Link blog: philosophy, morality, science, video

Why the Big Bang Singularity Does Not Help the Kalam Cosmological Argument for Theism — Pitts 59 (4): 675 — The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Paper on whether the Big Bang supports theistic arguments for creation ex nihilo, and particularly the Kalam argument. Notably, the author points out that if the singularity in the past requires a Creator, surely singularities in the future (such as black holes) require a Destroyer.
(tags: science religion creationism kalam bigbang big-bang Singularity philosophy)

August and Everything After (San Francisco, 2004)

Adam Duritz singing the Counting Crows song whose lyrics are on the album cover of August and Everything After (but which doesn't appear on the album itself). There are a couple of live versions of this: this one's better because the crowd aren't yelling through it.
(tags: counting-crows adam-duritz music)

Gastronomic Realism—A Cautionary Tale

Loeb's charming paper comparing Moral Realism and Gastronomic Realism (the idea that some foods are simply better than others, independent of individual tastes).
(tags: philosophy morality food realism gastronomic don-loeb system:filetype:pdf system:media:document)

“The Collapse Of Intelligent Design”

Ken Miller demonstrating why ID is not backed by evidence. Miller's a Catholic, not a neo-sceptical atheist neo-rationalist.
(tags: ken-miller intelligent-design id evolution creationism science biology dna)

Don Loeb – Moral Irrealism

Philosopher Don Loeb in conversation about moral irrealism, the view that there are no moral facts independent of our beliefs about them. Touches on whether introducing a God would help moral realism: Loeb thinks not.
(tags: philosophy morality atheism don-loeb)

Mr. Deity and the Identity Crisis

"any time anyone's said anything comprehensible about the Trinity the Church has declared it a heresy." – Gareth
(tags: funny video religion christianity trinity mr-deity)

The Non-Expert: IKEA by Matthew Baldwin

A walkthrough of the various levels of the IKEA game: "As you continue through the main SHOWROOM you will see groups blocking the walkways while chatting and others moving against traffic. These people should be killed immediately."
(tags: funny humour culture parody games ikea furniture shopping)

David Nutt: Governments should get real on drugs – opinion – 04 November 2009 – New Scientist

David Nutt's opinion piece in New Scientist.
(tags: drugs science badscience government law medicine politics david-nutt)

A life changed by evidence

Series of videos by a former evangelical Christian explaining why he became an atheist. Well produced and informative stuff. The chap makes a palpable effort to show how he was a Christian and how, for much of the time before his deconversion, he thought the things he was learning could be incorporated into Christianity rather than working against it.
(tags: video youtube de-conversion christianity evangelicalism bible morality)

5 thoughts on “Link blog: philosophy, morality, science, video”

  1. Interesting. That Gastronomic Realism paper reads more like a realist reductio than a relativist one. I thought the realists’ challenge has always been “But if your view is correct, then your moral opinions have no greater weight than your taste in food.”

    He concludes that even if gastronomic realism is true, the sensible thing to do is to eat the foods you enjoy, rather than the foods which are objectively better but which you dislike. So does he advocate behaving in a way which benefits you rather than a way which is (your best guess at what is) morally right? Again, I thought that was a realist straw man which no relativist actually admitted to.

    1. I thought the realists’ challenge has always been “But if your view is correct, then your moral opinions have no greater weight than your taste in food.”

      Well yes, and Loeb’s response is that, if the realist view is correct, then it seems you can use the arguments for it to defend the view that there are objectively better foods, i.e. that arguments for realism prove too much (although he backs off calling it a true reductio at the end: perhaps there really are gastronomic absolutes). Note that by “better” he doesn’t necessarily mean better for instrumental reasons (like being healthier, say): some foods just are better, in the same way that some things are just wrong.

      So does he advocate behaving in a way which benefits you rather than a way which is (your best guess at what is) morally right?

      No (but he doesn’t say that doing so is irrational either, just like preferring pizza to caviar is not irrational). I think he means that there’s a decision to be made here: “Even if there are facts about what has gastronomic value, that is, one still must make a fundamental decision about whether to arrange one’s conduct in accordance with such value.” He also thinks that this decision (and accusations about “arbitrariness” favoured by realists) in fact applies to the realist as much as the irrealist: “Thus the fact that we oughtM to behave in a certain way tells us nothing about whether we ought all things considered to do so.”

      1. If some things are just wrong, why are they just wrong?

        If some foods are just better, why are they just better?

        ‘ he doesn’t necessarily mean better for instrumental reasons (like being healthier, say)’

        So for what reasons is one thing better than another thing?

        And is one person just better than another, in the same way that lasagne is just better than pork scratchings?

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