Monday, June 04, 2007

About this Blog

Today is not a good day to write.

I have been thinking about making some changes, and I do not know how to say them. So, after a day of frustration to no good effect, let me just say what I want to say.

This blog has been more successful than I had expected it to be. However, I would like to do more. Too little is being done. “Doing more” is not easy for me, because I have a tendency towards paralyzing uncertainty. “What if I am wrong?” One of the things that I need to accept that doing nothing is a choice, and one which also requires that I ask the question, “What if I am wrong?”

I have long felt that the best way to avoid being wrong is to share the blame – to work with others in the hopes that a group of people will be more likely to see problems that any individual would miss.

This leads to the first change that I would like to make. Well, it leads to the first substantive change after some preliminary work gets done.

Task 1: I am going to be cleaning up my personal web site and moving it to a host that allows me more options for what I may do with it. I actually started this part of the project over the weekend. I’m still working on getting the site working at its new host location. When I finish, I wish to use it as more of a collaborative site where I can work with others on projects that will be to our mutual benefit.

Task 2: I have written in the past that I think that one of the most important projects a person can work on is to teach critical thinking skills to young people. By teaching critical thinking skills, I do not need to worry about whether I am right or wrong on any specific subject such as desire utilitarianism. Young people will grow to be individuals better able to discern what makes sense from what does not.

In fact, an improvement in critical thinking skills is a useful prerequisite for just about every project a rational person wants to pursue. Do you want to fight global warming? Then give young people better critical thinking skills. Do you want to find a cure for cancer? Then give young people better critical thinking skills. So, once I get my personal web site cleaned up, I will start devoting at least a part of my time to this project.

Task 3: I am going to quit being a loner and ask for more help – and be willing to accept more help from people who volunteer. There were a number of people who stepped forward on their own to try to get an entry in Desire Utilitarianism included on Wikipedia. This was a noble and humbling effort. Regardless of the success of that specific effort, there is work like that to be done.

Combining Task 2 with Task 3, I believe I would like to invest some money into the coordination of stories, games, and lesson plans for teaching critical thinking skills to young people. This means (1) asking for money, (2) using the money to pay people to provide the materials, and (3) making those materials available to people who might want to use them.

We’ll see what I can accomplish along these lines.

In the mean time, I fully intend to give my first priority to writing the essays for this blog.

I also want to expand my presentation options to make these ideas available to a wider audience. This means writing papers that I hope to submit to more mainstream publications, and looking for opportunities to present these ideas in debates, webcasts, and the like. In this regard, I would like to further ask for help from the studio audience. If there is somebody that you have contact with, or somebody that you think I should contact, the assistance would be appreciated.

Well, this means that I have a lot of work to do.


Hume's Ghost said...


I sent you an email to your comcast account with some suggestions along these lines. In addition, there are plenty of bloggers around these parts that have connections to various critical thinking/philosophical/humanist publications that would likely be willing to help put you in touch with the right people.

Taner Edis at the Secular Outpost and Massimo Pigliucci at Rationally Speaking are two individuals who might be of some assistance, and I remember that PZ Meyers over at Scienceblogs has previously linked to your book ... he may know of some additional contacts in the publishing world.

Hume's Ghost said...

Oh, and let me commend you on being bold enough to try to work harder towards making the world a better place. That's something that I'm wrestling with myself, and I must confess I am this point still terribly disappointed with my efforts thus far.

Hume's Ghost said...

argh! why can't I gather my thoughts all at once and avoid doing this ...

I'm on the e-mail list of a small publisher who I've had a few exchanges with ... she might have some ideas and be of assistance. I can send you the info in an e-mail if you like.

Anonymous said...

I would like to volunteer my time. I don't know anyone, but I'll help in what ways I can. I can't find any contact information though, is there some way I can get in contact with you, or join a volunteer list, or something along those lines?

Unknown said...

Hi Alonzo,

I am glad to see that you haven't been discouraged by the events on Wikipedia. While it appears that the article will be deleted, it would take the existence only one reliable secondary source to allow it to be recreated.

In the meantime, have you considered starting a Wiki of your own? Services such as allow you to start a Wiki for free, and a wiki is a great way to foster a community. For an example of a Wiki being used to create educational material, see Conservapedia.

If you think this is a good idea, I would be happy to start the application process.

Unknown said...

Okay, I've decided to "be bold" and create a Desire Utilitarianism "mini wiki" on the Wikia Scratchpad. This is a first step to getting a full Wikia wiki.

A wiki can be used for:

* posting essays
* debating
* organising
* writing documents collaboratively
* anything else you can dream up

Alonzo may have thought of it, but desire utilitarianism doesn't belong to anyone. If you think it is an idea that should be spread, get involved.