Satano-Christian link farm

There was a link to an anti-Harry Potter blog in a post on the New Atheist blog a while back – 27 July, in fact. It takes me a while to catch up…

But it was still too good to pass up. Although it’s pretty obviously a joke. Well, I mean a deliberate joke here. Although that would be a pity, because it would be much funnier if it wasn’t.

The site is called Exposing satanism Here’s a representative sample:

I have heard many bad things about these books and movies, there would be countless instances of witchcraft, cursing, brewing of drugs made by boiling alive babies pulled from the earth, sexual congress with goats and many more things not fit for young readers’ and viewers’ eyes, but what I found was much worse still than I had feared.

(I haven’t seen Harry Potter 3 yet, but the goat thing suggests a change in style of several orders of magnitude.)

I’m just smugly thinking to myself “All very amusing but it’s a bit too over the top to be a credible parody” when I spot a link to something called Christian Resources Net Directory with a suggestion to vote for this site as a top Christian site.

“What a spiffing wheeze!” I think, momentarily transported to an alternate 1940s boarding school universe. “I will vote for this fine parody site as my top Christian site.”

Gratifyingly, on CRN this is indeed Number One, with an impressive number of votes (5462), although I must confess that my own inept attempts at keeping the right Firefox tab open increased the total by 3.

What other gems hide behind that CRN list of links to Christian sites? I try “creation vs evolution”. Only one link and that it is the Answers in Genesis This concept would work very well if you are trying to do a homework assignment with questions like “Name the band that Phil Collins used to be the drummer of?” Otherwise, it’s quite difficult to see what use it would be so I’ll skip it. I don’t know enough about Genesis to even frame any more questions. It’s just not my style of music.

What about cults? That has an impressive 6 category entries. (Impressive because most categories have 0.) Bah, the first two are links to the site that took me there in the first place. Skip them.

Altruistic or Cult claims to be:

Confronting the altruistic values of Christ to the Seventh-day Adventist Church while recovering from their delusive power strugglings of falsified teachings

Huh? Does that have a meaning? In the site preface, the language is no closer to English:

This book is being printed of necessity for all such as it may pertain to, and to all others of public freedom of speech and expression; believing and advocating these liberties as equalitarian, and further refuting the idealist concepts and butcherings of the Way, Truth and Life of Jesus Christ – the authentic Christian’s Saviour, Master and Friend.
Like most cults, Seventh-day Adventist cultic practices have identical terminological definitions similar to doctrinal prerequisites – but diction them abstractedly different in contextual realism and verity to Biblical interrogations and conductive evaluation – signifying an astringent and interpretive critical analysis from Biblical unmixtured sequencing and paradynamical reasoning of common sense.

The literary reference here must be that baffling spam that floods your email inbox with random collections of verbs and nouns to trick you into opening a Trojan attachment, while convincing the spam filter that it’s a real email because it uses words that are in the dictiionary. (Some of them anyway, although maybe not as the same part of speech.) Oh, bugger. I realise that I’ve already gone to this site and of my own free will. I’ve probably opened my PC to yet another incursion.

What about Bible – The real world then? Wasn’t that the name of a TV “reality” programme? The Biblical version, perhaps disappointingly, doesn’t stick a load of teenagers in a shared flat and watch them argue about the interpretation of Leviticus 17:4.

The page just has a quote from Revelations and a few links to other similar pages with even less content. They all have shedloads of Google-Ads though, maybe to trick unthinking Christians into assuming that these are in fact the site content. It’s clearly meant as a parable, then. It’s saying “Welcome to the real world, kids. It’s run by Mammon.”

Charmed as I am by the idea of Ex-witch Australia, it hasn’t had a post since January. Its posts start with the quaint “G’day” just in case you doubt its antipodean ex-witch authenticity.

Watchman Fellowship
is so visually busy it’s hard to see what it’s about. It’s got a montage of celebs with cultic associations and a list of their names. Is it dedicated to saving celebs from cults, then? No, its “mission” statement says it’s an

independent, nondenominational Christian research and apologetics ministry focusing on new religious movements, cults, the occult and the New Age.

