RSSCategory: Communication

Causes And Canards

August 6, 2006 | By | Reply More
Causes And Canards

I saw a phrase today that made me think–The Darwinist Cause. Now, I’m sure I’ve seen it or heard it before, but it’s one of those taglines opponents to certain worldviews use to instigate absurd debates (which turn out not to be debates but drubbing sessions wherein they hope to pound you with fervant and […]

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Just What Does THAT Mean?

August 1, 2006 | By | 5 Replies More
Just What Does THAT Mean?

I’m a writer.  As such, words and their uses are important to me, and it bugs me when I hear them used inappropriately or in ways that I know are wrong or intended to mislead.  It’s like an itch I can’t scratch.  Most of the time, I let them slide, because I know there’s nothing […]

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Loyalty is not a virtue

July 26, 2006 | By | 6 Replies More
Loyalty is not a virtue

What is it to be loyal?

According to Merriam Webster, to be “loyal” is to be

1 : unswerving in allegiance: as a: faithful in allegiance to one’s lawful sovereign or government b: faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due c: faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product.

I don’t have a problem with this definition. I do object, however, that “loyalty” has been given a free pass in modern American culture, as though loyalty is always a good thing. In particular, the mass media has bought into this linguistic sleight-of-hand: according to the mainstream media, it is always a good thing to be “loyal.”

Loyalty is undoubtedly a virtue when we are dealing with pet dogs. We like our dogs to be loyal. We like our dogs to do what we tell them to do. The loyalty of a human being is not necessarily a good thing, however.

Loyalty is a matter of committing oneself to a person, to a group of people or to a cause. But people and causes can be either praiseworthy or despicable (or something in between). If a social cause to which I am loyal is that all babies should have basic medical care, loyalty to such a cause would be a good thing. If my idea is that we should all give homage to Hitler, loyalty to this cause would be a horrible idea. Therefore, how can it be said that loyalty is per se a good thing unless one first examines the merit of the person(s) or clause(s) to which a person is being loyal?

[More . . . ]

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Defining Achievement . . . or not

July 22, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More
Defining Achievement . . . or not

Uh-oh, I’m annoyed again. Nothing new, just a recycled annoyance that popped into my craw today and won’t leave, I suppose, because this particular instance, while merely a minor irritation on the surface, indicates a raging cultural infection coursing underneath. I’m easily annoyed by words used incorrectly in the hopes of making either the subject […]

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Why I blog

July 16, 2006 | By | 2 Replies More
Why I blog

Pouring time into this blog has been deeply satisfying to me.  But what is this accomplishing, I sometimes wonder?  After all, there are already numerous writers out there.  Technorati.com indicates that it is now tracking 48.5 million sites and 2.7 billion links.  Plus, there are numerous traditional sources of information (books, magazines, movies, television) available […]

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Did Adam have a belly-button?

July 14, 2006 | By | 20 Replies More
Did Adam have a belly-button?

Until yesterday I didn’t realize that there was a serious debate about whether Adam had a navel.  But, alas, the debate has been a serious one in the minds of some people. According to both versions of creation in Genesis (there are two substantially conflicting versions in the Bible), neither Adam nor Eve was ever […]

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FCC patrolling our airwaves to protect us from dirty words

July 12, 2006 | By | 3 Replies More
FCC patrolling our airwaves to protect us from dirty words

MSNBC has just reported that the FCC is working long hours to protect us from harmful language, i.e., language that “depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities or organs in a patently offensive manner.” In its continuing crackdown on on-air profanity, the FCC has requested numerous tapes from broadcasters that might include vulgar remarks from […]

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Blogs will save us from objective journalism.

June 28, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More
Blogs will save us from objective journalism.

Bill O’Reilly hates the blogosphere. He hates many things, of course, among them Pepsi, rapper Ludacris, a wide array of conventional media outlets, and even some of his own guests. But today I focus on an entire media outlet that O’Reilly labels as biased, lacking in evidence, and in large part sensationalized: political blogs. Of […]

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How many friends/acquaintances can I have?

June 27, 2006 | By | 5 Replies More
How many friends/acquaintances can I have?

In a book called Evolutionary Psychology: A Beginner’s Guide (2005), Robin Dunbar, Louise Barrett and John Lycett addressed this issue.  The book drew on additional research that can be found in Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language, by Robin Dunbar (1997). We don’t have limited numbers of friends and acquaintances merely because we choose […]

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