[Pinker] conflates scientific knowledge with knowledge as such. In his view, anybody who has studied any phenomena that are studied by science has been a scientist...If they were interested in the mind, then they were early versions of brain scientists. If they investigated human nature, then they were social psychologists or behavioral economists avant la lettre
. Leon Wieseltier pens a response
to Steven Pinker's essay
on scientism, both in the pages of the New Republic. Others
some prominent atheists
, have taken issue with Pinker as well.
posted by shivohum
on Sep 5, 2013 -
Heaven is Real: A Doctor's Experience of the Afterlife. As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences...In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.
posted by shivohum
on Oct 12, 2012 -
Stanley Fish takes on the similarities and differences
between scientific and religious evidence and gets a barrage of responses, to which he replies
. Michael K. declares that “the equivalence between the methodological premises of scientific inquiry and those of religious doctrine is simply false.” I agree, but I do not assert it. Neither do I assert that because there are no “impersonal standards and impartial procedures … all standards and procedures are equivalent” (E.). What I do assert is that with respect to a single demand — the demand that the methodological procedures of an enterprise be tethered to the world of fact in a manner unmediated by assumptions — science and religion are in the same condition of not being able to meet it (as are history, anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology and all the rest).
posted by shivohum
on Apr 10, 2012 -
"In all other circumstances we praise non-violent activities and when people, for whatever personal reasons, enjoy sexual violence even in a consenting context I think we shouldn't just say “whatever turns you on”. We should say “There's something wrong here”. But people on the left are so terrified of being accused of moralising and therefore of being oppressive that they've abandoned their critical faculties in this area." Clive Hamilton
God, Sex, and the Left
posted by daniel_charms
on Dec 26, 2011 -
Some lives are exemplary, others not; and of exemplary lives, there are those which invite us to imitate them, and those which we regard from a distance with a mixture of revulsion, pity, and reverence. It is, roughly, the difference between the hero and the saint (if one may use the latter term in an aesthetic, rather than a religious sense). Such a life, absurd in its exaggerations and degree of self-mutilation — like Kleist’s, like Kierkegaard’s — was Simone Weil’s.
- Susan Sontag [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Dec 19, 2011 -
Ask the atheist
"Have a question for an atheist? Ever wonder what atheists think about morality, faith, science, etc.? How do atheists live their lives without a god? How do they know right from wrong? Are they just angry at god? Do they really NOT believe?" [more inside]
posted by Paragon
on Oct 13, 2010 -
Tim Nicholson, a UK former executive, believes he was fired
for his environmental views. He has sued
his former employer for discrimination on grounds of the Employment Equality
act, which states that employees may not be discriminated against for religious or philosophical beliefs. His former employers argue that his views were political, and thus do not fall under the act. [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim
on Nov 3, 2009 -
The Four Horsemen:
Just in time for holidays, enjoy a pleasant chat between the world's most famous atheists - Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett.
posted by empath
on Dec 23, 2007 -
Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to seven introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University:Astronomy, English, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies: a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video, syllabi, suggested readings, and problem sets. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye
on Dec 14, 2007 -
Project Pterosaur The goal of Project Pterosaur is to mount an expedition to locate and bring back to the United States living specimens of pterosaurs or their fertile eggs, which will be displayed in a Pterosaur Rookery that will be the center piece of the planned Fellowship Creation Science Museum and Research Institute (FCSMRI).
Although, sadly, it may not be real
posted by geekyguy
on Oct 29, 2007 -
Fate, Absolute Life and Death, the Aleph, the Zeitgeist, the sinking of the Atlantis, the World Trade Center
, the formation of the universe...what more could you want from art? There's probably already been a been a post on this guy, Paul Laffoley, but I should hope more people could get a glance at some of this man's work
. Crazy or brilliant, you make your decision. A video
from his website.
posted by moonbizcut
on Aug 31, 2007 -
Why Tolerate Religion?
