Comments

  1. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Sometimes getting ready for a trip can be a real challenge.

    How much of a challenge is, “Put it in the pipe, light it, and inhale?”

  2. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Oggie:
    “Roll that shit, light that shit, smoke it”?

    (Sorry, feeling very Wu-Tang this morning.)

  3. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    “Roll that shit, light that shit, smoke it”?

    I always preferred it in a pipe.

    (Sorry, feeling very Wu-Tang this morning.)

    Cultural reference Failure in Line 30. Failure in Line 40. +++++Redo from Start+++++

  4. says

    Ogvorbis

    How much of a challenge is, “Put it in the pipe, light it, and inhale?”

    Depends. How many times have you done it before in the recent past?
    I once had a friend who noticed “Don’t smoke shit and drive” when he tried to fill his car through the window….

    Ms. Daisy Cutter
    Shit.
    I’m glad that people reacted immediately and your friend is in care now.
    All the best and hugs if you want them.

    Fossil Fishy
    Ha! I see your 4 yo and raise a smartass 2yo:

    This morning I heard the dreaded sound of pencil on furniture. I went to the nursery, saw her standing next to the table with a coloured pencil in her hand.
    Me: “You know you mustn’t draw on furniture!”
    Her: “I don’t draw on furniture!”
    Me: “So, what are you drawing on?”
    Her: “On paper”
    Me: “What paper?”
    Her: “The block!”
    Me: “What block?”
    Her (surprised and indignant voice): “Mummy, where’s the block!?”

    I swear that kid has ideas her older sister never dreamed of…

    ++++
    So, we have state election today.
    Only question really remaining is who’s going to lead the grand coalition and who has to take the backseat.

  5. Sili says

    Bah. Been using more than two minutes on Set these last two days. I guess the effects of my schooling is wearing off. I need to have a booster shot in Rhinebeck.

  6. raven says

    Iraqi Woman Beaten to Death in CA: Threatening Note Says ‘Go …
    ww.theblaze.com/…/iraqi-woman-beaten-to-death-in-ca-threatening…

    3 hours ago – 32-year old Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi immigrant, has died of her wounds after being severely beaten in El Cajon, California. She was found …

    This is pretty horrible. Not entirely clear what is going on.

    FWIW, most Iraqi’s in the USA are xians. 2/3 of all Iraq’s xians have been killed or driven out.

  7. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    #481: All right, give me the brains of the people who hired Sandusky – it’s clear they don’t need them and don’t use them anyway. No, I don’t really know what I’d do with them, although donating to a medical school seems like a good idea.
    ————————————————

    Not much sun here. Staying in, as I was out and about for a good part of the afternoon yesterday. Trying to decide if I should get rid of my dad’s old recliner or keep it – comfy, but takes up a lot of room. Also need to ask Mom if she still wants that chair Aria chewed the arm of, or does she want to put it out in the street. Really, when your room ends up being the deposit place for junk and such, you realize that it’s not actually that big a room at all. Even a shipping container apartment would seem roomier I think.

  8. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    FWIW, most Iraqi’s in the USA are xians. 2/3 of all Iraq’s xians have been killed or driven out.

    And, sadly, for the most xenophobic in the US (who correlate heavily with radical Christianity) do not care weather a (insert offensive stereotypical generalization) are Christian if they are in the US. If they are overseas, this is proof of liberal hatred and persecution of Christians. Here it considered a normal reaction.

  9. says

    A few years ago a mormon acquaintance added my email address to her huge mormon email tree. I’ve tried several times to get her to delete my email address from the list, all to no avail.

    The result is that I am reminded on an almost daily basis how stupid, ignorant, arrogant, and dangerous these people can be. Here’s the email I received yesterday:

    Subject: Will 2012 be America’s Last Presidential Election?…

    In the past three years, the Obama administration has been very carefully crafting the nation for a political take over by his Marxist regime and this isn’t just my opinion. Popular radio talk show host Michael Savage is the son of Russian immigrants and is very familiar with Soviet and European history. Savage warned his listeners this week saying, “I have to tell you that if this man, God forbid, is the next president of the United States, we’re going to be living in something along the lines of – people say Europe. I don’t believe it’s going to be like Europe – I think it will be closer to Chavez’s South American dictatorship.

    “This is the most corrupt, incompetent, dangerous tyrannical administration in American history. It’s not politics as usual! It’s not just Democrats versus Republicans. Obama has a long history of being at odds with American values and with America itself and the core principles of this country. They don’t want government-sponsored opinions. They only want government-sponsored ‘Pravda.’ That’s exactly what the government-media complex tells you on a daily basis –
    nothing but the government-media complex party line.
    Pay attention. Your freedom may be at stake.

    Over the weekend, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a small group of people in an Iowa coffee house that, “Barack Obama is not incompetent, ladies and gentleman. He knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. He sees America differently than you see America.

    [Obama] has gone out of his way to divide this country in a way I haven’t seen since the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt went around to divide his country. That’s his hero. What makes America great [in Obama’s mind is that] the government takes money from somebody and gives it to somebody else. No, that’s what makes America, “France.”

    With his control over the Executive and Judicial branches of the government,the stage is set for a complete takeover of the government. Think about it. Since taking office, instead of helping the economy, Obama has purposely escalated the economic crisis by plunging the country into unprecedented debt. He has a number of programs that are designed to go into effect in January 2013, just in time for his second term of office.

    The economic burden and increased taxes on everyone will be enough to cause the final economic collapse of the country. As soon as that happens, Obama declares Martial Law and assumes dictatorial control of the nation.

    The Department of Justice has already been subverting federal laws to strip us of a number of freedoms. The Supreme Court and many of the other federal courts have been seeded with socialistic liberal judges that will rule in Obama’s favor on virtually anything, thus ending constitutional rule and law.

    Allowing homosexuals to openly serve along with changing the retirement program is causing many conservative military leaders to resign commissions and leave the military.
    Some Pentagon officials are also noting that an increase in the enlistment of radical Muslims into the US military where they get all the training they need on weapons and defense systems. We have no idea how many of them there are in the armed forces or in what positions they may hold. He’s already changing the face of America’s military.

    Obama has been wielding executive powers this past year as if he were already a dictator. When Congress is not doing his bidding, he simply bypasses them and used an executive order to accomplish it anyway. This has set the stage for his disbandment of Congress. He would not be the first world leader to take control of a nation and disband the legislative branch of government.

    And realize that free America has been removed and replaced with a regime that may parallel those of Stalin, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, Chavez and Castro. He has been effectively using the media to anesthetize the public to the dangers he poses. Like a patient being prepped for surgery, people are numb to the changes and won’t have a clue what took place until they wake up in recovery

    For the sake of our children and grandchildren, I earnestly pray that we are spared from what seems a certain future and that Obama is overwhelmingly defeated in 2012.
    Otherwise, heaven help us.

    PLEASE,PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESSES !!

    OBAMA MUST BE DEFEATED IN 2012

  10. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Lynna:

    That is weapons grade strange. Amazing how a right-of-centre black man can show just how crazy 25% of the country really is.

  11. raven says

    (CNN) — An Iraqi woman who was left brutally beaten in her Southern California home with an apparently xenophobic note beside her has died.

    I’m having trouble seeing how someone could invade a home and beat someone to death. Nevertheless, she didn’t put herself on life support by herself.

    Santorum-For-Brains imagines a horror movie future if he is not President.

    Looks like the Santorum Nightmare is starting early.

  12. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    We’ve had people set on fire in their homes here. Though I think it was domestic there. Which does not make it any fucking better.

    What part do you find hard to see raven?

  13. The Laughing Coyote (Canis Sativa) says

    I always preferred it in a pipe.

    Might I ask why Ogvorbis?

    I find, in a pipe, the first toke tastes OK, the second, ‘decent’, the third is starting to get a little nasty, and from then on it just becomes an endurance trial for me.

    A doobie tastes good all the way through.

    I’m having trouble seeing how someone could invade a home and beat someone to death

    Really, raven? You’re having a hard time imagining a human doing something horrible to another human, particularly in this case another human of a different skin color?

  14. carlie says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter – how scary. I’m glad your friend is surrounded by help.

    In total house scrubdown mode, hoping whatever triggered Spouse is something that is removable. Hoping his doctor gets him in for allergy testing quickly this week, or that if it’s something else entirely it gets found out.

    Hope everyone gets home from Reason Rally ok.

  15. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Might I ask why Ogvorbis?

    When I smoked (this is 25 to 30 years past tense) weed in a pipe, the bitterness and bite were akin to a strong tobacco. And the pipe gave the weed a pleasant tobacco taste. Rolled, I expected the smoothness of a good cigar. So I guess it met my expectations when smoked in a pipe but was jarring when smoked rolled.

  16. says

    Janine, the fear-mongering in that video is so chilling. What I find most offensive, though, is the red-lipped woman’s mouth going Shhh. It just gives me a terrible feeling – more anti-woman/ jezebel/ whore/evil female imagery. Also, the sneaky flash of President Obama’s image on the TV set showing Ahmadinejad shouting like HItler.

    How is this evil garbage legal?!?! UGH!

    LYNNA OM that email is scary ugly. These religious groups have such an easy way to organize and create an alternate universe for themselves. Double UGH!

  17. says

    That is weapons grade strange. Amazing how a right-of-centre black man can show just how crazy 25% of the country really is.

    Yep. And this is just one of thousands of mormon women using email trees to send out toxic and incorrect screeds to thousands more.

    The emails come to me with about 100 recipients in the “To” field.

    I could block her emails, but am reluctant to do so. When she’s not doing her all-important, but unofficial, LDS duty of spreading the über mormon view of politics throughout the land, she sometimes sends family or local news that is legit. [sigh]

    The unfiltered view of how mormons actually talk to each other can be useful. Sometimes I’m glad she hasn’t removed me from the list. But on other days I’ve had more than enough of this nonsense.

    I guess I’ll continue to suffer for the sake of shining a light on worst of mormon culture.

    Fucking depressing, though.

  18. janine says

    Don’t forget the blackbirds at the beginning. While they are a trope from horror films, I do think that it is a code here.

  19. Gregory Greenwood says

    Does anyone remember a thread a few weeks back about an opinion piece in the Pasedena Sun about how atheists are emotionally unstable and make for unreliable soldiers by one Pastor Griem? The chap some of us sent emails to explaining why his argument makes no senbse, and is actually pretty bigoted?

