Michael Shermer vs. Adrian Holloway Read more

I’ll be spending the rest of the day working on my dissertation and teaching.  I’ve moved many of the recent days’ posts to the front page in case you missed them during my flurry of constant posting during the last 4 days.  Also there is a long list of blog posts in the right hand column to help you catch up further. And, whichever posts you read, remember to share Your Thoughts! Read more

Daniel Florian sums up the case that indeed he is not: Dear Pro-Lifer, Your God is not pro-life. You might find that statement surprising, but I know this from your own holy book. Despite what you may have been told, the Bible is not a pro-life document. It is, in many parts, pro-death. In one of the first stories in the Bible, God murders millions of people through a global flood — including born and unborn children. Unborn children —… Read more

That’s Ken Miller’s charge in reply to Sam Harris’s Op-Ed from the weekend. PZ Myers argues it’s not that he’s simply a Christian but he seems willing to inappropriately his professional judgments with religious considerations: The head of the NIH can be a Christian, a Jew, a Moslem, even an atheist, and it won’t disturb us in the slightest. Here’s a list of past directors of the NIH; can you identify their faith, their hobbies, their sexual orientation, their favorite… Read more

Here’s how it works: First, he’s shown true and false statements unrelated to his allegiance in the war: “I am at a computer;” “I am at the tea house.” The task is to press a button identifying the statement as quickly as possible: A for true or L for false. Next he reads statements indicating guilt or innocence: “I am a member of the Taliban,” “I support the American troops,” and again asked to press one key for “guilty” statements… Read more

Paul Campos argues so in this thought provoking interview with Megan McArdle, which I recommend reading in full: Obesity is defined completely arbitrarily as a body mass index of 30 or higher (175 pounds for an average height woman). Now body mass follows more or less a normal distribution, whiich means if the the mean body weight is in the mid to high 20s, which it has been for many decades now, then tens of millions of people will have… Read more

Eric Schwitzgebel is initially surprised by the data but then does rough calculations about why it is sensible: Now is it just crazy to say that voting is as morally good as giving 10% of one’s income to charity? That was my first reaction. Giving that much to charity seems uncommon to me and highly admirable, while voting… yeah, it’s good to do, of course, but not that good. One thought, however — adapted from Derek Parfit — gives me… Read more

I appreciate Professor Harman’s willingness to exchange a couple rounds of debate with me across blogs against his stated desire to avoid such exchanges and so I will remain grateful to him even if we do not hear further reply from him.  Here are his reasons for rejecting my notion of having a centralized message board or set of interconnected blogs which required a philosophy PhD for participation: I wouldn’t be in favor of this, since I don’t think the… Read more

Graham Harman has an excellent (and lightning quickly delivered) reply up in response to my remarks earlier on the profession of philosophy looking into blogging as a preferred medium for more efficient and multi-vocal exchange.  I’m quite grateful and want to address a few of his key observations and expand on some of my own ideas I’ve mulled for a while but not presented in public before: It’s not always good to be subjected to immediate feedback. This holds for… Read more

Fascinating speculations from Graham Harman: Until very recently, the mere act of getting a book published was difficult enough that it carried a certain automatic prestige, provided that you weren’t publishing with some obvious fly-by-night sort of firm or a known vanity press. But of course there was and is still a certain hierarchy among the academic publishers– to open certain doors, you have needed to go with one of the “blue blood” university presses. All of these factors are… Read more

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