Sibling Pride

We were a little worried as to how Karis would react to this new human constantly in her life, but we have been pleasantly surprised. I think she likes him more than either Lesley or me. She is definitely proud to show him off to visitors.


Little Brother / Big Sister

Karis blowing Thomas a kiss.

Karis giving her new brother a big SQUEEZE.

What's in a name

Naming is not easy. It's a hard thing to name another human being. Lesley and I put in a lot of consideration into both Thomas' and Karis' names.

For those who don't know, 'Karis' is Greek for grace and her middle name, 'Sophia', is Greek for wisdom. Two virtues that we wish upon her.

'Thomas Zane' was decided upon after much deliberation. In fact, Lesley and I employ 'bracketology' to help come up with a name. We had a March Madness tournament of 64 male names.

'Thomas' means twin, so it was not chosen for its meaning, but rather for other great Thomases that have come before (particularly philosopher/theologians):
Thomas Aquinas, Thomas a Kempis, Thomas Reid, etc.

'Zane' was chosen in part for its meaning. It means God's gracious gift. It was also chosen since we like names that start with letters not typically used.

In addition to the merits of each name on its own, we also like the combination both in full names and in the abbreviated 'T.Z.'.

Mother's Day Surprise

So here is the quick run down. On Saturday night Lesley started to get contractions after a day of bike riding and gardening. Everything continued through Church on Sunday so we went to the hospital after Church. Things slowly progressed until 11:31 at night when Thomas Zane was finally born. There were no problems with the delivery. He weighed 5 pounds 9 oz. and was 17.25 inches long. Thomas then went to the NICU since there was still some fluid in his lungs. That cleared up yesterday, and his good start to eating meant he could come home today.

Karis is already a big fan of Thomas giving him plenty of hugs and helping him out with his soother when he cries.

Lesley already feels so much better than after her c-section.

Now for the great tube-free pictures:


The Good Life v. The Goods Life

This was the title of a talk I heard recently by psychologist Tim Kasser. Kasser has been studying happiness and materialism. He has a book: The High Price of Materialism.

In his talk, Kasser revealed his findings that those who have higher materialistic values are less happy. They score lower in vitality, general satisfaction, and pleasant emotions while scoring higher in anxiety, depression, headaches, and drug and alcohol use. Socially, they tend to help others less -- treating others as a means rather then as ends in themselves. They also have less concern for the environment -- having higher ecological footprints (the # of acres of land it takes to sustain them).

On this note it was brought to my attention that if the arable land of the Earth was evenly divided among human inhabitants, each individual would have 5 acres of land to support themselves. The average American has an ecological footprint of 30 acres. This means that if everyone lived as a typical American does, we would need 6 Earths to support ourselves.

Scary thought.


Reasonable Atheism

Over here, there is a discussion as to how it can be that atheists can be punnished by God if their atheistic belief is the belief that is epistemically justified for them. It does seem that there are atheists who are epistemically justified in their belief of atheism. That is, it seems like for at least some individual's the evidence that they have best supports atheism. This entails that believing theism would be unjustified for those individuals.

Nonetheless, if salvation is based upon belief (I don't think this is quite right, but belief does seem to at least be essential), then individuals who are justified in their atheism are punnished for 'following their evidence'. Something might seem strange about this.

One could, like Kierkegaard seems to place the importance on faith and divorce faith from reason, but I have never found such a move appealing.

I think that the answer here lies in terms of justification. Here, I distinguished between epistemic justification (that one's belief fits with one's evidence) and meaty justification (that one is epistemically justified and also responsible in having gathered evidence). There is room to criticize the atheist since even if her belief in atheism is justified it can be that she has not been responsible in gathering evidence regarding the issue. Not only is this defense possible, I think it gets the situation right. The evidence is out there -- we are without excuse -- though this does not entail that every individual will be epistemically justified.

Pacal's Wager has import here. Though the pragmatic considerations that Pascal brings to bear on the rationality of belief in God do not affect the justification of that proposition, they do bring out the importance of that issue. The importance of the truth of theism makes it critical that one responsibly seek out evidence. Such a pursuit should consume us.

I would claim that the atheist is only justified in her atheism since she has not been responsible enough in pursuing the relevant evidence. If so, then it makes sense that she is punnished for believing what she should on her evidence. After all, it's much easier to see how we can be responsible for our actions (evidence gathering) than it is for our beliefs (since they are no directly voluntary).


NFL Draft

End of the semester has led to very sporatic blogging, but summer is quickly approaching.

I just need to vent on a couple of things regarding the NFL draft that I have been hearing over and over.

1. A team's draft cannot be assessed until 1-3 years after the draft.

Why think that? Drafting decisions, like any other decisions ought to be evaluated at the time of the decision, based on the information that the agent had at the time of choice. How things turn out is of some importance, but these considerations do not factor in at the time of choice, and thus it's hard to see how the drafter can be graded by this criteria.

2. Teams get graded according to how good of prospects they drafted.

This seems reasonable at first, but it really isn't. Why not? Because teams do not have equal opportunity to draft players of the same caliber. For instance, the Raiders pick first in every round and the Bears pick second last in every round (ignoring trades for now). As such, it would be a ridiculous feat if the Bears drafted higher caliber players than the Raiders.

Instead, the grades teams receive should be scaled according to that teams draft position. In other words, it should be expected that the Raider's acquired better players than the Bears, but the grades should reflect how well a team did given their drafting position. This fact seems to be ignored in grading drafts.