The most common request Watchman Fellowship receives is for advice on how to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with friends and families who are members of cults and new religions. We are also often asked for recommendations on the best resources to prepare for, or use in, evangelism. In response, we’ve created these special sections linking to some of our best resources to help you in reaching out to friends and loved ones.

There follows a list of “sections” on “Witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses”, “Witnessing to Mormons”, “Understanding those in the New Age” and “Recovering from Spiritual Abuse.”

Witnessing to Witnesses? It’s got to be a tongue twister. Not that I can’t improve on the original. Try saying “Witness witless witnessing to witless Witnesses” aloud a few times. Fast. Ha. Couldn’t, could you?

Bloody Hell. You have to buy these special sections to find out what’s in them. And there I was admiring the almost uniquely altruistic lack of Google Ads. But I didn”t pay enough attention to the forest of other ads lost in the jumble of the page. (I have to say “almost unique” beacuse the antipodean former magic user seems advert-challenged, to his/her credit.)

Which topic brings me neatly to a link at the bottom of the Bible-the Real World page. A link to the Top 1000 Christian Sites. Top thousand, that was. The heart sinks as the mind boggles.

JCSM’s Top 1000 Christian Sites is a free, traffic sharing program. We welcome the best Christian sites in the world, so we can bless them and share traffic with them.
Join for free or visit one of the sites below, today!

There aren’t a thousand, yet mercifully. The lowest ranked site is in the 109 position. Its stats make depressing reading indeed. It would possibly constitute cyber-bullying to actually post its url here but I have to tell you that its average weekly number of page views is 0.1. Its total number of page views EVER seems to be 3 and it’s not a new site.

Well, you will be pleased to note that Christian-esque charity exists even in the cold rationalist heart. I clicked.

Shari’a family values

It’s just over 6 months since Abdul Kareem got sentenced to 4 years in jail for blogging. There’s a website in support of him. You can also read a wikipedia entry although there is a caveat at the head of the page saying

This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality.

.. He was arrested by Egyptian authorities for posts on his blog that were considered to be anti-religious and insulting to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. On February 22nd, 2007 in his native city Alexandria. Kareem Amer was sentenced to three years for insulting Islam and inciting sedition and one year for insulting the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Not neutral? Maybe the very mention of the sentence contravenes “neutrality”. Presumably because no sane person would think this was OK?

(If only he had just been the officer in charge of a military unit charged with war crimes, he’d be free today.)

It’s one thing – and a very pleasurable thing it can be, too – to insult Baptist evangelists from the comfort of the Atheist Blogroll. However, if you live in the Middle East, challenging Islam in your blog posts is definitely hazardous to health .

The campaign website is maintained by Kareem’s friends who disagree with what he said about Islam but still uphold his right to express his views. Unlike his family apparently.

From the Kareem FAQs:

What did his family say about all this?
Days before the jail sentence, his family publicly disowned him, and his father called for applying the Sharia on his son by giving three days to repent, followed by having him killed if he did not announce his repentance.

Give them a bit of leeway for trying to protect themselves, as I imagine they are under a fair bit of pressure to distance themselves from their wayward freethinking offspring. But still. A father who thinks his son deserves a death sentence for publishing a few challenging words is definitely so far off the scale of harsh that you would need to invent a new scale. And he’d still fall of the edge.

Disappointingly, the only UK politician mentioned as having spoken out about Kareem is from the UK Independence Party*. Euro-MP Derek Clark, raised the case in the European Parliament.

If you live in the sort of country where you might get arrested or your dad might call for your execution, Reporters sans frontieres have a page about how to blog anonymously without putting yourself in the firing line of your state’s repression.
(You can’t say this blog doesn’t give out any useful information.)

* If you’re not from the UK, there is/was (?) a joke political party called the Monster Raving Loony Party (It’s alternative comedy- it’s not funny, to steal an old Ben Elton quote.) UK Independence Party are generally considered less serious and even less funny than the MRLP. UKIP tends to substitute comical zenophobia for the MRLP’s standard slapstick approach. Luckily, they are completely unelectable and spend their time in internal squabbles. It is enough of a shock that they must have a Euro-MP, let alone that he seems to have actually spoken sense in the European Union.

