The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Brad Pitt

I remember seeing Brad Pitt in Thelma & Louise and thinking, this guy's got ridiculous abs and he's probably going to do a calendar or something (like me!). Then Cool World came out and I thought, "This guy's career is over."

Well, how wrong was I? I saw him in Kalifornia and he was fantastic. When I heard that he gave up the Tom Hanks role in Apollo 13 to do the amazing Se7en, I was an official fan. Then came Fight Club and Snatch. It just kept getting better and better. For a guy who could have done what a lot of handsome dudes do i.e. coast by on good looks and Meet Joe Black roles forever (not that that wasn't a good movie - it was), he purposely made films that made him look like crap...and the fuckin' guy still looked great.

Now, the atheist crowd is slathering all over him because of his recent Inglourious Basterds promo interviews, and rightfully so. Maybe we can have an actual, A-list celebrity to embrace. Life's alright, so check him out on Bill Maher's show, courtesy of the always spectacular Skepchick.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Skeptic's Circle #117 - Get 'Em!

Go check out the new Skeptic's Circle over at Ionian Enchantment and also, join in on the Google Bomb. Here's my little contribution to the cause: chiropractor, chiropractic, chiropractor, chiropractic, chiropractor, chiropractic, British Chiropractic Association, English libel law.

Please, follow suit in the Google Bomb if you choose to help Simon Singh against the Quacks of Chiro (that may be my new band name!).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hitchens vs. D'Souza Debate Question

I was over at The Good Atheist watching the recent debate between Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D'Souza. I've addressed D'Souza before, but here he poses a question that I've heard from several people in both verbal exchanges and in essays so I wanted to address it. D'Souza states the position in part 11 of 13, starting about 2:10 into it saying:
"In every culture, when you ask someone, 'where did you learn about right and wrong?', he says, 'I'm a Muslim, I'm a Hindu'...now, true we can probably do it by philosophy, but I've yet to meet a guy who says, 'I got my morality from Hegel.' So we can talk all we want about philosophy, but the truth of it is that religion has delivered the goods as being the transmission belt of conveying morality. What about hope and life and a sense of purpose?....Religion, by giving a sense of purpose and meaning to life, by ultimately answering the large questions that science has proved radically incapable of even entertaining, (is better than secular science)..."
To start, he is using a logical fallacy known as making shit up out of completely thin air. Really? Religion has "delivered the goods"? Religion has "ultimately answered the large questions" that science hasn't? I'm going to have to call shenanigans.

Religion does not answer questions. Let's just say that out loud, shall we? Religion is, at best, a place holder until a better answer comes along that has, you know, a foothold in reality. Science doesn't have to answer everything - the big questions included - because it has people who are always working on answers. The answers are rarely complete and are always up for revision, which is why there are changes and updates and progress. Religion is still WAAAAAYYYYY back in the Dark Ages thinking that men in the sky dole out parcels of wisdom and senses of purpose one rainbow at a time. For fuck's sake, how do grown humans buy into this stupid shit?

Religion puts a nonsensical bubble in the spot where an answer should go, but by doing so, they don't accomplish anything other than stopping potentially smart people from looking at the problem in the future. There are smart people in religions, but when they look at certain questions and see that "God did this in that way for that purpose over there; so says Rev. So-And-So", they tend to move on to other problems. It's ridiculous.

To answer questions or solve a problem, you have to provide solutions that (a) explain the observable details and (b) do not raise more questions that are unanswerable. Occam's handy razor should always be in your pocket so that when D'Souza says something like, "Religion...by ultimately answering the large questions that science has proved radically incapable of even entertaining (is better than secular science)", you can point out that not knowing the answer and being ok with that bit of ignorance for the time being is better than saying a "man in the sky dictated a book to a bunch of men and it tells us how to be good people, and terrible misogynistic war-ridden people...but ignore that last part."

Questions?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Back from Vacation...and Back to Work

Annnnnnnd we're back. A week of unpluggedness (if I may) is a good thing in the summer, not that I've been blogging up a storm or anything. A good college try will be made to keep up some sort of regular effort here starting with this cool video sent to me by my friend Melissa. Enjoy.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.