Sunday, November 24, 2013

In A Just World (Fallacy)

So, it's another day, and another Facebook meme to undermine.

One thing that gets under my skin like you wouldn't believe are appeals to "common sense." What I've found about "common sense" is that "common sense" is little more than thought-terminating cliche. Who defines what's "common?" I consider it "common sense" to acknowledge the world isn't 10,000 years old. Clearly, I'm an outlier in the United States. Despite my "common sense" having plenty of scientific evidence to back it up, it's not exactly "common."

Today, I plan to tackle one of those "common sense" memes that seems so popular on Facebook - 10 quotes, often attributed to Bill Gates, that you may have seen before. This stuff seems so elementary - but it's also wrongheaded and assbackwards.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Nightmare Scenario

I've posted this particular scenario before on a couple of different comment threads, but I want to post it here. I was doing some extra thinking about this today; I woke up today with a sore throat and while I was out for my walk (a short one because I didn't feel good and it's been a miserable day), I was thinking more at length at what would happen if I wound up sick.

I shell out, on average, 139 dollars a month for health insurance. I'm going to be visiting Healthcare.gov in the near future to see if I can't possibly get a better deal than what I have, but I've got fairly decent health insurance - that I still have to pay for, and there's still a rather substantial deductible - that is, the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance, that you pay $139.00 or more for a month decides you've paid enough and steps in to cover the rest (usually to the tune of several thousand dollars - more than I've got right now). Even a thousand dollar deductible is enough to destroy me financially right now; if I need emergency surgery for something, I won't be getting it. I'll likely end up dying, even with the new ACA, simply because nothing was done about deductibles. Or I'd owe several thousand dollars, and I'd have that debt piled on the debt that I already have (and if your response to this is "get a better job," go fuck yourself with a cyanide-laced cactus. What the hell do you think I'm doing, you dumb piece of self-centered garbage?)

I know I can't be the only person in this situation. The ACA is a lot of much needed reform, but it didn't nearly go far enough. As a matter of a fact, it falls drastically short of what's required for basic national security.

How is a lack of easy access healthcare a threat to national security? Well, I hope you weren't planning on sleeping tonight...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Antinatalism and The Problem of Happiness

Hey y'all, I ain't dead yet.

It's been a while, and I apologize for the lack of updates. I've had a tumblr going for a little while, and I'm going to port some of the tumblr posts I made back over the blog, but know that I'm back.

So, to mark my return from my unannounced hiatus, I have an announcement:

The Second Blue Pimpernel novel, Liquidity, is in the final stages of drafts. And by final stages, I mean I'm still proof reading; but I've got a print copy, and I don't usually do that unless I'm happy with the plot and I'm ready to move on. I won't put a release date on it, but watch this space for more information.

Now, onto my post.

I encountered a particular "philosophical" position the other day while responding to comments on Libby Anne's blog, Love, Joy, and Feminism. The particular post in question, "Breeders," "Spawn," and the Childfree, was making observations on how hostile some people in the childfree movement are capable of being. No movement is too good not to attract its own special little brand of asshole, and the childfree movement is no exception (yes, even the transhumanist movement has its own special breeds of asshole; misogynistic, racist, bigoted, and frankly, flat-fucking stupid, Silicon Valley Brogrammers who are chasing the Singularity while preaching their other religion, Libertarianism). I've seen some pretty nasty people in the chidlfree movement before, but that doesn't change my opinion that it's your choice whether or not to have a child. If you want one, good for you. If you don't, good for you. Life about knowing yourself and knowing what you want; allowing people who want to have children is what procreation is truly about; what we have now can be called accidental creation.

But that's not the overall point. I agree with everything she said.

It was a particular philosophy I ran into in the comments, however, that I severely disagree with.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

20 Questions

From Townhall.com, a challenge: 20 questions that liberals can't answer. What they actually mean is "20 questions liberals can answer but I'm going to plug my ears and not listen, or pick at little things and use that as a red herring to avoid the discussion," thus rendering any "debate" with these people little more productive than masturbation (but nowhere near as enjoyable). Since I have a bit of a masochistic streak and I enjoy beating on the strawmen army they pony up, I figured I would take a little swing at this garbage and see if maybe I can't clear the stink.

So, let's take a look at these 20 questions I'm not supposed to be able to answer.

Monday, April 8, 2013

You Live in a Country Of Idiots When...

I just ran across this little tidbit the other day: it was a facebook share that popped on my feed, so I just had to say something about it.So rather than post the actual facebook update, I went looking for the source - and I had no problem finding several different sources. So I just went ahead and grabbed the first source that I could find: from here.

It's called "A nation founded by geniuses but run by idiots."

Given that the American people are the government and supposed to be running the government, but you're too busy complaining to know that, I'll agree: you are an idiot.

Let's roll, folks! It's time for a classic takedown of some Right-wing deliberate obfuscation, malicious belligerent ignorance, and emotionally stunted entitlement!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Creationist Tactics: Zeno's Transitional Fossil

I'm fairly certain I've blogged on this topic before, or at least mentioned this tactic in passing at least once or twice, but I wanted to devote something like an entire post to this. We see this all the time from creationists; evolution doesn't happen in real life, they say, because there's no proof of it. When pressed, "proof" becomes synonymous with "transitional fossil." The absence of transitional fossils, then, is why evolution clearly isn't happening.

Here in lies the rub. I named this after Zeno's dichotomy paradox: according to Zeno's dichotomy paradox, you have Point A and Point B. Say that Point A is your car door, and Point B is your house door. Now, you're leaving your house to get to your car. According to Zeno, you will never reach your car door. In order to go between Point A and Point B, you have to go 1/2 way. But in order to 1/2 way, you have to 1/4 the way. But before you can go 1/4 the way, you have to 1/8 the way. But before you can do that, you have to go 1/16 the way, and then 1/32, and then 1/64, and then 1/128, and then 1/256, et cetera. Thus, since you're always going 1/2 of the 1/2 to get there, you can never reach your point. I've also seen this referred to as Zeno's arrow paradox; in order for an arrow to fly to its target, first it has to go 1/2 the way, but before that, it has to go 1/4, and you can see where this goes. It goes on like this for infinity.

Why is the transitional fossil argument creationists use identical to Zeno's paradox?

We have Species A (sA) and from it, evolved Species B (sB). Creationists claim evolution doesn't happen, because there's no evidence that Species A evolved from Species B. In order to find the evidence sA evolved into sB, we need to present a transitional fossil that shows traits of both sA and sB; call this fossil species sb. So we have sA --> sb ---> sB. No sooner do we do this, though, than we have a demand for another transitional fossil, between sb and sA. Call this one sab. So now we have sA --> sab --> sb --> sB. Then we get another request to find a transitional fossil between sA and sab, and so forth. In order to get from Point A to Point B, we have to travel halfway, but we must travel halfway to get there, and then travel halfway again to get to the quarter of the way, and so forth. The same paradox is at work here. You will continually get requests of a halfway species representing a transitional fossil, ad naseum, and when you can't present it, then Tada! God! Evolution is wrong, suck it, Darwinists! They are aware that the fossil record is incomplete; that's why eventually you're going to run into a situation where this "argument tactic" will prevail.

How do we go about solving the problem? Simple.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Schools of the Singularity

I was reading through the internet the other day and I came across this article by Eliezer Yudkowsky. Now, I'm not at all familiar with Yudkowsky; Kurzweil I've heard of (and do not support; as near as I can tell, Kurzweil has some major issues - the largest of them being the fact that he's a computer guy with zero knowledge about neurobiology or neurochemistry, who seems to think that neural networks are easily constructed and work like standard computer processors. I'm taking a class on the Brain, Synapses, and Neurons at the end of the month, so I'll get a close look at just how realistic that is. I can tell you right now, though, that it's not realistic at all), and Kurzweil is referenced in the article I read. I've gone further and read a number of articles by Yudkowsky and I like the thinking (especially the article about transhumanism as simplified humanism, which is a view point I've been championing in my own little corner of the internet for nearly three years now). That's not what I'm looking at today, though - today I'm looking at the singularity.

I've touched on the Singularity and the concept of a Singularity before, but I don't recall if I ever went into depth about what I think of it. So I plan to do that. But first, I'd like to take a look at the three different schools of the Singularity that Yudkowsky offers. So follow me down the rabbit hole into a long needed post about transhumanism.