Ministry of Truth

Imagine you work for the Australian government. There you are, sitting in your work cube in front of your PC, staring into space. You’ve finished estimating next year’s value of Western Australian lamb exports per acre. What will you do in the seemingly infinite 40 minutes till lunch-time?

Ah ha. Skim through Wikipedia. Try for the “random” entry. See something you know something about – your specialist subject, in fact – the development of the Perth Railway Modellers’ Club, 1990 to 2002.

But the entry shows the name of the 1997 Chairman as Ken Brewster and you know it was Ben Baxter!…. Blimey, you can’t allow this blatant misrepresentation of the facts. Future historians of the Perth Railway Modellers Club will be completely misled. So you make a quick correction.

Go forward a few weeks. Wikiscanner becomes available. Everyone can find out what organisation’s IP address has been used to make a wiki-edit.

This sparks a media-led conspiracy frenzy over evidence that people from various corporations or government agencies have edited encyclopeadia pages.

Oh look, surprisingly (not), people from the CIA have edited entries. People working for the BBC. And, – oh my Poseidon! – people working for the Australian government have edited entries. Oh dear…. You get called into the boss’s office and shouted at. …Misusing your internet privileges…. Bringing the government into disrepute, and so on…..

Largely because some people eitehr never learned, or are incapable of applying, the most basic tests to judge the validity of information. E.g:

  • Does this seem inherently reasonable?
  • Who said it?
  • Is this information contradicted or supported by other sources?
  • Who benefits if I believe this?

Are you surprised that CIA employees have edited pages that concern the CIA or that workers for the Australian government have toned down critical articles?

If so, then it’s about time you took some courses in critical thinking and analysing information. Because you lack even the most basic skills at identifying propaganda.

Indeed, Wikiscanner might serve as a basic tool for identifying potential misinformation or propaganda, going some way towards giving an answer to the second question above.

But even so, some people sit in work reading, even editing Wikipedia, Some of these people work for corporations or government agencies. Some of them are carrying out their master’s instructions. Most are just bored workers tryng to interject some purposeful activity into the boring functionary’s day.

Some are even acting as whistleblowers.

Do we want to shut up the whistleblowers just because we are too idle to develop the thinking skills to detect spin or outright lies?

The outcome of this editing-Wiki frenzy is, surprise, surprise, that more workers get their internet access circumscribed.

In a BBC story, the Australian Prime minister reacted to the story that government employees had made edits by ruling that:

…. the department said on Friday that it had acted to block staff from editing the site.
“Defence has closed personal edit access down, though employees will still be able to browse Wikipedia for information purposes,” a spokesman said.

Throughout the world, internet access is getting curtailed for employees. In the UK, for example, at the beginning of August, the Defence Department ordered members of the armed forces to get the permission of superior officers before they blog.

The Ministry of Defence last week ordered British soldiers to stop blogging, putting videos on YouTube, joining online chats or sending text messages without a superior officer’s permission. But the soldiers carried on regardless, posting caustic commentary on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was a mini digital mutiny.
I’m surprised the MoD has taken so long to deal with the problem of khaki samizdat. Censorship is part of military life. Imagine if Tommies had been able to blog about the trenches in October 1914. There would have been an outcry back home. The war could well have been over by Christmas.

“Oh look, this is from a government computer. It must be part of an evil government plot!” Come on. Let’s learn to evaluate information properly to protect ourselves from propaganda, rather than shut people up or jump at the first half-baked conspiracy theory that fits our prejudices.

Will ill-judged kneejerk conspiracy theory reactions based on the IPs of Wikipedia editors become the pretext for more internet censorship? Well, yes, it looks like they have. What a great win for free speech…

The pawn’s English

Getting a comment here from Steve Sutton, I looked at his blog.. There is some really funny stuff there. There’s a great comics page called Internet Earl and some brilliant Voyager spoof scripts that might almost have been actual episodes. And lots more, youtube videos etc, that I haven’t had a chance to look at.

In case, you are wondering, the headline above is a great phrase that appears in one of the comics. It makes sense in the context. You have to go there.

Following our self-imposed rules for comments week, we should have commented on his blog but I couldn’t find a comment form, although there is a full-blown forum.

