Thursday, December 29, 2011

Traditional Marriage: The nature and purpose of sexual relations

Perhaps the most contentious part of the tradition marriage fight is viewpoint of the nature and purpose of sexual relations.  No aspect of this debate is more fraught with disagreement (and vehemently so) than the views regarding sexual relations between persons.

First we must be clear what we mean "nature" and "purpose."  Roughly speaking, "nature" is defined as what a thing "is."  The components of a particular entity or the properties of such.  "Purpose" refers to the targeted goal of an entity.  This can also be understood as "what a thing tends towards" or "function" and is a property of an entity.

The contemporary view of sexual relations (in particular the organs for such relations) are primarily for pleasure and recreation, with varying effects of generating feelings of closeness and mutual affection.  Procreation, the generation of a new human being is at best something to control and at worst an unwanted byproduct of such relations.

The implications for same-sex relationships are obvious.  If sexual relations are simply for pleasure and possible mutual affection, then the same should readily be available to same-sex pairings.  Indeed, it seems not only silly but wrong to deny that such pairing are just another form of sexual relationship.

Contra such erroneous ideas is the "Natural Law" view of sexual relations.  By nature, the purpose of sexual relations is procreation.  That is the primary purpose.  It is the natural end of such relations.  The primary purpose of half of our physiology is intended for (or tends toward) reproduction.  As such to attempt to sever the relationship between sexual relations and reproduction is to do violence to the very nature of sexual relations, by frustrating the very purpose of those relations.

A secondary, though still very important, purpose is the drawing together of the couple.  The nature of sexual relations naturally draws the couple together.  It is a part of the nature of such relations as procreation, and to separate this from the acts also does violence to sexual relations.

I will only treat one objection in this post as it is the one I often come in most contact with either explicitly or implicitly.  Some would argue that the development of the euphemistically named "reproductive technologies" has rendered the natural law understanding of sexual relations obsolete.  By preventing the conception of a new human being we have redefined what sexual relations are.

My counter to this is that one does not change the nature of a thing simply by frustrating the intended purpose of the thing.  If I were to stick a cork in the barrel of a gun I have not changed the nature of the gun.  All I have done is simply impeded the bullet firing out of the barrel.  The gun is still a gun, and the purpose of the gun (to fire a bullet out of the barrel) is still its purpose.

Because of this we now begin to see that in order to use sexual relations properly we must be mindful of this understanding of sexual relations.  And that by the nature of sexual relations same-sex pairings are excluded by nature.  To do otherwise is to do violence to the nature of sexual relations and by extension to ourselves by attempting to frustrate the natural end of such relations.  The long and sad history of sexual relations in the modern era, with single women who become pregnant, abortion, and the proliferation of STDs is but one aspect of this tragic new understanding.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The true scandal of Wisdom

My wife once as a compliment called me an intellectual.  I wondered how she could hurt me so.  If there is one thing I take from my political conservative upbringing is a distaste for what I would call the intellectual culture. An attitude of superiority among those considered "educated" within the top tier universities.  That they are somehow "better" than the "average Joe."

This attitude has always had the whiff of hypocrisy to it.  The posturing of intellectuals telling us that all men are equal and reminding us that they are superior for telling us so.  Those who decry injustice and double standards while employing both trying to convince you of their views.  

I have written before about how I feel about intellectuals.  The modern charlatans who would pose as our learned men all the while dismissing the idea that truth can be learned only saw off the branch they are sitting on.  What is at the heart of this is the lack of distinction between "intellect" and "wisdom."

Intelligence is simply the accumulation of facts.  The intellect is the knowledge about events and properties of the natural world and things such as the history of mankind.  These things can be useful but that traditionally has not been the reason why men have taught their children about things like history.  

Wisdom is the discernment of higher truths, acquired through the practice of virtue.  It is not the result of a college education (though ideally education can assist it) but of a life lived in the practice of a disciplined life oriented outward.  It allows us to use what we know to understand the higher order of truths and grants understanding about things like the human condition.  

