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Showing posts from October, 2008

Sad is Good

I just finished reading a book by Frederick Buechner: Speak What We Feel, Not What We Ought To Say. It talked about the life and works of Hopkins, Twain, Chesterton, and Shakespeare, and how the sadness and tragedy in their lives enabled them to write some of their most sincere work.

I was thinking about how tragedy and sadness drive persons to contemplation. In fact, some of my deepest insights took place during a period of melancholy. Why is it that sadness stimulates the mind? Why do we consider tragedy more important than comedy? In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the reason sadness feels "bad" is related to the fact that people who are sad aren't particularly productive. Perhaps it's another trick of evolution.

Some Thoughts on Religion and Science

The Christian church, in its attitude toward science, shows the mind of a more or less enlightened man of the Thirteenth Century. It no longer believes that the earth is flat, but it is still convinced that prayer can cure after medicine fails. - H L Mencken

In Galileo, Bertolt Brecht underlines the tension between religious authority and scientific inquiry. This struggle has existed for nearly the entirety of Christianity. Christians today like to pretend that the hands of contemporary religion are clean from the blood of scientific martyrs. Despite their delusions, religions like Christianity are doing just as much damage today as they did in the time of Copernicus and Galileo.

Rather than doubting the veracity of the heliocentric model of falling bodies, today's religious autocrats handle scientific research which they feel is of much more moral weight. Studies in stem cells and bioengineering have been halted because the faithful feel as if man is tampering with and destr…
off golden gate bridge
en route to Greeb Lake
before leaving for Greeb Lake
night on the town - after listening to music at local coffee shop
trying on hats at Courtney's place
me and my buddy jimmy nops
at KC to see Les Miserables at Starlight
bingo night!
nerdy group at the KC Ren Fest
The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.
- Steven Weinberg
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
- Bertrand Russell