Monday, January 18, 2010

A Fault Is Not a Sin

It's idiotic to blame anything other than geology for the Haitian earthquake.

On Nov. 1, 1755—the feast of All Saint's Day—a terrifying combination of earthquake and tsunami shattered the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon. Numerous major churches were destroyed and many devout worshippers along with them. This cataclysmic event was a spur to two great enterprises: the European Enlightenment and the development of seismology. Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were only some of those who reasoned that no thinkable deity could have desired or ordained the obliteration of Catholic Lisbon, while other thinkers—Immanuel Kant among them—began to inquire into the possible natural causes of such events.

Today, we can clearly identify the "fault" that runs under the Atlantic Ocean and still puts Portugal and other countries at risk, and it took only a few more generations before there was a workable theory of continental drift. We live on a cooling planet with a volcanic interior that is insecurely coated with a thin crust of grinding tectonic plates. Earthquakes and tsunamis are to be expected and can even to some degree be anticipated. It's idiotic to ask whose fault it is. The Earth's thin shell was quaking and cracking millions of years before human sinners evolved, and it will still be wrenched and convulsed long after we are gone. These geological dislocations have no human-behavioral cause. The believers should relax; no educated person is going to ask their numerous gods "why" such disasters occur. A fault is not the same as a sin.

More on Slate after the click.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Experts Concerned About Backward Jesus Fishes

Experts on Christianity have become increasingly alarmed about reversed car Jesus fishes, an accidental plague threatening the very ideals the fish represent. Thousands of Americans choose to put the famous fishes on their cars to express their Christian beliefs, but many fail to attach them in the proper, left-facing manner.

“This common mistake is a hazard to us all,” said Rev. Billy Graham, a world-renowned preacher. “Thousands are inadvertently displaying a symbol of Satanism on their cars.”

The backward, right-pointing fishes are thought to encourage evil among the owners of the plaques and those who view them in traffic. Perhaps the most frightening point is that most of those with backward fishes don't even realize they are Satanists, nor that they are infecting the country with anti-Christian symbolism.

... read it all after the click.

(spacial thinks to MM for passing this one along)