Tom's Compares

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Compare 04/03/2017

If you've got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs -- rethinking the world isn't an option.
  --PZ Myers, biology professor (b.1957)

(58:2.3) And yet some of the less imaginative of your mortal mechanists insist on viewing material creation and human evolution as an accident. The Urantia midwayers have assembled over fifty thousand facts of physics and chemistry which they deem to be incompatible with the laws of accidental chance, and which they contend unmistakably demonstrate the presence of intelligent purpose in the material creation. And all of this takes no account of their catalogue of more than one hundred thousand findings outside the domain of physics and chemistry which they maintain prove the presence of mind in the planning, creation, and maintenance of the material cosmos.

    Paul Zachary "PZ" Myers (born March 9, 1957) is an American associate-professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM). He founded and writes the Pharyngula science-blog, and as of 2016 works with zebrafish in the field of evolutionary developmental biology.
    He is an outspoken critic of intelligent design (ID) and of the creationist movement, where he is widely regarded as a confrontationalist.
    In 2006 the journal Nature listed Myers's Pharyngula as the top-ranked blog by a scientist based on popularity.
    Myers received the American Humanist Association's 2009 Humanist of the Year award and the International Humanist Award in 2011. Asteroid 153298 Paulmyers is named in his honor.

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Compare 03/30/2017

Nature's laws affirm instead of prohibit. If you violate her laws, you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.
  --Luther Burbank, horticulturist (1849-1926)

(48:6.33) Law is life itself and not the rules of its conduct. Evil is a transgression of law, not a violation of the rules of conduct pertaining to life, which is the law. Falsehood is not a matter of narration technique but something premeditated as a perversion of truth. The creation of new pictures out of old facts, the restatement of parental life in the lives of offspring—these are the artistic triumphs of truth. The shadow of a hair's turning, premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle—these constitute falseness. But the fetish of factualized truth, fossilized truth, the iron band of so-called unchanging truth, holds one blindly in a closed circle of cold fact. One can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth.

    Luther Burbank was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career. Burbank's varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables. He developed (but did not create) a spineless cactus (useful for cattle-feed) and the plumcot.
    Burbank's most successful strains and varieties include the Shasta daisy, the fire poppy (note possible confusion with the California wildflower, Papaver californicum, which is also called a fire poppy), the "July Elberta" peach, the "Santa Rosa" plum, the "Flaming Gold" nectarine, the "Wickson" plum (named after agronomist Edward J. Wickson), the freestone peach, and the white blackberry. A natural genetic variant of the Burbank potato with russet-colored skin later became known as the Russet Burbank potato. This large, brown-skinned, white-fleshed potato has become the world's predominant potato in food processing. The Russet Burbank potato was in fact invented to help with the devastating situation in Ireland during the Irish Potato famine. This particular potato variety was created by Burbank to help "revive the country's leading crop" as it is blight-resistant. The blight is a disease that spread and destroyed potatoes all across Europe but caused extreme chaos in Ireland due to the high dependency on potatoes as a crop by the Irish.

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Compare 03/27/2017

Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens.
  --William Beveridge, economist and social reformer (1879-1963)

(71:2.7)  Public opinion, common opinion, has always delayed society; nevertheless, it is valuable, for, while retarding social evolution, it does preserve civilization. Education of public opinion is the only safe and true method of accelerating civilization; force is only a temporary expedient, and cultural growth will increasingly accelerate as bullets give way to ballots. Public opinion, the mores, is the basic and elemental energy in social evolution and state development, but to be of state value it must be nonviolent in expression.

(71:3.1)  And after all, no state can transcend the moral values of its citizenry as exemplified in their chosen leaders. Ignorance and selfishness will insure the downfall of even the highest type of government.

(100:1.2) The chief inhibitors of growth are prejudice and ignorance.

    William Henry Beveridge was a British economist, noted progressive and social reformer. He is best known for his 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services (known as the Beveridge Report) which served as the basis for the post-World War II welfare state put in place by the Labour government elected in 1945. He was considered an authority on unemployment insurance from early in his career, served under Winston Churchill on the Board of Trade as Director of the newly created labour exchanges and later as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Food. He was Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1919 until 1937, when he was elected Master of University College, Oxford. Beveridge published widely on unemployment and social security, his most notable works being: Unemployment: A Problem of Industry (1909), Planning Under Socialism (1936), Full Employment in a Free Society (1944), Pillars of Security (1943), Power and Influence (1953), and A Defence of Free Learning (1959).

