Wednesday, 24 October 2012

stress and insomnia

things that help against stress:
    difficult bc to find the time, but i work out about every other day
    helps only a little while, can't do it too often
    illegal, can't work while high, danger for developing psychosis
    looks stupid, tastes terrible, possibility for dependency, effect diminishes over time (you need to increase dose more and more)
    difficult bc to find the time, helps only a little while, i.e. while you're meditating
"fix" what is making you stressed
     takes time
talk to a pyschologist (related to "fix" entry)
    expensive, takes time, long term, difficult to find the time
work/get your mind on something else
    don't always have the opportunity
    don't always have the opportunity
    don't always have the opportunity
anti-depressant medication (e.g. cipralex)
    makes me tired

things that help for sleep:
    helps only a little bit, doesn't help if i wake up again, can't do it too often
    illegal, danger for developing psychosis
    2 large pills usually works for me, doesn't help if i wake up again (but then i rarely do bc i seem to sleep harder when using melatonin)
sleep medicine
    if you can get your doctor to prescribe it (mine won't)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

1973 lufthansa hijacking - Dieter Uchtdorf, at most, flew a plane back to HQ after the hijackers abandoned it--not newsworthy

In an instant, the president of Lufthansa ordered into the air his chief pilot for the 737 fleet. Thirty-three-year-old Dieter F. Uchtdorf was to take a small group of emergency personnel and follow the hijacked plane wherever the guerrillas took it. In every setting possible he was to negotiate for the release of the plane, the pilots, and the hostages. Then, when all of this had been accomplished, he was to fly the hijacked 737 back to headquarters in Frankfurt.

With fortunately no more bloodshed, this mission, like so many others he had been on personally and professionally, was successfully accomplished.

This text doesn't mean Uchtdorf did a damn thing. It is entirely vague. Holland claims that Uchtdorf was scheduled to follow the plane, and if possible, negotiate for the release of the pilots/hostages. Pilots aren't negotiators, they're pilots. Holland doesn't explicitly say Uchtdorf even did any of these things, just that Uchtdorf's mission "was a success".

typical, lds, out-of-context, faith-promoting bullshit story. but i'd love to hear it from the horse's mouth--interesting that Holland tells it and not Uchtdorf, don't you think?

it's also a typical "build the reputation of the person you want your believers to believe in" tactic--establish his credibility. this story by holland was published only a couple of months after uchtdorf was called as an apostle (october 2004 > march 2005).

there's no mention of this event on uchtdorf's wikipedia page either:

"The commandeered jet next headed for Kuwait, where Kuwaiti authorities refused to allow it to land. Captain Kroese was ordered by the terrorists to land anyway on a secondary runway. An hour of negotiations between the Palestinian gunmen and the Kuwaiti authorities ended with the release of all twelve remaining hostages in exchange for "free passage" to an unknown destination for the hijackers."

doesn't seem that Uch did any negotiating. what was his success then, flying back the hijacked plane after the terrorists left? good job ;) how faith-promoting.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Green Party and Libertarian Party are against the Republican/Democrat NDAA legislation

"The indefinite detention of amercans without trial"
Is this what the "democracy" of America wants? "Democratic" President Obama is fighting to keep this Republican-born legislation legal:

Republicans and Democrats will fight to keep the NDAA alive. Presidential candidates Jill Stein (Green Party) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian) want to repeal both the NDAA and the Patriot Act.

Jill Stein on the NDAA and the Patriot Act:

Gary Johnson on the NDAA and the Patriot Act:

on facebook:

hymns: covert indoctrination

emotional music and verbal repetition of a message in a group setting.
what does this sound like?

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Inquiry into Women's Way's Charlotte Ramya Norell and her professional and academic qualifications

Charlotte Norell writes about herself on her Lifecoaching and Personal Development webpage:
Charlotte is a Certified Physiotherapist and Inner Management Coach. As well as being extensively trained in psychotherapy, spirituality, meditation, sexuality, tantra, relationship counseling, co-dependency therapy, healing chock&trauma, body- and dancetherapy.
(emphasis added by me)

Where did she get her certification? I find it odd that she doesn't mention this, and if she has formal education, that she doesn't mention her degree. It leads one to believe that she doesn't have formal education, and that she has simply worked as an assistant to a real physical therapist, and then taken a certification exam. It implies that she does not have a Bachelor's, Masters or Doctorate degree in physical therapy.

