Academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced disobedience.
Academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced disobedience.
Just what Pakistan needed . . . Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today. At this point we’re being told that the killer was an Islamic militant – but I’ll have more details as they come.
She was the best chance of getting rid of Musharraf – the elections will probably be delayed. Here‘s a link to the New York Times article.
The New York Times has an interesting article about Hillary Clinton’s experience (or lack thereof) that she gained as the president’s wife. From the article:
But during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.
And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.
The rest of the article reveals that she is incapable of giving a straight answer to a straight question. That’s one of those traits of politicians that really upsets me. The article also points out that she did do some things – but those things were minimal and not as official as she would have us believe. Worth a read.
Salon has an interview with theologian John Haught on Darwin, Camus, Dawkins, and the so-called “new atheism”. Haught makes some good arguments – or at least, arguments that would be good if they didn’t ignore several very important key issues. Let’s take a look:
The new atheists don’t want to think out the implications of a complete absence of deity. Nietzsche, as well as Sartre and Camus, all expressed it quite correctly. The implications should be nihilism.
Haught is at least a little right; in all of my readings of the ‘new atheists’ I don’t recall any of them coming to the conclusion of nihilism. In fact, just the opposite. A life of logic simply does not equate to a life without hope – I know, it may be hard to believe, but life without god can still have meaning.
How do we account for the courage to go on living in the absence of hope? As you move to the later writings of Camus and Sartre, those books are saying it’s difficult to live without hope. What I want to show in my own work — as an alternative to the new atheists — is a universe in which hope is possible.
Hold on a second. Didn’t you just say that the new atheists differ from the old atheists in that they don’t find a connection between atheism and nihilism? Who are you arguing against here? I’m interested to read Haught’s upcoming book: God and the New Atheism, in which he will hopefully make an argument as to why life without god is hopeless.
But why can’t you have hope if you don’t believe in God?
You can have hope. But the question is, can you justify the hope? I don’t have any objection to the idea that atheists can be good and morally upright people. But we need a worldview that is capable of justifying the confidence that we place in our minds, in truth, in goodness, in beauty. I argue that an atheistic worldview is not capable of justifying that confidence. Some sort of theological framework can justify our trust in meaning, in goodness, in reason.
Oh. There’s the answer. But wait – didn’t he just say that hope isn’t possible without god? Ok, so it is possible, but not justified? How dare people have hope without justifying it! I would refer Haught to Dawkins in particular, who does a nice job of explaining goodness without god. Well, on to evolution, in which even the interviewer demonstrates his ignorance:
I would think the biggest challenge that evolutionary theory poses to most religions is the sense that there’s no inherent meaning in the world. If you look at the process of natural selection — this apparently random series of genetic mutations — it would seem that there’s no place for ultimate purpose. Human beings may just be an evolutionary accident.
For the umpteenth time, there is nothing “random” about natural selection. It is a process which favors the best equipped – and since it favors something, it isn’t fucking random. Sorry, that’s a pet peeve of mine, along with people who say “I could care less”. Anyway, here’s more from Haught:
A good example is the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg. In his book “Dreams of a Final Theory,” he asks, will we find God once science gets down to what he calls the fundamental levels of reality? It’s almost as if he assumes that science itself has the capacity and the power to comment on things like that. Similarly, Dawkins, in “The God Delusion,” has stated that science has the right to deal with the question of God and other religious issues, and everything has to be settled according to the canons of the scientific method.
The idea that god exists outside of the realm of scientific understanding is, to put it mildly, the very definition of a cop-out. Haught is essentially saying, ‘I want god to exist, and since science is potentially a threat to that, I’ll insist that God can’t be touched by it.’ And yet, Haught continues to state (I would say argue, but that would imply that he provides evidence and support for his view) that religion has the capacity to comment on everything. He also claims that some states of reality simply can’t be spoken about in scientific terms: “The only way we can talk about them is through symbolic and metaphoric language — in other words, the language of religion.” Wow – that’s right. Since religion can only talk about things through symbols and metaphors, it must be the only way we can talk about things. Come on! Last I checked symbolism and metaphor were literary devices, and religion wasn’t the sole user of them.
The theologian continues to say:
We have to distinguish between science as a method and what science produces in the way of discovery. As a method, science does not ask questions of purpose.