    Well, I got a reply today. If anyone is interested, here it is;

    >Greg, I
    didn’t really mean to insult the entirety of atheistic culture in
    America. I was answering the question posed to me by the Times. They
    got the story from the US Military who said that tests showed atheists
    were less emotionally stable than people of faith. Did I think that
    made sense? Yes I did, and I was the butt of one heck of a lot of
    atheist ill-will long before this question. Suddenly I had a chance to
    weigh in, so that is the context of my comments. My thing is this, we
    are a country that pledges as “one nation under God,” yet here are
    American soldiers who join the military as a job and deny the Creator.
    In the long run, their contribution is pointless, because I am talking
    about the long run in terms of eternity, not this life of maybe 9
    decades.
    >If I thought I was going to cease to completely exist by
    being heroic, I’m sure that would influence my decision just like
    knowing there is a God who will guarantee my place in eternal heaven
    and beyond would. You can call God a “monster” and the several other
    names you used in your note, but you only prove my point. You hate God,
    by not believing in him, but also by your blasphemy when you know that
    I do yet you insult him, and in turn, me. I can’t answer your 4 page
    letter (and every other atheist’s), but I can say that God is there,
    and you say he is not. If you were a soldier and did the same, then I
    would wonder about your behavior when life was at stake. It’s
    reasonable to consider, and the USM says it sees a problem. Did you
    write them too? My family is US Military, but we all believe in the God
    who “shed his grace on thee.” You don’t? Why? What makes you right?
    What makes you moral at all without the eternal moral law giver? My
    position is that
    > God is there, and the Bible says you know that this
    is true but only deny it. I agree with the Bible too. I don’t know what
    else to say.
    >~rev. Bryan

    And here is my response;

    —————————————————————–

    Pastor Griem,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my email.
    Let me begin by saying that I fully respect your right to believe
    whatsoever you choose, and that I only take issue with what I consider to be your mischaracterisations of atheists and atheism.

    In your email, you said that;

    Greg, I didn’t really mean to insult the
    entirety of atheistic culture in America.

    While it may not have been your intention, it was certainly the effect of your words – you have impugned the courage, moral integrity and mental stability of atheists as a group. Is it any surprise that some of us have taken offence?

    They got the story from the US Military who said that tests showed atheists were less emotionally stable than people of faith.

    And yet civilian studies performed under rigorous scientific conditions do not support such a contention, which rises concerns as to the methodology (and possible agenda) behind these military tests.

    Did I think that made sense? Yes I did, and I was the butt of one heck of a lot of atheist ill-will long before this question.

    Perhaps that ‘ill will’ was primarily a reaction to your negative preconceptions about atheists. You cleave to a belief system that claims that we are to be condemned to eternal torture for our lack of belief in your god, and supposedly deservedly so. It is difficult to open a constructive
    dialogue with someone whose avowed faith casts you in the role of evil incarnate.

    My thing is this, we are a country that pledges as “one nation under God,”

    I believe that the US non-establishmenmt clause of
    the constitution pretty clearly establishes a separation of religious belief and secular government, and has furthermore been interpreted in the US supreme courts as guarenteeing both freedom of religion and freedom from religion. Furthermore, several of the famous ‘founding father’ figures were actually deists who believed in a non-interventionalist deity rather than evangelists such as yourself.

    ‘One nation under god’ may be a common saying, but it holds little lergal force in the contemporary United States as evidenced by the ban on faith qualifications for public office.

    yet here are American soldiers who join the military as a job and deny the Creator.

    And why shouldn’t they treat the military as a career option? Who would you rather have guarding your nation? A highly trained, professional soldier who happens to be an atheist, or a person primarily motivated by religious fervour who sees war as the violent enactment of their god’s will? I imagine you would be comfortable with the second option so long as that soldier shared your faith, but imagine that he or she
    did not. Imagine that they were of a different denomination or a
    different religion altogether – would you still be as comfortable, or would you start to prefer the professional soldier with no religious axe to grind? I am not advocating for the outlawing of religion in the military, only that a member of the military should not allow their religion to interfere with their duty to their nation and the entirety of its populous, whether their fellow citizens follow another religion
    or no religion at all. An atheist who does his or her military duty to the best of their ability is no less worthy of recognition than atheist soldier, and indeed may even be less problematic because their view of their military obligations is not coloured by a theology that may render them intolerant of religious difference.

    As for ‘denying the creator’ – the obligation is upon you and your fellow theists to demonstrate that this entity exists through the provision of scientifically credible evidence, something that nobody has yet been able to acheive.
    Until you can do that, why should anyone treat your deity as anything more than a myth, still less accept belief in it as a condition for serving in the military?

    In the long run, their contribution is
    pointless, because I am talking about the long run in terms of
    eternity, not this life of maybe 9 decades.”

    Imagione that there is a theist soldier of the type you seem to admire. Imagine that his or her life is saved by one of their atheists comrades – would they accept your claim that the atheist soldier’s contribution was ‘pointless’? Would their family?

    You speak of eternity, I speak of the here and now, the only life we know we have. I would take help rendered and lives saved now over vague promises of future salvation any day of the
    week. Besides, what makes you think that America will exist for
    eternity? Civilisations, and indeed religions, are lucky to endure unaltered for more than a few thousand years, and any one of the cultures and religions lost to antiquity could have produced believers in their faiths every bit as devout as yourself. What makes their pious men and women wrong and you right? What makes you assume that christianity will exist after only a geologically insignificant period of time has elapsed – say a mere hundred thousand years from now – let alone for ‘eternity’?

    If I thought I was going to cease to completely
    exist by being heroic, I’m sure that would influence my decision just like knowing there is a God who will guarantee my place in eternal heaven and beyond would.

    It does influence one’s thinking – it encourages you to cherish every day of your life knowing that it is finite, and yet the inescapable fact remains that atheists do sacrifice their lives for others, including in military situations. Some things
    are worth risking your life for – your friends, your loved ones, your principles – whether you believe in god or not.

    You can call God a “monster” and the several other names you used in your note, but you only prove my point.

    I said that your god as you depict it sounds like a monster, and given the fact that you believe that I and many people that I respect and care for, and even some that I love, will be
    tortured on the orders of this deity for all time simply for following the evidence, is it any surprsie that I would feel that way?

    You hate God, by not believing in him,

    Your definition of hatred is odd – on what basis can non-belief be defined as hatred? I don’t believe in your god, but I also don’t believe in Allah, Brahmen, Odin, Thor, Zeus, Ra, and Mithras – does that mean that I ‘hate’ all these deities too by
    your definition? Do I also ‘hate’ Santa and the Easter Bunny and ghosts and werewolves and vampires and Cthulhu and Sauron and the Pink Quantum Unicorns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I believe in none of them, and you seem to consider that to be ‘hatred’. Or is your god a special case – the only concept that can be hated by simple non-belief in its existence? If so, on what basis should your (still unevidenced) deity be offered such exceptional status? Is your god so insecure that the
    non-belief of me and othere like me makes it feel hated? What does an omnipotent and omnisceint being even need with human belief? Why would such a puissant super-being even care?

    but also by your blasphemywhen you know that I do yet you insult him, and in turn, me.

    Until you provide credible scientific evidence for the existence of your god, blasphemy will remain a victimless crime. Or rather non-crime, at least over here in the UK. You say I ‘know what you know’ – your faith is not knowledge, it is not evidence. You only believe what you believe, and I do not share your faith. I do not find the case you and other theists have built for the existence of your various gods to be even remotely persuasive.

    You say that by my non-belief I ‘insult you’ – I do not
    recognise the concept of vicarious insult. I bear you no ill will as a person, and critiquing your beliefs is not intended to insult you. I am not the one declaring that my opponents are bound for deserved eternal torment, afterall. Your beliefs are not your person – they are ideas, and like all ideas in a free society they are open to discussion and criticism.

    I can’t answer your 4 page letter (and every other atheist’s), but I can say that God is there, and you say he is not. If you were a soldier and did the same, then I would wonder about your behavior when life was at stake.

    Why? On what conceiveable basis can an atheist soldier’s non-belief in god impact his or her capacity to do
    their job? As for concern for life, many (I would go so far as to say most) atheists are humanists – they believe that all human life has inherent value irrespective of the existence or non-existence of any notional creator deity. There is no reason to impugn the moral character or integrity of a person based on nothing more than their atheism.

    It’s reasonable to consider, and the USM says it sees a problem. Did you write them too?”

    That is quite a claim you make there – do you have any kind of citation to back it up? Furthermore, the UN lacks the authority to pass resolutions on matters of personal conscience and religious observance or lack thereof.

    My family is US Military, but we all believe in the God who “shed his grace on thee.” You don’t? Why? What makes you right?

    I am not saying that I am definitely right, I am saying that you are making an exceptional claim, and that if you hope to convince myselfand people like me then you are going to need exceptional scientific evidence to back it up. In the absence of such evidence, I am simply applying the null hypothesis and the principle of parsimony. The burden of proof lies on the party making the assertion – you claim that this being exists, you are the ones who need to back up that claim if you want the rest of us to take it seriously.

    To turn the situation around, millions of people believe in Hinduism and Islam, yet you do not – why? What makes you right?

    Millions of people have historically believed inin the Ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Nordic pantheons, yet you do not – why? What makes you right?

    Millions of people have believed and continue to believe in paganism, the Gai’a or ‘Earth Mother’ faith, animism, ancestor worship and the belief that ‘god’ is a species of extremely advanced alien lifeforms, yet you do not – why? What makes
    you right?”

    If your answer to any of the above questions was any varient on ‘they have no evidence’, then you are in the same boat as
    atheists are in regard to christianity. In a sense, you are an atheist too – in regard to every religion practiced in the entire history of our species bar one. We atheists simply don’t believe in one more god than you do.

    My position is that God is there, and the Bible says you know that this is true but only deny it. I agree with the Bible too. I don’t know what else to say.

    Your belief that your god exists is not evidence. Again, you claim to know my mind, you state that I secretly believe as you do – this simply is not true. The existence of your god may be self evident to you, but it is not to me. All I see is
    a fantasical claim of an undetectable being with superpowers, and no evidence to back it up. As for the bible, it is a two thousand year old book written by fallible men, that has been repeatedly translated and retranslated from one language to another by other fallible men – it is a poor basis on which to make clims of being able to read the minds of atheists.

    You have made your case, and I and others like me are
    unconvinced. Threats of fire and brimstone will not move us – we are not afraid of a god we consider to be just another myth.

    Much like you, I have little more to say, other than to reiterate that, whatever you may believe, we atheists are simply people, just like you. We are not monsters, and we wish you no harm. We simply don’t want to be subordinated to your religion.

    Yours sincerely,

    Gregory Greenwood-
    Nimmo.

  20. says

    I’m going to assume that, living in Utah, you can’t really do things like reply with offensive images or, I dunno, Joseph Smith/Brigham Young mpreg slash until she drops you, because there would be Repercussions.

    I’ve replied by offering links to factual/reality-based sources. Those efforts have no effect whatsoever.

    Most of the time I ignore the incoming garbage.

    If you live in a mormon-dominated culture, mormons will see that you suffer financial death if you cross them. Unofficially, of course. The official financial curse comes from God. Mormons just act on the promptings of the Holy Spirit to do God’s will.

    I don’t live in Utah. But enough about me. I’m already sticking my neck out to far.

  21. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Well except that kids with non-blue eyes can’t change their eye-colour, whereas people can, in general, change their patterns of behaviour.

    Well except nothing.

    Your generic response here would be warranted if I’d said people should not be punished or rewarded for their actions. That would be rather out of character, as I advocate state violence to change the behavior of people who display Confederate flags, among others.

    Such punishments and rewards can be necessary for a better world, but people can’t deserve them.

    People can get tinted contact lenses, too, but whether they do is ultimately no more up to them than whether or not there was life on Mars.

    +++++
    Saul Smilansky’s “compatibilism: the argument from shallowness” will save me the trouble of typing out what you already know:

    «Given that there is no libertarian free will, asking about ‘ultimate control’ lands us with the hard determinist conclusion, where ultimately there can be no control. Any person whom we could agree was on the compatibilist level free (that is, could reflect on his options, decide to do what he wanted, was not coerced, etc.) would be seen in a new light: under the ultimate perspective, the sources of his character and motivation would also be queried. And if we have no libertarian free will, then ultimately we are just ‘given’, with our desires and beliefs, and any change in them is ultimately down to our earlier selves, which we ultimately cannot control. We are what we are, and from the ultimate perspective, with all our compatibilist choosing and doing, we operate as we were molded. […]

    There is a sense in which Compatibilist Justice is very often, at best, ‘justified injustice’, and in which the proper compatibilist order can be seen as, in one way, morally outrageous. The valid requirement to form, maintain, and enhance this moral order is hence tragic. […]

    Consider the following quotation from a compatibilist: [“]The incoherence of the libertarian conception of moral responsibility arises from the fact that it requires not only authorship of the action, but also, in a sense, authorship of one’s self, or of one’s character. As was shown, this requirement is unintelligible because it leads to an infinite regress. The way out of this regress is simply to drop the second-order authorship requirement, which is what has been done here. (Vuoso, 1987, p. 1681) (my [Smilansky’s] emphasis)[”]

    The difficulty, surely, is that there is an ethical basis for the libertarian requirement, and, even if it cannot be fulfilled, the idea of ‘simply dropping it’ masks how problematic the result may be in terms of fairness and justice. The fact remains that if there is no libertarian free will a person being punished may suffer justly in compatibilist terms for what is ultimately her luck, for what follows from being what she is – ultimately without her control, a state which she had no real opportunity to alter, hence not her responsibility and fault. […]

    [T]he compatibilist cannot form a sustainable barrier, either normatively or metaphysically, that will block the incompatibilist’s further inquiries, about all of the central notions: opportunity, blameworthiness, desert, fairness and justice. It is unfair to blame a person for something not ultimately under her control, and, given the absence of libertarian free will, ultimately nothing can be under our control. Ultimately, no one can deserve such blame, and thus be truly blame-worthy. Our decisions, even as ideal compatibilist agents, reflect the way we were formed, and we have had no opportunity to have been formed differently. If in the end it is only our bad luck, then in a deep sense it is not morally our fault – anyone in ‘our’ place would (tautologically) have done the same, and so everyone’s not doing this, and the fact of our being such people as do it, is ultimately just a matter of luck. Matters of luck, by their very character, are the opposite of the moral – how can we ultimately hold someone accountable for what is, after all, a matter of luck?»

    +++++
    I grant, and am a frequent proponent of, the necessity of punishment. To say “we are going to punish you” is only to express what’s necessary.

    But to go beyond necessity is gratuitous. To say “you deserve to be punished” is gratuitous cruelty. And if we convince ourselves that the punished deserve it, we’re not only the boot stamping on a human face forever; we’ll grind in that boot heel.

    Compatibilism seems invariably to be gratuitous cruelty, as I’ve never heard a compatibilist who wasn’t fixated on “who deserves punishment.”

    This is incoherent. What can be meant by saying we “should” do something or are “morally obliged” to do so, if we have no moral responsibility for things we have done? It’s arrant nonsense.

    *shrug* I merely answered your question as to whether I believe in any moral responsibility. I’m not much interested in convincing you about that part. If there can be no moral responsibility at all, I am not without other methods.

    But I don’t see any argument for your claim that it’s incoherent. On its face, it appears to be a non sequitur to insist that we can only try to take moral responsibility for the future if people are now morally responsible for what they did in the past.

    You already grant that to be free to choose otherwise, your motives must be different.

    No I don’t. I say that you are free to choose otherwise if you are not under external constraint, nor suffering from diminished capacity to make considered decisions.

    I quote you: “I’m free to decide otherwise (say in the case of spending $1000 on a good cause or personal enjoyment) in the sense that if my motives were different, I would.”

    You didn’t offer any other way that you could decide otherwise. Different motives were all you came up with.

    Do elaborate. How could being “not under external constraint, nor suffering from diminished capacity” result in someone choosing otherwise, unless they also had different motives?

    [O]bviously, an absence of constraint cannot ‘determine’ how a person acts. When a situation is such that people are free agents and therefore able to act in different ways, it is not their free agency but something else that decides what they do. That ‘something else,’ if not some external force, is the person’s disposition, or character.”

    In the absence of external constraint, you are not free to decide otherwise than you do at any given time, any more than a computer program is free to decide otherwise than it does. This “absence of external constraint” standard is terribly shallow if not vacuous: “Under Dennett’s formulation were you to take your child’s toy car, put in new batteries, and then set it to race away, it would not have free will; however, as soon as you turn your back and walk away from it never to return, you have blessed it with free will.”

    But to say “I could have chosen differently if my motives were different” is to contemplate an alternate KG who does not and can not reside in our timeline. You can’t get there from here.

    No, it really isn’t, because in practice, such a declaration would usually be made in the context of contemplating changing my motives, so I would be contemplating a future KG

    Heh, “compatibilists […] just don’t like to talk about the past so much, because it weirds folks out.”

    Did you forget why we were talking about the past? It wasn’t for an arbitrary reason. It’s because I said “I insist on natural language — using the term how most people use the term — that for at least one choice you’ve made, you could have chosen differently than you did”, and you tried to challenge that.

    So you want to change the subject to the future; fine by me, should I take that as a concession that you’re aware your motives never could have been different in the past?

    a future KG who would make different decisions due to having different motivations. I can and do decide to change my motives, and sometimes even succeed.

    I already answered this:

    “But you’ll never have different motives than the ones you’ll have! (This is why compatibilism is virtue ethics.) And if, at any given time, you’re changing your motives, then you’re not free to change them in any way other than how you do, which is a function of your prior motives, which you were not free to change in any other way than how you did, et cetera. In other words, you may do as you will, but you may not will as you will. It’s not you who could be free to decide otherwise [at any moment], because you’ll never have the necessary motives to do so [at that moment].”

    You can go ahead and say that a year from now you’ll act differently than you do now, because you’ll have different motives. That’s perfectly obvious. But a year from now you will not be free to act differently than you do then; your behavior then will be determined by those motives.

    I can write a computer program which exhibits your kind of “freedom”, to behave differently in the future by taking in different inputs (environment) at different times and choosing different subroutines (motives). But it will never be free to do otherwise, at any moment, than exactly what it does at that moment. And neither will anything else in the universe.

  22. says

    @Lynna, OM

    I’ve tried several times to get her to delete my email address from the list, all to no avail.

    The way I finally got one such rightwing person to cut me off from their email list was to set up a message filter (aka, a message rule) that sent out a preformed email to every email from that person.

    The preformed auto-reply email had a message designed to make that person’s head assplode. It contained a cheery fake photo from Time Magazine of a smiling Reagan with his arm around a grinning President Obama titled “Why Obama <3 Reagan” along with links to Snopes.com, the White House Blog, and the Obameter all typed in bright, bold colors with large font sizes. :P

  23. Pteryxx says

    Wow, it’s Long Post Day on TET.

    My contribution: Ed or Greg or somebody linked this, I forget who, but it’s actually important:

    FCC decision strikes critical blow to right-wing radio dominance

    The FCC’s decision on Monday wipes away a massive backlog of applications for FM repeater stations, which are transmitters that repeat signals broadcast by corporate and religious radio operators — many of which rake in big listening audiences for right-wing syndicated talk shows.

    “So, what a lot of right-wing, conservative radio stations have been able to do is expand their reach out in communities by just having these translators out in the wild, which is why Rush Limbaugh gets the type of audience that he has — because the networks take one signal and repeat it over and over and over across the dial all over the country,” Steven Renderos, national organizer with the Center for Media Justice, told Raw Story on Tuesday. “They’re constantly looking for opportunities to expand that, so there were a slew of these applications pending at the FCC.”

    […]

    “These [new, low power] stations can only be licensed to non-profit organizations, and you can only have one per customer,” Brandy Doyle, policy director for the Prometheus Radio Project, told Raw Story. “That way we won’t have these big corporate chains and media networks that are taking over the rest of the media landscape moving in on low power FM service. These stations have to be local, and they have to be independent. This clears the way for a real transformation of the FM dial.”

    Anyone currently active in amplifying underserved stories and music (like we do here) could claim a local radio station. Want to organize local protests or activities? Rebroadcast lectures and events such as Reason Rally speeches, currently distributed through videos and podcasts? Hold live discussions with callers, featuring guests from anywhere in the world via Internet voice chat? Broadcast basic education that the schools get wrong? Not to mention, these stations can reach people who don’t have reliable Internet access (hi!) or live in underserved communities.

