Dumb America

Screen-Shot-2015-02-20-at-16.38.44 An unfair headline; but I think it is a known phrase: the “Dumb America” phenomenon, wherein the public has the hubris to believe that they really have something valuable to contribute to discussions that they can hardly begin to understand (I’m assuming that if you aren’t part of DA then you’re intelligent enough to realise I’m not talking about all Americans).

Yes, I’m talking about the comments in Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano by Willis Eschenbach at Wattsup (ht: mt). Incidentally, anyone tempted to complain about my sneering or elitist tone is invited to comment somewhere else. If you want the department of politely answering stupid questions, you want Eli.

[Update: if you didn’t like the tone of this post, you might find somewhat similar ideas expressed in a more measured way by Bart (and links therein to mt).]
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Hobbes again, and 400 ppm CO2

I haven’t been nice to Hobbes for a bit, so:

When God speaketh to man, it must be either immediately or by mediation of another man, to whom He had formerly spoken by Himself immediately. How God speaketh to a man immediately may be understood by those well enough to whom He hath so spoken; but how the same should be understood by another is hard, if not impossible, to know. For if a man pretend to me that God hath spoken to him supernaturally, and immediately, and I make doubt of it, I cannot easily perceive what argument he can produce to oblige me to believe it.

There. Isn’t that wonderful? It so beautifully turns around the “You say God told you that but I think you’re a fraud” into “I really can’t see how you could convince me of that”. There is more, of course. [[Leviathan (book)]] provides an intro, and as it happens I wrote it (or almost all of it) and it has survived remarkably well. The section Of a Christian Common-wealth is good fun: here Hobbes tries to make a case for which books of the Bible you can reliably believe in, but (much like Popper on rationalism) is eventually obliged (oh dear, he really didn’t want to go that way 🙂 to provide an external authority to decide which books can be trusted: the Civil Power in his case, of course.

Ah, and now of course I’ve remembered what I actually intended to write about: Atmoz’s 400 ppm CO2 challenge! Off you go; I haven’t made my mind up yet.