Will Not Do What It Says On The Tin

Since the end of May I have been trying to lose weight [more formally – mass] and I’ve been doing this using methods which have worked in the past. Namely, logging all my food and doing plenty of exercise. It’s the only way I am able to do this, by keeping to a decent calorie limit and burning the fat by exercise. Reducing my food intake will only lose so much weight. I think the body gets used to the reduction in food and so initially there will be mass-loss but over time this effect dies down and I’m in the stage now where the reduced calorific diet maintains me but exercise is the only way to burn the fat. I’m doing my best to do this in a healthy way. I’m eating a decent mixture of foods, some fruit and lots of fibre. I understand that if there’s one thing everyone could eat more of to improve health it’s fibre. Yes, I get bored and some days I hate it. Sometimes I cheat and order pizza or kebab but I accept that and know that I can get going again and be on my way to my goal in a week or so.

I have met a friend and eaten out, I have also been quite drunk and done all the normal things I would do in my life. The main thing is to try and keep going. Losing mass is a mental battle and not really a physical one. I know. When I’m feeling unhealthy I try to feel better by eating, which makes me feel more unhealthy and so on. If losing weight was easy then everyone would be doing it all the time. There wouldn’t be any obesity. But, to coin the Ben Goldacre phrase, I think you’ll find it’s more complicated than that. I’ve been lucky that the lockdown has happened and by the end of May I had reached a rock-bottom level and was willing to try and change my habits. I have no idea how long this will last. It’s a mental health issue more than anything else. I have lost 7KG since the beginning of June. So, roughly a stone for you Daily Mail readers. It’s taken three months to lose that. Three months of mostly boring food and being good, three months of plenty of exercise, three months of not having to be at work. I don’t know where the motivation came from. I don’t know how to keep it.

BMI End May
BMI End May

So, at the end of May the NHS was encouraging me to lose 4.6kg. This isn’t something I looked at then, I’ve just used the site now as I wanted to know what my BMI is. I do understand that BMI is an imperfect measure but it’ll will do. Now, at the end of August, the NHS is still wanting me to lose 4kg, even though I have lost the original 4kg. Maybe they are using sensible targets which are achievable for people?

BMI End August
BMI End August

So, the purpose of this communication isn’t to brag or go on about mass-loss. It’s more about this next level of bullshit I’m about to discuss. I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to record my food intake and keep my food energy to a sensible level over the last three months. Now, I don’t pay for the extra version of this app, I use it for what I want and I don’t need other features, much like the Strava app that I use to record my exercise. The MFP app has adverts on the “front page” and also what it calls blog posts. These are mostly easy to ignore but every now and then something will catch my eye and I can’t help giving it a read. The advert that prompted this communication was about some form of bullshit but my interest was piqued.

I have been and looked at this website. The above image is just that, an image and so if you want to watch the video you’ll have to go to the website. As you can see I’ve watched 55 seconds and I nearly punched the monitor when he said that his name was Eli rather than pronouncing it Eeeli. So, there are red flags without having to go too far into this bullshit.

Red Flag – Qi. Sometimes called Chi. This is a massive red flag. Qi is meant to be the flow of energy around the human body. When this energy flow gets interrupted you will get ill. To know where this energy flows is important and balancing your energy will mean making sure that your energy flows correctly around your body. The important thing here is that Qi doesn’t exist. There aren’t secret channels of energy flowing around your body. This is an entirely made up mode of biology from a time when the human body was a mystery. If you have any form of literature or people talking about Qi the safest thing to do is to throw it in the bin or walk away like Homer hiding in a hedge.

Red Flag – Immune Health. You can’t boost your immune system and generally it works without any external interference. If your immune system doesn’t work properly then it is quite likely you will already be in hospital and undergoing amazing treatment from proper sciency stuff.

Red Flag – protect against COVID. Fuck this site for using this to make you think you can protect yourself using “ancient” wisdom. The best thing you can do is wash your hands, wear a mask and stay away from other people.

