Archive for the ‘Entertainment/Books’ Category

My list of some of the most romantic sci-fi lines

February 14, 2010

Okay guys, this is, among other things, a work/list in progress, so please feel free to suggest others I might have missed/forgotten. I’ve very limited time but I managed to draw these out of the top of my head. In no particular order, here they are:

“John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didn’t know why at the time. It was very old – torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you Sarah. I love you; I always have”

-Kyle Reese, father of John Connor, talking to Sarah Connor in the movie Terminator (1984) while hiding form the terminator. Aaww. That is so romantic,  moving across time (and space) to be with the one you love. 😀

Mulder’s email to Scully:

I’ve resisted contacting you for reasons I know you continue to appreciate. But, to be honest, some unexpected dimensions of my new life are eating away at any resolve I have left. I’m lonely, Dana, uncertain of my ability to live like this. I want to come home. To you, and to William.

Scully’s reply to Mulder’s email afterwards:

I hold no hope you can respond to this. Or that it reaches you. I only hope that you are alive.

I cannot help believing that you jumped off that train because you knew what I now know – that these “super-soldiers,” if that’s what they are, can in fact be destroyed. That the key to their destruction lies in the iron compound at that quarry.

I am scared for you, Mulder. And for William. The forces against us are unrelenting. But so is my determination. To see you again. To regain the comfort and safety we shared for so brief a time.

Until then, I remain forever yours… Dana

– In ‘The X-Files’ season 9 episode, ‘Trust No 1″. Mulder is separated for a time from Scully and their son, because if he hadn’t, he would be putting Scully and their son in danger. Aaww. Sniff sniff. 🙂

Just remember…no matter what happens…I’ll always love you. ALWAYS.

– Superman to Lois Lane, before finally dying at the hands of the monster Doomsday, in Superman #75  (1993). The line really isn’t something new, but the situation and the overall atmosphere made it really special in my opinion.

So there you go sci-fi buffs, geeks, and nerds. Happy Valentine’s day. 😀

Things I’m hyped-up/excited about in 2010

December 15, 2009

This is still a work-in-progress list, so it will still be updated. I’m so excited about these that I managed to will myself to write a blog post about them… :). Anyway here they are (lo and behold, geeks and geekettes). Time to get your geek on:

Caprica – Back to the roots of BSG. Oh yes. Lots of sci-fi and sexy goodness.

The Flash: Secret Files and Origins By Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul, bringing back the long dead Silver Age Scarlet Speedster.  With Geoff’s hot writing (especially post-Blackest Night) and Francis’ fantastic pencils, hopefully they’ll stay longer in the Flash books after this limited series ends.

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne – Need I extrapolate any further? In case I do, Bruce has always been my favorite Batman, and somehow I knew DC wouldn’t keep him out of the picture for long. This reminds me of Reed Richards though, when he was sent in another time and place by Doctor Doom, as  a final strike against the fab four. Reed was found by his family though. However in Bruce’ case I think he’ll be the one responsible for bringing himself back to the present (?).

Supermand: Earth One and Batman: Earth One –  Graphic novel format! Retelling of Superman/Batman origins in modern times (ala Ultimates of Marvel)! J. Michael Straczynski and Geoff Johns (again) as writers, respectively! Need I say more? 😀 Anyway,  in case it’s not too obvious, I love the writers, the heroes,  the concept, and the format. I think it’s a good way to get away from the monthly format (I’m not saying I dislike them), and a good way to save money while salivating for the next graphic novel installment. I read that each graphic novel is about 100 pages, which reminds me of mange-type publications. Oh boy!

Iron Man 2 – Scarlett Johanssen as Nastasha Romanoff a.k.a. the Black Widow!  Downey Jr. and Paltrow returning as their original characters! War Machine! Samuel L. Jackson again as Nick Fury! Jeez, need I go on and say more? 😀

Planet Hulk – animated film. I’m not sure how well received the previous film incarnations which featured the Hulk were, such as Ultimate Avengers 1 and 2, as well as the Hulk Vs short films. But it’s good to see ol’ greenskin again, doing hulk smashes and proving once again  he’s a real force to be reckoned with in the Marvel U.

