It’s not anti-semitic to criticize Israel

Chrystal Ocean at Challenging the Commonplace posted the following letter from a number of prominent Jewish Canadians regarding censorship over criticism of Israel. It has been denied publication by the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail, so in response, I’ll help get the word out here.
Continue reading It’s not anti-semitic to criticize Israel

How to reconcile time travel

My Philosophy of Space and Time class is winding down, and I have a week now to think up and write my 3000 word final essay. One of the potential topics is time travel.

Now in class we figure that any “second chance” time travel is logically impossible (assuming one timeline) because it will create logical contradictions (the grandfather paradox), and that’s just not cool.

This is disappointing though. I mean, what’s the fun of time travel if you can’t do it, or if you can that you can’t change anything?
Continue reading How to reconcile time travel

I care how my name is spelt

I just noticed that in the thread on an older post about 9/11 troofers, one of the other commenters misspelled my name in a thread. I’m certain the irony is completely lost on Mr Parks. In a single post, he was able to misspell my name(which was right in front of him), mischaracterize my politics(which should have been a tad obvious given where it was written), get my living situation wrong(which is just kinda weird), lie about what kind of investigation have been done (and really bring on the stupid in his alternate story) and implicitly dismiss a document that takes the better part of a few hours to read. This poor logic and academic laziness is everywhere in pseudoscience. Everywhere.

I used to get angry when people dismissed arguments that were poorly written “address the content!” I’d say. “sift through and try to ignore the illogic!” I’d say. You want to know what I say now?

“If you aren’t paying attention to what you’re writing, why should anyone else?”

Seriously buddy, its my fucking name.

The Logic of Rationalism

There’s a potential criticism of rationalism that is any defence of rationalism is built on rationalism and thus is a circular argument, and there’s therefore no justification for basing one’s outlook on rationality.

Neglecting the fact that it required a rational argument to attempt that bit of deception, lets see what reason I can develop for rationalism.

When one person has an experience (lets say you) and wants to share it with someone else (say me) for the purposes of advancing our groups collective knowledge (for survival or increased advantage), you have only a few forms of communication with which to transfer that knowledge (language, interpretive dance, but no direct brain to brain communication).  So for you to pass that experience to me requires a way to make it sound convincing and plausible.  At the same time, I don’t want to take in bunk knowledge from a kook (no offence intended), so I need a way of deciding whether or not the knowledge being passed is valid.  This is where logical reasoning comes in – you structure the argument in a way that is sound, and if I judge it to be sound and convincing I accept it.

So the way I see it, irregardless of if that initial claim of circular logic is true, there is still a good enough reason for me to live sceptically and to doubt claims of revelation.