Monday, May 29, 2006

Caveat Emptor

I went camping and canoeing over this Memorial Day Weekend on the Little Niangua. It was pretty fun; however, if I had to do it over again, I would not rent canoes from Maggard's Canoe.

They tacked on hidden fees and charged us inflated rates not mentioned in their brochure or on their website. By the end of it, we paid nearly double what we had originally calculated.

Besides that, though, they were also rude and inhospitable. I didn't expect them to treat us like we were at a fancy resort in Aspen, but common courtesy would have been nice.

So, if you're ever going canoeing in the Missouri Ozark area, do not rent canoes from Maggard's Canoe. They are a bunch of thieving, angry hillbillies who don't deserve your money.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The DaVinci Caffufle

So, I saw The DaVinci Code movie (having read the book about a year ago) and was quite impressed with how well it was made and how true to the book it was. Good job, Howard et al.

However, for the past week I've ashamedly watched about three hours of DaVinci Code commentary, most of it trying to "disprove" or "discredit" Dan Brown's novel. It makes me angry. You know why? Because THE DAVINCI CODE IS A WORK OF FICTION!

It is not a textbook. It is not a historical account. It is not a factual documentation. It is a work of fucking fiction. It is not something that you can argue with. You can disapprove of the novel, but you dan't disprove it, because it didn't really happen! It is a work of fiction, perhaps based on some facts, but even the characters in the novel are in dispute over the veracity of the "facts" they present.

So, what I would like everyone who has some beef with The DaVinci Code to do is this: Step back, take a deep breath, and shut the fuck up. Give Dan Brown a break. His only crime has been writing an exciting, intruiging book.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

End of (School) Days

So, amid the heavy drinking, packing, paper writing, working, driving, and job interviews over the past week, I graduated. Somewhere in there, I donned a cap and gown, shook hands with the president of the university, and actually graduated. I know; I couldn't believe it either!

The next step: Get a real job and find this so-called "real world."

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

God & Creation

Blake Ostler argues the classical concept of the creation of the cosmos:

  1. If God possess aseity [self-existence] and exists, then he is not dependent on anything nor lacking in any conceivable manner (i.e., God is self-sufficient).
  2. A self-sufficient being cannot manifest a need nor be enhanced by any action (1).
  3. Every positive action requires an explanation sufficient to account for it (Criteria of Sufficient Reason).
  4. Creation of the cosmos is a positive action.
  5. A self-sufficient being could not manifest a reason sufficient to explain why it preferred existence of the cosmos to its nonexistence (1,2).
  6. Hence, God did not create the cosmos (3,4,5). (Beckwith 8-9)
While this arguement is interesting, I think there are some gaps in its logic. I can agree completely with Assertion 1; if the nature of God is omnipotent, then he needs or wants nothing. However, Assertion 2 intends to limit God's omnipotence by saying that he "cannot manifest a need." This is the schoolyard philosopher's question "Can God make a rock so heavy even He can't move it?" If the answer is yes, then God isn't all-powerful, he can't even move a rock. If the answer is no, then God still isn't all-powerful, he can't even create a rock. Quite a conundrum.

This arguement falls into the realm of the moot, though. Being all-powerful precludes need, want, action, and enhancement. The assertion that God cannot manifest a need nor be enhanced by any action only seems to contradict omnipotence because that is the only way that limited human language can express limitless power. The arguement is mostly syntactical.

Assertion 3 seems ludicrous. There is no logical reason for why such a required explanation should exist to account for a positive action (or for a negative action, for that matter). I believe this assertion means to say that God must have had a reason for creating everything, but that, again, is projecting human reasoning onto a being of limitless power. As the Assertion 1 states, God doesn't need anything, let alone a reason for creation.

Assertion 4 is just stupid. I'll give Mr. Douglas Adams the credit for an excellent rebuttal: "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

As I said for Assertion 2, the flaw of Assertion 5 is that it relies on limited human syntax to describe concepts that are limitless.

Assertion 6, while a derivative of faulty logic, is the most intriguing assertion of them all. Because if God did not create the cosmos, who did? It boggles the mind!

Works Cited
  • Adams, Douglas. The Restaurant At the End of the Universe. New York: Pocket, 1982.
  • Beckwith, Francis J., and Stephen E. Parrish. The Mormon Concept of God. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991.

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