Sexually active unmarried women? Let them die in agony, say Christian activists
Fundamentalists Christians from the Christian Institute and Christian Voice organisations have spoken out in opposition to the Government's plans to use a new vaccine to save up to 700 women a year from dying from cervical cancer. The vaccine, Gardasil, protects against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that can lead to Cervical Cancer.
Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute said of the vaccine: "It's basically a sex jab, encouraging the view that girls can be sexually available. It is a disease that you can only get through being sexually promiscuous. The thing we should be doing is trying to stop kids being sexually active."
Meanwhile, the even more appalling Stephen Green, national director of the extremist Christian Voice called it "a tart's jab". He said: 'The best way of not getting cervical cancer and genital warts is to stay a virgin and marry a virgin. Why don't these officials want young people to do that? Why don't we raise their expectations and ours and treat them with some respect? 'I expect school health outreach workers from Primary Care Trusts and the like will be giving Gardasil to young girls behind their parents' backs. Since the vaccine works best before the onset of sexual activity, they will be treating these girls, to put it bluntly, like tarts, saying they are sexually incontinent, lacking in self-respect and the basic morality required to keep their virginity."
Dr Michael Irwin, co-ordinator of the Secular Medical Forum commented: "This vaccine has already been approved for use in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. It will prevent thousands of cases of cervical cancer occurring annually in the UK. Perhaps Colin Hart and Stephen Green should meet with these women and their families? Or perhaps even better - will someone please create a vaccine to shut up men such as them?"
Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Depertment of Pharmacal Sciences, Harrison School of Pharmacy, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA. email@example.com.
Sildenafil is a phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor and is predominantly used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. While maintaining an excellent safety and tolerability profile in the management of erectile dysfunction, sildenafil also provides a prolonged benefit in various other diseases. Sildenafil has been shown to have a potential therapeutic efficacy for disorders related to the central nervous system and pulmonary system. In the central nervous system, it exerts its neuroprotective effects in multiple sclerosis and has a significant memory enhancing action. Sildenafil also significantly enhances neurogenesis. Several lines of evidence indicate that targeting PDE5 with sildenafil offers novel strategies in the treatment of age-related memory impairment. Guanylate cyclase/cGMP/protein kinase G pathway or glutamate/nitric oxide/cGMP pathway appears to mediate memory enhancing effects. Some of the positive cognitive features of sildenafil therapy are likely attributable to the mechanisms reviewed here. Sildenafil has been shown to reduce pulmonary hypertension and alleviate pain in animals and humans. The present review primarily focuses on the various pharmacological effects of sildenafil with regard to its influence on the nervous and pulmonary system.
for those who don't know.. Sildenafil also goes by another name.. Viagra.
ACT NOW! Urge Pres. Bush NOT to veto the stem cell bill.
The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (S.5) this week. Unfortunately, despite the changes brought about by last year’s elections - and the bipartisan support this bill is receiving - it looks extremely unlikely that we will get a veto-proof majority on this issue in the House. We are now shifting our focus to the President. We hope that every American who cares about the ability of the NIH to use the best materials possible in their research will ask President Bush NOT to veto the bill.
Read more and take action on our Web site now. Our new Action Alert system provides you a direct method of sending an e-mail to the President right from our site. And for those who prefer, we also provide phone and FAX numbers for the White House.
The Secular Coalition for America believes it is cruel for the President's personal theology to dictate the limits of medical research. Millions suffer from debilitating conditions that stem cells might alleviate. Please take action on our Web site now.
Lori Lipman Brown, Director
Secular Coalition for America
"You speak as if there were a valid argument to be made for both sides. The fact is that there is exactly zero evidence for the existence of god, and mountains of evidence to make the notion of god redundant. The faithful are simply delusional (as are you). Mentally unwell. If a person has a belief that is unsupported by evidence (say, someone thinks they happen to be Napoleon re-incarnated) we deem them delusional and then lock them up and/or medicate them depending on the severity of the delusion, and their perceived threat to themselves and others.
However, since the majority of the population of the world currently shares a handful of delusions in common with their neighbours, we have (for some reason) decided that it is OK to be delusional in this regard. Even though the delusion known as religion is one of the most destructive and divisive mental illnesses to ever have existed. This is only compounded by the sheer numbers of people afflicted with this illness.
Atheism is NOT a belief. It is a LACK of belief. The word should not even exist. Reasoned atheism is merely looking at the evidence we have in hand and making a tentative and dynamic world view from that, without jumping to conclusions. There is no proof FOR god so why should we believe there is one (or many). What you term as 'forcing our beliefs down other's throats', is actually nothing more than education. Christians and other theists would claim the same thing, however, they have no evidence for their claims. They are, very literally, lying, cheating, and swindling the masses to fund the further reproduction of their meme by the rape of innocent, untrained, and unquestioning minds. You too (as did I, once) have had your mind raped, and infected with the disease of faith, albeit a watered down version (in fact I'd bet you really have no defined system of belief anyway, you just make it up as you go along).
How can the spread of lies be considered education? They don't even have the excuse of not knowing any better. The evidence is all there, the faithful just choose to ignore it. Atheism is not forced on anyone. Atheism is the default state as we are not born with a knowledge of any god. We have to be indoctrinated into our community's religion before we gain any knowledge of any kind of god. Atheism is the cure to the disease of non-thinking, known as faith. Atheism is a return to good mental health. If someone is sick, why would you not do anything in your power to make them well?
At the end of the day the fact that there is NO evidence for god makes very clear claim that the faithful are WRONG. They just can't accept defeat (...hmm). They will be wrong so long as there is no proof of god's existence. I'm not saying that there's no possibility of finding proof for their claims. But to claim this mere minute possibility as anything approaching a valid argument is patently ridiculous!
The only way I could even come close to sympathising with your view of religion would be if it caused no harm. If it really was a case of "If a religious person hands you a tract, throw it away and forget about it. It's not a big deal." However, like most people you don't see the dark underbelly of religion. The dangerous cult of dogmatic faith.
I think any, at least half sensible person, would admit that we should be free to do anything with our lives so long as no one else is harmed in the process. Freedom, up to, but not including that to infringe upon the freedom of others.
However, the claim that religion causes no harm or even that it is a source of more good than ill is a blatant lie. You only need to read the bible (as you claim to have) to know that it supports slavery, genocide, murder, bigotry, and misogyny, to name only a few. And our history pages are littered with human suffering that can be directly attributed to religion. Even today, it is illegal in Australia for gay people to marry, Stem cell research that offers possibly the greatest medical technologies ever discovered is inhibited by the unsupported notion that a "soul" enters a zygote at the point of conception. Parents of unwanted children (possibly rape victims) are forced to either undergo torment of rallied theists jeering and threatening violence and damnation on the poor women that attend the facilities. Or, worse yet, are forced to have their unwanted babies, upturn their lives or give the poor child up for adoption.
