Saturday, 31 March 2012

Creationists Using "Reason"

It's fair to say that pretty much all creationist arguments are trite. It would also be fair to say that the belief in creationism has little or nothing to do with those arguments. Perhaps some design analogies might be of some influence, but for the most part reason doesn't factor into it. Well, reason around the creationist arguments anyway.

The sad fact is, though, that creationists will use creationist arguments without seeing the problem with them. After all, they come to the conclusion that they hold for other reasons, so how could they be wrong!? Unfortunately going through the arguments and picking apart their reasoning isn't enough, as the following video demonstrates.

The reason for the need to stand up for reason is right there. Even with all the arguments dissected and countered, creationist #2 still thinks that he's the one with truth on his side and that he's one bringing truth to the table. It's laughable.

But therein lies the heart of the matter. They are not arguing from reason, but from conviction. The arguments are merely a foil for that, not really understood except for their perceived implication - that their conviction is vindicated in reason. Any counter isn't going to be on the argument itself, but measured against the conviction.

In short, the creationists are playing a game that they are ill-equipped to play. Instead of taking the time and effort to understand evolutionary theory and work through the arguments, they've jumped on whatever sounds good to back up the position they already hold to be true. There's just no reasoning with that, as evidenced in the video. The only rectification is if the creationists would take the time to study what evolution is - but why would they do that when they know that it must be false!

Album Of The Day: Week 13

Sunday (25/03): Anubis - A Tower Of Silence
Monday (26/03): Heidevolk - Batavi
Tuesday (27/03): Pennywise - Full Circle
Wednesday (28/03): Slayer - Reign In Blood
Thursday (29/03): Darkthrone - Transilvanian Hunger
Friday (30/03): Porno For Pyros - Good God's Urge
Saturday (31/03): Meshuggah - Koloss

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Album Of The Day: Week 12

Sunday (18/03): Mournful Congregation - The Book Of Kings
Monday (19/03): Drudkh - Eternal Turn Of The Wheel
Tuesday (20/03): Pallbearer - Sorrow And Extinction
Wednesday (21/03): Animals As Leaders - Weightless
Thursday (22/03): Ghost - Opus Eponymous
Friday (23/03): Loincloth - Iron Balls Of Steel
Saturday (24/03): Barren Earth - The Devil's Resolve

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Consuming Music In Australia

Australia can be a really isolated place at times. Media has for a long time tricked us into thinking otherwise, and especially the internet has given us the illusion that we are not as isolated as the physical reality would suggest it should seem.

Yet the reality is that while we have this interconnected infrastructure, the boundaries still exist. And as the internet has matured, so too has the capacity to put those boundaries back in. I used to stream full episodes of The Daily Show and Colbert Report through their website, then it got restricted so I could only see the clips. Now I can't see it at all - and they were an anomaly in that there was once a point I could actually watch it!

Trying to find digital music similarly has this problems. If there are MP3s at all, they are usually through iTunes or The former will double the price upon seeing you are Australian while the latter will let you get to the point of buying then politely inform you that they can sell only in the United States! I'm trying to pay for music, but they won't let me!

In trying to keep up with modern music, I'm often finding myself on the basis of recommendations or good reviews trying to hunt down a legal copy. If I'm lucky they have a bandcamp, where I can buy it without much hassle. But usually the music can only be bought in CD form and almost always accompanied by huge shipping fees. I understand that shipping isn't going to be a charity, but the geography does play a role.

Take the new Paradise Lost CD. To pre-order it from the label, the CD costs $10, while there's $9 for shipping. I'd be more than happy to give the label (preferably the band, but one step at a time) $10 for the album, but I can't do that without paying almost that much again for distribution. Meanwhile I don't think I'd have any problems finding that album illegally. So it goes.

I wish this was the exception rather than the norm. When I ordered the new Opeth CD last year, delivery was the bulk of the cost - I threw in a shirt to try to at least shift that balance a little. Just today I was checking up the new Adrenaline Mob CD where the delivery was higher than the cost of the CD. When delivery was included, it was usually an extra $5 to get something internationally. The only store that didn't seem to charge extra (perhaps delivery costs are hidden based on I.P.) was ProMedia.

This is trying to catalogue some of the frustrations I have had in trying to be a legitimate consumer of music. I don't blame any record label for their delivery costs, nor particularly do I blame them for the lack of decent digital sales. It might just not be viable except through Amazon or iTunes. And there are no-doubt leftover remnants of a once-viable business model that don't fit at all well with the new way the internet connects us.

It is a frustration, however, that Napster was well over a decade ago and there's still only a half-arsed attempt to shift towards digital sales. Perhaps Australia isn't enough of a market to warrant consideration (though enough of one to crack down on piracy), but what good is putting up digital barriers based on geography to restrict when the technology it's in response to doesn't?

