Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Trojan Horse

Chris Christie could become the Trojan Horse from the Republican Party. He is being branded (by clueless pundits) as a "moderate" and could dupe a lot of no-information voters into voting for him, but if he were to become president would unleash a hoard of rabid-right Republicans to run the government.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Snowden vs. Manning (again)

I consider Manning to be a hero because the way I see it he saw that real atrocities had occurred (the killing of innocent Iraqis) and exposed this. This is a true public service and I believe he had truly noble motivations. I hope he gets acquitted.

What I think about Snowden is this: He went into the latest NSA job (via Booz Allen Hamilton) with the intention of taking out data on PRISM. (This was after he became a Ron Paul supporter.) I haven't learned anything about PRISM that I didn't believe to be the case before. (WIRED had an article on NSA's capabilities in March, 2012, just without the name "PRISM" of course.*) So Snowden (who had certainly read the WIRED article) just wanted to dump on Obama, or he became one of the black-helicopter Ron Paul drones, or both.

It surprises me that some (some Tea Party types + some clueless liberals) want to make Snowden a hero. Also, it seems to me that more people are agitated that NSA might have captured their gmails than are upset that Iraqi innocents were killed. There's something perverse about that. I hope Snowden goes to jail, and Manning gets out.

(I wrote a poem about this last month: Snowden is no Manning.)

* This was written in March, 2012. Read this, and think of all the people "shocked" (like "Louis" in "Casablanca") to find out about PRISM this year:

Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails‚ parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital pocket litter. It is, in some measure, the realization of the total information awareness program created during the first term of the Bush administration‚ an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans privacy.
Wired 03.15.12

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Why mathematical platonists can't really criticize theists

Math does not exist outside of its expression in code.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Going down Plantinga Lane

The (mis)use of a Bayesian inference framework has always seemed to me to be a problem with Plantinga: Bad priors in, bad posteriors out.

This explains something about Alvin Plantinga:

He says many people wonder why he left his faculty position at Calvin College to go to Notre Dame. “It’s actually quite simple,” he said, “I wanted to become Pope, and there has never been a pope from any university with the name Calvin.” He said he thought it would be fun to be the first Protestant Pope, and the University of Notre Dame would help him get closer to that goal. But he said he quickly found out that “becoming Pope is harder than you might think,” so his dream is still not realized.

What are the odds?

Plantinga is a foundationalist (who happens to be a theist), and many of those who argue against Plantinga's approach are other foundationalists (who are atheists). They are playing on the same field (of foundationalism). But the antifoundationalist would likely find other arguments to counter Plantinga.

Foundationalism vs. Antifoundationalism
Christian apologist[s] in the news (William Craig Lane, Alvin Plantinga) July 5, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where do subjects lie? (demarcation)

spaces:    [ C: conceptual, P: physical   ]
methods:  [ A: analytical,   E: empirical ]

Let x|y indicate boundary between spaces or combination of methods. Let x/y indicate methods x applied in space y.

philosophy: C/A
theoretical physics: P/A
math: C|P/A
experimental philosophy: C/A|E
art: C|P/E
experimental physics: P/E


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When Mises Met Jesus

One may not easily disentangle a society's religion, culture, and politics. In creating a secular society, there is the hindrance imposed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Christian Reconstructionists* (who dominate the Republican Party) in the US. People may have various religious beliefs in a secular society, but they realize that a secular society is a cosmopolitan society: one that works for the common good and is open to all cultures.

* adherents of "a decentralized political order resulting in laissez-faire capitalism" combined with enshrining conservative Christian "values" into law

Many do not realize that there is a natural marriage between libertarianism (associated with the ideas of Ludwig von Mises — now promoted by conservative "think tanks") and right-wing Christianity. This includes liberal pundits like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, who seem to be oblivious to this.