David Sirota adopts creationists tactics to bend the truth.

March 6th, 2016

Twitter commenter David Sirota, a zealous promoter of Bernie Sanders, has posted several graphics containing what he reports to be representative of Hillary Clinton’s views about concepts near and dear to the hearts of Progressives in the US.

Just to be clear, I’m Canadian, I don’t have a preference between Clinton or Sanders as the US president, my only concern is that the US will react against the Democratic Socialist ideas espoused by Sanders and vote in either Trump or Cruz. I do not want to see either of the Republicans get in because they will likely kill all of the progressive social advances made in the US since Obama’s election. If Sanders becomes the president, and I consider that as good a choice as Clinton, possibly even better, it will depend on how well he is able to implement his ideas. My question is whether he would be electable.

What bugs me about Sirota and the rest of the zealous ideologues supporting Sanders and posting hatred and bull shit on Twitter, are the dishonest tactics they use. Sirota is just a proxy for all the extremism Sander’s supporters are expressing.

One of those tactics is one that is common among Young Earth Creationists (YEC) called quote mining. As I’ll show later, Sirota also tried to use another YEC tactic known as the Gish Gallup.

Quote mining is an attempt to misrepresent the meaning of a speaker’s words by only quoting a part of the comment made by the speaker.  The misrepresentation can be anything from implying the speaker meant the opposite of what they actually meant, and what is obvious if the full comment is considered, to simply leaving out a qualifying statement such as what usually comes after a ‘but’. Many comments are not simple statements, but an explanation of views. Quote mining removes part or all of that explanation. It really is a dishonest way of manipulating the emotions of people reading or listening to the quote.

One thing I’ve noticed from people using this tactic is to ask the question “Well, did s/he actually say those words?”, as if the words themselves are the only source of meaning. The words are only part of the message being conveyed, and in fact because words frequently have multiple meanings, context is absolutely necessary to derive meaning from any comment. I’m not going to go into the intricacies of how we understand meaning from spoken/written communication, but the fact remains that a sequence of words placed in a specific order do not give enough information about meaning, especially when they don’t encompass the entire meaning, to be taken as indicative of anything.

Here is one of the graphics used by Sirota.


Notice if you will that there are eight points. This is where the Gish Gallup as employed by Sirota comes in.

I’ve included screenshots of the Tweets just in case Sirota deletes them. I’m sure he won’t but just in case.


Of course he assumes his points can’t be refuted & complains that I wasn’t able to do so within a few minutes of his original tweet. Note the time on that tweet – 12:05 PM

Here’s his second response when I wasn’t able to dispute his quote mines immediately. Again, note the time stamp: 12:07 PM. Just two minutes later.


And one minute later:


By putting pressure on me to answer eight points that will take research time within three minutes, he’s using the time tested YEC tactic of claiming there exist no responses to his points because the answers weren’t simple and immediate.

Back to the quote mines.


The first quote is from here: Townterview with NDTV’s Barkha Dutt on “We The People”  (http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2012/05/189385.htm)

Here’s the money quote.

“And I think that there are advantages with it that have certainly benefited many parts of our country”

There is nothing here to tell the viewer that there was more to the quote. The part Sirota quoted was not even a full sentence, it was just a part. The implication of the quote given by Sirota is that Hillary viewed outsourcing as a good thing, however if you look at the whole quote you see that isn’t true.

“Outsourcing from the United States to India. Well, it’s been going on for many years now, and it’s part of our economic relationship with India. And I think that there are advantages with it that have certainly benefitted many parts of our country, and there are disadvantages that go to the need to improve the job skills of our own people and create a better economic environment. So it – like anything, it’s about pluses and minuses.”

This certainly isn’t Clinton claiming outsourcing is a good thing, it’s Clinton acknowledging the reality of outsourcing and the relationship that was built between India and the US. By saying it wasn’t purely a negative process, she’s reflecting the reality of global commerce, that there is a balance that has to be considered & all countries can benefit from economic relationships. Clinton was also very clear that it caused conditions in the US that have to be considered and improved.

Although Sirota wants you to think Clinton was making a positive value statement about outsources, she wasn’t. She was commenting on the reality of what happened and the impacts of it.

