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Friday, February 16, 2018

America's True Gods

America has new gods. 
America's new true gods. 

We're not a Christian nation.

We're not even a nation of Christians.

Sure, the majority population calls themselves that.

But when has that ever truly meant anything?

People call themselves all kinds of things that their actions contradict.

The importance is what people do, not what people say.

America has new gods.

Multiple gods.

We don't worship the Abrahamic deities in their many names.

We worship greed.

We worship unadulterated self-centeredness.

We worship fear.

These are the new gods of America.

Greed, where corporate overlords bilk us out of our paychecks and our future for short-term quarterly savings and gains.

And we praise them for doing it.

Self-centeredness, where people can unabashedly argue their right to own a deadly weapon they treat like a toy is more important than our children's right to live.

And their voices grow louder.

Most insidious of all, however, is the fear.

Fear, that drives people who follow a holy book that preaches: Hebrews 13:2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” to decry and condemn those fleeing destruction and death.

Fear, that drives people to value their own sense of righteousness over those who just want to love.

Fear, that drives people to identity politics wherein their ideas become their identity and no matter how wrong they are, any evidence against them is an attack on them as a person not an argument, and civil discourse becomes crushed and forgotten.

Fear, that drives people to vote against their own interests and give up their own freedom while stealing it from others with a smile on their faces.

This is America today, and these are our new gods.

These are the gods of a nation that is okay with its children being killed en masse.

These are the gods of a nation that is okay with a system guaranteeing the creation of the less-fortunate, then punishing them for being so.

These gods happen when we are no longer a nation.

Americans do not seem to care about America anymore.

They care about being an American, but not being America.

They do not care about their fellow Americans.

They care about themselves, to hell with anyone else.

“I have mine, whatever the cost.”

We are the trees who have forgotten we are a forest.

That is America today; these are our new gods.

I hope we’re proud of ourselves.

Because I’m not.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

May Leia be with us, Always (Mild SW Episode VIII spoilers)

Thoughts on a legacy

Mild Star Wars Episode VIII spoilers, just a warning.

So, I finally saw Episode VIII, and something profound occurred to me. Something happened with little fanfare and few people pointing it out that speaks of a true hero of our times. The legacy of Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia.
When Carrie Fisher left us all, it left a hole in many of our hearts. With Episode VIII, however, something extraordinary happened. It started with Rogue One, and continued through this film. Leia and Carrie haven't left us afterall, and never will.
When Carrie Fisher left us, I'm sure many (myself included) expected a heroic ending for the character of Leia, a fitting send off to the character to send her off after Carrie into the sunset. Perhaps to be the one to make the heroic self-sacrifice on the cruiser while the rest escaped.
But they didn't. Leia lives on, and with her, Carrie Fisher. Leia and Carrie are so entwined into the hearts of Star Wars fans Leia cannot die, and Carrie cannot be replaced. They couldn't recast Leia with another actress with heavy makeup to 'play Carrie Fisher playing Leia'. They couldn't even recast young Leia with another actress in Rogue One. However far behind the technology is from looking 'totally convincing' Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia are one and the same. It's an immortality of a character I don't think we've ever seen before. It's inspiring, and fills me with a sense of joy and respect I can't remember feeling...

May Leia be with us. Always.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Thoughts on the Nye/Ham Debate

I know it has been a couple days since the debate happened, and I know that it has been gone over and in the long run does not really change the face of the issue, but I have had some serious thoughts concerning what happened. Now I haven't written here in a while and the bulk of this text is actually from a Facebook comment I made, but I was prompted to put it here as well. I know I will appear biased, but these are a lot of points in the debate where I feel Ham was given a lot of leeway by Nye that were never addressed and deserve a response.

Frankly, from the start, Ham made me want to pull my hair out. Not even because I disagree with him. One could write an entire book on what was wrong with his presentation... but mainly the fact that all of his arguments against modern science, or "historical science" as YECists call it, could be easily flipped right on their heads. "You weren't there when it happened, so you don't know or you have to read it from books!" Gee, that sounds familiar, Mr Ham. It was sort of one giant string of pot calling the kettle black. Then came his essentially preaching session. You had to listen close, but Ham gave away his real position at least twice(I admit I'm going to be paraphrasing because I'm not going to go fishing through the entire 2.5 hour debate to find the exact quotes).

First was his claim how "historical science" teaches children to be closed minded and hampers critical thinking. You would think that makes sense, until you actually do critically think about his argument and realize he is advocating only "observational science," i.e. believing only what you can see with your naked eye, and then going into his long preach about all the "questions" that the Bible "answers". Basically, that line of argument boiled down to: "we need to teach children Creationism to keep them more open minded and think critically, now here, now let's throw out all these other lines of thought and only study this single book."

The second, that was the most telling to me, was when he questioned Nye over the "meaning of life" if there was no God and Heaven. Basically Ham admitted there that he just didn't like science because he didn't like the idea of there not being an afterlife which I find an incredibly selfish world view, particularly as Ham put it, essentially saying "Well if nothing happens to me after I die, if it's just nothingness and I won't remember anything I did, what was the point?" Yes, you personally will not remember any of your accomplishments if that world-view is true. But that's only if the only thing that matters to you is how you feel personally about what you've done in life. Nevermind the great impacts you might have on the lives of those who live on after you pass, and those who have yet to walk on this Earth. Sir Alexander Fleming has been dead for almost sixty years now, but his discovery of penicillin revolutionized the entire world of medicine and saved, and continues to save, millions of lives. Were I to have made that discovery, even if I knew for an absolute certainty that after my death I was going to just rot in the ground, my consciousness over, I would still be pretty happy that I made an impact and that I would live on in the memories of others.

