October 13, 2020

Solved Windows 10 DVD Burning Problem

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Since my reliable workhorse eMachine Windows 7 computer was showing signs that it was ready to take a dirt nap on Boot Hill, I decided to choose a replacement before I had to hurry the process along. This here Acer Aspire TC-885-UA92 has been working mighty well for a few months now, but there are some Windows 10 quirks that put burrs under my saddle. One is its reluctance to burn a DVD.

Probable solution to a problem with Windows 10 forbidding software from burning DVDs.
Credit: Unsplash / Phil Hearing
To get the hang of Win10, I did a passel of searching and reading. Videos by ThioJoe, Tech Gumbo, and others helped me considerable-like. One thing I found out is the timing of reference material. Win10 was made available to the public in 2015, and as usual, had a series of updates. When searching articles and forums for information and ways to solve problems, many became quickly outdated because new updates changed how the OS worked. I have spent hours on some problems (such as Windows refusing to go into sleep mode except when it wants to, so I gave up on finding a solution), but some were resolved quickly, even with older posts and articles.

I chose this computer because it has the optical disc drive, and I occasionally need to burn a CD or DVD. Yes, it's great to have my Roku device so my wife and I can watch YouTube and other videos on the TV, but there are times when I want to burn a DVD of a downloaded video and plug it into a player to watch in a more comfortable setting. My needs are simple, and DVDStyler (which has more features than I use) was reliable on the Win7 machine. Why didn't it work now?

"Does this get useful for anyone, Cowboy Bob?"

Yes, I think there's something very useful in a few paragraphs, but I'm also having fun telling this story.

It gave me an error, telling me that I didn't have a DVD in the drive. Yes, yes I did, and this computer recognized it. I was able to play a "store bought" DVD, and to use the built-in data burning software to save a file. I tried other burning programs, but none of them worked.

After spending hours searching forums and articles, I had no solutions. However, using my experiences with software and the logical mind that God gave me, some things came together. A few of the incidental remarks in forums and such were actually important for fixing the problem.

DVDStyler can burn ISO (International Organization for Standardization) images. Those are on CDs and DVDs and have other uses. DVDStyler was able to take my downloaded video and burn it into an ISO. That was a promising development.

The workaround was to use the software to make an ISO. That was successful, and when I clicked on it, the computer believed it was a DVD and offered the VLC (VideoLAN) player. That's great, making progress. Next step, I used the built in ISO burner. Yee ha boy howdy, I had a disc for the player.

Now we can move on to what I think is the actual problem and its solution.

Windows 10 users, you know that thing in the lower right corner on the taskbar? You click that for messages from Windows Security. My fussing with DVDStyler indicating there was no disc happened in the evening before bedtime, so I didn't look at the messages until the next day. I had a prairie schooner-full of notifications, many of them were of incidents that happened in the same minute. Well, I was on the prod when getting the errors, so I kept clicking "try again" and getting the alert tone until I shut it down. Each of those was listed.

While it may be "Fair Use", I don't want to risk getting in trouble with Microsoft, so no screenshots. Sorry.

Was Windows Security was getting over-protective again? Yes. There is a setting for "ransomware protection" to stop "unauthorized changes by unfriendly applications". Although I did install the software, the security wouldn't let it operate. I needed to find out.

Here's the fix: I disabled the "controlled folder access" protection, and DVDStyler was more than glad to burn my video to a DVD. I'm willing to switch that off when I need to do this, but I'm thinking the protection setting has caused other problems and errors with installations, applications, and so on, It's worth watching.

Hope the information here is useful to someone. Too bad there's no fix for the way this platform on Blogger was changed by it's masters at Google. They forced it on us, and I hope to be going elsewhere and leaving this for an archive.

ADDENDUM: Out of curiosity, I went to the Windows Security panel and saw which threats were blocked while leaving the folder protection active, and allowed one. Error. Okay, saw another program was blocked, so I allowed that. Another error. Allowed a third program, and the burning was successful. I'm glad blank DVDs are not expensive. The lesson from this part is that we can choose to allow access without disabling that part of our security.

September 8, 2020

More Leftist Malarkey in the Secular Science Industry

When writing about science and the origins controversy, it is a given that Darwinism and theology will intersect (such as the dependence of atheism upon Darwinism). It is indeed unfortunate that the secular science industry is riding for the leftist brand instead of trying to do science.

The secular science industry is increasingly in support of leftist agendas, even to the point of using their power to suppress the rights of people who do not think they way leftists prefer.
Mostly made at PhotoFunia
Some people may scoff when we say that the secular science industry supports causes that are on the far left of the political spectrum, but we can back up such claims. Most of these come ultimately link to material from Creation-Evolution Headlines:
Those ought to keep "fact checkers" busy for a while.

