Drugs

I’ve never used any sort of illegal mind altering substance. I have never smoked a cigarette. I have never inhaled, snorted, shot, licked, or rubbed a chemical into my body that wasn’t perscription or over-the-counter. This strikes some of my friends as odd, althought I’ve never really given it much thought. But while driving to Morgantown with some friends today, I realized just why it is I don’t do the whole mind-bending thing.
As I mentioned before, reality exists regardless of what I think of it. So to me, it’s a waste of time to bend my perception of reality. Relaxing with pot, or a cigarette, or tripping on acid all hamper my fundamental tool for dealing with reality – my perception. And if that’s impaired, then I can’t do anything productive.
Ironically, I do drink alcohol on occasion. But it’s almost always in great moderation, so I guess it’s somehow excusable. Of course, that may just be me rationalizing too. 🙂

Reality

So, while generally being interested in philosophy and while specifically reading Julius X’s page of banter, I was struck by what is one my deepest convictions.
Reality exists in an objective form independent of conciousness.
There’s all sorts of consequences of that belief, and I’m still hashing some of them out. I’ll post some more as my thoughts progress, but for now I’ve got to get going – meeting some friends for the afternoon.

Speaking of Incompetence

The Freedom Forum has an article about the recent State of the First Amendment survey. Apparently, a very large percentage of people out there think that the First Amendment is too broad and is getting in the way of the government’s “War on Terror”. I think this ties into the previous post nicely, especially when you consider the response rates on some of the questions:

  • “For the first time in the annual State of the First Amendment survey, almost half (49%) of those surveyed said the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees…”
  • “The percentages of those responding who were able to identify individual freedoms:
    • 58% — freedom of speech
    • 18% — freedom of religion
    • 14% — freedom of the press
    • 10% — freedom of assembly/association
    • 2% — freedom of petition”

Now, unless I read that wrong, only 58% of people knew the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech, but 49% of those polled thought the First Amendment goes too far. It doesn’t take a professional statistician to guess that a pretty damn large chunk of the people who are calling for the rewrite of the First Amendment don’t even know what the one we have now says. And the fact that only 18% of people know about the freedom of religion doesn’t make me sleep any easier.
It’s this type of complete and utter stupidity that makes me wonder if and how American society is going to survive.

What a day…

Today I focused on de-stressing myself. I forced myself to not even think about calling work to check on things.
Instead, I went out to Tygart Lake, near Grafton, WV and rented a boat. The lake is formed by a US Corp. of Engineers dam (Tygart Dam, who woulda guessed) built in 1938. It’s 200-some feet high, and was the first dam constructed in West Virginia in it’s flood control project. The highest water level in the resevoir was during the floods of 1985, when the water reached within 10′ of the top. That’s just the information I can recall off-hand from the visitor center.
One thing I noticed was that, on the Homeland Security front, there weren’t any National Guard troops or anything like that guarding the dam. Of course, the water level was so low I doubt you’d get much damage from cracking the thing. The resevoir was around 10 feet low, just based on vegetation levels around the shore. The guy at the marina said that they were gonna close in another few weeks because the cove was going to be drained.
Cruising the lake was a lot of fun, and very relaxing. I also saw one of the biggest dead fish I’ve ever seen in my life. It was easily over three feet long, and stank like, well, dead fish. I couldn’t figure out if it was real or an inflatable toy or something… until I got close enough to catch a wiff. *gag*
So, after a fun hour of motoring around the lake, I stopped by my friend Paula’s place and said hi to her. She hates her job, and is looking for anything not call-center related, as far as I can tell. Good luck Puala!
Then it was back home and off to the gym for a little while, followed by a delicious meal at the local Mexican place. The food was great, but it ran though me like a white boy lost in Harlem.
So now I’m editing this entry while submitting problem reports to FreeBSD. Then I’m going to finish setting up VNC and head to bed.

Give ’em the boot….

Ok, I’m trying to figure out how to make a bootable CD image for FreeBSD. I understand the mkisofs command line needed. But I don’t understand what must be included on the image to successfully boot it. So, anyone who feels like helping me out while I’m asleep tonight, just leave a comment 😉

Apologetics, Theology; Believers and non-Believers

In response to HokiePundit’s justification for not posting his next theological essay, let me simply say “Bull-she-iet”.
More specifically, HP, the only way your post makes sense is if you’re saying Christian theology is irrational and must be taken on faith. Since the Bible doesn’t tell me if I should invest in Pepsi or Nike or neither, Christians obviously have to extrapolate from what’s given to gain further insight and guidance. And you extrapolate by using rationality.
Now, the basic ideas of Christainity do rest on faith instead of rationality, and I’m not arguing that. But anyone who can study Greek mythology or play Dungeons and Dragons is capable of the level of empathetic understanding necessary to comprehend Christian theology.
The real frustration I’ve seen Christians have when talking about theology with non-believers isn’t that the non-believers can’t or don’t comprehend. Christians almost always treat theological discussions as relating to reality, which they obviously do for Christians. But for non-believers, that doesn’t hold. I’ve never had a non-believer be incapable of following a theological issue assuming it’s treated as a hypothetical. It’s just that non-believers automatically rebel when Christians, subconciously or conciously, treat theology as reality instead of hypothetical. But that rebellion isn’t based in a misunderstanding of the Christian theology, it’s based in a rejection of the faith-based foundation of Christian theology.
And for a Christian talking with a non-believer, you want to bring that rejection to the forefront. This is what clearly separates a Christian from a non-Christian, and the sooner you, as a Christian, isolate and address the issue of faith, the better your witness will be. As for theology, publish it all you want, but when you receive a critique from a non-believer, understand that there’s only two ways to fairly treat him or her:

  • Honestly treat the discussion as a hypothetical, academic, exercise; or
  • Steer the conversation towards the root cause of misunderstanding and address the issue of faith.

Doing anything else is neither fair nor productive.