February 13th, 2008


Five rants for the price of one

1. Hey! THIS design isn't very intelligent! - I've discussed Intelligent Design before, but I might as well do it again. One of the main arguments for the idea is that, hey, the natural world is so amazing that it couldn't have come about by chance, right? These people seem to totally ignore all the not-so-well-designed parts of nature. Maybe if we posited a creator who was powerful but not perfect, we could say, "You did such a good job on the circulatory systems that we'll ignore all these vestigial parts!" For most (if not all) Creationists, though, this creator is supposed to be omnipotent, omniscient, and infallible. Once you put that in, there really isn't any excuse for the mistakes, unless you somehow come up with an idea as to how they're NOT mistakes (like, say, tonsils as a punishment for sin that developed after the Fall, or the appendix actually having a mystical purpose in processing prayers or something). It reminds me of one of my favorite bits from Terry Pratchett's Small Gods:

"People said there had to be a Supreme Being because otherwise how could the universe exist, eh?

"And of course there clearly had to be, said Koomi, a Supreme Being. But since the universe was a bit of a mess, it was obvious that the Supreme Being hadn't in fact made it. If he had made it he would, being Supreme, have made a much better job of it, with far better thought given, taking an example at random, to things like the design of the common nostril. Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker. You only had to look around to see that there was room for improvement practically everywhere.

"This suggested that the Universe had probably been put together in a bit of a rush by an underling while the Supreme Being wasn't looking, in the same way that Boy Scouts' Association minutes are done on office photocopiers all over the country."

2. Winners Don't Use (Prescription) Drugs - I respect Bill Maher's opinions on a lot of issues, but his rant in the most recent episode of Real Time about how all prescription drugs are essentially poison went a little too far. He apparently thinks antibiotics should only be used when a person is desperate, and that good health habits would make it so your immune system would never be that bad. He does have a point, but I think there are factors he's not considering. Plenty of people who eat well and exercise regularly still get sick pretty often, and vice versa. Incidentally, considering that he's a pothead who's opposed to prescription drugs, does that mean he's opposed to medical marijuana?

3. The American Communist Lawyers' Union - Of all the groups that the Obnoxious Right chooses to attack, why is the ACLU one of their biggest targets? Their argument always seems to be something along the lines of, "OMG, they defend child molesters!!!!!111" In that case, though, doesn't it seem like their beef shouldn't be with the ACLU, but with those uppity framers of Western law who decided we should all be innocent until proven guilty? I'm not a member of the ACLU, and I'll admit I haven't done that much research on the subject, but I would consider most of what I've heard about them to be good things.

4. Going Postal - I hear that stamp prices are going up again, which makes all the stamps I still own useless unless I buy more 2-cent ones to accompany them. I actually still have a fair number of 37-cent stamps. I guess what bothers me isn't so much that the prices keep going up, since it's not like I mail that much anyway (which is probably part of why keep raising the prices, really). It's more that the prices change so often that it's difficult to tell how much appropriate postage actually is.

5. Sucked Under! - What kind of business is it that gets annoyed about having to rescue people who get trapped under an escalator? Okay, this one is really real, but part of a dream I had the night before last. I was with bethje and some other people at a store, and Beth and another girl were sucked into a gap at the top of the escalator. Some other person and I tried to get them out, but we could only get a hold of the other girl's jacket. I went to talk to some employees, and they seemed totally unconcerned, despite the fact that another girl had been trapped under the same escalator earlier that day. (Apparently the escalator, like a dragon, had a preference for girls.) What followed was a typical dream occurrence for me, where I get into a shouting match with a worker at a public place. Usually it's over something stupid, but in this case I feel I was in the right. Later that night, I dreamed that I was trying to get into a certain part of a college campus that was locked off with a gate. There was a way around the gate, but when I tried to take it, there was a fence there. I woke up while unsuccessfully attempting to climb this fence.