Here it comes … a New Dark Age

Here it comes … a New Dark Age.

Crime books worse than actual crime under proposed law

The maximum penalty for possessing a book about growing marijuana will be higher than actually growing marijuana, the Law Society has told MPs considering a hard-hitting new bill.

A Parliamentary Committee is hearing submissions on a law change which would increase the penalties for possessing, importing, exporting or making objectionable publications.

It was targeted at child pornography on the internet but submitters told the select committee this morning that it would capture a broad range of images or publications.

Law Society law reform committee member Graeme Edgeler said that a book which instructs someone on how to grow marijuana was encouraging a crime and would be considered objectionable.

They’re burning witches
Up on punishment hill
Dying proof in the power of authority
To exact it’s will

Someone on Facebook comments, “They really don’t understand the ramifications of the internet.”

Or do they? You only have to search for “how to grow cannabis” on Google to see the power of authority to exact its will.


Hey, Google! Censorship is evil. You censor your instant search results. Don’t be evil!

Stomp vs. squat

For extreme metal fans only.


Suicide Silence are playing Auckland tonight.

Here’s one reason I’m not there.

I don’t think the new vocalist Hernan Hermida is as good a vocalist as Mitch Lucker. But, even if he were, that’s not the point. The point is, he’s not Mitch Lucker.

Did the Doors get a new vocalist when Jim Morrison died? No, they did not. They quit. (After trying to carry on for a little while as a threesome, releasing two “Doors” albums into oblivion.) Some band members are essential to the identity of a band, not mere session musicians.

Mitch Lucker was such an essential. Too bad he had to get drunk, argue with his wife, then jump on his motorcyle only to wrap himself around a utility pole, leaving his wife a widow and his 5-year-old daughter fatherless. 😥

RIP Mitch Lucker

Mitch Lucker 600x300

What is rationality? (Part 2)


What is rationality? The truth is, it’s something that most of us don’t actually have.

But we sure like to kid ourselves.

Here’s a quote I saw on Facebook from someone called Deidra Mae Ryan.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately that a lot of homosexuals and their supporters consistently state that God made them this way and that it isn’t a biblical or church issue its a human rights issue.

I keep coming back to the fact that if God had intended homosexuality to be natural then he would’ve made it possible for us to procreate without the need of the opposite sex AND then why did God only create 1 woman and 1 man in the beginning. Then there is the fact that God destroyed 2 major cities in part due to homosexuality, Sodom and Gomorrah. If God had intended for homosexuality to be part of our natural being then why destroy those cities?

Personally I believe people get so steeped in their sin that they have blinders on and refuse to see the truth. I see it over and over, not just with sexual sins. They don’t want to see and admit that they are wrong. What’s more, is that it’s our human nature to justify all our wrong choices, even if that means we make up our own truth…case in point – Homosexuals and their supporters coming up with every excuse in the book to justify the choice of homosexuality.

We all do it with our own individual sins.

Please note that this is not a judgement on homosexuals and homosexuality. I’m also not convinced that Ryan’s logic is sound. I post this for her conclusion, “I believe people get so steeped in their sin that they have blinders on and refuse to see the truth …” This is so very true.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (KJV)

It’s also very true that people get so steeped in their own particular worldview and its presuppositions that they have blinders on and refuse to see the truth.

For a long time, I accepted the tenets of atheistic materialism. They seemed obviously true. And I rejected the tenets of Christianity. They seemed obviously false. And I had plenty of arguments with which to ably defend my worldview. But then I thought about what I was doing. Doing exactly that. Using rational argument to defend a worldview I already had. As opposed to putting all my presuppositions aside and taking all the arguments, both for and against theism, together and on their own merits, to see where they would lead (if, in fact, they lead anywhere).

[People] don’t want to see and admit that they are wrong. What’s more, is that it’s our human nature to justify all our wrong choices, even if that means we make up our own truth.

Man is not the rational animal. He’s the rationalising animal.

I acknowledge that I am generalising from my own intellectual habits to those of others, but I think that it’s legit to do so. I figure that other people have corrupt minds like mine.

I suggest that for the most part we all believe our own bullshit. Unashamedly.

I strive for intellectual honesty. I’ve recently reviewed many of the arguments for and against God’s existence, and tried to leave my ideological baggage at the door. I used to find the Design Argument unsatisfying inconclusive. Now I find it disconcertingly suggestive! I used to have serious doubts about God’s existence. Now I have serious doubts about his non-existence!