We have three important articles to ponder below. They're not exactly huge, but devastating to the leadership in secular science. As an aside, however, we know there are people in science and academic professions who just want to do their jobs. News has come out that the US FBI is corrupt, but there are agents working diligently to keep us safe and have no say in what happens at the upper levels. The same is true in science organizations. You savvy that?

To help emphasize the point that the secular science industry has a leftist agenda, we have three articles to examine. As we have seen, the powers that be in science and academic organizations have been caught stacking the deck in favor of leftist causes. After the hands at the Darwin Ranch were done running in circles, screaming and shouting, they attempted to gaslight the world. "Political? Uh, sure, science has been political for a long time, ya silly galoots!"

Others continued to make the Wuhan COVID-19 virus into a political thing, including about racism (while ignoring pertinent information that involved data sampling and differences in subcultures). Those tinhorns conveniently forgot to mention things in their own history, such as scientific racism and eugenics. They even dodge their own racism. Then there's the appeal for more transparency and morality (like we need more of that stuff from secularists!), which would be interesting if applied to creation science instead of blackballing it.
Big Science is recognizing its political bias and lack of integrity. Sometimes they worry about it; sometimes they just rationalize it.
As we have noted previously, the leaders of Big Science (i.e., the journals, lobbyists, and academic institutions who presume to “speak for science”) have a decidedly leftist bent (13 July 2020). As we have also noted, they are worried about lack of integrity and loss of public trust (9 July 2020).  Here are some recent headlines on those topics.
You can read the first article at "Political Science Swallows Empiricism". Don't wander too far away, we have a couple more startling articles.

Not only has the secular science industry promoted leftist causes, but they have been acting like an arm of the Democrat Party. They want "progressive" causes (read: anti-creationist, socialist, abortionist, and so on). In fact, the pusillanimous science media have been saddling up and riding for communist views. You might think I've been into the peyote buttons, but this, too, is supported in the link below. 

Worse, Chinese Communists get a platform to denounce American Conservatives, but the media do not bother with due diligence and get the other side of the story. How about the way COVID-19 mask-wearing mandates are inconsistent and discriminatory and those who question or resist must be punished? It's the same modus operandi as the leftist propaganda for global climate change/warming.
We challenge you to find any science story that praises conservatives for anything. Big Science would rather praise communist China.

For those who are not convinced of the complete abdication of Big Science and Big Media to the anti-Trump Democrat Party, and to its comrades in socialist and radical leftist organizations, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
They sure do love them some atheism! You can read about what was mentioned above and more by following the link to "Leftist Takeover of Big Science Continues". To be blunt, the last article (below) is quite alarming.

Regular readers have seen that when atheists and evolutionists talk about morality, it is from a materialistic worldview. It is therefore inconsistent, arbitrary, and incoherent. Yet sidewinders like that want to control the narrative, and even our very thoughts. Object to wearing a mask for the Wuhan virus or doubt the fake news media? That can be fixed. Take a pill. Oh, you don't want the pill? Our morality dictates that we can put it in your water! A government that allows something like this has no moral foundation to hinder it from using that or other surreptitious methods to control people. The only true foundation for morality is found in the Word of God.
Leftist totalitarians are becoming more brazen in their tactics for enforcing conformity on the public.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been developing into a fight between individualism and groupthink. When the seriousness of COVID-19 was unfolding in March, most citizens complied with government mandates, even to great personal loss of incomes and businesses. . . . citizens have been watching very unequal application of mandates: gambling halls are OK, but church meetings are not; rioters get away with close encounters without masks, but everybody else must wear a mask, even when alone at home or in the woods by oneself. . . . At the heart of the contest are scientific questions: what does the science say about masks and social distancing? Both sides are appealing to scientific facts to support their positions.
To read this disconcerting article, click on "Don’t Swallow the Morality Pill". Don't be surprised if this and the other articles are made to go away before you get there.

August 1, 2020

Another Wicked Atheist Meme Refuted

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Atheists are mighty fond of making "memes" to ridicule Christians and biblical creationists, receiving praise from their pestiferous comrades. While claiming to believe in reason, these things are usually straw men. Add to this the extrapolation fallacy, and thinking people should reject these out of hand.

Evil angry atheist monkeys make memes in their efforts to malign God, but they are refuted by thinking people.
Modified angry monkey image from Freeimages by Nico van Geldere
The extrapolation fallacy is also prominent among advocates of fish-to-fool evolution (see "The Extrapolation Fallacy in Evolutionary Storytelling"). Atheopaths not only make "memes" that can be refuted, but they use the extrapolation fallacy in posts on their social media. The exception is used as the rule.

For example, there are instances of when someone in a religious cult refuses a vaccination or other medical treatment for a child who tragically dies. This means all "religion" is bad according to such posts. No, it means there is something wrong with those people, and their beliefs are not representative of biblical Christianity. Similarly, the claim that "Hitler was a Christian", which has been abundantly refuted many times, is based on some of his remarks. He redefined Christianity to suit his own purposes. It should also tell you something about professing atheists who choose to believe Hitler.