Red Flag – supercharge your immune system. Literally not a thing you can do. We don’t have any real control over our immune system. It is just there. This is a wank statement.

Red Flag – ancient wisdom. This is the best of all. Ancient Wisdom is not a thing at all. Things were not better in the old days. People died all the time of curable diseases. Here’s some things we’ve done recently; germ theory is about 150 years old, immunisation is about the same age, antibiotics are about 80 years old, small pox is eliminated, leprosy can be cured. Science bitches – it works.

Slightly further down the page I can sign up for acupressure hints and tips. Acupuncture is based on the understanding that sticking needles into your skin and help unblock the flow of Qi and help you recover to full health again. What mechanism does this use? It doesn’t. Acupuncture doesn’t work. It doesn’t do what it says.

Having dismissed this site as utter bullshit in the first few lines I then went to the home page to see what claims there are. I was interested to see what else this person thinks they can help you with. I wanted to know how much money it costs.

There is a claim that a newspaper declared Eli the Qi Gong teacher of the year. I mean, sure. If you are the best of the nothing that you teach then I am not impressed. Also, you’ve been named by a local newspaper. I don’t think that counts as anything special.

Through my online Qi Breaks™ Online platform you’ll learn the secrets to self-healing, pain management, stress reduction and higher energy levels with simple, easy-to-follow practices designed for everyone regardless of experience and age.

https://www.qiwitheli.com/

This on the site made me curious. I think much of the site does. There is so much bullshit here that I keep being reminded of the Apocalypse Now! quotation:

Willard: Oh man, the shit piled up so fast in Vietnam you needed wings to stay above it.

I clicked through to the Qi Breaks minisite and was confronted with a lot of stuff about ancient wisdom. I will tell you that some people in the ancient times were clever but then again, some people were stupid. There isn’t really a thing of ancient wisdom. It’s just a clever marketing ploy to make you think that this stuff has been around for so long so it must be correct. In the previous video Eli claims that there is documented evidence that some people lived to be 80 or even 100. I mean, there probably were. But it doesn’t seem to be that great since we live that long nowadays. Some people even live to 120. It would be interesting to chat with this person about life expectancy and explain that it has been generally going up over the last two hundred years as we learn more science. If Eli wants documented evidence why doesn’t he use the bible? It’s got stories of people living a long time. Maybe we should do what they did?

So, Qi Breaks looks like an online video thing that you pay for. It’s meant to help you do lots of non-specific things that are self-reported and not really measurable. This means that it will probably “work” for you. You spend the money. Do as you are told and then you will say that you feel better. If you don’t think it works then you just quit and so the testimonials will always come from people with positive reviews. Are they really any better or have they really boosted their immune system? Unlikely.

Eli claims to have a “deep healing Qi Gong” method that you can pay extra for. Here’s what he says:

Deep Healing Qi Gong™ uses practices known to have specific impacts on the emotional, physical and mental levels – the integrated body’s Qi (life-force energy). It is rooted both in ancient Bhuddist and Taoist systems as well as in modern energy healing methods and supported by science. I helped heal many from chronic health conditions western medicine does not have answer to.
This method not only works to help you heal yourself by clearing Qi blockages and restoring the natural flow of Qi in the body, it also helps you manifest exactly what you want to have in your life.
I developed this method over the last 10 years through my own personal journey, working with many individuals over the years and studied with teachers in the US, Europe and Asia.”

There are a number of things about this that strike me:
Life-force energy – isn’t a thing.
Ancient – who cares? This says nothing about whether it works or is real.
Supported by science – OK, show me the fucking science.
Heal chronic health – unlikely. I would like to see proper documented evidence for this.
Western medicine – this is used to dismiss modern medicine or “medicine”. I’ll take my chances with things that really work thank you.
Qi blockages – not a real thing.
Manifest exactly what you want – this is concerting. Is Eli saying that if you “want” hard enough you can have? Is he using hints of “the secret” here? Is he doing that “ask the universe” bullshit? I’m amazed at this. There’s a real issue with people thinking that illness and other outcomes in life are their fault. Or they think that the universe has it in for them. This isn’t true. What is true is that illness is random and society is actually built to stop you doing the things you want. Unfortunately many people can’t accept that some outcomes in life are just random and they believe it must be the fault of the person.

This whole website is a way of removing you from some of your money. If Eli really has mastered or created Deep Healing Qi Gong then wouldn’t the best thing for him be to give it away to the world for nothing? Shouldn’t he be working in hospitals to help cure everyone? If this stuff works then why isn’t he being hailed in the New England Journal of Medicine? If all these things he says are real then why isn’t everyone using them? If these things really worked then your GP would get you to do them. But, these things don’t work. I’m going to leave Eli and his bullshit for now. But I haven’t quite finished. I want to explain where Traditional Chinese Medicine comes from. The quick answer is China. But the real story is a little more interesting.

In the 1950s China was struggling with population and Communism. Not much different from today really. Medicine was improving in the country and so doctors were issued with a book that gave them treatments and drug listings for specific diseases etc. Because there were problems with the availability of real drugs the back of this book had a load of bullshit cures but ones that were traditional in the countryside. So, when a doctor had no hope of helping someone and the drugs weren’t available they could “prescribe” some bullshit stuff that would keep the population happy and subdued. Nothing was really known about this outside of China.

Then, in the early 1970s there was a US diplomatic mission to China and one of the people got ill. There were operated on but also had some bullshit TCM applied to them and when the western media heard about this they completely overlooked the actual medicine and focused solely on the TCM that this person received. They then claimed it was a miracle and maybe this ancient wisdom has something behind it. Before this time there wasn’t much in the western consciousness about TCM. After this time it exploded and has been here since. TCM doesn’t work and was rooted in a government lying to their own people to cover up the lack of real medicine. Amazing that we have so much of this is western culture now.

You can check this story yourself from the place I got my information. I first heard about this on Skeptoid. A short podcast that looks at things that aren’t real. It covers lots of different topics. I would encourage you to listen to the podcast or read the transcript. It’s worth knowing where this bullshit TCM comes from. Also, there is, of course, a Wikipedia page that covers the Barefoot Doctor.

Star Washing

This communication is number 1669. In keeping with recent references to plague hit London in the 1600s I, again, give a brief rundown of things that happened in this year. Pepys stopped writing because his eyesight was failing much like Donald Pleasance in The Great Escape, Newton is appointed as a professor and Robert Boyle discovers phosphorus. Along with all that there was plenty of life and death as all those who played insignificant roles in society aren’t recorded.

In another day of discussing society with poorly constructed arguments and leaps of consciousness I will explain the brainwashing of our society to maintain the current social and political structure. I was out on a run yesterday, it’s where I do plenty of thinking while also listening to podcasts. Being in the open and feeling good, or at least healthy, or at least as though I am doing something healthy is really good for clearing the mind. I was thinking about how too many films and stories all cover this idea that we are born to a particular level in our society. These stories we hear and films we watch reinforce this subconscious acceptance of “our place in society”.

From Where Do We Get Authority?

At a basic level we all need to be told what to do and the best systems work when you respect that person telling you what to do. You want to know that the “manager” has the experience and understanding along with the intellectual capability to think deeply about how things work. You want the “manager” to be fair and allow you some freedom. You want someone who knows the job and has been appointed to that position because they have some capability or understanding or talent beyond what you have. If the “manager” is respected by the workers then they will do their jobs for that manager and the “manager” will look good because they have a good set of outcomes from their workers. Authority comes from the respect that the workers give the manager through the manager’s skills and experience. Have you ever worked for someone you don’t respect? You might do as you are told but it will be a miserable experience.

So, we want authority to come from someone/thing who understands better than the workers and someone/thing who is able to be supportive and responsive and understanding. If you have those qualities then maybe you should be a “manager”.

