My left footBehold! My left foot. Augh! What the hell!

Well, I’ll tell you: I have new boots and since my feet are asymmetrical the boot on my right foot fits perfectly but, apparently, not so much on my left. On my left, I developed a huge blister whose area is illustrated.

The fluid in that blister went…wherever such stuff goes and what was left behind was a layer of dead white skin flapping loose, a bag without anything in it. Walking on that was beginning to hurt so I took it upon myself to cut the skin away with toenail clippers.

The result? Fresh tender-pink skin underneath! It hurt a bit to walk on so I skipped walkies for a day. Next day though everything was fine.

You can also just make out the cut on my heel that also kept me from going on walkies a couple days (though not in a row, oddly).

I’ve tried various tactics to pad the area but so far nothing’s quite worked. I’m positive the boot is fine, there are no defects in it and the interior is perfectly smooth, flat, soft, and even. It’s just the shape of my foot, how I walk, and how it all fits together. But I haven’t had problems recently so maybe I’ve broken in the boot, as it were.

Anyway! My left foot.

 

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So, WWDC! Lots of interesting news and views. What was especially interesting to me was the core philosophy behind iCloud. It’s what I’ve been waiting for. I’m glad to see it.

Herein are views on how I currently use my computers and how iOS, iCloud, and OS X factor into them.

I don’t care about OS X Lion because the desktop is dead to me.

Well, not dead dead but close. The essence of the matter is that that day is nearer in the future than one might expect. The reason is that I use my MacBook Pro using OS X Snow Leopard less and my iPad (in particular) and iPhone more. I write more on my iPad and—get this—I surf more on my iPad than my laptop. I have even taken to surfing the internets with my iPad even though my laptop is open in front of me. No joke.

I have no doubt that, soon enough, I’ll use my Mac merely to launch World of Warcraft and nothing else. I’ve long said this—it’s just becoming more truthful, little by little, day by day.

‘demoting the PC and the Mac to just be a “device” just like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch’ 

Jobs said that during the WWDC keynote. I’ve thought the same should be true for awhile now and this is the central concept behind iCloud that’s particularly compelling. There does not need to be a master device that all other devices need to be physically married to. Nor should there be, if one can avoid it.

iOS 5

Oodles of new features. Let’s go down the list. (Get the full list here.) I’ll go in the same order as Apple presents them.

Good—but late. Basically, this feature is that when you get a notification (text message, FourSquare notification, push message, &c.) it won’t completely stop whatever was going on and stay there until you dismiss it. File this under “why wasn’t this changed years ago?” column.

Personally, this will affect me a great deal since I get a lot of notifications from a variety of sources. And that’s fine, I like them else I wouldn’t have them enabled. The problem is when I’m doing something else, a notification cockblocks any further activity at all on the device until the notification is dealt with. That’s utterly retarded. I’ve taken to reading Twitter in the shower (using the brilliant app Trickle) and whenever there’s a notification I have to stick my hand outside the shower to dismiss it.

What is this, the middle ages? C’mon!

Excellent! This is, as I’m told, BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) for Apple. It’s free unlimited texting including images and video to and from any iOS device. Simple as that.

This will directly benefit me because I text with Canadians using Beluga for free. The problem with Beluga is that it’s as flaky as Hell and every time I use it there’s a connection issue of some sort. This will enable reliable communications internationally and—critically—for free, so this is excellent.

Good. This collects all periodical subscriptions on iTunes into one place. This will increase the number of things I subscribe to simply because I’ll notice things on the ‘stand that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

OK. I just love the graphic design of this but I’m not sure how much I’ll actually use it. I’ve tried in the past to use such things but I can’t stick with it. I usually use my inbox as a to-do list. However, good graphic design has gotten me to use things I didn’t think I’d use, so Reminders may yet find a place in my heart.

Great! I use Twitter quite a lot so this is a big win for me.

Great! The big deal here is that you can get quick access to the camera from the lock screen—and snap a pic using the volume up button.

Ironically, the app Camera+ (which I bought) was briefly banned from the App Store because it enabled the user to snap a pic using the volume up button. The reason for the yank was that it created user confusion. Heh.

Honestly, I don’t care. I haven’t used Camera+ more than five times since I bought it. What I do care about most is being able to get to the camera from the lock screen. That’s bad ass and worth it right there.

I don’t get it. You can now crop and red eye reduce pics natively within iOS. One would think this would make a bunch of simple image editing apps (like Photoshop Express, which I use a great deal) obsolete immediately.

