Friday, May 16, 2014

Have a drink of Soylent ... it's better than Wabbott juice ...

The pond was curiously comforted by a recent story in The New Yorker, The End of Food (outside the paywall at the moment).

Not the invention, flogging and consumption of a chemical concoction called Soylent - they'll have to rip that lamb chop out of the pond's cold, dead hands.

No, it was this bit about entrepreneur, inventor and fallen libertarian Rob Rhinehart that made it suitable for a Sunday meditation:

The Silicon Valley disrupter pose can seem contrived, but Rhinehart comes by it honestly: before he could blow up diet dogma, he had to shake off organized religion. He grew up in suburban Atlanta, with four older sisters. His father was a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch, and his mother stayed at home. His parents are both devout Christians, and, until he was eighteen, Rhinehart was, too. The trouble started in science class, at his small high school, Whitefield Academy. Rhinehart, who built computers in his spare time, had grown interested in astrophysics. Like everything at his school, science was taught according to creationist principles, which hold that the world is less than ten thousand years old. Rhinehart decided to write his senior thesis proving creationism from a scientific point of view. He began delving into Dawkins and Hitchens, and searching the Internet; he thought that he’d write, “‘I’ve been through this quest and found all this evidence for Christianity and now I don’t doubt anymore.’ But the opposite happened.” His paper, titled “Bad Religion,” was about “why I was no longer a Christian, why I no longer believed in God.” He got an F on it. And he was “ostracized” from the community, he says. His parents now accept that he holds different views. “They compartmentalize,” Rhinehart said.

There it is in a nutshell. Give an intelligent person a decent set of insights, and they'll come to the right conclusion.

Which brings us to the federal government, and yet another of Abbott's follies:

You can read that story at The Graudian, here, and it shows the thicket of illogicalities and stupidities into which the Abbott government has descended.

First of all, they off load all the funding of education and health to the states, explaining it's a dire crisis, then they turn around and fling another $245 million - a cool $245 million, almost a cool quarter billion in American terms - at sending god botherers into schools to hustle students.

So what is the answer to Angelo Gavrielatos' question: 'Where does the constitution say that the federal government is responsible for school chaplains?'

The pond has to think the answer lies somewhere in Tony Abbott's fundament.

Well we all know where this is heading, because then came the inevitable corollary, Chaplaincy Program to fund groups with links to Homophobia.

ACCESS Ministries is one of the providers of chaplains in Victoria, providing approximately 330 schools with Special Religious Instructors, and came under scrutiny in February when it was revealed one of their educators was distributing homophobic materials. 
Students at Torquay College were handed brochures that instructed children to seek counselling if they had homosexual feelings. The Victorian Education Department then conducted an investigation into the incident after stating the action was “inappropriate and offensive”. 
A spokesperson from the Victorian Education Department told MCV, “the investigation has now been completed and we are in the process of gaining a right of reply from Access Ministries”. 
Acting CEO of ACCESS Ministries, Dawn Penney, said the organisation represents 12 mainstream Churches which all hold their own views on the matter of homosexuality. “The ACCESS ministries CRE (Christian Religious Education) program and materials do not stray into areas of sexuality, none of our approved material mentions this subject” she told MCV. 
Former Victorian State Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, Rob Ward, is now the General Manager of Development and Communications at ACCESS Ministries, and has campaigned against same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption. 
In 2011 in response to the launch of the “Fair go, sport!” program, a program aimed at increasing awareness of sexual and gender diversity in sport, Ward said: “The suggestion that the aim is to have the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian and transgender sportspeople…so public that it’s normal, so people don’t think about it is very troubling.” 
Darren McMahon is the Director and Presenter of Your Dream Incorporated in Sydney and runs chaplaincy programs through NSW, and has significant ties to Hillsong Church. 
Hillsong Church has had a controversial history with the gay community regarding their involvement with the now dismantled Mercy Ministries and the recently abolished Living Waters Australia, which ran ex-gay and conversion camps. 
McMahon graduated from the Hillsong International Leadership College in 1993, and has been an avid “friend” of the Church ever since.

And so on and so forth.

It's a neat two step - fund the chaplains, then let the states do the dance of dealing with the god botherers as they step into deep, bigoted, homophobic waters.