More updates soon.  Oh and suggestions are welcome. 🙂

\\//,

Quite Quotable Quotes: Rorschach

March 30, 2009

I’m starting a series of short posts from people (real or imaginary) I admire or those that interest me and have affected me in one way or another.
First off is a journal entry from Rorschach‘s journal, Watchmen issue #2 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons:

“I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.”

This quote is also mentioned by Rorschach in the Watchmen movie.

Shakespeare and programming

December 10, 2008

A great playwright and poet once wrote in his play Hamlet (and that great poet and playwright of course is none other than Shakespeare)  the following question from act three, scene one:

To be or not to be, that is the question;

Putting it into a more geeky format I have the following translation:

2B OR NOT 2B

Which sort of turns the question into a logical statement. Tidying it up a little further and noting the unary and binary operators in the statement, as well as the operator precedence, and further clarifying its (geeky) nature I have:

0x2B OR (NOT 0x2B)

And so I arrive at an answer to the question in Hamlet’s soliloquy:

0x2B OR (NOT 0x2B) = 0xFF

The answer turns out to be pretty simple and not so philosophical and deep! 😀 If you don’t know why my answer to the famous question is 0xFF, keep on guessing! 😀

(I’m feeling geekier than usual tonight, so there you go)

Secularism and Physics on Death and Immortality

September 16, 2008

This post has the following readability test scores:

Flesch Reading Ease: 63.93
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 9.00
Automated Readability Index: 9.00

For more info about readability tests, check out my post about those here.

The premise: a problem

It has been said over and over again, as a defense or even as a backlash, by religious men and women that religion has a curative and comforting utility to humankind like no other. It has also been said over and over again by secular people and rationalists that however comforting some belief or idea is, it nevertheless adds nothing to the truth value of the belief or idea. That secularism offers nothing more than a skinny comfort blanket amidst the cold and pouring rain at best. That may well be true, and indeed it leads me to believe that it all boils down to what we really want: happiness or the truth. Happiness may not necessarily be true or what’s really happening, and having the truth may not necessarily make one happy. This conflict reminds me of the doggedly proverbial “The truth hurts” and The X-Files’ “The truth is out there”. This conflict also reminds me of the struggle in the movie The Matrix, wherein to know the truth, one has to be ‘removed’ from the confines of the complacency brought about by the virtual reality of the machines who have taken over. Once one has learned the truth, which involves living as a fugitive or freedom fighter wearing mostly ragged clothing near the center of the Earth, one is left to wonder if it would have been better to have stayed in the fantasy reality, even though it’s all make-believe. I guess it wouldn’t be so surprising considering the fact that human beings, like almost every other animal, are predisposed to follow what is certain to help in the continuation of its species. After all, speaking in a geological time scale, homo sapiens are but cells that have just fertilized, and are beginning to undergo cell division to form a larger animal.

The question

So then, if you will humor my ponderings, what could secularism possibly offer as an answer to one of the most profound questions we humans have asked since the dawn of our consciousness: What is death or what happens when we die? Do we survive death in some form or is there nothing after it?

Setting the mood

Quite a mouthful of questions, and ones that have plagued thinkers or philosophers for centuries upon centuries. But I think before I even begin to give my answer to those questions, a little ‘mood setter’ is in need. Some questions are too frank or too blunt in manner, which sometimes has the effect on the listener or the questioner of making one lose focus on the more relevant and apparent details. The mood setting quote is from the book Unweaving The Rainbow by prof. Richard Dawkins. It’s his reply to people who keep on ranting or complaining or fussing about their deaths. Everytime I read it, especially when I watched and heard prof. Dawkins read it with emotions in a talk at UC Berkeley, I cannot help but be moved by it’s message, wrapped around in romantic scientific prose:

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people
are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The
potential people who could have been here in my place but who will
in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of
Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than
Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set
of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set
of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I,
in our ordinariness, that are here.

And continuing this passage in his talk:

We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state, from which the vast majority have never stirred.

Makes one (or at least myself) wonder if we even have the right to feel anger or guilt or even sadness by our undeniable demise.

