Category Archives: mortality

The good and bad of humanity

It is a truism of both religion and biology that humans are simultaneously selfish and altruistic.  The faithful say the selfishness comes from original sin and the goodness from God, while the biologist imputes our selfishness to evolution (for how better can you ensure propagation of your genes than by taking care of yourself and […]

When did morality and moral responsibility begin?

Readers here will know that, being a determinist, I’d prefer to dispense with the term “moral responsibility,” replacing it with the simply idea of “responsibility.” That’s because I don’t think we have dualistic free will that would allow us to decide between doing “right” and “wrong”. If that’s the case, then why add the adjective […]

Robin Ince on why we don’t need religion

On his eponymous website, Robin Ince—comedian, writer, and co-host of the popular “The Infinite Monkey Cage”—has a nice piece on “Do we need religion to be a decent society“?  He’s an atheist, so of course the answer is “no!”.  The post is actually Ince’s notes for a debate he had two days ago: On Saturday, […]

Jesus ‘n’ Mo(rality)

I and others have spent hundreds of words trying to say what this cartoon conveys in just four panels.  Today’s Jesus and Mo is, by the artist’s admission, inspired by the recent and fatuous lucubrations of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: h/t: Ant

Baggini vs. Krauss on science, philosophy, and morality

Several readers sent me a link to yesterday’s Guardian dialogue between philosopher Julian Baggini and physicist Lawrence Krauss, “Philosophy v. science: Which can answer the big questions of life?” You should read it. Baggini has previously taken strong stands against “scientism” (which he defines in this piece as the insistence “that, if a question isn’t […]

Illegal ivory sold in New York

The New York Times reported yesterday on the arrest of two New York jewelry dealers for selling illegally poached ivory. The illegal goods weighed more than a ton—equivalent to 100 dead elephants. The case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, reflects an unsettling trend. Last year, some 24 tons of ivory was seized around […]

Anniversary: landmark legislation for women’s rights

Today (June 23) marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the U. S. Congress’s “Education Amendments of 1972″, which was signed into law by Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972. In 37 brief words, Congress eliminated discrimination against women in educational institutions. Section 1681. Sex (a) Prohibition against discrimination; exceptions. No person in the United States shall, […]

Readers’ tributes to Hitchens: The final day, with music.

Here are the last three tributes to Hitchens proffered by our readers. I wanted to save the first one for the last day because it’s so lovely, elegiac and creative.  Reader Andrew Hackett composed a piece of music, “in memoriam: c e h” and made a video of himself playing it on the organ.  It’s […]

Readers’ tributes to Hitchens: Part 7

This will be the last collective tribute to Hitch, although there are a few miscellaneous items I’ll post soon, and a special musical tribute tomorrow.  As you might have expected, most of the tributes to the man involved amber restoratives, and I’ve put the remaining ones here. From Hempenstein, an old college pal of mine, […]

Readers’ tributes to Hitchens: Part 6

There are still enough of these for a few more days, and, surprisingly, a few are still trickling in.  If you have something worth showing, do send it along. Landon Ross sent in two pictures, and I decided to use both of them. In the first, he’s with Hitch: One could tell he was always […]

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