I’m not going to go through the entire list of eight points Sirota made, I think just addressing the first two will clearly expose Sirota’s intent and use of dishonest tactics.

The next quote given on Sirota’s graphic is taken from a video made at a New Hampshire Town Hall.

“I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in, [and I do think that you have to control your borders.]”

Again, there is nothing in this Sirota quote that indicates this is from a larger question. It also ignores part of the original sentence, although including it doesn’t change the implied meaning of the comment. I added the missing part back in and surrounded it in square brackets.

The answer she gave was in response to a question about Trump’s plans for a wall and to deport 11 million people.

“But I think that it’s also true that we need to do more to try to number one, deal with the people who are already here, many of whom have been here for decades. It is just never going to happen that we’re going to round up and deport 11 or 12 million people.

“I don’t care how tall the wall is or how big the door is, that is never going to happen. And I think that’s an unnecessarily provocative thing to say.”

“We need to do more to try and put some resources into those countries to try to deal with some of the conditions particularly the violence, the drug dealers and the like.”

Sirota would like you to assume that Hillary is all about shutting down immigration, increasing deportation and ignoring the plight of those who cross the border illegally. That isn’t what this says. What is being said is that she does not agree with Trump, but that she thinks illegal immigration needs to be dealt with on several fronts, including helping the people in the countries they are fleeing.

Unless Sirota & Bernie support completely open borders, they too support a form of illegal immigration restriction.

I suggest you listen to the video. The video is set to start at the quote.

Even if the rest of the quotes weren’t missing context, the two that I addressed and have shown to be quote mines, are enough to see how Sirota, as a proxy for too many Sander’s supporters, is willing to employ dishonest tactics traditionally limited to YECs and the right wing.

Genetic Entropy Disassembled and Discarded

August 5th, 2015

This is a guest post by Dr. J.

Dr. J. is a fellow warrior dedicated to debunking the various creationist bull shit found on Twitter. My thanks go out to him for allowing me to repost his rant. (I wish all rants were this informative)

Go for it Dr. J.

Genetic entropy, a rant

This is written in response to @TamiHoshiyama who (as a creationist with an apparently deeply-rooted anti-evolutionary stance) claims genetic entropy is
A) a thing that genuinely exists
B) responsible for a steady degradation of the human genome, with presumably concomitant effects on human health

As far as I can tell, this stance is selected more or less to support the usual run of “EVOLUTION CAN’T HAPPEN” claims. Aside from the fact that evolution can happen (as we’ve observed multiple instances of random mutations followed by natural selection leading to novel behaviour, substrate utilisation, environmental tolerances and outright generation of novel species), this does pose rather a puzzle from a purely theistic perspective:
1) Humans are too complex and amazing to have evolved, they must be designed
2) Humans are mutating themselves to death because they’re poorly designed

If the argument is that both 1) and 2) are correct, it doesn’t really paint this hypothetical designer in a very good light. Rather than being omnipotent and making perfect creations (a common argument), god instead makes a whole bunch of species that barely hold together for a few thousand years before imploding under cumulative mutational load due to not apparently bothering to design sufficient repair enzymes.

A further note is that a huge number of mutations are due to nucleotide choice: thymidine, for instance, is highly prone to UV-induced crosslinking. Anywhere in the genome where two thymidines are adjacent is vulnerable to thymidine dimer formation. UV hits on thymidine, it crosslinks to the other. These then have to be chopped out and replaced.
With four bases to choose from, getting TT is a 1/16 chance, so in a genome of human size (3×10^9) that’s just over 187 million places to go wrong every second of every day. Repair systems are busy.
Note, incidentally, that uracil provides exactly the same base-pairing properties as thymidine but doesn’t crosslink (A-T pairing and A-U pairing both work): why doesn’t life use uracil in DNA? The answer is because of the OTHER major source of DNA mutations: cytosine deamination.
Cytosine contains an amine group (NH2) which has a tendency to fall off, because hey: thermodynamics. What do you get when cytosine spontaneously deaminates? You get uracil.
If DNA used uracil rather than thymidine, it would be extremely difficult for the repair mechanisms to distinguish between a legitimate uracil and one resulting from cytosine deamination. In a U-G mismatch is the U wrong, or the G?

