Tag Archives | Video

New Gods: Should We Banish Faith Forever? [Debate]

234 - New Gods
Evidence and reason are supposedly the basis of our beliefs. Yet religion continues to flourish, and new gods conquer even the most rational minds. Is unjustified, groundless belief an essential part of human nature? Or can we banish faith forever?

The Panel: American anthropologist Scott Atran, Cambridge philosopher Simon Blackburn and humanist Pavan Dhaliwal examine the foundations of thought.

(Find more debates like this at IAI TV)

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Celluloid and Simulation

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Via Cary Hill at Moviepilot

The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
— Marshall McLuhan

A friend recently remarked to me that it felt increasingly more like his childhood was being repackaged and sold back to him. We were discussing the recent rash of movies, toys, and TV shows based on things from our childhood: GI Joe, Transformers, etc. New Hollywood franchises (including merchandise) are being launched from shows we watched 30 years ago, targeting our generation and our children. Nostalgia is now big business.

So I wondered: If the majority of Hollywood’s efforts are being put to resurrecting original content from decades ago in an attempt to exploit nostalgia, what happens when all new films and toys are based on prior existing material?

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The State of the Union Address vs. Helena Norberg-Hodge, the Importance of Localization, and the Death of the Techno-Economic Juggernaut

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

 As for the developed countries from which this corrupting ethos of progress goes out: more and more their “growthmania” distorts their environments and robs the world of its nonrenewable resources for no better end than to increase the output of ballistic missiles, electric hairdryers, and eight-track stereophonic tape recorders.  But in the statistics of the economic index such mad waste measures out as “productivity,” and all looks rosy.

-E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful

 

During the State of Union address last week, President Barack Obama insinuated that Congress should grant him Fast Track authority (trade promotion authority that cannot be blocked by Congress) to make real the embryonic Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TPP) without directly referring to this nascent legislative monstrosity by name.  He promised that, unlike previous trade agreements (such as NAFTA), the TPP would lead to domestic job creation, boost worker protections, and help the United States maintain its economic lead over China.… Read the rest

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The Chemistry of Freedom: Is Free Will an Illusion? [Debate]

 

The cry of democrats and revolutionaries, we value freedom above almost anything. But neuroscientists claim they can predict decisions seven seconds before we act. Might free will be an illusion? Do we need to reimagine what it means to be human, or does freedom win over bad science?

The Panel

Neuroscientist Patrick Haggard, Templeton Prize winning physicist George FR Ellis and philosopher of mind and action Jennifer Hornsby consider where choice begins and chance ends.

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Russell Brand’s ‘End the Drugs War’ BBC Documentary

This is Russell Brand’s documentary on the War on Drugs that aired in the UK on BBC Three in December 2014.

The documentary Russell Brand made for BBC Three in 2012 concluded with him giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee. Drawing on his own experience of drug taking and recovery, he advocated treating addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal problem and underlined his own belief that abstinence is the best way to help addicts.

Since then the Committee has reported its findings, concluding that the British drugs laws were failing and that it was a ‘now or never’ moment to reform them. But David Cameron didn’t agree, insisting that the drugs policy is working in Britain and that we should ‘stick at it’.

In this personal journey for BBC Three, Russell Brand sets out to challenge that point of view. He wants to find out how other countries are tackling their problems of drug abuse and to explore how the framework of criminalization implicit in the ‘war on drugs’ produces enormous harm in the treatment of addicts.… Read the rest

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After Evolution [Debate]

 

Everything from criminality to love of gossip is in our genes according to some biologists. Yet behaviour varies dramatically between cultures. Does this cultural variation mean that evolutionary psychology is flawed? Can it be rescued with a new theory or is culture beyond genetics?

The Panel — Julian Baggini explores the limits of evolution with philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards, anthropologist Daniel Everett and Oxford evolutionary psychologist Oliver Scott Curry.

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