“We left the last hint of polar land behind us, and thanked heaven that we were clear of a haunted, accursed realm where life and death, space and time, have made black and blasphemous alliances in the unknown epochs since matter first writhed and swam on the planet’s scarce-cooled crust.”H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of … Continue reading Since Matter First Writhed: The Mystery of Abiogenesis
Runaway trolleys, violinists, utility monsters. In my view, ethical thought experiments are rarely persuasive, clarifying, relevant, or decisive. They also don’t seem to help those who are really in the trenches. How does musing over a violinist help clinicians who are working in the very messy real world? I mean, isn’t moral philosophy supposed to … Continue reading Are ethical thought experiments entirely useless?
Daniel Chaney and I are having an exchange on Letter.wiki over epiphenomenalism, the view that phenomenal states are causally inert. I've been quite surprised by the epiphenomenalists coming out of the woodwork to defend the view. And if you're not familiar with the Letter website, definitely check it out. It's a great idea for a … Continue reading Exchange On Epiphenomenalism
Dry Apologist recently asked on Twitter, “For people who lost their Christian faith, what do you think was the final tipping point that led to you losing your faith?” For me, there were two answers: the narrative of Christianity and religious epistemology. Divine revelation, consulting ancient texts, having faith, etc. are terrible ways of getting … Continue reading A Short Account Of My Atheism
Epiphenomenalism is the view that phenomenal properties – the what it’s like of conscious states – have no physical effects. First come the neural events, then come the experiential events; but the mental events have no effect on the physical events. That’s why it’s called epiphenomenalism: phenomenality comes after the electro-chemical activity of the brain. … Continue reading Why epiphenomenalism is almost certainly false
“I know not what you mean by God; I am without the idea of God; the word God is to me a sound conveying no clear or distinct affirmation.” - Charles Bradlaugh, 1877 An igtheist or ignostic or theological noncognitivist, as I'm using the terms, is one who doesn’t believe in god because they can’t … Continue reading On Igtheism
“[I]t is widely granted these days that dualism is not a serious view to contend with, but rather a cliff over which to push one’s opponents …” Dan Dennett, 1978 Things may have changed in philosophy since Dennett’s proclamation, but it remains widely accepted that substance dualism is implausible and anti-scientific. How can you believe … Continue reading Is property dualism any better off than substance dualism?
“So we have the strange phenomenon, as Kant assures us, of a mind believing with all its strength in the real presence of a set of things of no one of which it can form any notion whatsoever.” - William James An igtheist is one who can't make any sense of the idea of god. … Continue reading The Incoherence of God
Why was Jesus crucified? As in, how did he get himself killed? How did Jesus find himself being sentenced to death by the Roman government? The crucifixion is central to the Christian story. If Jesus hadn’t been crucified, the symbol of the cross would not only hold entirely different connotations, it wouldn’t enjoy its ubiquity … Continue reading Why Did the Romans Kill Jesus?
Antinatalism, broadly speaking, is opposition to procreation. It’s the view that it is immoral to have children. Creating a person, on this view, is like building a robot that can suffer -- there’s just no good reason to do it. Although antinatalism attracts its fair share of misanthropes, many supporters I’ve seen online are compassionate … Continue reading Why I Am Not An Antinatalist