This Makes Me Happy Part IV

April 29, 2008

This is a speech given by a Canadian high school student running for some unspecified position. The kid is pretty funny (albeit obvious Dane Cook rip off) but what I like about this clip is the teachers and administrators take the sermon for what it is – a harmless high school joke – and let it run its course instead of pulling Mr. Cook jr off stage and making his good natured insults into something they were not.

Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive… write that down.


Anselm and his Ontological Argument can go to hell

April 28, 2008

One of the most famous arguments for the existence of God was written by Saint Anselm of Canterbury and goes as follows:

  1. God is that which nothing greater than can be conceived
  2. It is greater to exist in reality and in the understanding rather than in the understanding alone
  3. Therefore, God exists in reality

There are many technical points that I’m not going to get into here but suffice it to say that the argument is actually much stronger than it appears at first glance. There are plenty of references listed on Wikipedia if you want to learn more.

This is far from a definitive refutation of Anselm’s position but after having seen this argument once a semester for the past few years as a philosophy major I have finally come to a peace of sorts with Anselm’s position (a position that to me at least seems to be patently false).

It has yet to be proven that it is possible for something existing in reality to be infinite. In other words, there is no thing today – not even the universe or a particular number – that you can point to and say “hey, this ___ is infinite” (fact).  Understand we do have symbols that represent the infinite (like for numbers) but these symbols themselves are not infinite.  In each of these cases the infinite exists in our understanding and the finite symbol exists in reality.

God – or that which nothing greater can be conceived – by definition must be infinite (becuase if he/she/it was not infinite then something greater could always be imagined). Thus, unless someone can show that it is possible for some infinite thing to exist in reality, it must be the case that it is greater to not exist in reality than to exist in reality and therefore God cannot (by definition) exist in reality.

[Any argument attempting to show “finite, real existence” is greater than “infinite existence in the understanding (or anything else)” dissolves into absurdity very quickly]


Seen and Heard #2

April 18, 2008

Guy next to me after spin class – “Wow that was a good workout”

Me – “You can say that again”

You can say that again? I half expected to turn around and see Danny Tanner and Uncle Joey having a serious heart to heart with little Stephanie about the difficulties of growing up as the awkward middle child (Full House reference for those of you not in the female 22-29 demographic). I shouldn’t be allowed to speak again. Ever.


This Makes Me Happy Part III

April 17, 2008

The reaction of Kansas fans at home in Allen Field House when Mr. Mario Chalmers hit his 3. This is what college sports are all about. One of the coolest aspects of these videos is the celebration is 100% positive, not a negative word about their opponent is mentioned.


Opportunity lost to bridge faith and logical thought at “Compassion Forum”

April 15, 2008

CNN and most other news agencies covered Sunday’s Compassion Forum hosted by Messiah College. It was billed as a bipartisan (although Republican nominee John McCain didn’t attend) forum for candidates to discuss “moral issues that bridge ideological divides within our nation.”

The “big” moments of the forum came when Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were separately asked whether they believe life begins at conception. I screamed at the television for hours.

THE ISSUE IS NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN WHETHER LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION. THE ISSUE IS WHEN WE SHOULD TREAT THE LIVING THING THAT IS FORMED AT CONCEPTION AS A HUMAN.

Entering into a debate about whether life begins at conception reveals a horrendous ignorance of very basic science. It is no different from arguing that the earth is flat. Life is a scientific term. It is not a matter of debate, opinion, or faith. The sperm and egg are both alive prior to conception and the embryo created by their merging is also alive.

Yet, for some reason neither candidate addressed this glaring error, nor did the moderator or any other member of the media. For future reference, if you’re pretending to have a serious debate [Messiah College] I strongly suggest (at the very least) knowing enough to ask the right questions.

Life exists at conception, when this life should be treated as human is the issue.


The Sociology of Airports

April 4, 2008

Generally speaking, we interact with people similar to ourselves.  People with whom we share similar interests, experiences, heritages, etc.  One reason for this is that there are very few activities that span the Big 3 social divides: economic status, race, and age.

Thanks to Southwest and other bargain airlines, flying is one of the few – and possibly only – occasions in which we are actually exposed to the general population in America.  All other forms of public transportation exclude the rich and almost any other activity (entertainment, food, work, etc.) pools people of similar interests and/or backgrounds.

It’s not that there is a disproportionate number of weird people at airports (as I had previously thought), but that there are lots of weird people everywhere.  We just don’t run into them very often in every day life because they don’t work/shop/eat/live where we do.