Needs no imagination

Servicing the ever-open maw of a blog can be pretty tough sometimes. But lo, help is on the horizon.

According to Wallop CEO Carl Jacob* at a Stanford conference, reported in the Register, we’ll be soon able to buy in self-expression…

He wants people to know that they don’t need imagination to have personality. “Self-expression is a very powerful concept,” he explained. “We want to take people away from the idea that they have to do it themselves and that they can buy forms of self-expression in the virtual world.”

* No, I’m pretty certain this bit isn’t actually a command, although it may be a temptation.

Comments on comments

Will have to admit that this blog has been taking the comment week thing a little too far. Comments are the topic du jour here. And we’ve been evilly giving into temptation amusing ourselves by playing about a bit with the views of some people who post on Pharyngula

We usually get sane and supportive feedback here, with some reasonable dissent and the odd headcase. In fact, a dull longwinded diatribe here often gets a comment that covers the same thing in a witty couple of lines.

Comments on blogs can be much more interesting than the posts. Literally thousands of times I’ve read a brilliant post somewhere and never thought to comment. (Ditto, replacing brilliant with crap)

I often can’t even comment when I try. On some sites, you need to register before you can comment or they have those irritating Blogger comments things that insist on a user ID and password. Plus a bleeding Captcha.

The Context
Somehow, my name became mud to some fellow commenters on Pharyngula. The original post was some innocuous thing on ADHD therapy. Something about the whole topic seems to send rationality out of the window. I am not going to repeat it all here. It’s an insanely tedious thread with upwards of 60-odd comments at this moment.

No one seemed to understand what anyone else was actually saying. Very few seemed to have taken even introductory lessons in English comprehension. People were ganging up to savage one commenter -“caledonian” – paying less than no attention to what s/he actually said and charging down so many logical back alleys that I had to doublecheck the URL to establish that I wasn”t in some southern baptist college’s logic class.

This “caledonian” has some reasonable doubts about the efficacy and scientific bias of psychiatry and the logic of its disease model. Surely a respectable point of view that you could agree or disagree with. I didn’t realise that there was a war and that anything that smells of Thomas Szasz’s work was now considered exactly equivalent to scientology, because scientologists allegedly admire Szasz.

Caledonian explained his/her views quite clearly, in the course of two whole long strings of comments in separate blogs. Barely one of the people growling against him/her could follow a coherent argument. (This may explain why the ancient greeks regarded the study of rhetoric and logic to be a necessary part of education.) Caledonian’s forthright equation of scientology with the extremes of nonsense just confused people, who had already assumed he must be a scientologist.

I thought my first post was just a mild suggestion that the posts that equated an adult drinking coffee with giving a child ritalin were mistaken. People with kids diagnosed with ADD or ADHD or whatever, were deeply offended by my initial casual comment, taking it as a personal attack, attributing opinions to me that I hadn’t expressed and don’t hold.

The response

Person x took this as me attacking them personally for getting their kid treated. (Duh?) This got a furious response. (scientologist, wacko, plus a wierd and barely comprehensible reference to this being like racism, because I had implied that it might be OK in some really serious cases.)

I replied with a mildly sarcastic comment, part of which suggested that one person’s experience didn’t constitute all data. (… sarcastic, because that’s who I am. Maybe there is a pharmaceutical cure for sarcasm but I haven’t found it, to my cost…) I was feeling bad at just increasing their guilt by saying what they didn’t want to hear. All the same, if something is true, it’s true. If not, they could explain where I was mistaken. Socratic dialogue, and all that. Otherwise, “if they don’t in some way agree with me about the truth, why so defensive?” an evil demon whispered in my ear…..

There’s a fair bit more than these bits that I can’t resist posting here.

Heather, you and your ilk are the ones claiming that kids are being wildly overmedicated. I thought I was asking that you prove that your postive claim is true. To date all in this thread there are 1 anecdotal case (w/ claim of 2 kids) for and numerous cases against. Now, I do know that anecdote is not the singular of data, but I’m not the one wildly running around saying ‘the meds are coming, the meds are coming’. We parents and/or sufferers get pretty damn tired of those of you out there that aren’t really all that familiar with the situation stigmatizing us unfairly.

