Slate

Gym Etiquette Flow Chart

Etiquette is a murky thing. Throw some nudity or heavy weights into the mix and we’re talking perilous social waters.

I went to a gym once. Well, more than once. Twice. Well more than twice. There were three periods in my life when I was a member of a gym. I didn’t like it very much. But who does? I might rejoin one soon. I harbour a secret desire to be able to wink with my pecs.

Anyway. Seeing people at the gym who you know can present some awkward social situations. Especially if you’re naked. I’ve never understood people’s desire to get naked at the gym. It’s a subculture I just don’t get. Go home sweaty and shower when you get there. Seriously.

Anyway. Here’s a flowchart. From Slate.

Islamic creation science

It may fascinate you to learn this… it certainly fascinated me… but holding as they do to essentially the same creation account and belief about the origins of human society (up until Isaac v Ishmael) as the Judeo Christian world – Islam has its own “Answers in Genesis” type organisation.

Slate writes a profile piece on the most prominent Islamic young earther here.

Here’s a quote (complete with links).

It may be tempting to dismiss Yahya as a crackpot, but he runs a sophisticated media operation, with perhaps several hundred members, that distributes books, articles, videos, and Web sites around the Muslim world. Two years ago he mailed, unsolicited, a visually stunning 13-pound, 800-page Atlas of Creation to at least 10,000 scientists, doctors, museums, and research centers in Europe and the United States. The cost of this publicity stunt, if that’s what it was, had to be staggering.

This must present an interesting dilemma. I mentioned a few weeks back my reservations about siding with fellow “theists” in debates about God – simply because Jesus is the key to my belief in God.

Do those who wish to fight passionately for the scientific veracity of Genesis side with the Muslims? Or do we keep our distance.

How far does ecumenical spirit extend on other issues where we share common ground – like issues of sanctity of life, and certain areas of morality?

It’s a tricky minefield to navigate where we emphasise similarities without those becoming defining issues and allowing us all to be lumped in the same category.

Retard retardent

I overuse the word retard. I understand it’s offensive to many people. I just like the way it sounds. Phonetically, rather than contextually. It’s such a dismissive and insulting word. Apparently it’s so insulting that it’s no longer politically correct to use it to describe people who are actually retarded (technically, literally retarded)… I didn’t know that. Now I do.

Here’s the problem with reinventing the wheel – as spelled out in one of those Slate articles…

But any psychologist will point out that changing the name is, in the end, folly. Whatever new term comes into favor today will seem insensitive, or worse, tomorrow. A nation of 10-year-olds has pretty much exhausted the pejorative power of "retarded" and is eagerly awaiting a new state-of-the-art insult. (The AAMR actually went through this before: In 1973, it switched its name from the American Association on Mental Deficiency to its current appellation because "deficiency" implied, well, deficiency. And retarded, at the time, did not.) The current frontrunner, "intellectual disability," even contracts nicely to ID, which can become a cousin of LD (for learning disability), which served as a choice epithet among the circles I ran in in fifth grade. Steven Warren, the president of the soon-to-be-differently-named AAMR, admits that whatever term his organization comes up with, all the little boys who have crushes on little girls and so call them "retarded" will be quick on its heels. In other words, the AAMR will almost certainly be going through an identity crisis again in 20 years, just to stay ahead of the game.

This also ties in nicely with my little treatise on swearing from a few weeks back.

The best book to read is…

I inadvertently deleted my link post from yesterday’s google reading – I reposted it, but it didn’t pull in everything I’d highlighted. Of particular interest was the account from a non-practicing Jew of his year of reading through the Bible (only the OT). He blogged the experience. And he’s written a book.

And engaged in an interesting discussion with some people here. It’s worth reading. Especially when he answers the following question/statement from an angry atheist:

“Washington, D.C.: Wow, I find your assertion that everyone should read the Bible as smacking of so much relativism, I can’t believe it. I have read the beginning of the Bible and I found it so silly and laughable that I stopped. I’d really rather the chatters and your readers get caught up on history, science, literature, etc. instead of a book of fables. Would you also push for the teaching of satanic texts? I’m so tired of people acting so high and mighty about their religious preferences. Write an article on the truly important texts that people have never read (Plato, Aristotle, Copernicus, da Vinci, etc.) and I’ll take you seriously.

David Plotz: This seems to me a peculiar criticism. You live in a society that is shaped in every possible way by the Bible. The language you use, the laws you obey (and disobey), the founding principles of your nation, the disputes about abortion, homosexuality, adultery—these and so much else in your world are rooted in the Bible. You don’t have to read it for its truth value. You should read it to understand how your world got the way it is, the way you would read the constitution or Shakespeare.”

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