Ed Feser, physics, and the Dunning-Kruger effect

Leah Libresco keeps recommending Ed Feser’s books, though I can’t fathom why. But it gave me the idea to try to write something about his books. So I opened my ebook copy of Feser’s Aquinas… and was quickly reminded that all of Feser’s “arguments” always strike me as blatant non-sequiturs, just like the original versions in Aquinas’ writings. There is, [Read More...]

In praise of boring claims

Leah Libresco is doing a series of posts on Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell. Her two most recent posts (out of three) both seem to make this complaint about Dennett: many of his claims are rather boring (to imperfectly condense the critiques into bumper-sticker form). The first of the two takes aim at this paragraph from Dennett: [Read more...]

In a non-futurismic world, human-level AI changes everything forever


I just finished reading Cory Doctorow’s excellent essay collection Content, which included one essay that introduced me to a term I’d never heard before: “futurismic” (Doctorow talks as if the word was coined by someone else, though he doesn’t say who, and he seems to be the top search result using the word in his sense): [Read more...]

William Lane Craig’s promotion of anti-gay pseudoscience

In my post on Craig’s defense of Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, I mentioned how Craig is “willing to traffic in almost any kind of fundamentalist pseudo-intellectual garbage when it’s convenient for him,” and promised to write more about it in the future. One of the major examples I had in mind is Craig’s promotion [Read More...]

Richard Carrier and Luke Muehlhauser on time to superhuman AI

A few weeks ago my new boss, Luke Muehlhauser, did an AMA on Reddit. I highly recommend this post by Geek Dad for a full summary, but one thing that stuck out is when Luke said, “I have a pretty wide probability distribution over the year for the first creation of superhuman AI, with a [Read More...]

Real-world science in A Game of Thrones

I’ve been reading the Song of Ice and Fire series (A Game of Thrones to those watching it on HBO), and loving it (except for feeling some parts could’ve been cut to make it shorter). Among other things, I’ve slowly begun to suspect Martin did quite a bit of work to make certain parts of the book scientifically accurate, [Read More...]

Memo to Rick Warren: humans are animals

So, Rick Warren recently tweeted that “When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.” This was interpreted as a comment on last week’s shootings in Colorado, but Warren later claimed he was referring to something else. But honestly, it’s a stupid comment either way. [Read more...]

The fine-tuning argument (as told by William Lane Craig)

The next argument Craig presents in Reasonable Faith (after his versions of the cosmological argument) is the fine-tuning argument, which is a version of the argument from design or teleological argument. I’ve previously discussed problems with other versions of this argument here and here, those posts will be useful background to this one. Craig’s version is a [Read More...]

Neuroscience basics & some criticism of Eliezer Yudkowsky

I’ve just written a post at LessWrong covering some basics of neuroscience and criticizing a claim by Eliezer Yudkowsky that the brain “just doesn’t really look all that complicated.” If you just want to read the latter part of the post, I’ve put my criticisms below the fold on this one: [Read more...]