My Humean scepticism has stood me in good stead. I realise that man can truly know nothing based on reasoning from his limited sense data alone, unless he posits the existence of a guarantor, e.g., God. This was Descartes’ way out of radical scepticism. God’s existence is taken to be axiomatic. Yes, it’s a bootstrapping method of escape. But so are all the others, e.g., positing a uniform and self-sufficient Nature, which is one of the methodological axioms of science and a metaphysical axiom of scientism.

From the perspective of an atheistic materialistic worldview, the tenets of the atheistic materialistic worldview make sense. But from the perspective of a Christian worldview, the tenets of the Christian worldview make even more sense. But not, perhaps, until one has adopted that very perspective.

How’s that for a rationalisation of my religious conversion? 😉

See also What is rationality (Part 1)

Disasters waiting to happen #2


Say what you mean, and mean what you say. It’s good advice!

But there’s a problem, one which I addressed in a footnote to the post linked to above. We use words to say what we mean and mean what we say. The problem is that any given word can have more than one meaning or “sense”.

Consider the following three quotations about rights.

From the founder of Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham.

That which has no existence cannot be destroyed — that which cannot be destroyed cannot require anything to preserve it from destruction. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense — nonsense upon stilts.

From blogger Mark Hubbard (channelling the inimitable Ayn Rand).

my thinking on children is they have no rights per se – don’t take that out of context – as they don’t have the experience or formed minds to exercise judgement.

From Thomas Jefferson, author of the American Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The question is, are these three great thinkers actually (for the most part) disagreeing with each other? Or are they (for the most part) talking past each other? I think they’re talking past each other, because they’re not talking about the same thing.

There is a fix. We can talk about Benthamite rights, Randian rights and Jeffersonian rights, and avoid talking about rights sans qualification. But what a chore to have to do that!

Wouldn’t it be nice if words had univocal meanings? But they don’t. Ambiguity in language is a modern-day Tower of Babel.

I don’t know when ambiguity of meaning crept in to our language(s). But when it did, it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Disasters waiting to happen #1


The United Kingdom’s red flag law was one of the Locomotive Acts enacted in the second half of the 19th century, requiring drivers of self-propelled vehicles (i.e., early automobiles) to take certain safety precautions, including waving a red flag in front of the vehicle as a warning.

Firstly, at least three persons shall be employed to drive or conduct such locomotive, and if more than two waggons or carriages he attached thereto, an additional person shall be employed, who shall take charge of such waggons or carriages :

Secondly, one of such persons, while any locomotive is in motion, shall precede such locomotive on foot by not less than sixty yards, and shall carry a red flag constantly displayed, and shall warn the riders and drivers of horses of the approach of such locomotives, and shall signal the driver thereof when it shall be necessary to stop, and shall assist horses, and carriages drawn by horses, passing the same,

The legislators behind the Locomotive Acts well recognised two salient facts. Firstly, that by far the greatest hazard on our roads is other road users. Secondly, that the faster you go the bigger the mess.

The most draconic restrictions and speed limits were imposed by the 1865 act (the “Red Flag Act”) which required all road locomotives, which included automobiles, to travel at a maximum of 4 mph (6 km/h) in the country and 2 mph (3 km/h)in the city – as well as requiring a man carrying a red flag to walk in front of road vehicles hauling multiple wagons.

The 1896 Act removed some restrictions of the 1865 act and raised the speed to 14 mph (23 km/h).

Presumably, the requirement to carry a red flag was removed because of its general inconvenience and also because 23 km/h is a bit too fast to be chasing after someone carrying a red flag not less than sixty yards in front of your relentlessly pursuing vehicle.

Consider two vehicles approaching each other from opposite directions on the open road, each travelling at today’s speed limit of 100 km/h. The difference in relative velocity is 200 km/h. The only things preventing the vehicles colliding is a gap of 2 metres of air and asphalt. With, optionally, a painted line or lines to demarcate the two lanes. Oh, and the driving ability of both drivers. The chances are the the driving ability of at least one of the drivers is below average.

Now consider what a morally reckless and especially stupid idea it is to have vehicles on the same road travelling in opposite directions at high velocity. These days, only a psychopath with a road kill paraphilia would dream of proposing such an idea! But it’s what we’ve got. I guess it evolved that way, and now we’re left with the task of incrementally fixing our roads while continuing to scrape our friends and family members off them in the meantime.

