Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Okay, I'm rebooting this blog. Why? Eh. I wanted a clean start, a place where I could yak about the things I find important/interesting. For the most part, this will be about comics/webcomics. It may also be about politics, religion, or whatever strikes me as interesting.

Caveat Numero Uno:
I am likely to spout off and write something that is either out and out wrong, or out and out silly. Do me a favor and tell me, as nicely as you can. I actually appreciate being told when I am wrong.

Caveat Numero Dos:
Telling me I am wrong does not mean I will agree with you. I will assess your grievance/complaint myself and come to a decision based upon what I know and what you present. This means that if I think you're full of baloney, I won't concede to you.

Caveat Numero Tres:
I am not a liberal, I am not a conservative. I do not believe in God, and I think that people who believe in science need to have their heads examined. I am pretty sure there's no such thing as ghosts, Space Aliens, angels, chakras, or good/evil. However, if infallible evidence to the contrary were to be presented, I would by all means be willing to accept such views.

Caveat Numero Quatro:
There are subjects for which I have no opinion, because I lack enough information to come to a cogent conclusion. If I have an opinion, there's a reason for it.

Hey. Nemeros tres, a bit hard to swallow. You sound as though you have sound, well-thought out, firm reasons for all that disbelief. I noticed, however, that while you were most definite about what you *didn't* believe, there were no balancing positives - namely, what the heck you *do* believe.

Is this all a quick 'n' dirty way of telling everyone that they can't resort to buzzwords to 'back up' their opinion? Many do, citing the Bible or some other work or Evolution or whatever, as irreducible proof of their argument. I personlly blow past all that, because I recognize fuzzy thinking when I see it. But it's frustrating, all the same. And it doesn't really help the speaker, even if I agree with him. As C.S. Lewis wrote in his work "The Problem of Pain", "Nonsense remains nonsense, even when we talk it about God."

I suppose your technique works - after all, there are 0 comments on most of the posts. And I agree with the motive behind it. But this might send an unintended message.

What's the deal? And why is it Friday and no new strip for this week?


As far as the lack of new strips is concerned, I confess I was in the doldrums. I was feeling bummed out about a lot of things, some related to the world of webcomicking but most having nothing to do with it whatsoever.

As for my "Caveats", well, they're silly. I acknowledge that. I was feeling particularly frustrated when I wrote that, and that's probably a lousy time to post something in a public blog anyway.

Although, a quick note about "balancing positives" in relationship to Caveat Numero Tres. The reason I haven't listed my own beliefs is that I kinda feel like belief is an abused concept in our culture. Where people should either develop a reasoned opinion or admit they haven't got a clue, they use belief. Belief I might add that is often spoon fed to them from some authority figure. That's why I say that people who believe in Science should have their heads examined. Science isn't about belief, it's about the application of a specific process.

I think of it in my case as being a bit like pulling weeds. There are a few things that I do believe, but they're open to change. A few for example:
1) I believe that large groups of people have a tendency to make poor decisions when they are poorly informed, and better decisions when they are well informed.
2) I believe that the right to free speech, free press, free religion, free assembly, and free petition are the only real tools we as people have to defend ourselves against the government and ideologues who want to dictate how we live our lives.
3) I believe that there is no inherent point in existence, and I also believe that on a personal and social scale, this is an incredibly liberating and frightening concept.
4) I believe that determinism and free will are indivisible concepts that are simply two different ways of describing the same thing.
5) I believe that a person functions best emotionally and rationally when that person works to interact with reality in as clear and rational a way as possible.
6) I believe that people all have varying capabilities and varying strengths and weaknesses. The idea that all men are created equal is false in the bootstrap sense. It is true in that no one person has any more right to happiness or contentment than any other.

I'd also add that I wouldn't tell anyone what they could or couldn't write in response to something I've written. But it is to say that certain responses are going to be better received than others.

Geez, I've met a few kooks who thought of evolution in broad, religious terms, and who claimed to not be "religious." They genuinely scared me a little. (For example, "Survival of the Fittest," isn't rreally how evolution works, not exactly, because there are randomizing influences [meteors, volcanoes, &c.] that affect the process. "Survival of the Fittest," is really just a phrase used to explain Evolution to a beginner, but like so many things lots of people prefer to take this at face value and "canonize" it.)

Thanks for your response. It was nice to hear from someone.

Take care!
Hmmm... lots of food for thought.

Okay, I agree with your statements about the way most folks use the word 'belief'. Lewis himself pointed out in an address on religeous belief that no scientist ever 'believed' in the multiplication table, or Newtonian physics. Belief, at least these days, seems to be a catch-all for the unarguable. A Christian believes in the Holy Trinity, and will not be argued out of it. It's not a question of reason, or stubborn refusal to 'see reason'. He holds the belief against other things - doubt, etc. There are several good reasons why he does so, but the average layman never thinks of that. He takes the apparent quality of the inarguable (and a belief in Christianity is NOT inarguable) and applies it to anything he is too lazy to properly rebut. Or even discuss.

In that sense, you are spot-on.

As to your own beliefs:

1) absolutely.
2) these 'tools' as you describe them, are all focused on one task, and one task only - to perpetuate a democracy. Why a democracy? Certainly not because every man's voice is so wise, so informed, that it deserves to be heard. No. Democracy is the great leveler of playing fields. It is there so that, while all men are manifestly NOT equal, none shall be king. Kings abuse their power. Power corrupts. Corrupt people make life miserable for the rest of us - witness the present reign of King George.

3) If I could logically prove to you that existance is NOT pointless, ie; futile, would you change your present behavior? Of course not. Because whatever ideas you hold intellectually, you will continute act as though what you did, said and thought mattered. How would you know if existance were pointless, unless you had some idea of what a useful existance might be like? That is, pointless is the negative. But of what? The fact that you can imagine it at all implies there really IS a point in you being around. You may not have acheived it yet. But it is there, never fear.
If there were no light in the world (or a point to existance), no one would have eyes (or the means to percieve that point), and the word 'dark' (or 'pointlessness') would have no meaning.

This is, by the way, one reason why I like your strip. Watching you write it, trying to stay on schedule, doing your best work, telling a rapping good story - I can see you refuting Number Three every week.

4) I would debate this, but to my mind, these are not two sides of the same coin. Rather, they are like the 'irresistable force' and the 'immovable object'. Existance of the one automatically precludes existance of the other. Determinism is the 'way things are going', and the implication is that there is a Determiner. But even if it's all on automatic, then it's all non-rational, and there simply is no room for 'free will' (which requires rational thought).

5) I agree, but we live in a world where we have to deal, not only with our own fears and emotions and indigestion and corruptness, but that of others, as well. Rational thought doesn't occur very often, or for very long (it's very hard).

6) All men are created equal. Hmm... Remember, this is a political concept, as I mentioned above, something akin to clothing; a remedy, but not a cure. Perhaps you have the sense confused? I could see how you might. Everyone I meet seems to think that this means they, literally, are worth exactly as much as every other person. Hey, it's guaranteed in the Constitution. However, outside the purely political arena, this is just nonsense. If used in anything but the political sense, it reveals a smarting sense of inferiority.

No one who says "I'm as good as you" actually believes it himself. He would not say it if he did. The smart man does not say "I'm as good as you" to the stupid man, or the pretty woman to the plain, or the Great Dane to the toy poodle.

But it is very useful when the small man wants to drag down the big one.

Right. Thanks for your replies.

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