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Dispatches from the Culture Wars
Entered on: March 23, 2008 8:53 PM by Ross

So many disparate events are going on in the news lately that upset me and make me wonder if this is a country I want to live in.  I figured I'd scrawl down some random thoughts about the stories that have been occupying my attention lately - some more high profile than others:

The biggest story, the one that most of you have undoubtedly heard about already is the Obama speech on race and religion.  While I do find it disturbing that a potential president of the United States attends church services where the pastor spouts such vitriolic nonsense, I know that Obama is smarter than that and doesn't take anything that fool said to heart.  What I did find amazing, though, is Obama's reaction in his speech and his attitude toward race.  I think John Stewart summed it up best:  "at 11:00 on a Tuesday, a prominent politician spoke to Americans about race, as though they were adults."  However, as great as I thought it was, I can't help but agree with this article that wonders whether it was a bit too smart.  And that truly saddens me. 

It's also obligatory for me to agree with anything that Sam Harris has to say on the subject.

For my fellow video game enthusiasts, you might have heard of a guy named Jack Thompson who is a clinically insane anti-video game litigator.  He's been known to harass lawyers and judges that he deems sympathetic to his opponents, in the form of copious emails and faxes, as well as what appears to be slanderous public remarks about them.  Well, his tactics have finally gotten the better of him and he's been the focus of a trial in Florida for misconduct and could lose his license to practice law in that state.  Although the trial is over, the decision has not yet been rendered, but our good buddies at Game Politics have been publishing juicy excerpts from the trial, and to me it's hugely entertaining - like Law and Order on steroids. 

What makes my jaw drop is Thompson's palpable contempt for the judge and the proceedings in general.  On TV at least (the source of the majority of my knowledge about how courts function), no one - least of all the attorneys - are granted the kind of latitude that the judge affords this jackwad.  The other thing that strikes me is how Thompson takes every opportunity during his cross-examinations to use the forum as a soap box for his political agenda.  My favorite example is when a lawyer who was the target of his harassment started crying on the stand while recounting it, and the judge called a recess.  Afterward, Thompson made a point of mentioning the incident, and asked her to compare her feelings to people dying, which he implies was due to violent video games.  The judge repeatedly sustained objections to his grandstanding, but it didn't stop him from trying repeatedly.  What a carksarker! 

Finally, probably the least-known but most amusing thing in the news (if you can call it that) is the story about the new creationist film "Expelled" - narrated by semi-celebrity Ben Stein.  In perhaps the definition of irony, they "expelled" - and threatened to arrest - evolutionary biologist (and my favorite blogger) PZ Myers, who is interviewed in the film (and thanked in the credits!) from a screening in Minnesota, but they failed to notice his guest: Richard Dawkins.

It's turned out to be a big public relations fiasco for the producers of the movie and their creationist friends, who are spinning it like crazy to make it sound like PZ was "gate crashing" and "harassing" people in attendance.  I am not exaggerating when I say that this of shameless lying is completely normal for professional creationists, who make a career out of misquoting, quoting out of context, and outright fabrications.  Myers and Dawkins got their tickets the same way everyone else in attendance did, and never once tried to hide their identities.

Anyway, there's nothing more I can say about creationist assholes that I haven't said numerous times already on this site.  I just never cease to be amazed by their stupidity and mendacity (Rochespeak).  And reading "both sides" of these various debates on blogs only reinforces the notion that it's just not possible to reason with people who are ideologically driven.  It doesn't matter how good your arguments are, or how effectively you eviscerate their inept ones, they simply cannot even contemplate changing their minds.  If that sounds like irony, it's not: scientists have shown repeatedly that they can be convinced to change their minds by compelling evidence, and are not, by and large, ideologically motivated.  The same can very rarely be said of the strongly devout.

NEWS 518 - 86 Comments
From: Ross Entered on: March 24, 2008 12:12 PM

Dawkins has his account of the incident and review of the film here.  I wonder if Swerb will review this one once it comes out.   I would think GR would be a good place to show it, as conservative as it is.

From: Jackzilla Entered on: March 25, 2008 6:28 AM

Sorry, Bert - Apparently you'll have to throw in some boobie pics around here to get a reaction.  Laughing

Seriously, I thought Obama's speech was excellent.  I was reading some of the reactions to it and stumbled upon Fox News' segment.  They had Al Sharpton on.  Really?  He has no relationship with Obama or his campaign but its like they purposely throw Al on because he's a turn off to so many people.

Anyways, I gotta say that at this point, I feel like it would be a shame if Obama wasn't elected.

From: Bunky Entered on: March 25, 2008 8:14 AM

Ross remember when Bone and Will would actually jump in a discussion? Yeah, I forgot too...

Since I fall into the creationist asshole group, I felt it was probably wise to avoid that discussion. Due to my stupidity, it is not possible to reason with me anywaySmile

I have to agree with Zilla, I thought Obama did a great job on his speech. It is nice to finally see someone with some balls who addresses the topics and not dance around them. Fox News Zilla, They Report, You Decide!

Fuck Will! I heard he had full access to XBOX LIVE over the weekend and did not come out for any reindeer games! Even Bells came out last nice and gave me a severe ass whoopin' the last round!

From: Jackzilla Entered on: March 25, 2008 9:03 AM
Bunky said:


Since I fall into the creationist asshole group, I felt it was probably wise to avoid that discussion. Due to my stupidity, it is not possible to reason with me anywaySmile


Now Bunky, I know you're being a bit facetious but am I wrong in assuming you don't believe that the earth is 3,000 years old and that man frolicked with dinasaurs?  Because there are creationists and then there are CREATIONISTS!

