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Links With Your Coffee - Saturday


  • Obama: Full-on geek or just 'nerd-adjacent?'

    Get ready for the geek-in-chief.

    President-elect Barack Obama used to collect comic books, can't part with his BlackBerry, and once flashed Leonard "Mr. Spock" Nimoy the Vulcan "Live Long and Prosper" sign.

    That and other evidence has convinced some of Obama's nerdier fans that he'll be the first American president to show distinct signs of geekiness. And that's got them as excited as a Tribble around a Klingon.

  • McKellen criticises faith schools for religious teaching

    The actor Sir Ian McKellen has said he fears that a growing number of faith schools

    The stage and screen actor has been touring UK schools this month to discuss homosexuality with pupils in the hope that it will reduce homophobia.

    McKellen came out as gay on BBC radio 20 years ago, aged 49.

    Speaking during a visit to Welling school in Kent, he said: "It worries me that there is an increasing number of faith schools in this country where it might be thought appropriate for religious views to invade the classroom.

    "If that's happening, those kids are getting a second-class education."

  • Secularists' vital war on religion

    As long as religion is a danger to the lives and liberties of others, secular liberals will never relent in their protests
  • God Philosophers weigh in
    God has had a lot of bad press recently. The four horsemen of atheism, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, have all published books sharply critical of belief in God: respectively, Breaking the Spell, The End of Faith, andGod Is Not Great

    Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens pile on the greatest amount of scorn, while Dennett takes the role of good cop. But despite differences of tone and detail, they all agree that belief in God is a kind of superstition. As Harris puts it, religion “is the denial—at once full of hope and full of fear—of the vastitude of human ignorance.

    The question of God’s existence is one of those few matters of general interest on which philosophers might pretend to expertise—Dennett is a professional philosopher, and Harris has a B.A. in the subject. Still, of the four, it is Dawkins who wades the furthest into philosophy. So what can philosophy contribute? In particular, have philosophers come to a verdict on the traditional arguments for God’s existence?



I work in IT, and have talked to lots of real geeks about this: "geek" is, of course, an honorific. But what about nerd? One system architect, a Carnegie-Mellon graduate, explained it best for me:

"Brian, nerds are the guys in high school who play with tech, and some of them grow up to be geeks. But sometimes they stay nerds -- weak and ineffectual stereotypes. If you go to Best Buy, you see nerds who think they're geeks. Geeks are nerds with lives -- they're the kids you made fun of in school who now make twice as much money as you do."

Thus, one of the distinguishing marks of the geek is the ability to do the actual money-making things of IT: write code, manage a db, administer a LAN or a roomful of app and web servers (security's also a huge area for them now). Geeks keep working as ancillary IT or project work and workers (like me!) are abandoned in an economy like we have now. Geeks are "lights-on" types who are always needed; nerds are superficial types who are good at mastering appearances.

So far, Obama is, in this respect at least, a nerd.

I think it's comforting to know that this might be the first president we have that will bring a long box of comic books into the White House.

Maybe it'll help legitimize the high art of the graphic novel and get more people to read them.

I think the link above for "God Philosophers" might be broken... until Norm gets to it... see if this works.

Re Michael Newdow, Dawkins and atheists of unbridled science fiction...

These atheists don't believe in freedom of religion, freedom of speech or freedom of anything else. What they really want is for everybody to conform to what they personally believe and to silence everyone who doesn't agree with them.

“The ten commandments and the sermon on the mount contain my religion,” John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1816. -- Encyclopedia Britannica

According to historian Kenneth Galbreath, James Madison said after the First Amendment was drafted that it would “help aid in the spread of Christianity”.

According to Thomas Jefferson, we are “endowed by our Creator” with human rights.

Benjamin Franklin, according to one of his biographers, complained openly and often while the Constitution was being drafted, that those involved were not seeking guidance from God enough in their daily meetings.

Freedom of speech very much means, that an atheist can say they don't believe in God and Obama can acknowledge that he does by including God in any way he wishes for his inaguration. Freedom of speech means that someone who believes in the overwhelming evidence we are created can say so, while someone who does not is free to announce to the world that they believe in convoluted fantasies if they want to.

After all, freedom is freedom. I have never met an atheist who believes in freedom. They invariably believe in the same Texas Cowpie that Junior Bush believes; i.e., those who aren't with us are against us. Talk about your "parnoia runs deep... hey, better stop children, what's that sound? Everybody look what's goin' down"

Oh, oh, I quoted someone else who believes in God; my mistake, will try to do better next time.



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