Monday, September 14, 2020

Misplaced Blame - Bad Science, not "Religion"

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Misotheists are fond of blaming the Bible and Christians for what they consider "bad science" and "superstition", even though the Bible was proven right many times. For instance, someone with a contagious disease was isolated, not the entire community. George Washington bled to death because of the bad medical practice of bloodletting despite Gen. :4 and Lev. 17:14. There are other instance of bad or questionable medicine that atheists ignore in their selective citing.


Atheists excuse superstitious medical practices such as with the so-called Dancing Plague, but are quick to falsely accuse the Bible of bad teachings.
Credits: Original from Freeimages / Carol O'Driscoll, modified at PhotoFunia
A video of "paranormal" mysteries had a segment of the so-called Dancing Plague of 1518. Doing a bit of research shows that this was not an isolated incident, but there are several suggestions regarding the cause; to call it paranormal is silly. It is interesting that the diagnosis was "hot blood" and that the recommendation was that people continue to dance despite people collapsing and even dying.

For years, I have said that the Salem Witch Trials were black marks on both American history and Christianity. (Such literal witch hunts were not confined to the United States, however.) I'll allow that there was a great deal of bad religion involved and misuse of the Bible, but that does not justify a conclusion that all religion is false. Such activities are not based in Scripture or reasonable biblical teachings.

What makes the Salem situation more complicated is that the actions of so-called witnesses and victims may have had a biological basis. There is increasing evidence to consider that the ergot fungus was involved. Rye was a staple crop in that area, and ergot grew on it. People would ingest the grain and the fungus, then could have hallucinations. People with bad theology would be swept up in the hysteria and think they were doing the Lord's work.

Such forensic science is seriously limited, of course, but it does give us some things to consider. Mockers of God rush to judgement but there could be other causes. Medical superstitions that lead to death are given a pass. "Science is self-correcting!" may be claimed, but the two instances cited above had nothing whatsoever to do with science from the get-go. Such data are frequently cited by Christophobes, but like evolutionary researchers, involve incomplete research and invalid conclusions. Avoid bad teachings and lousy logic like the plague.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Sexual Dimorphism and You

It is indeed unfortunate that science has become a tool of leftists in many areas, especially regarding sex. This is in defiance of what people have known for thousands of years: men and women are different. In recent years, people have been increasingly rebellious against God's created order.

Medical science does not care about how someone feels regarding sex and gender. This and other research shows what people have known all along.
The Happy LoversGustave Courbet, 1844
It is frustrating — even infuriating — that this recent trend of establishing genders because someone feels like it. Most people, including those in medical science, know that there are only two genders. You can tell by looking most of the time because of build, bone structure, facial characteristics, and so on. Yes, there are exceptions where a man may be more delicate and a woman can rassle a bear. Sometimes female lions have manes and males have none. But those do not negate the fact that only male and female exist. Someone may say that what they feel is all that matters. Yeah, and the mark will get you through, it's alright.

When filling out the HCFA claim  and other medical forms in these here United States, there are only the male and female options. They give neither hoot nor holler how someone feels that day. Medicines, hormones, many other factors are important based on how God made a person. Even though people can be hit with massive fines or even be fired (as well as accused of committing a hate crime), sometimes deniers of science are not making an impression on science.
Science knows nothing of make-believe genders based on how people feel. Researchers only speak of males and females.
“Sexual dimorphism” is a scientific term that describes phenotypic differences between males and females. . .  One thing is clear: scientists speak of sexual dimorphism (two forms), not trimorphism, quadrimorphism, or multi-morphism.
. . . 
Men and women, furthermore, exhibit a substantial degree of sexual dimorphism. Secondary sexual characteristics begin to become prominent after puberty. The human race has accepted this and lived with it (and has celebrated the differences) ever since creation. Nobody ever thought to question this normality until radical liberals in recent decades decided to celebrate certain individuals who are confused about their biology. Instead of helping these individuals get over their confusion and become comfortable with their sex, they are defying nature. . . 
Activists are claiming that biological sex has nothing to do with “gender” which is socially conditioned, is fluid, and can be changed at whim. It’s getting dangerous. Some government leaders are letting immature children and teenagers be given life-altering drugs and surgeries, without parental consent, that will permanently alter their bodies—decisions they may later regret.
To read the entire article, which includes examples of research that don't pay no nevermind to what made-up "gender" someone feels like on a particular day, click on "Males and Females Are Real. All Others Are Fake."


Monday, July 6, 2020

No Ape-Man Consciousness HERE, Pilgrim!

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Do you ever think about thinking? Although it seems like an odd notion, that kind of woolgathering can be oddly pleasurable. Out on the highway, traffic on my right was going to merge. In the interests of safety and courtesy, I was going to move into the left lane. Nope, occupied. So I slowed down and let the other car merge that way. Those thoughts took about a second.

