Category Archives: Off-topic

News Void, Therefore Free Fire Zone

These are the days that make it difficult to be a blogger. There’s nothing going on out there. Well, there are a few things.

Over at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog, Casey has a long, rambling post in which he declares that their “theory” claiming the intelligent designer did things is somehow not a God of the gaps argument. You can read it if you like: Alister McGrath Mistakes Intelligent Design for a God-of-the-Gaps Argument. We did. It’s pure agony, with no amusement value at all. But if you think it’s worth discussing, let us know.

Elsewhere, perhaps related in some way to Casey’s post, PhysOrg reports: Astronomers spot faraway Uranus-like planet. It’s comforting to know that 25,000 light years away there’s a planet that resembles Uranus.

And we barely got a peep from the Drool-o-tron™ when it informed us with the blinking letters of its wall display that it had found something at WorldNetDaily (WND). It had locked our computer onto WND’s presentation of the latest video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries.

The WND headline for this one is Amazing birds ‘hear’ God’s call. In ninety thrilling seconds, the rev tells us that hummingbirds are divinely guided in their migrations.

Because that’s all we could find today — at least so far — it’s time for an Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Historian Claims “Jesus Never Existed”

This has nothing to do with the theory of evolution, but it’s certain to arouse the creationists, so we’ll mention it. Your Curmudgeon is not taking sides in this one. We’ll present the news, such as it is, and then you’re on your own.

The tale appears in the Daily Mail, the UK’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper. The tabloid’s headline screams: ‘Jesus NEVER existed': Writer finds no mention of Christ in 126 historical texts and says he was a ‘mythical character’. There are already more than 2,400 comments after the story. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Historical researcher Michael Paulkovich has claimed that Jesus of Nazareth was a ‘mythical character’ and never existed. The controversial discovery was apparently made after he found no verifiable mention of Christ from 126 writers during the ‘time of Jesus’ from the first to third centuries.

Later in the story there’s a list of the historical writers Paulkovich checked. That seems to be the totality of his evidence. It doesn’t really prove anything, but it’s interesting nevertheless. The newspaper also says:

The 126 texts he studied were all written in the period during or soon after the supposed existence of Jesus, when Paulkovich says they would surely have heard of someone as famous as Jesus – but none mention him.

Wait a minute! We’ve all heard of one historian who mentions Jesus. Oh, that’s discussed:

Of the writings he examined, written from the first to third centuries, he found only one book that contained a mention of Jesus – The Jewish Wars by the Roman historian Josephus Flavius written in 95 CE, but he claims it is fabricated. Paulkovich says the mentions of Jesus were added later by editors, not by Josephus.

Oh. Okay. We continue:

Even in the Bible Paulkovich says Paul, often credited with spreading what would become Christianity, never refers to Jesus as a real person. ‘Paul is unaware of the virgin mother, and ignorant of Jesus’ nativity, parentage, life events, ministry, miracles, apostles, betrayal, trial and harrowing passion,’ he writes. ‘Paul knows neither where nor when Jesus lived, and considers the crucifixion metaphorical.’

Paul wasn’t one of the Disciples, and it’s generally understood that he never met Jesus. It may be that those details are missing from his writings. Here’s more:

‘Perhaps the most bewildering “silent one” is the mythical super-savior himself, Jesus the Son of God ostensibly sent on a suicide mission to save us from the childish notion of “Adam’s Transgression” as we learn from Romans,’ he says. ‘The Jesus character is a phantom of a wisp of a personage who never wrote anything. So, add one more: 127.’

Michael Paulkovich doesn’t hold back, does he? Moving along:

‘Millions should have heard of the Jesus “crucifixion” with its astral enchantments: zombie armies and meteorological marvels recorded not by any historian, but only in the dubitable scriptures scribbled decades later by superstitious yokels.’

One final excerpt, and this one is a bit more restrained:

Paulkovich’s views will surely prove very controversial, as most scholars do not support the theory that Jesus never existed.

Controversial? Yes, that’s a safe bet. What’s your Curmudgeon’s opinion? We don’t have one, because we’ve never claimed to be well versed in theology, and we’ve never studied the historians mentioned by Paulkovich. But we will make one observation: If creationists can deny the existence of mountains of evidence for evolution, is it really outrageous for Paulkovich to mention what he claims is a lack of evidence regarding Jesus?

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Aaaargh!! Recovery Free Fire Zone

Argos and Collar

The weekend absence of news about The Controversy between evolution and creationism is fine with us because we’ve been distracted by problems with Argos (a/k/a Aaaargh!!), one of your Curmudgeon’s two splendid Dobermans.

In the photo you can see him at his usual station, under our desk, but of course you’re wondering: What’s that blue thing around his neck, and what’s that white stuff on his right ear? The blue thing is an inflatable collar, to keep him from scratching his ears. You can even see the valve which we used to blow it up. The white stuff is the residue of a bandage.

About ten days ago we discovered a big lump in his right ear. The vet said it was a hematoma, the result of an infection, and it had to be removed. So we brought him in a couple of days later for the procedure. Later that day when we picked him up to take him home, there was a bandage on his ear and he was wearing one of those goofy funnel-shaped things that vets put on dogs for this purpose. There’s even a Wikipedia article on the them: Elizabethan collar.

But Aaaargh!! doesn’t like to wear a cone-head. He kept bumping into furniture and doorways. So we removed it, but we had to keep an eye on him to be sure he didn’t mess his ear up. Mostly he didn’t, because he’s been so heavily medicated. We’ve had to give him several pills a day — antibiotics and pain pills — so he’s been sleeping a lot and doesn’t have much of an appetite.

But he still plays with Pearl — our other Doberman, a hunter-killer witch of a dog who is also the brains of this outfit — and somehow they managed to remove the bandage. We took him back to the vet and he got a new one. That was last week.

A couple of days ago we took him back again for a checkup and there the second bandage was removed, thus the white residue on his ear. Aaaargh!! is healing nicely but we’re not done yet.

To keep him from scratching his ear without putting the cone-head on him, we hunted around for that blue blow-up thing. It works! He can even eat and sleep in it without complaining. We’ll be done with most of the pills he’s had to take in a couple of days, and then all of this will be over. But it’s been a distraction.

Therefore, in the absence of news and with Argos on sick leave, it’s time for an Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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A Bold New Theory & Free Fire Zone

Time Cube

Having been inspired by The Time Cube, and being supremely secure in our reputation as a globally esteemed blogger, your humble Curmudgeon forthwith reveals to an eager world his own theory — the result of years of solitary research. We call it the Galactic Jellyfish Theory.

We shall give you only an outline here, which will be more than enough to keep you thinking for weeks to come. A more detailed explanation will be published in the Curmudgeon’s very own peer-reviewed journal, which is — ahem! — this humble blog. Okay, here are the basics:

Every galaxy is alive! They are essentially like jellyfish, swimming in the vast Aether Ocean. What we call the Big Bang was their last mating season, when they all got together and … well, you know. Since then they and their offspring have been scattering, as they scrounge the aether for food.

They are intelligent — supremely so — but they take no notice of us. To them we are less than microbes. In due course, it will be time for another mating season, and they will once again swarm together. That will be the end of us and the universe as we know it, but when the begetting is done, they will once more disperse and a new universe will begin. This has been going on eternally, more or less.

Now, while your dazed minds attempt to grasp the awesome magnitude of what we have revealed, feel free to use the comment section as an Intellectual Free Fire Zone. And if you think you have a better theory, don’t hold back. Tell us about it.

As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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