Direct Continuation of: Cl, Bubonic Plagues, and Bibles, Part I
Follow up to: TheraminTrees’s Atheism, Part IV: Imperfection
Awhile ago, I was busy finding my way out of the multi-layered maze of Cl and I’s long-time-ago debate on the existence of needless suffering. While the debate itself flopped, it resulted in a lot of further chatter between us, and we still continue to argue about the Problem of Evil.
Free from the encumbrance of time and word limits, I now have some time to get back to where we left off in addressing Cl’s rebuttal. In this rebuttal, Cl challenged my Problem of Evil based on the Bubonic Plague, which I counter-responded to in Cl, Bubonic Plagues, and Bibles, Part I. Cl also provided a theodicy that argued God’s reason for allowing suffering was that we brought it upon ourselves in the Fall, an argument I responded to in “TheraminTrees’s Atheism, Part IV: Imperfection”. There, he counter-responded in the comments, and our discussion should continue there shortly.
So we had the Bubonic Plague thread, which is finished as far as I can tell. Then we have the thread about The Fall, which merits future discussion in comments. However, there remains three other unfinished threads: (1) Cl’s argument that Cl’s argument that the Bible has remarkable guidelines for cleanliness that are so far ahead of its time that we’re forced to conclude that the Bible was divinely inspired, (2) Cl’s reformulated theodicy that Heaven represents a higher good, and (3) Cl’s references to the Problem of Evil as making God into some sort of “Cosmic Coddler”.
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On 28 May 2012 in All, Atheism, History, Responses.
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Follow up to: The Patriotic Humanist
I interrupt the essay I was planning on writing for today, to bring you this important public announcement: “In God We Trust”. It’s a really dumb motto. Stand by for ranting. I’m pilot testing a different style of blogging today than usual, so let me know how it works. These are the kinds of things I can do when I get to write once every weekday.
For those of you don’t know, I’m working for a part of this summer as an intern in a Senator’s office. (Soak these tidbits about my life up, because I don’t offer them often.) Part of our job is constituency service, which includes being able to give tours of the US Capitol Building when requested. Now that I’m qualified to give these tours (it’s really easy), I gave my first tour of the Capitol by myself. It went great.
The interesting part was the movie at the beginning of the tour. The new Capitol Visitor’s Center has a 13-minute movie that starts off every tour, and I had never seen it before because it is omitted on all of the training tours. Anyways, the movie is entitled E Pluribus Unum, which I hope many of you recognize as our nation’s motto up until 1956, and means “Out of many, one”.
The movie was all about playing up how America was a melting pot with diverse interests, and how these diverse interests had to be represented by the Congress through the powers of compromise. “E Pluribus Unum” was spun into a tale about our democracy, diversity, and commitment to unifying together despite our differences.
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On 23 May 2012 in All, History, Political Commentary.
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Follow up to: What the Social Issues are Missing and Don’t Smuggle Your Connotations
Earlier in “What the Social Issues are Missing” I talked some about the standard “social issues”: gay marriage, abortion, and contraception. Given with Obama’s recent endorsement and North Carolina’s new constitutional amendment, gay marriage is back in the news, and a few of the blogs I follow are now writing about it.
So I wanted to draw upon their works and enter the fray to add my own comprehensive take about gay marriage, detailing the underlying history, philosophy, and constitutional law of it, and maybe drop a bit of science.
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On 21 May 2012 in All, History, Political Commentary.
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Editor’s Note: Reese McKenzie contacted me by email and asked me to post this essay on my site. I was happy to oblige. If you want to do a guest post, let me know. Otherwise, enjoy this first ever guest post. (Keep in mind that the opinions here are not my own, but that of Reese McKenzie, and I may not agree with everything said in this essay.)
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (and More) About “Dogs Playing Poker”
While no one would ever claim that the “Dogs Playing Poker” paintings are on artistic par with works like the Mona Lisa or American Gothic, they have managed to burn their own indelible mark in American culture. One of the more widely reproduced series of paintings, C.M. Coolidge’s series of nine paintings depicting dogs playing poker has been reproduced millions of times on velvet paintings, postcards, coffee mugs, t-shirts, and other items. The paintings all utilize the same theme and general approach, as far as showing various breeds of dogs in different setting and locales
playing poker, much as their human counterparts do.
Below are the titles of each of the paintings in the series
- A Bold Bluff (also titled Judge St. Bernard Stands Pat on Nothing)
- A Friend in Need
- His Station and Four Aces
- Pinched with Four Aces
- Poker Sympathy
- Post Mortem
- Sitting up with a Sick Friend
- Stranger in Camp
- Waterloo (also titled Judge St. Bernard Wins on a Bluff)
Coolidge produced the paintings between 1906 and 1934 (when he died) for a calendar maker. His poker-playing dogs were designed to very representative of wealthy businessmen, doctors, and lawyers, with their dress and the locales of games pointing to an upper-crust society of canines enjoying a game of poker. Coolidge didn’t just include poker on a whim, as many of the scenes show dramatic moments in a game with certain of the dogs betting big on a complete bluff and other similar scenes.
Coolidge was an unlikely choice as far as the originator of poker playing dogs that live on today, as he was born to Quaker parents in New York and received no formal art instruction. He worked as a bookkeeper, founded a small bank, and briefly owned a drug store and a failed newspaper before he turned his hand to painting and cartoons. He’s also credited with inventing what he called Comic Foregrounds — the popular amusement park feature in which guests can insert their heads into holes of cartoonish figures to be photographed.
While his “Dogs Playing Poker” paintings are largely considered to be kitschy and less-than-serious art, in February 2005 the two original paintings of A Bold Bluff and Waterloo sold at auction for $590,400 — far above the estimated value of $30,000. The buyer was anonymous so there’s no way to know if it’s hanging in the living room of one of the many successful players at online poker sites or in a serious art collector’s collection, but it’s hard to argue the success, longevity, and appeal of dogs playing poker.
On 23 Jul 2011 in All, Guest Post, History.
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On July 4th, I wrote about what it’s like to be patriotic and a humanist, and a little bit about what America as a nation means to me. However, I still have a bit more to say about the 4th of July — specifically, I’d like to write a bit about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Why? Well, recently, I got an email forward that highlighted the trials and tribulations of the men who signed the United States Declaration of Independence. It highlighted the extreme risks those men took in signing the Declaration, outlined the demographics of the signers, and then talked about their lives. Unfortunately, while this email did contain a core of historical truth, as Snopes says, another good portion of the email was embellished.
However, I am not here to, as Snopes does, to go through the email piece by piece and point out its historical flaws. However, another quote on the Snopes site caught my eye:
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On 6 Jul 2011 in All, History.
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