Choose a topic

.. Cognition
General Artificial Intelligence
Observing My Experience

.. HUM
A Mind

Culture is Ordinary

AI and Art
Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Excellence is a Plateau
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
Gender dysphoria
I Lost My Knife
Incomplete Information and Stories
Intelligence and Motivation
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
Structures of Understanding
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?
What is going on?

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
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
Rethinking Knowledge
Rethinking Knowledge
Semiotics and Body Language
The Curious Ineffectiveness of Facts
The Past and the Future.
Uncertainty and Unpredictability
Whatever happened to The Truth?

Body Plans
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 Job
A society needs a government.
Babies and Bathwater
Belly of the Beast
Cultural Appropriation
Drag Story Tellers
Family Values
Governance and Power
Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation
I Distrust the News
Inclusion and Christmas
Its a Free Country
Life Extension
Moral Decline
Open Society and Falsification
Parents, Children, and Community
Rethinking Rights
Rules in a Knife Fight?
Sex and Gender
Should We Go to Mars?
Social vs Individual Responsibility.
Society and The State
Society evolved
Spheres of Influence
The Care and Feeding of Free Speech
The Collingridge Dilemma
The Common Good
The Dual Meaning of Power
The Homeless
The Problem with Hedonism
The Rule of Law.
Thoughts on Justice
To the Moon
Trial by jury
Virtue Signalling
We Live in the Present
What is to be said?
What made freedom a bad word?
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

Griefers and Misinformation and Disinformation

We'll Learn

In normal social interaction we need to give each other a lot of slack when we disagree. By slack I mean we need to assume that the people we are interacting with are honest and well informed and that people of good hearts can disagree even when they share the same information. So we can negotiate the disagreement without thinking the other is 'bad'.
Often easier said than done, I know.

Online communication has been a big part of my world since the early 1990s. I was online using the Fidonet for a couple of years before I had internet access.
Fidonet was based on sending a message to a local online bulletin board and then the message would be propagated from board to board using only local calls (mostly - I think there were ham radio links too) all over the world. The conversation on Fidonet was interesting and polite.
As soon as I could I got an account with a company that gave me a connection to the internet.
This was before there was a world wide web. Basically you used ftp to log into computers around the world and browse the files that were there.
This lead to email, which is software specialized for sending messages, that uses ftp in the background.
Email enabled a new thing - mailing lists. These were computers that you could send a message to that would distribute the message to all of the list subscribers.
And mailing lists enabled newsgroups which was software that enable conversation about particular topics.

Right away with newsgroups I found their were griefers and a lot of misinformation and disinformation.

Along comes Facebook and Twitter and Second Life et al.
The problem of griefers and misinformation and disinformation seemed to expand exponentially. These are similar in that they are malign behaviors but are different from each other.

For me a griefer is one who uses hurtful speech (in the name of freedom of speech) to drive other people from a conversation. Griefers can be cunning and a pest, but they are a bit dumb. They're like: "As soon as we kill all the animals we'll force them to tell us where the money is hid" (actual graffiti on artschool toilet wall:-)
They assert First Amendment rights in a place (like Thothica or Double Happiness) where those rights don't exist.
Owners of private property are entitled to remove guests who displease them. In SL they just go poof.
Misinformation is information that seems plausible but is false.
Anti-vaxxers provide a current example.
The old creation scientists were an earlier one.
Vaccination has been known to be effective and safe for a long time and has eradicated many diseases. But you need a basic understanding of how the immune system works to get it. It's not something you can see at work. You need to take a lot of that knowledge about the immune system on authority. And without that knowledge the narrative can seem to be magical.
And if you believe in magic then all sorts of magical things are possible; like vaccination causes autism, or magnetizes people, or contains microchips that let the government control your mind.

But I'm prone to misinformation too.
There is war in Ukraine now, a Russian invasion. That is bad enough.
Stories emerge of Russian atrocities.
Not only murdering civilians, but things like getting drunk on stolen liquor and going on rampages of rape and looting.
I must admit I don't like Russia as a country at all.
So I'm predisposed to accept stories like that.
And I know from past wars that similar stories of atrocities have turned out to be untrue.

Disinformation is a different thing again.
Disinformation has two mutually reinforcing aspects.
First somebody speaks some sort of big lie that they know is untrue but they don't care about that. What they need to do is please their 'base'.
Then there is the 'base' - smirking people who delight in sticking it to the man.

With disinformation we get a symbiotic system that combines griefers with misinformation.

So we get an Alex Jones who makes his living spinning false stories about how the mass shooting at Sandy Hook didn't happen.
And he plays to a base that delights in being told that the government is stealing their rights and that everything the government and mainstream media says is a lie.

And of course we get Trump and his deplorable base.
Disinformation works in a way. Trump has raised over $100 million based on it.
I think these problems may fade over time due to internal contradictions.
For instance - griefers are not a problem now in SL because people learned to make them go poof Trump's deplorable base is getting a lot of shit now from the rest of society - literally going to jail for following Trump.
I'd bet they are doing their best to hide their membership in his cult from friends, family, and employer so they may just disappear from the scene.
And in the long run, as Voltaire once said: good ideas inevitably drive out the bad ones in the court of educated opinion. And really - the deplorables are a small minority and their misinformed ideas won't last.

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.