July 31, 2007
is probably the best I've ever seen. I had
to post a link to it, just because it begins with the sentence "On Twin Earth, a brain in a vat is at the wheel of a runaway trolley," after which it took me a few minutes to stop laughing long enough to read the rest. Also, at the bottom we have the following modification: "ALTERNATIVE EXAMPLE
: Same as above, except the brain has had a commisurotomy, and the left half of the brain is a consequentialist and the right side is an absolutist."
My apologies to those who don't spend their time reading contemporary ethics and metaphysics, and therefore haven't yet figured out why I'm laughing.
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REAL ID Update
on recent action in the Senate regarding REAL ID. I had previously reported
on several states (particularly in the northwest) passing resolutions against REAL ID compliance. According to the News.com article, the number of these states is now seventeen. What has happened in the Senate is that an amedment to a spending bill offering $300 million in grants to help defray the cost of compliance for states was defeated, and an amendment introduced by Montana Democrat Max Baucus (hurray for the northwest again!) prohibiting using any money in the spending bill for "planning, testing, piloting, or developing a national identification card" was adopted unanimously. We may be getting closer to what is really needed: a complete repeal of this terrible law.
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July 30, 2007
Government Responds to Liberty Dollar Lawsuit
Some time ago I reported
that the U.S. Mint had issued a warning
(scroll down) to the effect that the Liberty Dollar
was illegal. The Liberty Dollar organization has filed a lawsuit for declaratory judgment that the Liberty Dollar is legal and an injunction barring the U.S. Mint from claiming that it is illegal. The Mint, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Attorney General are named as defendants. The government has now responded (with a motion to dismiss), and all the paperwork is now available online
. Upon reading the government's motion, I was rather confused...
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July 26, 2007
Tagged! 8 Things You Never Wanted to Know About Me
I've been tagged
by The God Fearin' Fiddler
. I've seen these things go around before, but I've never actually been tagged myself, so I suppose I'd better play along. Here are the rules:
The rules are simple�Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
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July 21, 2007
Economically Optimal Copyright Term is 14 Years
According to economic analysis recently published by Cambridge Ph.D candidate Rufus Pollock, the optimal term for copyright is 14 years. Presumably, this means that a 14 year term would maximize utility across society in an idealized free market or some such. This is of interest to me because I don't believe that one can hold libertarian property rights in information or ideas (or intangibles generally), and so I take copyright and patent law to be constructed in the social contract (which means that its enforceability by goverment is limited, in terms of what the government is morally permitted to do),...
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July 16, 2007
Four Aspects of Ecclesiology
While listening to a sermon on Colossians 1:24-29 yesterday, I had some thoughts about the nature of the Church. In particular, I am thinking of four ways of looking at the Church which, as it turns out, are very tightly interwoven. I call these somatic ecclesiology, apostolic ecclesiology, evangelistic ecclesiology, and eucharistic ecclesiology. Somatic ecclesiology is based on the idea of the Church as the "Body of Christ," which is one of the most common descriptions in Scripture. Apostolic ecclesiology is based on the idea of the Church as that structure which has the apostles and prophets as its foundation...
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July 7, 2007
On Worship and Veneration
Some time ago, I posted on icons
and discussed my attempt to understand the difference between what Catholic and Orthodox believers call "relative worship" or "veneration" and the "true worship" which belongs to God alone. I mostly failed to understand any real difference here. Today, I did something I should have done a long time ago: I read the decree
of the Second Council of Nicea
(the Seventh Ecumenical Council, which reinstated the veneration of icons). I found something interesting. In the Greek, the council makes a distinction between veneration and worship, as is to be expected. However, the words used are the Greek...
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July 6, 2007
Ron Paul and the Rule of Law
A little while back
I made a passing remark to the effect that it would be a good thing (as well as a miracle) if Ron Paul
was elected president. However, a recent discussion
will have me looking more critically at what Ron Paul has to say over the months until the primary, as well as re-evaluating some of my own views. Now, despite what Jeremy says, I'm not convinced that Ron Paul is a "strict libertarian" - my understanding is that he is not a proper libertarian at all ... but, rather, that he is a radical federalist
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July 5, 2007
Paper #2: For Real This Time
Before I left last week, I sent in to Religious Studies the final draft of my paper "The Semantics of Sense Perception in Berkeley," which they have accepted for publication. The paper discusses the meaning of the "universal language of the Author of Nature" Berkeley argues for in the Essay Toward a New Theory of Vision and elsewhere. Essentially, the question I try to begin to answer is "if sense perception is a language by which God speaks to us, then what is he saying?" (I say "begin" because I have not developed a detailed semantic theory, but only offered...
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How Much Personal Data Does Windows Vista Collect?
All of it.
IP addresses, web-sites visited, computer name, hardware configuration, software configuration, what kinds of files you open, everything. The Windows Vista EULA apparently provides a non-exhaustive list of 47 Vista components that send data to Microsoft. Other components store personal data on your hard drive. Microsoft says it will release these vast troves of data under the following conditions...
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