Physics on death

An episode of The X-Files has agent Mulder talking to agent Scully about starlight. He says that starlight as we see it here on Earth is already billions of years old, and has traveled unimaginable distances (light-years). Stars that are now long dead, but whose light is still traveling through time. Mulder continues that perhaps that’s where souls (our souls, after we die) reside. Today, we know from physicists that the premise is correct (that starlight is very old and still keeps on traveling), but we can’t be certain (or perhaps not at all) about the succeeding statement of Mulder (about souls). Scully, Mulder’s partner, continues Mulder’s statements by saying that the light doesn’t die, and that maybe that’s the only thing that never does. Speaking in a purely Einsteinian fashion when dealing with spirituality and such, perhaps our ‘souls’ do reside in starlight, and in that sense our ‘souls’ do continue on forever.

Mulder’s statement

Taking the first statement into consideration, that ‘souls’ do reside in starlight, to be technical about it, we can probably say that it’s actually not starlight in our case but ‘planetlight’. We know that in order to see an object we have to shine light on it, after which the light bounces back, illuminating the object, back to our eyes. In the same sense, the Sun illuminates Earth at daytime, and at nighttime the Moon or our electrical/electronic devices light us up and our surroundings. In that sense light is shined on us, and so it is reflected back, which eventually reaches outer space and into the vast cosmos. In this way our ‘souls’ which in this case means our whole lifetime under some source of light, is ‘framed’ in a ‘wave’ of light cruising the universe. If there are intelligent lifeforms out there in the universe and they can’t come here due to technological constraints (same as our case), once they try viewing our part of the universe, what they’ll be seeing is planetlight (which is reflected starlight, the star being our Sun or light from some other source) containing us, our lifetimes, and our history. What they’ll be seeing of course depends on many factors such as how far they are from us, how sensitive their viewing instruments are, what time they tried viewing us, among other things.

Scully’s statement

As for Scully’s statement, that starlight doesn’t die, technically speaking that can be true, since as long as photons don’t get smashed or absorbed, they keep on travelling in space, most likely till the edge of the universe and (our) time itself. However there is a limit to how long light can travel for one to be able to ‘reconstruct’ the data (in this case our ‘souls’) it carries with it. This is because as light travels, similar to a wave, it spreads across time and space. As the light spreads, at some point in the universe very distant from the light source, it will be nearly to absolutely impossible to know what information that light brought with it. In a word, the light will be too ‘stretched’ to make any sense out of it. This is similar to research being done on the Big bang. We are in an epoch of the universe where we can still study ‘cosmic background radiation’ (electromagnetic radiation, same as light) leading back to the Big bang. If we were a few millions of years late, we might not be able to analyze the data that comes along with the cosmic background radiation. And so Scully is partially correct since light can possibly not die, but the information in the light may become lost to us or someone viewing us.

Finally, physics on immortality

In essence, our ‘souls’, most of our memories, achievements, feats, and other things in our light-stricken lives continue to propagate into inter-stellar space. The propagation duration many orders of magnitude longer than any of our lifetimes combined, which could be treated as practically infinity, and in some ways, immortality.

Reading e-books in Linux

May 6, 2008

This post is about how one can read and enjoy their e-books in Linux, covering some of the more popular e-book formats and the software used to view them.

I love books. I love reading them whether they be in tangible (physical bound books) or intangible (electronic) form. Hence my increased infatuation when I discovered the joys of e-books years ago. I don’t have a portable device whose sole purpose is to let me read and view my e-books (since I refuse to carry devices which are built only for a single purpose), but I do have gadgets that do a lot of things, reading e-books included. However, I usually do my e-book reading in my PC/Linux box.

Popular e-book formats

Among the numerous e-book formats, the most prolific (in my opinion) format is PDF. There are many software and applications in Linux which can open and view PDF files, such as KPDF (the one that I use most of the time because it can be used as an embedded pdf viewer in Konqueror), XPDF, and Adobe Reader, among others. Acquiring those into your Linux distribution shouldn’t be a problem. Usually I prefer my e-books to be of PDF type since PDF stores data in vector format and at present, a lot of PDF files are coming out with OCR, which is great but which is not to say that it doesn’t have its cons, but for most reading purposes PDF files come out on top.

