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Jul 10 2012

TZT

It’s a plague, I tell you.

671 comments

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  1. 501
    Nightjar

    ixchel,

    I do worry that by rejecting the label outright, we miss some opportunities to inject feminism into the brains of young people who come to Skepticism™ via an interest in UFOs or whatever.

    Hey, that’s sort of what happened with me! Except not UFOs, but the freaking moon landing conspiracy theory. Many years ago someone forwarded an email to me about it. I had never heard of it and was puzzled enough to do some research on my own. Found sceptic sites discussing it and their arguments made sense to me, as did the sceptical approach in general. Read more. Followed links to atheist/science blogs and forums. Eventually stumbled upon Pharyngula, liked it a lot and stayed. Got all kinds of stuff on social justice and equality injected into my brain as a result, and am a better person for it.

    So, yeah, you may have a point. Also, thank you for doing part of the injecting. :)

  2. 502
    Nick Gotts

    I’m saying that compatibilism is:

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

    immoral because it is virtue ethics per Humbach,

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

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

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

    Putting aside the last complaint, even well-behaved compatibilists are doing a bad thing and they should stop being compatibilists. – Ixchel (from earlier thread he linked to)

    Interestingly, this is almost entirely argument from consequence, which in other contexts you would easily recognise as fallacious. The “factually wrong” paragraph is, of course, factually wrong, since compatibilists do not make the claims you imply they do: on the contrary, they (we) simply claim that people do make choices (they consider alternatives, attempt to assess the likely consequences of those alternatives, and make a decision based on those considerations) and that this is compatible with either determinism or indeterminism; and that everyone, including incompatibilists, in practice distinguishes those cases where a compatibilist would talk about free will (no external coercion or rationality-disabling physiological state), from those where they would not; and furthermore makes moral judgements based on what they believe about their own and others’ motivations (I’ve seen you at it, not so long ago).

    I asked this question before, and I apologise for not being around for an answer if you gave one, but if you deny the reality of choice based on our shared believe that physicalism is true, how do you not deny the reality of meaning, rationality, emotion, and conscious awareness? After all, it’s all just particles banging into each other, either deterministically or at random. Where is there any room for those things to be real that would not also provide room for the reality of choice?

  3. 503
    Anthony K

    (I thought you lived in Canuckistan? Has I made an error?)

    You haven’t, and I do. We have razors up here. We need them to shave the polar bears’ nipples so we can have fresh milk with our iced blubber for breakfast.

    Or did you mean the part about me being a swarthy, hirsute Slav? If so, let me tell you a well-guarded secret: most of us North Americans are immigrants and the descendants of immigrants.

  4. 504
    Anthony K

    So, yeah, you may have a point. Also, thank you for doing part of the injecting. :)

    That’s exactly why I can’t completely wash my hands of the movement.

  5. 505
    strange gods before me ॐ

    http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Skepticism now has an illustration!

    +++++

    Also, thank you for doing part of the injecting. :)

    Well thanks. But much credit is due to my mom.

    +++++

    Interestingly, this is almost entirely argument from consequence, which in other contexts you would easily recognise as fallacious.

    omfg, KG. What happened to you?

    I didn’t say compatibilism is factually incorrect because it is socially destructive.

    I was very explicit — there’s no reading by which you could misunderstood me as making a fallacious argument from consequence —

    “immoral because [reason why it's immoral]” (x2),

    “tragically shallow per [reference to argument why it's shallow]“,

    “consequently immoral [due to particular implications of its shallowness],

    “deceptive because [reason why it's deceptive]“.

    Those are not fallacious arguments.

    A fallacious argument from consequences would be like “compatibilism is factually wrong because it is immoral.” I made no such arguments. You are cleverer than this.

  6. 506
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    [A comment disappeared into the aether. If this is a duplicate, I apologise, whilst noting that I didn't actually say anything that should have disappeared a comment into the aether.]

    Skepticism seems to me a starting point, with rationalism the end goal. Evidence is the the thing that gets you from one to the other. (IMO. YMMV, etc.)

    With which (witch?!):

    Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationalism

    (More informative, and often much funnier, than the canon.)

  7. 507
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    “I apologise,” Draco said stiffly, “for the insult which these imbeciles have offered you.”

    Harry gave a meaningful look to Mr. Crabbe and Mr. Goyle. “I’d say you’re being a little harsh on them, Draco. I think they’re acting exactly the way I’d want my minions to act. I mean, if I had any minions.”

    Draco’s jaw dropped.

    “Hey, Gregory, you don’ think he’s tryna lure us away from the boss, do ya?”

    “I’m sure Mr. Potter wouldn’t be that foolish.”

    “Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it,” Harry said smoothly. “It’s just something to keep in mind if your current employer seems unappreciative. Besides, it never hurts to have other offers while you’re negotiating your working conditions, right?”

    http://hpmor.com/chapter/16

  8. 508
    strange gods before me ॐ

    The “factually wrong” paragraph is, of course, factually wrong, since compatibilists do not make the claims you imply they do

    You do make some fact-free statements about choice. You (and you’re not the only one) talk about logical possibilities like this:

    “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 logical possibilities don’t correspond to facts about the world. Only the physical corresponds to facts about the world. When we’re talking about the physical world, it is sophistry to prefer formal logic over empirical, observed facts. Cripes, that’s how people argue for gods in parallel universes. Who cares?

    (𝔄𝔱𝔱𝔢𝔫𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫, 𝔡𝔦𝔰𝔠𝔦𝔭𝔩𝔢𝔰 𝔬𝔣 𝔅𝔬𝔩𝔱𝔷𝔪𝔞𝔫𝔫 𝔅𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔬𝔰𝔞𝔲𝔯𝔲𝔰𝔦𝔰𝔪! 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔞𝔟𝔬𝔳𝔢 𝔭𝔞𝔯𝔞𝔤𝔯𝔞𝔭𝔥 𝔦𝔰 𝔞 𝔥𝔢𝔯𝔢𝔰𝔶, 𝔰𝔱𝔞𝔱𝔢𝔡 𝔣𝔞𝔯𝔠𝔦𝔠𝔞𝔩𝔩𝔶 𝔦𝔫 𝔪𝔶 𝔠𝔞𝔭𝔞𝔠𝔦𝔱𝔶 𝔞𝔰 𝔅𝔬𝔩𝔱𝔷𝔪𝔞𝔫𝔫 𝔐𝔢𝔤𝔞𝔩𝔬𝔡𝔬𝔫’𝔰 𝔄𝔡𝔳𝔬𝔠𝔞𝔱𝔢. 𝔇𝔬 𝔫𝔬𝔱 𝔱𝔞𝔨𝔢 𝔦𝔱 𝔰𝔢𝔯𝔦𝔬𝔲𝔰𝔩𝔶. 𝔅𝔬𝔩𝔱𝔷𝔪𝔞𝔫𝔫 𝔅𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔬𝔰𝔞𝔲𝔯𝔲𝔰𝔢𝔰 𝔞𝔯𝔢 𝔱𝔬𝔱𝔢𝔰 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔩; 𝔞𝔰 𝔶𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔓𝔬𝔭𝔢, 𝔪𝔶 𝔩𝔬𝔤𝔦𝔠𝔰 𝔞𝔯𝔢 𝔦𝔫𝔣𝔞𝔩𝔩𝔦𝔟𝔩𝔢!)

    on the contrary, they (we) simply claim that people do make choices (they consider alternatives, attempt to assess the likely consequences of those alternatives, and make a decision based on those considerations) and that this is compatible with either determinism or indeterminism; and that everyone, including incompatibilists, in practice distinguishes those cases where a compatibilist would talk about free will (no external coercion or rationality-disabling physiological state), from those where they would not; and furthermore makes moral judgements based on what they believe about their own and others’ motivations (I’ve seen you at it, not so long ago).

    So what? This doesn’t give anything worth calling free will — it is still the case that for any particular choice a person made, it was impossible for them to have chosen to choose differently than they did.

    You don’t have to argue for the existence of “compatibilist free will.” As long as you define it rigorously — by defining it as something that exists — you get to have it tautologically. Compatibilism is a word game, such that well-formed compatibilisms are tautologically true, shallow, and socially destructive.

    Here’s how shallow it is. Let’s go through your criteria and add the uncomfortable fact to each one:

    people do make choices (they consider alternatives, attempt to assess the likely consequences of those alternatives, and make a decision based on those considerations) and for any particular choice a person made, it was impossible for them to have chosen to choose differently than they did

    Huh. Why call that free will? Of course you can define my coffee cup as free will if you want to, but there are so many other phrases which are not so metaphysically burdened.

    and that everyone, including incompatibilists, in practice distinguishes those cases where a compatibilist would talk about free will (no external coercion or rationality-disabling physiological state), from those where they would not and for any particular choice a person made, it was impossible for them to have chosen to choose differently than they did

    Smilansky answers this well:

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

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

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

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

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

    +++++
    [end Smilansky.] So yes we all make distinctions. But again, why call this free will?

    We are perfectly capable of talking about all the real-world distinctions without piling on this metaphysical term that many people in the society, including many wannabe compatibilists who haven’t yet understood it fully, will take to imply ultimate self-authorship. If you want to explain that nobody coerced Bob then just say it plainly: “nobody coerced Bob, he did it because he wanted to!” Metaphysical terminology isn’t necessary; in this case it obscures what you’re trying to say.

    And we are perfectly capable of making anti-fatalist arguments like the ones I make, which emphasize the necessity of acting in history instead of merely observing history passively.

    and furthermore makes moral judgements based on what they believe about their own and others’ motivations (I’ve seen you at it, not so long ago).

    But if I’ve done it then I was wrong to do so. This is not a big surprise.

    I think humans tend to learn deontology and virtue ethics first — whether this is partly because deontology and virtue ethics are genetically selected for, or only because we have cultures which teach deontology and virtue ethics to children because they’re simple ways of thinking, I don’t know —

    and especially in times of stress it should not be a surprise that I would revert to ways of thinking which are less cognitively demanding. That doesn’t make it right. (Tangent: dropping the moral significance of intent may help people think more clearly in other ways, too.

  9. 509
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Whoops. Of course that was supposed to end:

    and furthermore makes moral judgements based on what they believe about their own and others’ motivations (I’ve seen you at it, not so long ago) and for any particular choice a person made, it was impossible for them to have chosen to choose differently than they did.

    Bleh.

  10. 510
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I asked this question before, and I apologise for not being around for an answer if you gave one, but if you deny the reality of choice based on our shared believe that physicalism is true, how do you not deny the reality of meaning, rationality, emotion, and conscious awareness? After all, it’s all just particles banging into each other, either deterministically or at random. Where is there any room for those things to be real that would not also provide room for the reality of choice?

    Answer part 1.

    I don’t understand what’s supposed to be a problem about this.

    I can observe that emotion exists. I can observe that rationality exists. I can observe that animals find things meaningful.

    Choice, as most people understand it, involves physical alternative possibilities.

    Answer part 2.

    “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.”

    +++++
    “Compatibilist free will” is just a word game. You don’t have to argue for its existence. You get to have it tautologically if you want it and you know how to rigorously define it as something which exists.

    One part of what I do is give reasons why those usages of words have misleading implications — why those usages lead many people to have false ideas about reality. But of course, if I want to define my coffee cup as free will, nobody can stop me, and I can even make it 𝔞 𝔡𝔬𝔤𝔪𝔞 𝔬𝔣 𝔅𝔬𝔩𝔱𝔷𝔪𝔞𝔫𝔫 𝔅𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔬𝔰𝔞𝔲𝔯𝔲𝔰𝔦𝔰𝔪

    The other part: given that it’s just about picking one meaning of words (compatibilist free will) over another meaning of words (standard free will), and both options — if they’re well-formed — can be equally factual with regard to physical reality,

    preferring one based on the moral implications of one terminology over another terminology is not a fallacious consideration of consequences.