From: Bunky Entered on: March 25, 2008 11:32 AM
You mean I have been lied to all these years? Damn it. Now I have to budget for the therapy bill...
From: Jackzilla Entered on: March 25, 2008 1:52 PM

Wow.  You aren't going to be lured into this discussion are you, Bunky?  Laughing

If I had a picture of Bells' butt up in the air I'd post it right about now.  Creeko - You got that one in your collection?

From: Ross Entered on: March 25, 2008 3:13 PM

I believe that Young Earth Creationists think that the earth is roughly 6,000 years old (born in October of 4004 BC or some such, according to a Bishop of old).  But you don't have to believe that to be called a creationist - many Intelligent Design proponents do not believe in a young earth.  In fact, as far as I know, none of the ID people actually believe that - or at least say they do.  The idea that the earth is a million times younger than it really is is even harder to cloak in pseudo-scientific lingo, though in both cases (old earth and evolution), the evidence is overwhelmingly against them. 

In fact, it is so incredibly overwhelming that it would actually be more intellectually respectable to be a Holocaust denier than to be an evolution denier.  I say this without a shred of irony or sarcasm - the mechanism of evolution and its historical affects are much more well documented than the Jewish Holocaust, even when you take firsthand witnesses of the latter and the Nazis' recordkeeping into account.  This is in no way to diminish the overwhelming evidence (and the sheer audacity of those who choose to deny this evidence), but to illustrate just how incredibly absurd it is for someone who has had the opportunity to examine the facts to continue to deny something like this.  It's not possible to overstate.  And believe me, I've tried.

But allow me respond to Bunky's suggestion that I think she's too stupid reason with, assuming that she really is some form of creationist.  I don't think all creationists are stupid.  Certainly most are, but that says more about people than creationists.  I happen to think most people in general are rather dim.  But I want to state that I have met several creationists in my life that I believe were every bit as smart or smarter than I am.  I would never deny it. 

So I think Bunky missed my point (which I thought I spelled out in that last paragraph):  I wasn't saying that creationists can't be reasoned with because they're stupid, but that they can't be reasoned with because they're ideologically driven.  It's a magical thing that allows someone (smart or not) to become completely unresponsive to reasonable argument.

The creationists I called stupid were the ones who do the lying for a living (what I'd call active creationists rather than passive ones as Bunky presumably is), and deliberately try to mislead others.  They're not stupid because they're liars (and as I said, the really professional ones are all liars, to the last) but because they tend to be bad liars and get caught in their lies time and again by their superior opponents, only to move on to new lies and hope no one notices how they've been exposed.  And it bugs me that the general populace is so averse to a scientific explanation of our origins that they choose not to notice this absurdity.


On another separate but very slightly related topic, another thing in the news lately that has annoyed me is the media's reaction to Osama bin Laden's recent audio tape, the transcript of which you can read here.  What gets me is that not nearly enough people are keying in on the blurb about how the enemies of Islam (as he sees them) have killed their women and children, and that's bad, but it pales in comparison to the fact that they published some drawings that they found offensive, and bin Laden plans to exact much more serious revenge as a result.  Over drawings.

It's here that I tend to agree with my more conservative friends when I say that this is the "war on terror" in a nutshell.  It never had anything to do with Saddam Hussein or nukes in Iran or anything like that.  It is a war for civilization, and that war is found in the minds of the world at large.  On one side, you have people who value the freedom is conscience and expression as one of their most prized values (as liberals claim but in this case seem to be strangely silent), and on the other side, you have people who think that if you make the wrong pen strokes on a sheet of paper, you should be killed.  It's really just that simple.  And to be honest, I tend to side with the people I normally consider nutcases when I say that if you really, truly believe that I should die for making a drawing that offends you, then you are so far beyond the reach of reason, and such a danger to all that I hold dear that I must kill you, merely for holding this belief.  

That might sound like I'm contradicting myself, and not allowing freedom of expression.  Hell, I'll go one further: I'm not even allowing freedom of thought in this case.  It's one thing if you're a child who doesn't know any better but if you're an able and willing person who shows credible evidence for being willing to kill or be killed on the basis of something like this, I'm sorry, but you have to die.  Do not pass go, you go straight in the ground.

Anyway, I don't expect everyone to necessarily go as far as I do on this, but I do expect my fellow liberals (meaning people who value liberty) to stand up and say "you do not have the right to not be offended, and I will fight to the death to defend my right to say offensive things".  It just seems too politically incorrect for people to say this, and that sickens me as well.

From: NickNick Entered on: March 25, 2008 4:05 PM

Wow.  That's a lot to respond to. 

First, the whole Creationists are stupid/Bunky is stupid response.  By all means, I agree with Bunky that she is stupid.  :) 

I think one important thing that seems to get overlooked when religion, or the matter of faith, is discussed.  There are people out there who believe in the power of science and the wonders that its done for this world.  They understand that the earth is billions of years old and the universe is older.  They can perfectly understand that life began as a single cell organism floating in some primordial ooze.  Maybe helped along by some extra terestrial stuff brought to Earth by a comet.  These people completely agree about matters of evolution and the age of the Earth and that it's not flat and that people did not romp with the dinasaurs (even though it's well documented in many early caveman movies.)

I consider myself to be among them.  But they also find it impossible to rule out God or a God presence.  It doesn't have to be an old man with a beard.  It doesn't have to Shiva or Allah.  I don't understand why there can't be all this miraculous science and still be something spiritual in life?  Why can't god have created the world over aeons and "allowed" or "helped" evolution along.  Or why not even have him/her/it start the Big Bang and just allow things to happen?

