Monday, July 21, 2014

Why the Intelligent Design Argument Doesn't Work

The Intelligent Design Argument, which I still see with discouraging regularity on the internet, is the same as Paley's watch argument.

Basically the argument goes that when you see a watch, or a car, or an airplane or any other complex construct, you know immediately that it is designed and didn't come into existence through natural processes without human intervention.

Therefore, given that life is infinitely more complex than a watch or a car or an airplane, then it must also have a designer who is much more intelligent and powerful than a man.

Here's the problem. When you first see a watch or car or airplane you actually know nothing about it. But you do know about thousands upon thousands upon thousands of other similar objects. You know how they were designed and built. Therefore it is reasonable to infer that this watch or car or airplane was designed and built in a similar fashion.

You can't make the same sort of inference with the Earth's biosphere because this is the only biosphere that we know about. We can't infer anything about this biosphere from our knowledge about other biospheres because we don't know of any other biospheres.

So, why can't we use our knowledge of the design of inanimate objects to infer design of the biosphere?

You can't do that because inanimate objects don't biologically reproduce. You can't get a little car by putting together two big cars. It ain't going to happen. You are literally comparing two classes of object that have absolutely no similarity.

Therefore any sort of inference about the Earth's biosphere based upon inanimate objects is totally meaningless.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gay Marriage Ban Overturned in Florida Keys

A circuit court judge in Monroe County Florida, which consists of primarily the Florida Keys, has ruled that the Florida ban violates the 14th Amendment. The ruling only applies to Monroe County and will undoubtedly be appealed.

The sole anti-gay marriage argument appears to have been that the results of a referendum in 2008, which outlawed Gay Marriage and Domestic Partnerships by a 62%-38% margin.

Judge Luis M. Garcia reject the argument saying "The court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country's proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority."

The point is simple. Rights guaranteed under the Constitution are not subject to popular vote. If Gay Marriage is protected by the Constitution, then any and all referendums are irrelevant.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The World Cup - Final

In the 113th minute a goal that was a thing of sheer beauty by Marion Gotze wrapped it up for Germany over Argentina 1-0.

I think the best team won and at least the hosts can take solace in the fact that it wasn't Argentina walking off with the gold.

Third Place Game
Brazil v. Netherlands

Germany v. Argentina

The win by the Germany brings me to 15-1 for the elimination rounds and 27-5 overall. I'm going to quit while I'm ahead. Oh yeah, that's right, there ain't no more.

So that's all she wrote. It's over for four years until the next tournament in Russia. I can't wait but I'm not doing any more picks. I'm going to leave that up to the drunken chimps.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The World Cup - 3rd Place Game

When it rains it pours. The tournament continues to be a disappointment for the host as they lose the third place game to the Netherlands 3-0.

This is one of those things you just have to throw away and move on. I'm sure Brazil will be back. Two years from now we'll have the Olympics in Brazil as well and there will the opportunity to rebound.

Third Place Game
Brazil v. Netherlands

Germany v. Argentina

So all that's left is the final tomorrow. The win by the Netherlands brings me to 14-1 for the elimination rounds and 26-5 overall. If I didn't know better I would think I know what I'm talking about.

In 2010 I finished 13-3 for the knockout rounds and 24-8 overall so even if I get tomorrow wrong, I'm still going to do better this time around.

Of course last time I got the championship game right.

I looked back over my posts from 2010 and I was having a lot more fun with that tournament. Oh well, I guess I was more focused back then.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The World Cup - Second Semi-final

Brazil's nightmare just got a little bit worse as Argentina moved past the Netherlands via penalty kicks.

After 120 minutes of 0-0, Argentine keeper Sergio Romero blocked the first and the fourth kicks by the Netherlands to lead Argentina to a 4-2 win.

So it will be Germany v. Argentina in the final.

If you're a Brazilian fan, who do you root for in the final? Germany, the team that humiliated your side in the semi-final or Argentina, your biggest rival?

I suspect that rooting for Argentina would be like a Giants fan rooting for the Eagles or a Bears fan cheering on Green Bay. In this situation you swallow the defeat and yell like hell for the team playing those other guys.

If you're Brazilian, I'm betting the rule is still you root for Brazil and whoever is playing Argentina.

Brazil v. Germany
Argentina v. Netherlands

I managed 2-0 in the semi-finals which brings me to 13-1 for the elimination rounds and 25-5 overall.

Of course you know this means I don't have a prayer of getting either the 3rd place game or the final right.

Third Place Game
Brazil v. Netherlands - Netherlands

While I don't think either team is going to have its whole heart in this game, I suspect Brazil will have less of it. On the other hand, they might look on this game as a chance for some redemption. I'm still going to go with the Netherlands.

