Intelligent Design or Evolution?

This "debate" seems like it will never go away. Evolution of species is backed by mounds of real scientific evidence and peer review, yet the ID crowd continues on it's quest to be a "scientific" alternative to the origins of life.

I happened upon the Intelligent Design Network yesterday and I found their arguments for ID less than compelling:

"The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion."


This argument is decidedly unscientific. Translated it would read. "We don't agree that evolution can exist because our religious beliefs contradict that idea. So instead, we propose it was all designed by an intelligent super being. We have no evidence of course, except that things look really complex, but that clearly makes this a scientific disagreement."

"Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the "messages," and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life."


Even if the above statement were true... The logical next step is not to conclude the universe was designed. Science doesn't work that way. If you can prove the evolutionary research and evidence to be false, that is one step. Evolution can then be considered not to be the true origin of species. You can now propose a different theory and provide evidence to that theory. Your scientific peers will scrutinize that evidence and either accept or deny your theory as well. It cannot be said that because evolution isn't real, than our crazy idea MUST be real.

I propose the following "Theory" following the same guidelines of the Intelligent Design Network. All life in the universe was indeed designed by a computer in an alternate reality. Ala "The Matrix", and we all just live in one big computer simulation. I personally am the center of this simulation and so all the rest of the universe is just for my benefit.

Assuming evolution doesn't hold up (it will), I propose we all move towards this new theory of enlightenment and all praise me... You don't want to make the jealous, vindictive, and loving computer mad at you now do you?

The countdown to scribblenauts

Quite possibly the most anticipated game for the Nintendo DS handheld gaming platform is almost here... Only 10 days left until launch! The waiting is killing me!

For the uninitiated, Scribblenauts puts the player through a gauntlet of puzzles and challenges them to come up with creative ways to solve those puzzles. The breakthrough for this game however, is that it lets you use just about anything you can think up to solve the puzzle. From Medusa to a Spleen, if you think it will help you in your quest, you can summon it up! WAY AWESOME! At last check well over 40,000 objects had been created for the game.

Here's a video of the game from E3, depicting an epic battle... Personally I think the results are a little wrong... but there have many months to fix these little bugs since E3.

The Vatican Gets Penn'd

Penn & Teller are at it again, the christian right is all upset and up in arms about the duo's hit show on the Showtime network.

Being a huge fan of the show, I of course watched it. I must say that it did seem like they went a little easy on the poor catholics. They are usually far more insulting, rude, and brash... but I think they got the point across very well.

The Vatican is BULLSHIT

I couldn't have said it better myself.

I did notice that this seemed to be the only episode this season that did not feature naked breasts. Like any man, I love massive mammaries, but the gratuitous nudity was starting to get a little silly, and I feel it takes away some of the credibility of their message. When trying to convince my mother and soon-to-be wife about the sillyness of organized religion and Astrology, I'd like to not have to expose them to naked women, just for the sake of having naked women on.

True to form, the catholic church has once again one upped themselves and have issued a prayer that must be said before sexual intercourse can commence with your spouse. It is as follows:


Father, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts. Place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes.

Open our hearts to you, to each other and to the goodness of your will. Cover our poverty in the richness of your mercy and forgiveness. Clothe us in true dignity and take to yourself our shared aspirations, for your glory, forever and ever. Mary, our mother, intercede for us. Amen.



Mmmmm... boy am I in the mood...

Oh, and just for fun... apparently this cardinal's angel took a lunch break and forgot to tell him what a microphone is used for...

I'm becoming a euro-american

Thanks to the somewhat reliable "suggestions" feature of the Netflix service, I was turned on to a cut little BBC show called "The IT Crowd". The first two seasons are available for instant viewing on Netflix, and the third season is available through "Less than legal means"... I got through both seasons and my ribs still hurt.

The series follows three main characters who work in the IT department for a major corporation... however it mostly revolves around the characters getting into hilarious situations, ala Seinfeld.

Please, do yourselves a favor and go check it out RIGHT NOW!

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I've also imported the first and I predict only next-gen Cricket game ever to come out. Codemasters "Ashes Cricket 2009" and I have been enjoying myself gleefully. I'm starting to think I'm the only home grown American that understands and enjoys this sport at all. So far I am undefeated in online matches and can best the AI opponents on normal difficulty every time.

If you are at all interested in the sport of Cricket, and you should be, it's wayyyy better than soccer, you would be doing yourself a service to import and play this game. Most of our eastern brethren seem to have mixed reviews about the game, saying the graphics are poor and the player likenesses are off... but how would I know! I'm just a stupid Billy Yank and the flashy pictures and funny words like Wicket and Leg Spin Bowler make me chuckle.

But I'll tell you what, when a fielder dive catches the ball just before the boundary and throws the ball in mid air to the bowler for a 3rd umpire "watch this replay 100 times" close call run-out in your favor, even the biggest cowboy yankee in the US of A would have to jump out of his seat in excitement.