As it is, the repair mechanism (uracil DNA glycosidase, or UDG) simply scans for any uracils and chops them out to be replaced with cytosine, because that’s a far easier mechanism to develop. It does this millions of times a day, PER CELL.
Repair systems are BUSY.

So on one hand we have a divine creator who deliberately selected a range of nucleotides specifically to be really prone to mutating and necessitating a massive array of repair systems just to stay reasonably intact but apparently not enough to prevent massive eventual mutational collapse of his/her magnificent creation….

….or we have naturally formed early life that, over a billion of so years, evolved a system using the least detrimental combination of nucleotides that can form spontaneously, because that’s all that was available. And since this system cannot prevent mutation, genomes will change. Successive rounds of mutation and selection will produce huge varieties of life, always selecting for “good enough”, because that’s all you really need.

Anyway, on to genetic entropy. Read the rest of this entry »

Gravity Debunked

July 15th, 2014

Gravity is not a weighty subject!

For many years we have been told by gravitationists that some thing they call gravity is preventing us from flying off the earth and keeping other planets in orbit about the sun. This is plainly, almost self evidently wrong, and I will give arguments towards proof of this presently.

Ever since Newton was struck on the head by an apple and it finally dawned on him that something was keeping him from floating away (1), science has been off on the wrong track. He noticed that the apple did not just fall, but actually accelerated as it dropped (2). This struck him as unusual so he set out to explain why it occurred. He came up with the idea that some outside force must be constantly pushing on the apple to get it to increase its speed as it fell. This outside force would act much as if an intelligence, such as a human, were to take a stationary apple and apply force to it with their hand. The longer the hand pushes the apple the faster the apple will travel (3).

They had to invent a reason for the speed increase they observed in a falling object so they gave gravity the property of strength reduction as distance increases. This means the closer you are to the source the more it pulls on you. Supposedly this force is so strong at 250,000 miles it keeps the moon from flying off into space. This shows incredible strength. Because gravity doesn’t just affect objects close to the ground but affects things hundreds of miles above the ground it will place stresses on your entire body. To avoid the problem of people’s skins being torn off them they had to come up with something that would affect every atom in an object evenly.

Rather than having faith in known properties, they (scientists) decided they needed to design invisible but all-powerful particles called gravitons to explain this phenomena. Apparently these particles rather than pull just at the part of you closest to the source affect every atom in your body (or other object) (4). Of course these obviously designed particles cannot be observed nor measured in any way. Its almost as if they don’t exist, which of course is my point, they don’t. There is absolutely no empirical evidence of either the particle or it effect.

Scientists again missed the obvious, something that was right in front of them all this time and was known and used at the time – electromagnetism.

Let me explain how this works.

Deep in the earth is a large ball of nickel and iron rotating in a sea of molten metal. Why this ball is not melted is a question we will not explore here because it has no bearing on our discussion. The heat to melt the metal comes from radioactivity deep within the earth. This rotating metal causes earth to have a huge magnetic field surrounding it large enough to extend to the Van Allen belt (5). I would explain how this occurs but I feel the math would be too difficult for the common reader to understand; suffice it to say that it occurs exactly as I’ve stated.

If you take a metal object, say a nail, and move it through a magnetic field, electricity will form within the object. Conversely if you send electricity through or around an object it will create a magnetic field. You can even use this property to create electricity in a non-moving object through a property called inductance. Take two wires, lay the side by side and send electricity through one of them. You can then measure the electricity produced in the other wire. (6)

We know that a magnet has two poles, a positive pole and a negative pole. There is a very strong attractive force between opposite poles of a magnet. Hold the opposite poles of two magnets together and you will observe this force in action. We also know that electricity creates charged ions that are positive if an electron is gained or negative if an electron is lost. These opposites also have an attraction for each other. To test this take a balloon and rub it on your hair, then place it on the ceiling of your home (7). The reason it sticks there is that you exchanged electrons with the balloon and the balloon became charged. The positive electrons in the balloon ‘stick’ to the negative electrons in the ceiling material.

