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3/22/2004 - Thoughts on Defending Your Faith
Defend Your Faith!

A couple of weeks ago a coworker of mine sent me a link to something he knew would get me all riled up. And boy oh boy, does he love getting me all riled up.

The article, which is targeted at teens, is titled Why Believe in God?, and is placed under the "Defending your Faith" category on the site.

Many non-believers would say to not reply to articles like these because they only give more exposure to the ideas in the articles. In effect, giving credibility where clearly no credibility is due.

But far be it from me to keep my mouth shut. I like giving them something to defend against. :-)

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

2/21/2004 - Thoughts on Atheism and Agnosticism
Athesit vs Agnostic

I've had this article sitting around on my desktop for about six months now, and I figured it was about time to put it up on my web site.

Many people are unaware of the history and differences of atheistic and agnostic ideologies. Indeed, atheism has become a dirty word, while agnostic has become viewed as wishy washy.

In a recent issue of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer wrote a fascinating article about the "Bright" movement among non-believers. It was actually suggested that non-believers start calling themselves "Brights" instead of atheists or agnostics. Wow. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea.

At any rate, I figured I'd do my best to clear up the confusion surrounding these two simple words.

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

10/15/2003 - Thank You Michael Newdow

I just wanted to say thank you to Michael Newdow. He is an example of a person who saw something he thought was wrong, and despite great odds against him personally being able to do anything about it, and despite the fact he has put himself in great danger, he decided to fight anyway.

In case you haven't heard, Newdow is the atheist who didn't like the idea of the United States government forcing his child to pledge allegiance to a country "under God". A fairly notorious California court agreed with his assessment that the pledge violated the establishment clause of the Constitution, and ordered an injunction... only to be basically scared into reversing their decision.

Well, Newdow has persevered and his case is going to the Supreme Court. I don't have my hopes up, but there is a chance he could be vindicated and our Constitution upheld.

Newdow has been appearing on various television programs, even extremely hostile ones like "Scarborough Country", and I've been continuously impressed by how well he handles himself. He comes across as intelligent, thoughtful, and really makes his opponents look stupid.

So, thank you Michael Newdow. I only hope that I will one day have the courage to take important fights like these to the highest levels. I hope you don't get any more death threats from all those forgiving Christians out there.

4/28/2003 - My Review of Visual Studio.NET 2003
Visual Studio.NET 2003

I've recently completed a review of Visual Studio.NET 2003 for the online news site ActiveWin.com.

The review covers what's new, what's good, and what's bad in the latest edition to the Visual Studio family.

Check it out.

2/21/2003 - The Code Section Arrives!

Well, let's see. I launched this web site on 5/9/2002. So it only took me a little less than 300 days to get around to finishing the Code section of the site.

Oh well, better late then never.

The section contains several code samples that I've manage to throw together. They're mostly for people trying to learn Visual Basic, Visual Basic.NET, .NET, C#, ASP.NET, etc.

Check it out.

1/30/2003 - A bit about Sun vs. Microsoft

These days it seems like companies would rather file suit against their competition than actually compete with them. This is certainly the tactic Microsoft's rivals have been pushing for several years.

Most recently, Sun Microsystems has decided that Microsoft has used their monopoly to damage Sun's Java platform, and that Microsoft should be both forced to include Java in every copy of Windows, and that they should pay Sun 1 billion dollars in damages.

I say baloney.

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

1/12/2003 - We're all going to die!

Ha ha, fooled you; we're not going to die just yet.

Many scientists and environmentalists are in a panic, however, over what they see as the 6th great extinction; a tremendous loss of biological diversity. A loss, they say, that is occurring at an alarming rate.

I've written a short introduction to what threatens biological diversity, how this is causing the 6th great extinction, and why you should care.

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

9/28/2002 - What does it mean to be free?

Laws against activities in which all participants are consensual step well beyond the legitimate powers of government, and often result in very bad things.

Examples of these bad things include nearly 1 million people imprisoned for crimes in which nobody was hurt, a loss of nearly 200 billion dollars a year for our economy, the trashing of the Constitution, the corruption of our government and justice systems, and the destruction of countless people's lives.

And please, don't e-mail me saying "Go to China and see how you like it there!". I know China is worse, but just because we are not the worst doesn't mean we can't be better!

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

9/21/2002 - I'm going to kiss what!?

Has anybody ever asked you to kiss Hank's ass? Well, perhaps not in so many words, but trust me, you have been asked this in one form or another - and chances are, you've done it!

The story of Hank's ass, and why you should kiss it, is not my own. I have no idea who wrote it, but it is an excellent parody of a belief system that the vast majority of Americans have. Can you guess what that system might be?

If somebody knows where this originated from, let me know because I want to both give credit where credit is due, and thank the insightful individual who wrote it.

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

8/20/2002 - A wholly inadequate tribute to a great man...
Carl

Ever miss somebody you never knew? I do. I miss Carl Sagan. I miss his quirky humor. I miss his ugly suede jacket. I miss his wit. I miss his commentary. I miss his inspiration.

Carl Sagan is one of the few people I consider a personal hero. He exemplifies what I consider to be a human ideal. While I never met the man, I've read around 10 of his books (and plan to eventually read all 27), and I almost feel I know who he was.

Sagan made a difference. It's as simple as that. He left the world a far better place than when he entered it, and that can't be said of most 'heroes' these days.

