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Jan 17 2012

Episode CCXCII: Eradicating all junk science

The NCSE has opened a new front in their war on bad science!

Episode CCXCI: Maybe the Puritans weren’t all bad.

664 comments

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  1. 501
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    TLC: if you whacked them up with a hatchet or similar first Daisy would probably have a ball working to lick the marrow out. And, if you can get hold of venison ribs, you’ll have one happy dog.

    A couple years ago I scored a the entire expired contents of a huge home freezer on Freecycle. There must have been 200 lbs of stuff, and all of it had thawed so it wasn’t safe for people. I threw out two garbage bags full of unwanted things and still ended up with enough venison and wild-caught salmon to feed my carnivores for months and months. That year for Solstice I gave my dog an entire venison loin (tenderloin? long boneless piece?) and some of my guests crowded into the laundry room to watch her suck that thing down like a python swallowing a goat, an inch at a time.

  2. 502
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Oh hey I took some photos of this crazy ass weather around my neck of the woods: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28465371@N04/sets/72157628946449035/

    The novelty has worn off; I live in the PNW so I don’t have to deal with this kind of garbage. I do not approve.

  3. 503
    Tethys

    yet somehow that scri-i-i-i-tch sound effect seems to persist. I guess people know what it means even if they don’t remember where it came from.

    cough cough cough hip-hop scratching cough

    Bonus oldey points if you can fill in the blank without using google.
    “The official adventures of ____”

  4. 504
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I’ll be glad when the Primary is over on Saturday.

    I’m sick of these ads. Ron Paul has one of the dumbest ads going right now. it’s slick, but the message is dumb as fuck.

    And they’re still running Perry ads right now. heh heh

  5. 505
    Nutmeg

    Re: bones for dogs

    I know dogs enjoy real bones, and owners are reluctant to take that pleasure away from them. But you may want to consider that if the dog swallows any bone splinters, complicated and costly surgery will be required to repair the perforated small intestine.

    If you’re going to give your dog real bones anyway, be sure not to leave the bones out on a hot day, or you’ll be up all night with a sick dog. Not that hot temperatures are a problem for most folks right now…

    [/killjoy]

  6. 506
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Kodak files for bankruptcy…

    sigh

  7. 507
    StarStuff, a soulless cunt

    I was on campus today from the time the sun was just rising until it was completely dark again. But I was productive: I went to three classes, was experimented on (I got money!), took a nap, did homework, and read half of a book.

  8. 508
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    A lot of bones are apparently quite soft in their *raw* state (that’s important) and digest fairly well. Dogs are carnivores and predators, after all.

  9. 509
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    “What they did was, which was so ingenious, was [to] create a form of urban style music from just two turntables and two records …”

    I also got a scratchy noise with a cuttlefish.

    That’s my lot. For tonight. :)

  10. 510
    MikeG

    TLC, and other campers:
    You could try one of these. They seem to work pretty well to suspend the eggs, if they are the right size eggs.

  11. 511
    The Sailor

    Umm, I think all facts are open season during an election. How they are interpreted by their base elements has nothing to do with the facts.

    I personally don’t have a problem with Clinton getting a BJ, I don’t have a problem with Santorum’s wife having a late term abortion, or Grinch throwing his wives under a bus, or Romney being a magical diaper wearing aristocrat. It’s not my bidnez. That’s personal bidnez and is no concern of mine … until they claim the opposite.

    Then fuck them on the porcupines they road in on.

  12. 512
    Nutmeg

    @ kristinc 508

    Now that I think about it, I’ve only ever heard vets complain about people giving their dogs leftover cooked bones (chicken, specifically, for some reason). Hopefully raw beef/deer bones don’t splinter.

  13. 513
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    OK, bonus track!

    E-Z Rollers – Tough At The Top (Original Vocal Version)

    Now done.

    (Unless I find Photek – UFO ….)

  14. 514
    lizdamnit

    or Grinch throwing his wives under a bus, or Romney being a magical diaper wearing aristocrat.

    \
    See I do. I don’t want someone who is clearly selfish childish and greedy in power. Nor do I want Gringrich.

    OOOOH BURN!

  15. 515
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Nutmeg: all I have is anecdotal evidence, and I don’t claim it to be conclusive, but my dog and cats have eaten a lot of raw bones (mostly poultry and fish but some pork and elk/deer) and they are all the very picture of health.

  16. 516
    MikeG

    Re: eggs, I should also mention that they will stay fresh for a couple weeks in the shell, especially if they are from the farmer without being washed of the “bloom” (mucous layer that commercial producers have to wash off).

  17. 517
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    This is an old pic, but…kitteh. With whom I am snuggling at this moment.

    The Sailor:

    ….or Romney being a magical diaper wearing aristocrat.

    I can’t read that without imagining David Vitter, actually. (Note to Walton: Don’t click that.)

  18. 518
    The Sailor

    MikeG, you can cover eggs in the shell in wax and they will stay fresh for weeks w/o refrigeration.
    [/sailor who likes eggs but has to limit what goes in the icebox]

  19. 519
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Ron Paul is the odd duck out so far. Makes sense.

  20. 520
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Oh – about Newtie. John Dean of Watergate fame, in his book Conservatives Without Conscience, reports an anecdote from someone who used to work with or for Newt. Gingrich apparently has no qualms about saying to a person he’s done using, “Screw you, I don’t need you anymore” with a big smile on his face. And not in the middle of any kind of argument, either. More like “Just to let you know, I’m done using you, so fuck off.”

  21. 521
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Yes, it’s cooked bones that will splinter and cause problems. My cats have eaten plenty of raw bones – chicken necks and wingtips, mostly, which vets recommend as good for their teeth. Not to mention entire mice and rats.

  22. 522
    carlie

    because that’s the MP3 that my phone plays when I take her picture. A number of people pointed out that this is an example of a skeuomorph, “a derivative object that retains ornamental design cues to a structure that was necessary in the original.”

    The sound itself also serves a useful purpose – it lets anyone in the vicinity know that a picture is being taken (possibly of them). Which sound is used is derivative of the original, but it does still serve a purpose. (back when I got a cheap flip phone that took pictures, you weren’t allowed to mess with either the sound or volume on the picture-taking click; I assume that’s still the case?)

    So is the floppy disk save icon a skeuomorph too? I thought I remembered iconography like that being called a different name, but darned if I know what it was.

  23. 523
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Holy shit Romney is all over the place

  24. 524
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    How the fuck do people find Ron Paul inspiring?

  25. 525
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Rev

    Paul moves his lips and people hear what they want

  26. 526
    Walton

    Aside from Gingrich’s nasty abusive personality, he’s also got a long record of supporting awful policy positions: the death penalty for drug offences, slashing welfare, harsher restrictions on immigration (see the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, passed when he was Speaker), and so on. And his plan to destroy the independence of the federal judiciary is the most dangerous idea proposed by an American politician in a long time. My only comfort is that I don’t think he’d be able to pull it off, even as President.

  27. 527
    x

    Whew! Have I ever been in a coding frenzy, and will continue to be.

    Hello, Pharyngula!

    So, anybody on G+ who has a spare moment, I’ve been experimenting with “hanging out” for multi-node video chats during what I call “office hours”, mon-thu 7 – 8 pm Baltimore time. If you want to risk shooting the shit with an unknown dude, feel free to join my office hours. I have both the self-regard to imagine that others might think it amusing, and also the self-effacement to endorse anybody’s “yeah, right” double positive, about such an offer. We could even post to Pharyngula while hanging out together!

    OK, well, see ya on the intertubes!

  28. 528
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Damn, the Lemmy movie is on Paladia.

    Weighing wingnuts vs. God now.

  29. 529
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    favorite tweet of the night

    Weird. Santorum doesn’t like the idea of “anything goes” on the Internet. I’ll google his name and figure out why?

  30. 530
    David Marjanović

    The snow is gone, and it rained all day long. Lots of wind in the evening.

    Salamandrid amphibian about Caribou Barbie: “I would ask her to consider taking a major role in the next administration if I’m president”. Watch the self-destruction.

    Actually, I have a few carnivoran skulls… marten, bobcat, coyote, and bear. I like the little ‘series’ they show, with the carnassials, from pure cutting implements in the cat, to cutting implements with crushing ability in the coyote, to almost humanlike crushing molars in the bear. Sure, I can read this shit on wikipedia or look it up on google images, but actually having the skulls and observing it for myself is infinitely more enjoyable.

    Oh yes.

    Also, my canines are towards the less shitty end of the human spectrum. :-)

    and prefer to work on all fours

    I don’t, but I can gallop. The limiting factor are my wrists – they simply give in after a few steps. This, laddies and gentlewomen, is what separates us from the chimpanzees.

    BTW, I don’t talk to cats. After all, they don’t talk to me either. Maybe I would talk to dogs, except, given the fact that I’m really not a dog person, there’s no opportunity to find out… :-)

    I climbed trees

    I damn well hope you did, monkey that you are. It’s the normal lifestyle for placentals and marsupials together. :-)

    CC, the fact that we will likely never meet face to face as long as we live kind of makes me sad.

