Creative Destruction

February 8, 2007

Edwards: Marcotte, McEwan To Stay

Filed under: Election 2008 — Robert @ 1:18 pm

John Edwards has announced that while he finds some of the writings of his new campaign bloggers offensive, he’s going to keep them on.

46 Comments »

  1. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070213/ap_on_el_pr/edwards2008;_ylt=Ak5i9HNPwpfwMMCGwIkbwQsDW7oF

    Breaking news…..I’m sure you’re going to be jumping for joy Robert.

    Comment by Rachel S. — February 13, 2007 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  2. I don’t have strong feelings about it either way.

    Comment by Robert — February 13, 2007 @ 2:09 am | Reply

  3. Shakes/McEwan is definitely the reasonable one out of the two, and I’m glad she’s staying.

    Then again, when placed next to Amanda Marcotte, even Josef Stalin would seem reasonable by comparison, so that might not seem too positive of a comment.

    Comment by Off Colfax — February 13, 2007 @ 3:00 am | Reply

  4. I wonder if Marcotte’s resignation had anything to do with the spot that appeared on Fox News last night.

    Comment by toysoldier — February 13, 2007 @ 10:57 am | Reply

  5. What was the spot about?

    Comment by Daran — February 13, 2007 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  6. Off Colfax,
    Is it her tone or her politics that you find so objectionable?

    Many of her politics are pretty mainstream.

    Comment by Rachel — February 13, 2007 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  7. Off Colfax, that’s not quite a Godwin, but it’s so close that you might as well take the award. Speaking in a mildly disrespectful way toward Christian doctrine is the equivalent of murdering several million people? Ok. If you insist.

    Personally, I think Edwards has made a mistake. Unlike probably anyone else here, I’m a democratic voter and contribute to political candidates regularly. Edwards has totally trashed my opinion of him by not standing up to Donohue and other right wing nuts harassing his employees. And I’m not alone. Pandagon has a far larger readership than, for example, this blog and Amanda’s resignation announcement led to a number of comments from people saying things like “so much for that candidate”.

    If I were running for public office and someone tried insulting me by saying I was a crazed misanthropic atheist feminist (or some such) I’d thank them for the compliment and brag about it. Of course, this may be why I’ve never been elected to and never will be elected to any public position.

    Comment by Dianne — February 13, 2007 @ 2:32 pm | Reply

  8. Many of her politics are pretty mainstream.

    In New York City, perhaps.

    In the rest of America, not so much.

    Comment by Robert — February 13, 2007 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

  9. Pandagon has a far larger readership than, for example, this blog and Amanda’s resignation announcement led to a number of comments from people saying things like “so much for that candidate”.

    Fox News has a far larger audience than the most popular left-wing blogs combined. Once Bill O’Reilly did his spot about Edwards last night concerning this issue and how it affects Edwards’ chances of being elected (to address Daran’s question), literally thousands of people who never read blogs got a chance to hear the vitriol Marcotte throws around on her blog. Even as someone who has not particular political affiliation, I was turned off by Edwards choice to hire someone like her. His choice made about as much sense as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children hiring Michael Jackson to manage their PR. It was a stupid decision and it may have actually cost him his chance at the White House.

    Comment by toysoldier — February 13, 2007 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  10. TS: How many Fox viewers were going to vote for Edwards anyway?

    Comment by Dianne — February 13, 2007 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  11. About 21% of them are self-declared Democrats. Another 22% are independent, and another 22% decline to say. (35% are Republicans.)

    Assuming that basically none of the Republicans would vote for Edwards, that means his potential voter base at Fox News is about 65% of the viewership.

    Liberals and leftists can spin this as much as they want; the fact is that people who talk smack about the Virgin Mary are going to alienate big chunks of just about every demographic there is, except for that valued “hardcore atheist Christianity-hater” segment. The Muslims revere her, for Christ’s sake (so to speak). I suppose most Jews wouldn’t care much on the merits, but most Jews are pretty sensitive to people dumping on any religion. They kind of have a history there. Even the mushier folks are going to wince at being associated with such viewpoints.

    Or so it seems to me, anyway.

    Comment by Robert — February 13, 2007 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  12. Eh, I disagree that many Jews would care about this. It’s actually fairly common for many Jews to make potentially offensive comments about Christianity/Jesus amongst themselves. I also think that Jews recognize the difference between criticizing a specific religious doctrine and making ethnic stereotypes. It’s possible to criticize certain aspects of Catholocism without being bigoted against Catholics. And there’s no reason why the Virgin Mary story should be somehow beyond all criticism or reproach. Are scholars and feminists who also discuss the Virgin Mary’s (negative) impact on notions of female sexuality also being “anti-Christian”? It’s ridiculous.