    For instance we have moral reasons to say that vandalism should not be considered violence. We have moral reasons to say that freedom should not be construed only as so-called “negative liberties”. We have moral reasons to say undocumented immigrants should not be called “illegal” immigrants. There’s nothing fallacious about picking one terminology over another when both are adequate for communication but one has more undesireable ethical consequences. That’s just being responsible. And your counterarguments are no more relevant than “well a lot of people do consider them ‘illegals’.”

  11. 511
    Owlmirror

    Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationalism

    One of the things that got to me about Leah Libresco is that she’s apparantly a fan of the methods of rationality, and is in fact doing the Rationality Camp right now.

    How does she do it?

    I have in mind a couple of essays — which I may not ever write — titled something like: “People who love rationality should not convert to Catholicism, (or any other religion)” and “People who love morality should not convert to Catholicism, (or any other religion)” (and maybe combining those two into one).

    The core of the essays is that claims of infallibility in faith and morals is both anti-rational, and anti-methodical.

    I was one of the ones who wondered, at first, if this was some sort of deep game she was playing (see: the ideological Turing test); to see if she could convince Catholics that she was a Catholic without actually becoming Catholic. But she’s either so deep and deceptive that this cannot be known, or she’s just a shallow thinker about morality who is confused by her own mind. And I think it’s the latter, now. I’ve noted that many of her moral questions/scenarios come from fiction. It’s so much easier when an author has simplified things for you by having in mind who the bad guys and the good guys are, and writing them that way. . .

    Another point that I’ve been thinking about on the “morality” side is that identifying with an ingroup makes you less likely to judge that ingroup as being wrong — as Leah has been careful not to offer judgements on the Catholic Church — and thus poorer at judging and implementing morality and ethics.

    I have in mind papers like these:

    LOVE THY NEIGHBOR: The evolution of in-group morality by John Hartung

    And particularly this citation, and related ones:

    Tamarin, G. R. 1966. “The Influence of Ethnic and Religious Prejudice on Moral Judgment.”

    I was going to end my essay(s) with the something along the lines of:

    So if you convert to Catholicism, you don’t really love rationality; you love rationalizing. You don’t really love morality; you love moralizing from dogma.

  12. 512
    Owlmirror
  13. 513
    Owlmirror

    𝕭𝖔𝖑𝖙𝖟𝖒𝖆𝖓𝖓 𝕸𝖊𝖌𝖆𝖑𝖔𝖉𝖔𝖓’𝖘 𝕬𝖉𝖛𝖔𝖈𝖆𝖙𝖊

    *𝖘𝖍𝖆𝖐𝖊𝖘 𝖋𝖎𝖘𝖙*

  14. 514
    strange gods before me ॐ

    𝔩𝔞𝔴𝔩 @ #𝟙𝟚 𝓯𝓪𝓲𝓵!

    *downloads Hartung paper*

  15. 515
    Owlmirror

    Hmpf!

  16. 516
    chigau (違う)

    Nobody likes a smartass.

  17. 517
    consciousness razor

    Louis:

    The sceptics you are talking about are a vocal, entitled minority.

    I seriously doubt they’re a minority among self-described “skeptics.”

    The sceptics that attend TAM or any event are a minority, a fraction of the subscribers to Skeptic or Skeptical Inquirer, who in turn are a fraction of sceptics. There’s a whole slew of perfectly decent folks out there who do not think sexism etc are funny at anything greater than a background level. And yes that background level is too fucking high. That’s why we open our yaps.

    I think you’re being awfully optimistic here. Our problem is that skeptics are people; and most people are shitheads, not perfectly decent folks. Being a skeptic is a good thing, but by itself, it indicates very little about the degree of someone’s shitheaddery. Now maybe there is a whole slew of them (how many acres is that?), but I don’t think they are a majority.

    I have no problem saying I’m a sceptic and (pick a sexist knobhead) saying he/she is a sceptic.

    That depends, doesn’t it? A sexist knobhead who is a skeptic isn’t a skeptic in regard to his or her sexist knobheadism, so they both are and are not a skeptic, which is something of a problem. While it’s just a label that we shouldn’t treat as some unattainable ideal (since no one’s ideal), we also shouldn’t use it so liberally that it doesn’t mean much of anything.

    So I think it’s meaningless to say someone “is a skeptic” — period, full stop, end of story. One can be “a skeptic about something” and not about other things. (I don’t think we’re really in disagreement here, but allow me to keep ranting for a moment.) No one, going back to Descartes or fucking Pyrrho, has ever been skeptical about all of their beliefs. Calling someone a skeptic (without qualification) shouldn’t imply anything like that; but to too many it does, I think because we so casually use it among ourselves that what exactly it’s supposed to mean in every case is taken for granted.

    It’s like saying “Newton was a scientist” and leaving it at that. Yes, that’s true, he was. We all should know that means you should disregard his nonsense about alchemy, Jebus, etc.; but in that sense, it’s not quite as informative a statement (about how the person thinks or behaves generally) as we might like it to be.

  18. 518
    Owlmirror

    Are there smartasses about?

  19. 519
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Something I said earlier:

    I’ve always been uncomfortable calling myself a skeptic because it feels like calling myself a hacker — it’s a term others should apply to you if they decide you warrant it, not one you should just claim for yourself. Moreso in the case of skeptic, because basic cognitive biases inhibit useful introspection about whether you’re really acting like a skeptic.

    I’m reminded of bell hooks’s “I advocate …” instead of “I am a …”.

    But “I advocate skepticism” still sounds to me like “I advocate acting like I’m the smartest fucker in the room.”

    Maybe “I advocate asking ‘how do you know that?’”

  20. 520
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Thinking aloud.

    Sounding like a smartass is not so much of a problem when dealing with self-declared skeptics who are really NOMAtics (w/r/t sexism or anything else) and telling them we’re more skeptical than they (or we advocate more skepticism than they). If part of the purpose is to annoy them, it may be a feature rather than a bug.

  21. 521
    chigau (違う)

    Josh
    I’m going to bed.
    But, for tomorrow:
    Your post was full of stuff about age.
    NOT ideology.
    You did qualify but why the ageism?

  22. 522
    strange gods before me ॐ

    apropos?

    anathema: «I’d argue that a skeptic is someone who tries to employ skeptical principles when trying to discern whether or not a claim is likely to be true. A skeptic is someone who tries to base their conclusions on evidence. A skeptic is someone who tries to make logical arguments. A skeptic is someone who recognizes just how irrational that human mind is, and tries to counteract that by being aware of the cognitive errors we are all so susceptible to in order to avoid them.»

    Jadehawk: «that’s not what a skeptic is, that’s what an ideal skeptic would look like. Unfortunately, most too many people who label themselves “skeptics” already believe themselves to be this ideal regardless of accuracy. It makes them as hard to argue with as strongly believing Christians, since they’re convinced that they’re the ones who already figured out Teh Troof.

    also, apparently knowing about cognitive errors has no beneficial effect on whether you’ll continue to commit them or not (sez an article and a study I skimmed over recently but don’t have a link for :-p ).»

    me: «That’s probably true. The benefit may be when lots of people in the same discussion are educated to notice when other people are making cognitive errors; then at least there can be “peer review”.»

    Jadehawk: «probably. but even that only works when the people are willing to accept that they’ve had one of those brainfarts. anecdotal evidence suggests many “skeptics” and “freethinkers” are fine with acknowledging in the abstract that they’re prone to cognitive errors, but still balk at accepting it in specific instances…»

    Brownian in another thread: «What I suspect is that the self-labelling of the skeptical movement actually results in less skeptical behaviour by self-described skeptics. They’re right about vaccines and ghosts, therefore how can they be wrong about sexism? And their response isn’t a skeptical “look, I’d be willing to accept your claim if you could provide some evidence”, it’s a non-skeptical “you should be raped, you hysterical bandwagoning feminazis!”

    My hypothesis is that it’s a form of moral balancing (AKA “compensatory ethics”). “Skeptical balancing” maybe?»

  23. 523
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ AE

    Basically “fuck skeptics” makes them feel superior; “we’re better skeptics” is about making them feel inferior.

    I have always liked the way you think.
    I’m in.

    This is why ixchel is so high up in Minitrue ™. He weilds the carrot just as deftly as the stick.

    (Get your boots on, the job is yours.)

    @ Louis

    Louis needs a felinephillia injection. Stat!

    @ cm’s

    aether

    I trust you are using only the Officially Approved Luminiferous ™ Aether. We have standards to maintain, as Superior Skeptics.

    @ chigau

    A drove or … wait for this! … a dotterel of smartasses.

  24. 524
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ ixchel

    If part of the purpose is to annoy them, it may be a feature rather than a bug.

    Skepchicks are working then. They are irritating them. Irritation leads to change. Perhaps they will wake up.

  25. 525
    Jadehawk

    My hypothesis is that it’s a form of moral balancing (AKA “compensatory ethics”). “Skeptical balancing” maybe?»

    oooh, I didn’t know that had a name (apparently works for other things too. there was a small study showing that consciously choosing to eat a non-fat/low-fat yoghurt makes you feel good about your diet, so you’ll eat more calories later as compared to after eating a full-fat yoghurt).

    yeah, “skeptical balancing” could totally work. If I were studying psychology instead of sociology, I’d totally make that into a research project.

  26. 526
    Patricia, OM

    Are there any smartasses about?

    Me.

    I’m a little smartass, short and stout!

    Oh wait, that would make me uppity and annoying right?

    Me.

  27. 527
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Initially I was thinking of replying to Brownian like so: “moral balancing is a specific type of ego depletion. Being good is hard work even for habitually ‘good people’, who still have to deal with invasive thoughts and their occasional approach-oriented attention to the macabre. And movement skepticism is not like ego depletion because …”

    Then I decided to click the link and make sure. Turns out there’s another effect I didn’t think of: people judge others’ good behavior as permitting some indulgences.

    This, I think, may have a parallel in movement skepticism. “Hitchens was such a brilliant blah blah blah though.” Maybe it’s more generally an in-group thing: “so-and-so was such a good one-of-us though”, and when the in-group is movement skepticism, it is skepticism which is like a vessel which is filled by critical thinking and drained somewhat by permitted lapses. Maybe it literally is moral balancing on a loyalty/betrayal axis.

    So something like that may be at work when people are judging others. Looks probable. I think I’ve seen it.

    But in judging the self, I don’t expect that the problem with movement skeptics is one of compensation. For one, I don’t think we know that they really think less critically about sexism than demographically similar non-skeptics in the population at large do. The population at large is so profoundly sexist that it’s easy to underestimate.

    I do think that moral compensation for the self is understandable as ego depletion. And doing movement skepticism isn’t a similarly depleting thing. Like, once you decide you don’t believe in Bigfoot, you don’t have to work to disbelieve in Bigfoot again tomorrow and then next day and the next. It’s more like a ratchet, while moral temptation is not.

    I expect that the discrepancy in judging the self is explicable just by the story they tell themselves. They may not think any less critically about sexism than demographically similar non-skeptics, but they invest more in thinking of themselves as critical thinkers, so their average discrepancy is larger than that of non-skeptics. And since they call attention to themselves as skeptics, their hypocrisy stands out more. (Though if you interview the non-skeptics they’ll probably describe themselves as critical thinkers too if asked; they just don’t advertise it as much, since it’s not their identity label.)

    There’s potentially a fascinating study to be done here, though. What if, say, monitoring one’s self for cognitive biases on issues where one is accustomed to knowing how to notice them is ego-depleting enough that it does make it significantly harder to do w/r/t less familiar issues — such that non-feminist skeptics have a harder time learning to understand privilege than non-feminist non-skeptics do.

  28. 528
    Owlmirror

    Maybe “I advocate asking ‘how do you know that?’”

    What, like Ken Ham does?

    /HugeSmartass

    I’m not sure if this is related to anything mentioned above or not (I hadn’t heard of “moral balancing”), but I recall a study or article about scholastic performance in children with respect to praise. What might be germane about that is that kids who were praised as being smart did worse, overall, than those who were praised for making a good effort. Apparently, those who had it reinforced that they had some essential quality of intelligence weren’t striving enough when the subject matter got tough, or the workload increased.

    So perhaps the relation here is that “skeptics” think of themselves as being skeptics; having some sort of “essence of skepticism”, as opposed to being the sort of person who makes an effort to be honestly skeptical.

  29. 529
    Jadehawk

    There’s potentially a fascinating study to be done here, though. What if, say, monitoring one’s self for cognitive biases on issues where one is accustomed to knowing how to notice them is ego-depleting enough that it does make it significantly harder to do w/r/t less familiar issues — such that non-feminist skeptics have a harder time learning to understand privilege than non-feminist non-skeptics do.

    yeah, this is kind of what I was thinking of.

    It may not be depleting* to disbelieve in Bigfoot once you’re convinced he doesn’t exist, but “skepticism” as a method of interacting with information in general would have to be, the same way any other form of consciously doing something differently from the way you’d do it habitually would. So spending some time critically thinking about and checking for biases in thinking about something may deplete the ability to do so later, or do so about something else.

    Also, there are some papers on effects of self-labeling in general, so there might be interesting differences between skeptical people who label themselves as skeptics, and those that don’t. that one would be a tough study to make happen, though; it can’t possibly be easy to find skeptical thinkers who don’t conveniently self-label like that…

  30. 530
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Skepchicks are working then. They are irritating them. Irritation leads to change. Perhaps they will wake up.

    I will quell my semiconscious desire to believe in historical inevitabilities, and say, who knows?

  31. 531
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Owlmirror, that’s Carol Dweck’s research.

  32. 532
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Heaps of it, really. And probably more by students of hers: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=dweck+praise

  33. 533
    Jadehawk

    Then I decided to click the link and make sure. Turns out there’s another effect I didn’t think of: people judge others’ good behavior as permitting some indulgences.

    huh. that would go a long way towards explaining the “but he’s a nice guy” and “you don’t know him” defensiveness.

  34. 534
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Jadehawk — not coincidence, but I didn’t see your #525 before I posted #527.

    “skepticism” as a method of interacting with information in general would have to be,

    Yeah. What I’m wondering is if movement skepticism significantly involves skeptical thinking though, or if it’s mostly about being fans of the right people, radio shows, forums, epic debunkings.

    Maybe, for newcomers, it does involve skeptical thinking. But once they’re settled into the group as Skeptics™, they get tenure. :p

  35. 535
    strange gods before me ॐ

    huh. that would go a long way towards explaining the “but he’s a nice guy” and “you don’t know him” defensiveness.

    GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

    Actually it’s okay, you can stay, there’s a fold-out couch right next to the amygdala.

  36. 536
    Jadehawk

    Yeah. What I’m wondering is if movement skepticism significantly involves skeptical thinking though, or if it’s mostly about being fans of the right people, radio shows, forums, epic debunkings.

    that’s a possibility. for some, it may well be merely fandom of people who are really good at pwning other people.

    well fuck… that would mean the labeling study would have to study four groups: skeptics who self-label as skeptics; skeptics who don’t; non-skeptics who self-label as skeptics; non-skeptics who don’t.
    and, someone would have to design a test/survey capable of reliably ferreting out skeptical thinkers. sounds like a lot of work *groan*

  37. 537
    Jadehawk

    Actually it’s okay, you can stay, there’s a fold-out couch right next to the amygdala.

    yeah but does it have AC? I’m melting over here (well, not today. today was fine. but for the last 3 weeks)

  38. 538
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Sorry, it’s about 310 degrees in there.

    Circulation is usually good, though. I’ll take an aspirin just in case.

  39. 539
    Vilém Saptar

    Hi consciousness razor,

    Thanks for the comments. I’ve had a busy weekend; sorry for taking a while to reply. I won’t be able address most of what you said, and I’m not really sure how we could reconcile our different views at this point anyway. We might just be talking past one another, and I really don’t know what else to say now. By the way, I’m not a scientist or philosopher either, but a composer, so take my comments just as authoritatively as you would your own, which I think I could fairly say should be not at all. :/

    Heh, if anyone’s been the slacker here, it’s been me, not you. And yeah, I see more of where you stand now than I did starting out, but I still disagree with you. So yeah, I guess I’ve run out of things to say as well, since I feel I’ve said as much as I am able to, without running the risk of talking out my ass. Or maybe I’m already in that territory.

    (But I’ve made enough of an ass of myself here, so I’m considering a, ahem, flounce,(not that I’ve been here long for it count as one) until I’ve something concrete to contribute to the dialog here. Looking at how people here are generally so well above my level of learning and intelligence on so many topics, I sort of am embarassed to be talking here at all.)

    You’re a professional musician? I had no idea. I thought you dabbled in it seriously, but dinno you were a composer. (And that makes you cooler than any scientist or philosopher, I s’spose ;))
     
    Nightjar,

    Eventually stumbled upon Pharyngula, liked it a lot and stayed. Got all kinds of stuff on social justice and equality injected into my brain as a result, and am a better person for it.

    Let me add a “Me too!” I completely identify with this, though I stumbled over here from a link on another blog, I forget which.

    So, yeah, you may have a point. Also, thank you for doing part of the injecting. :)

    Seconded. And not just strange gods, who’s of course the pinhead, but most of the people here, too many to name, have been so eloquent and straight battingly educating, esp. to someone like me, who’s a total ignoramus on most things social justice. (And I’ve cringed face-breakingly every time I learnt how little I knew, so much so that a good part of my face is in a permanent state of cringing, so no thanks for that :/ )

    And I should have said this a long time ago, but, thanks to everyone here who’s done so much to educate people about these issues.

  40. 540
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Unbearable, isn’t it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends. There is a secret song at the center of the world, Vilém, and its sound is like razors through flesh. You can hear its faint echo right now. I’m here to turn up the volume.

  41. 541
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Imma be gone for sometime from these here places. Dunno how long. Haven been here long, so I can’t even call it a flounce. Take care, all. Ciao.

    When I see you again, I’ll link to my reply to bigbear. Still on my todo list. ;)

    Bye for now.

  42. 542
    Amblebury

    Unbearable, isn’t it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends. There is a secret song at the center of the world, Vilém, and its sound is like razors through flesh. You can hear its faint echo right now. I’m here to turn up the volume.

    Beautiful.

  43. 543
    strange gods before me ॐ

    It is. Presumably it was written by Peter Atkins or Tony Randel.

  44. 544
    Amblebury

    I want to say that made me laugh out loud, in a way that avoids the use of “LOL”

    And I did!

  45. 545
    Nightjar

    esp. to someone like me, who’s a total ignoramus on most things social justice. (And I’ve cringed face-breakingly every time I learnt how little I knew

    Can’t say I completely identify with that part, though. Wouldn’t be fair to my parents, who did raise me to be generally socially aware and sensitive to inequalities. What I learned here is invaluable, but thanks to them my mind was almost always receptive, not resistant.

  46. 546
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ ixchel

    who knows?

    We can at least try.

    ….

    Unbearable, isn’t it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends. There is a secret song at the center of the world, Vilém, and its sound is like razors through flesh. You can hear its faint echo right now. I’m here to turn up the volume.

    Our point of departure, the prelude. That to which we are directing, though, is the Music of the Spheres ™.

  47. 547
    Owlmirror

    Maybe “I advocate asking ‘how do you know that?’”

    Wait, why did I write Ken Ham?

    It’s the loathsome Sye Ten Bruggencate and his infinite presupposition recursion algorithm — tortoises all the way down — that does that shtick.

    /DeflatedSmartass

  48. 548
    Nightjar

    Yes, “how do you know that?” isn’t Ken Ham. That would be “were you there?” IIRC.

  49. 549
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I picked up the schtick from Salty Current, though — if it’s done honestly, “radiometric dating” should elicit an “oh okay” response, somewhere down the line.

    Of course, her specific reason for bringing it up was to apply the “how do you know that” question to religious discourse, since at least the notion that it ought to be habitually applied is already accepted among scientific communities.

    Her epistemological advocacy is aimed at making that question no longer taboo to ask about religious dogmas or personal spiritual beliefs.

  50. 550
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Yes, “how do you know that?” isn’t Ken Ham. That would be “”were you there?”” IIRC.

    The second question is stupid. And the first question, taken seriously, can explain why the second question is stupid.

    I mean, we do need to care about how we know things — I think that’s a big reason why many of us are at Pharyngula in the first place.

  51. 551
    Nightjar

    ixchel, do you remember this?

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/06/23/dear-emma-b/

    Dear Emma;

    I read your account of seeing a 3.75 billion year old moon rock, and how you asked the person displaying it “Were you there?”, the question that Ken Ham taught you to ask scientists. I’m glad you were asking questions — that’s what scientists are supposed to do — but I have to explain to you that that wasn’t a very good question, and that Ken Ham is a poor teacher. There are better questions you could have asked.

    [...]

    I’d like to teach you a different easy question, one that is far, far more useful than Ken Ham’s silly “Were you there?” The question you can always ask is, “How do you know that?”

    Right away, you should be able to see the difference. You already knew the answer to the “Were you there?” question, but you don’t know the answer to the “How do you know that?” question. That means the person answering it will tell you something you don’t know, and you will learn something new. And that is the coolest thing ever.

    ***

    That reminds me… I want the Sb comments back! Why is it taking them so long?

  52. 552
    strange gods before me ॐ

    ixchel, do you remember this?

    hehe! I do! I put it up here.

    That reminds me… I want the Sb comments back! Why is it taking them so long?

    I have no idea. It’s very annoying.

  53. 553
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I am still pretty sure I picked it up from SC, though. I may be having a source monitoring error, but my impression was that advocating that question was “a thing” over at B&W for a while before the Emma B letter.

  54. 554
    Nightjar

    “How do you know that?” is also how we used to (still do? don’t remember if PZ did this year) celebrate Paul Nelson Day.

    hehe! I do! I put it up here.

    :)

    I only started trying to catch up with the wiki yesterday. I was away for far too long from both the wiki and FTB Pharyngula.

  55. 555
    Cipher

    He weilds the carrot just as deftly as the stick.

    *brightly* The Ministry of Agriculture is proud to announce our new Increased-Carrot-Planting initiative, in response to the increasing demand from the Ministry of Truth!

  56. 556
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I only started trying to catch up with the wiki yesterday.

    We have a couple of active editors who I don’t recognize from the Pharyngula commentariat. They are both wiki enthusiasts. Proxima Centauri runs the Atheism Wikia, and Lpetrich appears to be a regular lurker having much familiarity with PZ’s writing.

    Using Audley’s Cupcake Bingo for starting content, I have devised a randomized <a href="http://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Sexism_BingoSexism Bingo generator, which can be copied and tweaked for other Bingo games. Each square is an “article”; adding [[category:bingo]] and [[bingo::misogyny]] makes them show up in the Bingo board. You can see the precise formatting if you check out one of these using the “source mode” editor. They are in the Pharyngula Wiki namespace so that they don’t show up in Special:AllPages.

    {{comic sans|your text}} makes your text show up as Comic Sans.

    An entire British ISP is blocked to keep out one persistent troll. This is a “softblock”; it will not affect logged-in users. If we ever get requests from someone on that ISP to make an account for them, we’ll do it. If it turns out to be the troll then we’ll just block the account and revert its edits, no big deal.

