December 2007 Archives

The Descent Into Nihilism

December 26, 2007

Salon is carrying a terrific interview, titled The atheist delusion, with of all people a Catholic theologian. His is an analysis that I've been wanting to be brilliant enough to make about the three atheists, and the concept of science and/vs. religion in general. One of the issues he brings up is the concept of extreme atheism leading to nihilism, as demonstrated in the works of Nietzshe, Sartre, and Camus. I want to add one more person to his list: Dostoyevsky.

Pollan on Agricultural Antibiotics Risking Future of Public Health

December 17, 2007

The Way We Live Now: Our Decrepit Food Factories: This article is not terribly long, but it is incredibly cogent in its explanation of what sustainability really means and why we should be concerned with it. As a first order response, please consider purchasing only antibiotic-free meat. It is now pretty widely available in normal grocery stores, and I don't believe it has much of a premium over other meat. The FDA needs to stop this practice — I have sent them letters requesting that, via the Union of Concerned Scientists. In the meantime, we must reduce the impact whatever way we can as individual consumers.

Review - "Prophet's Daughter" by Janet Khan

December 7, 2007

PDT.jpg Bahíyyih Khánum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, can be considered the woman of highest station in her father's faith, and yet the facts about her life are few. Owing primarily to cultural constraints on her sex, the story and character of her outstanding life must be teased out by the biographer through the scattered references of letters, diaries, and recollections. Armed with a mighty assortment of such citations, researcher Janet Khan weaves a moving tapestry of the Greatest Holy Leaf in Prophet's Daughter: The Life and Legacy of Bahíyyih Khánum, Outstanding Heroine of the Bahá'í Faith.

My deamon's name is Azaria (a Corvus)

December 4, 2007

According to the daemon selector in the Golden Compass website, my daemon is a crow named Azaria, because my profiles reveals that I am "modest, solitary, proud, shy, and fickle."

Religion as Social Force

December 3, 2007

"Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness, of justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine." Bahá'u'lláh

I was struck by this quote today and had to go look it up. It looks as though this translation was first published in a letter written by Bahá'u'lláh's great-grandson, Shoghi Effendi. More recently it was used in the seminal work The Promise of World Peace:

Writing of religion as a social force, Bahá'u'lláh said: "Religion is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein." Referring to the eclipse or cor- ruption of religion, he wrote: "Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness, of justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine." In an enumeration of such consequences the Bahá'í writings point out that the "perversion of human nature, the degradation of human conduct, the corruption and dissolution of human institutions, reveal themselves, under such circumstances, in their worst and most revolting aspects. Human char- acter is debased, confidence is shaken, the nerves of discipline are relaxed, the voice of human conscience is stilled, the sense of decency and shame is obscured, conceptions of duty, of solidarity, of reciprocity and loyalty are distorted, and the very feeling of peacefulness, of joy and of hope is gradually extinguished."

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