joreth: (Misty in Box)
http://introvertdear.com/2015/03/10/science-says-there-are-4-kinds-of-introverts/

I keep saying that the type categories are not binary. I refer to myself as a social introvert, although I'm also a thinking introvert according to this scale.

People think the type systems are crap because they're under the erroneous belief that the systems are the same thing as the tests. They're not. All the tests are crap. All of them. Some are slightly better than others, but the best thing I can say about the tests is that they might help narrow down the number of type categories you should be looking at to determine your type.  And that's another thing - YOU determine your own type, not the tests.  It's not like a horoscope where you're assigned a category based on totally arbitrary criteria.  It's self-referencing.  The tests can sometimes rule out certain categories so that you don't have to waste time reading all of them to determine your type.  But that's the best they can do.

However, as my resident type expert keeps saying, and as he said during his lecture at Dragoncon, the tests are not the same as the system.

There is variability in the systems too, and some systems are better than others. But, generally speaking, the better systems aren't binary. The tests may ask binary questions, but the SYSTEM offers a spectrum. You're 68% introverted & 32% extroverted, or whatever. The better systems also acknowledge that we all have some of every category, it's just that we tend to have preferences or we tend to do some things more often than others. Much like being right or left handed, those of us with two hands use both of them all the time, but we have a dominant hand, one that takes on more of the tasks or the more complex or strength-oriented tasks.  Even ambidextrous people usually have a tendency to choose a particular hand over another, perhaps for certain tasks.  That's what the systems are measuring - preferences, not absolutes.

They also usually only cover personality from a specific angle and won't cover other things. For instance, mental health issues are usually separate from personality type systems even though they affect your personality.  And they're not terribly predictive - they can't tell you which profession you should enter, for example.  They might be indicative of your happiness in a very specific work environment (a strong J surrounded by strong P types in a particular office that's really chaotic might feel frustrated at work often, for example), but really, all the industries require a mix of personalities to cover all the wide, varied tasks involved in making that industry run.  They can't tell you who to marry either, but they might help explain why your partner does certain things and offer ways to work with each other over conflicts so that you both get what you need.  And, to stretch the handedness analogy, the test for handedness won't tell you what your eye prescription is or what color your hair is.  The different type systems tend to focus on certain aspects of personality over others, so there is not one over-arching system that will cover all elements of who you are (although some systems are more useful and more accurate than others).

Type is actually a very complex discipline that can take years of study. It's not as simple as taking an online quiz and now you're locked into a box. I can tell you my MBTI letters, for example, but that barely scratches the surface, even if we stick just with MBTI. As a former partner learned the hard way, you can't treat people based on their type category alone because we're not a monolith even within the more complex type systems. Our individual expression and individual experience of our type categories will manifest in unique combinations, making us all individuals who just happen to have a few things in common enough to loosely group us together.  They can be useful for interpersonal communication and for conflict resolution, but that's about it.  And I say that as a strong supporter of using type systems. 
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)

Back in 2010, the Pew Forum did a survey about how much Americans know about religion.  In a 32-question phone survey*, they asked people about Christianity & their bible, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, atheism/agnosticism, and American legal issues about religion.  They found that atheists/agnostics scored the highest average, even after controlling for education & other demographics like race & sex, and did particularly well on the legal questions, questions about non-Christian religions, and questions about the Bible specifically.  One of the results that I find particularly amusing is that US Southerners scored worse than those from all other geographic regions on the religious knowledge questions, even after controlling for the demographics

The Pew Survey is completed, however you can take a 15-question version of the survey at Pew's website.  Your results do not affect the survey's conclusions and are not counted as data.  But you can see how well you do compared to Americans in general and compared to several different demographics including religious groups.  The 15 questions are taken directly from the 32 questions used in the original survey.  http://features.pewforum.org/quiz/us-religious-knowledge/

You can also take another survey with all 32 questions, just to see how you'd do, but it's hosted by a Christian website and called Are You Smarter Than An Atheist? and provides no way for you to indicate what your religious affiliation is.  Judging purely by the way other Christian groups have doctored online polls before, I suspect that they will take the results of their totally unscientific survey (which has atheists as well as people of other religions answering it) to show that "their" respondents (the presumption being that the respondents are all Christian) are smarter than the national average and/or the atheists who took the Pew survey.  But I took the survey anyway, just to see how I'd do http://m.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/0105/Are-you-smarter-than-an-atheist-A-religious-quiz/

I scored 30 out of 32 on the full survey (the highest average being from atheists at 20.9 correct out of 32) and 15 out of 15 on the smaller Pew survey (better than 99% of all other respondents - no religious affiliations given).  I'm archiving the results behind the cut because I'm rather proud of my knowledge and understanding of religious issues.  Don't click the cut if you want to take the surveys yourself and see what you actually know, because the answers are given.  Also don't bother clicking the cut if you don't want to be inundated with survey data - it's a boring list of numbers and stats that I'm only archiving for my own records and most people are not going to care how well I did compared to other religions on each question.


Survey Answers Archive )

*Technically, the phone survey was way more than 32 questions, but that's because it included demographic questions (i.e. age, race, religious affiliation, political party, how often they attend church, etc.) and a handful of "control" questions about non-religious stuff like what is the vice president's name and which party holds the House majority and whether lasers work via sound waves and whether antibiotics kill bacteria and what movement is Susan B. Anthony associated with and who wrote Moby Dick.  But there were 32 questions on religious knowledge and the survey's goal was to determine who knew what about religion.

joreth: (polyamory)
Another little side project - rewrite the words to any published/recorded song to be poly-friendly & submit them (the entire song, not just a line or refrain).  The more popular and/or well-known the song, the better.  If you have the ability, for bonus points you can find the karaoke version & record your new lyrics.

To get you started:

(from Bye Bye Love by Everly Brothers)
There goes my baby,
With someone new
She sure is happy
I sure am too...

(from I Can't Help Myself)
Sugarpie honeybunch
You know that I love you?
I can't help myself
I love you and somebody else...
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

This year I've been busy!

Last Friday I committed genocide... Sorry about that, [livejournal.com profile] figmentj (-5000 points). In February I ruled Canada as a cruel and heartless dictator (-700 points). In May I pushed [livejournal.com profile] the_no_lj_d in the mud (-17 points). Last Monday I caught a purse-snatcher who stole [livejournal.com profile] seinneann_ceoil 's purse (30 points). Last month I bought porn for [livejournal.com profile] madmanatw (-10 points).

Overall, I've been naughty (-5697 points). For Christmas I deserve a spanking!

Sincerely,
joreth

Write your letter to Santa! Enter your LJ username:
Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

This year I've been busy!

In October I had a shoot-out with rival gang lords on the 5 near LA (-5000 points). Last Sunday I invaded Iraq, broke it, and couldn't glue it back together before Mom got home (-1012 points). In February I pulled over and changed [livejournal.com profile] corpsefairy 's flat tire (15 points). In October I didn't flush (-1 points). In June I helped [livejournal.com profile] datan0de hide a body (-173 points).

Overall, I've been naughty (-6170 points). For Christmas I deserve a spanking!

Sincerely,
joreth

Write your letter to Santa! Enter your LJ username:
joreth: (Super Tech)
Congratulations! You have been awarded the TPM medal of honour! This is our highest award for outstanding service on the intellectual battleground.

The fact that you progressed through this activity neither being hit nor biting a bullet suggests that your beliefs about God are internally consistent and very well thought out.

A direct hit would have occurred had you answered in a way that implied a logical contradiction. You would have bitten bullets had you responded in ways that required that you held views that most people would have found strange, incredible or unpalatable. However, you avoided both these fates - and in doing so qualify for our highest award. A fine achievement! 

7.89% of the people who have completed this activity emerged unscathed with the TPM Medal of Honour.
Battleground God

 **This quiz does not test the validity of your beliefs, only if they are internally consistent. A theist could take this quiz and theoretically score highly, providing they are at least consistent in the logic of their beliefs.

joreth: (polyamory)
FWD:

This is a short, 10-question demographic survey on the polyamorous community. This is not an all-inclusive survey, it is an attempt to begin data collection for future research and only some criteria is addressed. Further studies and questionnaires will be required for a complete and comprehensive look at the polyamorous community, and the responses to this survey may help to direct those further studies.

The responses are completely anonymous and your participation will help the polyamorous community in future academic and legal endeavors. Please answer all questions. Please send this survey to other polyamorous and non-monogamous people.

Thank you for your participation.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MW3GLCD
joreth: (Super Tech)
Post in your journal or in the comments here what jobs you've held! I'll start! In spite of the fact that I have a million things on my to-do list, some of which are time-sensitive, I got this bug in my brain to write a post listing all the jobs I've ever held.  It started when I was interviewed for a new podcast that will be out soon about what we wanted to be when we grew up, and did we ever accomplish that?  I had several things I wanted to be when I grew up, and in composing my answer for the podcast, I discovered that I actually did get to do everything I ever wanted when I was a kid (as far as jobs go).  I feel very fortunate to have done so.

There are some people who regret things they've never done, or who got locked into a single track and never ventured beyond their comfort zones.  I believe that life is only worth living if you really live it.  I embrace new opportunities to learn and experience, and I think that contributes to my overall sense of happiness and contentment with life.  I think it also adds to my desire to live forever, since everything I attempt or accomplish is also a reminder of everything I have yet to experience or accomplish.  There's so much to learn and so much to try that I don't think I could ever run out of things to do if I were given all the time in the world.

The world is so fascinating that I have to try as many things as I can just to get a taste of what it can offer.

These are roughly in chronological order, starting in 1985.  I'll add to it as I remember anything I've forgotten so far.
  1. Lawn Mower
  2. Pet Sitter
  3. Babysitter
  4. Newspaper Editor & Interviewer of literary authors
  5. Gate Guard - responsible for making members to a private Cabana Club sign in, sell food, and assist the Life Guards in emergency medical attention and other procedures.
  6. Lighting Assistant
  7. Assistant Trail Lead & Pony Wrangler
  8. Veterinary Assistant
  9. Office Assistant to School Nurse
  10. Spotlight Operator
  11. Assistant Set Artist
  12. Counselor / Supervisor / Den Mother for Science Camp
  13. Sales - men's suits & formal wear
  14. Waitress in a diner
  15. Cold Caller for AIDS Walk sponsor center
  16. Administrative Assistant & Data Compiler for Corel
  17. Library Assistant - check in and out books for library patrons, maintain computer system of books, shelve books
  18. Adult Model
  19. Sales & Demonstrations - cutlery
  20. Caller for survey company
  21. Tour Guide - Winchester "Mystery" House
  22. Call Center - tech support for a beta technology that received real-time stock reports, sports scores, & weather
  23. Administrative Assistant / Scheduler / Billing for endodontist
  24. Administrative Assistant / Webmaster for a company that did reserve studies & other construction-related legal matters
  25. Studio Technician / Camera Operator / Studio Director / Titles & Graphics / Editor for TV studio
  26. Camera Operator for a Megachurch
  27. various temp positions as general Administrative Assistant, mostly involving use of spreadsheets & filing systems
  28. Administrative Assistant / Webmaster / Inventory Supervisor / Marketing / Print Graphics / IT Support for contractor exam school
  29. Portrait Photographer - adults, children, families, couples, animals/pets
  30. Master Electrician
  31. Flymaster
  32. Audio Engineer
  33. Stock Photographer
  34. Live Production Technician: camera operator, spotlight operator, projectionist, video technician, lighting technician, tape operator & shader, rigger, forklift operator, boomlift operator, breakout room technician, powerpoint operator, stagehand
  35. Military Robotics Test Pilot - test software for use with Unmanned Ground Vehicles for the US Military, including operation of remote robotic vehicles and beta software for best efficiency of military UGV operators
So, how about you? What jobs have you held?  You can answer here or post this in your own Journal.
joreth: (polyamory)
I have a question for all poly people who are pair-bonded. The poll wizard limits me to characters, so let me explain what I'm looking for before you get to it.  There is no "right" or "wrong" answers, I am genuinely interested to hear how other people view their relationships.  You're welcome to explain further or ask questions in the comments.

