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Monthly Archive: July 2009

Jul 17 2009

The pernicious anti-tax attitude

The news is full of stories about the budget problems faced by the federal and state governments. But unlike the federal government which has ways to pay its bills without raising taxes, state governments have to balance their books the old fashioned way, by either reducing expenses or raising revenue or both. But thanks to …

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Jul 16 2009

The state of the Republican party

Immediately after the last election, I wrote a series of posts on the future of the Republican Party and said that where it ends up depends on the relative fortunes of the four elements within the party and which group or groups gain the ascendancy. One bloc consists of old-style conservative Republicans, the ones who …

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Jul 15 2009

A Friedman Prize?

As a childhood fan of the Peanuts comic strip, I enjoyed the running gag of Snoopy always beginning his novels with the line “It was a dark and stormy night.” It was only much later that I learned that this was a actual opening sentence of an 1830 novel Paul Clifford by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton: …

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Jul 14 2009

Science fiction and futurism

While I was completely absorbed in reading Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, someone else saw me reading it and said that she had started it and had given up. When I asked why, she said that she did not like science fiction in general. But Atwood herself in some interviews has rejected the label of …

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Jul 13 2009

Why people believe in god-7: God the moody

For the last post in this series, I want to look at the way god has been characterized through history. It is a popular belief, especially among Christians, that humans have been created in god’s image. Actually, it is the other way around. Humans create god to meet their needs, and as their needs change, …

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Jul 10 2009

Why people believe in god-6: The persistence of belief

Why is it that so many adults in the modern age, with full reasoning powers and all the knowledge that science and technology has made available to them, still cling to the superstitious religious beliefs of their childhood, so much so that they feel the need to even brainwash their own children? Why is it …

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Jul 09 2009

And the Lord said “Thou must spitteth on those who defileth the Sabbath with tape recorders”

Via Pharyngula, I came across this story about the appalling behavior of highly religious people. It turns out that Orthodox Jews in Israel are upset at a local council in Jerusalem’s decision to open a municipal car park on Saturdays and have been protesting in the streets for weeks. Why? Because this would encourage people …

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Jul 08 2009

Why people believe in god-5: The evolutionary origins of belief

Today I want to look at why people believe in god, starting with its origins. As to why religious beliefs arise in the first place, this is a fascinating and yet open question and any theories are at best speculative. The vast number of gods that have been independently invented in human history (see Machines …

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Jul 07 2009

Sarah, come back!

My great weakness as a political analyst, and the reason I am often wrong in my predictions, is that I try to think strategically. I keep forgetting that many of the prominent people in politics are divas who think that the normal rules of politics don’t apply to them and thus do things that you …

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Jul 06 2009

Why people believe in god-4: Darwin’s problem

In a previous post, I tried to pin down what people actually believe when they say they believe in god. Today I want to look at what goes into religious belief, using Charles Darwin’s own journey as an example. Charles Darwin was encouraged by his father, a successful doctor, to study medicine and was duly …

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