Christine Milne was one of the few federal politicians to make a point of it:

Worse still, this Government has become medieval in their attack on science and research and evidence based policy to the extent that CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and its environmental science programs have lost $142 million, but compare this with funding but $250 million has been directed to the school chaplaincy programme with the added restriction of requiring it to be delivered by a religious provider with no option for secular welfare providers. 
Our natural environment will suffer a vicious assault as environmental powers are to be transferred from the Commonwealth to the states, or even local government or anyone for that matter. Decades of environmental protection and the legal work of environmental defenders offices has been trashed. (here)

So why does the pond feel so almost unnaturally cheerful?

Well each time the fundamentalists make another thrust - the Kevin Andrews and Tony Abbotts of the world at work - the more they reveal themselves to be in the grip of a medieval, homophobic mindset.

But the genie's out of the bottle, the news isn't going away. In fact occasionally the pond subscribes to the theory that the best way to ensure there's a healthy new crop of atheists is to give students a decent Christian education - preferably in a school where there's much blather about the meek inheriting the earth while the school bully inherits the pocket money, and the boxing bully gets to ruin Australia.

The pond is reminded of how Apple shot itself in the foot by intriguing to get itself nominated as the preferred supplier of computers in schools. The pond's spawn, associating Apple with school, developed a fierce loathing of Apple products, maintained long into later life, and only recently has begun to allow the odd Apple product to lurk near the latrine (oh yes, it's Android and Linux and all the rest as the incompetence of Microsoft became too much for anyone to bear).

At the very same time, the pond, through too much exposure, has developed a profound hostility to Apple products - Safari? You have to be joking. Install an Apple automatic update and watch your entire computer crash and be forced to reload week old data from Time Machine? Well the pond tried to joke but it was a lame one.

Suffer the enormous stupidity of the closed shop of Apple TV when you can find any old TV these days willing to play an MKV file? And so on, an accumulation of anger and rage that has to include the Cube and the Macintosh IIsi ...

But we've drifted from religion into other faiths.

The point of course is that you can lead children to the water, but what happens if they stubbornly insist on drinking Soylent?

Well might the Prime Minister believe in transubstantiation, but if he thinks he can persuade young people to believe in the tomfoolery of Catholic cannibalism, he'll need a lot more than a quarter billion ...

This government and its leader is so dumb that they think that they can run around doing a Chicken Little explaining there's a huge budget crisis, a profound emergency which requires the slashing and burning of the education budget, and then spring for a cool quarter billion - in American terms - to fund extra god botherers to harass innocent students just wanting a gulp of Soylent rather than wafer flesh and wine blood ...

It'll produce a blow back and an on going version of the culture wars.

It might be a slow burn, but burn it will, and it will be yet another reason why Abbott is bidding fair to be a one term prime minister ...

(Below: the Jesuits publishing dissent yet again, and below that, a golden oldie which it seems - based on Abbott's actions - will never get stale).


  1. Could be about this stage the Tories pull their heads out and discover they are up shit creek in the barbed-wire canoe. Maybe we'll hear a bit of "Oh, look, we were only kidding, Chris Pyne is really a very nice chap, JBishop has a trendy new spray-free hairdo, we are all in this together, please put a hand to the paddle. Please!" from the bloggers. Would we, DP, be so uncharitable as to reply "Stiff cheddar, comrades. Your baby. You rode Abbott into power. Suck it up. Anyway, what paddle?"

  2. Google is celebrating the 296th birthday of Maria Agnesi, celebrated mathematician, and like Ada Lovelace, much forgotten.

    Let's hear it for the sistas!

    1. Well IBM did name a programming language after Ada - ADA; at least a step up after their previous effort with APL (Another Programming Language).

    2. US Episcopalians will celebrate their Kepler and Copernicus combined feast day May 23rd.

      Gotta hand it to 'em... science, Spong, gay clergy, women clergy, etc.

  3. Replies
    1. Actually GlenH in the original story it was soy and lentils and as usual it was the movie that couldn't resist upping the stakes, and before you know it the pond is sitting down to watch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and thoughts of ending it all before the movie ended came flooding into the frontal lobe ...


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