Friday Links (31-Aug-12)

Est Reading Time: 2 min
  • The attack of the straw feminists
  • Massimo Pigliucci on The Ethics of Belief: a classic of skepticism from the 19th century that argues that “it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”.
  • Natalie Reed’s intelligent-as-always discussion on the nuances of testing participants for gender at the Olympics and within competitive sport generally.
  • As if we needed more evidence that Alain de Botton is a sanctimonious, pretentious, pseudointellectual asshole. He’s written a book about sex in which he ignores all 20th century science, argues for repression (and that religions are the only institutions that recognise that sex needs to be repressed), makes the repeated assertion that all our turn-ons are some Freudian result of our relationship with our parents and has some generally bad advice. I acknowledge that I haven’t read the book but the quotes in the link I provided seem so ridiculous that no context could rescue them — also it’s in line with some of his smug waffle on beauty, religion and so on.
  • Today, the name of Macchiavelli is synonymous with political manipulation, dictatorship and evil. This view is very inaccurate and misses most things about who he was and why he’s remembered. A history blog explains more on the background of Macchiavelli and why he’s important. This is part 1 in a short series so stay tuned.
  • A few weeks ago was the death of Rabbi Elyashiv, who was the most respected expert in Jewish law in the Hareidi (“ultra-Orthodox”) community. He was one of the most influential rabbis in the world (although you probably haven’t heard of him) and was widely considered to be the foremost authority on the Torah in the world. Devar Akher gives his thoughts on the man, whose immense erudition on Jewish law was matched by his lack of compassion and human warmth, both in his personal life as well as the many he hurt in his halakhic rulings.
  • A look at the puritan double-standard that is applied to heating vs air conditioning (Part 1|Part 2)