Tag Archives: Pinker

#49 On irony

Dear Mat,

Thinking The Bible perfectly good or perfectly bad is wrong. Reading my criticism of it as saying it is perfectly wrong is, ironically, the same kind of wrong. Here’s my imperfect heuristic: what was written by a bunch of uneducated dudes who were trying to lay claim to the ultimate truth, between 1900 and 2900 years ago, is probably quite wrong. And where it happens to be right, we will have better equivalents now anyway. So we can safely junk it.

Were I to apply this only to holy texts, you could accuse me of being ideologically anti-religious. But of course I apply this to all texts pre-1500. Doesn’t matter if it’s Socrates, Seneca or Saint Paul, they don’t know shit from Shinola about a lot of things. Continue reading #49 On irony

#11 On measurements

Dear Mat,

Congratulations and I accept your excuse. But I ask, How many more of these “children” do you anticipate having? And will their births interfere with more important work like these letters, published on our WordPress site?

To clarify a point from last letter, I agree that ideas have to check out with the real world. I also think philosophers fail on that front quite a bit. When I was talking about hierarchy I was getting more at values, or valuations. In a quantitative enquiry (something in physics) those ways of ordering things can be measured and the hierarchy produced is one of magnitude or multitude or whatever. Uncontroversial. But when that gets translated across to human stuff, value judgements come in whereby measuring some difference between two things generally, inexorably, leads to one being valued more than another. Continue reading #11 On measurements