Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"The anxiety of the atheists"

There was an article Republished in the Oregonian today that I found very striking, you can read it here on the Herald Tribune website. The author, Richard A. Shweder, questions why people are so quick to dismiss God and instead hang onto science and knowledge.

His point: Three hundred years ago we came out of the dark ages and the enlightened age began - people began to put God into a box and saw science and knowledge as the answer. The implied promise has been that science and knowledge could create a society that would no longer be opressed, we would be civil, live with less fear, the problems of the world could be solved, religious groups would break down and bond with one another.

Quite the opposite has happened. The wars during this past century have been far more severe than any religious war of the past. Has fear really decreased? For every problem science solves it seems to create or uncover ten more. And religious groups have only grown more intense in their hatred of one another.

As people we tend to continue in the direction that we are facing. We don't want to face regret, so we keep plowing along in the chosen direction, justifying each increasingly large step. For example, when we fill our lives with the latest gadgets, furniture or recreational vehicles we find that the satisfaction fades quickly and find ourselves craving the next purchase. That initial burst of satisfaction, no matter how small, keeps driving us onward. The same truth applies to wanting just one more friendship, one more step in the career path, a little bit more salary, a little bit more house. In the end, none of it satisfies.

As a society we have those same cravings for science and knowledge, cravings that have snowballed to the point that it is tearing at the very threads of our being. Just look at soaring health care costs, the fight over stem cell research, and global warming.

As I look at the increasing surge of articles on global warming during the last few years I see an increase to the intensity and buzz to the point it is beginning to create fear in peoples lives. It's hard to tell where the reality ends the the hype begins, but in it all, science promises to have the answer. How are we going to prevent this catastrophe? Scientists say sacrifice and discipline from each of us will over time bring us all back to rightness. (Sounds alot like religion.)

The more I see the cravings around me in society, even the cravings for more answers through religion, or science, or morality, or personal freedoms, the more I feel that satisfaction can only be found in the opposite - stepping back and finding peace in a simple life. A life that was given to us by a master creator who intended us to enjoy this world one simple day at a time. No fear, no burnout, no regret, but a simple steady daily life filled with beauty.

And that is the anxiety of the atheist - the possible reality that heading away from religion isn't fixing anything after all.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sleeping Beauty

How's this for a picture? (click for the full size)


On Monday night Christina was away at a church function so I was watching the girls. Abbie and I were battling it out on the xbox when Miriam decided, all on her own, to pull up a blanket and catch a nap. She likes cuddling with blankets so much that she will occassionally grab a five minute nappy... just because.

Going public - update

DavidTram.JPGThe Oregonian did a small feature on David's tram which ran in the Tuesday metro section. Tonight a cameraman from KPTV 12 came and did some shots of David and the tram - it may run on the 5 and/or 10 o'clock news Sunday night. Click here to see the full Oregonian article.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Going public

The video of David's lego car tram has been getting some attention lately. A reporter from the Oregonian saw the video on youtube and posted an entry on the Oregonlive.com website. That then got picked up by Mark & Dave who posted the link on their web site (scroll down the page, it's below the picture of Portlands new trams) and interviewed David on their radio show tonight.

Listen to Mark & Dave interview David.

Since that interview David's video has received over 1000 more hits.

Go David!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote by Mail

On this election day I wanted to take the opportunity to ask a question. When so many states were revising the way they vote, why did no one think of voting by mail? Oregon has proven that it works beautifully for years now, yet no one else jumps in. You can sit with your ballot, all of the information about measures and candidates, your cup of coffee at your kitchen table and make a clam and informed decision about your voting choices. No rushing to get to work, going out in the rain, dragging the kids to the polling place. Most of all, no unreliable electronic voting machines. If we need reform why go with an unproven technology when out here in little 'ol Oregon we have a pretty low tech, proven solution - All you need is a pen and a stamp.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Lego Cable Car

David and I have been working on a Lego cable car the last few weeks. David did the Mindstorm programming all on his own - when it bumps the catch at the end of the line it waits for a few seconds (for the passengers to get on/off) before proceeding to the other side of the line. I'll let David explain the rest:

Trick or Treat

David was at his mom's place on Halloween, but the girls both got dressed up as lady bugs and boy were they cute. Here's some shots, click any to get the full size view: