Ideas

Moral certainty in religious and secular culture

Submitted by devin on Tue, 03/26/2019 - 11:30

I have to start this post with some self-reflection. It's easy to believe that only stupid people get swept up in cults. I heard a few years ago, however, that in fact intelligent people are in fact more likely to join a cult (article, reference).

As a practising Christian, I've therefore spent a lot of time considering whether I'm just another naive cult member.

When you can't solve a problem, consider injecting new information

Submitted by devin on Tue, 12/18/2018 - 16:10

I used to come across linear algebra problems in math class that seemed impossible to solve. Consider trying to find the value of x, y, and z given this set of two equations:

4x + 3y + z = 8
x + y = 2

If I plug this into Wolfram Alpha, all it can tell me is "y = 4 - x". That doesn't solve for x, y, and z like we want. The problem is intractable.

Dishonest Debater

Submitted by devin on Thu, 07/26/2018 - 00:41

I am a dishonest debater.

I remember being around 7 years old and arguing with my brother. Some adult had told us in the past not to run when crossing the road, and I agreed. My brother, a little older and a little more rebellious, still wanted to run across the road. One day, he did, and I confronted him.

"Don't run across the road" I (proudly) stated.

"Why not?" he (reasonably) asked.

How to have productive meetings, part 1

Submitted by devin on Wed, 01/17/2018 - 23:25

At some point in my life, I started going to meetings, and slowly started gathering good and bad experiences. Also, for some reason, during university I actually studied how to have productive meetings, and I’ve kept a few tidbits of wisdom from that course.

I hold this truth to be self evident: most meetings are a waste of time.

But there’s a corollary: it’s also hard to identify which of your meetings are a waste of time, and why. It’s hard to predict in advance whether a meeting will be productive.

The similarity between Christianity and Feminism

Submitted by devin on Sun, 01/22/2017 - 20:40

I'm a Christian and a feminist. Membership in both groups is a key part of my identity. If you talk to someone with a simplistic understanding of these groups, though, they might be surprised that it's possible to be a member of both groups!

The problem is that we aren't very good at differentiating subgroups that happen to share the same label. We lump Catholics, Pentecostals, and Unitarians into one group called "Christians". We even lump Canadian Christians and American Christians into one group!