Repost: The Apologist’s Turnstile

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from January 2012.]As I've often mentioned, religion has a set of cognitive tricks - unconscious ideas, prejudices and habits of thought it tries to instill in believers - which shield their minds against contrary argument and make it less likely that they'll leave the faith. One example is the selective wall I've written about in the past, also dubbed "Morton's demon", that … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Glory Days of Child Labor

ChildLabor

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIIWhen she hears that Hank Rearden and Ken Danagger have been indicted for illegally doing business, Dagny rushes to Pittsburgh. For reasons she can't fully explain, she's certain that Danagger will be the next to vanish, and she's desperate to reach him and convince him to stay before he's taken away by the "destroyer" - her term for whatever force or entity is causing all the country's great capitalists to disappear without a trace.Her appointment with … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Men With Guns

Prison

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIIEntering Rearden's office, Dr. Floyd Ferris wore the expression of a man so certain of the success of his quest that he could afford a benevolent smile.Rearden asks why he requested an appointment, and Ferris says it's in regard to the five thousand tons of Rearden Metal that the State Science Institute ordered several months ago. Rearden reminds Ferris that he already turned them down and has no intention of reconsidering."But that was five … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Lion’s Share

Lion

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIINow that we've seen Lillian's reaction to her discovery of Hank's affair, let's flash back briefly. Earlier in the chapter, while Hank and Dagny were in bed together, she said this to him:"Hank, I want nothing from you except what you wish to give me. Do you remember that you called me a trader once? I want you to come to me seeking nothing but your own enjoyment. So long as you wish to remain married, whatever your reason, I have no right to resent … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Cherchez la Femme

You're the only one who understands me.

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIIAfter the disastrous ending of Jim Taggart's wedding party, Hank drops Lillian off at the train station, telling her he has to stay in New York for some more business appointments the next day. Then he goes straight to Dagny's apartment for that hot capitalist lovin' he missed out on earlier. Later, their pillow talk wanders to the subject of Hank's wife:"Dagny, what do you think of my marriage?""I have no right to think of it.""You must have … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Pump and Dump

BurningMoney

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIAfter Francisco's big speech comes to an end, a suitably impressed Hank Rearden comes over to talk to him:"Before I met you, I used to wonder how you could waste a fortune such as yours. Now it's worse, because I can't despise you as I did, as I'd like to, yet the question is much more terrible: How can you waste a mind such as yours?"Francisco parries that he doesn't think he is wasting it. Rearden asks Francisco why he doesn't practice what he … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Three-Fifths Compromise

AntiSlavery

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IILet me make one thing clear, to begin with: I don't think Ayn Rand was an unintelligent person. She was fiercely dogmatic in her opinions, quick to anger, possessed an enormous ego, and rarely if ever forgave. She also had more than a few intellectual blind spots, which I've been pointing out throughout this series. But I believe she put real thought into her moral system, flawed as it is, and had a genuine desire to be taken seriously as a … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 5

This is part 5 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Andrew,Thanks again for making the trip out to my neck of the woods the other week. I thought the turnout for our second live debate was excellent! I was surprised by how many people told us we should do this again, so maybe that's something to consider for the future.Personally, I could go on about the roots of morality forever. But since I … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: Catholicism’s Demonic Revival

My latest column is up on AlterNet, Why Do Many Christians Still Literally Believe in Demons and Satan? In it, I sum up the Harvard Black Mass fracas and place it in a wider context, showing how Pope Francis and the Catholic church are pushing a major revival of belief in the demonic. Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:The Harvard Satanist fracas shows the immense hypocrisy of the Catholic church and its spokesmen. In their battle against the contraception mandate, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Offshore Accounts

TropicalIsland

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter IIAll the movers and shakers, including Hank and Lillian, have showed up for James Taggart's wedding in New York. Dagny is also there, and obviously she and Hank have to keep up the pretense that there's nothing between them. This makes Hank grit his teeth at his inability to, I don't know, have sex with her right there on the ballroom floor:...he wondered why he stood here, he wondered who had the right to demand that he waste a single irreplaceable … [Read more...]


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