No. Here’s now: For some reason that defies logic, you snap a pic with Camera—but then you edit it in Photos, a different application. So…you have to launch a separate app to edit whether you’re using Photos or Photoshop Express or Camera+ or whatever. So Apple is competing on features, right? All those other apps already have more features than Photos. So why would anyone ever use Photos? For anything? Ever?

Photoshop Express will continue to have a place. Unless the Photos UI is better. (Which, actually, it might be. We’ll have to see…)

Good. I use Safari more than anything anywhere. Any change to it is going to have a profound impact on how I interact with the world.

The big news here is tabbed browsing (which Mercury (and others) have had for a long time). I’ll get ’round to using it, sure, but not having it has not prevented the iOS version of Safari from being my primary browser.

The lesser news is Reader and Reading List. They combine to duplicate the effects of Instantpaper, which I use a good deal. Will such integration into Safari mean I won’t use Instantpaper any more? Yes. It means exactly that. Why should I launch a separate app when I don’t have to? (You hear that, Camera and Photos?)

Utterly Fantabulous! I have screamed to the heavens asking why! Why must we tolerate a world where we have to physically connect to sync? Why isn’t it done over wi-fi? Well, come iOS 5, that long national nightmare will be over. I cannot can not wait for this.

iCloud

Oh, yeah, iCloud! I almost forgot.

The short story is that iCloud, not an individual device, is responsible for maintaining a master copy of your apps, books, mail, contacts, calendars, documents, music (if you want), and more.

This is the part where your Mac is “demoted” to just another device alongside an iPad and iPhone. It’s no more responsible than anything else. Yet, like everything else, can manipulate that content and share the changes with everyone else through iCloud.

I’m most excited about document storage, specifically versioning through Pages. Not having to download then re-upload distinct copies of specific documents every time they’re opened will be a treat.

And in conclusion…

I’m quite looking forward to iOS 5. I’m sad that it’s not coming out until fall (prolly when the next iPhone is coming out) but it’ll get here soon enough!

NPR logoA friend mentioned volunteering at NPR so the other day I decided to listen to NPR on my commute home—something I’d not done in months upon months, perhaps even more than a year.

I listened because I couldn’t remember why I don’t normally listen to it. I didn’t have a particular reason, it wasn’t like NPR offended me or anything, but one thing was clear: I never do.

I tuned in, giving the whole commute over to see what the latest was in NPR goings-on.

Oh, of course

Five minutes into the experiment I realized why I’d abandoned it and the reason was forest-for-the-trees obvious: All of NPR’s content is serial. Meaning, it’s one story at a time and I can’t chose which story to listen to.

You know—like everything on the radio.

Hit me

PodcastNormally I listen to podcasts on the way home and I have dozens of them to choose from—more than I can listen to during my commutes in a week—by design.

Podcast content is parallel, meaning all stories are delivered to me at the same time giving me choice as to what to consume and when.

Time I spend waiting for something interesting on NPR is time I could be spending already listening to something interesting. And chances are that whatever NPR is talking about is something I’m already aware of anyway, having read about it on Twitter or my RSS feed during the day. A nightly update on the day’s top news is great—but is behind everything current, by definition.

So it turns out my problem isn’t with NPR per se. It’s with the medium NPR lives in.

I wonder if they have any podcasts…

Valhalla Rising movie posterTrailer.

Saw this on Netflix Streaming in HD. It’s a movie with as much to dislike as like. It’s an interesting film worth talking about.

First

The Netflix description of the film is flat wrong. Rather than quote it and continue the misinformation, here’s a proper description:

Enslaved gladitorial fighter, owned by a pagan Viking tribe, escapes then through happenstance joins Christian Vikings en route to Jerusalem on a crusade. Their longboat is lost and ends up on an island populated by savage natives.

Look

This is the most beautifully shot film I’ve seen in a long time. You must watch it in HD because the landscape and photography are art pieces in and of themselves and the framing is excellent—in needs widescreen format. One could almost just pick random frames from the movie and call it an art piece. It’s rich and lush despite the bleakness of the actual landscape.

In particular I have to call out the extraordinarily good lighting. It couples both on-set and post-production work to create showpieces of striking visual impact. Good, professional, eyes made this film.

Speaking of eyes

Valhalla Rising One-EyeThe lead character, named One-Eye, has no speaking lines. In fact, not more than a few sentences are spoken at all by anyone for the first 12 minutes of the film despite clear initiation and progress of the film’s plot, and that trend continues with not much said by anyone for (comparatively) long stretches of time.

Bold move, to be sure, and it works. The actor is good and a lot is portrayed visually, and well. It may seem like a deficiency that the plot is simple enough that the lead doesn’t need to speak but that’s not the case. The beginning of the movie tells a good story very well with the minimum possible dialogue even from supporting characters.

Fight!

The fighting in the movie is brutal. One-Eye is a brutally efficient, vicious killer. So when violence busts out, it’s horrific and memorable.

Escape

After his escape the film sets up an interesting premise: A ship full of Vikings on a crusade who become lost in a fog and end up…where? They don’t know, but they do know that it’s hostile.

And here’s where the film begins to unravel. Worse, it takes forever to do so because the film moves at such a terribly glacial pace that it feels like a grind. I must hastily point out that I’m a fan of slow burn movies. Let the Right One In is a recent example of a film that takes sweet, delicious time.

But that film is worth it. This film is not.

I read later that the director originally intended the film to be kind of an acid trip. It shows. It shows hard. I was often left wondering what exactly was going on. The main character has visions, but is One-Eye remembering something, dreaming something, or predicting something? It’s not too much of a spoiler for me to briefly mention that the Christian Vikings begin behaving…oddly. Why? There was no explanation—but more important there was no reason for it either. None of it needed to happen, and when it did it didn’t have to happen to that degree in order to get whatever point it was trying to make. I think?

I ask because, honestly, I’m not sure the movie had a point to make. That’s fine, not all do of course, but those that don’t (say, an action film or a rom-com) fill that gap with the sweet cotton candy of gratuitous entertainments.

Alas, Valhalla Rising lacks both leaving…pretty pictures and a compelling main character with nothing to do, I guess.

Did you hear that?

Sometimes the soundtrack is wonderful. Other times, particularly post-escape, the music is horribly wrong, anachronistic, and singularly awful. It’s not often that my attention is particularly drawn to the soundtrack—I’m content to enjoy it in the background where it’s usually found. But Valhalla Rising‘s soundtrack pulled me right out of the film and seemed to out of its way to annoy and be specifically inappropriate.

Final Recommendation

The film is conveniently divided into discrete parts—complete with full-screen title cards announcing each piece. I strongly recommend viewing the first two parts of this film. You won’t regret the decision. Beautiful, brutish, engaging, and interesting with a silent character. Hardly any dialogue to the film at all.

Then stop. Leave with a positive impression of the film before it ruins itself. 🙂

I’ve been running a 4th edition D&D campaign since launch, but there’s been a problem: there’s no default world to play in.

Wizards of the Coast publishes Forgotten Realms, but it has a definite flavor and special rules. There’s also Eberron which is even more divergent from what one would consider default. What does that leave if one wants a traditional D&D or generic fantasy experience?

Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting

Saying goodbye...

Nothing—from WotC. However, there is a company that does publish the perfect thing: A campaign world that is suitable for any rules system and, in particular, has default written all over it: Pathfinder Chronicles by Paizo Publishing.

I quickly embraced this product because the book has nearly zero system-specific rules in it. It can be used for any game and it has a lot of material. And crucially it’s available in PDF format.

Simply ideal.

It was exactly what I was looking for. A fully developed rich world with a wide variety of places to have all kinds of adventures.

Speaking of adventures, I prefer to DM with 50% published adventures and 50% my own work. Wizards of the Coast had me covered when it came to published adventures—except not really. Unfortunately, their support is strong at the beginning and becomes progressively weaker the higher level the game becomes. WotC doesn’t publish but a couple high-level (25+) adventures. This means that if I want to run a D&D game to its logical conclusion, 30th-level, then I have to do almost all the work myself, all the time, which I don’t really have time to do.

So I’m left with really only one choice: End the campaign.

Dark Sun campaign setting

Hello there!

But rather than restart the campaign in the same world my players and I have decided to give Dark Sun a go.

It’s a brand new experience for some of my players and a welcome returning friend for others. I’m merely looking forward to finding support for the setting. It has special rules and flavor like Forgotten Realms and Eberron have, and this would normally be a negative, but this is what we need right now.

Of course I would prefer to have the campaign end naturally at 30th level but for whatever reasons WotC has they’ve decided not to lend as much assistance to seeing a campaign through to the end as they are to starting it.

I’m cognizant of the fact that there will be fewer adventures for Dark Sun than there are for the campaign we’re ending in a few days. That’s fine since I know going in this is going to be a shorter campaign experience than normal D&D.

Seattle traffic comparison snowpocalypse 2010

Click to see the animation…

 

Wire in the BloodWire in the Blood, on paper, seems like it would be a tired and unnoticed example of a procedural drama featuring a genius who helps the police solve crimes, particularly catching serial killers, lost in the sea of other crime dramas featuring a genius who helps the police solve crimes, particularly catching serial killers. Not so—it distinguishes itself very well and was compelling.

And not just because it’s a British production.

The best part of the show is the main character, Dr. Tony Hill, a clinical psychologist who profiles violent criminals. The series focuses almost exclusively on him leaving the other characters very much in the background and, perhaps, not as well defined as you might expect secondary characters in other series to be fleshed out. However, this is actually the right balance because Tony Hill can carry every episode practically by himself.

He’s a genius, sure, but there’s a lot of character to the character and it’s wonderfully acted by Robson Green—so much so that I cannot conceive of any other actor, living or dead, playing the role as well as he did. Wow. Very good work.

Tony has a touch of Asperger’s Syndrome and this makes him interesting to watch. He’s a bit crazy profiling very crazy people, and sometimes goes a little crazy himself. Unlike other US dramas, like say The Mentalist, his smarts are not enough to keep him out of trouble so he’s definitely not in command of his environment. The dynamic this character sets up with the other characters is all around compelling.

Of course the murders are interesting as well. Since they’re all serial killers there’s always a twist and an obscure pattern and scenes of victims in distress. You know the formula. And though the series is formulaic—one can well predict what’s going to happen next—this doesn’t dampen enjoyment of the show because really the reason to tune in at all is to see what’s going to happen to Tony Hill next.

Wire in the Blood is available on Netflix streaming, which is how I saw it, and I would highly recommend it! It uses the formula of the genre to present something new, unusual, and interesting. They’re British seasons, so about four episodes per season, each episode an hour or an hour and a half.

Give it a watch!

Washington Post appThe Washington Post app is available for the iPad. There’s everything wrong with it. Not only is it poorly designed but its execution is lacking and it’s apparent where the failings are.

In no particular order…

It’s for-pay—with ads

These two things should never appear together in this medium. Yes, you pay for a physical paper and get ads—but that’s an entirely separate issue.

Registration required

To read any story, even during the free trial period before subscription is required, you have to register. This is profoundly wrong and, dare I say it, stupid. It shows the WP doesn’t particularly care for its users. Therefore, I don’t particularly care for them.

But such an egregious hoop can be tolerated if life on the other side is worth it. Once you’ve registered and accepted the fact that there will be ads, what’s the app itself like?

It’s jammed busy with clutter.

I compare WP to the USA Today app, which I read a lot over lunch. USAT is clean. I’m looking at the front page of WP right now and it’s so jammed that the stories are elbowing each other. For example, there’s a headline “Did the tea party cost Republicans the Senate?” and directly underneath that is a photo of a mob using a, what is it, a bedframe? as a battering ram. Has the tea party has gone more mental than they already were? OH! No, it’s about the student protest in London. Excellent use of white space, WP! Compare with USA Today, which has luxurious and smart use of white space. Everything in USA Today looks calm, focused, and like it’s there on purpose.

Ads are intrusive

The ad along the bottom interferes with the tabs along the bottom in that it looks like the ad cuts off whatever the tabs are supposed to be saying.

There’s no visual cue that there’s a fold

The aforementioned photo rides perfectly along the bottom of the top and it looks like the app offers four stories, a misleading photo, a bunch of tabs, and some ads. There’s no cue that I can scroll down and see, what’s that, seven more stories.

The boxes aren’t being fed properly

See the “Bomb could have downed plane over U.S” story? First, there’s no period for the S but aside from that, there’s no sentence either, like the rest of the page. It looks dumb when it doesn’t need to be. That headline isn’t particularly long, but it’s either too long for that box or the feed isn’t inserting the text correctly. My money’s on a too-long headline (or too large a font) because I bet you the period for S is being truncated like the rest of the tease.

Nitpick: Why does the tea party article have “The Fix?” Must be a WP thing I’m not familiar with. My point is, why doesn’t every story have this? Or, why do any of them? Who cares? Should I care? I don’t know.

About the Settings

Who puts Settings last after About and FAQs beneath the gear icon—the universal icon for settings across all iOS apps since Roman times? And About is first? Seriously?

