Sex and Gender: The Biochemistry and Neuroscience of the Transgender Phenomenon

Possibly the most important part of the mental model humans construct is their mental model of themselves. This is what we call our identity. It takes all the beliefs we have about ourselves and attempts to put them together into an internally coherent whole. Some of our most cherished political, religious, racial, and gender thoughts about ourselves tells us who we are and how we ought to interact with the world.

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Transcendental Apperception and the Phenomenology of Significance

When we perceive something, what is the phenomenological experience of that perception? Do we experience it, as Edmund Husserl would have said, as a series of objects in space? Or do we experience it in a doxastic way, as an immediate sense of there is particular thing X – a sort of proposition that happens without words? Or do we experience it as a web of significance as Martin Heidegger thought? Here I will explore some of these ideas.

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White Male Privilege: Does it Exist?

I am a white male. I recently went through a job search a few months ago and found something interesting: many of the places I looked into (mostly laboratories and jobs at universities) had diversity in the description of what they were looking for in a job candidate. Perhaps I’m wrong (I did end up getting a job tutoring at a university, after all) but it seems like that is essentially saying white men need not apply. Is this proof that white male privilege is no longer a thing?

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Book Review: Knowledge and Christian Belief (part 2)

Knowledge and Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga. Copyright 2015. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 126 pages.

Here I am going to give a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of Alvin Plantinga’s 2015 book Knowledge and Christian Belief. In the first post I covered the first four chapters; this post will cover all of the remaining chapters.

This book is meant as a layman’s version of Plantinga’s much longer and more technical 2000 book Warranted Christian Belief. and so it is possible that some of my criticisms are addressed in the more thorough treatise. Here I will only be taking the shorter book into consideration.

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Metal Albums Review for 2017

I am going to do reviews of my favorite metal albums from the past few years. I am a recent convert to metal music, so I am starting with 2017. This first list is coming out in October. In November I will do my 2018 top ten and then in December I will do my 2019 top ten. You can already see my lists here, but in these posts I will go into more detail about why I have chosen these albums.

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Book Review: Knowledge and Christian Belief (part 1)

Knowledge and Christian Belief by Alvin Plantinga. Copyright 2015. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 126 pages.

Here I am going to give a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of Alvin Plantinga’s 2015 book Knowledge and Christian Belief. In this first post I will cover the first four chapters; the subsequent chapters will be covered in another post.

This book is meant as a layman’s version of Plantinga’s much longer and more technical 2000 book Warranted Christian Belief. and so it is possible that some of my criticisms are addressed in the more thorough treatise. Here I will only be taking the shorter book into consideration.

Continue reading “Book Review: Knowledge and Christian Belief (part 1)”

Syria, Kurds, and Trump

I’m not a news site, so hopefully most people reading this aren’t just now learning that U.S. president Donald Trump ordered U.S. troops pulled back from the northern border between Syria and Turkey. This was done at the behest of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Here I would like to set a few things straight and give my opinion on the whole situation.

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Material and Immaterial: Why Materialism is Incomplete

In the twentieth century, Jean-Paul Sartre famously said that existence precedes essence, which is the reverse order of what the Medieval philosophers believed. In this line of thinking, a thing first exists, and then due to its form of existing, it has essence bestowed upon it by observers. This is where the Existentialist idea of radical freedom came from. In the Medieval philosophy, you were your essence first, and it was God that bestowed upon you your existence. But that means your essence is immutable. In Existentialism, it is you that creates your essence to be what you want, and your essence is only determined by what you do, not by your intentions. What this idea ultimately concludes is that there is nothing special about an existing object apart from the meaning given to it by minds, or being-for-itself in Sartre’s parlance, denoting the objectness of the mind. But if the mind is an object, then what is it about the mind that makes it special, allowed to bestow meaning on the objects around it?

The following post is an excerpt from a book I’m writing that has to do with human consciousness and the human condition. In this section I discuss why materialism offers only an incomplete explanation for consciousness.

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Material and Immaterial: Why Spiritualism is Untrue

This idea of a non-physical realm that transcends the physical has been a persistent one. What this even means will usually depend on who you ask. However, it usually has something to do with ethereal spirits working within arbitrary laws that have little or nothing to do with the physical laws we are familiar with. Sometimes it is the realm ghosts inhabit – the disembodied spirits of people who’ve died. Sometimes it is described more as a divine realm where angels and souls exist, somehow able to communicate actions into the physical realm when it pleases them. What spiritualism always has in common, though, is that it has everything to do with human beings.

The following post is an excerpt from a book I’m writing that has to do with human consciousness and the human condition. In this section I discuss why spiritualism is, at best, a hypothesis that should be rejected as an explanation for consciousness.

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Some Things That Need to be Said

It has often been said that people say a lot while saying very little. That goes to show that if we just keep doing the same things, then nothing will change. It could also be said that if we change the way we do things, then we can change the way things are. Here I will say some things that can be said about everything and probably say everything that can be said about some other things.

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My Endorsement for U.S. President: Tulsi Gabbard

I consider myself a classical liberal, which in the U.S. is more strongly aligned with libertarians than with Liberals. I voted for the Libertarian candidate in the last two elections, after voting for Obama in 2008 and John Kerry in 2004 (those elections were before my conversion to being more libertarian leaning). That being said, I am prepared to vote Democratic again in this election as long as Tulsi Gabbard is the Democratic candidate. Here is why.

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Hong Kong Protests and Freedom

Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) is part of the People’s Republic of China under “One Country, Two Systems” created by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984 and coming into effect in 1997. “One Country, Two Systems” stopped China’s communist system from taking effect in Hong Kong, leaving Hong Kong with political and economic autonomy for 50 years, until 2047. Here in the U.S. the Hong Kong demonstrations have caused issues with certain organizations loyalty being split between ideology and profit.

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