Sunday, November 9, 2014

Carl Sagan Day 2014

Today is Carl Sagan Day. Last night we held our 6th Annual Springfield, Illinois Guy Fawkes Night Celebration, also known as A Bonfire Celebration on the Pale Blue Dot, because we also take a moment to remember, remember, the 9th of November, Carl Sagan's birthday. Dr. Sagan would have been 80 years old today. And while we at the Carl Sagan Google Doodle Campaign have been trying to convince Google to create a Google Doodle in Sagan's honour for the 9th of November, today is also the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I posted the following to the CSGDC's Facebook page:

Carl Edward Sagan would have been 80 years old today, the 9th of November, 2014. While another Carl Sagan Day has passed with no Doodle remembering Sagan, perhaps Carl would have preferred this, considering that today's Google Doodle is actually a video in honor of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Sagan urged us to think globally; to see people beyond our self-imposed borders and dividing lines; to move beyond our ingrained prejudices and elitist attitudes. With that in mind, I wish you all a very happy Carl Sagan Day.

— Bud


"The choice is with us still, but the civilization now in jeopardy is all humanity. As the ancient myth makers knew, we are children equally of the earth and the sky. In our tenure on this planet we've accumulated dangerous evolutionary baggage — propensities for aggression and ritual, submission to leaders, hostility to outsiders — all of which puts our survival in some doubt. But we've also acquired compassion for others, love for our children and desire to learn from history and experience, and a great soaring passionate intelligence — the clear tools for our continued survival and prosperity. Which aspects of our nature will prevail is uncertain, particularly when our visions and prospects are bound to one small part of the small planet Earth. But up there in the immensity of the Cosmos, an inescapable perspective awaits us. There are not yet any obvious signs of extraterrestrial intelligence and this makes us wonder whether civilizations like ours always rush implacably, headlong, toward self-destruction. National boundaries are not evident when we view the Earth from space. Fanatical ethnic or religious or national chauvinisms are a little difficult to maintain when we see our planet as a fragile blue crescent fading to become an inconspicuous point of light against the bastion and citadel of the stars. Travel is broadening."

— Carl Sagan

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Annual Bonfire Celebration on the Pale Blue Dot

In 2009 I hosted the first Springfield, Illinois Guy Fawkes Night Celebration. I've written something each year about each party I've hosted, which you can find using the Guy Fawkes tag. Last year we changed tradition a bit, and incorporated Carl Sagan Day into our observations and celebrations. Instead of celebrating on the 5th of November (Guy Fawkes Night), we now find a date somewhere between Guy Fawkes Night and Carl Sagan Day (the 9th of November), preferably a weekend, so more people can attend. This year's party - the 6th Annual Bonfire Celebration - will be this Saturday, November 8th. It's the perfect date, not just because it's in between our two recognized holidays, but because this is the one weekend in which my friend "the Brainsaw" and his family can attend. Brainsaw (not his given name, btw) has created our Guy Fawkes Effigy each year, but has only been able to attend once. This will be the very first time the rest of the Saw family will be able to attend, which makes it extra special.

My friends know how important this event is for me. It's one of the highlights of my year. You may wonder why it means so much to me. Why should an American care about Guy Fawkes night? What does Guy Fawkes have to do with Carl Sagan? I wrote an answer to that question last year, so I won't go into it here. I will talk briefly about why it means so much to me. I chose Guy Fawkes Night because it was something different for people in my part of the world to do. I chose to make it an annual celebration because it's my way of showing my appreciation for my friends. I don't really do birthdays or holidays for reasons that go beyond the scope of this blog entry, so the Bonfire Celebration is my way of celebrating the friendships I have. It means a lot to me when my friends make time to be there. The themes of the party mean a lot to me as well. How often do people get a chance to come together and get excited to hear a history lesson? How often do people get excited to learn a little bit about science? The Bonfire Celebration is that and more, because in the end we get to set something on fire... and who doesn't love that?

I will post pictures of the party next week. Until then, see you around the Pale Blue Dot.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Carl Sagan's 80th Birthday

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The 9th of October is #SaganGoogleDoodle Day!

