Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Liberal Coalition Top Ten
Week of 11/19/06 thru 11/25/06

Ah, all caught up, nothing like this feeling! Have to enjoy it whilst it lasts, I'm sure post-vacation posts will swamp me again by tomorrow. Here's my weekly Liberal Coalition blogaround...

Update: Ken Quinnell has a new home for T. Rex's Guide to Life; please make a note of it.

• Bora alerts us all about the latest arguments between, as Ed Brayton puts it, "two very different groups involved in fighting against the ID public relations campaign to distort science education. The distinction between the two groups is that one is fighting to prevent ID creationism from weakening science education while the other is fighting, at least in their minds, to eliminate all religious belief of any kind, even those perspectives that have no quarrel with evolution specifically or science in general, from society." I suspect creationists didn't intend this outcome, but it couldn't have worked out better for them. Either their nonscientific ideas get accepted in schools in place of actual science, to the detriment of society in general, or they sit around and laugh as scientists pick each other apart over the necessity of attacking the fanatics' ideas and with how much zeal, and indeed whether science and religion are compatible at all or whether religion is beside the point of (and a different discipline altogether than) science. It's a version of what's happened in larger measure with the "War on Christmas" and other tropes of the radical religious reactionaries, and it needs to stop but I'll be damned - okay, darned - if I can figure out how. To me, the best response is probably not to play the game, which means in essence, despite the fact that I adore Pharyngula to death, I agree with Ed Brayton's initial post in that I think there's a difference between being an atheist and being actively against all religion, and logic would probably work better against radical reactionaries than passion because fanatics are always going to have a leg up in the passion category. And speaking of passion, Bora reminds us of the difference between liberals with actual issues and conservatives who care more about power than governing.

• Chris is preparing a disc collection of (and soliciting from readers) songs that go with each of the 27 amendments to the US Constitution. Wow, good luck with that one, Lefty!

• Jeff expounds upon why Dinesh D'Souza is wrong, wrong, wrong about religion-incited violence.

• John cries fowl at the yearly Forbes list of the world's richest fictional characters. You know how rich these fictional characters are? Exactly as rich as their writers need them to be, at any given time.

• Maru has discovered some great sign generators at redkid's site! Hey, that's my schtick! Okay, it's Gerard's schtick...

• Michael wonders when he became the family baker. I'm still not brave enough to bake.

• Mustang Bobby is pretty certain the Christian blogger spammers have the wrong guy.

• Scott passes along a cool game called Linerider. Robin would probably do well with it.

• Steve G does his holiday food shopping in manageable bits, like me. I do everything having to do with food prep, cooking and clean-up in manageable bits, it's the only way to go. Steve also makes a dire prediction for 2007.

Bonus non-LC posts:

• Pam Spaulding has moved Pam's House blend here; please update your bookmarks accordingly.

Amanda and Jill on the "creative class." I definitely agree with Jill that, in our present society, wanting to live the creative life is a luxury reserved pretty much for the well-off and, as PJ Myers puts it, educated class. Robin's lucky enough to be able to make a living from freelance art, but he's also college-educated and has a college-educated wife who brings in half the household income (and we can't afford to live in most NYC-area bohemias) so that helps a lot.

• David Byrne has a long and fascinating diatribe concerning his thoughts on religion and geopolitics. Key paragraph:
To me, this is why the current (tiny) wave of atheism — the recent books by Dawkins, Dennett and Harris, for example — are also in denial. They deny that this propensity for people to believe is innate. Yes, they admit that religion offers many comforts and assurances, security and community — very attractive and seductive — but they stop short at admitting that we are genetically predisposed to believe, that it is in our very nature, a part of what it means to be human. Maybe an illogical part, but that all our innate evolved characteristics are not practical forever (context changes, the world changes) or even rational, from some points of view (does the peacock’s tail have to be THAT big? Isn’t all that just a wee bit of a wasteful allocation of resources?)
Good reading.

• And speaking of things religious, as we're in a heightened season of awareness and all that, Tom Hilton posts his Holiday Greetings Etiquette Guide at No More Mister Nice Blog. Pretty common-sense stuff that it's amazing needs to be spelled out in this day and age, but then I think that of most etiquette.