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Terrorism’s Only True Power

The inherent power of a terrorist is in inverse proportion to our refusal to be terrorised.

His bravery is fed by your cowardice.

Your desire to cower, to hide, to protect yourself feeds his desire to find you and kill you.

Your fear of death simply intensifies his satisfaction at his relinquishment of it.

The Incongruence of God and Man’s Free Will

As the details of the recent terrorist acts in Paris unfold, there have been numerous articles and Facebook posts regarding the futility of praying for the victims of that tragedy when the entity to whom one would be praying should have, if he existed at all, presumably been powerful enough to have stopped the event in the first place. This is a sentiment with which I happen to agree.

One man, an acquaintance of mine, did respond as I had expected others to do as well. His response was that God gives man “free will”, which, by what I take from that response, is to mean that having given this free will to man, he, God, is now powerless to retrieve it, even in small incremental incidents when having done so would have saved hundreds of those of us whom he claims to love so dearly, such as the recent Paris attacks.

Although I do not doubt the sincerity of this man’s feelings and the depth of his religious belief, I must take issue with that response since it is inconsistent with that which appears, to me, to happen all over the world on a daily basis.

If the entity referred to as God is truly all knowing, powerful and present, yet cannot control the actions of man due to his having given us free will, I must question why he has done so with so many other forces on earth. The forces to which I refer are hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanos, flash floods, fire and if it turns out not to have been man-made, climate change.

If we embrace the theory that man is uncontrollable by God because God has relinquished control over man’s will, then one must question why God has equally relinquished control over these other devastating and murderous phenomena. How many were killed by Hurrican Katrina, or Sandy, to name only two? How many will die in the next super earthquake which is predicted for California, or the tsunami that killed 19,000 men, women and children in Japan? Climate change may be the cause of the current droughts in California, but there have been droughts throughout history and people have died as a result. Bangladesh in the 1970s comes to mind.

How many lives are lost every year to tornadoes in the mid-west, presumably while some of those lost were huddled in their basements praying to this self-same God to spare their lives as their roofs were blowing off and their children were being carried off by the winds?

If I am to consider the possibility that the rationale for man’s inhumanity to man is God’s having given us “free will”, I must have an answer to the question of why he seems to have given that same free will to nearly everything else that can hurt us as well. Where is all this assumed power in this deity that makes him worth our reverence?

If he can make the earth flood, why can’t he also stop floods? If he can make it rain at will, why can’t he make it rain during droughts that kill thousands of babies?

Failing to answer those questions will help one better understand the position of Atheists.

Technological Nihilism

If I have to hear one more person laugh in a contrived, self-deprecating manner about how they don’t know anything about technology, I’m going to smash their mobile phone.

Nearly every day I run into people who either don’t know, or claim not to know, anything about computers or technology. Many of these people are in their 50s and 60s, yet act as if they are so far beyond help in this field that their is no hope for them. I’m bored with these people.

Computers, in their current form, have been around since the mid-1980s. Although they are considerably faster and more efficient than before, the fundamentals are the same. There are word processors, browsers, spreadsheets and music services now, just as there were then. Not too much has changed.

Yet at least half the people I meet and work with have little knowledge of Word, Excel, how to set up a new email address or fix a simple computer glitch. (which is usually just a matter of rebooting).

Ask them to network a printer, upload something to the cloud, adjust their mouse’s scrolling or their screen resolution and they’re clueless.

Now, I know that I’m a bit of a nerd with this stuff, but I’m not asking them to replace a video card or format a drive, much less write code. I’m just wondering how long they’ll keep using their cutesy “I’m totally ignorant of that stuff” or “I’ve got to ask my grandson how to do that stuff” before they realize that it’s no longer as cute as they think it is.

Folks, it’s cute to be stupid in high school. It makes you appear to be contrarian and unconcerned with society’s demands. It can make you appear to be rebellious and creative in your mannerism, one who “makes his own rules”. Yeah, the Vinnie Barbarino attitude used to impress the girls in high school. But for those of you who are no longer kids, don’t you think it’s time to stop bragging about ignorance? It’s getting tedious and it’s just not funny anymore. It doesn’t make you look like a “regular person”.

