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Damn cryptic posters

March 31, 2006 Leave a comment

There are posters around campus advertising something. What? Well, I don’t know. One poster is this: “[a picture of a t-shirt] + [a picture of an elephant] + [a picture of a house] = misrepresented.” The “t” on misrepresented is made to look like a cross and has a shadow, indicating this has something to do with one of the Christian clubs. Another similar poster has the web address misrepresented.org, but that just has a placeholder from godaddy.com.

The posters list April 3rd-7th as the date for this event. I guess I’ll figure it out next week. It’d better be worth arousing my attention with cryptic posters.

Categories: Montana, Personal

Music!

March 31, 2006 Leave a comment

Dead Can Dance – [Aion #01] The Arrival and the Reunion
Joe Satriani – [Strange Beautiful Music #02] Belly Dancer
The Haunted – [One Kill Wonder #02] Godpuppet
The Snake the Cross the Crown – [Mander Salis #06] The Sun Tells the Moon
Led Zeppelin – [In Through The Out Door #09] How Many More Times
Anathema – [Judgement #09] Don’t Look Too Far
Isis – [Panopticon #04] Wills Dissolve
Antimatter – [Lights Out #06] Reality Clash
The Dresden Dolls – [The Dresden Dolls #12] Truce
My Dying Bride – [The Light At The End Of The World #03] The Night He Died

Categories: Music

The meaning of life

March 30, 2006 4 comments

It’s wafer thin!

No, not that one. Breaking with the recent tradition of substance-less blogging here, we’re going to discuss the meaning of life. Sort of.

I’m reading a book called Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik Wielenberg at the moment. I’m not very far, but it’s pretty interesting so far. He starts by critiquing various secular ways to give life meaning, starting with Richard Taylor’s “create your own meaning” idea. That’s basically the view I subscribe to, so I was interested to see what Wielenberg’s problem with it was. Here’s the argument:

The grinning excrement-eater, we may suppose, has been condemned to an eternity of eating excrement. As Taylor envisions them being merciful to Sisyphus, however, the gods have shown mercy on the excrement-eater by instilling in him a true passion for eating excrement. He gobbles it down night and day – he simply can’t get enough! Both the pianist and the grinning excrement-eater are engaged in activity for which they have a genuine passion; each is doing what he most wants to do. Imagine these two lives, one filled with the sort of activity in which David Golub [the pianist] is engaged in Darwall’s photo, the second filled with the grinning excrement-eater’s favorite pastime. If we are to accept Taylor’s proposal, we must conclude that both lives have internal meaning. But this conclusion is hard to swallow. If you were offered the choice between the two lives, would you be indifferent? Would the two lives seem equally worthwhile to you? If you are like me, the answer is no, in which case you must reject Taylor’s proposal. It is simply going too far to say that whether a life has internal meaning is entirely a matter of the attitude of the person who lives the life.

Colorful, but I think it’s incorrect. It’s at least misleading. Wielenberg is correct to say that intuitively we aren’t particularly impressed with the excrement-eater’s life. But why is that? We are biased by at least two factors: no one likes eating excrement and we all believe the intellectual pleasure of a pianist is better than the simple bodily pleasure that we expect of consuming some substance. It seems to me that Wielenberg is rejecting Taylor’s argument because it doesn’t fit what he believes internally to be meaningful. All that really shows is that it wouldn’t be a good life for him. Maybe he has problem with the fact that Taylor’s idea doesn’t require external meaning. Does believing your life has some meaning to others make it more meaningful? Perhaps. I suspect it depends on the person. Which still fits with Taylor’s idea; to have a life that’s internally meaningful, some people may need a life that has some benefit to others. It makes sense and doesn’t result in contradiction.

I still look forward to seeing what Wielenberg comes up with. I certainly would like to see some objective meaning to life. But I won’t be devastated if there isn’t.

Categories: Religion

This is also funny

March 30, 2006 2 comments

This article about Pensacola Christian College is disturbing. It’s like Liberty Bob Jones, but worse. I find this rule particularly silly:

Even couples who are not talking or touching can be reprimanded. Sabrina Poirier, a student at Pensacola who withdrew in 1997, was disciplined for what is known on the campus as “optical intercourse” — staring too intently into the eyes of a member of the opposite sex. This is also referred to as “making eye babies.” While the rule does not appear in written form, most students interviewed for this article were familiar with the concept.

There’s really no way to make fun of the idea of “making eye babies.” It’s just too absurd.

(via Pharyngula)

Categories: Religion, Silliness

Can I pay you in bits of red string?

March 29, 2006 Leave a comment

This is funny.

(via Orac)

Categories: Silliness

Substance? Where?

March 29, 2006 2 comments

Not here, that’s for sure. I’ve been working on my job interview coding project (C is both frustrating and fun to code in) and haven’t really had much initiative to post anything substantive.

But, Townhall is almost as fun as Agape Press, so I found something I can comment on:

More proselytizing, please

The saga of Abdul Rahman, the poor Afghani who switched religions 16 years ago and faced a death sentence before being labeled mentally incompetent, is a good reminder to all of us to cherish both the freedom to choose our own religion and the ability to proselytize one another freely.

Why is it that I only see Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses at my door? Where are the Christians, knocking on my door and telling me that Jesus is the way? What about devout Jews — why aren’t they going door to door, telling me that Jehovah is the God above all Gods and letting me know when conversion classes are? What about the Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Sikhs?

Perhaps they don’t feel like annoying people in their homes? It’s not like you never see Christians passing out literature.

For that matter where are the gays? If being gay is so much fun (they’re always having parades), why aren’t they recruiting door to door and proselytizing others to join the big party? And if the heterosexual monogamists are so opposed, why aren’t they giving me literature on the joys of sex in marriage?

I think we know the answer to that one.

Far from proselytizing, we’re too busy being “tolerant” which too often means pretending we all agree with one another.

Actually, I thought it meant having respect for the beliefs of others and limiting the urge to push your religion on everyone else.

I was once proselytized by an Antiochian Orthodox Christian and though I didn’t convert to her particular denomination, I appreciated the fact that she cared enough to tell me what she believed. Another time a Korean-American woman approached me in a parking lot and told me that Christ was returning the following year. He didn’t, of course, but I appreciated her fervor. Why should we be offended by such efforts? We should consider it an honor that they care about us enough to warn us of our impending doom as they see it.

It seems strange that the author apparently wants to be inundated with requests to convert to one religion or another. Once and a while is fine, but I think even he would get irritated with the constant nagging.

None of these have had to face the death penalty and America is a great country precisely because of the freedom that allows us to move to and from whichever religion we choose and attempt to convince one another of the truth of our beliefs, an idea we should practice vigorously at home and export abroad.

Can’t disagree with that. But did we need the silly idea of encouraging proselytizing?

Categories: Religion

I…see

March 29, 2006 Leave a comment

I was walking by the art building and noticed a trash can with this on the side:

Your garbage is their evidence

So…what’s going on in the art building?

Categories: Silliness
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