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Today’s Top Tweets – Think for yourself and you’re a DENYER?

John Keogh - The Future

John Keogh – The Future via Flickr

I don’t know if anyone remembers a tweet a few weeks back about C. S. Lewis and Scientism. Before I say any more, let me refresh you. Using the term scientism is not anti-science. Scientism is about phony or shoddy science.

Scienitism as phony science appears in TV ads where paid actors wear white lab coats to legitimize the alleged benefits of the latest tooth paste, painkiller or allergy pill.

Scientism as shoddy science happens whenever a scientist’s interpretation of results exceeds the limits of the experimental design and data.

For me, scientists claiming they are certain about all the causes and future effects of climate change are leaning toward scientism.

To make matters worse, figures like Richard Branson (on MSNBC this morning) call anyone a DENYER who simply wants to think and discuss the issue. This is not only insulting to anyone who can imagine beyond the herd mentality. It’s a tactic I’d expect from a dystopian character in Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World.

I find the easy and widespread use of the term “denyer” far scarier than the prospect of climate change. Muzzling human beings’ right to speak though insults and implicit marginalization is never a good idea.


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Why I switched my major from Sociology to Religious Studies (not that that was the be all and end all…)

This morning I came across a tweeted story (below) that at first glance I liked. It reminded me of my sociology days at Trent university where many of the professors in that department were above average. Especially in sociological theory. John Hillman covered the classical thinkers with an admirable depth for an undergrad course. Frank Nutch was the fun, alternative professor; a real gem of a guy who introduced me to the sociology of science. Andrew Werknick covered contemporary sociological theory, mostly European. Coming from the UK, Wernick seemed to have a close connection to the European scene. And the late Alexander Wilson was one of the coolest guys you could ever hope to meet. Up from California, he talked about Disneyland as a microcosm for all the imagery and spin we see in the greater North American media. These guys and a few other professors, male and female, really opened my mind. And I thank them.

But it wasn’t enough and I had to move on to something more comprehensive. Hence my switch to comparative religion and then religious studies. Not surprisingly, I used a sociological method (the postmodern work of Michel Foucault) in my doctoral thesis on Carl Jung. I was happy to graduate but, to be honest, that work was the outcome of so many strange and unsettling political forces that I don’t see it as a pinnacle of personal achievement. In retrospect, I see my graduate studies as another bridge I had to cross.

Anyhow, here’s a quote from this morning’s tweeted story:

For Bahro, a peaceful eco-communist alternative to capitalism is both possible and essential, but the belief that capitalism offers a life that is desirable must first be overturned if this alternative is to flourish. Through a variety of psychological strategies subsumed under the rubric of ‘retail therapy’, capitalism promotes pseudo-individualistic lifestyles, drives the desires of the self-absorbed, and promises fulfillment from the menu of all-you-can-eat. Retail therapy locates meaning in life through clothes, cars, homes, holidays and furniture. (view in context).

So what’s wrong with this view?

Well, the overall piece talks about spirituality but it sets up a false conflict between capitalism and spirituality. For me, going out to shop can be a spiritual exercise. We don’t need to compartmentalize “spirituality” and “the world” as so many hack thinkers do. It’s not as if God closes his or her eyes the moment we decide to enter a Pizza Hut or Tim Hortons. Far from it. If we do not objectify other people, interacting with employees can be quite spiritual and an important part of one’s overall journey.

So why the sharp division between “capitalism” and “spirituality?”

A person with any spiritual depth understands that God is everywhere. He or She is not just locked up in monasteries or in the Green movement. Everywhere is everywhere. Period.

All we really have to do is open our eyes and see what’s already there. And I think this perspective, if anything, would help to make the world a better, fairer place. If we see other people as our human brothers and sisters, there is far less chance of wanting to exploit, lie, cheat or rob.

Sadly, the biggest joke is that religion often bolsters people into doing bad things. These people believe the end justifies the means. But in most cases that’s ass backwards. As the good book teaches:

A good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matt. 7-17).

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Today’s Top Tweets

Today’s another day where I won’t have time to comment on these stories until later. So I thought I’d just list my favs for now:


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Well, this would be one solution to mowing the lawn…

Apparently they’ve been doing this in Europe for ages!


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Arctic is greening due to global warming

GREEN – NASA, Handout Cindy Starr-NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center – Using 29 years of data from Landsat satellites, researchers at NASA have found extensive greening in the vegetation across Alaska and Canada. Rapidly increasing temperatures in the Arctic have led to longer growing seasons and changing soil for plants.

Funny how so many New Age pundits tell us to “embrace change” and look for the BIG GOOD in the flux of smaller good and bad events. But all this great sounding wisdom flies out the window when it comes to the warmer regions and climate change.

Why?

Because climate change is really a political issue. Some regions will suffer, others will likely benefit.

I’ve been saying this for months now, but because current power brokers and vulnerable peoples are concerned about what climate change will do to them, we hear a great outcry. I’m not sure if Canada will truly benefit. True, it’s a cold country and our population is quite small, largely because of the climate. But personally, I like it that way.


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Arctic greenbelt on increase – climate change

More new plants to compensate for those drying up?


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Alert! Russian Rocket Carrying Highly Toxic Waste May Land In Canadian Arctic