Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Little Bit of Stickwick

Idea stolen from KdT who stole it from Norman Geras:

A three-minute history of Stickwick: I was born in Oregon in 1971. My parents, who were agnostic socialists at the time, moved us to Canada after the Vietnam War was over (the after part is important). I stayed there until I was 26, and decided to move back to Oregon. Half of my family is still in Canada. In Oregon I met the best man I've ever known. I am now married to a Finn who was in the Special Forces and remains a soldier at heart. I have learned that being married to a Finn builds character. I got a physics degree in Oregon, and then moved to Texas to get a Ph.D. in astronomy/astrophysics. My topics of interest are quasars, supermassive black holes, and giant galaxies. I'm currently in my last year of study. I converted to Christianity last year, and am now a Lutheran. I want to do most of my future work with the church. After graduation, I plan to teach astronomy part-time, but devote most of my time to bringing Christians back to science.

Why do you blog?

As a personal outlet for my $0.02. To meet people. To have my ideas about things challenged as a check on self-delusion.

What has been your best blogging experience?

Arguing with Kevin from The Smallest Minority over religion and philosophy.

What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger?

Seein' as I'm still a novice blogger, I dunno. Probably to write much more often than I do. In fact, write something every day.

What are your favorite blogs?

Libertas, Michelle Malkin, The Smallest Minority.

Who are your intellectual heroes?

My father, C. S. Lewis, D. G. Garan, Gerald Schroeder, Thomas Sowell, Dinesh D'Souza, Maimonides.

What are you reading at the moment?

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Two Towers, G. K. Chesterton's What's Wrong With The World, P. J. O'Rourke's Holidays In Hell, and Ralph C. Wood's The Gospel According to Tolkien.

What is the best novel you've ever read?

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. My dad began reading it to us when we were kids, and the story helped me form my ideas about morality, even though I didn't really think of it as anything more than a great adventure story at the time. But every time I read it I discover a whole new layer to the story. This time around I am discovering its deeply Christian nature.

What is your favorite poem?

"O vis Aeternitatis" by Hildegard Von Bingen (rendered as a really cool song by Garmarna).

What is your favorite movie?

The Empire Strikes Back. Not only is it the best of the Star Wars movies, it's a fantastic movie in its own right. The Cloud City scenes blew me away when I was a kid in 1980, and I never got over that.

Who is your favorite composer?

Oh, geez. This is difficult. Probably Mozart. Then Bach. Then Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, and Basil Poledouris.

Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?

I was anti-Christian in my youth, and then became very sympathetic to Christianity many years later. I finally converted last year.

What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate?

That of God's love for humanity. Specifically, the Judeo-Christian thesis that each human is a purposeful creation and endowed with inherent worth.

What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat?

Secular humanism.

Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world?

C. S. Lewis' collected essays in The Joyful Christian. Lewis is an intellectual giant, and part of what makes him so is his ability to present an idea so simply, in such a straightforward common-sense way, that you can't understand how you didn't see it before. Whereas I don't think I had a clear idea of what the rules and purpose of life were prior to reading Lewis, I think I have a better handle on that now.

If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be?

Drastically overhaul public education or abolish it altogether. In its current incarnation, it is less than useless. I teach astronomy classes at a large and "selective" university, and yet most of my students come to me terribly unprepared intellectually and with a warped view of America and the world. Children received better education back in the days when all they learned was reading/writing and doing figures.

If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be President, who would you choose?

Thomas Sowell.

What would you do with the UN?

Dismantle it. At best it's corrupt; at worst, it's a malevolent force in the world.

What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world?

Secular humanism. Without its tendency to weaken people intellectually and spiritually, we could easily combat other, more ostensible threats such as radical Islam.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?

Let love (agape) be the motivating factor and guiding principle in everything you do.

Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own?


What do you consider the most important personal quality?

Love (agape).

What personal fault do you most dislike?

Laziness -- it's one of my biggest faults.

In what circumstances would you be willing to lie?

To save someone's life.

Do you have any prejudices you’re willing to acknowledge?

Unfortunately, to some extent, I have a prejudice against my own sex -- we need another women's movement, a much more positive one than feminism. I also can't stand fat kids, the hip hop culture, and anyone who has anything to do with pornography.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Well, besides blogging... reading, watching movies, embroidery, road trips, cooking.

What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time?

Video games.

What, if anything, do you worry about?

My own health and that of my loved ones.

If you were to relive your life to this point, what would you do differently?

Move to the U.S. as soon as I graduated from high school, be chaste, save money, finish my undergraduate degree five years earlier, and learn another language fluently.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?

A young Meryl Streep or a talented unknown.

What talent would you most like to have?

To be able to sing or play an instrument well.

What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job?

I'd love to run a small restaurant or inn.

Who is your favourite comedian or humorist?

P. J. O'Rourke, James Lileks, and Patrick F. McManus.

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be?

C. S. Lewis, Ronald Reagan, and Larry Thorne.

What animal would you most like to be?

Something really cool and symbolically free, like a wild horse or an eagle.


Blogger Kevin said...

Really? Damn, I'm honored!

7/22/2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger Stickwick Stapers said...

Yep, really. You're one of the few people out there who is great fun to argue with, because you're intelligent, informed, and a gentleman.

7/22/2007 8:55 PM  

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