Without wisdom intelligence is simply a matter of who knows the most trivia.  This trivia can be "useful" in a strict material sense but does not yield the fruit that wisdom provides.  The intellect becomes vapid and shallow.  The boast is a hollow one.

So what is the scandal of wisdom?  It is simply that wisdom is available to everyone.  The Oxford professor is on the same plane as the Oxford janitor.  Wisdom offers her gifts freely to those who seek it regardless of one's station in life, so long as one is willing to work for it.  This work is in the form of virtues such as humility.

The reason why it is a scandal is that Wisdom does not play favorites.  The Oxford professor is not more important than the Oxford janitor.  One does not need to hold a professorship or even a job.  No degree is required, no distinction is afforded.  For neither is there Ivy league or community college, neither professor or janitor.  All are the same in the eyes of Wisdom.

And that is the real scandal.  We can no longer look down on the lowly janitor because he did not go to Harvard.  We can no longer hold in contempt the religious farmhand because he is not versed in the ways of evolutionary biology.  We can no longer award prestige and worth based on the notion of advanced degrees.  Wisdom rewards any who would pursue her.  And for those who would prefer that she be beholden only to those who hold such prestige, they find Wisdom a woman of poor taste and reject her.  Such is their loss.   

Friday, December 23, 2011

On original Sin and redemption

This is not so much an apologetics post as some musing on my part in light of the Immaculate Conception and the upcoming holy day of the Birth of Our Lord.  It is as such open to critique from a logical standpoint.  Nevertheless it is good to stretch the mental legs a bit.

As I stated in my article for Ignitum Today on the Immaculate Conception Mary is a sign of who Man was supposed to be before the Fall of Man.  We as a race were once sinless.  We had complete control over ourselves and our inclinations.  The Fall and Original Sin destroys this harmony.

If there is anything I believe about the Catholic Faith is that there is a brokenness about Man.  Our capacity for self-destruction has quite an impressive historical record.  We seem to have a knack for acting against our own best interests, even when we agree on what those are.  Even when we are convinced about what we should be doing we fail to do it and sometimes fail to even try.

C.S. Lewis states in Mere Christianity something that I've found to be most profound.  He proposes two indisputable facts (reproduced here from memory as I'm too lazy to find the citation):
  1. We all believe in some kind of moral standard.
  2. We all fail to live up to that standard.  
So what happens when we realize this and we try to save ourselves?  Well we get such winners as the French Revolution and the Communist Revolution.  Millions of bodies later we may think (if our pride hasn't completely blinded us by then) that the last Final Solution wasn't all that hot.  We then take those same bad ideas, give it a new name, some new technology, and repeat.

Let's face it, fellow humans.  If it is up to us to save humanity from this cycle of self-destruction, we are screwed.  The fact that we can't even agree on what it means to be human let alone how to go about ordering a just society seems to indicate that left to our own devices either we or our children are going to mess things up down the line.  We need help.  Now.

And wonder of wonders, God answers.  He sends His Son not just to save us, but He shares in our humanity.  He is our Savior.  He points us back to our origin and says not only will He restore us but we will now be more than what we were supposed to be.  And this is why we celebrate the 25th of December.  To commemorate the day Our Lord was born into this world.  The light of the star in the sky against the black of night announces the Light that came into the world of darkness.  And with that, what can one do but Rejoice?

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Scientism's weakest link - science

Stacy's question regarding if science can deal theology a blow (which as of this writing appears to be down) reveals to my mind to be the weakest aspect of what is called scientism, that is, the belief that all knowledge that can be truly knowable is found using the scientific inquiry, or more generically, physical evidence based methods.

Scientific inquiry has yielded benefits for man that no one can deny.  From extending life expectancy to our understanding of the physical universe, modern science has provided benefits for mankind in a variety of ways.  This is indisputable.

In a classic case of "suffering from too much success" though people have elevated scientific inquiry as the be all and end all of inquiry.  "It is the only reliable method of inquiry" so says the followers of these proposals.  In its most extreme form this turns into a kind of Physicalism, a belief that the only aspects of reality are its physical properties.

But there is a tiny issue with assuming this principle.  How did we arrive at the notion that the scientific inquiry is in fact the only reliable method?  If one appeals to the method itself we are arguing in a circle, assuming what we are trying to prove.  If we assume it outright it is little better than any dogma of a religion.

The problem lies in that the assumption that the scientific inquiry is the only reliable method for knowledge that is knowable is that the scientific inquiry cannot verify itself.  One has to assume it is valid in order to use it.  Hence we must arrive at some other means of validating the scientific method.

This leads to another problem however.  If we must arrive at the validity of the scientific inquiry via other methods, then because these methods do not have the validity that the claims of science have (according to our main premise), then the scientific method itself rests on these "lesser" methods.  And therefore anything that the scientific method produces is just as suspect as the method itself.

Ultimately the assumption that the scientific inquiry is valid is a "philosophical" one.  It is the product of a reasoning process (albeit a poor one).  And if it is arrived at via reason, then it is only as valid as the strength of the process of logical reasoning.  Which in turn again invalidates the claim that scientific inquiry is the only reliable process to obtain reliable knowledge.

The inescapable conclusion of this is that the scientific inquiry is only as reliable as the philosophical underpinnings that prop it up.  And if we can use philosophy to arrive at the scientific inquiry, what else can we arrive at with the same strength of reliability?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Traditional Marriage: The nature of the male/female distinction

One of the underpinning philosophical assumptions underneath the gay "marriage" framework is the interchangeability of the sexes.  That is, an advocate of gay "marriage" argues that the relationship between two partners of the same sex is the same as the relationship between two partners of the opposite sex.

This stems in a lot of ways I think from the radical feminist notions of interchangeability of the sexes.  It is proposed that men and women are no different in qualities that matter.  A woman is just as good and capable as a man at everything.  The biological differences are a triviality of nature and nothing more.

The implication then is that the if the sexes are interchangeable, then the pairing of a man with a woman has no distinction from paring a man with a man (or a woman with a woman for completeness sake).  Thus if there is no "real" distinction between a man and a woman, a man or a woman can fill any role, including that of a spouse, despite the sex of the other partner.

Contra this erroneous notion is the view of natural law and of traditional morality.  What natural law states is that man and woman are different "ontologically."  The distinction is not just at a surface level but goes to the very core of one's being.  Men and women are different beings in that regard.

Now both men and women share the nature of being human.  This means that both have equal dignity as befitting the human.  But male and female are also complimentary.  We are different.  We have different views, traits, and skills that compliment one another.  This is due to the complimentary differences between the sexes, both bring strengths and weaknesses to the table.  And in that complimentary nature we find the full meaning of the human being.

This complimentary aspect is no more pronounced in the area of reproduction.  Both sexes have half of the functions necessary for reproduction.  Apart they are incomplete.  But together they form a whole system that ultimately results in a new human being.

Now an objection might be raised that the point of reproduction is challenged by modern technology.  While a full refutation is beyond the scope of this post let us say that from a purely natural point this complimentary nature of the sexes is unique.  Two men do not form a whole reproductive unit.  Neither do two women.  Even when modern technology is thrown into the mix this brute biological fact is still in play.

While in and of itself important this point of the male/female distinction is not sufficient to demonstrate the limited nature of marriage.  But it does show what marriage advocates assume when they say there is a unique aspect of male/female complimentary that same sex relationships cannot fulfill.  This is important when we come to understand the nature of marriage.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

passes on to the next life.  Let us pray he finds the peace we all seek.

Bad arguments redux

I suppose this is an equal time moment as I have been writing about the logical and philosophical gaps that exist in contemporary atheist thought.  But today I will be going over a rather unpleasant encounter I had from what I can only assume is a "Traditionalist" Catholic.

On Stacy's blog she wrote a post asking if science can deal theology a blow. It was an interesting discussion sadly marred by an encounter when I proposed that the Church has not, in dogmatic and definitive terms, defined that there was in fact a literal Garden of Eden.  In other words, that the Scriptural description of the garden that Adam and Eve tended could be figurative, in the same sense as the "days" described in the order of creation.

Now aside from accusing me of being a heretic and other bluster my accuser used the following for evidence of his position:

First the citation from the council of Trent:
"If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God *in Paradise*, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema."
And the second from the Bible:

"And the Lord God had planted a paradise of pleasure from the beginning: wherein he placed man whom he had formed. [9] And the Lord God brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of: the tree of life also in the midst of paradise: and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. [10] And a river went out of the place of pleasure to water paradise, which from thence is divided into four heads.
[11] The name of the one is Phison: that is it which compasseth all the land of Hevilath, where gold groweth. [12] And the gold of that land is very good: there is found bdellium, and the onyx stone. [13] And the name of the second river is Gehon: the same is it that compasseth all the land of Ethiopia. [14] And the name of the third river is Tigris: the same passeth along by the Assyrians. And the fourth river is Euphrates. [15] And the Lord God took man, and put him into the paradise of pleasure, to dress it, and to keep it."
 Now for the observant we see a problem with this evidence.  In fact the problem is that there is no evidence.  The Council of Trent citation does not prove that Paradise cited here actually refers to the space-time location where the action occured.  In fact the citation does not define Paradise at all. 

Now this is not to say Trent could not have defined Paradise elsewhere in the documents.  But as it stands Paradise is not defined anywhere in the citation, which makes the citation next to useless.  In fact as I point out:

Let's try a thought experiment:
""If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God ****in the physical location known as Paradise****, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema."

This is the essence of what you [ed. my accuser] are saying.

My turn:
"If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God ****in state of Original Innocence known as Paradise****, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema."

If anything interpretation of Paradise as the state of Original Innocence actually makes the statement flow more concisely, whereas yours almost is a tangent, a triviality that detracts from the overall flow of what the Council Fathers are trying to point out.
Now for the other citation.  In essense what I found odd was quoting Scripture in the first palce beyond establishing what text we were referring to.  The whole point of the discussion was if the Scriptural passage was in fact trying to convey a physical location of the Garden OR is Scripture using figurative language to describe the idyllic state of Man, the Original Innocence of Man at the beginning.

Now in no way do my points prove me right.  For all I know I could be dead wrong about the literal interpretation when it comes to Paradise, but my reading of the Catechism and the Pontifical Council in 1909 defines what we need to believe as Catholics:

"...the creation of all things which was accomplished by God at the beginning of time; the special creation of man; the formation of the first woman from man; the unity of the human race; the original happiness of our first parents in a state of justice, integrity, and immortality; the divine command laid upon man to prove his obedience; the transgression of that divine command at the instigation of the devil under the form of a serpent; the fall of our first parents from their primitive state of innocence; and the promise of a future Redeemer." (from Acta apostolis sedis, 1 [1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission], pages 567-69, translated in Rome and the Study of Scripture, 7th edition, and cited from Origin of the Human Species by Dennis Bonnette, page 145)
 indicates to me that this is still an open question. 

The point of all this is my accuser makes the classic mistake of assuming what he is trying to prove.  The only way any of these texts "prove" that Paradise or Eden is in fact a literal location is if one assumes that the Council Fathers and Scripture are talking about a literal place.  But if one does not assume that, then the citations don't prove anything.

All this goes to show that one has to be careful about one's assumptions.  That my accuser couldn't see that he assumed his own defintion of Paradise was primarily the sticking point in the whole discussion.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Traditional Marriage: The relationship between being and actions

The first point is in some respects the most important from at the very least in the public relations department.  The first thing we must distinguish is the distinction between being and action.

It is a modern fallacy that the inclination toward homosexuality, or stated another way, the attraction of a person of a sex to be attracted to another member of the same sex, as validation of the homosexual act.  That is, by the fact an individual is attracted to another person of the same sex the homosexual actions are morally sound.

Logically speaking there is nothing to connect the ideas between an inclination and the moral soundness of that inclination.  That one may be inclined to kill another simply for fun does not indicate the moral soundness of the action to kill someone for fun (or even the moral soundness of the inclination itself).

By the same idea the inclination toward a particular action does not in and of itself indicate the moral soundness of the inclination.  There are a variety of inclinations that are by nature harmful, such as alcoholism, that those afflicted with this inclination still struggle with on a daily basis, with full knowledge that the inclination itself is morally unsound.

