Thursday, March 20, 2008

The deadliest sin of them all: sloth

I'm working on an actual post about body modification, but I just had to post this picture in light of my "thou shall not...pollute?" post:
Thanks to my husband for finding the photo!

Friday, March 14, 2008

A little PSA

This is Chris Hansen, from Dateline NBC.

If for some reason you find yourself doing something insanely illegal and wrong, such as trying to have sex with 12 year olds or steal people's credit cards, and you see this man, DO NOT tell him how much you like that show on NBC or how you've seen Chris Hansen on TV doing something amazingly like what he's doing. Not only will your life be ruined by your public humiliation and/or jailtime, you will look like an absolute idiot on national television.
On a more serious note, over the past few weeks I've had nothing better to do at two in the morning than watch this man's shows. I've also read a few news artilces, and what I'm wondering is this: how legal is this show, exactly? Who are these people that they can set up stings? I've seen these shows, and it's not like they're monitoring chatrooms for stuff that's already happening, they bait these people, when the targets say maybe they shouldn't come over because it's a bad idea, the decoy begs them to come over anyways.
They also do an identity theft show, which I'm amazed they got away with. They uncover this ring of people who steal credit cards, dupe single people into shipping the goods to Africa, then sell said stolen goods. Do they go to the police? Hell no. They set up their own electronics site, ship goods (without charging the stolen cards) to places, and travel to Africa and then to Switzerland to meet with someone involved in the ring, saying they wanted to invest in the operation. At no point were the American authorities contacted. This can't be legal. How far are we willing to go for good tv?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thou shalt not pollute?

Somehow a movie called "14urteen" doesn't have the same ring to it. As of this week, there are seven new ways to put you soul in a state of mortal sin, because 12-13 commandments and the original seven deadly sins apparently just doesn't cover it any more. Here are the old deadly sins:

  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Gluttony
  • Lust
  • Anger
  • Greed
  • Sloth

And here are the new ones, which look suspiciously like re-hashed old ones:

  • Environmental pollution (poss. sloth)
  • Genetic manipulation
  • Accumulating excessive wealth (greed)
  • Inflicting poverty (greed)
  • Drug trafficking and consumption (greed/gluttony)
  • Morally debatable experiments
  • Violation of fundamental rights of human nature (love thy neighbor, thou shalt not kill, etc.)

Maybe it's just me, but has the human race come this far that we need our sins spelled out that specifically? Did anybody really think mass genocide was okay until just now? More importantly, are things like pollution mortal sins or just a really bad idea? As human beings, we can not help but pollute the environment in at least a little way. Am I now going to hell because I don't drive a hybrid? Maybe it's not that extreme, but I think I kind of have a point.

I think as a society, we have become too used to trying to find loopholes. "Well, Jesus didn't specifically say I shouldn't shoot heroin or destroy the planet, so I don't need to go to confession". What we need to do is use a little common sense and have a little bit bigger conscience and maybe in fifty years we won't have a book of things that will send us to hell.

< / soapbox>

Monday, March 10, 2008

Your 15 minutes

A lot of the controversy surrounding different topics is based on what people view as scientific evidence. For example, the age of the earth. Most scientists come up with an estimate of billions upon billions of years, due to carbon dating, fossil records, etc. But others place it at 6000(?) years old due to the bible's statements.

I have some problems with this. I'm all for using the bible as the basis for spiritual beliefs. Being against killing because the bible says it's wrong, I can see that; morality is subjective, whether people see that or not. But using the bible as scientific proof? That's kind of like using the word you're defining in a definition. The Bible is not inherently true just because the bible says it's inherently true. That's like me writing the Gospel of Dave the Bartender on a cocktail napkin and using it to disprove quantum theory just because the napkin says the napkin's true.

But enough blasphemy. Who's to say carbon dating's more true? Here's an idea. Everything as you know it, all the material things, all our memories, everything, was created 15 minutes ago. 30 minutes ago? That was another memory put in our heads 15 minutes ago just as 1865 and marmosets were. You can't prove that idea's not true.

And I must apologize, I seem to have lost my point. Just things to think about. I think what I'm trying to say is you can't be too critical of other people's ideas because your ideas are probably just as fallible as anyone else's. Maybe.


Attack of the fish babies!

Recently I read a book called Spook by Mary Roach. It covers a wide range of topics about the afterlife from reincarnation to old-school seances and the author's personal journey to see if any of these things are true. Here's a couple of points I thought were interesting:

When does the soul enter the body? This is a really important question in the abortion debate; if a fetus has a soul, it's a lot more difficult to come to terms with killing it. But if it's just little more than a tumor, no biggie. The authour cites a Catholic priest named Norman Ford who says that a fetus doesn't have a soul until about 2 weeks after conception, after the formation of twins is impossible. Kind of makes sense, but does that mean the dude's okay with abortion before 2 weeks? If you accept that theory, do you?

Point two: in ancient times, the soul was seen as a flowing bathouse model, the soul and consciousness flowing like water in the form of spiritus. Later on, Descartes had a similar model but based on then-modern anatomical advances of the day. In the sixties, the mind was seen like a tape recorder, and now, the mind is seen as a computer, that can multi-task and "run out of disk space." In each of these eras, these theories were as true as each theory after it. As the author says, "I've often wondered whether the inventors of these machines created them in their own image of how their minds worked or if they related the machine to the mind after the machines were created".


P.S.-If anyone's seen an ultrasound of an early fetus, they really look like alien fish babies, and not baby humans. They might have a soul then and might not, but they still look really weird.

I christen blog!

Welcome to a Whaleful of Petunias! I figured I'd start off the festivities with an explanation of the title. Here's a quote from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

"Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet. And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more. This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it. Ah ... ! What's happening? it thought. Er, excuse me, who am I? Hello? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I? Calm down, get a grip now ... oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It's a sort of ... yawning, tingling sensation in my ... my ... well I suppose I'd better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let's call it my stomach. Good. Ooooh, it's getting quite strong. And hey, what's about this whistling roaring sound going past what I'm suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that ... wind! Is that a good name? It'll do ... perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I've found out what it's for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What's this thing? This ... let's call it a tail - yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can't I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn't seem to achieve very much but I'll probably find out what it's for later on. Now - have I built up any coherent picture of things yet? No. Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I'm quite dizzy with anticipation ... Or is it the wind? There really is a lot of that now isn't it? And wow! Hey! What's this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ... ow ... ound ... round ... ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me? And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence. Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now. " -Douglas Adams/The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Long quote I know, but it sums up this blog. The universe is random and all of us try to put our own spin it, trying to make sense of it all. So I'm going to put down some ideas, some I agree with, some maybe not, and I'd like to see what everyone else thinks. Just try to be nice and open-minded, and I'll try to do the same.