Tuesday assorted links

1. Indian philosophy of language.

2. New Yorker covers dining in the Faroe Islands.

3. “It is easier to own a tiger than a dog that has been labelled dangerous in the state of Texas, which could have between 2,000 and 5,000 tigers.”  You also can buy a tiger on-line.

4. Liberal vs. conservative notions of God?

5. Can your body itself power implantable biomedical devices?


1. Thanks for linking. Hope Jaldhar chips in here. I think he is well read on Mimamsa.

I am very very surprised to see it linked here. Don't remember this sort of thing happening before.

Scott Soames

That is a name, not a sentence. What is your point?

4. More important is the fundamental difference between evangelical and non-evangelical notions of Jesus: to the evangelical, all that matters is faith in Jesus whereas to the non-evangelical (Christian), faith in Jesus is but one aspect of being a faithful Christian, doing good works in this life a requirement for gaining entry into the next one.

As someone who grew up in a conservative evangelical church environment but later left it, I have always been puzzled by the evangelical emphasis on "correct belief" as being the core requirement of salvation.

It seems to me that people have more volitional control and "free will" over how they act, as opposed to what they believe. If that is true, then it seems a bit "unfair" for salvation to be dependent more on faith than on works. But if one adopts a more Calvinist theology, then I suppose this may not be as worrisome.

did you ever read the bible while you were in that conservative evangelical home? because jesus kind of intimates that faith in him is the decisive factor. and this notion that faith alone matters to evangelical christianity is kind of ridicolous. i grew up in a conservative evangelical home and the instruction in the faith i received leaned heavily on the notion that faith without works is dead. but again at the core all forms of orthodox christianity when you distill it down say that without faith you will not be saved- you can't really escape the words of your religion's founder.

The solution is obvious. Faith and works are the same thing. What kind of faith would a Christian have if he did not attempt to live as Christ lived? Talk is cheap, and it certainly isn't faith.

While without faith works are meaningless, that hardly means that faith without works is meaningful.

And it's hard to say that prancing around a meteor is much of a work or particularly meaningful in itself but when your religion's founder says its meanignful then it acquires meaning. This is like really really low grade sophistry here.

If you do not in your heart of hearts want to live on this earth as if you were already in heaven, that is, as if you were not already effectively listening to the voice of God and obeying the commandments of love for others, well then you lack in faith and works both, according to many verses of the Bible. Still, Jesus, who is the same person as God the Father and the same person as the Holy Spirit, did not come to earth to save people who do not lack in faith and love, but to save people who do, like me and, perhaps, you, lack in faith and love!

The border-line (what an interesting word that is, borderline - in French, lisiere, meaning the edge of the woods, in Russian, there is an even more complicated word, bliki, which is the word for the patches of sunlight that fall onto the ground slightly into a woods that is not so dark that the sun cannot penetrate - but I wander from my point) between various views of this from a dry academic drawn out sermonizing point of view can be found from the differing reactions, over the tedious long years of theological argument, to the Letter of James.

That being said, someone who really wanted to be like James, one of our first martyrs and an awful good writer to boot, would sincerely try to be a wonderworker, someone strong in prayer, someone who would ask God for years of suffering on this earth as opposed to early martyrdom, because faith in God - as explained by Jesus - is equivalent to a fervent desire to help others for as long and as often as we can. (it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature that never had a friend in this world, rinse and repeat, chebere salud chebere).

You do understand that the bible was not written by Jesus who may have never existed. The bible was written by radical religious individuals who put their beliefs and their group beliefs into it. At best it is moderately historical at worst it is terrible fiction. Depends on which book you are reading. Much of it is bizarre and you have to wonder "who would believe this stuff?". A lot of it is blood and guts and hate and revenge.

Jesus existed, I never met him personally but I have met at least one of his close friends, who, as a matter of fact, was very kind to me. I do not need any more proof than that.

Yes the Bible is full of descriptions of what bad people do.

There is a lot of terrible fiction in the world, even at their best novelists write mostly terrible fiction: read poor Professor Nabokov on Cervantes, read rich boy Tolstoy on Shakespeare. if that is not enough for you I can tell you why Nabokov and Tolstoy themselves, neither of whom ever understood the Bible very well, were themselves mostly second-rate pasticheurs, no matter how entertaining or hard-working you might think they were (and that is just the best-seller Russians: imagine how badly Melville would have muffed describing the average life of one of your friends, but I am not talking about Americans here). There are no good famous writers, to tell the truth, and almost no good famous poets, either, and the sort of losers who settle for writing fiction are even worse than the ambitious people who settle for doing their best at poetry.

