Laminin is not proof of Jesus. Sorry.

You know that phenomenon where you can go your entire life never meeting anyone named Stewart, until suddenly you meet three different Stewarts in the course of a single month? That’s the deal with this new “argument” for Christianity. I’ve never heard it before, and all of a sudden I see three separate references to it within a week. So either it’s a new argument, or someone is fucking with me.

I’m officially calling it “The Argument from Shit that Looks Jesus-ey.”

The most common instance of it is in this YouTube video, where it’s used by some preacher named Louie Giglio, who I’m guessing wasn’t a microbiology major.

It’s an eight-minute video, so let me sum it up for you. Laminins are glycoproteins that play an important part in the structural makeup of nearly every tissue in living organisms (including humans). They’re crucial for the survival of living tissue and the regeneration of new tissue, as with muscles or the liver.

So what’s the catch? Well, Christians seem to think they look like this:

Heyyy… wait a minute. That looks suspiciously like those things Mexicans get tattooed on their chests. (What? I can use that joke. My dog is Mexican.)

Well, what a coincidence. The bible has a passage (Col 5:17) which claims, metaphorically, that Jesus binds all things together. And here’s a protein in our bodies that does just that… and it totally resembles the thing he died on. It’s a miracle! Jesus is real and gayness is an abomination. Hallelujah.

Don’t pop that cork yet, Christians. Unfortunately the Argument from Microscopic Proteins that Look Kinda Like the Thing Jesus Was Nailed To totally fails.

First of all, this isn’t what they look like. This is a graphical representation of a laminin glycoprotein, used to simplify the layout for the purpose of analysis and illustration.

In reality, laminins look like this.

Sure, some of those might look vaguely like crosses. Others look like the Greek letter psi. Some look like ray guns. But it’s quite clear that the cross shape was merely a useful way for scientists to represent the makeup of these proteins, and was in no way a statement on how they occur in nature.

Second, take a closer look at that graphical representation. Notice the helix pattern on the bottom leg of the purported “cross.” Last I checked, the Christian cross didn’t include said helix. Actually, the more I look at it, the more it looks like…

Zounds! It’s a caduceus!

Most of you probably know this as the “medical symbol.” But its origin is the Staff of Hermes. Hermes, for those in the know, is the Greek messenger of the gods. This was the staff he carried.

Clearly this means the Greek gods are real. Not the Hebrew gods.

Right?

Obviously, no Christian would accept this reasoning in support of the Greek gods. So why would they actually try using a graphical representation of one particular protein in the human body as support for their god?

The answer is simple. They have no real evidence. If they did, they wouldn’t have to make these desperate attempts to rationally justify simple pariedolia as proof of their deity.

What a major fail. This is what happens when irrational people open science books.

Music Monday: Black Milk

Yea, yea… I know I should be featuring J-Dilla on Music Monday before I even think of featuring Black Milk. But it’s my fucking blog. So suck it.

Black Milk is a Detroit producer and rapper who’s been hailed as the next step in the evolution of Detroit hip-hop. The Jay Dee influence is clear, but I admire that he still manages to have a signature style in his production. Basically, his beats are sick.

The track above is the title track from his album, Popular Demand. Buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

(And for that little bit of extra, I’ve included a two-part YouTube interview with Milk after the jump, wherein he constructs a pretty tight beat in just a few minutes. Enjoy, bitches.)

JUMP! JUMP!

Christian Cites Untruths in Opposition of the Ground-Zero-ish Sorta-Mosque

I know I said I was done with the fundamentally retarded Ground-Zero-Mosque-which-isn’t-at-Ground-Zero-and-isn’t-only-a-mosque story. But this was just too good to resist.

Watch in amazement as Karen McKay uses just about every single silly Christian fabrication in history in support of her position.

ABCNews.com, reporting on the recent White House Ramadan dinner for Muslim leaders, quoted President Barack Obama: “As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances,” he said. “This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.”

But a Greek Orthodox Church at ground zero that was destroyed on 9/11 has not been allowed to rebuild. Children are not allowed to pray on the steps of the Supreme Court. Valedictorians are forbidden to thank God. Kids are prohibited from praying in school and at football games. Local governing bodies are ordered to cease opening prayers.

A federal judge orders that a memorial cross that has stood in the Mojave Desert since 1934 to honor World War I dead be covered — an atheist driving by was offended by the religious symbol. The Alabama Supreme Court chief justice is removed from office for defying a federal judge’s order to remove a graven Ten Commandments from his courthouse.

While the God of Abraham and Moses has been forcibly ejected from the public square, we are to be tolerant of a mosque erected as a monument to the 9/11 attack on America. An international Islamic medical conference in Orlando called for Shariah law in America 25 years ago — now a U.S. judge has cited Shariah law in dismissing a case. Islamic centers in America are protected by the First Amendment despite the open support of al-Qaida by some.

