Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

…. a cat, to save this world from sin.

– Badtux the Cat-owned Penguin

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So, there’s been lots of necklace-wringing lately about how the evangelical Right has been “corrupted” by Trumpism. As Justin Rosaria points out, the evangelical Right were terrible people well before Trump came along. Thing is, he doesn’t go back far enough. Not by far enough by any means.

The Southern Baptist Convention was created in order to defend slavery as “biblically correct.”

That’s not my opinion. That’s a matter of historical fact that can be easily verified by looking at the original charter of the SBC and as much as admitted in 1995 when the SBC issued an apology for defending slavery. That is the Original Sin behind modern conservative evangelical churches: Most of them split off from liberal evangelical churches in order to defend slavery.

My point is that an institution that was founded to defend evil is always going to be stained by that evil, regardless of how many apologies they issue. Words are cheap. If all you do is bend knee and proclaim Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, but then get up and don’t try to live like Jesus, you didn’t *really* accept Jesus — you just hypocritically muttered some words. Or as Jesus said in Luke 6:49: “But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation.”

The SBC and their fellow brethren claim to have heard His words, but I will believe they have accepted them only when I see acts that reflect such. And I haven’t seen such acts. Just words.

— Badtux the Religion Penguin

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Howdy, heathen! Welcome to the post-rapture world!

Really. It was on the news. So all the good Christians went to Heaven, and all that’s left down here is us heathen.

Hmm, let me check the news and see whether any of the godly members of the Trump Administration ascended yesterday….

Nope. They’re still making the news, just like the rest of us heathen.

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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Answer: We do. You and I. One way or another. Either up front, by providing them with adequate schools and opportunities for college, or on the back end, when they survive any way they can doing anything they need to do in order to survive, a path that invariably leads them to prison.

So either we pay for schools, or we pay for prisons. Either way, we pay. Personally, I prefer paying for schools. Because the things that desperate people do to survive generally aren’t nice, and tend to be somewhat destructive of the life and property of people like you and I.

So the next question is, what kind of school has the best results? Betsy Devoss knows. It’s private charter schools. ‘Cause they’re run by private companies, not by the government. Thing is, that’s not what the data says. What the data says is that if you weren’t learning anything in a public school, you won’t learn anything in a private school either. Because charter schools compete for students, many of them, the ones that can’t cherry pick, instead compete by dropping their standards. Students get A’s because teachers make easy tests, not because they’re learning more. I talked to a student at one of these schools and he was really bitter about the education he was getting and the general school environment. He said he could get away with anything, because if they expelled him, they’d lose the money they were getting to “school” him. He said he never turned in homework, and wrote just anything on tests, and they passed him anyhow because they didn’t want him to go to another school and take that money away from them. His experience is pretty much the same as mine was in Jesus School forty years ago, when I briefly attended a high school run by a Southern Baptist church. Most of the kids got A’s, because they were teaching basically 4th grade math to 8th graders.

Which of course didn’t prepare me for high school, but that’s another story.

So anyhow, That’s what Cruella De Ville… err… Betsy Devos… did to Detroit. The resulting charter schools are mostly junk, teaching poor kids no better than the public schools did, but with the downside of regularly going out of business in the middle of school years, having a low-paid itinerant workforce that doesn’t contribute to creating a core of middle-class teachers in the community, and in many cases being even more chaotic than the public schools. But hey, Jesus. So.


Hey, at least it makes for a nicer-looking logo for the Department of Education, which will shortly get abolished and replaced with the Department of Jesus Schoolin’.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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I noticed something interesting as I drove down the state highways and US highways and Interstate highways today. The more Jesus on a car, the more run-down the car, and the more haggard and bitter looking the person behind the wheel of the car. There was one car that was covered with Jesus quotes. It was a rusty mid 80’s Chevrolet Suburban with a white-haired lady of about 60 years behind the wheel, who had a nasty look on her face as if the world had shit in her mouth that morning.

