21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Anecdote of Shamans Responding to Star Trek

DI for documenting his journey to shamanism in the 1994 book Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of African Shaman. He writes about the proverbial dive into the rabbit hole as he was studying with the elders of his community and balancing his newfound wisdom with his Western education. Some paints a picture of a different path to knowledge that contradicts the norms of Western conventions. According to him. the Dagara have no word for the supernatural. "For us, ...
  1  notes
30 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 The Problem with the X-Files

The cult of The X-Files has been defended as harmless because it is, after all, only fiction. On the face of it, that is a fair defence. But regularly recurring fiction - soap operas, cop series find the like - are legitimately criticized if, week after week, they systematically present a one-sided view of the world. The X-Files is a television series in which, every week, two FBI agents face a mystery. One of the two, Scully, favours a rational, scientific explanation; the other agent, Mulde...
Folksonomies: science fiction criticism
Folksonomies: science fiction criticism
  1  notes
28 MAR 2012 by ideonexus

 The Wonder of Curing Polio

The most compelling cases of preferring fact to fiction are the most practical. All the prayer, animal sacrifice, and chanting in the world couldn’t cure polio—the Salk vaccine did. And how did we find it? Through rigorous, skeptical, critical thinking and testing and doubting of every proposed solution to the problem of polio until only one solution was left standing. Let others find uncritical acceptance of pretty notions a wonderful thing. I’m more awestruck by the idea of ending pol...
  1  notes

It was someone who immersed themself in testable reality that cured polio, no amount of prayer or chanting achieved this.

19 APR 2011 by ideonexus

 Science Tames Nature by Understanding

Man masters nature not by force but by understanding. rhis is why science has succeeded where magic failed: because it has looked for no spell to cast over nature. The alchemist and the magician in the Middle Ages thought, and the addict of comic strips is still encouraged to think, that nature must be mastered by a device which outrages her laws. But in four hundred years since the Scientific Revolu tion we have learned that we gain our ends only with the laws of nature; we control her only ...
  1  notes

Contrasted with comics, fiction, and religion, where nature is subdued by force and magic.

13 MAR 2011 by ideonexus

 Money is Fiction

Ira Glass: For money, afterall, long ago, we used to use gold, and if you wanted to buy something, you had to carry around these heavy, shiny pieces of metal. Then we decided, no, let's just leave the gold in a bank. Instead of the gold, we're going to carry around these pieces of paper, and the paper on them says, "Yes, there's gold. You can take this paper money to a bank, you can swap it for gold." Maybe you've seen old dollars that say on them "Promise to pay the bearer so many dollars in...
 1  1  notes

Today there is not gold backing money, nor even bills for much of the money possessed by the people of the United States. It's just and idea we agree upon.