Just once, I’d like to see other Christians stepping up to correct utter falsehoods like this. But here we go…

Lie #1: “But a Greek Orthodox Church at ground zero that was destroyed on 9/11 has not been allowed to rebuild.”

The whole story can be read here, but I’ll sum it up for you. This Greek Orthodox church has been trying to get the local government to not only swap their land on Ground Zero for a much bigger plot of land, but to grant them several millions of dollars in taxpayer money for the construction and security requirements.

They’re absolutely allowed to rebuild. On their own land. Without public funds. That’s what’s causing the delay. Not religious preference.

Lie #2: “Children are not allowed to pray on the steps of the Supreme Court.”

Children are absolutely allowed to pray on the steps of the Supreme Court. There was a story a while back of an officer telling some kids to stop praying on the Supreme Court steps, but the officer merely told them it was illegal when it wasn’t. It’s never been illegal in any way to pray outside a public building. So this one instance was just a simple case of an officer fucking up. Which happens often.

Lie #3: “Valedictorians are forbidden to thank God.”

Class valedictorians are absolutely allowed to thank whatever god, spirit, or other imaginary friends they want in their valedictorian speeches. It is merely forbidden for government officials (like the school board or the officiants of the graduation ceremony) to lead the audience in prayer.

This is your standard Establishment Clause. Atheists shouldn’t be the only people pointing this shit out.

Lie #4: “Kids are prohibited from praying in school and at football games.”

Kids are absolutely not prohibited from praying in school and/or at football games. What is prohibited, just like with graduation ceremonies, is teacher-led prayer in a public school classroom. Or coach-led prayer in the locker room. Public school teachers and coaches are government employees, and shouldn’t be allowed to push their religious practices on their students. Again… Establishment Clause.

It is true that “local governing bodies are ordered to cease opening prayers,” but for exactly the same reason. If our tax dollars are paying for it, it cannot respect any establishment of religion. A government official demanding that each session begin with opening prayers is the quintessential example of that. In fact, the same thing happened in the early stages of our country, when Ben Franklin proposed that each of their public meetings should begin with prayer. Even though a good number of these men were Christian, the proposition was voted down.

You know, I could go on, but the misrepresentation of reality and complete ignorance of the law are so rampant in this article, that to do so would be futile.

The facts really boil down to one underlying falsehood. The “God of Abraham and Moses” has not been forcibly ejected from the public square. It was never there to begin with, and it shouldn’t be there. Regardless of what feelings you or I have toward it, religion is a private matter, not a public one.

This is precisely why the Establishment Clause exists to begin with.

It seems as though Christians are completely incapable of expressing an opinion without displaying a complete disregard for the facts. And this is because they’re not at all interested in facts. I could write these blog posts until I’m blue in the face and weak in the joints, and people like Karen McKay will still continue to use these blatant lies to justify their point, simply because they want it to be true.

We’re not just dealing with people of a different worldview. We’re dealing with people who absolutely do not consider honesty and fact-checking to be of any importance.

Is Libertarianism Dead?

I hate to admit it, but The Atlantic’s Clive Crook makes a convincing case, responding to Reason Magazine’s symposium on Where Do Libertarians Belong.

Libertarians disagree with progressives about markets and with conservatives about “values”, and that is really that. To the extent that they (we) serve any purpose at all, it is to challenge the two dominant strains of thinking, hoping to nudge each in the right direction. For now at least, I cannot see what purpose is served by worrying about which of these unappeasable opponents would make the better partner.

People with libertarian sympathies, like myself, are nothing short of disenfranchised in the political arena, and sometimes it feels like the best course of action is to try to nudge as many liberals and conservatives more in our general direction, as much and as often as we can.

Still holding out hope, though. Let’s see how things pan out in the next election.

Ron Paul Weighs in on the Ground Zero Mosque

I’m so sick and tired of this fucking story.

And from the looks of it, Ron Paul is, too.

The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservatives’ aggressive wars.

The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.

This guy had better be running in 2012, or I’ll throw a shit-fit.

His son, on the other hand (who I still have a bad feeling about), feels differently

A recent topic Paul disagrees with Obama on is the mosque planned near ground zero in New York City. “I’m not sure I think the federal government should weigh in on it,” he said. “I think it’s probably a mistake for the president to be weighing in on favor of it as well.”

If the goal of the building’s organizers is to reconcile, Paul thinks there’s a better way to do that. “I think reconciliation is best promoted by — instead of having a multi-million dollar mosque — maybe having a multi-million dollar donation to the memorial site, would be better for all.”

In other words, Rand Paul is completely missing the point, while his father is right on. Figures.

He does come close to raising a valid point, though. The government should not even be weighing in on this. Religious discrimination is not the government’s business. Nor is forcing people to be sensitive to other people’s misguided feelings of paranoia.