“In September 2009, after admitting to my parents that I was atheist, I was abruptly woken in the middle of the night by two strange men who subsequently threw me in a van and drove me 200 mi. to a facility that I would later find out serves the sole purpose of eliminating free thinking adolescents. : atheism”

This is the kind of thing that people are likely to dismiss because it’s on the Internet; I can just imagine getting that kind of reaction from my mother, for example. But there isn’t any reason to do anything other than treat it with the kind of critical reading one should subject anything to. Further, with that many different people reporting stories, I would be inclined to trust this above something written by one reporter in a newspaper or something; newspapers often get such things wrong.

The usual /r/atheism “murder them all” isn’t very helpful, though.


Posted Thu 01 Mar 2012 17:06:00 UTC Tags:

Taking love and people-in-certain-relations as intrinsically valuable helps show mistaken various views about acting rationally (or well). First, maximization: i.e., if you value “item” C and if state S has more C than does S’, you act rationally only if you choose S—unless S’ has more of other items you value than does S, or your cost in getting S, as opposed to S’, is too high, or you are not well enough informed. Where C is love (and indeed where C is many, if not more, valuable things), this does not hold—not even if all the values involved are self-regarding. Second, paying attention to value differences, being alive to them and their significance for acting rationally: just consider a person who (often) checks to see whether a love relation with another person would be “better” than the present love. (J. Stocker, ‘The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories’, Journal of Philosophy 14 (1976), p. 459 n. 4)

Posted Fri 02 Mar 2012 14:53:00 UTC Tags:

A few days ago I uninstalled StarCraft until after exams, because I think that having it as something I pressure myself to improve it—it’s no fun otherwise—isn’t something that’s good to have on my mind during exams. It’s not a question of wasting too much time playing SC2; not a problem I’ve ever had. Just one of not overloading myself with mental burdens.

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Posted Sat 03 Mar 2012 14:29:00 UTC Tags:

This evening I find myself stuck in, if you like, existential indecision between two powerful forces.

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Posted Thu 08 Mar 2012 01:29:00 UTC Tags:

Get your domain name for £1.84

Limited time offer.

Posted Fri 09 Mar 2012 16:08:00 UTC Tags:

CALLICLES: Somehow or other your words, Socrates, always appear to be to be good words; and yet, like the rest of the world, I am not quite convinced by them. —Plato, Gorgias

Posted Sun 11 Mar 2012 11:14:00 UTC Tags:

Here’s some links to some things I’ve read recently and found interesting/had something to say about. This is stuff from January 2012 to March; some of it I read rather a long time ago.

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Posted Mon 12 Mar 2012 12:41:00 UTC Tags:

The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the modern man. —Rolf Dobelli in Avoid News

I recently came across this Avoid News piece by Rolf Dobelli. I do not think that this article is particularly good; there are some places (e.g. §2) which seem fallacious to me, and also it doesn’t address the thought that it is important for one to know what’s going on in the wider world to have a proper sense of perspective, and an understanding of what one’s fellow humans are going through—Dobelli seems to argue that the news is almost never relevant to our own lives; sure, but that isn’t a reason to avoid it.

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Posted Mon 12 Mar 2012 16:13:00 UTC Tags:

oucs/oxford-term-dates · GitHub

I wrote something to (one direction of) this for the JCR website.

Posted Mon 12 Mar 2012 19:51:00 UTC Tags:

Old IBM ThinkPad X31 which I abused for years … [g]ot doused in coffee and coke … [h]as been invaded (as in “filled to the brim”) by Indian ants which ate out all the coffee and coke over about a week of constant occupation (even while the machine was running; I had no choice) years later


Posted Mon 12 Mar 2012 19:58:00 UTC Tags:

Exciting news, I’m off to South Korea to spend a month teaching English to university-aged students this summer. I was on the reserve list for the free travel, accommodation and food trip but enough people have dropped out that I can go.

It’s not some private scheme taking advantage of Oxbridge students, but in fact it’s a government scheme that’s very competitive at the Korean end—the students have to pass tests etc. to get on it. And for both us and our students it’ll be very intensive, non-stop for four weeks.

I think the teaching will be fun, since I like teaching, but I’m most looking forward to going to a completely different part of the world and seeing what it’s like. Apparently Korea is easier to get around for an English speaker than your average European country, with lots of signs and announcements in English. I’ll have to do some reading on what is worth seeing.

Posted Wed 14 Mar 2012 17:49:00 UTC Tags:

I just finished playing Mass Effect and its sequel Mass Effect 2. I bought these in the Steam sales at Christmas and was thinking I’d play them in the evenings through this vac, followed by Mass Effect 3 which has just come out; in fact, I won’t be playing this last game any time soon.

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Posted Sat 17 Mar 2012 16:06:00 UTC Tags:

My dear,

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.

In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.

In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

I realized, through it all, that…

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

Falsely yours,

Albert Camus

Posted Tue 20 Mar 2012 17:11:00 UTC Tags:

Just now I printed off every past paper that is relevant to me to get that task out of the way and to have them all available in a ringbinder. Glancing through, the fear begins to set in. The questions look insurmountable. How can I be ready in the mere seven weeks or so I have?

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Posted Tue 20 Mar 2012 17:38:00 UTC Tags:

I’m no Dawkins fan but I quite liked this which I came across the other day, even if I think there are better reasons not to be afraid of death.

Posted Sun 25 Mar 2012 11:50:00 UTC Tags:

Day off from revision today and I found myself actively looking forward to having an opportunity to tidy up my room, folding etc. the pile of clean laundry on my bedroom floor, emptying inbox etc. Suddenly I realised that I was looking forward to these things and I was like, oh dear, did I just hit 35? Felt just like my mother.

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Posted Sun 25 Mar 2012 14:55:00 UTC Tags:

This lunchtime I finished reading the Grapes of Wrath which has been enthralling me for the past ten days or so. continue reading this entry

Posted Tue 27 Mar 2012 15:14:00 UTC Tags:

Revision going pretty well, wow, don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life before. continue reading this entry

Posted Fri 30 Mar 2012 16:05:00 UTC Tags: