Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Amba, Thanks for the plug and the visit to Skeptic Rant. I went to bookmark your site and had to create a new category. Previously I only had religion pro or con. Now I have added an "or".


Oh my word. Amba you should apply to be a host. One of their goals is to help people decide one way or the other. Confound the evil-doers! and claim the mantle of the Buddha who neither confirmed or denied his theism (or atheism). Would you not be the ideal site to host such a debate?

But to be more precise, I deem agnosticism to be the mushy middle, whereas Buddhism and non-traditional spirituality are two aspects of the radical spiritual center.

I anticipate these kind of debates might proceed in the following manner. I feel kind of sorry for the theists, especially if they adhere to one traditional religion. Such a straw man--the atheists will beat it to death.

However, once the theist relinquishes traditional religious notions, especially western ones, the theist, if skillful, becomes a much more formidable opponent.

If moderately skillful, the theist, can at least force the atheist to a draw. If more skillful, he can win--in the following manner. Western religion proposes ludicrous kindergarten level metaphysics. Atheism denies metaphysics completely: an unlikely position which cannot answer basic philosophical questions and which asserts that no fundamental paradigm shift will occur in the sciences though many have occurred before.

True, a duel of the skillful atheist and the skillful theist will result in yet another draw.

However, the theist may live in a world of unlimited potential and possibility, while the atheist is condemned to a barren void of matter and energy.

May they progress quickly beyond debate between dumb atheism and dumb theism. May you confound them both, o yogini of the blogosphere.


Judging from the first comment, I see you have already confounded them while I was writing :) Kudos.

BTW, although I mean what I say, I have a penchant for ridiculous melodrama. It's like I'm dead serious, but I am also laughing at my loon-toon zeal.


Adam, I agree that I'd be a natural host. (So would you, if you had someplace to host it. Hey, come on, start your blog!) But I lose altogether too much time fiddling with the blog as it is. I'll think about doing that when I get done with this proposal.

FWIW, possibly my favorite koan (or Cohen, as I said to my brother who was torn between Zen and Judaism) is from that great yogi, Berra: "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."


(So would you, if you had someplace to host it. Hey, come on, start your blog!)

Oh, but see you have a politeness, a diplomacy that I am too devilish to employ. I can only take so much before I start mocking the Christians for their "baby metaphysics," and I harrass the atheists for their pyrrhic victory. Congratulations for you have convinced yourself that the only purpose in the world is the one you make up, and that we live in a souless heartless void. Kudos, o random product of horny competition, whose fundamental being would be altered if but a moment's delay occurred in thy conception. And then I would berate them further. I mean, look if you're going to die anyways, there are better metaphysics for a sensualist. Just claim God is horny like the Greek gods. That way you can be rewarded with eternal hedonism for your own hedonism.

Passionate atheists remind me of hard-core determinists. Hey man, I'm determined to believe in free-will, so stop ragging on me!

But, I totally understand. Blog as little as you want. BTW, congrats on your tip jar. This is where I share our favorite atheist's (Mike Reynolds) befuddlement over why with talent like yours you don't milk it more :)


"Passionate atheists remind me of hard-core determinists. Hey man, I'm determined to believe in free-will, so stop ragging on me!"

Richard Cohen called this "reverse mysticism' -- the determination to believe that everything is random chance. I mean to post on that before it gets too far downstream.

Adam, have you ever read the novel LIFE OF PI? If not, you gotta -- immediately, if not sooner. And when you finish it, then we'll talk about why.


LOL... How does Adam fit all of his brain in his head? Too funny.

Considering I still colour daily, I'm quite comfortable in my Kindergarten metaphysics class, thank you.

I like my theism, but I'm confused as to how it could still be such if relinquishing the traditional values? And, how can there be no traditions created after existing 2ooo+ yrs as Christianity and the previous many (I confess I don't know how many exactly, but I suppose as far back as Adam :))

I don't like debate.

Amba, thank you for your kind words. It makes me so happy to know you think well of me and my... theism :)!!


Oh Karen. You know some psychologists believe that there are seven types of intelligence:verbal, mathematical/logical, intrapersonal, interpersonal (social), visual, kinesthetic and musical. I'm pretty good at the first few, so it makes me look smart. But tell me to build something or dance, and it ain't pretty! Point being we all have different abilities.

