Posts tagged “TCNJ

White-on-white Still Lifes

These were shot with a 4×5 view camera, scanned, and printed digitally for my photo II class at TCNJ.

We have class in a brand new building, and the facilities are really nice, but unfortunately they are also really unfinished. The darkroom is not dark, has no chemicals, and has sinks that aren’t yet hooked up to the building’s plumbing. As such, I had to get these developed at a shop, and some mysterious black drips appeared on them. I actually like the way they look though, especially in the following one.

The class is going really well regardless, and I love working in large format. I’m currently scanning and editing another series of still-lifes of memory-charged foods, which I will be putting up soon. We also have a class blog, which can be found at:

The End

Today was good. I had 5/8 of an 8 page paper to finish by 7:30 for my Krzysztof Kieslowski class, and a Philosophy of Religion exam to take from 5-7, so I spent most of the day in the library writing/studying. I ended up not finishing my paper until 9:30, but it felt so great to have it finished and out of my hands. Now I have just 4 more pages of writing to do before I’m done for the semester.

On the way back from dropping off my paper I saw a black and white cat hiding in the bushes so I tried to see if it would let me pet it. I walked up toward it but it ran a little further away and stared at me from behind the railing of some stairs. I started inching towards it, taking one step every ten seconds or so. Every time someone else walked by the cat would look up, but other than that we just stared at each other the whole time. Finally, when I got within about five feet it scampered off and acted like it didn’t care, but I saw it look back at me before ducking behind some bushes. Later, at 11 they were giving away free pizza in the student center. By then it was raining so Enrico and I walked under a manly black and white umbrella and Christie took the girly green one and we got two slices each of some yummy (big daddy?) pizza.

In honor of the end of classes, here are some funny, out of context quotes from James Taylor, my modern philosophy professor:

Unsolved mysteries… One of those words is clearly redundant.

Last time you were in the bookstore, what did you find in the metaphysics section? New age stuff? Right, vast piles of crap.

Incidentally, if you like to see children dancing, try putting them in an electrified wire cage and then asking them, ‘would you like to dance?‘”

Ebola is a wonderful virus.

Is Stalin a nice person, or a naughty one?

On the side of your house is a meter with three coin slots labelled ‘gas,’ ‘electric,’ and ‘no zebra…’ If you don’t feed the meter, a zebra will appear in your living room.

“Synthetic, a priori propositions yield new knowledge that is necessarily true, and this, for Kant, is sexier than a weasel in a tutu.”

Speaking of Krzyzstof Kieslowski, if you haven’t seen any of his films, do so as soon as possible. They are some of the most magical, haunting and thought provoking movies I’ve ever seen. And many have AMAZING musical scores by Zbigniew Preisner. This is from La Double Vie de Véronique:

The Goods

Last Saturday was TCNJ’s “The Goods,” an all-day festival of creative expression hosted by the campus’ creative writing organization, Ink. I played two songs with my band José Jaime and the Best Valentines Day Ever:

Kanye West’s “Heartless,”

…and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”

Christopher Hitchens vs. Frank Turek

On March 31st TCNJ’s Secular Student Alliance and Protestant Bible Fellowship teamed up to bring Atheist author Christopher Hitchens and Christian theologian Frank Turek to campus to debate whether theism or atheism better explains reality. It was a fairly interesting debate, but neither side really brought anything new to the table. Turek put forth several standard cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God, and Hitchens cited numerous instances of the problem of evil and said essentially that we cannot truly know either way, but that atheism is the best and most probable of available explanations.

In the end, neither speaker could agree on a grounds upon which to argue. Hitchins insisted on talking about ethical issues associated with religious belief on earth, at one point challenging the audience to think of a single moral action exclusive to religion that an atheist could not do, and then rattling off a list of immoral acts committed in the name of religious beliefs. Turek, on the other hand, invariably returned to a teleological argument for intelligent design on a cosmic scale, citing the precise calibration of the physical constants that create the possibility for human life, and the low probability of their arising as they have at random, as evidence for an intelligent first cause.

For me, the more arguments for either side I hear, the more agnostic I become. Either side can be argued for eloquently and soundly, but in order to have any real conviction one way or the other, it seems that either faith, or something like it perhaps, is required. I have yet to meet anyone who holds a belief in God with absolute certainty who does so based on reason alone. Generally, such a belief is based on a religious experience, and while one who holds it will of course attempt to verify their view logically, the ultimate source of his conviction is not in the logic, but in the experience. Similarly, empiricist beliefs that deny God require faith that one’s senses are veridical, that the world can indeed be adequately explained solely by observation and quantification. Without real conviction that this is the case, it would be very difficult to practice science sincerely. As Turek pointed out in the debate, not only is faith required to believe that a God created the universe and perfectly calibrated it for human life, but it is equally necessary for the belief that the everything we know has fallen into place at random.

Some interesting quotes from the debate:

A good man left to his own devices will do good, and an evil man will do ill, but if you want to make a good man do evil, make him religious.” – Christopher Hitchens

Even though Christopher says in his book, ‘there is no god and I hate him,’ God says ‘there is a Christopher Hitchens and I love him.’” – Frank Turek

And one awful one:

(On why there isn’t more debate about theism from an Islamic perspective) “…because people don’t want to have their heads cut off.” – Frank Turek