Enemies of Reason

The Enemies of Reason is a two-part television documentary, written and presented by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. The documentary was first broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK last year, styled as a loose successor to Dawkins’ documentary of the previous year about religion, The Root of All Evil?

Is it rational that the dead can communicate with the living and give sound advice on how they should live their lives? What about sticking pins into your body to free the flow of Chi energy and cure your illness? Or the bending of spoons using your mind alone? Is that rational? Richard Dawkins doesn’t think so, and feels it is his duty to expose those areas of belief that exist without scientific proof, yet manage to hold the nation under their spell. He will take on the world’s leading proponents in their field of expertise, meet the victims who have used them and expose the history of the movements – from the charlatans who have milked these practices to the experiments and testing that have failed to produce conclusive results.

Above, the first part of the program “Slaves to Superstition” and below is the second part “The Irrational Health Service.”


Three rare white lion cubs born last month in the Schloss Holte-Stukenbrock safari park in Germany were shown to the public and the media for the first time on Monday.

Land of the Free: Terrorist Watch List Hits One Million Names

Maybe I’m one of those people with a hopelessly “9/10 mentality” but this just seems completely ridiculous to me.

“Members of Congress, nuns, war heroes and other ‘suspicious characters,’ with names like Robert Johnson and Gary Smith, have become trapped in the Kafkaesque clutches of this list, with little hope of escape,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Congress needs to fix it, the Terrorist Screening Center needs to fix it, or the next president needs to fix it, but it has to be done soon.”

Until recently, Nelson Mandella was on the list. Oy.

Canada’s Democratic Party?

I dunno, but this seems like a really, really dumb idea to me. Why on earth would anyone want to be associated with the Democrats in Washington? Moreover, wouldn’t this be what’s known in ad-speak as “diluting your brand”?

All Aboard the Tory Gravy Train!

The Edmonton Journal reports this morning on a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that promises to line the pockets of Tory hacks at taxpayer expense:

Right from the first whiff of the $2-billion plan to bury carbon, it looked like a potential gravy train for Tories all over the province.

And now one of the first applicants steps up like something from a political cartoon — former premier Don Getty, no less, who is “thrilled” with the program and says his company will definitely apply for a subsidy.

That’s our beloved Alberta, folks. There isn’t another province where an ex-premier would even consider applying. Here, they do it proudly.

Here’s the amazing thing: the government says it won’t even want the subsidy money back from companies it supports!

Expect to hear howls of outrage about this scandal from “Conservative” bloggers in… oh right, never.

CBC Sunday Night: Mark Emery

Here’s another Canadian that the “Conservative” government isn’t going to “stand up for” in his relentless crusade against the boneheaded, unconstitutional War on Drugs.

Interesting that he cites Ayn Rand as his ideological inspiration. Take that objectivist poseurs!

On a related note, according to an RCMP report compiled in response to a request from The Globe and Mail, “Tips and calls to police from the public about marijuana growing operations have declined significantly since mid-2003.” Emery identified three factors leading to the drop:

…effective police enforcement has increased the risks; a strong Canadian dollar has made exports less profitable; and a downturn in the U.S. economy has led to many Americans trying their hands as suppliers.

Many people have started growing marijuana crops in U.S. National Forests throughout the western states, Mr. Emery said. Also, homeowners hurt by the mortgage crisis and laid-off workers desperate to keep their homes are converting a basement or spare room into something that can make them money. In many instances, they are turning to growing marijuana, he said.

A homeowner with only two high-intensity grow-lights can probably earn as much as $20,000 a year with minimal risk, Mr. Emery said. “It certainly is enough to tide people over, no problem, and two lights are not going to get you into trouble either. So it is a nice, modest-size grow [operation] that you can probably get away with.”

I’ll never understand why the federal government doesn’t just legalize and tax marijuana. Think of the revenue potential!

