Sunday School

Sunday School May 3rd 2020

This topic contains 16 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 month, 4 weeks ago.

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    In Ireland many schools are still run under the ethos of a foreign nation (The Vatican). But Catholic teachers will no longer be able to abuse this privilege and discriminate against young children. Teachers will be happy with this ruling too as I know for a fact that many of them are atheists.

    Trigger Warning: The following story contains a disturbing photo so please remove any disinfectant from arms reach. Stop wasting taxpayer’s money to study the Bible.

    I had considered getting my next tattoo done in a studio in Atlanta next Thanksgiving week but I think it may still be too soon to do so, even if I say my prayers.

    Religious groups still want to spread the virus among themselves.

    Just how much did the twelfth most pious Pope know about the Holocaust?

    This weeks’ Woo: COVID-19 Conspiracies and Conservative media. We’ve had enough already!

    Climate Crisis: To achieve change requires cooperation.

    These are the decade’s biggest discoveries in Human Evolution. (see also video at end).

    In a week when a toilet roll was more expensive than a barrel of oil we may wonder why the World is still producing more oil than it needs.

    The pandemic brings Trump’s war on science to the boil – but who will win? Should we just pretend he doesn’t exist?

    The Stoics, like Seneca and Cicero spent much of their time wondering “How should we live?”. Can philosophy help to resolve this eternal question? I must confess I do like my new abnormal life so long as it does not become my new normal.

    Why do you believe what you do? Run some diagnostics on it.

    7 stars and planets you can see from your backyard. Keep a watch out for pieces of Halley’s Comet too this week.

    Maybe the A.I. robots will need to acquire common sense first!

    What happens to physicists when they have angry soup for lunch?

    Bayesian inference and the Raven Paradox.

    The history of American religiosity and its recent decline.

    The Humboldt virtual exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

    Long Reads: An innocent man spent 46 years in prison. Do Civilisations collapse? Humanity’s greatest idea (from my favorite science writer).

    This week I am reading this book: I never knew that one of my favorite books, Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas, was inspired by someone I used to see often. So, 2 books to re-read this week to make sure I am living my best possible life. (Message to self – Yes, that sounds like a good plan).

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Coffee Break Video: Mrs Betty Bowers on opening a country that has a closed mind. A crash course in Human Evolution (an email address is needed to watch the video). Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans – Full Documentary. Ricky Gervais & Russell Brand: God VS Atheism – Full Episode.


    Have a great week everyone!

    It can prove tedious maintaining friendships with people whose other friend is imaginary.




    Thanks, Reg!


    You’re welcome Strega. It was a little late today. If only the Earth was flat we would have just one time zone!



    This ‘social distancing bike’ from photos of the week is OK for the front person, I am sure.



    Philosophy cannot resolve the question ‘How should we live?

    was a terribly written article. Using elusive vocabulary “add another dimension” or “a deeper human meaning”, the article meanders. It seems its strongest argument is that misunderstanding over the use of words like comparing how an atheist says there is no soul with the phrase “slavery is soul destroying”. That isn’t remotely profound, its a central issue when philosophers write and one they always keep in mind. That isn’t evidence that an answer to a question cannot be formed. And suggesting a solution requires more “dimension” and “human depth” (without defining it) is truly trashy philosophy. The only argument in that whole article that makes sense is that an answer ought to be complex because a one sized solution cannot fit all. Again, nothing profound, I don’t know a virtue ethicist or a stoic philosopher who said otherwise. How did this author get published in Aeon?


    Simon Paynton

    Philosophy cannot resolve the question ‘How should we live?’

    I can see the point that Dave Ellis is making – that it can be a literal question, or a spiritual question.  To dismiss this on the grounds that there’s no such thing as spirits misses the point and takes things too literally.



    No Simon. He was reducing it to a problem of defining words.

    Spiritual makes sense in philosophy if you send the question to the domain of theology or “religious philosophy”. It is thoroughly ignored in most of the rest of philosophy because “spiritual” is a word bad trash philosophers use to avoid having to define things and give vague answers which is a huge sin in philosophy….which pretty much sums up this article. He uses multiple terms, as watery as can be, without using a single example or definition let alone reference to anyone else’s arguments. I get it…there is limited space but it’s still fairly unforgivable.

    He’s a philosophy student which would explain how inexperienced he is in stoic philosophy or virtue ethics writers because if he had read many of them he’d realize he was both making non-profound comments, amongst those comments that isn’t watery barf.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Davis.


    You’re welcome Strega. It was a little late today. If only the Earth was flat we would have just one time zone!

    Those flat earthers never consider that the flatness may be vertical in which case we’d all fall off!


    Simon Paynton

    Spiritual makes sense in philosophy if you send the question to the domain of theology or “religious philosophy”.

    It’s also used in practical ethics like military ethics and well-being psychology.  It has an accepted practical meaning, although it’s broad and vague, or diverse.  Some things are.


    Simon Paynton

    I don’t think that philosophy has to follow a style or convention, as long as it’s properly done, which gives a pretty wide scope for ways to do it.

    I think he could have done a much better article, I agree.  For one thing, it’s not clear what the question “how should we live?” means.  On the other hand, when you answer it, you give it meaning.  So, there are different aspects to living, such as: ethical, working to survive, and social, to name a few obvious ones. I agree with Ellis that it’s a spiritual question.  I agree with @davis that he doesn’t tell us much else.



    Simon you completely contradicted yourself. The convention IS to get things done properly. And part of that is defining what you mean, making coherent arguments and leaving an answer to a question that can be properly analysed and challenged. Otherwise its just literature or journalism.


    Simon Paynton

    Well, I think he does do proper philosophy, in that he identifies that asking “how should we live?” can be a spiritual question, because people are not machines, and that to deny the existence of spiritual questions is to take things too literally and scientistically.

    However, he takes a big old long time to say it, and then leaves it as an open question, which contradicts the title.


    Simon Paynton

    “How should we live?”. Can philosophy help to resolve this eternal question?

    Coming back to this, I agree with the points the author is making:

    It is not obvious that academic philosophy can address such a question adequately.

    Academia often misses the point here, ignoring the depth, and responding as if problems about the meaning of life were logical puzzles, to be dissolved or dismissed as not real problems, or solved in a single way for all time.

    In other words, often, modern philosophy has too narrow an emphasis to be able to give open-ended answers to big questions like this.  It’s a good point.




    I won’t say another word about this until you define these terms and provide examples to back up these claims.

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