Is it truly so hard to imagine?  I'm not saying that this is the case.  But to be so hardcased against it is somewhat similar to to people believing the sun revolved around the Earth, before it was discovered that the Earth was NOT the center of the universe.  Remember, scientists of the day called Darwin crazy.  And wasn't Copernicus deemed a heritic?

I understand everyone's negative feelings towards the religious right.  Living here in West Michigan, you were force fed Christianity until you puked.  It was literally beaten into kids in some cases.

Before I'm criticized to harshly, I want everyone to understand that I put science first and foremost, even when I'm raising my kids.  But there HAS to be SOME room for faith.  Not blind faith, mind you.  Faith that you are constantly questioning and developing and allowing to grow within the realms of science.

Second, well, I spent too much time on the first point.  That's about all I'll subject you all to.

From: NickNick Entered on: March 25, 2008 4:27 PM

on a slightly different note, but somehow it still seems to matter.

Check out this video.  It's awesome!!

Here's the link:

From: Bunky Entered on: March 25, 2008 4:58 PM
First off, I am just B.S.-ing about the whole creationist thing. I was just trying to spark a debate since we have been lacking a good one on JA since the whole Ross/Fatty Sandal-Sock Scandal. Nick Nick, I feel fairly confident that my stupid self can kick your ass. I will be more than happy to fly to Michigan and test my theory :) Here's the great thing about believing God created Heaven and Earth. I don't have to argue this crap on my blackberry! Everything I need to know I read in Genesis. Can I quote scripture on here Ross?
From: Ross Entered on: March 25, 2008 6:32 PM

Bunky, you don't want to quote scripture - cuz I'll quote it back!  I'm not as swift as a southern baptist minister, but since I have the power of the internets and the skeptics annotated bible, I can drudge up some doozies!

Anyway, NickNick, I thought I already addressed this issue of yours in another thread somewhere.  To recap:

- No scientists that I'm aware rule out the of gods in general.  Not even Dawkins.  No one is claiming that science precludes the supernatural.  It just fails to confirm it in any way, and that's pretty compelling.  But as they say, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.  But considering how hard people have tried to get some decent evidence and have come up short time and again, it's compelling enough to say "I have need for this 'god' hypothesis!"

- As for God "allowing" or "helping" evolution - I don't think you want to go here.  You may think you want to go here, but I'm really quite sure you don't.  Evolution is a very, very nasty process.  It is wasteful, cruel, and revolves around death.  Not just ordinary "grandpa passed away" death, but deaths of infants, mass extinctions, plagues, etc.  If God was "helping" out on this, what does that say about God?  Even us humans can see that the process sucks and takes waaaaay to long to produce something useful, while producing lots of pain and suffering in between attempts. 

- As for God starting the big bang and sitting back, that's a lot closer to a diest philosophy, and one I can't fault nearly as much as more descriptive theologies.  However, it does have a glaring flaw: adding God to this equation gives it no more explanatory power whatsoever.  If God started the universe, who started God?  It's no good to say that God was always there, because for all you know, so was the universe (even if it had a beginning, some cause could have always existed).  Alternatively, even according to the physics we do currently understand, it's possible that the universe didn't have a cause at all.  So my point is that even if you throw in this "God started it," what did you really add?  To my eyes, nothing, because how could that even make you feel better when you have posited an absolutely nondescript entity?  Only once you start assigning other attributes to your creator could you come away with a warm fuzzy, but then you're pulling those attributes out of your ass since all you are granted in this scenario is that some entity sparked the big bang. 

So no, NickNick, a creator in the vaguest, weakest sense is not hard to imagine at all.  It's just unnecessary.   But let me be clear: if everyone stuck to the diest outlook, I wouldn't go around trying to piss on their cornflakes.  But the problem is, they don't.  They start telling you how God hates homosexuals, and that they shouldn't be able to live their lives as they see fit, or that an embryo is ethically worth as much as a fully-formed human, without a shred of evidence to back it up, and I'm supposed to "respect" their religion.  Well, you don't have to imagine my response to those kinds of assertions. 

Finally, as for faith, no, I can honestly say there is no room for faith in my life.  Faith is belief without evidence.  So there's no such thing as faith that isn't blind faith.  I do my best to live my life so that I never formulate beliefs based on faith of any kind.  It's not even easy - people have a tendency to believe things without evidence all the time, but the sum of human experience has shown that this is almost always a Bad Idea.  I might not always have great evidence to form my beliefs, but I try to choose my beliefs based on what the best available evidence is.  And guess what?  All the evidence on the subject of dieties (prayer studies, claims in various holy texts) comes back negative.  So until that changes, and changes big time, I'll throw my lot in the camp of "we have no need for this God hypothesis."

From: Ross Entered on: March 25, 2008 6:39 PM

Now that I think about it NickNick, how did you even get onto this topic of atheism?  I wasn't even railing against people for believing in god in your preferred diestic sense... so why are you defending it so strongly?  It's a huge leap to get there from the hard core creationism I was criticizing.  You don't have to be a hard core atheist like me to realize that creationism is both scientifically and theologically bankrupt.  Believe it or not, there are religious people who accept evolution.

