Link blog: religion, humour, video, politics

Is Obama About To Become Just Another War Criminal?

"Aghanistan is not a country, it's a criminal enterprise" – Evert Cilliers wonders what America is doing there, a question you might also ask about the UK.
(tags: drugs politics war afghanistan taliban pakistan islam)

George Carlin – Religion is bullshit.

Carlin's classic routine on religion, in which he tells us how he worships the Sun and Joe Pesci. May be "strident".
(tags: religion video youtube funny atheism humour god carlin comedy)

36 ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD —  By Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

The Edge introduces and gives us an excerpt from Goldstein's novel. The 36 arguments (and their rebuttals) are included in the excerpt, handily: the moral argument and the cosmological argument are in there.
(tags: religion philosophy god atheism books morality)

Caveman Science Fiction

From the same people who brought you "Dungeons and Discourse": Caveman SF.
(tags: comics scifi funny science satire comic humour)

The Open Road London (1927)

Colour footage of London in 1927. Pretty amazing stuff.
(tags: london video history youtube archive)

Renouncing Islamism: To the brink and back again – Johann Hari, Commentators – The Independent

The stories of former Islamists who came back from the brink, and just what went wrong to put them there in the first place. "From the right, there was the brutal nativist cry of "Go back where you came from!" But from the left, there was its mirror-image: a gooey multicultural sense that immigrants didn't want liberal democratic values and should be exempted from them. Again and again, they described how at school they were treated as "the funny foreign child", and told to "explain their customs" to the class. It patronised them into alienation. "
(tags: islam religion politics terrorism culture war hari johann-hari jihad islamism)

7 Comments on "Link blog: religion, humour, video, politics"

  1. Subject: Is Obama About To Become Just Another War Criminal?

    and we’re sore because too much of our money goes to Karzai’s cronies to fund the drug trade

    …so the drugs trade is not in fact inherently lucrative but requires subsidy?


    1. Subject: Re: Is Obama About To Become Just Another War Criminal?
      I’m guessing the problem is with “fund” here: if there’s corruption, the money ends up in the hands of drug traffickers, who are happy to take it in addition to their drug profits.


  2. I read the 36 Arguments the other day. For an article so heavily grounded in logic, there’s a bit too much circular reasoning and assuming one’s conclusion.

    The rebuttal of the free will argument particularly struck me: as I understand it it’s “In my atheist/materialist worldview, there are only two categories, deterministic and random. Therefore if your actions are not deterministic, they must be random; therefore free will is meaningless.”

    “Flaw 2” to the Argument from Altruism is also very circular. “Blah blah blah allows us to act in a way that we can justify as maximizing everyone’s well-being.” But the question it’s supposed to be answering is why we would want to maximise everyone’s well-being, rather than just our own, in the first place.


    1. I don’t think the argument given is circular (perhaps poorly expressed, but it’s hard to be both succinct and precise).

      The Argument from Altruism says that altruistic behaviour cannot have evolved by natural selection, because natural selection only favours selfish behaviours.

      The response in “flaw 2” points out that altruism is not necessarily an adaptive behaviour. It could be a non-adaptive consequence (what Stephen Jay Gould calls a spandrel) of another feature, namely, general intelligence.

      We don’t have to explain why general intelligence leads to altruism in order to establish that this is a flaw in the Argument from Altruism, merely observe that it does.


    2. Perhaps an even clearer way to explain this flaw would be to note that the Argument from Altruism has the underlying premise:

      Every feature of an organism either (a) evolved by natural selection or (b) was created by God.

      When stated baldly like this, it’s clear that it’s a false dilemma: there are plenty of other possibilities: spandrels, founder effect, genetic drift, genetic linkage, etc.


    3. In my atheist/materialist worldview, there are only two categories, deterministic and random

      I’m not convinced by the first flaw, because an atheist compatibilist faces the same flaw. In an argument against theism (rather than against free will) the first flaw, I think I’d’ve preferred to point out that there are compatibilist atheists.

      The bigger flaw in the free will argument seems to be the second one, the use of God as a semantic stop sign.


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