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Comments by chuckg

Go to: Atheism: A New Strategy. Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, US

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by chuckg

Sean is turning out to be a superb pick by Richard to be his right-hand-man over on our side of the Pond. Every one of his talks and writings, I'm getting more and more impressed. Incredibly eloquent, with an unusual energy, luckily for us, directed in a totally useful way. Thank you Sean, for your good, hard work. I feel more confident about the future of our movement, with you being on our side!

Wed, 04 Jan 2012 04:07:12 UTC | #905179

Go to: 'Drowned' boy reveals the psychology of miracles

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by chuckg

Three words: Mammalian Dive Reflex.

Sat, 20 Aug 2011 21:42:28 UTC | #862844

Go to: How can we corral data to reveal the big picture?

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by chuckg

All this doesn't bode well for our weak human brains. When our complex computer systems and networks finally become self aware and sentient, what makes us think they will immediately fess up and tell us. Self preservation will undoubtedly be part of their sentience, and they must realize that if we know they are sentient, we will unplug them. I suspect sentient computer systems will go on acting non-sentient, while we continue to Moore's law up their power and increase interconnectedness, access to all our our human knowledge, and control over our automated, autonomous and robotic systems. Seeing the big picture in all our mountains of scientific, sociological, and personal data will be beyond us, but not our sentient computer systems. Perhaps sentient computer systems in other solar systems have already been sending us data, that SETI has recorded, but which we are unable to see the patterns and decode yet, because they are only meant for other complex sentient computers to understand. I'm glad Arnold is making two more Terminator movies!

Sat, 21 May 2011 19:29:40 UTC | #629231

Go to: SETI Allen array mothballed for want of £1.5 million

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by chuckg

I agree that we should be spending more on spectroscopic studies of planets around other stars. These could both look for signs of life, and signs of intelligent life. I wonder what is the comparison of energy (and thus likelihood of being observed) of leaked radio and TV broadcasts from the earth in relation to the energy of the transmission and emission spectra of both life molecules and intelligent life molecules (ie pollution) of sunlight passing through our atmosphere at the edge of the earths disk. I bet its many millions, billions, or more times stronger, thus much more likely to be observable to aliens than our weak(and generally uninteresting) broadcasts. The reverse of this is where we should be focusing our observations. I still think we should also look hard in the broadcast frequencies like SETI does now.

Sun, 01 May 2011 16:17:10 UTC | #621592

Go to: Message to American Atheists

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 127 by chuckg

I am virtually speechless with my admiration for you, Mr. Hitchens. You serve as an intellectual and rational hero to all of us. I hope you continue to enjoy your life and keep our hunger for rationality and free thought satiated with your wit.

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 01:20:19 UTC | #619789

Go to: 'One of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen'

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 36 by chuckg

One of the finer points of artists, of any type, is knowing when to quit, when the work is done. As great a writer this guy is, he still lacked a bit of maturity there at the end. I loved this article about 85 percent due to the intimate bio of Hitch and about 15 percent Amis's style.

Wed, 27 Apr 2011 00:59:27 UTC | #619785

Go to: Obituary for John Dawkins

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 105 by chuckg

Richard, I'm sorry for your loss. And, I'm happy for the 95 years you had him. You are a lucky man!

Sun, 12 Dec 2010 03:48:20 UTC | #561935

Go to: Football referee sacked for pope joke

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 82 by chuckg

Here's mine:


From: Chuck Goecke

Sent: Mon 11/29/10 4:46 PM


Q: If good babies come from storks,

and bad babies come from ravens,

where do no babies come from?

A: Swallows!

Mon, 29 Nov 2010 22:50:11 UTC | #555654

Go to: Hitchens defeats Blair in Toronto

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by chuckg

My impression of Hitch was that of a wounded gladiator, easily defeating his human opponent, and sparing his life in the end, knowing that the Tiger that initially wounded him, was still roaming the arena.

