I had to go to the post office this morning to pick up a package. It was a replacement golf shaft and it came in a tall narrow box the size you'd expect of a golf club. As I was walking out of the post office an older lady saw me and asked "where did you get that box?" I said "I just picked this item up, the box was mailed to me." She said "Oh, because I've been looking for a box like that for a while. I have a very large poster that I need to send and I can't find a box to mail it in." I had wanted to keep this box as I need to send my old shaft back to the company that mailed me the new one, however I have access to this type of box, I can get one for free whenever I want. It took me a second to react and as she was walking away I called her back.
I said "hold on a second." I opened the package and put the shaft in my trunk, and I handed her the box. She said "oh thank you so much, aren't you just a Godsend." I said "I don't believe I am, I don't believe in God and I do good deeds on my own volition, because if we all do good deeds for each other I will receive good deeds back from others. I'm glad I was able to help you." She smiled and walked away.
It was a good start to the day.
OK first, let's get one term out of the way: TEPCO=Tokyo Electric Power Company.
That being said, here is the deal from a science junkie:
TEPCO pulled some large screw ups. The Soviets pulled some huge screw ups. I shall post a longer analysis once we know better what is going on but what TEPCO did was not even in the same league as what the Soviets did. Time will tell on this.
Right now, the real difference is that TEPCO is dealing with a potentially huge disaster. It may get much worse. In fact, it probably will. Bad things will happen that have not already.
Now, as it stands, TEPCO has called for nuclear engineers and reactor staff from around the world to help them get this situation under control.
What needs to happen on an hour by hour basis is to let TEPCO get their game on. Anything other can only make people who do not know what is going on panic. None of which will have any bearing on TEPCO doing what needs to happen.
It seems to be sexy nowadays to meander into atheist forums and drop one of the many modal forms of the ontological arguments (OA). I wanted to write a piece that is first informative for people to read and understand OA's and their problems. And second, I wanted a place to point OA advocates when they decide they want to post these because I'm starting to feel like a broken record when I post against OA.
Ontological arguments in one form another attempt to argue from definitions to existence. That is, they attempt to define a god (or some attribute of god) and then from one or more definition deduce that a god, by definition, must exist. This was Anselm's basic approach in his famous argument.
1.) God is the greatest possible conceivable being
2.) It is greater to exist than not to exist
3.) In order to be greatest, God must exist
4.) Therefore, God exists
When evaluating arguments, arguments are evaluated on have two components: their soundness and validity. When an argument is both sound and valid, it is a successful argument. On face, the Anselm's and most OA's appear to be valid -- that is the logic of the argument flows such that it guarantees the conclusion is true. Likewise, on face, the argument appears to be sound: the premises appear to be true.
I propose a bigger tent, not surrendering the atheist tent, but to make it but one wing of a larger movement: Universal Freethought. Universal Freethought is being radically smart. Its being smart enough to make art or music, smart enough to be well read. Smart enough to have a body of intellectual work under your belt, even if that work is online or self-published. The world is dominated by the stupidity of people’s psychological inertia, largely shaped by commercial marketing. People who are smart enough to think and think hard need to have a common cause. Universal Freethought is the values of the academy carried beyond the ivory tower and into the general public dialogue. In fact, in many cases intellectuals owe the success of their discoveries as Universal Freethinkers shape these ideas into something that is attractive for a larger audience, who is busy living life and does not have reading the dry academic text of your field anywhere on their “to do” list.
Universal Freethought is the values of the academy carried beyond the ivory tower and into the general public dialogue. In fact, in many cases intellectuals owe the success of their discoveries as Universal Freethinkers shape these ideas into something that is attractive for a larger audience, who is busy living life and does not have reading the dry academic text of your field anywhere on their “to do” list.
Not to long ago, with some spare time on my hands, I stumbled across some old tattered notebooks in a box while I was cleaning out my garage.
How I have manage to drag so much junk around through several states and many moves is beyond me.
The frenzied scribbled entries that belonged to a much younger version of me are really not important.
But they did bring my mind back to the frightened young kid that wrote in them.
I won't go into great detail about all the events that were taking place in my life at that time. But I was living in a cheap motel, completely cut off from family and devoid of any friends. Life had never seemed darker. I was ferverently praying and praying for some sort of answer, for some sort of guidance, hoping against hope that god had not completely abandoned me.
