Monday, April 30, 2012


One World Trade Center will become the tallest building in New York today, surpassing the Empire State Building, and it's still under construction.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Folks I'm sorry I haven't been posting much of late. I've had some, well, stuff going on. Academic stuff. Dissertation stuff. And it's still going on and probably will be for a little while. In the meantime, here are a few links.

-- The Seating of Hiram Revels and the Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. A legal analysis of the seating of the first black congressman following the Civil War over at Allergic to Bull.

-- A guy finds a James T. Kirk solution to the Prisoner's Dilemma. Although, technically, the prisoners in the Prisoner's Dilemma can't talk to each other. But it still makes for good viewing.

-- Over at Quodlibeta Humphrey brings up a recent philosophy essay by Stephen Law which argues for skepticism regarding whether the historical Jesus ever existed. I glanced at the article when it appeared in Faith and Philosophy just long enough to shake my head and move on. But it's interesting because Law is leaving comments on Humphrey's post.

-- Francis Collins, biologist, geneticist, the head of the National Institutes of Health, leader of the Human Genome Project, and a total Bible thumper, has been criticized on this last point by some of his betters who insist that his belief in God threatens science. Shadow to Light looked at how many scientific publications the betters in question have published and compared them to how many Collins has published. The answer is just embarassing. Via Victor Reppert.

-- Areligious experience and warranted naturalistic belief over at Prosblogion. I may post about this at some point, but I've never been able to wrap myself around the idea of having an experience of the absence of something. Doesn't that just mean that I don't experience it? How can I adduce from this that "that which I don't experience" doesn't exist? That seems completely unjustified. However, that's not exactly what the link is about.

-- Dallas Willard, "The Case against Quine's Case for Psychologism", from Perspectives in Psychologism, ed. Mark Notturno (New York: Brill, 1989), pp. 286-295.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

More Favorite Movie Scenes

Toy Story

Army of Darkness


A Day at the Races

The Muppet Movie


Death to Smoochy

Hot Shots

The Matrix

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Man in the Red Bandana

My wife was surfing the web and found this video about one of the people in the twin towers on 9/11. Amazing and moving.

Friday, April 13, 2012

There and Back Again

I've been telling people for a while that we're bound to discover the remains of life, at least microbial life, on Mars, simply because so much of this planet has been dumped on that planet over that last few billion years. Some of this has been due to the solar wind picking up microbial life in Earth's upper atmosphere and blowing it outwards, but a lot has been because of meteor impacts ejecting Earth material off the earth with more than escape velocity. Of course, I also knew that some would make it further out, to the moons of Jupiter and Saturn and further, which are considered to be possible life sites by some, but that seemed like a much smaller possibility to me.

However a new study shows that the Jovian moons would receive a lot of Earth ejecta because Jupiter is an enormous gravity well, and the moons then sweep up the orbiting rocks. In particular, Europa would receive about as many meteorites from Earth as Earth's Moon. Which is absolutely incredible. They would take longer to make the journey of course which would dramatically lower the possibility of survival, even of microbial life that can survive for extended periods in a vacuum (not to mention the fact that it was ejected from the earth by a huge impact and then would settle on another body by another huge impact, neither of which would be conducive towards survival). But still. The same would hold to a lesser extent for Saturn, since it is also an enormous gravity well, but not nearly as large as Jupiter.

The article also points out that most Earth meteorites, many of which would have life in them, would not have been captured by any gravity well in the solar system and would have been ejected into interstellar space. So in a million years or so, they would have reached other solar systems. They say, "Of course, nobody knows if microbes can survive that kind of journey..." Well, that's ridiculous. We know that they can't. The issue is whether a) the biological material could spark new life forms, b) if there are other nearby sites hospitable to life in our galaxy. These are still very controversial, but to the best of my knowledge, the answer to a) is no and the answer to b) is no as well, if we understand them naturalistically (that is, without intervention).