This post was prompted by something I attempted to submit on my author/public figure Page on Fazebook, but they instantly rejected it as "against community standards".

Click for larger, used under Fair Use provision
I can document many instances of their double standards and biases against Christians and Conservatives, but not today. So I couch in within my own weblog to dodge the arbitrary censors.

It involves a photograph from about 1920 of a certain white supremacist group in Oregon. Atheists use the image to malign biblical Christianity, extrapolating that this group is representative of our beliefs and of what the Bible teaches. Not hardly! Meanwhile, atheist double standards kick in when we point out that Stalin, Mao, Castro, Lenin, and many other communist mass murderers were atheists. But no, somehow their atrocities had nothing to do with atheism while those who do not accurately represent biblical Christianity are somehow typical. Yes, they really think like that. Check it for yourself.

By the way, background on the photograph upon which this "meme" was based was not so much anti-black, but anti-foreign. It was after the First World War, and many Americans were promoting a sense of hyper-nationalism.

The article I am recommending (although I do not know other contents of that site, so this is not a blanket endorsement) effectively deals with the biblical truth of unity in Christ and that there are no races, just ethnic groups.
Really?? Does this one even need refuting? Does anyone seriously think the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) represents “Christian Values”? The KKK is associated with such values as white supremacism, slavery, cross-burning and hatred, NONE of which are sanctioned in Scripture. Yes, that’s right. Slavery, as it was practiced in America 200 years ago, is NOT condoned in Scripture. It would have been classified as man-stealing, which was forbidden and punishable by death under Old Testament Law.
You can read the rest at "Atheists’ Memes Refuted: KKK".

July 4, 2020

Eviscerating Atheopathic Objections Again

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

In previous years, I had a stalker who was a gold mine for bigotry and logical fallacies. Since he was repetitious and desperate for attention, I decided to instead utilize the abundant resources on teh interwebs. This next furious atheist is another clinquant example of what atheism does to the mind.

An unusual post that starts in the middle of a series of posts, but you will catch on. This angry atheists attempts to respond but only makes things worse.
Background image credit before modification:
Supposed dark matter ring in galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17
Hubblesite (usage does not imply endorsement of site contents)
This article is going to be a bit tricky to write, but I reckon that I can skip some material and let you catch on, plus give you relevant links. Let me start with some background. This troll Page shares material from Christians and biblical creationists for the purposes of ridicule. I have never seen a cogent argument from her or from her adoring fans. Lots of mockery, straw man arguments, the genetic fallacy, and other typical fare from atheopaths. Also, when she is caught in a lie, she doubles down on it.

To narrow our focus for this examination, I wrote a post titled "Dark Matter Does Not Occupy the Universe", which was shared to The Question Evolution Project on Fazebook. She shared it (naturally refusing to actually engage with the content) and made a number of risible assertions. I followed up with a "Note" that dealt with the ridicule.

Now we come to where she decided to slap leather with me, and this where I returned fire. My original comments will be in green and hers will be in a color that can be called brown. My new comments will be in black. You savvy that, pilgrim? Good. (Dr. Jason Lisle has used this technique.) Also, note that when people want to have intelligent debates, formal or otherwise, they need to know and accurately represent what their opponents actually believe and teach. She does neither.

I just love it when creationtwits think they've "eviscerated" me. Let's tear apart this crap you obviously spent so much time to put together:

//Take a look at this example from an anonymous atheopath (Curtis said it’s someone named Lori)//

My name isn't "Lori". Nor am I a female. So you're 0 for 2. Great start!

She had been called Lori several times before and never objected, and also never denied being female before. Also, since she has been caught lying before, I lack belief that she is being truthful now. (Let's see if anyone catches my own fallacious arguments in that first sentence.) Also, she ignored my remark about being anonymous, a fact which is undisputable.

//whose biggest fan ridicules under a fake name//

Obvious reference to El Bastiano who has never gone by a "fake name" as he's explained a number of times. So, a lie.

It is not a lie, and there has been no evidence given to support the "lie" accusation. By the way, how does anyone know that this character has "never" gone by a fake name? The possibility that I was mistaken was not considered. However, "El Bastiano" now posts under a completely different name now that has no resemblance to the former name. Looks like the accusation of "liar" is itself false.

Let's continue...

//She doesn’t even have the courage to read the things she assumes are wrong or lies//

Again, I'm not a "she". And yes, I won't read crap from creationist sources when it comes to matters of science. Why is it that you can never cite legitimate scientific sources when you make scientific claims? Hmmmmm???

Doubling down on the genetic fallacy. First, rejecting creationist sources and using prejudicial conjecture as well as straw man arguments. Second, "legitimate scientific sources". We have been through this. Apparently, "legitimate" means "atheistic naturalism that supports my presuppositions". This is supported by the refusal to honestly examine any creationist material, whether from someone like me or numerous creation scientists. Mayhaps these people will actually learn what we say? This is one of those people who essentially says that there are no creation scientists. Why? Like the old bumper sticker, "If it ain't country, it ain't music". Well...

I said:

//Scientists know that dark matter exists because they can calculate the amount of mass and it doesn't account for the amount of gravity.//

This is a fact. Neil DeGrasse Tyson explains it here:


Oh, well if he says it, then everyone who disagrees must be wrong. Especially if it's on YouTube or Wikipedia! Except that this is the appeal to authority fallacy. While Dr. Tyson (who was not under discussion before) is a celebrity popularizer of naturalism, including stellar and biological evolution, he is not the final arbiter of scientific truth. He may change his mind, what then?

She (my accuser) lied by omission because the Note from which she cherry-picked remarks (as well as the original post that brought on this gunfight) had secular scientists who admit that there is no evidence for dark matter. There are other statements in the Note that she ignored as well. Helps to confirm the bias and make her look good to her fan club, don'tcha know.

You respond:

/No, that’s a talking point (an erroneous one at that) based on presuppositions of the Big Bang. //

No, it's not a "talking point", so that's a lie. And it also has nothing to do with "presuppositions of the Big Bang". Scientists don't "presuppose" anything that hasn't been demonstrated to be true. "Presupposing" is what creationists do.

Now she's getting angry and this is like dealing with a schoolgirl who had her big striped lollipop taken away by her third grade teacher. Reminds me of that other stalker who constantly exclaimed, "You're a liar!" Contradiction is not refutation, and the Big Bang is not only a matter of faith that is believed despite the evidence (plenty more about that here), but it is unrecognizable from when it was first postulated.

//For that matter, evidence for the Big Bang is so poor//

Source to back up this ******** claim?

She can see the above link to links, as well as the posts she shared to her Page for the sake of ridicule.

I wrote:

//So they know something is out there.//

You respond:

//Of course, by limiting other possible explanations and seeking to confirm a bias, evidence can be tortured so much, it will confess to anything.//

And what other "possible explanations" are there? Nothing else has ever been demonstrated. Whaddya got here? And "confirmation bias" is the exclusive domain of creationists. They always ignore evidence that doesn't conform to what they want to believe and embrace anything that hints at those beliefs. Noah's Ark, anyone?

She is a village atheopath, not a scientist. And not even honest, since she refuses to examine the material she mocks! Like the old Resurrection lie, "The disciples stole Jesus' body while we were sleeping" (someone cannot know what happened while asleep), how can anyone seriously claim that no other possible explanations have been demonstrated? It does not take much effort to discover that confirmation bias is not "the exclusive domain of creationists". It is common with evolutionists, geologists, politicians, and anyone else. 

Consider: "They always ignore evidence that doesn't conform to what they want to believe and embrace anything that hints at those beliefs." Easy accusation to make, but it is prejudicial conjecture and deflection; this same accusation as been successfully demonstrated by creationists against naturalists for many years. The "Noah's Ark" line has nothing to do with the rest of this, and is simply a non sequitur.

//People like this should know that God exists because the evidence is all around them.//

Pathetic. The world makes complete sense if there is no loving god watching over us. The world makes absolutely NO SENSE if there is a loving god watching over us. And again, the claim that "evidence is all around us" without actually pointing out what that evidence is. Rainbows? Puppy dogs? Sunsets? Give me a break.

Straw man argument again (rainbows, puppy dogs, and so on were not mentioned) as well as prejudicial conjecture and misotheistic bigotry. "The world makes absolutely NO SENSE if there is a loving god watching over us." What empirical method did she use to reach that emotionally-based conclusion? Yes, the evidence is all around. If she does not appreciate beauty and things that bring happiness, she should consider that she has life, a body designed by the Master Engineer to keep her alive this long, a world in a perfect position in space, and so much more. What an ingrate!

I wrote:

//They just haven't yet figured out exactly what it is.//

You respond:

//Similar to Darwinian Evolution of the Gaps, wishful thinking and hoping that maybe perhaps possibly scientists think that some day, evidence will be found//

No "wishful thinking" here. That's what you do. And there is no such thing as "evolution of the gaps". You're thinking of "God of the gaps". And I have no doubt you hope scientists don't find any evidence because that would remove one of the few refuges you have left for you to to shoehorn your god into.

Yes, it is indeed wishful thinking and Evolution of the Gaps (or Science of the Gaps, if you will). Not only Darwin, but evolutionists through the years have freely admitted that they do not have evidence to support their views, but believe things anyway. George Wald and others have explicitly stated that they believe things that are impossible to science.

The other statements are more prejudical conjecture and a bigoted tantrum. Seems to me that her epistemology is fundamentally flawed.

