knowing about knowing

Epistemology is (loosely defined) as the study of knowledge.

As the ending of this very sentence will show, it is circular to assume ( that is, before investigation or a priori ) that you know what it means to know something (i.e. that you know what knowledge is!). Continue reading “knowing about knowing”

making sense of sheldrake

[copied from excerpt from YouTube video (embedded below) of a talk given by Rupert Sheldrake at ‘Google Tech Talks’ on September 2, 2008 entitled “The Extended Mind: Recent Experimental Evidence”]

Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of more than 75 technical papers and ten books, the most recent being The Sense of Being Stared At. He studied at Cambridge and Harvard Universities, was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. He is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, funded from Trinity College Cambridge.

We have been brought up to believe that the mind is located inside the head. But there are good reasons for thinking that this view is too limited. Recent experimental results show that people can influence others at a distance just by looking at them, even if they look from behind and if all sensory clues are eliminated. And people’s intentions can be detected by animals from miles away. The commonest kind of non-local interaction mental influence occurs in connection with telephone calls, where most people have had the experience of thinking of someone shortly before they ring. Controlled, randomized tests on telephone telepathy have given highly significant positive results. Research techniques have now been automated and experiments on telepathy are now being conducted through the internet and cell phones, enabling widespread participation.

I’d love to hear critique of Sheldrake that takes him seriously and respectfully enough to be patient, thorough and non-reactionary. I’m not ‘convinced’ by everything he says (probably not smart enough to know either way!), but I find it fascinating, and enjoyed a recent lecture on Sheldrake by Robert Mann. Continue reading “making sense of sheldrake”

wright – ‘wisdom in a troubled time’

In this sermon to head-masters/mistresses, Wright touches on quite a few important concerns – especially for our time.  In particular, he focuses on at least two examples of foolishness ( 1) economic foolishness demonstrated in the current ‘crisis’, and 2) the foolishness of the so-called ‘evolution-creation debate’) and the need for wisdom.  Good stuff, Bishop.

being responsible with your bits

This post over at Scoop highlights the reality (whether we like it or not) that the ‘anything goes’ mindset (and more specifically the outworking of that mindset) toward sexuality is not healthy – literally.  It does matter where you put your bits.

For me, an interesting angle is that of self-control.  We have the ability to control even the most basic and ‘natural’ desires.

Clearly, none of us controls our ‘self’ as well as we may want to (if we are audacious enough to believe that we even should control ourselves).  Apparently, something more than short-term national campaigns is needed – according to the article:

The effects of the ‘Hubba Bubba’ campaign haven’t lasted. More young people are getting STIs, not fewer.  What’s needed is a renewed emphasis on education and personal responsibility. Young New Zealanders need an attitude change.

Maybe re-claiming the value of the human body and sexuality would help just a tad?

anthropocentric ethics

Anthropocentric Ethics – In Ancient & Modern Perspective

The author/composer/poet/community which produced the text we know of as Genesis 1 observed many things. Just one of these is the uniqueness of humans in relation to our environment.

Day and night, earth and sky, sea and land, vegetation, and fruits, creatures great and tiny, both in the sea and on land…

And then behold – human beings. These humans are at the pinnacle of creation and are invested with the task and responsibility of governing the entire earth. Continue reading “anthropocentric ethics”

porn parade – questions

The Erotica porn industry exhibition (forgive me for not hunting for a link – !!!) got free advertising by way of the now infamous and highly controversial ‘Boobs on Bikes’ parade.

Auckland City Council tried to stop the topless ride down Queen St., but Judge Nicola Mathers allowed it, commenting that it was ‘not offensive per se for women to be topless’, and that her court was not one ‘of morals and it was her job to stick to the law.’  She also said, “It may well be that the parade is tasteless but equally it may be that in a more mature society the vast majority might consider it harmless.” (source) Continue reading “porn parade – questions”

flew’s brain still works

{***EDIT: The review discussed below – allegedly by Antony Flew of ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins – is of uncertain origins.  I’m awaiting an email response to clarify the source.  Discerning how much Flew’s age is affecting his critical thinking is a difficult thing.  Poor memory doesn’t – automatically – mean poor logical thought.  I’ll update this when I hear more…***}

{***EDIT 2: ‘Bethinking.org’ Emailed me back with this:

Dear Dale,
Sorry for the delay replying.  This was written by Flew who wanted to get it published. Flew mentioned
it to a mutual friend, who then spoke to me – I have seen a pdf of the original manuscript and some subsequent correspondence with Flew that took place during the process of publishing it (I live some distance from the mutual friend). Other friends have seen the original.
I hope that helps,
Chris Knight
Apologetics Website Co-ordinator

I’ve thanked him and also mentioned the challenge that Flew may well have been ‘helped’ (or bypassed?) in writings such as these, and have suggested that ‘bethinking’ posts further evidence about Flew’s authorship.  To be continued?  Maybe? ***}

Antony Flew used to be an atheist – now he’s… well… a Deist (or pantheist or Spinozan or a believer in the ‘god’ of Aristotle or Einstein or… well… something…)

Swiftly, his book “There Is A God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind” (I didn’t write the sub-title – don’t blame me) was dismissed by some atheists as a ‘sad’ case of an older man losing his mental capacities, and being ‘manipulated’, etc. Some claimed that the book didn’t represent Flew’s own thoughtsContinue reading “flew’s brain still works”