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Monthly Archive: May 2009

May 15 2009

On torture-2: When sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) In the previous post in this series, I invented a hypothetical example of two American journalists tortured by North Korea to argue that the reaction in the US is quite different when torture is done by other counties, in order to illustrate the hypocrisy of condemning those actions …

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May 14 2009

On torture-1: Torture is just flat-out wrong

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) Some of you might have heard of the case of two American journalists who are to stand trial in North Korea for having entered the country illegally on March 17, 2009. They are accused of committing acts that were hostile to that country. It was revealed that the …

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May 13 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-9: The resurgence of natural selection and the resurgence of religion

(For other posts in this series, see here.) I am going to conclude this series by arguing that it was more-or-less a coincidence that led to the deep-seated animosity towards evolutionary theory in America. The early 20th century was the time when religious people in America became alarmed that they had perhaps gone too far …

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May 12 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-8: Alternatives to natural selection

(For other posts in this series, see here.) In the half century after Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species in 1859, the idea of evolution gained considerable ground but the theory of natural selection was just one of several mechanisms that drove the process, and hence the anti-religious implications of the theory …

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May 11 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-7: Early American reactions to evolution

(For other posts in this series, see here.) The original question that started this series was why there is such deep-seated and long-standing hostility to Darwin’s theory of evolution, especially in America. It is one that I am often asked and is not a question that can be answered briefly. As I have suggested, part …

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May 08 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-6: Why some atheist scientists support the morality skyhook

(For other posts in this series, see here.) One can understand why the Pope and religious scientists want to promote the unsustainable idea that the world of morality and ethics lies in a separate domain outside the reach of scientific investigation and accessible only by religion. But what is puzzling is why so many nonbelievers, …

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May 07 2009

American oligarchy-8: An update

I wrote a long series recently on the oligarchy in America, and since then came across some good articles that I thought others might enjoy. Matt Taibbi reflects on the flip side of a society that tolerates an oligarchy, which is the peasant mentality that prevents people from seeing who their real enemies are and …

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May 06 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-5: Darwin and morality

(For other posts in this series, see here.) The final skyhook that is invoked is the one of morality. It is argued by some religious apologists that we cannot explain the universality of some ideas of right or wrong or the existence of altruism, without invoking something transcendent, some cosmic conscience. Francis Collins, former director …

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May 05 2009

Spam comments dilemma

My policy with comments to the blog is to leave them unmoderated. So anyone can post any comment any time without getting prior approval from me. My feeling is that people have a right to express their opinion. So even though there seem to be some people who scan the web to find anything even …

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May 04 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-4: Understanding the mind

(For other posts in this series, see here.) Currently people seem to be pinning their hopes for a skyhook on the workings of the human mind. This is not because the case here is stronger. In fact, there is no reason whatsoever to think that science cannot explain how the mind works because, unlike with …

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