//that ain’t science, girlfriend, that’s blind faith.//

No, "blind faith" is exactly what you have. Because aren't you proud to say you have faith?

Back to the "I know you are, but what am I?"-style approach. The blind faith has already been discussed.

//We’re “knuckleheads” for denying something that scientists admit has no evidence other than something that is occasionally inferred?//

They DO have evidence! They can calculate the mass that's out there and the amount of gravity! They don't match up! So SOMETHING is missing! They just don't know what yet! Just like how they knew there was a Higgs Boson particle before they actually discovered it. This isn't mumbo jumbo and making guesses. Try to keep up here.

Don't stamp your foot at me, missy! Comparing the over-hyped Higgs Boson particle to dark matter is a bit of a reach, and also a distraction from the faith-based pronouncements of evolutionists. Try to keep up here.

And I love how you bring Bible quotes into a discussion on science. Hard to argue when you have evidence like that on your side.

The Bible was not being presented as scientific evidence. She presupposes atheism and denies God, but also pretends on that Page that there is nothing true in the Bible. That is absurd even on the surface, but her epistemology demands rescuing devices — even if they are simple assertions and contradictions.

Taking it further, atheism is irrational and incoherent. It lacks the necessary preconditions of intelligibility that are found in the biblical worldview — beginning with creation. There is no evidence for atheism, but only metaphysical machinations. There has never been any archaeological or historical claim in the Bible that has been refuted by actual evidence. Nor have other matters about science, but atheistic presuppositions require interpreting observable evidence against God's Word; can't allow a theist to be right about anything, now, can we?

So much for being "eviscerated"!

Oops, I did it again. Kindly gather your entrails as you exit. But go ahead and leave your presuppositions and epistemology in the trash. I know it's too much to ask, but you need to stop unrighteously suppressing the truth about the God that you know exists. From there, humble yourself and repent. You need to make Jesus Christ your salvation. The alternative is pure Hell.

This is the most time I have spent on this hatetheist and I intend to avoid such fireworks and probable time wasting in the future. Perhaps others will learn from this. By the way, here is an annotated screenshot of the diatribe.

July 2, 2020

Copyright and Suspicious Photo Sites

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

A few years ago, I wrote an article with a passel of links to free images that claim to have no copyright restrictions. Although I targeted it toward Christians so we do not get a bad testimony for using stolen images (just because it is online does not make it up for grabs), any blogger can benefit. You can read that one at "Images on the Web: An Appeal to Caution".

Just because an image is on the web does not mean it is free for everyone. Here is a caution to bloggers and a warning about some dodgy graphics sites. I trust Pixabay.
Credit: Pixabay / Arek Socha
The safest way to use an image in your weblog is to take your own artwork or image, avoiding recognizable people and identifiable brands. I believe that the main point of that is to avoid showing them in a bad light, or that an article might reflect poorly on them. Identifiable children are, for me, right out. In addition, we must be careful to avoid making it appear that the person, brand, image supplier, and so on are not endorsing an article or site. Landscapes, wildlife, things like that are great, but some of us need something more.

Reputable free image sources insist that people who upload images certify that they are not infringing on copyrights. Let's focus (heh!) on Pixabay. They have Terms of Service and About Us sections. Pixabay and many others do not require attribution, but I give it anyway. One reason is courtesy to the provider and the artist or photographer. Another is to protect myself.

These companies are expecting people to act in good faith when uploading content, and users are also acting in good faith when using the images and other things that are available from them. I could be hit with a DMCA claim and, if valid, have to remove an image. Pixabay and other providers usually have a way of being contacted if some sidewinder lied about being the legitimate owner of an image and the real owner complains.

By the way, even if I used an image that I did not have a right to have, the owner may not want to go through the legal time and difficulties because images on my sites are low resolution, and file sizes seldom exceed 100kb. Legal considerations aside, I simply want to do what is right. Since I am uncomfortable with Fair Use doctrines, I seldom appeal to that concept. For an example of Fair Use, see the top image and the fine print at the bottom of this article by the Institute for Creation Research. My own cautions may be useful to others, but I admit to bending my own rules on widespread images and "memes".

That's a buckboard-full of background, I know, but it's important for the next part that may be a very important warning for some folks. So pay attention, pardner.

When searching for images, I came across Pikrepo, Pikist, and Pxfuel. Who are the people hiding behind the woodshed? The sites are almost identical and claim to provider copyright-free material. I found a picture of a woman that looked like it was taken by a professional, ran it through a reverse image search, and seriously doubt that it is public domain material. She's a model or something. A fourth is like the others, PickPik. It, too has substantially the same ToS and claimed to have the images sorted by artificial intelligence. Interesting that I saw some that were also on Pixabay.