Germany v. Argentina - Germany

Overall the Germans have impressed me as a more complete team and a team that is running like a well oiled machine. Besides, fate can't be cruel enough to have Argentina win the cup in Brazil.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Quote of the World Cup

After Germany made it 5-0 in the semi-final, the color announcer had the quote of the tournament.

"Go be aggressive and kick SOMEBODY, go and do SOMETHING to influence this game!"

The World Cup - First Semi-final

All I kept saying was "oh my God" and "you have got to be kidding me." If anyone had suggested that Germany was going to beat Brazil, at home, in the semi-finals of the World Cup, 7-1, with the sole Brazilian goal coming at the 90th minute, I would have laughed in their face.

Portugal beat North Korea 7-0 in 2010. But that was Portugal and North Korea. Brazil doesn't lose 7-1 and especially not at home.

OK, it happens.

The Buffalo Bills lost four Super Bowls in a row. The first one, 20-19 to the Giants,  was the only close one. Then 37-24 to Washington, 52-17 to Dallas and 30-13 again to Dallas. The Denver Broncos have lost 39-20 to the Giants, 42-10 to Washington, 55-10 to San Francisco and 43-8 to Seattle. The Giants lost to the Ravens 34-7 and the Patriots lost to the Bears 46-10.

It happens.

In 1940, the Chicago Bears beat the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the NFL Championship game.

It happens. That's why you have to play the game.

So after one semi-final, I'm 1-0 and 24-5 overall. Eat your heart out drunken chimpanzees, orangutans and pet goats.

Brazil v. Germany
Argentina v. Netherlands

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The World Cup the Quarter Finals

Not exactly a scoring bonanza. On Friday it was Germany advancing past France 1-0 and Brazil beating Columbia 2-1.

On Saturday it was Argentina over Belgium 1-0 and, in penalty kicks, the Netherlands ended Costa Rica's Cinderella story 4-3 after playing to a 0-0 draw.

France v. Germany
Brazil v. Columbia
Argentina v. Belgium
Netherlands v. Costa Rica

Yes, that's 4-0 you see there. Now we move on to the semi-finals.

Brazil v. Germany - Germany
Argentina v. Netherlands - Argentina

I'm going to go with Germany. I think the loss of Neymar is going to be too much to overcome and Lionel Messi has made me a believer so I'm going with Argentina.

Of course if I get Argentina right and Germany wrong, I get my dream match of a Brazil v. Argentina final. No matter what happens, it should be interesting.

Oh yeah, overall I'm 23-5 which ain't bad at all.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Meanwhile in Kentucky...

In Kentucky, District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II expanded on his earlier ruling that Kentucky must recognize same sex marriages from other states by striking down Kentucky's ban on Gay Marriage.

As for Kentucky governor Steve Beshear's latest argument against Gay Marriage, that it was too expensive to allow gay couples to marry, Heyburn said “These arguments are not those of serious people,” and went on to say they were “at best illogical and even bewildering.”

Heyburn then landed two of the best quotes I've heard in a long time, “In America even sincere and long-held religious views do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted.”

“Assuring equal protection for same-sex couples does not diminish the freedom of others to any degree… hopefully, even those opposed to or uncertain about same-sex marriage will see it that way in the future.”

In other words, despite what the right wing loonies are trying to tell you, it's not a zero sum game. Insuring rights for one group does not diminish rights for another group.

What it may do is taking away PRIVILEGE from another group. The privilege to eat the bread another man has toiled for; the privilege to discriminate against someone of a different color or different beliefs and the privilege to deny to a segment of the population rights enjoyed by everyone else just because you happen not to like them.

The World Cup Day 19

Tom Howard kept the US in the game but you can't let them knock on the door without them eventually getting through. It was Belgium in extra time 2-1.

As for the Swiss, they tried like hell to justify my picking them as the sleeper upset of the round of 16. Of course the same could be said if I had picked Nigeria, which I thought about, or Algeria which, to be honest, I never even considered. Argentina eventually broke through in extra time 1-0.

So, at the end of the round of 16 (my picks bold, winners in italics).

Brazil v. Chile
Netherlands v. Mexico
Columbia v. Uruguay
Coata Rica v. Greece
France v. Nigeria
Argentina v. Switzerland
Germany v. Algeria
Belgium v. USA

That's 7-1 which isn't too bad. Now we go on to the quarter-finals. We have, in the order to be played starting Friday July 4th.

France v. Germany - Germany
Brazil v. Columbia - Brazil
Argentina v. Belgium - Argentina
Netherlands v. Costa Rica - Netherlands

I'm really looking forward to the two games on Friday and I'm back to salivating over a possible Brazil v. Argentina final. Lionel Messi could establish the foundation of his legacy by bringing home to Argentina a World Cup from Brazil.