- Twelve Hundred Ghosts – A Christmas Carol in Supercut (400 versions, plus extras) – YouTube
- YouTube supercut of a LOT of Christmas Carol versions (there’s Scrooge slash fiction? Of course there is), including the definitive Muppets version, Quantum Leap, and a bunch of over stuff.
(tags: dickens christmas supercut ghosts)
- The Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang
- Ted Chiang’s short about memory, time and loss. It’s also an alien first contact story.
(tags: heptapod story science-fiction time ted-chiang sci-fi language first-contact memory)
- Cambridge: Poles apart Why Warsaw beats Cambridge Blog Mike Levy
- “A weekend in Warsaw made me think about Cambridge at night. In Cambridge after 6pm the city centre empties ready for the only true night time economy: binge drinking. The Market Square alive with stall holders and shoppers at 5pm magically transforms into a ghostly empty space one hour later. It is a Cinderella midnight moment that never fails to astonish. By dusk the Cambridge ball is over and the Prince has gone home to watch T.V. Only a lonely burger van takes up residence creating a sad and soulless image that realist painter Edward Hopper could capture.” Yeah, it’s crap.
(tags: night-life drinking alcohol night cambridge warsaw)
- Why You Shouldn’t Support Operation Christmas Child | Mymumdom
- …unless you want to contribute towards evangelical Christian evangelising, of course. But apparently some schools in the UK are collecting shoeboxes of gifts for the Samaritan’s Purse organisation without fully realising what they’re about.
(tags: religion samaritans-purse christianity christmas-child christmas evangelism)
- www.me.uk RevK’s rants: Censoring the Internet
- Chap who runs an ISP goes to dinner with some MPs and discusses filtering.
(tags: politics uk porn filtering censorship isp internet)
- Unreliable research: Trouble at the lab | The Economist
- “Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not.” Talks about the problems with reproducing research.
(tags: economist journals research statistics science)
- Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation
- (tags: significance experiment maths probability research mathematics statistics science)
- 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)
- The 21st Floor » Blog Archive » Another Holy Trinity
- The story of Jesus is not much like those of Mithras, Dionysus or Horus, despite what you may have heard. As the author says, Christianity has enough problems with it without making up more. Via andrewducker.
(tags: christianity religion christmas jesus mithras dionysus horus)
- Chris Wood – atheist spiritual – Come Down Jehovah
- Chris Wood's atheist spiritual/folk song, which I quite liked. HT to Andrew Rilstone.
(tags: youtube video music atheism folk religion jehovah)
- Belle De Jour Is The New Pretty Woman – The Rumpus.net
- "when somebody like Belle de Jour shows up, an astonishing amount of energy seems to get spent on rushing to remind the general public that she is not representative of prostitution"
(tags: media prostitution uk)
- Is aviation security mostly for show? – CNN.com
- Bruce Schneier: "When people are scared, they need something done that will make them feel safe, even if it doesn't truly make them safer. Politicians naturally want to do something in response to crisis, even if that something doesn't make any sense."
(tags: security terrorism politics travel news bruce-schneier)
- Rebutting Reasonable Faith: Remembering the Lost
- "William Lane Craig addresses a question from a Christian who's troubled by one of the most wicked doctrines of that theology, the dogma of Hell. Craig's correspondent wonders whether the saved will feel compassion for the damned, but also worries that it would be a violation of free will for God to erase their memories of their lost loved ones."
(tags: atheism christianity heaven religion hell william-lane-craig)
- Salvaging Santa « de-conversion
- "If we are to save our Santa culture from this insidious secularism that makes mockery of our faith, we need to acknowledge our weaknesses, and adapt to the changing cultural climate. Here are a few suggestions."
(tags: parody funny religion christianity santa christmas)
- Kurt Vonnegut Motivational Posters | Sloshspot Blog
- Motivational posters with Vonnegut quotes on them. I like: "PURPOSE: I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different." (hat tip to andrewducker).
(tags: vonnegut quotations funny posters quotes)
At this time of year, my thoughts are inevitably drawn towards the time when He will return. Here’s a video which I hope will explain what I mean, which you should all take a moment to view. If you have any questions, this leaflet should help to answer them, or you could see my previous posting on the subject.
A very Merry Christmas to all my readers!
Edited to add: if you enjoyed that, you’ll probably enjoy the rest: we were listening to them while putting the tree up.
Alex Byrne in the Boston Review addresses the existence of God, pointing out that modern debates echo those of Hume and Paley (he of the watchmaker). Byrne talks about the Ontological, Design and Fine Tuning arguments for God.
The article is interesting because it addresses some weak responses to these arguments, from Dawkins’s The God Delusion. As gareth_rees said, the popularisation of this debate will hopefully encourage everyone to consider whether the reasons they have for their positions are good ones.
In other news, Father Christmas (who really does exist, otherwise who’s bringing all those presents, eh?) brought me Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett, Bitches; and Bart Ehrman’s God’s Problem (about the Problem of Evil). I expect I’ll be posting about those once I’ve read them.
(or whichever seasonal salutation is appropriate to you).