Monday, September 10, 2012

Obamacare in One Sentence

Dr. Barbara Bellar is a physician running for the Illinois State Senate. At a recent event she summed up Obamacare in one single, very long, but very incisive sentence:
It's interesting that scarcely anyone among the Democrats touts the Affordable Care Act as a reason to reelect the President. If they do, they stick to glowing generalities and don't talk much about the details. Little wonder.

The Fundamental Nature of Reality

At Big Questions Online Andrew Briggs ponders the ultimate nature of reality and wonders whether, at bottom, everything is information. It's an intriguing question. What is the fundamental reality that makes up our world and ourselves?

Generations of scientists have assumed it was matter made of atoms, but as we learn more about the atom it seems that the appearance of materiality that the world presents to our senses is in fact something of an illusion, a trick played on our senses by something even more fundamental than matter. After all, when we dissect an atom down to its tiniest constituents we find that they're really just ghostly manifestations of energy (whatever that is). They seem to be nothing more substantial than a mathematical abstraction.

We find that these subatomic particles don't play by the same rules that macroscopic material objects play by. Subatomic particles can be in two different places simultaneously, a phenomenon called superposition, and they can also affect each other even though they're at opposite ends of the universe moving away from each other at the speed of light, a bizarre phenomenon called quantum entanglement.

If matter turns out not to be the fundamental reality what would be? If, as Briggs suggests, it's information then that suggests an even more basic reality, i.e. mind, that underlies everything. That would really upset the metaphysical applecart because if mind is the fundamental reality then we're but a few short steps, philosophically speaking, from the conclusion that God, or something very much like God, exists.

The Benediction

One of the most incongruous events of the recent Democratic convention was the closing prayer offered by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Dolan's prayer was a gentle rebuke of practically everything that was said in the first two days of the gathering. During the early speeches speaker after speaker affirmed the necessity of preserving a mother's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, even at taxpayer expense, and the need for taxpayers to pay for other people's birth control.

Dolan's prayer essentially called on God to confute all those demands, using phrases like, “Grant us the courage to defend life…waiting to be born, welcomed and protected.”

He also prayed for “life, without which no other rights are secured,” and that God would grant us "the right to life so we can choose liberty and happiness."

He added this: "We praise You for the gift of life, grant us the courage to defend it.”

These petitions to the Almighty on behalf of innocent children won him the contumely of hundreds of liberal/progressives who showered the twitter-sphere with ugly imprecations and foul exhortations to the Cardinal to commit acts which, let us just say, the Church deems sinful. It's funny that liberals call for civility and decency in our political discourse but often feel no obligation to behave with civility and decency themselves.

Anyway, here's the video of Dolan's closing prayer. It's really quite remarkable, given the venue and the convictions of the people gathered there.