By now you can see where I am going with this and have come to the same intuitive conclusion that I have, the two properties of electromagnetism, electricity and magnetism, are what is holding us to this earth. As we walk or move in any way, we build up either an electrical charge or a magnetic field in our bodies. These fields are then pulled toward the earth by its massive magnetic field and electrical charge. Since our feet move faster than the rest of us they build up the majority of the field so that we don’t need to have every portion of our body affected by the field. Just our feet stick. For those objects unable to move, the wind moves fast enough to cause inductance in those objects so they too are pulled to earth. Unlike gravitons this explanation is easily observed and measured, we know they exist. Gravitons are just suppositions and inventions of a group of hardheaded gravitationists (8).

You see there is no reason to invent scientific particles called gravitons to explain why we don’t just float away, we just need to have faith in our god given reasoning power and trust in the obvious explanation. Although the majority of people will find this explanation more satisfying than the scientist’s explanation and will agree with me, there will be some hard-core gravitationists who will try to deceptively prove me wrong. They will use underhanded tactics like facts, reason, and evidence. Stay strong in your faith that the obvious is the correct answer and don’t be swayed by evidence to the contrary. As in all things, the majority determines truth and since we are the majority we will win.

As always any donations to the cause can be made through my website. We must continue the fight.

(1) I guess some scientists need to be smacked on the head before they will see the obvious.
(2) He must have been able to tell by weighing the apple and measuring the size of the bump on his head
(3) This becomes clearer if we use an object much harder to push, such as a car. Assuming we are strong enough to push the car, as we push, the car will start out slowly and pick up speed until the speed matches the force of our push less the drag of the car (determined by the friction of wheels and bearings).
(4) This is of course why they had to be designed too small to be observed, if not everything would have tiny little holes in it, including us.
(5) A belt of radiation (high energy protons) the earth wears above the equator at about 4000 miles from sea level.
(6) You’ll notice electricity and magnetism can be measured, unlike gravitons.
(7) This is more dramatically demonstrated if you rub the balloon on a cat and then stick the cat on the ceiling. Don’t worry about it falling it will always land on its feet.
(8) Gravitationists are a small but vocal group of scientists that have made a religion out of gravity called gravitism. Because of their intense beliefs it is impossible to change their minds. Don’t even attempt it, in fact stay completely away from them lest they try to brain wash you into disbelieving our science.

How Evolution Supports Non-reproductive Members in Homo sapiens

June 14th, 2014

It’s all about numbers.

Specific genes, and the traits that come with those genes spread through a population through an increased number of surviving offspring. Those genes which give an advantage to a specific individual, or group of related individuals, will eventually become distributed through the population becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Let’s create a little example. Because the selection processes have changed somewhat for Homo sapiens, becoming less obvious through our use of technology, we’ll use a pre-technological community.

Start with a population of 10 people, 5 males, 5 females who pair off into 5 sets of parents.

Let’s say the average survivability of offspring, that is the likelihood a child will grow into an adult capable of reproducing, is 50%, mostly due to circumstance and chance.

However, we have one pair who because both members have a specific gene, the survivability of their offspring is 80%. In the community, 40% of the members have the gene. It doesn’t matter for our little exercise what the gene does, it could make them immune to a common disease, it could give them better eyesight, or increased stamina, or something else. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s a recessive gene that increases the chances offspring will survive long enough to have offspring of their own.

In this community, the average number of offspring born is 5. Obviously some families will have more and some will have fewer but it simplifies the example if all families have the same number of children born.

We start with 40% of the initial 10 members of the population with the gene.

Family A (1 has gene) has 5 children, 3 live to reproductive age, 2 inherit the gene.

Family B has 5 children, 2 live to reproductive age, 0 inherit the gene.

Family C has 5 children, 3 live to reproductive age, 0 inherit the gene.

Family D (1 has gene)  has 5 children, 2 live to reproductive age, 1 inherits the gene.

Family F has 5 (2 have gene) children, 4 live to reproductive age, 3 inherit the gene.

We now have 14 reproductive age adults. Six of them have inherited the gene so we’re up to 43% of members with the gene.

From that we get seven families, two with both parents having the gene.

Family A (1 has gene) has 5 children, 3 live to reproductive age, 1 has the gene.

Family B has 5 children, 2 live to reproductive age, 0 have the gene.

Family C (1 has gene) has 5 children, 3 live to reproductive age, 2 have the gene.

Family D has 5 children, 2 live to reproductive age, 0 has the gene.

Family E has 5 children, 2 live to reproductive age, 0 has the gene.

Family F (2 have gene) has 5 children, 4 live to reproductive age, 3 have the gene.

Family G (2 have gene) has 5 children, 4 live to reproductive age, 3 have the gene.

We have 20 adults, 9 have the gene. We’re up to 45%.

It becomes pretty obvious that increasing the number of offspring with the gene reaching reproductive age will also give the gene itself a higher survivability.

If we change the benefit from the offspring themselves to the offspring’s support system – parents, grandparents, great grandparents – that increased survivability doesn’t change for either the offspring or the gene itself.

If the gene increases the productive years of parents so that they become grandparents, even though they themselves are past the age of reproduction, it will enable them to spend more time caring for the offspring, increasing the likelihood those offspring will reach reproductive age.

The very act of increasing the number of active care-givers will result in the gene remaining and increasing in the population.

Having a small percentage of non-reproducing adults who can contribute to offspring survivability may stabilize the percentage of a gene within a population assuming the non-reproductivity is related to the gene (or the developmental environment) and the benefit of the extra care outweighs the costs of having fewer members participating in reproduction.

This can also be applied to non-reproductive homosexual members. Homosexual members can still provide protection, food and support to their nephews and nieces carrying the gene, giving them a better chance of reaching adulthood.

The idea that homosexuality will result in a population dying out, or will result in the gene for homosexual preferences dying out is not based on how genetics works or on a larger scale how selection works.

That said, in the pre-technological population we’re using for the example, the percent of homosexuals in the community is self regulating because eventually the costs of having non-reproductive members will exceed the benefit of having extra care givers.



How Observations and Explanations for Those Observations are Related

May 15th, 2014

Let’s get this over with shall we?

The theory of evolution, which is a collection of various hypotheses, laws, and sub theories is an explanation. It is an explanation that not only covers a wide range of observations, or ‘facts’ (another word for data), but allows us to predict other observations. It takes other theories, or explanations for indirectly related observations, and incorporates them into an explanation that covers a greater number of observations. As I’ve stated before, the power of a theory is in how it covers each of the observations in the context of each other. Each new observation, whether direct, indirect or trace narrows the number of possible explanations down to the one most probable.

Taking one particular observation and claiming it doesn’t prove the theory, as creationists do, is misguided, ignorant or blatantly dishonest. Take your pick.

The observations we make aren’t about a monkey giving birth to a human, as demanded by your average dollar store creationist, it’s all the things that lead up to a cohesive explanation.

What follows is a short limited example.

Observing geological stratification, floods, erosion, volcanic eruptions, plate tectonics, atomic decay chains, astrophysics, the speed of light, fossil ordering, even simple parallax tells us the Earth has been around for a long time and the universe even longer.

Looking at a flood by itself doesn’t inform us of old age, it simply tells us water flow can collect, move and deposit large amounts of material in a short time. Looking at that alone allows a number of explanations for the observed stratification, including but obviously not limited to a global flood. Volcanic eruptions give us another possible source for stratification, eg. massive simultaneous global eruptions. Again, this can be explained in a young Earth context. However, when we take a closer look at the layers the observation is that the volcanic and sedimentary layers are interlaced. This means sedimentary layers had to be deposited separately from the volcanic layers. This belies the idea of a single global flood and a single massive volcanic event.

Let’s take a look at erosion and we can see that different patterns and different rates of material removal occur with the different composition of the layers. We can also see that the age of the sedimentary layer, the longer it has been under compression from the weight of layers above it affects how quickly and deeply erosion leaves patterns.

These three observations – flood deposition, volcanic deposition and erosive wear from water and wind combine with the observed layer composition to tell us a complex system of events, occurring over a great deal of time formed the specific layering observed, eliminating a single one year long global flood as a possible explanation for the observations.