Who doesn’t put any settings for the app under Settings?

This makes the app look rigid and square in a non-geek socially inept square kind of way. It square from its tight grid layout enough already.

Individual articles are more difficult to read than necessary

When you tap one, the tabs and the ad remain which makes for reading area that’s too small for the article. It’s like I’m reading the story through a tiny window. Combine that with a surprisingly large margin ad and I find I have to scroll more than I should. Compare to the USA Today interface which replaces the whole interface with just the article and with page icons at the bottom for navigation.

Content isn’t optimized for their boxes

The politics section has a pic that’s been re-sized to fit the box. The pic itself is clearly smaller than that area and since its enlarged it looks unprofessional. This, to me, shows that they’re not supporting the app editorially, just shoehorning existing content into the app. Lame. The idea that this is a paid app for shoehorned content is exciting in a bad way.

Personal note: I, on paper, (ha! see what I did there?) like the idea of reading Twitter and FB comments about an ongoing story. But here’s the thing: I already use Twitter as my primary source of news (seriously). Whatever’s going to appear in the WP app I’ve already learned about previously—I don’t want to read headline-grade snippits underneath an in-depth article about the same story. But I (would) read the WP app (or in my case USA Today) for is information beyond headlines. But WP doesn’t want me to read the whole story because of its tiny window scrolling viewing style. You know what’s easier to read? The Twitter feed. And USA Today. Or the NYT app.

What really happened

It seems clear that someone, by that I mean J. Jonah Jameson, at WP said: “Make our app just like the NYT app except cram it full, don’t dare use any editorial staff on it, and I swear-to-god if there’s any white space!”

New Character Builder screenshot

The new Character Builder

WotC announced something good and surrounded that with bad things.

First, the Character Builder is going to be Mac compatible—in that it (come November 16th) is a website accessible by OSX. Well, a website where you have to download, of all things, Microsoft’s Silverlight module.

Not having to boot into Windows just to briefly use a single program is luxurious news! It’s something I’ve been wanting since the whole DDI was first announced.Three cheers!

Unfortunately, there was a slew of bad news that fairly drowned out the good news. Let’s get to ’em…

Reduced functionality

Easily the #1 complaint, which is entirely justifiable, is that WotC is reducing the functionality of the Character Builder—drastically. In fact the list of missing features is too long for this medium, so I’ll just mention a few highlights:

  • No house rules — This means I can’t use the Character Builder for the campaign I’m in. Worse than that, of course, is that we won’t be able to compensate for the Character Builder’s mistakes—which my epic-level players in my Monday game know of all too well. This lack of functionality makes using the Character Builder effectively unusable at launch.
  • No exporting — This is a feature that’s going to be added “later.” Why this is a problem is that third party developers—who’ve demonstrated an ability to build superior apps than WotC’s—won’t be able to function.
  • No customizable character sheets — Your ability to prioritize the data on your sheet is gone. Instead, you’ll have a choice of two sheets to pick from (more will be added “later” but, you know).

No tablet support

The perfect device for using an electronic tool at the table is a tablet, not a laptop. It’s exceedingly odd that support for tablets wouldn’t be included in such a web-based initiative. Also, I read through much of the discussion forum about this new development and I was surprised at how many times iPads were called out specifically.

Lack of trust continues

Surprising customers by replacing an extant product with a new product that offers less functionality—after saying that everything with the previous product was on schedule—is one of many reasons why there is such distrust about WotC and digital products.

I think a better method would be to telegraph what’s coming and ask for feedback on features before the product is released. That exporting was the #1 request shouldn’t have been a surprise, to name one of many potential examples.

And, principally, don’t mislead customers.

Backfire

I wasn’t personally aware of this, but it makes sense: One (significant) problem with the Character Builder is that people would buy a subscription for one month then download all the updates for it—which equates to getting every book—then cancel the subscription.

That’s not right, I agree. Moving everything to a server environment and requiring an active login (and therefore an internet connection) is the way to combat that, and I support that idea.

But this whole mess has resulted in the following quote by a friend of mine who routinely pirates everything—yet is a paid subscriber to DDI:

“I’m a pirate by nature and I was giving them money—and they burned me for it.”

I found a link via Twitter to this post. It asks atheists eight questions aimed at having atheists explain life, presumably to replace religions’ own explanations.

Part of the post is completely lost on me (as are some of the questions) particularly the definition of “new atheist.” I just define myself as a garden variety atheist, I guess. Anyway, the label is irrelevant. I’ll do my best to answer the questions posed.