And how do we know that you aren’t just a scientologist wacko in your concern troll attitude about “Oh, the poor little kids don’t have a choice”? That implies that we parents aren’t concerned about our kids and won’t attempt to do the best for them and you get to move forward your anti-anti-psychotic agenda. Oh? You don’t like the stigma of being labelled a wacko scientologist? Now imagine that being the default assumption about everyone who spoke up against any (neuro)medication of kids. That is the equivalent stigmatization that we get — put yourself in our shoes and imagine that assumption we medicate simply because our child acts out a bit when in fact it is a last resort for a serious condition. We lived with the hyperness for years. But in a modern society you must succeed in school to make any gain in life — it’s just a fact. He’s a bright kid (tested into the gifted-talented program at the same time that he was put into special ed for learning disabilities) but if he can’t sit still and concentrate he’ll never be able to make use of those abilities. Sorry, but your type creates a hostile environment for us. Yes, there probably are those that do medicate unnecessarily but why should that be the default assumption?

Heather, you’ve had numerous example of people here pointing out that “doping [them] to fit their environment” was a good thing. Now, sure there are borderline cases and cases that aren’t cut-and-dried, but can’t we just assume that in general those making the decision (individual, parents, doctors) are doing so in the best interest of the individual? You keep implying that the assumption should be the other way — and I don’t get the hostility. As other have pointed out we don’t skip taking pain medication or getting glasses for those conditions. And work on the reading comprehension. I didn’t claim the arguments were racist themselves … but analogous to the common “I’m not a racist, but…” phrasing that often precedes a racist statement, i.e., “I’m not against medication in absolutely all cases, but…” and then proceeds to claim that it is wrong in general with no indication that there really are any justifiable cases.

I reread my post, No it definitely didnt say anything like what they thought I was saying. I must have expressed myself really badly. Hostile? Well, yes I was ever so mildly hostile in the sarcastic bit. I had to reread my post half a dozen times my head to clear away the idea that I was presenting myself as an anti-drug, even anti-medicine lunatic, faking compassion for kids to peddle my evil views. My concern troll views? Well, shit. I admit, I think people can be pretty crazy in how they treat their kids – I don’t exempt myself. I think it’s aresponsibility of a parent to actually take the kid’s views into account though.

Note, I don’t say – These posters include people who think it’s reasonable to put so much pressure on their kids or to have experienced so much pressure in their own childhood – that they cite inattention, daydreaming and failure to recite the alphabet consistently at 5 as signs of neurological disorder. Because, this will clearly get the whole site fuming….
(And make them think that I don’t believe that some kids do have genuine neuroloigical disorders.)

But, it’s not that I’m not thinking “A.S Neill, woulds’t thou were living at this hour” or correctly quoted words to that effect. This whole supernanny, adults are always right thing makes em furious. I remember when I was kid I was often right. As an adult I am very often wrong. Some people have kids who really shouldn’t be allowed within ten kilometers of unformed human beings. I am thinking not just of the Phelps or the Falwells here. But, just for the sake of argument, would you trust the Phelps and the Falwells to always make wise decisions about the best interests of their offspring?

TW got in on the act when I drew his attention to it. He made some obvious reference to a made up number of people who were medicating their kids unnecessarily. He even stated quite clearly, that he’s made up the numbers, because this was what everyone else thought was an acceptable argument.

He made some contribution to the debate to the effect that two working parents, endless social pressure for parents and kids to succeed, etc, were maybe connected to the huge increase in diagnoses.

Red rag to bull time….

The comment posters completely ignored the bit with him saying that these figures were made up. His serious argument about factors that might make it harder for kids and parents to cope was interpreted as him having blamed “working mothers” for ADHD.

Fed up with taunting them, he finally posted a measured and polite reply. This will probably get taken by somebody as him saying “Scientology is great. If only those pesky females weren’t going out to work but were at home praying with their kids, there would be no mental problems” and the thread will become an endless waste of 0s and 1s.

(Actually since reading this, I’ve Googled about Ritalin and found lots of sites where people campaign about not medicating kids, partly putting the sort of arguments I did. I guess they assumed that I belong to one of those organisations, so the talk of “my ilk” and so on makes some sort of sense now, I guess…)

Yes, it’s bad to taunt people for a cheap laugh. Still….

