That Moment We Saw You For What You Really Are

choosing a mask

The "Welcome to JT" thread has digressed into a number of interesting discussions (parental authority over children, what to make of data that suggests the people you think are wrong are doing better than you, etc).  And I do want to throw this less wrong post on envying "irrational" choices into the mix, but the comment I want to highlight is on a different subject.  Clarissa wrote: Yeah, JT presents himself as a nice guy, but he can turn on a dime into a vicious attack dog.I don’t trust gu … [Read more...]

Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant

I received a comped reviewer's copy of Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.I enjoyed reading Gregory Wolfe's Beauty Will Save the World, but I'm not sure that it's a book best read straight through, as I did.  The second best way to read it probably reading the first section, in which Wolfe lays out his thesis, and then dipping in and out of his profiles of writers and artists over a few months, with frequent br … [Read more...]

The Virtue of an Almost Right Solution

Square Peg in a Round Hole

Earlier today, in my final Sondheim post, I was writing in praise of the grotesque.  This post is on the same topic, but I'm code-switching a bit and doing it a more analytic, not aesthetic framework.  Over at LessWrong, there's a great illustration of how positive bias works: I am teaching a class, and I write upon the blackboard three numbers: 2-4-6. "I am thinking of a rule," I say, "which governs sequences of three numbers. The sequence 2-4-6, as it so happens, obeys this rule. Each of you w … [Read more...]

What do natural lawyers chase instead of ambulances?

Look what I found by googling "Newton vs Leibniz"! (totally becomes relevant farther down the post)

Buried in the (correct) thread for discussing meta-questions about that gargantuan thread on natural law, Joshua Zelinsky of Religion, Sets, and Politics raised a meta-question about whether he should find natural law plausible enough to raise to the level where he cares about investigating the hypothesis.  He wrote: The following is not a critique of natural law but rather a meta-level heuristic concern about it. It seems pretty clear that once one buys into a general Catholic (or a high … [Read more...]

Here there be Dragons [Reply to JT]


 So, JT asked: 3. You undoubtedly have a logical proof of some sort for a moral lawgiver. What is it? No, I definitely don't have a modus tollens, modus ponens style justification for my new position. I didn't have one for my old position, and I doubt JT's got one for his metaphysics.  As the name suggests, metaphysics are hard to test.So I end up approaching the problem from both sides.  I look for things I'm really confident in or that I'm willing to presuppose (e.g. other minds … [Read more...]

Who Gets to Give the Courtier’s Reply?

blackadder courtier

How fortuitous that the same day I asked people to trust me and do the reading, Yvain (who you may remember from the Natural Law post that launched a thousand ships) has written a post examining the usefulness of the Courtier's Reply.  You should read the whole thing, but I'm going to cut and paste for a blockquote: In other words, any version of the Courtier's Reply strong enough to shut down people who want you to spend the rest of your life reading about reptilian British monarchs is also st … [Read more...]

This Atheist Activism Failure Might Actually be a Win for Skepticism

Over at Friendly Atheist, Paul Fidalgo of the Center for Inquiry has posted an open letter to imprisoned activist Alexander Aan that doubles as a rebuke to the skeptic/atheist/freethought community.  A month long drive to get 25,000 signatures on a petition failed. We were not asking for money, we were not asking anyone to travel, or march, or even write anything. All we were asking was the click of a few buttons. Why so many thousands could not be bothered to weather whatever … [Read more...]