Another format is CHM, whose file types can be viewed in Linux using programs such as kchmviewer, and gnochm. I prefer kchmviewer at the moment, since it has a lot of useful features.

Another format which is used more recently is the DJVU format. Linux users can rest assured that DJVU file viewers are available for them, such as Djview, which can also be embedded in Konqueror. There are also browser plug-ins for opening DJVU files.

There are numerous more other e-book viewers such as fbreader which can open fb2 e-book format, Palmdoc, zTxt, TCR, RTF, OEB, OpenReader format and some other formats. One of the new book readers I’m really looking forward to is Okular, the new KDE4 PDF viewer, and also boasts of being able to open also CHM, and DJVU files among others. No need for a lot of separate book viewers.

Lastly, I’ll mention about the LIT book types, which is a proprietary file type by Microsoft. I’m not a big fan of Microsoft but some of the books I get are in .lit format. In order to view those files (or convert them into files already viewable) in Linux, small things need to be done.

Handling LIT files in Linux

A software, Calibre, can be used to open and view HTML, text, RTF, and LRF files, as well as convert LIT files to the former formats, if properly configured. Calibre is a reverse-engineered alternative reader for Sony’s e-reader. Calibre creates a library for your e-books, stored in a self-contained sqlite database format. If you’re an Ubuntu user, you simply do the following to install Calibre in your machine:

Enter the following command and make sure it returns at least a version of 2.5.1

python --version

then afterwards enter these

sudo apt-get install  python-setuptools python-imaging  libqt4-core libqt4-gui \
                      python-qt4 fonttools python-mechanize imagemagick \
                      xdg-utils python-dbus  python-lxml \
                      librsvg2-bin python-genshi help2man
sudo easy_install -U TTFQuery calibre
sudo calibre_postinstall

afterwards you install the tool convert-lit or clit by first installing the libtommath package

wget http://ace-host.stuart.id.au/russell/files/debian/sarge/libtommath/libtommath_0.37-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i libtommath_0.37-1_i386.deb

then finally install clit

wget http://ace-host.stuart.id.au/russell/files/debian/sarge/clit/clit_1.8-1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i clit_1.8-1_i386.deb

Calibre can also be easily installed on other Linux distros such as Gentoo, Debian, and Fedora.

The Convert-lit or clit tool

Convert-lit or clit is the tool that is used by Calibre and all the succeeding software I’ll be mentioning here (in fact, it is the only tool for handling .lit files in Linux at present). Convert-lit or clit has 3 capabilities: The first of the clit command explodes (decompiles) the .lit ebook input file into its constituent HTML file and images which it places in the in an ouput directory. The output directory must already exist. To decompile a .lit e-book:

              mkdir my-ebook; clit my-ebook.lit my-ebook

The second form downconverts the .lit e-book file to a “Sealed” or DRM1 format file. This is useful for reading on handheld devices. To downconvert a .lit e-book:

clit my-ebook-drm5.lit my-ebook-drm1.lit

The third form inscribes the .lit ebook with the given label. To label a .lit e-book:

clit my-ebook-drm5.lit my-ebook-drm1.lit "Title of My-Ebook"

Now you can read your LIT e-books using any application that can open HTML files. If you have a large number of LIT e-books you want to convert, a shell script (which I modified a bit) from a fellow Ubuntu forums user, BobCFC, can be used:

#!/bin/bash
#============================================================================
# process every .lit file in the current directory
# use clit to explode each file into directory of same name minus .lit extention
# (optional pass -z argument to create gzip files and remove new directories)
# 2007 RBH
#============================================================================

if [ $1 == '-z' ]
then
        for FILENAME in *.lit
        do
                clit "$FILENAME" "${FILENAME%%.lit}"/
                tar czf "${FILENAME%%.lit}".tar.gz "${FILENAME%%.lit}"
                rm -rf "${FILENAME%%.lit}"
        done
else
        for FILENAME in *.lit
        do
                clit "$FILENAME" "${FILENAME%%.lit}"/
        done
fi

Save the shell script above in any file name you want, they make it executable by issuing chmod +x filename . The script will extract all the .lit files in the current directory into folders of the same name. Use the -z flag to create compressed gzip files instead.