The idea that the scientific method has nothing to do with purpose is preposterous. Jonas Salk didn’t say, “hey – let’s inject people with the dead polio virus just for the hell of it.” The scientific method is built around the very concept of finding purpose. Without purpose looming over it, science would not exist.
The purpose [of the universe] seems to be, from the very beginning, the intensification of consciousness. If you understand purpose as actualizing something that’s unquestionably good, then consciousness certainly fits.
Why is Haught trying to insert his sense of morality into the purpose of the universe? Because he’s overly subjective in his analysis of everything? You don’t say . . . But if you understand “subjective” as actualizing a completely objective view, than he’s right.
I’m looking for an explanation that’s robust enough to account for the kind of universe that is able, from within itself, to develop and unfold in this ongoing process of complexification. So the idea that some sort of providential presence is accompanying this process seems not at all irrational. And I like to think of God in these terms.
Let’s face it Haught. You’re looking for an explanation that allows for your concept of God. The idea that ‘some sort of providential presence is accompanying the process’ only illustrates that you don’t understand the process. Evolution is remarkable in that it explains itself perfectly – and just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it needs your god’s help.
I believe every thought we have has a physical correlate. But at the same time, I believe there’s something about mind that does transcend, while at the same time fully dwelling incarnately in the physical universe. I see that as a microcosmic example of what’s going on in the universe as a whole. So I want a worldview that’s wide enough to ask the question, why does the universe not stand still? Once radiation came about early in the universe, why didn’t the universe say, “Well, we’re just fine here. This is a pretty good universe.” Instead, there’s a restlessness, a tendency of the cosmos to go beyond itself.
And why do you believe that consciousness transcends the physical? I don’t know – because you found it convenient not to explain that particular point – probably because the only explanation you have is that you want it to be true. Also, your example of the universe being restless is bogus, if nothing else than the universe doesn’t say anything, what it being inanimate and all. It didn’t occur to stop at radiation because nothing occurs to it – it really didn’t think about it that much.
But if you ask me whether a scientific experiment could verify the Resurrection, I would say such an event is entirely too important to be subjected to a method which is devoid of all religious meaning.
So if a camera was at the Resurrection, it would have recorded nothing?
If you had a camera in the upper room when the disciples came together after the death and Resurrection of Jesus, we would not see it. I’m not the only one to say this. Even conservative Catholic theologians say that. Faith means taking the risk of being vulnerable and opening your heart to that which is most important. We trivialize the whole meaning of the Resurrection when we start asking, Is it scientifically verifiable? Science is simply not equipped to deal with the dimensions of purposefulness, love, compassion, forgiveness — all the feelings and experiences that accompanied the early community’s belief that Jesus is still alive. Science is simply not equipped to deal with that. We have to learn to read the universe at different levels.
Alright. I’m not going to try to count the number of fallacies in that argument. Something isn’t beyond science because you say it is. Purpose, love, compassion, forgiveness, all of these are phenomenon that can be explained, and for the large part have been explained, through science. It’s unclear if Haught is taking the social sciences into consideration, but even if he is not, my previous statement remains accurate.
Throughout the interview he seems unwilling to accept that he won’t be rewarded for his good deeds after he dies – in fact, he seems to advocate doing good deeds in order to be rewarded. Eesh.
Haught’s entire argument (as presented in this interview) comes down to this – Haught just can’t accept the possibility that god is not necessary. If you ask me, that’s a pretty shitty argument.
John Haught, seen here, believing in god.
As part of their Off The Bus series, Huffington Post has an interesting pieceon Huckabee’s views on religion and environmentalism.
When it comes to Earth and the environment, Mike Huckabee has never been shy about bringing God into the conversation. In 1998, while speaking to the Arkansas Farm Bureau, Huckabee said:
“God made us, and God made the Earth. . . . He gave us the privilege to use it and enjoy the resources, but never to worship it. We’re to worship Him, not the thing He made. To me, environmentalists are those who worship the things that He made rather than He who made them.”
This wasn’t the first time Huckabee had had harsh words for environmentalists. In 1996, he said:
“Wacko environmentalists, who get out of their concrete towers one weekend a month and go look at a tree, believe they know more about the care of the land than farmers. They want to tell us what deodorant we can use and what kind of gas to put in our car.”
