Elsewhere: God, cosmology, complexity

Spot the godOver on top cosmologist Sean Carroll’s blog, there’s a guest post by his fellow top cosmologist Don Page, who is a Christian. Page was responding to Carroll’s debate with William Lane Craig. Page does not find Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument persuasive, but has his own reasons for being a Christian, which you can read about over there (spoilers: maybe God is the simplest explanation for the fact that the universe is orderly; also the Resurrection happened).

The comment thread beneath the post is huge and goes off in all sorts of interesting directions. Page makes use of Bayes’ Theorem in his arguments. There are some people who use in their day jobs (rather than just reading Less Wrong and bullshitting, as I do) who respond to him, notably Bill Jefferys, staring here.

I’ve been commenting on and off. I reconstructed the threads I got involved in as the lack of threaded commenting over there makes it difficult to follow. I’ve been reading Peter Boghossian’s “A Manual For Creating Atheists” (which I hope to post about at some point) so I was trying for some Socratic dialogue and questioning of “faith” as a means of knowing. See how I got on:

Mathematicians wanted

I was interested in Daniel Kerr’s comments (for example, here, here, and finally here, in response to one of mine). He says that simplicity depends on a choice of mathematical language, but I thought this was just a constant factor. However, the comments rapidly go off into model theory and stuff about the Axiom of Choice, so I got lost. Can anyone comment on what he’s saying and whether he’s right?

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Link blog: funny, evidence, philosophy, unbelievable

Peter Boghossian vs Tim McGrew – YouTube
Here’s an “Unbelievable” show in which Boghossian (“A Manual For Creating Atheists”) talks to Tim McGrew, who’s reasonably well known for his arguments in favour of belief in miracles. I’ve linked to a set of comments from “MrShamuto” where he undertakes more or less the process Boghossian describes in the books, of Socratic dialogue with “AdeToz”, a Christian. It is long and occasionally interrupted by other people who are bonkers, but it’s interesting to see Boghossian’s stuff in action.
(tags: street-epistemology epistemology peter-boghossian tim-mcgrew philosophy evidence unbelievable premier christian radio socratic)
W00tstock 5.0 – George RR Martin vs. Paul and Storm – YouTube
The singers of “Write like the Wind, George RR Martin” get a surprise.
(tags: game-of-thrones grrm george-rr-martin funny video wootstock)
List of testimonies from people who just know their religion is true
amymea, writing in the ex-Mormon Reddit, takes to task someone who argues that the “testimony of the spirit” is good evidence that Mormonism is true, by listing a bunch of other people who had strong feelings upon reading their own religious texts.
(tags: mormonism reddit feelings faith religion evidence)
Advanced Trolley Problems
Funny.
(tags: philosophy funny comic ethics trolley-problem)
What I’ve Learned About Female Desire From Reading
Mallory Ortberg is fun. “100% of women want to have sex with a man who embodies the fox version of Robin Hood from the cartoon Robin Hood, but most do not actually want to have sex with a fox or a man dressed as one.”
(tags: mallory-ortberg funny reading sex desire books)
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Elsewhere: lindy conduct

I’ve been talking elsewhere, so I thought I’d make some posts about that.

Previously, I talked about the push to introduce codes of conduct for lindy hop events in the wake of a high profile sexual assault case. Over on Reddit, /r/SwingDancing saw quite a bit of discussion of the whole business, as you’d expect.

Someone calling themselves The Logical Lead started a Reddit discussion about a blog post of his and another discussion about where the boundaries of flirting are. His burden seems to be that Mobtown Ballroom’s Code bans flirting and victimises men, because of the third rule, which begins “Don’t treat the ballroom like a pick-up joint.”

He makes the true point that, in the recent case, things were made worse because the perpetrator was a famous and popular teacher. But he then went off the rails in saying that the community’s reaction was victimising men by targeting them rather than only dealing with the abuse of fame, and even implying that the codes would be abused by popular men to corner the market in women. I commented saying that, although the recent case was certainly about the misuse of fame, the discussion that followed allowed many women talk about problems they’d had, most of which were not with famous teachers.

On the question of differentiating flirting and harassment, this thread linked to Dogpossum’s own guide to dating dancers. Some people quibbled about Dogpossum’s advice, but I think the point is that if you’re asking how to do it and not fall foul of a code of conduct, you’re saying you’re not sure of your social skills and need rules. If you are skilled enough not to creep people out anyway, you can probably treat them more as guidelines.

