Jun 9, 2022
Believers Need Not Apply
We’ve constructed a super-elaborate cosmology to explain how ‘it is’ arose spontaneously from ‘it is not.’ (If that doesn’t make any sense to you, trust me, it doesn’t make sense to me either.) How did the universe come to be? It just did! How did the ratios of the masses of subatomic particles get so finely tuned? They just did!
May 3, 2022
You have Nothing to Lose but Your Clouds...What if you could vote to change the weather?
Suppose every day we could vote what weather we were to have tomorrow. What fighting there would be, what killing of one neighbor by another…most things that we vote for do not really matter, you are a little more or a little less uncomfortable as the government does one thing or another but the weather oh dear…that would be a disaster.”
Mar 25, 2022
“…And the Pursuit of Happiness.” (The Declaration of Independence, 1776)
We honor ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ as inalienable human rights, but not all of us can say with assurance that we are always on the side of ‘life’ and ‘liberty’. Sometimes we can’t even agree on what these words mean, and we certainly don’t agree on how these rights should be applied in specific situations. (For example, many of the men who wrote the Declaration themselves owned slaves. We don’t always see ourselves through the eyes of civilization or the lens of history.)
Mar 22, 2022
Can Subject/Verb Agreement Make the World Go Round?
We imagine that our world is made up of ‘things’ (nouns), their accidental qualities (adjectives), and the relationships between them (verbs). We imagine this because just such a classification system is embedded in our native tongue: modern English, for example, or most any other contemporary Indo-European language.
Mar 10, 2022
Classification is a tool we use to organize our experiences into categories based on the intrinsic content of those experiences. Flying in planes may define a different category of experience from hiking in mountains. Of course, no two flights are ever the same, nor are any two hikes. Still, it is useful for some purposes (not all) to classify these experiences differently.