zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

it started off well, walden on wheels, thoughts leavened with action, good bit about how big truths cut deeper than the constant stream of ephemeral trivia. but then it all goes south. at first the technophobe drummer is contrasted with our greasemonkey tinkerer hacker hero, seemingly averting the obvious and common luddite angle. but it doesn't last.

the protagonist's presented as a smart guy, 170 IQ, into molecular biology, but then he goes after the scientific method and rationality, and claims to have whipped it with weenie sophistries. the author avatar admits he's a crap scholar and considered that maybe he's duplicated an old line of thought, despite some amount of research. next time, look harder, genius. this sophomoric crap shows an ignorance of the history of science and philosophy that's appalling, embarrassing. he has students rank pieces of writing by their "Quality," and surprise surprise, there's a good correlation. the author claims that this isn't "rational" because there's no formal definition. there's the correlation, sherlock! it's called an extensional definition, you make up a list of things that have more of x, less of x, you look for what's the same, what's different, that's how scientists figured out that heat is molecules moving around.

over and over, it's shown that "phaedrus" goes by his feelings of truthiness. it feels right so it's true, or if it it doesn't feel right, then it must be wrong. or maybe you just need to pull your friggin head out. there's the sense of someone in love with their own nattering on and on about glittering generalities, disconnected from experimental proof. what does this metaphysics of Quality really DO? so you've invented another pointless, useless religion, like freud. yay.

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