    Comment by Sarah — February 13, 2007 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  13. talk smack about the Virgin Mary

    When did she do that? Talk smack about the Holy Ghost I’ll give you, but I never read anything by her that didn’t hold the VM in much higher esteem than most Christians: Marcotte suggested that she might be a human being with an ability to think and act for herself, instead of just an incubator, which, as far as I can tell, is the Christian view of her.

    Comment by Dianne — February 13, 2007 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  14. Robert what views are so far out of the mainstream?

    I think one could easily argue that her tone turns many moderates and religious people off, but I think if she made the same points with a different tone she would be more acceptable.

    And if Amanda is out of the mainstream,my politics must be out there on another planet?

    Incidently, Robert that little NYC jab won’t work dude; I grew up in Ohio, and you can’t get anymore middle of the road that. I know how people in middle America think. I just need to spend a few minutes talking to my Mom, Dad, and Brother; they all pro-choice and none of them like Christian fundamentalists, and I think they would get a kick out of Amanda’s views on religion and abortion. Now if she starts talking about banning guns they’re gonna be ticked.

    Comment by Rachel S. — February 13, 2007 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

  15. Sarah, discussing and critiquing the Virgin Mary vis a vis human sexuality is perfectly appropriate. Do the scholars and feminists who do so ordinarily go out of their way to make their discussion as offensive and degrading to believers as they possibly can? It may be common for Jews to make offensive comments about Christians among themselves, yes. Do they stand on street corners yelling about aborting Christ?

    Dianne, talking about the VM aborting Christ and being filled with God’s jizz is, pretty much, the definition of talking smack about her. If you can honestly characterize the Christian view of Mary as “just an incubator”, then your ignorance of the faith tradition is pretty much staggering. It’s certainly far outside my paltry ability to educate.

    Rachel, Amanda’s politics are pretty standard-issue, “Hardcore Leftie” edition. And yes, your politics are out there on another planet.

    Comment by Robert — February 14, 2007 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  16. It’s certainly far outside my paltry ability to educate.

    Well, don’t worry about it, you’re a member of the laity, not a priest, muchless a church scholar or mystic and it’s not your job to educate and/or convert the heathen.

    However, ignorant unbeliever that I am, I see an obvious way out of the problem of Jesus’ conception, a way to avoid it being rape. The first line of defense is that Mary gave explicit consent. In one of the Gospels (Luke?), when the angel comes to tell her of the impending pregnancy, she says (paraphrasing because I’m too shiftless to look up the quote), “I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Let it be with me as is His will.” So she agrees to the pregnancy.

    This isn’t really a good defense, though, because Mary and God have, shall we say, an unequal relationship. If it is immoral to proposition your employees or students or to ask them to be a surrogate mother for you because you have power over them, how much moreso would it be immoral for a being that could literally send you to Hell to ask you for sexual or reproductive favors. Who would feel safe saying no?

    We then come to the second line of defense: That the conception was not rape was a miracle. The omniscient God, unlike a human king, employer, professor, etc, knew Mary’s true will and knew that she would welcome the pregnancy and welcome Jesus as her son. And Mary, trusting in the benevolence of her God knew that if she found that she couldn’t do it, that the pregnancy was too hard or her life too altered by it, she need only pray for it to end and it would and the savior would find another mother and be born in a different time and place. So she didn’t need plan B, RU-486, or anything else to enforce her reproductive choice. She chose to continue the pregnancy and her will in chosing to continue it was important because God would not impose His desires or even needs on an unwilling follower.

    I don’t know if this is a proper Catholic or even a proper Christian interpretation, but it is mine. Now, I will drop the issue unless you want to pursue it, since I get the impression that it is making you uncomfortable.

    Comment by Dianne — February 14, 2007 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

  17. Rachel: You grew up in Ohio, I grew up in Texas, Amanda Marcotte lives in Texas, PZ Myers (another supporter) is from Minnesota. Donohue, on the other hand, lives in Manhattan. So what’s this about the NYC and middle American politics?