The Worst Case

In the worst possible case scenario you claim authority through some vague system which you also happen to run. You might be a good “manager” you might also be a shit “manager”. At the very worst level you claim authority through the idea that you have that job and are therefore better than everyone else. You convinced those who appointed you that you are fantastic where, in reality, you suck and are shit at managing. Your life will then become a series of constructions to create the results that mean you look great but you are also destroying everything in the process.

If you want ultimate authority over many people then you claim it was given to you by god. That way, if you run the religion, you also run the entire system of authority. In the UK pretty much everything is owned by the monarch [legally] because god says so. The ultimate authority is deferred to god via the queen because you can’t get a higher authority than the imaginary god. God is the ultimate scapegoat and giver of power. Look at the pope. Put there by a human voting system but is god’s representative on earth because “god”. It’s brilliant. It’s also terrible. If you have to claim authority by referring to some divine right or prophecy then you suck and should try fucking off. Which god? Whose god? Not mine. I don’t recognise your authority. Oh, by the way, I write this just after Cardinal Pell’s conviction was quashed by the Australian Supreme Court through “lack of evidence”. Fuck the pope and the catholic church – evil cabal of child rapists.

Top Down

If you want to claim authority over people you either do it through talent and skills or you claim intangible things which apparently give you provenance. So, you can claim that god speaks to you and only you and everyone needs to do as they are told. You can claim the authority through birthright [whatever the fuck that is in reality] or you can just shout louder than everyone else. We have this sense in our society that if you are born from the correct vagina and parentage that you are therefore more qualified than someone else to take the power. This is rather strange. It doesn’t follow. There have been so many family dynasties it would be impossible to list them here. But let’s look at one in particular.

The queen is the top person in our country. Why? Because she was born to it. She’s lived her life in “service” to the country and commonwealth. Why? Because she was born to the right father and mother [even that’s not needed as illegitimate people have power too if they grow up in the right environment]. But she’s been brilliant? Has she? How do we know that? How do we rate that? Isn’t against her human rights to be placed in this position before she entered this world screaming? The queen’s authority lies in her birth and the fact this in this constitutional theocratic monarchy god happens to have said so. She’s the leader of the state religion. What?

Most stories you heard as a child reinforce this idea of family being your station in society. You are successful and deserve respect if you come from the correct family. You are in servitude to those people if you are born elsewhere. Firstly, there’s god and his zombie son Jesus. The provenance comes from the seed of the father. The right to lead and to have the power comes from who your father is. The queen is who she is because of her father. We have hereditary Lords in this country for fuck’s sake. They are called Lord. The title passes on through birth. We fascinate over who our ancestors were. We have TV programmes about who you think you are where you can claim legitimacy from the history of your family. People seek out that link between them and long dead people of power because our society is so bought into this idea that who fucked who years ago is really important.

There are stories about adopted children really being from a dead family of aristocrats. There are stories of knights marrying princesses. There are stories of kings and queens and those with power having gained that through being accidentally born to the correct family. Why do you think the bible spends ages proving the ancestry of Jesus? He’s descended from David. Who was descended from . . . . I don’t actually know or give a shit, probably Abraham? Legitimacy comes from your parents, wrongfully. All of our culture is given over to being submissive to the wrong people based on DNA.

Stories

This was my original thought while having a run yesterday. I pondered the film series Star Wars. Now, I used to be a big Star Wars fan but managed to let go a few years after being upset at the prequel trilogy. But let’s look at the important parts:

  • Darth Vader – evil doer until a last minute recant – virgin birth. That’s the great thing about christianity, you can be as evil as you want as long as you seek forgiveness just before you die and accept jesus as the saviour. Having him divinely concepted was a stroke of genius
  • Royal Family – Leia was a princess born to a queen. Legitimacy from her mother.
  • Inherited – Luke gets his powers from his father. Has the right to be a leader through his birthright. Gets discovered and his “true” destiny is revealed. By the way, FUCK DESTINY.
  • Kylo Ren – gets his powers from his mother. He’s a royal. It’s his birthright.
  • Afterlife – if you are good enough you get to live forever as a ghost?
  • Rey – powers from her father/grandfather I can’t remember. Taken away from her family and finds the truth of her “birthright”.