For the purposes of this question, "pair-bonded" means one or more of the following:
  • Having an intense/deep emotional connection to someone that includes feeling like part of a "couple".
  • Sharing dwelling space with another person
  • Mixing finances with another person
  • Committed to childrearing with the other parent
  • Legally or religiously married to another person
  • Uses the term "primary" to describe a relationship
If you have more than one person with whom you are pair-bonded, or you are in a bonded family structure (e.g. a live-in triad), this also applies to you, even though I am using terminology for a MF couple from the perspective of the female.  Just replace the pronouns with the appropriate pronouns, because it's time-consuming and cumbersome to try and cover all possible gender & orientation configurations, so I'm going to use the most common ones for simplicity only.

I would like to stick with people who have someone in mind for this question, because it is impossible to tell what our future relationships will look like, even though some of us think we know what we want it to look like.  So I want to stick with people who have a pair-bonded partner and who will have to think of how this scenario would affect their existing living arrangements and habits.  I see a lot of people who come to polyamory as part of a pre-existing couple, usually monogamous or swingers, and I am curious as to how that affects a couple that already has habits or patterns of being "a couple" when it comes to multi-partner living arrangements.  That's not the question, that's why I'm asking partnered people the question below.  Since our culture is not really set up for communal living arrangements, many poly families don't have the option - they get as many bedrooms as they can afford, or they deal with the "other couple" living across town because that's where everyone bought their houses before getting into a relationship or because they can't afford a house big enough for everyone.  But I'd like to know what people would *prefer* in an ideal world.

So, to all poly people who are currently pair-bonded to someone but would like some sort of communal living situation, here's the question:

Let's say you had the ability to build your dream poly house, and money, size, and location were no object - you won the Supermegacolossalginormous World Lottery and, after taxes, still gave you enough left over to live wherever you wanted to live.  Every room you ever wanted in a house will be there.  This could be a communal house, an apartment-style complex, or a collection of private bungalows scattered about the property - whatever your personal dream-poly living situation is so long as there are some communal spaces (otherwise, it's not a communal house).  There is also a massive bedroom with a massive custom bed specifically for the purpose of group sleeping/whatever.  This room belongs to no individual, and anyone from the household can sleep there with the intention of sharing sleeping space with anyone/everyone else in the household.

You also have the option to include a bedroom suite for every adult in the house.  A bedroom "suite" is big enough for a private bathroom, a large bed, a living room area, and a mini kitchen, sort of like an extended-stay hotel room, but comfortably sized & personally furnished (if going with the individual bungalow setup, then every adult gets their own full-sized bungalow).  Each adult can sleep in his own room if they do not want to sleep in the group bedroom, if they want to share "private time" with certain other partners, or whatever else they choose to use their room for.

The question is, as someone who is pair-bonded to another person, would you utilize your own personal bedroom?
  • Yes.  Even though I have a pair-bonded relationship, I can see the need for a personal bedroom for some "alone time", to entertain guests without imposing on the rest of the household or the shared rooms, for "private time" with a partner who is not my pair-bonded partner in a way that does not kick my pair-bonded partner out of space he also considers "his", to have somewhere to go without feeling trapped or "kicked out" if he wants to use his space without me, or just to have space to spread out and do my own thing that others might not share or be interested in.  It does not matter how often I sleep in my own room, or even if I never do, but I want some space that belongs to me.

  • Yes, but we enjoy sleeping together and/or we have an arrangement to always sleep together.  Since every adult gets their own room, this would give us, as a couple, two rooms to share, one of which could be designated as "ours", which is a special place just for us, and the other could be "the room where we can be without the other person", such as having "private time" with another partner.

  • Possibly.  I enjoy sleeping with my pair-bonded partner and/or we have an agreement to always sleep together, so I can't see ever sleeping in my own bedroom, but I could use the space for other purposes, particularly if I ever want some "private time" with a partner who is not my pair-bonded partner but I don't want to kick him out of space he also considers "his" or "ours".  In this case, I would share his space & use mine for non-sleeping or non-pair-bonded-partner activities.  Since each adult gets their own, and I would be sharing his, he would not have his own personal space but I would.  Maybe we're mono/poly and he's the mono one or maybe he just doesn't want his own personal space.

  • No.  I enjoy sleeping with my pair-bonded partner and/or we have an agreement to always sleep together, so I can't see ever sleeping in my own bedroom and I have no other needs for personal space without him, especially if every room I've ever wanted in a house was in this house.  He can share my bedroom and it will become "ours", and he can keep his own bedroom if he wants to do non-sleeping or non-pair-bonded-partner activities so that I am not kicked out of my own room.

  • No.  We are pair-bonded and we always sleep together.  We prefer to have an "our room", not "his and hers rooms" - that's part of what being pair-bonded means to us.  We do not need any separate space from each other for any reason, and if we ever do decide to have "private time" with other partners, we can go to their personal rooms, leaving our room just for us.  Anyone else in the house can have personal rooms if they want, but my partner and I give up our personal rooms in favor of sharing a single suite.

Would you use/be interested in a personal bedroom even while partnered?
Yes, both of us can have our own space
Yes, but both rooms will be shared
Possibly, I'll just share his room & never sleep in mine. He won't have his own
No, but he can keep his own room, mine will become "ours"
No, we will share a room and have no "personal" rooms
myspace layouts
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)
So there are all sorts of wacky expectations and obligations around this time of year that really make things like holiday gift exchange a terribly complicated and incomprehensible tradition for me.

You're supposed to exchange gifts, but you're not supposed to give away the surprise, but you're supposed to get the "right gift", but you're not supposed to ask what the "right gift" is, and you're supposed to buy for some people and not others, but you're not supposed to discuss beforehand if any individual you know is one of those you're supposed to buy for or not buy for ... my head hurts just writing this post.

It starts to sound an awful lot like "I shouldn't have to say what I like, if he loved me, he'd just know" - no, all I know when someone says that is that I have a high probability of screwing it up and doing something wrong because you can't be clear about your needs and expectations and all my years reading Tarot cards and palms and studying horoscopes and wishful thinking STILL hasn't given me the ability to read your mind. It's not selfish to be clear on the things you want in life, it's selfish to try and get them to the detriment of others, and this is clearly not what we're talking about when someone asks "what do you want for Christmas?"

So, I'd like to make a request that I make every year on behalf of all the people who have trouble wandering the maze of holiday expectations, that everyone who reads this and takes pity on the rest of us make a post about what they want for the holidays.

This can be a link to an online wishlist (please, if you have an online wishlist, post it!), this can be a desire for holiday activities, this can be a charity you want people to donate in your name, this can be a set of guidelines for how to shop for you, this can be a request to be left alone and drop all the damn holiday requests already! Although I would like to add that, if you list a charity to donate to as your holiday wish, please offer a non-charity alternative for those who, either disagree with that charity or really want to give *you* something.

A nice mix of cheap/free options, actions, and easy-to-find consumer products really help a variety of people find something they can do for you that still makes *them* feel as though they're doing something that adequately conveys their feelings for you (read The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman - different people have different ways of expressing their love and even if *you* aren't all hung up on the Capitalist Regime, some people best express their feelings by giving gifts, while others feel best performing a service - remember, even though posting a holiday wishlist is for other people to do stuff for you, my request that you post it is supposed to be something nice that YOU can do for US, so help us to feel as though we're doing something nice for you by actually telling us what we can do).

I only ask that everyone make it clear what it is they want in a sort of public manner (a locked, friends-list post suffices, since it's the friends who are most likely to want to do something for you for the holidays) so that no one else has to go through the awkward "what do you want for xmas - oh, you don't have to get me anything - I know I don't HAVE to, but I want to - it's the thought that counts - yes, but my thought is to get you something you would like" conversation or the even-worse underlying "I actually do want these things, but I'm afraid to sound greedy by admitting to anyone that I want stuff even if they ask me outright" feelings of guilt.

So, please post your holiday wishlist, whether it's an online link, things you want to do, general guidelines, or what-have-you, not because you're being greedy and selfish, but because you genuinely want to help your loved ones who genuinely want to do something nice for you, some of whom have a little difficulty with hints and reading cues.

I'll start. My wishes for the holidays are to spend time with my loved ones, if not in person, then by Skype; to have more people in marginalized social categories stand up and be counted; to give money or time to science- and evidence-based educational programs, even if it's not "in my name", such as JREF, CFI, and even Planned Parenthood; and a whole shitload of "toys" and gadgets, most of which are completely unreasonable for someone else to purchase for me, (although you must have your own account in order for me to give you Guest Access to my adult wishlist - the only way I could keep my adult toys from showing up on a keyword search of my wishlist when non-Guests, i.e. my parents, read it). I like being surprised and don't want to know about my gift until it's offered to me. I don't particularly care if it's wrapped up prettily or not - if you like making a presentation of the gift, then I appreciate it the work you put into it, but if you can't wrap for shit, that doesn't diminish my enjoyment of the process in the slightest.

The posting of this link in no way assumes that anyone reading this will want to buy something for me, but it is made available in case someone *does*. I do not expect gifts, I do not require gifts, and I'm pretty sure that no one here is even considering getting me a gift, which is totally OK with me, even if you are someone for whom I happen to buy a gift. No, really, when I say something is OK, I actually mean it!

But I have hinted and asked outright for what other people want, only to go through that conversation I paraphrased above, and I've been in some situations where I wasn't sure if I had the kind of relationship with someone that warranted a gift or felt awkward about asking, so it would have been a HUGE help if everyone just accepted that sometimes people want to give gifts to other people and to make it simple to figure out what kind of gift to give. And it stops sounding like a nice gesture when you blurt out "goddamn it, I know you want to be seen as a nice and unselfish person and all, but I have money and/or time and/or skills to spend and I enjoy spending it/them on you but I want to make sure I spend it well so will you stop fucking whining about how it's the thought that counts and tell me what the fuck you'd like already?"

