The Maze Of Free Will

Galen Strawson is a British philosopher and literary critic who works primarily on philosophy of mind, metaphysics (including free will, panpsychism, the mind-body problem, and the self), John Locke, David Hume and Kant.

Like I have argued here many times, Strawson doesn’t believe that Free Will exists. According to his ‘basic argument’:

  1. You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.
  2. So in order to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are — at least in certain crucial mental respects.
  3. But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.
  4. So you cannot be ultimately responsible for what you do.

Sounds good to me.

Here’s an article that he recently wrote for the NYTimes.

Australia: The Unlucky Country?

While waiting in the Apple Store Chermside today (waiting, that is, for them to replace the hard drive on my 5 month old 17″ Macbook Pro for the second time in a week), I started reading the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 report. The report was recently released by Beyond Zero Emissions, a non-profit group based in Melbourne. Their report details how Australia can become a zero carbon-emitting country by 2020. In their introduction, they remind us that Australia has the highest carbon emission per capita ranking in the entire world.

I had forgotten that fact, so I tweeted:

Let’s remember during this election that Australia has the highest emissions per capita IN THE WORLD. We are a disgrace.

A few hours later I saw this tweet in response:

I wish to express my utter disdain for what @Vzzzbx just retweeted from some twat called @cameronreilly (see next tweet)

I don’t know who this Ches Trulson guy is, but it always amuses me when someone just slags me off and doesn’t try to debate the facts. It’s usually the sign of a limited intelligence. But I popped over to read more of his Twitter feed, just in case he was someone to take seriously.

Here’s a sample of his Twitter feed, following on from the ‘disdain’ post:

We live in a first world country, this means our emissions are worse than much of the world. Bad? Sure.

France is also a first world country, but their emissions are one-third of Australia’s. And France’s emissions per capita have reduced by 40% since 1979, while Australia’s have grown by 40%.

It’s also really fucking big, and our population is spread across a large area. Again, bad. We also have a varied and harsh climate. Bad.

Russia is a pretty big country as well and their climate is pretty harsh. Their emissions have dropped by 30% since 1992, while Australia’s have grown.

Except of course, that none of that is practical to change, or any of our fault. Yet I should feel ashamed? Get fucked.

This is what amuses me the most. “None of that is practical to change or any of our fault.” That kind of lazy, defeatist attitude is precisely WHY we are the worst emitters in the world. Huge brains like Ches just throwing up his hands and saying “not my fault”. Of course it’s not your fault, Ches. Meanwhile, the ZCA2020 report says it *is* practical to change – in fact, we could be a zero carbon emission country within ten years – if we can get people like Ches to pull their heads out of their asses.

I’m all for living sustainably, but Aus is not a significant problem IMO, and making us feel bad about it is helpful in no way whatsoever.

Aw, diddums. Did Bad Cameron make you cwy? Grow up, dude. It’s precisely because we are a first world country that we are a significant problem. The rest of the world (read: the developing countries who are still trying to pull themselves out of poverty) are looking towards the first world countries as guidance. If we don’t seem to be taking this stuff seriously, then why should they? Australia should (IMHO) be leading the world on this issue. We have the wealth. We have the political stability. We have the intelligence (well…. some of us). Perhaps most importantly, we have huge sources of renewable energy. Let’s lead the world for once in something other than sport and racist actors.

Hard to argue convincingly over twitter, but whatever, rage subsiding.

Well here’s you chance, Ches. Argue convincingly here. If you can.

Oh, and this from a guy who does marketing for cigars and pergolas? Hilarious.

Yeah I see what those things have to do with each other. No, wait…. I don’t. Please enlighten me. Of course, this is all coming from a self-confessed “car nerd”. I guess when you’re a “car nerd”, the whole idea of reducing carbon emissions is likely to induce cognitive dissonance.

On other Twitter fronts….

My mate Ben Wilks took umbrage to my retweet about how stupid Gillard’s “small Australia” policy is.

@cameronreilly umm, ok. Population has doubled in the last 15 years. Property prices and traffic ARE QUALITY OF LIFE. Seriously, WT?

Actually, Ben – no. Property prices and traffic are NOT quality of life. At all.

This whole “small Australia” policy is seriously dysfunctional. Here’s why:

According to the IMF, Australia ranks #10 in GDP per capita.

On top of that, we have one of the lowest population densities in the world.