    ~:-| I came over and met her. Why can’t you? If money is an issue, I’m sure something can be arranged…

    As someone who has several autistic relatives and some ASD traits myself, I disagree that all autists have “mostly simple emotions,” do not ever feel ambivalent, and cannot learn how to conceal emotions. It’s a lot harder to do that, but it’s not impossible.

    I don’t know anyone who is actually autistic (as opposed to merely being on that spectrum)… I just can’t imagine there aren’t any introverted autists.

    I, for one, am “better” at “concealing” weak emotions than T’Pol. They don’t surface on their own, I need to drag them out when I want to show them.

    Though, to be fair, part of this is anatomical. When I smile a bit, and feel that I’m smiling, I look like (for example) Jadehawk when she’s not smiling. When she’s sleeping, for instance.

    When I laugh out loud, however, there is no holding back. If something is funny enough, I can’t prevent recurrent bouts of laughter for, say, an hour. Good thing that I’ve trained to laugh without switching my vocal cords on.

    …Back to the topic. How are “simple emotions” defined? To what extent do we understand how other people think, in general?

    @lm: since I caught flak for it most of my life, have undergone specific politeness training built around lying, and have books on Aspie coping that reference honesty as a problem (and others as a diagnostic), I’m fairly certain this is not just my own self-perception. If it’s a myth, it’s a darned pervasive and apparently supported one.

    Same for me, pretty much. Can you imagine how much I despise politeness? All these ritual lies for… what? Tradition for tradition’s sake? Constant appeasement of assholes who believe everyone else is an asshole, too, until proven otherwise? What, really?

    Mitt Romney Jokes.

    Bookmarked.

    I like the word ‘proselytician.’ And I plan to start using it whenever possible.

    Seconded.

    Because the laws of physics either don’t apply to or cannot describe what happens beyond that point of no return from which not even light can escape, that boundary is called the Event Horizon…

    Nooooooo! That stuff about the laws of physics is only true of the singularity*, which is a mathematical point** in the center of the whole thing, the place where all the mass is. The event horizon is called that because no news of an event that happens inside can ever get outside – because even light can’t get out.

    * Uh. Yeah. That’s all assuming relativity only, with no quantum physics in it.
    ** Except if the black hole rotates. Then it’s a ring – again assuming relativity only. Quantum physics sez there is no such thing as a mathematical point, because perfect certainty of position could only come with infinite uncertainty of velocity.

    I am intensely aware of body language, and thus I often find human behavior very confusing. Animals communicate clearly and they never lie

    Oh, baboons do, for example.

    Me, I don’t consciously know how good I am at reading body language, but I know I simply don’t speak it. At least I don’t speak the cultural part of it, and that’s apparently a large part. Anyway, I regularly catch myself performing classical signals of seclusion while having an interesting conversation! I’m capable of listening to you, gazing at you with interest, and at the same time folding my arms and/or my legs and turning away from you (head commonly excepted), all at the same time.

    I simply adopt whichever position happens to be the most comfortable at the moment, even when social convention expects me not to move.

    After the affair was made public, gay Minnesotan John Medeiros issued a statement of apology from Minnesota’s gay community, “On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community’s successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage. We are ashamed of ourselves for causing you to have what the media refers to as an ‘illicit affair’ with your staffer, and we also extend our deepest apologies to him and to his wife.”

    Full of win.

  31. 531
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Newt Gingrich is a bigger prick everytime I hear him.

    Now he’s berating John King the moderator.

  32. 532
    David Marjanović

    chicken, specifically, for some reason

    Bird bones are hollow, and the walls are usually very thin. I imagine they splinter in interesting ways when cooked.

  33. 533
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Bird bones are hollow, and the walls are usually very thin. I imagine they splinter in interesting ways when cooked.

    They practically dissolve if you cook them long enough, like for example a stock.

  34. 534
  35. 535
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Santorm thinks he’s the next Reagan.

    I’m not sure how to take that.

  36. 536
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    If anyone is curious/interested, here are the pics of my armoire project from start to finish: http://mystuffwhatimade.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/dresser-transformation/

  37. 537
    Walton

    Santorm thinks he’s the next Reagan.

    I’m not sure how to take that.

    By which he means… er… he’s going to raise taxes eleven times, triple the federal budget deficit, and sell weapons to Iran?

    Or perhaps he means that he’s going to appear in a remake of Hellcats of the Navy. That would at least be funny.

  38. 538
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Purity Bear

    And yes, I think it’s real.

    http://www.lc.org/dayofpurity/

  39. 539
    Ingdigo Jump

    prolife supporter sent politicians teddybears to promote a bill
    Teddy Bears
    that had heart beats

    Most were sent back.

    The article I read failed to mention if those returned had metal spikes driven into them by panicked politicians seeking to silence the beating harbinger of those they’ve wronged so we’re forced to assume they did.

  40. 540
    Nutmeg

    Bird bones are hollow, and the walls are usually very thin. I imagine they splinter in interesting ways when cooked.

    I like logical explanations. :)

  41. 541
    cicely

    kristinc, looks good! I salute you for your courage; I’d never have even thought of trying such a thing.
    -

  42. 542
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    And, if you can get hold of venison ribs, you’ll have one happy dog.

    NOOOOOO THE RIBS ARE MINE! MINE! MINE! RAWR!

    WRT bones for dogs, I was always under the impression that it was cooking that made them splintery as well. I throw my dogs raw chicken bones all the time, and they crunch them right down. When I watch them eating larger bones, the raw ones appear to crumble rather than splinter.

    Also, I was under the impression that a dog’s stomach acid could dissolve raw bone chunks. I know our golden once indulged in a bit too much, and she had chalky powdery ‘Hyena poops’ a day or so later.

    Marjanovic, I can’t be sure, but I swear I’ve seen you posting around Tet Zoo and/or Archosaur Musings in the past. The nick is familiar, as is the knowledge.

  43. 543
    Aquaria

    I just found out that I I qualify for the Hazlewood Act, a program for veterans that pays for 150 hours of tuition at any Texas public college or university. They’ll even pay for most of those ridiculous fees, too.

    Simply for being a Texas resident when I joined the military.

    I have all this free time, now that I don’t work, so that’s one major hassle out of the way that undermined me in the past. The last time I went to college, i got transferred from my 8-hour graveyard shift job with a short commute both ways to a 12+ hour day shift job all the way across town with a 90+ minute commute. Gee, thanks, USPS. I sort of had a life here!

    So it looks like I’m going back to college, either this summer or this fall. If I can figure out how to swing paying for the books and supplies before I can get a work-study position.

    What am I thinking? I’ll be 50 in two weeks, and I’m a flake.

    Anyway, I need to decide on a major: history or geology. I’m leaning towards history. When I looked at the BS and BA geology degree requirements and saw “Calculus I”, “Calculus II” and a bunch of “Algebra for Physics”, a shiver of absolute terror ran down my spine. I’m too stupid for calculus. Seriously. I got an A at plain old college algebra, but when it got remotely deep, my brain started melting. The idea of spending multiple classes with x and y and square and f of x and quadratic polynomial orthogonal–

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    ::::hides behind the comfortable and familiar humanities mommy.:::

    Mommy points at the history classes.

    “Look, Aquaria: Russia before Peter the Great. The Age of the Baroque. African Polities, States, and Empires. Topics in Art History and Criticism. Cultural Anthropology. There, there. Everything’s all better now, isn’t it?”

  44. 544
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    What? The? Fuck?

  45. 545
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I’m too stupid for calculus.

    Unlikely. But you might have to make that the only class you take in a semester.

  46. 546
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Testing voice recognition on my new android tablet. Is it capitalizing properly?

  47. 547
    Rey Fox

    Now say, “NO WIRE HANGERS! EVER!”

  48. 548
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    Hahahaaaa, TLC. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually given my dog venison or elk rib bones, just pork. You know, I ate pork “baby back” ribs for years and years without realizing that an actual pig’s ribs, in total, are insanely large?

    I brought home a third of an immense boar, slaughtered and gutted but not butchered — Mr Kristin and I could barely heave it from the back of the van into the laundry room between the two of us — and I had to chop those ribs apart with an axe and that taught me my lesson. The longest ones were almost 3 feet long, and two of them stuffed my dog so full she didn’t move all day.

    (And now that I remember, although she did polish them absolutely clean, she ate the softer ends of those bones but not the main parts of them. Leading me to think that they too are hard enough to be pretty much unconsumable for a large dog.)

  49. 549
    strange gods before me ॐ

    «One of the last times I saw my grandmother in her nursing home she chatted cheerfully about her son, who was away studying at university. She spoke with complete conviction and considerable pride, despite seeming also to recognise that her only son – my father – sitting right beside me, was not far off retirement age. The impossibility of her tale caused her no apparent distress or confusion. Her story was lucid and complex. It was as though a perfectly plausible anecdote had been plucked from several decades earlier and woven into the void of her recent memory.