Some people like actual gifts, some people are very picky, some people already have a bunch of stuff so it's hard to guess what they don't have, some people prefer homemade to consumer products, some people like surprise better than the content of the surprise, some people prefer actions instead of objects, some people want to actively avoid exchanging gifts entirely and prefer just to spend time with loved ones ... and it's a damn maze trying to figure everyone out when you add in all this other holiday game playing.

So, for everyone else's sake, please do your loved ones a favor and don't think of it as being greedy or setting up the expectation that people should get you stuff. Think of it as not complicating or inhibiting something that is supposed to be a nice gesture from someone who loves you. Think of it as a grown-up version of a letter to Santa Claus. He actively wants to bring you something nice for the holidays so you write him a letter to help him out, but, in reality, it's your parents, and maybe your grandparents, who are reading it so they know what the heck to get you because the joy when you open a gift that you truly like means something to the ones who gave you the gift.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Greta Christina has decided to start posting her Atheist Memes in her blog once a week instead of daily, although she will continue to post them daily on her Facebook page (since I don't have a Facebook, I get them from her blog).

So here are this week's Atheist Memes:

Disagreeing With Religion Is Not The Same As Opposing Religions Freedom
Our choices for dealing with different religious beliefs aren't limited to uncritical ecumenalism or fundamentalist theocracy. We can question and criticize religious beliefs we disagree with, while passionately supporting religious freedom and people's right to believe whatever they like. That's where most atheist activists are coming from. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Religious Beliefs Affect People's Decisions And That's Why We Care
The reason many atheists care what other people believe is that beliefs affect decisions. Including political decisions. Political decisions should be made based on evidence about what works in this world, not on what an invisible being whose opinions we have no way of evaluating supposedly wants in an otherworldly realm nobody can agree about. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across. (Posted the day after same-sex marriage lost in Maine.)

Pascal's Wager Is A Bad Reason For Religious Belief
"Believing is a safer bet than not believing" is a terrible reason to believe in God. Which God should we bet on? If we're believing in God just to hedge our bets in the afterlife, which of the thousands of contradictory religions should we follow? And how would that be sincere belief? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Unfalsifiable Claims Are Not Useful
If there's no possible way to show that a hypothesis is wrong -- if any possible event can be interpreted to confirm a hypothesis -- then that hypothesis isn't useful. And that applies to religion. If anything that happens, bad or good, can be seen as a sign of God's existence, then God's existence is indistinguishable from God's non-existence. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Atheists Are Happy Too
Atheism doesn't mean cynicism, nihilism, or despair. Atheists can and do have happy lives, full of meaning and joy, and with comfort and solace in difficult times. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Where Did God Come From?
"Something had to have made the universe, things don't just make themselves" is not a good argument for God. If things can't just exist forever or pop into being out of nothing... where did God come from? And if God can have existed forever or come into being out of nothing... why can't that be true for the universe? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

Religion Is A Hypothesis
Religion is not just a matter of personal opinion or different perspectives. It's a hypothesis about how the world works and why it is the way it is. And it's not unreasonable or intolerant for atheists to treat it as a hypothesis, and to point out when that hypothesis is inconsistent with the evidence. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

"We can't prove or disprove God with absolute certainty, so I'm going to trust my intuition" is a terrible reason to believe in God. There are thousands of religious beliefs, many completely contradicting each other. And every believer's intuition says something different. How do we tell which of these beliefs is right? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get acros
s.

It's so frustrating to be presenting logic and reason and evidence, only to have someone respond "If you felt what I felt, you would KNOW that there is a [insert supernatural claim here]."

The problem is that EVERYONE who has that supernatural claim, has it because he has "felt" it's "truth".  They can't all be correct.  In fact, we happen to have evidence of some very specific individuals that they are not correct.  Some are mentally ill.  Some are physically damaged (as I tweeted yesterday, hyperreligiosity is a symptom of epilepsy and brain damage and can be induced medically).  Some are scam artists and frauds and don't believe a word of their claims.  Some are genuine believers who have been scammed by demonstrably false claims.

Everyone believes their own intuition when they make declarative statements like this.  Since they can't all be right, why should I believe that yours is the right one over the millions of other claims who are just as vociferous, just as convinced, that their claim is the right one?  And why should I even believe my own?

"A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.  The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." ~David Stevens.  This is why we have the scientific method.  It reduces the potential of human flaws like confirmation bias, mental and physical barriers, and fraud.  It makes no sense at all to believe intuition, knowing what we know about human fallibility, without empirical, independently-verified evidence to support it.  

Intuition is very important.  It's where we should begin.  It is what gives us the ideas and perhaps even the creativity to begin investigation.  But it is not where we should stop.  We must be willing to let go of our most cherished beliefs if the evidence does not support it.  And, as mentioned in a previous Meme post, every single time we have had the ability to investigate a supernatural claim about the universe, a natural explanation has turned out to be the answer.  

So, with millions of people all offering conflicting claims of personal intuition, and thousands of experiments proving them incorrect, and each time an experiment can be done, it has always proven it incorrect, why would I choose to believe someone's unsubstantiated personal intuition?  It's always been wrong before, and I have no way to distinguish the wrong ones from the potentially-right ones without independent, corroborating evidence.  

No, it is safer to assume that nothing special is going on ... until someone can prove that something special is going on.  The odds are in favor that nothing special is going on.  But, if your intuition is telling you that something special is going on, by all means, investigate it.  And when you have proper, empirical, independent evidence to support your intuition, then I will re-evaluate my position that nothing special is going on.

But your intuition alone is not good enough.  If it were, then what's to stop his intuition from being good enough?  And hers?  And theirs?  And every other crackpot in existence, past, present or future?  Intuition is fallible, so you need to give me something a little better to work with.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Yes, some atheists can be jerks. Especially on the Internet. Some people in every group can be jerks -- especially on the Internet. This doesn't make atheism an inherently jerky worldview. And it doesn't make atheism mistaken. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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1) The internet is where a lot of people go to vent.  So you'll often see people here when they're in a bad mood.  This is not the entirety of who they are.

2) The internet brings us face to face with people who piss us off.  So you'll often see people after someone has provoked then with stupidity.  This is not the entirety of who they are.

3) The internet often provides people with a constant, regular, repetitive stream of stupidity.  When you've been insulted enough times, when you've been attacked enough times, and when you've just seen something stupid enough times, offered a correction, then heard the next person say the exact same thing as though the correction hadn't been offered just then, or thousands of times before on hundreds of other websites/forums/IM chats, well, people get a little cranky when they feel they have to repeat themselves.  This is not the entirety of who they are.

4) The internet removes tone and vocal inflection and body language from communication.  When a person is of a rational / logical / scientific mindset, the pragmatic language used is often "heard" as angry, condescending, arrogant, or rude in the absence of *real* clues to the person's frame of mind.  Just because the reader projects emotion onto text or thinks everything is about him, does not mean that atheists are angry, jerks, or assholes anymore than any other collective is (unless the collective happens to *be* angry people, jerks, or assholes).  So, in this case, not only is this not the entirety of who they are, it's often not who they are even at that moment.

So, yeah, some atheists lose their temper.  Some atheists are not good at presenting their side of the argument.  Some atheists get things wrong.  Just like everyone else.  A person is not an "angry person" just because you saw them get angry in the middle of an argument.  Everyone gets angry in the middle of an argument.  That's kinda what an argument is.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

It is hypothetically possible that, if you jump out the window, fairies will carry you to the ground. You can't prove with 100% certainty that it won't happen. Are you therefore going to jump out the window? If not, why would you base any other major decision on a religious belief you have no evidence for but that can't be 100% disproved? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

In human history, supernatural explanations of phenomena have been replaced by natural explanations thousands upon thousands of times. Natural explanations have been replaced by supernatural ones exactly never. So why would we assume that any given unexplained phenomenon is probably supernatural? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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What else is there really to say here that hasn't already been said a million times?  Every single time a supernatural explanation is proposed for a phenomenon, as soon as we develop the technology to look into it, a natural explanation is revealed.  Every single time without fail.  Ockham's Razor, the Null Hypothesis, even the "better safe than sorry" method of the opposition, all suggest that, when we don't have an answer, instead of saying "god did it", we should just assume "no god did it" until proven otherwise.  Maybe when god actually *does* do something, I might be more willing to entertain the possibility that something supernatural was the cause in the absence of any other data.  Until then, it's so unlikely that I can reasonably behave as though it is untrue.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Most atheists passionately support believers' right to believe and practice whatever religion they like, and we oppose anti-religious discrimination as vehemently as anti-atheist discrimination. We may disagree with what people believe -- sometimes passionately and vocally -- but we will defend with equal passion their right to believe it. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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It was actually quite disheartening to see the same-sex rights groups distance themselves from atheists because they are afraid of the taint that being associated with atheists would bring in their fight for acceptance from mainstream society.  Atheists were the first non-gay-themed group to stand up behind the gay rights movements, and pretty much any other civil rights group.  

Much like the ACLU (whom one can argue can be obnoxious and seems to be wanting to pick fights with people for the sake of picking fights with people, as people are wont to think of atheists), atheists are all about freedom and equality (with, I'm sure, some individual exceptions).  The core of atheism is a love of truth and rationality and logical and critical thinking.  If you passionately hold those ideals, then any form of discrimination becomes your opposition because truth and rationality and logical and critical thinking reveals the flaws in discrimination. 

Discrimination is not based on rational, logical, or empirical reasons.  It's based on fear and ignorance.  If one became an atheist by way of rational or logical thinking, eventually this way of thinking leads one to dismantle the fear and ignorance that is the foundation of discrimination.  If one became an atheist by way of evidence-based conclusions, then one requires evidence to justify discrimination, and there simply isn't any evidence to support it.  Therefore, much like religious claims, discrimination gets thrown out as an acceptable belief structure or societal structure.

I will argue and provide evidence and attempt to dissuade you from your untrue, supernatural, illogical, irrational beliefs because I think those kinds of beliefs create errors in judgement which then affect your actions, which then affect my life.  But I will fight for your right to believe any silly thing you want to believe.  I don't think you should be *forced* to believe something or prevented from believing something, nor do I even think that's possible.  That's not the same thing at all as trying to change your mind, nor is it the same thing as imposing regulations over your *actions* when those actions affect other people.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Atheism doesn't mean having a closed mind. Atheism simply means concluding that God probably doesn't exist. It means we've considered the idea of God and rejected it as implausible, but will reconsider if we see new evidence. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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I've gone on about this at length in my post about Atheist vs. Agnostic, so I won't rant about it again today.  But I was listening to some back episodes of skeptical podcasts today, and some interview with someone (I forget which podcast and I forget who was interviewed) pointed out that those who believe in the supernatural and accuse skeptics of being close-minded are actually the close-minded ones themselves.  Because they've concluded that there is, absolutely, 100% certain, that there is whatever paranormal entity is being discussed, and the possibility that there isn't is rejected.  They have closed their minds to this option.