It makes you look stupid.

Empathy. A True Personal Case History


Some years back, I had the bad luck to have lost about ½ of my left pinky when it decided get into a debate with a table saw. I lost the debate. I was on the third floor of a house that I had purchased and was renovating.
When I realized what I had done, I wrapped what remained of my finger in a towel and drove myself to the hospital, where they stitched up the remaining stub and, some hours later, sent me on my way, loaded up on pain killers. My wife brought me home.

Over the subsequent days I mourned over my now disfigured pinky, feeling quite depressed over my stupidity at having lost it. (In actuality, someone whom I had hired to help me had removed the blade guard without telling me. I had not noticed it missing). For someone who had never so much as broken a bone or spent a night in a hospital, this really shook me.
At the time, I owned a small private airplane and used to perform charity flights for an organization called Angel Flight. We ferried sick people to hospitals for treatment. They were typically cancer patients who were being treated at hospitals which specialize in their particular kind of cancer. These hospitals could be quite a distance from where these people lived, so Angel Flight arranges with private pilots to fly them to the airport nearest the hospital, from where they would hire a cab, helping them to avoid what, in some cases, would be a 10-15 hour drive.

It was about two weeks after the aforementioned self-disfigurement that the pain in my hand had subsided to the point that I could safely fly without painkillers. I had Angel Flight put me back on flight status and was soon called to pick up a woman in Key West and fly her to Shands Medical Center in Gainsville, Florida. A distance of about 450 miles.
When I arrived at the terminal in Key West I was surprised to see that my passenger was to be a very pretty woman in the 35-year-old range. It was surprising since most of the patients whom I carried were much older, usually in their 70s and above. I introduced myself and helped her and her bags onto the plane and we took off.

About an hour into the flight, after we had exchanged some pleasantries, Michelle started telling me about the purpose of her visit to Shands (It was inappropriate for us to ask, but many of our passengers felt an obligation to let us know why they were taking part in this charitable program). She commenced telling me about a rare form of cancer with which she had been diagnosed about a year ago. She then started to describe to me which of her body parts had been removed and how many surgeries she had had. At first I didn’t believe her, it seemed so fantastic to me.

She had had more than 10 surgeries, the most recent having been less than a month before, nearly all of which having removed parts like one kidney, her gall bladder, her spleen, a part of her liver and other things that I don’t remember. In addition, she told me that she had three small children and that she had recently applied for welfare. The need for welfare arose when her husband told her that he was too young to be shackled by a sick wife and left! With her constant hospital visits, she had been fired from her job as a waitress and had no other way to support herself. I was beside myself with sorrow over this poor woman’s story when I realized that through this entire story, she had been smiling and jovial, never remotely betraying the slightest in self-pity or sadness of any kind. She joked about what an ass her husband was, but intimated that she guessed she could not blame him, since he was young and good-looking and needed to go on with his life!

My emotions were all over the map as I was listening to this sweet, gentle, kind woman, who had been through so much and was still going through it. I did not know if I should cry, offer her money or take her in and support her!

After she finished telling me all that was going on in her life and how she was coping with it, she happened to notice the big gauze bandage that still wrapped the remaining stub of a pinky on my left hand, making it virtually double its normal size. I was almost embarrassed to tell her about the ostensible high trauma that I had recently suffered and my depressed, “poor me” response to it. I felt like a schoolgirl at having made such a big deal about having lost such an unimportant part of my body while she was losing so much of hers. I was dismissive in my response and tried to downplay it as trivial.

In a two-hour flight with one of the happiest, most even-tempered and understanding people, (even in the face of insurmountable adversity), I had ever met, I learned more about compassion for others and being happy with our lot in life than I had in my entire life leading up to that moment. Having met this woman was a life-altering event for me.


