Monthly Archives: December 2007

Looking Back on 2007…

… is something I won’t be doing here. I just want to thank all of you once again for reading and commenting, and to wish all of you a splendid 2008. Warmest regards to you all!

See No Evil

In a recent post Bill Vallicella, the Maverick Philosopher, examines an argument an atheist might make about the existence or nonexistence of God in light of the “problem of evil”. What he has written is good as far as it goes, but the argument he examines is not, I think, one that atheists generally make.

Peggy Noonan Surveys The Field

The columnist, author and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan has an item today in the Wall Street Journal in which she rates the current crop of Presidential candidates according to her slogan for 2008: “Reasonable Person for President”. She is herself a reasonable person, and while our assessments diverge in spots, I agree with much […]

Service Notice

After a full day at work, and an evening at the kwoon, it appears another day has got away from me. We will be traveling tomorrow, so it appears that, as they say, “blogging will be light” for a little while. Things might not get back to normal until after the New Year, though there […]

Merry Christmas

To all of you. I am very fortunate indeed to have such intelligent, friendly and gracious visitors, and I wish you all a wonderful holiday.


Well, today is the first full day of winter, so it’s time for some spiritually uplifting and seasonally appropriate material. Have a look here.

He Had a Hammer, and a Sickle

Following a link from Bill Vallicella, I’ve just read a review of the movie Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, in which the reviewer, the historian Ronald Radosh — who knew Seeger personally, and admires him as an artist and a man of peace, generally — nonetheless calls attention to the unrepentance of those of […]

The Solid Mental Grace

I’ve mentioned the website on several occasions; it is a fascinating place, an online salon where some of the world’s brightest minds exchange ideas — and occasionally “cross hands”, as we say in the martial-arts racket. In its most recent newsletter, its founder, John Brockman offers us the site’s annual recommended-reading list, and laments […]

Sweetly Singing O’er The Plain

This is a busy time, and although there are some weighty topics to return to, I think they may have to wait until things quiet down a bit. But there’s a bottomless well of entertaining material to pass along, and tonight I offer a tasty morsel. From my old friend, the great recording engineer Larry […]

Post Mortem

One of the pitfalls of airing one’s thoughts in public on a daily basis is that one’s thoughts vary in quality, and some are better left unexpressed. I wrote a post a few days ago about falsifiability and theism that was a pretty poor piece of work, and so I have taken it down. Apologies […]

Thar She Rots

I’ve learned a new word: whalefall. It refers to the effect of reduced buoyancy upon deceased cetaceans, and came up today in an interesting and educational context.

Just Plane Fun

Here’s an entertaining article on pentagonal tilings. (I worked rather late tonight…)

Fighting Gridlock: A Modest Proposal

The city government here in Gotham has been wringing its hands for some time now about how to reduce traffic congestion, which is indeed very bad. The suggestions that have been aired so far have generally taken the form of small-bore monetary disincentives: a fee for driving below 96th street during the week, tolls on […]

Taking Out The Trash

It may not have escaped your notice that the readable content available on the World Wide Web, though generally of very high quality in terms of both educational utility and literary style, contains a sparse admixture of comparatively shoddy material. This is, of course, an unavoidable consequence of the democratic nature of the Internet, and […]

How To Get Rich

After eleven hours in the office (and an hour each way to get there and back), I’m simply too depleted tonight, dear readers, to whip up a new tub of froth. But there’s no need to look so glum, because I still have a little treat for you all. As it happens, my old friend […]

On The Level

I’ve found another fun way to waste your time: a website that ranks the “education level” of your favorite blogs. I should warn you that I have absolutely no idea how the rankings are determined. Perhaps the algorithm is based upon complexity of sentence structure (such as, for example, the use of parenthetical clauses); maybe […]

Historical Site

Have you ever heard of I hadn’t either. But this humble domain has an important distinction: it was the first .com name ever registered. If you’re curious, you can find a list of the first 100 here.

Preaching To The Choir

As one of the wretched unbelievers that Mitt Romney has now clearly identified as foes of God’s favorite country, I’d like, as a further act of sedition, to share with you an excellent speech that Sam Harris gave to a roomful of atheists back in late September. Harris has a supple mind, and he has […]

Hitchens on Romney on Faith

It should come as no surprise that Christopher Hitchens had something to say about Mitt Romney’s speech last night. From his latest piece in Slate, a sample: Romney does not understand the difference between deism and theism, nor does he know the first thing about the founding of the United States. Jefferson’s Declaration may invoke […]

Cross Purposes

Well, we’re all still drying off after our dousing last night from Mitt Romney’s Gatorade barrel of holy water. Like JFK in 1960, Romney saw that his campaign was imperiled by a controversial religious affiliation; in this case, however, the risk was not that he was afraid of being seen as some sort of religious […]

Tiempo Prestado

I was gratified today to learn that the album Borrowed Time, which I recorded and mixed last winter for my old pal, the great jazz guitarist Steve Khan, has just been nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Latin Jazz Album” category. Steve is an outstandingly creative musician, and he certainly deserves this nomination. The […]


Okay, after a sobering preliminary dose of Darwinian nihilism, time for a few yuks. Meet Mrs. Hughes.

Democracy’s Bulldog

With a “hat tip” to the Maverick Philosopher, Bill Vallicella, here is Garry Kasparov’s account of his recent arrest and imprisonment (as noted in these pages last week).

Grasping the Nettle

In Daniel Dennett’s most important book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, he makes with brilliant clarity the case that Darwin’s great insight — arguably, I think, the greatest ever had by anyone, so far at least — is, as Dennett calls it, a “universal acid”, eating at the foundations of many of Man’s smugly cherished notions about […]

Home Of The Hits

There’s much more that I want to say about the important questions raised in the previous post, but for tonight I just want to let you know about a website I’ve just run across. It’s called Philosophy Talk, and it’s associated with a radio show by the same name. The show is hosted each week […]

Ali Oops

Readers will probably be familiar with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Muslim apostate and political writer. You may have heard of her in connection with the film Submission, about the opression of women under Islam — for which she wrote the screenplay, and for which its director Theo van Gogh was murdered in an Amsterdam […]

Due Respect

Zoologist and evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins has become a household name lately — not because of his decades of creative academic work, and his outstandingly informative and accessible books on biology and the Darwinian paradigm, but because of his in-your-face denial of God — which has probably, on balance, earned him more enemies than supporters […]