Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2 ’Elul 5768: National Beheading Day


Worthy cause of the day: “American Workers Deserve Better”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. “God's thoughts on the election”: Rav Boteach makes some good points. We are not privileged to know if misfortunes are actually Divine punishments.  (See Job.)  Furthermore, we do not get to assume that YHWH is on our side, but rather we have to strive to be on YHWH’s side.
  2. “Future bright for fortunetelling in Vt. town”: Summary: St. Johnsbury, VT, has now made it legal to practice fortunetelling and other magical practices. The rationalizations given are rather pathetic. To quote:
    "People have the right to believe in these things and to predict the future, to say what they think and even to charge money for it," Haynes said. "The government has no power to determine whether or not these people are committing fraud."

    Critics of such bans warn that other activities could be called into question if the government has the power to decide whether fortunetelling is fraudulent or illegal.

    "We have people who predict what the stock market is going to do. We have people who predict the weather and get paid for it," said Haynes.
    To debunk:  A) The issue is not freedom of belief.  The issue is fraud.  B) There is no legal right to make money by fortunetelling.  Anyone doubting this is invited to show me where such a right is listed in the Constitution.  C) One of the major purposes of government is justice, so if someone is committing fraud, it is very much the government’s business.  D) Trying to predict what the stock market is going to do is guesswork; anyone with any intelligence who invests in the stock market knows (or should know) this.  Weather forecasting has a rational, scientific basis.  Neither of these cases is remotely fraudulent.  E) Omitted completely is the fact that fortunetelling does not work.  (See The Skeptical Inquirer.  This is one of those recurring topics.)  Given it does not work, anyone paying to have his/her fortune told is being scammed. In short, the town government of St. Johnsbury has acted very foolishly. Let us hope the people of St. Johnsbury are not so gullible as to let fortunetellers steal their money.
  3. “Religion and American politics”: Very simply and correctly: Do not expect religion to have no influence on politics. Ever.
Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing is “I fought the Lloyds Bank Charges Song by Oystar”, which was mentioned in that last article.

Enjoy, share the weirdness, and fight the Lloyds.

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