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Sep 09 2012

[Thunderdome]

This is Thunderdome, the unmoderated open thread on Pharyngula. Say what you want, how you want.

Status: UNMODERATED; Previous thread

670 comments

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  1. 501
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    KG:

    Slartibartfast <– isn't that a character in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe? *googles furiously* – Illuminata

    Yes, he worked for planet designers, and was a specialist in fjords, which I admit I generalised to “lovely crinkly coastlines” – that was a phrase he used, but of course Greece has a crinkly coastline that isn’t made up of fjords, those being a post-glacial feature.

    Greece’s crinkly coastline is due to SW-NE strike-slip faults, combined with coastal erosion. (The rest stands, though: superintelligent mice commissioned the planet, fjords are crinkly, Slartibartfast did win an award for them, and the answer is 42.)

  2. 502
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    SGBM @ #500: I thought it was pretty clear myself, and couldn’t get how you were seeing it for a couple minutes.

  3. 503
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Well, I see the faces in profile now that you point them out, but all I saw was the vase when I first looked at it.

    Ask PatrickG what dropped. He didn’t dispute my reading.

  4. 504
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Fair enough. Just saying I also didn’t quite follow where you were coming from at first/see the vase.

  5. 505
    John Morales

    my original comment.

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

    Sorry, DM:

    Details are leaking of a top-secret, global corporate power grab of breathtaking scope [...] Big business has a new plan to fatten their pockets: a giant global pact, with an international tribunal to enforce it, that is kept top secret for years (even from our lawmakers!) and then brought down like a Death Star on our democracies.

    Umm, from the public press, almost a year ago:

    http://www.economist.com/node/21538758

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

    So, over on Atheism+:

    So, if we dump all of the libertarians/conservatives/Randroids/Republicans/neoliberals/whatever other name you have for people who appeal to deregulation and markets and smaller government, what can we do in terms of reducing privilege by government policy?

    I dunno.

    all companies with an alleged natural or technical monopoly should be nationalised [...]

    corporate taxation to be progressively linked to business size [...] to make large companies unviable [...]

    temporary wage subsidies (financed through taxes on high wages in boom times), compulsory unemployment insurance, a government run employment service [...]

    greater social equality, [...] achieve[d] through high inheritance taxes that should be used to finance some
    redistribution and free education for all

    Behold neo-liberalism.

  8. 508
    PatrickG

    @ Brownian, from the Repudiation thread at Pharyngula (too lazy to link):

    Also, people: what the fuck is it with these fucking videos? I mean, I can understand the need to make one if you’re the product of sibling parents like that fucking racist slug Thunderf00t, but the rest of us learned to fucking read for a fucking reason.

    FTW. Why the hell do so many people need to take more time to record videos that could be represented by a single paragraph? Dramatic effect and long pauses of furrowed brow do not a fucking argument make.

    That, and people who can’t edit out turning off the fucking webcam. I’M REACHING FOR YOUR FACE ZOMG!

    Anyway, thanks, I laughed a lot, which was sorely needed after reading the entirety of that thread in a single go.

  9. 509
    Anne C. Hanna

    I don’t have the energy for serious catchup right now, but I just want to say to erikthebassist, in re this, that you rock. Good show. :)

  10. 510
    Anne C. Hanna

    Oh, and just to give you a bit of fair warning in case you weren’t thinking along these lines already, you probably will indeed say something dumb again (here or somewhere else), and what’s worse, you’ll probably get mad when you’re called on it and spend some time angrily defending yourself before you realize that you shouldn’t. I know I sure as hell do it all the time. But hopefully you’ll at least learn over time to avoid a larger fraction of such errors, and to stop the ones you do fall into more quickly. At least, that’s what I try to tell myself about my own fuckups… :)

  11. 511
    chigau (違う)

    hmmm
    8+ hours.

  12. 512
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ consciousness razor

    No, I wouldn’t add that. Flowers and schools aren’t supernatural entities. Grasp with a different straw, if you really think you must.

    The flowers here are purely metaphorical. As Mao created (and then retracted) the opportunity for open debate, so did the tolerant attitudes of Greek polytheism help to create a society that could accept divergent views.

    Oddly enough there is someone who has concordant views: Link to “Bring back the Greek gods” :

    Excerpts:

    the poison isn’t religion; it’s monotheism

    they did not pretend that their religion provided the right answers. Their religion made the ancient Greeks aware of their ignorance and weakness, letting them recognize multiple points of view.

    Openness to discussion and inquiry is a distinguishing feature of Greek theology. It suggests that collective decisions often lead to a better outcome.

    By allowing mortals to ask hard questions, Greek theology encouraged them to learn, to seek all the possible causes of events. Philosophy — that characteristically Greek invention — had its roots in such theological inquiry. As did science. [my emphasis]

    Greek theology openly discourages blind confidence based on unrealistic hopes that everything will work out in the end. Such healthy skepticism about human intelligence and achievements has never been needed more than it is today.

    .
    .
    .

    That doesn’t contradict what he said.

    True. A little circumstantial.

    However, we are not suggesting that he had some type of “split brain” phenomenon, where his theology directly contradicted his science, are we? Could we accept a statement such as “his grappling with theological conundrums was of no consequence to his science” and then turn around and refute a statement such as “his grappling with mathematical conundrums was of no consequence to his science”.

    So this whole time you’ve been pining over some “aspect” which you still haven’t said anything substantive about.

    I am discussing this in an exploratory fashion.

    We could probably have our new Greek utopia a little sooner if you would get around to the point.

    Heh. It is a little late in the day for that. The Hellenistic Age did not last long anyway, it blew out in about four centuries. We can merely look back at it, open mindedly, and figure out the lessons learned. That precious and prolific period might teach us yet.

    @ David Marjanović

    Ah, you mean it made science possible more than a fundamentalist Abrahamic environment, by fortunate coincidence. That’s fine, but it’s not what you said – maybe it was what you meant to say, but I can’t tell.

    Partly. There is also more to it – in that religion was important in giving impetus to actually undertake things that provided the challenges and animo for development of all the STEM disciplines. Although Pallas Athena did not exist (I cannot prove this), She was a rallying point for society (‘that made science possible’), but also provided a plethora of projects that directly stimulated the need and application of these disciplines. (So there was a passive (made possible) and an active (stimulative) aspect.)

    On the stimulating nature of “fairytales”: Is the, so called, “logic” of utilising Space Shuttles really that logical after all? It strikes me more that it is due to a mindset brought up on a diet of Science Fiction (not least Star Trek). What was the sense of lobbing those huge, overweight and lethal machines into space? (Do the maths. What is the ratio of payload to gross vehicle mass? All very exciting and stimulating, but riven with irrationality.

    In Homeric religion, the gods weren’t “more than human”

    Instead of blood they had ichor:

    Pure ichor, life-stream of the blessed Gods; They eat no bread, they drink no ruddy wine, And bloodless thence and deathless they become. -The Iliad

    Consider also:

    Monotheism: “Life really begins in heaven.”
    Atheism: “You have one life, then you die. Get it right first time.”
    Homer: “You have one life, then you die. Then you go to hell and regret all the things you never did. Your consolation is that your good deeds are immortalised (thanks to the gods).”

    Which would you say is the most stimulating to great achievements?

    … (to be continued: Non Scientific Architecture ™ calls for me to swan around around the office pretending to be sciency in front of the arty engineers ;D

  13. 513
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Clarity:

    in that religion was important

    in that the Greek religion, of which we speak, was important

    I apologise that I have been a little lax in the above terminology. I trust these lapses have been clear enough from their context. (Also, we could argue that the nomer “religion” is inappropriate here.)

    /busybakson

  14. 514
    Nick Gotts
    David, Morales made flattering comments about Franco’s regime here.

    …Whoa. That’s a lot of ignorance about history. It’s scary.

    Anyway, I’ve learned something from Nick Gotts’ response (comment 397 – yes, it took that long for anyone to reply): “ETA removed his intended successor, blowing him over a 5-storey building” – I didn’t know ETA had ever done anything useful. – David Marjanović

    The context was a comment by me, in response to one from SGBM about totalitarian dictatorships. In that context, I don’t think John’s comment was creepy: it is quite true that living standards improved considerably in Spain during the Franco period, although as I noted, there was a heavy price in human lives, and one would need a comparative analysis of other west European countries to judge the dictatorship’s economic effect. (IIRC, no-one but me questioned SGBM’s statement that totalitarian dictatorships were the best alternative to the capitalist status quo – and if John’s comment was creepy, then SGBM’s was more so.)

    Franco’s designated successor was Admiral Carrero Blanco. If ETA hadn’t killed him, the dictatorship would probably have continued some while longer, although my guess is that it would have ended well before the present day – but possibly violently. The incident gave rise to the memorable slogan:

    Up with Franco! Higher than Carrero Blanco!

  15. 515
    Nick Gotts

    theophontes,

    However, we are not suggesting that he had some type of “split brain” phenomenon, where his theology directly contradicted his science, are we?

    It’s not clear what you mean here. If he had a split brain, with theology on one side and science on the other, then clearly there would be neither destructive nor constructive interaction. But we don’t credit Newton’s obsession with Biblical numerology for inspiring his mathematical and scientific insights.

    Could we accept a statement such as “his grappling with theological conundrums was of no consequence to his science” and then turn around and refute a statement such as “his grappling with mathematical conundrums was of no consequence to his science”.

    That would depend on a detailed analysis of the specific case of Aristotle; but since mathematics is directly relevant to science as an essential tool in a way that religion is not, the two cases are not remotely comparable. You still haven’t produced any evidence of specific positive effects of ancient Greek religion on ancient Greek science.

  16. 516
    consciousness razor

    I haven’t read your link yet. I’ll give it a look.

    As Mao created (and then retracted) the opportunity for open debate, so did the tolerant attitudes of Greek polytheism help to create a society that could accept divergent views.

    I don’t see it as a matter of “tolerance,” just that different gods may play different roles in a polytheistic system. So you’re only “tolerating” things inside the system. The fact is that religious concepts and narratives don’t comport with scientific ones (or even, say, aesthetic or historical ones not predicated on those gods). While you could say there was a superficial kind of “tolerance” or “diversity” in Greek religion, there’s no reason to think it was anything but self-serving. So I’m still wondering how it’s supposed to carry over into broader Greek culture(s).

    We can merely look back at it, open mindedly, and figure out the lessons learned. That precious and prolific period might teach us yet.

    I certainly have no problem with that, but I’m having trouble coming to the same conclusions as you.

    I’d probably make more of a distinction between “religion” and “philosophy” than you, if I had to guess. There are a lot of (at least quasi-) supernatural concepts in the latter in ancient Greece, as far back as the record goes, but I wouldn’t consider that equivalent to polytheism, which I take to mean an actual form of religion. So I’m leaving a lot of that out when I talk about their “religion,” in case that makes a difference.

    By the way, since you’re a fan of ancient Greece, you might like the podcast, History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. It’s very informative (perhaps even tedious), covering just about everything you can think of in bite-sized 20 min. chunks, and he makes it fairly entertaining too. So far, he’s gone from Thales to sometime in late antiquity (Iamblichus, most recently).

  17. 517
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ KG

    It’s not clear what you mean here. If he had a split brain …

    Sorry, I had thought the expression was more widely known.

    Dawkins used this (IIRC. A discussion on video called “the four horsemen” concerning Francis Collins, unfortunately I cannot link) as a means to indicate that there is a large disjuncture in the thought processes of a scientist who gives himself up to jeebus on the weekend and then continues to do exacting science on monday morning. My suggestion is that there was greater coherency in Greek thought and that theology would not have been antithetical to science in such a way.

    You still haven’t produced any evidence of specific positive effects of ancient Greek religion on ancient Greek science.

    We seem to be talking past each other in this regard. I shall have to go upthread and see where I have expressed myself badly and perhaps created the wrong impression. I gather you are looking for a very particular, narrow case, rather than a broader argument. (You cannot expect anything of the order of “Zeus told me” —> therefore [unique and important scientific concept])

    I shall also have to define some of the terms used more carefully. Also, the consideration that Architecture is unrelated to science will have to be addressed.

    But that shall have to wait until this weekend.

  18. 518
    Nick Gotts

    I gather you are looking for a very particular, narrow case, rather than a broader argument. (You cannot expect anything of the order of “Zeus told me” —> therefore [unique and important scientific concept]) – theophontes

    Not necessarily a narrow case, and certainly not a “Zeus told me”, but something more specific than “Ancient Greek culture was coherent*, so their religion must have been a positive influence on science”. To add some context, a lot of Christian writers (Stark is one name that springs to mind) have claimed that monotheism was actually a positive stimulus to science, because it made it possible to think in terms of universal laws – rather than the contending influence of multiple gods with specialized areas of interest. I don’t buy that, but it’s at least more specific than anything you’ve come up with.

    * Which, BTW, I don’t see any reason to think it was, particularly, indeed I’m not even sure how you would assess the comparative “coherence” of different cultures.

  19. 519
    strange gods before me ॐ

    cm,

    Behold neo-liberalism.

