Sunday, February 23, 2014

An eventful night, as gleaned from a single Twitter account

A Turkish professor, Balkan Devlen, has been gathering some important developments from a number of hotspots overnight:

And, the most striking image of the day, someone repainted the Soviet Army memorial in Sofia, Bulgaria with the national colors of Ukraine:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

FCC backs off attempted oversight of news coverage

Good. It was probably the result of a load of idle staffers, soft sciences majors, trying to come up with a pointless novelty to justify their employment. But just imagine the eruption in the MSM if George W. Bush's FCC had attempted to pull something like this during the mid-Aughties. shudder... There are any number of two-syllable responses a news editor should give to some FCC munchkin trying to police news coverage. The most printable of them is probably No Thanks.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Where have I been?

Mostly commenting. Goodness, what a wordy fellow I am!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Bible and the future

Over at Aeon Magazine, there's a piece of deepthink which startlingly misrepresents the Bible's conception(s) of time.

Finally, we can always blame the Bible. Whether you think of it as casting a long shadow across the history of Western culture or as fathering a great light within it, there is no denying the Bible’s powerful influence on the way that we think today. And you might have noticed that there’s not much about a billion-year future in it. The Bible does not tell us ‘The beginning is near!’ but rather ‘The end is near!’

I don't think that American fundamentalist end-times theology is a wide enough lens through which to view the Bible nor its influence on our attitudes through the millennia. Sure, the Bible makes no mention of billions of years--but its authors were very pre-occupied with eternity, which for humans amounts to the same thing. Psalm 103:17 says that "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children." The old king who narrates Ecclesiastes muses at length on the passage of time and the successions of generations stretching into the future. Remember that the Christian Bible was written by dozens of authors over the course of about 600 years. They weren't all just huddling around the altar all that time, waiting for the world-ending thunderbolt to strike.

Indeed, a case could be made that the thinkers of antiquity, both Judeo/Christian and Greco/Roman, had a firmer grasp of the immensity of time and their own minuscule place within it. Since the beginning of the Mechanical Age, events have rushed past in such a blur, that the present has perforce absorbed most of our attention. In addition, we spend the yet-to-be-created wealth confiscated from yet-to-be-born posterity for our own present gratification. "Just keep the checks coming til I'm dead, and then the world can go hang!" Attitudes like that are not found in people who plant acorns, the shade of which trees they will never sit under. Attitudes like that are denounced in the Bible, in fact.

An attempt to excogitate from scratch a new way of regarding the future will most likely sound strangely familiar, in some parts. It's already part of our heritage, if you know where & how to look.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Bill Nye Ken Hamm Creation Debate at Answers in Genesis museum in Kentucky

As longtime readers know, I loathe creationism. I though Nye did a great job, presenting a thumbnail sketch of how we know science is the best guide to the natural world, and confining Hamm to circular appeals to authority and just plain Bible thumping. If our answer to the questions of the natural world is "God did it", then that's the end of any inquiry, since God can do anything He wants, and His ways are unsearchable. But an open-ended universe following discoverable natural laws offers vistas of potential discovery.

And that's all I've got. Have some good tweets from the #creationdebate tag. Boy, was it a fast thread!