Numbers, by journalists

I try to conceal my disdain for the average journalist.   They really are educated in nothing in particular.

No value has meaning except in the context of its expected value.

“Today, 15 people died from Swine flu.   Stay tuned to find out what you can do. ”

Really?   How many would we expect?   It’s not a peripheral question.

A Change expressed in units has little value; express it in percentage terms.

“Today, the Dow fell by 82 points.   The S & P 500 fell by 35 points. ”

This is like saying “Joe lost his thingamabob.   Don lost his widgit.”



“All this fairy gold” (attributed to Raymond Chandler)

No doubt I have learned a lot from Hollywood. Please do not think I
completely despise it, because I don’t. The best proof of that may be
that every producer I have worked for I would work for again, and every
one of them, in spite of my tantrums, would be glad to have me. But the
overall picture, as the boys say, is of a degraded community whose
idealism even is largely fake. The pretentiousness, the bogus
enthusiasm, the constant drinking and drabbing, the incessant
squabbling over money, the all-pervasive agent, the strutting of the
big shots (and their usually utter incompetence to achieve anything
they start out to do), the constant fear of losing all this fairy gold
and being the nothing they have really never ceased to be, the snide
tricks, the whole damn mess is out of this world. It is a great subject
for a novel — probably the greatest still untouched. But how to do it
with a level mind, that’s the thing that baffles me. It is like one of
these South American palace revolutions conducted by officers in comic
opera uniforms — only when the thing is over the ragged dead men lie in
rows against the wall, and you suddenly know that this is not funny,
this is a Roman circus, and damn near the end of civilization.

(source unknown)

What discernment ministries and Lenin have in common » Blog Archive » How I’ve Changed: Ten Ways

…many Christians can excuse anything if they believe there is a doctrinal battle to be won in the process.

Michael is right, as usual. Remember that every True Believer in a cause adopts some form of end justifying the means — in practice, even if they are repulsed by ethical relativism in theory. Because their Cause is more important than all else, and they have felt the Call and subsumed all humanity in it, they must MUST win the argument, or their existence has no meaning.

Contrast this with the actual Christian prototype of the True Believer, St. Paul. Passionate and willing to fight, sure, but concerned above all in his letters with winning the hearts of his people, and not just with winning arguments with them. Think Corinthians. He is willing, in his terminology, to seem a fool in order to stay in the relationship with them. It is easy to feel the passion of Paul’s means and not notice what he defined as the successful end, which was to “win them all”.

The Christian blogowarriors aren’t trying to win any relationship with any actual breathing person. They are trying to win the intellectual contest according to that constant mental judge who sits over their shoulder and keeps score — that internal mapmaker, diagram checker, captain of their flag.  That cold, cold father.

Freedom to cuss like an adult

From this post on Josh’s blog, (which I recommend) —

Cruising Down the Coast of the High Barbaree: A Major Argument Against God

I found my way to this blog —

“Stupid Church People”

from which I draw the conclusion that lots of kids who grow up in the church leave the church because they never got to cuss and they need to use the “f” word.  Ok, we get it, you hate church people and you feel so FREE and everything since you decided to say “effin” every 5 seconds and not worry that Dad would smack you.

Gratitude to impersonal forces?


In the presence of largesse, there are often accomplished mental convolutions,  just to avoid thanking anyone.   We seem to have an inherent need to give thanks, not only to other humans, but to something or someone larger.   But after modernity, no God is available.   So…thank impersonal objects?

A common trope of the mind determined no to know divinity, is “wonder and awe at the mystery of the universe”.   This is hard to sustain.  It requires vigilance to suppress the instincts.

Because the typical person, like you and I, will actually thank people. Not the sun, the microbes, or the ancient dead primate precursors.  Caught off guard, not thinking about thanking, but actually thanking, and in the absence of an alert internal editor to tailor the spontaneity to fit his mental worldview, we function as designed.  The “thanker”, unleashed, thanks people.

For the materialist, the urge to give thanks to something greater than your friends or your mom has no known function. It is vestigial, like the appendix, but vestigial of some yet to be identified function.

Another explanation: it is vestigial of the Person who made us.  A personal effect of a personal cause.

Heresy Hobbyists

I promised myself I wouldn’t make yet another web site full of Christian arguments. So maybe I’ll quarantine here, in one article, my occasional frustration with how believers choose to spend their lives. Maybe it can be contained.

For example: the minute you become a Calvinist or Lutheran you begin to spot heresy everywhere, because it is easy to find believers Doing Something, even yourself. This pernicious bug is so common it pops up not only in explicit thought but even in the way phrases are turned. The Christian side of the internet features many long, complicated arguments over whether such and such a person is a works person or not. It’s all quite nuanced. There are Christians who spend their lives at it. There are categories within categories. I’m not sure if I’m a semi-palagian or a semi-semi-pelagian. I can’t figure out why it matters, though, since whatever God wants to happen to me is what will happen.

And even the heresy-hobbyists are not sure either, which is why it takes them tomes upon tomes to explicate exactly what you can think about Doing Something and what you cannot think. You’ll notice most of that blabbering is circular, and an effort to get off the circle. One of the signs that you started from a bad premise is that you find yourself in chronic logical circles. Then again, some people enjoy that; it validates their intellect. And I suppose we should be happy it keeps them busy and off the school board.

I recommend, to wipe out this particular heresy for all time, that all human action be expressed in writing by means of the passive voice. Then, the curators of doctrine will have to find another hobby.

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