Some thoughts regarding the nature of belief–(not safe for the narcoleptic)

A very good friend has posted a short answer to today’s entry on Christmas Day, 2012. The sonnet in question as well as its rather unusually long introduction can be found here:

I feel they are too long to include in-line here; However they both deal with the nature of the feelings of one who does not believe in God regarding ones friends and loved ones who do.

In these, I express my feelings regarding how one should consider behaving, and my own such choices as well; and, in response to the following comments by a dear friend, add some further thoughts which I deemed to be a bit long winded for a comment box. And for me, if one has seen the length of my comments, that really is saying something!

Reading the entry linked above will put my post in better context.

I do wish you and yours a blessed Christmas. You and the Gentle Lady are very much in my thoughts.


But it’s hard to [pray]. I don’t know if it’s guilt and shame or deadly pride, but the words choke in the throat. It is hard to look into that part of me and see. Maybe I am afraid to.

To which I answer:

And of course, all those sentiments are retuned with as much warmth as we both feel for you. I also think of you often.


Still, though I do not believe, I do wish the best for you and for all your loved ones. And, of course, my sweet wife will pray me, and for you, and everyone else she loves.

Happy Christmas, Gentle Mac.

After which I continue on:

I should also say the friend of which I write above, is quite wonderful in that way–just as I describe. And, you have heard much about him and his monumentally powerful brain from my sweetheart so you may easily guess which friend it is to whom I refer.

It is quite remarkable–and I think, not accidental–just how many great mathematicians are men of faith. Particularly those who have done fundamental work in the field, throughout the centuries, even when one includes the 20th and the 21st. One notable exception is Bertrand Russell. And our resident mathematician refers to Mr. Russell in such a way as to indicate that he considers him something of “the exception that proves the rule,” if you will.

Regarding our resident mathematician, one can clearly see that he holds quite a deep and abiding faith. And–as in the accompanying sonnet to this offering–I do feel a great deal of warmth when, at such times whereupon we together dine, we do indeed “say grace.” I should say that at such times, I remain silent, and allow him to speak the words. That seems more appropriate. In general, I would suggest that anyone who does not believe should take such a course unless there is some good reason to the contrary. It makes one feel as though one is not blaspheming–or simply lying, if you prefer.

However, regarding such silent times as I share with my friends or loved ones at grace, I will say an interesting feeling comes over me. I do feel thankful. And humbled in some way. I think upon all the myriad events that led up to the current, most enjoyable evening; and also, do I think upon all the myriad events that might have kept such an evening from happening.

(Regarding the following paragraphs: No, I am not citing here; this is not a Master’s thesis, nor a work intended for peer review; however such information as I will mention is truly a few clicks away on Google, if one cares to look for it.)

As I’m sure I have written, and you have read, before, I feel most certain that there is, deep within some part of our physical brains, a place reserved for such things–matters of faith. And I often warn my atheist friends (not anti-theists, one, by the way) that, in view of even more recent evidence, one must be vigilant if this part of ones brain–so very obviously designed or evolved (or to eschew both words, functions in such a state which enables it) to allow one to believe in such things as those for which there is no evidence–is not now being used for such things.

Things for which it is clearly optimised to do.

Imagine what we might by simple default–by not being vigilant in our thoughts–believe to be true. Such things are much more harmful than a belief in something which some non-believers feel (although I do not, due entirely to the empirical evidence of the difference between the two) to be congruent to a belief in Santa Claus. These, as you well know, as well as seen, from among your idealogical, philosophical, or epistemological opposites, are quite harmful; not merely to the one so afflicted but also to the world around him. Ask yourself what they believe without question as a result of not being vigilant. The answer, and the myriad ways in which it has been deleterious to your life are, one might say, “named legion, for they are many,” to paraphrase a biblical verse, I have oft heard expounded upon.

Yes indeed. When I take the time to contemplate such things, I most definitely prefer a man of faith to one such as I have described above. I will say that such friends as I have among the non-religious are much more like such a man than like such as I have described above. And, what is more important, the reverse is also true; that man of faith, yes, that very one who believes in a God, and a Saviour, the existence of which cannot be proven, is much more like you and I, for example than like the individual profiled in the paragraph above.

Continued here, wherein I stray even farther afield:


While you were sleeping…

…I took an in-depth look at major and minor wordpress technicals, widget redesign and selection, and other new and improved ™ items.  As well, did I flirt briefly with a couple of “paid” features, the use of which I will not allow myself without setting some goal or other.
Continue reading


I think I finally managed to ferret out the form for postID as a REAL permalink  that will continue to work no matter what happens to the post or where it may be moved.

upon further examination…

It appears that


will in fact work. I must have been typing something incorrectly in my experiments. It took me a bit of redundant mucking about to discover this fact. The default behaviour of an independent wordpress site is a bit different, and I admit that when compared to my dearest one I am notoriously poor at doing research; unless it is the real kind wherein one actually does ones own discovery and experiments–which is what, in fact, I resorted to in this as well.

One can even add


to the end and use the same link before it is posted (and which will do no harm once the entry is live) making it


In addition, one can add a bookmark in the form


with the dash instead of the equal sign followed by the PostId number, or any other bookmark


which exists or is allowed in the post, making it


This will… may… save me some effort although it is not all that difficult to create the unique tags I have been using. it tends though to bog down the whole process though. I wish the links would stick around after the draft is saved.

I am now investigating links of the same kind to pages. although this is not so important… and I have just now discovered that indeed this very same form works for pages. And in the case of wordpress blogs integrated with domain names, the method works as well. One can use both ones registered domain and the original wordpress blog name. Both will work. Hmm. Well, give me good old fashioned scientific method any old day.

