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Archive for March 9th, 2009

Pre-eminent Catholic priest, scholar, and theologian, Thomas Aquinas and his thoughts on religion, morality, and the human mind:

Free will:

A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational.

Diversity:

Because of the diverse conditions of humans, it happens that some acts are virtuous to some people, as appropriate and suitable to them, while the same acts are immoral for others, as inappropriate to them.

On wonder:

Wonder is the desire for knowledge.

Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.

Proactivity:

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

Narrow-mindedness:

Beware of the person of one book.

Equality:

By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.

Blind faith:

Clearly the person who accepts the Church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the Church teaches.

Good and evil:

Good can exist without evil, whereas evil cannot exist without good.

Risk:

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.

Independent thought:

The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.

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Notorious occultist Aleister Crowley, and his thoughts on science, religion, and philosophy:

On tolerance:

Intolerance is evidence of impotence.

On the bible:

If one were to take the bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad.

On faith and doubt:

I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.

On living the ideal:

The joy of life consists in the exercise of one’s energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal.

On ideas:

Roughly speaking, any man with energy and enthusiasm ought to be able to bring at least a dozen others round to his opinion in the course of a year no matter how absurd that opinion might be. We see every day in politics, in business, in social life, large masses of people brought to embrace the most revolutionary ideas, sometimes within a few days. It is all a question of getting hold of them in the right way and working on their weak points.

On goals:

We place no reliance

On virgin or pigeon.

Our method is science,

Our aim is religion.

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Ewen Callaway in the New Scientist writes that conservatives in the USA are the biggest consumers of pornography.

The study measured subscriptions against political views which showed some slight variations in the trends:

The biggest consumer, Utah, averaged 5.47 adult content subscriptions per 1000 home broadband users; Montana bought the least with 1.92 per 1000. “The differences here are not so stark,” Edelman says.

Number 10 on the list was West Virginia at 2.94 subscriptions per 1000, while number 41, Michigan, averaged 2.32.

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama.

Measured against religiosity and moral standards, the results are both suprising and ironic. An excerpt from the recent paper:

[Porn] Subscriptions are slightly more prevalent in states that have enacted conservative legislation on sexuality (regression results on file with the author). In the 27 states where “defense of marriage” amendments have been adopted (making same-sex marriage, and/or civil unions unconstitutional), subscriptions to this adult entertainment service are weakly more prevalent than in other states (p  0.096). In such states, there were 0.2 more subscribers to this adult web site per thousand broadband households, 11 percent more than in other states.

As shown in Table 4, subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality. In states where more people agree that “Even today miracles are performed by the power of God” and “I never doubt the existence of God,” there are more subscriptions to this service. Subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where more people agree that “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage” and “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.” Survey results come from the Pew Value Surveys (1987–2007 combined dataset).

The above survey was conducted using two years worth of credit card purchases made across the United States sorted by postal code, purchase type/merchant and purchase date.

Benjamin Edelman, who conducted the research, stated in observation:

Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by.

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