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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Monday, February 26, 2007

An Inconvenient Oscar

An Inconvenient Truth won the Academy Award for best documentary last night. It was a wonderful moment for Al Gore, who made an impassioned speech for acting now to head off the worst effects of global climate change.

In the meantime, the sages at Uncommon Descent have continued their "global warming is a Darwinist conspiracy" wail, illustrated with some Thomas Kincaidesque crap that William Dembski thinks is art.

It should be called! (After all, that's all intelligent design is, looking at the works of others and saying, "I could have done that!" when in fact they couldn't have done it, or even thought about it, without first seeing it done first.)

Over at AtBC, I posted the news about Al Gore's film (and noticed a subsequent posting at UD--I have a little shadow) and asked this question: designed, or not?

Yeah, abstract expressionism. I don't the the ID folks are big fans of real art. Elitist conspiracy, you know.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re global warming: I first became interested in the phenomenon when the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant was abuilding in Kansas in the '70's and early '80's. Doomcriers and naysayers were bewailing its construction in letters to the editor of the Emporia Gazette. To balance the discussion, I came in on t'other side, defending nuclear generation of electricity. Although it does have radioactive waste, such production does not feed greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. According to the Inhaber report, published in the late '70's, nuclear power is safer than solar, wind, hydro, and coal generation.

It is my own opinion that coal, oil, and natural gas should be used as chemical stocks, not burned to produce energy.

It is sad to note that, just as the US may be wising up to the misuse of its coal and oil, India and China are planning the construction of coal-fired generators, to bring the "good life" to their billions. There semes to be an "Apres moi, le deluge" mentality here.

February 26, 2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Sheesh. That is grade a crap. I'd almost say comparing it with Kincaide is wrong, but Kincaide's is such a steaming pile...

February 26, 2007 9:40 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Anonymous, you're right about China and India, and I can't blame them for wanting energy, either.

I have misgivings about nuclear energy, but Europe employs it and I wish we could also use the radioactive waste somehow (although with those half-lives, I don't see how--not enough energy produced there despite the hazards). If only we could tame nuclear fusion.

Rev. Chimpy, I have wondered long and hard about why people like what they do. There seems to be (this is completely unscientific) a correlation between liking sappy music, sappy art, and sappy television shows, and subscribing to sappy creation/conspiracy stories. They are all two-dimensional. I don’t know if this has been studied (because of school I am into studies lately) but maybe there’s something there.

And I don’t get the painting of the guy in the Greek toga “mining” for diamonds. (Did he dig all around the diamond in the cave, and truck out all of the dirt (or coal?) just to form a pedestal to finally mine? Kind of a waste of energy, again, isn’t it?) What is the symbolism here and it’s relevance to ID? ;-)

February 26, 2007 11:03 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

And I hate to break this to people, but the ID gallery opening includes a "painting by Salvador Dali." Dali apparently didn't paint all of his own stuff.

Dali was more about "scene" (and being seen, especially at galas, with Gala) than surrrealistic scenery.

He's really not the ambassador for surrealism that Americans have made him out to be.

I haven't read this book yet, but I'm dying to.

February 26, 2007 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous is myself, Scotius the Heretic, aka Scott Garten, who shows up on AJ Milne's site from time to time. I forgot to sign my comment.

They were calling "Absent-minded professor" when I was fifteen.. Although I have held the title on a temporary basis on two occasions, I am not now a professor.

I notice a number of the commentors here signing on as "Reverend." That was another one of my nicknames when I was a teenager, since I contemplated entering the ministry at the time. But I chose the One True Faith, Mathematics, instead.

Misgivings about nuclear power- you and a whole load of other people. But the last major accident in the US was Three Mile Island in March, 1979. The horror of Chornobyl would not occur in America. Our reactors are much safer than what the Soviet gangsters of that time allowed to be built. "Damn the radioactivity!! Full speed ahead!!!" was their thinking.

TMI didn't kill no damn body, nohow!!!

