Consider the Abolition Society, the Abolitionists Against Suffering group on facebook, and the philosophy of Dr. David Pearce, who is "a British utilitarian philosopher and transhumanist, who promotes the idea that there exists a strong ethical imperative for humans to work towards the abolition of suffering in all sentient life.
Science is the pursuit of knowledge according to the scientific method: hypotheses must be testable, and results must be verifiable by replication. Obviously, the more quantifiable something is, the more accurate and precise its measurement can be, and the more accurate and precise something is, the more testable and verifiable it is – it’s hard to test and then verify an uncertain or vague something-or-other.
When it comes to matters of individual conscience, Washington State voters have a don’t-mess-with-us attitude that makes Texans look like cattle—and it goes way back. In 2012 Washington voters flexed their muscle by legalizing recreational marijuana use and marriage for same-sex couples.
When I drive from home to work, none of the land I pass is wild. It’s lawns, or parks, or part of the city. On my drive in, I can see the Olympic Mountains as I crest the hill and head down toward the Kirkland waterfront. They are a mash up of native lands, national parks, and beach cities. Forks, the city of the Twilight books, is over there. The Olympics are largely wild, but they are managed carefully. I suspect there is no land in the whole mountain range that is not owned. Someone – a person, a government, a tribe, a company – someone manages everything I can see.
One of the things that has always struck me as different — and not in a good way — in the United States compared to other Western countries is the way Americans think (and act) about crime, particularly their prison system. Recently, my colleagues Ken Taylor (Stanford) and John Perry (University of California-Riverside) have tackled the issue on their wonderful podcast, Philosophy Talk (which comes with an associated blog, the tagline of which is cogito, ergo blog), causing me to ponder some more disturbing thoughts about it.
By around mid-century, many future followers predict the pace of technological progression in genetics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence will become so fast that humans will undergo radical evolution. Advances that provide a forever youthful and healthy state of being could be realized.
In Khannea SunTzu remarkable new novel she’ll never write - The NeoProgressive’s New Deal - the leader character, Cassandra Assange (Daughter of Julian Assange, born in 2003), is the target of literal micro drone assassination attempts, a vicious media campaign and endless incapacitating litigation. She became a political activist like her father in the mid 2020s, and exemplified the new counter-cultural ideal. Militantly lesbian and technoprogressive she gave birth of a clone of her wife, and her wife gave birth to a clone of Cassandra in the late 2020s.
When I was a kid there was a series on Nostradamus narrated by an Orson Welles surrounded in cigar smoke and false gravitas. I had not seen The Man Who Saw Tomorrow for over 30 years, though thanks to the miracle of Youtube I was able to find it here. Amazingly enough, I still remember Part 9 of the series in which the blue- turbaned, Islamic, 3rd antichrist allied with the Soviet Union plunges the world into thermonuclear war. I also remember the ending- scenes of budding flowers and sunshine signaling the rebirth of nature and humanity, a period of peace and prosperity to last 1,000 years.
As reactions continue to race around the internet about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery – the actual discussions, not the Monday-morning quarterbacking of her decision or the utterly vile “but what about her boobies” reaction from that particular subgroup of men who manage to amaze me by their continued ability to manage basic functions like breathing – I’ve been sent links.
I have been doing public outreach for science since I originally moved to Tennessee in 1996. It has been a fun ride, and I’m sure it will continue to be that way for many years to come. But two of the first things I learned when debating creationists and giving talks about the nature of science were: a) nastiness doesn’t get you anywhere; and b) just because you have reason and evidence on your side doesn’t mean you are going to carry the day.
As we trek through the next decade, older citizens might look in the mirror and wonder, “Who is that gorgeous creature?” Their reflection would reveal a body filled with enthusiasm, sporting a dazzling smile, wrinkle-free skin, perfect vision, natural hair color, real teeth, and an amazing sharp mind and memory.
It’s not enough to point out that our political system is completely corrupted by money, including money from coal and oil and nukes and gas. Of course it is. And if we had direct democracy, polls suggest we would be investing in green energy. But saying the right thing to a pollster on a phone or in a focus group is hardly the extent of what one ought sensibly to do when the fate of the world is at stake.
