Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two Cultures going on 51

2009 marked the 50th anniversary of C.P. Snow's landmark lecture on "The Two Cultures," later supplemented and published in book form. The press covered this anniversary last year. I found some articles on the subject, and at some point I may review them and mention the most interesting ones. At the moment I have this reference at hand:

Brin, David. The old and new versions of "culture war", Contrary Brin blog, May 8, 2009.

A brief bibliography and web guide on the subject forms a section of my Positivism vs Life Philosophy (Lebensphilosophie) Study Guide.

Independently of this anniversary, the "two cultures" remains a theme in popular culture, addressed by a variety of serious intellectuals. Here are a few examples I just came across:

Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together, TED, Feb. 2002.

Rebecca Goldstein, "The Two Cultures," in M. Kramer (ed.), The Jewish Experience in Contemporary Literature: Two Worlds? (Special issue of Maggid, The Toby Press, 2004).

"Gödel and the Nature of Mathematical Truth ": A Talk with Rebecca Goldstein, Edge: The Third Culture, 06.08.05.

Rebecca Goldstein, "Why I’ve Learned to Love the Novel," New Scientist, Aug. 25, 2007.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Rebecca Goldstein: 36 Arguments for the Existence of God

See the web site for Rebecca Goldstein's new novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction.

See also the page on 36 Arguments on Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's own web site.

When Goldstein appeared in Washington to promote her new book, she emphasized the subtitle, which renders the title deliberately ironic. The appendix to her novel catalogs the 36 arguments.

Rebecca Goldstein is a philosopher who turned to fiction with her first novel, The Mind-Body Problem. Since then she has written several works of fiction and non-fiction, the latter including an excellent book on Spinoza and an intellectual biography of Kurt Godel and his friendship with Einstein.

Here are a couple of reviews:

'36 Arguments' Poses Questions Of Faith, In Fiction by Maureen Corrigan
NPR, 20 Jan 2010

Trying to Paint the Deity by Numbers Against a Backdrop of Jewish Culture

By Janet Maslin
The New York Times, January 20, 2010

Debunking Afrocentrism & crackpot history

The Hall of Ma'at
(Weighing the Evidence for Alternative History)

Several topics are covered. On Afrocentrism see, e.g.:

"Stolen Legacy (or Mythical History?) Did the Greeks Steal Philosophy from the Egyptians?" by Mary Lefkowitz, Skeptic, Vol. 2, No. 4, 1994, pp 98-103.

"Afrocentrist Linguistics" by Mark Newbrook, updated version of an article originally published in The Skeptic (Australia), Vol. 19:2, 1999, pp 18-23.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jewish atheist symbol

Get a load of this Mogen Dovid, courtesy of Israeli Atheists: