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Monthly Archives: October 2011
In his book, Straw Dogs (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002), professor of European thought, John Gray, argues that the humanist belief in progress is deluded in part because our experience of “consciousness, selfhood, and free will” are uneven at best (p. 38): Our lives … Continue reading
If you worry about detecting cancer early, and therefore anxiously get regular cancer screenings, the New York Times today has an article on cancer screening that puts the whole subject into perspective: early detection doesn’t reduce the actual mortality rates from most … Continue reading
And the fact that it’s not anymore suggests (at least to me) that the franchise is dying. Just last night, for example, I went into my nearby Barnes and Noble in northern Los Angeles County and had a look around. While … Continue reading
As an agnostic, it’s nice to learn that the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI (a.k.a Cardinal Ratzinger), wants to make solidarity with me in pursuit of truth, goodness, and peace. In a recent speech, here’s part of … Continue reading
Or am I anthropomorphizing? — If the dog’s behavior was not triggered by a conscious impulse to love, duty, or sympathy, why did the dog cross the road? I wonder if the dogs were even related. Can a dog have … Continue reading
In London’s Tribune, George Orwell wrote an essay (“In Front of Your Nose,” March 22, 1946) with a number of great observations on critical thinking. The first is this: In general, one is only right when either wish or fear coincides with … Continue reading
—– Jonathon Keats, “conceptual artist,” has written an art manifesto worthy of an Onion News parody, and yet I think he’s actually serious. His manifesto is getting some straight press (such as from Wired magazine) and he’s accompanied the manifesto with the kinds of … Continue reading
The following sentences begin Bertrand Russell’s essay, “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish”, which was first published in 1943: Man is a rational animal—so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favour of … Continue reading
This is curious. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Stuxnet-like computer virus, Duqu, is coming from India, and it’s one bad mother fucker: Systems infected with Duqu are connected to a command computer that is in an unknown location in India, … Continue reading
Critical Thinking Quote Watch: Derek Bok on the Primary Goal of a College Education (and Higher Education’s General Failure at Reaching It)
The following quote comes from Derek Bok’s book, Our Underachieving Colleges (Princeton 2006, p. 8): Many [college] seniors graduate without being able to write well enough to satisfy their employers. Many cannot reason clearly or perform competently in analyzing complex, … Continue reading
Though I’d like to see Richard Dawkins debate William Lane Craig, I actually think that Dawkins has given a good reason for not debating him, highlighting the following passage from Craig’s writings in which Craig rationalizes genocide: I have come to appreciate … Continue reading
At the ID website, Uncommon Descent, a person who goes by the name of “Mirrortothesun” makes the following thread comment: Here’s the problem with every single post on this site, including this one. They are all examples of motivated reasoning. … Continue reading
Bearing Witness to Maspero: Image of Egyptian Christians at Maspero Morgue Killed by Police and Islamic Mob Violence, October 9th, 2011
The image comes from Wikipedia Commons. These were among the 26 victims of October 9th, 2011, in the Cairo district of Maspero. The image was taken at the Coptic hospital’s morgue. ———- This, from the European Council on Foreign Relations, seems … Continue reading
Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is a graduate of Cairo University and has been the leader of Coptic Christians in Alexandria (and most other Christians residing in north Africa and the Middle East) since 1971. Coptic Christians make up about 9% of the … Continue reading
Kansas City Bishop Robert W. Finn Knew of the Child Pornography Photographs Taken by Father Shawn Ratigan
Father Robert W. Finn is bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph archdiocese. He is also, according to today’s New York Times, an outspoken theological conservative. And he’s a protector of at least one child abuser. That child abuser’s name is Father Shawn Ratigan. Here’s the … Continue reading
A little reminder, from Ronald Bailey at Reason magazine, that there continues to be no evidence that vitamin supplementation improves health or increases longevity. Here’s his summary of two recent medical studies: One finding is that men in the prostate cancer study who took … Continue reading
Pat Buchanan thinks America’s headed for Weimar-era levels of inflation. At least, this is what Jeffrey Kuhner claims in a favorable review of Buchanan’s new book, Suicide of a Superpower (2011), for the Washington Times: Mr. Buchanan states that the exploding debt threatens … Continue reading
Implants, not from the laying on of hands. Try not to cry. _____ A big thank you to the Enlightenment (yes, that Enlightenment) and Francis Bacon (who got the whole “let’s try systematic empiricism” thing going in earnest). Hat tip: Andrew. … Continue reading