Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Lying For Jesus [Part III – The Sneak-Attack Baptism]

Thursday September 10, 2009 3 comments

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

That’s Mark 16, verse 15 (KJV). It also happens to be the impetus behind Christians going out and knocking on doors at 9:00am on Sunday mornings. As bad as that is, I don’t have a problem with it. I think if they’re that compelled by an ancient book that can’t even maintain internal consistency, then bring it on.

What I’m not ok with is lying to gain converts. Deceiving children, no less. Lying to parents and the children in order to get a few more baptisms under your belt. I’m pretty sure Jesus doesn’t keep a scorecard, or a running tally on what church gets the highest number of baptisms or converts.

Last month (August 26, 2009) Breckinridge County High School (Kentucky) football coach Scott Mooney led a group of players from their school’s football team to see what he told the parents and children would be a “motivational speaker” and a steak dinner. What Mr. Mooney failed to mention to anyone was the fact that this “motivational speaker” was the pastor of his church, Ron Davis (Franklin Crossroads Baptist Church). And the “steak dinner” was, in fact, a mass baptism and the teammates were to accept Jesus Christ as their “Lord and Savior” as a way to, as coach Mooney said, “bring the team together.”

So coach Mooney used peer pressure to get all of those teammates baptized in his church. He lured them under a false premise of going to see a “motivational speaker.” Not only this, but he used a public school bus, with the expressed permission of superintendent of the district, Janet Meeks.

What seems to be at issue here is the fact that believers take Mark 16:15 and use it as an excuse to do whatever is in their power to force their religion on everyone they can, honestly or not, willfully or not. If you have to lie, cheat and deceive to get a few more converts, then all the better for the receiving church.

Thankfully, one of the teammates parents is considering legal action against the school district. A lawyer, Bill Sharp, from the ACLU was contacted and he said that…

The message conveyed to the students is there’s an official endorsement.

And also that…

There’s certainly a coercive element. He’s in a position of authority.

I think one of the biggest tragedies of all wasn’t even the fact that these kids were corralled into a big baptism fest. The biggest problem for me was the fact that when one of the kids was asked by his parents, after returning from the trip, what baptism actually means, he hadn’t a clue. This entire process was nothing more than a “getting saved” assembly line. Pump ’em through the system and get them into the fold as quickly as possible, before they realize what’s happened to them.

I think this is a big problem with the mentality of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. They’ve got this mindset that they have to get everyone saved as quickly as possible. They just need to get as many people  as possible to say a certain prayer as quickly as possible, regardless of whether or not they understand what’s going on. The important part is that the person says the words just right.

Anyway, if all goes well and the parents follow through with their legal action, hopefully any faculty involved in this incident will be fired, including the coach and the superintendent.

The public school system is not a place to push your religion on children. And more importantly, without permission from their parents – and that means ALL of the parents… not just the Jesus lovers of the group.

My conclusion? Believers, stick to knocking on doors at 9:00am on Sunday morning. Keep your religion out of the school system. Also, Mark 16:15 doesn’t condone lying, cheating or deceiving in order to follow through with that verse. Remember the 10 Commandments? Bearing false witness?


Astronomy Cast In BitTorrent Form

Tuesday September 9, 2008 Leave a comment

Astronomy Cast takes a fact based journey through the cosmos as it offers listeners weekly discussions on astronomical topics ranging from planets to cosmology. Hosted by Fraser Cain (Universe Today) and Dr. Pamela L. Gay (SIUE), this show brings the questions of an avid astronomy lover direct to an astronomer. Together Fraser and Pamela explore what is known and being discovered about the universe around us.

Are you a big fan of Astronomy Cast? Ever heard of Astronomy Cast? Well, in either case – have I got something for you!

Astronomy Cast is an awesome Podcast dealing with… wait for it… Astronomy. A great show, in my opinion. I listen to it as much as I do The Skeptics’ Guide To The Universe… that’s as soon as there is a new episode available (once a week).

I’d heard on one of their episodes that they thought it would be a good idea if their show was available in BitTorrent form. So, I’ve taken the liberty of doing just that.