Rant about spam

It seems a hostage to fortune to say I don’t really care about spam coming to my inbox to advertise shares or pharmaceuticals or just spill out gibberish concrete poetry. One sort of spam that makes me really angry is the “System Admin” stuff that says it’s been returned from email address because there was an undeliverable message from my email account.

It is impossible to know which of these are spoofed from start to finish. Most, I am told. However, some could be legitimate in the sense of actually recording an attempted spam going somehere – in which case my email account has been used to spam other people. Which is obviously much worse than just getting spam yourself because it destroys your credibility.

A man I know had an AOL account that banned him three times because his address was being used as a spam source. He was mortified and out of his depth on each occasion – he had chosen AOL as his service provider, for a start, so, almost by definition, he knew virtually nothing about the Internet.

(On another occasion, this rant will expand into the area of spam comments and how it means that we have to use Akismet, which occasionally deletes real ones as it goes into a destroying frenzy, losing good comments. as well as making us look churlish.

Not that this blog can claim to be innocent of general churlishness, but the comment-deleting churlishness isn’t our fault. The ongoing looney debate shows us bending over backwards – to the point of tying ourselves in infinite knots – to avoid being churlish to soemone who is a looney fundamentalist, by his own admission.)

More Technobabble

The Register reports on Technorati’s problems resulting from its redesign. It knocked itself out of operation (surely not unprecedented for Technorati. I thought it let its imaginary Monster out to ravage it every weekend)

The Register argues that Technorati has more or less given up on indexing blogs and concentrated on images.

So what was always a lousy blog search tool is now little more than a lousy image search tool – this is not going to worry Yahoo! or Google

I hope not. For all my whining about it, Technorati is pretty useful.

Technorati links mystery

Technorati gives this blog a level of authority that could be considered pretty generous,given the unauthoritative nature of most of our posts. However, for the uninitiated, in Technoratispeak, “authority” refers to how popular you blog is, determined by how many other blogs link to it, not by how authoritative your content is (mercifully…).

But, links to us from the Atheist Blogroll that I can actually see on my screen – and that send visitors to us, according to FireStats – haven’t been listed for months.

I’ve tried researching the reasons for this, unsure whether the fault lies with our code (that would hardly be a first), our recent attempts to restyle the site (not an unmitigated success, yet), Technorati or the Atheist blogroll’s code.

I am none the wiser. This appears in Technorati’s explanation for why links may not get picked up.

If the link was in a blogroll, you may want to check to see if the hyperlink to your blog is located in the blog source of the blogroll. Blogroll links that are generated via a tool or script are not seen. The blogroll must reside in the blog home page as well. If the blogroll is in a subsection or directory of the site, it is not seen or picked up

On an experimental basis, I visited the most recent posters (at the top of the blogroll list on the left.) doesn’t actually show the blogroll, nor have a link to Technorati that I could have used to check if it picks up the link from us.

Sans God has us on the Blogroll, on the index page and not below the so-called jump (other Technorati forum reasons for not seeing links) When I looked for blogs that link to Sans God, I see: “Why Dont You Blog? by Admin Istrator · 44 days ago ” Well no. It rather looks to me as if we linked to them today and yesterday and the day before and so on. When the 6 months from 44 days ago is up, we will disappear off their list of linked blogs.

God is pretend has a scrolling blogroll. Maybe that’s why our blog – which shot itself in the listing foot by starting with a letter as close as dammit to the end of the alphabet – doesn’t appear to be linked to from here. But, wait, God is pretend has only 3 inbound links and Whydontyou doesnt appear in the three. Maybe that’s because they are using a script.

We get lots of links from visitors to Gratuitous common sense and I can see us quite clearly on their blogroll, on the index page, not below the jump etc. Ahha. Technorati thinks this has links from whydontyou, but dates them as 35 and 50 days ago…..

I am getting bored with this. You get the picture. The only links that keep getting consistently
updated are from Parabiodox (ffs :-D) and content-scrapers. Any ideas?

Rules are meant to be broken

Spam us and you won’t usually get read, let alone answered.

