It’s on after all

As I mentioned in that earlier post, there was another publisher interested in THE IRRATIONAL ATHEIST. Apparently they were a bit more interested than I’d previously been led to understand. I sent them the proposal after receiving the notice of rejection from the first publisher, and got a telephone call from an editor yesterday evening, followed an hour later by a book contract from the publisher.

It’s an interesting situation, because the publisher is a secular one and the editor is an atheist. Nevertheless, he informed me the book appealed to him because he found the arguments contra Dawkins and Harris presented in the sample chapters to be not so much convincing as conclusive. Which would appear to be a good sign.

But keep in mind that the book isn’t a conventional apology, it’s a salvo returning fire in the rhetorical war declared by Sam and Dick, making a reason-based case regarding modern society’s need for religion and the right of the religious faithful to command respect for their faith within it.

And while the book’s publisher isn’t an international conglomerate like the first one, they’re a respected one with solid distribution and the arrangement we’re in the process of working out may well prove to be a much better setup for me given my plethora of idiosyncracies. The book will be published in hardcover and it may even be available by the end of the year, although we haven’t decided upon a release date yet.

I’m interested in knowing if any of you might like to try to shoot holes in some of the more controversial chapters once they are ready. If you’d like to do that and are willing to hammer on a single chapter in no small degree of detail, let me know. I’m thinking particularly of folks like JQP, who aren’t religious and have the ability to make use of their skepticism without letting it rule them when examining the strength of a countervailing logic.

UPDATE: it’s been decided and the release date will be December.

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The height of retro cool

I heard an awesome song on the radio today and simply had to find out who it was. It’s kind of remniscent of “I Could Never Be Your Woman” by White Town, except more 80s and laconic despite its faster pace. And being in Italian, of course, as the song is called “Vorrei Essere La Moda”, or “I Would Like to be The Fashion”.

Which just cracks me up, as anyone familiar with Italy will understand. Actually, that is the one good thing about the video. “He is wearing white? He must be stopped!”

It’s the most addictive thing I’ve heard since Electric Six’s “I Buy the Drugs“. The video isn’t all that interesting, but the song just screams “height of the party”. If it ever makes its way across the ocean, it will deservedly be huge in the clubs and in the fashion shows.

Speaking of Electric Six, one wouldn’t have thought it would be possible for anything to be simultanously funnier and more disturbing than their great salute to President Abraham Lincoln in their video for “Gay Bar”. And one would be wrong.

This was made by the members of the Pretty Pink Ponies guild, of which I am not a member.

Also, I’m sorry.

Which reminds me of an incident in WoW the other day. I was waiting to meet up with somebody in Lakeshire when I saw a group of guys who had obviously gotten bored waiting for one of their friends begin dancing on the bridge. They were amusing themselves by jumping around and basically being silly, when one of them suddenly began taking his armor off, and then his clothes. This led to the following dialogue:

“Dude, would u put ur clothes back on!!!!!”

“Nock it off!!!”

“Stop u freak!!!!”

and, finally,

“I am so not going into a dark cave with him”

The VQPF continues to grow

GG has a question:

It might confound some of your detractors to find that I am a huge fan of yours. I am a 47 year old gay white male who is happily living with his partner. While I do not agree with many of your opinions, I always admire your logic. Logic is important to me. Your views and attitudes always have an internal logic that is consistent.

And so, I have a question that I would like to see you address.

If we all were to agree that homosexuality is a choice, and therefore not protected under law, should we not also agree that religion is a choice, and therefore not protected under law as well?

I must admit that I am quite comfortable with a system that allows employers and landlords to refuse me because I am gay, as long as I am allowed to refuse them because they are Christian. Your thoughts?

I agree entirely. You have no obligation to employ or rent to anyone, and you may refuse to contract with anyone for any reason you wish. I have the same right to reject doing business with a homosexual Packers fan that he has to reject doing business with a Christian Vikings supporter, and it doesn’t matter whether it is the sexual orientation, the religion or the sports affiliation that is the core reason.

That is what is known as the Freedom of Association, and its near-complete absence in the USA demonstrates very clearly that the American government no longer even pretends to govern lawfully.

I’m not quite sure how to address the first question. Is it a hypothetical question or a practical one based on a misconception of Constitutional law that is honored only by its breach? Assuming the former, I don’t think I agree. The protection of religion is not based on its being a matter of choice, (which it clearly is), since some choices are protected while others are not.