    Many older people gradually develop amnesia about recent happenings while retaining a wealth of detail from their younger days. They may make up stories to cover their embarrassment about the blanks, and generally they know their memory is foggy. The kind of storytelling my grandmother did after a series of strokes is a little different. Neurologists call it confabulation. It isn’t fibbing, as there is no intent to deceive and people seem to believe what they are saying. Until fairly recently it was seen simply as a neurological deficiency – a sign of something gone wrong. Now, however, it has become apparent that healthy people confabulate too.

    Confabulation is clearly far more than a result of a deficit in our memory, says William Hirstein, a neurologist and philosopher at Elmhurst College in Chicago and author of a book on the subject entitled Brain Fiction (MIT Press, 2005). Children and many adults confabulate when pressed to talk about something they have no knowledge of, and people do it during and after hypnosis. This raises doubts about the accuracy of witness testimony (see “The unreliable witness”). In fact, we may all confabulate routinely as we try to rationalise decisions or justify opinions. Why do you love me? Why did you buy that outfit? Why did you choose that career? At the extreme, some experts argue that we can never be sure about what is actually real and so must confabulate all the time to try to make sense of the world around us.

    Confabulation was first mentioned in the medical literature in the late 1880s, applied to patients of the Russian psychiatrist Sergei Korsakoff. He described a distinctive type of memory deficit in people who had abused alcohol for many years. These people had no recollection of recent events, yet filled in the blanks spontaneously with sometimes fantastical and impossible stories.

    Neurologist Oliver Sacks of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York wrote about a man with Korsakoff’s syndrome in his 1985 book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Mr Thompson had no memory from moment to moment about where he was or why, or to whom he was speaking, but would invent elaborate explanations for the situations he found himself in. If someone entered the room, he might greet them as a customer of the shop he used to own. A doctor wearing a white coat might become the local butcher. To Mr Thompson, these fictions seemed plausible and he never seemed to notice that they kept changing. He behaved as though his improvised world was a perfectly normal and stable place.

    Also sharing this penchant for storytelling are some people who have suffered an aneurysm or rupture of the anterior communicating artery, a blood vessel in the brain that carries blood to frontal lobe regions. These people also have profound amnesia, yet seem unaware they have a problem and confabulate to cover the gaps. The same thing can happen in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and after parts of the brain are damaged in a stroke. [...]

    [Armin Schnider] believes that we must all have a pre-conscious brain mechanism that distinguishes between current reality and fantasy, or a memory that is no longer relevant. [...] The decision process happens subconsciously, too early for awareness. Our brain sorts fact from fiction well before we know our own thoughts, he concludes.

    So confabulation can result from an inability to recognise whether or not memories are relevant, real and current. But that’s not the only time people make up stories, says Hirstein. He has found that those with delusions or false beliefs about their illnesses are among the most common confabulators. He thinks these cases reveal how we build up and interpret knowledge about ourselves and other people.

    It is surprisingly common for stroke patients with paralysed limbs or even blindness to deny they have anything wrong with them, even if only for a couple of days after the event. They often make up elaborate tales to explain away their problems. One of Hirstein’s patients, for example, had a paralysed arm, but believed it was normal, telling him that the dead arm lying in the bed beside her was not in fact her own. When he pointed out her wedding ring, she said with horror that someone had taken it. When asked to prove her arm was fine, by moving it, she made up an excuse about her arthritis being painful. It seems amazing that she could believe such an impossible story. Yet when Vilayanur Ramachandran of the University of California, San Diego, offered cash to patients with this kind of delusion, promising higher rewards for tasks they couldn’t possibly do – such as clapping or changing a light bulb – and lower rewards for tasks they could, they would always attempt the high pay-off task, as if they genuinely had no idea they would fail.

    One rare condition can make people confabulate even more elaborate tales. Capgras’s syndrome sometimes affects people after a stroke, and can leave them believing that their loved ones have been substituted by identical-looking impostors, so they make up stories of alien abduction and conspiracy in an attempt to explain this crazy situation. In similarly strange conditions people may lose the ability to recognise themselves in the mirror, or may even believe they or another person are dead, despite all evidence to the contrary. In each instance, the affected person confabulates to explain the weirdness, oblivious to the absurdity.

    What all these conditions have in common is an apparent discrepancy between the patient’s internal knowledge or feelings and the external information they are getting from what they see. In all these cases “confabulation is a knowledge problem”, says Hirstein. Whether it is a lost memory, emotional response or body image, if the knowledge isn’t there, something fills the gap.

    Helping to plug that gap may well be a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex, which lies in the frontal lobes behind the eye sockets. The OFC is best known as part of the brain’s reward system, which guides us to do pleasurable things or seek what we need, but Hirstein and Schnider suggest that the system has an even more basic role. It and other frontal brain regions are busy monitoring all the information generated by our senses, memory and imagination, suppressing what is not needed and sorting out what is real and relevant. According to Morten Kringelbach, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford who studies pleasure, reward and the role of the OFC, this tracking of ongoing reality allows us to rate everything subjectively to help us work out our priorities and preferences.

    People who confabulate may have damage to parts of the OFC itself that means it doesn’t receive all the information, or perhaps doesn’t rate that information properly. Or they may have damage to connected parts of the brain, such as memory regions, which means the OFC doesn’t receive sufficient information on which to work. Either way, when the information the OFC receives is incomplete or contradictory, it may work overtime to try and make things fit. The result could well be fiction.

    Kringelbach goes even further. He suspects that confabulation is not just something people do when the system goes wrong. We may all do it routinely. Children need little encouragement to make up stories when asked to talk about something they know little about. Adults, too, can be persuaded to confabulate, as Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and his colleague Richard Nisbett have shown. They laid out a display of four identical items of clothing and asked people to pick which they thought was the best quality. It is known that people tend to subconsciously prefer the rightmost object in a sequence if given no other choice criteria, and sure enough about four out of five participants did favour the garment on the right. Yet when asked why they made the choice they did, nobody gave position as a reason. It was always about the fineness of the weave, richer colour or superior texture. This suggests that while we may make our decisions subconsciously, we rationalise them in our consciousness, and the way we do so may be pure fiction, or confabulation.

    More recent experiments by philosopher Lars Hall of Lund University in Sweden develop this idea further. People were shown pairs of cards with pictures of faces on them and asked to choose the most attractive. Unbeknown to the subject, the person showing the cards was a magician and routinely swapped the chosen card for the rejected one. The subject was then asked why they picked this face. Often the swap went completely unnoticed, and the subjects came up with elaborate explanations about hair colour, the look of the eyes or the assumed personality of the substituted face. Clearly people routinely confabulate under conditions where they cannot know why they made a particular choice. Might confabulation be as routine in justifying our everyday choices?»

  50. 550
    chigau (違う)

    kristinc

    That year for Solstice I gave my dog an entire venison loin (tenderloin? long boneless piece?) and some of my guests crowded into the laundry room to watch her suck that thing down like a python swallowing a goat, an inch at a time.

    Please invite me to one of your parties.
    I can bring bread.
    Or hand-knit scarves.

  51. 551
    rorschach

    Interesting day for your USAnians there, what with Gingrich’s open marriage, the upturned Iowa caucus result and all…Seriously, you sent a man to the moon 40 years ago, and in 2012 people there can’t count a few thousand ballots anymore ?
    Anyway, I’m still flu-affected, with a weekend of work ahead.
    Nice new Newsweek Cover !

  52. 552
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    No wire hangers ever!

  53. 553
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Damn, this voice recognition is pretty good.

  54. 554
    chigau (違う)

    It’s -28°C and I went outside.
    Now I am undressing for bed.
    I have on so many layers, I don’t think I will ever find skin.

  55. 555
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Good morning, or so they say.
    After a fukk week of uking kids now my stomach feels like it rather wouldn’t have anything inside *sigh*

    kristinc
    That drawer looks fabulous

  56. 556
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Giliell

    a fukk week of uking kids

    Best replace your voice recognition program with the one Josh is using … ;)

  57. 557
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    FACEBOOK WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A challenger appears:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/839/hahany.png/

    A blow is struck!

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/807/hahahadz.png/

    UNLEASH THE BEAST!

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/69/hahahahacv.png/

    Victory is mine! And I show mercy.

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/528/hahahahahav.png/

    I know this guy IRL. :P

    I’m very stoned right now, so I apologize if this was in poor taste.

  58. 558
    opposablethumbs

    I just received an appeal to boycott the media industry in March (calling it “Black March”) as a protest against industry giants’ support for SOPA and PIPA – simply to put off all media purchases, downloads, cinema visits etc etc (that you would otherwise have made in March) until April, in an attempt to cause a momentary dip in sales that the industry would actually notice.

    As a technoklutz I have failed to link the image (the text came in the form of a jpeg), but you probably know all about this anyway?

  59. 559
    evilisgood

    From previous subthread:

    My husband and I are Lansbury/Hearn Sweeney Todd fans to an absurd extreme. Burton’s version is a crime against Sondheim, and by extension, against all humanity. I like Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin in Burton’s abomination, although I much prefer Edmund Lyndeck in that role. He just had that devilish twinkle in his eye, and spot-on timing. Burton missed so much of the dark humor. And Depp is too young to play Todd. And Carter cannot sing.