Even before Darwin formalized evolution by selection, and the recognition of common descent suggested by geographic arrangement of related species, the Earth was known to be much older than the 6,000 – 10,000 years claimed by Ussher and modern Young Earth Creationists (YEC).

If you add in fossil ordering, plate tectonics, the speed of light, parallax, modern astrophysics and atomic decay chains the only explanation for all those observations taken in context with each other is that the Earth is billions of years old and that the forms life took changed over an almost  as long range of time.

There is a chain involved here. Newton’s comment “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants”  applies to theories. Observations lead to explanations which when viewed in relation to each other lead to more precise explanations by ruling out possibilities.

Those observations related to the Theory of Evolution are the changes in fossils, the order those changes are found in the strata, the similarities and the differences of traits found in extant organisms, the relation of DNA to the traits shown by extant organisms, the changes in traits correlating to changes in DNA, the pattern of similarities and differences found in DNA between extant organisms, the rate of DNA changes (mutations) found between generations of organisms and the non-random effects on the distribution of traits/DNA in populations of organisms by environmental selection. They can only be explained by one comprehensive collection of laws, hypotheses, and series of other theories with testable predictive power – the modern theory of evolution and development.

Because all of these observations can and do suggest predictive tests they are science. Because they’ve all been tested they can contribute to the convergence on a fully accurate explanation. Because they have increased the accuracy in the explanation the explanation can be used to explain other observations.

On the other hand, an all powerful, capricious god can explain everything, thereby being non-predictive and non-testable. It is not addressable by science so the claim by creationists that what they do is science is wrong.

This should be stressed. The Theory of Evolution is the explanation for the hundreds of observations that have been made in the natural sciences, and the hundreds of observations made in laboratories. Humans having a common ancestor with other apes is the best explanation for the observations.


The Magic of Homeopathy

May 10th, 2014

Homeopathy, roughly stated, is an alternative to evidence based health care based on a couple of radical assumptions. The first being the idea that like cures like. This is the idea that treating a health condition identified by specific symptoms with a solution of water and a compound that produces similar symptoms will cure the original condition.

This not only views the symptoms as more important than the cause, it erroneously assumes that the compound will somehow cause the body to react to the original condition simply because the symptoms are similar.

The second assumption is that the potency of the solution is made more effective by using a specific series of preparatory steps. One of those steps is diluting the solution so that very little if any of the compound can be found in a typical dose. Hardly a reasonable assumption to make.

The process goes something like this – the solution is prepared as a specific ratio of water and compound. The preparation is then succussed, a process of shaking the solution by striking it up against another object. After this magical incantation like treatment is done, the solution is diluted one hundred times.  The entire process of succussion and dilution is repeated up to thirty times leaving a molecule or two, or none, of the original compound in each dose.

There is no physics that will explain how pure water containing one or two molecules of a compound is more potent than the compound at full strength. It’s ridiculous.

If what proponents for homeopathy say was true, manufacturers of spirits, liqueurs,  wines and beers would simply have to make a single batch, succuss it, then dilute it and we could all get drunk just by licking a bottle cap.



The Use of Observation in Science.

October 29th, 2013

We’ve all heard it, the claim that evolution isn’t science because it isn’t observable. Of course this is just an extremely narrow and convenient definition of science used by members of the creationist community to assure them their belief system isn’t threatened. It’s pretty obvious from the context that this claim is saying that if the evolution of one kind (not species) into another isn’t directly observable it isn’t a scientific theory. The idea that phenomena have to be directly observable to be a part of science seems to be limited to only those sciences that are a threat to theistic worldviews.

Contrary to what creationists want us to believe, there are several different forms of observation available to us. I like to break scientific observation into three categories. Sensory observation where an event, state or object is directly observable by human senses. Measurable observation where the phenomenon is indirectly observable through the use of tools. Trace observation is the observation of changes in an distinct and separate event, state or object caused by the phenomenon we are investigating.

