In case you haven’t heard, we’ve been having an Andy Bernstein Festival along the Front Range of Colorado lately.
On Thursday evening, Andy gave his “Religion Versus Morality” talk at University of Colorado, Boulder, sponsored by the Boulder Objectivist Club. Thanks to Jared Seehafer’s substantial advertising efforts, the talk drew the most people so far: about 150, the vast majority of them Boulder students. The talk went well, with some downright bizarre and incoherent student questions in the Q&A. Jared also got this e-mail in response to the mere announcement of the talk:
To studentgroups/ objectives at C.U. Boulder: I’m responding to the student Buff bulletin of Sept. 15, Thurday, wherein it quotes a A. Bernstein. I,m horrified to read such sheer blatant trash being spread in our campus. It is threatening and poisonous. I would never consent to being guided by an ignoramous such as Doctor A.B. presents. Those who deny religion, especially that based on the Holy Bible and Jesus Christ as redeemer of our souls, must not be able to believe that we have souls and therefore it is they, call them athiests, who are utterly incapable of guiding human life on earth. Look around and SEE for yourself. Evidently you can’t see…Alas, the blind try to lead, but only blind will follow. Without seeing the good, how can you recognize that which opposes good- or evil. Dr. A.B. is evil. Please get found. That is, you are all very lost, in hell.
Oh, that’s just so perfect!
I should mention that Andy has a fantastic way of recommending Atlas Shrugged to students in his Q&A. When he gets some particularly confused question about egoism or capitalism, he will first answer the question, then inquire, “Have you read Atlas Shrugged?” Of course, the answer is always “No.” After recommending that the person read it, he says something like, “I truly envy you: You get to read Atlas Shrugged for the first time. I wish I could do that again!” He sometimes mentions that the person may agree or not with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, but that the story is just so fantastic! He did that twice during the Q&A session, in a very passionate, emphatic, and friendly way. I suspect that that kind of direct, targeted recommendation inspires more people in the audience to read Atlas Shrugged than any lecture possibly could.
Friday night, Paul and I hosted a dinner for Andy and five people from Front Range Objectivism. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I was particularly pleased that my cooking turned out so well and in such a timely fashion. (We had chilled creamy beet soup; then lasagne, garlic bread, glazed carrots, and green bean and mushroom casserole; and then vanilla ice cream, ginger snaps, and fresh fruit. Almost everything was from Cook’s Illustrated, of course.)
Saturday night, Paul and I drove up to north Denver for Andy’s FROST talk on “Exploding the Lies about Capitalism.” He raised a number of interesting points that kept Paul and me occupied in conversation on the long drive home. (Talks on capitalism don’t usually do that for me, I must admit!) So I’m really looking forward to reading his just-published book, The Capitalist Manifesto.
During the Q&A, in response to a question about the aftermath of Katrina, Andy spoke a bit about all of the unseen scientific research not done on matters critical to human life like natural disasters due to seen pseudo-scientific research done on matters irrelevant to human life like “global warming.” He’s right, of course. And so this article on tectonic shifts that we can measure but not yet interpret really struck a chord this morning:
A silent tectonic event, so powerful it has shifted southern Vancouver Island out to sea, but so subtle nobody has felt a thing, is slowly unfolding on the West Coast.
Scientists who are tracking the event with sensitive seismographs and earth orbiting satellites warn it could be a trigger for a massive earthquake — some time, maybe soon.
But they are quick to add that the imperceptible tremors emanating from deep beneath the surface are sending signals scientists are not yet able to comprehend fully and “the Big One” might yet be 200 years off.
What they do know is that the earth is moving this week on the West Coast as two massive tectonic plates slip past each other.
Just imagine what we might know about predicting earthquakes if all that money pouring into bogus environmentalist science were instead poured into understanding plate tectonics!
The only unpleasant aspect to this Three Day Festival of Andy was that I developed one of the most painful migraines I’ve ever had while Paul and I drove up to the talk. (Not only was every photon a source of awful pain, but the left side of my face felt like it was melting into oblivion.) I only had my last-resort prescription medication (Maxalt) with me — and it did nothing whatsoever. Happily, the caffeine in a cup of coffee about halfway through the talk did take the edge off the pain. The migraine itself wasn’t gone until sometime in the middle of the night. I’m still feeling a bit shell shocked. So I plan on having a very, very quiet day today worshipping at the Church of the NFL from the comfort of my sofa.