Viewing posts tagged dawkins

Shabcast 23, Part 2 - New Atheism is the Opium of Misogynists, Islamophobes, and Imperialists

Yes, I use the Oxford comma.  I use it because it is sensible, stylish, and clarifying.

Oh, and this is Part 2 of Shabcast 23, featuring the continuation of my latest chat with Daniel Harper.  I think the title is pretty much self-explanatory. 

That's my thing now.  Self-explanatory titles.  And Oxford commas.  They're my thing too now.  And irrelevant commentary on my own style.

Self-explanatory titles, irrelevant commentary on my own style, and Oxford commas.

See, they're nice aren't they?  If that comma hadn't been there, before the 'and', it could've looked like I was saying I now make irrelevant comments about my own style and about Oxford commas. 

And clearly I would never make irrelevant comments about Oxford commas.

*

By the way, here's a link to Rebecca Watson's video (referred to in the Shabcast), in which she mentions (in passing) that a guy tried to chat her up in a hotel elevator in the wee small hours, and that, guys, it's probably not a good idea to do that.  That bit starts around 4:30.

Further to the discussions about ...

"Being without becoming" - Disjointed Thoughts on Dialectics and the Third Doctor, Part 1

"Being without becoming [is] an ontological absurdity" says the Doctor in 'The Time Monster'.

He's talking about time, about the fact that time is - by definition - a process of change.  Time is what entropy looks like to those of us in the midst of it.  Entropy increases, thus time's arrow goes forward.  'Becoming' is just a way of saying 'change'.  Everything is always in the process of becoming something else.  Every apple is in the process of becoming a rotten apple, or an eaten apple, or seeds resown.  'Ontology' is the fancy name used by philosophers to mean the study of what it means for things to exist, to be real.  The Doctor is saying: "the idea of things being frozen in time is inherently absurd because things that don't change effectively don't exist".

Though, of course, in 'The Time Monster', things and people do get frozen in time.  The story shows us something happening which has already been established as impossible.  It's almost as if we are being explicitly invited to read the story metaphorically.

This is something that doesn't quite happen in 'The ...

The Wank Delusion

Sexist image alert.

Dom Kelly brought this to my attention, with his pithier comment: "*vomits*"


Okay, let's examine this in what some might say was far too much detail.

Reason is sexy because one conventionally 'attractive' woman reads books by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, et al, and throws away a Bible.  In the nude.

Right...

1.  It is assumed that this picture - i.e. the person in it - represents 'sexiness'.  But the whole concept of what is sexy is subjective - far more so than is admitted by consumerist media culture, to which this image owes its entire idea of sexiness.  The image is catering for only one idea of what is sexually alluring: the idea of the straight, cis-het male.  He's probably assumed to be white as well.  The image, including the person in it, is arranged for the gaze of this intensely privileged group.  This is 'reason'?

2.  Because one sexy person is an atheist, that doesn't make Atheism itself sexy.  Systems of thought, ideological doctrines, persuasions of belief, scientific theories and hypotheses... in short: ideas... are not open to judgement based on the perceived ...

If Only We Had a Reasonable Negotiating Partner...

Anniversary of the Nakba today, an event that shaped the modern world, creating a festering sore of injustice that still infects global politics.

Also, less importantly, the origin of a situation that provides the basis for a vast number of trite, naive, glib, uninformed political allegories in sci-fi TV shows.

The Silurians got the treatment in their first reappearance in the new series, 'The Hungry Earth' / 'Cold Blood' (2010).

The funny thing is that, wheras the intentional Palestine allegory worked up in these episodes doesn't fit the real facts, patronises the oppressed, excuses the oppressors, etc, the accidental allegory works.  Indeed, it chimes surprisingly well witth the Silurians generally.  Every time the Silurians come back they are still squeezed out, displaced, outnumbered... and every time they are condemned when they dare to get angry about it, and exhorted by the liberal hero to stay indefinitely patient, warned that if they don't then they'll have lost the moral high ground, effectively informed that its up to them to be forebearing to the people who've stolen their world. And they never get anywhere near getting redress or restitution.

Most recently, the solution offered to the matter ...

Binro Was Right

This is a rejigged new version of something originally posted at the old site.  I've snipped a few irrelevancies and amplified some conclusions.  Oh, and it's dedicated to Iain Cuthbertson and Timothy Bateson, both of whom died last year.



'The Ribos Operation' seems, at first glance, to present the cosmic conflict between Good and Evil, spiralling downwards from a meeting with a quasi-God in a surreal conceptual landscape, downwards into a story about the vast conquest plans of an interplanetary warlord, further downwards into a heist caper about two semi-comic con-men, and then further downwards into a short meeting between and old man and a young man in a little flea-ridden hovel... yet it's in the hovel that we find the real message of the story.  But is Binro right?

Well, he's right about the stars being suns circled by inhabited worlds (just like his somewhat-more mystical and flamboyant progenitor Giordano Bruno, who was burnt at the stake by the Church for, effectively, founding science-fiction... fair enough, some would say). But, in the wider sense, isn't the story's most moving and thematically vital scene compromised by what goes on around it ...

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