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Timeline . . .

. . . not that great a film. Luckily I knew that ahead of time, so my expectations were low when we watched the rented DVD this evening. Interesting how having low expectations makes movies more watchable. 5/10 stars, as reported on imdb, is about right.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2004 10:40 pm (UTC)
"I also remain undeniably attracted to the possibility of the paranormal. I have floated the idea of establishing a group called Transcendentally Tempted Anonymous to fellow skeptics and atheists who have a weakness in this area."

Since when is attraction to alternate possibilities considered a "weakness" ?
May. 5th, 2004 07:59 am (UTC)
The attraction is a weakness when the "possibility" is too unlikely to be worth investing time and resources. Admittedly this is always a judgment call. I consider myself to be weak when I act upon what I *wish* were true rather than my soberest assessment of what is really true.

Allow me to indulge in a paradigmatic anecdote from my youth. When I was about 8 years old I saw the The Absent Minded Professor--Disney's original flubber movie. I fantasized about owning some flubber to be able to bounce and fly the way they did in the movie. In my vulnerable state, I was seduced by an older kid who claimed to have a recipe for flubber. He told me to take some bark from a tree and add sugar or some such common kitchen ingredient and bake in the oven for a while. Thrilled at the possibility, I ran home and told my mother that I wanted to make flubber. She said something like, "Oh, John, do you really think this will work?" I experienced a twinge of good sense, but said "Why don't we just be empirical about it" (okay, not in those words, but something to that effect). So, we baked some flubber, let it cool, and placed some in my shoes. I then leaped off the landing of the stairs. (Good thing I didn't jump out the second story window, eh?) I was crestfallen and ran back down the street to report the negative finding to the older kid. He said, "Oh, right, I forgot to mention another ingredient (salt, or something). So I ran back to the house to tell my mom about the missing ingredient. Again, she said, "Really?" and I knew I had been foolishly weak.

If I had only remembered this incident and learned properly from it, I could have avoided wasting a HUGE amount of my life in worthless pursuits.

You might be interested in reading the linked essay by Michael Crichton, where one of the opening lines reads, "The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda."

May. 5th, 2004 10:40 pm (UTC)
so, if i may ask...what is YOUR method for differentiating truth and propaganda?
May. 6th, 2004 07:05 am (UTC)
I remain as skeptical as practical about all knowledge claims, particularly those that are:
1. internally inconsistent,
2. lacking in evidence,
3. inconsistent with what I have observed,
4. inconsistent with replicable scientific findings,
5. currently unverifiable, and/or
6. seemingly motivated by a personal or political agenda of the claimant.

I also consider the reputation and credentials of the claimant.

Finally, I try to keep in mind how my own emotional predilections might bias my perceptions about truth.

Obviously I do not possess an infallible truth filter. Only religious people claim infallibility.
May. 6th, 2004 08:04 am (UTC)
That works. I can definitely see merit in that.

As long as it doesn't push you across the dividing line between the skeptics and the pessimistic doubtful self-important assholes whose oversimplified analogies skillfully suck the hope out of everything.

May. 6th, 2004 12:25 pm (UTC)
If I should ever cross that line I hope that someone would rescue me back into the light. I don't think it will ever happen, though--I'm a skeptic with a heart.
May. 6th, 2004 12:53 pm (UTC)
This news may not affect a large number of you, but for those of you who are intersted - i have decided to quit performing.

Well, after listening to your wonderful Amos-esque compositions that I downloaded from your web site, I must say that I am disappointed that I won't have a chance to hear you perform live. But I can certainly see why you are giving up performing for a while with all the other things going on in your life.

I really miss performing. All I've got now are memories, ancient ones at that.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )