Monday 27 September 2010

Burnee links for Monday

(As will be evident, some of these links date from well before the Pope's visit.)

We must learn morality from each other, not God | Mary Warnock | Comment is free |
More fallout from Stephen Hawking's latest pronouncement.

Johann Hari: Catholics, it's you this Pope has abused - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
There's an increasing amount of pope-crit in the media as Benny's visit approaches. My guess is that he will simply ignore it. What we won't get is anything like an apology.

Welcome to my dream school | Education | The Guardian
Some people simply complain about "education today". For once, here are some positive, concrete ideas.

‘Rendering unto God that which is Caesar’s’: the fatal flaw at the heart of the Vatican - Paula Kirby -
Hypocrisy exposed.

The pope's priestly model: a rabid, self-harming tyrant | John Cornwell | Comment is free | The Guardian
Even Catholics are now anti-Catholic.

Sex and death lie at the poisoned heart of religion | Polly Toynbee | Comment is free | The Guardian
She's so ... militant! But she's right, and the Pope's visit has created a media opportunity for such things to be said. People are interested. They might not agree, but they no longer see the humanist viewpoint as marginal.

A rather unchristian school admissions policy? | Education | The Guardian
A perfect example of why faith schools are in general a bad idea.

A secularist manifesto | Evan Harris | Comment is free |
Ten excellent points, plus this:
If you agree with all the above, while you may be an ardent secularist, you are in no way "militant" or "aggressive". If you agree with only most of that manifesto, you may well be a vicar. If you oppose it all then you are probably archbishop material.
A dead end on the God debate | Mark Vernon | Comment is free |
I watched the live stream of this debate, and was underwhelmed. Not that I expected much, but it was a bit too whiny. (Though there were some good questions from the live audience.)

Times Higher Education - The dogma delusion
More on the "so-called" conflict between science and religion. Here's a snippet from a long article:
David Wilkinson, principal of St John's College at Durham University, is the kind of person whose very existence seems to baffle and offend Richard Dawkins, Peter Atkins and their like: a scientist, with a background in theoretical astrophysics, who has become a theologian and a Methodist minister.
It baffles me too.
"I became a Christian at the age of 17," he recalls, "at the same time as I began to study physics at Durham, so my faith and science have grown up together. Any doubts I have had don't come from the laboratory but from age-old philosophical challenges such as the prevalence of evil and suffering in the world, to which I don't have any easy answers. Science has enriched my faith and theology far more than it has raised difficult questions.
Difficult questions such as "What evidence have you for the actual existence of your god?"? The finer theological points are all very well, but without first establishing the existence of the deity, they count for nothing.

No, sorry, I don't see it. If belief in God is a matter of faith, then it's incompatible with science. If you have evidence for your god, let's see it. If the evidence is "compatible" with science, then it will be scientific evidence. If it's not scientific evidence, then your faith is not compatible with science.

YouTube - Appearance and reality: in conversation with Derren Brown

Nigel Warburton talks to Derren Brown for the Open University.

Olaf Stapledon | Humanist Heritage
Stapledon was Arthur C. Clarke's biggest influence (according to Clarke himself). Personally I find Stapledon's fiction rather dense, though this can at times be appropriate. (I reviewed the Millennium SF Masterworks edition of Star Maker back in 2001.)

This is a news website article about a scientific finding | Martin Robbins | Science |
So you want to be an an internet journo? Here's how it's done.