    “Right now the Center for Media Justice is part of a national partnership with Prometheus Radio Project and Color of Change to try and identify organizations across the country — social and racial justice organizations — that could potentially benefit from owning and running their own radio station,” Renderos said. “What we hope to see in 5-10 years is a coordinated infrastructure of radio that doesn’t necessarily parallel what’s on the right, that at least helps to project a very different type of discourse on the radio dial.”

    And it’s not just an outreach effort, either: The Center for Media Justice is actively taking inquiries from organizations that want access to their community’s airwaves, with the goal of helping them achieve that dream as soon as possible.

    I suggest sending this on to y’all’s local groups, even the internet-only ones. Anyone for FreeThought Broadcasters or the SSA Radio Network? Most groups will need a coalition or an anchor school to found a nonprofit and get a radio station off the ground. Radio stations make for great volunteer opportunities, such as managing, journalism and public speaking practice. And they’ll need donating memberships – keep your ears open for new stations springing up around the end of this year. Personally, I’m writing to the Dallas Voice to suggest a queer-interest radio station, as a start.

    Also via the Dallas Voice, this is awesome:

    Pic of the Day: Gays 4 VaJays

  24. says

    @Gregory Greenwood
    A well-written, voluminous response indeed. However, you might want to issue a slight correction to Griem if this typo survives in the original reply you sent out:

    An atheist who does his or her military duty to the best of their ability is no less worthy of recognition than atheist a theist soldier…

  25. Rey Fox says

    Great letter, Greg. One thinks that it might even make the guy think a little…

  26. Sili says

    all typed in bright, bold colors with large font sizes. :

    Ah! It must have worked because you speak their language.

  27. says

    Great letter Gregory Greenwood!

    Aratina Cage, that Reagan heart Obama email sounds like a fantastic idea. I wonder LynnaOM if you could group email everyone on the mass emails you get (including yourself!) and use some kind of anonymous sender address if you can set one up – and mass email that (aratina Cage’s suggestion) to everyone on the list every single time?

    Fight garbage with humor and a good thick coating of truth!

    Pteryxx, I was also thrilled by that story. I thought I had posted that somewhere, but I guess not. Ugh. Such a noob. lol

  28. Pteryxx says

    niftyatheist: Heck I have no idea anymore where my links come from around here. I give credit whenever I manage to actually track down the source among all my tabs, lawl.

  29. says

    Pteryxx, tell me about it! I just spent 10 minutes searching for it – I will find it I WILL!! – but nope! Gone. And it was there this morning (or was that afternoon?).

    Anyway, it is excellent to have such an embarrassment of riches that we literally cannot keep up (OK, I cannot keep up – I should speak for myself lol).

    Janine what is this ear worm thing you speak of? Dare I click links? :D

  30. cm's changeable moniker says

    Og:

    just how crazy 25% of the country really is

    27%. Standard theory of crazyfication.

    Lynna, reporting: “Obama declares Martial Law”.

    What?! No FEMA concentration camps? I love those …

    And, via Pteryxx: “FCC decision strikes critical blow to right-wing radio dominance”. See? Government-controlled media! Pravda! Правда!!!

  31. says

    (emerging triumphant from under heap of old posts and comments) EUREKA! I have it! It was Markita Lynda – comment # 62, the reason rally thread. Wait what? Oh, the post about the FCC FM radio decision. I had to keep looking until I found it. (What me? Pointless, terrier-like persistence? Nahh!)

    Thanks for the chuckle, changeable moniker.

  32. says

    Aratina Cage, that Reagan heart Obama email sounds like a fantastic idea. I wonder LynnaOM if you could group email everyone on the mass emails you get (including yourself!) and use some kind of anonymous sender address if you can set one up – and mass email that (aratina Cage’s suggestion) to everyone on the list every single time?

    That sounds like a good idea.

    I’ll see what I can come up with.

  33. says

    LynnaOM, I hope you can! I am going to try to set something up so I can do it too whenever I get one of the more run-of-the-mill but still annoying “patriotic-anti-Obama” emails I occasionally get.

  34. says

    @niftyatheist
    Here is the link to the Time cover image: http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/2011/1101110207_400.jpg

    I put that image at the bottom of the email (you can usually hot-link to it using webmail programs), and I put at the top a reminder that he is the president (*evil grin*); that they can keep track of his accomplishments (on campaign promises) at the Obameter by Politifact (www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/ to which I linked in green); that they can get the latest news, videos, and ideas directly from the Obama administration by visiting the White House Blog (which I linked to in patriotic blue); and that they could stop by Snopes.com (which I linked to in patriotic red) to fact-check chain emails. It’s all very Timecubey.

    On second thought, it might even be easier for Lynna to just create a filter/rule that automatically moves messages from the rightwinger to the trash folder if the message from the rightwinger meets certain criteria (like the mentioning of “Obama” in the body or subject line of the email).

  35. says

    Here’s some surprising news: a Christian organization is comprised of financial scoundrels and has a few sex scandals on the side.

    Okay, so that’s not surprising. But this is a new and fresh instance of financial and sexual shenanigans conducted right under Jesus Christ’s zombie nose:

    The Trinity Broadcasting Network, which bills itself as the world’s largest Christian network, is embroiled in a legal battle involving allegations of massive financial fraud and lavish spending, including the purchase of a $100,000 motor home for family dogs.

    Brittany Koper, a former high-ranking TBN official and the granddaughter of its co-founder, Paul Crouch Sr., was fired by the network in September after discovering “illegal financial schemes” amounting to tens of millions of dollars, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court…
    The legal battle offers a rare glimpse into the private affairs of TBN, which is headquartered in an opulent compound near South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa….

    The lawsuit alleges that Paul Crouch Sr. obtained a $50-million Global Express luxury jet for his personal use through a “sham loan,” and that TBN funds paid for a $100,000 motor home for dogs owned by his wife, Janice Crouch, a network director.

    The suit also alleges that TBN bought residences across the country for its directors under the pretext that they were “guest homes” or “church parsonages.” The properties include mansions used by the Crouch family in Newport Beach; side-by-side mansions in Windermere, Fla.; and homes in Nashville; Miami; and Irving, Texas, according to the suit.

    Hey, that sounds remarkable like the big game hunting preserves, and like the Hawaiian resorts that mormons run.

    TBN directors received about $300,000 to $500,000 in meal expenses and the use of chauffeurs, and oversaw “fraudulent donation and kickback schemes involving third party ‘ministries'” the network controlled, the suit claims.

    The directors also misused funds to cover up sexual scandals, the suit claims….

    Network lawyers, for their part, said in a lawsuit last year that the Kopers used forged documents to embezzle funds to buy trucks, jewelry, a fishing boat, a motorcycle, a Lexus and life insurance, and gave McVeigh thousands of dollars without authorization.

    MacLeod said the courts dismissed the lawsuit against the Kopers and McVeigh….

    Link to story in LA Times.

  36. says

    Aratina Cage, thank you so much! I am bookmarking the links and have put the photo in my pictures file. Would you mind if, at a later date, I wrote a blog post about this? I would credit you, if you are OK with it.

    Lynna, this story is so surprising! SHOCKING! (not) Thank you – more ideas for things to bat back to theists and apologists when the obnoxious emails come stinking up the INBOX!

  37. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    including the purchase of a $100,000 motor home for family dogs.

    And people say that fundogelicals don’t improve. In the 1980s, it was only a dog house!

    Now all we need is a secretary with a no-one-would-believe-it-in-a-book name, some drugged wine, and a preacher crying, “Jesus has forgiven me, why can’t you?”

  38. chigau (√-1) says

    The ex-fridge is in the living room.
    The contents are in 3 camp-coolers or being eaten or being discarded. (there was jam from 2007)
    The new fridge will be delivered sometime on Tuesday.
    The cat is confused and I am not hungry.

  39. says

    Now all we need is a secretary with a no-one-would-believe-it-in-a-book name, some drugged wine, and a preacher crying, “Jesus has forgiven me, why can’t you?”

    Why do I have the feeling we only need to wait a little and all that will come out, too?

  40. says

    Now all we need is a secretary with a no-one-would-believe-it-in-a-book name, some drugged wine, and a preacher crying, “Jesus has forgiven me, why can’t you?”

    chigau, cleaning a fridge is my most hated job. Emptying an old fridge to switch to a new one – horror story! Hope your new one arrives promptly!

  41. chigau (√-1) says

    niftyatheist #559
    Thanks.
    (I think I understand what just happened but I really enjoy the TETness of the weirdness of the juxtapositioness of your comment.)

  42. says

    @niftyatheist
    A blog post on that sounds like a good idea. And no need to credit me. :) It’s all publicly available links and stuff. I just thought it was only fair to respond to such rightwing rhetoric on a level that they could understand and that would make them squirm.

  43. says

    Now all we need is a secretary with a no-one-would-believe-it-in-a-book name, some drugged wine, and a preacher crying, “Jesus has forgiven me, why can’t you?”

    Why do I have the feeling we only need to wait a little and all that will come out, too?

    Well, there was that little spot of trouble in 2010 when the Preacher-in-charge-of-the-scam settled out of court after facing a charge of homosexual conduct with an employee.

    In 2010, the network settled a suit on confidential terms with a broadcast engineer who claimed he was discriminated against because he was gay. In another case, the network paid a $425,000 settlement to a former employee who said he had a homosexual encounter with Paul Crouch Sr., who denied the accusation.

  44. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Now all we need is a secretary with a no-one-would-believe-it-in-a-book name, some drugged wine, and a preacher crying, “Jesus has forgiven me, why can’t you?”

    chigau, cleaning a fridge is my most hated job. Emptying an old fridge to switch to a new one – horror story! Hope your new one arrives promptly!

    You damn kids! I can’t keep up with all of your newfangled slang. Cleaning the fridge is now slang for riding the baloney pony? What’ll you kids ruin next? My lawn?

  45. says

    I created an Obama Loves Reagan PDF, using a cropped version of the Times cover. I added some nice informational links.

    Unfortunately, if one searches for information that debunks, refutes, or calls into question right wing assertions that Obama is a Marxist (etc.), one finds hundreds of articles written by persons of very little brain, all of them confirming the off-the-wall chain email I quoted in comment #511.

    Google search results run about 10-1 against President Obama, and for batshittery.

