Sunday 23rd of January 2022

waiting for godot...

godot's particle...

Gus picture of godot's particle

This is an article posted here earlier (17th December) that seems to have gone walkabout...

British-born author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, notable for his fiery wit, contrarian politics and hard living lifestyle, has died at the age of 62, his magazine Vanity Fair reports.

The heavy smoker and drinker had been undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer last year, shortly after publishing his memoir Hitch-22.

"Christopher Hitchens - the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant - died today at the age of 62," Vanity Fair said on its website.

Hitchens, who lived in Washington DC, became an American citizen in 2007 but retained his British citizenship.

In 2008, the former war correspondent reached prominence - and for some, notoriety - for his book God Is Not Great, in which he decried religious belief.


Pity, the man had far more to contribute to the proper channel of information...

Meanwhile, religiously, at complete misunderstanding headquarters, some fellow called Stanley on the ABC chimes and bell website section, spreads the mustard of angels with astonishing irrelevant candour... There he goes, starting to quote William James, who at least was a bit skeptical about the religious experience,
a repeat of a sermon preached by Stanley Hauerwas on the second week of Advent. "The readings were Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8.: There goes Stanley Hauerwas:

In his "Conclusion" to the Varieties of Religious Experience, William James wrote:

"Though the scientist may individually nourish a religion and be a theist in his irresponsible hours, the days are over when it could be said that for Science herself the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Our solar system, with its harmonies, is seen now as but one passing case of a certain sort of moving equilibrium in the heavens, realized by a local accident in an appalling wilderness of worlds where no life can exist. In a span of time which as a cosmic interval will count as but an hour, it will have ceased to be. The Darwinian notion of chance production, and subsequent destruction, speedy or deferred, applies to the largest as well as the smallest facts. It is impossible, in the present temper of the scientific imagination, to find in the drifting of the cosmic atoms, whether they work on the universal or on the particular scale, anything but a kind of aimless weather, doing and undoing, achieving no proper history, and leaving no result. Nature has no one distinguishable ultimate tendency with which it is possible to feel a sympathy. In the vast rhythm of her processes, as the scientific mind now follows them, she appears to cancel herself. The bubbles on the foam which coats a stormy sea are floating episodes, made and unmade by the forces of the wind and water. Our private selves are like those bubbles, — epiphenomena, as Clifford, I believe, ingeniously called them; their destinies weigh nothing and determine nothing in the world's irremedial currents of events."

Stanley Hauerwas takes over with glorious godliness:
That the "weather" - to use William James's language - produced for a brief time creatures conscious of their nothingness suggests that, in so far as any purpose can be attributed to the process that produced such creatures, the process is best described by the word, cruelty.

... Blah blah blah and in conclusion

James's description of the pointless character of our existence is indeed poetic and elegant. But it lacks the element of wonder through which God first led Israel, and now us with them, into miracle of divine love. Once in the burning bush, now in the womb of Mary, the grandeur of creation is made manifest as God himself comes to us, reminding us who we are. We are those who receive him. This is our good work.

Christian humanism is not based on the presumption that our humanity is self-justifying. Rather Christians are humanists because God showed up in Mary's belly.

We are not an evolutionary accident. We are not bubbles on the foam that coats a stormy sea. We are God's chosen people. We have been given good work to do in a time when many no longer think there is good work. What an extraordinary claim. What extraordinary good news.

Praise God, and with gratitude enjoy the glory of his creation. Together, at this time called Advent let us wait in joyful expectation for the surprising coming of the Lord.

Stanley Hauerwas is Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University. His most recent books are Working with Words: On Learning to Speak Christian and War and the American Difference: Theological Reflections on Violence and National Identity.

Let me spew... Another yamerikan at the pulpit spreading complete and utter crap and telling the world how to suck eggs....


This is highly selectively stupid dissertation on a subject in which the author is, of course, a grandiose religious sophist with a dash of fogged up reality and lots of activism twisting... Cruelty?... What on earth is that?... Cruelty is a stylistic invention by humans to define the painful nature of acquiring proteins, which we all have to do, in which ever way we do —from eating nuts to killing cattle, the later of which Christians do not object to but vegetarians take offence to, though these carrot munchers may not be religious at all... Cruelty has been modified by humans to indulge in torture and other pass-times such as sadism and self-flagellation... Unless cruelty was invented by god to make sure our noses were rubbed in it.

