Femmostroppo Reader – October 25, 2010

Items of interest found recently in my RSS feed.What did I miss? Please share what you've been reading (and writing!) in the comments.

Disclaimer/SotBO: a link here is not necessarily an endorsement of all opinions of the post author(s) either in the particular post or of their writing in general.


Categories: linkfest

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5 replies

  1. I just discovered the blog of the science consultant to The Big Bang Theory. Lots of fun.

  2. Is atheism a belief?

    I would have answered yes, but it’s a technical dispute. Greta Christina says that “If atheism is a belief, then any conclusion we can’t be 100-percent certain of is a belief. And that’s not a very useful definition of the word ‘belief.’ With the exception of certain mathematical and logic conclusions (along the lines of ‘if A and B are true, then C is true’), we don’t know anything with 100-percent certainty.” I’m fine with that meaning of belief: an opinion about reality, essentially. And yes, that means that everything we think about reality is a belief. I still find it a useful word when I consider matters epistemological (which is rarely at the moment, but there we are). It’s funny what people consider to be useful words and otherwise.
    I’ve never really been totally on the side of Atheism is Nothing Like a Religion! It’s a position one takes on matters spiritual, or on dualism, etc. That’s something it has in common with religion. I certainly wouldn’t call it a religion, but a belief about religion or a belief about reality and similar framings is fine with me (as an atheist, and materialist, of the “the evidence suggests that the universe is a weird and unlikely place, but in ways unexplained by any religious framework I’ve heard of” variety).

    • Is atheism a belief?
      I would have answered yes, but it’s a technical dispute.

      Exactly, especially when with respect to religion there is an edifice of Belief versus simple beliefs about reality. Atheism is the lack of that special theistic Belief, but obviously it must involve what people believe or don’t believe about reality.

      I’ve never really been totally on the side of Atheism is Nothing Like a Religion!

      I sorta am, because I view Atheism as a reaction to/against imposed religion rather than a Belief system actively competing with religion. Religion is organised Belief, and despite a few conventions here and there, there’s nothing organised about Atheism.

  3. That’s certainly a major point of difference, I agree: I think I move in such pluralistic circles religion-wise that I very rarely see the organised aspects of it and thus it is the fact of having a belief rather than the acting out and sharing of that belief that I think of when I think of religion as I personally encounter it.

  4. I love love love the hitler-dolphin wordplay re confidence without jerkiness. I repeated it to a workmate earlier, and she laughed her head off.

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