Monday, October 30, 2006

Intellectual discord, presidential elections and atheism.


(1) j. morgan has asserted, correctly, that the fact that thirteen states switched does not necessarily mean that voters did. Despite this fact, I still think that there are lots of people in this country who voted for Clinton in '92 or '96 AND Bush in '00 and '04, and that if we met one of them, we'd demand an explanation from them.

(2) I don't know if this post is worth rescuing, but redhurt has also challenged my point. What was my point? I'm not sure anymore. Basically, Dawkins seems to think that being a "supernaturalist" definitively indicates certain things about a person, while I don't think that it does. He says in the article that sensible religious people are on the side of the fundamentalists simply by virtue of their believing in God. I think that's nonsense. redhurt and I agree that most people don't really wrestle with this stuff. j. morgan agrees that the Enlightenment was basically a train wreck, and that the only way out is sweet post-structuralism.


this post out. Read the Wired article. Then come back here.

Look at 2004's electoral map.

Now look at 1992's electoral map.

What happened? I'll tell you what happened. THIRTEEN states that Bill Clinton won in 1992 were won by George Bush in 2004.

My point is that "beliefs" and "memes" don't dictate behavior to the extent that people, including Richard Dawkins, think they do. Millions of people had no trouble voting for Bill Clinton, a liberal considered very liberal by conservatives, in 1992 and then for Bush, a conservative considered very conservative by liberals, in 2004. Who are these people? Where can I find them? Why won't Richard Dawkins have a conversation with them and figure out that everything doxastic is a big mess?


Yesterday I told my Sunday School class of 5th and 6th graders that Martin Luther pledged to become a monk and devote his life to God if he survived a dangerous thunderstorm he was caught in.

Cautious little Lutherans that they are, they raised their hands slowly.

"Did that REALLY happen?"

"Yeah, did it?"

"Sounds made up."

Ha! Healthy little skeptics!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

That's a lot of migrants.

Wow, nearly five times as many migrants as births in this country! Wait a second...


As of 3:23 PM EST it's been fixed.

Monday, October 16, 2006

300 million

What's the deal with this article from


"Forty years ago, Elizabeth Heydanek lived in her "heaven on earth" -- Schaumburg, Illinois. She chased lightning bugs in her back yard, filled buckets on the porch with tadpoles from a nearby creek, played tag with friends. Elizabeth was 7 years old in 1967, one of 200 million Americans at the time. As she and her country grew -- the 300 millionth American will be born at 7:46 a.m. ET Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau says -- things changed in Schaumburg and the country."


"With population growth comes stress. Those care-free playtimes Heydanek remembers from Schaumburg don't exist for many of today's 7-year-olds, an American Academy of Pediatrics study released this month said. The report cited hurried lives, intense competition to get ahead, poverty and lack of open space -- all related to a growing population -- as adding stress to kids' lives and depriving them of the development opportunities that old-fashioned play provides. Heydanek attests to that. Though her three children are now in their 20s, she recalls just a few years ago how the nightly family sit-down dinners she had in Schaumburg were replaced in Cary with a microwave and a bag of fast food in the middle of the table."

Look, I don't want to be Johnny Nostalgia-Killer, but...know what? I'll just stop here, because anything I say will get me in trouble. Mair, j. morgan, and the rest of the blogosphere: what do you think?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Everything is completely backwards. Upside down.

Replace Frist with Reid and Afghanistan with Iraq, and imagine the press this would get:

"U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that the Iraq war can never be won militarily and called for efforts to bring the insurgents and their supporters into the Iraq government."

And yet--it was the Taliban that harbored and supported Bin Laden and Al we're going to pull out of Afghanistan and let the Taliban into the government there so we can fight harder in Iraq?!

My head asplode.