Well needless to say, no prayers were answered and no miracles were performed. I awoke one morning and discovered that I did not have enough money to buy any food. The frightened kid in me was filled with outrage. How could all of this be happening to me ? Why was all of this happening to me ? What could I have possibly have done to warrant this type of suffering ?
It has been a long time since I have posted here. I am still denying the holy spirit. But I am also a lot more chill about it.
I think a lot of horrible things come from religion, and I also think that it is worth criticizing religion on its face as an act to promote free inquiry. I think religious influence in politics should be resisted as a matter of civic duty.
But I also think that there are things about how we are hardwired that make religion, and all other sorts of woo appealing to most of us. As evidenced by the fact that most people are either religious or subscribe to some kind of woo.
For me the million dollar question is why?
I agree with Sam Harris, Dawkins, Dennet, and Hitchens on pretty much everything they have written. But I also think if we really want to effectively deal with religion thinking people just buy into it because they are dumb is not a particularly good strategy.
Why? What does religion give people?
I think I have found a lot of parallels in art, which is really where I am at as an atheist.
I think a lot of what people are getting out of religion (and other woo) they should be getting out of art. I am defining art loosely here (theater, music, writing, etc.).
The questions people ask from their religions are better asked of science. That is a big part of it too. And I think atheists are doing a good job of that, constantly debating creationists and what not.
A brief history:
My dad who was a great thinker, saw himself as agnostic (the term atheist was probably too radical for him) and taught Math and Science so that even kids considered "stupid" passed their matric with flying colors on the higher level; got suckered into the SDA church when he questioned my baby baptism (my Gran wanted him to be an Anglican priest).
He bought into the whole belief system, based on his (correct) understanding that babies can't make decisions, opting for a dedication without questioning that it was essentially the same thing.
The SDA movement convinced him to leave his job as a well paid researcher for a local rubber manufacturing company and work for the church as a teacher. The pay was below minimal wage and the hours excessive. We didn't have a family life as the boarders became his first priority.
To say we were dirt poor is an understatement. However, he religiously paid a tithe (10%) as well as a sacrifice (additional 10%) of income to the church, after taxes. Somewhere along the line my mom was moved by the message to put all her jewelery into the collection plate, including her engagement ring which had cost my dad many months' salary before they joined this cult.
I grew up as a god-fearing child. Literally. I completely believed god was watching my every move, especially with regard to keeping the sabbath ... from Friday night sunset to Saturday sunset had to be the longest day of the year, every week.
I had an appointment at 8:30 this morning, and so I called last night for a cab to pick me up at 7 a.m. I was going to take the cab to the train station, then walk from the train to where the appointment was (or take another cab.) At 7:05, there was no cab in sight, so I called the company. The guy said he'd look into it, but never took my number. When I called back he said someone would be there in two minutes. I went outside and had a cigarette but no one showed.
The guy had mentioned that he was calling another company. After about 45 minutes of waiting and phone calls, I called another cab company myself. The lady that answered told me that they had sent a cab to my house (I hadn't even identified myself, or the address) and that she called and told me the cab would be there, but I never came out. When I told her that was not true - and I was not yelling, or even rude to her - she hung up me.
Eventually, I got another person on the line from the first company, who told me that they had nothing available.
I called the person with whom I had the appointment, and was told the person wasn't in (at 8:30) but had called out sick.
I've spent a few days enjoying various atheist sites and blogs. It has been difficult to do much of this in my current situation, but I hope to continue for the next couple of weeks at least. The RSS is proving to be a good place to visit, but I have grown tired of arguing with theists, at least considering how much I was doing it a year ago (on a different site, and under a different name.) Still, I think if I had a more stable life situation I think I would be much more engaged and engaging.
Still, I have hopes that this year will bring some stability my way (a decent job would be a start.) I have some catching up to do both personally and on line.
Why does Iran need thousands of centrifuges?
Well, I don't think that it is too hard to figure this one out. Iran is open about having a nuclear power industry. They have a bunch of reactors and eventually, they are going to need industrial level production of fuel.
The rub here is that they have thousands of centrifuges. Pardon me but if only one of them could produce militarily significant material is a few days, then my uncle Larry could hide a nuclear weapons program.
Granted, you need other stuff. Machine tools that are good enough to build telescopes and so on. You get the idea. It is the stuff that is needed to handle radioactive material that we can find and possibly deal with.
Really though, you need the facilities to do industrial level fuel production in order to do military production as well.