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Oct 26 2012

[Thunderdome]

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

We’ve got Eric Hovind planning to send his ‘students’ here on Friday. They should post here in the unmoderated thread.

Status: UNMODERATED; Previous thread

672 comments

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  1. 501
    John Morales

    [meta]

    ॐ, I’ve noticed you take these little sabbaticals.

  2. 502
    John Morales

    Oh yeah, you Hovindites

    You call that a conversation?

    <snicker>

    (Tell me that the word Chickenshit considered obscene by you, and it will make my day)

  3. 503
    kieran

    What was the point of that? Seriuosly what can they learn from that experience? Is it a case of lets put you into the thunderdome and if at the end of it you still can’t think for yourself you get an A and move onto the next module how to ignore the evidence? Also interesting to see Eric staying in the thread doing his pigeon impression, why do I get the image of a class room where each of them had someone on the shoulder reinforcing their every statement. I can’t see the learning expereince or the benifit to it?
    Not there to engage rather to talk at as has been pointed before and then afterwards probably a love bomb session to reinforce that stupidity.

  4. 504
    ChristineRose

    My guess is that they are congratulating themselves for surviving all the hostility, reaffirming the “I’m persecuted because I’m right” fantasy, and classifying any serious challenges they got as insincere and beneath themselves to answer (Of course you need God to get logic. That’s obvious, right?).

    Can you tell I’m one of those ex-Christian atheists?

  5. 505
    strange gods before me ॐ

    John, yes, though I am around. This particular lull is of the seasonal type. The next week and a half offers many opportunities for advancing communism, not to mention forced marches exercise, stimulating conversation, and bruised knuckles.

  6. 506
    Muz

    I caught up with the Magic Sandwich show with E.Hovind on it from a few months back. The Pre-Supp stuff is the new black as far as he’s concerned it seems.
    He’s not very good at it though. He was on with some guy called Sye Ten something or other (a character from Logan’s Run apparently), who is pretty good at the old verbal joust, even though it’s ultimately the same crap. Hovind by comparison basically either repeated the same rote contentions over and over, or just gave essentially a lot of “Yeah! What he said!”. It went down hill very fast when Sye left the show first. All Hovind could do was… repeat pretty much the same stuff people are spouting here. “You’ve abandoned atheism to make your point.” “You have no basis…blah blah”, without making any argument at all. (the Reasonable Doubts guys dissected the non-argument tactics of Pre-Supps quite nicely).

    He seems to have embraced this as a winning rhetorical strategy and is keen to instruct others. That’s kind of interesting to see from the creationist vanguard, I think. It’s essentially a retreat into pure sophistry. Most hard core Pre-Supps Ive encountered have nothing whatsoever to say about science and evolution except that “god is the basis” yadda. Otherwise it can proceed largely unimpeded as far as they are concerned. Increases in knowledge are dependent upon and only reinforce “god’s truth” no matter what they say. The fact that we can know anything at all is the thing, as far as they are concerned.
    It’s probably too much to hope that it catches on across the board. I’m sure once they notice it just makes them really easy to ignore completely they’ll go back to ‘creation science’ so fast. (and I’m sure some BS hybrid is more than possible)

  7. 507
    slowdjinn

    ChristineRose #4

    reaffirming the “I’m persecuted because I’m right” fantasy

    It’s worse than that, it’s the “I’m right, therefore I must be being persecuted” fantasy.
    After all the bible (in the person of Paul) ‘prophesies’ that christians will be persecuted.

    In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted – 2 Timothy 3:10

  8. 508
    Sastra

    Muz #6 wrote:

    It’s essentially a retreat into pure sophistry.

    Yes — and unsophisticated sophistry, too. I like to call presuppositionalism the “Neener-Neener School of Debate.” They’re not attempting to persuade. They’re just trying to confuse and insult.

    “Neener Neener, you can’t justify justification and I CAN! Plus, you’re a liar!”

  9. 509
    Ing

    Pre-Supp is codifying the circular argument into a feature not bug. It’s circle jerkular logic.

    And as we saw it’s brilliant for apologetics. It’s goal is not to convince but reinforce, so circularity is a feature not a bug. It’s not a net, it’s a gate.

  10. 510
    Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate)

    circle jerkular logic.

    *snort*

  11. 511
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    For some reason (*whistles innocently*), I’m reminded of a Rob Buckman story in which, based on an entirely undeserved reputation for being able to speak Italian, he’s asked to assist with a delivery. After various half-baked attempts (“Le colline della tua follia si spalancano”), he panics (“È pericoloso sporgersi dalla finestra”) and when asked to tell the the woman to push, blurts “Tirez!” (which isn’t even the right language).

    At this, she turns to swear at him, takes a deep breath, reflexively pushes, and delivers the baby. Day saved!

    And only now do I find out that he was, amongst other things, president of the Canadian Humanist Association, and wrote a book called Can we be good without God?

    Sad loss.

  12. 512
    anteprepro

    He’s not very good at it though. He was on with some guy called Sye Ten something or other (a character from Logan’s Run apparently), who is pretty good at the old verbal joust, even though it’s ultimately the same crap. Hovind by comparison basically either repeated the same rote contentions over and over, or just gave essentially a lot of “Yeah! What he said!”

    Wow. Sye Ten is better than Hovind? Sye Ten, the guy who basically repeats versions of “But how do you know ?” over and over again? I guess it makes sense, since Hovind has basically been trying to do a bad Sye Ten impression ever since the two joined forces. But it is still pretty hilarious!

  13. 513
    Ing

    He was on with some guy called Sye Ten something or other (a character from Logan’s Run apparently),

    Yeah I’m going to intentionally forget the real name and just call him BOX from now on

  14. 514
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    OK, the T-dome’s quiet enough to absorb a monster post. I didn’t do justice to Rob Buckman @#511. In his words:

    [When] I was a medical student I somehow acquired a reputation for being able to speak Italian. I decided to treat this reputation as I would have treated a reputation for extraordinary sexual prowess — I left it alone (not wanting to dispel it altogether) and hoped that it would never be tested. Unfortunately, one day it was tested, weighed in the balance and found absent without leave. [...] It seemed that a certain Signora Rosalino was well advanced in labour, and no one knew the Italian for ‘the cervix is fully dilated’. [...]

    The registrar pushed in behind me and said that since I was meant to be learning obstetrics why didn’t I put a glove on and feel the baby’s head. I found a glove and then, very gingerly, I felt the baby’s head, trying to remember what I’d been told about the position it was in. Halfway through this, my sense of politesse and rectitude suddenly overcame me, and I came over all coy and embarrassed about doing this to a patient to whom I hadn’t even said good morning. Since my right hand was intimately involved in the the nether regions, I was rather handicapped, and didn’t dare to try a left-handed handshake from where I was standing; so I compromised and, waving at her in a rather half-hearted fashion with my free hand, I said ‘Ciao!

    Given the circumstances this was probably a bit too informal and the registrar was very quick to point this out. It was a very bad start. I stopped my examination of the baby and the registrar said that anyway la Signora was in the second stage of labour and would I tell her that, please. I had a bash.

    Il dottore a detto,’ I said, ‘che questo e la secundo piano di lavorore, e pronto la bambino va la.’ (‘The doctor has said that this is the second storey of the factory and soon your son, she will go there.’)

    The Signora stared at me in frank disbelief and then took a good long suck at the nitrous oxide. The registrar started getting impatient. ‘Tell her, the neck of the womb is fully dilated.’

