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Thursday, 18 September 2014
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Are You Responsible? The Death of Free Will
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Are you responsible for your actions? Are you an agent capable of observing, evaluating, analyzing and acting? Do you have the freedom to make decisions for yourself? Do you have free will? It has been suggested by some that free will is an illusion.

Jerry A. Coyne puts it like this: "I construe free will the way I think most people do: At the moment when you have to decide among alternatives, you have free will if you could have chosen otherwise. To put it more technically, if you could rerun the tape of your life up to the moment you make a choice, with every aspect of the universe configured identically, free will means that your choice could have been different."

We are obviously in immediate trouble. Putting aside the effects of quantum mechanics we know that the universe is a deterministic system. Obviously at the lowest level reality is simply the operation of thoughtless elementary particles interacting according to the same laws of physics as keeps the planets in regular motion. It should therefore be self evident that Coyne's definition of free will is incompatible with what we know about the determinism of the natural world. Must we therefore conclude that free will is dead?

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 June 2014 )
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A Way Out of Moral Relativism
Written by Peter Harrison   
Sunday, 08 June 2014

Moral Relativism refers to the idea that all cultures and societies have their own moral system and that there is no objective way to determine which moral system is superior. The charge of moral relativism is often made against atheists by theists when they claim that their favourite deity has given them a moral system through divine edict and that atheists can have no morals without belief in this deity.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 June 2014 )
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Letter to Minister of Defence
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

In 2001 I wrote a email to Max Bradford of the National Government encouraging him to consider a UAV development program to defend New Zealand. The intent wasn't to provide a force capable of opposing sustained aggression and overwhelming force, but rather a deterrent so that those attacking us would pay a penalty rather than having unchallenged control over our airspace.

The context of this letter was the disestablishment of the air combat capability of the New Zealand Air Force. There was at the time, and still is, concern that this decision has left New Zealand at the mercy of any number of countries who are able to field air combat capability able to extend here.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 April 2014 )
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Reply to Hampering Programmers Article
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 18 January 2014

There was an article called 10 Factors That Hamper A Programmer's Productivity! that I felt I should reply to. The main reason is that it appeared to be ignorant of many modern software development approaches and methods. In this article I address each of the points raised.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 January 2014 )
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A Philosophy for Life
Written by Peter Harrison   
Sunday, 24 February 2013

Judgement

Is the rich man happy and the poor man sad? No. A rich man can be disturbed by his concern for his wealth. He can be jealous of those even more wealthy. The poor man can be content with what he has. Of course a poor man may be unhappy and a wealthy man happy, but if you ask what makes them happy you find that it isn't the external things of the world, but rather their judgment of them.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 September 2014 )
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