Power is inherited through the family system. You can look at too many films and see this story played out again and again. All of this reinforces how society thinks. It shapes how we behave. How many films have you seen where the son or daughter claims their “birthright” and becomes the leader or manager? How often is this scenario played out in kids’ stories? How often do you reinforce this? Why? Try and think a little more about the things you see and read. Question how much of it is there to maintain the “structure” of society. Question those who defend the “systems”.

Think about why the following statements are required be be written down and whether you think they are true for your life?

Article 1 – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2 – Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

etc.

If you read more on this you’ll start to see how everything works against you. Our current society doesn’t do the best for everyone. It exists to serve those who are born to the power. So, I am now officially one of those weirdo people who I was concerned about when I was younger. The type of person who thinks of society and sees a massive problem with the reinforcement of its structure. Time for a beer I think.

I’m Calling This One Now

[I found this draft from December 2016! So I thought it was the time to get this one published properly. There are a few other drafts on my site and maybe I’ll get them released over the next few weeks.]

Bullshit.

That’s clearly what this is. But I owe more of an explanation to you all.

Here are my thoughts:

The first 30 seconds were pretty good. I didn’t really hear anything wrong in there. All those words and meanings were correct.

“In addition, medicine often fails badly in resolving chronic conditions . . . . “, notice how they don’t say “cure”, notice how all those conditions are remarkably complex and there aren’t any single solutions to them. Also, cancer isn’t one disease, it’s thousands. These are the sorts of problems many people will live with and have to learn to manage those issues.

“Now, patients and practitioners in the UK are turning more and more to a complementary therapy . . ” firstly, numbers please. I don’t think that is the case. But they are selling things here so they will use persuasive language. “Complementary” also means DOESN’T WORK. Things that work in medicine are called MEDICINE and not any other bullshit.

“Safe and gentle solution . . . “, because they legally aren’t allowed to say CURE. When complementary therapists say “safe” and “free from side-effects” they also mean free from “effects”. Everything that you do or take has side-effects on your body. We all love paracetamol and ibuprofen but too much and you’ll fuck yourself over. Even the boring drugs have side-effects. Everything has side-effects. Want to know what doesn’t have side-effects? Something that does nothing.

“Widely used for over 50 years in Germany . . . ” is an appeal to authority and history. It doesn’t mean it works. Do you know what, if this German invention worked don’t you think they would be exporting it all over the world?

Look at the people in white lab coats trying to add authority to the video. Ha ha.

“Bioresonance” it might be a real thing but it is sciency sounding and so can’t possibly be made up. It’s exactly why all the Star Trek technical language really means things.

“Quantum physics and biophysics”, AMAZING! I hadn’t watch this video for four years and they’ve gone full Quantum. Don’t you just love it when this happens. Can’t wait to see what they say.

All cells and pathogens radiate electromagnetic waves in particular frequencies. Wow. I’m not sure they do. Sure, we can read brain waves because there is definitely electrical activity in the brain but I don’t think that’s true for all cells. Most cells communicate on a chemical level and so they can’t radiate EM waves or if they do the power output is so small that it’s far lower than any form of background EM and so unreadable. If we did radiate EM then we’d interfere with all the electrical devices in our houses. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen. They’ve been clever here because they are mixing stuff they hope people won’t understand to sound plausible. But it’s bullshit.

Bioresonance can figure out which frequencies belong to pathogens and bad things and neutralise them. How? Doesn’t say. What about “good” bacteria?

“55 countries worldwide . . . ” appeal to popularity.

“report remarkable improvements in their health and well being . . . ” self-reported outcomes are the worst. What about science trials? “Well being” doesn’t mean anything legally, it’s not defined in any particular way. You can say it and not get sued because it doesn’t mean a thing.

