They have Church for that.
“All of those guys are maniacs…It’s a matter of style, design, and art taking precedence over physical constraints and money. I once described [hotelier] André [Balazs] by saying, ‘If he was drowning, and you threw him a life preserver, he’d catch it, look at it, look up at you, and say, ‘Do you have this in baby blue?’ ” – Hotelier Richard Born
…this country has always been about selling. To make the most money with the least amount of effort. “Hey, Bill. Love your tie. That was some fun last night, huh? Let’s hope our wives never find out. How about signing here on the dotted line so I can wrap this up and move onto the next prospect who’ll happily listen to me tell him the exact opposite of what he really is.”
Via The Trad.
Excel model not attached (I don’t want to be labeled sexist when I run for [and consequently win] a US Senate seat in 2022).
“Let those who remain captives of ancient superstitions and fairy tales have their churches, chapels, synagogues, mosques, rituals and liturgical mumbo-jumbo; just don’t confuse the (pseudo)knowledge they traffic in with the knowledge needed to solve the world’s problems.”
-Stanley Fish, Are There Secular Reasons? - NYT
(Full disclosure: this quote was taken slightly out of context).
Wow, I didn’t know they made crimson hip-waders.
And you thought Taipei 101 was imposing! Just look at what’s on the menu!:
Is there anything more romantic than Cougar hunting on Valentine’s Day?:
I found myself a participant in the following conversation earlier today and thought I should share it. It has shown me that there really are quite a few people out there who have odd beliefs and no evidence to support them. When I think of religious fundamentalism (perhaps extremism is a more fitting word) I often think of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Pakistan’s tribal areas, but rarely do I ever think that religious extremists are right here in my fair city, hiding in plain sight.
Jessica R: “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
Cameron Newland: Fear yourself, for if you believe these quotes to be true, you are weak; you have lost faith in yourself as an agent of your own destiny.
Cathy B: I will definitely fear myself the day I start thinking Im the agent:-). I am however in control of my attitude which is a great thing!!
Cameron Newland: Don’t worry–you’ve lost your reasoning faculties already, Ms. Browning. This kind of understanding of reality is not something your brain allows you to do. Don’t be sad…god, in his infinite wisdom, created people with different capabilities (or in your case, handicaps) such that you don’t even comprehend the intellectual cop-out (that of humans having no control over their destiny) that you’re perpetuating.
Jessica R: Cameron -To each his own. That said, would much appreciate you keeping your opinions and diatribes on your blog or your own page, if you don’t have anything nice to say.
Cameron Newland: Jessica – I don’t find anything pejorative in anything I wrote. If you think being mentally handicapped is pejorative, I would question your compassion for those who were born with any disability.
And Jessica, why would I think to keep my (well reasoned) opinions to myself? I’m shocked that you would say such a thing during the week that began (well, Monday) with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. MLK stood up for what was right and what he believed in. What if MLK had “[kept] his opinions and diatribes [to himself],” as you’ve suggested I do? If he followed your advice, we might live in a much more cruel world, one with institutionalized segregation. I advise you, Jessica, not to dig yourself deeper in this hole of absurdity that you’ve dug.
Cathy B: Im saying that I dont believe Gods words AKA scripture…to be false. You are right if you mean that my great attitude can bring me to amazing places Id never imagined Id be! I LOVE the places God has walked me through and my attitude, strength and determination has gotten me there as well:-)). Sooo not quite sure what that long response of yours meant…you clearly don’t see that I recognize the decisions I make and goals i set will take me to different places…..I know though that there are things Im not in control of BUT that’s great that you control your destiny….no need for you to mock me by calling me Ms Browning….you never know…..we might actually find eachother to be great ppl that just think differently if we ever crossed paths. I respect you are entitled to your beliefs as am I Cameron:-)) I hope your having a great evening….really!
Oh and Jess….I just wanna make sure you know Im in no way sad:-)) Lifes good and I love the ride…..its way to short to not enjoy! goodnight all!
Cameron Newland: Dear Cathy – after reading your reply, it seems you’ve come around (or perhaps we were more in agreement than we originally thought)! Like you, I believe that I am not in absolute control of my destiny, but that I do have control over my choices and the way I think, and this empowers me and I am grateful for it.
By your replies regarding the biblical citation, I was under the impression that you took a much sillier view; that you believed that we are but powerless puppets whose every action is controlled by an omnipotent spirit somewhere! I’m glad we cleared that up and that you don’t believe such a silly thing!
Why would you think I was mocking you by calling you ‘Ms. Browning’? I thought it only proper, as we have yet to be introduced.
Anyways, I AM having a fantastic night (I’m smiling as I write this), and I wish you only the best today and far into the future!
