News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on September 11, 2011 in News

Reminder: This is no longer an atheism & morality articles blog. This is now a personal blog that will mostly feature brief posts about whatever I feel like saying or linking to.

Most of my articles are now written for Less Wrong. Here are my latest: A Rationalist’s Tale and The Cognitive Science of Rationality.

My new ‘calling card’ website is live! Feast your eyes upon the new lukeprog.com.

New philosophy podcast: History of Philosophy without any gaps. Which unfortunately means they won’t mention any correct answers to questions for several more years of podcasting.

From Twitter:

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Vladimir Nesov September 11, 2011 at 4:14 am

(I expect you meant to say “most of my articles are *now* written for LW”, not “not written for LW”.)

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el ninio September 11, 2011 at 4:33 am

what do yo mean by “calling card website”?

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Luke Muehlhauser September 11, 2011 at 7:57 am

Vladimir Nesov,

Yup, thanks!

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mojo.rhythm September 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm

You are right, Obama is one of the best Republican presidents since Lincoln.

When he promised “Change,” what he really meant was “I promise to Change from a Democrat into a Republican.”

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MarkD September 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

Just read “A Rationalist’s Tale” which rolls up some of the other narrative previously posted here, though with added insights. I did, briefly and slightly cynically, think that it was Los Angeles that was the problem. You should have come to the Bay Area sooner.

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Darren September 12, 2011 at 7:37 am

So are you going to change the site’s name?

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Allan September 12, 2011 at 8:21 am

Luke,

I think that you, Yudkowsky and Bostrom are among the pre-eminent philosophers of this century. The three of you should release an anthology on why the last two centuries of philosophy have failed and why LW style philosophy (if you can call it that) is what more philosophers ought to concern themselves with.

You guys should also do debates to promote this idea. Personally I think that you guys could take apart the majority of contemporary philosophers in debate.

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Supernova September 12, 2011 at 11:33 am

It’s such a stunning loss for atheism.

I understand that you’re bored by the arguments over Christianity. They rarely change and they’re already resolved in favor of atheism from your point of view. But one of the reasons I visit your site is because there are *so few rational people fighting this battle*. I know of so few atheists who can be rationally critical of atheists and atheism, or spend so much time on research.

This war hasn’t been decided, and it still matters. I wish that you cared as much about winning this war as much as you now care about the war against irrationality. I don’t want this to turn into emotional blackmail, so I won’t say any more about my feelings (presuming you care about them :p ). Good luck. You will be missed here.

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Mark C. September 12, 2011 at 2:31 pm

It’s such a stunning loss for atheism.

It really is. Luke was better than all the New Atheists put together. I wish he had written and completed the book on atheism he was working on. I have a hunch that it would have been THE final word on atheism.

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DaVead September 12, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Well, if Allan, Supernova, and Mark C. are right, then perhaps the death of CSA is itself Bayesian evidence for the existence of all-good, providential God. Theism predicts that if Luke’s arguments are/were good enough to dismantle the views of the majority of philosophers, and if Luke’s book on atheism would’ve really been the final word on the subject, then such a case would never be presented. That is, assuming an all-good, providential God would not allow a blogger to persuade all of humanity to abandon theism for the rest of time, which indeed seems plausible. In light of this, thanks Luke for adding to my cumulative case. Trusting the claims of your followers, I pray you never write on the philosophy of religion again.

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xm September 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm

It might be cleaner if you just formally close this blog but leave it up for archival purposes, and make a news/blog section at lukeprog.com. People who are interested will follow.

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cl September 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm

In other news, “Superintelligence” extraordinaire Vox Day, a.k.a. J.P. “I’m a geeeeeenius!” from Grandma’s boy, claims that, “one always has to assume, until it is demonstrated otherwise, that an atheist is a lying snake who will deceitfully redefine the language to suit his arguments at need.”

And, who sticks up for atheists over the course of almost 700 comments, weathering abuse from fellow “Christians” such as “pussy”, “asshole”, “fag”, “woman”, “bitch”, “pansy”, and, my personal favorite, “The San Fran Fraud?”

That’s right. Yours truly.

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Luke Muehlhauser September 13, 2011 at 1:24 am

Heh. Whenever I want to feel better about about the state of my commenters, I’ll just remember that Vox Day’s blog exists. :)

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drj September 13, 2011 at 7:25 am

I do have to say that… despite myself, it is pretty damn entertaining to see cl’s tenacity aimed at VD…

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soupsayer September 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Luke Muehlhauser wrote:
…Whenever I want to feel better about about the state of my commenters…

I must say that it’s quite comforting to know that you care not only about the quality of the comments on your blog, but also for the state of the “commenters” themselves – especially considering that we (currently) posses only wetware and natural intelligence.

To borrow from Michelle Branch, “All you wanted was somebody who cares”. Thanks for caring about us, Luke!

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Colin September 13, 2011 at 9:04 pm

To say that there were no correct answers in philosophy for the majority of time seems quite the overstatement. As an atheist, wouldn’t you at least grant the early atheism, skepticism, or even just irreligion of some philosophers like Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius as correct to the extent that they denied or undermined supernaturalism?