Brian Leiter's new paper on the philosophical and legal justifications for toleration of religion. From the abstract: Religious toleration has long been the paradigm of the liberal ideal of toleration of group differences, as reflected in both the constitutions of the major Western democracies and in the theoretical literature explaining and justifying these practices. While the historical reasons for the special “pride of place” accorded religious toleration are familiar, what is surprising is that no one has been able to articulate a credible principled argument for tolerating religion qua religion: that is, an argument that would explain why, as a matter of moral or other principle, we ought to accord special legal and moral treatment to religious practices. There are, to be sure, principled arguments for why the state ought to tolerate a plethora of private choices, commitments, and practices of its citizenry, but none of these single out religion for anything like the special treatment it is accorded in, for example, American and Canadian constitutional law. So why tolerate religion? Not because of anything that has to do with it being religion as such - or so this paper argues.
posted by monju_bosatsu
on May 30, 2006 -
Prof. Daniel Dennett's
(New York University, Philosophy) new book Breaking the Spell
appears to have frightened its NYT book review
er, Leon Wieseltier
(The New Republic, Literary Editor). Wieselter claims "The question of the place of science in human life is not a scientific question. It is a philosophical question", and promptly proceeds to demonstrate that he himself knows nothing about philosophy. Dennett responds
Prof. Brian Leiter
(University of Texas, Philosophy) responds
that "'The view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical' is not a 'superstition' but a reasonable methodological posture to adopt based on the actual evidence, that is, based on the actual expanding success of the sciences . . . during the last hundred years."
b l o g
and serious reviews
posted by jeffburdges
on Mar 7, 2006 -
Did the discovery of evolution lead to Darwin's agnosticism, as claimed
? Carl Zimmer wonders
. More importantly, can evolution be reconciled
posted by daksya
on Aug 11, 2005 -
"... Giordano Bruno might have been a pantheist.
A pantheist believes that God is everywhere, even in that speck of a fly you see there. You can imagine how satisfying that is—being everywhere is like being nowhere. Well, for Hegel it wasn’t God but the State that had to be everywhere; therefore, he was a Fascist.”
“But didn’t he live more than a hundred years ago?”
“So? Joan of Arc, also a Fascist of the highest order. Fascists have always existed. Since the age of . . . since the age of God. Take God—a Fascist.”
in the New Yorker
posted by matteo
on Feb 28, 2005 -
The Meaning of Life
according to various rather famous people (Dennett, Fukuyama, etc). I'm watching the Dennett video at the moment and it starts rather weakly, but, by midway through, is rolling along nicely. With topics like "being good without god" and "the anthropic principle" it struck me as relevant to a couple of recent askmefi threads
Dennett: [pause] i guess i'll say it again, more slowly...
(oh, and the player interface is rather delicate - give it time to load and click play a few times...)
posted by andrew cooke
on Oct 1, 2004 -
"Jesus?" he murmured, "Jesus -- of Nazareth?..." Pontius Pilate
, is the only historical figure named in
the Nicene Creed
-- Coptic saint
or eternally damned
, his role in the greatest story ever told
has been debated by many of history's greatest minds: St Augustine
, Dante Alighieri
, John Ruskin
, Mikhail Bulgakov
, Monty Python
. Unfortunately, there is very little historical evidence
about him. His role in the death
of a certain
healer and apocalyptic
preacher is still being debated today
and historians alike
. He is also, of course, the main character of The Procurator
, the classic short story (complete text in main link) by Anatole France
. (France's magnificent story has lately been tragically neglected by publishers, even if the author was one of his era's most acclaimed writers in the world -- he won the Nobel Prize in 1921 over Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, Thomas Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, and Proust, and when he died in 1924, hundreds of thousands of people followed his funeral procession
through Paris). These last 2,000 years of fascination with Pilatus
can be explained, some argue... (more inside, for those unwilling to wash their hands of this post)
posted by matteo
on Jun 24, 2004 -
Philosophy or religion? Some
people like it, some
hate it, some
have even annotated it. But however you choose to define it, The Book of Heresies
is an interesting approach to the idea of disorganized religion in the modern world.
posted by nick.a
on Oct 14, 2002 -
Speaking of famous people and religion, Jet Li
talks about religion, and his views on them.
"...upon closer inspection, the underlying heart and central principle in every religion is the same. Every religion boils down to love, to a respect for all living things, to choosing peace over violence as a means of resolving a conflict."
posted by jcterminal
on Sep 29, 2001 -
I know this much is true...
For years, I have said that the greatest thing about the modern state of the US is that we hold nothing as "True". I was wrong. Apparently our "Truths" were just sleeping; now everyone seems to have some, and they're proving to be as divisive and factionalist here as elsewhere. So - apart from any particular issue - are there "Truths", or are there just perceptions of an issue? And, just to keep some edges sharp, in answering, are you at all religious?
posted by Perigee
on Sep 19, 2001 -