Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The World Map Turns Out to Be Wrong, Heidegger’s Nazism, and the Selfie Becomes the “Sealfie”

Links for April 9, 2014

For a break from your end of semester studying, writing, and stressing, here is a guide to some interesting happenings over the last couple of weeks in the world wide web world.

Here’s something that will (literally) turn your world upside down. Every map of the world you’ve ever seen is a distorted representation of what the earth (and especially Africa) is actually like. After hearing that the maps I use grow out of our cultural biases more than out of the pursuit of accurate cartography, I realized that even if there was ever a global flood it doesn’t matter because I don’t even know what the earth looks like anymore. So I decided to pass up seeing the Noah movie and went to the new Captain America one instead. It was an excellent choice.

Nevertheless, Noah sparked a good deal of controversy among Christians who felt that it misrepresentated the biblical narrative. Biblical scholar Peter Enns isn’t worried because he thinks that (1) nobody ever gets the story right anyway and (2) the Gospel isn’t at stake.

Before going to drown your sorrows about the Noah movie by buying an authentic Stradivarius violin from 1719 for $45 million, just be aware that a new study shows that original Strads are actually not better than new violins.

Speaking of big letdowns, after the March publication of Martin Heidegger’s “black notebooks,” there is no longer any question about his anti-Semitism. In the wake of this publication, Jewish philosopher Elliott R. Wolfson reflects on the undeniable and ongoing importance of Heidegger’s thought for Jewish philosophy. For a taste of what Heidegger actually said in his so-called “black notebooks,” preliminary translations of excerpts are featured on Counter-Currents Publishing’s blog.

If you’re in the mood for some solid debate, make sure to check out three views on how to talk about God by John Caputo, Louise Antony, and Alvin Plantinga. Also, this recently posted email dialogue between ICS Junior Member Dean Dettloff and Matthew David Segall is a fascinating study of creation, the problem of evil, and cosmology. If that’s not enough philosophical exchange for you, take a look at this video of a panel with John Searle, Hilary Lawson, and Michael Potter on the linguistic turn. Or if you just want a primer in the philosophy of Alan Badiou here the first in a series of ten articles that will crack open the political aspects of his thought.

Even though you’ve now been primed on some serious philosophy and theology and have found all the answers, hold off stamping your “seal” of approval on Ellen Degeneres’ campaign to stop seal hunting in Canada. Consider this interview with the group of Inuit women who instituted the “sealfie”, where they speak up about the importance of seal hunting for their culture and survival in northern Canada.

1 comment:

  1. We have all seen globes. Some of us even have one. Africa is represented accurately on them. So is Antarctica. Practical considerations alone have dictated the proportion distortion effects of rectangular projection maps, not some kind of bias or blithe acceptance of an unfair representation of...what...size?

    If it is now necessary to inspect mapping practices for signs of bias, we have pretty much licked bias altogether. (Hooray!) On the other hand, perhaps the original article's motivations were more like the motivations it assigned to Google; don't be evil but do make money; so I shouldn't be too cynical, since I accept Google's success at it. Perhaps we need a new social-conscience logo: "Fairly Proportioned Mapping".

    Antarctica, which really gets the short end of the mapping fairness stick, has no indigenous people. Good on the Inuit women for countering mis-informed self-righteous discrimination coming from another part of the unfairly mapped world. (I do so miss our previous Governor General.)

    I had suspected that reverence of old things was for their age not their objective superiority at performing their intended purposes. I'll be buying only new violins from now on.

    Thanks for always keeping it fun, Matt!