The Questions

1) Why is there anything?
2) What caused the Universe?
3) Why is there regularity (Law) in nature?
4) Of the Four Causes in nature proposed by Aristotle (material, formal, efficient, and final), which of them are real? Do final causes exist?
5) Why do we have subjective experience, and not merely objective existence?
6) Why is the human mind intentional, in the technical philosophical sense of aboutness, which is the referral to something besides itself? How can mental states be about something?
7) Does Moral Law exist in itself, or is it an artifact of nature (natural selection, etc.)
8 ) Why is there evil?

The Answers

1) Why is there anything?

This question has always been a puzzler for me—not because of the answer but the question in the first place. Does this question need to be asked, or ever answered at all? I would argue that it does not because it’s moot.

Regardless, it’s a philosophical question that atheism isn’t intended to address. My view is that atheism address one thing: deity. It’s not a social guideline for living or a moral philosophy. Asking an atheist “why” is like asking an apple what ennui is.

Asking why implies there’s a reason beyond the physical, which there isn’t. But what is the physical? Segue to…

2) What caused the Universe?

Short answer: We don’t know.

Likely answer: quantum mechanical interactions in the multiverse that initiated conditions necessary for the Big Bang.

Long answer: The latest book by Hawking, The Grand Design, addresses how the universe can be created from nothing. He’s famously noted for saying that science has eliminated the need for a god (especially regarding the origin of the universe). There’s no need to deflect the question by saying a god did it. Instead, we have actual formulaic theories for how the universe may have been created spontaneously. The math is beginning to check out.

But how can something come from nothing? Another book that’s very good at offering a foundation for such quantum mechanical principles, and is an easy read, is From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time which has my highest recommendation (it’s much better than Hawking’s book). I would also recommend The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design by Susskind which explains this in more detail but is slightly harder to follow.

We don’t have every exact answer buttoned up but the salient point is that every decade brings us substantially closer to answering the mechanical specifics of how the universe came to exist—and none of them require divine influence.

3) Why is there regularity (Law) in nature?

This question is akin to the first one, asking a why, but at the same time there is some validity to it if one looks past the philosophical. What is the opposite of regularity? That would be chaos, yes? If one were to posit that our universe could’ve come into existence in an utterly chaotic state without any regularity—there could still be the universe of what we see today.

Here’s how: Even in a chaotic system there would still be pockets of regularity, merely because if you have infinite possibilities one of those possibilities has to be stable. One may have to wait an extraordinary amount time to see it, but it’s inevitable that in a universe of infinite possibilities it will create a system and one of the systems within it will be stable.

It’s also worth pointing out that there is a shocking lack of regularity in the quantum scale, but I don’t think this question was necessarily addressing such a fine point.

4) Of the Four Causes in nature proposed by Aristotle (material, formal, efficient, and final), which of them are real? Do final causes exist?

I had to look this up, and I was reluctant to do so because there would, I should think, be little that a BCE philosopher could add to modern science. Not to say the subject is uninteresting, the history of anything is interesting because it’s history.

Anyway, after reading the wikipedia entry on this matter I must say I don’t understand the question. In particular, I’m not sure what’s meant by a “final cause.” The entry, for example, says: ‘For a sailboat, it might be sailing.’ Unless it’s not. So…what difference does this make to anything at all? I’m confused. Which of them are real? Um. The sailboats, I guess?

This is probably a philosophical question which, like I mentioned, is not for atheism to address.

5) Why do we have subjective experience, and not merely objective existence?

The question is moot: We have both. There are objective events, as well as things experienced purely subjectively, and a combination of the two.

Is the question asking why people have subjective reactions to the same data? I suppose the answer would be because we’re not a hive mind.

6) Why is the human mind intentional, in the technical philosophical sense of aboutness, which is the referral to something besides itself? How can mental states be about something?

That answer is best addressed by a neurobiologist and that’s well outside my area of interest. It’s far enough outside that I don’t understand the phrasing “mental states be about something.”

7) Does Moral Law exist in itself, or is it an artifact of nature (natural selection, etc.)

I should think the answer is obvious: it’s a human construct. The fact that morals are culturally, socially, and locally variable directly describes how there is no “law” to it, only local guidelines that change over time and distance.

8 ) Why is there evil?

This is an entirely philosophical question atheism isn’t intended to address.

 

There you have it. Comments welcome!