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Thomas Bushnell, BSG
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Attended University of California, Irvine
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
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For the record, the dress is obviously green and purple.
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... or was it white and black?
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So funny.

If WALL.E Was A CHRISTOPHER NOLAN Film (Interstellar): http://youtu.be/SlHhzB_DNBw
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Thomas Bushnell, BSG

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Just watched Pride. I knew the basics of the story, only because I'd heard of it twenty-odd years ago shortly after it happened. I'm a couple years younger than the protagonists. My first pride parade was in 1987 instead of 1984.

At the end, I bawled my eyes out. Literally collapsed. It was a stunning evocation for me of what it felt like in those days. I wore the loose t-shirt with the rolled up cuffs, didn't have the guts for the crazy hair, and danced to Dead or Alive.

But for the grace of God, I could so easily have perished along with Mark Ashton.

Mark, I hope we have done you proud. I'm proud I could have followed in some small way behind you.
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Only in silence is it possible to hear what is most important. The quietest whispers become audible, and take over the noisiness of an unquiet heart.
#bonmot
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+John Stewart So do I! But I don't value self-preservation above all else...
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Human freedom is found only in limitations freely accepted. If life is a drama, we one day find that the role we were cast in is not the one we were trying out for. Only in living the role we actually have can we be free.
#bonmot
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Thomas Bushnell, BSG

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It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Why did nobody tell me about this brilliance? What other things have you all been hiding from me?
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In case it's not obvious, there's a bar in Busan named It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  I'm not familiar enough with the show to identify whether or not it was themed or just named for the show.
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140 luminarias again lit! Happy New Year, everyone.
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Happy new year!
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Have him in circles
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Thomas Bushnell, BSG

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So I just read this rather crappy rant: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/religion/, because +Scott Maxwell  linked to something else at the same site. And +Gavin Doughtie  said something similar recently in a lovely conversation, as did +Tim Campbell

I don't mean to say that these people agree with this post (though they might) though their comments seemed on a similar page. And here's why the post is really kinda sadly wrong.

"I define faith specifically and narrowly as the willful explicit or implicit willingness to believe propositions that the believer perceives to be either unsupported by scientific, historical and/or philosophical evidence and argumentation or has good reason to suspect are undermined by such evidence and argumentation."

That's the quote. Now certainly there are religious believers who have held that their beliefs are of that sort. This point of view is called "fideism", and has a long history. However, it is an extremely rare view, so rare that those who are often thought to hold to it reject it; it's a thing that gets inferred about them even though they don't accept it.

If you ask religious believers why they believe what they do, with almost no exception they proceed to give you a reason for what they believe, what in their life or the world around them leads them to the beliefs they have. And, interestingly, the more thoughtful, the more committed, the more well-read the religious believer, the more likely they are to have a richer account to offer of the reasons for their beliefs.

Now I have no complaint about people who think that this or that person's reasons for religious belief are insufficient, but that's a far cry from what the linked post is concerned with. Remember, the problem isn't belief which happens have insufficient evidence; the problem is the holding it while also thinking there is not sufficient evidence

So my question is: where did this odd little meme come from? Where did the idea come from that religious faith has anything to do with believing a thing while also thinking it doesn't have evidence? This has nothing to do with the word; "faith" means trust or confidence in someone or something. Where did anyone get this meme that it means this kind of foolish believing without any reasons with a kind of middle finger up at rationality? It doesn't match the professed beliefs of actual religious people, but for a pretty tiny minority.

The linked article is filled with other foolishness too, such as the idea that religious believers are all followers of authority (which is, by the way, contrary to fideism, since "I believe it because X says it's true, and I have reasons to think X is a reliable authority" is not believing X without reasons (even if it happens that X isn't a reliable authority after all).

So where did this made-up little fiction about religion get started?
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Ah, and another sense of "faith" which explains some of these uses which are not really about grounds-for-belief.

Suppose I trust John very highly, and John tells me, "hey, there was a nasty accident on the highway." And I report to you: "I think there was a nasty accident on the highway." And now you ask me, "why do you believe that?"

Normal grounds are, "well, because I saw it" or "there were many reliable reports; here, you can read them yourself." But in this case, it's actually, "Because John said so, and I trust John."

Keeping in mind that faith = trust/confidence, this is essentially equivalent to saying, "on faith". Now, there are other questions to ask: "How do you know John told you that" and "Why do you trust John". But note that those are different questions.

It doesn't mean there is no story to be told, or that my belief about the accident is cut off from normal sources of knowledge. Now what about sense of "immune to reasoning?" Well, you're going to have to convince me not that "accidents are really unlikely" or something like that; you're going to have to convince me "John doesn't really exist" or "John can't be trusted because he lies" or "John can't be trusted because he might have gotten this wrong" or "John didn't really say that."

So when someone says, "on faith" as an answer, and the sense is "immune from other reasoning or evidence" that's because the attendant other propositions in the religious context are things like "God doesn't really exist" or "God can't be trusted because he lies" or "God can't be trusted because he might have been mistaken" or "God didn't say that to you."

But those are different propositions, and the person may simply take their opposites to be really about as self-evident as arithmetic propositions. (At least the first three of them.)
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Thomas Bushnell, BSG

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No, Fox. He was fired for being a bigot.
Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran’s storied career is up in smoke – all because of a book he wrote for a men’s Bible study group at his Baptist church.
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+Mark Shieh​ That one involved plenty of bigotry on all sides. :-(
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To say yes to a good thing is always to say no to many other good things. To try to say yes to all the good things one could have or do, is in the end to have none of them.
#bonmot
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+Paul Hosking​ I learned everything I know I from The Simpsons and Civilization.

http://civilization.wikia.com/wiki/Hunting_%28Civ4%29
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Thomas Bushnell, BSG

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Tonight's luminarias.
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Religious Brother, Software Engineer
Employment
  • Google
    Software Engineer, 2010 - present
  • BorderStylo
    2008 - 2010
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Software Engineer, 1998 - 2000
  • Free Software Foundation
    Hacker, 1990 - 1998
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Los Angeles, CA
Previously
Albuquerque, NM - Pittsburgh, PA - Somerville, MA - Irvine, CA - Alexandria, VA
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Thomas Bushnell, BSG, normally
Education
  • University of California, Irvine
    MA, PhD: Philosophy, 2000 - 2007
  • Virginia Theological Seminary
    Theology, 2007 - 2008
  • Carnegie Mellon University
    Mathematics, 1985 - 1985
  • University of New Mexico
    Mathematics, 1986 - 1988
  • University of Massachusetts Boston
    BA: Philosophy; Classics, 1996 - 1999
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Male
Other names
Michael Innis Bushnell (once, but no more)
Thomas Bushnell, BSG's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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