We have thoughts and make choices. Consciousness sets us apart from the apes, and the evolutionists who search for consciousness have a new problem.

My wife and I were on our way to the Ashokan Reservoir. This was partly to get some miles on the car because it needed a boost (jump start), and to just give ourselves an outing before the main heat of the day set in. Nice day for it, and I like seeing our part of the Catskill Mountains and the reservoir.

It has been a busy day for cognating. After a fitful night because I could not get comfortable and my mind still wanted to work, I got into the shower. Do I want the same shower gel I used last time or that one that is supposed to smell like ocean mist? I took the same as before, it has a nice, clean smell also.

Oh, goodie! My wife made up whaddya call it... flapjacks, hotcakes, pancakes... those things. I keep forgetting that we have maple syrup, so we used the other stuff in the plastic bottle. I won't tell you what kind because I don't want anyone smashing windows and setting the dumpster on fire.

There are viruses known as bacteriophages. Probably because they phage bacteria or something. Is there a connection with the generic form of Glucophage that I take?

I'll never forget our dear, departed Basement Cat. It was time to do my Bible reading (this month, it's the NASB), and looked at the dining room table. She was often sleeping there and would come over and join me on the couch for Purr Meeting and the Blessing of the Cat. Good memories, but also sad.

Not all of these things happened on the same day or in any sequence. It was a sort of composite, I suppose. However, this shows that people have consciousness. We make choices that can be impulsive and based on preference, or we can weigh the options. Apes don't so such things with any great detail or thought. I seriously doubt that critters think about thinking, either.

The Bible is comprised of sixty six books by authors ranging from kings to farmers and written in several languages. Scholars translate these into our languages. The use of language, including written and oral forms, are structured and have various rules. Translating ancient languages into what we speak now is a daunting task, and the experts must choose between formal equivalence and dynamic (or functional) equivalence; to have a strictly literal version is essentially unreadable because of language structures. Apes don't learn languages, write texts, or translate them. Nor do they compose operas and set words to music. This requires a level of consciousness that is absent from them.

Our Creator gave us consciousness because we are created in God's image. Critters are not. If anyone cares to give it some thought, the differences between us are multitudinous. While naturalists deny the existence of the soul, they still search for it because evolution. In a similar manner, they have searched for consciousness. Darwin's disciples cannot explain consciousness. It was thought to be in the brain, but new research not only devastates the "brain in a vat" philosophy, but further affirms special creation — whether evolutionists like it or not.
Evolutionists have always had a major problem explaining the origin and evolution of human consciousness. As Professor Yoram Gutfreund of the Department of Neurobiology at the Rappaport Research Institute in Israel explains, the “major mind-evolution problem is the difficulty of fitting consciousness in an evolutionary framework…. Scientific agreement is that consciousness arises from the brain’s activity, however, there is no understanding as to how.” As one evolutionist proclaims,
Now you can make a conscious choice. I hope you will choose to finish reading the article excerpted just above. To do so, click on "Human Consciousness Just Became a Bigger Challenge to Darwin".


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Setting Up My Autonomous Zone

In the interest of personal independence, I set up an autonomous zone on Fazebook all by my lonesome. I can do whatever I want and am answerable to nobody. How good is that? What I did was simply set up shop and declare it my own and nobody can question it or disagree.


So I set up an autonomous zone. What right do I have, and where do rights come from?
The actual image is of the Oklahoma Territory flatlands, North West Round Pond, 1894
Let me rephrase my earlier question: How stupid is that? While Facebook allows people some latitude (especially leftists, atheists, and anti-Semites) we're at their mercy. They are also supposed to follow laws, and so are users of their platform. Page owners and other users can be shut down (my own profile was shut down illegally and I was not told why "for security reasons"). They delete the account if I do the usual things that get accounts deleted.

My assertions are worthless. I can say "Mine!" until the cows come home, but that doesn't make anything mine. People can declare that they have rights, but cannot make up rights out of their imaginations. When legal systems make declarations when actually following the law, they are giving some rights, but ultimately, they are endowed by our Creator. Make up your own rules, take land by force, and you have to face the consequences for your actions.

As a Christian and an American, I know that I am responsible for my own sins. Not the sins of my forefathers (real or imagined), nor the trespasses of my neighbors.


Lyrics available in the description at YouTube

Friday, June 12, 2020

Scary Videos and Foolish People

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

There are several channels on YouTube that offer scary videos, many of which are allegedly of paranormal occurrences. I get both entertainment and educational value from these. I wonder if they are compelling, faked, or people are receiving pranks. One from Nuke's Top 5 illustrates the foolishness of going into "abandoned" places.


