Chopra gets brainy

Stop him before he assaults his readers’ minds again: Chopra babbles about consciousness and the brain. Supposedly, this is a response to something in The God Delusion, but Dawkins really doesn’t discuss mechanisms of consciousness much at all (the book is a little bit excessively broad as it is, so I’m relieved he didn’t try to throw that bit of the kitchen sink in there). The most appropriate section I could find in the book was this one:

Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain. An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles— except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don’t yet understand. If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural. As ever when we unweave a rainbow, it will not become less wonderful.

So Dawkins’ position is that thoughts emerge from complex interconnections in the brain—I’d agree with that. What is Chopra’s interpretation of Dawkins’ words?

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A defense of PowerPoint

OK, if you’re familiar with the usual PowerPoint bashing, you might be entertained by this explanation of why PowerPoint is not Satan’s pull toy. I can distill it down a bit:

  • Have something interesting to say
  • Design a talk, don’t just string slides together
  • Keep the slides simple, clean, and consistent

Basic common sense, I think—PP is just a tool that is very easily abused. There are also many more specific detailed suggestions at that link, though, so don’t just go by my suggestions.

What evil lurks near you?

Brock at Stupid Evil Bastard finds a fascinating map of US hate groups at the Southern Poverty Law Center. If you’re wondering what nastiness can be found in your neighborhood, it’s a handy reference. Minnesota has more Neo-Nazis and Christian Identity groups than I like to see, but you’ll have to look at the maps of California and Texas to see more scary stuff than this.


This is a slightly weird map—the Christian Identity group that looks like it is close to Morris is actually in Burnsville, south of Minneapolis, and should be way over to the east, near the cluster of swastikas. More accurate information can be found in the text accompanying the maps at the SPLC.

Somebody didn’t do their research

I just got this email, addressed to “Dear Blog Author”. This must be the internet equivalent of evangelical door-knocking.

Invitation to Join Christian Bloggers

A small group of us have started a new site called Christian Bloggers. Our prayer and intent is to bring Christians closer together, and make a positive contribution to the Internet community. While many of us have different “theologies”, we all share one true saviour.

Would you be interested in joining Christian Bloggers? Please take a few minutes to have a look at what we are trying to do, and if you are interested, there is a sign up page to get the ball rolling. We would greatly appreciate your support in this endeavour.

May God Bless you and your blogging efforts. We look forward to hearing from you.

Wow, did they ever pick on the wrong guy.

Although, I don’t know…should I take them up on their offer? They don’t ask me to sign any loyalty oaths to Jesus, and all they do is ask for my denomination (“none”). My presence certainly would help bring them all together, I would think.

Evidence is always the best way to resolve a debate

You know how we great clumsy gallumphing unsophisticated atheists are always comparing belief in gods to belief in fairies at the bottom of the garden or tooth fairies or whatever? We may have to revise those arguments.


Now we really have to worry. If some space probe snaps a picture of an orbiting teapot, we’ll have nothin’.

Crap. Sean knocks the props out from under my godlessness. Now I’m going to have to convert to something…what does everyone recommend? Catholicism, LDS, Scientology, etc., or should I just go all the way primitive, erect a phallus-shaped rock in my backyard, and start worshipping that?