Space Interpreting
respect the architect

Couldn't let that post go by without posting this

Conan O'Brian's just back from Finland, so in the interests of furthering the cultural exchange and obliterating trans-Atlantic misunderstandings we take up the baton, and present here a few of our favorite Finns. Paska is Finland's Poet Laureate, a semi-pro skeet shooter, and a three-time winner of the Pontus Jantti Prize for Excellence in Cold Weather. He's also an accomplished accapellist, and these recordings, culled from his sophmore debut, Women are from Venus, Men From Anus," capture him in especially fine fettle.

Over at MW's Astoria Bureau, the Finns are known for three things: Cell phones, death metal, and Circle, which combines the best attributes of both. But here in Manhattan, where we while away the wage-slave hours, we're more likely to listen to Circle-spin-off Lee Miller - whose guitarist, Jordan Mamone, we happen to share an office with. Jordan, who lives in the East Village, commutes to Pori, on Finland's west coast, to record. Songs like "Mary Pentagram" (which Jordan just called "our dumb metal song") and "Unwelcome Words" (which Jordan just laughed when I asked him if he had anything to say, then said he wrote that riff when he was "like, 15 years old") often result. Here, too, is a review of their 2005 release "The Futility of Language," translated back and forth from English to Russian a few times (nice one, Babelfish!)

The fact that science is open to questioning, revision and constant review and is subject to scientific process and proofing is what places it on a higher tier as far as “belief” systems go than religion. A scientist may pull a hypothesis out of their derrier, but it won’t make it to the level of scientific theory unless there’s *something* backing that hypothesis up. I think correcting a lack of education about the differences between a general “theory” and a scientific theory would go a long way towards invalidating claims such as both requiring “leaps of faith”.

Although, to be honest…I don’t equate atheism with an arbitrary worship and belief in all things scientific, either. All atheism means is that you don’t believe in a supernatural deity. That’s it.

Refusing to believe in a specific nothing is still hard to rally a movement around. Someone compared atheists to gays, but being attracted to the same sex reflects a presence, not an absence. Being atheist is akin to being asexual — no one writes erotica for them, they have no singles bars, no movie plots turn on the absence of sexual interest, etc.

On another point, while it’s true that today’s believers don’t believe in immortality, etc. with the fervor of earlier centuries, that is generally a good thing. With the belief that the one true faith was the only way to salvation came the burning of heretics: While a murderer could only end your life, a heretic could end your eternal life by swerving you from the one true faith, and so was even more worthy of capital punishment than the murderer. While not specifically preaching heresy, Dawkins’ public profession of unbelief would surely have put him on a pyre by now.

A friend of mine noticed that an “out” evangelical Christian posted a sign saying “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” in the breakroom at his office. He made up one that said “Solstice is the reason for the season” complete with a pretty picture of the solar system and put it up right beside the first one.

The Christian guy complained. Management took down the solstice sign because it was “inflammatory” and “attacking Christians/Christmas”. My friend explained that his sign simply stated an astronomical fact: the position of the earth at the winter solstice is what causes the season of “winter”. What could possibly be “inflammatory” about a simple fact of nature that every single child learns in school before the age of 10?

No dice. The solstice sign had to stay down. My friend managed to argue that by those same rules, the Jesus sign had to come down, too–and the Christian bitched and moaned about how persecuted he was and how hard it was to be a Christian. (It’s important to note that if the Christian guy had not complained in the first place, both signs would have stayed up.)

I think this is a great metaphor for the whole situation

Christians (or any other dominant religion, I guess) must be agreed with and given deference in all situations at all times or they are being “attacked” and “persecuted”. To many of these people, if any other point of view appears onto their radar screen, it’s an attack.

They can’t actually see any reason for anyone to hold a different point of view other than to piss off Christians. Cause everything is about them.