Creationists will frequently mention gravity as an event that is directly observable so it fits into their narrow definition of science. To them the observation proves the science of gravity. However what they are doing is conflating the observable event and the explanation for the event we get from science.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Memory of My Brother’s Death. (Originally posted 2004)

August 7th, 2013

Post by Gary Bohn
Well, it’s June 13, 3:40 in the morning, I can hear the rain bouncing off the roof of my condo and I can’t sleep. Today is the 3rd anniversary of my younger brother’s death, or rather today is his birthday, he would have been 45 years old. Every year since his death my family gets together on Rick’s birthday to celebrate his life by participating in one of his passions, golf. He was quite the golfer, in fact he was quite good in everything he did. Anyway, every year my family gets together, coming from different areas of the country, goes out onto the golf course Rick played on almost every summer day to talk about his life, tell stories about him as a kid, laugh at his mis-adventures and sometimes to cry together. This year, because of the rain and a few other problems we won’t be doing that. I guess we won’t be doing anything this year.

Because our parents divorced when we were young and I lived with my dad’s parents and Rick lived with my mother, 150 km away, we didn’t see each other much during our adolescent years. When I was 16 I moved in with my mother and spent 2 years with Rick, another brother and my sister. As we grew up we grew apart and moved to different cities and towns. You’d think that a family torn apart like ours was would be more likely to keep in touch, but no, not my family. It seemed we only got together for weddings and funerals and one golf game every couple of years.
I fix computers for a living (Rick hated the things and wouldn’t touch them) and my customers are all an hour or two away from my home. At least twice a week, for the last 9 years, I drive past the intersection of highway 1 and highway 47. At that intersection is a big sign with the name of the small town he lived in, reminding me that he was only 45 minutes or a phone call away. At the time he died I hadn’t spoken to him for almost two ears.

The stupid thing was that the weekend before his death I told myself to phone him. Because of one thing or another I didn’t, I don’t remember why, I just didn’t. During that week I kept promising myself that I would call him next Sunday when things are quieter for both of us. That Saturday at 4:05 pm my Father phoned to tell me my brother had been killed in a snowmobile accident. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t say a thing. I kept wanting to ask if he was going to be OK, even though I knew he was dead. Nothing would come out. Later that day when I phoned his wife, Doris, I kept wanting to tell her that if we could get the ambulance to him sooner he would be OK, but I knew that was stupid, so I didn’t. I remember that for months after the same thought kept coming into my mind, that if we get the ambulance to him sooner he would be ok. I knew this was an irrational thought but it kept coming back anyway.
Some days I envy those that can believe in a God and an afterlife. It would sure make days like this easier to deal with.
Well, I can hear the birds chirping outside and the sun is about to come up, I guess I should trundle off to bed and see if I can get some sleep.
Thanks for listening.


This was originally posted on a cold rainy sleepless night.
My brother died January 27 2001.

Despite Recent Claims by the Right, Noting Racism Exists is Not Racist

July 20th, 2013

There is a belief among many on the right that equates bringing up a charge of racism, or most recently, simply recognizing the existence of it, to an act of racism. They believe it’s a racially motivated division pitting whites against blacks. This belief is predicated on a definition of racism that holds any recognition of race identity in an interaction subverts the concept of colour blindness. Buried not so deep within this idea is an exceedingly poor understanding of racism, its effects on people and even how to recognize it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Creeping Creationism

May 12th, 2013

Even in a system where minimum standards have to be met before students can graduate like in Saskatchewan CA, as in the famous words of Jurassic park’s Dr. Ian Malcolm “[creationism], uh… finds a way.”

In Regina, SK. a Christian school found a way to circumvent the requirement evolution be taught as part of high school biology by not teaching that specific class.

From their web site: (bolding is mine)

Regina Christian School’s high school program offers quality education in all pre-requisite courses for University, Bible College and trade school entrance requirements. At the core of our program, we ensure Saskatchewan curriculum outcomes are met within a Biblical worldview. Teachers are licensed through the Ministry of Learning and are accredited within all high school subject areas except Biology 30. RCS students have been successful in the Biology 30 departmental exam.

Here’s the pertinent standards from the government:



Nothing like killing the chances their kids will move beyond the fast food service industry.