    ‘Right,’ I said, trying desperately to remember whether neck was ‘collo’ or ‘collino’. I chose blindly. ‘La collina de la vostro . . . er . . . istero e aperto. Totallamente.’ (‘The hillock of your madness is open. Totally.’) She took three or four very long sucks at the nitrous oxide, which fortunately rendered her almost unconscious, and they took advantage of the temporary calm to shove her onto a trolley and wheel her into the Delivery Room.

    In the Delivery Room things took a more dramatic turn. The midwife scrubbed and gowned and looked very intimidating indeed. [...] ‘Get this lady to push! Tell her to push – NOW!’ the midwife yelled. I panicked and the last remnants of my Linguaphone deserted me. ‘Tirez!’ I said. This was not Italian for ‘push’, but French for ‘pull’. La Signora was in no position to pull anything, least of all the head of her unborn child. The midwife pointed out my error, and with little restraint.

    The registrar returned from his quiet cigarette, checked the baby’s position and told me to tell the mother that he would have to use obstetric forceps. ‘Questo,’ I said, touching the forceps (which were unfortunately sterile and had to be replaced subito), ‘questo e la forcipessa.’ This meant nothing at all. ‘E come un cuchiaillo por la testa di bambino.’ (‘It is like a spoon for the baby’s head.’) [The] registrar applied the forceps and midwife shrieked at me, ‘Get her to push. TO PUSH! PUSH!’ I went to pieces and my mind floated back to my memories of the car train to Rome and those tri-lingual instructions printed under the windows. ‘E PERICOLOSO SPORGERSI!’ I yelled. This means: ‘It is dangerous to lean out.’

    I couldn’t believe what I’d just said. The mother was lying there looking at a sweaty medical student shouting at her baby — in Italian — that it was dangerous to lean out. What could he know about the world that she didn’t? She drew breath to swear at me – and reflexively pushed. And her son was born. Everybody burst into tears and I tried to wish the baby Happy Birthday. Apparently I wished him a Prosperous New Year, but by that time nobody gave a twopenny stuff what I said. And quite right too.

    Yes, I found my copy of Out of Practice, thanks for asking.

  15. 515
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Ing,

    Yeah, joed might fuck it up worse now. I probably should have posted that to Thunderdome. It’s just that the standard trolley problem has the worse-case scenario already locked in, i.e. Romney will win unless you act. So I was brainstorming for a more accurate analogy to this close election.

  16. 516
    Ing

    @SGBM

    Does the change really matter all that much? isn’t the point of the trolly dilemma simply to raise the point about mitigating harm and ethical action?

  17. 517
    Island Adolescent

    Hey guys, I have a fried (well, not quite that intimate, more of an acquaintance)who has this philosophy that if he uses loaded/gendered/racial/etc terms in a way that doesn’t apply to the classical use of such a term, then it’s fine.
    For example, here’s an excerpt of him defending his word usage:

    “I use words like “slut” and “whore” in a “derogatory” way (notice I am not in agreement on it being derogatory) because 1) I can. and 2) I do not use them in any way in which they mean “women”. Yes, yes I understand the history of the words, what they’ve meant, and how they were used and are used to degrade women, and that’s all justified if I call a girl I don’t like a slut, but it has no meaning when I’m calling my friend Judcody a slut, when he isn’t a woman, it isn’t being used to in any sense marker his sexual behavior, and has no sense it does when girls call other girls sluts for sleeping with many men.”

    I tried to talk with him about this and it basically got down to me saying he doesn’t care about the perpetuation of such things throughout society, which he sort of waffled out of and didn’t fully agree with.

    Any advice on how to drill through his fucking head that this sort of shit isn’t okay? He is typically fairly bright, but somehow thinks language is this “complex” thing that allows him to use a word independent of its baggage or other use as long as it isn’t being used in the traditional context. And it’s goddamn annoying.

  18. 518
    Island Adolescent

    And fucking hell, I’ve been trying to stop saying “Hey guys/you guys” for ages now, and I still slip up and use that phrase.

  19. 519
    Ing

    @Island Adolescent

    It’s ok. It makes me more likely to answer as I can imagine you as King Worm from Adventure Time

    Hey you guys, I’m just gonna eat your life force now WOWOWOOWOWOWOWOWOWOOWOWOWOWOWOOWOWOWOWOWOOWOWOWOWOO

  20. 520
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Does the change really matter all that much?

    Oh, I don’t know. Probably not.

  21. 521
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Island Adolescent,

    I would try explaining that the words have their meanings because of their referents. Though your friend’s usage of the terms are really not metaphor but a simple expansion of the set of people who are usual targets for the words, spreading activation is taking place like when metaphor is interpreted (see The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought; search that PDF for “activa”; most instances in there refer to spreading activation).

    So when saying “[this man] is a slut”, the listener’s brain will also activate the typical frame, of woman-as-slut, and even if this remains unconscious, the activation will strengthen that frame. In a society where it is widely understood that sluttiness is an issue regarding women — that is, any patriarchal/misogynistic society — you can’t say “[this man] is a slut” without also reinforcing the gendered-against-women association in people’s minds. The very fact that man-as-slut is understood as an exception demonstrates that women-as-slut is the typical frame, though hopefully your friend will not dispute that that is the typical usage.

    The effect is that any instance of calling anyone a slut is likely to prime listeners to use more instances of the typical frame, since that frame has recently been activated and thus strengthened; and if your friend wants a world with fewer instances of anyone calling women sluts, then he should consider this.

    A less complicated way of saying some of this is that by reinforcing that it is normal to call anyone a slut, other listeners who are perhaps less careful than your friend will be primed to use the word against women as well — because the word is now temporarily more prominent in their minds, and they don’t have the same rules for usage as he does. And that should be an undesireable outcome, which your friend presumably would prefer to avoid.

    I hope someone else will give more advice, because I feel sure there are other helpful things I might have said which are escaping me right now.

  22. 522
    Dhorvath, OM

    I am not so clever as SG. I do tend to ask: “What would it cost you to use a different term?” This has resulted in several good conversations. If not that, my other tack is merely to say: “Don’t say that around me. It’s shitty.” Some people really don’t like to be judged, regardless of rationale.

  23. 523
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Good advice, Dhorvath.

    And you’ve reminded me of this pretty good guide from the SPLC: Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry

    I am not so clever as SG.

    I’m quite sure you are, but our areas of study differ.

    +++++
    In other news, there’s more RON PAUL RON PAUL RON PAUL JILL STEIN JILL STEIN JILL STEIN nonsense going on in this thread at Jen’s, including from a voter in Ohio. God damn.

  24. 524
    Dhorvath, OM

    SG,
    What a useful resource. Thanks.

  25. 525
    gijoel

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I’ve just read this fucktwaddlery on new scientist, and I feel spleens must be vented. Preferably Michael Brooks’.

    It’s the same old accomodationist spiel that science needs to be less confrontational with religion. It starts off with saying scientists need to close the gap with the wider culture. Part of that wider culture is religion, ergo science has to get closer to faith.

    I would also argue that UFO nuts, and people who think fluoridation is a CIA mind control plot, are part of the wider culture. I feel no onus to get closer to them. Engaging with the rest of our communities is a good thing in my opinion. But that’s no reason to punt our brains into the gutter.

    He then babbles on about a meeting between faith heads and CERN. Apparently some of them were upset because scientist were encroaching on their turf and felt that scientists were to blame for the rise in atheism in the world.

    Atheism’s rise has more to do with theology’s utter incompetence at explaining the world, than science’s prowess. Honestly, you would think that the almighty could have done more good for the world by teaching us about antibiotics and crop rotation. Instead of prattling on about loving each other.