From: Bunky Entered on: March 25, 2008 7:16 PM
I wasn't seriously going to quote scripture. I have to argue that you don't have faith in your life. Marriage is based on faith. There is no "evidence" entering marriage that it will last. Raising children is based on faith. You can't be certain you will be the perfect parent. I am sorry so many of you on here have had a bad experience with religion. It shouldn't be that way. If I wasn't on my Blackberry, I would counter some of your arguements and bring up free will. This is the kick ass Jackassery that I love!
From: jeurge Entered on: March 25, 2008 8:15 PM

On the subject of atheism, but from a different direction, science, as in hard science of the physics/biogenetics brand, is not the only reason to doubt religion, although they do provide ample reason to doubt. Religion and people living together in groups go hand in hand back to the genesis of people living together in groups. Religion is just  another way to identify with a group, tribe, early civilization, etc. You don't find evidence of community without evidence of religion. To some this might point to the presence of God, or a god, (why has every civilization believed in something if there isn't at least a god?).  To me this points to individuals needs to find common ground, reason to get along with each other, or more often, reason to disassociate/dislike/fight/kill other groups who not only may look different, have different customs, but also have a different set of "beliefs" or "faith". Religion has been around all this time because man made it up. In some cases to make themselves feel better, to find purpose in life, to convince themselves that death isn't the end. In other cases to set up power structures, to make individuals bend to their will, to rationalize not treating all people in a similar manner. And in other cases to find answers to questions that science of the time was unable to answer. Religion in general, and chritianity, budhism, islam, scientology, etc. in particular all smack of being entirely man made for mans' purposes, not in any way divine. The insistence, in our country, that christianity, which is not the oldest or most believed in religion, should have special sway, privilages, or place in our educational and governmental systems, is ludicrous to me. This is coming from an individual who was born and raised in the Catholic Church, spent her late teen and early twenties participating Pentecostal practices, and currently works for Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. I thoroughly understand the desire to have "faith", to believe that there is something bigger and better out there. I also will not deny anyone there right to believe what they want, so long as it doesn't have any impact on others. Unfortunately most people can not or will not keep their religion to themselves.

From: NickNick Entered on: March 26, 2008 7:15 AM

"Now that I think about it NickNick, how did you even get onto this topic of atheism?"

In going back over the previous blogs, I see that I did stretch the response a little too far.  I was thinking of this statement, "I'm not even allowing freedom of thought in this case." but had already taken it out of context.  You were still referring to the exremist view that these so called offenses should be punished.  I guess I was trying to play devils advocate in support of the people who are offended by the drawing of Mahammed, even though I think it's a bit silly.  And when they take it so far as to think it needs to somehow be avenged, then of course, there should be no room for that on this planet.

It just seems that sometimes in your posts, you almost take a stance that the world would be better off without religion.  And while, on most points I'll agree with you, I have to point out the many lives that religion has saved, (acknowledging the vountless lives that it has killed as well.)  Like most everything, if you take religion to the extreme, it no longer becomes beneficial.

So, it seems as if I was most likely responding in a reflex action rather than researching it thoroughly.

And as far as God not being "nice" during evolution?  Well, this wouldn't be out of the norm for him, now would it.  I mean, he allowed the holocaust, the black plague, all the wars throughout history (and his very existence caused most of them).  So it wouldn't be too much of a shock to think that he/she/it had a hand in evolution.

From: Ross Entered on: March 26, 2008 7:20 AM
Bunky said:
I have to argue that you don't have faith in your life. Marriage is based on faith. There is no "evidence" entering marriage that it will last. Raising children is based on faith. You can't be certain you will be the perfect parent. I am sorry so many of you on here have had a bad experience with religion. It shouldn't be that way. 

Not true - I do have evidence - my evidence is how my relationship with my wife thus far has gone.  Is it perfect evidence affording me absolute certainty?  No.  Could I be wrong about how long it will last?  Of course.  But I'm not basing my decision on faith.  I'm taking a risk and I know it, and it's one I'm willing to take.  Same goes for my parenting skills - I didn't decide to become a parent based on faith that I would be a perfect one.  If you are seriously claiming you did, I'm sorry, but you're crazy.

If you notice this particular discussion revolves around certainty. People of faith claim to have it - I don't.  Any guess as to who tends to end up being more accurate and less disappointed in the long run?


I'm also insulted that you assert my denigration of the concept of "faith" means I had a bad experience with religion.  Where did I ever give this impression?  I denigrate it because it's a bad idea, period.

From: NickNick Entered on: March 26, 2008 7:52 AM

Quit making me think, Damn it!!  I'm trying to study for my Commercial Insurance exam so I can get a couple more stupid letters after my name and this website is taking up all my time.

From: Bunky Entered on: March 26, 2008 9:40 AM

Crazy and stupid... I am beginning to think this website is bad for my overall self esteem.....SmileGo ahead Nick Nick, have your fun!

I think we are talking about two different types of faith here. I was referring to faith as a general concept. Believing in the idea of marriage without knowing the outcome, based on the unknown, without any scientific evidence. Knowing you don't believe in God, I would never equate a religous concept to your life anymore than you would apply aethism thinking to mine.

So is it safe to say you won't be downloading George Michael's Gotta have Faith if it becomes available on Rock Band?

I am sorry if you feel I insulted you. That comment was not directed at you, but a general comment based on what comments Will, Nick, and Rad have all made in previous discussions about religion growing up in Michigan.

Religion is not for everyone. What I meant by my comment was that I sorry you (JA bloggers) had a bad experience with some extreme forms of religion and thus maybe the thought exist that all persons practicing religion are extreme and trying to force their views on others.

As I have said before, and this why I like to avoid religous discussions, I am not going to judge or condemn anyone who does not practice religion, and nor to I expect to be because I do.

I do not like the topic of religion, not because I can't counter each one of your arguements, we could spend days going back and forth, but for what? Neither of us is going to change our views, so who cares...It is such a personal topic that people always ended getting offended and it never ends well anyhow...

