Links from the last week.
It is less important that those who hear you should concur in your conclusions than that they should respond positively to the principles from which you reason. When I address political questions I almost always adopt an exegetical form of sermon-structure, follow my text and the argument that arises from it, until it points irresistibly to some theologico-political principle. Then, in the lightest way possible, I give concreteness to the principle by showing how it bears on the public issue in question. Usually I do not bother to indicate my own view; it will be evident enough from the argument. If anyone disagrees with me, I hope that person will have been helped to articulate a more authentically Christian response, one which will take seriously the issues of principle I have raised. Everyone needs to come out with a clearer sense of what is unnegotiable for Christian conscience, and what, by contrast, is merely a matter of differing emphasis or differing interpretation of a given situation.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority
The main idea behind complex systems is that the ensemble behaves in way not predicted by the components. The interactions matter more than the nature of the units. Studying individual ants will never (one can safely say never for most such situations), never give us an idea on how the ant colony operates. For that, one needs to understand an ant colony as an ant colony, no less, no more, not a collection of ants. This is called an “emergent” property of the whole, by which parts and whole differ because what matters is the interactions between such parts. And interactions can obey very simple rules. The rule we discuss in this chapter is the minority rule.
The minority rule will show us how it all it takes is a small number of intolerant virtuous people with skin in the game, in the form of courage, for society to function properly.
An important insight, with application to the current sexuality debates, for instance.
J. Budziszewski: Interiority
Some pieces in response to the paper I linked last week on six-year-old girls and brilliance. Stereotypes can hold boys back in school, too. Some important stuff here, but stereotype threat is looking increasingly shaky as a concept, so we should beware of it. Was that new Science paper hyped and over-interpreted because of its liberal message? Quite probably, but we should beware of jumping to correlations ourselves. More generally, it can be good to be suspicious of stories that too closely fit the prevailing cultural narrative, and especially in cases where only one possible result could be published or certain ready explanations cannot even be explored. This is a principle with broad application in a media and social context as partisan as ours. There is a great deal of ‘research’ and ‘reporting’ to tickle the prejudices of whatever side you might be on.
Slate Star Codex blogger Scott Alexander defends his past posts on Donald Trump
Blue Feed, Red Feed. Liberal and Conservative Facebook feeds side by side.
Time Well Spent. Designing new technology around users and their values.
AI just won a poker tournament against professional players. I guess that’s the beginning of the end for online poker.
Greek teachers in epic battle to save classics: ‘Teachers in Greece have criticised plans by the left-wing government to scrap the mandatory study of Ancient Greek tragedy in high schools and introduce instead classes on gender and sex education, saying that this could bring about the end of classical studies.’
Has the term ‘British’ lost all meaning? If and when the union breaks up, I will be fascinated to see how ‘English’ identity will develop and how immigrants will self-define, as ‘English’ is a far less open identity to non-native peoples.
Love in the Time of Capital. Stimulating interview with Eva Illouz [HT: Matt Petersen]
Rod Dreher: Hillbilly Energy
Noah Millman: You Don’t Kill the Scapegoat
Ben Myers: Tales of an Eccentric Theologian-Genius
Scott Alexander: Book Review: Eichmann in Jerusalem
Sarah Perry: After Temporality
Jake Belder: Meilaender on the Limits of Work
Matthew Lee Anderson: On the Executive Order Regarding Refugees
Brad Littlejohn: A Primer on the Meaning of Political Opposition
Derek Rishmawy: On Signalling Versus Displaying Virtue in a Trumpian Age
Alan Jacobs: Judging Judges
The Rise of Populism and the Backlash Against the Elites: Jonathan Haidt and Nick Clegg in conversation
This Farm of the Future Uses No Soil and 95% Less Water:
Do you have any thoughts on any of the issues raised above?
The comments of this thread are also free for you to:
- Discuss things that you have been reading/listening to/watching recently
- Share interesting links
- Share stimulating discussions in comment threads
- Ask questions
- Put forward a position for more general discussion
- Tell us about yourself and your interests
- Publicize your blog, book, conference, etc.
- Draw our intention to worthy thinkers, charities, ministries, books, and events
- Post reviews
- Suggest topics for future posts
- Use as a bulletin board
Over to you!