Orthodoxy is the best-kept secret in America, and it is our fault — we Orthodox. For too long we have been concerned with maintaining our little ethnic ghettos. America needs the Orthodox faith.
Metropolitan Philip, Antiochian Archdiocese

«— Raskin Leaves Legacy to Usability
—» With All My Voice

Creation, Part VI: Conclusion

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Note: This series of articles has been compiled into a single article entitled “On the Dogma of Creation.” These articles remain in place for the sake of the conversations that occurred in the comments.

Part I in this series
Part II in this series
Part III in this series
Part IV in this series
Part V in this series

Many students, raised in Orthodox Christian homes, attend universities and colleges that are outright hostile to their faith. They are told, on one side, that all they have been taught is irrelevant and outmoded. On the other, they are told that everything they are learning in the university is lies and treachery, completely antithetical to the Orthodox faith. Faced with this dilemma, many choose to reject their faith, or at least compartmentalize it.

Read the rest of “Creation, Part VI: Conclusion”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 6:18 pm

«— Mutterings for February 27
—» Creation, Part VI: Conclusion

Raskin Leaves Legacy to Usability

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MacMinute News and Slashdot report the death of Jef Raskin, who helped pioneer the creation of the Macintosh in the mid-80’s. Raskin was also the author of The Humane Interface, an important text in usability (which I had on my Amazon wish list at one time). Joy of Tech is also featuring a tribute to his memory.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:38 am

«— Super-size Me!
—» Raskin Leaves Legacy to Usability

Mutterings for February 27

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I see that I haven’t done any Unconscious Mutterings for a few months.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:02 am

«— Creation, Part V: With Help from St. Maximus
—» Mutterings for February 27

Super-size Me!

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I have upgraded to WordPress 1.5. It was considerably less painful than I expected. The proof will be in seeing whether it makes my redesign easier. Perhaps it will go from Real Soon Now development to shiny new product!

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:15 pm

«— Seriously, Would He Do That?
—» Super-size Me!

Creation, Part V: With Help from St. Maximus

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Note: This series of articles has been compiled into a single article entitled “On the Dogma of Creation.” These articles remain in place for the sake of the conversations that occurred in the comments.

Part I in this series
Part II in this series
Part III in this series
Part IV in this series

In the last article, I set up what seems to me to be the most problematic of the apparent conflicts between the biological account of our origins and the theological account. According to Christian faith, particularly in the Christian East, our first parents are responsible for the human race being subject to death and corruption, which leads inevitably to sin through the fear of death. According to biology, however, death and corruption are normal, natural elements in the cycle of life.

In this article I hope to reconcile these two complementary accounts and show that they really do not conflict at all. In doing so, I wish not to invent a new doctrine nor revise the unchanging revelation of God; rather, I hope to show that one quite Orthodox description of creation, recognized by at least one of the fathers, is quite compatible with modern science. I hope, indeed, to show that it is not necessary to be novel in order to be modern. I intend to show that modern man can be traditional and Orthodox without discarding modern science.

Read the rest of “Creation, Part V: With Help from St. Maximus”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 10:33 am

«— Study Supports Church Practice
—» Creation, Part V: With Help from St. Maximus

Seriously, Would He Do That?

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In a recent comment, I mentioned that Sixpence None the Richer singing in a commercial for a contraceptive pill struck me like Petra doing a Trojan commercial. Well, it seems one sectarian cleric has done me one better: WWJD prophylactics.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 8:02 am

«— A Tale of Two Stories
—» Seriously, Would He Do That?

Study Supports Church Practice

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Vegan diets may be harmful to developing children, one research study found. Findings that support common sense and the canons of the Church fascinate me. It will be interesting to see how this study is received in the field of nutrition. The article notes that strict vegans are already rebutting its findings.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 10:35 am

«— Explorer Rehabilitated
—» Study Supports Church Practice

A Tale of Two Stories

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“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” So begins Charles Dickens’ classic story of two cities. I am rather fascinated by the two opposing stories of Guantanamo Bay detainees that are circulating in the press. There is the obvious “detainees are abused” story, which is the most popular in mainstream media. However, conservative bloggers often scour the internet and find an overlooked story which is very different. The two stories are so different that they cannot both be true. Perhaps both are false; however, if one is true, the other must be false.

Take these two articles published by the Department of Defense news service:

Navy Dentist Stays Busy at Guantanamo Bay Detainee Camp
A human interest feature story highlighting the dental care received by detainees by a U. S. Navy dentist.
Guantanamo Detainees Receiving ‘First-Rate’ Medical Care
“‘It’s not that we like hanging around the bad guys,’ he said. ‘The thing about it is that the job we do for a living is a very humane one, and we just keep that mindset.'”

