Author: jrcowles

Watch Jim Eat Crow!

Watch Jim Eat Crow!

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OK … attention all hands … this is your Skeptic-In-Residence … secure from general quarters … weapons cold … set condition green … stand down from DefCon 2 … secure from silent running … rig for “noisy running” … crisis over … exit your respective undisclosed locations and resume normal duties ... move the hands of the Doomsday Clock back from two to ten minutes before midnight … Back in October of 2018, I published a “Skeptic’s Collection” column about the misgivings I have entertained for the past 20 years about the verdict we, the jury, returned in a criminal trial for a man charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. Since then, I have done some research about the precise requirements of the drug possession laws of Washington State – see also this -- and wher
Do You Have The GUTs To Walk The Planck?

Do You Have The GUTs To Walk The Planck?

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As a cosmologist, I am an educated but rank amateur. Consequently, I would be willing to bet money that the following remarks and questions will be so naive as to cause the toenails to ache of any actual professional cosmologist, and perhaps make them laugh so hard they will need to avail themselves of a good supply of Depends. I mean people the caliber of, e.g., Andrea Ghez, Alex Filippenko, Kip Thorne, Alan Guth, Vera Rubin, and others of like stature in the pantheon of theoretical cosmology, e.g. faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study. (In fairness, I have met and spoken with Profs. Ghez and Filippenko, and found them extraordinarily approachable, anything but condescending, and strongly predisposed to take lay people’s questions with utmost seriousness. I suspect the same is
Reason And Treason

Reason And Treason

activism, autonomy, awareness, betrayal, Challenge, Change, citizenship, civics, community, constitution, courage, Criminal Procedure, critical judgment, faithfulness, history, Impeachment, justice, law, political rhetoric, Politics, Presidency, Rationality, Secularity, Trump
I wish people, especially Bill Maher, with whom I completely agree on virtually all other issues, would stop playing fast and loose with the word “treason” when referring to Donald Trump. (Or course, Trump has been at least equally reckless. But I expect more of Maher.) Now, I have immensely greater respect and regard for the excrement I flush down my toilet every morning than I have for Donald Trump. (At least the former has served a useful and healthy purpose, which is considerably more than I can say of the latter.) So my purpose is not to defend Trump. My concern, rather, is to defend the Constitution, which I esteem as the civil / secular equivalent of Holy Writ. We should be meticulously careful about construing the words of the Constitution for the same reason that the Catholic