The Catholic Church expresses this distinction in her teachings:
2537Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2538 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
 We as human beings are inclined to do things that are by nature harmful to us at times.  In that respect the inclination toward homosexual attraction is similar to the inclination to have relations with someone that is not a spouse.  That the inclination exists does not make the action morally sound.

At the same time the person is not defined by either the actions or the inclinations.  The fact that an action or inclination is not morally sound does not take away from the dignity of the person under the inclination.  The dignity of the human being is intact, regardless of the inclinations or even the actions.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The fight for traditional marraige: The bad war

Timothy Dalrymple writes how the pro-life fight is analogous to WWII while the fight for traditional marriage is like Vietnam.  I think at the very least one who stands for traditional marriage gets far more heat nowadays than those who stand for the unborn. 

It is true that it is far easier to argue about abortion because the dimensions of the argument are much smaller.  There is at the end of the day only one point in contention.  Is the fetus a human being?  Both sides agree (mostly) that murder is wrong in all circumstances.  Also agreed upon is that humans have these things called "rights" and foremost is the right not to be killed.

Gay "marriage" is a far trickier debate to get into for a number of reasons.  Marriage itself and how one conceives it tells a lot about the arguer's world viewpoint.  Major assumptions are made and the moral and philosophical frameworks that support the arguments are often unstated and misunderstood by both sides.  To argue about gay "marriage" is more often than not a futile enterprise unless both sides work to define the frameworks from which the views come from.

Major points must be discussed including but not limited to:
Without even this basic discussion arguments for/against same sex "marriage" goes off the rails in a hurry.  Both sides misunderstand each other and in our polarized culture assume the worst of motives.  The problem ultimately lies in the fact that the frameworks between the arguers are vastly different and as such they talk past each other.

Over the next few posts of so I will sketch out the various points above and how they pertain to gay "marriage".  It is vital that these points are discussed if any understanding between the two (multi) sides can be met.

But the above shows why the fight for actual marriage against the fiction of gay "marriage" is so difficult.  It is far tougher to argue with an opponent when the frameworks the two sides operate from differ vastly.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Utilitarianism: Another form of moral relativism

Utilitarianism proposes the following principle: That an action must be weighed on the amount of happiness that the action will result in.  In other words, a "good" action is an action that will make the most people happy. 

 On the face of it this would appear to provide a stable foundation for evaluating actions.  Actions should strive to attain happiness.  And other people's happiness should also be considered in evaluating my actions.

The problem is how does one evaluate such actions.  As stated before given our own limited experience, how does one go about evaluating another's happiness?  Do we use our own viewpoint?  Do we consider the other person's view?  What if my happiness is in conflict with another's?  Does the other win out simply because the other side has more people, even if it doesn't yield the happiness that they think it will?

The questions do not themselves invalidate the idea, but consider that the whole point of utilitarianism is to maximize happiness.  If we as human beings do such a slipshod job of evaluating what makes us happy (beyond a very shallow notion) then how do we determine what actually makes us happy?  Or worse, what will make others happy?  Indeed if the goal is to maximize happiness but we have great difficulty knowing what that would be for the entire human race, then it seriously brings into the question the (ahem) "utility" of the philosophy.

There is a more serious problem, however.  Utilitarianism is simply another form of relativism.  If the goal is to maximize happiness of the most people, then the right action is based on the viewpoint of the majority who will become happy at the expense of the minority.  In other words, the rightness of an action is relative to the viewpoint of a majority who consider it so. 

Consider the ancient city of Carthage.  One of the rituals of the city was to sacrifice a newborn baby to the god Moloch.  This made the people "happy."  Today we consider this to be barbaric.  So which is true?  Was it right because it made people happy then or is it wrong because we find it disturbing?  Or is it both?

