Saturday, September 23, 2006

Condoleezza/Bush's Church/Chess/Pascal

(P1) Political

Two Facts I Did Not Know:

1. Do you get the picture? (It's Not a Joke!)
Below is a picture of the oil tanker before Chevron quietly renamed it the "Altair Voyager" and before President George Bush appointed Ms. Rice as National Security Advisor

* * * * *

National Security Advisor Candoleezza RiceCondoleezza Rice was a Chevron Director from 1991 until January 15, 2001 when she was transferred by President George Bush Jr. to National Security Adviser. Previously she was Senior Director, Soviet Affairs, National Security Council, and Special Assistant to President George Bush Sr. from 1989 to 1991.

2. Bush and Cheney's Church Condemned the Iraq War -Oct. 31, 2005 - Last week, the United Methodist Church Board of Church and Society--the social action committee of the church that both President Bush and Vice President Cheney belong to--resoundingly passed a resolution calling for withdrawal with only two 'no' votes and one abstention.

"It is my hope and prayer that our statement against the war in Iraq will be heard loud and clear by our fellow United Methodists, President Bush and Vice President Cheney," said Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the UMC's Board of Church and Society. "Conservative and liberal board members worked together to craft a strong statement calling for the troops to come home and for those responsible for leading us into this disastrous war to be held accountable."

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(P2) Philosophical

Refuting Pascal's Wager

In the seventeenth century the mathematician Blaise Pascal formulated his infamous pragmatic argument for belief in God in Pensees. The argument runs as follows:

If you erroneously believe in God, you lose nothing (assuming that death is the absolute end), whereas if you correctly believe in God, you gain everything (eternal bliss). But if you correctly disbelieve in God, you gain nothing (death ends all), whereas if you erroneously disbelieve in God, you lose everything (eternal damnation).

How should you bet? Regardless of any evidence for or against the existence of God, Pascal argued that failure to accept God's existence risks losing everything with no payoff on any count. The best bet, then, is to accept the existence of God. There have been several objections to the wager: that a person cannot simply will himself to believe something that is evidently false to him; that the wager would apply as much to belief in the wrong God as it would to disbelief in all gods, leaving the the believer in any particular god in the same situation as the atheist or agnostic; that God would not reward belief in him based solely on hedging one's bets; and so on.

There is much available pertaining to this fascinating philosophical debate. As for me, I'd say there is everything to be lost in making one's bet solely on the basis of fear. That would logically lead to giving up most of the ("God-given" if you like) pleasures and joys of this life on the wager that there is a next life and that (assuming you've chosen to live with your hands, mouth, and mind tied here), it might be better than anything we know here and now. See "Catholicism," "Puritanism," etc. Also see current fundamentalist all-or-nothing thinking in the political arena, eg. "Fear a lot now, obey totally, and you'll be 'safe.' " So, you tell me what hell is.

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(P3) Poetical

For me, baseball, soccer, and chess, at times, feel very much like poetry. Here's an example of the last.

White to play and win in 4 moves. Solution is available upon request (Press "Comment" and ask for it).

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Anonymous said...

White has a won game no matter what but Nf7+, followed by the double check and smothered mate is faster......Moe

Edward Coletti said...

Hey Moe, Good job!

Judy K. said...

Ed Love the picture of that tanker and the point is well made...however, I do think what is showed was actually a doctored shot, the graphics don't fall correctly to be the actual paint job on the ship.. Thanks xx Judy

Judy Addicott Kimmel
The Peace Alliance
Judy@The Peace

Edward Coletti said...

Judy, I can't vouch for the photo, but the story is real. Here's part of the SF Chronicle article. Thanks for commenting. Ed

Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide
Condoleezza Rice drew too much attention
- Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer
Saturday, May 5, 2001

Leaving a wave of controversy in its wake, one of the most visible reminders of the Bush administration's ties to big oil - the 129,000-ton Chevron tanker Condoleezza Rice - has quietly been renamed, Chevron officials acknowledged yesterday.

"We made the change to eliminate the unnecessary attention caused by the vessel's original name," said Chevron spokesman Fred Gorell.

The double-hulled, Bahamian-registered oil tanker carrying the moniker of Bush's national security adviser was renamed the Altair Voyager, after a star, Gorell said.

The unannounced decision to rechristen the tanker was made by Chevron officials in late April, after "we had been in discussions with (Rice's) office," said Gorell. Asked if Rice or the White House had specifically requested the name change, Gorell said, "that's not for me to discuss."

Rice's spokeswoman, Maryellen Countryman, did not return calls on the matter yesterday.

E-mail Carla Marinucci at

Larry C. said...

Good for the United Methodist Church Board!!! Would the next step be to ex-communicate (can you do that in the Methodist religion?) or at the very least ask Bush & Cheney to leave their Church? I don't offer this lightly but recognize that Bush & Cheney's War Record is not in sync with the UMC group, and probably some other religious organizations.

As a member of a Santa Rosa reform Synagogue which shares its space with the SR United Methodists, I can't say I'm surprised. The Minister, a wonderful woman, and the group I have met with are very forward thinking people who want to do what they can to help humanity. The two groups work together on a Food Pantry that feeds the needy, supports homeless shelters, and other humane causes that (some) Jewish folk subscribe to, called "tikkun olam" which translates to "repair the world."

TheVoiceOfLiberty said...

See it will show how our government cronies are just up to no good.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only person who finds Condoleeza Rice's name on an oil tanker obscene? Aside from the oily political implications, it's the aggrandizement of this pedantic, patronizing, incompetent and intolerable sychophant that makes me queasy to the core.

Duncan said...

The bigger question about the UMC and it's political stand on the Irag war is whether the IRS will now investigate the church's tax exempt status as it is doing to the Episcopal church?

Are the chicken's coming home to roost?

Duncan said...

A final thought for those here present who appear to get really incensed over politics.

"If we live our lives continually motivated by anger and hatred, even our physical health

-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Duncan said...

I seem to be overloading (or unloading as the case may be)on this posting.

As to Pascal's wager, as I see it, there is nothing on which to wager. There is nothing to gain and nothing to lose, therefore, no wager is possible.

As no judge or jury exists to make the determination necessary to Pascal's wager, there can be no wager.

Am I saying there is no God? Not at all. God, by whatever name or title you wish, is the Creator of all, but is certainly not a judge of what a few Earthling creations thought about in an infitesimally short existence.

Anyone who agonizes over this question is most likely in his/her own hell right now.

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