Cathy B: For the record….I dont view my strong faith and belief in the Bible as silly at all. Im real enough to know that we obviously have different viewpoints on this. Its alright because its neither the first nor the last time this will happen in my life where Ill cross paths with all types of people. And yes….what an amazing thing Martin Luther King Jr spoke for…..I was honored to perform in front of about 5,000 men, women and children who were honoring him this last Monday! His words spoke loudly on his faith in God and you still respect him Soooo lets just leave this as we are two people who think a bit differently in areas! doesn’t mean were handicapped or incompetent…….Im sure your great at the things you do in life Cameron and I assure you Id be in no place to serve the community I do at work in the way I do if I was as incompetent as you originally thought I was….Cathy is my name…and its been an odd pleasure meeting you Cameron:-)
Cameron Newland: Cathy – please clarify something for me…are you a fundamentalist Christian? Perhaps a better way to word it is “do you believe that every word in the bible is fact, that it is the word of god, and that nature was created in only six days?”
If you answer yes to either of those questions, then I think you can understand why I would call such thinking silly and a sign of someone who certainly has a mental handicap or psychosis.
Luckily, there are not very many among us who call themselves fundamentalists. Those silly people–people who blow up airliners in a delusion that they’ll be sent to heaven, those who believe unfathomable things like the primitive biblical creation myth–are vastly outnumbered by moderate Christians who selectively believe in (or don’t believe in) parts of the bible as modernity shines light on the patently ridiculous/inaccurate sections in it.
What I’m saying is that perhaps I have passed judgment on you too early. I made an ASSUMPTION that you believed in a bunch of very silly things, that you were a fundamentalist, which may have been an error on my part. I don’t want to make the same error in assuming you are a moderate Christian, which is why I ask this very important question of you and that you clarify your stance: moderate or fundamentalist, sane or deluded?
Cathy B: Cameron….heres what ill say…Im very SANE and the ppl who blow up planes and kill people as a result are terrorists.
Cameron Newland: So, are you a fundamentalist, or a moderate?
Cameron Newland: It seems that you’re trying to answer that you’re a fundamentalist, but that you are certain that you are sane. I don’t want to read too much into your short answer, though. It’s a mistake (assumption) that I’ve already made.
Cathy B: And you have passed judgement on me too quickly. I assure you of this…. It amazes me that this world was created by God so quickly….and its my FAITH that carries me through the times ive questioned it. Now, there are plenty of things in the Bible that I have yet to learn about and things that I just don’t understand….Ill just have to see where this road of trust, learning and faith in Jesus leads me and while Im at it Ill continue to enjoy the ride Im on called a blessed life:-)
Cameron Newland: But you’ve sidestepped my question: are you a fundamentalist, or a moderate?
(I assure you, I haven’t ultimately passed judgement on you–I will when you answer my question).
Cathy B: Oh….and Ill continue to set my goals and succeed just as I always have before:-)) keeping good attitude along the way while loving and trusting the God Ive come to know:-))
Cameron Newland: Good for you!
Are you a fundamentalist Christian, or a moderate Christian, or neither?
Cameron Newland: I take it by your silence that you believe yourself to be a fundamentalist Christian (please correct me if I’m wrong!)
In my opinion that qualifies you as delusional. I also think that if you had the mental capacity of an average human, you would certainly agree with me.
And I’m so sorry that the educational system in your hometown ([a small town] in the great state of Texas, correct?) was so primitive so as to lead you to delusions instead of toward seeking the truth by humble inquiry. Perhaps your parents/family are to blame for the silly beliefs and schooling had nothing to do with it. I cannot be certain because I don’t know you personally, but either way, I feel very sorry.
I’m glad I got to learn some things about your point of view tonight!
I wish you nothing but the best!
Note: our conversation actually continued after I posted this. Luckily for us, Cathy admitted that she only dabbles in Christian fundamentalism and that she herself thinks certain fundamentalist Christian beliefs are over-the-top and dangerous. I was very happy to hear that Cathy was not in fact a complete fundamentalist, and breathed a sigh of relief.
She then proceeded to lower herself by resorting to an ad hominem attack, calling me an “arrogant ass”, which I thought was quite ironic. Cathy is the one who is so certain of her faith to the point of being arrogant and cocksure. By comparison, my faith in science is quite humble, as it is based on the idea that we do not know everything there is to know and can surely learn much more.
Is there any benefit enjoyed by landing on either side of the spectrum, of being more (or less) religious?
As it turns out, there is.
Poor people and poorly-educated people are much more likely to hold religious beliefs and believe in a personal god than those who earn more and have been well-educated. Put another way, religious people are poor and stupid (though to hold this as a universal maxim would be silly…in reality, the statement is but an accurate generalization).