Before one goes too far, one has to note that before "that" Jewish view of the world, the story of humanity as Homo sapiens obviously did not exist despite spanning at least 250,000 years and possibly one million years before that. Homo Neanderthal never existed and humans were parachuted as alien on this planet as garbage banished from paradise... The scientologists are starting to make sense... Of course human history started on a Sunday and finished on the Sabbath — in a loop of wailing, to be repeated until the first coming for some religious fanatics and the second coming for others... As well, in this stupid framework, it is our duty to redeem ourselves from having been kicked out of eternal bliss for things we did not commit... Starting the only history of humans with Israel, you leave out the Chinese history, the Indian history and that of the Aboriginal people of Australia who go back at least 60,000 years on that continent. Of course these people did not invent the atom bomb... That is an unacceptable religious premise — erasing many humans who have as much rights to be the children of Vishnu in that context, but never were because they were not Jews... If you don't see a massive godly mistake or injustice here, you're thicker than a four be two.

So, the Israelis wrote their own history to be godot's "Chosen People" which is a very annoying concept to say the least — as much as it does not make any more sense that one awarding one's own medals for being a dick. But I will admit it's quite clever trick, which has now been used in the other two Abrahamic religions, the Cath and the Musl...

I am of course really annoyed the ABC gives credence to this silly babble of badly structured and illogical thoughts, just to support an idea of god that does not make any more sense than leprechauns at the bottom of my garden. I will admit there are gremlins living amongst my plants but they have other names such as rats, cats and possibly possums..

The structures, that humans are derived from, are animalistic. The planet is not in an "appalling" wilderness of worlds where no life can exist. We're neither the flotsam or the jetsam of the universe, we are there by an evolutionary accident that can also happen on other planets... Our ability to survive and appreciate our short-comings has improved on who we could be. There is a natural resonance in life. We are part of this event ON THIS PLANET... There are countless world out there in the space beyond our star, where life in similar or different forms can exist.

furthermore, god would have been stupid to create humans in his own image. He/she would be ashamed of himself/herself for having indulged in such imperfection. He would have been totally crazy to create a narrative that was obviously discriminatory of all other people but Israel... It's an offensive premise — a ludicrous exclusive concept even in the god-frame — to which I cannot subscribe. I get irate, annoyed, angry at this total crap presented to us like glorious mysterious honey when it's actually a mixture of vinegar, soap and water to catch silly fruit-flies...

Please be aware that no theological ethics can be called ethics. These religious rules are all morals designed to steal our ability to stylise our thoughts of curiosity, by dipping them  into sugar-coated rigid dogmas — in which silly rituals, lingo, hats and shoe removal are part of the theatre of the absurd, far more absurd than a good grounded atheistic or existential position.

I do object too, not only to the christian way to dogmatise thoughts, but also to the way muslims undermine or shape the secular systems of human law. ALL RELIGIONS ARE CROOK WAYS to abuse our generous naivety. They are designed to destroy our gifted humanity. Religion are leftovers of ignorant past times. Religions though are presently trying hard to survive by penetrating once more our systems of secular ethical behaviour which is born in our stylistic nature.

Vale Christopher Hitchens.



Isaiah 40:1-11

New International Version (NIV)

Isaiah 40

Comfort for God’s People

 1 Comfort, comfort my people,
   says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
   and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
   that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
   double for all her sins.


Psalm 85:1-2

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 85

Psalm 85[a]

    For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 You, LORD, showed favor to your land;
   you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
2 You forgave the iniquity of your people
   and covered all their sins.[b]


8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.[a]

 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.[b] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.


Mark 1:1-8

New International Version (NIV)

Mark 1

John the Baptist Prepares the Way

 1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah,[a] the Son of God,[b] 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
   “I will send my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way”[c]—
3 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
   make straight paths for him.’”[d]

 4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptize you with[e] water, but he will baptize you with[f] the Holy Spirit.”


These three pieces, of course, makes no sense at all unless one still believes in the tooth fairy...

Meanwhile the Higgs Boson is but a small part of our elusive knowledge of the universe we can touch and feel... As I have pointed out many times, uncertainty is more essential than a finite absolute god that only fits a silly narrative...


Epiphenomenalism is absurd; it is just plain obvious that our pains, our thoughts, and our feelings make a difference to our (evidently physical) behavior; it is impossible to believe that all our behavior could be just as it is even if there were no pains, thoughts, or feelings. (Taylor, 1963 and subsequent editions, offers a representative statement.)

This argument is surely the briefest of those against epiphenomenalism, but it may have been more persuasive than any other. Epiphenomenalists, however, can make the following reply. First, it can never be obvious what causes what. Animated cartoons are full of causal illusions. Falling barometers are regularly followed by storms, but do not cause them.


