Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Death, humanism, Stephen Fry

Here is one of a series of little films made by the British Humanist Association. This one is about death.  It's pretty good, a bit dogmatic (perhaps polemical), but no more dogmatic than the position it's evidently designed to counter.  For the most part, it's a point of view I think is on the right lines, but this presentation of it cuts corners.  For example, it is true there is no strong evidence for post mortem disembodied survival.  But the observed phenomena don't rule it out.  It should also, I think, have recognised that agreeing that death is annihilation does not necessarily bring with it the idea that death is not harmful.  People can die too soon, lives can be cut short, and some people can die too late.  But there is plenty here that someone like Lucretius might have applauded (or asked to be credited for), including the rather nice argument that reading a book is nice, but reading a book that never ends would not be nice.  Finally, while I quite like Stephen Fry, his voice here does have ever so slight a note of smugness...

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