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Monthly Archive: July 2011

Jul 28 2011

How the US government’s finances work

I have been on a crash course to try and understand the arcane details of what options are available if the current debt ceiling is reached with no action taken to raise it and the balance in the government’s account actually becomes zero. I thought I would share what I have learned so far. We …

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Jul 27 2011

The pathetic cosmological argument for god

It has become increasingly clear that cosmology has become the last refuge of those religious people eager to find some place where god can still have done something while remaining undetectable. But those arguments are clearly pretty desperate. Jason Rosenhouse provides an excellent summary of the debate over cosmological arguments and concludes: If the cosmological …

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Jul 27 2011

How yogis ‘levitate’

Hindu mystics have long been claiming that they can, by sheer will and/or the intervention of god, levitate off the ground. Here is one way it is done. A good rule of thumb is that if something violates the laws of science, it is not a miracle, it is not by ‘harnessing the energy field’ …

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Jul 27 2011

The logic of science-8: The power of universal claims in science

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) In the previous post in this series, I argued that in the case of an existence claim, the burden of proof is upon the person making the assertion. In the absence of a preponderance of evidence in its favor, the claim can be dismissed. As has often …

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Jul 26 2011

Collateral damage caused by government shut down

While many of us wonder what might be the long-term ramifications of a government default and shutdown if the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2, for many people this is not merely an academic exercise but a real and immediate danger. Recall that about half of American households are ‘economically fragile’ in the …

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Jul 26 2011

Religious nuts’ greatest hits

Rachel Maddow has compiled the great thoughts of the religious people invited to Texas governor Rick Perry’s day of prayer on August 6 to which he has invited all his fellow state governors. (Via Pharyngula.) Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy There is an outfit called ‘The International House …

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Jul 26 2011

How the oligarchy speaks

Oligarchies are most effective when they work in the background, out of the public eye, getting their way by having political leaders carry out their bidding. The oligarchy usually prefers to use establishment academics and the media and the bond rating agencies to speak on their behalf but they seem to have become worried that …

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Jul 25 2011

Palin film continues to bomb

The second weekend of the Sarah Palin fan biopic The Undefeated saw the film being expanded to 14 cities from the original 10 but reporting gross box office receipts of just $24,000, a decline of 63% from the first weekend. To the calculators! With apologies to Tbogg, who has been mocking chronicling the film’s performance …

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Jul 25 2011

The Internet: Where religions come to die

Even evangelical Christians agree with this assessment that the internet poses a real threat to religion’s survival. Listen to Josh McDowell of Cru, the organization formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ. Atheists and skeptics now have equal access to our children as we have, which is why the number of Christian youth who believe …

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Jul 25 2011

The oligarchy forced into the open

I do not tend to follow micro-politics (who’s up, whose down, what the latest rumor is about this or that, how the polls vary from day to day) carefully because doing so not only consumes all your time but it prevents you from seeing the more important big picture. I prefer to focus on macro-politics, …

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