Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Paley Watchmaker

Are you tired of people like us always trying to throw cold water on Darwinian explanations of the origin of life? Are you weary of anti-Darwinians always quoting British astronomer and atheist Fred Hoyle as acknowledging that the chances of blind, mechanical forces producing a living cell are about the same as a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and leaving in its wake a fully assembled, fully functional 747 jet airplane? Do you warm to anti-theistic philosopher Daniel Dennett's description of those who accept the Darwinian paradigm and reject theism as "Brites"?

If so, then this site, called The BRITES (Biological Research Institute for Theoretical Evolutionary Studies), is for you.

If you visit you might note that the Brites have come up with a machine that simulates the origin of life through purely natural processes and it should shut up for good those, like us, who doubt that unguided physical mechanisms could have ever produced a living cell.

Here's a picture of their machine:

You just add the parts of the watch, shake vigorously, and, after enough time has passed for the laws of nature to work their magic, a watch is assembled and ticking. It's scientific.


What a Guy

This is a voice mail of actor Alec Baldwin talking to his eleven year old daughter on the phone. This is the same Alec Baldwin who once suggested on Conan O'Brien's show that the audience ought all go down to Washington, find conservative congressman Henry Hyde and stone him to death, him and his whole family (Go here and scroll down to watch his rant and the audience's howls of approval).

Alec Baldwin has often expressed his contempt for George Bush. Sometimes the quality of a man is measured by the kind of people who hate him. If so, I'm sure George Bush would prefer to be hated by Alec Baldwin than liked by him.

Listen to what he says to his child and ask yourself who the real pig is.


Who's the Sickest?

Here's more anecdotal evidence that we in the West are losing our humanity just as the throngs of people laughing and hooting for blood in the Roman Coliseum lost their's. If you read this put yourself in the position of a family member of, say, Daniel Pearl or any of the other victims of terrorist barbarism, and ask how it makes you feel that this guy thinks it's a joke:

One of Britain's best known authors has been shortlisted for a national writing prize for a story that takes a blackly comic approach to the execution of hostages in Iraq.

Weddings and Beheadings by Hanif Kureishi - writer of My Beautiful Laundrette and The Buddha of Suburbia - tells the story of a jobbing cameraman in Baghdad who films executions to earn a living and jokes about it as a way to cope.

The author had the idea for the work, shortlisted for the National Short Story Prize, after seeing grainy video footage on the television news of the scenes leading up to beheadings. This led to him imagining the life of the man behind the camera.

"The idea started with a joke," said Kureishi, 52. "I thought, what if you were a cameraman, having to do these kind of jobs and you had a business card that said 'Weddings and Beheadings'? I thought it was hilarious and told my children about it, but they just stared at me blankly."

He added: "Seeing the footage, I started to think what about that wobbly camera - what is the story of that bloke trembling behind the camera? You're only going to get one take, you know, would be the line."

Kureishi denied his story was disrespectful to victims and their families. "Very black comedy can be a way to look at these things," he said. "We have to have some way of looking at awful things in the world."

The winner of the short story prize, which is worth �15,000, will be announced on April 23. "You can't write anything these days without getting a prize," quipped Kureishi. "Can you imagine, �15,000 for a short story? They're usually published for �75 or �200."

The characters develop black humour partly as a way to cope with the horror of their work. In one scene, the cameraman jokes to a friend: "Don't bury your head in the sand, my friend. Don't go losing your head now, chin up".

It's hard to decide who's the sickest in this story - the savages who perpetrate these crimes, Kureishi for trying to make someone's horrible murder into a comedy, or the people who award prizes for this kind of depravity.

HT: Michelle Malkin