Aristotle and Aliens: Who Knows the Real World?

The planet Pitch is covered in deep warm oceans. It is inhabited with intelligent starfish called Pitchians who wander about the dark depths of their home ocean, feeding on their world’s version of clams and oysters. Pitchians have no sense of sight and no sense of touch, just smell/taste and hearing with a form of echolocation. The Pitchian’s senses do not work at all like ours. If we could get into a Pitchian mind, we would hear nothing but sounds of different pitches and tones and volumes. There would be no sense of space like humans have. Larger objects produce louder echos, softer objects produce fuzzier echos, moving objects produce echoes with a shift and/or a doppler effect, but to the Pitchian, this is just a difference in quality of sound, it does not  give a spatial intuition. It’s sort of like when a human hears two notes played on the same guitar at the same time. We do not sense two different sounds, but one sound with a special quality depending how the two notes harmonize.

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The Hazards of Thomism

Thomism is the unlikely child of Aristotelian science and Catholic theology birthed by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth Century. Thomistic philosophers always sound smart when they talk, and they should because they’ve had a thousand years to develop their act. In my experience, professional Thomist philosophers are careful and clear in their expositions, making sure they they don’t use a difficult concept without first laying it out in a way that modern readers can grasp, but Thomist philosophy in internet comment forums tends to be offered in ways that seem abrupt, impatient, and often scornful.

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Appealing to Authority is not a Fallacy; it is a sign of Wisdom

One of the most significant aspects of civilization is specialization of expertise. People get better at things through study and practice, but such study and practice take time. If you try to be competent at everything, you will have time for nothing but study and practice with no time left over to accomplish anything. It is the defining genius of civilization that each person becomes competent at just a few things and then trades services with other people who have become competent at other things. This organization lets everyone benefit from high competence in every area without actually having to develop high competence in every area.

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You Are Using the Word “Logic” Wrong

OK, I might sound like a pretentious ass–heck, I might even be a pretentious ass–but I’m just trying to save you from looking like a fool. Well, to be entirely accurate, I’m trying to save myself from aggravation, but I’m trying to save my self from the aggravation of watching you look like a fool, and logically, that benefits both of us, right?

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Sex and Substance–a parallel between Social Justice and Catholicism

Can a traditionalist Catholic, in good conscience, condemn the anti-rationality of the SJW doctrine of transexualism? They can call the doctrine false, obviously, but can they, without hypocrisy, attack it for being ridiculously, obviously false? I don’t think so, and this post explains why. Continue reading “Sex and Substance–a parallel between Social Justice and Catholicism”

The Dark Ages Myth

I’ve been reading The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy by James Evans. It’s a lovely book, highly recommended, but a few sentences caught my eye, and I thought it might be worth discussing them. First there is this:

After the second century A.D., Greek astronomy, and Greek science in general, went into decline. Why this happened is a great problem, bound up with the general collapse of classical culture. Some of the reasons were the rise of Christianity, which focused on the next world and had less interest in the sciences of this world; the military pressure of the tribes moving in from the Eurasian steppe; and the rigidity and weaknesses of an economic system based largely on slave labor.

I know that Evans is just following a well-worn scholarly path here, so I don’t want to be too critical of him personally, but this seems like a good place to criticize this historical theory.

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Sex and the Straw Man–an Exercise in Logic

This post is an exercise in objective thinking. Dalrock is a blogger who has views on sex and marriage that are generally similar to mine, but some of his arguments are deeply flawed. The exercise is for me is to pick out the weaknesses in his argument even though I may generally agree with his overall point. The exercise for you, if you care to join me, is to read my critique of Dalrock’s argument, without reading into it an endorsement of the opposite opinion. Objectively, there is a big difference between criticizing an argument and arguing the opposite.

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