Add these two examples to other under-reported stories — such as ones relating that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay are hamstrung by policies which restrict them from being any more aggressive than my RDCs were in boot camp, sometimes much less aggressive — and one is hard-pressed to envision exactly how this is being tortuous.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 3:06 pm

«— USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) Commissioned
—» A Tale of Two Stories

Explorer Rehabilitated

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I finally put up a stylesheet for Explorer users. Unfortunately, when the site is updated, you will not be able to reap the benefit. But at least the page will be somewhat prettier to see.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 4:06 pm

«— Learning from Others’ Mistakes
—» Explorer Rehabilitated

USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) Commissioned

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USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) was commissioned today in a ceremony here in Groton, Connecticut. The new submarine replaces the USS Parche, a special operations submarine which was decommissioned in October of last year. USS Jimmy Carter will be capable, according to the linked article above, of speeds in excess of 45 knots (52 mph). (I can neither confirm nor deny that fact; I merely quote the article. However, official sources usually state speeds in excess of 25 knots [29 mph].) President Carter spoke at the ceremony (which I did not attend) and said in prepared remarks that having a submarine named for him is “the most deeply appreciated and emotional honor I’ve ever had.”

According to several public sources, citing military analysts, the new submarine will be able to wiretap communications cables. Analysts infer this because the Jimmy Carter replaces the Parche, which was formerly used for the task (see Blind Man’s Bluff by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew). In any case, the Navy has publically stated that the submarine will perform special operations and reconnaissance missions.

Unfortunately, some rather silly comments have been made by people who misunderstand the naval tradition of naming vessels after people. Specifically, to Fr. John’s preference for service on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) to service on the Jimmy Carter, I reply, “There are two kinds of ships: Submarines and targets.”

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Filed under: — Basil @ 2:56 pm

«— Horn, One’s Own, Tooting
—» USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) Commissioned

Learning from Others’ Mistakes

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If you design websites, read “The Biggest Web Design Mistakes of 2004.” Vincent Flanders’ “Web Pages That Suck” brilliantly exposed some of the greatest annoyances of early web design. This latest article reminded me several times of annoyances I’ve had very recently, especially with one particular website.

Hat tip: Web Standards BUZZ.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 5:34 pm

«— Traditionalism and the Truth
—» Learning from Others’ Mistakes

Horn, One’s Own, Tooting

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I despise self-advertisement. This probably ranks as the biggest reason I am a sailor now instead of a computer technician of some sort in the civilian sector. I simply couldn’t sell my experience to prospective employers.

This blog has recently re-emerged from yet another decimation. While it is true that private journaling possesses therapeutic value, therapy is not the end of this blog. I write so you can read and possibly profit from the reading. If you have a blog and you find my writing profitable, I would appreciate a post letting people know that I’ve returned again.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 1:00 pm

«— Reading Less to Learn More
—» Horn, One’s Own, Tooting

Traditionalism and the Truth

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Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky gave this year’s Fr. Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. “Orthodox Today: Tradition or Traditionalism?” addresses the internal struggle between “traditionalists” and whatever epithet might be applied to their interlocutors, whether “modernist” or “ecumenist” or something else entirely. He identifies Tradition as the dynamic principle of life in the Spirit, which finds its definition in what is true.

Hat tip: Conciliar Press Blog.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 10:22 pm

«— More Reconstruction
—» Traditionalism and the Truth

Reading Less to Learn More

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Why do I read?

I suppose many answers could be given, but I think I read mostly to enlarge myself. Reading, especially reading other points of view, enlarges my thinking. Blogging, in part, thrives on the dialectic of divergent points of view. Even our little eddy of the blogging pond thrives on such discourse, though some might think Orthodoxy monolithic. I hesitate to accuse others of being reactionary; pots and kettles, beams and splinters, and all that. However, there comes a point at which the tone of a writer’s work is no longer healthy for me. (Forgive me for further hypocrisy.)

Sometimes a blogger feigns interest in the views of others by inviting their comments, when in fact, they view their website as their “home,” and honest discussion is not wanted. Please pet my ego, the blogger says, and tell me you think I’m right. Please don’t give me another view to consider. That is distasteful in my “home.” There is one blogger I know who does this well: World Tim Zone. How does he do this? He doesn’t ask the reader to respond. He doesn’t care what you think (which can also be an admirable trait in a thinker); if you want to say something about it, get your own blog.

Sometimes it is simply an unwillingness to accept alternate understandings. My way is right, and there is no other. From outside, my Orthodox Christian faith probably looks like that. Conservative Christianity looks like that to most non-Christians. Unless you’re a religious relativist, faith in general will look like that at some level. Yet, there is a certain haughtiness that is unattractive, and I just don’t want to read it anymore. (I am sure I’ve lost readers to the right and left of my rather eccentric views for just this attitude. Mea culpa.)

I am pruning my blogroll. I know that some use my site as a launch pad for other blogs, so please feel free to ask me about blogs I’ve removed. I may be persuaded to re-graft them onto this sickly little page. However, you probably won’t get me to re-subscribe to them in my newsreader.

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Filed under: — Basil @ 3:16 pm

«— Southern Heritage
—» Reading Less to Learn More

More Reconstruction

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Well, we’re back. Thank you for waiting.

Hello? Is this thing on?

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Filed under: — Basil @ 7:40 am