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The Lists of all Lists

Like any cyclical process worth something, an external sphere of knowledge must first undergo completely chaotic expansion followed by a somewhat controlled contraction.

The purpose of this page is to grow indefinitely until it encompasses all the things I've managed to digitally hoard in all the places where digital hoarding was perpetrated.

Let the expansion begin.

  • Chrome bookmarks
  • Android mobile bookmarks
  • Saved messages in Telegram
  • Liked YouTube videos
  • "Watch later" YouTube videos
  • E-mail digests
  • E-mail accounts
  • Pass accounts
  • Kindle quotes
  • Kindle dictionary
  • Facebook saved posts
  • Maps places
  • Random stuff from static.getbetter.ro

Saved messages in Telegram๐Ÿ”—

2020.02.10 - Alan Sokal speaking in Stockholm๐Ÿ”—

Notes

  • Sloppy thinking transcends international boundaries easily.
  • Disentangling science:
    • an intellectual endeavor aimed at the rational understanding of the natural and social world
    • a corpus of currently accepted substantive knowledge in various fields
    • the community of science (along with its social and economic structure)
    • applied science in technology
  • Focusing on the first two: science == a worldview giving primacy to reason and observation + methodology aimed at acquiring accurate knowledge of the natural and social world.
  • Critical spirit: commitment to the incessant testing of assertions through observations and/or experiments. Revision or discarding of those theories that fail the test.
  • All our empirical knowledge is tentative, incomplete and open to revision.
  • Well tested theories are supported by a powerful web of interlocking evidence.
  • Progressing science tends to link theories into a unified framework.
  • 1st adversary of science: postmodern relativists. How do they do it? By systematically confusing truth with claim of truth, fact with assertions of fact and knowledge with pretensions to knowledge.
  • 2nd adversary of science: complementary and alternative therapies in health and medicine: what precisely does it mean to be competent in a system of pseudo-medicine that has never been demonstrated to be efficacious beyond the placebo effect?
  • Basic principle in science: GIGO - garbage in, garbage out. Systematic biases in studies with flawed methodologies and small sample sizes can accumulate into reaching statistical significance when the studies are pooled.
  • Non-flawed methodologies should include: adequate randomization, double blinding, predefined outcome measures, clear accounting for dropouts.
  • 3rd (and very dangerous) adversary of the evidence-based world view: religion
  • Components of religious doctrines:
    • factual: claims about the Universe and its history.
    • ethical: prescriptions about how to live.
    • (optional) epistemological: methods by which humans can obtain reasonable reliable knowledge of factual or ethical matters.
  • Gem of circular reasoning that is the epistemological ground on which all "faith" is grounded:
    • Q: Why do you believe fact X?
    • A: Because our holy scriptures say so.
    • Q: How do we know that our holy scriptures are free from error?
    • A: Because the scriptures themselves say so.
  • Faith is not in fact a rejection of reason, but simply a lazy acceptance of bad reasons.
  • "Why does Oxford have a faculty of theology, but no faculty of astrology?"
  • Perhaps the currently fashionable ecumenical-sounding euphemism of religion, "faith", should be replaced by the epistemological more illuminating term "superstition".
  • 4th adversary of science: propagandists, PR flaks & spin doctors along with the politicians and corporations who employ them. Their goal is not to analyze honestly the evidence for and against a particular policy, but is simply to manipulate the public into reaching a predetermined conclusion by whatever technique will work, however dishonest or fraudulent.
  • We take for granted the fact that (some) of our politicians lie to us, and that's a problem: we've become so cynical that we've lost our ability to become appropriately outraged.
  • An invariant in all areas of life is the underlying philosophy of science: to constrain our theories as strongly as possible by empirical evidence and to modify or reject those theories that fail to conform to the evidence.
  • The natural sciences have had such a profound effect on human culture because of this general philosophical lesson, rather than any specific discoveries.
  • As a logical matter, one cannot derive an "ought" from an "is", therefore ethics and factual matters are logically separate.
  • Historically, scientific skepticism has played the role of an intellectual acid - dissolving the irrational beliefs that legitimated the establishment (priesthood, monarchy, aristocracy, allegedly superior races or social classes).
  • Sadly, 400 years later, the revolutionary transition from a dogmatic to an evidence-based worldview is very far from being complete...

2020.02.10 - David Foster Wallace on Responsibility and Maturity (2003)๐Ÿ”—

Notes

  • Wounded inner child / inner pain == language that's the result of the psychological pop movement in the US. The more we're taught to list and resent the things of which we were deprived as children, the more we live in that anger and frustration, and the more we remain children.
  • Defining a grown-up is hard because of the conflict between moralist standpoint (being a citizen) and the appeal to selfish self-gratification (being free and doing what you want/love).
  • Citizen might imply you need to learn about your country's history & political candidates (by reading stuff).
  • The political vicious cycle: if voters are disinterested, then the tendency is for candidates with paid exposure in media to win, which ties them to big donors, which makes them corrupt, which will result in even more disinterest on the part of the voters, ad nausea.
  • Some people might dread reading not because it's boring, but because it implies being alone in a quiet room - which they can't stand.
  • Old horse: the Internet and computer culture sped things up to the point where people cannot focus 30 minutes on the same topic, or read for 1 hour or listen to an entire album of complex music.
  • The part of ourselves that can live in quiet, without stimulation is not fed, thus it atrophies.
  • Too much good stuff combined with FOMO is a deadly combo as it kills any notion of focus: you always have to switch to the next thing because maybe it's just a little bit better.
  • In the face of modern crisis or hard times, instead of banding together people are now turning to more individualism.
  • Rebelling meaningfully = don't buy a lot of stuff, don't get your view of the world from TV, be willing to spend hours researching an election.

Last update: 2020-06-17