Oh. So that’s the truck full of stupid that hit Joycelyn Elders »« They all look alike, don’t they?

Comments

  1. Stevarious says

    @Strewth

    it is possible that Picard had a genetic condition which would have resulted in a new, cloned heart degrading? I don’t recall why his needed replacement.

    Actually one of my very favorite episodes explains this. Picard was stabbed in the chest in a bar brawl while in the academy.

    The reason it’s one of my favorite episodes is because Q comes along and offers him the chance to go back in time and change the outcome of the fight so he doesn’t die of artificial heart failure all those years later. A very interesting exploration into cause and effect and how our choices effect our entire lives.

    And what about replicators? Why does Picard need an artificial heart? Replicators replicate everything.

    Actually, they don’t. The replicators convert a sort of omni-nutritional protein mush into a form that seems to be the food you wanted. It don’t actually make the genuine food. That’s why you never see them replicating anything but food.

  2. Brownian says

    That’s why you never see them replicating anything but food.

    Well, food and plot devices.

  3. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    That’s why you never see them replicating anything but food.

    Not true. Medical Bay replicates many things that are not food. Including bits of living things, like RNA etc.

    Actually one of my very favorite episodes explains this. Picard was stabbed in the chest in a bar brawl while in the academy.

    “Tapestry”. And it reaffirmed my love for Q after that gawd-awful “Qpid” ep. *puke*

  4. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Well, food and plot devices.

    Like the rockabilly guitar in “The Neutral Zone”? lol

  5. Brownian says

    I think “Tapestry” is among every Trekker’s favourite episodes.

    But the original reference to Picard’s heart and the Nausicaan fight was “Samaritan Snare” with the twenty-fourth century’s version of American creationists, the Pakleds (“We are not smart. You can make our ship go.”)

    Picard leaves the ship to take Wesley to Starbase mumble-or-another, as he’s getting his heart replaced and Wesley is writing his Starfleet exams. Not a terrible episode in its own right (“Oh, I envy you, Wesley Crusher…You’re just at the beginning of the adventure!”), but that the writers actually remembered something they threw in as a plot device in a past episode and built an entire episode around the event adds another level of awesome to “Tapestry”.

  6. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Is it okay to have laws that restrict the termination of the fetus after a certain point, while allowing the termination of the pregnancy at any point?

    Nope.

    That would be a law that would take a medical decision out of the hands of a patient and her doctor.

    That is ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT OK.

  7. Brownian says

    Oops, “Oh, I envy you, Wesley Crusher…You’re just at the beginning of the adventure!” is from “Final Mission”.

  8. cm's changeable moniker says

    These threads need numbers, and maybe titles.

    Videos of dubious quality might help, too.

    While travelling on the Tube this morning, I noticed that (the only?) three stations with nationally-themed names: Swiss Cottage, Canada Water, and Canary Wharf, all happen to be on the same line. Spooky.

    (This links back to “Jamaica Station”, for free-associative context.)

  9. Brownian says

    PICARD: Well, I was a young Starfleet officer, not many years older than you are now. Top of my Academy Class. Green as hell. And oh, so cocky. Too cocky, as it turned out.
    WESLEY: What happened?
    PICARD: Several friends and I were on leave at Farspace Starbase Earhart. It was little more than a galactic outpost in those days.
    WESLEY: Was this before the Klingons joined the Federation?
    PICARD: That’s right. Well, my mates and I were at the Bonestell Recreation Facility, which was something of a dead rough crossroads at the time, filled with an assorted bunch of galactic riffraff. When a trio of Nausicaans came in, they were clearly spoiling for a confrontation with a group of fresh-faced Starfleet officers such as ourselves. Well, everyone in the group had the good sense to give these Nausicaans a wide berth, to stand off. Everyone, that is, except me. I stood toe to toe with the worst of the three, and I told him know what I thought of him, his pals, his planet, and I possibly made some passing reference to his questionable parentage. And the next thing I knew, all three of them were on me and I was fighting for my life. I was actually doing quite well for a while, too.
    WESLEY: You fought them? And won?
    PICARD: I had this one Nausicaan down in this somewhat devious joint-lock when, unbeknownst to me, one of his chums drew his weapon and impaled me through the back. Curious sensation, actually. Not much pain. Shock, certainly, at the sight of serrated metal sticking through my chest. A certain giddy warmth. In fact I do actually remember that I laughed out loud. Well, it pierced my heart, of course. Well, if we’d not been so near to a medical facility, I would surely have died.
    WESLEY: Really? Then what happened?
    PICARD: Nothing. I was no hero, Wesley. I was an undisciplined, loud-mouthed, opinionated young man who was way out of his league. I learned a very hard, very painful lesson that day, but I learned it well. I hope you never have to learn it the same way. Care for another sandwich?
    WESLEY: Please.

    From “Samaritan Snare”. They turned that conversation into an entire episode, and one of the best, and retroactively explained why he laughed.

    I loved TNG, but the writing was often terrible. When it wasn’t, though…

  10. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    [Crossposting TET/TZT]
    I got an A in German, despite messing up the oral exam! I was feeling really bad and discouraged today, so this is a lovely boost for my mood and confidence. Yay!

  11. Emrysmyrddin says

    Srs ST:TNG discussion from Pharyngulites. I have a massive heart for you lot right now.

    (everything i knew about humanist values, i learned at my father’s knee…while watching every ST:TNG at the age of seven. Picard for Prime Minister!)

  12. Stevarious says

    Not true. Medical Bay replicates many things that are not food. Including bits of living things, like RNA etc.

    In voyager they replicate non-organic objects as well.

    Well if you’re expecting 100% consistency in a syndicated space opera then you deserve to be disappointed.

    “Tapestry”. And it reaffirmed my love for Q after that gawd-awful “Qpid” ep. *puke*

    Episodes like Tapestry are exactly the kind of stuff I’d do if I were a god. None of this ‘suicide-by-cop in bronze age deserts’ nonsense. I’d find the worthiest, most interesting sentients and use my powers to teach them important lessons about themselves. Or help them understand problems with universe-shattering consequences, like in “All Good Things”, without just fixing it for them (because that would be boring).

  13. says

    (everything i knew about humanist values, i learned at my father’s knee…while watching every ST:TNG at the age of seven. Picard for Prime Minister!)

    And if you learn the Prime Directive from Voyager onwards you can learn humanism by treating it as a “opposite of this”

  14. Brownian says

    “All Good Things” makes me cry. Actually, a lot of ST:TNG makes me cry, which is how I know I’m only mostly dead inside.

  15. Louis says

    I see Joey is still going “strong”. For given values of “strong”. And indeed “going”.

    Has there been a TZT/TET rift that requires cross posting, Cipher? If so I missed it over my long weekend.

    Are there factions? A Judean People’s Front/People’s Front of Judea?

    Or are you just being thorough?

    Either way, Brownian, I posted you a pasty. They only had traditional filling left, so no steak and ale I’m afraid.

    Louis

  16. Brownian says

    I’m pretty sure Picard’s “Tea: Earl Gray: Hot” came in a mug rather than a scolding splashing puddle

    “Ow, fuck! Always with the burning! Where’s that fucking ship’s potter?!

    I goddamn fucking hate space!

  17. A. R says

    On the topic of TNG episodes, I quite liked “Who Watches the Watchers” for unashamedly bashing religion.

  18. Brownian says

    Either way, Brownian, I posted you a pasty. They only had traditional filling left, so no steak and ale I’m afraid.

    Thanks, Louis. That was very thoughtful of you. I hope your trip was enjoyable.

  19. Amphiox says

    Add to that the ridiculous spectacle of medical teams running around the ship to help people when there’s absolutely no reason for them to be doing so (except to slow their arrival so someone can die/get injured). It’s like the forget they have transporters.

    The ONLY plausible explanation for this is that transporting people is not quite as safe as it at first seems, and that using transporters so frequently would increase the rate of transporter related accidents to unacceptable levels.

    It IS true that they do have an inordinate number of very strange transporter accidents that invariably make up whole episode plots.

    However, this logic kind of breaks down when one is talking about medical emergencies (and these are Starfleet/ie quasi-military medical personel we are talking about – people paid to take certain risks to do their jobs).

  20. A. R says

    Well, they do sometimes beam people to sickbay, but I wonder if it has something to do with the transporters not working properly when there would be a widespread need for medical personnel?

  21. Brownian says

    Sorry, are we finding plot holes in Star Trek? Isn’t that a bit like finding Biblical contradictions, except easier?

  22. Louis says

    Brownian,

    Don’t be fucking silly. Star Trek is obviously false, as is the bible and what not.

    It’s not like we’re talking about something serious and real. Like Star Wars.

    Louis

  23. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Has there been a TZT/TET rift that requires cross posting, Cipher? If so I missed it over my long weekend.

    Are there factions? A Judean People’s Front/People’s Front of Judea?

    Yes. :(

  24. Brownian says

    Brownian,

    Don’t be fucking silly. Star Trek is obviously false, as is the bible and what not.

    It’s not like we’re talking about something serious and real. Like Star Wars.

    Louis

    [Sets phaser to 'nerd'.]

  25. Amphiox says

    I see Joey is still going “strong”. For given values of “strong”. And indeed “going”.

    Reminds me of an old joke I saw posted at my dad’s workplace when I was a kid:

    THE STRATEGIC PLAN

    In the beginning was the strategic plan.
    And the plan was without form or substance.
    And there was darkness upon the faces of the workers.
    They spake unto one and other, and sayeth “It’s a crock of shit, and it stinketh”.

    And the workers spaketh unto their foremen, saying, “It is a vessel of excrement, and it has an immense odor”

    Several iterations of going up the chain of command later, it has gone from “It a bag of fertilizer, and it has a powerful odor” to “It contains that which promotes plant growth, and it is very strong”, to “It promoteth growth, and is very powerful”

    Until;

    And the vice president went unto the president, saying “This powerful new plan will actively promote the growth of the sector.”

    And the president looked upon the plan, and saw that it was good.

    And the plan became policy.

  26. Brownian says

    Has there been a TZT/TET rift that requires cross posting, Cipher? If so I missed it over my long weekend.

    Yeah, you might need to do some catching up, Louis.

  27. Amphiox says

    Has there been a TZT/TET rift that requires cross posting, Cipher? If so I missed it over my long weekend.

    Are there factions? A Judean People’s Front/People’s Front of Judea?

    Full blown unrestricted Molly on Molly civil war, as it were.

  28. Louis says

    Cipher,

    Oh for fu…really?

    You wouldn’t have a link would you? I realise LILAPWL was relegated to TZT (or rather just not TET) which I think is a bit over the top, even given our recent spat. Fuck it, if I stopped talking to everyone I argued with… ;-)

    Anyway, is that part of the split?

    Louis

  29. Louis says

    Well I know I buggered off to Dorset on Saturday having had my arse pretty thoroughly kicked (even for the right reason occasionally! ;-) ), and I saw something somewhere about Caine taking a bit of time off, which is more than merely sad.

    Louis

  30. Louis says

    Brownian,

    Phaser. Pfff. I has:

    a) Jedi powers.
    b) Shooting first powers.
    c) Wookie chest hair powers.

    DO YOUR WURST!*

    Louis

    * Well, I thought pasty…wurst…pasty…wurst…LOOK IT’S NOT EASY KEEPING THIS LEVEL OF PUNNERY UP. DON’T JUDGE ME!

  31. Amphiox says

    Well I know I buggered off to Dorset on Saturday having had my arse pretty thoroughly kicked (even for the right reason occasionally! ;-) )

    If you though the little flap you were involved in was bad….

    But I’m glad to see you back. After you disappeared this week I was worried that the unpleasantness had pushed you away.

  32. Stevarious says

    I’m pretty sure Picard’s “Tea: Earl Gray: Hot” came in a mug rather than a scolding splashing puddle

    I admit it. I LOL’ed. I LOL’d so hard.

    Look, I was young and nerdy. My parents got me the Technical Manual for the Enterprise D when I was 12 and I read it cover to cover like 30 times. All I can do is repeat what details I can recover from the dim recesses of my mind. It’s not my fault the rules don’t make any sense.

  33. Sili says

    http://www.badscience.net/2010/01/voices-of-the-ancients/

    Embarrassing admission time:

    I absolutely love sacred geometry. I was so into the Rennes-le-Chateau thing, and I’ve read the Haagensen books on the Bornholm churches and the Templars.

    I wish I was clever enough to figure out how to test their claims. A variation of the Woolworths method should work, I guess, but I don’t know how to do it.

  34. Stevarious says

    It’s not like we’re talking about something serious and real. Like Star Wars.

    Bantha poodoo. You take that back right now.

  35. Louis says

    Amphiox,

    Meh, I’ve got tougher skin than that. And I’m kinda used to being wrong on the subject of what words do. I do have a different view of how language works from many people around here it seems…which occasionally leads me up the garden path to fuckwit town!

    And as I said, if I stopped talking to people I argued with, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t even be allowed to think inside my own head!

    Louis

  36. Amphiox says

    Hmm. Star Trek vs Star Wars?

    Well, Q kicks everything in the Star Wars universe’s ass with a raised eyebrow, but it is doubtful Q would actually do such thing, (it being far more amusing to it to just watch the peons fight).

    Federation (or Klingons, Romulans, Dominion, Borg, etc) vs Empire (or Republic Old and New)?

    Hyperdrive. Star Wars wins. That degree of discrepancy in strategic military mobility (Hyperdrive can cross an entire galaxy in hours, Warp even at max speeds takes years to cross a quadrant) is instant victory regardless of pretty much anything else.

    Same could be said for manufacturing capacity (whole galaxy vs tiny corners of one quadrant).

    Unless, of course, the galaxy “far, far, away” is actually a puny dwarf spiral and much, much smaller than the Milky Way….

  37. Louis says

    A.R.

    Invoking pan-dimensional beings that are so like gods but not really oh wait they are ooops no they’re not is cheating. It violated the law of decent sci-fi not invoking the supernatural as a get out clause.

    Plus: Lightsabers. Eat it.

    Louis

  38. Sili says

    There is but one letter, and that letter is Q!!!

    I join Mark Goodacre in being a Q-skeptic.

    In fact, not being a professional, I can go whole hog and be an a-Q-ist. (Or denialist, if you prefer.)

  39. Brownian says

    LOOK IT’S NOT EASY KEEPING THIS LEVEL OF PUNNERY UP

    Well, it’s not like Lucas set the creativity bar very high.

    “Um, we need a name for Luke’s planet. What’s the name of this little village we’re shooting in?”
    “Tataouine.”
    “Is that alien?”
    “No, Arabic.”
    “Are Arabics aliens?”
    “No.”
    “Look, I don’t have time for this. My lower jaw and chin are shrinking to nothing as we speak. We’ll call the planet with the space Semites Tatooey, like this village.”
    “Tataouine.”
    “Tattoo-eine.”
    “Tataouine.”
    “Whatever. Now, about the car chase scene I’ve always dreamt of…”

  40. says

    It IS true that they do have an inordinate number of very strange transporter accidents that invariably make up whole episode plots.

    Of course with something as necessary as transportation, you probably have to accept some level of risk.
    What never made sense to me was how nobody ever seemed to get the idea that maybe the holodeck, which malfunctioned right and left and nearly led to Moriarty taking over the ship, was maybe more dangerous than was warranted by its function, which seemed to be mostly entertainment. Jeebus Crowbar, get rid of that thing already!
    Oh, and while we’re on the subject, for fans of TOS: Star Trek Bingo.

  41. Sili says

    It violated the law of decent sci-fi not invoking the supernatural as a get out clause.

    Mi.
    Di.
    Chlo.
    Ri.
    Ans.

  42. Brownian says

    more traditional Vulcan 80s music

    Fun fact: a friend and I almost started a high school band called “Spock and the Space Hippies”.

  43. Sili says

    Look, I don’t have time for this. My lower jaw and chin are shrinking to nothing as we speak.

    I see you describe to the Shortpacked! theory, that Lucas’ brain and creativity has metamorphosed into neck, neck and more neck.

  44. Louis says

    Sili,

    They’re just biology. Special biology.

    DON’T FUCK WITH STAR WARS!

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

    Louis

  45. says

    Fun fact: a friend and I almost started a high school band called “Spock and the Space Hippies”

    Would you have opened with “Headin’ Out To Eden,” or saved it for the encore?

  46. Sili says

    What never made sense to me was how nobody ever seemed to get the idea that maybe the holodeck, which malfunctioned right and left and nearly led to Moriarty taking over the ship, was maybe more dangerous than was warranted by its function, which seemed to be mostly entertainment.

    Just like we’ve gotten rid of smoking and booze?

  47. Sili says

    DON’T FUCK WITH STAR WARS!

    Really?

    You haven’t seen all the slavegirl-Leia costumes for sale? What do you think those are for, if not fucking?

  48. joey says

    kemist:

    Is it okay to have laws that restrict the termination of the fetus after a certain point, while allowing the termination of the pregnancy at any point?

    Nope.

    That would be a law that would take a medical decision out of the hands of a patient and her doctor.

    That is ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT OK.

    But Amphiox mentions certain malpractice laws that “cover all the situations where abortion is inappropriate for terminating late term pregnancies and induced birth should be used”. You don’t approve of these?

  49. Sili says

    Hmm, I could see Q screwing with Biblical scholars…

    I’ve heard Picard called many things, but “biblical scholar” is not one of them.

    Of course, it’s not my particular ‘ship, so I may have missed some of the ingroup jargon.

  50. Stevarious says

    Hyperdrive. Star Wars wins.

    Maybe the first few battles. But computer technology in Star Trek universe is far far beyond what they have in Star Wars, not to mention technology replication. Capture one crappy freighter, reverse-engineer the hyperdrive technology, replicate it on all the Star Wars ships. Bam – advantage lost.

    Of course, then the Borg get it, and everyone loses.

  51. Amphiox says

    What never made sense to me was how nobody ever seemed to get the idea that maybe the holodeck, which malfunctioned right and left and nearly led to Moriarty taking over the ship, was maybe more dangerous than was warranted by its function, which seemed to be mostly entertainment. Jeebus Crowbar, get rid of that thing already!
    Oh, and while we’re on the subject, for fans of TOS: Star Trek Bingo.

    How the hell the “this setting makes the bullets 100% real” option even get into the original design of the thing (for entertainment, you know) in the first place, and pass base safety regulations (and the Federation is supposed to care about this kind of thing, even the Klingons one would expect would consider this kind of feature a needless putting of valuable warrior assets at risk) is beyond me.

    (This also true in the Yugioh animes, where a variety of virtual reality children’s card game simulators have “safety-off” modes that makes monster attacks real and lethal. Why was it even designed so that the non-lethal safety had to be added in as option that could be turned off in the first place?)

    Of course to this I can always raise the flywalks on the Death Star and the odd absence of railings.

  52. Brownian says

    What never made sense to me was how nobody ever seemed to get the idea that maybe the holodeck, which malfunctioned right and left and nearly led to Moriarty taking over the ship, was maybe more dangerous than was warranted by its function, which seemed to be mostly entertainment.

    Entertainment? Sure, that’s what they were allowed to show. But we all know what people really used it for.

    ♫This ho-lo-deck that I play in
    Where I go when I want a wank
    This ho-lo-deck’s where I’m livin’
    The future’s only porn is this big tank♪

  53. Brownian says

    Would you have opened with “Headin’ Out To Eden,” or saved it for the encore?

    It would have depended on whether or not we actually learned to play any instruments.

  54. Tethys says

    <delurk

    Louis

    It was settling back into the normal troll bashing on TZT after you left ( as opposed to the "darling" incident Louis bashing), and then this got posted.

    I also haz a sad.

  55. Amphiox says

    But Amphiox mentions certain malpractice laws that “cover all the situations where abortion is inappropriate for terminating late term pregnancies and induced birth should be used”. You don’t approve of these?

    Nice bit of dishonest reversal there.

    Those laws PUT THE MEDICAL DECISION INTO THE HANDS OF THE PATIENT AND HER DOCTOR.

    That’s why they are OK.

    Typical absolutist tyrannical thinking by the gooey (yet again). It’s either total anarchic freedom or absolute oppression with laws dictating every detail of behaviour. No middle ground between the extremes is even envisionable.

    You should stop this nonsense and get into the Star Trek discussion, gooey. Transporter tech makes all your hypotheticals possible.

  56. Ogvorbis: Ignorant sycophantic magpie. says

    Hmm, I could see Q screwing with Biblical scholars…

    How the fuck would you know?

    But Amphiox mentions certain malpractice laws that “cover all the situations where abortion is inappropriate for terminating late term pregnancies and induced birth should be used”.

    Guess what, you moron, that is part of the fucking deciesion process for the doctor and the patient. What part of this do you fail to grok?

  57. Amphiox says

    The way I see it, the holodeck could be used to simulate in advance any and every potential scenario for anything, be it war, exploration, engineering, whatever, which would allow one to make EXTREMELY detailed contingency plans (again, for virtually anything), and the impressive computational abilities in the Star Trek universe could save it all for future reference.

    I mean, in combat sims, Riker could use the holodeck to even time his eyebrow twitches to see if that would make a difference in possible outcomes.

    I bet that most of the holodeck’s uses are classified. (And that is what the holodeck is being used for in all those episodes where we don’t see the holodeck in action…)

  58. Amphiox says

    (In fact, maybe the reason Riker grew his beard was because a series of holodeck simulations showed him that something really terrible would happen to him if he didn’t, like that baby-faced French Musketeer in Deadliest Warriors who died by headshot because he had no facial hair to protect him).

  59. A. R says

    Firstly, an internet to Sili for this:

    You haven’t seen all the slavegirl-Leia costumes for sale? What do you think those are for, if not fucking?

    Og: Just a guess.

  60. Sili says

    (This also true in the Yugioh animes, where a variety of virtual reality children’s card game simulators have “safety-off” modes that makes monster attacks real and lethal. Why was it even designed so that the non-lethal safety had to be added in as option that could be turned off in the first place?)

    I don’t know about the anime, but my recollection of the manga is that most of those were indeed designed to be deathtraps. The game aspect was merely to lure in the delectable little shota!Yugi or some other duellant the antagonist du jour wanted rid of.

  61. Brownian says

    I bet that most of the holodeck’s uses are classified. (And that is what the holodeck is being used for in all those episodes where we don’t see the holodeck in action…)

    No, those are the episodes during which the holodeck software is being reinstalled after somebody’s MLP mod fucked it up.

    (Not that MLP mods can’t be awesome.)

  62. Amphiox says

    Maybe the first few battles. But computer technology in Star Trek universe is far far beyond what they have in Star Wars, not to mention technology replication. Capture one crappy freighter, reverse-engineer the hyperdrive technology, replicate it on all the Star Wars ships. Bam – advantage lost.

    Problem is, hyperdrive plus the Empire’s manufacturing advantage means the war would be over after the first few battles.

    Death Star hyperdrive jumps in, blows up Earth, hyperdrive jumps out, blows up Vulcan, hyperdrive jumps in, blows up Qo’noS, etc.

    The Federation (actually entire Alpha Quadrant) has no defence – they can’t move their military assets around fast enough.

    Their only hope is to anticipate the attack with their spy capabilities beforehand and steal the hyperdrive tech first.

    The manufacturing disadvantage is still virtually insurmountable, but it is possible that a defence could then be mounted, since it at least appears on paper and on viewing, that Star Trek’s direct combat weaponry is possibly superior (phasors seem to have superior range, and Star Trek warships are tactically capable of combat at Warp, while Star Wars ships don’t appear to be able to fight at Hyperdrive, and have to slow to sublight before launching weapons). But the differences in base technologies underpinning the weapons systems means that one can’t really predict which set of weaponry will perform better against the other until you actually try them out.

  63. A. R says

    Brownian: That’s probably because Discord/Q became sentient and wrecked the holodeck.

  64. A. R says

    I’ve always wondered why replicator technology couldn’t be applied at a large scale to replicate star ships…

  65. Amphiox says

    I don’t know about the anime, but my recollection of the manga is that most of those were indeed designed to be deathtraps. The game aspect was merely to lure in the delectable little shota!Yugi or some other duellant the antagonist du jour wanted rid of.

    Most of them were in the manga.

    But in the anime there was an arc where Kaiba corp was testing a duelling system prototype designed to be sold to children as a toy, which inexplicably has a lethal setting with a safety mode….

    (Unsurprisingly, Kaiba gets trapped inside his own VR game by his corrupt corporate board, who then turn the safety off, and the heroes get inexplicably trapped in the game with him, and they have to fight their way out to survive this weird attempt a hostile corporate takeover/shareholder revolt. Couldn’t they have just tried a run of Kaiba’s stock?)

  66. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    It was settling back into the normal troll bashing on TZT after you left ( as opposed to the “darling” incident Louis bashing),

    Louis the victim of bashing? Is that the right word? He brought his own shovel, folks laid off when he quit digging, and there was very little if any “this is because you’re such a bad person” stuff.

    and then this got posted.

    Another way of looking at it is that this got posted.

  67. Sili says

    No, those are the episodes during which the holodeck software is being reinstalled after somebody’s MLP mod fucked it up.

    (Not that MLP mods can’t be awesome.)

    Until then, we’ll have to settle.

  68. Brownian says

    I’ve always wondered why replicator technology couldn’t be applied at a large scale to replicate star ships…

    “Shuttlepod. El-Baz. Hot.”

    [Explodes.]

    “Goddamn it, why do I always say that last part?!”

  69. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I don’t even know how to link to it, honestly, Louis :( The whole thing is just a mess. From the perspective of My Feelings (which in this circumstance may be kind of like Man Fee-Fees (Important!)), I feel like I am supposed to have divided loyalties, or take sides, or something, and like the whole ingroup outgroup thing people have complained about got reified (? is that the right word, people who know words?) in a big way by the thread splitting (although it’s very possible that what happened is in fact that it was already like that and it just became so obvious even I couldn’t miss it), and Caine left, and I feel exceedingly shitty about the whole thing.
    *sob*

  70. Amphiox says

    There was a fanfic scenario I encountered somewhere on the nets that postulated Palpatine allowing himself to be assimilated by the Borg, and then using the Dark Side of the Force to take over the collective from within.