    I know I’m super late to that discussion, but seeing as Mr. Evil and I are pretty much obsessed with that show, I could not let it pass without comment.

    [Lovett]

    Mrs. Mooney has a pie shop
    Does a business but I’ve noticed something weird
    Lately all the neighbours’ cats have disappeared
    Got to hand it to her
    What I calls
    Enterprise
    Poppin’ pussies into pies

    Wouldn’t do in my shop
    Just the thought of it’s enough to make you sick
    And I’m tellin’ you them pussy cats is quick!

    [/Lovett]

  60. 560
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I just received an appeal to boycott the media industry in March (calling it “Black March”) as a protest against industry giants’ support for SOPA and PIPA – simply to put off all media purchases, downloads, cinema visits etc etc (that you would otherwise have made in March) until April, in an attempt to cause a momentary dip in sales that the industry would actually notice.

    :)

    Unfortunately I cannot boycott them any harder than I already do.

    Arrr.

  61. 561
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    “Matriliny breeds a culture of men who feel useless.”

    Article on matrilineal society. BBC Linky. “Meghalaya, India: Where women rule, and men are suffragettes”

  62. 562
    opposablethumbs

    Well, me too LM – but I figure this is a good place to pass the word on! :)

  63. 563
    opposablethumbs

    re Meghalaya – no fairer this way round either, but what’s the betting there’s more indignation about the unfairness of this one vanishingly tiny anomaly than there is about the whole of the rest of the world …

  64. 564
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Yay! I wanted to dispute something I posted earlier:

    One rare condition can make people confabulate even more elaborate tales. Capgras’s syndrome sometimes affects people after a stroke, and can leave them believing that their loved ones have been substituted by identical-looking impostors, so they make up stories of alien abduction and conspiracy in an attempt to explain this crazy situation. In similarly strange conditions people may lose the ability to recognise themselves in the mirror, or may even believe they or another person are dead, despite all evidence to the contrary. In each instance, the affected person confabulates to explain the weirdness, oblivious to the absurdity.

    I knew this last clause isn’t true, or isn’t always true — some know full well that what they’re experiencing is very odd but they do not imagine anything better than impostors to explain their experience — but I’m finding it difficult to find self-reports from people with Capgras. Frustrating.

    But I did find a researcher saying that this is widely acknowledged among people who study Capgras.

    It is also generally accepted that the Capgras patient does not suffer from a global breakdown in rationality – he is often aware that his belief is implausible, and even accepts that if someone else was trying to convince him that their wife was an impostor, he probably would not believe them. Yet the delusional belief persists.

    Tangentially, both Capgras and Diogenes are “somewhat dubiously named as ‘syndromes’ when in fact they are probably no more than symptoms with different causes.”

  65. 565
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    What? The? Fuck?

    “I’ve got your nose. IIIIIIIIIII’ve got your noooosee.

    Who’s got your nose? Whooooo’s got your noooooooooooooooooose?”

    Or at least that’s how I imagined it going.

  66. 566
    strange gods before me ॐ

    And then he returned her nose!

    It is a metaphor for how he will return jobs to America.

  67. 567
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Oh fuck, I think there’s a low-level creep around here.
    Some time ago I wrote on my blog about an incident that took place about 2 and a half years ago. A guy called, said he this was the number a woman had given him as hers and, well, retrospectively, talked a lot and asked a lot about me, like “how long do you have that number?”
    I never thought much about the whole thing, he seemed like an average idiot who just couldn’t believe that the woman had given him the wrong number.
    Until it just happened again.
    First call, he starts talking, I stop him and ask who he is.
    He says that he must have dialed the wrong number, apologized, hangs up.
    It didn’t even ring a bell because I had filed the other story under stuff.
    Next call, he says, oh shit, is this the right number. He repeats what clearly is my number, then asks how long I’ve been having that.
    That moment I recognized the whole thing and told him that we’d been through this two years ago. He denies it, but I just told him that I don’t want him to call ever again.
    Should he call again I’ll contact the police, I think.

  68. 568
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Thankfully Tony is here to tell Fuckwit Kagin that he totally doesn’t find what Kagin’s done insulting. At all. Not even the notpology and subsequent mockery.

    And I can’t reply to Tony until I get high, because I’ll say something far too cruel. And yes, it’s possible to be too cruel in this case. He sorta kinda wants to mean well.

  69. 569
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Giliell, if I were you I’d go ahead and talk to the police now, get the first and second instances documented with them. Point them to your earlier blog post, if you’re not anonymous online.

  70. 570
    chigau (違う)

    Giliell
    I second lmॐ.
    Talk to the police now.

  71. 571
    Rey Fox

    Damn, this voice recognition is pretty good.

    Nah, it was supposed to capitalize every letter.

    After a fukk week of uking kids

    Uking kids? You mean like this kind?

  72. 572
    Walton

    Since I now have a minute, and the tide of anti-immigration idiocy on the other thread seems to have ebbed, I’d like to explain another reason why I support the US First Amendment in its current form, and oppose “hate speech” laws.

    With the whole Cranston High School scandal, everyone in the atheist blogosphere has been pointing out – absolutely rightly – that by virtue of the First Amendment, the Christian majority cannot force their beliefs on the minority through the public schools, or enforce respect for their religious beliefs in law. Even in a community overwhelmingly dominated by a single religion, the adherents of that religion cannot take away the freedom of others to challenge and to reject that religion, nor can they force the unwilling to pay lip-service or financial support to their religion. The underlying principle is that the majority, however numerous, do not have the right to silence the voices of the minority, however small and unpopular. This is a principle upon which atheists and members of unpopular minority religions have had to rely time and time and time again, and America would be a much worse place without it.

    Most other countries, even among liberal democracies, do not have such a strong constitutional principle of freedom of religion, conscience or expression – and it shows. In Poland, a singer has been fined by the courts recently for challenging the validity of the Bible. Austria’s penal code prohibits “vilification of religious teachings”, and this prohibition is actively enforced. Ireland has a law against blasphemy, as did England and Wales (the common-law offence of “blasphemous libel”) until 2008. And the European Court of Human Rights has held that laws against blasphemy do not necessarily infringe the right to freedom of expression under the European Convention, and has also held that it is not an infringement of the Convention for Italian law to mandate the display of crucifixes in school classrooms.

    If the First Amendment in America did not exist, or were watered down, it seems extremely likely that some states and municipalities would have anti-blasphemy laws on the books, that many would have compulsory prayer and religious observance in public schools, and so forth. Not to mention the even-scarier prospect of laws restricting “subversive” political speech. Does anyone seriously deny that if legislatures in the more reactionary parts of America had power to clamp down on the freedom of expression of atheists, socialists, communists, LGBT activists, members of non-Christian religions, and so forth, they would do so in a heartbeat?

    The only way to avoid this – the only way for those of us with minority viewpoints to protect ourselves – is to have a strong constitutional principle protecting freedom of expression, conscience and religion, as America has. And the point of such a principle is that it cuts both ways. It protects those of us who are atheists and progressives from being silenced by a conservative religious majority. But it also protects fascists, racists, sexists and homophobes from being silenced – and that is, in my view, a good thing, because we cannot demand protection for our own views unless we extend the same protection to views we abhor. If we are to uphold the principle that the majority, however numerous, do not have the right to silence the minority by force, then we have to uphold this principle consistently. The ACLU was right to stand up for the right of Fred Phelps to protest, and I fully support the ACLU’s stand for freedom of speech for everyone.

    One of the things that becomes clear as you look at the ACLU’s work over the years is that government censorship has long been used to silence unpopular minorities, including LGBT people. The ACLU’s first gay rights case was in 1936, when we defended the play The Children’s Hour after it was banned in Boston because of its “lesbian content.” From our defense of a San Francisco publisher and bookstore owner who was charged with printing and selling indecent books for releasing Alan Ginsberg’s Howl, to our case just last year standing up for the right of students at a public high school in Florida to wear rainbow t-shirts or the one this year defending Constance McMillen’s right to take her girlfriend to her senior prom, we have successfully fought back when government has sought to silence LGBT people. We would have never been able to make the tremendous progress we have made in the struggle for LGBT equality without being able to talk openly about what it means to be who we are. Who can doubt that had it been up the government in the 1950′s — or to many state governments today — we wouldn’t be able to come out at all.

    It’s because you simply can’t blindly trust the government with the power to censor that the First Amendment grants all Americans, regardless of their views, the right to express themselves. The ACLU has defended the free speech rights of many types of groups, from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to the KKK. We don’t do that because we agree with either. We do it because we believe in the principle, and because we realize that once you chip away at one person’s rights, everyone else’s are at risk. It’s because of this that the ACLU submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in a case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday about an appeal being brought by Westboro Baptist Church. The appeal comes after a federal jury awarded $10.9 million (which the judge later reduced to $5 million) to the father of Matthew Snyder, a Marine whose funeral was picketed by Westboro Baptist Church. In the brief, we pointed out that the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech guarantees that no one can be found liable for merely expressing an opinion about a matter of public concern, regardless of how hurtful those opinions might be.

