Friday, April 25, 2008

Latest news and views from The Mindful Hack ...

I must write an index next week, which may (= will) limit posting. I posted ten items today, and link them here for your convenience:

Things we know but cannot prove: Another nail in the coffin of materialism.

The fours be with you! (You will be "fours"ed to cooperate with this words/numbers game. (Hey, it's Friday night!)

Altruism: Why it can't really exist but why it does anyway

Evolutionary psychology: Eliot Spitzer is a kludgebrain!, psychologist opines (but so are we all)

Mind and medicine: The placebo effect - Did your doctor just prescribe you a quarter teaspoon of coloured sugar? Maybe ...

Materialism: When the store is on fire, hold a fire sale:
Excerpt: So this is the latest pseudo-explanation of the soul? I could do better myself! How about this: Minds that are accustomed to think in terms of a future have difficulty grasping the idea that there is no future after death.

Way simpler, to be sure, but materialists wouldn't buy it because I forgot to drag in the Paleolithic cave guys telling stories around the fireside - the staple of evolutionary psychology.

Fitna: A thoughtful Muslim's response The predicted riots largely didn't happen, but where to go from here?
Excerpt: And while we are here: Dial-a-mob/rent-a-riot behaviour is NOT copyright to Middle Eastern Muslims. I ran into the same thing among the American Ivy League elite in May 2005, when the New York Times bungled a story I broke on my other blog, The Post-Darwinist, claiming that a film about to be shown at the Smithsonian was "anti-evolution." It wasn't; it did not even address the subject. But zillions of Darwinbots, as I called them, behaved exactly as if it had. It's a good thing that no one gives them sharp objects to play with.

Rupert Sheldrake's guide to New Atheism (which makes it sound like New Coke, really)

Can a transplanted heart lead to transplanted thoughts? Well, maybe, but the mechanism might be fairly conventional.

Why science without God destroys itself: Because the alternative idea of a multiverse is a step into magic, that's why

By the way, regarding the fact that I no longer accept or display comments, a word of explanation, originally published at the Post-Darwinist (Sunday, April 20):

Some readers have written to ask why I disabled the Combox. Two reasons:

1. Time pressure. Interest in both the intelligent design controversy and the mind vs. materialism controversy has exploded. I cannot manage all my current desks nor train people fast enough without cutting back on all non-essential activities.

2. Canada's current "human rights" regime has created significant difficulties for bloggers with comboxes for which they are responsible. I am one of the people campaigning for reform, but I don't know when or whether reform will happen. If you want to know more about that kind of thing, go here or here.

If reform happens and I have the time, I will reenable the combox.

Since then one person has written to me, disputing that bloggers like me face serious dangers in Canada. I wish that person were correct, but he is not. I can only recommend checking out the Web sites linked above, and also "global content provider" Mark Steyn's recent column in historic Maclean's Magazine (Steyn himself has been charged and so has Maclean's.)

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