Tuesday, May 6, 2014


“…the spirit of philosophy has not yet appeared. For we are relying on divine communication to answer our questions. Not that the gods cannot be wise. But the point of a philosophical spirit is to rely primarily upon ones own thinking. The philosophical spirit is not content to simply accept what it is told, no matter how much prestige the teller appears to have. This is true even if the teller is a god. The philosophical spirit looks within itself, regards the world with wonder but also with curiosity and skepticism. It poses serious questions and makes a serious attempt to find answers. Nor does it settle for the quick and easy answer, unless it is the best answer.”  Brendon Myers The Earth The Gods and The Soul.

An attitude that is the direct opposite of letters that appear in the local paper about once a week. Unfortunately from different authors. Whether it’s evolution or climate change it just can’t be true “because the Bible says so.” In another part of the world it would probably be “because the Koran says so.” I have yet read anything in the paper here that says science wrong because “the Torah says so.”

I’ve noted before that I love one star reviews on Amazon. There’s an extremely verbose and increasingly rancorous exchange for the film Agora. A certain patriarch from Alexandria could possibly have ordered the murder of a certain female philosopher because after all Cyril was very well educated and the church made him a saint and there’s no proof and…When proof from anecdotal evidence of the times is presented it’s dismissed or ignored. The Eastern Orthodox Church never persecuted anybody. I just shelved a book on Byzantine history that would beg to differ. I gave up. It was too depressing.

And even if the patriarch was involved it didn’t have anything to do with religion it was “political.” As if the church and the state weren’t so close during those years that the relationship was damned incestuous. Especially in the Eastern empire. And so on.

Now we’ve got a Supreme Court decision that basically says that as long as nobody is pointing a gun at you and forcing you to pray minorities are being “coerced.” And a justice. Clarence Thomas, who believes that states should have the right to designate an official religion.

Excuse me, I’ll be over in the corner with Sagan, Gould, and Tyson.

Actually Oregon doesn’t present as large a problem. We’re one of the five most unchurched states in the union. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in the south or some parts of rural white bread America.

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