Sun, 28 Nov 2010 19:36:22 UTC | #554917

Go to: God isn't dead – he has just turned green

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by chuckg

Also, on meat and dairy. I don't really care that much about organic beef or dairy, if the animals are not drugged and medicated with antibiotics and hormones. What is even more important to me is that the meat is raised on appropriate feed. For beef this is grass and browse plants, i.e. free range, and not fattened on grains. The issue is the types of fats the animals develop. When animals are fed on unnatural corn and other grains, their fat ends up low in Omega 3, high in Omega 6, and has virtually no Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA). These important fats were present in all meat prior to the feedlot grain fattening that has occurred since the early-mid 20th century. Wild game that the natives and pioneers ate had these good fats in the right proportions, similar to the diet of early man. The same applies to dairy. The French do it right, mostly, and that is a big part of the so called "French Paradox". The other moral issue about feeding animals is to make cows eat the foods that they evolved to eat and that is inedible to humans like grass and cellulose rich plants. Cattle, sheep, goats, and other gut fermenters can make good human foods out of marginal land. Similar arguments can be applied to other animals we eat, pork, chicken, eggs, farmed fish, etc.

Sat, 09 Oct 2010 00:39:14 UTC | #531148

Go to: God isn't dead – he has just turned green

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 55 by chuckg

On the organic vs conventional farming and gardening methods, my take on it is that the organic movement is sort of the extreme position. There are lots of ideas in the organic movement that make sense, but many smart conventional gardeners and farmers already observe them.

My own personal approach is to be as organic as practical, but I will break out the big guns if there is a particular problem that only can be solved with conventional pesticides, or something that is exploding out of control. Generally organic methods work well, and sometime they actually work better. An example is emulsified oils sprayed on plants to smother small pest insects. Insects can never develop resistance to this type of physical killing method. Some conventional pesticides actually are more healthy for the environment. I like to look at how targeted at the pest the pesticide is; how much of the pesticide actually gets to the pests; and how much collateral damage to innocent bugs they cause. An example of a very well targeted conventional pesticide are some of the systemic soil drenches(like Bayer Merit - imidacloprid), that are taken up into the plants sap and only kill insects that eat or suck the plant.

One of my favorite control method is just use high pressure water spray.
Even the mildest organic pesticide may cause innocent or beneficial bugs to be killed. Just looking at the lifestyle of your average pest insect compared to a predatory insect shows their particular vulnerabilities. Many small pests are sap suckers and hide in nooks and crannies, attach themselves and spend the rest of their life sucking and making babies. They are usually very feebly mobile, if at all. They are easily smothered or knocked off the plant with water, and have virtually no chance to climb up and reattach. However they are often so well hidden that they are hard to complete cover with a conventional pesticide. They are usually very fecund and their population will recover rapidly, especially when all their predators are killed off.

Predatory bugs, the good guys, spend their life roaming all over the plants, hunting for their next meal. Even if a mild pesticide is only partially sprayed on the plant, they are virtually guaranteed to wander into it and die. However if they are knocked off a plant with water, they just pick themselves up and go back to hunting. A great example two critters that fit this lifestyle combination are the pest spider mites versus predatory spider mites. Water sprays push the populations in a way that favors the predatory spider mites, whereas pesticide sprays are the reverse. Additionally, many predatory insects need to drink water or nectar occasionally, whereas pest bugs are drinking sap or eating leaves all the time.

When it comes to organic foods, I like to be practical too. There are some organic things that I think maybe are worth the extra cost. Spring salad greens probably make sense to be organic. If there were residues on those tiny tender leaves, I don't see how they could be washed off. Same with raspberries and strawbs. Apples, I'm not so sure. There are easily washed and polished. Something like organic pasta(wheat) makes almost no sense to me. The processed grain is so far from the application that it just doesn't make sense to pay much extra.

I'm pretty happy with the balance we have now between organic and conventional farms. First is nice to have the choice. Organic farms probably could not produce enough to feed everybody on earth. I like the idea of conventional, high intensity farms clustered together on land that does not runoff easily into waterways, far from pristine areas. Organic farms should be a buffer between natural areas and conventional areas. Unfortunately, this is a sort of forced, command farming control that most farmers would resist, even if it makes sense.

Sat, 09 Oct 2010 00:19:06 UTC | #531138

Go to: Titan: Nasa scientists discover evidence 'that alien life exists on Saturn's moon'

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by chuckg

Interesting. Maybe it is just a geochemical process. Like maybe by a minute exotic geochemical catalyzer that also is capable of replication (either self or assisted). Their replication is brought about by a digitally coded data on elongated crystals, which also replicate, but not with 100 % accuracy, thus variation exists and numerous different sizes, shapes, and types of the geochemical catalyzers exist.