    (This scenario had the good guys of both universes allying against the bad guys of both universes. Q makes no appearance – probably too busy watching the whole thing of super blu-ray and laughing his ass off).

  71. Sili says

    But in the anime there was an arc where Kaiba corp was testing a duelling system prototype designed to be sold to children as a toy, which inexplicably has a lethal setting with a safety mode….

    Ah. There we go.

    Force of habit, my dear Amphiox.

    If you’re used to making deathtraps, it’s hard to stop.

    Exhibit A: Monty Python’s gourmet filled chocolates.

  72. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Also, secondarily, is there any way to make it so that linking to a comment when you have someone in the thread killfiled doesn’t result in not going to the comment?

  73. says

    Their only hope is to anticipate the attack with their spy capabilities beforehand and steal the hyperdrive tech first.

    Ah, but remember: warp drive technology = time travel. As long as the Trekkers have one ship, they can undo the whole freaking timeline.
    Not to mention the ability to seed any death star with tribbles.

  74. Amphiox says

    I feel like I am supposed to have divided loyalties, or take sides, or something, and like the whole ingroup outgroup thing people have complained about got reified (? is that the right word, people who know words?) in a big way by the thread splitting (although it’s very possible that what happened is in fact that it was already like that and it just became so obvious even I couldn’t miss it), and Caine left, and I feel exceedingly shitty about the whole thing.
    *sob*

    The Switzerland option.

    (That’s what I do).

  75. chigau (違う) says

    Riker grew a beard because without one, he looked like Potsie Weber.

  76. Sili says

    I’ve always wondered why replicator technology couldn’t be applied at a large scale to replicate star ships…

    The would be an infinite improbability drive, I think.

  77. Stevarious says

    I’ve heard Picard called many things, but “biblical scholar” is not one of them.

    He was an amateur archaeologist – a couple of episodes revolve around this fascinating hobby – and in the 24th century, biblical scholarship will just be another branch of archaeology. (We can hope.)

  78. Brownian says

    Until then, we’ll have to settle.

    [Decides not to Google "Dixon Hill fuck doll"]

  79. says

    Invoking pan-dimensional beings that are so like gods but not really oh wait they are ooops no they’re not is cheating. It violated the law of decent sci-fi not invoking the supernatural as a get out clause.

    Plus: Lightsabers. Eat it.

    THE FORCE.

  80. Sili says

    and in the 24th century, biblical scholarship will just be another branch of archaeology. (We can hope.)

    It is already.

    Biblical scholarship =/= apologetics or theology.

  81. Brownian says

    Riker grew a beard because without one, he looked like Potsie Weber.

    Holy shit, he did!

    “Shields up!”
    “Sit on it, Riker.”

  82. Stevarious says

    As long as the Trekkers have one ship, they can undo the whole freaking timeline.

    In fact, any single ship can become an entire armada, simply by duplicating itself via time-travel. I really don’t see why they don’t abuse the hell out of this feature when fighting the Borg.

    (Maybe in every timeline where they abuse time travel to win, Q shuts em down?)

  83. says

    In fact, any single ship can become an entire armada, simply by duplicating itself via time-travel. I really don’t see why they don’t abuse the hell out of this feature when fighting the Borg.

    In canon they’re reluctant to use it because it makes time/space sad.

    No seriously they’re worried about breaking the Universe. The only time I recall them using it is to either get whales or go after someone whose fucking up the timeline.

  84. Brownian says

    I really don’t see why they don’t abuse the hell out of this feature when fighting the Borg.

    Denise Crosby’s scheduling conflicts.

  85. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Cipher,

    Also, secondarily, is there any way to make it so that linking to a comment when you have someone in the thread killfiled doesn’t result in not going to the comment?

    Probably not — because probably what’s happening is the <a>nchor tag is located before Greasemonkey is allowed to alter the page —

    but try clicking in the URL bar after the page is done loading, and then pressing Enter. This should navigate directly to the desired comment again.

  86. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    That worked. Thanks, SGBM! You fix all my browser problems. :P

  87. Brownian says

    The only time I recall them using it is to either get whales

    There’s nothing more annoying than having a friend offer to drive you to a party and then halfway there he’s all like, “Hey man, do you mind if we take a quick detour? I gotta go back in time and get some whales” and you’re all like, I’m getting a free ride, what am I going to say, no? and so you do and Chekov gets caught and by the time you make it to the party everyone’s already wasted.

  88. Gregory Greenwood says

    “We Are Ing The Matrimonial Collective” @ 98;

    No seriously they’re worried about breaking the Universe. The only time I recall them using it is to either get whales or go after someone whose fucking up the timeline.

    Yup – there is that whole ‘Temporal Prime Directive’ thing that Janeway keeps going on about in Voyager. Apparently, messing with the timeline for laughs causes you to be excluded from the Starfleet christmas raffle or something…

  89. says

    Don Most and Gavan O’Herlihy (Richie Cunningham’s older brother Chuck) have each played ST characters.

    And to really bring things full circle, one of the doomed redshirts on TOS was named O’Herlihy.
    (I only know this because we tried to keep track while regularly watching the re-runs in the 80’s. The only other names I remember were Lang and Guitano.)

  90. Brownian says

    Apparently, messing with the timeline for laughs causes you to be excluded from the Starfleet christmas raffle or something”

    “Oooh, my Secret Santa is Wodar, and he got me a—[excitedly opens box, peeks in, pulls out a strip of old paper]—five latinum slip gift certificate to T.G.I.Quark’s. That’s…thoughtful, I guess, considering the nearest one is on Starbase 299, in the Beta Quadrant. And there’s a wad of gum on the back, with a shoe-print on it. Did you even bother to replicate this yourself, Wodar, or did you find it in front of Ten-Forward?”

  91. ChasCPeterson says

    Few today can imagine, let alone remember, the snap-yer-head-back what-the-fuck we experienced in primetime when, on March 29, 1968 (I looked that up), Kirk’s opening voiceover for the episode ‘Assignment: Earth’ just sort of matter-of-factly mentioned ‘oh, we thought we’d head back to 1968 for some historical research’. The two instances of time travel that had preceded the episode were all properly fraught with what-if-we-fuck-up -the-timeline angst (Kirk restrains McCoy from saving the life of the woman he loves and it’s Joan Collins!) and now it’s like on a whim?

    Much later I learned that the whole thing was a backdoor pilot for a never-picked-up series that would have starred that suave future-guy Gary Seven and his catwoman companion.

  92. Gregory Greenwood says

    With regard to the whole Starwars VS star Trek celebrity franchise death-match concept, I wonder how Banks’ Culture would fare, if it could actually be bothered to get involved in the conflict at all, and didn’t just send Special Circumstances operatives to observe and maybe try to bring about a peaceful resolution?

  93. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Glad to help, Cipher.

    Also you don’t really have to wait until the page is done loading before going to the URL bar and pressing Enter. It’s just that if you don’t wait, the page might jump around once or twice more before you can make it stick.

    (The behavior is different if the URL does not contain a # symbol. Then, pressing Enter is like pressing the browser’s Reload button. And now I think I can stop rambling about things you didn’t ask.)

  94. Sili says

    And how would you design that money, given 24th century counterfeiting technology?

    Pretty sure there was an episode dealing with Ferengi wanting to be paid in the one substance in the universe that couldn’t be duplicated.

    No, I don’t recall chapter and verse.

  95. 'Tis Himself says

    How the fuck does the economy work in Trek? Seemingly it’s that everything is free due to replicators…unless its bought in a shop of course.

    It’s obvious that the Federation has not only a post-scarcity economy but a post-money economy.

  96. Amphiox says

    Trek pretty much just wants everyone to ignore the time travel idea until they need to bring it up for the plot again thank you very much.

    It is Lazy Writer’s Universal Ret-conn Button. As in “Holy shit I just completely screwed up continuity, how do I fix this mess I’ve made?”

    But seriously, someone needs to find those Trek writers who first thought to canonize this time travel thing, and have them shot.

    In the past.

  97. Amphiox says

    I wonder how Banks’ Culture would fare, if it could actually be bothered to get involved in the conflict at all, and didn’t just send Special Circumstances operatives to observe and maybe try to bring about a peaceful resolution?

    If it came to war, a single Culture warship eats both those universe’s for breakfast. (Again assuming neutrality by Q).

    It would be only slightly less fair than dropping the Xeelee into the mix….

    (And the Xeelee might possibly beat Q, since we never know precisely how extensive Q’s “omnipotence” actually extends.)

  98. Gregory Greenwood says

    “We Are Ing The Matrimonial Collective” @ 107;

    It’s also hinted that Janeway is the biggest repeat offender of that directive, so much they had a show where one of the Temporal Star Fleet went insane from having to deal with her and tried to kill her

    Ah, temproral neat-freak rage syndrome – so sad…

    On the subject of Voyager, don’t forget Species 8472 – they were the only race to ever give the Borg a real kicking in an open dust up…

    —————————————————————–

    “Oooh, my Secret Santa is Wodar, and he got me a—[excitedly opens box, peeks in, pulls out a strip of old paper]—five latinum slip gift certificate to T.G.I.Quark’s. That’s…thoughtful, I guess, considering the nearest one is on Starbase 299, in the Beta Quadrant. And there’s a wad of gum on the back, with a shoe-print on it. Did you even bother to replicate this yourself, Wodar, or did you find it in front of Ten-Forward?”

    And Brownian wins yet another internets to add to his vast and rapidly growing collection…

    I often think that Quark probably got Jadzia Dax the same gift every year – an invitation to attend a Ferengi cultural event with him where the dress code requires that all women be naked…. right up until she married Worf, anyway.

    He would have liked to give Major Kira the same gift, of course, but he knew that such a policy would likely result in repeated visits to the med bay to reattach his lobes.

    Ah, Ferengi – everyone’s favourite fictional misogynist jerks.

  99. says

    Ah, Ferengi – everyone’s favourite fictional misogynist jerks.

    Watching DS9 made me feel like there were two writers who bitterly hated each other as we would get one episode that seemed to try to use the Ferengi as characters and expand them or flesh them out…and then often one immediately followed that seemed to say “fuck that they’re goddamn potato ogre cartoon villains damn it!”

    The House of Quark compared to the lobe clawingly painful False Profits (or Profit and Lace) for example

    @Chas

    In Ellison’s defense his story at least was trying to establish time travel as RARE and something amazing (ie only at one place in the entire universe) rather than something you could do if you got bored

  100. Ogvorbis: Ignorant sycophantic magpie. says

    OK, now I’m wondering what effect photon torpedoes would have on a General Products hull. Thanks a lot, everybody.

    It would burn off all of the external sensors, atmospheric lifting bodies, and external thrusters.

    About the same as when the induced solar flare torched Nessus’ ship at the Ringworld.

  101. Brownian says

    Pretty sure there was an episode dealing with Ferengi wanting to be paid in the one substance in the universe that couldn’t be duplicated.

    “What’ll it be?”
    “Two Romulan Ales and a Klingon Bloodwine.”
    “That’ll be four Picard Hearts and an aorta.”

  102. 'Tis Himself says

    Which would win? A Babylon 5 White Star or a ST:DS9 Defiant?

    White Star was a Vorlon and Minbari collaboration with a bioskin capable of self-repair, the ability to dump inertia and reverse course, and heavily armed.

    Defiant was specifically designed to defeat the Borg. It has a cloaking device, quantum torpedoes and shields.

  103. ChasCPeterson says

    Harlan Ellison needs no defense.
    And I wasn’t criticizing his episode.
    But yeah I agree. Even the first 1968 ep was handled OK–it was an accident, they were damn lucky to get back without fucking up, etc.

    No, it was the Gary Seven ep that was the what-the-fuck. (But it was the last one of season 2 and iirc the show was still considered cancelled at that point.)

  104. Stevarious says

    “That’ll be four Picard Hearts and an aorta.”

    *choke* *snort* *gag*

    Dammit, you already won the thread! You can stop now and let us lesser thinkers compete!

    ..I have GOT to stop drinking things while reading…

  105. Gregory Greenwood says

    If Rip Steakface is reading, I have a hypothetical that might interest him.

    Who would win, a non-shattered C’tan or Q? Also, what about those nifty Xeelee chappies Amphiox was talking about @ 121, how would they fare against a Star Vampire? Or several dozen/hundred/thousand? Since in the current continuity, no one knows how many of the C’tan existed in the first place, or escaped imprisonment by the Necrontyr?

    This franchise crossover stuff is fun!

  106. Ogvorbis: Ignorant sycophantic magpie. says

    [meta]

    This reminds me of a six hour conversation on a band trip to Florida. And this was back when all we had was the original series, the cartoon series (why did the aliens still look humanoid when, it being a cartoon, they could have looked like anything? (or is that a path I do not want to expose?))), and books. We came up with every title, every plot, and most of Kirk’s women.

    It was a long trip to Florida back in the days of 55mph.

  107. Stevarious says

    (And the Xeelee might possibly beat Q, since we never know precisely how extensive Q’s “omnipotence” actually extends.)

    It seems to me Q’s omnipotence and omniscience are only limited by his attention span (that is, his lack of omnipresence). He can do anything he chooses to do, but can’t do ‘all the things’ because he’s still limited by linear progression (while he can travel through time just fine, his actual interactions with our universe are restricted to normal space-time). He can know anything he wants to know about the present (and probably the past), but he doesn’t know ‘all the things’ either, just what he chooses to know by deciding to know it. He’s limited by his attention span, his imagination, and the requirement (as long as he’s in our universe) to think and act more or less linearly.

    After all, if he was TRULY omniscient, he wouldn’t HAVE to test Picard and humanity – he would just know how it turns out.

  108. Gregory Greenwood says

    “We Are Ing The Matrimonial Collective” @ 126;

    Watching DS9 made me feel like there were two writers who bitterly hated each other as we would get one episode that seemed to try to use the Ferengi as characters and expand them or flesh them out…and then often one immediately followed that seemed to say “fuck that they’re goddamn potato ogre cartoon villains damn it!”

    The House of Quark compared to the lobe clawingly painful False Profits (or Profit and Lace) for example

    We really did seem to get some mixed messages about Ferengi culture and society in that show. Perhaps my favourite part was the relationship between Quark and Odo – they were the original sci-fi odd couple.

  109. says

    Of course the Star Trek denizens are somewhat hamstrung by their inability to use anything from the fifth movie, which fans generally agree never happened.

  110. Stevarious says

    White Star was a Vorlon and Minbari collaboration with a bioskin capable of self-repair, the ability to dump inertia and reverse course, and heavily armed.

    Defiant was specifically designed to defeat the Borg. It has a cloaking device, quantum torpedoes and shields.

    You forget that the White Star also had a Minbari stealth device.

    That said, since both can cloak – and fire while cloaked – the victory goes to the ship with the better sensors. Which is probably the Federation ship (you know, sensors that can read DNA from orbit.)

    While the White Star flails about uselessly trying to find their invisible foe, a volley of quantum torpedoes turns them into space dust that’s quickly sucked into the singularity powering the engines. The Defiant drops a warning buoy so ships no to watch out for the new black hole and flies off to find some Borg to blow up.

  111. says

    The existence of a “Ferengi Benevolent Association” is hilarious though

    UGH that was from False Profits.

    It was made when the magic Bjoran Prophets punished Vizini from Princess Bride by making him not be an asshole, a fate worse than death for a Ferengi.

  112. 'Tis Himself says

    White Star. It can move at the speed of plot

    But Defiant has a cloaking device. And quantum torpedoes. Quantum! Just ask Deepak Choptra what that means.

  113. Gregory Greenwood says

    Stevarious @ 135;

    I always liked Q – he is basically what happens when you give the class prankster unlimited power, and seeing him poke fun at Patrick Stewart’s gravitas heavy Jean-Luc Picard (not to mention tormenting Riker) was always good for a laugh.

    Of course, the plot and continuity problems you create for yourself when you throw in an omnipotent, omniscient character probably meant that the writers hated Q more often than not.

  114. Stevarious says

    Of course, the plot and continuity problems you create for yourself when you throw in an omnipotent, omniscient character probably meant that the writers hated Q more often than not.

    Yeah, some of the episodes were good, but some of the episodes made me just cringe. Especially later interactions with Janeway – I actually stopped watching Voyager at the episode where Q shows up and propositions her. (An omnipotent being doesn’t ask. An omniscient being doesn’t need to ask. And since when has Q cared about anyone’s feelings? The whole episode was just terrible.)

  115. Gregory Greenwood says

    “We Are Ing The Matrimonial Collective” @ 139;

    So far I have to say House of Quark is my favorite of DS9. It used and expanded the character well and added good development for Quark and Rom…which was promptly ignored because yeah potato ogres.

    House of Quark does amply demonstrate the hilarity that can ensue when Ferengi and Klingon cultures meet. I forget the name of the episode, but I also remember a plot line where Rom outrages Quark by becoming the leader of a union movement within the bar, and thus comes to the attention of Liquidator Brunt of the Ferengi Commerce Authority…

    And then, of course, there is the hilarious the Magnificent Ferengi episode, where we see the Ferengi take on a crack squad undertaking a rescue mission…

    As you say, there are plenty of DS9 episodes that offer good (if always comedic) character work on Ferengi, only for those episodes to later be undermined by the usual, one-dimensional-grasping-alien-troll trope popping up.

  116. says

    I get that the thing you were saying wasn’t the thing Daisy said you were saying, though. That part is agreed by us.

    OK. That was the essence of my argument there. (As is the fact that she refused to acknowledge, retract, or apologize for it.)

    At the moment, I’m about 50/50 on the question of whether she or the others honestly felt triggered in the way they’d use the term in other contexts or whether they were using it as yet another silencing ploy. There’s evidence for both. I don’t know if they’re willfully, grossly-intellectually-dishonestly ignorant and vicious or actively lying and vicious. Both seem possible, and both are wrong.

    Also, if we’re talking about my post, it really isn’t about benefit of the doubt. I think it’s more about the fact that “ridiculous” “triggering” had my brain link up to the last session of Absurd Triggers with Cipher wherein I went all unstuck in time over the wrong song playing while I was in a Whole Foods (and already highly agitated). I am emotionally invested in everybody acknowledging the weirdness of triggers.

    I’m confused. (Actually confused, not “sorta thinking you might be wrong but not sure why.”) I wasn’t trying to use a broad definition of triggers. The normal regular ol’ definition of triggers as things that cause trauma flashbacks or recurrences of trauma reactions is what I was going for. They’re weird and unpredictable and often really absurd. Did that not come across?

    I think a few separate issues are getting blended up here. First, there’s the question of definitions. I probably shouldn’t have talked about a broad definition of triggers but about a broad definition of trauma. I tend to agree with Chas that the way it’s being used stretches the definition of trauma beyond how I’d typically think about it. That doesn’t mean that I think people should be insensitive about behaving in ways that they expect will bring people painful recollections or that they’ve been told upset others in this way, especially if the reasons they’re doing what they’re doing are relatively frivolous.

    (The “food policing” trigger arguments were equally dishonest but also a similar sort of stretch. In my view, unless you were, say, a Ukrainian peasant in the 1930s, food policing as trauma is using a broad definition of trauma. Again, that’s not to say that some people aren’t made very uncomfortable and led to painful recollections by discussions about how people should eat. But it needs to be acknowledged that we were not talking about eating in terms of health or weight; we were talking about the consumption of animals in terms of harm to animals and to the environment. To suggest that people talking about the ethics of eating is all indistinguishable “food policing” is dishonest and manipulative in the extreme, and to argue that people are food policing you in health or weight terms when they’re explicitly – in my case, in four-part harmony with 8×10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows on the back of each one explaining what it was – talking about harms to nonhuman animals and to the environment, and to our relations with both, is beyond the pale. To respond to clear reminders that the arguments weren’t about food policing in the terms suggested with “So you don’t care about my health” is so outrageous and bullying and stupid I don’t even know where to start. And in all of the arguing over these dishonest attempts to silence, the nonhuman animals and ecosystems are forgotten. Again.)

    Now, this is further complicated by the fact that this broad understanding can include present discomfort, and how even what I was arguing, as opposed to the misrepresentations, could be triggering in a broad sense. I can understand how advocating the deconstruction of the medicalized model and the drugs can be deeply disconcerting to some people, especially those who are taking the drugs and feel they’ve been helped by some biological mechanism. I get this, and I acknowledge that in some earlier conversations – probably driven by my anger at what I’d been learning – I wasn’t appreciative enough of this, and I regret that. When I first started to hear about this (in a way that I appreciated), my first response was shock. My next was anger and an overwhelming need to investigate and share, inspired by my anger at what was happening to people, my previous knowledge (of corporations, medicine, science, and their interactions), and the fact that this is who I am. That does not mean that this is an abstract issue for me, and Giliell’s suggestion that it is was horribly wrong.

    There’s also the matter of more general vs. more personal triggers. There are statements and situations that are generally expected to be triggering, and that’s why certain discussions (e.g., Owlmirror’s link above) are marked by some people as potentially triggering. There’s an assumption that the subject itself will likely affect a set of people who’ve had a certain type of traumatic experience. Then there are personal, idiosyncratic triggers.

    In any discussion of triggering, though, given all of these issues, there’s the question of how to address it. This depends on many factors – context, shared understandings, relationships, the importance of the actions or discussions, the possibilities for the triggered/triggering person to exit the scene temporarily or permanently, and so on. In my case, I’m triggered in the broad sense by images or video of (though not conversations about) 9-11. I also have idiosyncratic 9-11 triggers – which no doubt are shared by some others – of sounds, smells, and so on. In terms of the definition of trauma, I regard my experience as different from that of the people in the WTC as well as those without loved ones in the WTC watching from across the river in New Jersey or watching on TV in Idaho. There are specific situations in which it would be wrong for someone to subject me to these triggers, but generally I can’t expect people not to show them and my response is to avoid them.

    With regard to context specifically, this is a skeptical, gnu atheist, social-justice-oriented site. I think this is a centrally important skeptical and social justice issue (writing a post about that right now), and I can’t help but note how closely the triggering discussion parallels anti-gnu arguments. If people are saying that any critical discussion of this makes them extremely uncomfortable, that’s OK, but I think there needs to be a) an acknowledgement that it should still be discussed amongst skeptics, and b) a place where this can be done.

    Finally, there’s the historical and cross-cultural question (there’s something good about how the subject of triggering came up in a discussion of psychiatry). When we’re talking about triggers and PTSD, we mean in our culture. We shouldn’t assume this is a transhistorical and cross-cultural constant. Our culture’s ideas about psychological responses to (post-)trauma are just that – our culture’s notions. (There’s an interesting chapter about this in Crazy Like Us. PTSD began, according to him, as Vietnam War Syndrome, and was depoliticized. It’s now been repoliticized, I think, in the sense that it’s further lost its radical edge and been medicalized and exported.) This does not mean that people in our culture don’t experience PTS or triggering. It means that this experience is culturally shaped. This is very important.

  117. Gregory Greenwood says

    Stevarious @ 144;

    Yeah, some of the episodes were good, but some of the episodes made me just cringe. Especially later interactions with Janeway – I actually stopped watching Voyager at the episode where Q shows up and propositions her.

    I remember watching that episode, and getting to the point when they start talking about introducing human DNA into the Q Continuum, and I thinking; “Wait; Q – omnipotent, can-play-tennis-with-supermassive-blackholes-Q – have DNA?”

    And how would introducing a nephilim-esque demi-Q end a philosphocal war about personal freedom in any case? Q is omniscient, and so one assumes that he bothered to casually flick through human history – throughout most of our history, even in the Star Trek utopian continuity, we have hardly been poster children for tolerance and freedom of conscience, afterall.

    It seems like trying to cure the flu with a shot of Ebola to me…

  118. Stevarious says

    I remember watching that episode, and getting to the point when they start talking about introducing human DNA into the Q Continuum, and I thinking; “Wait; Q – omnipotent, can-play-tennis-with-supermassive-blackholes-Q – have DNA?”

    Pure, concentrated cringe.

  119. ogremeister says

    Gregory Greenwood @ 132:

    This franchise crossover stuff is fun!

    Then you may be interested in this Starship Comparison Chart, if you haven’t already seen it.

    If size matters, Star Wars wins hands down.

  120. Gregory Greenwood says

    “We Are Ing The Matrimonial Collective” @ 149;

    Plus didn’t they show a child of Q (not the character) before? Q brought her back into the continuum despite being born otu of it right?

    I do distantly remember a plotline like that. Back in The Next Generation series, I think.

    Chalk up another one to Q-related continuity errors….

  121. Stevarious says

    Plus didn’t they show a child of Q (not the character) before? Q brought her back into the continuum despite being born otu of it right?

    I do distantly remember a plotline like that. Back in The Next Generation series, I think.

    Chalk up another one to Q-related continuity errors….

    Easily solved – those events happened after the Janeway incident, from Q’s perspective.

  122. Gregory Greenwood says

    Stevarious @ 150;

    Pure, concentrated cringe.

    My thoughts exactly.

    ——————————————————————

    ogremeister @ 151;

    Then you may be interested in this Starship Comparison Chart, if you haven’t already seen it.

    I had not seen that before. It is really rather cool. Thanks for the link.

    If size matters, Star Wars wins hands down.

    The Galactic Empire Executioner Class Battleship sure is big. One starts to wonder if Darth Vader is compensating for something…

    ;-P

  123. Amphiox says

    Plus didn’t they show a child of Q (not the character) before? Q brought her back into the continuum despite being born otu of it right?

    I remember that episode.

    That one had:

    1. Q’s deciding they wanted to give up their powers and live as mortals.

    2. Q’s producing a child.

    3. Q’s killing other Q.

    4. The philosophical question of when, why, where and how a Q should or should not use his or her powers.

    In other words, in a single TNG episode, they hashed through the entirety of the Voyager Q arc, and did a better job of it, too.

