Autumn of the Modern Ages
What!? You haven’t headed over to Mike Flynn’s place and read his series The Autumn of the Modern Ages? Sometimes I don’t understand you people at all.
The decline of the book goes hand in hand with the decline of the bourgeois. Considered reflection requires time, silence, logic, and thinking in depth. But post-modern media — we cannot call them books any longer — are oriented to “brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety, and feelings.” This would be very dangerous to democracy, but in a future dominated by extended adolescence, we might not miss that too much. We will always have the sputtering fuse.
The only remaining god in the West will be the symbiotic Me-State beast.
Update Proof of that last claim. Louisiana State University introduces new LGBT minor, from which “Krebsbach, who identifies as a cisgender lesbian…” Identifies.
Hawking Says Not God
The man never tires of doing bad philosophy, and has reiterated his disbelief in God. We postmoderns say, Whatever.
“Religion believes in miracles, but these aren’t compatible with science.” Proof, please? Nah. Just bluster.
Skip it. The thing that caught my eye was this: “In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind.” So speaks a research professor who never had to teach statistics classes to people who did not want to take statistics.
Any experience with actual human beings is enough to prove that there is much beyond the reach of the human mind. We can, for instance, never know the mind of God. We can never know what infinity is like. We can never know everything, even collectively. We can never know how things which are necessarily true are necessarily true (Hawking, disdaining philosophy, does not know this). And so on.
Again, perhaps this is the postmodern in us which no longer sees the sky as the limit. That destination now seems much closer to the ground.
They did it in Scotland, so why not here? Why not everywhere? So argues Jason Brennan, “assistant professor of strategy, economics, ethics and public policy at Georgetown University.” His thrusts backwards:
The trouble is that the main reason most people cite for barring 16- and 17-year-olds from voting looks like an equally good reason to stop most American adults from voting, too.
Amen, brother. But the cuts the other way, too, and says that we ought to pare back voting privileges. The closer we get to a true Demos, where everybody votes on everything, the closer we get to madness because the collective mind is shockingly easy to sway in the short term.
Proof? This headline: “Poll: 51% of Democrats support criminalizing hate speech” The implications are so obvious, I will not insult you by stating them.
This link no longer works. Sorry.
I like this Gerd Gigerenzer guy, and he has things to learn in his essay “Scientific Inference Via Statistical Rituals.”
Sir Ronald Fisher, to whom it has been wrongly attributed, in fact wrote that no researcher should use the same level of significance from experiment to experiment, while the eminent statisticians Jerzy Neyman & Egon Pearson would roll over in their graves if they knew about its current use. Bayesians too have always detested p-values.
Detestation is right. But the real kicker is here:
I do not mean to throw out the baby with the bathwater and get rid of statistics, which offers a highly useful toolbox for researchers. But it is time to get rid of statistical rituals that nurture automatic and mindless inferences.
Scientists should study rituals, not perform rituals themselves.
You might have seen his comments from time to time. He has a new bookmarkable site The Ordeal of Consciousness, with articles like “Scruton and Taylor on the Secular and the Sacred”, “Mathematics and the Order of the World” (did you buy a copy of Franklin’s book? It’s outrageously expensive!).
C.S. Lewis’s Epistemology
Brandon Vogt has a video of a lecture by “Union University philosophy professor Justin Barnard, who makes two relatively bold claims: first that Lewis was probably not the greatest Christian apologist of the twentieth century, as many Protestants and Catholics believe, and yet he probably was the greatest Christian epistemologist of the twentieth century.”
Boing Boing has a fun article: Making better use of dice in games, about a game developer who takes the “randomness” out of dice games.
I got bit by one on the tip of my right ear. I want sympathy. Hasn’t stopped itching in hours.