If God loved these people, I think He would do something for them. I mean, those of us who just try to live according to the principles of the New Testament, which boils down to “be nice to people”, seem to be doing better than these Jesus people, even if we don’t rise to the top in the rat race that is modern America. But then, a quick trip to their holy book tells me why God hates Jesus people:

5 “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Mathew Chapter 6 verses 5-6

Uhm, yeah. If plastering Jesus quotes all over your car isn’t “stand and pray so that others may see them”, I don’t know what is.

– Badtux the “Jesus, people!” Penguin

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Blessed are the Cheesemakers

Sometimes I think that most so-called “Christians” are like these people listening to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. They aren’t listening, they’re squabbling amongst themselves, and thus what they understand of what Christ is telling them is garbled to the point of ridiculousness.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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It isn’t. It really isn’t. It is a set of techniques for statistically measuring and evaluating the world, and comparing the results of those measurements with what theory says should be happening. If the measurements don’t match, the theory is discarded. If the measurements match, the theory is tentatively held to be true — until other data comes in that, most of the time, refines the theory rather than overthrow it entirely. For example, Einstein’s theory of relativity did not overthrew Newtonian physics. Rather, it found that Newton’s equations were a fine description of how things worked at low speeds, but did not work as you approached the speed of light. We sent Apollo to the moon using Newtonian physics, because everything was at slow enough speeds that Newtonian physics was accurate enough. This despite the fact that Einstein had proven over 50 years prior that Newtonian physics was not an accurate description for how mass, speed, force, and acceleration interacted as the speed of an object approaches the speed of light.

This tentativeness confuses people raised to believe there are truths that are handed down by God, Mommy, or Preacher Bob. They think this makes science somehow inferior to their handed-down truths, which have no such tentativeness attached to them. But this tentativeness is exactly why science has been so successful at improving our quality of life, decidedly more successful than God, Mommy, or Preacher Bob. This very computer that you’re reading this on is proof enough that science works. Yet there are people who, if they read this, will deny that fact, and claim that science — things like evolution, global warming, etc. — is a “liberal conspiracy” because of that tentativeness, that inherent lack of absolute truth that characterizes science. Science cannot provide absolute truth, because the universe is too large for human brains to comprehend, but science can provide approximations of truth — like the Newtonian equations — that are “good enough” until refined further by later scientists to create a better approximation of reality.

In short, the inherent tentativeness of science is not a reason to claim science is a liberal conspiracy. Rather, it exists because that’s how science works. Sometimes awkwardly, sometimes heading down wrong paths for decades, but there are no sacred cows in science. There are only measurements, and theories to explain the measurements. And of the two, only the measurements are held as true, and only if they can be repeated by third parties using different methods. Such as, for example, the multitude of methods that have been used to approximate global temperatures over the past 2,000,000 years, which show that the Earth is warming rapidly right now in a way that hasn’t been seen anywhere in the lifespan of humanity on this planet, and that this rise has been correlated with a steep rise in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. At that point the question becomes not, “is global warming happening”, but, rather, “how much of global warming is caused by increases in this potent greenhouse gas.” Scientists then develop models and test their models against the actual measurements. Models that match the measurement are then the models that they adopt as tentatively true, until other data arrives and refines them. And what those models show, right now, is that we’re going to bake ourselves off this planet if we keep going this way.

That is not a liberal conspiracy. That is a model that fits the data. If there are other models that fit the data that show we are *not* going to bake ourselves off this planet, those models would be welcome. Unfortunately, no such models exist — just handwaving on the part of Preacher Bob and Oilman Steve and Politician Don about how science is a liberal conspiracy. So unless Preacher Bob and Oilman Steve and Politician Don can pull out some models that explain these temperatures we’re seeing that do *not* end up with us baked off the planet, they have no cause to claim “liberal conspiracy” — the data is the data, and the model is the model, and the way to refute them is to provide more accurate data and a model that better fits the data. Ranting about liberal conspiracies doesn’t do that, it just makes the ranter look like an idiot.

– Badtux the Science Penguin

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