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Outsider philosopher, game designer and author
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Earlier this week over on WAM TNG, "Encounter at Farpoint, Part Two". Here's an extract: The most interesting word-drop in this script is Picard name checking 'Ferengi'. For the longest time I assumed that all this talk about them eating... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Only a Game
Hi Rebekah, Thanks for your comment - it is greatly appreciated! About the reference - dang, I should have linked that in. I don't have the reference on hand, but I know that it was from an NPR interview about vaccine-derived polio. If you search NPR's transcripts for 'polio' and/or 'vaccine-derived polio', you should be able to find it. Sorry I am not able to provide any better guidance than this! And many, many thanks for commenting. Chris.
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Decolonising Public Health at Only a Game
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This post carries an unusually high risk of cognitive dissonance, and perhaps should not be read by anyone. I want to talk about a schism. It doesn't really matter when it begins, but let's suppose it starts with David Hume... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Only a Game
Over on WAM TNG, the very first WAM ran this Wednesday, for "Encounter at Farpoint, Part One". Here's an extract: It's fair to say that until Sternbach and Okuda sat down and thrashed out canonical rules for how TNG shields... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2022 at Only a Game
The 1992 movie A Few Good Men gave us the memorable phrase "You can't handle the truth!", beloved by internet memesters. Yet it is just so: we cannot handle the truth, and indeed we would far rather have certainty than... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2022 at Only a Game
Over on ihobo today, my reflections on the narrative design of Shenmue III. Here's an extract: Gladly will I concede that, as a commercial proposition, Shenmue III has serious problems... but those problems are the ones it inherits from Shenmue... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2022 at Only a Game
This is a critique not a review. If you want my review of Shenmue III it would be 'play this game if you have ever enjoyed a Shenmue game or are interested in unusual approaches to game narrative'. It takes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2022 at ihobo
With my Spring social media break behind me, I'm back to writing. However, there's little I can do with my philosophy right now. The conditions for 'thinking together' have been disrupted so radically that even if I were to make... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2022 at Only a Game
Hey Branden, There's a contact link at you can use to get a message to me. Thanks for your interest, Chris.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2022 on Enjoy the Silence at Only a Game
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Hey Masked Sapient, You can cite as: Bateman, Chris (2006). "The Joy of Ilinx" [Online], Thanks! Chris.
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2022 on The Joy of Ilinx at Only a Game
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Hi Cain, It seems 'Nothing is political' is the tragic consequence of insisting that 'everything is political'. Those of us who are open to the concept of free citizens are increasingly becoming an endangered species. Many thanks for your thoughtful comment here! This piece, now 12 years old, has been a hardy perennial, and I am always interested in new perspectives on it. The examples you give are interesting cases because every single one of them has been made into a political topic, and thus while I would concur with your claim that we do not necessarily do them for political reasons, it strikes me as relevant that they can be made political easily. Environmentalists and trans activists make toilets into political issues; environmentalists (again) and vegans make food into political issues... there are many other examples. In saying this, I don't want to suggest these aren't legitimate political topics. They are. But it still strikes me that the thrust of this piece remains accurate: that the infinite scope of political topics isn't enough to bankroll the claim 'everything is political'. Rereading this piece, I am struck by its insistence that for something to truly become political it must rise to the level of debate in the public spaces. After the last two years, we see that debate in the public spaces is being curtailed, with plans to institute further restrictions being layered on top. Rather than 'everything is political', we now face the worrying situation where soon 'nothing is political' because we are denied the freedom to discuss it in public. There is a real danger here: factional politics risks ending the political realm as it has been understood for at least the last century. It seems to me that those that so often say that everything is political tend to be more authoritarian and manipulative in nature. I've rarely heard anyone who doesn't have an agenda, some ulterior motive, say such a thing. Aye, and this is why I call it 'the activist's argument'... and over the time since this piece was written, activism has become increasingly authoritarian in its methods and justifications. The irony being, as these authoritarian-leaning activists take over the means of public discourse, or curtail them through influence of the legacy media and controlling propagation of ideas in the social media, they are ending the realm of the political, understood in Arendt's terms as the space of political discourse. As I said at the outset, it seems 'Nothing is political' now flows from the insistence that 'everything is political', and those of us who are open to the concept of free citizens who debate how to share power through democracy are becoming an endangered species. Many, many thanks for your thoughtful comment! Please note that I am starting my Spring Social Media Break this week, so if you reply further it will be at least a month before I can get back to you. With unlimited love and respect, Chris.
