What a great culmination of some of my favourite things: funky organ music, beatboxing, comedy and particle physics. I am a big Fan of Dr. Reggie Watts.
Possibly a bit of a sensationalist headline, but there is a key take-away in the final graf about battling anti-atheism:
“If you manage to offer credible counteroffers of these stereotypes, this can do a lot to undermine people’s existing prejudice,” he said. “If you realize there are all these atheists you’ve been interacting with all your life and they haven’t raped your children that is going to do a lot do dispel these stereotypes.”
Being vocal, standing up and being counted, coming out of the closet, conciousness-raising: this is how many censured social groups have overcome prejudiced attitudes. Like women, gays and racial/class minorities atheists too must also use these strategies to defend themselves and ultimately gain acceptance. This is the thinking behind things like The Out Campaign and other efforts by “outspoken” atheists.
I cannot make you come out, or burn the closet down around you. I can only encourage you to come out by letting you know there are many, many of us like you. Please make your voice heard.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
This book was a much more difficult read than his earlier books Letter and End of Faith. Rather than a popular, NYT best seller list-type book, this seems to target a more scientific audience. It should be studied rather than simply read. Moral Landscape is a very technical book both in terms of philosophy and neuroscience. Chapter 1, the introduction of the moral landscape concept, and Chapter 4, the teardown of religion and Francis Collins in particular, are the most accessible parts of the book. In between are some seriously academic chapters. It is all very interesting, however I wish he would have kept the academics in the endnotes to make the book flow more for non-technical readers. Unfortunately the endnotes are a mix of academic references and some good commentary, which turns things into a bit of a slog. That said, it is an amazingly ambitious book that could change the relationship between modern science and ethics, and well worth the read. To get a taste of the controversy, check out the TED talk (and resulting commentary) that made me pre-order the book right away.
The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization.
Abstracts and subsequent essays should be philosophically substantial but accessible, written to engage the intelligent lay reader. Contributors of accepted essays will receive an honorarium.
Possible themes and topics might include, but are not limited to, the following:
Pray: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
The Germans are disputing it! Hegel is arguing that reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.
If lightning is the anger of the gods, the gods are concerned mostly with trees.
The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is that vampires are allergic to bullshit.
Also, don't forget to check out Lining Things Up, my interview show featuring the creatives & entrepreneurs building the digital economy of Vancouver and British Columbia.