The other night Marie, in comments, left this turd. Zealots of the variety that is combative, jargon-spewing and orthopolitical [Ed: think orthodoxy in terms of political action ('PC') instead of in the realm of beliefs, particularly religious], seem to have one thing in common: they have really, really bad reading comprehension. Like some of the commenters […]
April 9th, 2013 · 23 Comments · Politics & Culture
April 8th, 2007 · 1 Comment · Politics & Culture
Back in 1999 when we moved out of an apartment in downtown to a fixer-upper in the ‘burbs, I took down my large marine aquarium that I’d maintained for a number of years. This was a big reef tank — 220 gallons in all — with a good 300 lbs. of live reef rock and other stuff. In terms of dimensions, we’re talking larger than a coffin. It was big. But the immediate future held lots of work for me on the new house so I took the tank and all the equipment down to Henry’s shop. I always figured I’d set up another system and a few weeks ago a friend in our building set up a reasonably large one (150 gallons) and I pitched in with a bit of advice from my experience — though as a PhD in chemistry this sort of thing is right up his alley. So I caught the bug again. Interestingly, things have changed; it’s become easier, actually, so yesterday I went about setting up a smaller system — about 50 gallons. I’ll try to get into all that later, but for now, it’s 6 a.m. on Easter Sunday so I must post…
April 4th, 2007 · 16 Comments · Politics & Culture
Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren. Follow up: I hadn’t read it all when I posted, but my assessment after finishing is that it’s pretty good and easy to follow. I’m biased, of course, but it’s abundantly clear to me that Warren can’t adequately respond to any of Harris’ objections. It’s all the same gobbledygook I used to hear back in Sunday school. That the arguments haven’t improved any, at all, suggests two possibilities: first, it’s just the best they’ve got (they really think Pascal’s Wager is clever); second, it’s sufficient to convince enough people, and in the end, it’s just a numbers game. If you could come up with arguments that would get people to believe in Zeus, then you would have “serious” theology surrounding Zeus (kind of the anthropomorphic principle applied to religious belief).
March 15th, 2007 · 24 Comments · Politics & Culture
So Sam Harris is at it, again, this time in an Opinion piece in today’s Los Angeles Times. Ostensibly, the piece is about CA Congressman Pete Stark coming out of the closet to declare himself rational on the issue of religious belief; in essence, letting everyone know that, unlike most of them, he doesn’t profess to literally believe in an Imaginary Friend. It kind of puts this entry of mine from way back in a different light for me. Setting his politics aside, I do have sympathy for nonbelievers who must endure living in a world where 9 of 10 people they encounter are, for lack of a better description, partially insane. You never quite know for sure whether you’re dealing wholly with a person’s insane compartment, or some hybrid that’s at least partially contaminated by the insanity. Realizing that this is a bit “convenient” to say, it is nonetheless obvious to point out that the insane rarely understand the nature of their insanity (kinda by definition). As such, though you can probably never fully trust anybody with free will, I think that goes doubly so for grown adults willing to believe in the literal equivalent of Santa Claus. And…