“non invasive, drug free, no known side effects . . . ” means it’s DOESN’T work. But it sounds nice doesn’t it. If you are desperate and you think the doctors are letting you down and someone has a, not-cure, a solution then you might be willing to spend your money.

“Safe for babies and vulnerable . . ” because it doesn’t work that’s why.

“Used in China . . . .” appeal to popularity and history etc. The whole Chinese alternative medicine thing is terrible. It stems from after the second world war when the government wrote a pamphlet for doctors which had things at the front that would work – drugs – and because of shortages it also listed things that wouldn’t work but would give the impression that doctors knew what they were doing – Chinese alternative medicine. It’s all based on lies.

“Increasingly popular with vets and equine specialists . . .” because selling just to people won’t make enough money.

Ann’s testimonial isn’t worth shit. Testimonials are the worst form of evidence. The plural of anecdotes isn’t evidence it’s just anecdotes. So I actually didn’t listen to anything she had to say. It’s not worth it.

And there we have it. Bulshit. So I headed over to their website to see what is going on. There is so much there I am going to have to save it for another day. I hope it doesn’t take me four years to get around to writing about it! Let’s see what happens.

BAH!

Yesterday I went to Imperial College to see two talk / roadshow things. The first was the Ig Nobel roadshow which lasted about two hours and had talks from the chap who runs the Ig Nobel awards and also from four scientists who had won the prize. The Ig Nobels are awarded for science that:

makes you laugh, then makes you think

It was a lovely couple of hours hearing about the endeavours of scientists from around the world trying to make the world a better place.

Ig Nobel Roadshow
Ig Nobel Roadshow

I laughed and smirked and reveled in the atmosphere of nerdery and geekiness. You can watch it below:

After an intermission of a couple of hours there was the London round of BAHFest. The Bad Ad-hoc Hypothesis Festival. I went last year and enjoyed it immensely. I really liked it again this time around. The ideas were delightful and thoroughly entertaining. Watch it now:

Hopefully my calendar will allow me to go next year. Such a delightful event.

He Said What?

Over the weekend I went to a chapel communion service and I did this voluntarily. I was away at the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre and while there one of the members of staff was going to deliver the chapel service. I went to the chapel service to support her and be a part of her experience. There is also the very slight possibility that one of these services might persuade me a little to partake in religion. It’s not happened yet and perhaps I secretly want this. I am, very slightly, jealous of those who have such faith, such comforting thoughts about the world.

As it turned out my friend couldn’t deliver the service because there are rules about who can touch certain parts of church paraphernalia and I guess you have to be a certain rank within the church before you are allowed to commit certain acts. I find it all rather confusing and very amusing. I think that every church has these man-made rules to govern who can do what within their made up system of belief. Everyone seems to take this very seriously.

I was once at Amport House and someone mentioned that although gay priests are allowed your vicar licence has to be approved by the local bishop and if that bishop is homophobic then you lose your licence to priest if you come out to the church. That seems utterly ridiculous that your ability to church is dependent on what your human boss thinks. But then again, the idea that a committee of humans can overturn the common ideals of a religion within a committee and change a religion’s view on a particular issue amuses me greatly.

The sermon on Sunday was interesting. The padre [I honestly don’t understand the terms for vicar/priest etc] spoke about Valentine’s Day and the love that we receive from partners on that day. He then linked this into the love that Jesus gave to us and also the love that God gives us. There was general chatter about two holy men who gave their lives for strangers. One of them was at Auschwitz and he sacrificed his life for another man. The other man went on to live to an old age and had many children. The other priest was a man who got entangled in another soldiers parachute on D-Day. The priest cut himself free to fall to his death and the other soldier went on to do his job. These stories were interesting and not ones I had heard before. While they showed a love for the stranger I do think they missed the point that they occurred within a time when there was great evil on the Earth and millions were dying in concentration camps and in battle. But religious people gloss over the problem of evil.

