XTC’s “Dear God”

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Daily Hilarity: “Behind the Making of Left Behind”

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Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

In a previous post, I raised some remarks from psychologist of morality Jonathan Haidt, in which he discussed his theory that moral thinking appeals to 5 essential modules hardwired into our brains by evolution.  In the interview I cited from a couple of years ago he only referred to 4 of the 5 modules but his later work has developed his account of the fifth one.  Haidt argues that whereas Western academics and other liberals seem to consider only questions… Read more

“What Makes It Immoral If You Lose And Not Immoral If You Win?”

The recently deceased Robert S. McNamara, architect of the Vietnam War, once hit upon the harsh and unpleasantly outcome oriented way that in practice we judge actions of comparable type and from comparable motivation. “We burned to death 100,000 Japanese civilians in Tokyo — men, women and children,” Mr. McNamara recalled; some 900,000 Japanese civilians died in all. “LeMay said, ‘If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals.’ And I think he’s right. He —… Read more

Does Palin Represent “Real America?”

David Weigel is baffled that such a meme persists: Scarborough’s quasi-co-host Mika Brzezinski followed this up by saying Palin represented “real Americans,” and that some people in “urban America” didn’t get it. This is fascinating. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) lost the presidency with 48.3 percent of the vote, and no one seriously suggested that they represented “real Americans” or anything else. As Ben Smith reported after the election, at least 79 percent of… Read more

Silence About God

Philosopher Simon Blackburn summarizes Karen Armstrong’s views on religion as more akin to art than science: the worst is the folly of intellectualising the practice. This makes it into a matter of belief, argument, and ultimately dogma. It debases religion into a matter of belief in a certain number of propositions, so that if you can recite those sincerely you are an adept, and if you can’t you fail. This is a perversion of anything valuable in religious practice, Armstrong… Read more

The Scientific Purpose Behind Cathedral Designs

Sancte Pater has the skinny from Thomas Woods, Jr.: “The Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini, a student of the Jesuits Riccioloi and Grimaldi, used the observatory at the splendid Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna to lend support to Kepler’s model. “Here we see an important way in which the Church contributed to astronomy that is all but unknown today: Cathedrals in Bologna, Florence, Paris and Rome were designed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to function as world-class solar observatories…. Read more

The Emergence Of Cooperative Systems

The Primate Diaries reviews a study by The American Naturalist describing how competitive bacteria form cooperative colonies. These high-level patterns emerge despite the fact that individuals in the colony behave selfishly. To understand the emergence of apparent cooperation, consider ants on a sidewalk: Have you ever wondered why ant trails in the city so often fall along cracks in the pavement or in gaps between the cement? The ants certainly didn’t plan this out in advance. It occurs based on… Read more

Ricky Gervais Prefers New American Comedy to UK’s

Curious to hear a guy like Ricky Gervais, who has had two of his shows copied for US audiences, argue that it’s the UK which is living off of borrowed ideas from America. Fed-up Ricky added: “I don’t watch TV comedy in the UK anymore. “We’ve got some poor copies of Curb Your Enthusiasm, some poor copies of Entourage and some poor copies of Seinfeld. “With a few exceptions the Americans seem to be ahead of the game.” The comic… Read more

The History Of The Universe With Physicist Michio Kaku

Five Videos, start with this one: Thanks to Atheist Media Blog. Read more

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