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Monthly Archive: October 2011

Oct 31 2011

A carnival

Dan Fincke hosts Philosophers’ Blog Carnival # 133. All you know-nothing peeps who think philosophy is just wankery, read and learn. Just a few selected teasers – Thinking about the “vagueness” charge leveled against Occupy Wall Street, Benjamin S. Nelson, at Talking Philosophy explores virtues that listeners need to have before they can go blame …

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Oct 31 2011

Secular morality in a nutshell

Someone who commented on a very flimsy piece by Keith Ward at Comment is Free said a good thing. There is a constant error made in many of these articles regarding the definition and scope of religion. Religion is not the study of ethics, natural science, philosophy or astronomy and cannot generate informed hypotheses on …

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Oct 31 2011

The demonic power

Halloween wasn’t unalloyed fun for Libby Anne when she was growing up. [Digression. Actually I don’t find it unalloyed fun myself these days. I don’t find all the corpses and graves all that funny, and they certainly are presented as jokey. It gets on my nerves, frankly. Just for one thing, isn’t it kind of …

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Oct 30 2011

All of empirical inference

There’s another entry for the What to call it problem. It comes from a comment by Richard Wein on Dan’s post replying to Dr Coyne. Much of the confusion over “science” and “scientism” arises from the tendency of some New Atheists (including Coyne) to stretch the word “science” to mean all of empirical inference. I think …

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Oct 30 2011

How can we get pigs to fly?

The philosophical primate has some thoughts on being asked to do six impossible things before breakfast. The Faculty Senate asked for his input on a new initiative from the state legislature and board of regents. He responded to the following question: 2. Given increased enrollment and smaller budgets, how can we maintain and improve student success …

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Oct 29 2011

Be firm but not too firm, dogmatic but not too dogmatic

To continue… What I call dogmatophobia is the liberal fear of being judgmental of the beliefs of others. Because everyone has a right to her opinion and no one has a monopoly on the truth, there is a tendency to think that any kind of assertion of a truth, other than of the blandest factual …

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Oct 29 2011

Being truthful must sometimes trump being nice

Reading Julian’s latest. I can’t wait until I’ve read the whole thing to comment on this: [Mark] Vernon’s advocacy of passionate agnosticism offers soothing camomile tea to those jittery after the triple espressos of the new atheists and religious fundamentalists. Since he is as genial in person as he is on the page, attacking him …

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Oct 29 2011

QED next March

There’s a fun thing going on in Manchester next March: QED 2012.   I’ll be there – as will Steve Jones and David Aaaronovitch and Edzard Ernst among others - and Maryam Namazie! Maryam and I finally get to meet; we’re excited.

Oct 29 2011

You do the math

Jerry Coyne has posted (with permission) an email exchange with Dan Barker. JC asked DB – evangelical turned atheist and co-president of the FFRF – “what he thought about the accommodationist claim that promoting compatibility between religion and science could turn the faithful towards science.” Barker’s answer is interesting. I think you are right. I don’t …

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Oct 29 2011

In which the rights of God are assured

The “soft-spoken Islamic scholar” Rachid Ghannouchi has nice plans for Tunisia, he tells us. “We will continue this revolution to realize its aims of a Tunisia that is free, independent, developing and prosperous in which the rights of God, the Prophet, women, men, the religious and the non-religious are assured because Tunisia is for everyone,” …

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