morality without religion, snow on aqua fence wallpaper, happy birthday norman rockwell

Kenan Malik on Morality Without God Religion

In truth, morality, like God, is a human creation. Even believers have to decide which of the values found in the Torah or the Bible or the Quran they accept, and which they reject. What God provides is not the source of moral values but, if you like, the ethical concrete in which those values are set. Rooting morality in religion is a means of putting certain values or practices beyond question by insisting they are God-given. The success of religious morality derives from its ability to combine extreme flexibility – just look at the degree to which religious morals have changed over the centuries – with the insistence that certain beliefs, values and practices are sacred and absolute because they are divinely sanctioned.

I changed the title because contrary to both many theists and atheists who think you cannot separate religion some belief in some kind of higher power, or force or the entity from which existence itself spring – it can be done. Since people can and do separate religion from belief in a single deity all the time. Thus can one can have morality without religion seems a more inclusive and worthy discussion – as much as I respect some of the radical atheists like Dawkins and Sam Harris. Kant had a difficult time parsing out morality ( and the often forgotten keen observations of Spinoza on the ability to assign morality without the church, or in his case synagogue). In both cases they had a mix of logic and human charity in their conclusions. The dogmas of organized religion tend to be circular in nature – these are the rules, the rules are divine, you can’t change the rules because they are divine. So we have kids committing suicide because those circular rules do not allow for rational and consequences based morality.

Is it just religious believers who look for ethical concrete?

Not at all, secularists often do too. There is, for example, an increasingly fashionable claim that science will decide which values are good and which are bad. I’m as critical of the false certainties of a morality rooted in science as I am of the false certainties of a divinely sanctified moral code. The desire to set moral values in ethical concrete is a yearning for moral certainty – a fear that without external authority, humans will fall into the morass of moral relativism. But there can be no getting away from the fact that as humans we have to stand on our own feet, think for ourselves, create our values and practices, and bear responsibility for them.

[  ]…How, historically, have the arguments of the two Enlightenments fared?

The moderate mainstream was overwhelmingly dominant in terms of support, official approval and prestige. But in a deeper sense, and in the long run, it proved less important than the radical strand. The “package of basic values” that defines modernity – toleration, personal freedom, democracy, racial equality, sexual emancipation and the universal right to knowledge – derive principally from the claims of the radical Enlightenment.

For those that have an interests in such topics the rest is at the link. To me, just the bits of philosophy and the history of modern enlightened thought, how we got here, why we’re culturally in a much better place than thousand years ago – makes it worth a read.

snow on an aqua fence wallpaper

The paper 3D fish is via Jeremy Kools’ blog.  From paper to video and animation he has mad talents. Below the fish is a video by Jeremy.

Paper Fox Pozible Presentation


A Shameful Attack on Free Speech by a Group Claiming to Speak for Coal-Dependent Workers

If you disagree with the views of a prominent climate scientist, one approach might be to attend his forthcoming lecture at his home campus, Pennsylvania State University, and engage in civil debate when he’s done.

Another would be to mount a faceless Facebook campaign beginning with this catchy phrase:

Did you know that Penn State is having Michael Mann – the professor behind Climategate – speak on campus? Join us in calling on the administration to disinvite the disgraced academic.

[  ]…The campaign is promoted by two interrelated groups, Choose Common Sense, which claims to have the interests of the hard-working people of the coal and gas industries at heart, and the Secure Energy for America Political Action Committee.

In a post Thursday night, Brad Johnson of Think Progress provided details on the backers of these organizations.

There’s a letter-writing template as part of the effort to block Mann’s talk, which presumably is related to his new book, “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars.”

I encourage you to read the suggested boilerplate text, which speaks of Mann “conspiring with his left-wing cronies to intimidate and silence those who would dare to question his intentions.”

So of course the response, rather than debate him, is to intimidate and silence him back.

CCS is just a PAC backed by some radical global warming deniers. In no way do they represent mine labor or anything resembling sound science. Their propaganda seems to be modeled on Stalin. That didn’t work out too well. In the age of the net and social media CCS will end up convincing only those who already belong to the cult of denial.

Happy birthday to Norman Rockwell(February 3, 1894 – November 8, 1978) . On his draft card, via the National Archives, Rockwell’s draft registration for WW I. He would go on to be one of the United State’s most iconic artists and illustrators. On his registration he says his occupation is “freelance artist”.

Norman Rockwell draft registration card WW I