Here there be Dragons [Reply to JT]

Dragon-Map

  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 … [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 … [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 WhiteHouse.gov 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...]

“Bobby, you’ve been looking peculiar”

After the song above, Amy can't decide whether to go through with her wedding, and decides to call it off ("I'm sorry, Paul.  I don't love you enough").  After her about-to-be-husband walks out of the room, she turns to Bobby for validation, asking, "What did I just do?" Bobby, looking a little panicked, scrunched up against a wall replies,"You did what you had to do, I guess.  If it was right, you would have gone through with it.  That's what I think." (So yes, we interrupt this … [Read more...]

The Danger of Cheap Shots

I was chatting with some Catholic friends, and (as happens more and more frequently as the election approaches) the subject of Mormons came up.  Which means you can pretty much set an egg-timer until someone says, "Not to mention magic underwear!" (I think in this case the elapsed time was about a minute thirty.  There's never an egg timer around when you need one.) The 'magic underwear' crack is pretty common (it's the featured visual on the billboards American Atheists are putting up … [Read more...]

A reading from Henry VI, Part 2 4:2:73

Yes, in context, the line has the opposite sentiment to most of the people quoting it. Yvain asked, in good faith, a detailed question about Natural Law theology, but his comment is buried in the wilds of the comment policy discussion, where tempers are rising.  So I want to pull it out and give it its own thread, and also take the opportunity to do some of the wacky experimental comment moderation I was talking about yesterday.  Here's how it's going to go down: Only make a … [Read more...]

If only someone had said this to Stoic!Teenaged!Leah

I'm still at Rationality Camp, and I've noticed that a subset of classes all fall into a category of something I might call "Mitigating How Weird You Are."  There are some people talking about body language, clothing style, and other ways to smooth your relations with other people that LessWrongers could probably do better.  I read Tom and Lorenzo, so I've got a pretty good data base to induct heuristics from. The discussion in this genre I liked best so far was called Emotional API. … [Read more...]


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