I have been very busy lately and then the call from OFSTED, the government school inspectorate, came this week, I ended up camped at work for 3 days. It’s over now. To get the ball rolling again is a guest post from ML Candelario. It is interesting toying with the idea of moral nihilism, which all depends on how you define objective or ontic reality. Anyway, over to Cendelario:
The general election is only just over, and I am sorry for being off my usual topics. I will return to them shortly. I would like to provoke thought on what motivates voters to vote for particular parties, briefly and rather anecdotally and theoretically.
With the rise and rise of UKIP, even despite their consistent foot-in-mouth propensity (and perhaps because of it), I have written a piece looking at UKIP in a skeptical light and am now due to write about the subject which concerns them the most. Immigration. This is quite a useful thing to do because in some respects I am not fundamentally sure where I stand on the minutiae of this core election Pandora’s Box.
The Problem of Evil (why is there so much suffering in the world given an OmniGod?) is sometimes answered by theists that suffering has to exist so that people have a working knowledge of what bad or evil is in order to know what good is, or indeed that pleasure cannot exist without pain.
Dan Fincke, blogger and philosopher over at the Patheos atheist channel at Camels With Hammers is always producing great content. With his permission, I am reblogging a really good piece on the term “objective” which gets bandied around with wild abandon. I am not a fan of it since, as a conceptual nominalist, mind independent abstract ideas beg for a Platonic realm of sorts, such that objective rather begs the question.
Jeremy Clarkson, right wing pundit and presenter on the ever popular everyman BBC TV money spinner car show, Top Gear, has not had his contract renewed. He has always been controversial, and the last incident was the brick that broke the weary camel’s back. He has a long line of things he has got up to, which I will later list. Essentially, he is a very rich man who doesn’t seem to have a care in the world for anyone or anything, whether it be the environment, foreigners or fellow workmates. As the Economist reported:
WTF? BBC (video available from there): Utah will resume the use of firing squads to carry out the death penalty when…
I can’t believe I had forgotten this, or perhaps it never passed my radar. Apparently UKIP aren’t a racist party, even though theor supporters and members are empirically more racist and intolerant than all other main parties, even though it seems that a councillor activist puts their foot in their mouth on a daily basis, and even though their leader was labelled as a “racist”, “fascist” and “neo-fascist” when he was at school. He sang Hitler youth songs, for crying out loud! Here is a Channel 4 News article from September 2013. You MUST read the letter sent by one of the teachers to request Farage not be considered for prefect. It is amazing:
A new piece of research has come out which looks to take the landmark Milgram experiments to the next level…
I admittedly don’t know an awful lot about the incident at Chapel Hill whereby an atheist gunned down three Muslims. As a skeptic, questions automatically come to mind, such as, given the notion that a lack of belief in a deity isn’t really enough content as a proposition to cause any action other than disbelief, then what really were the extra causal factors and motives behind the killings? There are many similar questions and discussions to be had.
This chap (to whom the series was directed), Scotty M, has replied to some of my points in the series on Free Market Economics. Unfortunately, he would rather rabidly bash away at You Tube than bring a civil discussion here.
The most common issue that Scotty faces is his predilection for straw manning positions by either misunderstanding them or wilfully employing some kind of bait and switch or intended mischaracterisation to fight against an imaginary foe.
Buckle up, this is another sizeable piece…
In this series looking skeptically at libertarian claims of free market capitalism being the holy grail of all of reality, I have come to the section where I cast a skeptical eye over some of the more common claims of libertarians. The claim appears to be that free market economics is responsible for the success of certain countries. I would like to set out here that, whilst this is true to some extent, it is not so obviously the case. Remember from previous posts, I am not advocating some kind of communist collectivism.
Perhaps I should call this article the No True Capitalism Apart From When It Suits ME. As I shall explain.
I have written a previous and lengthy piece to this debunking certain myths and pointing out certain problems with free market economics in its most fundamental ideal. This is all a result of a thread on a You Tube video which involved a somewhat hysterical libertarian who, aside from rude and immature snide remarks or open insults, and who invoked Danth’s Law at every possible moment, made myriad claims about capitalism, free market economics, corporatism and socialism.
I have told you before that Reasonable Doubts is my favourite podcast. Well, here is a great RD Extra podcast with Luke Galen, psychologist, looks skeptically at claims of religious people being kinder, more charitable, prosocial. So very worth a listen:
Fans de Waal is a crucial figure in the research into morality, fairness, reciprocal altruism and suchlike within the realm…
I wrote a chapter on morality in John Loftus’s recent anthology, Christianity Is Not Great. The book has received some…
Yes, you heard it here. My colleague on the Skepticule podcast, Anonymous Steve, has been instructed thusly. It is just an incredible story. For those of you in Britain, such stupidity must change. Here is how Paul Orton (thanks to him for this piece), one of the hosts of the show where we do our segments, puts it, from his blog Missing God Gene. If you can help, or know someone who can, then let us know. Please spread the word, spread the link and let’s get this sorted:
What’s the problem?
Steve, a British citizen of my acquaintance, has been instructed by a British judge to attend Roman Catholic mass with his children when he has custody of them, as part of a divorce settlement.
What follows is a guest post by a woman named Heather over in Australia. She is involved in something called microfinance through an organisation called Kiva. Kiva is something I got involved in since one of the Skepticule podcast hosts mentioned it in a discussion on morality following one of my Pearced Off segments.
As you will read, microfinance is way of doing charity through loaning out to worthy causes and then receiving the money back to loan out again. This empowers those borrowing to better their lives off their own backs, and gives them the leg up they often need.
On the Skeptic Ink back channels one of my writing colleagues was asking about genetic influences on homosexuality, in answer to a conversation with a reader about a book “My Genes Made Me Do It” which seems to decry the use of genetics to understand the determination of homosexuality.