Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interview with an Athiest

I just want to start out by saying that this post is for Micah. He's the only one of my readers who was there and he complains all the time that I don't post enough. Micah, you know who you are.

There were a bunch of us at Encounter and near the end there was an outspoken (read loud) guy who was talking to some people and I got in on the convo. He said that he was an atheist, and was making much of the fact that he was an atheist at a prayer meeting. He invited a bunch of us back to his apartment to hear why he was an atheist, so our interest piqued, we followed carravan style.

What followed is difficult to explain, but after about an hour, I calculated it down to essentially a soft (read "not so harsh") Marxist viewpoint. From what he has seen, he essentially believed that people are Christians (or believe in God) to help them deal with problems. When I questioned him why if it were the case that people would still become believers even though doing so would bring persecution, he changed his story to the viewpoint of the promise of paradise. I found his inability to synthesize these two viewpoints a bit disconcerting. His roommate brought up the existence of "lost gospels" and I was unable to convince them that those arguments had been settled years ago.

What I found more disconcerting, and indeed disgusting was the sheer arrogance he and his roommate exhibited, both during the affair and even more so after most of the people had left. Let's just say he was extremely happy with himself about how smart he sounded. I'm not saying that to be insulting, I'm reporting the facts, he repeated it several times and seemed to be in awe of his abilities. He then explained to us who remained various ways of killing people with a knife (he is a former Marine.)

Anyway, at this point, he's not the kind of person I'd want to be close friends with, but not because he's an atheist. Indeed, I've known far more dishonorable people than he is, he's not a bad guy, I'm just not into the loud arrogant type, it has nothing to do with the atheism. I do value good discussion and debate and so rarely get it. It's just not fun for me to have to wade through and hour of philosophical bullsh*t to get to the point, I want more of a back and forth, give and take.

After most of the younger (16-19) kids had left, he kept asking me if he had challenged their faith, like they'd never heard of atheism before. I assured him that they'd be fine, that those were the more devout kids that I know.

So, after meeting the guy and hearing his whole life philosophy, I was just like "Wow, ok, so that's and stuff?" Not to say that my life is particularly meaningful, or that I know where I'm going and stuff, in life I mean. But the dude is an atheist and goes to church. Like he's gonna get to heaven one day and say "Ha, did you see that, God's a douche, I made it in and all I had to do was go to church!" On the other hand, he knows that if God does exist then he's going to hell, which in itself is like kissing your sister, I mean his philosophy, not the actual hell, that's gotta be way worse. I was reading something for my Death and Dying class today and it basically presented the point of view that you should spend your life doing good things, that way if there is an afterlife or rebirth, you'll probably come out ahead, and if there isn't, well, maybe people will remember you for being a good guy which is something in itself. But even so, what's the point if there is no point?

In the end, I'd say I'm glad I have the meaning in my life that I do. And it's not the mushy buddy Jesus crap either, I gotta get up in 5.5 hours to go to church to set up the stage and sound system for a bunch of whiny musicians of which I am one. I'm here to do what God tells me to do, I didn't invent God to make myself feel better, because if I did, I have obviously been a horrible failure, and so has my god.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Burning Trash in the Back Yard

I have some neighbors who burn trash incessantly in their back yard which is of course a mere driveway's width from my back yard. This is a habit passed down from generation to generation of low class people. I don't mean socioeconomically, I mean they simply have no class.

I admit, I was raised with this same habit. Growing up poor and what not, I guess I honestly never knew better, but I do now, and older people do as well. My father abhorred the smell of burnt plastic and thus only burned "the pile" once every year or so. It turns out by some wonderful coincidence that my father now has trash service and thus no longer has need to burn trash, and I have had trash service for a while and so the same. That was a bit different because we have to put up with nasty smoke up to several times a week.

But back to my neighbor. What am I supposed to do about this problem. These are old school Arkansas people, if they know I am unhappy and then receive a citation from the DEQ, well, let's say I fear reprisals. The biggest thing though is that open burning of trash is illegal. Conducting a salvage operation by burning (which in essence they also do) is also illegal. Even if they do get a citation, they have 20 days to fix it before they actually get fined.

So, the hard questions. Am I being a good neighbor by doing this? If I knew my neighbor was guilty of murder, I would report them. This crime is less heinous for sure, but only because the killing process takes a bit longer. I don't want by little boy to suffer permanent or future sickness or death because someone is too cheap to pay for trash service.


Friday, August 15, 2008

So Honeybees Right?

While I was in Oregon, I built a trailer to bring back my five remaining hives that were still there, as well as a 1978 Troy Bilt rototiller. I am doing the no-till thing lately, so the tiller will be for preparation, not tilling every year. Anyway, the bees.
Back when I lived in Oregon, before I got the chance to go to college, I was planning on becoming a commercial beekeeper. I was also using the very harshest method of organic beekeeping which I call "Let Live and Let Die." It was essentially a survival of the fittest kind of thing. Some of you are confused right now so let me explain. Over the years, beekeepers in the pursuit of a better bee did a number of unnatural things. They enlarged the size of the bee's cells, making the bees themselves larger, and they used chemical treatments to "cure" diseases. So as new problems arose, mites and other diseases, the bees had lost their genetic advantage regarding their ability to fight disease and pests on their own. It was only a matter of time before the cumulative effect of all these maladies would take their toll as we have seen in Colony Collapse Disorder. My plan while costly in terms of time and bees, is to reawaken the survivor genetics in the bees by letting them fight their diseases with no help. The bees that are strongest in terms of genetics survive while the ones dependent on chemicals die. The plan is to multiply from the survivors so that eventually, all my stock are survivors and in no need of chemical treatment.

Anyway, so I decided to do organic beekeeping, first because I think organic is the way everything should be done, and secondly, organic honey fetches a higher price.

When I moved to Arkansas, I had to leave my bees behind, so they have been in Oregon for three and a half years, in which time my Let Live and Let Die philosophy took its course and yielded five hives from the twenty I started with. So, hopefully, I am left with five really good survivor hives, however now that I have moved them to an entirely different climate, they are no longer acclimated to the region they live in and may suffer further difficulties.

At any rate, I now have six hives here, and hope to make some honey. I have all the equipment I need with me to keep six large healthy hives, and I plan to buy a few queens to start some nucleus hives next spring. For now, I need to get these hives up to snuff for winter. Unfortunately, we had a two week drought while I was gone and all the clover died leaving very little for the bees to forage on. It has been raining every third day or so recently so the clover is beginning to come back and will hopefully start blooming again soon.

Those of you that know me personally, keep your eyes open for some upcoming organic honey for sale.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nobody is buying China’s Whitewash.

As the Olympics are in full swing, we keep seeing China falling flat on its face PR wise. Little girls lip syncing, underage gymnasts, people displaced to build the Green and numerous other stuff.

Here’s my editorial on the matter. Communism requires constant PR spin and propaganda to keep things peachy.Therefore, this international event comes up, and China has been doing the same thing for decades, they don’t know how to deal with the world any differently than they do with their own people.

There is one difference though, the world isn’t buying it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back from Vacation.

I'm back, got lots of ideas to write about, water usage, wind turbines in general, driving, moving, the differences between Oregon and Arkansas and honeybees.

Anyway, I hope to get writing soon, got lots to get back to.