Monday, September 22, 2014

End of an Era

I started this blog in October, 2009. I've gone on quite a ride, both through this blog and through life in general. Ups, downs, and all the stuff in between. I have learned about myself, I have grown as a person, I have processed many personal issues through writing here. I've made friends here. And a couple enemies. It's been a good ride. But Dead-Logic has served its purpose for me. I started as a heretic, confessing my "sins" of daring to ask questions and seek truth; applying logic and reason and curiosity and wonder while refusing to take "accept it on faith" as an appropriate answer. Along the way I figured out who I am, where I stand, and though I still have much to learn and an entire world to discover, I've learned who I am, and with that understanding comes a level of acceptance of who I am. In the end, I've discovered that this has been my most difficult battle. Depression told me I was hopeless. Regret told me I was a failure. My ex-wife told me I was a monster. Self-doubt bred from bad experiences told me I'd be better off alone, where no one can hurt me and I can't disappoint anyone. There was a time when I believed them. There are times even now when I still believe them. When you feel worthless and useless and hopeless for so long, well, those habits are hard to break.

I've made progress, though, and it's this progess, in fact, that's led me to this blog post. I've reached the point in which Dead-Logic is no longer what it once was for me. Like I said, I haven't figured out everything or answered all the questions, but I've laid the foundation upon which I now stand. This blog was my means of building that foundation. I've struggled for a while with what to do with Dead-Logic. Given how instrumental it's been in helping me get a grip on my life, I've resisted the idea of shutting it down. And I don't plan to. But this is, more or less, the end of the road. Or perhaps I should say the end of an era. Dead-Logic will no longer be a regularly updated blog. It's time for me to move on to other things.

I'm not giving up my online presence entirely. I'm still active on Twitter. I still update my Tumblr periodically. I still have the Carl Sagan Google Doodle Campaign. And I'll still post the occasional blog entry here (next one most likely on November 5th) until I figure out what I want to do next. Mostly, though, Dead-Logic will remain here as an archive of my past writings.

I have plenty of ideas of what I'd like to do next. I've dabbled just a little bit with videos and podcasting. I've talked with my brothers-in-blog about doing a collaboration of some sort. We'll see what happens next. Oh, speaking of collaborations, I also got the opportunity to dabble in writing (like, in a book, not just on a blog). If you haven't bought this book yet, you should:

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you around the blogoverse.

- Bud

Friday, September 12, 2014

"So what do you think (about religion)?"

I think people don't know nearly as much as we think we do. But people have a deep desire to know and understand. And instead of having that desire drive us to investigate, question, and seek, we convince ourselves that we already know the answers. We comfort ourselves by believing we already know. We lie to ourselves so easily. And, having bought into the lie, we fear and resent anything that could challenge our beliefs. That fear is what elevates our beliefs to "holy" doctrine, and raises the act of believing itself to the status of "righteousness." This is why wars have been fought and blood shed for the sake of the same religions that command us to "love our neighbor."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where I Was on 9 September 2001

I was living in a very small town with my then-wife, working as the preaching minister at a very small church, making three very long drives every week to finish my undergrad work at the Bible college. I was watching the news that morning, drinking coffee. I went into the kitchen for a second cup, and when I returned to the sofa I saw the image of a burning building on the screen. A few minutes of reporters trying to process what just happened while scrambling to get info to the viewers passed me by before I realized what had happened. The image was played over and over. Voices on the television were speculating. Questions were raised. Thoughts and prayers were expressed. Our suspicions were confirmed less than 20 minutes later as a second plane crashed into the second tower.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why I Did The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Like so many others, I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Now that it's gone viral, discussion about the practicality or efficacy of the Ice Bucket Challenge has become equally ubiquitous. I don't want to debate so much as simply explain why I did it.

I didn't do it because I felt pressured. If you don't want to pour a bucket of ice water on your head, then don't. Your integrity or compassion or worth as a person isn't determined by whether you accept someone else's methods. Lots of people already give to charities, so their doing the ALS challenge wouldn't make much sense, unless they just wanted to help raise awareness or donate to the cause once. Being pressured to do the challenge is the same as those silly Facebook posts that try to manipulate you into sharing it: "Share if you really care. I bet 99% of you won't." "Share if you love Jesus. Keep scrolling if you worship Satan."

I didn't refuse to do it* because I try to not be a pretentious ass. I don't think I'm "too good" to do something that's popular. The world doesn't need charity hipsters.

(* Intentional double negative. I'm a grammar hipster.)

I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because I accepted the challenge I was given. It's for a good cause, and I felt it was right for me to show my support and raise awareness. Pouring a bucket of ice water on my head isn't going to change much, so I included a link for those who wanted to donate. Why do the challenge if you're not going to donate and/or at least share the information letting people know where they can send money?

Whether you decide to do the challenge or not, may the buckets of water serve as a reminder that we are all part of the global community, and we should be helping others when and how we are able.