I'll let you decide.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Friday, March 28, 2008 3:03 PM

So which is it, AF readers?

This site is certified 72% GOOD by the Gematriculator


This site is certified 28% EVIL by the Gematriculator

As a formal poll (and a symbol of my democratic tendencies), I'll let you all vote in the comment section. Whichever one wins out, I will place in a widget on the right hand side. Deal? Deal.

Thanks goes to Dependable Renegade for the site.

Firestarters: Highlights of the Highly Miscellaneous Part V

Posted by Whit Barringer , Friday, March 14, 2008 10:25 PM

Time for another Firestarter. Guess what? No news links this time! But damn, is the list random. And long.

  • Tao Te Ching
    • This is a Taoism resource, for a philosophy not oft considered by Westerners.
  • Religion Facts
    • Facts on religion that go more in depth than a casual reference. Taoism is included.
  • Dining in 2015
    • Is that a hedgehog?
  • How to Learn Any Language
    • There's a part of me that wants to be a polyglot. For those of you who are like me, read the tips on this site and feel incredibly lazy because you know you'll never be able to dedicate yourself. Don't worry. You're certainly not alone. We can lament together.
  • 36 Beautiful Resume Ideas that Work
    • Some very interesting designs for resumes. I don't know that I'll ever be able to use any of them for one of mine, but they are certainly attractive designs.
  • CalorieConnect.com
    • Food name in, calorie count out. Just a cleaner application than I've seen in the past. It all comes up on one page without reloading.
  • How Stuff Works
    • Self-explanatory, methinks.
  • Dinosaur Comics
    • I'd heard of it and read one or two beforehand, but I didn't realize how hilarious it is until I ran across it again. Always silly, but always funny.
  • Microsoft Interview Questions
    • Can you answer any of those? I knew there was a reason why I wasn't a computer programmer. Besides the math bit. And the logic.
  • How to Draw a Woman (video)
    • Cool sorta kinda tutorial. I've never seen someone start from the skeletal structure.
  • How to Detect Lies
    • Always a useful tool, especially in those casual interrogations that we all conduct in our basements, right? Saves on mess.
  • Why we do dumb s@#$.
    • Ten social psychology studies that explain why we don't always make the best judgment we could, among other things.
  • Test Your English
    • Can you say all of the words correctly the first time?
  • Cooking By Numbers
    • A good site, if rudimentary. Hilarious sidenote: Some friends and I put what they had in their fridge, and they only complete recipe that came up said, "You have 100% of 2 ingredients to make a Cup of Coffee." Even better: "You have 50% of 2 ingredients to make Scrambled Eggs." What were we lacking? Eggs.
  • FilmSecrets
    • Make your own films for a fraction of the cost. A cool guide to help those trying to make it on their own.
  • Write Your Name in Elvish in 10 Minutes!
    • If it was a real language, it would soooo be the best language ever.
  • "Street Installations"
    • Some very cool street artwork. It would be freaky to happen upon, but it's very cool at a distance.
  • The Table of Condiments
*deep breath* Whew.

On my way to becoming a transparent human being.

Posted by Whit Barringer , Sunday, March 09, 2008 2:19 PM

Just thought I'd announce the addition on the sidebar. One of my friends got me interested in Last.FM again, so I thought I'd expose myself to the potential embarassment of revealing my music tastes.

For those who are native, hope you've enjoyed the three day weekend (yay snow in March!). For those of you who aren't, sucks that you didn't have snow.

Creationism, Evolution, and the Perfection of God

Posted by Whit Barringer , Sunday, March 02, 2008 8:10 PM

So... I haven't been dead, but I've certainly been busy. I got to go to my favorite band's concert (!) on Thursday, and I've been scrambling to get assignments done here and there. But I've come out scarred and ready to face another week.

Somebody posted a thread entitled "Creation vs. Evolution" on a forum I frequent. Oh, how many times have we all seen that debate before. I was responding to a comment that said (paraphrased): "What does it matter if the arguments are repeated? The facts of the case don't change." Basically, what's the point? We're at a stalemate. To that, I said this:

I respectfully disagree with that. On one hand, if you're saying (what [a poster who is also a science teacher] suggested) that Creationists do not change their information, you are indeed correct. Their base of information is the same, though some of the arguments get a bit more creative over time. I was looking as some pictures on Facebook, and one of them came up from the creationist museum in Kentucky. It said something like this:

According to the Bible, thorns came after the [death or seed of Adam, I don't remember which]. Since we have found thorns with dinosaurs fossils, that means man and dinosaur must have lived together.

Honestly, that seems very silly. That reasoning isn't logical, because it excludes - without any evidence - that anything could have existed before. It's a very insulated reasoning that really only works with very insulated people who don't question whatever they read or hear.

As for the evolution argument, it indeed changes. While its base, much like Creationist belief, has its unchanging roots - these roots are the roots of discovery and observation, not the words of men who didn't understand basic scientific laws and theories. But the change in evolution is not creativity to try and outwit creationists (let's be honest - that's what all the changes in creationist theory are meant for), but it's empirical observation and research. Scientists don't pull evolution out of the blue and then say that it's proof. They have systematic ways to determine if something lends itself as proof of evolution (such as a "missing link").

