Hi everyone. I’ve decided to move my blogs to self hosted WordPress blog websites. I decided that self hosting gives me more control, and I really wanted to split my art posts out from my author/philosophy posts into two separate blogs!
For my art and designs, please re-subscribe to http://tricksplace.com/
I’ve also opened a Zazzle store, which I decided will be the medium to display my doodles, drawings, and art on TricksPlace.com. I’ve been using a lot more color for them but also using the normal black and white line art designs you’ve been accustomed to. I think Zazzle is pretty neat and I love the idea of my designs being printed and “out there” somewhere in the world.
If you’d like to see a piece of artwork not on a product, just let me know.
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Anyway, thank you to all my subscribers or people that have visited my site in the past and commented. I really appreciate it. I’m still subscribed to many of you and still reading your blogs and viewing your art.
“You quoted Wikipedia? Hah! I can now dismiss everything you have to say. Wikipedia is not a reliable source silly person. Everyone knows that!”
Ever hear that one or something like it? I know I have. Not directed at me, but at others. And it always bothers me.
I agree one should never cite Wikipedia as an academic source or as direct evidence of a claim. But that doesn’t mean one can just dismiss a point being made that links to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an excellent explanatory resource; one of the best on the Internet. It is a great source of information, and for the most part reliable.
Some people seem to think that, because one should not “cite” Wikipedia as academic evidence for the validity of a claim, that Wikipedia is unreliable, should not be used, or should not be pointed to.
They misunderstand the difference between primary /secondary sources, and tertiary sources that point to primary and secondary sources. Tertiary sources condense or consolidate primary and secondary source material into one place.
All encyclopedias are the latter, tertiary sources (though some have elements of secondary sources). The point here is that NO encyclopedia should be used as an academic source or for absolute evidence of a claim. On the other hand quoting an encyclopedia is fine if the information is pertinent and has explanatory power. No one would complain if they were asked to read something from Encyclopedia Britannica or some other encyclopedia.
This brings me to the validity of Wikipedia compared to other encyclopedias, and this is where I disagree with the person who dismisses Wikipedia off-hand.
Wikipedia themself say they are not a credible or authoritative source for a research paper citation, etc. But again, this is simply because they are a tertiary source, which should only be a starting point for research.
The biggest factor that gets some people to automatically dismiss Wikipedia: It can be updated by anyone. Anyone! Someone that is crazier than a loon wearing high heels on Sunday can update a Wikipedia article.
So let’s go over the ups and downs for this. It certainly has its downsides, but I would suggest the upsides override them. Take another encyclopedia for example. For such an encyclopedia, the information is gathered and put together by a group of people who work for the company (ie. Encyclopedia Britannica). It is researched, checked by a much smaller group than Wikipedia, and is just as susceptible to faulty information.
Wikipedia, however, is open to a much larger group of editors – the public. This includes people who are actual experts for any given Wikipedia article. If some joker hops on and makes a false change in an article, it will quickly be looked at by others and fixed. In many cases an almost instantaneous process.
Per Wikipedia: “Every day, hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world collectively make tens of thousands of edits and create thousands of new articles to augment the knowledge held by the Wikipedia encyclopedia.”
Unlike static encyclopedias, this allows for a flow of ever-changing and improving information. This is a good thing. The continual editing of Wikipedia articles , over time, “generally results in an upward trend of quality and a growing consensus over a neutral representation of information”.
The downside is, for starting Wikipedia articles, they may not be of quality as of yet. But the longer an article exists and the more hands in updating the information and citations, the better and more reliable it gets. This is a new media source that brings knowledge and access to knowledge to the table that no other encyclopedia does.
For those that claim it is unreliable, well, if they actually go to the bottom of any Wikipedia page they will usually see a list of citations and links that they can follow and research the actual source of information, if they were so inclined.
Wikipedia is information sharing at its best, and people need to think before they knock it down for short comings that are more that made up for. I say support Wikipedia. It is one of the best sites on the web.Follow @TrickSlattery
I am currently focusing my first book on the lack of free will. This is for a number of reasons. One important reason is that I want my next philosophical book to be on the topic of ethics. Understanding the lack of free will is an important base understanding for any ethical system. It needs to come prior.
