Reason Hell: Authority, Ad-Hominem, and credibility Part 2

Mr Atomic endorses this post
Mr Atomic endorses this post

In Part 1 I discussed how people and credibility are unavoidable when it comes to argument and reason. An individual simply doesn’t have the time or brain power or expertise to do everything themselves and an individual cannot be everywhere at once to witness events as they happen.

We have to, at times, rely on others for
* information another person observed at a specific time and place
* information a person has researched and gather into one place
* analysis, proofs, experiments and other processes that another person has completed
* professional appraisal of facts by known experts
* interpretation of lengthy or technical documents by an expert
* translations of text from another language

Law and medicine are obvious areas in which this reliance on others is of great important but the situation is similar in many areas of human activity. A mathematical proof maybe the paradigm of an objective fact but very few people can actually check rigorously that a proof has been completed without error. We are obliged to trust that claims about mathematics have been checked properly by other mathematicians.

One solution would be to simply trust authority. However, I believe that is an error.

On the other side of the scale we know that our world is filled with people who are less than honest:
* people lie
* people cheat
* people mislead
* people are selective about what they tell you

And of course, sometimes honest people are just plain wrong.

One solution would be to simply mistrust everybody. However, I believe that is also an error.
Continue reading “Reason Hell: Authority, Ad-Hominem, and credibility Part 2”

Slow and Quick: two contrasting videos

The first is this video of work down to mitigate the damage done by a relatively fast lava flow.

The second is a video of a journey out from the Sun through the solar system at light speed.

I think the two show interesting perceptions of time. In the first we see geology happening quickly – which is far from our normal experience of geological events. Even here lava is not rapid but it is remorseless and its molten motion is sort of creepy.

In the second speed gives a sense of distance. The video has a hypnotic quality but not a lot happens for long stretches because the space between planets is big. Even traveling at light speed, you are going to want a magazine to read on the journey.

Collected Wanderings: limited Puppy content plus other stuff

What has graced my laptop browsing recently…

Reading SFF – a review of The Parliament of Beast and Bird

Via Kit Power [ ] The Politics Police on the Great BBC TV Licence debate  [For non-UK people the TV licence is effectively a TV tax that funds the BBC]

Problems With Infinity on anxiety and social events

Pint Size Fiction on the Princess and the Frog

Alexandra Erin’s “Freedom of Liberty’  written by channeling her Puppy alter-ego John Z Upjohn has gained a Chapter 1 after the Prologue previously posted

Spacefaring Kitten reviews Ms Marvel

Brian Z at Canine Daze puts me in filk’d Plato dialog which is only fair in the circumstances

Mano Singham at Forethought Blogs reviews Ex Machina

More on nomination systems for the Hugo awards [Updated]

[Update: an observant reader at File770 has pointed out that I may have misunderstood (and hence misrepresented) Brian’s position i.e. he is not sympathetic to a long list – and that also I may have misunderstood what the long list proposal was. Apologies to Brian in either case.]

So despite my recent attempts to provide counter-arguments in the form of meta-fiction or verse arguments continue at File770 over the E Pluribus Hugo nomination system. I say ‘arguments’ but it has been primarily one person (Brian Z)  repeating objections in the hope that somebody will bite.

The latest is support for an alternative suggestion: instead of a single nomination vote, there could be a two stage nomination. The first stage would be as per normal: eligible votes would submit a set of five (or less) works in each category that they liked. These nominations would be tallied and a long list of 15 works would be produced (possibly with the top 5 indicated). People would then nominate their preferred 5 from the long list. Brian is now advocating for this proposal.

I don’t regard Brian’s argument as sincere as the long list idea seems to have more of the flaws that he objected to with EPH

Continue reading “More on nomination systems for the Hugo awards [Updated]”