Category Archives: culture

Anime: Fantastic and Frustrating.

Anime, crapitalism, culture Leave a reply

I love anime, and find a whole bunch of stuff around it immensely frustrating. I don’t even understand how the pitch meeting would go (I’m currently watching ID-0).

(I’ve just picked two male Japanese names at random out of the air, there’s no intent to link this conversation with any specific individuals)

Yoshifumi, writer
I want to create an anime that discusses the nature of ‘being human’, what it is to be a ‘living being’. It’s a bit of a passion project of mine, and I’ve been thinking about it for years.
Hidenori, anime studio producer
Ok. Tell me more.

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Punching Nazis

civil rights, culture, politics Leave a reply

Due to the recent rebranding of white supremacists, fascists, and nazis as “the alt-right” and their subsequent resurgence, there has been much hand wringing about ‘punching nazis’ as an appropriate response against those who are moving to enact genocide.

This hand wringing holds echoes of the “just ignore them and they’ll go away” nonsense that was often blathered in my direction when I was accosted with bullies throughout my life, and (as such) I have an opinion on this topic informed by long involvement with violent confrontation.

Punch them as hard as you can. Just the once. I don’t feel like burying this at the end of the essay, so I thought I’d just set it up at the start. Why? The answer to that is long.

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Objection to the George Wainborn Park Ireland Canada Monument

culture, History, personal, politics, Rhetoric Leave a reply

It’s come to my attention that there’s an organization pushing for a monument to be raised here in Vancouver, in George Wainborn Park, “for the sole purpose of providing recognition to the significant contribution of Irish Canadians and Canadians of Irish descent to Canada”.

I object to this (and yes, I’m Irish) for a number of reasons that I’ve outlined in an email to that organization. I’ve included it below.

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Trump DOES Represent American Values

culture, History, personal, politics Leave a reply

This video is intended for Americans (and only Americans) expressing the sentiment that ‘this is not the America I know’ or that ‘Trump does not represent American values’. To the Americans expressing these sentiments: where have you been all your life?

Why only Americans? Because they should be familiar with the history of their country, far more than those of us outside of it.

 

Voting Third Party is Letting the USA Burn

culture, Rhetoric Leave a reply

On November 8th, the American people are going to cast a relatively unimportant vote that nevertheless will tell us 1) how bigoted they are, generally, and 2) whether they understand ‘logic’ and ‘opportunity cost’. While the former should be fairly self-evident, I’d like to talk about the latter a little here.

If you read around on the internet, you’ll find many articles claiming that a vote for a 3rd party candidate is a waste of a vote, or a vote for ‘the other candidate’, and people defending that choice disagree.

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Beliefs Don’t Change in “Real-Time”

culture, Education, freethought community, psychology, science Leave a reply

An acquaintance of mine sent me a link to a conversation between Dan Dennett and Sam Harris, wherein Dennett attempts to explain the holes in Harris’s puerile arguments against the concept of “free will”.

In any case, this particular post isn’t about Harris, but a particular point he reiterates repeatedly: that we can (and should) change our beliefs “in real-time”.

This view, regardless of who holds it, is incorrect, and here’s why.

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Physician Assisted Dying and the BC Catholic

civil rights, culture, ethics, philosophy 1 Reply

Physician assisted Dying (PAD from here on, aka active euthanasia) is currently being legislated in Canada, so it’s being discussed by a number of outlets, with a variety of opinions being put forward. This is a topic that has a storied history within philosophy, and I think it’s important that we have informed conversations on this topic as much as possible, rather than just repeating the “common sense” nonsense that we’ve grown up with all our lives.

Unfortunately, having a degree in philosophy apparently can also mean learning how to really cement the foundations for that nonsense, and can add an air of authority to what should be obviously ridiculous babble. Kreeft’s nonsense has been written up in that bastion of fact-checking, the BC Catholic, and the amount of errors (or intentional falsehoods?) in that article are staggering…..

I feel that doing a general overview/correction would make it seem that I’ve missed some key line here or there, so I’m going to do a point-by-point rebuttal. Which means that this is going to be a long article. Strap in.

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Boundaries and Abuse

culture, ethics, freethought community, health, personal

I’m going to start with a recent pair of conversations in my life, and use that as a jumping off point to talk about who gets to define what abuse is, and who gets to set boundaries. People in my local community may well recognise the people involved from their behaviour, and while backlash due to that bothers me, it bothers me more that the abusive behaviour is tolerated.

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The Irrelevance of the American Presidential Race

culture, politics Leave a reply

[Edit, Jan 28th, 2017: given the executive orders that have gone out over the last few days and the resultant clusterfuck, I am completely wrong on this point. Consider this entire post retracted. I’m not deleting it, as I prefer to keep my mistakes visible.]

At this point, it’s agreed across the political spectrum that the American Presidential race is a disaster of epic proportions. With Trump clearly in the lead on the Republican side, much ink has been spilt over how we (or they) have gotten here.

I think that Samantha Bee (on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) has come out of the closest when she laid the blame at the feet 2010 midterm Congressional elections. She’s absolutely correct that that election is the cause of the deadlock of the US Congress over the last several years, but I think she doesn’t go far enough.

The issue is that Congressional elections matter far more than the Presidential elections, but TV has confused the populace.

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Philosophy of science. Again.

culture, Education, philosophy, science Leave a reply

I wrote about philosophy of science back in 2012, and a recent spat in biology has brought this up again. The Wired article “Twitter Nerd-Fight Reveals a Long, Bizarre Scientific Feud” explains the details of that fight pretty well, and I just want to dig into a particular comment that seems to represent the core of the disagreement here.

“They said if you want to use another method, you have to show that it’s philosophically better, not scientifically better,” Eisen says. “That’s why I said it seems like they’re dropping science for dogma.”

and

“I’ve never in my life, in any area of science,” says Eisen, “seen something presented where people said, ‘We’re not going to judge something on the science, we’re going to judge it on the philosophy.’”

Eisen, frankly, couldn’t be more wrong (in principle).

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