  73. 573
    Ingdigo Jump

    If the First Amendment in America did not exist, or were watered down, it seems extremely likely that some states and municipalities would have anti-blasphemy laws on the books,

    False dilemma and possibly begging the question. The argument was CAN laws be made to address specific instances of speech itself being harmful without removing the fundamental liberties. Can a line in the sand be drawn? Others are argue that yes, there is a clear threshold upon which protection should end. You’re not addressing the actual meat of the argument.

  74. 574
    Ingdigo Jump

    The Phelps themselves raise the question of upon what line does protest slip into harassment. I’m not convinced it’s a question that can be brushed aside just be reiterating how good the first admen is without looking at the actual real world consequences and seeing if it lives up to it’s hype.

  75. 575
    The Sailor

    kristinc, nice job on the armoire!

  76. 576
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Here is a simple question. If a Muslim student group got upset because a secular student group post a Jesus And Mo cartoon, how long before they get upset about three Muslims being found guilty of hate speech for passing a leaflet that claims that allah wants homosexuals killed?

  77. 577
    Walton

    The argument was CAN laws be made to address specific instances of speech itself being harmful without removing the fundamental liberties. Can a line in the sand be drawn?

    This doesn’t mean anything. Of course there are specific instances of speech which give rise to criminal or civil proceedings, even in America. The First Amendment does not protect all speech. (See exceptions to free speech – although I would add that I don’t necessarily agree with all the exceptions the courts have carved out.) No one thinks that child pornography should be constitutionally-protected speech, for instance. But it does mean that the state cannot simply outlaw completely the expression of political or religious opinions merely because it finds those opinions socially harmful, offensive, or liable to endanger society.

    What I am trying to show you, based on examples from European countries’ laws, is that if you relax these constitutional protections enough to allow broad content-based restrictions on “hate speech”, you leave the door wide open for the legislature to outlaw blasphemy or verbal attacks on religion, the expression of minority political views, “indecent” speech about sexuality, and so on. This would not be good at all for atheists, socialists, LGBT activists, members of minority religions, or anyone else with an unpopular viewpoint.

    The Phelps themselves raise the question of upon what line does protest slip into harassment.

    Harassment is already a crime (and is not protected by the First Amendment). WBC has skirted very close to the line at times, but it is quite good at complying with the letter of the law to avoid prosecution; don’t forget that Phelps used to be a civil rights lawyer before he became a religious maniac. And in a civil action, they won before the Supreme Court in Snyder v. Phelps, a decision which I think was absolutely right.

    how long before they get upset about three Muslims being found guilty of hate speech for passing a leaflet that claims that allah wants homosexuals killed?

    Although I wouldn’t care to defend the accused in that case, I don’t think it’s necessarily an illustration of the merits of hate speech laws. In the case of posting violent homophobic leaflets through people’s letterboxes, this would have been a crime even without hate speech laws; they could easily have been charged under section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988. The Protection from Harassment Act might also have been relevant. For that matter, sending people threats of violence is a crime in the US, too; threats and harassment are not constitutionally protected-speech. Nor should they be.

  78. 578
  79. 579
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Etta James has died.

  80. 580
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Avoiding the most obvious bad taste pun.

  81. 581
    Lynna, OM

    For this Moment of Mormon Madness we take a look at education, mormon style.

    Mormon teenagers are often subject to what they call “Seminary.” They often go to school very early so that they can fit in an hour of hogwash before regular classes begin.

    Here’s an example of the “lessons” taught in current seminary classes.

    Yes, Barbie is mired in sin because she “went parking” with Ken.

  82. 582
    Walton

    And just as I’m praising the merits of the First Amendment and the right to speak one’s mind on controversial subjects, and to say things which are unpopular or deemed offensive, without fear of criminal prosecution… PZ blogs about a story which illustrates my point perfectly.

  83. 583
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Rick Perry

  84. 584
    Lynna, OM

    @578: Janine, is that satire?

  85. 585
    Walton

    And apparently I’m so inept that, even after drawing others’ attention to the problem with links on Freethoughtblogs, I still fall prey to it myself. Here, let’s try again.

  86. 586
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Lynna, the ad is real, it is a radio ad. The visuals is meant to mock it. Take a look at the moniker of the person who made the video.

  87. 587
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Avoiding the most obvious bad taste pun.

    This

  88. 588
    Walton

    They often go to school very early so that they can fit in an hour of hogwash before regular classes begin.

    Is it just me, or does “The Hour of Hogwash” sound like a great name for a radio show?

    Here’s an example of the “lessons” taught in current seminary classes.

    Yes, Barbie is mired in sin because she “went parking” with Ken.

    Ah, Mormonism… instilling pathological guilt and shame about normal human urges since 1838.

    (To be fair, they appear to have imitated traditional Catholic practice in this regard, so I’m not sure we can credit them with the idea.)

  89. 589
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Lynna, did the person who made that Barbie lesson think that was funny?

  90. 590
    Walton

    (To be fair, they appear to have imitated traditional Catholic practice in this regard, so I’m not sure we can credit them with the idea.)

    (…the idea of instilling pathological guilt and shame about sexuality, that is. Not the idea of using Barbie and Ken as characters in a morality tale.)

  91. 591
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    uh

    blech

  92. 592
    Ingdigo Jump

    @Walton

    I know the Phelps have skirted the law. I’m annoyed and getting bored with this because I’m saying “Should the law be modified and adjusted one way or the other based on what we’re seeing in the real world” and you keep just reiterating what the law currently is.

    Really no point in continuing this if you’re just going to talk at people.

  93. 593
    cicely

    Confabulation looks like part of the same mis-matched software bundle for pattern-recognition and explanation-seeking that gives us pareidolia and anthropomorphism and (I know there’s a better word for this…) mythologisation.
    -

  94. 594
    Pteryxx

    Dropping this here for future reference – via BoingBoing, investigation into the fake piracy numbers generally pushed on lawmakers to justify crap like SOPA:

    The 750,000 jobs number had originated in a 1986 speech (yes, 1986) by the secretary of commerce estimating that counterfeiting could cost the United States “anywhere from 130,000 to 750,000″ jobs. Nobody in the Commerce Department was able to identify where those figures had come from.

    These are the numbers that were driving U.S. copyright policy as recently as 2008—and I’m still seeing them repeated in “fact sheets” circulated by SOPA boosters. Finally, in 2010, the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that these figures “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology.” Now, if a single journalist could discover as much with a few days work, minimal due diligence should have enabled highly paid lobbyists to arrive at the same conclusion. The only way to explain the longevity of these figures, if we charitably rule out deliberate deception, is to infer that the people repeating them simply did not care whether what they were saying was true. If I were a legislator, I would find this more than a little insulting.

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/how-copyright-industries-con-congress/

  95. 595
    Dhorvath, OM

    Confabulation sounds like it describes basically all of my memories.

  96. 596
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    If anyone wants to see a horrible angle no sound video of the Stephen Colbert rally in Charleston right now…

  97. 597
  98. 598
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Why would I want to see that Charleston Dandy?

  99. 599
    Walton

    I’m annoyed and getting bored with this because I’m saying “Should the law be modified and adjusted one way or the other based on what we’re seeing in the real world” and you keep just reiterating what the law currently is.

    Actually, I’m responding precisely to your question: “Should the law be modified and adjusted one way or the other based on what we’re seeing in the real world?” Assuming that you’re talking about United States law, then no, it should not – because if the First Amendment’s current protection of free speech were relaxed or reduced, even a little bit, to give the legislature power to prohibit things it considers to be “hate speech”, the result would be that many legislative bodies in the US would abuse this power to suppress minority religious and political speech of which they disapprove. In support of this conclusion, I’ve pointed to what has actually happened, in the real world, in European countries that have no equivalent to the First Amendment; as well as to the behaviour and intentions of legislators in many parts of the US.

    I am not just “reiterating what the law currently is” for the sake of it; I’m looking at the actual, real-world, concrete differences between what happens in the US and what happens in other democratic countries, and explaining why I believe that the US First Amendment is, on balance, a much better model.

  100. 600
    Dhorvath, OM

    From your linked page Rev:
    Ask the Cougar
    Sadly the target is not what popped into my head. School mascot I would assume?

  101. 601
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    yes the College of Charleston

  102. 602
    carlie

    Good Lord.
    The Daily Mail had the headline “At Last singer Etta James dies at 73 from leukemia”. They have since changed the headline, but the search result is still that on their tag info if you google “at last singer etta james”. A few other outlets, including the Chicago Tribune and Fox News wrote the same thing, but at least put quotes around the song title. Sheesh. Why are these people paid money for their words?

  103. 603
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Herman Cain is no Stephen Colbert

  104. 604
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Nein! Nein! Nein!

  105. 605
    Dhorvath, OM

    He is making me chuckle. Thanks for the second link.

  106. 606
    Serendipitydawg(rebel without paws)

    Damn, the last thing you want to hear at the end of the news on radio 4 is Etta James singing, there’s always some bad news coming.

