1. I’ve called in the hard-assed rationalist community into an e-mail debate I’ve been having about revelation and epistemic virtue, viz., my latest post on Overcoming Bias, in which I ask if the Pope is Catholic and come up with the less obvious answer. Key issues: do revealed truths count as reasons? If not, how do we account for the fact that people may claim opposing revealed truths? How does someone who thinks he has a revealed truth incorporate information about other people’s beliefs that they have different revealed truths?
2. My friend Nina has a lovely and heartwarming story of thanksgiving family tradition.
3. It’s good to be briefly back in LA. Zankou chicken is the best in the world (have the tarna wrap). I finally got a haircut — and can unequivocally recommend Shorty’s on Fairfax in WeHo. Ask for Dee — I love my haircut so much I gave her a ten dollar tip. And, for a native who develops strong connections to places as do I, there’s nothing like driving down the 101, descending into LA, seeing the first of the iconic streets fly by on the freeway sign (Mulholland is first — one of these days when I have the time, I’m going to jump off the freeway early and cruise on top of the hills). As the Chili Peppers put it, the city she loves me. (That song captures my mood perfectly, lonely and roaming the streets, taking comfort in the city that moves with my personal rhythm. It’s also just about the only truly good 90’s alt-rock song.)
4. Mike’s repeated posts about Obama’s “alpha” status remind me that I’ve been meaning to suppress my “what the fucking fuck?” reaction and initiate a blogospheric investigation into the whole damn thing. No, not Obama. But this whole “alpha,” “game,” “pick-up artists” business. Questions to be answered: “are there really such things as alpha males?” “does being, or pretending to be, an alpha male bring about sexual success?” and “is it ethical?” The hypothesized answers are no, no, and irrelevant in light of the previous two answers, respectively, for the following two major reasons: 1) If there were such a thing as “natural” (i.e., genetic) “alphas,” and if Roissy is right that such people have 10 times the number of sexual partners as others, then that’s such a huge fitness advantage that it would require a huge major explanation as to why 90% of the men in the world aren’t natural “alphas.” And 2) nine-tenths of that stuff, as far as I’ve seen, purports to be based on neuro-linguistic programming, which, as far as I can tell, is totally scientifically vapid.
5. Speaking of “alphas,” everyone else on the internet is linking to this and so shall I.
6. Brian Weatherson offers some interesting thoughts on the finite iterated prisoners’ dilemma. I have a paper lying around on this (backwards-induction focused) that I’ve been thinking of working up into something presentable if I ever have time, so I always like to keep track of this sort of thing.