Three months later I called Angel Flight to enquire as to what had happened to Michelle. They were not allowed to discuss anyone’s personal medical history, as I should have expected. Nevertheless, after talking to the woman volunteer on the phone and relating my experience with Michelle in an effort to explain my curiosity about her, the woman broke down and told me that Michelle had succumbed to her cancer and died about three weeks before. She was 34 years old. No information was available about what had happened to her children.

Fundamental Attribution Error Re-visited


I understand everything about this…Ok, I don’t, but it’s really cool to think about.

Oh yeah, Creationists, here’s something. If you thought that changing one’s mind means you don’t know what you’re talking about, you don’t get it. You see, people who believe in science don’t need to make up answers to things. It’s the questions that fascinate us more. The need to have the universe “make sense” and all that drivel is…just that. It’s the inquiry into the facts that matter to us. The universe does not make sense to us. How cool is that?!

Glib, grade-school conclusions like people made from ribs and virgin births are fun for picture books, but they are not answers, they are merely responses. Like when George Bush said that Iraqi oil would pay for the war. See what I mean?

Conclusions make things nice and simple, but not when they’re driven by the question. Then they just obfuscate. We’re perfectly OK knowing that we really have no “purpose” here. We’re just a gnat getting a ride on the back of a big old sheepdog, and nothing more. The fact that we invented cell phones and delivery pizza does not render us above insects, other than that we get to text each other while eating really bad food.

Creationists are guilty of what I call fundamental attribution error. They were born on 3rd base and pat themselves on the back for hitting home runs, but they’re not even sure how many bases there are!

Evolutionists appreciate the fact that the world may be more complex than most of us can grasp, and we marvel at it.

Nowhere in that timeline does it say, “Adam and Eve created —>here”

Because they weren’t.

The Ferguson Effect and Other Excuses for Bad Police Work

FBI Director James B Comey recently offered some insights into policing in the United States as a result of increased media and public scrutiny of police.

The Article Is Here

From the article:

“Comey’s remarks also bore a strong resemblance to a theory some law enforcement officials have referred to as the “Ferguson effect” — that increased scrutiny on police departments makes officers less pro-active and increases crime.

“They told me, ‘We feel like we’re under siege and we don’t feel much like getting out of cars,’”

What we are now seeing the proof that cops have had it way too good way too long. We’re now seeing the evidence that cops are apparently the only group in the world which decides when it will and won’t do a good job, irrespective of their job description and the reason they get paid.

They’re telling us that if we watch them, if we monitor them, if we closely follow how they do their jobs, well…that’s just too much for them to handle, and so they might not “feel much like getting out of cars”.

This doesn’t worry me folks. This is all part of the cleaning-out process. We have apparently been hiring cops who consider themselves to be GI Joe’s who get to play army but don’t have to go into war zones. They think that working for us is tantamount to doing us a favor, and that we should always trust them to do the right thing, all evidence to the contrary.

Over time, these self-important, camo-wearing Rambos will be caught, hopefully terminated and relegated to the after-hours security staff at their local Target, and their ranks will be filled with real cops who actually want to “protect and serve” something other than themselves and their jobs, as well as enforce laws.

At that time, the ranks of these police will start to once again gain the respect of the populace which signs their paychecks every week, and we won’t have to hear dime-store psychobabble about “Ferguson effects” and other such drivel.

9/11, Keeping Us Safe, and Asterisks

I was thinking about Jeb Bush’s assertion that his brother George, during his Presidency, “Kept us safe”.

I was thinking that, if George Bush had listened to the intelligence that we were given regarding Al Queda wanting to strike us from the air and Bush, trying to keep us safe, ordered the NIA and CIA to look more deeply into the matter and discover the plot, thwarting it and keeping those planes from hitting the trade center, then, 14 years later, when asked about his brother’s Presidency, it would have been justified for Jeb to say that his brother “kept us safe”.

Yet, none of those things happened, and those planes did go into the towers, killing 3000 Americans. Yet, he still asserted the same thing that he would have been justified in saying if those things had never happened. Two completely different scenarios, yet the same reference for each?

Hmm. It seems to me that the sentence should read, for the sake of accuracy in posterity:

He kept us safe*

*Except for that one time


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