Search found 137 matches

by caliban
Wed May 02, 2007 10:29 am
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

The Hitchens piece is certainly germane to this thread. If your definition of god and religion becomes wide enough, it goes past the point where it can mean the same thing as the traditional definition. Armstrong's view is a contemporary version of syncretic Spinozism. To some extent, Armstrong and ...
by caliban
Wed May 02, 2007 7:54 am
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

Related to our discussions here, Christopher Hitchens just brought out a book on these issues. Hitchens, as a professional provocateur, is a more entertaining critic than the lumbering self-righteousness of Dawkins. But Hitchens indulges in essentially the same sloppy sophistry as Dawkins, namely t...
by caliban
Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:50 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

His biggest sin, so to speak, is that he fails to act like a biologist, but more like a mathematical physicist. His arguments against religion tend towards the axiomatic. He does not appear to have done much fieldwork. If he had tackled the problem like a good field biologist--imagine a Jane Goodal...
by caliban
Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:20 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

However, I want to quote a paragraph from Susan Sontag's essay "Fascinating Fascism", which may cast a slightly different light on Dawkins' excessive embrace of reason: "Fascism also stands for an ideal or rather ideals that are persistent today under other banners: the ideal of life...
by caliban
Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:17 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

So it goes

After the news of Kurt Vonnegut's passing, I revisited "Breakfast of Champions." One of the conceits of the novel is that humans have no immunity against bad ideas. I would modify this: each person is immune to some bad ideas, but not all, and that different people have different immunitie...
by caliban
Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:10 am
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

To my mind, a religion is the dogmatism of a set of ideas that were intended for another purpose. This doesn't diminish the goodness of the ideas, but it cannot elevate them. Key to this process is the unrepeatability of the foundational experiences. Going back, I like and agree with SC's analysis....
by caliban
Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:04 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

I wasn't offended. All that offends me are mean-spiritedness and sloppy thinking. I myself was raised in a fairly healthy religious environment, where I was allowed to question, where women were treated as equals, and where charity mattered. After hearing many people's stories and reading history I ...
by caliban
Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:48 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

I might as well mention (in case it's not already obvious) that I am not fond of any organized religion, whether it calls itself a church or a cult. I tend to side with the underdog by reflex, but only to a first approximation. The intrinsics determine my final view. It's funny. I tend to be suspic...
by caliban
Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:30 pm
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Space and Spirit
Replies: 38
Views: 135204

In this connection, the gnostic gospels discovered in Egypt are a welcome addition to a petrified tradition, no matter how much those in charge want to ignore them. You should realize you can't trust the media distortions surrounding the "discovery" of gnostic texts. None of it is terribl...
by caliban
Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:26 am
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 47967

Re: My book idea

This sounds tremendous! The moment you're tenured, drop departmental paperwork and write this book. You're being too kind. Really. It's making me nervous, :wink: Alas, it's not very serious. I wrote up that outline as a sort of love chlid between your Biology of Star Trek (I loved the chapter headi...
by caliban
Fri Apr 13, 2007 6:15 am
Forum: The Poetry and Prose of Science and Science Fiction
Topic: Really Old Stars Perhaps Ideal for Advanced Civilizations
Replies: 7
Views: 37383

M-stars? Hard to say

M stars, or red dwarfs, are by far the most common stars in any galaxy. I forget the exact figures, but they are about 10 times more common than G class stars such as our Sun. On the other hand, they are also about 10 times dimmer, which means the "habilitability zone" for earth-like life ...
by caliban
Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:50 am
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 47967

My book idea

Actually, I have dozens of book ideas, but here is one that I have that would be similar to View from the Center, only a much more personal and poetic touch. All I've written is the outline. Which has gaps. Enjoy. My Life Among the Quarks: A Memoir of the Subatomic World Prologue: The Assassin Neutr...
by caliban
Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:44 am
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 47967

Introduction

It's late, my algorithm is coughing up blood, but I am not sleepy, so I read the introduction from the web page. I'm neutral. Primack, by the way, is a well-known cosmologist, especially as relates to dark matter, so he is competent. Whether this book is well written (as Brian Green's books are, sup...
by caliban
Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:22 am
Forum: Literature and Cinema
Topic: Book Review: The View from the Center of the Universe
Replies: 13
Views: 47967

The authors aren't critical of Galileo and Newton (though they are highly critical of reactionary forces in every age, including the current one), but rightly point out that the modern lay world view is more based on their perspective than that of Bohr and Einstein. I agree with them that grokking ...

Go to advanced search