Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! all you US citizens out there. It's a holiday we can all get behind (well, all of us except the Native Americans, I would suspect), nice and non-religious. Kind of like Christmas.

From Daniel Dennett in the Washington Post on being thankful:

When I gaze in wonder at a starry sky, or the waves crashing on the granite shores of Maine, I am not just thrilled to be alive on this wonderful planet; I am grateful. But to whom?

There is no person who created the universe, or the planet, or the biosphere, so there is really nobody to thank for that.

(A God who is not a person is not an appropriate recipient of thanks. Or should we thank the Law of Gravity and the Second Law of Thermodynamics for all they make possible? I don’t think they care, do you?)

But there is a suitably responsible cause of my health, my security, my freedom from want and from fear, and it is composed of, and the achievement of, persons. I can thank goodness–the wonderful fabric of excellence created by individuals working together in human civilization to make this planet a better place.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Maybe sacrificing a goat will help?

Oh dear. 

Just watch this - Georgia governor Sonny Perdue praying for rain on the steps of the capitol in Atlanta, trying to end the drought.

Yeah, that's going to work.

Last time I checked - still no rain in Georgia.

Rewind back a few thousand years ago, and the Maya and Native Americans were pretty much doing similar kinds of rain dances, but they seemed to think sacrifices helped too. Look how far we've come. 

Sacrifices are silly.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Golden Compass

The new movie based on Philip Pullmans first book in the "His Dark Materials" Trilogy, "The Golden Compass" is due on December 7th. Predictably, it's drawing the ire of Christians already, who have not seen the movie.

Philip Pullman is openly atheist, and he admits that "His Dark Materials" was largely inspired by his response to C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia", calling the series "one of the most ugly and poisonous things" he's ever read.

William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has called the film and books:
"These books denigrate Christianity, thrash the Catholic Church and sell the virtues of atheism,"

While we can argue about whether the focus of the books is denigration of the Catholic church, what's wrong with selling the virtues of atheism? Sounds like a good idea to me.

My son loves the books, and we'll be some of the first in line to see the movie.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Leopardy Goodness

Not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I'm a big Mac fan (not the hamburger, the computer). So, I anxiously awaited the arrival of my copy of Leopard the other day, not without a little trepidation, because the blogosphere was abuzz with FUD about the new OS.

Not surprisingly, everything went swimmingly with the upgrade, even on my less than new, barely above the minimum specs ibook.Leopard desktopThis points out, I think, a big issue with blogs and, more especially, commenters to blogs. As always, the squeaky wheel get the oil, and I would assume that the majority of upgraders have, like me, had no problems with the update. Those that have (and there are legitimate reasons why), have been very vocal. For an example of the hype, see the Macalope.

The upshot? Don't always believe what you read on the interwebs.