Monday, December 26, 2011

Agnostic/Atheistic Quotes From Famous People

"It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science." [Darwin]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Childhood Torture

For years I've believed that my PTSD was the result of parental abuse. A recent broken tooth brought to mind the terrible times in the dentist chair. Every year for seven years, starting at age six, there was, conveniently, one and only one molar with a "pinhole" cavity in it. The dentist then proceeded, without anesthetic, to drill out the entire core of the tooth, as in the movie Marathon Man. It's clear, now, that this was nothing less than sadistic torture by a man who should have been in prison, not practicing dentistry.
I've carried around a virulent hatred for the man my entire life and for the parents who trusted him rather than believe their own child. He's now dead. It's time to feel compassion for myself, for the horror I endured as a helpless child, and let go of the hate that's hurting only me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Detroit Police Shooting

Waterville Sentinel Jan. 24, 2011
BRIEFS 4 cops shot in station; police kill gunman
DETROIT - Four police officers in Detroit's Northwestern District were shot Sunday afternoon when a gunman came in and opened fire.
According to Sgt. Todd Eby, the gunman walked in about 4:20 p.m. with a pistol grip shotgun. Unprovoked, he just started shooting, said Eby, who was sitting at his desk when the gunfire erupted. Eby said officers in the building returned fire, killing the man. The four police officers have been taken to Sinai Grace hospital in Detroit.

Monday, June 20, 2011


If I could, I'd give everyone in the world two gifts, uncertainty and humility. Maybe that would change humanity's future.

What Will Happen If It's All Burned

What will happen if all of the fossilized carbon remaining buried in the ground gets burned? Do atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane return to the levels that they were before the carbon got sequestered by minute organisms? Will the climate stabilize at a much hotter level? Do we know what the climate was like in (pre-Cambrian?) times? Will inland seas re-develop? How much coastline will be inundated worldwide? Will every coastal city be gone? Will Chicago become the U.S. Capitol, because Boston, NYC, D.C., Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans, L.A., San Francisco and Seattle, among many others, will be gone?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Multiracial America

I hope everyone knows: "Last week [January 8, 2011] we saw a white Catholic male Republican judge murdered on his way to greet a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress, who was his friend. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old Mexican-American gay college student, and eventually by a Korean American combat surgeon, and this all was eulogized by our African American President." ~ Mark Shields, PBS

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Oxygen and water...the two most critical elements for human survival. In this story, they are inextricably linked. The story of the threat to the air we breathe is deceptively simple. It's based on 3 scientifically proven facts (well 4, actually, by implication).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


On Scepticism

"I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure." (Attributed, in various forms, to Clarence Darrow)

On Reality

Our perception of external reality is sensory experience. Not just sensory input, but experience, a combination of sensory input and how a particular brain processes it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Duration Of Love

"The duration of love in a being always depends upon the loved one. I create an emotion in you, as you create one in me. You do not create it in yourself. It is because something in my personality causes an answering glow in yours that you love me."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shootings In Tucson

All the mass shootings we've had in the last decade, elementary and college students, teachers, postal workers, police, even nuns ... everyday people. But now that it's one of theirs, the rich and powerful don't feel so secure anymore and they don't like it. Congress is changing its rhetoric. Time magazine dedicates an entire issue. And where does the blame fall? Mental illness. Hey, no sane person would shoot one of us!
In an A/P piece, Jacques Billeaud wrote, "Investigators have said Loughner was mentally disturbed and acting increasingly erratic in the weeks leading up to the shooting. If he pleads not guilty by reason of insanity and is successful, he could avoid the death penalty and be sent to a mental health facility instead of prison."
This will set the reform of attitudes toward mental health back a generation if not a lifetime.
Want confirmation of the us-and-them attitude? See how much coverage a Detroit Police Shooting got.

A Lifetime In Darkness

The despair of a life in physical and emotional pain. The despair of being unable to love. Chasing after the "right person" when the inside is broken.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Perception and Truth

"All perception of truth is the detection of an analogy." Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) American Author
"There is no truth. There is only perception." Gustave Flaubert
Krishnamurti and the Direct Perception of Truth Prof. P. Krishna (Fabulous! ed.)


Living with Uncertainty Anthony Campbell
"As the biologist J.B.S. Haldane famously remarked, the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, it is queerer than we can suppose."


"Living Well With Pain and Illness" by Vidyamala Burch,
"Lessons For The Living" by Stan Goldberg
"Mindfulness for Pain Relief: Guided Practices for Reclaiming Your Body and Your Life" by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Natural Selection

Do all human drives and emotions boil down to reproductive success? Power? Greed? Love? Anger? Fear? Joy? Grief? More and more scientists, health professionals and others are couching various "personality traits" in terms of "survival value". "If it didn't have survival value, it would have disappeared from the gene pool." Isn't this just restating Darwin's theory of natural selection? It's a profound idea, though, when applied to what modern society considers aberrant behavior or mental illness.
Bipolar, sociopathic personality, depression, schizophrenia. What is the survival value of these characteristics? What are thieves and killers when their abilities are directed against a competing tribe? Warriors, heroes?

On Ideas

Are ideas an evolving part of human evolution? An idea must stand on its own. It doesn't matter who said it or what institution is behind it. It is useful, illuminating, suggestive, inspiring or it isn't. It survives or it doesn't. Survival suggests that ideas live within time. Some ideas are displaced by others over time. If we're lucky, this evolution of ideas represents positive development in the human specie; development of the sapiens part of the name that, in our arrogance, we've given ourselves

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Early Sci-Fi And Computers

It seems odd that the scifi writers of the 1930s and 1940s were so far off when it came to calculating machines and data storage. They wrote about high energy weapons, faster than light space travel, telepathy and telekinesis, antigravity and instantaneous communication, among other scientific achievements, most of which have yet to be realized. But nothing about computers. In many cases they have navigators performing mostly manual calculations to plot courses in both normal and hyper space, an impractical if not impossible procedure. The calculating machines they did write about used tape for storage, even four centuries into the future. How did they miss the obvious need for calculating power beyond what humans can do?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Failure of Logic

Using logic to argue a point is a waste of time and energy. Logic follows strict, closed rules. It is black and white. A conclusion is either right or wrong. If two people come to two different conclusions using strict logic, then either someone's logic is flawed, or the difference is in the assumptions. (Interestingly, in the context of logic, assumptions are analogous to beliefs.) If they can't agree on the assumptions, then all further logical argument is pointless.