If mental anguish isn't enough to convince you of the evils of religion look to the mass murder of the New York civilians on September 11. All of them died for the false ideas of a deluded nation. And Islam is not the only one with blood on their hands. We all know about The Inquisitions, and the Nazi's, but even more recently (currently, in fact!). We have missionaries in Sub-Saharan Africa, teaching the AIDS-ridden populous that the use of condoms is sinful! This amounts to genocide, and they go un-prosecuted because of religious moderates and sympathisers, awarding religion with more respect than is afforded to any other person or institution in the world. We seem quite happy to allow millions, if not billions to die and suffer at the hands of religion for fear of OFFENDING people! You cannot honestly tell me you see this as justifiable behavior. Yet it is exactly what you are engaging in. By defending the deranged belief of others you are making a smokescreen for the truly evil elements of any faith. By making it immune to criticism, and shouting down any who oppose this status quo You are having an indirect affect on the suffering of humanity at large.
THIS is why we speak out against religion and faith of all kinds. This is why we refuse to "Chill out a bit." I will not be liable for the suffering of a fellow human being. This should not be something you or anyone else should be a part in. It's time to wake up, and to make these bastards pay for their crimes!
As far as wasting our breath, I'm sure people used to say the same thing about abolishing slavery and women's rights... "You can't win so why bother?" Defeatism breeds defeat by definition. The battle might be one hard fought, but we have evidence and rationality on our side. Very strong tools in the forum of discussion.
Yes, by comparison with the faithful, we have a somewhat equal level of zeal. However, that is as far as the comparison can be drawn. No one has died for belief in a different definition of the atom. No suffering has been inflicted on humanity due to any differing scientific theories. The false ideas fall by the wayside and truth, as we can know it, is upheld. We live in an time where bronze-age philosophy is being imprinted from birth on people with access to nuclear weapons. This is a disaster waiting to happen. I think we have PLENTY of reason for our fervor."
Road trips without the fear I'm gonna piss myself halfway through. My amazing memory (shortterm is shot, and I'm still making excuses for it). My better that perfect vision. My ability to win over an audience (I catch myself letting others speak more because I don't feel that interesting.. besided my illness). Fear of having a woman spend the night in my bed because I'll either lose bladder control or legtwitch them off the bed (I kicked someone I love literally off the bed once). Having people tell me they need me (They don't want to 'tax me' because of this shit). Guarantees that I'll actually have an orgasm. (Too much stamina is not a good thing).. I can get her off..and that's what really matters.
The big battles (Walking again, the MS Walks, Peer councilling) I'm good with. There's an easily defined enemy, and I know where to place my weapons.
It's the little things.
OK.. a few big things. It's sad that Spider-Man has taught me a few lessons. I forgive my Harry Osbourne. I forgive my Mary Jane (even though she had nothing to apologize for). And most importantly.. I forgive myself.
I'm still gonna be a Hero. But only to those who have earned it. To THEM.. I just want to hear her say 'Go get em, Tiger'.
I don't need to be 'taken care of'. I might some day. But right now.. and for as long as I can.. let me handle myself. More than the walking, I miss my self-reliance. Figures that it would take MS to teach me humility. But maybe I can take the lessons it has taught me to make me a better person. A better boyfriend.
This post brought to you by one wonky sleep schedule.
After all.. 'How far you willing to go, Michael'
It should be obvious to any adult with a working brain that gods - all gods and goddesses - are obvious mythology, invented by ignorant and superstitious men in a time before the dawn of knowledge.
Almost everyone I know still claims to believe in "god".
However, most retain only a vague deism - satisfying the de facto minimum requirement - and could not really be called religious. Most of them are just nice folks who don't think or talk about religion very much, let alone try to shove it down anyone's throat. Essentially, they are functional atheists. I do not begrudge them their vestigial beliefs - it is understandable how they got 'em and why they still have 'em. I think they represent the majority who would never cause anyone pain over privately held beliefs. Mostly it never comes up because, in the common, secular affairs of regular folks, religion is not only inappropriate, it is unwelcome, and it is an entirely unnecessary source of friction and ill will. Things just run smoother without having to constantly accommodate some believer's prayer ritual. Few people really enjoy or appreciate public proselytizing.
Privately held beliefs of individuals are of no consequence to me.
However, true to form, the worst elements of organized superstition continually try to impose their religion in inappropriate venues; they continually try to supplant the science of biological evolution with the ridiculous biblical creationism fairy tale; they continually attempt to insinuate ritual prayer into public secular events despite legal prohibitions; they insist that this is a "xian nation" and strive in many ways towards theocracy; they even insist that non-believers should not even be considered as citizens; they insist that biblical commandments be posted in secular courts of law and in government buildings; they insist that women should be subservient captive breeders. I could go on, but let it suffice to say that somewhere in there their beliefs ceased to be privately held opinion and became of some concern to everyone.
I strongly support the Constitution of the United States.
I think the Establishment Clause of the first Amendment is the smartest thing the Founding Fathers did. Everyone is free to believe any dumbass thing that they want as long as they agree not to force it upon others. In return, they enjoy protection from the government and from any other religions overpowering them. What could possibly be fairer than that? Throw in a completely free ride on our tax dollars and an utter lack of courage by anyone in government to reign in their brazen charlatanry and their flagrantly illegal political entanglements and It is WAY beyond fair. However, given the violent and privileged past of established religion, and the golden days when they controlled power and wealth, fair is a serious demotion for them. And they don't like it. Given that past, religion is poorly served by the Constitution's prohibition against Establishment. It doesn't appear to me that they consider the matter settled.
I consider religion to be a cancer on humanity.
It is a malignancy that not only causes great harm, but acts to defeat the possibility of rational solutions. It is the antithesis of reason and acts as a catalyst which brings out the worst in humans. It serves as a framework which allows, even sanctions, horrible abuses of fellow humans. While posing falsely as the source of all morality, religion provides justifications for murder, mayhem, hatred and intolerance. While posing falsely as the source of life, love and compassion, religion diminishes human worth and promotes the imagined desires and proclamations of clearly mythological beings above the welfare of fellow humans, rendering any rational and coherent morality impossible.
Religion is both the result of, and a large contributor to, a dark and violent history.
