Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sleep, Philosophy, etc.

I have a poor sleep schedule. One night, I will sleep maybe 3-4 hours, then the next day, I either sleep during the day or for 10-11 and end up feeling groggy and awful. It is especially bad was I sit down to play a game, as I have been this week, and start yawning even though I think (though naive introspection may be deceiving) that I'm having fun.

I feel sort of bad because today, during my Shakespeare class with Dr. Candido, who is such a lovely and interesting man, I somehow started reading this article on philosophy of religion alleging that the preponderance of the religious in philosophy of religion can, according to this blog post/article it was reporting on, be explained by selection bias, not expertise. That is, philosophers of religion are more religious not because they have a better understanding of the arguments of the field, but because they are more biased in its favor. This was all inferred from a study Helen De Cruz is assembling, and apparently the inference is based on the fact that this study found 11.8% of those who entered the became agnostics or atheists, whereas only 8.2%. A comment, Joel, pointed out what I think is a serious flaw in this inference:

"This inference seems to me unwarranted. There are more theists to begin with, so there’s a larger pool to convert to atheism/agnosticism. If 21% of philosophers of religion are atheists/agnostics and 58% are Christian theists, then 11.8% moving towards atheism/agnosticism is roughly 1/5 of Christians becoming atheists/agnostics, whereas 8.1% revising to theism is over 1/3 of atheists/agnostics becoming theists."

Also, the blog post says:

A survey conducted among philosophers in 2009 shed some light on this question. Of the 3226 philosophers who took the survey, 72.8% were atheists and only 14.6% theists. (The remaining 12.6% chose another option.) This is especially interesting when contrasted with the percentage of atheists among the global population: a paltry 2.01% in 2010.

But this is incorrect: the 72.8% percent is for the 933 target faculty they used for the survey - atheists are still at 66.2% in the full survey, which includes other staff, undergraduates and graduate students, but it's still not accurate as stated. I can't help but feel if this sort of discrepancy occurred in an article trying to defend the philosophy of religion, it would be immediately seized on as an example of the sort of bias this article is accusing it of.

But whatever, I am not a philosopher, but a (sort of) poet. This means that, in spite of what apparently seems to be the norm with philosophy grad students, I don't have to post under names like "Anonymous Until I Get Tenure" - the fact you have to do that sort of this is kind of scary, but I guess that's how it works in contentious fields. Though I would not, I suppose post anything overly critical of any living poets who could one day get me a job. But that still leaves me lots of room for be a hater.

Yet, if blowhards like Brian Leiter (I'll not link to the blog of the sort of scoundrel that man is) can opine on poetry, I don't see any problem in engaging in some amateur philosophy now and again.

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