blueollie

Good stuff!

Workout notes 5 mile run on the treadmill (47:30); 1 mile at 0, then raise .5 every .2 miles until I was at incline 5, then .3 there, then go down .5 every .1 mile, then the last mile I increased speed from 9:40 to 8:20 mpm taking steps every .1 of a mile.

Then yoga with Ms. Vickie, then 5 miles on the hills of Bradley park (3 cornstalk loops in 56 minutes).

From around the net:

Atheists: Here are a couple of perspectives on what good the atheist sites do and how to interpret the new books.

From a (reasonable) Christian (via deconversion):

It was during my time on the outskirts of this forum that I began to ponder the (for lack of a more sensitive term) “point” of agnostic/atheist websites such as de-conversion. Now this is not meant to be an insult, but maybe more of a sociological question and hypothesis. To do a comprehensive study on the posts of this blog would take a substantial amount of time. However, in my informal examination, I came to a few conclusions.

Agnostic and Atheist contributors/commentors usually come from one of two backgrounds (I apologize for the dichotomy, but the simpler the better). In one camp, there are the individuals who lost their faith because of resentment towards Church establishments. These individuals could not deal with the hypocrisy of their particular religious institution and began to turn away from their faith – and who could blame them? The unfortunate corruption of scripture (through the travesty of strict literalism) has put a big black spot on “religion”. [...]

The second camp of agnostic/atheists are usually individuals who feel that it does not make sense logically, scientifically, etc. for the events that are recorded in say, the Bible, to have occurred. [...]

If you can recall, the purpose of this post was to try to figure out the point of such forums like this one… it is quite apparent that the main goal is to provide a haven for like-minded (and sometimes “unlike”-minded) individuals to have a community to fall back on…hm, kind of sounds like a Church…[...]

The second is from FriendlyAtheist:

With the atheist books hitting bestsellers lists and national secular organizations growing in membership, what should we be focusing on: Creating new atheists or getting those who are already atheists to speak out as such? [...]

it’s a comforting thought for other atheists to know they’re not alone. (Emphasis below mine.)

In describing the collective impact of the new atheists, Mr. [Richard] Dawkins recently told CBC Radio, “I’m not that optimistic that I am shaking people’s faith … What I think I, and Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens are doing is making it easier for those who are already skeptical to come out and admit the fact.”

Ms. [Annie Laurie] Gaylor, who said her group [the Freedom From Religion Foundation] has grown from 7,000 to more than 10,000 since the fall, is not sure that the recent rash of books is winning converts to atheism, but she is certain it is emboldening those in the closet.

When Herb Silverman became a professor of mathematics at the College of Charleston in South Carolina in 1976, people would say to him: “You’re the only atheist I know,” and he would respond: ” No I’m not. You know hundreds of atheists, I’m just the only one who acknowledges they’re an atheist.”

[...]

The Dawkins quote certainly rings true for me. After all, I’ve long been aquainted with the ideas in the book and have, ahem, evolved into believing them. The God Delusion was really more of a rah-rah book for me (God is Not Great had more historical facts and End of Faith was more philosophical, but the God Delusion was the most fun.)

I’ve said this before: the arguments in the God Delusion can be summed up here.

Some snippets that the God Delusion echos:

[...]
How does an agnostic regard the Bible?

An agnostic regards the Bible exactly as enlightened clerics regard it. He does not think that it is divinely inspired; he thinks its early history legendary, and no more exactly true than that in Homer; he thinks its moral teaching sometimes good, but sometimes very bad. For example: Samuel ordered Saul, in a war, to kill not only every man, woman, and child of the enemy, but also all the sheep and cattle. Saul, however, let the sheep and the cattle live, and for this we are told to condemn him. I have never been able to admire Elisha for cursing the children who laughed at him, or to believe (what the Bible asserts) that a benevolent Deity would send two she-bears to kill the children. [...]

Are you never afraid of God’s judgment in denying Him?

