January 30, 2017 by Paul McKeever · Comments Off on What Sam Harris was missing re: Jordan Peterson and “What is true?”
“One thing that will be interesting for me is if anyone can point out to me what I am missing about your argument thus far, ’cause you are reacting to me like there is something you are saying that makes sense, that I’m not seeing, that does actually nullify the import of the kinds of ‘toy examples’ I have been putting forward, and I don’t see it.” Such was the way in which neuroscientist and author Sam Harris summed-up his January 21, 2017 conversation with University of Toronto clinical psychologist and professor Jordan Peterson. The following sets out what I believe Harris was missing (and what Peterson was not making explicit), in the hope that Harris and Peterson can, with a better understanding of each other’s assumptions, continue what promised to be an interesting conversation. Read more
March 23, 2016 by Paul McKeever · Comments Off on Why “other dimensions” do, and do not, exist
A friend asked “Do you believe in other dimensions?”. I replied as follows:
Other dimensions of what? I’m not being obtuse here. It’s just that anything can be quantified as a dimension. For example: the sweetness of a fruit, the hardness of a snowball, the volume of precipitation etc. There are literally as many dimensions as there are things to quantify. Read more
May 23, 2015 by Paul McKeever · Comments Off on False Pretences: For and Against the Singing of Canada’s Anthem in Government Proceedings
Rebel Media reports that “On May 11th, Richmond Hill’s town council voted 5 to 4 against singing [Canada’s national anthem] O Canada to start council meetings.” Apparently, council says it was responding to a lawyer’s opinion that the line “God keep our land glorious and free”, in the anthem, makes it a violation of our constitution to sing the anthem as part of the official council meeting. Rebel Media has started an online petition that reads: “We the undersigned Canadians demand that the town council of Richmond Hill reverse their outrageous decision, passed by a 5 to 4 vote on May 11, 2015, against singing O Canada to start council meetings.”
I’m happy to be Canadian, and I’ve got nothing against singing a country’s anthem within its official ceremonies (e.g., lawmaking institutions). However, I’m not as upset about this as some, and I won’t be signing the petition. Read more
One of my “facebook friends” recently posted an article that a clinical psychologist wrote about Ayn Rand’s influence in the United States. Penned by someone named Bruce E. Levine, the article was titled: “Clinical Psychologist Explains how Ayn Rand helped turn the US into a selfish and greedy nation“. I quickly glanced over the article, which was full of the usual ill-informed ad hominems. On my facebook friend’s wall, comments to the article were numerous and sympathetic to the views of the article’s author:
“Horrible selfish woman. Her personal life bears it out.”
“One of the worst people to emulate.”
“I got that she thinks people who are good looking have the right to walk over everybody else.”
“Her Objectivism was simply adolescent fascism.”
I replied as follows: Read more
One’s collection of skipping records gets larger as one ages. Skip…skip…skip…ski…sk…s….
Worse: One eventually learns that one got said skipping records at a flea market, and that they’ve never been anything but skipping records, since time immemorial.
Worst: nobody around me seems to hear the damned things skipping.
As soon as “bad” meant both “good” and “bad”, dictionaries became irrelevant, and freedom included slavery.
A socialist leader’s virtue is the ability to shrink, not to grow.
If nobody ever knew your name, you were never alive in the first place. We build the souls we leave behind. Build one that will stand the test of time. – Note to a friend.
All horror is real and anti-real.
I know that nobody knows nothing and somebody might not know anything.
The smile earned is effortless and innocent.
Kill without murdering. Command without enslaving. Seize without stealing.
Apart from the unbeatable “Just Right” weekly radio program hosted by Robert Metz and Robert Vaughan, I would argue that John Oakley’s daily broadcast on AM640 (Toronto) is the best radio has to offer. Every morning, just after the 9:00 AM news, John has a themed debate. Every Tuesday, the debate is called “Culture War”, and it normally involves two Christian ministers: one a liberal atheist who seeks to spread Christian morality sans Christ, and one a conservative theist, obedient to the word of his or her god. Normally, both believe that government – to one extent or another – should be influenced by Christian views concerning morality.
This morning, the topic was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech last Saturday, in which she declared multiculturalism a failure. The panelists agreed that multiculturalism is inherently morally subjectivist. John then identified what he believed might be the fundamental question: is it time for government and society to end its attachment to “secular humanism” and to instead adopt “Judeo-Christian values”. The phone lines were jammed. I wrote, instead, the following. Read more
” Leonard Cohen – did I tell you about this already? – Leonard Cohen wrote something to the effect that “Long after I’m dead, I’ll be making love to the women who read my books”. That pretty much captures my view of life. All we produce – especially the words we commit to writing, to audio, or to video – if it is not destroyed, remains as our eternal soul on earth. Plato and Aristotle, by that view, are alive today. Imagine the voyages I could obviate, and the fortunes I could save, if I could convince Man that the fountain of youth flows from the end of a pen!” – excerpt from a letter to Marc Emery (September 29, 2010).
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability that someone will cite Godwin’s Law approaches 1. – McKeever’s Corollary
Still asleep, but on your feet?
Don’t know what to wear?
Pull some brown socks o’er your toes,
and carry on from there.
Sky pulls the wool over our eyes.
Wind pierces warm flesh with cold wet needles.
Spurned Sun takes other lovers as mischievous Earth introduces celestial siblings.
Good gravy! I’m ready to Fall.
Over at the westernstandard.ca’s Shotgun blog, Hugh MacIntyre reports on the Canadian Conservative government’s reintroduction of a bill that would impose mandatory minimum sentences for various cannabis and drug-related activities. Introduced as Bill S-10 yesterday, its predecessor, Bill C-15, died as a result of the Harper government’s decision to prorogue Parliament (i.e., to end one session of Parliament, and begin a new one). It is indeed likely the case that government was prorogued precisely so as to kill C-15. Read more
Over on facebook.com, I posted the following “status” message, which has led to some interesting feedback. I post it some of it here, without name attribution (for the sake of the privacy of my facebook friends). I’ll update this blog post, as warranted, so check back from time to time to see how the debate develops.
My status message read:
Paul McKeever is not an atheist. One cannot be identified by what one is not. And, no, atheism did not “cause” communism. A zero cannot “cause” anything.
The responses were as follows:
Me: To clarify: I’m not an aSanta-ist either.