The reason that xianity holds so much sway over all our lives is simple: for the greater part of the last 2000 years it has been highly lethal to be in disagreement with the xian cult. If I had a blank check to oppress, kill, and torture anyone I wanted, I'll bet I could get grown men to tearfully expound at length about their undying love for the fucking tooth fairy. Take a continent full of miserable, illiterate, ignorant and superstitious peasants, living in the worst kind of squalor, hopelessness, and despair, living in constant fear of painful death, and completely unacquainted with joy for a couple of thousand years, and you have a lot of people for whom the concepts of a "savior " and "heaven" might hold a certain amount of attraction. Ignorance and superstition, along with fear and oppression, are the fertile ground in which religion flourishes. They are also religion's legacy. That and a shitload of dead people.
©The Assertive Atheist
And then in a different conversation about the idea of a Megaphone-equipped Jester, I had THIS fascinating exchange..
A Friend (11:44:32 AM): 30 lousy watts?
A Friend (11:44:53 AM): scuse pls, going to rummage through the spare parts in the attic
jesterspace (11:45:48 AM): if we can get better.. I'm down for it
A Friend (11:46:10 AM): actually, I think I know someone who has one of the earlier models of Davis-Besse warning sirens
jesterspace (11:47:00 AM): oh yeah...THAT'S what I need, baybee!
A Friend (11:47:02 AM): because everyone a mile downwind from where you're aiming it needs to know
jesterspace (11:47:44 AM): ayep
A Friend (11:48:33 AM): Mind you, this is what popped into my mind:
A Friend (11:50:30 AM): Except that you know if I got involved, what you would get would be the bastard love child of the Bluesmobile and KITT
jesterspace (11:51:13 AM): you say this like it's a bad thing
A Friend (11:54:06 AM): goddamn it, why did you have to trigger my goddamn imagination... you BASTARD
jesterspace (11:54:46 AM): smiles innocently
A Friend (11:58:43 AM): The Emo Assault Squadron video from YouTube just replayed itself in my head... and your habits too... so now I'm envisioning something from Junkyard Wars meets Monster Garage meets Monster House where they have about half a cop car, the body and chassis of a hearse, a dumpster full of electronics and computer guts to work with, plus the interior decorations of an Austin Powers-esque bedroom to work with.
A Friend (11:59:32 AM): You're gonna post this to your LJ and people are going to be amazed that there are people out there with even more fucked-up minds than yours... I *know* it.
A Friend (12:00:32 PM): brb... I gotta go to the store and get some mind-bleach and brain-draino to get this shit out of my head
jesterspace (12:01:18 PM): Heh. laugh.. I'm prepping the blog as we speak
A Friend (12:05:53 PM): now I'm hearing KITT's voice going "Activating vibra-seat, Jeater" and things like that
A Friend (12:06:06 PM): Jester
A Friend (12:06:08 PM): bleh
A Friend (12:06:11 PM): MY BRAIN
jesterspace (12:06:44 PM): heehee
jesterspace (12:07:06 PM): You're thinking of me with a vibra-seat.. you are allowed a bit of brain damage
A Friend (12:06:40 PM): QUANTUM FLUCTUATIONS IN THE SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM DAMN YOU
Note I changed the friends name because for every person who might think me with a LARGER mouth would be amusing, there will be 5 who would want to kill me and any who would enable such a scheme. Note the friend can 'out' themselves if they so wish.. but any damage the masses do to him or her is hereby declared to be officially 'not MY fault!'
1922 — 2007
Faith-Based Justice, Faith-Based Social Services, Faith-Based Science, Faith-Based Health, and Faith-Based War…sounds like a Country ruled by Faith to me and being ruined in the process I might add. If you have a few minutes, please read this great piece by Garry Wills and tell me what you think.
A Country Ruled by Faith
By Garry Wills
The right wing in America likes to think that the United States government was, at its inception, highly religious, specifically highly Christian, and even more specifically highly biblical. That was not true of that government or any later government—until 2000, when the fiction of the past became the reality of the present. George W. Bush was not only born-again, like Jimmy Carter. His religious conversion came late, and took place in the political setting of Billy Graham's ministry to the powerful. He was converted during a stroll with Graham on his father's Kennebunkport compound. It is true that Dwight Eisenhower was guided to baptism by Graham. But Eisenhower was a famous and formed man, the principal military figure of World War II, the leader of NATO, the president of Columbia University—his change in religious orientation was just an addition to many prior achievements. Bush's conversion at a comparatively young stage in his life was a wrenching away from mainly wasted years. He joined a Bible study culture in Texas that was unlike anything Eisenhower bought into.
From Darkness to Light
The time is upon us. Time to place our feet to a better use than bowling. The MS Walk. This year, as before.. we walk to raise funds. The National MS Society estimates that about 400,000 people in the US have MS. Last year, we raised over $1000.00 for the fight. The monies go to research, and living assistance for those affected by MS. This was the team from last year.
I've been called a hero before. But to me.. THESE are my heroes. These people chose to give their time and money to help. To help me, to help relatives and friends, to help strangers in pain. You might have seen MS Walk groups in matching outfits and shirts. We choose something different. MS affects every person individually in a host of different ways. So we dress uniquely to reflect what MS can do to those afflicted. Last year, my legs gave out due to an exacerbation. Thanks to a generous family gift, I was bequeathed a Powerchair. As a Team Captain, even with the lack of legs, I needed to be there. There was a job to do. After the walk, my legs became worse, and I ended up in the hospital paralyzed for most of the summer.However, thanks to friends and family and doctors, I can now walk again. It's a bit wobbly and a bit slow.. but from paraplegic to walking.. I won this round against MS. But for me, and close to a half-million people, the war isn't over. THIS is why we walk. For our friends, our family, for ourselves, fir a half million others in the US alone.
I humbly ask you for any assistance you can provide in this. Donations to me can be made here
To donate to the Midian Team, you can go here
If you need any more info, you can contact me via my Myspace
or my email
Or to contact the NWO MS Society
401 Tomahawk Drive
Maumee , OH 43537
Jester and the Amazing Pantycolor Trenchcoat
In honor of the Ladies of IGUN and my own twisted late-night ideas, this idea has sprung to mind..
The idea is simple. I need panties from every IGUN lady who reads this. I don't care what kind, what color (But funny ones, like 'Care Bear' panties, would be a plus). You don't have to wear them (and I'd ask that you wash them before giving them to me unless you go to the bathroom, take them off, and give them to me), but if you have any spare panties, bring them to the club. Bras are fine too. Or buy them and donate them to this worthwhile cause. The goal is to make a trenchcoat with a LOT of IGUN's history in it (the gorgeous ladies of IGUN.. you've seen them before, drooled over them, probably jerked off to them in your depraved little late night monkey-spanking or kitty-diddling sleep preperations. This coat will be worn at the Club.. will be worn at Rocky Horror.. and by request be worn when I am introduced to your parents, or Bible-thumping relatives!
