Monday, April 30, 2012

Religion and Morality

Onkar's talk on religion and morality will be livestreamed tomorrow at 7:30 CST (5:30 PST). Here's a description of the talk:
ARI fellow Dr. Onkar Ghate will be giving his talk “Morality and Religion” at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities on Tuesday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. (Central time) in Science Teaching & Student Services (STSS Bldg.), Room 230. This event will be livestreamed for free at: Description: If God is dead, is everything permitted? How many times have you heard it said that without religion, morality is impossible? Good and evil would lose their meaning and no one would bother to do the right thing. But what if the truth is actually the opposite? What if, on a proper conception of morality, religion is the enemy of the good? In this provocative talk, Dr. Onkar Ghate explores these questions from the unique perspective of Ayn Rand’s radical rethinking of morality. An extended Q&A will follow the talk. This event is free for students; $5 for the general public. For more information, contact Katie Cowles

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hey NASA, the Science is Not Settled

This is encouraging, though it would be more so if current NASA employees would also sign on (though I know that's difficult given NASA's government monopoly in the field).

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Government Intervention for Your Happiness

Terence Corcoran does a good job of exposing the latest iteration of pseudo-justifications for big government.
It’s as if the high priests of Occupy the Planet and the Green Apocalypse — having run their old socialist and environmental engines into the ground — have stumbled across a new set of rationalizations and slogans.

Invoking poverty, inequality and climate disaster hasn’t worked in a world that wants growth, more energy and bigger refrigerators. The ’92 Rio Summit caused a lot of economic policy mayhem, but it is a fading source of authority. The carbon scare is out of steam, and environmental extremism has less influence.

The only emerging alternative is a new intellectual manoeuvre that may appeal to the average voter more than, say, inequality. Instead, the new message will be: Vote for massive government intervention to improve your happiness.
I'd add only two thoughts, first that though there will probably never be a clear measure of happiness, the best one to use in this kind of thought experiment, at least on a macro level, is net immigration/emigration. It's pretty clear to me that if people were allowed to follow their personal desires (i.e. if there weren't such restrictive immigration and emigration laws around the world), there'd be a one way torrent of emigrants to the West, even in its current state.

Second, I find it somewhat positive that the socialists now must give their arguments in some type of personal form; it's perhaps an indication that the collective notion of public or social good no longer has any weight.