What GG appears to fail to grasp is that the protection of religion in the American structure, its special status, is both a protection of the state from the misapplication of religious corruption and the protection of religion from the temptation of the corruption of exercising temporal power.

Therefore, this matter simply has no comparable application to homosexuality or the vast majority of other human choices.

TV requires serious brains

Given the fact that so few talking heads are even capable of speaking coherently, I continue to be amazed at the amount of credibility they are assigned in our society. And thanks to ProFootballTalk, I’m forced to remember those halcyon days when this guy was starting NFL games as a Vikings quarterback:

A couple of readers tell us that ESPN’s Sean Salisbury was on Thursday’s NFL Live taking sample Wonderlic questions, and that he flat-out screwed one of the answers up. And didn’t realize it.

The question: A boy is 17 years old and his sister is twice his age. When the boy is 23, how old will his sister be?

Salisbury spouts off “46,” when the right number was 40. And, apparently, Salisbury bragged after the segment that he had answered all of the questions correctly.

Sounds to me as if Bill O’Reilly may some serious competition looming in the near future. No doubt Fox or CNN is going to snap him up after that performance.

“Does he wear his makeup well?”

“Check.”

“Does he babble on and on without making any sense?”

“Reliably.”

“Does he have an overinflated ego?”

“Most definitely.”

“Can he handle basic multiplication and addition?”

“He thinks six plus thirty-four is forty-six.”

“Perfect. Get him a contract. We’ll put him on after Shep and groom him for Bill’s spot.”

Mailvox: BS on health care

The Baseball Savant writes about his experience in medical school:

I think I’ve mentioned to you before that I’m in medical school and one of the great ideas of the school I attend is a class we have to take called “Health Policy & Economics”. Now being part of the VOXOLOGISTI, I figure from your writings I’ve already forgotten more about economics than the current Ph.D in econ trying to teach us about how health care should work.

Typically, they aren’t as abashed when it comes to saying we need to live under socialism and the world would be a better place if the Lizard Queen would have had her health care plan implemented the first time around, and I wanted to get your thoughts on it.

Specifically, can you tell us what is wrong with health care? Can you give light on what the problems are and then what needs to be fixed? Huge problems that we face as conservatives in the class is bringing up the point that health care isn’t a guaranteed right and that you can’t help everyone out.

A question that overrides for me as a Christian is that I feel like when you look at the works of Jesus Christ, a lot of the examples are of Christ healing people and that being a powerful witness to non-believers. I agree with pretty much everything you are saying in regards to school and what not, but I also feel like the Lord has called me to be a physician and there isn’t much I can do with that either. I think you can understand that proposistion. My thinking is that do you feel at some level that it’s the church’s fault for not providing time, money, and service for the poor in regards to health care and that is why the lousy government is stepping in? That sounds like a statement you will shred to pieces and I’m sure that it is in regards to the government will try and get in anywhere it can regardless of how well the people can prevent it, but I hope you can see what I’m saying.

A lot of me feels like a free market economy is best, but a lot of docs I talk to tell me that typically they would agree, but that medicine is a different type of goods and service that can’t be looked at in the same way you would automobiles or computers. WHat are you thoughts on that? Do you feel like medicine is a different service or that it can be considered the same as everything else?

Another thing I was thinking about is that the problem of physicians seeming greedy came up and that is why people don’t like doctors and why people want our salaries to decrease. I had a hard time with that because Robert Bork in Slouching Towards Gomorrah sort of says the opposite in that the public at large doesn’t particularly care for doctors making money because of greed and/or jealousy, but the public is more than willing to indulge a singer, actor, or athlete a ton of money because they feel that they are “gifted” and basically just hit the lottery. Do you feel that way about docs? I might be biased becuase I’m med school and a lot of my friends are med school and are doctors already but I think we all work furiously hard and try to do our best. The decisions we make are incredible on a day to day basis and it seems that should be rewarded. The Ph.D in econ and some of the docs vehemently disagreed with that saying that we should be willing to work for nothing because we are serving society at large and keeping the most people healthy is good for everyone because it keeps up the workforce or something to that degree.

