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June 29, 2006


Brian Duffy

I share your fear -- I continue to be shocked by the seemingly increasing distrust of science and adoption of "faith-based" (ie. BS) beliefs in all sorts of things.

I'm convinced that the "big lie" of marketing is behind it. We're so used to believing in nonsense peddled by corporations, the government and the media that religious mumbo-jumbo becomes believable.


Faith doesn't have to conflict with reason, it merely has to bow before it when reason has something better to offer than faith. When reason still has empty hands but a body needs to move forward, faith is very useful. The imprecise, kneejerk use of the phrase "religious mumbo jumbo" is itself the kind of automatic non-thinking you're trying to avoid.

What is the most pressing problem to solve?
Global adoption of sustainable living practices.

One of the things I really like about hanging out at Google is the emphasis on scalability. It was a word I didn't even pay any attention to as an engineering term until I visited and kept hearing it tossed around over and over again. I'm always impressed when I say, "oh, wouldn't X be cool, why don't you guys do this?" and Googlers say, "well, yes, but we have to check if it's scalabe." It's just a simple word, but taking that O(f(n)) notation kind of thinking from a chalkboard language to every day language is helpful.


Your response to question two begs two questions:
A.) Is there indeed a conflict between faith and reason?
B.) If so, is this conflict indeed enduring?

Brian Duffy

ABC (the 20/20 program I think) had a really interesting show about how people become extremists.

Basically, if you put a bunch of conversative-leaning or liberal-leaning people in a room together and ask them to reach a consensus, they'll tend to adopt and extreme viewpoint.

The conflict between faith and reason comes to the forefront when politics becomes dominated by 5,000 seat mega-churches and focus on the family type groups. (Remember the Terri Shiavo debacle?)


My answers would have been:

What is the most pressing problem to solve?

The one perpetual problem that has seemingly always been and will most probably always be is the human condition

our biggest fear?
The enduring conflict between reason and faith.

I share a similar fear -- I too continue to be shocked by the seemingly increasing faith in science and the growing lack of "faith-based" (ie. BS) beliefs in anything greater than our own vanity.
I'm convinced that the "big lie" of entitlement mentality is behind it. We're so used to believing in nonsense peddled by celebrities, hollywood and the media that religion or a faith in a greater power has become unfashionable and far too provincial.

Three global leaders who will set next decade's course?
I cannot be sure of this but I believe that a rock star, a hollywood celebrity or a radio talk show host will certainly play major roles.

Your most cherished value?
A sense of humor.


Very nice work! Thank you..

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I read this sentence out loud to a group of engineers from my team at lunch the other day and they cracked up like I did. It touched off such a wave of nostalgia for the first machines we all used and when we first discovered the Internet. We all felt so old and yet so lucky.

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It is hard to say such a thing is clear.

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Maybe, change is a good new life.

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