Category logic

Seneca and Trigger Warnings

  I took part in a community discussion a few years ago. The rules asked me to label anything “potentially hurtful” with something I’d never heard of before, a so-called trigger warning. I asked what this meant and learned that the mention of certain topics “triggers” painful, often unbearable memories in the audience. For example, […]

The Saturn Five Rocket and Human Suffering

Look upon the Saturn V rocket. It is 110.6 meters tall, taller than the Statue of Liberty. It’s 10 meters in diameter, weighs nearly 3 million kilograms and cost 700 million dollars in today’s money. The first stage of this rocket created more than 3.4 million kilograms of thrust and consumed 2.3 million kilograms of […]

The Aesthetic Case Against Rights

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “Overcoming Justice.” I’d love any ideas, reactions and thoughts you have regarding this article. I have several reasons for viewing rights with suspicion. I think the epistemology is all messed up and I think that the concept of human rights invalidates huge swaths of history and experience. […]

Beyond Christianity, Part 3

I recently asked a group of writers how I could write a convincing homophobic character who is himself a closeted gay. Since I’m a novelist asking this question to a group advertising itself as a resource for writers, it seemed to me a pretty reasonable question. I didn’t get anything useful for character development, but I […]

Beyond Christianity, Part 2

A friend on Facebook recently posted a Fox News video about “liberal agitators” at a Trump rally. Being that this was from Fox News, the agitators they chose to show were not particularly articulate. I was milliseconds away from forgetting all about it until I saw this comment beneath the video: “They’re being paid to […]

Beyond Christianity

For those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll probably not be surprised to hear that I spend a lot of time thinking about modern morality. If you haven’t been following along but still want to be one of the cool kids, you can check out this or this or this or, if you’re feeling super […]

Kurt Godel and the Limits of AI

About two months ago I had the distinct pleasure to read Self Aware Patterns’ fascinating article on artificial intelligence. Mike Smith, author of that excellent blog, argued that AI need not fail because of Kurt Godel’s incompleteness theorem. He approached this problem from an empirical and deterministic theoretical framework. This inspired Tina Forsee, the writer […]

The Doomed Moralists, Part Two

In Part One of the Doomed Moralists, I argued that a moral practice becomes good because it makes a society more powerful. I don’t want to restate too much, but I took the view that good and bad are constantly evolving concepts that are always tested in the crucible of competition. Fellow writer Malcolm Greenhill […]

Explaining Donald Trump

I had initially dismissed Donald Trump as the random crazy person that Republicans rapidly fall in love with and then out of love with during some stage of every election cycle. Pat Robertson, Sarah Palin and Rick Perry, please step up to the podium, in other words. This still might be true, but I now […]

How to Persuade People Who Don’t Want to Be Persuaded

Based on an article by Nathaniel Claiborne If you want to persuade people, there are several steps you need to take if you hope to succeed. According to the fine folks at Freaknomics, these are some good general practices. Understand How Hard Persuasion Will Be Especially if you are having a discussion with people who […]