- Dungeons and Discourse revision - help with spells?
- Yvain wants suggestions for spell names and effects in his Dungeons and Discourse games. These should be horrible puns on scientific, mathematical or philosophical concepts.There are some good ones in the comments.
(tags: mathematics maths funny humour philosophy magic)
- A Jazz Anthology MP3 Choose listen download 36004 tunes jazz artists
- Lots of out of copyright jazz stuff.
(tags: lindyhop lindy free mp3 jazz music)
- Rationally Speaking: On guns: the facts, the reasons
(tags: shooting law violence guns)
- God & Sandy Hook | Talking Philosophy
- Mike LaBossiere wrote my blog post for me: he talks about Mike Huckabee's response and the two ways to take it (either as an assertion that God judged America or as a statement about moral education) and notes that in either case, God doesn't really come out well.
(tags: huckabee mike-huckabee violence shooting sandy-hook philosophy christian religion theodicy)
- The Stuff Of Knightmare | Featured Article | The Gameological Society
- "Knightmare ran for eight years and 112 episodes. At the height of the program’s popularity, 5 million viewers tuned in every week. It remains one of the most fondly remembered children’s shows on British television, 25 years after the first episode was broadcast." Great article on a top TV programme from my youth.
(tags: games knightmare gaming tv)
- The Oxbridge delusion: why the more we talk about these two great universities, the less we know - Comment - Voices - The Independent
- "Worse still is when journalists, comedians and television producers casually use Oxbridge as a byword for ‘elitist’ – and not elitist in the benevolent, meritocratic sense, but in the loaded dice sense. It politicises and toxifies Oxbridge, dragging it down into the national mood of resentment. The Guardian website even has a whole education section helpfully entitled ‘Oxbridge and elitism’ just in case the message ‘it’s not for people like you’ was too subtle."
(tags: university education oxbridge oxford cambridge)
Glen Scrivener, who blogs at Christ the Truth
, recently watched Derren Brown's Fear and Faith
programme. In it, Brown apparently converts (or at least induces a religious experience in) a staunch atheist, a biologist called Natalie. Brown used this as a jumping off point for an argument that we don't need to invoke a god to explain religious experiences. Glen's posting
argued that the existence of fakes doesn't disprove the existence of the genuine article.Blah blah blah Bayes
that Brown would go too far if he claimed that an ability to reproduce religious experiences means there's no God, but he could use it to negate the value of religious experience as evidence for God's existence. If it is trivial for people who aren't God to produce such experiences, then they are about as likely to occur in a world without God as they are in a world with a God, so they aren't good evidence
. Glen tried a variant of the Argument from Wife
, saying that his belief in his wife's existence is not invalidated because of his feelings about her. But this doesn't work, since he presumably saw and heard her and so believed she existed prior to having feelings for her, so the causality isn’t backwards, as it is when Christians point to feelings from God as evidence for God's existence.
Then I watched the programme on Channel 4's website. In it, we see Brown convert Natalie in what looks like a church, with 15 minutes of chat about her father and tapping on the table to "anchor" certain feelings. He leaves her alone (except for the cameras, of course) for a bit, at which point she stands up and bursts into tears, speaking about how sorry she is and wishing she could have had this feeling all her life. Well, that about wraps it up for God, right?Hang on a sec...
Something's gone wrong with everyone's argument here, and I probably should have spotted it before I watched the programme, because I've written about Derren Brown before
. Can you spot it? Have a think for a moment, then ( read onCollapse )
- Why The Daily Mail is Evil (at The @PodDelusion's 3rd birthday do) by Martin Robbins - YouTube
- Yes, it's doing the rounds, but it's still good.
(tags: paper mail journalism daily-mail newspaper)
- The SCP Foundation
- Descriptions of strange and horrifying objects being held by a secret organisation. If you liked Stross's Laundry stuff, you might like this. Time sink warning, there are lots of them. Looks like it's a collaboration using a wiki.
(tags: lovecraft sci-fi wiki science-fiction horror)
- Windows 95 Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks
- Lovecraftian Windows 95 dialogs: "It's never safe to turn off your computer."
(tags: computers horror lovecraft win95 funny windows)
- Is Irish Law to blame for the death of Savita?
- "In December 2010, the Irish government was told by the European Court of Human Rights to deal with exactly this kind of situation, either by making legislative changes or by issuing clear guidelines which acted to remove any and all ambiguities surround the question of when doctors are required to carry out terminations in order to save women’s lives.
To date, it has done nothing, largely, it seems, because Ireland’s anti-abortion lobby, and the Roman Catholic Church (naturally) have spent the last two years or so trying to shout down any notion that an abortion may be necessary to save a woman’s life in any circumstances.
What this sad case proves, definitively, is that they are lying and the real tragedy here is not just that a woman has died because they were lying but that woman has had to die, unnecessarily and in excruciating pain, to prove them wrong."
(tags: medicine religion catholicism ireland law abortion)
- Pelican Development Blog
- Pelican is a Python static blog generator which works with Markdown. Looks nice. There's also Calepin.co, which is a service that'll publish your blog if you stick it in your Dropbox. Will I finally leave LJ? Maybe...