As for traditional values, it really depends on which you consider most important. What I consider the core of theism is the belief that there is some higher benevolent structure to the universe. So with this view, it is easy to be a theist yet hold very few traditional beliefs. I like to consider my thoughts on this as an argument for why it is highly likely "something else is going on" as opposed to your traditional "proofs" of God's existence.

Simply put, you can be a theist if you believe that there is some higher something-or-other at work in the universe. You don't have to believe in things like vicarious atonement or the virgin birth.

The weakest points of traditional theism are (1)inability to deal with other religions (2)inability to deal with science (3) inability to address the problem of evil (4) and internal contradictions. Well, they can deal with them, but it looks like a lot of hand-waving and unconvincing rationalization.

The weakest points of atheism are
(1)inability to deal with consciousness (2) inability to deal with humanity's long history of spirituality (3) inability to deal with fundamental philosophical questions (4)inability to explain why we have the physical laws we do. Oh, there are responses to these objections, but they are more hand-waving. At base, imo, atheism is very depressing and requires no less hand-waving than its alternatives. Some people like to rag on religiosity for the damage it's done: burning heretics etc. And that is a problem, but the death toll in this past century due to militant atheism (i.e. communist governments) is a lot higher than that due to religious extremism. (So far, knock on woood.)

But to return to your other comment Karen. I'm not sure if I understand your reference to new traditions. Islam came around about 700 years post Christianity. And Sikhism, a cool blend of Hinduism and Islam, emerged a few centuries after that. And Sikhism is a long-standing religious tradition. And likewise with Tibetan Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism, all post-Christian religious variants.

So religion has still been dynamic since Christ, even with a major prophet like Mohammed. I think other major traditions are in the wings. I'm not hostile to tradition per se, but the traditions we have today are not well-suited to our present conditions.


I checked out the book on Amazon, amba. Wow. It would likely be good for me, as it would counterbalance my immersion in arid intellectualism. And I think that is another reason why atheism is repulsive to me. It just seems so dead. There is a certain vitality, imagination, and aliveness to the world in deep spirituality. Atheism seems to me a high price for faux intellectual sophistication. As the Daily Show put it: "Next week, we will deal with atheism: a religion dedicated to the smug sense of its own superiority." :) But hey I've been an atheist, and so has my spiritual mentor. It's kind of like a necessary rite of passage so that one fully purges all the nastiness of traditional religion--a clean slate. Useful, but only as a transitional point. After that, I find it useful to return cyclically to agnosticism to purge one's mind of erroneous concepts and to not be overly attached to one's ideas--but that's just one phase of the (hopefully) upward spiral.

Sweet Jesus, do I ramble! Anyhoo, I really need to discipline myself and focus on my studies and not be rambling on. But I'll keep the book in the back of my mind as a reward, after I've successfully tamed procrastination.


you will love, love, love that book. You can't imagine. It is not comparable to anything else. Yet the bleakness of atheism and the value of all traditions is one of its themes.


God as a sloth; I humbly think he would be flattered!! I like it.

Adam, I'm not dissing myself(again) merely commenting on a great guy w/great intelligence and (thank God) humility :0).

Chris Hallquist

Adam - great food for thought, I've quoted you at length and responded on my blog (my name is the link). And you really should get a blog of your own.


I responded to Chris on his site. Basically, he thought I was a fundamentalist Buddhist and construed atheism less narrowly than I do. I still harassed him anyway :)

Look, if I had my own blog, people would harrass me--I'd rather it be the other way around. Besides I would just write one post decrying atheism and Christianity alike and exhorting all to embrace a Buddhist/Hindu/Taoist/science/(o what the hell)Christian fusion. I would just hold that note continuously. Monotone, eh?

Besides, on other issues, people know more than me. I don't have expertise in politics or foreign affairs. All I can do there is fill in a few gaps with my particular thinking style, i.e. comment.

And most importantly, I'm a lazy bastard.

I Am

FYI, the first topic has been expanded to Sin in general. Thanks for your support of the carnival.


Over at Uncredible Hallq I respond to the claim that atheism is not really depressing in my characterically thorough, read "long", manner. I also distinguish between secularism and atheism and think many self-described atheists are really secularists. See comments 4,5, and 6 under the post labeled Sprituality. (you'll have to scroll a little).

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