Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur


A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.

On Interventionism And Intervening, and: On The Limits Of Interventionism, all Part 1

Posted 13-Aug-2009 at 04:47 AM (04:47) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 21-Nov-2014 at 11:30 PM (23:30) by Gurdur

I see a dark sail
On the horizon,
Set under a black cloud
That hides the sun ....
Let's have the proper music for this right from the beginning, shall we? After all, many of my blog posts are composed while I have the volume cranked to the max.

This video has been minimised in size since it is being used only for providing music.

Now, more music, and ongoing lyrics courtesy of Jethro Tull, Broadsword.

Yes, yes, I do have...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 6553 Comments 5 Gurdur is online now

Under The Rowan Tree : Part 1 : Of Scottish witches and secular humanists

Posted 11-Aug-2009 at 08:42 PM (20:42) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 08:43 AM (08:43) by Gurdur

I flew out just last Friday to go off to near Inverness in Scotland, to meet up with secular humanists and atheists from the Think Humanism board. The meet-up was good, and the scenery was brilliant; I have not been so far north before, and the Cairngorms and other Highlands were beautiful in the late summer. I can now see why so many I have known have fallen head over heels in love with northern Scotland.

Lonely, though, and with an very odd prediliction for witches and rowans, the...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2525 Comments 2 Gurdur is online now

Of the Guardian, the Observer, A.C. Grayling, fallacies and conspiracy theories

Posted 11-Aug-2009 at 05:12 PM (17:12) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 08:39 AM (08:39) by Gurdur

This last weekend, while I was at the Scots secular humanists meet-up near Inverness (of which more later in other blog posts), a letter appeared in The Sunday Times, protesting at alleged Guardian plans to close The Observer.

Now, the Observer is basically a sister newspaper to the Guardian; the Observer appears each Sunday, while the Guardian appears Monday through to Saturday. Both are very old newspapers with very distinguished histories; the Manchester Guardian, as it was back...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1862 Comments 1 Gurdur is online now

Man lies like a dog about a cat

Posted 11-Aug-2009 at 12:54 AM (00:54) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 08:36 AM (08:36) by Gurdur

Man lies like a dog about a cat.

... a Florida man says his cat downloaded child pornography.
Uh huh?

Police are charging Keith Griffin of Jensen Beach, Florida with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after finding more than 1,000 images on his personal computer.
More than 1,000 images? And it's still supposed to be the cat? I hope the Paw Of Justice hits that idiot very hard indeed.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1284 Comments 3 Gurdur is online now

Very quick quickie

Posted 28-Jul-2009 at 05:09 PM (17:09) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 08:35 AM (08:35) by Gurdur is for posting about coding. Coding vBulletin. When we have a maniacal phase of hard work, and we want real excitement, we talk about coding PHP as well. Or even redo board icon graphics! It's a very racy atmosphere! Filled with terribly exciting posts like, "My index.php just disappeared, can I use the $STYLEVAR variable to get it back?"

So you know I'm slowly getting slightly annoyed when someone posts an OP which asks, "Would you migrate to the South Pole and settle down?"...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1402 Comments 2 Gurdur is online now

Another quickie: snake befriends hamster, tortoise fathers hippo

Posted 27-Jul-2009 at 07:34 AM (07:34) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 08:33 AM (08:33) by Gurdur

Just a quickie, but heartwarming:

Snake befriends hamster.

"The rat snake, however, refused to eat the rodent. The two now share a cage, and the hamster sometimes falls asleep sitting on top of his natural foe."

And then there are hippos and tortoises. News item from 2005:

Posted in Uncategorized
Views 4221 Comments 6 Gurdur is online now

When not to give a damn, or a tinker's dam, and when to: Of Gypsies and vBulletin

Posted 26-Jul-2009 at 03:54 PM (15:54) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 07:38 AM (07:38) by Gurdur

I'm a freeborn man of a traveling people,
Got no fixed abode,
With no man save one in it;
Country lanes and byways
Were always my ways,
I never fancied being numbered.
There is a semi-official board run by Jelsoft and volunteers over at, where people can upload and download unofficial modifications of the vBulletin code and so on, vBulletin being the software from the Jelsoft company on which a great many bulletin boards are run, including...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2476 Comments 4 Gurdur is online now

The long slow fever curve of pattern recognition.

Posted 25-Jul-2009 at 04:41 AM (04:41) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Feb-2010 at 06:07 AM (06:07) by Gurdur

Yes, yes, I will be returning to my theme on apocalyptic thinking soon, but in the meantime, here's some pattern recognition.

