Stranger In An Even Stranger Land - blog by Gurdur

 




A blog of random jottings on events, science, renfairs, travel, reading, music, humanism, religion, atheism, and even the odd spot of gardening.

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You won't find ISIS in the brain or genes. The Daily Beast tries to sell you an imaginary Brooklyn Bridge

Posted 17-Mar-2015 at 07:01 PM (19:01) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Some people have big problems living with uncertainty, so they like to drastically amputate parts of reality till they find a vision they can live with. Perhaps in line with that, David Ewing Duncan (@Duncande) has written an article on the Daily Beast, in which it is generally opined you may find ISIS in the brain, or the genes, or both. No cliché remains unspurned in it, but it's the theology of the article that is the main problem. He starts off by saying:
Quote:
"Call it a tale of two brains:
...
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Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Some books on psychology, neurophilosophy, and neuromania/neurobollocks

Posted 16-Feb-2012 at 12:12 PM (12:12) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Feb-2012 at 03:14 PM (15:14) by Gurdur

So you want to model the human brain? So you think about how to simulate it? Been listening to Ray Kurzweil lately? Hang on, you're in for a rocky ride, because there are big, big problems in trying to do that. This is just a very quick blog post to give some reading material on various aspects of neurophilosophy. Since that's such a horribly complex area, then I add here some books thrown in in a random way on all sorts of tangential but important aspects. Anyone knowledgeable in this area will...
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Issues for the underground — discussing with Methodist renewalists and dissidents at Greenbelt and beyond

Posted 16-Sep-2011 at 08:05 AM (08:05) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 16-Sep-2011 at 02:33 PM (14:33) by Never (fixed a few typos)

In my last blog post, I gave some background to the Methodists in Britain. Now let's start to look at them in-depth. The Methodists started as an underground movement in the Church of England, wanting to reform, revitalize and redirect the CofE, and along the way being very active in campaigns such as prison reform and ending slavery. Owing to their own confusion at times as to direction, and to disapproval and occasional repression from the establishment of the day, they eventually formed their...
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Is it possible alcohol, sleeping-pills or antidepressants can cause a pampered celebrity to love Hitler?

Posted 22-Jun-2011 at 06:58 PM (18:58) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 22-Jun-2011 at 07:17 PM (19:17) by Gurdur

British fashion-designer John Galliano is now up in a French court to answer on charges arising from two incidents, in which in one he is accused of hurling anti-Semitic insults at customers and indulging in other stupid conduct in a Paris café. After a third incident, of which you can see for yourself video footage of Galliano making nasty remarks and saying how he loves Hitler (recorded on a mobile phone), he lost his job at fashion house Dior.

The trial begins today; he is charged...
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The Rowan Williams and Terry Eagleton discussion on New Atheism - disappointing, vague, and badly incomplete

Posted 01-Dec-2010 at 04:12 PM (16:12) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 02-Dec-2010 at 12:50 PM (12:50) by Gurdur

So, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the philosopher, Terry Eagleton, got together for a discussion titled, "Responses to the New Atheism". The discussion was held on Friday 19 November 2010 at Great St Mary's Church, Cambridge, and the audience was over 1,200, packed into the church. It was hosted by the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. Both Terry Eagleton and Archbishop Rowan Williams are authors of numerous books on religion and philosophy of religion, and both are...
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Susan Blackmore recants on theory of religion as virus

Posted 16-Sep-2010 at 07:22 PM (19:22) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)

Susan Blackmore has recanted on her previously-held theory of religion being analogous to some kind of viral infection, a mind-virus. In a piece on the Guardian, she explains why; but it is all a very odd article by her. In that article, Susan Blackmore makes a dichotomy between "viral" and "adaptive"; that is simply erroneous. Blackmore doesn't think a viral infection can be helpful; as a hard and fast principle, she's wrong on that. She juxtaposes bacteria against viruses; that doesn't hold in...
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Morality and ethics, religion and atheism, objectivity and subjectivity

Posted 16-Feb-2010 at 02:47 AM (02:47) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 30-Mar-2010 at 03:15 PM (15:15) by Gurdur

Morality is always a bit of a big problem for everyone, including atheists. Ethics and morality are actually very difficult subjects, and there are a lot of myths commonly present in people's thinking about the area. Morality is also the best argument against theism, against religion -- but after doing the moral argument against religion to a satisfactory degree, too often then many atheists then simply become confused and incoherent afterwards on the area, or they get only all too coherent but...
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If your date lies to you : More on intent and some atheists' problems with intentionality

Posted 04-Feb-2010 at 03:48 PM (15:48) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 30-Mar-2010 at 12:03 PM (12:03) by Gurdur

If your date lies to you, and lies to you maliciously or in a shoddy excuse for bad behaviour, then it is because your date is an arsehole, not because your date is a pathological liar, which in all likelihood your date is not.

This video has been minimised in size since it is being used only for providing music.


That above is the summation given by a very good entry on a psychiatrist's blog I read very recently, and it is a very good summation. The psychiatrist blogger gave reasons for his judgment, but I would like to add some of my own...
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Intentions, atheists, intentionality, religion, the problem of evil - an uneasy mix

Posted 04-Feb-2010 at 02:44 AM (02:44) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 30-Mar-2010 at 11:38 AM (11:38) by Gurdur

Humans are a mixture of often-conflicting things. Humans tend to be born neutral, and many stay that way their whole life-times, since it takes real effort to be either markedly good or bad. Add to that that much of the time many are all out to sea with no compass when it comes to talking about what is good and what is bad, and that includes those such as the religious believers who like to talk a lot about evil, yet are totally confused about it.

The problem of evil is a huge problem...
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Defending slavery in the name of liberty: and how some atheists are against free will

Posted 12-Sep-2009 at 02:39 AM (02:39) by Gurdur (Stranger In An Even Stranger Land)
Updated 27-Mar-2010 at 06:58 AM (06:58) by Gurdur

What growing boy's heart does not beat faster on reading Eric Frank Russell's rather brilliant SF story, And Then There Were None?

The story was first published in 1951; the short story was then bundled along with two other short stories to collectively form the SF novel The Great Explosion, first published as such in 1962, but reprinted in 1993; I will look around later to see if I can find a more recent reprinting of it in any anthology (the short story And Then There Were None...
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