Parliament Hill Shooting

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32 year-old from Quebec, shot and killed ceremonial guard Corporal Nathan Cirillo on Oct. 22 before moving toward Parliament Hill’s Centre Block, where he was killed while exchanging gunfire with security. A video made by the shooter has been collected by police, in which he explains the motive for the shooting by saying it is an “action in the name of Allah and in response to Canadian foreign policy.” Continue reading “Parliament Hill Shooting”

Implications of a Scottish Independence

Residents of Scotland participated in an independent referendum on Sept. 18 to determine if their country would depart from the United Kingdom and, thereby, gain autonomy. Of the nearly four million votes on the matter, 55% chose to not separate from the United Kingdom. This referendum, while it did not succeed, will not be the last vie for Scottish independence. Continue reading “Implications of a Scottish Independence”

In Defense of Euthanasia

nomouthIf a person has a terminal disease and as a result faces immense, inescapable suffering, then he or she should be allowed to take the necessary steps to end this suffering—even if it entails doctor-assisted suicide. To disallow this process would prolong the suffering of individuals and completely violate their bodily autonomy. We would require good Continue reading “In Defense of Euthanasia”

An exploration of science, evolution and belief in God

god is here to stay“God Is Here to Stay: Science, Evolution, and Belief in God” is a 2014 publication written by Thomas R. McFaul and Al Brunsting. The chapters consist of scientific findings that support the idea that humanity is structured for knowledge, spiritual experiences, justice, and universal morality. These findings, the authors argue, support belief in a God rather than non-belief.

In the opening chapter the authors glance over general versions of the cosmological, teleological, ontological, and moral arguments for the existence of God. Each argument is summarized in a couple of paragraphs, then they are dismissed. It is concluded that the lack of consensus Continue reading “An exploration of science, evolution and belief in God”

Conned By Karma

karma
The wisdom of Dogbert.

The platitude that “what goes around comes around” has traction in both western culture and eastern religions, and this pernicious thought is often what can be identified as karma. It’s a tenet of many eastern religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Likewise, it’s a popular belief among many westerners who may or may not subscribe to any other claims of the previous religions. This is not surprising, however, as the crux of karma has its roots in the cognitive bias known as the “just-world hypothesis,” which transcends culture.

For the sake of clarity, I am defining “karma” as the claim that one’s moral (or immoral) actions will later result in a desirable (or undesirable if immoral) consequence imparted on the actor. Continue reading “Conned By Karma”

Book Review: Comrade Chikatilo

comrade chikatiloWith the 1993 publication of Comrade Chikatilo: The Psychopathology of Russia’s Notorious Serial Killer, authors Ol’gert Ol’Gin and Mikhail Krivitch clearly divulge the life of prolific killer Andrei Chikatilo, the grisly fate of his victims, Russia’s exhausting and seemingly futile manhunt, and the tumultuous trial that led to the Red Ripper’s death sentence.

With an upbringing in a famine impoverished, World War II entrenched Ukraine, young Chikatilo lived under both the very real threat of German artillery and the possible threat of being cannibalized by fellow starving citizens, which was purportedly to be the fate of his older brother. Later in life, from adolescence into adulthood, he suffered from impotence that led to self-contempt and attempts at suicide.

Continue reading “Book Review: Comrade Chikatilo”

Book Review: The Cleanest Race

The Cleanest Race (cover)Since North Korea’s inception in the late 1940s, the rogue state’s history has been inseparable from mystery and misconceptions. Known as the Hermit Kingdom due to its sequestered nature, it remains an incredibly bizarre, anachronistic nation that seeks unification—by force, if necessary—of the two Koreas. Its continued secrecy has guaranteed a lack of access to information concerning the worldview of many North Koreans. Thankfully, B.R. Myers’ The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters serves as a thorough guide that spans the pre-WWII Japanese colonization of Korea to the closing chapters of Kim Jong-il’s reign. Continue reading “Book Review: The Cleanest Race”