Aug 25 2009

From One Man

Maybe it was a lack of caffeine. Maybe it was low blood sugar. No one really knows why, but at the dawn of the so-called Enlightenment, Isaac La Peyrère totally flubbed his reading of Romans 5:12-14. This momentary lapse of reason added fuel to the smoldering embers of two seemingly unrelated ideas: higher criticism and colonial racism.[1]

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Jul 22 2009

The Myth of the Noble Green Savage

While growing up in New Zealand I was taught to despise the coming of the European to these pristine southern isles. He hunted the seals to near extinction. He destroyed the ancient forests in his clumsy attempt to harvest the mighty kauri trees. His animals decimated species that lacked a natural defense against predation. In short, the white man was a blight upon the land. By way of contrast, the indigenous Māori lived in peace and harmony with the Earth while respecting the trees and mountains as sacred objects and places.

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Jul 18 2009

Can Humanists Offer the Good Life?

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Though we consider the religious forms and ideas of our fathers no longer adequate, the quest for the good life is still the central task for mankind. Humanist Manifesto I, 1933 [1]

Happiness and the creative realization of human needs and desires, individually and in shared enjoyment, are continuous themes of humanism. We strive for the good life, here and now. Humanist Manifesto II, 1973 [2]

Remy, the star of Ratatouille, is in love with food. His rat family is in love with food, too, but in a very different sense. Remy loves food for its smell, texture, taste and color. He loves food as an end in itself. He loves food as a medium of art. He loves food for the experiences it creates in others. For his brother rats, food is nothing more than a means to an end. Food satisfies their basic needs. Food relieves the pain of an empty stomach. Clearly, Remy stands out from the pack. He is inspired by the great Chef Gusteau who is spreading a bold and surprising message: “Anyone can cook.” If ‘anyone’ includes rats, Remy reasons, then there is nothing to stop him becoming a cook as well, and so the adventure begins.

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Mar 19 2009

Going Galt

A left-ward shift in American politics is triggering an intense reaction among libertarians and laissez faire capitalists. One sign of the growing foment is a renewed interest in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957). In late February, the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights was reporting record sales. Protestors were holding up signs proclaiming “Atlas Will Shrug.” Business owners and others were threatening to “go Galt” – a reference to the novel’s enigmatic John Galt. Like the Ayn Rand character, people are starting to dial back their production to teach the government a lesson about the value of entrepreneurship and innovation.[1]

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Sep 6 2008

Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve

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Doing Justly

Entrapment is a nasty business. As much as we might want to put bad people away, law enforcement officials are not allowed to force someone’s hands through subterfuge or enticement. As we read in sixth chapter of Daniel, this is what the officials of Darius’ court were trying to do. They conspired to craft a law Daniel could not keep. Daniel knew exactly what was going on. He saw the trap, and walked straight in. The king was tricked into signing a law aimed squarely at his favorite minister.

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