Humanism, atheism and science - a brief outline.

Ok, I have been promising some other blog entries on topics aside from music. So here ya go. I'm going to do a little explaining about my own philosophies. I don't have time to spend on a lot of research and linking things in, this is pretty much freeform off the top of my head opinion. If I do get into specific facts I will back them up and I welcome your questions and comments.

Humanism, atheism and science - a brief outline.

There is a lot of confusion about humanism (secular and non-secular), atheism and science. These are not all synonymous with each other but they can easily overlap.

Humanism is a world view/philosophy concerned with universal human rights and dignities. Humanism can be secular or non-secular. Being a secular humanist means, to me, taking the need for religion and god out of the desire for human rights. It means those rights exist without religion, it doesn't mean you have to have to be non-religious.

Atheism is, by dictionary definition, a rejection of the existence of god or gods. This particularly applies to theism - the belief in a personal god one can communicate with. I've lately been thinking I'm not necessarily an a-deist. Deists think that a power/being created the universe but has no interactions with us. Since discovering this being isn't a question we know how to ask yet I'm content to let it sit. I feel agnostic toward deism. I firmly reject the institution of religion and its gatekeepers.

Science is observation and interpretation of the natural world. Hypothesis (question) > Test > Retest > Verification (by an independent party) > Theory. By definition god is not natural, therefore outside of science. Science requires testable evidence and testable predictions. Eugenie Scott famously said (I'm paraphrasing) that science was agnostic toward god. The existence of god (so far) is not a scientific question. Conversely you can't teach science with religion. Faith, believing something with no evidence or some kind of 'gut feeling' is not science. Fine, have your faith. But don't try to force it where it doesn't fit, like the science classroom.


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Last Call!

If you have been procrastinating on ordering the pre-order bonus package
edition of Catharsis, the new Strange Land album, the good news is it is
not yet too late. The bad news is that there is a limited number left and
the offer will be coming to an end soon.

You have two weeks left to order so stop in at the Strange Land web page
(http://www.strange-land.net/merch.html) and place your order while there
is still time and while supplies last. Wednesday, July 22nd will be the
last day you will be able to place your order and once we are out there
will be no more of the pre-order packages made available.


An elision of purpose

So, the new Strange Land cd is out. Special deals are selling now, the general distro will start in a week or two. It's been a too long process to get this one out. The reasons are varied, from our own procrastination to major personal issues, to playing too much of the waiting game. Nonetheless we are pleased with the results and we thank everyone who has stuck with us. When we picked the title we didn't think we'd actually be having a cathartic experience making it.
So what happens next? Is this the end of a process, the beginning, something in the middle? It all depends on what kind of band you are and what you want out of your career. Some bands just love making new music, so the release of a cd is pretty much the end. You finish the album, get the word out that its available, and move on the the next one. The amount of promotion you do I guess depends on how much energy or money you have for it. Once you've told people it's available you get right back to making new music.
On the flip side the album release is just the beginning. You get it out there, push the promotion, set up a tour. You play as many shows as you can hoping to collect some new fans along the way. I suppose the bigger you get the more this second option is what you do. Bigger bands have the resources to mount full scale tours. For the most part bands in this mode don't even think about recording for a year or two.
I think we'll try to hit a mark somewhere in the middle. As part of growing as a band I think the balance shifts around. We can justify more advertising but not a full scale tour. Hopefully more shows but we won't be putting off writing and recording new music to make time for shows. I'm sure we'll find a balance. I know for a fact it won't take 5 years to release the next one.


Heroes part 1

I thought I'd share a few videos of musicians who've inspired and influenced me. I'll start with some acoustic music. The late, great Michael Hedges, Preston Reed, Richard Leo Johnson, and Billy McLaughlin. Billy's case is especially inspiring as he overcame a medical condition by relearning the guitar left handed. This is equivalent to someone like Joe Montana switching from right to left hand for throwing and then going on to win the superbowl that way. Enjoy.



Does anybody know how to squeeze more hours into the day? I could use them.
  1. 7am wake up
  2. get ready for work, breakfast, pack lunch
  3. work 9:30 to 4:30 (got to leave early)
  4. 5:30 appointment
  5. grocery shopping, housework
  6. practice and write
  7. work on cd mailings
  8. brainstorm band marketing ideas
  9. breathe... it's a good thing I don't have kids
  10. work out and go for a walk
  11. chill for a little bit
  12. go to bed at midnight
  13. Lather, rinse, repeat