I think that's where the credibility issues comes in with the Creationists. There is no system. There is no scientifically unbiased research. As [two previous posters had] demonstrated, there's an arbitrary pulling of verses that are taken to mean weird and unpredictable things. There is no system of symbolism and meaning in the Bible, as anyone who reads it comes up with a new meaning. This becomes obvious because many scientists are Christians. They obviously take some other meaning in the text, right? If something is so completely and irritatingly relative and arbitrary, no science can't be derived from it.

I'm one of those people who discovers things about herself as she's typing her opinion. This is no exception. I have always had trouble with both creation and evolution theory. Faith forced me to keep from excluding the former, but evolution theory had too many gaps for me to fully realize it as the dominant theory. Then I saw Intelligent Design on Trial (an excellent account of the landmark decision on Kitzmiller v. Dover), and a lot of my uneasiness was quelled.

That could have been where it stopped, but something else caught my eye that I wanted to respond to. Paraphrased: The Bible could have been divinely inspired and still flawed. Another poster said (somewhat illogically, I think) that if God is perfect, but the Bible is not, and God inspired it, then God really isn't perfect. To this, I said the following:

That reminds me. In a class last semester, someone tested out a religious theory that required a new interpretation of the Trinity. I can't remember all of it, but one part said, "Jesus is the Universe." Then this person went on to say that "good and evil are in the Universe." Someone asked him if good and evil are in the universe, then does that mean that Jesus have good and evil within him? And, after coming so far, this person said after a frustrated silence, "You just have to take a leap of faith on that one."

The point being this person had limited his or her worldview through the narrow microscope of Christianity. It's the equivalent of putting on blinders. Yes, you see the world, but you can only see it with the sheen of Christianity's judgment of good and bad and evil. To paraphrase someone in a documentary I saw a few days ago, "The church is responsible for the deaths of many because of its teachings." Christianity has no room for science because it developed ways to judge without dependence on the natural. When you have to turn to the supernatural (a.k.a. unseen/unheard) to support what you say - and you succeed - then nothing natural can actively change your mind.

But back to God and perfection. I can understand idea of "divinely inspired" in the very lax terms that some believe it means. Whenever I am overwhelmed to the point of tears by beauty, I would accept that as divine. But that's not what is meant 90% of the time. It means, as I was saying above, that there's been an appeal to the supernatural to lend something credibility - which, in itself, by its own definition, is incredible. "Divinely inspired" is a term that is meant to evoke an infallibility or an absolutism that lends itself to impossible arguments. "You want to have sex? You shouldn't, because God said so." Well, did God say it? No, probably not. But because we've got that blasted term "divinely inspired", we are supposed to take the words of men as the words of God. Nevermind that each man wrote as a product of his time, with its own prejudices, environment, customs, and ideas (which is the real reason the bible changes).

Anyway, God could still be perfect even if the Bible is imperfect, but that means that we have limited tools to understand God (or if that offends you, we'll say "God's will"). Which means that we have to look for another way to achieve our salvation instead of through an imperfect text that blinds us. To cure our blindness, we have to look to see God beyond the imperfect hands of men.

I'll probably post more on the idea of a perfect God later on, but for now this will do.

Have a wonderful week.

Nothing like betrayal by one of your own.

Posted by Whit Barringer 2:34 PM

If you are a successful and/or independent woman, read this. If you are predisposed to bigotry and being a general asshole, do not read this.

We Scream, We Swoon. How Dumb Can We Get?

You can discuss in the comments.

News over at VDCC

Posted by Whit Barringer 3:54 AM

My other blog, Voice from the Depths of the Cultural Coil, has been defunct for a few months now (the last review is The Golden Compass). However, I'm not willing to let it die. I've implemented a new idea for the site. I'm going to repost that here, and we'll see what comes of it.

This review blog has gotten really impersonal (not to mention really behind), so I’m going to introduce a new way to interact with me at VDCC. Here’s what I propose to you, reader.

1. Send an email to adamant.fire@gmail.com.

2. Type “Review Request” in the subject line.

3. Tell me your name (nickname, username, or otherwise - whichever you want to be placed on the site when I credit you for the request).

4. Tell me what you want to see reviewed.

Media I will review:

  • Video Games
    • Wii, PS2, XB360
  • Movies
    • Currently in Theater
    • Currently on DVD
    • Currently online (short films)
    • Any genre besides pornography. :D
    • If you would like me to review a movie you have made, contact me as well.
  • Books, Novellas, and Short Stories
    • No “age limit.” Old or new books are fine with me.
    • If you would like me to review a book, novella, or short story you have written, contact me as well.
  • TV Shows
    • Has to be on a channel I have. :)
  • Comics
    • Includes manga, comic books, and graphic novels.
  • Other
    • Email me and we’ll see.

As time goes on, this will become more specific, but I’m not looking to put in a lot of guidelines if it’s not even going to work. I’m sure that I’ll be able to turn out a review a week, but I can’t promise to always keep to that (though I’m sure I’ll be able to do more on some weeks as well). If multiple people request the same thing, that will definitely increase priority. Also, money is an issue. However, if this blog becomes really active, I might consider spending more to keep it going.

Let the requesting begin!

Oh, and in other news that still links in with the same news, I have a new email address for both this blog and VDCC - adamant.fire@gmail.com. Email questions and comments here. Thanks!