How does being certified in physical therapy, in any way, qualify her to be giving people intimate, personal advice about their life, and charging fees equal to or greater than professionally trained psychologists?

If you google "Inner Management Coach" you'll get only 52 results, where most of them mention Charlotte Norell. Inner Management Coach seems to be something she has invented herself. It is not a formal or recognized education.

What does extensively trained mean? Where and how much training? What kind of psychotherapy has she been extensively trained in? There's a long list of different kinds of psychotherapies.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

confronting your own mormon faith

a comment from some guy on stevebloor's blog:
It surely is entirely missing the point to suggest the student, (in this case Steve Bloor), is at fault for not paying attention, when the more concerning issue is that the instructor, (“The Church”), has failed to teach the subject matter thoroughly. I cannot recall having read about JS’s eleven polyandrous marriages in any church sponsored publication over the last 40 years, nor anything about his well attested method of procuring plural wives, some as young as 14, by claiming death threats issued by angels with drawn swords, or by promises of unconditional exaltation for whole families. Cherry picking for publication a few instances of JS’s polygamous marriages of which Emma may actually have been aware, and placing them in what amounts to small print, as far as present-day latter-day saints are concerned, hardly justifies claims of openness and honesty, and, may I say, it seems somewhat disingenuous to pretend that it does. Likewise, I have not seen the church producing any explanation which approaches credibility concerning the catastrophic demise of the Book of Abraham, which has been part of LDS canon since the 1880s. A straw poll of sacrament attendees in the UK would I suspect reveal gross ignorance about that particularly vital subject. Is it that they too have not been paying attention, or is it that once more the instructor has defaulted on his moral responsibility to make available the facts? Surely, when the man who is proclaimed to be the prophet of the restoration, translates a regular Egyptian glyph which we now know means “water” as “It was made after the form of a bedstead, such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, Korash, and also a god like unto that of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos”, we as latter-day saints really have a serious problem to address. And surely when a book which Joseph Smith assured the world in God’s name was written by Abraham himself, turns out to be a standard Egyptian pagan funerary text post-dating Abraham by eighteen centuries, and doesn’t even mention Abraham, its claimed author, it becomes morally incumbent upon the instructor to relay that information fully in class time to the students, so that they may give that information their prayerful consideration. Or do you disagree, Peter Bleakley? Who is it in the end who needs to be bolstered by lies and cover-ups in your view: the Lord, or a church which claims through Joseph Smith to be the Lord’s?

Monday, 30 July 2012

sean worle on mormon apologetics about the book of abraham

from today on the yahoo exmormon maillist:

> Someone please tell me if Mr. Blowhard has a leg to stand on --
> either the text has NOTHING to do with Abraham, or today's
> scholars are wrong about what's on the scrolls.  
This line of argument is nothing new. In fact, this was Hugh Nibley's
favorite tactic, and he engaged it back in the '60s almost immediately after
the papyri were translated and found to not match.
Essentially, the tactic is this: the text of the Book of Abraham does not
match up with the translated text of the Joseph Smith papyri, so they elect
not to talk about that anymore, since it summarily disproves the Book of
Abraham. Instead, they dig through thousands of sources from all over the
Middle East, regardless of time period, and look for parallels between the
stuff they find and things mentioned in the Book of Abraham.

There's an ancient Assyrian place name similar to a place name in the Book
of Abraham. We found a Jewish text from the 2nd century AD that mentions
that Abraham talked about stars. Here's an old Islamic tradition that says
Abraham escaped being sacrificed by an evil priest. There's an Egyptian
myth associating the deified Pharaoh with a crocodile. We've got an early
Christian tradition that god organized the universe from existing matter.
Doesn't that all sound impressive? Maybe if we throw enough of these things
at you, you'll forget that we've actually translated the text, and it
doesn't match up. We won't even bring that up anymore. We also hope that
you don't notice we're pulling references from vastly different traditions,
cultures, and time periods, and smashing them all together as though they
were a single body of evidence. If we do it fast enough, maybe you'll get
dizzy and give up.