Ghost seekers and urban explorers visit unsafe, allegedly abandoned areas. I have reasons to leave those alone that have nothing to do with spirits.
Original photo of Eastern State Penitentiary from the Library of Congress, art effect from FotoSketcher
(Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents by parties named above)
First of all, places are often called abandoned when they are in ruins and there is no sign of activity, but they are seldom truly abandoned. Sometimes Eastern State Penitentiary is said to be abandoned, but it has always belonged to someone. In fact, it is a historical landmark and has tours. Interestingly, they have a "haunted house" time, but the penitentiary has been visited by various ghost seekers because it has a reputation of being actually haunted. "You took a picture of three people. Who's that fourth one that looks so pale?"

By the way, one quibble I have with ghost seeker groups is that they conduct their investigations in the dark. Apparently apparitions as well as evil people love darkness (John 3:19-20 comes to mind), but some occurrences happen during the day. Ever investigate then? So, they go at night and use minimal lighting or night vision. In the same way, some of the "urban explorer" (urbex. also spelled trespassers) videos are done at night. Are they concerned about being caught by the rightful owners? EDIT: If you really must go into the dark woods alone at night to investigate the sounds near your house, bring one or more friends. Monsters? I'm more concerned that you might encounter an animal with sharp pointed teeth.

When I watched Ghost Hunters a few years ago, I thought several times that they were being stupid. Walking through the woods at night, the grounds around dilapidated buildings, and so on. Hope y'all don't crash through something or off a ledge! Likewise, people going into buildings are risking injury from falling through rotted floorboards or having debris fall on them. Crashing sound up ahead. "Yaaaa! Ghosts are throwing things!" More likely, vibrations making things settle. If something comes at you horizontally, you'll have my attention.

My workplace is a part of a complex that has buildings that seem abandoned, and one thing that stopped me from using a walkway connecting to another building is what I might find there. Not spirits, but maybe folks who have been drinking spirits and making their homes in such places. I lost a lot of time trying to find a video that's made the rounds. It has two guys in a house or something and they hear sounds. They go up the stairs and something comes out of a room shrieking at them. Its method of locomotion was like someone who had lost the use of his legs and was using his arms. Evil spirit? More likely, a deformed and insane unfortunate person who wanted to be left to his lonesome.

Nuke's Top 5 has some good introductory material, sound effects, and filler before getting into actual footage. The narrator has a good voice, too. (I'd like to talk with him and get some behind-the-scenes production insight.) The paranormal videos are famous on that channel for Nuke saying, "Did you see it?" Then enhancement to show you what got people get all a-twitter. This following video has some things that are not billed as supernatural, and it supports my decision to leave alone structurally unsound places that I don't have any right to visit. ADDENDUM: I finally found that video clip I was looking for, you can see it here at the 8-minute mark.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Farewell to Basement Cat

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

When a pet passes away, many owners feel profound sorrow. After all, it is not just an organism, but a member of the family. I am struggling to write this. The problem is compounded for us because on May 20, 2020, we had to take that awful trip to the vet and also my sister-in-law passed away. I will not discuss her for the sake of family privacy and to guard against trolling.


An emotional tribute to Basement Cat and some discussion on the problem of suffering in the world.
One of my best pictures of her was impulsive and is actually in color and unmodified.
She was giving me that loving look that touched my heart so often.

Looking and Remembering

When she was small, we would play Furry Slipper. She would latch onto my foot with claws and teeth, then I could sweep the bare floor. That stopped when her play became too enthusiastic and a bite gave me pasteurella. I also see the big stuffed animal that my wife got her for Christmas one year and how she would smurgle and make with the boomerang ears.

Walking through the apartment, I stop and picture where she used to be. Sleeping under the table and using a lower rung as a pillow. Laying on her back in the living room as a sign of trust and affection. Snoring on my wife's bed, other times looking at me like I was fascinating.


She took over the recliner and would give a look as if to say, "Mine. Get your own." Cats do that. Picturing her using the food bowls on the kitchen floor and the filtered water fountain. Sitting next to me on the couch while I did my Bible reading and petting her with one hand (which I did on her last day). Purring loudly with her mouth open. Hissing and swatting at the vacuum before making a dignified retreat. Some people would say that I am giving human characteristics to an animal here, but the cat would give us loving looks that we found so very touching.

Something black on the floor that I catch out of the corner of my eye and turn to look out of habit. Shoes. I gotta cut this out before I cause myself to have hallucinations.

A Unique Cat

Most pet owners probably think their critter is something special, and they are probably right. You can see individuality in animals of many kinds. This was a smart cat and had a great deal of personality. Basement Cat is not the name she was originally given. I did not like failed rapper name she was given, Payshintz, and picked up on the internet mythology of Basement Cat. (It was unfair to portray black cats as evil, but many images were funny. I made a few myself.) She responded to other things she was called.

