News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on December 11, 2010 in News

The Morality in the Real World podcast will return with Season 2 after Christmas.

Yet another update to the debates page. Christopher Hitchens still goin’ strong!

Google has a reading level filter under ‘Advanced Search.’ So you can now search for, say, “wave function collapse” and show results only at a ‘basic’ reading level.

As usual, Glenn Greenwald kicks serious ass on behalf of Wikileaks. Among the best 26 minutes of radio I’ve ever heard.

An excellent post series on Judea Pearl’s reduction of causality.

An interview with John Bickle about his book, Philosophy and Neuroscience: A Ruthlessly Reductive Account.

Newton TV, a TED-like site of science lectures and documentaries.

Video: Salman Khan on why Khan Academy is awesome. (He’s right.)

Reminder: Wikileaks hasn’t leaked anything. If Wikileaks should be shut down, so should all journalists. Ron Paul tells it like it is.

TV ads in Germany are not quite like TV ads in the USA.

Julian Assange’s article in The Australian.

An Apple engineer built a replica of the world’s first computer (from 100 BCE) with Lego.

Philosopher Peter Ludlow’s essay: “The Political Philosophy of Julian Assange” (via)

Philosophy Talk just became a free weekly podcast. But you have to, like, sign up for stuff or something.

Some huge-ass diagrams of philosophical topics.

You’ve seen Nick Bostrom’s page, right? is the simplest web gallery tool ever.

Is the web killing religion?

Great little bit by Louis C.K. on slavery.

I wonder what it’s like to think and philosophize in Sign.

5 people who started religions just to get laid. I met one of the early members of The Family International here in L.A.

One logician’s iPad.

Just discovered: Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew. Also, the same thing from the perspective of recent cognitive science: Paul Thagard’s The Brain and the Meaning of Life.

Logician Peter Smith blogs (part-way) through Penelope Maddy’s naturalistic classic, Second Philosophy: Introduction, Neo-Cartesian Skepticism, Hume’s Naturalism, Kant’s Transcendentalism, Maddy on logic.

Barry Loewer and Tim O’Connor debate reductionism vs. strong emergentism.

Pigeons outperform humans at the Monty Hall problem.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

juhou December 11, 2010 at 4:40 am
Reginald Selkirk December 11, 2010 at 6:10 am

Cables show Ireland ceded to Vatican pressure

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that Ireland caved in to Vatican pressure to grant immunity to church officials in the government probe of decades of sex abuse by Irish clergy in the predominantly Catholic nation.


Kyle Key December 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

That’s the best (worst) leak I’ve seen yet. Touchin’ little boys for Jesus; and they still get their own city-state!


Zak December 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Hey Luke,

A debate between Ken Miller and Henry Morris was put up recently on the NCSE youtube channel. Miller, like in all his debate, is a beast!


Luke Muehlhauser December 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm


Great find, thanks!


Luke Muehlhauser December 11, 2010 at 2:52 pm


Jesus. Fucking. Christ.


Jeff H December 11, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I had actually meant to mention something on here about “The Brain and the Meaning of Life”. I just read it recently and was pretty pleased with it. It’s written for a popular level, so some of it seemed pretty basic to me, but it still lays out things quite nicely, discussing the implications of naturalism for areas of life such as ethics, free will, etc.

Luke, if you haven’t read the book, I think you’d enjoy it. I doubt there’d be much in there that you haven’t heard already, but it’s a pleasant read and he has some interesting thoughts about values and meaning in terms of “vital needs”. I’d recommend it.


Luke Muehlhauser December 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Jeff H,

Yup, I read the first chapter a few days ago. :) Your recommendation is accurate.


bossmanham December 11, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Of course when you say Hitchens is going strong, you don’t mean his arguments, right?


CJ December 11, 2010 at 11:42 pm


Philosophy Talk is free and you don’t have to sign up for anything. Just search for it in iTunes University.


Reginald Selkirk December 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Archbishop tells kids there is no Santa

A ROMAN Catholic archbishop surprised his parishioners in Argentina by telling the children that Santa Claus was not real, but instead a commercialised symbol of Christmas.

He said children “should know that, in reality, the gifts come from the efforts of their parents and with the help of Jesus”.


Reginald Selkirk December 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Here’s some high grade BS for you: Way Beyond Atheism: God Does Not (Not) Exist
by Paul Wallace


Luke Muehlhauser December 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Random discovery.

Hume: “Reason is the slave of the passions.”

Pascal: “The heart has its reasons that reason knows not of.”


Reginald Selkirk December 17, 2010 at 8:26 am

Even animals as simple as fruit flies have free will

Fruit flies and other simple organisms might seem like they’re creatures of instinct, governed by a set of basically predictable stimuli and responses. But fruit flies actually have free will. Depending on what your definition of free will is…

Well duh, of course it depends on your definition.


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