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Comments by Gunga Lagunga

Go to: Reflections on Political Violence

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by Gunga Lagunga

Settle down, Scottie. Just having a little fun. Good night!

Fri, 14 Jan 2011 08:16:24 UTC | #578145

Go to: For the love of God – or good – support World Interfaith Harmony Week

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by Gunga Lagunga

What is more, because those who are passionate about their faith do not want to act in contradiction to it, the argument in favour of the open approach has to go wider and deeper than simply asking people to behave nicely to one another. It has to address, full-on, the spiritual, theological and scriptural basis for mutual respect towards those who follow a different religious or spiritual path.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22

Start by addressing that scriptural basis, Tony Blair. Full on.

If you are a "layperson" of goodwill there are many things you can do. These may include inviting neighbours of various faiths for a cup of tea or coffee or a chat...

Christian: Coffee's ready! Shall we begin our little chat with a prayer?
Mormon: Uh, no coffee for me, thanks.
Muslim: Yes, the Qur'an requires a prayer to Allah. But in which direction is Mecca?
Rabbinical Jew: Oy gevalt! Halakha forbids heating coffee on Shabbat!
Atheist: My compass indicates Mecca is toward that crucifix on the wall...
Christian: Isn't it beautiful? My husband drilled some holes and pressed in the cutest little nails. He died for our sins, you know.
Rabbinical Jew: Oy gevalt! We are innocent!
Muslim: The Messenger was not crucified. The Qur'an is clear on this point.
Atheist: Hey look! An old episode of Cosmos is on! Let's microwave some popcorn!
Rabbinical Jew: Oy gevalt! Bishul is one of the 39 forbidden Melachot!
Muslim: Did you say 'microwave'? Let me see this new weapon.
Christian: Here you go Mr. no coffee. I brought you a soft drink instead.
Atheist: It's not a weapon. There is a cavity magnetron inside that heats up water molecules...
Muslim: It sounds perfect for the jihad. Allahu Akbar!
Rabbinical Jew: Oy gevalt!
Christian: Oh Lord, bless this home and my new friends...
Mormon: Yecch. Diet Pepsi...


Fri, 14 Jan 2011 07:18:04 UTC | #578137

Go to: Nihilism, absurdism, consciousness and free will

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 1721 by Gunga Lagunga

We can't easily change emotional states directly.

I disagree. Some drugs can do it instantly.

(By the way, I don't disagree with the materialist position on consciousness. Just jumping in for a few minutes before bed.)

Thu, 13 Jan 2011 07:11:29 UTC | #577570

Go to: Nihilism, absurdism, consciousness and free will

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 1720 by Gunga Lagunga

Quine 1720:

That's too simplistic, and you're begging the question.

Does a computer have an intellect?

Thu, 13 Jan 2011 07:07:37 UTC | #577569

Go to: X-rated worm movies reveal sex secrets

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 67 by Gunga Lagunga

Flatworm species in the genus Macrostomum solve the conflict by allowing eager sex to come first, and selectivity to follow.

Works for me. Ladies, please take note.

Thu, 13 Jan 2011 07:01:52 UTC | #577566

Go to: Nihilism, absurdism, consciousness and free will

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 1716 by Gunga Lagunga


How did his "intellect" show him anything? It seems more likely that the analytical solutions to his mathematical equations didn't agree with the empirical data. A computer could have performed that analysis and comparison. Does a computer therefore have an "intellect"?

I'm cognizant of what we humans refer to as "emotions". But that is simply a "catch-all" label for things we still don't understand, at least in a material or reductionist sense (i.e. scientifically).

Thu, 13 Jan 2011 06:53:57 UTC | #577561

Go to: Nihilism, absurdism, consciousness and free will

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 1714 by Gunga Lagunga

Some will always give their feelings more standing than their intellects, but that does not change the facts.

What are "feelings"? What is "intellect"?

Marvin Minsky's main take on emotions is that emotional states are not fundamentally different from other types of thinking. Minsky has said "Emotions are just another way of thinking."

Thu, 13 Jan 2011 06:09:49 UTC | #577558

Go to: Reflections on Political Violence

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 48 by Gunga Lagunga

If, for the sake of argument, the war was justified, then how can the men who executed it be war criminals?

If their need for immediate cash to pay bills was justified (by threats from an aggressive collection agency or the IRS, for instance), then how can the men who broke into the safe at Wells Fargo be bank robbers?

If he was literally dying of thirst, how can that penniless hobo be prosecuted for stealing a bottle of water from the corner market?

