Skepticism

Weekend Quickies ‘n’ Vids

I hope this last weekend of June is going well for everyone and that our American readers are looking forward to a 4 day work week coming up.

This first video was sent in by Emory and it’s a clip of an interview with a Dr. Ahmed Al Mu’bi on LBC TV, a Lebanese television station.  In this clip, Dr. Al Mu’bi is discussing the legality of child brides and of having sex with those child brides.  It’s not exactly news that Mohammed had a child bride and that this is used as a standard by some Muslims but watching someone be so matter of fact about sex with a 9 year old is still disturbing.  I’d be interested to see this in the context of the rest of the interview.

Now you need a laugh, right?  Well then, here’s a video that had me LOLing.  Definitely the weirdest, funniest, and perhaps most compelling science equipment advertisement I’ve seen. Thank you, Vera, for pointing this one out.

Now for some quickies.

  • Terry Pratchett on god– “There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.”
  • Sex with robots possible by 2050, experts say-  Ew ew ew ew ew ew.  Uh, thanks, Mike.
  • Vitter and Craig cosponsor Federal Marriage Ammendment-  That’s right, two senators who have been too busy having affairs to protect their own marriages are, “co-sponsors of S. J. RES. 43, dubbed the Marriage Protection Amendment.”  Because it’s teh gayz who are threatening marriage, not lying cheating US senators.
  • The Worm Turns– Could we cure some diseases by reintroducing parasites?

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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18 Comments

  1. This post also had me thinking of a Futurama line, this one from Bender: “What are you, one of them robosexuals?”

    Which in turn had me thinking of an SGU quote from Rebecca, something along the lines of when people do start marrying robots, the Unitarians will support it…

  2. What’s so “ew” about sleeping with a robot? I mean, isn’t it basically a vibrator which can be programmed to cuddle afterwards

    Precisely what I was going to say… except I was going to add that once you get to true AI, it’s the same as sex with a person, really, so far as I’m concerned.

  3. Well, that’s the definition of AI, isn’t it, Rystefn? Although, Turing was probably thinking of conversation rather than country matters…

    I agree, though, with Joshua: if you think sex with robots with be *cough* cumming soon, you missed out.

  4. Choice quote from the Pratchett piece:

    I don’t have much truck with the ‘ religion is the cause of most of our wars’ school of thought because that is manifestly done by mad, manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in God.

  5. re worms to treat disease.

    1. The study groups are too small, way too small.

    2. This has been knocking about for years and in all that time no one else has had a go at the same experiment? All you have to do is show there is a statistical difference between subjects getting the parasite and those not (in either direction, if they make you worse then the parasites can be ruled out) and the Nobel prize is yours.

    I suspect though that the aim of any pharmaceutical companies trying this would be to identifiy the chemical compounds involved and synth those. Rather than start doseing people with worms

    3. It doesnt quite use the term “Natural Cure” but its in the subtext. “If only we still lived naturally, like we did when we were riddled with parasites, we wouldn’t have all these auto-immune diseases”

    4. Parasites (and there are no details as to which particular worm species, other than “not those that make you ill”) are held up as a cure for a number of different diseases, rather than a specific type of worm for a specific disease. Very close to “Good for what ails yeh” to me

    re Prattchet. The Daily Mail’s been going for more than 100 years, they had to print something of worth eventually. A blind man in a field with a shotgun will hit a bird eventually if he keeps at it long enough

  6. And an infinite number of rednecks firing an infinite number of shotguns from an infinite number of pickup trucks at an infinite number of highway signs will eventually spell all the works of Shakespeare in Braille.

    (I can’t remember where I heard that.)

    The quote Pseudonym pulled out of the Pratchett piece is actually the only bit of it which bothered me. I mean, absent any actual evidence to support any of these supernatural claims, the only way we can define religion is by human behavior, so “manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in God” are just as much a part of the tapestry as anybody else. If you exclude them from your definition, then you also have to rule out the lapsed Catholics and secular Jews and Christmas-and-Easter Anglicans. . . .

  7. Electro: I loved that quote, too.

    Probably my favourite Pratchett books are the ones that deal with religion. Small Gods is probably my absolute favourite, with Good Omens a close second. One of the things that is interesting about the Discworld is that gods exist if and only if they have believers, which is arguably how things also work on Earth (except that Earth gods are less substantial).

    Blake Stacey:

    I mean, absent any actual evidence to support any of these supernatural claims, the only way we can define religion is by human behavior, so “manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in God” are just as much a part of the tapestry as anybody else.

    The thing is, converse of this line of thought is also true: Absent deities and “supernatural claims” (I have a problem with that term when it comes to some religions), the problem of “manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in X” is true of anything human.

    By the same line of reasoning, Robert Mugabe should be included in the definition of “democracy”. Neocons like Bush, Rove and Cheney should be included in the definition of “freedom”. After all, that’s what they used to cloak their ambitions, right?

    The problem that I have is that people who use this line of argument (and I’m not talking about you specifically; I don’t know if this is true in your case) are almost always the same people who are bothered that religion is given special treatment in society. Yet, here is religion given special treatment in this line of reasoning, ignoring all of the other good things in the world that manipulative people use to cloak their ambitions.

    Religion is not special. Remember that.

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