Most certainly not. I also deny Zeus and Jupiter and Odin and Brahma, but this causes me no qualms. I observe that a very large portion of the human race does not believe in God and suffers no visible punishment in consequence. And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence. [...]

Bipedalism: more on chimps versus humans from Anthropology.net:

In late May, I shared with you a paper that introduced us to the hypothesis of bipedalism originating in Orangutans. I thought it was a rather foolish hypothesis to make considering the wealth of comparative anatomical and physiological research done with chimpanzee to human gaits. Chimpanzees have more similar anatomy to us than Orangutans and Gorillas, and they walk bipedally a bit more than Gorillas and Orangutans. I was surprised that Science published it despite these well established facts.

Now, a new paper published in PNAS last week vindicates some of my concerns from the above publication. It is tilted, “Chimpanzee Locomotor Energetics and the Origin of Human Bipedalism” and comes from Herman Pontzer, from Washington University in St. Louis who collaborated with several other colleagues in studying energetics and biomecanics of adult chimpanzees and humans, using treadmills. A similar publication was conducted in 1973, but it was flawed in that it used juvenile chimps, which have a different gait compared to their adults. So this study is significant because it retests the same experiments done before, but under new conditions.

The team also took their analysis a step further, from EurekAlert,

“[they] also examined the early hominin fossil record, which they found to include predicted changes consistent with lower energy cost- longer hind legs compared to body mass and structural changes to the pelvic bone allowing for more upright walking.

Analysis of these features in early fossil hominins, coupled with with analysis of bipedal walking in chimpanzees, indicate that bipedalism in early, ape-like hominins could indeed have been less costly than quadrupedal knucklewalking.”

[...]

They also show an interesting diagram as well as link to a fun video.

Also of interest: there is an article which discusses research into our past as to whether there was a period in which there was a single human language. This post is accessable to the layperson (such as myself).

Politics

Illinois Politics: it is no secret that the Illinois Democratic Party is screwing up. Why are our best progessives so silent, or seem to be? Wegerje at PrairieStateBlue discusses:

What is Pat Quinn up to these days? Have we heard from Jan Schakowsky or Jesse Jackson lately? What does David Orr have to say about Cook County government? When will hear something from Carol Ronen about the state budget? Has Joe Moore passed on the progressive baton to a new leader in the council?

In short, why is our progressive leadership so silent. Why are they not leading? What is the game plan for Illinois progressives? You don’t really know what a progressive is? Fine then call it whatever you want but where is our leadership? Are they missing in action? Then where’s the battle they were lost in?

They are busy you say, it’s just that the media doesn’t report on progressives? OK. Then why aren’t they using the one media outlet open and active and waiting to hear from them, waiting for our marching orders? Why are they not present, here then, and accounted for, on the blogosphere?

Why do we feel a disconnect between the leaders and the led? [...]

CNN Youtube Debate (Democratic)

Redstate Update’s question! :)

Obama stands tall

Hillary Clinton’s best moment

John Edwards shines a bit

Iraq withdrawl question; Richardson shines here

Gay Rights


Meeting with hostile leaders

Nuclear Power

Health Care


Secular Voters?

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July 24, 2007 - Posted by | bill richardson, creationism, edwards, hillary clinton, obama, politics/social, religion, running, science, walking

3 Comments »

  1. wow, engaging post! very cool.

    Comment by Lydia | July 24, 2007 | Reply

  2. I posted an article on Dawkins at Digital Journal that you might be interested in. Interesting coincidence… I use the words “rah rah” in my article. LOL

    The article can be found at:

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/210063/The_Dawkins_Defeat

    If you haven’t heard of Digital Journal… I was accepted as a writer there a few days ago and if your writing is good, you can get paid for submitting articles.

    Comment by michael krahn | July 26, 2007 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the comment Michael; I read your article. I agree: Dawkins’ book won’t convince anyone who isn’t already an atheist or an agnostic (or at least on the fence); it might encourage others to “come out of the closet” though.

    Comment by blueollie | July 26, 2007 | Reply


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