    Banning guns, now. I’m all for it–in cities. Cities aren’t appropriate places for guns: too many people. Too dangerous, not enough need. On the other hand, if you live out in the country that’s potentially a different story. My relatives (who live in west Texas) keep guns and periodically use them on rattlesnakes. And while crime is relatively uncommon out there in the nearly literal middle of nowhere, it’s not like you can just call 911 and have the cops there in 5 minutes so there’s an argument to be made for guns as protection from human-type threats too. Think your relatives would consider that position reasonable or would they scream “Ahhh, GUN CONTROL,” and run away.

    Comment by Dianne — February 14, 2007 @ 1:39 pm | Reply

  18. Dianne, I’m with you on that point in the first paragraph. Even though there are regions where people are more conservative or more liberal, there’s variation everywhere.

    Knowing their politics well, I do think my relatives really are Ohio swing voters. I tend to agree that the gun issue is related to rural urban politics, but my father and brother are definitely of the slippery slope viewpoint, so I suspect they would generally oppose gun control anywhere. My mother I’m not so sure. I know she cares less about this issue; her area is education, and anyone who wants to get rid of no child left behind is her friend.

    Personally, I’m against gun control. I tend to see it as a civil liberties kind of issue, and I don’t think it cuts down on crime, but that’s for another thread.

    Comment by Rachel — February 14, 2007 @ 5:46 pm | Reply

  19. Dianne:

    Speaking in a mildly disrespectful way toward Christian doctrine is the equivalent of murdering several million people?

    Common fallacy of reasoning. Did I say anything about their respective activities and/or viewpoints? No.

    Instead, I state that they exhibit similar traits in their inability to a) accept criticism (Amanda snipes with words rather than bullets and state police.) and b) process datum points that conflict with the established worldview. And even Iron Joe came around on some things in the end.

    Comment by Off Colfax — February 14, 2007 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

  20. We then come to the second line of defense: That the conception was not rape was a miracle. The omniscient God, unlike a human king, employer, professor, etc,…

    OK so far.

    knew Mary’s true will and knew that she would welcome the pregnancy and welcome Jesus as her son. And Mary, trusting in the benevolence of her God knew that if she found that she couldn’t do it, that the pregnancy was too hard or her life too altered by it, she need only pray for it to end and it would and the savior would find another mother and be born in a different time and place.

    I’ve never heard that argument from Christians, and it seem inconsistent anyway with Catholic doctrine that Mary was immaculately conceived, i.e., that God had intervened at the moment of her conception (and only hers, there was no backup plan) to make her a fit vessel for Christ.

    The way I would expect a Christian to continue the point from the first part of your paragraph would be to say that the proper attitude of (wo)man toward God is utter submission, and that consent is only relevant to human-human interaction.

    For example, you have the OT story of Job, which stands, not for the proposition that you only need pray to be relieved of unbearable burdens, but for the proposition that God is God, and you’ve no business questioning his judgement no matter how unjust or unendurable it seems.

    So she didn’t need plan B, RU-486, or anything else to enforce her reproductive choice. She chose to continue the pregnancy and her will in chosing to continue it was important because God would not impose His desires or even needs on an unwilling follower.

    Yes he would. See the story of Johah, for example.

    I think the feminist focus on Mary’s consent, (or lack of it), while ignoring issues of consent in God’s other interactions with Biblical characters, says more about feminism than it does about the Bible. The privilege afforded to a person’s bodily/reproductive/sexual autonomy is a particularly modern western concern. People who have no autonomy over any other aspect of their lives – where they live, what they do, who they work for, who they fight for, who they fight against, whether they even live or die – would probably find our particular horror that they don’t get to choose who they fuck or who they bear children for, to be a rather strange obsession.

    Comment by Daran — February 14, 2007 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  21. Daran: You’ve got a point. The stories of Job, Jonah, etc. are strong evidence against the idea of a just, loving God. So it was rape and forced childbirth. And while that may seem a mild punishment for being a good follower of Jaweh compared to, say, losing your family, friends, and livelihood and being covered with boils, it does bring us back to the fact that Mary was simply being used as a random vessel and that her only distinction was that she was the one whose conception God happened to intervene in. (What, incidently, is God supposed to have done to make it non-sinful? Or is this a holy mystery and secret that man (and woman) is not meant to know?)

    Comment by Dianne — February 15, 2007 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  22. What, incidently, is God supposed to have done to make it non-sinful?

    Dunno, but I expect it involved more of that holy jism.

    Comment by Daran — February 15, 2007 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  23. I’m confused, kids. Are the stories of Job, Jonah, etc. true?