Essentially what they are doing here is changing the question. The original
question was "Did Joseph Smith accurately translate the papyri into the Book
of Abraham?" The way you answer that question is to compare Joseph's
translation with the translations of scholars who know how to read Egyptian
hieroglyphics. The answer, of course, ends up being very simple for anyone
to understand: "No, this is not even remotely an accurate translation of the
text." Because that is such an unassailable conclusion, apologists are
forced to change the question (while trying to convince you it's the same
question, of course). The new question they create is "Why can we find all
these parallels between the Book of Abraham and history?" This is the ideal
question for them, because unlike the previous question, the real answer to
this question is much more complicated, because each claimed parallel must
be answered individually. They, on the other hand, can offer a simple
answer: "Joseph Smith must have had special inspiration when writing the
Book of Abraham."


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

"exmormons aren't credible sources of info about the mormon church"

a thought i had today, answering a claim by what seemed to be a mormon:
"get sources other than people who turned away from the Mormon church or became antagonistic to it."

this is akin to claiming that people who leave the church are most likely untrustworthy and liars. most people i know who have left the church, left because they felt it was the church who was behaving dishonestly.

exmormons are generally critical of "facts" and sources--that's how many of them became exmormons.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

"god healed me, how does science explain it?"

some lady on facebook writes:
"God healed me before how does science explain it?"

this is what i came up with as possible answers, off the top of my head:
* coincidence
* your body healed itself
* you weren't really sick
* you were mis-diagnosed (you had a different illness than you thought you did)
* something else "healed you"
* you haven't been healed, your illness has just gone into remission

but first you'd have to get more information about the alleged illness and what was done to "heal" the person, plus other environmental factors during the time of getting ill up to and after the time the person allegedly was "healed".


Friday, 13 July 2012

are ex-mormons motivated to tell lies about the mormon church?

here's a nice response by Sue, President of the Exmormon Foundation:
"Some Exmormons have great anger towards the church at first because they feel they made many life decisions based on history and traditions they have found to be false.  Some do write about the church, but the number is a miniscule percentage of the numbers who leave.  Former Mormons get angry also about fabrications that may be said or written about the church.  They would be the first to want accuracy in accounts about the church, and know that no one needs to write fabrications to hurt the church.  The truth in people's stories and in documented history about the church itself is ample evidence of problems with the church and it's history."
I completely agree. If you simply read the mormon church's history, you'll find plenty of problems, lies and contradictions to serve as evidence that its claims are false. If you've grown up in the church, you'll also find loads of scandalous information that you were never taught in church. There is simply no need to make up lies about the mormon church, just read their history.

history of the church:

journal of discourses:

here's a real-life example of exmormon "leadership" (Sue, President of the Exmormon Foundation) refuting anti-mormon commentary because it contains lies/fabrications:

Saturday, 16 June 2012

review of dan dennett's "how to tell if you're an atheist" talk

38:20 We're in a brand new age for religions. For millenia, religions did not have to worry about the flock acquiring lots of information about other religions or about their own religion. These religions evolved culturally in a world of easy-to-maintain ignorance.

"for god will not be...mocked?"

it's interesting to note how the mormon endowment threatens its members with serious/dangerous consequences for people who reveal its contents, "for god will not be mocked", but ive never heard of any evidence to support the notion that the mormon god is consistently and reliably "not letting himself be mocked".

"i'm ron...burgundy?"

Sunday, 20 May 2012

highlights from lawrence torcello's "the trouble with pseudoskepticism"

skeptical inquirer, vol. 36, no. 3 | may/june 2012

"science advances through efforts to disprove hypotheses, even when hope is held for their confirmation. this is described well by philosopher karl popper:
whenever we propose a solution to a problem, we ought to try as hard as we can to overthrow our solution, rather than defend it. Few of us, unfortunately, practice this precept
criticism will be fruitful only if we state our problem as clearly as we can and put our solution in a sufficiently definite form--a form in which it can be critically discussed.

this makes me think of the mormon doctrine (DC 132:18):
"my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God"

is it? or is it a house of non-testable, unwarranted claims?

