I read Mysticism Sacred and Profane in high school, like just about everyone else, I suppose (excuse me: “I reckon”), and I did not know until this day that Zaehner was involved in the great game. Even suspected of being a Russian spy, he was. There’s also the matter of what he would have thought about the current nuclear apocalypticon.
This New Yorker article brought to mind something I’ve been thinking about of late. With the worldwide prospects of torture on the considerable rise, it occurs to me that the development of analgesics, perhaps subcutaneous or dental, that cause pain to be perceived as hallucinatory or what C.D. Broad calls “extraspective” images might be either being developed or at least conceptualized. The intensity of the visualizations would correspond with the intensity of the pain, so you might see something of lasting influence while having your hand boiled in Uzbekistan, for instance.
My logs tell me that the readers of this site comprise five people and fifty robots, so I figured I’d call upon their vast store of knowledge to ask the following question: what novels (or other) can you think of that depict a society in which enlightenment epistemological principles have been supplanted by revelationism but, paradoxically or accidentally, scientific progress has still continued? Dune seems like a maybe here, and I can’t think of anything else right now.
As long-time readers know, I taught a course last semester called “The Rhetoric of Evolution in America.” This course was organized into three sections, with last two focusing on debates without and within evolutionary theory. As you might expect, in the fomer I taught selections from intelligent designers along with even YECs. One of the student comments on the course evaluation complained that I only taught “well-written articles from an evolutionist perspective and poorly written creationist ones” or something similar.
Stanley Fish’s article in the Chronicle today might get (or has already gotten–don’t know yet) a lot of attention among academic web log enthusiasts. He argues that religion is the barycenter of both the private and public spheres, and that academics better take notice (and have been taking notice) of this vital energy. “Announce a course with ‘religion’ in the title, and you will have an overflow population. Announce a lecture or panel on ‘religion in our time’ and you will have to hire a larger hall” writes Fish, and my inner cynic wondered if the increases might be even larger if you substituted “sex” there.