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Comments by jackal

Go to: Book Tickets to Non-Believers Giving Aid Fundraising Event

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by jackal

Prominent skeptics should be hosting events like this in every major city, to drive the skeptic community to action in this time of great need. Of course, some of us will give with or without a dinner, but the idea of coming together as a community to accomplish a common good would have a powerful affect, I think.

Wed, 16 Mar 2011 13:39:15 UTC | #603477

Go to: Atheists make history at Grand Junction City Council meeting

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by jackal

"This business of government is government, not religion. But if they are going to have religion involved in government, then it needs to include all the religions, including no religion," says Alaimo.

Ugh, not having a religion is a religion? But kudos to them for supporting secularism and the separation of church and state. It must have taken a lot of work to get the City Council to compromise and allow them to be among the groups allowed to start off the meetings.

Fri, 07 Jan 2011 14:58:17 UTC | #574566

Go to: Arkansas School Board Member Says Gay Students Should "Get AIDS and Die"

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by jackal

Comment 2 by Prankster : A man in a position of power uttering dangerous homophobic garbage like this, well it's sickening really.

Is the word "cunt" allowed on here? If so then great, cause basically that's all this hate mongering piece of shit actually is a cunt-some fucked up fascist...

You can use "cunt" to insult people, but when you attach the word "cunt" to a twisted homophobe like McCance, you're insulting women, not McCance. My cunt is a perfectly natural, healthy part of my body that has a prominent role in my sex-life - a positive part of my and my spouse's lives. There's nothing to be gained by maligning vaginas by associating them with a hateful, dogmatic bigot like McCance.

Wed, 27 Oct 2010 16:02:43 UTC | #539058

Go to: Protest the Pope Slogans - Barcelona

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by jackal

I'm all for the Pink Floyd references:

"Hey, preachers! Leave them kids alone!"

Tue, 19 Oct 2010 01:48:46 UTC | #535349

Go to: Of course they were quick to respond

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by jackal

Hee hee hee. My primary reaction to hearing this prize announced: Ha! that will piss off the Vatican! I applaud the Nobel Prize committee for sticking it to the pope. :p

Tue, 05 Oct 2010 01:32:58 UTC | #529014

Go to: Gathering Storm’ Approaching Category 5

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by jackal

I can't believe he just said class size doesn't matter. It takes twice as much time to grade 60 essays as it does to grade 30, and same goes for math tests. You can't measure critical thinking or give meaningful feedback without investing real human time and effort.

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:45:09 UTC | #525796

Go to: Darwinian Ethics

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by jackal

This is one of the best responses I have seen to morality with or without gods: Bionic Dance: Good For You. Yes, people need morality in order to have a workable society. No, you don't have to believe in divine retribution or sanction to figure out how you'd like to be treated and how to treat others. Laws are derived from how we want to be treated, and what kind of behavior it is more or less practical to enforce.

Tue, 03 Aug 2010 19:42:18 UTC | #495511

Go to: Lesbian gets $35K settlement over canceled prom

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by jackal

Lifegiver, as the article states, the school put on a secret prom for the rest of the students, and sent McMillen and some special ed students to a decoy prom. The student body, parents and teachers all managed to keep McMillen from knowing about the real prom. The entire community worked to bring back segregation. The saddest part is that they don't think they did anything wrong.

Thu, 22 Jul 2010 16:28:24 UTC | #491612

Go to: Lesbian gets $35K settlement over canceled prom

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by jackal

I've seen comments complaining about the money before, so to preempt further complaint: 1. The school district's insurance paid the settlement 2. This is equally about punishing the school and preventing future malfeasance as it is about compensating Ms. McMillen. Not only did they discriminated against her, but the school also blamed canceling the prom on McMillen, which turned the majority of the student body against her. Considering the prevalence of anti-gay violence in the rural mid-west, that seemed extremely reckless to me. 3. The entire school district had to have conspired to hide the real prom from Ms. McMillen. They all deserve to pay.