You're "supposed" to do a high-pitched sweetness voice, but I would say, "C'mere, cat" and she would pay attention. Felines are not famous for coming when you call, but she often did so. Other things she was called included Kitty, PayPay, Love Nugget, Belinda Boxdigger (for flinging litter), Gramma's Gurl, Baby, Hiss Machine, and others (but we didn't try to get her to respond to most). Basement Cat knew other words, such as food, treat, and water bowl.



She was a domestic longhair, and that hair regularly became troubling to her. We could see her become lethargic and actually seemed depressed. After the haircut, it was like we had the old cat back. Another word she knew was haircut, and we had to avoid it when the appointment was near. We had to be creative and even sneaky to put her in the carrier for the trip. She didn't make the association with feeling better the haircut. Indeed, it was a noisy ride: let me sing you the song of my people.

When cats lay on their backs, it can be a warning of a problem, but it is usually a sign of contentment and trust. Not only that, but we could rub her throat and under her chin, which is another sign of trust. I could even stand there and "foot pet" her in my stocking feet (making sure to hang onto something so my weight didn't shift). We had many signs from her of not only affection, but of trust.

She was proud of her tail and used it for expression. Like many cats, she would swish it back and forth when agitated. We had a couple of games with the tail. It would look like I was stepping on her tail, but my weight was on my heel and there was a gap. Not only would she bump her tail up and down between my foot and the floor, but if she moved out from under my foot, she would move the tail back again. Other times, the tail was waved in acknowledgement when I would say "kitty", "cat", and so on. We would repeat saying a name or title and for a while to watch her respond with a tail twitch or wave.

Diabetic

Having a pet is also taking on some responsibilities. We must care for them (Prov. 12:20) even when they are old and have infirmities. Basement Cat was becoming frequently sick with diarrhea and vomiting. She never seemed completely well in her adult years (I even made a birthday video a few years ago because I didn't know how long we would have her), so we thought these symptoms were a phase. Nope. The vet determined that she was diabetic. This meant that we had to give her insulin injections twice a day and buy rather expensive diabetic cat food. This stabilized her for a while.

First Major Illness

Thanksgiving was a thrill for her and she just loved to have turkey with us. Privileged Puss was a social animal, needing to eat with us.


In her younger years, she would even jump up on the dining room chair and inspect the food on the table. But that thanksgiving in 2017, she was less enthusiastic and slept more than usual. One night, I petted her and she was burning up with fever. An expensive trip to the emergency pet clinic ensued, followed by more vet visits. You can read more about this time, her recovery, and a link to a creation science article over at "How We Get Our Fabulous Feline Friends". Something I only told a few people, but I want to now: this cat was an inheritance of sorts that came to us when my wife's daughter died at age twenty seven. That connection between mother and daughter (as well as my own fondness for the cat) is another reason I was unwilling to give up easily. However, we always knew that she would have to go sometime.


Second Major Illness

Basement Cat had been coughing off and on for a year or more, and one vet dismissed it as dry air. It may have been the case at the time, but in May 2020 it became worse. Her breathing was also labored. We took her to the vet, had x-rays taken, and had to give antibiotics. She got worse. At this point, her breathing was even more labored, she was breathing with her mouth open, and not eating. Another visit and a stronger antibiotic. 

On May 20, my wife and I agreed that she was suffering. I don't think she slept the last two days. Seeing all this had me in tears and in agonized prayer. The illness in 2017, it just felt wrong for her to go, and I believe that there was a miracle as well as with the medical science so we could have her with us another couple of years. This time, somehow I knew there would be no healing. I called and made the arrangement, then later got word that my wife's sister had passed away.

Nagging Doubts and then Confirmation

We wanted to know if we were being hasty. Would the cat recover again? Although we were reasonably certain, we wanted Dr. Cody to give one more look at her. She agreed that there was too much suffering, especially with the breathing. When it was all over, I said that she could open up the cat to investigate and in the interest of veterinary medical science. 

Oh, boy! Not only was there a golf ball-sized tumor in a lung, but there was fluid in the lungs that indicated a heart problem. If the fluid had been drained off through an invasive method, it would have only put off the problem for a little while. Yes, definitely, it was right that we ended it.

I was allowed to be there for her to have that final injection (the end came very quickly), and had my hand on her. She was probably unaware of this, but I promise you that she knew my wife and I loved her. She loved us as well, and the heck with naturalistic views that animals only act out of functions or have no feelings.

Do Not Feel Guilty for Feeling Some Relief

This is an area that we have to deal with, not only with pets but also people. My wife and I have lost our parents, and her sister was suffering from an aggressive cancer. It is not a crime or a sin to feel relief — not only for them, but for ourselves. No more visits to nursing homes hoping we will be recognized as loved ones deteriorate, no more vet visits and financial expenditures, and so on. As Christians, we need to focus on the glory of God and be thankful for the time he has given us with those we have loved and have loved us.


