Author Archives: John Bruce Carver

About John Bruce Carver

I am a U. S. citizen living in Atlanta, Georgia, having grown up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and graduating from Chattanooga High School. I served in the Electronic Security Command of the U. S. Air Force before receiving a B.S. degree in business/economics and an M.Ed. in educational psychology, both at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I then completed a Ph.D. in clinical (and research) psychology at Emory University. I have two daughters and three granddaughters. An ardent international traveller, I have been in over 70 countries for business and pleasure. My reading, other than novels, tends to be in history, philosophy, government, and light science. I identify philosophically as a secular humanist, in complete awe of the universe including my fellows and myself. I am married to my best friend, Miriam, formerly of the United Kingdom and Canada.

Death II

I received reactions from several readers noting that in my most recent post, “Death,” I skipped over the most obvious aspect of death—the often unbearable sorrow of those left behind. They were right about my omitting the devastation of those … Continue reading

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The Presidency

I am neither politically inclined, politically partisan (much), politically knowledgeable, nor politically skilled. But I do follow national politics reasonably well, read a lot of governmental history and opinion, occasionally write elected officials, and get emotionally carried along on the … Continue reading

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Death

I’ve been thinking about death. No, not the ax murderer or Bates Motel features. And not the physical or mental pain that might precede it. Not even about the pain for those destined to die later, but not just yet. … Continue reading

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Gay pride?

“I am heterosexual,” began a comment I recently received, “It never occurred to me to be ‘proud’ of being heterosexual. Did it ever occur to you that you were proud of being heterosexual?” This question was framed in reaction to … Continue reading

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The Big Ten (no, not university sports)

What tragedies, social dysfunctions, and evil trends would be prevented if only American schools, courts, city councils, and the public square would post the Ten Commandments . . . or so the faithful—and, curiously, the not so faithful as well—would … Continue reading

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Retirement né childhood

And I thought my adjustment to retirement was brilliantly handled! One problem (or perhaps blessing, I can’t tell) is that for me retirement was a phased affair over a few years; there was no single cutoff point. As I increasingly … Continue reading

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Bundling life’s decisions

Years ago I read a research psychologist, whose name I’ve lost, who maintained that we tend to buy into “decision packages,” meta-decisions that include answers to many further choices. (The term decision package is frequently used in zero based budgeting, … Continue reading

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The meaning of life

What is the meaning of life? This ubiquitous phrase poses a storied question. Of those to whom it is seriously put (as opposed to its comedic use), many embrace their quandary, while others are certain they know the answer. Variously, … Continue reading

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Mind the Ming

It’s like watching a two year old shatter your treasured Ming vase with no understanding of the great value destroyed. Two year olds we can forgive. With grown politicians, haughty in their piety, it’s a bit more difficult. The current … Continue reading

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Good start, but no cigar

It is hard to watch the craziness of the current American political scene and not wonder whether the republic can outlast our widespread stupidity. (If you’ll allow me a bit of typical American bloviating, perhaps we are so “exceptional” as … Continue reading

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Science and society—separating the roles

I posted thoughts on the fallibility and self-correction of science on August 13, then on August 19 addressed the nonsense of non-scientists presuming to adjudicate scientific disagreements. This post concerns a further aspect of the interaction between science and nonscientists: … Continue reading

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The supernatural: invisible, unknowable, indefensible

I had a friendly discussion recently with two Christians, one clearly a fundamentalist, one less so. The topic turned to the struggle of a clergyman trying to square the scientific discoveries of his time (late 19th Century) with his faith. … Continue reading

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Beyond sui generis

A recent CNN internet op-ed by Rachel Held Evans (“Hey Atheists, let’s make a deal,” Sept. 14) criticized atheists for quoting “the most extreme, vitriolic voices within Christianity and proclaim[ing] that they are representative of the whole.” To be fair, … Continue reading

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Unprofitable prophesies

Many Christians get a lot of mileage out of presumed prophesies. There’s no doubt that foretelling the future is a sure-fire seller. Associating successful prophesy with one’s religion is convincing proof not only of the supernatural, but evidence of support … Continue reading

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Usshering in creation

Scientists’ estimate for the age of the universe is 14 billion years if you don’t quibble over the odd hundred million. Despite impressively accumulated evidence for that figure, however, a 2012 Gallup survey found that 46% of Americans are sure … Continue reading

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Religions’ effects on non-religious issues

The signature section of my personal emails since late 2011 carries a brief quote labeled “Bimonthly Religious Idiocy.” (OK, it’s a bit nerdy, but you have to have some fun with this serious stuff.) It replaced an earlier practice in … Continue reading

