True marvel of engineering

Reciprication Dingle arm? I’ve got one for you!

The story goes like this:

Several years ago, Rockwell International decided to get into the heavy duty transmission business. We were getting ready to tape our first introduction video, as a warm up, the professional narrator began what has become a legend within the trucking industry. This man should have won an academy for his stellar performance. Now remember this is strictly off the cuff, nothing is written down, this became the biggest talk in the industry, vs our new product which we were introducing. I think you will enjoy this once in a lifetime performance from this gentleman.

Via Reddit

Comment of the day

The citadel (Chora) of Patmos Island, Greece
The Island of Patmos. Image via Wikipedia

A response like the one below almost makes me miss zdenny. A fellow named Patmos Pete responded to this post about Libertarians. In zdenny style, it’s completely disconnected to the topic. But at least zdenny appears to have a mind of his own instead of quoting scripture.

If you’re curious, Patmos was the place the gospel writer John supposedly lived when he wrote the book of Revelation, the book the below comment is from. Patmos is known for its drug cartels stretching back millennia. And like everything in the book of revelation, it’s batshit nuts and is written by the pen of a man drugged out of his mind.

Here’s Patmos Pete’s sober response:

The third message from heaven…

If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

(Longish) Quote of the Day

Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta published a response to yesterday’s Pew research in one of the local rags. This was my favorite part:

Study after study have shown that there is a correlation betwen a person’s level of education and that person’s level of religiosity. The more education we get, the less religious we are. It’s no surprise that college-educated scientists have a problem with, say, the evangelical Christian stance on evolution. It’s no surprise that educated people have a problem with how women are treated in the Catholic Church and in certain Muslim nations.

Educated people also tend to be more skeptical and critical. We don’t take what religious leaders say at face value. We want to study their claims for ourselves and, too often, we’ve come to find that those leaders are on the wrong side of the truth. The same applies to their holy books. It should be noted that the Pew Forum study showed that atheists/agnostics fared better than “believers who had a similar level of education.” So while education helps, it isn’t the only factor at play.

As I said at the beginning, these are only my theories as to why we atheists scored higher in this study than people from other faiths. As this study makes the rounds, I’m really curious to hear why church-goers feel they scored lower than we did. And I’d love to know if (and how) they plan to fix that.

I would add one thing: We nonbelievers don’t take what anyone says at face value. It’s not just religious leaders.

Via The Chicago Tribune

The “Debunking Christianity” Challenge failures

Cover of "The God Delusion"
Cover of The God Delusion

I don’t follow John Loftus anymore. The guy failed to deliver at a debate that I invested time and effort to attend back in February. He blamed his failures on his fans’ inability to understand his awesomeness. I’m glad I wasn’t the only fan to abandon him and his complete lack of self-awareness.

But Loftus doesn’t seem to lack in obsequious minions (check his blog if you like), so it was no sweat off his back.

After yesterday’s Pew Poll findings, I am, however, curious about the Debunking Christianity challenge that Loftus attempted. I started following two of the Christians who agreed to take the challenge, and it seems that both failed miserably.

In fact, Loftus and I discussed the challenge over beers the night before the debate back in February. He was excited to have people take the challenge, and we laughed over the first guy.

The first guy’s name is: PhilVaz (<link to his results). He bailed April 1. His goal was to read the list of books and rate how his faith stood after each one. The first book, “The God Delusion” brought his faith down to an 18 from 20 (the highest out of 1-20). The next two books opposed Dawkins’ book. His faith moved back up to a 19. After he read Sam Harris’ book “The End of Faith”, it moved back down to 18.

His faith seemed to fluctuate, but not much right? I’d say wrong, but who’s really watching? Around April, he announced some personal issue and he would return to the challenge in June.

He never did.

The other guy I followed bailed sooner. Micah Cobb runs a blog called “The Small Rivers.

His about page says:

My name is Micah Cobb. I live in Oxford, Mississippi, though I was born and raised in Alabama. I received my B.A. in Philosophy from Auburn University, and I’m almost finished with an M.A. in Philosophy at University of Mississippi. I’ve also spent time in law school and seminary. I am married, and I’ll soon be a father.

I also work part-time in campus ministry. I have no idea what I’ll do after I finish my M.A. I have too many interests to make that decision easy.

You can find his entries on taking the Debunking Christianity Challenge here. In his defense, he said he was having his first born, and he would continue the challenge as time presented itself. Time never really presented itself apparently.

He started with Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus,” and I’m not sure he moved to another book.

I’ve been rereading Christian books on my shelf lately. I jammed through Josh McDowell’s “New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. I try. I really try. McDowell doesn’t approach the subject with any kind of academic comprehension in mind. It doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s not basing his evidence on evidence; his ideas are faith based.

That’s fine, because it jives with the bible, right?

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

When I get some time, I want to write a better review here of McDowell’s book. Or maybe another book. Are there any Christian readers out there who want to suggest some titles? I’ve done it before. It’s a great time. Christians pull all kinds of punches like, “You don’t understand the material.” Then they go and debate a single bible verse with another believer for 10 hours. It’s hilarious.

There’s a book that my brother referred me to. I asked him twice and I forgot the title again. I’m afraid to ask him about it again.

I have asked this before … Where are the Christians who read non-Christian material? I’ve heard several of my non-Christian friends say, “Jer, if I read the stuff you read, I’d probably become a nonbeliever too.”

Wait, what?

When you fear education will not support your views, there’s something wrong with that. But don’t let me tell you what to think.

Search. Search. Search. Education should not be feared. Embrace it. It’s really not as scary as you think.