November 23, 2005

You and James Read... Stuff.

There Is No God

According to Penn Jillette.

Penn is, as he puts it, beyond Atheism. He doesn’t not-believe in God, he believes that there is no God. He says it works for him.

Believing there’s no God means I can’t really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That’s good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around. […]

Believing there is no God means the suffering I’ve seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn’t caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn’t bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Congress reduces its oversight role

Since Clinton, a change in focus

Back in the mid-1990s, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, aggressively delving into alleged misconduct by the Clinton administration, logged 140 hours of sworn testimony into whether former president Bill Clinton had used the White House Christmas card list to identify potential Democratic donors.

In the past two years, a House committee has managed to take only 12 hours of sworn testimony about the abuse of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

See, this seems like a problem to me. My first thought was that this is because we have one party controlling the government, but: “Party loyalty does not account for the difference: In 1993-94, the Democrats were investigating a Democratic administration.” So, I think it’s just that we have had less general willingness for the government to police itself.


If Bush had had his way.

Al-Jazeera’s HQ is in the business district of Qatar’s capital, Doha.

Its single-storey buildings would have made an easy target for bombers. As it is sited away from residential areas, and more than 10 miles from the US’s desert base in Qatar, there would have been no danger of “collateral damage”.

Dozens of al-Jazeera staff at the HQ are not, as many believe, Islamic fanatics. Instead, most are respected and highly trained technicians and journalists. […]

The No 10 memo now raises fresh doubts over US claims that previous attacks against al-Jazeera staff were military errors.


A senior diplomat in Washington says Bush was making a joke. While he’s at it, why not write a memo about wiping Muslims off the face of the Earth. I’m sure that will improve the situation.

Posted by James at November 23, 2005 9:15 AM
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Congress won't swear in oil execs, but they will swear in baseball players. In fact, they'll even go after one of the players for perjury. That should tell you all you need to know.

Posted by: briwei at November 23, 2005 10:19 AM

God - I've really come to dislike the word and think it should be excluded from our vocabulary because people have so many different things in mind when they use it you can't be sure what they're thinking.

For me, what passes for "God" most of the time is simply a projection - a sort of Superhero-in-the-sky figure. If that's God, I'm an athiest. I'm also not enthusiastic about any thing with the label "super natural." Perhaps some of what passes for "super natural" today is part of the natural world we don't yet understand. And perhaps there are parts of the natural world we can't ever understand. But just because we don't yet - or can't ever - understand something doesn't mean it belongs to some external category or super force. As near as I can tell everything - and that includes the stuff we intelligent bipeds make - is natural. But I still feel there are a ton of very basic unknowns. I'm just not comfortable with putting the label "God" on any of this stuff.

Posted by: Greg at November 25, 2005 6:40 AM

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