“Hume’s Bastard” (or HB) is Joseph J. Steinberg at his worst. I am the unintended consequence of 16+ years of Maryland public school and college education (UMBC Philosophy/International Relations), a Lutheran education, a gig with the Baltimore City Jail, a tour of Europe (The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Greece), 4 years with US Army Military Intelligence (2 years at Camp Humphreys with the 751st MI Battalion, 1997-99), a Master’s of Science in International Relations, and over 13 years of teaching ESL in Busan, South Korea. Then, there’s my wife, Kim Jung-hee.
I try not to be partisan or sensationalistic on InfidelWorld, but I do consider myself a progressive. This blog works like a fox, in Isaiah Berlin’s terms, not a hedgehog. It’s not an “expert” blog, in other words. It’s my personal blog where I like to argue about science, war, and politics. I am a registered Democrat, but I voted for President Barack H. Obama in 2008 and the Greens in 2012. I habitually search for a contrasting ideological argument when I find an interesting story. Rarely do I post with just one link. William James’ quip, “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” guides this blog’s execution. This isn’t an insult. There’s a fine distinction between believing one’s thoughts are real, or that the world is real. I’m skeptical of both views, and I will wait for evidence of either. I hate religious practitioners, but if an believer could give me a reasonable guess about the world and submit to logic and experience without resorting to the lazy crutch of faith, I would listen. Until then, I study war in international relations. Both the realist and liberal paradigms are live options here, and I particularly favor the complex interdependence school.
I started writing stories and editorials for PusanWeb in 2000-2001 (search in the “Old Archives” in the Fiction and Non-Fiction sections), and then started to blog. At first I edited a website written from HTML code, InfidelWorld, and later moved to Blogger. At that time, I was working through some religious issues, and also, as an expatriate, I very much felt isolated, but with many contrary opinions. Over the years I have started many projects, including a novel, with numerous names.
I’ve dropped the moniker, “Infidel”. Years of reflection have resolved certain issues, and I no longer consider myself in the pejorative sense of an unfaithful former member of a religion. I no longer consider myself a Christian, except in the sociological and philosophical sense that Christian concepts guide many of my political opinions and behavior. My earliest “infidelity” was skepticism, followed by a serendipitous reading of Lucretius’ The Nature of Things. It is hard to express now how liberated I felt when I read that long, didactic poem. I’ve also met innumerable hypocrites claiming to be Christian, many within my own family. It is difficult not to associate the practice of religion with the failings of its practitioners, and conclude that the effort is not warranted. My father is Lutheran, my mother is Methodist, my step-father is Jewish, and my wife is a (non-practicing) Buddhist. My present moniker, “Hume’s Bastard”, reflects my enthusiasm for David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and, like Philo, adopting a skeptical attitude toward religion, politics, and science. I’ve also admired the American pragmatists, notably Charles Sanders Peirce. Finally, there’s J.W. von Goethe, somewhere between the first and second parts of Faust.