Morality: Getting "ought" from "is" -
Apologists like William Lane Craig will argue that you can not derive and ought from an is. That is a catchy way to say that just because things are a certain way, that doesn’t mean you ought act in any particular way. They say that god can be the only objective judge of what…
We are offered to watch a string of empty-minded shows that are designed as entertainment but function to distract people from understanding their real problems or identifying the sources of their problems. Instead, those mindless shows socialize the viewer to become a passive consumer. One way to deal with an unfulfilled life is to buy more and more stuff. The shows exploit people’s emotional needs and keep them disconnceted from the needs of others. As public spaces are more and more dismantled, schools and the relatively few public spaces left work to make people good consumers. — Noam Chomsky, Beyond a domesticating education: A dialogue with Donaldo Macedo in On Miseducation (1992)
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Atheist lawsuit claims ‘under God’ in NJ school’s daily pledge recital harms children | The Raw Story -
On Saturday, the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit in New Jersey on behalf of an atheist family seeking to erase the phrase “one Nation under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
According to the lawsuit, “John Doe and Jane Doe are atheists…who have personally experienced the public’s prejudice against atheists.” They have been told they are “arrogant for not believing in God,” and “Doechild is…aware of unfavorable public attitudes toward atheism, and has in fact been personally confronted and shouted at in response to his openly identifying as atheist.”
Because of this, John and Jane Doe do not believe Doechild — who attends a public school in the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District — should be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance on a daily basis, as that forces Doechild into a position in which classmates will come to recognize that he is a non-believer.
David Niose, an attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement on Monday that “[p]ublic schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God. Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.”
According to the lawsuit, “[p]laintiffs have suffered and continue to suffer actual harm as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ policies and actions of conducting the regular classroom Pledge exercise as described, for the exercise publicly disparages Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs, calls Plaintiffs’ patriotism into question, portrays Plaintiffs as outsiders and second-class citizens, and forces Doechild to choose between nonparticipation in a patriotic exercise or participation in a patriotic exercise that is invidious to him and his religious class.”
Philosophically, John and Jane Doe object to the fact that the Pledge’s “‘under God’ language sends a message to public school children, and indeed to the general public, that the government favors belief in God.”
A similar case, also being forwarded by the American Humanist Association, is currently awaiting a decision before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Another New Earth… Or Not.
You may have heard the news last week that astronomers discovered the best candidate to date for an Earth-like planet. Kepler-186f is a rocky planet that is, like other so-called “second Earths”, the right distance away from its parent star to have liquid water on its surface and maybe have the right conditions for maybe having life if that’s the kind of thing that maybe exists somewhere else… maybe.
As Adam Mann writes for WIRED, there’s a lot we don’t know about this exoplanet, and a lot that makes it not very Earth-like. Like the fact that its star is way different from ours. And that we haven’t imaged it directly. Matt Francis adds his two cents at The Daily Beast, noting that a planet that close to its parent star is tidally locked, with the same side facing, and being baked by, its parent star all the time. Sounds like it’s more of an Earth-cousin at best.
It’s not right to call this planet a “New Earth” (and I can almost guarantee that the Face of Boe does not and will not ever live there), because there’s just too much that we don’t know about it. The same goes for other exoplanets: For every question they answer they force us to ask three more. But that’s science. What is cool about this latest discovery is that it shows us just how many types of stars, even weird ones like the M class red dwarf that 186f orbits, can harbor Earth-ish planets in their habitable zone.
The more we discover, the stronger the case that life exists somewhere, elsewhere. If you’d like to know more about our search for exoplanets and the life we hope they harbor, I did two videos on that for IOTBS. Watch ‘em below:
Exoplanets: Are There Other Earths?
Is There Intelligent Life Beyond Earth?
(Image via NASA)
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Posthumanism has signified “human enhancement” for too long—whether through technologies of replacement or addendum or through newer, more pliant cultural understandings of human identity. A true posthumanism would neither extend humanity into a symbiotic, visionary future nor reject our place in the world via antihuman nihilism. Instead, as Bryant puts it, a posthumanist ontology is one in which “humans are no longer monarchs of being, but are instead among beings, entangled in beings, and implicated in other beings.” — Bogost, Ian. Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012. (via carvalhais)
Epigenetics Helps Explain Early Humans' Appearances - D-brief | DiscoverMagazine.com -
See on Scoop.it - Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Scientists have increasingly realized that DNA is only part of what makes us us — perhaps equally…
Apparently this is "The clearest photo of Mercury ever taken."
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