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Links With Your Coffee - Saturday


  • » Does Money Make You A Bastard?
    According to some reports recently reviewed by the New Scientist (Why money messes with your mind) just thinking about money makes you less likely to help other people and less likely to trust them, too. It’s possible that money stimulates some people’s pleasure centres, and for them money is a distal turn-on, maybe even the focus of addiction. There may also be a connection between money and our appetite for food — individuals are less likely to give to charity if they feel hungry, and more likely to pig out if they think about having plenty of cash.

  • The New Atheist Movement is destructive - Fri Tanke
    “What do you think about the four horsemen?” It's a question I often get asked, quite understandably, since I wrote the Very Short Introduction to atheism. That book provides no answer, because it came out before Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens unleashed their apocalypse. But surely I must have an opinion on the biggest phenomenon in popular atheism since Bertrand Russell?

    Well I do, but it comes with one huge caveat: I have not read any of their books. That does not, however, disqualify me from having an opinion about them. Let me defend both apparently intellectually disreputable confessions.

  • Is 'the new atheism' destructive?

    A response

  • Doublespeak Dictionary

  • Heresy Corner: Sarah Palin and the Scientologist
    It has been a while since this blog brought you news of the redoubtable governor of Alaska. This hasn't been for want of material. Back in January came the launch of Sarah Palin's Political Action Committee, thought by many to be evidence of her grand ambition to topple Barack Obama in 2012. Then last month news broke of the collapse amid mutual recrimination of the engagement between Bristol Palin and the father of her child - an engagement that seems to have been invented to make the Republican faithful less sniffy about the whole unmarried teenage mom thing in the run-up to November's election.

    Of course Palin has never been one to let a little family embarrassment get in the way of her mission, and it would seem that her campaign for the White House is already in full swing.

  • AC Grayling: Moves by the Islamic conference will destroy free speech | Comment is free |
    Facts speak for themselves. Omid Reza Mir Sayafi, 29, a journalist and blogger, has taken his own life in Evin prison in Iran, where he was serving a two-year sentence for "insulting Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamenei", and awaiting further trial for "insulting sacred values", which would have meant more years in prison. He was a sensitive man, who blogged mainly about music and the arts, and imprisonment was a hellish experience for him; he was reported to be profoundly depressed and anxious.

    Safayi is yet another victim of religion. If the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has its way, it will become impossible to make such a remark.

  • Undersea eruptions near Tonga - The Big Picture - (tip to Patrick)c X




Re: Destructive "New Atheism"

Haven't we heard this oh, like, a million times already? This guy even says he's not read the books, and it was obvious. Who is he, and why did people give him so much attention?

The response (next link) is right-on, but it's also so obvious.

I pay more attention when the person speaking is a philosopher. They may still be wrong, but I listen to their arguments.

I wasn't knocking on you particularly Norm, it was more on the Dawkins site I guess. But why is this different than other philosophers and theologians that have said pretty much the same. I thought you were quoting him ironically, by the way, seeing how you chose to end the quote when he states he never read the books.

Something that I've heard again and again... from scientists I trust implicitly, is "nothing is obvious".

I instinctively recoil from such a statement, thinking about such inane truisms as 1+1=2... but remind myself from time to time to relax a bit. There's a lot to understand from "nothing is obvious".

First, I remind myself of the fact that I'm worm food in the making. There are hordes of people that cannot benefit from the baby steps we make, unless we are willing to plainly articulate these steps. It may not make for the best use of your reading time, but well-reasoned thought, jotted down, can persuade through the ages. At least that is the hope -- one that has driven efforts since the enlightenment.

If I could suggest a reading list for Fri Tanke, I would put Dennett's "Breaking the Spell" at the top (having read all books from the 4 horsemen myself). My reasoning is that Dennett's work stands WAY apart from the rest in that it is written FOR the religious. Tanke could not possibly suspect that this is the case unless he has read the book, a critique of the book that happens to mention this point (I know of none), or this post. If you're out there, Fri Tanke, read "Breaking the Spell". Quit assuming so much, merely because you think your grey grease thinks just fine without any more input.

Failing that, quit making the case that others should assume so much. There's a lot of folks out there... in all kinds of stages of development. So appreciate that -- and do what you can to advance knowledge. Then you can go feed the worms.

The volcano pictures are awesome. Thanks for the link.

While I'm glad to see that your irrational fear and hatred of Sarah Palin continues unabated - were I a crafty liberal, I might call you a "Palinophobe" - it raises an important question:

What if Sarah Palin could have done a better job?

Disregard the fact that she was only the VP candidate, not the Presidential candidate, since all you Kool-Aiders violently attack her as if she were running for the top position.

She's more qualified than the man who currently holds it.

She has actual executive experience.

She's run a government office in a fiscally responsible manner.

It certainly seems she couldn't have done a worse job. Not when you have King Obama unable to even keep a straight face while pretending to be outraged by the AIG bonuses he not only knew about, but his administration created. Not when he can't stop himself from cracking up and making fun of the disabled on Leno (what the hell is the President doing on Leno anyway)? Not when he can't stop giggling and tittering about the economic situation on 60 Minutes - making such an ass of himself that the interviewer even asks him if he's "punch drunk".

Of course this is no surprise to those of us who bothered to actually investigate the guy, who learned before the election that he was nothing but an ambitious, bitter, angry, self-centered stuffed shirt. But I imagine it's a great surprise to you folks who blindly voted for him, who refuse to see him for what he is but continue to project onto him your own overinflated self-image.

Which handily explains your continued hatred of Sarah Palin: subconsciously you realize what a horrible decision you made, and you are just too stubborn and embarrassed to admit it. You're like kids who got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, so you scream about how your brother broke the vase. Anything to avoid admitting you screwed up.

I love the executive experience argument. First of all, every 7-ll manager has executive experience. Secondly Palin has one of the worst attendance records of any governor since it became an elected position.

He is laughing at you jjj, he is laughing at you!

bwahahahahaha I'm laughing at you jjj.

what a waste of fingers.


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