Just as Dante found it easier to conjure the pains of Hell than to evoke the joys of Heaven, so too do bioethicists find it easier to concoct the possible perils of a biotech-nanotech-infotech future than to appreciate how enhancements will contribute to flourishing lives. One of the chief goals of this symposium is to think about the indispensable role that virtue plays in human life. The chief motivating concern seems to be the fear that biotechnologies and other human enhancement technologies will somehow undermine human virtue. As we will see, far from undermining virtue, biotech, nanotech, and infotech enhancements will tend to support virtue; that is, they will help enable people to be actually good.
In a lecture entitled
The State of White AmericaCharles Murray, a W. H. Brady Scholar of the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of the controversial The Bell Curve, details the thesis of his upcoming book Coming Apart:
Over the last half century, the United States has developed a new lower class and a new upper class that are different in kind from anything America has ever known. The second contention of the book is that the divergence of America into these separate classes, if it continues, will end what has made America America.[more inside]
SciAm takes a look at the fine line between clinical pyschopaths and real-life superheroes. Related: Addicted to Being Good
On Tor.com, Mefi'sown Patrick Garcon (smoke) is writing lively essays on Victorian fantasy illustration, from the Pre-Raphaelites to Orientalism. [via mefi projects]
"Welcome to the simplicity movement, the ethos whose mantras are "cutting back," "focusing on the essentials," "reconnecting to the land" - and talking, talking, talking about how fulfilled it all makes you feel." Charlotte Allen of In Character about the Simplicity Movement, magazines, wild boars, virtue, and 350$ riding boots.
Scents from the Bible The world's first spiritual perfume, "Virtue® was conceived out of our desire to provide a perfume that would allow a person to be reminded of their Spiritual Self, by a simple whiff of it's fragrant essence." Smell the holy! (Post not inspired by previous )
Rush Limbaugh, Laura Schlessinger, William J. Bennet. The "virtuous majority". The people that know what you should and should not do. And how to do it. Yeah! Well, if you 've always been a bit suspicious with the virtuous, the God chosen etc., check this out...
The Tyranny of the Tidy: In college, after months of being chided by my roommate for an exceedingly messy room, I finally silenced her by repeatedly demonstrating my ability to quickly and easily retrieve any desired implement from the clutter without leaving my desk. Trying to be tidy always served only to make me inefficient. I understand that for others it may not be so, but is cleanliness really always a virtue?