In fact, a good few legitimate emails get thrown out accidentally in the rsi-inducing marathon of spam deletion that follows opening the email client. (Sorry to everyone whose mails get flushed)

All the same, this blog link, which came from a promotional semi-spam to the blog is actually very interesting. The blog name and blurb are:

Off the Page – Current Affairs Books, Comment & Debate
Source of content and opinion from some of the UK’s best published writers on a range of diverse topics, from the war on terror to the trouble with Tesco

We are of course holding you to ransom for a reciprocal link, seeing as you are such fans of the blog, as you mention in your email :-p ….

(Don’t take this a cue to comment-spam or spam us, though, all you cialis vendors and Nigerians who have unaccountably discovered how trustworthy we are and want to give us free dollars, you know who you are. This blog’s comments are protected by the magical shield of Akismet, not to mention the Power of Greyskull.)

Thanks and sorry

Infinite thanks to the people who’ve taken the trouble to comment on the downward spiral that is this blog’s theme. It has been a great help.

And an apology is for the fact that the redesign is interfering with there actally being any readable content.

On a “while the cat’s away” basis I’ve done some theme hacks that will bring down the wrath of TW for being deprecated and/or non-compliant (negative margins, for instance. I’ve havent cracked and used tables yet.)

I think that it works in ie6 at 100% and doesnt degrade too badly when you shrink the window.

Havent even broached ff yet so it may get rebuilt in the next few minutes and I am pretty fearful of what will happen on mobiles.

Over to me

Thanks to Chuck S (See comment on last but one post) for pointing out that the new style breaks in Internet Explorer 6, at 1024 by 768 if you don’t view it full-screen.

Sorry to everyone. It will be fixed up in the next 24 hours. Or replaced with an inexact replica.

Don’yt you just long for the days when tables were OK to use for layout?

You can breathe again now…

In answer to the question Mad or Troll? there is no way on earth that site’s not a spoof.

Forget the Linux, digital cameras or God loves America tosh. Even the most extreme republican born-again ****** wouldn’t talk in public about there now being peace and freedom in Iraq or argue that white Protestants are the most persecuted group in US history.

In case there’s any remaining doubt -the contact page has:

Revd Dr Pastor Magnus Bucks (Writer/Spiritual and Financial Advisor):
e-Mail: Revd. Dr. Magnus Bucks======

Christian top ten blogs are really tough to find

So impressed was I by the idea of a top ten Christian blog list together with the idea of Christians pulling stunts to make sure atheists wouldn’t be top that I was forced to google for some evidence of the existence of Christian top ten charts.
This is one top ten I didn’t have patience to look past number one but that was indeed quite interesting. It told me that police in Florida handcuffed and arrested a six-year-old and that this is apparently a normal part of their daily activities. It didn’t seem particularly Christian except for having an intro quote that mentioned God. So disappointment there, when I was looking for comedy ranting.

It even has a post that made a point that I’ve been too cowardly to make here that 500 civilians were killed unremarked in Iraq, when the 33 Virginia Tech deaths were dominating the world’s media….

OK, maybe there’s a fundamentalist top ten that I can rant about? Oh bugger. A Google for top ten fundamenatlist blogs produces a page of links that reference “top ten signs you’re a fundamentalist Christian” which can best be described as self-satirising when it’s referenced by Christians. Continue reading

DOS attack?

This blog started behaving disturbingly after TW’s last post. All posts just vanished. A few minutes later the content reappeared but the Atheist blogroll had become a featureless void.

A quick link to the almighty Mojoey’s site showed that the blogroll was even missing from its own home.

Pinging the blog roll brought this response:

While trying to retrieve the URL: http://www.*************ping.phtml

The following error was encountered:

Socket Failure
The system returned:

(49) Can’t assign requested addressSquid is unable to create a TCP socket, presumably due to excessive load. Please retry your request.

Your cache administrator is admin@******

Obviously, an outsider can’t tell whether this is just a server that can’t cope with the huge numbers of enthusiastically blogging atheists (:-D one can always hope) or whether it’s a DOS attack.

The lack certainly brings home what a public service it is. I do hope it’s sorted out soon.