I have to admit, I was seeking a good Ross Rant (TM) yesterday. I drove 400 miles yesterday, working up the northern part of the state meeting with hepatologist and transplant docs (sorry, no Congressional Delegates, just people who save lives). In the different parking lots, I would read JA on my Blackberry. It's my portable entertainment! It keeps me sane with all this travel.

Ross, I amazed by the amount of research you put into any topic you discuss. I enjoy reading your posts, whether I agree with them or not. You are obviously a very intelligent person and your views make this site interesting.

On a side note, if I come across as a bit cranky, when I turned in my work rental car Monday for my new mini-van, it had 10,000 miles on it. When I got 8 weeks ago, it only had a little over 2,000 miles on it. I have a little travel burn out. California is a big state!

Zilla, I may have to move on to UNO LIVE to work out some of my CRANKiness...


From: Jackzilla Entered on: March 26, 2008 10:01 AM

What Bunky is referring to (UNO on Live) is apparently there's a lot of crank gawking in that game (it uses the Vision Camera to see other players).  I learned of this a couple days ago when my brother Don told me how his wife was playing UNO and some kid revealed himself to her.  Word on the street is you can't play UNO on Live for 5 minutes without some yahoo showing off his junk.  I teased Bunky that that explains her niece always playing UNO.

Isn't technology wonderful?

From: Bunky Entered on: March 26, 2008 10:08 AM

Yeah, I am going to have to speak with her about the whole "crank spectator" thing...

So when you have UNO, do drop your pants?

Great, now Rad is going to move on from Two Worlds to UNO, and we will never get him back to Halo! Wear your Thor helmet Rad when you flash the crank!

Creeko, is your brother still in Spain?

From: Radmobile Entered on: March 26, 2008 11:06 AM

Yeah, I may have to download UNO just so I can show off "Thor's Hammer."

From: Jackzilla Entered on: March 26, 2008 12:57 PM

...and the Culture Wars continue...

From: NickNick Entered on: March 26, 2008 2:18 PM

It's possible that the resolution on this pic won't do it justice, but I thought this topic needed a bit of a humorous twist.

bible warning label

From: Ross Entered on: March 26, 2008 5:10 PM

No worries Bunky.  I think "insulted" was a bit of a strong term anyway.  I just thought it was an unfair characterization but you cleared it up just fine.

Even though I agree that no one is going to change anyone's mind, I still don't think debate is pointless.  I for one kind of enjoy it because it helps me understand my own arguments better.  So having said that, I would love to hear each of your counterarguments, though like you said, I don't think I'll hear any new ones since I'm pretty well versed in this kind of thing.  I guess I'm just saying I like the debate.  If you think free will is going to demolish me, bring it on! I won't take offense, I promise.

I also fully reject the notion that religion is a personal topic, and that's a big reason I invite debate.  If you simply believed what you believed and that's as far as it went, that would be one thing.  But people act on their beliefs.  They vote based on what their church leaders tell them, regardless of how absurd it is.  So it's vital that we not treat religious ideas as sacred, personal, or beyond decorum to question.  It is abssolutely essential that we question them!

From: BigFatty Entered on: March 26, 2008 5:12 PM

HA!  How is it that Christian Conservatives demand warning and advisory labels on nearly everything, but never thought about applying it to themselves?  I think this should be enforced!

Sorry for the Fatty absence.  Last week the bosses were in town and there were some very long days and nights.  Then I immediately went on vacation.  A REAL vacation.  No laptop was packed.  Rumor has it, I am in Spain.  Well, I like to call it Pre-Mexico to irritate my sister-in-law.  Got a bad case of food poisioning on the second day which has shut down my legendary appetite of unbounded eating of spanish yummies.  It is too bad.

Can´t say I am officially back yet...  we have plenty of things planned.  Next Monday, we are travelling back to Budapest.

Interesting topic originally... how did it get morphed into crank-gawking?  I blame Jack.

From: Bunky Entered on: March 26, 2008 6:07 PM
Speaking of Free Will, looked who decided to make an appearance...Get your pathetic ass on XBOX in pre-mexico. I have a 48 hour code if Creeko needs it. Tipper Gore started the whole advisory label issue with Prince. You can't blame that on the choosen one's! Ross, I have never been to a church in my entire life that told me who to vote for or even discussed politics. I throw the arguement back that politics are a form of religion.Party lines are divided by values set up by the political leaders. You identify with those values, and choose your candidate.They seek out other people of influence for endorsement to generate votes. Once you identify with a candidate they use you to vote in policy and legislators to serve their benefit.
From: NickNick Entered on: March 27, 2008 10:39 AM

Sorry.  Tipper Gore didn't start the advisory labels, though she did help it along.  Stupid people who tried to listen to radios in their bathtubs and try to run on wet floors and put hot coffee between their legs without a lid and pull into traffic and then sue when something bad happens.  Those are part of the reason that companies have to put those stupid labels on in the first place. 

From: Jackzilla Entered on: March 27, 2008 10:50 AM

NickNick - I believe it was the PARENTAL ADVISORY - EXPLICIT LYRICS label that Bunky was referring too.  Tipper heard Prince's "Darling Nikki", got all herny and new something had to be done to save our children.

From: Bunky Entered on: March 27, 2008 3:16 PM

Actually Nick Nick, us crazy, right-wing extremist, prefer that they don't label electronics and want people to use them in water. We only tell the people in our church what happens when you mix water and electronics.

Our plan is that over time, the "outsiders" will begin to elimate themselves through electrocution, and we can repopulate the earth with only people who think and act like us.

From: NickNick Entered on: March 27, 2008 3:59 PM

That does make sense.  Us left-wing Liberals are pretty stupid, aint we.