  107. 607
    Walton

    carlie: Well, the Daily Mail is basically Britain’s equivalent of Fox News, with similarly crappy standards of “journalism”, so I’m not surprised.

    I get very depressed by the poor standards of media in general. At least the Guardian is fairly good for the most part. (Interestingly, the Guardian reports very actively on US politics, and the comment sections on the website are always full of Americans – and not just liberal Americans, for that matter. Same with the Telegraph. It’s odd how many Americans seem to prefer to get their information about American politics from British newspapers. But I guess it says something about the state of the American media.)

  108. 608
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Rev BDC, #538: I checked out that Jezebel thread expecting a certain joke, was not disappointed.

  109. 609
    Lynna, OM

    Rev BDC at 587, Thanks for the Etta James link. That was a good one.

    Still loving you, Etta, even though you are dead and gone.

  110. 610
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Rev BDC, #538: I checked out that Jezebel thread expecting a certain joke, was not disappointed.

    Honestly I thought that the purity bear was riffing off that when I first saw it.

    Nope.

  111. 611
    Serendipitydawg(rebel without paws)

    Some good news:

    Three Derby men guilty over gay hate leaflets.

    The court heard that two other leaflets were also distributed and were relevant in the case to show intent even though charges had not been brought in relation to them.

    The leaflets were called Gay – an acronym for God Abhors You – and Turn Or Burn.

  112. 612
    Lynna, OM

    Walton :

    Is it just me, or does “The Hour of Hogwash” sound like a great name for a radio show?

    I like that a lot Walton. I think mormon kids should just rename seminary. I’ll suggest that.

    Janine:

    Lynna, did the person who made that Barbie lesson think that was funny?

    It read as satire to me, so I asked the source before posting it here. He says that the seminary teacher is really into mormon cheese and, although she may have meant the lesson to be salted with semi-humor, she really meant it seriously. She spent almost the entire hour of seminary on this one piece.

    And yes, she did want the the bit about the teacher being really good to refer to her. Non-ironic references to oneself as being really good when one is really full of mormon cheese … well, nothing more needs to be said.

    Ex-mormons reviewing the lesson noted that at least it was less boring than some other seminary lessons. But they thought it could be improved by adding more details about Barbie’s wild lifestyle. Many wanted to know how Barbie felt when she found out Ken was anatomically incomplete.

    Of course, G.I. Joe had to be an RM (Returned Missionary), but I’m wondering if joining the military and going on a mormon mission doesn’t reek of a young guy trying to avoid the pressure to get married. He was caught in the end. Barbie always gets her man.

    But, as far as I know, Barbie ended up with another anatomically incomplete man. G.I. Joe, one gun short.

    Disturbingly, the calls for violence as a means to punishing people for their wicked ways sounds all too mormon.

  113. 613
    Walton

    He says that the seminary teacher is really into mormon cheese

    Mormon cheese: Like American cheese, but with less flavour.

  114. 614
    Dhorvath, OM

    Walton, that’s just not good any way I read it.

  115. 615
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    What the hell is Mormon Cheese?

  116. 616
    Ingdigo Jump

    @LC

    Like regular swisscheese only holier

  117. 617
    Dhorvath, OM

    So holy it’s empty, eh?

  118. 618
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    fuck you blockquote asshole

  119. 619
    consciousness razor

    I’d like to explain another reason why I support the US First Amendment in its current form, and oppose “hate speech” laws.

    (See exceptions to free speech – although I would add that I don’t necessarily agree with all the exceptions the courts have carved out.)

    Well, there goes the 1st Amendment in its current form…. (I’m assuming you’d cut out the money is speech bullshit too, but that would be just as relevant now as the blasphemy laws you bring up as a scare tactic.)

    What I am trying to show you, based on examples from European countries’ laws, is that if you relax these constitutional protections enough to allow broad content-based restrictions on “hate speech”, you leave the door wide open for the legislature to outlaw blasphemy or verbal attacks on religion, the expression of minority political views, “indecent” speech about sexuality, and so on.

    All you’re doing is saying it, not showing it. Repeating it again will not help.

    And just as I’m praising the merits of the First Amendment and the right to speak one’s mind on controversial subjects, and to say things which are unpopular or deemed offensive, without fear of criminal prosecution…

    That has nothing to do with hate speech. A law against hate speech would not make it a crime to say something unpopular or offensive. That is not what anyone here is suggesting, so stop pretending as if that’s what you have to defend. It doesn’t move the conversation forward at all.

    Assuming that you’re talking about United States law, then no, it should not – because if the First Amendment’s current protection of free speech were relaxed or reduced, even a little bit, to give the legislature power to prohibit things it considers to be “hate speech”, the result would be that many legislative bodies in the US would abuse this power to suppress minority religious and political speech of which they disapprove.

    Why do you think that would be the result? What is it about what people here are actually advocating that makes you assume their positions would have that kind of effect?

  120. 620
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Ing: Good answer! :D

  121. 621
    Lynna, OM

    Riffing on the questions up-thread about “mormon cheese.”

    Here’s a description of a classic mormon potluck food item:

    …a type of Jell-O salad where you mix Jell-O powder (any flavor), cottage cheese, and cool whip.

    From this description we can deduce that “mormon cheese” is a traditional way to ruin both cheese and anything with which cheese is combined.

    Actually, I think the use of “mormon cheese” to describe all LDS doctrine, lessons, etc. is meant to acknowledge a talent for elevating mediocrity to a virtue.

    If something is good-to-excellent in quality, just flavor with the appropriate cheesy factor from mormon culture, ét voila, acceptable mediocrity.

  122. 622
    Dhorvath, OM

    Because everything is better with jello.

  123. 623
    Dhorvath, OM

    Get yer Mormonized brains here. We just scoop out your current ones, add Jell-O and reinstall.

  124. 624
    Lynna, OM

    To be fair to the mormon woman teaching seminary classes to teenagers: she, like other mormon females, was subjected to YW (Young Women) classes that included field trips like going to a bridal shop and trying on wedding dresses at the age of 16.

    There were also mock weddings, with cheesy decorations the girls made themselves.

    An example of an official Young Women’s lesson.

  125. 625
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Lynna: That sounds…. truly revolting… I wouldn’t eat that even if it was a survival situation.

    And I’ve eaten raw turkey heart.

  126. 626
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Ugh, that too. Religion just gets creepier and creepier.

  127. 627
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Looks like SOPA in its current form is officially dead.

  128. 628
    Lynna, OM

    Get yer Mormonized brains here. We just scoop out your current ones, add Jell-O and reinstall.

    Great description. And probably not a metaphor.

    May I have your permission to repeat this on an recovering-from-mormonism forum?

  129. 629
    Dhorvath, OM

    Lynna,
    From your link:

    Write wedding on the chalkboard and ask the young women to suggest as many single words as possible to describe what the picture and the word wedding mean to them. Quickly list the words on the chalkboard. This list may include such words as wedding gown, happiness, ring, eternity, temple recommend,

    My emphasis. I thought following instructions was a trained response?

  130. 630
    Ingdigo Jump

    Let us drive a stake in it’s heart to ensure it stays that way.

    And remain vigilant.

    Also holy crap the public outcry killed a bill. We need to see more of this.

  131. 631
    Dhorvath, OM

    Lynna,
    Please do.

  132. 632
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    SOPA Will likely rear its ugly head again in the future, in another incarnation.

    But for now, I metaphorically spit on its corpse.

  133. 633
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    explain that a temple marriage is not performed with the pomp and ceremony often associated with large church weddings.

    Understatement much? Maybe they would be better prepared if they were told it was a goofy, awkward Masonic ritual.

  134. 634
    Ingdigo Jump

    Favorite utter clueless stupid ever today

    Step 1: Argue that you are right because you are going by literal definitions thus term a is wrong but term b which you use is right
    Step 2: complain about someone using the dictionary to show you that a and b are synonyms as being pedantic.

  135. 635
    Pteryxx

    Also holy crap the public outcry killed a bill. We need to see more of this.

    Reflexive image link (it’s bill support Before and After, via propublica)

  136. 636
    kristinc, now with added ventilation

    I wonder if I’m the last one on earth to find http://louisvsrick.com/ — by a guy who “taught his cat to use instant messaging”.

  137. 637
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Favorite utter clueless stupid ever today

    Step 1: Argue that you are right because you are going by literal definitions thus term a is wrong but term b which you use is right
    Step 2: complain about someone using the dictionary to show you that a and b are synonyms as being pedantic.

    Here’s mine:

    “I didn’t say X [recently on this very thread], I said Y and I used that word for a reason” (followed by paragraphs elaborating on Y despite the fact that the person had in fact said X).

  138. 638
    Walton

    That has nothing to do with hate speech. A law against hate speech would not make it a crime to say something unpopular or offensive. That is not what anyone here is suggesting, so stop pretending as if that’s what you have to defend. It doesn’t move the conversation forward at all…

    Why do you think that would be the result? What is it about what people here are actually advocating that makes you assume their positions would have that kind of effect?

