In the End, They Always Eat Their YoungThis is just as funny as Richard Carrier outing himself as a polyamorous-American. (Hinting why atheist conventions are no-fly zones for women.) An organization calling itself Atheist Ireland dissociates themselves from one PZ Meyers because the latter is too intemperate. Meyers for his part attacks Dawkins, Hitchens, and others. There is blood in the water, amigos. Recall Kissinger's remark when Saddam Hussein and the ayatollahs went after each other. But to those of us who remember the 60s the faction-forming, fissioning, and infighting is all very familiar. "Atheism +" for those out of the loop who did not receive the memo, is "atheism plus feminism, environmentalism, [secular] social justice, etc." A fine illustration of the totalizing tendencies in that region of the spectrum. Diversity will not be tolerated. Orthodoxy will be enforced, even in so heterodox a place as "free" thinking.
300 Years of Philosophical Squid InkPhilosopher John Searle (he of Chinese Room fame) slaps early modern philosophy across the chops with a dead fish. He's not quite there yet, but he does see the problem. Way too many people will post comments like "Hume proved that causation is not demonstrable" or "Kant proved that we only experience our sensations, not the outside world" -- or even that they "refuted" the Cosmnological arguments -- without any inquiry as to how they might have done these things. Fortunately, natural scientists gave only lip service to Hume and continued to be closet Aristotelians in most things.
Useful Road Signs
|Caution: Science Ahead|
h/t Dr Boli
The Nanotech ChroniclesIn The Washer at the Ford and then again in one of the Firestar books, TOF featured in passing nanomachines that would disassemble harmful molecules or otherwise render them harmless. Now science is catching up with fiction. "Two years ago, [Professor Thalappil Pradeep and] his team developed ... a combination filter that kills microbes with silver and breaks down chemical toxins with other nanoparticles. It’s portable, works at room temperature, and doesn’t require electricity." This is a tremendous accomplishment in providing potable water in ill-watered regions. It is also why drinking vessels in ancient times were so often made of or lined with silver [or gold]. It was not so much a flaunting of wealth as a health measure!
Wasn't One Enough?
"Under the right conditions, a random group of atoms will self-organize, unbidden, to more effectively use energy. Over time and with just the right amount of, say, sunlight, a cluster of atoms could come remarkably close to what we call life. In fact, here’s a thought: Some things we consider inanimate actually may already be 'alive.'"It's all models and equations right now, but who knows. The problem with any of these inevitable-outcome-of-natural-processes ideas is that by implication life ought to be starting up all the time, here, there, and in milady's chambers. Well, "under the right conditions," whatever they are. Yet it seems to have originated only once in the course of Earth's history. Howcum? Or maybe, as suggested by the dazzling novella "Where the Winds Are All Asleep," it has happened more than once!
VE DayDavid Warren has a tribute to the Canadian troops who liberated Holland. Mark Shea salutes his father for winning the war single-handedly.
Super-Heroes Who Did Not Make the CutDr. Boli provides a list, of which my two favorites are:
- The Plant. Has awesome vegetative power that can crack sidewalks and split rocks. Moves very, very slowly, so evildoers never notice him until it’s too late.
- The Accountant. His preternatural ability to detect financial irregularities has stopped many a supervillain’s evil plan.