Monday, January 16, 2017

God/Ungod. Getting Beyond the Debates.

Been a long time since I posted anything new. Fitting I suppose that I end with the same topic that drew me into philosophy in the first place - the whole theist/other debate.

General daily internet procrastination led me, via a random youtube walk, from "The Big Fat Quiz of the 80s" to "What's Stephen Fry doing now..?" and I was surprised to find the wonderful Mr. Fry, alongside Christopher Hitchens, involved in a debate on whether religion is a force for good in the world. Fry's statements, more from the heart at times perhaps, than the head, moved me the most - despite the other three contenders being more... polished if you like, more confident, practiced, sure of effect - more focussed on well, winning. Here's the vid. Long, but not a bad way to kill an hour or so.

 Some more procrastination later... I slogged through another rendition of the same debate - again with a now unfortunately ill Hitchens - this time contending the topic against ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blaire. I watched with much the same expectations as you would hold when clicking on a funny gif on Pintrest, to see someone take a pratfall, or at least get a bunch of snow shoved down their pants.
However, those expectations were not met.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Drone Army

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The argument for drones is pretty much the same argument as for any of the new smart weapon systems. Less people killed, the right people killed. Not pretty, but makes perfect sense; better to snipe, than to blindly shotgun everything with your fingers crossed. Very surgical, like Dr. House with a kalashnikov, shooting cancer, unconventional - but great TV. Or "Wall-e goes to Iraq" maybe. Oh, hang on, Wall-e has already gone to Iraq.

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Well, that saved me half-an-hour on photoshop. Thank you internet.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Practice of Beneficent Death.

Let's talk about Euthanasia. Anyway. Eu-Thana-sia. What is it..? Where does it come from..?

Well, 'Eu' means 'good' as in utopia. Uh, eutopia. For some reason they fucked up the spelling somewhere, and now everyone thinks utopia means 'noplace', but it actually means 'goodplace'. 'Good' is a bit lame though in my book, so let's dub it 'beneficent' instead - a little more vavoom. And 'thana' stemming from the old God of death, as any Sandman-fan will know - Thanatos. 'Sia' gets tacked on to make it doable.

Leaving us with "the practice of beneficent death."

Chills.

I'm a bit of a bastard on the sly. I'd quite happily dispose of half the populace of the planet without them actually having to be old and infirm. Where you might think that puts me at a disadvantage - being as I am the white knight in this - it doesn't. Being able to think like a bastard allows me to see what would happen if euthanasia did become an accepted practice in wider society. It ain't pretty.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Ethics Lesson

Sometimes my professionalism slips for a week or so, and instead of discussing the usual run-of-the-mill conversational bullshit, I throw my students a bone of contention to gnaw on. A couple of weeks ago it was some of Kholberg's classic moral dilemmas. I'd better quickly mention I teach young adults at university level. The first dilemma to go under the microscope of the young and hormonally disturbed mind was this one - concerning money and family indebtedness:
Ali is a fourteen-year-old boy who wants to go to a summer camp. His father promises he can go if he earns the money himself. So Ali works hard and saves 400 TL, enough for the camp. But just before camp starts, his father changes his mind. Some of Ali’s father’s friends have decided to go on a fishing trip, and Ali’s father doesn’t have enough money to go. So he tells Ali to give him the money he saved for camp. Ali still wants to go to camp, so he thinks of refusing to give his father the money.
      What should Ali do..? And why..?
Anyway, after giving the little darlings a couple of minutes to think it through, I asked them what they thought Ali should do. The answers were pretty much universal - a big fat "No teacher, Ali shouldn't give his money to his father." A few said they'd fork it over, but they didn't feel too happy about it. 'Grudgingly' was the adverb they were looking for I think.

Part of what I do is to keep conversations going, and just about the best way to do this is to piss people off. Well, erm okay, not piss them off so much as to try and get them to re-think what they've said. Luckily, this almost always boils down to the same thing. Gotta love my job in this respect, it's not often middle-aged leather-elbow-patchers like me get paid to mess with teenage heads.