Thu, 22 Jul 2010 01:09:37 UTC | #491437

Go to: The Enemy Within

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 142 by jackal

Actually, publisher does matter. You wouldn't take a science article seriously if it wasn't published in a scientific journal. Take a look at WND Book's other featured titles:

The Manchurian President Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists Tens of millions of Americans sense there is something very wrong with the president of the United States, but they don’t know exactly what. The Manchurian President answers that question.

Negrophilia From Slave Block to Pedestal – America’s Racial Obsession In 2008, Americans elected Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th president of the United States. Being a black man, of course this was heralded as a monumentally historic event—the first black president in a country that was segregated a scant 50 years ago.

Climategate A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes the Global Warming Scam Climategate is a godsend for anyone who has ever expressed skepticism about the environmentalist that claim that the Earth is in peril because of mankind’s appetite for carbon-based fuels.

Updated: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 14:07:49 UTC | #490792

Go to: Wednesday July 14, 11am-Noon From The Women's Desk (8 am Pacific)

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by jackal

Comment 20 by Lucas :

Huh... that's weird... no comments about science or religion or atheism or humanism or anything, just over-sensitive and over-simplified feminist or anti-feminist bullshit on all sides. Thanks for posting this. I feel enlightened. jackal and sillygirl, cry me a freaking river. You've completely misunderstood and you're just not worth correcting.

Not worth correcting, just worth insulting, huh? You clearly have nothing to intelligent to say on the subject.

Thu, 15 Jul 2010 16:21:08 UTC | #488995

Go to: Wednesday July 14, 11am-Noon From The Women's Desk (8 am Pacific)

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by jackal

Comment 1 by Lucas : blaaarrgghhhh... pe-thew... pe-thew...

Sorry, had a gut reaction there. What has this to do with science or religion?

Ever wonder why the skeptical community is so underrepresented with women? Attitudes like this are not helping.

Women make up 50% of the world's population. Anti-woman discrimination is based largely in dogma and ignorance. Feminism is a science vs dogma issue.

Did anyone actually listen to the show? I didn't see a link to the advertised show, only the live feed.

Thu, 15 Jul 2010 02:47:58 UTC | #488818

Go to: Losing Religion

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by jackal

There are some good insights into the Catholic mindset - and thus the their response to the sex abuse scandal - in the first 20 min of the show. That makes it a must-hear.

Mon, 05 Jul 2010 15:12:33 UTC | #486448

Go to: Filmmaker Can Go With 'Hell' When It Comes to Company Name

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by jackal

dreamer-71, If you read the full article, you'll see that the judge retraced the history of blasphemy laws in England and the USA in his ruling. PA isn't geographically southern, but the rural majority is southern in spirit, right down to the Confederate flags tags on the pickup trucks.

Fri, 02 Jul 2010 03:28:19 UTC | #485659

Go to: Age of the Genome: Episode 1

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by jackal


Don't worry, we here at MadScience, Inc thought of that. We'll start by pruning junk DNA out of a bacteria like e. coli. If that goes well, if we can successfully sort junk from useful DNA, we'll move on to eukaryotic models. Perhaps we'll start unicellular, like with yeasts, and then move onto nematodes and fruit flies. When we've successfully created a super efficient fruit fly, we'll consider trying out our technique on mice. All the while, we can monitor changes in metabolism and energy use. I imagine a bacteria will simply cut its division time with the extra energy available. As we work our way up the eukaryotic ladder, we'll develope metabolic tweeks to keep the organism's energy use in line with its new reduced need. And don't worry: we won't even think of creating our Super Eficient Humanoid line until we have mastered our Super Eficient Mighty Mice.

Sat, 26 Jun 2010 01:24:21 UTC | #483698

Go to: Age of the Genome: Episode 1

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by jackal


I'm not talking about altering the functional part of the genome (much). I'm not talking about getting rid of the materials used to make up the cell or the body. Junk DNA is DNA that is never used in any capacity. If we removed it from the genome, we wouldn't loose any functionality. We'd still look like humans, function like humans. But our cells would require less energy to divide because they would have much less DNA to copy.

