Friday, July 24, 2009

The Curious Case of Brad Pitt

Hot Air links us to an interview with actor Brad Pitt at Pitt is being interviewed on the occasion of a release of an upcoming movie and seemingly out of the blue he's asked the following:

BILD: Have you found happiness in life?

Brad Pitt (nodding): Hm - yes. I am on the path I want to be on."

BILD: Do you believe in God?

Pitt (smiling): "No, no, no!"

BILD: Is your soul spiritual?

Pitt: "No, no, no! I'm probably 20 per cent atheist and 80 per cent agnostic. I don't think anyone really knows. You'll either find out or not when you get there, until then there's no point thinking about it.

No point thinking about it? What could be more important to think about? I'm reminded of a couple of lines from Samuel Johnson:

"It is astonishing that any man can forbear enquiring seriously whether there is a God; whether God is just; whether this life is the only state of existence. These are the questions every reasonable person ought to consider with an attention suitable to their importance."

I guess when you're a movie star and you've made important films and dated important women you don't need to think about what it all amounts to so much. Blaise Pascal was intrigued by this uncurious approach to life and describes the strangeness of it in this ironical fashion:

"I know not who sent me into the world, nor what the world is, nor what I myself am. I am terribly ignorant of everything...

I see the terrifying immensity of the universe which surrounds me, and find myself limited to one corner of this vast expanse...

All I know is that I must soon die, but what I understand least of all is this very death which I cannot escape. As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I only know that on leaving this world I fall for ever into nothingness or into the hands of a wrathful God, without knowing to which of these two states I shall be everlastingly consigned. Such is my condition, full of weakness and uncertainty.

From all this I conclude that I ought to spend every day of my life without seeking to know my fate. I might perhaps be able to find a solution to my doubts; but I cannot be bothered to do so, I will not take one step towards its discovery."

It sounds like Pascal is describing Mr. Pitt, but perhaps his cognitive faculties suffered so much damage in Fight Club that his curiosity about things that really matter has atrophied.



The President seems intent on making himself look both small and obtuse in the matter of the arrest of professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard. His comment was:

"With all the problems facing the nation, it doesn't make sense to arrest a guy in his own home if he's not causing a serious disturbance."

What do the problems facing the nation have to do with the arrest? Should the police stop doing their job just because the nation has problems? If all the problems were resolved would the arrest of professor Gates have then been in order? Was this an intelligent thing for the President to say?

Then White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, questioned about the flap as the president headed for two health care events in Cleveland, stressed that Obama "was not calling the officer stupid." He said Obama felt that "at a certain point the situation got far out of hand."

Well, Mr. Gibbs is splitting rhetorical hairs. The President of the United States said that the police, i.e. officer Crowley, acted stupidly. That's pretty much the same thing as calling him stupid, and it's certainly demeaning for an individual law enforcement official to be personally insulted on a nationally televised press conference by the most powerful man in the world.

Officer Crowley was insulted and President Obama was diminished. What on earth is the President of the United States doing calling a local policeman's actions stupid? Why did he feel that this was something, given all the problems the nation is facing, that he should comment upon at all? I can't imagine George Bush doing anything so graceless.



Why do so many contemporary atheists feel the need for religious services and rites? G. Jeffrey MacDonald of Religion News Service tells us about a new atheist fad:

Up until last summer, Jennifer Gray of Columbus, Ohio, considered herself "a weak Christian" whose baptism at age 11 in a Kentucky church came to mean less and less to her as she gradually lost faith in God.

Then the 32-year-old medical transcriptionist took a decisive step, one that previously hadn't been available. She got "de-baptized."

In a type of mock ceremony that's now been performed in at least four states, a robed "priest" used a hairdryer marked "reason" in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all. Several dozen participants then fed on a "de-sacrament" (crackers with peanut butter) and received certificates assuring they had "freely renounced a previous mistake, and accepted Reason over Superstition."

"It was very therapeutic," Gray said in an interview. "It was a chance to laugh at the silly things I used to believe as a child. It helped me admit that it was OK to think the way I think and to not have any religious beliefs."

There's more on the de-baptism "movement" at the link.

I wonder if one of the silly things Ms Gray believed as a child is that the process depicted in this video is the result of chance and blind forces hacking away for a few million years until they were able to produce muscle contraction:

I'm reminded of the quote from Francis Crick that biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. Crick realized that if people weren't careful and diligent when they considered the enormous improbablity of biological structures and processes they were seeing in their labs their common sense would overwhelm their commitment to materialism and then all would be lost. Maybe that quote could be incorporated into the de-baptism liturgy while de-baptizees are fluffing their brains with the hot air of atheism.


Zelaya's Thievery

The other day we cited reports that the illegal referendum that Manuel Zelaya was trying to impose on Honduras had already been rigged. Now we have another report from today's Washington Times that charges Zelaya of having robbed the country's central bank of almost 3 million dollars:

Honduran officials are investigating allegations that President Manuel Zelaya and his chief of staff stole millions of dollars from the central bank before the military ousted Mr. Zelaya last month, according to a senior Honduran official, government documents and other evidence.

A security video from the Central Bank of Honduras made available to The Washington Times shows officials entering the bank June 24 and withdrawing large amounts of Honduran currency. The money was driven to the office of Mr. Zelaya's chief of staff, Enrique Flores Lanza, according to depositions by three witnesses to Honduran prosecutors.

Government documents and testimony by the three say that about $2.2 million was taken.

The video, originally aired in Honduras, has not been previously reported by U.S. media.

An additional $550,000 was withdrawn hours later from the central bank by order of Mr. Lanza, according to bank documents obtained by The Times.

The Obama administration and the rest of the left can continue to defend this guy if they want, but all it does is continue to deplete their moral credibility.