Terrorist Attack at Glasgow Airport – Sat 30th Jun 07

There has been a terrorist attack at Glasgow airport.  The virus strikes again.

Apparently two Asian men drove a jeep into terminal one.  No one was killed fortunately.  This follows failed attempts yesterday to explode car bombs in the centre of London.

Incidents like this test my patience and ethics.  I am opposed to the death penalty, but if the two men would have burned to death instead without harming anyone, I wouldn’t care one bit.  When the world loses evil deluded fanatics, it gets that much better.

I don’t know what exactly the terrorists hoped to achieve, but I do know why they attempted it.  You can talk about politics and war, guerrilla tactics, freedom fighting, retaliation, making a statement, fighting in “the only way you can”, but we all know what it comes down to so let’s not pretend it’s anything else: religion.

Ultimately, it all comes down to religious intolerance and hatred, because one group of people think that their invisible friend in the sky with magic powers is real and the other groups’ invisible friend in the sky with magic powers isn’t.  This is like killing yourself and innocent people over an interpretation of Lord of the Rings.  (Except LoTR is much better written that any holy book.)

Anyone who targets innocent people is evil and a coward.  Anyone who performs evil acts to please a god worships an evil god.  The fact that these magical beings are pure fantasy just makes the violence and loss of life that much more tragic, and that much more stupid.

My Eight Random Facts

Son of a bitch!

I’ve been tagged, apparently, or whatever you crazy kids are calling it these days.

Here are the rules:

* We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.

* Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

* People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

* At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

* Don’t forget to leave them each a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Fine! (Perhaps this will get rid of all the e-mails I get from nymphomaniac young ladies with a fetish for schoolgirl outfits, asking to know more about me); here are my 8 random facts:

1. I despise insects. If there was one compelling argument against the existence of god, it would be the existence of insects. I’d say all insects can take a run and jump, but that’s not much of a threat since most of the bastards can fly. I’d say all insects can buzz off, but it doesn’t sound so effective for nature’s miniature vibrators. The only insect I like is the hoverfly. The hoverfly doesn’t buzz, doesn’t come into your house, and is basically inoffensive and minds its own business. Compare the hoverfly to the twat of all insects: the wasp. If the Genesis account was truly accurate, Satan wouldn’t have chosen the form of a snake, he’d have chosen a wasp: ugly, poisonous, and scary.

 

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Not harming anyone.

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Twat.

2. I hate R&B and hip-hop music. It’s monotonous, boring, talentless drivel for people who can’t sing properly, write music, or play an instrument. It appeals to the pretentious “tough crowd”, gangster wannabes, or teenage kids who think it’s trendy and hip. Whenever I go to a club that plays this sort of garbage I just see lots of white kids wishing they were black and jerking their heads and hands around like a robot with attention-deficit disorder. I can’t imagine anyone enjoying constant two-tone repetition to the sound of what can only be described as a cross between a chicken being slowly gutted and a car alarm going off in the background. Get an electronic keyboard, press the Demo button and release that as a chart single; seriously, it actually sounds better! If I was given the choice between being forced to listen to “hip-hop/rap etc” or being hit by an articulated lorry on the motorway…

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Plan A

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Plan B

3. Despite being a fan of Liverpool FC, the very first football match I ever watched was actually Manchester United vs Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final! Fortunately, no one will ever find out about this! The night Liverpool won the European Cup in May 2005 is arguable the single greatest night of my life: it was the perfect sporting final, and meant so much to Liverpool fans.

4. My favourite sitcoms of all time are SCRUBS, ‘Yes, Prime Minister’, FRIENDS, Spaced, and Family Guy. I’m a fan of some incarnations of Star Trek; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel; and Prison Break was fantastic. But in my opinion the best TV show of all time is 24.

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5. Although I hated school and wouldn’t want to relive it, everything that has happened since, mostly for the better, all the positive experiences I’ve had; the amazing friends I’ve met; my de-conversion…can all be traced back to the pool table we had in our 6th-form common room (seriously!), which quite literally changed my life! The realisation of how tiny events swing our future tangentially is very humbling.