Don't believe me? Read the best 10 or so cantos of Dante, or the best 4 or 5 books of the incomparable Odyssey, and then spend a few days not reading anything at all, just walking through the woods for a few hours before heading back to the comfortable well-lit motel room, or fishing (but throw back the fish you catch, back into the water they love, trust me on that, eating fish you just caught is not what you want to be doing when you are figuring out how much God loves everyone you love) and then, either in a long conversation with a friend or just pondering on such things yourself, try and imagine how rich boy Tolstoy or the scholar Dante would have totally muffed their descriptions of the best moments of your earlier life, would have failed to accurately describe the people you loved and the people who loved you.

And of course, if like me, you are the sort of person whom almost nobody has effectively loved in this world, it will be even easier - compare Dante at his best or Tolstoy at his best to the the words of encouragement God has for those of us who are the apparent losers in this world. Proverbs 8 chebere Proverbs 8!

People who catch fish and then throw them back in the river are engaging in fish torture. Just ask the fish. Those same people are likely to spend an eternity in Hades with imps shoving burning splinters under their fingernails. Don't catch fish unless you intend to eat them.

Well of course it is better not to catch them and throw them back in , it is better to let them live their fish lives without random unwanted sharp hooks in the mouth, I know that and you know that, I was being indulgent to someone who I assumed did not know that. It is not easy being human, we live in a world that used to be designed for us but which is no longer what it used to be back in the day: the Garden of Eden was the only truly good times anyone can plausibly remember, and besides me and you, to tell the truth, I doubt many people try and remember it ....

We all need to be kinder to each other!

As for the imps: Jesus is a friend of a friend of a friend of mine, and I pray that the imps will, as soon as possible, leave off whatever it is in their hearts that makes them continue on acting in a way that one calls impish. Please join in such prayers, you seem like a very good person!

What are your thoughts on Nassim Taleb's recent statement -

"Indeed, Atheism is a sect of Protestantism. (For one to be an atheist, religious "belief" has to be epistemic.) "

I must say that I did not particularly enjoy Cowen's conversation with Taleb. I'm likely not smart enough to follow Taleb, but my impression is that talks in circles: wait long enough and he will circle back to where he started. I suppose that atheism is akin to Protestantism in that both are based on belief: how does one know there is or is not a God, and how would would prove the hypothesis. Agnosticism, on the other hand, is not based on belief, but is simply an acknowledgment that the agnostic doesn't know if there is a God. [An aside, I tell my Roman Catholic friends that Catholicism is today's Judaism - a rule-based religion - as compared to (evangelical) Protestantism, in which there are no rules, only belief in Jesus.]

I didn't like the interview either. Not Taleb at his best.

Someone should have told Al Ma'arri. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Maʿarri
Or those about whom the Old Testment says they believed in no God and wanted only drink and be merry because afterwards they would be dead and gone anyway.

A Protestant atheist is very different from a Catholic atheist or a Hindu atheist or a Buddhist atheist - or a Muslim atheist.

Obviously our intellectual categories and habits are shaped by the wider world in which we live.

What about an atheist atheist?

That makes as much sense as a pro-sharia law atheist.

You think there aren't pro-sharia atheists?

1." Give them a tweet ---------- by a person who has political power and says something false or inflammatory......."

Good to know that those Tweets serve some useful purpose if only for analysis.

#4 - For the liberal, the state is god. For the conservative, the individual is god.

So I guess it's only moderates for whom God is god?

I think that would be (small-i) independents, such as myself.

See Orwell's essay, "Reflections on Gandhi."

". . .Gandhi's teachings cannot be squared with the belief that Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living on this earth, which is the only earth we have."

"But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is 'higher.' The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all 'radicals' and 'progressives,' from the mildest liberal to the most extreme anarchist, have in effect chosen Man."

That rings true for me. The conservative that "enshrines" the individual also chooses the Worldly man over God.

What beliefs do you hold that make you an independent vs being a conservative?

"#4 - For the liberal, the state is god. For the conservative, the individual is god."

Shouldn't that be something like: For the liberal, the state is god. For the libertarian, the individual is god. For the conservative, tradition is god.

For John Gray, there is no good and humans are just particularly rapacious apes with clever minds.

For the rapacious ape, it's all about protecting the self - dominance hierarchy, reproductive success, access to resources, protecting territory, seeking pleasure, and avoiding pain.

If you think like that, everything makes sense.

Rapacious ape? *cough* lobster!

Re John Gray. He’s certainly a far better and more graceful stylist than Jordan Peterson is.

That is why Conservatives have defended many restrictions on other individuals' behavior, from banning teaching about countraceptive methods to Segregation to restricting homosexuals' rights?

Segregation was defended by Democrats. Call them conservative if you like, I would agree, but keep in mind the strong association between Segregation and Clinton/Obama/etc.

