Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Rant About Rants About Pornography

I wrote a post similar to this a while back when I saw an article by a young woman who expressed her sympathy for men because of how hyper-sexualized our culture is. For this I applauded her, and her article is worth a read if only because she does a good job at exposing just how large and ugly a problem this hyper-sexualization is, including pointing out just how prevalent pornography is in the church (50% of men, 20% of women use it).

But I didn't post it, because it was too personal and I didn't really want to share it. But today I saw an article entitled 7 Good Reasons To Stop Looking At Porn Right Now and the anger and disgust all came back. It is clear to me now that there is a significant number of Christians who just don't understand pornography and its effects on people, and so I am going to post that original blog post, with a few updates to reflect the article I saw today, in the hope of maybe helping people who haven't been down this road to understand it.

So you should go read her article and come back to read me complain about it and also Tim Challies's article.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hashtags and Fantasy Worlds

Before I launch into this rant, I want to make something absolutely crystal clear: There absolutely is a problem relating to what some feminists are calling "rape culture." There very clearly are people who have been hurt by systematic injustices in our society. This post in no way should be construed to be a denial of that.

No, today I am merely ranting about the response to that fact!

Monday, March 31, 2014

What does my blog have in common with God?

Neither is dead! Hahaha, I'm so funny.

Anyway, as I'm sure you are aware, a movie recently came out that has set the internet ablaze with haters and defenders alike. I am here to revive my blog add my voice to the fray, because I am the only reasonable person on the internet.

Ok, seriously.

I have to admit, I haven't yet seen "God's Not Dead", so instead of commenting on the film directly, I'm going to comment on an actual atheist philosophy professor's take on it. Why, you might ask? Well the film set itself up as an apology of the Christian faith specifically to atheists. So, their opinion of it can be extremely informative. After all, if they are not convinced, then the film has failed at its main premise.

As far as the blog post I'll be critiquing, its rather long, ~12000 words long. My critique will only focus on a few statements, but the whole post is worth reading. If you do though, be sure to give it a fair reading. Really listen to what Dr. Fincke is trying to say. Some of what he says is wrong. Much of it is right. Some of what he says is born of a legitimate observation but is exaggerated. Its easy to dismiss his good ideas because you don't agree with his worldview. I challenge you not to do that.

Anyway, shall we begin?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pacific Rim Is Not A Dumb Movie...

...and if you say otherwise I will rocket punch you!

Yeah, so, ever since I saw Pacific Rim when it first came out I've been pretty much obsessed with this movie. Unfortunately it seems that there is a lot of people out there who think that Pacific Rim is merely an awesome dumb movie. Or a well done dumb movie. Or a dumb movie that knows its dumb and doesn't take itself too seriously.

These people are all idiots.


Because dumb movies have dumb characters and dumb plots and dumb themes. Pacific Rim has none of these. It has strong (if simple) characters, a simple plot, and the most beautiful theme I have seen in a summer block buster to date.

Let's look at these in order, eh?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Audacity of Catholicism

*Update: Yeah, the main argument here doesn't quite work. But my sleep deprived haze of bad logic still brings up some good points and has spawned some interesting discussion in the comments, so I will leave this here unedited. Do yourself a favor though and read the exchange between Irked and Kevin.*

The Catholic Church makes a rather audacious truth claim that, to my knowledge, no other Christian sect makes. That is she claims to have the "fullness of truth." Quite the claim, and a rather foolish one at that is it not? The Church is, after all, a merely human institution, and humans being the fallible critters that they are cannot possibly hope to arrive at the "fullness of truth." I mean, we can probably arrive at some approximation of the truth. A set of beliefs that we hold to be true with the understanding that while they paint a pretty good picture of reality, there may be a few that deviate ever so slightly.

This was the case for just about every Protestant church I had been in. They laid out their beliefs, perhaps even ranked in order of importance or confidence, but there was always room left for error. We were told we had super high confidence in the basics, Jesus died on the cross for our sins, God exists as three persons in the Trinity, Heaven and Hell are real places, etc. And perhaps not as much confidence in the obscure things such as how old the earth is, what the order of the end times will be, is baptism by immersion or is sprinkling cool? To be sure everyone had their opinions on these less important issues, and it was these less important issue that made clear the distinctions between various denominations, but it was generally held that one can be Christian and disagree on such things.

The attitude was generally that of, "those other Christians are wrong, but our differences aren't too important so its best to live and let live." This is what I experienced growing up. Maybe your experience was different, but from what I've seen of Protestant writing those that aren't noisy attention whores tend to have some sort of "We can agree to disagree" attitude.

Except Catholics.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Texas Abortion Bill and Birth Defects

Darshak Sanghavi over at Slate recently wrote a post titled Who Has an Abortion After 20 Weeks? In it he claims that many women choose abortions half way through their pregnancy because it is around that time that technology can determine the likelihood that their unborn children (he uses the word fetus) will have a severe birth defect. He argues that since the Texas bill bans abortions after just about the time its possible to detect defects, women will either choose to abort a possibly healthy baby, or they will have to carry a disabled child to term. While I appreciate his concerns, along with those of the women he works with, birth defects are never a valid reason for abortion.

The primary question in the abortion debate is this, does a human being have a right to life?

Friday, July 12, 2013

PC Gaming Thoughts

While the Steam Summer Sale is doing its best to ravish the wallets of PC gamers everywhere I talked my roomate into buying the Counterstrike Complete pack (CS1.6, Condition Zero, CS:Source and CS:Global Offensive) because it came on sale for $7.50 and I'm always looking for new people to own in Counterstrike!

After he bought it we both noticed that Left 4 Dead 2 had also gone on sale for $5, and he lamented that he had already spent money that he hadn't planned on spending on Counterstrike when he probably would have liked L4D2 better but couldn't spend more. I can understand that frustration, and so didn't push that it. It was then that we decided to go to Freebirds and get 8 dollar burritos for lunch.

Which got me thinking.

One of the common complaints about PC gaming is that it is very expensive. Computers are typically more expensive than consoles and gaming computers are more expensive still! Or are they?

For as long as I can remember, Tom's Hardware's quarterly system builder marathons have always included a $500 or $600 budget gaming PC that has to compete against $1,000 and $2,000 machines. While the low end machine never wins in terms of frame rates, it typically does very well in the price/performance segment, and it is almost always capable of running all the test games at playable settings.

That is to say, a $500 gaming PC is within the realm of possibility. The PlayStation 3 launched at $500. The Xbox 360 launched between $300 and $450 depending on the configuration. Now a gaming PC will still require a monitor, peripherals, and operating system (though Steam is now on Linux so that may change), but console gamers still typically own a PC of some kind anyway. Even the cheapest systems from an OEM start at around $400. In the case of my roommate he owns a Macbook, which is far more expensive.

Now a common counter-argument is that PC gaming technology advances too quickly and that PC gamers have to constantly upgrade their hardware. Well, yes and no. If you want the fastest frame rates in the newest titles, then yeah, you'll be buying a new video card every year or two. However, PC game writers are very careful to include as many configurations as possible so they don't shrink their potential market. And some older game engines are still in constant use. Heck, the Source engine has been around since 04 and they are *still* new games being built on it! I don't think its unreasonable to expect console longevity from a gaming PC these days.

In the end, a lower end PC that is fully capable of gaming is, hardware wise, cheaper than a console and a PC. So far PC gaming is looking cheaper, but what about software?

Well, this posted started with Steam and necessarily returns to Steam. While Console games tend to start at around 60 dollars and do not have consistent sales, Steam has turned all of use PC gamers into Pavlov's dogs waiting for weekend sales or the summer and winter Steam sales. Most my friends tend to buy a lot of games at these sales, and then slowly play through them the rest of the year. While a Console gamer may be doing well to pick up a game for thirty bucks, we'll be buying four or five games for five dollars each. So, I think PC gaming is cheaper here as well.

Now I'm not making fun of console gamers, consoles are better for some things. Guitar Hero and Mario Party are two styles of games that I don't think would work well on the PC. I'm also not making fun of my roommate for spending more on a burrito than on a video game.

What I am saying is that it seems to me that this whole idea that PC gaming is more expensive should be put to rest.