  124. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    But Amphiox mentions certain malpractice laws that “cover all the situations where abortion is inappropriate for terminating late term pregnancies and induced birth should be used”. You don’t approve of these?

    You do love to play the stupid card.

    Malpractice law is malpractice law. It exists as a tool against medical negligence, and not as a “restriction” on any medical treatment, including abortion. Malpractice doesn’t punish, for instance, a doctor who does not treat an adult patient who refuses treatment, even if that patient dies as a result.

    You have a right to refuse or choose your treatment. Why should pregnant women be denied that choice ?

    That is what is NOT FUCKING OK.

    The choice is between the patient and the doctor. Your opinion, morals, whatever, stop at the door of the cabinet. You don’t belong there because it’s not you who takes, or even know, the risks involved.

  125. Amphiox says

    A Babylon 5 White Star or a ST:DS9 Defiant?

    It depends on which universe the fight occurs in, because the universes of Star Trek and Babylon 5 run on slightly different physics.

    Specifically, deflector shields of any kind are IMPOSSIBLE in the B5 universe. The only example ever shown is of an alien tech that originated from another universe. Even Lorien didn’t have force field tech.

    So if the fight occurs in the B5 universe, the Defiant’s deflectors and cloaking device (based on deflector technology) wouldn’t work, and B5 Minbari/Vorlon/Centauri ships have a decidedly noticeable advantage in maneuverability compared to Federation ships in Trek, at least based on a visual examination of what they are shown to do. So White Star wins.

    But in the Trek universe, well, the White Star got no shields, man, making it a sitting duck for everything, especially transporter related tactics.

    So whoever is fighting in their home universe wins.

    (Note, with regards to the question of the Minbari stealth device, keep in mind that Minbari stealth isn’t absolute. If you have good enough sensors, you can beat that stealth tech. Earth Alliance couldn’t beat it, but the Centauri certainly can, as several shots showing Centauri weapons having no trouble locking on and firing at White Stars show. As TNG Federation tech is probably at least if not more advanced than the Centauri in B5, Defiant likely will be able to break the White Star’s stealth)

  126. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Does joey ever answer questions?

    Once in a blue moon, meaning no…

  127. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    SC, thanks for the congratulations on the exam! :D Thanks also for the long, thoughtful post about triggers. I’m going to bookmark it; the question of, basically, when it is reasonable to expect people to be concerned about not triggering (general) you is something I’ve been stuck on lately. Unfortunately I have to bow out of that conversation for a while now because I realized I was having a really weird emotional reaction that has absolutely nothing to do with what you’re saying and is obviously tiredness-related (in fact, when I was sort of inside my head thinking about the post, I actually curled up in bed and fell asleep briefly). Nothing wrong or to worry about, I just didn’t want you to think that I was completely ignoring your post or something.

  128. Amphiox says

    It seems to me Q’s omnipotence and omniscience are only limited by his attention span (that is, his lack of omnipresence).

    The thing about Q’s omnipotence in the Trek ‘verse is that we have, in fact, only Q’s own word on it.

    So Q might appear omnipotent compared to the humans on the Enterprise, but that doesn’t mean Q actually is omnipotent.

    And indeed, we know that the Q can thwart (stalemate you for an eternity!) or even kill each other.

    So point of fact, Q aren’t actually omnipotent. However they do what they do, entities sufficiently advanced and powerful (like other Q) can interfere with/stop them. So if you’re trying to match up the godlike super-entities of various verses, you have to concede the possibility that they may well be able to thwart one another, and that there are “grades” of omnipotence, as it were).

    The thing about the Xeelee is that they are recognized in their own universe as technological, where as in a lot of other universes, the super-entities are deliberately made to appear magical/supernatural ie they use their technology to deliberately appear supernatural to the lesser species. But the Xeelee don’t bother to do that. (Also the POV lesser races in the Xeeleeverse are significantly more advanced themselves. Humans are a KIII civ capable of accelerating neutron stars to near light speed and flinging them at targets like artillery rounds, make handguns that shoot black holes, and travel back and forth in time, for example).

  129. Amphiox says

    Does joey ever answer questions?

    Tyrant slavemasters don’t answer questions, silly.

  130. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    The paper? Is okay. It broke my heart last night when I found out one of my favorite pieces of analysis was fatally flawed and had to be removed, simultaneously causing great sadness because I loved it and great discouragement because it took me down a page. I’m feeling sort of about dejected about the whole thing now, mostly because I feel like I’ve reached the “I have finished talking about this subject” stage and I still have… like nine pages to go. I came up with things to talk about that I had left out and that were relevant (sex is important), but I’m not excited about them really, in part because there isn’t much interesting I can do with the texts, which sorta speak for themselves on the subject. Also, there’s one piece of my bit on skin that is striking me oddly and I keep returning to it because I feel like I’ve written it wrong.

  131. Mattir says

    Not quite caught up with TZT, but had to relate that when we first started homeschooling, we watched all of ST:TNG in about 6 months. It is amazing how much education one can find in such an exercise, from discussion of motive to why the science is very very RONG, to ethical questions to the structure of story-telling and plot devices. At some point we moved on to TOS, and the Spawns came up with a great plot summary: “The Enterprise is going somewhere. An anomaly (aka weird shit in space) occurs. The crew are befuddled and bamboozled by weird shit for 6 segments (we were watching on DVD, so the ad-segmentation was quite obvious on the display). Finally, in segment 7, someone solves The Anomaly. The Enterprise continues on its way.” For TOS, there is a variation of “weird shit in space” which the kids termed “weird chicks in space.”

    My favorite Star Trek line is from the Voyager episode where Species 8472 builds the replica of Starfleet Academy, and the Alien Disguised as Attractive Human Woman invites Riker to “Ponfar night at the Vulcan nightclub.” That would be either awesome or pretty frightening. Or maybe both.

  132. says

    The paper? Is okay. It broke my heart last night when I found out one of my favorite pieces of analysis was fatally flawed and had to be removed, simultaneously causing great sadness because I loved it and great discouragement because it took me down a page.

    That is upsetting. On the bright side, you recognized it in time for a fix.

    I’m feeling sort of about dejected about the whole thing now, mostly because I feel like I’ve reached the “I have finished talking about this subject” stage and I still have… like nine pages to go.

    I have great difficulty relating to this. Surprising as that may seem. :)

    I came up with things to talk about that I had left out and that were relevant (sex is important), but I’m not excited about them really, in part because there isn’t much interesting I can do with the texts, which sorta speak for themselves on the subject.

    You just have to describe them in terms relevant to your thesis. It’s not like every section has to be earth-shattering!

    /unsolicited counsel. I’m confident you’ll get it done splendidly.

  133. laurentweppe says

    Fun fact: a friend and I almost started a high school band called “Spock and the Space Hippies”.

    With regard to the whole Starwars VS star Trek celebrity franchise death-match concept, I wonder how Banks’ Culture would fare

    The Space Hippies win by converting the UFP to their endless orgy ways -with Kirk as the first naturalised Culturnik- and destroying the Galactic Republic by virtue of having 14 trillions droids smarter and more badass than R2.
    Remember the Culture moto is “Make love, and Don’t Fuck with us if you don’t want to see us throwing a Black Hole at your Sun”

  134. mikmik says

    @12 Cipher, Double Yay!

    Louis –
    Sili,
    They’re just biology. Special biology.
    DON’T FUCK WITH STAR WARS!
    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
    Louis

    Amphiox –
    The manufacturing disadvantage is still virtually insurmountable, but it is possible that a defence could then be mounted, since it at least appears on paper and on viewing, that Star Trek’s direct combat weaponry is possibly superior (phasors seem to have superior range, and Star Trek warships are tactically capable of combat at Warp, while Star Wars ships don’t appear to be able to fight at Hyperdrive, and have to slow to sublight before launching weapons). But the differences in base technologies underpinning the weapons systems means that one can’t really predict which set of weaponry will perform better against the other until you actually try them out.

    Ask, and ye shall receive(youTube, not the MIA god) Yaaaaaaaaaaaah!

    My favorite Star Wars video: Existential Star Wars (In French)

  135. ChasCPeterson says

    Actually the original Space Hippies (Sevrinists) died or were horribly mutilated when all of the vegetation on their prophecied and existent Planet Eden turned out to be (and here I quote Dr. Leonard McCoy) “full of acid!!!”

  136. Mattir says

    Chas – I have an actual diamondback terrapin care related question (non-releasable nature center critter) – can you email me at mattir dot om at verizon dot net?

    Thanks.

  137. Rip Steakface says

    On Star Wars vs. Star Trek:

    The ships of Star Wars are seen vaporizing asteroids with one shot, and there’s obviously the Death Star, which generates more power than a star. They have superior weaponry, superior mobility, superior manufacturing ability, and fucking magic. The Empire wins.

    Now, that said? The real fight would be the Imperium of Man of W40K versus the Empire. A million soldiers each capable of destroying an entire army of stormtroopers, along with literally trillions of people they can draft – and of course, magic (in the form of psykers). In addition, Imperium ships are about on par with Empire ships, except that Star Wars still has the mobility advantage (sometimes – the Warp is a scary place and sometimes you arrive at your destination years before you left… and sometimes millennia afterward).

    I would pay to see that war. A lot.

  138. says

    Now, that said? The real fight would be the Imperium of Man of W40K versus the Empire.

    If the PS3 Game is any indication the Empire wins due to me being utterly fucking bored with the Imperium and declaring the Empire winners due to nature of being more likeable

  139. laurentweppe says

    Existential Star Wars (In French)

    Completely unenjoyable for me unless I cut off the sound otherwise the only thing my brain registers is the original french dub.

    An interesting tidbit of info about the movie is that as you may hear, Vader (translated as “Dark Vador” in french, mostly because most of us can’t pronunciate correctly the “th” sound) voice is very high pitched in the french dub: but only for episode 4: apparently, it took whoever was in charge of dubbing the movie a whole episode to realize that Charles Earl Jones deep voice was an integral part of the character. So they made his voice deeper in Empire Strikes Back, and again even deeper in the Return of the Jedi. Which somehow made him incrasingly menacing and memorable as the trilogy went, by virtue of his voice gaining gravitas.

  140. says

    Completely unenjoyable for me unless I cut off the sound otherwise the only thing my brain registers is the original french dub.

    Yes, I imagine it’s best for people like me: I know the subtitles don’t reflect the dubbing, which is funny, but I can relegate the dubbing to background and focus on the subtitles (unless I start focusing).

  141. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    While I write this paper, I’m writing a whole different essay in my head. It’s an odd experience. My head-essay is called “Reading Roman Powerlessness.” It’s better than the one I’m writing.

  142. dianne says

    Re Star Trek and/or Star Wars:

    Scalzi’s new book, Redshirts, does a decent job deconstructing the silliness inherent in the Star Trek universe. And is amusing.

    Insane fan theory: In a ST:TOS episode, the crew get stuck on a planet with an insanely powerful being who is trying to replicate 19th century earth with them. The plot “twist” is that it turns out the insanely powerful being is just a small child. In the end, the being’s parents show up and take him away (probably to lecture him about the inappropriateness of playing with wild sentients), with apologies to the crew. My theory is that that character grows up to be Q.

    I don’t have anything to add to the Star Wars versus Star Trek fight, but do wonder this: In a fight between Darth Vader, Voldemort, and Sauron, all powers functional but only basic props (i.e. Voldemort has a wand, Vader has his suit but not the Death Star), no followers, who wins?

  143. Louis says

    Sili, Leia Slave Girl outfits might well be for fucking, but they are not for fucking with. After all one must maintain one’s adherence to the canon when wearing it. Erm…apparently.

    Ing, The Force is Proper Physics™ as any conversation with Deepak Chopra will tell you. Oh yes, I went there, argumentum ad quantumwafflum, whatchoo gonna do about it?

    Louis

  144. Louis says

    Tethys,

    Thanks, I think I’m caught up-ish now.

    There was a bit of Louis-Bashing, not too much though and I’d earned a good bit of it tbh. I lost my rag with LILAPWL and doubled down when I shouldn’t have. That’s my bad.

    There’s a time and a place for the All Encompassing Louis Theories Of Language, and when they look like they are forming part of an excuse/notpology is not either of them. I forget that I know my (nearly ;-) ) every thought and motivation, others don’t. Communication here is necessarily limited and people can talk at crossed purposes with the best will in the world.

    Louis

  145. Owlmirror says

    Charles Earl Jones

    James Earl Jones

    Well, yes. But I wondered if there was some joke I wasn’t getting.

    Could the existentialist Star Wars be considered a sort of Looney Toon?

    Or perhaps a Lunë Tune?

  146. mikmik says

    Louis,

    Sili, Leia Slave Girl outfits might well be for fucking, but they are not for fucking with.

    Then you have the Klingon maidens.

    Wistfully,

    Mike

  147. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    feralboy12 says:


    15 June 2012 at 2:42 am

    My theory is that that character grows up to be Q.

    Likely you’re referring to this episode, and I’ve heard that theory before.

    Of course, I don’t have to tell such a knowledgeable group that William Campbell—the Squire of Gothos (and Captain Koloth from The Trouble With Tribbles)—was their first choice for captain of the Enterprise in The Next Generation, but he turned it down….

  148. Tony... therefore God says

    Stevarious:

    Of course, then the Borg get it, and everyone loses.

    I don’t know. If we use the Star Wars: Clone Wars characters (who seem a bit more potent than their theatrical counterparts), things might be more even. Heck, I’d love to see Dark Maul vs The Borg.
    Or, how about mashups (Star Trek Wars?):
    Emperor Q
    Obi Wan Picard
    Jar JarE-woks
    Wes Annie Crusher (or we can double Wesley’s annoyance factor: Wesley Binks)
    Leia Yar
    Yodacca (sudden images of a 700 year old green Chewie fighting Emperor Q, ala Star Wars Episode 3)

    __
    chigau:
    Bambi started it, huh?I see your Bambi and raise you one mutated firebreathing dinosaur!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-wUdetAAlY

  149. says

    Here’s a good one.

    All out war between ME Reapers and Trek Borg?

    Reaper: Advantages
    Firepower: Borgs have phasers and torpedos but Reapers each have 4 BFG that shoots streams of liquefied uranium at relativistic speeds
    Indoctrination: Reapers can do the assimilation of Borgs AND Indoctrinate, slowing down the transformation and allowing them to turn enemy units into unwitting sleeper agents. People indoctrinated aren’t even aware of it themselves and they can spend indefinite amounts of time subconsciously betraying their own side before they’re discovered
    Husks: The ability to adapt Husks into a variety of troop forms gives them a huge leg up, as well as their ability to mass produce them via Dragon’s teeth. Borg require either nanites that work fast but are limited in distribution, or assimilation surgery. Reapers can quickly mass produce Husks at a far greater rate of even Borg assimilation.

    Borg Advantages

    Speed: Reapers rely on ME drives and Relays, which while fast is nothing compared to the Borg’s far more versatile Transwarp.

    Adaptation: Borg have great flexibility in adapting their shields to be immune to energy attacks. While the Reapers main weapon is still a kinetic projectile this still gives them a huge leg up over ground unit Husks

    Transporters: Borg can beam to locations while Reapers need drop ships. Again the Borg have superior mobility

    Scale and resources: Borg ships are big. I don’t think even the Capital Reapers get to the size of a Borg Sphere. The Borg are seen capable of harvesting entire cities for resources from space. While Reapers are better at harvesting organic resources Borg are much better at mineral resources

    Wild Card Questions

    Hivemind: Both have a hivemind of sorts, which raises the question of whether the Collective is immune or resistant to Indoctrination. If so that puts them at more equal footing and if not it cripples them. We know that a joined consciousness can resist indoctrination on the whole but still lose individiual members (the Rachi)…And the Geth (a true hivemind) seemed entirely immune (Heretics joined of their own free will).

    Assimilation: can Borg/Reapers assimilate or turn eachother’s troops?

  150. Gregory Greenwood says

    Rip Steakface @ 178;

    Now, that said? The real fight would be the Imperium of Man of W40K versus the Empire.

    That would be an interesting matchup, given that the two sides would be roughly equal, except for the fact that nothing in the starwars continuity (short of the most powerful force users) would be even close to a match for Astartes.

    In addition, Imperium ships are about on par with Empire ships, except that Star Wars still has the mobility advantage (sometimes – the Warp is a scary place and sometimes you arrive at your destination years before you left… and sometimes millennia afterward).

    The Warp is something of a double edged sword, it is true, but I would say that Imperial Navy and Astartes ships are vastly more heavily armed and armoured than their Star Wars equivalents, as is made clear by the background of the Battle Fleet Gothic book. As an example, for the purposes of game mechanics a ‘weapons battery’ just has a single stat, but in the mythos it is a massive series of devestatingly powerful weapons ranging from tactical nuke launchers for surface bombardments to the awesomely named ‘graviton pulsars’ – and each 40K warship packs several of these before we even get to void torpedos, attack craft launch bays, lances and specilaised weapons like Nova Cannon.

    I would pay to see that war. A lot.

    I must admit – I would to. That probably places us both in the top percentile of Uber-geeks.

    Another interesting point is that the Imperium circa the 41st Millenium really is a fallen culture. I wonder what would happen if the fully unified, Pre-Heresy Crusade-era Imperium went up against the Empire? Complete with twenty full Legios Astartes and Primarchs? Not to mention the Emperor* at the height of his powers?

    * Now, that would be confusing; two guys who only go by the handle ‘Emperor’. Maybe that explains how the war gets started?

    :-)

    —————————————————————-

    “We Are Ing The Matrimonial Collective” @ 179;

    If the PS3 Game is any indication the Empire wins due to me being utterly fucking bored with the Imperium and declaring the Empire winners due to nature of being more likeable

    Oh, don’t worry – the computer game Space Marine bears about as much relevance to the broader 40K mythos as the worst fan written slashfic does to the likes of Star Trek or Star Wars.

    The Imperium is dark and brutal (not to mention genocidally violent and downright fascist), certainly, but there is a very good set of reasons why it is that why, as is the case with most dystopian fiction

    If you want a real taste of the mythos in literary form, then you need to read the books published by Black Library, Games Workshop’s in house publishing arm.

    I would advise that you read pretty much anything by Dan Abnett (his Gaunts Ghosts series is particularly good, as are his Eisenhorn and Ravenor trilogies), but Graham McNeill, James Swallow, Gavin Thrope, Aaron Dembski-Bowden (among many others) – they are all very capable authors who are skilled at exploring the 40K universe beyond the explosions, high energy weaponry and posthuman super soldiers.

    And then there are the Horus Heresy series of novels, which are arguably the best written of all the Black Library publications, and function as a kind of extended origin story for the Imperium, that includes lots of ‘big question” philosophising and explorations of the nature of cults of personality and the corrupting effects of unfettered power.

    The computer game really is something of a shallow puddle next to a far larger fictional ocean. 40K is not for everyone, by any means, but it has far more depth and subtly then first impressions may suggest.

  151. dianne says

    @194: After reading your post, I had a sudden vision of Warf in a “slave Leia” outfit. My brain is now trying to crawl out my ear to get away from the image. Thank you for making TZT properly evil, even in the absence of trolls.

  152. A. R says

    theophontes and chigau: Mnean hna i tae veis’latas nnea koai htirrn iyhwe thei’emae hrrau TZT.

  153. ogremeister says

    Rip Steakface @ 178:

    The ships of Star Wars are seen vaporizing asteroids with one shot, and there’s obviously the Death Star, which generates more power than a star. They have superior weaponry, superior mobility, superior manufacturing ability, and fucking magic. The Empire wins.

    Only if the Metrons don’t get involved.

    The Metrons then returned Kirk to the Enterprise and transported the ship 1,600 light years away from their space.

    The Metrons demonstrated the ability to manipulate forms of energy unknown to Federation science, to perform comprehensive scans at great range, to transport matter great distances instantly, and perhaps to rapidly terraform planets to specific requirements. All of these feats were well beyond what even 24th century Federation technology can accomplish. This suggests their science and technology is hundreds or thousands of years more advanced than that of the Federation.

    And the Empire.

    The Metrons completely shutdown two warships and rendered them totally inoperable, before eventually moving them both at will to different parts of the galaxy. If they can simply relocate a starship 1,600LY away in the blink of an eye, how effective is a Death Star going to be?

  154. Amphiox says

    My theory is that that character grows up to be Q.

    IIRC Trek fandom has speculated that Trelane and several of the other uber-aliens seen in TOS (but inexplicably unmentioned in TNG and beyond) were actually various Q playing pranks or doing there Q-y things.

    But this is the first I ever of heard of anyone linking a TOS character to the Q.

    (You have to admit that Trelane’s humanoid avatar kind of looks like John de Lancie.)

  155. Amphiox says

    If they can simply relocate a starship 1,600LY away in the blink of an eye, how effective is a Death Star going to be?

    When it comes right down to it the Death Star ain’t all that effective. It was really a vanity project for Palpatine and Vader’s megalomania.

    Or put it this way: the thing can’t deal with moons. Sure, planets it can toast with ease, but the first time it was deployed against a moon, Kablooey! The second time it was even associated with a moon? Kablooey!

    The lesson here is obvious:

    Never station or deploy a Death Star anywhere near a gas giant with a habitable moon!

  156. Amphiox says

    Of course, if Star Trek gets to deploy things like the Metrons, the Star Wars should get to deploy stuff like the Sun Crusher, Abeloth, and the Yuuzhan Vong.

  157. A. R says

    Amphiox: The Organians, perhaps? Or that guy on that planet who wiped out an entire race with a thought?

  158. cm's changeable moniker says

    Child-the-tiny asleep, kid #2 pottering happily, kid #1 out for the night, beer in the fridge, and Gerrard to Carroll for the opener. My Friday night gets better and better!

    (Sorry, Swedes.)

  159. says

    I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of the Trek vs. Wars thing, but if you accept Star Wars EU, they basically can’t do anything offensively. I neither know, nor care, about relative speeds of hyperdrive vs. warp (And really, it’s ‘speed of the plot’), but it is made damn clear in some of the extra stuff that hyperdrive is fast, but they stick to pre-determined routes for a reason; namely that you travel so fast in hyperspace that you can easily hit a planet if you don’t make damn sure to avoid them. New routes were supposed to be made over very, very long periods of time which precludes doing much offensively in the event of a war.

    Of course the EU is a massive frazzle of contradiction so if this got rescinded or counterindicated at some point I wouldn’t be surprised. FWIW I personally prefer Star Wars, tot he extent I have a preference, which is damn near nil 10 years after being a star wars fan XD

    chibiIng’s

    I can’t really imagine you as a child. You’re just smaller and have a higher pitched voice in my minds eye.

    Yeah, you might need to do some catching up, Louis.

    Huh. I might want to look into that.

  160. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I’m extremely upset. I just discovered that the library, where I needed to get some last-minute sources and do my printing and editing, is closed and will continue to be closed until after my paper is due. There is nothing I can do about it. I can print the final version of my paper tomorrow at a Kinko’s or something, but as for the three fucking books I needed, I’m just fucked.

  161. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Do you need those books in their actual physical form? If not, there’s still some hope.

  162. cm's changeable moniker says

    Oy. Better question: which books?

    This is neither an offer nor a promise, just a question designed to help people who may be able to help (not me, my dad’s the classicist of the family, but he doesn’t have a library).

  163. says

    I spent the morning reading through the comments of Zvan’s “Penis Debacle” thread. Haven’t watched the podcast yet, I’ll do that tonight when I have some drink on board. Looks like someone got a bunch of skeptic non-entities together to spout MRA shit and heap a bit more vitriol on Watson. Nice work.

    Now off to one of the last real circuses in this country with my boy, that should be fun.

  164. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ A.R

    NB:

    Zarna uan v gnr irvf’yngnf aarn xbnv ugveea vlujr gurv’rznr ueenh GMG!!!!

    And in answer to what you are about to ask:

    Exactly!

    ;D

  165. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    Re: Zombies, vampires, jeebus etc

    The Bulgarians have done some great research into (zombie) vampires and have inadvertently stumbled onto the solution as to why jesus keeps repeating like a bad burrito: You are supposed to knock the metal spikes into the chest cavity and not the hands! I hope they get this part right next time zombie vampire jeebus returns.

    Link: BBC video – 700-year-old ‘vampire’ skeleton is put on display in Bulgaria

    @ Cipher

    Are you allowed to say what it is you need ? Perhaps one of the horde has access to the materials you need. Or we could help you find it online.

    (I don’t know what would, or would, not be allowed in terms of assistance with access to information you need. We can obviously only do this if it is permitted.)

  166. John Morales says

    Hey, pitbull.

    When I say a sense, I mean a sense.

    (Something smells funny, that’s a sense in action)

  167. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Theophontes, what I’m looking for are two books: Fraenkel’s book Plautine Elements in Plautus, and Sandra Joshel’s Work, Identity, and Legal Status at Rome. The Joshel is in pieces online, but not fully. The Fraenkel, I don’t think it is.

  168. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Okay. So I it’s probably your inherent, evolved module for gauging fairness, probably homologous with other apes’ ability to account for who’s been given more or better treats for the same task. You think that’s plausible? Likely?

  169. John Morales says

    Cipher, I did a quick Google:

    Booktopia.com.au - $243.50

    PS these are the pages online:
    — from Google Books —

    Contents
    Introduction
    1

    1 Comparative Openings of Speeches
    5

    2 Transformation and Identification Motifs
    17

    3 Mythological Material
    45

    4 Animating the Inanimate
    72

    5 Expansion of the Dialogue
    78

    6 Expansion of Monologues
    96

    7 Implausibility in Conversations
    145

    10 The Nature and Origins of the cantica
    219

    11 Plautus as a Poet
    252

    Notes
    287

    Addenda
    390

    Glossary
    427

    Bibliography
    429

    Index Rerum
    439

    Index Verborum
    447

    8 The Predominance of the Slaves Role
    159

    9 Contaminated Plays
    173

    Index Locorum
    448

    Copyright

  170. A. R says

    Cipher: As much as I love the classics, I’m glad I’m in virology after seeing that book!

