August 28th, 2001


LinuxJournal client troubles

Spent too much time this morning trying to get the LinuxJournal client working on my Linux machine. It kept bombing out during the ./configure, complaining that I had not installed GTK+ properly...but as I could tell, I had installed GTK and glib correctly. Hmmmm.

Starting my own religion...

Been playing with the idea of starting my own religion.

Perhaps I'm too pessimistic, but it seems that the philosophical systems I endorse--libertarianism, transhumanism--don't seem to have much of a proselytizing meme built into them.

I attended Extro 3 (1997) and Extro 5 (2001). Despite the four year difference, attendance at both meetings seemed about the same -- roughly 150 people. Libertarian vote totals also seem to have remained constant, if not fallen.

As a result, religious fundamentalists and luddites shape public policy--witness the bans on cloning, stem cell research. Anti-science, anti-reason forces seem to be much more vital as organizations.

For example, according to sociologist Rodney Stark,

"...Christianity grew at a rate of 40 percent
per decade during the first several centuries after the death of Christ.
Interestingly, he notes this estimate is close to the Mormon growth rate of 43 percent per decade during the 20th century..."

If growth rates continue, the Mormon church will have more than 270 million members by 2080, making it the largest christian religion after Roman Catholicism. (Though the Jehovah's Witnesses are catching up fast....)

What can we learn from sects like Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses?

This paper by Stark and Laurence R. L. Iannacone has some answers:

Journal of Contemporary Religion,
Vol. 12, No. 2, 1997 133
Why the Jehovah s Witnesses Grow so Rapidly: A
Theoretical Application
  • Current Mood
    cynical cynical