Note, it's not the conclusion that "there is no god" that is rejected, it's the *possibility* that the non-god hypothesis is true that is rejected.  As opposed to atheists, who have rejected the conclusion that there is a god, but not the possibility that the god-hypothesis could be true if enough evidence is presented.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Our minds are wired by evolution to see intention and patterns, even where none exists. So we have to be careful about assuming that a pattern or intention is really there, just because it seems like it. And that holds for God and religion as much anything else. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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I'm particularly at risk for this, it seems.  So I have to remind myself, I have to write things down, I have to double check, and I have to ask for outside opinions to make sure that the pattern I'm seeing really is a pattern and not pareidolia creeping in to a random happenstance (especially for a small sample size or a short time frame, etc.) and that I'm not falling victim to confirmation bias.

But this seems to be the very basis of supernatural belief.  I dreamt it and it came true, therefore I'm psychic.  I prayed and it happened, therefore god intervened.  

Read "How We Believe" by Michael Shermer, "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer, & "How We Know What Isn't So" by Thomas Gilovich (and pretty much any other book on the Skeptic's Reading Guide over at The Skeptical Pervert).
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

There is real discrimination against atheists, in the U.S. and around the world. Atheists have been fired, denied custody of their kids, threatened and denied promotion in the military, vandalized by neighbors, expelled from school, and more... because of their atheism. And in some countries, atheism is against the law, punishable by death. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

I find it ironic (and infuriating) that American Christians are all up in arms over "The War On Christmas" and shout from the pulpits that they are being "discriminated against" when rationalists insist on the separation of church and state as our country's founders intended.  When they start having their children taken from them just for believing in god (and not for actually harming their children because their god said to), then I'll give weight to their complaints.

Until then, I cry "hypocrite".
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

"People find religion comforting" is not a good argument for why religion is true. Wanting something to be so doesn't make it so. Plus, many believers don't find religion comforting -- they find it upsetting, confusing, guilt-tripping, and demoralizing. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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I really, really, REALLY want for stupidity like this to be fatal.  Clearly, wanting something to be true doesn't make it so.

"A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.  The truth is the truth even if no one believes it."
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Making an argument is not the same as forcing your beliefs on others. Many atheists would like to see a world without religion.... but we don't want to accomplish that by making religion illegal, or in any way forcing people out of it. We want to accomplish it by -- snicker -- persuasion. We're crazy dreamers that way. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get acros
s.

When people are confronted with someone who is passionate about his beliefs, who genuinely cares for the people he's talking to, people often mistake that enthusiastic position for imposing or forcing his will onto others.  These are not the same things.

I have been called argumentative in the past.  No, it's true!  When I hold a belief strongly, I hold it because my investigation and the available evidence has led me to believe it is true, or at least, reasonable to operate as if it were true.  And when one of those beliefs includes a concern for the physical, mental, emotional, or psychological safety of another human being, particularly a person I care about, I may argue relentlessly to try and persuade that person that my viewpoint is the correct one.

Many people do this.

The difference is that I am not trying to *force* them to do things my way, I'm trying to show them that my way is actually the right or best or optimal way so that they *agree* and then will *want* to do it that way too.

If I were trying to force my belief system onto someone, I would try to pass a law, or I would use my authority over them in whatever capacity I might have, to make them do things my way whether they wanted to or not.

This is what parents do when raising children (I'm not saying it's an entirely unwarranted method, just that arguing is not the same thing).  When a parent takes the time to argue with their child, to explain to them why this is the best course of action, that's not imposing their will onto the child.  When a parent says "because I'm the parent, that's why.  Now don't talk back", that's forcing their will onto the child.  Both methods have an appropriate time, place, and subject matter.  But they are not the same method.

When the radical right-wingers pass laws outlawing abortion and birth control because they somehow believe that a book written 2,000 years before abortion and birth control existed actually says to outlaw abortion and birth control, and they make everyone who holds different beliefs about abortion and birth control conform to the same rules - that's forcing one's beliefs onto someone else.

When the radical left-wingers try to pass laws banning genetically engineered food products that save millions of lives from death by starvation because they believe there is some connection to Mother Earth and we are messing with the "natural harmony", completely in the face of all evidence to the contrary, and prohibiting the rest of us, including the poor and starving, from the choice to eat or die -  this is forcing one's beliefs onto someone else.

But when I sit with you and present my point of view along with the reasons why I hold that point of view, even if I get angry, even if I get frustrated, with the intention of changing your mind - this is not forcing my beliefs.  This is argument and persuasion.  You might not like it.  You might wish I'd just shut up and go away, and that's reasonable.  I certainly don't wish to sit still to listen to a fundie or a newager spew what I consider to be complete and utter bullshit (although I did listen long enough to know that what they're speaking is bullshit and didn't just ignore them because their opinion differed from mine).

But do not confuse my argument with force.  It is not the same thing at all.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Intuition is important and useful. But it's also very fallible. Among other things, it strongly biases us towards what we already believe, or what we want to believe. And that's just as true about religion as anything else. That's why atheists think intuition, by itself, isn't a very good argument for God. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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I've written recently about the value of utilizing one's emotions and intuition in making decisions, in being happy, and in being "lucky".  But that's not the end of the line - it's the start.  When it comes to answering questions about the real world, the natural world, intuition really sucks as an answer.  It might be a place to start; it might give us the questions that we should seek answers to.  But it is not the answer in and of itself.

If our intuition tells us that there's something "more" going on, we should take that as a signal to investigate what that "more" is.  We should not take that as the answer that there is something "more", as in: supernatural.

Intuition, emotions, perception, these are all valuable tools.  But the tools must be used properly.  We shouldn't pick up a hammer and expect to get a nice lathed table leg with it.  I suppose it's possible that someone skilled enough with a hammer could do it, but really, the hammer should be used for hammering stuff.  Emotions and intuition are great warning signals.  They are tools to notify us about things, but reason, logic, and analysis are what we should be using to determine what that emotion and intuition are trying to tell us.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day is:

It's not reasonable to say that only trained theologians are competent to discuss religion's validity. Most atheists aren't interested in the religion of a few theologians: we care about religion as it's believed and practiced by the vast majority of believers. Besides, many atheists have studied modern theology... and found it wanting. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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Many religious advocates will end a debate with the idea that if you haven't spent your whole life studying this particular religion, you're not in a position to dispute it.  That is not a valid debate tactic.  It's a discussion ender.  I should know, I've used it myself.

When a person uses this line, it means "I don't have the patience to discuss this with you any further."  It also means that I don't believe you fully grasp all the concepts required to continue this debate.  It's condescending.  So am I, which is why I use it when I've lost my temper and my patience.

There are 3 problems here.  The first is what Greta Christina says, which is that we may not be discussing the theological religion, we may be talking about the greater harm as practiced by people who also aren't trained theologians.  I don't really care all that much that the more accurate translation of some 2,000 year old scroll said "servant" and was mistranslated to say "woman".  What I care about is now, 2,000 years later, millions of people are following the version that says "woman", or worse, believing some guy who claims that it says "unmarried, virginal women" without even reading for themselves the mistranslated version to see if that's what it really says.  That it once said "servant" is interesting, but not really my point when I talk about the harm that religion does in the world or why I don't believe in deities.

The second is that these theologians didn't spend their whole lives studying the thousands of other religions throughout history before rejecting all of them and choosing this one.  So they had better find another reason to dismiss me or be prepared to have their argument dismissed when they can't explain why they didn't apply the same criteria to their own rejection of religion.  No, they chose this one, usually, because it was how they were raised and it's the one they're most familiar with it.  What they *really* mean is that they hope they can finally convince you once they've fully indoctrinated you like they were indoctrinated themselves.

And the third is that one does not need to study all the intricate little details of a hypothesis to reject it when it's basic premise is false, flawed, unlikely, improbable, or flat out impossible.

I do not need to spend 20 years studying the Flying Pink Unicorn Theory, learning all the ins and outs of how he flies through the air farting rainbows and cures cancer only in really *deserving* little boys and girls before I reject your statement that there is a magic pink unicorn in your backyard that instantly transports itself to Guam the exact moment anyone looks at him.  It's so highly improbable on its face that I don't need much more information than that unless the information you have is actual, scientific proof that is falsifiable, replicate-able, has been replicated, and peer-reviewed and accepted, that not only suggests that this theory is true, but also answers all the other questions that the theories without the pink unicorn had previously answered.

And, besides that, I did study religion, and I continue to study religion.  So nyah.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

"Lots of smart people believe in God" is not a good argument for why God exists. Plenty of smart people, throughout history and today, have believed things that were mistaken. Smart people are not immune to error... especially when it comes to beliefs they're deeply attached to. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across
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The point is not who said it.  The point is, does the statement have validity and can it stand on its own no matter who says it?  That's the real benefit of the scientific method.  We don't believe in evolution because Darwin said so.  We accept evolution because, no matter who says it, it holds true and no matter who denies it, the truth stands.  Darwin just happened to be the guy to get the paper written on it first (and just barely, at that - some other guy came along with a similar idea and tried to report on it before Darwin felt ready to publish his own ideas).

The Argument from Authority is a logical fallacy.  It is convenient to take someone's word for something when that person has given evidence that he usually knows what he's talking about.  We can't actually fully analyze and study and understand everything we hear.  Sometimes we do have to take "on faith" that what someone says is true.

But the difference between this and the logical fallacy is that we are not accepting that the statement is true just because someone said so.  The statement still has to hold its own.  And if the consensus among people who dedicate their lives to studying the subject disagree with the Authority Figure, then the validity of the Authority Figure must be questioned.

With science, any claim *could* be researched by anybody if they wanted to put in the time and effort to research it and attempt to replicate the study.  So maybe I, as an individual, do not have that ability right this moment because I don't have the background or the money for school to get the background.  But because the statement is researchable, others can research it too.  And if no one else comes up with the same conclusion, then the statement does not stand on its own. 

I don't have "faith" that it's true because someone famous said so.  I believe it's true because I can follow the evidence and so can anyone else, and the evidence consistently points in this direction no matter who is looking at it, provided one is using the scientific method to reduce human error and bias.

It's not true because He said so.  It's true because it's true, and I just happened to hear about it because He said so.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Atheists are not solely governed by logic, evidence, and science. We're also shaped by passion, emotion, intuition, and personal experience. What with us being human. We simply think that logic and evidence are best suited to questions of what is and isn't true in the real, non-subjective world. Including the question of whether God exists. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.


This one drives me nuts. First of all, the assumption that we are heartless, have no feelings, or even disapprove of feelings, is completely and totally incorrect. We are human and "feelings" are a huge part of the definition of what it is to be human.

Second of all, why is it considered a "bad thing" to be governed by logic, evidence, and science? Science itself is done by people who are passionate about the subjects they are studying. Scientists find beauty, are overwhelmed by emotion, make intuitive leaps, just like everyone else. The only thing that logic and science tries to do with regards to emotion and passion is to make sure that emotion and passion is actually rooted in reality. It doesn't seek to eliminate it all together, that's not its function. 

The most rational, logical, analytical people I know are also some of the most passionate, exuberant, emotionally-driven people I know. These things go hand in hand. The difference is that the rational, logical, analytical people direct their passion and their emotion towards things that actually exist, things that are real, things that can DO something for them, things that can affect them in real life.

