Archive for January, 2007

Bigots demand the right, in law, to remain bigoted

This is an interesting one, on many fronts. The Catholic Church is demanding exemption from anti-discrimination laws so their adoption agencies aren’t forced to allow homosexual couples to adopt. They say it is against their beliefs to adopt children with homosexuals, and since the Bible is pretty consistent with its disdain for gays, I can’t argue with them on that one.

However, there is quite a telling phrase from the Archbishop of Canterbury (Anglican, not Catholic) “rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well-meaning.”

Hang on a minute, rights of conscience are always being legislated against, and in many cases it’s the religious community demanding the laws in the first place.

For example, there are laws against discriminating against women, different races, the handicapped and so on, yet I have met people who sincerely think black people are inferior and should be removed from the country, or that women should be barefoot and pregnant in the house looking after the kids, not working, or that the handicapped should be euthanised for the greater good. These people hold these views as a matter of conscience, yet they are prevented (as far as possible) from acting on those views by law.

There are also laws that discriminate against other groups in society, smokers, drinkers, drug users, criminals etc.

So what’s the difference? Why can you discriminate against one group of people and not others? It’s simple – women, the handicapped, homosexuals and different races have no choice in what they are! You don’t choose to be a woman, or black, or gay; you choose to take drugs, or smoke, or steal cars. Discrimination against people over that which they have no control of, and in no way effects what they’re trying to do is wrong.

But, some may argue, colour-blind people aren’t allowed to become pilots, and they have no choice over that, but they are stopped from being pilots because they couldn’t do their job; similarly gay couples should be disqualified from being adoptive parents because, by their definition, gay people can’t be good parents.

The trouble with that argument is there really isn’t any good evidence to show that gay couples are inherently bad parents, whereas a colour-blind pilot is a danger to themselves and others. There are plenty of single-parent families who are doing fine, and probably an equal number of couples in dysfunctional relationships causing far more harm, even though they meet the church-approved criteria.

So I propose this: anyone who is going to indoctrinate children in any religion should be prevented from become adoptive parents.

Religion is not something you’re born into, you choose your religion, or, in the overwhelming majority of cases, you are brainwashed into a religion based upon the beliefs of your parents. I view the latter as a form of child abuse, as does Richard Dawkins and espouses this view in his excellent book The God Delusion. Indoctrinatin children into believing that an invisible man in the sky is looking over their every action, and that other people who believe in different invisible men in the sky are evil (or at best, deeply misguided) and actively discourages critical thinking in later life. It’s that kind of power over children that the Jesuits used to lust after (“Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.“), and, in another context, allows people to willingly blow themselves and others up in the name of some non-existent god.

Frankly, I view that as being much more damaging to a child’s future than what their adopted parents do in the bedroom.

January 25th, 2007

I’m surprised…

According to this quiz:

You know the Bible 82%!


Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn’t slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

And, as I have said before, I’m a hardcore atheist.

Nearly 20 years ago, after being goaded into it by some fundies I used to like arguing with, I read the Bible (King James version). Cover to cover.

It was the most grueling, uninteresting, unbelievable chore I have ever voluntarily endured. Some people see great poetry, some see the it as the ultimate form of the English language. I just found it to be an impenetrable mess of deliberately-obfuscated language designed to give the impression of great insight while in fact telling mediocre stories that a seven year old would find hard to swallow (much like Jonah’s fish).

Amazingly enough (indeed it surprised the fundies) I came out the other side as much of an atheist as I was before I started, if not slightly more contemptuous of those who actually believe that the guff presented as literally true.

I have also skimmed the Quran (like with the Bible, nothing there was remotely believable), and glanced at the Bhagavad Gita; as works of literary history they are valuable, but as works of history they are flawed at the very best.

Show me a quiz about football, however, and the score would be in single digits…

January 21st, 2007

Another one for the firewall is another unremitting comment-spam-spewer. Just toss it in the firewall and forget it ever existed. If nothing else it will reduce the load on akismet.

Remember kids, comment spam is neither big nor clever, just say no, m’kay.


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January 19th, 2007

Visual Studio 2005 SP1 – Worst installer ever

I find it hard to imagine how Microsoft managed to make the installer for Visual Studio 2005 SP1 take even longer than it takes to install Visual Studio in the first place, but hats off to their team for managing this task so successfully.

I’ve been looking at the progress bars of various dialogue boxes now for neigh-on three hours, and it’s still crawling slowly, eating 100% CPU, not even a third of the way through the ‘gathering required information’ phase.

Of course I should really be thanking them as otherwise I may have been forced to do some actual work on the first day back for two weeks, instead I can achieve zen-like states of mind waiting for the next green blob to appear on the progress bar.

I should take some valium, then this would just fly by.


January 2nd, 2007

Ears are weird things, sometimes

I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of lifeSamuel Butler

I don’t often get colds, my immune system seems to be quite good at fighting them off most of the time. Even when it fails to do so everything’s usually over with within 24 hours and I’m back to full strength.

However, whatever dread plague I picked up before Christmas has been determined to lay me low for the entire holiday.

The general feelings of crappiness and overabundance of phlegm are mostly over, however I’m suffering from a side-effect that’s both bothersome and strange.

My right Eustachian tube is blocked, and nothing I do will clear it. The one major attempt to clear it by holding my nose and blowing hard resulted in the sound like a rifle going off and the room spinning like the barn in The Wizard of Oz for a few minutes. Subsequent attempts merely make noises like a blocked drain – my hearing is still somewhat impaired but I do get to hear myself breathing, which is reassuring I suppose.

So, on a slightly lop-sided note, happy new year 2007, may your various tubes remain un-gunged.


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January 1st, 2007


January 2007

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