Join me in this glorious idea.. create a piece of history.. and if any of the ladies (I'll be recording the names of donors) makes it famous, I will sell the Coat on eBay and split the profits , 1/3 to charity (considering the nature of the coat, probably breast cancer research), 1/3 to the newly famous, and 1/3 to Skybar.
Who wants to play?
The idea is dedicated to Yoda and Pantypalooza..
I exist. I breathe. I bleed. I love. I have no need for a 'higher power' to tell me not to hurt or kill. I, as a human being, am a pack animal. I believe that stewardship of the environment is my duty. Not just for me, but for the generations that will come long after I cease to exist. I believe that helping your fellow man is a logical premise, as there will come a time in which I need assistance. I believe that lying is an improper way to deal with the other passengers on Earth. From the lies that are told to children (Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny), to the lies we tell each other as adults (A personal God). A lie is defined as 'a statement that deviates from or perverts the truth'. The stories of God have been proven over and over to be made by and written by man. Stories that have been edited and mistranslated over and over. Editing and mistranslations we have copious evidence of. I do not have enough hubris to say that I KNOW there is no God. I DO have enough evidence to state that the 'gods' created by man are just that.. creations. As to an actual God, I am an Agnostic, as to Allah, Jesus, Vishnu, Odin, Zeus et al. I am Gnostic in my disbelief. I believe that THIS is our only chance at life. A belief backed by evidence. And to believe this life is just a rehersal or test means you do not have a reason to take care of others, the planet, or even yourself. And even if you do, it's not for others, it's to earn your ticket to a paradise. Which, to me, is similar to a woman/man telling you that they love and are in love with you, while the real reason is as simple as to take your money. As an Atheist, I can see that with this being my only chance at Life, it just makes sense to make the most of it. For both myself and others. I, as a seeker of Knowledge, have studued many religious paradigms. I've read the Bible, the Qu'ran, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita .. and all struck me as similar in one blatant fact. They were all stories. Many did have good lessons in them.But stories nonetheless. Wisdom can come from many places. 'With great power comes great responsibility'. Good advice. It was said to a young man once. A lesson he took to heart which served him well in his trials. That man was Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man. An excellent lesson. And one we KNOW is just a story, a parable. As an Atheist, (and as a human being) I quest for knowledge and wisdom. But I see no need to, when presented with something I do not understand, create a story about 'How it all happened'.
I do peer councilling for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. I do this because I have MS.I do this because it heals me mentally as I help others to heal and cope. I will not lie to them and tell them there is a magical place that all their pain goes away. I WILL tell them that, thanks to science, we have methods to curb the pain. I have had people tell me that 'You're doing God's work, helping these poor people.' and 'I'm glad you have MS so you can help others with it'.to which i usually respond 'So, by raising money to help find a cure for MS, am i not going against god'splan.. after all.. god made MS. It existed before aspartame, before dental amalgam. 200 years ago, MS was attributed to 'demonic posession'. We learned better. We learned better because we examined, we experimented. Medical science has in many cases been hampered by these stories.We have the same issue today in regards to stem cell research.
If evidence of a god, or an afterlife, is presented to me, and if I cannot prove it's fraudulent nature, I will consider it. This applies to any and all aspects of the 'supernatural' (psychics, ghosts, magic, etc..). I will listen to any reasonable conversation. And I will be polite. As long as you accept that if your 'proof' is fake, irrational based on whatis already known and verified, or a misrepresentation of reality, I will not accept it.
The bottom line is. If you are reading this, there is a good chance that both you and I are currently alive. Therefore we share this planet. With roughly 6.5 billon others. Provided you do not tell me what I can do within the bounds of logical behavior, I will not tell you what to do. If you tell me who I can love, what I can or cannot do (provided it dosen't involve you), or lie to me.. I'll be a courteous and helpful fellow passenger on this planet.
I am Jester
I am an Atheist.
I am a human being.
by Natalie Angier
In the course of reporting a book on the scientific canon and pestering hundreds of researchers at the nation's great universities about what they see as the essential vitamins and minerals of literacy in their particular disciplines, I have been hammered into a kind of twinkle-eyed cartoon coma by one recurring message. Whether they are biologists, geologists, physicists, chemists, astronomers, or engineers, virtually all my sources topped their list of what they wish people understood about science with a plug for Darwin's dandy idea. Would you please tell the public, they implored, that evolution is for real? Would you please explain that the evidence for it is overwhelming and that an appreciation of evolution serves as the bedrock of our understanding of all life on this planet?
In other words, the scientists wanted me to do my bit to help fix the terrible little statistic they keep hearing about, the one indicating that many more Americans believe in angels, devils, and poltergeists than in evolution. According to recent polls, about 82 percent are convinced of the reality of heaven (and 63 percent think they're headed there after death); 51 percent believe in ghosts; but only 28 percent are swayed by the theory of evolution.
Scientists think this is terrible—the public's bizarre underappreciation of one of science's great and unshakable discoveries, how we and all we see came to be—and they're right. Yet I can't help feeling tetchy about the limits most of them put on their complaints. You see, they want to augment this particular figure—the number of people who believe in evolution—without bothering to confront a few other salient statistics that pollsters have revealed about America's religious cosmogony. Few scientists, for example, worry about the 77 percent of Americans who insist that Jesus was born to a virgin, an act of parthenogenesis that defies everything we know about mammalian genetics and reproduction. Nor do the researchers wring their hands over the 80 percent who believe in the resurrection of Jesus, the laws of thermodynamics be damned.
No, most scientists are not interested in taking on any of the mighty cornerstones of Christianity. They complain about irrational thinking, they despise creationist "science," they roll their eyes over America's infatuation with astrology, telekinesis, spoon bending, reincarnation, and UFOs, but toward the bulk of the magic acts that have won the imprimatur of inclusion in the Bible, they are tolerant, respectful, big of tent. Indeed, many are quick to point out that the Catholic Church has endorsed the theory of evolution and that it sees no conflict between a belief in God and the divinity of Jesus and the notion of evolution by natural selection. If the pope is buying it, the reason for most Americans' resistance to evolution must have less to do with religion than with a lousy advertising campaign.
So, on the issue of mainstream monotheistic religions and the irrationality behind many of religion's core tenets, scientists often set aside their skewers, their snark, and their impatient demand for proof, and instead don the calming cardigan of a a kiddie-show host on public television. They reassure the public that religion and science are not at odds with one another, but rather that they represent separate "magisteria," in the words of the formerly alive and even more formerly scrappy Stephen Jay Gould. Nobody is going to ask people to give up their faith, their belief in an everlasting soul accompanied by an immortal memory of every soccer game their kids won, every moment they spent playing fetch with the dog. Nobody is going to mock you for your religious beliefs. Well, we might if you base your life decisions on the advice of a Ouija board; but if you want to believe that someday you'll be seated at a celestial banquet with your long-dead father to your right and Jane Austen to your left-and that she'll want to talk to you for another hundred million years or more—that's your private reliquary, and we're not here to jimmy the lock.