    I guess the almighty feared that such technologies would destroy us in some horrible Michael Bay/Syfy special apocalypse.

    Brooks then uses the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s consultations with the public as a role model. Which is all well and good, if you have a community willing to debate and listen to the other side’s point. The trouble is that there is a large section of the faithful whose debate strategy can best be summed up by the phrase “Total War”.

    He seems to think every man of faith is like his local vicar. A man who, when Brooks babbled on about Von Daniken’s ‘Chariot of Gods’ proving that prophets existed, or that Godel’s theorem disproves god, chose to react with nothing more than a supercilious smirk.

    Unfortunately there are people in the world willing to become suicide bombers because someone went to the wrong sort of church/mosque/temple. Or insulting their beliefs by virtue of their very existence. And even when they don’t use violence to enforce their beliefs, they’re willing to engage in every cheap rhetorical and propaganda device they can lay their hands on. Look at the Discovery Institute. An organization dedicated to overturning 150 years of solid science because it doesn’t fit with their world view.

    He ends it with the fretful fear that some Muslim cleric, somewhere, might become offended by particle physics. Which is like worrying about a career in genetics, because a skinhead in a pub somewhere might not like what he’s hearing about you.

    He argues that scientists need to drop the superior confrontational attitude. I’d argue that believers need to practice what he preaches.

  26. 526
    Owlmirror

    What, Hovindites all gone? I guess we’ll have to bicker amongst ourselves.

    @Nick Gotts, #143 (previous):

    what basis do you have for assuming the scientific method is valid?

    It works.

    Could it ever be shown to be invalid?

    Yes: it could stop working.

    No, your logic is invalid. To rephrase what I pointed out @#475 (previous), the scientific method is a method that rejects what doesn’t work.

    Saying that the scientific method “could stop working” is like saying that a sort algorithm “could stop working”. Well, no. A particular implementation of the sort algorithim might crash because an input value caused problems with the hardware that the algorithm is running on — but that’s not a problem with the algorithm itself. As long as the sort algorithm works to begin with, it should work on all possible inputs, with any limits or problems being in the actual hardware that it’s implemented on.

    What does “work” mean, for the scientific method? Do you mean that we get working technology from the body of scientific knowledge?

    I was just thinking about phrasing it more generally that the scientific method works inasmuch as it generates data that is sufficiently consistent with reality that it can be used to make successful predictions about reality — and the predictions can then be implemented to make tools that we find beneficial to our own survival.

    On a more abstract level, the scientific method works because the tools that result from the scientific method can be used in a feedback loop to gain higher resolution scientific knowledge

  27. 527
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ A.R

    The components are slowly coming together. RL is interfering with my fun. Linky: X-wing.

  28. 528
    Sili

    Jesus Fuck! Jamie Ian Smith is annoying.

    He’s been interviewed by the SGU, and they’re all busy patting eachother on the back for being pure skeptics.

    “Wanna be an atheist? Fine with me! But don’t tell *me* what to do!”

    JUST WHO THE SPUD IS IT, WHO’S BEEN BUSY TELLING WHOM TO SHUT THE FUCK UP AND STOP ROCKING THE BOAT?!?!

  29. 529
    Nick Gotts

    No, your logic is invalid. – Owlmirror

    No, it isn’t, unless all you mean by “the scientific method” is “Do what works” – but I think that would be pretty vacuous. Observation, experiment, repeatability, the hypothetico-deductive method, theory/model design and critique, the construction of instruments and representational schemas, are all parts of what I would mean by that phrase, and since you refer explicitly to the feedback loop of using findings to build new instruments, I think you have to agree with at least some of this.

    Now, suppose extremely powerful aliens start interfering with our perceptions, and with our environment. Observations are no longer repeatable; technology stops working. For us, the scientific method would no longer be valid (in the sense that it would no longer work, it’s not valid now in the logical sense, that of being invariably truth-preserving). More radically, suppose the nature of reality begins to change in a way that has the same kind of effects, and that this happens throughout the universe. Then the scientific method would no longer be valid anywhere.

    There is no reason at all to expect either of these things to happen, but they remain logical possibilities.

  30. 530
    magistramarla

    Note to the Horde-
    Ed Brayton has himself a troll calling itself Royt over on his blog. I think that we need to have some fun with this chew-toy.

  31. 531
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Not just a troll-it’s a godbotter!

  32. 532
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Nerd has, for the third time in the same thread, expressed his dislike of non-US citizens sharing our preferences about US presidential elections. I’m finding that very irritating.

  33. 533
    Dhorvath, OM

    Beatrice,
    Did you mention it there?

  34. 534
  35. 535
    Dhorvath, OM

    Ah. Seems a bit off to me. Wouldn’t versus won’t is a bit pedantic, no?

  36. 536
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Wouldn’t versus won’t is a bit pedantic, no?

    Sorry, lost you a bit here. What are you referring to?

  37. 537
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Well, the bold part certainly explains why no one seems to comprehend what I said. Its not that they don’t understand it, they didn’t bother.

    No I can assure you it’s because you’re a shitty communicator

    Understatement.

    For your “amusement” — put on a helmet first so you don’t bash your brains against the wall — watch as Kagehi drones on and on about how people who want to decriminalize drugs don’t understand what they’re talking about. And whenever Kagehi encounters a commenter who does understand (that is, everyone here at Pharyngula), well then it’s a good thing we’re not like all those other people who don’t understand anything.

    But of course we’re all still morons anyway:

    I kind of assumed, apparently incorrectly, that rational people would realize I was talking about the highly toxic and addictive ones, not just every damn thing out there.

  38. 538
  39. 539
    Ing

    Told to move it here, so just so everyone knows that the frelling clown is an idiot. Huge surprise to everyone I’m sure.

  40. 540
    Dhorvath, OM

    Beatrice,
    Sorry, it stood out to me in the thread you linked. Someone said they won’t vote, meaning they wouldn’t, (at least that’s how it appeared to me,) and got the shut up you aren’t voting at all response.

  41. 541
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Dhorvath,

    There’s a couple of things going on in that thread with joed. One is that he apparently can’t vote in US elections because he either doesn’t live here or isn’t a citizen or something; it’s not clear to me precisely why. This makes it particularly easy for him to declare what he would or wouldn’t do if he could vote, since he isn’t actually confronted with the decision (“easier said than done” and all that). But that’s not the problem that Beatrice is referring to.

    Nerd has been saying that joed shouldn’t try to argue with US voters about how we should vote — not because joed is an idiot, but because joed isn’t a US voter.

  42. 542
    Ing

    Now Clownboy, let me ask you. When someone says that we need to do something about CO2 emissions because of the environmental impact do you really think they’re talking about suffocating people? Or do you take from the fuckign context that they are talking about something else. I mean, because hearing someone say that a ban on chlorine is needed, most people would not be stupid enough to presume that means someone is stupid enough to think they can ban an element.

    And on a similar note, the fact that Capitalism encourages people to actively make the world a worse place (in the example I gave diminishing people’s self esteem needlessly) in order to enrich themselves is why it is fucking evil.

  43. 543
    chigau (違う)

    ॐ re:joed

    …it’s not clear to me precisely why…

    I’m glad it’s not just me.
    I don’t know if joed “cannot, in good conscience, vote for any of these scumbags”
    or
    if joed “is not qualified to vote”.
    —–
    and even though I am not qualified to vote in a USA election, I have very strong feelings which I would like to express.

  44. 544
    strange gods before me ॐ

    And you should express them. Not only does US policy affect you, but everyone has a legitimate interest in peace, justice and welfare everywhere.