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Off on my Spring Social Media Break now, and won't be back before June at the earliest. Feel free to leave comments while I'm away, as I will respond when I get back to blogging at the start of the... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2022 at Only a Game
Every time I finish a campaign at Only a Game, I like to say that I have 'gone to the Green Room' i.e. written a post to mark the end of the collection of themed of essays. We were first... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2022 at Only a Game
Contains ideas some readers may find offensive. Between 1948 and 1994, South Africa suffered under apartheid, which treated 'whites' as superior to 'blacks', and maintained a state of segregation by force for decades. Under this brutal regime, South Africa's police... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2022 at Only a Game
Hi David, Thanks for returning to continue our discussion. I seem solely to be aggravating your further, so I'm not sure there is much point in our continuing, but I'll make some short remarks. I've briefly reviewed your links... The two peer-reviewed papers are both metareviews of publications that do not compare data (only the general positions taken up), and all your other links are journalism. I was hoping for some key papers from within climate science around which the scientific case hinges. There must be some; a field does not usually take up agreement over an issue without common references. I must apologise, however, as I misread your original list: I thought you were singling out 'deniers', and then providing a second list of credible researchers. You meant the entire list as 'deniers'. I apologise for the misunderstanding. I also want to clarify that my claim about the accuracy of models was not meant to undermine the general claim of a warming effect, which is an implication from the physics known since at least the 1970s. My comment was rather a general claim about the limits of computer modelling in empirical topics. Freely do I confess that I have spent less time reading papers in climate science than in other scientific fields... I have however been interested in discovering which are the key papers that the issues hinge upon. I am still in the dark about this. As a result of our exchange, I am now reviewing Hausfather, Drake, Abbott, and Schmidt (2020) "Evaluating the Performance of Past Climate Model Projections", Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 47... Hausfather et al seems to acknowledge the issue I was referring to when they talk about "comparing the relationship between forcing and temperatures in both model projections and observations" i.e. in validating the underlying physics in the models, irrespective of the actual predictions, allowing them to admit that the models they are reviewing have been superseded by new techniques which "have rendered virtually all of the models described here operationally obsolete". Again, the topic is still hinging around the modelling, and how one assesses the modelling. This is definitely not a field in the form of, say, optics, where there are no remaining research questions to investigate. It looks very much like a live research topic to me. Given the intensity of your response to my comments, I would suggest there is little to be gained by our continuing our discussion, such as it is. I don't think you'll ever be satisfied with my comparatively neutral position on this topic, and whatever views I have on climate science aren't going to be positively swayed by a 'flame war'. I am genuinely sorry that you find my views so offensive, and in that regard I can only suggest that you just stop reading me to avoid future aggravation, or else perhaps take a break from this discussion and return to it later. Either way, many thanks for engaging at all, Chris.
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2022 on Virus: A Love Story at Only a Game
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Hi David, Clearly the issue of 'AGW deniers' is an issue that means a great deal to you... I have nothing much to say to your specific examples; the people you name negatively aren't people I've come across, and the people you name positively are just a list of names, which is not much to go on. Feel free to choose some key articles and link them here, if you think it will be helpful, though. My position is merely this: that on all sides, the discussion of global warming/climate change/whatever the next branding might be has produced partisan political responses that have made it difficult for these topics to be pursued as an open scientific debate and, furthermore, that in terms of scientific process neither side on this issue can claim to have any kind of high ground at this point. I have a read a little on both sides... I find it an ugly political spat that has largely obscured debate of the ambiguities rather than pursuing a robust research programme. Honestly, I have yet to read anything from the space that has impressed me in terms of scientific rigour. I believe it entered the state of pseudoscience, whereby evidence was no longer persuasive and debate becomes impossible sometime in the last few decades. The moment consensus was claimed by one side, it became difficult to pursue as a scientific matter. This is a shame, as there clearly is an effect here, but the models produced have all proved (unsurprisingly) inaccurate over time, which has only served to accelerate partisanship on the issue. I don't doubt that you are correct that the people you have singled out have taken up a position and are no longer open to evidence. Openness to new evidence has become surprisingly scarce these days. I would still not deploy the term 'denier' in this context, in part because the term is now extremely politically charged (it became so because it gained currency from its use in 'Holocaust denier'). Provided the evidence for any phenomenon is robust, there is no need to gloss opposition as 'deniers', which is a political appellation. I will not say you cannot use the term, and I never will. Use your language as you wish, for anything short of inciting violence, which is our agreed limit to free speech. But I would warn you that you will not gain any ground on this topic by using this term... in that respect, it is largely counter-productive. If advocates for any variation on the climate change theme want to be