Diebert van Rhijn wrote:
Luckily I still have some criticism though:
Was there ever any doubt! :)
Randi didn't seem to get the question about love and romance, or the irrationality around it.
That didn't surprise me. Kevin could perhaps have been a little more detailed in his question as it is a paradigm that is rather "out there" for most people. I don't imagine the connection between skepticism and such matters would be immediately apparent to most people, the main reason being their expedient valuing and application of rationality.
By changing to the rational aspects of marriage (the contract) and children this merely deflects the topic. Marriage never needed the current concept of love and romance for many ages, it's a recent development of last centuries and has become way bigger as mass phenomenon in the last century, just like big entertainment and multimedia.
Yes, marriage as we know it is an artifcat of post industrial revolution western society.
Since this issue is quite important when we want to understand the core problem with the popularity of the supernatural claims and the hostility against scientific thought, I wonder if Randi was not let too easily of the hook. It seems a bit too much like a sacrifice to keep a sense of agreement in place perhaps, or just simplifying the conversation?
Well, Kevin tried twice on the issue and I didn't buy into it too much as I could sense that Randi didn't and wasn't really going to - "get it". He did admit, of course, that it was somewhat beyond his usual intellectual sphere of attention. Given he's single at present he may give the issue some further thought.
Another criticism would be how the topic of certainty was handled. Agreeing on the fact that absolute truths are definitional by its very nature leaves a lot of wiggle room. The law of identity or non-contradiction are not only valid because we define them into existence, like 1+1. Something like 1+1, or 4+4 is a contextual truth (4 golf balls arranged carefully together with 4 planets constitutes 8 spherical items). A sum like 4+4 is only short-hand for the reality it has to reflect, with all of its choices and parameters. An absolute or universal truth is still different from this because it's not short-hand for some application or limited generalization; it goes under all possible circumstances, past and future ones included.
I wasn't totally happy with that part either. I did think there was an air of its importance being somewhat trivialised or not properly acknowledged, which is why I inserted the point I made about its significance, but from memory Randi jumped in and cut into my momentum on it. It's hard to backtrack once that's happened.
I do understand however that the show is not meant as vehicle to get out Solway's philosophy but I notice a change from earlier shows where the viewpoints of the hosts themselves were often way more clearly profiled and debated. Is this intentional?
I can only speak for myself here: Randi was a guest I really didn't want to necessarily antagonise or challenge too stridently for a number of reasons - he's not a philosopher or a scientist per se and I knew that in terms of the matter of the skeptical mind we wouldn't have too many points of difference that he would be able to comfortably engage. Basically we got what we could from him. You always think of stuff in hindsight but I'm over that kind of regretful thinking. Some of what he said in the early stages of the discussion actually circumvented a number of my intended questions.
I hope I'm as motivated and mentally sharp when I'm 80.