All Posts Filed in ‘Philosophy

Steven Pinker during a lecture for Humanists UK
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Enlightenment Now

I went to see Stephen Pinker on Monday night, interviewed by Decca Aitkenhead of the Guardian, talking about his latest book, Enlightenment Now, an argument for science, rationalism and humanism. Bill Gates’ new favourite book apparently, knocking his previous favourite, Pinker’s  Better Angels of Our Nature, off the top spot.

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Indulgent purity

Some of us, maybe all of us to some extent, like our principles to be pure, unsullied by the messiness of reality.

WMAP by NASA
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Can there be a God of an infinite universe?

Not the kind of God that most people imagine. Not the kind of God listens to your prayers and maybe answers them, not the sort of God who might tell you to do certain things, like strap explosives to yourself and blow up a bus full of people. That kind of God couldn’t exist in …

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A conversation with The Professor

Why is Grandad old?

Because he was born along time ago.

But we’re not as old as Grandad. Why aren’t you as old as Grandad?

Because Grandad is my daddy. You can’t be older than your daddy, can you?

No! But Grandad will get older and older and older.

Yes.

And then he will die?

Yes.

And we will get older and older and older and then we will die. But that will be a very very long time.

Yes.

But we mustn’t talk about things like that.

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On sharing and toddler nature

The Professor’s mother mentioned how she thought some parents treated their children like little adults. She thought this was wrong. I asked her what she meant. Could she give me an example? All sorts of things could be described as trying to get children to behave like adults. Teaching them to walk, for instance, or …

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From Triund to Venus via the tenth dimension

There are dense toxic gases and bacteria the size of buses, but apart from that, unless you’re able to see in the tenth dimension, there’s not much on Venus. Some call it the ninth dimension, some the eleventh, some the first, some say it isn’t a dimension at all. It doesn’t really matter what you …

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Rishikesh, India

Back to the Swami Darmandanda lectures. Today I arrived early and Swami said he was pleased with the class, though there weren’t as many people there today. About 20, when usually there are 30, though nobody showed up late. On the way there the baba without a blanket who turned down my offer of 5 …

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Rishikesh, India

Having breakfast the fruit salad I ordered is taking ages to arrive. I’ve already had my coffee and cinnamon roll – would have preferred it if they’d come later, but you never get things in the order that you want them in India. I tell the waiter that if they haven’t done the fruit salad …