Are we all doomed to never agree on what is or isn’t true?
What’s the appeal of quantifying the future? What should we make of these technological oracles?RD associate editor Michael Schulson and Alan Levinovitz, an RD contributor and a professor of Chinese philosophy and religion at James Madison University, got together online to chat about fate, uncanniness, and prophecy as spectator sport.
In the 2001 Australian census, over 70,000 citizens indicated that their religion was Jedi. That number fell to around 58,000 in 2006, then rose back up to over 64,000 for the 2011 census. Of course, Jedi, based on the ancient spiritual organization from Star Wars, isn’t a real theistic religion, just a fun way to either stick it to the government or showcase your Star Wars fandom.
What are we to make of this? After all, slogans are useful things. “Black Lives Matter”, for one, has been enormously successful as a rallying cry for social change. And calls for national unity are often disguised attempts to prevent oppressed groups from expressing their specific grievances.
A Chicago-area woman says she wants to fight for her right to wear a pasta strainer on her head in her driver’s license photo, claiming the item is an expression of her religious beliefs.
How to shift the political landscape from the classroom.
The family of the accepted Muslim student who made the request for religious accommodation said she will not attend the public military college in South Carolina, and that “all legal options are on the table.”
As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic. It has unsettled — even surprised — me from the moment I first read it in graduate school. The passage is from the part of the dialogue where Socrates and his friends are talking about the nature of different political systems, how they change over time, and how one can slowly evolve into another. And Socrates seemed pretty clear on one sobering point: that “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.”
Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have always dictated how they are used. The evolution of technology has the potential to change that reality, and the implications are profoundly disturbing. According to experts in artificial intelligence, fully autonomous weapons, which would select and engage targets without meaningful human control, could be developed for use within years, not decades
It’s degrading to the religious book to put it on the same level as the state flower and bird, says a Republican critic of the bill.