[First published in Quadrant Online as ‘Slut-Shamed’ Victimhood’s Loose Logic]
ScoMo is a man.
Therefore, ScoMo is mortal.
Is there anything wrong with this argument? A stickler for logical forms would insist that the first premiss should be All men are mortal. Fair enough. But if you put the initial form of the argument to a large sample of Australian voters, how many would object? A statement like men are mortal will generally be accepted as a class attribution.
Now try this one.
Continue reading “Men Are Mortal”
[First published at The Orthosphere.]
Faithful Catholics are expected to accept that, although the Pope is elected by the Conclave of (eligible) Cardinals, the One who really selects the Pope is the Holy Ghost Himself: the cardinals are His catspaws, so to speak. It is a grave offence to leak the proceedings of the Conclave (which is why such leaking is so rare), but if the preceding is to be accepted, the machinations in the Conclave are irrelevant. Therefore, I can appreciate both the smile and the squirm of orthodox Catholics who, in these very pages, see the so-ordained Pope described as … ahem … Pope Fruit Loops I.
Continue reading “The Pope’s Commission”
[This item was first published at Catallaxy Files. The version here is slightly modified.]
About a week ago, Steve posted the article Jordan Peterson trashes the left once again. He quoted from an article by Joy Pullman, called (big breath) The Left Is Actually Afraid Of Jordan Peterson Because He’s Leading A Revolt Against Their Corruption. It was published in The Federalist. Pullman starts her article by commenting on an earlier piece from The Atlantic, by Caitlin Flanagan . I had previously read, with amazement, Flanagan’s article. It seemed to me to be schizophrenic. The quote that Pullman utilises in her second paragraph encapsulates its central weirdness. I’ll quote her here again.
They “began listening to more and more podcasts and lectures by this man, Jordan Peterson,” she writes. “The young men voted for Hillary, they called home in shock when Trump won, they talked about flipping the House, and they followed Peterson to other podcasts — to Sam Harris and Dave Rubin and Joe Rogan. What they were getting from these lectures and discussions, often lengthy and often on arcane subjects, was perhaps the only sustained argument against identity politics they had heard in their lives.”
Continue reading “Restoration as revolution”
A Little Consciousness
Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.
T. S. Eliot from Burnt Norton Stanza II
In 1937, The Philosophical Review published an article by Hermann Hausheer (HH) titled St. Augustine’s Conception of Time. It’s a lovely discussion of Augustine’s wrestling with the mystery of time, by a writer with great affection for the saint. He invites us to ponder, yet again, Time’s inescapable coils. Hausheer’s sources are primarily from the book in which autobiography, as we still understand it, seems to have been invented – Confessions– with some additional material from The City of God.
Continue reading “Consciousness & Time: Part 2”
Vulcans, zombies, and desert islands
Imagine, for the moment, that at some time in the 1850s a Royal Navy vessel, operating to the south of Samoa, in running from a cyclone, finds a large uncharted desert isle. Inhabitants are nowhere to be found, but inhabitants there were, at least the analogy of William Paley’s Watchmaker, because the island is replete with the artefacts of a much more technologically advanced civilisation than that of the explorers. There are buildings of peculiar construction and materials, and most mysterious of all, in all of these buildings are large “moving picture” frames. At one moment they will display scenes as from a play, though switching rapidly between characters who, while speaking, fill the whole frame. At the next, they might display scenes in strange cities of similar construction, filled with self-propelled vehicles moving at dizzying speed. In the skies are machines that fly. Again, they might show scenes from exotic landscapes, or views from the heavens onto the country far beneath, presumably from the flying machines. The people are heard to speak in a strange language, and music, often discordant, accompanies every scene. The people represented in these frames display a moral degeneracy as astonishing as the engineering itself.
Continue reading “Consciousness & Time: Part 1”
The bills I discuss below were withdrawn on the 27th of February, 2017, because they faced almost certain defeat. The issue of reform was referred to the Queensland Law Reform Commission.
Two related private member’s bills are currently before the Queensland Parliament. The Abortion Law Reform (Women’s Right To Choose Bill) 2016 removes abortion from the Queensland Criminal Code, lock stock and barrel. This is necessary, as the Explanatory Note makes clear, because “[t]he current law in Queensland is causing great hardship and personal suffering.” Further, according to Dr Carolyn De Costa, “This is the only health procedure that is dealt with like this in criminal legislation. It’s way, way out of date and belongs in the 19th century. We’re practising medicine in the 21st century.” The “Benefits of the Bill” include the following. “The Bill will repeal outdated laws that can criminalise women and doctors for a basic human right and a medical procedure…These archaic laws are dangerous and have no place in modern society where women should always have control over their own bodies. This Bill will protect vulnerable Queensland women and the doctors that are currently risking prosecution to assist them.”
Continue reading “A Modest Amendment”
The version of find I’m discussing here is
find (GNU findutils) 4.7.0-git
I use this pattern frequently—
$ find . <conditions> |xargs grep <pattern>
to find files containing, say, a regular expression. If the search tree contains mercurial or git directories, I usually want to exclude their contents from the search.
Continue reading “find: files only with scm directory pruning”
The code is from the Downloads area of my Atlassian Bitbucket repository; see the README online.
Version Control Systems (VCSs)
VCSs like mercurial, git and bazaar (to mention only a few) are great for keeping track of changes to source files, but their utility doesn’t stop there. If you’re working on documents in applications like Word, OpenOffice or LibreOffice, especially when you are asking others to review those documents, a VCS program can save you a lot of anguish.
However, people who work not with source code, but with research papers, academic assignments and the like, are not inclined to make themselves familiar with the tools that geeks have grown used to. Considering how long it took for software developers to embrace those tools, it’s hardly surprising. Continue reading “tikadiff: graphical diff for text from “binary” files”
It’s pretty important to check the digests of software you download. When a downloaded file is accompanied by a signature file, for example a gnupg .asc file, you can verify the signature with various tools. Often though, a download site will include the MD5 or SHA1 digest hash of the file, which allows a quick check on the file’s integrity. OS X has an /sbin/md5 command, and includes the openssl distribution. Within openssl, the digest subcommand allows for the generation of digests for an array of digest algorithms, including MD5 and SHA1. So it’s simple enough to generate the appropriate digest for that file you just downloaded.
Comparing them is a bit tedious, though. If you’re like me, you skim across the two digests – the one you generated and the one that the authors published – and look for eye-catching patterns near the beginning, middle and end. That works pretty well in practice, but its hardly rigorous.
Continue reading “Help for digest checking”
Just like everybody else who starts to look at monads, I found it was like coming to the face of a sheer cliff. Let me qualify that: just like every other programmer who is not a mathematician (and that’s most of us). I am looking at monads in the context of clojure, so code snippets will generally be written in clojure-like syntax.
I have found these resources the most helpful:
Continue reading “Monad; that’s a wrap!”