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Our debt to Roger Williams

If you’ve ever held an old and rare book in your hands, you know the thrill I enjoyed for a few hours on August 23. I’m writing this in the Rare Books reading room in the Library of Congress in … Continue reading

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Scientists (that’s plural!) define science

My most recent post acknowledged that there is always disagreement among scientists, yet I argued that findings of science are our best bet for what is natural reality in this awesome, bewildering universe. This post addresses what might seem discrepant … Continue reading

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Science and scientists, warts and all

Science is a human enterprise, so therefore makes mistakes, confounds beliefs with fact-finding, and gets stuck on theories beyond their sell-by dates. But the way I see it, science reflects the corrupt, mendacious, and stubborn sides of humanness less than … Continue reading

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Word, yes, but of God?

I grew up believing the Bible to be the inerrant Word (that’s an obligatory capitalization) of God. My parents, sisters, and all our next-step-removed relatives believed it and almost all still do. It’s enough to discredit any memory of being … Continue reading

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Atheism born in tragedy and in thought

I read recently of a man quoted as having said he lost his faith in God due to the tragic, accidental loss of his wife and child. “How can there be a loving god,” he questioned, in a tone reeking … Continue reading

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Public education: Using the bully(ing) pulpit

Most Christians don’t mean to bully with their religion nor do they think of themselves as bullies. After all, they’ve been taught to believe that their religion is gentle and loving, the very model of “good will toward men.” On … Continue reading

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Words, words, words

I have a thing about words, about language, enough to be thoroughly embarrassed when I get it wrong. I try unsuccessfully not to lovingly nurse my peeves about grammar and word choice. Something grates on me about the incorrect differentiation … Continue reading

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The joy and cosmetics of blogging

My experience in writing this blog is pure pleasure mixed, as I expected it to be, with an occasional struggle in expressing thoughts accurately. For a guy who likes to think of himself as philosophically minded and verbally still adequate, … Continue reading

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Pie in the sky by and by

Faith. Faith . . . as magic a word as can be found in the supernaturalist vocabulary. Now, I don’t mean faith that a chair will not collapse, that a friend will really pay you back, that the Air Traffic … Continue reading

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Conversation, not conversion

I enjoy the philosophical topics for which I created this blog. I enjoy in-person discussions, ones that are easy exchanges and ones that are more like debates. Additionally, like anyone else who loves spirited interchange with bright, similarly engaged colleagues, … Continue reading

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Being civil about gay marriage

About macro-economics, I’m moderately conservative. About freedom of lifestyle, I’m hyper liberal. It may, therefore, seem inconsistent that I am opposed to gay marriage. Let me explain. Gay marriage is controversial only due to the entanglement of religion in civil … Continue reading

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What’s a nice boy like me doing in a place like this?

My purpose in starting this blog was not to tell readers specifically about me. The purpose was and is to provide a medium to record my philosophical musings about the world. I realize, of course, you can’t neatly separate the … Continue reading

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Happy birthday, U. S. A.!

Yes, happy 225th birthday on June 21 this month! This date in 1788, not July 4, 1776, was the day the United States became a lawfully constituted new nation of nine states. Into the world was born a unique new … Continue reading

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Only “in the name of” religion

Christians, as do other religionists, naturally do things that are motivated, justified (or excused) by their religion. Frequently, they do so explicitly in the name of their religion. Many of those things, such as hospitals and relief efforts, are humane, … Continue reading

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The happy atheist

I know quite a few atheists, agnostics, and Deists. There may be a few whose lives could be described as unfulfilled or unhappy, but no more than among my religious friends. (Of course, in both cases lack of fulfillment or … Continue reading

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Just one god?

I like Deists. Unlike theists (Christians, Moslems, and a few scattered others), they aren’t pushy. At least not about religion. They don’t buy into all the dressings of prayer, sin, divine forgiveness, and salvation, not to mention the sacrifice of … Continue reading

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Atheist, Agnostic –It’s So Confusing

We are expected by others and often impelled by our own needs to locate ourselves in the social landscape, that is, to say “what I am.” Sometimes that means what we make our living doing or what citizenship we hold. … Continue reading

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Rules of engagement

This is just a posting of the rules I have for myself as they relate to religious or quasi-religious philosophy discussions. They are, if you will, my “rules of engagement.” There are four situations in which I’ll take part in … Continue reading

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Getting started

This blog was begun in late April 2013 to provide an outlet for my compulsion to commit opinions to words, normally opinions or lines of thought out of step with the majority. Just as this is a new blog, I … Continue reading

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