It is very good indeed to see that Aatu Koskensilta has started a blog. Ignore the self-deprecating ‘About Me’: as long time readers of the newsnet group sci.logic will know, Aatu is a fount of very considerable technical knowledge combined with philosophical good sense (the Nordic spirit of Torkel Franzén lives on).
Sci.logic seems to have gone into terminal decline, largely taken over by the maunderings of a few unteachable idiots (plus generous helpings of spam), and I suspect that Aatu’s wise words have been largely wasted there. So I look forward a lot to seeing Aatu put his considerable energies into the new blog, which ought to reach a different and much more discerning audience.
5 thoughts on “Welcoming Aatu to the blogosphere”
I can remember some great battles with Randroids in the distant past (= 80s). Weemba (one of the grad student Brahms Gang at Berkeley) had the nice tactic of putting a dollar sign in front of words that Objectivists gave their own, nonstandard meaning. “$Possible”, for example.
Those of us who enjoy bare-knuckle fighting and bar-room brawls are rather disappointed by the blog world. Not enough people in one place, for a start, more like a private box, and you generally can’t pick fights with anyone but the blog owner.
So stuff the blogs, Wikipedia is actually where the real action is today. There is a sort of moderation there (‘administrators’), there is a reasonably good set of policies which if effectively used will guarantee that ‘academic consensus’. Best of all there are an awful lot of cranks there who are determined to see their pet theories get no. 1 ranking in Google.
Why? Well academic arguments are full of stock responses and replies and the ground is pretty well-determined and known and mapped-out. There is very little there for students and collectors of logical fallacies. But arguments with cranks are just a different thing altogether. You get the fun of spotting the standard garden varieties, plus some more exotic and interesting fallacies that will gladden the heart of all true collectors.
Sadly the mathematical logic parts of Wikipedia are well-guarded by the establishment and there is not much fun to be had. But there are some great battles being fought right now on the Ayn Rand page (was she a philosopher or not – is Anthony Quinton a philosopher). For amusement check out such gems as
Ascended Master Teachings
and so on.
sci.logic has had cranks since the beginning. The difference in recent years is the decline in the number of posts by (and for) non-cranks.
Perhaps it is mostly sociology, I don’t know; but still, there might be some logic-related properties of the topics or theorems that are especially prone to drawing in cranks, and it might be interesting to try to work out what they are.
Diagonal arguments, for example, seem to do it pretty well.
Yes indeed. Perhaps sci.logic was never worth the low signal-to-noise ratio, but the degeneration lately is noteworthy. My author filter numbered 8. My kill file was much larger…
I’m thinking that the the blog world is where quality has moved.
[The remaining interest is, I suppose, why certain topics are perennial attractors of cranks. Cantor’s theorem being the obvious one. But that’s mostly sociology.]