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I really enjoyed Bill Moyers interview with John Sexton, the president of NYU, last evening. He’s a fascinating and likable guy. Of course he believes in God, being raised a catholic in Brooklyn, NY, and apparently never straying from that belief. But I think I grasp what he’s trying to say, this thing about cognitive limitations, and different dimensions.

Here’s a portion of his conversation with Bill Moyers, taken from the transcript on the Moyers website:


BILL MOYERS: By ineffable, you mean?

JOHN SEXTON: I mean that what we’re discussing now is something that’s approached through music and poetry and mythos in the best sense of that word. You know, Americans talk about myth as falsehood. It’s become a synonym for falsehood, whereas myth speaks– I mean, Lisa had never reasoned to me to the fact that she loved me. I never reasoned her to the fact that I loved her.

It was something that was an experience truth, the deepest truths in life, including what we’re talking about here, including what I tried to get at in that course. Baseball is a Road to God, with its kind of, you know, a frolicky title is there’s something very serious. But it’s not something that you get to through cognitive processes.

This is why the war between science and religion seems to me is a false war. There’s no tension between science and religion. They’re different dimensions. So everything I’ve just said to you I know is a matter of faith. There are people out there on the NYU faculty that are embarrassed to have their president say this and I delight in that, you know. I mean, but it is something that’s real in my life and affects me day-in and day-out. It– it’s self-evident that there are important things that are not reducible to the cognitive. You know, now, the neuroscientists would like to map, you know, even the poetic parts of the brain. And so on. We’ll see where that goes. But the fact of the matter is that when I listened to Rachmaninoff’s second at the Philharmonic a couple of days ago, there was an ineffable transportation to another plane that undeniably became part of my experience.

I mean, I think Keats would say, at this point, that there’s a coalescence of what we’re talking about here, about transcendence and beauty and truth and faith.

Again, whether all this about different dimensions and knowledge beyond the cognitive, is true, or just a happy illusion, just more chemical effects on our endocrine system making us feel “transported” and into a false reality, I’m still undecided upon, terribly mixed up about. The new atheists, the Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, etc., have put religion in its place, the opiate of the people, the awful hypocrisy of it, the source of much of the world’s evil. But still, there are cognitive mysteries, like the “turtles all the way down” paradox. Of course, it appears that Rebecca Goldstein thinks Spinoza has explained all this rationally. Or perhaps not.

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More Juan Cole stuff this morning. He’s making a good argument that these new Obama administration airline passenger screening measures are casting too wide a net and will end up alienating people. Also, they tell al-Qaida which countries not to send bombers from. For example, Indonesia and India aren’t on the list. And why is Cuba on the list?

It’s hard to find a discussion of these issues on the American media which is so scared it might be called ‘liberal’ that it constantly bends over backwards to appease the republicans, who are mostly right wing now, with vanishing numbers of ‘moderates’. So, it was refreshing to hear, thanks to Juan Cole, a different analysis of these new screening measures brought to us by, yes, you guessed it, AlJazeeraEnglish.

Here’s a 24 minute video from AlJazeeraEnglish with the title, “Inside Story – New airline security measures: Safe or discriminatory? – 5 Jan 2009”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIRp4qKp138[/youtube]

So, if Obama’s rhetoric is high minded and progressive, are his actions more like a continuation of George W. Bush’s policies? In other words, is Obama becoming W-ized?

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Here are the best arguments for Single Payer Health Insurance I’ve come across yet:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wi1acHg3mhw[/youtube]

We’re lucky we have that great journalist, Bill Moyers, around. Here he’s interviewing two strong advocates of Single Payer, David Himmelstein, MD, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, and Sidney Wolfe, MD, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.

What chance in Hell does Single Payer have in this country?

I’ll answer my own question. It has NO CHANCE.

So what do we do? Stand with Dr. Dean and go all out for the Public Option. He explains this in the following:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzASZoU2obM[/youtube]

This piece by Bernie Horn convinced me that Single Payer can’t work politically, and that our only option is the Public Option.

Right now, members of congress, including Olympia Snowe in the Senate are watering down the Public Option so that it will end up not being a Public Option. Read Paul Krugman on the Snowe “trigger”.

That’s why we’ve got to Stand with Dr. Dean. Sign his petition!

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Danger Will Robinson! Information overload imminent!

While browsing through Brian Donohue and Terry McKenna’s great blog, DailyRevolution, I came across this excellent 9-minute video by journalist Maggie Jackson on the “Erosion of Attention”:

Maggie Jackson is the author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age. She’s really worried about the excess of information in today’s world, in particular on the internet. How can we really know what’s going on while skimming the surface? How difficult is it to go in depth to gain real understanding? Are we losing the ability to focus? She believes we are and that this is presaging a coming dark age. Wonder if I’ll be around to see it? I doubt it, but then things do move fast.

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Muntather al-Zaydi is the Iraqi journalist who flung the size 10 shoes at Bush. After throwing the shoes the poor guy was badly beaten and is now imprisoned. Is this Saddam all over again? al-Zaydi’s employers have published a statement asking for his immediate release. If you can read Arabic, here’s his employer’s statement.

Here’s a free online petition in English asking for his release as well.

Let’s save al-Zaydi from the dogs!
😈 :mrgreen:

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Flying Shoes!

OK, here’s something that will be seen over and over and over again, as it is in this video! An Iraqi journalist flings a couple shoes at Bush in Baghdad. See it live, then live again, then again, on and on and on. We may have lost the war — although not admitted by Bush or our MSM — but we gained a couple of size-10 shoes.

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