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Archimedes's Chronophone

70 comments so far, and none of them, "Holy Shit! I'm talking to Archimedes!"

... which I suppose he would hear as "Ye Gods! I'm talking to Plato"...

Imperfect Voting Systems

My morning coffee hasn't kicked in... I wonder what the significance is that no voting system can be "perfect". Is it a fluke of math, or does it say something about the coherence of our value systems as they pertain to electoral systems?

I should also express my view that a plurality voting system that allows only two parties to thrive in practice is probably the worst of all worlds where it concerns voting systems. I believe the polarizing effects of a system that requires exactly two parties are a large component of the set of difficulties that make it so politics is the mind-killer.

A Parable On Obsolete Ideologies

Oh - this is a veiled critique of conciliatory attitudes toward religion? I though it was a direct critique of conciliatory attitudes toward political ideologies - and I was going to disagree with it. I think I detect a dark side to lumping all political ideologies together under the category of "poltitical ideology" and ignoring the specific reasons why political ideologies can become harmful or anti-rational.

Now that I see that this was a veiled critique of religion (or a specific religious grouping?) I think my reservations still stand.

What would it look like if we neglected the fundamental differences between religions - or even between sects of a "single" religion, such as Christianity? How would that distort our view of sects that never adopted doctrines like Biblical inerrancy and instead focused on an altruistic message embedded in an ancient narrative? Would we make the simplistic assumption that these sects viewed the Bible in the same way as the more reactionary sects except that certain passages were to be taken as "metaphorical"?

Would we have any hope of coping constructively with the bewildering array of beliefs, epistemologies, ethics, meta-ethics, values, emotional responses and activities that can loosely be regarded as "religious"?

Worse yet, would we fail to notice the mechanisms by which some religious (or political ideologies) become especially prone to bad belief and bad behavior? Will we believe that something magical about the name "church" or the activity of counting a rosary has some sort of harmful essence of itself? Will we be unable to constructively suggest to people who find value in religion that they are better served to divorce religion from dubious orthodoxies and to reconsider any rules they may be following which limit the freedom to inquire critically?

Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable

Personally, it isn't something I waste my time on... as I mentioned earlier - it is still a mistake, in terms of strict probability, to believe that there have been miracles from God. It just isn't a specifically anti-scientific mistake. The act of making it is not evidence that a person is unscientific - merely that they are not reasoning well.

Guardians of the Truth

Did Chuang Tzu know that much about the ancient history of humans, really?

Are Your Enemies Innately Evil?

The person who originally claimed that "they hate us for our freedom" was probably referring to a Western, enlightenment notion, called by that name.

The thing that the Muslim university student praises and calls freedom is apparently an Islamic religious idea, corresponding very roughly to the sort of freedom a recovering addict craves from his addictions.

If the words were tabooed, then you would probably see the coherence of both points of view, and I think, could fairly assert that Islamists really do "hate our freedoms" in a sense, so long as you don't allow this approximation to carry more than its fair burden of explanatory weight (as certain former POTUSs have done).

Rationality Quotes May 2012

I'm not sure Chesterson deserves the epithet of apologist. Christian yes... evangelist, of a sort. I see him as a cut above the apologist class of Christian commentators.

Ontologial Reductionism and Invisible Dragons

Coming late... enjoying this discussion. I haven't read much from Jewish apologists. Balofsky seems a cut above his Christian counterparts. But my question is about your mention of a non-extant history mentioned in 23:28. How do we know this is a non-extant history, and not a reference to Chronicles?

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