I wrote a small tribute to my idol... I miss ya Carl.

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

8/19/2002 - All is NOT lost... Fusion power can work - If we let it.

A pipe dream. Something out of science fiction. A waste of money. Impossible. Fusion power has been called many things, but few of the people doing the name calling really understand what fusion is all about.

Why don't we have fusion generators in our back yards? Well, I'll give you a hint - it's not the science. Politics plays a big role in the advancement of technologies like fusion. In an essay, I examine the reason why we don't have fusion yet, but also how we can get it.

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

8/01/2002 - Believe in God? If so, I want you to meet my Dragon.

Soon before I had the argument that became the subject of my previous news posting, I had a great argument with one of my good friends, Gary.

In short, the central theme in the argument is that if you believe in God, you should also believe that I have a Dragon in my garage. This argument is a classic "Saganism", and was first published in Sagan's wonderful 1997 book The Demon Haunted World.

Please, read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

Warning: just like the previous argument, this one will almost certainly offend you if you don't like to think critically about your beliefs.

7/23/2002 - Sigh... Bill is gone, oh, and I had a good argument.
Skeptics

Alas, despite my best efforts, Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher was cancel, as promised, by ABC. The last episode was very well done, and I shall miss the show a great deal.

I was able, however, to see Bill do stand up during a recent visit of mine to Colorado. He was really funny, and he even did a little encore where he talked candidly with the audience, and answered questions.

One question we (the audience) asked was whether or not Bill would be back on the air soon. In short, yes! Very soon!

Anyway, I had a great discussion (argument) on ActiveWin.com about evolution. Ya, figure that one out. :-) It involves me (going by the name 'RMD') arguing with several other people about God, evolution, and science.

I think I won as far as consistancy, logic, and reason go... but of course I would say that about my own argument. I suggest you read it for yourself on the My Thoughts page.

Anyway, I would say it's a fairly good example of scientific, skeptical thought... but please, if I said something dumb, let me know!

5/18/2002 - Being Politically Correct

ABC had decided to cancel the television show Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. These kinds of things can be expected when a show does poorly, but this is not the case with Maher's show.

Bill Maher is being punished for speaking his mind. After September 11th, Maher made comments that many people misunderstood, and that many people, who hated Maher for his political views and open forum, used against him to try and destroy his career.

I urge you to sign this online petition to let ABC know you will not stand for this kind of politically motivated action. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Maher's views, it is obviously un-American to silence him in this way.

Below is the letter I've sent to ABC to do my part to keep Bill on the air. I encourage everybody to write their own letter, and send it to ABC (email: netaudr@abc.com) or call them at (212) 456-7777.

To whom it may concern,

"Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" has long been one of my favorite shows. It is one of the only truly open and honest forums on which people can discuss (perhaps argue, yell, etc... might be better terms) controversial topics.

More importantly, it is one of the only shows on TV that truly celebrates free speech. Nobody is silenced. Nobody is censored (aside from the occasional swear). Nobody is prevented from speaking their minds. This is exactly what American is all about, and it is exactly why I love the show.

Following September 11th, unlike the rest of America, Bill Maher didn't stop speaking his mind. And because of this, he is being punished. I often applauded ABC, as did many of my friends, for not censoring Maher. Even after Maher lost sponsors, you had the courage and character to keep him on the air.

Obviously, I was mistaken. Maher has since regained sponsors, but despite that, you have decided to cancel the show. I cannot express clearly enough my disappointment in this decision. I could understand if it was due to ratings, or because all the commercial sponsors had abandoned Maher, those things cannot be helped. But this appears to be politically motivated.

I, unlike many others who would argue for Maher, do not entertain the absurd notion that you are somehow violating Maher's right to speak. Maher has no "right" to a television show.

My argument is that ABC canceling Maher's show is un-American. If Maher does indeed go off the air in 6 weeks, I will make a conscious effort to not watch ABC ever again, as well as tell everybody I know about ABC's actions regarding Maher.

Clearly, I am not alone, as is evident from this online petition:

http://millionflagmarch.com/bill/

Please reconsider the cancellation of "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher". Bill Maher spent the past 9 years trying to convince people that there is often a difference between being politically correct and being right. ABC has chosen the former.

Sincerely,

Robert Downey

5/9/2002 - I Got Dot Net, Do You?
Dot Net

Well, another quarter at RIT is slowly coming to a close. So what, one might ask? Well, this is my last quarter at RIT!

That's right! On May 25th, 2002, I will be the proud recipient of a Bachelor's degree in Information Technology, and an Associates degree in Science, Technology, and Environmental Studies.

So what's next? Well, I'm planning on returning to Boston, MA. I really don't like Rochester, NY... so no matter what happens, I'm not staying around here.

Once I return home, I'll be on the prowl for a developer job. While the job market has looked kind of scary recently, I've been getting some pretty cool offers, so my hopes are up.
All the jobs I'm seriously considering deal with Microsoft's .NET Framework. .NET rocks; it's as simple as that. There are plenty of people who think it's all hype (and there is quite a bit of hype, don't get me wrong), but .NET really is the future of software development. Got Dot Net?

Personally, I love it. I've been concentrating on C#, but thanks to the CLR and MSIL, the language you want to write .NET applications in doesn't really matter. Be sure to check out GotDotNet.com for more information about .NET.

 

All content is © Robert Downey 2014 unless otherwise noted.