6. My earliest memory is waking up in a cot in a hired cottage in the Lake District. My dad and older brother were either side of me. I remember waking up misty-eyed and looking forward through the house. I distinctly remember being self-aware for the first time!; I must have been 2 or 3 years old.

7. I own three computers! A gaming laptop, an iMac, and a Dell XPS desktop. I never planned to own 3 machines but it kinda worked out that way. Now I use the laptop for portability and travelling. I used the iMac exclusively for everything else until I realised I couldn’t play any games on it or run high-end software that isn’t Mac compatible. So now a corner of this room looks like a scene from Swordfish or 24! Certain people think this makes me geeky. Personally, I think it makes me look important! :)

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8. My favourite band is U2; many of their songs are in my top 20 of all time (such as With or Without You, One, Angel of Harlem). Also in there would be Pink Floyd with Comfortably Numb; Joshua Radin with Winter; Oasis with Whatever, REM with Find the River, and Tsar with The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die. (Good luck finding that last song unless you buy the album, but if you do find it you won’t regret it.)

 

I tag:

Pink Prozac

A Veritable Plethora

Speaking Freely

Deep Thoughts – the atheist blogroll

Friendly Atheist

More Fire

Blue Linchpin

Daylight Atheism

Posted in Humour, Me. 2 Comments »

My Evanescence

The reason I chose the name “evanescent” for my blog was not just because it sounds cool, but because I believe it’s a poetic metaphor for life.

All life is transient. If there’s one constant that is revealed from a study of the universe it’s that all forms of existence are ephemeral. It’s just a matter of time, and time is entirely relative:

Average lifecycles of existing things:

Anti-hydrogen particle: 1/10th second

Housefly: one month

Mouse: 2 years

Dog: 13-14 years

Goldfish: 20 years

Elephant: 70 years

Human: 70-80 years

Tortoise: 150-200 years

Methuselah Tree: 4800 years

The Earth: 4.6 billion years (to date)

The Sun: 14 billion years (total age)

From the smallest to the largest, from the briefest to the longest, everything that exists in the universe eventually dies.

And yet, the death of such colossuses like a star, often produce nebulae. Nebulae are enormous gas “nurseries” where new stars and solar systems form. The death of stars leads to the creation of new stars.

Without death, life would be impossible! The very first replicating molecules that had an advantage over non-replicating molecules, survived, and the others didn’t. Success and development could only be achieved through the filter of natural selection, made possibly by the termination of life. What enables life to evolve is the ability to survive and reproduce, and therefore pass on more-successful genes to its descendants. Without the pressure of death, there would be no competition. There would be stagnation. Life, if it even got going, would not be anything like what we see today. Gazelles get faster and faster and more agile; cheetahs get faster and faster to catch them. The large grazing animals become faster, tougher, and wary, so tigers and lions get stronger, faster, more cunning, in order to hunt them. Success begets success; change begets change.

The sheer brute fact that we can die, forces evolution to strive for better ways to survive. It forces humans especially, (as sapient creatures), to invent, create, and better themselves. The ruthless uncaring competitive living world produced bats and humans from the same life-form 85 million years ago.

The very thing that evolution has taught us to fear and resist most is the very reason we’re here: death. Mother Nature it seems, it not without a sense of irony.

Life is a cycle. Without death there could not be new life. Death is an inextricable part of existence. Everything that has ever existed has perished. Everything that does exist now will perish. One could say that this is nature’s way of clearing out the old and bringing in the new. But the fact that we will all die one day should make us never rest on our laurels. Do something with your life. Leave a legacy. Raise a family. Make a difference. Be the best you can be. Or, sit around and cry over what you cannot change, and die without a word and with a life of regrets.

The brute fact of death is often unpleasant to realise, but we’re adults. And wishing something wasn’t so doing make it false. It is no wonder humans have always invented comforting stories and myths of survival beyond death. But they are dreams to assuage frightened minds. Being a human and being an adult should be about growing up and facing the facts; seeing the world not as you’d like it to be, but as what it really is. Only then can you really go about making it a better place.

The evanescence of life is really the greatest gift the universe gave humans.

My Diagnosis – Mon 25th Jun 07

If I was an alien observer of this planet and the human race, I would shake my head and think “what the hell is wrong with these people?”

Except, as an inhabitant of earth, I know what at least one of the problems is.  You see, Earth is riddled with a disease.  An ugly festering cancerous debilitating parasitic virus that leaves a trail of oppression, ignorance, suffering, and death in its wake.  But this is a virus unlike any other; this is a virus of the mind.

This particular virus debilitates the sufferer into a blind delusion that what they believe has always been right, is constantly right, and will always be right.  It blocks out original thoughts and drowns the afflicted person in a mental quagmire of myth, contradiction, superstition, and just downright falsehoods.  It convinces anyone carrying the virus that any person who doesn’t agree with them is wrong, evil, and ultimately worthy of death.  In some cases the virus is so overpowering the victim experiences a unique symptom called “righteousness”.  This peculiar euphoric manifestation in some cases even causes the carrier to take action them self on behalf of the virus, up to and including killing non-carriers.

This vile infection is so ubiquitous it has even diversified so that in some parts of the world it produces different symptoms in people.  Oddly, this mental pathogen will not tolerate variance of any kind even amongst other carriers, so a strong aversion to change and total lack of tolerance are classic symptoms of infection.

This virus is also very efficient at not only propagating itself, but also defending itself.  It does the latter often proactively, by eradicating non-carriers and variant-carriers.  A look through the history books shows entire legions of carriers wiping out others who had a different form of the plague.  Another favourite ploy of the virus is to make its victims believe that they are being persecuted, regardless of the actual state of affairs, no matter how many fellow carriers there are, and with no regard to whether any event is hardship or not.  The mind bug even causes its carriers to force non-carriers to defer to them and compromise for them, using sympathy, lies, propaganda, goodwill of others, and especially the slimy sodden salivation of political-correctness. 

To prevent any sufferers from recovering, the virus has several unique counter-measures.  One is to surround the sufferer by fellow carriers so that leaving the group is unwelcome, frightening, and lonely.  Two, is to suppress free-thought, opinion, discussion, debate, controversy, or reform.  The virus causes its victims to despise variation, lest the victim recover from whichever belief the virus produces.  The virus cunningly avoids this potential problem by inducing a paralysing stagnation: the past is overlooked, and the future is to mirror the present; trapped in the status quo of ritual and tradition.  Anything that contradicts a belief is rejected, or twisted into an imaginary scenario to account for it.  Evidence is deemed unimportant.  Questions and analysis cause an observable discomfort in the mind of the victim.  Third, some beliefs infused by the virus are so potent that carriers will hurt and kill anyone who criticises what the virus has deemed right and holy.  The virus therefore must ruthlessly oppose everything that it doesn’t stand for: facts, tolerance, peace, freedom-of-speech, investigation, and progress.

The virus propagates itself through mediums such as tradition and indoctrination.  Some permutations of sufferers produce genuine symptoms like happiness and concern for your well-being.  They might even take the effort to seek you out to help you contract the virus.  But the virus’ favourite method of procreation is through sexuality; that is, any carriers feel a deep desire to pass the disease onto their offspring (or anyone who will listen), whether such people have the chance to accept or reject the virus of their own free will.  This allows the virus to exist for generation after generation; a most successful reproductive method indeed!

Finally, unlike most other viruses, this one entrenches itself so deeply in people they are convinced that there is nothing wrong with them!  They are even glad to have the virus, and make public displays of how joyful life is with it.  They might shout from the rooftops, preach on the streets, knock on your door, sings songs, build statues and altars, and even martyr themselves!  They even want you to have the virus too!  In fact, so fervently do they want you to share the pleasure of their infection, they might even decide that if you don’t want to have the bug too, your life just isn’t worth living.  They might even make this decision for you.

Now, not all belief-symptoms of the disease are as potent as others, and not everyone is as susceptible to the mental disarrangement that the illness produces.  But whilst the symptoms of the virus vary, (usually by locality and upbringing,) the virus itself is the same; like a rose by any other name.  This bug might even smell as sweet, but watch out for those nasty thorns.