And on evolution . . .
I think schools also ought to be fair to all views. Because, frankly, Darwinism is not an established scientific fact. It is a theory of evolution, that’s why it’s called the theory of evolution. And I think that what I’d be concerned with is that it should be taught as one of the views that’s held by people. But it’s not the only view that’s held. And any time you teach one thing as that it’s the only thing, then I think that has a real problem to it.
Sweet jesus. Evidently the man can’t read. If he could, he would see that the title of the class is “science” – and so it is only natural that only scientific theories be considered. ID has absolutely nothing to do with science. I mean go talk to the FSM people.
I’m also sick of these conservatives who think that since the earth was created for us we can exploit it all we want. This human-centric view I thought had gone the way of the earth-centric view (you know, that the sun orbits the earth). Evidently there are still dipshits out there who think they’re the best things since sliced bread. Which, in my opinion, is a very childish world view.
A letter to TBS
To whom it may concern,
I’ve enjoyed TBS and would like to continue doing so. However I find that more and more difficult these days, thanks entirely to advertisements for your new show, Frank TV. There was a point when I would have considered watching the aforementioned show, but your relentless advertising campaign has simply beat it out of me. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I do I find that TBS airs one to two commercials for Frank TV every commercial break. While some genius you may have in your marketing department apparently thinks this is a brilliant strategy, I would adamantly disagree. I loath Frank TV. I guess somewhere in the bowels of the TBS building, you have a man named Frank locked up behind a door labeled “Last Resort”. What did your previously loyal audience do to deserve this plague you have inflicted upon us? We’re very sorry. Just please make it end. I can only watch a man imitate George Bush so many times before I want to beat their brains in with a large rock. Like finding out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, I was convinced I’d never know just where that line was. Thank you for clearing that up for me. As far back as I care to remember, advertising has been an effective way of promotion; of getting people interested in whatever product you’re trying to pawn off on them. Let this history books note however that in the year 2007 TBS has invented a new form of advertising – a form which gets people interested and then proceeds to beat them over the head with it until they not only lose interest, but begin to despise the very thing you want them to like. I really mean it – congratulations; this is indeed a fine strategy. I imagine the dystopic world of 1984 with the looming every watching face of big brother replaced by the face of a middle-aged overweight American with a jack-ass grin. It’s too late for me – the likelihood of me tuning into Frank TV is somewhere between the likelihood of Scientology being proven correct, and the show Frank TV being successful – but I implore you to stop the madness – and maybe you’ll premier the show without having alienated your entire audience.
*Update: Letter recieved from TBS
From Election Central:
A spokesman for the Mitt Romney campaign is thus far refusing to say whether Romney sees any positive role in America for atheists and other non-believers, after Election Central inquired about the topic yesterday.
But the real kicker comes from his speech on his Mormonism (which I hadn’t listened to):
Indeed, the only mentions of non-believers were very much negative. “It is as if they’re intent on establishing a new religion in America – the religion of secularism. They’re wrong,” Romney said, being met by applause from the audience.
It sounds like he doesn’t care which theology we use, as long as it remains a theocracy.
Go ahead, ask Mitt anything. Unless it is about the place for atheists in America. He doesn’t answer that question.
Sherri Shepherd, who is a co-host on some show called “The View” exposed that she is not only ignorant when she comes to history, she is ignorant about her own faith.
Jesus came first. Before the Romans, the Ancient Greeks, everything. Evidently she’s never bothered to understand what dates labeled as B.C. and A.D. mean. She probably thinks that B.C. means “Before Cheeseburgers” and that AD stands for “Awesome Diva”.
This is funny on at least two levels. One, it is obvious that she is taking on a Bible-centric view of history, so it is expected that she would deny real history. Secondly, her Bible-centric view isn’t Bible-centric at all because the bible blatantly admits people existed before Jesus. There’s actually a whole book about it – it’s called the Old Testament!
You can read about it and watch the video clip here.
In conclusion . . . my god she’s dumb.
|Knotottrocky on Profile of an Ignoramus: Rick…|
|A Man on Ann Coulter on Women’s…|
|Power Electronic Cig… on The Dark Knight and the Misgui…|
|Athlon on Top Ten Signs You’re a F…|
|Karry on Ann Coulter on Women’s…|