Consider the very different treatments accorded two questions presented to Cornell University's "Ask an Astronomer" Web site. To the query, "Do most astronomers believe in God, based on the available evidence?" the astronomer Dave Rothstein replies that, in his opinion, "modern science leaves plenty of room for the existence of God . . . places where people who do believe in God can fit their beliefs in the scientific framework without creating any contradictions." He cites the Big Bang as offering solace to those who want to believe in a Genesis equivalent and the probabilistic realms of quantum mechanics as raising the possibility of "God intervening every time a measurement occurs" before concluding that, ultimately, science can never prove or disprove the existence of a god, and religious belief doesn't—and shouldn't—"have anything to do with scientific reasoning."
How much less velveteen is the response to the reader asking whether astronomers believe in astrology. "No, astronomers do not believe in astrology," snarls Dave Kornreich. "It is considered to be a ludicrous scam. There is no evidence that it works, and plenty of evidence to the contrary." Dr. Kornreich ends his dismissal with the assertion that in science "one does not need a reason not to believe in something." Skepticism is "the default position" and "one requires proof if one is to be convinced of something's existence."
In other words, for horoscope fans, the burden of proof is entirely on them, the poor gullible gits; while for the multitudes who believe that, in one way or another, a divine intelligence guides the path of every leaping lepton, there is no demand for evidence, no skepticism to surmount, no need to worry. You, the religious believer, may well find subtle support for your faith in recent discoveries—that is, if you're willing to upgrade your metaphors and definitions as the latest data demand, seek out new niches of ignorance or ambiguity to fill with the goose down of faith, and accept that, certain passages of the Old Testament notwithstanding, the world is very old, not everything in nature was made in a week, and (can you turn up the mike here, please?) Evolution Happens.
And if you don't find substantiation for your preferred divinity or your most cherished rendering of the afterlife somewhere in the sprawling emporium of science, that's fine, too. No need to lose faith when you were looking in the wrong place to begin with. Science can't tell you whether God exists or where you go when you die. Science cannot definitively rule out the heaven option, with its helium balloons and Breck hair for all. Science in no way wants to be associated with terrifying thoughts, like the possibility that the pericentury of consciousness granted you by the convoluted, gelatinous, and transient organ in your skull just may be the whole story of you-dom. Science isn't arrogant. Science trades in the observable universe and testable hypotheses. Religion gets the midnight panic fêtes. But you've heard about evolution, right?
So why is it that most scientists avoid criticizing religion even as they decry the supernatural mind-set? For starters, some researchers are themselves traditionally devout, keeping a kosher kitchen or taking Communion each Sunday. I admit I'm surprised whenever I encounter a religious scientist. How can a bench-hazed Ph.D., who might in an afternoon deftly purée a colleague's PowerPoint presentation on the nematode genome into so much fish chow, then go home, read in a two-thousand-year-old chronicle, riddled with internal contradictions, of a meta-Nobel discovery like "Resurrection from the Dead," and say, gee, that sounds convincing? Doesn't the good doctor wonder what the control group looked like?
Scientists, however, are a far less religious lot than the American population, and, the higher you go on the cerebro-magisterium, the greater the proportion of atheists, agnostics, and assorted other paganites. According to a 1998 survey published in Nature, only 7 percent of members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences professed a belief in a "personal God." (Interestingly, a slightly higher number, 7.9 percent, claimed to believe in "personal immortality," which may say as much about the robustness of the scientific ego as about anything else.) In other words, more than 90 percent of our elite scientists are unlikely to pray for divine favoritism, no matter how badly they want to beat a competitor to publication. Yet only a flaskful of the faithless have put their nonbelief on record or publicly criticized religion, the notable and voluble exceptions being Richard Dawkins of Oxford University and
Daniel Dennett of Tufts University. Nor have Dawkins and Dennett earned much good will among their colleagues for their anticlerical views; one astronomer I spoke with said of Dawkins, "He's a really fine parish preacher of the fire-and-brimstone school, isn't he?"
So, what keeps most scientists quiet about religion? It's probably something close to that trusty old limbic reflex called "an instinct for self-preservation." For centuries, science has survived quite nicely by cultivating an image of reserve and objectivity, of being above religion, politics, business, table manners. Scientists want to be left alone to do their work, dazzle their peers, and hire grad students to wash the glassware. When it comes to extramural combat, scientists choose their crusades cautiously. Going after Uri Geller or the Ra'lians is risk-free entertainment, easier than making fun of the sociology department. Battling the creationist camp has been a much harder and nastier fight, but those scientists who have taken it on feel they have a direct stake in the debate and are entitled to wage it, since the creationists, and more recently the promoters of "intelligent design" theory, claim to be as scientific in their methodology as are the scientists.
But when a teenager named Darrell Lambert was chucked out of the Boy Scouts for being an atheist, scientists suddenly remembered all those gels they had to run and dark matter they had to chase, and they kept quiet. Lambert had explained the reason why, despite a childhood spent in Bible classes and church youth groups, he had become an atheist. He took biology in ninth grade, and, rather than devoting himself to studying the bra outline of the girl sitting in front of him, he actually learned some biology. And what he learned in biology persuaded him that the Bible was full of . . . short stories. Some good, some inspiring, some even racy, but fiction nonetheless. For his incisive, reasoned, scientific look at life, and for refusing to cook the data and simply lie to the Boy Scouts about his thoughts on God—as some advised him to do—Darrell Lambert should have earned a standing ovation from the entire scientific community. Instead, he had to settle for an interview with Connie Chung, right after a report on the Gambino family.
Scientists have ample cause to feel they must avoid being viewed as irreligious, a prionic life-form bent on destroying the most sacred heifer in America. After all, academic researchers graze on taxpayer pastures. If they pay the slightest attention to the news, they've surely noticed the escalating readiness of conservative politicians and an array of highly motivated religious organizations to interfere with the nation's scientific enterprise—altering the consumer information Web site at the National Cancer Institute to make abortion look like a cause of breast cancer, which it is not, or stuffing scientific advisory panels with anti-abortion "faith healers."
