Skeptical Theism [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

I like this description, and it might describe my own theological views.

Skeptical theism is the view that God exists but that we should be skeptical of our ability to discern God’s reasons for acting or refraining from acting in any particular instance.  In particular, says the skeptical theist, we should not grant that our inability to think of a good reason for doing or allowing something is indicative of whether or not God might have a good reason for doing or allowing something.

But I’m not as enamored of this:

If skeptical theism is true, it appears to undercut the primary argument for atheism, namely the argument from evil.

I’d think the “primary argument for atheism” would be the lack of empirical evidence that God exists. We take God’s existence on faith. Efforts to prove God’s existence have failed, as Three Minute Philosophy points out so well.

That said, skeptical theism provides an answer to angry atheists who ask, “How can you possibly believe that?” Which is good enough for me, but not quite good enough to tell atheists that they’re wrong.

Skeptical Theism [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

journalism, sports

OK, maybe we *are* unable/unwilling to adapt

Web hipsters have long had a field day scoffing at Old Media Companies’ supposed ignorance. It’s a little silly at time. “OMG, they didn’t recognize a picture of the guy who started Craigslist!” No, they didn’t, but that doesn’t meant they’ve failed to notice that Craigslist is eating away their revenue from classifieds.

So it’s often overblown. All businesses have some good ideas and bad ideas — Google does a lot of things right, and yet it launched Google+.

But then you read something like this:

Newspaper websites, can they be eliminated? – SportsJournalists.com discussion thread

That’s enough to make you wonder what the heck we’re doing here.

Oh sure, you could possibly make a freebie weekly work with an editorial staff of two and a whole bunch of underwriting from local realtors. I somehow doubt that’s the long-term strategy of many major metros.

A colleague of mine once said: “This is the Information Age. Information is on computers. Any questions?”

That was in 1995. Now, the audience is on computers. All day and most of the night, to butcher The Kinks’ song.

So you can reach that audience — and have your content visible in search engines, Twitter, Facebook, etc. — or you can hope that someone is going grab your printed paper off a newsstand on the off-chance that they’ll stumble into your brilliant story on page 5.

Seriously — we’re still asking these questions?

The question we need to be asking is how we’re going to make the websites and other apps bring in more money. Slowly but surely, advertisers should realize that their targeted ads and display sizes on the Web and the iPad are better than a small random ad on page 2 of a newspaper. (Sunday inserts and full-page ads, on the other hand, should still be good buys — good news for those of us who don’t want print to disappear completely.)

And the NYTimes model has potential. It keeps the site’s content out there to be discovered by non-subscribers, AND it encourages people to subscribe. (Yes, I know a lot of you are freeloaders. The article addresses that. And pay up, cheapskates.)

If that doesn’t work for your paper, try something else. Leave the backwards time travel to Superman and the Enterprise.



Yes: 1971-1973 … and today!

Heard Owner of a Lonely Heart today and got a little curious today to see whether Yes had been playing that or anything else from its second period of popularity.

Short answer: No. Take a look …

Yes Concert Setlist at Solnahallen, Stockholm on December 9, 2011 | setlist.fm.

At least, they didn’t play it often. This site is a lot of fun … you can get a breakdown of what they played through that tour.

Their newest album, Fly From Here, is overcounted — the site counts the six parts of the title track as six songs. They only played three other songs from it, including Steve Howe’s guitar solo. (They did not play my favorite track from it, Hour of Need.)

They played the heck out of the three essential albums from the early 70s — The Yes Album, Fragile and Close to the Edge. Those were released in a remarkably fruitful period from 1971 to 1972. Poor Alan White — he joined immediately after those three, so the only people on stage from the recording of those albums are guitarist Steve Howe and bassist Chris Squire. The Yes Album is particularly strong, with three of the album’s six songs played at every stop and Howe’s guitar solo often added to make four.

Then they make only a couple of quick stops through the next 10 years. One unusual choice is To Be Over from usually overlooked 1974 album Relayer. After that album, they took a break and did some solo albums, regrouping for a strong comeback with 1977’s Going for the One, represented here by Wonderous Stories.

No surprise that nothing’s here from Tormato. Then we have two songs from Drama, the album they made after incorporating the Buggles — Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes — in place of original vocalist Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman, departing for the second time. Downes is currently in the band after a couple of decades away, and Horn produced Fly From Here.

But Horn also was responsible for 90210, which was a commercial breakthrough. Anderson had come back to the fold with original keyboardist Tony Kaye, though Howe had departed to join Downes in Asia. From that, we get Owner of a Lonely Heart at six of the 23 stops.

And then absolutely nothing from 1982 to 2009. In fact, looking back through the years, it seems 1999’s excellent The Ladder pretty much disappeared after within two years.