Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours.
Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent.
Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning.
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose.
Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?
Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been
gathered but it was one place.
And you weren’t here
2) The crowd at Jerry Coyne's blog debating whether determinism negates moral responsibility. The idea that free will is an illusion is the Gordian knot for the philosophical naturalism gang O' nattering nabobs of negativism. Watch them as they try to connect the unconnectable: that we should choose to hold people morally culpable for their choices even though they had no choice (nor do we) because free will is an illusion.
This is a "get the popcorn ready" moment on Coynes's blog. There are already some beautiful insights, such as:
As for moral responsibility, it remains intact under determinism, but our responsibility practices might become more effective and compassionate if we gave up the myth of libertarian freedom,
and the succinct, dogmatic assertion:
Determinism != Fatalism
Jerry's kids sure do know how to bedazzle.