The fact is that once one clicks “save” (verses the auto-save that happens automatically in the beginning) one must then construct the link oneself (from, for example, by editing the “Get Shortlink” link, or by copying the “Preview” link before one makes the post live.)  Evidently once one changes or alter the status of the publishing date wherein it no longer reads “Publish immediately” this link will no longer be listed and will instead be replaced by the default “permalink” which contains a directory structure involving the date of publication.

This post, for example can be accessed by using the following:

Try them for yourself!  I have tested them both logged in and logged out and they seem to function properly on the handful of machines I have surrounding me.

The downside of all this is that there appears to be no way for a non blog member to discern the PostIdNum.  It can only be seen in the dashboard area before one saves for the first time.  After that it can be unmangled from the “edit” links, but only if one is able to access these, therefore if one wants people to use these links, they must be provided in some way.  Which means that I should probably create some templates for this.

To merge, or not to merge:

Now that the long trip has ended, I wonder if to some degree it would make more sense to merge this blog with the main blog–the one with all the sonnets.  On the one hand, I do like the starkness of the simpler blog with nothing but poetry.  But…  then again. it might be easier to keep everything organised if all the entries were intermingled.

I have not yet decided.  I think I will leave it all alone for now, however…   Perhaps, I shall put more explanatory entries along with the short introductions using the “<more>” tag.  This makes some kind of sense in that then the site retains its stark appearance while adding a tiny “click for more” style of link.  Think of it as being “under the fold” as in the old newspaper parlance.  It would most definitely make for easier management of such things if I choose, for example, to move things around.

On that note, I have, indeed, decided to move some things around.   I have learned from this last six months of blogging that (while still far from claiming expertise) it is better that any entries should appear on or after the day in which they appear.  The reason for this is that older entries even if freshly entered (in the manner of ‘backfilling’ as I have termed it) will seldom be read.  And, while it is not my primary concern…  still…   one wishes that those who might actually have some interest in an article or entry should have a fighting chance to happen upon it.  The way wordpress works, it is much more likely that such a person will see a current entry–or even be referred to it by a completely anonymous “like click.”  The act of clicking the like button on the entries of anyone we follow is a sort of phenomenon on wordpress, and it does truly lead to people who might actually like something to be more likely to find it.

So we all do it.  marxists, anarcho-capitalists, individualists, collectivists, everyone in between, and on every other spectrum as well do we do it, whether artistic, economic, philosophic, etc.  For this reason alone, it is worthwhile to use some form of “front-filling” let us say, rather than back filling, if we, as do I, have a pledge to write whatever kind of entry every day.   I have found backfilling to be less than satisfactory; and, early on, when accidentally I did some “catching up” by entering my latest sonnet on the day and hour I had written it, and then continuing to do that and subsequently moving the (slightly) older one back a day (and so on, as I wrote them) I found that such work as I posted was more happened upon, and consequently, more appreciated by those individuals as might be wont to do so.

This is why I shall change somewhat the way in which I do my “catching up.”  And perhaps, I should refer to it as “catching down?”  This would go well with the concept of “front-filling” as opposed to “back-filling.”

In any case, I am undecided what to do with this blog until then.  But I have resolved to include any analysis I may offer on the other side of the fold of my notoriously short and cryptic introductions.

I should now proceed to edit this entry.  But I think I am not going to do so just now.  No.  I think I shall do such correction after I become an object of derision rather than trying to head it off.

Phone/PDA writing.

Although I do have some considerable experience writing prose on my now seldom used “wince” PDA with a collapsible keyboard. And, since my recalcitrant Samsung Galaxy seems to be resistant to bluetooth keyboards–I have even been inside it via a root terminal app, and still cannot “make it go”–I have, of late, tried “thumbing.”  Because I do not have full command of the screen due to the virtual keypad,  I felt it might be a bit of a chore, at least for the first few attempts, to try something beyond a Shakespearian.  So Dec. 3rd, and Dec 6th. are both done in the car while waiting for this or that, or eating a Big Mac.  I had little confidence at first, but I am good with my fingers.  So even though I may be an old dog; I usually have little trouble learning new tricks.

I believe I might try a harder one next time (longer, with more perpetual rhymes;) because for the second entry (on the 6th) I used the WordPress app (for Android) on my Galaxy.  And I even had some reference material up on Firefox for android, which is shaping up to work fairly well.  I was quite happy to have it finally released fully functional because I am able to sync my settings and whatever addons may be synced  cross-platform.

In any case, it was not as annoying as I first thought it would be, which gives me confidence to try something more involved on my phone.  Still I should like to get a full sized keyboard working with it, as I am much faster with all 10 of my fingers than I am with my thumbs alone–though this is not the case with everyone.  I am lucky enough to have learned how to touch-type properly long ago, and as I also may have posted somewhere, I had no idea when I learned this skill how important it would be in the years to come.

So, the “bottom line,” as it were:  Thumbing is workable.  I am already using an app which allows me to make the system fonts bigger or smaller, which comes in handy for a great many things.  It makes things easier to read, when I don’t have my reading glasses on, naturally; but it also makes it easier to see more in the tiny text-box on the screen when one is typing/thumbing with the virtual keyboard.  So when I have a strong enough pair of glasses on, I can make the default text entry font quite small and see more than four lines at once.   I found I’m getting better at moving the cursor around using Android’s rather wonky interface.  I had little trouble fixing spelling, punctuation, missing words, wrong words, mispelled words, etc.