Tonight, while watching a video of ISIS destroying 3000 year old artifacts in Mosul, Iraq, I found myself feeling sickened, wondering in what world could these actions possibly be justified? And the only thing I can conclude is that rationally, they cannot. I think the most common anti-science argument that I encounter is that it can be tailored for an agenda, or that the same evidence can look different in different context or from different views. Honestly, at this point I hardly have enough composure to put together a rational post, so please forgive me. I’m tired of war. I’m tired of senseless violence and people dying over cosmic entities and nationalism. There is no way the actions of ISIS can be justified without the use of a cosmic excuse. And yet, all the good in the world can be easily justified by science, by altruism and reciprocation without implementing arguments from faith. We cannot simultaneously excuse our own irrational beliefs and condemn those of another group. We need evidence for our actions. There’s no way around it.
We were two miles from the end, practically prancing down the trail with excitement heading for Whitney Portal, nearly done with a 220 mile thru-hike of the John Muir Trail, having started in Yosemite National Park eight days earlier. We turned around for a last look at the towering summit behind us, now with a cap of deep ominous black clouds settling on its summit. It was a Saturday on one of the most popular hikes on the west coast and I hoped the crowds we had seen on the way up had good enough judgement to be off that summit and be racing to get back below tree line at this point. I imagined them hiding under boulders, the masses of them doing anything they could to escape the storm. Continue reading Yosemite National Park, Day 0
Since I was a kid, my dad would inform me of the recent dietary trend, from entire dietary restrictions to minor single food alterations. He would read about it in Men’s Journal and then tell me, “Oh, avocados are very good for you,” or “bread is very bad for you,” with no explanation further than that. It could have been attributed to the most recent journal article on the subject, some undergraduate run correlation study, or it could have just been the musings of a physician who overstepped their authority. I used to think that the reason these adjectives, good and bad, bugged me so much when applied to nutrition because they oversimplified things, but recently I realized that it’s because it massively overcomplicates nutrition. Continue reading The hallmark of a healthy diet
Rainer Maria Rilke helped me, probably more than anything else, to understand that my adolescent confusion with the world and lust for wisdom was not uncommon. When I felt desperately alone amidst the misplaced confidence of college freshman, my mom gave me a card with that quote on the front. It made me feel, knowing that the hesitation and desperation for answers that I felt was ancient, that people had been likely asking these questions forever, that I was not alone. I felt a timeless connection to the writer and the young man he was addressing. Continue reading Timeless questions: Rainer Maria Rilke