ChrisDictum2020-07-23T00:44:35-04:00

Society

Culture

Truth in Fantasy

Some people have trouble with fantasy as great drama. I've never understood why. Realism in art does not necessarily mean a kind of dutiful depiction of the mundane, the kitchen details of everyday life. It has always seemed to me that our most profound stories reach back to the mythic and ritualistic elements of early human communal life -- those deep, dark shared experiences of mystery, awe, divinity...

Ourselves

A Tale of Two Lawns

A Tale of Two Lawns Aristotle Made Me Not Do It On my morning walk today I found myself stopping and staring at two lawns, and it made me think of Aristotle. (Please stifle your barbed witticisms, I already know I’m odd.) The two lawns were side-by-side -- one was your conventional, vigorously clipped piece of grass, its neighbour had been allowed to go completely wild, and was a tangle of dandelions, grasses gone to seed, various healthy weeds and the occasional wild flower and leftover random tulip. The wild lawn was rather [...]

The Importance of Evidence

The Importance of Evidence And Bayesian Inference I continue to be preoccupied with the question of evidence -- what constitutes evidence that actually supports the many, oh so many, opinions we throw out into the world either digitally or over a glass of wine with friends.  This link will take you to one of the more useful TED talks I have watched in some time. It touches on bayesian inference; but before you run screaming from your computer,the concepts explained here require no great statistical fluency and are remarkably useful. Why are anecdotes [...]

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura I Have Cobwebs in My Eyes I have cobwebs in my eyes -- real or metaphorical? Real says the white coat -- fluid detaches, hardens, black strings float like spastic spiders  on the edges of my view. What of my mind’s eye -- something skitters in there too. Intimations, divinations flicker and dance I seek for clarity, a more piercing glance,  I have cobwebs.  - by C. Christian Dick

Chastened Debater

This is Part Two of a Discussion on Argument and Debate.  You might also want to read Part One. I don’t usually go back and forth with people in YouTube comment sections. Comments are a healthy, liberating forum for millions of people, and I don’t deny that at all. I do find that the pseudo-courage supplied by digital anonymity makes it too easy for discussion to morph quickly into personal disparagement of the ‘so’s your mother’ variety; but the web is what it is, the good outweighs the bad. I will occasionally make a sarcastic [...]

Skeptical Idealist

Skeptical Idealist The Contradiction in Being Me? I was idly wondering the other day how many of us have ever gone through the exercise of trying to sum up our orientation to the world, our sense of what reality is, in as few words as possible -- a sentence or less. It is quite a stimulating exercise and I recommend giving it a go.  For instance,... I am a skeptical idealist. ( Sound of fanfare played with trumpets,slightly out of tune.) Now skeptic and idealist are not usually found together on the same page of [...]