Death and Suffering

Believers and unbelievers alike struggle with the question of why we deal with death and suffering if God created everything very good. From a biblical creation perspective, sin entered the world and death for humans and animals came with it (Gen. 3:17-19, Rom. 8:19-22, Rom. 5:12-21). Evolution and atheistic naturalism do not have the necessary preconditions of dealing with life, and only the biblical worldview has coherent answers. The subject of death and suffering has been dealt with many times, so I don't feel the need to "reinvent the wheel". However, there are some articles that I would like to suggest, and if you follow the links to those sites, you can also search them for more information:
Y'all may have cognated that this has been a very difficult article to write. It needed to be written, not only for me, but I hope that it may be useful to others. Also, my own days are numbered. So are yours. Not only do I have certain health issues, but I'm advancing in years. Eventually, the Trailmaster will say, "You're done there, Cowboy. Time to mount up and ride with me". I'm confident about my eternal destination, and think mayhaps that some of my furry friends will cross that Rainbow Bridge with me. If you're not absolutely certain of where you will go when your time comes, I implore you to make certain. Do it now.

Here is a video I put together of Basement Cat. The first part where I am playing with her is rather loud. Unfortunately, if you want to hear her purring in the second part, you'll need to turn up the volume a mite:


Friday, May 1, 2020

"Planet of the Humans" and Personal Objectivity

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

When I heard about the video Planet of the Humans that was released free to the public, I had to check myself for consistency and minimize my personal hypocrisy. This movie challenged me to put things I've learned into practice.


This movie was surprising on several levels, and challenged me to see if I could remain consistent. There were some interesting things to learn about the love of money in the green movement.
Credit: Freeimages / Andrew Purtell
Could I view this film honestly and objectively, putting my personal feelings aside? For that matter, could I accurately utilize the logic and critical thinking that I've been learning and teaching for several years? After all, far too many people (especially atheists and leftists) "think" with their emotions. The genetic fallacy involves rejecting something simply because of its source:



A high standard to set is to consider information and possibly learn something despite where it originated. (This can be adjusted when the source is demonstrably biased and unreliable: There's no point in seeking truth about Donald Trump from the New York Times or CNN, nor is accuracy about creation science to be found at Wikipedia or from Clinton Richard Dawins.) Planet of the Humans was sponsored by Michael Moore.

This maker of documentaries is a hardcore leftist. Moore has praised Cuban healthcare, told numerous falsehoods about George W. Bush and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, has railed against Donald Trump, and done other things to be obstreperous and obnoxious. It was not until the end credits that I realized that Michael was not the maker of the film, which was written, produced, and directed by environmentalist Jeff Gibbs. Moore is the executive producer and distributor.

It was startling to learn that leftists attacked the film and even wanted it censored for supposedly uncovering falsehoods that are believed by the green energy environmental extremists. This really got my attention and brought up another personal consideration. Specifically, was I going to watch it because it might confirm my biases? While that motive is not always wrong, such thinking can be a prison for oneself. 

There are many things I've learned about environmental leftists, so when I saw the film, I was not surprised to have some of my knowledge confirmed. There were also some very interesting points made about the double standards and even outright deceptions of the green movement that were surprising. However, they seemed real enough and without the extreme emotional manipulation of those folks. Gibbs had some strong words against the "worst" of capitalism, which fits with the socialist message that Moore as promoted many times in the past. Was the evidence presented factual and accurate? That will be up to people who can honestly examine the material for refutation or affirmation.

While the green movement seems to be more interested in making money and gaining political power than in promoting is unrealistic and unsustainable goals, that is what we can expect from people who do not have a biblical worldview. Jeff Gibbs seems to have leftist leanings along with Michael Moore, and do not seem to have room for the Creator in their beliefs. Yes, those of us who are Christians are supposed to care about the environment because we are stewards of God's creation.

There was a bit of profanity in Planet of the Humans and an obviously secular view. Socialism was minimal, and I did not see any of the Orange Man Bad mantra of the left. I think I kept a balance of healthy skepticism and willingness to learn, and if other people watch it, I hope you can do the same. It was not easy to refrain from rejecting a Moore-backed film out of hand, though. Even so, I suggest that others watch Planet of the Humans and see how the worldview of Jeff Gibbs plays out. It probably will not be free forever, though, so you can learn more and watch it here.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Coronavirus and the Resurrection

There have been disasters, wars, famines, diseases, and all sorts of disasters that can be traced back to the first sin in Eden. This is not to downplay the suffering and death associated with COVID-19. Why is this Coronavirus such an important matter, and what does Easter have to do with it? 


