Is Collins Only Being Opposed Because He’s A Christian?

That’s Ken Miller’s charge in reply to Sam Harris’s Op-Ed from the weekend. PZ Myers argues it’s not that he’s simply a Christian but he seems willing to inappropriately his professional judgments with religious considerations: The head of the NIH can be a Christian, a Jew, a Moslem, even an atheist, and it won’t disturb us in the slightest. Here’s a list of past directors of the NIH; can you identify their faith, their hobbies, their sexual orientation, their favorite… Read more

A Lie Detector Test (And How To Cheat It)

Here’s how it works: First, he’s shown true and false statements unrelated to his allegiance in the war: “I am at a computer;” “I am at the tea house.” The task is to press a button identifying the statement as quickly as possible: A for true or L for false. Next he reads statements indicating guilt or innocence: “I am a member of the Taliban,” “I support the American troops,” and again asked to press one key for “guilty” statements… Read more

Is Much Of What We Think About Weight And Health Wrong?

Paul Campos argues so in this thought provoking interview with Megan McArdle, which I recommend reading in full: Obesity is defined completely arbitrarily as a body mass index of 30 or higher (175 pounds for an average height woman). Now body mass follows more or less a normal distribution, whiich means if the the mean body weight is in the mid to high 20s, which it has been for many decades now, then tens of millions of people will have… Read more

Professors As Insistent On The Moral Imperative To Vote As To Donate

Eric Schwitzgebel is initially surprised by the data but then does rough calculations about why it is sensible: Now is it just crazy to say that voting is as morally good as giving 10% of one’s income to charity? That was my first reaction. Giving that much to charity seems uncommon to me and highly admirable, while voting… yeah, it’s good to do, of course, but not that good. One thought, however — adapted from Derek Parfit — gives me… Read more

Some Qualifications Of My Suggestion For Moving Philosophy Debates To The Internet

I appreciate Professor Harman’s willingness to exchange a couple rounds of debate with me across blogs against his stated desire to avoid such exchanges and so I will remain grateful to him even if we do not hear further reply from him.  Here are his reasons for rejecting my notion of having a centralized message board or set of interconnected blogs which required a philosophy PhD for participation: I wouldn’t be in favor of this, since I don’t think the… Read more

On The Pros And Cons Of Blogging As A Preferred Medium For Philosophy

Graham Harman has an excellent (and lightning quickly delivered) reply up in response to my remarks earlier on the profession of philosophy looking into blogging as a preferred medium for more efficient and multi-vocal exchange.  I’m quite grateful and want to address a few of his key observations and expand on some of my own ideas I’ve mulled for a while but not presented in public before: It’s not always good to be subjected to immediate feedback. This holds for… Read more

The Future Of Philosophy Publishing

Fascinating speculations from Graham Harman: Until very recently, the mere act of getting a book published was difficult enough that it carried a certain automatic prestige, provided that you weren’t publishing with some obvious fly-by-night sort of firm or a known vanity press. But of course there was and is still a certain hierarchy among the academic publishers– to open certain doors, you have needed to go with one of the “blue blood” university presses. All of these factors are… Read more

Judge This: The Ethics and Customs Of Tipping

I love egg and cheese sandwiches in the morning.  Every once and a while I go to my local diner and order one takeout.  I never stay there to eat egg and cheese sandwiches but in the past I have gone there as frequently as once a week to eat dinner with a friend. But when I stop in for just the egg sandwich I always spend every last second in the diner in a mental war with myself over… Read more

The Mother Teresa Debate

Thanks to Unreasonable Faith for the find. Your Thoughts? Read more

David Byrne On U2’s Excesses

Via Pitchfork comes David Byrne musing on the uneasy symbiotic relationship between commercialistic pop art and pop art with artistic pretensions through which the big sell out acts make possible investment in the smaller ones which retain some credibility.  A parallel situation can be found in the film industry where low budget indies are made possible by big budget mind-numbers. Thank You U2! Mark E pointed out as we prepped for our show last night in Warsaw (at a not… Read more

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