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Maybe Buddhists Need to Get a Sense of Humor?  [ Sun Dec 28 2008 9:49 PM ]

Albuquerque Buddhist BW Thompson states that I "seem to be fixated on the concept of religious hypocrisy. We Buddhists would recommend he let go of the concept and try to relax."

My dear Mr. Thompson, it is you, not I, who should perhaps relax and lighten up. I'm not the one getting worked up over a board game, you are. You're right that religion has done good in the world; the board game acknowledges that in several places.

He then writes, "Maybe Ben's next "game" could have all the pieces be men in suits, some with nuclear weapons (military contractors), some with foreclosure notices or pink slips (Wall Street hustlers and bankers). Talk about playing God with people's lives."

Way ahead of you, BW. The game takes swipes at "false gods" such as war and consumerism. It sounds like you might actually enjoy the game, if you hadn't already pre-judged it.

I tried reading your blog aloud...  [ Fri Dec 12 2008 3:49 PM ]

but I couldn't hear myself. Really, really weird.

Ben Radford defends not going out of his way to insult Islam  [ Fri Dec 12 2008 3:46 PM ]

Sorry you're disappointed in me; I try to be, as the Slade song says, "all things to everyone," but in the end I can only do my best. A few things you should know:

1) Islam is not the only religion whose figurehead is not named; in fact NONE of the gods are named in the rules, instructions, or cards. Yes, Muhammad is not named; neither is Buddha, Jesus, Kali, or Jesus. So I did not single out Islam for preferential treatment in the game. Players can call the gods anything they like, and if they want to refer to the Muslim figure as Muhammad, they certainly can.

2) The game is meant to be entertaining, not incite violence. If you feel so strongly about portraying images of Muslim prophets, I encourage you to create your own project or game and do so. I will absolutely defend your right to do that. But it's easy to sit back and criticize.

I'm quite familiar with criticisms of Islam, and I agree with a lot of it. But if I were to single out Islam for its beliefs in the game, I'd have to do the same for Christianity and the rest. Which I do, in the Expansion Pack, but was beyond the scope of the game.

PS. Chupa!  [ Thu Aug 21 2008 10:04 PM ]

PS- nick, you are cordially invited to my talk on Chupacabra: Fact and Fiction, Sept. 24 7 PM at the Corrales Library.

You DA man, Nick!  [ Thu Aug 21 2008 10:03 PM ]

Nick you couldn't be righter about these Bigfoot clowns, and anybody who read my Radford Files column on Biscardi back in June knew this guy was bad news... I'll have an upcoming column on this mess.

Logicians in Glass Houses...  [ Thu Apr 24 2008 9:58 AM ]

As a writer, I write a lot of things, and if I am wrong in my facts or my logic, I am happy to be corrected. So when a reader takes the time to respond (and takes me to task for my illogic and faulty reasoning), I try to understand if I am wrong, or if the reader is wrong, or if there's a misunderstanding. To be honest, I read Ponder's letter three times and I'm not sure I understand what his point is.

Ponder refers to my claim that "kids are in far more danger of being abused, kidnapped, or killed by their own parents than by any stranger or sex offender in a library" as an "allegation," and cites it as an example of "illogic" and "innumeracy."

Yet my claim is a factual one, easily verified by any number of sources. What I wrote is 100% correct: Children ARE in far more danger from their relatives than strangers. I cited sources; if Ponder thinks my facts are wrong, where are his sources? (He later seems to admit that I am correct, but complains that my reasons why it is correct are somehow faulty.)

I agree with the basics of what Ponder wrote, his reasons why parents are overrepresented as abusers are more or less accurate. I guess I'm not sure what the point is. I don't see how allowing for a disproportionate amount of time parents spend with kids undermines my argument. I was comparing who is a greater threat to children: parents or strangers. The fact is that parents are, and the reasons why are not particularly relevant to what I wrote.

I fail to see much disagreement between what I wrote and what Ponder wrote, and Ponder doesn't make clear what specific part of my argument or evidence he considers illogical or "clearly fallacious." For someone as exercised about my lack of logic and reasoning, perhaps Ponder should clarify his own.

Benjamin Radford responds  [ Thu Mar 20 2008 2:08 PM ]

There seems to be some confusion...

The Indian doctrine of samsara (reincarnation) underlying Buddhism holds that we are reborn in future lives in some form. Whether Ms. Rose wishes to call that form a "soul" or not, that is the concept most Westerners would understand, so that is the term I used in my column.

Rose seems to miss the forest for the trees; my piece wasn't about whether or not Buddhists use the term "soul."

As I noted, there are several variations of karma, and perhaps I erred in making a blanket statement that explicitly included the word soul in reference to Buddhism. (Ms. Rose might be surprised to note that Hindus and Jainists certainly do believe in both the soul and karma.)

As for my lack of references, columns rarely if ever cite references. Among the books I consulted in writing the column were "World Religions in America," (2000) edited by Prof. Jacob Neusner; and "The Religious World: Communities of Faith" (1988). There are many versions of karma, and Ms. Rose's favorite authors on the topic do not speak for all Buddhists, Hindus, or Jainists.

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