It’s amazing how powerful our intuition is. This occurred to me the other day in Stats 116, Intro to Probability. The professor said something, and then made a remark like, “and that’s good, because it’s according to our intuition.” And that was just very interesting to me. We introduce all these formalisms and mechanisms and in the end, we often just want it to match our intuitions. Is it just me that finds this interesting? Does anyone even understand what I’m talking about? It’s just interesting that we spend all this time precisely working out formal details of something that we want to match something we intuitively seem to know. Of course, the power of the formalisms is that it allows us to go beyond our intuitions, but it’s interesting that we basically see our intuitions as being right, and don’t really question it.
Which makes me think about intuition. Where does it come from? Is it just this innate thing that’s there, already mostly correct, or is it that we’ve been trained, especially us “educated” folks, so that our intuitions are now mostly correct? The second one seems to me more true, so that the more educated or the more trained you are, the more reliable your intuitions are. But it can’t be the only thing, because I just can’t get over how in many disciplines, the goal is to make the structure match your pre-established intuitions, that everyone, not just educated people, have. Which is odd. Does it come from God? Is it God that made our intuitions mostly correct? This is the easiset answer, because philosophically, I think it’s really hard to explain why it is that our intuitions are mostly correct.
In fact, philosophy is a weird thing. Sorry about this stuff, but last quarter just made me realize how fundamentally strange philosophy is. But one of the weirdest things is how philosophy at times says that our intuitions are wrong, or unjustified, but at other times justifies an argument because it seems to match with our intuitions. An example. Last quarter we talked a lot about the justification of an argument. One interesting idea is that our ideas of induction (that having seen an example of something happen, we think the same thing will happen with the same object in the same circumstance. We assume that if we drop an apple, it will fall to the ground, because it’s always been that way.) are justified based on statistically principles such as Bayes rule. This is called Bayesianism in epistemology. The basic idea is that the more we something happen, according to Bayesian statistical principles, the more likely our belief in why that happens is probable, and thus it is justified. This is good because it gives a strict definition of what is and what isn’t justified, and is even quantitative about it. It’s precision regarding the classificaton of justified beliefs and its objectivity is also appealing, because you want to think that the justification of beliefs is an objective thing. That way we escape our intutions, which are sometimes wrong, and this can be shown by Bayesian principles.
The weird thing is this. Why should this be a standard of justification in the first place? And when you come down to it, it’s because it matches our intuitions regarding things. Naturally, when we see more examples of something occurring, we feel more justified that the same will happen the next time we see a situation like it. And that’s why it’s an appropriate standard of justification.
So isn’t that weird? We want to make justification formal so we escape the subjectiveness of our intuition, but in the end, we have to base it on intuition. And it has to be this way. I mean, we can have any objective standard of justification that you want, but that doesn’t make it appropriate. For example, I can say all beliefs formed between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM are justified and the rest aren’t. This is an objective standard of justification. But it’s clearly not a good one. Why not? Because it’s not in accordance with our intuitive ideas of justification. We just can’t escape intuition, no matter how objective we try to be.
That I think is the biggest problem with epistemology. On the one hand you need to depend on intuition. But if you go too far, people attack it because it’s not subjective and really just a puppet framework we use to justify our intuition. We end up saying that something is justified because it matches our intuition, but this is unsatisfying, and doesn’t seem to be true justification, especially since our intuitions are sometimes wrong. So it can’t be the gold standard. But if you try to be too objective, you lose sight that in the end, we do seem to base our ideas of justification on intuition. So it’s a difficult problem.
That’s my philosophical rant for the day. I love this medium because I’m the only one I know that really cares about it and thinks about it and it reaffirms that this page is for me and me alone. Although I do apologize, Lorraine, that my last thought disturbed you. The consensus is that they are lopsided so they don’t knock against each other painfully when we walk or run.
I have been pretty disappointed this year by certain things. I guess the biggest thing is that it seems like people just don’t care about things that don’t directly involve them. I think I’ve come to believe that you can tell who the true servants are by seeing how dedicated they are to things that they don’t have to do. I don’t know if that makes sense. So for example, small group leaders always go to small group. But that doesn’t really tell how dedicated they are. Or if someone always goes to a prayer meeting they’re in charge of, that’s good, but it doesn’t show how much of a servant heart they have.
Let me state in a preemptive way that I realize my own shortcomings in this area before someone calls me a hypocrite. You are right. But I still believe what I believe, and I’m working on it. That’s always the copout answer, I’m working on it. Unfortunately, it’s the truth.
So it’s hard to gauge how much of a heart I personally have because I have to do most of the things I do. Maybe I should reformulate what I mean. I admire people who go to things they don’t have to go to. Maybe that’s what I mean. It’s hard for me to tell because I have to do most of the things I do, like go to FiCS, worship team devotional, and church every Sunday. And every Friday activity at church, I have to be there. So it’s hard to tell. But those people that don’t have to and still do, that I admire.
Here’s one thing that irritates me. It irritates me when people are discouraged that other people don’t show up to the things they are in charge of, since they are personally so committed to it, when these same people never go to or do anything they don’t have to. Like hypothetically, they organize an activity with frequency and few people come regularly, when they themselves don’t go to anything else they don’t have to do. I mean, choose one or the other. Be involved with something you don’t have to, since that’s what you’re asking people to do, or don’t be discouraged. But you can’t have both.