What is missing or difficult to obtain?
  • Information about the company or companies. I could find nothing significant about them.
  • You can often find "about" or "terms of use" information at the top or bottom of a page on other graphics sites, but good luck actually reaching the bottom on these four. That's because the site keeps on loading more images; scroll more, see more. I had to use the browser function to view the page source so I could find a bland "Terms of Use" at Pxfuel.
  • Contact information. Using patience and trickery, the "contact us" links are available. The ones I clicked on launched my browser, not my email client! I didn't follow through because of inner alarm bells.
  • Membership. While not exactly dealing from the bottom of the deck by not having this, many image sites have an option to become a member. This is necessary if someone is going to contribute material. Why no contributors?
  • Information about the alleged photographers. Many sites that provider images have these, and if you click on the name under the picture near the top, you will be taken to Arek's section on Pixabay.
Too many factors made me think that those four sites listed above are dodgy. A dictum I follow, especially here: When in doubt, go without. Another is to not be in a hurry and do some investigation. I have doubts, so I'll leave those infernal sites on the dusty trail and ride with those I can trust.

June 23, 2020

Amazing Atheist — A Video by Ray Comfort

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Ray Comfort has been proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ for many years, and he has made a prairie schooner-full of videos of various lengths under the banner of Living Waters. Atheists like these have a great time ridiculing and misrepresenting him, but he still preaches the gospel with love and without compromise.

This article draws from the "Amazing Atheist" documentary by Ray Comfort, and a link is provided so you can see it.
Screenshot from the title section of Amazing Atheist
While many professing atheists tend to ridicule Ray's videos, some have actually watched them. He had video interviews with two of them. John has been vile and hateful, and Justin expresses disagreement but was pleasant. In the interview, both were civil and actually let him speak. Justin is one of the few atheists I've seen that can be personable, and I think I could have a discussion with him.

One of them said that a turning point for him was that he was told to believe literally everything in the Bible. Define "literally". No rational Christian believes all of the contents in an absolutely literal manner, just like people checking for the time of sunrise actually believe the sun rises. Context is key, and we are to use the historical-grammatical method of interpretation.

Other people and I have observed that minerals-to-mycologist evolution is foundational for atheism. Also included are the Big Bang, uniformitarian geology (so that Darwin can move in mysterious ways his wonders to perform), and other natural processes. There are many resources available for people who have honest questions, and creation science models for catastrophism fit the observed data instead of uniformitarianism (slow and gradual processes over millions of years). Evolution makes atheists out of people — especially those who want to disbelieve and will not investigate further.

Evolution also helps them justify their rebellion against God because it is their creation myth. While claiming to believe in empirical science and reason, the atheists were expressing blind faith in evolution and even personifying it. The "facts" of evolution are constantly being rewritten, and we've seen many examples of fake "discoveries" as well as the exulted peer review process that have been retracted and even false. Believing in evolution is done through faith, not evidence. Doing so is neither scientific nor rational.

Even though atheism is irrational and incoherent, lacking the necessary preconditions of human experience, we see many of them attempting to convert us to their fundamentally flawed worldview. Study on it a minute. Instead of respecting our views, they seek to deprive us of our beliefs and joy. Most rational people (who do not establish their identities in denying the existence of God) will be respectful of the beliefs of others. Yes, Christians will evangelize because we want to see people experience the love, forgiveness, and lordship of Jesus Christ. We also don't want to see them going to Hell in their sin. Our injunction is to be respectful.

There are professing Christians who think love means being sunshine and lollipops, coddling atheists. Like those with violent religious views, atheists see coddling in the name of love as weakness. Sometimes we have to be blunt to get their attention, which is actually the loving thing to do! Ray Comfort can be very direct but is not unkind. I challenge atheists to read his book Out of the Comfort Zone and see if any atheists have done the things he has done to help others at personal expense and risk.

This child thinks that Justin and John didn't do their homework, preferring instead to reinforce their beliefs by using talking points from various internet atheist rhetoric supply houses. I have seen many times where professing atheists prefer to delve into cherry-picked philosophies such as, "Immanuel Kant said that morality is based on reason, a categorical imperative, so moral law comes from within". A lot of chin music. You can pull on the reins and holler, "Whoa!" by asking what happens when my inner moral law differs from your moral law?

Listen up: everyone has an ultimate starting point that is not reached through empiricism. Atheists are hardcore presuppositionalists, assuming naturalism. We presuppose the Word of God, which has been confirmed time and again. There is an ultimate truth, a First Cause, a source for morality. That is God our Creator. Our faith is not blind, and those rejecting God need to repent.

I encourage you to watch the documentary, "Amazing Atheist — A Journey of Two Atheists". There are many things I said that are not covered in the video (it would probably be four hours instead of one hour in length). Mayhaps atheists could learn a little about the man they so gleefully mock, but also may learn about the gospel as well.

May 30, 2020

Big Business Neglecting the Human Element

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited June 2, 2020

On this anniversary of my first weblog (began in 2007), I wanted to do something very personal that also including material that applies to many people in the workforce. Readers from The Company may wonder, "Is he talking about me?" For the most part, "you" will be a combination of people. The big business shall remain unnamed.

Working for The Company has given me insight into how important factors affecting production are neglected. Also, we are people and we have personal tragedies that require our attention.
Background image: Unsplash / Rupixen
This article may get me fired or I could receive some other form of retaliation, but I am presenting the truth and the situation as I see it. Some people can't handle that.

The Hazard of Hiring Humans

It's problematic for laissez-faire capitalism (see "Evolutionary Thinking and Human Capital") that they have to employ people. Not automatons, not (as Mr. Gordons says) meat machines, but people. We are not baunistic. Mayhaps some bigwigs would like to completely automate, but even androids need maintenance. (What was that old story about a world full of machines and one man's only job was to push the start button every day?) In fact, the OCR software is faulty (despite promises to improve it over the years), so people are necessary to compensate for its shortcomings. You hired people. It's a cost of doing business, and along with that comes the human element.

Don't be disunderstanding me, there are people in supervisory positions for The Company that have some compassion. They are in a tough place because they have to prompt the workers to meet production goals, and their supervisors seem to only know about figures on spreadsheets. (I can name supervisors who left The Company because of the draconian approaches of those in the high castle.) There are also some sidewinders among us who have no interest in actually working, slacking more often than not. They need to be motivated, trained, disciplined, or removed. When it's strictly by the numbers, things get complicated. I would never want a management position.

You hired people to do a job. We get that. There are standards and criteria to meet, even though some quantities were increased and took us by surprise. (I'll allow that some were lowered later because they were unrealistic, but not until after some people were made to go away because they weren't good enough.) A personal watchword for me is balance. There must be a balance between corporate interests and compassion for the people you depend on. Don't get me started on the abysmal morale or how I've been working for 5-1/2 years. There's something sinister behind the scenes.

"This is typical of big business!"

I know. My wife can tell you about the exceptionally crooked company she works for that violates county, state, and federal laws. Doesn't make it right there or here. Part of my problem is that I have a strong sense of right and wrong. I tend to agree with John Bernard Books, pilgrim.

Needing Proper Equipment

The Company does not equip us to succeed. Faulty software that is often tweaked for the worse and our recommendations that could increase productivity are ignored. (I started to ask one jasper a question, he finished it with what I was not asking, then rejected what I said!) Although some managers listen to the concerns of the people doing the work, these are seldom taken seriously or even implemented. In a college class on systems analysis, I kept insisting that those in power need to talk with and learn from the workers. Yes, I keep saying "workers" because that's how people like this view us.

It is an unfortunate fact that the IT department will make changes that have made the work more difficult, and are unwilling to do their IT jobs. (The attitude is, "Deal with it. Here's a workaround that slows your production even more.) What is more unfortunate is that The Company employs a variety of people with disparate education and life experience. I have education and experience in data processing and computer logic, but that's not important, is it?

Professional Difficulties

"Enough with the introduction, Cowboy Bob. What does this have to do with earlier in the week?"

Many of us work from home. Several others and I received emails from our superiors about low production. I was both hurt and outraged (more on that later), and my wife was worried again that I might have a heart attack. Yes, I have health concerns including diabetes and heart things such as high blood pressure. Here are a few salient facts:
  • The Company, unlike their biggest contractor, uses our own internet connections from many servers. These in turn connect to The Company's not-exactly-reliable servers. Plenty of opportunities for slowdowns and even disconnects; I've had to disconnect and reconnect a few times while working.
  • We are on partial layoff. In my case, three nine-hour says unless we are called in for more days.
  • My "week" was based on two days (Thursday was not a working day for me, and Friday was a bereavement day). Do we need to discuss insufficient data, a limited sampling? Not like I did forty hours, you know.
  • The queues I work on were run into the ground. Sorry, my production's down because I ran out of work that is due two days from now and I have to wait to be switched over for more — if available. This and the point above make it difficult to act as if we were in a crisis, such as when there was mandatory overtime for weeks — even through holidays.
  • As it was in the office, so it is at home: we can "push" a finished batch of data entry work and call for a new one. New batches are supposed to arrive quickly, but can take quite a while. Although there is a timer on it, the timer is not accurate. I checked. Thirty seconds of software time is actually much longer in reality. There are also periods that the system is slow between fields. Also, I have seen the meter actually report zero fields per hour. Not true. These things count against our production time. Waving it off as "we take that into account" is risible, and saying "the difference is negligible" conflicts with other things we were warned about that adversely affect our performance scores.
  • One of the things I discussed is that we have providers that waste space in fields on the form with unnecessary notes. OCR picks up that extraneous material and we have to remove it. We do not receive credit for fields entered, and the deletion time counts against us. It would be mighty helpful if providers knew how to fill out the forms.
  • When I see an error that a previous processor or I made while exiting the screen, I can go back using the "page up" key. However, it often skips back two screens. More time lost.
  • One mantra in The Company is that we are responsible for all fields, even those for which we are not prompted. That means we can receive and error for something we did not enter, so when we slow down, look it over, and activate fields, our production time goes down. Cue the song by Queen, "I want it all and I want it now".
  • Sometimes a field has been cleared and, in the process of filling it in correctly, the system jumps ahead several screens. Keystrokes are accepted as entries into subsequent fields. We must go back and find those, clear, and correct them. A tremendous amount of time can be wasted when this happens. I think from now on, I'll just let it go and damn the torpedoes. No more wasting time on backtracking. There are other quirks of the software that slow us down, but you get the idea.

