Evolving Thoughts

NYE: the aftermath

OK, so the next door party finished about 1.30, but the family disputes finished about 5 am, so instead of thinking, I’m going to let others think for me, and round up a few New Years Day links…

Wesley Elsberry at Austringer has a nice piece on why creationists use the conflict model for the relation of science and faith.

Thinking Meat asks if life was “nasty, poore, brutish and short” as Hobbes thought, or things were simply just as much about survival as they are now, in preagriculture.

PsyBlog asks how well Epicurus, one of my favourite Greek Philosophers, fares in the light of modern psychology. Answer? Not too badly, but not 100%.

The Futile Cycle complains about one of my own pet peeves, conflating evolution with the origin of life.

Seth Roberts points out how statistics can be misused by pharmaceutical companies and researchers, in this case on whether antidepressants cause increases in suicidal fixation.

Pimm quotes Matt Thurling at science.tv problem of how to get actual science across on video.

And finally, smintheus at Daily Kos has a nice roundup of state constitutional barriers to the nonreligious holding office in America. This would shock me except that I recently re-read Locke’s Letter on Toleration, in which he denies that the civil authority ought to maintain a religious opinion. Then, he says this:

Lastly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of a God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of a toleration.

Many American constitutions are based in large part on Lockean principles, so if Locke, who otherwise was so modern, can say this, it is unsurprising that those who followed him do too. In a way, it’s not Locke’s fault, for this is before public atheism became a feasible view, but still it shocks me even now.