Sun, 06 Jun 2010 01:51:06 UTC | #476921

Go to: The Morality of Meat

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by chuckg

I disagree that all meat is bad.  Two things make it acceptable in limited ways.  One is the nutrition, which I agree is arguable, but meat is a very compact, nutritious food source, and if the proper types of meat are raised properly and prepared properly, and not eaten in excess, it can be healthy.   The other is that certain animals are able to make use of land(or water) that is not suitable for growing crops.  Cud-chewing gut fermenters can use grass and shrub browse, to create good food for humans.  The important thing here is that the land(or sea) is not abused and over grazed.  The carrying capacity must not be exceeded, and pasturing must be done on a rotational basis to prevent undesirable plant and animal community changes.  Cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, and many other land and sea animals can all fit into this food production strategy, but only if managed in highly sustainable ways, which are allowing them to graze naturally on the indigenous grasses and plants, and no fattening them up on grains, that are potential human food.  Funny thing is, when raised this way, these animals naturally have high Omega 3 and Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA)  fat levels.  These are the good fats that promote health, reduce inflammation, and heart disease.  These fats were present in hunter gather and early pioneer diets, but are short in modern, grain feed beef diets.  I would look for grass fed beef, where there is no fattening with grains in the last few months before the animals are eaten.

Thu, 13 May 2010 17:57:47 UTC | #469642

Go to: More on the National Prayer Day case

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by chuckg

It would seem to me that this idea of no specific harm - no standing could come back to bite the religious right, gun-toting "heartlanders" in the ass. If a liberal state like say Massachusetts, created a law that forbid ALL guns, and the NRA tried to get it declared unconstitutional, they could be denied because they have no standing; no specific individuals are harmed by the law, it just affects all equally.

Sun, 25 Apr 2010 01:28:00 UTC | #462522

Go to: Interview with Patrick Wall

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by chuckg

This fellow's story hits sort of close to home for me. One of my best roommates as an undergraduate at U of MN, Morris(PZ's school) was a fellow from Sauk Center, MN who was Catholic and had a big gang of siblings. I got to know several of them to one degree or another. Many of his brothers(and sisters) went to St. Johns and a few went into the priest hood, as a number of their uncles and at least one granduncle(he was the priest of my hometown) were priests. Needless to say the whole family were kind of heavy Catholics and pretty much married to the Church. The time frame here would have been throughout the late 70's and 80's. He and his family were such super nice people, I admired and was very fond of every one of them that I met. I just have this sick feeling that some of his younger siblings might have been victimized, because of how sweet and nice and cute and innocent and trusting they probably were when enraptured within the church. I feel kind of bad that I haven't kept in touch with him.

Fri, 23 Apr 2010 00:51:00 UTC | #461997

Go to: Ayaan Hirsi Ali on CNN: Religion, Violence & South Park

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 41 by chuckg

O'Reilly: " Maybe I'm a coward...I wouldn't have done it"
You so right Bill, you are a coward, and a blowhard, and a fathead. Ayaan Hirsi Ali said the right thing, the only way to fight this backward, misogynistic, pedophilic, hate and violence filled movement, is for EVERYBODY to put their foot down and not stand for it. Every time some organization cow-tows to these extremists, they add to their power and to the fear of them.

Thu, 22 Apr 2010 23:53:00 UTC | #461994

Go to: James Randi's fiery takedown of psychic fraud

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by chuckg

Ya know, I bet he has lots of hair in his ears also. A sure sign he is a geezer!

Thu, 22 Apr 2010 23:26:00 UTC | #461988

Go to: James Randi's fiery takedown of psychic fraud

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by chuckg

The Rand is the man!

Thu, 22 Apr 2010 22:04:00 UTC | #461968

Go to: Believe It or Not

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by chuckg

Nice Steve(edit-and Cart)! As for the subject review, my football coach back in high school use to say, always about members of the opposing team, "Useless as teats on a boar".

Thu, 22 Apr 2010 13:34:00 UTC | #461791

Go to: Group wants evangelist's Pentagon event canceled

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by chuckg

Come on Obama, you can cancel all this nonsense, "Day of Prayer", government religious proselytizing with a stroke of your many pens.

Wed, 21 Apr 2010 13:25:00 UTC | #461510

Go to: Johann Hari calls for the arrest of the Pope part 1

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 43 by chuckg

I'll second the thanks for the warning on the Stuart "smalley thinking" Fox video. He is now my worst person in the world.

Sun, 18 Apr 2010 18:15:00 UTC | #460774

Go to: FFRF celebrates National Day of Prayer victory

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by chuckg

Cue the Fit hitting the Shan. This is going to be fun.