Within the sermon the padre talked about a passage from John. He mentioned words that Jesus said:

[side point: Jesus didn’t say these things. This was written about thirty years after Jesus died. Go back and think about any conversation, important or not, from thirty years ago and try to be convinced about how accurate you are. It amuses me just how much study is made from the EXACT words in the bible when it’s all translations and copying errors]

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Hey, it’s only my way or no way. You must do as I say or you won’t get to heaven. Do as I say you muthafuckers because I will damn you if you don’t follow my exact words.

“But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

This part was read out and the message was meant to be that if you love Jesus you will get to heaven. My problem is the bit IN THEIR OWN BOOK which clearly shows signs of an abusive relationship. This part wasn’t talked about in the sermon and it’s interesting the bits of their own book they are willing to gloss over. You see that little bit in there which is along the lines of:

Follow my rules or else. Follow my rules and I will love you. Don’t follow my rules and you are damned to everlasting hell.

Do as I say or you will be burnt and suffer in indescribable pain forever. This section of the reading was glossed over in the sermon but it screamed in my head and really bothered me. If christians take this book so seriously and believe it is the word of god then why don’t they see these parts. The parts that require complete submission or else. They don’t see them because they are either glossed over or they think it is a good thing. That passage has really bothered me for a few days now.

Follow my rules or get fucked.

It’s not like following the laws of the road or those at work. This is referring to eternal damnation and the only path to heaven is through following the rules of Jesus. Well, screw that. This book has been used to justify hatred and murder for the last two thousand years and probably will be used for another millennia. I do hope that one day we grow out of following a book written by men about two thousand years ago which is demonstrably wrong about so much.

You don’t need Jesus to understand that being nice to people is the best way to go. You don’t need Jesus to believe that treating people as you would wish to be treated is a good maxim for life. These things are self evident and don’t require a god or his naughty boy. It’s easy to use the principle of BE NICE to inform all your choices and decisions. If only more people realised you don’t need god [or the threat of hell] to be good.

Ordination

On a bit of a whim I decided to get ordained in the Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster. I think this will allow to undertake certain duties within the Church. I really do feel as though I have been touched by His noodly appendage.

FSM
FSM

I’m looking forward to undertaking my new duties as part of this Church. I’ve owned a copy of the Gospel for a long time.

I’ve had a FSM on my car for a while because those stupid fish really annoy me. I’m not sure how many people understand the concept of the Church but maybe they should. I’m always amused when people say “but that’s not a real religion” and my response is “what’s a real religion and how do you know?”.

I haven’t yet decided to go full Pastafarian but I might. I probably need to ask someone to get me a metal colander as a gift though.

Glorious Colours

Here are a couple of photographs taken of the glorious colours in the morning skies above Kent.

Not The End Of The World
Not The End Of The World

I know they are sunrise because both of these photos have the camera facing to the East.

Orange Glow
Orange Glow

The weather for the last few weeks has not been usual. We are in the middle of October and I’ve only had the heating on for two days and that was me being luxurious.

Human Cost

A while back I looked at a BBC News page about the Great Wall Of China. Actually it’s not a news item, it’s more a magazine piece with no bearing on the current world. You tend to see lots of those these days. Anyway back to the point. In our current civilisation we have all these marvellous cultural treasures dotted around the world:

  • Great Wall Of China
  • Egyptian Pyramids
  • Stonehenge [great?]
  • Colosseum
  • Taj Mahal
  • Chichen Itza

We, as a modern “sophisticated” tribe, look at these buildings in wonder and awe. We think they are entirely fascinating. But I suggest a change to this. Most ancient economies and quite a few modern economies and powerful nations were built on slavery. They were built on possession of humans and treating humans like shit.

These buildings and modern economies should have some sort of statistic applied to them to reflect the pain and cost of human misery that went into their creation.

