Archive for Philosophy

Science vs Religion

Religion requires faith. Science requires trust. Trust is earned and subject to revision, faith is not.

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Shameful and ignorant

Google says that gbombing has been fixed, but any attempt to link shameful and ignorant to the ongoing vitriol that spews from the mouths of the US Republican presidential candidates is fine by me.

Torture doesn’t work. Torture is wrong. Even if it is Jack Bauer doing the deed.

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[Updated] When considering something new …

Before you form an opinion imagine the concept being promoted by someone you trust, and then imagine the same thing promoted by someone whom you revile. This is easiest in the context of government but generalizes well.


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Against Civilised Warfare – The Early Days of a Better Nation

Sure, he is mostly a socialist, but he has interesting things to say about war.

Just War Theory is an utter perversion of the moral sense, a doctrine of literally mediaeval barbarism, invented by clerics to regulate wars between Christian kings. Its finest moral discrimination to date is that it’s legitimate to kill a munitions worker on his way to work, but a crime to kill him on his way home. It tells us that to aim a bomb at an enemy soldier and kill a hundred civilians is – if the necessity is there – legitimate collateral damage, but to deliberately aim one bullet at one enemy civilian is murder.

and Israel

The argument that Israel has a right to self-defence but that its present actions are disproportionate leads nowhere. Sometimes disproportionate response is exactly right, and for the state of Israel disproportionate response will always seem right. What is wrong is the existence of a state that can exist in no other way. Its only hope of survival, spelled out clearly enough by Jabotinsky, is to reduce the millions of people it has wronged to utter despair:

Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of ‘Palestine’ into the ‘Land of Israel’. […] As long as there is a spark of hope that they can get rid of us, they will not sell these hopes, not for any kind of sweet words or tasty morsels, because they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left.

Question for the reader – how has the existence of the Red Cross / Crescent / Crystal / Non-denominationalIconOfChoice and the Geneva Convention do anything to affect the frequency or ferocity of war? Do the men and women who send armies off to war really care or are they as desensitized by techno-fetishisms as their video-game playing children? Did they ever care even when they fought?

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I define evil as wilful abuse of power.  Of course now I need to define abuse, and power and wilful, but we can leave that for another day.

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