Archive for April, 2017

Moral Relativist


(Jesus and Mo) – Moses:

“I’m a moral relativist. I don’t judge people like you guys do.” …

jesusandmo basis

Jesus and Mo 2017-04-26: Basis


2010: The Year We Make Contact


(Syfy Wire) – Brittany Vincent:

2010 gives us our first real glimpse at a version of immortality and a life beyond the stars. It doesn’t tease us with a monolith or a hallucinatory trip that we must decipher on our own. The end of the Soviet mission eventually ends with the warning to humanity to “stay away from Europa,” Jupiter’s moon, which Bowman and HAL work to accomplish (as they’ll later become one combined entity in Clarke’s novel series, interestingly enough) but the movie’s a whole lot more than that. …

blastr 2017-4-28 2010

2010: The Year We Make Contact

The First Hundred Days


(New Yorker::Borowitz Report) – Andy Borowitz:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized the media on Friday for placing so much emphasis on Donald Trump’s first hundred days, because “it’s so darn hard to count to a hundred.” …

borowitz-report a-hundred

Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos

Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 4)


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

OK, let’s wrap this whole messy marketplace thing up…

goodticklebrain romeo-and-juliet-314

Mya Gosling: Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 4)

Religion – Symbiote or Parasite?


( – Valerie Tarico:

Given that our world is plagued by religious conflict and cruelties, some antitheists have suggested that religion as a whole is a form of pathology. But as worried and angry as we may feel about religious harms, here is a reason this way of construing religion doesn’t quite work: The term pathology implies illness and disability, and not all forms of religion appear to cause harm, even when they contain contagious ideas that are false. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-4

The Human Mind as a Host for Contagious Ideas


( – Valerie Tarico:

I like to think that I am the master of my thoughts – that I generate and control them and that they serve my own purposes. But that is only one way to look at things. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-3

Why We Pass on False Ideas


( – Valerie Tarico:

We are vastly more intelligent than pigeons but, also, our lives are vastly more complex. And one thing we do that pigeons can’t is spread superstitions by word of mouth. But we don’t just pass on anything and everything. The superstitious information we share is mostly stuff that is perfectly suited to take advantage of our blind spots and logical glitches, exploiting our dependence on the powerful subconscious processes that enable thinking fast.

It feels real. Very real.

And that, in an odd way, is by design. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-2

The Brain-Changing Power of Religious Belief


( – Valerie Tarico:

I wonder if religious belief might be best construed not as psychopathology but as something related that I called a socio-pathology. By this I meant a delusional system that has its root not in a biological malfunction but rather in a malfunction of social information flow.

I now think that hunch was only partly right. To explain, I need to delve into the nature of the human mind, the nature of ideas, and the nature of religion – with a little help from bacteria. …

valerietarico bacteria-religion-part-1

Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 3)


(Good Tickle Brain) – Mya Gosling:

In case you’ve forgotten where we left off with Romeo and Juliet, everything was going to hell in a handbasket. …

goodticklebrain romeo-and-juliet-313

Mya Gosling: Romeo and Juliet: Act 3, Scene 1 (part 3)

A Tao For One


(FTB stderr) – Marcus Ranum:

So I come to The Tao. There are assertions in the Tao Te Ching, and surrounding it – unsupported assertions. Assertion: it was written by a really smart guy one day. Assertion: there is a “balance” to life and it’s all very nebulous and it does not appear to be a real ‘thing’ so much as it’s an emergent property of all the things. Assertion: we know wisdom when we encounter it. I’ve met people who interpret The Tao as everything ranging from Dharma/Karma to the Universe or conservation laws. I’m willing to keep it at the newtonian action/reaction level, which is pretty Taoist, if you think about it. …

stderr tao-for-one

Statue of Lao Tze