Saturday, May 31, 2008

love and death - Forrest Church : love and death: "Yet without love, nothing matters. Break your life into a million pieces and ask yourself what of any real value might endure after you are gone. The pieces that remain will each carry love’s signature. Without love, we are left only with the aching hollow of regret, that haunting emptiness where love might have been."

Friday, May 30, 2008


Daily Science Trivia from Scientific American: "* we should call the most recent era (starting about A.D. 1700) the 'Anthropocene,' in recognition of the increasing human impact on the planet."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Religious v. Rational worldviews

Religious v. Rational - Beliefnet Forums: "High intelligence and the ability to use it effectively is quite compatible with the religious worldview, and indeed some have applied that intelligence to understanding their worldview, that is explaining why having faith is beneficial to their lives. But the faith is not questioned, nor is their worldview about the purpose and meaning of their lives (and their science.)"

On the death of a friend.

A D Community Room - Beliefnet Forums: "So I too share in her legacy and will carry forward that memory. I was on the way to a visit to my son who asked about the visit, he is a part of our beliefnet atheist community, and so the ripples spread,"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Robber Barons or Socialist Princes?

Our Economic Systems - Beliefnet Forums: "Say what you will of the excessive wealth of the Robber Barons both modern and historical but most got that wealth by providing valuable services to their communities, one consumer at a time, at a very reasonable cost to each consumer."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Religious v. Rational worldviews

Religious v. Rational - Beliefnet Forums: "But unlike Catholics I understand much more about what the Mass is teaching because I don't believe. I can look at the myths and imagery from a rational worldview and integrate the useful lessons and images from them into my rational understanding of my relationships with other people and my own understanding of what it means to "be alive and have to die." Forrest Church.

Forrest Church on being alive and having to die.

In a Richard French Live Profile in Courage Forrest discusses the recent recurrence of the cancer which is almost certainly terminal within the year. A wonderful discussion well worth the too few minutes to watch. "If you want to learn how to live, you should watch someone who is awake and aware die."

Religious v. Rational worldviews

Religious v. Rational - Beliefnet Forums: "The rational worldview has no understanding of faith, or belief. When I say no understanding I mean there is no referent in the worldview for either word. I know what both words mean but can't come up with a mental state that corresponds to either."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Is a rational prejudice a good prejudice?

Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums: "Rational thought is not necessarily benevolent thought."

On stealing

Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums: "I will still think about nuanced applications, fair use of copyrighted material, as an example, or ripping an out of print CD with a direct contribution to the originator. But I can do this because I have thought about why I do not steal."

China Sacks Plastic Bags: Scientific American

China has it together. US considered it and the plastic guys said no. Guess who won. China Sacks Plastic Bags: Scientific American: "Yet, the Chinese government is set to ban the manufacture and force shopkeepers to charge for the distribution of bags thinner than .025 millimeters thick as of June 1"

Friday, May 23, 2008

Abner1 Questioning prejudices

Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums: "You don't seem to realize that you need to be able to question to figure out which things don't need further questioning ... You can't reasonably just put up a wall around your own prejudices and say 'My prejudices should not be questioned, only those that need questioning should be questioned' because the way you find out which prejudices didn't need questioning is to question them all and see which ones survive the light of rational thought!"


Intuitive vs. Rational thinking - Beliefnet Forums: "Harvard? Isn't that some place back East, where they think that because they have 'Veritas' on their escutcheon that anything flowing from any orifice smells good?"

Religion induced atrophy of rationality

Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums: "Native intelligence of any level needs exercise if it is not to atrophy. If people are systematically denied the opportunity to use the mind to evaluate issues they lose the ability to do so. All they are left with are the religious indoctrinations that are designed to cover all situations without thinking,"

Judging the Harvard Monkey Lab Moral Sense Test

Intuitive vs. Rational thinking - Beliefnet Forums: "I spent the better part of a day reviewing their protocols, the rationale for their study, and took a few of their tests that were available on line. At the end of the day I decided that the study was sufficiently flawed that for my purpose, which is the justification of atheistic morality, their study warranted no more of my time."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Economic Success and Community Service

Intuitive vs. Rational thinking - Beliefnet Forums: "Just because the brilliant doctor is paid well for using his intelligence to cure cancer, does not mean he is not using his inherited gift to serve the community."

"Reason" to be Proud.

Intuitive vs. Rational thinking - Beliefnet Forums: "It is our ability to reason that is our major evolutionary advantage over animals that are instinctively more vicious, stronger, faster, and more agile than we are."

Reason and Moral Dilemmas.

Intuitive vs. Rational thinking - Beliefnet Forums: "To take Hauser's example, the decision to sacrifice the one on the siding to save the 5 on the main track, is not amenable to reason. If the five on the main track are fighting a gang war, and the one on the siding is a police officer trying to call in assistance or use his authority to end the fighting, reason cannot override the decision to divert the trolley to kill the officer."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Intuitive vs. Rational moral responses

Intuitive vs. Rational thinking - Beliefnet Forums: "The intuitive response to any moral situation is the integration of all we have learned about that type of moral situation, whether the learning was intuitive 'mama spank' or rational, 'that comment caused emotional injury, I shouldn't say that again.'"

Moral growth ends at puberty.

anyone who has survived the adolescence of their own children needs no studies to prove that any moral growth after puberty has a negative sign. Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums: "anyone who has survived the adolescence of their own children needs no studies to prove that any moral growth after puberty has a negative sign."

Moral fervor in Christians and atheists.

