twitter thoughts

here is an interesting essay from George Packer in the New Yorker about twitter.  Here is how the meat of it begins:

The truth is, I feel like yelling Stop quite a bit these days. Every time I hear about Twitter I want to yell Stop. The notion of sending and getting brief updates to and from dozens or thousands of people every few minutes is an image from information hell. I’m told that Twitter is a river into which I can dip my cup whenever I want. But that supposes we’re all kneeling on the banks. In fact, if you’re at all like me, you’re trying to keep your footing out in midstream, with the water level always dangerously close to your nostrils. Twitter sounds less like sipping than drowning.

and just a bit further down:

Carr wrote. And: “Twitter becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people.” And: “The real value of the service is listening to a wired collective voice … the throbbing networked intelligence.” And: “On Twitter, you are your avatar and your avatar is you.” And finally: “There is always something more interesting on Twitter than whatever you happen to be working on.”

This last is what really worries me. Who doesn’t want to be taken out of the boredom or sameness or pain of the present at any given moment? That’s what drugs are for, and that’s why people become addicted to them. Carr himself was once a crack addict (he wrote about it in “The Night of the Gun”). Twitter is crack for media addicts. It scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I could handle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my son go hungry.

go check out the rest. good stuff on a Superbowl Sunday evening.

HT to Justin Taylor

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effect of literature

Kevin DeYoung wonders what hath literature wrought?

I agree strongly with his conclusion:

I’ll take passionate and logical romantic rationalism over the tired tirades of false dichotomies any day.

plus, I enjoy his perfect parallel prose. anyone who reads here long knows that I adore appropriate alliteration.

family reengineering

you may recall a previous post on my blog regarding a liberal anthropologist’s case against homosexual marriage.

today I present a conservative atheist’s questions about reengineering the family. worth a read. I like Heather’s ending the best:

These are not easy questions. The deprivation to gays from not being able to put the official, public stamp of legitimacy on their love is large. If one were confident that gay marriage would have at most a negligible effect on the ongoing dissolution of the traditional family, I would see no reason to oppose it. And fertility technology is hardly the only source of stress on families; heterosexual adults have been wreaking havoc on the two-parent family for the last five decades in their quest for maximal freedom and choice. The self-interested assumption behind that havoc has been that what’s good for adults must be good for children: If adults want flexibility in their living arrangements, then children will benefit from it, as well. Perhaps children are as infinitely malleable as it would be convenient for them to be. But if it turns out that they thrive best with stability in their lives and that the traditional family evolved to provide that stability, then our breezy jettisoning of child-rearing traditions may not be such a boon for children.

The facile libertarian argument that gay marriage is a trivial matter that affects only the parties involved is astoundingly blind to the complexity of human institutions and to the web of sometimes imperceptible meanings and practices that compose them. Equally specious is the central theme in attorney Theodore Olson’s legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8: that only religious belief or animus towards gays could explain someone’s hesitation regarding gay marriage. Anyone with the slightest appreciation for the Burkean understanding of tradition will feel the disquieting burden of his ignorance in this massive act of social reengineering, even if he ultimately decides that the benefits to gays from gay marriage outweigh the risks of the unknown.

so. what do you think?

an interview with Hitchens

Marilyn Sewell, a unitarian minister, interviews atheist Christopher Hitchens here. hilarity ensues. here is a glimpse, but it continues on in this vein.

The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make and distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.

ht to Kathryn Jean Lopez

why do you love the church?

if you love the church, why? (the “if you don’t, why not”? is a whole ‘nother post)

Josh Harris lists some wrong reasons why people sometimes love their church. what do you think?  Here are a couple to get you started, then go read the rest of his post including the reason we should love the church:

  • Don’t love the church because of what it does for you. Because sooner or later it won’t do enough.
  • Don’t love the church because of a leader. Because human leaders are fallible and will let you down.
  • on the occasion of the March for Life

    on the occasion of the march for life, here is a repost from September 2008 of a survivor of an attempt to end her life:

    here is a clip of a talk by a young lady who survived an attempt on her life and lived to tell the tale (albeit with scars). Makes for an interesting point of view on life. she gets the God centered view better than most of us.

    hat tip to Adrian Warnock.

    Roe v. Wade @37

    37 years ago the Supreme Court issued its opinion legalizing abortion by fiat nationwide. That legally unsupportable seizure of state police authority remains in effect today, but there are increasing signs of cracks in the abortion on demand edifice.

    Science and technology have marched ahead. 4d ultrasound and better resolution on regular ultrasound show any observer the reality of the presence of a human being in the womb. As a result of using these techniques to produce “better” and safer abortions, many abortion workers are faced with the undeniable truth of their actions and become converts to the pro-life cause.

    Here is an interesting article “Mugged by Ultrasound” that investigates this phenomenon. very interesting reading.

    [A]dvances in ultrasound imaging and abortion procedures have forced providers ever closer to the nub of their work. Especially in abortions performed far enough along in gestation that the fetus is recognizably a tiny baby, this intimacy exacts an emotional toll, stirring sentiments for which doctors, nurses, and aides are sometimes unprepared. Most apparently have managed to reconcile their belief in the right to abortion with their revulsion at dying and dead fetuses, but a noteworthy number have found the conflict unbearable and have defected to the pro-life cause.
    …..
    But although D&E is better for the patient, it brings emotional distress for the abortionist, who, after inserting laminaria that cause the cervix to dilate, must dismember and remove the fetus with forceps. One early study, by abortionists Warren Hern and Billie Corrigan, found that although all of their staff members “approved of second trimester abortion in principle,” there “were few positive comments about D&E itself.” Reactions included “shock, dismay, amazement, disgust, fear, and sadness.” A more ambitious study published the following year, in the September 1979 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, confirmed Hern and Corrigan’s findings. It found “strong emotional reactions during or following the procedures and occasional disquieting dreams.”

    Another study, published in the October 1989 issue of Social Science and Medicine noted that abortion providers were pained by encounters with the fetus regardless of how committed they were to abortion rights. It seems that no amount of ideological conviction can inoculate providers against negative emotional reactions to abortion.