    [end transmission]

  57. 557
  58. 558
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Oh and if you care to change your username, http://help.wikia.com/wiki/Help:Changing_your_username

    [... 4 realz ok]

  59. 559
    strange gods before me ॐ

    *brightly* The Ministry of Agriculture is proud to announce our new Increased-Carrot-Planting initiative, in response to the increasing demand from the Ministry of Truth!

    Joy!

    Gonna need more sticks too. If you could bind them up like so that’d be great.

  60. 560
    Nightjar

    Thanks for the updates, ixchel! I’ll take a look around later today.

    ***

    First I need to go update my moblog ’cause I took a photo of a tiny flower spider ambush hunting a bee today and am very pleased with it. :)

  61. 561
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    theophontes:

    I trust you are using only the “Officially Approved Luminiferous™ Aether”.

    Shit! I was using Mitchelson & Morley’s™ homeopathic aether. Probably why the comment disappeared.

  62. 562
    A. R

    General plea to people with Elsevier access: I’m away from my University right now, and since the remote access is down, I can’t get into my account. Thusly, I am forced to grovel for a pdf of this article: linky. Thank you! (Oh, and did I mention, I FUCKING HATE ELSEVIER!)

    [X-post TET/TZT]

  63. 563
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    P.S., If anyone needs a “t”, feel free to take the spare one from what should have been “Michelson”, and use it as you will.

  64. 564
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @

    cm’s

    P.S., If anyone needs a “t”, feel free to take the spare one from what should have been “Michelson”, and use it as you will.

    Well, hank you cm’s, I’ll be needing hat for his response.

    @

    Cipher

    Tardigrades have moved your cheese carrots?

  65. 565
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    bloody

    borkquotes

    on a pogo stick!

  66. 566
    Owlmirror

    Break the sticks! Chainsaw the sticks! Feed the carrots to bunnies! Power to the bunny!

    /PublicEnemyAction

  67. 567
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ ixchel/Cipher

    Ministry of Plenty Fasces: Link.

  68. 568
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Owlmirror

    You are ebil

  69. 569
    joey

    owlmirror:

    I repeat, the definition of free will above — “you can have chosen to have chosen differently” — has an implicit infinite regress.

    The reason that it isn’t a real infinite regress is because there are factors involved in real minds making what feel to be real choices that are not in fact freely chosen.

    I concede that in real minds there are decisions made by the brain that I wouldn’t consider as “freely chosen” (such as breathing in my sleep). But that doesn’t mean that ALL decisions have to not be freely chosen.

    You agree that in real minds there are choices that “feel” like they are freely chosen. For example, the very words that you chose in your last post probably felt to you like they were freely chosen. But as you “chose” those words, were you conscious at all about the implicit infinite regress supposedly involved in making each and every one of those choices? Did you actually feel that you chose to choose to choose to choose to choose (..etc..) to choose to write a sentence this way instead of that way? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that you didn’t feel that you freely chose the words in your post, or maybe even feel that you freely chose to choose the words in your post. Somewhere along this supposed infinite regress you actually became aware/conscious about such decision-making and that you felt like you were making real choices.

    So why is it logically impossible to postulate that in general choices that feel like they are freely chosen (like choosing the words in this post) are actually in fact freely chosen? And generally the things that do not feel like they are freely chosen (like my stomach grumbling as I type this post) are not freely chosen?

    It is your claim that free will (for ALL choices, not just some, or even 99.99% of them) is logically impossible, so the burden is on you to prove it. You are not succeeding.

    ——————-

    consciousness razor:

    Yeah, I guess joey thought the choices were supposed to be infinite “laterally” rather than “vertically,” so to speak.

    But if you can infinitely expand choice vertically, what stops you from infinitely expanding it in the lateral direction as well?

    The point is that any given choice (or even a meta-choice of a choice if that were possible) must ultimately be caused by something which isn’t chosen.

    So what? I don’t see how this proves or disproves anything, other than showing that causality holds and the mind is probably not capable of freely choosing from an infinite number of simultaneous choices. It doesn’t rule out the possibility that there are choices that actually are freely chosen, even though there are “choices” that are not.

    ————–
    ixchel:

    They’re all stupid, compatibilist senses included: “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.”

    But our dear joey here still believes in the truth of one of the stupidest senses.

    What’s more stupid to you? That I believe that James Holmes is actually morally responsible for his actions? Or that you actually think I’m stupid even though it’s impossible for me to have chosen to believe otherwise? It’s like labeling a ball an “idiot” for rolling downhill.

    ——————
    KG:

    I asked this question before, and I apologise for not being around for an answer if you gave one, but if you deny the reality of choice based on our shared believe that physicalism is true, how do you not deny the reality of meaning, rationality, emotion, and conscious awareness? After all, it’s all just particles banging into each other, either deterministically or at random. Where is there any room for those things to be real that would not also provide room for the reality of choice?

    I had to do a double-take and make sure you didn’t miss a blockquote somewhere, but this eerily sounds like something I would have posted.

  70. 570
    John Morales

    joey, dare you essay attempting to specify that to what the term ‘free will’ refers?

  71. 571
    John Morales

    PS joey, why do you believe in supernatural entities to whom you are accountable? :)

  72. 572
  73. 573
    strange gods before me ॐ

    joey,

    What’s more stupid to you?

    I suppose the stupidest thing is that while I spoke about free will, you responded as though I’d spoken about moral responsibility, as if there’s necessarily a 1 to 1 correspondence between the two.

    Ain’t necessarily so. Maybe you can argue that such a 1 to 1 correspondence exists, but in any case you should take Peter van Inwagen’s advice:

    «Compatibilism is the thesis that determinism and the free-will thesis could both be true (And incompatibilism is the denial of compatibilism).

    Whatever you do, do not use ‘‘compatibilism’’ as a name for the thesis that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism. This can only cause confusion. If you must have a name for this thesis, invent a new one: ‘‘MR-compatibilism’’ or some such.» [emphasis mine]

    That I believe that James Holmes is actually morally responsible for his actions?

    Worse: that you apparently believe it’s inherently important whether or not James Holmes is actually morally responsible for his actions.

    It ain’t.

    (Unless you’ve got a supernatural god who’ll be judging you and him based on your freely willed self-authorship. Do you have such a god, joey?)

    I’ll grant that whether or not lots of people think he’s actually morally responsible for his actions is important. And I might even argue one way or the other for the sake of changing people’s perceptions. But the question is not important for its own sake.

    Or that you actually think I’m stupid even though it’s impossible for me to have chosen to believe otherwise?

    I think guppies are even stupider, even though I like them, and I have no illusions that it’s possible for them to not be stupid.

    It’s like labeling a ball an “idiot” for rolling downhill.

    More like labeling an idiot an idiot for rolling downhill.

    I had to do a double-take and make sure you didn’t miss a blockquote somewhere, but this eerily sounds like something I would have posted.

    Yeah, I noticed that too. It was disconcerting. At the time I managed to be polite enough to not say anything. But I’m tired now.

    It’s probably either going to lower my estimation of KG or raise my estimation of you. But maybe neither; maybe KG had a more sophisticated way of being wrong than you could ever have come up with. I hope.

    +++++
    I no longer hope that you’ll be struck by lightning, though, joey. It was a passing irritation. You haven’t said anything else ghoulish in the meantime, as far as I’ve noticed. So, thanks for that.

  74. 574
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Oh damn. I meant to link.

    +++++
    you should take Peter van Inwagen’s advice:

    «Compatibilism is the thesis that determinism and the free-will thesis could both be true (And incompatibilism is the denial of compatibilism).

    Whatever you do, do not use ‘‘compatibilism’’ as a name for the thesis that moral responsibility is compatible with determinism. This can only cause confusion. If you must have a name for this thesis, invent a new one: ‘‘MR-compatibilism’’ or some such.» [emphasis mine]

  75. 575
    strange gods before me ॐ

    theophontes,

    Ministry of Plenty Fasces: Link.

    That’s actually really cute, you know.

    Please keep it away from the brontosaurus though. I can’t have them choking<abbr title="Owlmirror is up to too much good. I hope a megalodon chokes on him. And then the megalodon is struck by lightning.

  76. 576
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ ixchel

    Peter van Inwagen

    Check your email.

  77. 577
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    {enter theophontes in white lab coat and stethoscope. checks TZT’s pulse}

    Oy Vey… ;’(

  78. 578
    A. R

    theophontes: I think this may be TZT’s longest comment-drought… I believe a STAT injection of a member of the Family Trolli may be needed. I’ll go check the Pyxis.

  79. 579
    Louis

    INCOMING TROLL!

    Neuzelaar has been TZTed By Teh PoopyHead.

    Louis

    P.S. I predict spluttering in original thread followed by rapid banninininininination. Sadly enough. I fear this troll is too stupid to know how to troll, and thus take appropriate trollaction to continue trollery.

  80. 580
    Owlmirror

    I concede that in real minds there are decisions made by the brain that I wouldn’t consider as “freely chosen” (such as breathing in my sleep). But that doesn’t mean that ALL decisions have to not be freely chosen.

    You seem to not have understood what I wrote. Or — possibly — you’re confused about what it means to make a free choice.

    Remember that what you’re trying to argue for is that you can have chosen to have chosen other than what you chose. That would be better characterized as a “freely-willed choice”.

    The phrase “freely chosen” sounds like you’re shifting to some compatabilist sense of “free” and “choice”.

    But as you “chose” those words, were you conscious at all about the implicit infinite regress supposedly involved in making each and every one of those choices?

    My entire point of the implicit infinite regress was that the feeling of making a free choice does not involve an actual free-will choice, in the sense that I could have chosen to have chosen other than those words.

    I used the ones which seemed best at the time, but that ties in to aspects of my brain that I don’t actually have control over. I have modules in my brain that involve memory, language processing, and imagination — but I don’t have control over how those modules work. If I had aphasia, for example, I would not be able to construct sentences at all; if I had dyslexia, my ability to construct words and sentences would be slightly or severely problematic.

    I can certainly review those word choices, and even change them (since I’m editing this as I write it; going back and modifying words for spelling and sentences for grammar, and changing words and sentences to try and convey what I actually mean). But I cannot have chosen to have chosen other than the words that I first typed. The corrections and modifications are different choices; ones which follow from earlier choices, but are not the same choices as I made seconds or microseconds before.

    Did you actually feel that you chose to choose to choose to choose to choose (..etc..) to choose to write a sentence this way instead of that way? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean that you didn’t feel that you freely chose the words in your post, or maybe even feel that you freely chose to choose the words in your post. Somewhere along this supposed infinite regress you actually became aware/conscious about such decision-making and that you felt like you were making real choices.

    Once again, you are not understanding what I am writing. The infinite regress is not something I think is happening or can happen, because I don’t think that choice or the perception of choice works like that.

    The infinite regress is what would have to happen if you really could “have chosen to have chosen differently”; if choice were actually “freely-willed” in that sense.

    So why is it logically impossible to postulate that in general choices that feel like they are freely chosen (like choosing the words in this post) are actually in fact freely chosen?

    They are freely chosen in the comptabilist sense that your brain and its associated modules are functioning more or less properly and composing sentences that convey your meaning, and that in order for that to happen, those modules have to have some way of weighting for better and worse fits for grammar, syntax, and meaning during sentence construction.

    Although I think those modules are slightly malfunctioning in your case, since they are not using words in quite the same way all the time.

    It is your claim that free will (for ALL choices, not just some, or even 99.99% of them) is logically impossible, so the burden is on you to prove it.

    I think at this point I’m trying to get across to you some of the basic points of the arguments for the proof, and you’re not understanding them.

    Can you actually address the point of the infinite regress?

