There’s a really good programme on Radio4 weekdays at 9.45am – “A History of the World in 100 Objects” – a superb series that’s following the development of civilization by analysing historical artefacts.
They reflect all kinds of aspects of humanity – intellectual, artistic, cultural, economic… and are done an object a day. Do listen.
Or of course you can catch up with what you’ve missed on the Radio4 website here, as part of the overall “History of the World” section of the site.
You can also catch up and follow the series by subscribing to the podcasts here on iTunes
A new theory on the exact nature of Socrates’ death – and to what extent he brought it on himself – is revelaed today in a new book by Cambridge University prefessor, Paul Cartledge.
Far be it from me to piss in somebody’s chips when they’re basically standing for something I believe in / stand for, but having noticed lots of posters on the Tube recently for the Humanist Association’s “There’s Probably No God” campaign I can’t help wondering if, in trying to make it ‘appealing’ and ‘attractive’ (my emphasis) they haven’t ended up saying something that’s worse than banal, in that it’s actually dangerous.
Let’s get it out of the way – I absolutely agree with the headline that “There’s probably no god”… absolutely. Totally.
The problem is the strapline that sits below it. It says “Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”…
Let’s just be clear – having taken on a fundamental philosophical position about the need to believe and in the importance of showing clear blue water between the principles of faith and belief as opposed to logic and knowledge and rationality and reality – something terribly important in suggesting that you have control and responsibility, they then fob you off with a twee little pat on the head. Go enjoy yourself… Have fun…
The world teeters on a knife-edge today: it is almost entirely composed of poverty, hunger, death, imperialism, war, terror, pollution, climate change, diminishing energy and water resources – and they say “enjoy your life”…
The truth is that if there’s no god to bail you out, to intervene, or for you to hang your hopes on – then more than ever you need to understand these issues, and that the way they end up resides entirely with you, the human.
Frankly it should be:
THERE’S PROBABLY NO GOD.
NOW GET YOUR FUCKING ARSE IN GEAR AND SORT OUT THIS PLANET BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ON ITS SODDING OWN, YOU KNOW. NOPE.
There is no god – and it absolutely *is* down to us.
It’s a shame that the Humanist Association seems to have allowed people to abdicate that responsibility in its attempts to win them over.
Big thanks to Nigel from Philosophy Bites for telling me about the companion podcast “Ethics Bites” which you can get from here on the interweb or through iTunes by clicking here…
It contains some episodes which are also in the Philosohpy Bites podcast, but mostly this stuff is completely fresh and separate.
It’s little wonder that Philosophy Bites has made it into iTunes Best Podcasts of 2008…
This has to be my top podcast of the year. Week after week of simply conducted yet wonderfully enlightening discussions with contemporary philosophers and academics on a vast array of subjects, from the most abstract concepts to utterly relevant and applied questions such as the meaning of ‘tolerance’ and the ethics of bombing civilians.
It’s been some time since I studied Philosophy at Uni (and had a blast actually…) so it’s a serious pleasure to keep the old noggin ticking over with this thought-provoking and totally engaging series.
Absolutely top stuff. Keep up the good work guys :-)
To subscribe to Philosophy Bites you can either visit their website here or if you prefer to go directly via iTunes then you should click here…
It’s impossible to recommend it highly enough.