Recently, an obscure little club called the Traditional Values Coalition began combing through descriptions of projects supported by the National Institutes of Health and complaining to sympathetic congressmen about those they deemed morally "rotten," most of them studies of sexual behavior and AIDS prevention. The congressmen in turn launched a series of hearings, calling in institute officials to inquire who in the Cotton-pickin' name of Mather cares about the perversions of Native American homosexuals, to which the researchers replied, um, the studies were approved by a panel of scientific experts, and, gee, the Native American community has been underserved and is having a real problem with AIDS these days. Thus far, the projects have escaped being nullified, but the raw display of pious dentition must surely give fright to even the most rakishly freethinking and comfortably tenured professor. It's one thing to monkey with descriptions of Darwinism in a high-school textbook. But to threaten to take away a peer-reviewed grant! That Dan Dennett; he is something of a pompous leafblower, isn't he?
Yet the result of wincing and capitulating is a fresh round of whacks. Now it's not enough for presidential aspirants to make passing reference to their "faith." Now a reporter from Newsweek sees it as his privilege, if not his duty, to demand of Howard Dean, "Do you see Jesus Christ as the son of God and believe in him as the route to salvation and eternal life?" In my personal fairy tale, Dean, who as a doctor fits somewhere in the phylum Scientificus, might have boomed, "Well, with his views on camels and rich people, he sure wouldn't vote Republican!" or maybe, "No, but I hear he has a Mel Gibson complex." Dr. Dean might have talked about patients of his who suffered strokes and lost the very fabric of themselves and how he has seen the centrality of the brain to the sense of being an individual. He might have expressed doubts that the self survives the brain, but, oh yes, life goes on, life is bigger, stronger, and better endowed than any Bush in a jumpsuit, and we are part of the wild, tumbling river of life, our molecules were the molecules of dinosaurs and before that of stars, and this is not Bulfinch mythology, this is corroborated reality.
Alas for my phantasm of fact, Howard Dean, M.D., had no choice but to chime, oh yes, he certainly sees Jesus as the son of God, though he at least dodged the eternal life clause with a humble mumble about his salvation not being up to him.
I may be an atheist, and I may be impressed that, through the stepwise rigor of science, its Spockian eyebrow of doubt always cocked, we have learned so much about the universe. Yet I recognize that, from there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere. Why is there so much dark matter and dark energy in the great Out There, and why couldn't cosmologists have given them different enough names so I could keep them straight? Why is there something rather than nothing, and why is so much of it on my desk? Not to mention the abiding mysteries of e-mail, like why I get exponentially more spam every day, nine-tenths of it invitations to enlarge an appendage I don't have.
I recognize that science doesn't have all the answers and doesn't pretend to, and that's one of the things I love about it. But it has a pretty good notion of what's probable or possible, and virgin births and carpenter rebirths just aren't on the list. Is there a divine intelligence, separate from the universe but somehow in charge of the universe, either in its inception or in twiddling its parameters? No evidence. Is the universe itself God? Is the universe aware of itself? We're here. We're aware. Does that make us God? Will my daughter have to attend a Quaker Friends school now?
I don't believe in life after death, but I'd like to believe in life before death. I'd like to think that one of these days we'll leave superstition and delusional thinking and Jerry Falwell behind. Scientists would like that, too. But for now, they like their grants even more.
Reprinted from The American Scholar 72, no. 2, Spring 2004. (c)Natalie Angier. By permission of the publishers.
Natalie Angier is a science reporter for the New York Times and author of , and . In 1991 she won a Pulitzer Prize for her science reporting.
Happy Darwin Day and Emancipation Day!
As much as I'm not a fan of Hallmark™ Holidays, I like this one a lot. Darwin's 200th Birthday will occur on February 12, 2009; it will also be the 150th Anniversary of the publication of his famous book, On The Origin of Species. So, together we can evolve a truly international Celebration to express gratitude for the enormous benefits that scientific knowledge, acquired through human curiosity and ingenuity, has contributed to the advancement of humanity. The objective of Darwin Day Celebration is to encourage existing institutions worldwide, such as municipalities, public and private schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums, churches, private organizations and individuals to celebrate Science and Humanity every year, on, or near, February 12, Darwin's birthday! If we can have a President's Day considering the current President, we can certainly celebrate Reason and Logic. And another great man was born today, the 12th of Februrary. Abraham Lincoln. Maybe we should call today Emancipation Day. Lincoln emancipated people's bodies, Darwin emancipated people's minds. Freedom.. what a wonderful thing.
We'll start with the serious reasons, then divulge into the philosophical then the funny..
The definition that 'god is infinite'. It is physically IMPOSSIBLE for a human being to even define 'infinite'.. you might be able to say 'Without end' but our brains just aren't wired to grasp the truly infinite. I am not saying with certainty there ISN'T a god. To do so implies a lever of knowledge I (and you) are incapable of grasping. And a truly infinite being would by necessity include EVERYTHING.. the good, the bad, and the ugly. So EVERYTHING would be a 'part of god's plan'. Including childrape, genocide, Thr Ice Capades, and the atomic bomb. We cannot EVER truly know such a being's motives, if such a being could even HAVE motives. When reality is shaped by naught but a stray thought, what IS 'real'? I am an atheist agnostic. Using the resoueces available to me, I have zero evidence of such a divine being. So that nakes me Atheist. I do not BELIEVE..I am also an agnostic, as I do not have the hubris to say with CERTAINTY there is not a god. A-Theist means you do not believe, A-gnostic means you do not KNOW whether there is a god. And as it's defined, we could not ever know based off knowledge..
We DO have evidence that any of the gods created by man are simple myths. It is ironic that each culture's gods reflect the society in which they first energed. Look at the Greek and Roman gods. When the Romans conqured the Helenic (greek) lands, they basically just gave the new names. Christianity has done the same. Examples are Appolonius of Tyana, and Mithras becoming part of the Jesus story. We aren't even going to get into how much christmas and easter are blatant theft of old pagan ideas and rituals.
I've been accused of 'attacking Christianity' with my posts before. The reason for that is simple. I was raised in a christian nation. It's the myths I have the most experience with. I don't hate Christians/Catholics/et al.. I DO hate when ANYONE (whether for religious or secular reasons) tries to impede my rights. Example. At the moment, I'm involved in an advocacy group for people with MS to make life easier for us. A lot of funding for such programs has been cut due to Bush's pet war. I fight that as well. And this is a secular battle. For me to hate you, you have to earn it.. I don't hate 'groups'. Republicans, African-Americans, Fundamentalists, Homosexuals, and the like..(and yes.. some of the groups I mentioned african-americans and homosexuals.. they have no choice whether to be a menber of that group just as whites and heterosexuals have no choice to be a member of their groups) I have several friends in each 'camp'. I might not agree with their beliefs/ideologies.. but when they don't force their beliefs on me, I will not force mine on them. I have no hell to save them from. It's supposed to be a 'personal relationship' with Jesus. Please.. keep it personal. My one friend, a catholic.. and I do consider her a good friend.. we have discussed religion before several times. But she has never told me I was gonna burn (using the Christian Death Threat ™) and has only discussed religion when it was appropriate.