“Several research studies have been published on the statistical relationship between religiosity and educational level, or religiosity and IQ. Michael Shermer, in How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science, describes a large survey of randomly chosen Americans that he and his colleague Frank Sulloway carried out. Among their many interesting results was the discovery that religiosity is indeed negatively correlated with education (more highly educated people are less likely to be religious).” (Dawkins 102)
It’s not only education that is inversely correlated with religiosity; intelligence itself is also negatively correlated (which backs up my rather damning charge that “religious people are … stupid”:
“On the subject of religion and IQ, the only meta-analysis known to me was published by Paul Bell in Mensa Magazine in 2002 (Mensa is the society of individuals with a high IQ …). Bell concluded: ‘Of 43 studies carried out since 1927 on the relationship between religious belief and one’s intelligence and/or educational level, all but four found an inverse connection. That is, the higher one’s intelligence or education level, the less one is likely to be religious or hold ‘beliefs’ of any kind.” (Dawkins 103)
Clear signs that economic development is inversely correlated with religiosity are to be found in the new Pew survey. Specifically, it found that the most religious state in the Union is Mississippi, “with 82 percent of its residents saying that religion is important in their lives.” Mississippi also comes up last in another metric: GDP per capita. Unsurprisingly, Utah, which ranks 2nd nationally in Worship Attendance, comes in at 49th in GDP per capita. More compelling is the story on the other end: irreligiosity and wealth are highly correlated. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Alaska score the lowest levels of religiosity nationally, and all three rank in the top half in GDP Per Capita (with New Hampshire and Alaska both scoring in the top quartile). I’ve gone ahead and placed the state rankings of religiosity (2009) and GDP per capita from 2008 next to one another, and found that, on average, states’ per capita GDP ranking falls only 9 places away from its religiosity ranking, showing a correlation much higher than if we were to assign states random rankings. If we were to give the states random rankings in each, we would find that they would average a distance of 16 places apart. The strong correlation points to the existence of a powerful cause, because the correlation is so much higher than the expected result (if the result expected was ‘random’). The field of statistics doesn’t allow us to name the cause simply by noting a correlation; the identity of the cause as well as the nature of its workings is an answer we can only deduce.
I’ll take a stab at it.
During the primitive stages of humanity (let’s use 1776 as a somewhat arbitrary start-date for the modern era) there were a lack of compelling and widely-available explanations for the often complex and elegant occurrences found in nature. Myriad primitive theories were created in order to explain that which defied explanation. Some of these far-fetched theories included demons, spirits, and gods. These archaic explanations, having no proof whatsoever to support their existence, have been largely discredited and replaced by more elegant theories such as evolution by natural selection and those proposed by the natural sciences, which are concordant with observed nature and rely on evidence instead of primitive, baseless deduction. Modern scientific knowledge has only been around for a few hundred years, and widespread mandatory education has only been instituted in the last hundred. As a consequence of the relatively nascent development of both scientific breakthroughs and widespread education, it’s natural that primitive explanations are still common among the uneducated. As education becomes more ubiquitous, and as superstition loses its lustre, quantitative metrics will show a decline in religiosity commensurate with the increased level of education (which itself is largely dependent on economic development). It stands to reason, then, that once the entire planet’s population is relatively developed (to perhaps 1970′s-American standards of living), supernatural explanations for nature’s existence will have hit the tipping point of minority status, and will see their decline quicken. In a postmodern era (2300 CE onward, perhaps), Religion will be confined to a be a chimera of philosophy, community, and morality, and will have definitively given up its self-styled eminence in explaining the natural world.
“Iran on Wednesday test-fired [the Sajjil-2,] an upgraded version of its most advanced missile, which is capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, in a new show of strength aimed at preventing any military strike against it amid the nuclear standoff with the West.
The name “Sajjil” means “baked clay,” a reference to a story in the Quran, Islam’s holy book, in which birds sent by God drive off an enemy army attacking the holy city of Mecca by pelting them with stones of baked clay,” and this religious reference is a clear sign that Iran shouldn’t be trusted with missiles or nuclear technology. Iran is a theocracy, and hence they have different motivations than secular democracies. Instead of attempting to maintain order and advance their society, their goals may be dictated by an outdated and silly text (the Koran), hence they cannot be trusted with weapons.
It’s frightening that ideologues have taken a country hostage by appealing to their people’s devotion to an ancient text.
One of the reasons that the United States has been relatively stable since its founding (relied on but a single constitution, et cetera) is that we have a completely secular government that eschews fundamentalism. Thomas Jefferson, in a treaty with Tripoli (Barbary pirates), illustrated it best:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of [Muslims]; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Perhaps a lack of fundamentalist ideals means peace, in a sense.
“One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody—not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms—had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion…”
“As he sat in a cafe with friends in the chic Kolonaki area on a recent afternoon, Antonis, 33, who disclosed only his first name, proudly announced that he refused to pay taxes.
“Why should I pay?” he asked with a grin. “I don’t care about my government; I don’t care about my country,” he added. He conceded, however, that he did care about soccer and women.”
“[Tiger] Woods has also been aggressive about defending his image. When an Irish magazine published fake nude photographs of his wife several years ago on the eve of the Ryder Cup, Woods’s wife sued — and eventually received an apology and a settlement of more than $180,000, which was donated to charity.
Woods himself received a $1.6 million settlement after he sued the builder of his yacht for using his name and photographs in promotional materials. The yacht was named Privacy.”
“In Manhattan real estate, there are no rules; it’s like check-in at an Italian airport.”
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