  171. Owlmirror says

    @Cipher:

    what I’m looking for are two books: Fraenkel’s book Plautine Elements in Plautus, and Sandra Joshel’s Work, Identity, and Legal Status at Rome.

    Do you know exactly what you’re looking for in those books? I suspect it’s something fairly specific, but what do I know?

  172. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    John, okay, so, here I think is an inconsistency about you.

    You see something that makes you think someone is not being treated fairly, and your sense of fairness makes you want to speak up about that. And presumably, or at least apparently, you don’t consider this objectionable behavior on your part.

    But — granted that you and I don’t sense fairness precisely the same way, it’s probably still homologous — when I see something that makes me think someone is not being treated fairly, and my sense of fairness makes me want to speak up about that, you don’t seem to recognize that that’s what happening; you just call it zealotry and righteousness.

  173. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Cipher

    Further to what Owlmirror says:

    It appears you cannot download Fraenkel from Google Books in toto. If you know the specific terms/keywords you need, you can look for them: Linky.

    For explaination as to why this is: Linky

  174. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Do you know exactly what you’re looking for in those books? I suspect it’s something fairly specific, but what do I know?
    In the Fraenkel, I’m looking for the chapter on slave characters’ comparisons of themselves to soldiers or generals. The Joshel… it’d be good to have all of it, but the specific point I’m looking to double-check on is the use of the word “vir” in an epitaph for a litter-bearer in the chapter “The Meanings of Work.” Some pages of it are in the Google Book but the sentence that is talking about it has a footnote and I can’t get to the footnote!

  175. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Theophontes, everybody, THANK YOU. I think that may actually have the bit I need in it.

  176. Owlmirror says

    *cough*.

    Could I be coming down with a slight cold?

    I hope not.

    I hope everyone else is OK.

  177. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Omg. Worse. The chapter I’ve been panicking over all day was in that link, and still thanks for it (YOU ARE AWESOME!) but … I had the PDF of it. All along.
    Printed. In my folder. Right there.

  178. John Morales says

    ॐ,

    You see something that makes you think someone is not being treated fairly, and your sense of fairness makes you want to speak up about that.

    It is a often a factor, but hardly ever the sole cause.

    And presumably, or at least apparently, you don’t consider this objectionable behavior on your part.

    What?

    No, of course not, by my standards.

    (Why would I indulge in behaviour to which I object?)

    But — granted that you and I don’t sense fairness precisely the same way, it’s probably still homologous — when I see something that makes me think someone is not being treated fairly, and my sense of fairness makes me want to speak up about that, you don’t seem to recognize that that’s what happening; you just call it zealotry and righteousness.

    You’ve imagined this ‘just’ quantifier, but that’s by-the-by; my point was not your righteousness (have I ever disputed it?) but your application to it and its ensuing effectiveness — you know, that which I characterise as your zealotry.

  179. John Morales says

    BTW, ॐ, ain’t many who would object to being characterised as righteous!

  180. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Owlmirror, thanks (large, glittery thanks), but I’m set :D the Fraenkel was the bigger problem and omg aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, and the Joshel, I trust her translation and the note on it I found elsewhere, and it was a minor point anyways. I’ll be okay.

  181. Owlmirror says

    The Joshel… it’d be good to have all of it, but the specific point I’m looking to double-check on is the use of the word “vir” in an epitaph for a litter-bearer in the chapter “The Meanings of Work.” Some pages of it are in the Google Book but the sentence that is talking about it has a footnote and I can’t get to the footnote!

    This one?

    Callista and Philologus had special reasons to remember “Iucundus, slave of Taurus, litter bearer” (Iucundus Tauri lecticarius): “As long as he lived, he was a man and acted on behalf of himself and others. As long as he lived, he lived honorably.” [58] His name, Iucundus (agreeable, pleasant), common among slaves, seems to mark a master’s expectation: could the noble Taurus read his bearer’s epitaph literally”he was the agreeable slave of Taurus, a litter bearer”? Assuming job title signals a servile assessment of prestige, we can say only that despite, or even in the face of, the upper-class denigration of his work and his master’s point of view, Iucundus was proud to have been a litter bearer. It seems to me that prestige value and pride do not adequately account for what is inscribed here and what may be suggested for the other men who performed the same labor. We can set out other meanings by reading the description of the man in terms of his work. He may have been the slave who lugged around the master, but that did not make him a pack animal subject to a driver’s whip. ”He was a man,” able to defend himself and others. His name labels him as agreeable; his slave commemorators’ description marks a limit to subjection. Was the strength of the litter bearer applied to other purposes? Could we read ”because of his job, he was strong”? Callista and Philologus shift the claim of an integrity associated with citizenship to a claim of manhood associated with the defense of self and others.


    58. “Iucundus Tauri / lecticarius quandi/us vixit vir fuit et se et / alios vindicavi [sic] quan/dius vixit honeste vixit / Callista et Philologus dant.” The use of vindicavi(t) may be charged with its legal meaning of asserting a claim, especially in vindicare in libertatem to claim as free one wrongly held in slavery. Cf. Pet. 43 for ridicule of the claim honeste vixit.

  182. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Cipher

    fixed: Sarah Sandra

    With reference to the term “vir”. It is actually right there in the text (if that helps):

    He may have been a slave who lugged around his master, but that did not make him a pack animal subject to a driver’s whip. “He was a man,” able to defend himself and others. … Was the strength of the litter bearer applied to other purposes? Could we read “because of his job, he was strong“? [emphasis added]

    lecticarius –> litter bearer

    English | Latin
    man | vir
    defend –>soldier | vir

    strong —> virile (def: “characteristic of a man”)

    Somehow being “manly” seemed to be a good thing.

    (chase me back to work if I am rambling)

  183. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Awesome! Thanks. I just needed to verify the interpretation of the epitaph that I found in a different article, and everything looks great there. :D

  184. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    I think that may actually have the bit I need in it.

    Oops, should have refreshed.

    {theophontes scuttles off quietly to the moss patch to get own nefarious work done}

  185. Owlmirror says

    Aei Rihannsu

    ?!??!!???!!!!! . . . . !!

    Conlangs はコーシャではありません!

  186. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    [meta]

    If we are discussing weaponry, perhaps it is time to put together a Pharyngulite Arsenal ™ here on TZT. Stuff thats ready-to-hand if we ever need some ammo to fend off the forces of the vacuous.

    Eg: copycat jeebus

    Age of the earth (Amazing spiral graphic: PDF)

    For Amphiox: Xtian immortality (this could be raj)

  187. cm's changeable moniker says

    I had the PDF of it. All along.

    Heh! Matthew 7:7.

    Another source would be Amazon’s “Look Inside” doohickey, but you need to have bought something from them for it to work. (I’ve only shopped at the .co.uk, so it doesn’t work for me which now has this enabled, yay!)

    Is there still rage? Can you say why?

  188. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    The latest act in the neverending misogyny circus. I apparently posted the backbreaking straw to a moron, needling her into flipping the chessboard. Then I had a rage.

  189. says

    Anyone care to make a podcast wrt TAM/Grothe/EG etc in response to this dimwit conference those clowns had the other day ? Mail me, looking for 4 or 5 participants, we can stream it live or record then publish, sure PZ would help.

    (crossposted)

  190. cm's changeable moniker says

    Ohhhhh, I’m guessing it’s that other thread. Never mind. Sorry.

  191. says

    Actually, wait a second, I like the idea, how about we do a weekly podcast or teledebate with Pharyngula regulars, on any given topic ? Would anyone be interested in that ?

  192. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    John,

    It is a often a factor, but hardly ever the sole cause.

    Of course. (This is probably true of everyone.)

    You’ve imagined this ‘just’ quantifier, but that’s by-the-by; my point was not your righteousness (have I ever disputed it?) but your application to it and its ensuing effectiveness — you know, that which I characterise as your zealotry.

    But you make your moral stands for fairness approximately as often; you are similarly applied. How then do you fail to recognize what you do as zealotry?

  193. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    I would just like to declare that I am self-righteous. There. I got it out the way. Now we can get on with it.

  194. says

    Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says:


    16 June 2012 at 6:13 am

    The latest act in the neverending misogyny circus. I apparently posted the backbreaking straw to a moron, needling her into flipping the chessboard. Then I had a rage.

    You just made my day, Cipher! You are wicked, and, LMAO, in chess club we used to call flipping the board the Scottish Resignation, hahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    (Plus, I finally figured out how to log in with wordpress – it only took nine months. Off to check my lottery tix, thanks)

  195. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Good on you, theophontes.

    I’ve been postponing for too many months now — I mentioned this to you in November! — an essay on the moral imperative of self-righteousness.

    Laziness overcomes me; it needs to be something I can brag about as better than Joey Kurtzman and Peter Singer did.

  196. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ sg/lilapbwl ॐ

    You and John drove me to it (actually Cipher beat me to it).

    A lot has to do with having to stand up to oneself even while others may disagree. I feel very strongly about this. We have a set of cultural precepts that I really don’t see working. Be they our sense of values (what I hold in esteem, what I strive for) or our sense of ethics (How I conduct myself with respect to others). The situation thread pretty much says all I can about that last. Yes, we can stand up to such bullshit and yes it is incredibly personal.

    In terms of values: I like your linky. We should regard such things as charity as a high virtue. And we should feel good in supporting such things. Umuntu ngamuntu ngabantu. We should not be so much in awe of wealth as in awe of munificence. (And you can’t take it with you anyway!)

    Doing what is right in regard to the above must start with the self. It will put you at odds with most of what is out there, but so be it.

  197. says

    theophontes (坏蛋)

    [meta]
    If we are discussing weaponry, perhaps it is time to put together a Pharyngulite Arsenal ™ here on TZT. Stuff thats ready-to-hand if we ever need some ammo to fend off the forces of the vacuous.
    Eg: copycat jeebus
    Age of the earth (Amazing spiral graphic: PDF)
    For Amphiox: Xtian immortality (this could be raj)

    That’s why you are paid the big bucks around here. I have a collection that’s been gathering for several years, links to Checkmate Mofo Christian resources, just like I’m sure we all have our personal arsenals.
    There is brainstorming/mindmaping software, or web apps online to develop a hierarchy and organization structure if needed. If it was searchable, then we could search and instantly find all the answers to all the stock christian/religious/new age points that keep getting re the fuck hashed ‘n’ bashed – good name for a category of the most common and repeatedly thrashed questions and talking points.
    I go to sites like CARM and others where their points are rebuked, on another site, then those fallaciously replied to, and on it goes.
    There is no resource that I know of anywhere that has this kind of one stop, hashed out properly, list of these Christian talking point killers thoroughly anal-ized.

    On top of that, people here make some of the most astute arguments I’m aware of, and this would be great to include.

    I get ahead of myself, but something like a wordpress blog, or picture gallery site(which is what you have brilliantly proposed, and is the best idea, IMO) could be arranged.

    Furthermore, the profits your infamy would garner could be funneled into continued development for kicking the shit out of imperial forces, as you have transmitted so clandestinely earlier.

    I will upload a few of my art collection to my WP blog that I really never meant to be seen, just a note keeping device, but ooops!

  198. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    I am more than a little drunk right now.

    I was reading through the other threads earlier. Perhaps that is why we brought up a very sensitive and painful subject once again. The person I love most in the world was molested by her own grandfather. The pain this has caused still lingers now, many years after his death. And the effects ripple through her family across the generations (she was not the only one).

    It is the lie that will not die. The awkwardness between all the family. “He was such a good man.” From those not affected. Unaware of his lies. As against all those in denial and those who still carry the scares. His was the “gift” (gif!) that keeps giving. Even now, in a different century. People, we really need to stop this shit!

  199. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ mikmik

    That’s why you are paid the big bucks around here.

    Hehe… Where that but true!

    Yeah, probably we could put it all on the Pharynguwiki, but one needs time and patience. (ॐ has done sterling work)

    I do think it is a good idea though. Many regulars have their linkies up their sleeves, but imagine all those off-the-cuff-responses in the hands of those that truly need it.

  200. opposablethumbs says

    If we are discussing weaponry, perhaps it is time to put together a Pharyngulite Arsenal ™ here on TZT. Stuff thats ready-to-hand if we ever need some ammo to fend off the forces of the vacuous.

    There is brainstorming/mindmaping software, or web apps online to develop a hierarchy and organization structure if needed. If it was searchable, then we could search and instantly find all the answers to all the stock

    It would be a truly awesome resource. And it would have sections for femimism101 and the rainn rape statistics and resources like that, for misogyny threads.

    And crime stats and productivity and wealth and wages stats for the glibertarians. I’ve started trying to make a habit of collecting some of the great links that the regulars post, but I’ve only got a handful and wouldn’t have the first idea how to make them handily searchable.

    What would put it infinitely ahead of just googling from scratch or people building their own individual collection, of course, is the experience and expertise of the regulars who have the knowledge and reading history themselves to point out the highest quality and most useful information sources.

  201. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Reposting, apropos of nothing:

    See study 2 of doi 10.1037/0022-3514.72.5.1132. It is possible to prime people to act more rationally simply by asking them nicely: “please carefully consider your answers [...] before responding. We would like you to be as rational and analytic as possible in responding to these questions. Please be careful and thorough when considering your responses to the questions.”

    +++++

    Yeah, probably we could put it all on the Pharynguwiki, but one needs time and patience.

    Not necessarily. It needn’t take any more time than it takes to comment here.

    And no patience at all is required. Just don’t think of it like a big project that needs to be tackled all at once.

    One of the advantages of a wiki is you can drop in a link there anytime, so it’s immediately available to everyone; think later, if ever, about what else you want to add to it.

    If anyone has too many perfectionist tendencies, there’s already a public sandbox (the page name is Sandbox) where they can plan and stage an article, or they can create it as a subpage of their userspace.

  202. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    If there are features needed at the wiki which are not yet implemented, and if there exist MediaWiki extensions for these features, I may be able to have them turned on.

    We have the Semantic MediaWiki extension, for instance. The only thing we’re using it for right now is the Cookbook page. So this little gadget:

    {{#ask: [[Category:Recipes]] |mainlabel=Recipe |?Dish |?Cook |link=subject |format=table}}

    automatically adds a link to the Cookbook page whenever someone creates a new recipe page.

  203. says

    This is good stuff, opposablethumbs, and I want to say that this:

    rorschach says:


    16 June 2012 at 6:28 am

    Actually, wait a second, I like the idea, how about we do a weekly podcast or teledebate with Pharyngula regulars, on any given topic ? Would anyone be interested in that ?

    is also a great idea, rorschach (lol, I just noticed the spelling.

    Yeah, it could take a tremendous amount of work and conspiring, but no shit, it would be spectacularly successful, according to my projections.

    opposablethumbs, your “It would be a truly awesome resource. And it would have sections for femimism101 and the rainn rape statistics and resources like that, for misogyny threads.

    And crime stats and productivity and wealth and wages stats for the glibertarians.” suggestion is masterful. The links posted the last few days, esp. yesterday, by members – just saw you, life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ, #277 and 278, that is a great suggestion and solution(thanks!!) –
    like Gen, Uppity Ingrate , Jafafa Hots (Haven’t scanned all the comments yet); Audley Z Darkheart (liar and scoundrel), LMAO; mythbri, and many others I haven’t ‘catalogued’ yet.
    In the spirit of Audley Z Darkheart, the butthurt form I found, and here is one of the pics I’ve collected, as well.

    I have to get some fresh air, BRB.

  204. says

    Oops! I stripped the links and reposted:
    mikmik says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.


    16 June 2012 at 12:07 pm

    This is good stuff, opposablethumbs, and I want to say that this:

    rorschach says:

    16 June 2012 at 6:28 am

    Actually, wait a second, I like the idea, how about we do a weekly podcast or teledebate with Pharyngula regulars, on any given topic ? Would anyone be interested in that ?

    is also a great idea, rorschach (lol, I just noticed the spelling.
    Yeah, it could take a tremendous amount of work and conspiring, but no shit, it would be spectacularly successful, according to my projections.
    opposablethumbs, your “It would be a truly awesome resource. And it would have sections for femimism101 and the rainn rape statistics and resources like that, for misogyny threads.
    And crime stats and productivity and wealth and wages stats for the glibertarians.” suggestion is masterful. The links posted the last few days, esp. yesterday, by members – just saw you, life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ, #277 and 278, that is a great suggestion and solution(thanks!!) –
    like Gen, Uppity Ingrate, Jafafa Hots (Haven’t scanned all the comments yet); Audley Z Darkheart (liar and scoundrel), LMAO; mythbri, and many others I haven’t ‘catalogued’ yet.
    In the spirit of Audley Z Darkheart, the butthurt form I found, and here is one of the pics I’ve collected, as well.
    I have to get some fresh air, BRB.
    LILAPWL, I like the way you think.

    And no patience at all is required. Just don’t think of it like a big project that needs to be tackled all at once.
    One of the advantages of a wiki is you can drop in a link there anytime, so it’s immediately available to everyone; think later, if ever, about what else you want to add to it.
    If anyone has too many perfectionist tendencies, there’s already a public sandbox (the page name is Sandbox) where they can plan and stage an article, or they can create it as a subpage of their userspace.

    I bolded your reminder that especially applies to people like me!
    I have resources at my disposal – a website and hosting that I haven’t begun to develop, but I will learn to wiki, first. I can, meanwhile, install a forum – gradually! – and we can take a look. I have no idea how to communicate with everyone by email, or wiki, or whatnot, so my project this weekend will be to get up to speed.
    srsly, I cannot get my notices from pharyngula for new comments and posts, and it’s frustrating, and time consuming to catch up sometimes. All the other FTbes work, so I’m pretty sure I know how to do it(rocket science 101, put checkmark in appropriate button!), but nevertheless, I’ll keep up here.

  205. says

    Ive had two comments classified as waiting for moderation, for excessive links, the second supposed to be a fix for the first, lol.
    I’m with you, LILAPWL.

  206. chigau (違う) says

    ロミュランはでたらめです。

    I became self-righteous at about the same time as I became an atheist (40 years ago).
    I wonder if the two are related.

  207. Owlmirror says

    Eg: copycat jeebus

    I don’t like this one, because it’s bullshit.

    There are certainly some similarities between more ancient gods and Jesus, but not the exact ones on the graphic.

    Didn’t CJO do a takedown of some of those extreme claims a while back? Possibly on Sb Pharyngula?

    There’s also the possibilty that they’ve read C. S. Lewis’s magnificently counter-causal bullshit that older gods “foreshadow” Jesus.

    The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens — at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle.

  208. joey says

    Walton from here:

    And if we accept a rational materialist worldview, the concept of “moral desert” must itself be an irrational fantasy, since we cannot and do not have free will.

    Walton is correct, given a rational materialist worldview. From this perspective, a rapist isn’t truly “morally responsible” for any of his heinous actions.

    The desire for vengeance is irrational, a brute instinct of our ape brains, something that we ought to be able to outgrow in civilized societies.

    Even if vengeance is irrational, whether we experience it or not is outside our control but the result of physics (again, given a materialist worldview). And physics would dictate whether or not civilized societies would be able to outgrow the desire for vengeance.

  209. cm's changeable moniker says

    Oh, ye gods below, Horace just got confined to TZT.

    Between him, millssg99, and joey, I may have to take a hatchet to the laptop. (I’ll post a link to the free will thread first, though.)

  210. chigau (違う) says

    Do you (the collective) think it’s Fair™ to tell the trolls that they are confined to TZT without telling them what TZT is?

  211. Amphiox says

    From this perspective, a rapist isn’t truly “morally responsible” for any of his heinous actions.

    It is wise not to comment on things one doesn’t know anything about, lest in commenting one exposes oneself as a fool.

    But of course, I suppose, gooey, having already sunk as low as it is possible to sink, has nothing left to lose.

  212. cm's changeable moniker says

    @chigau, that’s a fair point. At the very least, poopyhead could link.

    (Even if it’s often borked.)

  213. John Morales says

    Walton is correct, given a rational materialist worldview.

    Well, thanks for confirming Walton is full of shit on that one, Joey.

    From this perspective, a rapist isn’t truly “morally responsible” for any of his heinous actions.

    From that simplistic perspective, no-one is morally responsible for any actions, good, bad or indifferent.

  214. Owlmirror says

    Do you (the collective) think it’s Fair™ to tell the trolls that they are confined to TZT without telling them what TZT is?

    I don’t. Especially when the sidebar link is borked.

    Every instance of “confined to TZT” should include a link.

    And PZ should change the sidebar link text to read:

    • TZT is here! → KILL IT WITH FIRE

    /fair-mindedness

  215. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    joey,

    And if we accept a rational materialist worldview, the concept of “moral desert” must itself be an irrational fantasy, since we cannot and do not have free will.

    Walton is correct, given a rational materialist worldview.

    What you don’t understand — and unfortunately Walton evidently doesn’t understand either; I’ll have to drink his Diet Pepsi until he gets it right —

    is that it doesn’t matter whether materialism is true or not. Free will is not possible in any possible world, not even if souls exist, not even dualism is true, not even if God exists.

    Indeed, if God exists, then God does not have free will.

    Thomas W. Clark shows why, in this explanation which does not rely on any kind of materialism or monism:

    «[I]magine that we do indeed have some sort of contra-causal free will, and see if it could improve on the deterministic situation we actually find ourselves in. I leave aside here the various sorts of indeterminacy that might be shown, eventually, to play a role in generating behavior, since these do not give us free will, they merely introduce randomness.

    Let us suppose then, that whatever my desires are at a given time, I am not bound to follow those desires. That is, my behavior isn’t completely the result of the competition of various motives and inclinations, but instead is at least partly a function of something independent of such influences. So, for instance, let us suppose I must decide between spending a thousand dollars on charity or on my own amusement. What would the role of this independent factor be in such a decision? Presumably, the story goes, one’s free will makes the decision about which desire should win out, the desire to help others or the desire to amuse oneself. But, on what grounds does this independent arbiter make its choice? Why would it choose one way and not another?

    If indeed the free will is uninfluenced by one’s circumstances, such as desires and motives, then it simply has no reason or capacity to act. Without an inclination pushing in one direction or another there can be no movement. Of course, one can (and usually does) consider the consequences of one’s actions, which has the effect of making one course or another seem more or less desirable. But this sort of rationality isn’t in the least separate from the influence of desire, rather it permits the more effective calculation of how a desire might be fulfilled, and of what might happen were it fulfilled. Nor is the choice to undertake such consideration “free,” in the sense of being uninfluenced, for if it were, the same problem would arise: why would the self choose to be rational – to consider consequences – unless there were some determining motive or desire to be rational?

    The “best” course – the decision taken – is that which wins out in the competition between motives as illuminated by rationality. If the self were truly free to choose between alternatives, uninfluenced by motives in some respect (whether such motives be altruistic or selfish) the choice would never get made. Likewise, if the self were truly free to choose between being rational or not, the operation of rationality would be haphazard and unreliable. As it stands, however, the self is nothing over and above the reliably coordinated system of desires and dispositions out of which decisions are generated. We don’t stand apart from, or direct, the rationally mediated competition of our motives. If we had some capacity to act independently of motives or of the consideration of consequences, that capacity would give us absolutely no power over circumstances. Why? Because that very independence renders such a capacity irrelevant to decision-making. In fact, it would immobilize us, not empower us.»

  216. John Morales says

    ॐ,

    But you make your moral stands for fairness approximately as often; you are similarly applied. How then do you fail to recognize what you do as zealotry?

    It’s an inclination I indulge, not a moral imperative to which I dedicate myself.

  217. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    It’s an inclination I indulge, not a moral imperative to which I dedicate myself.

    Null hypothesis: there is no difference between these things. All “moral imperatives to which one dedicates one’s self” are in fact “inclinations one indulges”.

  218. cm's changeable moniker says

    Sidetrack:

    you are similarly applied

    I read this as “energetic”. But reading you and JM, you’re much more dogged and, well, hand-to-hand-combat tenacious, whereas JM is a bit more snipey and (deliberately?) disengaged.

    Is this a fair characterisation? Either of you?

    Inquiring minds want to know. ;)

  219. John Morales says

    ॐ, were that hypothesis true, then ethics (moral philosophy) would be a branch of psychology, not of philosophy.

    (And it would never be the case that one’s morality conflicts with one’s inclinations)

    More directly, a moral imperative refers to ‘should do X’, whilst an inclination refers to ‘desires to do X’, so I think they’re categorically different concepts.

    cm, I guess that’s a fair enough characterisation.

    (I think both I and ॐ have adopted tools from each other’s armamentarium)

  220. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    you’re much more dogged and, well, hand-to-hand-combat tenacious

    Ah, but this is just an inclination I indulge.

    (And not always. On the thread which spawned this, you can see what it looks like when I stifle that inclination; I talk about effects of behaviors, without making personal attacks.)

    whereas JM is a bit more snipey and (deliberately?) disengaged.

    It can seem that way, until he tips his hand about why he’s engaging.

    (And here’s what it looks like when he’s dogged. One can’t imagine me writing that particular crap, but the volume and determination is similar.)

  221. chigau (違う) says

    Are you two going to say anything new?
    If not could you at least compose your posts in iambic pentameter or cowbot poetry style or haiku?

  222. John Morales says

    ॐ @303: Yeah, that’s more than a bit cringe-worthy of me over at Ophelia’s.

    (Not my proudest moment)

  223. cm's changeable moniker says

    @chigau: haiku. just …
    don’t. we’ve been there before, and
    it’s not popular.

  224. cm's changeable moniker says

    (I don’t pronounce “@”s. If you do, drop the “just” in the previous.)

