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Showing posts from May, 2020

Cummings and rule breaking

Had Cummings simply panicked and driven to Durham because of concerns about his children, well that's human and perhaps forgivable. But, looking at his story in the round, many of us are left with a different impression: 1. that Cummings repeatedly and deliberately flouted the rules designed to protect us all - rules that he helped draft and that others in the same position followed, and 2. that he exhibits the kind of knee-jerk, arrogant I'll-do-what-I-want attitude typical of someone used to being plugged into power and privilege. It appears that: 1. Cummings did not just break the lock down rules once. He did so repeatedly. The suspicion is that he did so so that his family could enjoy being in the countryside and have the opportunity to visit tourist spots, rather than being holed up in their house central London. Certainly, his explanation makes little sense - particularly the part where he decided to test his eyesight by driving his whole family

The Evil God Challenge - the Academic Paper and the Movie!

You can download a copy of my The Evil God Challenge (most viewed paper of the journal Religious Studies of the last decade, I'm told) here: THE EVIL GOD CHALLENGE PDF You can watch the 3 minuted animated version here on VIMEO (it's a Staff Pick): EVIL GOD CHALLENGE - THE MOVIE

A Field Guide To Bullshit - my interview in New Scientist

In case you missed it: New Scientist: A Field Guide To Bullshit How do people defend their beliefs in bizarre conspiracy theories or the power of crystals? Philosopher Stephen Law has tips for spotting their strategies You describe your new book, Believing Bullshit , as a guide to avoid getting sucked into “intellectual black holes”. What are they? Intellectual black holes are belief systems that draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves of claptrap. Belief in homeopathy, psychic powers, alien abductions – these are examples of intellectual black holes. As you approach them, you need to be on your guard because if you get sucked in, it can be extremely difficult to think your way clear again. But isn’t one person’s claptrap another’s truth? There’s a belief system about water to which we all sign up: it freezes at 0 °C and boils at 100 °C. We are powerfully wedded to this but that doesn’t make it an intellectual black hole. That’s because these beli

Philosophy of Happiness - a short introduction

INTRO   Here’s a short introduction to some of the most fascinating philosophical issues about happiness. We are going to look at three key questions:   Is happiness just about feeling good , or is there more to it than that? Is feeling good always what motivates us? And: Is increasing happiness always morally the right thing to do?   1. ANCIENT AND MODERN CONCEPTIONS OF HAPPINESS   Happiness is elusive – something we work hard to achieve, yet rarely seem to find. Indeed, as T.S. Elliot reminds us, the harder we strive to attain happiness, the more quickly it seems to recede over the horizon.   We see them everywhere, those trying desperately for happiness: pitifully chasing clouds of butterflies, laughing too loud, drinking too much, buying too much, working too hard; hating themselves.   Perhaps one of the reasons happiness is hard to achieve is that it’s not entirely clear what we are after. So let’s begin by asking: what is happiness? Nowaday