Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our Dinosaur Friends(!!!)

Someone posted on the internet files of songs from the first side of the album Our Dinosaur Friends: For the Early Years by Pat Johnson, Wayne Parker and Eric Miller. Here it is! :-D

Unfortunately, it does not have the two tracks I really want to get a hold of: "Woolly Mammoth" and "Quetzalcoatlus." I think those are actually on a different album--Our Dinosaur Friends: For the Intermediate Years. Oh well. The search continues.

I found (at least some of) the lyrics to "Quetzalcoatlus" here. That's almost as good as a recording of it.

from Our Dinosaur Friends: For the Intermediate Years.

Verse 1:
Are you a bird?
Take one more guess.
A reptile, perhaps?
Yes, I confess.
But can you fly?
Yes, glide and fly
But no feathered friend,
no feathered friend am I

Greatest of all flying reptiles
We used to be kings of the air
now there are no more of us
Now, alas, we are gone.

Verse 2:
Do you have wings?
Of course I do.
How many wings?
Well, only two.
And are they big?
15 meters wide
and they have claws on them,
yes they have claws on them besides.

[Chorus, then intstrumental interlude, then ... ?]

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Dawkins Disappointment

Perhaps I ought to have known better, but for some reason I was expecting that The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins would present a clear, well thought out argument in favor of atheism. It does no such thing. It's pretty much just a long anti-religious rant which briefly alludes to some of the basic ideas atheist apologists have used in the past, but without fleshing them out and without seeming to realize religious people have heard it all before and come up with responses already.

I was going to refer to the book's "attempt at scholarship" but it's really not even an attempt. It's a pretense of scholarship. Examples: Dawkins quotes some things Martin Luther said on faith and reason completely out of context (p. 190)--and it's no wonder he didn't put the statements in context, he didn't actually read the essays from which the quotations are taken, he just found a list of quotations, taken out of context, on the internet (footnote 85)!

On page 239 Dawkins states that Pat Robertson "was reported as blaming [Hurricane Katrina] on a lesbian comedian who happened to live in New Orleans." Wow, thinks the reader. That's pretty wacky. But if one looks at the footnote, one discovers Dawkins is not sure if Robertson actually said that, since it is just an unverified story from and its accuracy has been denied elsewhere. But Dawkins defends himself for putting it in because it is "entirely typical of utterances by evangelical clergy." Hm. If utterances of that type are so abundant, why didn't he choose one that can actually be verified?

Anyway, you get the idea. It's not a serious work of atheist apology. It's just an excuse to make vicious, petty comments about religious people. And I'm not just saying that because I'm religious--his statements about Christianity, Judaism and Islam go beyond mere disagreement, well into ridicule and unabashed contempt. I suppose he is rather a novelty for his hatred of all religions, not just Christianity.

So, after The God Delusion, I read The Dawkins Delusion by Alister McGrath. He does a nice job of exposing The God Delusion for the unscholarly jumble of half-arguments that it is. McGrath's clarity of thought and calm, even tone provide a soothing contrast after one has endured Dawkins' venomous ramblings. But other than that, McGrath's response seems superfluous to anyone familiar with the history of serious debate between Christians and atheists. But I suppose his effortless refutation of Dawkins' accusations would be helpful to someone who has only been introduced to the atheist/theist debate through Dawkins.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Recent Reads, Reality of Hell

I just finished re-reading The Ball and the Cross by G.K. Chesterton. It's not a very good novel (as Chesterton himself admitted), but I enjoyed it--it's a good story, with some fun, interesting ideas, just executed poorly.

Although Chesterton would surely blanche at the suggestion that he was a universalist, he seemed to think so well of everyone he met, I doubt he could imagine any person being worthy of eternal damnation. And that's played out in the ending of the book, which makes it rather a curious statement for someone so concerned with "orthdoxy."

I went from finishing The Ball and the Cross to beginning Hostage to the Devil: the Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans by Malachi Martin. It was a pretty shocking contrast. It was quite a thing to go from G.K.C.'s romanticized and relatively harmless figure of Prof. Lucifer to descriptions of the kind of raw, unmasked evil present in exorcisms.

If you are not familiar with what goes on at actual exorcisms (and I'm not talking about the kind performed by televangelists, but the ones performed by Catholic priests who have done extensive research to eliminate the possiblity of other diagnoses), I don't suppose you'll have any idea what I mean.

Even having read Hostage to the Devil before, I'd forgotten the intensity of the descriptions of people's experience of the possessing demons. There is actually nothing romantic about it. It's just pure evil, inspiring a depth of revulsion most of us will, thankfully, never experience.

Thinking back on that televised debate on the existence of Satan I mentioned a while back, I wonder how the discussion would have been different if they had had present a Catholic exorcist. Belief in the existence of demonic powers is not just a matter of what kind of worldview one holds, or what kind of faith one puts in the Bible--it also happens to be the simplest, most reasonable interpretation of the plain facts in cases of demonic possession. Even a theological "liberal," trained in recognizing various psychological disturbances, like M. Scott Peck was thoroughly convinced of Satan's existence after having met it in person during an exorcism.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"A New Sport"

Okay, okay, so I know I already blogged about a dream recently, and I know dreams are usually not very interesting to the people who didn't have them, but I was saying to myself as I was waking up this morning that I just had to blog about the amazingly fun and exciting new sport I invented in my dream.

It takes place at a busy seaside boardwalk that slants downhill. You sit on a rolling desk chair, using the back of the chair as a steering wheel. You give yourself a push to get started, then zoom along, faster and faster, trying to avoid hitting the many obstacles that are in your way (mostly pedestrians). Oh my gosh, it was super fun! Even better than the dream about speeding around on shopping carts at an enormous Target, and more exciting than dreams about flying.

It's such a pity that probably couldn't ever happen in real life. But I wonder if maybe it's the kind of thing we'll be doing in the resurrected life. Zooming around on rolling desk chairs. 'Cause why the heck not? (-:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Blogroll

So, I finally changed the blogroll at the side of this page to be all fancy and show how recently the people on there have posted, and the title of their last post. I resisted doing so for a long time, and for a most irrational reason. You see, I have this anti-technological streak. It makes me want to do things the difficult, inefficient old-fashioned way.

I revolt against advances in technology for a couple reasons. First, it makes everything so complicated. And I just want everything to be simple.

And second, I don't like being dependent on technology. Technology does not seem especially trustworthy to me. And this is where the irrationality comes in. Because of course, technology is usually highly trustworthy. Just not every once in a while. Every once in a while, computers disobey my commands, networks go out of order, machines break down. And it makes me crazy, because as machines, they're supposed to be perfect! Not like the fallible humans who created them.

Anyway, I also added a link to the blog of the president of Fuller Seminary, Dr. Richard Mouw. It is pronounced "Mao," and President Mouw is pretty much a totalitarian dictator over the seminary. Okay, not really. But I like to pretend he is.

[Fifteen mintues later]

GOOD GRIEF! You see?! I knew this would happen. AUGH! So, for some bizarre reason, the new blog list thing doesn't work for Brandon's blog. WHAT IN THE HECK IN THE WORLD?! It works fine for all the other blogs. But for some inscrutable reason ... Argh. You see? This is why we know beyond a shadow of doubt that computers are of the devil. And Google, Inc., as the ruler of computer world, is therefore none other than Satan himself.