Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Wonder of Nature

I saw a billboard recently that said "Explore nature, there are surprises everywhere". Pictured, it has kids in a forest, with Shrek. Personally, I think the presence of Shrek does a disservice to the message.

The reason is that Shrek isn't in nature. But things much more wonderful and amazing are. Nature has the Grand Canyon. Nature has Mount Everest. Nature has Angel Falls and Yellowstone and the Redwood forest.

There are trees literally thousands of years old. There are fungal colonies that cover miles of land. There are organisms that can survive boiling temperatures, or extreme radioactivity. There are even animals that can survive being in space.

There's no fiction that can compare to the magic and fantasy of real life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Freedom From Religion

Recently, in Louisiana, an atheist student pointed out that a school performing a prayer at graduation isn't strictly legal. Of course, you can imagine how that went.

One religious defense is that the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I say that not only is that not true, it's not possible to have freedom of religion without freedom from religion. 

Here's a quick thought experiment. You want to go to the BMV and renew your driver's license. However, in order to do that, you first have to say a prayer to Zeus (or some other god you don't believe in). When you're not getting a license you can pray or not pray to whatever god(s) you like, but you can't get a license without saying a prayer to Zeus first. That doesn't sound very free does it?

I don't even know what true freedom of religion without freedom from religion would look like. You can go to whatever church you want as long as you also go to the state-endorsed church? You can follow whatever doctrine you believe in as long as you also follow the doctrine of the state religion?

Freedom of religion means live and let live. You can believe in whatever you believe in and I can believe in whatever I believe in. If we can force our beliefs on the other in any way, it's no longer free.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fuck Indiana

Indiana is going to be the first state to defund Planned  Parenthood. For this, fuck Indiana. I've never been so ashamed of my state. Yeah, Indiana is a conservative state, but this is just bloody stupid. This not only fails to achieve any benefit, but is actively detrimental, both economically and socially.

The intent of this bill is presumably to decrease abortions. Of course, abortions by Planned Parenthood aren't funded by the government. So the whole thing seems kind pointless to start with. But worse than that is that this will actually increase abortions. One of the things that PP does is provide access to contraception and information about avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Removing those things isn't going to make people stop having sex, it's just going to have them have less safe sex, which will result in more unwanted pregnancies. And if someone doesn't want to carry a pregnancy to term, they'll be willing to go further out of their way to get an abortion, so the lack of PP won't make a big difference.

Ok, so this bill will actively do the opposite of its intention. Great. What other stupidity will result from this?

This will eliminate jobs. PP employs people. With reduced funds, it won't be able to employ as many, so people will be laid off, increasing unemployment.

This will prevent access to medical services that people need. PP provides all sorts of wonderful medical services like pap smears, testing for and treating STDs, and cancer screenings. PP is the only place poor people can really get these services since there aren't enough OB/GYNs and clinics that accept Medicaid to handle it all.

And this in turn will increase medical costs since it's cheaper to treat things earlier than later. And most of that cost will be borne by the taxpayers.

Really, this is just sickening. Fuck Indiana.