(tags: markdown software blog python)
- Let the Universe Be the Universe | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine
- Sean Caroll got mentioned in Craig's podcast, and responds: "The moment of the Big Bang is, if anything is, a place where quantum gravity is supremely important. The Borde-Guth-Vilenkin results are simply not about quantum gravity." "But when we’re not experts, it’s not intellectually honest to distort the words of experts to make them sound like they fit our pre-conceived narrative. That’s why engagement with people like Craig is fundamentally less interesting than engagement with open-minded people who are willing to take what the universe has to offer, rather than forcing it into their favorite boxes."
(tags: inflation william-lane-craig big-bang cosmology religion god physics sean-carroll)
- Obama’s Address to United Nations - NYTimes.com
- "Mr. Obama appeared to relish the larger canvas of the United Nations and his subject, freedom of speech and why in the United States, even making “a crude and disgusting video” is a right of all citizens." Interesting: some of this is heading off Romney's criticism, but it's good to see, anyway.
(tags: UN united-nations islam politics freedom speech obama)
- The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
- Cool comic about the MMR nonsense.
(tags: fraud medicine autism andrew-wakefield comic vaccination vaccine MMR)
- "Popular Fast Tunes (>= 195 bpm)" by Ms. Lindy Hopper - Grooveshark
(tags: lindyhop playlist charleston music lindy jazz)
- FactCheck: Case dismissed on employment law reform | The FactCheck Blog
- "The Beecroft study as it appears in the Telegraph contains little in the way of factual evidence as it stands, so it’s difficult to support the venture capitalist’s assertions that a change in the law on unfair dismissal is needed." Via andrewducker.
(tags: dismissal factcheck law employment beecroft conservatives)
- Heresy Corner: Tom Holland: In the shadow of a sword?
- Don't examine Islam too closely: "Channel 4 said today that it had cancelled a special screening planned for this Thursday of Islam: the Untold Story, its documentary of last month written and presented by Tom Holland and based on his latest book In The Shadow of the Sword."
(tags: history tom-holland channel4 muslim islam)
- Speaking Out Because I Must
- "I am shocked but not surprised by the film. I am horrified and really, really pissed off at my Muslim brothers."
(tags: muslim islam)
- On the Freedom to Offend an Imaginary God : Sam Harris
- "Here is where the line must be drawn and defended without apology: We are free to burn the Qur’an or any other book, and to criticize Muhammad or any other human being. Let no one forget it." "The freedom to think out loud on certain topics, without fear of being hounded into hiding or killed, has already been lost. And the only forces on earth that can recover it are strong, secular governments that will face down charges of blasphemy with scorn. "
(tags: sam-harris islam mohammed koran politics free speech religion)
- Sam Harris on the Innocence of Muslims affair | Talking Philosophy
- Russel Blackford examines Harris's essay. He gets a couple of commenters telling him that he's a cultural imperialist or doesn't understand the sacred or something, so I waded in.
(tags: religion blasphemy islam russell-blackford sam-harris)
- A Logical Argument from Evil and Perfection
- "I began this essay by looking at Plantinga's God, Freedom, and Evil, where we find a suggested form of a successful argument from evil. I made two adjustments to this form: first, by eschewing talk of the proper elimination of evil in favor of its prevention; and second, by bringing in the notions of good-making and evil-making properties. With these changes, I proposed a valid argument from evil. I then noted that, as the other premises seemed unobjectionable, the weight of the argument fell on premise (3), the proposition that "Every evil-making property (EMP) is such that its instantiation is not entailed by the instantiation of some greater good-making property (GMP)." I offered a subargument for this premise making use of the possibility of God's existing alone, together with his perfection, to show that from the perspective of perfect-being theism, (3) would be true. But if (3) is accepted by perfect-being theists, then the argument from evil succeeds."
(tags: free-will alvin-plantinga plantinga argument logical theodicy philosophy evil)
- From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader - NYTimes.com
- Small town pastor turns atheist, gets ostracised by Christians, turns to the Clergy Project and now helps run the Recovering from Religion organisation.
(tags: ex-christian de-conversion clergy atheism religion)
- 30 open questions in physics and astronomy « Locklin on science
(tags: questions astronomy physics science)
- Going Soul-o: one young atheist’s week at Christian camp (Day One)
- Gay atheist Alex Gabriel went to Soul Survivor, a charismatic Christian festival, and blogged about it (the link is to part one of the series). I went in about 1998, shit was so crazy (to my conservative evangelical eyes) but bits of it were inspirational, and indeed, Alex does find some good things to say about it, but mostly worries about people converting for the wrong reasons (i.e. no reasons at all).
(tags: festival conversion alex gabriel charismatic christianity soul-survivor soul survivor)
- Philosophy Bro
- Excellent summaries of philosophical works in bro-speak, plus readers' questions answered. Fist-bump!
(tags: aristotle descartes religion morality kant david hume bro funny philosophy)