All entries by this author

The Designer

Apr 8th, 2004 11:30 pm | By

I might change or expand one sentence in the Science and Religion In Focus, because I’ve had some email and blog comments on it. It is a tad assertive. ‘The side that has it wrong, that ignores evidence and logic and just believes, never shuts up.’

Mind you, I think it’s true, but I can see why it needs justification. But the fact is religion does have a special epistemic status, which surely even believers are aware of if they’re honest about it. Believers are not usually embarrassed to talk of belief or faith in their religion – to talk of religious belief or faith – as opposed to knowledge. They must realize there’s a difference between ‘faith’ and knowledge, … Read the rest

The Next Two Hours I Have to be at my PlayStation *

Apr 8th, 2004 | Filed by

Whither the underground? David Bromwich wonders.… Read the rest

Faking Racial Incident Not a Good Plan *

Apr 8th, 2004 | Filed by

Police say victim staged vandalism of her own car.… Read the rest

Visual Illusions and the Brain *

Apr 8th, 2004 | Filed by

It’s really not moving.… Read the rest

Philosophy Has Its Uses *

Apr 8th, 2004 | Filed by

When everything but pedophilia is negotiable, philosophy can help to ground ethics.… Read the rest

Huh Huh Huh Eeek Uh Uh Oooowaaah! *

Apr 8th, 2004 | Filed by

Animal psychologists at London Zoological Society say we should talk like chimps.… Read the rest


Apr 7th, 2004 10:07 pm | By

Something more from that article by Paul Davies in the Atlantic, which answers a question I’ve been wondering about for a longish time.

Even if Homo sapiens as such may not be the unique focus of God’s attention, the broader class of all humanlike beings in the universe might be. This is the basic idea espoused by the philosopher Michael Ruse, an ardent Darwinian and an agnostic sympathetic to Christianity. He sees the incremental progress of natural evolution as God’s chosen mode of creation, and the history of life as a ladder that leads inexorably from microbes to man.

The question that’s been puzzling me is about Michael Ruse, because some of his work that I’ve read sounds quite … Read the rest

Richard Dawkins Set To Music *

Apr 7th, 2004 | Filed by

And a singer who doesn’t believe in evolution. You couldn’t make it up.… Read the rest

Rwanda Genocide and ‘African’ Correctness *

Apr 7th, 2004 | Filed by

Emmanuel Dongala says solidarity can prevent people from speaking out.… Read the rest

Academics Hinder Fight Against Terror *

Apr 7th, 2004 | Filed by

Attitudes formed in the 1960s have resulted in an anti-Americanism.… Read the rest

Local Elections in Iraq *

Apr 7th, 2004 | Filed by

Secular candidates have done better than Islamists.… Read the rest

So You Think You’re Logical

Apr 6th, 2004 10:21 pm | By

In case anyone wants to find out about the Wason test along with PM, here it is in one easy click.

[Note by Jerry S (Sorry OB, I’m invading your entry!)]: I programmed this four years ago; I’d do it slightly differently if I was programming it today – there are a couple of problems with it. However, it is a pretty rigorous experimental design (on the analysis page, there’s a link with technical details about the ‘between-subjects’ and ‘within-subjects’ aspects of the design). And the results, right at the end, are interesting.… Read the rest

Awe, Shux

Apr 6th, 2004 10:16 pm | By

Here is what one might consider another installment of an on-going discussion we’re having here about religion and the way its defenders and supporters and promoters and fans re-define it for purposes of persuasion or coercion. One example is from an article by Paul Davies in an old Atlantic (September 2003) I happened to read the other day: ‘E.T. and God.’ It’s basically about what the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe would mean for human religion, but along the way he makes this strange (yet very familiar) comment, after calling the dismissal of religion by the director of the SETI Institute’s Center for SETI Research ‘rather naive’:

Though many religious movements have come and gone throughout history, some

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Linguistic Relativity and Colour *

Apr 6th, 2004 | Filed by

Sapir-Whorf or Berlin-Kay?… Read the rest

Leon Wieseltier on God in the Pledge *

Apr 6th, 2004 | Filed by

‘Say “under God” even if you don’t mean under God.’… Read the rest

Is This Parody? *

Apr 6th, 2004 | Filed by

Probably not. It certainly is funny though!… Read the rest

Anne Fadiman and American Scholar *

Apr 6th, 2004 | Filed by

Editor is fired over budget issues; Todd Gitlin and others protest.… Read the rest

Examine That Life *

Apr 6th, 2004 | Filed by

Carlin Romano considers two collections of brief memoirs by philsophers.… Read the rest

On Suffering and Waste

Apr 5th, 2004 9:11 pm | By

We were talking about Darwinism and morality, among other things. Here is George C. Williams in Plan and Purpose in Nature as quoted by Richard Dawkins in the title essay of A Devil’s Chaplain:

With what other than condemnation is a person with any moral sense supposed to respond to a system in which the ultimate purpose in life is to be better than your neighbour at getting genes into future generations,…in which that message is always ‘exploit your environment, including your friends and relatives, so as to maximise your genes’ success…?

Dawkins then quotes George Bernard Shaw doubting evolution because he didn’t like its cruelty, H.G. Wells rejoicing in the cruelty, and Julian Huxley trying to derive some … Read the rest


Apr 5th, 2004 5:19 pm | By

Ah. I see via Normblog and Twisty Sticks that I’ve been neglecting a duty. That’s what I get for reading hastily and selectively because I’m catching up because I’m so far behind because I’ve been working 28 hours a day on this dictionary thing because my colleague kept saying We have to finish in a month no two weeks no a week no three days no an hour no right now, so like Miss Clavell I ran fast and faster, and had such a backlog of reading and posting you would not believe. So, anyway. Jew.

In case there are any of you even more behind than I am, that’s a counter-googlebomb, a googlebomb to counteract an anti-semitic googlebomb. … Read the rest