Archive | March 2011

Albert Einstein’s “The World As I See It”

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Uploaded by on Mar 24, 2011

I think it’s interesting to read some of how Einstein saw the world he lived in. He addresses societal commitments, ethical ways of living, and religious views.

I’ve trimmed out huge sections of this book-length essay. For the full text, go to Amazon and buy it.

As the rain patters on my window…

…I sit here at my desktop without a written draft in front of me, neither in paper nor onscreen, and I think about how things have changed since that fateful day of posting on my first blog, on the evening of January 15th, 2008, only a little over three short years ago.

Forgive me if I ramble a bit…

Then I knew nothing of responsible blogging, and precious little of skepticism. But I certainly hope I’ve improved at least a little since then, having started out with the angry blogger persona and gotten to my current pseudonymous persona with an odd mixture of writing styles.

Those last have ranged from a sort of quasi-Carl Sagan-ish with lots of purple prose to the ‘evil and snarky’ style that has occasionally pissed people off, and for good reason – no one likes being ridiculed, especially when it comes to core beliefs – but let me make this clear: it’s people who have rights, it’s people, especially innocent victims of nonsensical claims, whom I think deserve respect, but not the ideas they hold, the claims they accept without thinking them over before doing so.

It’s not people I attack, only ideas. Even when it involves ridicule, that’s directed at the silliness of an idea, though the claims of cynical promoters of these ideas are fair game to me.

I’m not interested in controlling peeps, for example, telling peeps what to think, or telling them how to think just so. There are different perspectives on clear thinking, different styles of critical thought and various approaches to empirical rationalism, but without being dogmatic, they all boil down to a few essentials despite the differences in perspective: a respect for sound reasoning, valid evidence, and reality, with the use of science as the best criterion for what’s demonstrably true and real.

Most of you know of my interest in science, and in pseudoscience, and the distinctions between them. To me, being skeptical involves questioning everything within reason, though it’s nihilistic and strikes me as ill-founded to be skeptical of skepticism, since nobody can truly be skeptical of literally, consistently, and without qualification everything.

Even me. Especially me.

For newcomers to the site: My unequivocal view is that there is a real world, in which things exist external to myself, that are not dependent on my thoughts about them, my society, nor my theories about them, and which despite the legitimacy of our different internal maps of the territory of reality, our personal models of it, is what it is no matter who is doing the looking.

Why else can two people in different parts of the world see exactly the same thing when they look at a comet or spiral galaxy through a telescope, even the same spiral shape of the latter, and indeed can objectively compare what they see and come to some measure of agreement on it if neither is in error, and objectively resolve their dispute by resorting to some common ground upon which to base their conclusions if one or both are, common ground that would not exist if all truth were relative.

I’ve been reading a book, “Proofiness,” by Charles Seife, on all the ways in which we are all fooled by some form or other of mathematical deception, in thinking numbers that relate to real-world measurements infallible and so falling for all sorts of chicanery by others and ourselves simply because of the way numbers work with our attempts to quantify the things around us and the inherent impossibility of perfect precision in any measurement when so quantifying.

I must say, I’m about half-way through, and the book has been interesting so far, with more than a few of my sacred cows having been soundly debunked, but I feel less naive, not more cynical, about it, and I highly recommend the book.

Uncomfortable realities can be enlightening.

Even so, even by now, I’m still struggling to find a consistent ‘voice’ in my writing style, having tried lots of ways out, and found none of them completely satisfying. So I’m interested in hearing from you all which sort of writing style you would most prefer be used on this site. Thanks, and stay brilliant, all.

Baroque Mandelbrot Zoom

Uploaded by on Feb 18, 2007

A zoom into the “Seahorse Valley” region of the Mandelbrot Set. Set to “La Villageoise” by Rameau, performed by Trevor Pinnock. (Music — and therefore this video — are subject to the Creative Commons license. Check out

Additions to my Blogroll & RSS Widgets


Image via Wikipedia

Hey, Peeps. I’ve been getting traffic and some recognition via some really cool bloggers and friends of mine, and let’s face it: To me, one of the biggest rewards of posting on this site is my readership, and its commentary, without which I’m nothing but the lone crier in the void.

Any notoriety of the helpful sort I can get is always a good thing, and so it’s long since time to return the favors they’ve done for me.

I’ve recently added their sites to Teh Great Blogrollio, and to my RSS feed widgets in the sidebars of this blog, and I’ll present Links to their sites and a brief description of their sites here.

One good plug deserves another, and so here they are. Visit their sites or face my tentacled wrath!

♥ Books, Crafts & Pretty Things

This is a site run by my friend Kat, from Down Under, and on it she posts about books she’s read, crafts, anything that suits her fancy, and new social media she comes across, and she’s a much more well-rounded blogger than I am, not at all evil or snarky like me. If you’re looking for some ideas on what to make out of that set of nicknacks lying about on the bookshelf or coffee table, or what sort of cool online social media would be fun to check out, or even neat vintage items to restore or recycle, check out this blog!


This is one of the better atheist blogs, updated often by a self-described “Forty year old Barista wanna be rock star that has gone to college in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.” He’s more personable than me, and has a good writing style, and the ladies like him too. *ahem* Hailing from Sacramento California, his posts are informed and show a wit and humor I can only envy, though his site is not for the easily-offended. But he’s open and articulate about his views, and that more than counts. You are advised to have a thick skin, but I highly recommend this site for updates on atheist or religious-themed topics and trends.

Martin S Pribble

Another good rationalist blog, this has great articles, excellent interviews with prominent thinkers, be they scientists, skeptics, atheists, or any other sort. Marty always comes through with a good, informative post. Well-worth subscribing to, in my book.

The Tao of Chaos

Updated by a guy I’ve known since my early RPG gaming days, this is a great philosophy-oriented blog, and has posts on a number of topics besides that as well.

Lousy Canuck

Owned by, in his own words, “…an IT guy, skeptic, and atheist, and love OSS, science of all stripes, and debating on-line and off,” this is one of my more recent discoveries, and my view of the blogosphere is all the clearer for it. He posts on a lot of different things, yet always seems to keep his site on topic with a broad underlying rationalist theme, a good thing in my book. Check it out!

What Stereotype do I Belong to?

What stereotype do you belong to?

Your Result: geek/nerd

smart, straight A’s, high GPA, band member, unpopular, would rather spend time on the computer than with friends, wears glasses, has been wearing the same clothes for years

No stereotype
What stereotype do you belong to?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz