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Sausage Party review – Seth Rogen’s surprisingly tasty supermarket sweep

Seth Rogen gorges on racial stereotypes in his anthropomorphised toon-food comedy, but it packages up a flavoursome atheist message, too

Talk about fresh. Seth Rogen’s naughty food cartoon Sausage Party is, like much of his best work, deceptive packaging. The script he and his usual collaborator Evan Goldberg have written (in conjunction with Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir) seems, at first, to trade solely on anthropomorphised food using profanity on supermarket shelves. This is mildly amusing at first but, like a bun out of its Cellophane, threatens to go stale. That’s when a jar of honey mustard gets returned.

Related: Welcome to the sausage party! Why we’re about to see a new golden age of rude cartoons

Continue reading…


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The Backstory of Discovering Bacteria

In this nifty little video, we learn what it took for Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek to discover bacteria more than three centuries ago. He had the curiosity to ask good questions, the lenses to try and answer them, and the wisdom to keep running that…



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Unwanted Desires – Part 1 – Dr. Heathwood Responds

Back in May, I wrote a letter to Dr. Chris Heathwood (Univ. of Colorado – Boulder) providing a possible answer to an objection that Derek Parfit raised to desire satisfaction theories of value.

I posted a copy of that email here.

Basically, Dr. Parfit said against a desire satisfaction theory of value:

I am about to make your life go better. I shall inject you with an addictive drug. From now on, you will wake each morning with an extremely strong desire to have another injection of this drug. … This is no cause for concern, since I shall give you ample supplies of this drug. Every morning, you will be able at once to fulfill this desire.

I responded by arguing that there is a difference between seeking as much desire satisfaction as possible and seeking the fulfillment of the most and strongest of one’s desires. An agent with a desire that P, desire that Q, and desire that R would have no reason to choose to become an addict as Parfit describes it unless becoming an addict served an existing desire.

A few days ago, Dr. Heathwood responded to my email.

The good news is that Dr. Heathwood reported that, “Your response to Parfit’s case is interesting, and it does seem to help the desire-fulfillment theorist avoid having to say that Parfit would be benefitting you by turning you into an addict.”

Take that, Derek Parfit! Ha!

Then, Dr. Heathwood suggested that my proposed answer to Parfit had its own problems.

Consider a toddler. He currently has no desire to be able to read. But we can be confident that in the future he will desire to be able read (if the future comes and he can’t read, while all of his classmates can, he will wish he could read; if the future comes and he can read, he will be glad that he can read). The theory that you are suggesting seems to imply that we would not benefit the toddler if we now do things to see to it that he will be able to read in the future. Am I right that your theory has this implication?

A more extreme case is that of a person in a coma. Let’s stipulate that this person has no desires (since he is in a coma). Does your theory imply that we would not benefit him if we were to cause him to have desires, which he will satisfy, as we cause him to wake from his coma — that this would be no more benefit to him than to let him remain in the coma? But that doesn’t seem right.

With respect to the first proposed problem, I saw two possible interpretations. One interpretation said that we provide a toddler with a benefit by teaching it to read. The other interpretation suggests that the benefit is found in giving the toddler a desire to read.

Over the past few days I have been considering my possible answers to these (potentially) three proposed counter-examples. I will be posting my suggested answers in the next few posts.



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A Former Jehovah’s Witness Talks About How Being Disfellowshipped Affects His Entire Life

We’ve posted a lot on this site about the problem with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Disfellowshipping. That’s the procedure by which ex-JWs are shunned by their families and friends for life — because that distance is the only thing believers can hold over the heads of the formerly faithful.Imagine getting married or having a child — all without your living parents by your side — and you understand just how devastating this absence can be.Lloyd Evans, a JW watchdog who has opened my eyes to the practice, just posted a video about how his own life is impacted by Disfellowshipping. It’s depressing as hell… but it’s honest.LloydJWDisfellowship




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Our Pale Blue Dot Is Even Smaller Than We Imagine

I’ve seen a lot of videos in which the relative sizes of the planets are shown and you realize just how small our world really is, but this one is seriously mind-blowing.Just when you think you’re looking at a huge planet or star, something else exceed…


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Our Pale Blue Dot Is Even Smaller Than We Imagine

I’ve seen a lot of videos in which the relative sizes of the planets are shown and you realize just how small our world really is, but this one is seriously mind-blowing.Just when you think you’re looking at a huge planet or star, something else exceed…