Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bringing philosophy to a new low

It must be a requirement among the new breed of atheist spokespersons to not know what they’re talking about.

Sam Harris—who is presented as a philosopher, and for all I know may very well have a degree in philosophy—recently told CNN: “We should be talking about real problems, like nuclear proliferation and genocide and poverty and the crisis in education. … These are issues which tremendous swings in human well-being depend on. And it’s not at the center of our moral concern. … Religion has convinced us that there’s something else entirely other than concerns about suffering. There’s concerns about what God wants, there’s concerns about what’s going to happen in the afterlife. And, therefore, we talk about things like gay marriage as if it’s the greatest problem of the 21st century. We even have a liberal president who ostensibly is against gay marriage because his faith tells him it’s an abomination. It’s completely insane.”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On intelligence

I was reading The Anchoress’ recent flaying of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the latter’s invocation of St. Joseph onto the side of the pro-health care forces—and a terrific rant it is, worthy of Al Pacino—when, in the comments, I ran across a reference to a recent study presumably showing liberals to have a higher IQ than conservatives.

Even before I found a article about the study, I knew three things automatically: 1) The study wouldn’t show anything like a dramatic difference between the two averages; 2) the study would have things to say about intelligence and liberalism/atheism that went counter to the surface appearance; and 3) people who suffer from a particular form of idiocy would only care to know that the difference exists and “favors” them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Big T, little t

I’ve mentioned my first blog before, which was called, with stunning originality, “In My Humble Opinion”. I was able to update it twice a week for awhile; but then as my financial situation started demanding more overtime work just to stay reasonably poor, updates came with less frequency, until it died out about the end of 2004. (Unfortunately, since it was part of the now-defunct “AOL Hometown”—and since a virus wiped out my main hard drive—I no longer have any copies of the opinions I wrote back then.)

Between then and the first post of this blog, when my friends and I were discussing my starting again, I admitted that IMHO was too common a name or expression to stand out. (I was already considering “Outside the Asylum”, as an ironic reference to the late comedy-fantasy writer Douglas Adams’ wonderful book So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish … the irony enhanced by the fact that Adams himself was an atheist.) One of my friends, Larry, suggested I call the as-yet-unborn blog “Big T little t”. This was a very obscure reference to a long night of coffee and Deep Thinking many years ago, when to distinguish between certain kinds of reality we chose to separate the objective from the subjective by the clumsy verbal distinctions “big-T Truth” and “little-t truth”.