    Oh, that paper is hopeless obscurantism at best. It’s equivalent to arguing that left-anarchists should take back the word libertarian because they invented it. Not worth the effort. It’s over; people hear libertarian and they think right-wing now. There may be utility in playing with the word for the specific purpose of calling attention to modern libertarianism’s anti-freedom agenda. But realistically it’s not going to be reclaimed, and anybody walking around today in the Anglosphere calling themself a libertarian (full stop, without qualifiers like libertarian socialist) is effectively signaling that they’re a right winger, and they don’t have any cause for complaint if they’re understood by others to be a right winger.

    Same with neoliberal. The author, Oliver Marc Hartwich, makes clear that the meaning has changed and the older meaning wouldn’t be recognized today:

    Whereas in academic literature from the 1930s to the early 1960s neoliberalism was quite a well-known idea, it sank into almost complete obscurity in the 1970s and 1980s. It remained there until the opponents of liberal reforms started using ‘neoliberalism’ as a tool of political rhetoric, clearly unaware of the real [sic] meaning of the word. Some authors have argued that the word neoliberalism resurfaced in Latin America where pro-market reformers were influenced by German neoliberal thinkers. For the Latin American left, ‘neoliberalism’ became a synonym for everything they despised, and this may well be how ‘neoliberalism’ eventually turned into a political swearword. However, a survey of the more recent usage of the term ‘neoliberalism’ is not the aim of this paper.

    And despite his protests, he implicitly admits that the word currently has an identifiable referent, if a broad one:

    In present-day debates around neoliberalism, on the other hand, most accused of holding ‘neoliberal’ views would not accept being called ‘neoliberal.’ Either they would insist on being something else (whether it is ‘liberal,’ ‘classical liberal,’ or ‘libertarian’)

    So it refers to a spectrum of economic liberalism to libertarianism. Fine. That is a thing which can be named.*

    Well, that’s at best; he’s advocating an unnecessary, confusing, sisyphean task which will impede communication instead of facilitate it. Less generously, let’s consider the source: a libertarian think tank. It looks to me like another attempt to respond to the growing recognition of the abject failures of market deregulation by saying “okay, you can have some market controls, just, anything but European socialism!” I.e. more New Labour and New Democrats and worse.

    *I tend not to use the term neoliberal because it is jargon. Most people just don’t know what it means. When the listener doesn’t know what it means, they may interpret you to be saying something bad about liberals generally, including social liberals (not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that, but I think at this time we need a popular front). So I can’t recommend anyone use the term — Setar, this is for you — it’s more communicative to just say right wing economics if you need to be general, or point specifically to corporate deregulation or corporate takeover of public property or regressive taxation (shifting more of the tax burden onto the middle class and poorer people).

  20. 520
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    As Mao created (and then retracted) the opportunity for open debate, so did the tolerant attitudes of Greek polytheism help to create a society that could accept divergent views.

    I don’t know that much about ancient Greek culture, but it doesn’t seem that tolerant attitudes were nearly so widespread as polytheism.

  21. 521
    strange gods before me ॐ

    “corporate deregulation” because “deregulation” can sound like personal freedom, a good thing

    “corporate takeover of public property” (or something more concise; this was what came to mind for me) because “privatization” can sound like I get to have more stuff, a good thing

    +++++
    Anyway. Franco. Blech. My heart is with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

  22. 522
    erikthebassist

    Anne C Hanna,

    Thanks! I can’t really accept being told I rock for being an asshat and later having to apologize, but I do play bass, and do rock at that so I’ll accept it anyway =)

    I’m glad you saw that and wanted to thank you personally for putting so much time and effort in to trying to get through to me. I’m sorry I shat all over that at the time.

    And I know I will probably be an asshat again someday soon, but I would like to think I’ve gained enough experience to next time stfu, think about it for a day, and MAYBE defend my POV if it’s still necessary.

  23. 523
    Anne C. Hanna

    erikthebassist,

    Heheh, yeah, I mostly did that as sort of a pun on your ‘nym. But, seriously, I’m glad you’ve come back on better terms. :)

  24. 524
    rorschach

    unfortunately I cannot link

    You must be in China….;)

    That was the second worst thing about my visit there, the silly censorship crap. 10 million internet censors apparently work in that place, making sure noone watches an Eric Clapton clip on Youtube, can you imagine.
    How many Chinese do actually just point a satellite dish to a sat carrying the BBC or Al-Jazeera service from their backyard?

  25. 525
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    erikthebassist:

    Thanks. Not for the apology, per se, but for demonstrating our way works. At least sometimes.

    Also, I’m glad you came back.

    Clenched tentacle salute

  26. 526
    David Marjanović

    Ask PatrickG what dropped. He didn’t dispute my reading.

    Probably he forgot what he meant in the meantime. This makes sense if the sentence in question is the product of incomplete editing.

    Umm, from the public press, almost a year ago:

    Yes, and many articles in the list I quoted are several months old, too. (I wanted to mention that but forgot, as usual.) Scarily, all that news had passed me by. The petition points out that one round of negotiations is going on right now.

    Behold neo-liberalism.

    What? That’s what they call neoliberalism in Uruguay?

    the poison isn’t religion; it’s monotheism

    Clearly untrue. Again, Socrates and the hemlock, Diagoras and the “wanted dead (1 talent) or alive (2 talents)”; I’ve heard that Carthaginian fundamentalism was scary, but I don’t know any details.

    Today, again, there are Hindu fundamentalists that do highly unpleasant things.

    they did not pretend that their religion provided the right answers. Their religion made the ancient Greeks aware of their ignorance and weakness, letting them recognize multiple points of view.

    Evidence?

    Openness to discussion and inquiry is a distinguishing feature of Greek theology.

    What theology?

    Is the, so called, “logic” of utilising Space Shuttles really that logical after all?

    No idea. I guess the idea was that they’d pay off at some point, so for more than X launches they’d be cheaper than X huge rockets; in any case, they’ve been retired.

    In Homeric religion, the gods weren’t “more than human”

    Why did you cut the rest off?

    Instead of blood they had ichor:

    So, comparable to Superman, which is what I said. Except that Superman is Lawful Good.

    Consider also:

    Monotheism: “Life really begins in heaven.”
    Atheism: “You have one life, then you die. Get it right first time.”
    Homer: “You have one life, then you die. Then you go to hell and regret all the things you never did. Your consolation is that your good deeds are immortalised (thanks to the gods).”

    Which would you say is the most stimulating to great achievements?

    Tsss. I don’t think of mortality every day! My attitude is: “Life is interesting!”

    But, you know, if you don’t die suddenly enough, you can regret all the things you never did before you die, and you can be happy that your first publication came out in a journal with an impact factor of 10 when you’re just 25 years old!

    The context was a comment by me, in response to one from SGBM about totalitarian dictatorships.

    I know, I read it.

    it is quite true that living standards improved considerably in Spain during the Franco period

    Well, it would have been difficult to keep them at the level of the civil war!

    one would need a comparative analysis of other west European countries to judge the dictatorship’s economic effect

    Didn’t Spain stay about as poor as Italy (at that time a democracy with volatile governments and heavy Mafia involvement) or Greece (at that time a fascist dictature)?

    IIRC, no-one but me questioned SGBM’s statement that totalitarian dictatorships were the best alternative to the capitalist status quo – and if John’s comment was creepy, then SGBM’s was more so.

    Oh, it is, but I’m used to that by now. :-|

    Up with Franco! Higher than Carrero Blanco!

    ROTFL!

    But we don’t credit Newton’s obsession with Biblical numerology for inspiring his mathematical and scientific insights.

    We do, however, credit Faraday’s religious obsession with circles for inspiring his discovery of electric circuits. It occasionally happens that people are right for completely wrong reasons.

    My suggestion is that there was greater coherency in Greek thought and that theology would not have been antithetical to science in such a way.

    …Hence all the “matter wants to be in its natural place” stuff in Aristotle’s physics.

    the consideration that Architecture is unrelated to science will have to be addressed

    I never said “unrelated”. It applies plenty of science; but the rest is art.

    So it refers to a spectrum of economic liberalism to libertarianism. Fine. That is a thing which can be named.*

    That’s indeed what’s called neoliberal in German.

    it’s more communicative to just say right wing economics if you need to be general

    In an American context, yes.

  27. 527
    David Marjanović

    I wonder about this petition. It’s worded in terms of “ew, chemicals”; but it’s true that lots of poisonous and potentially poisonous stuff is much less regulated in the US than for instance in the EU.

  28. 528
    David Marjanović

    “Hobby Lobby, a major arts and crafts retailer founded by evangelical Christians, just announced that it’s suing the government over certain women’s health provisions of the Affordable Care Act–mainly, they don’t want to have to provide their employees with insurance coverage for some forms of birth control, like IUDs or the morning after pill.” Sign here to tell the CEO to drop the lawsuit.

  29. 529
    PatrickG

    Probably he forgot what he meant in the meantime. This makes sense if the sentence in question is the product of incomplete editing.

    Incomplete editing indeed. I did intend a reference to my jaw. It wasn’t my intent to refer to any person as “it”, but the sentence could have been legitimately read that way. Thus I apologized.

    (Just poking up since my name was mentioned.)

  30. 530
    David Marjanović

    Huh.

    Democracy for America, “the country’s only people-powered political action committee” (like, totally unaffiliated with the Democratic Party), is “doing everything we can to win back the House and our last endorsements of this cycle will go to the Democrats you decide are real progressive champions. The leaders who can affect real change in the next Congress — because far too much is at stake.

    The House Hero and Senate Super-Star you select will receive our final federal endorsements of 2012. We’ll bring organizing tools and action summits to help you fight against these GOP super-villains.

    So who are your Heroes and Villains? Vote now.

    Also, “House Hero” and “Senate Super-Star”? *groan* Where I come from, alliteration went out of fashion at least a thousand years ago.

  31. 531
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    alliteration went out of fashion at least a thousand years ago

    Shakespeare (not for the first time this thread):

    Full fathom five thy father lies;

    Heh. :-)

  32. 532
    John Morales

    Well, it’s been a couple of days and I’m not quite as seething with anger as I was. So. I want to make things dead clear.

    Ms. Daisy Cutter, Vile Human Being:

    …which would be the complete opposite of John Morales. Anybody here still have the link to his comment in which he admitted to having raped his wife (via emotional pressure rather than force, not that it matters), and he got so many backpats for “being brave”? His conscience, such as it is, apparently outweighs the desire/need of rape survivors to not want to share online space with a rapist.

    I have provided a link to what I actually wrote, since my accuser did not bother.

    So: I neither asked for backpats nor for condemation, and I didn’t to it to be brave, I did it for the reason I wrote I did it and its context is dead clear.

    And that characterisation I’ve just quoted is utterly false, personally extremely offensive and seemingly malicious.

    And when I responded to this false claim as mildly as I could, to get this response was also offensive.

    I shall respond to this, but no more, for it would be dignifying my accuser.

    Morales:
    [1]

    You are cruel to me;

    After spending years deliberately prodding at people’s sore points because you just like to argue, you don’t get to whine about other people being cruel to you.
    [2]

    please note it was an almost, not a done deed,

    What do you want, a fucking cookie for only almost-raping your wife?
    [3]

    and it was decades ago when I was rather young and still heavily under the influence of my indoctrination into the patriarchy, and I have never repeated it.

    Oh, christ. Do you know how many young men “heavily under the influence of their indoctrination into the patriarchy” have NEVER almost-raped someone?
    [4]

    I tell you true: it hurts me that you are using this thus,

    ;___; Poor babby.

    I have hopes it’s opened others’ eyes to this issue and perhaps even has saved at least one woman from this trauma thereby.

    [5] But it’s okay to expect rape victims with PTSD to put up with your presence, because otherwise they’re selfishly putting themselves before future potential rape victims.
    Beatrice: Fair enough, I misremembered that it was “almost-rape,” not completed rape.
    Chigau: What Rah said, more or less. Shit’s sake, you’re better than that.

    The above is also offensive.

    1. Statement of fact, not whining, and the tu quoque is a fallacious argument.

    2. Statement of fact. Any request for cookies is in your imagination; I chose not to let your lie go uncontested.

    (If you’re gonna accuse me based on my own words alone, then at least don’t also change their meaning, because that is straight-out dishonest)

    3. Statement of fact, there because the clear connotation is that I’m a present and clear danger to women. Even with the most damning possible interpretation of what I’ve written (that lying claim, for example) that would be an unwarranted conclusion.

    4. Statement of fact. How you deal with it is your choice, and the one you’ve made is noted.

    5 It’s ironic how it was my very intent to vindicate exactly such a person (and others there, the context of the thread such that it led to that post) that makes you falsely accuse me. You believed the bad part and made it far worse, and you ignored the rest.

    (No good deed goes unpunished)

    PS Using Comic-sans for things you merely dislike kinda weakens its impact.

  33. 533
    chigau (違う)

    John Morales
    I am now using killfile.
    and you ain’t in it.

  34. 534
  35. 535
    chigau (違う)


    You rock!
    But that site is weird.
    (I saw ads with … boobies … and hands … and …)

  36. 536
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I don’t see ads, sorry. I tend to forget they even exist.

    +++++
    julian over on B&W invoked Charlie the Unicorn.

    And now, presented without comment — except, look at that base URL! — a Christian interpretation of Charlie the Unicorn:

    http://comingintheclouds.org/charlie_the_unicorn.htm

  37. 537
    Nick Gotts

    David Marjanović,

    Didn’t Spain stay about as poor as Italy (at that time a democracy with volatile governments and heavy Mafia involvement) or Greece (at that time a fascist dictature)?

    Offhand, I’d say that Spain was considerably poorer than Italy, and somewhat richer than Greece, throughout the Franco period. Greece was only a dictatorship from 1967-74.

    We do, however, credit Faraday’s religious obsession with circles for inspiring his discovery of electric circuits.

    Amusing piece of information I was not aware of – thanks.

  38. 538
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Why is it that rorschach can’t discuss certain topics without strawmanning?

    And what the fuck is the point of this comment? Does he support Geert Wilders and Pat Condell again? If not, what relevance can the comment possibly have?

    Four years after meeting him here, I still despair about this stupid bigot in our midst who declares that “Outside the USA with its crazy religious right and the politicians who pander to it, [devaluing the voice of women is] pretty much [totally a Muslim practice].”

    He grew up in Germany and lives in Australia, both places where, according to him, devaluing the voice of women is not a significant problem.

    What a shithead.

  39. 539
    carlie

    John isn’t a rapist, and it was incorrect to say he was. I do think that deserves an apology.

    I remember when he made that original comment, and I took it at the time as it being both a cautionary tale to other guys as well as a “anyone can figure this out and do better” example. Rereading it now, I still see it the same way.

    I see this as a good example of when trigger warnings help – reading that cold without knowing what was coming would be really upsetting to someone who went through an experience like that, and obviously it did upset several people. But I did appreciate that he put himself out there as an example of someone who didn’t get it before but now does. And I didn’t see it as him asking for any particular kudos for doing so.

  40. 540
    erikthebassist

    John Morales,

    I’ve never done anything even mildly creepy with a woman that I’m aware of, but I certainly have a few skeletons I’m not proud of. I get that you feel the need to unburden yourself of the anxiety you must feel over having these creepy tendencies, and that must suck.

    But… relieving yourself of that guilt at the expense of women who are the victims of those same creepy tendencies in other men takes the creep to a whole new level.

    I don’t know that there is anything that you could say or do to defend yourself here that wouldn’t be digging deeper. If I were you I’d btfo for a long time, or even better, forever, and show people that you mean it when you claim to properly remorseful and wish to never hurt another woman.

  41. 541
    Inaji

    Carlie:

    John isn’t a rapist, and it was incorrect to say he was. I do think that deserves an apology.

    I agree. John wasn’t the only person to note they came perilously close to doing something they’d regret, either. I believe Julian spoke of a similar situation.

    Both of those posts were very important and it took personal courage to speak out. Neither one of them should be castigated for doing so.

  42. 542
    erikthebassist

    I’m not a rape survivor, and would never claim to speak for one, but it seems reasonable to me that “I almost raped my wife” can’t really be put in to a context that every rape survivor should be required to approve of.

  43. 543
    erikthebassist

    well, I take that back, I am a rape survivor, I just choose to be be in denial about it most of the time, probably because it doesn’t fit the classic definition of rape. My teenage cousin coerced me in to touching her while baby sitting me one night. She didn’t touch me, and when I discussed it with my family I dismissed it as playing doctor, harmless.

    I don’t think I suffer any great deal of trauma over it but the memory is there none the less, even if I choose to forget about it some times.

  44. 544
    Inaji

    erikthebassist:

    I’m not a rape survivor, and would never claim to speak for one

    Good. I’ll be glad to speak up, being a rape survivor who was in that thread. In the thread being referenced, there were a whole lot of rape survivors speaking at that point, (at least the 2nd page of the thread), talking about the different types of rape and rapists.

    It was in this context that two men realized they came uncomfortably close to to behaving in the way certain rapists do, in regard to incidents of pressuring their wives.

    Now, as I said, that thread was stuffed full of survivors speaking and not one of them had a problem with John or Julian or with what they said. Neither one of them are rapists – they spoke up about what is all too common behaviour with many men and it was a bad moment for both of them, realizing the full import of their past behaviour. They both felt ill and went off to speak with their wives.

    I am not happy to see accusations leveled against John and if you weren’t in that thread, Erik and you are unaware of the context and history, you might want to quiet down* now.

    *This is my way of charitably saying shut the fuck up.

  45. 545
    erikthebassist

    ^ —— is shutting up. Fair enough Caine.

  46. 546
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    *mixed feelings*

  47. 547
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    *threadstall*

    OK, today’s true story: we have an inherited budgie. Today there was a magpie (Pica pica) in a tree outside going “chack, chack, chack”.

    The budgie replied “chirp”. “Chack.” “Chirp.” “Chack.” “Chirrup.”

    This went on for about 15 minutes, until the magpie was chased off by a crow (Corvus corone), which then went “Caw … caw … caw”.

    The budgie ignored it. Evolutionists! Explain!

  48. 548
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Brownian,

    Having experience with Wikipedia, I can tell you why that is. The current content on racism in Canada is located in a more general article, racism in North America. An article on racism in Canada (and eventually an article on racism in [country] for every country on Earth) is “planned”; such planning at Wikipedia consists of making a redlink to the nonexistent article and hoping that someone else writes a stub or more. A separate article hasn’t been written because by happenstance no Wikipedian has shown interest. It would be under the scope of WikiProject Discrimination, which as you can see is not very active. (I’m at my five link limit now, but for comparison you can check out the hugely popular WikiProject LGBT studies.)

  49. 549
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I think vaiyt is going to end up with a Molly.

    Now, there isn’t one particular comment in this thread which leads me to say yes, that comment, for sure; but I am expecting such a comment relatively soon.

  50. 550
    ChasCPeterson

    Want to see a shitshow?
    Here‘s a comment thread at Coyne’s blog. Ostensibly about free speech, campus speech codes, and politically correctly taboo subjects (featuring Steve Pinker), Jer blows the following dogwhistle at the end: “This talk is particularly relevant to the current debates going on in the skeptical community, in which certain subjects and opinions seem to be prima facie* off limits for discussion.”
    It turns into the Ben Goren show–he doesn’t like this A+ stuff, not one bit, no sir, and he’ll tell you why, at considerable length, and then initial it at the bottom. Many others agree with him in the chinks between his walls. Sastra shows up, the voice of calm reason as ever, and is attacked by none other than The Justicar with a sordid gotcha tale of misbehaving “A+ people” (which turns out to mean: Setar) and the hypocrisy of PZ for not calling it out etc. He’s such a sleazebag.
    Coyne makes only one comment in the whole thing, and that’s a gentle nudge to The Justicar for (I kid you not) attacking Rebecca Watson for the inconsistencies in her Elevator-gate story.

    Anyway. It’s over there.

    *I don’t think this means what he thinks it means.

  51. 551
    ChasCPeterson

    cm’s cm: the magpie’s chacks included frequencies similar to the budgie’s chirps, and therefore the range to which a budgie’s ears are tuned. The much larger crow’s caw, not so much. That’s my hypothesis. Big fan of the corvids btw.

  52. 552
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Want to see a shitshow?

    I will never understand how Coyne turned out this way; a real disappointment.

  53. 553
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    sgbm, pure serendipity:

    There are many versions of why Islam is at the root of authoritarianism, backwardness and poverty in these countries. Perhaps the most famous one argues that Islam, by failing to recognize the separation of religion and state, naturally leads to authoritarianism. In a now famous book, What Went Wrong, historian Bernard Lewis popularized a version of this idea. He wrote, for example:

    The idea that any group of persons, any kind of activities, any part of human life is in any sense outside the scope of religious law and jurisdiction is alien to the Muslim thought (page 100).

    He went on to compare Islam to Christianity in this regard:

    From the beginning, Christians were taught, both by precept and practice, to distinguish between God and Caesar and between the different duties owed to each of the two. Muslims received no such instruction. (Page 103).

    Though popular, this view doesn’t seem entirely well grounded in history or scripture.

    http://whynationsfail.com/blog/2012/9/13/islam-authoritarianism-and-intolerance.html

    And for incendiary effect:

    http://thediplomat.com/2012/07/08/kenneth-waltz-on-why-iran-should-get-the-bomb/

    @Chas, I guess so too. But why antipodean budgies should call/response European corvids, while completely ignoring
    their closer relations, I don’t know. *throws hands in air*

  54. 554
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Re: The Coyne thread.

    jeezus chreesto…What a terrible read. I’m glad that Ben Goren and Justicar want nothing to do with A+.

    What did the elf-sheriff do? Google is failing me.

  55. 555
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Well, I did not get much Pharyngulish achieved this weekend,I spent the whole day working in the sun for theaphontes. I now look like a boiled lobster *ouch*

    What I did get done… I have started a collection of links for any Pharyngulites interested in the discussions here last week. These are posted on the Pharyngula Wiki: Free Books relating to history and development of religions.

    Thanks to consciousness razor and SGBM for the linkies they provided. If anyone has ideas to develop this further, I would be happy to hear.

  56. 556
    Aratina Cage

    ‘Tis Himself: stop hiding on the outskirts of FTB, get yourself over here, take your lumps, and get on with it! You’re freaking me out with this cannibalism thing.

  57. 557
    opposablethumbs

    Crossposted from the Lounge:

    Most of you will already have seen this, but just in case: there’s a call for signatures from AllOut – a petition for clemency for a Cameroonian at risk of more prison time for texting a love message to another man.

    http://www.allout.org/en/actions/Roger?akid=854.12914.WoZOKd&amp=&amp=&amp=&rd=1&t=7&utm_campaign=roger&utm_content=english&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionkit

  58. 558
    consciousness razor

    theophontes:
    The podcast I linked to doesn’t deal with the history or development of religions per se, and it doesn’t cover any specific tradition with any real depth. It’s just about “Western” (mainly ancient Greek) philosophy, which I tossed in there as an aside, since I thought you might be interested in it.

  59. 559
    strange gods before me ॐ

    cm, thanks:

    Third, it is true that secularism, in any of its forms, has been all but absent in Muslim lands, but this is at least as much because politics has co-opted religion rather than the other way around.

    +++++
    theophontes, good list, but the Pascal Boyer thing is not a “free book” in the legal sense. It just happens to be available on someone’s website, yarrrr. I’m pretty sure Wikia takes a harsh view of this, so I’m going to cover my ass and take that link down. Sorry.

    On another note, I think it would be useful to expand the list to include non-free books? Like, if we collected a second list of non-free books on the subject, wouldn’t it be convenient to have them on the same page? That’s my reasoning, so I’ll try this change, but it can be reversed by you or others.

  60. 560
  61. 561
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Hmmm. What I find most surprising is that the MRAs of Vancouver can take the time out of enjoying their privilege to make posters. Go, Setar.

  62. 562
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Can someone point me to some of ‘Tis Himself’s descriptions of being on a submarine? I happen to have a book by Tom Clancy about nuclear submarines and I am willing to do a little poking around for matching text.

  63. 563
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ consciousness razor

    tossed in there as an aside

    Much appreciated none-the-less. We might split it off later (Perhaps a “History of Philosophy” page?), but I am happy to rather just get the ball rolling and work on it as we go. I think it would be useful to have all this documentation in one place, particularly if we are going to be coming back to discussions on these subjects from time to time.

    @ SGBM

    Pascal Boyer thing is not a “free book” in the legal sense.

    Oops, I am sorry. I did not realise that. Your changes are looking great. I’ll be learning by doing for a while, so it is good to have more experienced people helping here.

    I would also like to set up a selection of none-free books on these subjects. There was talk once of a “book club”. Perhaps though, it would be better to set up a simple filing system with keywords and short discriptions. We can hold discussions in the endless threads (Lounge/Thunderdome) and link back to the list. Somewhere we’ll need to find the balance between the simplicity of a list, and some additional information for searches -and to help deciding on which to read. (Do we have any qualified Librarians out there?)

  64. 564
    strange gods before me ॐ

    theophontes, I don’t know what exactly you’d need for all that, but if you have questions about how to implement something fairly specific, I’ll try to help. We also have the Semantic Mediawiki extension, currently used to generate the cookbook and sexism bingo. I can make it grant you three wishes.

  65. 565
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ SGBM

    Mmmh. That cookbook might be simple enough. We could do something like name, author and a discription. “name” would go to download page, author would link to an author page and description to description page with keywords. (The page functions like an easy to follow index.) The washinglist style we have now will likely become a little unwieldy soon enough.

    This is a problem that everyone must face at some stage. Some are less successful than others … Franz Kuhn is supposed to have translated this from old Chinese documents (link):

    Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge’s Taxonomy:

    Those that belong to the emperor
    Embalmed ones
    Those that are trained
    Suckling pigs
    Mermaids (or Sirens)
    Fabulous ones
    Stray dogs
    Those that are included in this classification
    Those that tremble as if they were mad
    Innumerable ones
    Those drawn with a very fine camel hair brush
    Et cetera
    Those that have just broken the flower vase
    Those that, at a distance, resemble flies

  66. 566
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    “Quo Vadis? “

    A play in two parts, for the amusement of the Golden Horde.

    Cast of Characters:

    Theophontes as itself.

    Cameo appearance by Mao Zedong as The Atheist ™

    The Double-pape (in full brontosaurus regallia) as The Xtian ™

    Miss Molly as Theaphontes

    The dancing tardigrades (12 No.) as The Chorus.

    The Scene: (Image here)

    A building site somewhere in Southern China. The scene opens with the main characters arguing amongst themselves as to what do now that the building is complete. Chorus stage right observe the proceedings from a distance.

    .
    .
    .
    .

    Act 1 scene 1:

    Chorus (In unison): Loh, we have finished! The gods have smiled upon us and building is complete. But what (oh what!) do we do with the scaffolding?

    Theophontes: Come let us remove the scaffolding. We shall sell the bamboo and make sniny uniforms from all those acres of green material.

    The Xtian: No, foolish tardigrade. The scaffolding is what keeps the building up! And the material is necessary too. It drapes about the building and protects it.

    Theophontes: That is all unnecessary now. It has served its purpose when we built it. Very useful it was, but now it can go.

    The Atheist: Useful? It has never been useful! What part of the building is it? It is a hazard, it looks ugly and it prevents us from seeing out!

    Theophontes: You are both wrong. It was necessary but is no longer. Hell, I even suggest we keep a few samples aside in case we ever need to extend our ediface.

    Theaphontes: {chuckles} We shall need it again when the building is to be demolished!

    {curtain falls on scene 1}

    ….

  67. 567
    Nick Gotts

    theophontes,

    Nice play – but of course assumes the conclusion you want, that religion has played the part of scaffolding, and not that of the ritual of entombing human sacrificial victims in the foundations.

  68. 568
    consciousness razor

    Religions are multi-level marketing companies which advertise our scaffolding (and other goods and services) to the coveted invisible person demographic. The human sacrifices are just what they do for fun every year at the Christmas party.

  69. 569
    carlie

    Markita Lynda-

    here

    here

    here

    here

  70. 570
    carlie

    (those didn’t match anything online, by the way, as far as I could tell)

  71. 571
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ KG

    but of course assumes the conclusion you want, that religion has played the part of scaffolding, and not that of the ritual of entombing human sacrificial victims in the foundations.

    Hey, I’m getting there, I’m getting there! (Unfortunately Parte Deux will be a delayed, the Dancing Tardigrades have found the cheese and wine and are currently enjoying a bit of a CAVORT.) We have, of course poured some ritual sacrificial victims in with the concrete. (The science: The writhing of the victims helps to drive out air pockets that otherwise weaken the concrete. The alternative (linky) is just too naughty.)

    @ consciousness razor

    scaffolding

    According to Daniel Dennett, we should be using cranes

    OK, I have been a little tardy with the goods. I leave you with some bones to pick on…:

    Asclepius and the Temples of Healing – The religious origins of hospitals.

    Universities grew out of the church (evolving out of older Christian cathedral schools and monastic schools).

    Banking: “The temples, in the Hellenistic world, were the bankers; they owned the gold reserve, and controlled credit.” – Russell

    Astronomy: The Greeks took to the work of the Babylonians who could,for example, predict eclipses rather well. ( A necessary rider: They were more interested in the astrological woo aspects.)

    Public Obscenity: This profoundly important institution was only allowed in the temples.(according to Aristotle)

    … stay tuned …

  72. 572
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ David Marjanović #26

    [Architecture] I never said “unrelated”. It applies plenty of science; but the rest is art.

    No, it also undertakes science. Consider for example Hillier’s studies into Space Syntax, or Read’s work on the same. We can make predictive models from this that apply from the level of individual buildings to entire cities.

    Consider also Gaudi’s experiments with chains, to aid in the design of the Sagrada Familia – this long before we had finite element programs.

    I cannot find my book on Brunelleschi’s Dome, but it is also impressive in its scientific innovations.

    .
    .
    .

    (I shall happily expand on this into perpetuity.)

  73. 573
    CJO

    Asclepius and the Temples of Healing – The religious origins of hospitals.

    It’s not enough to point to an ancient institution with a superficial resemblance to a modern one; you have to trace the thread that connects the two. In the case of the Asclepia and the modern hospital, there is no continuity. The development of the Asclepia through the Hellenistic and Roman periods is actually a fascinating study in its own right in the intersection of magic, sacred healing, and rationalist medicine, but by the later empire the modern institution they resembled most was the luxury spa, not the hospital. The religious origin of the hospital was the (Christian) Byzantine xenon.

    Universities grew out of the church (evolving out of older Christian cathedral schools and monastic schools).

    The thesis is that pagan religious practices and institutions were conducive to secular inquiry, isn’t it?

    Banking: “The temples, in the Hellenistic world, were the bankers; they owned the gold reserve, and controlled credit.” – Russell

    A great many modern, secular institutions have their roots in nominally religious ancient ones, but banking is pretty far afield of your initial claims, which concerned science specifically.

    Astronomy: The Greeks took to the work of the Babylonians who could,for example, predict eclipses rather well. ( A necessary rider: They were more interested in the astrological woo aspects.)

    Astrology and Astronomy weren’t really fully separated until the Enlightenment, so no particular argument here, but it seems to me that the case begins and ends here, and there’s admittedly nothing particularly original to pagan religious thought of specifically Greek origin here, which is what I thought we were talking about.

    Public Obscenity: This profoundly important institution was only allowed in the temples.(according to Aristotle)

    I’m not familiar with your reference. But I don’t see a clear connection between public obscenity and empirical inquiry, unless it is that the results of the latter are often enough regarded as an example of the former by those hostile to its very aims.

  74. 574
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Quiet day, huh?

    Not apropos of the discussion upthread, but a fun read anyway:

    They hug cruise missiles in their sleep, don’t see women for months and their biggest fear is ‘going wibble’.

    Life on board a British nuclear submarine

  75. 575
    chigau (違う)

    I’m sooo boooored!

  76. 576
    PatrickG

    @ chigau: I really like peas.

  77. 577
    chigau (違う)

    PatrickG
    I really like peas, too.
    Not canned.
    But fresh or frozen.
    Mushy peas are weird.

  78. 578
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Also, tonight, on Nuclear News™:

    ALBUQUERQUE — On the outskirts of New Mexico’s largest city, a team of engineers at Sandia National Laboratories is engaged in a long-running treasure hunt to make sure the oldest weapon in America’s nuclear arsenal, the B61 bomb, remains safe for deployment.

    They cannibalize spare B61s for parts, such as the vacuum tubes needed to keep the radars working on active bombs.

    Vacuum tubes. On nukes. *ohmigod*

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-b61-bomb-a-case-study-in-needs-and-costs/2012/09/16/494aff00-f831-11e1-8253-3f495ae70650_story.html

    Mesa Boogie users, your country needs you.

    (Via the Romney video, via DeLong.)

  79. 579
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Ooops!

    Via Greg Sargent’s coverage of the Romney video, via …

  80. 580
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Mushy peas are weird.

    *Paddington hard stare*

    Yet, delicious …

  81. 581
    carlie

    Mushy peas are an entirely different food than round peas.

  82. 582
    chigau (違う)

    from Pfft

    Mushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water and then simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy soup. In the Northern England and the Midlands they are a traditional accompaniment to fish and chips, although their appeal has spread[1] and sometimes mint is used as a flavouring.
    [bold mine]

    I repeat ‘weird’ and dispute ‘delicious’.

  83. 583
    strange gods before me ॐ

    theophontes,

    The way to use Semantic Mediawiki is typically to have one page/article for each “item”, in this case a book. As it happens, we already have one book review, written by Dhorvath: The Trouble with Physics. If you want to semantify (that’s a word now, I says) it, you can add the following to the page (preferably at the end).

    [[author::Lee Smolin| ]]
    [[title::The Trouble with Physics| ]]
    [[subject::string theory| ]]
    [[subject::subject2| ]]
    [[subject::subject3| ]]

    and so on. The multiple subject lines (as many as you want) will each hold a separate keyword/keyphrase. Then I can rig up a display like the cookbook. Our future pages/articles on individual books won’t necessarily have to contain book reviews or links to discussions about the books back here on Pharyngula; technically they can be nothing but Semantic Web data, that’s up to you.

    Now, if this sounds like too much work, don’t feel like you have to start it. The laundry lists we have now may be tolerable. It’s your call.

  84. 584
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Any other wiki admins online right now? I’m having a minor technical issue that someone else might be able to work around.

  85. 585
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ CJO

    Hi CJO, we have been having a discussion on religion that has fragmented slightly. I have cut-n-pasted the relevant so that I can read through on kindle (Text here if others are interested) Essentially my initial response was to an OP by SC (Salty Current).

    The idea was to question a worldview that is wholly defined by science. We surely have more than that at play. That extra something (“je ne sais quoi”) may even involve things that are obviously untrue, but may serve to structure our lives and inspire it in positive directions. Obviously art can play such a role. But I noted that religion too (provided it is aspirational and not proscriptive) has this ability. (It appears, rereading the comments, I might have been a little over-excited that the subject is being broached and expressed myself badly on certain points.)

    Since, I have noted that I shall have to call on a larger array of resources and have started, with the help of some others, a wiki: History And Development of Religions.
    Any ideas you have in this regard would be much appreciated, I am sure it will become a valuable resource in such discussions in future.

    Asclepius

    These are just some ideas I put forward as possibly relevant to the discussion. Your answer was great.

    The thesis is that pagan religious practices and institutions were conducive to secular inquiry, isn’t it?

    Not just pagan. The reason I was looking more at pagan (here Greek) Religions is that (in my opinion) their connections to science should be more clear. They also (again in my opinion) form part of an integrated whole (Murray or Russell (?) express this sentiment wrt the Greeks, but then fail to follow through. Mary Lefkowitz (link) actually goes one further and argues directly for the conduciveness you mention.

    …which concerned science specifically.

    This is certainly something I wish to show. Though it may be in broader terms than some may wish. I do not see any reason that religion should have any role within science. Perhaps religion has very much lost its function (although I would say religion once was important) and is of little consequence (at least for any future we would strive for). Humanism, for example, could supply that essential extra something that a science-oriented worldview never will.

    [Public Obscenity] I’m not familiar with your reference. But I don’t see a clear connection between public obscenity and empirical inquiry…

    I found it interesting that there would be such an unmoderated space in the temples. We tend to find that the modern religious institutions are restrictive of free expression, whereas here we see that it was just the opposite. (reference: “[Aristotle] … obscenity is never to be tolerated except in temples, where the law permits even ribaldry.” – Russell)

    Many make the point of how restrictive religion is and how this negatively affects human innovations and developments in so many ways. It is not pointed out when a Religion takes precisely the opposite approach.

  86. 586
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ SGBM

    Now, if this sounds like too much work, don’t feel like you have to start it. The laundry lists we have now may be tolerable. It’s your call.

    Book reviews may be a bit much, but keywords could be very useful. We can start on the laundry lists so long (though then the keywords must be added later… :( It will be easy enough to link to Pharynguwiki book reviews if it ever comes to that.

  87. 587
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Just do as you wish at your pace, your tarigradeness. I am too lazy to do the grunt work, but I’ll fix up any snags if you ask — i.e. if you want your books organized by keyword I’ll watch you do it and make sure it goes smoothly.

    I was going to add, if you work with the Semantic Mediawiki functions like I explained in #83, you may have to turn off “Enable visual editor (where available)” here, and/or change “Layout” from “Wikia” to “Monobook” here. Not sure if that’s still necessary, but last year there were bugs conflicting between the WYSIWYG editor and Semantic.

    It’s an honor working with Miss Molly and Chairman Mao.

  88. 588
    strange gods before me ॐ

    (The technical issue from #84 has nothing to do with your plans. You can ignore it.)

  89. 589
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Anyway, requesting that a wiki admin go here.

  90. 590
    rorschach

    He grew up in Germany and lives in Australia, both places where, according to him, devaluing the voice of women is not a significant problem.

    I see I got an honorary mention there.
    Well, you see SGBM, it’s all relative isn’t it, in both of those countries, women can have abortions, paid maternity leave and equal pay. The German and Australian current head of state are women. So compared to the US, no I don’t think the situation of women is as bad in these countries as it is in the US. Work to be done, far from perfect, but very different indeed. But you my black and white friend are never the nuanced type when it comes to raging on about something you dislike.

    As to Condell and Wilders and my comment you quote, it really isn’t my problem that you didn’t get the admittedly weak joke I was trying to make. Lots of people have linked to Condell’s recent video, including nonstampcollector, but I haven’t, and my position on the guy hasn’t changed from since you pointed out to me his right-wing affiliations.

  91. 591
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Well, you see SGBM, it’s all relative isn’t it

    No.

    Fucking dumbass.

  92. 592
  93. 593
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ SGBM

    It’s an honor working with Miss Molly and Chairman Mao.

    You did a sterling job in memorising your lines. In spite of being press-ganged onto stage by a horde of thespian tardigrades.

    @ rorschach

    [China]

    It is the anniversary of the Japanese invasion of China today. I haven’t seen anything untoward yet though. A (Filipino) friend was stopped by a large number of cops, sent downtown to maintain order, a few days ago. They merely checked ID’s and waved people on. People around me seem disconcerted it may escalate (the wrangling between China and Japan that is).

    When South Africa let go of (its then colony, South West Africa) Namibia, it handed over the city of Walvisbaai (lit: Whale Bay) which had always been part of South Africa – as well as a large swathe along the Orange River. Though the cost was high, it was the decent thing to do. Perhaps the Japanese should reconsider their position along similar lines.

  94. 594
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    (One may note however that the same situation is going on between Philippines and China – almost in mirror image.)

  95. 595
  96. 596
    strange gods before me ॐ

    For fun, compare all the bullshit in this comment: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/09/thunderdome-5/comment-page-2/#comment-458521

    with all the bullshit from rorschach in this thread: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/12/lets-not-get-confused/

    and this fucking shithead tries to say “nuance!”

    But it’s just a word to him. No actual nuance is found.

  97. 597
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ rorschach

    But you my black and white friend are never the nuanced type when it comes to raging on about something you dislike.

    In the case of basic human rights there is no gray area.

  98. 598
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Speaking of gray matters: It would appear that the “dear muslima” brainfart wafts about.

  99. 599
    rorschach

    Really, that’s all the links you can find in 5 minutes? Getting old?

    As I said, far from perfect, but compared to the US, a million times better. Yell at your leisure, I’ll be doing something nice for the rest of the evening.

  100. 600
    strange gods before me ॐ

    It’s a limit of five links per comment. And yes, I am getting old.

    And you’re still the same old sexist as you were when I met you, rorschach. That much is obvious.

    As I said, far from perfect,

    Uh, no. That’s not what you said, you idiot.

    You actually said that in Germany and Australia women have equal pay.

    but compared to the US, a million times better.

    Actually no.

    I’m not the only one who recognizes there’s something deeply fucking wrong with your worldview, rorschach.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/12/lets-not-get-confused/comment-page-1/#comment-454931

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/12/lets-not-get-confused/comment-page-1/#comment-454274

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/12/lets-not-get-confused/comment-page-1/#comment-454210

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/12/lets-not-get-confused/comment-page-1/#comment-454079

  101. 601
    Nightjar

    Anyway, requesting that a wiki admin go here.

    Done.

  102. 602
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Thank you, Nightjar!

  103. 603
    Nightjar

    Thank you, Nightjar!

    Glad to help with something, since right now I don’t have time for much else.

    Gotta run now. Catch up later.

  104. 604
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Well, you see SGBM, it’s all relative isn’t it, in both of those countries, women can have abortions, paid maternity leave and equal pay.

    That’s not actually true
    I can have an abortion (outside the three exceptions*) within the first 12 gestational weeks and if I go to somebody before who tells me that I should have the baby and who’ll then give me a paper that states the irrational creature would just not listen and then I still can’t have a legal abortion. I can only have an illegal abortion, but currently they won’t prosecute me. Apart from the three exceptions there is no legal abortion in Germany

    * The exceptions are criminal indication (i.e. rape), health of the mother and “social indication”. The last one is if somebody (somebody else, of course) decides that the woman cannot be burdened with carrying the pregnancy to term. That’s actually the legal basis for abortions for fetal deformations and diseases.

  105. 605
    Suido

    Well, you see SGBM, it’s all relative isn’t it, in both of those countries, women can have abortions, paid maternity leave and equal pay.

    Abortion is not necessarily easily available in Australia, depending on which state you live in.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Australia#State-by-State_legal_situation

    In 2010 a couple in Queensland was prosecuted for illegally procuring RU486. Happily, the jury acquitted them.

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/abortion-on-trial-in-queensland/2982710

  106. 606
    consciousness razor

    The idea was to question a worldview that is wholly defined by science. We surely have more than that at play.

    Sure, there is science, and there is everything else we do.* That shouldn’t be controversial at all, and I don’t know what in SC’s article prompted this whole ordeal. I know there are some die-hard positivists around these parts, but I’m pretty sure she’s not one of them.

    *Note that “everything else we do” is not religion, so your focus on it has been … hard to understand. Isn’t it missing the point?

    That extra something (“je ne sais quoi”) may even involve things that are obviously untrue, but may serve to structure our lives and inspire it in positive directions.

    I don’t see how something could be untrue and have a positive effect, except on accident. Is it really a good idea to encourage accidents? Even if it is good in some wildly implausible scenarios, is it likely to be the best idea?

    Obviously art can play such a role.

    Some of it could, but I think this is a very confusing way of looking at it. Not everything is either true or false. Truth applies to things like propositions, explanations and definitions. If some artwork (like the vast majority) isn’t doing that sort of thing, then there’s no sense in saying that it’s “true” or “untrue.” It’s bad epistemology and bad aesthetics.

    But I noted that religion too (provided it is aspirational and not proscriptive) has this ability.

    Besides the issues above, citation needed. Please explain what it’s supposed to mean. How could a false aspiration (whatever that is) structure our lives positively?

  107. 607
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ consciousness razor

    Sure, there is science, and there is everything else we do.

    Which at a certain point in the development of our Western Philosophy was dependent on a great fib.

    I don’t see how something could be untrue and have a positive effect, except on accident.

    It can (or did, if you prefer)displace worse falsities, and thereby create the conditions in which all manner of undertakings (science|art) become possible.

    Truth applies to things like propositions, explanations and definitions.

    If we have created the space to bring about such things in the first place.

    How could a false aspiration (whatever that is) structure our lives positively?

    Not false aspirations. Falshoods capable of creating the conditions in which we are able to aspire in the first place. (Not science, but religion created these fruitful lies.)

    I now hand over to my co-presenter,Gilbert Murray:

    [Olympian Religion] It is nevertheless true that the Olympian Religion is only to the full intelligible and admirable if we realize it as a superb and baffled endeavour, not a telos or completion but a movement and effort of life.

    We may analyse the movement into three main elements: [1]a moral expurgation of the old rites, [2]an attempt to bring order into the old chaos, and lastly [3] an adaptation to new social needs.

    [1.1] … it gradually swept out of religion, or at least covered with a decent veil, that great mass of rites which was concerned with the Food-supply and the Tribe-supply and aimed at direct stimulation of generative processes.
    [1.2] The Olympian movement swept away also, at least for two splendid centuries, the worship of the man-god, with its diseased atmosphere of megalomania and blood-lust.
    [1.3] These things return with the fall of Hellenism; but the great period, as it urges man to use all his powers of thought, of daring and endurance, of social organization, so it bids him remember that he is a man like other men, subject to the same laws and bound to reckon with the same death.

    [2.1] [bring coherency to the whole mishmash of tribal, professional and other gods that parallelled the disparat elements of society] ‘In the early religion all things were together, till the Homeric system came and arranged them’-Anaxagoras. “in Greek development, we are brought up against the immense formative power of fiction or romance.”
    [2.2] [Compare Hesiod and Homer's contributions to this exercise.] the Hesiodic poets worked in a comparatively backward and unenlightened atmosphere, the Homeric were exposed to the full light of Athens. [the great leap forward as it were, driven by Religion]

    [3.1] [earliest religion was very tribal affair. it would reappear after all manner of setbacks but times had changed:] The social unit which had taken their place was the political community of men, of whatever tribe or tribes, who were held together in times of danger and constant war by means of a common circuit-wall, a Polis.
    [3.2] [social coherence formed around fake tribalism. the city, with all its obvious advantages could be born]

    This all, as we have learned, was doomed ultimately to failure. It did however create a hotbed of exceptional human achievement.

    I don’t know what in SC’s article prompted this whole ordeal.

    I wouldn’t accuse SC of die-hard positivism, the blame is all mine.

    I don’t see how something could be untrue and have a positive effect, except on accident.Is it really a good idea to encourage accidents? Even if it is good in some wildly implausible scenarios, is it likely to be the best idea?

    Though I would not simply disown accidents, I don’t think this is what I meant. In the example of Homer, I think that the writer (or “writers”) had a specific set of objectives in mind (roughly as set out above). The person(s) took a set of pre-existing conditions (themselves based on fables and confabulations) and manipulated them into a coherent whole. I am sure a large part of this was simply aesthetic, to create great art, but also with specific socially positive end goals in mind. (Even if much social priviledge shines through the endeavour.)

  108. 608
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    “Western Philosophy” should read “Western Civilisation” (Though philosophy is a component.We can almost add “Global Civilisation” as it stands today.)

  109. 609
    Nick Gotts

    Universities grew out of the church (evolving out of older Christian cathedral schools and monastic schools). – theophontes

    Not so clear as you might think. The University of Bologna, widely considered the oldest in the world, seems to have had its origin in groups of students studying law (both religious and civil) banding together to hire professors. More broadly, it is certainly the case that the medieval Catholic Church promoted broader (although still very limited) literacy, and gave many scholars the opportunity to work, but this would not seem to support your claims about the specific qualities of ancient Greek religion.

  110. 610
    AJ Milne

    Going back to the beginning of the thread:

    Also, people: what the fuck is it with these fucking videos? I mean, I can understand the need to make one if you’re the product of sibling parents like that fucking racist slug Thunderf00t, but the rest of us learned to fucking read for a fucking reason.

    FTW. Why the hell do so many people need to take more time to record videos that could be represented by a single paragraph? Dramatic effect and long pauses of furrowed brow do not a fucking argument make…

    I sometimes wonder if that last bit is just it: you write some of this stuff out, it’s a little too obvious how very little sense it makes. But if you get to properly incensed and spit it at your camera with enough energy, maybe it feels more right to them, somehow…

    Some of it, it’s not so much bad as that bothering with making a video of it is kinda silly. And the miser in me is bothered by the megabits involved. And I look at the guy reading it out and think to myself: you must have already typed it anyway somewhere in the process of composing this; look, just send me that. I read it faster than you will anyway…

    It’s a quality/dilution thing, y’know? You can pack so much more sense into so much less space and time with text.

    Some of it’s actually… okay. The ones who talk naturally enough and try to engage with the viewer through the camera, get the technical stuff right, get the sound and lighting at least not awful, put a little heart into it, maybe even a little music, or do a photo-montage, possibly with some humour. Okay then, at least they’re trying to use the medium, showing they actually get what it’s good at.

    The worst of ‘em, raving irritably at their monitor in front of one bad full-frontal interview light only, I feel a bit like I’m trapped in a crowded hallway with the angry, crazy uncle at a family reunion. And looking for any excuse to sneak out back with my glass of wine, where I can cool my head and wash off the spit-spray.

    Yeah, honestly, I’m not really a fan of the ‘cranky atheist talking YouTube head’ genre. The written word, I just think that’s more our medium anyway. You’re making an argument, it’s nice to see it laid out, word by word, where you can pick at it and think about it, see if it all adds up.

  111. 611
    John Morales

    AJ Milne,

    I sometimes wonder if that last bit is just it: you write some of this stuff [videos] out, it’s a little too obvious how very little sense it makes.

    Indeed.

  112. 612
    ChasCPeterson

    It’s the McLuhan/Warhol/Byrne effect. People grow up absorbing the reality that the peak achievement is to Be On TV. The name ‘YouTube’, to some of us, is an unironic rhyme for ‘boobtube’. This is merely the first generation of humans able to see themselves On TV at will. Viva L’Evolucion!

  113. 613
    consciousness razor
    Truth applies to things like propositions, explanations and definitions.

    If we have created the space to bring about such things in the first place.

    So what? It has been created, so now you can reject it or not.

    Not false aspirations. Falshoods capable of creating the conditions in which we are able to aspire in the first place. (Not science, but religion created these fruitful lies.)

    Would you please explain what the hell you’re talking about?

    I now hand over to my co-presenter,Gilbert Murray:

    Simply bizarre.

  114. 614
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    The University of Bologna

    That was a very interesting link. (Although it appears to refer more to the oldest university than the origins of universities.)

    …this would not seem to support your claims about the specific qualities of ancient Greek religion.

    I have been lumping everything into one box there, whereas I should be splitting into different categories.

    The Olympian movement was obviously vastly different to christianity but we could also ask the same questions of christianity as we do of the Greeks. (What good has it done for humanity in general? Another interesting question: what has it done for science ?

    @ consiousness razor

    So what? It has been created, so now you can reject it or not.

    We are in constant need to create new spaces (what else is A+ , for example?). The space that the Greeks created lasted about 200 years, and did an inordinate amount of original and progressive things. And left a valuable legacy to boot.
    What exactly is wrong with exploring back to that age and seeing (at least attempting) what it is that made certain periods exceptional? I wouldn’t suggest simply rejecting that.

    Would you please explain what the hell you’re talking about?

    The Olympian religion created amongst many other things a set of aspirations. Not false aspirations. (eg: The Olympic Games were held to honour Zeus. After being killed off by the xtians, they were finally resuscitated. They now kindle sporting (and humanistic) aspirations for millions around the world. )

    Zeus has never existed. The stories about Him are false. The institution these fables inspired is not false. The legacy lives on and the aspirations it produces are very real.

    I now hand over to my co-presenter,Gilbert Murray:

    Simply bizarre

    I have the picture to prove it! Linky.

    You don’t comment on the linked discussion (or my attempt to paraphrase it), but on my introduction? This has to be the first case of tone trolling to complain about humour that I have ever seen.

    (If you prefer: “I refer you to Gilbert Murray”. There, fixed.)

  115. 615
    Nick Gotts

    The space that the Greeks created lasted about 200 years, and did an inordinate amount of original and progressive things. – theophontes

    Which 200 years are you talking about? The Milesian school got going early in the 6th century BCE, while good scientific work was still going on in Alexandria at least until the 2nd century CE.

  116. 616
    John Morales

    CE

  117. 617
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Yaaarrrrrr

  118. 618
    consciousness razor

    theophontes
    Try to see if you can follow this, since I’m having a hard time:

    That extra something (“je ne sais quoi”) may even involve things that are obviously untrue, but may serve to structure our lives and inspire it in positive directions. Obviously art can play such a role.

    [Some of it could, but I think this is a very confusing way of looking at it. Not everything is either true or false.] Truth applies to things like propositions, explanations and definitions.

    If we have created the space to bring about such things in the first place.

    So what? It has been created, so now you can reject it or not.

    We are in constant need to create new spaces (what else is A+ , for example?).

    How did we end up here?

    You’re telling this little narrative about how things which are “untrue” can have value. I said that is a confusing way of looking at it, since not everything is true or false.

    You replied that there must be a “space” (which I took as metaphorical) for bringing that about. Then what is being brought about? Is it a conceptual space, in which certain kinds of things are true or false, while others are not? We already have that space, and have had it for a very long time. I said you could reject it or not, since you seemed to be rejecting it (or at least ignoring it, as it doesn’t fit well with the narrative).

    Or do you think it’s some other kind of space? Because by the end, you’re talking about creating spaces like A+, as if that had anything to do with the (needlessly confusing) conversation we were having about epistemology. But it doesn’t. You’re just continuing the story, and I don’t know if we’ve gotten anywhere.

    The space that the Greeks created lasted about 200 years, and did an inordinate amount of original and progressive things. And left a valuable legacy to boot.

    Like Nick said, it was well over 200. And what does that have to do with religion? If you just mean to say we should borrow things from ancient Greek culture (the few things we’ve somehow not borrowed), then well… okay. I may not join in all of the bacchanalia, but otherwise I have no problem with that.

    Would you please explain what the hell you’re talking about?

    The Olympian religion created amongst many other things a set of aspirations. Not false aspirations. (eg: The Olympic Games were held to honour Zeus. After being killed off by the xtians, they were finally resuscitated. They now kindle sporting (and humanistic) aspirations for millions around the world. )

    I don’t dispute that people have aspirations because of their beliefs. However, they can have other beliefs which are as good or better.

    Don’t you think they had more practical motivations for regular sporting events like the Olympic games, other than “to honour Zeus”? Without believing in Zeus (assuming they all genuinely did), wouldn’t they still have had them?

  119. 619
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Nick Gotts (formerly KG)

    Which 200 years are you talking about? The Milesian school got going early in the 6th century BCE, while good scientific work was still going on in Alexandria at least until the 2nd century CE.

    This will need a little explanation (I highlight the key parts):

    Bertrand Russell: 3 stages [to be continued, focussed on philosophy, his dates are more at odds with below]

    Nietsche: [to be continued]

    Murray: Speaks of 5 stages

    1.”the primitive Euetheia or Age of Ignorance, before Zeus came to trouble men’s minds, a stage to which our anthropologists and explorers have found parallels in every part of the world. Dr. Preuss applies to it the charming word ‘Urdummheit,…”
    2. “the Olympian or classical stage, a stage in which, for good or ill, blunderingly or successfully, this primitive vagueness was reduced to a kind of order. This is the stage of the great Olympian gods, who dominated art and poetry, ruled the imagination of Rome, and extended a kind of romantic dominion even over the Middle Ages”
    3.”the Hellenistic period, reaching roughly from Plato to St. Paul”
    4.”the later and more popular movements of the Hellenistic Age, a period based on the consciousness of manifold failure…the failure of the Olympian theology and of the free city-state, now crushed by semi-barbarous military monarchies; it lived through the gradual realization of two other failures—the failure of human government, even when backed by the power of Rome or the wealth of Egypt, to achieve a good life for man; and lastly the failure of the great propaganda of Hellenism”
    5.”when the old religion in the time of Julian roused itself for a last spiritual protest against the all-conquering ‘atheism’ of the Christians.”

    Benjamin Farrington (pace Braudel): “distinguishes between three stages in the general development of Greek science: from 600 to 400 BC[E], when for the first time in human history , ‘a scientific conception of the world was elaborated’; the years 400 to 320 [BCE], with Plato and Aristotle, which saw a major flowering of philosophy; and finally the years from 320 to 120 under the patronage of the Ptolemies in the great city of Alexandria in Egypt, when the various branches of the sciences set up their ‘state of the art’compendia : this was the time of the encyclopedia, the summa and the textbook, the time of final reckonings which is often a signal that something is coming to an end.

    Braudel: Would rather start the first stage in about 800 BCE. The key moment for Braudel is that of the “Greek Spring”. He suggests that he would include Herodotus, Hippocrates, Protagoras. He draws the line before Plato and Aristotle. “I might be burnt as a heretic for saying so, but in my view by the time they came on the scene, everything worthwhile had been accomlished.”

    The period of time for us to focus our attention on, IMHO, would be at the period of overlap. Roughly 200 years ending around 400 BCE. (The start point is not that clear.We could perhaps go with Braudel for science 800-400=400 years. This would line up with Homer at (roughly 800 BCE) the same time. The main point is that the period was very short.)

    Suggestion: I think we should rather adopt Homer as our starting point. This will be more consistent wrt ages in terms of Religion. A little tedious to distinguish between periods but it will provide “a kind of scaffolding”.

  120. 620
    Nick Gotts

    theophontes,

    The main point is that the period was very short.

    Really? You give dates ranging from 800 BCE to 120 BCE from different sources, while your preferred 600-400 (or 800-400, I’m not sure which you’re settling on) excludes the greatest of ancient scientists, Archimedes, not to mention Eratosthenes, Heron, Ptolemy, Aristarchus of Samos, Hipparchus, Galen… all part of the common classical prejudice that the Hellenistic period was decadent, I’d guess.

  121. 621
    Nick Gotts

    Hmm, not to mention Aristotle!

  122. 622
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ John Morales

    CE

    The thin end of the wedge.

    @ consciousness razor

    I shall have to get back to the first part of your comment. (It is a little late, I would like to clarify rather than confuse any more than I appear to have done.)

    Like Nick said, it was well over 200. And what does that have to do with religion?

    I trust my response at #119 clears up some of my reasoning. I note too that it may be more consistent to start at Homer (as Braudel appears to have done).

    If you just mean to say we should borrow things from ancient Greek culture

    No – in spite of the obvious attractions of wild bacchanalia. Rather I am interested in a wholistic understanding of what made it tick. We cannot simply cross Religion off the list, as it was an integral part of all that made that period so exceptional.

    However, they can have other beliefs which are as good or better.

    In the period we are currently focussing on, I very much doubt this. We can’t just shuffle the components about willy nilly. (We noted before that the whole Olympian period was short lived and doomed. I just cannot imagine right now what else they could have done to prevent this- even in hindsight.)

    Don’t you think they had more practical motivations for regular sporting events like the Olympic games, other than “to honour Zeus”?

    The games, certainly had very Religious motivations to begin with. And were surrounded by religious ceremonies, hecatombs and the like. I am sure there were social reasons too. And political ones. But we must bear in mind that all these “other” matters were not “other”. They were all integrated together. (Zeus|Hera corresponds to King|Priestess (selected via such games), so that the political position of kingship cannot rightly be seperated from the religious.) It would be ingenuous in this context to pretend Religion could be overlooked or that things would not have been supremely different without the influence of Religion.

    Note on citations: I am citing from our list on the pharynguwiki. If the referenced text is not obvious (“Murray” refers to “The Five Stages of Greek Religion” in my previous comment), I will be happy to help.

  123. 623
    abb3w

    Spotted over at the Friendly Atheist, A TN poll in need of tentacles.

  124. 624
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ Nick Gotts

    800-400

    Yes, we could settle on that for now.

    all part of the common classical prejudice that the Hellenistic period was decadent, I’d guess.

    Russell will save the day! (He is arguing more from a philosophic perspective. We must still get around to him. You will also notice that everyone whose work has been referred to has been atheist (bar one agnostic). We still have to get onto teh goddists *cringe* – fortunately there are only two.)

    .

    Aristotle.

  125. 625
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Avast! It’s RevBDC, the scurvy dog! Grog?

  126. 626
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Caine @ #44: You know why I didn’t speak up when Morales admitted to being an attempted rapist? This is fucking why. Because he’s a long-time regular, and the cool kids here were patting him on the back for how bwaaaaave he was for feeling bad about almost raping someone. Because I saw this place as somewhere that was fine with rapists (and IDGAF that he says he only tried to) as long as they’re one of their own.

    You don’t speak for all survivors either. I love the fuck out of your posts, but what the fuck!?

  127. 627
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    You know, a lot has happened recently on the Internetz. I’d have to say my biggest takeaway has been that I shouldn’t set up people to be heroes. Dawkins’ Dear Muslima thing, JT’s fuckups, Abbie’s perpetual trainwreck, pretty much every Youtube Atheist I used to be a fan of, all of them have been fucking tripping over themselves to disappoint me. I understand the urge to overlook these fuckups to maintain my mental congruence and my status quo. However, doing so compromises my principles, so I stopped reading these people, buying their books, subbing to their channels. It’s what I felt I had to do, if only for consistency.

    Now, in light of that, I have to ask that if a total unknown came onto this blog and talked about almost raping their spouse, would they get the kind of consideration and even defense that John has? Somehow, I doubt it. I get that John’s a regular, that he’s smart, that some people in the community value his past contributions. However, one’s past contributions shouldn’t overshadow one’s actions.

    I mean, how many times have we all heard the Special Snowflake Defense? “He shouldn’t be convicted of rape/attempted rape, he’s a grade A student! He helps out around the community! He volunteers at church! He [something positive sounding]!” And how many times has this defense been summarily thrown out, and rightly so, because it’s fucking immaterial?

    There are survivors who are willing to overlook John’s actions and feel comfortable around him. Good for them. What we’ve been saying, like Daisy and HS, is that there are rape and abuse survivors who aren’t comfortable with rapists/attempted rapists hanging around their community, and it doesn’t help that because said rapist/attempted rapist is a regular and valued poster, there are others who circle the wagons to defend him.

    I can’t speak for Daisy or HS, but I don’t think banning John is the goal here. The goal, as I interpret it, is to make the point loud and clear that they’re not comfortable with his acceptance or being made to feel that they should have to be comfortable with him too.

  128. 628
    carlie

    I can’t speak for Daisy or HS, but I don’t think banning John is the goal here. The goal, as I interpret it, is to make the point loud and clear that they’re not comfortable with his acceptance or being made to feel that they should have to be comfortable with him too.

    I’m not sure there’s any difference between those two things as you’ve written them. Do you mean you’re ok with him commenting as long as it’s clear that you don’t want him to?

    All we know is what he wrote, that he recognized something of himself in what someone else had written. We know nothing about what actually happened, and according to him he made amends with his wife, has regretted whatever it was ever since, and is solidly set on never doing anything like it again.

    I’m honestly asking, not rhetorically, and not trying to set up any gotchas: for the people who are really uncomfortable about this, would it matter whether anything physical happened and if so what that was, or is just the fact that he feels like he pushed too far enough to make you continually uncomfortable that he posts here?

  129. 629
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I don’t give a shit that it was only attempted rape. I don’t like keeping company with rapists (attempted or not), and I especially don’t like that he’s getting the same treatment “good xtians who made a mistake” get in their communities here. It reflects very badly.

    I don’t mean that eeryone has to shun him, or ban him, or whatever. But I do maintain my own boundaries when it comes to who I wish to associate with, and my thoughts on who others wish to defend.

  130. 630
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    I’m not sure there’s any difference between those two things as you’ve written them. Do you mean you’re ok with him commenting as long as it’s clear that you don’t want him to?

    Again, I can’t speak for them. I know I usually ignore John’s posts, and I thought he was an asshole for unrelated reasons prior to this. Pointing out that one is not okay with what one did no matter how “good” they are, or how cognizant they are, now is not equivalent with calling for bans. How survivors choose to respond is up to them. Ignoring, killfiling, whatever.

    We know nothing about what actually happened, and according to him he made amends with his wife, has regretted whatever it was ever since, and is solidly set on never doing anything like it again.

    I suggest you re-read my paragraph about the Special Snowflake Defense, because that’s…basically what you’re doing.

  131. 631
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Carlie, I am not a survivor of sexual assault and I personally don’t feel threatened by Morales’ presence here, but that post, and the reaction to it, repulsed me. Rah and HS more or less explain why.

    I will be honest and say that Morales’ long-term pattern of needling people over the pettiest bullshit probably did and does affect my perception of that confession. Is it fair that I might have been more generous in spirit to a more pleasant commenter who made such a confession? No, not at all. I’d still have supported any rape survivors who were triggered or made fearful by such a confession. However, I find it hard to be “fair” to a person who once committed almost-rape and who enjoys passive-aggressively pushing people’s buttons without any provocation.

  132. 632
    chigau (違う)

    Yup.
    My killfile is working quite nicely.

  133. 633
    John Morales

    Cutter*:

    However, I find it hard to be “fair” to a person who once committed almost-rape and who enjoys passive-aggressively pushing people’s buttons without any provocation.

    Yeah, you pushed my buttons alright, but it only works once.

    You clearly don’t care that you’re insulting the woman who is my lover, my confidant, my partner, my best friend and indeed my other half, and has been for maybe longer than you’ve been alive.

    I tell you this: there is no dominance-submissiveness power dynamic in our relationship; not that I imagine such as you can grok such a thing or such intimacy.

    Bah.

    Happiestsadist:

    I don’t give a shit that it was only attempted rape.

    You don’t give a shit about reality, either.

    How survivors choose to respond is up to them. Ignoring, killfiling, whatever.

    Lying.

    RahXephon:

    I suggest you re-read my paragraph about the Special Snowflake Defense, because that’s…basically what you’re doing.

    No good deed goes unpunished — that’s what you’re doing.

    Like I wrote above, it only works once. I have dealt with the shock and the unfairness (note: not “unfairness”) already.

  134. 634
    carlie

    I’ve always thought that the special snowflake argument was basically the same as not my Nigel; it’s an argument that the person is a good person, therefore they simply couldn’t have done such a terrible thing, and the result of it is that the person is able to keep on behaving that way because everyone refuses to see that they’re doing it.

    I don’t think that’s what I’m doing. I’m saying that we have no idea what even happened. The only thing he said was “I came this close to doing that”, and was, by what he wrote after that, very shaken up about it. We know nothing about his actual demeanor, nothing about his wife, nothing about how they interact. For all we know, in his mind “this close” means “I asked three times in a row until she snapped at me”; given the way he seems to observe social interactions, he’s a somewhat unreliable narrator in that arena. And my reason for noting that he seems to be a different person than that now is that his explanation indicates that he isn’t a current threat to anyone in that manner, not to erase whatever did happen. Sure, there are enough reasons for someone not to like John based on what he does post (sorry, John). But there’s zero evidence that he’s a rapist, and there’s not much to go on as to whether he’s an attempted rapist. And I wonder if part of it is the opposite of the special snowflake defense, that his comment just slid too easily into the “check, yep, asshole” bin as more confirmation of that assumption.

  135. 635
    Walton

    I don’t really want to get involved in this, but I will say that people do change, with time. I was a creep, a harasser and a homophobic bigot when I was a teenager of fourteen or so: I’ve admitted to that fact many times before. I feel a great deal of guilt about it. But I can’t do anything to change the past; I can only try to be a better person now.

  136. 636
    Walton

    (And if people want me to leave because of what I’ve disclosed about my past, then I understand, and I’ll stop posting here.)

  137. 637
    Nick Gotts

    it [Olympian religion] was an integral part of all that made that period so exceptional – theophontes

    You’ve asserted that numerous times, but not provided any evidence for it. The Olympian pantheon, and the way it’s treated in Homer, don’t look that different to me from the Hindu pantheon and the way it’s treated in the Bhagavad Gita, or the Norse pantheon and how it’s treated in the sagas. All three are of course related – descended from a common Indo-European mythology – and in all these cases we see a similar process of mythological “gelling” occurring when a culture becomes literate.

  138. 638
    consciousness razor

    (And if people want me to leave because of what I’ve disclosed about my past, then I understand, and I’ll stop posting here.)

    Walton, you should comment more often.

    Just not about monarchy. ;)

    But honestly, even if that’s all you did, I’d take that rather than a lack-of-Walton any day.

  139. 639
    Nick Gotts

    I have to ask that if a total unknown came onto this blog and talked about almost raping their spouse, would they get the kind of consideration and even defense that John has? Somehow, I doubt it. – RahXephon

    I’ve been very reluctant to comment on this issue, as I’m not a survivor of rape or anything similar, but yes, I think they probably would, and should, if both the content and the tone were similar to what John said. Of course it is within the rights of anyone, and particularly a rape survivor, to refuse to have anything to do with someone who has once almost raped someone, however long ago and even if (apparently) sincerely regretted, and forgiven by the victim; but I don’t think general shunning of such a person is the right course of action, because it carries the message that people cannot change.

  140. 640
    Walton

    But honestly, even if that’s all you did, I’d take that rather than a lack-of-Walton any day.

    Thank you. I appreciate it.

  141. 641
    carlie

    Walton, you are delightful.

    You should have met me back when I was a fundamentalist and telling all my friends they were going to hell and gayness was wrong and abortion was a terrible sin. No wait, maybe you shouldn’t have. Good thing for me there was no internet then.

    Of course it is within the rights of anyone, and particularly a rape survivor, to refuse to have anything to do with someone who has once almost raped someone, however long ago and even if (apparently) sincerely regretted, and forgiven by the victim; but I don’t think general shunning of such a person is the right course of action, because it carries the message that people cannot change.

    This is also my position.

  142. 642
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    *ignoring controversy*

    Walton!

  143. 643
    Walton

    Sorry I haven’t been around. I’ve been commenting infrequently of late because of being busy – I spent much of the summer volunteering for a charity. I also spent some time working with a campaign against immigration detention, which involved travelling to courts to observe bail hearings for immigration detainees.

    I’ve been more active on FBPET than here, though, and I did find time to post about immigrants’ rights on the Atheism+ forum.

  144. 644
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Added my first entry on the Wiki.

  145. 645
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Chigau:

    Yup.
    My killfile is working quite nicely.

    Awww. ;___; I’m so disappointed to be k/f’ed by your dumb ass, let me tell you.

    Morales:

    You clearly don’t care that you’re insulting the woman who is my lover, my confidant, my partner, my best friend and indeed my other half, and has been for maybe longer than you’ve been alive.

    Unfuckingbelievable.

    You manipulative, whinging piece of shit.

    Carlie, Walton, Nick: Nobody is owed forgiveness. Nobody.

  146. 646
    ChasCPeterson

    one’s past contributions shouldn’t overshadow one’s actions.

    Instead one’s past actions should overshadow one’s recent and present contributions*?
    You’re denying things like rehabilitation and personal growth?
    Because that’s fucked up.

    there are rape and abuse survivors who aren’t comfortable with rapists/attempted rapists hanging around their community

    You mean Pharyngula? Nobody owns the community.

    there are others who circle the wagons to defend him

    Nobody, of course, has ever defended the long-ago act. (About which, as carlie has emphasized, nobody knows nothing.)

    I do maintain my own boundaries when it comes to who I wish to associate with,

    In the past I have found the Greasemonkey killfile script very handy in this regard, since I recognize that at Pharyngula I have little say in who I am associating with.

    and my thoughts on who others wish to defend.

    whom.
    Man, if I shared all my thoughts about everybody else who posts here it would burn off both your ears.
    Know why I don’t?
    Because I know it’s not ‘my’ community.

  147. 647
    ChasCPeterson

    I forgot:
    *not that I think much of Morales’s recent and present ‘contributions’, but it’s the principle.

  148. 648
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Man, if I shared all my thoughts about everybody else who posts here it would burn off both your ears.

    It goes to show you don’t ever know.

  149. 649
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    sgbm am i doing something wrong adding recipes on the wiki?

    they are on there but aren’t showing up in the list.

  150. 650
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Nevermind, I didn’t see the note about “clicking here”

  151. 651
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    Carlie:

    I’ve always thought that the special snowflake argument was basically the same as not my Nigel

    I already defined what I meant by Special Snowflake Defense. The same principle was at work in a recent thread at Shakesville: Melissa shut down a discussion about Bill Clinton’s past with rape and sexual assault because she “didn’t want to moderate” such a discussion. I happen to think she didn’t like that discussion because she happens to like the Clintons and acknowledging that someone she personally likes has a past like that probably bothers her.

    I’m saying that we have no idea what even happened.

    This quote, and most of the rest of the paragraph, is exactly what I’m talking about. Can you honestly tell me that if someone none of us knew came on here and said “Hey, I almost raped my wife!” you would throw up all these “we don’t know what really happened” defenses of that person? I have a hard time believing that you would.

    And I wonder if part of it is the opposite of the special snowflake defense, that his comment just slid too easily into the “check, yep, asshole” bin as more confirmation of that assumption.

    That’s something Daisy already admitted could’ve influenced her; can you admit that you could have the opposite bias? That because he’s a regular commenter whose contributions you presumably value that you’re giving him special consideration?

    John:

    No good deed goes unpunished — that’s what you’re doing.

    To what good deed are you referring? Almost raping your wife, or your claim that you talked about it to “stop other guys from doing what [you] did”? The first is obviously not a good deed, and the second is, at best, questionable.

    Nick Gotts

    I’ve been very reluctant to comment on this issue, as I’m not a survivor of rape or anything similar, but yes, I think they probably would, and should, if both the content and the tone were similar to what John said.

    And I don’t buy it. I see trolls and noobs excoriated for far less around here.

    I don’t think general shunning of such a person is the right course of action, because it carries the message that people cannot change.

    Nobody’s asking for general shunning, as far as I’m aware. What we’re saying is that there are people who don’t feel comfortable around such a person. You don’t seem to have a problem with that.

  152. 652
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    Instead one’s past actions should overshadow one’s recent and present contributions*?
    You’re denying things like rehabilitation and personal growth?
    Because that’s fucked up.

    No, those things do matter, but do you think that an attempted rapist feeling bad about what he did and expressing his manpain entitles him to acceptance by rape survivors, let alone anyone else? John can atone all he wants, it doesn’t mean he’s owed anything by anyone. If a rape survivor says they’ll NEVER be comfortable around him because of what he did, that’s their prerogative.

    Stop the equivocations between personal comfort and safety and “denying personal growth and rehabilitation” already. Jesus.

    You mean Pharyngula? Nobody owns the community.

    “Their community” as in one they are a part of. Again, Jesus.

    Nobody, of course, has ever defended the long-ago act. (About which, as carlie has emphasized, nobody knows nothing.)

    Of course not. Nobody defended Clinton’s rape and sexual assault past in that SV thread, either. They just chose to ignore and minimize it because OMG AWESUM CONVENTION SPEECH!!!!

    Nobody’s defending Julian Assange’s alleged rape, but it’s a WITCHHUNT BY THE GOVERNMENT!

    Defending a rapist/attempted rapist doesn’t mean that one is defending the act. One is really defending themselves and their appreciation for such a person’s life and/or work despite their past actions. If someone wants to like Bill Clinton despite the things he did…okay, but I don’t think what he did should be ignored, or deleted, or cause one to get banned if one mentions it.

  153. 653
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING:

    I’m going to raise a lot of hackles, but what the hell. And since John Morales is essentially ‘still in the room’ I will address him directly instead of as if he weren’t here:

    I made a comment in an earlier Thunderdome about you reminding me of Phil the curmudgeon bartender from the Murphy Brown TV series. Your responses to some situations can be abrupt and quite a bit less heartwarming than I’m assuming a lot of the Pharyngula population expects. Most of the grievances that people have held against you have been presented in response, many somewhat more abrupt than I am used to seeing. I’m not griping about tone, this is Pharyngula AND the Thunderdome thread, after all.

    I do want to argue on your behalf, though. In another thread, it seems to me you made the grievous sin of being far too honest about your thought processes that happened during a sexual encounter and now people are associating you with that deep confessional. I’m assuming that there are a number of people here that would be less enthusiastically regarded if they revealed their mental processes during particular events in their lives if they used them as examples to augment an argument. I won’t reveal anything about my own deep and personal motivations now, after seeing how some people will use them as a weapon against others, perhaps even if the current argument is unrelated.

    Because the subject matter of your confession (and I will say it: rape, in case people are thinking I’m trying to downplay the importance or be coy for apologetics) is such a deeply personal, emotional and salient issue on this web log, many people are going to want to distance themselves because of their own personal emotions and experiences.

    I am trying to balance what your thought processes were at that time against the actual resulting situation. It reminds me of that line Christopher Hitchens used about religion, where an all-knowing God could essentially hold you guilty for thought crimes in a spiritual North Korea. Are people finding you guilty of a crime because you were so used to being so brutally honest that you admitted more than the usual person would?

    The issue is too deeply personal, triggering and frightening for so many here. I definitely don’t want to place expectations on those people’s reactions since they are entitled to them. I, however, was unaware of your confession until it was raised in this thread. Until that time, I had found you to be an interesting contributor, grumpy sometimes, and certainly very selective about when and how much empathy you have and about what. That’s your personality, I didn’t care if you changed it or even wanted to. I know it’s too much for some people here, and they’re entitled to their reaction. I, perhaps, didn’t see enough of your comments to be as angered by your comments or personality. However, the current situation puts me in an insanely unusual situation. Based on what I know of you, I am finding it unfair to so harshly judge you because you have volunteered such deep and personal information about yourself that typically no one would ever know.

    To others, as I said, I don’t expect you to have any different reaction than you have, because of the nature of what was confessed, but I am wondering if some consideration has to be given to the unusual and deeply secret nature of what was revealed. Is this an instance where someone putting too much trust in us and revealing deeply personal information is going to force us to have to mentally convict someone for a thought crime? Is it even possible to search for the term ‘fair’ in such a situation?

    Only on this site could such a conundrum present itself. Please don’t dogpile me too horribly. I’m just bothered by not being able to find what I normally think of as reasonable and fair response. As alluded to in the body of this comment, my current reaction is that I am finding it difficult to convict John of the crime of which some people want to find him guilty, even when some are so emphatic in their desire to do so.

  154. 654
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    I think RahXephon’s first response paragraph in #152 clarifies part of the issue for me. Thanks for that.

  155. 655
    Nick Gotts

    Nobody is owed forgiveness. – Ms. Daisy Cutter

    Nobody said or implied that they were.

    That’s something Daisy already admitted could’ve influenced her; can you admit that you could have the opposite bias? That because he’s a regular commenter whose contributions you presumably value that you’re giving him special consideration? – RahXephon

    I know this wasn’t addressed to me, but I’ll answer it: no, I don’t much value John’s contributions, and it would be no grief to me if he stopped posting here, so in my case at least, that bias is not operating.

