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Posts

May 24, 2013

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Last time, I posted about Jim Joyce's argument for Probabilism.  At its heart lies a mathematical theorem.  In this post, I state this mathematical theorem and prove it; then I generalize it and prove the generalization.  The frameworkRecall from last time:$\mathcal{F}$ is a finite set of propositions.  (It is the set of propositions about which our agent has an opinion.)A credence function is a function $c : \mathcal{F} \rightarrow [0, 1]$. Throughout the present post, we […]
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Three Questions How can it be that the one sure thing worth repeating from a year that slips between the hands like kite string, and is hauled into the next like a favorite kite, is what I think is a...
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That’s all I will post for now on God and Evolution. Here is the list of posts: 1.Introduction 2.The problem of creation 3.The problem of purpose A 4.The problem of purpose B 5.The problem of chance 6.Is Darwinism atheism? Next … Continue reading →
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Many Christians and Muslims, and to a lesser extent Jews, think that Darwinian evolution requires or implies atheism, a charge first brought when Darwin was still alive. The Princeton theologian Charles Hodge argued this in his What is Darwinism? (1874). … Continue reading →

May 23, 2013

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From The Atlantic: During the past two weeks, much outrage has arisen over former Heritage Foundation staffer Jason Richwine's Harvard doctoral dissertation, which speculated that IQ differences between "Hispanic" and "non-Hispanic' populations were genetically rooted. The claims mirrored those of...
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From Smithsonian: 17 tribes of Nagaland are united, historically, by an enthusiasm for heads. The Nagas: Hill Peoples of Northeast India—my reading matter on the two-hour drive from Dimapur to Kohima, in the state of Nagaland —contains dozens of references...
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Daniel Dennett in The Observer: RESPECT YOUR OPPONENT Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticising the views of an opponent? If there are obvious contradictions in the opponent's case, then you should point them out, forcefully. If...
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Adrian Cho in Science: Now they're just messing with us. Physicists have long known that quantum mechanics allows for a subtle connection between quantum particles called entanglement, in which measuring one particle can instantly set the otherwise uncertain condition, or...
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[Thanks to Mujib M. K.]
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Even William Faulkner acknowledged his importance, calling him “the father of my generation of American writers and the tradition of American writing which our successors will carry on. He has never received his proper evaluation”. While Anderson’s prose can sometimes...
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Social structure is an imposition, but by definition one that ‘should’ be imposed, meaning by the origin of the meaning of “should” in the co-evolution of the social with our language. read more
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Rarely have life’s sweetness and bitterness been embraced with more evenhanded genius than in the work of Jacques Callot. The seventeenth-century French printmaker finds an ethics of vision—a way of grappling with whatever the world has to offer—in the indomitable...
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From the Ruins of Empire ends on a prolonged note of despair. “No convincingly universalist response exists today to Western ideas of politics and economy,” Mishra writes, “even though these seem increasingly febrile and dangerously unsuitable in large parts of...
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Brad Reagan in the Wall Street Journal: Most billionaires tend to write checks to good causes they're part of, hospitals where they were treated or universities they attended. These are the so-called "grateful-recipient" donors. Or there are donors who make...
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Djinn Haunted, they say, believing the soft, shifty dunes are made up of false promises. Many believe whatever happens is the other half of a conversation. Many whisper white lies to the dead. “The boys are doing really well.” Some...
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Many religious thinkers hold that chance is the enemy of God. God is omniscient in many theisms, and so if chance occurs, and chance is unpredictable even for God, then the reality of chance means that God does not exist. … Continue reading →
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Questions/answers  about Gold OA: (please add your answers and other questions) 1. Is the author a customer of a Gold OA publisher? I think it is. 2. What is the author paying for, as a customer? I think the author pays for the peer-review service. 3. What offers the Gold OA publisher  for the money? […]
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Most people here are probably familiar with Tom Lehrer‘s song – The Elements. Well, for chemists here’s a new song about the elements – and the periodic table. Actually, the video version – which depicts the elements in order on … Continue reading →

May 22, 2013

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From The Wall Street Journal: Jim Brown knew he was in trouble before his mother finished asking the question. "Am I a better cook than your wife?" she asked, calmly stirring a pot on the stove in her kitchen. With...
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From Nature: Late in the morning on 20 February, more than 200 people packed an auditorium at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. The purpose of the event, according to its organizers, was to explain why a...
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Maggie Koerth-Baker in the New York Times: In the days following the bombings at the Boston Marathon, speculation online regarding the identity and motive of the unknown perpetrator or perpetrators was rampant. And once the Tsarnaev brothers were identified and...
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Justin E. H. Smith in his blog: A student in rural Iceland, of sheep-farming stock, had her guard down, or didn't yet have a guard. She didn't know how to talk to foreigners, or perhaps felt there was something she...
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Jalees Rehman in The Guardian: The bulk of contemporary science journalism falls under the category of "infotainment". This expression describes science writing that informs a non-specialist target audience about new scientific discoveries in an entertaining fashion. The "informing" typically consists...
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No summary available for this post.
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Razib Khan in Gene Expression: My own inclination has been to not get bogged down in the latest race and IQ controversy because I don’t have that much time, and the core readership here is probably not going to get...
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I would dearly love to be able to start this piece by saying that The Poor Mouth is the funniest book ever written. It’d be a real lapel-grabber, for one thing, an opening gambit the casual Millions reader would find...
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As such, a number of temptations continue to arise when discussing Malick. Foremost among these is the tendency to perpetuate the go-to myths: that the famously media-shy filmmaker is also a recluse, or that he once disappeared from Hollywood for...
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Nobel laureate Imre Kertész is certainly no stranger to controversy. His radical reconceptualization of the term “Holocaust” — in whose “unscrupulous employment” he locates “a cowardly and unimaginative glibness” — to extend beyond the scope of the concentration camps and...
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This is a quick comment on the issue about Mochizuki's claimed proof of the abc conjecture that Catarina wrote about a couple of days ago. (I don't know much about this number theory stuff.)Are proofs cognitive entities? Is every proof cognized? Known? Knowable?Cognitive Reductionism about ProofsEvery proof P of a mathematical claim is cognizable by some one (or more) agent.This claim is analogous to certain verificationist claims more generally (e.g., every truth is knowable). I believe that […]
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Cognitive Reductionism about languages is the following (empirical) claim:Every language L is spoken/cognized by some one or more speakers.That is, the claim that languages can be reduced to cognitve states of some one or more speakers. However, I think that cognitive reductionism is deeply mistaken. There are languages which are not spoken, or cognized.So, on my view, statements of the form:Agent A cognizes language LAgents A and B cognize the same ("shared") language L. are contingent […]