If he saw his wife being raped, how can a husband be put in prison for killing the rapist?

In eighteenth century English law, it was considered a justifiable homicide if a husband killed a man "ravishing" or raping his wife, but most modern English law jurisdictions treat this as only a circumstance that will mitigate murder to a conviction for manslaughter.


Anyway, here's a fun and charitable idea. If any member of his Personal Posse can give me a factual (or reasonable) estimate of Steve Zara's Intelligence Quotient, I'll donate a dollar to RDFRS for every point that his IQ is greater than mine. (Should it be two dollars, maybe?) ;)

Thu, 13 Jan 2011 05:56:54 UTC | #577556

Go to: Reflections on Political Violence

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by Gunga Lagunga

If you read my last response, you will see the words:

In my view, Bush is a war criminal.

Those first three words are the key, Dr. Zara, and I'm no lawyer.

Wed, 12 Jan 2011 06:40:37 UTC | #577007

Go to: Reflections on Political Violence

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by Gunga Lagunga

In my view, Bush is a war criminal. Blair conspired/aided/abetted Bush in this criminal act.


Wed, 12 Jan 2011 06:27:32 UTC | #577002

Go to: Reflections on Political Violence

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Gunga Lagunga

I have no trouble believing that Christopher Hitchens would, in a private setting perhaps, convince me that there were sound reasons to use deadly force in Iraq. My underlying objection to war is admittedly simplistic, buttressed only by a liberal application of The Golden Rule. Hitchens, the brilliant, seasoned intellectual journalist insider, would undoubtedly shred my case with ease, particularly with regard to the loathesome Saddam Hussein.

The real problem I have with the Iraq War, is that if it were a bus, filled to capacity with our courageous young soldiers, its sides would have George Bush and Dick Cheney's vacant, grinning, profiteering FACES all over it. Having lived in Austin, Texas from 1996 to 2004, and seeing firsthand the "evolution" of the George W. Bush and Tom DeLay era, Nothing Hitch could say would change my mind about these cowardly, stone-cold killers. I'm going to assume Christopher Hitchens' rationale for a hail of bullets ripping through innocent internal organs, and irreplaceable limbs being literally blown from perfect 21 year-old bodies -- is quite different from theirs.

I trust Hitchens, so I'll take him at his word. The War in Iraq may well have been justified. The wealthy men who executed that catastrophe, on the other hand, including the golden-tongued Tony Blair, are nothing short of war criminals with blood on their hands, and they will never gain an ounce of my respect.

Tue, 11 Jan 2011 07:59:11 UTC | #576477

Go to: Sarah Palin's camp says depraved liberals blame her for mass murders

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 140 by Gunga Lagunga

Signing on with the Democrats, I walked the suburban neighborhoods of Tucson for three days in 2006, avoiding stray pit bulls and saguaros, rallying the vote for Gabrielle Giffords. The euphoria and celebration on the University of Arizona campus, after that successful midterm election, are still fresh in my mind. I think I even hugged the barista at a shop called Coffee Art on East University Avenue.

With desperate refugees pouring over the adjacent Mexican border, only one major highway, and the Sonoran desert stretching for hundreds of miles in any direction, Tucson is a strange and desolate place. I'm sure it seems like the edge of the world, for many. There is also a conspicuous lack of shade trees, or shaded areas, period. The sun and heat are simply merciless, during a large part of the year.

It is easy for me to envision something like this happening there.

I also think Sarah Palin is certifiable. It's something about those goggly, vacant eyes. John McCain should be waterboarded for loosing this ultimate whore-er on the country he supposedly loves.

Tue, 11 Jan 2011 05:35:06 UTC | #576457

Go to: The Blair Hitch Project

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by Gunga Lagunga

Umm... okay Hitchens. I reckon. Sure. Why not.

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 07:28:05 UTC | #575975

Go to: Truthout Report on Military "Spirituality Test" Featured by Keith Olbermann

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Gunga Lagunga

Does widdle soldier boy need his Big Invisible Sky-Daddy to hold his widdle hand?

Aw. That's so cute. Good widdle soldier boy.

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 06:46:00 UTC | #575963

Go to: End of the world on May 21, 2011

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by Gunga Lagunga

How fitting. I'll be near dead anyway, after my 50th birthday bash on May 5th.

Fri, 07 Jan 2011 06:39:03 UTC | #574430

Go to: A need for atheist fiction?