"The efforts Popper describes are reflected in standard scientific practices, such as repeated and controlled experimentation, the publication of findings only after peer-reviewed critique, and the requirement that such findings be presented openly so that other researchers may attempt to replicate and independently confirm or reject them under the same rigorous constraints. Indeed, all of this is a necessary prerequisite for any findings to take on a meaningful level of scientific acceptance, let alone consensus. A scientific theory becomes accepted as such only once the laws observed, findings predicted, and facts organized under that proposed theory have been so rigorously tested and confirmed over time that it becomes highly implausible (if nevertheless logically possible) that the stated theory should ever be refuted. Any scientific theory as a whole will represent the accumulated and organized explanatory force of numerous repeatedly tested data points. Thus skeptical critique is necessarily and inextricably part and parcel of the scientific process."

this made me wonder, what is a scientific law then?
"A scientific law is a statement based on repeated experimental observation that describes some aspect of the world. A scientific law always applies under the same conditions, and implies that there is a causal relationship involving its elements
Laws differ from scientific theories in that they do not posit a mechanism or explanation of phenomena: they are merely distillations of the results of repeated observation"

back to the article:
"while scientists are busy attempting to disprove a favored hypothesis and guarding themselves against the ever-present danger of confirmation bias, pseudoscientists actively seek confirming evidence for what they have already deemed to be the case.
to call oneself a paranormal investigator (as opposed to an investigator of paranormal to already confess a belief that there is something paranormal to investigate; the pursuit itself begs the essential question"
"truzzi's concern was that skeptics not abandon reasonable agnosticism in favor of a dismissive cynicism. instead, truzzi would have us remain true to the spirit of scientific inquiry by proportioning our beliefs to the strength of evidence available. and when there is no supporting evidence available for a claim, truzzi would have us call that claim unwarranted, rather than disproven."
 "some types of claims, even if true, are beyond the scope of what can be scientifically supported"

"expand upon the concept of pseudoskepticism to include that well-known pseudointellectual performance that involves the rejection of assertions already firmly established through the rigorous scientific process. pseudoskepticism is a form of cynicism posturing as skepticism. it is fatuously premised on the assumption that doubt for doubt's sake is inherently rational--call this the 'cynic's fallacy'. such is obviously not the case when there is strong supporting evidence in favor of a given claim."
this made me think about people who claim things like "well even when X was unanimously accepted by scientists, it was later proven to be false" and wonder when the scientific method really was born, and is there a list of scientific theories supported by a scientific consensus that were later disproved?
yes, this is called superseded scientific theories.

"of course, this is not to argue that one cannot legitimately question scientific consensus; indeed, without constant testing and questioning, science would be in danger of stagnation. scientific inquiry flourishes in the context of open intellectual contest, as evidenced by its skeptical nature."

"pseudoskepticism, alternatively, can be understood in relation to three proppositions put forth by bertrand russell in 'on the value of skepticism':
there are matters about which those who have investigated them are agree; the dates of eclipses may serve as an illustration.
even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken.
nevertheless the opinion of experts, when it is unanimous, must be accepted by non-experts as more likely to be right than the opposite opinion. the scepticism that i advocate amounts only to this:
(1) that when the experts are agree, the opposite opinion cannot be held to be certain;
(2) that when they are not agree, no opinion can be regarded as certain by a non-expert; and
(3) that when they all hold that no sufficient grounds for a positive opinion exist, the ordinary man would do well to suspend his judgment."
seems rational =)

"russell goes on to argue that if these simple propositions were to be accepted, they would have positive, even revolutionary implications for human life. russell therewith suggests that his skeptical principles have certain moral and social implications."

"[not] every appeal to expertise ought to be considered a fallacious appeal to authority. this is not to say that experts cannot be wrong, but it is always more reasonable to appeal to an expert than a nonexpert when one lacks appropriate expertise. it stands to reason that the more experts agree on a particular topic, the more cause there is for nonexperts to defer to their consensus."

"skepticism is precisely what has established the overwhelming consensus among working climatologists for anthropogenic global warming. to deny the legitimacy of this consensus while claiming to be a skeptic would require an unjustified double standard regarding one's appreciation of the scientific process."

"to call such obdurate denialism 'skepticism' is a gross misnomer that undermines science as well as the potency of genuine skepticism"

"i maintain, with (richard cameron) wilson, that pseudoskepticism is most often a product of ideological motivation rather than of balanced inquiry."

"the burden is upon the researchers to demonstrate their alternative hypothesis within the standard parameters of the scientific process (i.e. empirical research, peer-review, repeated independent replication by other researchers, etc.)"

