- …and the modern virtues don’t work either 22/03/2019
- Nowadays, even the sins don’t work properly 18/03/2019
- Bonjour, France 16/03/2019
- The tree in Berkeley’s square (no nightingale) 13/03/2019
- Predictability, reproducibility and determinism in chaos 09/03/2019
Category Archives: Politics and sociology
A precious little snippet in the news yesterday, which is a quote from a press release by my alma mater, Cambridge University. They have just revoked a visiting fellowship they offered to the controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson, apparently because the Students Union, as “representative” as it was in my own day no doubt, threw some of the meaningless vice-words discussed in my previous post at Peterson, or more likely at the University to imply guilt by association.
The abominable crime perpetrated in New Zealand by, we are told, a lone white-supremacist extremist, led to immediate calls in the mainstream press for a clampdown on rampant Islamophobia everywhere in society. When a thing (“Islamophobia”) is named as if it were a psychiatric disorder, but treated as a deadly sin, it is a little difficult to understand exactly what the neologism means. But the word appears at least, to include any negative opinion of any aspect of Islam, Arab nationalism, or Islamist terrorism shaken together, such negativity being interpreted as the inevitable precursor of crimes such as we saw last week.
N.T. Wright comments, in this clip, on the Postmodern Movement.
The environmental message of God’s Good Earth is, in my own eyes, rather muted. Conservation was, after all, a subsidiary theme of the book, though I was pleased that Sir Ghillean Prance, in his endorsement, saw it as a demand for positive action.
I think what irks me most about the scientistic mindset is how much it takes for granted about the world, as if needing no explanation – things like logic, reliable human faculties and so on.
There have been some high-profile cases recently, in American, Canadian and British universities, of allegedly controversial speakers being disinvited, heckled or even assaulted in order to prevent “hate speech“. This has fed into a debate about the whole purpose of academia, and even the wider question of freedom of speech. One commentator recently reported that to those under 35, belief in freedom of speech is equated with fascism, which even if only partly true is a big deal. Being over 35, I’ve only just realised that, in a non-academic setting, I was quietly deplatformed for hate speech a couple of years ago.
I’m always struck by the way even the best of us can easily impose on Scripture what we want it to say because of our cultural prejudices. Egregious examples are the libertarian, non-judgemental Jesus shown to be a parody of the rather more gritty biblical Christ in my last post, or the even more radical post-modern Jesus imposed only by interpretive contortions on the real person we find in history (satirized here).
Somebody’s leading a discussion on Christian gratitude and generosity. He cites Deuteronomy 6, where Moses reminds people, once they arrive in the promised land and have cities they didn’t build, houses they didn’t provision, cisterns they didn’t dig, and crops they didn’t plant, not to forget the Lord who brought them there from slavery in Egypt. But one man, an older Christian, says he has a problem with that, because these things were taken from the Canaanites, sometimes by violence.
A guy called Jeremy Christian has posted his own view of “Adam and Eve and all that” on Peaceful Science, delighted to find something in Genealogical Adam that mirrored thoughts he’d been having for a long time. I’ve not interacted much with him there, but would like to discuss one area of agreement and disagreement in more depth here.
I’m not usually much of a political animal, but my last post has set me off on a track. I first encountered radical politics first hand when I saw this daubed over a shop front in my home town of Guildford, Surrey, probably in 1967: “Long Live The Great Victory Of The People’s Glorious Proletarian Cultural Revolution!”