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About Me:
"What a horrifying world it would be if the trillions of things that can be imagined were real by virtue of our ability to conceive of them."

Wyatt's Blog

What is Education?

Posted on June 13, 2020 at 8:16am 3 Comments

I currently teach in Japan. The schools here focus almost entirely on preparing students for tests at specific waypoints in their education. There are tests at every level. Even some kindergartens require prospective students to take an entrance exam. But there is very little focus on developing critical thinking skills. Upon graduating high school, students can perform calculations at lightning speed and recall scientific facts and mathematical formulae…


Outrage Addiction

Posted on December 17, 2017 at 9:44am 6 Comments

        Experience has taught us that people will often employ outrage and hyperbole, often in the form of public shaming, to convince others rather than construct a sound argument. There may be several reasons for this. The research suggests that people generally find it easier to remain in the brain's equivalent of autopilot (system 1) than to employ slow, deliberate, analytical reasoning (system 2). [See Kahneman, "Fast and slow Thinking"] It seems that system 1 is the default. It may…


Letter to a religious relative

Posted on June 6, 2016 at 10:23am 0 Comments

I do understand your perspective, and I have had this discussion with others of various faiths before. And I have made some observations. Perhaps you can tell me whether you think the conclusions I have come to are valid.

First, it seems that while it is not always the case, it is nevertheless often true that small, local communities are echo chambers of like-minded belief.

I think people tend to believe whatever they were raised with. If…


"Ought" we to be vegan?

Posted on January 13, 2016 at 7:14pm 17 Comments

Zeno:  The philosopher David Hume pointed out that one can not logically deduce an "ought" from an "is."  There is nothing that we "ought" to do.  Morality is not an element in the periodic table, nor is it an objective and inalterable property of the universe.  Our morality will depend on our desires and circumstances.  If we wish to live and be happy, there are certain things that we need to do, but there is no "ought."  There is no universal cosmic code…


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