Saturday, August 27, 2011

From The Believing Brain

The following is from a new book by Michael Shermer entitled The Believing Brain: From Ghosts to Gods to Politics and Conspiracies -- How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.
Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen. These meaningful patterns become beliefs, and these beliefs shape our understanding of reality.
Once beliefs are formed, the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and thereby accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop of belief confirmation.
How does one escape from a "positive feedback loop" which only serves to reinforce one's prior beliefs? I suspect the older one gets, the more difficult it is to escape. I remember coming to the conclusion that the Christian scheme of things did not make sense when I was around the age of 20. I was able to depart from it at that time.

Overpopulation and abortion

One of my concerns has to do with the overpoulation of the world.  Here is a video which addresses this problem and also speaks to abortion:

Friday, August 26, 2011

God is funny

A friend sent me a link to a video on YouTube.  The accent may be a bit difficult to understand, but you will probably be able to understand most of it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A blog I like

There are some six or seven blogs which I follow regularly.  Being a former Southern Baptist, I enjoy reading the writings of Dr. Bruce Prescott of Norman, Oklahoma.  His blog is entitled "Mainstream Baptist" and can be found at Dr. Prescott follows and writes about issues related to religion in general, and to Southern Baptists in particular.

Home improvements

Lately, we have been involved in a home improvemnt project.  We pulled up the carpet in the hall and will be replacing it with linoleum tile, the peel-and-stick kind.  We have looked at Lowe's and have settled on the tile we want.  It is almost white, which should make the hallway lighter in appearance.

All the while, we have been doing a lot of babysitting.  Once again today, we will be picking up the grandkids when they get out of school.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jim Hightower on Rick Perry

With Perry, you get the two basic political strains of today's Republican Party in one suit. On the one hand, he has carefully posed himself in the past couple of years as the farthest out of Tea Party Republican's far-out right-wingers. Think Michele Bachman with better hair: Perry called the BP oil disaster an "act of God." His response to the drought that's devastating Texas was to pray for rain (God did not oblige). He's a "tenther" who angrily asserted state's rights to nullify Obama's "socialist" schemes (until he needed federal cash to fix his state's bankrupt unemployment fund). He hates government-financed health care -- except for himself and his family. He loudly decries big government intrusion into people's lives, but enacted a law this year to require any woman considering an abortion to have a grossly-invasive probe inserted up her uterus to make her see a sonogram of the embryo. If elected, he would also try to scuttle Social Security, Medicaid and the federal income tax. All this, he warns, or else Texas might secede from the Union -- an idea lustily applauded by the other 49 states.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Peek-a-boo frog

As I was watering my topsy-turvy plants tonight, look what appeared from inside.  Forced to surface by the rising water, a little frog came scrambling to an exit hole.  My two topsy-turvy plants have produced thus far only one tomato, about the size of a grape.  I decided to leave the little feller alone.  It is probably the most interesting thing my garden has produced this year.  (Click on the picture to enlarge the view.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Church service; piano; garden

On Sunday, I went to Church of the Restoration at 10 am for the RE hour which meets prior to the 11 am service.  The topic today was the financial meltdown which happened in 2008 and is still with us to this day.  The service was led by a young man from the School of Metaphysics.  There were about 15 people present.

On Monday Gail came over at the usual time and we played duets at the piano until around 11:40.  She was exhausted by that time, so we stopped.

My garden is a real disappointment this year.  My tomato plants went wild with foliage but produced little fruit.  The cucumber plants did better.  Maybe my garden next year should be all cucumber plants.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Movies we have seen recently

We do not get out to the movies a lot, but with keeping the grandkids much recently, we have seen a few movies.  We saw Mr. Popper's Penguins, Winnie the Pooh, and The Smurfs.

One of the best movies I have seen recently is Transcendent Man: The Life and Ideas of Ray Kurzweil. We viewed it today at the Humanist Discussion Group. Kurzweil is a futurist and inventor.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mid-Week Report

Yesterday, I drove to a small community south of Claremore called Tiawah.  It was in Tiawah where the body of a former railroad co-worker lay at the altar.  The woman was just 39 years old when she was killed by a flatcar which rolled into her.  The accident happened on August 4.  She sat on the passenger side of a Kabota, a small vehicle used by the car department.  The driver did not realize that the flatcar was rolling down the hump.  The knuckle and draft gear of the flatcar struck Debby as they were attempting to cross over the track.  Most likely death was instantaneous.  It took two hours to extract her body from the Kabota.   I had transported Debby in my van many times when I worked at the yard.

Luke and Ayla spent the night with us again last night.  Although Jennifer returned home from the hospital yesterday, J asked to keep the children another night to give Jennifer more time to rest.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Weekend Activities

On Sunday, I went to Church of the Restoration.  The speaker was to be Will Poire.  However, Will sent me an e-mail saying that his employer was sending him to Kansas for the weekend.  He sent me his talk by e-mail, and I read it to the congregation in his place.  I also played a solo at the piano as the special music.  It was "Blackbird" by Lennon and McCartney.  It was Humanist Sunday and three humanists other than myself were there.  Gail was there for the first time since her surgery.  There were close to a dozen there, perhaps a few more as we had three guests.  We had a meal following the service.

Jen had surgery today.  I went to the hospital for a while and sat with Nick and Gary and Adra Dobbs.  Her surgery went well.  She will be in the ICU for a while.

Luke and Ayla are staying with us for a few days.  Luke is a real firecracker.  As it gets closer to bedtime, he becomes more active, running through the house as fast as he can.  J has a lot more patience with him than I.