About Me

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If you like the work I’m doing here, please consider supporting it through Patreon!
(Also: like the Facebook fan page!) 

I began this blog reluctantly, at the urging of friends who kept telling me they felt that my comments were being wasted on Facebook. One of my proudest accomplishments thus far: Zombie Meditations has been formally cited by Loyola economist Walter Block in a published journal on the history of the drug war, where I draw from Professor Michael Javen Fortner and explain in detail with extensive citations that the existence of the modern war on drugs owes more to the actions of black activists and victims of drug violence than to a supposedly racist white society which used drugs as a pretext for cracking down on inner city black residents. (I also address claims that drug–related violence is a result of the drug war rather than drugs themselves by showing that the war on drugs actually made a substantial contribution to the crime decline of the 1990s, and refute the common notion that the war on drugs disproportionately arrests minority drug users even though whites use drugs more frequently than non–whites: hospital visitation rates, recovery clinic check–in rates, and self–reports of drug use that test people for drugs after they report their use in order to verify the accuracy of their reports all tell a different story).

My goal is to write long–form essays on relatively controversial topics, collecting the most comprehensive evidence that I can find. I don’t want to write at a dry, scholarly level, but I’m also not planning to turn this into a place to come for the latest day–to–day news. Rather, I want this to become an intellectual resource—full of essays that would be ideal to send to someone who disagrees, perhaps vehemently, with my conclusions and would demand lots of hard evidence and careful argument in order to consider even giving them another thought. The more time I’ve spent paying attention to social and political topics or thinking about philosophy, the more I’ve come to conclusions that I would find it hard to explain to my own younger self; indeed, on many points my younger self would have found these current positions shocking or even offensive. In many ways, this blog is my effort to do just that—to explain to my younger self how I got here, and explain that I’m not the demon he would’ve thought I am.

So far, the blog is divided into two different sections: one on philosophy of mind; the other on sociology and common claims made about race and gender. The series on philosophy of mind, in particular, is meant to be read in sequential order; there I explain, from the ground up, step by step, how studying philosophy of mind led me, as an atheist, to think that materialist philosophy of mind absolutely fails, and that some form of “dualism” really is the only viable position left after a process of deductive elimination. The series ends with a comprehensive review of the proposed explanations behind near–death experiences, and a discussion of how the philosophical reasoning outlined in the series up to there influences how we should evaluate that evidence.

I conclude: “My own interest is in what one can reasonably believe. Having argued in detail that one can more than reasonably believe that consciousness is not reducible in principle to physical mechanism (but is, instead, a “bedrock” phenomena in the world all its own), my conclusion extends to entail that one can reasonably believe that the near death experience could very well be just what it appears to be: an experience of the separation of consciousness from the body and brain. To the extent that there is simply no compelling justification for confidence in the philosophical idea that qualitative, subjective experience is wholly and completely reducible to physical mechanism in the first place, there is no compelling justification (beyond prejudice) for confidence that any particular reductionist explanation of the near death experience is especially likely to be true. Any insistence otherwise plainly rests not on the independent plausibility of these reductionist explanations, but instead in the a priori conviction borne solely from philosophical prejudice that some reductionist explanation must be true—with this a priori conviction in place, the fact that it is conceivable that the patient near death has some residual brain activity we can’t currently measure, or that it can’t be definitively refuted that some complex combination of factors, none of which independently come anywhere near explaining the whole experience, and each of which seem entirely lacking in at least some large number of cases, could combine in any number of ways (and no matter how combined still produce the archetypical NDE) is—for the skeptic—enough. But for those of us who reject the claim that there is sufficient justification for such confidence in this a priori conviction in the first place, it isn’t.”

The second section discusses feminist and anti–racist sociology, putting popular claims through a critical lens. For example, one essay finds that while African–Americans are overrepresented in police shootings relative to their population rate, not only is this disparity completely taken care of by accounting for the violent crime rate, it actually reverses, with the end result that about twice as many more black crimes will be committed before any one black suspect is shot as the number of white crimes that will be committed before any one white suspect is shot. In other words, any given white individual who interacts with police is about twice as likely to be shot by police as any given black individual who interacts with police is. The best controlled experimental studies conducted in academia, as I show, actually corroborate this result too.

Another essay discusses the fact that the gender disparity in prison sentencing which favors women is a whopping six times as large as the racial disparity in prison sentencing which favors whites, with the end result that black women hold far more “privilege” over white men in prison sentencing than white men hold over black men. All of this contradicts the common claim that “privilege” in American society can reasonably be summarized as putting white males on top and black females on the bottom. The reality is far more complicated than that; once we correct exaggerations that have been made in the record as to how disadvantageous being black or female are per se and we include ignored ways in which being white or male can also carry disadvantages into the analysis, it is simply no longer clear that being either white, black, male, or female is even an all–else–equal “privilege” in modern society.

I make this argument not to say that white men, too, are horribly oppressed; but to say that, for the most part, no one is oppressed solely on the basis of their race or gender—and to the relatively small extent that anyone is, no one is exempt, and no one has it drastically worse than anyone else: black men do spend slightly longer in prison than white men for equivalent offenses, but white men are both more likely to be shot by police before arrest, and more likely to be raped (almost always by black men) once in jail; meanwhile, black followed by white women spend the least time in prison for identical crimes of all. The growing “social justice warrior” attitude which says that white men just need to “shut up and listen” to others’ “lived experiences” which must be automatically believed—as if everyone else’s perception of their experiences is precisely accurate, but white men have no “lived experiences” of their own!—is not just wrong, but positively harmful: not only does “anti–racist” and feminist groups’ loss of popularity as a result of dishonest reasoning and hostile behavior result in valid issues faced by non–whites and women being discredited by association, but the valid issues faced by whites and men end up ignored entirely, too.

When the situation becomes this imbalanced, everyone loses.

If you like the work I’m doing here, please consider supporting it through Patreon!
Seriously, I could really use the help.

(Also: like the Facebook fan page!) 

26; Married; First child on the way (Due in December ‘16).
Currently residing in Georgia (and missing California weather).

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3 responses to “About Me

  1. Darrell December 6, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Hello, great piece on unz, on pizza gate. Can you send me a link to the franklin book? Thanks and keep up the good work.. always good to expose The Hegemon!

    Like

  2. acim8 February 7, 2017 at 1:10 am

    As above. Excellent p-gate article. Am looking for the Franklin scandal link also. Keep up the good works!

    Like

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