Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Small Quibble

This NY Times article is mostly solid. It doesn't go into very deep detail on some of the author's assertions, but I know where he's coming from with most of what he says. But I do have a small quibble.

This statement is at best misleading:

For atheists, it is not a particularly welcome thought that religion evolved because it conferred essential benefits on early human societies and their successors. If religion is a lifebelt, it is hard to portray it as useless.

I have to disagree. It doesn't bother me in the least to think that an urge toward religious behavior may have evolved in humanity. Many things have evolved in human behavior that we don't need any longer. The strong desire for sweets comes to mind. Religion is just about as "useless" as my ongoing love affair with the demon Almond Joy.

In other words, I do need calories, but there are better ways to get them than Almond Joy. And I do need all the services the author credits to religion in early hunter-gatherer societies, but there are better ways to get them than religion.

I'm just sayin'....

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Sunday, November 08, 2009


.... someone's been watching Eddie Izzard.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Tinlging Feelings

You know that tingling feeling you get when you're reading a Discworld novel and it all starts to fall in place? I love that feeling. I got it last night. Several times, in fact. I was reading Unseen Academicals, and once again, Pratchett is his usual amazing self. It makes me mourn his illness even more. Not to mention everyone else who suffers from Alzheimer's.

That's the curse of being a "reader" from an early age. Sure, you get to wade through the complete works of Robert Heinlein, J.R.R. Tolkien and tons of others (mostly because that's what your dad's got lying around, of course). But the sucking chest wound of being an early "reader" is that some of your favorite authors aren't already conveniently passed away.

All those literary types get to ooh and ahh over F. Scott Fitzgerald and his collected works. But I get the joy of looking forward to the next {insert favorite author} book. Until I don't. I remember when Heinlein died. I went to my dad in tears. So many others of that generation have passed on, and the few who are still hanging in there frankly have days that are numbered. Of course, so do we all, right?

Still, all in all, I am immensely grateful for the tingling feelings that Terry Pratchett has given me over the years. I can't believe how lucky I was to get Mort by mistake from the SFBC.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Casual Atheism

I love it when I see casual atheism. By casual atheism, I mean someone just mentions it in the course of a discussion, not making a big deal out of it, and goes on to make their point.

Here's a fantastic case in point.

Like other atheists, I can see some of the rookie mistakes in the "world building" God has done, by which I mean Jehovah, with his cryptozoological fascinations, underutilized themes, flat protagonists, and the prevalence of barbarism...

This is Tycho of Penny Arcade fame. He's quite the wordsmith most days, but occasionally he says something that just blows me away. And yes, I realize the above quote is not all that "casual", but follow the link and read the whole post. You'll get a better feel for what I mean.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Question Of The Moment

Don't you hate it when people you're close to get all snarky for some reason, and you can't figure out why?

I know I do.



"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain


Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu