I just had dinner with some old friends (thank you facebook), and found out that one of the kids I used to babysit is now all grown up and making films. And he is funny! His character "Father Fearless" (after the jump) is great. Looks like he also has started his own film school called burnisgood.com. Enjoy.
One of the most fascinating books I have read over the last few months is The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Actually, in reading the book I was amazed at how much President Barack Obama's economic policies are like that of FDR. Needless to say, that was not comforting.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Amity Shlaes, author of the book. Click here to read more about our conversation and what she had to say about the current economic crisis.
Bible Study Magazine and Mars Hill are giving away 20 copies of Mark Driscollís new book, Vintage Church. Not only that, but they are also giving away five subscriptions to Bible Study Magazine and a copy of their Bible Study Library software! Enter to win on the Bible Study Magazine Mark Driscoll page, then take a look at the cool tools they have!
Today on Forum with Michael Krasney (NPR), the author of Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment was interviewed. Very interesting. Listen to it here.
The author, who interviewed 250 people, discusses
- Measuring religiosity by both stated beliefs and participation
- That the least religious nations are the most humane and safe
- That when human needs are met through social welfare, the need for religion may be decreased
- That atheism does not lead to chaos, and does not inhibit societal health
- There are a lot of explanations for the peace of such countries that perhaps make them more successful, including racial homogeneity, the welfare state, and their smallness
The book has an endorsement from village atheist Sam Harris.
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at President Obama's proposed mortgage rescue plan and finds that it could create far more problems than it solves:
Obama yesterday announced his plan to prevent home foreclosures, saying
he wanted to be "very clear about what this plan will not do: It will
not rescue the unscrupulous or irresponsible by throwing good taxpayer
money after bad loans . . . And it will not reward folks who bought
homes they knew from the beginning they would never be able to afford."
really do wish he were right. In fact, the details released yesterday
suggest the President's plan will do all of the above. The plan will
help some struggling homeowners. But by investing in failure, the
Administration will also prolong the housing downturn and make
financing a home purchase more difficult for future borrowers.
Meanwhile, the plan isn't likely to slow the continuing decline in
The President's plan is predicated on the
false belief that everyone deserves to own a home. The fact is that not
everyone can afford to own a home. The efforts of Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac to make it easier for people to buy homes they could not
afford are at the heart of the current financial crisis. Unfortunately,
the President's plan does nothing to address this fundamental issue and
instead just prolongs the crisis and leaving taxpayers on the hook.
As CNBC's Rick Santelli correctly points out in this clip,
this is an example of government rewarding bad behavior. Unfortunately
it's the 92% of honest, hardworking Americans he refers to that will
pay the price.
stimulus recovery bill has now passed, for better or for worse. What is on the President's agenda now that he has succeed in having Congress pass the largest spending bill ever? Balancing the budget, of course.
Here you go, a spam humor email that was sent to me. I had to post it. It does nothing more than tickle conservatives and inflame liberal girlie men ;
I'm sure that libs will not see the humor in obamaclock.org (I copied the code below), but will ascribe to us the same hatred they had for Bush when they did it. Which is why it's funny, because we don't hate Obama, we just like poking humorless liberal ideologues.
In the words (and ironic tone) of the venerable Vincini, "That's what's so funny! I switched glasses when your back was turned!"
Countdown until Obama leaves Office
This meme has gone viral on facebook! Here's mine.
with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end,
choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged
you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.
STUFF I DISLIKE
1. HOLIDAYS: Hallmark holidays where people to expect me to emote on
queue (Pavlov, anyone?). Saying "I love you" on valentines day feels
like an obligation, not an opportunity.
PEEVES: I have pet peeves which I've blogged on, but certain things
really get under my skin – hearing other people masticating when I am
not and it is quiet, guys who pee in the sit-down toilet when a
perfectly good urinal is available, overused low-brow preacher jokes,
and car doors that open outwards. See details below
Pet Peeves #001 – In the men's room http://xrl.in/1inb
Pet Peeves #002 – At the restaurant http://xrl.in/1ind
Pet Peeves #003 – On the road http://xrl.in/1ine
Pet Peeves #004 – At the gas station http://xrl.in/1inf
Pet Peeves #005 – In church http://xrl.in/1ing
Pet Peeves #006 – The Automobile http://xrl.in/1inh
There is a simple solution to the current political showdown in Washington over the stimulus bill – pass Obama's stimulus plan. Pres. Obama campaigned and won the election. The American people saw the policies he was proposing. With the election, they gave Obama and those policies a mandate. The only problem – Pres. Obama is no longer proposing the stimulus bill on which he campaigned and was elected.