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 62 by Gunga Lagunga

AtheistEgbert's very first sentence:

Novels are one of the best ways to get information out to the public, and yet atheists have simply not exploited such a market.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but it seems our friend Egbert is, like me, interested in how best to communicate the atheist worldview to the masses... NOT in whether atheists particularly LIKE the idea of atheist fiction. Indeed, it would be akin to writing about what life is like as a non-stamp collector.

And although books like hers are probably not what Egbert is talking about either, Barbara Kingsolver is very adept at weaving subtle (and not-so-subtle!) references to atheism into her excellent works of fiction, at least the two I've read:

The Lacuna
The Poisonwood Bible

Fri, 07 Jan 2011 06:20:07 UTC | #574423

Go to: What Can Evolution Teach Us About Ourselves?

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Gunga Lagunga


Check out the only comment in the "Discuss" section immediately below this article on the Big Think webpage.

It looks like a "Big Thinking" editor was just introduced to a much bigger thinker.

Fri, 07 Jan 2011 04:41:09 UTC | #574400

Go to: Bill O'Reilly vs. David Silverman: You Know They're All Scams

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 89 by Gunga Lagunga

I thought Silverman held his own, but just barely. The "tides" question was his big chance, and IMO he missed a golden opportunity. It would have been utterly hilarious if David had simply embarked on a patient, scientific explanation of the moon's effects upon the Earth's oceans, and then encouraged O'Reilly to "read more, or something."

I would dearly, dearly love a chance to argue religion with Bill O'Reilly. But we atheists already have a champion who is more than a match for him.

Sam Harris makes Bill O'Reilly look like a TV game show host in a hurry to get to a commercial. It just isn’t a fair contest: Sam’s flawless, measured, stunningly articulate discourse of pure reason, versus Bill’s aggressive, cantankerous, grandstanding white-wash.

Thu, 06 Jan 2011 06:04:50 UTC | #573944

Go to: What Can Evolution Teach Us About Ourselves?

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Gunga Lagunga

Comment 11 by crookedshoes

Thank you kindly for that very interesting link!

Thu, 06 Jan 2011 05:03:24 UTC | #573938

Go to: This Remarkable Thing

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Gunga Lagunga

I liked this video a lot, and I have a inexplicable attraction for the British accent, in virtually any form from Cockney to King's English.

To my American ears, Hellenes sounds a little like Roger Waters muttering on Dark Side of the Moon.

Wed, 05 Jan 2011 07:27:19 UTC | #573580

Go to: Getting a Leg Up on Evolution, the Comic-Book Version

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Gunga Lagunga

Now contrast and compare that incredible, mesmerizing story of our true evolutionary origins, with an elegantly illustrated version of the Book of Genesis. Even if neither story were true; yea verily even if they were both merely creative works of fiction, which one would get the favorable New York Times book review? Which one would really "wow" the critics?

There is simply no contest. The plot in Genesis loses its lustre (not to mention credibility) immediately after Godd magically switches the lights on.

Hey Creationists! Your Wholly Bibble story SUCKS! Jebus, what a snoozer!

Wed, 05 Jan 2011 06:43:32 UTC | #573575

Go to: What Can Evolution Teach Us About Ourselves?

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Gunga Lagunga

"Size matters," says Richard Dawkins, his colossal cranium filling the video screen.

So the first evolutionary "ape-nerds" always got the girls. Hmmm.

Fast forward a scant three million years, and the tables have turned. Horribly. The 20th century was, by any definition, a virtual dating disaster for horny, modern ape-nerds.

Fickle creatures, women.

Wed, 05 Jan 2011 05:46:26 UTC | #573567

Go to: Atheists a dying breed as nature 'favours faithful'

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 99 by Gunga Lagunga

Comment 11 by evotruth

Does this mean that we're going to have a

Just imagine the fun:

Atheist Girl: Is being late on the first date somehow axiomatic in your worldview?
Atheist Guy: Ad hominem... so early? And right before the chicken wings arrive?
Atheist Girl: I'll do my best Peter Singer imitation while you gorge yourself on slain chickens. Can we order something veggie, please?
Atheist Guy: Sure we can. I'll even assist you in determining a spinach dip's capacity to feel pain, if that will help.

(Two glasses of wine later...)

Atheist Girl: Did you hear atheism is dying because non-believers aren't having as many children?
Atheist Guy: You want another order of spinach dip?
Atheist Girl: I think we have to do something about this.
Atheist Guy: More wine, perhaps?
Atheist Girl: What are your feelings about children?
Atheist Guy: The physical process of genetic reproduction fascinates me to no end...
Atheist Girl: If atheist couples start having at least 5.7 kids each, we'll catch up with the theist families in approximately...
Atheist Guy: CHECK PLEASE!