I’m breaking them up into nice, neat chapters (chunks of 25 episodes each – as suggested by host Frazer Cain). They are available (I submitted them) on The Pirate Bay. Each torrent has a list of episodes and titles. Here are the links…

  1. Astronomy Cast Chapter 1 [Episodes 1 – 25]Here or here.
  2. Astronomy Cast Chapter 2 [Episodes 26 – 50]Here or here.
  3. Astronomy Cast Chapter 3 [Episodes 51 – 75]Here or here.
  4. Astronomy Cast Chapter 4 [Episodes 76 – 100]Here or here.
  5. Astronomy Cast Chapter 5 [Episodes 101 – 125]Here or here.
  6. Astronomy Cast Chapter 6 [Episodes 126 – 150]Here.

If you’re interested in some of the series they’ve done, they’re here… more to come soon.

  1. Astronomy Cast [Journey Through The Solar System]Here or here.

Just click “Download This Torrent” under each link.

If you don’t know how to use BitTorrent technology, learn here.

I’ll be updating this post as I create more chapters. Until next time, enjoy!

Read a book. It’s good for you.

IMPORTANT: After you finish downloading, don’t just close out your BitTorrent client. Be sure to share. Make sure you get a share ratio of at least 2.0. Don’t be a leech!

Categories: Education, Internet, Media, Science

Finally Finished "A Tour Of The Calculus" By David Berlinski

Wednesday July 2, 2008 19 comments

I’ll start out by referring you to a previous post where I wrote about David Berlinski and his Creationist math problems. This was my introduction to Berlinski and his philosophy of mathematics – how it should be used to calculate the odds of evolution happening; that small odds is proof that something didn’t happen. And by that logic, no one could win the lottery because the odds are so small.

I tried not to let his bad logic interfere with my reading of A Tour Of The Calculus, and I think I did a pretty good job. I actually enjoyed this book.

Overall, it’s very well written. It’s easy to follow. He is very narrative and eloquent in his writing.

My only problem with the book, and it really isn’t a problem, is that it isn’t really for someone who has no experience with calculus at all. The first half may be alright for the beginner, but when he starts talking about the integral and differentiation, I feel like he makes some grand assumptions about his reader – that they understand these concepts to begin with. I found myself struggling with the equations and ideas that he presented simply because I didn’t understand the processes involved in integration, differentiation and the like.

I also understand that you couldn’t possibly encompass the entirety of the calculus in a 300-page book. I suppose it’s more a problem of time and space than it is of incompetency of the writer.

Personally, I would absolutely recommend this book for someone who is experienced with calculus, but hasn’t touched it in a long time. It would be a great refresher course.

To conclude with, Berlinski doesn’t bring up any Creationism or Anti-Evolution rhetoric in this book, which I was somewhat surprised with. Usually Creationists love to inject their religion in everything they do. So congratulations to Berlinski on a great book.

And, as usual… read a book. It’s good for you.

Categories: All, Books, Education, Science

Thanksgiving and School… Again

Friday November 25, 2005 Leave a comment

So Thanksgiving was yesterday. It was alright. I had to work the night before, arriving home around 7:00am or so. We went to Joanna’s Aunt Dorothy’s house. Her husband passed away this year, so it’s her first holiday season without him. There was kind of an awkward seating moment when she had set one too many places at the table. We all made light of it (including her), but I know it had to be hard for her.

Overall, it was a fun night. It’s always interesting around Jo’s family. They’re always loud and outspoken… but a very close family. They’ve been through a lot. I, personally, can’t say that I’ve ever experienced the death of a close family member or friend. But, since I’ve been with Joanna, I’ve been to 2 funerals. It’s just something that I can’t comprehend. That’s the way it’s always been. Death has been something that’s always present in her family. My Great-Grandmother lived until she was 98. It’s rare for someone in Jo’s family to live past 60. It seems unfair.

That’s when I start to worry about Joanna. Aside from her uncle (whose house we were at last night), everyone in her family who has died, died of cancer. I really don’t want to lose her at a young age. Her sister, who is younger than her, has had melanoma several times… having surgery to fix it. I always have thoughts about, “Well, maybe Jo’s different. Maybe she didn’t get those genes.” It’s not something I like to think about.

Ok, so on to something more positive. Work has been alright. My 90-day probation period should be over with very soon. I don’t remember when I started, but I’d say in a couple weeks, it should be over. Then I’ll be getting a raise. I don’t like the job, but it pays fairly well.

