Extra, extra: FOX News host makes sense!!! (on net neutrality)

I think I was actually only seconds away from frothing at the mouth while watching this corporate shill (and I steal that phrase because there really is no better way to refer to this disgusting man) distort the facts. I’m shocked and awed at seeing such a wonderful set of comebacks and such a level of sanity coming from the FOX NEWS host (and this is probably the first time I’ve written their name without the scare quotes around the word “news” because this time, they produced some actual reporting). Smith delivers a fantastic comeback, he doesn’t hold back even a little bit and he deserves all the praise in the world for it. I literally (and I don’t use that word lightly) shouted with satisfaction upon hearing him interrupt his guest with the question “who’s paying you?”.

(For those wanting a brief summary of the issue, check this link.)

Wayne LaPierre, crazier than I thought

Apparently… I mean, I knew he was an unhinged gun freak, but not that he was a full-on, completely bat-shit insane conspiracy nut. I have to quote Conan O’ Brien from his White House Correspondents’ dinner speech last year (which you can, and should, watch here):

Incidentally, you may not know this, but Wayne LaPierre is merely the executive vice president of the NRA. Which begs the question: How freaking crazy do you have to be to be the actual president of the NRA?

(Here‘s a link to the exact time of the quote in the video.)

Ray Kurzweil is a loon…

…though significantly less loony than those treated in other entries.

I’ve been following the Encyclopedia of American Loons blog for quite some time now and I guess it was just a matter of time before Kurzweil got an entry there. I think he’s given a fair treatment, it’s pointed out that he’s done some good but ultimately promotes too much woo not to be labeled a loon. The focus is not on the singularity, which is an interesting thought though belief in its imminent arrival is of course entirely unwarranted. No, the main problem with Kurzweil attacked here, and I’ve had this pointed out by many critics before, is that he seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding about biology and the fact that he promotes quack medicine really is the last straw. He’s apparently a case of an intelligent but ridiculously over confident “guru” thinking his technology and computer science skills gives him the ability to explain fundamental questions about life (in the biological sense I should mention, I’m not referring to metaphysical speculation, teleological worldviews or normative questions about “how to live”), it reminds me of another apparent loon, Stephen Wolfram, who seems to think he’s got biology pinned down based on some elegant computational structures used in models which are seemingly (based on the fact that biologists don’t take him seriously) completely free from evidence. But Wolfram is not the issue here, and I’m not sure if Kurzweil supports his wildly speculative approach to science so let’s leave him for now.

There’s also this prophetical approach where arm chair arguments about “accelerating returns” is apparently, in the mind of Kurzweil, enough to predict how technology and science will develop in the future, to the point of him thinking himself able to say in approximately how many years the so called singularity will happen. He seems less than able to understand the importance of evidence and modest predictions, unable to hold back and stick to pure speculation (and there’s nothing wrong with pure speculation as long as it is recognized as such) regarding anything as hard to predict as the future development of technology. He’s, quite frankly, an over zealous prophet believing himself to know much more than he actually does and I base this, not on my own understanding of biology (which is quite shallow) but on the near unanimous verdict of experts dismissing his ideas.

Peter O’Toole…

I know very little about Peter O’Toole, the only thing I’ve seen starring him is Lawrence of Arabia but that certainly made me hungry for more! In any case I’ll never forget the quote from him that forever gave him a special place in my mind:

When did I realize I was god? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.

It should probably only be interpreted in a tongue-in-cheek self-aggrandizing way, but I can’t help but look at it as a brilliant way to ridicule religious beliefs, even if that was never the intent. Such genius would have deserved praise even if he hadn’t been a fantastic actor.

I’m in favor of intentional nonsense…

I’ve been hooked on http://what-would-i-say.com/ due to my life long romance with the art of nonsense, but this Deepak Chopra generator (as well as Mr. Chopra himself of course) has it beat! It’s always funnier when the nonsense is unintentional and Chopra certainly seems to be under the delusion that his proclamations actually have meaning. At the same time, it is of course extremely frustrating that a gibberish sputtering “mystic” gets serious attention for his nonsense, so I’m a bit split about this issue. I love the nonsense but I’m incredibly frustrated that so many people seem to be under the impression that it’s somehow deep and profound…

An encouraging development…

as reported by Hemant Mehta. Of course, a better title for that post would have been “More Americans Than Ever Before Realize that the Bible is a Book of Myths” and Hemant expresses a similar sentiment when he writes (a bit down in the text) that:

“Antagonistic” is the wrong word. That group should really be labeled “Enlightened.”

regarding the group of people who “view” the Bible as a book of myths. Perhaps he was trying to be neutral in his description of the matter in the title of the post, but that seems somewhat ironic regarding the positive attitude he expresses (and which I heartily endorse!) towards the fact that fewer and fewer people tend to sit on the fence. However, it’s not my intention to nitpick regarding Hemant’s choice of title but rather to mention something that needs emphasis: that it’s not a “view” of the Bible that it is mythical, it’s a fact.

(I’m starting blogging. I’ve talked about it a lot, even published a few sporadic posts before, but I’m planning on doing it regularly from now on. The post I’m commenting on here is a bit old (because I’m way behind on my RSS feed) but since the topic is not exactly a current event but rather a recent development, I think it’s fine.)

“Do Scientists Fear the Paranormal?”

I’ve decided to finally start blogging as opposed to simply posting links with commentary on Facebook. I’ll continue to post links on Facebook when I don’t have anything substantial to say of my own and you can follow my Facebook profile if you want all of that (but I only accept friend requests from people I actually know). Whenever I find myself writing a longer commentary such as this, though, I’ll post it as a blog post on this website instead. Oh, and I think there will be some posts containing only my views and/or opinions on some subject matter not directly connected to blog posts or articles from other websites.

For those of you who are merely following this website for the comics and illustrations, I suggest you start following the Art sub site only (the RSS-feed for that can be found here), subscribers to the main feed will start getting my blog posts, articles and other content in addition to my artwork. If, on the other hand, you have just now found your way here and are only interested in my writings and don’t want updates about my artwork, then subscribe instead to the Thoughts feed. If you want the complete Lehooo Experience, then by all means, continue subscribing to the main feed!

Now, on to the subject at hand!

An blog post was published on the Tech/Social Media/misc blog Mashable with a (for the blog) rather uncharacteristic (at least in my experience) subject. It tackles the question of whether so called paranormal phenomena and research claiming to find empirical support for it is being ignored by the scientific community.

The article is titled Do Scientists Fear the Paranormal? and here follows my take on it and the subject it treats.

This question in the title is, of course, ridiculous taken at face value, but it is probably designed to catch the attention of potential readers. The content, on the other hand, leaves little if anything to be desired. It’s a rational, calm description of the way that science progresses. It’s an article clearly on the side of the scientists who, quite rightly, remain skeptical of far reaching claims of extraordinary, as of yet undocumented phenomena until the experiments purporting to contain evidence for the aforementioned phenomena can be replicated again and again by other scientists. This is how science works, and it works. There are no alternatives to the scientific method for checking if hypothetical entities have real world counterparts.

The article is a well written take on the preposterous claim that scientists “refuse to acknowledge research that challenge their worldview”. If they did, the immense progress made in science with its countless overthrows of previously favorite theories in favor of new ones in better agreement with observable results, would not have been possible.

It remains to be seen is such sober descriptions will convince those who see a great conspiracy to silence the dissenters and maintain the status quo, but of this, as with the existence of paranormal phenomena, I remain highly skeptical…