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  1. KG says

    LILAPWL,

    “Choice” does strongly imply to most people that it’s caused by a deliberative process. But if a choice is random and non-deliberate, then any apparent considerations are in fact not causal.

    Not so: the deliberative process could affect the odds of the possible decisions being made, in an indeterministic world.

    A random choice would be an unwilled choice; any corresponding will would come into existence at the same time as the choice, not preceding it.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “unwilled” here. If you mean that there is no magical agent causation involved, then of course I agree: whether absolutely determined or involving random elements, choices are “unwilled” in that sense. If you don’t mean that, please restate or expand on your meaning.

    “For any particular choice a person made, it was impossible for them to have chosen to choose differently than they did.”

    In what sense impossible? Clearly it’s not logically impossible. If the world is fully deterministic it is physically impossible in a rather trivial sense, and it might be so in some cases even if the world is indeterministic. But this has no relevance to whether the person has made a choice; nor is it a useful or interesting sense of “impossible” in most contexts. This blog frequently sees commenters called out for using gendered insults, and in many case, it is pointed out to those commenters that they could have made their point without sexism: i.e. it was possible for them to do so. If you respond that no, the world is deterministic so it was impossible for them to choose a non-sexist alternative, you’re missing the point.

    At the moment the smoker decided to give up smoking, it wasn’t possible for them to have willfully chosen to not give up smoking.

    There is no such “moment”. Making a decision is a temporally extended process, and if different influences had impinged on the smoker during that time, the outcome would (in many cases) have been different. That’s true as a counterfactual even if the world is deterministic.

  2. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    To the metaphysical libertarian:

    Seemingly random events may not be sufficient for those events to be described as free choices, but I don’t see how that automatically excludes them from being free choices either.

    I already answered this, so you get copypasta.

    Because an indeterministic mind must have either

    1) have a will for doing something, in which case you have to deal with this regress*, which you cannot deal with — thus it is not freely willed — or

    2) have no will for doing something — thus it is not freely willed.

    *Why does the indeterministic mind prefer to do X instead of not-X? Where did it get that preference? Yet again there’s an infinite regress, which can be halted by saying the mind came into existence with certain preferences pre-packaged, but then the mind didn’t freely will those preferences.

    Indeterminism simply means that events can’t be predicted.

    No, it does not. Deterministic chaos is sufficient for unpredictability.

    If you’re confusing predictability and determinism, stop it. They aren’t the same.

    That they appear random. But just because some things appear random does not automatically mean that they weren’t freely chosen.

    It might help if you respond to things I’ve actually said.

    Thought experiment. Let’s simply assume that free will exists and I have it.

    Yes, let’s:

    «[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.»

    Each morning I am assigned to choose (out of my own free will) what a prisoner eats for breakfast, whether it be eggs, cereal, pancakes, toast, waffles, etc.

    Since the rest of your comment was all about mistaking determinism for a predictable pattern,

    let’s stop here and have you explain what it could possibly mean for you to “choose out of your own [indeterministic] free will” — how could it ever allow you to choose differently than you would have without indeterministic free will — in light of the above argument from Clark that you have never tried to understand.

  3. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    KG,

    Not so: the deliberative process could affect the odds of the possible decisions being made, in an indeterministic world.

    No, it could not.

    If the choice is random, and if the indeterminism you’re talking about is from quantum effects (which is the only indeterminist source you’ve invoked), then no, the deliberative process is not causing the decision. (If it was, then the choice would not be random.)

    I’m not sure what you mean by “unwilled” here. If you mean that there is no magical agent causation involved, then of course I agree: whether absolutely determined or involving random elements, choices are “unwilled” in that sense. If you don’t mean that, please restate or expand on your meaning.

    I mean a fully determined choice could be willed, if its proximate cause was a desire the person had. (It just couldn’t be freely willed.)

    A random choice could not be willed, because its proximate cause would be a quantum fluctuation, which was not willed.

    In what sense impossible? Clearly it’s not logically impossible.

    Physically impossible, of course — the only kind of possibility worth caring about.

    If the world is fully deterministic it is physically impossible in a rather trivial sense, and it might be so in some cases even if the world is indeterministic.

    All cases, since quantum events are not willed.

    But this has no relevance to whether the person has made a choice;

    That’s fine.

    nor is it a useful or interesting sense of “impossible” in most contexts.

    Sorry, but the truth is that most people really do think it’s relevant whether they could ever have chosen to choose differently than they did. This is why compatibilism is not true, or is only true for a handful of people who’ve learned to recite compatibilist dogmas.

    This blog frequently sees commenters called out for using gendered insults, and in many case, it is pointed out to those commenters that they could have made their point without sexism: i.e. it was possible for them to do so. If you respond that no, the world is deterministic so it was impossible for them to choose a non-sexist alternative, you’re missing the point.

    It’s you who’s missing the point. Of course it was physically impossible for them to have done otherwise. The purpose of calling out gendered slurs is to give the speaker more incentive to not use those slurs in the future — in other words, to make it physically impossible for them to choose a gendered slur the next time they logically might.

    There is no such “moment”.

    There most certainly is, if you’re positing quantum choices.

    Making a decision is a temporally extended process, and if different influences had impinged on the smoker during that time,

    And during that temporally extended process, it isn’t possible for the person to willfully choose otherwise than they’re doing, given the particular influences impinging.

    +++++
    Aside: again, what KG is saying here is that “I’m free to decide otherwise (say in the case of spending $1000 on a good cause or personal enjoyment) in the sense that if my motives were different, I would.

    If you, dear reader, think that’s a vacuous notion of “free will”, you’re not alone.

  4. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    They’re still going down.

    Well that’s decent of them. :P

  5. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    To the mysterian illusionist:

    How so? If everything is determined, then acting this way is determined, and that makes it necessary to behave these ways.

    It would only mean it’s been necessary thus far. It doesn’t mean it will be necessary tomorrow; we don’t know that.

    It is conceivable that there are other ways of handling destructive behavior. My suggestion is to punish without blaming.

  6. Owlmirror says

    @KG:

    Suppose a smoker decides to give up smoking. They have then chosen that they will make future choices in a particular way. Then suppose they are offered a cigarette: it is quite possible that the prior choice to give up could have a critical causal role in making the choice on this occasion to refuse the offered cigarette, i.e., if they had not previously chosen to choose otherwise (and that might be determined, or it might be random, it doesn’t matter), they would on the later occasion have chosen differently.

    You seem to be arguing for a type of compatabilism here: That it is possible to change one’s mind, based on prior choices. But no-one is arguing that changing one’s mind is impossible (based on prior choices, or otherwise). Minds do work by feedback loops; by referencing past experiences (of which a prior choice is certainly one), as well as current experiences. But the argument is not that changing one’s mind is impossible.

  7. Owlmirror says

    But how can you know for sure that the choice is influenced by merely unknown randomness?

    Because that’s what indeterminism means. It doesn’t mean that free will magically exists; it means that there’s unknown randomness that prevents physical reality from being entirely deterministic. You then have to show how contra-causal free will can arise in this situation.

    Let’s simply assume that free will exists and I have it.

    Why are we assuming what you have to prove?

    So no, I don’t see how the existence of free will is “logically impossible”.

    Have I used that phrase? Hm; I see that I did, at one point. But I think I would be safe in rewording that to “physically impossible”. A choice is something done in a finite amount of time, and in a universe where (as far as we can tell) time is not infinitely divisible and minds are certainly not infinitely divisible; contra-causal free will requires an infinite regression and thus for time to be infinitely divisible and for mind to be infinitely divisible.

    I think it might be possible to show that contra-causal free-will is logically impossible as well, but that might take more of an effort.

  8. consciousness razor says

    It would only mean it’s been necessary thus far. It doesn’t mean it will be necessary tomorrow; we don’t know that.

    You in fact couldn’t act exactly the same way at two different times, unless you lived in a closed time-like loop.

    It is conceivable that there are other ways of handling destructive behavior. My suggestion is to punish without blaming.

    I disagree. Punishment is generally a bad thing, though there may be times when it’s better than an alternative.

  9. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Owlmirror,

    I suspect it’s just a mistake or configuration error. Maybe he junked a comment that had a link to the wiki (for whatever reason), and wordpress decided that the comment was spam, and all links in the comment were spam.

    I’m quite sure this is what happened, and it was another blogger, not PZ, but the software automatically shares spam blacklists from blog to blog.

  10. says

    Hm. I have nothing to say directly about the free will discussion. I am reminded, though, of The Fabric of the Cosmos (I think it was this part) and space-time-as-loaf-of-bread. If this is correct, what does it mean about free will?

  11. consciousness razor says

    space-time-as-loaf-of-bread. If this is correct, what does it mean about free will?

    Hmm, I think I know what you’re talking about.

    I guess there’s only sort of a loose connection, but one might think the past or future doesn’t exist as something which is “real” like the present, which leads into some weird arguments that the future isn’t set in stone and doesn’t really exist. There is only a universal “now” moment which keeps changing.

    By itself, that’s not contra-causal free will; but I guess that might help support it for some people, even though it’s playing a different sort of game. If your future self doesn’t exist (like everything else in the nonexistent future), then your will can’t be determined, thus it is free (not like everything else in the nonexistent future). QED!

    I don’t know of anyone who seriously makes that argument though. Quantum indeterminacy is the fudge factor of choice.

  12. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ SC

    The Fabric of the Cosmos [No vid, but I googled it. Mine with cheese ... and toasted]

    Apropos, I wonder why creationists don’t take their creationism in extremis¹ and say that god created the world an instant prior to NOW, as it is, with all circumstances set up exactly as NOW-1. (Obviously everything from fossils to bibles is contrived. Further, our very knowledge is contrived. Reality is a Heath Robinson² contraption poofed into existence at the magical moment of NOW-1. Everything would need to be deterministic. But how would we know the difference between the “reality” that we “know” and that of “extreme creationism” ?

    Your diagonal slices now become very interesting. What about GAWD over extreme distances? It would have to be a static entity without the ability to communicate (that takes time… v=d/t) with Its components without twisting itself out of shape. It must act everywhere,all at once and in a co-ordinated way. The problem remains if my “-1″ is given the value of 6000 years.


    ¹ Obviously this would mean that the “bible” would need to be GAWD’s creation … but not as they’d like to imagine. The real problem for them, I guess, is that free will is clearly negated. Religion is boring if other people don’t burn in hell.
    ² Translation to ‘Merkin : Rube Goldberg

  13. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    Hey everyone. I was actually looking for a little help with this, and I figured TZT was a better place to ask than TET.

    When Justin had his thread open, I got into an argument with Justicar, and I continued that argument with him on ERV. I’m having trouble constructing an argument for how bigoted language affects society and hurts people, because Justicar’s rebuttal is that 1. he doesn’t see a mechanism for such a thing, because 2. bigoted slurs against him don’t bother him.

    Now, I did concede to him that I did not yet have a sufficiently persuasive argument, but that my position hasn’t changed and I do think a persuasive argument exists. I’m just not stellar at debate.

    What I did try to tell him is that some words, like slurs based on gender or sexual orientation, are reductionist, and reductionism is part of dehumanization. I also tried to explain that, regardless of his lack of offense, slurs directed against him have influence separate from him.

  14. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    I also realize that most people here don’t care what Justicar has to say, I’m asking more for myself because I felt stupid after being stumped.

  15. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ RahXephon

    I also realize that most people here don’t care what Justicar has to say

    Actually many of us do, because he is very pernitious. Quite possibly he does really believe what he says, as opposed to many others on ERV who just seek to justify their sexist trolling.

    I’m having trouble constructing an argument for how bigoted language affects society and hurts people, because Justicar’s rebuttal is that 1. he doesn’t see a mechanism for such a thing, because 2. bigoted slurs against him don’t bother him.

    I have tried arguing this point with Justicar and fellow trolls. Another argument they bring up is the “just words” ploy and the “we are all equal, therefore we can”. If you bring up the slant in the power gradient, you will be accused of perpetuating sexism by not realising the equality of people (yeah, mindboggling).

    he doesn’t see a mechanism for such a thing,

    Psychologists do. ( PDF Link: Verbal abuse of children) There is a mechanism. And children are certainly exposed to the public discourse that includes the slurs and sexist abuse he is so keen to defend. His tired counter to such a link would be to say that we are all equal and adults. It seems to go beyond him that adults can suffer through exactly the same mechanisms.

    bigoted slurs against him don’t bother him.

    He must stop thinking it is all about him. The ERV-ites really like their “man-up” policy. You will find all manner of people (if you can stomach going through “The Monument” and other ERV gems) who have been victims of abuse themselves (including rape) and yet still blame the victim for not toughing it out. If Justicar is emotionally tough enough to endure an endless litany of bigotted slurs against him, this says nothing about others, who may have endured those same slurs in concert with physical abuse. I wonder if he would deny the role of bullying in LGBT suicides. Slurs and verbal bullying are an important component. I don’t know at what point he will start to identify with people other than Justicar, Justicar and more Justicar.

  16. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    RahXephon, if this sort of thing intrigues you, you could start by digging through the citing articles of

    Greenberg and Pyszczynski, The effect of an overheard ethnic slur on evaluations of the target: How to spread a social disease, doi 10.1016/0022-1031(85)90006-X

    perhaps this in particular:

    Goodman, et al., The Impact of a Derogatory Remark on Prejudice Toward a Gay Male Leader, doi 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2008.00316.x

    Actually many of us do, because he is very pernitious.

    Sorry about your luck, theophontes. I skip over every comment he makes. I’ve seen one, I’ve seen them all.

  17. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    @theophontes

    Well, the word in question was “fag”, and after the failure of my argument I finally said “Fine, whatever. Even if it is personal, do you respect my boundaries? If I ask you not to use that word around me, would you not?” and pretty much universally everyone said they’d respect my request.

    In that sense, Justicar and others at ERV don’t seem to have a problem with preferences (like me not wanting to be called “fag”), but they have a problem with it if I try to extend that and say that such language contributes in any way to bigotry. I’m having trouble making the logical leap from “It offends me” to “It has objective negative effects”.

  18. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ lilapbwlॐ

    Sorry about your luck, theophontes.

    My SIWOTI is part of the problem. I just get so angry with these people. This even while I am relatively free of such bullshit in my day to day life (China is pretty good in that way).

    What good did come out of it is that I am more aware of the whole phenomenon and pay more attention to the arguments against. (And I’ve come to realise quite how articulate and well informed some Pharyngulites are, yourself included.) Poopyhead University works.

    @ RahXephon

    they have a problem with it if I try to extend that and say that such language contributes in any way to bigotry.

    There are very many rabid individualists there. The whole concept of a larger society appears to be foreign to them. By saying “there are larger consequences” you are refering to their social blind spot. They want to rather deny the problem so they don’t feel hemmed in by the need for such considerations. Or even considering that they could do harm. By acknowledging you, personally, as an individual, they reinforce the mantra of individualism. What the shit does downstream is not considered.

    “Social consequences”, bah! I can stand on my own two feet.

    I’m having trouble making the logical leap from “It offends me” to “It has objective negative effects”.

    So there is a group of people standing around and one gets singled out for verbal slurs. Xe gets called a “fag” along with who-knows-what else. Xe complains and gets told: “OK, we’ll make a special exception for you, because we are so munificent.”
    How does that make the other LGBT standing around feel? (Perhaps worse. The ERV’s are arbitrary in applying their power to use such slurs with perfect impunity. It is not just reflexive, but conscious.)

  19. Owlmirror says

    I’m having trouble constructing an argument for how bigoted language affects society and hurts people, because Justicar’s rebuttal is that 1. he doesn’t see a mechanism for such a thing,

    Lovely. An argument from ignorance.

    Bigoted language forms a feedback loop to societal bigotry. Calling someone an X as an insult — where X is a slur against an {ethnic group/sex/sexual orientation} or other group — reinforces the notion that being an X is inherently a bad thing.

    This is not rocket sociology/linguistics.

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, does he use slurs against everyone of every minority he meets? If he doesn’t, why not? Why does he think there is any problem with using those terms? Why does he think terms become slurs in the first place?

    Is he really so stupid that he doesn’t understand how ingroups use words as part of being bigoted against outgroups?

    2. bigoted slurs against him don’t bother him.

    Because he has privilege, of course. I have no idea what group he might belong to — I suspect he’s Caucasian, of course — but whatever it is, he’s sufficiently comfortable being a male that he can presumably afford to ignore slurs against whatever ethnic group he might belong to.

    If he is a white male, of course “bigoted” slurs won’t bother him, because society doesn’t actually subtract anything from him for being a white male. As Scalzi put it, he’s playing the game on the easiest setting.

    If he’s actually a member of a minority, he still gets privilege from being male.

    What I did try to tell him is that some words, like slurs based on gender or sexual orientation, are reductionist, and reductionism is part of dehumanization.

    All slurs against minorities are dehumanizing. When using a slur against a minority group, being a member of the majority is implicitly seen as being “good” — i.e., a “proper” human — while being a member of the minority is explicitly seen as being “bad” — i.e., a “defective” human; “less than properly” human.

    I also tried to explain that, regardless of his lack of offense, slurs directed against him have influence separate from him.

    If he’s really a member of a minority, he’s pretty damn ignorant of how much all minorities were and are affected by bigotry — bigotry which is reflected in the use of slurs, and reinforced by the use of slurs.

  20. consciousness razor says

    There are very many rabid individualists there. The whole concept of a larger society appears to be foreign to them. By saying “there are larger consequences” you are refering to their social blind spot.

    It might appear to be foreign to them, or it might seem right to say they just have a “blind spot,” but it should be obvious by now that they know what they’re doing.

    They want to rather deny the problem so they don’t feel hemmed in by the need for such considerations.

    Yes, they’re a bunch of obnoxious denialists. You’re not going to be able to engage them in any kind of rational dialogue and maybe, after way too much effort, shift their positions ever-so-slightly away from bigoted nonsense, or even admitting that it is bigoted nonsense. That would undermine their dearly-held beliefs that rich straight white dudes are better than everyone else, and they know that, and they won’t let that happen.

  21. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    Bigoted language forms a feedback loop to societal bigotry. Calling someone an X as an insult — where X is a slur against an {ethnic group/sex/sexual orientation} or other group — reinforces the notion that being an X is inherently a bad thing.

    Justicar had two responses to this when I made this argument a few days ago:

    1. Calling someone an X is not the problem; bigotry itself (as in the internal positions of the X-ophobe in question) is the problem
    2. Being called an X isn’t going to turn non-X-ophobes into X-ophobes; as a corollary, banning X’s use will not turn X-ophobes into non-X-ophobes.

  22. RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital says

    I mean, for fuck’s sake, does he use slurs against everyone of every minority he meets? If he doesn’t, why not? Why does he think there is any problem with using those terms? Why does he think terms become slurs in the first place?

    I didn’t think to ask, but I assume his response would be that if he didn’t use those terms around certain people, it’d be because they expressed a preference that he not, not that he accepts appeals to bigoted language’s effects beyond the personal feelings of the target.

  23. consciousness razor says

    1. Calling someone an X is not the problem; bigotry itself (as in the internal positions of the X-ophobe in question) is the problem
    2. Being called an X isn’t going to turn non-X-ophobes into X-ophobes; as a corollary, banning X’s use will not turn X-ophobes into non-X-ophobes.

    If you claimed that you were concerned about someone’s “internal positions” or ideas, guess what the next step is for a garden-variety bigoted fuckwit? Thoughtcrime! Oh, Jesus, you’re even more terrible than we could’ve ever imagined!

    What I care about are the consequences of people’s actions — that is what “bigotry itself” is. Changing their opinions about things (or creating laws or policies, etc.) is only a means to that changing that end.

    At least in this way, they’re consistent in their essentialism, which is totally not bogus and heavily dependent on religious bullshit. None of it applies to them, of course, since they’re special snowflakes one and all, but to hypothetical bigots or marginalized people in one of their lazy-ass thought experiments masturbatory fantasies.

  24. Owlmirror says

    Well, the word in question was “fag”, and after the failure of my argument I finally said “Fine, whatever. Even if it is personal, do you respect my boundaries? If I ask you not to use that word around me, would you not?” and pretty much universally everyone said they’d respect my request.

    That’s kinda like agreeing not to call a black friend a “nigger” — “oh no, that’s disrespectful” — while still using it freely against any other people they want to insult.

    They’re still bigots, and they’re still supporting bigotry in using slurs.

  25. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Owlmirror (PENO)

    The Politburo has decided to double your salary with immediate effect.

    2. bigoted slurs against him don’t bother him.

    IIRC, Justicar has identified himself as gay. (I am still perplexed as to why he does not take offence to slurs being used against others. I cannot see how he has not been hurt by homophobic language at some stage.)

    @ RahXephon

    A quick rule of thumb: It is less offensive to insult someone about a trait in themselves that they can change (this more especially applies to their ideas) than it is to insult something that the person has no control over (colour of skin, sex, gender orientation etc). It gets even worse when the slur is generalised to include a whole category of people. It emphasises that persons lack of power for being categorised as such. (The same sickening driving force in Apartheid.)

  26. Owlmirror says

    1. Calling someone an X is not the problem; bigotry itself (as in the internal positions of the X-ophobe in question) is the problem

    Why is calling someone an X not a problem if the use of the term X arose along with the bigotry and is used by bigots to help reinforce the bigotry?

    . Being called an X isn’t going to turn non-X-ophobes into X-ophobes; as a corollary, banning X’s use will not turn X-ophobes into non-X-ophobes.

    Not using X doesn’t mean that bigotry goes away, but why is X used as an insult at all, if not because it’s meant to convey that there’s something implicitly inherently wrong with the minority?

  27. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    RahXephon,

    1. Calling someone an X is not the problem; bigotry itself (as in the internal positions of the X-ophobe in question) is the problem

    But individuals aren’t continuously filled with a certain amount of bigotry. Take the IAT when you’re tired and you’ll probably engage in more stereotyping than when you’re well-rested. Situational effects can cause more oppression; the Goodman study is about exactly this.

    2. Being called an X isn’t going to turn non-X-ophobes into X-ophobes

    That’s probably not true.

    Carnaghi, Maass and Fasoli, Enhancing Masculinity by Slandering Homosexuals: The Role of Homophobic Epithets in Heterosexual Gender Identity, doi 10.1177/0146167211424167

    as a corollary, banning X’s use will not turn X-ophobes into non-X-ophobes.

    The primary effect would be to prevent more people from learning so much bigotry in the first place, but I see no reason to presuppose that reduced exposure to slurs would not somewhat reduce already-learned bigotry.

  28. KG says

    LILAPWL,

    If the choice is random, and if the indeterminism you’re talking about is from quantum effects (which is the only indeterminist source you’ve invoked), then no, the deliberative process is not causing the decision. (If it was, then the choice would not be random.)

    Events can have multiple contributory causes. As I’ve said, the deliberative process could alter the probability of the various outcomes.

    I mean a fully determined choice could be willed, if its proximate cause was a desire the person had. (It just couldn’t be freely willed.)

    A random choice could not be willed, because its proximate cause would be a quantum fluctuation, which was not willed.

    Thanks for the clarification. If a desire alters the probability of outcomes in an indeterministic world, then if the decision went the way that desire motivates, it would be a cause of the outcome.

    If the world is fully deterministic it is physically impossible in a rather trivial sense, and it might be so in some cases even if the world is indeterministic.

    All cases, since quantum events are not willed.

    Eh? Of course they’re not. But how is that supposed to be relevant to my point? In an indeterministic world, it would sometimes be the case that a decision could go either way, so it would be absurd to say it was impossible for the chooser to have chosen differently (though evidently you still want to say it). I was simply noting that sometimes it would not – that sometimes, whatever way all the indeterministic events went, the decision would still be the same.

    Sorry, but the truth is that most people really do think it’s relevant whether they could ever have chosen to choose differently than they did. This is why compatibilism is not true, or is only true for a handful of people who’ve learned to recite compatibilist dogmas.

    Evidence for this claim? People spend vast amounts of time discussing (for example) how the results of sporting contests could have been different if only the manager had selected X, or the referee had not given that absurd decision, or whatever. According to your viewpoint, this is all nonsense, because it was not possible, in any relevant sense, for any of those decisions to have been made differently. Yet many of those taking part in these discussions in Scotland would, within living memory, have been Calvinists, religiously committed to a strict determinism. For that matter, in pre-QM times, a belief in determinism (the “clockwork universe”) was practically universal among the scientifically educated, yet very few seem to have concluded that they did not make choices that they could have made differently.

    Of course it was physically impossible for them to have done otherwise. The purpose of calling out gendered slurs is to give the speaker more incentive to not use those slurs in the future — in other words, to make it physically impossible for them to choose a gendered slur the next time they logically might.

    How can you justify talk about “purpose”, if you object to talk about “choice”? If you look at all the micro-events that are involved in writing a comment online, you won’t find any “purpose” in any one of them, any more than you will “choice”.

    There is no such “moment”.

    There most certainly is, if you’re positing quantum choices.

    I’m not. My position throughout, which I think you agree with, is that the issue of whether the universe is deterministic is pretty much orthogonal to the issue of compatibilism. Here, I’m pointing out that mental events cannot, in general, be located to a “moment” in time. This would only possible if there were a non-physical “soul” to which special relativity does not apply.

  29. KG says

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

    If you, dear reader, think that’s a vacuous notion of “free will”, you’re not alone. – LILAPWL

    The appeal to an assumed applauding audience is a very cheap rhetorical trick. It adds nothing to your arguments.

  30. says

    I was composing a commen yesterday and it became really long, so I was going to put it on my blog. My internet connection happened to fail repeatedly at that time, so I couldn’t. I’ve decided to put it here now, because I am frustrated with the idea that reductionism is the last word on free will.
    It is outmoded, and even though I agree that free will is difficult to imagine at that level, I’ve always held that that isn’t the complete view of things.

    So without further adieu, I’m putting it here for everyone:
    – - -

    “If the brain was so simple that we could understand it, then we would be so simple that we couldn’t.”
    In some ways, asking whether free will exists is a lot like asking whether time really exists. In both cases, it’s different from asking “do unicorns exist?” or “does dark matter exist?” In these examples, we are pretty clear on what the concepts are supposed to denote, and what it would mean for them to actually exist; what’s left is a matter of collecting evidence and judging its value. I take it that this is not what we mean when we ask about the existence of free will.It’s possible to deny the existence of something while using it all the time. Julian Barbour doesn’t believe time is real, but he is perfectly capable of showing up to a meeting on time. Likewise, people who question the existence of free will don’t have any trouble making choices. (John Searle has joked that people who deny free will, when ordering at a restaurant, should say “just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”) Whatever it is we are asking, it’s not simply a matter of evidence.
    When people make use of a concept and simultaneously deny its existence, what they typically mean is that the concept in question is nowhere to be found in some “fundamental” description of reality. Julian Barbour thinks that if we just understood the laws of physics better, “time” would disappear from our vocabulary. Likewise, discussions about the existence of free will often center on whether we really need to include such freedom as an irreducible component of reality, without which our understanding would be fundamentally incomplete.
    This is something I have been saying in the past, and I always say, that reductionism is incomplete in describing our minds – that’s why I always bring up qualia, because feelings of love, the colors we ‘see,’ awareness of our thoughts – these are all indescribable from a reductionist point of view. I have also pointed out that there is a fundamental difference between us, life, and merely describing us as inanimate matter following the laws of physics.

    I have asked why reductionists don’t merely see us as this, just the same way I have asked reductionists how our lives can have meaning.Funny coincidence: several days ago when LILAPWL were going hard, the program “Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design Season 1, Ep. 1 “The Meaning of Life”” came on, and the intro started with the question, “Do we have free will, or is there no meaning to our life”, but I digress.

    I also posited somewhere not that long ago, that our minds are analogous to wave-particle duality in QM. I was trying to explain that we must be looking at the situation from an incomplete and unitary view, that what are minds are doesn’t cohere because we only see it from one perspective, physical, and just a physical descriptions of particles are insufficient to describe what a particle or photon is, our perspective of the thing called our minds does not account for the proper perspective.
    On the one hand, our minds are predetermined in function and output, but from another perspective, we make reasoned choices based upon the ability to choose between alternatives.Well, here(http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2011/07/13/free-will-is-as-real-as-baseball/):

    We talk about the world using different levels of description, appropriate to the question of interest. Some levels might be thought of as “fundamental” and others as “emergent,” but they are all there. Does baseball exist? It’s nowhere to be found in the Standard Model of particle physics. But any definition of “exist” that can’t find room for baseball seems overly narrow to me. It’s true that we could take any particular example of a baseball game and choose to describe it by listing the exact quantum state of each elementary particle contained in the players and the bat and ball and the field etc. But why in the world would anyone think that is a good idea? The concept of baseball is emergent rather than fundamental, but it’s no less real for all of that.Likewise for free will. We can be perfectly orthodox materialists and yet believe in free will, if what we mean by that is that there is a level of description that is useful in certain contexts and that includes “autonomous agents with free will” as crucial ingredients. That’s the “variety of free will worth having,” as Daniel Dennett would put it.I’m not saying anything original — this is a well-known position, probably the majority view among contemporary philosophers. It’s a school of thought called compatibilism: see Wikipedia, or (better) the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Free will as an emergent phenomenon can be perfectly compatible with an underlying materialist view of the world.Of course, just because it can be compatible with the laws of nature, doesn’t mean that the concept of free will actually is the best way to talk about emergent human behaviors. (Just because I know the rules of chess doesn’t make me a grandmaster.) There are still plenty of interesting questions remaining to be clarified. At the very least, there is some kind of tension between a microscopic view in which we’re just made of particles and a macroscopic one in which we have “choices.” David Albert does a great job of articulating this tension in this short excerpt from a Bloggingheads dialogue we did some time back.

    This article isn’t describing scientific fact, but it is clearer than my misguided attempts to explain my position – or at misunderstood, in any event.

    I fully agree that from a particle physics point of view, that we cannot have free will, but then we cannot have life, either. I’m not saying that because we have life, that we then necessarily have free will, no.But it is premature, at the very least, to claim that we don’t have any measure of choice, between viable alternatives. From neuroscience, to psychology, to physics, the view that determinism dictates our behavior exactly is falling out of relevance.

    SC, I didn’t watch the vid you linked to, but I am familiar with at least a couple of views that time is an illusion, or an emergent quality. In fact, on the fundamental realm of particle physics, time IS reversible – completely, yet on our macroscopic level, entropy dictates a flow in one direction only. Gravity is also becoming an uncertain description as a fundamental component of reality as well. There is one theory that is explaining much (although it doesn’t predict certain features of the standard model) by theorizing about a level of reality in which hadrons have a net color charge, and higher spin states than the currently allowed(in the standard model) in 3D descriptions of space. The higher spin particles may exist, producing such things as mass and forces, like gravity.

    So far, physics can not be reliably invoked to either prove, or preclude, a causal explanation that is non-random, yet variable in essence in character.
    Now, as to the problem of brain complexity. Just because we cannot imagine how our minds could operate in an intentionally variable manner, does not mean it can’t. There are ideas formulating that deeply tie multiple two way feedback and variable threshold response that we cannot imagine the complete ramifications of.

    Models of effective connectivity characterize the influence that neuronal populations exert over each other. Additionally, some approaches, for example Dynamic Causal Modelling (DCM) and variants of Structural Equation Modelling, describe how effective connectivity is modulated by experimental manipulations. Mathematically, both are based on bilinear equations, where the bilinear term models the effect of experimental manipulations on neuronal interactions. The bilinear framework, however, precludes an important aspect of neuronal interactions that has been established with invasive electrophysiological recording studies; i.e., how the connection between two neuronal units is enabled or gated by activity in other units. These gating processes are critical for controlling the gain of neuronal populations and are mediated through interactions between synaptic inputs (e.g. by means of voltage-sensitive ion channels). They represent a key mechanism for various neurobiological processes, including top-down (e.g. attentional) modulation, learning and neuromodulation.This paper presents a nonlinear extension of DCM that models such processes (to second order) at the neuronal population level. In this way, the modulation of network interactions can be assigned to an explicit neuronal population. We present simulations and empirical results that demonstrate the validity and usefulness of this model. Analyses of synthetic data showed that nonlinear and bilinear mechanisms can be distinguished by our extended DCM. When applying the model to empirical fMRI data from a blocked attention to motion paradigm, we found that attention-induced increases in V5 responses could be best explained as a gating of the V1 ? V5 connection by activity in posterior parietal cortex. Furthermore, we analysed fMRI data from an event-related binocular rivalry paradigm and found that interactions amongst percept-selective visual areas were modulated by activity in the middle frontal gyrus. In both practical examples, Bayesian model selection favoured the nonlinear models over corresponding bilinear ones.

    [This article has been cited 76 times in Scopus:(Showing the 2 most recent)Daunizeau, J. , Stephan, K.E. , Friston, K.J.Stochastic dynamic causal modelling of fMRI data: Should we care about neural noise?(2012) NeuroImageRosa, M.J. , Friston, K. , Penny, W.Post-hoc selection of dynamic causal models(2012) Journal of Neuroscience MethodsView details of all 76 citations]Okay, I am having a hard time finding anything better, or easier, to simplify what is going on in neuro-imaging and modelling, but I use this as an example of the extreme difficulty in showing any linear, uni-directional causality between brain loci. It is not at all apparent that any of us here have any idea of the possible methods of brain interactions and functions, and there is an incredible amount of two-way feedback – even inside of individual neurons.I am not sure I am understanding this paper correctly; perhaps someone with more specialized knowledge can interpret and explain this better than I, but I do want to EXCLAIM that people like

    Michael Gazzaniga,
    What I meant is that determinism, at one level, suggests that we are kind of just along for the ride. It’s all done for us. Neuroscience is constantly unearthing mechanisms for understanding behavior and cognition. Neuroscience provides more and more evidence for a mechanistic view of the human mind. A lot of people find that bleak and they don’t like it. I say: It’s not bleak, it’s just the way the machine works. The fundamental value that we all hold in human culture is that we want people to be held personally responsible for their actions. Once you learn how the machine works, does that mean that you’re not responsible for your actions because your behavior may be determined? No, I don’t think it means that at all. The idea of social responsibility arises out of a social group. It’s in the laws of interaction between people and you don’t look for it in the brain any more than you’d look for the answer to understand traffic by understanding car parts. It’s another level of organization that you are trying to understand.

    Massimo Piglucci:

    Lately I hear the word “determinism” being thrown around like a trump card for all sorts of arguments, most obviously the recent discussions of free will that we have had on this blog. Moreover, as I already mentioned in passing, I am reading a new book by Alex Rosenberg that feels a lot like Dawkins on steroids (if you can imagine that), a huge portion of which is based on the assumption — which the author thinks he can derive from established and certainly unchangeable physics — of, you guessed it, determinism!

    I got so sick of the smug attitudes that Rosenberg, Coyne, Harris and others derive from their acceptance of determinism — obviously without having looked much into the issue — that I delved into the topic a bit more in depth myself. As a result, I’ve become agnostic about determinism, and I highly recommend the same position to anyone seriously interested in these topics (as opposed to anyone using his bad understanding of physics and philosophy to score rhetorical points).

    Shit, my connection is sporadic.

  31. StevoR says

    I’d rather not mention this subject at all. However, having been wrongly accused of bigotry – something I utterly reject and oppose – and clearly totally misunderstood here by some people; here’s just a few critical things I think I need to point out here in my own defence :

    Bigotry doesn’t mean wishing death on people.

    Wishing death on people doesn’t mean bigotry.

    Bigotry means hating someone because they have a certain skin colour or gender or sexual orientation.

    Jihadist Islam is none of those things. Not a skin colour, not a gender, not a sexual orientation. Jihadist Islam is a bunch of terrorists wanting to kill other people because – among other things – *those other people* are those things. Jihadism is itself a form of bigotry and, yes, Teabagger-”style” Xianity is also such a form of bigotry. Both should and will be fought by anti-bigots like me. Plus I hope the rest of you too.

    Whilst we’re on with it, To correct another absurd assertion made by some here :

    “Brown people”* do NOT equal Muslims and Muslims do NOT equal brown people either.*

    Many Muslims are white or black skinned and the colour of someone’s skin matters not in the slightest to me.

    Them wanting to chop my head off and display their bloodsoaked hands to cameras globally and destroy my culture and so much that I love in the world, OTOH, yeah, that does kinda bother me.

    Moderate Muslims who DON’T to want to do that, I’ve *NO* problem with as long as they accept we need to defend ourselves against the Jihadists who, you’know, *do* want to do that! I do NOT want such moderate Muslims to die. I’d rather they didn’t believe their equally-rubbish-as-Christianity faith but then I’d rather nobody believed in any rubbish faith so they’re equal there to most

    Jihadists have declared war on us – their Jihad is what we’re currently fighting.

    We didn’t choose it. We didn’t start it. We cannot and should not surrender.

    War is a horrble ugly, dreadful thingand Iwish we weren’t inone but realisticaly we are.

    Best course of action, I think, is to win this war and win it as decisively and as quickly as possible however we have to achieve that.

    That’s my view, my opinion, my understanding.

    How is any of that really “bigoted” or illogical or wrong and, if so, where and how, please?

    ++++++++++++++++
    * Actually, most “brown people” to use that ugly skin-shallow melaninist term would probably be Hindu given the population and demographics of India which is 1/4 – or fractionally more – of the world. Plus including the diaspora of Indian people around our planet relative to other ethnicities. FWIW, I cheered on their Chandrayaan Moonprobe, wish them every future success, love a good curry and know that they’re a democracy that I’d happily grant Western status to by virtue of their behaviour.)

  32. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    StevoR, you’re a genocidal bigot. Get the fuck out of here.

  33. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Jihadists have declared war on us – their Jihad is what we’re currently fighting. We didn’t choose it. We didn’t start it. We cannot and should not surrender.

    What Jihadists? Where are these Jihadists? Who is this “we” of whom you write?

    If “we” wanted to surrender, how would we do that?

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Wishing death on people doesn’t mean bigotry.

    Prove it isn’t…Your word is that of a liar, bullshitter, and bigot. Third party evidence, or shut the fuck up. And it is the words of a bigot.

    How is any of that really “bigoted” or illogical or wrong and, if so, where and how, please?

    Anytime you take a group of people and wish to treat them differently than you are treated it is bigotry. End of story. And you wish to treat a class of people differently. Prima facie evidence you are a bigot. Show otherwise with third party evidence…

  35. consciousness razor says

    This is something I have been saying in the past, and I always say, that reductionism is incomplete in describing our minds – that’s why I always bring up qualia, because feelings of love, the colors we ‘see,’ awareness of our thoughts – these are all indescribable from a reductionist point of view.

    That’s false if “reductionism” is supposed to be some caricature which is standing in for physicalism. You can assert those are all indescribable, but you have given absolutely no evidence to support it.

    I fully agree that from a particle physics point of view, that we cannot have free will, but then we cannot have life, either.

    What nonsense. You believe in vitalism, then? Or do you think that’s fallen out of relevance? Again, no evidence.

    From neuroscience, to psychology, to physics, the view that determinism dictates our behavior exactly is falling out of relevance.

    No evidence for this either.

    ———

    here’s just a few critical things I think I need to point out here in my own defence :

    Bigotry doesn’t mean wishing death on people.

    Wishing death on people doesn’t mean bigotry.

    “Wishing death on people” isn’t ethically defensible, with or without bigotry, if that’s meant as anything more than a fantasy, like publicly supporting a war.

    Bigotry means hating someone because they have a certain skin colour or gender or sexual orientation.

    And because of other things, like ethnicity, religious or political views, etc., which don’t depend on any of those. Fuckwit.

    Jihadist Islam is none of those things.

    All of those jihadist Islamist children who’ve died because of the wars we started will be glad to hear it. Oh, wait, I forgot: there are no jihadist Islamist children. Those were just children, and they’re dead. The best course of action, though, must be us “winning,” so we should accept them as “collateral damage” or blame someone else other than ourselves for supporting this bullshit.

    Moderate Muslims who DON’T to want to do that, I’ve *NO* problem with as long as they accept we need to defend ourselves against the Jihadists who, you’know, *do* want to do that!

    You have a strange notion of “defense.” Bombing people on the other side of the planet in a futile war we started is not a defense. It’s an attack.

    Best course of action, I think, is to win this war and win it as decisively and as quickly as possible however we have to achieve that.

    So the best course of action is “whatever means we win.” Do you hear yourself? Don’t you think this is utterly repugnant? What makes you think anyone here wants to read this shit?

  36. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Dear StevoR,

    As promised, I must now ask you: I live in a country that’s part of the zone of action of a group classified as a terrorist organization by the US State Department. Is my death an acceptable cost to win a war “as decisively and as quickly as possible”?

  37. consciousness razor says

    Err, I meant it’s false unless it’s a caricature. If it is a caricature, it can mean whatever mikmik wants it to mean, in which case it’ll just be stupidity.

  38. says

    StevoR, your disgusting and loathsome views will not be accepted here. Ever. Go the fuck away already – go to Free Republic or Moonbattery, where you can be among your own kind, the festering boils on the ass of humanity.

  39. consciousness razor says

    Is my death an acceptable cost to win a war “as decisively and as quickly as possible”?

    Well, you’re “z Třetího Světa.” So saying it’s acceptable wouldn’t be bigotry because that’s not about your skin color, gender or sexual orientation. And as long as it’s not that, it’s ethical. Obviously.

    Fuck, my own sarcasm detector just imploded.

  40. Amphiox says

    Bigotry doesn’t mean wishing death on people.

    Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. In your case it does.

    Wishing death on people doesn’t mean bigotry.

    Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. In your case it does.

    Bigotry means hating someone because they have a certain skin colour or gender or sexual orientation.

    Very conveniently and suspiciously leaving out race, ethnicity, nationality, region, language, religious or spiritual belief, personal habits, political alignment, age, economic status or disability.

    You, StevoR, are NOT ENTITLED to redefine “bigotry” to suit your own selfish purposes.

    Incidentally, hating Islamic Jihadists for being Islamic Jihadists is also bigotry. (Hating them for doing terrible things is not.)

  41. says

    Ah just when I’m feeling down in the dumps I come here and see that I have an opertunity to spank my new favorite rage monkey.

    I’d rather not mention this subject at all. However, having been wrongly accused of bigotry – something I utterly reject and oppose – and clearly totally misunderstood here by some people; here’s just a few critical things I think I need to point out here in my own defence :

    You weren’t misunderstood. People heard exactly what you meant.

    Bigotry doesn’t mean wishing death on people.

    Wishing death on people doesn’t mean bigotry.

    “It’s not personal but you have to die”. Your defense is not looking very good.

    Bigotry means hating someone because they have a certain skin colour or gender or sexual orientation.

    Your defense relies on your defining your behavior away. By your definition antisemitism isn’t bigotry, nor is cripple bashing, or class elitism. You’re just wrong. bigotry can apply to any division that creates an out group or separate demographic. People were at one time bigoted against the left handed FFS. People were bigoted against Irish, Germans or Italians because they were ‘not white’. Christians are constantly bigoted against Non-Christians.

    Jihadist Islam is none of those things. Not a skin colour, not a gender, not a sexual orientation. Jihadist Islam is a bunch of terrorists wanting to kill other people because – among other things

    But remember wanting to kill people isn’t bigoted!

    – *those other people* are those things. Jihadism is itself a form of bigotry and, yes, Teabagger-”style” Xianity is also such a form of bigotry.

    By your definition they are not bigots because they don’t want to kill you because of your race, gender, or sex. It’s because of nationality and/or religion. compleatly outside your NOMA. Or are we playing shithead tenis where you get to use strict definitions in defense but broad ones in offense?

    Both should and will be fought by anti-bigots like me. Plus I hope the rest of you too.

    Listen you little fuck stain. Your problem was that you declare all Muslims and anyone who looks like them as part of the problem. YOU are the one confused on this issue not us. You do not get to play the “i so love the world so much” card when you’re the one calling for total war and advocating genocide. This has always been the issue. You cannot honestly be confused on this so I have to conclude you are a dishonest little bigot.

    Whilst we’re on with it, To correct another absurd assertion made by some here :

    If I were you; I’d stick on actually doing the first correction properly.

    “Brown people”* do NOT equal Muslims and Muslims do NOT equal brown people either.*

    Many Muslims are white or black skinned and the colour of someone’s skin matters not in the slightest to me.

    You are the only fucking one confused on this issue. But hey! There’s that narrow definition again! NET DOWN!

    Them wanting to chop my head off and display their bloodsoaked hands to cameras globally and destroy my culture and so much that I love in the world, OTOH, yeah, that does kinda bother me.

    That is bigotry. You know nothing about the cultures of the ME, of huge populations of Muslims, Arabs, Persians, Africans yet you judge them all according to your caricature view.

    Also if we’re going to talk about displaying bloodsoaked hands in pride what fucking right do you have to complain, AMERICAN!? You sure as fuck weren’t complaining about this when America danced around in glee on corpses of Arabs. Fuck you had a whole day celebrating when OBL or Saddam Hussein died. This is a double standard.

    Moderate Muslims who DON’T to want to do that, I’ve *NO* problem with as long as they accept we need to defend ourselves against the Jihadists who, you’know, *do* want to do that!

    Bullshit, mister, ‘if they don’t want to be killed they can just move away yuk yuk yuk. You do not care about them. You care so much about your nationalistic pride and pants wetting fear that you’re fine with going into another nation, murdering a bunch of people and breaking everyone’s stuff. Then you get mad that those parts of the world don’t accept that as “defending yourself”

    I do NOT want such moderate Muslims to die. I’d rather they didn’t believe their equally-rubbish-as-Christianity faith but then I’d rather nobody believed in any rubbish faith so they’re equal there to most Jihadists have declared war on us – their Jihad is what we’re currently fighting.

    You are a liar. You have expressed before 100% acceptance and approval of that colatoral damage. You have argued FOR massive punishment against nations both in the general and specific.

    We didn’t choose it. We didn’t start it. We cannot and should not surrender.

    Empty bluster. Peace with Honor, stay the course, american exceptionalism.

    You did fucking start it with bad policy.

    War is a horrble ugly, dreadful thingand Iwish we weren’t inone but realisticaly we are.

    Bullshit. It’s not horrible for you at all? What are YOUR costs? economic troubles and some blood on your conscience? The other side’s costs are more than ten fold your loses and have their entire nation pounded into the ground. This isn’t a fucking war this is pest control. Don’t pretend that you’re all burdened by it because you are put in zero risk. You’re more likely to die by choking on breakfast than be killed by an enemy.

    Best course of action, I think, is to win this war and win it as decisively and as quickly as possible however we have to achieve that.

    WHAT WAR!? War was never declared, there is no formal target, no mission objective, no actual goal in sight. This is not a war, this is a permawar that has had the battlefield defined as the entire world. Great job there asshole, Al Queda took down two buildings…your response brought war (which you hate so so SO much) to civilians all around the world. You honestly think that you are so different than them?

    That’s my view, my opinion, my understanding.

    Amazing, you addressed no one’s points against you and showed you have zero understanding. You’re take on the issue is childish.

    How is any of that really “bigoted” or illogical or wrong and, if so, where and how, please?

    Fucking answered a thousand times you little shit stain. You are a promotor of Murder, in my eyes you are a fucking murderer for your support of this. You’re faux display of compassion for MEers is sickening. You’re only lowering your “rah rah rah kill them all flag” because you look bad. You’re selfish and lack the responsibility to even play cops and robbers.

    ++++++++++++++++
    * Actually, most “brown people” to use that ugly skin-shallow melaninist term would probably be Hindu given the population and demographics of India which is 1/4 – or fractionally more – of the world. Plus including the diaspora of Indian people around our planet relative to other ethnicities. FWIW, I cheered on their Chandrayaan Moonprobe, wish them every future success, love a good curry and know that they’re a democracy that I’d happily grant Western status to by virtue of their behaviour.)

    Extreme tunnel vision

    StevoR, go to hell

  42. Amphiox says

    Have you ever considered, StevoR, that these so-called Islamic Jihadists mostly believe they are acting in self-defense? That they perceive us to be an existential threat to them, and because of this, have decided to attack us?

    In other words, StevoR, they are thinking exactly the same way you are.

  43. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Ah just when I’m feeling down in the dumps I come here and see that I have an opertunity to spank my new favorite rage monkey.

    :)

    I wish StevoR wasn’t here, but I’m still happy for you, Ing!

    (Just a note: he’s Australian, but he supports everything America does, and of course Australia was part of the coalition of the willing.)

  44. says

    I wish StevoR wasn’t here, but I’m still happy for you, Ing!

    Don’t be…it’s a hollow not-joy that pretty much only lets me achieve enough procrastination before I drag myself to the shower and deal with how much of the day is already lost….sorry rambling.

  45. says

    That’s false if “reductionism” is supposed to be some caricature which is standing in for physicalism. You can assert those are all indescribable, but you have given absolutely no evidence to support it.

    Sure I have, many times. Here’s more:
    See Mary’s Room, and The Hard Problem of Consciousness, and Qualia.
    The Hard problem link is good, and it is an objective overview that describes the ‘problem’ from both reductionist and non-reductionist standpoints.
    Models of consciousness really delves into:

    A model of consciousness is a theoretical description that relates brain properties of consciousness (e.g., fast irregular electrical activity, widespread brain activation) to phenomenal properties of consciousness (e.g., qualia, a first-person-perspective, the unity of a conscious scene). Because of the diverse nature of these properties (Seth et al. 2005), useful models can be either mathematical/logical or verbal/conceptual.
    [...]
    Summary
    Because consciousness is a rich biological phenomenon, it is likely that a satisfactory scientific theory of consciousness will require the specification of detailed mechanistic models. The models of consciousness surveyed in this article vary in terms of their level of abstraction as well as in the aspects of phenomenal experience that they are proposed to explain. At present, however, no single model of consciousness appears sufficient to account fully for the multidimensional properties of conscious experience. Moreover, although some of these models have gained prominence, none has yet been accepted as definitive, or even as a foundation upon which to build a definitive model.


    I fully agree that from a particle physics point of view, that we cannot have free will, but then we cannot have life, either.

    What nonsense. You believe in vitalism, then? Or do you think that’s fallen out of relevance? Again, no evidence.

    Reductionism can mean either (a) an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things or (b) a philosophical position that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents.[1] This can be said of objects, phenomena, explanations, theories, and meanings.

    Reductionism strongly reflects a certain perspective on causality. In a reductionist framework, phenomena that can be explained completely in terms of relations between other more fundamental phenomena, are called epiphenomena. Often there is an implication that the epiphenomenon exerts no causal agency on the fundamental phenomena that explain it.

    Reductionism does not preclude the existence of what might be called emergent phenomena, but it does imply the ability to understand those phenomena completely in terms of the processes from which they are composed. This reductionist understanding is very different from that usually implied by the term ‘emergence’, which typically intends that what emerges is more than the sum of the processes from which it emerges.
    Reductionism does not consider anything to be alive. It is an emergent property.

    The pseudo-scientific doctrine of Physical Reductionism – that life has no spiritual dimension – is sometimes openly stated, but often jjust accepted as the default materialist view.

    Reductionism states that:

    The mind is nothing but the brain.
    The brain is nothing but a biological system.
    Biological systems are nothing but chemical interactions.
    Chemical interactions are nothing but physical interactions.
    Therefore the mind is nothing but a set of physical interactions.

    This hierarchy exists as bottom-up `objective reality’. If you removed the top level then the rest of the structure would be unaffected.

    From a Buddhist standpoint, the reductionist argument is flawed at the top (‘The Hard Problem’). It is flawed at the bottom (quantum-mind interactions and the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics), it is flawed in the middle (the problem of emergence), and it is flawed ontologically (There is no inherently-existent objective reality. Mother nature doesn’t make statements, she only answers questions, and the questioner is part of the system).

    From SEoP: -http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reduction-biology/-

    2. Historical Background: Philosophical and Scientific

    And what, asks Ailsa at random, as she flicks through the pages of Darwin, is morphology? Morphology is dead rabbits in formalin, says Humphrey. (M. Drabble, The Sea Lady, 225)

    Undoubtedly, the growth and development of molecular biology over the past half century has made reductionism in biology a central issue (and DNA a household word). But it would be wrong to assume that the different aspects of reductionism only gain traction in the wake of the molecularization of biology juxtaposed with the discussion of reduction from a logical empiricist perspective (see Section 3.1). Besides a perennial concern with what makes life distinctive, we can distinguish at least two reductionist themes throughout history relevant to the life sciences and its philosophy: (1) the relation among different branches or domains of knowledge and (2) the relation between parts and wholes (Grene and Depew 2004, Magner 1994). These two themes link up in a complex fashion with both epistemic and ontological types of reduction. (Questions about methodological reduction tend to coalesce around new technologies that open up the possibility of pursuing reductionist research methods, such as making observations at a lower level with microscopy.) Additionally, these themes arise in the context of specific domains of enduring interest: (a) the complex relations among different animals and plants in natural environments, i.e., “ecology”, (b) the integrated relations among the parts and whole of an organism, i.e., “physiology/functional anatomy”, and (c) the dynamic relations among the homogeneous components in the early stages of an embryo that eventually beget a unified whole organism containing heterogeneous parts in appropriate arrangement and connection, i.e., “development/reproduction”.

    I’ve said time and time again that determinism does not predict consciousness and the emergence of life:

    2. Epistemological Emergence

    When we turn to the contemporary scene, easily the more popular approach to emergence descends from Alexander, not Mill and Broad. Though details differ, representatives of this approach characterize the concept of emergence strictly in terms of limits on human knowledge of complex systems. Emergence for such theorists is fundamentally an epistemological, not metaphysical, category. (Hence, their views of emergence are in fact weaker still than Alexander’s position. Alexander held that emergent qualities were metaphysically primitive, although they did not alter the fundamental physical dynamics.) The two most common versions are these:

    Predictive: Emergent properties are systemic features of complex systems which could not be predicted (practically speaking; or for any finite knower; or for even an ideal knower) from the standpoint of a pre-emergent stage, despite a thorough knowledge of the features of, and laws governing, their parts.

    Irreducible-Pattern: Emergent properties and laws are systemic features of complex systems governed by true, lawlike generalizations within a special science that is irreducible to fundamental physical theory for conceptual reasons. The macroscopic patterns in question cannot be captured in terms of the concepts and dynamics of physics. Although he does not use the language of emergence, Jerry Fodor (1974) expresses this view nicely in speaking of the ‘immortal economist’ who vainly tries to derive economic principles from a knowledge of physics and the distribution of physical qualities in space-time.

    And here: -http://cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/notabene/emergent-properties.html-

    This is of course part of the continual argument about reductionism, and those most enamoured of emergent properties tend to be anti-reductionists. (I freely confess to being a reductionist, and thinking my opponents wooly-headed on this issue. For what follows, no warranty, express or implied, etc.) This term is used in a couple of senses, only one of which should trouble reductionists.

    The weakest sense
    Is also the most obvious. An emergent property is one which arises from the interaction of “lower-level” entities, none of which show it. No reductionism worth bothering with would be upset by this. The volume of a gas, or its pressure or temperature, even the number of molecules in the gas, are not properties of any individual molecule, though they depend on the properties of those individuals, and are entirely explicable from them; indeed, predictable well in advance.
    Prediction
    As above, but now we add the caveat that “the new property could not be predicted from a knowledge of the lower-level properties.” Note that we cannot know that something is an emergent in this sense; we can only know that it cannot be predicted by us, with our current abilities. But “predict” is, here, ambiguous. It could mean foresee or prognosticate (i.e., make a statement about a future event which proves to be true), or it could mean deduce or explain — what is sometimes called retrodiction. The “foresee” sense doesn’t seem very important, because we typically invent a micro-level theory to explain an already-observed macro-level phenomenon. It is of course very nice indeed if the micro-theory predicts a new macro-phenomenon, which on investigation is found to happen; but this makes emergence an accidental result of what we happened to notice first.
    Retrodiction or Explanation
    “An emergent is a higher-level property, which cannot be deduced from or explained by the properties of the lower-level entities.” This is almost troubling. The key is in “properties.” Reductionists — sane ones, anyhow — don’t deny that things interact; we spend a great deal of time worrying about those interactions. If by “properties” is meant just properties in the logical sense, then of course there are emergents, but so what? In this sense, pressure and volume are emergents.

    Is that enough to answer you arguments once and for all?

    C’mon, cr, you know that I have very good and well researched reasons for my statements. I would like to see where you get yours.

  46. Muse says

    So I see other people are handing StevoR his ass so I’ll make only this comment

    love a good curry

    Really? Really?

  47. says

    As stupid as StevOR is, he’s actually an Aussie. Which shouldn’t exactly fill anyone with relief at him not being racist, just saying that he’s not personally responsible for the stupid shit the USA does.

    Mind, he still covers for us in hilariously stupid ways. “The USA does not hate countries” indeed.

    Bigotry means hating someone because they have a certain skin colour or gender or sexual orientation.

    Leaving out social class, race-that-isn’t-skin-colour-based (Mestizo-descended people in South America are pretty frequently, fucking horrid to native american-descended people, you ignorant fuck), gender identity, able-ness, neurotypicalness… yeah that’s a strong start.

  48. says

    Oh my god, he’s seriously talking about bestowing “Western” status on countries that meet his approval. FUcking white people. You don’t even know what that word means. Fuck.

  49. consciousness razor says

    You can assert those are all indescribable, but you have given absolutely no evidence to support it.

    Sure I have, many times. Here’s more:
    See Mary’s Room, and The Hard Problem of Consciousness, and Qualia.

    ZERO EVIDENCE. Do you understand that? Philosophers making unsupported assertions (or just dribbling incoherently) is also not evidence.

  50. ChasCPeterson says

    hmmmm…it’s a term from geography, isn’t it?
    I think that’s right…

  51. consciousness razor says

    Missed this:

    The pseudo-scientific doctrine of Physical Reductionism – that life has no spiritual dimension

    Would you consider free will part of the “spiritual dimension,” and what the fuck does that mean?

  52. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    KG,

    If the choice is random, and if the indeterminism you’re talking about is from quantum effects (which is the only indeterminist source you’ve invoked), then no, the deliberative process is not causing the decision. (If it was, then the choice would not be random.)

    Events can have multiple contributory causes. As I’ve said, the deliberative process could alter the probability of the various outcomes.

    Sigh. No. Sorry. You’re just plain wrong in this case. A lot of our disagreements on this issue are due to words, but this is physics, it’s not negotiable.

    Quantum events are apparently uncaused. If the choice is due to a quantum fluctuation, then any apparent considerations are in fact not causal.

    Thanks for the clarification. If a desire alters the probability of outcomes in an indeterministic world, then if the decision went the way that desire motivates, it would be a cause of the outcome.

    I know it seems intuitive that way, but it isn’t true. Sorry.

    If the world is fully deterministic it is physically impossible in a rather trivial sense, and it might be so in some cases even if the world is indeterministic.

    All cases, since quantum events are not willed.

    Eh? Of course they’re not. But how is that supposed to be relevant to my point?

    You suggested “it might be so” that for any particular choice a person made, it was impossible for them to have chosen to choose differently than they did, “in some cases.”

    I’m just correcting an error of language. It’s not a matter of might or some.

    In an indeterministic world, it would sometimes be the case that a decision could go either way,

    Yes.

    so it would be absurd to say it was impossible for the chooser to have chosen differently

    Now you’ve mangled my words a bit.

    The point is not that it’s impossible for the person to have chosen differently.

    The point is that it’s impossible for the person to have chosen to choose differently.

    If the choice is unwilled, then they are not choosing to choose differently. They are just randomly, unwillingly “choosing.”

    I was simply noting that sometimes it would not – that sometimes, whatever way all the indeterministic events went, the decision would still be the same.

    Correct; this just isn’t an objection to my reformulation (in response to your smoker example).

    Evidence for this claim?

    I’m not aware of any public polling on the importance of alternative possibilities.

    But every time we have this discussion at Pharyngula with people who aren’t yet convinced of compatibilist dogmas, someone demonstrates an aversion to the realization that it was impossible for them ever to have chosen to choose otherwise than they did in any instance.

    This time around, it’s mikmik who’s expressing some distress about it. (NB: he says he’s a compatibilist, but I’m pretty sure he’s actually a mysterian of some kind, since he doesn’t yet appear to accept anything effectively like determinism.)

    Previously, Coyote had a problem with it, and Bill had a big problem not so much with the reality of it but with calling any of this “choice”.

    It often takes positive training to learn to see the impossibility of ever having chosen to choose otherwise as compatible with “free will”. Most people on Earth just have not been exposed to this training.

    People spend vast amounts of time discussing (for example) how the results of sporting contests could have been different if only the manager had selected X, or the referee had not given that absurd decision, or whatever.

    That people also have other considerations about possibilities is not evidence that they don’t think it’s relevant whether they could ever have chosen to choose differently than they did. It’s just another thing they think about.

