Link blog: psychology, consciousness, philosophy, daniel-dennett

Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness? | Oliver Burkeman | Science | The Guardian
Cos it’s a Hard Problem. Geddit?
(tags: consciousness philosophy zombies david-chalmers daniel-dennett)
Believing that life is fair makes you a terrible person | Oliver Burkeman | Comment is free | The Guardian
Just World Fallacy leads to victim blaming.
(tags: victim-blaming just-world psychology fairness)

Link blog: descartes, consciousness, sampling, mp3

gmancasefile: TSA: Fail
“I have dealt with TSA since its inception and FAA security prior to that. I have witnessed TSA operate since they became a separate organization in 2002 and seen their reaction to intelligence provided them. I have now watched them operate for a decade, and I have respect for their hard-working employees who are doing a thankless job. But I have come to the conclusion that TSA is one of the worst-run, ineffective and most unnecessarily intrusive agencies in the United States government.”
(tags: america 911 hijacking usa government fbi politics DHS security tsa)
Open letter to violent Muslim protestors | The Chronicle
“I really don’t understand how my fellow Muslims do not see that, with their reactions, they actually prove what has been said about them by their enemies. You call my religion evil or terrorism and, in order to “disprove” this insult, I will go kill people, burn embassies, act like a bloodthirsty crazy person…. Don’t you fellow Muslims see the ridiculousness of this logic and actions! The uncivilized images of these violent protests by these irresponsible and violent Muslims shape the image of 1.6 billion Muslims all around the world. “
(tags: violence religion terrorism quran islam)
Verisign seizes .com domain registered via foreign Registrar on behalf of US Authorities. » – Happenings and observations
Don’t register a .com if you don’t want the US authorities to be able to take it down, apparently.
(tags: SOPA web law DNS verisign internet domains icann)
24/192 Music Downloads are Very Silly Indeed
“there is no point to distributing music in 24-bit/192kHz format. Its playback fidelity is slightly inferior to 16/44.1 or 16/48, and it takes up 6 times the space.” Includes good stuff about how ears work. Via andrewducker.
(tags: Nyquist sound sampling mp3 science music audio)
The Crazyist Metaphysics of Mind by Eric Schwitzgebel
“Crazyism about X is the view that something that it would be crazy to believe must be among the core truths about X. In this essay, I argue that crazyism is true of the metaphysics of mind. A position is “crazy” in the intended sense if it is contrary to common sense and we are not epistemically compelled to believe it. …. Well developed metaphysical theories will inevitably violate common sense, I argue, because common sense is incoherent in matters of metaphysics. No coherent and detailed view could respect it all. Common sense is thus impaired as a ground of choice. Nor can scientific evidence or abstract theoretical virtue compellingly favor any one moderately specific metaphysical approach over all competitors. Something bizarre must be true about the mind, but which bizarre propositions are the true ones, we are in no good position to know.”
(tags: crazyism david-chalmers epistemology descartes dualism idealism materialism consciousness metaphysics philosophy)


According to the Steven Novella’s Neurologica blog, the Intelligent Design people (specifically the Discovery Institute) are getting interested in neuroscience (see also part 2), attacking the idea that consciousness has a physical basis and advocating Cartesian dualism.

This seems to have been rumbling away for a while, but people are writing about it at the moment because New Scientist noticed.

You can write a long article on what people have thought about consciousness, so what’s the problem with the IDists joining in? First, neuroscientists are objecting to IDists’ claims that scientific experiments prove things that those experiments don’t actually prove. As Amanda Geffer of New Scientist points out, experiments that show therapy can alter brain function don’t prove that the immaterial soul is acting on the brain, merely that the brain isn’t indivisible, so parts can act on other parts. The therapy described reminded me of mindfulness therapies, and of Yudkowsky’s recent reflections on Which Parts Are “Me”? (Everything I am, is surely my brain; but I don’t accept everything my brain does, as “me”).

Novella also objects to IDists quote-mining (I’m shocked, shocked I tell you) from philosophers like David Chalmers in order to bolster their claims. Novella says that Chalmers does not argue for an immaterial spirit, so it is a mistake for those who do to claim him for their side. IDists could quote Chalmers if they wanted to argue that there is a hard problem of consciousness, but it would be dishonest to quote him in support of their proposed solution, or indeed to say that the hard problem Chalmers speaks of has anything to do with evolution.

Edited to add: Chalmers discusses the New Scientist article on his blog, and doesn’t sound very impressed with the theists’ efforts to recruit him for their cause. The Chalmers link came from Chris Hallquist, whose blog I recommend.

Is this IDists’ new strategy after they got planed in the Dover judgement? A while back, I mentioned that they might need a new way around the establishment clause in the US Constitution. I’m not sure this can be it, as consciousness isn’t on the curriculum in most schools, but it does fit in with the wider strategy of looking for ways to undermine physicalism.