persuasive on the scientific issues, they cannot afford to advertise themselves as politically partisan. Indeed, the important environmental issues (which in my view are in no way restricted to the composition of the atmosphere) are now being wholly obscured by the politicisation of climate change et al. The especial danger of demonising any given camp as 'deniers' is that once the finger-pointing begins, everyone who lands on the other side of the partisan divide can be conflated with the 'deniers' and thus dismissed. This hinders legitimate scientific debate. It is a sure sign that the state of pseudoscience has broken out that one side claims a consensus and then pushes to discredit opponents, instead of focussing on the evidence and its interpretation, which are the necessary components of scientific processes. From your description of the people you are flagging as 'deniers', they would seem to pose no threat to robust scientific research whatsoever, given that they are coming down the Intelligent Design path, which gets zero traction in journals or conferences, and as such I see no reason to pour vitriol on them. Evidently, you feel differently... but why? Is it just cognitive dissonance caused by the fact that you find ID offensive (rather than, say, amusing, or fringe etc.)? I don't see a threat to scientific practice here. My arguments against Intelligent Design can be found in my book The Mythology of Evolution, which largely views ID as unnecessary from the position of the religious motivations behind it, a view often obscured by the political ire it stirs up in its opponents. Clearly this topic matters to you, but the impression I get from reading you (which could be completely wrong) is that you are offended by Intelligent Design far more than you are interested in the scientific issues in climate science. But I could be entirely wrong! It may be that my comment simply riled you up, and if so I apologise. I never set out to aggravate people, although it is rather hard to avoid these days! I still believe, absurdly perhaps, that the hallmark of good scientific debate is that it hinges on discussion of the evidence. Truly, I would welcome from you a link to a piece by anyone on that list of yours that does this, and does not engage in political partisanship by trying to tar opponents rather than discuss the evidential basis for claims being made. The topic interests me, the political issues of the environment have mattered to me my entire life. But I do not see climate research operating in a scientific mode any more. And that concerns me far more than what the ID crowd are up to. Many thanks for continuing our discussion! Chris.
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2022 on Virus: A Love Story at Only a Game
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Contains discussion of death statistics some may find distressing. Is the proposition 'vaccines are safe and effective' a scientific claim or a political statement? Some contend that because this claim is scientific it is not a political matter at all.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2022 at Only a Game
Hey Robert, Many thanks for the additional references! Appreciated. Chris.
Toggle Commented Apr 19, 2022 on Virus: A Love Story at Only a Game
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Hi David, Thanks for your comment! Glad you found this piece of interest. While I'd be the first to admit that some strange claims are made about climate change in all its myriad forms, I would personally never use the term 'denier' in this context. To do so risks pretending that this is not a scientific research topic, which I hope and trust that it is. If I may play devil's advocate, atmospheric CO2 does dissolve in water, affecting the acidity of the oceans, so even with life entirely in the oceans there could still be significant implications. But I would not be invoking the Cambrian era in any way on the topic of climate change, for fear of making an already blurry topic even more out-of-focus. Many thanks for commenting! Chris.
Toggle Commented Apr 18, 2022 on Virus: A Love Story at Only a Game
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Hey Ari, Thanks so much for leaving a comment! It's always nice to know I'm hitting the mark. All the very best!
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2022 on Virus: A Love Story at Only a Game
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In the beginning were the replicators... we know very little about them and we never will. Our windows on the past are limited, and for the ancient past they are reduced to mere speculation. What we do know is that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2022 at Only a Game
Can there ever be an end to the vicious cultural war over gender...? It is a question that troubles me greatly, and not only because I find the breakdown of the rainbow alliance inexpressibly heart-breaking. The political capital being squandered... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2022 at Only a Game
Even the mention of peace has now seemingly left our world. We have gone from wishing for a peace we doubt we can have, to no longer even wishing for peace. Yet if we still desire peace, there are few... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2022 at Only a Game
Hi Chris, This piece flowed from the conversation we had on Twitter about utopia, that made me want to spell out thoughts that I had not made explicit previously. Thank you for the opportunity to pursue this avenue. As you know, I like to dig into political issues from a philosophical angle... it is never that I expect that I will 'change the world', but it is always that by engaging in this way I open a door for change in myself, and invite others to take that same door - or at least to look through it. Political change, when it happens, does not often flow from individuals but from situations. Helping to provide tools to think about those situations is my own way of contributing. All the very best, Chris.
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2022 on Our Own Utopias at Only a Game
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What do we mean when we talk about utopia? It may seem as if we have a clear conception of what this is supposed to be: a purely imagined place where everything is perfect. What's more, we intuitively know this... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2022 at Only a Game