    No. You’re missing my point completely, on every level. Maybe I’m communicating really badly, which is frustrating, but I’ll try to spell it out again as clearly as I can.

    In order to enact hate speech laws in the US which would survive a constitutional challenge, you would need to change the First Amendment: either by amending the text of the Amendment itself, or by convincing the courts to resile from their current interpretation of it. The latter is probably the more plausible means.

    So let’s say you succeeded in doing so. The result, therefore, would be that the legislature (both Congress and the state legislatures) would have a broader constitutional power than it currently has to implement content-based restrictions on speech: to define which opinions are acceptable to express in public and which are not. This is the case in Europe, as I have outlined with specific examples. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled repeatedly (Norwood v United Kingdom, Garaudy v France, Glimmerveen and Haagenbeek v Netherlands, and so on) that laws against hate speech and Holocaust-denial don’t infringe the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention, for instance. This does not, of course, mean that there is no protection for freedom of expression. Most European countries have some constitutional protection for freedom of expression, and such protection also exists at the supranational level in the form of Article 10 ECHR; thus the government must still demonstrate that a particular restriction on speech serves a legitimate public interest and that it is proportionate to its objectives.

    What are the legitimate public interests, then, served by a criminal law punishing hate speech? The usual argument relied on by governments, and accepted by the European Court of Human Rights, is that such laws are necessary to prevent “groups with totalitarian aims”, such as neo-Nazi and far-right parties, abusing their freedom of expression in order to campaign for political goals that would deprive others of their rights. Alternatively, you could also argue that hate speech causes emotional pain and suffering to members of the groups against whom the hate speech is directed, and that it tends to undermine social harmony; and that these are sufficient reasons for the state to punish and deter hate speech. These arguments are usually accepted by the judiciary in European countries as a sufficient justification.

    That’s all reasonable enough. But if you accept those arguments, you have to accept that the judiciary will also be open to similar arguments on other issues. After all, a conservative legislature could easily label Communists or Islamists, say, as “groups with totalitarian aims”, and use this justification for suppressing their speech, on the ground that these groups are campaigning for political ends that would undermine the Constitution. A legislature full of Christians could claim that acts which ridicule and vilify a religious faith or disrespect its most sacred symbols, for instance, cause adherents of that faith to experience emotional pain and suffering, and that it is therefore legitimate to punish such acts. A conservative legislature could argue that groups and publications which promote positions that the legislature considers immoral, such as a positive view of adolescent sexuality or recreational drug use, should be suppressed because of the danger of their corrupting public morals. And so on. Again, some of these kinds of arguments have been accepted by European judiciaries; the European Court of Human Rights has held that blasphemy laws do not infringe Article 10 ECHR, for instance, and the obscenity prosecution of the Little Red Schoolbook was upheld in Handyside v United Kingdom.

    My point is that if you want to enact hate speech laws, you’d need to ramp down the current US level of constitutional protection of freedom of expression, to something more like the position accepted in most European countries. And this would then leave the way open for legislatures to make arguments for suppressing various other kinds of controversial and unpopular speech. This isn’t a slippery slope or implausible fearmongering: as I’ve pointed out, with specific examples, legislatures in democratic European countries have enacted such laws, repeatedly, and European judiciaries have repeatedly upheld them. Given that American legislatures are generally at least as conservative and religious as their European counterparts, and very often more so, I think this is a very real danger, not an imaginary one. Referring to blasphemy laws is not a “scare tactic”; it’s an illustration of how easily the arguments used in court to justify laws against hate speech can be used to justify laws suppressing other opinions that the majority finds grossly offensive, hurtful, or socially harmful.

    Well, there goes the 1st Amendment in its current form….

    What I meant was that there are some respects in which I would prefer higher protection for freedom of speech than the US constitutional jurisprudence currently affords; I don’t agree, for example, with the present constitutional position that the US may deny visas or adjustment of status to non-citizens based on those non-citizens’ political opinions. (Though I don’t think this is a case of the courts interpreting the law incorrectly, but, rather, a problem with the entire concept of nationality and immigration restriction; something which is an entirely separate issue, and which I won’t discuss now because I’ve written about it extensively here before.)

    (I’m assuming you’d cut out the money is speech bullshit too, but that would be just as relevant now as the blasphemy laws you bring up as a scare tactic.)

    While I don’t support the Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United line of jurisprudence, and think that the conflation of unlimited campaign spending with political speech is a legal error and a dangerous road, I think that’s very much a separate issue. And it’s a price I’m willing to pay for keeping the First Amendment.

  139. 639
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Due to the snow storm, they’re letting us go home early. But I came in early due to the snow storm coming. Sigh.

  140. 640
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Nerd of Redhead: At the local school district out here, they jerked the students around, first by telling them school was on despite the snowstorm, then by closing the schools anyways, and thirdly by having the friendly bus driver drop the students of the local french immersion elementary off at a closed school, and tell them “Sorry, it’s just my job to get you here!” before going on his merry little way.

    Did I mention a snow and ice storm?

  141. 641
    Lynna, OM

    Fundamentalist Moment of Mormon Madness:

    The polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs has apparently taken out apocalyptic quarter-page newspaper ads all over the country.

    Labeled as a “Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ Given to President Warren S. Jeffs,” the ad reads in part: “Repent ye; now be of full humbling; all peoples shall be humbled in full way; as I send full judgements.”

    The ad appeared [in] the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, and also in the Denver Post and Las Vegas Review-Journal, according to Associated Press reporters, and in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the minnpost.com reported.

    It also showed up in the New York Times, Washington Post and the Nashville Tennessean, according to Twitter reports. It did not appear to run in the Deseret News, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-owned newspaper in Salt Lake City….

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53342039-78/jeffs-lake-salt-tribune.html.csp

  142. 642
    RichardAustin

    Posted this on PET, but for the at-large community:

    In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule that will require most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible. The rule allows certain non-profit religious employers that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraceptive services. Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception. Women will not have to forego these services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services. This rule is consistent with the laws in a majority of states which already require contraception coverage in health plans, and includes the exemption in the interim final rule allowing certain religious organizations not to provide contraception coverage. Beginning August 1, 2012, most new and renewed health plans will be required to cover these services without cost sharing for women across the country.

    The “most” is because of:

    After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule. Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law. Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule. We intend to require employers that do not offer coverage of contraceptive services to provide notice to employees, which will also state that contraceptive services are available at sites such as community health centers, public clinics, and hospitals with income-based support. We will continue to work closely with religious groups during this transitional period to discuss their concerns.

  143. 643
    consciousness razor

    So let’s say you succeeded in doing so. The result, therefore, would be that the legislature (both Congress and the state legislatures) would have a broader constitutional power than it currently has to implement content-based restrictions on speech: to define which opinions are acceptable to express in public and which are not.

    Okay, but it would define which kinds of speech are sufficiently harmful to warrant restrictions, not which opinions are acceptable.

    What are the legitimate public interests, then, served by a criminal law punishing hate speech? The usual argument relied on by governments, and accepted by the European Court of Human Rights, is that such laws are necessary to prevent “groups with totalitarian aims”, such as neo-Nazi and far-right parties, abusing their freedom of expression in order to campaign for political goals that would deprive others of their rights.

    I don’t want to restrict people’s freedom to say that others’ rights should be deprived. This is not what I’m talking about with “hate speech.” For example, if some people want to say that gays shouldn’t be able to marry, they should be able to say so, and I should be able to tell them to go fuck themselves. Hopefully, they’ll lose, and everyone will be happy, except them.

    A legislature full of Christians could claim that acts which ridicule and vilify a religious faith or disrespect its most sacred symbols, for instance, cause adherents of that faith to experience emotional pain and suffering, and that it is therefore legitimate to punish such acts.

    This is why any such law would have to be, you know, reasonable, and a violation of it would be based on tangible evidence of serious harm to a person. If ridicule or vilification of “a faith” or “a sacred symbol” would be restricted, without that causing some human being serious harm, then I wouldn’t support the law. Telling a judge that your feelings were hurt would not cut it.

    Referring to blasphemy laws is not a “scare tactic”; it’s an illustration of how easily the arguments used in court to justify laws against hate speech can be used to justify laws suppressing other opinions that the majority finds grossly offensive, hurtful, or socially harmful.

    It’s an illustration of how easily the arguments can go wrong and how sloppily laws are often written. So? I’m quite well aware that this is a complex issue.

    What you’ve not done is shown that it is necessarily the case that a law against hate speech would have do what you’re claiming it would do. How do I know this? Because the possibilities are by no means exhausted. “Hate speech” isn’t a package deal — we can in fact make as many distinctions and exceptions to it as we want (within reason, and only if its effects are fair), to allow for speech which isn’t harmful enough to be considered illegal.

  144. 644
    Walton

    This is why any such law would have to be, you know, reasonable, and a violation of it would be based on tangible evidence of serious harm to a person. If ridicule or vilification of “a faith” or “a sacred symbol” would be restricted, without that causing some human being serious harm, then I wouldn’t support the law. Telling a judge that your feelings were hurt would not cut it.

    For one thing, actual existing hate speech laws do not generally require tangible evidence of harm to a specific individual. In Britain, for instance, it is a crime to use “threatening words or behaviour”, or to publish “threatening written material”, with the intention of “stirring up hatred” on the ground of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. There is no requirement for the prosecution to prove that a specific individual suffered any kind of tangible harm; rather, the harm caused is understood to be to the community as a whole, in the form of stirring up hatred against a group. So, too, in certain European countries it is a crime to write a book denying that the Holocaust happened; it doesn’t matter whether any individual was personally distressed or hurt by reading the book, or even whether anyone was convinced by it. The kind of measure you seem to have in mind is not what we would normally call a “hate speech law”, but something closer to, say, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, or a more expansive version of an anti-harassment law.

    And in any case, what kinds of evidence, and what kinds of harm, would qualify to meet your requirement of “tangible evidence of serious harm”? Clearly you can’t be thinking exclusively of physical harm, since speech rarely directly causes physical harm (except in cases of incitement to riot or violence, which is a separate criminal offence in most places). So presumably you would be willing to accept evidence of psychological and emotional harm? Obviously there is a line between emotional harm and merely being offended – but what if someone were to suffer genuine emotional harm as a result of being exposed to an attack on his or her religion? For that matter, the line between hate speech and criticism of religion is not always perfectly well-defined. Sometimes vilification of a religion can spill over into vilification of its adherents; this is particularly the case with Islam, for instance.

    These lines are not easy to draw, and I have no confidence in legislatures to draw them in the right places. Which is why I think the status quo in US law is, on balance, the best option.

    It’s an illustration of how easily the arguments can go wrong and how sloppily laws are often written. So? I’m quite well aware that this is a complex issue.

    What you’ve not done is shown that it is necessarily the case that a law against hate speech would have do what you’re claiming it would do. “Hate speech” isn’t a package deal — we can in fact make as many distinctions and exceptions to it as we want (within reason, and only if its effects are fair), to allow for speech which isn’t harmful enough to be considered illegal.

    Of course it’s true that hate speech laws can (and do) draw fine-grained distinctions and make exceptions, and of course it’s true that such laws do not automatically proscribe all speech that someone somewhere finds offensive. I wasn’t making such a crude claim as “if hate speech is criminalized, it will automatically become illegal to offend anyone anywhere in any way.” That would plainly be empirically false.

    But which “we” are you referring to? In practice, such laws will, of course, be made by elected legislatures, and debated in the public arena. You are, therefore, counting on the assumption that Congress, your state legislature, and (where applicable) municipal legislatures, are going to draw the kinds of fine-grained distinctions and make the kinds of careful exceptions to which you refer; and implicitly, you’re trusting the judgment of your fellow citizens, and of the people they elect to represent them, to decide which kinds of speech amount to punishable “hate speech” and which do not. Which seems to me to defeat the purpose of constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech in the first place: to protect the free speech rights of minorities, including unpopular minorities, against the will of the majority. The virtue of the First Amendment is that it takes this power out of the hands of the legislature almost entirely, by laying down a default rule that freedom of expression may not be restricted, and permitting only certain narrowly-defined exceptions.

    Of course, you can hit back here by pointing out that just as you are reposing trust in the legislature and the voters, I’m reposing trust in unelected judges, and that – by my own account – judges, both in America and in Europe, sometimes make terrible decisions. This is entirely true. But the virtue of judges, at the federal level, is that they are not elected and do not depend on popularity in order to retain their offices; and they are therefore able to make decisions protecting the free speech rights of unpopular minorities against the majority. It isn’t a perfect arrangement, but it’s worked damned well in America, in comparison with any of the possible alternatives.

  145. 645
    cazfans

    Just though the hoard might like to know that Jessica Ahlquist visited our Auburn (AL) High School Freethinkers today. There was much rolling of young freethinker eyes and the beginnings of understanding the constitution.

    Happy dance.

  146. 646
    The Sailor

    cazfans, I hope you brought her flowers.
    +++++++++++++++
    Please, oh squiddily overlord, can you portcullis this thread early? My dial-up is sloooooow and it takes me several tries to load the whole thing. I humbly beseech you … Poopy Head.

  147. 647
    Dhorvath, OM

    Cazfans,
    Even if not, that is pretty good news.

  148. 648
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Oh dear. The geek-schmaltz detector just exploded:

    Lionel Ritchie – Hello – Played with lines cut from films

    (h/t once again to Revolutions blog)

  149. 649
    Therrin

    This should be required for all court transcripts.

  150. 650
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    This should be required for all court transcripts.

    Day saved. Thank you.

  151. 651
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Evening, all.
    I’ve been out for a few days (new jobs are always hectic until you get into the rhythm of things), but (1) it’s friday and (2) it’s my birthday!
    Woo!

    Of course, I’m sitting at home alone except for the kitty (who is asleep). I may order pizza in a bit.

  152. 652
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    *Hands birthday libation to Esteleth*

  153. 653
    Walton

    Happy birthday, Esteleth.

  154. 654
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    Esteleth: Happy birthday!

  155. 655
    Tethys

    Happy b-day Esteleth! *confetti*

    Cake with candles, and your drug of choice should be arriving via USB at any moment.

  156. 656
    The Sailor

    [*** confetti *** starbursts *** fireworks ***] Happy birthday, Esteleth! [/*** confetti *** starbursts *** fireworks ***]

    At least 4 of the best nights of my life have been my birthdays. I hope yours is as well.

  157. 657
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Alright, have ordered pizza. I shall go pick it up shortly.
    So! Dinner tonight is pizza, wings, and beer.
    The beer is from Ommegang (though there is some cider as well).

    Help yourselves, everyone! Everything’s nice and ready.

  158. 658
    chigau (違う)

    Happy Birthday Esteleth!!

  159. 659
    consciousness razor

    So presumably you would be willing to accept evidence of psychological and emotional harm?

    Yes.

    Obviously there is a line between emotional harm and merely being offended – but what if someone were to suffer genuine emotional harm as a result of being exposed to an attack on his or her religion?

    Then the person responsible would be violating the law. Obviously.

    These lines are not easy to draw, and I have no confidence in legislatures to draw them in the right places.

    I didn’t say they were easy, but U.S. legislators haven’t completely demolished the constitution yet, and we do still have a Supreme Court (fucked up as it is) which could in principle offer the kind of balance you want, and I didn’t throw in my support for “whatever Congress comes up with” anyway….

    I was just speaking hypothetically, about the kind of law I would support, or at least be open to the possibility of supporting. You have somehow come to the conclusion that there is no way you could possibly support it, and while at this point I don’t believe you have good reasons for that, I’d like to understand why or else change your mind.

    Which is why I think the status quo in US law is, on balance, the best option.

    The status quo is never the best option.

    I wasn’t making such a crude claim as “if hate speech is criminalized, it will automatically become illegal to offend anyone anywhere in any way.” That would plainly be empirically false.

    No, your claim was more like “if hate speech is criminalized, that will inevitably open a Pandora’s Box, so that legislatures could write other laws making it illegal to offend anyone anywhere in any way.” Which is more elaborate, but just as silly.

    But which “we” are you referring to?

    It was the royal “We.” Is that okay?

  160. 660
    chigau (違う)

    What The Sailor #646 said.
    And, perhaps, a separate thread for the “free speech” thing?
    (next time PZ is in Edmonton, I’ll buy him a beer)

  161. 661
    The Sailor

    Esteleth, I didn’t want to mention this earlier, but I’m still stuffed from the lasagna, salad, mixed fruit & cookies that the post-grad optometry society put on today for lunch.

    I didn’t care for the cookies, (damn you raisins! I thought you were chocolate chips!), but I ate all the other food stuffs in mass quantities. Twice. ***burp***

    These post grads may have a future here.

  162. 662
    Walton

    I was just speaking hypothetically, about the kind of law I would support, or at least be open to the possibility of supporting. You have somehow come to the conclusion that there is no way you could possibly support it, and while at this point I don’t believe you have good reasons for that, I’d like to understand why or else change your mind.

    Well, it would be helpful if you could explain exactly what kind of law you’re advocating, and define the behaviour you want to criminalize. (Given that, based on your last post, what you’re talking about is not exactly the same as the specific real-world examples of “hate speech laws” which I was discussing.)

  163. 663
    The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa)

    My mother just said “Rick Santorum is one of the nicest presidential candidates I’ve ever seen.”

    Rick Santorum. Fucking SANTORUM.

    This is the fruit of God’s spirit. And it looks suspiciously like a rotting, hanged corpse.

    My mother is not an evil person. She is kind and loving to all. But because Santorum smiles a lot and says ‘Gawd’, she’s taken right in.

    I seriously don’t feel like living on this planet right now. I’ll get over it, in a while, but I just feel sick right now. My own mother would vote for santorum, and other christofascists just like him, if she could. With no regard to how it would effect her own firstborn, to elect some republican/conservative godbotting horror into office. All because he smiles a lot and says ‘Gawd’.

  164. 664
    PZ Myers

    NEW THREAD!

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