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TED Tuesday: Ideas Worth Spreading for the Week of 12/21

December 21st, 2010 Comments off

Happy Winter Solstice everyone and a premature Saturnium (Christmas, for you non-pagan believers).

So I haven’t posted an online lecture in a while. I was very tempted to simply post the excellent Munk Debate on the place of religion in modern society that was hosted in Canada a few weeks ago and featured Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair, but I figured that the copyright status of those files are a little less than, well, certain.

Instead, I’ve decided to post a couple of recent TED lectures that struck me as truly enthralling. The first is Denis Dutton’s Darwinian Theory of Beauty. This lecture not only passes science muster… it’s also one of the most truly beautiful presentations I can recall, incorporating animation into its powerpoint.

Click through for the next. Read more…

Not Surprised: Palin is a Creationist

November 17th, 2009 1 comment

Sure enough, in her picture book entitled Going Rouge (oh, wait, that said Rogue?), the biggest blow to American political legitimacy since Monica was on her knees admitted that she doesn’t believe in evolution.

From Michiko Kakutani’s NYT review:

Elsewhere in this volume she talks about creationism, saying she “didn’t believe in the theory that human beings — thinking, loving beings — originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea” or from “monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees.” In everything that happens to her, from meeting Todd to her selection by Mr. McCain for the Republican ticket, she sees the hand of God: “My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over.”

(via Think Progress, via Digg)

Sometimes I really doubt this country and am incredulous that so many of our citizens (and, sadly, many of our leaders) cannot reconcile science with faith. It’s not complicated, it’s just accepting that religious texts are written by men and framed by their understanding of how things operate. Whether a God inspired them is not vitiated by accepting that the Bible is not the actual, specific words used by God.

Heck, if you’re reading the Bible in English you’re reading a translation which, in and of itself, means necessarily that there is a human influence beyond the initial text. That is incontrovertible.

Click through to keep reading. Read more…