Reciprocity

Reciprocity

Welcome!

If you've found your way here, you're probably one of those people who's curious about the world around you and how it works. 

The first thing to note is that this is not a conventional blog. I'm currently writing a book about how we think about things, and how we go about assessing the claims we encounter in daily life for veracity. The intent of this blog is twofold: To be my author's notes for the book, and to provide a means by which my very many extremely knowledgeable friends around the world can access the topics I want to discuss in the book and to ensure that I'm not, to borrow a phrase from one of those friends, talking from an orifice most readily associated with a more solid form of waste.

As such, much of what I discuss here will be unsourced, as it presumes a certain level of understanding. There will be few citations except where I'm discussing specific areas of research. That's not to say, of course, that I'm extracting claims from my rectum, only that I'm assuming a particular level of competence in the topics discussed for the purposes of my presentation.

If you have concerns about what I present here, I'm happy to provide citations on request.

While I've studied everything I talk about in some depth, I don't claim to be an expert in any of the topics discussed, and I not only do not suggest that I'm correct in every respect, I assert that there are things I've probably gotten wrong. This is exactly the reason I present this material in the way that I do, namely that, where I am wrong, I wish to be corrected.

Where I am wrong, the responsibility lies with me. Where I am correct, the credit goes to that huge list of friends more knowledgeable than myself. 

To keep it interesting, I'll also post the occasional article on topical issues that may not be included in the book.

The blog will be broadly divided into categories, which you can find below with links to the apposite posts.

To borrow the motto of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints division, Share and enjoy!

Physics and Cosmology
Part I of a series dealing with our best pre-Planck models
Part II of a series dealing with our best pre-Planck models
Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and its implications
Why a free-falling body is not subject to gravity
Entropy in evolution, information theory and statistical mechanics.
Scale Invariance and the Cosmological Constant
A brief analysis of two papers on cosmology
Evolution and Entropy Revisited  
Why life and evolution are not a violation of the 2LT, but a consequence of it
The Idiot's Guide to Relativity 
What it says on the tin.
Where is Everybody? The Fermi Paradox and the Drake Equation 
Aliens, and why we haven't detected them.
Guest Post: Radionuclide Dating is Rigorous
A comprehensive treatment of radiometric dating methods and how they were derived. 
Give Us A Wave!
A treatise on the behaviour of waves in classical and quantum physics
Paradox! A Game for all the Family! 
A treatment of some famous paradoxes. A bit of fun.
DJ! Spin That Shit! 
How we know we live on an oblate spheroid that rotates
Stand Back! I Don't Know How Big It Gets!
A treatment of the asinine 'Expanding Earth' drivel


Mathematics
The relationship between mathematics and the natural world
NOTE: See addendum at head of this post.
Guest post: Definitions and Axioms
A critique of the above post, and a potted history of the foundations of mathematics.
Probably the Worst Argument in the World
A treatment of arguments involving spurious probability calculations
 
Evolution
Information theory and why DNA isn't a code
What evolution is, what it isn't, and some of the evidence 
Busting a popular apologetic canard on evolutionary theory
A demolition of a video by an alleged former atheist

Logic and Philosophy of Science
Why philosophy doesn't deal with conclusions
How logic is used in the sciences and some common fallacies
Or How Not to Argue With a Scientist
Are Babies Atheist? Semantics and Communication 
A treatment of a common side-bar to discussion with apologists
Fuzzy Logic, Classification and the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle 
A treatment of some common issues with classical logic 
Argumentum ad Verecundiam and the Genetic Fallacy 
A treatment of fallacy in the context of scientific consensus
Patterns and the Inertia of Ideas
How we perceive and how our perceptions can be resistant to change
The Map is Not the Terrain: The Pitfalls of Language
A treatment of some common issues with natural language
I Had No Need Of That Hypothesis
A brief rant about burden of proof and scepticism
Consider the Source
Fake news, alternative facts, shoddy science journalism and anti-vax
On a 'Need to Know' Basis...
Deconstruction of a common truism; Certainty in the context of knowledge and faith
Guest Post: Goldenmane's Third
A treatment of a commonly held bit of nonsense
What's in a Name?
Scientific nomenclature and the vernacular
Behave!
A treatment of a common fallacy; the category error.
On Whose Authority..?
A broad treatment of the class of fallacies known as the genetic fallacy


Counter-apologetics
A partial debunking of the Kalam Fallacy
Morality and the False Dichotomy 
A treatment of the moral argument for God
Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Stop to Think!
A treatment of the Noachian Fludd
All Kinds of Everything
The three omnis and free will
The Executioner's Argument
A debunking of presuppositionalism
But, But... You Have Faith Too!
A treatment of the assertion that science and reason require faith
\(C=2\pi r\)
A treatment of the assertion that reliance on reason and science is circular
Mind the Gap!
A treatment of the god-of-the-gaps fallacy
There's This Book...
A polemic on holy books
Careful With That Dial!
Why fine-tuning arguments for god fail at every turn
Didn't See That Coming!
Psychics, prophecy and prediction



Other
A debunking of an irresponsible hatchet-job on astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson
A robust defence of RRS Boaty McBoatface
The Unbearable Shiteness of Beings
A counter-attack on cowardly anti-vaxxer treatment of a young scientist
First, Do No Harm 
 Britain's role in the EU and the world economy
Guest Post: Living in the Last Days of Liberalism
A sober analysis of the current geopolitical landscape
Take Me To Your Leader 
Some comments on the Labour Leadership race and politics in general 
Promoting Atheism... And Why I Don't 
A treatment of rights and responsibilities
When Snacks Attack... Bigly!
Me being stunt double for the Hitch on Trump
The Unbearable Shiteness of Beings... Redux
Polemic against some fuckwits
Permission to Speak Freely?
Freedom of speech, violence and who can say what.
On Death
A eulogy for a deceased friend and comrade


The Hackenslash Challenge
And After A Sudden Surge... Still No Evidence For God.
Somebody attempts an iteration of the Kalam Fallacy