  225. chigau (違う) says

    cm
    The last free-will discussion (the one you linked) was not exactikally popular, either.
    Combined with cowbot haiku, however…

  226. says

    Uh thanks, cm. I see that last part of that thread is me, yet not me(debate about ‘self’ these days), being corrected on my morals and whats up with what around here.
    I still argue that we have free will, however, let’s not go there. Recently (last few days), I was belligerent with an eliminative materialist at Rationally Speaking.
    Heh, just want to point out that~13% of philosophers actually argue for libertarian free will which I’m assuming are theologists, which is still more than conclude we have NO free will. It’s all here, anyways: http://philpapers.org/surveys/
    I know we have free-will, but not free, by any stretch of the imagination.
    gotta go

  227. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    ॐ, were that hypothesis true, then ethics (moral philosophy) would be a branch of psychology, not of philosophy.

    Properly speaking, I think it is. The previous project of moral philosophy is fucked because anti-foundationalism wins, and the new project will be to study how instead of why.

    (And it would never be the case that one’s morality conflicts with one’s inclinations)

    This does not necessarily follow. Considering only aesthetics, which is more obviously all about inclinations: sometimes some of one’s inclinations conflict with one’s other inclinations. Such happens when a person opens the fridge and sees more than one meal which would be approximately equally desireable, and a period of uncertainty results in delay. But these desires are only conflicting inclinations;

    thus the fact that something like one’s morality may at times conflict with other inclinations does not mean one’s morality is not just another inclination.

    More directly, a moral imperative refers to ‘should do X’, whilst an inclination refers to ‘desires to do X’, so I think they’re categorically different concepts.

    Should and must can be categorically different, since it is obvious that there’s nothing I must do unless I am coerced, and maybe not even then.

    But a should is only a desire to which is expressed in such a way that it can inspire support in another ape’s homologous module.

    As John Stuart Mill put it: “When we call anything a person’s right, we mean that [they have] a valid claim upon society to protect [them] in the possession of it, either by the force of law or by that of education or opinion. If [they have] what we consider to be a sufficient claim, on whatever account, to have something guaranteed [them] by society, we say [they have] a right to it.”

    +++++
    To say that something is unfair, is to say that it should be different.

  228. chigau (違う) says

    cm’s changeable moniker
    You see, now?
    Do you see what you did?
    {go to your bunk}

  229. cm's changeable moniker says

    chigau, cowbots, where?
    I am confused: thread drift makes
    links essential

  230. John Morales says

    ॐ:

    The previous project of moral philosophy is fucked because anti-foundationalism wins, and the new project will be to study how instead of why.

    The previous project may be fucked, but you implicictly admit to a current project. Still, if you refer to using what is to informedly pursue what ought to be, then I don’t dispute you.

    (I maintain that Is-Ought::Psychology:Moral Philosophy)

    This does not necessarily follow.

    Yeah, it does, from the law of non-contradiction if your proposed null hypothesis is true.

    (Everything follows (and precedes) itself while it exists)

    But a should is only a desire to which is expressed in such a way that it can inspire support in another ape’s homologous module.

    Nope. One can easily come up with ‘shoulds’ that run counter to one’s personal inclinations, even absent other apes.

    To say that something is unfair, is to say that it should be different.

    Not any more than to claim “I don’t like sweet pickles” is to say sweet pickles should not exist or that one wishes they could like sweet pickles — it is but recognising an ‘is’ and constrasting it with an ‘ought’.

    (I put it to you that it is perverse to desire that reality as it is should be different; it is what it is; which is not to deny that the desire to alter reality so it closer conforms with one’s ideal is perverse — if anything, I’d consider that laudable)

  231. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Heh, just want to point out that~13% of philosophers actually argue for libertarian free will which I’m assuming are theologists, which is still more than conclude we have NO free will.

    You still don’t understand what compatibilism even is, do you mikmik?

    Their mere utterance of the words “free will” satisfies you.

    Compatibilism is the stance that even though it was absolutely impossible for anyone to ever have chosen otherwise than they did, we should call this absolute impossibility “free will” and it’s fair game to do so since free will was an incoherent concept anyway.

    James Miles explains:

    «Philosophical compatibilism dates back to the early Stoics and is the idea that free will is compatible with a fully deterministic universe, a universe where all current events are necessitated by past events, and that free will can co-exist with the understanding of humans as fully determined persons. (For humans, you can fit quantum indeterminism into a deterministic picture of actions because the quantum event may be uncaused but our resulting actions would be caused by the quantum event.) But how can free will be compatible with, at the human level, a fully determined universe? Because, for free will compatibilists, free will is simply redefined as being something other than freedom of choice, something other than freedom to have done otherwise, something other than freedom to have willed otherwise.

    This is ultimately what all compatibilism boils down to; this is why Kant in 1788 called compatibilism a ‘wretched subterfuge … petty word-jugglery’, why William James in 1884 called it ‘a quagmire of evasion’ (James, 1884/1956, p. 149; Kant, 1788/1956, pp. 189–190). Within compatibilism, the general rule is that free will can be defined as anything, so long as it is never defined as freedom of choice, freedom for any actual individual to have done otherwise. So, for example, Susan Wolf has redefined free will to mean sanity (1989), whereas others have redefined it as freedom from constraint, as unpredictability, as acting in accordance with ‘reason’, and many, including the doyen of modern philosophical compatibilists Harry Frankfurt (1971/2003), as acting in harmony with your basic – causally determined – personality. The philosopher of science Dan Dennett (1984) has defined free will as mechanical self-control. Free will, according to Dennett, is possessed by yeast, chrysanthemums, and some plastic toys. 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. In other words, free will has deliberately been defined so generously it becomes a meaningless term, a morally empty concept, a capacity we can share with both the Energizer Bunny and fungal infections.

    There are some who continue to argue that the compatibilist project is a noble one, trying to steer a just course of limited human freedom through the murky waters of determinism, but I argue Dennett gives the lie to the suggestion that compatibilism is about advancing human understanding or justice. Dennett, one of the world’s leading compatibilist scholars, tells us he finds facing up to the absence of free choice ‘almost too grim to contemplate’ (1984, p. 168). But what exactly does Dennett not wish to contemplate? As a free will theorist it is his job to contemplate the non-existence of free choice, so it cannot be his own contemplation he fears. No; what scares Dennett is not the fact of no free choice, it appears to be the risk of the public being given the chance to understand that fact. Motive becomes almost irrelevant; because, in a world without free will, ‘luck swallows everything’ (Strawson, 1998), one effect of denying the electorate such knowledge is to pretty much ensure that the lucky stay lucky while the unlucky remain unlucky.»

  232. John Morales says

    Speaking of Kant, I don’t think he meant for his categorical imperatives to be relative to one’s predilections.

  233. John Morales says

    ॐ:

    Because, for free will compatibilists, free will is simply redefined as being something other than freedom of choice, something other than freedom to have done otherwise, something other than freedom to have willed otherwise.

    Apparent free will is the typical subjective human condition, regardless of the reality; embracing its lack is a form of nihilism.

  234. ChasCPeterson says

    Apparent free will is the typical subjective human condition, regardless of the reality

    agreed

    embracing its lack is a form of nihilism.

    ? acknowledging the difference between ‘subjective’ and ‘real’ is nihilism?
    (I’m asking; maybe it is.)

  235. John Morales says

    Chas, far as I can tell, nihilism is a general philosophical position where meaning/purpose is only subjective.

    (It’s often confused for an attitude of despair)

  236. cm's changeable moniker says

    For humans, you can fit quantum indeterminism into a deterministic picture of actions because the quantum event may be uncaused but our resulting actions would be caused by the quantum event.

    Review comment: They do not know what “quantum” means. Reject.

  237. says

    I mean the only practical place it seems to come up is in law enforcement, upon which people argue that if there’s no free will then we can’t hold people accountable and others counter if there’s no free will you’re being an asshole for being a vindictive prick rather than rehabilitating people. Which just seems like needlessly abstracting the practical question of “which actually works better: retribution or rehabilitation?”

  238. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    The previous project may be fucked, but you implicictly admit to a current project.

    A new project which is functionally indistinguishable from psychology — hence the emergence of experimental philosophy.

    (I maintain that Is:Ought::Psychology:Moral Philosophy)

    It depends on what the meaning of the word is is.

    Yeah, it does, from the law of non-contradiction if your proposed null hypothesis is true.

    John, this is a disappointing response after I argued that inclinations can conflict with other inclinations.

    If all “moral imperatives to which one dedicates one’s self” are in fact “inclinations one indulges”, it does not follow that “moral imperatives to which one dedicates one’s self” are the only “inclinations one indulges”.

    Some of one’s inclinations can conflict with one’s other inclinations — as the refrigerator example demonstrates. Your invocation of the law of non-contradiction could only properly refer to the sum of all of one’s inclinations; there is no requirement that inclination I1 not conflict with inclination I2.

    Nope. One can easily come up with ‘shoulds’ that run counter to one’s personal inclinations, even absent other apes.

    Ahem. But where did you hear about them? From other apes.

    To say that something is unfair, is to say that it should be different.

    Not any more than to claim “I don’t like sweet pickles” is to say sweet pickles should not exist or that one wishes they could like sweet pickles — it is but recognising an ‘is’ and constrasting it with an ‘ought’.

    Bad example. The statement that X is unfair is not only the statement that you don’t like X; it is also an appeal to other apes’ moral sense, since that’s how fairness is processed.

    (I put it to you that it is perverse to desire that reality as it is should be different; it is what it is; which is not to deny say that the desire to alter reality so it closer conforms with one’s ideal is perverse — if anything, I’d consider that laudable)

    (Fixed it for you, presumably.)

    I don’t see how it would be possible to do the latter without also doing the former; to know that one desires differently in the future must involve contrasting one’s desires with what is now.

  239. Owlmirror says

    I’ve seen it argued that “free will” means something like “the ability to change your mind” (and therefore, its lack means the inability to change your mind). The one arguing for that was ridiculing those who deny free will, since an argument is pointless if neither party can change their mind.

    Which seemed unfair to me, since it doesn’t seem likely that those who deny free will use the term in that sense, and thus deny the ability to change one’s mind.

    After checking, I see that my source for the above is: John Horgan vs. Sam Harris

    But my reading on the topic is hardly comprehensive. And I haven’t checked to see what Harris replied.

  240. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Speaking of Kant, I don’t think he meant for his categorical imperatives to be relative to one’s predilections.

    Maybe he just didn’t think about where those imperatives arise from. Hume figured it out though: “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

    Apparent free will is the typical subjective human condition, regardless of the reality; embracing its lack is a form of nihilism.

    How would one embrace the lack of apparent free will? Or even the apparent lack of free will? Wouldn’t we have to experience both to contrast the appearance of each?

    Chas, far as I can tell, nihilism is a general philosophical position where meaning/purpose is only subjective. (It’s often confused for an attitude of despair)

    Ah well, who cares what it means anyway.

  241. Owlmirror says

    And as best I can tell, Harris did not respond to Horgan, instead getting into the profiling foofaraw.

  242. A. R says

    Collection of links and materials: I have a few things I can dump into such a collection, including SAB links for nearly any situation! (Including the verse where Gawd bans Christmas trees)

  243. says

    life is like a pitbull with lipstick ?
    Thomas W. Clark shows why, in this explanation which does not rely on any kind of materialism or monism:

    I already see where this guy is wrong, because everyone seems to think that free will is not possible, and that anyone that says that it’s compatible with physicalism and determinism really means contra causal!
    Why don’t you get what compatibilism is, LILAPTWL?
    E.G.

    You still don’t understand what compatibilism even is, do you mikmik?

    Their mere utterance of the words “free will” satisfies you.

    Compatibilism is the stance that even though it was absolutely impossible for anyone to ever have chosen otherwise than they did, we should call this absolute impossibility “free will” and it’s fair game to do so since free will was an incoherent concept anyway.

    No, that is not what compatibilism means, compatibilism is that physicalism and determinism are compatible with free will!

    And no, I can categorically refute your contention that the mere utterance of the words free will satisfies me, because you cannot read my mind, and you do not know what satisfies me or not. You can get clues from my behavior, and I can outright tell you what satisfies me, but even then, you do not know if I am lying, or if I am deluded and irrational and don’t understand myself what I am saying.

    Now, as to free will, I look at my own decisions, and I have for a very long time understood that I always make the decision that satisfies my the most emotionally, in every single decision I have ever made. No matter if I try to play games and choose something that I ‘don’t want’, I still want that choice because it satisfies my desire to ‘prove’ my so-called free will.
    On two levels, or viewpoints, I agree that we can not have free will, mechanistically or physically, and emotionally.

    The problem I have with that earlier link, and John Mills, is that you and they are the ones that tell us what we mean, and that you all introduce completely irrelevant history as if that is the only p[lace we develop our ideas from.

    I have never read this history, and in any event, and I will find the links if you want, even people in general, that hold opinions, do not think that our free will is comes from contra-causal origins.

    This shite about history, and what I mean by free will, and all the bullshit that gets repeated over and over even though it has been refuted over and over, is fucking completely unfounded by any substantiating evidence.

    I mean it, Xuuth’s, and Vaal, and myself, and several others that have been around here before that I can’t get their names off of the tip of my tongue right now – we absolutely shredded the one nibblet Steve over on evolutionistrue, where I lost my respect for Jerry Coyne and his absolute inability to hear what Piglucci and I (I was actually the topic, along with Jeff something for one article by Coyne), and many of the others, like the two I mention here, and constantly misinterpreted what was being said. I want to mention that some present here also disagreed with me et al, consciousness razor being one I am acutely aware of.
    Now:

    True, there is no agent acting independently of desire and rationality which can do otherwise in the situations that unfold. But desire and rationality – unlike the independent, freely willing agent – are not powerless, far from it. By being embedded in the causal matrix they inevitably have their effects, and a strong, skillfully pursued desire can have far-reaching effects indeed.

    What the fuck does that mean? It doesn’t even make sense, and I call it as ‘fashionable nonsense’, from the early days of Butterflies and Wheels.
    What skill? If everything is determined, then we can take no credit for our skill, our decisions to deploy them, fuck all.

    It is the reductionists that want to have it both ways, trying to assign responsibility and credit to minds by still exercising a measure on control over events. This is pure and unadultered hypocritical bullshit.

    (This spell checker on FF is bullshite, also!lol! It tries to put ‘unadulterated’ as the correct spelling, among all sorts of other holes in the database – not recognizing variations of words by trying to insert ‘ed’ suffixes when I use ‘ism’ and the like)

    If you want to play linky to individual opinions and reasoning, slow down while I deconstruct thes idiots.

    Tell me, what the fuck does power mean? Determinism means ‘no power to do otherwise.

    I rest my case on that one. I will gladly, LILAPBWL, very gladly and easily, tackle each and every, in my opinion, imbecile, that says we don’t have to be nihilistic, by pointing out that somewhere along the line, Coyne included, Harris, who the F*** ever, where they dishonestly assert that ‘power’ to choose meaningfully is indeed part of their weak and invalid reasoning.

    So, what does ‘power’ mean, if not ability to willfully exert a consequence? I mean, the power to exert influence over others is hardly relevant if you mean it like ‘the power of a falling rock to crush your skull’, now does it? That is meaningless.

    Only if we are able to express ourselves with some discretion does any of our existence confer any meaning to it.

    Let’s argue about that one, as well. How do hard determinists think anything is any more that innate events of matter merely following the dictates of the physical universe?
    How DO you, LILAPWT, in your own words?

    My views rest on the logical inconsistencies of having an awareness and mind and qualia being explainable with our present understanding of cause and effects, and the manner in which reductionists interpret cause and effect as obtaining.

    I will wait to introduce anything of my reasoning just yet to proceed one thing at a time, and I want to clear up this power thing.

    (Anyone watching, this stuff is a blast, and I never waver from having great respect for LILAPWL, AND, I may act smug ans confident, but experience has taught me that I do all the things I accuse others of, like invalid reasoning anf using logical fallacies and considering some things(okay, many) I say as fact when it is opinion only. ;o)

  244. Owlmirror says

    Thought experiment:

    Even if we posit that free will (not in the sense of being able to change your mind) is illusory or nonexistent, some (many?) people will feel more helpless and despairing in light of that assertion, leading to stress, and possible harm to self and others.

    Therefore, from a utilitarian view, it’s better to adopt a equivocal interpretation of free will (like it meaning the ability to change one’s mind), and promote that particular compatiblist interpretation of the phrase.

    Just throwing it out there to see what happens.

  245. says

    Even if we posit that free will (not in the sense of being able to change your mind) is illusory or nonexistent, some (many?) people will feel more helpless and despairing in light of that assertion, leading to stress, and possible harm to self and others.

    Not as much as you’d think. I got over it faster than I thought I would

  246. says

    PS ‘Desire’ is also meaningless if it is predetermined, and then you have that fulfillment and meaning are mere illusions. The hard determinists forget to include this in their undefined ‘illusion’ category that they so liberally paint our sense of free will with.
    Just sayin’.

    (I’m sure that somewhere, probably quite commonly in fact, this has been discussed, and I inevitably fail to ever develop an entirely original idea that is unique and unmentioned anywhere.)

  247. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    For humans, you can fit quantum indeterminism into a deterministic picture of actions because the quantum event may be uncaused but our resulting actions would be caused by the quantum event.

    Review comment: They do not know what “quantum” means. Reject.

    Your comment makes little to no sense.

    There’s nothing wrong with what you quoted there. It’s about questions like what is the proximate cause of the decay of a particular nucleus at this moment rather than another — and whether something can be said to be caused if it occurs randomly. Miles does not assume that it is uncaused; he simply allows for that possibility: “the quantum event may be uncaused”.

  248. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    cm, even if you don’t like the way it’s stated there, you can get to the intended point by simply substituting like so:

    “For humans, you can fit indeterminism into a deterministic picture of actions because the undetermined event may be uncaused but our resulting actions would be caused by the undetermined event.”

    Whether or not quantum events allow for indeterminism is completely tangential to the point of what indeterminism implies. So, carry on from there.

  249. A. R says

    Personally, I see free will from Dan Dennet’s point of view, that is, as a Compatibilist who believes that decision making is a two stage process, to quote Dennet:

    consideration-generator whose output is to some degree undetermined produces a series of considerations, some of which may of course be immediately rejected as irrelevant by the agent (consciously or unconsciously). Those considerations that are selected by the agent as having a more than negligible bearing on the decision then figure in a reasoning process, and if the agent is in the main reasonable, those considerations ultimately serve as predictors and explicators of the agent’s final decision

  250. Owlmirror says

    Sweet pickles, yes! vs. FUCK NO SWEET PICKLES.

    Conflict! Deep Rifts! Pickle wars imminent!

  251. John Morales says

    mikmik: “This spell checker on FF is bullshite”

    There is no such beast; the spellchecker lives in your browser.

    (Depending on what you’re using, you can change dictionaries)

  252. John Morales says

    UM. Very embarrassed, I am.

    mikmik, I misread that as FtB.

    (The point stands, though. You have choices for FF)

  253. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Ing,

    Perhaps it’s my philistinism (as evident by my utter apathy to formal philosophy save for extremely broad brushes) or maybe I’m just dim; but I’ve never yet figured out why anyone should care about the question of free will.

    Because people’s endorsement of “free will” has implications for gay rights, public, non-elite attitudes toward punishment, and elite dogmas as well.

    You can call it a needless distraction, and I would want to agree, but for the fact that this horrid terminology is currently how people conceptualize rights, retribution, and rehabilitation — and we have to break them of that habit — and compatibilists, by offering various redefinitions of “free will” which obscure rather than clarify the fact that it is impossible for anyone to ever have chosen differently, are not helping break the habit!

    +++++
    Owlmirror,

    I’ve seen it argued that “free will” means something like “the ability to change your mind” (and therefore, its lack means the inability to change your mind).

    Well, sure, that’s a compatibilist definition — “the general rule is that free will can be defined as anything, so long as it is never defined as freedom of choice, freedom for any actual individual to have done otherwise” — and it’s fine so far as it goes.

    I mean, that’s the beauty of compatibilism; as long as it’s well defined it’s true, since all they’re doing is defining something that exists to be “free will” and then saying “look, free will exists!”,

    but to me the more meaningful question is why should we accept any of those definitions? I like how consciousness razor put it:

    [sg:] He and Dennett can call that free will if they want to, and I will call my coffee cup the law of identity.

    [cr:] I don’t think Dennett’s doing anything quite so drastic. I have mixed opinions about it. Everyone’s just desperate to have this vital commodity they’ve heard about called “free will,” despite having no clear idea what it is. Since that doesn’t exist, he redefines it to mean things which do exist, so people will at least have the cheap toy version to play with, hopefully without feeling completely ripped off. He makes it clear that you don’t have libertarian free will or a soul, that you can’t change the future, etc. So, while redefining it adds to the confusion a bit, at least people who have read his take on it aren’t completely misinformed.

    And I didn’t used to have a problem with that, until Walton brought my attention to the way that “free will” is being used in the court system, such that compatibilism serves the purpose of system justification.

    Thought experiment:

    Even if we posit that free will (not in the sense of being able to change your mind) is illusory or nonexistent, some (many?) people will feel more helpless and despairing in light of that assertion, leading to stress, and possible harm to self and others.

    Therefore, from a utilitarian view, it’s better to adopt a equivocal interpretation of free will (like it meaning the ability to change one’s mind), and promote that particular compatiblist interpretation of the phrase.

    It’s a fair and plausible argument for positive illusionism, but from a utilitarian perspective, we also have to consider other effects, such as those I’ve linked above for Ing.

    I think it’s possible to teach that free will doesn’t exist without causing despair, if it’s coupled with something which’ll stop the bleeding, like Clark’s arguments against fatalism, as well as something elevating, like the Text S4 used by Tracy et al — “the Sagan condition”: “if there’s nothing in here but atoms, does that make us less, or does that make matter more? …” and so on.

  254. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Personally, I see free will from Dan Dennet’s point of view, that is, as a Compatibilist who believes that decision making is a two stage process, to quote Dennet:

    consideration-generator whose output is to some degree undetermined produces a series of considerations, some of which may of course be immediately rejected as irrelevant by the agent (consciously or unconsciously). Those considerations that are selected by the agent as having a more than negligible bearing on the decision then figure in a reasoning process, and if the agent is in the main reasonable, those considerations ultimately serve as predictors and explicators of the agent’s final decision

    And why not just call that agency?

    Why drag in all the metaphysical baggage that “free will” implies to various people, when there is another term which is not so dangerously packed?

    Agency is uncontroversially the ability to act in accordance with one’s motives. See Humbach:

    «Compatibilism is the idea that free will can, if properly understood, be compatible with determinism. But the compatibilist version of free will turns out, when viewed from a different angle, to be essentially just a repackaging of the virtue-ethics foundation for justifying inflictions of human suffering based on character.

    From the outset, the basic idea of compatibilism looks like a pure contradiction: How could a rule-bound individual possibly have a free will? The two seem mutually exclusive. Compatibilists accept that human acts are determined (rule-bound) but they insist that there remains, in the springs of human behavior, a residue of freedom that can serve the same moral function that has been traditionally served by free will, namely, provide a basis for condemning those who commit dangerous and abhorrent acts and justifying the infliction of suffering. While there are many varieties of compatibilism, what they all seem to argue in common is that this crucial residue can be found in the freedom of the person. The freedom needed for accountability does not literally require the will to be free. The important thing that the person be free—free to do what she wills.

    This move, shifting the focus of inquiry from the will to the person, allows accountability (and, therefore, inflictions of suffering) to be based on something that can plausibly be called ‘free will’ without running head-on into the objection that freedom of the actual will rests on a dubious and mystical (non-deterministic) factual premise. In classical compatibilism (e.g., of Thomas Hobbes), the shift in focus seemed to be enough in itself for moral accountability. Freedom of the person to do as she wills was treated as the essential equivalent of free will—at least the important part of free will.

    There is, however, a problem with focusing on the freedom of the person to do as she wills rather than on freedom of the will itself. The problem is that such a shift in focus glides over the key difference between free will and free agency. When a person is free to do what she wills, she is a free agent, but that is not the same thing as having freedom of will. To have a free will (as opposed to mere free agency), an individual’s choices in a given situation would have to be free of constraint not only from her current external circumstances but also free from her internal state—probably meaning her internal neuronal state. A free agent can do what she wills, even if her will is determined. But for her will to be free, the will itself must be non-determined. This would mean, in neuronal terms, that in order to have a free will the individual must be able to break free from the mechanistic electro-chemical processes that otherwise would rule her muscles and direct what she does. An individual who cannot break free of these electro-chemical processes, which is to say everybody, may be a free agent but she does not have free will.

    Although free agency may superficially seem a lot like free will, it cannot perform the role that is attributed to free will in making the case to justify punishment. It cannot perform this role because free agency does not regulate or guide human behavior. Indeed, rather than being a source of behavioral constraint (regulation or guidance), it is an absence of constraint. And obviously, 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.»

  255. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Saul Smilansky’s “compatibilism: the argument from shallowness” reminds us what we’re losing when we redefine free will away from the contra-causal. Bolding is mine:

    «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) ([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?»

  256. A. R says

    SG: I see that as redefining “will” away from a cognitive construct. Again, to quote Dennet:

    “[Some senses of free will] are compatible with what we are learning from science…If only that was what scientists were telling people. But scientists, especially in the last few years, have been on a rampage – writing ill-considered public pronouncements about free will which… verge on social irresponsibility.

    Essentially, we must redefine “free will” (which, as often understood, is an absolutely ridiculous concept), as a much more limited construct in which human agency has the limited, but existent “will” within the confines of the preexisting confinements of neuroscience, evolution, and physics.

  257. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    SG: I see that as redefining “will” away from a cognitive construct.

    Sorry, I don’t follow. What do you see as defining it away from a cognitive construct?

    Essentially, we must redefine “free will” (which, as often understood, is an absolutely ridiculous concept),

    Why “must” we?

