Withiering Wikipedia

This post was first published in 2012, but with the advent of "fake news" and influence buying on places like Facebook, the crisis I discussed back then is still topical. And it's only gotten worse.


I've made no secret of my disdain for Wikipedia, especially as an "anyone can edit" source. Now, no surprise: Wikipedia's got problems -- and it is thinking of solutions to make the problems worse.

A reader noted some articles with some rather telling and disturbing information indicating the following:

Wikipedia is short on writers -- and keeps losing them. Well, why is this a surprise? Even the most ardent volunteer will eventually wonder why they put up with having to edit and check the work of 13 year olds named Jason who clearly don't have any idea what the heck they're talking about. Or why they put up with vandalism. And why they ought to do it essentially anonymously.

That's an ever expanding cycle, too, because as more editors qui…

Mind and Emergent property

An emergent property is one that stems from factors lower down in the evolutionary process that do not involve the emergent property. The emergent properties emerge from amid a set of properties none of which herald the emergent one. It just springs forth, life from non-life, consciousness from non-conscious, por soir from en soir.

...[E]mergent entities (properties or substances) ‘arise’ out of more fundamental entities and yet are ‘novel’ or ‘irreducible’ with respect to them. (For example, it is sometimes said that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.) Each of the quoted terms is slippery in its own right, and their specifications yield the varied notions of emergence that we discuss below. There has been renewed interest in emergence within discussions of the behavior of complex systems and debates over the reconcilability of mental causation, intentionality, or consciousness with physicalism.[1]
According to O'connor and Wang emergent properties can't be red…

Bart Ehrman's "Triumph of Christianity" Conclusion

If T. S. Eliot were writing about Ehrman's The Triumph of Christianity, he would probably say it this way:

This is the way the book ends
This is the way the book ends
This is the way the  book ends
Not with a bang but a thud.

No, Ehrman never really explained "WHY" Christianity triumphed, beyond pedantic obvious-isms like, "People told other people about it, and they believed it." The closest he ever came to giving a "WHY" was when he suggested miracles might have something to do with it. And although he stayed non-committal about whether there were any real miracles happening, he cut off any attempt to make that a distinguishing factor by admitting that people of that time worshiped gods because of the benefits they provided [140]. He also admits that other gods were believed to have superhuman powers to provide things. What that means in the end is that either a) they were all just as able to do miracles, thus cutting off any reason to believe Christiani…

No proof virtual particles come from nothing,

On March 30, 2016 I posted, on this blog,[1]  "Quantum Particles Do not Prove a universe from Nothing." The post was backed by sources such as Scientific American, David Albert, Even Hawking's Center for Theoretical Cosmology[2]Even so there are atheists telling me it's wrong. I dispute this, Rather than being wrong I think is couches it's terms in the parlance of an old theory. Because it doesn't explain things in the jargon of the newly accepted theory skeptics have an appropriate juncture at which they can charge it with being wrong because it appears out moded.

The major issue is that virtual particles (VPs) do not really emerge from nothing uncased at lest there's no proof that they do. This issue revolves around the emergence of VPs from true actual nothing, that is the lack of any thing at all. I will bracket discussion for this paper of why the scenario of origin must begin with this state of true nothing[3]

What is it about the parlance of that …

Bart Ehrman's Triumph of Christianity, Part 3

I took last week off so that I could meet Mrs H for lunch and allow her to listen to Billy Graham's funeral on the radio. She was a great admirer of Graham, and she was grateful for the chance to listen in.

Now, what of Ehrman's latest? I made my way up through page 139, and Ehrman has yet to drop any kind of footwear that would disturb universal harmony. He acknowledges how intolerant the Romans were of religious movements they considered deviant [89] and that Christianity was exclusivist [125]. He also admits that Christians were "widely considered strange." [104] Chapter 4 has the promising title, "Reasons for Christian Success" [105] and it begins with an admission that Christian growth rates were "absolutely extraordinary." However, Ehrman initially takes some time to putter around with the point that Christian monolatry at least would not have been considered extraordinary [115]. I don't think the contrary is argued by anyone whose leadin…