Do I fear Hell.. nope. For the same reason I don't fear such boogeymen as Freddy Kreuger or Chucky. They're not real. If you can present actual evidence of a 'hell', please do so. I'll be willing to listen, as long as you're willing to listen to my attenmpts to invalidate yiour evidence. If I can't invalidate your evidence, I'll adopt it into my paradigm. But remember, I'm a skeptic. I look for physical evidences before assuming there are supernatural evidences.
Fact is kids.. this is not a nation founded on Christian principles. A few interesting quotes..
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear. -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
Religion I found to be without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serves principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another - Benjamin Franklin
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason. -Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard, 1758
Am I going to 'combat' religious dogmas.. yes. For the same reason that if you were to tell me (and honestly believed) that there was an invisiible purple amoeba sitting on your shoulder telling you to give all your money to some guy and if you didn't he was going to eat your brain.. I'd try to help you to break the delusion. I wouldn't be worthy of being called a friend if I just sat there and let this delusion continue to plague you. Now if I were to SEE the amoeba.. I'd take it more seriously and try to ascertain whether it was a trick. Remember.. skeptic.
I'ver also been accused by a few of using my blogs to 'push my agenda'.. to which I reply simply.. if you don't want to read it.. I'm not putting a gun to your head and making you read it. We have the advamtage of living in a free country (as much as the Neocons want to change that..)
I do find it funny that groups such as the Rational Response Squad are being attacked by complaints that they are 'targetting kids'. and that they are 'a cult'. It amuses me that the worst things they can use to cut them down is complaining that the Squad is using their own tactics (Which isn't even accurate, as the Atheists out there on the religious tip only has the 'agenda' of fosterong critical thinking. Usually, that's enough to turn people away from stone-age myths.). Sunday School, Childrens Bibles.. maybe the religious are just upset as we're cutting into the mind-control techniques they've used for years, and not even providing an alternate control technique. oh dear.. we're letting people think for themselves.. how DARE we..
Late-night ranting done....
In a moment of ephiphany, I realized I am in many ways a bowl of water. I was talking with a good friend who informed me of her dislike of my habit of 'closing myself off' and the feeling of detatchment I seem to espouse. And I thought about it. I DO tend to keep the real 'me' in close to my chest. And I think I know why. I, much like the aforementioned bowl of water can spalsh.. my bowl is very close to full. And I've been known to splash people, dipping my fingers in the water and flicking people. Which can be annoying but dosen't ruin one's day. I've made the mistake of pouring my water on another before. And much as pouring a big glass of water on someone's head tends to annoy them, a large dose of me will do the same. In the bowl is the 'real me'. The Jamie. The flicks and random droplets are the 'Jester'. I relaized that I actually leave myself fully open to all. Most either run from the flicked droplets, or just want to wade in the edges of the bowl. I know my views are a tad.. left of center. Most I meet either want some assistance, some information, or comfort. Most just want entertainment. Whether it's a massage, a Rocky callback, or just silliness. And that's fine. Just don't claim I'm being secretive or closed off. You want to get wet, you have to dip your hands into the bowl. YOUR choice. YOU need to dip your hand in. The whole 'You can lead a horse to water..' thing. Even those who have loved me have just either loved the flicking drops or got confused or dissapointed when the flavor and taste of my core is different than the flavor and taste of the show of flying waters. Especially now that my inner waters have been colored with illness and medication. And my friend was right. My illness has taken from me the one thing that for a long time was my real goal. I was so afraid of giving myself to someone fully after losing my first, that I kept my bowl straight level, only letting the splashes which seemed to make people smile ever escape. I met one who gave me the courage to allow into my depths. When that didn't work out, I escaped and met another who had a chance of joining me in the journey. I was too gunshy at this point, and ran like a scared little boy. I met the third, and allowed myself to try once more. I sabotaged myself there, but we got through that. Then my waters got clouded. My illness, the thing that has taken damn near everything in one way or another, from my one-time home, to a woman I loved, to many friendsnand even a cat that was once half mine. Reality is..I'm a ticking bomb of acids now. My bowl is cracked, and sometimes I feel it leaking. You wouldn't buy such a bowl from the store. Especially if it was filled with sludge. I need to accept the fact that my original assessment of my life will be reality. All the ones I loved have moved on. Found their ones who were not broken. I wish them nothing but the best. Those I've let go. All I ever wanted for them was to be happy.They seem to have found it. I know of one today.. one who knows how I feel about them. And for many reasons, the time is not right. So be it.
The purpose of this babble? To review where I've been before the next big door. I feel like something is happening in my bowl. I don't know what. Usually, I plan these 'changes'. This one.. it's just happening. I don't know if it's the move back to BG, the summer in the hospital, the anniversary of a year alone on the horizon, the new friends I've met, my MS, the friends I've lost, either physically or emotionally, the defeat of my paraplegia.. SOMETHING is happening. And for once.. I don't know what it is. I don't know whether to be anticipatory or terrified.
...Sorrow itself is not so hard to bear as the thought of sorrow coming. Airy ghosts that work no harm do terrify us more than men in steel with bloody purposes. - Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Jester: Seriously.. thanks
A new friend: no thanks needed...i am serious.
Jester: really.. I am honored.. but why.. I'm just doing what we all do.. try to survive and make the world better
Jester: besides.. I'm still having too much fun to just give up
A new friend: jester, for you it may seem like that is what all try to do. But, i have seen it is not quite like that. I know MS is very hard to deal with..so unpredictable..yet, you are trying to help others...that is not so usual...it is special,
Jester: i can see that.. I'm just too stubborn to quit, and well.. I like being a slut too much. And I have a goal.. to be the last generation that has to deal with MS
A new friend: Maybe it is the last generation. Research has come a ways i think. Hope it finds out what causes or how to eliminate plaque. I support the MS society.
Jester: As do I.. we have 4 new treatments in the pipe.. the copaxone/mixantrone mix has been slowing evidence of plaque growth by up to 90%. Science marches on.
A new friend: wow
Jester: and we have an oral med in the wings (clinical trials)
A new friend: would like to see earlier diagnosis as well. have heard that helps to slow progression. sometimes people have it years before diagnosed
Jester: i had first presentation in 99, didn't get a diagnosis till 03
A new friend: that sounds so long. Did your MRI confirm? or LP? sorry i am interested...dont want to seem nosey.