  45. 545
    mildlymagnificent

    I think the big thing with US politics being of interest to the rest of the world is about ….. numbers.

    People tend to know that the USA is the biggest economy and the richest country in the world. Europeans and English speaking countries tend to think that the US is sort of just like them, only more land, bigger population, or both. It’s not. Apart from the 2 countries with populations over a billion, the USA is the biggest country in the world on population alone. And when you look at the icy wastes of Canada and Russia, or Australia’s vast interior deserts, or the Amazon forests, you’d be left with comparing only China and the USA to find comparable expanses of land within a single country with significant spread/concentration of habitation for a large population.

  46. 546
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ chigau

    I have very strong feelings which I would like to express.

    Hehe. Are you anything like theaphontes? She shouts at rMoney on the TV.

    Though I sometimes get quite a fright, I realise that she is just very passionately anti-Mitt. And with good reason too. It is not just women in America who will suffer for his baked-in sexism. Next he will be trying to cut international aid for women (eg: family planning) all around the world. (I could multiply examples of such indefinitely.)

    As a non-Usain, if you can influence just one ‘Merkin voter to switch from Mittens to Obama, you will have done a good thing for all of us. We can all try and ensure that his offensive words do not find the opportunity to turn into offensive actions.

  47. 547
    chigau (違う)

    theophontes
    My TV crapped-out over a year ago but I’m right with thea.

    USAians!
    DO NOT VOTE FOR ROMNEY!
    THE REST OF THE PLANET IS COUNTING ON YOU!

  48. 548
    Owlmirror

    No, it isn’t, unless all you mean by “the scientific method” is “Do what works” – but I think that would be pretty vacuous.

    It’s more like: “Figure out empirically what works, and what doesn’t work, and eliminate what doesn’t work.”

    Now, suppose extremely powerful aliens start interfering with our perceptions, and with our environment.

    How? And to what extent?

    Observations are no longer repeatable

    Which observations? See, this is the problem with ad hoc imagined scenarios. It’s easy to write those words, and there’s a vague sense to the sentence — but it’s so broad that it doesn’t really explain what we would be observing instead of reality, and in what situations and contexts.

    I would say that these “powerful aliens” are interfering with the scientific method, and making it more difficult for us to implement, but to the extent that any observations can be continue to be made at all, the scientific method will still work for what can be observed

    technology stops working.

    Which technology? How is it stopped from working? What happens instead?

    I’ve read (or read about) stories that are based on “technology stops working”. But these are works of fiction. They are ultimately make-believe. It’s a brute fact that our technology is based on the laws of physics to the same extent that our metabolism and physiology are based on the laws of physics. What happens that allows us to keep living (presumably), but doesn’t allow our tools (which tools?) to keep working?

    For us, the scientific method would no longer be valid (in the sense that it would no longer work, it’s not valid now in the logical sense, that of being invariably truth-preserving).

    I disagree, even if your proposed counterfactual(s) came about. Inasmuch as we could study anything at all, we could still use the scientific method to find out what still worked and what didn’t, and explore the limits of what was possible with what did still work.

    More radically, suppose the nature of reality begins to change in a way that has the same kind of effects, and that this happens throughout the universe. Then the scientific method would no longer be valid anywhere.

    Assuming reality changed in a consistent way, and in a way consistent with our lives not being ended because our metabolism and physiology failed, it is still exactly the scientific method that would be used to analyze and describe what these putative changes were and what they entailed.

    I mean, what else would we do? Give up in mass despair?

    There is no reason at all to expect either of these things to happen, but they remain logical possibilities.

    I think you need more specificity before you can accurately describe them as logical possibilities.

  49. 549
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ chigau

    [persuading voters]

    Holy shit, speak of the devil: In Critical Ohio, Mitt Romney Urges Supporters to Persuade Democrats

  50. 550
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Sorry, it stood out to me in the thread you linked. Someone said they won’t vote, meaning they wouldn’t, (at least that’s how it appeared to me,) and got the shut up you aren’t voting at all response.

    Dhorvath,

    Strange gods got my complaint right.

  51. 551
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Ophelia Benson is now mocking Brontosaurusism.

    Goddamn her. This is the last straw.

  52. 552
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ SGBM

    Better than a brontosaurus theory

    A shocking case of heresy. Ophelia has obviously come under the spell of Rebecca Watson.

    (I would propose military action, but I am currently having difficulty getting our armaments into production.)

  53. 553
    Owlmirror

    Ophelia Benson is now mocking Brontosaurusism.

    Hooray!

    Better than a brontosaurus theory

    A shocking case of heresy.

    I’m so proud of her!

    Of course, she might not be the right kind of heretic (i.e., a follower of Boltzmann Megalodonism and/or Philolsophical Zombie Jesus), but heresy must be encouraged! Boltzmann Brontosaurus is a snare and a delusion!

  54. 554
    imkindaokay

    I appear to be the only person in my philosophy (I know it’s a load of shit) class to accept an objective morality, and I was just wondering what the view of people here is. Does anyone here accept an objective morality too?

  55. 555
    Dhorvath, OM

    More details perhaps? It’s fairly safe for me to say I don’t think objective and morality play nicely together, but I am unsure where to move from there.

  56. 556
    Dhorvath, OM

    Beatrice,
    My apologies then for focusing on a trivial detail in a larger pattern. I didn’t read deeply enough to catch the rest of the situation and should have kept my comment to myself.

  57. 557
    Ing

    I appear to be the only person in my philosophy (I know it’s a load of shit) class to accept an objective morality, and I was just wondering what the view of people here is. Does anyone here accept an objective morality too?

    Please define the term “objective morality” first

  58. 558
    strange gods before me ॐ

    imkindaokay,

    I do. A type of utilitarianism is correct, and we can confirm this by investigating what concepts of good and bad refer to. It turns out they all ultimately trace to the positively and negatively valenced affects (these are broader categories than the pleasure/pain of standard utilitarianism).

    I’m too busy/lazy to explain again right now (maybe tonight, if you prod me), but I’ve talked about it here and that conversation continued here — and some discussion of what it means for this to be objective happened here.

  59. 559
    Owlmirror

    I appear to be the only person in my philosophy (I know it’s a load of shit) class to accept an objective morality, and I was just wondering what the view of people here is. Does anyone here accept an objective morality too?

    I recently posted this on Leah Libresco’s blog, hoping to at least get an argument or discussion about the definitions or terms used, but she either didn’t read it, or couldn’t think of anything to say at all about it.

    One of her commentators responded, but didn’t follow up when I pointed out a problem with the response.

    So you tell me: what do you think is wrong about the following, and why?

    ======

    1) “Objective” refers to a fact about reality; something that follows from basic logic and/or empirical evidence.

    2) “Subjective” refers to an opinion or perception of facts. That opinion might well be an objective fact about a given agent (“Bob likes broccoli; Bob thinks that broccoli should be eaten.”), about things that are objective facts (“Bob’s taste buds, odor receptors, and brain translate the taste of broccoli into a pleasant experience for Bob, and cause Bob to wish to repeat the experience of eating broccoli”).

