In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s public vacillating over the culpability of Facebook regarding its user base data privacy, a follow-up to last month’s ‘public service announcement‘ about the impact of the web on our social cohesion and culture.
Pretty much I don’t do re-blogging, though I love lots of blog sites. This place is for me; what I think, and what I create. But this wonderful overview of the present technology-mediated crisis Western (and now global) culture is ensnared within — is simply too good and too important not to draw attention to. I hope and wish that some will listen to this short talk, which was given three days ago in Vancouver, and think about it. (Thank you if you do!) This person is “one who knows”, but is practically devoid of egotism.
In a short piece titled “God is Dead; So What?”, Richard Ostrofsky, an acquaintance of mine, lays out his overview of the present culture wars from a perhaps characteristically atheist perspective. He cites Matthew Arnold’s poignant 1867 poem ‘Dover Beach’, which I’d not thought about for over 30 years, and happily revisited. But we subtly disagree about the meaning of the cultural impasse this poem intuits, and about exactly what Arnold sensed over 150 years ago, gazing one night out to sea.
Introducing a new series of related articles describing some factual events in my life.
It’s become less than surprising news of late when some intellectual luminary gives a warning about the perils of AI (artificial intelligence), and I count myself among those skeptical of it’s merits. But an unexpected new sci-fi-esque controversy has arisen recently. Figures no less celebrated than astrophysicist Stephen Hawking have sounded the alarm about our collective complacency concerning aliens. As in extra-terrestrials.
The subtitle of Thomas Nagel’s 2012 book, “Mind and Cosmos”, makes evident why it unleashed such a stir within the scientific and philosophical establishments: ‘Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False’. That’s two sacred cows skewered in one fell swoop, the first a kind of hidden dogma not generally exposed to the light of agoric day, and the second a beloved and enshrined foundational darling! What made things worse was that Nagel was/is a serious respected philosopher with decades of establishment credibility, including avowed atheism, prompting figures like Pinker and Dennett to publicly wonder what had gotten into their old colleague. Nagel’s book is not an easy read. You have to keep awake on every page, go slowly, and double back sometimes. Due to this and the ensuing ruckus, he offered a short clarifying summary of the book’s core thesis in a brief NY Times essay a year later, which is the subject of this current article.