Mortality – we all die


mortalityReading a lot of philosophy, I get exposed to a lot of thinking about death. One of the basic lessons in logic goes, “All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.” So, you get reminded often that we all die.

As has been pointed out:

  • We are all going to die
  • We are going to die soon
  • We are going to die alone (as in, my death will be only my own and unshared)

Sometimes I wonder if, when I die, the world will be different because I was here. Will the memory of me be more than a grave marked with a piece of wood and a welded steel cross somewhere on the high plains of western North America?

Your logical fallacy is anecdotal


anecdotal fallacy

You used a personal experience or an isolated example instead of a sound argument or compelling evidence.

It’s often much easier for people to believe someone’s testimony as opposed to understanding complex data and variation across a continuum. Quantitative scientific measures are almost always more accurate than personal perceptions and experiences, but our inclination is to believe that which is tangible to us, and/or the word of someone we trust over a more ‘abstract’ statistical reality. Continue reading

Thoughts on Chocolate

I like chocolate. I am not a chocoholic, but I know someone who is.

It always strikes me was funny when my wife says, “I don’t like chocolate,” then has something with chocolate in it. What most people think she means is, “I dislike chocolate,” but that is not what she means. She means, “I would not go out of my way for chocolate.” “I would not choose a chocolate dessert over one with strawberries.”  Continue reading

One thought on keeping secrets

Here’s one last piece of advice, specifically about whistle-blowers. It’s much harder to keep secrets in a networked world, and whistle-blowing has become the civil disobedience of the information age. A public or private organization’s best defense against whistle-blowers is to refrain from doing things it doesn’t want to read about on the front page of the newspaper.”
– Bruce Schneier

Schneier on Security: Protecting Against Leakers

Four Myths about the Crusades Everyone needs to know

Our culture has been sold a bill of goods (i.e. a false notion) about the Crusades. Most people just buy into the idea that the Crusades were rampant killing of innocents, and Christians invading passive, peaceful lands. We need to know at least a little about what really went on.
Four Myths about the Crusades by Paul F. Crawford

Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and even a cursory chronological review makes that clear. In a.d. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories.

What everyone “knows” about the crusades may not, in fact, be true. From the many popular notions about the crusades, let us pick four and see if they bear close examination.

Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion. Outside those boundaries were other large Christian communities—not necessarily orthodox and Catholic, but still Christian. Most of the Christian population of Persia, for example, was Nestorian. Certainly there were many Christian communities in Arabia. Continue reading

That’s ‘sciencism’ at its worst – The Independent

Atheists are more intelligent than religious people? That’s ‘sciencism’ at its worst – Comment – Voices – The Independent

The polemical use of science – called scientism- has nothing to with real science, which is the disinterested pursuit of the truth. It uses the authority of science to invalidate the moral status of groups and individuals and their practices on the ground of their natural inferiority. It is the 21st century equivalent of 19th century craniology.

Your logical fallacy is appeal to nature

appeal to nature

appeal to nature

You argued that because something is ‘natural’ it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good or ideal.

Many ‘natural’ things are also considered ‘good’, and this can bias our thinking; but naturalness itself doesn’t make something good or bad. For instance murder could be seen as very natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s good or justifiable. Continue reading

Hopelessness and Despair

I read a lot of blogs. Sometimes in the technical blogs that I read, a personal request comes through, especially in times of great distress for the writers. This morning was one of those days.

The author’s five year old child was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and his life has been tossed upside-down. After briefly describing the situation, he asks for support this way, “Warm thoughts, positive vibes, heartfelt prayers, just keeping us in mind…whatever works for you will work for us.” Continue reading

Facebook is bad for you: Get a life! | The Economist

THOSE who have resisted the urge to join Facebook will surely feel vindicated when they read the latest research. A study just published by the Public Library of Science, conducted by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan and Philippe Verduyn of Leuven University in Belgium, has shown that the more someone uses Facebook, the less satisfied he is with life.

Should young people be dating before they are ready to get married?

From WinteryKnight: Should young people be dating before they are ready to get married?

The trouble with underage dating is that it presents an entirely faulty view of what interaction with the opposite gender should be about. Rather than placing emphasis on building one strong relationship with one person at a stage of life when a marital commitment is feasible, dating encourages young people to pour their energies into consistently seducing other young people at a time when neither of them are capable of making any long-term commitments. Their “relationships” are destined to fail from the get-go because they are founded on unhealthy perceptions of love and not backed by any real necessity to stick it out.

The beauty of marriage, as it was intended to be, is that it teaches two people of opposite genders to learn to work through incompatibilities and give of themselves. In the same way, the great ugliness of dating as it is practiced by our culture and portrayed by our media, is that it teaches two people of opposite genders to be selfish by giving them an easy “out” when things don’t go according to their initial feelings. I believe it is fair to say that this form of dating is a training manual for divorce, because it encourages young people to grow accustomed to giving their hearts away and then taking them back.