Reactor wastes should be processed to recover the unused uranium and the plutonium produced by the reactions. The fission products can be encased in glass and sunk into salt domes, there to be harmless for millions of years.

February 26, 2007 11:38 AM  
Blogger Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

There seems to be (this is completely unscientific) a correlation between liking sappy music, sappy art, and sappy television shows, and subscribing to sappy creation/conspiracy stories

I completely see that correlation.

February 26, 2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There seems to be (this is completely unscientific) a correlation between liking sappy music, sappy art, and sappy television shows, and subscribing to sappy creation/conspiracy stories. They are all two-dimensional."

Where there is no depth, there is no depth, I suppose.

"Dali apparently didn't paint all of his own stuff."

How terribly fitting then.

February 26, 2007 4:05 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I completely see that correlation.

I'm so happy someone else sees that. For example, I can't stand Michael Landon. His Highway to Heaven series made me want to puke.

How terribly fitting then.

But don't ask who designed Dali's designs!

February 26, 2007 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fer cryin' in the beer!!!! Iff'n y'all don't like "Highway to Heaven," DON'T WATCH IT!!!!

Here I am, the Archskeptic, whose opinion it it is that all the angels in the Universe could fit on the head of a pin, because they ain't no steenkeeng angels to be placed nowhere nohow, and I liked "Highway." It was a neat little fantasy. Anyone who would take it seriously though, I would think a tad touched in the skull.

February 26, 2007 8:47 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Fer cryin' in the beer!!!! Iff'n y'all don't like "Highway to Heaven," DON'T WATCH IT!!!!

:-) Well, I had to watch it once, didn't I? Otherwise I wouldn't have a right to complain about it. (I'm a snob. I admit it. I like Pollack and Magritte fer cripes sake.)

Ironically, the episode I watched was all about "saving the earth"--the angel showing people what could happen in the future if they didn't recycle their milk cartons, turn off the running water while they brushed their teeth, etc. I mean, okay, I appreciated the sentiment, but nobody gave up their car! ;-)

February 26, 2007 10:44 PM  
Blogger Kevin Scott said...

Kristine, you know I love you, but people are not going to give up their cars. It's not human nature. We have to come up with effortless conservation--conservation that costs nothing more and flows effortlessly. Until that happens we are going backwards.

One goal I think needs to be addressed are technologies to build houses, cars and appliances where they naturally use less energy and specifically fossil fuels at a cost comparable to what we have currently. By leaving human nature out of the equation any conservation measures are doomed to failure.

I have heard the Concil on Foreign relations came up with a plan to raise the price of a gallon of gas to $6 in order to make oil so expensive that conservation becomes effortless for the average American. While I don't know the veracity of the story, it does make sense.

February 27, 2007 12:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While that looks good on paper, they're paying way more than that in England, Kevin, and they're still driving.

I'd really like to see solar powered cars, assuming they were built as environmentally friendly as they were powered.

Seems like car manufacturers are like IDiots...

They keep yammering about energy, but never stop and look up in the sky at that great big round thing that keeps pumping free energy right at us all the time.

February 27, 2007 2:19 AM  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

Unfortunately, there's nothing satisfying about the global climate change denyers getting their just desserts when it is too late, as this involves potential hardhsip for all of us.

February 27, 2007 6:57 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Kevin, the Twin Cities has poor mass transit and lots of highways, and people said that LRT would never work here.

It’s been an astonishing success. People who swore to me that they would never ride it now ride it regularly.

Our planet simply cannot support our cars. Cars don’t represent the future—they are 1900s technology, and getting rid of them does not mean going “backward” anymore than getting rid of slave plantations meant destroying “civilization.”

The future is not a linear continuation of the past.

Since I gave up my car I have been healthier, less stressed, and have more time to read, and ironically do more with my time than the stressed out, prematurely-aged people my age. I’m the only woman I know who isn’t on a diet.