In this post I want to briefly talk about why the consequences of our actions should be the primary focus of any ethical system. Ethics that focus on the consequence are called… take a guess… you guessed it… consequentialist ethics. The consequence is the output of the action. In other words, what will happen if you do something. It is this that needs to be the focus.
Some would think this obvious, but there are different types of ethics with different focus’s. Some are “rule based” ethics (called deontological ethics), in which rules or “duties” are the focus, regardless of the consequence. Some are virtue based ethics, where as the character of the person is the focus (and what an action means for that character), regardless of the consequence. These ethical systems, for the most part, place the consequence as secondary.
I am certainly not suggesting virtue is unimportant, or that rules and duties should not be part of an ethical system. I am saying that those should always be contingent on the potential consequence of the action. On our predictive ability and output of what may or will happen later given a certain action.
I would argue that rules or duties make no rational sense outside of what they lead to. Outside of the consequence. One might say that it is always unethical to lie. That may be their rule: One ought not lie. And in general, this may be a good rule. What makes it a good rule is the consequence. A world of constant liars is a world where trust is impossible. But when something happens where the consequence outweighs the rule, such as a Nazi asking a person if another person is hidden and if so where, certainly it is not the ethical thing to tell the truth.
The consequence should always trump any rule based system. Likewise with virtue, it may be a virtue to tell the truth, but the consequence should always trump such “virtue”.
This simplistic example makes the point. The end output is more important than if someone is “virtuous” or if someone holds a rule or duty. Rules, duties, and virtue should point to action that lead to the best consequence. This is by no means an elaborate argument for consequentialism and my second book will go into great detail about this. This is just a lil’ something to get a person thinking about where their own ethics are focused.
The question to ask someone that gives you a moral or ethical rule is, why is such rule ethically important? Or why is an action virtuous? I bet they will have a hard time justifying it without pointing to an actual consequence.Follow @TrickSlattery
Fantasmagoricals are everywhere and increasing exponentially. Once infected, the natural response is to spread it to others. You may already be infected! The disease is extremely contagious. It preys on the desires of an individual. It clouds judgment. It trumps logic and reason. It turns minds into mush. Very happy mush – but mush none-the-less.
There are various symptoms. Once infected, however, one is unable to truly see those symptoms.
Regardless, here are a few to be on the look out for:
- Thinking the world is a much better place than it is. This is a huge sign that you have been infected. This is sometimes called the rainbows and unicorns symptom, as it was once thought that the people who felt this way actually saw the world as rainbows, unicorns, and pink balloons.
- Thinking that suffering in the word is minimal or that pleasure is the opposite equivalent to pain and suffering. If you think that the suffering in the world is balanced out or trumped by the pleasures of the world, you have been infected.
- Skewing logic to correlate to what you desire reality to be rather than to what reality is. A sure sign is when one uses a number of logical fallacies in an attempt to convince others of extraordinary claims. It is a tool used to infect susceptible people.
- Pointing to beauty in the universe as if beauty is some quality of the universe rather than something built out of the psychology of the individual experiencing it. This is a sure sign that one may be infected.
- Thinking that humans are so much better than every other creature living on planet earth. That humans are the end-all-to-be-all. This specie-ist quality is a sign of a fantasmagorical infection.
- Going against what there is a mound of evidence for simply because you don’t like it and making up pseudo-scientific information to go against the evidence. This is a definite sign. If you do this, you may be beyond recovery.
There are many other symptoms but the above bullet points are a good start. Watch out as the memes are invading everywhere. There is no immunity shot one can take for it. The best defense is to learn, understand, and apply logic and reason. Create a mental barrier between your desires and what is logical. Understand that what you want, and what is, are not the same thing. And then pray to a pink unicorn that you do not catch the infection.
If someone you know shows signs of being a fantasmagorical, point them to this blog post.
Awareness is half the battle.
For the fantasmagorical hotline, call 1-800-ƒÅñ†æzzFollow @TrickSlattery