Sorry I've neglected my blog over the holidays, but I'm back in the saddle now. This is a continuation of my last blog entry that highlighted some interesting vocabulary that I've been seeing floating around the last year or so. Below are a few more of my favorites.
     Burqini or Burkini is a pormanteau of burqa and bikini. It is a swimsuit designed by Aheda Zanetti that is intended to preserve Muslim modesty. It covers the entire female body except the face, hands and feet. Thinking about this motivated me to look up the kinds of headwear worn by Muslims. Below is a diagram showing the various types.

    In Seattle I see a fair share of women wearing hijabs and a couple wearing burkas. One young lady I saw in a Starbucks adding sugar and cream to her drink while talking on a cell phone that she had neatly tucked into her hijab. I teased her by saying "Gee, that's a pretty slick solution to the laws in Washington state prohibiting talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device." She smiled and replied, "We call it a 'Muslim Bluetooth.' I like that.  
    In France there has been a recent hullabaloo about a legal ban on wearing a Niqab in public, which is now being subject to a legal challenge. My view: I think this is simply a case of state-sponsored racism. My feelings parallel the views of this article that this is not a security issue, nor an abrogation of the subjugation of women. It is simply a, ahem, "thinly veiled" example of islamophobia. I hope the European court rules to get rid of this stupid law. DYT Blog readers know that this blogger is no fan of religion, but this is just plain wrong. The court ruling on this sometime in the next few months.
    Gish Gallop. Oooh, this is a good one. Named for creationist wacko (Note: This author considers all creationists as wackos) Duane Gish in a term coined by anthropologist Eugenie Scott, who has been a potent force in an attempt to keep creationism out of science classes in public schools. The gallop is essentially a distraction technique of running down a long list of irrelevancies, straw-man arguments and falsehoods to support a position. The idea is to create an unassailable argument that is weighted by numerous "facts." A Gish Gallop, in other words, is piling bullshit onto bullshit and then adding even more bullshit. Unfortunately, for for the gushers of gish, this amounts to only a large pile of...yeah, you guessed it, bullshit. This technique is not only used by creationists, but climate change deniers and other irrational "thinkers." The Rational Wiki entry has links to several examples.
    Ignosticism or Igtheism. These terms have been around for a while, but they're relatively new to me. I like this definition:
Ignosticism is the position that, before we can have a meaningful conversation about "God", we have to adequately define "God". Since most given descriptors of "God" are muddled, self-contradictory, linguistically empty, etc, it's pointless to talk about it at all. Basically the position boils down to saying "I don't know what you're talking about when you talk about 'God". The idea of "God" is cognitively incoherent and so cannot be entertained in thought. It is unthinkable and unverifiable. Ignosticism is often synonymous with Theological Noncognitivism."
Let me define this by example. Often, beliefs in god are divided into three broad categories (With sub-categories in each): theist, atheist, and agnostic; or, believer, non-believer and "doubter," respectively. When confronted with these descriptions many years ago, I was could never fit myself into any of these neat little categories, and often described myself as "confused," or would say something like, "I have no idea what you're talking about." Some, taking pity on my ignorance, would rise to the occasion and and try to cobble together some sort of definition, like a "Supreme Being," (which sounds to me like some kind of divine ice cream concoction), or they would list some description of unprovable extremes, omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, incorporeal, etc. or synonyms "God is Love," or some such nonsense. I have to say that this never really clarified anything for me. Nowadays I'm pretty comfortable, in the absence of anything more definable, to remain confused. But now, I have a label for it: I'm an ignostic. Yay, me.
    Schmeat or Shmeat. Another pormanteau of the words "sheet" and "meat." This sounds like an interesting meal. Essentially, test tube meat grown in vitro from cultured bovine muscle cells. At first blush, this sounds terribly unappetizing to me. But, after thinking about it, why not? Some of us eat hot dogs, hamburgers, or chicken nuggets? People who have tried it seem impressed both by its mouthfeel and similarity to "real" meat. Much better than soy bean or tofu preparations (tofurkey anyone?) that are doctored to resemble meat. I wonder if this will catch on with vegetarians? Maybe some. It seems relatively cruelty-free, and may have environmental benefits, but it's not clear yet how schmeat compares in terms of nutritional content with the real thing. Below is a pic:

Looks tasty to me. Some have suggested that this might develop into a solution to the world hunger problem if we can figure out a way to produce it cheaply enough. Personally, I'm a fan of addressing the global shortage of protein by consuming insects. Insects may sound unappealing, at least to American appetites, but, honestly, we generally have no trouble eating shrimp and lobster, which are just other arthropods. Below I have posted a couple videos of taste tests of schmeat. Bon appetit!
Well, shucks, I'm still not all the way through my list of words and this blog-post is getting kind of long. Looks like this is a three-parter. Stay tuned and Happy New Year everyone.


dang nab
01/03/2014 3:13pm

Slightly off topic, but did you see that Bill Nye has decided to do a debate with creationist, Ken Hamm? I don't know why he would do that. Maybe he can turn it into an educational moment, but I have my doubts.

DYT Blogger
01/04/2014 1:05pm

Yeah Dang nab, I agree. I posted a link to this in Facebook and on the Seattle Skeptics FB site. Surprisingly, a lot of other skeptics are not quite as dubious as we are. Here is my take: "Okay, a lot of people seem to disagree with me, but here's my take. There are many scientists (notably Dawkins and Myers) who now refuse to debate unscientific quacks like Ham because their views have been thoroughly debunked and it only elevates the visibility of the "crazy" in terms of public recognition. That is why most credible scientists refuse to engage astrologers, flat-earthers, antivaxers, 9-11 truthers and assorted other kooks."

02/14/2014 10:18am

I think fake meat is a fantastic idea. My prediction is that 50 or 100 years from now, when it's commonplace, we'll look back and wonder how we actually raised animals by the millions just to kill and eat them.

Less global warming, no animal waste issues, cruelty-free--sounds like a big deal.

DYT Blogger
02/14/2014 5:47pm

I think it's a good idea in principle, I just wonder if we'll ever be able to produce it cheaply and efficiently enough to make it practical. Even large-scale cell incubators are very expensive and energy-demanding. But, who knows what the future will bring? If we ever figure out a way to generate or harness energy cheaply it might work. Pass the ketchup.


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