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... and Australia wins by 5 wickets, more to come after a spot of tea.

We never went to the moon!

Everyone knows the moon landings were an elaborate hoax, perpetrated by the United States government to fool it's people and the Soviet Union into believing we were the first country to ever set foot on the moon.

Flags waving in the wind, prop indicators on rocks, video in slow motion, reflections and shadows that cannot exist... phew...

Well, NASA is at it again, the so called LRO or Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, took some amazing photos of the apollo landing sites, and by far my most favorite is this one:

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Turns out the early 1980's as telescope technology started getting better NASA decided it really needed to get some evidence up to the moon before it was proven once and for all the apollo missions never took place. They secretly launched the top secret "Moon Raker" aboard a shuttle and sent it to the moon to fake the footsteps you see in the image above.

Here is an image of Apollo 17 actor Jack Schmitt testing the rake on the soundstage before it's launch a few years later.

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Interestingly, you can see that they managed to add stars to the set by the time they filmed the Apollo 17 hoax.

In all seriousness, these images are amazing, and I can't wait until the Ares missions begin and we start going back there. We have HD cameras now! The sets are going to have to be far more detailed... I hope NASA is up for it!

Wheatgrass juice is scary

So I'm about to take a long car ride today and I'm feeling a bit sleepy... It's too hot for coffee and I think I'm numb to the effects of caffeine these days anyway. So I decide to take a detour to the local Jamba Juice.

I usually shy away from these places as the clientele are not my type of people. As my girlfriend puts it; "They're all skinny, and happy, and healthy, and have perfect skin". I like to drum it down to the typical juice goer is not as fat as me.

But the Aloha Pineapple is delicious and cold, and I decide to walk in and order one. This faces me with another one of my nemesis's... The ole' bushel of wheatgrass juice sitting behind the counter. I know they are going to offer it to me. I don't want it. It's grass for crying out loud. My dog eats grass and I yell at him for it... I wouldn't want to be hypocritical.

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Gross, why would I want to eat this stuff? Well, perhaps the claims are why so many people are into drinking this. They include:

  • Improving the digestive system
  • Prevents diabetes and heart disease
  • Cures constipation
  • Detoxifies heavy metals from bloodstream
  • Promote general well being
  • Fortified with vitamins your body needs

    Let's take a look at these one by one...

    What is wheatgrass?

    Turns out wheatgrass is exactly what it sounds like. It is a very young form of the common wheat plant. Originally thought to be worthless until maturity, apparently it has magical healing powers as a young plant.

    Improves the digestive system and colon health

    This has never been scientifically tested, or verified... but in general anything that helps you... um... go number 2 with ease is generally considered to be a healthy digestive food. However fiber has these characteristics as well, and is widely available in many forms. From tasteless food additives, to breakfast cereals. What is in wheatgrass juice that gives it the same properties as fiber I wonder?

    I found these nutritional facts about the 1.1 Oz Jamba Juice wheatgrass shot. Take a look:

    nutri.png


    Nothing in there really. Certainly no appreciable fiber. I'm going to hazard a guess that this stuff is almost entirely undigestible and therefore comes right back out in a hurry. But I have no basis for that.

    Prevents diabetes and heart disease

    Neither of these are scientifically verified either... Which is scary. I do like that it's qualified as "Prevents" not "Treats". If you have either of these diseases you might be out of luck already.

    Cures constipation

    This I believe... however a few slices of pepperoni pizza will do the trick for me as well. I wonder what this stuff does to you if you aren't constipated?

    Detoxifies heavy metals from the bloodstream

    Also not verifiable... and very unlikely... Unless it relates to the massive diarrhea you are bound to get from drinking it?

    Promote general well being

    This is subjective, and probably not testable scientifically. If you believe the grass makes you a better person, drink up!

    Fortified with vitamins

    Some places don't even claim this anymore... It has become common knowledge that the juice contains a modest amount of Vitamin C, and a large amount of Iron. Other vitamins are not present.

    Why do they offer it if the health effects are marginal?

    Money... most likely... People believe it is really healthy stuff... After all, we are told it is. It tastes bad, it looks worse, but people will spend $3 to $5 for a tiny shot of the stuff. Shoot, I may start selling it to my neighbors for extra pizza money.

    Final verdict

    The health benefits of wheatgrass juice are slight at best. Many other foods have far more health benefits, and are cheaper. I seriously doubt there are any real negative effects from the stuff, so if you enjoy it you might as well keep spending money on it. As for me? I think I'll take the advice I give my dog, and avoid grass for the foreseeable future.

  • Cremation or Bury? The choice just got harder.

    It’s always been my wish to be cremated and blasted into space… But now I’m wondering if I should reconsider staying earthside and resting for eternity as an honored member of the United Federation of Planets.

    A company named Eternal Image is releasing a Star Trek urn and Casket for the uber nerds like myself.  Price TBD.

    startrek-casket

    startrek-urn

    Too bad there’s no rank insignia on either… We all know I’m going to die a famous star ship captain.