching for Colantotte, ANSPO (I’ll mention why that one is important later on), and “Megatitan NEO Legend” turned up no results. Now, to be fair, I looked up things that might show up, specifically, Morphine, Oxytocin, Paracetamol, and magnet. The first three were to find out if specific drugs would show up, and all of them did (particular variants of the third, Advil and Tylenol didn’t however). For the last one, a few results did come up for magnet. Among them, two were on the subject of foods produced by recombinant DNA techniques, two, while discussing the subject of magnets didn’t make any mention of Colantotte, or any related searches, and the final one was an MS EXCEL spreadsheet (which didn’t load). While the two that were most likely to make reference to it in regards to being an approved product were in Japanese, one did provide websites in English which could be searched. Once again, no results. So I looked at the website (http://www.colantotte.eu/tf/AboutUs), and found this at the bottom of the page

“Approved Class 1 Medical Device”

Hey, finally getting somewhere. This lead to looking on the MHLW’s website for that class of medical devices.http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/wp/wp-hw5/dl/23010231e.pdfWhere it gets funny. Class one devices, Under Regulatory Requirements, quote (http://www.std.pmda.go.jp/scripts/stdDB/pubeng/stdDB_pubeng_regulation.cgi) “Approval of the product is not required, but marketing notification is necessary.”
So, basically, if it does absolutely nothing, with no adverse reactions in the case that it malfunctions or serious side effects, it can be approved as a medical device, “and is allowed to launch a medical device onto the Japanese market by submitting the marketing notification for the medical device to PMDA.”

So, the question is, does it actually do anything? Well, here’s where they shoot themselves in the foot, and its the second comment.

“Colantotte products use axially magnetized magnets in a unique Alternating North-South Polarity Orientation (ANSPO) to maximize the magnetic field flow.”

No details for what it actually does medically? You know, the type of thing you’d want to know if it was “approved as a medical device by the Japanese MHLW”? So, more looking. It lead me to this part of their site (http://www.colantotte.eu/tc/MagneticTherapy). What I found

“…deemed a ‘no health risk’ by the World Health Organisation.”

So, why is Magnetic Therapy deemed a ‘no health risk’ by the WHO? A search on the WHO website for Magnetic Therapy produced seven results (http://search.who.int/search?q=%22Magnetic+therapy%22&ie=utf8&site=default_collection&client=_en&proxystylesheet=_en&output=xml_no_dtd&oe=utf8). Unfortunately, among them, I couldn’t find anything on statements regarding the health risk, or the basis for it. After some more looking, from what I can gather, the likely basis is that there is no effect when it comes to health, either positive or negative, for Magnetic Therapy.

So, why am I disappointed by Marvel? I’ll summarize it. For permitting Colantotte to advertise the product as though it has any sort of medical effect, as indicated by “Approved as a medical device” with no qualifiers. I certainly hope nobody will consider buying it for medical use without bothering to look into claims like that.