    Why not leave it as it is — “freedom for any actual individual to have done otherwise” — and just point out that it doesn’t exist?

    It’s like we find out prior concepts of God refer to something that doesn’t exist. Okay. Why does it follow that we should redefine “God” so that it refers to something which does exist, like the universe? Why isn’t it okay to just leave it as it is, and say God doesn’t exist? We already have a word for the universe …

    as a much more limited construct in which human agency has the limited, but existent “will” within the confines of the preexisting confinements of neuroscience, evolution, and physics.

    Notice how all of this can be spoken about without calling it “free will”. In this blockquote you’re doing it just fine. There are other good terms too. Why redefine “free will” when we already have all the words we need?

  258. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    SG: (Should have reloaded!): I’ll start pulling them off of my old laptop!

    Let me suggest that you make an account at Pharyngula Wikia, by the way. If you don’t log in with an account, then when you edit a page it records your IP address in the publicly-visible page history. An admin can delete it from public view, but it may be better for your nerves if you don’t have to rely on one of us to do that for you.

  259. A. R says

    SG: Well, then, considering that my definition of “free will” has always been what you blockquoted, what am I supposed to call myself?

  260. Amphiox says

    Notice how all of this can be spoken about without calling it “free will”

    I generally just call it “will”.

    Relative freedom is already implicit in that word.

  261. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    SG: Well, then, considering that my definition of “free will” has always been what you blockquoted, what am I supposed to call myself?

    Hm. Maybe an anti-fatalist?

    There aren’t well-known terms for every possible stance on the free will question, of course. Given that compatibilism has become what is effectively an illusionist social project, if you don’t agree with the goals or implications of that project, maybe it’s worthwhile to avoid that term without necessarily choosing another.

  262. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I generally just call it “will”.

    Relative freedom is already implicit in that word.

    I think so too.

  263. A. R says

    SG: Hmm, I might go with “Anti-fatalist.” It sounds more interesting than Compatibilist anyway.

  264. John Morales says

    Redefining some term implies it has some base definition, and ‘free will’ is a compound term.

    Also, distinguishing between ‘will’ to ‘agency’ is being done inappropriately; they are different, but only one predicates the other.

  265. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I fucked up a reply to John earlier. Should have said:

    “How would one embrace the lack of apparent free will? Or even embrace the presence of apparent free will? Wouldn’t we have to experience both to contrast the appearance of each?”

    I’m also suggesting that what we end up calling the appearance of free will is just the coupling of volition with action, but since the perception of such coupling can be artificially induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation, and given what we know generally about confabulation of intent after an event, this feeling cannot be trusted to tell us anything meaningful.

    +++++

    SG: Hmm, I might go with “Anti-fatalist.” It sounds more interesting than Compatibilist anyway.

    I think it explicitly and immediately communicates the most important thing that compatibilism has to say, which is that even if determinism is true, what we do still matters.

  266. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Redefining some term implies it has some base definition, and ‘free will’ is a compound term.

    What nonsense is this? Would you claim that “central processing unit” does not have a definition and thus cannot be redefined?

    Nahfuckit. That was such an absurd statement, it doesn’t even deserve a reply.

    Also, distinguishing between ‘will’ to ‘agency’ is being done inappropriately; they are different, but only one predicates the other.

    It may be true that “only one predicates the other” but I don’t see where anyone is distinguishing inappropriately. I know I’m probably going to regret asking.

  267. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Do we have any word yet from PZ on what’s happening to Sb comments? Are they coming back when he gets around to it? Never? On NatGeo’s schedule?

  268. John Morales says

    ॐ, stupid?

    Obvious, rather: redefining means changing a definition, if words have any meaning at all.

    <Captain Obvious>

    It may be true that “only one predicates the other” but I don’t see where anyone is distinguishing inappropriately.

    Agency requires will, will doesn’t entail agency.

    <Captain Obvious>

  269. John Morales says

    ॐ, yeah, there’s word from Olympus: the script balks at Pharyngula’s comments, but it will happen.

    (On TET, IIRC)

  270. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Obvious, rather: redefining means changing a definition, if words have any meaning at all.

    And compound terms can have definitions.

    Agency requires will, will doesn’t entail agency.

    Looks good to me;

    I still don’t see where anyone [was] distinguishing inappropriately.

    ॐ, yeah, there’s word from Olympus:

    Ah, thanks.

  271. A. R says

    I think it explicitly and immediately communicates the most important thing that compatibilism has to say, which is that even if determinism is true, what we do still matters.

    Exactly. (Also, I’m getting freaked out by the speed with which I can type blockquote tags.)

  272. John Morales says

    ॐ:

    And compound terms can have definitions.

    Two conjunct alternatives means four possibilities; which of the four possible senses is the one being redefined? ;)

    (Basic combinatorics)

    Agency requires will, will doesn’t entail agency.

    I still don’t see where anyone [was] distinguishing inappropriately.

    “The problem is that such a shift in focus glides over the key difference between free will and free agency. When a person is free to do what she wills, she is a free agent, but that is not the same thing as having freedom of will.”

    This claims that free agency is not free will, but does not deny that will is necessary to agency.

    This dependence entails that if the will that motivates the agency is not free, said agency cannot itself be free, and hence free agency is predicated on free will.

  273. Owlmirror says

    Tangential thought:

    Has anyone studied belief in essentialism, and how it correlates to belief in free will and support for civil liberties or rights?

    I mean, it seems to me that essentialists would reject belief in free will, but also reject civil liberties. “Those people — those over there, who do things we don’t like — just aren’t the kind of people who deserve to be allowed to do whatever they want. They can’t handle it. They’ll always do the wrong thing.” This of course could be applied to different races, sexualities, genders, religions etc.

    (Maybe essentialists believe in free will for themselves, but not for anyone who isn’t like themselves?)

    More tangential:
    [[ I suspect that randomguy was a morph of humanape ]]

  274. Owlmirror says

    ?

    As I understand the term, racists are race essentialists; homophobes, sexists and misogynists are gender essentialists; xenophobes and religious bigots who aren’t racists are culture and/or religious essentialists…

    And like that.

    Do you understand the term differently?

  275. Gnumann says

    Maybe essentialists believe in free will for themselves, but not for anyone who isn’t like themselves?

    I think you’re more onto something here. For the highly trained essentialist philosophical musings about free will is a bit too much independent thought activity (unless it’s within a dualistic “desteny” paradigm of course).

    Essensialism is a tool for not dealing with people as people. As such, people seldom turn it against themselves.

    There’s one exception here: Gender essentialism is frequently used as a way to legitimize actions and social structures – but at least in my view people seldom use gender essentialism to explain actions or structures that they see as detrimental towards themselves. In other words: Gender essentialism is very often a sort of power-play.

  276. Amphiox says

    So TZT is now essentially TET, just with strange gods and Owlmirror ? I think I can live with that.

    The character of TZT kind of depends on the nature of the available zombies.

    Since the last batch seems to have all stopped twitching and corroded into dust, at least for the moment, it’s not surprising that left to its own devices, TZT will gradually morph back into some resemblance of TET.

  277. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Owlmirror,

    (Maybe essentialists believe in free will for themselves, but not for anyone who isn’t like themselves?)

    Plausible. “People believe they have more free will than others.” That may extend to “people like me”; but this effect should be present for almost everyone. It may be stronger for essentialists, but one doesn’t have to be an essentialist to get an uncomfortable result on the IAT.

    Has anyone studied belief in essentialism, and how it correlates to belief in free will and support for civil liberties or rights?

    Not that I know of, or can find. Most studies of belief in free will so far have looked for correlates with attitudes to punishment, and a few other policy endorsements.

    Not actually an answer to your question, but somewhat suggestive: a flawed understanding of the implications of a lack of “free will”, in which “choice” is conflated, seems likely to have several positive effects. These might hold even with a non-flawed understanding, since priming effects can be preconscious and work even on people who understand how they work. This isn’t to say we should try to encourage flawed understandings, but they are an inevitable side effect, and it may be heartening to know that their results won’t be all bad.

    As I understand the term, racists are race essentialists

    I think race essentialism is sufficient but not necessary for racism, and so on with the other examples. I’m pretty sure don’t subscribe (consciously, at least) to any essentialist views of race, but I still manage to say embarrassingly racist shit on occasion.

    +++++
    Hi there rorschach.

  278. says

    Hi strangey, care to explain to me why my ATI graphics driver isn’t working in Linux Mint 13 ? That would be doing something useful for a change…

    ;)

  279. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Two conjunct alternatives means four possibilities; which of the four possible senses is the one being redefined? ;)

    Whichever was previously common parlance.

    This claims that free agency is not free will, but does not deny that will is necessary to agency.

    Right.

    This dependence entails that if the will that motivates the agency is not free, said agency cannot itself be free,

    Wrong and useless sophistry.

    Free agency need only entail that we be free to do as we will.

    It need not require that we be free to will as we will.

  280. John Morales says

    ॐ:

    Free agency need only entail that we be free to do as we will.

    So you don’t consider being coerced restricts one’s free agency?

  281. Walton says

    Free will cannot exist, and compatibilism is simply shallow sophistry. I’m a hard determinist and an incompatibilist: we have no free will, and this inescapably means that we have no moral agency. The idea that we are “responsible” for our actions, that some people “deserve” to be rewarded and others to be punished, is a fiction, and a cruel one. Galen Strawson makes the case against free will, and Smilansky explains why compatibilism is shallow (though I think he’s wrong to try to stake out a middle ground between compatibilism and incompatibilism). I suspect people cling to compatibilism primarily because they have a desperate desire to convince themselves that our society is just, or, at least, that our intuitive conception of what “justice” means is meaningful and coherent. But it isn’t.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that punishments are unjustifiable; one can easily make a utilitarian argument for punishments as a crude means of conditioning people’s behaviour, in the same way that we might give lab rats electric shocks to make them run one way rather than another through a maze. This argument doesn’t rely on assuming that humans have free will, any more than lab rats do. But we have to realize that this is not “justice”, and it doesn’t reflect what people “deserve”, any more than a lab rat “deserves” to be punished for running down the wrong path in the maze. In reality, our penal system is simply a crude means of controlling people through the threat of violence, and our rhetoric about “justice” is simply a way of justifying it to ourselves.

    I think this is an incredibly important moral insight. It leads me to sympathize even with those who commit horrific atrocities, because they could not have chosen otherwise than they did, and their decisions, like everyone’s, were shaped by factors outside their control.

  282. says

    It leads me to sympathize even with those who commit horrific atrocities, because they could not have chosen otherwise than they did, and their decisions, like everyone’s, were shaped by factors outside their control.

    Sympathizing with murderers or rapists does not follow from saying that their decisions were shaped by the laws of the universe, rather than abusive dad or alcoholic mum.

  283. Walton says

    Sympathizing with murderers or rapists does not follow from saying that their decisions were shaped by the laws of the universe, rather than abusive dad or alcoholic mum.

    You’ve misunderstood the case against free will, here. (I realize I didn’t explain it well; I find it very difficult to articulate this clearly. Please read the Strawson and Smilansky articles, since they explain the issue much more clearly than I can.)

    And my point is that, if I’m right and there is no such thing as moral agency, it’s hard to see how we can be justified in condemning anyone because of their actions. We are all shaped from birth onwards by factors we can’t control; our genes, our brain chemistry, our experiences in childhood and adulthood, the environment that surrounds us. Since we don’t “choose” the factors that shape our personalities, how can we really be morally responsible for what we do? And yes, that applies to murderers and rapists as much as anyone else. If X becomes a murderer because a tendency to compulsive violent behaviour is wired into his brain, and this tendency is exacerbated by living through traumatic experiences, how is it his “fault” that he becomes a murderer? He didn’t choose his brain chemistry, or his genes, or his experiences.

  284. John Morales says

    Walton, it’s not in your philosophy, but there really are monsters out there.

    And evil people, in general.

  285. Sili says

    He didn’t choose his brain chemistry, or his genes, or his experiences.

    He doesn’t need to choose to go to gaol either.

    Gaol is our way of trying to reprogramme his brain to counteract to the bad behaviour he’s been made to have previously.

  286. Walton says

    Walton, it’s not in your philosophy, but there really are monsters out there.

    Quite possibly. But this doesn’t contradict my argument. Rather, my argument simply necessitates the conclusion that monsters did not choose to be monsters, and that they are not responsible for their condition.

    And evil people, in general.

    This is more of a problem. What does it mean to call a person “evil”? Is a rabid dog “evil” when it bites someone? Labelling someone “good” or “evil” normally implies moral agency, the assumption that they are responsible for their conscious acts. This necessarily relies on the assumption that they could have chosen to act otherwise.

    ==

    Sili,

    Gaol is our way of trying to reprogramme his brain to counteract to the bad behaviour he’s been made to have previously.

    Yes, that was exactly the point I was trying to make above:

    [My argument] doesn’t necessarily mean that punishments are unjustifiable; one can easily make a utilitarian argument for punishments as a crude means of conditioning people’s behaviour, in the same way that we might give lab rats electric shocks to make them run one way rather than another through a maze. This argument doesn’t rely on assuming that humans have free will, any more than lab rats do. But we have to realize that this is not “justice”, and it doesn’t reflect what people “deserve”, any more than a lab rat “deserves” to be punished for running down the wrong path in the maze. In reality, our penal system is simply a crude means of controlling people through the threat of violence, and our rhetoric about “justice” is simply a way of justifying it to ourselves.

    In other words: we can easily justify the existence of the penal system on purely utilitarian grounds, as a means of conditioning people’s behaviour, without making any assumptions about free will. What we can’t do is call it justice, or pretend that some people “deserve” to suffer.

  287. John Morales says

    Walton:

    What does it mean to call a person “evil”?

    Hm.

    In your system, I suppose you could say people whose nature (volitional inclination if you like) is to knowingly cause needless harm for their own gratification.

  288. RahXephon, worse than Hitler, Pol Pot, the Antichrist, Stalin, and Mao combined says

    I’m pretty darned threadrupt, but I wanted to say/rant about something about Star Trek.

    I consider myself a pretty big fan of Star Trek, but one thing that’s always annoyed me about it is the Prime Directive. I was fine with the Prime Directive when it meant that you had to avoid screwing up other civilizations, but more and more it became this “if you don’t have warp drive you’re boned” principle. I mean, how the shit can you say “sorry, I know we have this huge pile of medicine and magical machines that can make even more of it, but since you haven’t passed an arbitrary technical hurdle, we’re gonna let the plague kill half your population and then watch the other half die from starvation as your civilization and biosphere inevitably collapse. Ya know, on principle.” Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  289. ChasCPeterson says

    If you watch the Enterprise series, they do a pretty good job of supplying the backstory for why the Federation adopted the PD. (They also did a 2-parter to explain semi-plausibly why the Klingons looked different in the original series. I appreciated the effort.)

  290. ChasCPeterson says

    Well, as with all of the Franchise properties, you take the good with the eye-rollingly stupid. I liked it, over all. (And the mirror-universe ep is one of the few I haven’t seen–it doesn’t stream for free.)

  291. Walton says

    Personally, I liked Enterprise. But then, I grew up with it, since I was a teenager when it was on TV for the first time. I think Deep Space Nine was probably the best of all the series, though.

    As for comparing Star Wars and Star Trek… it’s apples and oranges. They’re completely different genres. Star Trek is science fiction, whereas Star Wars is high fantasy set in space. Star Trek is better compared to things like Babylon 5 or (the remake of) Battlestar Galactica (I’ve never seen the original).

  292. RahXephon, worse than Hitler, Pol Pot, the Antichrist, Stalin, and Mao combined says

    (the remake of) Battlestar Galactica (I’ve never seen the original).

    If you prefer the new one, I don’t recommend watching the old one. It’s extremely cheesy. I watched the pilot and almost got whiplash from the tonal shift between the two.

  293. Walton says

    Star Trek is better compared to things like Babylon 5 or (the remake of) Battlestar Galactica (I’ve never seen the original).

    Ambiguous sentence there. I actually think Babylon 5 is better than any of the Star Trek series, personally.

  294. says

    I actually think Babylon 5 is better than any of the Star Trek series, personally.

    it would be, if it weren’t so…. thoroughly infested with religion. I re-watched the entire series recently, and I was surprised at the cloying religiosity of it; i didn’t remember it being like that (and I’m not even counting the Minbari religious caste here)

    otherwise, B5 has the advantage story-wise, because it is one 5-season-long story, as opposed to the old-fashioned self-contained episode format.

  295. David Marjanović says

    This week I attended the conference of the Society of Avian Paleontology and Evolution. One participant had a T-shirt.

    Top row: “Extinct”. Tyrannosaur symbol, dodo, and IIRC mammoth.
    Next: “Threatened”. Panda, tiger-or-something, unicorn.
    Next: “Endangered”. Lion, bigfoot, something else.
    Next: “Least Concern”. Something, businessman with suit and suitcase, cockroach.
    Bottom: “Resurrected”. Phoenix, zombie, Jesus with aureole and long robe displaying his pierced hands.

    it would be, if it weren’t so…. thoroughly infested with religion.

    That said, while it’s rather against religion (asking what God needs with a starship, refusing to call Q a god…), Star Trek is infested with spirituality newage. Life is magic, there are “energy beings”, and so on.

    Full-length rant.

  296. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Free agency need only entail that we be free to do as we will.

    So you don’t consider being coerced restricts one’s free agency?

    “X requires Y.”

    “So you don’t think not-Y entails not-X?”

    Dumbfuckery.

  297. David Marjanović says

    Star Wars is high fantasy set in space

    High? It’s a fairytale. It even says so: “Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away…”

  298. ChasCPeterson says

    Full-length rant.

    gah, no time to read all that now. Let me just note about the synopsis, though:

    0.2 SYNOPSIS…
    “Star Trek: The Next Generation”…[was] a step in the wrong direction. The three major advantages that “Star Trek: The Original Series”…enjoyed over its competitors were:
    A) The central Kirk-Spock-Bones triple act worked well; in particular, Spock is a character likely to long outlive the original castlist.
    B) The surveying/troubleshooting Enterprise (and its transporters) was a useful plot mechanism, providing a new Strange Planet every week.
    C) The “United Federation of Planets” backdrop was less witless than was the norm on 1960s US TV. No, honestly. Compare “Lost in Space”.
    STTNG, unfortunately, throws out advantage (A) in favour of a new jumble of awful characters; “Deep Space Nine” replaces (B) with a space base. Only (C) remains; and by now the Star Trek Universe is a liability – decades past its sell-by date, and full of ludicrous inconsistent plot devices, each of which should have had rapid social effects. STTNG has to boldly stagger onwards under such a burden of implausibilities that it constitutes a monstrous insult to its viewers’ intelligence.

    All this is an argument in favor of Enterprise; with regard to A they tried hard to get the homunculi back on the Captain’s shoulders (unfortunately one of them was also a fratboy asshole and the other also blatant fanservice objectification); B remains intact, with even less experience to guide; much of the plot foreshadows and is supposed to explain C. Plus they threw in some recurring characters and some longer-than-an-episode story arcs (inc. one whole season).
    Things I hated: the fratboy asshole, the fucking puppy, the biology, the sphere-builders.

  299. Walton says

    it would be, if it weren’t so…. thoroughly infested with religion. I re-watched the entire series recently, and I was surprised at the cloying religiosity of it; i didn’t remember it being like that (and I’m not even counting the Minbari religious caste here)

    That’s ironic, I suppose, since J. Michael Straczynski is an atheist. But yes, there was certainly a lot of religion in there.

    In terms of the characters… as I recall, Garibaldi was an agnostic.*

    (*Ivanova: “I’ll say a prayer for him tonight.”
    Dr Franklin: “He’s agnostic.”
    Ivanova: “Then I’ll say half a prayer.”)

  300. Walton says

    So I finally wrote a new blog post today: Why do we treat asylum-seekers so badly?

    If I get pupillage as a barrister, I’m hoping to specialize in immigration and asylum law, and felt I should write something about the shitty treatment of asylum-seekers in the UK. (It’s almost, but not quite, as bad as the US in that respect.)

    (I wasn’t sure whether to post it here or on TET, under the new rules. Cross-posting it on both would feel too much like spamming.)

  301. David Marjanović says

    …OK. To alleviate my timesink warning, here is the paragraph on the newage in ST. It talks exclusively about TNG, but I’ve noticed the same in TOS and even in Enterprise.

    Best quote: “(Any New Agers offended by my comments should remember: let go of your judgemental mindset, sucker!)”

    Here is a long wishlist for Babylon Five in particular and sci-fi set in space in general.

    …Oh crap, I fell into another timesink.

  302. Amphiox says

    I actually think Babylon 5 is better than any of the Star Trek series, personally.

    As do I.

    And the religion as presented within it is presented exactly as religion should be presented – as cultural phenomena. And all apparently supernatural events turn out, in universe, to have completely materialistic causes.

  303. David Marjanović says

    All this is an argument in favor of Enterprise

    Quite.

    the homunculi [...] on the Captain’s shoulders

    *lightbulb moment*

    400 devils on Homer Simpson’s left shoulder: “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!” “D’oh!”…

  304. David Marjanović says

    Exit polls in Greece: 29 % for pro-austerity conservatives, 28.5 % for neo-lefty-populist party! They’re going to have to form a coalition! Mwahahahahaaah… *rubbing hands in Chaotic Neutral glee*

    I wasn’t sure whether to post it here or on TET, under the new rules.

    It would have been perfectly fine for TET. Sometime last week PZ greatly toned down his warning, saying he only meant we should take long flamewars from TET to TZT.

  305. Drolfe says

    I didn’t want to be a derailer in the other thread but wanted to ask for opinions about this. I got a pretty strong FYIGM vibe from Jenny-numbers which I pretty much exclusively associate with conservatives and libertarians. Could this be her, um, condition: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2005/01/13/the-narrowness-of-equity-feminism/ good old “equality feminism” hating on us for being “rape culture warriors” and “victim feminists” and “gender feminists” etc.? Seems like a weird mix for a naturist/nudist or whatever mantle she claimed, but different strokes I guess. I just couldn’t handle all that “I’ll teach my daughter to avoid rape! With precautions! Jog with a big dog!”

    Would this have been on-topic over there?

    [Trying to be on topic if there is one, I haven't read any other thread but the situation one in days and just tried to get a flavor of what's going on in here right now.]

    Also, DS9 is worth a re-watch with today’s eyes if you haven’t seen it lately. It’s on Netflix. New-BSG minus the last few episodes was greater than B5 any day.

  306. says

    it would be, if it weren’t so…. thoroughly infested with religion. I re-watched the entire series recently, and I was surprised at the cloying religiosity of it; i didn’t remember it being like that (and I’m not even counting the Minbari religious caste here)

    Except for the fact that the show highly implied (until lost stories) that religions were seeded by Vorlons to act as a social control of the younger species.

  307. says

    Except for the fact that the show highly implied (until lost stories) that religions were seeded by Vorlons to act as a social control of the younger species.

    and still it was portrayed in such a positive light, it made me want to gag

    but even aside from that, the universe as an agent was bugging me, too. Star Trek has a lot of this newage stuff, but AFAICT, it never presented the universe as something with agency, the way it was in B5

    don’t get me wrong, I LOVE B5, but that bugged me a lot, on re-watchin it.

  308. says

    Walton #382

    I’m a hard determinist and an incompatibilist: we have no free will, and this inescapably means that we have no moral agency.

    If you are right, then that is 100% correct. There is no way any intention, or feeling, or desire is anything but illusory. I’ll go further and say that, therefore, they are unnecessary for the function of an individual. I disagree with Dennet’s conclusion, Daniel Dennett and others argue that while consciousness and subjective experience exist in some sense, they are not as the zombie argument proponent claims. The experience of pain, for example, is not something that can be stripped off a person’s mental life without bringing about any behavioral or physiological differences.

    But we don’t need a mental life, or awareness, because the signal/sensory input is only electro-chemical signalling to a region of the brain that interprets this as a need to respond in order to avoid injury. The eyes/brain combo evaluate the physical parameters of the situation spatially, do the calculations and co-ordinate movement, as only a complex brain can, and the result is the same.

    Chalmers makes the argument that if physicalism is true, then an identical physical world, to ours, must necessarily be identical all ways and include consciousness.
    I don’t understand his inclusion of this as a premise, for the question is if an identical appearing world could be obtained with p-zombies. I still see no reason it cannot. Why does Chalmers use this tactic to refute physicalism?:
    (3)In fact we can conceive of a world physically indistinguishable from our world but in which there is no consciousness (a zombie world).(4) From this (so Chalmers argues) it follows that such a world is logically possible.
    Therefore, physicalism is false. (The conclusion follows from 2. and 3. by modus tollens.)
    In fact we can conceive of a world physically indistinguishable from our world but in which there is no consciousness (a zombie world). From this (so Chalmers argues) it follows that such a world is logically possible.
    Therefore, physicalism is false. (The conclusion follows from 2. and 3. by modus tollens.)In fact we can conceive of a world physically indistinguishable from our world but in which there is no consciousness (a zombie world). From this (so Chalmers argues) it follows that such a world is logically possible.
    Therefore, physicalism is false. (The conclusion follows from 2. and 3. by modus tollens.)

    This does not make sense! The point is to produce an identical looking world, not an identically physical world. Of course two identical, physically, worlds will be identical in every respect – who cares?
    This building arguments on conceivability, ontologically, seems to me to have a built in destruct mechanism equating conceivable and physically possible. WTF!

    From the article you linked, Walton:

    “YOU CANNOT MAKE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU ARE”
    Things that do not exist:
    Freedom
    Pride
    Blame
    Praise
    Love (maybe)

    Fulfillment
    purpose
    responsibility
    accountability

    In fact, everything that gives our life meaning is irrelevant, logically. There is no evil, such as the sun, or an asteroid, destroying all life on earth, for the person can no more do anything intentionally than can the sun.

    I think that’s what you said joey, and what you said was logically valid.
    – – –

    LILAPWL, you still haven’t responded to my question about the article that you pointed me to, that you think shows that without free will, we can still exercise power if we are skillful enough. Are you conceding this flaw to me? If not, please explain power and skillful, that somehow, by the insertion of these words, suddenly we have the power to control things. Remember, we cannot control what we do because we have no free will; we cannot make any decisions but the one that is already prescribed by physics, and that is not the meaning of choice, which is what free will means. Look it up in the dictionary, or Stanford, or Massimo, or Neuroskeptic, or Eddy Nahmias , or Tom Stafford and Matt Webb at MindHacks, and I could go on.
    – – –
    John Morales

    Walton, it’s not in your philosophy, but there really are monsters out there.

    And evil people, in general.

    But not intentional monsters. They had zero to say on the matter, and they are effectively trapped into doing what they do and why.
    Given the premise that DNA and individual life units that support their propagation are innately trying to survive and reproduce, then they are evil in the manner that the monster’s actions are opposed to the continued existence of individuals against their purpose.
    In this way, it is logical to eliminate their presence by locking them up and treating them – if they can be rehabilitated. In any case, it is imperative upon others to remove the threat, for as we have seen, compassion is just an illusion – oh, we feel it, just like we feel free will. But we don’t choose it, we are made into it by physics following an incorrigible sequence of events.

    I can draw all these conclusions from the idea that we have no free will, that everything is caused by one thing, and that one thing was caused by one earlier thing, so that the one thing, our momentary, or instantaneous situation could only ever had been that one thing.
    When you get right down to it then, life itself is an illusion, or at best, an arbitrary designation.

  309. Erista (aka Eris) says

    I’ve only skimmed this “free will v moral accountability,” so if I’ve missed someone saying this before, I apologize.

    One of the things that amuses me endlessly about people who insist that perpetrators of crimes and/or bad actions have no moral accountability or choice in their committing of crimes is that these people often (but not always) act like those individuals who hold people accountable for crimes do have moral accountability and choice.

    In short, the argument seems to be, “You shouldn’t choose to hold them accountable them because they can’t choose to be other than they are.”

    But this can’t be both ways. If the criminal has no free will, then neither does the police officer, the prosecutor, the judge, or the jury. Even the decision to believe or act like we have free will is beyond choice, so someone who believes in free will is not different then someone who does not.

    In the end, I’m not sure what difference it would make if we had free will compared to if we didn’t. It seems evident that either way we will believe and act like we do have free will, so a world where we have free will is not visibly different than a world where we don’t have free will. It would only really matter if there was some entity (or group of entities) that did have free will; they would be the ones who would morally have to deal with the fact that we didn’t really have free will.

  310. Owlmirror says

    One participant had a T-shirt.

    Top row: “Extinct”. Tyrannosaur symbol, dodo, and IIRC mammoth.
    Next: “Threatened”. Panda, tiger-or-something, unicorn.
    Next: “Endangered”. Lion, bigfoot, something else.
    Next: “Least Concern”. Something, businessman with suit and suitcase, cockroach.
    Bottom: “Resurrected”. Phoenix, zombie, Jesus with aureole and long robe displaying his pierced hands.

    I prayed to Google, and Lo! I am answered!

    http://www.threadless.com/submission/197515/Conservation_Status

    The Endangered “something else” is a rhino; the Least Concern “Something” is a pigeon.

  311. says

    Not sure how positively it could portray it after they have religion cause a little child to be brutally murdered

    considering that the moral of the story seems to be “stoopid doctor, you shouldn’t have meddled, they had a right to their beliefs and you made it all worse”…

    If the criminal has no free will, then neither does the police officer, the prosecutor, the judge, or the jury.

    indeed they can’t, which is why they don’t. the point is not to tell individuals that they shouldn’t do something, the point is to alter the system. the solution to punitive criminal systems is the same as the solution to crime itself: change the environmental setup so that people don’t chose that path.

  312. says

    In the end, I’m not sure what difference it would make if we had free will compared to if we didn’t.

    there’s a huge difference. a world in which people are able to will themselves to be a different person, with different needs, desires, coping mechanisms, habits, etc. would require a completely different approach in all social interactions (activism, teaching, rehab, parenting, etc.) than a world in which a person’s will is shaped by their environment (immediate environment, past enviornment and experiences, etc.) and cannot be un-willed instantaneously, at-will or on-command.

  313. Amphiox says

    In B5, the “universe with agency” was only ever expressed as opinion by several characters. You can make your own judgement as to whether or not those characters are “right”.

    In addition to the doctor and alien child story, there was also the episode where an entire alien race got itself exterminated by a plague because of religious fanaticism.

    And any of the other numerous hints that the Minbari religious caste (who didn’t believe in any gods) were stuck-up, arrogant, willfully blind, and destructive pricks, notwithstanding the positive attitudes towards them of the POV characters.

  314. Amphiox says

    In fact, I think the portrayal of religion in B5 is quite subversive. A number of POV characters view it quite positively, and the audience is led, through these POV characters, to think religion is being portrayed positively (neatly getting around the dangers of arousing moral guardians that all US TV shows have to worry about). But if you move beyond that and look at the actual consequences of religious faith portrayed in the plot, they a uniformly awful.

    The entire conflict was the result of ideology run amok, for example.

  315. David Marjanović says

    I prayed to Google, and Lo! I am answered!

    http://www.threadless.com/submission/197515/Conservation_Status

    That’s it! Thank you!

    considering that the moral of the story seems to be “stoopid doctor, you shouldn’t have meddled, they had a right to their beliefs and you made it all worse”…

    Is that the episode where an alien child has a life-threatening disease that can only be fixed with surgery, the parents object because surgery is against their religion, the surgeon goes ahead anyway, the child’s life and health are saved, and the parents are all “you’re not our son anymore”, “you have no soul anymore” and so on?

    Because that’s the only B5 episode I’ve watched. I did so in school. The religion teacher showed it to us as an example of an interesting moral dilemma.

    Funny thing is, I don’t remember the end and didn’t perceive the episode as having a clear moral.

    indeed they can’t, which is why they don’t. the point is not to tell individuals that they shouldn’t do something, the point is to alter the system. the solution to punitive criminal systems is the same as the solution to crime itself: change the environmental setup so that people don’t chose that path.

    We have a winner.

  316. David Marjanović says

    there’s a huge difference. a world in which people are able to will themselves to be a different person, with different needs, desires, coping mechanisms, habits, etc. would require a completely different approach in all social interactions (activism, teaching, rehab, parenting, etc.) than a world in which a person’s will is shaped by their environment (immediate environment, past enviornment and experiences, etc.) and cannot be un-willed instantaneously, at-will or on-command.

    Famous short version: “you can do whatever you want, but you can’t want whatever you want”.

  317. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Walton,

    (I wasn’t sure whether to post it here or on TET, under the new rules. Cross-posting it on both would feel too much like spamming.)

    Rules-wise, any single, isolated comment should be fine in either. So your primary consideration will be audience. Some people don’t read TET. Some people don’t read TZT.

    IMHO, spam away.

    +++++
    mikmik,

    LILAPWL, you still haven’t responded to my question about the article that you pointed me to, that you think shows that without free will, we can still exercise power if we are skillful enough. Are you conceding this flaw to me?

    Honestly, there is something about the way you write that strikes me as several times more incoherent than anyone else in this conversation, so I’ve been saving you for last. This is unfair, I know, but I only have so much patience. If you want to heap on more weird misunderstandings first, so I can tackle it all at once, feel free.

    I would love to watch a debate between you, rorschach and joey though.

    +++++
    Erista,

    One of the things that amuses me endlessly about people who insist that perpetrators of crimes and/or bad actions have no moral accountability or choice in their committing of crimes is that these people often (but not always) act like those individuals who hold people accountable for crimes do have moral accountability and choice.

    In short, the argument seems to be, “You shouldn’t choose to hold them accountable them because they can’t choose to be other than they are.”

    But this can’t be both ways. If the criminal has no free will, then neither does the police officer, the prosecutor, the judge, or the jury.

    One of the things that bores me endlessly is people who say this and think they’ve said something clever.

    If I tell you that Austrian economics is wrong, and I give you some arguments why, and I tell you it’s dangerous so you shouldn’t vote for politicians who associate themselves with Austrian economists — that conversation is going to change your thoughts and behavior. You aren’t going to think and act the exact same way you did before I told you all this. If I do a good job of arguing it, then you’re probably going to agree and avoid those politicians. If I do a really, really bad job of it, then you might fallaciously find yourself more interested in supporting those politicians. But in any case, the discussion changes you, and you’ll act differently afterwards, regardless of whether you do or do not have free will.

    Likewise, the purpose of these arguments is to show people what’s wrong with belief in free will, why standard free will is totally incoherent, why compatibilist free will is sophistry, and why it’s all socially dangerous — it’s like if I say free will is a deadly snake and I point out it’s got red bands touching yellow — you’re going to think differently about free will if you paid close attention, and probably even if you didn’t. You’re going to think and act differently about it, regardless of whether you’re a layperson, a police officer, a judge, et cetera, and regardless of whether you do or do not have free will. The conversation affects your thinking; some of your tendencies are being positively reinforced, some negatively.

    Even the decision to believe or act like we have free will is beyond choice, so someone who believes in free will is not different then someone who does not.

    What? Of course they’re different: one believes in free will and the other doesn’t.

    In the end, I’m not sure what difference it would make if we had free will compared to if we didn’t.

    *sigh*

    It seems evident that either way we will believe and act like we do have free will,

    Uh, no, I don’t believe I have free will, therefore it is evident I will not believe I have free will.

    And what could it mean to “act like we do have free will”? If you can’t elaborate on what it would mean to “act like we don’t have free will”, then you’re not saying anything.

    If you mean to say that people who believe in free will act the same as people who don’t believe in free will, that has already been demonstrated to be false by multiple empirical studies, some of which I’ve provided, others of which you can look up.

    It would only really matter if there was some entity (or group of entities) that did have free will

    Well, it’s impossible in all possible worlds.

    they would be the ones who would morally have to deal with the fact that we didn’t really have free will.

    Silly shit. People today have behaviors and beliefs which are predicated on the assumption of free will. These behaviors and beliefs already have moral consequences. We have to deal with the fact that society has been wrong about this for a long time, and for a morally better world we have to change the way people think about it in the future.

  318. Amphiox says

    Take for example the episode “Passing through Gethsemane”. A more positive portrayal of Christian faith on the surface you won’t easily find anywhere in SF.

    What is the consequence of religious faith in that episode? A good man allows himself to be brutally murdered to “atone” for crimes he had no reason to be guilty for.

  319. dianne says

    If I get pupillage as a barrister, I’m hoping to specialize in immigration and asylum law,

    Nothing substantial to say, just “yay Walton!” And that I think you could justify cross posting occasional things like this to both TZT and TET. It’s not like you’re cross posting 10 times a day or anything like that that could remotely be called spamming.

  320. 'Tis Himself says

    Walton,

    All of the regulars know your interests lie in immigration and asylum law. You’ve discussed the consequences of wanting to specialize in a branch of law that is (a) not financially rewarding and (b) politically polarizing, including the point that you’ll have trouble getting pupillage in that specialty whereas if you specialized in, say, corporate law, you’d be snapped up by any number of law firms.

    So post links to your blog whenever you feel it appropriate and post those links on Teh Thread™ and TZT both.

  321. David Marjanović says

    Cipher! Congratulations!!! :-)

    If you watch the Enterprise series, they do a pretty good job of supplying the backstory for why the Federation adopted the PD.

    Including a very funny lampshade-hanging! Paraphrasing Archer: “Maybe our successors will one day have such a… prime… directive… but [as long as that hasn't happened, I have to make my decisions for myself]“.

  322. David Marjanović says

    Cpt. Archer, BTW, looks upward and into the distance in the above scene, fully conscious that he’s saying something grand.

    Back to Earth. France: Socialists got much more than a majority in parliament. Greece: Syriza (the neo-lefty-populists) consider themselves losers and do not want to participate in the next government; that means the conservatives and the socialists will have to form a coalition… or there’ll be a third election in 6 weeks.

  323. says

    Including a very funny lampshade-hanging! Paraphrasing Archer: “Maybe our successors will one day have such a… prime… directive… but [as long as that hasn't happened, I have to make my decisions for myself]“.

    Ah yes when Archer made the brave decision to commit genocide on the advice of Dr Zoidberg

  324. John Morales says

    ॐ:

    “X requires Y.”

    “So you don’t think not-Y entails not-X?”

    Dumbfuckery.

    Evasiveness.

  325. Owlmirror says

    As I understand the term, racists are race essentialists

    I think race essentialism is sufficient but not necessary for racism, and so on with the other examples. I’m pretty sure don’t subscribe (consciously, at least) to any essentialist views of race, but I still manage to say embarrassingly racist shit on occasion.

    After pondering this for a bit, it occurs to me that perhaps the underlying issue is overgeneralizing and stereotyping; cognitive biases. Essentialism is itself the result of overgeneralizing about overgeneralizations.

    And I was also using the term in the broadest sense — not just those who explicitly claim that there are essences in biology/humanity/social systems, but also those who argue or say things as if there were, while not having explicitly thought about it that deeply or carefully.

    Saying racist shit (or sexist shit, or whatever) may result from unconscious bias; catching oneself saying it is becoming aware of that bias.

    I suspect that some essentialists may be aware that there is a problem with their thinking; that there are exceptions. But they have cognitive dissonance as the result of those exceptions, and are not trying to overcome their biases. See also: “But some of my best friends are [of group about which speaker has essentialist bias].

  326. Amphiox says

    well, maybe religion is not as positively portrayed as I experienced it to be… but it’s undeniably every-fucking-where in that show, and I found it too much.

    In the B5 Universe, god (jms) is an atheist!

    Who happens to have some kind of strange fascination with talking about religion on and on and on and on….

  327. consciousness razor says

    mikmik:

    This does not make sense! The point is to produce an identical looking world, not an identically physical world. Of course two identical, physically, worlds will be identical in every respect – who cares?
    This building arguments on conceivability, ontologically, seems to me to have a built in destruct mechanism equating conceivable and physically possible. WTF!

    I don’t think it makes sense because p-zombies could not exist. They are reputed to have some property which cannot be meaningfully defined, only asserted. Thus they are inconceivable: not even possible to conceptualize.* It seems as though there might be some difference between “physically indistinguishable” and “appears to be physically indistinguishable,” but it only describes a featureless wasteland of vacuous sophistry, not a real logical possibility. The only logical function it serves is to hide the conclusion that physicalism is false in the premise.

    *Even though Chalmers tries very hard to do so. My solution: stop reading Chalmers.

    Also, you seem to be conflating the existence of choices or agency with the existence of free will. There are choices and agents, but they are not “free” in the metaphysical sense, meaning (briefly) that they are contingent on and determined by the existence of things other than themselves.

    ——
    Walton:

    I guess I still disagree with you about the meaning of “moral responsibility.” I don’t think it implies one is ultimately responsible for some action, in the way someone with free will would be ultimately uncaused. As I use it, it’s a fairly limited term, just like “will” or “choice” for determinists, so to me, rejecting it seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Perhaps it’s not treated that way in the law, so I can see how we might be talking about different uses of the term.

  328. joey says

    John Morales:

    From this perspective, a rapist isn’t truly “morally responsible” for any of his heinous actions.

    From that simplistic perspective, no-one is morally responsible for any actions, good, bad or indifferent.

    “Captain Obvious”

    ————-

    lipstick:

    Free will is not possible in any possible world, not even if souls exist, not even dualism is true, not even if God exists.

    Indeed, if God exists, then God does not have free will.

    Absurd.

    ————-
    owlmirror:

    Therefore, from a utilitarian view, it’s better to adopt a equivocal interpretation of free will (like it meaning the ability to change one’s mind), and promote that particular compatiblist interpretation of the phrase.

    If we don’t have free will, then we have no choice as to what to adopt or not.

    ————-
    ING:

    …but I’ve never yet figured out why anyone should care about the question of free will.

    If a person suddenly punched you in the face, I think you would be interested to know whether the person was actually responsible for his actions.

    ————–
    Walton:

    And my point is that, if I’m right and there is no such thing as moral agency, it’s hard to see how we can be justified in condemning anyone because of their actions.

    If there is no such thing as moral agency, the entire notion of “justice” doesn’t even make sense.

    ————–
    mikmik:

    I think that’s what you said joey, and what you said was logically valid.

    And have I ever posted anything that isn’t logically valid? ;)

    When you get right down to it then, life itself is an illusion, or at best, an arbitrary designation.

    Bingo. We are all merely aware puppets on a string. If I may borrow a terse yet accurate description from John Morales on what I mean, there is no ‘you’ or ‘I’ other than as islands of perception without volition. Perfect.

    ————–
    Erista:

    In the end, I’m not sure what difference it would make if we had free will compared to if we didn’t. It seems evident that either way we will believe and act like we do have free will…

    I don’t think this is “evident” at all. What percentage of the world’s population is thoroughly convinced there is absolutely no such things as free will and moral responsibility?

    —————-
    lipstick:

    We have to deal with the fact that society has been wrong about this for a long time, and for a morally better world we have to change the way people think about it in the future.

    If there is no free will, then we have no choice as to whether or not to change the way people think about it.

  329. Nightjar says

    David Marjanović, #438:

    Oh, no. You didn’t just do that. I have an exam tomorrow, you know. It’s in afternoon and I can sleep in, sure, but TV Tropes is definitely not where I should be spending my time right now.

    *sigh*

    *tries to resist clicking any more links*

  330. A. R says

    B5: Never liked it, I’ve always been a fan of ST myself, it has its flaws, but I just don’t enjoy B5 as much.

  331. Owlmirror says

    Free will is not possible in any possible world, not even if souls exist, not even dualism is true, not even if God exists.
     
    Indeed, if God exists, then God does not have free will.

    Absurd.

    Why? Because you say so?

    Therefore, from a utilitarian view, it’s better to adopt a equivocal interpretation of free will (like it meaning the ability to change one’s mind), and promote that particular compatiblist interpretation of the phrase.

    If we don’t have free will, then we have no choice as to what to adopt or not.

    I think I’m going to adopt anti-fatalism. For now, anyway.

    If we can convince ourselves, and others, that doing one thing is indeed better than doing another thing, at no possible cost to anyone at all (and assuming that no mistake is been made along the way), then we indeed have no choice; the better option will always be the one chosen.

    I haven’t convinced myself (or others) about the point in question, of course.

    If there is no free will, then we have no choice as to whether or not to change the way people think about it.

    Some people are harder to convince than others.

  332. David Marjanović says

    Nightjar, *hug* You have no idea where I should be now (…well, you do: in bed) and what I should have spent the rest of the day with.

  333. says

    Honestly, there is something about the way you write that strikes me as several times more incoherent than anyone else in this conversation, so I’ve been saving you for last. This is unfair, I know, but I only have so much patience. If you want to heap on more weird misunderstandings first, so I can tackle it all at once, feel free.

    I win. You have a lovely opinion. Condescension and insults. I am far from the first instance of this, of course. No matter:

    life is like a pitbull with lipstick ?
    16 June 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Heh, just want to point out that~13% of philosophers actually argue for libertarian free will which I’m assuming are theologists, which is still more than conclude we have NO free will.

    You still don’t understand what compatibilism even is, do you mikmik?

    Their mere utterance of the words “free will” satisfies you.

    Compatibilism is the stance that even though it was absolutely impossible for anyone to ever have chosen otherwise than they did, we should call this absolute impossibility “free will” and it’s fair game to do so since free will was an incoherent concept anyway.

    So then I ignored you little pretension, and acted like you really were interested in being corrected. You gave me purely bullshit definition of compatibilism that was not correct. So I gave you the proper definition.

    Honestly, that was a shite way to speak to me, especially since it was the Philpaper survey with several hundred philosophers using the term ‘free will’ and agreeing that that was their philosophical stance that I referenced beforehand, and that would indicate that I was expressing a valid understanding. If I hear one more determinist telling me that I don’t know what compatibilism means, or that my camp uses the fallacy of redefining the words, then I will start assuming that whomever does that is an apologist.

    So, right off, your fucking ad hominum didn’t make sense, and you now have the insolence to say I am incoherent and live some fantasy of excitement at the mention of a word ‘free will’, and that I supposedly don’t realize has been shown to be incorrect.
    You link to an article that ‘validates your opinion’ as if the matter has been closed.

    However, your argument against joey, which I had intended to address first, which I didn’t explain, was based on a flawed presentation where Thomas says

    True, there is no agent acting independently of desire and rationality which can do otherwise in the situations that unfold. But desire and rationality – unlike the independent, freely willing agent – are not powerless, far from it. By being embedded in the causal matrix they inevitably have their effects, and a strong, skillfully pursued desire can have far-reaching effects indeed.

    To this, my response was WTF?
    What does ‘skillfully pursued’ have to so with meaning and fulfillment – on its own! It is still nothing more than determinism playing out with no ‘change’ in the course of events. It is still nihilistic.
    Now, here is the killer:

    We simply need to know and appreciate the deterministic connections between action and outcomes to realize that, as desire arises in us, so too its fulfillment can arise, if we act smartly and decisively. Seeing the flaw in fatalism makes it more likely that we will act smartly and decisively, even though we don’t have contra-causal free will.

    What the double fuck!! IF WE ACT SMARTLY AND WISELY? What is ‘if’ about it, we still are predetermined to act the way we do, and if by prior circumstances we are impelled to act ‘smartly and wisely’ it is not an act of willful individuality, merely ‘ourselves’ being along for the ride. If anything ‘arises in us such as a desire’, it is not some mysterious ‘arising’ as the weasel implies, it ‘arises’ the same way any inclination or behavior does – IT IS PREDETERMINED TO ARISE. I like how determinists like to slip ambiguous words into the conversation, which I needn’t point out has a fallacy named for it.

    I could go through that article and point out how he mistakenly/disingenuously introduces words that are really meaningless, just like the two ‘desire’ and ‘skilfully’ as I have shown here – sigh, I think.

    If our thoughts and desires (and sense of free will) are predetermined, then they are all illusory, and without meaning.

    I have linked to multiple neuroscience researchers and philosophers and combinations, all respected, therefore relevant, that a) show that the term free will is in copious use right now, so it is a fallacy, and an insult to me personally, to ‘inform’ me off my supposedly unknowledgeable mistake in comprehending current states of affairs.

    Now, the Milne paper. I did read that abstract, and I pointed out that it doesn’t mean shit if historically philosophers had bone headed ideas about free will, it only matters how the idea is approached today.

    Let’s move on to ‘The Table #1,’ on which Miles builds the foundation of his analysis.

    Table 1 effectively summarizes everything that has ever been written by academic philosophers, scientists, and theologians in defence of the notion of free will.

    WTF! There is no reference, footnote, nothing besides his word for this, and this is a giant red flag for anyone reviewing this publication. There is no way to rule out bias here, right from the very start, and in fact, it is obvious.
    Moving on slightly:

    The first grouping in Table 1 understands that free will does not exist but openly misleads the public over its non-existence. This is known as free will illusionism and occurs either through deliberately staying silent in the face of what theorists regard as public misperception (negative illusionism) or, more commonly, through overt deception (positive illusionism).

    OH, YES, the table with no numbers in it or reference in the bibliography. Never heard of anyone that does that, never. Citation fucking needed. Continuing:

    The second grouping of writers understands that free will – defined as free choice – does not exist but redefines the meaning of the very words free will so as to mean other than free choice, and so that this grouping can continue to maintain that ‘free will’ exists even if free choice does not. This is known as compatibilism. These first two groupings thus understand that free choice does not exist, but either by commission or omission suppress this knowledge.

    Give me a fat fucking break, Pitbull, go look at that table. Tell me where he got the idea that compatibilists say we have free will, but not ‘free choice’, whatever that is supposed to mean.
    It is ludicrous on its face, for every compatibilist that I know of defines free will as free choice, or freedom to choose between alternatives. Already I am calling this Miles on creating straw men on which to build his arguments. The red herring of ‘historically’, and the present illustrated concoction.

    Again:

    Compatibilism is the stance that even though it was absolutely impossible for anyone to ever have chosen otherwise than they did, we should call this absolute impossibility “free will” and it’s fair game to do so since free will was an incoherent concept anyway.

    NO. IT. FUCKING. WELL. ISN’T.

    The two papers/articles you link to are fucking bunk, and I can see why you might have chosen them. They are as biased and unscientific and invalidly presented as your initial comment to me.

    Now, if I am not clear and coherent to you here, then ‘citation needed’ so that we can clear it up. If you are disinterested in responding, or insist on vague epithet, then that says what is says, doesn’t it?
    If you want to rip me a new one over mistakes and misunderstandings I have made, then I am gladly open, and will admit when I am wrong, as I have done on several occasions, and felt very foolish after, I might add!

    For me, Life is like an unfathomable richness of opportunity to learn, and to overcome my biases and anger and emotional debilities(see, I have to insert humor somewhere, I have no choice!). Personally, I like the gently purring of cats that can rip your insides out with a millisecond twitch.
    At least if you are going to insult me, Pitbull, show a twinkling of creativity, alright?

    I would love to watch a debate between you, rorschach and joey though.

    I have had it on with joey, BTW. Go to the Stand your ground/Zimmerman thread.
    Nevertheless, what he said about determinism is correct, IMO.

  334. A. R says

    [Bosun's whistle sounds over intercom]

    Attention on thread: A new troll has been sent from “Here’s the Situation” its ‘nym is joeljacobson xe is a misogynist rape apologist. You know what to do.

  335. consciousness razor says

    If there is no free will, then we have no choice as to whether or not to change the way people think about it.

    WRONG.

    If there is free will, then nothing can affect how people think or act. If something could, then that person’s will would not be free of it.

    If there is no free will, we can motivate people to act a particular way: our actions are some of the causes of others’ actions, which implies their actions (as well as ours) are caused by shit happening. And shit happens. Ergo, there is no free will.