The Great Wall Of China

20% of the country’s population was forced to build it. Many people died during its construction, due to the heavy work, a short time deadline and difficult conditions

The first result on the web doesn’t even mention numbers. The next result:

While the great wall was in construction over 1 million people died in the making of the wall

There seems to be a great number of results in a search that also use the “more than 1 million” people died making the Great Wall. Some sites don’t mention slaves some do. Some sites mention “population forced to  . . . .”, well that sounds like slavery to me. Add into all this the human misery associated with such a large scale project and relocation and the Wall seems an awful lot less glamorous and even fucking ugly. Perhaps it should be renamed the Great Wall Of Death.

Egyptian Pyramids

I have read through a number of pages and I can only find reference to 10,000 workers who may or may not have been slaves. Whether there were deaths or how many there were due to construction is unknown. Records weren’t kept. I suspect that industrial working practices weren’t that great so deaths would probably have been common. We should rename them The Great Pyramids Of Oppression.

Stonehenge

This monument was honestly included as a giggle. Although impressive it’s not as impressive as the others in terms of age, size and deaths. This is another artefact for which deaths in production can’t easily be counted. These are to be renamed the Stones Of Speculation.

Colosseum

According to this site

An estimated 100,000 prisoners were bought back to Rome as slaves after the Jewish War. Vespasian had a limitless work force. In the building of the Colosseum the slaves undertook the manual labor such as working in the quarries at Tivoli where the travertine was quarried.

There are no references to numbers of deaths or the emotional cost and general distress to the workers. Obviously the Colosseum is now considered a magnificent monument to the Roman Empire but the human cost in creating this probably doesn’t justify the rapture we hold it in now. Let’s rename this building the Arena Of Death.

Taj Mahal

That wondrous white stone mausoleum in India was built within written historic times and there is plenty known about its construction. But there’s not a lot on the Wikipedia page about how many workers there were and how many died. There’s a single answer on Yahoo which states 22,000 people worked on the building and thousands perished. This sounds within the levels of plausibility. We could legitimately rename this one Monument To Sadness.

Chichen Itza

This city in Central America has many buildings and is impressive and a symbol that should ruin the natural superiority that the Europeans believe they have. I can’t find any details on people dying while it was in production or who built it, but apparently it was unlikely to be slaves. The city was used by the europeans to collect slaves though. This place should be known as External Factors Will Kill Your Empire.

These great endeavours of human achievement probably wouldn’t have existed if those in charge at the time had given a shit about the welfare of the workers. It’s pretty similar to these days where the little person has so much to overcome in the face of the repression of their rights.

So people fully understand the place these monuments have in our society they should all be forced to have numbers after their names showing the human cost. These numbers should be placed after everything so we cna get a true measure of what our society does.

It’s No Collapse

“Oh it all falls apart when it snows”

“An inch of snow and Britain can’t cope”.

Bullshit.

Firstly: We’ve had plenty of warning that there was going to be snow. It wasn’t a surprise.

Secondly: People should have been prepared for the roads to become bad and for transport to be cancelled. BECAUSE WE HAD WARNING.

But, why doesn’t anything work when it snows?

Because you don’t spend LOADS of money on services that are going to sit idle for 360/365 days of the year. If you want everything to work “just fine” when there’s a lot of snow then bloody well pay for it. It will cost a lot of money. It just doesn’t make economical sense.

Hopefully, many services have plans for getting through the snow. Hospitals and emergency services are important and I somewhat suspect that they HAVE plans. Being forewarned about the snow means those plans can be enacted.

Simple really.

What Use?

This communication replaces a page I did have on this site a while back.

 

Mathematics is used for everything!

Mathematics is used everywhere from telling us whether a drug’s effects are significant to calculating routes in satellite navigation devices. It also exists in the abstract, within the human mind and without practical use.

When will I use this mathematics I am learning?

In some ways if you feel the need to ask this question then you probably won’t. Arithmetic and basic number work will suffice for you.

However, we learn these things because they expand our understanding of the universe, because mathematics is a challenge and because we should learn for learning’s sake not because we are expected to. We learn for ourselves.

If you plan on becoming a scientist or engineer or similar then mathematics will be the language of your every minute’s work.

If you want more detailed examples and discussion about why there is mathematics then click here.