Compiling clit

For those of you who’ll be needing to compile clit since their distros don’t have clit packages:

– you’ll need the “build-essential” package

– download the clit source file here: http://www.convertlit.com/download.php
– download the libtommath source code here (make sure that you get the 0.30 version since as of clit version 1.8, clit uses version 0.30 of libtommath and not the latest 0.39 version) : http://math.libtomcrypt.com/download.html
– Extract the downloaded clit and libtomath files in same directory e.g. enter the commands:

unzip clit18src.zip ; tar jxvf ltm-0.30.tar.bz2

cd to the libtommath directory ; issue the command make
cd to clit<version_number>/lib directory; issue again make
cd to clit source directory, clit<version_number>, mine was clit18/

– issue again make – this should use the libtommath built above. You can check to see if you’ve successfully compiled an executable binary file which you can run as clit (assuming there were no error messages after all the make commands you entered) by issuing the command:

file clit

which returns the following in my 64 bit AMD processor:

clit: ELF 64-bit LSB executable, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), for GNU/Linux 2.6.8, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), not stripped

or the following in my 32 bit AMD processor:

clit: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1 (SYSV), for GNU/Linux 2.6.8, dynamically linked (uses shared libs), not stripped

Now you can use the clit commands shown above by copying the compiled clit binary file to your bin directory

sudo cp -v clit /usr/bin/

clit in Firefox

If you use Firefox or any of its derivatives, there is an add-on, OpenBerg, which lets you view a number of book formats including comic book archives (.cbr, .cbz) and even .lit files, among others. However, you must have rar, zip, and lit viewer/handler programs already installed in your system/Linux box. The clit setup I mentioned above is just right for allowing OpenBerg to let you view your .lit files. What the add-on actually does is it explodes/converts your .lit books (1st command above) into a browser readable HTML fiile. You have to point OpenBerg to the directory where the clit executable binary file is located, whether you installed it as a package or if you compiled it as shown above, so it can let you view .lit files for you.

Lastly, my personal view is that we should not patronize or encourage the buying and proliferation of any Microsoft format e-books. Let’s allow those formats to be unused or completely forgotten and demand free and open format e-book types such as unencrypted or un-DRMed PDF fiiles, HTML, plain ASCII text files, and others, including Open eBooks. Demand your e-books to be in those formats, open to the scrutiny of the general public. Demand not to be treated as if you were a criminal. Demand to have ridiculous laws like the DMCA repealed. Join the EFF. Let’s not just sit and let Microsoft and other proprietary formats prevent the access of information.

Information is important. And so are books.

Other References

Calibre installation instructions on other Linux distros and OSes

Linux Journal article on converting e-books in Linux

fbreader site

If I’m an atheist, why patronize theist works of art, music, film, etc?

January 2, 2008

Readability test scores for this post are as follows:

Flesch Reading Ease: 55.05
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 11.00
Automated Readability Index: 12.00

For more info about readability tests, check out my post about those here.

The Merriam-Webster website definition for patronize here that I use is the following:

“3 : to be a frequent or regular customer or client of

And not the derogatory meaning of the word, although this should not mean that all theist work of art, music, etc are all praiseworthy (at least from my viewpoint).

One of the things people ask me, assuming they know I’m an atheist, is how I can possibly enjoy theistic works of art, music, etc. without believing in their religion, or even in theism itself.

What I would normally reply, given the appropriate amount of time, is that it’s quite easy to understand or imagine, really. This reply of course has little assumptions of its own, and one of those is that the listener should have an open mind. For the listener to somehow even ‘glimpse’ the reason why or how I can enjoy theistic works of art, music etc, he/she must have at least a mind that is open to rational,sensible logic and imagination. He/she must also not be one of those religious fundamentalists, whether it be in Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, etc. What I mean by religious fundamentalists in this sense are those people who kill or are willing to die and kill others, not just themselves, just because their holy books think it’s appropriate to do so. Although I’ve actually never met someone like that before, I would think that it will be really hard, if not impossible, to reason my cause with them. And I believe the reason for that deserves another web log post of it’s own.