    3) “Intersubjective” refers to those subjective opinions or perceptions that are held in common by a broad segment of the population. An example of an intersubjective phenomenon is language — while there appear to be some grammar-recognizing/generating module(s) in the brain, the actual instantiation of language is (mostly) what a large enough group of speakers (or gesturers, for Sign) that have the module(s) tacitly agree upon from an otherwise (mostly) arbitrary set of phonemes (and/or body movements), and teach to their children and each other. [Language is probably far more complicated than that, but this is a very brief summary]

    4) “Morality” refers to a set of rules for behaviour which “ought” to be followed. While there appear to be modules in the brain that invovle empathy, imagination, compassion, and rule inference and reasoning about consequences, the actual instantiation of morality is (mostly) what a large enough group of people that have those modules tacitly agree upon from the set of actions that humans can perform, and teach to their children and each other. [Morality is certainly more complicated than that, but again, I'm being brief.]

    5) Given all of the above, morality is best described as being intersubjective, not objective.

  60. 560
    Ing

    until I get a comment on the definition your using I’ll say that for a given set of agreed values there can be an objectively correct decision in leu of evidence available at the time. This isn’t what the religious mean when they say objective. by objective they mean a fiat of “things to do or not do” which I flatly reject as moronic.

  61. 561
    consciousness razor

    Morality is objective, in the sense that we can say true things about what is good or bad. We rarely do, but we can, for at least some good things and some bad things.

    Owlmirror, I think you’re distracted by the fact that it depends on our feelings or concepts. That’s true, but what’s good or bad is a statement about how something affects our* feelings and what we ought to do based on that. It isn’t simply the feeling itself (or the feeling to the extent it can be shared intersubjectively). Whether we ought to do something is true or false, even though it may be different for different people. You just have to be specific about whether it’s a good thing for this person, because it may not be so for that person.

    *Or an animal’s, an alien’s, a Boltzmann brontosaurus’, etc. Obviously, it can be very difficult to know how a Boltzmann brontosaurus feels (though surely he or she must feel something), at least I’m told it is for some; but that is a separate issue.

  62. 562
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Just a reminder that mekathleen is an idiot.

  63. 563
    Owlmirror

    Morality is objective, in the sense that we can say true things about what is good or bad.

    ???!!??

    “Taste is objective, in the sense that we can say true things about what tastes good or bad.”

    Whether we ought to do something is true or false, even though it may be different for different people. You just have to be specific about whether it’s a good thing for this person, because it may not be so for that person.

    ???!!??!?!?

    “Whether we like the taste of something is true or false, even though it may be different for different people. You just have to be specific about whether it’s a good taste for this person, because it may not be so for that person.”

    One of is unclear on the concept of objective vs. subjective, and I’m pretty sure that it isn’t me.

  64. 564
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    I’m sorry. Gallows humour.

    For proof of the uncertainty that reigns just now, I can only cite my favourite campaign email of the last 24 hours, a four-paragraph missive from Mr Romney in which one full paragraph is devoted to asking supporters to bring campaign yard signs indoors before the storm strikes. “In high winds they can be dangerous, and cause damage to homes and property,” Mr Romney urges.

    Sensible advice, no doubt, but something in me likes the idea of a multi-billion dollar election juggernaut being halted by visions of a voter impaled then pinned to a wind-lashed lawn by a flying Romney-for-president yard sign.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/lexington/2012/10/storms-and-elections

    Stay safe, people, stay safe.

  65. 565
    Nick Gotts

    what’s good or bad is a statement about how something affects our* feelings and what we ought to do based on that. – consciousness razor

    No it isn’t.

  66. 566
    Nick Gotts

    It’s more like: “Figure out empirically what works, and what doesn’t work, and eliminate what doesn’t work.” – Owlmirror

    But it’s logically possible that this should stop working: what works today doesn’t work tomorrow, and there is no predictability about it.

    Assuming reality changed in a consistent way

    No: that’s completely contrary to the scenarios I outlined.

    I mean, what else would we do? Give up in mass despair?

    Probably, but that’s not an argument.

  67. 567
    Nick Gotts

    A type of utilitarianism is correct, and we can confirm this by investigating what concepts of good and bad refer to. It turns out they all ultimately trace to the positively and negatively valenced affects – SGBM

    That doesn’t mean morality is or can be objective (I’m not sure you’re claiming it is, though I seem to recall that you do), because there is no objective way of weighing different goods and bads against each other.

  68. 568
    imkindaokay

    But it’s logically possible that this should stop working: what works today doesn’t work tomorrow, and there is no predictability about it.

    Really lots of examples of it being predictable.

    First: objective morality doesn’t exclude qualifiers, which I think a lot of people fall into the trap of. Assuming that objective morality can’t be situational probably comes from a lot of derivations of it being religious.

    ‘It is wrong to kill (except in self-defence)’ is an objective statement – the qualifier makes no difference.

    Now with that point, there is lots of predictability about morality. Rape is bad, always. Murder is bad. Theft is bad. Assault is bad. Sharing is good, rehabilitating is good, etc etc.

    “Taste is objective, in the sense that we can say true things about what tastes good or bad.”

    Completely unfair analogy. We can accurately say true things about what is good for humanity, what leads to happiness and away from suffering.

    It is also important to note that just because morality is objective, it does not mean we are going to always be right.

    I’m a negative utilitarian social democrat for instance. Is that, objectively, going to lead to the greatest human happiness? It’s certainly better than totalitarianism or white supremacy or some such thing.

  69. 569
    Nick Gotts

    imkindofokay,

    But it’s logically possible that this should stop working: what works today doesn’t work tomorrow, and there is no predictability about it.

    Really lots of examples of it being predictable.

    I wasn’t talking about morality at all there – Owlmirror and I have been disputing whether the scientific method could fail.

    Rape is bad, always. Murder is bad.

    What if raping or murdering someone was the only way to prevent something that would cause much more suffering? Allied action in WWII killed many innocent people. Should the Nazis have been allowed to win?

    Theft is bad.

    Even when food is being hoarded in a famine to raise prices, and people are starving?

    Is that, objectively, going to lead to the greatest human happiness?

    Why is human happiness the only concern; what about other sentient beings? What’s more important, maximising human happiness or minimising human suffering? Maximising happiness/minimising suffering for those now living, or ensuring that those not yet born have sufficient resources?

  70. 570
    imkindaokay

    I’m a negative utilitarian so I answered your last question and I also pointed out that qualifiers don’t make morality non-objective.

  71. 571
    Nick Gotts

    imkindaokay,

    I’m a negative utilitarian so I answered your last question

    Well my last question was about weighting current or near future against further future, so I don’t think you did. But the most effective way to minimise suffering, if it were possible, would be to exterminate all life instantaneously. Would you advocate that?

    I also pointed out that qualifiers don’t make morality non-objective.

    Which has nothing to do with the examples I gave. My point was that the answer to these questions is not clear: pacifists do indeed say that the Allies were wrong to oppose the Nazis by force of arms, and libertarians say that theft is wrong even in the case I outlined. If you think there are objectively correct answers in these cases, where do they come from? How could you, even in principle, prove to someone who disagrees with you in these cases, or about negative utilitarianism, that they are wrong?

  72. 572
    imkindaokay

    Well my last question was about weighting current or near future against further future, so I don’t think you did.

    You are right. I completely misread. Preserve resources for future generations.

    Would I kill everyone? Nah, I wouldn’t.

    How could you, even in principle, prove to someone who disagrees with you in these cases, or about negative utilitarianism, that they are wrong?

    People may disagree, but that’s the same with almost all facts. It’s not difficult to accept that a world in which the weak are killed and people are killed because they’re Jewish is a worse world. Nor is it difficult to say that letting someone die due to selfishness is bad.

    How do you, a subjectivist person, accept laws? After all, you can’t prove to someone that being a serial rapist is bad, or so you suggest.

  73. 573
    consciousness razor

    Owlmirror:

    One of [us] is unclear on the concept of objective vs. subjective, and I’m pretty sure that it isn’t me.

