Stop using shitty arguments about veganism

I’m not particularly talkative about my veganism. I’ve never been much of an activist for any cause (I refuse to count posting facebook links as activism). I prefer to do my best to be rational about my opinions and ethics and let my life speak for itself. It certainly doesn’t help that “pushy vegan” is a common cultural trope (and, let’s be honest, silencing technique) that I would rather not play into. So, generally speaking I just do my thing and try my best to ignore the overwhelmingly meat-obsessed culture around me.

But the thing is, I don’t just hate needless animal suffering. I also hate shitty, irrational arguments and I find it really hard to shut up and let people make them. Exposing shitty arguments is part of the reason I’ve written for Crocoduck (the rest of my reasons are the sexual favors and casual Fridays). So, I feel compelled to discuss the shitty, irrational arguments about veganism. I say about, not against, because the bread knife cuts both ways, and I find shitty arguments in favor of veganism to be every bit as rage worthy as the ones against it. [Read more…]

Throwback Thursday: Michael W. Smith – Picture Perfect

Michael W. Smith’s 1992 album Change Your World was the first CD my family owned. My sister and I had gone to a fundamentalist baptist school that held candy sale fundraiser every year. Depending on how much candy you sold there were different prizes you could choose from and one year we got enough to get the brand-new CD boombox. Since my family were rebellious, my parents got us the newest Michael W. Smith album; something our fellow fundies would have surely condemned us for. Rock music is evil, even (or especially) if it pretends to be Christian, or so it went. Here’s the opening track from the album “Picture Perfect”, in which Smith attempts a feminist anthem for the early 90s CCM crowd. Also, it was so totally my jam as a 9 year-old, for some reason. I suspect it was the synths.


I can’t fault the guy for trying, and this is fairly progressive compared to what other Christian singers were doing at the time, but the whole premise of female validation via male approval still misses the point. “Don’t worry ‘baby’, I’ll still give you the male attention you (obviously) need to have purpose in your life (because you’re a woman and that’s what women need), even if you aren’t perfect”. Also, if keeping up with the Joneses means wearing a red leather vest with the whatever-the-fuck web of arm straps that his backup dancers are wearing, count me out. I love the editing of this video, “Quick, he’s trying to dance, go to a wide shot before people realize how white he is” and the classic “cut to the drummer  because Michael’s lips aren’t in sync with the tape”. If you pay attention at 2:37, there’s a vocal on the tape that I’m pretty sure is black woman, but they just edited it to a shot of white dude backup singer and then the second half of the same vocal is a different white guy. Brilliant.


So Stupid It Hertz

Here, have some nonsense.

Someone posted a link to this article in a Facebook group I’m in and it is such a wonderful mixture of fundamentalism, pseudoscience, numerology, random capslock, and stupidity that I just had to share it with you all. It’s absolutely full of amazing bullshit, but the author does us the favor of summarizing with a hand top ten list (#6 is my favorite):


1.  432 hz. is the governing frequency of the created universe as measured by planetary alignments and orbital movements.

2.  The Ancient COVENANT HEBREWS used 432 hz. tuning on their instruments, and it became the basis of WORSHIP and OBLATIONS in the Hebrew Temple and Tabernacle, and later, the standard keynote pitch of Christian music worldwide.

3.  Despite over 40,000 petitions from musicians to have international  concert pitch remain unaltered at A=432Hz, concert pitch was changed to A=440Hz in October of 1953 by the International Standards Organization (ISO).  If something’s clearly not broken,  and people are happy with it, why try to change it?

4.  Maria Renold’s book “Intervals Scales Tones and the Concert Pitch C=128hz” shows rather conclusive evidence that 440Hz and raising concert pitch above scientific “C” Prime=128hz (Concert A=432hz) “disassociates the connection of consciousness to the body and creates anti-social conditions in humanity”.

5.  Many professional musicians have declared that A=432hz music seems to them to be non localized in nature, and can appear to fill a room, whereas A=440hz can perceived as directional or linear in sound propagation.

6.  If Hitler,  Goebbles, Rockefeller and Rothschild were proponents of 440 hz., is it really peaceful and beneficial to human beings?

7.  The original Stradivarius violins were designed to be tuned to A432 ONLY.  Many professional musicians have complained that the raising of concert pitch to 440 hz. or higher caused undue stress or warping of their expensive acoustic instruments such as their Stradivarius violins, and that 440 hz damages a singers vocal chords especially those of professional opera singers.

8.  Dr. John Coleman in his seminal book “The Committee of 300″ documented the “elitists” desire to control the collective consciousness of humanity.  Their use of A=440Hz as “pitch control in mass media” pushed hourly and daily through radio & television as the “British Invasion” of Rock & Roll was, according to Dr. Coleman, intentionally designed to create anti-social behaviors and to increase chronic disease states in the general public.

