7 Quick Takes (7/2/10)


My debate with Justin Martyr of The Faith Heuristic is drawing to a close.  His rebuttal to my opening statement is up here.  My final post in this series will be up by Sunday.  (This post will be sponsored by antibiotics and the friendly staff of Washington DC’s walk-in medical clinic.  Thanks for getting me back on my feet guys!).


An interesting development following the ouster of Austrailian PM Kevin Rudd: his successor Julia Gillard is an atheist! Interesting that the way an ‘out’ atheist became head of state was not through popular election.  Reminds me of the frequent attempts in fiction to introduce a female president as a replacement after the death of the president, since the idea that a woman would be elected would be pushing suspension of disbelief too far.

On practically the other end of the globe, another head of state is making waves.  Congratulations to Johanna Sigurdardottir, Prime Minister of Iceland, who married her long term partner Jonina Leosdottir on the day that Iceland’s legalization of gay marriage went into effect.  Who wants to start a pool on how long it will be before Pat Robertson starts predicting doom for these two nations?

Those two nations may have to wait in line for divine retribution after this week’s Supreme Court ruling that held that colleges had no obligation to recognize Christian student groups that excluded gay people in contravention of the school’s all comers policy.

Speaking of Christian groups making unjustified claims: New York City Catholics are trying to get the City Council to force the owner of the Empire State Building to honor Mother Teresa by lighting up the building in blue and white on the 100th anniversary of her birthday.  The Empire State Building is privately owned and the owner has a perfect right to not commemorate the anniversary.  Nevertheless, Bill Donahue, President of the Catholic League, has deemed the decision “indefensible and obscene.”  He went on to say:

“It’s time for people, the rank and file to say enough is enough. I hope it’s going to be nonviolent, I wouldn’t encourage violence but I know there’s a lot of anger.”



And, in a final dispatch from the agrieved atheists, John Loftus has a great post up showing the inherent weakness of an argument for faith that rests upon revelation.  How do religious people handle the claims of revelation or divine visitations when they come from other sects?  Is there any standard for true revelation (besides accordance with the believer’s preferred faith)? 


And now for something completely different. 

I never appreciated classical music very much until I ran across these visualizations while doing research on synaesthesia.  The animations let me see the complex patterns of interwoven motifs that I was never able to pick out by ear.  The videos let you appreciate Beethoven and Bach.  If you want to appreciate synaesthesia, I recommend Jeffrey Ford’s novella: “The Empire of Ice Cream.”


[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]
"Well, I would love to know if you now believe that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered."

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"Any chance of you ever addressing the evidence that led you to accept the truth ..."

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""Wow, an unevidenced assertion from a religious dipshite. "Your quotes are the evidence and reason ..."

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""Congrats on leaving your brain behind!"Comments like yours are why lots of atheists leave atheism. ..."

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  • Rae

    I'm Catholic, but I laughed at #5. How on earth is that supposed to make sense?

  • Thanks for the comment, Rae! I was really surprised to see a Catholic organization backing this. As I've written on this blog before, I understand why Christians would prioritize salvation and evangelization over the desires of others, but for a garish memorial on private property? Give me a break!

  • Cranky Curmudgeon

    The school did NOT have an all-comers policy. It created one in response to the lawsuit, and continued applying it unequally.http://reason.com/archives/2010/07/02/a-dangerous-precedentBesides, can you really not think of any reason why an all-comers policy might itself be a bad idea?

  • @Cranky CurmudgeonI wish the case had been brought to test the original policy. It still remains true that the school is not required to subsidize every single student organization. Groups that prevented the school from carrying out its purpose or broke other school rules would also be legitimately disallowed.This doesn't prevent students from assemblying freely on campus and putting forth their ideas. It just means the school isn't bankrolling them.

  • In Canada (I'm sure you know this, but I'll plug my country any chance I get), we actually did have a female Prime Minister (Kim Cambell) because she was the successor to a male Prime Minister who left office before the end of his term. She, like Laura Roslin, lost in the next election. Unlike Laura Roslin, she did not become a government leader a second time because she was successor to a President (Zarack) who stepped out.

  • Thanks for the dispatch from abroad, Christian H! I hope Kim Cambell didn't throw people out of airlocks as frequently as Roslin had to!