All posts for the topic: Philosophy

Let’s have a calm rational debate about people’s humanity

Est Reading Time: 3 min So the Ethics Centre in conjunction with IQ2 have an upcoming debate called Sex, Gender & Indentity (Title TBC) which will be about transgender “””issues”””. Uh oh. Will it be a giant case of false balance that seeks to give a platform to TERF hate as a just another legitimate, objective opinion in an intellectual debate while putting someone on the transgender “side” to make the case for their humanity? I don’t know but from the event description it doesn’t look good. Speakers are to be announced which looks similar to the other IQ2 debate pages. They’ve left the title […]

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Science, religion and appropriating metaphors

Est Reading Time: 7 min I haven’t written about the ‘science vs religion’ thing for ages, but an article caught my attention –– first because I thought it was ridiculous and later because it did force me to think about using scientific metaphors, which is always a positive. It’s The Missing Link: The Coessential Nature of Science and Faith by Nicholas Metrakos, appearing in Orthodoxy Today. The relationship between science and religion has been debated for centuries and it’s not going to end anytime soon. But what could possibly be left to say about it? As a beginning scientist and Orthodox Christian, I think the […]

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Quantum computing & quantum teleportation at Sydney Science Festival

Est Reading Time: 6 min This was the last event I went to at Sydney Science Festival and definitely the hardest for laypeople like me to wrap their minds around. I’ll try keep it super-simple! (Yeah right.) Quantum computing with Stephanie Simmons (UNSW) There’s a lot of hype in the media about quantum computing so we should distinguish between what a quantum computer can and can’t do. Quantum computing relies on superposition which is defined as mutually incompatible quantum state configurations. The hype is that quantum computing will lead to massive parallel processing. The reality is that a taking a measurement of a quantum system […]

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Celebrating 100 Years of General Relativity at Sydney Science Festival

Est Reading Time: 3 min It’s Sydney Science Festival this week so I’m going to 4 talks and liveblogging them. Tonight’s talk by Geraint F Lewis is Einstein’s Wonderful Idea: A Century of Space-Time, Black Holes and Expanding Universes, celebrating the 100th anniversary of General Relativity. Intro from the head of the USyd School of Physics and Acknowledgment of Country interrupted by heckler saying something like “isn’t it time to stop doing this mumbo jumbo”? He’s dealt with nicely by threatening to call security. (There is also a science crank statement in the Q&A by a guy who thinks General Relativity is actually super easy […]

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Atheists don’t exist (if you’re misleading enough)

Est Reading Time: 6 min This is an oldie (from 2014) but a goodie. A legit science website (Science 2.0) publishes an blog post entitled Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke by Nury Vittachi. It’s a great example of what happens when you try to be so nuanced and sophisticated that your head gets sucked up into your own ass. The overall premise of the article is that studies seem to show that all people may tacitly hold religious beliefs. And hence people who identify as atheists may not be “true” atheists because subconsciously they still engage in religious […]

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Jew cooties and trans disclosure

Est Reading Time: 4 min NOTE: This post is an analogy between different kinds of discrimination. While I normally avoid these, I thought it was necessary here as I’ll explain below. Still, take it for what it is, a limited and necessarily-flawed analogy. A man and a woman hook up. The next day, the man finds out the woman is Jewish. He is outraged that she was so deceptive in not telling him. “If I knew she was a Christ-killer, I wouldn’t have touched her with a ten foot pole! What she did is disgusting and grossly immoral.” He presses sexual assault charges. How sympathetic […]

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Against the term “offensive”

Est Reading Time: 3 min I have a pet peeve: the use of the term “offensive”. Ok, it’s more than a pet peeve – I think its use in public discourse is misleading and harmful. To start, here are some uses of “offensive” that are particularly cringeworthy: You don’t have a right not to be offended It’s good and important to be offensive The PC crowd is desperate to be offended He’s a #bravehero who doesn’t worry about causing offense Do I offend you? Tough Often what follows is rank bigotry. What provides it cover is the conflation of offensive’s two meanings. The first is […]

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The House of Screams

Est Reading Time: 4 min [CN: Existentialism; emo] Ok, this is probably the most personal (and rambling) post I’ve written so if you don’t want to read the musings of a 30 year old that could well sound like the emo diary of a 15 year old, you know what to do… I’m a pretty curious person. I’m interested in almost anything and I have been doing a lot of learning over say the last 12 years (from personal experience, books, articles, travel). I have a pretty good memory, so a lot of it’s stayed with me. And so, the more I’ve learned about the […]

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Are People Machines? Are People Beasts?

Est Reading Time: 7 min Yes. (At least for many of the most useful definitions of machines/beasts.) But I guess there’s a lot more to it — or so a lot of bloviators would like us to believe. There are a lot of opinion pieces out there that decry the materialism/reductionism/scientism involved in thinking of people as machines (or animals). It’s not often that these are given space in the New York Times. This article by Richard Polt is therefore special enough to warrant some attention. Here are some choice quotes. Wherever I turn, the popular media, scientists and even fellow philosophers are telling me […]

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“Sophisticated” Arguments Against Gay Marriage

Est Reading Time: 6 min With the US election being a boon for marriage equality, Australia’s had some additional coverage. In this context, it was almost expected that an open letter to Prime Minister Giliard went viral. Usually I avoid the comments sections of such opinion pieces, not wanting to get facepalming bruises. This time, I thought it might be interesting to get at least an anecdotal whiff of public opinion. A surprising number of comments were against marriage equality. This served as a reminder that it can be easy to underestimate how many people don’t agree with what seems to you as the obviously […]

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