  46. says

    A blog post on that sounds like a good idea. And no need to credit me. :) It’s all publicly available links and stuff. I just thought it was only fair to respond to such rightwing rhetoric on a level that they could understand and that would make them squirm.

    Aratina Cage, thanks! I’ve already got it cued up to go! I will post it this week. And I do not think it is no big deal that you pulled it all together AND gave us all the idea! It’s classic! Fighting garbage with Mr Clean! Or something. LOL I visited your site ( that is awesome about the game where players can now choose gay characters…and I liked the star wars short (which I might also work in somewhere, someday soon, since I am planning a series on teen sexuality vs Xian insanity, too) and I am linking your site to your name, if that is OK. If you prefer I don’t do that, just say the word. My blog is a quiet one with few followers so not likely to give you much of a bump, but you never know! I have five kids (college and high school) who have hundreds of FB friends, which is why the teen series percolating in my mind. I bet many of them would love your site!

  47. says

    Ogvorbis, Shameless AND Impudent (love writing that- especially “impudent” lol)…LOL (teen offspring lifted heads up off couch pillows to see what caused my guffaw).

  48. says

    ‘Tis the season for pussy hair. All over the damn house.

    Kitteh is a domestic (American) shorthair, but she has a double undercoat, which makes her fur very soft. It also means that every spring, she leaves fuzzy black tumbleweeds everywhere, and I can’t pick her up when I’m wearing a white shirt. I can pick her up if I’m wearing an old T-shirt or the like, but then I have to be careful… for example, when I’m cooking, not to touch my shirt and then touch the food on the cutting board, or little black hairs will wind up in it.

    I have been combing her at least twice daily and removing astonishing amounts of hair. Some of it still winds up in her stomach, however. Know what the living room carpet has in common with the North Carolina coast? Kitty Hork.

  49. says

    General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is preceded by mini-conferences, including one aimed at teenage females.

    …Church President Thomas S. Monson, along with leaders of the Young Women General Presidency, told the female audience how living their lives in harmony with this year’s theme, “Arise and Shine Forth,” would help them live rich, meaningful lives.

    Monson encouraged the girls to “believe, obey and endure.”

    “No one has described the teenage years as easy,” Monson told the crowd, clad in colorful springtime skirts and blouses. “They are often years of insecurity, of feeling as though you just don’t measure up, of trying to find your place with your peers, of trying to fit in. … They are also prime years Satan will tempt you and will do his utmost to entice you from the path which will lead you back to that heavenly home from which you came and back to your loved ones there and back to your Heavenly Father.”…

    Link

  50. cicely ("Intriguingly Odd") says

    Spent the morning (by which I mean to say, early afternoon, ’cause ‘morning’ doesn’t start until you get outta bed) sorting all my ribbons and beads and figureheads and other cane-decorating bric-a-brac into a little rolling cabinet. Ah, to no longer chase the kitteh-romped ribbons from one end of the house to the other!

    *hug* for Ms. Daisy Cutter. I hope your friend is getting the support s/he needs.

    Lynna, I get the fundagelical Xian version of that all the time from my SiL in Oklahoma (aka, Santorum Country). They are apparently genuinely convinced that unless Santorum wins the presidency, it’ll be handbag-to-hell time.

    *applause* for your letter, Gregory Greenwood.
    -

  51. cicely ("Intriguingly Odd") says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter, I sympathise re your kitteh-related Tail of Woe. Our Pixel-cat is black and white, and therefore qualified to shed on both light and dark fabrics, and has incredibly fine, drifty fur. Many’s the time I’ve watched a clump of it making lazy circles under the ceiling fan, at head-height. Eventually they drift to the walls, where they stick, yielding a somewhat felted appearance. Even if you brush her and brush her and brush her, she still somehow drops enough fur to knit a whole new cat. And, since the act of barfing seems to terrify her, she usually horks stuff up on the run, leaving nasty trails on the beige carpet.
    -

  52. FossilFishy says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter #513, As an ex-Edmontonian that link showed up in my Facebook feed yesterday. In part all I could think was “Not again.” I lived through the last infestation of those scumbags in the late eighties and early nineties. They worked themselves up to attacking an elderly Jewish man on his doorstep resulting his being blinded in one eye IIRC. The rumour was that some neo-nazi bigwig from the states was hiding out in Edmonton to escape prosecution at home and he was stirring up the local troops.

    It was a scary time, especially in the music scene as the nazi skinheads hung out at the same venues as everyone else who dressed a little different from the mainstream. It was made worse for me because I was housemates with a SHARP (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) member at the time. Paranoia ruled. House rules were to bring no one home that you didn’t know well and to never talk about who you lived with in public. If there was a knock at the door that was unexpected the whole house would turn out with some form of weapon in hand. Not fun.

    I wonder if the prompt and overwhelming response this time is the result of a change of attitude in the general public or the ease of communication brought on by smart phones etc. or some combination of the two. Last time around it really was just a handful of committed folks already in the “alternative” scene who actively apposed the nazis.

    Anyway, the response this time was heartening and it seems unlikely that it won’t drag out the way it did last time. Kick over the rocks and watch ‘em run, much like religious fundamentalists they can only flourish if no one takes the threat seriously.

  53. says

    Thanks, Cicely. /hugs

    And, yes, kitteh hair does in fact stick to walls, like cobwebs or dandelion fluff. They™ ought to spin it and make parachutes out of the fiber.

    FossilFishy:

    They worked themselves up to attacking an elderly Jewish man on his doorstep resulting his being blinded in one eye IIRC.

    They’re so fucking brave, aren’t they?

  54. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    A parachute made from cat hair…not for animal haters or those with allergies. Although I was under the impression that long-haired cats might be better candidates.
    ———————————————

    Ah yes, attack an elderly man to show how tough you are. Typical. I’d like to drop those goons into a biker bar and see how long they last.

  55. janine says

    In case anyone missed it, the vague historical gasbag that I call Syfy has accused this blog of being filled with holocaust deniers. I think it has something to do with the fact that most of the people responding to Syfy does not buy the idea that there is proof of a historical Jesus.

  56. says

    Lynna:

    Subject: Will 2012 be America’s Last Presidential Election?…

    Hmmph! I find myself wondering whether that might not be the outcome if Obama doesn’t win. I try hard to leave my tinfoil hat in the cupboard and not indulge in conspiracy theories, but… then I look around at right-wing voter suppression efforts in the states. If the Rs get power this time (i.e., WH + both houses of Congress), can we really count on getting a fair chance to reverse that outcome later?

    ***
    All:

    Did y’all know that the guy who played Biff in the Back to the Future movies is now a standup comedian? I didn’t, but I just saw him do a killer show at the Funny Bone in Manchester, CT (the club is located within our mall, a fact which no act that plays it ever fails to riff on).

  57. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    I once told my friends that replicators like the ones in Star Trek would be nice. I’m rethinking that position – right now I’m craving couscous, and if I gave in to this sort of craving every time….
    —————————————-

    Hmm, killfile looks a bit rusty. *click*

  58. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Syfy is Shiloh either in body or in spirit.

    Well, that would explain the utter lack of understanding of what conclusive physical evidence is, and the total fuckwittery of the insipid and presuppositional arguments—such as they are. Any real scientist would be embarrassed to make them.

  59. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    Success story:

    Yesterday, I went to a party at my professor’s house! I helped cook, met her dogs, and ate with everybody. First of all, I actually ate some of the food despite other people being there, and second, it was pasta (I usually can’t eat pasta)! There were strangers, too, both my professor’s husband and my classmate’s partner. My professor continues to be awesome all the time – she had Firefly and Rome out on the TV stand, clearly recently watched, and Cosmos was sitting by the couch on the bookshelf. I also talked a little bit – not very much – and played with the dogs. I did not get a screaming stress migraine or hives. Then I ate ice cream and watched a movie. And I thanked my professor, with everybody else, for having us. Then my classmate drove me home and I remembered to thank him and tell his partner it was nice meeting him.

    It was pretty much the best thing ever.

  60. chigau (Don’t call me “Chi”) says

    CC(C),OM
    Well good for you!
    Here’s some more ice cream (usb-style).

  61. says

    Thanks niftyatheist, you’re too kind. :) I can’t seem to keep a momentum on my blog usually because the conversations on Pharyngula and elsewhere put things better than I ever could.

  62. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    That’s awesome news CC! How about a brownie with that ice cream?

    *shoves treats into USB port*

  63. Nutmeg says

    Congrats, CC!

    You already have brownies and ice cream. I can’t think of much else you might need, since that’s pretty much everything that’s necessary for life and happiness. So I will just offer the *beverage of your choice*.

  64. chigau (Don’t call me “Chi”) says


    Lotsa Archaeology profs need to be hounded in order to make them pay.
    *****
    What does that mean??????
    They don’t have any philosophical excuse!!!!!

  65. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Cassandra #585 – that’s pretty damn great. Go you!

  66. says

    Hey, Ing – what’s your Twitter handle again? ISTR reading your tweets a while ago and being entertained, but when I tried to find you again all I got were hits for big financial institutions.

    (I don’t do Twitter, personally. I tried it once, but I’m too long-winded and I don’t like the rapid-fire format.)

    BTW, you have some lovely artwork on DA. Are you looking at the moment for work in medical illustration or is that just a future thing? I’ve got a friend who is a scientific illustrator. She’s in the UK and her foci are zoology and botany, not medicine, but I could always ask her if she knows anybody…

    CC, I’m glad you had a nice time at your prof’s house. You deserve some enjoyment after the last few weeks.

    SGBM, #595: BWAHAHAHA.

  67. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Actually, let me rephrase that. I have no problem with dreams. Though I

    Hate

    Dreaming!

    That makes more sense.

  68. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    so far the past three days I’ve woken up with Britney Spears, Barrow Manilow and Abba in my head.

    Why does my brain hate me?

  69. says

    Ogvorbis
    Urgh, PTSD still going strong?
    I’m sorry :(

    +++++
    I hate DST (started yesterday around here)
    Kids are completely confused, of course. Their inner clock has no connection to numbers on a display, so I had a really grumpy #1 this morning whose mum told her to hurry up because we were late already while everything in her body told her that I haven’t got a fucking clue because we were pretty early.

    +++++
    Also, what was Geiger thinking? That there had been a great schism of TET and he could take up with “the other side” on account of some strange “my enemy’s enemy” scheme?

  70. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    makes me visualize an undead wight singing ‘Mandy’.

    Heh

    yeah that was a good typo

  71. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I am no accommodationist, but I fully support Interthread efforts to work toward shared goals. We need to find common ground. Threadist loyalty is mos def Not Helping™.

  72. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Urgh, PTSD still going strong?
    I’m sorry :(

    The second and third dreams have shown up.

    Bleah.

    We need to find common ground.

    I’m on both and I’m just about as common as dirt. Does that count?

  73. says

    Antiochus #94 may I back up a little ( caught this while speed scrolling down this endless thread!) – that essay by your friend was astounding! Also sobering and true for me,too, damn it. I hope admitting the influence of that lizard brain ( I tell my kids “reptile brain”) is a step in the direction of bypassing it in our daily lives!

    Cassandra-congratulations! So glad you had a great evening at the prof’s gathering. I tried to send you sprinkles for that ice cream last night but the bloody things jammed the USB port!

    Aratina Cage, the post is going up today and I’ll alert my college offspring about your blog.

    Giliell- good luck to your brother!

    Ogvorbis- I hope you’ve got a beautiful day there so that the sunlight can wash away the remnants of unwelcome dreams.

  74. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Ogvorbis- I hope you’ve got a beautiful day there so that the sunlight can wash away the remnants of unwelcome dreams.

    I live in northeast Pennsylvania. I’m stuck where the sun don’t shine. Literally.

  75. says

    Ogvorbis, Shameless AND Impudent, well the dark space you inhabit has done nothing to squelch your sense of humor! That’s a win!
    Seriously, though, treat yourself as kindly as you can today! A crummy night is hard on a body and mind.

  76. says

    niftyatheist
    Thanx
    Brother in law is now a fully grown Doctor of Biology.
    Just don’t ask him anything about animals, like what’s the difference between cheetas and leopards ;)
    Sadly I couldn’t be there since that’s really not an event where you can bring a toddler along, but Mr. says it was good.

  77. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    What is this zombie thread thingy? I must have missed its creation.

    PZ mentioned Hovind and a creationist came out and revivified a dead thread. And the creationist is still there. And is still incoherent.

    The conversation has also included porcupines with LOLcat projecterz, a kerfluffle between the Central Committee of The Zombie Thread and a heretical Maoist insurgency, and some other oddness.

  78. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    well the dark space you inhabit has done nothing to squelch your sense of humor!

    I use humour as a defense against the reality my brain has created.

  79. says

    PZ mentioned Hovind and a creationist came out and revivified a dead thread. And the creationist is still there. And is still incoherent.

    Well, given that TET also owes its origins to a debate with a creationist… does this mean that every time creationists turn up, the number of endless threads is going to multiply? By 2020, will Pharyngula have been completely taken over by endless threads, such that PZ spends all his time closing threads and opening new threads and doesn’t have any time left to blog?

  80. says

    Doctor trailer. Sorry if it doesn’t work, hard to tell on mobile.

    Hell yeah! Can’t wait.
    “anachronistic electricity, keep out signs, aggressive stares… Has someone been peaking at my christmas list?”

    Classic eleventh Doctor!

  81. janine says

    Well, given that TET also owes its origins to a debate with a creationist… does this mean that every time creationists turn up, the number of endless threads is going to multiply?

    There is one huge difference, Allen Clarke was able to communicate in coherent sentences even if what he was saying alternated between creationist bullshit and creepy ravings. Daniel is a completely different beastie.

    Also, I have to admit, I fail to see the attraction in engaging with the idiot. This comes from a person who admits to liking troll stomping.

  82. says

    Giliell, congrats to your brother!

    Ogvorbis, you do it well. A healthy response, if I may say so.

    Walton #620, you paint a picture of an future apocalyptic intellectual wasteland! Bite your tongue! :O

  83. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    By 2020, will Pharyngula have been completely taken over by endless threads, such that PZ spends all his time closing threads and opening new threads and doesn’t have any time left to blog?

    Dammit, Walton! You’re not supposed to tell him about the inevitable revolution. What if Lenin had told the Czar about his plans?

    UP THE REVOLUTION!!!!

  84. consciousness razor says

    I am no accommodationist, but I fully support Interthread efforts to work toward shared goals. We need to find common ground. Threadist loyalty is mos def Not Helping™.

    As Pope Zombie XVI of TZT, I will allow Interthread projects to commence on the following conditions. In order for me to potentially agree to comprehend any concerns you may have about TZT, zombies, Interthread, or any other subject; those loyal to TET and/or cephalopod-sympathizers must demonstrate their shared interest in eating brains and help in our charitable efforts as a sign of good will.

    Currently we need Interthread volunteers to clean the poop from the sophisticated theologian cages in my underground lair. They will probably not harm you, so there is no need to worry. Since the last cleaning was several months ago, we’ll gladly accept all volunteers who sign up. With all of you working together, I’m sure it will be a delightful week. The robots are programmed to force-feed sophisticated humanoids, so come prepared with extra cash if you match those parameters, since they will not accept credit. Also, please approach any of our zombies if you want your brains to be eaten. I will not be receiving calls about this, so please see my receptionist for more information. With your help, we may one day see an end to hostilities between our threads!

  85. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Doctor trailer. Sorry if it doesn’t work, hard to tell on mobile.

    Nice! I always forget to look these things up.

  86. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    cr:

    You do realize that TZT is a fully malfunctioning soviet peoples republic, complete with Maoist-influenced counter-revolutionaries (like theophontes!)? There is no church. Only revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries.

    And whatever the hell DanielHaven is. Animal? Vegetable? Mineral? Computer generated?

  87. consciousness razor says

    You do realize that TZT is a fully malfunctioning soviet peoples republic, complete with Maoist-influenced counter-revolutionaries (like theophontes!)? There is no church. Only revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries.

    The TZT Church of Zombie does not involve itself with such mundane concerns. The slanderous accusation that it is a front for a lubricant-smuggling operation funded by both the revolutionaries and the counter-revolutionaries is of course completely ridiculous. It’s very unfortunate that you seem to have fallen for such heretical conspiracy theories. If you would only open up your skull to the zombie hordes, your brain would be eaten, and you would find everlasting peace.

  88. says

    Hey, Ing – what’s your Twitter handle again? ISTR reading your tweets a while ago and being entertained, but when I tried to find you again all I got were hits for big financial institutions.,

    Ingdamnit

    https://twitter.com/#!/ingdamnit

    I haven’t twittered nor blogged in a while because of wedding prep, job stuff and Partner’s grad stuff. I want to get back to it and even spend sunday writing a blog post only to then be convinced that my thesis may be wrong or that it wasn’t worth writing…so poopie.

  89. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    a front for a lubricant-smuggling operation

    And, er (damn, I may regret asking this) where is the contraband hidden while it is being snuggled?

  90. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Ing:

    Do you have an example? When discussed in the abstract it confuses the shit out of me. As in, “Yes? No? Er, purple?” type of confusion.

  91. cicely ("Intriguingly Odd") says

    CC: *high five* Well done!

    Ogvorbis, sorry to hear about the bad dreaming. That sux. *hugs*, if you’re willing to accept them.

    Giliell, congrats to the new BioDoc!
    -

  92. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Ing:

    Ah. I understand.

    Seriously, though. The way I deal with it is treat it as speech. If I am making a deadpan declarative, no “?”. If I were saying it out loud and would have the interrogative upswing at the end, then yes “?”.

    Or you can be safe and go with purple.

    ———–

    And how does Pterryx get away with implying xe is not regular? Doesn’t borkquoting, worshipping before the etos of Tpyos, and mixing up names count for anything?

  93. Richard Austin says

    Ing:

    I like the ellipses question mark.

    Kind of:

    “You talk as if you exclude yourself from that category…?”

    I don’t know if it’s grammatically correct, but it makes it clearer. I mainly would use such in dialogue.

  94. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Richard:

    Nice to know someone actually spots my straight lines.

  95. KG says

    Well except that kids with non-blue eyes can’t change their eye-colour, whereas people can, in general, change their patterns of behaviour. – me

    Well except nothing.

    Your generic response here would be warranted if I’d said people should not be punished or rewarded for their actions. That would be rather out of character, as I advocate state violence to change the behavior of people who display Confederate flags, among others.

    Such punishments and rewards can be necessary for a better world, but people can’t deserve them.

    My response was to what you said – there is an obvious differences between the cases and you are not entitled to assume that it makes no morally relevant difference.

    But since we agree that legal punishment with the aim of changing behaviour (of the criminal or others) can be socially desirable, while legalised vengeance based on the idea of desert never is, I am still inclined to think that our dispute really is just about what terminology to use.

  96. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Also, please approach any of our zombies if you want your brains to be eaten.

    Oh. I wasn’t planning on bringing my brain to the Interthread Dialogue. Maybe we could just pitch in and clean up a park or something.

    Seriously, though. The way I deal with it is treat it as speech. If I am making a deadpan declarative, no “?”. If I were saying it out loud and would have the interrogative upswing at the end, then yes “?”.

    It’s even better in francophone, non?
    Apropos of nothing*, I’m lecturing today on pre-Darwinian evolutionary thought. Given the distinct dominance by French thinkers of the 18th century, it will be difficult to avoid repeated use of this utterance. The prospect makes me feel as giddy as a school boy.

    *Actually, apropos of something, but nothing important.

  97. says

    Ing, if writing, I would be as clear as I could be. Make the declarative statement. Then follow up with the request for information/ request for validation or whatever. In writing, I think it is best to not try to force a sentence to perform two functions like that, especially if it is important. In fact, when something is important, I think it is always best to devote two or more (preferably concise) sentences to the subject.

    So, to use Richard’s example:

    “You talk as if you exclude yourself from that category. Do you?”

    I think the “blah blah frenchstuff blahblah, oui?” is really neat, but maybe not as effective in English, yes? (just watch, one of your smartalecs will show me what’s what now! Won’t you?) ;-)

  98. says

    Jumping Jebus, I STILL messed up my comment!

    In written English, I think it’s better to be really clear and concise. Many people have difficulty picking up “tone” in written communication, even though most of us are pretty good with spoken tone. So I think those shortcuts work better in speech than in written language.

  99. jamesmichaels1 says

    So I’ve been watching this documentary, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed: Three Years On”, which for the information of any dog-lovers here, is a damned good sequel to an equally good documentary of “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” which exposed the kind of crap that went on at dog Best of Breed shows like Crufts. While watching the doc on YouTube, there’s been one particular quote that’s really stuck out to me, in terms of being a quote that could also apply to religious organisations and the health and mindsets of the people who are part of them. The quote is from Mark Evans, an RSPCA vet, and it comes about 46:50 minutes in on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G3jNuKLzKw

    “I think trying to tinker with beauty pageants, to somehow make them better, is simply the canine equivalent of trying to polish a turd. It’s simply not going to happen, and as far as I’m concerned, they have no place in terms of improving the welfare of dogs.

    Creating some kind of dog show that actually focuses, in an entirely different way, on health and welfare, absolutely, I believe fundamentally could make a massive difference to dog welfare. But you wouldn’t start with the kind of shows we have now and try and change them, you throw it away and start from a blank sheet of paper.”

    This quote came in reference to the fact that while the Kennel Club (the organisation who tends to run Crufts and other dog and animal competitions) ARE admittedly making SOME positive changes to the way their competitions are run, the ONLY real way you could reform competitions like Crufts would be not to try and work around the existing format, but to completely revolutionise it.

    And I think the same principle applies to religious organisations. Yes, every now and again, we can feel admiration for those sorts of religious people who have the courage to speak out for gay rights and abortion rights for mothers and for evolution and a variety of other issues where secularists clash with spiritualists, but the fact remains that the current religious set-up is so unbelievable rotten to the core (where truth and evidence is very often disregarded in favour of blind beliefs and faith) that ultimately the only way religious institutions can ever be reformed is if moves are made to advocate for a completely clean slate in terms of their mindsets. And that basically means, contrary to what Alain de Botton thinks, that continually pursuing the questions of whether God exists, and continually engaging in systematic debunking and ripping apart of claims lacking evidence as well as outdated viewpoints, IS the most important avenue for an atheist to pursue in these continuous circles of debate.

    Some would probably call me a fascist for thinking that religion as a whole needs to go under one great big re-evaluation, but I’d just call it honesty, a trait that seems to be absent quite a lot of the time from religious circles, be it out of willful intention or just absent-mindedness. But even though some religious people are genuinely doing good works, such actions from my experience always seem to be as a result of their cherry-picking the best verses they like, and of course from a selfish not-really-all-that-charitable desire to avoid getting themselves into hell, and those would be the sorts of mindsets that would be among the first to go as a result of religious organisations taking a long hard truthful look in the mirror.

    What do you guys think about this argument? Any feedback would be absolutely fantastic. And also, incidentally on a side note, can anyone explain how anyone professing to be a dog-lover would inflict that kind of pain on their dogs by creating a further line of inbreeding?

    Also, watched Avatar on tv yesterday. While I still consider it overrated – although that could admittedly be my bitterness towards James Cameron for Titanic talking (to paraphrase: “Titanic was called ‘The Film Of Shit’, and it was, it really was”) – I will at least contend that Avatar is admittedly a good movie if you don’t mind losing the six weeks of your life that it takes to watch it, bit like Dances With Wolves really. As long as Cameron doesn’t follow Kevin Costner’s lead and look to punish the people of the world for their treatment of native indigenous people in history by following up Avatar with a real stinker of a movie (like how Costner followed up Dances With Wolves with Waterworld and then The Postman ) then Cameron will still remain in my relatively good books for his work in the Terminator movies, as well as for Aliens, Rambo II, and True Lies.

    Mind you, none of Costner’s two stinkers were quite as bad as:

    Batman & Robin
    Showgirls
    Battlefield Earth
    Highlander 2
    Howard The Duck
    Jaws 4
    Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo
    I Know Who Killed Me
    The Last Airbender
    Every single one of the Michael Bay directed Transformers movies, but especially Revenge of the Fallen
    All of the Twilight movies
    Catwoman
    Eragon
    Disaster Movie
    Meet the Spartans
    Epic Movie

    That said though, one movie that gets hated a lot that I actually like is Starship Troopers. Yes, it’s practically a two hour movie about how awesome it would be to have a Hitler Youth in the future, but I still find it funny, and the bug scenes almost manage to sustain my interest. Oh, and there’s Plan 9 from Outer Space as well, and really I just find that it’s too damn difficult to hate anything by Ed Wood, his films seem to have too much of a charm for me.

    Much thanks,

    James :)

  100. cicely ("Intriguingly Odd") says

    Hi, jamesmichaels. I think that one problem with the “clean slate” approach to religions is that you’d never get the Established Firms to go for it, at least in any kind of short-term sense; and they’ve got a lot invested in continuing “business as usual”, in terms of money/property, hearts-and-minds, and influence/power, none of which the hierarchies are interested in giving up. Even when religions change by spinning off “Reform” branches, there’ll still be those who keep the old style going as long as they possibly can.

    Short form: little incentive for a start-over. Short of radical means like invention from scratch ($cientology, various New-Age groups) I don’t see a way to do it.
    -

  101. says

    Hey, I love Batman And Robin! It was a positively triumphant followup to Batman Forever — say what you like but surpassing the awfulness of Batman Forever was quite an achievement. There are very few bad movies better for drinking to than B&R. (And Agony Booth has a hilarious recap of it here.

  102. says

    Good evening.

    Ing
    Just end the declarative sentence with a question mark, although English usually prefers question tags. You are really interested in this, aren’t you?
    It’s much more common in other languages like German or Spanish. Usually the speaker expects either confirmation of the sentence or wants to put emphasis on hir astonishment/surprise.
    You are Mr. Smith? might either be a short note to confirm the identity, or express you absolute surprise since Mr. Smith turns out to be a 12 yo Chinese girl.

  103. says

    This piece in the Salt Lake Tribune seems surprisingly honest about how the LDS church gets to decide what happens in the state, both indirectly through religious conformity by legislators as well as direct input and approval from church leadership on booze or really any rights issues. It’s simultaneously refreshing and depressing.

    How Utah’s Capitol marches to a Mormon beat

    In Utah, the question isn’t whether the LDS Church wields hefty political clout, but how it does so. And the answer, according to state legislators, may surprise some.

    That Mormon influence, lawmakers say, does not generally come from edicts over the pulpit or through lobbying in the halls of the Capitol. Instead, it comes indirectly — mainly through legislators’ own religious views.

    After all, most elected officials here are Latter-day Saints who vote based on values instilled in them as Mormons — and even non-LDS officials try to reflect the will of constituents who are overwhelmingly Mormon.

    But lawmakers concede that the state’s predominant faith is directly involved on a few select issues, such as immigration, alcohol, gambling and gay rights — and a nod of approval from the LDS hierarchy is usually needed for bills affecting those areas to proceed, according to a questionnaire sent to legislators by The Salt Lake Tribune.

    Many Utah legislators argue that the LDS Church does not need to send formal directions, since most lawmakers are Mormons and share the faith’s guiding ideals.

    “I do not see legislators looking to the church for guidance,” says Rep. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, who twice has been an LDS bishop, “but rather to their beliefs and value system, which in many cases their religious affiliation will have an effect on.”

    Rep. Curt Webb, R-Logan, a former LDS bishop, says Mormon legislators share common values that cut across party lines. “It is also true,” Webb says, “that those same values are shared by those here of other faiths.”

    Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, who has served in LDS bishoprics, says “members of the Legislature follow the tenets of their religion, regardless of what the religion is. My religious beliefs are part of who I am, and those definitely factor in when I am deciding how to cast my vote.”

    Some lawmakers estimated that 90 percent of the 75 Utah House members are LDS, and that 27 of 29 senators are.

    Several lawmakers say the church does lobby on a few issues, such as alcohol, immigration, gambling and gay rights.

    Freshman Rep. Brian Doughty, D-Salt Lake City, who says he does not belong to a church, discovered the LDS Church is “very involved” in alcohol regulations when he ran a bill to require that the Utah Liquor Commission include some drinkers.

    He says he was told that “I would have to have approval from the LDS Church for something such as that to be considered. I did not consult with the LDS Church and got the bill out of committee. It was next to be debated … when the board was wiped of all remaining bills as we finished our work on House bills.”

    Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, a Catholic, says he offered a bill this year to make it easier for restaurateurs to sample wines. He says he talked to LDS leaders about it and made several concessions. The measure still failed.

    This state would be great if it weren’t for all the people.

  104. Nutmeg says

    I would like to announce that life is surprisingly good. I feel like I might, at some point in the next few months, actually Get My Shit Together (TM).

    (This comment brought to you by chocolate. Here’s some *dark chocolate with almonds* for those who aren’t feeling so good today.)

  105. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    KG,

    What can be meant by saying we “should” do something

    That it is better than other imaginable alternatives, so active pursuit of it is good, and so taking it up as one’s own project is good.

    My response was to what you said – there is an obvious differences between the cases

    Of course there’s “an obvious difference” but logically it cannot affect desert.

    “What I’m sure of is that people should not be given unicorns because of their actions; that’s as bad as saying only the kids with blue eyes should be given unicorns.” “Well except that kids with non-blue eyes can’t change their eye-colour, whereas people can, in general, change their patterns of behaviour.”

    There is an obvious difference between giving people unicorns because of their eye color and giving people unicorns because of their behavior.

    But unicorns are at least logically possible in some worlds, while desert is ultimately not possible in any world, so the case for handing out unicorns is on firmer ground.

    and you are not entitled to assume that it makes no morally relevant difference.

    Of course I didn’t say that it’s morally irrelevant. It would be helpful if you would focus on what I’ve actually said.

    It plainly appears that it would be morally worse to punish someone who didn’t commit a crime than someone who did, because the former is less conducive to utility.

    But you asked about moral responsibility; which is much more specific than moral relevance. I responded that there may be moral responsibility which attached to everyone equally regardless of their behavior, but there’s none which can attach because of differences in behavior. It’s unwarranted for you to now respond as if I’d made much more sweeping claims about moral relevance per se.

    I am still inclined to think that our dispute really is just about what terminology to use.

    I’m saying that compatibilism is:

    immoral because it is socially destructive, after Kaye, Tygart, and my interpretation of Rakos et al,

    immoral because it is virtue ethics per Humbach,

    factually wrong in its claims about “choice”, since if determinism is true then there is only one physically possible future, and if indeterminism is true then it’s just randomness which results in different futures,

    tragically shallow per Smilansky, and consequently immoral in its gratuitous cruelty regardless of whether “deserved” punishment is construed as “vengeance”, and

    deceptive because it amounts to “negative illusionism” by frequently remaining silent in the presence of people who believe in some degree of libertarian free will — in the last round of this argument, there were at least three people who turned out to have some libertarian conceptions, but it wasn’t compatibilists who tried to argue with them; rorschach in this thread still believes that quantum indeterminacy might theoretically offer free will, though QM is understood as tangential by both compatibilists and incompatibilists.

