On the Two Parts of Empirical Knowledge

There’s two parts to looking at the world. The looking and the world. Most fields of inquiry fix their way of looking and go out in search of the world. Philosophy (at least some of it) instead turns to the way we’re looking at it. Take for example the role of acetylcholine in the brain. If you ask “Why is that ACh there?” the organic … Continue reading On the Two Parts of Empirical Knowledge

How sure you need to be depends on what you’re doing (Or: As usual I think social media discussions are missing a more fundamental disagreement, this time about a SCOTUS nominee)

Brett Kavanaugh is being considered for a position on the Supreme Court of the United States. He’s also been accused of sexual assault. This information has been all over social media lately, and there seems to be, as there often is, a fundamental disagreement behind the arguments. On the surface, we see basic support versus opposition of the man. There are some straightforward statements of … Continue reading How sure you need to be depends on what you’re doing (Or: As usual I think social media discussions are missing a more fundamental disagreement, this time about a SCOTUS nominee)

Freedom of speech does not end at the First Amendment

Someone said or did something controversial. Then, private companies decided not to let the person use their platforms anymore. (Or they deleted a few posts or whatever.) Not too long after, the person (or their followers) make an appeal to freedom of speech. Something like “[Company] is violating [person]’s free speech!” with “and that’s bad” implicit at the end. In response, people who don’t like … Continue reading Freedom of speech does not end at the First Amendment

Another attempt to bring out the two most critical points in the abortion debate

A month or two ago Ireland made a stride towards legal abortion, and the US made a stride in the opposite direction. Abortion is always on the political table though. I imagine a perfect pregnancy-prevention mechanism would cool the flames quite a bit, but even then, people can change their minds, and the question will emerge of whether that should be allowed. But as usual, … Continue reading Another attempt to bring out the two most critical points in the abortion debate

Dragging people down instead of trying to make things better

Perhaps I’ve blogged about this before. The tendency has existed long before social media, but social media makes it even easier to broadcast one’s ressentiment. Today this one popped up in my newsfeed, edited because Facebook and Twitter will use it as the image for this post: See what I did there? The original post suggests that because children’s parents are being charged nefarious costs, … Continue reading Dragging people down instead of trying to make things better

The “actually women make 96 cents on the dollar” response to the wage gap misses the point

Sometimes someone will bring up the wage gap, that women on average make only 75% of what men make. Then some crusaders of truth charge in to inform them that in fact if you hold all factors constant, then you end up with something closer to 96%. Do some people think that, when holding everything else equal, the pay gap between men and women is … Continue reading The “actually women make 96 cents on the dollar” response to the wage gap misses the point

Today’s a Christian holiday; time for social media to smugly reveal that there’s some connection between Easter and Ishtar

There’s plenty of images to this effect, so I’ll just put one here for reference: A fun fact. Well, it would be a fun fact if it were true. But it’s not. “Ishtar” sounds like it looks like it would sound like. Those aren’t her symbols, either, nor is she the goddess of fertility. The name “Easter” more likely comes from “Eostre” which is Germanic. … Continue reading Today’s a Christian holiday; time for social media to smugly reveal that there’s some connection between Easter and Ishtar

“People can still kill without guns” is a stupid argument against gun control

Some people argue against gun control on the basis of other methods to kill existing. To put their argument in a valid form: We should control guns only if no other methods to kill people exist. Other methods to kill people exist. So, we should not control guns. They state 2, which is obviously true. The problem is that 1 is obviously false. The generalization, … Continue reading “People can still kill without guns” is a stupid argument against gun control

Contradiction: Democracy and business

Another contradiction I noticed (five years ago, forgot, and was reminded of today): Some people say we should run the government like a business. They often say voting for a certain person for political office is good because the person has experience in business. At the same time, many of these people will express adoration for democracy. And, no, they are not suggesting business ought … Continue reading Contradiction: Democracy and business