Loren Miller's Blog (143)

Reason Rally 2016 – My Impressions

Driving 360 miles with a lousy cold isn’t ordinarily my idea of fun, but this was the Reason Rally, and those don’t happen every day. So I added zinc and Hall’s Mentholyptus to my overnight bag and set off a touch after 8 AM Friday. Turns out the drive was pretty easy, and I got in around 2:30. There wasn’t a lot going on at the time, and I wanted to decompress after the drive, so there wasn’t much to do other than collapse! I DO want to note, however, that one thoughtful provision had been…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 13, 2016 at 8:20am — 6 Comments

Meditation on Belief, Knowledge, and Facts

Anything can be a belief. A person can believe that the sun orbits the earth or that trolls live under bridges. One can believe that a bearded man in a red suit flies from the North Pole and in one night out of the year gifts all the good children of the world with presents. Alchemists once were convinced of the possibility of turning lead into gold. The vast set of the believable also includes the idea that there was once a reserve of oil which was only supposed to last a day, yet it lasted…

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Added by Loren Miller on June 1, 2016 at 9:01am — 2 Comments

Faith Is Not Curious

“Faith is no reason.” That was the winning entry in the Center for Inquiry’s 2009 Blasphemy Contest and it’s been the headline to my Atheist Nexus profile page since I joined here. I think that faith and reason are antithetical qualities; they have nothing to do with each other and are effectively mutually exclusive by their very nature. Upon recent reflection, I realized that there are other positive qualities which are at odds with faith and which show it to be the false value which it is.…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 20, 2016 at 10:00am — 10 Comments

Is Nothing Sacred?

Hmmm, good question. First thing we would need to do, I suppose, is define “sacred.” At least initially, I will defer to dictionary.com:

  1. Devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated
  2. Entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.

That second definition seems to be the most on-point here, but it also begs a question: what entitles anything “to veneration or religious…

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Added by Loren Miller on May 2, 2016 at 12:58pm — 33 Comments

Purposeful Stupidity and Jurassic World/Park /Whatever

Last Saturday evening, I took in the last hour or so of the HBO premiere of Jurassic World, and while I have not seen the entire film, I’m not certain I have to. Jurassic World, like the original and its offshoots, is a paean to stupidity, oblivious, inadvertent, and purposeful, and the consequences it spawns. There are the predictable side elements of self-assured arrogance and presumed authority on the part of those who want to embrace the stupid, be the stupid, and the…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 25, 2016 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

A “Strange” World or the World We Live In?

A long time ago, I was something of a fan of Marvel Comics, and among my favorites was Doctor Strange. By way of introduction, Steven Strange started out as a medical doctor who was forcibly introduced to the idea that objective reality as we know it was only one such reality, that there were others which had the potential to interact with ours, both for good and for ill. Figuratively slapped in the face with this revelation, Strange set about to learn all that he could about this new…

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Added by Loren Miller on April 13, 2016 at 9:15am — 8 Comments

The Need for Humankind to Grow Up

If we’re to grow up as a species, we need to address the systems that infantilize us.

-- TheraminTrees



I recently posted a question to Steve Shives for his “You Had to Ask” series, wherein I asked for his thoughts regarding population growth and the problem it poses for our continued existence on this planet. No great surprise, Steve had no solutions among his musings, but he noted importantly that, as a problem, population growth is far more obvious and blatant than…

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Added by Loren Miller on March 18, 2016 at 9:00am — 11 Comments

Priests and Pedestals

It’s not very often when the Arts and Life section of the Sunday paper provides grist for my mill, but that section in today’s edition of the Plain Dealer not only gave me a reason to write, it royally pissed me off. Page Two held a piece by Danielle Sepulveres of the Washington Post, who recently was invited by a friend of hers to do a reading at her wedding. Danielle relates the full story…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 7, 2016 at 1:00pm — 9 Comments

Suffer the Children

The general assumption is that an adult is capable of making their own decisions regarding how their life is conducted, what preferences they hold and what choices they make. An adult might be politically conservative or liberal, a meat eater or vegan. They might like action/adventure movies or opt for more cerebral fare at the cinema. Curry might be their preference over Mexican, or vice versa, or they may be equally enthusiastic about both. Regardless, their choices are or certainly should…

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Added by Loren Miller on February 1, 2016 at 8:30am — 15 Comments

Just Gustav, the Music, and Me

Friday afternoon, quiet inside, raining lightly outside. My wife is out interviewing and serving her clients and I’m at home with the cats. It’s as good a time as any to take a seat in front of my stereo system and do some listening. The power amplifiers have been warming for the past hour and should be ready to do proper justice to the signals I mean to feed to them. As for program material, it occurs to me that, while I’ve used parts of Gustav Holst’s The Planets for critical…