By the way.  Your church stole my plan for when I take over the world.  Only, I was just going to make it easy and euthanize all the people that don't agree with me, or at least make them sterile. 

From: Bunky Entered on: March 27, 2008 7:03 PM

I think it is probably more humane to just sterilze them. It prevents breeding, but at least they will still be able to get their frook on...

From: NickNick Entered on: March 28, 2008 9:31 AM

Yeah.  But remember I don't like these people.  I don't want them to get their frook on, nor their fark.  I think I'll make them all wear nike shoes and drink "special" koo-aid.

Has anyone figured out how to get the Rock Band Rock Off started?

From: Bunky Entered on: March 28, 2008 3:37 PM

I didn't realize UNO was so exciting online....

From: Ross Entered on: March 28, 2008 4:23 PM

Hahahaha!  Awesome!

From: NickNick Entered on: March 28, 2008 4:39 PM

I think that's missing the small print that states that it was recorded directly from the ZAGNUT.

From: Bunky Entered on: March 31, 2008 10:44 AM

So I now realize why my UNO online experiences have lacked the crank.... You have to enable the camera feature under options and it will only allow you to view LIVE vision if you are using your camera.

So Zilla, you may want to ask Global why his wife is playing UNO with a camera? I'm not judging, just asking....

I may throw out a diddle during Halo, but I can't bring myself to play UNO with a camera online with strangers. That just seems a little dirty....

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 1, 2008 11:05 AM

Even those Crazy Christians (tm) don't want Christians looking into the bible.  Ed Dobson's son was asked to resign from a GR School because on his involvement in a Christian Documentary...

From: The Bone Entered on: April 5, 2008 10:38 PM

Nothing like a Bert Johnson rant on religion to bring me out of my cave. The thread is all over the road so it's going to be hard to add value but as always, I'd like to point out that Ross' position is unassailable in my opinion.

Also, Juerge's post is very important to this discussion. Although taking a turn from the original direction of the thread, it's very valid to explore why people feel the need for religion.  When there is no supporting evidence for your particular brand of superstition - why do you continue to believe?

What motivates you to have faith in your beliefs? Why are you comfortable with the absence of any supporting evidence for your beliefs?


Rather than using the example of marriage and raising children to describe faith, consider the following instead:

Imagine you are in the middle of Beijing and you have to drive to Chengdu. Faith is getting in your car, unable to read the road signs, and picking a route at random with the expectation and belief that you will get  to Chengdu. In this scenario there is no evidence whatsoever that the road you have picked is the correct one.






From: Ross Entered on: April 6, 2008 7:34 AM

Well said, sir. Welcome back.

From: Ross Entered on: April 6, 2008 7:56 AM

Another point relating to the Obama preacher thing, that I found in a blog I sometimes read - no one blames any other politician for supporting a divisive, hate-spewing preacher such as Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson.  Don't even try to tell me that what Obama's pastor was saying was worse than the kind of insanity that Pat Robertson has been saying about 9/11 or the tsunami being caused by accepting gays. 

So let's just be clear: all preachers who spout nonsense and invective are to be condemned.  Let's not single out Obama's particular nutjob.

From: Bunky Entered on: April 6, 2008 7:44 PM

Is this because marriage and children are not in the Book of Bone?

It is nice to see you back. I nterestingly enough, I found myself asking, "What Would Bone Do" today. True story.

Is it true you only have 9% body fat? I heard that somewhere recently.

From: The Bone Entered on: April 8, 2008 11:38 AM

I'm down with marriage and children. I just don't think faith applys to either. You can hope and even have expectations for success in either based on your experiences but faith is a term of art that really means believing in something absent in any evidence.

When I'm faced with a shitty situation, I often asked myself, "what would Eastwood do?" Pretty much takes the bitch answer right out of the equation.

I'm not sure what my body fat is right now. I have somewhat of a six pack. I'd love for you to come over with your calipers and measuring tape. We could get all kinds of stats.

From: Bunky Entered on: April 8, 2008 11:50 AM

I am giving you a hard time about marriage. I actually respect the fact that you are comfortable being single, and don't try and hide it. There are too many guys out there that get married, have kids, and F around like they are single.

Good point on faith vs. expectations.

Actually, the WWBD came out of discussion straight from ZAGNUT Saturday night. I learned some interesting Bone facts over the weekend in regards to your legs and crank. I'll leave it at that...


From: NickNick Entered on: April 8, 2008 12:08 PM

Seriously?  This is what the discussion has turned to?  Welcome to  Tongue out

Only on Jackassery can a conversation turn from the size of your faith to the size of your crank.

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 8, 2008 12:10 PM

Why is it I have the feeling Bunky is learning more and more about me and the Bone in sordid detail, yet is lacking the same type of stories from Zilla and Bells?

You should demand full coverage - FoxNews style!

Baby pictures coming.  Follow them to my Flickr account for a butt load of photos.....


From: Bunky Entered on: April 8, 2008 1:19 PM
Really Nick Nick. You bring chocolate jugs and quad boobs here and now I am being judged! What are you thinking about Bone's crank? I didn't say anything about size. Fatty, I just don't see Zilla frooking a couch...Get Live and defend yourself!
From: Jackzilla Entered on: April 8, 2008 1:27 PM

Bells was over Saturday night after drinking beers all day and eventually the xbox headset found its way to his noggin (while I did the playing in Halo 3).  The Bells & Bunky Show then commenced airing on Xbox Live with a random, if limited, viewership.

Choice soundbytes from Bells (I only heard his side of the conversations):

"You're my favorite person on Live.  Your voice makes me herny."

