Monday, January 28, 2008

Gore Vidal: "This is why I'm an atheist, not an agnostic."

Just brilliant...

Belief in Belief

This article by Christopher Hitchens is so well-written it behooves me to post it here, and to just add that if only more people were to consider the implications of what he says... to realize that there are multiple arguments, each independently considerable, and yet so often interwoven, that we are wont to knee-jerk reactions and thus, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

That is, whether a God exists or not, religion ought to be held responsible for its claims and its actions and the actions of its adherents when those actions are, even if only superficially, motivated by the religion itself. And that is a separate question from whether religion serves any purpose, or whether we have knowledge of a God, or whether there even CAN be a God... it just scares me that people will shut their ears and their eyes the moment they read the name "Hitchens" or "Dawkins", and fail to hear the humanist message behind the vitriol... yes, Hitchens dislikes religion, but he dislikes it FOR A REASON. Is it fair?... Well, whether it is or not, surely, we ought to question the moral integrity of priests and parishioners, and surely we ought to question the moral validity of doctrine and dogma without succumbing to the inevitable fear that comes from questioning an unseen and unknown authority.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yes, we have a soul, but it's made up of lots of tiny robots!

I love Dan Dennett and the work he does for philosophy, and for science... and the boundaries between the two (breaking them down, so-to-speak).

Here's an interview that he did that I think pretty much sums up my own view of certain things.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Secular Philosophy!

Now has a website of its own.

Very cool stuff there... if you haven't seen The Atheism Tapes, google/youtube it... great interviews... with some of my heroes, including the late, great, Arthur Miller.

Hmm... I wonder what the Vatican thinks...

About the fact that The Pill has prevented 100,000 deaths.

I'd even argue that it's MORE than just those who would have died from cancer... it has prevented the deaths of mothers in childbirth, it has prevented death from overpopulation... etc etc etc.

I wonder what women's lives would be like without this invention (perhaps the greatest medical advance of the 20th century?)

... I can only imagine...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This is so cool!

I was just talking on my radio show today about whether there's an intractable difference between robots and humans... and I'm here in the computer lab procrastinating and I found this article on the construction of artificial genomes, and the implantation of that genome into cells...

I just find this stuff fascinating... I can't wait until they can create designer bacteria that can synthesize rare or expensive materials! (it looks like Hydrogen is the first task... and a great one at that!)

Extreme Meat?

I just found this article at Discovery... and it makes me wonder about what will happen with cloned meat... since Americans are "allowed" to eat it now... I happen to think that part's fine... there's no fundamental difference between a cloned animal and a regular one... but the reproduction part is where it gets weird...