Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Bent Swords

My electric heater is struggling valiantly to warm my apartment - according to its built-in thermometer, it's mostly successful at keeping the area around it between 38 and 43 degrees. Sigh.

I find it interesting that the ages-old christian-atheist debates are now happening on youtube and other video sharing sites. I don't really understand this though - it's even worse than Usenet for this kind of thing - instead of having a nice, text-based discussion that by the medium tends to easily be summarised, dissected, and replied to in parts, we get to see pictures of people mixed with random pictures they toss in, and hear people stammer and repeat the same arguments ad nausium. I hope that this isn't a step away from literate culture.

At the same time, I think I understand why the "burden of proof" argument has little weight for some people -- we can apply a "proposed societal change" perspective, where society has a status quo that has stood the test of time, and it would want to be skeptical of change, only accepting it after all the implications and details have been worked out (and ideally, verified). Fleshing it out into a social dogma, it would demand, whenever people are significantly different, to justify their difference from society at large, and understand it as a challenge to the status quo. Does this way of thinking ever make sense? I think it does - when stability/safety is considered to be very important and innovation less so, things like Occam's Razor might feel more like a way to cut one's wrists than a practical tool. In philosophy, those of us who like Occam's Razor probably can be described as philosophically reckless -- this might be a fair charge - I can say that I would hope to expose truths even if they would bring down society (although I would generally prefer that society not fall). When it comes to being a sysadmin, by contrast, I'm quite conservative, because for that domain I think it makes sense. I don't think I could expect many Christians to accept my characterisation of them as being more concerned about safety than truth though. I wouldn't be surprised if we have some genetic factors that push us towards mimetic conservativism though - this may be part of the potential for groupthought that seems to (sometimes usefully) be part of our species.

Tags: philosophy

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