"a good place to begin learning about anthropogenic global warming is by turning to the intergovernmental panel on climate change
realclimate: climate science from climate scientists
skeptical science: getting skeptical about global warming (pseudo-)skepticism
national center for science education

Saturday, 12 May 2012

my comments on the LDSPublicAffairs' video "political neutrality"


it is fun to see how carefully the church PR people choose their words.

here's the transcript with my comments (what are yours?):
"the COJCOLDS is neutral when it comes to comes to party politics"

the keyword is "is", as in "right now". but has the church always been neutral? what about prop8, prop22, ERA, etc?

"simply put, its mission is to preach the gospel of jesus christ, not elect candidates"

this is a straw man/distraction. no one is saying that the *mission* is to elect candidates. however, this doesn't mean that the church doesn't try to influence its members to vote for mormon-doctrine-friendly candidates.

"so just what does political neutrality mean? let's take a closer look. political neutrality means that the church does not engage in party politics, endorse candidates or try to influence them"

notice how they only use the word "candidates". it should be "politicians". political neutrality covers more than just *candidates running for office*. does the church try to influence politicians already in office?

"also off limits: the use of church buildings for political events, political messages from the pulpit or using membership lists for fundraising and campaigning. that's without exception, whether they're mormon or not, it makes no difference."

maybe now, but has it always been like this?
(the last sentence i didn't quite understand what the narrarator was talking about.)

"does that mean that mormons don't vote? (partial laughter) hardly! latter-day saints are encouraged to get civically involved. like other citizens, mormons vote during elections, are active in the political process and some may even choose to run (a pavlov's-dog-esque musical triangle ring sound effect) for office. church leader m."

this is a straw man/distraction. seriously? did the church make this video in response to people wondering if mormon's vote? is the sound effect a psychological conditioning to get people to think of romney?

"russell ballard has said this to church members: 'be involved, but don't look to the church as to how to get involved. the civic duty of any latter-day saint, regardless of where they live, including any country they may live in is to be actively involved in the political process. that meaning that they study the issues, they determine what the needs are, as they see it, that they then use their freedom and their agency to vote according to their own conscience. it's very important that good people everywhere are involved in this process.'"

why are church leaders counselling members on civic duties? what does this have to do with their alleged mission, as stated in statement #2? "the civic duty of any latter-day to be actively involved" uses the language of a commandment: "is".

"what about speaking out about community and moral issues if they're not about party politics? of course that's ok. it's a long held right of all religions to have a place in the public square. like many of those faiths, the church may choose from time to time to join the discussion on moral issues that it believes could impact society."

what does "not about party politics" mean? gay marriage, technically, isn't about party politics, i.e. the subject of "party politics". it's about equal rights for homosexuals.

"so in a nutshell, political neutrality means that the church does not back candidates,"

"does not back candidates" doesn't mean they don't speak against candidates. again, there's the usage of "candidates" instead of politicians.

"but mormons as individuals are fully encouraged to participate in the political process, back the causes and candidates of their choice that inspires good government, and on election day, vote according to their conscience."

i.e. members can choose as long as their choices support what the church deems "good government". that the church even uses that phrase implies that they have a definition of "good government"

Friday, 11 May 2012

list of falsifiable, mormon claims

todo: make this list


* obeying the word of wisdom will give you marrow in your bones

list of psychological concepts relating to mormonism

todo: make this list


* conditioning
* brainwashing
* gaslighting

Thursday, 10 May 2012

female genital mutilation is a matter of changing *women's* way of thinking according to sudanese doctor

Sudanese surgeon Nahid Toubia—president of RAINBO (Research, Action and Information Network for the Bodily Integrity of Women) —told the BBC in 2002 that campaigning against FGM involved trying to change women's consciousness: "By allowing your genitals to be removed [it is perceived that] you are heightened to another level of pure motherhood—a motherhood not tainted by sexuality and that is why the woman gives it away to become the matron, respected by everyone. By taking on this practice, which is a woman's domain, it actually empowers them. It is much more difficult to convince the women to give it up, than to convince the men."[25][26] Boyle writes that the Masai of Tanzania will not call a woman "mother" when she has children if she is uncircumcised.[27]

if mothers decide to have their sons circumcised, shouldn't they also circumcise their own vaginal folds?

