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Archive for February, 2014

Liberal Modernity and Secularism

Friday, February 28th, 2014

[M]odernity (especially liberal modernity) makes things difficult (perhaps uniquely difficult) for people of faith. It fosters a pluralism that denies any one religion the power to organize the whole of social life. It teaches that public authorities must submit to the consent of those over whom they aspire to rule, thereby undermining the legitimacy of all forms of absolutism. It employs the systematic skepticism of the scientific method to settle important questions of public policy. It encourages the growth of the capitalist marketplace, which unleashes human appetites and gives individuals the freedom to choose among an ever-expanding range of ways to satisfy them.

Damon Linker, in Is secularism inevitable? [theweek.com] from The Week

Making decisions based on trees and flowers

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Of course there are several major differences between human and bee consensus, not the least of which is that we are not part of a hive mind, despite how much the internet often feels like one. Also, we don’t usually make decisions based on trees and flowers, though maybe we should.

Annalee Newitz, in This video of a honeybee swarm reveals why humans can’t form consensus [io9.com]