Fireproof Ministries, the parent organization of XXXChurch and Strip Church ("Sin City's Little Church House" on the Las Vegas Strip) has some upcoming conventions they need volunteers at. Want to reach into dark places with the love and truth of God? Want an excuse to go to a pron convention, even a Gay erotica show, and keep your faith? Here you go:
- Sexpo Australia in Brisbane February 26-March 1, 2009 – FULL
- EXXXotica Miami in South Beach May 8-10, 2009
- Erotica LA in Los Angeles June 12-14, 2009
- Gay Erotica in NYC October 10-12, 2009
In Part I of this series, I examined Pascal’s wager as a risk calculation exercise.¬† In Part II, I proposed some criteria by which one could evaluate various faith claims, even though those criteria were outside of direct empirical observation.¬† In this part, I perform a heuristic, self-reinforcing example of how said evaluation might look when comparing the claims of Jesus, Buddha, Mohamed, Zeus, Superman, and the FSM.
Admittedly, I have not backed up my Yes/No assertions with argumentation and data, but for the sake of this exercise, that is unimportant – an actual evaluation may come up with different answers.¬† The point is, when evaluated by important, empirical and non-empirical criteria, faith claims can be differentiated, and some may be eliminated as serious candidates for faith, while others remain under consideration.
No faith can be ‘proven,’ that is the point of having faith.¬† But some may be eliminated as pretenders, as not worthy of faith.¬† Click on the chart in the image to see a full sized version.
In Part IV, I address the host of minor objections.
In this series, I explore the possibilities of eliminating pretender Gods, and trying to find likely ones to have faith in.
I just finished listening to this excellent lecture by Dr. Paul Vitz, a professor of psychology at NYU, and author of Faith of the Fatherless. In it, he explores the psychological reasons for unbelief.
What is really interesting, and missed by many listeners (you should hear the Q&A), is his purpose in giving this lecture. It is not, paradoxically, to attack atheism or atheists, but rather, to show that:
- just as psychology has often trained itself on the psychology of belief, it can also be used to explore the psychology behind unbelief, including showing correlation with formative emotional events
- just as the propensity for belief might be explained by emotional needs and experiences, so can the propensity for unbelief
- just because someone has a psychological need for belief or unbelief does not mean that such beliefs are wrong OR right, so we should stop attacking ideological opponents by accusing them of mental illness – not that such accusations are untrue, but that they can be leveled from both sides, so it's a draw
- there is a very strong correlation between unbelief and the breakdown of the family authority structure, the safety of the family, and esp. the experience of a failed father. He proposes that this is also a causative factor as well.
His lecture contains some other VERY interesting perspectives, including a Freudian analysis of unbelief – that of an unresolved Oedipal complex. Not that he believes this, but that, if one did, that is how Freudian psychology might explain unbelief.
Summary of his interesting points below.
Population experts such as Paul R. Ehrlich and Thomas Malthus have long contended that humans are heading for mass starvation due to overpopulation.¬† They have predicted that we will run out of all kinds of resources, including food, energy, and water.
But today, Dr. Gimmy Green of STop Uncontrolled Population and Industrial Destruction (STUPID) released a new list of recommendations that humans can take to stop contributing to global warming.¬† The underlying assumption?
Too many humans are breathing too much air.
This report is second of four from Gallup on The State of the States, including:
I have been listening to more and more debates between William Lane Craig, probably one of the best living Christian apologists, and a variety of atheists (links to debate audio below). With the exception of Jonathan Shook, even their best efforts are easily destroyed by Craig – most of them rely on polemics and often really poor attacks on the fidelity of scripture, rather than logic and reason.
With that in mind, Ray Comfort's new book You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can't Make Him Think: Answers to Questions from Angry Skeptics seems more than a pejorative stab, but rather, an astute observation of the narrow atheist view of reality, their unwillingness to concede science and reason's limitations, and other means of epistemology other than material empiricism. Add one more to my already overburdened Amazon wishlist!
William Lane Craig v. Atheists Debates