    According to your viewpoint, this is all nonsense, because it was not possible, in any relevant sense, for any of those decisions to have been made differently.

    Indeed it was not possible, in any relevant sense, for any of those decisions to have been made differently — however, it doesn’t follow that these discussions are 100% nonsense. They are thought experiments, existentially meaningful to the degree that they may inform anyone’s future considerations, and perhaps otherwise meaningful as intellectual exercises.

    Yet many of those taking part in these discussions in Scotland would, within living memory, have been Calvinists, religiously committed to a strict determinism.

    Yeah, heddle has made me think that Calvinist determinism is in fact a form of compatibilism. Whether heddle is reporting a personal, idiosyncratic understanding, I don’t know for sure.

    For that matter, in pre-QM times, a belief in determinism (the “clockwork universe”) was practically universal among the scientifically educated, yet very few seem to have concluded that they did not make choices that they could have made differently.

    Well a lot of them also entertained metaphysical dualism. But what’s the relevance of this? People don’t always think through the implications of all their beliefs.

    Indeed that they were motivated to believe in the possibility of having chosen to choose differently is support for my point — people tend to want this ability even though they can’t have it. If this is what you believe about pre-QM times, then you already have the evidence for my claim that “most people really do think it’s relevant whether they could ever have chosen to choose differently than they did.”

    How can you justify talk about “purpose”, if you object to talk about “choice”?

    People do some things for intentional reasons. That is the purpose why they do things.

    If you look at all the micro-events that are involved in writing a comment online, you won’t find any “purpose” in any one of them, any more than you will “choice”.

    Why would I limit myself to looking at the micro-events?

    There most certainly is, if you’re positing quantum choices.

    I’m not.

    At some times, you have been: “There’s no [...] contradiction in saying that a choice is random and non-deliberate [...] and saying it is a choice”.

    If you don’t want to posit quantum choices then that’s fine.

    My position throughout, which I think you agree with, is that the issue of whether the universe is deterministic is pretty much orthogonal to the issue of compatibilism.

    Of course. My position is that compatibilism is a word game, such that well-formed compatibilisms are tautologically true, shallow, and socially destructive.

    Here, I’m pointing out that mental events cannot, in general, be located to a “moment” in time. This would only possible if there were a non-physical “soul” to which special relativity does not apply.

    If you’re taking a “moment” to be infinitesimally small, fine, but then there’s no such thing as a moment. I’d prefer the term retain some meaning. Should we specify how many Planck units are too many?

    But if the time for a quantum fluctuation can be called a moment, and if quantum fluctuations are causes of choices, then some choices are momentary.

    And if we leave out such quantum choices, such that all choices are temporally extended processes as you say, then during those temporally extended processes, it isn’t possible for the person to willfully choose otherwise than they’re doing, given the particular influences impinging. (This formulation applies equally well to quantum choices too.)

    The appeal to an assumed applauding audience is a very cheap rhetorical trick. It adds nothing to your arguments.

    Cheap trick or not, I’ll be the judge of whether it’s useful.

    My assumption is that your compatibilism is chronic and untreatable. I speak to the audience because I want to prevent the social disease from spreading.

  53. Walton says

    FWIW, I cheered on their Chandrayaan Moonprobe, wish them every future success, love a good curry and know that they’re a democracy that I’d happily grant Western status to by virtue of their behaviour.)

    “Some of my best friends are Indian!”

    *headdesk*

  54. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    you object to talk about “choice”

    I should address this further. I don’t strongly object to all talk about choice. I’m not wholly comfortable with it, since I feel the word tends to imply the physical existence of willed alternative possibilities, but if we’re explicit about the lack of such then I do think it’s nearly enough coherent to talk about some events as fully determined choices, willed as such, if the proximate cause of the event was a desire the person had. It’s a “random choice” which I think is utterly incoherent, because its proximate cause would be a quantum fluctuation, which was not willed.

  55. Walton says

    Bigotry means hating someone because they have a certain skin colour or gender or sexual orientation.

    This is simplistic. There are a great many other prejudices and inequalities you’re ignoring, including but not limited to: socio-economic status; nationality; immigration status; religion and belief; ethnicity, culture and language; and gender identity and expression.

    You have a very simplistic view of what bigotry is. Words and actions which perpetuate the oppression of already-oppressed minorities are bigoted words and actions, regardless of your intent; and by that standard, your words are bigoted. You’re enthusiastically defending acts of state violence which have led to the avoidable deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East. You’re doing this from your comfortable position of privilege, as a white person in a safe Western country: you don’t have any clue about the real humanitarian consequences of the state violence which you support.

    And you’re promoting prejudice and hostility towards Muslims, a religious and cultural minority who are already oppressed and marginalized. Muslims in Western countries are frequent targets of the xenophobic far right; they get harassed in the streets, demonized and vilified, and even targeted in violent attacks by far-right groups (see, for instance, the English Defence League). Anti-Muslim rhetoric is also used by far-right activists in campaigning for restrictions on immigration, policies which have led to thousands of (mostly poor and non-white) migrants being locked up in detention centres. It’s all very well for you to argue that Islam is a religion rather than a race, but this ignores the actual real-world consequences of promoting anti-Muslim hatred.

  56. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    If only people like StevoR liked falafel…imagine how many lives might be saved

    My guess is that he denies there’s such a thing as a falafel and that according to StevoR the falafel is a lie by the Egyptian-born Yasir Arafat to propagate the myth that’s there’s such a thing as a Palestinian.

  57. A. R says

    Hmm, I’m glad I just got all of my immunizations updated, this thread is looking very much like a place where they may be needed now that StevoR has shown his head.

  58. says

    consciousness razor
    3 July 2012 at 10:55 am

    You can assert those are all indescribable, but you have given absolutely no evidence to support it.

    Sure I have, many times. Here’s more:
    See Mary’s Room, and The Hard Problem of Consciousness, and Qualia.

    ZERO EVIDENCE. Do you understand that? Philosophers making unsupported assertions (or just dribbling incoherently) is also not evidence.

    NO ONE HAS EVER DESCRIBED THESE, OR EXPLAINED HOW THEY ARISE. WHERE IS YOUR “EVIDENCE?”
    You know as well as I that the only way to tell is to actually fucking explain it one way or another, and questioning whether, or how, it can be done is a philisophical question, because there is ZERO scientific theory to fucking explain these phenomena.
    None, nada, zilch. I have said many times, on my own, that it is obvious reductionism is incapable of predicting or explaining any mechanism whatsoever of accounting for qualia.
    None, zero, zilch, nada!
    And I provided all kinds of links, neuroscientific, philosophical, and psychological that agree with this view, FFS.
    You cannot say one way or another whether free will definitely exists, or doesn’t, because there is no evidence to support either viewpoint excepting empirical evidence that we in fact DO have free-will.

    LILAPWL:
    This time around, it’s mikmik who’s expressing some distress about it. (NB: he says he’s a compatibilist, but I’m pretty sure he’s actually a mysterian of some kind, since he doesn’t yet appear to accept anything effectively like determinism.)

    Where would you get that idea? I never said the hard problem was unresolvable?” I even say that from a reductionist viewpoint, that free-will is impossible. I’ve said that I have looked really deep into my decision making process, and I can’t tell if it is predetermined, or not, but that I cannot say it is ‘free’ with any confidence.
    I have given links to definitions of compatibilism, and I have done so to support what I am explaining about my position on matters. I THINK, FOR SURE – 100% – THAT PHYSICALISM IS TRUE, THAT EVERYTHING CAN BE EXPLAINED BY KNOWN LAWS OF PHYSICS.

    There is not one spec of doubt, LILAPW, where I stand, so how can you be uncertain? It is YOUR problem of comprehension, not mine.

    New mysterianism is a philosophical position proposing that the hard problem of consciousness cannot be resolved by humans. The unresolvable problem is how to explain the existence of qualia.

    I even stated, that the link I gave to the overview of reductionism, was an objective review, and in fact the guy that put it together is a hard determinist. It has discussion that some reductionists do not hold the position that there is a hard problem of consciousness!


    Previously, Coyote had a problem with it, and Bill had a big problem not so much with the reality of it but with calling any of this “choice”. = I see little reason to focus on an analogy when you are apparently getting the fact itself wrong. Do you understand that you could not have chosen Food Y instead?

    You see, LILAPWL, I cannot comprehend what you are linking to being of any relevance. It is an opinion FFS!

    Coyne is fucked up when it comes to his understanding, and use of, “going back in time to the same place and deciding differently,” as has been shown many times, the least of which was ME doing it. He could not even comprehend what Massimo Pilgucci meant when MP said that it is a faulty thought experiment because going back to that decision moment doesn’t include the idea that “I could have chosen differently if I had wanted to,” because it is meaningless to say there is ONE SINGLE INSTANT THAT COMPRISES A DECISION.

    kel said it earlier, and my link to the research paper, by an fMRI neurologist’s published data, that has been cited 76 times, that there is no such thing as a ‘point of decision,’ or even a ‘where it occurs!’

    Here is yet another of myriad articles and research and philosophy that deconstructs a paper For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything..
    The linked page to pubmed is chock full of neuroscience stuff, neuroscience and law, neuroscience and responsibility… Fill your boots. Maybe you guys can find something concrete to support you viewpoints so I don’t have to argue against trivial blabbering. ;)
    – - -

    Here is an interesting research bit that includes graphical plotting of fMRI results, with explanations for their findings, and it is an example of something I’m becoming more aware of being a growing area of interest in neuro-psychiatric and neuro-biological studies and tests.
    The neurobiology of decision-making and responsibility: reconciling mechanism and mindedness.

    Abstract

    This essay reviews recent developments in neurobiology which are beginning to expose the mechanisms that underlie some elements of decision-making that bear on attributions of responsibility. These “elements” have been mainly studied in simple perceptual decision tasks, which are performed similarly by humans and non-human primates. Here we consider the role of neural noise, and suggest that thinking about the role of noise can shift the focus of discussions of randomness in decision-making away from its role in enabling alternate possibilities and toward a potential grounding role for responsibility.

    Here is a challenge. Find any two credible(not already refuted) papers or published article from each of these fields: Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Theoretical Physics, that hold that they are 100% certain that the incompatibilist, determinist view that we do not have free will is proven.

    I will refute them, or show their weaknesses, probably without even looking anything up – except to support my opinion, if necessary.

    I am almost at the point of calling people liars that say that, for sure, we do not have free will. That is an indefensible position, by a long shot. It is especially ironic coming from a person that belittles philosophical analysis, and from anyone that subscribes to understanding what science is.

    I was told that compatibilism was based on old ideas, and that it isn’t a ‘mainstream’ view in philosophy.
    I showed you multiple explanations by philosophical sources that both are incorrect, and I linked to the

    The PhilPapers Surveys Results, Analysis and Discussion

    The PhilPapers Survey was a survey of professional philosophers and others on their philosophical views, carried out in November 2009. The Survey was taken by 3226 respondents, including 1803 philosophy faculty members and/or PhDs and 829 philosophy graduate students.


    Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?
    Accept or lean toward: compatibilism 550 / 931 (59%)
    Other 139 / 931 (14.9%)
    Accept or lean toward: libertarianism 128 / 931 (13.7%)
    Accept or lean toward: no free will 114 / 931 (12.2%)


  59. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    There is not one spec of doubt, LILAPW, where I stand, so how can you be uncertain? It is YOUR problem of comprehension, not mine.

    Could be. I just said I thought you’re a mysterian. You sometimes say things which give me that impression, while you do not say things which obviously indicate to me an understanding of compatibilism.

    Like I said before, I have a hard time with your writing.

    KG is a compatibilist who I understand almost perfectly. It is always very clear to me what he means by free will: “I’m free to decide otherwise (say in the case of spending $1000 on a good cause or personal enjoyment) in the sense that if my motives were different, I would.”

    I can’t tell what you think it means.

    Sorry if I pissed you off by saying I thought you’re a mysterian. It was not meant as an insult. There are a lot of interesting mysterian arguments which I think are wrong but are not stupid.

  60. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    However, if you’re going to complain about me calling you a mysterian, then I want it noted that I am not a reductionist.

  61. A. R says

    OK. I know there aren’t any real rules on this thread, but could we take the free will discussion elsewhere? I was interested at first, but it is just obnoxious now.

  62. says

    life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ
    Quit being so nice, you … you determinist!
    Plus, if I am so emotional about it, I have to admit that maybe the idea of hard determinism, or the reductionist view, DOES bother me more than I think, or I am really trying to convince myself, and not others so much.
    I hope you know that I have great respect for you and consciousness razor and almost every regular here at Pharyngula.
    I do apologize, again!, for getting excited. I mean it more as a debating technique. I really wish there was a more complete method for communicating here, and by that I mean that in person, I use a lot of body language and eye rolls etc., and for some reason, people think I am a nice guy, and gentle, to boot!

    Enough excuses. I can see why you suspected me of being a mysterian, and at first glance, I was intrigued.
    Sigh, there are things I want to know before I die, and the main question that haunts me is ‘who are we, what is our mind?’
    I keep bringing up this need to explain qualia and thoughts and other mental activity in completely mechanical, or bio-chemical(including electro-chemical) manners, because they are me. I want to know exactly what I am made of almost as much as why the universe is here in the first place. (And even more so, why is anything that could have caused our universe there in the first place, and fuck off scifi, right now!)
    I am my desires, values, thoughts, behaviors, and certain things I cannot ever convey to others, and it is so very important, to me, to find my/our center of ‘self’ and what makes us individuals.
    I think our individuality is the most beautiful concept in existence. I want us all to be self generating; I want us to be who we think we are(double meaning, as in think into existence, and also perceive). Nothing fascinates me more, than what makes us tick, and I even value trolls and obstinate whackos because I find it interesting trying to pry their deep motivations out of them.

    Fuck, I need to get out more often!

    I was just looking up eliminative materialism and came across this: Philosophy of Mind .Info. LOL, this is something I have thought about lately – Personal Identity. An example from the site:

    According to David Hume, the idea of an enduring self is an illusion. A person is simply a collection of mental states at a particular time; there is no separate subject of these mental states over and above the states themselves.

    I remember puzzling over the paradox of continuity in particle physics. It cannot be stated conclusively, that a particle in an interaction that’s detected first in one position, and then the next, and the next, is the same particle following a path. Only can it be stated that there is a particle at P1, and then there is a particle at P2, and on. It is intuitively obvious to us, but the fact that all particles of one type are identical to each other, it is impossible to say more than ‘something is first here, then there, and it could be new manifestations of a particle appearing at each position.’
    Again, I find analogy to life in quantum mechanics, so what makes us so sure that we are the same entity from one – lets say year – to the next?

    Anyways, there is no category at that site that fits me exactly, except that Interactionism is very close, however this person seems to keep on inserting the idea of a separate mind from the body, and I’ve always held that our thoughts can cause other thoughts, and cause physical movement. It doesn’t mean our thoughts are not ‘brain states’, just that how brain states fit into the causal chain of events.
    Functionalism is kind of close, as well.

    life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ, I really take statements like saying that I appear to be a mysterian as either a shortcoming of some part of my communication, or good natured ribbing. Any excuse for my ranting, I will, unfortunately, accept ;)

  63. says

    Okay, I will. I’ll start putting long winded meandering on blog and link to it, in future topics comments.

  64. consciousness razor says

    NO ONE HAS EVER DESCRIBED THESE, OR EXPLAINED HOW THEY ARISE. WHERE IS YOUR “EVIDENCE?”

    Being undescribed is not the same as undescribable. Also note that the burden of describing and explaining them lies on the one claiming there are such things. I doubt you’re doing this deliberately. I think your writing is just sloppy and that you’re not being very careful about the logical structure of what you’re saying.

    I have said many times, on my own, that it is obvious reductionism is incapable of predicting or explaining any mechanism whatsoever of accounting for qualia.

    Is there a point to this? Indeterminism doesn’t need to rely on reductionism, not even your wacky version of it.

    I also don’t know how you think qualia are relevant in a discussion about free will, but maybe we’re not talking about free will anymore — or reductionism or incompatibilism or even qualia. I don’t know. It’s a mess.

    In case you haven’t already read it, this is a nice little essay by Dennett: Quining Qualia

  65. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ, I really take statements like saying that I appear to be a mysterian as either a shortcoming of some part of my communication, or good natured ribbing. Any excuse for my ranting, I will, unfortunately, accept ;)

    Oh, I totally don’t blame you though, mikmik. I hate being misunderstood; it’s probably in my top five hates. So as I misunderstood you, it’s boooooooo and I wish I hadn’t done it.

    +++++
    Much as I like A. R’s company, I have zero intention of refraining from free will discussion — indeed I sort of was pretending to myself that this was the week I was going to get around to unanswered posts about it — but I appreciate any excuse to procrastinate a couple more days. Maybe til this weekend.

  66. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    RahXephon,

    Whether people understand what the porcupine thing is about or not, I think it’s becoming a rhetorical liability, because people are latching on to it as a bad thing.

    It should be, and probably is, perfectly obvious to everyone that you’re correct about this.

    I don’t know if I give a fuck, but yeah.

    I don’t think we can grow Pharyngula with the level of hostility I’ve seen.

    Mmmmmmmm, welllll, hostility-wise it’s probably primarily dependent upon PZ’s personality. (Which I can’t fairly gauge, since he and I have been at odds for years now. It seems to me like it’s getting worse but that’s functionally indistinguishable from my piling on new grievances.)

    But as for something we can make a difference about — I don’t think we can grow Pharyngula with the level of dishonesty and disregard for what the fuck someone said that usually goes on here.

    There is an antidote. And it isn’t asking people to be more honest. You gotta make them pre-empt themselves and call themselves out for their bullshit before you do. Everybody will hate you for it, but I can attest that it’s inherently rewarding anyways.

  67. Louis says

    I’m thinking StevoR is the reason I don’t run in tube stations.

    I’m also thinking that this:

    “Yeah, heddle has made me think…” from LILAPWL should never be said by anyone ever. Anywhere.

    I’m only serious about one of those things.

    Louis

  68. Walton says

    OK. I know there aren’t any real rules on this thread, but could we take the free will discussion elsewhere? I was interested at first, but it is just obnoxious now.

    No. Because there is nowhere else to take it. People get irritated if we talk about it at TET, and it would be a derail on most other threads. This is the only place where we do get to discuss it.

    And it’s an extremely important topic – since, if LILAPWL and I are right about it, then our society’s conception of “justice” is morally incoherent, and we need to completely rethink the way we talk about morality. It affects every other debate about every other subject.

  69. Nightjar says

    So, am I the only one not participating* in the free will discussion who actually doesn’t mind it/reads with interest anyway?

    *I don’t have time. If any of you sees me becoming involved, please remind me of that.

  70. Louis says

    Oh and the irony of it being in a “zombie” thread is not lost on me either.

    Louis

  71. John Morales says

    Walton responds thus:

    OK. I know there aren’t any real rules on this thread, but could we take the free will discussion elsewhere? I was interested at first, but it is just obnoxious now.

    No. Because there is nowhere else to take it. People get irritated if we talk about it at TET, and it would be a derail on most other threads. This is the only place where we do get to discuss it.

    Yup.

    (sniff!)

  72. says

    I also don’t know how you think qualia are relevant in a discussion about free will, but maybe we’re not talking about free will anymore — or reductionism or incompatibilism or even qualia. I don’t know. It’s a mess.

    In case you haven’t already read it, this is a nice little essay by Dennett: Quining Qualia

    Okay, I like hearing myself talk, and I meander whimsically. At least it seems like it, I suppose.
    [Background info]
    One time, in therapy(goofy shrug), e person said that they often didn’t understand what I was talking about, but later, and for whatever reason, they would ‘get’ what I was saying, and they were impressed.
    Another person I know on a webdev forum(and later my own), always knew instantly what I was talking about, and reacted and bantered in ways that seemed mysterious to most others. The Dr. of Psychology(wicked at SEO – we got to #8 on Google for Web Dev forums) in our group used to marvel at this, and he said that the two of us must be speaking a language that only the two of us understood.
    So I appreciate that I don’t make sense at the best of times[eye roll], and I have problems with punctuation and commas and compound sentences, so I likely don’t(obviously) make sense.
    See? I told you I like to talk about myself!
    [end irrelevant background info]
    I’m gonna take a technical writing course write away here(it was a pun). Then, when my writing doesn’t make sense, it will be so in a technically correct form!
    – - -
    I wasn’t really aware that qualia, and our subjective experiences of our minds, where considered unimportant by some – many – for valid philosophical reasons! My only experience with the idea was with an eliminative materialist, named eamon, at the Rationally Speaking blog. The thing is, other people(one guy, lol) agreed with me and my stance that qualia are important to consider.

    Surely you are aware of this difficulty that compatibilists have with reductionists and incompatibilists of the determinist bent?

    But, I thank you for the link to Dennet’s article. I will read the rest of it in a bit, but I am biased already because he says in the intro:

    What are qualia, exactly? This obstreperous query is dismissed by one author (“only half in jest”) by invoking Louis Armstrong’s legendary reply when asked what jazz was: “If you got to ask, you ain’t never gonna get to know.” (Block, 1978, p.281) This amusing tactic perfectly illustrates the presumption that is my target. If I succeed in my task, this move, which passes muster in most circles today, will look as quaint and insupportable as a jocular appeal to the ludicrousness of a living thing–a living thing, mind you!–doubting the existence of lan vital.

    My claim, then, is not just that the various technical or theoretical concepts of qualia are vague or equivocal, but that the source concept, the “pretheoretical” notion of which the former are presumed to be refinements, is so thoroughly confused that even if we undertook to salvage some “lowest common denominator” from the theoreticians’ proposals, any acceptable version would have to be so radically unlike the ill-formed notions that are commonly appealed to that it would be tactically obtuse–not to say Pickwickian–to cling to the term. Far better, tactically, to declare that there simply are no qualia at all.

    Far better tactically, for whom? Just because Dennet doesn’t think qualia, and subjective reporting of such, are useful, it seems to me he is leading up to an argument on an appeal to vagueness, and I don’t think it is vague, or irrelevant.
    [I should note here that I use the term qualia interchangeably with 'mind' and 'thinking', but I feel that the term 'mind' isn't inclusive enough not to mention 'qualia' as part of my arguments]

    I thank you for the link – now I know why others, like you, for instance, question the relevance of ‘qualia’ in these discussions.

  73. John Morales says

    mikmik, FWIW, my take on you is that you’re smart but have inchoate ideas.

    (Qualia: a conceptual category)

  74. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ A.R

    [chigau]

    A. R
    page down
    page down
    page down

    This is a little experiment in the longue durée. A little juvenile sniffles here and there, a little free will… meh. It will all come out in the wash.

  75. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    FFS: My mother-in-law is festooning my house with various flags, banners and patriotically-colored gonfalons. I wish her ill.

  76. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    Aaaaah… Independence Day. I knew 4th of July was important or something (for fireworks manufacturers anyway).

  77. consciousness razor says

    I wasn’t really aware that qualia, and our subjective experiences of our minds, where considered unimportant by some – many – for valid philosophical reasons!

    Please read the article (past the intro), before you assume what it says and mislead others here who also haven’t read it.

    I should note here that I use the term qualia interchangeably with ‘mind’ and ‘thinking’,

    So you have no idea what it’s supposed to mean or you deliberately misuse the term. Fantastic. Tell us again how we’re so very wrong about this magical thing which you think is extremely important, despite the fact that you don’t know what it is or why you even started talking about it.

    but I feel that the term ‘mind’ isn’t inclusive enough not to mention ‘qualia’ as part of my arguments

    Then you don’t use them interchangeably (or correctly, see above). Make up your mind or your qualia, or really just make anything up. It doesn’t matter.

  78. says

    Okay, here’s something I just thought about ‘qualia’ and subjective experience.

    I, and many others, think that qualia are brain conditions, or states, but because we don’t have a mechanical explanation, or even a conceived possibility for such, that though obviously qualia/mind are results of the physical brain, and are therefore parts of the physical brain! – qualia and thoughts are actual physical brain states –

    that the brain process that produces these phenomena, that are these phenomena,

    are so exotic,

    that these ‘exotic procceses’ may be capable of producing selectively willed brain states.

    This does sound like like QM Chprawoo fallacy, that because quantum mechanics is ‘mysterious,’ you can then suppose that anything mysterious is validly supported by the notion that ‘quantum mechanics has something to do with it.’
    An example would be like: there is some cosmic spiritual essence that we can tap into and gain all sorts of paranormal abilities, because QM is involved.

    So, using this so called ‘exotic processing’ that’s happening in the brain is just another tactic to introduce a ‘mysterious process’ to account for anything we want, like free will.

    Does that make sense so far? I’m not yet done on this point, though.

    We know for a fact that there is an actual ‘exotic’ process going on, because qualia and mind are inexplicable with standard, classical physics. Qualia and mind are not predictable with our knowledge of physics at this point in time, but there is undeniably something of importance happening to produce awareness and subjective experience.

    [For the sake of the argument, I am assuming that qualia etc. are recognized as real, with properties and conceptually coherent explanations we each can understand and communicate amonst each other.]

    – - -

    Now, using Mary’s room as an example. The setup is that Mary is a neurophysicist, or some completely knowledgeable person, and she knows the physiological explanation for our subjective experiences.
    Now, she lives in a room that has no color, and she has never experienced the sensation of say, the color blue. She is told the physical state of the brain – the eyes perceiving color, the neural transmission of the required stimuli to the appropriate areas of the brain, and she can even correlate this kind of explanation with the experience of seeing black and white, or a table in black and white, or whatever. She knows what the physical description means and what it ‘looks like’ in her head.

    Now suppose she is given all the parameters that describe the brain state of the experience of the color blue. Does she gain knowledge of what it is like to experience the color blue?

    In other words, if she walked outside of her room, would she recognize that the sky has the color blue?
    I think not! Her actual experience of seeing the color blue for the first time is a completely new experience for her. Even though she understood the ramifications of the physical description of seeing the color blue, she could not translate that into the knowledge of what blue looks like, and thus, she gains knowledge above what the knowledge physical processes of the brain provide.

    I have to go, but I’ll finish this in a couple of hours. I have to read Dennet first – this all may be moot, but I want to introduce something that I don’t ever recall seeing discussed or pondered.

  79. meursalt says

    Guys and non-guy folks,

    Quick OT question from a longtime lurker: Is mild concern trolling tolerated on TZT? I’ve had the beginnings of a screed knocking about in my head for a while now. If it’s totally unwelcome, I won’t bother typing it up, let alone posting. I see a lot of newer posters referred here to TZT when they begin to rehash old “101-level” material, so I have the impression more is permissible here. But I rarely follow TZT or TET due to limited blog-reading time, so I could have the wrong impression. I almost hate posting this question since I see you’re in the midst of a deep philosophical discussion and I don’t want to detract from that. Even if it’s welcome, I won’t be posting it immediately. I wanted to get the go-ahead before I spend time putting it in writing.

    Eagerly looking forward to being your next chewtoy,
    -m

  80. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    More is permissible here, m, you’re right. But if you’re thinking of being obnoxious at us, please note that that goes both ways. This is the scary thread, where people are allowed to tear into each other with very little oversight from PZ.

    I’m in here because apparently, members of my extended family are taking it into their heads to call my mom and lecture her about my 18-year-old brother because, since he left college, he has of his own accord decided to start taking more responsibility in terms of paying his own bills and things like that. Let’s put it this way – in terms of Life Stuff, if there’s a competent sibling in my family, it’s him. They’re calling to tell her that because “he’s a boy,” she needs to pay extra close attention to make sure that he’s got everything under control, and not put any faith in his ability to be responsible for himself.

    Now, I get not totally trusting an 18-year-old to know how to do everything right off the bat. I get it. But his gender has nothing to do with it. Christ.

  81. meursalt says

    Thanks, Cipher. I’m pretty thick-skinned and open to criticism. I expect to draw some flames, but that’s ok. Nothing I’m saying is deliberately obnoxious, but there are some specific criticisms in it. I’m typing the rant up now, and it will indeed be a wall of text. Will post when done.

    -m

  82. Owlmirror says

    I’ve had the beginnings of a screed knocking about in my head for a while now. If it’s totally unwelcome, I won’t bother typing it up, let alone posting.

    Pharyngula welcomes careful ranters.

    I see a lot of newer posters referred here to TZT when they begin to rehash old “101-level” material,

    Mmm. No, they aren’t referred to here; they are banished to here. This isn’t (necessarily) a place for “101-level” instruction. It was (originally) a thread where a long-winded and incoherent creationist troll was directed to. Much mocking followed.

    It has since become a super-open thread, and 101-level stuff is certainly part of being super-open. But if all that happens is that the troll is mocked, well, that’s what happens.

  83. meursalt says

    OK, here it comes. Excuse the long-windedness. There’s a bit of personal introduction and clarification of my stances on some issues, meant to head off the more obvious negative responses I’m anticipating…

  84. meursalt says

    TL;DR – I love you guys, but you’re not immune from error.

    OK, for starters, I’m on board with the feminist thing. No, really. I get why gendered slurs and insults are bad. It took a little convincing and a lot of thought, but I’m 99% in agreement with the hivemind on this issue (more on this later). It didn’t hurt that I rarely used feminine-gendered insults anyway because I find them generally distasteful; the hivemind just pushed me a little farther in this direction and gave me more concrete reasons for my stance.

    Secondly, I “get” the gender thing. Gender, gender identity, and sexual preference are all really complicated concepts. The traditional binary view which has shaped our language and culture is woefully inadequate to handle all the variety that nature gives us, and its imposition on reality has caused demonstrable harm. The obvious example here is gender assignment at birth: historically, doctors, pressured to assign a binary gender to a newborn, have gone so far as to perform genital surgery with minimal, if any, informed consent from the parents (who of course aren’t even the correct person to ask for consent, since the patient is the newborn). I’m NOT totally on board with the gender-neutral pronouns you guys use. This is a stylistic choice for me; I’m generally biased against neologisms, and I find the phrase “his or her” to be less clumsy than, say, “xe,” “hir,” and the host of other pronouns I’ve seen here. I don’t like “it” for this purpose either, since it tends to come across as dehumanizing. I don’t have a perfect answer to this problem; it’s simply an artifact of the English language. Maybe eventually new pronouns will be the answer, but I will not be an early adopter of them.

