Is America Doomed If The President Is Not A Christian?
If it is not illegal for a devout Muslim to become the president of the United States, why are people so hell bent on trying to prove that President Obama is one? Would it matter if any president we’ve had who is still alive were to admit that he was not really a practicing Christian? Is it possible for Americans to consider electing someone to the presidency who has no religious beliefs at all? I’ve had it with the obscene amount of time we spend in our political process obsessing over religion, religious leaders, and presidential candidates who profusely profess their faith in God and metaphorically wave the Bible around as if it is a law enforcement badge.
Belief in a theistic God, that is, a supernatural ruler of the universe, was universal among the Jews and, in different form, among the early Christians. Philosophers tell us that belief in such a being relieved the anxiety that humans felt with their selfhood and the uncertain limits of life. A theistic God offered stability and the sense that someone all-powerful was in charge. Belief in this theistic God is now undermined by what science and technology have taught us about the world, knowledge that has created a new anxiety and uncertainty and led many to take refuge in fundamentalism.
Derrick Bell from Ethical Ambition
I finally got around to watching the movie The Ides Of March, an inside baseball look at the politics of running for president. The best thing about the movie was the way it called attention to the role opinion columnists play in shaping the political opinions of the public. The second best thing about the movie was the character Governor Mike Morris that George Clooney played. Morris was a fictional governor of Pennsylvania turned presidential candidate, a politician who had been Catholic once but publically renounced any association with any religious belief on the campaign trail.
Emphasis on structural beliefs as tests of faith rather than the development of spiritual power has served to rationalize the necessity of unquestioned adherence to church doctrines drawn from the Bible’s often contradictory admonitions. Treating the Bible as infallible requires ignoring what we know of modern science, technology, knowledge beyond anything those living in the first century could possibly have imagined. The application of literal interpretations to issues involving race, women’s rights, anti-Semitism, abortion, and homosexuality, among other matters, has led to results that are unjust, unfair, and, to my lay mind, far from Christian.
Derrick Bell from Ethical Ambition
So are we a nation of latent altar boys and choir girls, who feel a certain amount of guilt whenever our more prominent religious representatives open their mouths? Is it possible that our news media is more than a little complicit in allowing the subjects they interview and the guests they televise to make unfounded assertions about the nature of Islam, or misrepresent the views of the Muslims both here and abroad?
Our failure is that we have sometimes not reported accurately, rigorously, fairly, and with adequate nuance and pushback, on issues that involve Islam. We have allowed the Islam-as-bad idea to fester unchallenged and to grow. And we are now at a point where legitimate connections can be drawn between a president’s disapproval and the inaccurate belief that he is a Muslim.
Columbia Journalism Review Obama Not Muslim, Islam Not Bad
Being pious or devout is not synonymous with being logical, rational, or reasonable, yet there are millions of people who will nod their heads in affirmation when Franklin Graham and other religious leaders of his ilk insinuate that the president is a Muslim, even though Graham offers no evidence other than rhetorical tautology to back up his claim. Some, like Cokie Roberts, have posited that conservatives are using the moniker “Muslim” as a racial code word in order to avoid saying “I don’t like him because he’s black.”
Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum wield the existence of their faith as if their religious belief is really a weapon with which to pummel their political opponents. When I see the lips of either of these two moving, it is as if I am transported into a time machine where all the voices of all the people throughout history who have used the exact same religious doctrines to justify enslavement, oppression, and gender inequality have joined together with them into one big chorus to intimidate the rest of us into submission. In some ways, conservative Republicans seem to use the “faith card” in the same way they allege their liberal counterparts use the so called “race card” – as a safe house into which they can retreat without fear of being attacked by their opponents.
Why self-control makes your life better, and how to get more of it.
(Photo by Geem Drake/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
- Research demonstrates that people with higher levels of self-control are happier over both the short and long run.
- Higher levels of self-control are correlated with educational, occupational, and social success.
- It was found that the people with the greatest levels of self-control avoid temptation rather than resist it at every turn.
Ready your Schrödinger's Cat Jokes.
- For a time, quantum computing was more theory than fact.
- That's starting to change.
- New quantum computer designs look like they might be scalable.
Quantum computing has existed in theory since the 1980's. It's slowly making its way into fact, the latest of which can be seen in a paper published in Nature called, "Deterministic teleportation of a quantum gate between two logical qubits."
To ensure that we're all familiar with a few basic terms: in electronics, a 'logic gate' is something that takes in one or more than one binary inputs and produces a single binary output. To put it in reductive terms: if you produce information that goes into a chip in your computer as a '0,' the logic gate is what sends it out the other side as a '1.'
A quantum gate means that the '1' in question here can — roughly speaking — go back through the gate and become a '0' once again. But that's not quite the whole of it.
A qubit is a single unit of quantum information. To continue with our simple analogy: you don't have to think about computers producing a string of information that is either a zero or a one. A quantum computer can do both, simultaneously. But that can only happen if you build a functional quantum gate.
That's why the results of the study from the folks at The Yale Quantum Institute saying that they were able to create a quantum gate with a "process fidelity" of 79% is so striking. It could very well spell the beginning of the pathway towards realistic quantum computing.
The team went about doing this through using a superconducting microwave cavity to create a data qubit — that is, they used a device that operates a bit like a organ pipe or a music box but for microwave frequencies. They paired that data qubit with a transmon — that is, a superconducting qubit that isn't as sensitive to quantum noise as it otherwise could be, which is a good thing, because noise can destroy information stored in a quantum state. The two are then connected through a process called a 'quantum bus.'
That process translates into a quantum property being able to be sent from one location to the other without any interaction between the two through something called a teleported CNOT gate, which is the 'official' name for a quantum gate. Single qubits made the leap from one side of the gate to the other with a high degree of accuracy.
Above: encoded qubits and 'CNOT Truth table,' i.e., the read-out.
The team then entangled these bits of information as a way of further proving that they were literally transporting the qubit from one place to somewhere else. They then analyzed the space between the quantum points to determine that something that doesn't follow the classical definition of physics occurred.
They conclude by noting that "... the teleported gate … uses relatively modest elements, all of which are part of the standard toolbox for quantum computation in general. Therefore ... progress to improve any of the elements will directly increase gate performance."
In other words: they did something simple and did it well. And that the only forward here is up. And down. At the same time.
These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
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