The argument above contains some elements of sophism, though, in short, the discussion is skewed. The relationship between the mental and the physical is undeniable and both influence each other. This is why we indulge in drugs — or what I call consciousness modifying substances.

goodness gracious me...

Good Minus God (from the NYT)



I was heartened to learn recently that atheists are no longer the most reviled group in the United States: according to the political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell, we’ve been overtaken by the Tea Party.  But even as I was high-fiving my fellow apostates (“We’re number two!  We’re number two!”), I was wondering anew: why do so many people dislike atheists?

I gather that many people believe that atheism implies nihilism — that rejecting God means rejecting morality.  A person who denies God, they reason, must be, if not actively evil, at least indifferent to considerations of right and wrong.  After all, doesn’t the dictionary list “wicked” as a synonym for “godless?”  And isn’t it true, as Dostoevsky said, that “if God is dead, everything is permitted”?

Well, actually — no, it’s not.  (And for the record, Dostoevsky never said it was.)   Atheism does not entail that anything goes.

Admittedly, some atheists are nihilists.  (Unfortunately, they’re the ones who get the most press.)  But such atheists’ repudiation of morality stems more from an antecedent cynicism about ethics than from any philosophical view about the divine.  According to these nihilistic atheists, “morality” is just part of a fairy tale we tell each other in order to keep our innate, bestial selfishness (mostly) under control.  Belief in objective “oughts” and “ought nots,” they say, must fall away once we realize that there is no universal enforcer to dish out rewards and punishments in the afterlife.  We’re left with pure self-interest, more or less enlightened.

lots of people are going to die...

In a subsequent TV interview, Hitchens singled out for special condemnation Falwell's "encouraging the most extreme theocratic fanatics and maniacs on the West Bank and in Gaza not to give an inch of what he thought of as holy land to the people who already live there, undercutting and ruining every democrat and secularist in the Jewish state in the name of God". He concluded that "Lots of people are going to die and are already leading miserable lives because of the nonsense preached by this man".

In this spirit, one can only imagine that a younger Hitchens might have relished the opportunity to write about the death of Christopher Hitchens. Whilst Hitchens opposed the first invasion of Iraq by a US led Coalition of the Willing in 1991, he supported the second one in 2003. What can one say about the people who died and are already leading miserable lives because of the nonsense preached by this man?

Indeed, what can one say about a man who responded to the Lancet report of some 650,000 Iraqis dead as a result of the invasion with the dual response that the figures were "almost certainly inflated", and that even if the figures were accurate, remorse and sorrow were not appropriate responses? An earlier incarnation of Hitchens, it should be noted, was appalled at the 100,000-200,000 killed in the first Gulf War. Indeed, even 3,000 dead once shocked his conscience.



guns do not kill people...

First an essay from William Cavanaugh

When I recently gave a lecture entitled "Does Religion Cause Violence?" at a college, someone scrawled across a poster advertising the lecture a single word - "Duh!" The idea that religion has a peculiar tendency to promote violence has achieved the status of truism in Western societies. It is currently advanced with great vigour by the so-called "New Atheists."


The true believer Hitchens has in mind is the Islamist. But Hitchens' message is that the true believer in secularism can also not rest until the whole world has been converted to secularism - by force, if necessary. The myth of religious violence is a way of saying, "Their violence is essentially irrational and fanatical. Our violence is essentially rational and necessary."

A more peaceful world depends on doing away with such binaries, and taking a hard look both at Muslim-inspired violence and at the things - flags, markets, "freedom" - to which we sacrifice lives.


Second, an answer from Gus: "Guns do not kill people..."

This is the famous quote that has been used by gun lobbies to "promote" the ownership of guns... "Religion is not violent"... is in the same vein. "Secularism is peaceful" follows suit...

The other day at a rollicking party a woman asked me what "existentialism" meant... Same question with "atheism"... Then came a rock of a question: "would you like everyone to be existentialist like you?"... My answer was quite swift and self-explanatory: "I could not care less" was my honest answer... "as long as no-one tells me what to do or believe..."

And that's the point... Hitchens was not a saint, nor was he the perfect atheist... But he had a golden way with words and supported some rotten causes. That's his beef, not mine. That was his guns, not mine. Unlike religious people, atheists and existentialists rarely make money out of being so: there is no redemption to sell, no false hope to flog. Hitchens mostly sold words and controversies for people to think about.

Some religious traditions contain words that incide the killing of people, especially in the three Abrahamic religions... Though many preachers are peaceful, many readings can be picked in the old testament or the quoran that "justify" either war or the killing of infidels...

