Old Chirps

May 11, 2023:

If you point out a flaw in someone’s statement and they clarify it in a way that removes the flaw, you should accept it, absent a specific and consequential reason to believe that they are lying. We are not experts on what someone else “really” means to say.

May 5, 2023:

Many “basic” tasks we blithely delegate to machines—like arithmetic—were once considered acts of the conscious intellect. Did people feel a mix of awe and dread at the dawn of the adding machine? Was it the “artificial intelligence” of its day?

May 2, 2023:

The human capacity for evil is no justification for authoritarian social control. After all, if you can’t trust people with freedom over their own lives, how can you possibly trust a few of them with power over others?

April 30, 2023:

But for accident of birth, we have no relationship to our nations and therefore no rational basis for taking pride in them. But does it mean all patriotism is artificial and/or valueless? Isn’t there something to be cherished in a shared sense of history and community (as long it doesn’t slip into xenophobia or jingoism)?

April 26, 2023:

Tolerance of others doesn’t mean you can’t criticize their choices. It just means you can’t forcibly keep them from making those choices. You can try persuasion (or maybe even derision or condemnation) but if those tactics fail, you must live and let live.

April 25, 2023:

It’s been said that we have colonialism to thank for cultural cross-pollination and the global human civilization. Nonsense. Why wouldn’t trade, diplomacy, and travel achieve the same? History is messy. We can love the good without trying to whitewash the bad.

April 24, 2023:

Humans will never agree on everything. And that’s a good thing. Homogeneity is boring.

April 23, 2023:

Not conquerors, aristocrats, or revolutionaries, but ordinary humans – surviving, solving problems, raising clever kids, trading ideas, starting projects that someone else will finish – are the real engines of human civilization.

April 22, 2023:

If you really think about history, almost every wrong thing that happened was because someone was deprived of freedom and self ownership, NOT because someone else was allowed to have “too much” of it.

April 21, 2023:

Being “principled” doesn’t mean having rigid convictions about a list of things you like. It means having integrity. It means having sincere and consistent values that sometimes lead to things you don’t necessarily like. It also means having the intellectual honesty to be persuadable without being fickle.

April 20, 2023:

Free speech is more important than curbing “misinformation” because only in the open light of day can we see the truth.