Jester: No worries.. it was both, and looking at history which gave me a definite diagnosis
Jester: And you can ask me anything.. as someone who does peer counciling, I need to be able to talk about any aspect
A new friend: ah, the more you talk, the more you can help. See, you are trying to be a better person. you know, i like that about you.
Jester: Thank you, my dear
Jester: and the curiosity.. do you know someone who has it? You seem to know your 'lingo'.
A new friend: could say that
Jester: hmm... someone very close to you?
A new friend: Yes, but not definite...probable.
Jester: hence the questions on how I got a definite diagnosis..
A new friend: you are observant...
Jester: I kinda have to be.. it hasn't taken my mind, thankfully.. and the latest studies show the more you USE your mind.. the slower it seems to take it
A new friend: then use it and use it and use it some more....and you help while you do. just like you have me.
Jester: I shall, my dear. Feel free to friend me. Anything I can do to help, I will
A new friend: You are kind. thank you.
Jester: Not kind.. just understanding
A new friend: ok is your id, just jesterspace? i am no longer in the room
Jester: yes.. my myspace, livejournal, email, and yahoo/aol SN's are all jesterspace
A new friend: ok, i am trying to add, not very good at this
A new friend: yes, thanks
Jester: so where are you from?
A new friend: **Location deleted** State
Jester: There is a MS society in **Location deleted**.. you can find them on the net
A new friend: i will Jester...i thnk maybe i was here for a reason tonight
Jester: I am glad I could provide some assistance. You need anything, feel free to message me. I am often invisible, but usually on
Jester: Even if it's just someone to vent to
A new friend: Thank you . I will remember your invisability..lol...so am i
A new friend: see, you are kind
Jester: Hush.. I've got a rep to protect
A new friend: i won't tell anyone...it will just be between us...my lips are sealed..lol
Jester: And this information will be just between us until and unless you decide to speak to others about it
A new friend: thank you. You do understand. it is not easy to talk about, people seem not to know what you are saying
Jester: True. Why I'm so open about it. I have a gift to talking to people. Why waste it
A new friend: So true, you do have a gift. And gifts are given and recieved...helps everyone.
Jester: Agreed. Completely.
Jester: top of the page.. 'jameson sawyer'.. my story on the Face of MS page
A new friend: i will read it. thank you for sharing "you".
Jester: I share 'me' with all.. in the hopes it will help someone
A new friend: you can't help but do that...when your intention is what it is. But, i know it can't be easy.
Jester: It's actually a lot easier with friends.
A new friend: time for me to go to bed. I can honestly say i am glad i came here tonight.
Jester: Sleep well. We shall talk again
A new friend: yes, please
Jester: of course. Get some sleep. A pleasure to 'meet' you
A new friend: goodnight..a pleasure to meet you too
Jester: until the next
A new friend: yes, till then
It's these events.. the ones most don't see.. that make me the happiest sometimes. I've never net this woman. And through the simplest act of reaching out. I was able to give her a new spark of hope. Not in a myth, but in man.
And here I thought tonight was going to be pointless...
A jug of wine,
A leg of lamb
Taken from Wikipedia
Wilson was born in Methodist Hospital, downtown Brooklyn, New York, and spent his first years in Flatbush, moving with his family to Gerritsen Beach around the age of 4 or 5, where they stayed until he turned 13.
On June 22, 2006, Huffington Post blogger Paul Krassner reported that Robert A. Wilson was under hospice care at home with friends and family.  On 2 October 2006 Douglas Rushkoff reported that Wilson was in severe financial trouble. As of 3 October the front page of rawilson.com contained an appeal for funds. Slashdot, Boing Boing, and the Church of the Subgenius also picked up on the story, linking to Rushkoff's appeal.   As his homepage reports on 10 October these efforts succeeded beyond expectation and raised a sum which will support him for at least 6 months.On the 6th of January he wrote on his blog that, according to several medical authorities, he is likely to have only between two days and two months left to live.  He subsequently died, five days later, at 4:50 AM.
More than most.. you shall be missed.
Yes, boys and girls.. it's 2007. Hope it's been treating you all well so far (not that in most cases it really has had time to really suck yet).
Midian will be back on the march. Our theme this year is 'From Darkness to Light'. I want a few things this year. I want everyone who actually walks to try and get sponsors. Last year, Midian raised over a thousand dollars for the cause. We were one of the largest non-corporate fundraisers. And this wasn't a church-based.. this was just people. Freaks, goths, weirdos. The people 'polite' society often looks down on. We can do it again.. and we can do it bigger and better. More details on plans to follow. Feel free to suggest.. this walk isn't just about me.. it's for friends. Some you know, and some you don't. Heartfelt thanks to those who walked with us last year and those who sponsored us. 2007 is really looking good for MS. We have several new treatments on the horizon.With our help, we might be able to push a few things over the hill.
Today's inspiration (written by Virginia Sanchez)
Who Are the People
With Multiple Sclerosis?
We are your parents, your children, your brothers and sisters; we are the person down the street; we are that lady or fellow who may walk a little "funny" at the grocery store. We are the people that you "tsk, tsk" over because we might look "too good" to use a handicapped parking space. We are the folks who may not be able to get out to the Church or Temple every weekend; we are your peers; we are human beings.
We are the face of Multiple Sclerosis. A face that is nearly every ethnicity; that comes from nearly every country, that does not discriminate by social standing or class or financial or educational background or language or religion. We are both able to walk unassisted and use canes and walkers and wheelchair users; we jog and swim and partake in sports; we are housebound, we use scooters; we need respirators. We are everything in between. We are visually impaired and we are not. We are at every level of physical ability.
Of course, we "look so good" while we're doing it. We hear that phrase every day of our lives. Sometimes that phrase is meant as a compliment and sometimes it is meant to hurt or meant to shame us into doing something of which we may not be currently capable. We may be able to do that something tomorrow, though, or next week; Multiple Sclerosis is like that. We are like that.
Some of us are hearing impaired; yet all of us occasionally have people talk louder to us. "HOW ARE YOU D-O-I-N-G????" they'll scream, speaking to us as though we were either hearing or intellectually impaired. "YOU LOOK SO G-O-O-D!!!!"
Of course we do. Thank you very much. We are, in fact, the very best looking people in the handicapped community. We have secret beauty pageants every year, to decide which of our number is the absolute best-looking. Billy Crystal emcees, as his character Fernando; "...and you look MAHVELOUS my dear; absolutely M-A-H-V-E-L-O-U-S..."
We are brave. We are fragile. We want to live, and we want to end it all. We look for support and we want to stand alone. We are Everyperson. We are the People with Multiple Sclerosis. We are People, Just Like You....