Archive for the ‘writings’ Category
Being as helpless and impotent as we are in understanding the meaning of our existence, the majority of mankind turns to organized religion for answers, while a much smaller number of humans turn to learned religious writers and theologians. But all we ever get from any of these sources is unintelligible and/or absurd answers to insoluble mysteries. God, if there is a God, would have all the answers. But he is waiting for us, if at all, outside the reach of our minds — our finite minds cannot comprehend that which is infinite (or as Einstein put it, “The problem is too vast for our limited minds”) — and that is why the effort of religion and theology to define and explain God is inherently futile. Thus, my agnosticism.
Is the conclusion of agnosticism no more than an intellectual exercise? Can it have any value to the human condition? Perhaps. I believe there is an ethical dimension to agnosticism that has the potential, to the degree it is embraced, to make man more honest. We know that untruthfulness, dishonesty, deceit, hypocrisy, and pretense are so much a part of life that we almost expect these things in our daily living and find it refreshing when we see their absence. And it’s not too likely this will ever change. But if man can ever at least hope to reduce the level of dishonesty in his existence, there perhaps is no better place to start than in his relationship with God.
- Book Review: Divinity of Doubt by Vincent Bugliosi (blogcritics.org)
- Frank Schaeffer: Divinity of Doubt (huffingtonpost.com)
- Divinity of Doubt: The God Question (jenx67.com)
- The Sense and Morality of Agnosticism (unreasonablefaith.com)
Ben Hammersley, at FT.com, gives this capsule description of the Internet profile today:
The internet has come a long way since Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, turned on the first web server in Geneva on Christmas day 1990. Today, 2bn people are online; 800m of them are on Facebook. Every minute, 24 hours worth of video is uploaded to YouTube. Google, a company founded only 15 years ago, has a market capitalisation just short of $200bn and a mission statement that it intends “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – something no one thinks unlikely or even remarkable. We now bank, shop, communicate, work and date through the internet. The internet has come of age. It is as defining an achievement for humanity as the Enlightenment or the industrial revolution.
This article includes a review of three books that are longer reports on the state of the Internet, or SOI.
- The Semantic Web | MIT World (mitworld.mit.edu)
- Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Seeks Voice-Enabled Internet in Africa (fastcompany.com)
- Journalists of the future need data skills, says Berners-Lee (guardian.co.uk)
Lee Smolin is a world class scientist and does his science in Canada. He recently reviewed a book by Marcelo Gleiser that has a highly suggestive title “A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe”. Here is a telling excerpt from that book selected by Smolin for his review:
It became clear to me that scientists and seekers of perfection from all walks of life have been courting the wrong muse. It is not symmetry and perfection that should be our guiding principle, as it has been for millennia….The science we create is just that, our creation. Wonderful as it is, it is always limited, it is always constrained by what we know of the world….We may search for unified descriptions of natural phenomena, and we may find some partial unifications along the way. But we must remember that a final unification is forever beyond our reach….The human understanding of the world is forever a work in progress. That we have learned so much, speaks well of our creativity. That we want to know more, speaks well of our drive. That we think we can know all, speaks only of our folly.
As I read those lines I couldn’t help thinking that he could be describing how religious authorities propose unified models for human morality. Surely the one constant here, human folly, applies as much in the scientific domain as in the moral.
Scientists seem to be ready to express humility in the face of human intellectual weakness. When will religious spokespersons do as much? Is it possible that religious authorities speak from a position of intellectual arrogance since they propose that they are the final judges on earth of the perfection of their vision of human life.
- The exciting absence of certainty | Jonathan Jones (guardian.co.uk)
- Embracing Nature’s Imperfections (3quarksdaily.com)
- (book review) Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape” (war-on-error.xanga.com)
It turns out that until recently we have been offered Astrological explanations based on an inaccurate calculation of the dates used to identify our astrological sign Check out this link for the explanation.
Most astrological “advice” seems to depend on the imagination of the individual offering that “advice”. Is there an Astrological authority? Well there may be one depending on how you feel about Astrology and what it offers. In an age when scientists can’t even agree whether or not Pluto is a planet, it’s hardly surprising that astrological calendars are now being recalculated.
- “New Zodiac Sign Dates: Ophiuchus The 13th Sign?” and related posts (huffingtonpost.com)
- New Zodiac Sign Dates: Astrological Signs Now Include ‘Ophiuchus’ (blippitt.com)
- Your zodiac sign may have changed (msnbc.msn.com)
- Astrological sign of the times (blogs.discovermagazine.com)