POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

POC Bundle - 11-21-06 - The French, Atheism, and PS3s (and Zunes)

Some interesting stuff around the net so I thought it was a good time to put together a little bundle.  Kasey and I were in Memphis all weekend with family so the blog has been a little slow.  Thanks for asking Greg :)

General News 

Marriage is on the down in France (shocker, right?) It seems that the French are disposing with the notion of lifelong commitment.  Here is the article from the Washington Post.  Another little tid-bit which shows up in the article is about the tax structure in France.

In France, the greatest financial and tax incentives target the number of children a couple has rather than the parents' marital status.

France, like other European states, needs to give people healthy incentives to have kids.  If something does not happen to make the Europeans reporoduce, the Islamic invasion - stopped by ideas and swords in medieval Europe - will happen without much resistance from the aging, non reproducing, socialist leaning European populations.  The ending of the article is also aw bit ironic...

On Science - The New Atheism

It seems like there was a recent evangelistic rally for unbelief which took place out west in California.  Check out this site - the videos on the home page are priceless, here is the link: Beyond Belief 2006.  The New York Times ran an article on it as well...probably a good starting point.

Here is a description of the event from the conference web site.

Just 40 years after a famous TIME magazine cover asked "Is God Dead?" the answer appears to be a resounding "No!" According to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine, "God is Winning". Religions are increasingly a geopolitical force to be reckoned with. Fundamentalist movements - some violent in the extreme - are growing. Science and religion are at odds in the classrooms and courtrooms. And a return to religious values is widely touted as an antidote to the alleged decline in public morality. After two centuries, could this be twilight for the Enlightenment project and the beginning of a new age of unreason? Will faith and dogma trump rational inquiry, or will it be possible to reconcile religious and scientific worldviews? Can evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuroscience help us to better understand how we construct beliefs, and experience empathy, fear and awe? Can science help us create a new rational narrative as poetic and powerful as those that have traditionally sustained societies? Can we treat religion as a natural phenomenon? Can we be good without God? And if not God, then what?

This is a critical moment in the human situation, and The Science Network in association with the Crick-Jacobs Center brought together an extraordinary group of scientists and philosophers to explore answers to these questions. The conversation took place at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA from November 5-7, 2006.

Harmless for now; my hope is that these dudes don't get violent like the militant secularists of the 20th century (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot). 


The big news of the week is the PS3 launch...lots of interesting stories out there about people buying them just to sell on EBay.  Reviews have not been great so far. 

Oh yeah, the Zune launched this past week as well. Does anyone care?  You can read an interview with the richest dude on earth commenting on the zune here.