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Monthly Archive: June 2006

Jun 16 2006

The desire for belief preservation.

In the previous post we saw how human beings are believed to not be natural critical thinkers, preferring instead to believe in the first plausible explanation for anything that comes along, not seeing these initial explanations as merely hypotheses to be evaluated against competing hypotheses. But one might think that when we are exposed to …

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Jun 15 2006

Why religious (and other) ideas are so persistent

When people are asked to explain the phases of the moon, the response given most frequently is that they are caused by the shadow of the Earth falling on the moon. They are not aware that this explanation holds true only for rare cases of eclipses, and not for the everyday phases. When the people …

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Jun 14 2006

The dubious appeal of immortality

During the time I was a Christian, I took it for granted that immortality was not only a Good Thing, it was the thing that mattered most. The idea that if one believes in Jesus (or in some other way meets the needs of Christian doctrine), one is saved and has eternal life is a …

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Jun 13 2006

Choosing the god we want

The series of postings on the burden of proof in relation to the existence of god (see part 1, part 2, and part 3) produced some very thoughtful comments by readers that explore many facets of the issue, and I would urge those interested to read those comments. What initiated that series of posts was …

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Jun 09 2006

War and Death

I always liked Chandi. He was my cousin’s cousin, not a near relative, but his family and my family and the family of cousins in-between have been close since childhood. Sri Lanka is a small country, which makes it is easy for children to spend a lot of time with one another and thus one …

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Jun 09 2006

Saving the internet: The importance of net neutrality

[UPDATE: Read this Democracy Now transcript for clarifications on the net neutrality issue.] After singing the praises of the internet in the last three posts, it is now time to sound the alarm. There are serious threats underway to undermine the very features of the internet that have made it the democratizing force it has …

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Jun 08 2006

Why I love the internet-3: How blogs have changed the pundit game.

In the previous post, I discussed that the main role of columnists and pundits was to act as sheepdogs for us, herding us into pens that limit the range of opinions we are allowed to express and be taken ‘seriously.’ To be frank, I rarely read any of the newspaper columnists anymore. However, since they …

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Jun 07 2006

Why I love the internet-2: Bypassing the official pundits

Yesterday I discussed how blogs and other forms of alternative media on the internet prevented Stephen Colbert’s speech to the White House Correspondents Association Dinner from being ignored. But that is not the only benefit of the internet. The more important innovation may be the rise of blogs as alternative and better sources of news …

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Jun 06 2006

Why I love the internet

Stephen Colbert’s speech at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner, where he ripped into the President and the assembled insider media right to their faces, was broadcast only on C-Span and initially buried by the offended media. When it became clear that many people were talking about it, the elite commentators sniffed and said that …

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Jun 05 2006

Seeing the world through Darwin’s eyes

It is good to be back and blogging again! On my trip to Australia, I had the chance to see some of the marsupial animals that are native to that continent, and as I gazed at these strange and wondrous creatures, I asked myself the same question that all visitors to the continent before me …

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