And once again, the college thing… I hope that I’ll just get motivated and DO IT. I’m actually online applying to Onondaga Community College right now. For spring classes. I’m not even exactly sure what to take. But, we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll call and try to get some help with it.

So that’s it for now. So everyone feel free to not comment, like you always do. lol

Categories: All, Education, Family, Life, Work

New Job & Looking Forward

Saturday September 24, 2005 Leave a comment

I look forward to days off so much more now that I have this new job. I really need them. I hardly get any sleep anymore, and a day off is about the only thing that can satisfy that need. I may have said this before, but, if there’s anything that makes you realize that you need to do something more with your life, it’s having a 3rd shift job in a warehouse.

I was talking to one of the truck drivers on Thursday night/Friday morning (I don’t remember what time it was), and we were talking about how some people just get complacent in a job like this, and instead of keeping sight of their goals, they just coast through – working a dead end job for 20 or 30 years. The pay is OK, and for some people, it’s just enough to keep them from wanting to do anything more with themselves. I can see how it’s possible to lose sight of your dreams, and to just keep doing the same thing. At the same time, I can’t see myself doing that… or… should I say… I don’t want to see myself doing that. I’m afraid of seeing myself do that.

I’ve noticed that most of the guys working there are in that boat. They’re all about 40 years old or so. They all have the I’ve-been-working-here-for-15-years look and attitude about them. And for what? Top pay in the high-lift position is $17 an hour. And you make that after 3 years. So they’ve spent the past 12 years wasting their lives away making just as much as someone who’s been there 1/5th of the time they have. There is so much more out there.

And here I am complaining… I just started there. I can’t say that I’ve accomplished a ton so far in my life. I did complete a semester of college. Something I guess I never thought I’d end up doing. As long as all goes well, I’ll be back to school in the winter. I’ll have to take online classes for now, just because I don’t have the time (or energy, because of this job) to go in person. I’ll be focusing on computer science, programming – centering my attention on C++ , Visual Basic and .NET development. I really think Microsoft Windows Vista is going to do a lot for the computer industry, and software development is going to be huge.

I haven’t got much else on my mind right at the moment.

Categories: All, Education, Work

Sleep & German Studies

Monday October 11, 2004 Leave a comment

Not much going on today, again. Just hanging out, babysitting. I didn’t get much sleep last night. Tessa decided she was going to sleep in our bed and take up the entire thing by sleeping perpendicular to me and Joanna. So, needless to say, I’m a little cranky today. It’s hard to sleep while having one leg off the bed, holding yourself up.

My German studies are going pretty well. I’ve been making myself some grammar flashcards, learning all of the different terms. It’s weird how much we take for granted with English. We just know how to speak it. We don’t think about whether or not we are dealing with an intransitive verb when we tell our friends about our day. I don’t think about whether or not I misused a copula in my email to my best friend. Learning a new language makes you think about all those things.

I’ve heard that after you learn a second language, the third gets easier. I hope so. I plan on learning Spanish after I finish with German. Logically speaking, I probably should have learned Spanish first anyway, but German seems more interesting. Lol

Well, I’m done for now. Maybe I’ll write later.

Categories: All, Education, Family, Life

German Dictionary & Cold Weather

Tuesday October 5, 2004 Leave a comment

I just got my new, awesome, spectacular German Unabridged dictionary. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. I suppose it’s not all those things, but it’s pretty cool. Just looking at the dictionary is teaching me quite a bit about the language. I guess one of the harder things about learning German is keeping from trying to translate word-for-word. There are a lot of words that don’t have exact translations.

It’s been getting very cold recently! I’m freezing right now. The summer seemed to just slip by this year. There really wasn’t much of one, come to think about it. We probably only had about a week’s worth of real summer weather. I’ve heard it’s not a good sign for this winter. Supposedly we’re going to get pounded with snow this year. I’m not sure how much I’m going to love that. Snow was so much more fun when I didn’t have to shovel it. At least now that I have a landlord, I won’t have to shovel the driveway; he plows it. But that still leaves the sidewalk, the steps, and all that. Guess it could be worse. Being cold is better than being hot, I guess.

Categories: All, Books, Education, Life