 I think that makes the potential for a stronger, more intense, more fulfilling emotional experience - when it's based in reality and not in fantasy. 
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Atheism is not arrogant. It's no more arrogant to say, "I really think I'm right that there is no God" than to say, "I really think I'm right that there is a God." In fact, atheism is often a humbling philosophy, one that sees humanity as a very small, brief facet in the vastness of space and time. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across.

I never quite understood how "I KNOW the answer, and the answer is that God created everything FOR US" was humble and "I'm not sure what the answer is, but we're working on it, and so far it looks like I'm pretty inconsequential" was arrogant.

I'm arrogant about a lot of things, but I just don't see how atheism is one of them.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Intuition and emotion are valuable... but they're of limited use in figuring out what is and isn't true in the external world. They're too subject to rationalization, confirmation bias, etc. And "Does God exist?" is a question about what is or isn't true in the external world. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get through.

Intuition and emotion are indeed valuable.  They make a significant part of the human experience.  They are often part of what defines us as human.  They are wonderful, awesome, amazing qualities.

But they are subjective.  They do not do a very good job of examining what is true.

What is true, is true whether anyone believes it or not.  What is true, is true whether anyone likes it or not.  And what we feel is not always what is true.

This doesn't mean that the feeling itself isn't true.  No, if you have a feeling, you are, for truth, feeling that feeling.

But what you are feeling that feeling *about* may or may not be *true*.  

We have a very good evolutionary advantage for developing brains that *feel* something, based on intuition or hunches or guesses, or even for no particular reason at all.  It's a survival trait.  If you *feel* that there is a big carnivore in those bushes over there waiting to eat you, acting on it but being wrong about it isn't all that harmful from an evolutionary standpoint.  But not "feeling" that there is a large carnivore in those bushes over there waiting to eat you and being wrong about *that*, well, you can see how a person with that trait might not live long enough to pass on the genes for not-feeling.

So feelings and intuition are good for survival.

But they're not good for understanding the world around us past a mere survival standpoint.  

We have a lot of evolutionary history to overcome in our effort to understand the universe.  That's where the scientific method comes in.  The scientific method does a very good job of limiting the effect of our subconscious Pascal's Wager.  But it's a learned skill, not necessarily an innate one.  Oh, the curiosity might be innate, but learning to recognize when we make a logical fallacy, when we're being subjected to confirmation bias, when we're suffering some form of pareidolia, or any of the other reasons Why We Believe Weird Things takes a lot of effort and often requires some sort of backup system, like a friend to give you a reality check.

So, by all means, continue to *feel*.  Continue to experience your emotions and your intuitions.  These are good things and serve a purpose.  But when your intuition, when your emotions, when your *feelings* are trying to tell you something about the external world, something that can be empirically answered yes or no, something other than inside your own head, do a reality check first.  Eliminate confirmation bias.  Eliminate pareidolia.  Ask people who don't already agree with you (otherwise known as cherry-picking the data).  

Unless your version of god is completely and totally hands-off (in which case, he might as well not exist for our purposes here), the question of whether or not there is a god is, indeed, a question of empirical truth.  Either he does or does not exist.  If he is capable of manipulating or interfering with or impacting the external world in any way, he is a question of empirical truth.  In matters of empirical truth, our "intuition" and our "feelings" are not good methods of determining the answer.  They're not supposed to be, that's not their function.  So enjoy them for what they are.  But when answering questions about the nature of the physical, external world, use the proper tool, the one whose function it is to answer questions about the physical, external world, not just save us from predators "in case".  Use science.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

"We don't currently understand X" is not a good argument for why "X must be caused by God or the supernatural." Without solid, positive evidence for why X is caused by God or the supernatural, this isn't a real argument -- it's just dodging the question. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get through.

Saying that anything we don't understand is therefore created by god doesn't actually answer the question of whatever it is that we don't understand.  It isn't useful, it doesn't tell us anything, and it doesn't give us the information we need to make predictions about the occurrence.  It's just another placeholder for "we don't know".  We can't DO anything with that as an answer.  And since the ultimate plan of god is supposedly unknowable, it really is just another way to say "we don't know".

And since every single time a supernatural entity was invoked as an "explanation" that science was able to investigate, every single time science has found an explanation that didn't end in "god did it".

The god-did-it answer is not an answer.  It's a dead end that does nothing to further our understanding of the universe.  We are where we are in society, in history, in achievement, because people did not accept that "god did it" was a suitable answer.  As we've gradually uncovered more and more real reasons for things, society and the quality of life for humans and the rest of the planet, have gotten demonstrably better.

Not perfect.  But better.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

We can acknowledge that something is hypothetically possible, and still reject it in any practical sense if it's implausible, unsupported by any good evidence, and inconsistent with what we know about the world. Including God or the supernatural. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get through.

It may be theoretically *possible* that all the oxygen molecules in this room right now could spontaneously decide to move into my empty cup.  According to the laws of physics, it's possible, but it's also so incredibly unlikely that it does not serve any purpose for me to account for the possibility as a probability.  There is no need whatsoever for me to behave in a fashion that accommodates this possibility.  I can reject this scenario as unlikely and be pretty damn safe about my rejection without requiring that I dismiss it's *possibility*.

The chances of it happening are so close to zero that we can safely behave as though it is zero.

The chances of a supernatural being existing are so close to zero that we can safely behave as though it is zero.

The chances of many so-far defined supernatural beings existing are *actually* zero because of their inherent contradictions in the definition.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

"That can't be a coincidence! It must have had a supernatural cause!" isn't a good argument for God or the supernatural. Our minds evolved to see patterns, even where none exist; and our intuitive understanding of probability is not very good. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get through.

Between pareidolia, post hoc rationalization, and confirmation bias, we are inherently flawed in our ability to tell "coincidence" apart from real correlation.  Science is the tool that gives us even a partial ability to see the difference because it minimizes our own flawed observance from the equation.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

In human history, natural explanations of phenomena have replaced supernatural ones many thousands of times. Supernatural explanations have replaced natural ones exactly never. So how likely is it that any currently unexplained phenomenon is supernatural? Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get through.

So far, every single time a theistic source makes a claim about the natural world, when our technology caught up enough to investigate the claim, EVERY SINGLE TIME the theistic claim was wrong.

Across the board, for all religions and philosophies.

To be fair, sometimes the natural explanation was wrong too.  But when that has happened, the correct explanation *still* turned out to be natural in basis.  The answer or explanation has NEVER, not once, ever, turned out to be supernatural.

Every single time we have answered anything about the physical universe, the explanation has been natural in origin.

This is why I claim the label "Gnostic Atheist".  In science, we can be *reasonably certain* when we use probability to behave as though it is true.  Inference is a legitimate method of making testable claims.  And so far, every time we've had the technology to test those claims, the explanation has always, without fail, shown a natural reason, not a supernatural one.  With a 100% accuracy rating (the explanation will turn out to be natural, not supernatural), I'd say it's a pretty high probability and I feel pretty safe in making the inference that any currently unexplained phenomena will also turn out to be natural.

I'm *reasonably certain* that when I let go of a roadcase at work, it will fall towards the ground and probably injure whatever body part it hits on the way down.  I make this claim because we have a hypothesis that there is something called gravity that makes things want to move in the direction of the earth when it has nothing in its way to prevent it.  This claim is testable.  It has been tested often enough that I can be reasonably certain that it is true, certain enough that I can make predictions based on the truth of the claim, and since those predictions have a high enough probability of being true, I can behave as though it is true.

The earth is not just 6,000 years old, we did not appear out of nowhere in our present form at the same time, the sun and moon were not put here for our use, the stars are not the hearths of our ancestors, and it's not turtles all the way down.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Saying "I think I'm probably right, and here are my reasons why" is not intolerant, narrow- minded, dogmatic, or superior. It's the marketplace of ideas. And that's just as true about atheism as it is about anything else. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get through.
joreth: (Super Tech)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Atheists have morality, as much as religious believers. We just don't think our moral compass is planted in us by God or supernatural forces, and we don't think fear of God's punishment is necessary to be a good person. We base our morality in this life: our empathy with others, and our observations about what causes suffering and happiness. Pass it on.

Here's another one that pisses me off.  I'll make my commentary short because so many people have said it so much better than I can.  Atheists are "moral", ethical people.  We care about others and we try to do good for society.  Why?  Because we have to live in it.  Anyone who says that, without god, there would be no morality, has just told you that the only thing stopping him from raping, pillaging and killing you is that he's afraid he'll get a spanking in the afterlife.  It's not because he actually *cares* for you.

I'm suspicious of anyone who gets their morality from a god, particularly one whose "god" speaks to them through a centuries-old book written by ignorant, backwards, misogynistic, patriarchal, old men who had absolutely no way to comprehend today's society.  I'm suspicious because they think their sense of morality comes from outside themselves, and is regulated by someone other than them.  What holds them back from being immoral is not an internal sense of right and wrong, but someone else telling them what to do. 

That means that, if that someone else ceases to tell them what to do, they'll revert to having no morals whatsoever.

That also means that if that someone else tells them to do something atrocious, they will.

I, on the other hand, understand that there is no one who will punish or reward me for my behaviour and all my consequences will be felt in this lifetime, without a way to "undo" them.  I also understand that I have a built-in sense of empathy that encourages me to feel compassionate towards people, not just for the sake of rewards and punishments.  

I remember as a kid being told to do something that I didn't understand and didn't want to do.  But if I was either promised a reward for it afterwards, or threatened with a punishment for not doing it, you can bet that I'd do it.  But without that inherent understanding of why I should, or without that internal belief that I should do it even without rewards or punishment, I was susceptible to the temptation that I should not do it, or I should skimp out on the details, or I would not do something similar because I didn't understand the motivation underlying it and therefore couldn't recognize the connection between the two actions.

This is not a "moral" person.  This is a child, with a child's sense of narcissism and lack of empathy.  This may also be a sociopath.  And this is who those religious people who use their god as the motivation for all their "moral" behaviour, are admitting to when they make this claim.
joreth: (Super Tech)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Atheists have meaning, hope, and joy in our lives. We simply focus that meaning, joy, and hope in this life, not in a hypothetical afterlife we think is implausible and have no reason to think exists. Pass it on.

It just drives me batty when people think that atheists have meaningless lives, are angry and depressed and are "missing something" because we have denied our connection to a god.

To me, the idea that we are created for the sole purpose of worshipping a tantrum-prone, narcissistic, and vengeful god who hired a better PR firm and is now trying to pretend that he's all loving and stuff while still sending people to be tortured for eternity simply for saying "I don't like you", THAT is enough to make me feel angry and depressed. That's enough to take away all the meaning my life has.

In a universe without a god (which this one is), there are no boundaries to what we can become, and no way of knowing what we will become, which makes the journey even more fascinating. There are only the boundaries of physics, and as we understand more about what those boundaries are, what we can do with them increases in number. A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from "magic".

The meaning in my life is to try and make this world a better place, to help people to understand themselves and each other, and to hopefully change society so that these lessons continue on after I'm gone.

The joy in my life is my work and my intentional family, including my pets. As Greta Christina says, atheists can have "transcendental" experiences, we just know that there's nothing supernatural about them. The joy of relating to such wonderful, fantastic people, the growth I experience through my relationships with them, and observing (and perhaps participating in) their own growth, and just the fun of being with these special people, how can anyone say my life has no joy?

The hope I have is for a better future. And the reason I have that hope is because I have evidence that it's possible. Over time, society has consistently gotten "better". Of course there have been bumps along the way, of course not every society has equal footing. But the overall trend has been for the quality of life for humans (and even the rest of the planet) to improve, to get easier and yet more enriching and fulfilling, over time. Today is better than 10 years ago. 10 years ago was better than the Victorian age. The Victorians had it better than the Medieval age. They had it better than the hunter-gatherers.

I have meaning, I have joy, and I have hope. I feel happy with life and I can't imagine ever getting bored with it or tired of it and wanting it to end. Putting a god in this reality takes all that away from me. I know that I have only this life to live, so I have to make it count. I know that the consequences of my actions will affect me today and I have no chance at forgiveness afterwards, so I have to be consious of what I do and how it affects other people. I do not need a god to tell me to be an ethical person. If I did ethical things because I was afraid of punishment, that doesn't *actually* make me an ethical person. I believe people should be treated with dignity, and I believe that all without a sky-daddy telling me to behave myself.

I know I seem like the quintessential Angry Atheist for those who only see me ranting about religious stupidity online. But that's because you are only seeing me while I am ranting. Everyone has something they get angry about. But, in life, overall, I am happy. And the happiest people I know are atheists. God does not give me meaning, joy, or hope. He takes it away.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Today's Atheist Meme of the Day:

Religion is a hypothesis about the world: how the world works, why it is the way it is. And it's just as valid to criticize it, question it, expect it to support itself with evidence, and make fun of it when it doesn't make sense, as any other hypothesis. Since it has failed at every single empirical statement it has ever made, it's ridiculously easy to reject it and make fun of it. Pass it on
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Every weekday, Greta Christina is going post a short, pithy, Facebook-ready atheist meme... in the hopes that people will spread them, and that eventually, the ideas will get through. (She may make the same point in different ways on different days: partly because different people find different angles on an idea easier to understand, and partly because repetition is itself useful in getting ideas across.) If you want to play, please feel free to pass these on through your own Facebook page, or whatever forum or social networking site you like. Or if you don't like hers, she says, make some of your own.  I am mostly quoting hers, with only slight alterations if I think some important point got left out for brevity.

Today's meme:
Atheism doesn't mean being 100% certain that God doesn't exist. It means being certain enough. It means thinking God is hypothetically possible, but unless we see some better evidence for him, we're going to assume he doesn't exist. The "a" in "atheism means only "without god", not "I'm certain there is no god".  That's gnosticism. Pass it on.

For the record, I'm a Gnostic Atheist, which means I'm reasonably certain there is no god and that I live my life without belief in god.  Agnostic means "I don't have knowledge" and Atheism means "I don't have belief".  Lacking something does not equate having its opposite, so "lacking belief in god" does not mean "having belief in no-god".  One can lack belief in god without *knowing* there is no god, that's Agnostic Atheism.  One can have belief in god without *knowing* there is no god, that's Agnostic Theism.  One can lack belief in god while *knowing* there is no god, that's Gnostic Atheism.  One can have belief in god while "knowing" there is god, that's Gnostic Theism.

Atheism means "without god", not "with no-god", there is a significant grammatical difference.  Saying that atheism is a religion is like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby.  And comparing Agnostic vs. Atheism as an either/or is poor grammar.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Considering how easy the questions were, I'm actually quite embarassed on behalf of my country for this score:

The Science Knowledge Quiz



In the question-by-question breakdown, they compare your answers with how many people in several demographics got that question right, such as men, women, education level categories, and age group categories.

I found it very interesting that the women did better than the men on the questions about medicine (for example, more women than men know the answer to whether antibiotics kill viruses and bacteria and which over-the-counter drug is recommended to reduce heart attacks, but men did way better on questions of science "trivia", like if lasers are made from sound waves and what GPS uses to find its location).  I think this fits stereotypes of women as the "homemaker", because it was always supposed to be the mother who took the kids to medical appointments and maintained the medicine cabinet (along with all other groceries), but the men are expected to just know "stuff".  And that really annoys me.

My age group (31-49) did consistently and significantly better on every question except 1 (where we came in second to the youngest age group), and, not surprisingly, those who graduated college swept every category over those with lesser amounts of formal education. But it was damn depressing to see just how few people actually got the questions right regardless of what demographic "won".

There's something wrong when a college senior / drop-out who hasn't used math in so long that simple addition requires a pencil and paper, who switched majors to the Liberal Arts because the Freshman Biology course required for the Veterinarian's degree was too much work, and whose eyes glaze over when people start talking about processor speed does better than 90% of the population on a very easy, 12-question quiz on basic science.
joreth: (Misty in Box)
OK, everyone else is doing this, I will to:

49 38 Questions for Grownups (where'd the others go?)

Tired of all of those surveys made up by high school kids?! 'Have you ever kissed someone? Missed someone? Told someone you loved them? Drank alcohol? Bah!

So instead, here: 49 38 questions for the people who are a little older!

What bill do you hate paying the most?
All of them, I hate spending money.  I've spent too much time being poor, I bitterly resent paying for basic necessities, which are all I currently have because I can only very rarely afford "luxuries" (like healthcare).

Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Uh, my version of "romantic" is not generally the same as other people's.  I thought it was "romantic" sharing a meal with my sweetie [livejournal.com profile] datan0de and his wife [livejournal.com profile] femetal.  I thought it was "romantic" when he drew a stick-figure drawing of me murding people on the styrofoam box (which I then cut out and kept).  I once thought it was "romantic" that someone replaced my car stereo for me, when mine died, as a surprise when I went out of town and lent him my car.  I thought it was "romantic" to have sex with someone for the first time while his wife was in bed with us listening and sharing the experience with us.  I thought it was "romantic" having [livejournal.com profile] tacit intentionally push my emotional buttons and make me do something I was *extremely* uncomfortable doing but wanted to get over being uncomfortable about.  I thought it was "romantic" having [livejournal.com profile] tacit go through my answers to his online fetish meme and having him accept and embrace those parts of me I am most embarassed about.  I thought it was "romantic" that both [livejournal.com profile] tacit and [livejournal.com profile] datan0de eagerly jumped at the chance to allow me to make clones of their penises so that I can use them to masturbate with.  But, I'm weird like that.

What do you really want to be doing right now?
There are so many different things that I want to be doing, I don't know if I could pick any one of them as higher priority than the others.  I really want to be at Dragoncon right now - [livejournal.com profile] datan0de and [livejournal.com profile] tacit have been frustratingly vague and teasing about their plans scheming and I'm probably rushing towards my own impending doom but I can't help eagerly anticipating the fruits of the truce I helped to orchestrate back at Frolicon.  I want to be working on a dozen different costumes I have planned, including a complete Victorian outfit (from the undergarments on out), 3 more Evil Elemental Elves, a latex comicbook Catwoman, the new addition of armor to my old latex Baroness, a pile of dance skirts I've been meaning to make out of old concert t-shirts when I worked on the crew, and lots more chain mail!  I want to be admiring my soon-to-be-newly-cleaned and organized room that will hopefully stay clean and organized after I get all the rest of the crap put away that I took out of my room to sort so I can pack for Dragoncon and that I had to pick up off the floor because it flooded 3 days ago and the carpet is still wet.  I want to be doing any number of things on my updated and revised Sex Acts I Haven't Done Yet And Want To list with [livejournal.com profile] tacit[livejournal.com profile] datan0de  and [livejournal.com profile] zensidhe (some of them require a combination of 2 or all 3 of the boys at once, and one or two could  even accomodate their spouses).  And I want to be cuddled up on my new and comfy bed, eating ice cream with [livejournal.com profile] datan0de and watching cheesy '80s movies. #NRE

How many colleges did you attend?
3 different colleges, 4 different majors.  I think I'm done now.

Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
It's black, it's warm (the A/C is on really high to try and dry out the carpet), and it was on top of the pile in the drawer.  This is actually my usual answer, except substitute "it's warm" for "it's cool in this fucking Florida humidity".

What are your thoughts on gas prices?
I think it's a complicated mess, but overall the price pisses me off, so I just keep reminding myself that when the prices skyrocketed, there was suddenly a push to find alternative fuel sources, and when they dropped, the focus on alt. sources dropped.

First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
Hazy memories of, um, video chat with [livejournal.com profile] datan0de earlier this morning - his morning starts several hours earlier than mine does, so I went back to bed.  I could really get used to waking up early for more um-video chats!

Last thought before going to sleep last night?
Angry thoughts of things I didn't say in my last response to my most recent breakup discussion (and the realization that it was probably a good thing I stopped the discussion before I said them, which is why they're running around in my brain now - no outlet).

Do you miss being a child?
Ugh, other than the part where someone else paid for all the bills and I could just blissfully expect the lights to turn on tomorrow through no intervention on my part, no, I don't miss anything about being a child.  All the best parts I got to keep, only now I know some things about life that the child-me couldn't possibly - and that makes even the best kid-parts way better!

What errand/chore do you despise?
Dishes.  I'd rather do any other household chore than dishes.  That includes cleaning the bathroom.  I might actually bother to cook again if I had someone else to clean my dishes for me.  Even when I *can* make a dish for just one person, I almost always opt not to in favor of not doing dishes afterwards.  Meals that cook in their own container are my friend!

Get up early or sleep in?
If by "get up early" you mean "early evening"... 

Have you found real love yet?
Several times.  Is there "love" that isn't real?

Favorite lunch meat:
Cold, sliced "lunchmeat": turkey.  Hot meat that just happens to be eaten at lunchtime: steak.

What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?
A major dip in my checking account.

Beach or lake?
Totally depends on the context.  I'll take a CA beach over a tropical beach any day, but for swimming, I prefer warm water and I prefer to swim without wildlife and bacteria (unless it's with dolphins).  Also, depends on whether the activity is for photos, for hanging out with friends, for swimming, for tanning, or for sex.  All very different requirements.

Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
First, I think the government needs to decide if it is going to regulate it as per contract law, in which case, keep the damn religious morality out of it, or if it's going to be a "religious observance", in which case, keep the damn government out of it.  I think the current version of legal marriage is a patchwork of changing morality and legal structure haphazardly slapped onto an outdated practice.  What people use marriage for today is not what marriage used to be used for, but the structure incorporates elements from previous incarnations and it shouldn't.  I have no problem with people wanting to define their marriages as something that is not based on past models, but I do have a problem with the fact that the legal and religious structures *do* continue to build on past models.

Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Never seen either.

What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Wow, there are so many.  Living or non?  Darwin, Dawkins, Randi, the Founding Fathers, Penn & Teller, John Steward Mill

Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
Several times.  I have pictures.

Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
Not for it's *intended* purpose, no.

Ring tone?
The only free ringtone I have that sounds most like a classic phone.

Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?
Probably in a parking lot.

Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go?
I managed to grow up in CA and still never make it to Muir Woods or Yosemite!  Muir Woods was supposed to be my Graduation Trip, but my friends all flaked out on me and I never got to go.