Going back to the reason for my answer as to why I manage to enjoy theistic works of art, music, etc while being an atheist, my answer is this:

For those of us who enjoy, for example, The Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Star Wars saga, or Disney movies, we gather the fact that we acquire entertainment and amusement and wisdom from these works, without ever believing the characters really existed. Even as kids, teens, young adults, and adults, we enjoyed watching them, and probably at some points in our lives we deemed them to be true to life, we now know for a fact (I hope so) that they didn’t really happen or the characters never existed at all. We can enjoy songs by Josh Groban or Pavarotti for example, and be moved by how they sing, the emotions they put in their songs, the beautiful compositions, and the abstract or poetic meanings of their lyrics and still not be lulled into believing myths and fantastical stories they refer to in the scriptures.

From this reasoning, it follows that one can appreciate, enjoy, marvel at, and even be astounded, amazed, and moved by works of different people from different walks of life and belief. And from that reasoning also it should be clear that when, for example one sings or watches or buys theistic works, be they movies, books, paintings, songs, one doesn’t (and I believe should not) have to believe in all those supernatural stories and myths. One can appreciate and enjoy Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, and other great artists and their works, as purely fiction, and nothing more.

Of course the argument that what motivates people, artists, geniuses to create their masterpieces is faith, theism or religion is another matter altogether, and again deserves another web log post by me or another reading from the audience. One perfect reference for that is professor Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion in the chapter titled The Argument From Beauty. In that chapter prof. Dawkins excellently explicates ( I always admire alliteration (^)__(^) ) the arguments pertaining to this line of reasoning. Prof. Dawkins goes on to say that, since there was hardly any other option other than to believe in the local religion back then (particularly Catholicism or Christianity if we’ll be talking about European artists in this case), naturally the artists would’ve decided to be theists. The other, extremely harsh consequences of not believing in God then was not receiving any funding (even for example, food and money) to complete one’s work, a chance to display one’s talents, and it would even be tantamount to death. In other words, it’s believe or suffer/die. Obviously the choice is usually rather easy. And people of different religiosity, theistic and atheistic beliefs derive their sense of awe, wonder, motivations and inspirations not from the belief in a supernatural creator, but if you look closely, to more human sensations and experiences: respect, love (e.g. for a mate, one’s country), death, suffering, sex, etc.

In closing, for us atheists and non-believers to be bothered as to why we allow ourselves to be immersed and to be able to appreciate theistic works of art, music, etc, thinking that it contradicts our non-belief, please don’t be. Enjoying something and believing it to be true are two entirely different things. For those of you out there who still cling onto faith, religion and theism just because you think you can’t leave your craft, be it making music, movies, books, etc. while being mentally gnawed by the irrationalities and inconsistencies of religion, you don’t have to be. There is a way out, and you can still enjoy your lives and your craft.

As always, comments from theists and atheists are welcome, as long as they’re in a calm, ruly way.

Atheists assemble!

The God Delusion paperback edition

November 10, 2007

I actually bought my copy nearly a month ago, but I only had the opportunity to write about it this time.

I must confess that I haven’t finished the paperback book and the audio book: I’m trying to finish the whole work, interchanging between paperback and audio book, whichever is more convenient in a certain situation.

This is the cover for the wonderful paperback edition which I have:

god delusion paperback cover

And for those of you who haven’t heard about the book, here are a few respectable resources for you:

And finally, for my other weblogs about works/books on atheism, you can use my weblog’s search function or start here.

I hope I can find the time soon to write about this erudite, hard-hitting, magnificently written book on critical thinking. Otherwise, you’ll be seeing more quotation blog posts like this one (^)__(^)

Wonderful atheist statement

November 10, 2007

Whew…Again, it’s been a reeeaaally long while since I last wrote a weblog. A new semester has come, and more work are impending. Unfortunately, I really don’t have much writing time left out of academic and personal work, which is sad since I have tons of ideas and opinions/views I’d like to write about. And of course, comments (pro and against mine) are welcome, just as long as they’re rational and calm in nature (^)__(^).