"I wonder how it would be if we met in person... it wouldn't be like Fatty; there'd be no couch humping.  I'm more direct."

"I don't really need to hear anyone else's voice but Bunky's right now."

"I bet you have cute boobs."

and finally...

<to some random stranger apparently sick of hearing Bells voice:> "That's something you would only say to me over Xbox Live.  It'd be a different story if you were here in front of me in person.  It's a little different in front of someone that weighs 230 lbs and can bench 400.  In fact, I've never heard anyone say that to me in person."

A special night to be sure.


From: Bunky Entered on: April 8, 2008 1:54 PM
I do believe I am blushing all over again. And to think Rad would rather play BioShock Saturday. You forgot the Bone comments. I will forever cherish drunk Bells Bone speak.It was entertaining.
From: Radmobile Entered on: April 8, 2008 2:12 PM

Well, I've beaten BioShock now, so maybe I'll join in for some "shanigans" sometime in the near future. 

From: NickNick Entered on: April 8, 2008 2:19 PM

Bells is one of the most entertaining reasons to enter the ZAGNUT.  Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of group activity going on over at the Zagnut.  At least not that I'm privy to.  And Bunky.  I may not speak for everyone, but I would rather look at quoobs rather than discuss Bone's crank. 

Bells can bench 400 pounds?  Wow that's like benching a couple having sex.  Hey Bells.  Want to try it out with Bunky and the Bone?

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 8, 2008 3:03 PM

Ah Bells and his stories.... what is he going to say when he's 45?  'It's a little different in front of someone that weighs 400 lbs and can bench 230'

Bunky - Next time Bells feels like telling his Uncle Johnny stories... have him tell you about the few times he has lost his wallet  - good times!  Or after receiving his 'Badge' the girls at the club mysteriously stopped coming to our table to ask for dances.  After an hour, we got the hint.

I was just thinking about the shoe pissing incident.  Man, I was Whhooooooooo F'ed up!  How could I not tell that I was standing in a closet pissing and not infront of the toliet?

As for Jack.... he has his secrets.  They must be really bad.  No one knows any of his secrets.  Thats the scary part.  Normal people's secrets pale in comparison with friends like us.  How bad are his if he can't even share? 

Be afraid......

From: Radmobile Entered on: April 8, 2008 3:18 PM

I love to hear Johnny tell the story of his badge.  A comparison was made to a shotgun blast followed by two pistons working in overdrive.  He neglected to mention the part about nobody coming over to the table anymore, but I suppose it should've been assumed at that point.  He did mention a very uncomfortable ride home though.

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 8, 2008 4:01 PM

With all the Badge's he's sporting, he is a regular 'Soldier of Fortune'

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 8, 2008 4:03 PM

Sorry Bunks...  Flickr ain't talking to JA...  you will just have to go to Flickr

From: Bunky Entered on: April 8, 2008 4:21 PM
Wow. Throw out Bone Crank Trivia and this page gets movin'! I don't think Bone and I would add up to 300 llbs.,let alone 400 Nick Nick.
From: NickNick Entered on: April 8, 2008 4:36 PM

I'm just throwing out ideas here.  I could have gone with Megan and myself but that seemed a little odd.  Imagine that, something that I wasn't comfortable with.  Maybe if it's the Bone and Fatty making whoopy.  That might get you close to 400.

And at the risk of complete and utter ridicule, could somebody please explain the badge thing to me?  I've got some ideas but then someone makes a comment that is in contrast to my theory.  I've even gone so far as to check out the Jackassery encyclopedia and there's nothing there. 

From: Jackzilla Entered on: April 8, 2008 5:09 PM

Fatty - You wanna take this one?  Time for a new term in the JA Encyclopedia!

From: Bunky Entered on: April 8, 2008 5:24 PM

I have a general idea regarding the badge of dishonor and you probably don't want to know. Rad can probably explain it to you the nicest way.


From: BigFatty Entered on: April 8, 2008 5:28 PM

NickNick - you most likely earned one yourself as a young boy after a certain, special dream.  But, I doubt you wore it through the house with honor.

From: Bunky Entered on: April 8, 2008 5:34 PM

Fatty, maybe you should be a teacher! Sex Ed with Mr. Fatty! I can see it now, a whole lecture series... Well it is nice to see you back to almost full Fatty form on here. I have missed your witty banter...

From: The Bone Entered on: April 8, 2008 11:44 PM
Bunky said:
Wow. Throw out Bone Crank Trivia and this page gets movin'! I don't think Bone and I would add up to 300 llbs.,let alone 400 Nick Nick.

Click on the Bone icon on the front page and send me a PM. We can move this discussion to a more private venue. I'll bring the wine.

From: NickNick Entered on: April 9, 2008 7:49 AM

Wow.  I can't say that I've ever had the privilege to wear this badge out in public.  It would seem to me, that those of you who have had the joy of wearing the badge, that you might also have a problem with firing off your missile before locking onto the target.

That must have been one hell of lap dance, Bells.

From: Radmobile Entered on: April 9, 2008 8:03 AM

I do like the irony of calling it a badge of honor when I can hardly imagine a more shameful state of affairs.

From: Bunky Entered on: April 9, 2008 9:56 AM

Is it just me, or do all of these stories go back to Bells and Fatty? I have yet to hear any crazy tales involving Ross, Creeko, Swerb, Bone, or Zilla.

I also appreciate that Bone always offers up the wine... Very thoughtful....

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 9, 2008 12:35 PM
Radmobile said:

 I can hardly imagine a more shameful state of affairs.

HAHAHAHA!  Rad.....  You always crack me up.