    Sorry, it is you, because “objective” doesn’t mean “absolute.”

    Rather than “taste” (whatever that means to you), it seems more useful to compare or contrast ethics to something we both agree involves objective facts about the world, which probably means something scientific.

    How about gravity? It’s not the case that exactly the same gravitational force is applied to everything everywhere. Obviously, gravity works the same way everywhere, so it’s consistent and universal in that sense. However, at the same time, that doesn’t mean there are exactly the same effects for everyone, everywhere, all of the time. The point is that merely being different in some way for different people, or merely varying due to other factors, doesn’t mean something is subjective. Not unless you want to say gravity is subjective too, but I don’t think anyone wants to say that.

    Nick:

    What if raping or murdering someone was the only way to prevent something that would cause much more suffering? Allied action in WWII killed many innocent people. Should the Nazis have been allowed to win?

    It seems like you’re saying none of that would make a difference, because nothing really is good or bad. So those are odd questions, if you ask me. If there’s no answer (according to you), why does it matter which wrong answer (according to you) is given?

    But to give an answer to the first, I can’t imagine a situation where raping or murdering someone would be the best (or only) way to prevent suffering. You could flesh out the kind of situation you have in mind if you think it’s worth it, but I’m not going to do it for you.

    For the second, Allied action in WWII was wrong in so many ways. They shouldn’t have bombed civilians, for example. They could have acted differently and won the war against the Nazis (and the Japanese). It was “self-defense” to some extent, but no matter why you’re going to war, you risk lives (“innocent” or not) which by itself is bad and something that should be avoided.

    But WWII as a whole involves millions of people taking who knows how many different actions. It’s easier (and less likely to give a shitty answer) if we stick to one or a few actions at a time.

  74. 574
    Nick Gotts

    It seems like you’re saying none of that would make a difference, because nothing really is good or bad. So those are odd questions, if you ask me. If there’s no answer (according to you), why does it matter which wrong answer (according to you) is given? – consciousness razor

    There is no definitive answer, but we can rationally debate and critique the merits of different answers. To think that the only possibilities are that either there is one correct answer, or that everything is arbitrary, is a fundamental error. In much the same way, there is no definitive answer to a question such as:

    Was George Eliot a better novelist than Charles Dickens?

    but literary critics can and do argue rationally about such questions, citing depth of characterisation, richness of description, vividness of metaphors, coherence of plot, depth of social insight and so on. Both ethics and esthetics are neither mere matters of taste, nor matters of objective fact.

    Ethical statements, such as “Murder is wrong” are not, contrary to what you say, about our feelings. Rather, they are specifications of how we intend to judge actions, proposals, motives, or people. Our feelings certainly influence them, but that is not what they are about.

  75. 575
    Nick Gotts

    But to give an answer to the first, I can’t imagine a situation where raping or murdering someone would be the best (or only) way to prevent suffering. You could flesh out the kind of situation you have in mind if you think it’s worth it, but I’m not going to do it for you. – consciousness

    Really? With regard to murder I’ve already given a clear example – unless you think it’s not really murder if you drop bombs on innocent people as part of a war. With regard to rape, you must surely know that people have indeed been given the choice of raping someone, or seeing everyone within reach killed. Of course you might argue here that the person physically carrying out the act is not the “real” rapist; but they may still have to make the decision whether to subject another to penetration without their consent.

    For the second, Allied action in WWII was wrong in so many ways. They shouldn’t have bombed civilians, for example. They could have acted differently and won the war against the Nazis (and the Japanese).

    But if they had refrained from bombing German civilians, the war would almost certainly have lasted longer and involved even more deaths: the bombing disrupted armaments production, and forced the Nazis to divert weapons from the eastern front to try to defend their cities.

    It was “self-defense” to some extent, but no matter why you’re going to war, you risk lives (“innocent” or not) which by itself is bad and something that should be avoided.

    I agree that war should be avoided if the alternative isn’t even worse, but sometimes it is – and sometimes (as in WW1 for example), it’s not clear whether it is or not.

  76. 576
    vaiyt

    But if they had refrained from bombing German civilians, the war would almost certainly have lasted longer and involved even more deaths: the bombing disrupted armaments production, and forced the Nazis to divert weapons from the eastern front to try to defend their cities.

    Here’s what I always think about that argument when applied for the atomic bombs: if ending a war is worth wiping two cities off the map and killing four hundred thousand civilians, where do we draw the line? What if they refused? Would the Americans drop bombs in Osaka and Tokyo? Irradiate Japan back to the feudal age? Now that would make sure Japan would never initiate a war again. Would it be advisable?

  77. 577
    Dhorvath, OM

    Vaiyt,
    It’s safe to say that the war did end and the toll exacted was the most that we might consider acceptable, yes?

  78. 578
    consciousness razor

    There is no definitive answer, but we can rationally debate and critique the merits of different answers. To think that the only possibilities are that either there is one correct answer, or that everything is arbitrary, is a fundamental error.

    I’m not making that mistake. I thought you were. I’m a pluralist (i.e., there can be more than one right way to act), and I’m also a realist (i.e., there actually are right ways to act). Those do not conflict. To think that they do is a fundamental error, or at least a confusion about what terms like “objective” are supposed to mean.

    Was George Eliot a better novelist than Charles Dickens?

    Please, let’s not talk about Eliot and Dickens again. I don’t think we got anywhere with that the last time. Although if I’m not mistaken, you were saying then that it isn’t subject to rational scrutiny at all, so maybe you’ve changed your views somewhat.

    Do we need to talk about sociopaths again?

    Ethical statements, such as “Murder is wrong” are not, contrary to what you say, about our feelings. Rather, they are specifications of how we intend to judge actions, proposals, motives, or people. Our feelings certainly influence them, but that is not what they are about.

    I don’t think I’m saying anything different, if you don’t cut off the end of the statement. I said it’s “a statement about how something affects our* feelings and what we ought to do based on that.” They are about what we should do.

    My point was that ethics itself isn’t simply a bunch of feelings or concepts. It doesn’t have the property of being “subjective” like an individual’s feelings or concepts, having their first-person perspective, having their memories, etc. Ethical propositions are “about” them in that we can judge our actions based on them, but they themselves aren’t simply those feelings divorced from everything else. So, they shouldn’t treated as if they were. So even if ethics is subjective, that couldn’t be the reason why.

    Really? With regard to murder I’ve already given a clear example – unless you think it’s not really murder if you drop bombs on innocent people as part of a war.

    Yes, really. I said we didn’t need to do that and shouldn’t have done it, whether they were innocent or not. If you don’t agree for whatever reason, we could talk about that.

    With regard to rape, you must surely know that people have indeed been given the choice of raping someone, or seeing everyone within reach killed. Of course you might argue here that the person physically carrying out the act is not the “real” rapist; but they may still have to make the decision whether to subject another to penetration without their consent.

    A person in that situation is not doing the same thing as a rapist, that’s true; but in any case, they still have a choice to not do it, as you said. The person threatening them could be stopped some other way. It’s not as if I’m in that sort of situation and therefore have all of that information so that I’d be able to say exactly what the right thing to do is, without you conjuring up (with as much justification) some variation on the imagined scenario showing why it could be the wrong thing to do. Is that the sort answer you expect from me?

    The point is simply that there actually is a right thing to do (or more than one). We can’t just throw up our hands and say there isn’t one, because it’s hard to figure out or we personally don’t know.

