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Monthly Archive: July 2005

Jul 29 2005

How governments lie

I am sure all the readers of this blog would be aware of the shooting of an innocent Brazilian electrician by British police in the wake of the second attempt at bombing the British underground. The question of how police should deal appropriately with fast moving events is a complex one and is beyond the …

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Jul 28 2005

Agnostic or atheist?

I am sure that some of you have noticed that you get a more negative response to saying you are an atheist than to saying that you are an agnostic. For example, in a comment to a previous posting, Erin spoke about finding it “weird that atheism is so counter-culture. Looking back at my youth, …

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Jul 27 2005

Simplifying difficult texts – 2

To illustrate the problems of simplifying original texts, we can look at examples from Shakespeare and the Bible. I came across a site that seeks to make Shakespeare’s plays easier to understand by re-writing them: Here is the original text from HAMLET Act III, Scene i, lines 57-91 To be, or not to be? That …

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Jul 26 2005

Simplifying difficult texts

Some time ago, Aaron Shaffer in his blog expressed his disappointment with the texts he was reading in his philosophy class, particularly the fact that the writers seemed to not take the trouble to be concise, with individual sentences running as long as paragraphs. He felt that this poor writing diminished them in his eyes, …

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Jul 25 2005

Will the real Americans please stand up?

Once in a while, the media decides to find out what the “real” America thinks about some major issue that is consuming the national media. I can immediately predict what they will do. They will send a reporter out to somewhere in the mid-west, say Ohio or Iowa or Nebraska, and that reporter will go …

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Jul 22 2005

False memories

The person being interviewed on the quirky NPR radio program This American Life told a story that happened to him many years back. He had been walking with his wife in New York City when he saw Jackie Kennedy across the street waving at him. Since he did not know her, he looked around to …

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Jul 21 2005

Shafars and brights arise!

Sam Smith runs an interesting website called the Progressive Review. It is an idiosyncratic mix of political news and commentary with oddball, amusing, and quirky items culled from various sources thrown in. Mixed with these are his own thoughtful essays on various topics and one essay that is relevant to this series of posts on …

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Jul 20 2005

Religious beliefs and public policy – 2

In the previous post I discussed the problems that can arise when religious beliefs start influencing public policy. But because issues of the environment and global warming are so long term, it is possible, in the short term, to ignore the inherent contradictions that can arise. But this luxury is not available when it comes …

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Jul 19 2005

Religious beliefs and public policy

Barbara Rossing is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church and is a faculty member at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She is an evangelical who feels that the rapturists have, in trying to take the Bible literally, totally distorted its message. Her book The Rapture Exposed is her attempt to reclaim …

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Jul 18 2005

The allure of rapture violence

I must say that since I recently started reading about the rapture (see here and here for previous posts on it), it has fascinated me. (Some readers of this blog who had never heard of the rapture before I started posting on it have told me they were startled to find people they know accepting …

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