The COVID-19 Coronavirus as well as other issues related to suffering and death will ultimately be removed. Death was defeated at the bodily Resurrection of Jesus.
Christ Appearing to His Disciples After the Resurrection by William Blake
Some events were sudden and then over, such as tsunamis or volcanic eruptions. Others, such as the Black Death of the 1340s, lingered on and killed millions. It is natural for people to wonder how their lives will change if they live through the circumstance. COVID-19 is something new in some ways (but the people during the Black Death probably thought the same thing), and we have had to alter our lifestyles. We do not know how long we will deal with the changes, and if there will ever be a semblance of normalcy again.

It may be hard to believe at first glance, but this is not something that God cannot handle. (It is interesting to me that people use bad things in the world as an excuse to reject God, but they never use these as evidence for the existence of Satan. Just a thought.) Actually, this virus has already been defeated. Jesus died for our sins and those who repent can have eternal life. He also defeated death at the Resurrection. If you skip ahead to the end of the Book, there were be no more pain, sickness, and death.
Sickness, death, natural disasters, and human tragedy—everywhere we look, we see death and suffering. It is part of the human condition. There is no escaping it. And during this current COVID-19 pandemic, we are hearing about it every day. As we watch the news or read online updates about coronavirus/COVID-19, we see that the infection numbers and the death counts are rising daily. Current numbers show almost 1.5 million reported cases and over 80,000 deaths. This situation is a tragedy.

The question often asked is obvious: If God is truly all-powerful and loving, why doesn’t he put an end to death and suffering? Some even ask if he is incapable, questioning his power. Others ask if he is unwilling, questioning his goodness. But both of these questions are based on a false dichotomy: goodness cannot exist apart from justice. Would we call a judge “good” if he let violent criminals go free, with no consequences? Of course not!
To read the entire article, click on "Death, Suffering, and Coronavirus".

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Outlaw Bob, or The Covid Cowboy

This is actually a funny series of inspirations. First of all, we are fine, no wicked viruses here mate.

Desperate for exercise (I work at home now), I wanted to walk to store and get some things. This is New York and the media panicporn is in high gear, so I didn't know if I would be walking into a police state atmosphere or terrified people. But I don't have a mask.

Okay, saw a video about making your own with a bandana, two rubber bands, and tucking it in. Didn't work they way it was designed (as a square), so I rotated it so the points were like a compass, due north was up, etc., and folded it that way. Then I tied it in the back, put on my hat, grabbed a shootin' iron, and had my wife take a picture. She was disappointed that shooting me was only with a camera, but oh well.

When I got to the shop, I was the only one wearing a mask. Social distancing as much as is reasonable in the small place. (Some were getting milk shakes...essential services...) It was a bit of an experiment anyway.

A guy I was working in the business establishment called me The Outlaw. Nah. If I changed my handle, I would be The Creation Cowboy. Anyway, my mind wandered. Outlaw...makeshift covid mask...I was given a wanted poster graphic recently...thinking, "Like a Covid Cowboy, riding out on a horse in a medical rodeo"...just having fun letting thought fragments cascade around. Finally, I went to PhotoFunia and made a graphic.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Business Decisions and Home Quarantine

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen, do not blame me for font and spacing weirdness Blogger/Google often does this.
Edited 4-02-2020

While working for The Company, I wondered about "Work From Home" (WfH, which is known by similar names) and was told that it was a mite difficult. Difficulties had been solved and The Company began rolling out the program on a test basis with a select few who had stellar production and quality.



In a rushed sequence of events, many of us in a cubicle farm were sent to work at home. The Company is unaware of important things that are happening, including adjustments to COVID-19.
Credit: Unsplash / Annie Spratt
A bit later, they began to send people home a few at a time. Suddenly, The Company saw fit to remove people from the cube farm and send us away — probably because of COVID-19. That's fine from my perspective because I have a heart thing, diabetes, and I hit the six decades mark. Okay, now I have been up and running for a week.

Truth is still truth if even if someone dislikes it. I'll say some things my superiors will not like, but their names are not in this. (Besides, people don't need to know that my primary job is venomous snake wrangling and data entry at Universal Widgets.) Essentially, The Company is profoundly cheap. 


When President Trump signed the tax cut bill, other companies were giving their employees raises and large bonuses. We had fundraisers to pay for our own perks. The IT people would foul something up and then refuse to fix it unless forced, telling us to use time-consuming workarounds. (Do they work for Facebook, too?) Maybe I'll give you the Department of Labor case number where they were caught and penalized for cheating employees out of their wages, but not today.


There are many other examples that I may provide in subsequent articles, but in this case, we are expected to provide our own internet connection while other companies provided separate cable connections for their WfH employees. (Gotta pinch them rupees until Mahatma Gandhi screams in pain, don'tcha know.) Take note that I have many reasons to believe that this cable-sharing arrangement is definitely not a risk to secure data.



