Showing posts from January, 2022

Yes, Let's Talk About Sloppiness

UPDATE: Sorry, I just saw I failed to link to Field's essay! Corrected. Laura K. Field, in a five-part essay attempting to trash Patrick Deneen's Why Liberalism Failed , accuses Deneen of sloppiness. For instance, she writes: "Bacon was not merely interested in 'torturing' nature to discover her secrets, as Deneen repeatedly alleges." I just re-checked my copy of Deneen, and: He never says Bacon was "merely" interested in "torturing" nature. This just happens to be the aspect of Bacon's thought he is interested in. The book is not a intellectual biography of Bacon, nor even an intellectual history of liberalism. So why would we expect a full picture of Bacon as a thinker? That itself might take up the whole book, and Deneen would never get around to discussing liberalism! He does mention this notion... just once . Not "repeatedly." Field writes: "I do not know where Deneen got the idea that Francis Bacon had no interest

Prices going up? Prices going down?

 Ball of confusion It's climate change today Hey hey! Or at least, there are people out there who would like to blame every single bad thing that happens on "climate change." Listen, I am a climate conservative: I think we should mess with our atmosphere as little as possible, and I believe we might have messed with it too much already. But ... Today, I saw someone on Twitter blame recent price rises on... us "cooking the planet." Uuuugh... Earth is warming up some, but it's been far warmer than this in the past. What's more... earth don't care! It's a friggin' planet! It will be fine even if we wipe out the human race. Not every bad thing that happens is due to climate change! The January 6 riot did not happen because of climate change. China persecuting the Uyghuts is not due to climate chnage. And the recent bout of inflation is not due to climate change: It is due to the Fed flooding the economy with cheap funds for a dozen years. Got it

What Is This Life?

Rationalists pride themselves on believing in evolution, unlike dopey creationists. Per the theory of evolution, if we find that all, say, woodchucks engage in some behavior, and expand a great deal of energy in doing so, we should suspect that that activity is important to the woodchucks’ survival, even if we are not sure how. It would be very non-Darwinian of us to dismiss this behavior as “Just stupid woodchucks, doing something ridiculous and pointless.” And yet when it is noticed that all human societies ever have engaged in some form of behavior that can be characterized as religious, and have spent a great deal of energy doing so, these rationalists dismiss this behavior as “Just stupid humans, doing something ridiculous and pointless.”