random quotes ... to amuse, inspire, enrage:
  I know full well that the total amount of the things I know is a tiny little pinprick of light compared with the vast unlimited darkness that surrounds it which is all the things I don't know. I don't know more than a tiny fragment of what it's possible to know about this world. As for what goes on outside it in the rest of the universe, it's a vast darkness full of things that I don't know. Now, somewhere in the things that I don't know, there may be a God.

But if we come down like coming close up with a camera getting closer and closer to this little pinprick of light, so that it begins to expand and gets bigger and bigger until we find ourselves inside it... I can see no evidence in that circle of things I do know, in history, or in science or anywhere else, no evidence of the existence of God.

So I'm caught between the words 'atheistic' and 'agnostic'. I've got no evidence whatever for believing in a God. But I know that all the things I do know are very small compared with the things that I don't know. So maybe there is a God out there. All I know is that if there is, he hasn't shown himself on earth.

tagged: atheism, agnosticism, existence of god, religion
  —Philip Pullman, http://www.fish.co.uk/culture/features/pullman_interview.html.

Archive for the 'education' Category

public school & religious cultural center field trip

Friday, September 17th, 2010

My partner sent me this article about the furor over a public school field trip to a local Muslim community center. Folks seem to be upset because a few kids participated in religious observances / prayer. Personally I’m not too bothered by that — it appears to be voluntary participation at the event, and likely […]

Tech Coed

Friday, June 6th, 2008

My father-in-law (in Massachusetts) was in town for his fiftieth MIT reunion — class of 1958! He took my partner and me to a couple of events, and we noticed among the red-jacketed men a few red-jacketed women. By various accounts, there were nine to fifteen women (out of a thousand students) in the Class […]

happy holidays in dover

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Happy holidays and merry xmas to rational Christians: Judge Jones (a Bush 43 appointee) has not only found the obvious religious motivation in the Dover School Board’s actions, but also found the obvious religious motivation in the development of the intelligent design curriculum. [decision available @ MD PA court website and also @ msnbc. News […]

a few choice ID-related quotes

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Eric Rothschild, representing the Kitzmiller plaintiffs, in Plaintiffs’ Response to Defendants’ Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law: Defendants spend 898 paragraphs of proposed factual findings and 52 proposed legal conclusions avoiding the mountain of inconvenient evidence demonstrating that the Dover Area School Board’s change to the biology curriculum was done for religious reasons, […]

public knowledge of science

Monday, November 7th, 2005

I want free public lectures about science (and okay, social sciences, humanities, politics, art, whatever — but especially science!) to be as freely, conspicuously, and ubiquitously available as church/synagogue/temple services. In a city the size of Boston, people have the opportunity to choose from hundreds of free lectures about religious ideas every week, probably several […]

jonathan kozol on education & no child left behind

Sunday, September 4th, 2005

DS: You also suggest that our current system of locally financed schools be abolished, claiming that it perpetuates inequality by allowing suburbs like Scarsdale or Manhasset to spend twice as much on each student as less affluent cities do. JK: Schooling should not be left to the whim or wealth of village elders. I believe […]

non-katrina

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

yet more depressing news: iraq: where people keep dying. A friend recently met with her family who lives in Baghdad, who reported a) her elderly aunties regularly have laser sightings trained on them by US soldiers; b) her cousin’s cousin was recently shot & killed by US soldiers; c) they still don’t have power & […]

ID advocate admits it ‘has no content’

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

”I’m not pushing to have [ID] taught as an ‘alternative’ to Darwin, and neither are they,” he says in response to one question about Discovery’s agenda. ”What’s being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there’s a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content.” The evolution of George Gilder Boston Globe, 7/27 […]

First Museum of Fake Goods

Friday, June 24th, 2005

Novosti reports that the Russian State Institute of Intellectual Property has opened up a museum of fake goods, to “train qualified intellectual property specialists” in recognizing fake goods and “fight[ing]” the fake goods. Fake goods? Fake goods that fight? Vodka that really isn’t vodka, movies that really aren’t movies — but the fake vodka and […]

derivative works on intelligent design

Friday, June 24th, 2005

two great tastes that taste great together: (critiquing) intelligent design, and derivative works. Ernie Miller rewrote Pastor Niemöller’s classic work for the modern era of attacks on science: First they came after biology and I did not speak out because I was not a biologist Then they came after geology and I did not speak […]

New Yorker on ID: the Unseen Urban Planner

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

The New Yorker has an article evaluating the <cough cough> science of intelligent design. Most amusing (and insightful) quote (from discussion of Behe’s “irreducible complexity” argument): It’s true that when you confront biologists with a particular complex structure like the flagellum they sometimes have a hard time saying which part appeared before which other parts. […]

raise your hands if you’re glad you’re not raising a kid in kansas

Saturday, May 7th, 2005

I’m just so sorry for the kids in Kansas, because their education is being screwed up by a bunch of not-quite-as-fully-evolved-as-the-rest-of-us folks with their heads up their nether regions. [The Kansas state board of education is holding hearings again on whether & how evolution should be taught in schools, and to what extent the religious […]

florida high school yearbook insanity

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005

This is at least the second such story out of Florida in the last couple of years. This year — 2005, not 1955 — high school principal Sam Ward at Fleming Island High School in Clay County, Florida, has decided that the high school yearbook will not publish the photo of a senior young woman […]

victory in georgia for science education

Thursday, January 13th, 2005

Good. Georgia District Court has ordered removal of the anti-evolution stickers in science textbooks. [sfgate 1/13]

reading, censorship & theocracy in the US

Monday, January 10th, 2005

… Sometimes, fighting for freedom of access to information seems shallow in comparison to the struggle against poverty and inequality, or against government-sponsored murder and torture, or even the struggle to survive in the face of hurricanes and tsunamis and floods. But ultimately I believe it’s all the same struggle. … Philip Pullman recently wrote […]

creationists in Dover, Pennsylvania

Monday, December 20th, 2004

This isn’t completely new news — I’ve been following the story for a few days (weeks?). The Dover, Pennsylvania, school board was taken over by anti-evolution Christians who wish to teach “intelligent design.” But in reading another story [in Salon.com, 12/13] about the situation, I started to get annoyed & ranty. School boards are political […]

info news

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004

Sex research is stigmatized. [nyt 11/9] Yeah, not least because of the Bush Administration. Microsoft settles antitrust suit by Novell for $536M. [nyt 11/9] FCC asserts federal control over VOIP. [nyt 11/9] To subject a global network to disparate local regulatory treatment by 51 different jurisdictions would be to destroy the very qualities that embody […]

creationist “science”

Sunday, November 7th, 2004

Another school board votes for creationism, this time in Wisconsin. “[V]arious models/theories”, my ass. Their science wouldn’t pass the Daubert test. In the meantime, Cobb County, Georgia’s mealy-mouthed “Evolution is just a theory” sticker disclaimer law is being tried.

Quotes & Reading

Thursday, June 10th, 2004

A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” – James Madison, from a letter […]


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