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Compare 03/20/2017

Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up you get a lot of scum on the top.
  --Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

(99:4.6) During the psychologically unsettled times of the twentieth century, amid the economic upheavals, the moral crosscurrents, and the sociologic rip tides of the cyclonic transitions of a scientific era, thousands upon thousands of men and women have become humanly dislocated; they are anxious, restless, fearful, uncertain, and unsettled; as never before in the world's history they need the consolation and stabilization of sound religion. In the face of unprecedented scientific achievement and mechanical development there is spiritual stagnation and philosophic chaos.

    Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by environmental groups, and the non-fiction wo

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Compare 03/16/2017

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.
  --Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (1910-1993)

(34:7.8) Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received your orders to advance, do not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, do not be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, do not falter and question your status and standing, for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying, "This is the way."

(111:6.8) It is only natural that mortal man should be harassed by feelings of insecurity as he views himself inextricably bound to nature while he possesses spiritual powers wholly transcendent to all things temporal and finite. Only religious confidence—living faith—can sustain man amid such difficult and perplexing problems.

(160:1.8) Only honest and brave individuals are able to follow valiantly through the perplexing and confusing maze of living to where the logic of a fearless mind may lead.

    Peter De Vries was an American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit. He has been described by the philosopher Daniel Dennett as "probably the funniest writer on religion ever".
    De Vries was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1910. He was educated in Dutch Christian Reformed Church schools, graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1931. He also studied at Northwestern University. He supported himself with a number of different jobs, including those of vending machine operator, toffee-apple salesman, radio actor in the 1930s, and editor for Poetry magazine from 1938 to 1944. During World War II De Vries served in the U.S. Marines, attaining the rank of Captain and was seconded to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Very little is known about his time in the military or with that secret organization, the predecessor to the CIA.
    He joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine at the insistence of James Thurber and worked there from 1944 to 1987, writing stories and touching up cartoon captions. A prolific writer, De Vries wrote short stories, reviews, poetry, essays, a play, novellas, and twenty-three novels. Films made from De Vries's novels include The Tunnel of Love (1958), which also was a successful Broadway play; How Do I Love Thee? (1970, based on Let Me Count the Ways); Pete 'n' Tillie (1972, based on Witch’s Milk); and Reuben, Reuben (1970), which also inspired a Broadway play, Spofford. Earlier, in 1952, De Vries also contributed to the writing of the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952. Although he enjoyed success for five decades, all his novels were out of print by the time of his death.
    James Bratt describes De Vries as "a secular Jeremiah, a renegade CRC missionary to the smart set."

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Compare 03/13/2017

We're here to put a dent in the universe.
  --Steve Jobs, entrepreneur and inventor (1955-2011)

(117:4.10) The great challenge that has been given to mortal man is this: Will you decide to personalize the experiencible value meanings of the cosmos into your own evolving selfhood? or by rejecting survival, will you allow these secrets of Supremacy to lie dormant, awaiting the action of another creature at some other time who will in his way attempt a creature contribution to the evolution of the finite God? But that will be his contribution to the Supreme, not yours.

    Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs was an American entrepreneur, businessman, inventor, and industrial designer. He was the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple Inc.; CEO and majority shareholder of Pixar; a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are widely recognized as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.
    Jobs was born in San Francisco and adopted at birth; he was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s. Jobs briefly attended Reed College in 1972 before dropping out. He then decided to travel through India in 1974 seeking enlightenment and studying Zen Buddhism. Jobs's declassified FBI report stated that an acquaintance knew that Jobs had used the illegal drugs marijuana and LSD while he was in college. Jobs once told a reporter that taking LSD was "one of the two or three most important things" he did in his life.
    Jobs and Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. The visionaries gained fame and wealth a year later for the Apple II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers. In 1979, after a tour of PARC, Jobs saw the commercial potential of the Xerox Alto, which was mouse-driven and had a graphical user interface (GUI). This led to development of the unsuccessful Apple Lisa in 1983, followed by the breakthrough Macintosh in 1984. In addition to being the first mass-produced computer with a GUI, the Macintosh introduced the sudden rise of the desktop publishing industry in 1985 with the addition of the Apple LaserWriter, the first laser printer to feature vector graphics. Following a long power struggle, Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985.
    After leaving Apple, Jobs took a few of its members with him to found NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in state-of-the-art computers for higher-education and business markets. In addition, Jobs helped to initiate the development of the visual effects industry when he funded the spinout of the computer graphics division of George Lucas's Lucasfilm in 1986. The new company, Pixar, would eventually produce the first fully computer-animated film, Toy Story—an event made possible in part because of Jobs's financial support.
    In 1997, Apple merged with NeXT. Within a few months of the merger, Jobs became CEO of his former company, reviving Apple at the verge of bankruptcy. Beginning in 1997 with the "Think different" advertising campaign, Jobs worked closely with designer Jonathan Ive to develop a line of products that would have larger cultural ramifications: the iMac, iTunes and iTunes Store, Apple Store, iPod, iPhone, App Store, and the iPad. Mac OS was also revamped into OS X (renamed “macOS” in 2016), based on NeXT's NeXTSTEP platform.
    Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003 and died on October 5, 2011 of respiratory arrest related to the tumor.

