Natural language processing is a confirmation of Searle’s Chinese room.


Certain political pundits get caught up in a similar type of anecdotal fallacy. But it’s not the typical sort of anecdote, involving real-life interaction. It’s the anecdotal experience of the “very online” pundit who lets their Twitter or Facebook interactions color their perception of Christianity or Evangelicalism in the United States. Often these political pundits think they can appeal to one or two polls or some data to back up their anecdote. But some of the popular polls and data made use of by pundits aren’t as useful as they think. The first example that comes to my mind here…


Andrew Klavan has a great line about anger being the devil’s cocaine. Among the various outrage addicts is the church-going evangelical who is always outraged by the latest thing said or done by the abstract, statistical evangelical — outrage over the average evangelical.

We should never be complacent about sin, but we can use this never-be-complacent dictum to justify our addiction to being always upset online — our addiction to the slight elation we feel when we have someone to be morally disappointed in.

The world is divided into good and evil and it feels good to think we’re doing…


Just a quick thought here. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul mentions several rights that he and other apostles and ministers have, such as the right of financial support from those one ministers to. In verse 12b Paul says “Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right; instead, we endure everything so that we will not hinder the gospel of Christ.”

There are various types of rights: natural rights and legal rights are the two most obvious contrasts. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul is considering what we might call a Kingdom right (or a Christian liberty). …


Jonah Goldberg, David French, and some others have suggested that Republicans should make a deal with Democrats in which Republicans don’t vote to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee in exchange for promises from a few reliable Democrats that they won’t pack the courts, make Puerto Rico and Washington DC a state, etc.

And, as usual, they frame their position as the principled one, standing strong against the beating winds of pure pragmatism. Those who disagree are concerned with what they can do rather than what they should do.

Here’s a thought experiment:

Suppose that we lived in an alternate world…


Consider a basic definition of pluralism provided by Google:

a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.

The definition has an ambiguity in the term coexist insofar as it can be understood positively — as is intended in the “Coexist” bumper sticker — or it can be understood in a neutral sense.[1] In the neutral sense, any two things that exist simultaneously at a specified level can be considered a case of pluralism.

Pluralism isn’t inherently a good thing or bad thing. We can imagine a world in which two tribes…


According to John Fund, from National Review, “Senator Ted Cruz told Fox News that it’s ‘critical’ a justice be confirmed before Nov. 3, in part because of the possibility of a ‘constitutional crisis’ if there were a 4–4 split over a disputed election outcome.”

The responses to this line of thought has mostly been outrage. A lot of liberals have pointed out how cynical and dumb this is.

Meanwhile, according to Politifact, back in 2016:

In the case of Obama’s nomination of Garland, Democrats have argued that the Supreme Court seat should be filled immediately because the court needs a…


Michelle Goldberg writes the following for the NYT:

If Republicans force a justice on us, it’s because they believe that standards are for suckers, and people who hold power need not be constrained by any pledge or institutional tradition.

This is probably going to be the most common argument we hear over the coming days or weeks or months.

The idea is that we should hold Republicans to their earlier position, even if that position was wrong. And if Republicans don’t hold to their earlier position, even though that earlier position was wrong, then they are demonstrating that they don’t…


J. V. L. writes:

If Trump and Senate Republicans are defeated in the election, but then try to replace Ginsburg before leaving office, the political retribution would be incalculable. The Democratic party would believe — with good reason — that there are no limits to majoritarian rule.

Meanwhile there’s a lot of this going around on among the left on social media:

These are similar mindsets (not that Last is endorsing the retribution he’s predicting).

To what degree should our government be guided by this sort of hostage game?

There are a few complexities in this situation, but the following…


On the one hand, it’s surprising how many people — including evangelicals and conservative NeverTrumpers — fail to recognize that Democrats engage in the same sort of Flight 93-ism and fear-mongering that Trump and Republicans are accused of. (And before one thinks to dismiss this as whataboutism or both-sides-ism, see here for why you’re probably confused on what’s wrong and not wrong with whataboutism.)

Here’s Joe Biden, just two days ago:

Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. Hurricanes are imperling suburban life along our coast. If we have four…

John Bowling

Throwing half-baked ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks.

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