If you think of all of the DNA in a cell as a cookbook, then, according to this episode, only about 10% of the pages in the cookbook seem to contain recipes and instructions for how and when to use the recipes. The other 90% is taken up by gobbledygook and "copy this sentence and move it somewhere else" instructions. Each time your cells divide, they have to copy the entire cookbook. They would save a lot of time and energy by only copying the recipes and instructions that they actually used.

Fri, 25 Jun 2010 15:52:30 UTC | #483558

Go to: Age of the Genome: Episode 1

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by jackal

Comment 4 by deftmasterofdisguise : What I want to know is, how were genes 'created' in the first place?

One of the prominent theories is discussed in Nick Lane's Life Ascending. The first genes were probably bits of RNA (DNA was probably a later development) that were formed in thermal vents at the bottom of the sea floor. Scientists have found many of the chemical components of life in these types of vents, and with the energy available from the heat that comes out of the earth, the chemicals that make up RNA can bond spontaneously. Lane goes into more details, and it is written for a lay audience, so I recommend picking up a copy and reading it first hand rather than relying on my regurgitation. But the main thrust of it is this: the first genes probably weren't coding for anything. They were just formed by chemical processes, and the bits of RNA that were easiest to replicate would be the most common.

Fri, 25 Jun 2010 14:10:22 UTC | #483528

Go to: Age of the Genome: Episode 1

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by jackal

90% of our DNA unused! The mad scientist in me wants to engineer a humanoid race whose genome has been excised of junk DNA. Think of how efficient cell division would become! They'd have to have smaller stomaches to go with their gains in metabolic efficiency.

Fri, 25 Jun 2010 13:57:15 UTC | #483521

Go to: The pattern behind self-deception

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by jackal

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 16 Jun 2010 14:39:32 UTC | #480909

Go to: Science/Problem-Solving Blog

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by jackal

It isn't just religious people who take beliefs for granted. How many people do you know that have really thought out their political stances? In the USA, political party affiliation seems just about as inheritable as religion. But as you say, there are people on the fence, and there are people on both sides who want to understand the science. I write mainly to inform. When I came across the phenomena of telomeres and DNA transcriptase, I just thought it was too striking not to share. If I happen to help some people to move away from creationism, that's a bonus.

Fri, 04 Jun 2010 19:01:32 UTC | #476457

Go to: Religious leaders unite against planned Jesus cartoon

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by jackal

Scott_Cunning is right. CARB is engaging in the proper form of protest: speech, without the use of violence or threats of violence... For now, at least.

It would be nice if the cartoon aired anyway, Jesus was depicted as an Arab, and the show addressed conflicting parts of Christian theology. However, I won't be getting my hopes up.

Thu, 03 Jun 2010 16:45:55 UTC | #476088

Go to: Becoming a Scout Leader

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by jackal

That definition of Duty to God seems to accommodate the Einsteinian concept of "God" and spirituality - the feeling of awe one gets in contemplating the natural universe. Also if God is a fictional character, then you aren't leaving any duties to God unfulfilled. "Belief in a force above mankind"? Gravity? Electro-magnetism? Atomic forces? I certainly believe in those. I think giving your prospective troop a positive godless role-model is a good thing.

Tue, 01 Jun 2010 18:56:58 UTC | #475517

Go to: Genius of Britain

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by jackal

Britain may only be a small island, but its great scientists and inventors have literally created the modern world...

O.o If Britain is just a "small island" then maybe Dawkins should be considered a great Kenyan scientist.

Promo aside, it looks like it will be a great show.

Updated: Thu, 27 May 2010 20:35:03 UTC | #474187

Go to: Morality as arbitrary?

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by jackal

We are no longer in the same positions as out early ancestors, needing full cooperation of the group in order to survive. We have dominion over many dangers out in nature and we don't need to aid of all our fellow human beings.