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Compare 03/06/2017

Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
  --Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (1934-1996)

(118:8.6) The slowness of evolution, of human cultural progress, testifies to the effectiveness of that brake—material inertia—which so efficiently operates to retard dangerous velocities of progress. Thus does time itself cushion and distribute the otherwise lethal results of premature escape from the next-encompassing barriers to human action. For when culture advances overfast, when material achievement outruns the evolution of worship-wisdom, then does civilization contain within itself the seeds of retrogression; and unless buttressed by the swift augmentation of experiential wisdom, such human societies will recede from high but premature levels of attainment, and the "dark ages" of the interregnum of wisdom will bear witness to the inexorable restoration of the imbalance between self-liberty and self-control.

    Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. He is best known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.
    Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca's Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress.
    Sagan always advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

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Compare 03/03/2017

When the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre -- the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
  --H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

(71:2.1-6) Democracy, while an ideal, is a product of civilization, not of evolution. Go slowly! select carefully! for the dangers of democracy are:
    1. Glorification of mediocrity.
    2. Choice of base and ignorant rulers.
    3. Failure to recognize the basic facts of social evolution.
    4. Danger of universal suffrage in the hands of uneducated and indolent majorities.
    5. Slavery to public opinion; the majority is not always right.

    Henry Louis Mencken (September 12, 1880 – January 29, 1956) was an American journalist, satirist, cultural critic and scholar of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the twentieth century. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians and contemporary movements. His satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he dubbed the "Monkey Trial", also gained him attention.
    As a scholar, Mencken is known for The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States. As an admirer of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, he was a detractor of religion, populism and representative democracy, which he believed was a system in which inferior men dominated their superiors. Mencken was a supporter of scientific progress, skeptical of economic theories and critical of osteopathic and chiropractic medicine.
    Mencken opposed American entry into World War I and World War II. His diary indicates that he was a racist and privately used coarse language and slurs to describe various ethnic and racial groups. Mencken also at times seemed to show a genuine enthusiasm for militarism, though never in its American form. "War is a good thing," he once wrote, "because it is honest, it admits the central fact of human nature…. A nation too long at peace becomes a sort of gigantic old maid."
    Mencken's longtime home in the Union Square neighborhood of West Baltimore was turned into a city museum, the H. L. Mencken House. His papers were distributed among various city and university libraries, with the largest collection held in the Mencken Room at the central branch of Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library.

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Compare 02/27/2017

To move freely you must be deeply rooted.
  --Bella Lewitzky, dancer (1916-2004)

