Genetics, God, Hell, Work, Goats

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Genetics And Race

Chris Dillow | Stumbling And Mumbling | 30th March 2018

Reflections on the renewed American debate about race, genetics, and IQ. “There are countless genetic differences which do not yield large systemic inequalities: eye colour, hair colour, and so on. Why should IQ be different? There are genetic differences which produce moderate economic inequalities but not ideologies that defend them. Tall men earn more than short ones, but (moderately) short men haven’t endured centuries of oppression. Why are race and gender different?” (930 words)

The Hour I First Believed

Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 1st April 2018

Argument for the existence of God derived from applying game theory to artificial intelligence. Contrived, obviously, but many interesting ideas along the way, including acausal trade, value handshakes, and simulation capture. “There is an all-powerful, all-knowing logically necessary entity spawning all possible worlds and identical to the moral law. It watches everything that happens on Earth and is specifically interested in humans’ good behavior and willingness to obey its rules” (2,700 words)

Heaven And Hell Are A State Of Mind

Andrew Brown | Guardian | 2nd April 2018

It is hard to believe Eugenio Scalfari’s claim that Pope Francis denied the existence of Hell, but equally hard to understand the theological case for Hell’s existence. “The idea of eternal conscious torment seems entirely disproportionate to the sins it punishes. The sufferings of hell are by definition worse than anything we can experience in this life. To inflict such endless agony does not seem in the nature of a loving and merciful God; it seems disproportionate even to the demands of justice” (800 words)

Women Of The Telephone Company

Elinor Langer | New York Review Of Books | 26th March 1970

From the archive. American office culture in 1969. “Daily life on the job at the New York Telephone Company consists largely of pressure. The basic working unit is one girl, one telephone — and the basic requirement of the job is to answer it, fifty times a day. Working in that job, one does not see oneself as a victim of ‘Capitalism’. One is simply part of a busy little world with a shape and an integrity all its own. The pattern of co-optation rests on hundreds of trivial, but human, details” (6,700 words)

The Love Of Goats

Matthew Denton-Edmundson | Hedgehog Review | 2nd April 2018

“Cat lovers are comfortable with the mysteries of nature in a way most dog lovers aren’t. A goat possesses attributes of both cat and dog. That is, goats engage the two parts of us that long — in conflictingly equal measure — to dominate and be dominated, to know everything and to bask in mystery. In the Old Testament, the domesticated goat is a symbol of man’s dominion over the animals, and also — by its use as a sacrificial animal — of man’s subservience to God” (1,700 words)

Video of the day What Does It Mean To Be Me?

What to expect:

Introduction to the ideas of sociologist Erving Goffman, narrated by Stephen Fry (2’00”)

Thought for the day

It is best to keep one’s own state intact; to crush the enemy’s state is only second best
Sun Tzu

Podcast of the day Mark Zuckerberg | The Ezra Klein Show

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks to Ezra Klein about governance, control, and accountability
(49m 02s)

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