    That is to say, if you believe there is no God, etc., then these reports of his behavior are clearly nonsensical. The stories may say something about the lunatic Hebrews who believe(d) them, but they can say nothing about God, who doesn’t exist.

    If you do believe there is a God, then you can start to analyze what the text says about him (and about us). But you both claim not to believe, or so I understand.

    Perhaps one of you can clarify this for me.

    Comment by Robert — February 15, 2007 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  24. With all due respect, from my point of view (yes, I am an atheist*), I’m playing character analysis. I’ve also, at various times, tried to make sense of Gandolf, Cthulu, and Voldemort’s behavior and I don’t believe in any of them either. So I’m taking it from the point of view of a believer wishing to understand her God’s behavior. The fact that I believe that said God is fictional is not important for the discussion.

    *Though I acknowledge that, ultimately, my belief is based on faith too: the article of faith being that the data from my senses is meaningful. I could be totally wrong. If all life really is an illusion or the data strongly suggesting that people are just another organic system doomed to destruction like any other is all planted by a god trying to test faith or a demon trying to mess with our minds, well, then my belief system comes tumbling down and I’d have to get a new one. But I don’t expect that outcome.

    Comment by Dianne — February 15, 2007 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  25. I’m playing character analysis…The fact that I believe that said God is fictional is not important for the discussion.

    Well, but I think it rather is.

    When you analyze Harry Potter or Gandalf, and assess their behavior, you’re using an explicitly fictional reference source to discuss an explicitly fictional character who exists solely or primarily within that world. Your analysis and your data are compatible. You can say “why would Gandalf do [x], when before he did [y]”, or what have you, and not fall into any cognitive errors.

    Cognitive errors seem inevitable, however, when you analyze a putatively real entity whom you don’t actually believe in, using the text and data provided by people who do believe in the entity and who believe they are writing history. The text carries with it a number of assumptions and a coherent worldview, which you don’t share. You can ascribe whatever meaning you like, under such circumstances; you can “demonstrate” that God is a woman, or a man, or good, or evil, or vengeful, or merciful, or whatever. There’s no check on your reason, because you aren’t required by your overarching worldview to reconcile your conclusions with the data. You’re crossing worlds – using the analytics and logic of a worldview that rejects the deity as tools to dissect a text about the deity. It’s not analysis; it’s opinion derived from an amusing intellectual game of symbol manipulation.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but I wouldn’t expect anyone who does share the worldview to take your opinion seriously.

    I am reminded of an argument I had once with an agnostic acquaintaince who was beginning to shade into atheism. His main reason for having trouble with belief was that God’s actions didn’t make logical sense to him. My view, which he saw the point of, was that an ant doesn’t see the logical sense of a human’s actions, either. That doesn’t mean humans don’t exist; it means ants lack the capacity to comprehend.

    Comment by Robert — February 15, 2007 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  26. …a god trying to test faith or a demon trying to mess with our minds…

    And the difference is?

    Comment by Daran — February 15, 2007 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

  27. Motive.

    Comment by Robert — February 15, 2007 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

  28. …a god trying to test faith or a demon trying to mess with our minds…

    And the difference is?

    Motive.

    Perhaps. At II Samuel 24, and again at I Chronicles 21, the Bible tells the story of King David going to count his troops (apparently signaling insufficient faith in divine protection), and the divine retribution the people of Israel suffered as a result. But the two accounts differ – especially as to motive. I Chronicles 21:1 says that Satan incited David to count the troops, whereas II Samuel 24:1 says that the Lord incited David to do so.

    So the difference between being manipulated by god or by a demon is unclear, even to the authors of the Bible.

    Comment by nobody.really — February 15, 2007 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

  29. …a god trying to test faith or a demon trying to mess with our minds…

    And the difference is?

    Motive.

    Perhaps. At II Samuel 24, and again at I Chronicles 21, the Bible tells the story of King David going to count his troops (apparently signaling insufficient faith in divine protection), and the retribution the people of Israel suffered as a result. But the two accounts differ – especially as to motive. I Chronicles 21:1 says that Satan incited David to count the troops, whereas II Samuel 24:1 says that the Lord incited David to do so.

    So the difference between being manipulated by god or by a demon is unclear, even to the authors of the Bible.

    Comment by nobody.really — February 15, 2007 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

  30. Early the next morning Abraham arose and spoke to his servants, saying “Stay hear while I and my son do as the LORD commands. For He hath instructed that this very day we should install the Vista Operating System.”

    Then spake Isaac and said to his father Abraham, “Dad? That’s crazy. Our computer doesn’t have enough memory.”

