Friday, June 26, 2009

Obligatory "RIP, Michael Jackson" Blog

So Michael Jackson died yesterday. He was only 50. Such a tragedy. We should all mourn the loss of such a brilliant artist (20 years ago, anyway). I guess all those times growing up that the people at my fundagelical church prayed for him to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior (i.e., embrace a fundagelical Christian worldview) were for naught. Some say Michael Jackson was a pedophile. Others (mostly fans lacking objectivity) deny these allegations. I've heard comments from both sides of the issue. Some have said that he was a great man, citing all the humanitarian efforts I'm sure he undertook (but that I haven't bothered to research at all), because remarkable artistry on its own is no indication of a person's "character" (Oscar Wilde, anyone?). And of course I've seen commentary with a more sensible, realistic perspective on the issue. As Sullivan duly noted, it is a complicated issue. Believe me, I completely understand that it's complicated. But let's not pretend that if he weren't famous and if the trial took place in a location other than California, he wouldn't be rotting away in a maximum-security prison right now. So ignoring for now the question of "did he or didn't he," as I am not one to judge in areas such as this, does it really matter? Would he have been any less of a great artist or humanitarian if he was, in fact, sexually attracted to boys? Should we, as a society, be condemning such people to a lifetime of suffering and subjugation simply for possessing a non-standard sexual orientation? Should we be treating teenagers as criminals for posting nude or semi-nude photos of themselves on the Internet? But I digress!

On a final note, this whole controversy reminds me of a quote from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl," which I have included below in edited form:
The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do. For instance, you can accept that [Michael Jackson] was [possibly sexually attracted to boys] and a [great artist/"beautiful soul"/whatever] or you can't. But [many factors in his life were consistent with the "profile" of a person who was sexually attracted to boys], so you'll have to square with that some day.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Truth!

There is no truth... there are only facts.

There are no paradoxes... only contradictions1.

There are no miracles... only unexplained phenomena2.

There is no great plan to life... things just happen and we just try to make the best we can out of our situation.

There are no absolutes... only general guidelines agreed upon by society in what we consider normal cases3.

There are no unalienable rights... only privileges we gave ourselves that the government hasn't yet decided to infringe upon.

There is no soul... only electro-chemical interactions in our brain.

There is no free will.

There is no afterlife.

There is no supernatural.

Suck it, Kant.

Obviously, none of this is very rigorous. The point I'm trying to make is that most people assume all of these things exist. I believe there's no harm in questioning these assumptions. I assert that the existence of any of these things is yet to be verified. In any event, there is no need for any of them. If there is purpose to life, I believe that one of them is to find the answers to "the big questions" on our own. I often lament the way it seems that most people believe superstition to be more wondrous than reality. I assert that the knowledge we've discovered through science and reason is far more fascinating than any ideas from mythology or mysticism. But I suppose that's merely an opinion.

1 Alternatively, what we think of as a paradox might actually be a statement that does not contradict itself, but merely appears to.

2 Of course, most things people think of as miracles have been explained, they just don't know it.

3 The only "absolutes" are logical constructions, but that's a discussion for another time. What most people think of as "absolutes" they would most likely throw out in extreme cases.