I don’t know exactly what I’m asking, but I do know that you know a helluva lot more about it than I do and can probably infer a lot more answers to the questions I’m not answering. I know there are many aspects to this and if you don’t have time or think this is silly then that’s fine too. I completely understand.

Just for fun, the Ph.D in economics is a 50ish woman who is single and has cats! It was amazing when she was telling us a little bit about herself! Also, the docs they have to come in and talk to us are always women too so I think we are royally getting screwed and there is never a difference of opinion from socialized medicine.

There is only one fundamental problem with health care. There is little connection between the individual who pays for the service and the services received. From this, all the other ills spread.

The Great Conceit of socialism is that relevant information can be dictated. It can’t, because no single mind, artificial or natural, can hope to comprehend all of the input variables, let alone correctly assign the ideal values for those variables anywhere nearly as efficiently as the dynamism of the market.

The problems we see in health care are the direct result with interferences with that constantly-evolving dynamism. Too few nurses here, too high prices there, too much waiting here, empty buildings there. As the European examples show, the more centralized control that is exerted, the worse the problem gets. Artificially forcing down prices always reduces supply, thus everyone in England is entitled to the same horrible lack of health care… except of course those who can afford to fly to Switzerland or the United States.

Thus the pursuit of equality and fairness renders an even greater inequality. This is why I am a staunch opponent of equality in all its forms. Equality is the great destroyer of excellence, and its worst depradations ravage the weakest, not the strongest.

The idea that medicine is a “different type of goods and service” is a profoundly stupid statement. One can no more define away subservience to the law of supply and demand than to the law of gravity; it is at least possible ignore the latter in certain situations.

While one can certainly declare oneself a non-oxygen breather and physically present oneself from breathing oxygen, one cannot expect to survive the situation. As a doctor-in training, the Baseball Savant is better equipped than most to describe the inevitable results in detail.

Rejected again

I just received an email from the New York political publishing house which has been looking at my proposal for THE IRRATIONAL ATHEIST: Richard Dawkins and the Clowns at Reason’s Court. And despite some very nice compliments, they decided to pass on it.

There is one other publishing possibility that I’m checking out now – I should have an answer tomorrow – but if that doesn’t pan out, I’ll post one of the chapters here this week. And either way, you’ll get to read it a lot sooner than you would have if the New York house had decided to do it.

Despite this, or more accurately, in part because of this, I have never been happier about my recent decision to return full-time to what I like best.

Won’t you please give?

Do it for the women. Do it for the children:

I’ll never forget that moment in 1995 when I watched Hillary Clinton stand up in Beijing and declare that “women’s rights are human rights.” In front of the whole world, Hillary spoke out for every woman who suffered from inequality, injustice, and repression. Every person in the hall knew she was making history. Her act of courage still reverberates through women’s lives.

I’ve known Hillary for nearly 20 years. I’ve stood side-by-side with her as she took on the fight for women’s rights at home and abroad, and let me tell you: no one will stand up for all of us as she will. She is the experienced leader this country needs.

Over the years, I have seen Hillary’s deep commitment to improving the lives of women and children. Now it is time for us to show our commitment to her….

I remember what it was like to be the first woman secretary of state of this country. Have you seen the look in the eyes of young women at Hillary’s campaign rallies? Can you sense the thrill that comes with knowing their first vote in a presidential election could elect America’s first woman president?

Oh baby, this is going to be good. I am genuinely excited about a Rodham presidency… you probably think I’m being sarcastic here, but it’s going to be like the Clinton years cranked up to eleven. Rupert Murdoch is salivating just thinking about the Fox ratings.

The thing is, Albright’s appeal is absolutely going to work on women. Women who have never voted Democrat in their lives are going to vote for Hillary. Every woman who has ever felt oppressed by men or was belittled as a child for throwing like a girl is going to be swept up in an overwhelming spirit of sisterly justification. And for all of those who cannot even begin to fathom this probability, answer me this:

Have you ever known the women in your life to behave irrationally in response to a powerful emotional appeal?

Then tell me that Hillary can’t win.

Heck, I’ll bet Kathryn Lopez had to fight back a momentary urge to contribute to the Lizard Queen’s campaign after reading that estrogen-sopped petition.

“Wait a minute, I’m the editor of the National Review. But then we’re not conservative anymore, are we? And she is a woman, after all….”