It's time to give that up... Though it would be preferable to stop owing guns or religious beliefs even if these do not kill people.... meanwhile, only our decisions kill people if we decide to kill people. Are we the master of our decisions? Most atheists and existentialists are so — the master of their decisions — far more than the indoctrinated. It's our responsible call to be more peaceful.

signs of nature...,

From Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, Al Jazeera:


The question is: How does religion know that there is definitely a God? Well, there is no "proof" here either. Religion starts with belief, based on the same message from all the prophets who were known as truthful in their life. Religions, particularly Islam, demand critical autonomy from its adherents in order to see the observable world, the "ayat" or signs in the creation. Prophet Abraham observed these signs, used his critical autonomy, and "discovered" God. The Quran is replete with exhortation to keep an open mind, observe, reflect, contemplate and act for the benefit of all humans and the creation. Religion's premise is different from that of science. Religion, when properly understood, brings ease of heart and mind and teaches love and care for all.

Religion may be on the decline in Europe, but it is flourishing among some communities and in many other parts of the world. Religion can be a source of tranquil hearts and inspiration for fight against tyranny, inequality and injustice. For argument's sake, even if there is no God, human beings need one to behave responsibly on Earth.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari is a parenting consultant. He is a founding member of The East London Communities Organisation (TELCO), Chairman of the East London Mosque Trust, and former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (2006-10).


Gus: The question/answer is that one can behave responsible without a religion. Atheism when properly understood and applied, bring ease of heart and mind, and encourages love and CARE for all, including the care for nature.

beauty is in the eye of the collider...

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on the Franco-Swiss border has made its first clear observation of a new particle since opening in 2009.

It is called Chi_b (3P) and will help scientists understand better the forces that hold matter together.

The as-yet unpublished discovery is reported on the Arxiv pre-print server.

The LHC is exploring some of the fundamental questions in "big physics" by colliding proton particles together in a huge underground facility.

Detail in the sub-atomic wreckage from these impacts is expected to yield new information about the way the Universe is constructed.

The Chi_b (3P) is a more excited state of Chi particles already seen in previous collision experiments, explained Prof Roger Jones, who works on the Atlas detector at the LHC.

"The new particle is made up of a 'beauty quark' and a 'beauty anti-quark', which are then bound together," he told BBC News.

big freeze in the nanoKelvin regime...

Researchers have developed a clever way to achieve the lowest temperatures ever recorded on Earth.

Achieving such temperatures is necessary to study fundamental properties of matter and the strange effects caused by quantum mechanics.

The new method relies on "optical lattices" of atoms from which only the hottest atoms are selectively removed.

The approach, reported in Nature, may be well-suited to create memory for future quantum computers.

The limits of low temperature have been constantly pushed in recent years, and the current best lies somewhere in the nanoKelvin regime - that is, within just billionths of a degree of "absolute zero" at zero Kelvin or -273.15C.

That ultimate limit is set formally as the lowest possible entropy, or disorder, that is achievable.


making sense of stuff...

Science is about explanation. Religion is about meaning


from Alister McGrath — Professor of Theology at King's College London, and President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is currently writing a new biography of the Oxford apologist and writer C.S. Lewis.


But science is ultimately about a method - a way of making sense of things. Its outcomes change down the ages. Its interim reports are always important and interesting, but they are also provisional. A century ago, most scientists thought that the universe had always been here. Now, we believe it had a beginning.

Some atheist scientists ridicule Christians for believing in a God whose existence cannot be proved. Yet science regularly posits the existence of things whose existence cannot be proved to make sense of our observations.

Thus we infer the existence of dark matter from observations that would otherwise be puzzling. We can't see it, and we can't prove it's there. Yet this doesn't stop most leading astronomers from accepting its existence.


Sorry Alister, I've got news for you, some science can "prove" the existence of dark matter. To say science still does work on searching and evaluating its effect on the universe is part of ... science.

One thing which puzzle me more is the total lack of "humility" from religious people to think that they are "the children of god"... That is blowing one's own trumpet big time, "even if one is humbled by this concept".


As I have mentioned before, and has been recognised in many old philosophical concepts, including religious concepts, the universe needs "flaws" to exist. The universe is thus relative... In some concepts it's the yin and the yang and in others it's god and the devil. But the devil cannot exist should god be an absolute being. This duality would be a complete nonsense in perfection. But for many years, when religion ruled the roost of our naivety, the devil was the source of all our ills, until we started to investigate scientifically. Now as Joe Hockey would say his god is merciful, all fluffy and nice, while in the hebrew past, we had to fear the wrath of a choleric god.