(102:8.7)  Religion is ever and always rooted and grounded in personal experience. And your highest religion, the life of Jesus, was just such a personal experience: man, mortal man, seeking God and finding him to the fullness during one short life in the flesh, while in the same human experience there appeared God seeking man and finding him to the full satisfaction of the perfect soul of infinite supremacy. And that is religion, even the highest yet revealed in the universe of Nebadon—the earth life of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Bella Lewitzky (January 13, 1916, Los Angeles, California – July 16, 2004, Pasadena, California) was a modern dance choreographer and teacher.
    Born to Jewish Russian immigrants, Lewitzky spent her childhood in a utopian socialist colony in the Mojave Desert, and on a ranch in San Bernardino. She moved back to Los Angeles in her teens, and briefly studied ballet.
    In 1934, she joined Lester Horton's company, became its lead dancer, and was instrumental in the development of the Horton Technique.
    In 1946 Lewitzky founded Dance Theater of Los Angeles with Horton. The Dance Theater was one of the few institutions in the United States to house both a dance school and theater under the same roof. She left the company in 1950 to pursue her own interests and an independent career. She appeared as a specialty dancer in the 1943 Technicolor adventure film White Savage, and she choreographed the films Bagdad (1949) (with Lester Horton), Tripoli (1950), and Prehistoric Women (1950).
    In 1951, she was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee to answer questions about communist activities in the arts. "I'm a dancer, not a singer", she replied.
    In 1955 Lewitzky gave birth to her only child, her daughter Nora. The same year she moved her rehearsals to Idyllwild, California, a small town in the San Jacinto Mountains outside of Los Angeles. In 1958 she became the founding chair of the dance department at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, which has since been renamed the Idyllwild Arts Academy. She taught at the school until 1972. Her daughter, Nora, joined the dance faculty in 2003 and continues teaching Lewitzky technique. The Idyllwild Arts Academy is one of the few dance programs in the United States that offers Lewitzky Technique as part of their curriculum.
    In 1966, she founded the Lewitzky Dance Company. Under her artistic guidance, the company became one of the leading international modern dance companies, performing to critical acclaim in forty-three states across the U.S. as well as twenty countries on five continents. Among her dance associates was the former television child actress Noreen Corcoran of Bachelor Father.
    In 1970, she was the founding dean of the dance program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, CA.
    In 1990 Lewitzky crossed out the anti-obscenity clause on the acceptance form of a $72,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant. She eventually had to sue NEA-chairman John E. Frohnmayer to have the grant reinstated. The New York Times quoted her as saying in response, "I've been struggling in dance for 28 years. To exist merely to exist is stupidity. To exist to make art is a pretty grand act."

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Compare 02/24/2017

A timid question will always receive a confident answer.
  --Charles John Darling, lawyer, judge, and politician (6 Dec 1849-1936)

(180:4.4-5)  As the Master paused for a moment, Judas Alpheus made bold to ask one of the few questions which either he or his brother ever addressed to Jesus in public. Said Judas: "Master, you have always lived among us as a friend; how shall we know you when you no longer manifest yourself to us save by this spirit? If the world sees you not, how shall we be certain about you? How will you show yourself to us?"
    Jesus looked down upon them all, smiled, and said: "My little children, I am going away, going back to my Father. In a little while you will not see me as you do here, as flesh and blood. In a very short time I am going to send you my spirit, just like me except for this material body. This new teacher is the Spirit of Truth who will live with each one of you, in your hearts, and so will all the children of light be made one and be drawn toward one another. And in this very manner will my Father and I be able to live in the souls of each one of you and also in the hearts of all other men who love us and make that love real in their experiences by loving one another, even as I am now loving you."

    Charles John Darling, 1st Baron Darling (1849–1936) was an English lawyer, politician and later a High Court judge.
    He was educated privately, paid for by his uncle William Menelaus. After pupillage, Darling was called to the English Bar (Inner Temple) in 1874. He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1885, and was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Deptford from 1888 until 1897, when he was appointed a Judge of the Queen's Bench Division.
    As a judge, he presided over a number of important trials, including the Stinie Morrison case (1911), that of 'Chicago May' Churchill. and the trial for criminal libel of Noel Pemberton Billing MP (1918), brought by Maude Allen after Billing and Harold Sherwood Spencer had claimed there were 47,000 "sexual perverts" in high places who were controlled by the Germans. He also sat on the criminal appeals of Dr Hawley Crippen and Sir Roger Casement, both of which he dismissed.
    He was known for his erudition and at times inappropriate wit, both on and off the bench, as well as for being impeccably dressed and wearing a silk top hat whilst riding to Court on a horse and accompanied by a liveried groom. He displayed his literary acuity in a book of essays Scintillae Juris. The novelist and barrister F. C. Philips gave his opinion, 'I think that the wittiest book ever written by a legal luminary was one called "Scintillæ Juris" by Mr. Justice Darling, when he was a barrister on the Oxford Circuit. I understand that when he was raised to the Bench he stopped its circulation.'
    Darling was made a member of the Privy Council in 1917, entitling him to sit on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. During the Billing trial one of the witness, Eileen Villiers-Stuart, claimed to have seen the mysterious "Black Book" in which the names of the "perverts" were listed, declared in court that Darling was one of them. She was later convicted of bigamy, and admitted that her testimony was invented.
    He retired from the bench in 1923, and was created Baron Darling in 1924. He was active in House of Lords debates on legal issues, including promoting the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929. He married Mary Caroline Greathed, 16 September 1885. She was the daughter of Alice Clive and Maj. Gen. William Wilberforce Harris Greathed.

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