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This week, let’s dump a few ice buckets to wipe out malaria too

Peter Hardy:

Great, succinct explication of effective altruism and its importance, by reference to the concept of ‘donor-focused philanthropy’.

Originally posted on Quartz:

The ice bucket challenge is a symbol for much that’s wrong with contemporary charity: a celebration of good intentions without regard for good outcomes. It is iconic for what I call donor-focused philanthropy—making charitable giving about the giver, rather than about those who need help.

In my previous article I mentioned one damaging aspect of donor-focused philanthropy: that it encourages a culture of great praise for small gifts. I believe this culture trades a small short-term gain in donations for a long-term harm by undermining a charitable attitude according to which there are serious problems in the world that desperately need our help, and that won’t be solved by a bucket of ice water. (For those who point to the now $8 million raised, I respond: should we regard the fact that the most widely-publicised fundraising campaign in years has raised 3¢ per citizen, or 0.00006% of GDP, as a cause for…

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Papal Paupery

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Popemon

This month we saw a Democratic President of the United States seek an audience with the Pope, likely with the hopes he could regain his tarnished progressive image by having some of the Bishop of Rome’s credentials rub off on him. And if nothing else, this unusual state of affairs goes to show that the music of Prince, who, two decades ago sang “You can be the president, I’d rather be the Pope” is as relevant as ever.i

The following is an article I co-wrote with Sean Oakley; the original version appears in the American magazine The Daily Confidential.

By last month Pope Francis, or Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was a year in to his tenure as leader of the oldest and largest religious organisation on the planet. Bergoglio, formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires, had taken charge of a church whose members believe him to be the final authority on all holy matters. And judging by recent media reaction it seems that some in the secular world are beginning to think the same.  Continue reading

Aristotle On Happiness In Plato’s State

Aristotle

Aristotle

 

The following is a guest post from Toby Coe.

In Book Two of The Politics we witness the exciting clash of two conflicting political ideologies, Aristotle’s politics being primarily based on pragmatic concerns; whilst Plato’s state is founded on more idealised principles. In this essay we shall examine Aristotle’s critique of Plato’s utopia and whether these criticisms are valid, concluding that Aristotle’s criticisms of Plato are broadly successful, because they expose Plato’s conception of happiness as false.

Aristotle has two main complaints concerning Plato’s state:

1) The practice of wives and children being held in common is both impractical and wrong.

2) Communism among the guardians will be inimical to their happiness and bad for the state. Continue reading

A Biblical Guide to Debunking the Heterosexual Agenda

Peter Hardy:

Excellent satire of the prevalent idea I criticised before that the Bible prohibits homosexuality. Click through the link to read the whole article. Somewhere there’s one like this on women priests, I’ll try to dig out the link to that too.

Originally posted on The Theological Wanderings of a Street Pastor:

Image

By Carloxito (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

SATIRE WARNING
Don’t get your knickers in a twist

If you want to get the non-satirical version,
read my follow-up post: The Real Story (Not Satire)

As a baptized, ordained, practicing, Bible-reading, Spirit-filled, Jesus-loving Christian, I just have to say how sick and tired I am of these straight-marriage activists spreading their heterosexual agenda all over my church and country!

Their sinful, detestable practices are unbiblical and unnatural in the eyes of science and God.  It may not be “politically correct” to say so these days, but I refuse to “tolerate” these perverts and their lies anymore…

Don’t take my word for it, here is what the BIBLE says:

Genesis 4

After God made Adam and Eve, they had three sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth.  No daughters.  Yet is specifically says that Cain got married to a woman.  Did you…

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The Problem With Little White Girls (and Boys)

Peter Hardy:

Perfect, succinct article about why people, young or otherwise, from the minority or ‘first’ world going on these feel good trips to the majority world in the name of ‘charity’ is a bad thing. This is partly because it is much more cost effective and environmentally friendly to send the funds directly to give the jobs to skilled natives, but do click through to read the article for more.

Originally posted on Pippa Biddle:

White people aren’t told that the color of their skin is a problem very often. We sail through police check points, don’t garner sideways glances in affluent neighborhoods, and are generally understood to be predispositioned for success based on a physical characteristic (the color of our skin) we have little control over beyond sunscreen and tanning oil.

After six years of working in and traveling through a number of different countries where white people are in the numerical minority, I’ve come to realize that there is one place being white is not only a hindrance, but negative –  most of the developing world.

Removing rocks from buckets of beans in Tanzania.