If we can’t have quality of life while we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world with one of the lowest population densities – then we are seriously messed up.

This all reminds me of a story Clive Hamilton (he of the internet filter) wrote about in one of his earlier books, Affluenza.

I don’t have the book in front of me, so I’ll paraphrase it. He wrote that the average net household income in Australia has increased by something like 300% since 1950. And yet when you survey the Australian population and ask them “do you have enough to get by”, something like 75% of people say “no”.

We’re messed up, dysfunctional.

When you have an individual who has everything going for them and yet they feel oppressed, it’s often a sign of a psychosis or mental illness.

When you have an entire population who has everything going for them and yet they feel like they don’t have enough to get by, what does that say about the general psyche of the country?

(pic via suburbanbloke’s flickr)

Sascha’s Hacked iPad Case

Made for me today by SaschaV:

1. Take one Gecko Glove.
2. Take one re-usable plastic handle from the top of a monitor box.
3. Take your Stanley knife and make a couple of slits in the back of the Glove.
4. Insert the ends of the handle.

Ta-da! Now you have a convenient handle for your iPad. Sascha told me he contacted the folks at Gecko to see if they would be interested if he put together an instructional video on how to make one, and got a ‘yeah whatever” response.

Julian Assange at TED July 2010

Australia’s most impressive media entrepreneur, Julian Assange, explains how Wikileaks works and provides some insight into recent events, in this recent interview with Wired’s Chris Anderson at TED.

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

Assange is trying to use the internet to change the world. He is what Peter Ellyard would call a “Future Maker”. I’m constantly motived and inspired by Julian’s quietly bold approach to tackle world governments and corporations. He’s spot on in this interview when he says a good approach to figuring out what the most important news is, is to discover what corporations and governments are spending a lot of effort and money to keep secret.

Recently I’ve been reading ridiculous suggestions that Wikileaks is a “honey trap” for whistleblowers. The idea seems to be that Wikileaks gets potential whistleblowers to come forward, and then they are arrested, Manning’s recent arrest is taken as being a sign that something is rotten in Denmark. The only problem with this scenario is that stuff is being leaked. It would be seem a bit of a stretch to think the establishment are allowing their dirty laundry to get exposed in an effort to create a temptation for potential whistleblowers to come forwards. As Julian says at the beginning of the video, Wikileaks has released more leaks in the last couple of years than the rest of the world media COMBINED.

My Top 15 iPad Apps

Getting an iPad?

Here’s my TOP 15 apps you should definitely check out.

Zinio: the iPad is great for reading magazines and although the Zinio app is (at present) a little clunky, it does the job.

Sketchbook: draw everything from simple diagrams and flowcharts to works of art.

Word Monkey: awesome game to work your brain.

Lifelike Clock: the app that wakes me up in the morning.

Analytics: check your site stats on the fly.

GoodReader: read PDFs with ease, great integration with Dropbox.

1Password: never forget your passwords again.

ABC (as in Australian Broadcasting Corporation): Watch TV, listen to the radio, read the news.

Reeder: Amazing RSS reader that integrates with Google Reader.

Dropbox: Get access to all of your files from your iPad.

Evernote: Take notes, retrieve notes, anywhere, anytime. I live in this app.

Twitterific: Very slick Twitter app.

Remote: Control your music collection from your iPad. Will be nicer when they come out with a true iPad version.

Stanza: Read the latest books and the classics. Unlike Apple’s iBooks app, you can actually buy books to read outside the USA. And they are usually a quarter of the price.

Osmos: AMAZING game, probably the most beautiful iPad app I’ve seen. Mesmerizing.

Pilot Of My New Bible Podcast

How man people have read the entire bible, cover to cover? Well…. I have. A few times. And now I’m about to do it again. This time, however, I’m going to record it. That’s right – the entire bible. Old and new testaments.

Why? Because it’s a fascinating, confusing, humorous and scary piece of literature. And everyone, Christian or not, should know what it says. Ninety-nine percent of all of the Christians I’ve ever asked have told me that they HAVE NOT read it cover to cover, even the people who actually think it is the literal word of GOD. Pretty amazing.

So anyway – now all of you lazy people don’t have to read it, because I’m going to do it for you. And I’ll even explain it as I go.

The show will get its own website soon, this is just a preview.

UPDATE: This show now has its own site.