Friday, April 27, 2007

Lazy linking - who needs philosophy? edition

The New Stateman has an article about the difference in the perception of Gandhi in the West and in India. The lives of saints by Salil Tripathi

Gandhi is idealised in the west, but in Indian culture he is emerging as a complex figure.

Slate has a special brains issue, with articles about neuroscience and psychology.

For the more philosophically inclined: Online Papers in Philosophy and People with online papers in philosophy

Via the Philosopher's Magazine Online, I came across this psot by Stephen Law.
The dependence of morality on religion

Is religious belief indispensable to a healthy and prosperous society? That morality cannot survive without religion is a perennial worry. Even the Enlightenment thinker Voltaire (1694-1778) would not allow his friends to discuss atheism in front of his servants, saying,

I want my lawyer, tailor, valets, even my wife to believe in God. I think that if they do I shall be robbed less and cheated less.

Here, too, is Democrat senator Joseph Lieberman echoing George Washington:

As a people we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God's purpose… George Washington warned us never to 'indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.

Even Adolf Hitler insisted that "[s]ecular schools can never be tolerated” because a morality that is not founded on religion is built “on thin air”.

But of course the claim that morality is causally dependent on religious belief - that it will not (or at least is unlikely to) survive without it - is an empirical hypothesis. It’s not enough just to make this claim. We are owed some grounds for believing that it is true. What’s the evidence?

Does anyone know the source for the Hitler quote? It should once and for all put to rest the idea of some kind of connection between Nazism and atheism.

At Washington Post there is a story about Stephen Hawking's zero-gravity flight.
A Long-Awaited Taste of Outer Space

It might not seem like a brilliant idea, allowing a frail 65-year-old paralytic to float free from gravity aboard a rising and plunging roller-coaster stunt flight.

But who's to argue with Stephen Hawking?

Of course, there was more to it than a joy-ride. Hawkings wants to call attention to his bleak view of humanity's survival without space-flights.

Finalists shortlisted for the Royal Society's annual science book prize announced
A couple of them looks quite interesting to me - especially the book about Lonesome George

The Guardian has an article with an example of how environment can affect the behaviour of animals.

Robins forced to sing at night to beat traffic noise

And on a more personal note, if people haven't noticed it, I've added a link to my flickr page on the right side of the page. So far, it's mostly pictures I've taken of stuff in Copenhagen, so it might be of limited interest. There is also a link to my Myspace profile. I don't really participate in myspace, but if you have a profile there, feel free to add me as a friend.

Via Feministe a post on WIMN’s Voices about terrorism towards abortion clinics
Silence is Complicity

They’re at it again: A week since the SCOTUS began dismembering Roe anti-choice lunatics are terrorizing women’s clinics, as reported by the Associated Press in a very brief piece headlined, “Explosive found at Austin women’s clinic.”

The “they” in question, however, is not the domestic terrorists responsible. It is the media that systematically ignores these stories, as Jennifer Pozner has pointed out in the past. This particular story — in which “A package left at a women’s clinic that performs abortions contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death” took place in Austin, TX yesterday. I wouldn’t have known myself unless I had a friend down there, where it was covered with all the fanfare of a traffic accident.

Also make sure to read the post at Feministe

Lauren writes about why people like Linda Hirshman are around
One-Note Hirshman Will Be Around So Long As Shitting On Women Is So Normal We Don’t Notice

I've seen this Rolling Stones obit described as "the meanest obituary article I can remember"
THE LOW POST: Death of a Drunk
It's about Boris Yeltsin, whose death I wrote about here

And finally - the 59th Skeptic's Circle is up at Pooflingers Anonymous



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