Monday, December 25, 2006

"I am your father!"

Pope Palpatine XVI (thanks, Dave) scares some little children . . . and I'm sure their skin color has nothing to do with anything.

"Join me! Together, we can bring order to the galaxy!"

Friday, December 22, 2006

Never Thought of It that Way. Good Point

Bruce Sterling observes:

Two percent of the planet's richest people now own fifty percent of the world. Hey, rich folks, you bought it, you fix it! If anything remotely practical gets done by the year 2012, it's obviously gonna get done by rich people. They own the works. Any "solution" that they can't buy and install is kinda silly.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Criminals Hide Behind Veils!

or maybe not.

Police seeking a man over the murder of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky are considering the theory he may have fled the UK dressed as a veiled Muslim woman.

It is understood West Yorkshire Police - who have not commented on reports about the veil theory - regard it only as one of a number of possibilities.[ . . . ]

Some newspaper reports have suggested Mr Jamma, a prime suspect in the fatal shooting, stole his sister's passport and wore a full niqab (a veil that totally obscures the face) to evade checks at Heathrow airport between Christmas Day last year and New Year's Day.
So, really, the niqab should be illegal for reasons of public safety and national security. It's got nothing at all, really, to do with religious discrimination or cultural paternalism.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Empire of Reason and the Denial of Irrationality

I'm only a lowly philosopher, not a scientist, so even as I chastise Dawkins and Harris* for engaging in scientism, or what I was calling radical-reductionist empiricism or hyperempiricism, many may discount my arguments as so much philosophical humbug in the face of the plain, limitless, and self-evident truth of Science (= empiricism). Which is why it's nice to see scientists say exactly what I'm saying, except, well, even better. Scott Atran, in a conference available at Edge, sums it up nicely:

I find it fascinating that brilliant scientists and philosophers have no clue how to deal with the basic irrationality of human life and society other than to insist against all reason and evidence that things ought to be rational and evidence based.
Maybe part of the problem is that we (modern learned culture) have decided that Freud (and Lacan) are so wrong that we don't believe any more in an irrational sub-conscious that cannot be rubbed out or conquered and that fucks with us when we ignore it.

Anyway, more on this conference to come, for sure.

*Harris is worse, actually, because he then insists on the importance of religiosity that he considers "scientific." Or something. And then there's the Islamophobia.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Humane is Halal

If you gotta eat mammals, and you insist on eating only kosher/halal, you can (and should) still insist that your meals be slaughtered as painlessly as technology can manage. Turns out you can stun cows (and sheep) and they bleed just fine, thank you very much.