Spying and Insufficient Information

Spying on employees' computer screens may not be reliable. Am I on Double Secret Probation?

"It's not spying, it's electronic surveillance!"

Sure, Comey, tell yourself that. But it's a mite dehumanizing, wouldn't you say? Although you admitted to being unable to see our faces, it is assumed that we are "staring at the work desk as if there is something magical there". Not helpful. As my readers know, I can give a prairie schooner-full of sarcasm right back — but I'm resisting that impulse. I've already told you about the appeal to motive fallacy, but when you add ridicule to that, it's counterproductive. By the way, has that spying software in which you put faith been calibrated? You may be looking at a screen that is not actively connected, or the software is acting up again.

You said you can't see our faces. Nor can you see our hands. There are times when I have been typing and nothing happens. It happened in the office but it happens at home as well, it seems a bit more. When you said, "I can only assume you're staring off into space or doing something not work related".

Listen up. In addition to established breaks, we're allotted half an hour each day for non-work things (unless management privilege was invoked and the rules were changed again). These items include restroom trips or grabbing a coffee; I have a container right here so I don't have to go to the kitchen to pour it. Or maybe the lack of activity is because someone is changing tracks on the MP3 player. In fact, some of us give back a few minutes by returning from our unpaid breaks earlyAlso, the restroom is ten feet away, making for a much shorter visit than at the workplace. The diuretic is annoying, but that's what I have to live with. When you cast aspersions on the people you work with and presume the worst about us, that worms the cockles of my heart and I'm sure it's great for morale.

I have much more to say about making conclusions from insufficient evidence (and it really gets me on the prod when people do that to impugn the intelligence and integrity of the people they depend on), but that will be in another article. We had a friendly working relationship, but I reckon you've changed, old son. That also grieves me.

Personal Tragedies

The past few weeks have been rough on me, and it was no secret. First, we learned that my sister-in-law had cancer and was moving away so she could get treatment. Second, Basement Cat was having serious problems. Third, The Company was having the sign-up for healthcare benefits and I have still not been informed as to the specifics of the coverage (I will probably have to take this to state or federal government officials). Oh, and there are the ubiquitous fears of COVID-19 that has lots of folks making chin music.

All three of these took my time and attention. Wednesday the 20th was the worst. Basement Cat's breathing was worsening, and I called the vet to say that my wife and I reached the extremely difficult decision to end her suffering (for details on this and why she was not "just a cat", see "Farewell to Basement Cat"). I sent the above video to the vet, and two of them agreed that the treatments could not work. It's mighty difficult to work with tears in my eyes and even having a couple drip onto the keyboard. Yeah, I cried. Do you care about my pain and my compassion for others? I was waiting for my wife to arrive home for that awful trip, and then she sent a message that her sister had just died. I was given permission to take the rest of the day off, but I soldiered on.

A Plan for Improvement was Demanded

I was told in the email to give a plan as to how to improve my production. Okay, I don't have any more crises or impending deaths on the horizon, so those distractions are gone. I can plow ahead even though there are software issues, working on items that are due a day or two in advance, and we were partly laid off for lack of work. Yes, I know there are things I do not see, but I can only respond to what I do see, see? Well, raising a fuss later about my benefits and legal things may take some time, but we'll deal with that later.

A Human with Priorities

My god is not money. Although money is helpful living in this world, I am a son of the Living God through the blood of Jesus Christ. Money did not die for my sins or bodily rise from the dead, and I'm rock solid in the Master's hand. Ain't nobody going to take that away. Fortunately for employers, followers of Jesus are instructed by the Bible to work for the glory of God and to try to do their best. If The Company equipped us to succeed and was insightful about what is actually happening, that would help me considerable-like to accomplish that goal. You savvy?

At the beginning, I said that this article was going to be highly personal. It was, but there are several practical, realistic things included that affect many people. But I'm not someone important in The Company, so I have nothing to say. A related article is here. Still love me?

"Whaddya mean, still?"

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