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Meetup : Bath: Introduction and PredictionBook

Sadly, I have moved away from the area, but I am pleased to learn that the tone of Wetherspoons will be improved!

October 2014 Bragging thread.

This looks interesting. Thanks.

Open thread, Oct. 13 - Oct. 19, 2014

Steven Poole criticises doubters of human rationality by lauding the virtues of "public reason", which supposedly ensures that "any one thinker can be corrected". It is true that collaborative and, indeed, disputatious reasoning is vital - and the "nudge" theorists he snipes at have never impressed me - but the idea that our societies are efficient self-correcting organisms is plain false. Some influential people think that climate change is a dire threat, for example, and others that it is a mere sham. Some think that state redistribution is key to a functioning society and others that the state is an abomination. Some influential people think that Gods exist and others that there is nothing beyond the material of life. To make sense of the world, intelligent people have to use their own powers of reasoning, and should be aware of their limitations.

2014 Less Wrong Census/Survey - Call For Critiques/Questions

Formidable work. Given recent discussions, might it be worth adding "vegan" to "vegetarian"? (And perhaps even "pescetarian" or "flexitarian" but I suppose one can get lost in small distinctions.)

Rationality Quotes October 2014

It strikes me that one might simply presume the worst of whoever put up the fence. It was a farmer, for example, with a malicious desire to keep hill-walkers from enjoying themselves. I would extend the principle of Chesterton’s fence, then, to Chesterton’s farm: one should take care to assess the possible uses that it might have served for the whole institution around it as well as the motives of the man.

Questions on Theism

I suspect that if there is a God existence itself cannot be explained without reference to Him. Take Peter Kreeft's "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God", for example. Most are concerned not with particular experiences but the fact that there is something to experience, and the fact that we are able to experience it. Philosophy has been where most the great apologists have looked for and, to their minds, found God and if you seek more than personal experience it might be worthwhile to follow them.

To quote text without it being mixed up with one's own words, incidentally, one can click on "show help" and look down to the bottom.

Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014

Indeed. I attempt to juxtapose ideas but often there is too pressing a need to juxtapose my head and a pillow.

Questions on Theism

The Christian philosopher Timothy McGrew ends his Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on the subject by saying...'s considered rational judgment regarding the existence and nature of God must take into account far more than the evidence for miracle claims. That is not to say that they could not be an important or even, under certain circumstances, a decisive piece of evidence; it is simply that neither a positive nor a negative claim regarding the existence of God can be established on the basis of evidence for a miracle claim alone, without any consideration of other aspects of the question.

Aquinas, for example, maintained that miracles took place but also that the existence of God could be proved through metaphysics. If you find evidence for the former compelling, give the latter a chance. I am an agnostic but I find it hard to believe that God would demonstrate His existence solely through selective and ambiguous appearances. Good luck!

Open thread, Oct. 6 - Oct. 12, 2014

I enjoy keeping a diary, to crystallise thoughts and experiences, but to restrain my tendency to blather it's a diary of haikus.

Rationality Quotes October 2014

“Nobody supposes that the knowledge that belongs to a good cook is confined to what is or may be written down in a cookery book.” - Michael Oakeshott, "Rationalism in Politics"

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