Wiki Contributions


That's really interesting, but I don't think it's what's going on here. The real-world routes are messier of course, and in the particular one that made me think of this question, my preferred longer route is closer to clockwise. I think it happens both ways.

I agree that it could be asking about which label people identify with and how that reflects those various norms, and that would also be an interesting question -- but in that case it should have been worded differently, or there should have at least been an "other" category. The way it was presented suggests an exhaustive scale.

OK, that makes sense. But then isn't this just a less-accurate version of the P(God exists) question?

I just took it. My issue, which I haven't seen mentioned yet, is with the use of "agnostic" as a midpoint on the scale between theism and atheism. I realize that's a common colloquial use now but I don't get how it's a meaningful category -- unless it's meant to refer to negative atheism, and the "atheism" answers refer to positive atheism? And in the historical use of "agnostic" I think it's a separate category altogether that could overlap with both atheism and theism.

Overall I found the questions very interesting though, and I'm curious to see the results.

I realize this discussion is a few years old, but I just came across this post while browsing through the sequences, and I wanted to put in a word for Gould's book "Full House" that was the main target of this post, since I just read it last year.

First of all, only a third of the book is about evolutionary biology at all. The part I remember more was a discussion of the disappearance of .400 hitting in baseball, using similar statistical arguments.

Second, in the the section that was about evolution, I did not come away with the impression that he was implying that most evolutionary biologists believed in increasing complexity, nor that he was setting himself up as a hero. As I remember it, the tone was much more "many laymen have this impression, because many biology textbooks and other references outside the field tend to depict evolution as a pyramid or progression, with more complex organisms at the top."

And you know what? He was right. I'm a layman, and I did have that general impression, and it was useful to read a detailed explanation of why it's wrong. And I'm also a baseball fan, and I had not thought of his argument about .400 hitting before I read it, and I found it pretty interesting.

Overall I found him slightly pompous as a writer but nothing like the way Eli (or others like Dawkins) have described him. I've never read any of his other books, and I'm absolutely not qualified to comment on the debate in the comments about the merits of PE or his scientific stature. But I think the content of "Full House" is not described accurately in the post.

None of these examples involves an actual proposition that can be 'reasonable' or true or false. I don't think this is the kind of mockery that Adams is talking about.

Thanks for all the replies. As I said in the post, I also don't think Adams is completely serious. Here is the weaker version of his argument that I find interesting: if someone can make you (or maybe other rational/informed people) laugh at your beliefs, should that cause you to reassess your level of certainty in those beliefs?

In other words, I don't think Adams really believes that someone "successfully" mocking your opinions automatically makes them false -- but he's asserting at least some connection between this kind of humor and truth. Which feels right to me, though I can't really articulate it any better than he did.

Or maybe it's more of a connection to self-deception -- the easier it is to laugh at your own beliefs, the more likely they are to be somehow insincere, regardless of their truth or falsehood.

Actually, if you click through the link to Buckmaster's quote, there's an insta-poll right underneath it: "Should Craigslist take text ads to fund charity?" As of now there are 729 total votes and it's running 70% against. Facebook may have a little higher overlap with CL's userbase than ZDnet, but I would think the overlap in both cases is significant. Doesn't this weigh against the views of any future FB group, especially since (as Platypus points out) a poll should count for more than a petition?

This was my first thought too. Taking the question further -- even if, by some reliable polling method, you could draw a Venn diagram of CL and facebook users, wouldn't there be a lot of selection bias? If, say, 40% of CL users are also on facebook, by definition they're probably a lot more tolerant of ads than the other 60%.

Let's say it's midnight, I'm tired, and I'm home alone with nothing better to do. I know I have to get up early and I'll feel better / be more productive the next day in direct proportion to how much sleep I get. I still just don’t want to go to bed. It requires real force of will not to stay up and find something else to do, even if it just amounts to reading random stuff online or otherwise killing time.

I’ve gotten better at just making myself go to bed anyway in that situation, but I don’t know why it should take any effort in the first place. Going to sleep should – at least occasionally -- be my most attractive alternative, even from a short-term perspective. But for some reason it never feels that way.

I don’t have insomnia, nightmares, apnea or any other condition (that I know of) that would make sleep/bed unpleasant – so at least in my case the act of sleep itself doesn’t seem to be a factor.

Load More