thanks to Kris Erickson for these comments on circumcision:
I hear the argument "well, it's cleaner" and it makes me cringe. Tell me ladies... how many folds do YOU have down there? Would it be cleaner if we chopped off any of your bits? No. So stop using poor parental hygiene as an excuse to lop things off of little boys. thank you.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

my comments on "Remarks by Bishop Keith B. McMullin to Evergreen International"

here are my comments on this speech given by the second counselor in the presiding bishopric in the mormon church, to evergreen international:
First, far less is known about the causes of same-gender attraction than is claimed to be known. Preliminary findings are touted as proven facts while retractions or contradicting evidence about the same issue receive little, if any, attention. The result is an abundance of untruth and distortions worthy of Isaiah’s warning:
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! . . . [Who] justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! . . . They have cast away the law of the Lord of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel”(Isaiah 5:20–21, 23, 24; see also 2 Nephi 15:18–24).
homosexuality/same-gender attraction is compared to evil and darkness.
yet the church admits that little is known about the causes of same-gender attraction.

what specifically is "untruth" in this case? please provide some examples. since little is known, how has the church been able to establish the untruth?

Second, the personal well-being of those struggling with same-gender attraction often declines with each so-called public victory for same-sex attraction. Increased public acceptance of same-sex behavior inevitably leads to a diminution of personal, righteous behavior. When sophistry prevails, the strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life is obscured. Hence the Savior’s warning: “Enter ye in at the strait gate; . . .Beware of false prophets, [who] come to you insheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:13, 15; see also 3 Nephi 14:13, 15).

it seems again that the church is claiming to know more than the little that is known.
here homosexuals claiming they are good, normal, nice people are really "ravening wolves", out to mortally destroy "the sheep".

For example, the cultural adaptations to same-gender marriage will, in time, make the prospect of eternal marriage and family more difficult to attain.
as in heterosexuals will find it harder to choose to marry heterosexually in a mormon temple because the option of gay marriage is available? is this also an endorsement of homosexuals marrying heterosexually?

Wide acceptance of same-sex attraction will inevitably foster greater deviance from God’s laws.
wide acceptance of same-sex attraction will inevitably foster greater understanding and love between parents and children and relatives and reduce youth suicides.

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9; see also verses 10–11).

nice display of arrogance.

duly appointed and authorized leaders in the Lord’s Church are called upon to counsel and assist those struggling with same-gender attraction. Unlike the world, what these local priesthood leaders do can have an everlasting effect for good on the precious souls seeking their help.
is the church claiming that their lay clergy can cure same-sex attraction? that they are more qualified to deal with complex psychological, emotional and biological issues than licensed healthcare professionals? it seems as if they are:
The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. (Boyd Packer)
does the church claim that businessman/"prophet" thomas monson understands human behavior better than e.g. phil zimbardo?

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have reaffirmed that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God
what about people "he created" with both sex organs--a penis and a vagina? or people without sex organs? or conjoined twins? or psychopaths? or mentally retarded? doesn't it seem logically possible that "god" "created" people as homosexuals too? or bisexuals? or asexuals?

Monday, 30 April 2012

~socialistic norway voted best place to live in the world by the UN

norway's government has many socialistic elements and has been rated as the best place to live in the world by the UN, 8 of 10 times between 2001 and 2010:

according to this data:

norway has ranked number one on the HDI, every year, since the late 1990's.

elements of socialism in the US government

depending on your definition of socialism, the following list could be considered socialistic elements in the usa:

* social security
* welfare / unemployment compensation
* bank bailouts
* public schools
* public libraries
* national parks
* FBI, CIA, NSA, and other security and intelligence apparatuses
* Interstate Highway System
* FAA & Air Traffic Control System
* FDIC, Federal Reserve System, SEC, and other economic regulatory protections
* FDA, EPA, and other consumer safety protections
* government subsidies, e.g. health care, medicine, farming

Saturday, 28 April 2012

islam criticism followed by "how many muslims do you know, personally?"

i've been asked on several occasions "how many muslims do you actually know?" after saying something critical about *islam*.

being asked how many muslims i know is actually irrelevant, confuses the issues and is actually an invitation to speak in generalizations about a group of people.

i can criticize islam because it is defined in text: the koran (and other islamic writings which some believe to be holy and some don't).

