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[links] Link salad dreams of the Corny Collins Show - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-09-27 05:20
Subject: [links] Link salad dreams of the Corny Collins Show
Security: Public
Tags:funny, links, personal, process, publishing, religion, science, tech, videos
Ten Commandments for Working with Your Agent — Hahaha. (Via a mailing list I'm on.)

Search strings Google doesn't like — (Via Making Light.)

Measuring Atomic Memory with Nano PrecisionResearchers at IBM now know how long a single atom can "remember" its state.

Fallen — A short film about the atheist's perspective on life. Though I still like the argument that not believing in God is like not collecting stamps; it shouldn't require a special label. (Via markbourne.)

?otD: Hairspray or gel?




9/27/2010
Writing time yesterday: n/a (post-op haze)
Body movement: Moderate suburban walking (post-op haze)
Hours slept: 7.5 (interrupted)
This morning's weigh-in: 236.2
Yesterday's chemo/post-op stress index: 5/10 (post-op pain, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy)
Currently (re)reading: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

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jimvanpelt
User: jimvanpelt
Date: 2010-09-27 12:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My school district's security software wouldn't let me see the Google blacklist article. lol
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Jay Lake: signs-savage_plants
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-09-27 12:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:signs-savage_plants
Hah!
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Kevin Roche
User: kproche
Date: 2010-09-27 13:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Those are my neighbors (their STM lab is next to one of my thin film labs, and their offices are just a couple doors down) at IBM Research Almaden!
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-09-27 13:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was wondering, actually...
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2010-09-27 14:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay,

In our society, collecting stamps is a deviation from the norm, so not collecting stamps doesn't require a special label.

But imagine if 78.4% of the U.S. population collected U.S. stamps, another 4.7% collected foreign stamps, 12.1% collected stamps but didn't care where they were from, 2.4% might have some stamps around but weren't sure whether they were going to bother to form them into a collection, 0.8% refused to answer the question, and 1.6% said they definitely did not collect stamps.

In such a society, not collecting stamps would be a deviation from the norm, so it would be natural to create a label for people who don't collect stamps -- especially since the more vocal members of the group tend to go around saying that collecting stamps is ridiculous, so it's not like the group does not stand out.

(Percentages taken from http://religions.pewforum.org/reports.)
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-09-27 16:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, agreed. I have two responses, actually, a relatively facile one and a slightly more complex one.

Facile: As above, agreed. Speaking in a broad, cultural sense, the United States is a Christian nation. One would be fairly foolish to deny that -- some militant secularists do, as do some Christianists intent on fighting what they want to cast as persecution -- but a wide range of evidence from the numbers you cite to the statistics on professed religious beliefs of members of Congress backs you up. No argument there.

And you'll note, in that line, that I turned away from even mild deconversion rhetoric some time ago, partly in response to friends like you. I have a lot of quarrels with the excesses of the intersection of faith and politics, but I have few quarrels with faith as a personal choice. That may be a distinction without a difference to some, but it's why I call myself a "low church atheist", as opposed to radical secularists like O'Hair or the strong "you poor deluded fools" atheists like the Dawkinsites. Not that I don't have sympathy with both of those lines of thought, but if I don't want your (or anyone else's) church telling me what to think or how to behave, I can hardly in either good conscience or intellectual consistency take the position of telling you what to think or how to behave.

Slightly more complex: At least in American culture, "atheist" is generally understood as being an unbeliever in the Christian (or perhaps Abrahamic) God. No label is required to identify me as not-a-Jew, not-a-Muslim, not-a-Hindu, not-a-Buddhist, etc. (Though of course most if not all of those labels exist when required.) To me that brings back the stamp collecting wisecrack, in that no word should be required to indicate that I am not-a-stamp-collector, not-a-coin-collector or not-a-rock-collector. Or maybe this is just a specific case of the above response?
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ericjamesstone
User: ericjamesstone
Date: 2010-09-27 17:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
> At least in American culture, "atheist" is generally
> understood as being an unbeliever in the Christian (or perhaps
> Abrahamic) God.

Hmm. I haven't really encountered that attitude. I can see the term "pagan" being applied to those who are not believers in the Abrahamic God, but I don't recall ever having seen "atheist" used in that manner except by atheists trying to make the point that everyone's atheist with regard to some other religion. (A point which I don't concede, because I don't think the word means what they think it means. It's not a word that indicates disbelief in a particular deity; it's addressing the number of gods in which one believes. Polytheist: believes the number of gods is greater than one. Monotheist: believes the number of gods is equal to one. Atheist: believes the number of gods is equal to zero.)

If there are a bunch of Christians out there using the word atheist to mean someone who disbelieves in the Christian (or Abrahamic) God but still believes in other gods, well, they're making the same mistake.

And since evangelical Protestants are constantly accusing Mormons of not being Christian and not believing in the same God that they do, if there are a lot of people who equate not believing in the Christian God with atheism, then I would think I would have heard the accusation that Mormons are atheists. (I did a Google search on the phrase "Mormons are atheists" and came up with 124 results, which makes it a rather obscure view compared with the 67,700 results for "Mormons are not Christians.")
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-09-27 17:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, but Google the terms "atheist non-Christian". You'll see the juxtaposition I'm talking about. And no, it's not the etymological definition of atheist, but it is a usage I run into a lot. Which given what I read, and what I'm reading for, could easily be observer bias.
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