Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The case for torture?

Michael Levin, Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, wrote a very elegant article entitled "The Case for Torture" (here).

His arguments are irrefutable, but they will never be enacted into public policy or law. How could we preserve our self-image as humane, compassionate, empathic individuals? That's why God invented hypocrisy, for goodness sake.

BBC4 marked the 50th anniversary of Hugh Everett's Ph.D thesis, introducing the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, with a touching one hour film. Mark Everett (singer & guitarist in the Eels) tried to come to terms with his remote father and even more remote work.

Despite the artifice of TV, there was something real about Mark's journey. On the science side though, was it really necessary to call Dr Everett a quantum mechanic??? And I really don't think we equate taking cognitive decisions with quantum events forcing world-splitting, do we?

Note: it's still possible to download this programme via BBC's iPlayer if you are in the UK (and read this soon). Click here and look for "Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives".

I have a cold. My stuffed-up head is irritating me immensely, and I have suddenly noticed on TV endless ads for cold remedies. How do they know?