I just got back from a late night pancake run (wooooo!), and while there,I was reading a magazine out of the several huge piles sent to PUSH bythe Secular Student Alliance.It's great that they sent them to us... there are so many to distribute, andI'm going to staple some of the group business cards to them so we can get somepublicity out of them, but... the content left something to be desired.Much of it was interesting, but the philosophy was generally bad. Thefirst article was a comparison between faith and reason as means togood understanding. Unfortunately, he overstated the case for reason, andclaimed that it, by nature, must be the only tool for understanding. I'mnot certain if he's ruling out intuition (which may be an inferior tool inthe general case, but in certain circumstances can be far superior)accidentally, and certainly he fails to support his statement about theexclusivity of reason. A better argument would be based on the naturalisticheuristic -- reason has proven to work in coming to supported conclusionsabout the nature of things, and faith has not led to such advances in waysstatistically superior to chance. Of course, the counterargument is that theneeded heuristics to judge success in reaching good conclusions are themselvesscientific, and there's a circularity. And the discussion just becomesincreasingly complex thereon.... Anyhow, the author then goes on to take ajab at Pascal's Wager, but he does so clumsily. Instead of pointing out thatit's insufficient to lead to certain kinds of beliefs, it pokes fun at it forbeing so, and also fails to understand the depth of a certain aspect of itsargument. It goes on for a bit, but is similarly disappointing. There'sthen an article comparing emergency measures in Europe to control plaguesto the control of Palestinians in Israel. It is true that the situation therewith regards to their treatment is very poor, but the article fails toacknowledge that neither side is monolithic, and while the Palestinians arereduced to primitive and humiliating conditions, the measures are not beingenacted for the heck of it, and the Israelis arn't (generally speaking)making life suck for the Palestinians for the joy of it. It is a very complexsituation, and one-sided analyses, which fail to recognize the impasse, thedeep pain of those involved, and the territorial issues involved arenot helpful. There were some good articles, and then an interview with DanielDennett. Perhaps he's a bright guy, but his responses, particularly on"free will/determinism" and "communism as a religion", seem poorly thought out.Then there's an article attacking moral relativism which was largely apoorly thought-out straw-man line of attack. There were some good articlesthough, and it was worth reading..Anyhow, bedtime.