That said, I still am a little surprised at how little people care about things. For example, you would think that with the high number of Christians in Serra, the Resident Prayer Groups here would be awesome. Well, they are awesome, but they are small. About 3 or 4 people each week. And you would be surprised at who it is that shows up. Not the people you would expect. At any rate, that just amazes me, that nobody really cares about the dorm enough to pray for it together. I mean, not everyone’s heart has to be for this, but you would think the proportion would be a little higher, no? Or that you would show up even once during the school year? It is shocking to me that no one cares. Even with Justin Der trying to get people to come out all year.
It’s taking a new person in the dorm who just moved in to shake things up. She went to the first one this quarter and was shocked that no one was there so she went to every Christian’s door and talked so we could figure out what is going wrong in Serra. That broke my heart.
Anyway, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal except it’s indicative of a larger malaise in the dorm. No one really seems to care about anything except their own friends and themselves. It’s sad. OK, I haven’t been doing my part, it’s true. I’m doing little things, but this is by and large a self-indictment as well.
At any rate, it’s just depressing how self-consumed people have been in this dorm this year. They are very faithful with the things they have to do, but don’t care at all about anything else that they aren’t strictly committed to. Like RPGs. Maybe this is their wisdom in not committing to something they have to do. But like I said, I believe you can tell a lot about a person by how much they do for things they don’t have to.
Anyway, I’m just disappointed at us Christians in Serra this year. I’ll be blunt; in my opinion, Serra pretty much sucks this year. I only have Sophomore year to compare it to, and it wasn’t perfect then, but it sucks now. A lot of the non-Christians don’t want to be here, and the Christians don’t seem to care about each other or anyone else. Maybe I just have inaccurate memories of sophomore year. But then, all the Christians pretty much knew each other fairly well. And it was all cool with us. And the Christian non Christian interaction was all right. At least on the first floor, I’d say we were all decent friends. Except for Johnny Chen’s drawgroup. Besides him, they were all isolationsists. But besides that, things were cool.
I can’t figure out what’s different, that makes people not care. I actually think part of it is that I’m a senior now and I don’t care. Also, the freshman this year are a lot weirder than sophomore year. But I did something wrong this year and the first floor is nothing like it should be. The splits on our floor is astounding and sad. You can almost walk down the hall and classify each door, alternating between group 1 and group 2, and that’s a pretty accurate indication of who hangs out with each other. It’s really sad.
And no one, period, non Christian or Christian, cares about the dorm. We had to have a gimmick, a drawing for a gift certificate, to get people to come to house meeting. No one goes. I know I haven’t, before I realized that my not caring about the dorm is sin. And the first time I went I was shocked at how few people there were. No one cares. There’s something wrong with us. The people that get involved with dorm activities is so small. So this isn’t just a Christian non-Christian thing anymore. But no one cares about the dorm, and it’s sad.
Anyway, I see this trend in FiCS where people are caring only about things they have to care about, and that worries me. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I just feel like it’s such a struggle to get people to do things they don’t have to do. And that’s worrying.
The same thing is kind of happening with All Campus Retreat. A lot of people are fired up about it, but a lot of people simply don’t care, because they don’t have a sense of ownership about it, and if that’s not there, they’re not gonna care about it. Like everyone will go to the IV retreat. I mean, they have to. I just don’t understand how people can have absolutely no desire to go to the ACR. The money thing is valid, having something to do is valid, even schoolwork is valid. But just not even caring at all I don’t understand.
Anyway, it’s discouraging living with a bunch of Christians who only care about their own things. I would rather live with heathens. Thankfully, there are Christians in this dorm that care and show it much better than me, and that’s what keeps me going. Otherwise I think I would be discouraged to the point of moving out and living with Dave Choi. But sometimes when I walk out into the dining hall and see myself and other people, it makes me sad, what happened this year. I don’t think we deserve to be called Christians. The grace of God.
If I ever buy a Mercedes, a BMW, a Lexus, an Infiniti, or any such luxury car, I want you to shoot me.
Here’s my last thought. If you are reading this, I demand that you go on short-term missions within the next 3 years. I know not everyone is called to be a missionary, but I believe that everyone should go on short term missions, regardless of their calling. I went in high school and the perspective I got on God and myself was invaluable. I think that being stuck in the Stanford subculture has made me forget what being a Christian entails, and that’s partly why I’m going this summer. I mean, of course there are extenuating circumstances always, and not everyone can go, but it should at least be on your heart enough that you consider going sometime soon, and don’t assume that you will never go. Prayerfully consider it, and if then you decide against, hey that’s from God. But I demand that everyone consider it, because it is one of the greatest joys in this life. I think everyone that has gone will agree.
I lied. One last thought. Dave is right about the grad classes and the English thing. Seriously, everyone in CS229 seems to have an accent. It is odd. Anyway, I was reading something, I forgot what, and it was saying how it’s strange that the U.S. education system is so poor, and yet our country is at the top technologically and financially and such. Some say that this shows that the education system isn’t as bad as people say. The article said something really perceptive. The reason the U.S. stays at the top is not because our education system is working, but because the foreign students come to our universities (which are the best in the world) and many end up staying, and that contributes significantly to our country staying at the top. Interesting idea. I think it’s true.