The only difference between moral relativism and utilitarianism is the number of people involved.  The former only considers the individual and the latter simply adds more people.  The problem is still the same, a fluid moral philosophy that really isn't a moral system at all.  It becomes arbitrary and moral principles are meaningless.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Our regularly scheduled posting for Wednesday has been moved to tomorrow as I am scheduled to write about the Immaculate Conception for Ignitum Today (formerly  Please watch this space tomorrow for the posting.

The Management

Monday, December 5, 2011

Atheism: The default option?

One of the more common "arguments" (a terrm I use loosely for this article) is the notion that atheism is the default option.  Or put in another way, that atheists state that the correct default assumption is to state that God does not exist until proven otherwise.

There are actually quite a few problems with this "argument" however.  The first is the assumption that there are only two positions to take on the God existence question.  That the question of God's existence is either true or false.  There is actually a third, that of the unknown.  It is possible for a person to not know either way if God exists or not.  We call these people agnostics.

The atheist would object that for all functional purposes an agnostic and an atheist are interchangeable.  This is true at the functional level.  But it is not true at the proposition level.  An agnostic does not say that God does not exist.  An agnostic states that he doesn't know if God exists or not.  An atheist asserts that God does not exist.  An atheist is not netural on the question.

A theist points out that the atheist has no standing either on the question.  But at this point the atheist employs a sleight of hand.  The statement is that since it is impossible to prove a negative (i.e. God does not exist) it is only proper to assume that God does not exist and prove that He does.  This is absurd for two reasons. 

The first is that as pointed out above we are not locked in by two positions.  The "default" is the stance that we cannot conclude one way or another.  Thus the assumption should be that we dont' know if God exists or not.

The second problem is that if it is impossible from the evidentiary standpoint to prove a negative, then there can be no such thing as a rational atheist.  It is not possible to prove the non-existence of God by the rules set forth by the atheist.  The only thing one can conclude in the negative is that we do not know if God exists or not.  There is no way to assert that God does not exist if evidentiary arguments are what is required.

What the atheist in this case is claiming is "I cannot prove God does not exist.  Thus I will simply assume I'm right and force the theist to do the heavy intellectual lifting."  It is ultimately an argument in bad faith.  The atheist assumes something he cannot possible know by his own framework.  It is an intellectually lazy position to take, and one that reason cannot argue against because if taken on its own terms reason was not how it was arrived at.

The theist should rightly point out that this position is absurd and force the atheist to concede or argue against three things:
  1. That under this framework there is no way to prove God does not exist.
  2. That the atheist position as the default has nothing to support it.
  3. That evidentiary arguments are not necessary (indeed that they are not even appropriate) for determining the existence of God.   

Friday, December 2, 2011

A day in the life 2

So I recently got my DEXA exam as part of the University of Texas Get FIT program.  Overall the results were positive.  I lost about 10 lb. of fat, or 4% and put on about 4lb of muscle.  I'm assuming that muscle is hidden because I certainly do not see it.  In any event the instructors seemed more excited than I was.  This is not to say that  I wasn't happy.  Overall I felt I made progress and was quite content.

My wife has been working longer hours at the lab.  This is annoying as eating dinner occurs around 8:30/9:00PM.  This is a little stressful but not too horrible. 

The biggest time consumer is the new Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword game.  I love it to death but since we get home so late I find that I intend to play for only about a hour and before I know it the time is 2 a.m.  This self inflicted sleep deprivation has got to end.  Just one more dungeon......

Where was I? 

I am in week 6 of writing my short novella.  There are times when my word count is easily met.  Other times it is a trial of unimaginable suffering.  But all in all it is remarkably rewarding.  Here are some of the highlights of Bill Dodd's How to Write Your novel in Nine Weeks:
  • I'm actually writing a novel.  Soon it will be real as opposed to all those other stories that are in my head.
  • It creates a habit of writing. 
  • I've overcome the idea that my novel MUST be perfect or it is not worth writing.
Here are a few downsides though:
  • The word count is really low and thus constricting.
  • It is hard to keep doing it everyday (six days, we get a break)
  • Sometimes the word count is really high.
Overall the word count is fairly low which is a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, it can feel suffocating as it seems I cannot fit everything I wanted.  On the other hand, it limits me to the high points and doesn't allow me to include everything I wanted.