Providing Equipment

My own computer is a tower than runs Windows 7, and it has a bay for peripherals as well as a DVD-ROM. Don't be knocking my eMachine, it's been a workhorse for several years. I may have to get a new computer soon. The computer I received startled me because at first because it's the size of a modem. That is the size of the work computer, but without the other stuff that isn't necessary for this activity anyway. Had to plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I used my own shorter ethernet cable because the one they provided would have been far too long. Okay, this cowboy was ready to saddle up.

In the Environment

No, y'ain't going to see a picture, sorry. I used some desk space and had to figure out how to set up the system in this one-bedroom apartment. (Remember, this was a hurried thing and I didn't know what to expect.) Safe enough, we're on the second floor and nobody can see anything from outside. No cameras and telecommuting, so nothing important will be overheard. I had to use a laptop table that was conveniently available — well, my wife had to relocate the slow cooker — for the keyboard and mouse. Plus some adjusting of my chair and the chair mat on the carpet. That's all set.

Aside from a few differences logging in and signing on, the same desktop and applications appeared. This part was identical to working in the cube farm, which is nice because I didn't need to learning something new there. Although The Company is impinging on the internet connection that I pay for which is also used for my own computer's after-work activities, our Roku device, and so on, there doesn't seem to be a lag in connecting time for devices or processing the work. (Well, not everything is running at the same time, so maybe I'm ahead of myself on this point.) I was concerned that the cable company might give problems with data caps and such, but I don't foresee that happening.

Storm Clouds

Before I continue, I need to say that The Company is very large with multiple locations around the world. Dozens of others and I from this location are at the bottom of the food chain. We have team leads and so forth, followed by a supervisor, a manager above the supervisor, someone in charge of this location, and then even more "important" people farther away that probably could not do this work to save their lives. They are important according to The Company and worldly standards, but I, too, am created in God's image.

I have sympathy and respect for team leads, the supervisor, and the next manager up. While most of them care about us, they also have to deal with the "I'm rich and in charge, make me richer" mentality. If production standards aren't good enough or The Company made too many promises they couldn't keep, these folks have to be whip crackers. Then they have to look the people they depend on in the eye, including me when I have anxieties and issues. That management role is not the kind of position I want to be in.


Time Away from the Desk

The manager sent out a message on the instant messaging platform that over the past few days that uptime has dropped. Yes, we have to adjust, but get to work, no excuses. A day or two later, a very angry message came from the manager about a significant number of errors, which sounded like all of us are fouling up. That second message can be a separate post, so I will deal with the first one.

Uptime is a strange word that strikes me as counter-intuitive. It is a negative thing, and I have to think of it as up time, time that workers are up and away from their computers. Like most companies, we have two paid fifteen-minute breaks as well as a longer lunch break (ours is unpaid). The Company also allows some additional time for trips to the restroom, go to the coffee machine, quick phone calls, or whatever. But Comrade Worker, you must keep up the standards.

"Get with the program, Cowboy Bob! Corporations are all greedy and squeeze their employees until they have nothing left, then replace them. It's the way of the business world."

Might doesn't make right, old son. There are higher principles that these people reject in their love of money and worldly things. By the way, didn't Lee Iacocca say that if give your employees your best, they'll give you their best? Not happening from the bean counters at the top of the food chain, nosiree.

As an aside, because I am diabetic, I make frequent short trips to the restroom. My uptime should have improved because I do not have to make that long trek like before.

Consider all the Facts

Sure, I ride for the brand and try to meet the corporate standards. In fact, employers, I don't work for you. Yes, you sign the paycheck, but my Employer is above all y'all, and I want to glorify him most of all.

Although I have knowledge and life experience, it was made clear to me years ago that I am unworthy to express or even have ideas on how to make improvements. But we are the people that you depend on who work in the trenches. We know some things. So I'll ask questions and make my thoughts known here.


How were the production standards developed? I had asked a similar question of a previous manager ("he has decided to seek employment elsewhere", but we all know what that means) and what sample size was used, but he didn't know. Were the standards arbitrary, or were they based on actual production people? For that matter, which production people? Some know shortcuts (and even "cheats" better than others). Were the standards based on the best of the best? Everyone should have been included in serious testing conditions.


This is the same cheap company that used unreliable software (which I had distrusted since I began this job) to cheat us out of our wages. The same company, same IT department, says people aren't working. Why should I trust that? Why should any manager trust that


Since we are using our existing internet connections that are usually through the cable company, there are variations in connectivity and speed. I had to reboot my modem and router twice because they need it on occasion. In addition, the servers we use have to connect with the servers of The Company, and there are interruptions. I suspect we may appear to be not working while the system is reconnecting. Part of that may be Wuhan Quarantine Internet Clogging (a term I made up, hope you like it). Many people are home and going online. Someone skilled in the nuts and bolts part of IT can correct me if I'm wrong about the internet overload.


