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.”
“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).
I’ve had a bit of writer’s block recently, so I thought I’d try writing on a lighter topic: Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm (HotS).
I’ve been playing this game for several months now (just under 1000 games played so far), and I enjoy it a lot. Especially since Blizzard instituted some penalties for trolls, my ingame experience has improved dramatically.
But one thing about the game bugs me: the obsession many players have with “the meta”.
To briefly post on this:
The choice here in Canada seems to be between the entirely corrupt Conservative party, and pretty much anyone else. Are they corrupt? Well, here’s a list of Federal scandals in Canada, half of which are under the current leadership. More details can be found by googling, and more citations of corruption can be view on this blog.
If you’re voting Conservative, I’m curious as to why? Feel free to leave a comment. Please note that bullshit like ‘the other parties are bad’ just won’t fly here.
Follow Brian on Twitter!
I’m Irish. I migrated to Vancouver, BC, in May 2006. I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the imperialist and colonial history of Canada, mostly because I felt I had a responsibility to understand where I was living. I’m a citizen of both Ireland and Canada, the former by being born there, the latter as my mum was born here.
Over the years, I learned that Canada, like the US, UK and any other country really, is both a nation of immigrants and anti-immigrant. The group that rose to the top were those descended from the British settler group, the White Anglo Saxon Protestants. And while anti-immigrant racism certainly isn’t unique to the British, anti-Irish sentiment seems to be. That came too.
Let me be clear: there is no comparison to be drawn between what happened to the Natives of Canada and the US, nor to Black people. How the Irish (and Italians) are treated in North America is, frankly, cordial when compared to these other groups. That said, anti-Irish racism and bigotry is a thing.
Sometimes you really have to wonder what people were thinking when they did something. But then, sometimes that thing is quite extended, and you realise that a *lot* of people were involved, and they *all* had to go along with it for the complete production time. And you start to realise that it wasn’t like that because nobody thought it through: they thought it through, and they were ok with it.
In this case, I’m talking about Catholic Vote, who created a reprehensible video declaring to the world what awful human beings they are.
We all have blind spots in our thinking, and sometimes they can be pretty interesting. Other times, not so much. I’ve noticed that when I post an article about vegetarianism on facebook, a number of people can’t help themselves but make ignorant comments, people who I’ve had fairly informed conversations with on other topics. I’m going to use this space to call out that behaviour, and I’ll be blocking out the identities of the people involved (because it’s not about them, but the nonsense they were spouting). Continue reading
Sometimes I wonder what getting a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University entails, or even a Ph.D. in Religion and Literature from the University of Virginia. Alas, if the Rev. Dr. David Fekete is any indication, it entails not being required to actually know what you’re talking about, and to just blather any old thing without consequence.
Fekete recently penned a screed in the Edmonton Journal claiming that prohibiting prayer as part of government business privileges the belief system of Secular Humanism. From this single erroneous claim, he moves on to declare a number of falsehoods, such as “Secular humanism would have a world evacuated of religion”.
If this is the tripe that the Edmonton Journal prints, then I guess we also have the measure of that rag, in addition to Harvard’s Theological Studies department….
As part of helping out people studying for the LSAT/GMAT/GRE tests, I try to find free resources they can use to help themselves. Vancouver Public Library provides access to one such resource. It’s difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for, so I put together the below guide.
You can also get to this through the other library systems in the other cities in the Metro area (i.e. Surrey, Burnaby, etc), but the route is slightly different. If you’re trying to find it in those areas, but can’t, shoot me a message and I’ll see what I can do to find it for you.
If you prefer, you can view it on the imgur website.
Follow Brian on Twitter!
I recorded a podcast on srslywrong, and it was released last night. I’m fairly pro-GMO (generally speaking), so I was asked to take the pro-GMO side of a debate. It turned into more of a discussion of GMOs rather than a debate, and I’m pretty happy with the results.
I’m interested in feedback here, but bear in mind a couple things:
1) My background is not biology or science. I regrettably misspoke a few times in this (e.g. when I conflated genes for Roundup resistance with genes for the production of BT, and when I had a brain fart about bacteria being prokaryotes).
2) I’m not interested in yelling at people.
3) I’m interested in pushing broad strokes and general understanding, rather than devolving down nit-picky tangents. There’s a whole bunch of areas where I could have jumped down Eric/Cody’s throat for things that he said that I considered to be just plain ‘wrong’, but as they were tangential to the discussion, I left them alone. (and, to his credit, Eric/Cody cut me the same slack.
Click here to go to the podcast.
Follow Brian on Twitter!
I ran across this short online reality show ‘Sweatshop’ on Ecouterre “Fashion Bloggers in a Cambodian Sweat Shop“, and it’s worth taking a look at. It’s mostly a expression of ignorance and privilege, but it’s also helpful to put clothing production into the proper context.
There’s a line in particular that stands out, in the second episode, by Ludvig Hambro: “Those who make the garments should also be able to afford them”. This seems like a good jumping off point to discuss Marxism.