You Wouldn’t Steal A Car…

I have a reasonable amount of sympathy for the film and record companies who want us to buy their products. I’d be delighted if, rather than reading the electronic version of my book on NetLibrary or some similar database, all those interested in my book would go buy a copy. The truth is, however, that books like mine (a revised version of my doctoral dissertation) are of specialty interest, and most people who read it will borrow it from a... Read more

A Scanner Darkly

I finished watching the movie A Scanner Darkly based on the novel by Philip K. Dick. I also have a book with collected philosophical and other essays by Dick checked out from the library, in connection with my ongoing research on religion and artificial intelligence. Although AI doesn’t really feature in A Scanner Darkly, religion certainly does, beginning with the title, which alludes to the Biblical image of seeing in a glass or mirror darkly (which of course made sense... Read more

Are You Alive? Prove It!

Fans of the current Battlestar Galactica series will recognize the title of this blog entry as the first words of dialogue spoken on the miniseries that started it. The question is asked by an evolved cylon who poses the challenge to a human armistice officer. It was only today that the full significance of these words struck me, for some reason. The question is presumably one that had, at some point in the past, been asked by humans of the... Read more

What Romania Has Taught Me About the Bible

I lived in Romania for three years, have been married to a Romanian for fifteen, and have had a lot of contact with Romania and Romanians. I love the surprised look on people’s faces when I tell them that I didn’t really understand the New Testament until I lived in Romania. Romania was part of the Roman Empire at one point, but even had this not been the case, it still would be part of that region stretching along the... Read more

Fossil Hunting

Yesterday I went fossil hunting. After spending Canada Day in Canada, my family and I came back via upstate New York, where two days ago my son and I happened across a crinoid (sea lilly) and a coral fossil on the beach. This led to us spending some time yesterday at Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center. An abandoned shale quarry, the place doesn’t look like much (a somewhat barren area with piles of rocks and a small booth),... Read more

“What the Bible thinks”

This is just a short entry, just to share a further illustration of how the Bible is mythologized, personalized and in some cases deified by well-meaning but misguided Christians. I received a message from someone who disagreed with an answer of mine on Yahoo! Answers, and this individual said he isn’t interested in what I think but “what the Bible thinks”. The Bible isn’t a person, and even treating it as though it is a single work is misleading. One... Read more

Nothing new under the sun

I thought I had an original idea with my play on the name of Dembski’s blog. As it turns out, there is a blog dedicated to parodying Dembski’s blog called – you guessed it – Uncommon Dissent. It is allegedly maintained by none other than T. H. Huxley, reports of whose death were apparently, like the reports of the imminent demise of evolution, “greatly exaggerated”. There was also a book published in 2004 entitled Uncommon Dissent, with the subtitle Intellectuals... Read more

Uncommon Dissent?

Has anyone else noticed how hard it is to get one’s comments to actually appear on Bill Dembski’s blog, Uncommon Descent? I’ve posted lots of times on Richard Dawkins’ site, as have lots of other religious believers (mostly fundamentalists). Sites like that of the Discovery Institute don’t even have forums. One way to interpret this, of course, would be that whereas Dawkins and others like him are confident that intelligent discussion and evaluation of relevant evidence leads to truth, the... Read more

Can we backengineer a bug?

I’m been reading Sean B. Carroll’s book Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo, which is thoroughly fascinating. One can almost understand the response of proponents of intelligent design to the marvels of the workings of our genes, which mirror the workings of logic circuits. But of course, this is a reaction appropriate to someone who hasn’t read the whole book, and ID proponents are very much in that situation. It was rather ironic that, upon the... Read more

Got Genesis? Homogenized and Pasteurized!

This was my last actual entry on my old blog, and I’ve decided to offer it as the first ‘real’ post on my new blog site as well… I’ve already said plenty, I imagine, on the problem of homogenizing the creation stories in Genesis 1-3. But what about “Pasteurizing” them? Before this is dismissed as nonsense, let me explain. Young-earth creationists regularly refer to Pasteur’s work disproving spontaneous generation, and suggest that Pasteur’s conclusion that “life does not arise from... Read more
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