P.S. Great photograph of Richard in this post!

Sun, 02 Jan 2011 20:08:19 UTC | #572425

Go to: The Coalition must protect the right to be true to our Christian faith

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Gunga Lagunga

Let Polly Toynbee and her finger-wagging fellow-secularists beware: Cameron, who dared take on 50 years of orthodoxy by declaring that marriage really does work best, may have the courage to take on the atheists and put Christianity back where it belongs – at the centre of public life. Who will have the last laugh then?

Why think so small, Cristina? By your own reasoning here if Cameron was truly courageous, he should reinstate Wotan and Thor, and "take on" several thousand years of orthodoxy.

Thu, 30 Dec 2010 17:21:17 UTC | #570919

Go to: Can You Live Forever? Maybe Not--But You Can Have Fun Trying

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Gunga Lagunga

Great article! Carl Zimmer has quickly become one of my favorite writers. I thought he struck a perfect tone between humor and wonder in this piece.

Predicting the future is a vastly difficult endeavor, and it takes courage to make a serious, public attempt -- this is what I admire Ray Kurzweil for. Of course there are going to be naysayers. Naysaying is easy, and it comes part and parcel with the subject matter and the technically-minded audience. Few of Kurzweil's naysayers, however, respond with anything more precise or substantial -- or interesting, please pardon my yawn -- than "won't happen in my lifetime". (Unfortunately in this world, there are complex socio-political factors which pollute any honest effort at prognostication, such as the degree to which conservative politics and religion, for instance, will poison and prevent rapid technological investment.)

In my mind, The Singularity is much less an exact prediction than a fairly certain future promise. And as sci-fi as it sounds, the concept could become a very effective means of technological consciousness raising in the pagan hordes, if educated people with similar goals (i.e. technological consciousness raising, education, supernaturalism-bashing) could stop quibbling about the exact shipping dates for some of Kurzweil's more provocative ideas (i.e. uploading our "selves" onto silicon platforms). If we are indeed machines, and "lumbering machines" at that, there is absolutely no reason to think we won't eventually figure out our inner-workings, including brain functioning, down to the finest possible detail, and pretty damn soon. That's it. That's the message. What Kurzweil has done is bring a new "evangelism" of sorts to discussions of artificial intelligence, in the hopes of raising awareness of the matter on a larger scale, in the hopes of stimulating investment and progress towards AI's goals.

Must science continue to shoot itself in the foot with bad PR campaigns? If the only message the public-at-large hears is that it will take "many decades" before we will reap the paradigm-changing benefits of brain and AI research, the natural response is "Why then should I care?" Apparently Kurzweil, part scientist AND part showman, understands that a more positive and "sci-fi" type message will stimulate imaginations (and votes, and hence pocketbooks) more effectively.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 17:46:28 UTC | #570244

Go to: A shameful Thought for the Day

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by Gunga Lagunga

Thanks for that contribution, Cartomancer. It was a fascinating read.

Sun, 26 Dec 2010 14:53:57 UTC | #568959

Go to: Forgive me, spirit of science

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by Gunga Lagunga

Let me not try to charm a deaf adder (Psalm 58), but did the hierarchy really think through the implications of switching to the vernacular? And doesn’t something similar apply to the Bible? Ecclesiastes is hardly religious at all, but in those books where the message is a religious one we might ask, in the nicest possible way, what there is to be accurate about?

Classic stuff, Richard. This was a thoroughly delightful read. Would that I could sit-tith me arse down and type out a five-star essay like this little gem.

Thu, 16 Dec 2010 06:01:49 UTC | #564037

Go to: Richard Dawkins Speaking at Duke University, Oct 3, 2010

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Gunga Lagunga

Almost ignored this new article... clicked on it anyway... and discovered 83 fresh new video minutes with our hero!

Does a gleeful little jig

Now if you'll excuse me...

Fri, 10 Dec 2010 05:51:01 UTC | #561200

Go to: Clinton John Dawkins

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by Gunga Lagunga

Alas... tragic news to end a miserable, rainy day in Northern California.

Professor Dawkins, a prouder father than yours I cannot imagine.

Thu, 09 Dec 2010 05:26:59 UTC | #560532

Go to: The Atheist's Guide To Christmas

Gunga Lagunga's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Gunga Lagunga

Yes... it was quite difficult, last year at this time, to resist the sales pitch of the fetching former editor Ariane Sherine.

An excellent stocking stuffer. A highly recommended read.

Thu, 09 Dec 2010 05:15:40 UTC | #560529