From: NickNick Entered on: April 9, 2008 1:28 PM

Josh does seem to be quite eloquent in how he uses his humor.  I often call this the Dew Snort Effect.  In his presence, he usually tends to wait for those special moments right after you've filled your mouth with you beverage of choice, (mine just happens to be Dew) and then out comes a little gem of humor.  Thus causing the Mountain Dew to bubble forth from your nose in an atempt to contain it through an outburst of laughter.

He does this intentionally.  Bastard.

From: Creeko Entered on: April 9, 2008 3:04 PM

I've known the Bone since 10th grade and can proudly say that I can not recall ever seeing his crank. I have however, seen his ass on more occasions than I like to remember. This is because of a little game we started on our European adventure where we tried to catch the other off guard by calling his attention with our ass' brazened in some unexpected manner. Usually just by saying 'hey Tony' he'd get a glimps of my narrow white-boy ass. There were times we'd go at lenght in conversations without looking at one another to avoid the shame bestowed from the mooning . I think it culminated in a draw with a sprint down the beach in Spain each with his ass brandised trying to pull ahead in order to not let the ohers ass get out in front. Needless to say, my girlfriend (now my wife) was less than impressed to witness our asinine behaviour.

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 9, 2008 3:05 PM

Started watching this show - Californication.  Sweet show.  And if you don't like it, there is plenty of sex and T&A to make sure you do.  Watch the first episode and you will certainly continue.

Fatty OUT!

From: Bunky Entered on: April 9, 2008 3:29 PM
Maybe the Bone does have powers! Creeko, that is the most I have heard from you since I have been on here. If Swerb makes an appearance, I may have to bow before the Bone! Glad your story did not end with a badge!
From: The Bone Entered on: April 9, 2008 11:01 PM
Bunky said:
 I may have to bow before the Bone! 

That's super herny

From: Swerb Entered on: April 17, 2008 11:18 PM
Bunky said:
If Swerb makes an appearance, I may have to bow before the Bone! Glad your story did not end with a badge!


Better late than never. Get a-bowing, Bunky!


From: Swerb Entered on: April 17, 2008 11:21 PM

By the way, getting sort of back to the original topic (70 posts ago!): I'm seeing the "Expelled" movie Friday.

Funny story is, I was disinvited to an advance screening just for being a film critic... Roger Moore (no, not that Roger Moore) at the Orlando Sentinel was disinvited too, and went anyway, and has become one of the movie's harshest critics...

Further bulletins as events warrant...

From: NickNick Entered on: April 18, 2008 7:38 AM

So... are they going to ask your religious background before letting anyone in to see this movie?  The only thing all this disinviting is telling me is that the movie is crap and fails to make its point and they're afraid that the public will find out before paying money for a ticket.

From: Ross Entered on: April 18, 2008 9:13 AM

Right now it's 8% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.  I think the FlickFilosopher's review is quite good.  The only thing I disagree with her on is that she keeps saying "you must see it anyway" - I would qualify that, and say that you should try to not pay to see it if at all possible.


From: BigFatty Entered on: April 19, 2008 4:17 PM

Speaking of culture wars.....  I could never understand the popularity of Bollywood movies to Indians.  They are so absurdly comical.  Here is a clip from one movie with a translation...  well, close.. it is translated into what the guy thinks he hears.  Hilarious!

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 19, 2008 4:16 PM

Bunky should find the man in the video makes her hernie.... 

From: Ross Entered on: April 20, 2008 8:48 AM

Dude, that video is freaking hilarious!!!!  One of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.

"I lick you, Belinda!  The ninja made a movement!"

"I love to see you pee on us tonight!"

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 20, 2008 12:21 PM

I had a funny feeling that was Ross' brand of humor.  I have watched it 5-6 times already and keeping enjoying the Thriller-esc dance show.  Yes, I am a fan of Benny Lava and I do want to try some of that yellow goat they keep raving about, maybe on a bun.

I really could not believe that it actually sounds like the subtitles.

From: The Bone Entered on: April 21, 2008 11:30 AM

I'm suprised my computer still works with all the coffee I spit on it after he sang "the ninja made a movement"


From: Ross Entered on: April 21, 2008 5:13 PM

I literally almost spit coffee while watching this, too. 

I take "the ninja made a movement" to mean a movement of the bowel variety.  Makes it even more my brand.

From: The Bone Entered on: April 21, 2008 7:01 PM

That's how I took it. And to boot, I hadn't read your post before watching it so it caught me by suprise. There was another refence in there "now poop on them Oliver" Good stuff.

From: Bunky Entered on: April 21, 2008 11:39 PM

That video is wrong is so many ways! I don't think I will ever be able to look at a papaya the same way...

I have to admit, due to Bone prior video posts, I was a little nervous about viewing the link!

From: NickNick Entered on: April 22, 2008 4:16 PM

Speaking of culture wars.... I found this video on Fugly.  I hope I can put the link through because I think you will all enjoy viewing it.

From: BigFatty Entered on: April 22, 2008 5:15 PM

She is very well spoken, but no Benny Lava.

'I swim through it.  His BeeeeJaaaaaaay!'  

Nuf Said.   Anyways, the subtitles weren't even close to what she sounded like.

From: Ross Entered on: April 26, 2008 7:41 AM

Back to the culture wars: this video looks old, and I have no idea when it was made, but it's still very much worth watching.  It's called "When Christians Misbehave."  Even though I want to kick this bitch's teeth in, it's still a very funny video.




I also love that the guy who takes the podium next is clearly unimpressed.



From: Swerb Entered on: April 26, 2008 12:27 PM

Will the ambulance take her to the nearest loony bin?


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