Saturday, November 15, 2008

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

And your lungs. And your clothing. Hair.

The big fire up in Santa Barbaara is throwing ash all over the place.

Eh. I'm spoiled. When I was a kid, there were days that were like chain smoking. Now there's seldom a day that amounts to a pipe.

Reminds me of Carlin's bit, "WE SWAM IN RAW SEWAGE!"


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That was Too Much Information.

    Thanks for the Carlin bit. I hope your home in in a safe area.

  3. I was going to say something about being an atheist in church but it'd look odd now.

    Yeah, we're safe.

  4. I mean, in that relative, not-very-safe way.

    The fire's not a big concern, though. We moved out of kindling country.

  5. I'm glad to hear that you and your family are not in the path of the fires. Not exactly on-topic, but not exactly off, either, have you read the Niven & Pournelle books about prehistoric L.A., The Burning City and Burning Tower? I liked them a lot, but then those two, individually or together, always seem to write the kind of things I like to read. Though Niven, solo, sometimes gets a little telegraphic. Seems that fire is a natural part of the environment in that neighborhood, and always has been.

    Veering a bit: Now I'm intrigued, and would like to hear your thoughts about being an atheist in church. Do I need to put that TMI comment back in order to provoke you to write it? "Provoke" might be the wrong word; persuade, encourage, stimulate?

  6. I think the only N&P book I've read is Inferno which I read shortly after reading Dante.

    I liked it. Don't know why I didn't read more.

    As far as being an atheist in church, I think it's not all that uncommon. And although it's not universal, I think the religious are happy to have the atheist in church, where God can talk to him.

    Religion serves a purpose that isn't diminished by disbelief. I go to the Jews again here, because they adhere to the roots of religion which are "to bind". Many of the great atheists were Jewish because, of course, Jewish-ness transcends what one believes. Every Jew knows, I think, that when the next round of pogroms start, whether or not they're practicing will not change their fate.

    So the outside world binds them as well.

    I think the need for the religious binding remains even when we can't see God.

  7. Thanks for the atheist in church comment. I'm going to need to think about that for a while; no fast, flip reply tonight. I just deleted a couple of hundred words that might turn into something, but need (at least a little) more thought applied to them.

    A few quick things:

    1) does Pascal's wager imply some contempt for God's intelligence? Isn't it just a transparent ruse?

    2) is there a way that does not involve belief in God (or deities of some sort) to get the sort of social networks that churches promote, in which people care for, and actually help, people outside the group of their blood or marriage relations? Is this commitment of people to care for one another what you mean by "the religious binding?" If so, is belief in a God or Gods required to make it work?

    3) do the Unitarian Universalists have the answer to #2? If so, why aren't they more successful? In terms of membership numbers, or any other objective measurement.

    4) Would you like to keep the tone of The Bit Maelstrom a little lighter than this? If so, feel free to delete this comment, I won't mind a bit. (Won't mind a bit! Hah! And I say things about Larry Niven's prose style being telegraphic, when I do it myself all the time.)

  8. I posted a really long ramble up at the top in answer to these....


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