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may September 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm

The guy who might be called an ‘atheist’ but in reality a truth seeker. Luke is one ‘atheist’ who doesn’t abandon logic and reason just to fit in atheism. I salute you Mr Muehlhauser! Regards to Ray Kurzweil.

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mojo.rhythm September 13, 2011 at 11:54 pm

I’m fascinated by Vox Day. On the one hand he is a genius, and makes sure everyone knows it. But at the same time, some of his rhetoric is so extreme, so off-the-deep-end, so transcendentally awful and bigoted, that it gives even Pat Robertson a veneer of moderation and temperance when you compare his words.

His fanatical musings, make me think that he is a deep-cover pinko atheist Marxist. This can be easily adduced just by looking at his writings on Israel, feminism, atheism, and the LGBT movement.

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drj September 14, 2011 at 5:37 am

His fanatical musings, make me think that he is a deep-cover pinko atheist Marxist. This can be easily adduced just by looking at his writings on Israel, feminism, atheism, and the LGBT movement.

That would be lovely to think, wouldn’t it? Its tempting…

…but then again, guys like Fred Phelps actually exist. Even Vox Day’s insanity doesn’t rise to the level of the good old WBC gang (though really not that far off).

So unfortunately, I have to think he’s probably legit.

Plus, I don’t know any pinko atheists Marxists who could stomach it to actually write and submit real columns for the WND.

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Tracy September 14, 2011 at 6:17 am

Why? I thought I had at least one good atheist blog to read.

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CEF September 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

To say that there were no correct answers in philosophy for the majority of time seems quite the overstatement. As an atheist, wouldn’t you at least grant the early atheism, skepticism, or even just irreligion of some philosophers like Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius as correct to the extent that they denied or undermined supernaturalism?

+1

Luke’s willingless to generalize and overstate implies a lowering of his Bayesian rationality score. It would seem that he is casting a sort of reverse Halo effect on anything that is not LW style philosophy.

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cl September 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I dunno drj… one never can be too sure in the blogosphere, but I’ve had similar feelings as mojo.rhythm, for some of the same reasons.

As far as the “genius” thing is concerned, who gives a rat’s arse about test scores? There’s more to “genius” than an IQ number. Hell, I know people who’ve qualified as “genius” taking an IQ test stoned. Big whoop. That Vox brags about it so much is either an overt “assumption-generator” or a sign of some deep-rooted insecurity.

[Yes, Vox, I take checks for my therapy sessions in case you're reading this]

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MarkD September 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I was briefly in Triple Nine Society and can warn everyone away from the kinds of personalities who are attracted to such things. Paraphrasing, I would never suggest joining such an organization that would have me as a member ;-) My joining was largely an experiment in embracing irony because life is short, but during my brief membership there was a bizarro attempt to hijack the organization using trademarks and endless, incomprehensible opinion pieces that went nowhere with a shiny amateurism.

That being said, I did read Vox Day’s book and thought the writing mostly fairly good. My recollection is that he got bogged down in many obscure topics and then, towards the end, became obsessed with a rather strange “Warfare Theodicy” that was largely informed by his interest in video game design. I found myself contrasting that with the maturity of the writing and stance of the New Atheists (warts and all) and was left confused by the dissonance implied by the creature that is Vox Day.

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cl September 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

Well, like I said, a high IQ score ain’t nuttin’. Which New Atheist writings and stance do you find “mature?”

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mojo.rhythm September 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Cl,

You’ve hit upon a topic which I am kinda curious about at the moment: how much does IQ determine the overall aptitude of a person? I, like you, think that it has some very concrete shortcomings.

After all, George Bush had an I.Q. of 120!!

George Freakin Bush!!!

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cl September 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

mojo,

Well, every situation is different. I don’t want to make hard and fast rules. Although, I’ll say one thing… I see a corollary between confidence in a high IQ and confidence in “rationalism” that sustains much of modern atheism. There’s a certain false comfort. I mean, many people with a high IQ have a false sense of confidence that produces subtext something like, “I’m Eliezer Yudkowsky, my IQ is N degrees higher than the average peon, therefore anyone who questions the official 9/11 story is irrational… [blah blah blah].” Same thing with much of atheism: “I’m a rationalist, my opinions derive from logic, reason, evidence and intelligence [blah blah blah]. Those silly theists! Praying to a sky-daddy while I know firsthand the superiority of science and reason [BARF].” All the while they forget they’re human.

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mojo.rhythm September 29, 2011 at 2:03 am

Cl,

It grinds my gears sometimes. I think it takes a respectable bit of intellectual independence and integrity to disabuse oneself of belief in God if raised in a deeply religious environment, but not a genius amount of intelligence. Hence, it’s why I think it is contemptuous and arrogant for Daniel Dennett and Dawkins to try and label atheists as “Brights”. Actually, kinda embarrassing IMHO.

Atheists are just as capable of believing some truly bat-shit crazy mysticism. Case in point: Michael Shermer. He does a good job as the role of professional Skeptic, but some of his views on politics and economics are truly retarded (he is a Libertarian nutter with an almost sacrosanct reverence for capitalism and property rights.)

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