Choose a topic

.. Epistemology
Semiotics and Body Language

.. HUM
A Mind

Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Is this picture real?
NonFungible Tokens
Public Art
Tearing Down Statues
What is Art?
Working With Reality

Artificial Intelligence and the Collingridge Dilemma.
Bird Brains
Bounded Rationality
Competence Without Comprehension
Consciousness is More Like Fame Than Television
Developmental Processes
Emergence and Cognition
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
Is free will an illusion?
Natural Law
Necessary Illusions
On Affordances
Pencil and Paper
Post Phenomenology
Reflective Equilibrium
Return of the Law of Forms
Shifting Meanings
Taking Things on Faith
The Hard Problem
The I Love You Gesture
The Imagined Order
The Phenomenology of Swim Bladders.
Thinking about medical procedures
Thinking About Risk
Underdetermination and Redundancy
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
What Does Google Know?

A Country Is Not Like A Company
Alternate ideas lying around waiting for disaster
Blood and Money
Can Capitalism Survive?
Do Our Minds Own Our Bodies?
Everyday Communism
Invisible Hand
Job Creators
Job Destroyers
Money and Value
Money is Different
National Accounts
Necessary Production
Paper Wealth
Post Capitalist Society
Profit Motive Fails
Rentier Capitalism
Social Wealth vs Surplus Value
Spending Money Into Existence
The Metaphysics of Money
The Ontology of Debt
Thinking about Money
Wealth is What Money Buys

Blowing Up Pipelines

Absolute Knowledge
I do not know everything
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Whatever happened to The Truth?

Competition and Cooperation
Dr Malthus would be pleased
Error Correction
Evolution Defended
Evolution is not Religion
Evolution of Cars
Forces of Nature
Is Natural Selection Obsolete?
Politics and Evolution
The Evolution of Purpose.
The Problem with Natural Selection.
The Source of Bad Behavior
Thinking about Tails
Why Does a Leopard Have Spots?

Free Speech in the age of Twitter
Freedom and Badness
Freedom and Morality
Freedom From and Freedom To
Freedom in the Age of Convoys
Libertarian Coercion

10 Views of Landscape
Affect and Effect
I pay rent.
Listening to Corn
The Reform vs Revolution Paradox
What is Public Schooling For?

Levels of Abstraction
Levels of Abstraction and Minds
What is a newspaper?

As Much As Possible
Zipfs Law

Emotional Plague
Memes: Imitated Behavior.
The Problem with Memes
What is a replicator?

Beyond Rules Based Morality
Freedom and Morality
Moral Realism.
What do we owe animals?


Maps and Territories
Metaphysics Without Absolutes
Philosophy Buds
Sincerely Held Beliefs
Sorites Paradox
Stereoscopic Vision and The Hard Problem
The Gorilla in the Room of Science
The Purpose of Science
What is Going On?

If It Walks Like a Duck
Right Wing Freedom
The Sovereign Citizen
Tyranny of the Majority


Constructed Life
Correlation Wins
Quack Doctors
The Great Shattering
The Material Space
Thinking about Interconnection
Too Small to See
Watching Pigeons
Weirdness in Physics

A society needs a government.
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Family Values
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
Inclusion and Christmas
Open Society and Falsification
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Society and The State
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
To the Moon
We Live in the Present
Why is there a shortage of nurses?
Work - Productive, Useful, Worthless, and Bad.

Implications of Very Productive Technology
Modest Proposal
Problems with Universal Basic Income
Tormenting Unlucky People
Why there are oligarchs

Quack Doctors

No alternative facts

Sherri Tenpenny: The COVID-19 vaccines make people "magnetized. They can put a key on their forehead, it sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them, and they can stick."
Dr Tenpenny is an osteopathic doctor. "Osteopathic medicine is based on the idea that all the body's systems are interrelated. Osteopaths focus on treating the whole person. " "One key idea in this field is that many diseases result from, or cause, problems within the body's musculoskeletal system, which includes nerves, muscles, and bones."
Dr Tenpenny also thinks that vaccines link people up to G5 cellular networks. Who knows how or why but that's what she claims to think.

Senator Ron Johnson had his Youtube account suspended for spreading anti-vaxxer misinformation.
He was not pleased and said:
"They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies,"
Johnson said in a statement to CNN. "YouTube's ongoing Covid censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power. Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives."

There is a response to nonsense like this; Consilience. That's EO Wilson's idea that all scientific knowledge forms a unified body: that is, though physics and biology are very different studies but nothing in biology contradicts what is know from physics and visa versa.
Basically it's not reasonable to claim 'alternate facts'.

Now Johnson is a politician. He makes his living telling people what they want to hear and there a lot of people who don't want to hear about science. And it's easy to be so disconnected from reality if you don't actually know much about it. And it's easier when you live in an information bubble where everyone agrees with you.

But Dr Tenpenny? What's her excuse?
She spent years in medical school and surely has to be well informed about science. I'm pretty sure she knows that vaccinations cannot possibly magnetize people. The idea is completely absurd.

It is not consilient. It doesn't fit with science at all. It just spouts scientific words like magnetism. But it ignores what magnetism is in reality. It talks about magnetism as if it's some mysterious force. Magnetism is in fact quite well understood by science - it's not a mystery. Dr Tenpenny has to know that. Before she went to medical school she took lots of science courses as an undergraduate. She had to understand and pass those courses to get into medical school. So I think she is knowingly lying when she talks about vaccines magnetizing people.

Dr Tenpenny is known as one of 12 superspreaders of anti-vaxx misinformation on the internet. Something like 65% of the anti-vaxx misinformation comes from those 12. And they have a big audience. What's going on?

One way of thinking of this is in terms of our cultural polarization.

A lot of people still live in the sort of imaginary white world of the 1950s. Everyone went to church. Everyone dressed in a suit and tie to go to work. Fedoras were normal and housewives did their housework wearing high heels and makeup. That kind of never existed for most people and got confronted by cultural change. Everything from hippies to women's liberation was an affront to them. It wasn't normal.

Well - what's normal turned out not to be eternal and given by God.

Now, for most people what's normal has changed a lot. But a lot of people never did get that change. They think of the change as evil.

Here's the kicker - that cultural change is very compatible with consilience - science backed up gay people who said that they were a part of the normal variation in people.
This was anathema to lots of people.

I think Dr Tenpenny is consciously playing up to those people. I don't know if she personally is making money off her lies. But I think she is part of a movement that is trying to destroy the influence of rational thought in society. We see that kind of thing among trumpists a lot - that's what I think the constant stream of lies is about. It's trying to destroy the possibility of rational dialogue and is going for 'might is right'.
And really - that's a disaster.

what do you think?

Star I present regular philosophy discussions in a virtual reality called Second Life. I set a topic and people come as avatars and sit around a virtual table to discuss it. Each week I write a short essay to set the topic. I show a selection of them here.

I've been thinking and reading about philosophy for a long time but I'm mostly self taught. That is I've had the good fortune to read what interests me rather than follow a course of study. That has it's limits of course but advantages. It doesn't cost as much and is fun too.

My interests are things like evolution and cognition and social issues and economics and science in general.