I play Go, which is the oldest board game in the world still played, and is the most difficult one for computers. They cracked chess long ago, and now computers can hold their own with chess grandmasters quite well; but Go is a different matter, and much more difficult for computers. Go is also known as Igo (the Japanese terms), weiqi or wei ch'i (the Chinese...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 5842 Comments 8 Gurdur is online now

Scientism: or why science is not and should not be a religion

Posted 22-Jul-2009 at 02:45 AM (02:45) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 07:40 AM (07:40) by Gurdur

This came up in a thread on another board. Few traps are so enticing to atheists as scientism, and it's something that comes up quite regularly on atheist boards.

Scientism can be defined as (from the Skeptic's Dictionary):

Scientism, in the strong sense, is the self-annihilating view that only scientific claims are meaningful, which is not a scientific claim and hence, if true, not meaningful. Thus, scientism is either false or meaningless.
In the Year 3535,
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2693 Comments 3 Gurdur is online now

Sectarianism in Scotland

Posted 20-Jul-2009 at 12:52 PM (12:52) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 07:41 AM (07:41) by Gurdur

Being of more-or-less half-Scots ancestry, I like to keep up on the place. Plus I kinda like the place, possibly because I don't live there permanently but instead live somewhere else where cigs and cost of living are far cheaper, thus allowing me to be all the more appreciative but from a safe distance whilst living more comfortably.

The Scots thriller author, Christopher Brookmyre, has often in his thrillers mentioned the ugly sectarianism often present in Scotland. The sectarianism...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2407 Comments 2 Gurdur is online now
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Need for unbelief versus the belief in unbelief: answering Baber's question, Part 2

Posted 19-Jul-2009 at 08:56 AM (08:56) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 07:43 AM (07:43) by Gurdur

This is the second part of my reply to H.E. Baber, the first part having been handled in my other blog post, and in this part I would like to passionately express how much unbelief is needed, and by whom, as versus "belief in unbelief", as termed by H.E. Baber.

A good many atheists arrive at their atheism, their unbelief, all without any help whatsoever, without ever having read a tome by a famous atheist writer, without ever having read a screed by an atheist extremist. As one of...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1546 Comments 0 Gurdur is online now

Overly hostile belief in unbelief: answering H.E. Baber's question, Part 1

Posted 19-Jul-2009 at 08:05 AM (08:05) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 08:02 AM (08:02) by Gurdur

On the Guardian on Friday, the philosopher H.E. Baber, who is a philosophy professor at the University of San Diego, has asked the question, "I would be very interested in hearing why the New Atheists and their followers believe, with such manifest conviction, in unbelief."

Her question needs a fair bit of explanation; it is asked in the context founded by Daniel Dennett when he in a Guardian piece passionately deplored what he claimed to be belief in belief by atheists. I discussed...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2266 Comments 2 Gurdur is online now

Hankering for the catastrophe, ambivalently: Apocalypse Now, Part 2

Posted 18-Jul-2009 at 07:03 AM (07:03) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Feb-2010 at 06:03 AM (06:03) by Gurdur

So, getting back to the topic of apocalyptic thinking, despite a slew of intervening blog posts.

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw ten thousand talkers
whose tongues were all broken,

I saw guns and sharp swords
in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard,...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2366 Comments 4 Gurdur is online now

Dennett: Speaking In The Language Of Powerlessness

Posted 18-Jul-2009 at 03:01 AM (03:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 23-Apr-2010 at 03:17 AM (03:17) by Gurdur

When a group is on the outside, when it has little or no power, very often members of that group will start blaming other members of that group for their lack of success, and their language in doing so is very often highly tempremental, hyperbolic and disconnected from actions in the outside world.

Or, in other words, angry, violent in tone, powerless towards the outside world, while abusing other members of the group.

The only effectiveness is gained in casting out...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2685 Comments 1 Gurdur is online now

A quick bit of odd news from nearby me: "Man tries to fix airbed, blows up apartment"

Posted 16-Jul-2009 at 01:18 AM (01:18) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 15-Mar-2010 at 05:16 AM (05:16) by Gurdur

From the Odd News section of Reuters:

(Reuters) - A German who tried to fix his leaky air mattress blew up his apartment instead, the fire brigade in the western city of Duesseldorf said Wednesday. The 45-year-old man used tire repair solvent to plug a hole in his airbed and left it overnight.
But it blew up when he went to inflate it the next day. "A spark from the electric air pump ignited it," a fire brigade spokesman said. The blast pushed his living room wall into the
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1215 Comments 1 Gurdur is online now

Brüno: cringe-inducing and mediocre

Posted 15-Jul-2009 at 07:27 AM (07:27) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 25-Mar-2010 at 08:09 AM (08:09) by Gurdur

Pardon me if I take a short break from doing the Apocalypse, and instead I do the costumes one could wear for it.

