Bob, can I interest you in Transhumanism?

Bob Seidensticker has looked over my recent post on objective morality and hard to get at truths, and he's got some more questions.  Let me pull out a couple quotes from Bob's post: I'll agree that there’s nothing absolute for the consensus to be truth about. When we say, “Capital punishment is wrong,” there is no absolute truth (the yardstick) for us to compare our claim against. Is capital punishment wrong? We can wrestle with this issue the only way we ever have, by studying the issue and arg … [Read more...]

Objective Morality and Hard to Get at Truths

Bob Seidensticker has been checking out C.S. Lewis, and he's put up a post explaining why he still doesn't think it makes sense to talk about morality as objective.  I'm going to reply over here, but I'd love to have Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist step in and backstop me.You see, back when Hemant and I were scrapping on Justin Brierley's radio show, Hemant agreed with me that the Taliban are flat out wrong about the moral status of women, as wrong as people who think the earth is flat.  I w … [Read more...]

Get in the Game

Eli of Rust Belt Philosophy has expanded his critique of the LARPing exercise, and I found it really helpful. The game is meant to help you defend against not taking an idea very seriously or not working out its consequences or predictions, and now I understand why Eli doesn't think that properly falls into the category of good epistemology. I've excerpted below, but you should nip over and read the whole thing. On its face, this sort of thing [ugh fields] looks as though it's relevant to … [Read more...]

What are your utils denominated in?

harry potter catholicism

 In the comment threads for the "Hey! I didn't say Science Says!" post, there were a couple attempts to come up with metrics to check the impact of changes to marriage law.  Some of them are definitely quantifiable (suicide rate, reported domestic abuse) but don't do a good job capturing the impact of a given marriage schema on the whole population.  Those kinds of outcomes are only tracking couples who hit a certain threshhold of dysfunction.  It's like measuring the effectiveness of a … [Read more...]

“Hey! I didn’t say ‘Science Says’”

Helen Rittelmeyer is blogging and writing again.  She just contributed to the American Spectator's Youth Symposium, claiming that relativism is no longer conservatism's greatest enemy.  Let me grab a pull quote. In the last culture war, relativism’s influence was evident in the stock arguments that kept appearing in magazines and op-ed pages: Breaking taboos is valuable for its own sake; people have a right to make their own choices and not be judged for it; what you call a social evil is real … [Read more...]

How Big a Hit are You Willing to Take?

As you may recall, concussions in football is one of my hobbyhorses.  So of course I was interested when I saw that Kevin Cook had a NYT op-ed on the subject.  If you follow the topic, you've probably seen most of the data, but he had some interesting information about how the NFL screens players: The N.F.L. now uses simple written or computerized cognitive tests to assess concussions. Before each season, players are shown a page featuring 20 words and asked to write down as many as they remem … [Read more...]

Is Sufficiently Compressed Thinking Indistinguishable from Magical Thinking?

Andrew Brown is in The Guardian claiming any sufficiently interesting theory of the world is indistinguishable from religion.  There's a lot to debate there, but do you mind if I put the broader issue aside for a second to come to the defense of science!  Brown writes: And atheism can be just as theologically incorrect: today's paper told me that: "our bodies are built and controlled by far fewer genes than scientists had expected". The metaphors of "building" and "controlling" have here taken a … [Read more...]


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