Atheists are born without sin so moral growth comes naturally as they mature from infancy to puberty when moral growth stops. Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums: "As atheists are born without sin, and moral growth comes naturally as they mature from infancy to puberty when moral growth stops."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why should an atheist be moral

Unlike theists an atheist cannot appeal to a God to override these prevailing moral standards, and therefore must be, if anything, more careful to know and understand them and comply with them carefully. There is no leeway for even minor breaches as hesh cannot pray for forgiveness nor expect any from a theist who distrusts herm in any event.
Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Faux News coverage of Kennedy Illness.

Normally Faux News is on my ignore list, but the lunchroom TV was covering Kennedy's "seizures." Out of the clear blue sky the Faux commentator said something to the effect that any fair and balanced coverage of Kennedy had to include Chappaquiddick. I choked on my sandwich, and decided that there is no bottom to the cesspool that is Faux news.

Reason and Cultural Heratage

Most strike a good balance between rationality and intuition, distributed along the continuum, if these are indeed a continuum, in the normal bell curve distribution. Some on the intuitive side with some application of reason, others on the reasoning side with some reliance on the collective wisdom of their childhood.
Cerebral and/or Visceral: Talking Past Each Other - Beliefnet Forums

Evolutionary analysis of Romeo and Juliet

Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion pp 221-222 brilliantly uses the entire play as an extended metaphor for the "misapplication" of genetic drives of lust, in group altruism, xenophobia, and charity. He explains both the play and evolutionary drives succinctly, and understandably. Incredibly well done!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Paul's sexual immorality rants.

If it is better to marry than to burn, it would seem that committed homosexuals are better off than fornicating heteros.
what do you think about being homosexual and being a christian? - Beliefnet Forums

On Prejudice

Prejudice is an excuse for irresponsible thoughtless behavior. Thoughtful, moral people examine their prejudices in order to determine functionality, and to counter those that are dysfunctional.
Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums

Olbermann: Mr. President, the war isn't about you - Countdown with Keith Olbermann-

A nation of killers for political purposes
Olbermann: Mr. President, the war isn't about you - Countdown with Keith Olbermann-

Moral judgments vs morality

A moral action is a snapshot of the moral state of the actor at the time. It is unreasoned. The underlying morality of the actor is malleable by reason.
David Brooks on 'Neural Buddhists' - Beliefnet Forums

Circular Double Rainbow

Past the bridge on the Mist Trail as Vernal Falls gets near, the gorge fills with mist. The AM sun is normally ahead and to the right. If you stop and turn around in the bright sun in the morning you will see mist bows arching over the trail behind you.

One morning when the mist was particularly heavy (record runoff for the Merced) I turned around and found a perfect double circle mist bow starting at one of my pockets and ending in the other.

I ruefully thought that the legendary pot of gold was a bit of small change at one end of the bow and a few bucks at the other. But the bows themselves were priceless.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Midwest Unitarian Upbringing

I grew up in an urban Midwest Unitarian Church. American Unitarian Conference - Beliefnet Forums

Self-transcendence or self-reliance.

Cosmopolitanism depends on the acceptance of morality and meaning as an inherent faculty of humans not derived from any supernatural source. David Brooks on 'Neural Buddhists' - Beliefnet Forums: "Beliefnet Forums > FAITHS & PRACTICES > Discussion, Dialogue and Debate > Discuss Atheism > David Brooks on 'Neural Buddhists"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chinese response to earthquake

50,000 troops and police in the mountains in 72 hours. Compare and contrast the third world response to Nargis and Katrina.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A broken irony meter.

You just broke my last irony meter. Origins Community Room - Beliefnet Forums

The God gene. How long to extinction.

The God gene causes behavior like basing education including science education on bronze age mythology and keeping the female half of the population in uneducated sexual slavery. In some parts of the world the gene is so dominant that they have to recruit those without it to build infrastructure, provide their transportation, and market their products. How long will this gene last in the human pool? Since warfare between God followers is all too common, my guess is very few generations.
Big Big problem for Evo's - Beliefnet Forums: "Beliefnet Forums > INTERESTS & TOPICS > Science & Religion > Origins of Life > Big Big problem for Evo's"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Prejudice in modern society.

Prejudice is a normal and powerful coping mechanism for humans dealing with people who are not in their village or parish.Prejudice v Evidence - Beliefnet Forums: "Beliefnet Forums > FAITHS & PRACTICES > Discussion, Dialogue and Debate > Discuss Atheism > Prejudice v Evidence"

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Innate language and moral faculties.

Introduction.The atheist belief system constitute a new religion - Beliefnet Forums

Bad people and atheism

How should atheists try to explain bad people. Motivation for Religious actions. - Beliefnet Forums

Perform for free?

I was offered a chance yesterday to do my show for free at work. The person offering suggested that since I was so good at it the store would benefit in the long run if I would do the orientation for him. The fact that it would free him up to sell more cars of course never entered his head. He seemed offended that I refused. I was obviously not doing anything "productive" at the time, and even a half-assed quickie would be better than he would do.

It seems that he and the big boss don't understand that unpaid professional activities are not a reasonable expectation for a minimum wage flunkie.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lang Lang and Beethoven.

An evening with Lang Lang and Beethoven the excuse was a little girl that can make a grown man cry playing Rachmaninoff no less. Fantastic. A D Music Hall - Beliefnet Forums

Is Yawhew reasonable?

Is Yawhew a reasonable rendering of the Hebrew?Group behavior is observable and measurable. - Beliefnet Forums

Bigotry and Prejudice

A discussion of bigotry and prejudice. A Christian troll defends both.Group behavior is observable and measurable. - Beliefnet Forums: "Group behavior is observable and measurable."