Thursday, February 21, 2013

I feel unwelcome in skepticism :)

I don't feel welcome in skepticism anymore. (this is a bit of a rant but I just want to let it out)

How stats work.

As a minor point in a recent blog post Ben Radford included this remark.

"Except that I didn't; Myers misread it. I actually didn't write the "one billion" figure that Myers misquotes me as saying; that was Ensler's number. What I actually wrote (check it yourself) was that "one-third of women [have been victims of] homicide, intimate partner abuse, psychological abuse, dating violence, same-sex violence, elder abuse, sexual assault, date rape, acquaintance rape, marital rape, stranger rape and economic abuse." (One in three women is not the same as one billion if you do the math, though perhaps that's just my hyperskepticism.)"

Seeing as it was an easy calculation I followed this up in the comments section with a quick back of the envelope calculation.

7billion people on earth x 1/2 women X 1/3 facing these abuses = 1.16 billion women

The math was simple 7/6 or 3.5/3 or about 1. So I'm really not sure where Ben got the idea that 1/3 wasn't 1 billion. So I left in the comments got no reply no correction was made and the comments ( including some by Radford) ignored it. OK fine it was there for anyone to see. I wake up this morning and Michael Kingsford Gray has  responded to my calculation.

Friday, February 1, 2013

then again...

I've been directed to Richard Carrier's definition of the supernatural.

Essentially natural has all minds contingent on matter and supernatural has non contingent minds. I'm not sure that such a ... redefinition(?) is worth doing on the muddled concepts of natural and supernatural but it is a big improvement over more colloquial usage and definition of the distinction. Something to continue thinking about anyway.

God did it! Methodological Naturalism and answers to questions.

Question: why x?

Answer: God did it.

To me there's nothing (well in principle) nothing wrong with this answer. If you look out at a garden where all the tulip bulbs have been dug up and ask: What happend here? Someone can answer squirrels did it. This could very well be the answer in general terms. Similarly I have no problem with God did it in principle as a general terms answer to a question. The problem occures right after when the answer is hollowed up.

Why? How?

Can something supernatural exist?

I'm starting to think no almost by definition but hear me out.

In the comments at pharyngula someone said this:

"That’s easy: no. You could be an atheist and not even be a naturalist of any kind. You could believe someone has psychic powers, for example, and not call that person a “god.”"

My problem with the idea of naturalism and ultimately the concept of the supernatural comes up in psychic powers.