    Getting to my point, I think some of the recent accusations of groupthink may have a *bit* more legitimacy than the hivemind is willing to admit. I’m going to cite a couple of specific recent examples that might give an outsider the impression of groupthink. No, booting Thunderf00t is not one of them. I support that decision. While I think much of the content of the “MISOGYNIST!!1″ post was uncontroversially wishy-washy, Thunderf00t seemed to take a deliberately contentious tone, and the style was atrocious, simply not up to par with the other blogs here. One commenter put it very well when he or she compared it to a DM rant. The guy knows how to make videos, and he comes across well in ad-hoc spoken debates. The most impressive thing I’ve seen him do was engage Eric Hovind on presuppositionalism without pulling his own hair out or punching Mr. Hovind. That being said, his posts here trended from redundant and contentious to idiotic and lacking in substance. His skill at spoken communication simply has not translated into writing. In short, he was trolling his own blog. That, combined with apparently ignoring communications from the site admins, was certainly reasonable grounds for giving him the Thunder-b00t.

    For the record, I have nothing against harassment policies. I even think the “don’t ask, don’t touch” thing is a great idea. I’m one of those weirdos that doesn’t appreciate unexpected physical contact, even from people I may like or find attractive. I have no idea why this is such a controversial issue, other than faction lines have been drawn and people are determined to stick to their guns.

    What I *do* take issue with, is that sometimes posts by the more popular bloggers and commenters here don’t seem to be read very critically. Occasionally simple factual errors pop up, and the commentariat largely seem to take things at face value. Here’s an example:

    Remember the recent twitter thing with RW, whatsisname Ryan, and PZ? Ms. Watson apparently misidentified Mr. Ryan as “the guy who called me a cunt.” Now, I’m not going to take RW to task over this. She has had to put up with so much vile crap over the last year or so that I really don’t expect her to keep these people straight in her head. But the fact remains that she made a factual error. Then, when PZ posted his analysis, he made another factual error by claiming RW made a retraction, when she in fact didn’t. If I recall, he went so far as to call Mr. Ryan dishonest, since he posted a screencap of the so-called retraction, but didn’t recognize it as such. I had read Mr. Ryan’s post and a few pages of coments before reading the entirely of PZ’s post, and I had to re-read it to look for the retraction that PZ claimed was there. It wasn’t there. I’m not going to strongly criticize PZ for the error. It’s understandable to say “Oh, look, Rebecca and some asshole are in disagreement,” and take a very charitable reading of Rebecca’s tweets, to the point of seeing a retraction that was never made (and to her credit, she did eventually offer a real retraction).

    I hit the Pharyngula comments, fully expecting to see the regulars correct PZ. What I found instead was 200+ comments where the first person to recognize the error was jamesmacdonald, who, because of his “outsider” status, was not believed and was flamed heavily for pointing out the error. Strawmen were constructed, and he was repeatedly accused of being friends with Mr. Ryan, whom he repeatedly denied knowing. He even explicitly said Ryan was out of line for the “feminazi” comment. All it took was careful reading of the tweets to see he was correct, but it seems people were predisposed to disbelieve him. Finally, Brownian, to his credit, admitted the error about 200 comments in. Then, when jamesmacdonald proceeded to make a bit of an ass of himself by presuming hotshoe’s gender (and then refused to simply apologize for the error and move on), PZ gave him a warning and said (I’m paraphrasing) he “had failed to support his point.” No, he supported his original point quite well before making an ass of himself on a separate tangent.

    As a side note, I found Josh’s comments on that thread repeating “Bro’s lie” or something to that effect to be utterly counterproductive. I eventually gleaned that he was probably satirizing MRA-types questioning the honesty of women alleging harassment. This is the most charitable reading I could give, and I’m not sure if it’s correct. A straight reading, though, indicated that Josh was simply sinking to the same level of discourse of said MRA types. If jamesmacdonald actually HAD been dishonest in the arguments he was presenting, it might have been warranted. But since he wasn’t, I really failed to see the value of those comments. Please note, I’m criticising substance, not tone.

    Here’s another, admittedly weaker, example: the dispute between J.T. Eberhard and Josh et al a few weeks ago on the WWJTD blog. As far as I could tell, it started when J.T. referenced the tongue-in-cheek practice of straight men being excessively affectionate with each other. Josh apparently took this to be something along the lines of ridicule, when it’s pretty clear J.T. had no malicious intent in the behaviour or his reference to it. Now, I get that Intent is Not Magic. But it’s not meaningless, either. I honestly don’t see how such behaviour is injurious to anybody, though I *can* understand why Josh would find it annoying. But that doesn’t mean he gets to police how two other people choose to express their friendship or affection. That is solely between the two men involved. If I choose to give one of my brah’s a big hug and tell him how sexy he is, that is noone’s business but ours. But moving along, J.T. was browbeaten over his statements until finally, in his frustration, he used a gendered pejorative term (“bitching” as a verb or gerund), and then all hell broke loose. J.T. resorted to a dictionary defense; the commentariat didn’t accept that. Honestly, I lean towards supporting the side of Josh et al on the “bitching” issue, but it would never have come up if the flamewar hadn’t been started in the first place. When you target decent people over matters that are trivial at best and resort to ad-hominem attacks, you will bring out the worst in those people. Noone’s perfect; everyone makes mistakes. People are more likely to make mistakes when they are put on the defensive and get emotional due to attacks that are, in some cases, unwarranted or out of proportion to the perceived offense. Again, I’m generally supportive of censuring the use of “bitching” in that sense. I might get called out for tone trolling on this point, but my criticism is not of the tone, but where it is directed.

    Before I get taken to task over the definition of “ad-hominen,” please note I said “ad-hominem attack,” not “ad-hominem fallacy.” “You’re an asshole, and therefore wrong” is an ad-hominem fallacy. “Your argument is weak, and by the way you’re an asshole” is still an ad-hominem attack.

    One more brief point, on “punching up” vs. “punching down:” Punching up is still punching. Is it defensive, or retaliatory? What is the net effect? Is it productive, or are we punching just for the sake of punching?

    Regarding Brownian flagging “folks” as a potentially racist term: I have a lot of respect for Brownian. His posts are usually insightful and quite funny. But in this case he was way off. Sure, “folks” is part of the phrase “black folks,” for example. I’m sure it’s been used in a racist context at some point. But it’s also part of the phrase “white folks,” “red folks,” and “my folks.” The term “folks” is entirely neutral and context-dependent. Brownian recognized this when questioned on it, but he then proceeded to double down (to be fair, I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t tongue-in-cheek). He said something to the effect (correct me if I’m remembering wrong) that he would be inclined to consider the word tainted simply to piss off the “anti-PC” crowd. Folks, this isn’t social justice. This isn’t sensitivity. It’s a charicature, and as others pointed out, it only gives ammunition to those who would try to make legitimate changes in language usage look silly.

    A brief note on the subject of gendered insults: From time to time I see male-gendered insults used, and people are generally not called out on it. It’s not too often. One that comes to mind is calling people JAQers, or accusing them of JAQing off. I’m open to correction here, but don’t these phrases contain an implication of male gender?

    One more small point in response to the kerfuffle with Justin Griffith: I suspect I come from a similar background as Justin, though 4chan was after my time in that subculture. Yes, that subculture is rife with racism and sexism. No, it’s not OK just because it’s “trolling.” Ironic racism is still racism. From what I recall of my time in that culture, slurs against any group other than Jews were considered acceptable. (Side note: there was initially a disproportionately large Jewish contingent in this subculturem especially in the 80′s and 90′s. I suspect it’s much less skewed now). I never accepted them, and I would call my friends out for using them, usually by turning it around on them and substituting “Jew” for whatever group waws being denigrated and asking how that made the person feel. I have a white friend who thinks (or used to think) that humour involving the notorious “n-word” is acceptable. His excuse was “It’s ok, ’cause I’m a homo!” Maybe it’s a regional thing. He’s from New York. I’m from Alabama, where lynchings, murders, and assaults over race were commonplace in living memory. There is just too much history behind that word to try to reclaim it as something positive, at least within the next few decades. Maybe a century from now things will change; who knows? The key here is how the listener would interpret it. It’s raising a huge privilege flag to think this stuff is decent fodder for humour. My grandfather was raised in a very racist environment, and would occasionally, as dementia set in, repeat racist jokes from his youth. One day, after telling one, he got a thoughtful look on his face and said “You know what? That wasn’t ok. I shouldn’t have said that. If [black coworker he liked and respected] heard me talk like that, I’d feel terrible.” If someone who grew up (mostly) white in the 30′s and 40′s in Alabama is able to get why this stuff is wrong, the rest of us should too.

    Ok, I think I’ve got a lot off my chest. I’ve been lurking here for two or three years, and in that time I’ve learned a lot. I think most of the recent attacks of FTB are either unwarranted or overstated. But at the same time, I can see why people would get the impression of groupthink. I don’t bear any ill will towards anyone I’ve called out by name. Josh, OSG, for instance, gets under my skin sometimes. He can be abrasive. But I also have a lot of respect for him, and I’ve seen him write some insightful things that have helped me see issues from others’ perspectives. I’m sure if we knew each other in real life we’d be good friends. I don’t consider this to be a tone troll, because I’m not asking or suggesting anyone to change their tone. I just think the righteous vitriol is sometimes misdirected. Some of you folks have an oversensitive asshole-detector, in my opinion. And even assholes occasionally have valid points, which, in my opinion, should be recognized as such. I can see how this could be construed as a concern troll, which is why I’ve taken it direcly to TZT. I read FTB daily and will continue to do so.

    PS: You will never convince me that “Bitchin’ Camaro” is a bad thing ;).

    -m

  85. meursalt says

    btw, I did totally use “you guys” in that post without thinking. My bad. In my defense, I really think it’s starting to use its gender specificity. But I can see why some might take issue with it. I just wanted to self-correct before someone else catches it.

  86. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    As a side note, I found Josh’s comments on that thread repeating “Bro’s lie” or something to that effect to be utterly counterproductive.

    Here’s a tip – if you’re going to rant about people’s specific comments, it’s often best to link to them. If you had done that in this case, you would have seen that you’re calling out the wrong person. That was Ing.

    Regarding Brownian flagging “folks” as a potentially racist term: I have a lot of respect for Brownian.

    Where was that?
    Brownian? Is it?

    From time to time I see male-gendered insults used, and people are generally not called out on it.

    First of all, male-gendered insults are not damaging in the same way that female-gendered insults are, which may contribute to our smaller interest in calling them out. But yes, they’re still gendered and not good. Generally we do call them out, but sometimes we miss stuff. You can call people out on stuff just as well as we can. A lot of us are getting fucking tired by now.

    One that comes to mind is calling people JAQers, or accusing them of JAQing off. I’m open to correction here, but don’t these phrases contain an implication of male gender?

    No. They don’t. Do you know what the acronym stands for?

    Other than that, your concerns are noted. And yes, concerns about “where your mean tone is directed” are still complaints about tone.

  87. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Oh, and regarding Jamesmacdonald, I’m going to charitably assume you’re misremembering the situation. Yes, people misunderstood Rebecca’s tweets, but James’s first comment was an accusation that Rebecca lied.

  88. meursalt says

    Fair criticisms. I’m in the process of getting links for the comments I’ve referenced. It’s possible I misattributed Ing’s comments to Josh (though I think Josh was also participating in this particular line of criticism; I will try to find it). I apologize for doing so.

    I’m quite positive I’m attributing the correct commments to Brownian, but please give me a bit to find the thread.

    As for your comment re: jamesmacdonald, I’m not agreeing with him saying Rebecca was deliberately lying. I had indeed forgotten about that particular part of the exchange. Please take my comments as applying solely to his claim that the initial “retraction” was not intended as such.

  89. joey says

    lipstick:

    1) have a will for doing something, in which case you have to deal with this regress*, which you cannot deal with — thus it is not freely willed — or

    2) have no will for doing something — thus it is not freely willed.

    *Why does the indeterministic mind prefer to do X instead of not-X? Where did it get that preference? Yet again there’s an infinite regress, which can be halted by saying the mind came into existence with certain preferences pre-packaged, but then the mind didn’t freely will those preferences.

    A decision can be the result of multiple preferences, and each preference can be the result of causality. But why does that have to mean the actual choice between the preferences cannot be freely chosen?

    Indeterminism simply means that events can’t be predicted.

    No, it does not. Deterministic chaos is sufficient for unpredictability.

    Let me rephrase then. Indeterminism means that it’s impossible for events to be predicted with absolute precision. It is still possible to predict deterministic chaotic systems given absolute information and infinite computation ability. Not so for indeterministic systems…by definition.

    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. -Clark

    Why does free will have to be completely uninfluenced by one’s circumstances? I dismiss Clark’s piece because I disagree with his “contra-causal” notion of free will.

    I view free will as simply having the ability to choose otherwise. Given this notion of free will, I don’t see how it can be ruled out as logically impossible given indeterminism. I understand that indeterminism alone isn’t sufficient for the existence of free will, but that doesn’t mean that it’s logically impossible.

    ————
    owlmirror:

    Let’s simply assume that free will exists and I have it.

    Why are we assuming what you have to prove?

    Previously you stated that free will is still logically impossible even in an indeterministic world. So if we assume that free will exists in my thought experiment and given your claim that free will is logically impossible, then somewhere in the TE we should be able to find a logical contradiction…but there is none. So you cannot say that free will is logically impossible.

    Have I used that phrase? Hm; I see that I did, at one point. But I think I would be safe in rewording that to “physically impossible”.

    Alright, since the goalposts have shifted completely away from the metaphysical, then I concede that it may be physically impossible (given physicalism), but I’m not sure.

    ————-
    lipstick:

    I want it noted that I am not a reductionist.

    Why not? How can a physicalist (I’m going out on a limb and assume that you are one) not be a reductionist?

  90. meursalt says

    @Cipher, re: “JAQing off:” Yes, I get that it’s an acronym, and I know it stands for “just asking questions.” I still feel like the typical reader will see an implication of male gender. Maybe that’s not how it’s meant, but Intent is not Magic works both ways, right?

    And I do sincerely thank you for noting my concerns (this isn’t snark). That’s really all I’m asking for.

  91. meursalt says

    @Cipher: I tried to post the links for Brownian’s comments, along with a partial retraction of some of my statements, but I got a “double post” error and they’re not showing up. I’m assuming they’re being held in moderation.

  92. meursalt says

    I’m signing off for a bit. I figured out I was probably moderated for having two links in one post. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to see the value in admitting fault when appropriate. So at the risk of a redundant post, I’m going to repeat my retraction and apology.

    I owe Josh an apology for putting the words of Ing, hotshoe, Cipher, and SallyStrange in his mouth. I also completely retract the particular point about the “bros lie” comments. I can see how they were warranted by jamesmacdonalds initial accusations against RW.

    The comments from Brownian I was referencing are in the most recent mermaid thread, comments 17 and 94. Direct links are in my moderated post.

    @Cipher, to clarify, I wasn’t trying to draw an equivalence between male- and female-gendered insults. I get why one is worse than the other. I get that females and the female gender as a concept have received a vastly disproportionate amount of this crap historically and even today. And to be fair, I’ve sometimes seen commenters self-correct. Maybe next time I take issue with something I’ll jump in and call it out myself as you suggest.

    Also, I can see how my comments about “punching up” might sound like JAQing, but I really do mean them as good-faith questions and not a derail. I’m genuinely interested in hearing arguments for when “punching up” is acceptable. My gut reaction is that it usually *is* acceptable, but I’ve tempered that a bit through reasoned consideration of the consequences. We’re probably more in agreement on this point than you’d think from my comments.

    I didn’t want anyone to think I was doing a drive-by, and I wanted to get that apology and retraction out quickly. I’ll check in again late tonight.

  93. Owlmirror says

    We have moderation?

    There is some automoderation — words and links that will get your post dumped to the spam bin.

  94. consciousness razor says

    OK, for starters, I’m on board with the feminist thing. No, really. I get why gendered slurs and insults are bad. It took a little convincing and a lot of thought, but I’m 99% in agreement with the hivemind on this issue (more on this later).

    This may not have been your implication, but the “feminist thing” is more than that. Even on a blog, where your actions are more limited than the rest of your life, you could say a lot of anti-feminist shit which doesn’t contain any gendered slurs.

    I’m NOT totally on board with the gender-neutral pronouns you guys use.

    Not all of us. I’ve used “he or she”* for such a long time that I’m sure it’s more a matter of habit than style, but no one has ever objected to it.

    *Along with his or her, they, their, one, someone, the “person(‘s),” the person’s name/pseudonym, or just re-writing the sentence I started with (and usually fucking something up in editing). Lots of options, and when you make a mistake, acknowledging it is much easier — and more importantly, less assholish — than whining about “feminazis” or “language police” or whatever the fuck it may be.

    But that doesn’t mean he gets to police how two other people choose to express their friendship or affection. That is solely between the two men involved. If I choose to give one of my brah’s a big hug and tell him how sexy he is, that is noone’s business but ours.

    If you’re expressing genuine affection, without reference to or as a joke about someone else’s sexuality, I don’t think anyone cares. But if that’s not the case, guess whose business it is? It’s the business of the people you’re mocking, even if you don’t think you’re doing it “maliciously,” because you brought them into it. The very last thing you should do is dig deeper into asshole territory, like JT did. This is very simple to understand. And it’s obviously a fairly common phenomenon, which even as a straight man I’ve noticed and found disturbing (or at least annoying), without anyone needing to have told me about it.

    “Your argument is weak, and by the way you’re an asshole” is still an ad-hominem attack.

    That’s an awfully fancy way of saying it’s an “insult.” Do you care if someone who’s not familiar with your terminology is led to believe that means the other person has behaved irrationally (rather than merely uncivilly)? That would be a useful (for you, not them) bit of hyperbole, somewhat like calling gnu atheists “militant;” and like pointing out an insult, it’d still be saying nothing of substance about the topic itself and probably be misleading to most readers.

    One more brief point, on “punching up” vs. “punching down:” Punching up is still punching. Is it defensive, or retaliatory? What is the net effect? Is it productive, or are we punching just for the sake of punching?

    If you gave a real-world example, we could think about its net effect and whether that’s productive. There is no particular net effect in general; and productivity depends on the product, not on whether we’re doing it for the sake of doing it. Art can be productive toward some end and done for it’s own sake.

    One that comes to mind is calling people JAQers, or accusing them of JAQing off. I’m open to correction here, but don’t these phrases contain an implication of male gender?

    Women do masturbate, but maybe you (or most people) wouldn’t say they “jack off.” I don’t know how most people use that phrase. Anyway, perhaps it’s accurate because in the context of feminism, this usually occurs with men. It’s not something disparaging them for their gender (at least not in any way I can tell). So even if the phrase implies a gender, I wouldn’t say it’s a sexist, gendered slur. This is just my opinion, because I’ve never thought much about it since I’ve never thought it was objectionable, so others may have a better perspective on it.

  95. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I think there just aren’t as many slangy terms that people generally think of as applying to women masturbating, because, you know, patriarchy. Women aren’t supposed to have pleasure that isn’t in the service of men. For that reason, I’m suspicious of the line of argument that “jacking off” is gendered, rather than just thought of as gendered because masturbation is a guy thing – it’d have to be a very clear connection.

    It’s been a brain fog day today.

  96. consciousness razor says

    Indeterminism means that it’s impossible for events to be predicted with absolute precision. It is still possible to predict deterministic chaotic systems given absolute information and infinite computation ability. Not so for indeterministic systems…by definition.

    We don’t have absolute information or infinite computation ability. And unpredictability is not freedom anyway.

    Why does free will have to be completely uninfluenced by one’s circumstances? I dismiss Clark’s piece because I disagree with his “contra-causal” notion of free will.

    I view free will as simply having the ability to choose otherwise. Given this notion of free will, I don’t see how it can be ruled out as logically impossible given indeterminism. I understand that indeterminism alone isn’t sufficient for the existence of free will, but that doesn’t mean that it’s logically impossible.

    Nothing could have caused you to choose otherwise, if you were in exactly the same situation. If unpredictable events occur (random or chaotic) as scenarios A and A’ unfold, and that alternative is supposed to cause an alternate behavior, that could not be something you’ve chosen. The alternatives may be possible because of the random or chaotic nature of the system, but it’s impossible that you willed the randomness or chaos.

  97. meursalt says

    @consciousness razor (I haven’t quite got the hang of blockquote’s “cite” attribute apparently):

    This may not have been your implication, but the “feminist thing” is more than that. Even on a blog, where your actions are more limited than the rest of your life, you could say a lot of anti-feminist shit which doesn’t contain any gendered slurs.

    My use of the phrase “feminist thing” was meant somewhat tongue in cheek. I know it isn’t one single issue. I realize the phrase is a gross oversimplification, and was using it for the sake of brevity. I can see how this wasn’t clear without tone of voice for proper emphasis. I just picked the gendered insults issue as one common example that I see come up here a lot.

    That’s an awfully fancy way of saying it’s an “insult.” Do you care if someone who’s not familiar with your terminology is led to believe that means the other person has behaved irrationally (rather than merely uncivilly)?

    If Latin is considered “fancy” now, then yes, I suppose it is. I use the term this way and have seen others do so as well. I was sure to specify “attack” vs. “fallacy” or “argument” to be specific. In this particular case, I know I’m talking to a fairly highbrow audience. If I thought a large part of my audience would misinterpret the phrase, I wouldn’t use it, and I included the disclaimer just in case a minority did misinterpret it.

    Women do masturbate, but maybe you (or most people) wouldn’t say they “jack off.” I don’t know how most people use that phrase. Anyway, perhaps it’s accurate because in the context of feminism, this usually occurs with men. It’s not something disparaging them for their gender (at least not in any way I can tell). So even if the phrase implies a gender, I wouldn’t say it’s a sexist, gendered slur. This is just my opinion, because I’ve never thought much about it since I’ve never thought it was objectionable, so others may have a better perspective on it.

    Truth be told, I actually do sometimes use this phrase in a gender-neutral way. But I’m pretty sure I’m not in the majority in doing so. One could mount a good argument that the phrase isn’t really a slur, but I’d counter by saying that it’s picked up negative connotations simply from usage: it’s applied mainly to people whose “questions” are (at least perceived as) blatant trolling, and hence is well on the way to becoming a slur. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not seriously offended by the phrase. But it has struck me as possibly being inconsistent with the goal of “no gendered slurs.”

    If you’re expressing genuine affection, without reference to or as a joke about someone else’s sexuality, I don’t think anyone cares. But if that’s not the case, guess whose business it is?

    If the intent is to ridicule others, then I’m in full agreement with you that it’s inappropriate and in poor taste, and if it’s a joke at someone’s expense, then that person isn’t out of line to complain. But I honestly think the intent is usually pretty innocent. In fact, I’ll submit to you that some of these cases are “straight guys” with some latent bisexual tendencies, taking the first steps to break their conditioning. Taboos are often first broken in the guise of humour, and it really doesn’t have to be at anyone’s expense. To summarize, I would take this sort of thing as a sign of general improvement of LGBT people’s place in society, rather than a symptom of lingering bigotry.

  98. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    But I honestly think the intent is usually pretty innocent.

    Intent… [you know the rest]

  99. John Morales says

    meursalt:

    If Latin is considered “fancy” now, then yes, I suppose it is. I use the term this way and have seen others do so as well. I was sure to specify “attack” vs. “fallacy” or “argument” to be specific. In this particular case, I know I’m talking to a fairly highbrow audience. If I thought a large part of my audience would misinterpret the phrase, I wouldn’t use it, and I included the disclaimer just in case a minority did misinterpret it.

    Such pomposity!

  100. meursalt says

    @Cipher:

    Intent… [you know the rest]

    OK, I had that one coming. And let me elaborate a bit. On further reflection, I guess I have seen cases of this sort of thing where the intent was malicious ridicule, or could have been construed as such. But I haven’t seen it recently, meaning, at least since the 90′s. consciousness razor claims to have seen this (presumably recently), so maybe I’m sheltered. Please keep my location in mind, too. In the less metropolitan areas of Alabama, ten or fifteen years ago, you just didn’t see “out and proud” gay people. There were some, but they were obviously very marginalized. Since then, I’ve observed great strides in tolerance and acceptance. Sure, we still have repressive laws and constitutional amendments. The political establishment can still get votes with anti-gay rhetoric (though it’s toned down in recent years). But in day to day life, especially among the younger generation, more and more people are out and open about who they are, and it’s no big deal. Even the evangelicals have (mostly) learned to put differences aside and accept LGBT people as human beings. They’re (mostly) no longer shunned by society and their families. Or maybe I’ve just been both fortunate and selective enough to surround myself with relatively decent people, the cream of the crop of tame bigots, if you will. I dunno, maybe I’m overly optimistic. I guess we’re getting into very subjective territory here. And granted, maybe it’s harder for me to see mocking when it happens since I’m not the target.

  101. meursalt says

    @John Morales:

    Such pomposity!

    Doesn’t the implied flattery balance it out ;)?

  102. John Morales says

    meursalt, to what flattery do you refer?

    (That was more like condescension than flattery)

  103. meursalt says

    I was referring to my explanation that I felt free to use common Latin phrases in their literal sense with this particular audience (Pharyngulites), since y’all are by and large an extremely literate bunch.

  104. consciousness razor says

    (I haven’t quite got the hang of blockquote’s “cite” attribute apparently)

    It doesn’t work here, except that you can use these:

    <blockquote cite=”creationist”></blockquote>
    <q cite=”creationist></q>

    … to get Comic Sans in blockquotes or regular text, respectively, with the Pharyngula wiki’s greasemonkey script, on Firefox and maybe a few other browsers.

    If Latin is considered “fancy” now, then yes, I suppose it is.

    I wasn’t ridiculing it for being Latin. How do you say “pompous, presumptuous, hyperbolic tone trolls delenda est”?

    I was sure to specify “attack” vs. “fallacy” or “argument” to be specific.

    It wouldn’t be an attack, just an insult.

    I’d counter by saying that it’s picked up negative connotations simply from usage: it’s applied mainly to people whose “questions” are (at least perceived as) blatant trolling, and hence is well on the way to becoming a slur.

    The negative connotations are the same as with “mental masturbation.” They have nothing to do with gender.

  105. says

    As a side note, I found Josh’s comments on that thread repeating “Bro’s lie” or something to that effect to be utterly counterproductive.

    Ing’s.

    And it’s not my fault if you missed the context everyone else got. If you can’t be bothered to use gender neutral terms for some people I sure as hell can’t be bothered to hold your hand.

    Also you’re wrong about ad hom, it’s a specific fallacy not an insult.

    You’re an idiot so you’re wrong is an ad hom. you’re wrong and therefore an idiot is an insult.

    @punching up vs punching down. If you really can’t give enough shit about using terms or being accurate I really can’t give two shits about your ‘pacifism’.

  106. says

    I’d counter by saying that it’s picked up negative connotations simply from usage: it’s applied mainly to people whose “questions” are (at least perceived as) blatant trolling, and hence is well on the way to becoming a slur.

    FFS, really?

    Look if this place isn’t nice enough for you please go find some Candyland to play in.

  107. John Morales says

    meursalt @126: cf #124.

    (BTW: ‘personal’ is communication, ‘ad hominem’ is affectation)

  108. meursalt says

    Ing,

    @131: You’re right, I was wrong. I already apologized and retracted that entire paragraph, because I do indeed care about accuracy.

    @133: Yes, really.

  109. meursalt says

    @Chigau, it was certainly better than the last few days. Or was that a boner pun?

  110. says

    @Meursalt

    I find that laughably offensive considering what a slur actually is. Please do not appropriate a minorities struggles and use them to prop up weak arguments.

    There’s a reason why cracker is completely impotent compared to nigger.

  111. John Morales says

    Hey meursalt, how’s the mild concern trolling caper working for ya?

  112. meursalt says

    @Ing: I wasn’t aware the term “slur” was exclusive to terms used to denigrate minorities. I was under the impression the term was a much more generic synonym of “pejorative.” I don’t see how I’m appropriating anyone’s struggles; how does that follow from what I said?

    @John Morales: Well, I haven’t been told to go fuck myself yet…

  113. says

    I wasn’t aware the term “slur” was exclusive to terms used to denigrate minorities. I was under the impression the term was a much more generic synonym of “pejorative.” I don’t see how I’m appropriating anyone’s struggles; how does that follow from what I said?

    I might have missed it, so excuse me: are you not a native English speaker?

  114. John Morales says

    meursalt:

    @John Morales: Well, I haven’t been told to go fuck myself yet…

    <ruminatively rubs imaginary goatee>

    A mere opinion is sententia ad hominem but that would be sententiam ad hominem.

    No?

  115. meursalt says

    @Ing: I’ve been looking up “slur” in various online dictionaries to see if I’ve been using it wrong, and I haven’t seen any definitions so far that reference minorities at all. And to head off criticism of a “dictionary defense,” I don’t think the term is even used in such a restrictive sense on Pharyngula. “Gendered” slurs, inclusive of male gendered slurs, are prohibited here. Are males a minority?

    Maybe I’m being overly pedantic, but I really think you’re reading more than is reasonable into my words. Intent is Not Magic only goes so far.

  116. John Morales says

    meursalt, you do see what Ing did there, no?

    (Followed your precept to their expressiveness’ detriment)

  117. ChasCPeterson says

    “Your argument is weak, and by the way you’re an asshole” is still an ad-hominem attack.

    That’s an awfully fancy way of saying it’s an “insult.”

    hee hee; the Descriptivist’s Dilemma, spotted free range in the wild.

    As long as I’m here, I’ll express my puzzlement at Ing’s definition of ‘slur’.

  118. meursalt says

    @John Morales: I honestly don’t know; I haven’t studied noun declension in almost 20 years.

  119. Owlmirror says

    I’m suspicious of the line of argument that “jacking off” is gendered,

    I suspect that the phrase arose due to the similarity of the rhythmic motion of using an old-style car-jack; the kind that had a big lever that was pumped up and down repeatedly.

    And the OED reminds me that in general, “jack” (the noun) often refers to a male:

    C4. In names of animals (sometimes signifying male, sometimes small, half-sized).
    a. Denoting the male of certain animals. See also jackass n.

    I’ve seen the phrase “jill off” to refer to female masturbation.

  120. says

    @Chas

    I am probably technically wrong about that, but slur has a much stronger meaning to me that makes the use of it seem off.

    To me it’s always seemed that a real slur also conotates an element of “remember you’re place” which I know isn’t the literal technical definition

  121. says

    So yup all the dictionaries confirm that I give more weight to the word than it’s literal definition. Oops. It still seems like too strong a use of the term and trying to capitalize on the fact that standards and practices here frown upon derogatory slurs for gender/race blah blah blah….which is the crux of my opposition and eye rolling.

  122. meursalt says

    @chigau, I don’t think it handles romaji, but I looked it up elsewhere. :)

  123. ChasCPeterson says

    I think it’s just seldom used without an adjective. Ethnic slur, sexist slur, racial slur, homophobic slur, whatever.

  124. Owlmirror says

    As long as I have the OED open…

    I note the primary definition:

    By attempting to disprove an argument or proposition by attacking the beliefs or character of the person proposing it (cf. argumentum ad hominem at argument n. 3c). Subsequently also in extended use: with respect to a particular person or group, rather than the matter in hand. Opposed to ad rem.

    And the secondary:

    Relating to or directed at a particular person; (also) directed against the individual concerned rather than the relevant issue; personal.

    ======

    Also, slur:

    A deliberate slight; an expression or suggestion of disparagement or reproof.

  125. meursalt says

    @Ing, as I’ve stated before, I’m not in any way trying to draw equivalency between “JAQing off” and other more odious gendered slurs. I tried to be explicit about that. I was only pointing out that its use seemed inconsistent with the “no gendered slurs” rule. And if the consensus of the people using it is that it’s not gendered, that’s good enough for me.

    Regarding your use of slur, I can understand how you’d see those connotations in it. But I felt safe using it in a more generic way because I’ve seen it used here on Pharyngula in ways that aren’t specific to minorities.

  126. meursalt says

    @Chigau: Since I’d run your original text through a translator without seeing the romaji, I was going out on a limb and hoping you’d used the word “genki,” which I’ve noticed can mean (I think) good weather, healthy, or erection. Looks like I was wrong. It was a lame attempt to reference Japanese wordplay. My knowledge of Japanese is pretty limited to a few common phrases and some mythological stuff.

  127. chigau (間違っていない) says

    meursalt
    Copy the text in question, paste it into the “From” box, choose “Japanese”, choose “English” in the “To” box.

  128. meursalt says

    @Ing, I’ve tried to be very explicit that I’m not trying to draw equivalency, only point out perceived inconsistency. But I do appreciate you backing off on the definition issue.

    @SC, My only posts at FTB or any related forum have been a couple of very short blurbs on Physioproffe’s blog. I’ve generally been in Internet Lurker Mode for about a decade, with a couple of exceptions.

  129. meursalt says

    @chigau, honestly, it doesn’t work for me with romaji on either google translate or Bing translator. Maybe it’s a browser/javascript issue. Kanji and kana work fine.

  130. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Chas: which is why I have never cared for that anglicism in connection to music.

  131. says

    @SC, My only posts at FTB or any related forum have been a couple of very short blurbs on Physioproffe’s blog. I’ve generally been in Internet Lurker Mode for about a decade, with a couple of exceptions.

    Hmmm.

  132. meursalt says

    @Antiochus: Just curious, when does legato imply imprecision in music? Coming from a fretted instrument background, legato passages can be very precise. I’m wondering if this is one of those musical terms whose meaning has mutated as it’s been applied to different instruments and styles.

  133. chigau (間違っていない) says

    meursalt
    Yes. Google translate will not convert romaji to Japanese or English.
    I didn’t mean to suggest that.
    By “text in question” I meant my original kanji-kana, not the romaji.

  134. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Ahem…”slur” connotes imprecision. “Legato” does not.

    I write as much with hubris, as Chas an CR understand music, while I am a poseur*.

    *not sarcastic, and hence no wonky smile.

  135. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Why does autocorrect substitute “wonky” for “winky”?

  136. Owlmirror says

    Why does autocorrect substitute “wonky” for “winky”?

    Because it’s wunky.

  137. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I cannot think of many reasons to choose “ad hominem attack” over “insult.” Pomposity is one. Overuse of the word “insult” is another. But the most annoying by far is to use the similarity to the “ad hominem fallacy” to imply that the person using the insult is thereby necessarily arguing badly.

  138. says

    I have a white friend who thinks (or used to think) that humour involving the notorious “n-word” is acceptable. His excuse was “It’s ok, ’cause I’m a homo!” Maybe it’s a regional thing. He’s from New York. I’m from Alabama,

    Huh. (By the way, I’d wager a lot of money, if I had any money to wager, that the percentage of white people who think that in Alabama exceeds the percentage who think it in New York by a substantial margin.)

  139. consciousness razor says

    Ahem…”slur” connotes imprecision. “Legato” does not.

    Just to be gloriously pedantic for a moment, because I’m celebrating my goddamn freedom today…

    Given certain instruments, performance practices, and the arbitrary whims of composers, legato is not always indicated with a slur. It may also be done by giving a note or notes a tenuto mark (a straight horizontal line) or “legato [etc.]” (or similar, perhaps in another language) may be written out for a passage. It really just means something like a “smooth” articulation, as opposed to having a distinct or heavy articulation. A single note could need such an articulation, and slurring it to itself (however that might be notated) is not the sort of thing some composers would be willing to do. Thus it will not be notated that way, and you (the silly, irrelevant performer, whose concerns are noted) will just have to deal with it.

  140. meursalt says

    @SC I can see why you’d think that. But reality might surprise you. I doubt there’s been any sort of polls or studies done that would give us a clear answer either way. I have seen plenty of bigotry from New Yorkers. Stereotypes aren’t always correct in these matters. In my experience, people from the South who haven’t decided to actively throw in with the bigot camp tend to be a little more sensitive of such issues due to the violent and unforgettable local history. Or, as I stated before, maybe I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with relatively decent people.

    I doubt I need to point out the irony in the statement “People from X are bigots.”

  141. says

    @SC I can see why you’d think that. But reality might surprise you. I doubt there’s been any sort of polls or studies done that would give us a clear answer either way.

    On that specific question, probably not. If I knew of such specific research, I would have cited it in response to your suggestion about “a regional thing.”

    I have seen plenty of bigotry from New Yorkers.

    I never claimed there was no bigotry among New Yorkers.

    Stereotypes aren’t always correct in these matters.

    I made no use of any stereotypes.

    In my experience, people from the South who haven’t decided to actively throw in with the bigot camp tend to be a little more sensitive of such issues due to the violent and unforgettable local history.

    That’s irrelevant to my statement.

    Or, as I stated before, maybe I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with relatively decent people.

    As is that. (Again, you suggested it might be a “regional thing.”)

    I doubt I need to point out the irony in the statement “People from X are bigots.”

    You wouldn’t need to point out the irony in that statement if anyone had made it.

    I think you’re dishonest and highly dubious. I’m not going to bother responding to you further, but if you continue commenting, I’ll be watching.

  142. says

    There is just too much history behind that word to try to reclaim it as something positive, at least within the next few decades.

    If anyone ever reclaims it anywhere, it’s not going to be white people. Just like men aren’t going to reclaim “cunt.” People in the dominant group can’t reclaim terms for the subordinated group.

  143. meursalt says

    @SC

    re: my claim that racial slurs as humour might be a regional thing, I’m not claiming to have anything other than anecdotes to support this. Of the couple of adults I’ve known well IRL who thought that stuff was funny, one was from New York and one was from Moldova. I also see it sometimes on the Internet from people from other regions of the country. These are anecdotes, I know. All I’m speaking of is my personal experience.

    I made no use of any stereotypes.

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I inferred from your proposed wager that you thought it was a safe bet due to the stereotype of people from Alabama being bigots. Sorry if I took it the wrong way; it seemed a reasonable inference to me.

    You wouldn’t need to point out the irony in that statement if anyone had made it.

    OK, I can see how that looked like a bit of a strawman. In retrospect, it was a bit stronger than what you actually said (though I don’t see how it was substantially different). And in fairness, maybe this is an area where I’m a little oversensitive.

    I think you’re dishonest and highly dubious. I’m not going to bother responding to you further, but if you continue commenting, I’ll be watching.

    I know you don’t intend to respond, but I would be very interested in hearing what specifically you think is dishonest about what I have said, or what is dubious about me. I have made a couple of unintentional factual errors along the way, which I acknowledged and retracted when they were pointed out. You are of course free to think I’m an asshole, but if you’re going to allege dishonesty, it would be nice to see specifics. I’m also not sure what you would be doubting about me. The only thing I can think of is you think I’m a sockpuppet, which I’ve already implicitly denied when you asked if I’ve posted before on this or related sites.

  144. meursalt says

    @SC:

    If anyone ever reclaims it anywhere, it’s not going to be white people. Just like men aren’t going to reclaim “cunt.” People in the dominant group can’t reclaim terms for the subordinated group.

    Then on this particular point, we are fully in agreement.

  145. meursalt says

    I should rephrase something from @191. That should have read “Of all the adults I have known who thought that stuff was funny, and didn’t see it as racist.” I have of course met some out-and-out bigots in my life who were unapologetically racist.

  146. says

    In my experience, people from the South who haven’t decided to actively throw in with the bigot camp tend to be a little more sensitive of such issues due to the violent and unforgettable local history.

    Yeah, no. What they are is honest in their bigotry. Northerners seem considerably more likely to pretend racism is over, so what they’re doing isn’t /racist/. But I would never once, in a million years, say the South is ‘sensitive’ of such issues. Lived here too damn long to play along with such fantasies.

    From time to time I see male-gendered insults used, and people are generally not called out on it.

    Because men are not disadvantaged, and face zero danger of being so in society. I don’t make male-gendered insults because I don’t really care to, not because they’re equally harmful.

    So yup all the dictionaries confirm that I give more weight to the word than it’s literal definition

    Who writes dictionaries again?

  147. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    mersault:

    I honestly don’t see how such behaviour is injurious to anybody, though I *can* understand why Josh would find it annoying. But that doesn’t mean he gets to police how two other people choose to express their friendship or affection.

    And you don’t get to police when and where I express my annoyance. Seriously—that’s just fucking dumb as a criticism. I can’t police a blogger in his own living room. . .I literally don’t have that power.

    If what you mean to say, instead, is that I don’t get to voice objections to things you think are harmless then you are wrong.

    What is it, exactly, that you mean to say? What do you take issue with? From my perch it looks like you’re highly annoyed at me being uppity and petty. But you don’t want to come right out and say it.

  148. consciousness razor says

    re: my claim that racial slurs as humour might be a regional thing, I’m not claiming to have anything other than anecdotes to support this.

    So are you not supporting it now, or are you supporting it and doing so with anecdotes?

  149. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Josh, OSG, for instance, gets under my skin sometimes. He can be abrasive.

    Totally understandable. I can be obnoxious. Sometimes it’s warranted and sometimes it’s just my temper getting the better of me.

  150. consciousness razor says

    From my perch it looks like you’re highly annoyed at me being uppity and petty. But you don’t want to come right out and say it.

    I thought it was your impertinent churlishness.

  151. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    That too, CR. And I’m pretty sure I explained my annoyance clearly in that thread at JT’s before I got banned. I’m mouthy but one thing I’m not is vague or difficult to parse.

  152. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    [slightly OT]
    My bad: Josh understands music too.

    CR: I appreciate your so-called pedantry.

  153. meursalt says

    @Josh: Glad you showed up :).

    And you don’t get to police when and where I express my annoyance. Seriously—that’s just fucking dumb as a criticism. I can’t police a blogger in his own living room. . .I literally don’t have that power.

    That’s fair.

    If what you mean to say, instead, is that I don’t get to voice objections to things you think are harmless then you are wrong.

    I didn’t mean this at all. Voice away.

    What is it, exactly, that you mean to say? What do you take issue with? From my perch it looks like you’re highly annoyed at me being uppity and petty. But you don’t want to come right out and say it.

    You’re right, I should clarify. I’m not highly annoyed. I’ve been momentarily and mildly annoyed in the past. And it’s not for being uppity. I like when you’re uppity. Petty? Sometimes it seems that way.

    FWIW, I totes meant it earlier when I said your posts sometimes help me see things from a new perspective. Yeah, you’re abrasive sometimes, but that initial annoyance motivates me to read further and dig deeper, and quite often there’s a valid point to be found that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

    But cheese Louise, sometimes your snark really is on a hair trigger. Sometimes it seems like you assume malice by default. If your posts hadn’t earned my respect along the way, I wouldn’t even care.

    I’m trying to pick my words carefully, because I realize this is devolving more and more into tone trolling. In fact I’ll drop this particular line of discussion. It’s just frustrating sometimes, y’know? Deep rifts and all that. Oh well, I’ve probably earned a porcupine with this one.

  154. says

    re: my claim that racial slurs as humour might be a regional thing, I’m not claiming to have anything other than anecdotes to support this.

    No kidding.

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I inferred from your proposed wager that you thought it was a safe bet due to the stereotype of people from Alabama being bigots.

    Your inference was incorrect. It was a hypothetical wager about percentages of white people who would find jokes using the n-word acceptable in a state “where lynchings, murders, and assaults over race were commonplace in living memory” not so long ago and where I wouldn’t expect the culture to have changed so dramatically that it would now be equalled or surpassed by that in New York on that score (which does not require the percentage in NY to be low or zero).

    Sorry if I took it the wrong way; it seemed a reasonable inference to me.

    It was not. My words were very clear, and they were not “People from Alabama [or the South] are bigots.” (That‘s a stereotype.)

    OK, I can see how that looked like a bit of a strawman. In retrospect, it was a bit stronger than what you actually said (though I don’t see how it was substantially different).

    It was substantially different in that I didn’t say that.

    I know you don’t intend to respond, but I would be very interested in hearing what specifically you think is dishonest about what I have said, or what is dubious about me. I have made a couple of unintentional factual errors along the way, which I acknowledged and retracted when they were pointed out. You are of course free to think I’m an asshole, but if you’re going to allege dishonesty, it would be nice to see specifics. I’m also not sure what you would be doubting about me. The only thing I can think of is you think I’m a sockpuppet, which I’ve already implicitly denied when you asked if I’ve posted before on this or related sites.

    You’re familiar, both in your interest in showing up to make extensive charges against in this case particular commenters and in your manner (including your acknowledgements and retractions).

    It’s also suspicious that someone would lurk for all that time, saying nothing supportive or substantive about any of these contentious issues and not taking on the misogynist trolls himself, and then decide to pop up to comment at length about the picayune, accusatory nonsense you have. Who does that? I can’t imagine doing that. It’s a bit more than obnoxious. Even if my specific suspicions about you are misplaced, your motives are highly questionable.

  155. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Harrumph.

    Josh, Ing and Brownian are getting attention and I’m not!

    I have some consolation, though:

    “‘Punching up’ is still punching” is now a Bingo square.

  156. meursalt says

    @consciousness razor:

    So are you not supporting it now, or are you supporting it and doing so with anecdotes?

    That particular statement was an offhand and tangential remark. I was offering it as an opinion. It was in the context of trying to understand why some people think racist humour isn’t necessarily racist, in response to Justin Griffith’s attempted apologetics for this kind of humour (which, to be clear, I understand but don’t agree with). I realize my original post rambled a bit. The post as a whole was meant to address allegations of groupthink and intolerance for dissent at FTB. To reiterate, I think the people making these allegations mostly wrong, and overstating their case to a ridiculous degree, but I did want to point out some examples of things that might lead people to make these allegations, incorrect as they are.

    I still stand by it as an opinion, but I don’t claim to have solid evidence.

  157. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    mersault:

    Fair enough. Sometimes my snark is on a hair trigger and I do assume malice right off the starting mark. It’s part impatience born of experience, part character flaw:)

  158. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    John @86, thanks for the offer. I lack enough motivation to answer in the affirmative.

  159. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Whoops. . sorry for misspelling your ‘nym. I was reading it all Frenchified.

  160. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Josh, Ing and Brownian are getting attention and I’m not!

    You made me forget my twitter password and you ate the last cookie without even asking if anyone else wanted it :(

    (I’m working on my imaginary accusations at the moment.)

  161. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Whatever you do, don’t make it a hashtag. :)

    Oh gurrrrrlllll. . .I have never had so much fun as these past few days!

  162. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    You made me forget my twitter password and you ate the last cookie without even asking if anyone else wanted it :(

    Ahhhhh. Feels good.

    Also that cookie was delicious. I regret nothing!

  163. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    sg does free IT consulting for Focus on the Family.

    OMFG

    I just puked in my mouth a little

  164. meursalt says

    @SC:

    Your inference was incorrect. It was a hypothetical wager about percentages of white people who would find jokes using the n-word acceptable in a state “where lynchings, murders, and assaults over race were commonplace in living memory” not so long ago and where I wouldn’t expect the culture to have changed so dramatically that it would now be equalled or surpassed by that in New York on that score (which does not require the percentage in NY to be low or zero).

    All right, I guess I can see that there’s a distinction between assuming a higher percentage of a given group holds particular attitudes (in this case, racial slurs can be used as humour without making the speaker racist) without statistics by your own admission, I might add, and believing or perpetuating a stereotype. I have a feeling this distinction is much more significant in your mind than in mine. It seems like splitting hairs to me, but I’m going to assume good faith on your part.

    You’re familiar, both in your interest in showing up to make extensive charges against in this case particular commenters and in your manner (including your acknowledgements and retractions).

    It’s also suspicious that someone would lurk for all that time, saying nothing supportive or substantive about any of these contentious issues and not taking on the misogynist trolls himself, and then decide to pop up to comment at length about the picayune, accusatory nonsense you have. Who does that? I can’t imagine doing that. It’s a bit more than obnoxious. Even if my specific suspicions about you are misplaced, your motives are highly questionable.

    And this is where I take exception. To be frank, this sounds fucking paranoid. I had to look up “picayune” since I’d never heard it used outside the context of tobacco or the Times-Picayune. Maybe what I’m saying is a bit trivial. I’m not trying to make a federal case of it. I don’t feel obligated to answer your suspicions, but I will anyway. I almost always read FTB on a phone, during breaks at work, or during breakfast. Actually posting under those circumstances would require a monumental effort. As far as addressing the clear misogynist trolls, folks like Josh OSG, Ing, LILAPBWLS, et al do a more than adequate job without my help. And I really meant it earlier when I said I’d spent the better part of a decade in Internet Lurker Mode. For personal reasons which are noone’s business but my own, I had a blanket policy of never posting anything, never registering for anything, not using email, etc. I’ve only fairly recently started to use email again.

    Are you really going to take exception to the fact that I acknowledge when I’ve made mistakes and retract my incorrect statements? This is now taken to be a symptom of some vague intellectual dishonesty? I really don’t know how to respond to that.

    I have indeed been lurking on Pharyngula and Dispatches since the Scienceblogs days. I’ve delurked once before, to help Physioproffe identify an insect. You don’t have to believe me. Your excessive suspicion of malice doesn’t reflect poorly on me.

  165. meursalt says

    Whoops. . sorry for misspelling your ‘nym. I was reading it all Frenchified.

    Actually the ‘nym itself is misspelled. It’s a Camus reference. I carried the handle over from an online games service. Either I misspelled it back when I registered that account, or I read it from a translation of The Stranger that changed the spelling.

  166. Owlmirror says

    I have excessive suspicion of lilapbwlॐ, who can post links to pharynguwiki, whereas my attempts get eaten.

  167. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    As far as addressing the clear misogynist trolls, folks like Josh OSG, Ing, LILAPBWLS, et al do a more than adequate job without my help.

    No, please please please, lighten my share of the load. Seriously.

    Also I (usually) just can’t respond to (anti-msm) homophobia. I know we don’t get much of that here, but if you see it, it’s one of the things I (usually) can’t do on my own.

  168. says

    Meursalt:

    I have indeed been lurking on Pharyngula and Dispatches since the Scienceblogs days. I’ve delurked once before, to help Physioproffe identify an insect. You don’t have to believe me. Your excessive suspicion of malice doesn’t reflect poorly on me.

    I’m willing to believe you’ve been lurking (however, saying “since Sciborg days is beyond vague), but I don’t think SC is being excessively suspicious.

    SC has been at Pharyngula much longer than I have and I’ve been reading since early ’06. It did take me 3 years to start speaking up, too.

    Something you might not fully understand is that we do get a lot of people who have never posted (or posted very rarely) and have never been on the front lines of a particular fight (let’s say sexism, frinst.) who all of a sudden decide to post about tone or have an interest in derailing or decide to jump on the regulars for some odd reason. Almost always, those people aren’t up to any good and seriously detract from the discussion, then disappear again.

    When you’re weary and tired of seeing the same shit over and over and over again and your experience kicks in and sets off alarms, the reaction is there. On the rare occasion someone does pull shit like the above and are talking in good faith, it’s easy enough to apologize for jumping and move on. It’s just that the people who are talking in good faith are the exception, not the rule.

  169. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Owlmirror, I appear to have a special dispensation. It’s not an ability I can teach or confer upon others.

    (testing)

    Anyway, we probably need a few people to email PZ and ask him to whitelist Pharyngula Wiki.

  170. says

    All right, I guess I can see that there’s a distinction between assuming a higher percentage of a given group holds particular attitudes (in this case, racial slurs can be used as humour without making the speaker racist)

    My statement is above and it’s quite clear. It had nothing to do with “making the speaker racist,” and it was about one specific slur.

    without statistics by your own admission, I might add,

    You might, but I never claimed to have any such statistics.

    and believing or perpetuating a stereotype.

    No. You don’t understand what a stereotype is.

    I have a feeling this distinction is much more significant in your mind than in mine. It seems like splitting hairs to me, but I’m going to assume good faith on your part.

    I have no idea what you’re on about.

    And this is where I take exception blah blah blah blah blah…

    You’ve been commenting here for a total of a few hours. I couldn’t care less if you take exception to my suspicions. If you keep commenting and generally cease (or cut back significantly on) the suspicious behavior, my suspicions will be lessened and I’ll say so. Time will tell.

  171. says

    Thanks, Caine.

    SC has been at Pharyngula much longer than I have and I’ve been reading since early ’06.

    Then you’ve been around much longer! (I’ve just been commenting for longer.)

  172. meursalt says

    @Caine:

    I’m willing to believe you’ve been lurking (however, saying “since Sciborg days is beyond vague), but I don’t think SC is being excessively suspicious.

    I don’t remember an exact year and month. It was post-cracker, but not by a lot. I migrated to Pharyngula and Dispatches from Science Based Medicine (where I also only lurked), which I originally found through the Skeptic’s Guide podcast. At one point I dropped the habit of listening to podcasts due to hardware difficulties, and replaced it with reading blogs.

    SC has been at Pharyngula much longer than I have and I’ve been reading since early ’06. It did take me 3 years to start speaking up, too.

    Something you might not fully understand is that we do get a lot of people who have never posted (or posted very rarely) and have never been on the front lines of a particular fight (let’s say sexism, frinst.) who all of a sudden decide to post about tone or have an interest in derailing or decide to jump on the regulars for some odd reason. Almost always, those people aren’t up to any good and seriously detract from the discussion, then disappear again.

    When you’re weary and tired of seeing the same shit over and over and over again and your experience kicks in and sets off alarms, the reaction is there. On the rare occasion someone does pull shit like the above and are talking in good faith, it’s easy enough to apologize for jumping and move on. It’s just that the people who are talking in good faith are the exception, not the rule.

    I understand there’s a problem with trolls and sockpuppets. I anticipated a little suspicion, which was why my initial post was so long and clarified my stances on some issues that come up a lot on these blogs. For instance, when I raised the issue of gendered insults in relation to “JAQing off,” I tried to be very clear that I wasn’t trying to draw equivalency between male and female gendered insults.

    What I didn’t anticipate was being taken to task for acknowledging error and retracting incorrect statements. SC, would you prefer I double down if someone tells me I’m wrong? This kind of blindsided me, which is why I got a little defensive. I’m still unsure how to respond to that.

  173. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    With the caveat that Wiktionary is not usually written by experts, http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/batshit#Etymology

    «Presumably from batty (“crazy”), itself from earlier have bats in one’s belfry, from tendency of bats to fly around erratically. Possibly influenced by or derived from apeshit, particularly in phrase go apeshit

    pitbull thinks: Derivation from batty is more than plausible, obvious. Not convinced that bats in the belfry was a reference to erratic flight, but that is unimportant to the matter at hand.

  174. says

    What I didn’t anticipate was being taken to task for acknowledging error and retracting incorrect statements.

    And you weren’t. I said these sorts of acknowledgements and retractions, in the context of your posts, are familiar. The resemblance could be coincidental. Time will tell.

  175. says

    SG:

    «Presumably from batty (“crazy”), itself from earlier have bats in one’s belfry, from tendency of bats to fly around erratically. Possibly influenced by or derived from apeshit, particularly in phrase go apeshit.»

    Okay, thanks. I came across a few discussions which have batshit originating to mean the same as bullshit. It seems to be fairly recent that it got hooked up with crazy.

    Anyway, colonelzen is now tossing strawpeople about.

  176. Tethys says

    I think the term batshit crazy or bats in the belfrey is a reference to the fungus in bird and bat droppings that cause Cryptococcosis.

    The disease is acquired by inhaling the yeast-like cells of the organism. Two forms of cryptococcosis occur in humans. The generalized form begins with a lung infection and spreads to other areas of the body, particularly the central nervous system, and is usually fatal unless treated.

    reference here

  177. meursalt says

    @SC:

    My statement is above and it’s quite clear. It had nothing to do with “making the speaker racist,” and it was about one specific slur.

    OK, I’m looking back, and you didn’t explicitly say the part about the speaker not believing they were racist. That was an inference on my part, since that was the phenomenon I was referring to in the post to which you responded. Maybe my wording wasn’t as clear as I thought it was.

    You might, but I never claimed to have any such statistics.

    I never claimed you claimed this, but thanks for the clarification.

    No. You don’t understand what a stereotype is.

    No? Did you not get that I was agreeing with you and conceding your point here (admittedly with some reservation)? Anyway, I thought a stereotype was a simplified generalization about a given group (I’m paraphrasing a dictionary here; I looked it up to be certain, but this is the definition I was using all along). As I stated before, I can see your point that stating “A relatively high percentage of group x holds attitude p” is not exactly the same thing as making a simplified generalization of that group. I still think they’re pretty close. I’m not sure why you want to revisit this, since I’ve conceded that you’re technically correct.

    blah blah blah generally cease (or cut back significantly on) the suspicious behavior blah blah

    OK, the suspicious behaviour, by your own definition, includes being open to correction and admitting when I’m wrong, as well as my “manner.” This is what you want me to cease? Should I then retract my statement above where I ceded you the point on the use of “stereotype?” Would this make you less suspicious? This method of discourse is new to me and I must admit I’m a bit confused.

  178. meursalt says

    @LILAPBWL:

    I lack the patience for colonelzen’s ableism tonight.

    meursalt? Feel like making yourself useful?

    That is indeed some tedious bullshit. He lost me at “midget in a holocost[sic] cloak” (was that a Princess Bride reference?).

    Honestly, I might be flamed out for the night. I just took an antihistamine so the fog’s about to kick in.

  179. meursalt says

    @SC:

    And you weren’t. I said these sorts of acknowledgements and retractions, in the context of your posts, are familiar. The resemblance could be coincidental. Time will tell.

    All right, in light of this, I’ll retract some of the snark in my previous post to you. As you can probably tell, I’m getting tired and starting to lag behind the conversation, so I’ll be calling it a night shortly. Truce?

  180. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    This is what you want me to cease?

    She ain’t suggesting you should cease it. She’s just explaining what are the similarities that make her suspicious.

  181. meursalt says

    She ain’t suggesting you should cease it. She’s just explaining what are the similarities that make her suspicious.

    I get it now. I am a little curious though, if I resemble any troll in particular. It sounded like SC had someone specific in mind. Surely not Porco Dio? My punctuation is at least marginally better than that person’s.

    And I never was told to fuck myself or offered a porcupine, decaying or otherwise. Paula Kirby and the #FTBullies crowd must be disappointed.

  182. says

    No? Did you not get that I was agreeing with you and conceding your point here (admittedly with some reservation)? Anyway, I thought a stereotype was a simplified generalization about a given group (I’m paraphrasing a dictionary here; I looked it up to be certain, but this is the definition I was using all along).

    You could have just asked. I’m a sociologist, and I pointed you to an example above (your incorrect paraphrase of my remarks). My hypothetical wager was not a stereotype and was not based on a stereotype. These are applied in a rigid, blanket fashion to all members of a category (and can be conveyed in representations that show an individual as representative of an entire category).

    As I stated before, I can see your point that stating “A relatively high percentage of group x holds attitude p”

    I did not state that, and you need to stop trying to rephrase what I did say – and what you said, for that matter – because you’re not doing a good job at it (unless you’re trying to be dishonest).

    As I said, I’m suspicious of you. Regardless of whether my specific suspicions are correct, I think your purpose here is to throw out a stream of bogus accusations, which you’ll acknowledge errors in or retract when pushed but will continue to make. I’m not going to play that game.

    Perhaps you’ll have something to add going forward that isn’t in this vein. I hope so. Time will tell.

  183. meursalt says

    I did not state that, and you need to stop trying to rephrase what I did say – and what you said, for that matter – because you’re not doing a good job at it (unless you’re trying to be dishonest).

    I still don’t see my error here, but I’ll read the posts again when I’m better rested, since you seem pretty certain that I’m misrepresenting what you said. I don’t think it would be productive at the moment; I’ve got a bit of sinusitis and am tired, and my analytical skills are suffering as a result.

    As I said, I’m suspicious of you. Regardless of whether my specific suspicions are correct, I think your purpose here is to throw out a stream of bogus accusations, which you’ll acknowledge errors in or retract when pushed but will continue to make. I’m not going to play that game.

    That really was all I had in terms of criticisms. Some were addressed and shown to be flawed. Some were noted, and I see no need to rehash them. I know the initial post was a bit convoluted, but I tried to state my purpose clearly in followups. I’ll still assert that you’re being overly suspicious, but I have a feeling my silence and dropping the subject will be a better rebuttal than anything I might say.

    Again, I’ll revisit the “stereotype” comments probably tomorrow evening. If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize, and that’ll be the last you hear from me on the subject. Goodnight and best wishes,

    -m

  184. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Thanks, Caine, Jadehawk and consciousness razor.

  185. says

    SG, your rebuttal to colonelzen was excellent. I was thinking, crazy seems to be a particularly difficult word to tackle as an ableism. It’s used so often and in just about every situation one can imagine.

    I’m crazy to have such low prices!
    Crazy in love.
    Wow, this weed is craaaaazy.
    Are you crazy, why would you do that?

    And so on. It’s obvious that no matter how you use it, it points to mental illness, but I think most people use it in a very flexible way, basically defining it themselves for each situation.

    Or maybe not. I have very few working brain cells right now. I’m tempted to say the rats are driving me crazy. And now that I think, I have said that recently. Something I need to be more aware of, obviously.

