Archive for November, 2010

I Might Be Too Hip For Literature

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Sample Literature

Sample Literature


Shoot. All my stories start out the same. Today, I was having an argument type of discussion with a friend who I mostly agree with and it occurred to me that… Yep, it’s the same kind of story I always tell.

Anyway, I let my girlfriend in on the conversation and she said she pretty much sided with my friend. I’m an engineer of course I’m all into defining things and counting things and believing that there is some sort of right answer to any question. My friend who will remain blameless had no idea I would be inspired to blog about this or maybe she did… sometimes women are crafty.
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The Jonah Project: Now It’s Personal

Monday, November 29th, 2010
The Unlikely Disciple

The Unlikely Disciple

So I heard about Kevin Roose’s story via the Friendly Atheist. Kevin Roose transferred to Liberty for a college exchange program and wrote about his experiences. He’s offering a select number of his books for free in pairs. A potential reader needs to sign up with someone of a different belief system or world view to qualify for a pair of free books.

I googled a friend of mine who I remembered was a Lutheran minister and suggested we sign up. I haven’t seen him for years but I thought we were good friends during the time we did know each other and judging by his approval of my idea, I’d say he agrees.
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An Incomplete Critique of Mass Effect 2’s Relationship Structure

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
Game Art

Mass Effect 2

I’m working my way through Mass Effect 2. Generally speaking, I enjoy the continuity along with the reborn eeriness that comes with being a Cerberus rebuilt Shepard clone. For all we know, Cerberus has Shepard’s real body somewhere else. Don’t spoil it for me and I’m not going to spoil it for you. I haven’t entered the suicide mission yet. I like the fact that it seems like Shepard’s biggest superpower is his charisma that brings together a really diverse band of misfits. His back up power would be his ability to fist fight his way out of situations that his guns can’t help him with. I like the fact that the romantic capable women have their own opinions and standards. However, I feel like there’s not enough of a two way street. Let me explain.
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Seth Critiques His Upbringing

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

My brother has been in Korea for a few years and in Iraq twice. I don’t know if he made it to Afghanistan yet. He’s the oldest of five children, two men and three women. The three older children made it out on to their own before my parents divorced. With the exception of the college course, my youngest sibling just took, the only one of us to go to college was me. I view college as one place ambitious high school graduates go to try to improve their lot in life. There are other ways to display an effort to increase a person’s station, but working minimum wage, stuffing envelopes, and working at call centers are not the kinds of primary drivers for those kinds of changes.

My mom called me recently because my brother’s going to be in town for Thanksgiving. She wondered if I was interested in joining in for some family gatherings. I’m the aloof one, I got away and mostly stay away and stay busy working with a billion irons in a billion fires and several actually paying me back. She asked directly if I had any residual hostility toward them (which is reasonable because I have demonstrated such hostility in the past). Despite the fact that I get a serious stress response while talking to my physical relatives, I wasn’t prepared to go into detail on the phone. I don’t talk to my mom much and it seems a little irresponsible to use my monthly phone call to critique all the choices she made that she can no longer change.

But the seed of the idea was planted and I decided that I should boil my critique of my parents and upbringing here and then it remains to be stumbled upon and for me to think about directly and maybe we can all understand each other better.
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Antagonism

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I read the new repost on the New Oxonian.

As a service I provide, I’ll go ahead and sum up what I took from the post. Organized Humanism is the humanism that is more inclusive and doesn’t mind including positive things that are religiously inspired. Movement Humanism is an atheism of a different color that takes a more extreme position against religion throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I like Hoffman’s style of writing that’s why I read it even when I’m not in agreement with it. If you’ve got the time to read my post, maybe you should look at his too.

Hoffman has mentioned another differentiation. While I don’t have that post hot linked, I remember a post that suggested that polytheism is essentially a more civil religious format than theism. If you subscribe to a polytheistic viewpoint, then there’s an accepted religious relativism that goes along with it. And in a way, the god or gods you pick reflect more on you than you reflect on the gods, in my opinion. It makes me pause and wonder why I’m at my extreme.

I’m not really at odds with polytheists, I just don’t feel included because I have no religious inspiration. I have no love of the beauty of trying to mystify things by giving them attributes. I love reading myths but I rarely weave a consistent mythology among my friends. I’m not using that kind of communication. Maybe my life is less for it, but quite possibly I cannot appreciate those aesthetics as an individual. That’s the nicest position I can stay upon because it means you guys who disagree with me might be experiencing a really positive quality from your beliefs and I’m disagreeing simply because I’m incapable of having the experiences you suggest.
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Seth Links

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Harvard has a nice website devoted to nutritional information. This is great because I’ve been thinking of nutrition and wondering how to determine and expert. I’d be willing to bet Harvard does its best to put out correct information and I applaud any academic institution that puts it’s information in laymans terms. We can’t all be doctors but we can all benefit from their wisdom.

A new website with organized information about evolution and related topics has come to my attention. Phylointelligence seems to do a good job of laying out the basics of what we know and reasons for it while countering a few creationist arguments.

I stumbled across the site iamnotashamed.org, a Christian campaign to promote pride in their belief system and I want to coordinate with everybody with any sense of individualism to prepare to write a blog post called “I am not ashamed” about whatever it is you take pride in. I’m not a fan of Christianity as a creed which is obvious and I have no interest in letting them trademark a statement of pride. On some level, I’m glad they are not ashamed unless they are literalists or inerrantists. I’ll be telling you why I am not ashamed soon.

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Seth’s View

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a policy intended to provide a way for gay people to serve in the military in a fashion that would not cause them to choose between honesty and serving. Coming out as gay in the military normally ends a tour of duty as I understand it. Let’s ignore for the moment that not being able to openly say what you are is also dishonest, we can certainly agree it’s a different sort of dishonesty that is more passive.

In my view, there is another more pressing reason why the military has an onus to allow openly gay people. Furthermore, the principle I intend to illuminate can be reused for several forms of alternative lifestyles especially as those lifestyles become more culturally visible.
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Seth vs R. Joseph Hoffman

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I like the fact that Dr. Hoffman writes and I like about half of what he writes, mostly because he’s a humanist and that makes him a near atheist. I dislike half of him because he’s always separating himself from atheists. You should read his post before reading mine. But if you want the short summary, here it is.

Dr. Hoffman is pointing out how putting up signs about reason during Christmas in order to remind people to use the tool that leads to atheism fails to convince anyone of anything. Christmas is a fun holiday and nothing about using reason is even relevant. Real Christians won’t be convinced and fake Christians won’t see what needs to change. Fun oriented secular non-atheists won’t even understand.
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The Folks From My Christian Background

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I know the right answer to the questions of the universe, subjectively. I value when people make individual choices to determine what they value and then to follow their consciences. Simultaneously, I hold in contempt even some atheists who don’t appear to have ever made a decision to be who they are. You know the folks who had the privilege of following their community and just happened on the right answer without having to fight through oceans of ignorance to even get the time to think clearly.

I was brought up in a Christian environment and being shy and awesome I made a lot of excellent friends. I lusted after pastors’ daughters. I played a bit of football outside of a variety of churches. I assembled at summer camps for my friends. And we weren’t friends because we were Christians in my opinion. We were friends because we were good natured people stuck in the same environment and we decided to make the most of it.
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Evolving Organs: Irreducibly Complex?

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

I have a blog post called “Curing the Controversy.” It has an ongoing comments dialog between me and a reader who apparently does not buy into evolution. We got to this step where he asks me to illustrate the development of one organ as an argument for evolution.

Being a good Samaritan, I start googling around and I see what he may have seen. There’s plenty of data about how an eye could be formed in steps so that the eye is not irreducibly complex, but so far, I haven’t seen the history of an organ laid out over a tree of life, one in which many steps have been confirmed. So then I start looking for evolution of the heart and in a parallel I see early stages of the organ in mollusks, more development in reptiles through birds arriving at the four chambered mammal heart. From what I gather, the original circulatory system developed to pump nutrients throughout an organism and not necessarily oxygen (so early heart users didn’t suffocate while passing on their genes).
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