Removing rocks from buckets of beans in Tanzania.

In high school, I travelled to Tanzania as part of a school trip. There were 14 white girls, 1 black girl who, to her frustration, was called white by almost everyone we met in Tanzania, and a few teachers/chaperones…

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The Pipe You Can Save

Peter Hardy:

A philosophy satire post I helped with.

Originally posted on fauxphilnews:

Roger Scruton wants to know why you hate freedom.

Roger Scruton wants to know why you hate freedom.

[The following is a "guest post" by Roger Scruton. Actual passages from Mr. Scruton's columns in The Wall Street Journal appear in quotes, followed by links to the original articles.]

Each day 19,000 children die from preventable, poverty-related causes. For the vast majority of these children, their early death means that they will never have the chance to take up smoking. And if the World Health Organization has its way, the number of such tragedies will only increase.

The WHO is aggressively pursuing anti-smoking policies in the developing world. Measures range from excise taxes to warning labels to complete bans on advertising. “This despite the fact that tobacco-smoking has not been identified as the sole cause of any of the diseases associated with it.” [1] “Of course tobacco, used to excess, can damage one’s health.” But “what do we mean by health?…

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A Brief Analysis of Stoicism

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This week ending 1 December is the second annual international Live Like A Stoic Week. When I began research a few days ago in order to rush out a quick post for the event I had forgotten how much I was inspired by Stoicism, and consequently I my essays are too involved to finish in time.

After some pestering, Toby Coe has kindly come to the rescue with this brief analysis. He said he read the Meditations, so I hope he didn’t mean Descartes’ or this is going to be a very short post indeed.

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The Roman Emperor and Stoic, Marcus Aurelius (pictured) writes:

…philosophy doth consist in this, for a man to preserve that spirit which is within him, from all manner of contumelies and injuries, and never do anything either rashly, or feignedly, or hypocritically…”1

This is a very elegant summary of one of the core features of Stoic philosophy, namely, a moral and spiritual view of the task of philosophy. Philosophy is to provide a man the ability to cope with misfortune and not to be dominated by the passions that often make us attached to things that are fragile: fame, wealth and security.

Continue reading

Encountering Henri Bortoft

Peter Hardy:

This UNESCO World Philosophy Day, 2013, I thought it would be good to look for thinkers who are under appreciated. The (recently) late Henri Bortort is, I suspect, such a thinker. He was a phenomenologist whose major contributions revolve around our approach to complex systems, phenomena which find significance in environmental science, linguistics, business, and digital technology, among other disciplines. (Please excuse the few grammatical errors- it’s a great piece from a fascinating blog.)

Originally posted on Transition Consciousness:

Now that I am beginning to lecture and teach complexity, many people are asking me about who I teach, and what my key references are. This is quite a difficult question to answer on a number of levels, especially when you are trying to teach people that “thinking” is just one of the ways of knowing the world, and that “sensing”, “feeling” and “intuition” are just as important.

One very key person who I admire greatly and who I base much of my work around is that of Henri Bortoft, author of the book “The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe’s Way of Science”.  I remember reading this book for the first time around February 2009, in preparation for my MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College.  I had been recommended this book since Henri teaches the first week of the MSc, and Henri’s philosophy provides one of the foundation stones for…

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Can you kill a goat by staring at it? A critical look at minimally invasive education

Peter Hardy:

Happy World Philosophy Day!! Here’s an excellent piece on educational innovation and the need for philosophical skills to supplement e-learning. Click through to the site to read the whole article.

Originally posted on philosophyfoundation:

In his renowned ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiments in developing countries, Dr Sugata Mitra gave children access to an internet-connected computer and left them to learn what they could, unsupervised, with apparently remarkable results.

Photo 1 (Hole in the Wall 1)

At an internet kiosk in a New Delhi slum, local children figured out how to search the Web, learned English, gleaned information from a variety of websites and taught each other what they had learned. Similarly, with access to a streetside computer in a south Indian village, Tamil-speaking kids managed to figure out basic principles of DNA replication by playing around with English-language web material on their own. ‘Minimally invasive education’ is how Dr Mitra describes this method, alluding to the high-impact, low-disruption techniques of minimally invasive medicine.

Photo 2 (Hole in the Wall 2)

Hole in the Wall: Minimally Invasive Learning Stations designed by Dr Sugata Mitra. Top photo: source unknown. Bottom photo by Philippe Tarbouriech, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

This novel educational approach has garnered…

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