Saturday, 14 April 2012

Welcome to Disagreeable Me

Welcome to my new blog!

I've chosen this title for the blog because people who know me always complain that I'm always predisposed to disagree with any proposition put to me. I'm a contrarian who loves a good argument, even occasionally arguing against viewpoints I hold myself.

Rather than trying to get along with people a little better, I enjoy being who I am and believe that this annoying tendency to disagree is more than an irritating character quirk. For me, it is the essence of skepticism, which I think is the best approach we can take to forming rational conclusions about the world. I try to subject my own attitudes and beliefs to the same skeptical analysis as I do those of others.

Unfortunately debunking nonsense such as creationism and homeopathy is already being dealt with on a great number of other blogs and websites, so I may not have much to add on these subjects. Instead, let's get the discussion going on controversial points of view within the rational community.

As such, one theme I intend to explore in this blog is arguing against prominent atheists, philosophers and scientists who I admire and generally agree with on most topics. I intend to write posts disagreeing with such wonderful thinkers and writers as Sam Harris, Stephen Hawking and Dan Dennett.

To start with, I'm going to concentrate on disagreeing with Sam Harris's views on morality as published in The Moral Landscape. Over the next few posts, I'm going to write about my thoughts on the subject of morality, specifically whether there is any such thing as objective morality as well as the moral implications of atheism and the free will debate.

In future I'd also like to tackle topics such as the anthropic principle, whether we could in principle be living inside a simulated universe (matrix-style) and what would that mean, and how the universe could have come into existence without a creator.

Hope it provides food for thought and look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Hello,

    I spent all day yesterday going through your back-and-forth with Richard Carrier in the comment section of his "Ex Nihilo..." post--I've never seen anything like that. It was exhausting, but addictively interesting.

    Anyways, I was impressed with how well you held your ground with Carrier (you don't have a degree in philosophy?) which led me to check out your blog. I was pleased to discover that we hold similar interests, so I hope you don't mind if I sift through your work and leave some comments. (I idolize Sam Harris, so I'm interested to see your critiques of his work.)

    Peace (and keep up the good writings),

  2. Hi Brad,

    As exhausting as you found Ex Nihilo, I'd say I found it more so! The frustration of that conversation was probably a large part of why I have more or less abandoned this blog and attempts to engage in philosophy.

    That and a lack of feedback. Who knows, your posts might inspire me to take it up again.

    No, I have no background in philosophy. My degree is in computer science. You'll see in some of my posts how that may not always be entirely irrelevant to questions of philosophy.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in future.

  3. I understand how exhausting that must have been, as well as how psychologically draining philosophy can be. I hope you can rejuvenate your philosophical curiosities, though, as well as your desire to express them. (I don't know much about Carrier--he seems impressive--and quite a good public debater; however, he seems also to have a poor tendency of being insulting in his writing; i hope that didn't get to you too much.)

    I myself just graduated with a degree in philosophy, which has led me now to desire a degree in computer science; the current melding of philosophy of mind, cognitive neuroscience, and artificial intelligence is really fascinating--and understanding information and computation seems to be the lifeblood to progress in these fields. So yes I can see how computer science could lead you to philosophy, as I have found myself wondering in the reverse direction.

    Peace out!

    (p.s. I'm comin' for you on your arguments against Harris and objective morality! Or rather, I'm working on my own interpretation of his argument, which I think you over simplify and so draw poor conclusions of.)

  4. The frustrating thing with that exchange is that I really got the impression Carrier was just skimming my posts and missing my point, being quick to assume that I had made some stupid mistake.

    Being insulting is one thing, but I just felt like that whole conversation was way more drawn out than it had to be. It was so hard just to communicate my basic ideas to him.

    Of course, this could just as easily be a problem with my powers of expression as it is a problem with his reading. Nevertheless, that's what made the whole exchange feel futile and draining.

    Again, thanks for the encouragement.