9.  The inventor of the Cymascope, John Stuart Reid declared on his Facebook page: ““432Hertz is a harmonic of light frequency – it ‘speaks’ or ‘resonates’ directly with our cells. All cells communicate with each other via infrared light so I imagine that when they receive music in 432 Hertz they are in joy. The conscious ‘you’ may not be aware of this, but most of what goes on in our bodies is sub conscious, thankfully! You can read more about how all sounds create infra red light in the physics section of our web site CymaScope™ ”

10.  432 is THE ONLY resonant frequency that is capable of naturally reproducing what is called the “Pythagorean Musical Spiral” in the water of the human cell. Its the same sequence of growth that all life follows. It utilizes the formula of “Phi” also know as the “Golden Mean” and is also found in the “Fibonacci sequence” throughout all of nature.

11,  The notes that come out in the A = 432 scale end up as mostly, whole numbers, and are divisible by 3. John Stuart Reid quotes, using the Cymascope/cymatics technology: “432 Hertz pops out as a triangle, every time we image it. We thought there was something wrong with the Cymascope, but after trying for more than an hour we concluded that the number 3 was somehow universally connected to 432 Hertz.”

12.  According to the harmonic principle by which any produced sound automatically resonates all the other multiples of that frequency, when we play C at 256 Hz, (when A is tuned to 432 hz) the C of all other octaves also begins to vibrate in “sympathy” and so, naturally, the frequency of 8Hz is also sounded. This is why (together with many other mathematical reasons) the musical pitch tuned to 432 oscillations per second is known as the “scientific tuning.”  This “scientific” tuning was unanimously approved at the Congress of Italian musicians in 1881 and recommended by the physicists Joseph Sauveur and Felix Savart as well as by the Italian scientist Bartolomeo Grassi Landi.  In contrast, the frequency chosen in London in 1953 as the worldwide reference frequency and which all music today has been tuned to, has come to be defined as ‘disharmonic’ because it has no scientific relationship to the physical laws that govern our universe, and exhibits no “Harmonic Principle” of the sacred number 8.

Call me convinced!

The Nonexistence of Religious Morality

In a recent essay for a religion survey course I wrote that “If there are good teachings or moral ideas in the Bible or in the words of Jesus, they are good independent of their source and to rely on someone else’s teaching for your own morality is to be amoral.” My professor wrote a comment on my essay asking: “…what about when people motivated by religious ethics do really good things like the Civil Rights Movement? …are they amoral even if their cause is good?” By way of responding, I’d like to consider the classic “trolley problem” of ethics. Here’s the Wikipedia summary of this thought experiment:

There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do). You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?

Like many thought experiments in ethics, there is no “right” answer; both are pretty terrible options. The important part of the trolley problem is that the subject is forced to make a moral decision and is subsequently forced to examine the moral reasoning process that led them to that decision. For example, many would say that saving as many lives as possible is the most moral decision, others might say that the active participation in the death of the individual by pulling the lever implicates them in a murder. Both are valid concerns given the situation. [Read more…]

The Bizarre Case of Bethany Paquette and Amaruk Wilderness Corp.

Originally I wanted to post about this solely for the sake of one great quote in the first article I read about it:

Amundsen then used an expletive to state that if he met God, he would have sex with him.

I went in search of more information about the story and it’s one of those things where the more I learned the less I knew. For starters, Bethany Paquette, a graduate of anti-gay Trinity Western University in British Columbia applied for a job at Amaruk Wilderness Corp. that she was admittedly not qualified for. She was rejected on this basis but the rejection email from Olaf Amundsen of the company added that the company was opposed to the anti-gay stances of Trinity and wouldn’t consider hiring students from the school anyway. It’s an unprofessional, dickish move that wasn’t necessary and that Paquette rightly objected to. An email exchange followed,and Paquette filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. She’s claiming that she was discriminated against on religious grounds and the company is arguing that she was rejected because of her lack of credentials. [Read more…]

Reza Aslan Doesn’t Understand Atheists


I wouldn’t mind this week’s rant wars about “is Islam a bad idea?” if there was an actual discussion taking place. But it doesn’t seem to me like Reza Aslan and Ben Affleck have actually been listening to what Maher and Harris are arguing; they certainly haven’t addressed the Pew polling that Maher tried to bring up in the clip below. Recently Aslan wrote an opinion column for the New York Times in which he makes clear how little he understands the atheistic arguments against both religion in general and Islam in particular. He does this by neatly articulating many of the reasons why I hate religion while attempting to defend it. [Read more…]

Hi Kirk.


