Monday, October 27, 2008

There and Back Again

Just finished reading The Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. Once again I am left with the same impression: Don't mess with Rosie Cotton.

It also finally penetrated my thick skull that the one who goes "there and back again" is not Bilbo or Frodo. It's Sam! He says so right there in the last sentence, "Well, I'm back." Duh!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hubris Watch

I figure most eras of American history have their share of hubris but I would stack the first decade of the 21st century up against the best of them:

2000 - Karl Rove finds the perfect candidate for President through whose administration he will be able to manipulate the political system and create a Permanent Republican Majority. Instead, the tenure of George W Bush sinks into crass opportunism, abuse of power and executive incompetence that results in record deficits, a tarnished image and a set back to conservatism that may require a generation to overcome.

2001-2003 - Donald Rumsfeld and the neo-conservatives decide that, with a couple of bombers and Army Rangers, they can scare the regime in Iraq into (American) bloodless submission. Then all the petroleum producing countries in the region would lay their oil at our feet and marry their sons to Israeli princesses. "Democracy" and Pax Americana would flower in the Middle East and through out the world. Instead Iraq is destroyed, the price of oil spikes, the military is straining at the seams and Iran emerges as a serious regional power.

and finally,

2000-2008 - I love this one: the financial geniuses on Wall Street come up with formulas that allow them to structure their portfolios such that risk can be managed while returns continue unabated. Got that? Risk Will No Longer Be A Problem! The result? A complete financial meltdown.

Gotta love it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Invisible Meme

I have long been wanting to start a blog meme among believers and non-believers in which each “victim” of the mind-virus would answer the following:

1) Who are “Us”?
2) Who are “Them”?
3) What is the weakest argument used by supporters of Our Side?
4) What is the best argument deployed by Their Side?

This would hopefully take the focus off bashing the other guy and turn it toward a more humble footing. It could even be applied to the opponents in any contentious debate.

Unfortunately my blog doesn’t have the visibility (no one reads it) to start something like this. That said, my answers would be run thus:

1) Soft Atheists: those who cite that “(claimed) insufficient evidence” for God’s existence.

2) Theists: I think you know who you are - still wondering about James McGrath :)

3) Every evil perpetrated in the last 2000 years can be blamed on religion: I firmly believe that, while Hitler may have had religious thoughts, in the absence of those he would have found some other justification for his actions.

4) The argument from personal experience: Although what takes place in an individuals head is subjective and unreproducible (under controlled conditions) it is still a something that was perceived and affected that person’s life. (HT McGrath)

(originally posted at Pen & Parchment)

Deep Thoughts

"There appears to be a correlation between being an undecided voter and wearing a goatee. Which actually sort of makes sense."

Comment from viewer of second presidential debate coverage