The fundamental problem with Evolutionary Psychology, like socio-biology and neuro-psychology, is that the results are precisely known, while the posited causes arise from something that is at best known only vaguely and with very amorphous defining features. This combination is the perfect combination for convincing people of something by writing some sort of reasonably argued… Continue reading Autism Rates and the ‘Explanations’ of Evolutionary Psychology
C is the classic procedural language. It’s also known as a 2nd generation language, since it compiles to binary (1st generation). Literalists might call assembler a 2nd generation language, but since the major difference is merely the base notation, for clarity it’s best considered a 1st generation tool. Smalltalk is often thought of as a… Continue reading Politics and the Semantics of Programming Languages
Most people have at least heard of web scaffolding frameworks that provide a generated structure and convenience libraries for a combination component framework and continuation server to quickly write relatively simple web applications. The best known is most likely Rails in the Ruby language, but the origial archetype of such frameworks is the Seaside framework… Continue reading Yet Another Web Scaffolding Framework? Thoughts on PayPal’s Kraken
To ask the question of what ‘reality’ means in the context of the natural sciences requires firstly determining what reality refers to in general. The common notion is that reality refers to the sum of real things, or to be more precise, actualized real things. The problem with this assumption is that we then… Continue reading The Natural Sciences and Reality
This is the problem with people like Neil deGrasse Tyson: the people he criticizes are spreading nonsense, but in a certain sense he is doing exactly the same. While what he is saying has validity in a specific context, outside that context, which is where he is putting it, it is also nonsense. Worse, his underlying motive is the *same* as those who he is disputing. He’s not a sham ideologue like Dawkins or Hitchens, he’s sincerely trying to get across what ‘scientific reality’ looks like, but that’s precisely the problem. Much like Sagan and the first Cosmos series, there’s an assumption that ‘scientific reality’ is ‘really real reality’, which is a human, all too human desire, but one that can never be accomplished, because at root it is an unverifiable model that happens to be predictively more or less accurate, but nothing more.
“Both types of knowing possess their validity. One cannot claim that one is concerned with mere appearance while the other is concerned with reality. For elementary knowing vindicates its validity by the survival, not to mention the evolution, of animal species. On the other hand, any attempt to dispute the validity of fully human knowing involves the use of that knowing, and so, if the attempt is not to be frustrated by its own assumptions, it must presuppose that validity. The problem set by the two types of knowing is, then, not a problem of elimination but a problem of critical distinction. For the difficulty lies, not in either type of knowing by itself, but in the confusion that arises when one shifts unconsciously from one type to the other. Animals have no epistemological problems. Neither do scientists, as long as they stick to their task of observing, forming hypotheses, and verifying. The perennial source of nonsense is that, after the scientist has verified his hypothesis, he is likely to go a little further and tell the layman what, approximately, scientific reality looks like! Already we have attacked the unverifiable image; but now we can see the origin of the strange urge to foist upon mankind unverifiable images. For both the scientist and the layman, besides being intelligent and reasonable, also are animals. To them as animals, a verified hypothesis is just a jumble of words or symbols. What they want is an elementary knowing of the ‘really real,’ if not through sense, at least by imagination.”
Lonergan, Bernard (1992-04-06). Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, Volume 3: 003 (Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan)
The Bank Scam Most people don’t realize how money is created in western economies, and if they are told have difficulty believing it. Here’s a short version: Since the founding of the Bank of England (a private corporation) money has been created primarily by banks, not by governments. When you take out a loan, mortgage… Continue reading The Bank Scam and its Results