A third line of argument that Ham presented which I find amusing was Ham's assertion that "just because a majority believe in [modern science] doesn't make it right, and old ideas need to be replaced with new ones." He's right, problem is, once upon a time, his world view was what the majority (at least in the western world) believed. It was that way for approximately a thousand years until modern science came along. Modern science is new, not Ham's stance. Just because he pretends his view is science does not make it so. It's like putting new rims and a bodykit on a 2000 Honda Civic and pretending you're in a Fast and Furious film and it's a "new car." Yeah, it looks newer on the outside, but look underneath and it's still just a 2000 Honda Civic.

I also think Ham miscalculated and misunderstands modern science greatly. I think he leapt on Nye's statements of "I don't know" when asked questions by the audience such as "what was there before the 'Big Bang?'" and "How did consciousness come from matter?" not getting where modern science's mind is on those matters. The same with his answer of "Nothing" to the question "What would make you change your mind?" versus Nye's "evidence." His side of the argument places such a premium on that "faith" and conviction while modern science clearly does not. So while I'm sure Ham, and many of his followers, thought he had pulled the ultimate punch on Nye with his pithy "Well you know, Bill, there *is* a book out there..." lines and his refusal to accept any evidence to dissuade him from his faith, to an obvious majority, it made him appear completely unreasonable versus Nye and probably did much more harm to him than help.

That said, I did feel Nye could have been a lot tougher on Ham, on those points in particular. But I also have to wonder if perhaps Nye did not answer them because he did not feel the need to. And having said that, I disagree with many's assertions that Nye should not have done the debate. I think we've let stances such as Young Earth Creationism get plenty far without a response of some kind. That's how it's creeping back into the debate of being taught in schools, because of modern science's infernal "holier than thou" attitude. It's time for the modern scientific community to wake up, I must say.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Repurposing of Blog

Salutations all!

Well, after some rather turbulent life changes I shall detail momentarily, this blog is going to be remade from a random writings/commentary blog, to a blog documenting my travels through my new home of Dublin, Ireland, and the surrounding Irish world (as well as Europe when I do my other travels)!

The update: Well, after thinking it all out long and hard this summer, I applied to University College Dublin for a Master of Arts in History. Long story short, I got accepted, and after a whirlwind of freakouts and squabbles and begging (mostly over money) I have finally made it. I am just about to go read (and hopefully sign if it is agreeable) a lease on my first apartment too! Unfortunately I've been a bit too busy since I arrived on Tuesday to do much sight-seeing, and the district I'm currently living in is rather high on inner-city shopping centers and rather low on historical interest anyway. The area I'll be moving to however is in Dublin 6 and is a much quieter area outside the main city, so that will be a bit nicer than the hustle and bustle of living in busy Dublin 1!

So stay tuned everyone and hopefully will soon be filling this page up with facts and pics of my adventures in my new home!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Long Time No See and Major Announcement

Hello all! Sorry for being so absent for so long, just stopping in to say that after a year of working on my practice project of "The Adventures of Harriet Potter," I have polished up my skills enough to where I feel confident working on my own original writing again. I have a project in mind and am hammering out the details. If anyone out there has any publishing advice, words of wisdom, etc, please feel free to give it!

The project will be a series of books in the young-adult genre. I'm definitely not ready to make an announcement yet as to plotlines and such until I am sure of what my rights are... don't want to "give someone else" the same idea and have them jump on it before I can actually carry it out, after all...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Food for Thought

Food for thought on the nature of the modern American voting public:

Obama has to prove how exceptional he'll be as president to win popular support.

Romney only has to prove he wouldn't be terrible.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A return, "The Adventures of Harriet Potter," and a defense of fan-fictions

Well, been a while since I did much of well, anything, here on old Blogger.  I have good reason.  Recently, some friends approached me with a proposition. "How would the Harry Potter series have gone differently had the protagonist been female instead of male?" Being a historian by hobby and most interested in subjects like sociology, this was too tempting a project to take on.  I also started doing more research into it as well, and frankly was rather saddened by what I saw.  The article that struck me the most being "The adventures of Harriet Potter would never have done as well as Harry Potter." This pretty much instantly set off my chauvinism detector and it finally put me completely over the edge to actually sit down and write the reimagined world of Harriet Potter.

So, for most of the past year or so, I have been piecing together just how such things would happen. Fortunately, my friends had already done a great deal of the leg work surrounding characters and even numerous new characters as well. So it is simply my job to create a coherent, enjoyable story out of it all.

I know, it usually goes entirely against my principles as a writer to do these sorts of projects. However, my own brother described it to me in a way that killed off all my scruples. He described to me that what I would be doing would be essentially like being a cover band. You play more or less your own version of other peoples' songs to get noticed for your talents. So essentially... yes, that's what fan-fiction writing is. Unfortunately, not many take it nearly seriously enough for it to be taken very seriously by anyone. Unless you know the right place to look...

And so, I've been primarily working on the site where I have now posted six new chapters of my newest project "The Adventures of Harriet Potter: Year One." Yes, I picked "The Adventures of Harriet Potter" specifically after reading that article. And so I'd like to ask you all to please, take the time to stop by, have a look and enjoy a magical world through brand new eye all over again with "The Adventures of Harriet Potter: Year One - Chapter 1 - The Violinist"