Friday, February 22, 2008

Battling Cancer

Tony Snow, former press secretary to President Bush, talks about his battle with cancer. It's pretty inspirational:

He's an amazing guy.


Why Do People Believe?

According to a Fox News story Oxford University is going to spend $3.7 million to try to determine why it is that people believe in God. Is belief, the academics wonder, an evolutionary adaptation that conferred upon early man a survival advantage or is it something that we absorb from our environment:

Academics have been given a grant to try to find out whether belief in a deity is a matter of nature or nurture. They will not attempt to solve the question of whether God exists but they will examine evidence to try to prove whether belief in God conferred an evolutionary advantage to mankind.

They will also consider the possibility that faith developed as a by-product of other human characteristics, such as sociability.

I know it will sound presumptuous to suggest, but could it be that people believe in God because essentially there are only two options, belief or nihilism, and most people don't care much for nihilism. Now, it's true, I suppose, that the majority of people don't think this way, but it's really pretty hard to escape the conclusion that if God doesn't exist then life is a pointless exercise in futility and most people want to believe in something that makes their lives matter. Belief that there is a God, in other words, makes much more sense of our existential experience of the world than does belief that there is no God and most people intuitively recognize this even if they aren't able to articulate it.

I seek to defend this claim, by the way, in a paper that I've posted here. Maybe if the Oxford dons checked it out they could save themselves a considerable sum of money and use it instead to buy pints all around at the local pub.


That's a Problem

Even his supporters can't say what Senator Obama has actually done to qualify him for the presidency. Here's Texas state senator Kirk Watson being interviewed by Chris Matthews:

It matters not that Sen. Obama is all hat and no cattle, as they say in Texas. The ladies swoon at his campaign events, he inspires in the multitude "hope" of "change", and he promises, essentially, to convert a few loaves and fishes into food for everyone. What other qualifications does a president need?

Thanks to Jeff C. for the link.