God is an idea designed to allocate meaning. God isn't meaning. Religion only gives meaning like Santa Claus gives children the meaning to the concept of being good or bad... Nothing else. Science does not judge, except it tells us that if we push this button, or mix several chemicals, a resulting change will show up. If we burn fossil fuel beyond a certain point, climate on this very little planet — on which the atmosphere is very very thin — will "change". Temperature will increase.

The meaning of being good or bad is an improved stylistic desire, the roots of which are embedded in the natural world, where individuals are searching for ways to nourish themselves with proteins and survive well by minimising pain and increase comforts within the limits of their abilities that can change with E-VO-LU-TION. There is more enlightement is this low level explanation than in the meaning we're "fallen angels" made by a god in "his" image — who must have been bored with his own self, deciding to create little stupid beings to adulate him or they'd be banished to a crappy place called hell... Rubbish.

vale a couple of friends...

It is hard to find a spot of meaningful elevation and peace on this site mostly dedicated to satire and the purposeful nose-bitting of politicians around the world and Australia specifically. But I'd like to honour a couple of people I knew, whose passing will be missed by many. First, let's honour that fellow producer and chief of staff at 60 minutes — Channel Nine Australia, Cliff Neville...

Then of all people to go was Vince Lovegrove who died today (25/03/12)... He was one of the most gentle bloke I knew. His story and that of Suzy's was an inspiration to many battling AIDS...

May their life be inspirational to all.

of circular thingies...


My view of the godot particle...


the LHC

One of the Large Hadron Collider targets


church rose

Strasbourg church rose



sun in haze...













political luck

political luck





Note: some of these pictures need parallax corrections due to the observer (Gus) not being fully square on to the view.


Read from top.

attacking the devil hitchens?...

Almost exactly one year before his death in 2011, Christopher Hitchens reaffirmed his support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and predicted that a “confrontation” with “theocratic Iran” was all but inevitable.

Now, nine years later, his prediction is perilously close to coming true. But if we recognize the biases that underlie the famous atheist’s assessment of the geopolitical situation, it quickly becomes clear that his hawkish worldview could never lead to peace and is in fact a recipe for perpetual, and perpetually escalating, war.

When I recently watched Hitchens’ 2009 debate with Christian apologist William Lane Craig over the existence of God, I noted that although Hitchens’ logos failed to measure up to Craig’s philosophical expertise, on the level of pathos, Hitchens’s stark recounting of the horrors of religious violence and oppression could not be easily discounted, even by a lifelong Christian like myself.

Eventually, though, Hitchens began to overplay his hand, blaming Russian ultranationalism and the continuing cult of Stalin on the Orthodox Church and the Holocaust on Christian anti-Semitism without so much as gesturing toward either the Soviet Union’s religious persecutions or the eugenics movement that was vehemently, and almost exclusively, opposed by such religious intellectual giants as G.K. Chesterton. Hitchens even compared North Korea’s totalitarian regime to the Christian conception of heaven, failing to acknowledge either the explicit atheism of juche ideology or the Christian insistence that no political leader is worthy of the reverence we owe to God.


Read more crap:


Fuck god!

Read from top.


Here we have the classic displacement of intent by someone called GRAYSON QUAY... An article that should never have seen the light of day, especially on The Conservative American... Hitchens was his own man and DID NOT REPRESENT ATHEISTS. He was an atheist, sure, but atheists are numerous and varied and I am prepared to say that most committed atheists  — about 95 per cent — are against wars of any kind. Wars such as those declared against Saddam or Libya or Syria by the USA HAVE NOTHING TO DO with atheists, but more often than not have been supported by "Christians" under the guise of a (wash your mouth) "crusade". The word CRUSADE was used by G W Bush though he was told to quietly forget it, as his actions would have seemed a bit too religious.

You cannot blame Hitchens for the US wars, please. Not even for one tenth of one percent of the US commitments to wage aggression on any thing that moved with a Shiite label. It had all to do with the worst religious country on the planet —Saudi Arabia with the most restrictive laws — not even being a country, but a fiefdom in which people live. The conclusion by Quay is CRAP. CRAP!

"But if human suffering is, at least in part, the result of our own inherent defects (or sins, if you like), then those who set foreign policy would do well to purge themselves of all utopian inclinations before launching any sort of military intervention. The neocon foreign policy can thus be read as an inheritance from atheistic leftism and, as Peter Hitchens reminds us, is in direct conflict with both Christianity and conservatism."


Bullshit! Bullshit! ALL OF QUAY'S WRITING IS BULLSHIT! Atheists abhor war. War is a function of Christian and other religious beliefs since the Jews got lost in the desert somewhere.