Month: January 2009

UN vs free speech again

Johann Hari has an opinion piece in The Independent, “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?”. I don’t seriously disagree with anything in it. But then, maybe that is precisely the problem. I live and work in an academic environment, where I take free discussion for granted. I’m a fully paid-up member of the Argumentative UN vs free speech again

Stupid Philosopher Tricks

Taner is going to love this one. I’ve made a short list of some of the stupidest things philosophers have said over the millennia. Each of these claims has been seriously maintained by one or more major philosophers (in parentheses). Each is not only false, but obviously so. As the late philosophical iconoclast and maverick Stupid Philosopher Tricks

A cynic’s definition of morality

Our moral lives are rooted in our interests and our agreements. If we want to explain our moral lives, from gut-level moral perceptions to moral discourse intended to persuade others and ourselves, we need not go beyond very thisworldly interests and agreements. Hence morality is, broadly speaking, politics. If morality is politics, it is ugly. A cynic’s definition of morality

Evolution leads to totalitarianism?

Conservative Jewish writer and intelligent-design supporter David Klinghoffer writes on the Discover Institute’s ID blog, arguing that both Hitler and Stalin’s versions of totalitarianism were inspired by Darwin. Apparently, “The Soviet state was, then, an experiment in applied Darwinism.” Klinghoffer’s main theme is that without the restraint due to recognition of God’s higher laws, secular Evolution leads to totalitarianism?

Supernatural? Ick.

I’m not entirely certain why I object to supernatural beliefs. Sure, supernatural claims are, I think, invariably mistaken. But that alone is no reason to object. A false belief may still be socially useful, culturally meaningful, or commendable in a zillion different ways. Now, particular religions, including all the really popular ones, very often do Supernatural? Ick.

The Trilemma – How Old?

The trilemma argument goes something like this: Jesus claimed to be God. Therefore, either Jesus was in fact God, or else he was a liar or a lunatic. But clearly Jesus was neither a liar, nor a lunatic, so he must in fact be God.C. S. Lewis presented the trilemma argument in a 1943 BBC The Trilemma – How Old?