Newsletter 1036

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Best of the Moment

A Faithful Hound

Colin Dickey | Lapham's Quarterly | 18th June 2013

Reconstructing the history of a 13th-century cult in southern France. Parents would abandon sick children on the grave of Saint Guinefort, who was, apparently, a greyhound, credited with having once saved a baby from a snake. The underlying myth dates back a thousand years to India, where the sacred animal was a mongoose. In the French variant, the dog was confused with a human saint, and a ritual was born

What Grounds Paternal Obligations?

Owen Schaefer | Practical Ethics | 18th June 2013

Should unwilling fathers be required to pay child support? "If one has a strongly intuitionistic approach, the biological model (where participation in a process of sexual intercourse resulting in pregnancy and childbirth is sufficient for obligation) is probably the best option. While it might lack in philosophical grounding, there are relatively few counterintuitive implications (at least that I can think of)"

The Science Of Why We Don’t Believe In Science

Chris Mooney | Medium | 18th June 2013

Much of this will be familiar to anybody who has dipped a toe into behavioural psychology — Kahneman, Kahan, confirmation bias, affect and so on — but still, it's well put together, and pushes a bit harder than you might expect at first. Yes, people are reluctant to change their minds. But: "On the one hand, it doesn’t make sense to discard an entire belief system, built up over a lifetime, because of some new snippet of information"

Brokeback In Belarus

Alyona Soiko | Open Democracy | 17th June 2013

Two male tractor drivers live together in a remote village in Belarus. Both had wives and children before discovering they were in love with each other. Their wives left, taking the children. Transcript of a frank and touching conversation. About love, marriage, sex. "The village has accepted it. But then, this is a dead village, there’s nobody here but pensioners. The old dears found it a bit weird, of course, but they soon go used to it"

Video of the day: Kickstopper

Thought for the day:

"Christians have given atheists less and less in which to disbelieve"— Alasdair MacIntyre

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