Monday, November 27, 2006

They Promised Us Jetpacks and We Got Blogs: The God Delusion and Complicit "Respect"

They Promised Us Jetpacks and We Got Blogs: The God Delusion and Complicit "Respect"

I suspect that I'm the friend that Space Cadet is speaking about. I too am reading The God Delusion. So far, I'm satisfied with the factual treatment and position that Dawkins takes. As for his tone, I am a little less satisfied. I agree that the logical and factual free ride that religion has had up until recently has to end. All "truths" must to be questioned. One of my favorite all time quotes is this one by Thomas Jefferson:
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than
that of blind-folded fear.
Maybe there is a need for Dawkins' tactics. He could possibly be the Bad Cop in a Good Cop / Bad Cop approach. However, I think that his tone is likely to piss off the ones that are most likely to be persuaded by his arguments. Once they are pissed off it is unlikely that they are listening any more. Once that has happened any further discussion is at best masturbatory. Ideas are not subject to respect, but individuals are. I am perfectly capable of translating Dawkins' harsh statements into the velvet covered bat that will make them palatable to someone else, I just think Dawkins' failure to do so means to that his message will go in one ear and out the other of those with whom it will make a difference. If that is the case he is left preaching to the converted, or unconverted in the case of his message. By tailoring his message to get through the filter that people have erected in their minds to protect their sacred ideas, he has a better chance of undoing the work of the meme that has taken hold.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Shane MacGowan RIP?

On the way home from Home Depot I was listening to NPR. I was delighted to hear that they were playing a Pogues song. I'm sad to say that I wasn't surprised to hear the announcer say that Shane MacGowan was dead. He didn't say how he'd died, but I was willing to bet that he'd died of some complication due to alcoholism. MacGowan is a notorious drunk. I have to say that I've never seen MacGowan sober. I was curious, so I decided to jump onto the internet once I got home. I'm actually not finding any recent news of MacGowan. The most interesting thing I could find was an article about MacGowan loosing two of his remaining teeth in a drinking mishap. Let's hope he's still alive and let's hope that he sees his 50th birthday next year. If you aren't familiar with The Pogues or Shane MacGownan you should check them out. Yes I know his voice sounds like the drunken lovemaking of a chicken and a cat, but consider some of my other favorite singers (Tom Waits, Mike Doughty).

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Well, it would appear that it is all over but the shouting at this point. I'm happy, but I'm not sure how much good it will do. The tshirt at the right sums up how I feel. I also like this guy's ideas.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Death of Saddam Hussein

It is really odd. I think my feelings about how the war in Iraq has gone have colored my thoughts on related issues. I find it funny that I feel a little squeemish about Hussein's execution. That's not because I think he doesn't deserve it. While I have to admit to having very little exposure to the trial itself it would appear that there are few questions about the facts in the case. It would seem that in some cases Hussein even confirmed the damning facts themselves. Based upon that alone he probably deserves to dance at the end of a rope. I guess what bothers me a little is that this execution will buy so little justice and will surely do nothing to promote peace in the area. I'm sure that some will make him into a martyr and he will be lioninzed after his death. His death will probably be used as an excuse to kill more innocent people.


I voted today. I am embarrassed to admit that this is the first time I've voted since I moved to the new district. Yes. I know I'm an dumbass for not participating, but for most of the previous few elections I either had something come up that prevented me from voting or I didn't really have something that would draw me to the polls. Why bother voting for or against something that doesn't effect you? This time is different. I suspect that this will be one of the highest voter turnouts in years. I also suspect that next time will probably be back to the status quo. I'm wondering if a system like Oregon's mail-in ballots might help to alleviate voter indifference. It is my understanding that Oregon can boast one of the highest voter participation rates in the country. I'm sure that I'd vote more often if I automatically had a ballot mailed to me and all I had to do was fill it out.

One of the other things that I noticed was that the required distance between the poll and electioneering is only 25 feet. That meant that there were weirdos next to the poll entrance trying to convince me to vote against proposition 2. It also meant that there were signs right outside the door. The funny thing was that there were competing signs right next to one another.

Finally, there was a lot less privacy than what I'm used to when voting. Not that I care if people see what I voted for, but I thought it was supposed to be a secret ballot. We just went into a gymnasium and filled out our Scantron ballots. We weren't shoulder to shoulder, but if I wanted to, I could have looked up and seen exactly what the guy next to me was voting for.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ayn Rand is an asshat

I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and now I've just finished watching The Fountainhead. Even if you make alowances for the dramatic style of the times, this is probably one of the most painful movies I've ever seen. Why must such interesting ideas have such a horrible champion? Rand's writing and characters are melodramatic and self important. Her conception of humanity is too simplistic. Yes, I believe in the virtue of selfishness, but her statement of the concept is flawed. I'm just ranting. Please ignore me.