all muslims share at least a belief in the koran. you can't be a muslim and not believe that the koran is the holy word of allah.

i can also criticize individual muslims who do or say things publicly, e.g. Indian/Muslim Cleric Ashraf Mohamedy, on *Peace TV*, saying that "I would stress that every Muslim should be a terrorist. I repeat: Every Muslim should be a terrorist. A terrorist is a person who terrifies others, who terrorizes others."

even though he might be talking about "bad" people like rapists, robbers, etc, it is still a case of interpretation. what if he interprets bad (his words: "anti-social") as homosexual? or a woman who doesn't cover her head?

here's a more obvious example one may criticize:
"I am informing all brave Muslims of the world that the author of The Satanic Verses, a text written, edited, and published against Islam, the Prophet of Islam, and the Koran, along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents, are condemned to death. I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may be in the world to kill them without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth. And whoever is killed in this cause will be a martyr, God Willing."
--Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini, former leader of Iran

bottom line:
islam may be criticized, along with actions and quotes by individual muslims, without the need to personally know any muslims, because after all, it is impossible and wrong to criticize and generalize about a group of people, unless everyone in that group has made some public statement/action that can be documented and analyzed.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

mormon general conference talks mentioning "homosexuals", "homosexuality" or "homosexual"

i will compile this list based on results from this search engine:

(this is currently ongoing/unfinished)


1. "No True Worship without Chastity", Elder Mark E. Petersen, Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, Conference Report, April 1965, pp. 34-37,
There are moves in at least two states in America to ease up on laws regulating immoral behavior. Legislators are being asked to rule that adultery should no longer be considered a crime, that homosexuals and other deviates should be allowed to practice their depravities legally and without restriction, 
Petersen, later on in his talk, then issues this frightening quote:
And Paul still says of those who deviate from the path of virtue into some of the great perversions, ". . . they which commit such things are worthy of death" (Rom. 1:26-32).

and the equally absurd:
By modern revelation he tells us that sex sin is next to murder in the divine category of crime (see Alma 39:5).

2. "Wanted: Parents With Courage", Bishop Victor L. Brown, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, Conference Report, April 1970, pp. 31-33,

The chief psychotherapist at one of Washington's largest hospitals says, "A normal 12- or 13-year-old boy or girl exposed to pornographic literature could develop into a homosexual. You can take healthy boys or girls and by exposing them to abnormalities virtually crystallize and settle their habits for the rest of their lives."
Some are even saying, "What is wrong with becoming a homosexual?" In one church, a leader recently performed a marriage between two male homosexuals. As a matter of fact, some of the world news media made quite a story of it. And yet who is responsible for this moral decay? The children? Hardly. It is we adults, those of us who permit the sale of filth on our newsstands and also permit the broadcasting of it over airways.

i.e. homosexuals are unhealthy, abnormal. parents are responsible for their children's homosexuality. in one sense they are--genetically.

3. "The Coming Tests and Trials and Glory", Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1980,
we see evil and crime and carnality covering the earth. Liars and thieves and adulterers and homosexuals and murderers scarcely seek to hide their abominations from our view. Iniquity abounds. There is no peace on earth.
i have personally never seen homosexuals having sex, in person. where has mr. mcconkie been hanging out? i fail to see how homosexuals having sex in private "disturbs the peace".

4. "The Lord God of the Restoration", Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1980,
Crime, immorality, abortions, and homosexual abominations are fast becoming the norm of life among the wicked and ungodly.
i.e. homosexuals are an abomination, wicked and ungodly. i wonder why there are so many homosexual-mormon suicides? (see also the lds church, homosexuality and suicide: how do we prevent it? :
Utah leads the nation in suicides for men from 18-24 years old, and that an estimated 1/3 of those suicides are tied to homosexuality.

shortly after in his talk, mcconkie ironically makes the following claim:
The gospel is the message of peace and salvation for all men
apparently it isn't.



Thursday, 22 March 2012

examples of terror management theory usage in mormonism

this will be an ongoing post about the use of terror management theory in mormonism.

