“The Cosmos extends, for all practical purposes, forever. After a brief sedentary hiatus, we are resuming our ancient nomadic way of life. Our remote descendants, safely arrayed on many worlds throughout the Solar System and beyond, will be unified by their common heritage, by their regard for their home planet, and by the knowledge that, whatever other life may be, the only humans in all the Universe come from Earth. They will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will love it no less for its obscurity and fragility. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all our potential once was, how perilous our infancy, how humble our beginnings, how many rivers we had to cross before we found our way.”—Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (via thedragoninmygarage)
Last Sunday I went to a philosophy conference and saw a presentation titled “Salvaging Pascal’s Wager” by Liz Jackson and Andy Rogers. Naturally I was skeptical as the standard version of Pascal’s Wager is such a bad argument that it seemed beyond salvaging.
“I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it… Somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable…because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.”—Isaac Asimov (via facesofatheists)
“We just can’t seem to stop burning up all those buried trees from way back in the carboniferous age, in the form of coal, and the remains of ancient plankton, in the form of oil and gas. If we could, we’d be home free climate wise. Instead, we’re dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate the Earth hasn’t seen since the great climate catastrophes of the past, the ones that led to mass extinctions. We just can’t seem to break our addiction to the kinds of fuel that will bring back a climate last seen by the dinosaurs, a climate that will drown our coastal cities and wreak havoc on the environment and our ability to feed ourselves. All the while, the glorious sun pours immaculate free energy down upon us, more than we will ever need. Why can’t we summon the ingenuity and courage of the generations that came before us? The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. What’s our excuse?”—Neil deGrasse Tyson (via thatlitsite)
“I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it And I do not believe that the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it, except it will destroy our economy”. — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who says he’s ready to be POTUS
Rubio, in relation to science, empirical evidence, peer-reviewed studies, and climate data taken over centuries, cites his opinion.
There is no evidence that Darwin’s work was used as a justification for oppression and murder. Stalin doubtless accepted Newton’s theory of gravity, but creationists do not claim that Newton’s theory should be suppressed because Stalin believed it.
“… like many white people – he doesn’t want to confront racism and white privilege because those things have — and will continue to — really, really help him out in life. And the reality is that he doesn’t have to confront this stuff, either…. That’s exactly how white privilege works.”—
Him: I don’t date black women. It’s just a preference.
Me: Based on what?
Him: Nothing, it’s just how I feel.
Me: Impossible, deliberate aversions come from somewhere.
Him: Its just a preference, that’s all.
Me: No, a preference is preferring broccoli to asparagus. You can say that because asparagus will always taste the same, even when prepared differently.
Me: And we’re not always the same at all. There are hundreds of millions of us and we’re each completely different from the next. If an employer said not hiring Black people was a preference would you agree?
A fact is a kind of truth, but not all truth is factual.
The English term “fact” comes from the Latin factum, which is a legal term referring to the act or deed of someone. In other words, a factum is something that is verifiable in a court of law. And, this is a kind of truth. A fact may also be something that is observable and repeatable, like a scientific fact. And this is also a kind of truth.
But, there is truth that is not accessible via a courtroom or the lab. There is truth that is verifiable via the human experience and this is the truth of the story of Noah and the Flood.
This story speaks truthfully concerning the forces of chaos in our world – reckless and indiscriminate chaos – like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, plagues, famines, military invasions. How do we speak about God in the light of calamity and disaster? This is the truth of the story of Noah and the Flood.
Can we verify the story as it is narrated in the Book of Genesis in a court of law? No.
Can we observe and repeat the story as it is narrated in the Book of Genesis in a lab? No.
But, contrary to popular opinion, this does not mean that it is not true. The past cannot take the stand nor can the past be placed in test tube, but this does not mean that history is not true.
History-telling is meaningful and true insofar as it informs the present.
The story of Noah and Flood is both meaningful and true. For those who suffer great tragedies, and we all do, this story has the power to speak to that which is broken and undone.
The Noah story is just as true as the flying spaghetti monster. An just as uplifting. Maybe a little less but still. Enough said.