Archive for June 10th, 2009

Coyne Replies; I Reply; I Think We're Getting Somewhere

By Chris Mooney | June 10, 2009 4:30 pm

Coyne has another post. He defends his view on methodological and philosophical naturalism, and basically says that there are supernatural things that science can address. Ah, but then are they supernatural any longer? This gets to the heart of my problem with Coyne’s approach….

But we’ll get there. For now,  Coyne posed a direct question to me at the end of the post, and I replied on his blog, so I’ll repost the back and forth:

Coyne: Let me pose this question to Mr. Mooney.  The “truth” claims of many faiths are flatly incompatible.  Christians, for example, believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the son of God.  Muslims claim that this is not only untrue, but that anyone who believes it will burn in hell.  At most. only one of these claims can be true. Who is right? How do you decide?  And whatever method you use (whether you were born in Kansas or Kabul; whether you get a personal revelation), doesn’t it differ from the way that science finds out things?

Me: I will write more but in response to your last question, I am in agreement with you. Religions make incompatible truth claims and there is no intersubjective way for us to decide which, if any, of them are true. That’s why I reject all of them. That’s why I’m an atheist, a philosophical naturalist, etc.

But I still disagree with you on compatibilism and much else above….

Read Coyne’s whole post here. More when I can muster it–by tomorrow I expect. The point is that I think we may actually be getting somewhere….

Unscientific America Book Tour, First Draft

By Chris Mooney | June 10, 2009 11:02 am

We are still filling in a lot of dates, but this is what we have so far. Mark your calendars if you’re going to be in any of these areas…

July 16: La Jolla, CA. Warwick’s Books, 7:30 pm.

July 28: Washington, D.C. Politics and Prose. Details TBA; no link yet.

August 3: Silicon Valley, CA. The Commonwealth Club, 7 pm.

August 5: Los Angeles, CA. Los Angeles Public Library ALOUD event, 7 pm.

August 6: Seattle, WA. University of Washington Bookstore, 7 pm.

These are all events that I’m doing solo. Sheril is covering the Durham/Research Triangle area, and perhaps some other parts of the country, and hopefully will announce her own events soon.

We are also looking to do joint events but so far there aren’t any booked.

This is just the beginning, and we are also currently looking into adding events in New York, Boston, Chicago, as well as in other towns and at various universities. Details TBA….

Rape Is NOT A Game

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | June 10, 2009 9:06 am

rapelay_c.jpgI’m not particularly good at video games. My brother always beat me on the original Nintendo and I never graduated to another system. Once in a while I’ll try someone’s Wii, but don’t seem to have the attention span gaming requires. Guitar Hero never made much sense either–I’d rather jam on real instruments. Still, from a distance I can appreciate the leaps and bounds of progress in virtual technology. Yesterday, I even learned avatars can now give birth in Second Life. Go figure. That said, there’s a boundary that should NEVER be crossed, imaginary or not. I draw the line at rape.

Rape is NOT a game.

Unfortunately, the Japanese production house Illusion seems to think it provides quality entertainment. In 2006 they released ‘RapeLay,’ after the previous titles ‘Battle Raper‘ and ‘Artificial Girl.’ The premise… well, ready for this?

Players stalk a female character as she waits for a train in the subway station. Apparently, you can even virtually pray for a gust of wind that blows up her skirt to peek at her underwear and fondle her body while she tries to fight back. Sure sounds familiar so far–can anyone say post-traumatic stress?

Next, the goal is to rape the woman… followed by her two virgin daughters (pictured on the cover above). According to Persia:

One of them resembles a girl of about 10 and, horrifically, you can see tears coming out of her eyes. “Sniff… sniff… I w-w-want to die,” is one of the comments she’s automated to cry.

It still gets worse.  Players invite friends to participate in gang-raping the children and if the woman becomes pregnant, she must be forced to have an abortion. Otherwise, she becomes more visibly pregnant with each subsequent rape. Should she finally have the baby… GAME OVER.

According to a spokesman for the company:

We believe there is no problem with the software, which has cleared the domestic ratings of an ethics watchdog body.

Seriously? There’s a big problem. And I can’t decide which is worse–that this abomination was created or that there’s enough of a market to distribute it. Although words fail me, I will not be silent.


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