Last Saturday, three days ago, I went out with a couple of German friends to Köln (Cologne) to see the new film Brüno (= Brueno) from Sascha Baron Cohen.

I have to agree with A.O, Scott of the New York Times; he said, "In spite of Mr Baron Cohen and [director Larry] Charles's high-level skills and keen low-comic instincts, Bruno is a lazy piece of work that...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1705 Comments 2 Gurdur is online now

Enjoy! Die Flut, by Witt and Heppner (translation of their song "The Flood")

Posted 15-Jul-2009 at 06:34 AM (06:34) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 19-Nov-2014 at 08:13 PM (20:13) by Gurdur (corrections)

Well, I realized doing it the way I did in my last blog entry would not work well; dividing up the translation of the song across different blog posts would only make it damned difficult for everyone. But equally, posting the entire damned thing here will leave no room, really, for saying much, so what I will do is repost the damned thing in its entirety here in this blog post, then refer back to it in later blog posts.

So enjoy! Die Flut, by Witt and Heppner. Copyright of the lyrics...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 5843 Comments 1 Gurdur is online now

Apocalyptic thinking: resulting from religion or not? Apocalypse Now, Part 1

Posted 15-Jul-2009 at 01:58 AM (01:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-Mar-2010 at 11:16 PM (23:16) by Gurdur

Apocalyptic thinking seems to have been around as long as humanity has. It plays a big role in many religions, though by no means all; and it is a very ambivalent way of thinking. I hope to be able to show here just how ambivalent it is.

From Wikipedia:
Apocalypse (Greek: Ἀποκάλυψις Apokálypsis; "lifting of the veil" or "revelation") is a term applied to the disclosure to certain privileged persons of something hidden from the majority of humankind.
An actual...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1671 Comments 0 Gurdur is online now

The why of this blog and its title: atheism and on being a stranger

Posted 27-Jun-2009 at 08:18 PM (20:18) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-Mar-2010 at 11:08 PM (23:08) by Gurdur

I'm not a good diary writer, in fact I have never kept a diary. The same lack makes me a bad blogger, This is a grevious fault, and one responsible for me having once started a blog before, and just giving up on it, which is rather reprehensible. I don't think much of just giving up on anything at all, so this time round I'll do my best to do better.

Not being a person to whom blogging comes naturally, then why do I do it?

Very seriously, my first and main aim at all...
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2081 Comments 4 Gurdur is online now
Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

The haunting and unrealized longevity of Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weill

Posted 27-Jun-2009 at 03:55 PM (15:55) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 14-Mar-2010 at 11:02 PM (23:02) by Gurdur

You people can watch while I'm scrubbing these floors,
And I'm scrubbin' the floors while you're gawking.
Maybe once ya tip me and it makes ya feel swell,
In this crummy Southern town, in this crummy old hotel,
But you'll never guess to who you're talkin'.
No. You couldn't ever guess to who you're talkin'.
Then one night there's a scream in the night,
And you'll wonder who could that have been;
And you see me kinda grinnin' while I'm scrubbin'.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2464 Comments 2 Gurdur is online now

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 02:48 AM (02:48).


Credits and thanks:
Basic Style design: Design By: Miner
(much altered by Gurdur)

For smilies:

Koloboks, including Aiwan, ViShenk, Just Cuz, Laie, Connie, snoozer, Viannen,
and especially Mother Goose too.
KitKatty. and PederDingo, and phantompanther.

For help, coding, and/or modifications:

Different people at, and a whole lot of people -- too many to be individually named, sorry -- at

For artwork, avatars, backgrounds and so on:

KitKatty, and verte, and britpoplass

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright is asserted for the Heathen Hub itself and for its owner by its owner, from 2008 onwards. Copyright of individual posts remains the property of the original poster, however by posting on the Hub the poster grants the Hub the rights to host and present the posted messages for perpetuity. The Hub is in no way responsible for opinions or messages posted in any way on the Hub by its members. Please also see this here. Copyright of individual icons and other graphics, as for individual vBulletin styles, remains the property of the original owner/creator. Copyright for the vBulletin software itself, and the vBulletin Blogs software, remains with Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd, as in the copyright notice above.
Welcome to a place to talk about atheism, religion, science, humanism, evolution, politics, Creationism, literature, reason, rational inquiry, logic, cooking, reading, and travel - the Hub: a community for everyone.