Our roading system, originally built so that vehicles travelling in opposite directions can share the same road, is, was and always will be a disaster waiting to happen.


More nous, less nows


A friend gave me this excellent DEMOTIVATOR® from several Christmases ago. And, recently, I finally got a round tuit. I put the damn thing up on the wall of my home office!

The poster represents an ever timely life lesson.

Perhaps life’s greatest lesson is that life itself is a lesson. That was my ex-wife’s sort of New Age spiritual viewpoint, in a nutshell, anyway. She had a firm intuition that we are each thrown into this mortal sphere of existence for a reason or reasons—to learn our spiritual life lesson(s). Of course, being a committed atheist and moral nihilist at the time, I mocked the idea. It’s only now, a repentant worldview and a decade of divorce later, that I’m wondering if she was right, after all. (And kicking myself for not asking the obvious question at the time. If life is a lesson, who sets the curriculum?)

Or, perhaps, life’s a Stanley Milgram experiment.

A test of your Moral character and conviction.
The decisions you make throughout your life are all being observed and recorded.
One day you will be asked to give account.

God as teacher and/or God as experimenter? I don’t think that Tim’s suggesting that life on Earth is, quite literally, an experiment. So I will! (A misbegotten experiment, perhaps? No, I’ll leave it to a detractor to suggest that. Also, I’ll leave it to the apologists for God’s supposed omniscience to explain this.)

How did you do? If life’s a classroom and every day’s a school day, did you study hard? Or did you just fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way? If life’s a Stanley Milgram experiment, did you go with the Word or go with the crowd?

One day you will be asked to give account. If life’s a lab running a Stanley Milgram experiment, you will be judged on how you used your God-given faculty of free will. Did you make the right decisions, and evince moral character and conviction? (The decisions you make throughout your life are all being observed and recorded.) Whereas, if life’s a classroom, you will be judged on how you used your God-given learning ability. Were you a willing, conscientious, hard-working student of life? Did you learn and practise the right things? (Everything you learn and practise goes down on your academic record.)

Classroom or lab? Are we God’s students, or are we his experimental test subjects? I suggest that life’s more lesson than lab, for the simple reason that we do not have a faculty of so-called free will, God-given or otherwise. The concept itself is a nonsense. What we do have is the God-given ability to learn and to change our behaviour. We also have the curriculum and the learning objectives. You’ll find it all in the prescribed text.

(Is Christianity complicated? Please don’t protest that God didn’t make it clear what are the right things to learn and practise. He did. The Bible contains massive redundancy. You know, like how the Ten Commandments are repeated in Deuteronomy, just in case you missed them in Exodus.)

Now, back to the DEMOTIVATOR® at the top.

(Did you see what did there with the wee ®? They threatened to send their statist cronies around to your place to sort you out good and hard should you ever decide to go into business selling your own DEMOTIVATOR posters!)

The poster represents an ever timely life lesson. And the life lesson is, learn the power of delaying gratification. Rejoice and be glad!

the children who were best able to delay gratification subsequently did better in school and had fewer behavioral problems than the children who could only resist eating the cookie for a few minutes—and, further, ended up on average with SAT scores that were 210 points higher. As adults, the high-delay children completed college at higher rates than the other children and then went on to earn higher incomes. In contrast, the children who had the most trouble delaying gratification had higher rates of incarceration as adults and were more likely to struggle with drug and alcohol addiction.

How to learn delayed gratification?

Rather than resist the urge to eat the cookie, these children distracted themselves from the urge itself. They played with toys in the room, sang songs to themselves, and looked everywhere but at the cookie. In short, they did everything they could to put the cookie out of their minds.

So, learning to delay gratification is not at all the same thing as learning to resist temptation. The results even suggest that any direct attempt to resist the urge to eat the cookie is worse than futile, it’s counter-productive. And, note, we’re talking about a non-starving child and a cookie. We’re not talking about a methamphetamine addict and a bag of P. And we’re certainly not talking about being offered all that you could ever want in the whole world and having it right now.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (NIV)

Nope. Staring down temptation and simply commanding it to go away is way too hardcore for mere images of God! We can but pray, “Lead us not into temptation” in the first place. Give us this day our daily distraction!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (NIV)

The poster represents an ever timely life lesson. Delay gratification, do some work, and get your shit sorted. (Thanks for the round tuit.)