Saturday, February 25, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017

Politifact is Select-the-facts

Last year about this time I wrote that Politifact and other so-called fact checkers are as unreliable as the average news agency. Yet they are far worse because they portray themselves as objective and scientific (with their little "truth-meters") when this is far from the case.

Two articles from The Federalist analyzing Politifact support my contention. The analyses are devastating. Just as I said, selection bias is a major problem (among other things).

Here and here.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

One Executive Order to Rule Them All, One Executive Order to Bind Them

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Twilight Zone

Your ship has finally returned to planet Earth.
The year is 2017.
The President of the United States is.....Donald Trump.
Marrying your first cousin is now illegal in 1/2 of the states.
Yet it is a federal crime for all states not to support gay "marriage" or to forbid killing all babies. Professors at Berkeley are still insane.
The Browns still have not won a Super Bowl.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Defense Against an Eliminativist Argument

Here's a quick (eliminativist) argument that there are no chairs (I've seen similar arguments):

1. Atoms arranged chair-wise can do all the same causal work that chairs would do if there were chairs over and above atoms arranged chair-wise (swivel, keep your butt from hitting the floor, etc.)
2. Ockham's Razor.
3. Thus no chairs, buildings, arms, scissors....

Most people believe that chairs exist. It's just a Moorean fact for the vast majority of people. They think they *know* that there are chairs. "Of course there are chairs!" So what should most people think about the above argument, particularly premise 1?

I think they should reject it if they also hold the following causal-epistemic principle:
C: If S knows about some x, x plays a causal role in the knowledge of x.

C is plausible--especially if we allow for more than efficient causation. If I walked into a room and saw a hologram of a telephone, forming the belief that there is a phone in the room, I don't have knowledge that there is a phone in the room even if there is one (e.g. on the other side of the room where I haven't observed). I have made no epistemic or psychological contact with the phone.

So if you think that you know there is a chair and accept C, you should think there *is* something for the chair to do in addition to the atoms arranged chair-wise, namely, play a causal role in your knowing that there are chairs. Of course this isn't an argument for the existence of chairs against the eliminativist but it neutralizes the above argument.

Trenton Merricks' reply to a similar defense against the eliminitivist is to say that once one realizes that atoms arranged chair-wise can do all that a chair could do, one's justification for believing in chairs is undermined.  To that I say that one has no justification for the existence of chairs in the first place, at least not in terms of any argument. It just seems that there are chairs. Moreover it just seems that one knows that there are chairs. How is one's justification or warrant undermined? Why is one still not entitled to this belief?

Resist

Resist resisting resisting resisters. #resistresistance