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What I’ve been reading

December 3rd, 2006

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross. SF meets horror meets spy thriller (in the drab Deighton mode) as underpaid bureaucrats struggle to stop revenant Nazis loosing an infovorous ice demon on an unsuspecting universe. Those of a certain age will feel right at home by page 3

Logged in, I find myself in a maze of twisty little automounted filesystems, all of them alike.

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Also The Marketplace of Christianity by Ekelund, Hebert and Tollison, interesting both as an instance of economic imperialism and as part of a growing literature, largely emerging from the US, that treats religion and religiosity as goods, independent of the truth or otherwise of the doctrines being propounded. Oddly enough, this kind of reasoning to be welcome to many religious believers, though not to those who think the issue through. I’m just beginning on Ekelund et al, so more soon on this I hope.

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  1. December 3rd, 2006 at 21:52 | #1

    John that link through to Economic Religion Versus Christian Values by Robert H. Nelson is fascinating in light of Ian Harper’s public and active work as a christian of a certain kind.

  2. melanie
    December 3rd, 2006 at 21:53 | #2

    A friend of mine did an anthropology thesis on a coal mining town in southern Chile (pre Pinochet). The miners were all both Communists and Pentecostalists. She figured that the Communism was for heaven on earth and the Pentecostalism if that didn’t work out. Two bob each way.

    One version of Christianity is, of course, very radical in what it offers the poor and oppressed – a very different morality from that which prevailed in, say, the Catholic Church as imperial corporation searching for El Dorado and murdering all who got in the way. Christianity and other religions are pretty ‘flexible’ – which makes them very different from science. The article you link to is right in the sense that economics can take on a religious flavour. I’m reminded of what one of my undergraduate supervisors in Cambridge said: “it’s all very well to criticise the theory, but it’s all we’ve got.” Economists and priests can make a career by following blindly some guru or another. But it isn’t science. To do science you need to be able to say “looks like Einstein had it all wrong” if that’s what the evidence is telling you. But what the American Christians are trying to do is to say that ‘secularism’ (and, by implication, science) is just another religious belief.

  3. serge
    December 4th, 2006 at 14:47 | #3

    Quiggo wrote

    “as underpaid bureaucrats struggle to stop revenant Nazis loosing an infovorous ice demon on an unsuspecting universe”

    Sounds like SJ and wilful’s irrational and paranoid fear of consultants taking over the policy debate and making them feel irrelevant

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