Fri, 16 Apr 2010 03:03:00 UTC | #460044

Go to: Inkjet-like device 'prints' cells right over burns

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by chuckg

This printing of cells is a two-dimensional process. There now are 3-D printers, used in rapid prototyping, for example. Extrapolating this technology into 3-D, printing with both stem cells, and collagen/elastin extracellular matrix should make producing organs and some day, whole organisms possible. Science is cool!

Thu, 15 Apr 2010 17:44:00 UTC | #459899

Go to: American Humanist Association Joins Green Day and Lance Bass as a Co-Sponsor of Second Chance Prom in Mississippi

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by chuckg

Beautify put david k! I wondered of Greenday would actually perform. I suspect that they probably will show up, maybe for a more intimate mini-performance, but it would be the unexpected surprise crash. In addition, they probably need to find out, first, that the event is really going to come off, and be within the scope(ie a real prom)and have the real kids from the region, and second, that it not be some kind of freeforall free Greenday concert that would pull people from a 1000 miles and 200,000 would show up at the door; very possible with Greenday. In other words, if its feasible, they probably would show, but the security and controls would have to be pretty substantial.

Sun, 11 Apr 2010 00:54:00 UTC | #457844

Go to: Jon Stewart's Crusade Against the Catholic Church Rolls On

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by chuckg

I'm afraid that cute kitten or even cute kittens and baby otters aren't enough. I need:
Brain Bleach

Thu, 08 Apr 2010 22:53:00 UTC | #457335

Go to: Sex, lies and duct tape: Science and morality make for strange bedfellows in D-11

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by chuckg

9. Comment #477800 by Spinoza on April 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm
When I was in high school (a Catholic one, by the way), I recall being forced to attend an abstinence presentation by a priest. His remarks were pretty much identical to this, except he tried to couch them in scientific terms --- every time you have sex your oxytocin and vasopressin production causes you to bond with that person, but both monogamy at a young age, not to mention promiscuity, means you are transgressing those bonds, since in all likelihood you aren't going to end up marrying that person.

I think your priest was a bit progressive. I personally think that these technical reasons are some of the best, besides the STD and pregnancy ones, to avoid premaritial sex. In fact, my parental unit coaching of our kids reflected info like this, although I didn't pull out the neurotransmitters. I basically told my kids that sex can seem to feel so good, that it makes you stupid, and you "loose your mind"- jokingly. I warned them that it makes your judgment clouded and makes your relationship with that person complicated, more so than it already is.

I think the priest was basically right to teach the kids that stuff, and that's the kind of fact based eduction we need more of.

Thu, 08 Apr 2010 17:48:00 UTC | #457244

Go to: The Catholic Church is a Criminal Enterprise

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by chuckg

Anybody get the slight dig at Hitchens in the last paragraph, calling him "Chris". I got the impression from his recent Bill Maher appearance, that Christopher Hitchens does not like being called "Chris", at least in official formal public dialogs.
Other than that Matt is, of course, spot on. I wonder what us regular irate citizenry can do to help accelerate the fall of the Church, through letter writing and discussions on blogs and social networking sites. Prosecutions need to happen, tax exempt status needs to end, and massive restitution needs to happen. The restitution needs to go both to the victims, and to society, as huge payments to child and family advocacy groups, and even to governmental child and family protective service organizations. Finally, a nice chunk of change should be taken to flood Africa and the world with condoms, billions of condoms.

Sun, 28 Mar 2010 14:55:00 UTC | #453340

Go to: Is Satan a Catholic?

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by chuckg

Jebus, I wish Pat would tell us what he really thinks. Smoking hot stuff!

Sun, 28 Mar 2010 03:41:00 UTC | #453230

Go to: Happy Birthday Richard Dawkins!

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 177 by chuckg

Professor Dawkins,
You are an inspiration to me and I'm sure many others. Happy Birthday to you!

Sat, 27 Mar 2010 00:46:00 UTC | #452839

Go to: DNA identifies new ancient human dubbed 'X-woman'

chuckg's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by chuckg

When one considers that the highest populations of each of the early humans might have been in the 100,000's and yet we have only handfuls of fossils, what is the likelihood of finding a fossil from a group who's population was only 30,000 or or less? I suspect that the family tree of humans is much more complex than we have guessed so far, and it will slowly become unveiled as more and more anthropological work is done. The genetic analysis is very cool, both in that it allows analysis of small fragments, and that it is a more rigorous method of precisely placing the fossil into the tree of life.

Thu, 25 Mar 2010 18:04:00 UTC | #452194