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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Homosexuality & The Old Testament

On my main site, I've written twice before about people trying to use the Bible as a justification to ban gay marriage. I just came across a supposed open letter that covers it much more humorously than I ever could. The letter is addressed to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, in response to some statements she made on her radio program. To help make it easier to check the Biblical passages, I've made them links to the appropriate chapter in the New Internation Version.

(Apparently, I've been living in a cave. When I looked this up on Snopes to try to figure out who was the original author so I could either link to them or credit them, I found that this letter's been circulating since at least 2000. But whether or not this letter is real or was ever sent, the content is still good.)

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination…End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighbouring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbours. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

Website Update- Change to X-Plane, UDP, VB Tutorial

The first update of the new year, and I've managed, just barely, to keep up with my goal of an update per month. I did a small update to the X-Plane, UDP, Visual Basic Tutorial for X-Plane version 8. With version 8.60 of X-Plane, you're now able to have X-Plane communicate via UDP with a program running on the same computer, so I've updated the Winsock section of my tuturial to explain how to do this. I also updated the sample source code that you can download from that page. I fixed a label on the form, where I'd mistakenly labeled an input box as "Local Port," when it should have been "Remote Port." Also, I went through and organized the code a bit better - putting the subroutines in alphabetical order, and adding a few more comments to explain things.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Suspension of Disbelief for TV and Movies

I was watching one of the CSI's the other night with my wife (she had the remote, or it would have been something "educational.") I remember one scene, where they had an eyepiece from some binoculars they'd found at a crime scene (the eyepiece, not the binoculars), threw the eyepiece into their fancy lab machine, and a few mintues later, the machine beeped at them to let it know that it had found DNA on the eyepiece. Not just that, but it had already analyzed the DNA, determined who it belonged to, and had that man's file ready and waiting on the computer screen. That was a little too much, and I voiced my opinion out loud. Well, a few scenes later and after a few more spoken opinions, my wife told me to shut up so that she could enjoy the show.

This is pretty common. I know a thing or two about science and technology, and while I won't recognize every mistake I ever see in a TV show or movie, and many are small enough that it's easy to "suspend my disbelief," many movies have enough glaring mistakes that it actually makes it hard to enjoy what I'm watching. Let me put it in perspective for people that don't know as much about science. Suppose you were watching a movie, and the lead character, out of the blue, walked up to someone on the street and asked to have sex with them, and they agreed - right there in public. And everybody else on the sidewalk just kind of made way for them, and didn't stop and stare, or call the police. Would you "suspend your disbelief" for that? Of course not - it's ludicrous. It goes completely against human nature. That's exactly the way it is when I watch a movie that butchers science - it's so far off from what would be expected to happen in reality, that it's hard to ignore.

Apparently, I'm not alone in this. I recently came across an interesting website - INSULTINGLY STUPID MOVIE PHYSICS. It's a pretty good site, and brings up a lot of the points I gripe about a lot.

Friday, January 12, 2007

National Delurking Week

Well, a couple of my favorite blogs (Pooflingers Anonymous and Pharyngula) have pointed out that it's National Delurking Week - that time of year when people who just read blogs but never leave any comments are supposed to make their presence known by, well, leaving comments. Since I only update this blog every month or so, and I've only ever gotten a handful of non-spam comments, I doubt I have any lurkers, but the server logs tell me that some people visit this blog from time to time. So, if you're one of them, let me know in the comments.

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