    Putting aside the last complaint, even well-behaved compatibilists are doing a bad thing and they should stop being compatibilists.

  106. Nutmeg says

    Alethea: I read the books a few weeks ago and enjoyed them. It’s not great literature or anything, but for YA fiction it’s not bad. Much preferable to things like Twilight, anyway.

  107. Rey Fox says

    Yes. In fact, I’m a little surprised that there hasn’t been any discussion of the movie around these parts. Is it because everybody is at that party in DC?

  108. carlie says

    Alethea – talk about depressing; I had read that some people thought the movie itself was racist because District 11 has a riot, started by a black man who we assume is Rue’s father (which was added in the movie, not part of the book). But OH MY GOD THAT MOVIE. Just saw it today, and I have to say it’s the best movie adaptation of a book that I’ve ever seen, ever. I want to go watch it another three or four times in a row.

    The books are a very good read indeed. They read fast, because they’re YA, and despite anything you may have heard, romance is a very small portion of it (and twisted in all sorts of ways as well). My son was the first in our family to read them shortly after the third book came out, and he talked the rest of us into reading them. We’d been counting down the months until the movie came out. It’s spectacular. There are only one or two really minor quibbles I have with it, nothing even close to the number of problems I had with the Harry Potter movies. You can easily follow the movie without reading the books, but having done so you can appreciate some of the little touches that were there that don’t come into play until the second and third books, and a few bits that allude to things in the book that they didn’t have time to elaborate on.

  109. says

    Ing:

    Pretyxx comments that he was faster than a regular

    Ing responds: You talk as if you exclude yourself from that category(?)

    ***

    The latest but I’m sure there are better examples.

    How ’bout, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” ;^)

    That can’t really be directly converted to the sort of tag question Giliell[1] mentioned, but the intent can be rephrased as a tag question: “It doesn’t mean what you think it means[, does it?]”

    Personally, I follow the grammatical form of the sentence: If it’s a grammatically declarative sentence, no question mark. That said…

    * If I were writing spoken dialogue (i.e., either to be spoken or to be read as if spoken), I’d use the question mark to present an auditory cue, a kind of “stage direction.”

    * Despite my conscious intention not to use a question mark in that circumstance, I often catch myself actually doing so (too often, after the fact!).

    An interesting related question would be whether to use a period at the end of a tag question when the subtext is clearly declarative, and the nominal question tag functions more as an intensifier: “Well, that’s just stupid, isn’t it[./?]”

    There again, I would follow the formal grammar of the sentence and use the question mark… but I see plenty of similar instances where a period (or an exclamation point) is used.

    Tag questions are a fascinating subject: I have a vague memory, from my one graduate linguistics class almost 30 years ago, that there was some research into whether women used tag questions more frequently than men, and if so, whether that was a reflection of internalized sexism; I can’t recall how that argument stood when the music stopped.

    ***
    [1] Every single time I type that nym I have to go look to remind myself where the double-l goes!

  110. Rey Fox says

    One thing I would warn about the Hunger Games movie: If you can’t stand fast cuts and shaky cam, you might want to wait until it comes out on video at least. I’ve taken to sitting up close at movies lately, but I had to get up and move back about fifteen minutes in. You can tell that the director wanted to break up the normal film-making beats, and I think it does make for a cohesive and appropriate tone, but it can be hard to watch sometimes.

  111. says

    My first day back from DC has been awful. I have a ton of homework to do, a bunch of stuff for Freethinkers, and a few people from Freethinkers decided to be assholes (again, but a couple of new people this time). And I’m sick :(
    Can’t I just go to the Reason Rally forever?

  112. cm's changeable moniker says

    CR: “Currently we need Interthread volunteers to clean the poop from the sophisticated theologian cages in my underground lair.”

    Is there a river nearby? I got a trick you can do with rivers.

    Ing: “where the sentence is technically declarative but they raise the end to make it sound like a question.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal?

    jm1: “Mark Evans, an RSPCA vet”

    Sounds like he’s been in the wars.

    I like him. He’s obsessed with building things (especially cars).

    Some would probably call me a fascist for thinking that religion as a whole needs to go under one great big re-evaluation, but I’d just call it honesty, […]

    What do you guys think about this argument?

    Solipsistic. Sorry.

  113. says

    Slignot @654, I read that article in the Salt Lake Tribune earlier today, but found it too depressing to post. I’m glad you bit the bullet.

    Some lawmakers estimated that 90 percent of the 75 Utah House members are LDS, and that 27 of 29 senators are.

    This is a point I keep trying to make, and that I find most news sources ignore: it doesn’t matter if the mormon population in Utah has been diluted to about 60% when those in power are still about 90% white mormon males.

    Yes, it is correct that 27 of the 29 State Senators are LDS true believers. Not only that, most of the movers and shakers are not only LDS, they are the type of LDS penishood holders (Priesthood holders) that have served as Bishops, as Stake Presidents, etc.

    The LDS power play extends down to the county level, into school boards, and yea even unto the smallest of the small offices of minor authority.

  114. says

    Lynna OM, 667, that sounds so familiar! I think I read about it in a discussion of the rightwing strategy to take over the country ( on the way to the world domination bit). Perhaps they were inspired by the LDS in utah

  115. Ogvorbis: shameless AND impudent! says

    Can’t I just go to the Reason Rally forever?

    There is probably a reason why not.

    Oh. Right. We’re adults and cannot spend our lives in fantasy land?

  116. says

    Arrgh! I try so hard to stay out of the freewill discussions, but my brainz is hurtin’!

    [KG] What can be meant by saying we “should” do something

    [pitbull/lipstick] That it is better than other imaginable alternatives, so active pursuit of it is good, and so taking it up as one’s own project is good.

    But in an utterly deterministic universe, what could the meaning of “taking [something] up as one’s own project” possibly be? What “other imaginable alternatives” could conceivably exist? You could have the illusion of alternatives, but not, if there is never any possibility of anything being different than it was/is/will be, actually “other … alternatives.” For that matter, if all that can be said about the universe — every last damned quark of it, for all times past through future — is “it is what it is,” then what meaning could terms like “good” or “better” possibly have?

    You’ve offered KG free agency (or just agency) as an alternative to free will (or freewill; I presume there’s some significance to the closed-up spelling, but I’ve never been able to sort it out)… but that concept, to the extent I’m understanding what you mean, is no different from what “free will” has always meant to me: not that our choices are unconstrained or uninfluenced; merely that they’re actually choices. That is, that our actions (or at least those that are conscious and deliberate, as opposed to the less-than-fully-concscious-and-deliberate ones KG is trying to separate out) are volitional.

    You’ve frequently said (quoted?), in the course of the many threads about this, “You can do what you will, but you cannot will what you will.” But the affirmative first proposition there, that we can do what we will implies things your deterministic worldview seems to deny: Can do implies can not-do; what you will implies the possibility that you might will something else; otherwise, both parts of that clause are semantically null. And yet, your consistent position has been (unless I seriously misunderstand) that one could never have done otherwise than what one has done, can never in the future do otherwise than what one will do… so how does that not contradict the notion that one “can do what [one] wills”?

    You talk of “agency” as if it were somehow different from “will,” but I struggle to see how the former is any less contradicted by strict determinism than is the latter. If the script of all time was written to the last and smallest detail in the instants after the Big Bang, how could any of us have any more “agency” than characters in a movie?

    I really don’t mean to be arguing the point; I’m honestly confused by it. Way back the first time I was incautious enough to wade into this, somebody (Jadehawk?) said to me, “well, of course there’s no free will, but nobody’s denying the existence of will” (OWTTE)… but I can’t figure out how strict determinism doesn’t do just that, by collapsing the distinction between the two.

    Some choices are quite obviously highly constrained: When I mark my ballot for Obama in November, it will be nearly impossible for me to imagine how I could have done otherwise (of course, it will be nearly impossible for me to imagine how any thinking being could do otherwise, given the alternatives, but that’s another conversation…). But others we experience as being as close to arbitrary as imaginable: Sitting in a restaurant, I’m torn between two choices. “Y’all order first,” I say, “and when it’s my turn, I’ll ‘flip a mental coin'”; I end up ordering the mac and cheese. It’s impossible for me to think that my order — or even the narrowing of the choice to the mac and a blackened salmon sandwich from among the half dozen other things on that menu that I also like — was foreordained as recently as when I woke up that morning, nevermind somewhere between 13 and 14 billion years ago… and yet, if I’m understanding you correctly, that’s precisely what you assert.

    But then you still use terms like agency and willpower and desires and good/better and should. I haz a confyoooooz!

    I’m not sure it matters: I think your (and all of our) entrapment in the language of agency and choice despite your assertion of determinism reflects a perceptual reality that is inescapable, whether or not it is truly “real” reality: We perceive our actions as volitional. When we make choices, we experience them as true choices, ones which we could conceivably have chosen differently. And we recognize differences between choices made rationally, consciously, and “free” from mental infirmity or intoxication and actions that are unconscious or choices made in a state of diminished mental capacity.

    It’s hard, if not impossible, for me to see how we could experience the world otherwise, even if we wanted to: How can you choose to believe that you have no choice about what you believe (or do)?

    Even if we really are just motion-picture images, projections of parts long since scripted, shot, and edited, I don’t see how we can ever grok the truth of that in fullness. I modestly suggest it might be better not to try.

    (Now to decide whether or not to click Submit Comment….)

  117. says

    The property management company which acted as our landlords has been bought out by a new property management company. Since the changeover, the new company has taken such radical steps as calling us back when we report something broken, and today a guy came over, worked till the jobs in question were done, didn’t use inappropriate parts or materials, didn’t take off with a half ass job done, and the result is that every single ceiling light in our house works for the first time in two years and we no longer have a hole in the porch! PARTY TIME.

  118. says

    BTW, y’all can feel free to ignore me @672: It’s not a coherent argument, nor do I really want to get into a long conversation about this. Consider it me scratching my head “out loud” (and, I fear, at far too great length), and just pass it by.