Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Good Cognitive Citizenship

From: - diavlogs:

Will Wilkinson: … there's a lot of other things that I think people would call values that I think imply epistemic laziness. So the value for conformism, for example: people don't think of the value as being conformism, people think of it as” I want to fit into my local community. I want to have the access to the sources of meaning that all the people around me draw from him and if I actually learn about logic or decision theory and deploy it in my everyday thinking then I might end up alienating myself from the things I really do care about that really are values to me.”

So it might be the case that a certain kind of conformity which implies not thinking very hard...I mean not thinking very hard might be instrumental to being able to maintain your commitment to whatever the local norms are. So by saying to people that, “you have a responsibility to be a good cognitive citizen,” that has implications that if you are a good cognitive citizen you might have to give up some of the sources of meaning that, you think, make your life worthwhile.

Eliezer Yudkowsky: Well to be sure rationalists, pardon me: someone undergoing the transition to rationality from a supernaturalist – or non-naturalist base is going to lose some of what they thought were their sources of meaning. The question is, “do they get it back and is it better afterward?”

…So, to put it bluntly: someone who believes that morality comes from God is going to lose their god and get back an improved morality…

Monday, January 26, 2009

Disgraced pastor Haggard facing new sex allegations


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) -- A megachurch paid a 20-year-old man to keep silent about a sexual relationship he had with disgraced evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, a senior church pastor said.

Haggard, who was fired amid allegations that he used drugs and patronized a male prostitute in 2006, had a sexual relationship with a second man -- a 20-year-old volunteer at his megachurch, the Rev. Brady Boyd, a senior pastor at the church, said Monday.

The church agreed to pay the man in exchange for his pledges not to talk publicly about the relationship, Boyd said, referring to a settlement reached by the man's lawyer and the church's insurance company. Under the settlement, the church provided the man money to pay his college tuition, moving expenses and counseling, Boyd said.

(full article)

The monumental hypocrisy of Haggard is only one facet of this story, and it's certainly a big one, particularly as it reflects on communities of repressive religions generally. Another important facet is the hypocrisy of the Christian community at large, supposedly a compassionate bunch, shunning and ostracizing this man they once purported to revere, not for his hypocrisy but for his "immoral behavior". That's it. They're really that shallow. Imagine how conflicted, how self-consumed this guy Haggard must have been all this time, to say nothing of what he must be going through now that the truth about him is on display before the world; yet that's the best the "compassionate" Christans can come up with. In their eyes, his terrible sin is having had homosexual relationships. Pathetic. The hush money was, ostensibly at least, meant to help the young man to move beyond this experience, but the net effect and clear intent was to try and shut him up, to sweep under the rug, to the extent possible, the fact that this incident happened at all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Goodbye and Good Riddance

Olbermann: Bush Presidency in retrospect - Finally!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

“God” is the problem

In the never-ending conflicts in the middle east, violence is not the problem; territory is not the problem; history is not the problem; anger is not the problem; even corruption is not the problem. These are all symptoms of the problem. The problem is “God”. All parties to the conflict believe this mystical, magical, supposedly omnipotent, merciful, caring, benevolent, yet somehow always conspicuously absent, particularly in times of strife (are there any other kinds?), is allied with their views. Were it not for this insane belief, perhaps the parties could examine the reality on the ground and conclude that there are other actions each can take for the mutual benefit of all instead of striving for mutual annihilation.