Link blog: philosophy, hume, atheism, david-hume

Times Higher Education – Divine irony

Blackburn’s summary of Hume’s “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion”.
(tags: simon-blackburn david-hume hume history religion philosophy atheism)

A Christmas Cracker

“On 16 December 1893, when Parliament had been in continuous session for 11 months and it had been announced that members would have only four daysě°˝€™ recess for Christmasě°˝€”Mr Gladstone received a letter in a neat but childish hand, written on ruled paper, from the infant son of the Earl of Pembroke.”
(tags: parliament history funny politics)

Good Minus God: The Moral Atheist – NYTimes.com

Louise M. Antony writes a reasonable introduction to the idea that being an atheist does not lead to moral nihilism. Mentions the Euthyphro dilemma but doesn’t deal directly with apologetical responses about “God’s nature” (but then we’ve dealt with those here before, I think).
(tags: Euthyphro morality ethics philosophy religion atheism)

Of Hume and Bondage – NYTimes.com

Simon Blackburn defends Hume from some sillier criticisms, and wonders what philosophy is for.
(tags: simon-blackburn hume david-hume philosophy)

Talking Philosophy | Religion and science: the issue that won’t go away

This is great, and has productive discussion in the comments too. Subscribed!

“Recall that the rise of science did not subtract from our pre-existing resources for investigating the world. Rather, it added to them; and the old pragmatic and scholarly methods and the new, distinctively scientific, ones can always be used together in any given case. We need to know whether such claims as that Jesus rose from the dead and that the universe was created by God are plausible when set against what we know overall about how the world works, both through methods that we could have employed anyway and through the distinctive methods developed by science.

When the question is framed like that, surely we don’t think that these claims come under no pressure at all from our best empirical investigations of the world?”
(tags: resurrection russell-blackford philosophy science religion)

Islam and “Islamophobia” – a little manifesto

“The extreme right benefits from the availability of politically respectable criticisms of Islamic thought and associated cultural practices. As this goes on, there is a risk that the word “Islamophobia” will be used to demonize and intimidate individuals whose hostility to Islam is genuinely based on what they perceive as its faults. In particular, we should remember that Islam contains ideas, and in a liberal democracy ideas are fair targets for criticism or repudiation. … After all, there are reasons why extreme-right organizations have borrowed arguments based on feminism and secularism. These arguments are useful precisely because they have an intellectual and emotional appeal independent of their convenience to extreme-right opportunists.”
(tags: islamophobia politics religion islam)

All things to all people, but Christmas is … people – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A very human Christmas to you all 🙂
(tags: religion christmas)
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Link blog: science, philosophy, naturalism, epistemology

Scientific presuppositions and the supernatural « Just Another Deisidaimon

Konrad Talmont-Kaminski on the metaphysical/methodological naturalism distinction, which he thinks is a distortion of actual naturalist views: “it effectively assumes the primacy of ontology over epistemology… assumes that to understand science one must begin with the ontology of science. This is very much understandable from the point of view of someone who was brought up on a Christian religion that is presented as having its basis in a number of ontological claims that must be taken as true. It is also a profound misunderstanding of what science is. It would be better to think of science in terms of various methods that are used to investigate the world. The scientific ontology is an a posteriori result of the application of those methods to the world. To put it in other terms again, ontological naturalism is the a posteriori result of accepting epistemic naturalism. Yet, even that is not quite right as it suggests that science can be identified in terms of some set of methods.”
(tags: philosophy science religion epistemology naturalism)
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Link blog: medicine, dance, lindyhop, genital-mutilation

Infant male circumcision is genital mutilation | Martin Robbins | Science | guardian.co.uk

“Men should have the right to choose circumcision, not have the choice forced upon them. Infant circumcision without consent or immediate medical justification is an unjustified violation of basic human rights, that shares more in common with ancient coming-of-age rituals than responsible medical practice.” Seems fair enough to me: the only reason we permit this is because of the common error of “respecting” religious opinions.
(tags: circumcision medicine surgery genital-mutilation religion science)

How Doctors Die « Zócalo Public Square

Doctors are better at making end of life choices for themselves than they are for their patients, as they’re often hamstrung by patients, families and “the system”.
(tags: death medicine health healthcare ethics dying doctors medical)

richardpowers.com

“Richard has been teaching contemporary and historic social dance for over thirty years. He leads workshops around the world and is currently a full-time instructor at Stanford University’s Dance Division.” Some interesting stuff on teaching, DJing and whatnot.
(tags: dance swing waltz dancing ballroom lindyhop stanford)

Open letter to Bell Pottinger | Bloggerheads

PR firm Bell Pottinger has been editing Wikipedia articles using fake accounts on behalf of their rather unsavoury clientele. When caught out, they responded that they’d done nothing illegal. Great public relations there, chaps.
(tags: astroturfing bellpottinger wikipedia lobbying uk news public-relations)
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Link blog: economics, money, currency, betrand-russell

King Under The Mountain: Soundtrack and Adventure Log

Someone actually ran a Dungeons and Discourse game (see the Dresden Codak cartoon). This is what happened. “In the middle of the Cartesian Plain at the confluence of the rivers Ordinate and Abcissa stands the mightiest of all, the imperial city of Origin. At the very center of the city stands the infinitely tall Z-Axis Tower, on whose bottom floor lives the all-seeing Wizard of 0=Z.”
(tags: betrand-russell philosophy roleplaying dungeons-and-dragons funny)

Cow Clicker Founder: If You Can’t Ruin It, Destroy It : NPR

Bloke makes spoof Facebook game to mock the grinding required by Facebook games. Facebook users play it for real.
(tags: games zynga facebook cow psychology)

Embedded in Academia : Nine ways to break your systems code using volatile

“The volatile qualifier in C/C++ is a little bit like the C preprocessor: an ugly, blunt tool that is easy to misuse but that — in a very narrow set of circumstances — gets the job done. This article will first briefly explain volatile and its history and then, through a series of examples about how not to use it, explain how to most effectively create correct systems software using volatile. Although this article focuses on C, almost everything in it also applies to C++.” Relevant to my interests as compilers get cleverer about re-ordering.
(tags: volatile embedded programming C threads multicore memory-model)

Ask Chris #81: Scooby-Doo and Secular Humanism – ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews

“On Scooby-Doo, do you prefer the monsters to be real or people in costumes?”
(tags: scooby doo rationality)

The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin | Magazine

Whatever happened to Bitcoin? Via Andrewducker.
(tags: bitcoin currency money economics wired crypto cryptography)
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