    If you don’t think that the infinite regress is necessary for you to be able to have chosen to have chosen otherwise, can you give a reason based not on how it feels to choose, but based on what it logically means to make a choice, and to make a choice about making a choice?

    ======

    But if you can infinitely expand choice vertically, what stops you from infinitely expanding it in the lateral direction as well?

    Is there any sense of what “choice” means that requires this “lateral” expansion?

    The point is that any given choice (or even a meta-choice of a choice if that were possible) must ultimately be caused by something which isn’t chosen.

    So what? I don’t see how this proves or disproves anything, other than showing that causality holds and the mind is probably not capable of freely choosing from an infinite number of simultaneous choices. It doesn’t rule out the possibility that there are choices that actually are freely chosen, even though there are “choices” that are not.

    Again, you seem to be using “freely chosen” in the compatabilist sense.

    If you concede the point you cited, it completely undermines the possibility of there actually being a choice to choose otherwise.

  81. 581
    Owlmirror

    Owlmirror is up to too much good.

    Yay!

    PS: I mock your inability to have chosen to have chosen not to fuck up a simple basic sekrit message. So much for Papal infallibility!

    I hope a megalodon chokes on him.

    Impossible, for several various reasons.

    And then the megalodon is struck by lightning.

    Hah!

  82. 582
    Nick Gotts

    ixchel,
    Thanks for linking back to your earlier answer. I may not respond further, as this argument is taking up more time than I’m inclined to spend on it.

    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.

    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 psychology, it’s not negotiable. A choice is not made instantaneously or even, in many cases, within a period of a single day. You tend one way, you tend the other, you think you’ve made a final decision but then find yourself still arguing it through…

    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.

    Assertion without argument or evidence. Dismissed as worthless.

    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, 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.

    Good: so in an indeterministic world, we are agreed that it is physically possible for a particular choice to have been made 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.”

    This “choosing to choose” crap is, literally, nonsense, unless you meant (as I once interpreted you as meaning), that you make a choice on one occasion always to choose a particular way in a particular class of cases – in which case, you may in fact fail to abide by this choice about future choices when those choices actually arise.

    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.

    So what? It takes positive training to learn to abandon Cartesian dualism.

    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.

    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.

    The lengths you’ll go to to defend your incompatibilist dogmas are extraordinary. Are you claiming there’s no relevant difference between counterfactual speculations of this type, and of the type: “If the manager had selected players who could leap buildings at a single bound, the team would have won.”?

    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.

    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.

    As you show repeatedly in arguing for your incompatibilist dogmas. Adopting them would require far more radical changes in our concepts than you appear to realize. One example I’ve already given: it requires you to place all logically possible counterfactuals on a level – at least, it does on the assumption that the world is deterministic. More broadly, it makes at least a large proportion of statements about causality problematic. If you say, for example, that the adoption of compatibilist views by lawyers has had certain consequences, you have to rely on counterfactuals to make the case – you have to claim that if those views had not been adopted, then those consequences would not have occurred. But this makes no sense if there is not a clear sense (and one well beyond mere logical possibility) of those views not having been adopted. Another instance: you say repeatedly that those compatibilists you are arguing with should abandon compatibilism. But saying that something should be done only makes sense if it can be either done or not done – but according to incompatibilism, we can never do other than what we do in fact do.

    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.

    Indeed, but that’s just another way of saying they choose to do things for reasons.

    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?

    Because that’s exactly what you do with regard to choice.

    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”.

    I don’t recall the context and don’t want to break off to look for it now, but I have at no time whatever – at least in the past 20 years – “posited quantum choices”. I’ve been quite consistent in pointing out the reality that a choice is not an instantaneous event.

    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?

    Don’t. Be. So. Silly. Nervous system events are spatio-temporally distributed, occurring over milliseconds at least. In the case of choices, it may be impossible to locate even the day on which a particular choice was made – and I don’t just mean that the evidence can’t be gathered, but that there is no fact of the matter.

  83. 583
    chigau (違う)

    How many banished-to-TZT trolls have actually complied?
    danielhaven, rajkumar …
    Anyone else?

  84. 584
    Owlmirror

    How many banished-to-TZT trolls have actually complied?
    danielhaven, rajkumar …
    Anyone else?

    Um, joey, above. For pissing off PZ by being obtuse and intransigent.

  85. 585
    chigau (違う)

    Ah, yes. joey.
    He kinda irregular.

  86. 586
    Cipher

    Tardigrades have moved your cheese carrots?

    *placid* The carrots have always been precisely where they are. And besides, the tardigrades would never have moved them if they hadn’t had a good reason.

  87. 587
    Owlmirror

    He kinda irregular.

    The Zombie Thread Irregulars?

    The carrots have always been precisely where they are.

    We have always been at war with Eastasia Bunntopia.

    And besides, the tardigrades would never have moved them if they hadn’t had a good reason.

    …But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother Tardigrade.

  88. 588
  89. 589
    consciousness razor

    joey:

    But if you can infinitely expand choice vertically, what stops you from infinitely expanding it in the lateral direction as well?

    You can’t do either. (Read that again: neither is possible, not one and also not the other. Comprende?) The latter is irrelevant, but the former is the argument from infinite regress you’re not addressing or apparently even understanding. As Owlmirror said, we’re not claiming choices actually do involve any kind of infinite regress, but that such a regress is what would be necessary for choices to be freely willed (as you’ve defined it), which is why it’s impossible.

    So what? I don’t see how this proves or disproves anything, other than showing that causality holds and the mind is probably not capable of freely choosing from an infinite number of simultaneous choices.

    There’s no “probably” about it. Brains simply can’t do that. How the fuck do you think they work? Or do you just really love the idea of being “free” and have no idea what you’re talking about?

    It doesn’t rule out the possibility that there are choices that actually are freely chosen, even though there are “choices” that are not.

    If that were the case, which choices are “free” in the sense that they are not caused by something which isn’t itself a freely-willed choice? Are there any? If there could not be any, then it is in fact ruled out as a possibility. If you had any evidence that there were such choices, you could be specific about what they are and exactly how it happens; but you don’t have evidence so you won’t be, if you even try to answer the question, assuming you understand it which you probably won’t.

  90. 590
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @Ing, Nerd of Redhead, and anyone else I may have offended before.

    I’m sorry, mea culpa, my apologies.

    You don’t have to forgive me, natch, but I hope you will.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/crommunist/2012/07/25/scratch-a-republican-find-a-racist/#comment-64708

  91. 591
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @15. Ogvorbis – 21 July 2012 at 3:04 pm :

    Because, when I read «Blast Afghanistan out of existence», I can’t distinguish it from a call to kill all Afghans, which I think is genocide apology.
    No, you see, in StevoR’s world, that is religiacide — he is for killing all Muslims — not genocide as the Afghanis are not a genetic race, nor are all Muslims.

    Never all of them.

    Just the bad ones.

    Plus the unlucky few who can’t be avoided being at the same place(s) as the bad ones. Because they use civilians as human shields as bad guys do.

    You know who the Taliban and Hezbollah and Hamas are and what they do right?

    Yeah, it sucks, it aint easy. I may be wrong. But.. hell, what would you do to defend us all from them?

    I don’t know.

    I honestly don’t want genocide of anybody.

    How do we stop it though? When them some groups of them are so determined to destroy everyone else?

    How do you fight Jihadist terrorism without taking deadly military action odf some sort?

    Beats me. I’m sorry. I wish Iknew a better way. I don’t.

    What would you do?

  92. 592
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    I honestly don’t want genocide of anybody.

    How do we stop it though?

    StevoR, if you don’t want to come across as a supporter of genocide, then I think it’d be a good idea if you quit saying “I dislike genocide, but…”

  93. 593
    consciousness razor

    How do we stop it though? When them some groups of them are so determined to destroy everyone else?

    So you don’t want to kill all Muslims, only some groups of them who want to destroy “everyone else”? I guess that means we don’t have to kill any Muslims. I’m glad that’s settled.

    Stupid fucker.

  94. 594
    Nightjar

    Never all of them.

    Just the bad ones.

    Plus the unlucky few who can’t be avoided being at the same place(s) as the bad ones.

    StevoR, I don’t want to be part of any “us” that includes you. Just so that’s clear.

  95. 595
    Cipher

    We have always been at war with Eastasia Bunntopia.

    We have won the war of carrot farming!
    Spontaneous irrepressible demonstrations broke out across TZT in ardent outpourings of love for Teh Tardigrade and celebration of the carrots’ new, happy location. Bundled-sticks production surpassed our highest goals by a marvelous 64%. Good news! With the help of the divine goddess Phoenicia (PBUH), our forces have made tremendous gains in the war against the nefarious bunny brigades led by Public Enemy No. 1 and his wicked ally Rebecca Watson.

  96. 596
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ StevoR

    Never all of them.
    Just the bad ones.

    Stop discriminating and start differentiating.

    Plus the unlucky few who can’t be avoided being at the same place(s) as the bad ones. Because they use civilians as human shields as bad guys do.

    Holy fuck! Shoot through the innocent and you might hurt the enemy? Eeeeuw, that is pretty fucked up.

    You know who the Taliban and Hezbollah and Hamas are and what they do right?

    The people who kill less innocents than “your” side? (I used to live in Sudan. I have a notion of this form of islamism. Who do you think is really suffering from this ilk? Not you…)

    Yeah, it sucks, it aint easy. I may be wrong. But.. hell, what would you do to defend us all from them?

    Who is them? In my opinion, right wing xtians are a bigger threat to humanity in general.

    I don’t know.

    Then lurk moar and comment less.

    I honestly don’t want genocide of anybody.

    Then comment in a manner more consequent with your claimed position.

    How do we stop it though?

    Stop creating enemies by bombing innocent people.

    When them some groups of them are so determined to destroy everyone else?

    This is more true of ‘Merkins. (The people being bombed are somehow less significant “others”? Who made “us” the good guys?)

    How do you fight Jihadist terrorism without taking deadly military action odf some sort?

    Oh, this one is really easy: Fight misogyny. Empower women. Provide opportunities for people to live normal lives. (And this costs just a fraction of the money squandered on trying to extirpate those “fargin’ furriners”.

    Beats me. I’m sorry. I wish Iknew a better way. I don’t.

    Kindly shut up then.

    What would you do?

    See above. (Currently there are young men incentivised to take up arms in an attempt at “jihad” (amongst other battles). All one need do is incentivise them to do otherwise. Also, perhaps even more importantly, empower women.
    You can personally make a start by fighting for equal human rights for all. Hint: There is no “other”.

  97. 597
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Cipher

    We have won the war of carrot farming!

    It is all going swimmingly.

  98. 598
    Cipher
  99. 599
    Cipher

    It is all going swimmingly.

    I couldn’t be happier – simply couldn’t be happier.

  100. 600
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

     

    QFT

  101. 601
    Cipher

    Pay no attention to the borked HTML behind the curtain.

  102. 602
    dogeared, spotted and foxed

    Threadrupt with a quick question – Has “I am not a troll because I’m perfectly willing to discuss my bigoted, violent fantasies in a polite way.” (with bonus “and if you don’t let me, this is not a ‘free thought’ as defined by wiki, blog.”) ever worked?

    or, alternately, would anyone like to pitch in to buy the trolls a new script?

  103. 603
    Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa

    Has “I am not a troll because I’m perfectly willing to discuss my bigoted, violent fantasies in a polite way.” (with bonus “and if you don’t let me, this is not a ‘free thought’ as defined by wiki, blog.”) ever worked?

    You’re assuming that Tyrannical’s objective wasn’t being banned.

  104. 604
    ogremeister

    Does mind control fit in the (mindless) Zombie Thread?

    Recent incidents prove that crustaceans have perfected mind control over primates:

    17 lb Lobster Released
    21 lb Lobster Released
    27 lb Lobster Released
    Governor Pardons Lobster

    Can Cthulhu be far behind?

  105. 605
    joey

    ixhcel:

    I suppose the stupidest thing is that while I spoke about free will, you responded as though I’d spoken about moral responsibility, as if there’s necessarily a 1 to 1 correspondence between the two.

    You think it’s stupid to conclude that there is no such thing as moral responsibility if there is no such thing as free will? If you don’t think there is necessarily a 1 to 1 correspondence between moral responsibility and free will, then I’d really like to hear your arguments in support of “MR-compatibilism”.

    Worse: that you apparently believe it’s inherently important whether or not James Holmes is actually morally responsible for his actions.

    It ain’t.

    So whether there exists a thing as moral responsibility is not “inherently important”, but the notion of compatibilism is “socially destructive“?

    More like labeling an idiot an idiot for rolling downhill.

    Bottom line…are you actually blaming me for thinking the way I do, even though you think (or are supposed to think) that it is impossible for me to have chosen to think otherwise?

    I no longer hope that you’ll be struck by lightning, though, joey.

    Thanks for that.

    ————–
    owlmirror:

    The infinite regress is what would have to happen if you really could “have chosen to have chosen differently”; if choice were actually “freely-willed” in that sense.

    Incorrect. As I explained before, the infinite regress is not necessary; it does not “have to happen”. This regress is simply a word game and, as KG so mentioned, is nonsense.

    Can you actually address the point of the infinite regress?

    If you don’t think that the infinite regress is necessary for you to be able to have chosen to have chosen otherwise, can you give a reason based not on how it feels to choose, but based on what it logically means to make a choice, and to make a choice about making a choice?

    Alright, I’ll play the word game. Let’s go back to the choice between A and B. I claim that I can choose between A and B. I also claim that I can choose to choose between A and B.

    Now what about choosing to choose to choose between A and B. What if I also claim that I actually don’t have this ability, that I canNOT choose to choose to choose between A and B, but rather the outcome of this “choice” is somehow forced on me. So because of this coercion, I am now compelled to choose to choose between A and B. So does this coercion in the previous regress stage now automatically negates my ability to choose to choose between A and B, or the ability to choose between A and B? Why should it?

    If you seek to prove the logical impossibility of free will (in ALL instances), then you have to prove the inability to choose in one instance must necessarily mean the inability to choose in ALL instances. You can’t do that.

    ————-
    consciousness razor:

    It doesn’t rule out the possibility that there are choices that actually are freely chosen, even though there are “choices” that are not.

    If that were the case, which choices are “free” in the sense that they are not caused by something which isn’t itself a freely-willed choice? Are there any?

    Who knows? The debate has been whether it is logically possible for freely-willed choices to exist.

    If you had any evidence that there were such choices, you could be specific about what they are and exactly how it happens; but you don’t have evidence so you won’t be, if you even try to answer the question, assuming you understand it which you probably won’t.

    Why do I need to provide evidence? This has always been a logical argument, not a physical one. Do I need to know the physiological details of a three-headed dinosaur for me to argue the existence of such a dinosaur is logically possible?

  106. 606
    Owlmirror

    Now what about choosing to choose to choose between A and B. What if I also claim that I actually don’t have this ability, that I canNOT choose to choose to choose between A and B, but rather the outcome of this “choice” is somehow forced on me. So because of this coercion, I am now compelled to choose to choose between A and B. So does this coercion in the previous regress stage now automatically negates my ability to choose to choose between A and B, or the ability to choose between A and B? Why should it?

    Because the levels of regression are not logically independent of one another.

    If you couldn’t choose to choose to choose otherwise, that inability affects the inferential chain of entailment regarding choosing.

    (I think I can explain this better, but I’m a bit busy at the moment.)

  107. 607
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Cipher, you have reply about highlighting academic papers. Obvs not urgent.

    +++++
    theophontes, thank you. I’m a bit confused though. Was the doc you sent me different from the one linked here?

    +++++
    Owlmirror,

    PS: I mock your inability to have chosen to have chosen not to fuck up a simple basic sekrit message. So much for Papal infallibility!

    As the 𝕯𝕺𝖀𝕭𝕷𝕰𝕻𝕺𝕻𝕰 of the One Holy Caffeinated Diastolic Church of Boltzmannbrontosaurusism and the One Wholly Catastrophic Stochastic Church of Quantum Boltzmannbrontosaurusism, my 𝔭𝔞𝔭𝔞𝔩 𝔭𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔬𝔲𝔫𝔠𝔢𝔪𝔢𝔫𝔱𝔰 are powered by an 𝕚𝕟𝕗𝕚𝕟𝕚𝕥𝕖 ℍ𝕒𝕦𝕤𝕕𝕠𝕣𝕗𝕗 𝕕𝕚𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕤𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕒𝕝 𝕗𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕓𝕚𝕝𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕕𝕣𝕚𝕧𝕖. They are thus not only fractally wrong, but infinitely fractally wrong.

    When I put on my 𝕯𝕺𝖀𝕭𝕷𝕰𝕻𝕺𝕻𝕰 hats, the 𝕚𝕟𝕗𝕚𝕟𝕚𝕥𝕖 ℍ𝕒𝕦𝕤𝕕𝕠𝕣𝕗𝕗 𝕕𝕚𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕤𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕒𝕝 𝕗𝕒𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕓𝕚𝕝𝕚𝕥𝕪 𝕕𝕣𝕚𝕧𝕖 condenses my fallibility by pumping fallibility out of the world around me. Discordians in my presence become Roman Catholic Popes, and quantum computers in nearby universes never crash.

    By harnessing this extradimensional multiversal quantum computational power, I will soon be able to transmit Nonsense superluminally in all directions, faster than an unladen tachyonic swallow whose “𝔠𝔥𝔦𝔯𝔭!” rends the veil between worlds.

    TL;DR this 𝔟𝔲𝔩𝔩: all bugs are now features. Prepare for CASE NIGHTMARE ULTRAGREEN!

    +++++
    Wikipedia has an illustrated list of fractals by Hausdorff dimension. Pretty!

  108. 608
    consciousness razor

    Do I need to know the physiological details of a three-headed dinosaur for me to argue the existence of such a dinosaur is logically possible?

    You need to give at least enough detail to stipulate that there could be three heads. In the case of free will, you just go in circles assuming your absurd definition is always right and failing to understand objections against it.

  109. 609
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ ixchel

    I’m a bit confused though. Was the doc you sent me different from the one linked here?

    The PDF is from your linky. I merely converted it to word (a more usefull format for quoting, kindle, etcetcetc)

    I am reading on kindle now (out of general interest… not because I want to get bogged down in the debate ;)

    ……….

    The appearance of Pharyngula is completely borked on my PC. Narrow grey strip on black background. Eeeeuw!

  110. 610
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Jadehawk,

    also, apparently knowing about cognitive errors has no beneficial effect on whether you’ll continue to commit them or not (sez an article and a study I skimmed over recently but don’t have a link for :-p ).

    Is this the study you were thinking of:

    “Cognitive Sophistication Does Not Attenuate the Bias Blind Spot” by West, Meserve, and Stanovich?

    I found it here, where goddamn* Singularitarians are critiquing popular media and aggregator coverage of the study.

    *Not to imply that they’re wrong in these particular critiques; I just hate Singularitarians, especially life extenders.

  111. 611
    strange gods before me ॐ

    theophontes,

    Ah. Good luck with that. I frequently don’t understand what van Inwagen is talking about. He is a Christian and this alone probably explains why he is motivated to be a free will libertarian (like joey, I suspect).

    I quote him above only because he’s correct about the bit that I quoted. If you find anything else of interest in there, please let me know.

  112. 612
    strange gods before me ॐ

    The appearance of Pharyngula is completely borked on my PC. Narrow grey strip on black background. Eeeeuw!

    Sorry. Like I just told Owlmirror, this is now a feature, so I can’t help you.

    You are advised to pray to the brontosauruses.

  113. 613
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I frequently don’t understand what van Inwagen is talking about. He is a Christian

    These aren’t related, by the way. As far as I can tell, the reason I don’t understand him is because I didn’t study enough maths.

  114. 614
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ ixchel

    You are advised to pray to the brontosauruses.

    Gosh, this is confusing. Teh Pope (ॐ) or the Anti-pope (Owlmirror)? Am I even ABLE to understand?

    ….

    Could we not pray to Teh Ebil Oberlawd ™ to fix the borkiness. Or are brontosaurs jealous gods?

  115. 615
    Owlmirror

    I just hate Singularitarians

    So basically you and Leah Libresco are contraterrene versions of each other, and if you ever meet, there will be a gargantuan multiverse-spanning fractal explosion, and everything will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.

  116. 616
    Owlmirror

    The appearance of Pharyngula is completely borked on my PC. Narrow grey strip on black background.

    Hm. I think this might have happened to me once.

    Did you somehow manage to activate the mobile stylesheet?

    I forget exactly what I did to get rid of it. Did I sacrifice a monkey to Teal Deer? Or was it a playtpus to Phoenicia?

    Or did I just click the link to the page again, or something like that?

    One of those, anyway.

  117. 617
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Owlmirror

    Or did I just click the link to the page again, or something like that?

    I tried that. No luck. B&W, Maryam, Cuttlefish etc etc all look completely normal.

    Phoenicia (Spawn of) is sitting in my fridge in Hong Kong. She is well fed and has no reason to punish me so. My snide remarks are short, so it cannot be Teh Teal Deer.

    I haz a perplex!

  118. 618
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    YES!

    Ok myrmidons, hold off on the hecatombs. And you can stop your pitiful outpouring of grief at the Benevolent Dictator’s Stylesheet Predicament.

  119. 619
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I’m tired and I’ll need to really be on my game when I respond to KG.

    So, joey,

    You think it’s stupid to conclude that there is no such thing as moral responsibility if there is no such thing as free will?

    No, while I do not 100% agree with that conclusion, it is not obviously stupid.

    What is stupid is what I’m pretty sure you’re doing. You’ve been very nearly explicit now: your motivation for believing in free will is obviously that you want to hold people morally responsible for past actions, and therefore you work to argue free will into existence.

    It is motivated cognition. Or would be, if anything you do can really be called cognition. You eagerly grasp at anything KG says which smells like it might support your presupposed conclusion, but you don’t really understand him.

    Remember back in March — when you were unambiguously arguing for incompatibilism, though probably under a false flag of hard determinism; it appears you’ve been a metaphysical libertarian all along — I told you: “Now I don’t expect that everybody has the wits to argue with KG. He’s pretty fucking smart. But you either didn’t even understand what he was saying, or didn’t bother to respond to his arguments honestly. Well, either way, you’ll never be able to win an argument with any compatibilist if that’s how you act.”

    A big problem for you, joey, is that the compatibilist free will which KG advances will never provide the degree of self-authorship which would be necessary to justify Hell. So there’s no point in your echoing him; what he’s offering is not what you want.

    If you don’t think there is necessarily a 1 to 1 correspondence between moral responsibility and free will, then I’d really like to hear your arguments in support of “MR-compatibilism”.

    My teeny tiny degree of difference is that I advocate a temporally unidirectional MR-compatibilism which applies only to the present and future, but not the past. I realize it sounds unusual, but no one who dislikes it has been able to explain what’s supposedly wrong with it, so I’m still advocating it.

    Other than that I’m not much interested in helping you, because I do believe that there’s a 1 to 1 correspondence for the past. But in general what we’re talking about is called the Principle of Alternate Possibilities. Maybe if you are lucky or if God loves you, you will take that and go stumble upon something interesting.

    Or, you could try to extrapolate from this. Then you might at least be interesting.

    +++++
    Again, though, it is not stupid to think that the lack of free will implies a lack of moral responsibility. This is the Basic Argument by Galen Strawson, which I endorse.

    When I say your beliefs about free will are stupid, and you respond that it is not stupid to want to hold James Holmes morally responsible, you are admitting to doing something stupid. You are admitting to a fallacious argumentum ad consequentiam.

  120. 620
    Owlmirror

    Aha!

    I clicked on the “Switch to our mobile site” link. I got a huge borked DNS error. But I went back, and refreshed TZT.

    Now I too haz ugly mobile style.

  121. 621
    Owlmirror

    But!

    I also has a clever!

    Tools → Page Info → Security → View Cookies

    Cookie called “wpmp_switcher” has value “mobile”

    Nom teh cookie.

    Refresh TZT.

    FIXED!

  122. 622
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Gosh, this is confusing. Teh Pope (ॐ) or the Anti-pope (Owlmirror)? Am I even ABLE to understand?

    Ahem. I am 𝖙𝖜𝖔 𝕻𝖔𝖕𝖊𝖘. A 𝕯𝕺𝖀𝕭𝕷𝕰𝕻𝕺𝕻𝕰.

    Also do not forget that consciousness razor is another antipope, self-proclaimed Zombie XVI.

    The balance of 𝖙𝖜𝖔 𝕻𝖔𝖕𝖊𝖘 and two antipopes is a natural harmony, demonstrating that I am the 𝖙𝖗𝖚𝖊 𝕻𝖔𝖕𝖊𝖘.

    are brontosaurs jealous gods?

    Spontaneous sauropods have no need of jealousy concerning human affairs.

    (Concerning necks for sex, they may be green eyed monsters.)

    +++++

    So basically you and Leah Libresco are contraterrene versions of each other,

    Exactly. I also have a low opinion of virtue ethicists.

    and if you ever meet, there will be a gargantuan multiverse-spanning fractal explosion,

    This is my plan anyway. I dearly hope I can pull it off without meeting her.

    I will fill a coconut with the purest Nonsense (which I obtain by wringing out joey), and laden a tachyonic swallow with the coconut, which it will carry back to the big bang. This should ensure the dissolution of all singularities in all directions.

  123. 623
    strange gods before me ॐ

    So whether there exists a thing as moral responsibility is not “inherently important”, but the notion of compatibilism is “socially destructive“?

    Correct.

    Importance does not inhere in the existence per se or nonexistence per se of moral responsibility. Importance of beliefs about such arises in our current social context. In a totally consequentialist society, we could discuss moral responsibility, as a meaningless diversion, and individuals could argue for it without causing socially destructive outcomes.

    Bottom line…are you actually blaming me for thinking the way I do, even though you think (or are supposed to think) that it is impossible for me to have chosen to think otherwise?

    No, not actually.

    Since I am pro-hypocrisy, I might pretend to blame you if doing so will more swiftly change your mind. (But I don’t at this time see reason to think that it will, so I won’t bother.)

  124. 624
    Owlmirror

    Now what about choosing to choose to choose between A and B. What if I also claim that I actually don’t have this ability, that I canNOT choose to choose to choose between A and B, but rather the outcome of this “choice” is somehow forced on me. So because of this coercion, I am now compelled to choose to choose between A and B. So does this coercion in the previous regress stage now automatically negates my ability to choose to choose between A and B, or the ability to choose between A and B? Why should it?

    Getting back to this…

    I’m not 100% sure I know what you mean by “forced”, above. Of course, it might simply mean “forced by the nature of reality” or “forced by some thing that is not under my control”, which I would agree with, since that’s more or less what I’m arguing anyway.

    Entailment:

    x is true iff y is true.

    Let x be “One is able to have chosen other than one has chosen”

    Let y be “One can (have chosen to) have chosen other than one has chosen”

    So “One is able to have chosen other than one has chosen” iff “One can have chosen to have chosen other than one has chosen” is true

    But the recursion applies to the entailment:

    y is true iff y′ is true.

    Let y′ be “One can ((have chosen to) have chosen to) have chosen other than one has chosen”

    Recurse one more level down:

    y′ is true iff y′′ is true.

    Let y′′ be “One can (((have chosen to) have chosen to) have chosen to) have chosen other than one has chosen”

    So if your thesis is that y′′ is in fact false, then the logical entailment of y′ on y′′ means that y′ is false, and similarly, y is false, and therefore x is false.

    So “One is able to have chosen other than one has chosen” must be false.

    Is that logical enough for you?

  125. 625
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Jesus. This again.

    How do you fight Jihadist terrorism without taking deadly military action odf some sort?

    1. It’s been pointed out to you that jihadism poses little danger to people in the western world.
    2. It’s been pointed out to you that deadly military action harms mostly non-jihadists, and strengthens people’s inclination to hate those who engaged in deadly military action.
    3. Duh.

  126. 626
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Ixchel

    van Inwagen

    I sorta get what he is saying. I would need more time to familiarise myself with the terms and arguments.

    What I do get the impression of, is an argument that has made itself perhaps too simplistic. As if it all hangs , in each case, on a single dichotomy (able|not able). Likely we should be dealing with something far more fuzzy. Something that we quite simply cannot get to grips with given the paltry toolkit that he places at our disposal.

    People do change their ways.I cannot really say they are free (as in “free will”) to do as such. But there is perhaps far more of a dynamic at play and a far greater number of component factors that bring about such changes. I can see the argument for inevitability even in a non binary process of arriving at a “choice” from do-able alternatives.

    Does anyone look into the possibility a field of interactive micro-outcomes ?

    Is there a discussion of discrete instances (“snapshot”) in a broader dynamic?

    (Off topic example: A wheel rolling along a surface has its point of contact “instantaneously” at rest. It is recently, via calculus, that we have been able to fully understand this seeming contradiction.

    Perhaps we can only conclude:”We do not know, right now.” And look about for better tools.)

  127. 627
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    {theophontes crosses stage, drops rough notes. ixchel notices this and surreptitiously scoops them up to read:}

    physical reality —>emergent phenomenon|mind|emergent phenomenon—>interaction with reality

    These (mental) emergent phenomenon may be consequences of “the laws of nature and events in the remote past” but are not bound by these laws. (I am currently writing this via electrodes and crocodile clips from a petrie-dish in the middle of the Great TZT Desert.)

    Chance: Depends very much on scale of the relationships described. Consider tossing a coin. If an outcome depends on the value of the average (heads=1, tails=0 say), a single event is indeterminate. (It is what it is.) But as the average outcome of a large number, it tends to a fixed value. It tends to determinacy. The whole question of determinacy|indeterminacy is then a question of (relative) scale.

  128. 628
    strange gods before me ॐ

    What I do get the impression of, is an argument that has made itself perhaps too simplistic. As if it all hangs , in each case, on a single dichotomy (able|not able). Likely we should be dealing with something far more fuzzy. Something that we quite simply cannot get to grips with given the paltry toolkit that he places at our disposal.

    What can this mean, other than “Boltzmann Brontosaurus works in mysterious ways?”

    People do change their ways.

    Yes, everyone here agrees on this.

    But there is perhaps far more of a dynamic at play and a far greater number of component factors that bring about such changes.

    More than what?

    I and the other incompatibilists here have never suggested any particular upper limit to the complexity of human behavior.

    More than the mistaken impression you’ve gotten of our arguments, perhaps?

    You can involve all the dynamics and components you want, and that’s fine, but they’re all bound by the implications of either determinism or indeterminism being true, and the law of the excluded middle.

    (For instance, I could get exasperated and concede to KG that “a quantum choice” is worth calling choice — that’s the root of what we’re arguing about now — but such a concession would still never make the “quantum choice” freely willed.)

    Does anyone look into the possibility a field of interactive micro-outcomes albeit deterministic?

    Yes; this seems to be a reference to chaos, which is fine, but unpredictability is not free will.

    Is there a discussion of discrete instances (“snapshot”) in a broader dynamic?

    Yes.

    These (mental) emergent phenomenon may be consequences of “the laws of nature and events in the remote past” but are not bound by these laws.

    Haha! What? Is this what van Inwagen is saying?

    The thing about metaphysical libertarians is that they have to propose that both hard in/determinists and compatibilists are saying something “too simplistic” — because they have to find some way to shoehorn in a magical contracausality.

    It’s no surprise then, that he closes by saying zomg it’s all still such a mystery. Because he can’t figure out how to fit in magic, but he needs to fit in magic. Since it’s impossible to fit in magic, therefore free will is mysterious brontosaurusism!

    Chance: Depends very much on scale of the relationships described. Consider tossing a coin. If an outcome depends on the value of the average (heads=1, tails=0 say), a single event is indeterminate.

    But the outcome doesn’t depend on the value of the average, because we aren’t flipping a logical coin in Plato’s realm of forms. The outcome depends on physical events, angular momentum, wind, height of toss, etc.

    But as the average outcome of a large number, it tends to a fixed value. It tends to determinacy. The whole question of determinacy|indeterminacy is then a question of (relative) scale.

    But again, neither determinism nor indeterminism can provide free will.

    I’m a hard indeterminist, not a hard determinist; indeterminism looks pretty obviously true, but unpredictability isn’t free will.

  129. 629
    Owlmirror

    I pledge malfeasance
    to the post
    of the Zombie Thread of Pharyngula
    and to the commentariat
    for which it serves as a sandlot
    one howling mob
    under Tardigrade boot
    completely fractured
    with arguments and blathering for all
    (Brontosauruses and Megalodons are completely optional extras)

    /PublicEnemyAction

  130. 630
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    While I saw StevoR the bigot tried apologizing to me, I’m not the one he needs to apologize to. That is all the believers of Islam who are not jihadists that he doesn’t care if they are collateral damage in his genocidal take-out of all of Islam. Besides, without that apology and renunciation of genocide, StevoR remains a bigot in my eyes. He can’t even produce a reasonable scenario where the world caves in to Islam. Just like his countryman ABQuirky, another bigot.

  131. 631
    Anthony K

    Re: -tard.

    Some days I don’t even understand this goddamn place.

  132. 632
    Patricia, OM

    Have some pie Brownian.

  133. 633
    Cipher

    I’m just trying to hold off the tonic immobility.

  134. 634
    Cipher

    PERHAPS I SHOULD COMBINE IT WITH GIN.
    I have no idea if that’s a real joke or what.

  135. 635
    Paul

    Some days I don’t even understand this goddamn place.

    This place encourages people to “be themselves”, and encourages strong emotion. It’s not surprising that people sometimes just want to stick to their guns, and don’t want to be told how they should talk.

    People also form friendships. They are sometimes willing to overlook “eccentricities” in their friends that they would not in others. Sometimes they go as far as to get mad when others in the community make an issue of those “eccentricities”.

    Or at least, that’s all I’ve been able to make of it. I could be wrong, but that was my read on it. And it wouldn’t be the first time SG upset people through unrelenting consistency. It could be argued that such consistency hurts the social environment, but I don’t see that as any different in kind than saying we should not give the “skeptics” a hard time when they insist on being offensive if it means they’ll join us and sing Kumbaya.

  136. 636
    Louis

    Fuck Kumbaya. Fuck sexist sceptics. Fuck all of you.

    Okay, not the last one.

    Louis

  137. 637
    Anthony K

    People also form friendships. They are sometimes willing to overlook “eccentricities” in their friends that they would not in others. Sometimes they go as far as to get mad when others in the community make an issue of those “eccentricities”.

    Oh, I get that. In fact, I know I benefit from it.

    It just pisses me off when I see doubling down on clear-cut issues and then blaming those calling the issues out for the rift.

    Guys, don’t do that.

  138. 638
    Patricia, OM

    Fuck all of you.

    Is that a free offer?