In total, Africa’s growth rate has averaged well above 5% in the past decade, after 20 difficult years of flat and often negative growth in several countries. The challenge for the continent in the coming years is whether Africa will be able to maintain these impressive growth rates, and whether future growth will be built on the types of productivity enhancements that are associated with rising living standards.
It is hard to avoid getting swept up in the utopian optimism of Peter Diamandis. The world he presents in his Abundance: The Future is Better Than you Think is certainly the kind of future I would hope for all of us: the earth’s environment saved and its energy costless, public health diseases, global hunger and thirst eradicated, quality education and health care ubiquitous (not to mention cheap) and, above, all extreme poverty at long last conquered.
Organized by Oxfam, Chulalongkorn University (Thailand) and the Lew Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Singapore), with support of the Rockefeller Foundation, these and other perspectives were suggested at a two-day forum in Bangkok on Visions of Democratic Governance in Asia 2030. While there were certainly key influence makers from around Asia – a minister from Pakistan - leadings civil society leaders from Thailand Cambodia – intellectuals from India and Singapore, the meeting in itself was not a typical conference highlighted by long speeches and irrelevant questions.
"Everybody's private motto: It's better to be popular than right…" I've grown increasingly unfavorable toward the term Big Pharma. Despite our best of efforts among the progressive and revolutionary left in recognizing Big Pharma as a by-product of capital bureaucracy among the healthcare industry, the term has become completely diluted with leftist conspiracy theorism.
In 1959 the British scientist and novelist CP Snow gave a lecture in Cambridge titled “Two Cultures”. Snow argued that the intellectual life of western societies was polarized between two traditions- that of scientists and that of literary intellectuals who had very little understanding of, and appreciation for, science.
The issue of employment has grown in prominence on national and global development agendas in recent times, given its socio-economic and political implications. Though the employment challenge has its own dimensions, it scourges countries worldwide regardless of their stage of socio-economic development. Thus, employment is currently a global policy issue.
Vernor Vinge is consistently one of the most interesting and conceptually dense futurists I’ve had an opportunity to listen to. While watching this excellent talk of his at Singularity University, my ears perked up at the mention of technological unemployment, the primary focus of this blog.
Anti-aging guru Aubrey de Grey's prediction that the first person to live 1,000-years has already been born got me thinking. What might life be like in this long-range future? Will boredom set in as we count the centuries; or will what promises to be an incredible technology-rich life keep the excitement alive?
I often wonder why movies from India don’t really get the serious attention they deserve apart from international admiration for them being colorful ! However, there have been movies from India which have asked just about any other big questions that Hollywood has had to ask about our Postmodern fantasies.
My most recent post was about the worthiness of so-called “demarcation” problems, such as reflections on what distinguishes science from philosophy, the latter from theology, and the former from pseudoscience. My interest in this field has been rekindled because of a long time collaboration with my colleague Maarten Boudry, which has resulted in a forthcoming edited book on the topic, to be published in July by Chicago Press.
Could someone without a business degree become a marketing consultant? Then how is it that people without philosophy degrees are becoming ethics consultants?  Is it that people don’t know that Ethics is a branch of Philosophy just as Marketing is a branch of Business? Doubtful. Is it just the typical male overstatement of one’s expertise?  Perhaps. Is it that people think they already know right from wrong, they learned it as children, there’s really no need for any formal training in ethics? Possible…
Sometimes Facebook mirrors our world a little too well. I go to Facebook to escape—from mounds of laundry waiting to be folded, weeds that are taking over the front yard, the ever burbling saga of minor crises in my extended family, or the frustration of not being able to find the right words for my next article. But lately, things have been reversed. The laundry and weeds have become welcome distractions from the news feed.
Warfare is no stranger to world history. It has become a byproduct of life itself, though is becoming less of a presence as greater activities emerge, i.e. new developing markets, scientific research, and exponentially growing technologies. For what’s left of warfare in our modern age is being coupled with the growing market of new advanced technologies, particularly that of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aka: drones.
Once again women’s health and autonomy is being compromised for politics. The Obama administration had the mandate and information they needed to make a science-based decision that put women’s health as top priority, and once again they failed to do so. In 2011 the FDA said that emergency contraception like Plan B and Next Choice should be available over the counter to all who seek it.