Monthly Archives: March 2015

Prove it!

IMG_20150325_224056A retweet from AC Grayling (@acgrayling) of this page made me email myself at work, because I had to share it with my yr13s. They’ve been studying with me (and my philosophical partner in crime) meta ethics and religious language. I love when we get to the end of the topic and they turn around and say ‘so what we’re doing is pointless?’ Studying whether ethical and religious language has any meaning is incredibly mind blowing, but in terms of a debate it has so many levels.

How meaning is measured? Whether all statements need to be verifiable or falsified to have meaning? And is the meaning universal? These questions barely scratch the surface of the topics, but Grayling brings up one of the key points.

My husband (a science teacher) always says you can’t argue with a deeply religious person, because they use the argument ‘oh but it’s the unknowable plan/will of God’ etc. I remember reading a philosophy book that even used the phrase ‘moving the goal posts’ when describing how a religious person might discuss religious beliefs. When their ideas or definitions are questioned they simple change the parameters of the term.

So is the fact that the religious world won’t set out the conditions or situations by which their beliefs could be falsified (which would then subject it to being tested like other theories ) a cop out? Or are we being unreasonable to suggest faith is exactly like science; I mean it wouldn’t be called faith otherwise.

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Pope Francis condemns the death penalty as ‘inadmissable’ and a ‘failure’ – People – News – The Independent

Pope Francis condemns the death penalty as ‘inadmissable’ and a ‘failure’ – People – News – The Independent.

I discuss the death penalty a lot with my students and the reactions are always so strong. Some out rightly support it and wished it would come back to the UK; they believe that there are some crimes that are so horrendous that they cannot be allowed to live. I get that. Shouldn’t society stand up and condemn certain actions explicitly using what could be the ultimate deterrent. We’ve even discussed how Christians often cite St Paul who claimed that it could be the best form of protection if the criminal could not be reformed.

However, there are always students who look puzzled at this and simply reply ‘How can we be punishing them for killing if we kill them’. It’s true society must stand as the model of righteousness, but surely it is more just to not go down that route. I tell students all the time not to ‘sink to their level’ and possibly the death penalty is an example of this. Society should be judged by how it treats it’s lowest citizens, so what would we be saying about us if we allowed it. These students always bring up Ian Brady being on hunger strike and how death can sometimes be an easy way out.

The Pope comes up with some interesting arguments and I’ll be interested to hear what my classes have to say about it. However (as I have done here hopefully) I will forever argue both sides just be annoying.

First full body transplant is two years away, surgeon claims | Science | The Guardian

First full body transplant is two years away, surgeon claims | Science | The Guardian

Can it be done? And if so should it be done? Is this doctor possibly going to provide a solution for many disabled and terminal ill people….or is he changing what it means to be human?!

I don’t know, but if it’s going to happen we need to decide soon!

First full body transplant is two years away, surgeon claims | Science | The Guardian.

Gabbana responds to Sir Elton’s boycott calls – BBC Newsbeat

Big twitter argument between Elton John and fashion designer Stefano Gabbana (of Dolce and Gabbana obviously). All after comments that the designer made about IVF and surrogate children being ‘synthetic’. Elton John has called for a #boycottD&G as he takes this as a personal attack on his own children (born of a surrogate).

There have always been debates on how much technology should be used to interfere with life, but it’s interesting to note that these same arguments aren’t always used when we’re talking about life saving techniques. How might Mr Gabbana respond to pace makers?

 

Gabbana responds to Sir Elton’s boycott calls – BBC Newsbeat.