  79. 579
    imkindaokay

    The point is simply that there actually is a right thing to do (or more than one). We can’t just throw up our hands and say there isn’t one, because it’s hard to figure out or we personally don’t know.

    Hundred percent this. And we’re clearly on the right path, even if their is a blip with the rise of the American far-right and David Cameron’s ‘big society’, but I imagine things will improve a lot in this lifetime.

  80. 580
    imkindaokay

    *there…

    I can only apologise.

  81. 581
    Owlmirror
    It’s more like: “Figure out empirically what works, and what doesn’t work, and eliminate what doesn’t work.” – Owlmirror

    But it’s logically possible that this should stop working: what works today doesn’t work tomorrow, and there is no predictability about it.

    There’s no reason that the process of figuring out what works should stop working. OK, “what works” changes unpredictably. So you add ‘”what works” changes unpredictably’ into the process of figuring out what works.

    Assuming reality changed in a consistent way

    No: that’s completely contrary to the scenarios I outlined.

    Let me rephrase that: Assuming reality changed in way that leaves at least something consistent, which it would have to because life and consciousness depends on biology → chemistry → physics behaving consistently … it is still exactly the scientific method that would be used to analyze and describe what these putative changes were and what they entailed.

    I mean, what else would we do? Give up in mass despair?

    Probably, but that’s not an argument.

    Oh, yes it is.
    /Monty Python

  82. 582
    Owlmirror

    ‘It is wrong to kill (except in self-defence)’ is an objective statement

    It’s certainly a statement, but hardly an objective one.

    “Taste is objective, in the sense that we can say true things about what tastes good or bad.”

    Completely unfair analogy. We can accurately say true things about what is good for humanity, what leads to happiness and away from suffering.

    We can accurately say that all else being equal, things that taste good lead to happiness and away from suffering.

    It is also important to note that just because morality is objective, it does not mean we are going to always be right.

    You haven’t shown that morality is objective, merely asserted it.

    Can you address what I wrote @#59?

    ======

    Sorry, it is you, because “objective” doesn’t mean “absolute.”

    I’m pretty sure that it’s you, because I defined what I meant by objective @#59. What definition are you using?

    Rather than “taste” (whatever that means to you), it seems more useful to compare or contrast ethics to something we both agree involves objective facts about the world, which probably means something scientific.

    But taste and other subjective opinions also involves objective facts about the world.

    How about gravity?

    I agree that gravity is an objective fact. But you haven’t shown how morality is like gravity.

    The point is that merely being different in some way for different people, or merely varying due to other factors, doesn’t mean something is subjective.

    The point is that it being a matter of opinion, makes it subjective. Inasmuch as that opinion is shared by others and supported by society/culture, it makes it intersubjective.

  83. 583
    chigau (違う)

    If you people are going to have a sensible argument without calling each other names, can you takes it elsewhere?
    This is The [Thunderdome].

  84. 584
    chigau (違う)

    golly
    I just asked people to take it out of The [Thunderdome].
    (it must be the booze)

  85. 585
    chigau (違う)

    huh.
    I worked, though.

  86. 586
    Owlmirror

    If you people are going to have a sensible argument without calling each other names

    <invective>
    Sea-gherkin! Popinjay! Sycophant! Logarithm! Faddist! Pot-clanger! Turtle egg!
    </invective>

  87. 587
    Dhorvath, OM

    Hey now, that made no manner of sense at all.

    (Digging deep for insults.)

  88. 588
    Owlmirror

    @Nick Gotts:

    Another thought on the scientific method continuing to work under problematic conditions:

    To continue the analogy above about a sorting algorithm, it seems to me that you’re positing, by analogy, that either the storage medium for the data being sorted is so corrupt or damaged that the data spontaneously randomizes, or that there is another process running that is deliberately going into the data structure containing the data and either randomizing it, or deliberately unsorting it.

    But I insist that while it would appear that the algorithm isn’t working (because of all the wrong data/unswapped data showing up), there isn’t anything actually wrong with the algorithm itself — and as long as you do still want sorted data, you should keep running the sorting algorithm, which will still sort data properly.

    If you posit that the corruption is so pervasive that it interferes with the sort program itself, well, that’s analogous to the changes in reality being so severe that they interfere with consciousness and life.

  89. 589
    imkindaokay

    We can accurately say that all else being equal, things that taste good lead to happiness and away from suffering.

    We can. And therefore we should strive to make sure people eat food that they enjoy.

  90. 590
    Dhorvath, OM

    Should? Where does that should creep in from?

  91. 591
    Dhorvath, OM

    imkindaokay

    ‘It is wrong to kill (except in self-defence)’ is an objective statement – the qualifier makes no difference.

    How so? Is it objectively so that killing is wrong? What is wrong? What is killing? I get nervous at statements like this because they are too pat. I can see something along the lines of when someone plays a role in another person’s death we can evaluate that some wrong has been done, but that we are limited to subjectively evaluating how great the wrong.

    Now with that point, there is lots of predictability about morality. Rape is bad, always. Murder is bad. Theft is bad. Assault is bad. Sharing is good, rehabilitating is good, etc etc.

    By which you mean most moral systems and the ethical statements that accompany them follow regular patterns? Or do you mean only those which stem from your primary goal?

    It is also important to note that just because morality is objective, it does not mean we are going to always be right.

    Fair enough, we don’t have the full picture, and may never. However, if it doesn’t mean that we can make better decisions as time goes on, I don’t know as objective means anything when talking about morality.

  92. 592
    AndrewD

    Hi People,
    I seem to remember that Strange Gods lives in NYC, so…
    PAGING STRANGE GODS, are you OK? I hope you have survived with minimal damage.

  93. 593
    Recreant

    I know I’m a bit late to the game (curse that whole “needing to work”) but I’ve tried to identify and examine the assumed premises of the Hovindites “argument”. It’s a little rough, but you can look at it here:

    http://theleaveneddead.blogspot.com/

    Comments and criticisms are welcome.

  94. 594
    chigau (違う)

    I thought strange gods before me ॐ was on the left coast.
    (I don’t know why I think that.)
    but a little note would be nice

  95. 595
    Dhorvath, OM

    I always pictured SG as a roving reporter, checking in from where happenstance has him this week. Secretive too.

  96. 596
    chigau (違う)

    I expect he always wears black and has one of those flash-forget pens.

  97. 597
    Nick Gotts

    Owlmirror,

    There’s no reason that the process of figuring out what works should stop working. OK, “what works” changes unpredictably. So you add ‘”what works” changes unpredictably’ into the process of figuring out what works.

    What if your memory gets corrupted, so you misremember what worked yesterday and what didn’t?

    Let me rephrase that: Assuming reality changed in way that leaves at least something consistent, which it would have to because life and consciousness depends on biology → chemistry → physics behaving consistently …

    But maybe after the change, life and consciousness don’t depend on that.

    You are making a very strong claim: effectively, you are claiming that “the scientific method will always work” is a necessary truth. I don’t think you have got anywhere near showing that.

    With regard to the sort algorithm, if you can’t use it because data swaps itself at random, that means it doesn’t work, even though (and this contrasts with the scientific method as you defined it) it is logically necessary that if you could implement it successfully, it always would.

  98. 598
    Dhorvath, OM

    KG,
    So at that point, all the scientific method could tell you is that it doesn’t work?

  99. 599
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    No!!!, don’t Gödel the scientific method, Dhorvath! *flails* ;-)

    AndrewD, you might be thinking of SC, who, I think, does. (Not sure.)

    *keeps fingers crossed anyway*

  100. 600
    John Morales

    Nick,

    You are making a very strong claim: effectively, you are claiming that “the scientific method will always work” is a necessary truth.

