I was walking past this thing completely oblivious and was startled when it squirted water at me, so I stopped and filmed it for an incredibly long video clip (in which you can see it do the color camouflage thing a few times while it half-assedly looks for crabs to harass).
Although Australia is home to the world’s most venomous octopus species (which according to wiki is even more dangerous to humans than I had realized), this is not one of those… not that I would try to pick it up to find out.
I opened my door to see what all the fuss was, as it sounded like a whole bunch of different birds were gathering outside. What I found was just this lone magpie, who just kept chirruping and warbling away showing off quite a repertoire of calls, including a pretty good imitation of a barking dog.
This is a version I stabilised using YouTube’s online video editor. The original is here.
I also highly recommend this animation from JPL showing entire landing sequence and basic operations of the vehicle. It’s great because there is no voice over, no infographics, no music, just mechanical sound effects.
… but watching this really makes me want to buy Thai life insurance.
And if that’s not enough pathos for you, there’s more where that came from:
Unlike most of the skeptical community I am not normally a huge fan of Mr Minchin, but this is a really catchy song.
Since not everyone reads my sidebar and the juicy links therein, I felt this was good enough to merit a post.
I am pretty sure your mood will be improved if you watch this short video.
Yes, I think it is.
Is it rude to call it idiotic when you’re talking to a bunch of people who are professing this belief? Yes, I think it is.
But there is a difference between being rude and being wrong.
That’s the problem with the believers’ response in the above video; they are clearly appalled and offended to be called idiots by the rather unapologetic atheist Kate Smurthwaite, but then they immediately set about defending their belief using utterly idiotic rationale. So basically they come off as indignant idiots defending their idiocy.
This is not how someone with access to a divine truth should ever need to sound. But listen to a believer lecture you about the strange and specific details of their faith and you realize where PZ Myers got the idea for the Courtier’s Reply.
Here are just a few of the common idiotic ways that religious beliefs are often defended.
- You believe in other things you can’t see, why can’t you believe in God?
- There’s no difference between your faith in science and my faith in God.
- If I’m wrong I die and nothing happens. If you’re wrong you die and spend eternity in Hell!
- You can’t prove it’s not true, so how dare you criticise?
- If you would just take our course/read our book you would soon see we are right!
- God can only show Himself to those who are willing to believe in Him.
- The chances of everything happening by chance are so small, therefore there must be a God.
- Faith gives us a spiritual richness that is so lacking in the lives of poor sad atheists. We feel sorry for you!
- The vast majority of people believe in some kind of afterlife, so you should too!
Also, to clarify something: A belief in heaven, even if it is idiotic, does not automatically mean the believer is an idiot. It’s perfectly possible for an otherwise highly intelligent person to choose to believe something ridiculous; Isaac Newton, one of the cleverest people who ever lived, was also a devout Christian.
Here are some idiotic things I have believed at various points in my life, which thankfully I came to realize were idiotic mostly by the time I reached adulthood:
- That humans can, on rare occasions, spontaneously combust.
- That Ayn Rand had some really good ideas about the individual vs society.
- That there is some kind of afterlife which somehow balances out all the bad crap that happens in life.
- That there is such a thing as ESP.
- That there is such a thing as telekinesis.
- That there are morphogenetic fields connecting all living things in a way that is beyond the scope of regular physics and biology.
Of course I grew up in a safe environment where there was no danger or risk in letting go of these various silly ideas. I might have held on to some very strange beliefs were it otherwise. But whether or not something is easy or hard has no bearing on whether it is right or wrong. Plenty of religious people have sacrificed and even died for their beliefs, and while I can admire their courage, it adds nothing to the credibility of their faith.
I noticed a bump in bandwidth in my web stats and realized that it was due to a video I posted years ago as a WMV on my site. That was back when Youtube was very restrictive about the size you could post. So I’ve just now done a quick reprocessing of it (taking the opportunity to edit out the most irrelevant bits) and uploaded it to Youtube.
So here I am, waffling for about 10 minutes as I talk about the state of Drivey in early 2005.
And even though that was more than six years ago, I’m sorry to say not much has changed in the time intervening.