Science and Rationality

There is no way to do justice to this topic in one post (at least not without making you poor visitors read a book-length post), so I’ll be making multiple posts trying to succinctly summarize my working knowledge and in particular how it informs my views on sexuality and gender, the particular subjects of this blog

I’ve mentioned in some comments that there are three books that changed my life: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, The Robot’s Rebellion by Keith Stanovich, and most of all The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch.

It’s important to mention, due to my Christian upbringing and conservative society that I live in, that these books do not define my life or actions or thoughts, etc like a religious text would to the religious. Neither they nor their authors are unassailable authorities, indeed they’d be horrified if they were taken as such. Indeed with the critical thinking tools I’ve learned from these and other works I’ve escaped the childhood programming of my upbringing and am now neither of those two things.

What I mean is that these books introduced me to their respective underlying scientific theories and research. They may not even be the best books dealing with their subject matter and certainly aren’t the only ones.

The first two on the list deal with the selfish replicators that built our bodies and brains (genes, the hardware analog) and the ones that influence our thoughts to a disturbing level (memes, the software analog). These two have huge implications for humans and our life goals.

The Fabric of Reality makes quite a claim just in the title, it deals with what reality itself is and it’s properties. It follows four strands:

  1. the multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics
  2. realist epistemology
  3. Turing theorem of computation
  4. and evolutionary theory of the previous two books

Daniel Dennett describes Darwinism as a “universal acid; it eats through just about every traditional concept and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view.” Deutsch’s work does the same thing but not just for a world-view, but for a view on reality itself!

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