Terror Management Theory (TMT), in social psychology, states that human behavior is mostly motivated by the fear of mortality.
this is about motivating people and reinforcing doctrines by using fear of death (also punishment, pain, etc)

Like the refugees on The African Queen, we are fleeing evil and disaster. There are obstacles all around us

"The Coming Tests and Trials and Glory", Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1980
We see evil forces everywhere uniting to destroy the family, to ridicule morality and decency, to glorify all that is lewd and base. We see wars and plagues and pestilence. Nations rise and fall. Blood and carnage and death are everywhere. Gadianton robbers fill the judgment seats in many nations. An evil power seeks to overthrow the freedom of all nations and countries. Satan reigns in the hearts of men; it is the great day of his power. ...The way ahead is dark and dreary and dreadful. There will yet be martyrs; the doors in Carthage shall again enclose the innocent. We have not been promised that the trials and evils of the world will entirely pass us by.

* "The Lord God of the Restoration", Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 1980
Men in our time will never find peace, or safety, or salvation in the world. Wars and plagues and desolation shall continue to sweep the earth as with a flood. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

what kind of fallacy (if any) would this be...?

* if you don't speak|read|understand arabic, you can't claim to know the teachings of islam

Monday, 16 January 2012

determining "truth" with feelings and emotions

do you think feelings and emotions are an infallible way of determining truth? then maybe you havent heard of hypochondriasis:
"This debilitating condition is the result of an inaccurate perception of the body’s condition despite the absence of an actual medical condition"

Friday, 13 January 2012

feelings vs facts in the mormon church

i saw this on the exmormon yahoo mail list:
My former RS press whom I am very close to, came over today and demanded to know what is going on with me. We talked for awhile. She bore her "testimony". Later she facebooked me and said her heart is breaking and she wished she could give me her testimony because her feeling is that everything good she has is because of the church. This was my response. I thought you might like to read it.
The feeling that something is true cannot replace cold hard facts. When DNA evidence proves that the modern Indian is not a descendant of israelites all the good feelings or testimony in the world cannot make it true. When egyptologists translate the papyri and inform us that they are only funeral documents and not the Book of Abraham that Joseph smith claimed, all the good feeling in the world cannot make it so. So we have discovered that the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham are not accurate translations of ancient records and therefore cast doubt on the prophetic calling of Joseph smith.
well said.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

my views on relativism and sophism
Their philosophy contains criticism of religionlaw, and ethics. Though many sophists were apparently as religious as their contemporaries, some held atheistic or agnostic views (for example, Protagoras and Diagoras of Melos).
I also criticize religion, law and ethics and also morality. I am atheist.

Relativism is sometimes (though not always) interpreted as saying that all points of view are equally valid
i think it would depend on what the point of view was about, e.g. you dont value a car mechanic's point of view on a specific surgical procedure as much as you would a surgeon's.

Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration
if this were taken to mean that there is no such thing as truth or fact, then i would disagree. if it is restricted to views about non-testable, non-verifiable, non-scientific claims and personal preference (e.g. the "best" music artist) then i could agree with it.

Friday, 6 January 2012

the NDAA H. R.1540 signed by barack obama does not specifically exempt US citizens from indefinite military detention without trial

the whole problem is that the legislation is not written in "plain english", it's vague and is written in a way so that the administration/military can interpret it in any way that suits them best. section 1021 is the key issue. it's not long at all so read it for yourself and see how many different ways you could interpret those words.

page 265 of the pdf, section 1021.

so here's my attempt at plain english:
(a) military can detain anyone defined in section b
(b) people who can be detained:
1. A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attack
2. A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.

* "associated forces" (could mean anything they want it to)
* "hostilities" (could mean anything they want it to, e.g. even criticism? and note "or its coalition partners"
* "beligerent act" (could mean anything)
* "directly supported" (could mean anything)

 there is no clause that excludes americans from military detention without trial, otherwise it would have read "non-US citizen" instead of "a person". paragraph (e) pretends to appear like it exempts american citizens:

(e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed 
to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of 
United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, 
or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United 
all it says is that it doesnt affect existing law or authorities concerning the detention of american citizens or *anyone* (citizen or not) captured or arrested in the US.

section 1022 also pretends to appear to be an exemption of military detention for US citizens:
(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain 
a person in military custody under this section does not extend 
to citizens of the United State

but all it does is exempt US citizens from the *requirement* of military detention. it's not *required*, but it could still be *legal*.

update: i found this article about a US citizen, allegedly tied to al qaeda who was assassinated, along with his 16 year old son--without trial: