Eugenie Scott will be visiting the University of Minnesota »« Good work, Wife of Rieux!

Comments

  1. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I consider it a challenge before the whole human race.

  2. hotshoe says

    Reminds me of an insult you can only pull on a close friend or family member (in relationship such that it’s okay to touch them). Put your hand with fingers out like tentacles on top of their head and wiggle them around a little.
    Ask:
    What it it?
    Answer yourself:
    Uh-oh, it’s a brain sucker
    Then ask:
    What’s it doing ?
    Answer yourself:
    It’s starving to death in there.

    Hee hee.

  3. eamick says

    Nice. Am I being too pedantic to note the upside-down “Bible” is on the wrong cover?

  4. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Good point, ixchel. It is nicer in here. *breathe*

    A bit slow paced, but I like it that way.

    Nice. Am I being too pedantic to note the upside-down “Bible” is on the wrong cover?

    No! You’re being exactly the right amount of pedantic. Good catch.

  5. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    (All imagery in the following sentence is strictly metaphorical.)
    I know this is the scary knife-throwing room, but I think I’m just going to sit around planting flowers in the blood-soaked dirt over here.

    I just got my hair cut. It looks pretty much the same – almost black and extremely long – but just somewhat neater. I want to dye a streak of it blue. Dyeing it blue will require bleaching it out first, which is bad for it, so I can’t decide. I keep losing my earrings, but I want to get small silver hoops put in and not take them out, then get my ears pierced a second time with little silver studs.

    My stepdad’s job is imploding, and they got rid of the shifts that he was taking so that he could take care of my brother three days of the week and rescheduled him, effective immediately. This means that my brother’s other childcare for the summer has fallen through, making me the new childcare. All the time when I’m not at work myself. When I am, we have to find another place for him to go, and it’s a whole bad thing. This means almost no alone time, and also means I have to change my sleep schedule quite a bit. The upside is, I watched a movie and went for a nice walk with my brother today.

  6. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Elseblog, I see Cipher has become rather adept at reading my mind.

    +++++
    I had a blue streak in my hair once! It was fun. Mine’s lighter than yours though so I didn’t have to bleach it.

  7. A. R says

    Ciper: DON’ GO OVER TO THAT PATCH OF DIRT!!!!!! That’s an anti-troll minefield protecting Politburo headquarters!

  8. chigau (間違っていない) says

    A. R and theophontes
    I don’t sunburn any more ’cause I don’t let sunshine on my skin.

  9. F says

    Cipher:

    You may or may not have the sort of black hair which bleaches to bright red at the lightest (before hair starts disintegrating). Good luck, whatever your choice. /throws scaryknife *dng-gdgdgdg*

    It seems like you and your family have a heap of trouble. Best wishes, and I hope the situation sorts itself out for the better. But I’m glad you got to spend some quality time with your brother.

  10. sarahb says

    Ok, I am a long time lurker and I have a sincere question. I am getting older and starting to consider settling down, but every girl I seem to date is into some woo-woo stuff and I can’t quite seem to get past it. How does a skeptic date a non-skeptic? Are there any people out there who are married to or are dating a believer? I have been puzzling over this for a long time and would love some insight. I really do worry about being alone. I am gay and disabled but don’t want those to be reasons I settle either.

  11. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    How does a skeptic date a non-skeptic?

    I don’t really think there’s any special tips that will help here. Psuedoscientific beliefs, like bad taste taste in music, will grate on you. Of course no potential partner is perfect and if you meet some gal who’s totally amazing except she loves the Dave Matthews Band or reads her horoscope daily you might try to learn to live with it.

  12. John Morales says

    sarahb:

    I am getting older and starting to consider settling down, but every girl I seem to date is into some woo-woo stuff and I can’t quite seem to get past it. How does a skeptic date a non-skeptic?

    You accept their woo acceptance and move on whilst making your opinion known, and nevertheless date the girl.

    (duh)

  13. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ CC

    {theophontes waves rams skull stapled onto wooden cross over Cipher} You are hereby promoted to the rank of “Minister of Agriculture” with immediate doubling of salary.

    @ chigau

    Perhap time for a sniny nym change : theophontes ( 佛口蛇心) ?
    Now that would be something!

    @ sarahb

    Date!

  14. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ pelmun

    Oooooh. That is really cool. (The advantage with the other version is that I often work in Shekou (蛇口工业区) so it is easier to remember. (The whole point of being dictator is that you can be lazy.)

  15. chigau (間違っていない) says

    I ♥ those bits of Ancient Chinese Wisdom™
    My favorite Japanese proverb is
    屁をひって尻つぼめ。
    (When I tried that in various on-line translators, I got total FAIL.)
    “It’s no use clenching your buttocks after a fart.”

  16. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    And you aren’t going to lose?

    I sure hope not.

  17. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Elseblog, I see Cipher has become rather adept at reading my mind.

    I’m just an excellent guesser…

    I had a blue streak in my hair once! It was fun. Mine’s lighter than yours though so I didn’t have to bleach it.

    :D

    Ciper: DON’ GO OVER TO THAT PATCH OF DIRT!!!!!! That’s an anti-troll minefield protecting Politburo headquarters!

    O.O

    Cipher:

    You may or may not have the sort of black hair which bleaches to bright red at the lightest (before hair starts disintegrating).

    Fortunately, I don’t. I’ve actually had a purple streak before, and my hair bleaches to a reasonably appealing shade of dark blonde at the lightest. But that’s interesting that some people have that – I didn’t realize.

    Good luck, whatever your choice. /throws scaryknife *dng-gdgdgdg*

    Thanks! *ducks*

    It seems like you and your family have a heap of trouble. Best wishes, and I hope the situation sorts itself out for the better. But I’m glad you got to spend some quality time with your brother.

    Thanks for that too. It’s good for me to spend time with him, hopefully for both of us. We are very alike, which is both a good thing (because we understand each other) and a bad thing, sometimes.

  18. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    “New my…”
    Making rules about not posting while precaffeinated doesn’t help when you forget the rules when you’re precaffeinated.

  19. says

    Chigau,

    I let the impulse to nitpick about “ancient” go…

    The Chinese versions are more elegant:

    1.亡羊補牢 wang2 yang2 bu3 lao2: to mend the fence after the sheep has gone

    2.臨渴掘井 lin2 ke3 jue2 jing3: to dig a well when you’re thirsty

    However, there is a key difference between the two: 1. (which is from the Zhanguoce) implies that it is still not too late to learn from your mistakes. One sheep may have gone, but you can keep the others from escaping.
    The 2. is different it refers to a futile attempt at the eleventh hour, and implies going into a situation insufficiently prepared. I’m telling you this so you don’t make the same mistake as Hillary Clinton did, because she is known as a connoisseur of Chinese idioms and used this in a speech in China once, without knowing its negative connotations…

  20. chigau (間違っていない) says


    From the comments on FSTDT

    love moderately has been haunting Pharyngula for a while now. Sometimes he can express himself reasonably fairly and sufficiently eloquently, other times he goes off the deep end. He’s just a half-troll at the moment.

    You must be so proud!

  21. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    It’s not been a particularly good day for me.
    I eventually went to bed last night with the intrusive thoughts thing still going on, I didn’t get a lot of sleep, I feel sick and out of sorts, I want to smash like four threads here with a hammer, and my mom asked my brother and me to go out to lunch with her. That sounds like a nice thing, but I am not sure I am prepared to act like a person right now. *sigh*

  22. kieran says

    Don’t know if this is the right thread to post in, follow on from the Giant’s causeway cockup by including a creationist section. One that seems to have been written with an eye on the wedge document. There are now two facebook pages one supporting it and one wanting it removed. If you want to rip some creationists apart go here https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/204392869686865/
    If you have any ideas on how to make the national trust realise how stupid they’ve been for dealing with creationists and expecting anything different go here
    https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/263351503764526/

  23. chigau (間違っていない) says

    pelamun
    Believe me, I am very careful about using idiomatic expressions.
    Also careful about buying t-shirts with slogans that I can’t actually read.

  24. joey says

    Hi all. I just stumbled upon this interesting blog post by Camels With Hammers on Atheist Reductionisms. It kinda ties in nicely with the discussions we’ve had here a few days back.

    Daniel Fincke posts an interesting quote in the comments section by Terry Pratchett…

    Humans need fantasy to be human. Take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged: Yes. But people have got to believe that or what’s the point? My point exactly.

    Daniel Fincke then posts his reply to that quote.

    I think Pratchett is spot on. Given physicalism, humans do “need fantasy” in order to be human. But it’s not like I disagree with Daniel Fincke’s response, but to me it doesn’t seem like he’s a physicalist.

    Just wondering what the TZT crowd thinks of the subject.

  25. F says

    Well, Cipher, a better day to you. Needing to act like a person around others can sure be taxing. (My ability to do so can be… limited, sometimes.)

  26. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    it’s not like I disagree with Daniel Fincke’s response, but to me it doesn’t seem like he’s a physicalist.

    That’s because you’re an idiot, joey.

  27. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Just wondering what the TZT crowd thinks of the subject.

    I think this reminds me that “read some of Terry Pratchett’s books” has been in my to-do list since forever.

  28. Jeebus says

    I think this reminds me that “read some of Terry Pratchett’s books” has been in my to-do list since forever.

    Ah, yes. I checked out some of Pratchett’s books from the library a while back and ended up returning them, unread, a couple months late. Same thing seems to happen whenever I check out something from the library.

  29. joey says

    ixchel:

    That’s because you’re an idiot, joey.

    Thanks! And I guess we’re both still waiting for that lightning strike.

  30. cm's changeable moniker says

    Dear Weather,

    Only three months ago, we were in an official state of drought. So it was very kind of you to send the wettest May, June and July on record. Our reservoirs are refilled, our aquifers replenished, and our soil is now full to the brim with lovely water. (The weeds and slugs are also very grateful, too.)

    However.

    Your rain seems to have exploited a hole in my roof, and now my living room ceiling is soaking, particularly along the lines where the plaster boards meet. There’s also a worrying concentration of sogginess around the light in the middle of the ceiling.

    I’m sure you’re aware that water and electricity don’t mix. Or, to be more accurate, mix a little too well for the structural integrity of houses whose internal construction is mostly flammable wood.

    So, if you could knock it off for a bit, that would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    (Oh, by the way, do you know any roofers?)

    ObRefs:

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/environment/big-grey-clouds-verbally-abusing-the-uk-2012070933470

    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/environment/relief-as-britons-allowed-to-water-their-swamps-2012071033676

    Summer, eh?

  31. cm's changeable moniker says

    Oh, and if you own shares in UK insurance companies, now might be a good time to sell them.

    /notqualifiedtogiveinvestmentadvice

    (although, curiously, long ago, I actually was)

  32. Amphiox says

    Fantasy is physical. It exists as entirely physical patterns of electric potentials inside certain human brains.

  33. Owlmirror says

    Daniel Fincke posts an interesting quote in the comments section by Terry Pratchett…

    The “quote” is badly formatted and edited down from the original dialog, which mangles its sense.

      ‘All right,’ said Susan. ‘I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.’
      REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
      ‘Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little-‘
      YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
      ‘So we can believe the big ones?’
      YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
      ‘They’re not the same at all!’
      YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET– Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME… SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
      ‘Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—‘
      MY POINT EXACTLY.

  34. Rip Steakface says

    Why is the TZT so pleasant? No creationist trolls in these parts right now?

  35. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Why is the TZT so pleasant? No creationist trolls in these parts right now?

    Prof Poopyhead lured all the misogynist trolls into TET. I think the creationist variant are just waiting for their turn.

  36. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    I checked out some of Pratchett’s books from the library a while back and ended up returning them, unread, a couple months late

    I used to do that thing of returning books unread a lot. If I had more good sense, I should probably know that I’d never read that French book on optics, for example.

  37. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Thanks, Vilém Saptar. Unfortunately my attempt to smash-it-with-a-hammer didn’t pan out.
    Thanks to you too, F. I did okay at lunch. I’m feeling very sleepy now…

  38. codobus says

    Owlmirror: That is easily one of my favorite quotes from Discworld, up there with pretty much all of Small Gods. I think starting a Pratchett book collection was probly the best decision I’ve made in my life :D

    I figured I’d jump in here instead of the TET, since it’s somehow more pleasant in here today. Was watching the Stop Making Sense concert on YouTube, and as so often happens with me and music, had to express my enjoyment before the funk overwhelmed me.

    Had a strange uncomfortable time at the grocery store today, but the music and beer is helping the rest of the day be pretty alright. Hope everyone here’s doing alright, also. (:

  39. Owlmirror says

    ixchel:

    That’s because you’re an idiot, joey.

    Thanks!

    Your calm, stoic –even cheerful — acceptance of abuse is, I am sure, appreciated by ixchel.

    How would you respond to the simple point that nothing that Fincke writes implies any sort of disagreement with physicalism?

    Daniel Dennett goes into great detail about the difference between bottom-up, multi-level, emergent concepts [“cranes”] versus top-down concepts [“skyhooks”], in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. He calls overly-reductionist thinking “greedy reductionism”; in his words: “Good reductionists suppose that all Design can be explained without skyhooks; greedy reductionists suppose it can all be explained without cranes.”

    Also, you didn’t answer the question I asked last subthread:

    Would you agree that “the ability to have chosen differently” means that “you can have chosen to have chosen differently?”

    You also didn’t explain how an “effect” is apparently equivalent to a “will”, which struck me as being utter nonsense.

  40. chigau (間違っていない) says

    pelamun
    “ancient chinese”
    1970s commercial
    I watched a lot of TV in my youth.
    I remember all the lyrics to The Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

  41. joey says

    owlmirror:

    How would you respond to the simple point that nothing that Fincke writes implies any sort of disagreement with physicalism?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the very little that I’ve read of Fincke indicates that he believes in an objective morality. I don’t see how you can square objective morality (or morality in general) with physicalism, without first conceding that such a concept is an illusion or “fantasy”.

    Also, you didn’t answer the question I asked last subthread:

    Would you agree that “the ability to have chosen differently” means that “you can have chosen to have chosen differently?”

    Not really. “The ability to X” does not exactly mean “Can have chosen to X”.

    You also didn’t explain how an “effect” is apparently equivalent to a “will”, which struck me as being utter nonsense.

    You’re right. I shouldn’t have said “wills”, but rather “preferences” or “desires”.

  42. John Morales says

    joey:

    I don’t see how you can square objective morality (or morality in general) with physicalism, without first conceding that such a concept is an illusion or “fantasy”.

    That’s like saying you don’t see how you can square game theory (or theory in general) with physicalism, without first conceding that such a concept is an illusion or “fantasy”.

    (Bah)

  43. says

    I don’t see how you can square objective morality (or morality in general) with physicalism, without first conceding that such a concept is an illusion or “fantasy”.

    The fact that you are ignorant of millenia of ethical philosophy is not our problem.

  44. meursalt says

    If you folks are really that troll-hungry, I’m working on another screed. It’s still in rough draft form.

    ;)

    -m

  45. John Morales says

    meursalt:

    If you folks are really that troll-hungry, I’m working on another screed. It’s still in rough draft form.

    Can you adumbrate your thesis in 30 words or less?

    </helpful>

  46. Owlmirror says

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the very little that I’ve read of Fincke indicates that he believes in an objective morality. I don’t see how you can square objective morality (or morality in general) with physicalism, without first conceding that such a concept is an illusion or “fantasy”.

    To be honest, I can’t defend his use of the term “objective”, because I think he’s subtly equivocating around different definitions of that term, and playing with shifting semantics. But as I understand him, he refers specifically to everything about morality as arising from objective facts about ourselves and about objective, empirical reality.

    Not really. “The ability to X” does not exactly mean “Can have chosen to X”.

    Not exactly, no — but doesn’t an ability entail the choice to exercise that ability? If you have the ability to talk, surely you make the choice of talking whenever you exercise that ability.

    So rephrasing my question:

    Would you agree that “the ability to have chosen differently” entails that “you can have chosen to have chosen differently?”

    You’re right. I shouldn’t have said “wills”, but rather “preferences” or “desires”.

    No, that still doesn’t make sense.

    Your original sentence, modified twice:

      You could have chosen differently if there are multiple preferences (effects) for a single cause.

      You could have chosen differently if there are multiple desires (effects) for a single cause.

    A preference and/or a desire is an effect?

    WTF?

    Write clearer.

  47. meursalt says

    @John Morales, No, it’s a wall of text. It still needs some areas fleshed out, too. I’m half-joking about trolling, though. I’m actually writing up my counter-arguments to presuppositionalism. I’ve got a couple of points that I think have been underemphasized or omitted in the rebuttals I’ve read so far. When I have it written up, I wouldn’t mind the Pharyngulites tearing into it and pointing out any flaws or anything I’ve missed. Of course, I know this is really tedious stuff, and may of you may be sick of presuppositionalism after the recent Hovindite incursions. If there’s zero interest, I’ll not post it or post it somewhere other than Pharyngula.

    I may sleep on it anyway; a couple of sections are still a bit stream-of-consciousness, and I don’t want to pull a Thunderf00t stylistically.

  48. joey says

    John Morales:

    That’s like saying you don’t see how you can square game theory (or theory in general) with physicalism, without first conceding that such a concept is an illusion or “fantasy”.

    (Bah)

    It’s one thing to say “a^2 + b^2 = c^2″ is an objective truth. It’s another thing to say “adultery is bad” is an objective truth.

  49. says

    No, it’s a wall of text. It still needs some areas fleshed out, too. I’m half-joking about trolling, though. I’m actually writing up my counter-arguments to presuppositionalism. I’ve got a couple of points that I think have been underemphasized or omitted in the rebuttals I’ve read so far. When I have it written up, I wouldn’t mind the Pharyngulites tearing into it and pointing out any flaws or anything I’ve missed. Of course, I know this is really tedious stuff, and may of you may be sick of presuppositionalism after the recent Hovindite incursions. If there’s zero interest, I’ll not post it or post it somewhere other than Pharyngula.

    Editing a semi-troll peice on presuppositionalism? Wow….whoa…wow….no….god no!

  50. says

    It’s one thing to say “a^2 + b^2 = c^2″ is an objective truth. It’s another thing to say “adultery is bad” is an objective truth.

    You clearly don’t understand the argument.

    You’re thinking in virtue ethics, or as I call it Fiat morality.

  51. chigau (間違っていない) says

    meursalt
    Do you think anyone will read it?
    You could start your own blog.
    Somewhere else.

  52. joey says

    owlmirror:

    Would you agree that “the ability to have chosen differently” entails that “you can have chosen to have chosen differently?”

    I see where you’re going. If I can have chosen to have chosen differently, then that means I can have chosen to have chosen to have chosen differently, etc.

    That’s similar to the “half the distance” paradox. In order to get to a destination, you have to cover half the distance first, and then half of the remaining distance, and then half of the remaining distance again, etc. So it seems like you’ll never reach the destination.

    But you can reach the destination. And you can make the choice.

    A preference and/or a desire is an effect?

    If causality is obeyed, then everything has a cause. What is the result of a cause? An effect.

  53. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    joey, demonstrate that you understand Fincke’s usage of the word “good”.

    Let’s start there.

    (I strongly disagree with Fincke; as I told Vilém Saptar several TZTs ago, I think it’s obvious that it refers to the positively valenced affects. But Fincke’s usage is not stupid, is not reductionist (it’s anything but!), and is not non-physicalist.

    Okay, fuckit, I tried really hard but I can’t pretend I don’t think it’s stupid. Still. Let’s see if you understand it.)

  54. John Morales says

    joey:

    If causality is obeyed, then everything has a cause.

    If everything has a cause, there cannot be an uncaused cause.

  55. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Well, I said utility is the positively valenced affects. But insofar as “good” refers to morality, it refers to utility. I think Fincke gets all mixed up when he takes the non-moral meanings of the word and tries to extrapolate from them.*

    *But of course a Nietzschean would do exactly that, wouldn’t they. You know, I just now realized that’s why he does it.

  56. RFW says

    @ #43 kieran says:

    If you have any ideas on how to make the national trust realise how stupid they’ve been for dealing with creationists…

    You might try pointing out that creationism is a xtian belief system (with some Jews and Muslims on board) and that it is by no means universally held even by xtians. Thus, including it in their material amounts to espousing a particular branch of one religion, which probably offends the many who do not share that belief. And may be against the law.

    Be careful to use the word “offend”, as that is a most un-PC sin to commit in modern Britain.

  57. meursalt says

    @Chigau, I have no interest in running my own blog. I’m honestly unsure to what degree you and Ing are serious, or if you’re just ribbing me. I only thought there might be some interest since the subject does come up on Pharyngula from time to time. Here is my very rough draft; feel free to ignore it. I’ve used brackets to note areas that are incomplete or need improvement.

    Presuppositionalist apologetics claims reason itself is circular since it relies on itself to justify itself, unless it is revealed by or based on an omniscient being that one presupposes to be perfect and “absolute” in a very general sense [TODO: expand on this, within different realms, eg. the “omni-‘s”].

    Rationalist “Good Guy’s” rebuttal is that reason doesn’t rely on itself since it is inductive and based on verifiable evidence.

    Presupp counter-rebuttal (most Presuppers never get this far since it’s not always in their script) should go one step farther from making this claim of unreliability about reason, and apply it to human faculties of the senses and analytical abilities of the brain.

    Good guy’s rebuttal to this (I haven’t seen it used) IMHO ought to be to acknowledge lack of absolute certainty, but assert that Presuppers have less certainty to a significant degree since they reject the faculties entirely when in conflict with presuppositions. (Case in point being evidence for evolution, old Earth, Big Bang and old universe). They may then defend presuppositions with unsupported assertions of certainty through gnosis from a perfect being; point those out as such (unsupported assertions).

    (anticipated presupp counter: “How do you know that? Are you certain?”)
    (counter to counter: “More certain than you are that I’m not.”)

    This could go in circles endlessly; ask Presupper why engage in conversation at all with a rational thinker if he or she is going to reject reason out of hand; why do they trust their own claim of revelation and gnosis if they doubt the validity of human faculties? Point out the benefits of science and reason over the course of history. They could doubt that these even exist (the old “how do you know that you know?” trick). Rebut by pointing out that doubting that we can claim any degree of certainty about reality is a useless proposition. Ask them if they are seriously challenging even our most basic knowledge of history and the world (down even to “Do other minds exist than my own?”), and point out that basic facts of history and reality are more certain, at the very least by degree, than their gnosis since they are independently verifiable. If they still cling to gnosis over evidence, ask them how we or they can distinguish their gnosis from delusion.
    [TODO: Or, instead of doubting knowledge of human accomplishments, they may try to give religion credit for positive progress, and blame bad stuff (Eugenics, National Socialism, Soviet ideology, etc) on the scientific worldview. Others have written up good rebuttals for all the usual suspects. Good Guy must be familiar with these. We’re getting out of scope of this guide, but at least include links to this material.

    Maybe Presupper will ask why induction is superior to pure deductive reasoning, and accuse us of presupposing that it is, thus attempting to draw an equivalency in worldviews. Rebut that induction can be shown to have utility, since verifiable evidence can be used to foster communication and cooperation, which benefits society (echoing earlier utility argument). [TODO: Expand on why verifiable evidence is superior for communication with others, beyond simple utility of consensus. I’m sure there’s a reason, but I’m having trouble articulating it]. They may again counter by asking how we’re certain society benefits from cooperation in science, tech, and engineering; again we can dismiss this extreme doubt as a “useless proposition.” [There’s a term for this in philosophy that escapes me at the moment. I was thinking it fell under Occam’s Razor, but now I think I’m conflating the two concepts since I’ve heard them invoked back to back in arguments. I admit a weakness in my understanding here, and a quick web search didn’t do much to clear it up. Does anyone know the term I’m trying to think of?]

    [TODO: Overall weaknesses of this line of argument: Are there things such as Occam’s Razor and the concept of useless propositions that Presupp will have to accept to even be reached? Can we qualify these as being inductively-based rather than presuppositions, if only for our own satisfaction?]
    [TODO: Also expand upon rationalist’s lack of a need for absolutes for all concepts. This is a key point to move the conversation forward and break the presuppositionalist script; I haven’t written it up in detail yet. One common theme I see in presuppositionalist scripts is an implied need for absolutes in all concepts, or at least foundational concepts. I really think we can draw some key insight into the black-and-white world of a fundamentalist from this common theme. Would it be appropriate to claim this is a false dichotomy (the need for things to be absolutely true or false, glossing over degrees of relative certainty)? This would be a good place to explain the concept of fuzzy logic, and how it is useful when modelling reality despite its pejorative sense in layperson’s usage.]

    [TODO: We should probably touch on the “laws of nature” as being descriptive and observation-based; Presuppers sometimes seem to have trouble with this. Some variants focus on attacking our acceptance, without presuppositions, of laws of nature rather than pure reason.]

    In conclusion, this won’t be perfect for all cases, since there are many variants of presuppositionalism. Of particular importance is noticing and pointing out when they ask loaded questions hiding invalid assumptions, such as the need for absolute certainty to accept anything as being likely or true. These questions are one of the cornerstones of presuppositionalism.

    Thanks to AronRa for his videos with Randy; he got me thinking about induction as it relates to presuppositionalism.

    If I stay motivated, I’ll continue to work on this, incorporating suggestions and criticisms, and update it for other variants of presuppositionalism as I become aware of them. Please excuse its incompleteness; I would have waited to post it, but you folks said you were bored!

  58. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Yup, no, I’m not going back in that Tosh thread. I went fishing with my family – well, not actually fishing, they went fishing and I went taking pictures – and got some really lovely photos, and it was nice, and I came home to see an apparent Slimepitter in that thread. Nope. Sorry y’all.
    Although, as I think I’ve said before, it’s great that I can step back without feeling like the shit will then go unchallenged.

  59. RFW says

    @ #48 Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says:

    “read some of Terry Pratchett’s books” has been in my to-do list since forever.

    I like Terry Pratchett very much, but as with any author I’m fond of, I’m fairly critical of some of his work. Among the Discworld novels, I’d recommend one written after Pratchett had hit his stride, but before he got tangled up in too many simultaneous plot threads. “Guards! Guards!” might be a good puddle to wet your toes in.

    Or try volume 3 of “The Science of Discworld”, subtitled “Darwin’s Watch”, which alternates chapters of serious material by Pratchett’s co-authors with chapters of pure Discworld nonsense that plays riffs off the serious parts.

  60. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Cipher,

    Yup, no, I’m not going back in that Tosh thread.

    You’re not? Then I want to brag.

    (somethingnew wasn’t the last idiot, so I still can’t recommend going in there. But,) somethingnew’s last two comments:

    I wasn’t trying to offer excuses for him, I’m sorry for that.

    ixchel

    Your complaint is authoritarian.

    It can be okay if the performance is socially destructive, i.e. if the performer is glorifying rape.

    Very simple and effective points that actually address what was going through my mind. Thank you.

    You are absolutely right, and I’d retract all my comments if I could. My response was misguided, and I appreciate the responses from a few of the commentators.

    I’ve never supported rape or rape jokes. I’m still trying to wrap my head around rape culture, which a lot of the commentators have some very insightful thoughts on, and I appreciate.

    Proof there is hope for some of them, sometimes.

  61. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    John,

    Will to power.

    Should have been totally fucking obvious to me sooner. I abjectly failed to put 1 and 1 together.

    Ever since Fincke arrived at FtB and I read his stuff on perfectionism I was thinking where in the fuck does he come up with this shit.

    And it’s not like I didn’t notice he was a Nietzschean, but that can have a broad scope of meaning; one can take the guy seriously on the origins of good/bad/good/evil without agreeing with any of his preferences.

  62. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    hehehe

    Obviously, every being has the right to decide for itself whether or not to cease to exist. Therefore, it follows that every being has the right to decide for itself whether or not to exist. By conceiving a child, parents deprive their offspring of this right (q.v. “I didn’t ask to be born.”). This is a heinous infringement on the child’s autonomy. I hereby call upon all Libertarians to cease to engage in reproductive activity immediately. Subsequently, any child that wishes to exist will bring itself into existence independently–by its own bootstraps, if you will–and will nevermore be hampered by the efforts of socialist “do-gooders” to deny it its full potential.

  63. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    You’re not? Then I want to brag… Proof there is hope for some of them, sometimes.

    :D
    Awesome.

  64. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Yeah! I was happy.

    +++++
    And to be fair, I shouldn’t call somethingnew an idiot at this point. They demonstrated non-idiocy. That was an unfair remark born of my lingering frustration compounded by other commenters.

    So, somethingnew, if you happen to read this, I’m sorry. I genuinely don’t think you’re an idiot, and I recognize it was unfair for me to say that after your last comments. My bad.

  65. Owlmirror says

    I see where you’re going. If I can have chosen to have chosen differently, then that means I can have chosen to have chosen to have chosen differently, etc.

    Good. That’s the regress.

    That’s similar to the “half the distance” paradox. In order to get to a destination, you have to cover half the distance first, and then half of the remaining distance, and then half of the remaining distance again, etc. So it seems like you’ll never reach the destination.
    But you can reach the destination. And you can make the choice.

    You’re close, but you’re not quite there. (heh)

    Zeno’s Paradox is a lot trickier to resolve than the simple rebuttal that motion does occur. One resolution involves infinitesimals — as the [half-the-distance]s and [half-the-time]s involved get smaller and smaller, they converge on a finite amount. But that doesn’t quite resolve the problem of motion itself. Another, and perhaps better, resolution is the quantization of space-time. That means that the problem with the paradox is that it doesn’t formulate motion in the way as it actually happens at all levels of scale, down to the subatomic level. At some point, there simply is no more subdividing into two to occur and for motion to occur at half that point.

    Now, the salient point about Zeno’s Paradox is that no-one thinks that motion, in and of itself, requires a mind. The analogy is imperfect; the same logic applied to motion cannot necessarily be applied to a mind that is choosing.

    I postulate that it can be shown that a mind — regardless of whether you invoke dualism or not — must always be more complex than the brute atoms or mind-substance that forms its basis, and that an infinite regress of choosing necessarily requires more and more memory allocation/mind attention (for want of better terms), which then necessarily diverges to infinity.

    So I suspect that even if you invoke dualism, it might be possible to show that the infinite regress of choice must necessarily diverge on infinity (and cannot converge on a finite amount, as with motion), and therefore free will — defined as “the ability to have chosen otherwise” — is logically impossible.

    Do you agree that if all of the postulated points can be shown to be true, then free will is indeed logically impossible?

    (Or am I arguing with Achilles’ Tortoise, here?)

    Note that this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to feel like you’re choosing. But the answer to that is to reject the infinite regress, and posit that choice always involves a resolution whereby some aspect of the mind is not choosing; either determinate or indeterminate causes beyond the mind’s control are influencing the mind’s choice. Or in other words, one does not have the ability to have chosen otherwise.

    One has the memory of choices, and the capability of making different choices in the future, based on those memories.

    A preference and/or a desire is an effect?

    If causality is obeyed, then everything has a cause. What is the result of a cause? An effect.

    *eyeroll*
    And a tautology is necessarily true.

    What you wrote does not address the question that I asked.

    Once again:
      You could have chosen differently if there are multiple preferences (effects) for a single cause.
      You could have chosen differently if there are multiple desires (effects) for a single cause.
    A preference and/or a desire is an effect?

    Maybe I am arguing with that Tortoise after all.

  66. chigau (間違っていない) says

    meursalt
    Pick one topic
    Write (in your word processor)whatever you want about
    Edit it down to two screens on said topic.
    Post.
    Don’t post your drafts.

  67. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I, for one, thought meursalt’s draft was vaguely interesting.

    meursalt, if you want to try to get others to work on that with you, you might stick it up on the Pharyngula Wikia.

    Make account, log in, then

    http://pharyngula DOT wikia DOT com/wiki/Special:MyPage/presup_response

    That’ll put it in “your” userspace, where you and others can work on it and it can stay until you’re happy with it, then it can be moved into mainspace.

    (Note: presup is simply not interesting enough to me for me to help work on it. But I don’t mind helping you find a place for it. Maybe you’ll get a bite from some other commenters.)

  68. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Cipher

    Well, the advantage of your job here on TZT, apart from the higher pay scale, is that the more you rise in the ranks, the less you have to do… Essentially you are on holiday here.

    @ joey

    Cargo cultism much? Argumentum ab anus.

    @ Rip Steakface

    Why is the TZT so pleasant?

    The Politburo has been tardy in preparing new and more terrifying motivational posters for minitrue. The minions have forgotten what an awful and inhospitable place TZT really is.

    TL;DR: My bad, I’m a lousy dictator.

    @ ixchel

    Yeah! I was happy.

    Theophontes’s “I have a dream” speech:

    {Enter tardigrade onto podium in front of the myriad masses of myrmidon minions}

    **Ahem**

    Politburo Members, … er … and others… I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration of devotion to the cause in the history of our TZT nation.

    I have a dream that one day this TZT will give rise to a person who, entering TZT as an outcast troll, yet guided by the resolute arguments of minitrue, will become such a valuable member of our community that they shall become a blogger on FTB.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    {loud applause, fireworks etc. myrmidons sent back to salt mines.}

    @ meursalt

    If you are planning to troll, please fill out the necessary application forms, in triplicate. These shall include a short overview (max. 30 words) of your proposed argument and payment of (non-refundable) administrative costs in full. Processing times may vary, but expect to wait at least six months for a reply.

  69. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Did I skip posting about my new job?
    I’m such a silly person sometimes.
    YAY FOR TZT
    LONG LIVE OUR BENEVOLENT um I mean LONG LIVE PZ
    I hereby quit all troll-stomping duties, effective immediately and forever.

  70. meursalt says

    @ixchel, thanks, I may do that. I’m not tremendously interested in presuppositionalism for its own sake myself, but I sometimes get frustrated reading discussions on it, here and other places, feeling like I could cut through a few iterations of unproductive back-and-forth. The problem is, I usually hit the threads a few hours late, after the action has died down and the Hovindites have left, so there’s not much point in bringing it back up. Also, it’s one thing to think through a successful rebuttal, but another thing entirely to communicate it clearly in writing.

    These people usually seem to be running off of scripts, so I had the thought that a concise counter-script might save some effort for the rationalists. I’m not sure how realistic this is, since the presuppositionalist argument comes in so many flavors. I know smarter people than me have written on the subject, but I have yet to see a rebuttal that is both concise and reasonably complete. I also haven’t seen one that focuses much on what is in my opinion one of presuppositionalism’s most glaring weaknesses, the fixation with absolutes.

    @Caine, sorry, my ass isn’t much of a reader. Hell, it’s barely even literate.

    @theophontes, I completed my paperwork weeks ago, and turned it in at the appropriate location (second sub-basement lavatory, marked “Beware of the Leopard,” under the filing cabinet, right?). I trust it’s being processed with the utmost expediency.

  71. John Morales says

    merusalt:

    I know smarter people than me have written on the subject, but I have yet to see a rebuttal that is both concise and reasonably complete.

    Pressupositionalism relies on begging the question and is cut off by Occam’s razor.

  72. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    I still don’t have my gun.

    {starts to make excuse, thinks better of it} … time to go shopping at deviantart

  73. meursalt says

    @John Morales

    Pressupositionalism relies on begging the question and is cut off by Occam’s razor.

    Indeed, that is one of its central tactics. But someone taking this line of argumentation will very likely also challenge Occam’s Razor itself and question whether William of Ockham’s insights are useful or true, claiming we have no way of being certain. Addressing this is one of the “TODO” items in my script; this is an area where I need to do more research.

  74. John Morales says

    meursalt:

    But someone taking this line of argumentation will very likely also challenge Occam’s Razor itself and question whether William of Ockham’s insights are useful or true, claiming we have no way of being certain.

    A claim which is easily shown to be otiose by simple induction.

  75. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Cipher

    Your department’s official title is “Ministry of Plenty” aka “miniplenty”. Good to hear that plenty of CACA will be coming therefrom. Herewith a typical sunny sky in TZT. (Plants are photoshopped in for increasing the yield of our Potemkin village farms)

    Your new badge. (Linky)

  76. meursalt says

    @Owlmirror, thanks for the link. I followed that thread when it was current. I wasn’t conveniently able to contribute anything worthwhile at the time. I did start mentally formulating rebuttals, though. As I noted in my earlier post, Aron Ra’s latest blog entry was one factor that motivated me to start work on a guide. I also listened to the majority of the Reasonable Doubts podcasts on presuppositionalism when it was current (I listened to about 3/4 of it. Gimme a break, it was something like three hours in total IIRC). In the wake of these items, I’ve done a little further reading on the Web.

    All of this material has good information, but I think in general it could be communicated a little better. I didn’t really get into this because I don’t want to appear to be nitpicking the work of others. I’ve found these resources very useful, but I think a relatively short primer and reference might also be useful to anyone who chooses to engage presuppositionalists. One of my goals is to keep it short and concise, preferably two or three pages, to make it easy to refer to on the fly.

  77. Vilém Saptar says

    strange gods/ixchel,
    Re: Daniel Fincke, not a long time ago, I read Camels with Hammers and was, for some time, even positively disposed towards his ideas about demostrating objective morality, and commented on there with that attitude even…
     
    He’s basically a utilitarian too, but he tries to ground moral “good” using, as you said, the non-moral sense of that word – he calls it functional effectiveness, IIRC, in order to establish that morality is objective fact, or at least that a hierarchy of normative morals must be considered as facts, in the same way we consider scientifically established theories to be facts about the world.
     
    I also seem to recall you saying something to the effect that you consider foundationalism to…”lose out” ultimately? Is that right or do I misremember?

  78. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Vilém,

    Fincke’s a perfectionist consequentialist, which is contrasted with utilitarianism so long as utilitarianism is understood to be hedonistic (as is standard these days).

    What should make us suspect he is wrong: he means that it is morally good for a musician to be “good at” being a musician, and he means this in the same sense — effectiveness — that he means it is good for a river to be rivery.

    Well, that’s prima facie stupid, but it’s not enough for me to show that it’s stupid, because who knows, maybe morality is stupid. One more step, then, to show why it’s not just stupid but wrong.

    James Gray gets at something I want to expand on: “Consider pain. We experience that it feels bad. We can’t even understand what the word means without realizing that there’s something bad about it. Why is pain bad? It’s part of the existence of pain. If we didn’t experience it as being intrinsically bad, then we might not experience it at all. It might not even exist.”

    This is important. We can’t understand pain without understanding its badness. (Note this isn’t to say pain can’t be a part of good things; it can be packaged up inextricably with other experiences that are more good than the pain is bad, such that the whole package is a net good.)

    Indeed we can’t understand any of the negatively valenced affects without understanding their badness; we experience them as bad because they’re negatively valenced. Likewise we can’t understand any of the positively valenced affects without understanding their goodness.

    But we can understand being effective at being a engineer — and consciousness razor can probably talk about being effective at being a musician; I’ll skip that since I don’t really understand music as anything but an experience — without understanding it as a goodness. We can talk about effective engineering all day long in terms of fulfilling goals. It’s an artifact of our language that we can also call that “good engineering”, but we don’t have to understand it that way, and there’s no logical necessity for our language to have turned out to have these multiple uses of good, where it can refer to the positively valenced affects, as well as effectiveness, as well as obedience (good doggy) and probably other things.

    We can stretch our minds and imagine a human language in which no such word ever developed; instead there’s a word for effectiveness, and a different word for obedient dogs, and a different word for the positively valenced affects. Only the last meaning would correspond to morality — because only the last meaning could refer to the joys and reliefs (and its converse refer to the harms) that we can inflict upon each other, and other animals. Therefore the positively valenced affects are more fundamentally the meaning of good than is effectiveness.

    But on this matter Fincke’s probably invulnerable to the usual anti-foundationalist arguments, because as far as I can tell he’s doing the same technique I’m doing re “this is what good means“. The technique works fine; he’s just got the meaning wrong.

  79. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Vilém,

    Fincke’s a perfectionist consequentialist, which is contrasted with utilitarianism so long as utilitarianism is understood to be hedonistic (as is standard these days).

    What should make us suspect he is wrong: he means that it is morally good for a musician to be “good at” being a musician, and he means this in the same sense — effectiveness — that he means it is good for a river to be rivery.

    Well, that’s prima facie stupid, but it’s not enough for me to show that it’s stupid, because who knows, maybe morality is stupid. One more step, then, to show why it’s not just stupid but wrong.

    James Gray gets at something I want to expand on: “Consider pain. We experience that it feels bad. We can’t even understand what the word means without realizing that there’s something bad about it. Why is pain bad? It’s part of the existence of pain. If we didn’t experience it as being intrinsically bad, then we might not experience it at all. It might not even exist.”

    This is important. We can’t understand pain without understanding its badness. (Note this isn’t to say pain can’t be a part of good things; it can be packaged up inextricably with other experiences that are more good than the pain is bad, such that the whole package is a net good.)

    Indeed we can’t understand any of the negatively valenced affects without understanding their badness; we experience them as bad because they’re negatively valenced. Likewise we can’t understand any of the positively valenced affects without understanding their goodness.

    But we can understand being effective at being a engineer — and consciousness razor can probably talk about being effective at being a musician; I’ll skip that since music is pretty much a mystical experience to me — without understanding it as a goodness. We can talk about effective engineering all day long in terms of fulfilling goals. It’s an artifact of our language that we can also call that “good engineering”, but we don’t have to understand it that way, and there’s no logical necessity for our language to have turned out to have these multiple uses of good, where it can refer to the positively valenced affects, as well as effectiveness, as well as obedience (good doggy) and probably other things.

    We can stretch our minds and imagine a human language in which no such word ever developed; instead there’s a word for effectiveness, and a different word for obedient dogs, and a different word for the positively valenced affects. Only the last meaning would correspond to morality — because only the last meaning could refer to the joys and reliefs (and its converse refer to the harms) that we can inflict upon each other, and other animals. Therefore the positively valenced affects are more fundamentally the meaning of good than is effectiveness.

    But on this matter Fincke may be invulnerable to the usual anti-foundationalist arguments, because as far as I can tell he’s doing the same technique I’m doing re “this is what good means“. The technique works fine; he’s just got the meaning wrong.

  80. Vilém Saptar says

    ixchel,
    I’m getting on a bus now, will get back to you soon as I get home.

  81. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    RFW:

    I’d recommend one written after Pratchett had hit his stride, but before he got tangled up in too many simultaneous plot threads. “Guards! Guards!” might be a good puddle to wet your toes in.

    Thank you for the suggestion. I’ll see if I can overcome my tendency to do everything in linear order and start reading straight from novel #8. There’s some chance that I’ll succeed, as at least this flowchart gives me absolution for beginning from “Guards! Guards!”.

  82. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Vilém

    A volunteer! Well, we do need to get Miniluv up and running. And we need some work done on TZT doublespeak. I’m sure an application to 2ICBDFL (in triplicate) would work wonders for your career prospects.

    @ ixchel

    What should make us suspect he is wrong: he means that it is morally good for a musician to be “good at” being a musician, and he means this in the same sense — effectiveness — that he means it is good for a river to be rivery.

    Mmmmh. reminds me a bit of (Xenephon’s version of) Socrates’s arguments. He was rather proud of himself for observing “good” craftsmen (one could substitute musician or whatever) and thereby knowing how to apropriately use such epithets.

    @ chigau

    Do I get any say in these newhires?

    But of course. I meant to say that earlier .

  83. Vilém Saptar says

    ixchel,
    Drive-by, this is not a point by point response to your post.

    Hmmm, to my understanding, the reason he does that is he’s interested in establishing the objectivity of a normative ethics. Toward that aim, his approach probably can forestall some potential pitfalls than using your, admittedly more fundamental approach, apropos establishing an objective morality;all that talk of becoming powerful, of course, ultimately boils down to experiencing the most of most highly valued positively valenced affects.
     
    One such pitfall is that affects don’t track moral intuition that well, given that human beings are capable of experiencing “pleasure” by doing things that are by normative moral intuition, sensed to be bad.
     
    Since he starts at a higher, more abstract level, his approach of using effectiveness as a jump-off point, by defining it as the moral good, can provide a preciser compass of moral intuition, than starting purely with affects;affects are not as tightly coupled with common moral intuition, as are his hierarchy of effectiveness measures, as he conceives them.
     
    I’ll have more to say later.

  84. Vilém Saptar says

    Which is not to say a desire for objectivity must overrride consistency and coherence. His approach is, as that James Gray guy noted, speculative and its not knowable if it’s going to succeed.

  85. Owlmirror says

    cm
    Bureaucratic measurements in (on?) TZT are more fluid.

    ?

    Shouldn’t that be “cubic cm”?

  86. Owlmirror says

    I didn’t know that cm‘s changeable moniker was a cube.

    Well, if you’re measuring fluids . . .

    *badumtish*, indeed.

  87. Owlmirror says

    I can’t keep litering these puns around furlong, because it’s just not my meter.

  88. cm's changeable moniker says

    I’m not sure I’m totally happy being raised to the 1.5th power and used as a unit of volume.

    Respect my two-dimensionality!

    (If I’m being negative, at root, it’s just imaginary.)

  89. Owlmirror says

    (If I’m being negative, at root, it’s just imaginary.)

    Be real: It’s plane to see that you’re complex.

  90. A. R says

    Owlmirror: Should I be trying to kill/capture you or something like that? Because I really don’t want to get up from dinner right now.

  91. Owlmirror says

    Should I be trying to kill/capture you or something like that?

    That depends. Perhaps the operative word there is “trying”.

    Because I really don’t want to get up from dinner right now.

    I’m fine with you continuing to eat peaceably.

  92. Owlmirror says

    Owlmirror: Hmm, I might send a battalion of LOLtroopers to “try” and kill you.

    Sure, it’ll give us all something to do.

  93. A. R says

    Owlmirror: That should do for now.

    Cipher: Do you have your Ministry of Plenty badge yet? I’m not sure if that position is armed, so we’ll hold off on the cyberpistol for now.

  94. consciousness razor says

    Fincke’s a perfectionist consequentialist

    I think he’s also described himself as a kind of virtue ethicist, if somewhat obliquely in relation to his agreement with Nietzsche. But I don’t have a quote handy, and I’m kind of confused about his positions myself.

    What should make us suspect he is wrong: he means that it is morally good for a musician to be “good at” being a musician, and he means this in the same sense — effectiveness — that he means it is good for a river to be rivery.

    I don’t think he’d say those are moral goods but those are types of goodness. As I understand it, he’d want to use “good” (or other evaluative terms) in this functional sense in all sorts of different contexts, while at the same time distinguishing between those which are and are not morally relevant. I suppose he’s doing more than just metaethics. He’s talking about in what way values of all kinds exist*, not specifically moral values, even though the latter are his primary focus since they’re in some way a more critical issue than aesthetic values and the like.

    *How he would say we know what is valuable, or justified, or how we ought to balance one with another, is something I’m not clear about.

    But we can understand being effective at being a engineer — and consciousness razor can probably talk about being effective at being a musician; I’ll skip that since music is pretty much a mystical experience to me — without understanding it as a goodness.

    Actually, I’m fairly sympathetic to that part of Fincke’s views. (I’m also a kind of moral realist, if somewhat wishy-washy and vague about it, since I’m not a philosopher.) We talk about “good art” or “good music,” and that could be interpreted as meaning it’s actually (truly, objectively) good at being the type of art that it is or at doing whatever it does, for this or that reason. It doesn’t need to be good only in relation to someone’s opinion (or that it’s an entirely meaningless statement). However, if someone simply asserted “this is good” and gave no reason or justification for it, then we would have to treat it as just an opinion.

    Anyway, I would have a hard time understanding it as functionally effective while at the same not as being good at something. It makes sense to me, and I don’t know how else I would say it (without just disguising the same idea in different language). There is of course a moral difference between “being good at medicine” and for example, “being good at Nazism.” But that’s kind of the whole point. No matter how we define our terms, people will talk about being a “good soldier” or whatever, and we have to be able to coherently respond with something like “good soldiers can do bad things.”

  95. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    “By those whom we frequent, we’re ever led:
    Example is a law by all obeyed.
    Thus with the good, we are to good inclined,
    But vicious company corrupts the mind.”
    -Anonymous (quoted by Xenephon)

    @ Exchel

    “Eternal Jew”

    Compare:”das ewige Deutschland” ie: “Eternal Germany” This is real newspeak in action, the same word “ewige”, becomes an eternal good, as indicated by Victor Klemperer in earlier linky. The nazis were so well aware of the propoganda value of language.

    Good that some on Pharyngula {tips hat} are switched on to the power of language. If only the pitizens would come up to speed.

    Re Socrates(earlier) and “the good”. He was very much taken up by the question of it. TL;DR = “virtue”. This is something that is cultivated within a man *eyeroll*, in part by keeping good company. As I understand it, “the good” is very much born out by its utility. He is careful to get to the heart of the matter and gives many examples and counterexamples of “good” behaviour.

    A musician is someone who makes “excellent” music. He contrasts this with those who take on the trappings of a good musician (“vain ostentation”), but lack skill of the essential point. (Link)

  96. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    Bacon ipsum dolor sit amet beef shank frankfurter filet mignon, ham jowl ______________________________________________________
    [whisper] it seems one of the Politburo have gone rogue… [/whisper]

  97. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    It would seem the Dutch also have their skeletons in the cupboard. (Link: Gruesome murders in Indonesia conducted by Dutch military.)

  98. Vilém Saptar says

    Hello!
    ixchel,

    Fincke’s a perfectionist consequentialist, which is contrasted with utilitarianism so long as utilitarianism is understood to be hedonistic (as is standard these days).

    I guess so, but I dunno, and I’m not sure what to call him, though you’re right and he’s not a classic utilitarian. Looking at that SEP page, I realize I’m really bad at remembering exactly what all these positions within consequentialism are. I need to be more careful when using terms which have precise definitions, even though they have consequentialism in common. I’ve done this in the past too, using consequentialism and utilitarianism interchangeably. I’m lazy and sloppy and underread.

    But we can understand being effective at being a engineer — and consciousness razor can probably talk about being effective at being a musician; I’ll skip that since music is pretty much a mystical experience to me — without understanding it as a goodness. We can talk about effective engineering all day long in terms of fulfilling goals. It’s an artifact of our language that we can also call that “good engineering”, but we don’t have to understand it that way, and there’s no logical necessity for our language to have turned out to have these multiple uses of good, where it can refer to the positively valenced affects, as well as effectiveness, as well as obedience (good doggy) and probably other things.

    I don’t think it’s just an artifact. I think there’s a reason why we have come to use the same word to describe those two senses, and it is that, most times we observe a causal relationship between the “goals” sense and the “valence” sense, or, more likely, conversely, we started off by labeling whatever gave us pleasure as “good” and whatever gave us pain as “bad”, before it got half co-opted by the effectiveness sense.
     
    (Good engineering is what produces good products, which we use to fulfill our desires, which ultimately makes us feel good. Similarly for a musician, as consciuosness razor notes, performing or composing a good piece music gives “pleasure”, although what good music(this is quite another sense) is is a different question, which would vary by taste and opinion. Likewise bad engineering and bad musicianship both cause no pleasure at best and pain at worst.)
     
    Also, for things that cause pain, when talking about things which lead to negative valence affects, we use negative words such as “bad”, even though effectiveness-wise they could be described as “good”. I think this again is a clue to how the usage of good/bad has evolved in the effectiveness v/s valency sense. I dunno this is all just armchair hypothesizing :)
     
    Even now, I think the relationship between these two senses of the word is not as divorced as we’re trying to imagine.
    But,

    What should make us suspect he is wrong: he means that it is morally good for a musician to be “good at” being a musician, and he means this in the same sense — effectiveness — that he means it is good for a river to be rivery.

    Yes, this is how I feel too, that business about it being “good” if rivers are what rivers must be doesn’t make a lot of sense to me either, for any meaningful definition of “good”.
     
    consciuosness razor,

    I don’t think he’d say those are moral goods but those are types of goodness. As I understand it, he’d want to use “good” (or other evaluative terms) in this functional sense in all sorts of different contexts, while at the same time distinguishing between those which are and are not morally relevant.

    But this sense of goodness strikes me as being too open a concept, too fluid, too arbitrary to hold any “meaning”. How on earth is a river going to be “good” at “being a river” without a value system to judge it (which presupposes the existence of minds)? Unless you want to be an essentialist, I really don’t see how that goodness is objectively possible, even if it isn’t a moral goodness. You can’t have “goodness” or “badness” without reference to a cognitive apparatus that has the capacity to conceive of such concepts and has interests in relation to them, IMO. Otherwise everything could be called both good and bad, since its entirely arbitrary what something must be in order for it to be a good or bad something.

    We talk about “good art” or “good music,” and that could be interpreted as meaning it’s actually (truly, objectively) good at being the type of art that it is or at doing whatever it does, for this or that reason. It doesn’t need to be good only in relation to someone’s opinion (or that it’s an entirely meaningless statement).

    This is slightly better. But again it’s implicit that, all such objectivity would only make sense within a framework of minds capable of appreciating art or music.

    *How he would say we know what is valuable, or justified, or how we ought to balance one with another, is something I’m not clear about.

    Perhaps, you were trying to imply what I was trying to say above :) That or I’m missing something.

  99. Vilém Saptar says

    theophontes,

    A volunteer! Well, we do need to get Miniluv up and running. And we need some work done on TZT doublespeak. I’m sure an application to 2ICBDFL (in triplicate) would work wonders for your career prospects.

    Even better, how about a wire transfer?

  100. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Politburo

    We should be taking a page from the PRC if we want to get our repression up to speed. Try this at home: Look up http://www.weibo.com.cn (a large Chinese search engine … like google.) Type in as search term “the truth” in Chinese (ie: 真相) You will get the following result: (Linky = Weibo search for “the truth”)

    @ Vilém Saptar

    wire transfer?

    Overcast in Hong Kong.

  101. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Carried over from the vandalism thread:
    I’m not clear about my own thoughts about psychological vs. physical abuse*. I was of the opinion that I regarded them as being potentially equally harmful . Then I thought of this.
    Consider a person that is psychologically abused by another person in a way that was indisputably intentional and irreparably damaging. Is that person justified in the use of physical violence to end that abuse?
    My gut tells me no. However, if both forms of abuse were physical, I would feel differently. I have no rational argument, here, and I’m floundering.
    *Call it violence if you want. Don’t care.

  102. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    It would seem the Dutch also have their skeletons in the cupboard. (Link: Gruesome murders in Indonesia conducted by Dutch military.)

    That was in the closet?

    What’s next? Has Belgian Congo been hidden in the sock drawer?

  103. throwaway, these are not the bullies you're looking for says

    I see that Chas.

    I used to look up to Dawkins and hold him above reproach when I was first ‘coming to terms’ with my atheism. He shattered that apologetic attitude I had towards people for not being religious like them. He served a purpose for as long as he needed to in my life, and he still does some pretty awesome shit, but his flaws as a human being have been the best eye-opener of all. As another irregular regular commenter signs off: No Gods, No Masters.

    And now we see Coyne’s decided to lob one in to misrepresent arguments from the feminist side to some simple accusations of privilege (ignoring the several thousand comments dealing with Dear Muslima where he put it plainly on display, that would be too fucking honest of Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!)

  104. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    It’s so hot today I couldn’t go for my walk with my brother.

  105. consciousness razor says

    Similarly for a musician, as consciuosness razor notes, performing or composing a good piece music gives “pleasure”, although what good music(this is quite another sense) is is a different question, which would vary by taste and opinion.

    Well, no. I’m not saying that. People have tastes and opinions, but if we’re going to talk about what really is good music, those opinions don’t get us very far at all.

    Music is a fairly abstract topic, and a lot of people take what they think is a dismissal of their opinions the wrong way. So maybe we should find an easier example to work with. What does it mean to be a good waiter or waitress? That depends on which restaurant it is, and thus which kind of waiter or waitress we’re talking about, but leave that aside for now. To be good at it, they have to do their job, which is serving people food and drinks, being attentive to their other needs (within reason), being efficient, hygienic, and so on. If they do that, then they’re a good waiter or waitress. (Either way you should tip them, if you’re in a place where they depend on tips.) And that’s not based on my opinions. It’s just being clear about what the job is and determining whether or not it’s been accomplished.

    But this sense of goodness strikes me as being too open a concept, too fluid, too arbitrary to hold any “meaning”.

    What’s arbitrary about it? How we describe that may be somewhat arbitrary (as with any other concept), but the functional properties themselves depend on whatever the thing is. And there are lots of different things which people value in different ways, so openness and fluidity aren’t really a problem, are they? If I understand what you mean by them, I think that’s supposed to be a feature, not a bug.

    How on earth is a river going to be “good” at “being a river” without a value system to judge it (which presupposes the existence of minds)?

    We think, therefore we are, therefore the existence of minds like ours is something we can pretty safely take as a given in this context. It’s irrelevant.

    This is slightly better. But again it’s implicit that, all such objectivity would only make sense within a framework of minds capable of appreciating art or music.

    Sure, but this would also apply to science (or mathematics, etc.) whether or not you’d call those “objective.” Those imply the existence of minds like ours as well. We can say we have this empirical evidence to support a theory, that it explains this phenomena which we experience and which we think needs explanation, that we think it makes these predictions of other phenomena we would also be able to experience, etc. But we are the ones doing science, not the universe itself.

  106. consciousness razor says

    explains this phenomena

    Make that “phenomenon” or “these.”

  107. cm's changeable moniker says

    It’s plane to see that you’re complex.

    Arg! And … I’ve been rumbled.

    (Best I could do, sorry. I’m a bit out of sorts today. Too much rain, too little sun, can’t do anything in the house, can’t do anything in the garden, can’t really do anything useful. *glum*)

  108. cm's changeable moniker says

    Actually, that helped. I got out the Somerset Maugham anthology (to read Rain, obviously) but got sidetracked by my favourite story:

    Mr Know-All

    … which cheered me up no end. It always does.

  109. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    cm: weird. I’m just finishing The Razor’s Edge…I think I like it enough to read another one. Is Rain the one to read?

  110. cm's changeable moniker says

    Sorry, AE, I have no idea. I only have 65 Short Stories.

    When it comes to literature, I’m a bit of a magpie. (Shiny! Stolen.)

    :-/

    I can recommend 65SS, though.

  111. cm's changeable moniker says

    Oh, wait, doh! Rain is the first (short) story in 65SS. Not a full-sized book or anything.

    (Aiee, reading on computers is hard. Paper is so much easier.)

  112. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    ¡Thnx!

    I haven’t read short stories in a while…maybe just he thing.

  113. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    ..the thing, dammit. I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately.

  114. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Sili

    That was in the closet?

    This was in the closet: “First ever pictures of Dutch army executions in Indonesia.” As I put in the caption of the link. The “Gruesome murder…” part was a warning to the content.

    What does come through clearly in the photo album is how banally the executions where regarded (at least by the compiler). Almost like a tourist taking holiday snapshots. (And indeed they intersperse with very touristy snaps: swimming, parades, group photos and the like.)

  115. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    New news, cross-posted:

    Sexism Bingo on Pharyngula Wiki is now “uniqued” — when you request a fresh bingo card, each bingo square is now different from all the others on the card (previously there were some duplicates).

    So it’s ready to play.

    +++++
    Replies to consciousness razor and Vilém Saptar are “planned” but not guaranteed. I am a procrastination machine.

    +++++
    A. R, I could use some rain too.

  116. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Try another link, A. R, maybe PZ just now whitelisted it?

  117. chigau (女性) says

    The temperature is down to something I can live with, 25°.
    Sadly, much of the province is on fire and the smoke (*cough*cough*) is everywhere.

  118. chigau (女性) says

    Owlmirror
    You are a god.
    but if PZ catches you, you may be disappeared.

  119. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Owlmirror, my weasel does not acknowledge your feeds.

  120. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Anybody want to make a pretty logo for Pharyngula Wiki? It would go in the top left where the words “Pharyngula Wiki” currently are.

    “Graphic wordmarks can only be .png files and must be 250×65 pixels or less.”

  121. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Or even a horrifying, eldritch logo?

  122. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Ixchel

    Anybody want to make a pretty logo for Pharyngula Wiki?

    Is this an invitation for TZT to visually colonise Pharynguwiki?

  123. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    Aaaaargh! You have stepped over to the light side!

    @ Ixchel

    Feeble attempt. (Linky)

  124. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    theophontes,

    Is this an invitation for TZT to visually colonise Pharynguwiki?

    Yes.

    Feeble attempt. (Linky)

    I like that it has a cat, apparently riding a UFO or Roomba. This is delicious blasphemy against the Poopyhead.

    May I request sticking to one color and font combination per word? With a possible exception for the atheist A?

  125. cm's changeable moniker says

    Yesterday, outside work, I saw a Great Crested Grebe (who said penguins are the only birds that can swim?), and two Ospreys.

    The Ospreys were really quite impressive.

    (That’s from the airshow from which they were flying back.)

  126. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Ixchel

    Agreed. (I had the plain version before, then thought it a bit dull. But, yes, the colour and font mix is a bit of a mess.)

    Here is the clean version: Linky.

    The cat, Miss Molly, is flying her bed …which is made out of a bamboo vegetable steamer. (Should we add some physics/engineering and properly made tea just to stir the pot for Teh Poopyhead?)

  127. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ cm’s

    IIRC, the Japanese don’t want those flying over their territory for their tendency to plummet.

    Perhaps one of these would be more appropriate: Linky.

  128. chigau (女性) says

    The partiers across the street are dancing in the rain.
    (at least they’re not on my lawn)

  129. Vilém Saptar says

    consciousness razor,

    Well, no. I’m not saying that. People have tastes and opinions, but if we’re going to talk about what really is good music, those opinions don’t get us very far at all.

    Okay if you didn’t mean to say that about pleasure and pain from music, fine. I misattributed that to you, but I don’t think I’m wrong to say that. Although, thats what I meant by it’s “quite another sense of good”, but maybe it’s not quite another sense, but a more extensive and elaborate kind of the same sense. I probably didn’t understand you accurately enough.

    What’s arbitrary about it? How we describe that may be somewhat arbitrary (as with any other concept), but the functional properties themselves depend on whatever the thing is.

    (My emphasis)

    The problem with using “whatever the thing is” as a criterion for effectiveness judgments, is that everything is whatever it is. So it sort of becomes tautological that it is “good” at being what it is, but “bad” at being not what it is. This is what I meant by arbitrary.

    It is minds that classify and categorize things. I’m not saying its bad to do that, I’m saying its no objective fact that anything is a “good” or “bad” instance of some ideal, while it is a fact that something is, exists with some properties. This maybe, as it appears to me atleast, a little subtle distinction, and I may not be able to express myself as clearly as I’d like to – wish I could write like ixchel, for instance, in expressing these sorts of ideas, but I can’t, I’ll take a stab anyway.

    So maybe we should find an easier example to work with. What does it mean to be a good waiter or waitress? That depends on which restaurant it is, and thus which kind of waiter or waitress we’re talking about, but leave that aside for now. To be good at it, they have to do their job, which is serving people food and drinks, being attentive to their other needs (within reason), being efficient, hygienic, and so on. If they do that, then they’re a good waiter or waitress. (Either way you should tip them, if you’re in a place where they depend on tips.) And that’s not based on my opinions. It’s just being clear about what the job is and determining whether or not it’s been accomplished.

    The waiter example is a little bit of what seems to me, a red herring since a waiter by definition has a purpose and function, in fact it is defined in terms of those things. A wait-er, see. But to illustrate what I’m trying to say consider this : what you’d normally call a bad waiter is still a good “bad waiter”, see what I did there?

    Take something like a river or a mountain. There is no implicit purpose or function in those things, those things just are a category of things, but that is not a function or purpose – see this is what I mean by subtle. Science doesn’t ever talk of a good planet or a bad star, if a new object is found which has some features of a star and some features of a planet, we don’t get in the business of judging it’s effectiveness at being a star or a planet as a fact, we simply invent a new category and call it that. It is in this sense that effectiveness judgments depend on minds while facts do not. Everything is both a unique category and a single thing in that category, whatever it is.

    Sure you could say a star is a bad planet and a planet is a bad star but that would simply not be very useful ways of using good and bad, since you’re talking about different things kinds of things. That way everything is a good itself and a bad everything else.

    This seems right, right? Or again, I’m missing something here…
     

    It’s irrelevant.

    Yeah it is, if you mean when talking about values and ethics. But not when you want to say that effectiveness is some fact about the world, independent of minds.

    Hmmm, in hindsight, maybe we’re talking past each other a little here, I dunno.

  130. Vilém Saptar says

    theophontes,

    Overcast in Hong Kong.

    This time of the year? I doubt it.

  131. consciousness razor says

    But to illustrate what I’m trying to say consider this : what you’d normally call a bad waiter is still a good “bad waiter”, see what I did there?

    Sure, that’s the same thing. There are two options G(Wx) or ~G(Wx), good at being a waiter or not good at it, if there is a waiter Wx.*

    You might say G(~G(Wx)), but that’s equivalent to ~G(Wx), as long as there are no other terms besides Wx like there are in G(~G(Wx) & Px). You could nest them forever as G(~G(~G(G(~G(Wx))))), etc., just like you could with anything else, if that sort of statement is useful in some way. It’s not a contradiction, though — you’re just negating or double-negating the terms.

    *Whether we think Wx is itself positive, negative, or neutral is another issue.

  132. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    theophontes,

    Miss Molly and her personal flight vehicle are up now at Pharyngula Wiki.

    Thanks!

    If we get any more logos, they’ll go into occasional rotation, like PZ used to do with the banners at Sb. (It’ll be manual rotation via my handcrank, though, not automatic.)

  133. chigau (女性) says


    I’m running Windows with Firefox 13 on an Acer Aspire One Netbook.
    I see the little red A.

    The W in Wiki is all blocky.
    Is that deliberate?

  134. cm's changeable moniker says

    theophontes:

    Clubbed to death! I love that track. (90s rave warrior, me.)

    Was I supposed to watch the video?

  135. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    And perhaps a cephalopod banner for the wiki?

    If’n someone makes it. (250*65px PNG only.)

    I see the little red A.

    Oh good.

  136. Vilém Saptar says

    consciousness razor,

    …It’s not a contradiction,…

    Yes, its a tautology and that what bugs me about it. It seems to not be objective in any useful sense at all.

  137. chigau (女性) says

    Vilém Saptar
    What with the the thunder and the power-outs and my cheap net book…
    just say it…
    what is your Secret Plan To Overthrow The Powers That Be???

  138. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Ixchel

    Updated banner: Demo/mockup

    Here is the actual transparent PNG file: Linky (download it, it works)

    @ cm’s

    I also thought that background music was cool. (It is all part of the indoctrination.)

    {theophontes thinks: Mmmmmh, there seems to be something in the air today...}

  139. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    For this we rely on three … er … four things:
    .
    .
    .
    Item 4: An almost fanatical devotion to Teh Tardigrade…

  140. consciousness razor says

    Yes, its a tautology and that what bugs me about it. It seems to not be objective in any useful sense at all.

    Would you explain what you mean by this? Do you expect “not-good” and “bad” to mean different things?

  141. chigau (女性) says

    yeah yeah
    like I`m totes devoted to the Tardigrade.
    yay salute

    Now What?

  142. Vilém Saptar says

    consciuosness razor,

    Would you explain what you mean by this? Do you expect “not-good” and “bad” to mean different things?

    No, thats not what I meant at all. I meant all things are “good” or “effective” at being themselves by definition. So its a tautology to say that.

  143. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Here is the actual transparent PNG file: Linky (download it, it works)

    Squeeee!

    theophontes, it looks excellent. I love it! It’s 15px too wide, but I cropped and resized it and now it fits. I stuck it up on the wiki already.

    Thank you, thank you!

  144. chigau (女性) says

    theophontes

    No, that’s it really.

    Oh.
    OK.
    so….
    transplanting strawberries…
    any advice?
    (in the rain)

  145. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ ixchel

    Squeeee!

    Heh. Jaguar goddesses are easy to please. (And PNG files are so much cheaper than hecatombs. ;)

    (I thought it still looks a little cluttered, but have decided it actually goes with the whole wild and eclectic overgrowth of wiki posts on Pharynguwiki.)

    @ chigau

    transplanting strawberries…
    any advice?

    Mmmh. Difficult one this. (If you had questions about forced confessions or oppressing myriad myrmidon minions, I could have better advice.)

    May I suggest transplanting your strawberries to you stomach? For this you will require a bottle of white rum, some crushed ice, mint, brown sugar, salt and a wide rimmed glass. Fresh shucked oysters are advised as a complement.

  146. chigau (女性) says

    theophontes
    I like the recipe.
    But the strawberries are going into their lovely new Strawberry Bed™.
    (whether they like it or not)

  147. says

    went to the movie theater*, saw Brave today. Liked it, even though I think I spent half the movie hypnotized by the textures. Soundtrack was country made to sound vaguely Scottish**, so probably the weakest part of the movie. But fun.

    *I’m faster on crutches than my boyfriend is on foot. Poor critter needs new knees, I think.
    **Scots? What the fuck is the adjective for Scotland?

  148. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    (whether they like it or not)

    How wonderfully repressive of you. No wonder you execute your 2ICBDFLness with such verve.

  149. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ wordplague

    {theophontes enters stage left, bows to audience. curtains rise to reveal a group of dancing tardigrades, dressed in medieval garb. the band starts a jig and they start to dance. much drinking and singing accompanies this. they are soon quite blotto (it appears the little invertebrates have little tolerance for grog.)

    Oy Vey!

  150. cm's changeable moniker says

    Owwww!

    I pulled a muscle in my ribs on Saturday. In my sleep.¹

    I have been learning hard lessons in skeleto-muscular physiology: specifically, how many everyday activities involve one’s intercostal muscles.

    I wouldn’t previously have put “removing a toothbrush head from an electric toothbrush” on that particular list, but now I know better.

    ¹ Coughing. I’ve done this before. :-/

  151. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    **Scots? What the fuck is the adjective for Scotland?

    Écossaise.

  152. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    wordplague
    Look! Japanese Chinese!
    気がいいです。

    我的哪! (Well, Zeus is “The Cloud Gatherer”)

  153. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Caine

    *sad*

    For some reason I can’t see your ratlets, even via Tor. I shall have to wait ’til I’m back in Hong Kong.

  154. says

    Theophontes:

    For some reason I can’t see your ratlets, even via Tor. I shall have to wait ’til I’m back in Hong Kong.

    Aaaaaw. You’ll love the latest pics – Esme’s ratlets are for realz ratties now, furry with open eyes, active as can be. They are utterly adorable when they clean themselves, especially when they tip over on their backs to clean their toes. :D We’ll attempt video soon.

    I can only get them out every once in a while, Esme is still very much Ferocious Mama Who Will Eat Your Face™ if you get near the ratlets when she’s close by.

  155. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Caine

    We’ll attempt video soon.

    Yay! (I can coax the youtube into working this side.)

    I’ve been quietly following the saga of the huge brood of ratlets and Rubin = Ma Rubin(-ette). Sorry I can’t help you by adopting any.

  156. says

    Theophontes:

    I’ve been quietly following the saga of the huge brood of ratlets and Rubin = Ma Rubin(-ette). Sorry I can’t help you by adopting any.

    That’s okay. We’ll manage. Rubin now has 13 ratlets, two died. As soon as I recover*, I’m going to start working on setting up downstairs and moving my studio and all the rats down there. While my studio is very large, downstairs is *huge*.

    *I fell halfway down the stairs the other day, my spine is currently hatin’ on me something fierce. Yay for good drugs.

  157. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Caine

    setting up downstairs and moving my studio and all the rats down there.

    o_O *eyes boggle* You are keeping all the ratties ‽

    my spine is currently hatin’ on me something fierce

    {sends good hugz}
    Ouch! Take care of your back.

  158. says

    Theophontes:

    o_O *eyes boggle* You are keeping all the ratties ‽

    I don’t know about keeping *all* of them. We’re definitely keeping all of Esme & Havelock’s ratlets (four of them are named already: Gytha, Giles, Vasco & Magrat) and two of Rubin’s will look like her (and Chas), with white blazes on their noses, so we’ll most likely keep those two.

    My problem is a soft brain (and a much too soft heart). By the time they’re old enough to go to a pet store for sale, I’d have a terrible time taking them from a well known, good environment to having them dumped into an aquarium in a strange environment, away from everyone they have bonded with, you know?

    We’ll see. I might feel very differently once they are active and out of the Rat Condos. Eventually, all the girls will be spayed, whether they go up for sale or not. Seeing as it’s really rare to come by a female rat, I’m pretty sure I won’t give any of the girls up.

  159. Tethys says

    *reverses the manning up procedure to change from Iapetus back to Tethys*

    Is there a Ixchel or Jadehawk signal? Ex-military gun nut erikatkinson is not impressed with my citations over on the How to Spot a Terrorist thread.

    I’m sure there is a whole body of work that documents the relationship between gun-ownership and increased odds of dying of gun violence. (grumble, grumble, paywalls)

    I think erik believes that since he is ex-military, statistics do not apply to him.

  160. chigau (女性) says

    Caine
    Oh dear.
    Are you in any danger of becoming the Crazy Cat Rat Lady?

  161. consciousness razor says

    I meant all things are “good” or “effective” at being themselves by definition. So its a tautology to say that.

    No, you misunderstand. You can be something, like a waiter, yet not be good or effective at it. I never claimed there’s no such thing as a bad one.

  162. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Caine, what about selling (I’m thinking a nominal adoption fee just to insure they won’t end up as snake food) some of them on craigslist or similar? That way you get to meet their new humans and they don’t have to suffer in a pet store (horrid institutions).

  163. says

    Chigau:

    Are you in any danger of becoming the Crazy Cat Rat Lady?

    No, I don’t think so. They live such a short time, ya know?

    Dysomniak, that wouldn’t work where I’m at (teeny town in ND). There isn’t a large amount of people who keep rats here. We’ll leave word with our vet, that if anyone is looking, to contact us, but it really wouldn’t be easy to home them here. It would be even more difficult than usual, because of the high amount of agouti wildtypes we have. There’s a lot of bias against them.

  164. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    It would be even more difficult than usual, because of the high amount of agouti wildtypes we have. There’s a lot of bias against them.

    That’s a shame. I think the agoutis are lovely and would happily adopt a couple if I could.

  165. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Tethys

    Sorry I can’t be of much help here. I did find this recent article:

    However, the figures themselves are astounding for Brits used to around 600 murders per year. In 2010 – the latest year for which detailed statistics are available – there were 12,996 murders in the US. Of those, 8,775 were caused by firearms.

    (Murder rate per capita: ~400% higher in US. By gun: ~300% higher in US than total UK murders.)

    The article (here) has further links to support. (I have seen articles that point out per capita crime is lower in US than in, for example, Germany. But that is really vague. We are unlikely to get hurt by pick-pockets.)

    Bear in mind it is not just guns that kill people. Aggression may well be aggravated by gun ownership. (If you only have a hammer every problem looks like a nail.) You will need an SG to help you out here.

  166. Nightjar says

    I think the agoutis are lovely and would happily adopt a couple if I could.

    Oh, me too. I’ve been in love with Esme ever since Caine got her. Looking at the pictures of her babies only makes me want to cross the Atlantic just to steal a couple of them for me.

  167. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    Heh, I think it’s safe to say if all of the horde lived within driving distance there’d be no trouble finding homes for the ratlets.

  168. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I’m sure there is a whole body of work that documents the relationship between gun-ownership and increased odds of dying of gun violence.

    Not that I know of.

  169. says

    Nightjar:

    I’ve been in love with Esme ever since Caine got her. Looking at the pictures of her babies only makes me want to cross the Atlantic just to steal a couple of them for me.

    ♥ If I could place the ratlets with The Horde™, I’d be thrilled to see them in such good homes.

  170. Vilém Saptar says

    consciousness razor,

    I meant all things are “good” or “effective” at being themselves by definition. So its a tautology to say that.

    No, you misunderstand. You can be something, like a waiter, yet not be good or effective at it. I never claimed there’s no such thing as a bad one.

    Yeah, I know. And, I never claimed that you claimed there’s no such thing :)

    (Check out my 203 for context.)

    Honest question: Wasn’t that clear there, that I meant all such judgments could be called objective only within a framework of minds that valued things, but not in the same sense as scientific facts are objective?

  171. Vilém Saptar says

    Caine,

    *I fell halfway down the stairs the other day, my spine is currently hatin’ on me something fierce. Yay for good drugs.

    Ooh, ouch. Take care. *lotsa painkillers*

  172. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Caine

    Got to see your blog now. Wow, the difference that ten days make! The older ones are SO cute. The younger ones … precute?

  173. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Boltzmann brontosauruses, both quantum and classical, are the only true deities of TZT.

  174. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Is everybody fighting today? Is this a real thing, or am I imagining it?

  175. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I think it is not unreal; I can’t guess whether you’re rightly gauging the amplitude.

  176. consciousness razor says

    (Check out my 203 for context.)

    Okay, let’s go back to that.

    me: [blah blah blah] the functional properties themselves depend on whatever the thing is.

    The problem with using “whatever the thing is” as a criterion for effectiveness judgments, is that everything is whatever it is.

    I was only saying that if you are a waiter, you will not be effective at it by being an effective particle physicist or gardener (generally — I’m only trying to pick out very different things for the sake of clarity, but it can easily be very complicated since people often try to fill more than one role at a time). Effectiveness isn’t identical to being the thing itself, but it does depend on what it is or what it’s doing. If you were trying to be an effective waiter, that wouldn’t generally depend on the kind of things particle physicists or gardeners would need to do to be effective at those activities. I do think that’s pretty obvious and trivial (and true), but that doesn’t make it a tautology.

    Wasn’t that clear there, that I meant all such judgments could be called objective only within a framework of minds that valued things, but not in the same sense as scientific facts are objective?

    This is an entirely different question, so I don’t know if you think there’s some relationship between these two lines of thought or not. As far as I can tell, you haven’t said anything about why you think they’re not objective in the same sense as scientific facts. I figured you chose not to address that.

  177. Owlmirror says

    As Public Enemy № 𝟙, I am always fighting with everyone everywhere simultaneously.

      “Hey, you! Are you looking at me funny?”

    .
    .
    .

      “Well, I’m looking funny back!
    *makes face*

  178. Owlmirror says

    Boltzmann brontosaurus is devoured by Boltzmann Megalodon. . . !!

    Oh, and I haz sophistimacated theolology to work around the probability problem: Boltzmann Megalodon coalesced as a tiny little cute baby sharkling, which grew, and grew, and just never stopped growing.

    So sophistimacated!

  179. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I think it is not unreal; I can’t guess whether you’re rightly gauging the amplitude.

    Can’t decide whether that’s a relief or not.

    As Public Enemy №

  180. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Wow, what did I do?
    Anyway, that was meant to be a blockquote followed by the words “You’re so nefarious.”

  181. says

    Theophontes:

    Wow, the difference that ten days make! The older ones are SO cute. The younger ones … precute?

    Precute works. :D Esme’s crew are *so* active now, they are driving her up a wall. They are in and out of their box now, chasing her everywhere. It won’t be long before they figure out the ladders in the Rat Condo.

  182. Owlmirror says

    I said that my life was becoming more spiritual, more hopeful, because I believe in life after death. For this I get compared to Islamic jihadis? I would rather jump out a window myself, if it would prevent another 9-11.

    The reason you’re being compared to Jihadists is because it’s perceived that it is precisely because of belief in life after death that suicide bombers and other terrorists are supposedly inspired to harm themselves and others.

    This perception is not entirely correct, of course. There are secular suicide bombers.

    But it cannot be entirely ruled out that belief in life after death can, at least sometimes, inspire extremes of violence, against others and/or oneself.

    Again, if my life (or consciousness) ends at death, where is hope?

    Life after death is not necessarily hopeful, either. Christianity, for example, is founded on a hope for a pleasant life after death for themselves, and a painful life after death for nonbelievers.

    Some might feel so despairing of this life, and desirous of whatever comes next, that they might kill themselves so as to achieve that very life after death.

    I am not saying that you should not be hopeful in general. But is it not better to have the more realistic hope that your life, here and now, can be good (for whatever definition of good you might have)?

  183. Owlmirror says

    If at death we become dust, so do our children and the entire species. So there is no real value, and no hope, unless I believe that I will continue.

    There’s no value to life now, if there is infinite life after death. Any finite number is tiny compared to infinity.

    “Value” is subjective/intersubjective. If you don’t value something — like your life, or the lives of others — now, why would you having an infinite amount of it in some indeterminate future cause you to value it more?

  184. says

    Sent e-mail to OIKTB (Or I’ll Kill the Bunny) aka John

    “So there is no real value, and no hope, unless I believe that I will continue.”

    Out of curiosity, if you knew it would save 100 lives forever would you sacrifice yourself to an actual true death, no after life no rebirth

  185. says

    Got a response

    I am going to ignore the anger and foul language, as well as the misunderstanding of Islam. I probably should not have used Islam as an example of anything, because it seems people cannot think rationally about it at all. Anyone who criticizes Islam is automatically a “racist”, etc etc. Amazing that the most violent religion on Earth should have otherwise intelligent people defending it,

    Now, as to giving my life for others permanently, without hope of living again- are you joking? If I thought I were only alive this one time, I would “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” If helping others brought me pleasure, I would help; otherwise screw everyone hey it’s my party. Again, my actions would be dictated by what made me feel good, regardless of others, who are just chemicals like me.

    But I am sure this is not so, and that we do live again, and therefore I care about other people: for we are all spiritually evolving.

  186. says

    So johnfreethinker is a complete hedonistic egoist. Nice.

    If he were smart he’d realize that not everyone is as immoral as he is. (And if I were him, I’d be worried about whether any god worth the title would reward such a selfish attitude.)

  187. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Ixchel

    Boltzmann brontosauruses, both quantum and classical, are the only true deities of TZT.

    Our Divine Goddess, Phoenicia (Polysaccharides Be Upon Her) uses a Boltzmann Brontosaurus for commuting to Work.

    (HERETIC!!!)

    @ Cipher

    Is everybody fighting today? Is this a real thing, or am I imagining it?

    Quite real. The Politburo is in need of some ironing out.

    *sigh*

    The domestic chores of tyrannical tardigrades are never complete. :'(

    @ Owlmirror

    As Public Enemy №

  188. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    [bork]

    @ Owlmirror

    As Public Enemy [number 1] I am always fighting with everyone everywhere simultaneously.

    At least one person is on script. (Perhaps a promotion is called for…)

    Boltzmann brontosaurus is devoured by Boltzmann Megalodon. . . !!

    Devoured? It was a minor prang. And the BMW was at fault for not indicating a left turn. We’ll be seeing the driver in court!

    @ Caine

    As cute as they are, I cannot imagine trying to keep the ratlet hive-mind in control.

    @ Physicalist

    (And if I were him, I’d be worried about whether any god worth the title would reward such a selfish attitude.)

    I, for one, would like to welcome johnfreethinker to the barren wastes of TZT.

  189. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Cipher #270

    Its a rum thing. My comment got truncated by the same blockquote as you made. (Personally, I blame Rebecca Watson.)

  190. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Dr Marjanović

    Speaking of dinosaurs, can you help identify these critters: Link. link2, link3. Hong Kong is being overrun by the thunder lizards. I have no idea why (though I suspect an invidious alliance between Boltzmann Brontosauruses and Rebecca Watson.)

  191. Owlmirror says

    I think it is absolutely awesome that my official title automagically borks blockquotes.

    You can’t handle my name . . . !!

  192. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Owlmirror

    You can’t handle my name . . . !!

    Owlmirror is Rebeccamirror???!!1?!?!?!elebenty!!?///

  193. consciousness razor says

    You can’t handle my name . . . !!

    All things are possible when your brains have been eaten:

    As Public Enemy № 𝟙

    “Naked came the blackboard bold out of its comment’s womb, and naked shall it return thither. The ZOMBIE gave and the ZOMBIE hath taken away. Blessed be the name of The ZOMBIE.” -Some Dude 1:21

  194. chigau (女性) says

    There is a thunderstorm brewing.
    .
    .
    .
    My keyboard has had a stroke.
    so
    my hidden text is:
    Really. There is a thunderstorm brewing.
    *sigh*
    I am so boring.

  195. John Morales says

    chigau:

    I am so boring.

    Hey! You’re not the only one who can dig in…

    :)

  196. chigau (女性) says

    theophontes
    my keyboard-change icon is gone
    If I try for a quotemark I get È
    I blame Owlmirror (or Rebecca Watson)
    reboot
    restart
    (see yèall tomorrow)

  197. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ John M.

    What’s this talk about pellucidity?

    It is not just the parting of the clouds. We may be running low on True Ebil ™ !

    @ chigau

    I blame Owlmirror (or Rebecca Watson)

    Yes, I too always suspected the wicked duo have been trying to drive a wedge between members of our elite Politburo.

  198. says

    Theophontes:

    As cute as they are, I cannot imagine trying to keep the ratlet hive-mind in control.

    Rats don’t do hive-mind*. They are staunch individualists. Esme is having a full on Mommy attack because the ratlets recognize us now and respond to us. She ain’t happy. Rubin is much more mellow on the mom front.

    *Not when you’re paying attention, anyway. ;)

  199. Owlmirror says

    my keyboard-change icon is gone
    If I try for a quotemark I get È
    I blame Owlmirror (or Rebecca Watson)

    *looks sad and sympathetic*

    Have you tried rebooting?

    reboot
    restart

    Well, in that case, have you tried reformatting your disk and reinstalling Windows?

    Maybe you need a new computer.

    </”Helpful”(Or maybe “Helpy”)>

  200. chigau (女性) says

    Owlmirror, my usual computer healing method of turning it off and going to bed seems to have worked.
    Thanks for your concern.

  201. Vilém Saptar says

    consciousness razor,

    I was only saying that if you are a waiter, you will not be effective at it by being an effective particle physicist or gardener (generally — I’m only trying to pick out very different things for the sake of clarity, but it can easily be very complicated since people often try to fill more than one role at a time). Effectiveness isn’t identical to being the thing itself, but it does depend on what it is or what it’s doing. If you were trying to be an effective waiter, that wouldn’t generally depend on the kind of things particle physicists or gardeners would need to do to be effective at those activities. I do think that’s pretty obvious and trivial (and true), but that doesn’t make it a tautology.

    My emphasis.

    And what if you were trying to be a mediocre waiter? A bad waiter? I could invent a category for every gradation on that scale and every waiter ever would fit into those categories and they’d be effective at belonging in that category. And there’s no reason why I should pick your preferred effectiveness criteria over any other.

    The reason that the waiter example is a bit of a red herring is that, you have set up an ideal first and then went on to classify things according to that ideal. In science the opposite happens, first we observe things as they are and then we invent descriptions of things in terms of categories, and not ideals. Effectiveness judgments are only possible with ideals, but not with categories. Only belongingness applies to categories, there are no halfway houses.
     
    This is what I meant by saying it depended on minds that valued one category over another. In science the description is only limited to categories and no judgments or comparisons of merit are ever made. There’s no particular way things have to be, that value judgments can then be made. No category is privileged over another, because there’s no reason to. The world is best described value-neutrally.

    This is an entirely different question, so I don’t know if you think there’s some relationship between these two lines of thought or not. As far as I can tell, you haven’t said anything about why you think they’re not objective in the same sense as scientific facts. I figured you chose not to address that.

    I think I did address that, though how well I managed to do so is something you’d have to tell me :

    Take something like a river or a mountain. There is no implicit purpose or function in those things, those things just are a category of things, but that is not a function or purpose – see this is what I mean by subtle. Science doesn’t ever talk of a good planet or a bad star, if a new object is found which has some features of a star and some features of a planet, we don’t get in the business of judging it’s effectiveness at being a star or a planet as a fact, we simply invent a new category and call it that. It is in this sense that effectiveness judgments depend on minds while facts do not. Everything is both a unique category and a single thing in that category, whatever it is.

    Sure you could say a star is a bad planet and a planet is a bad star but that would simply not be very useful ways of using good and bad, since you’re talking about different things kinds of things. That way everything is a good itself and a bad everything else.

    Also I doubt if you’d ever hear of a non-effective river. Something is either a river, and that itself is a rather fuzzy category, or it isn’t. If it isn’t, it’s a stream or a rivulet or a tributary or whatever other kinds of flowing water bodies there are.

    Sure you could say all these other categories are ineffective rivers, but then I’d say all rivers are ineffective streams. So, when you say something “is an effective x”, it is implicit that you’re valuing category “x”, or rather the criteria to belong in category x, but there’s no objective reason to value x over y or z, unless you have a goal in mind.

    Saying “a is an x” or “b is a y” is different from saying “a is a good x” and “b is a bad x”. In science statements are explicitly of the former kind and not the latter kind. Though when we pick one criteria to talk about, we can translate all statements of the former kind into the latter kind, but thats only in that context and not the default focus when talking about the things in question.

    Take for instance, the recent demotion of Pluto. Here you’d want to say Pluto is an ineffective planet, which is true, but only if you’re interested in Planethood. If you say Pluto is a bad Planet, it is a mind taking a category and privileging it over others in order to say what is a good or bad instance of the preferred category which is idealized.

    In fact what the IAU did was they defined, or redefined, what a Planet means, excluded Pluto from that category and created a new category called “dwarf planet” and put Pluto in there with other objects that belonged there.

    I meant in this way scientific facts are objective in a different sense than effectiveness judgments about the things in the world, which require minds with values.

  202. Vilém Saptar says

    …and then we invent descriptions of things in terms of categories describe things by inventing categories,…

    Thats better.

  203. chigau (女性) says

    Caine
    Very much Squeeee!
    Who is the genius in picture 12 who has figured out how to escape The Box?

  204. says

    Chigau:

    Who is the genius in picture 12 who has figured out how to escape The Box?

    Not named yet, a little boy. They’ve *all* figured out how to escape the box, and the little hoodie girls have figured out the ladders in the condo and chase Esme up one shelf, which is her food/eating shelf. Amelia just took a dip in Esme’s tea dish.

  205. cm's changeable moniker says

    Ratlets slideshow

    I like #6 (with the radicchio). That one has rattitude!

  206. consciousness razor says

    And there’s no reason why I should pick your preferred effectiveness criteria over any other.

    I haven’t given you a reason, that’s true, but this is a problem of getting people to agree on specific normative claims, which applies to any and every ethical theory. I was trying to talk about ethics in general, as a metaphysical and epistemological issue, without getting bogged down with the details of facts or criteria in some particular case or another.

    This would be like us having a conversation where I made some general claims about the nature of political ‘science’ and how it could be studied, then you replied with “I don’t know of any reason why I should vote for Obama rather than Romney” (for a U.S. example). I could give you reasons and perhaps convince you, but that’s a different conversation than talking about in what sense politics exists or how political statements (any of them, for or against Obama, for example) could or should be interpreted.

    So, when you say something “is an effective x”, it is implicit that you’re valuing category “x”, or rather the criteria to belong in category x, but there’s no objective reason to value x over y or z, unless you have a goal in mind.

    The simple fact is that we do value certain things and have certain goals in mind. I don’t think that’s in dispute, except perhaps in the sense that you’re picking things like rivers which are often morally neutral. Often we don’t need to value rivers at all, or more than streams or forests, etc.; but sometimes we do value them or have certain goals in reference to them. To be clear, they don’t have values or goals or purposes; we (and perhaps other sentient beings) make those, hopefully by being reasonable and fact-based about it. I would claim there is a fact of the matter about what is effective at achieving a particular goal (whatever that goal may be), and that effectiveness is something we value.

    Saying “a is an x” or “b is a y” is different from saying “a is a good x” and “b is a bad x”.

    I agree. I was trying to make that point earlier. In the notation I gave before, we could say something about Wx or we could say something about G(Wx) — those are clearly different kinds of propositions.

    Take for instance, the recent demotion of Pluto. Here you’d want to say Pluto is an ineffective planet, which is true, but only if you’re interested in Planethood.

    No. Pluto is defined as a minor planet, which I accept, so it’s not an ineffective planet because it’s not a planet at all. I also don’t know what it would mean to say it’s an effective or ineffective minor planet anyway. As far as I’m concerned, it just is a minor planet, as I have no values directed to it as such, probably because I don’t study it (though astronomy and cosmology is very fascinating).

    I meant in this way scientific facts are objective in a different sense than effectiveness judgments about the things in the world, which require minds with values.

    Whatever differences there may be, I don’t see how that’s a difference in objectivity. We need minds with values to judge whether something we think is a fact is true or whether theories explain phenomena. But do you think there isn’t a fact about what is or isn’t effective? If so, then what does it mean to say something is effective? That’s not intended to be a factual statement? ;)

  207. chigau (女性) says

    I just hate having a long, wise comment as my last link on a thread.
    fixed.

  208. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Caine

    Squeeeeee!

    Wow, I can see your slideshow through the Great cyberWall! (Yay zenfolio.)

    @ ogremeister

    I’d love to hear the music that the cat band makes. Catcophony?

    wrt training cats: As I understand it, one does not train cats, one allows them to develop their own unique talents. Each cat has its own amazing trick. One just has to discover what it is. Ms Molly plays “fetch” with balls of paper (all the time behaving like a dog.)

  209. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    I see Public Enemy #1 is up to no good over on Episode CCCL. To counter this danger to Public Safety ™, I am going to up the anté.

    New code: ☔ ☠ ⚠⚡ ⟿ ϴω∫ #♳

    Impenetrable … Mwahahahaha!

  210. John Morales says

    Where are the trolls?

    (I’m in the mood for some bashing, and none are at hand :| )

  211. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ John Morales

    Where are the trolls?

    We are having a long dry season here. I hope we don’t get pulled from the web for lack of performance .

    If mohammed won’t come to the mountain, the mountain can always come to mohammad: Link to thinkingxtiandotnet

  212. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ John Morales

    I would not think you would be interested in posting “inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages”. They do however post about Pharyngula and therefore one should feel free to comment appropriately.


    Examples could be multiplied endlessly (think Pharyngula, for example). There is no semblance of reasoned discourse, no real engagement with others’ ideas, no invitation to real dialogue.

    (The above from an OP from a William Lane Craig acolyte no less: Tom Gilson)

  213. ogremeister says

    @theophontes: pussyllanimous caterwailing, akin to felineous assault on one’s ears.

  214. Manu of Deche says

    Initially I wanted to post my introduction into TET, but since there’s an ongoing discussion that I didn’t want to interrupt/derail, I’ll post it here instead.

    Hi, my ‘nym’s Manu of Deche, and I have been a long time lurker on Pharyngula (as best as I can remember, I first visited Pharyngula on SB around 2008 or early 2009). I’m from Germany, I’m mid-thirties, cis male, atheist for at least 15 years, I have a few years of studies at a university under my belt (unfortunately without a degree).
    The reason I decided to unlurk was the fact that I could not stand reading the mindless drivel of MRAs, PUAs, and all the other entitled assholes any longer without voicing my dissent, as well as trying to make up for the fact that I used to be one of those disgusting priviliged Menz™ myself. Pharyngula and its frequent commenters did a great deal in opening my eyes and shifting my view to a point where I can say:
    I’m a recovering asshole, but I’m trying hard to become the feminist I want to be.
    So, thanks to y’all, feel free to ask any questions, and just continue being awesome!

  215. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Hi there, Manu of Deche. Thanks for delurking. Welcome.

  216. StevoR says

    @other threads #197. johnfreethinker asked on 17th July 2012 at 5:41 pm on the ‘Navy has a nasty worm’ thread and was redirected here:

    Again, if my life (or consciousness) ends at death, where is hope?

    Hope is where ever you find it.

    It depends on what hopes an individual has or makes for themselves.

    For myself in no particular order :

    I hope I make life better rather than worse by my presence in it.

    I hope to see the Curiosity rover land safely and smoothly on Mars joining the Opportunity rover which will hopefully still be running after eight years and over three thousand Sols (Martian days) of roaming the rusted sands of the red planet.

    I hope to see the New Horizon’s spaceprobe hopefully return some amazing images of my favourite planet Pluto and its many moons (five now!) in 2015. Thinking Pluto I hope the IAU corrects its error and restores Pluto’s official planetary status ASAP.

    I hope my supply of beer lasts for a while longer.

    I hope my brother’s daughter grows up in a better world than it seems we’re likely to give her.

    I hope for an awful lot of things.

    I know I’m going to die and there’s probably, heck, almost certainly, no god, goddess or gods. Probably no afterlife.

    So I try to be a good person and enjoy life anyhow. Because there’s nothing we can do about those facts anyway.

    I try to err on the side of kindness and giving the benefit of doubt knowing that as a fallible human I am going to err at times.

    I live in the moment trying to enjoy life and make it better not worse for those around me because, hell, why not? Because I have empathy and respect for others and hope others do too.

    I hope to learn and understand and enjoy and be happy and I even frequently manage to succeed in these goals. You can & hopefully will too.

    Despite the fact that I know you are quite likely a lying troll as some here have accused you of being and who may already have been banned from here but I hope you read and appreciate this gift of an answer to you anyhow. I hope it’s what you wanted because I think it’s what you asked for. My honest answer. I hope others will appreciate it even if you don’t.

    I hope for a lot of things and I try to do the right thing, afterlife or not. As the saying goes; everyone should believe in something – I believe I’ll have another beer!

    I hope, johnfreethinker, that your sob story told here isn’t true and that if it is you get better because nobody deserves depression. I wish you the best.

    I hope this helps. (& the fucking computer actually flippin’ posts it this time! )

    Best regards, StevoR.

  217. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    StevoR,

    I hope I make life better rather than worse by my presence in it.

    I doubt it.

    I try to err on the side of kindness and giving the benefit of doubt knowing that as a fallible human I am going to err at times.

    Where “kindness” equals genocide.

  218. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    I hope the IAU corrects its error and restores Pluto’s official planetary status

    Nah. What should we do with Eris in that case?

  219. Manu of Deche says

    Hi ixchel, Cipher, and Caine. Thanks again for the welcome. Worst part of actually posting is

    learning

    all the html tags without fucking screwing them up.

  220. Manu of Deche says

    Second worst part is missing all the welcoming words from chigau and nigelTheBold (must remember to reload page before posting).
    Oh, and I’m perfectly fine if you just call me manu (capitalization optional), since Manu of Deche seems a bit unwieldy.

  221. Owlmirror says

    for i in 1 2 3 4 ; do cat /dev/urandom |tr -dc A-Z |dd bs=1 count=4 2> /dev/null ;echo ; done


    H L O W
    R G S G
    C X A N
    X D R B

    </BoggleNerdSniping>

  222. says

    theo harkened:

    We are having a long dry season here. I hope we don’t get pulled from the web for lack of performance .

    If mohammed won’t come to the mountain, the mountain can always come to mohammad: Link to thinkingxtiandotnet

    That took about 30 seconds to dispense with, you fucking internet atheist you!

    theophontes (??)
    (The above from an OP from a William Lane Craig acolyte no less: Tom Gilson)

    Didn’t we just get rid of one of those? John Loftus?

  223. athyco says

    Aggggg! A Boggle trap! Resistance is futile.

    low(s), glow(s), drag(s), brag(s), log(s), bang(s), ban(s), rag(s), gag(s), glog(s), nag(s), sad, gad, gab, slow, garb, bard, ran, sang, rang, brad, slog, gas

    I’d probably only get points for glog(s). Most everything else is pretty straightforward and would be duplicated.

  224. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    $ gawk ' BEGIN{FS=""; i=0; j=4} { for (k=1;k<=NF;k++) { if ($k~/[A-Z]/) { i++; printf $k " "; if (i%j==0) print " "; if (i>=j*j) exit; } } } ' /dev/urandom

    X I Z Z
    R E Z O
    G W H C
    W P I T

    </poser>

  225. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    I hope to see the New Horizon’s spaceprobe hopefully return some amazing images of my favourite planet Pluto and its many moons (five now!) in 2015. Thinking Pluto I hope the IAU corrects its error and restores Pluto’s official planetary status ASAP.

    So you want a definition that excludes Mercury and Venus?

  226. Owlmirror says

    Witch. With. Wit. Whit. Itch. Hit. Pit. Tip. Pith. Pitch. Pitcher. Grew. Ocher. Thew. Erg. Hip. Chip. Chit. Whip. Ire. Their. Heir. Weir. Who. Hew. Chew. Rex. Wither.

    Is Vietnamese allowed? Pho.

    /probably more.

    A “better” Boggle generator should take into account the physical Boggle cubes (and their respective letter frequencies). Create a 16×6 array; select one of the 16 rows (and remove the row from being chosen again); choose one of the 6 entries in the row. If entry is “Q”, print “Qu”.

    /thinking out loud.

  227. cm's changeable moniker says

    gawk

    Now you’re talking my language!

    Although:


    ~$ perl -e 'srand(time() ^ $$) and do {printf "%s\n", join " ", map {chr 65 + int rand 26} qw(J A P H) for 0..3}'
    M H R C
    E W B G
    A V H F
    T H O T

    (I’m off to write a driver for /dev/boggle.)

  228. Tethys says

    Manu

    Welcome to TZT. Feel free to post to TET, I don’t think it is possible to derail the endless thread.

    Theo

    Where is the cake?

    My Nana used to make the most amazing kuchen. It’s not cake, more like pastry with fruit and custard.

  229. Owlmirror says

    D’oh.


    apt-get install bsdgames

    boggle

    +---+---+---+---+
    | P | E | Qu| U |
    +---+---+---+---+
    | E | I | B | F |
    +---+---+---+---+
    | A | I | R | V |
    +---+---+---+---+
    | A | D | S | G |
    +---+---+---+---+

  230. Manu of Deche says

    @theophontes
    Thanks, but since I assume you wanted to say “We have cookies” in German, the best translation would be “Wir haben Kekse”

    @Tethys: Well, I would call most of what is eaten here as Kuchen a cake instead of a pie. Fruit pies are usually considered a subset of Kuchen, i.e. you can call it just that or be more concise and call it gedeckter Kuchen (roughly translates to something like ‘covered cake’). The savory versions of pies are virtually unknown in Germany (which is pretty sad).

  231. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Fascinating. When I wrote my previous comment, I had no idea there was a game named Boggle. I was just trying to write an alternative way to generate a square matrix of letters. I’m quite glad that I didn’t post a combination that contained no vowels.

    Also: Hi, Manu.

  232. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Manu

    “We have cookies”—> Kekse

    Of course! (I am very rusty.) I actually wanted to write Feinernurnbergeroblatenlebkuchen but forgot how to spell it.

    (Feine Nurnberger Oblaten-Lebkuchen!)

    @ nigelTheBold

    apt-get install bsdgames

    Yeah. I loves me some Debian.

    FIFY:

    sudo apt-get install bsdgames

    Yeah. I loves me some Debian Gnu-Linux.

  233. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Politburo
    .… . .-.. .-.. — .–. — .-.. .. – -… ..- .-. — — ..- .-. -. . .– -.-. — -.. . -.-. .- -. -… . .- – — .– .-.. — .. .-. .-. — .-.

  234. Owlmirror says

    ... .. .-.. .-.. -.-- .--. --- .-.. .. - -... ..- .-. --- ... - --- .--. -.-- --- ..- .- .-. . -.. --- .. -. --. .. - .-- .-. --- -. --. ... - --- .--. -... .-- .- .... .- .... .- .... .- . -..- -.-. .-.. .- -- .- - .. --- -.

  235. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    My weasel still does not acknowledge your feeds.

  236. chigau (女性) says

    What was that thing they used to say in National Lampoon….
    Oh yeah
    Bite my crank.
    (I don’t remember waht it means but it sounds rude)

  237. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ rorschach

    Knoppix

    Hey, aren’t you now a fully fledged antipodean? You should be running on Puppy.

  238. says

    Hey, aren’t you now a fully fledged antipodean? You should be running on Puppy.

    GOD, my dear fellow, obviously writes code in German.

  239. Manu of Deche says

    GOD, my dear fellow, obviously writes code in German.

    German: The only programming language less intelligible than brainfuck.

  240. joey says

    owlmirror:

    Please excuse the late responses and drive-bys. It has been pretty hectic on this end.

    I see where you’re going. If I can have chosen to have chosen differently, then that means I can have chosen to have chosen to have chosen differently, etc.

    Good. That’s the regress.

    It’s a regress, but I don’t think it’s the regress originally talked about by lipstick.

    So I suspect that even if you invoke dualism, it might be possible to show that the infinite regress of choice must necessarily diverge on infinity (and cannot converge on a finite amount, as with motion), and therefore free will — defined as “the ability to have chosen otherwise” — is logically impossible.

    I don’t think it’s “necessary” at all that choice regresses to infinity. There comes a point where any further regress is simply redundant, and hence unnecessary.

    Let’s say I come upon a choice of either A or B. You claim the ability to choose either A or B entails that I can choose to choose either A or B. But let’s stop there before we regress any further and explore all the outcomes to this first regress.

    If I do choose to choose either A or B, then that simply means I go forward and make the choice of either A or B.

    If I do not choose to choose either A or B, then that means I don’t make the choice of either A or B. IOW, I choose neither A or B.

    So haven’t I already exhausted all possible outcomes of the initial choice? I can choose A, or I can choose B, or I can choose not to make the choice. Are there any other possible outcomes? Is there a need to regress another stage back to uncover another possible path? No. Any further regress would be redundant, and thus unnecessary.

    So I disagree that the regress of choice “must necessarily” diverge to infinity. It’s not necessary.

  241. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    The simple fact is that we do value certain things and have certain goals in mind. I don’t think that’s in dispute, except perhaps in the sense that you’re picking things like rivers which are often morally neutral. Often we don’t need to value rivers at all, or more than streams or forests, etc.; but sometimes we do value them or have certain goals in reference to them. To be clear, they don’t have values or goals or purposes; we (and perhaps other sentient beings) make those, hopefully by being reasonable and fact-based about it. I would claim there is a fact of the matter about what is effective at achieving a particular goal (whatever that goal may be), and that effectiveness is something we value.

    But wouldn’t you argue that these values or goals or purposes that we may have are all subjective?

  242. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ joey

    So I disagree that the regress of choice “must necessarily” diverge to infinity. It’s not necessary.

    GAWD ™ *poof*ed us all into existence a mere second ago . I don’t see the problem.

  243. says

    theophontes:

    Yeah. I loves me some Debian Gnu-Linux.

    Yes, that is also true.

    But I especially love GNU/Linux in its Debian form. I really don’t like managing GNU/Linux systems in, say, Gentoo form.

    Also, too: EMACS!

    /nigel stands back to watch the ensuing flame war

  244. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ nigelTheBold

    theophontes@theophontes:~$ gksudo gedit suppressdissent.config

  245. cm's changeable moniker says

    Owlmirror, Public Enemy #1:

    A “better” Boggle generator should […]

    At your service!

    perl -e '
    use List::Utils 'shuffle';
    @a = map {(split //)[rand 6]} shuffle qw(
    AAEEGN ELRTTY AOOTTW ABBJOO
    EHRTVW CIMOTV DISTTY EIOSST
    DELRVY ACHOPS HIMNQU EEINSU
    EEGHNW AFFKPS HLNNRZ DEILRX
    ); # see: http://tinyurl.com/85lbfar
    while (@a) {printf "%s\n", join " ", splice @a, 0, 4;}
    '

  246. Owlmirror says

    I don’t think it’s “necessary” at all that choice regresses to infinity. There comes a point where any further regress is simply redundant, and hence unnecessary.

    Oh, I agree, in general — but now the problem is, if you at any point give up the regression, you give up the free will.

    Your meta-level analysis is correct, but talking about how it’s “redundant” or “unnecessary” is beside the point. It still means that you are choosing to not-choose anymore than the level of regression that you’ve stopped at. But once you’ve chosen to not-choose, you cannot have chosen to have chosen other than that.

    Or in other words: You cannot have chosen otherwise than to end the regression.

    So, no free will.

    So I disagree that the regress of choice “must necessarily” diverge to infinity. It’s not necessary.

    It isn’t necessary if there is no free will.

  247. cm's changeable moniker says

    In addition to finding out that I absolutely suck at Boggle (which I’d never played before; curse you Owlmirror and your sudo apt-get install bsdgames), I did spend a bit of time today looking at a boat.

    Not just any boat, though: it was disgruntled Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen’s boat superyacht ocean-liner floating city.

    It’s …

    … it’s enormous. :-/

  248. Owlmirror says

    curse you Owlmirror and your sudo apt-get install bsdgames)

    -... .-- .- .... .- .... .- .... .- .... .- . .-.. .-.. .. .--. ... .. ... . .-.. .-.. .. .--. ... .. ... .. - .- .-.. .. -.-. . -..- -.-. .-.. .- -- .- - .. --- -. . -..- -.-. .-.. .- -- .- - .. --- -.

  249. joey says

    owlmirror:

    Or in other words: You cannot have chosen otherwise than to end the regression.

    So, no free will.

    It isn’t necessary if there is no free will.

    So are you suggesting that the mind must consider every single choice that could ever possibly be imagined at every single moment in time in order to have free will? That I must constantly decide whether to sing the national anthem backwards in Greek standing on one leg while rubbing my belly (or not) every femtosecond of my life, while simultaneously deciding on an infinite number of other conceivable choices, in order for my mind to have free will?

  250. Owlmirror says

    So are you suggesting that the mind must consider every single choice that could ever possibly be imagined at every single moment in time in order to have free will?

    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.

    That I must constantly decide whether to sing the national anthem backwards in Greek standing on one leg while rubbing my belly (or not) every femtosecond of my life, while simultaneously deciding on an infinite number of other conceivable choices, in order for my mind to have free will?

    Is it not the case that you would find the actions you give as an example to be tedious or uninteresting or annoying or difficult, or even impossible (can you speak Greek forwards, let alone backwards?), or all of the above, or some other negative, that would influence you to not choose to perform them?

    Did you freely choose to feel that negative emotion (or those negative emotions) towards those actions?

    Note that if you can’t speak Greek at all (or sing, or stand on one leg), the action is physically impossible. It’s logically impossible for free will to magically “let” you do the physically impossible — can you freely choose to fly to the moon by flapping your arms?

    Although I suppose it’s perfectly possible that you could learn the syllables and notes of the anthem in backward Greek. But the fact that you don’t already know it, and would have to make the effort to learn, would be yet another factor that you haven’t chosen that would influence your choice to perhaps do it in the future.

  251. Owlmirror says

    Actually, I want to respond to the questions again.

    So are you suggesting that the mind must consider every single choice that could ever possibly be imagined at every single moment in time in order to have free will?

    The example that you gave was between A, B, and “no choice”. It could even have been an example of A and no-choice (not-A).

    I’m actually not sure where you’re getting “every single choice that could ever possibly be imagined at every single moment in time”, from what I wrote.

    That I must constantly decide whether to sing the national anthem backwards in Greek standing on one leg while rubbing my belly (or not) every femtosecond of my life, while simultaneously deciding on an infinite number of other conceivable choices, in order for my mind to have free will?

    Looking at this, I’m not sure I understood what you meant. It certainly looks like you didn’t understand what I meant.

  252. John Morales says

    Bah.

    Again: freedom of will either means one’s choices are free from coercion, or means nothing.

    (Yes, there are other senses of it, but they’re stupid)

  253. StevoR says

    @338. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says:

    I hope to see the New Horizon’s spaceprobe hopefully return some amazing images of my favourite planet Pluto and its many moons (five now!) in 2015. Thinking Pluto I hope the IAU corrects its error and restores Pluto’s official planetary status ASAP.” – StevoR
    So you want a definition that excludes Mercury and Venus?

    No, just one that includes Pluto ..

    @327. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa :

    “I hope the IAU corrects its error and restores Pluto’s official planetary status.” – StevoR
    Nah. What should we do with Eris in that case?

    .. and Eris and the other ice dwarfs such as Sedna and Haumea too.

    There’s a few alternative definitions that would do this including the original proposal that the IAU meeting unexpectedly changed at the last minute, one by ken Croswelland my own favourite which is close to the original idea where a planet is simply a round(ish) by own gravity, non-luminous by core nuclear fusion, non-moon object.

    Or we could pick an arbitrary size mass cut off at say the Ceres or Vesta size / mass or something much as we separate hills and mountains.

  254. consciousness razor says

    Looking at this, I’m not sure I understood what you meant. It certainly looks like you didn’t understand what I meant.

    Yeah, I guess joey thought the choices were supposed to be infinite “laterally” rather than “vertically,” so to speak. The question is whether you can choose whether to have any choice A, as well as choose to choose to choose A, and choose to choose to choose to choose A, etc. ad infinitum. We’re not worried about lots of other possible choices (B … ∞) which didn’t cause A, because we’re trying to track what causes any given choice, not what all the other possible choices are.

    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. It’s not choices or turtles all the way down. It may, however, be brontosauruses.

  255. StevoR says

    @326. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says:
    19 July 2012 at 1:35 pm

    StevoR, “I hope I make life better rather than worse by my presence in it.”
    I doubt it.

    Your perogative of course.

    You don’t know me though. Obviously I disagree with your asessment.

    [StevoR :] “I try to err on the side of kindness and giving the benefit of doubt knowing that as a fallible human I am going to err at times.”
    Where “kindness” equals genocide.

    No. I strongly oppose genocide actually so you seem to be under some misapprehension.

    Are you perhaps thinking that doing whatever it takes to stop genocide is the same thing as genocide itself? It isn’t.

  256. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    No, just one that includes Pluto

    Then why bring up moons?

  257. 'Tis Himself says

    I’m fascinated by those people who think that changing the definition of a planet is somehow demeaning to Pluto, as if an inanimate object could have feelings and is paying attention to what the inhabitants of a planet about 40 AU away are saying about it. Regardless of the label put on Pluto, it will continue to exist* and have the same characteristics it presently has.

    *Assuming the proton decay theory is correct, Pluto will be no more in a mere 10^40 years. However, if proton decay does not happen, then Pluto will likely be absorbed by a black hole sometime before 10^65 years and that black hole will evaporate by 10^200 years. So you Pluto aficionados can kiss your favorite ex-planet goodbye sometime in the incredibly distant future.

  258. consciousness razor says

    Are you perhaps thinking that doing whatever it takes to stop genocide is the same thing as genocide itself? It isn’t.

    It is if “doing whatever it takes” means genocide. Before you tell us about the right way to kill Muslims and how that totally wouldn’t be genocide, do remember how you failed miserably at understanding what bigotry is? It’s kind of like that.

  259. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are you perhaps thinking that doing whatever it takes to stop genocide is the same thing as genocide itself? It isn’t.

    If wiping out a religion in nuclear blasts is how that is carried out, it is genocide. Any fool knows that. Which means you are less intelligent than a fool as far as recognizing your own bigotry goes. What a paranoid bigoted loser.

  260. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Again: freedom of will either means one’s choices are free from coercion, or means nothing.

    And if every wannabe compatibilist understood and admitted that for any particular choice a person made, it was impossible for them to have chosen to choose differently than they did, then we could skip the infinite regress and just talk about how to keep your social disease from spreading.

    (Yes, there are other senses of it, but they’re stupid)

    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.

  261. consciousness razor says

    So you Pluto aficionados can kiss your favorite ex-planet goodbye sometime in the incredibly distant future.

    Don’t panic, everyone. You’ll get to hang out with Pluto for eternity in heaven, but even then it will be a minor planet.

  262. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    StevoR, genocidal bigot,

    You don’t know me though.

    Wrong.

    I do know who you are, qua StevoR, and StevoR is a genocidal bigot.

    Right now you’re reminding me of those people who say “don’t you judge me! only God can judge me!” Well, since there is no God, we as a society are stuck with figuring out morality on our own and deciding who comes satisfactorally close to it.

    You’re not the only one who gets to make decisions about you. Everybody does. Welcome to the world! It’s a big and scary place, I know.

    Everybody who encounters you needs to make decisions about who you are, for the sake of their own ability to navigate the world safely.

    We are all therefore entitled to judge you. If you want to not be known as a genocidal bigot, stop signaling that you are a genocidal bigot.

    Obviously I disagree with your asessment.

    Yeah but I’m a better judge of people, since I’m less prejudiced than you.

    No. I strongly oppose genocide actually so you seem to be under some misapprehension. Are you perhaps thinking that doing whatever it takes to stop genocide is the same thing as genocide itself? It isn’t.

    Don’t lie. You’re on record as advocating genocide.

    Now you want to claim that you’re only advocating one genocide to prevent another. This is not true, since you have no reason to think that you’d be preventing any genocide.

    But, pretending for the sake of argument that you understood what you’re talking about, advocating one genocide to prevent another genocide would still mean advocating genocide.

    You fucking genocidal piece of shit.

  263. Ogvorbis says

    Are you perhaps thinking that doing whatever it takes to stop genocide is the same thing as genocide itself?

    You lobby for genocide now against the ‘other’ in order to prevent the chance of a future genocide agains your in-group. So, the way you argue, yes, it is the same thing.

  264. Vilém Saptar says

    consciousness razor,
    (Meta : I am no scientist or philosopher or even, that well read in either science or philosophy. So all this pontificating from me about what science is and what objectivity is, is starting to overrun my credibility as a non-crank commenter a little and making me feel all flakey. So take all I say with this, ahem, disclaimer. Also looong post, in three parts. I’d say “Enjoy!”, but it’s probably more like boredom by text walls.)
     

    I haven’t given you a reason, that’s true, but this is a problem of getting people to agree on specific normative claims, which applies to any and every ethical theory. I was trying to talk about ethics in general, as a metaphysical and epistemological issue, without getting bogged down with the details of facts or criteria in some particular case or another.

    Uh, I may be wrong here, but I was under the impression that we were talking about ethics earlier, but then later, the discussion shifted to how non-ethical “good”s and “bad”s were objective facts just like scientific facts.
    You said :

    I don’t think he’d say those are moral goods but those are types of goodness. As I understand it, he’d want to use “good” (or other evaluative terms) in this functional sense in all sorts of different contexts, while at the same time distinguishing between those which are and are not morally relevant.

    and

    Sure, but this would also apply to science (or mathematics, etc.) whether or not you’d call those “objective.” Those imply the existence of minds like ours as well. We can say we have this empirical evidence to support a theory, that it explains this phenomena which we experience and which we think needs explanation, that we think it makes these predictions of other phenomena we would also be able to experience, etc. But we are the ones doing science, not the universe itself.

    which, to me, sounds like you’re saying effectiveness judgments (and by implication non-ethical values) are objective in the same sense as scientific descriptions of the world.

    (If this sounds like I’m quotemining by missing something that you said, besides what I’ve quoted, which was relevant and gave clearer context to what was being actually said, please tell me)
     

    This would be like us having a conversation where I made some general claims about the nature of political ‘science’ and how it could be studied, then you replied with “I don’t know of any reason why I should vote for Obama rather than Romney” (for a U.S. example). I could give you reasons and perhaps convince you, but that’s a different conversation than talking about in what sense politics exists or how political statements (any of them, for or against Obama, for example) could or should be interpreted.

    Maybe you were talking about things like “the nature of political ‘science’ and how it could be studied”. But in the course of doing that you were also making a rather specific claim, like, “x is a good President” is an objective fact just like a scientific fact. (And I’m assuming that you would say “in a non-political sense of good President”, though that seems a nearly impossible kind of criterion, but lets leave that aside and consider seemingly non-political criteria such as showing up to work everyday, appointing Supreme Court justices etc.)

    And I said something like, when you say “good President” you’ve already smuggled in values and goals along with that judgment since in scientific descriptions, we don’t start with definitions of what a “good” x must be or for that matter talk about “good” or “bad” ‘x’s. And therefore any such judgments would only be objective w.r.t to the values and goals that you’ve already decided are worth considering. If these goals and values are the same goals and values that underpin scientific statements, then you’d probably not be talking about good and bad.

    As an easier example, consider a rocket engine that was being developed for launching rovers to Mars. Now suppose, the first batch of these engines failed 8 out of 10 times during test runs. Now, saying “the failure rate is 80%” is a scientific fact and whatever values underpin that statement(i.e logic, reason, empiricism, etc.) are not the same values which underpin a statement like “the first batch of engines is a bad rocket engine”.

    The values that underpin that second statement are something over and above the values that underpin the first statement, i.e whatever purpose, you, the person making the statement is interested in. Making an effectiveness judgment immediately begs questions like good or bad for whom and good or bad for what.

  265. Vilém Saptar says

    Part Two:
    ———-
    As a related aside, I’d also like to try and understand clearly, what we mean by saying something is “good” or “bad”, in a non-moral sense. To me it appears, there’re two ways in which we use these words non-morally:
    1) We use good, in the real sense, that is to say something is especially proficient or especially able at being or doing something, in a higher degree than normal.
     
    (Like when you say “x is a good driver” as opposed to an average driver, here the subject does not only meet all the essential criteria to belong in that particular category, driver, but also fulfils some non-essential criteria that are valued by the judger, maybe something like being especially good with the transmission and steering or especially good at driving fast or driving safe or navigating traffic and so on. And depending on who you ask, you’d get differing descriptions of who a good driver is, depending on what they valued and in what order.)

    2) And a second way of using good, is simply as a synonym for saying that something is proficient or able at something, in a normal degree, like, saying “x is a good driver” to mean x meets all the criteria to belong in the category of driver.
     
    If you say “x is a good y”, you can mean it in one of these ways. If you mean it in the first way, the real sense, it’s a subjective valuing of some non-essential properties by the judger and that statement would not be objective, obviously. And if you mean to use it in the second sense, it’s merely another way of saying “x is a y”. Its a commonly used way of stating a fact, and not a value judgment, such that strictly speaking, the use of “good” in this way is superfluous.

    And similarly for all “x is good at y” statements. If you’re using statements such as “x is good at y”, (for example in the case of rocket engines, “x is good at getting to Mars”) in the first, real sense, they are not objective either. And if you simply mean to say “x gets you to Mars”, that’d be objective, but the good qualifier would be redundant.

    Further, for any statement of the first kind, even if there existed a normative set of values, that are automatically understood to be under consideration whenever a “good” qualifier is used, it would only be an objective fact that normative values exist for that category, but the values themselves would still be normative.

  266. Vilém Saptar says

    Part Three:
    ——-

    The simple fact is that we do value certain things and have certain goals in mind. I don’t think that’s in dispute, except perhaps in the sense that you’re picking things like rivers which are often morally neutral. Often we don’t need to value rivers at all, or more than streams or forests, etc.; but sometimes we do value them or have certain goals in reference to them. To be clear, they don’t have values or goals or purposes; we (and perhaps other sentient beings) make those, hopefully by being reasonable and fact-based about it. I would claim there is a fact of the matter about what is effective at achieving a particular goal (whatever that goal may be), and that effectiveness is something we value.

    This is what I’ve been trying to get at, more or less. That, scientific facts are underpinned by values which are most suited to describe the world as objectively as possible, and abandon values which are not essential to that goal and values which get in the way to that goal. This is, to my mind, scientific objectivity. Where as effectiveness judgments are underpinned by values which are purposed toward something other than purely a description of the world; mostly prescriptions of what something ought to be, for us, minds, to achieve some goal.

    To be clear “describing the world as objectively as possible” is also a goal set up by a mind, but it is a more basic and more “objective”(I dunno how else to put it) goal than other goals which are underpinned by other values. Or even if you say all these goals are equally basic, they’d still not be the same goals and therefore, not be underpinned by the same values.

    Whatever differences there may be, I don’t see how that’s a difference in objectivity. We need minds with values to judge whether something we think is a fact is true or whether theories explain phenomena. But do you think there isn’t a fact about what is or isn’t effective? If so, then what does it mean to say something is effective? That’s not intended to be a factual statement? ;)

    Saying something is effective is a factual statement only within the ambit of values which the judger has set up for themself, which are not strictly congruent with values that you’d use to describe the world. And like you said, effectiveness judgments can only apply to things toward which we have puposes and goals.

    So, like Fincke, if you said something like “x is a good river” because “x” does what rivers do, then that “good” qualifier is unnecessary and superfluous, since all rivers are “good” rivers, since by definition all rivers do what rivers do, otherwise they’d not be rivers. And note also, on this account, there are no “bad” rivers.
    And, if you said “x is a good river at carving valleys” and “y is a bad river at carving valleys”, that’d be objective in the scientific sense if “good” is used as a euphemism for “is able to” and bad as euphemism for “not able to”. Otherwise, if you used good and bad in their real sense, it’d have to be a subjective value judgment about what kind of valleys you want carved.

  267. Vilém Saptar says

    Also, hi to Manu of Deche!
     
    theophontes, Public Enemy # 1, Phalacrocorax, cm’s changeable moniker, whats TZT now? Some kind of programming messageboard?
     
    chigau,
    Who’s that?

  268. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Who’s that?

    jacklewis is just another loudmouthed MRA bully. Lots of noise and attitude, zero backing up what it pontificates wrongly on. PZ told it TZT or the banhammer.

  269. Vilém Saptar says

    Nerd of Redhead,

    jacklewis is just another loudmouthed MRA bully.

    Nuf said.

  270. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Vilém Saptar

    Wut? You mean you don’t have angry mobs baying for your blood in real life? (Try harder!)

  271. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    On Daisy Cutter’s lies:

    ++++
    It would be fucked up! and offensive!

    if Marcotte said hipsters were an oppressed class of people!

    Let’s all laugh at Marcotte defending hipsters. Cool, no problem, sounds like a great time will be had by all.

    But it’s some underhanded shit to claim she called it “oppression”.

  272. jacklewis says

    @PZ
    “Jacklewis: You are confined to TZT. Posting in any other thread will get you banned.”

    Would you mind at least giving me a specific comment that you feel is worthy of such an action? This would seem a reasonable request…

    Here are some that I would think would probably deserve this sort of treatment but are tolerated because of some double standard, or something of the sort (and these are just from one single article)

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/20/monstrous/comment-page-1/#comment-405484
    Comment #484
    #474 is extremely silly, as a simple look up of any definition of insanity will quickly reveal. (the first two sentences of Wikipedia’s will do)

    #433 is pretty idiotic as well.
    #423 is quite knee jerkish.
    #407 is also a doozy, 383, 389….

  273. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Eris and the other ice dwarfs such as Sedna and Haumea too.

    Yeah, but Eris is the main cause of discord.

    one by ken Croswelland my own favourite

    Funnily enough, for a moment I thought the astronomer’s name was really “Ken Croswelland”. I couldn’t immediately find Crosswell’s definition of planet in his website, but there lots of things there and it’ll take me some time to check them all.

    +++

    No. I strongly oppose genocide actually so you seem to be under some misapprehension.

    Are you perhaps thinking that doing whatever it takes to stop genocide is the same thing as genocide itself? It isn’t.

    I guess the answer to the question of whether we can agree on the meaning of genocide is “no”. 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.

  274. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Also hilarious:

    policing other people’s comments

    If I’m “policing” Ms. Daisy Cutter’s comments,

    then how is Cutter not “policing” Marcotte’s blog posts?

  275. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I know this is ill-advised but I’m going to ask anyway: is there some continuation of a previous conversation going on here, or did that exchange actually escalate from “Marcotte said hipsters are oppressed” to “goddamn you’re such a fucking liar” to “policing other people’s comments like the wannabe Red Army soldier you are”?

  276. cm's changeable moniker says

    ixchel, despite Ms DC’s tendency to say passionate but dumb stuff, I’m going to have to second Caine here, and say it would probably help if you’d lead with “wrong” instead of coming out with “lying” right off the bat. /forwhatitsworth

    jacklewis, even a cursory Google suggests you’re highly effective at derailing/trolling. That suggests it’s a pre-emptive confinement, since trolling is bannable, of course.

    as a simple look up of any definition of insanity will quickly reveal. (the first two sentences of Wikipedia’s will do)

    No, they won’t, as the third and fourth sentences explain.

  277. jonmilne says

    So, Dark Knight Rises. Would it be inappropriate to discuss the actual movie here in light of the recent tragic events, or is ok to do so? And if we are allowed to discuss the movie, is it ok to have spoilers in our comments? I figured I’d better check in case I got in trouble. :)

  278. hotshoe says

    “Jacklewis: You are confined to TZT. Posting in any other thread will get you banned.”

    Would you mind at least giving me a specific comment that you feel is worthy of such an action? This would seem a reasonable request…

    Here are some that I would think would probably deserve this sort of treatment but are tolerated because of some double standard, or something of the sort (and these are just from one single article)

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/07/20/monstrous/comment-page-1/#comment-405484
    Comment #484
    #474 is extremely silly, as a simple look up of any definition of insanity will quickly reveal. (the first two sentences of Wikipedia’s will do)

    #433 is pretty idiotic as well.
    #423 is quite knee jerkish.
    #407 is also a doozy, 383, 389….

    LET”S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF JACKLEWIS” COMPLAINTS:

    [#484. Setar reply]

    I’ve read most of this thread and still don’t see where is the evidence that this guy did not have mental issues god does not exist

    NEXT.

    Jacklewis, what’s your problem with Setar’s reply ???

    [474, Jadehawk reply]

    just an insane murderer.

    why the fuck are you commenting on a thread without having read at least some of the preceding comments? for the x-th time: what he did was not “insane”, by any definition of the word.

    And … let’s take a look at wikipedia’s first paragraph on insanity

    Insanity, craziness or madness is a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioral patterns. Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including a person becoming a danger to themselves or others, though not all such acts are considered insanity. In modern usage insanity is most commonly encountered as an informal unscientific term denoting mental instability, or in the narrow legal context of the insanity defense. In the medical profession the term is now avoided in favor of diagnoses of specific mental disorders; the presence of delusions or hallucinations is broadly referred to as psychosis.[1] When discussing mental illness in general terms, “psychopathology” is considered a preferred descriptor.[2]

    Right, jacklewis. Wikipedia proves Jadehawk right, not you. Don’t use the word “insane” unless you want to be unscientific. And unless you want to be an asshole, as explained every time it comes up in a thread like this.

    [433, Ing reply]

    There is something different about people who commit crimes like this. I’m not sure what it is but they can’t be ordinary because then this wouldn’t be news, it would be normality.

    Oh FFS, just shut the fuck up.

    Jacklewis, what’s your problem with Ing’s reply ???

    [423, Caine reply]kreativekaos:

    I don’t know if it has been corrected by anyone,/

    Why don’t you try reading a thread first? That way, you’ll be spared the embarrassment of saying stupid shit like that.

    Jesus fuck, jacklewis, who died and made you Net Nanny that you should be entitled to complain about what Caine said to kreativekaos ???

    Oh, I get it. You just want to Tu Quoque Sure, go ahead, complain that you shouldn’t be “confined to TZT” unless all the bad, bad, mean, silly, idiotic, knee-jerkish regular ommenters are forced to join you.

    Hee hee.

    Mommy, mommy, the bad old PZ isn’t playing fair. Double standards! I’ve got rights! Give me my free speech! Mommy, make the mean kids play nice!!!!!!

  279. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    So, Dark Knight Rises. Would it be inappropriate to discuss the actual movie here in light of the recent tragic events, or is ok to do so? And if we are allowed to discuss the movie, is it ok to have spoilers in our comments? I figured I’d better check in case I got in trouble. :)

    A discussion of it has been going on in TET – use rot13 to discuss spoilers.

  280. Ogvorbis says

    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.

    I’ve gotten into this with StevoR before — wanting to kill all Jews would be genocide (bad thing), wanting to kill all Muslims would not be genocide (good thing) because Islam is not a race, it is a religion.

  281. cm's changeable moniker says

    Vilém Saptar:

    [others and] changeable moniker, whats TZT now? Some kind of programming messageboard?

    Owlmirror, Public Enemy #1 started it with </BoggleNerdSniping>, which now I come to think of it is an unmatched close tag. ;)

    The ObRef is here.

  282. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Cipher, yes, there is. It’s a looooooooong story.

    I think Cipher might be asking about the Marcotte thing specifically. In that case, as far as I remember, the answer is no, no continuation.

    More generally:

    ixchel, despite Ms DC’s tendency to say passionate but dumb stuff, I’m going to have to second Caine here, and say it would probably help if you’d lead with “wrong” instead of coming out with “lying” right off the bat. /forwhatitsworth

    There’s no reason to be pleasant about it. Ms. Daisy Cutter is lying.

    It’s not a matter of relaying secondhand information because she’s got better things to do than try to tell the truth — which would be contemptible intellectual dishonesty at best — she linked directly to the post that she lied about.

    She could read it; she could do a Ctrl-F; she had the facts right there in front of her but the facts weren’t damning enough.

    Moreover, she has done this before, twisting someone’s complaint about a pet peeve into a cry of oppression. It’s a rhetorical tactic.

  283. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Thanks, cm. I manage to fail to notice a lot of ongoing between-regulars feuds – I notice the instances of people being angry at each other or mean to each other, of course, but tend to miss out on patterns, which I’m afraid has probably made me act like an oblivious/insensitive asshole at least a couple of times. I did notice about Ing and Chas! But now they’re being sorta nice to each other and with the occasional sniping.
    …So um… that’s my story, I guess?

    My ex and I used to have a string of memes that we ended awkward/pointless stories with. Some people use “and then I found five dollars” – we had “Subject came back on fire. And then John was a zombie… It was more of a nightmare really.

  284. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I think Cipher might be asking about the Marcotte thing specifically. In that case, as far as I remember, the answer is no, no continuation.

    I was just flailing vaguely at “why did that just happen,” but I didn’t really ask right.

  285. says

    Ixchel:

    There’s no reason to be pleasant about it.

    It’s not a matter of being pleasant, it’s a matter of effective communication. When you start yelling “liar!” at people, they mostly killfile you. Once they do that, they are no longer open to any argument you make. You’re killing off the lines of communication immediately.

    If you feel a point is worth making, then taking the approach of “Hey, that’s not true. [explanation/clarification/links here].” Or “Why are you saying that? It’s wrong. [explanation/clarification/links here].” is more likely to keep the channels of communication open.

  286. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    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.

    Well, “Afghan” may not be a race, but nor is it a religion. Regardless, we can compare this with the UN definition of genocide:

    genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    ( a ) Killing members of the group;

    ( b ) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    ( c ) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    ( d ) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    ( e ) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    which clearly includes the destruction of nationalities and religions.

  287. Ogvorbis says

    Phalacracorax:

    I agree with you.

    I was pointing out why StevoR does not think that espousing the death of all Afganis, or all Muslims, is not genocide. I do not agree with StevoR (whom I consider to be a genocidal bigot).

  288. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I’m not interested in staying out of Ms. Daisy Cutter’s killfile.

  289. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    Ogvorbis,

    I agree with you.

    Yes, I understood that. It’s just trying to move the conversation forward in case StevoR wished to use that sort of argument.

    Sorry if I was not clear.

  290. Phalacrocorax, z Třetího Světa says

    stupid me typed:

    It’s just trying to move the conversation forward in case StevoR wished to use that sort of argument.

    Okay, replace the “It’s” in that sentence with “I was”, and see if it now makes some sense.

  291. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    just clarifying that it’s not a matter of ‘playing nice’.

    Fair point.

  292. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    On the racist 1950s Lorna the Jungle Girl comics in the first printing of Marcotte’s book:

    Here is her apology.

    I agree with Marcotte that “there’s no excuse”, but this is demonstration against the claim that she would never examine her privilege.

  293. jacklewis says

    >> Jacklewis, what’s your problem with Setar’s reply ???
    It’s fine to quote somebody and then change what they said entirely to make some point? Nah that’s really lame argumenting.

    The notion that a guy who goes into a movie theater and starts killing people is not insane is FAR from obvious. So the god thing is pointless and completely irrelevant.
    If you can read the following:
    “Insanity may manifest as violations of societal norms, including a person becoming a danger to themselves or others, though not all such acts are considered insanity.”
    and not consider that maybe it is somewhat relevant to what occured… well I don’t know what to say anymore. It is Ok to keep calling this murderer a coward (while never explaning how cowardice and bravery factor in to such an event) but calling this murderer insane is just self evidently wrong (and you can call anyone who does this an fucking idiot, that’s Ok too)… regardless of the large spectrum of the definition of the term.

    Assuming this guy had problems (can we at least agree on that???). Do you think they were back problems? Problems with his feet? Or maybe something in his head around the brain area?

    >> Jacklewis, what’s your problem with Ing’s reply ???
    Telling people to shut the fuck up is lame. So you haven’t convinced the other side that you are right. Maybe double check your stance. Try argumenting your point some other way. Shut the fuck up accomplishes nothing except making you look like a jerk. Nobody would argue like that in a debate in real society, just
    because this is the internet doesn’t mean we have to act like uncivilised completely emotional and out of control.

    >> Jesus fuck, jacklewis, who died and made you Net Nanny
    Nobody had to die for me not to act like some full of spite bullying asshole all the time. Treating people descently and giving them the benefit of the doubt until they go over the line is just the way I was brought up and I see no reason to change.

    >>Mommy, mommy, the bad old PZ isn’t playing fair. Double standards! I’ve got rights! Give me my free speech! Mommy, make the mean kids play nice!!!
    How old are you anyway? So common decensy is something to make fun of. I think PZ should outright ban me I have nothing in common with this sort of idiocy and it’s probably fairly unhealthy to stay around this kind of dark goo to long.

  294. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    jacklewis, stupid fuck and tone troll,

    Assuming this guy had problems (can we at least agree on that???). Do you think they were back problems? Problems with his feet? Or maybe something in his head around the brain area?

    In times of financial distress, people rob banks because they have money problems.

    Not all problems that lead to a behavior are “mental problems” or “brain problems”.

    http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/tag/violence/

  295. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I just want to emphasize this bit from jacklewis’s comment:

    I think PZ should outright ban me

  296. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    Afghans.

    Inhabitants of Afghanistan are ‘Afghanis’ in the same sense the US citizens are ‘Dollars’.

  297. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Shorter jacklewis: Nobody’s taking my bullshit at face value, and my ego can’t stand being limited because bullshit and arrogance is all I have. Wahahahahahahahahahahahah.

  298. hotshoe says

    >>Mommy, mommy, the bad old PZ isn’t playing fair. Double standards! I’ve got rights! Give me my free speech! Mommy, make the mean kids play nice!!!
    How old are you anyway? So common decensy is something to make fun of. I think PZ should outright ban me I have nothing in common with this sort of idiocy and it’s probably fairly unhealthy to stay around this kind of dark goo to long.

    Damn, you offensively blockquote-failing, RUDE-without-using-bad-werdz, stuck-up little ass.

    Just fucking ban yourself babylewis. To think that PZ should ban you and save you the need to grow some self-restraint, because otherwise you can’t stop yourself from replying here … is nothing like “common decensy” [sic] Decency would be an adult taking responsibility for your own behavior. No one is forcing you to be here. No one is forcing you to look. So, just go away. Close the page. Delete your bookmark to pharyngula. Get a hobby. Whatever it takes to get you away from the “unhealthy, dark goo”. Idiot.

  299. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So, just go away. Close the page. Delete your bookmark to pharyngula.

    QFT.

    No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to post here jacklewis. You make that decision. If the results here aren’t what you expected, stop griping and act to end the problem from your end, like any mature adult would do. It’s called shut the fuck up…

  300. Ogvorbis says

    Afghans.

    Inhabitants of Afghanistan are ‘Afghanis’ in the same sense the US citizens are ‘Dollars’.

    You are absolutely correct and I hang my head in shame.

    Though with recent SCOTUS decisions, US dollars may in fact have the same rights in a political contest as a human.

  301. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    You are absolutely correct and I hang my head in shame.

    Everything I know, I’ve learned from Rachel Maddow.

  302. ChasCPeterson says

    US dollars may in fact have the same rights in a political contest as a human.

    In fact, a plank in this year’s Republican Party platform will call for a Constitutional amendment to ‘one dollar, one vote’.

  303. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Caine,

    No, they do not.

    Really? Because I notice that nobody gave evidence against the claim.

    So I gave the evidence. There’s nothing wrong with doing this.

    If you think you can argue her out of her beliefs, then go fucking do it yourself.

    No thanks. I don’t comment at B&W, and I don’t care whether you convince her in particular. But I do care that people generally become aware that there’s good evidence against the claim.

    Stop this asinine lecturing people, please.

    There is nothing wrong with my #371. Josh misinterpreted it, and decided the whole thing was a personal insult to his intelligence. It was not.

    +++++
    Josh,

    Which is completely transparent to anyone with the coarsest familiarity with ethical prioritization.

    What is this, she’s worse so don’t criticize you? А у вас негров линчуют?

    I don’t care if she’s a neo-Nazi. In that case it would be wrong to correlate her Nazism with “crazy”.

    You really do seem to think that if someone else does something wrong, you should not be criticized for responding in a socially destructive way. Need I point out that is immature reasoning?

    Or one not given to riding hobby horses obsessively.

    Hey, it’s a socially relevant horse, which we should all hope wins. It’s not just my horse.

    Almost like OCD. Yeah, I said it. And I get to, having the condition myself.

    I’m not personally offended, but that’s bad ethical reasoning. If something is socially destructive then it doesn’t become less socially destructive just because you might also be affected by the fallout.

    Know what else? I’ve been calling my daily psych meds my Crazy Pills™ for 20 years. And in public!

    I imagine that helps you personally to navigate society by going for the joke before someone else can.

    Do you have reason to believe that your behavior is helpful to people other than yourself? (I’m not sure one way or the other — I have the impression that nervous preemptively self-deprecating gay jokes are basically only protective for me, and moreover amount to kissing straight men’s asses — but this is an honest question.)

  304. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Caine,

    Thanks, maybe later. I’m not in the mood for threadcop antics at the moment.

    Sure you are; you’re doing it: “That hardly excuses her idiotic rationale.” “Stop this asinine lecturing people, please.”

  305. Vilém Saptar says

    cm’s changeable moniker,

    Owlmirror, Public Enemy #1 started it with , which now I come to think of it is an unmatched close tag. ;)

    The ObRef is here.

    Public Enemy # 1 is Public Enemy # 1.
     
    theophontes,
    Snowing here.
     
    chigau,
    I can haz? ktxby

  306. Owlmirror says

    Owlmirror, Public Enemy #1 started it with </BoggleNerdSniping>, which now I come to think of it is an unmatched close tag. ;)

    It’s an Internet Thing where you consciously acknowledge that you’ve been doing something deliberately in the previous paragraph(s), and perhaps only noticed it after typing the words out, and leave out the < > because they would result in the tag being eaten, unless you HTML-entity-escape them, which takes longer to type and could be borked, making it just look weird. Anyway, the open tag is implicit. I suppose that if you were anal-retentive enough, you could go back and add an explicit open tag, but I usually don’t. I reserve the right to change my mind.

    /Memesplaining

    ======

    My ex and I used to have a string of memes that we ended awkward/pointless stories with. Some people use “and then I found five dollars” – we had “Subject came back on fire. And then John was a zombie… It was more of a nightmare really.“

    Hm.

    … And then, CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN happened.

    ======

    In fact, a plank in this year’s Republican Party platform will call for a Constitutional amendment to ‘one dollar, one vote’.

    Plutodemocracy!

    /IBlameTheDwarfPlanetFansFansOfTheDwarfPlanet
    /AntiHeightismAndAntiAmbiguity

  307. cm's changeable moniker says

    Owlmirror, /yeahiknowsorry

    I particularly like that xkcd because we got the exact same problem in first-year undergrad Physics. I did about as well as Randall. :-)

    I’ll take any spare raspberries, too.

  308. jonmilne says

    On a semi-related note to the whole Dark Knight Rises shooting, I got an image from a Facebook friend that said the following:

    Gun Control:
    It isn’t about PROTECTING the people, it’s about CONTROLLING the people.

    Firearm deaths US 2010: 8,775 (FBI Stats)
    Vehicle deaths US 2010: 32,885 (DOT Stats)

    I don’t see a move to control vehicles…

    In response, I said this:

    We have gun control in the UK and it works. You have to have a licence and a permit to get a gun. I couldn’t even tell you anywhere you could buy a gun except in hunting shops (there’s certainly no Walmart equivalent in the UK that you can buy guns from). Over here, the times when someone goes mad and shoots a bunch of people you could probably count on ONE hand in the last 5 years. I doubt the US could say the same. You can’t just buy 6000 rounds of ammunition here or you’d have the police round asking you what you think you’re playing at. Our gun related murders are mostly gang related or burgulary related in big cities. And they’re mostly illegally obtained weapons. We don’t have people who blow away their relatives by accident, children shooting other children with Daddy’s rifle or teens that walk into schools and exterminate their classmates (or at least, only rarely).

    I know you think it’s your right to protect your families, property, homes etc. But it’s nobody’s right to walk into a public building and shoot innocent people. Why do people have to have 2 guns, why 3,4, or even 5 or higher for fuck’s sake? Why do they need mountains of ammunition and weapons that belong with the police or in a war zone? Most of our police don’t even carry guns. If you had fewer guns. You’d have fewer gun related deaths. You can’t shoot someone without a gun. If you have a gun, or guns, and you lose your mind or your gun, then guess what? Then that is a deadly weapon potentially in the wrong hands.

    I know the National Rifle Association says guns don’t kill, people do. But if the wrong person has access to guns, and anyone can buy a gun, then you’re gonna have a lot more shootings until you do something about it. As Eddie Izzard so succinctly puts it: “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but I think the gun helps. Short of a really bad heart condition, you can’t kill someone by just shouting BANG at them”.

    Also most vehicle deaths are accidents. Not caused by the vehicle being pointed at a person and intentionally using it to kill them, and cars don’t accidentally get set off either.

  309. says

    I don’t see a move to control vehicles…

    um. pretty sure you have to pass a test and have a valid license and car registration and license plate to drive one of those. And fucking up occasionally results in the cops taking your license away.

    so…

  310. jonmilne says

    Just in case it wasn’t clear, it was an FB friend of mine who said that quoted part, not me. :)

  311. Matt Penfold says

    oh yeah, and: rates of vehicle accidents are occasionally used in pro-public-transportation arguments, since riding the light-rail does tend to reduce numbers of car-crashes.

    And accident rates are certainly used to support plans to improve the infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

  312. says

    Just in case it wasn’t clear, it was an FB friend of mine who said that quoted part, not me. :)

    I know. That comparison just triggered a mild case of SIWOTI Syndrome, and it’s not like I can go tell your facebook friend personally :-p

  313. 'Tis Himself says

    I don’t see a move to control vehicles…

    The moves to control motor vehicles were mainly made 100 years ago. They’ve become ingrained into Western society during the decades around World War I. Perhaps that’s why FB friend hasn’t noticed them.

    </SWOTI>

  314. jacklewis says

    @Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    And who is forcing *you* to write shit responses to every single thing I write?
    Show me by example how a true adult does things and shut the fuck up as well.

  315. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Show me by example how a true adult does things and shut the fuck up as well.

    Why should I? You presented no valid and logical argument backed up by a citation. Total evidenceless and arrogant attitude on your part, which means *POOF*, it can and is dismissed as nothing.

    Besides, your problem is you complain to us instead of doing something about your problems. If you don’t want to post here, don’t do so. Life is simple. Which does mean you need to shut the fuck up, as that is the only way to cease posting here.

  316. cm's changeable moniker says

    Kid one? Your shower
    was warm, and over-long, and
    therefore mine was cold.

    I’m feeling strangely invigorated!

  317. chigau (女性) says

    cm
    Do you live with old plumbing?
    The kind that running hot water in the kitchen makes the shower cold?

  318. A. R says

    OK, sorry I’ve dropped off the face of the internet for the past week, but I’ve been insanely busy with one of the worst weeks in recent memory. It began with entirely purposeless training and “orientation” and ended with me being transferred from ER to the Neurobehavioral Health Unit (translation, Geriatric Psychiatric Lockdown Unit), which is basically the worst possible transfer for a person trained for ER work. Thankfully, I get to go back to ER on December 16th (I’m counting down the days). Of course, that’s during my Winter break, which is perfect, since I won’t miss the Christmas Eve/Christmas ER jollies. In any case, if I disappear or snap at a troll/particularly annoying regular, you know why now.

  319. consciousness razor says

    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. :/

    The values that underpin that second statement are something over and above the values that underpin the first statement, i.e whatever purpose, you, the person making the statement is interested in. Making an effectiveness judgment immediately begs questions like good or bad for whom and good or bad for what.

    What do you mean by “over and above”? They may be different values, but as you (perhaps unintentionally) imply, they are both values. So if those in the second category are value-laden, that couldn’t be what makes them non-objective and what makes the first objective (if that is the case you want to make).

    To take your example, it’s not logically necessary that we value a “failure rate” of an engine. Such a failure rate is or is not a fact, but we could recognize something as an engine and (other?) facts about it without any reference to that. It just is an engine which behaves a certain way 80% of the time. Whatever else we might say about that 80% or its implications is in some sense “over and above” what you would consider the bare facts of the matter, or it is not “over and above” them because it also consists of facts (even though you’re not considering it as such).

    Where as effectiveness judgments are underpinned by values which are purposed toward something other than purely a description of the world; mostly prescriptions of what something ought to be, for us, minds, to achieve some goal.

    I think one could say they are describing something about the world, but it is a description which sort of entangles us in it. We and our relationships (in the form of goals) with facts about the world are also a part of the world, so in some way that can be purely descriptive, though there are clearly a lot of complications. It’s only prescriptive when one starts claiming such a relationship is imperative for others, or is more mildly “encouraged” and so on.

  320. consciousness razor says

    Sorry, I meant to direct that to Vilém Saptar. But I guess I’ll thank everyone for their comments, except the trolls and bigots and such.

  321. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Vilém Saptar

    Cooler today.

    @ chigau (あなたの名前が成長してきました。私はあなたで終わらないことがわかります。”畜生!”)

    Nice weather .

  322. chigau (自分のサンドイッチを作ろう!) says

    I ♥ googletranslate
    theophontes
    Your ”畜生!” (with various removals of punctuation) yielded “dammit”, “death”, “livestock raw”.
    How can you not love a goth program?

  323. Zarron says

    I stepped out of lurkerdom in another thread to lend support to PZ’s original post, and to ask a question, a little earlier. My question was slightly off-topic, so I was asked to bring it here by one of the regulars.

    It was a discussion about rape jokes, and I whole-heartedly agree that the vast majority of rape jokes are worthy of contempt and scorn, and are emphatically not funny. They’re usually used as a bludgeon to silence women, rather than any attempt at humor, and often have the ‘ha ha only serious’ effect going on. There’s a few exceptions to this rule (I think you can joke about anything at all, depending on how you construct the joke), but they NEVER take the form of condoning or suggesting the rape of a particular person.

    I count myself a feminist, but I have been condemned by some other feminists I know because I approve of pornography, using some of the same rationales used to condemn rape jokes. I find myself rejecting this sort of equation of pornography with suggestions of rape, and the idea that pornography is necessarily harmful or bad. My question was what people around here think of the pornography question, and how I should respond to anti-porn feminists. Am I in the minority here, for my views about porn?

    This is pretty much the only point of contention I’ve ever had with feminists about feminist issues, and I know that not all feminists share this position. I figure that the posters here are more familiar with this sort of issue and question than I am (Since I am more of a casual feminist, who simply subscribes to the idea that women should be treated as human beings. I recognize that I have the privilege of not having to deal with sexism every day, being a man, so I am not as educated on all of the details of this manner as many of the people here are).

  324. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ chigau

    1 (4n 7yp3 1n L337 ?

    49 20 63 61 6e 20 65 76 65 6e 20 74 79 70 65 20 69 6e 20 68 65 78 61 64 65 63 69 6d 61 6c 21

    — .-. .. -. — — .-. … . -.-. — -.. . – -.. .. .-. . -.-. – .-.. -.– !

    How about this… ?ti si won driew ytterp ,draziw a ekil gnikaerf

  325. chigau (自分のサンドイッチを作ろう!) says

    Zarron
    Welcome to TZT.
    I don’t know your time zone but I’m going to bed.
    There will be someone along soon to chat with you.
    (I read your comments on that other thread, I think you’ll be fine here.)

  326. chigau (自分のサンドイッチを作ろう!) says

    theophontes

    …reams* of incomprehensible computer geek gibberish

    I am very sorry.
    But I must now Hunt You Down™ and … bury you in … peas.
    srsly wut?

  327. John Morales says

    Zarron:

    There’s a few exceptions to this rule (I think you can joke about anything at all, depending on how you construct the joke), but they NEVER take the form of condoning or suggesting the rape of a particular person.

    Rubbish. Some scum find rape jokes truly funny, and they really are jokes, to them.

    (Attempted jokes to the rest of us)

    I count myself a feminist, but I have been condemned by some other feminists I know because I approve of pornography, using some of the same rationales used to condemn rape jokes.

    Pornography is a big tent. Me, I find it boring and tedious at best.

    Am I in the minority here, for my views about porn?

    Care to try to define porn?

    (Since I am more of a casual feminist, who simply subscribes to the idea that women should be treated as human beings. I recognize that I have the privilege of not having to deal with sexism every day, being a man, so I am not as educated on all of the details of this manner as many of the people here are).

    Bah.

    I’m no feminist, I have privilege and am happy for it, I’m mostly self-educated and your viewpoint stands in its merits, not on how closely it aligns with some ideology.

    (You’re just another commenter, as are we all)

  328. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Zarron

    Sorry I can’t help you much here.

    Perhaps key to taking a position on pornography is to look at circumstances. Porn depicts sex (through whatever medium). Sex is a necessary thing that can be, and should be, a wonderful experience for all concerned. To often it is not. This too may be depicted.

    Porn can be very bad in the context of its depiction of misogynist/awful attitudes towards sex.(Leaving aside the whole industry which creates porn in the first place, that may be exploitative and irresponsible.)

    On the other hand pornography can also depict a positive and loving expression of healthy sex and healthy attitudes towards sex. This last is the case, I assume, you would be arguing for?

  329. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ John Morales

    Rubbish. Some scum find rape jokes truly funny, and they really are jokes, to them.

    (Attempted jokes to the rest of us)

    Seconded.
    I wanted to unleash my SIWOTI on “rational”-ia , but they have not let me on board… :'(

    @ chigau

    \/\/|_|7? Y0u d0 n07 7yp3 4nd r34d 1n |337 0n 4 d41|y 84515? |-|0w d0 y0u k33p y0ur m3554635 53kr37 fr0m 7h3 h01 p0|01?

  330. John Morales says

    Further to theophontes’ relevant comment, I suggest to Zarron that he considers whether different semantics attach to erotica than to pornography.

  331. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    Damn TZT is slow this round.

    I suggest to Zarron that he considers whether different semantics attach to erotica than to pornography.

    Perhaps three overlapping Venn diagrams: Art, Erotica, Pornography…

  332. John Morales says

    theophontes, more than three would be needed at that level of abstraction; outside of other categorical axes such as instructiveness and plausibility, there’s the issue of whether it’s a fictional depiction or a recording of an actual event.

  333. John Morales says

    [and let’s not get started on paraphilias; hogglers view commenting here as erotic]

  334. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    Oh lawdy!

    OK, Zarron. We’ll need a much larger n-dimensional space for this discussion.

  335. Cipher, OM, Sweetness and Fluff says

    Sketch:

    There is nothing inherently bad about a couple of enthusiastic people (or more or fewer people if that’s your thing) getting naked (or not, there could be outfits), having sexy fun, and taking pictures/video/whatever of it.

    Unfortunately, in the real world, it’s usually a lot more complicated and depressing than that. And in the real world, as it stands now, a lot of porn is rapey in concept or in execution, and a lot of it is making women’s lives actively worse. Because right now, the patriarchy exists and screws up everything, and rape culture with it. So does capitalism. I don’t see much point in arguing about our abstract views on abstract porn.

  336. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    @ Zarron

    Oh, by the way, we have no interest in discussing the issues you raise if you are not willing to show good faith and honesty in your arguments. (Link: Rationalia thread.)

  337. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    moving this from the Rationalia thread:

    +++++
    Anyway, obviously, I agree with Pharyngulites’ criticisms of the skeptical movement as it stands. 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.

    imho, we should do more jostling. Instead of saying “skeptics are fucking worthless”, kick their self-identification out from under them:

    “those worthless fuckers are not true skeptics, they are NOMAtics; we are more rationally skeptical than they, and we have better peer-reviewed evidence so they should STFU.”

    ‘Cause we aren’t against thinking skeptically. What we want is a better, more relevant skepticism. Let’s have a coup.

  338. Brownian says

    ‘Cause we aren’t against thinking skeptically. What we want is a better, more relevant skepticism. Let’s have a coup.

    No, we’re not, but I wonder that the term ‘skeptic’ is irreparably damaged. Because you know the response to this:

    “those worthless fuckers are not true skeptics, they are NOMAtics; we are more rationally skeptical than they, and we have better peer-reviewed evidence so they should STFU.”

    is “No True Scotsman! Also, strawman! Plus ad hominem! Are you cowed by my superior intellect yet?”

    We’ve shown them the peer-reviewed evidence. This is the type of response ‘skeptics’ have to evidence:

    Wow I never thought I’d see anyone here present evidence. Kudos on that. All of the articles except the last one you have to pay to read, unfortunately. The last one is saying there is a relationship between hostile sexism and responses to sexist humor. I don’t disagree with that. Do you think getting offended is a proper or effective way to respond to sexist humor?

    Further, ‘skeptic’ already has the unfortunate connotation in the mind of the public of conspiracy theorists and climate change denialists. Why fight so hard to rehabilitate a term for the benefit of the Russell Blackfords of the world?

  339. Louis says

    From the Rationalia thread:

    Brownian, # 131 (631) page 2.

    …if the entire skeptical movement disappeared overnight…would anything of real value to anybody not a member of this egotistical, privileged group be lost?

    Yes I think there would.

    Look I understand it is popular to rag on movement sceptics at the moment but I think this is mistaken.

    Firstly and tongue in cheek trivially, I’m pretty sure I don’t want any subset of humanity, no matter how revolting in one aspect, to disappear overnight, even the really odious ones. Get back to me on Wednesday though, I might have changed my mind! ;-)

    Secondly, I cheerfully and unashamedly self identify as a “sceptic” (among other things) and I know from long involvement in the community/movement/whatever it’s not only the public health specialists, medics, lawyers and sundry “professionals” or “officials” who do a lot of good. It’s also the “regular folks” in the movement. The people who helped start and maintain the 10:23 campaign for example, the simple fact that sceptics tend on average to be more scientifically enthused and literate for another example, these are non-zero positive contributions. I’m certain there are myriad others.

    Thirdly, this “not the myriad people who practice skepticism in specific ways in their jobs and lives, every day” is just confused to me. Perhaps I’m not reading you right. Isn’t that what a sceptic IS? Isn’t a sceptic a person who practises scepticism in their life? Was Martin Gardner a sceptic? Did his philosophical theism/deism absolutely discount him for all eternity as a sceptic? Or was he just like the rest of us? A person with a few weird proclivities who was generally sceptical? I think your phrase includes the people you are trying to get rid of! Your pardon for disappearance keeps Penn Jillette and Frank Hoggle around! That might just be my reading of it though.

    Sadly enough there are UFO = Ace Spaliens believers out there. There are Ancient Astronaut Von Daniken lovers. There are Nostradamus dribblers and various cryptozoologists. Yes the comparative harm of all these bozos is probably equivalent to one millihomoeopath or an attosexist, but again it’s non zero and I’m happy to let some anti-bigfoot berk pursue his or her passion to the ends of the earth. It’s no skin off my nose. People here talk about cats and knitting sometimes, don’t get me wrong I wish them no ill will, good luck to ‘em, but I am supremely uninterested. I don’t need to piss on their parade because in my vaunted opinion their trivial passions are not shared by my god-like self.

    But more than that, the principles at work in scepticism are useful. Sure some arrogant wanker on the internet preening over his/her supposed superiority because he/she has worked out that the Lizard People don’t really rule us (or do they?) and crystal therapy is arse gravy is obnoxious. But then so are the drivelling subset of atheists who think that “hey there’s no good reason to believe in god” makes them smarter than Newton, and we’ve all met them. Or Christians who think their invisible best buddy in the sky who watches them masturbate makes them a special monkey. The problem isn’t (just) in the group itself (although religions do like to reinforce it) it’s in the chimpy, social, hierarchical brains we all have. Hell the attitude of these sceptics is not really much different from that of many school teachers I’ve encountered, who seem to think everyone they meet is a rather dim pupil of theirs!

    The sceptics you are talking about are a vocal, entitled minority. 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 have no problem saying I’m a sceptic and (pick a sexist knobhead) saying he/she is a sceptic. Scepticism is an important but hardly binding description. I’m not the same sort of sceptic that Martin Gardner was, does using a similar descriptor to him mean I am lumbered with his theism any more than I am Penn’s sexism or Thunderfoot’s clueless privilege or Hoggle’s…well I don’t even want to know what the fuck is wrong with him? Of course it doesn’t and I sincerely doubt you think it does.

    Randi was once just some guy, so was Rebecca Watson (erm…well…you know what I mean dammit!), so was PZ. Those people, and the people before them, stood up on their hind legs and did something. And good on ‘em. If some muppet occasionally stands up and says we should be sceptical of women being real people, guess what, we get to stand up too. Sure it’s frustrating to have to do this endlessly, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the answer. Neither is going for the easy target.

    Aren’t we about positive change? Aren’t we about making the so called and disparate sceptical movement more inclusive for women etc? How can we do that if what we accomplish is the eradication of a movement that has done us some good? What good? Well these amateurs (in the most etymologically pure sense) have bothered to uncover the Wedge Document. Unsung counter creationists, not just scientists and officials, filled the gaps in various trials. People encouraged by the simple existence of a community get up off their arses and ACT because they know they are not alone. That has immense value. It happens at all levels from the Nobel winning Prof all the way to the science journalist who mangles the copy. We need all these flowers to bloom in their myriad ways.

    Even if the sceptical movement did nothing but pat itself on the back, and it does more as is abundantly obvious (think CSI, JREF, Sceptics in the Pub etc etc etc), it’s existence gives courage to others. Other people sunk in a sea of woo to think “hey, I’m not alone in finding this chiropractic stuff to be a bit shitty” and to branch out and explore. This is a fundamental benefit to humanity. It facilitates people, it encourages them to stand up and be counted knowing they’re not alone.

    That, incidentally, is one of the reasons that we must be so loud about anti-sexism etc. You and I want to chop at a really thick trunk of the stupid tree, I’m not going to get overly excited about some guy chopping at an outer branch, it’s not my place to tell him what to like. Uri Geller and his kind will NEVER vanish as long as there are humans. Religion will NEVER vanish as long as us lucky chimps are around to practise it, but and increase in scepticism and atheism can make these things and people less likely to be taken seriously. It’s about progress, not perfection. We ask for perfection to achieve progress if that makes sense to you. We criticise the spoon benders AND the women are castrating feminazis bunch. They’re equally wrong. The difference is the level of harm they do, hence why you and I like to hack at the trunk more than the outlying branches.

    Oh fuck I’ve teal deered. Apologies. Erm, it appears “what Ixchel said shorter and better” is an appropriate summary! ;-)

    Chin chin, old bean!

    Louis

  340. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    is “No True Scotsman! Also, strawman! Plus ad hominem! Are you cowed by my superior intellect yet?”

    Right, but that’s all so trivial to demolish.

    Further, ‘skeptic’ already has the unfortunate connotation in the mind of the public of conspiracy theorists and climate change denialists. Why fight so hard to rehabilitate a term for the benefit of the Russell Blackfords of the world?

    This is a good point though. I guess I’m not much interested in an organizational alternative to the JREF or anything like that (though if anyone wanted to bother, I’d wish them well).

    It just chafes me to see the word conceded to them — intellectually because I notice they do pick up new recruits every year and I don’t like the idea that these kids get the message from both sides that Skepticism™ is fundamentally at odds with feminism — and at the most honest level, I know it annoys the shit out of them to be told that they’re doing it wrong. The very existence of http://skepchick.org/ makes them feel unclean. I love that.

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

  341. Brownian says

    Firstly and tongue in cheek trivially, I’m pretty sure I don’t want any subset of humanity, no matter how revolting in one aspect, to disappear overnight, even the really odious ones. Get back to me on Wednesday though, I might have changed my mind! ;-)

    Given the my lead-in to this comment, I understand this interpretation, but that’s not what I meant.

    I mean that, by ‘disappear overnight’ that they stop organising and shielding themselves from honest criticism by calling themselves ‘skeptics’. I’m not advocating ‘disappearing’ them.

    Sorry about that.

    Thirdly, this “not the myriad people who practice skepticism in specific ways in their jobs and lives, every day” is just confused to me. Perhaps I’m not reading you right. Isn’t that what a sceptic IS? Isn’t a sceptic a person who practises scepticism in their life? Was Martin Gardner a sceptic? Did his philosophical theism/deism absolutely discount him for all eternity as a sceptic? Or was he just like the rest of us? A person with a few weird proclivities who was generally sceptical? I think your phrase includes the people you are trying to get rid of! Your pardon for disappearance keeps Penn Jillette and Frank Hoggle around! That might just be my reading of it though.

    Again, it’s probably my fault for being unclear.

    For example, I work in public health and epidemiology. My coworkers and I are committed to evidence-based medicine and public health interventions. We’re critical of researchers, politicians, doctors, epidemiologists, people public health, and each other when we don’t act in accordance with the evidence. And yet, other than a coworker who occassionally listens to the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, I’m the only one who has anything to do with the skeptics’ community whatsoever. (And none of us have to put up with rape jokes at the office.)

    So people I work with who may be skeptical but are decidedly not ‘skeptics’ are already doing this work. At best, the ‘skeptical community’ serves as an aggregator for the work that these kinds of scientists and professionals do. That’s all great and all, but it hardly justifies the fucking entitlement.

    Other than those particular criticisms, which I think touch on some misunderstandings of my position, the rest of your post makes some very good points, Louis. I’ll have to ruminate more on my responses.

  342. Brownian says

    It just chafes me to see the word conceded to them — intellectually because I notice they do pick up new recruits every year and I don’t like the idea that these kids get the message from both sides that Skepticism™ is fundamentally at odds with feminism — and at the most honest level, I know it annoys the shit out of them to be told that they’re doing it wrong. The very existence of http://skepchick.org/ makes them feel unclean. I love that.

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

    Some more good points.

    I guess I’m at the point where the word ‘skeptic’ makes me feel unclean, and I’m looking for some way to distance myself from these people for whom I have no respect whatsoever.

    I’m torn because I value most of the people here, and I’m not looking to abandon them, but I cannot stand the thought of being associated in any way with the phlegm that clots the JREF, Rationalia, and pretty much any site with the terms ‘skeptic’, ‘rational’, and even ‘free-thought’.

  343. Louis says

    Me? Misunderstandings? I…Whu…Bu…

    Yeah, probably!

    Vague, unfleshed out overly passionate teal deer was vague and unfleshed out! ;-)

    Louis

    P.S. And yes, I agree the entitlement and smugness is unjustified too. I also think it’s a human thing, not a sceptic thing, and the dumbass way it expresses itself in our little area of the intellectual universe is local idiosyncrasy as opposed to special, unique evil.

    P.P.S. Most of my colleagues aren’t interested in “official scepticism” either. But then most people aren’t. Scientists have some frighteningly uninterested time-servers in their number. It irritates the piss out of me as Captain Passionate of the Starship Enthusiasm. But then I guess my “OH FUCK A HIGGS BOSON! WOOP!” joy irritates the piss out of them when it’s not relevant to the Robinson annulation I’m trying to get my team (and myself) to make work.

  344. Louis says

    Brownian,

    I’m torn because I value most of the people here, and I’m not looking to abandon them, but I cannot stand the thought of being associated in any way with the phlegm that clots the JREF, Rationalia, and pretty much any site with the terms ‘skeptic’, ‘rational’, and even ‘free-thought’.

    But you’re not. Not in any more meaningful a way than “having facial hair” associates you with Hitler (Godwin DING!) or Stalin.

    Your facial hair does associate you with being a risible Canadian fuck monkey, but I digress! ;-) (and you know I am merely fucking with you here)

    I feel as you do, but for one thing: Rebecca Watson is a sceptic. PZ is a sceptic. James Randi is a sceptic. I don’t agree with every word that falls from their mouths, of course I don’t, and of course they are each about as far from as odious as the Hoggleverse Denizens as it is possible to be, but they are sceptics too. Just like, sad to say, Stalin was human too.

    I am an atheist, what do we get blamed for? More than Rebecca Watson. I, like Ixchel, am reluctant to hand that term to the most paddled douchecanoe on the river.

    I’m an atheist, but I’m not only an atheist, I’m also a sceptic. I’m not only a sceptic, I’m also a feminist. I’m not only a feminist, I’m a social liberal…

    A label defines me no more than it defines you. Let context be your guide and don’t give any ground to the fuckwits. I’m a feminist sceptic who SUPPORTS Rebecca Watson et al. and I will be double fucked backwards with a badly bent blunderbuss before I back off from some weasely bunch of scaredy-cat sexists. Fuck ‘em. I’ll mock ‘em ’til they glow.

    Louis

  345. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    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.

  346. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I guess I’m at the point where the word ‘skeptic’ makes me feel unclean, and I’m looking for some way to distance myself from these people for whom I have no respect whatsoever.

    That’s understandable. You gotta do what you’re comfortable with.

    I’m torn because I value most of the people here, and I’m not looking to abandon them, but I cannot stand the thought of being associated in any way with the phlegm that clots the JREF, Rationalia, and pretty much any site with the terms ‘skeptic’, ‘rational’, and even ‘free-thought’.

    You want me to write you a Greasemonkey script that changes “Freethought Blogs” to “Edmonton Gold FanBlogs”?

    (Not completely kidding. ;)

  347. Brownian says

    Me? Misunderstandings? I…Whu…Bu…

    Yeah, probably!

    No, I’m pretty sure the fault is mine. Those were pretty reasonable interpretations of what I’d written.

    Your facial hair does associate you with being a risible Canadian fuck monkey, but I digress! ;-)

    You know I’m a swarthy, hirsute Slav, right? I shave and re-grow facial (and other) hair in less time than corn spends in most people’s digestive tracts.

    I’ve mentioned how I’ve shaved from crown to crotch, multiple times before right? And every time I end up looking like a fat baby wearing hair chaps when I’m naked, right?

    You want me to write you a Greasemonkey script that changes “Freethought Blogs” to “Edmonton Gold FanBlogs”?

    Nah, I’d feel even weirder visiting a site like that.

    You and Louis are doing a good job of changing my mind, though. That’s probably the best thing you can do.

  348. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Antiochus Epiphanes, glad to hear it.

    When theophontes shows up, I’ll suggest he put you in charge of TZT’s Imagine a Boot Stamping on a NOMAtic’s Face Forever department.

  349. Louis says

    Brownian,

    I’ve mentioned how I’ve shaved from crown to crotch, multiple times before right? And every time I end up looking like a fat baby wearing hair chaps when I’m naked, right?

    Stop! Stop! I am becoming dangerously erect!*

    Louis

    * Stephen Fry allegedly used to say something like this to school bullies, I have been dying for an excuse to use it (not that you are a bully of course). Thanks!

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

  350. cm's changeable moniker says

    @chigau, my hot water is in a big cylinder

    When it’s gone, I have to push a button to heat up some more

    I just forgot to push the button