    Abraham answered, saying, “God himself will provide the RAM.”

    Comment by nobody.really — February 15, 2007 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  31. The privilege afforded to a person’s bodily/reproductive/sexual autonomy is a particularly modern western concern. People who have no autonomy over any other aspect of their lives – where they live, what they do, who they work for, who they fight for, who they fight against, whether they even live or die – would probably find our particular horror that they don’t get to choose who they fuck or who they bear children for, to be a rather strange obsession.

    Before corroborating DNA testing had occurred, I seem to recall that George Will was vociferously opposed to speculation that Jefferson had had sex with his slaves. The undisputed fact that Jefferson owned slaves – could use them, buy them, sell them, beat them, break up their families, chop off their limbs, and general control all aspects of their lives and deaths – didn’t phase Will in the least. But the suggestion that Jefferson had sex with his slaves sent Wills through the roof. I never understood this reaction.

    Comment by nobody.really — February 15, 2007 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  32. Me:

    And the difference is?

    Robert:

    Motive.

    So how is the ant supposed to distinguish between them?

    Comment by Daran — February 15, 2007 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  33. See which one is trying to squish him and laughing about it.

    Comment by Robert — February 15, 2007 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

  34. Daran

    If all life really is an illusion or the data strongly suggesting that people are just another organic system doomed to destruction like any other is all planted by a god trying to test faith or a demon trying to mess with our minds, well, then my belief system comes tumbling down and I’d have to get a new one.

    Have to get a new belief system?

    Perhaps there’s a circle of hell reserved for reconceptualization, with flip-charts, blotters and flasks of tea and coffee for the afternoon break.

    Then, when you’re really up to speed, they cover you in flaming pitch and you burn like a Roman candle for a billion billion years.

    While Robert frolics in the Elysian fields.

    Comment by Tom Nolan — February 15, 2007 @ 11:09 pm | Reply

  35. The Elysian fields are reserved for good-hearted pagans, alas. Maybe I can get a day pass.

    Comment by Robert — February 15, 2007 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  36. Not my words, Tom.

    Comment by Daran — February 16, 2007 @ 3:11 am | Reply

  37. See which one is trying to squish him and laughing about it.

    Won’t work. When the shoe’s blotting out the sky, the ant can’t see what face is attached to the shoe, nor what expression is on that face.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 16, 2007 @ 7:38 am | Reply

  38. Banning guns, now. I’m all for it–in cities. Cities aren’t appropriate places for guns: too many people. Too dangerous, not enough need.

    I’m against it. Owning a gun is, in and of itself, a victimless crime. I’m leery of arresting anyone for a victimless crime, although that’s not an absolute rule with me.

    Another problem: Victimless crimes often become tools for racism. Almost inevitably, minorities are disproportionately harassed, arrested and jailed for victimless crimes. It seems likely that the same thing would happen if a gun-ban was on the books and enforced.

    Comment by Ampersand — February 16, 2007 @ 7:42 am | Reply

  39. Cognitive errors seem inevitable, however, when you analyze a putatively real entity whom you don’t actually believe in, using the text and data provided by people who do believe in the entity and who believe they are writing history. The text carries with it a number of assumptions and a coherent worldview, which you don’t share. You can ascribe whatever meaning you like, under such circumstances; you can “demonstrate” that God is a woman, or a man, or good, or evil, or vengeful, or merciful, or whatever. There’s no check on your reason, because you aren’t required by your overarching worldview to reconcile your conclusions with the data.

    I don’t agree. The “data” is the text, and her worldview requires her to reconcile her conclusions with the text. That’s just as true when reading the Bible as it is when reading Harry Potter – or, for that matter, as it is while reading a nonfiction book (and some nonfiction books have narratives and characters). Insofar as her analysis of the characters of the Bible can’t be reconciled with the text, her analysis doesn’t hold water. (On the other hand, it can be a reasonable analysis to argue that the text is inconsistent.) (Certainly, it’s difficult to read Harry Potter without noticing some inconsistencies.)

    Christians frequently claim that the Bible is a text that can be read, can be learned from, and makes coherent sense. I don’t think that these claims are computable with a claim that no one who doesn’t already believe can read the Bible. (I’ve heard multiple conversion stories that had to do with being in an isolated motel/prison cell/waiting room with nothing but a Bible for company, reading the Bible, and finding that it tells the truth and therefore becoming a Christian.)

