Liar, lunatic, lord, or other L-words

I was mulling over on my drive to work the other day, the C S Lewis trilemma about Jesus’ divinity. Yes, that’s the kind of thing I think about while in transit, when the classic rock station isn’t holding my interest. It struck me that when people offer a limited set of options as though they are the only options, they almost always exclude options that are devastating to their general argument, and this was probably the case here as well. This is a “false dilemma” or “excluded middle” fallacy. Lewis offers exactly three options as though they are the only ones — that Jesus either intentionally lied about being God, was a lunatic and thought he was God but wasn’t, or was actually God.

Lewis’ argument runs that anyone claiming to be Lord either is, is mad, or is lying; and that since these latter two options are logically incompatible with the idea that Jesus was a great moral teacher, and that it is generally accepted that he was, then Jesus must have been Lord. The thought emerged fully formed in my mind: what if Jesus didn’t exist at all, and was pure legend? Or if he existed, much like Jason of the Argonauts, but his stories had accumulated millenia of apocryphal cruft? The option had an L-word right in the name — “legend” — so I was naturally quite pleased with myself and my big pulsing brain.
[Read more…]

Trilobite On the Radio

Everyone’s favourite Canuckistanian science artist is due to be on Atheists Talk Radio tomorrow morning, same place and time that Stephanie interviewed me about the recent astrology non-debate. The blurb from their site:

The religious despair for atheists that with nothing but science and rationality for inspiration, we can’t appreciate the beauty of art, music, poetry, prose nor the weaving of a rainbow.  By unweaving a rainbow, we are told that we miss out on the deepar beauty that underlies the “mystery of being.”  Don’t try to tell that to my guests on this show.  They will look at you, baffled, because they both draw inspiration for their art from the wonders of science.  Lynn Fellman is a frequent guest on the show, interviewing scientists she has met through the course of her art career.  She rarely gets the chance to talk about her own specialties in art and so I asked her to be an interviewee.  I also asked one of my friends I haven’t met, but only know through internet interactions, Glendon Mellow of Toronto, Canada.  Glendon digs the artistic inspiration of fossils and trilobites.
Both artists are highly inventive in the ways thet they draw science into their art and I will mostly be listening in to the conversation as Glendon and Lynn talk about atheism, science and art.
Lynn Fellman is an artist bridging science and humanities through art. Working in multiple media to make complex concepts accessible, she also speaks and writes about the intersection of art and science; most recently at the “Personal Genomes” meeting at Cold Spring Harbor Lab. See examples of her work at:
“Unfolding the Natural History and Science of Life” commission from BioBusiness Alliance
Fellman’s current art exhibit “Deep Ancestry Portraits of a Diverse Community”
Glendon Mellow is a freelance artist living and working in Toronto, Ontario.  His work has been chosen for magazine covers and the book cover for The Open Laboratory 2008. Glendon’s websites:
Twitter:  @flyingtrilobite (half my traffic comes from Twitter these days)
Also can find my fan page on Facebook by searching for Flying Trilobite.
Glendon’s big project was to gather the RSS feeds of science artists in one place, and he maintains it at ScienceBlogging.com
He did the artwork for Dan Rhoads’  blog Migrations. Dan is an atheist living in Cyprus.

Be sure to check it out — the live stream is right here, though they seem to expect you’re a US resident. I just punch in 55454, which is a Minneapolis area code, and that works.