Category Archives: ethics

An Individualist Humanist in a Tribal World

Stand on a beach some time, somewhere well up on dry land. Above the high water mark. Notice you don’t drown. Then walk down toward the water. If the wind is blowing and the water is rough, there will be … Continue reading

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Notes on the Next War

There have been major populist movements in every century since the Reformation. The English Civil War was essentially populist, or part of a general populist upheaval with oddball hangers on like the Levelers and Diggers. The American Rebellion was likewise … Continue reading

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Billions in Weirdness

A friend​ asked me about the science behind this project backed by Indian American billionaire Manoj Bhargava and I thought it worth a little more public response. There are four technologies discussed on this site: stationary bike for energy generation … Continue reading

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There was only one catch…

The civil service is the permanent government of Canada. This is why senior civil service positions have titles like “Permanent Undersecretary for Whatever”. The purpose of Parliament is to exercise political control over the civil service. This is the foundation … Continue reading

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The Word vs The World

I’ve made the mistake of arguing with scripturalists recently, and while this won’t convince them of anything it’ll reduce my motivation to engage with them in future because there’ll be no point in just repeating what I’ve said here, which … Continue reading

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What Is Game Theory a Theory Of?

I’ve written about the Prisoner’s Dilemma before but wanted to revisit the point. Game theory purports to be a theory of “rational self-interested actors” or “rational maximizers.” These are individuals who are only interested in playing the game to win. … Continue reading

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Reification Revisited

I think very slowly and I’m not very smart. Unlike every other human being on Earth, who “just knows” exactly what is the right thing to do in all circumstances and is never, ever wrong about it, I sometimes make … Continue reading

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Religious Reification

I’ve written about our tendency to treat certain ways of putting people in to abstract groups as “real” before, and how this can distort our relationship to reality, often in socially and personally negative ways. Scott Lynch tweated today: Maybe … Continue reading

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Blasphemophobia

I have always had unpopular opinions, and argued for them forthrightly, vigorously and–I like to think–honestly. I have sought out the weaknesses of my own positions and done my best to modify them in the face of new evidence. I’ve … Continue reading

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Socio-moral vs Techno-economic Problems and Solutions

When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. This is especially true when you really like bashing things with hammers. Recently, there has been an upsurge in talk about the role of nuclear power in the … Continue reading

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