November 24, 2006

Certain People

Filed under: General — crcb @ 1:46 pm

There are certain people who, just by the tone of their voice, make my temples throb. By “certain people,” I mean people who are certain. People like Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, atheist Richard Dawkins, and Hank “The Bible Answer Man” Hanegraaff.

On the other hand, certain other people I find invigorating, such as William Blake. It happens I disagree a lot with both Dawkins and Hanegraaff (which doesn’t require the kind of mental gymnastics you might think), and I usually agree with Blake, but that’s not the determining factor. I would put Alexander Pope and Douglas Hofstadter in Blake’s company — to the dismay of all concerned, I’m sure — and I often argue with both. (Yes, out loud — but only when we’re alone.)

What’s distasteful about Lewis, Dawkins, and the Bible Man is their insistence that everyone believe as they do. They won’t stop preaching until I see the world through their eyes, and to do otherwise is a moral failing. Blake, on the other hand, writes “One law for the lion and the ox is oppression,” and “The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind,” both of which soften his certainty quite a bit. Blake is a lamb; D, H & L are goats.

There’s a certain kind of skepticism that’s also repugnant. Not the skepticism of Montaigne or Emily Dickinson, whose doubts say, “The more I think, the more questions I have.” I’m talking about those who shrug at the beginning, and skip the thought; or those who state no opinion, for fear of offending. I can’t come up with any famous examples, perhaps because such people aren’t passionate enough to become well-known. But you’ve met them, and you know who they are: the friend who doesn’t follow politics and protests nothing, the office mate who acts as management’s weather vane, the minister who won’t take a stand on the war. Give me a Hanegraaff over these lukewarm souls any day! At least he gets my blood moving.


November 6, 2006

Hussein Verdict

Filed under: Uncategorized — crcb @ 9:02 pm

Democratic politicians as well as Republicans are cheering the Hussein death verdict. It’s a shame he isn’t being guillotined: they could send his head on a tour around the country before mounting it on a fencepost in Crawford. And it would make a handy prop in any political debate.

So we stoop to the psychopath’s level. He wins. Civilization loses.

Election predictions from Missouri

Filed under: Uncategorized — crcb @ 8:59 pm

In the state:

  • Stem cell research narrowly passes.
  • The tobacco tax increase fails.
  • More votes are cast for McCaskill, but more votes are counted for Talent.


  • Republicans retain control of the Senate.
  • Thanks to gerrymandering, voter suppression and election fraud, Republicans retain control of the House.
  • Accusations of rigged elections flurry around the blogosphere. Mainstream news outlets ignore the story, except to dismiss those who question the vote as conspiracy theorists.
  • Democrats move further to the right. Hillary Clinton declares the ACLU a terrorist organization. Joe Lieberman suggests dropping nukes on Ted Kennedy. John Kerry pins his purple hearts to his nipples.
  • Citizens grow increasingly cynical. By 2012, only those actually running for office bother to vote. And their spouses. Sometimes.
  • In 2024, all political offices are made hereditary. The first Tuesday after November 1st becomes National Zither Day.
  • In 2080, we finally have a female president. But only because we’ve ceded our sovereignty to India.

(This was originally posted to my userspace at

November 4, 2006

Unconnected Thoughts

Filed under: General,Prose — crcb @ 12:41 am

Immense structures of fallacy have been built on ‘facts’ too obvious to question. Just because a truth is self-evident, that doesn’t mean it’s true.


A creationist argument reversed: Suppose you found a lump of granite on the floor of a hospital. You wouldn’t suppose somebody carved it and placed it there deliberately, would you? The asymmetry, the lack of purpose, the arbitrariness of its shape and size, all argue accident. Then why assume design when you find it in the woods?


Nature is beautiful in the same way that Dante’s Inferno is beautiful. You wouldn’t want to actually be in it.


Poetry is never as pure as music. Neither is music.


I’m against the death penalty, but I’ll compromise. I say we only execute people who are worth at least ten million dollars. If you can’t buy an acquittal with that, you’re guilty as hell.


‘A fool and his money–is there anything sexier?’ –Greta von Luskmore


There are two kinds of people in the world: me, and you.

November 2, 2006

Distant Lives

Filed under: General,Litlets,Prose — crcb @ 9:48 pm

Their planet is six trillion miles away, give or take a league. The people, if one can call them that, look like land-walking starfish. They mate thirty times for each birth. They fight over who has truer dreams. They hoard useless trinkets in their caves. They come in slightly different sizes and colors, and delight in killing those of other breeds. The puny give the gross their food, and thank them for taking it. We may never understand them.

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