There is a cure fortunately, but the virus has long since infected people to not want curing.  The cure only works on those who accept it; whose bodies haven’t built up enough of an immunity through years of infection.  The cure is the enemy of everything the virus stands for.  That is: unforced belief, tolerance, free-thought, discussion, inquiry, criticism, and perhaps most importantly: freedom of speech.

If you find yourself opposing any of these virtues, watch out!  The virus could already have you!

My Blessing Season This in Thee – Sun 24th Jun 07

I think it’s very important to be yourself.

We live in a fast-paced society where opinions fly by us, we are constantly told how to think and act, and the mass media has a huge affect on what people believe.

Fashion is ephemeral .  Coolness is transient.  Styles, gadgets, technology, and words, change constantly.  The politically-correct crowd stalk us like Big Brother.

There is enormous peer pressure to conform, or to do what is expected of us.

This is because humans have evolved as social creatures, and the ability to fit in and be assimilated by society is not only preferable, but in many ways necessary.  But it’s easy to go through the motions, and be a sheep.

Being aware of other people’s opinions is very important.  It’s also a very good idea to understand how people see you.  However this isn’t something that we’re generally very good at.  I think most people just act how they think they are and hope that it comes across.

Unfortunately, as I’ve recently written, how we perceive ourselves is not always how other people see us.  Who we really are as people only has any validity when we interact with others anyway, so no one can be an island.  If you were the last human on earth then honesty, confidence, etiquette, attraction, and sociability would be meaningless, so you cannot pretend these things aren’t important.  And you can’t pretend that other people’s opinions aren’t important.  They are.

The other extreme is to think “the hell with everyone, I’m me and you can like it or get lost!”  Well, if that is how you want to be then fine, but don’t expect to be very popular.  I am not saying that you should change to please people, but it’s simply common sense for instance to be more polite around certain people than others; to flirt around someone you like than someone you don’t; you make the effort to talk to people at times even when you don’t really want to; to bite your lip when you really want to snap someone’s head off; to think before you speak; to wait your turn in line, etc.  You aren’t “selling out” or being a different person, you are just showing different attitudes where necessary; you’re the same person.  People who say they have a “fuck it” attitude very rarely do in actuality.  People who are genuinely like this and say whatever they want, and do whatever they want, and whenever they want, with no regard to the feelings and well-being of others, very rarely succeed at anything, very rarely have friends, and very often end up in prison.

Other people serve as a benchmark for who we really are.  That’s important to remember.

On the other hand, you should try to know who are you.  Better yet, have an idea who you want to be; what kind of person would you like to be?  If you want to be an unpopular hermit then act that way, and you will probably get your wish.  There is anything right or wrong in this as you’re not hurting anyone, so you can be whatever person you want!  If you want to be a popular confident person then you should act that way.  Now the secret is to not change your vision of yourself to match other people’s: don’t be ashamed of your interests; don’t be afraid of having opinions and expressing them; don’t be afraid to go against the tide and question the status quo; don’t be swept along with the crowd; don’t be a sheep.  Know what you want, and know what you like.  Know what you agree with and believe, and stick to your principles.

People who are intent on being “in” with the latest everything and are determined to be like their peers are insecure.  Ironically, these people brand people who “think outside the box” and don’t always go along with the crowd as uncool.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  There is nothing “cooler” than being yourself and liking what you like.  If these likes are what everyone else likes, great.  If not, that’s ok too.  What makes something “ok” is not how many go along with it.

We all need other people.  But you are just an “other” in everyone else’s world.  This means that other people need you of course, but it also means that you’re not the star of your own show.  You’re just another person on the planet.

We’re dependant on each other.  Humans form complex interrelated networks of relationships.  Just as losing one plexus in your link would probably drastically affect your life, so too you are such a plexus in someone else’s life.  Humanity is a sphere of connections; there is no centre and there are no boundaries.  If one accepts this view, it’s easy to see that ultimately we’re all connected.

I’ll leave the closing words with some poet from a few centuries ago:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!”

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