Maybe you don’t think it’s human nature (didn’t they say the same about slavery? And maybe they’re right because there’s still slavery) but if we don’t do something, we won’t have any nature that can support humans.

February 27, 2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

And I agree with you, BeepBeep. We’re all riding this mass transit vehicle called the earth, and despite how I’ve lived my life I’m stuck with global warming along with the hummer owners. It affects all of us.

JanieBelle, I have a movie for you to see: Who Killed the Electric Car? It’s a scandal.

February 27, 2007 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notes from Scotius

I wouldn't care for a steady diet of "Highway to Heaven" myself. One hour, every now and then, is tolerable. Several years ago I visited my Sainted Mother on a Sunday; wound up going to Sunday school, the morning service, and the evening program. I OD'ed on 'ligion that day. The saccharine adoration of the mangod Jesus nauseates me!!!

The SM flirted with skepticism some years ago, reading Heinlein novels. From your perspective, and mine, she backslid.

Here is an item that may cause you to weep, wail, and gnash your teeth, maybe even blow chunks: I drive 20,000 miles a year.

At thirty miles to the gallon, that means I use six hundred sixty-six and two-thirds gallons of gasoline a year. Yipe!!! That's pert' nigh the Number of the Beast. But not quite; I'm not superstitious, not in that way.

Whaddya expect? My daddy was a truck driver and a mechanic. Try walking ten tons of apples from Atchison to Topeka. My brother Ed was an automotive engineer for Ford; Br'er Paul is an industrial engineer who competently can do much of his own work on his cars; and I can change a tire well enough.

Will I give up my Leetle Macheen, my Golden Girl, the '93 Ford Escort station wagon? The chances of that are those of a snowball dog chasing an asbestos cat through hell.

February 28, 2007 2:14 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I drive 20,000 miles a year.

Look, if I get a little self-righteous on the subject, I’m sorry and I don’t mean to be. It’s no one person’s fault that we are a society centered around cars, so there’s no one person to blame. It’s just that global warming scares me to death. People are forced to drive—not everyone can live as I do. And living as I do puts restrictions on me that I accept as my lot (had I became an astronomer, as I wanted to, I would hardly be walking up to the observatory every day, now would I?).

That’s why this isn’t a question of personal virtue, really. It’s about choices—being offered choices, like convenient mass transit, as well as personal choices. That’s why we need legislation and tax incentives, because yes, those were given to the automotive industry so that they could impose a car culture upon Americans. Americans think they choose to drive their cars, but largely, they don’t! They have to drive their cars, and so they’ve become used to this “choice.” Give people another choice, and they may be surprised to find themselves preferring mass transit. That’s what happened in Minneapolis with the LRT. All I’m saying.

And I wanted to be a trucker when I was very young.

From your perspective, and mine, she backslid.

No, no. She acted like a human being. Religion is a human creation and a human action. Since atheism is not a religion I don’t condemn people to hell or whatever (how could I do that?), or use words like “persecution,” “blackslid,” or whatever. This is a totally different paradigm.

Anyway, it’s not my job to go around approving here, disapproving there about people. I have a major beef with religion. But I can’t stand this assumption that it translates into a hatred of the believers. Holy crap, who goes around hating 75-80% of the world? (Well, probably Fred Phelps.)

I just don’t like to see people call themselves sinful, as opposed to have done something wrong.

I just don’t like to see people deny their origins and shun it as icky when I can’t understand that at all. Lucy was discovered when I was a teenager and she became my hero. When I first learned about Homo habilis, I wanted to meet one so bad it hurt. I see nothing beastly or primitive about “primitive man.” When you study other cultures, you find out that’s exactly what they are—cultures. Not an abyss.

I just don’t like to see people remain incurious about the world, whereas I have driven myself to meet people, actual believers, of just about every religion around today. Religion is a human action and I am interested in humans. I love the ancient Greek myths and I’m a total atheist about them, too!

This isn’t about looking down on people—shit, they do enough of that to themselves.

February 28, 2007 11:27 AM  

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