The Twatrick Chronicles*

The Painful Stupidity Continues…

After complaining repeatedly about the Doughy One taking things out of context and twisting them in order to launch a completely misguided attack against me, this is the response I get:

Suddenly we care about context?

How about this context:

Someone makes a judgement [sic] about the markings on the underside of someone’s boots based on some poor-quality photographs in which they’re barely visible.

Then someone digitally enhances the photos to reveal the marks, then excoriates the other individual mercilessly for that error, even after the error is admitted.

No need to reinvent the wheel — a complete debunking of his specious version of events can be found here. Enough said about that. Moving on…

And look where we find ourselves now: Martin Rayner has made an errror — one that he actually has yet to correct or admit. And he thinks we should back off based on some non-existent context.

Um, no. The context is quite existent and plain as day for anyone with basic reading skills and an ounce of intelligence to see — qualities sadly lacking in Twatrick, it seems. A correction and/or admission isn’t required because no “error” was made, at least not on my part. I said that Manning had “no scientific background whatsoever” was my “initial reaction” and then went on to dispel that impression with findings made to verify whether that was actually the case.

But here’s the rub, Marty: you posted some comments about Manning’s attitude toward science, and said nothing about his background. You denied his background, now want to pretend that you’ve somehow acknowledged it.

D’oh! It’s another hapless swing and a miss for the doughy slackwit, who’s wrong, yet again!

While I did post comments about Manning’s attitude towards science — something that under the circumstances are far more salient than his actual credentials, which are rather weak — I also said this: “It should also be noted that Manning was a Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto several years ago, where he taught a course entitled Public Policy and the Genetic Revolution.” I would think it could even be argued that a university teaching position might actually speak more powerfully to Manning’s “background” than does a summer job while he was taking an undergraduate Physics course, no?

Undeterred by his egregious faux-pas, Twatrick indulges nevertheless in some of his trademark chest thumping:

You haven’t. But the fun thing about reality is this:

We don’t need you to acknowledge facts in order to make them factual.

Nor do we need you to admit a mistake in order to criticize you for making it.

So go cry about your “context” somewhere else. Not only is there no context that excuses your mistake, but you’ve felt perfectly free to ignore context in the past.

Karma’s a motherfucker, you irredeemably dishonest piece of shit.

Can’t you just feel the love? Patrick Ross, ladies and gentlemen: proving that he is, in fact, the “Dumbest Blogger on the Planet.” Rest easy Larry C. Johnson.

* Apologies to CC for the title. Also see Twatrick get totally eviscerated here.

Links With Your Java

• Walter Natynczyk (pronounced id-ee-uh t), Canada’s new defence chief, demonstrates his firm grasp of the situation in Afghanistan by calling a 77% increase in insurgent attacks from the previous year “insignificant” and claiming that Canada’s control of the Afghan countryside has expanded, even though Canadian forces have actually abandoned outlying bases in favour of concentrating troops in the core districts under its command.

• Buying votes with your money. The Conservatives dole out $3 billion in pork, mostly to ridings in eastern Canada, especially Quebec. Western Canada gets just a few token handouts — after all, why even bother when their votes are almost 100% guaranteed? What are they gonna do… vote Liberal? Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

• Silly man. Doesn’t he realize that “conservatives” don’t care bupkis about spelling. That’s for elitists. Sheesh! Get with the program.

• Obama’s campaign team really needs to lighten up about this magazine cover — the New Yorker’s target audience is sophisticated enough to recognize satire when they see it. Claiming that “most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive” is not only presumptuous, it’s absurdly condescending. The wingnuts take offense at the “hateful, bigoted attack” but for entirely self-serving reasons. Artist Barry Blitt defends the cover and New Yorker editor David Remnick responds by stating the obvious.

• Right on cue, Bush and Feds rescue Freddie and Fanny, but American taxpayers are now on the hook for $5 trillion worth of mortgages. Private profits and socialized losses… so much for the vaunted “free market.”