    And I don’t buy it. I see trolls and noobs excoriated for far less around here.

    I can’t think of anything remotely comparable said by any troll or noob: they get excoriated for unpleasant attitudes or dishonesty evident in the comments they write, not for confessing to a serious but (apparently) greatly regretted and forgiven (by the victim) transgression years ago.

  156. 656
    carlie

    There’s not liking somebody, and there’s ignoring somebody, and there’s giving your honest opinion of somebody when it comes up, but then there’s crafting comments to specifically bring someone into it solely so that you can talk shit about them. Ms. Daisy Cutter started this discussion by doing that with Morales (saying hey eric, you’re a good guy, not like Morales over there), and RahXephon just did it with McEwan again (hey, know who he’s as bad as? Melissa!). What is it exactly that you want everyone else to do? You’ve made your opinion clear, presumably any time he talks about sex or trust you’ll bring it up again, you’ve specifically said that you don’t expect banning or group shunning, what result is it that you want to get out of this?

  157. 657
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I’d like people to stop minimizing what he did. And stop acting his like whiny fucking tantrum about the meanie fucking survivors who are horrified that a rapist (sorry, just because he failed at it) is hanging around, getting asspats from the regulars here. Here’s the thing, even IF the folks here would flock to protect a rapist who wasn’t their own when a survivor has the gall to voice their discomfort at people being fucking lauded for not being successful rapists? That doesn’t make y’all decent people. That just makes you like every-fucking-body else.

    RahXephon’s first paragraph at #152 sums it up. He can make noises about personal growth and getting better all he wants.

    There is no bravery in confessing to being an attempted rapist in an environment where it’s obvious you’re going to get applauded and welcomed for it.

    But it’s clear that I am not welcome here.

  158. 658
    Dhorvath, OM

    what result is it that you want to get out of this?

    At a guess? Have no one else telling John that he is okay. Support for John is hurting others in this space.

  159. 659
    David Marjanović

    Producer of hate-the-Muslims video called a “radical Christian” in German.

  160. 660
    David Marjanović

    Also: one of the actors is suing the producer, saying she’s getting death threats for words he put into her mouth.

  161. 661
    RahXephon, Waahmbulance Driver for St. Entitlement's Hospital

    RahXephon just did it with McEwan again (hey, know who he’s as bad as? Melissa!).

    You clearly didn’t see the point of my comparison. I was not comparing Melissa to John, I was comparing her to people here who I think defend people they personally like, even if that means minimizing what that person did.

    Also, I get that you like SV. I don’t. I spent eight fucking years there as a reader and commenter and I’m still trying to work out exactly what that place did to my mind. Do I hold a grudge? Probably, and I think I’m fucking entitled to do so, but mentioning Melissa and the Clinton thread wasn’t about that. It’s a perfectly cogent example of the kind of “Ooh what a great speech isn’t he awesome” crap that’s going on here. John almost raped his wife, he claims he feels remorse, that his wife forgave him, and that he’ll never do it again. AMAZING. But that’s completely fucking immaterial to the feelings of survivors who then find out about that past.

    Here’s the thing, even IF the folks here would flock to protect a rapist who wasn’t their own when a survivor has the gall to voice their discomfort at people being fucking lauded for not being successful rapists? That doesn’t make y’all decent people. That just makes you like every-fucking-body else.

    Word.

  162. 662
    Ing

    Also: one of the actors is suing the producer, saying she’s getting death threats for words he put into her mouth

    Well they should. It’s one thing to volunteer yourself to make a point like say Rushdie and take on the risk, it’s enough to trick people into doing it.

  163. 663
    carlie

    There is no bravery in confessing to being an attempted rapist in an environment where it’s obvious you’re going to get applauded and welcomed for it.

    Support for John is hurting others in this space.

    Maybe it’s just my perception, but support for John isn’t a way I’d describe much of anything anywhere on this blog. I’ve never seen much wagon-circling on his behalf. But I don’t know how to express myself any better than I have, and pounding on it is doing more harm than good, so I’ll stop participating in this discussion at all now.

  164. 664
    skeptifem

    re:john
    I am not trying to tell anyone else how to feel, I just see an awful lot of people speaking on behalf of victims instead of victims speaking up about how this makes them feel. This is a post of my personal feelings only.

    I am a victim of sexual violence and it is clear to me that I will never get to decide if there are rapists (attempted or otherwise) in my community. Even excluding men would not fix the problem entirely. John admitting what he did and saying how horrible he feels doesn’t really change anything for me- that was something in his past regardless of if he decided to share or not. I am sure there are countless other men on pharyngula and other places who did similar things (maybe repeatedly) who won’t ever admit to having fucked up (for whatever reason). I don’t know how to get upset about that, its such an obvious fact of living in this society.

    Men are raised in this culture and without much chance of being educated in rape prevention, they are usually instructed about sex in ways that enforce myths about rape. It is easy for men to unthinkingly do these things. Realizing that you’ve done something truly horrible, something that damages an important relationship, is a terrible thing. It would be ridiculous to blame rape culture as the sole cause of the event, and it would be just as ridiculous to only blame john. Saying that it sucks for him too doesn’t erase what rape does to victims, it makes the entirety of the damage of rape culture known. In that way I am glad that he said something.

    One thing I really hate about overhearing conversations about rape from people who haven’t experienced it is the black and white characterization of everything involved. They imply that I am totally broken and damaged, and because of that the man who did this to me deserves to die for being so irreversibly horrible. Its nonsense to think that way. Nothing is really that simple. I would rather have the dude who raped me actually understand what he did than be tortured or punished (though I didn’t always feel that way). I don’t forgive him and I am still dealing with problems. The nuanced view is just a reflection of reality, it isn’t an attempt to minimize or excuse anything that has happened.

    I don’t have a problem with men discussing feminism or how patriarchy fucks up their lives if they aren’t steam rolling over women in our spaces. The equivalent here would be asking victims to interact with him, and I haven’t actually seen that anywhere so far. Is anyone really saying that someone who is uncomfortable should not killfile him?

  165. 665
    jonmilne

    Here’s the ironic thing, there ARE Men’s Rights Activist positions that I would actually quite happily promote: protecting men who are the legit the victims of abusive relationships, helping protect men who experience workplace bullying, any custody cases in law where out of the two parents the father does happen to be the better suited to raise the kid, any attempts to help gay guys with feeling happy with themselves and their sexuality, any help offered to women who feel they were born in the wrong body and either want to or have become men through sex change surgery. I could go on, but I think that’s a fair enough list. Indeed, I’d have liked some comfort when, shortly after coming to England from Scotland 15 years ago, I got the holy hell bullied out of me throughout the entirety of my remaining primary school years and all of my high school years, with some of my more prominent bullies being women who launched vile sexist taunts at me and who did indeed beat me up quite a bit.

    What I’m saying here is that there are some potential MRA positions I would happily support. But here’s the thing: the MRAs are not truly commiting their efforts to battling this above shit. Hell, they’ve gotten as bad if not worse than Fundie Christians (assuming, of course, that they AREN’T fundie Christians) in their whole woman-shaming tactics.

    THAT’S become the big mission of the MRA movement – publically condemning feminists and launching a vitriol of hatred towards them. And because what? Rebecca Watson took to the stage and listed Steff McGraw as an example of someone who was getting concepts on the feminism movement wrong? Oh, boo fucking hoo. It’s not like McGraw didn’t have the freedom to write several response blog posta as well as presumably use Twitter to express her outrage at Watson’s so-called “dirty tactics”. Hell, it’s not even like McGraw couldn’t have arranged some other public speaking outlet where she could have outlined her issues with Watson there.

    McGraw’s number of possibilities for ways of responding was endless, and so her reaction, as well as those of her cohorts, was completely unjustified. If RW’s original “Guys, don’t do that” video wasn’t proof of intrinsic sexism in the secular atheist community, then the fallout from that certainly WAS proof, indeed all the proof any rational person would need.

    In summary, until the MRAs actually listen to the perfectly reasonable arguments stating that women simply want equality and respect and that there should be guidelines in place to stop unwanted harassment of women, and until the MRAs actually commit themselves truly to the issues I mentioned above that I would happily support, then they’re otherwise a bunch of dishonest scumbags who are only hurting the secular movement.

    Oh, and incidentally, I’ve gotten into touch with Fraser Watts, a.k.a. one of the creators of the website http://www.investigatingatheism.info/index.html , a website that truly horrified since it’s far below the sort of quality I’d expect a university like Cambridge to produce, to the point where it’s actually mediocre. I have my own things I want to talk to him about, but do you guys and ladies have any suggestions about questions I could ask him?

    Always a pleasure to come here,

    Jon :)

  166. 666
    David Marjanović

    Shakespeare (not for the first time this thread):

    Full fathom five thy father lies;

    Yeah, that’s not where I come from. This alliterates often, but this consistently rhymes instead.

    Parte Deux

    Part. La part.

    No, it also undertakes science. Consider for example Hillier’s studies into Space Syntax, or Read’s work on the same. We can make predictive models from this that apply from the level of individual buildings to entire cities.

    That’s done for architecture; it isn’t itself architecture. Research in molecular biology that happens to be done at medical institutions isn’t itself medicine, even though it’s done in the hope that medical applications will be developed from its results.

    I found it interesting that there would be such an unmoderated space in the temples. We tend to find that the modern religious institutions are restrictive of free expression, whereas here we see that it was just the opposite. (reference: “[Aristotle] … obscenity is never to be tolerated except in temples, where the law permits even ribaldry.” – Russell)

    I think that’s about the ritual use of otherwise obscene terms for genitals and has nothing to do with free expression.

    in both of those countries [Germany and Australia], women can have [...] equal pay

    *blink*

    o_O
    O_o

    Did you seriously believe that?

    Not so clear as you might think. The University of Bologna, widely considered the oldest in the world, seems to have had its origin in groups of students studying law (both religious and civil) banding together to hire professors.

    Wow! I had no idea! It makes a lot of sense…

    This is merely the first generation of humans able to see themselves On TV at will.

    Good point.

    Viva L’Evolucion!

    Spanish: ¡Viva la evolución!
    French: Vive l’évolution!

    …Catalan: probably viva again, but definitely l’evolució. (No n.)

    Dr. Preuss applies to it the charming word ‘Urdummheit,

    Heh. “Primordial/original stupidity”.

    Can you honestly tell me that if someone none of us knew came on here and said “Hey, I almost raped my wife!”

    That sounds like there’s no context. Well, if somebody came in and wrote “Hello, everyone! D’you know what? I almost raped my wife! :-) “, my reaction would be along the lines of “WTF?!?”. That’s not what happened here. John was using himself as an example of the banality of evil.

    There’s not liking somebody, and there’s ignoring somebody, and there’s giving your honest opinion of somebody when it comes up, but then there’s crafting comments to specifically bring someone into it solely so that you can talk shit about them. Ms. Daisy Cutter started this discussion by doing that with Morales (saying hey eric, you’re a good guy, not like Morales over there), and RahXephon just did it with McEwan again (hey, know who he’s as bad as? Melissa!). What is it exactly that you want everyone else to do?

    I’m not sure if “want” even applies.

    This is the Thunderdome, so I’ll just say it: Ms. Daisy Cutter is, in fact, a vile human being – even more than Caine, and perhaps comparably to Nick Gotts, she has a long history with n00bs here of immediately jumping to the interpretation of greatest evil.

    At the same time, she’s flat-out awesome in several other respects (again much like Caine). I still look forward to meeting her in Rhinebeck.

    Plus, sometimes she turns out to have been right. Right for the wrong reasons (jumping to a conclusion before enough evidence was in), but still right. That tends to get a pass from most people most of the time.

    (Any more questions while I’m feeling autistic about honesty?)

    There are… interesting questions that remain to be asked about what John did.
    – John, you wrote it all purely from your perspective. You haven’t told us a word about how your wife reacted, or what she thinks about it now – do you even know? Have you talked about it?
    – In comment 133, you claim Ms. Daisy Cutter has insulted your wife, but I can’t figure out how; and you imply she has claimed you’re dominant (as in BDSM), when in fact she hasn’t said anything in that direction and probably wouldn’t consider it an accusation in the first place. Could you clarify that?
    – More generally: sometimes your ability to troll people, press their buttons by being knowingly snarky about words (as opposed to just having SIWOTI syndrome), manifests at moments that are downright counterproductive for you. Have you really no control over this? I think some people here think that if you’re so manifestly able to ignore people’s wishes one way, you’re also able to ignore them another way, if you know what I mean.

    sorry, just because he failed at it

    Now you’re misrepresenting him. He didn’t fail. He had a My God, What Have I Done moment (without the god part, obviously).

    Finally, I don’t get what the concepts of “owe” and “bravery” are doing in this discussion.

    I’m not even sure whether it was “obvious” beforehand that “you’re going to get applauded and welcomed for it”.

  167. 667
    David Marjanović

    141 pages of parody quotes overlain on a photo of Rmoney.

  168. 668
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    …Catalan: probably viva again,

    Visca.

  169. 669
    David Marjanović

    “If somebody’s dumb enough to ask me to go to a political convention and say something, they’re gonna have to take what they get.”
    Clint Eastwood

  170. 670
    PZ Myers

    LOK’TAR OGAR!!!

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