Various news outlets have reported this, but the headline over at CBS News really captures it well: “Bizarre dinosaur with jaws like a crocodile, feet like a duck unveiled“. I doubt Mr. Cameron will eat his words, an ability creationists didn’t evolve with, but that doesn’t mean we can’t revel in how beautifully ironic this creature is.

Ryan Crocoduck’s New Year’s Challenge

Hey everybody, Happy New Year!

Social media is a tricky beast. It can do a really great job of keeping people connected across continents and introducing us to new things as our friends share them. However, it can also serve to spread misinformation at incredible speeds and its buffet style approach to information sharing can create an echo chamber where we only see posts we already agree with.

Last year saw a number of hoaxes get shared millions of times in a matter of days. Fake news sites attempting (and failing miserably) to emulate the Onion generated articles that were taken as fact and spread around the social media platforms. Meanwhile, it seems that topics of public discussion quickly turn into shouting matches with people on all sides of the issues regurgitating only what they’ve read in articles preselected to appeal to them. We are constantly feeding on information that confirms our beliefs, demonizes those who disagree with us, and values the rhetorical impact of a statement over its factual accuracy. When our carefully constructed information bubbles collide with another person’s bubble, chaos ensues and truth is often ignored.

Let’s try to stop that, ok? I offer this challenge both to myself and you: before you post, (re)tweet, share, like, or pass an article or video on to your peers, take some time to verify that the information it  contains is actually true. Don’t just click “like” because you agree with the headline. If it’s not worth your time to spend 5-10 minutes making sure that you’re not spreading false information, than it’s not worth posting it. If it’s about something political or about any topic where sides are taken, don’t just confirm with sources that agree with you. Go find out what the other side has to say about the information. It’s possible that sources friendly to your views are editing out or neglecting bits of information that run counter to the message they want to present. Be as critical of sources that agree with you as you are of sources that disagree with you. If you search and can’t find the facts, feel free to share the article in question and ask your friends, in particular the ones that disagree with you, to help you determine the truth.

So there you have it, that’s my challenge to you. Let’s honestly try our best this year to check our facts, be critical of articles that we agree with, and not post anything that we haven’t verified as true. Let’s make this year more informative and less reactionary than 2013.


The Bible’s Greatest Hits – Week 49: Daniel 10:15

The Bible's Greatest Hits - Title Image

Hello, hello everyone and welcome to the somewhat delayed 49th edition of the Bible’s Greatest Hits. I’m hoping that you’re all enjoying brilliant summer weather, relaxing on a beach somewhere, and sipping some sort of adult beverage as I write this. If not, than I hope the verse I have coming up at least lifts your spirit to the point where you feel like you’re sitting on a beach. I have one article I want to mention before I get there though. To use Colbert’s terms, this is a bit of a tip of the hat and a wag of the finger in one go. This Christian Post article about NFL Players Association selling pro-LGBTQ t-shirts bears some really good news. The fact that a major “macho” professional sports organization is stepping out to show that it isn’t bigoted is really positive, genuinely good news. So, tip of the hat to the NFLPA for being awesome. But before we get ahead of ourselves, read the second half of the article. It attempts to link this story with the Jason Collins coming out story, and more importantly ESPN’s Chris Broussard’s reaction to it. The Christian Post just can’t let themselves write an article about non-heterosexual anything without finding some way to sneak in an anti-LGBTQ message at the end. Wag of the finger CP, wag of the finger. With that out of the way, it’s time for a tasty piece of Bible meat.


And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

Daniel 10:15

Well, if you’re gonna keep diving face first into the ground, then you’re probably going to end up with some concussions there Danny. No wonder your thinker isn’t doing as good as it used to.

The Bible’s Greatest Hits – Week 48: Matthew 24:1

The Bible's Greatest Hits - Title ImageHello everyone and welcome once again to the Bible’s Greatest Hits. I hope you’re all doing well on this fine Wednesday afternoon. If not, I’ve got a verse waiting for you at the end of this post that’s sure to turn your week around for the better. But first, let’s talk about “faith healers”. I’ve got a half dozen articles in my inbox about a child rapist in Kashmir who disguised himself as a faith healer in order to run a brothel disguised as a seminary. Many of the articles refer to him as a “fake” faith healer, which leaves me wondering what a real faith healer is. Moving on, the sexual assault trial of a faith healer who has already been convicted of sexual assault is being delayed in Quebec. I’ll leave you to read the details at your leisure. I bring all this up not to ruin your otherwise fine day, but just to reiterate that faith healers are at best misguided, at worst malicious predators who prey on people at their most vulnerable. Go to a doctor instead. With that out of the way, it’s time for some Bible!

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

Matthew 24:1

Oh really, there’s a temple there?! I had no idea because I was too busy leaving the temple. That’s for pointing that out, guys.