morality

A Strange Case of Metaphysics

Read time: 6 minutes

Scientists are often not fond of the idea of metaphysics. Physics is, of course, the study of the natural world and universe. Metaphysics is the study of what is really real. It implies that there is something beyond physics and, therefore, beyond the natural world and the physical universe. This is anathema to scientism—that is, scientific naturalism: how dare one assume that there exists something beyond nature, especially since there is no physical and testable evidence of such things?

Yet there seems to be a prominent and curious case of when metaphysics is appealed to when science disagrees with what people want to believe... [node:read-more:link]

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The Nature of Evil

Stone carved demon
Read time: 10 minutes

On one particular day during my time in primary school, I was in art class1. This alien environment was in a basement, bathed in the strange smells of pastel chalks and powdered paint. But on this day we were not drawing: the teacher had asked us the very inane question of what are colours. "Red", said one, "blue", another, "green", "yellow", "white", "purple", "pink", "black", "turquoise" (ooh!), "brown"... The kid in class who was known for his excellent drawing skills was quiet, until we became quiet. "I think that they are all colours, except for white and black." "What rubbish," thought I. Then he explained that white is the composite of all primary colours (so a kind of super-colour), and black the absence of any colour. The teacher was pleased with this answer, and the discussion continued around primary and secondary colours2. [node:read-more:link]

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When Fairy Tales Offend

The White House lit up in rainbow colours
Read time: 8 minutes

2015 has been a difficult year for the University of Cape Town (UCT). It has been at the centre of multiple controversies. First, there was a protest movement to have an iconic statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed. The campaign brought out bitter enmities between those in favour of and against the removal. The controversy deepened when it suspended the instigator of the movement over harassment charges on the staff. Then it saw a public fallout over a comment which its student representative council (SRC) vice-president, Zizipho Pae, made on her Facebook account wherein she responded to the US Supreme Court's decision to legalise homosexual marriage across the USA, saying "We are institutionalising and normalising sin". [node:read-more:link]

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Dignity in Dying

Clinicians in Intensive Care Unit
Read time: 10 minutes

The South African High Court recently passed a landmark ruling that would legally allow a doctor to help a terminally ill man to end his life. A high level summary of the case can be found here. This ruling is not new legislation and euthanasia remains illegal in South Africa. However this ruling opens the door for future cases which will be decided individually (until, perhaps, legislation is proposed, which would undoubted reference this ruling). In this article I would like to share my thoughts on this case. [node:read-more:link]

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Being Ineffective with the Xenophobic Attacks

Africa without South Africa
Read time: 12 minutes

Like a man suffering from post traumatic stress disorder startled by a loud noise, South Africa was jolted last week. A combination of controlled power cuts and xenophobic attacks reminded the country of 2008—a dark time in our post 1994 history. Again people fell on their keyboards, denouncing the violence of the xenophobic attacks, shaming the perpetrators and pleading for a more humanistic attitude and solution. Again I add my voice to theirs, because I worry about how the bourgeoisie perceive the problem. [node:read-more:link]

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The Morality of Going to Bed on Time

Girl sleeping.
Read time: 5 minutes

While I was still busy with my postgraduate degree, one of my friends was diagnosed with having Asperger Syndrome (AS). AS is a type of autism: a neurological development condition (i.e. how the brains of such people developed) which leads to people perceiving, reasoning about, and reacting to the world differently than people who are "neurotypical". It seemed quite ironic to me, as my thesis revolved around AS, so I knew a little bit about it. As with many people, the diagnosis brought my friend a sense of relief. She was already in her 40s and could now for the first time put a name to an ever-present feeling of being different from most other people. [node:read-more:link]

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Why Don't Christians Keep the Old Testament Laws?

Read time: 9 minutes

A common attack on Christianity is that Christians do not keep (all) of the Old Testament laws. Examples are that certain foods may not be eaten (Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14), there are prohibitions on how clothes can be made (Leviticus 19:19) and there are a bunch of rules and laws regarding skin diseases and mold (Leviticus 13–14). Yet virtually no-one who calls him or herself a Christian keeps—or even tries to—these laws. Yet they will readily admit that these were divine commandments given by God. So what is the deal with Christians and the Old Testament laws? [node:read-more:link]

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