  186. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    An interesting exception: some people tend to experience stress-induced delusions or hallucinations and so can really be driven crazy. Of course, if that’s all they say about it, they’re likely to be misunderstood as being driven to distraction, anger, or annoyance.

  187. says

    joey, what you say here:

    joey says:
    4 July 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I agree with.
    – -
    This, I wrote yesterday after my post @ $98 where I left to read Quining Qualia, on recommendation by consciousness razor.
    It is bullshit, cr. It is not logical, and even Dennet says so. It’s all there.
    – -

    4 July 2012 at 3:59 pm

    lipstick:

    1) have a will for doing something, in which case you have to deal with this regress*, which you cannot deal with — thus it is not freely willed — or
    2) have no will for doing something — thus it is not freely willed.
    *Why does the indeterministic mind prefer to do X instead of not-X? Where did it get that preference? Yet again there’s an infinite regress, which can be halted by saying the mind came into existence with certain preferences pre-packaged, but then the mind didn’t freely will those preferences.

    A decision can be the result of multiple preferences, and each preference can be the result of causality. But why does that have to mean the actual choice between the preferences cannot be freely chosen?

    In fact, IT CAN.
    I linked to one of many similar papers by an fMRI researcher that said that there is no locus of thinking or decision making in our brains.
    Do you people understand that? there is no point at which a ‘decision’ is finalized.
    – - -
    Guess what? I am going to perform the thought experiment about going back to the exact point in time and seeing if I could have chosen otherwise:
    I was walking home yesterday, and I became aware of my trajectory, and how I arrived at it. So I started paying attention to how I decided my vector – that is my direction and speed.

    At no point did I ever reach a decision making end point.
    At no point, in time, did I reach a final decision that I could not change if I wanted to.
    Never did that happen, that I could not decide, FREELY, where I was going to step next, NOT UNTIL MY FOOT ACTUALLY PLANTED ON THE GROUND.

    I could decide at any point to halt my movements if I so desired, in which case I would have mistepped, and at no time was I ever considered TO BE COMMITTED IN MY DECISION!

    *AA)

    The answer is YES, I could have chosen otherwise, within 5 one hundredths of a second, or thereabouts. Okay, up to 20/100 s.
    ESTIMATION OF RESPONSE TIMES

    USING A THREE FUNCTION WEIBULL DISTRIBUTION

    The best reaction times are always faster for auditory signals rather than visual signals. This has been confirmed by a number of laboratory experiments where the mean auditory reaction times are 140-160 ms (0.14-0.16 sec) and visual reaction times being 180-200 ms (0.18- 0.2 sec.)

    The response times to self generated thought is probably faster. That means that when another idea enters the picture, like volitionally altering my chosen behavior, the original impulse, or ‘decision’, can be circumvented, I estimate, any time beginning at .2s by introduction of alternative though or evaluation parameters into the decision loop.

    – - -

    *BB)

    I can prove that free will is not only possible, that it is likely.And I Stated explicitly, in # 38, that this was a wickedly good resource for understanding the complexity and multi-directional, non-localized interactions in the function of the brain:Nonlinear dynamic causal models for fMRI

    This paper presents a nonlinear extension of DCM that models such processes (to second order) at the neuronal population level. In this way, the modulation of network interactions can be assigned to an explicit neuronal population. We present simulations and empirical results that demonstrate the validity and usefulness of this model. Analyses of synthetic data showed that nonlinear and bilinear mechanisms can be distinguished by our extended DCM. When applying the model to empirical fMRI data from a blocked attention to motion paradigm, we found that attention-induced increases in V5 responses could be best explained as a gating of the V1 → V5 connection by activity in posterior parietal cortex. Furthermore, we analysed fMRI data from an event-related binocular rivalry paradigm and found that interactions amongst percept-selective visual areas were modulated by activity in the middle frontal gyrus. In both practical examples, Bayesian model selection favoured the nonlinear models over corresponding bilinear ones.

    OUR THINKING IS NOT LINEAR. It is not ‘one cause, one effect.’
    – - -

    *CC)
    A brief thought can modulate activity in extrastriate visual areas: Top-down effects of refreshing just-seen visual stimuli:

    Current models of executive function hold that the internal representations of stimuli used during reflective thought are maintained in the same posterior cortical regions initially activated during perception, and that activity in such regions is modulated by top-down signals originating in prefrontal cortex. In an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we presented participants with two pictures simultaneously, a face and a scene, immediately followed either by a repetition of one of the pictures (perception) or by a cue to think briefly of one of the just-seen, but no longer present, pictures (refreshing, a reflective act). Refreshing faces and scenes modulated activity in the fusiform face area (FFA) and parahippocampal place area (PPA), respectively, as well as other regions exhibiting relative perceptual selectivity for either faces or scenes. Four scene-selective regions (lateral precuneus, retrosplenial cortex, PPA, and middle occipital gyrus) showed an anatomical gradient of responsiveness to top-down reflective influences versus bottom-up perceptual influences. These results demonstrate that a brief reflective act can modulate posterior cortical activity in a stimulus-specific manner, suggesting that such modulatory mechanisms are engaged even during transient ongoing thought. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that refreshing is a component of more complex modulatory operations such as working memory and mental imagery, and that refresh-related activity may thus contribute to the common activation patterns seen across different cognitive tasks.

    These results demonstrate that a brief reflective act can modulate posterior cortical activity in a stimulus-specific manner, suggesting that such modulatory mechanisms are engaged even during transient ongoing thought
    OUR THINKING IS MULTI-DIMENSIONAL (multiple ideas can enter into the the evaluation loop), AND MODULATED BY A SECOND, REGIONALLY DISTINCT AREA IN THE BRAIN, which is itself subject to further modulation:

    ;Figure 2] (A) Example locations of the PPA and FFA are shown for a representative participant. Bilateral PPA and FFA were located for all participants and used as regions of interest for later analyses. (B) For bilateral PPA and FFA, activation estimates are plotted for the two Refresh conditions only, to show top-down effects of refreshing. After identical perceptual (bottom-up) stimulation, activity in bilateral PPA was greater for refreshing a scene than for refreshing a face. Activity in right FFA was greater for refreshing a face than for refreshing a scene

    New sensory input(qualia)from the introduction of new, both visual(qualia) AND reflective thought(qualia), evoke real time stimulation. I stand corrected, the visual response is greater than than the response to thought, although the reaction time to this new thought stimulation, input, may be less than or greater than the reaction to visual input of 2o milliseconds.

    (C) For bilateral PPA and FFA, activation estimates are plotted for all four conditions of the Experimental task. In both regions, activity was greater for perception than for reflection, as expected. Error bars represent standard error of the mean. Conditions: Ref_F = refresh face, Ref_S = refresh scene, Rep_F = repeat face, Rep_S = repeat scene. See text for further details.

    This means that up to 5 times a second, the influences, or considerations for a decision, which is ongoing and chronologically spread out as I demonstrated in my walk down the alley, can provide new information to the ‘set of alternative choices.’(From the first of the two abstracts I am referencing)

    Fig. 1. This figure shows schematic examples of bilinear (A) and nonlinear (B) DCMs, which describe the dynamics of a neuronal state vector x. In both equations, the matrix A represents the fixed (context-independent or endogenous) strength of connections between the modelled regions, the matrices B(i) represent the context-dependent modulation of these connections, induced by the ith input ui, as an additive change, and the C matrix represents the influence of direct (exogenous) inputs to the system (e.g. sensory stimuli). The new component in the nonlinear equations are the D(j) matrices, which encode how the n regions gate connections in the system. Specifically, any non-zero entry Dkl(j) indicates that the responses of region k to inputs from region l depend on activity in region j.

    – - -

    *DD)
    These new thoughts are competitive, and subject to varying levels of importance as they are evaluated, again from this abstract

    Fig. 10. Fit of the nonlinear model in Fig. 9A to the binocular rivalry data. Dotted lines represent the observed data, solid lines the responses predicted by the nonlinear DCM. The upper panel shows the entire time series. The lower panel zooms in on the first half of the data (dotted box). One can see that the functional coupling between FFA (blue) and PPA (green) depends on the activity level in MFG (red): when MFG activity is high during binocular rivalry blocks (BR; short black arrows), FFA and PPA are strongly coupled and their responses are difficult to disambiguate. In contrast, when MFG activity is low, during non-rivalry blocks (nBR; long grey arrows), FFA and PPA are less coupled, and their activities evolve more independently.

    – - -


    CONCLUSION:


    As I have shown in AA), my perception, or empirical experience, is that there is no solitary instant where a decision of final relevance occurs. It appears to me that I can change my mind at any moment in at least as little as .2 second.

    In fact, our decision making process is even more complex that a matter of evaluating and responding to one input at a time in a model that is linear. BB) shows that the process is multidimensional and at least bi-linear between several loci of brain activity, and is really non-linear in aspect. Our thoughts are part of the process in the generation of input to the decision process – CC) – on a level that is comparable to, although not equal with, visual perception(qualia).

    In fact, my contention that qualia are equal to, or a component of mind, is borne out by these observations and analysis, and qualia are therefore not only relevant(much to the chagrin of Dennet and consciousness razor), BUT OF PRIMARY CONSIDERATION to our decisions.

    DD)
    Our visual qualia is competitive with our awareness of thoughts(qualia) and these are part of an ongoing, non-linear, multi-faceted evaluation process, the result of which is a conscious awareness and weighing of alternative futures, BEFORE AND DURING a non-specific time frame which is the evolving event that is vaguely construed as ‘the decision process.’

    joey’s and my thinking is the correct interpretation of our behavior, and determinism is true, but reductionism is false.

    How’d ya like them apples? ;)

    [Addendum:
    Abstract

    This essay reviews recent developments in neurobiology which are beginning to expose the mechanisms that underlie some elements of decision-making that bear on attributions of responsibility. These "elements" have been mainly studied in simple perceptual decision tasks, which are performed similarly by humans and non-human primates. Here we consider the role of neural noise, and suggest that thinking about the role of noise can shift the focus of discussions of randomness in decision-making away from its role in enabling alternate possibilities and toward a potential grounding role for responsibility.

    The neurobiology of decision-making and responsibility: reconciling mechanism and mindedness.

    pretty picture!

    Have we got all the bases covered, or what? LOL]
    (this post was a motivated response)

  188. says

    皆さん、今日はまたすごくいい天気ですね!

    John Morales, I think we had this a couple of months ago. Sententia is nominative and sententiam would be accusative. However, the days where you declined Latin nouns in English are long gone (I hope), so I’d suggest sententia.

    Also, I’m glad I missed StevoR’s appearance at the TZT, but kudos to the other threadizens for calling him out as the genocidal maniac he is.

  189. A. R says

    Crazy: As an abelistic word, this one is pretty difficult to go after (not that we shouldn’t), given its common (and generally benign) usage, and the multiple meanings the word carries For example:

    1.
    mentally deranged; demented; insane.
    2.
    senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme.
    3.
    Informal . intensely enthusiastic; passionately excited: crazy about baseball.
    4.
    Informal . very enamored or infatuated (usually followed by about ): He was crazy about her.
    5.
    Informal . intensely anxious or eager; impatient: I’m crazy to try those new skis.
    noun
    11.
    Slang . an unpredictable, nonconforming person; oddball: a house full of crazies who wear weird clothes and come in at all hours.
    12.
    the crazies, Slang . a sense of extreme unease, nervousness, or panic; extreme jitters: The crew was starting to get the crazies from being cooped up belowdecks for so long.

    Personally, I don’t use the word, but I can’t see the word being effectively eliminated from the general vocabulary in the near future.

  190. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    And unpredictability is not freedom anyway.

    I never suggested that it was. What unpredictability does is allow for the possibility of freedom.

    A planet that contains organic compounds doesn’t mean life exists on that planet. Rather, the presence of organic compounds allows for the possibility of life to exist.

    Nothing could have caused you to choose otherwise, if you were in exactly the same situation. If unpredictable events occur (random or chaotic) as scenarios A and A’ unfold, and that alternative is supposed to cause an alternate behavior, that could not be something you’ve chosen. The alternatives may be possible because of the random or chaotic nature of the system, but it’s impossible that you willed the randomness or chaos.

    Are we still confining ourselves strictly to physicalism here? If we are, then I wouldn’t say that free will is “impossible”, but rather that the entire notion doesn’t even make sense. Under physicalism, free will is an entirely incoherent concept, and I have argued that in the past.

    Even if the movement of subatomic particles are indeterministic and random, does it make any sense that they move freely? That they move out of their own volition or will? Makes no sense. (Of course I’m being reductionist here, but how can you not be if you’re a physicalist?)

    The concept of free will resides in the metaphysical. It assumes that there is this metaphysical “you” or “I” that is the agent doing the “willing”. But it is completely fair to argue that free will is logically impossible if the physical universe is deterministic. How can the metaphysical “me” be free to do anything other than what I am deterministically compelled to do? If it is impossible to do otherwise then I am not free, and thus it can be concluded that free will is logically impossible.

    But in an indeterministic world, it is possible to do otherwise. So we can’t simply rule that free will is logically impossible as we can for determinism. That isn’t to say indeterminism is sufficient for free will to exist, but it is still logically possible. In the metaphysical realm, the only hope of proving something as “impossible” is to show that it defies logic.

  191. says

    BTW, I’d like to propose a new term

    argumentum ad etymologiam

    for all these people that cling to the literal meaning of the components of a word or its original meaning like:

    - originally X meant something totes inoffensive. Does not matter if it does now. Example: the N-word.

    - the word A,consisting of the components B and C, cannot mean what you say it does because it MUST mean what the components mean. Nope, a compound is more than just the sum of its components.
    Example: misogyny.

  192. says

    I still don’t see my error here, but I’ll read the posts again when I’m better rested, since you seem pretty certain that I’m misrepresenting what you said. I don’t think it would be productive at the moment; I’ve got a bit of sinusitis and am tired, and my analytical skills are suffering as a result.

    Your error is in repeatedly mischaracterizing what I’d said. It was a single sentence you could have simply quoted, and instead you chose to try your own phrasing, and failed at accurately representing my comment. Look at that statement and then at your several characterizations. Note that they don’t match. That’s your error. You’ve retracted some of it, but you continue to misrepresent. It’s at the very least a lazy dishonesty. If you’re not thinking clearly, then stop typing.

    That really was all I had in terms of criticisms. Some were addressed and shown to be flawed. Some were noted, and I see no need to rehash them. I know the initial post was a bit convoluted, but I tried to state my purpose clearly in followups. I’ll still assert that you’re being overly suspicious, but I have a feeling my silence and dropping the subject will be a better rebuttal than anything I might say.

    Again, I’ll revisit the “stereotype” comments probably tomorrow evening.

    See, this is part of what makes me suspicious. Your primary, almost exclusive, interest here seems to be in throwing out stupid accusations, expecting people to answer them, and then seeing what you can get to stick. You appear to delight in this. Now you’re suggesting you’re going to drop various other charges, but plan to “revisit” the stereotype comments later, in the course of which exchange you’ll probably come up with some new little digs. It’s a nasty game, and it leads me to believe your motives are anything but good.

    If I’m wrong, I’ll apologize,

    I don’t care about an apology from you. You brought it up in error – in response to a misreading, possibly willful, of my remark – and you don’t seem to understand the concept fully in any case. That’s been explained to you above, and I see no need to explain further.

    and that’ll be the last you hear from me on the subject.

    You can continue to say ignorant, incorrect things about it until you’re blue in the face. Take the rest of the thread to do so. It will do nothing to allay my suspicions. The way to do that – and just to stop being arrogant and obnoxious – is to move on to non-accusation subjects. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if you have significant productive contributions to make that don’t involve criticisms of bloggers and commenters here, and happy to admit that I was wrong about you.

  193. Muse says

    meursalt – apropos of very little – any reason a person from Alabama writes with non-American spelling?

  194. says

    mikmik says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.


    5 July 2012 at 4:44 am

    joey, anyone, click on my name. My post awaiting moderation is there.

    joey, there are two avenues of fMRI research going on that both account for the processing of self modulating, bilinear – minimum – multiple loci feedback that shows that as new information is incorporated into the consciousness stream, it can invoke cascades of stimulous/responce bidirectionally between very complex neural networks.
    Also, there is a noise background of brain activity that is a proposed source of quasi-random thought streams that may be originators for variable alternatives in the thought process. In other words, there are two mechanisms for generating, not just multiple, but continually evolving streams of consciousness during a decision making process.
    I understand exactly what you mean when you say randomness could be a source of varieties of action that the brain, our minds, evaluate and compare to each other.

    There is so much more in my hopefully coherent article/comment.

    Included, consciousness razor, is data that show both visual stimuli, and self generated stimuli – thinking – that influence the decision making process, so it seems that I am indeed correct that qualia/mind have a real world influence on our brain function.

  195. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    argumentum ad etymologiam

    Neat. It can be complemented with the argumentum ex Australia/Britannia, in which it’s claimed that an offensive word can be used harmlessly because it has completely lost its original meaning in either Australia or the UK.

  196. Owlmirror says

    @joey:

    But in an indeterministic world, it is possible to do otherwise. So we can’t simply rule that free will is logically impossible as we can for determinism. That isn’t to say indeterminism is sufficient for free will to exist, but it is still logically possible. In the metaphysical realm, the only hope of proving something as “impossible” is to show that it defies logic.

    Just to make sure that I’m on the same page as you:

    — By “free will”, do you still mean “contra-causal free will”; “the ability to have chosen differently”?

    — Would you agree that for free will in that sense to be true, what is necessary is not so much indeterminism (or not just indeterminism), but rather infinitely recursive self-awareness and control?

    — Would you agree that if it could be proved that infinitely recursive self-awareness and control is logically impossible, free will is logically impossible?

  197. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Yes, I liked it. Sure hope it becomes popular. Besides, reading the same “ad hominen” and “non sequeteur” over and over again gets tiresome after some time.

  198. says

    - originally X meant something totes inoffensive. Does not matter if it does now. Example: the N-word.

    I have heard a white person defend the N-word as non-racist because it’s referring to where black people originally came from; Niggeragua.

    No they were not kidding.

  199. says

    In this world, is the destiny of man controlled by transcendental entity or law? Does the hand of God hover above? Regardless; man has no control over his own will.

    And that’s the last I’m going to give to the freewill debate

    Bonus points if anyone can guess what I’m paraphrasing from :-p

  200. Brownian says

    Regarding Brownian flagging “folks” as a potentially racist term: I have a lot of respect for Brownian. His posts are usually insightful and quite funny. But in this case he was way off. Sure, “folks” is part of the phrase “black folks,” for example. I’m sure it’s been used in a racist context at some point. But it’s also part of the phrase “white folks,” “red folks,” and “my folks.” The term “folks” is entirely neutral and context-dependent. Brownian recognized this when questioned on it, but he then proceeded to double down (to be fair, I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t tongue-in-cheek). He said something to the effect (correct me if I’m remembering wrong) that he would be inclined to consider the word tainted simply to piss off the “anti-PC” crowd. Folks, this isn’t social justice. This isn’t sensitivity. It’s a charicature, and as others pointed out, it only gives ammunition to those who would try to make legitimate changes in language usage look silly.

    I should answer this. That wasn’t doubling down. Please remember that I’m not American, and sometimes I forget my place and think that my experiences are salient. So when I say that the word ‘folk’ sets off my racist alarms, I mean that. But remember, I live in a place that doesn’t matter, so I’m obviously wrong. It’s just that here, in this unimportant place where experiences aren’t relevant, the word folk isn’t much used to innocuously refer to people. It’s used to refer to racial groups.

    So I was being tongue-in-cheek, in the sense that I’m fully aware that my linguistic experiences aren’t ubiquitous. I didn’t actually expect anyone else to agree with me.

    I only brought up the PC thing in response to another commenter who talked about PC-gone-mad, in which I pointed out that the term ‘madness’ is somewhat misapplied to political correctness, no matter how persnickity, when examples such as the current Texas GOP platform (which seeks to overturn the Voter Rights Act exist.)

    And as far as social justice goes, if it might cause a Texas Republican legislator to keel over dead from heart failure, I would insist that water is dry.

  201. ChasCPeterson says

    ‘folks’ is one thing, Volk another.

    (btw I distinctly recall George W. Bush, shortly after the Sept. 2001 terrorist attacks, describing Al-Queda as “a group of folks that…”)

  202. ChasCPeterson says

    well I had the date wrong, but he said it at least thrice:

    As a matter of fact, this is a global effort. We’re facing a — a — group of folks who have such hatred in their heart, they’ll strike anywhere — with any means, and that’s why it’s essential that we have strong alliances, and we do. (Sep. 30, 2004)

    “The United States of America is engaged in a war against an extremist group of folks.” –George W. Bush, McLean, Va., Aug. 15, 2006

    Interestingly enough, a lot of sheikhs have decided to join in the fight against al Qaeda. They’re tired of foreigners and killers in their midst. That’s what the commanders have told me. And they believe we have a good opportunity to really crush this group of folks. (Jan. 11, 2007)

  203. cm's changeable moniker says

    legato is not imprecise.

    It can be.

    Prescriptivist!

    Rubato, on the other hand…

    *ring ring* *ring ring*

    consciousness razor? It’s Chopin, for you. :)

  204. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    (I haven’t quite got the hang of blockquote’s “cite” attribute apparently)

    It doesn’t work here, except that you can use these:

    Orthogonal to what you’re saying about the cite tag, I want to remind folks that we now have a non-secret Gumby, which everyone can see, with or without the Greasemonkey script.

    Instructions are in the javascript comments here: http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/User:Delugionist/secretcomicsans.user.js

    And “q cite” is redundant now since plain old “q” has been made Comic Sans by PZ.

  205. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says



    One more brief point, on “punching up” vs. “punching down:” Punching up is still punching.

  206. A. R says

    Brownian: For what it’s worth, the only time I’ve seen “folks” used in a non-racist manner was in reference to either immediate family (ex. I’m going to see my folks on Tuesday), or a crowd of people (ex. “Why don’t you folks follow me into the next exhibit”)

  207. consciousness razor says

    *ring ring* *ring ring*

    consciousness razor? It’s Chopin, for you. :)

    I’ll call him back later.

    And “q cite” is redundant now since plain old “q” has been made Comic Sans by PZ.

    You’re right. “blockquote cite” apparently doesn’t work at all now. I hadn’t tested it in preview.

    The weird hanging-from-an-empty-blockquote method just isn’t my style. Too much trouble, and it doesn’t look nice. I like things that look nice. And zombies.

  208. Louis says

    Caine,

    What does one have to do to get an Official Caine Embroidered Article?

    If it’s “get pregnant” like Audley, then I’ll live without it! ;-)

    Louis

  209. cm's changeable moniker says

    Ouch! I got comic sans aimed at me.

    Did I say something stupid? It’s entirely possible highly likely.

    *confuzzled shrug*

  210. cm's changeable moniker says

    Apropos the CSS changes (I guess?), I am quite liking the ability to Comic Sans at will. This could be fun. *strokes chin evilly*

  211. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    “blockquote cite” apparently doesn’t work at all now.

    Oh, well, that would be something I’m supposed to fix.

    (Don’t hold your breath though.)

  212. chigau (間違っていない) says

    I just drank a 0% Beck’s.
    It wasn’t horrible.

  213. Louis says

    Chigau,

    Alcohol free beer?

    {Takes rolled up newspaper and whaps Chigau softly on the nose}

    No! No! Bad Chigau! Bad! Don’t make me rub your nose in it.

    Louis

  214. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    It wasn’t horrible.

    Compared to regular Beck’s or compared to beer?

  215. tristancroll says

    From the other thread:

    if one thing is considered a serious crime with a serious penalty

    If.

    On incidence of rape, poor handling by courts, incidence of false reporting: on all of these I made no assertion whatsoever, and am open to evidence.

    Of course you did. It’s all there in your if.

    What the fuck, dude? Let’s look at the start of that sentence:

    Regardless of incidence or identity, if one thing …

    I was deliberately moving the subject into the abstract, to avoid an example that was obviously triggering problems.

  216. tristancroll says

    Tristan, if you have a point, and aren’t just trolling, present some real evidence. Try “this is what I believe, and this is the evidence (link to evidence for every claim)”. I’m ready to kill file you too, as you are meandering without a cogent and evidenced point. “Ifs”, or expecting for your unevidence claims to be refuted, are for those without an argument. Unevidence claims can “POOF”, be dismissed and unevidenced OPINION.

    You need evidence for the claim that false accusations of malfeasance are bad? Because that’s pretty much the entirety of my argument here.

  217. Brownian says

    Brownian: For what it’s worth, the only time I’ve seen “folks” used in a non-racist manner was in reference to either immediate family (ex. I’m going to see my folks on Tuesday), or a crowd of people (ex. “Why don’t you folks follow me into the next exhibit”)

    Yes, and of course, as with any word the use of which varies geographically and culturally, YMMV.

    To finish this discussion for meursalt’s benefit, readers may be interested to read my initial comment on the subject:

    The word ‘folk’ as applied to people sets off my racist alarms.

    I think right there is one of those claims that’s pretty much indisputable.

  218. Brownian says

    I was deliberately moving the subject into the abstract, to avoid an example that was obviously triggering problems.

    So, your point is that if, theoretically, rape was treated as a serious crime, then theoretical false accusations of rape would also be theoretically serious crimes.

    That’s great. Now that we’ve cleared that up, can we move on to all the theoretical late term abortions that theoretical sluts use as theoretical birth control and how it’s theoretically theoretical genocide?

  219. Brownian says

    Regardless of incidence or identity

    God could have created the universe, right?

  220. says

    You need evidence for the claim that false accusations of malfeasance are bad? Because that’s pretty much the entirety of my argument here.

    No one wants to play MRA vollyball with you. Sorry. Im sure you think you have this grand point or whatever but we literally have heard it a thousand times and don’t want to play.

  221. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    No one wants to play MRA vollyball with you. Sorry. Im sure you think you have this grand point or whatever but we literally have heard it a thousand times and don’t want to play.

    Tristan’s all broken up because dysomniak said he said something he says he didn’t say and the FTBullies aren’t making posts about it. See, because according to Tristan, the FTBullies are responding to every single bullshit tweet about them by some random asshole by making posts with 500 comments on them.
    tl;dr Tristan really, really wants attention.

  222. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Hey tristancroll.

    What are you going on about.

    Start over from the beginning for me.

  223. tristancroll says

    Jadzia626:

    Was that your way of saying “you’re all just hysterical women” or do you think RW & others make a good point?

    Have you stopped beating your significant other yet? Please don’t use false dichotomies. Just about everyone involved in this foul mess, male or female, has mud on their hands.

  224. Brownian says

    Having falsely been accused of assault causing bodily harm resulting in a long legal battle to prove my non-guilt, I can honestly say that neither I nor the legal system consider false accusations of assault causing bodily harm to be anything like as serious as assault causing bodily harm.

  225. says

    Just about everyone involved in this foul mess, male or female, has mud on their hands.

    Except me of course, because I am the fucking Serephim floating above it all, staring down with my arms crossed and shaking my head in judgement as I pee pure wisdom and gold on the lesser beings beneath me.

  226. tristancroll says

    life is like a pit bull with lipstick:

    This tweet by dysomniak, a regular here:

    And now @Integralmathyt, @iamcuriousblue, and @blondgecko are ALL calling @rebeccawatson a cunt. BLOCKED. ‪#FTBullies‬ ‪#feministasi‬

    … and this post in TET – I was told that this thread was the place for arguments, so I continued it on where it left off here. Sorry.

    dysomniak @121:

    Hah! Tristan is SO MAD about me “libeling” him on twitter!

    You’re damned right I am – but probably not for the reason you’re thinking. You’re just another stupid, instigating liar, and I’m small fry. I’m mostly upset at your peers. Here, let me try an analogy:

    Rape is a serious crime – very few people will disagree with that. A crime which, if the accused is convicted, carries severe consequences – social and otherwise. For the latter reason, false accusations of rape must also be serious crimes, since they can cause innocent people to suffer substantial harm.

    Now, in many places (primarily the US) calling someone a cunt is a very serious insult. Your community in particular has been pushing hard on the idea that it is in fact an insult that is demeaning to all women every time it is used. You’ve also worked very hard to ensure that there are serious social consequences for anyone who uses it. Whether or not I believe this should be the case (for the most part I actually sympathise) is irrelevant. You do. Just as for rape, therefore, you need to be sure that you’re applying your penalty to people who are actually guilty, otherwise you’re just another witch-hunting mob.

    TL;DR: If you’re going to pounce on anything from your “enemies” that is (or can be vaguely interpreted as) a lie or a threat, then to avoid hypocrisy you need to police the verifiable examples of same from your “friends”. Why do you think so many respected members of the skeptic community are fed up with you?

    Oh, and Brownian: that #290 was thoroughly, thoroughly dishonest. You should seriously be ashamed of yourself.

  227. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Just about everyone involved in this foul mess, male or female, has mud on their hands.

    Not me, I have dried snot on mine.

    Allergies, boo.

  228. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    This tweet by dysomniak, a regular here:

    He’s new, actually, I noticed him about ten days ago.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy, but AFAIK he hasn’t been beaten in to the gang yet.

    So, which one are you? @Integralmathyt, @iamcuriousblue, or @blondgecko?

  229. Brownian says

    Oh, and Brownian: that #290 was thoroughly, thoroughly dishonest.

    Accusations if dishonesty speak to motive. I assume you can prove this accusation about my knowledge and mental state?

    You should seriously be ashamed of yourself.

    Ashamed? Why? We’ve all got mud on our hands.

  230. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Dysomniak said Tristan called RW a cunt. (Tristan claims he did not.) Tristan claimed that the fact that FTB at large wasn’t blogging about that made them bullies. Tristan further claims that if said tweet were made by an FTB enemy, it would receive featured posts with 500 comments.

    tl;dr Tristan REALLY wants attention.

  231. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Ing: maybe? I don’t know if I feel it, but I agree it does look that way.

  232. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Just about everyone involved in this foul mess, male or female, has mud on their hands.

    Be specific, asshole.

  233. Brownian says

    Frankly, I don’t actually see how “Regardless of incidence” and speaking in the abstract doesn’t apply to the argument about abortion.

    I may be wrong, but it’s not dishonest. So, I’ll thank you to retract your libel about my dishonesty, Tristan.

  234. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Okay so the gecko says:

    “Credit 2 @szvan 4 allowing Q RE @dysomniak’s slander on her blog. No credit 2 others: dead silence. Prime example of why we call ‪#FTBullies‬”

    Tristan, can you explain to me what you’re talking about?

    It does look to me like Cipher’s describing it accurately: “Tristan claimed that the fact that FTB at large wasn’t blogging about that made them bullies.”

  235. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You need evidence for the claim that false accusations of malfeasance are bad?

    Since I don’t know what the fuck you are talking about, other than MRA bullshit, explain and show evidence for the rate of occurrence of said malfeasance.

  236. chigau (間違っていない) says

    re 0% beer
    I’m in a dry camp.
    Not horrible compared to Beck’s.
    and actually pretty good compared to, say, Budweiser.

  237. tristancroll says

    Having falsely been accused of assault causing bodily harm resulting in a long legal battle to prove my non-guilt, I can honestly say that neither I nor the legal system consider false accusations of assault causing bodily harm to be anything like as serious as assault causing bodily harm.

    Where did I say it had to be as serious? I said it was also serious.

    Oh, and if dysomniak isn’t a regular here, my apologies to you all. I’ll be going then. Just be wary of the snake in your midst.

  238. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says


    Oh, and if dysomniak isn’t a regular here, my apologies to you all. I’ll be going then. Just be wary of the snake in your midst.

    Ow.
    I hurt myself laughing.

  239. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    To set the record straight, since this is SRS LEGAL BZNZ I’ve been lurking for a few years but only started commented regularly in the couple couple of weeks. Also I have it on good authority that Tristan was once arrested for committing unnatural acts in an exotic pet store.

    Just be wary of the snake in your midst.

    HISSSSSSS!

  240. Brownian says

    Where did I say it had to be as serious? I said it was also serious.

    Oh, then, for some values of serious and as serious and not others, of course it is. And not.

    Are we done here?

  241. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What is MRA?

    There is this wonderful site called Google. Type in an acronym, and up pops definitions. But then, that must be beyond your meager repertoire.

  242. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Started as an acronym for Men’s Rights Advocate (that sounds like a good thing YAY RIGHTS but it’s not – they’re convinced that feminism is responsible for all the ways in which patriarchy hurts men, and they are often viciously misogynistic), has been backronymed into some other creative and more accurate things. Some people now prefer “male supremacist,” presumably because they don’t concede that fighting against feminism is the same as advocating for rights.

  243. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    This site monitors a lot of MRA sites and makes fun of them. I don’t go to it because MRAs make me ill, so I don’t know how good the site is myself.

  244. A. R says

    Mud? MUD!?!?! You accuse me of having mere MUD on my hands? No, my dear friend, I haz troll blood on my hands!

  245. says

    Oh, and if dysomniak isn’t a regular here, my apologies to you all. I’ll be going then. Just be wary of the snake in your midst.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

    What. An. Idiot.

  246. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Dysomniak, I’m assuming you were just fucking with these people, but maybe you should be more clear about that in the future…

  247. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    How is MRA formed?

    how is MRA formed

    how girl get child support

  248. tristancroll says

    Okay so the gecko says:

    “Credit 2 @szvan 4 allowing Q RE @dysomniak’s slander on her blog. No credit 2 others: dead silence. Prime example of why we call ‪#FTBullies‬”

    Tristan, can you explain to me what you’re talking about?

    It does look to me like Cipher’s describing it accurately: “Tristan claimed that the fact that FTB at large wasn’t blogging about that made them bullies.”

    That refers to this comment – and yes, I was serious in thanking Stephanie Zvan for letting my comment through moderation. Q RE = question regarding. Twitter is so limited – but since it started there I figured I should respond there.

    After a day with zero response, I got a bit pissed and tweeted the above, then came here. It may seem a little thing for you all, but I saw what happened to coffeelovingskeptic due to a similar accusation last week, and couldn’t let it lie.

    The funny thing is, that that tweet (and my immediate response asking for evidence and calling it slander, was posted to the #FTBullies hashtag which was being watched and posted to by dozens of people at the time. Yet there, at Zvan’s blog and here I have yet to see a single clear statement that such false accusations are a bad thing to do.

  249. davidbohm says

    Interesting, I didnt know there was such a thing as MRA.
    From wikipedia:


    Advocates blame the influence of feminism on education for discrimination against and systematic oppression of boys in the education system.[73]

    jez..

  250. Brownian says

    Everyone, false accusations, like, about bullying an’ shit or people calling other people ‘cunts’, are bad, and nobody should make them.

    And I mean everybody, because there ain’t a fucking one of you ain’t got mud on your hands.

    So, let’s all, every one of us, with the mud on our hands, stop that shit right now.

    Look at me! I’ve fixed skepticism!

  251. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    yes, I was serious in thanking Stephanie Zvan for letting my comment through moderation

    How about your claim that not blogging about your Very Important Feelings about dysomniak’s tweet constituted bullying? Serious about that too?

  252. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    but I saw what happened to coffeelovingskeptic due to a similar accusation last week

    That’s the joke, idjit.

  253. chigau (間違っていない) says

    Magnetic resonance angiography
    Manitoba Runners’ Association

    It is right at the top on the Pfft disambiguation page.

  254. Brownian says

    How about your claim that not blogging about your Very Important Feelings about dysomniak’s tweet constituted bullying? Serious about that too?

    Not as serious. Also serious.

  255. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I may be mistaken but I believe a large portion of the MRAs beginning stemmed from some fathers who thought the courts treated their custody claims poorly, rightfully or not.

    It all went downhill from there.

  256. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    … and my reply to dysomniak, asking for evidence to support his baseless slander on Twitter, is “awaiting Moderation”. A fine reminder of why I don’t post here.

    You’re kind of a dumbass, aren’t you.

    Did you ever figure out your post probably went into moderation because it included the word “cunt”

    Yet there, at Zvan’s blog and here I have yet to see a single clear statement that such false accusations are a bad thing to do.

    Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

    Most people who aren’t you don’t pay much attention to everything you’ve said and everything anyone’s said to you.

    So, especially on a mostly non-linear medium like Twitter, very few people will know if you ever said something or not, nor will they care.

    It took me more than an hour from the beginning of your rant here to figure out what’s going on.

    The funny thing is, that that tweet (and my immediate response asking for evidence and calling it slander, was posted to the #FTBullies hashtag which was being watched and posted to by dozens of people at the time.

    I’m going to let you in on another secret. Since you’re new to Twitter. The thing is, not every tweet that includes a hashtag actually shows up in the search for that hashtag. It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Twitter does this for performance reasons. As far as I’ve noticed, it’s random whether a tweet will show up there or not. So it may be that only your followers ever saw it when it appeared.

  257. Brownian says

    I may be mistaken but I believe a large portion of the MRAs beginning stemmed from some fathers who thought the courts treated their custody claims poorly, rightfully or not.

    Did these MRnAzis ever consider that those family court judges just might have been socially awkward?

  258. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    You’re kind of a dumbass, aren’t you

    All comments pointing to yes

  259. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    ” but I saw what happened to coffeelovingskeptic due to a similar accusation last week”

    That’s the joke, idjit.

    Oh once again I guess I don’t know what’s going on then.

  260. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    So it may be that only your followers ever saw it when it appeared.

    I saw it, but since I haven’t found a way to access deleted tweets and Tristan was evidently a dumbass with the “You’re not blogging about this tweet by a sometimes commenter with 46 followers*! Prime example of why we call ‪#FTBullies‬” crap, I didn’t particularly care.

    *No insult meant, dysomniak, I don’t have many followers either.

  261. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Oh once again I guess I don’t know what’s going on then.

    I eventually got it. Dysomniak was trolling the whinging morons by claiming they called RW a cunt and then blocking them. Which, as I said, dysomniak might want to be more obvious about the joke in the future.

  262. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I eventually got it

    And then didn’t actually explain it to you.
    The reference is to this thread, in which someone called coffeelovingskeptic was really upset that PZ blocked him, and afterward RW said, mistakenly, that he’d called her a cunt, when in fact he’d just called her a feminazi.

  263. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Sorry, the more serious they take it the further I want to let it play out.

  264. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I eventually got it. Dysomniak was trolling the whinging morons by claiming they called RW a cunt and then blocking them. Which, as I said, dysomniak might want to be more obvious about the joke in the future.

    Ah. Yes.

    Not really top notch trolling, either.

    dysomniak, I must insist that you try harder.

    The reference is to this thread, in which someone called coffeelovingskeptic was really upset that PZ blocked him, and afterward RW said, mistakenly, that he’d called her a cunt, when in fact he’d just called her a feminazi.

    I do remember that, though.

    And it does not look good for Tristan that he can’t accept a mistake which was retracted.

    Tristan, have you noticed yet any of the dozens of snakes in your midst?

  265. says

    Dysomniak:

    Sorry, the more serious they take it the further I want to let it play out.

    I understand the impulse, however, you aren’t all that hot at trolling. Considering that your effort led to a misunderstanding and getting to deal with much whinging here, perhaps you’ll restrain yourself until you can sharpen your game.

    e22“““““““““““““““““““`2111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111222222222222222222222

    Ummm, Havelock seemed to think this ^ was important.

  266. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I do remember that

    Now that you mention it, I mean. I was still a bit lost.

    +++++
    dysomniak, following up on what Caine just said: my rule of thumb — when I remember to apply it — is that I try to make sure my actions won’t result in more work, damage-control, or other stressors for my political allies.

  267. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Sorry about the splashback. I’ll try to excercise more restraint in the future.

  268. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I eventually got it

    And after the arduous ascent found the fruits sour.

    Nighty night, TZT peeps.

  269. says

    Dysomniak:

    I’ll try to excercise more restraint in the future.

    Or watch Brownian. Very closely. He’s sitting on a houseful of sniny, sniny internets. :D

    G’night, AE, I’m headed that way soon myself.

  270. says

    Speaking of sniny internets woven with cookies, Brownian picks up another one for this:

    Did these MRnAzis ever consider that those family court judges just might have been socially awkward?

  271. says

    Nah, the Father’s Rights groups want nothing to do with the MRAs. Which I can respect, since MRAs are just fucking out of touch with reality as the rest of us know it*. MRAs claim credit for what Father’s Rights groups do, but they’re not really related except for that.

    *Mind, Father’s Rights groups also tend to exit reality, but they do so in an incredibly understandable way.

  272. A. R says

    e22“““““““““““““““““““`211111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

    Message received and acknowledged Agent 34562. Response: 346h3gfsw3333333333333333333333333”””’4.

  273. A. R says

    Caine: Hmm, considering that, I would advise you to ensure that none of the ratlets has been replaced by Muscdroids. (Eeeebil cybernetic rat-like robots)

  274. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    AtheistPowerlifter was correct, of course. Obviously.

    These comments by Ing, Happiestsadist, Ms. Daisy Cutter are silly.

    Nobody asked any of you to “give a shit.” PZ said something inaccurate, and AtheistPowerlifter wanted to respond to him and correct the inaccuracy — while clearly indicating that it was a “minor quibble.” Nothing should have been controversial about this.

    Your attempts to spin it as a cry of oppression? Embarrassing to watch. And, unfortunately, exemplary.

  275. says

    SG, I think it was just hard to take, not only in light of Penn State, but because sports culture is just so toxic here in the U.S.

    AtheistPowerlifter is Canadian and I really don’t know how much the culture differs from here. Yes, he is right that not every athlete is mouth breathing fuckwit, however, I’d say they tend to be the majority.

    I stand by my comment that athletic culture has a fucktonne to answer for, because it does. It’s very toxic in the U.S. and I do say that as a former athlete.

  276. Brownian says

    AtheistPowerlifter is Canadian and I really don’t know how much the culture differs from here. Yes, he is right that not every athlete is mouth breathing fuckwit, however, I’d say they tend to be the majority.

    I tried out for high school rugby, and I played. Two years. I don’t see how in the hell there are such people as “too smart to try out for the football team”, but in light of the skeptic/atheist community, with its sexism and racism and Thunderf00ts and ERV slimepits, perhaps nerds should have to explain exactly why we’re supposed to think we’re so much better than everyone else. I’m tired of having it simply assumed as fact.

  277. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I stand by my comment that athletic culture has a fucktonne to answer for, because it does. It’s very toxic in the U.S. and I do say that as a former athlete.

    No dispute there.

    What I have a problem with is this pattern where someone says something false, and then if anyone disputes it, they’re said to be whining or claiming oppression.

    It looks to me like hazing, the way the target is expected to be absolutely stoic in the face of false claims, such that merely voicing disagreement is an indication of failure.

  278. says

    I tried out for high school rugby, and I played. Two years. I don’t see how in the hell there are such people as “too smart to try out for the football team”, but in light of the skeptic/atheist community, with its sexism and racism and Thunderf00ts and ERV slimepits, perhaps nerds should have to explain exactly why we’re supposed to think we’re so much better than everyone else. I’m tired of having it simply assumed as fact.

    Entirely true.

  279. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I mean, if AtheistPowerlifter had said “that’s not true” and dozens of people had responded “I don’t give a fuck, fuck all athletes I hate ‘em” then no big deal — that would at least be an honest response.

  280. says

    I went back and checked, I didn’t respond at all to powerlifter’s response to PZ, but to a specific idea that annoyed me. Sorry SG, but you’re wrong here. I may have just been ranting but I quoted the part that annoyed me. I was responding to the idea that we undervalue physique over intellect.

  281. says

    SG:

    It looks to me like hazing, the way the target is expected to be absolutely stoic in the face of false claims, such that merely voicing disagreement is an indication of failure.

    Yeah, no disagreement there. I assumed humour on PZ’s part, in regard to the initial statement, but I could have assumed wrong. While I don’t think there are people who are “too smart to try out for X sport”, I do think there are people who think about it and decide against it because of the toxic culture. I knew a fair amount of people like that back in my athletic days. (Which was a *long* time ago and the culture has gotten worse.)

    There shouldn’t have been such a reaction to AtheistPowerlifter’s quibble, that was fucked up and uncalled for, absolutely. And I should have said so.

  282. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I don’t think anyone treated Atheistpowerlifter as a troll or anything.

    I don’t really care if someone’s treated like a troll.

    I just ranted about the idea that athletes suffer from negative stereotypes in a society that grants them a lot of privilege.

    And your rant was irrelevant to what AP said. There was no claim of even personal suffering, let alone group oppression.

    The most AP said was that it rubs him the wrong way that people think he’s stupid because he lifts weights and is kinda fat, and so he wanted to point out that a lot of athletes aren’t stupid.

  283. says

    There was no claim of even personal suffering, let alone group oppression.

    I don’t think I mentioned that at all.

    The most AP said was that it rubs him the wrong way that people think he’s stupid because he lifts weights and is kinda fat, and so he wanted to point out that a lot of athletes aren’t stupid.

    I put up an apology to AP for looking like I was biting his head off. Approval?

    Twas a rant looking for an exit point due to being POed over the Penn State stuff.

  284. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I was responding to the idea that we undervalue physique over intellect.

    And that may be a valid topic for ranting, but it’s inaccurate (and personally unfair, if that matters to you) to construe what AP said as “We now need to stop the brainiacs and fatties from patting themselves on the back in the one area they might excel at”.

    I don’t think I mentioned that at all.

    I think they’re doing all right in terms of how society treats them and don’t need anyone elses help. [...] Seriously, being healthier, being seen as more attractive and judged as better by society and all that isn’t enough? We now need to stop the brainiacs and fatties from patting themselves on the back in the one area they might excel at? Sweet fancy Moses! Let my people go, old man Pharoh!!

  285. says

    And that may be a valid topic for ranting, but it’s inaccurate (and personally unfair, if that matters to you) to construe what AP said as “We now need to stop the brainiacs and fatties from patting themselves on the back in the one area they might excel at”.

    Ok, you’re right.

  286. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I put up an apology to AP for looking like I was biting his head off. Approval?

    I hope I’m not being misunderstood here.

    I don’t care if you call the guy a shitstain and tell him to go play in traffic. Intellectually honest cruelty is just not what I’m objecting to.

    It’s the spin that bothers me.

  287. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Nothing more. I didn’t refresh before posting my last comment.

  288. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I put up an apology to AP for looking like I was biting his head off. Approval?

    *approve*

  289. meursalt says

    @SC

    Regarding our disgreement last night over use of the term “stereotype” as it applied to your statements, I’ve reviewed the comments, and I can see that my paraphrase wasn’t strictly accurate. I can see that the distinction of holding an individual as representative of a larger group is key to the concept of “stereotype.” I was reading your statement with some unwarranted expectations based on my comment to which it was in response. The whole point of paraphrasing was to force myself to think about the content of your statement, and give you a chance to point out errors in my understanding. You did; I see the error now. I wasn’t intentionally misrepresenting your statement, and I do apologize if it appeared that way.

    I still hold the opinion (admittedly with very little to back it up) that the culture of the Southeast probably has changed more dramatically than you realize. By no means do we have a monopoly on bigotry (and I’m not implying that this is what you were claiming). To cite a parallel example, look at post-WWII Germany, and their present attitudes toward racism, racist literature, and Nazi ideology (not to self-Godwin). They have placed a higher priority on rebuking these ideas than they do on pure free speech (and the merits of such an approach might be worthy of a whole ‘nother debate, but it’s more than I’m willing to unpack right now). I’m not claiming the South as a whole has been as proactive as Germany in combatting racism; I only bring this up to show that such dramatic change is not impossible.

    I should probably clarify a bit about my personal background that makes me lean toward this position without having hard data. Half my family is originally from New York, and the other side is native to Alabama and previously Georgia. Among the older generations, I witnessed far more racist attitudes in members of the New York side of the family than the Southern side. I realize that my case may be entirely atypical. I’m not trying to imply that the South is “cured” of racism by any stretch of the imagination, only that the perception, among people from other regions, of the South as racist might be a bit exaggerated.

    PS: To address a couple of points in your response which I read after composing the above,

    If you’re not thinking clearly, then stop typing.

    You’ll notice I did exactly that.

    . Now you’re suggesting you’re going to drop various other charges, but plan to “revisit” the stereotype comments later, in the course of which exchange you’ll probably come up with some new little digs. It’s a nasty game, and it leads me to believe your motives are anything but good.

    There’s no new digs here that I’m aware of, certainly no intentional ones.

    I don’t care about an apology from you.

    Maybe this is selfish of me, but I do care. If I’ve been shown to be wrong, it’s only right to admit it. And I think misrepresenting your position warrants one.

    -m

  290. meursalt says

    @Muse

    meursalt – apropos of very little – any reason a person from Alabama writes with non-American spelling?

    It’s probably a symptom of reading too much classic international literature and travelling a bit as a kid. It’s mostly unintentional. Sometimes I try to correct it. I’ve probably mixed British and American spellings, very possibly of the same words, in my comments. The British spellings come more naturally to me and tend to creep in when I type quickly. And, at an almost subconscious level, maybe I take a little joy in keeping the reader guessing, making me less motivated to correct to American spellings. I’ll admit it’s a slopping writing practice, and it used to get me in trouble at school. Language in general is something that fascinates me, and regional and subcultural shibboleths are a particular interest. Occasionally I may throw some of these out as cultural markers to see if I get any “bites” from people with backgrounds in the more obscure subcultures with which I’ve identified (I don’t think I’ve done that here yet, at least note deliberately).

  291. meursalt says

    @Brownian

    I should answer this. That wasn’t doubling down. Please remember that I’m not American, and sometimes I forget my place and think that my experiences are salient. So when I say that the word ‘folk’ sets off my racist alarms, I mean that. But remember, I live in a place that doesn’t matter, so I’m obviously wrong. It’s just that here, in this unimportant place where experiences aren’t relevant, the word folk isn’t much used to innocuously refer to people. It’s used to refer to racial groups.

    So I was being tongue-in-cheek, in the sense that I’m fully aware that my linguistic experiences aren’t ubiquitous. I didn’t actually expect anyone else to agree with me.

    Fair enough. I guess usage is just different here in the States, where the term is used in everyday speech with its literal meaning, and noone blinks an eye.

    I noticed years ago that I never saw the term “PC” used except as a pejorative by people building strawman arguments involving radical language modification in order to justify maintenance of the status quo. I hope you don’t think that’s the mindset my statements were coming from. I really do enjoy your comments, and this one was jarring to me because it didn’t seem on par with your usual quality. It puts me at ease to see you explicitly say it was tongue-in-cheek.

    And as far as social justice goes, if it might cause a Texas Republican legislator to keel over dead from heart failure, I would insist that water is dry.

    And I can appreciate this sentiment. I guess I should really just relax.

    PS: Thanks for linking to the comment. After my first attempt at linking got moderated, I really didn’t want to give the impression of link-spamming.

  292. says

    I still hold the opinion (admittedly with very little to back it up) that the culture of the Southeast probably has changed more dramatically than you realize. By no means do we have a monopoly on bigotry (and I’m not implying that this is what you were claiming). To cite a parallel example, look at post-WWII Germany, and their present attitudes toward racism, racist literature, and Nazi ideology (not to self-Godwin). They have placed a higher priority on rebuking these ideas than they do on pure free speech (and the merits of such an approach might be worthy of a whole ‘nother debate, but it’s more than I’m willing to unpack right now). I’m not claiming the South as a whole has been as proactive as Germany in combatting racism; I only bring this up to show that such dramatic change is not impossible.

    No dramatic change is not impossible but I think you highlighted the point on why people disagree about the culture changing all that much. Germany was proactive…the South still proudly displays the Confederate Flag.

  293. meursalt says

    @ChasCPeterson:

    (btw I distinctly recall George W. Bush, shortly after the Sept. 2001 terrorist attacks, describing Al-Queda as “a group of folks that…”)

    As much as it pains me to defend G.W. Bush, that was probably just the Texan in him talking (or rather, the cultivated Texan image he chooses to project). Substitute “people” for a less folksy rendition of his meaning.

  294. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    meursalt, feel like making yourself useful yet?

    colonelzen dropped more rubbish that I’ve been procrastinating a reply to.

  295. meursalt says

    @Ing

    No dramatic change is not impossible but I think you highlighted the point on why people disagree about the culture changing all that much. Germany was proactive…the South still proudly displays the Confederate Flag.

    Point taken. We still have a long way to go. I think what I see here, more than conscious racism, is simply insensitivity. Outright malice has been replaced with ignorance. I’m sure it feels the same, either way, to the people on the receiving end, and it’s still wrong.

  296. A. R says

    [A. R. debates using the LOLstar to clean the JAQ'ing out of TZT, decides not to]

  297. meursalt says

    @LILAPBWL:

    I’ll take a stab. I guess I owe you one for including me in Sexist Bingo ;).

  298. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Oh good.

    Do you want to be mentioned on the wiki as the source of that Bingo square? I figured no, but I’ll link ya if you like.

  299. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Ing,

    Is there anything than the derp value that is behind the fascination with her? Because otherwise it kinda is looking creepy like people are concerned about her leaving the flock.

    In my case all I wanted to say was

    “see? see? virtue ethics —> Catholicism! VIRTUE ETHICS BAD. told ya so!”

    And I got that out of my system on the first day, so I’m done.

  300. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Also I was delighted that Walton knew exactly which little detail would appeal to me out of the whole sordid story. :)

  301. meursalt says

    @LILAPBWL:

    I made an (admittedly weak) effort.

    “Crazy” is a tough one. My mom was a psychiatric nurse, so she raised me to be sensitive about this word in particular. I’ve tried to be scrupulous in not applying it to anyone who may actually be mentally ill. In recent years I’ve done my best not to apply it to people at all. I may still slip up occasionally and use the term unthinkingly in reference to ideas, not people.

    Then we get into the area of affected groups reclaiming words. Can people with a mental illness use “crazy” in reference to themselves? To others? Then, if we accept that, which specific conditions qualify?

    I agree with the sentiment, but this one in particular is an uphill battle.

  302. meursalt says

    @LILAPBWL:

    Do you want to be mentioned on the wiki as the source of that Bingo square? I figured no, but I’ll link ya if you like.

    No, that’s quite all right. It can be our little in-joke.

    -m

  303. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    A reasonable attempt, thanks.

    Then we get into the area of affected groups reclaiming words. Can people with a mental illness use “crazy” in reference to themselves? To others? Then, if we accept that, which specific conditions qualify?

    It’s always distracting to look at these questions from the “who has the right to say X” perspective. What’s relevant is “which usages of X contribute to oppression?” And that’s difficult to predict far in advance. Maybe it will be reclaimed, maybe it won’t — it definitely can’t be done by those who aren’t harmed by it, not because they “don’t have the right” but because they’re just incapable of attempting this without diverting focus away from the oppressed and onto the privileged.

    I agree with the sentiment, but this one in particular is an uphill battle.

    Almost every battle worth exerting much energy for is an uphill battle; any (hypothetical) downhill ones can be mostly handled by inertia (although I can’t off the top of my head think of any downhill battles except as viewed from the reactionary-conservative pov).

  304. meursalt says

    @LILAPBWL:

    True words. I have a hard enough time getting coworkers to see why “retarded” as a pejorative referencing stupid behaviours is bad and deeply offensive to lots of people. I haven’t heard anyone say it lately, though, so maybe my advice is finally sticking. I’m hesitant to even bring up “crazy” lest I be dismissed entirely and lose ground.

  305. StevoR says

    @ life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ – 3 July 2012 at 8:58 am :

    StevoR, you’re a genocidal bigot.

    No. I am fucking well *NOT.*

    *I* know who *I* am!

    You do not. And I’m not. *I*, unlike you, know who *I* am and I ‘m no bigot.

    Get the fuck out of here.

    This is NOT your blog but PZ Myers one. If PZ Meyers wants me gone, then I’m gone. I hope he doesn’t but it is his choice not yours.

  306. StevoR says

    @47. Amphiox :

    “Bigotry doesn’t mean wishing death on people.” -StevoR
    Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. In your case it does.
    “Wishing death on people doesn’t mean bigotry.” -StevoR
    Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. In your case it does.

    Either bigotry has a definition that includes me or it doesn’t. I’m no bigot. Given I’m me I think I’d know.

    Bigotry is NOT wishing someone dead. It just ain’t what the word means.

    “Bigotry means hating someone because they have a certain skin colour or gender or sexual orientation.” -StevoR.
    Very conveniently and suspiciously leaving out race, ethnicity, nationality, region, language, religious or spiritual belief, personal habits, political alignment, age, economic status or disability.

    Accurately not conveniently. Which is kind of convenient for all those here who hate Republicans for them being Republicans. Judging people for their Political ideologys ain’t bigotry.

    You, StevoR, are NOT ENTITLED to redefine “bigotry” to suit your own selfish purposes.

    Neither are you.

    Incidentally, hating Islamic Jihadists for being Islamic Jihadists is also bigotry. (Hating them for doing terrible things is not.)

    Aaand how many times now have I already stated that I hate them for doing those terrible things and continuing to strive to do those terribel things?

  307. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool

  308. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    No dramatic change is not impossible but I think you highlighted the point on why people disagree about the culture changing all that much. Germany was proactive…the South still proudly displays the Confederate Flag.

    A group of southerners proudly display the Confederate Flag. In reality, for example, it’s a huge fucking contentious issue here in SC and has been for years. There are proactive movements to have it removed. Have they succeeded? In some case yes in many no. But there is proactive work being done to change things.

  309. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Neither are you.

    You are the one redefining bigotry, not us. So until you acknowledge your paranoid bigotry, you are dishonest with yourself. You need professional help with your paranoia. Why aren’t you making that appointment?

    Aaand how many times now have I already stated

    You are a proven liar and bullshitter. Your statements aren’t taken as anything else than lies, bullshit, and self-deception. You can’t talk your way out of this, either show third party evidence or shut the fuck up. You need to do the self-inspection and awareness to admit your problem.

  310. StevoR says

    @40. Antiochus Epiphanes – 3rd July 2012 at 9:05 am :

    “Jihadists have declared war on us – their Jihad is what we’re currently fighting. We didn’t choose it. We didn’t start it. We cannot and should not surrender.” – StevoR
    What Jihadists? Where are these Jihadists? Who is this “we” of whom you write? If “we” wanted to surrender, how would we do that?

    How would we surrender?

    By globally converting to Islam – their particular nasty branch of it and adopting Shariah law in all its misogynist, homphobic, bigoted “glory” and recognising their leaders as Supreme infallible Caliphs whose say over us is absolute and not to be questioned. IOW, we’d live as slaves at their sufference following – and condemining all those we care about to follow – their cult and not having any freedom of our own.

    Whose “we” – you and me – Westerners and non-Jihadist non-Muslims and ex-Muslims generally.

    Where are these Jihadists? Hiding in too many places including amongst our own societies plus cowering in their caves in Afghanistan and living in Gaza and the Pakistani military and so many other places. Plenty of places and I don’t know ‘em all. Wherever they’re found, they need to be fought.

    What Jihadists?

    What rock have you been hiding under since the 9th of September 2001? You been living on Mars or something??

    The Jihadidsts led by Al Quaida & the late Osmama bin Laden but also the other Islamist terrorists who’ve been trying to slaughter us all since Flying Sphaghetti Monster knows when.

  311. davidbohm says

    From wikipedia:

    Bigotry is the state of mind of a “bigot”, a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one who exhibits intolerance or animosity toward members of a group.[1] Bigotry may be based on real or perceived characteristics, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, region, language, religious or spiritual belief, personal habits, political alignment, age, economic status or disability. Bigotry is sometimes developed into an ideology or world view.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. described bigotry in the following quotation: “The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.”[2]

  312. 'Tis Himself says

    StevoR,

    Bigotry doesn’t mean wishing death on people.

    Wishing death on people doesn’t mean bigotry.

    You have called for the death of people because of one attribute they all share. That strikes me as bigotry.

  313. StevoR says

    @401. Nerd of Redhead :

    You are the one redefining bigotry, not us.

    That is simply wrong.

  314. Beatrice says

    And how many people were killed in retaliation for each person killed on 9/11? How many more should die in the name of “American freedom”?

    You are such a piece of shit, it’s unbelievable.

  315. John Morales says

    davidbohm, anyone can look at what Wikipedia has; I take it your apprehension of the concept concurs with it such that it speaks for you — so, whence your inquiry?

    (You imagine others can’t click and read for themselves?)

  316. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    By globally converting to Islam

    And how does this scenario realistically come about islamophobic bigot? If you can’t have a realistic scenario, with say at least of 40% probability, you are a paranoid bigot. Which you prove every time you post such fuckwittery

  317. StevoR says

    @404. ‘Tis Himself says:

    StevoR,..You have called for the death of people because of one attribute they all share. That strikes me as bigotry.

    Is it?

    That shared attribute is their desire and their common effort to murder us all you as well as me.

    Self defence. That’s what I argue for.Nothing more.

    Why support and sympatheise with them?

    To use a metaphor it is the Wild West – we shoot first or they do and whoever shoots first gets to live. Us or them.

    That’;s tehrwalitya sI see it. Wish itwasn’t so, butithionk it is.

  318. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That is simply wrong.

    Your word is meaningless. Third party citations, or you need to shut the fuck up. You lie and bullshit. Therefore, you must cite third party evidence to get past your delusional thinking.

  319. John Morales says

    StevoR:

    The Jihadidsts led by Al Quaida & the late Osmama bin Laden but also the other Islamist terrorists who’ve been trying to slaughter us all since Flying Sphaghetti Monster knows when.

    Um, Osama is cactus and al-Qaeda is almost historical.

    (Get with it, will ya?)

  320. StevoR says

    Ciorrection claruifying :

    To use a metaphor it is the Wild West – we shoot first or they do and whoever shoots first gets to live. Us or them.

    That’s the reality as I see it. Wish it wasn’t so, but I think it is

    And I despair.

  321. davidbohm says

    davidbohm, anyone can look at what Wikipedia has; I take it your apprehension of the concept concurs with it such that it speaks for you — so, whence your inquiry?

    (You imagine others can’t click and read for themselves?)

    There is a discussion about what bigot mean, so I looked it up. I thought the definition was quite clear and usefull.

  322. John Morales says

    StevoR:

    Self defence. That’s what I argue for.Nothing more.

    Pre-emptive violence excused as “self-defence”?

    (Who’s attacking you?)

  323. John Morales says

    StevoR: And I despair.

    Chicken little, you are.

    (Army of doom led by the late Osama, even!)

  324. Beatrice says

    Self defence. That’s what I argue for.Nothing more.

    Boarding a plane, leaving for another continent and bombing someone’s home is now self-defense. Interesting.

  325. davidbohm says

    John Morales: If you do not see the point of a definition of bigot in a discussion about what bigot means, then I guess we must have to agree it is indeed pointless.

  326. John Morales says

    davidbohm:

    If you do not see the point of a definition of bigot in a discussion about what bigot means, then I guess we must have to agree it is indeed pointless.

    If I don’t see the point, we must agree it’s indeed pointless?

    Sure.

    We agree you made a pointless comment.

    (Why did you even bother?)

  327. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And I despair.

    And who gives a flying fuck what a paranoid bigot like you delusionally thinks? Your word is worthless…

  328. StevoR says

    @411. John Morales :

    Um, Osama is cactus and al-Qaeda is almost historical.

    Guess you missed today’s news about the Jihadist terrorist arrests in England then?

    Hamas is still around, Abu Bakr Al Bashir is still leading Jemaah islamiyya, Hezbollah is still all too powerful. Al Quida still exists much as I wish you were right and it was historical already it ain’t.

    Iran the world’s worst terrorist sponsoring nation is still, well, sponsoring terrorism. Al Shabab in Somalia is still committing its atrocities and these groups are always planning more attacks. So many foiled plots. But when one suceeds ..

    @410. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls :

    Third party citations, or you need to shut the fuck up. You lie and bullshit. Therefore, you must cite third party evidence to get past your delusional thinking.

    Whose word would you accept on this?

    Mahatma Gandhi’s? Yasser Arafats? Your own if I cited it even?

    Why do I get the feeling that whoever I cited wouldn’t be good enough for you Nerd of Redhead?

    Why do I get the feeling the only people you’ll listen to are your own heroes and those who agree with you?

    I don’t think anything I say will ever be good enough for you. Will it? Am I wrong there?

  329. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Self defence. That’s what I argue for.Nothing more.

    Officer, I thought he was going to hit me, so I hit him back first…First sign of irrational thinking, justifying aggressive, not defensive, reaction.

  330. StevoR says

    @420. Nerd of Redhead :

    Your word is worthless…

    Guess your words are worth a quadrillion dollars worth of solid gold then?

    I have my opinions and the right to express ‘em same as you do, I’d rather not waste my words on character assassination and attacking others. You, it seems, seem think otherwise. (Shrug)

    Thought for you, Nerd of Redhead, someone hypothetically puts *you* in charge of fighting Hamas and Hezbollah and Al Quaida and other Jihadists. You get appointed leader of the defence against Jihadism. What would *you* do? How would you protect the lives of innocent civilians against the Jihadists? How do ou fight them? Or would you just surrender?

  331. StevoR says

    @422. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says:

    “Self defence. That’s what I argue for. Nothing more.” – StevoR
    Officer, I thought he was going to hit me, so I hit him back first…First sign of irrational thinking, justifying aggressive, not defensive, reaction.

    Officer, he was reaching for a gun, I’m sure he was. If I waited a fraction of a second longer he’d have shot me dead.

    Han Solo shot first.

    Sometimes you have to.

    Are you really, really going to argue there’s no such thing as pre-emptive self-defence? That that isn’t sometimes a legitimate argument? Isn’t actually rational if regrettable?

  332. StevoR says

    @417. Beatrice :

    “Self defence. That’s what I argue for.Nothing more.” – StevoR
    Boarding a plane, leaving for another continent and bombing someone’s home is now self-defense. Interesting.

    Depressingly true.

    If they’re about,

    To do the same,

    Unto you.

  333. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Hello, again, StevoR.

    Consider this hypothetical situation: a group deemed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department is found to have presence in my country. According to Wikipedia, said group is at war with the US. Would you consider blasting my country «out of existence and into a radioactive sump below sea level if that’s what it takes» a proper course of action to win this war?

  334. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    StevoR: I’m not arguing that the danger from “jihadists”* is zero. I’m arguing that it is nearly zero. The danger that the US and the Coalition of the Willing pose to those people who are trying simply to live their lives in the vicinity of so-called jihadists is an order of magnitude (or, fuck me, maybe more) greater than the danger that the jihadists pose to you**.

    Fundamental Islam clearly poses a danger, but not to you. You (as a westerner) are far more likely to die of heart disease, cancer, injuries sustained in boating accidents, HIV, having a tree branch fall on you, shark attack, lightning strike, or snake-bite, for fucks sake. Your anti-jihadist rhetoric is far more dangerous to many non-westerners than actual jihadists are to you. So give it a fucking rest.

    *I doubt that many of the people you fear so much are jihadists, so much as Muslims with a distrust of the west. But whatevs. Let’s not split hairs.
    **Unless you are Salman Rushdie, which levels the playing field somewhat, assuming those that support jihad would also generally support fatwa.

  335. Beatrice says

    Depressingly true.

    If they’re about,

    To do the same,

    Unto you.

    No it’s not true. That’s not self defense.

    I mean, since the whole rest of the world can consider itself under possibility of attack from US (since US have made it obvious that they are the number one military force who will not hesitate to invade anyone who steps out of line), we could unite and wipe US from the face of the Earth and it would be self-defense. Under your definition.

  336. StevoR says

    I wish I lived in your world Nerd of Redhead.

    A world where we had things soidela we could afford to live by your principles and would be allowed to survive in peace.

    Sadly, reality, our world ain’t like that. I hate it but I know its true.

  337. StevoR says

    @430. Typo correction : so ideal.

    A world where we had things so ideal we could afford to live by your [Nerd of Redheads] principles and would be allowed to survive in peace.

    You have a good heart, Nerd of Redhead, you are a good person. But I do not think you are being realistic or thinking clearly here.

    @427.Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa :

    Hello, again, StevoR.Consider this hypothetical situation: a group deemed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department is found to have presence in my country. According to Wikipedia, said group is at war with the US. Would you consider blasting my country «out of existence and into a radioactive sump below sea level if that’s what it takes» a proper course of action to win this war?
    -Italics original bold added.

    That depends on a whole lot of things.

    The key part is now bolded *if* we had to.

    *Do* we have to?

    I *really* hope not.

  338. davidbohm says

    Beatrice: In your oppinion, under what (if any) conditions can one nation take (violent) actions against another nation and it will be considered justified self defence?

    For instance WW2 and the fight against nazi germany?

  339. Brownian says

    I hate it but I know its true

    Oh, quit with the fucking fake hand-wringing, McNamara. At least have the decency to own your bloodlust.

    Too smart to try out for the football team, eh PZ?

  340. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How would you protect the lives of innocent civilians against the Jihadists? How do ou fight them? Or would you just surrender?

    Typical paranoid and illogical bigotry at work. I can tell you one thing I wouldn’t do. Bomb innocent people who have nothing to do with the jihadists…Thinking that is the solution is paranoia. Beside, why surrender if all the jihadists can do is essentially nothing but make people hate them? You act like this is an either/or situation. It isn’t, never was, never will be. That is your paranoid bigotry at work.

  341. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have my opinions and the right to express ‘em same as you do,

    Yes, but your OPINIONS are those of paranoid bigot, which is what makes them worthless. You aren’t thinking right. And won’t be until you lose both your paranoia about Islam, and your fuckwittery that thinks first strikes are self defense.

  342. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why do I get the feeling that whoever I cited wouldn’t be good enough for you Nerd of Redhead?

    Because in defining bigotry, there are things called dictionaries and the like. Who, like Ghandi, says what about war or struggle is irrelevant.

  343. Brownian says

    How would you protect the lives of innocent civilians against the Jihadists?

    Tell us how bombing innocents is protecting innocents.

    Actually don’t fucking bother. We know you think the brown innocents aren’t innocent like the the white ones are.

    Actually, the analogy to WWII is apt. We shot the fucking bigots, remember StevoR.

  344. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But when one suceeds ..

    This is your paranoia talking, not a rational discussion. Succeeds how? Not one terrorist action has changed the minds of a people to convert to Islam. Where is your evidence that it works??? The evidence is against your paranoia.

  345. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    That depends on a whole lot of things.

    The key part is now bolded *if* we had to.

    Thanks for your reply, StevoR.

    Before proceeding, I’d like to check if we can agree on the usage of a term. See, I can’t distinguish the idea of “blasting a country out of existence and into a radioactive sump below sea level” from genocide.

    So, am I correct to understand that your position is that it’s acceptable to promote genocide if that’s what it takes to win this war?

  346. Louis says

    Argumentum ad Star Wars?

    Impressive. Most impressive.

    I feel decidedly robbed that, as a nerd, I have not seen that one used before. I feel “Han Shot First” is an excellent basis for foreign policy and will be speaking to my MP forthwith.

    Louis

  347. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are you really, really going to argue there’s no such thing as pre-emptive self-defence?

    In this case, until you can show ther is a legitimate scenario for the West to convert to Islam at the point of a gun, you haven’t made your case. That is your paranoia speaking. You see plots and failures where none are occuring. It make what you say to be lies and bullshit. Your paranoia robs your words of any worth they might have.

  348. Louis says

    I missed the [sarcasm] tags in my #441, just so, you know, in case anyone decides to go off on one thinking I was serious about Han Shot First being foreign policy material or something. This is the internet after all.

    Louis

  349. Brownian says

    That shared attribute is their desire and their common effort to murder us all you as well as me.

    No, you fucking lying slimeball, because you keep including the people who don’t share that desire.

  350. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    What is “The West”?
    Who does it include?

    You know, I’d really like to hear the answer for that question, too. Especially if that definition of The West includes places such eastearn places as NZ and Japan*.

    * (ok, I realize it’s a geopolitical designation whose meaning drifted apart from its original sense, but perhaps it’s become such a misnomer that a new term would be more useful.)

  351. Beatrice says

    I just realized that I might be part of The East. Possibly. What does eastern Europe count as, in the grand scheme of things?

  352. Pteryxx says

    Argumentum ad Star Wars?

    As a fellow nerd, I have to point out that “Han shot first” invokes the same fallacy. Han shot the individual threatening him, not Greedo’s whole family, clan or species. Even in Star Wars, Rodians aren’t automatically evil:

    http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/6/6d/Rodian_pacifist.jpg

    What StevoR’s suggesting hews closer to Anakin murdering an entire tribe of Tusken Raiders in retaliation, down to the smallest child; and that was displaying his own self-centered viciousness, that eventually became his downfall. Even so, he didn’t pre-emptively glaze the deserts.

    StevoR, you’re giving nerds a bad name. Grow up and quit cherry-picking your morality.

  353. chigau (間違っていない) says

    I have a feeling that The West™ might be the same geographical footprint as The British Empire.

  354. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    Did these MRnAzis ever consider that those family court judges just might have been socially awkward?

    Brownian, what do you do with all the internets you have won?

    *I* know who *I* am!

    You do not. And I’m not. *I*, unlike you, know who *I* am and I ‘m no bigot.

    The only thing any of us know about you is what you have written here (and possibly in other places). You may not be a bigot. I have no way of knowing. But, that said, considering the bloodthirsty reaction any time Iran (or some other Islamic countries) are mentioned, you come across as a bigot.

    Are you really, really going to argue there’s no such thing as pre-emptive self-defence?

    He may have a point here. It worked for Germany, right?

  355. Gregory Greenwood says

    StevoR;

    You have, over the last few months on multiple threads, argued for the supposed necessity of the use of extreme force – up to an including the extermination of entire cultures by means of the deployment of nuclear weaponry against civilian population centres – all in the name of preventing the notional enslavement of humanity under the yolk of some kind of imminent, Sharia-based global Caliphate.

    I think it fair to say that you have made an extreme claim, but you have failed to effectively argue your case. Do you have any compelling evidence that Islamist extremist groups credibly possess the capacity to bring about such dominion of the planet? Or that, even if they could (which frankly I seriously doubt), then the threat is such that risking thermonuclear war, and the serious possibility of the destruction of all global civilisation, is warrented?

    If you are arguing, as you appear to be, for a ‘necessary genocide’ then the bar must obviously be set extremely high. You are suggesting the mass extermination of the populations of Muslim societies in order to eliminate a minority of extremists, afterall. Your case must be adamantine merely for us to view you as someone who is making an argument out of a genuine belief that such a heinous abomination is necessary, instead of merely one of the many reactionary ethno-nationalists that fantasise about the elimation of everyone who doesn’t form part of their ingroup.

    There have been other groups and individuals in the past who have sought to argue that a particular social, religious or ethnic group has presented such an overwhelming level of threat that their extermination was necessary (I am sure that the most famous historical example will come to mind without any need for me to mention it directly), and all of them have been proven to be very much on the wrong side of history by subsequent events.

    You cannot judge the entirety of a civilisation by the standard of its most extreme and toxic fringe elements; if you could, then we ‘Westerners’ would probably object when we were all tarred with the same brush as, say, Former President Bush or Rick Perry, still more if people assumed that were all just like the membership of St*rmfront and other facist groups.

  356. says

    SG, AtheistPowerlifter checked back in:

    Hi Ing,

    In no way did I think I was ‘attacked’, nor did I think I was hazed for correcting PZ. You are one of the people here whose comments I enjoy…reading the comments on these threads has raised my consciousness about many issues.

    You made some great points as usual, and I understand that you took my comment as a jumping off point for a related rant.

    I’m a much better speaker than writer, so I didn’t mean to imply way back in my initial post that physical expression is undervalued as compared to the intellect…I only meant that I appreciate both types, but PZ has said a few things here and there about sporting activities being for the intellectually inferior.

    But hey – maybe he hates sports – which is cool with me (when I’m on a bus at 2am with one of my teams I hate sports too…).

    Cheers…I’ll go back to lurking now.

    AP

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/05/episode-cccxlv-nerds-geeks-dweebs/comment-page-2/#comment-387864

  357. Brownian says

    He may have a point here. It worked for Germany, right?

    What about the Russians? Has everyone just forgotten that they claimed “We will bury you?” That’s me, you, everyone we love, including the kitties. We must act now!

    You do not. And I’m not. *I*, unlike you, know who *I* am and I ‘m no bigot.

    Another argument from the annals of what stupid people say. StevoR, let me give you some advice, since I’m like fifty fucking times smarter than you: this may be true. But, in an argument, protestations that you are not racist, sexist, homophobic, or what have you, have absolutely no merit whatsoever. Your interlocutors are working from what you’ve given them to work with. Your doth protests are completely and utterly valueless, and making them makes you sound like every third moron on the internet.

    Let me quote someone on Justin Griffiths blog:

    Some of us who proudly call the Pit home now (well, a former home, I guess) are genuinely heartfelt feminists. Many more are just all-around humanists. We recognize that there is a society-wide problem with sexism (which goes both ways, although women generally have to suffer much worse, much harsher, and much more damaging sexism).

    And another:

    Most if not all of the denizens actually support gender equity in real and practical ways. They/we are not misogynists. I care about the adult world my 21 yo daughter is in. I also care about the world my younger boys are in. Teenage boys walking alone are targets of violence by groups of boys – my 18yo was surrounded by a small group of boys at the local mall in the middle of the day and was hit because he was there.

    Gee, I guess we got ‘em all wrong, eh StevoR? It doesn’t matter that they sound exactly like misogynists, in their heart of hearts they believe they’re not, right? That’s a relief.

    So, in the future, leave off your “I’m not a bigots”. Nobody cares how you see yourself in the mirror; they care about what you actually advocate.

  358. Amphiox says

    I wish I lived in your world Nerd of Redhead.

    A world where we had things so ideal we could afford to live by your principles and would be allowed to survive in peace.

    The ONLY way to create such a world, StevoR, is to LIVE IT.

    If you actually believe in these principles, then you live them and accept whatever level of risk that entails.

  359. Amphiox says

    You do not. And I’m not. *I*, unlike you, know who *I* am and I ‘m no bigot.

    And yet you write and argue exactly as a bigot does.

    So one of your positions here therefore must be a lie.

    Which one, liar?

  360. Louis says

    Pteryxx, #448,

    You are of course correct, I humbly apologise, I was wrong.

    I go now to {action} the shame of my {group of people} by {act of contrition}.

    Louis

  361. chigau (間違っていない) says

    Has anyone tried googling “herp derp” and looking at the images?
    Interesting.

  362. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    chigau:

    That is five minutes of my life lost forever.

    Thank you so very much.

  363. Louis says

    Annnnd now for the 64 million dollar question:

    Is “herp derp” ableist?

    Louis

  364. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    Is “herp derp” ableist?

    I personally do not think so.

    It is not an insult built from an archaic or current medical term. It is not specific to a particular state of mental cognition or mental health. Anyone, you, me, that weird guy in the corner of your living room, can find ourselves using poor logic to defend a defensible position, or using poor logic to defend an indefensible position. Since the term is not connected to any specific disability and, to me, denotes a failure to use the brains I have, I do not think it to be ablist.

  365. chigau (間違っていない) says

    Sorry Oggie.
    Louis #460
    I fear that is what I am now thinking.

  366. chigau (間違っていない) says

    I have thought that “herp derp” was meant to be an imitation of vocalizations made by retarded and/or insane people.
    So, yeah, ablist.

  367. Grumps says

    @ Louis #460

    Yes I think so. You certainly wouldn’t get away with using it at my place of work. I work with children with severe learning difficulties (mental handicaps). Indeed MENCAP has also been known to take issue with the use of “stupid”. They succeeded in having a poster campaign by The Royal Institute for the Deaf withdrawn a few years ago because it used the phrase “I may be deaf but I’m not stupid”.

  368. Louis says

    Chigau,

    I confess it hadn’t occurred to me until I looked at the images on Google. And the crossed eyes, silly expressions etc etc etc made me think “Uh Oh!”.

    Louis

  369. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    I have thought that “herp derp” was meant to be an imitation of vocalizations made by retarded and/or insane people.

    I’m pretty sure it’s a grandchild of the derrrrr noise we jackass kids would make 20–25 years ago while slapping our tensed arms against our chests in very conscious imitation of spasticity.

    A 10 year old of my acquaintance said “this looks derpy” last week. I didn’t want to ask immediately, since kids’ll answer differently when notice that they’re being put on the spot. But next time I get a chance I’ll ask what it means, as naively as I can manage.

  370. Grumps says

    I confess it hadn’t occurred to me until I looked at the images on Google. And the crossed eyes, silly expressions etc etc etc made me think “Uh Oh!”.

    Indeed. Including the one of the guy with Down’s syndrome.

  371. chigau (間違っていない) says

    Louis
    “I can count to potato” is the one that really caught my attention.

  372. says

    What is “The West”?
    Who does it include?

    Consumer driven society that supports free education for everyone, delivered via television and churches. The general signature of such nations is humanitarian outpouring in the form of compassion and ‘benefit of the doubt’ thinking towards Multinational corporations, banks, and corrupt and blatantly dishonest politicians.
    This trust is demonstrated through billion dollar bailouts during economic crisis, and the argument that if we just give them another chance it will be different this time.

  373. Brownian says

    I’m pretty sure it’s a grandchild of the derrrrr noise we jackass kids would make 20–25 years ago while slapping our tensed arms against our chests in very conscious imitation of spasticity.

    That’s my impression too (made all the more obvious because of a particular hometown variant specifically mocking a local celebrity with Down syndrome.)

  374. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    StevoR,

    You do not. And I’m not. *I*, unlike you, know who *I* am and I ‘m no bigot.

    I do know who you are, qua StevoR, and StevoR is a genocidal bigot.

    Right now you’re reminding me of those people who say “don’t you judge me! only God can judge me!” Well, since there is no God, we as a society are stuck with figuring out morality on our own and deciding who comes satisfactorally close to it.

    You’re not the only one who gets to make decisions about you. Everybody does. Welcome to the world! It’s a big and scary place, I know.

    Everybody who encounters you needs to make decisions about who you are, for the sake of their own ability to navigate the world safely.

    We are all therefore entitled to judge you. If you want to not be known as a genocidal bigot, stop signaling that you are a genocidal bigot.

    This is NOT your blog but PZ Myers one. If PZ Meyers wants me gone, then I’m gone. I hope he doesn’t but it is his choice not yours.

    Indeed, but I can tell you to get the fuck out of here. Watch me:

    Get the fuck out of here, StevoR, you genocidal bigot. You are semi-tolerated here, but you are not welcome here.

  375. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    I have thought that “herp derp” was meant to be an imitation of vocalizations made by retarded and/or insane people.

    I was unaware of this. I fully retract my profound idiocy noted in *61 (my computer does not show the first number, so it is comment number somethingorother61).

    Sorry.

  376. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Is “herp derp” ableist?

    I think it is. Even if it weren’t I would avoid it because of its imprecision and banality. But then again, I’m pompous that way.

  377. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    (my computer does not show the first number, so it is comment number somethingorother61).

    I made a “searchable comment numbers” script for Firefox+Greasemonkey, it’ll move the comment number to the right, so it’s next to the profile picture.

    (And the comment number can be searched for with the usual Ctrl-F browser search function.)

    http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Greasemonkey

  378. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    I made a “searchable comment numbers” script for Firefox+Greasemonkey, it’ll move the comment number to the right, so it’s next to the profile picture.

    Won’t work here. Firefox is not on the approved software list.

  379. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    googling “herp derp”

    Doing that, I just learned there’s a name and Wikipedia article for those ugly drawings that infest the internet: rage comic. Fascinating.

  380. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    In no way did I think I was ‘attacked’, nor did I think I was hazed for correcting PZ.

    I’m sure it’s good for AtheistPowerlifter that he took it in stride, nevertheless it ain’t simply (un/)perceived unkindnesses I take issue with.

    It is a fact, which any reader can confirm for themself, that the comments I initially linked to were distortions of what AtheistPowerlifter said, the assertions about oppression being a most egregious example.

    If we value intellectual honesty, then intellectual honesty ought to reign here for its own sake, even if the target of intellectual laziness doesn’t personally care.

  381. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Firefox is not on the approved software list.

    Hm. What about Chrome? It might work automagically in Chrome; if not then it might work with Chrome’s Tampermonkey extension.

  382. Ogvorbis: Dogmaticus sycophantus says

    Hm. What about Chrome?

    Only browser we are supposed to use is Windows IE. And we have to use an older version because our security upgrades don’t work with the newer versions. Which is annoying as, when doing things to our website, I wish I could test it in multiple platforms. Not the CMS, so much, as the slideshows and pdfs. Those can be wonky from platform to platform in the CMS environment.

    Luckily, if there is a problem, somebody else gets to deal with the actual correction. I think I am personally responsible for about 30 changes in the CMS programme we use for the web.

    Sorry. Too much information.

  383. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    An interesting collection of facts about causes of mortality related to terrorism: http://reason.com/archives/2011/09/06/how-scared-of-terrorism-should

    I’m not sure that I’d vouch for the source in general, but there are abundant links to data sources.

    One interesting find (analysis targeted at Americans):

    Taking these figures into account, a rough calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

    I don’t advocate ignoring terrorist attacks. However, given limited resources there seem to be many that we could improve human happiness if we decided to spend proportionally to risk.

  384. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    Only browser we are supposed to use is Windows IE.

    I was afeared of that.

  385. life is like a pitbull with lipstick ॐ says

    What does the “off” in “fuck off”, “bugger off”, “piss off”, etc. mean?

    Over yonder horizon?

  386. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Also, not completely on topic, there are a criteria that may disbar a student from playing football: too small, too slow, too weak, too female, too disinterested, among them. “Smart” isn’t one of those criteria. On the contrary, if you are 4’10″(1.2 meters), 170 lbs. (77kg), and smart, you may find yourself a fine choice for center on your pee-wee 11-12ya team.

    I did well in school and played football until my second year of highschool when I switched to soccer because it was more fun. As many bad plays as I made, none were because of being too smart.

  387. Brownian says

    In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

    I wish I lived in StevoR’s world, the one in which we didn’t have to live in constant threat of terror from above, but since we don’t, we’d better nuke the fucking sky!

    It’s for our own survival. StevoR, you don’t begrudge our right to fight for our own survival, do you?

    Note: I’m not atmospherist, but tell me you don’t cross to the other side of the office when you smell the ozone in the copy room. And every summer, when the thunderstorms come, I run inside. I don’t even feel like I can walk around in my own neighbourhood. Does that seem right to you?

    Just sayin’.

  388. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    It’s for our own survival. StevoR, you don’t begrudge our right to fight for our own survival, do you?

    We can’t bomb the sky into compliance! There is an ion inequality that must be addressed. And only when ions are evenly distributed in the atmosphere, will we be free to walk golf courses and sit atop flagpoles in safety.

  389. Brownian says

    We can’t bomb the sky into compliance! There is an ion inequality that must be addressed. And only when ions are evenly distributed in the atmosphere, will we be free to walk golf courses and sit atop flagpoles in safety.

    Self defence. That’s what I argue for. Nothing more.

    Why support and sympatheise with it?

    CAN’T YOU SEE HOW NON-ATMOSPHERIST I AM?!

    Seriously, curry?

    What a fucking dipshit.

  390. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Officer, he was reaching for a gun, I’m sure he was. If I waited a fraction of a second longer he’d have shot me dead.

    Trayvon Martin.
    SYG Laws.
    You Asshole.

  391. meursalt says

    @SC:

    Once again, I’ll be clear. I’m not denying that groups like that exist. I do hope you realize that this church is, from what I can tell, the fringe of the fringe. It almost looks like they subscribe to some brand of “whites are the real Jews, no the good ones that God loves, not the ones controlling the money” theology. I’ll also point out that the conference is taking place in Lamar County, on the western end of Alabama’s Black Belt (It’s in the pink region on the Wikipedia map). The western Black Belt has a reputation for being the most economically depressed region of Alabama. I’ve travelled through the area, and it is like being in a developing nation. Think shantytowns, only with a little more breathing room between shacks and 1950′s era trailers. This rural area has deep economic rifts and an undereducated populace, and is exactly where I’d expect to find problems.

    Before you look for other examples of racism in Alabama (which I’m sure you’ll find), please remember that my (clarified, I know this wasn’t my exact original statement) claim was not that things are perfect, but that tolerance has greatly improved, especially among the younger generation. I think you’ll find the “18-34″ demographic noticeably underrepresented in, though of course not absent from, our local hate groups.

    In short, yeah, that’s reprehensible, but not representative of attitudes in society at large throughout this State. As Rev. BigDumbChimp noted in his comment last night on the topic, there are plenty of decent people in the South who do what they can to combat intolerance.

    I’m going to let the matter rest now for my part, because I don’t want to give the false impression of playing apologist for racists by overstating my case.

  392. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Are you really, really going to argue there’s no such thing as pre-emptive self-defence? That that isn’t sometimes a legitimate argument? Isn’t actually rational if regrettable?

    Sure I can see some possible situations where it might be reasonable.

    But what you are talking about is not one of those situations.

    By your logic we would have the right to hunt down anyone who thinks the West is bad and should be destroyed. And anyone who lives near them. Or in the same country as them. Or the same geographical region.

    In other words you’re a scary evil motherfucker.

  393. meursalt says

    And I should probably clarify, the phrase “deep economic rifts” should have been “wide income disparities.” I guess I had deep rifts on the mind.

  394. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    History of memes:

    I can count to potato

    Ermahgerd and Herp n Derp

    Doing that, I just learned there’s a name and Wikipedia article for those ugly drawings that infest the internet: rage comic. Fascinating.

    Ugly as they are, I often find them funny. Dolan comics are the ones that’s ugly and makes no sense.

    /shrug

  395. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Ugly as they are, I often find them funny. Dolan comics are the ones that’s ugly and makes no sense.

    Intriguing. The effect of sophisticated 4chan humor on me is exactly the opposite: the more I comprehend it, the less I like it.

  396. says

    meursalt, get a grip. I mentioned “and the Alabamans resisting them” right there in the link.

    I was trying to ignore your previous comment to me, because, as I said, I didn’t care about an apology. I just wanted you to stop misrepresenting and reading into my simple remark. Not only have you not stopped, but you’re now suggesting that I’ve gone looking for news to smear Alabama. I didn’t go looking for anything – it was on my news page. I posted about it because it involves religion, not Alabama, and linked to a story that describes the local opposition. If you could look back over the history here, you’d see that I’ve resisted geographical stereotypes consistently. I’m not making the argument that you’re imagining I am, and I want you to stop putting words in my mouth.

  397. dianne says

    @482: Fun, if unconfirmed factlet: Completing a pregnancy in the US is more dangerous than having an airline ticket with the travel date 9/11/01. IIRC, being in a plane that actually took off on 9/11/01 is more dangerous, but pregnancy is more dangerous than traveling on the most dangerous day in airline history in the 21st century.

    So, where’s the war on pre-eclampsia? Come on, StevoR, let’s see that funding!

  398. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    So, where’s the war on pre-eclampsia?

    Autoimmune diseases respond negligibly to shock and awe.

  399. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Like, and it might not even be an autoimmune disease. Let’s attack the nervous system! It’s aiding and abetting evildoers.

  400. Owlmirror says

    Let’s attack the nervous system! It’s aiding and abetting evildoers.

    The Axon of Evil . . . !!