Monday, August 29, 2005

Just Plain Unintelligent

Came across another line of argument against "intelligent design" recently:

If the existence of complicated organs and organisms necessarily implies a designer, then the existence of such a designer must imply another designer, which must imply yet another designer, and so on. If there exists one ultimate designer in that chain who wasn't designed, then either the organisms on earth could've similarly be undesigned, or you accept that an organism that is simple enough not to require design to exist is somehow able to design intelligently.

This also means that you cannot believe in the infinitely complex Christian God if you believe in intelligent design, because somebody else must have created Him.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Take Out?

Pat Robertson is so lame. He's the kind of hypocrite not generally worth talking about, but this one is just delicious.

On Monday, he said in his program, "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war." Anybody who understands English grammar will know that both instances of "it" refer to assassination.

He later feebly clarified, "I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him." Never mind that kidnapping a head of state is a great deal harder and more dangerous than just killing him.

But let's see what Pulp Fiction has to say:

VINCENT: Well, Marsellus is leavin' for Florida and when he's gone, he wants me to take care of Mia.

JULES: Take care of her? (Making a gun out of his finger and placing it to his head.)

VINCENT: Not that! Take her out. Show her a good time. Don't let her get lonely.

which is proof that even gangsters don't always mean it that way. Certainly a deeply moral man such as Robertson must be granted benefit of the doubt.

Today he finally wrote "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement." Perhaps he should also apologize to the AP, which he accused of misinterpreting him.

But that's not the end of the "apology". He then cites the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who collaborated in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. As he says, Bonhoeffer is "deserving of our respect and consideration," but the difference between Robertson and Bonhoeffer is that the latter didn't apologize for wanting Hitler dead. Either way, it doesn't sound like he's all that sorry.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Media in the News

Nightline recently did a story on Shamil Basayev, widely considered a terrorist for masterminding the Beslan school massacre. The program came under intense pressure, including an official ban from the Russian government, for airing the interviews. I find it curious that a media outlet that finds the courage to suspend judgement amidst constant accusations of bias still faces criticism. Be careful what you wish for, folks, if it is for the media to self-censor based on what it considers moral or immoral. If Fox News can trumpet its "we report, you decide", why shouldn't Nightline just report?

Another blow was the loss of Peter Jennings to lung cancer yesterday. His contributions will never be fully measurable, but one thing I remember was his calming influence in the wake of September 11, 2001, when government seemed to be in confusion and disarray. A distraught nation saw that at least one person rolled up his sleeves and got right back to work, despite it all.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Enabled by Photoshop

Just saw that a welfare organization based in Taipei has completed the training of several disabled persons in removing the background portion of images using Photoshop. Background removal is often a tedious but necessary step in further image processing. The graduates - each with about a year's experience - are now offering their services for about US$2.50 or US$3.00 per image, depending on the complexity of the job.

Unfortunately, it's not very easy right now to pay from outside Taiwan, and they are not a business yet so they cannot issue a proper receipt. But this idea is strikingly innovative, and I hope they iron out the kinks and do well.