Did you make that computer you're typing on from raw materials you took out of the ground? Did you wire up the internet connection yourself? Do you generate your own electricity? No. You live in a cooperative society. You pay taxes to benefit from shared infrastructure. You work in a cooperative way with your fellow human beings to earn money, which you can exchange for other useful goods and services. You need the group, just as much, if not more, than your ancestors did.

Morality, in the context you describe, encompasses laws. Laws are the code of conduct that we humans agree to in order to be able to cooperate with each other. I wouldn't want to work with someone who might one day rape and murder me. If such things were not against the law, I would be forced to kill anyone I thought posed a legitimate threat. Fortunately, society has agreed to a code of conduct, and those who are caught breaking that code of conduct are punished.

We can call morality outside the legal code "ethics." Although not part of the legal system, ethics are loosely enforced by society. You don't have to follow the social ethical norms, but as you transgress against your fellow citizens, you will earn a negative reputation, and that will effect your social interactions. You loose friends and allies if your actions run contrary to their ethical codes.

Tue, 25 May 2010 03:30:32 UTC | #473259

Go to: Have you drawn Muhammad?

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by jackal

I drew Mohammad.

Mon, 24 May 2010 13:39:14 UTC | #472983

Go to: Accessible books on (human) evolution for a palaeoarchaeology student.

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by jackal

If you don't know much about biology yet, Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish is an excellent start. It is a great introduction to many different tools of evolutionary biology, but it doesn't get very technical.

Sun, 23 May 2010 18:03:45 UTC | #472762

Go to: Advice for a 16 year old?

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by jackal

You might try explaining to your parents that they uprooted you from your faith when you were 13/14 and that they can't just expect you to believe on command. If you are going to come over to Catholicism, it's going to have to be on your own time, on your on terms. They can insist that you attend church with them, but not that you participate in the rituals (communion). You might even read the Bible - it will give you a lot of ammunition for when you get into an environment where debating religion is allowed, and it might help pacify your parents.

You're parents have been brainwashed with the fear of God. Now that they're Catholics, they are terrified that you will be tortured forever if they don't save an invisible piece of you that they think survives after death. Ironically, they are treating you like shit because they love you, and they're afraid for you.

It's just two years until you're moving out of the house and going to college. Make sure to attend a college at least 3 hours away from home. Your parents may insist on you attending a Catholic college, but there are levels of religiosity in Catholic schools. Make sure there's a good percent of non-catholics attending, so that you won't be alone, and look for Humanist/atheist/agnostic student groups.

Sat, 22 May 2010 15:28:53 UTC | #472459

Go to: What did Everybody Draw Mohammed Day mean to you?

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by jackal

FYI, the FB group is back up. According to one of the mods,

This page was removed two days ago, after one of our moderators had his email and skype hacked. His personal data was revealed. He then got scared and deleted the page, the blog and the emails. The rest of us, are now back without him after he backed out. This is another scare tactic from the Islamic extremists. We won't fall.

So, intimidation temporarily silences free speech, again. This demonstrates the need for this protest... although I still think there should be a more refined message. I don't want to start a competing FB group, but I'm open to ideas.

Updated: Sat, 22 May 2010 14:11:55 UTC | #472430

Go to: What did Everybody Draw Mohammed Day mean to you?

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by jackal


Maybe you could get out as a refugee seeking asylum.

Sat, 22 May 2010 13:22:26 UTC | #472415

Go to: What did Everybody Draw Mohammed Day mean to you?

jackal's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by jackal


It would be mean for you to do those things you listed out, but it would be worse for people to threaten to kill you, or to outright kill you, in response. I don't stand by those who posted pornographic pictures or hateful speech about Muslims on "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day." However, I do stand by the protest: Muslim extremists have murdered in the name of Allah in response to words, drawings, and film. That cannot be allowed. We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced by violence or threats of violence. Because of that, I have drawn this. If you find that picture more offensive than the act of murder, then I believe you deserve to be offended.

Sat, 22 May 2010 04:15:08 UTC | #472311