    I am reminded of an argument I had once with an agnostic acquaintaince who was beginning to shade into atheism. His main reason for having trouble with belief was that God’s actions didn’t make logical sense to him. My view, which he saw the point of, was that an ant doesn’t see the logical sense of a human’s actions, either. That doesn’t mean humans don’t exist; it means ants lack the capacity to comprehend.

    This is, of course, the same argument God makes in his own self-defense to Job. You weren’t around when I created the universe, and I’m sooooo much bigger than you; so who are you to say it was wrong of me to have your wife and kids killed? The book of Job is beautiful as poetry, but I’m not convinced that God’s argument can be in practice differentiated from “might makes right.”

    Comment by Ampersand — February 16, 2007 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  40. (Certainly, it’s difficult to read Harry Potter without noticing some inconsistencies.)

    Blasphemer. That’s only because you skeptics don’t read the text through the eyes of faith.

    Go on; enjoy your little heresy. But the next time you become the official blogger for some politician’s campaign, don’t think that these words won’t come back to haunt you. For when your last book finally reaches its end, we true believers know who will wield the Sword of Gryffindor and wear the Sorting Hat….

    Comment by nobody.really — February 16, 2007 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  41. I don’t think that these claims are computable with a claim that no one who doesn’t already believe can read the Bible.

    I agree. Fortunately, that’s not my claim.

    My claim is that someone who does not believe in God cannot use isolated Bible texts to perform an intellectually meaningful analysis about the nature of the God in whom they don’t believe. Deciding to believe – taking a leap of faith – is a different, and generally non-intellectual, matter.

    (Making analytical claims about what believers believe, on the other hand, can be entirely reasonable, if done in good faith.)

    I’m not convinced that God’s argument can be in practice differentiated from “might makes right.”

    Well, if “might” encompasses omnipotence and omniscience. I think it’s possible to make a legitimate argument for the extreme case that doesn’t hold up for intermediate cases.

    Comment by Robert — February 16, 2007 @ 11:29 am | Reply

  42. Abraham answered, saying, “God himself will provide the RAM.”

    GROAN!

    Comment by Dianne — February 16, 2007 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

  43. Yes. I have spent the last 24 hours trying to track down nobody.really’s physical address, so that we can go and beat him.

    A lot.

    Comment by Robert — February 16, 2007 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

  44. Then, when you’re really up to speed, they cover you in flaming pitch and you burn like a Roman candle for a billion billion years.

    So it’d be best to take a very long time sorting it out, then, wouldn’t it? Hanging out in a room full of flip charts with coffee breaks doesn’t sound so bad to me, though I’ve never really liked coffee. I wonder if chocolate might be provided as an alternative. In any case, perhaps one could still be reviewing the doctrine when the Yaweh regime is overthrown and it all becomes irrelevent. (Of course, if it turns out that the universe as we know it is all an illusion put there by a God, demon, or mad computer scientist, how do we know that the “reality” we find when we leave the illusion is anything more than the next layer of illusion? Maybe the burning pitch turns out to release you from the Christian hell illusion into the next level of reality, whatever it turns out to be. Or maybe burning produces an orgasm like the light of a thousand suns instead of pain in the new reality. What basis is there to say, if all we know is unreal?)

    Comment by Dianne — February 16, 2007 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  45. Dianne

    Hanging out in a room full of flip charts with coffee breaks doesn’t sound so bad to me

    I used to work for THF and they organized regular retraining sessions at which we employees were expected to imbibe the company’s ethos. I promise you, after one afternoon of drawing choo-choo trains on your blotter and trying unsuccessfully to ignore the exhortations of some enthusiastic corporate drone while your Maxwell House grows cold and the light leaves the sky, you’ll want to get on to the fireworks straight away.

    And YOU seem to be in a very Cartesian mood today. Did you get out of bed on the wrong side?

    Comment by Tom Nolan — February 16, 2007 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  46. I’m not convinced that God’s argument can be in practice differentiated from “might makes right.”

    Well, if “might” encompasses omnipotence and omniscience. I think it’s possible to make a legitimate argument for the extreme case that doesn’t hold up for intermediate cases.

    I’ve understood that, traditionally, god was omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. That is, god could be counted on to exercise his omnipotent power and omniscient knowledge to promote compassionate ends, even if we cannot comprehend the larger plan. In contrast, arguing that god is “right” simply because he’s all-powerful and all-knowing indeed boils down to little more than Might makes Right.

    Comment by nobody.really — February 16, 2007 @ 3:36 pm | Reply


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