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* Next-gen OLPC, two touchscreens joined like a book, holdable in either orientation. This would be awesome.
* How doodling lets you pay attention
* Old comments on Vinge's Singularity. Bostrom and Hanson in particular still seem good.
* Argument from evil as type of and response to argument from design
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmicism
* Republic of Vermont
* Real zeppelins did over 100 km/hour.
* Mars scorecard
* Doctor Who AMV

* Dipping into libertarian thought again reminded me of something: government is great at providing public goods, which is one reason I swung to social democratic, but good government -- especially good democratic government -- is itself a public good, with voters being rationally ignorant and apathetic. Bit of an internal contradiction there, which doesn't seem easily resolvable. Of course, competitive markets have their own contradiction, in that everyone involved wants to become less subject to competition.
* Table of private, public, common and club goods. I hadn't seen the second two categories before.
* Assurance contracts, and particularly the dominant assurance contract; possible way of funding public goods effectively, without recourse to a government. This is the cool side of libertarianism, where they try to think of ways to do things in the market, rather than just asserting markets are always better. Applications. I think there's still a free rider problem, in that if I think it very likely a good will get funded, I don't have much reason to sign the contract. But maybe it'd still be useful.
* Old David Friedman essay on Ronald Coase winning the Nobel Prize
* How de Beers created demand for diamonds. Also wikipedia and book.

* Doctors excommunicated for giving a 9yo an abortion to save her life. Also. The Church had tried to stop the abortion with a lawsuit, even though it's a 9yo with twins and they'd all die.
* GOP: Health care is a privilege, oh no class warfare
* Bobby Jindal, secret Muslim. Stay class, GOP!
* Don't Ask, Don't Tell supposedly backed at the time by bad-faith arguments by military leaders, and suppression of evidence.
* Licoln Chafee was a cool Republican. Why wasn't he on a list of progressive Senators I saw? Oh right, because he lost his re-election, then left the GOP.
* Private health insurance at work
* Former Republican: GOP is dedicated to sabotaging the American future

* UK hacking into computers without a warrant and tracking Internet use.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2009 08:09 am (UTC)
On “arguments from evil”...

I wonder if the author, who has put a lot of thought into the subject, has actually understood the arguments he's arguing against.

What I understand as the “argument from evil”, it is along the lines of “the Judeo/Christian God is described, even defined as Good, and yet, even in the book which defines him so he is an unmitigated prick, even without taking into account the existence of evil in the world”, and then following on one of several lines:
... therefore God as described in the Bible is a logical impossibility, as both infinitely good and patently not at the same time
... therefore God as described in the Bible is a liar, and no other of His pronouncements can be trusted on face value
... therefore God can be better described as a retcon to describe the vicissitudes of a desert tribe
... therefore whether or not God exists is irrelevant if He does not deserve to be worshipped

and others along those lines. Some of them do state God's logical impossibility, others the direct evidence against his existing as described, others that his existence aside, he is not morally worthy of reverence, unless you were to redefine any horror as good, if He does it.

The quote in the introduction does not seem “highly questionable” in the slightest: God is defined as having several characteristics including omnipotence and moral goodness. And yet evil exists, and the reference for God's characteristics contains evidence that contradicts this thesis. God is defined with certain characteristics, and evidence of these characteristics is lacking in the literature and in reality. Therefore the evidence is against that God, as defined, existing.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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