Well then, here’s a quotation from a book I recently found in a bookshop, and which I plan to buy and read. It just amazed me how it can sum up what I think, know, and feel atheism is for me right now:

“It is not my purpose to convert people to atheism…(but to) demonstrate that the belief in God is irrational to the point of absurdity. If a person wishes to continue believing in a god, this is his prerogative, but he can no longer excuse his belief in the name of reason and moral necessity.”

– George Smith, Atheism- The Case Against God

Pretty strong words you think?

Well, if you’re a believer, I think the best way to prove George Smith is wrong is to read his work then refute him, which would also be a very good test of your faith.

I think it can be observed that, although I lack the numerical or statistical proof right now, many theists/deists often criticize atheists without even really understanding, or even reading at the least, their works. Most atheists on the other hand, may have had their fare share of theist/deist works, the Bible not the least, in their intellectual stockpile. This is the reason why, I think, many believers often misinterpret or use in an entirely fallacious manner the works of scientists and atheists, such as this case (and here)

For non-believers like me, the challenge is to still read the book and see if George Smith’s work lives up to the expectations garnered by his words at the book’s back cover.

If anyone has read/is reading this book, please feel free to send your comments and insights here, whether it be pro or against the book.

https://i0.wp.com/images.amazon.com/images/P/087975124X.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

For those of you who want a sneek peak, click here

“The God Delusion” SOLD OUT!

September 4, 2007

Readability test scores for this post are as follows:

Flesch Reading Ease: 72.20
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: 7.00
Automated Readability Index: 7.00

For more info about readability tests, check out my post about those here.

Hmmm……for a country that’s supposed to be religious and Catholic in general, it’s surprising to learn that a book such as the “The God Delusion” by professor Richard Dawkins is sold out on all the main bookstores here in the city (capital even). What could this mean?

1 There were few copies of the book

One possibility is that the main bookstore branches here in the capital city only ordered a small number of the book. And since it’s been a real seller, not to mention ranking high in New York Time’s list last year, it’s no wonder a lot of avid book readers sought for it. So it turns out, people who are in-the-know of US/Europe and New York Times best sellers picked the book up, hard/soft bound, and emptied the small number of books available in the city.

2 There are a lot of closet atheists and/or undecided people

The other possibility, though my pessimism prevents me from readily accepting it as the more probable candidate, is that there are really a lot of people who are closet atheists or who are undecided with their faith. Nevertheless, a huge number of people who bought the book, either in the 1st possibility or this second one, must be avid book readers. Still, I wouldn’t really be surprised if the reason I haven’t gotten a copy of the book yet is because of this second possibility. It would just reaffirm prof. Dawkins’ statement that there really are a lot of people who are atheists; people who have doubts in their faiths because of the inconsistencies and paradoxes in what they believe in. The problem, as also stated by prof. Dawkins, is that a lot of those atheists and undecided people are afraid to come out in the open since people might treat them the way we treated homosexuals a number of decades ago. They are afraid that they’re families and friends will treat them badly, or worst, ostracize them. This is the sad reality today.

In the end, I still don’t have a copy of the book (X)___(X) But I do have reservations on 2 leading branches. I tried calling almost all the branches. Both the hard bound and soft bound copy of the book are sold out. <Sigh>

Even Sam Harris’ Letter To A Christian Nation’ book is sold out…I’m beginning to think possibility 2 is more likely to be the case. But I don’t want to get my hopes too high….

Also, I’m still betting that if we continue patronizing and supporting science and reason over blind faith and ambiguity in a lot of things we don’t understand, a few decades from now, us atheists may reach the point when we are as acceptable as homosexuals now are in the public.

I guess I’ll just wait for it then…and contend with my “The God Delusion” audio book….(^)_____(^)

Next time when I get enough free time, I’ll write a post about the wonders and the fulfillments of being an atheist, since a lot of people generally think atheists only say negative opinions to theists, and don’t contribute much to the morality of society, for example.

Atheists Assemble!