Monday, 31 October 2011

My crisis

This is a crisis. A large crisis. In fact, if you got a moment, it's a twelve-storey crisis with a magnificent entrance hall, carpeting throughout, 24-hour portage, and an enormous sign on the roof, saying 'This Is a Large Crisis'. A large crisis requires a large plan. Get me two pencils and a pair of underpants.

I'm currently undergoing a crisis of faith, I'm trying (to a greater or lesser extent) to embrace this fact. The crisis is the following. Over the last few months I've been slowly exposed to weird little niggling ideas that I realised I was trying too hard to force into my ethical system. So I'm going to say it now. WOOPS. Turns out my ethical system is built on a foundation of sand. This is a crisis, I need to fix it. Not being wildly and madly optimistic and looking at other's experience I dont expect this problem to be fixed before 2014. So I'm not going to be able to post more on foundational ethics for a while.

Friday, 28 October 2011

The virtue of honesty.

I believe that every aborted child goes to heaven.
So women are doing them a favour by aborting them then?
That's a very trivial response to a very serious issue.
This exchange, taken from here, is typical of a certain type of argument. The moral failure of the first speaker isn't his notion of heaven. If you want that notion and think you can defend it go ahead, I'll argue that another day. There's something more serious here. There's a fundamental lack of honesty. Not that he is lying to others, but far far more importantly, to himself. This is probably the biggest single failure of human thought. Pretty much all the other mad thoughts people have are examples of it. I want to consider this failure.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Climate Change

The Ascent of Man is not just a species-wide phenomenon. The joy of science is that the whole species progress by means of individuals progressing. It is the defining characteristic of a rational scientific mind to despair at its past self. A scientist corrects the errors in her worldview, over time her map looks more and more like the territory. Errors only get smaller. I'm annoyed at my past self, just as my future self will be annoyed at me. One error my past self made I dont get annoyed at, because I dont think it was unreasonable. Though I have now corrected it in my map, it should not be hard to imagine why others should not have done so yet. This phenomenon tells us something wider about the danger of a little information and science communication.