Random links

6 Subtle Ways The News Media Disguises Bullshit As Fact
Worth thinking about what might lead you to the wrong conclusion.
Take Me to Church? Half of Pastors Believe Faith Will Become Online-Only Experience
Discussion of the results from a Barna survey. I think the headline here is at least a bit misleading.
Why are so many white men trying to save the planet without the rest of us?
*sigh*
Detroit by Air
Crazy how that parts of that city now look.

The seeming contradictions in one atheist's views of morality

From The Consequentalism FAQ:

7.6: Wouldn't utilitarianism mean if there was some monster or alien or something whose feelings and preferences were a gazillion times stronger than our own, that monster would have so much moral value that its mild inconveniences would be more morally important than the entire fate of humanity?
Maybe.
Imagine two ant philosophers talking to each other about the same question. “Imagine," they said, “some being with such intense consciousness, intellect, and emotion that it would be morally better to destroy an entire ant colony than to let that being suffer so much as a sprained ankle."
But I think humans are such a being! I would rather see an entire ant colony destroyed than have a human suffer so much as a sprained ankle. And this isn't just human chauvinism either - I think I could support my feelings on this issue by pointing out how much stronger feelings, preferences, and experiences humans have than ants (presumably) do.
I can't imagine a creature as far beyond us as we are beyond ants, but if such a creature existed I think it's possible that if I could imagine it, I would agree that its preferences were vastly more important than those of humans.

This is the same FAQ that also asks:

2.3: What about God? Could morality come from God?

The answer to that second question in 2.3 earlier in the FAQ is argued to be no, although 7.6 on moral weight seems to provide a pretty reasonable answer to that challenge.

Random links

Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh calls for certification of places of worship
"Former British Columbia premier and federal cabinet minister wants a national licensing scheme for all places of worship and private schools in Canada, to ensure they don’t undermine Canadian values."
Sea Slug has Taken Genes from the Algae it Eats, Allowing it to Photosynthesize Like a Plant, Study Reports
Intriguing. Also it's argued that "this is one of the only known examples of functional gene transfer from one multicellular species to another, which is the goal of gene therapy to correct genetically based diseases in humans."
PaperLike: 13.3? E Ink Monitor by Dasung Tech
Depending on what the answer to the expected lifetime of this is - see the top comment on that story wondering about it - I'd probably be interested in one of these.
Indian 'woman' has twins despite discovery she is mostly male
"The 32-year-old had an intersex condition in which she had the physical appearance of a woman but had more than 95 percent XY chromosomes, fertility specialist Sunil Jindal told AFP. The woman underwent more than 12 months of hormonal and other medical treatment to develop her "infantile uterus" to allow her to eventually carry and give birth on Friday to a boy and girl."

"Why are Christian movies so painfully bad?"

An interesting article from Vox, using a Christian film called Old Fashioned as an example:

Old Fashioned’s problem isn’t that it’s telling a religious story. The biggest problem here is it’s desperately trying to invalidate a secular one. ... The end result is that the Christian product seems like a knock-off, a cheap alternative.
... There’s an old maxim in Hollywood that goes, “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.” Embedding explicit takeaways in film is something that bedevils some of the worst films out there, regardless of whether or not they’re religious. Sending a message is usually a good way to create a bland, boring mess.
Brian Godawa, Christian screenwriter, thinks it’s important to note that Christian films aren’t the only ones that are explicitly preachy. All films, says Godawa, “have messages to some degree or another, and writers and directors know full well they’re embodying those messages in their storytelling.”

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