Link blog: robin-hanson, anglicanism, roger-zelazny, life

Was our oldest ancestor a proton-powered rock? – life – 19 October 2009 – New Scientist

Of course not, God did it. Still, it's a fascinating theory, and a well written article from New Scientist.
(tags: evolution life science dna research biology ocean bacteria abiogenesis)

Zelazny, “A Rose for Ecclesiastes”

Zelazny's classic short story.
(tags: roger-zelazny ecclesiastes SF scifi mars)

The death of death… « The Saint Barnabas’ Blog

The blog entry of the Anglican priest and goodwill diplomat who's been railing against secular funerals and Tina Turner songs at religious ones, who found himself reported on in the Torygraph and Daily Fail. Choice quote: "Whereas the best our secularist friends (and those they dupe) can hope for is a poem from nan combined with a saccharine message from a pop star before being popped in the oven with no hope of resurrection." Well, Christians certainly have the *hope* of resurrection, I suppose. And we can all agree that Tina Turner is a bad thing.
(tags: religion death funeral christianity anglicanism secularism)

Overcoming Bias as it Suits Us

When Eliezer met the feminists: an old thread on mswyrr's LJ which got started when Robin Hanson wondered why the Overcoming Bias community was so male. It's an interesting precursor to the Pickup Artist debates over on Less Wrong.
(tags: feminism cognitive-bias overcoming-bias eliezer-yudkowsky robin-hanson)

5 Comments on "Link blog: robin-hanson, anglicanism, roger-zelazny, life"

  1. Shorn of the condescension, Edward Tomlinson’s right that secular people lack a decent funeral ceremony tradition. All the meaningful funereal ritual and language in our culture comes from the Christian tradition, so we’re stuck with an awkward choice: We can ape the Christian service but cut out mentions of god (seems dishonest), or we can rebel and try to work out something different (likely to fall flat or alienate people). Give us a thousand years of cultural patronage, though, and we might be able to do better than Tina Turner.

    (Julian Todd: “I think we’ve got our whole memorial response the wrong way round. When someone dies, we should hold an event where we discuss how horrible the person was, and how much better we are without them, so that they will not be missed.”)

    I’m not sure Tomlinson realises how off-putting this is: “And I am further concerned that an opportunity for evangelism is slipping through our fingers.” Treating other people’s grief as a sales opportunity would be immoral if I tried to do it: how come he gets a pass?


    1. I disagree. I’ve been to two funerals led by a humanist celebrant recently, and they were very good and very meaningful. He said all the right things and made me at least feel that the person’s life had been properly celebrated. In the second case, the deceased’s family were Christian although he wasn’t, so the ceremony very gracefully included some Christian elements – a hymn and a short address by the deceased’s uncle who was a minister. But it didn’t include all the standard funereal ritual.

      By contrast, when my dad’s mum died, we couldn’t find a Unitarian minister (what she would have wanted) at short notice. So we ended up with a fill-in-deceased’s-name-here service from a CofE minister who’d never met her. And full of empty words about resurrection that none of us believed. And the sales opportunity stuff.


    1. Subject: Re: Rose
      Heh. Hybris must be what you have when you defy the gods by crossing animals that were never meant to be crossed 🙂

      I liked the story, but I don’t think Ecclesiastes is depressing at all.


      1. Subject: Re: Rose
        Maybe I’ll read E one day past the headline that everyone quotes. Which I’ve been using recently on wiki; it comes in handy for the bit of the discussion where we start going round the same old circles again (frequently).

        I don’t know about humanist funerals, but we had a humanist wedding, which worked well, but only cos we nicked the C of E words. Plus Marvell.


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