Showing posts from November, 2017

Left vs. right: reason and compassion vs. blind principles

What's left and what's right in political terms is hard to define from an international perspective. The Overton window can shift so much that what's left in the US is right in France. In countries with a socialist past, where the main issues are economic, the left may even seem more repressive, and the right seems progressive and liberal. There are some trends we can identify: The right tends to be economically permissive, but restrictive of personal freedoms. The left tends to be economically restrictive, but permissive in personal freedoms. The overarching theme, though, is this: The right claims to value principles, and can tolerate any suffering to uphold them – especially if it's other people's. Yet when out of view, rightists often do what benefits them, not what they say in public. The left tends to think this is cruel and evil. This pattern can be seen in all areas of disagreement: When it comes to abortion , the left wants to minimize

The "woo" of physicalists

From time to time, I have exchanges with people entrenched in physicalism . I usually find great opposition trying to explain that their mindset is, also, a faith. A faith in how the world must be, because the belief brings them comfort, and it's how they prefer it . It's not infrequent that people grow up intellectually oppressed by religion – as did I – so this escape into a vision of a material universe – Completely material! Completely! I tell you! – is understandable, even if frustrating. It is an existential issue, so minds on this are hard to change. These types of people like to accuse those of us who are less orthodox as believing in "woo". Woo is anything that (A) threatens physicalism, and (B) is not 100% supported by extremely rigorous studies. But none is rigorous enough, d'oh! This level of evidence is, naturally, understood as unrealistic when it comes to most things. It's mostly just expected for claims that offend physicalism. This is con