  139. 639
    Louis

    Patricia,

    Should I be flattered to note your interest or offended that you think I am a cheap, cheap tuppenny whore?

    Actually, since I am a big supporter of cheap, cheap tuppenny whores, I’ll just be flatte….wait….

    Let me just be clear what I mean by “supporter”. I’m a fan….

    ….Okay this is not getting better. I am generally in favour of….

    ….shit…erm….Tuppenny whore…All whores…I mean sex workers…of all kinds…erm…have my undying support in any manner they need it except that of custom or working as one of them. I haven’t got the hips for it. And the Mrs would likely go berserk. Basically, if anyone wants to be a sex worker and is not being unpleasantly coerced that’s fine, I want these people to have the best working conditions possible and all the rights…probably double some of the rights…anyone else has.

    Phew…did I get myself out of that one?

    Louis

  140. 640
    Patricia, OM

    Well, I figgered that as long as you where giving samples…

  141. 641
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    This is for Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belize, Belgium, and every other country beginning with A or B, who came out to the Olypmics to what I think was the world’s longest remix of Underworld – Rez.

    Danny fucking Boyle. Yo da man!

  142. 642
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    s/pm/mp/, obvs.

  143. 643
    chigau (違う)

    I’m “in the field”.
    Tomorrow the temperature is predicted to be 5°C.

  144. 644
    John Morales

    ॐ in TET:

    My #411, which was the genesis of this little discussion, made no such claim.

    It made some implicit claim that some people are “the retards”.

    Again: how was my #411 hurtful?

    You called some people “the retards”.

    No, I asked you a question, and if any implicit claim was made, it was by you; I was responding to your claim: “Moreover the implication has been that I’ve “followed” her rather than responding in those very threads where she used slurs against developmentally disabled people.”, I asked you “You mean the retards? :)”.

    (You still haven’t answered yes or no)

  145. 645
    strange gods before me ॐ

    No, I asked you a question, and if any implicit claim was made, it was by you;

    You are a lying troll. Your question implicitly claims that there are some people who are “the retards” who could be referred to as such.

    I don’t accept your premise that this is an acceptable way to refer to anyone.

    Take your fucking worthless question and shove it up your stupid ass, piece of shit.

  146. 646
    Owlmirror

    I asked you “You mean the retards? :)”.

    Does the phrase “the retards” refer to “slurs” or to “developmentally disabled people”?

    If it’s the latter, then that is most certainly an implication being made that it is appropriate to refer to developmentally disabled people using the phrase “retards”.

    If it’s the former, I cannot believe that you are so lacking in conscientiousness that you would not have noticed that you left out the quotation marks around the phrase.

  147. 647
    strange gods before me ॐ

    If it’s the former, I cannot believe that you are so lacking in conscientiousness that you would not have noticed that you left out the quotation marks around the phrase.

    It can’t be the former, because the phrase used wasn’t “the retards”. It was “Christards”.

  148. 648
    John Morales

    ॐ:

    You are a lying troll. Your question implicitly claims that there are some people who are “the retards” who could be referred to as such.

    I have written no lie, despite your assertion.

    I didn’t make the word up, and only if you accept that it’s a referent to a set of people can you decry its arguable etymological connection to ‘Christard’ — in which case you too acknowledge that there are some people who could be referred to as such.

    I don’t accept your premise that this is an acceptable way to refer to anyone.

    It’s not acceptable here, no.

    Take your fucking worthless question and shove it up your stupid ass, piece of shit.

    You don’t care to answer it, then?

    Owlmirror,

    Does the phrase “the retards” refer to “slurs” or to “developmentally disabled people”?

    It is an insulting term (duh), and it also refers to developmentally disabled people.

  149. 649
    strange gods before me ॐ

    You don’t care to answer it, then?

    I have answered your question. Your question was: “Care to start chiding on me?” The answer is that I already have, so you get cut and paste.

    Fucking troll.

  150. 650
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ ixchel

    “Boltzmann Brontosaurus works in mysterious ways?”

    There have been many conundrums that have been deamed irresolvable, simply because we did not then have the tools (my example was calculus) at our disposal. Given these “new” methods/tools, the problems became trivial and easy to understand. No Boltzmann Brontosaurri ever appeared out of the woodwork. Rather, we changed the way we looked at the problem.

    More than the mistaken impression you’ve gotten of our arguments, perhaps?

    I am unable to answer that question right now, given my current lack of familiarity with the issues involved. (Ctrl-D, “blogs,free-will” … I am getting there.Hold tight!)

    [Emergent mental phenomenon not bound (in the sense of determined by)...] Is this what van Inwagen is saying?

    I don’t know, though I would reject gawd ™ for very different reasons and therefore do not feel any compulsion to shoehorn anything (theologically) metaphysical in. I imagine his position (as a goddist) is like you say for the reasons you give.

    Rather: We do not understand the issue fully but it undoubtably does not rely on anything metaphysical in any way. That the problem is currently being tackled simplistically (my accusation was against van Inwagen) does not mean it will not yeild to a simple solution.

    The outcome depends on physical events, angular momentum, wind, height of toss, etc.

    Which in turn are averages. To walk into a gale you might have to lean into the wind to a certain degree. As a young tardigrade I used to have to struggle against Brownian buffeting!{shudders at the memory} This is not same thing.

    @ Owlmirror

    You will not be judged on the QUALITY of your poetry but on the CONTENT thereof.

    @ Louis

    Fuck all of you.

    Okay, not the last one.

    Hey! No retractions! What about all of us in the queue?

  151. 651
    John Morales

    ॐ:

    I have answered your question. Your question was: “Care to start chiding on me?” The answer is that I already have, so you get cut and paste.

    That was a parenthetical (and rhetorical) question — the which means that the substance of the comment would be unchanged if it were not present.

    Fucking troll.

    How so, O hyper-vigilant zealot?

  152. 652
    strange gods before me ॐ

    There have been many conundrums that have been deamed irresolvable, simply because we did not then have the tools (my example was calculus) at our disposal.

    This isn’t a conundrum, though. It is just a definition of terms. That’s all that’s going on here.

    Contracausal free will does not exist. Everyone but the wooists agrees with this.

    “Compatibilist free will”, if rigorously defined as something that does exist, does exist.

    The whole of our argument here — except for thumping joey — is about whether any form of “compatibilist free will” is worth calling free will.

    For instance, John Morales’s “compatibilist free will” is simply the ability to act when free from external coercion. This exists. Everyone here agrees this exists. We differ only on whether it’s worth calling free will.

    (It is a dogma of Boltzmann Brontosaurusism that my coffee cup is free will. My coffee cup exists. Therefore free will exists for Boltzmann Brontosaurusists, at least until I break my coffee cup.)

    Rather: We do not understand the issue fully but it undoubtably does not rely on anything metaphysical in any way.

    Which issue?

    If it’s contracausal free will, then it undoubtably does rely on something metaphysical, or meta-metaphysical (it would be a form of magic that breaks not only physics but basic logic).

    If it’s “compatibilist free will”, then of course it needn’t rely on anything metaphysical, since “compatibilist free will” is only the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism (or “effective determinism”).

    Which in turn are averages.

    Nurrr, they can be described by averages. But wind is not an average. Wind is wind. An average is a mathematical description.

    Finger, moon, et cetera.

  153. 653
    strange gods before me ॐ

    You’re trolling, John, because we already know that you agree with me on the substance of the matter.]:

    “ॐ is quite correct @187.”

  154. 654
    John Morales

    ॐ: The agreement was regarding the term ‘Christard”s likely derivation; not that its employment might lead to suffering by people who are offended by the term ‘retard’ and that therefore it should never be employed by commenters.

    And most certainly not that you were doing the right thing by persistently chiding Aquaria on multiple occasions, as the remainder of the comment which you quoted explicitly stated.

  155. 655
    strange gods before me ॐ

    ॐ: The agreement was regarding the term ‘Christard”s likely derivation;

    That is, however, the answer to your question from TET.

    You are a troll, and not worth my time. If worthwhile people want to discuss it, I am open to discussion with them. You are a terrible person.

  156. 656
    rogershrubber

    Hey ixchel, remember me? About the schizo killer in CO …

  157. 657
    strange gods before me ॐ

    No I don’t remember you nor do I give a fuck who you are. Do you have something to fucking say?

  158. 658
    John Morales

    ॐ:

    That is, however, the answer to your question from TET.

    Again, a rather indirect answer (or, as I put it back there in TET near the beginning of this little discussion, “I note you didn’t explicitly answer my question”).

    You just can’t bring yourself to write ‘yes’, can you? :)

    You are a troll, and not worth my time.

    Fine, ignore me.

    (Means I get to respond to your comments without you disputing my responses)

    You are a terrible person.

    Bah.

  159. 659
    Nightjar

    You just can’t bring yourself to write ‘yes’, can you? :)

    Oh, yeah, what a fucking surprise he can’t.

    Why the hell are you even trying to get ixchel to openly call developmentally disabled people by an insulting term often directed at them, John? What the fuck is the point of that?

  160. 660
    John Morales

    Nightjar, do you agree that developmentally disabled people often have an insulting term directed at them, that term specifically being ‘retard’?

    Can you answer ‘yes’?

    </zen>

  161. 661
    strange gods before me ॐ

    rogershrubber seems like he might have been doing a post and run; I guess he didn’t have more to say.

    What he’s implying is that because Holmes is now reported to have met with a counselor who studies bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder,

    then I was therefore wrong to tell rogershrubber a week ago that “the Bayesian thing to say is that he probably does not have schizophrenia.”

    rogershrubber is wrong. I was correct.

    In light of new reporting, I am not sure what to think at this time, except that it is still not established, and thus not appropriate to call him a “schizo killer”.

    Of course, if it turns out that Holmes was seeing her for bipolar or another mood disorder, or a personality disorder, I’m sure we won’t hear from rogershrubber again on this matter.

  162. 662
    John Morales

    Though, frankly, it was a mistake to first engage him at TET rather than here.

  163. 663
    John Morales

    ॐ, thanks for that information, I was vaguely curious.

  164. 664
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Morales, do you agree that developmentally disabled people often have another insulting term directed at them, that term specifically being ‘tard’?

  165. 665
    John Morales

    ॐ, yes, I agree.

  166. 666
    Nightjar

    Nightjar, do you agree that developmentally disabled people often have an insulting term directed at them, that term specifically being ‘retard’?

    That wasn’t your question, John.

    where she used slurs against developmentally disabled people.

    You mean the retards? :)

    Maybe I’m wrong, but this reads to me like “you mean she used slurs against the retards?”

    What do you want a “yes” to this for?

  167. 667
    John Morales

    Nightjar:

    What do you want a “yes” to this for?

    I don’t, particularly, and anyway that was after a bit of back-and-forth; initially, I wanted to step into the conversation and used a the Topical Forbidden Word™ quite deliberately.

    Sure it was wrong. Sure I knew it was wrong.

    Why? Because I didn’t like the way the TET was going and I didn’t like to see what might happen. So I stepped in.

    Which, unfortunately, means I must I admit right, I was trolling him.

    So, ॐ, I guess I can’t deny I was trolling you back there in TET.

    For the record, as my penance, so you can quote it at leisure later.

  168. 668
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I have no need to, John.

    Everyone already recognizes that you are a troll.

    There is no one left to convince.

  169. 669
    John Morales

    ॐ:

    Everyone already recognizes that you are a troll.

    Huh.

    Well then, there’s no downside, is there?

    TET is back to normal, and TZT remains the same.

  170. 670
    John Morales

    Correction: TET is not back to normal.

    Ah well.

    ॐ, what I didn’t like then I don’t like now.

    TET is not supposed to go the way you’re taking it and I’ve done my dash.

    Seriously.

  171. 671
    PZ Myers

    Go fight here now.

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