Monthly Archives: June 2009

Waiting for Coyne

Today I responded to biologist Jerry Coyne’s question, which he asked at his blog, about whether atheists should take theologians (or theological discussion) seriously. Here’s what I wrote: Professor Coyne: I’m an agnostic who (from my previous posts here) obviously has some intellectual … Continue reading

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Quote for the Week

Friedrich Nietzsche (from The Twilight of the Idols ): What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?

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Michael Jackson Pedophile Reality Check: Is It Mean to Suspect that Michael Jackson Might Have Been a Pedophile?

. The short answer is no, it’s not mean or irrational. Under normal circumstances nobody gets to do what Michael Jackson did (bring unrelated children into his bedroom overnight). No adult man gets to do that without suspicion cast upon … Continue reading

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Toaster Epistemology

An interesting article about the toaster and its meaning for art, philosophy, invisible-hand capitalism, and the universe here.

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The Big Picture

If you’ve ever wondered how Rush Limbaugh and Fox News have attained such large followings via their daily dishing out of “thought terminating cliches” and oversimplifications, here’s part of the answer:

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Jazz Interlude

Louis Prima:

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Whence Nietzsche in Contemporary Atheist Reflection?

Philosopher John Gray sees it only in Michel Onfray: Among contemporary anti-religious polemicists, only the French writer Michel Onfray has taken Nietzsche as his point of departure. In some ways, Onfray’s In Defence of Atheism [titled in its U.S. edition as … Continue reading

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Thomas Jefferson’s Second Birth, and the Intersections of Apollo and Dionysus

  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (John 3:4 KJV) I love this portrait of Thomas Jefferson. In good Neoclassical … Continue reading

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Evolution v. Creation Watch: What are Goose Bumps for?

It turns out that goose bumps are an evolutionary holdover from when we had fur. Here’s Harvard’s Steven Pinker: Our own bodies are riddled with quirks that no competent engineer would have planned but that disclose a history of trial-and-error … Continue reading

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O Brave New World!

This month’s Wired is reporting on a shocking scientific finding: A self-assembling molecule synthesized in a laboratory may resemble the earliest form of information-carrying biological material, a transitional stage between lifeless chemicals and the complex genetic architectures of life. Called … Continue reading

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Quote of the Day: Robert Lifton on the “thought terminating cliche”

Thought terminating cliches? You know, like the ones that Americans hear weekly from Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Here’s the psychologist Robert Lifton, from his book, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism : “The language of the totalist environment is characterized by … Continue reading

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Cap and Trade: The Big Picture

At Salon.com today, physicist Joseph Romm suggests how to frame the debate on “cap and trade”—and win it—as the bill passed in the House now heads for a vote in the Senate: The key to framing a win on this bill is to portray it — … Continue reading

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Michael Jackson Wrote This

Michael Jackson was a man of contradictions:

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Sisyphus Pushing v. Buddha Sitting

Someone recently said to me that to conclude that the universe is without purpose needn’t lead to pessimism and Albert Camus-like rebellion (as I have been suggesting lately). Nihilism might just as well mean “the loss of misery and despair as well. … Continue reading

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Yes He Can

No, he will not yield the mic, nor will he sit down, until he has spoken his peace: President Obama, in pushing his own agenda, could learn a thing or two from this defiant and courageous Iranian. Know hope. Here and there.

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Poem for Summer Vacations

Passage O soul to India! Passage, immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away O soul! hoist instantly the anchor! Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail! Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough? … Continue reading

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Joan Fry’s “How to Cook a Tapir”

My wife’s friend (and our colleague at the college that we all teach at in California) hit the big time last month, seeing her University of Nebraska Press book, How to Cook a Tapir, reviewed in both the Los Angeles Times … Continue reading

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Michael Jackson. The Emperor Has No Clothes?

Am I missing something here?  The television media, for the past two days, have been wall-to-wall with Michael Jackson’s death, but it seems that any discussion of his apparently life-long pedophilia compulsions are off-limits. They’re hinted at, they’re alluded to, but nobody … Continue reading

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Gay Teen Exorcism in Connecticut

Pinch me. We are living in the 21st century, right?

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Chasing Rabbits (and Magnolia Frogs)

For most of my adult life, I’ve had a pretty handy way, when I’m asleep—and my dream is getting a bit too scary or unpleasant—of figuring out whether or not I’m probably just dreaming: I try to notice anything going on … Continue reading

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