Super Bowl pick

The Sports Guy’s pick of New England winning big would make me very nervous, except for the fact that there is no possible way he would ever pick against the Patriots here even if Tom Brady was playing in a wheelchair:

That’s the thing about this Patriots team: The players honestly don’t care who gets credit, just about doing their jobs and winning games. And, over everything else, that’s why the Pats are two days away from their chance to finish 19-0. You know who epitomizes this team? Kelley Washington. Signed to compete with Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney for the No. 3 receiver spot, Washington ended up flourishing on special teams and made a gigantic play in the Chargers game when he downed a punt inside the 5-yard line. Here’s how many balls Washington caught this season: Zero. Did he give a crap? No.

I like the Patriots even giving 12. They haven’t cranked it up lately, mostly because they haven’t had to. Not to take anything away from a hard-playing Giants team, but that close game in Week 17 was only close because Belichick kept the dogs leashed until the 4th quarter. NY does have a great defensive line, but Belichick’s had two weeks to prepare for them… and for Eli. And the Patriots don’t just want to win this game, they want to win it decisively.

I’m an NFC man all the way, but I just don’t see anything but a crushing Patriots victory.

Unleash the hounds

The Amazon reviews are now open for your reviewing pleasure. But the book must be pretty doggone good if it managed to get a TWO-STAR rating at Barnes & Noble from an atheist who reviewed the book based solely on WND’s interview with me! I guess I had no idea that I needn’t have bothered reading all those books by Dawkins and Dennett, including a number not directly related to the religion/atheism debate, when it seems I could have simply made do with their Salon interviews.

After reading the article in WorldNewsDaily that introduces the book, it was apparent that all Vox has to offer is more of the same old illogical and thoroughly discredited arguments dressed up in somewhat more florid prose.

Yeah, they’re not irrational. They’re not irrational at all!

Billions and billions of dinosaurs

I’m not particularly into biology, but I’ve never bought into the “science” that oil is nothing but squished dinosaurs and sufficiently fermented ferns. Like many boys, I was a huge dinosaur enthusiast when I was five, and I didn’t believe it then any more than I do now. (Apparently, I was so disgusted with my kindergarten teacher’s inability to recognize that my nametag was an Allosaurus on my first day that in the evening, I informed my father that I wasn’t going to school anymore, as there was obviously no point trying to learn anything from a woman who couldn’t even tell an Allosaurus from a Tyrannosaurus Rex. He managed to keep a straight face and patiently convinced me that there just might be other, non-dinosaur related subjects worth learning about.)

I don’t pretend to know precisely what oil is or how it is created, but it seems to me that we’ve used a little too much of it over the last century for it to be non-renewable resource that cannot be manufactured as we were always taught it was. Now that abiotic theory is finally beginning to be discussed openly in public, perhaps scientists will deign to actually consider making use of scientody to consider the issue instead of simply relying on their usual appeal to their own authority.

I must get my suspicion of scientific authority from my father. A friend of his told me how he once brought a male professor of biology to angry tears merely by asking intelligent questions about the source of calcium in cow’s milk, then pointing out that the professor’s answers simply didn’t add up.

The end of an argument

The supply of suicide bombers appears to be running low:

Two suicide attacks on pet markets in Baghdad today have left approximately 100 killed and twice as many wounded. Both attacks used women “with Down’s syndrome” according the the Daily Mail and less specifically, they were described as “mentally disabled” according to CNN. Both bombs appear to have been remote detonated. These women probably did not know they were carrying explosives at all, and it would probably be fair to include them among the victims….

Today’s attacks also tell us that al Qaeda in Iraq is getting very desperate in seeking the high-casualty attacks that they so value. They were forced to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel, and use not only women (which they’d prefer to subjugate), but mentally disabled women at that, suggesting that finding willing volunteers is becoming ever more difficult.

When you can’t easily find a few hundred volunteers among a potential pool of 1.2 billion people, I think it’s pretty safe to conclude that religion is not a very powerful motivating factor underlying suicide bombings. Meanwhile, that well-known religious group, the Tamil Tigers, continue their explosive campaign against the Sri Lankan government, sans suicide.

A suspected Tamil Tiger roadside bomb attack on a civilian bus has killed 27 people and wounded dozens more in central Sri Lanka. The attack came as a six-year ceasefire between the state and rebels formally expired.

Suicide bombing is merely a dramatic propaganda statement that anyone who has seen The Godfather II should understand. It’s designed to inspire the very kind of fear that permeates Sam Harris’s ludicrous first book. It’s also militarily negligible, except perhaps in the very limited case of high-level political assassinations. When, like every other military or political tactic, it ceases to become effective for the moment, it’s set aside in favor of other, more effective tactics. The idea that use of this tactic ever said anything significant about religion or religion’s place in the modern world, even a particular religion, was always a particularly stupid argument.

This will become become obvious to even the most skeptical Harris fan once the either the Iraqi and Afghani occupations end and bombings by Muslims slow to a single-digit, Jerusalem-focused trickle again, or Iran is occupied and a new wave of bombing horrors wrack both the Middle East and West.