Category Archives: philosophy

Can President Trump be Checked?

If liberal democracy is to survive this time of testing, we’re all agreed that Trump needs to be, at minimum, checked, but in terms of how to do that effectively, well, that’s a very difficult question. So far, the complexity … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, brexit, climate change, donald trump, God, philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

A Checklist for Skepticism, Doubt, and Critical Thinking

We are all subject to flawed reasoning. Any one of us may catastrophically misread the landscape we’re navigating, whether literal or metaphorical, causing us to arrive at false beliefs that end in our deaths. We may also be thwarted in … Continue reading

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Atheist Bart Compolo, Meet Joseph Koerner

Pretty darn interesting. Bart Compolo, a former evangelical minister who evolved intellectually toward atheism, has discovered the world needs some of the same basic things that he did as a pastor, so he’s doing them in a low-key way at … Continue reading

Posted in aesthetics, atheism, beauty, david hume, God, philosophy, Politics, science, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This is Colonization, Not Immigration

In the video below, what we’re seeing is civilizational colonization, not immigration. Muslim men in France are literally driving women out of public spaces. Imagine a suburb of France that was majority Calvinist asserting the authority of Calvin’s “Institutes” over … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, brexit, david hume, donald trump, feminism, hillary clinton, philosophy, Politics, Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Information and Entropy for Beginners

Information. Physicist Brian Greene, in his book The Hidden Reality (Knopf 2011), gives a three word definition of information: “Information answers questions” (252). Curiously, in physics you can give a three word definition for entropy as well: entropy measures questions. (That is, … Continue reading

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Donald Trump’s Victory and The Ending of The Planet of the Apes

Well, I’m searching for something that reflects accurately the emotion evoked in me by this election result. When the past year was ongoing, it was the ending of Hitchcock’s The Birds that seemed the apt metaphor for what I was … Continue reading

Posted in atheism, Bernie Sanders, climate change, donald trump, edward feser, feminism, God, hillary clinton, philosophy, Politics, science, Ted Cruz, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Double Helix of Your Nightmares

An interesting floor mosaic at the University of Notre Dame memorializing the evolutionary biologist who coined the familiar saying, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” The image of the double helix of DNA recalls the … Continue reading

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Clit Rubbing Bonobos: A Clue to the Evolutionary Origin of Human Homosexuality?

Not to be crude, but gays and lesbians may function in humans as akin to the large clitorises in bonobos. In the bonobo female, the clitoris is unusually large, and it’s used to bond socially with other females. They rub … Continue reading

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Was It Right for Turkey’s Military to Have Tried to Remove Erdogan by Force?

I wouldn’t want to make an invidious comparison, but I think of how Hitler came into ever greater power (via democratic election and joining his party into an alliance with conservative parties), and then, when he became chancellor, how he … Continue reading

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A Christian Critique of Trump: Norman Vincent Peale Meets Nietzsche, Then Nietzsche Meets Mike Pence

A genuinely troubling piece by Matthew Schmitz appears at the Catholic magazine First Things (August/September 2016) on Donald Trump’s “faith,” which, it turns out, is in the positive thinking philosophy of Norman Vincent Peale, someone Trump interacted with personally when he … Continue reading

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The Difference Between Having An Ideology And Having An Agenda

It’s one thing to have an ideology, another an agenda. An ideology is a habit of mind, often not wholly conscious to its possessor. It functions as subtext for behavior. The ideology of consumption, for example, takes it for granted … Continue reading

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Islam vs. Christianity, and the Mark of the Beast

Some Christians claim that Allah represents the Mark of the Beast; that the Greek letters for 666 resemble the way Allah is written in Arabic. I’m no fan of Islam, but demonizing Islam as Satanic and prophesied as the cipher … Continue reading

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The Simulation Argument: The Probability of Wetware vs. Dry Wire in Light of What You Think Will Happen in the Future

If you think it’s highly likely we’ll be able to simulate reality to the point where it’s completely indistinguishable from actual reality (say, 400 years from now), then we’re probably already living in a simulation. Really. Just as a matter … Continue reading

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Life Perspective: Elon Musk Thinks Odds High We Live In A Simulation

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David Hume On Beauty–And How To Get Good At Detecting It

Is taste in art and literature akin to taste in ice cream? In 1757, the Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) published four essays under the title, Four Dissertations, one of which he called “Of the Standard of Taste.” In it, Hume attempts … Continue reading

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Donald Trump’s Loaded Gun–and Emily Dickinson’s

I’d like to offer up Emily Dickinson’s poem #764—her “Loaded Gun” poem—as a trope for Donald Trump’s (thus far successful) hack of the Republican Party—and his threat to do the same to the American presidency. I’ll deal with the poem, stanza by … Continue reading

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Miracle, Mystery, and Authority in Real Time

Father Zossima and the Grand Inquisitor meet the 21st century in real time. A yoga studio infused with a strong caffeine dose of old-school mysticism and guru deference has turned (surprise!) cultish. Here is an especially amusing paragraph from the … Continue reading

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The Owl of Time Rests Its Anxious, Hungry Eyes: Meditation as Calm Abiding in the Present

Past and future vision. The ability of mental flight through time–to remember the past and model alternative futures–is our evolutionary superpower as a species. These past and forward-looking capacities help us navigate the world really, really well. We are the … Continue reading

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The Bhagavad Gita and Socrates vs. Homer and The Iliad

The two selves in the Bhagavad Gita. One of the most enduring pieces of world literature is the Bhagavad Gita, and one of the keys to reading the Gita is to understand its doctrine of the two selves. In the Gita the two selves are: … Continue reading

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Nietzsche Wonka: After The Historicist And Linguistic Turns In Philosophy, Can We Go On Speaking? And If So, Of What?

Once you’ve been exposed to Wittgenstein, Derrida, Richard Rorty, Stephen Greenblatt, and Nietzsche (“truth is a mobile army of metaphors,” etc.), and have absorbed the consequences of their insights surrounding the quest for certainty, is it coherent to any longer … Continue reading

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