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Added by Loren Miller on January 11, 2016 at 7:30am — 6 Comments

Childish "Childhood's End"

More years ago than I care to calculate, I picked up a copy of Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. This was during a time when I was attempting to branch out beyond my initial interests in science-fiction writing and my fascination for writers like Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, to see what other value was out there. Much as Mr. Clarke is regarded as one of the great classic masters of the genre, I must beg to differ. I could comment on how sterile and lifeless his characters were…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 19, 2015 at 10:10am — 12 Comments

Atheist Pig Tells It Like It Is

I’ve been getting a copy of The Humanist in my inbox once a week (I think) for a good couple years now. It’s good stuff: interviews, articles, news about church / state separation incidents around the United States, but I have to say, my favorite part, much as with the daily newspaper, are the comics. Jesus and Mo are long-time faves of mine and doubtless many of the gang here at Atheist Nexus, Ape, Not Monkey and The Bad Chemicals perhaps a bit less so,…

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Added by Loren Miller on December 13, 2015 at 9:00am — 7 Comments

Dear Mr. President – Regarding Paris...

Well, yours truly has been at it again, throwing hand grenades in the form of bits and bytes or pieces of paper with words arranged in particular sequence on them.  This time, in the light of the recent events in Paris, France and the US response to that, my intended recipient is this country's chief executive:





President Barack Hussein Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20500-0001



Dear Mr. President:



Not quite a year…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 17, 2015 at 10:26am — 35 Comments

Sam Harris – An Atheist Manifesto

I am, as many of you already know, a habitual quote-monger, as evinced by multiple posts and comments here on Atheist Nexus. Over the six or so years of my avowed atheism, I have amassed a fair collection of brief statements and longer works by significant freethinkers who share in the cause of secularism and opposition to irrational belief. One of the more recent of these is a piece by Sam Harris, entitled simply, An Atheist Manifesto.



This treatise, a touch over 4,600…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 9, 2015 at 9:00am — 8 Comments

Spotlight – A Cinematic Indictment of the Catholic Church

Once again, I have to thank Sunday morning television for informing me of an important and noteworthy event. In this case, the information came in the form of a 30-second commercial, not just about a film but yet another salvo against the catholic church and the pedophile priest scandal: Spotlight. This docudrama purports to tell the story of how the Boston Globe newspaper staff researched and revealed the massive child abuse…

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Added by Loren Miller on November 8, 2015 at 10:00am — 13 Comments

The Red Herring of Spirituality

How many times have we heard it? “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual.” To this day, while the intent if not the meaning of that phrase is at least vaguely understood, there should be another way to express it. I suspect that a goodly number of the people on this planet have experiences which class under that heading, and such experiences are as natural as breathing. The problem in essence is the heading itself.



The problem is compounded by a vocabulary which treats such…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 20, 2015 at 9:00am — 52 Comments

Frankie Finally Shows His True Colors

I’ll admit it: when Pope Francis initially came on the scene, I thought there was some hope for the catholic church. Maybe, just maybe, they’d put someone in the front office who was genuinely interested in recognizing the seriously problematic issues which the RCC currently labors under and was prepared to address them in a meaningful way.  I mean, jeez, this guy is tackling the cult of opulence and conspicuous consumption on the part of some of the Vatican hierarchy, he’s drawing more…

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Added by Loren Miller on October 1, 2015 at 8:00am — 35 Comments

Church, State, and Marriage Licenses

The preamble of the US Constitution reads as follows:



We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.



In short, the purpose of the United States government, as outlined by the preamble,…

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Added by Loren Miller on September 4, 2015 at 11:16am — 31 Comments

There Is Only One Right Answer

Add one and one and the result is two.  This is true regardless of what is being added or what mathematic base one and one are being added in, with the necessary exception of Base 2.  Even then, 10-Base2 has the same value as 2 in any other system of counting.  There is only one right answer.



Apply a one-volt signal to a one-kilohm resistor and one milliampere of current will flow through that circuit.  Any variance from that result will be the product of inaccuracies in the…

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Added by Loren Miller on August 6, 2015 at 11:23am — 43 Comments

Whose Watch Did This Happen On?

I recently watched two movies which, at least on the surface, have nothing to do with each other, yet have EVERYTHING to do with each other.  Yesterday, for a reason I can’t give you (because I don’t have one), I dragged Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 from my library to peruse, and then this evening, I pulled out the HBO Pictures classic, And the Band Played On, based on the book by Randy Shilts.  I was maybe a quarter into the second film when I realized that both pieces had a…

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Added by Loren Miller on July 24, 2015 at 12:07pm — 10 Comments

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