A Problem in Mind
Word Ate My Homework


Sometimes, we have no choice but to be patient...

  • Waiting for the next Play with Fire Beta candidate. The delay between builds on this project are just too slow; we have to improve on this in the future.
  • Waiting for news about Reluctant Hero's reception with the publishers. I want to dig into the design ideas and issues here on the blog, but my colleagues have cautioned me (sensibly) to wait until we know it's going to get signed before doing any more work on it. However, I have been invited to write a piece about the project for new website RPGwatch which launches next month.
  • Waiting for any useful information at all about "the generic game engine" project that might allow us to start the game design process.
  • Waiting to get my copy of Keirsey back from my neighbour; for the next campaign I plan to finally bite the bullet and provide some solid material on Temperament Theory, and how I connect it to game design.  I've been vacillating about this for some time, but I think I should just wade in and do it.
  • Waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn...

In the meantime, I have some clean up on the subject of metaphysics to attend to:

  • Why Popper's Milestone means Intelligent Design shouldn't be part of a science curriculum, and the challenging philosophical consequence for scientists.
  • A long standing question in philosophy of religion concerns the striking resemblance between Marxism - which categorically rejects all religions - and religion. Is there a different way of looking at this issue?
  • And I still owe Johnny Pi a reply to his perfectly valid queries in response to some of my earlier ramblings on the subject of religion (thank you so much for actually taking the time to think about this topic! Many atheists would have dismissed it out of hand, and it means a great deal to me that you did not). I will eventually get to a piece on atheist religions (i.e. religions without gods), and why I implore humanists to reject their divisive term 'lifestance', but it might be more appropriate to dig into the  topic of metaphysics a little deeper first.

And maybe some random game posts as well. Have fun!

PS: we're moving through metaphysics on our way towards ethics... if anyone has any recommendations for books on the subject of ethics, please let me know!


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On the Marxism/religion thing: many religions categorically reject all religions except their own. Except the category in question is "religions that aren't this one," rather than Marx's category of "all religions."

I think you are mistaken, Darius.

The quality you mention - rejecting other religions - is unique to certain fanatical monotheistic factions, principally those drawing from the "Big 3" Christianity, Islam and Judaism. In fact, these first two religions have built in 'defences' against such a response (Islam expressly forbids picking on Christians and Jews as they are 'People of the Book' i.e. people from a related faith; followers of Christianity should not be capable of causing violence at all, if following Jesus' actual teachings) - but fanatics always ignore these sort of points and focus on what drives forward their agenda.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Wicca and most if not all polytheistic and primal religions have no similar issue. Indeed, an examination of the history of religious practices in Europe prior to Christian Rome shows a suprising tolerance and exchange of mythology and ideas between the religions of the region.

Take care!

"their agenda" is of course the touchstone here. I'm afraid you are about to set course for much stormier waters now since "ethics" usually means "politik", at least if it is to have some direct effect in peoples lives. And how "good" is a "religion" or "belief system" in eyeryday life if it doesn't help to solve your problems or those of your community? Isn't it tempting to derive an "agenda" from your holy book?

A preeminent ethical thinker in my view is A. Sen - whose books would lead you more or less directly into the eye of the current hurricane ... but then isn't the inside of the hurricane what's most intriguing to the curious mind?

On the issue of "religion": Do you read Peirce and Dewey on "beliefs"?

...in his recent book A. Sen has a lot of insightful comments on the tensions between "the civilizations", including hinduism and islam on the subcontinent...

I feel your waiting angst. I'm waiting for the next build of Fianna, waiting for PwF to come out... actually beyond those I feel pretty proactively empowered.

Have you read Troy Gilbert's blog? I believe he's quite interested in developing a really solid game engine, a TGB (or even Flex IDE) killer. I'm not sure what he's doing specifically in that regard, but you should stopy by and introduce yourself:


Patrick: I've subscribed to Troy's blog to give it a try. Beta of PwF this week, we hope. :)

translucy: I completely agree that a key measure of the value of a religion is how it addresses the issues facing individuals and communities, and that inevitably we rumble on towards a political arena as I head towards ethics. I can't enter that place for a few more months yet, for reasons that will have to remain cryptic. :o

I should clarify that it is not the derivation of an agenda that bothers me so much as the adoption of agendas that completely disrespect the philosophies of the teachers from which fanatics are supposed to have learned!

Thanks for the tip on Amartya Sen - can you recommend one book in the specific? I'm terribly poor at choosing from large selections without criteria. :)

As for Pierce and Dewey, I've read around them, I would say. I'm more familiar with Dewey's transactional ideas than anything of Pierce's, but I've read no books yet. Would you recommend I add something to my scarily huge reading list? (Always bearing in mind that my general strategy is to read more recent books first, and work backwards only if I feel there is something to gain by doing so - hence my rather cool stance on Greek philosophy! :> )

Would you recommend either 'Knowing and the Known' or 'How We Think'?

Many thanks!

Amartya Sen: his recent "Identity and Violence", the discussion of "multiple" and "singularist" identities echoes your view on "cognitive dissonance", however from a "rationalist's" perspective.

Dewey: "How We Think"

Peirce: his discussion of induction, deduction, and abduction I find fascinating, gives a hint at the fact that "cognitive dissonance" is far from being always bad, instead it often helps to bring new ideas and new words into the world.

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