Tell LBJ. But, yeah, the Conservative wing of the Democratic Party. It is funny that Democrats used to be the Conservative populists. Didn't Bryan run as a Democrat?
Maybe the turning point was Goldwater running as an enenmy of the Civil Rights Act (he was not a racist, but his postion was more congenial to racists than LBJ's).

Things seem to have changed: https://zompist.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/ask-zompist-southern-secession/

Anyway, I insist: Conservatives do not seem to deify individuality. They can make as much a god of the state ("right" kimd of state, of course) as liberals.

Wrong. You must have oatmeal for brains. Under the Trump administration, the reverse is true. Authoritarian government is the real god of the Trumpcons and to the liberal the individual is god.

3. "People say you are trying to take away their rights to own what they want, and do what they want."

Sounds like the credo of the National Rifle and Exotic Pet association.

"“It is easier to own a tiger than a dog that has been labelled dangerous in the state of Texas, which could have between 2,000 and 5,000 tigers.”"

You are far more likely to be hurt by a dog (or shark or alligator or rattlesnake) in Texas than a tiger. Not really much of a story here.

If your typical pit bull cost $20,000 people would do a much better job of keeping them locked up and they’d be as rare as tigers in Texas.

Anyway, my wife recently visited a new three storey home in The Woodlands at the request of a mutual friend who’d exclaimed it was “beyond amazing”. The central object d’art was a three storey, vertical, cylindrical cage with two live tigers inside. Texas is endlessly surprising.

Have fun cleaning that thing.

Also these are dogs that are previously declared dangerous.

I don't know about "more likely". There are two ways in which that is used. More people are hurt by dogs than by tigers. But if you had to put your child in a cage with a dog or with a tiger, which do you think would be safer? Tigers are more dangerous. Most people just take a lot of precautions and there aren't many of them.

I bet more children are bitten by labradors than pit bulls. But the labrador is not the dangerous breed.

Meanwhile I think it is great Texas has so many tigers. We should all be free to own one.

Typical lies. First of all shark attacks only happen every few years, and that is in spite of the anti-shark lobby padding the stats. The guy who crashed his plane in 1948 for instance was clearly outside of Texas territorial waters at the time of the bite. This is why the legislature recently protected sharks.

They also try and undercount tiger attacks like the one from ft. worth that was loaned to Palm Beach so the account would count against Florida instead.

Also, there is no way it is hard to keep a dangerous dog, since there are no records and basically no way to prove it is the same one - you can just say you found it and its not like anyone trespassing close enough to see it would make it that far without being shot.

"5. Can your body itself power implantable biomedical devices?"

Yes, trivially. The restriction is that can you make such a device reliable and afford to get it through FDA testing.

#4: I am always fascinated at the existence of these useless studies. Who are these people? Who pays them? Why does Tyler waste time with them?

Agreed. For the last question, I would answer that maybe it is because the study is amusing for a few seconds.

#2: Has anybody here both tasted salt cured dried leg of lamb (Fenalår) and the Faroese fermented mutton? How different are they?

It seems like the Faroese are simply drying the leg of lamb, without salting it, similar as the laplanders dry reindeer leg, which I found quite delicious, although the dried reindeer meat has no mold, I guess Finnmark, Norway has more reliable drying conditions than the Faroe Islands.

Someone doesn't know what "sea urchins" are

To be clear, this is regarding the claim in #2 that a favorite game of Faroe children is throwing balls of venomous spikes at each other because it makes a pleasing sound when they hit

Sure call them urchins. I prefer to call them li’l scamps.

I did find that a bit odd. They're also edible??

But I'm not sure how venomous they are, I've stepped on my share and gotten their spines stuck in my feet

The two conceptions of God in the drawing look exactly the same and look like my cousin Marty. He is not God, whom I picture as an old man with a long beard at the top of a wheel in the sky.

I wonder how one envisions God as "wealthier"? Is that God with the top hat and monocle?

Its when God donates $1 million dollars to your university think tank with a ton of strings attached to ensure the "correct" political agenda is disseminated.

Well it sure hasn't worked for Georgetown so I doubt it is really a thing.

2: I now wonder if Tyler's continual fascination with puffins is because he wants to eat them.

Fermented lamb, fermented lamb tallow, yet an aversion to eating shellfish and molluscs. A regional cuisine will necessarily reflect its locale but I'm not sure that the Faroese made optimal use of the food resources available to them.

Most tastes are acquired tastes but unless one was born there I don't think it'd be worth the effort to acquire a taste for traditional Faroese cuisine. They turn up their noses at our lamb with garlic and we turn up our noses at their maggoty lamb.

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