Do you go to church?
Hahahahaha.  No, but I used to sing in the church choir.  I would, however, love to do a series of erotic photos inspired by a set I saw recently by a guy who is getting sued for taking erotic photos in a church.  I would also LOVE to have sex in a confessional!  I gave a blowjob once behind the church during choir practice, and I had sex in the parking lot, but I want to try it in some more, uh, difficult places.

At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?
Neither.  I love my career and I hope I can do it for the rest of my life, although I would like to move up on the ladder a bit more, work more often, and make better wages.  I don't fancy changing my career and I rather don't fancy having to start the same career over again somewhere new if I have to work my way up from the bottom like I've already done twice in this same career (first when I got started, and again when I moved to FL).  I have also just started a new relationship that's going fantastically, and a new um-friendship that's been quite fun, plus I'm still with my long-time sweetie and a very-occasional FWB of several years, so I'm rather polysaturated at the moment.

How old are you?
32

Do you have a go to person?
Depends on for what.  I go-to my FWB for car repairs and uncomplicated, vanilla sex, I go-to my parents for financial assistance, I go-to my sweeties for emotional support and more complicated sex and just hanging out for fun.  I no longer have anyone I can count on for the practical applications of legal issues in emergencies.  My parents are the backup source for that, but they live far away and don't really understand some of my wishes in case of emergency - but they know the processes and as next of kin, there are no legal difficulties barring their ability to intervene.

Are you where you want to be in life?
I am *mostly* where I want to be in life.  My life is pretty fucking awesome, but there are a few things I wouldn't mind improving.  I'd like to work more often, particularly more camera work.  I'd like to travel more often, which I could do if I worked more often.  I'd like to not be living in Florida, but at the same time, I love my job and my friends here and don't want to leave them.  If I could either transplant all of that to Northern CA or I could transplant the weather and the geography (and a few West-Coast friends) here, then things would be perfect, even without more work or more travel.  Although life falls short of "perfection", it's still really where I want to be.  I'm even right about where I want to be in my emotional development - some things have been handled and some things are in the process of being handled, and I'm OK with that.

Growing up, what were your favorite cartoons?
G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man & She-Ra, Jem & The Holograms, Voltron, Smurfs, Gummy Bears, Loony Tunes, Animaniacs

What about you do you think has changed the most?
I've changed an awful lot about myself - mostly my outlook on things as I've gained access to better education.  I no longer believe in anything supernatural, for instance, whereas I was a practicing wiccan as early as 2nd grade and I believed in ghosts and reincarnation and ESP.  I discovered polyamory and no longer believe in The One True Way for relationships.

Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life?
Oh fuck no!  I had fun for some of it, but man was I naive!  I also had a lot of shit that I wouldn't wish on anyone else.  Graduation day was both the best and worst day of my life.  I'm so glad I'm not back there anymore!

Are there times you still feel like a kid?
That's difficult - mostly as a kid I didn't feel like a kid.  I've never really felt like a "kid", but I do retain a sense of amusement, of awe, and a little bit of silliness.

Did you ever own troll dolls?
I think I did, but I can't say for certain if those in my memory were actually mine or my sister's.

Did you have a pager?
Yep, it's how my older, high-school-drop-out fiance and I communicated throughout the day while I was still in school and how I convinced my mom to let me out of her sight once I got my driver's license because she could just page me if she wanted to reach me.  I still have my old list of pager codes somewhere, that used a series of 3-digit codes to communicate just about anything you might want to say to someone - and whatever the codes didn't cover, the numeric alphabet did.

Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager?
Depends on context.  On campus, my clique's spot was the payphone out behind the cafeteria, where we could send pager messages back and forth to our respective boyfriends.  In the neighborhood, it was the community pool, where we were eligible to work starting at age 12 and where we were all on the swim team together, so we gathered mostly without parental supervision because the parents all assumed we were being supervised by the adult managers (who were never there).

Were you the type of kid you would want your children to hang out with?
Since I don't want kids, that's a hard question.  My version of "children" are my cats, and sure, I think I made a great pet-friend as a kid.  I think I would have made a good influence on my nephew, so that's about as close as I can get to really parsing that question.

Who do you think impacted your life the most?
Depends on context, like almost anything else.  My high school counselor & my sister (with severe emotional issues) prompted my interest in psychology and sociology that I still use today in my activism.  My Acting For Film & Television teacher convinced me to change majors and go into the entertainment industry, and that has seriously impacted my life.  My second fiance was so horribly possessive and controlling that he prompted me into swearing off monogamy forever.  [livejournal.com profile] meowse was the first person to say the word "polyamory" to me, so I'd say that had a pretty fucking huge impact on my life.  [livejournal.com profile] tacit has been my inspiration and my foundation for all the self-improvement and self-exploration I have done over the last 5 years and he has taken me in leaps and bounds into the person I am today.

Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you?
I originally answered this in the previous question, since the answers apply, but I'll leave them separated here instead.  

Mrs. Gertz, my kindergarten teacher first prompted my passion for teaching and mentoring.  I went back and mentored her class for years afterwards.  She also encouraged an interest in computers and robotics that, to this day, I regret I never followed through on, when she brought in a computer-controlled wireless robot about 3 or 4 feet tall that I could give simple commands to that made it roll forward, backward, turn to the left or right, or spin in place.  I'm pretty sure it did other things, but that's all I remember it doing.  I was the only one in the class who grasped the concepts at that age enough to "program" the robot without help or supervision.  She also encouraged my interest in musical instruments.

My second-grade teacher, Mrs. Freeman sparked an interest in learning that far outweighed any other general interest in learning I had before or that any other teacher garnered since (a few sparked interests in particular subjects, but she fostered a love of learning for learning's sake).  She's the one who insisted I go into the Gifted And Talented Educational program even though I was passed over for testing for it in first grade, when we were usually tested for it.  

Our school librarian, whose name escapes me now but whose face I can still see clearly, with her messy brunette bun atop her head and penchant for denim jumpers, encouraged my love of books, rather than discouraged as so many people did before.  I was such a voracious reader that most people were telling me to put down my books, not pick up more.  Oh!  Her name was Mrs. Gellman.  She made me editor of the school paper, where I interviewed famous children's authors that she brought to the school and where I learned how to use a word processor.

I mentioned my high school counselor above.  I didn't really see her much outside of our required scholastic counseling, until my then-best-friend was abused by her father and I "kidnapped" her to rescue her and enlisted the help of the school counselor to keep her safe using the legal system.  I also went to my counselor for advice on how to mediate between my mother and my deeply troubled sister, who has since gotten most of her shit together.

My high-school alegebra teacher stands out because she was one of the last teachers to ever really understand that my brain works at a different pace than everyone else's.  I'm not particuarly smart compared to other people, but I do grasp concepts quickly and I learn better by reading/doing than by hearing.  Our school was college-prep, so we were given syllabuses like in college, that told us what to expect for the entire semester, including our homework assignments.  I would do my homework for the entire week in class on Monday, teaching myself from the book rather than listen to the lecture, and that allowed me to read in class all the rest of the week.  The teacher thought I was cheating because I didn't appear to pay attention yet I always got A's and I also never showed my work because I had a tendency to skip steps in my head.  One day, convinced she would "catch" me, she had me solve a problem on the board that was from later in that week's lesson, that she hadn't yet taught us to solve.  I stared at it for a few minutes, then wrote the answer without writing out any of the steps.  She asked how I arrived at the answer, I told her, she made me write out each step (which was *painfully* tedious to me), and I rolled my eyes and complied.  She never disbelieved me after that and, in fact, made me a math tutor for the next 3 years in geometry, alebra II and trig, even awarding me some kind of exemplary student award in math my junior year.  She was one of the last teachers to allow me to prove myself to her and to earn her respect based on my actual abilities, and to then treat me as an adult.  Almost all my college teachers thereafter expected me follow the plan whether it applied to me or not.

My Acting For Film And Television teacher, whom I mentioned above, also treated me as an adult and, once I had proved myself, took me at face value and respected me accordingly.  He stands out for his passionate argument that I was too talented and skilled to give up on the entertainment industry and that I could indeed make a living at it.  And I've never looked back.

--Okay. Your turn!
joreth: (Flogging)
I haven't taken the Purity Test in a few years, and it came up in conversation recently, so I thought I'd look it up and see what my score was now. I took the 500 Point ACL test:

You answered "yes" to 264 of 500 questions, making you 47.2% sexually pure (52.8% sexually corrupt); that is, you are 47.2% pure in the sex domain.

Unfortunately, all the questions about drugs keeps my score more-pure than I think of myself, but I don't consider drug use to be synonymous with "sexually pure".

Book Meme!

Aug. 2nd, 2009 11:58 pm
joreth: (Spank)
According to NPR, these are the books that voted the 100 best beach books. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you intend to read, strike out the ones you wouldn't read/finish on a bet.

I'm such a voracious reader that I've actually forgotten more books than most people will ever read in their lifetime - most of which are not listed here.  Most of the ones listed here as forgotten were school books and I didn't much care for it - otherwise I'd probably remember it better.  Although there are a few books that I remember liking but I don't remember the book itself.

Also, for these purposes, I consider listening to an audiobook to be the same as having read the book.  Watching the movie does not count.

1. The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
4. Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding
5. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen - (don't remember it at all)
6. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells
7. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald - (don't remember it at all)
8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
9. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg
10. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
11. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
12. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
13. The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan
14. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
- hated it
16. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
17. Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
18. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
19. Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
20. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
21. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain - (don't remember it at all)
22. The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver
23. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith
24. The World According to Garp, by John Irving
25. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller - (don't remember it at all)
26. The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy
27. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel
28. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
29. The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler
30. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
31. A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
32. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck - (don't remember it at all)
33. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
34. Beach Music, by Pat Conroy
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
36. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier
37. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
38. Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry
39. The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
40. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon
41. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
42. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
43. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice
44. Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
45. Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
46. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
47. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
48. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, by Tom Robbins
49. I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb
50. Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie
51. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
52. The Stand, by Stephen King
53. She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb
54. Dune, by Frank Herbert
55. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
56. Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
57. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
58. Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
59. The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
60. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith - (don't remember it at all)
61. Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver
62. Jaws, by Peter Benchley
63. Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner
64. Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
65. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
66. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway
67. The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand
68. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
69. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
70. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
71. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
72. The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy
73. Cold Sassy Tree, by Olive Ann Burns
74. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
75. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
76. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë - (don't remember it at all)
77. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
78. The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher
79. Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver
80. Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
81. Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck
82. The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve
83. All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
84. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
85. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
86. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
87. One for the Money, by Janet Evanovich
88. Shogun, by James Clavell
89. Dracula, by Bram Stoker
90. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera
91. Presumed Innocent, by Scott Turow
92. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger - (don't remember it at all)
93. The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
94. Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris
95. Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume - (don't remember it at all)
96. The Shining, by Stephen King
97. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, by Terry McMillan
98. Lamb, by Christopher Moore
99. Sick Puppy, by Carl Hiaasen
100. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
joreth: (Super Tech)

Your result for Test yourself: What alignment are you?...

