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Culture

Prince plays the Superbowl

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Culture People

Apologists: lessons in how not to read

At some point, when time allows, I’ll share with you the extent of the confusion Christian apologists labour under. To generalise, this is a group that imagines themselves as Christian philosophers, and who take on the challenge of defending their belief system through what they imagine to be rational argumentation. Some even actively engage, and attempt to refute, arguments they encounter on non-theistic websites. Unfortunately, most of these non-theistic websites do civilization no favours themselves, as their rabid athiesm leads them to offer arguments nearly as poor as those of the theists. But sometimes the apologists don’t even bother trying to argue – they simply lie.

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Culture People

Drones in denial

Yes, I’m a bad person, etc. With that out of the way, let us begin with the following, from Frank Lampard, via The Guardian:

Consider Lampard’s reflections after a fortnight spent on Roman Abramovich’s yacht. “I suppose people imagine that as a Premiership footballer, my life is quite special,” he hazards. “I would agree, but those two weeks opened my eyes to another world.” Ah, a millionaire yearning to be a billionaire … is there anything more charmless?

At dinner last Friday night, our ragtag collection of Resistentialism were confronted by a tsunami of social disorder. The tsunami was fully embodied in one person, rather than the more typical distribution involving a group of people, each exhibiting one or more elements.

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Culture Headspace

Dumbing down

There are different kinds of silence; ours, I think, was an instinctive dread of catching the plague of dramatic rhetoric. People do not realize how insidiously, in certain circumstances, they can be infected by the rhetorical. And how important it is at least to try to shake it off. And to do so in the name of what seems a simple but is actually a perverse rule, that it is on the slippery confines between the banal and the mysterious that we only fleetingly brush against the never wholly grasped nature of things.
– Gustaw Herling

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Culture

Someone please save us from god

The fundamentalist machine of Christianity – and its attendant programme of social engineering – is gathering pace at an alarming rate. While public chastity vows have been a regular feature of parts of American society for 7 or so years, we’re now also able to take our teenage daughters to “chastity balls“, where fathers and their offspring can slow dance to songs about god’s love, and promise to protect/be protected from impurity until “the right time” arrives.

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Culture Headspace Politics

The evils of “Democracy”

It has frequently been commented that the US has a rather peculiar relationship with democracy, at least in an ideological sense. They trumpet its virtues and their pride in being democratic, and even sometimes start wars, ostensibly in defense of this political system. But if democracy means – as it surely does – that everyone gets to vote, and everyone’s vote counts equally, then how can we square the stated American commitment to democracy with the likelihood that Dubya would reject the outcome of any Iraqi election (for example) which placed a dedicated theocratic government in power, no matter how fair that election may have been?

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Culture Headspace

Agnostics

Truthdig has posted an interview with Sam Harris (previously discussed 1,2), in which he has an interesting answer to the question of what distinguishes an athiest from an agnostic.

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Culture Headspace Politics

Apathy #2

Does sitting on your hands mean that you should resist complaining? A friend claims that complaining is a natural part of human conversational fabric, whether or not one intends to try and resolve the issues that are being complained about. My argument was typically principled but highly impractical (as they often are), in that I was making the claim that unless you are prepared to try and effect change, you really don’t have the right to complain.

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Culture

Jesus update

So, the man behind the man who blessed the world with an alternative to Harry Potter, namely Michael Baigent (who, for those of you who don’t follow such esoterica, claimed – unsuccessfully – that Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code was plagiarised from Baigent’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail), has revealed that Jesus and Pontius Pilate colluded in faking the crucifixion.

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Academia and teaching Culture Headspace

Private intellectuals, public morons

My students are due to hand an essay in next week. Besides the typical whingeing relating to things like essay length (1500 words is apparently unreasonable these days), I’ve also had some students saying things like “if I had wanted to study museum subjects then I would be a Humanities student”. This, after I had the temerity to ask Economics students to read 2 pages of John Stuart Mill. By and large, this anti-intellectual culture seems to be thriving in the media also – this Sunday was typical, in that the weekend papers provided their usual 30-minute-maximum of diversion.