Category Archives: Volition

All we like sheep — guns and volition

George Frideric Handel

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” — Isaiah 53:6 KJV A sample of the classic musical form of this passage from Handel’s Messiah: Here is the “thought experiment” of the day: Hundreds of ordinary Americans over 18 years… Read more »

When Supreme Court decisions have evil consequences

Samuel Alito

I am sure Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito perceives himself to be a moral person. Indeed, he sees his religious sect-specific morality as so important that he has dedicated his career to changing long-held legal precedent in the nation’s enforcement of societal order. But there is no doubt that Alito’s direct actions have spawned evil consequences from his rulings on… Read more »

Ethics 101 – They are still confusing legality and morality

The recent controversy over a leaked Supreme Court opinion perhaps overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision highlights how even Supreme Court justices, when blinded by sectarian religious fervor, can get Ethics 101 wrong. In a pluralistic society, issues of public morality may overlap with issues of legal practice, but only in places like Taliban-controlled Afghanistan do judges make… Read more »

Mr. Putin, shall…we…play…a…game?

      1 Comment on Mr. Putin, shall…we…play…a…game?
Wargames

Will Russian President Vladimir Putin use a first-strike tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine if he cannot succeed there by conventional means? What are the odds? So, it turns out that “the odds” are likely irrelevant in this type of conjecture. The Pentagon instead is more likely at this moment exploring many variations of a mathematical model with the ironic name… Read more »

A 25-point Credo about money and choice

      1 Comment on A 25-point Credo about money and choice
Cash

It has been three-and-a-half years since I last posted about my concept of money and cryptocurrencies. I have decided to start the year out detailing my literal bets on my own wealth in the form of a (perhaps sacrilegious) Credo (literally “I believe”), twenty-five pithy statements without much explanation. Even though Jesus warned against putting too much faith in money,… Read more »

Alligators, Florida Man, and Covid revisited

      No Comments on Alligators, Florida Man, and Covid revisited
Alligator

It was just two weeks ago that I posted about the famed “Florida Man” meme, the (almost always) men who are absolutely sure that they are right when they are embarking on some dangerous action that is really wrong. And then, just this past week, we took guests to southwest Florida’s Myakka River State Park, where you can walk through… Read more »

Worth a Read: Being You: A New Science of Consciousness by Anil Seth

Anil Seth - Being You

“You could even say that we’re all hallucinating all the time. It’s just that when we agree about our hallucinations, that’s what we call reality.” Anil Seth (Being You, p. 75) Science books exploring what it means for humans to be conscious have typically been a hard slog. I first read Douglas Hofstadter’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Gödel, Escher, Bach, a notorious… Read more »

Dopesick, homelessness, and the casualties of culture

Junction

When faced with a friend who has succumbed to prescription opioid addiction, we commonly hear the expression, “There but for the grace of God go I!” But what if it is not divine grace at work here, rather simply the math of probability? I recently viewed the excellent Hulu television miniseries Dopesick, based on a book of the same name… Read more »

Worth a read: A Thousand Brains by Jeff Hawkins

I first taught computer modeling in the long-ago era before the Apple II, and I would start the class by bringing in an object from my then-young son’s toy box. I would hold it up and ask the class, “What is this?” I could always count on one student, invariably male, to volunteer, “That is a Ferrari!” Which would allow… Read more »

When your pain becomes our pain

      No Comments on When your pain becomes our pain
Empathy-Sympathy-Compassion

Odds are…you personally will not suffer any ill effects from the coronavirus. But over 600,000 U.S. families have watched loved ones die, often without the hugs of family who had to say goodbye via FaceTime. Odds are…you personally will not be killed in a grocery store by a domestic terrorist wielding an AR-style high-lethality weapon. But over 40,000 families lost… Read more »