True Neutral

You are The Druid; True Neutral.

You scored 46% Lawful and 40% Good, which makes you True Neutral.

Chaotic-Lawful is the ethical scale, on which you scored 46%, where 0% is utter chaos and 100% is total cosmos.
This Lawful scale doesn't necessarily judge how committed to the system you are, even though one could guess so from the name since the system usually holds the law, but instead it means how sorted internally you are, and how likely it is for you to choose cosmos over chaos.

You are neutral, and are as such an individual who either doesn't mind one over the other of chaos and stillness, or can go both ways depending on how you feel. You don't necessarily follow laws that blindly, and you don't act too randomly.

The Evil-Good scale is quite easily figured out, being the morale scale, and on this you scored 40%, where 0% is totally evil and 100% is completely good.

Now, evil here on this scale doesn't necessarily mean you're out to make people suffer. It means ego-centering and glorification of one's ego. You, as neutral, don’t make your actions based on a selfless vs selfish basis, but rather what you have judged to be the right thing to do for other reasons.


A farmer whose primary overriding concern is to feed his family is of this alignment. Most animals, lacking the capacity for moral judgement, are of this alignment. Some neutral characters, rather than feeling undecided, are committed to a balance between the alignments. They may see good, evil, law and chaos as simply prejudices and dangerous extremes.


Take Test yourself: What alignment are you?
at HelloQuizzy



Me: I am totally OK with being a True Neutral.
[Bad username or unknown identity: datan0de:  ]I'm not surprised at all, but I am a little concerned.
Me: *shrug* eh.
[Bad username or unknown identity: datan0de:  ]And that is exactly the response you should have - that just confirms it
Me: *shrug* eh, yeah.





Your result for The Which Star Trek Species Would You Be? Test...

Vulcan

The logical and loyal. Congrats, my favourite species!

Congrats, you're a Vulcan! You tend to be the more logical person. Whenever a difficult task comes up, you are the one with the answer. You analyse everything, and make sure you have the right answer before saying anything. You tend to be a more peaceful person, preferring not to act in violence. You are extremely loyal to your friends. However, many people tend to see you as emotionless. This is not true. You tend to hide your emotions from others, rather than let them show through. You are very good at giving advice and saving the humans when they make reckless mistakes.

Well-known Vulcans include: The icon of Trek, Spock; Sarek, fathe of Spock; Tuvok of Voyager; and T'Pol of Enterprise.

Take The Which Star Trek Species Would You Be? Test at HelloQuizzy

COMPARED TO OTHER TAKERS

  • 56/100You scored 53% on Vulcan, higher than 56% of your peers.


  • 76/100You scored 13% on Klingon, higher than 76% of your peers.
  •  
  • 64/100You scored 20% on Romulan, higher than 64% of your peers.
  •  
  • 27/100You scored 0% on Cardassian, higher than 27% of your peers.
  •  
  • 23/100You scored 0% on Ferengi, higher than 23% of your peers.
  •  
  • 46/100You scored 13% on Borg, higher than 46% of your peers.

Oh, OK

Jul. 15th, 2009 03:52 am
joreth: (Nude Drawing)
"If there is someone on your friends list you would like to take, strip naked with, let them tie you to a bed post, have them lick you until you scream, then fuck until both of you are senseless and unable to fuck anymore, then wait about five minutes and do it all over again, post this exact sentence in your journal."

As [livejournal.com profile] tacit says, there are several people on my friends list that I have done this (or similar) with and several more that I haven't but would like to ... plus a good number of people I wouldn't mind doing this with all at once!  But I'm finding this particularly amusing right now in light of my recent party activities (along with a coincidental Twitter Astronomy Survey) so I'm joining the meme.

And for those of you on my friends list who are reasonably or even just pretty sure that this statement applies to you ... it probably does ;-)
joreth: (Misty in Box)
reposted from [livejournal.com profile] dayo :

Are you a woman living in the United States?
Are you at least 18 years old?
Would you like to help in the effort to improve health care access?

We want to hear from you!

Melissa Howell, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago is conducting The Women’s Health Access Project (WHAP), a survey to gather information about what you think about your health, health care access, and how you make health care decisions. The more women who participate, the more information policymakers will have, so we hope you can help!

To complete an anonymous online questionnaire and join your voice with many others, please follow this link:

https://surveys.luc.edu/opinio6/s?s=WHAP

Spread the word! If you would like to invite other women to participate, please forward or post this message in its entirety.

If you have any questions, please contact the researcher, Melissa Howell, at Loyola University Chicago (mhowell1@luc.edu) or her faculty advisor, Dr. Anne Figert at afigert@luc.edu or                (773) 508-3431        .

Thank you for your help!
joreth: (Nude Drawing)

Remember that Sex Map I posted a while ago? Now you can get it on a poster!   Hurry up and order one now!  Click on the image below to order your very own Sex Map Poster!


joreth: (Nude Drawing)
I made a couple of mistakes, but I didn't want to have to reset it, so I just left them in there.  For instance, I have a green "I've been there" pin for rape and a purple "I want to go there" pin for rape because I didn't see there was a rape fantasy land in another place.  In this case, I've been to "attempted but not completed rape" but I don't particularly want to go there again, but I *do* want to visit "fantasy rape".

tacit has updated the map but not the interactive map, so I'm just going to leave it as it is until the interactive map gets updated.  Since I'll have to do this all over again anyway, I can fix the mistakes in the next version.

I'm also thinking of adding this to my Sexual History and Health Disclosure procedure, along with the History form and the clinic paperwork.  I think it'll add a little bit of fun and be less dry and technical (and hopefully less off-putting).




Find out where I've journeyed
on the Map of Human Sexuality!
Or get your own here
 

joreth: (Misty in Box)
or so I've been told.  The overwhelming majority of exes agree on two things: that I'm a cat and that I can be a bitch, which sometimes are interchangeable ... canine origins of the word notwithstanding.  From the description, I think I'm more like a bear, but I think the "hates water" and "smaller than average" questions put me in kitten instead.
You Are A: Kitten!

kitty catCute as can be, kittens are playful, mischevious, and ever-curious. Like you, kittens hate getting wet. Kittens are often loving, but are known to scratch or bite when annoyed. These adorable animals are the most popular pets in the United States--37% of American households have at least one cat. Whether it is your gentle purr or your disarming appearance, you make a wonderful kitten.

You were almost a: Bear Cub or a Squirrel
You are least like a: Lamb or a PuppyWhat Cute Animal Are You?
 
BearAbout Bears

Bears are strong and independent creatures who roam in the forest in search of food. Bears are usually gentle, but anger one and be prepared for their full fury! Intelligent and resourceful, though lazy at times, bears are fascinating creatures of the wild.

joreth: (Misty in Box)

Your rainbow is intensely shaded red, green, and violet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What is says about you: You are an intelligent person. You appreciate energetic people. You get bored easily and want friends who will keep up with you. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.
joreth: (Super Tech)

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Jackie!

mm.jackie_.jpg

You are a Jackie. "I do everything the right way."

Jackies are realistic, conscientious, and principled. They strive to live up to their high ideals.

How to Get Along with Me 

* Take your share of the responsibility so I don't end up with all the work. 

* Acknowledge my achievements. 

* I'm hard on myself. Reassure me that I'm fine the way I am. 

* Tell me that you value my advice. 

* Be fair and considerate, as I am. 

* Apologize if you have been unthoughtful. It will help me to forgive. 

* Gently encourage me to lighten up and to laugh at myself when I get uptight, but hear my worries first.

What I Like About Being a Jackie

* Being self-disciplined and able to accomplish a great deal 

* Working hard to make the world a better place 

* Having high standards and ethics; not compromising myself 

* Being reasonable, responsible, and dedicated in everything I do 

* Being able to put facts together, coming to good understandings, and figuring out wise solutions 

* Being the best I can be and bringing out the best in other people

What's Hard About Being a Jackie 

* Being disappointed with myself or others when my expectations are not met 

* Feeling burdened by too much responsibility 

* Thinking that what I do is never good enough 

* Not being appreciated for what I do for people 

* Being upset because others aren't trying as hard as I am 

* Obsessing about what I did or what I should do 

* Being tense, anxious, and taking things too seriously

Jackies as Children Often 

* Criticize themselves in anticipation of criticism from others 

* Refrain from doing things that they think might not come out perfect 

* Focus on living up to the expectations of their parents and teachers 

* Are very responsible; may assume the role of parent 

* Hold back negative emotions ("good children aren't angry")

Jackies as Parents 

* Teach their children responsibility and strong moral values 

* Are consistent and fair 

* Discipline firmly

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Bette!

mm.bette_.jpg

You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me

* Stand up for yourself... and me.

* Be confident, strong, and direct.

* Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.

* Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.

* Give me space to be alone.

* Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.

* I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.

* When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.


What I Like About Being a Bette

* being independent and self-reliant

* being able to take charge and meet challenges head on

* being courageous, straightforward, and honest

* getting all the enjoyment I can out of life

* supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me

* upholding just causes



What's Hard About Being a Bette

* overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to

* being restless and impatient with others' incompetence

* sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it

* never forgetting injuries or injustices

* putting too much pressure on myself

* getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

 


 


Bettes as Children Often

* are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit

* are sometimes loners

* seize control so they won't be controlled

* figure out others' weaknesses

* attack verbally or physically when provoked

* take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

 

Bettes as Parents

* are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted

* are sometimes overprotective

* can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Narcissism

Oct. 8th, 2008 11:20 pm
joreth: (Self-Portrait)
Post a picture in my comments of what you think describes me when you think about what/who I am.

Give no written explanation though. Just an image.

(Optional) Copy and paste into your own journal and see what others think about you in pictures!
joreth: (Super Tech)

Thanks [livejournal.com profile] redheadlass, for the meme! This would be perfect if the exploration project had a very small crew of handpicked associates, rather than totally alone.

Your result for Reincarnation Placement Exam...

Deep Space Explorer


Hmm... You're a tough one to place. Your answers indicate that you like technology and education. You enjoy intrigue, adventure and chaos. You're fine with hard work and civilization. This all bodes well for an interesting, adventurous life.

What makes it difficult, however, is that you don't seem to be much of a 'people person.'

If you were more of a people person, we would have commissioned you aboard the Starship Enterprise. But since you don't care much for the complications of dealing with your fellow man... we have another deep-space mission, more tailored for your tastes... a way for you to enjoy the benefits of high-tech civilization without having to put up with civilization itself. Let's set you up to pursue the solo career of a deep space explorer. You can go ahead and hibernate through the boring parts of your mission, and not worry so much about being a few decades out of touch with your fellows by the time you get home. In fact, you pretty much don't have to deal with people at all, but you can still enjoy a high-flying adventure of a life. Far, far away from the madding crowd, you get to play with your scientific instruments, serve your glorious civilization, and do interesting things with strange discoveries in exotic places.

The career might work out all right. Look what it did for Charlton Heston.

Take Reincarnation Placement Exam at HelloQuizzy

 

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