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Chapter 17 - Christianity is an Ever Expanding Kingdom

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    [I am writing a book and plan to post chapters as I go, here is Chapter 16. I've already posted the introduction and first four and you can start here to read them. I will update with links to the future chapters when they are done.]  Christianity is just another religion and it is one that has probably done more harm than good in the world. From the Inquisition to the Crusades, Christians have used their power to force baptisms, oppress women and gays, and generally do evil. Sure, Christians have also done some good things but so have people from every single other religion and those with no religion at all. And for better or worse, Christianity is fading from the world. Within a generation or so, very few will still be Christian.  This bleak picture of the history and future of Christianity is quite common. I once held a similar view. It is the sort of picture you would get just from watching TV, hearing popular social commentary, or even listening to many Christian wri

Chapter 16 - Specialization Makes Us Dumb

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  [I am writing a book and plan to post chapters as I go, here is Chapter 15. I've already posted the introduction and first four and you can start here to read them. I will update with links to the future chapters when they are done.] Become good at one thing. Study law. Study medicine. Study engineering. Study physics. Specialize. Specialization is how knowledge is advanced. Throughout every academic institution this is the message both explicit and implicit. People get their PhD's in obscenely specific fields (e.g. you do not just get a PhD in history but in 14th century French wine making). And there is an almost universal agreement that this sort of specialization is good. Mankind advances this way.  But the emperor has no clothes. Specialization Makes Us Dumb A savant is someone that is average or below average in one area but extremely talented in one particular area. The modern track to become a PhD seems designed to create savants.  There was a time wh

Chapter 15 - Technology is Poison

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    [I am writing a book and plan to post chapters as I go, here is Chapter 15. I've already posted the introduction and first four and you can start here to read them. I will update with links to the future chapters when they are done.] Technology is just great. Sure maybe we should take some breaks from our phone and TV for a while but overall it continues to make the world better. Progress as they say cannot be stopped nor should it. Everyone expects more technology to be coming. Everyone generally thinks this is good. But the emperor has no clothes. The many downsides that go with technology are often forgotten and the upsides to technology are over hyped.  NN Taleb talks about the 'Lindy' effect. (1) The Lindy Effect says that the older the thing is, the longer you can predict it will last. For example, shoes have been around for 4000 years. We can expect that in 4000 years, shoes will still be around. iPhones have been around only 13 years. Chances are they will