I also bigged up the Northerners’ STEPS code and their FAQ, where they make it clear that “we certainly aren’t suggesting that dancers aren’t allowed to form romantic relationships at our events (including, a-hem, extremely short relationships)”.

On Metafilter, Reddit has a reputation as a terrible place full of MRAs, libertarians and other ne’er do wells, but The Logical Lead didn’t get a very good reception for his stuff, so I suppose it depends which sub-reddits you’re talking about.

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Link blog: crash, cfit, aviation, flight

The Sad Futility of Trying to Stop Planes Crashing | VICE | United Kingdom
“There’s a rule of thumb when you’re designing a complicated system, which says that when you get to a point where you’re applying fixes to fixes it may be time to step back and reconsider the whole thing.”
(tags: flight 911 aviation terrorism crash cfit security)
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Link blog: development, C, testing, money

cmocka – unit testing framework for C
Nifty unit test framework which does the checking arguments and providing return values from stub/mocked functions which I tend to spend a bit of time re-creating each time I write a test.
(tags: test development programming testing unit-test C)
What cohabiting couples can to do put their financial house in order | Money | The Guardian
(tags: cohabitation finances will legal law money)
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Link blog: ad-hoc, gods, list, vimes

Mister Vimes’d Go Spare | Send in the Zeppelins!
One of the many online tribute threads for Terry Pratchett lead me to this fanfic about what happened after Sam Vimes died. Good stuff.
(tags: discworld fanfiction vimes gods terry-pratchett)
Temporary Mailing Lists | Hacking for Christ
Here’s a rough spec for something I’ve often wanted at work (less the “delete the archive after 2 weeks” part). Anyone seen an implementation of something like this?
(tags: email list ad-hoc)
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Link blog: donglegate, adria-richards, twitter, school

liv | Fat girl running
Liv discusses Naomi Alderman’s piece on being a fat person who made a fitness app (“Zombies, Run!”). School PE lessons get a mention again as something which ends up discouraging exercise. I mentioned the discussion of Alex Gabriel’s piece on school PE here previously, as well as my own experiences.
(tags: fitness running zombies PE physical-education school)
‘Overnight, everything I loved was gone': the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone | Technology | The Guardian
Interesting stuff. There’s some more on the Adria Richards/donglegate thing: she gave an interview to Ronson where she describes having a physical reaction to the joke and feeling “unsafe”, which, given that she was in no danger at that point, sounds like a sort of anxiety/panic attack. May explain the disproportionate reaction on her part. There’s also the bit where she says she did know what she was doing by tweeting the photograph and doesn’t feel bad about it. Such goodwill diplomats are not really suited for a career in PR, I’d’ve thought, although SendGrid clearly just fired her to get Anonymous off their back.
(tags: shaming twitter internet dongle adria-richards donglegate)
Exclusive Extract From Jon Ronson Book ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’
A longer extract from Ronson’s book details Richards’s horrible childhood and I think lends weight to my panic attack theory.
(tags: adria-richards jon-ronson donglegate twitter pycon)
Hi, I’m Muhammad, President of Ex-Muslims of North America here with our leadership. We envision a world where every person is free to follow their conscience. Ask us anything : IAmA
Reddit “Ask Me Anything” with Muhammed the Atheist. Leftist critique of Islam should be lead by ex-Muslims, ISTM.
(tags: ex-muslim islam religion apostasy ama reddit)
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Link blog: europe, fraud, journalism, racism

THE FAILURE OF MULTICULTURALISM | Pandaemonium
Kenan Malik argues that multi-cultural policies amount to dealing with people as a bloc lead by self-appointed (or government appointed) leaders. Yet French assimilationism hasn’t fared better: Malik blames measures taken against alienness (burqua bans) and an inability to acknowledge that racism still exists even though the goal is assimilation.
(tags: multiculturalism kenan-malik culture politics racism immigration europe)
My Year Ripping Off the Web with the Daily Mail Online
The Heil rips stuff off and makes stuff up, as told by a former employee.
(tags: dailymail journalism fraud)
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Link blog: death, life, cancer, money

The value of a life
“If you have money and want to save lives, you had better put a price on life… But don’t mix up the price of a life with the value of a life. I see this happen all too frequently. To correct this mistake, I’m going to tell a little story.”
(tags: economics life value cost money charity death)
Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer – NYTimes.com
Oliver Sacks has terminal cancer. He reflects on his life.
(tags: death cancer oliver-sacks david-hume)
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