Jun 012018

Every time any update is pushed to anything, I just wait to see what it’ll screw up next ><

A tweet storm about the reintroduction of slavery in Louisiana. :( Unfortunately just the FB images, since I don’t do twitter.


Alonzo Fyfe’s reply to the old canard that you can’t derive an Ought from an Is. If these Is statements are true (which in our world they are) than that Ought statement (we ought to promote an aversion to causing pain) is also true. As an objective fact, dependent on other objective facts.


There is one thing the Jehovah’s Witnesses got right…


Every Culture Appropriates. A great piece that chronicles the history of the cheongsam. Ends with

“To the extent that the cultural-appropriation police are urging their targets to respect others who are different, they are saying something that everyone needs to hear. But beyond that, they can plunge into doomed tangles. American popular culture is a mishmash of influences: British Isles, Eastern European, West African, and who knows what else. Cole Porter committed no wrong by borrowing from Jewish music; Elvis Presley enriched the world when he fused country-and-western with rhythm-and-blues.

How to draw the line between that and America’s ugly tradition of minstrelsy, in which subordinated peoples are both mimicked and mocked—as Al Jolson mimicked and mocked black music in his notorious blackface career? There is no clear rule, but there is an open way: the values of respect and tolerance that draw precisely on the rationalist Enlightenment traditions both rejected and relied upon by the cultural-appropriation police. Those traditions are the spiritual core of American culture at its highest. And those values we should all hope to see appropriated by all this planet’s peoples and cultures.”


“Philip Cross” has not had one single day off from editing Wikipedia in almost five years. “He” has edited every single day from 29 August 2013 to 14 May 2018. Including five Christmas Days. That’s 1,721 consecutive days of editing.

…The operation runs like clockwork, seven days a week, every waking hour, without significant variation.

…the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is systematically to attack and undermine the reputations of those who are prominent in challenging the dominant corporate and state media narrative. particularly in foreign affairs.

…This matters because, an ordinary reader who comes across an article questioning (say) the official narrative on the Skripals, is very likely to turn to Wikipedia to get information on the author of the article. Simply put, the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation is to make certain that if that reader looks up an anti-war person such as John Pilger, they will conclude they are thoroughly unreliable and untrustworthy, whereas if they look up a right wing MSM journalist, they will conclude they are a paragon of virtue and entirely to be trusted.

…What is particularly interesting is that “Philip Cross”‘s views happen to be precisely the same political views as those of Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales has been on twitter the last three days being actively rude and unpleasant to anybody questioning the activities of Philip Cross. His commitment to Cross’s freedom to operate on Wikipedia would be rather more impressive if the Cross operation were not promoting Wales’ own opinions.”


Make No Law. Popehat has a legal podcast, at long last!  Specifically about the First Amendment and relevant historic cases!


Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) laws are designed to stop malicious litigants from silencing people by suing them for protected speech. While the defendant can prevail in court, to do so costs tens of thousands of dollars (because this is the US), and will either ruin most people or silence them. Anti-SLAPP laws stop these lawsuits, force the plaintiff to pay the defendants costs, AND impose an additional penalty (assuming that the lawsuit was indeed frivolous and an attempt at harassment/silencing)

Colorado has very weak anti-SLAPP laws. The PPP is is an organization working to strengthen these laws. You can sign their petition here, as well as donate money to the cause. I did so, and I think it’s a great idea for anyone who has ever posted anything on the internet.


Sounds like Bill & Ted 3 is actually happening

“The story springs from the ending of Excellent Adventure, in which futuristic mentor Rufus (George Carlin) predicted the duo would write music that would turn the world into a utopia. (This has not happened yet.)

“You’re told you’re gonna save the world,” Matheson told Entertainment Weekly in March during a reunion interview with Solomon, Reeves and Winter. “And now you’re 50 and you haven’t done it. Now they’re married, and it affects their marriages, and it affects their relationships with their kids, and it affects their everything.”

The original is one of my favorite movies. This spin on it sounds awesome. Sounds a lot like the end of The Last Temptation of Christ, in fact. God I hope it’s good.


Torturers can smile too. Our society is so broken that not only do these people walk the streets freely, there’s a chance they could be promoted to the highest levels of government. Take note if your rep votes to confirm this monster.




  4 Responses to “Link Archive 4/2/18 – 6/1/18”

  1. It seemed to me that in that Facebook post the author never got to an actual “ought” statement? Like, neither the statement “Ghandi believes we ought to be peaceful” or “Hitler believes that Germany ought to conquer everything” is actually an ought statement despite referring to other people’s ought statements and I can say them both without contradicting myself even though they refer to contradictory oughts. Or possibly if we accept “creatures generally have reason to promote universally an aversion to causing pain” as an ought statement then the first statement, “here is a community of beings, and each has an aversion to their own pain” is equally an ought statement. Is there something I’m missing?

    • I agree; statement 7 is not an ought statement. It is an is statement.

      Reworded, it becomes “It is the case that all such “creatures generally have reason to promote universally (in all other community members) an aversion to causing pain by praising those who avoid causing pain and condemning those who do not avoid causing pain.”. A related, but distinct, ought statement would be “Each such creature ought promote universally…”.

      As an intuition pump, suppose they came into contact with another group of creatures. Each creature in this second group has an aversion to any amount of time without seeing some other creature cause pain (and has a mesolimbic pathway), so by similar logic would have reason to promote universally (in their population) a desire to cause pain by praising those who cause pain and condemning those who avoid doing so.

      Ought this second group of creatures also praise the first group when they cause pain? After all, that will also let the second group’s members see others causing pain. Possibly they should, depending on the amount of pain and the strength of their respective aversions. But even with the full knowledge of the situation, all we can get is what would be instrumentally useful, what economic trades they could make to get more of what they wanted, etc.

      We would not learn about morality without further assumptions like “One ought to do what fullfills the most preferences to the most extent; that is, one ought be a preference utilitarian”. Nobody argues that is-statements cannot turn into recommended actions, at least not anywhere I have looked; people argue that is-statements cannot turn into moral statements without further assumptions.

      • Per my reply to Andrew, I hold that “creatures generally have reason to” is synonymous with “Each such creature ought to”.

        >Ought this second group of creatures also praise the first group when they cause pain?

        Obviously yes. And the first group should do everything possible to change the aversion of the second group or prevent them from ever being around the first group.

        >We would not learn about morality without further assumptions like “One ought to do what fullfills the most preferences to the most extent;

        If one has many compelling reasons to do what fulfills the most preferences, then it goes without saying that one ought to do that. It would be absurd to say that someone ought to do something that, in fact, they have many reasons to not do.

        >We would not learn about morality without further assumptions like “One ought to do what fullfills the most preferences to the most extent;

        Hm… I think we may have found the point of confusion that’s leading to our disagreement. I view moral statements as very-strongly-recommended-actions, that are nearly universal in applicability. If is-statements can turn into recommended actions, than enough is statements of enough strength are moral statements. What do you see moral statements as being, if distinct from this?

    • Any decent ought statement really is a collection of “is” statements. This can be partly seen by the fact that when someone says one “ought” to behave in a certain way, and someone else asks them “why?” they give “is” statements in reply. Someone “ought” to do something if they have many compelling reasons to do so — that’s what ought means. If they don’t see those reasons, either the ought statement is false, or they need to be educated as to those reasons. Alonzo’s post was basically a simply demonstration of that.

      IMHO the claim that you can’t derive “ought” statements from “is” statements is incoherent. It’s like saying you can’t derive multiplication from addition

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