There are times we have to wait for team leads to check on certain issues because providers often have no idea how to fill out the forms, so they slap some mighty strange stuff in there. Send the code to the team lead, let him or her check it out and get back to us. The line from The Company is, "We take that into account". Yeah, sure. Corporate excuse that I don't accept.


Related to that and to the issue of productivity is when we have to study the forms. Did Skippy write a 7, 9, 0, 6, or what? After some indecision, we call it illegible. But it took time.


In this kind of work, you have people of many ages and in varying degrees of heath. Several of us have medical conditions (one had chronic heart problems and died at home from a heart attack a couple of weeks ago). I have said that The Company has a revolving door. People get hired and trained, then they find different jobs quick-like. Someone might way, "They didn't want to work!" Meadow muffins! That's an appeal to motive fallacy. Also upper management protects and attitude of, "The Company is a wonderful place to work. Don't you know who we are?" Yes, we do know who you are. Smell yourselves, drop your presuppositions, and see why you are losing good people.


But we are really units, automatons, right? Gotta count them beans and pinch them rupees, never mind that even robots need maintenance. Yes, I'm resentful because people should be treated like people. No, not coddled, don't be disunderstanding me. We do want to work and be productive except for a few sluggards. Some of the immediate supervisors, those I deal with, have compassion, which is a rare commodity. Folks at the top of the food chain know about money but are unskilled in dealing with people.


The whole world is adjusting to the novel virus now called SARS-CoV-2. Understanding, diagnosing, treating, testing (don't use faulty made-in-China tests and their ineffective face masks!), quarantines, lock-downs, and more. The Company sent people home, and most of the population of New York is at home, too. This includes frustrated and bored schoolkids. I had no time to plan for my own set-up (partly because I made inaccurate assumptions about what we would be using). Other people had to make drastic adjustments in a mighty big hurry. No wonder the uptime is somewhat lacking. It should improve, but don't be commencing with the forty lashes so soon.

As you can guess, this article has been building up for a while and current events are applicable. If I write more about this employer, this will be foundational. I expect that should someone from The Company happen on this, my concerns and observations will be rejected out of hand. Then I'll be fired out of retaliation. I'm just a cowboy that does the work and wants to not only glorify God but also please those who sign the paychecks. My sense of right and wrong are inapplicable to worldly people who consider us cogs in the wheel. Don't take the mark.
Maybe this missive will help other people learn how to treat employees.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Poor Choice of Business Names

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Business often try to attract attention from prospective customers with advertisements and logos, but those efforts can be negated when the name is unimpressive. Some names resonate, but bad names can lead to catastrophic marketing systems failures. Names seem all right at first glance, but may put people off if they think about them.

Some business names are humorous and get our attention. Others are very unfortunate. A name using the word evolution may not be such a good idea.
This chicken is not impressed and has nothing to do with this article.
Credit: Pixabay / Andy M
All y'all have probably seen pictures and lists of interesting names. Some are designed to get your attention with humor, others are unfortunate for various reasons. (My advice to people who want to use their name in their business but the name is a bit odd: reconsider, or play it up.) I come across interesting names in the course of my duties and wanted to pick on one in particular.

No need to give you more than the word evolution. It is used as part of the name of several physical rehabilitation companies. While I have no idea if they are good at their jobs (they probably are), but having evolution in the name strikes me as humorous. In fact, they would be more accurate in using a name involving intelligent design. After all, therapists have to study to learn procedures, obtain licenses, and operate specialized equipment. In conjunction with universal common descent evolution, that would mean lots of time, chance, randomness, and so on. I can do that all by my lonesome and save money as well. There are also therapy services with Genesis in their names that would be more likely to attract me since it is the beginning and the Bible book talks of purpose, not disorder.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Another Asteroid of Doom

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Are we dead yet? Are we dead yet? An asteroid was supposed to hit the earth and kill millions of people, and it missed us by a long shot. This has me on the prod. No, I was not hoping for massive destruction and the deaths of millions of people that would resemble Earth under ten years of leftist dominance. What bothers me is click bait.


So we missed out on another killer asteroid, and I am on the prod. No, not because of death and destruction. You will see why.
Credit: Credit: NASA / Don Davis
Sensationalism sells. Good journalism and actual reporting, not so much. We saw it in the wold posts about President Trump, anthropogentic climate change, "proof of evolution" articles, among other things that don't tell the truth and ignore important facts. Many people are click bait masters, but social media didn't seem interested in suppressing the fake news.

"NASA warns..." No, not really.
Yes, the world is going to end in a big way, but on God's timetable. The possible good that can come out of scary things like this is that it can prompt people to consider their own mortality and where they will spend eternity.