Something About Today I Can’t Explain


Composite image: uncredited photograph of Kurt Gödel ca. 1950, via Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, left; detail of stained glass window from St. Anselm Catholic Parish, Toronto, Ontario, right.

The infinite condition is itself a paradox, as it must necessarily include its own finite limitations, lest it create finite limitation through exclusion.

Just an (ahem!) internal memorandum, sort of. It’s an abstract notion sometimes manifesting in applied logical argumentation, but only in finite and situational considerations. The formulation that struck was that, The infinite must necessarily include its own limitations. Which is, of course, a problematic notion.

Nor can I claim any sense of originality; the statistical likelihood that I am the first person to tread into this realm is precisely measurable: exactly zero. And while it is unclear what role exactly we might ascribe, it is also true that Radiolab visited Gödel during last night’s broadcast.

At any rate, this clumsy paradox exists somewhere in the record, and in much more refined expression. In turn, refined expression is crucial because application of such a crude tool invites catastrophic potentials. The point is remembering to chase it down, lest the idea strike again sometime in the future, and meet similar apathy.

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Quote of the Day: Benen on Republicans and the Ten Commandments


The Ten Commandments

The larger point is that some conservatives are so eager to have government extend official support to their religious beliefs that they’re willing to argue that their sacred texts have no religious value at all. It’s ironic, in a way – it’s tempting to think opponents of religion would want to strip sacred texts of their spiritual significance. Here we have the opposite.

Steve Benen

Yes, it comes to this.

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Benen, Steve. “This Week in God, 8.23.14”. msnbc. 23 August 2014.

On Christian Faith, American Politics, and Some Specific Human Conditions


It’s just one of those things: Can we laugh, now?

After all, some issues really are serious, and no matter how laughably absurd we might find a moment, well, it never is laughable if we find ourselves in the middle of it all.

Bryan FischerIn response to the influx of Central American children fleeing to the southern border of the U.S., the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer is repeating his belief that all national borders were determined by God and therefore anybody who crosses them without permission is directly offending the Creator.

In a column for BarbWire today, Fischer writes, “What we learn from the Bible is that borders are God’s idea, and that such borders are to be respected. They are not to be crossed without permission.”

(Blue)

To the one, come on, that’s absolutely laughable. To the other, it would not be a particularly reliable promise that laughing our way through the current refugee crisis at our southern border would be an exercise of any useful function.

Right Wing WatchTo a third, one might notice that Mr. Fischer is invoking God’s judgment for earthly authority; we might imagine that his explanation of “what would Jesus do?” would be rather quite interesting. Especially considering the fact that Fischer’s exception to the rule is war.

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Blue, Miranda. “Bryan Fischer: ‘Our Southern Border Is There By God’s Design'”. Right Wing Watch. 10 July 2014.

What He Said


Certes, ’tis true that I am not one who generally appreciates certain modern shorthand, such as ^ ^, +1, or, shudder m’soul, ditto. Then again, Ryan Grim made the point many felt viscerally as the news broke.

Still, though, it’s hard to not nod grimly (ha!) and think, “Yeah … what he said.”

Maybe It’s Best I Don’t Have a Dog


Rickey Wagoner

Okay, so my only question is whether all the people who forwarded the inspiring story of Rickey Wagoner around that internet book with faces, and the bird’s nest thing, and all that, are now obliged to go around to every person they annoyed with that excrement and apologize for being so stupid.

At any rate, the Associated Press reports:Rickey Wagoner headline via Mail Online

A white bus driver’s story that a religious book in his shirt pocket blocked bullets as he was attacked by three black men isn’t supported by evidence and testing, Dayton police said Wednesday as they closed the case, which had been investigated as a possible hate crime.

Rickey Wagoner, 49, told police he was outside his city bus Feb. 24 when men assaulted him. He said that two bullets hit the inch-thick book containing Bible verses and that one hit his leg and that he was stabbed in the arm, according to a police report. The report also said Wagoner told police he grabbed the gun and shot at the fleeing men.

Wagoner had told police that the assailants were black and that he thought the attack might have been a gang initiation.

But his account wasn’t found to be factual, Police Chief Richard Biehl said at a news conference.

“This assault, as reported, is not true, not accurate,” Biehl said. Police did not say Wagoner made up the story and didn’t explain why he would have made the report. Biehl did say it appeared Wagoner owed on back taxes.

Sigh.

Right.

Truth told, I rather prefer the Daily Mail take on the story: “Bus driver shot and stabbed HIMSELF before making up story that only his Bible had stopped fatal bullets fired at him in supposed hate attack”.

In related news, the nation’s foremost failure-cum-racist-cum-failure, the one and only Donald Trump, is apparently upset that black people have civil rights, too. In other words, no news, or, what killed the dog.

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Associated Press. “Bus Driver’s Bullet-blocking Book Tale Is ‘Not True’: Police”. The Huffington Post. June 18, 2014.

Associated Press and Daily Mail. “Bus driver shot and stabbed HIMSELF before making up story that only his Bible had stopped fatal bullets fired at him in supposed hate attack”. Mail Online. June 18, 2014.

Trump, Donald. “Donald Trump: Central Park Five settlement is a ‘disgrace'”. New York Daily News. June 21, 2014.

Wills, Nat M. “No News, or, What Killed the Dog?” Camden: Victor, 1908.

Quote of the Year: Phyllis Schlafly on Sex Discrimination


The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis SchlaflySo, right. It’s over. This is our quote of the year. I mean, come on, really: Yes, she said that.

Well, wrote it, specifically.

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On Faith


Faith:

PRRI 2014 survey mapTwo weeks ahead of the Super Bowl, half of American sports fans say they believe God or a supernatural force is at play in the games they watch, according to a new survey.

That percentage includes Americans who pray for God to help their team (26 percent), think their team has been cursed (25 percent) or more generally believe God is involved in determining who wins on the court or in the field (19 percent). Overall, half of Americans fall into one of these groups, according to the survey Public Religion Research Institute released Tuesday.

“As Americans tune in to the Super Bowl this year, fully half of fans — as many as 70 million Americans — believe there may be a twelfth man on the field influencing the outcome,” Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert Jones said in a statement. “Significant numbers of American sports fans believe in invoking assistance from God on behalf of their favorite team, or believe the divine may be playing out its own purpose in the game.”

Football fans were the most likely to pray for their own teams to win, with 33 percent saying they ask God to intervene in games, compared to 21 percent of fans of other sports. They were also more likely to think their teams were cursed (31 percent compared to 18 percent) and to take part in rituals before or during games (25 percent to compared to 18 percent).

(Kaleem)

It is time to actually stop and think about this, for minute. No, no, don’t pray about it. Think.

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