Beyond Reason

A Menagerie

Posted in News,Philosophy,Politics,Sports by Abigail on September 5, 2008

I love tennis. It is the only sport in which “thank you” means “shut up”. And – not surprisingly – I have watched too much of the U.S. Open.


So, Sarah Palin. Her choice was a stroke of brilliance. Now both parties have novelty: Obama is black and Palin is female. And she’s substanially more interesting than McCain. Which is probably not too hard to do.


Here’s a question I’ve been kicking around: assuming macro evolution to be true, why should I think evolution is over? The significance of the question should be obvious: if evolution is not over, then I – and, more importantly, my thinking ability – is still evolving. What if I evolve to the point where I realize evolution isn’t true?! So, that’s a nonseical question but I think it makes my point. If my reasoning ability has evolved, and if evolution isn’t actually finished, then I have no grounds for thinking that evolution, or – better yet – anything, is true. I’m sure someone, somewhere has addressed why we can 1) believe the process has ended so that 2) we can believe our own thoughts. But, I’ve never heard this issue addressed and am curious to hear that reason. (For the record, the same difficulty applies to those on the opposite side of the fence – it just has an entirely different twist.)


Random TidBit (to complete my extremely random post above): If you ever need a definition of a term, Google has a nice service. I just looked up the word “menagerie” to make sure it’s what I wanted. In their search field, type define: menagerie AND… tada – you get a whole host of responses, which is really what you want to begin with. That’s better than a dictionary, because here we have greater variety and usage, wider connotation, and – perhaps the best – current results.


8 Responses to 'A Menagerie'

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  1. chris said,

    I (heart) Sarah Palin.

  2. Epiphanist said,

    How could you ever think that evolution was over? Am I missing something?

  3. amandalaine said,

    Yeah, I’m with you about Palin. She’s impressive.


    I’m just kicking some ideas around Epiphanist. So, let’s assume it’s not over, as you have. Now what do you have to say to my ideas? I’d like to hear.

  4. oleg said,

    What do you think of this op-ed from NYT?

  5. amandalaine said,

    Well, first it’s long. But it’s interesting! The author doesn’t mind making strong nearly over-the-top statements. Those need – on my part – further examination.

    Unfortunately, I’ve read it quickly so here’s my first glance response: the author’s right on in saying that, at this point, Palin’s primary contribution is purely superficial. She brings novelty and reroutes attention from the media-guzzling Obama campaign and focuses it squarely where McCain wants it: back on himself. Smart. Brilliant. They deserve points. McCain needed that. All the charges lobbed against Palin in that article, well, they could all be true. I haven’t researched them. What is unnerving, because it’s believable, is the accusation that McCain acted quickly, viscerally, kind of like we know the Bush camp to do. That has proved dangerous. McCain to me gives off the air of wanting to be the bull-dog that acts first and thinks later – that has obvious consequences and doesn’t endear him to the more contemplative, like me.

    Sum of the matter – I should read the article better. But thanks for bringing it up!

    Did you have thoughts on the matter?

  6. oleg said,

    Selection of Palin as a VP candidate does draw attention to the Republican campaign. However, it doesn’t make me want to vote for them. Well, I’m not a US citizen – I can’t vote, but elections in this country affect the rest of world and this is why I keep up with it. Regarding the accusations to the McCain campaign – the author provides links that support them, so they appear to be credible to me.

    Palin was shielded from the press – GOP was concerned about reporters asking her tough questions. IMHO, if she is not ready to answer questions, then she’s not ready to be a VP. Also, I’m concerned about Palin’s responses regarding Georgia in her recent interview. She seemed to feel too easy about going to war with Russia. Just imagine what the second day of that war would look like. The fact that McCain and Palin are so hasty with war decisions and that they will have access to nuclear codes does scare me.

    They steal the “change” slogan from Obama, however their policies seem to be too similar to those of the current administration, which proved to be a trainwreck in my opinion. Obama doesn’t excite me very much either, but him and Biden seem to be a “lesser evil” at this point.

    Finally, what about the statement by the McCain campaign manager that the election is not about issues?

    Personality and values alone wouldn’t win my vote. It seems like McCain’s campaign tries to turn this into a high school popularity contest.

    Here is another op-ed from NYT, this time by Bill Kristol:

  7. amandalaine said,

    Oleg – thank you so much for your thoughts! They are very good. Excellent points. I am apologetic because I have not been very attentive to my blog so your comment sat in my list of comments to approve (I don’t know why it wasn’t automatically approved) until this morning.

    Again, I’m sorry! I intend to be attentive from now on… we’ll see how that goes down.

    So, regarding your points above – hmmmm, perhaps Palin ain’t so hot? I’m with you on their hastiness to go to war. That is incredibly concerning. I hope to read your thoughts and articles more carefully and get back to you soon.

    I’m sorry again Oleg that your comment was stuck in my list of comments to be approved.

  8. amandalaine said,

    “IMHO, if she is not ready to answer questions, then she’s not ready to be a VP”. I couldn’t agree with you more. Her recent comments and responses to questions suggest that – instead of the great asset she just became – she may become a huge liability. The ability to speak, and have something to say (which typically requires reading), is a minimum for a leadership position. I feel like this is Obama’s strongest point – he speaks. The man speaks! Well! Praise all that is good! It’s refreshing. Not that I agree with him. I don’t. But at least he has the extremely basic leadership quality of being able to speak (and in my opinion he thinks well also – I just don’t agree with him).

    “Finally, what about the statement by the McCain campaign manager that the election is not about issues?” Well, I listened to that clip, and there wasn’t enough to go on there. I think that man could easily be referring to the fact that, in general, people want someone they trust. If this is the case, then he’s right. That’s all. He’s not necessarily saying that the campaign SHOULD not be about issues; instead, he may just be saying that for most people it’s not. He has done no active condoning of such a situation. But, again, context is needed for that statement.

    Your link to the NYtimes article – fabulous. Perhaps change is coming – except, when I hear someone as well spoken as Obama, I always wonder this really cynical thing: does he actually have more than words? And my speculation is that he doesn’t. He’s young, idealistic, lacks experience, gushes words and concepts, and is facing deep gritty complexity. There’s my cynical conclusion: I don’t believe he’s all that and a bag of chips like a lot of people do. But I do believe he speaks well. Maybe he should be a speech teacher. 🙂

    Oleg – I’d love to hear your view of the current Russian political state… as that is your home nation.

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