Album Of The Day: Week 11

Sunday (11/03): Hypno5e - Acid Mist Tomorrow
Monday (12/03): The Cure - Disintegration
Tuesday (13/03): Textures - Drawing Circles
Wednesday (14/03): Summonus - Zeichen Der Hexe
Thursday (15/03): Ufomammut - Eve
Friday (16/03): Strapping Young Lad - City
Saturday (17/03): The Devin Townsend Project - Ghost

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Album Of The Day: Week 10

Sunday (04/03): Puscifer - Conditions Of My Parole
Monday (05/03): Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins - A Scarcity Of Miracles
Tuesday (06/03): No Age - Nouns
Wednesday (07/03): Alarum - Natural Causes
Thursday (08/03): Wizard Smoke - The Speed Of Smoke
Friday (09/03): Craft - Void
Saturday (10/03): Altar Of Plagues - Mammal

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Album Of The Day: Week 9

Sunday (26/02): Haken - Visions
Monday (27/02): Turisas - Stand Up And Fight
Tuesday (28/02): Les Discrets - Ariettes OubliƩes...
Wednesday (29/02): The Sun Aesthetic - Composure
Thursday (01/03): Zero Hour - The Towers Of Avarice
Friday (02/03): Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Saturday (03/03): Looking Glass - III

The Great Uterine Conspiracy

Governments need to legislate against birth control options, because they know that if women actually have a choice in the matter, they know that the human race would be doomed to extinction. Because if we can't trick women into having babies through ignorance and lack of intention, then what chance do we have? Women, if given the chance, will lock their uterus down with so much baby-preventing chemicals that the only hope will be funding the construction of mechanical incubators - and do you know how expensive that would be?

If it sounds dumb, think of any given rationale that politicians give.

Friday, 2 March 2012


"In terms of its gross effect on the outcomes of physical processes, knowledge is at least as significant as any other physical quantity." - David Deutsch

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Cathedral Farewell Show

With the better capacity to capture and reproduce cultural expressions, any new generation is faced not only with a bigger amount of culture than the last, but a bigger rate of cultural creation than before. Most of us, even in exploring small sections of the cultural landscape, will not adequately explore even that.

I discovered Cathedral after they released their most recent album: The Guessing Game - very late on the Cathedral timeline. So when I found out they were calling it quits after this tour, I didn't have the sentiment to have to see them, but the desire to see them while there was the chance to. Combined with Paradise Lost, whose last two albums rate among my favourite releases of the last 5 years, I eagerly anticipated this show.

Opening were Finnish "battle metal" band, Turisas. I had heard their latest album: Stand Up And Fight a couple of times, it's got some nice moments but doesn't do much for me. Live, however, the songs really come into their own. It's high energy, entertaining stuff, and when they finished after 5 frenetic fun tracks later, it felt far too short. Though there were some issues (at least from my vantage point) from the music being too loud where the reverberation of the venue drowned out any otherwise discernible sounds that should have been there.

Paradise Lost were probably the band I was the most excited to see, and I wasn't alone. I heard one member of the crowd speculate that Paradise Lost were the main drawcard of the gig (not for him, just fullstop). I was disappointed in advance that they were only getting 45 minutes, though it didn't feel shortchanged. The setlist was excellent, opening with the opening track of Draconian Times and playing a good mix of old and new. The new track sounded good (search for a dodgy version on Youtube, there were enough camera-phones out all through their set), so I'm excited for their upcoming album already. Compared to Turisas and Cathedral their performance lacked some flair, but what else should one expect given their music? I really hope they do a headline tour for their new album.

I don't really know how to describe Cathedral. I went into the gig without any preconceptions or expectations, and came out very satisfied with what I had witnessed. Their vocalist was great as a frontman, putting energy where he could into the performance, and revving up the crowd when it didn't quite seem energised enough. Not that the lack of energy would have been a bad thing, musically there was more than enough to excite and amaze, but the theatrical demanded more energy and the crowd obliged. Though my personal high moment was the jam at the end of Carnival Bizarre, where I was truly lost in the music. Their set lasted 1 hour, then 15 minutes of encore. A great set, and a great send-off for an amazing band. The diehard fans in the audience seemed satisfied, anyway, if the impression of a burgeoning fan isn't good enough.

It might be that Cathedral will join the ranks of the many bands doing reunion tours in the years to come. If that happens, I won't mind in the least, as this experience was in no way predicated on this being their final tour (merely an impetus for going). It's odd to contemplate, for me at least, how it was I came to discover them. Thanks to the capacity to record music, I could theoretically have discovered them at any time. It's conceivable that their upcoming swansong The Last Spire would have been what introduced me and I'd have been kicking myself for getting into them just too late. That's both the advantage to, and downside of, capturing cultural phenomena.

Whatever the case, this experience was a great reminder that performance is a part of music, and that part of the regret of missing out on seeing a band live is missing out on that component. And too, perhaps, sharing that experience with others. With Cathedral, I was fortunate enough not to miss my chance. But I'm sure as I continue to explore the vast and deep cultural landscape that I'll find times where I won't be so fortunate. To me, it's reason enough to seize the moment when it's there.