Much to My Growing Horror


Something terrible and amazing appears to be happening. I have started my new job. It’s a good job, and I’m genuinely enjoying it so far. But the job requires that I be up and out of bed by 6:30 in the morning so as to be at my desk and ready to work by 8:00.

Since the 1990s, I’ve had jobs where I worked swing or graveyard shifts. Oh, I’d occasionally have to haul myself out of bed super-early for a training shift, or to go in early for someone. But that was rare. It’s not ever been something I’ve had to do on a daily basis.

And yet, here we are.

And much to my surprise…it seems that I might actually have been a morning person all these years.

You see, I find that I’m sleeping better by waking up in the mornings. Whereas I used to wake up two or three times a night, now it’s maybe once a night. Maybe. I also wake up much better rested, and ready to deal with the day, instead of blearily looking at my cell phone, resetting the alarm for an hour later, and dropping off again.

Yes, by the time my ride to work arrives, I’ve had breakfast, watched some morning news, sometimes even surfed the web. All at a time that, a month ago, was only a few hours after I would have gone to bed.

This is…weird. It’s welcome, I suppose, in that it makes my life easier. But…weird.

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For Those Who Haven’t Seen This…


Still Alive


Yeah, I’m still out here. I know I haven’t posted in a bit. There are some good reasons, though.

First off, I was sick during the early part of last week. That was less than fun.

Second, my mom was in town after that and only left yesterday. Yes, I’m using my mother as an excuse for not blogging. Hi, mom!

Lastly, my new job starts tomorrow at 8:00 AM. So that’s been on my mind. I’m very much looking forward to it.

Once that new job starts, I’m not entirely sure what my blogging patterns will be like. We shall see.

We Live in a World Where This Exists…


Also, I’m terribly sick, and even typing this has made my brain hurt a bit. Back to bed!

Oh, Deepak…


So Deepak Chopra has weighed-in on atheism. He does make a few good points about religion in general, and belief.

If belief in God can’t stand up to proof, it won’t sustain a person through difficult times.

And…

What’s not rewarding is to base your belief or unbelief on secondhand opinion. Being a knee-jerk skeptic is as limiting as being a knee-jerk fundamentalist. In both cases, the mind is being conditioned by others.

This is absolutely correct, for a given definition of “secondhand opinion”. If someone who is an astrophysicist says there is probably no god, and certainly no proof for god, and I leave it at that, then I’m taking them at their opinion. If, on the other hand, they subsequently produce peer-reviewed documents backing up their position, and are willing to change that position when new information is produced, then that’s a very different thing.

But overall, ok, not horrible. Here’s what I roll my eyes at.

Atheism can do good by casting a skeptical light on cultural mythologies, but believing in nothing but the material world is cold comfort.

It is? I’m quite happy believing in only the material world. It’s the only one I have any reason to believe exists. I take a great deal of comfort in the idea that this life is all that I get, and so I’d best make the most of it.

Strong-minded, vocal atheists claim that God isn’t science and science isn’t God. But the implication that faith is irrational and only science knows the truth has no basis in fact.

“Science” doesn’t know everything, or indeed, anything. Science is a method, a way of accumulating, processing and using data to draw conclusions based on evidence. This is like saying, “Only baking knows the truth of food.” That’s just…bizarre.

What he’s trying to do is say that belief in something that cannot be proven and has, to coin a phrase, “no basis in fact” is also a valid way of perceiving the universe. It’s his way, sure, and perhaps valid in some ways, but certainly not, you know, accurate.

Some studies indicate that scientists actually go to church more than the general population.

[citation needed]

I can sort-of agree with what he ends with.

I feel for people who get stuck in any belief system, including rigid skepticism. They are signing up for the suppression of curiosity. As painful as it may be to question the faith you were brought up in, it’s worse to be stuck. The human story is about growth and evolution. That will remain true no matter who shouts loudest about God or the absence of God.

But you know…I’m skeptical about pretty much everything at first. Once I have a bit more information, and sometimes not even very much, if it’s from a source I trust, I go with it. My skepticism over many things isn’t hard to overcome.

The last two sentences are basically very true, though it is worth noting that while atheists might “shout” about the absence of God, we do so because our shout is a mere whisper compared with the god-obsessed society we live in. Also, I don’t know any atheist, and have never met any atheist, who would pass restrictive and oppressive legislation against people simply because they believe in God. That is certainly not a given when it’s coming from the other side.

How to Handle Indiana


So the other day, Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R…but you know that, of course), signed a very stupid bill into law. Basically it says that if someone has a discrimination suit filed against them, they can use their religious beliefs as a defense. This means that if a gay couple is getting married and a florist refuses to sell them flowers because the florist hates money the florist’s religion hates gay people, then they may well be able to get away with it.

There has been much hand wringing and discussion over how to deal with this. My personal method? Ignore it and wait for it to implode on its own, which it will.

First off, I’m not 100% sure of the Constitutionality of this law. The Equal Protection Clause seems to potentially be a problem.

Second, just you wait. Just you wait until the first time someone refuses service to a black person, because their religion forbids mixing of the races. Or refuses service to a Jewish person because, c’mon, they’re Jews. Or imagine a Muslim refusing to sell things to a Christian. Hey, under this law, they can all get away with that, right?

Or suppose our money-hating florist up above (seriously! What kind of idiot turns down gay wedding flower money?), decides that he also hates mixed-race marriages, and won’t cater to people in that situation. Or mixed-religion marriages.

Don’t think any of this applies to you? Don’t think that any of this is realistically likely? Think again, because once the door is open to this kind of discrimination in any form, it’s open to it in all forms. It can and will apply to you and everyone else.

I know some people believe religious freedom should trump all, but please understand: once you decide to do business in the public square, you surrender certain amounts of freedom to do so, including religious freedom. You are not allowed to pick and choose to whom you will sell your flowers, or your wedding cakes, or whatever else. Don’t like it? Tough shit. Close down your business or sell it off. The Bible doesn’t require you to be making money, after all, and wealth was certainly something Jesus seemed to frown on.

So for those who are against this law, just wait. The courts and the far more ancient Law of Unintended Consequences will take it down.

Great News from Big Finish!


Literally just yesterday I was scanning around on Big Finish’s site, noting that they had nothing available for pre-order past late 2016, which was the last date their license had been extended to. I found nothing, but figured I’d hear some sort of announcement in time.

Well, “in time” turned out to be a lot sooner than I had expected, as just today Big Finish announced that their license has been extended to 2020!

This pleases me greatly. They’ve been turning out a consistently high-level product for fifteen years now. Very seldom do a I listen to a story that disappoints me, and the overall quality is much greater than that of the new series, or even of the classic series TV stories. So I’m pleased to hear that we’re going to get several more years of this.

So congrats to Big Finish! Keep up the good work, guys!

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