  336. Nightjar says

    You have no idea where I should be now (…well, you do: in bed) and what I should have spent the rest of the day with.

    *hugs back*

    My plan was to stay awake late tonight reviewing stuff so I could sleep in tomorrow and not have to spend the whole morning nervous, but I’m getting all tired and sleepy. Going to bed is probably a good idea.

  337. Owlmirror says

    and what I should have spent the rest of the day with.

    I have no choice: I am curious.

    — The Final Word™ in turtle phylogeny?

    — A gorgonopsid skeleton?

    — A job application for a palaeontology department?

  338. joey says

    cr:

    If there is free will, then nothing can affect how people think or act. If something could, then that person’s will would not be free of it.

    So you’re saying that if you gave me a choice whether to eat a hot dog or hamburger for lunch and I choose the hot dog, then my choice isn’t “free” simply because you influenced my choice by presenting the hot dog as an option? And that’s why free will doesn’t exist? If so, then you’re doing exactly what the compatabilists do…conveniently redefining “free will” so that it can fit your views.

    If there is no free will, we can motivate people to act a particular way:

    Sure, but whether we actually do motivate people or not is dictated by physics. There is no “choice” in the matter. We cannot “choose” to do (or not do) otherwise. That’s all I’m saying.

  339. consciousness razor says

    So you’re saying that [...]

    No, I’m not. Read again. It would probably be simpler if you left me out of the equation. If you can choose either a hamburger or a hot dog, or any number of choices, your choices were caused, perhaps by me or perhaps by something else. If you think it was only because of your “internal” motivations or desires, all of those internal factors were themselves caused by something “external,” whether or not you realize it.

    If so, then you’re doing exactly what the compatabilists do…conveniently redefining “free will” so that it can fit your views.

    No. There is no it which I’d call “free will” and try to fit with my views, because unlike a compatibilist, I’m saying free will (which I haven’t redefined) doesn’t exist. What does exist is your ability to make choices and deliberate about them, but that’s not free will.

    Sure, but whether we actually do motivate people or not is dictated by physics. There is no “choice” in the matter. We cannot “choose” to do (or not do) otherwise.

    We can make choices, just like rocks can roll downhill. That rocks cannot roll uphill (without something else pushing or pulling them) doesn’t imply they cannot roll down. The basic, relevant difference between either of us and a rock is that a rock can’t think about itself or its actions. We can think and make choices, but that is all caused, just like everything else is.

  340. A. R says

    Joey: Think about the situation as less of an issue of free will, and more of one of a locus of control, a much more limited construct in which human agency has the limited, but existent “will” within the confines of the preexisting confinements of neuroscience, evolution, and physics. Thus what you are talking about is an issue of a locus of control, and not, as I understand it, free will.

  341. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    John,

    “X requires Y.”

    “So you don’t think not-Y entails not-X?”

    Dumbfuckery.

    Evasiveness.

    Seriously, John, as far as I can tell, you are asking me if I believe in modus tollens.

    I do.

    If you want something more from me you’re going to have to assume I’m slower than you thought. If you’re not asking something obviously absurd, then I simply do not follow what you’re getting at.

    +++++
    mikmik,

    I win. You have a lovely opinion. Condescension and insults. I am far from the first instance of this, of course. No matter:

    What’s the matter, you can dish it out but you can’t take it?

    This shite about history, and what I mean by free will, and all the bullshit [...] What the fuck does that mean? [...] fuck all. [...] This is pure and unadultered hypocritical bullshit. [...] Tell me, what the fuck does power mean?

    Now I know I’ve talked that way over the course of these arguments before. If you’re frustrated that’s understandable. But I do think it’s a bit unreasonable for you to shoot first and then complain when I’m condescending in return.

  342. Amphiox says

    Is it surprising at all that joey is trying to argue a completely absolutist position on the subject of free will?

    That either free will is absolute, and you can choose anything at all, or else you have no choice of anything at all and are a completely deterministic automaton? And that the possibility that reality lies between these two extremes is not even considered?

  343. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Amphiox, in fairness to joey, choice can be a tricky word in these conversations.

    Bill the not-Cat, who’s no dumbass, doesn’t like the C word in the way that consciousness razor is comfortable using it. I’m not 100% comfortable with it, actually.

    Certainly, consciousness razor is not wrong — the phenomenon we call choice occurs — we have an experience in which volition precedes action, and the C word applies to that experience.

    But I think Bill’s objection to the application of the word is not an absurd one, because choice has been misunderstood in the past, such that people have some metaphysical expectations about it which do not apply; Bill evidently can’t convince himself that they shouldn’t apply. OTOH I’m mostly okay with the word because it evidently does refer to the experience of volition preceding action.

  344. chigau (違う) says

    If somebody suddenly punched me in the face, I would punch them back.
    I would have no choice.
    (and I wouldn’t give a flying fuck why they punched me)

  345. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    consciousness razor,

    Walton:

    I guess I still disagree with you about the meaning of “moral responsibility.” I don’t think it implies one is ultimately responsible for some action, in the way someone with free will would be ultimately uncaused. As I use it, it’s a fairly limited term, just like “will” or “choice” for determinists, so to me, rejecting it seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Well, surely the ultimate meaning shouldn’t be discarded without making explicit what’s being lost.

    I think it’s a huge challenge to explain why moral responsibility should attach to any particular instance of having done X instead of not-X. I don’t see how it can be said that Alice is morally responsible for having done something yesterday. Surely she’s physically responsible in that she’s the proximate cause and no one else is, but I’m unconvinced that moral responsibility should attach as well. It seems to me that Smilansky’s point, that “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”, is much clearer than any argument I can devise for attaching, well, proximate moral responsibility, whatever that would be.

    Perhaps it’s not treated that way in the law, so I can see how we might be talking about different uses of the term.

    In law, the practice is simply to equivocate as necessary from moment to moment in order to best manipulate a judge or juror. :)

    Anders Kaye explains that the law traditionally assumes contra-causal degrees of responsibility, and now compatibilist arguments are increasingly being used, but the assumed responsibility has not declined similarly.

  346. consciousness razor says

    LILAPWL:
    “Bill the not-Cat”? It’s sort of strangely funny, but I’m sort of lost.

    Of course I agree with most everything you said. It doesn’t take a dumbass who believes absurdities to be confused by it or object to my terminology, because it is a fairly subtle point. I don’t know; I may even be wrong about something. If we say we do have choices, then certainly we have to be careful with how we’re using the term. It’s just a very useful word, but I’m willing to use something else or clarify what I mean if it’s confusing.

    People just assume determinism means fatalism, or the utter lack of any kind of “choice” or “decision” or or “will” or “agency” whatsoever. People assume that if there is indeterminism, then “determinism” (as opposed to free will) is false. They think these are implications of determinism, which contradict experiences which are so self-evident to them that it’s rejected without much further thought. But they aren’t (or at least they aren’t according to my view), so I think it’s an important part of the conversation to have anyway.

  347. consciousness razor says

    It seems to me that Smilansky’s point, that “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”, is much clearer than any argument I can devise for attaching, well, proximate moral responsibility, whatever that would be.

    I guess I don’t understand why we must be blaming people for things beyond their control, if the claim is only that they’re proximately responsible (i.e., only for things which are in their control, to whatever degree they were, if that is possible).

    Of course, it is difficult as an epistemological and ethical problem, which shouldn’t be taken lightly: often we can’t know, with however much certainty we’d need to justify our reaction, what someone is or isn’t responsible for.

  348. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    “Bill the not-Cat”? It’s sort of strangely funny, but I’m sort of lost.

    Sorry, I was just riffing stupidly on chigau and A.R’s secret j<abbr>.

    I don’t know; I may even be wrong about something.

    As far as I can tell, you aren’t. It’s just that when Bill explains why he has a problem with the C word, I don’t think I can argue he shouldn’t have that problem with it; he wants it to have more umph than it ever really can. It seems to be an aesthetic preference.

  349. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I guess I don’t understand why we must be blaming people for things beyond their control, if the claim is only that they’re proximately responsible

    Well we’d still be blaming them for something ultimately beyond their control. What Smilansky is doing throughout that essay is contrasting the moral relevance of the ultimate and the proximate — I just think he has a good point about how there was an ethical basis for demanding ultimate self-authorship and thus ultimate responsibility.

    And since that can’t exist, proximate moral responsbility (whatever that might mean) would be fair in whatever limited sense it can be fair (I’m granting this for the sake of argument; honestly though I don’t know what it is I’m granting, because I don’t understand what proximate moral responsibility could mean), but it’s also, simultaneously, ultimately unfair: “the fact remains that if there is no libertarian free will a person being punished may suffer justly in [proximately morally responsible] 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.”

    That “from being what she is” bit echoes what Humbach’s saying: proximate moral responsibility would functionally mean holding people responsible “based on their dispositions, or character, as formed deterministically by the complex of causal factors in the individual’s history [...] Accordingly, in [proximate moral responsibility] just as in virtue ethics, the unchosen happenstance of having a harm-producing disposition or character is the ultimate foundation for moral condemnation and infliction. In terms of justifying punishment, [proximate moral responsibility] and virtue ethics rest on the same foundation.”

    Well, I’m still not sure how proximate moral responsibility is supposed to attach just because proximate physical responsibility occurred. But if it does attach, it amounts to blaming people for being what they are and didn’t choose to be: “merely a repackaging of an ancient form of virtue-ethics under which people are deemed to deserve to suffer because they are what they are.”

    I get around it by simply assuming that people can’t deserve to be punished, can’t be morally responsible for doing X rather than not-X, but since the maintainance of civilization apparently requires punishment, we should just do what’s necessary and no more. Punish without blaming. Punishment is enough; blame seems gratuitous.

  350. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Owlmirror

    There are certainly some similarities between more ancient gods and Jesus, but not the exact ones on the graphic.

    Indeed, I should be more critical.

    Though it may be wrong in detail, it has a lot going for it in principle (bar the awful cartoons on the side). What I did like about the graphic is the simple style. One could almost attach it as a calling card in a discussion full-blown SIWOTI knife-fight comment.

    Another point that we should make is that the argument of similarity works both ways. As a means to grow their religion (it is a numbers game) the early xtians were more than happy to make major concessions to all manner of existing beliefs. It is not even necessary to show that pagan tropes prefigured those of xtianity. It could perhaps be better argued that – Capta ferum victorem cepit – whatever xtianity might have been prior, it was forever transformed by the manner of its own opportunistic growth.

    If I was to spend time on such an exercise, I would perhaps ditch Mithras (“The Unconquered Sun”) in exchange for Tammuz-Apollo. Dionysus (“Son of Zeus”) can certainly stay on board.

    None of this really matters to many xtians, as Altemeyer’s discussion of a hypothetical Attis shows. Even if absolute proof of jeebus’s being a knock-off of Attis is presented, this will not affect RWA xtians in the least. At best we can only hope to win across some self-critical goddists.

  351. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    can’t be morally responsible for doing X rather than not-X,

    Well, can’t be morally responsible for having done X rather than not-X.

    I still think it’s possible to say there’s another kind of moral responsibility which is not about what a person has done:

    «What I’m sure of is that people cannot deserve one thing over another because of their actions; that’s as bad as saying the kids with blue eyes deserve five more minutes of recess.

    I have these other notions I’ve occasionally tried to advance, about desert and responsibility attaching to everyone equally. One of them is that we should take responsibility, consider ourselves morally obliged to try to achieve a better future, just because if we don’t try, who will? and if not now, when? et cetera.

    So I think there is a coherent kind of moral responsibility, concerning what should be preferred and what should be attempted, but it seems to be unidirectional, starting in the present and proceeding toward the future.»

  352. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    I came across a quote by Gilbert Murray today. Perhaps it should more appropriately go into a “Why I am an Atheist” thread. He just so happens to be stone cold dead. And so I post here for the hordes’ delectation:

    There is no royal road in these matters. I confess it seems strange to me as I write here, to reflect that at this moment many of my friends and most of my fellow creatures are, as far as one can judge, quite confident that they possess supernatural knowledge.

    As a rule, each individual belongs to some body which has received in writing the results of a divine revelation. I cannot share in any such feeling. The Uncharted surrounds us on every side and we must needs have some relation towards it, a relation which will depend on the general discipline of a man’s mind and the bias of his whole character. As far as knowledge and conscious reason will go, we should follow resolutely their austere guidance. When they cease, as cease they must, we must use as best we can those fainter powers of apprehension and surmise and sensitiveness by which, after all, most high truth has been reached as well as most high art and poetry: careful always really to seek for truth and not for our own emotional satisfaction, careful not to neglect the real needs of men and women through basing our life on dreams; and remembering above all to walk gently in a world where the lights are dim and the very stars wander

    .

  353. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Sent in my paper.
    Should feel elated, mostly feel kinda sick.
    :/

  354. says

    At best we can only hope to win across some self-critical goddists.

    There are the ‘fence sitters’ and all manner of agnostics that aren’t atheists, plus, we provide a forum for people that don’t have an outlet to express and learn about their doubts, or to feel safe talking about atheism. I’m sort of in that situation because I live in a fundamentalist sub-culture while I get my act together from alcoholism and opiate addiction.
    I like coming here just to get a sort of affirmation that keeps me on the level – an antidote for all the hypocrisy or just plain ignorance.

    I see this as an exercise in promoting truth, not converting people, and for learning. This thread, and FTb, have some fucking smart people that say stuff I’ve not heard before that I can add to my arsenal of knowledge, and to test my thinking. I’ve learned a great deal about expressing myself(I know, hard to tell sometimes!) and presenting arguments, and I need the practice so I don’t get blindsided or caught without handy replies.

    Plus, people in general like watching debates, and very many more people read this place than comment, so we don’t know how much we reach and or help/influence the common folk(haha joke).

  355. joey says

    cr:

    We can make choices, just like rocks can roll downhill. That rocks cannot roll uphill (without something else pushing or pulling them) doesn’t imply they cannot roll down. The basic, relevant difference between either of us and a rock is that a rock can’t think about itself or its actions. We can think and make choices, but that is all caused, just like everything else is.

    We simply have different conceptions of what it is “to choose”. I’ve always regarded it as implying the ability of doing otherwise. Anything else makes “choice” meaningless.

    ————-
    Amphiox:

    Is it surprising at all that joey is trying to argue a completely absolutist position on the subject of free will?

    That either free will is absolute, and you can choose anything at all…

    Where have I argued this?

    …or else you have no choice of anything at all…

    All depends on what you mean by “choice”.

    …and are a completely deterministic automaton?

    Given a strictly materialist worldview, how can you argue anything else?

    And that the possibility that reality lies between these two extremes is not even considered?

    Do you think we’re something other than completely deterministic automatons? If so, I’d like to hear your arguments.

    ————–
    ING:

    Again. Why should I care.

    Would you not care if your freedoms were restricted?

  356. says

    Would you not care if your freedoms were restricted?

    Not on subject.

    Pretty sure Nazis believed in freewill and yet Germany was fairly restricted.

    Again. Why should I care? Either it’s something I can’t do anything about and crying wont’ help or there is so yay. Either outcome means pretty much leads to the exact same universe to me.

    The only instance seems to be in legal matters, where it’s irrelevant because we should be thinking practically. It should would be horrible if we let people rot in prison or be brutalized who could be rehabilitated due to a pathetic need to prove free will to ourselves.

  357. says

    Ing, I agree with very much. I’m not sure what depity means, but it’s always seemed to me that the sense of free-will is universal and something that won’t change.
    This is the kind of belief, based on subjective empirical evidence, and inter-subjective agreement, has almost zero chance of ever changing. Look at religious belief, and the logical and scientific evidence is virtually irrefutable, yet the effect is has on numbers is not very much, if at all.

    The religious conspiracy theories that claim science has an agenda, and is out to poison religion etc. etc. and the sheer magnitude of people that just don’t have the skills to understand what is in fact very concrete evidence, results in large amounts of disinformation that the religious see as verification for their god beliefs, and ignorance of rational explanations.

    Also, I think that vengeance and retribution are innate impulses, to varying degrees, and there are, it seems to me, evolutionary reasons for this.

    It amounts to a pipe dream if anyone thinks attitudes will significantly change regarding free will, and to a lesser extent, morality and ethics.

    We are already doing just fine as far as research goes, in direction, and neuro-psychiatry and experimental psychology are teaching us to understand how nurture and nature shape us and provide more appropriate ways of dealing with, and treating, dysfunction.

    Free-will is a moot point, especially at our level of understanding, philosophically and scientifically, right now. It drives me nuts when people like Jerry Coyne, and the like, see disproving free will as a panacea curing people of their religion, and solving questions of morality and our legal system.

  358. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    joey,

    I’ve always regarded it as implying the ability of doing otherwise. Anything else makes “choice” meaningless.

    Like I said earlier, I think most of your objection to the word is not absurd. But your last sentence here is wrong.

    There is a difference between taking a sip of beer because you absentmindedly thought you were reaching for your soda, taking a sip of beer because you knowingly wanted to, and taking a sip of beer because someone pried open your mouth, grabbed your hand, shoved the beer into it, and forced your hand to pour the beer down your gullet.

    The first is arguable, but the second is sensibly called choice to distinguish it from the third. So there clearly is a meaning for the word “choice”.

    Given a strictly materialist worldview, how can you argue anything else?

    Given any worldview at all, how can you argue anything else? I’ll let you assume the existence of souls, life after death, magic, dianetics, spiritual replicators, anything which does not violate causality (so you can have uncaused causes, but they can’t cause prior events). Go.

  359. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    It amounts to a pipe dream if anyone thinks attitudes will significantly change regarding free will, and to a lesser extent, morality and ethics.

    You think that because you don’t look at the evidence.

    It drives me nuts when people like Jerry Coyne, and the like, see disproving free will as a panacea curing people of their religion, and solving questions of morality and our legal system.

    Does Coyne actually treat it like a panacea? Can you cite that claim? I doubt it.

    The effect sizes are not huge, so it’s not a panacea, but the effects do exist and are worth pursuing.

  360. says

    We simply have different conceptions of what it is “to choose”. I’ve always regarded it as implying the ability of doing otherwise. Anything else makes “choice” meaningless.

    Yes. Saying a rock chooses is a personification, and is falsely used to justify using the choice when it applies to people.

    The frustration, for me, is reductionists/hard determinists that go to extremes of word bending to salvage some sense of meaning, beyond feelings of satisfaction, for which is itself just an artifact.

    I don’t agree that determinism to this degree is the whole situation as we apply it, for it ignores the hard problem of consciousness, and my hunch is that it is wrong. I aim to cut through the, what I see as, bullshit rationalizing, and I agree with you on what hard determinism/incompatibilism implies.

    Still, I highly doubt this debate will resolve anything of consequence.

  361. says

    I don’t agree that determinism to this degree is the whole situation as we apply it, for it ignores the hard problem of consciousness, and my hunch is that it is wrong. I aim to cut through the, what I see as, bullshit rationalizing, and I agree with you on what hard determinism/incompatibilism implies.

    Have you considered that the alternative to determinism is indeterminism aka chaos? That’s not much more comforting.

  362. says

    Still, I highly doubt this debate will resolve anything of consequence.

    Why? because your experience has determined that conclusion? Or do you choose to be pessimistic? Incidentally anyone who has freewill I invite to try to eat their own hand off…or kill a beloved family member.

  363. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I don’t agree that determinism to this degree is the whole situation as we apply it, for it ignores the hard problem of consciousness,

    Determinism and indeterminism have nothing at all to do with any problem of consciousness, hard or otherwise.

  364. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    It would be interesting to dissect mikmik’s brain and see how he gets to be so wrong.

    Why, for instance, does he act like when I brought up John Stuart Mill, I was saying anything about free will?

    I suspect he is a p-zombie.

  365. says

    As I said, neuro-science and psychology are doing the work, not this debate.

    I do concede, LILAPWL, The effect sizes are not huge, so it’s not a panacea, but the effects do exist and are worth pursuing, that there are affects, and certainly not huge at all. LILAPWL, do you check out the links I have given above to philosophers and neuro-researchers?

    Now I’ll ask for a citation, that there are relevant effects. All that I have been aware of,( discounting my selection bias that may exist!), are neuro-psychiatrists and physiological brain scan interpretations where the researchers state that it doesn’t make a difference and that people should probably not bother worrying about whether we have free will – even if we don’t.

    I’ve got half an hour left here, so I will round up the links and quotes for this. I have to be careful because I tend to include too many links per comment, and my comments get delayed.

    I am interested in evidence, or at least relevant indication, that any of this talk has any effect to us and society. For instance, it seems to me that you decide to write rebuttals, or not, and what you include in them. Does it not seem this way to you? Does it seem that you are rationally, and emotionally, responding out of a choice to do so?

    What Steve Barnard pointed out at Coyne’s site, is that everyone’s actions betray intent and volition. (He also complimented me on my logic skills, as have others. This means nothing, I know it is argument from authority or popularity, but it means very little when you say I am wrong with my reasoning. Incoherent, I certainly admit to that!)

    Okay…

    Okay

  366. says

    This is the one that pisses me off the most, because Coyne got exactly the wrong message from what I was saying:
    http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/sunday-free-will-pseudo-dualism/

    Here is my, admittedly shitty, blog where I kept a record of my arguments with the Jeff character:
    http://windaelicker.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/continued-from-free-will-redux/

    Column: Why you don’t really have free will

    The issue of whether we have of free will is not an arcane academic debate about philosophy, but a critical question whose answer affects us in many ways: how we assign moral responsibility, how we punish criminals, how we feel about our religion, and, most important, how we see ourselves — as autonomous or automatons.

  367. says

    Now I have to leave for a while, but this might refute my claim about religious affect that I claimed:

    6. I argue that free will means the end of religion. Massimo:

    Jerry claims that the death of free will spells the death of religion, although ironically he then mentions the Calvinist view of pre-determination. In fact, plenty of religious beliefs are compatible with lack of free will, so it seems like religion will survive even this assault (as befits an infinitely malleable tradition of made up stories).

    I never argued this. What I said is that many important religious precepts depend on free will, and those will go away if free will is an illusion. Here’s what I said:

  368. Owlmirror says

    I’m not sure what depity means,

    Not depity; deepity.

    Deepity is a term employed by Daniel Dennett in his 2009 speech to the American Atheists Institution conference, coined by the teenage daughter of one of his friends. The term refers to a statement that is apparently profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings; one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be “earth-shattering” if true.

    I infer that the “true but trivial” sense of the phrase “free will” is in some compatabilist sense: we feel that we can make choices or change our minds (or whatever). The “profound but false” meaning would be something like “the ability to have done otherwise”, or what is expounded above in the citation by Thomas W. Clark @#296

  369. Owlmirror says

    Actually, I don’t agree that “free will” is a deepity; that is, I don’t think that compatiblist interpretations of the term are actually trivial. Even in compatibilist vs. noncompatiblist discussions, the point is about how minds work, and how we should refer to how minds work. Not trivial at all, I think.

    The examples of “deepities” on rationalwiki look more like very silly word games that theists sometimes employ.

  370. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    It solves nothing and only addresses problems that have more immediate materialistic solutions/data

    I doubt this because priming effects are so easy to elicit.

    So for instance look at some effects of priming “choice”. You can get those effects without making any substantive argument to try to change a person’s mind; you just have to talk vacuously about “choice” and they’ll give different answers to policy questions.

    There’s reason to think — just by observing Walton and the people who disagree vehemently with him — that the term “free will” has an affective valence above and beyond its substantive meaning. I know Walton is consciously aware of this and it’s part of the reason he wants to get rid of it.

    Thomas W. Clark tends to write these essays which can be read as supporting compatibilism or hard determinism, depending on assumptions the reader carries into it.

    If we got Clark to write an essay about biology and neuroscience and physics and blah blah blah whatever everybody thinks is important and should be mentioned,

    and then we make two versions of the essay, the only difference being at the end of one we write “and that is why free will exists”, and on the other “and that is why free will doesn’t exist”,

    randomly present one or the other of these two otherwise identical essays to people and then ask them some questions about lengths and usefulness of imprisonment for various crimes, we should expect to see a difference in the answers.

    Labels and terminology matter politically. That’s why it’s often not a good idea to accept the way that a conservative asks a question; people have implicit associations and affective valences about certain terms, which can persist even after the substance is fully understood and the affective association perhaps “rationally ought to” disappear.

  371. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    mikmik,

    This is the one that pisses me off the most, because Coyne got exactly the wrong message from what I was saying:

    I do not care; I am not Coyne.

    If you don’t have a citation of Coyne claiming that the elimination of belief in “free will” would be a panacea, rather than merely a worthwhile project alongside many other worthwhile projects, then you’re just blowing smoke out your ass.

  372. Walton says

    OT: strange gods, given your dislike of virtue ethics, you might find some wry amusement and/or vindication in this blogger’s post justifying her sudden conversion to Catholicism.

    (Personally, I’ve never been able to understand the virtue ethicist position sufficiently to critique it. Even after reading Macintyre’s After Virtue, it still doesn’t make sense to me. But maybe I’m just not sufficiently well-read in philosophy to be able to grasp it; I’ve never read Aristotle, for instance.)

  373. Walton says

    ॐ, were that hypothesis true, then ethics (moral philosophy) would be a branch of psychology, not of philosophy.

    I often think that it should be.

    Trying to come up with any sort of objective justification for one’s morals, one which boils down to anything more substantial than “because I said so” (or “because God said so”, which amounts to the same thing), is, I’ve found, a fairly hopeless task. There are many schools of thought in meta-ethics, but none of them provide a particularly satisfactory answer.

    But if we abandon this effort, we can embark on the far more fruitful task of coming up with a descriptive account of morality: why do people call some things moral and others immoral? What accounts for the differences between people’s moral views? How do people go about making moral decisions? These are all empirical questions which are well within the province of social psychology, and are, indeed, addressed by some empirical research in that field.