Stuff to Rot Your Brain…and stuff to make it grow

Governor Huckabee never fails to disappoint:

Dobson, Beck showing off their ignorance

A couple of comments:

1. Dobson evidently confuses the Declaration of Independence with the Constitution.

2. The Illinois law mandated a moment of silence for all schools. Why?

3. The word “prayer” is not unconstitutional; you can pray all you want. You just aren’t entitled to a captive audience for it.

Hat tip to Friendly Atheist and to Pharyngula.

But all is not lost. There ARE smart people out there. Here is a very nice post at Cosmic Variance on religion. I’ve reposted a bit of it; surf to the blog and read the whole article. See how smart people think:

There is certainly no question that the techniques of fundamental physics are not sufficient for dealing with getting us through our everyday lives. Even if we are hard-core determinists, and think that every particle and quantum field does nothing but march to the tune of the universal Schrodinger equation, that fact isn’t very helpful when it comes to fixing the economy or listening to music. We deal with complicated human experiences, and a different set of concepts and vocabulary is required, even if it’s nothing but the laws of physics underlying it all. And it would indeed be nice if atheist/materialist thinkers spent more time putting forward a positive agenda of living human life, in addition to their undoubtedly successful programs of understanding the natural world and highlighting the inadequacy of traditional religious belief.

So I’m very happy to have creative and intelligent people like Frank and Kauffman address these hard issues from the perspective of someone who takes the laws of nature seriously. However, I continue to be baffled about why they would ever think it was a good idea to invoke words like “spiritual” or “sacred” as part of that endeavor.

The problem is, words have meanings. When you start talking about “spirituality,” people are going to take you to mean something that goes beyond the laws of nature, in the sense of being incompatible with them, not just “hard to understand in terms of them” — something supernatural. Now, you may not want them to make that association; that might not be a connotation you wish to invite. (Or maybe it is, in which case I’ve completely misunderstood.) And you are free, as was Humpty Dumpty, to insist that words mean whatever you say they mean. But it’s a very good strategy for guaranteeing that people will misunderstand you.

The puzzles of human life, and our mutual sense of wonder, and a feeling of awe when confronted with the cosmos, are all perfectly respectable topics for discussion. And there exists perfectly respectable vocabularies for discussing them, that don’t come laden with unfortunate supernatural overtones: literature, anthropology, psychology, the arts, and so on. There is a huge disadvantage to throwing around words like “sacred” and “spiritual,” in that you will very frequently be understood (misunderstood, one hopes) to be talking about the supernatural. So if you really want to rehabilitate those words in the eyes of a cheerful naturalist such as myself, your task is clear: give very specific examples and contexts in which we gain some sort of understanding by using that vocabulary that we would not gain by sticking to words without those unfortunate connotations. I’m happy to admit that such a context might be possible, but I haven’t seen anything close to a persuasive argument, so I’ll remain extremely skeptical until one comes along.

Read the rest of the post; yes, Richard Dawkins comes up as does the incident where those idiots “anointed” the door which then President Elect Obama was to walk though.

Posts like this one cheer me up; the idiots may well be vastly more noisy and more numerous but, for the most part, they don’t run things this time around.

Now for a little political humor


January 26, 2009 - Posted by | huckabee, morons, political humor, politics, politics/social, ranting, religion, republicans


  1. As I put it on my own site, Dobson and Beck together is a recipe for a spike in aspirin sales. One idiot talking to another idiot doesn’t usually make for intelligence.

    Comment by Blue Fielder | January 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. I blew my drink all over my keyboard when I read your remark! 🙂

    Comment by blueollie | January 27, 2009 | Reply

  3. Hee Hee. When will the learn. You might like this link:

    Comment by Hulk401k | January 27, 2009 | Reply

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