    It can’t be necessary, because it is predicated on nature being consistent.

    (So far, so good, but)

  101. 601
    Nick Gotts

    It can’t be necessary, because it is predicated on nature being consistent. – John Morales

    Indeed, it is so predicated, but Owlmirror seems to regard it as a necessary truth that nature is consistent.

  102. 602
    Nick Gotts

    KG,
    So at that point, all the scientific method could tell you is that it doesn’t work? – Dhorvath, OM

    Not even that, I’m afraid, if memory is sufficiently fucked-up.

  103. 603
    John Morales

    My personal opinion is that the existence of apparent physical constants* is no less metaphysically suggestive than the evident technological achievements engendered by science is empirically suggestive that (within the part of reality we can perceive) nature is indeed consistent.

    * Their constancy is what allows scientific theory to make specific predictions.

  104. 604
    John Morales

    Dhorvath, allow me to introduce you to Captain Archibald Haddock.

  105. 605
    John Morales

    alexanderjohannesen
    30 October 2012 at 5:45 pm

    @John : I live in rugby land, and get told repeatedly that those Aussie-rules folks are mad. Personally I think they’re all barking mad.

    [1] My facetious “ignorance” aside, I do really don’t understand the point of sports *apart* from some primitive lust for one tribe to beat some other tribe, [2] and the more professional it gets, the more money involved, the less I get it, [3] and the main problem I have is this; why does it give some people pleasure to see a particular team win? [4] Is this simply a choice we make about what pack we’re with (or some abstraction thereof), and feelings of belonging automatically flows that way? Is our affiliation with a group of people we never even socialize with (in professional sports, at least) or have actual connection with (for example, on a professional team called “Manchester” where none of the players nor the coach is from Manchester) a healthy mental state of affairs? [5] For me, it’s the opposite of critical thinking; you’ve picked a principle or color or team or category (from arbitrary criteria), and you’re sticking with it to the point of emotional stress and relief, sometimes even violence, grief and depression, sometimes insane displays of passion and joy … from this superficial, arbitrary and abstract category people have in their minds? I don’t get it.

    [6] You can tell I’m a lot of fun at the sausage sizzle. I don’t like talking about the weather, either.

    1. From what you say after this, you merely don’t understand it viscerally (aka emotionally) but wish to understand it intellectually.

    2. Because the most professional are the best players, and they are more entertaining. Duh.

    3. I see you speculate about that, immediately after asking.

    (Better rhetorical form to ask after speculating)

    4. Perhaps different people have different reasons?

    5. De gustibus non est disputandum

    6. Perhaps you’d be a lot of fun to me. :)

  106. 606
    Owlmirror

    What if your memory gets corrupted, so you misremember what worked yesterday and what didn’t?

    You’re still basically arguing about what happens when the “system” (the person or persons) that is “running” the scientific method becomes corrupted. That’s a problem with the system, not with the scientific method itself.

    But maybe after the change, life and consciousness don’t depend on that.

    Inasmuch as life and consciousness exist, they do depend on something to be consistent. I suppose you could posit that all consciousness become inconsistent; i.e., insane, but that’s still a problem with the system rather than the scientific method itself.

    You are making a very strong claim: effectively, you are claiming that “the scientific method will always work” is a necessary truth. I don’t think you have got anywhere near showing that.

    I think I could tentatively posit that if the “system” running the scientific method became pathological, the scientific method running on that pathological system would not work — although, to the extent that any part of the system worked, the scientific method would work for that part of the system.

    With regard to the sort algorithm, if you can’t use it because data swaps itself at random, that means it doesn’t work, even though (and this contrasts with the scientific method as you defined it) it is logically necessary that if you could implement it successfully, it always would.

    Why wouldn’t the same be the case, by analogy, for the scientific method? I mean, I’m using “method” analogously to “algorithm”. And I think a more rigorous case could be made that the scientific method is basically an algorithm; an interactive proof-system. As I recall, you’ve argued that science does prove things — you haven’t changed your mind on that, have you?

    ===

    Indeed, it is so predicated, but Owlmirror seems to regard it as a necessary truth that nature is consistent.

    Not exactly.

    Inasmuch as it’s posited that life and/or consciousness exists, there has to be something consistent underlying them.

    If you posit that all of empirical reality is utterly uniform and unchanging, or utterly chaotic, changing with no connection whatsoever to prior states, there is nothing for the scientific method to “work” with, but there’s also nothing in such a posited reality that is a system (a conscious intelligent person) that could “run” (or use) the scientific method.

  107. 607
    alexanderjohannesen

    @john_morales:

    1. I’ve never understood sports emotionally, so my initial verbiage indeed is genuine. I’ve played sports at various points in my life, never understanding how people connect to teams beyond the skills of individuals.

    2. “Because the most professional are the best players, and they are more entertaining.”

    A broad, sweeping statement that can’t possibly be true; I’ve been told that further down the divisions is where the nasty entertainment bits are. Again, rugby and AFL.

    3. “I see you speculate about that, immediately after asking. (Better rhetorical form to ask after speculating)”

    This is Pharyngula, not a dissertation, thus I did not mean to be particularly structural and clear as to avoid the general pissoar bouquet in here we all love so well. :)

    4. It was an invite; feel free to tell me yours.

    5. Phy! Fabulae!

    6. As tackle practice? Oh, and did I mention that Aussie sausages are a disgrace to sausages everywhere?

  108. 608
    A. R

    [A. R plugs extension cord into LOLstar wall outlet to power geocentrist attractor prototype, power on LOlstar flickers, A. R unplugs prototype, goes over to load distribution computer, sees that teh tardigrade's quarters are drawing an abnormal amount of power.] theophontes, what are you doing in there?

  109. 609
    Owlmirror

    theophontes, what are you doing in there?

    Something about a “blender”, I hear — making a fruit smoothie? Many fruit smoothies?
    /naïf

  110. 610
    John Morales

    alexanderjohannesen, it is not I who seeks to understand why people enjoy sport or to what extent they become tribal about team sports, I am content to accept and note it happens.

    But you gotta admit the degree of linkage between your personal inability to grok people’s attachment to teams and the brain damage issue is not sufficient to merit your inquisitiveness about it there to be topical.

  111. 611
    alexanderjohannesen

    @john_morales: Sorry, mate, but the perceived lack of linkage between my rhetorical ponderings and my use of colloquial grokking (as in “yeah, I get it, but I don’t get it”) in order to promote discussion about sport and tribalism in general – “sport” being the thing that creates brain damage, distorts university and college funding, promotes tribalism, shifts focus away from the purpose of the educational institutions, all of which the OP was about – is far more on topic than your own narrowing it down to only “brain damage” and what you yourself think is the correct scope in a Pharyngula comment section. Why this weird policing?

    Or, TL;DR; “uh, what?”

  112. 612
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    teh tardigrade’s quarters are drawing an abnormal amount of power

    Dodgy connections, I guess.

    (Yes, terrible pun. Sosumi.)

  113. 613
    John Morales

    alexanderjohannesen,

    Why this weird policing?

    Pointless question, since it is not policing and it should not seem weird; I thought it (and think it) off-topic and better discussed here.

  114. 614
    strange gods before me ॐ

    I’m fine. SC does live closer to the scary place than I do.

  115. 615
    strange gods before me ॐ

    And I haven’t been online all day so I don’t know if she’s checked in anywhere.

  116. 616
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Uh, so this doesn’t come up again: I’ve mentioned that I experience hurricanes. But I live far enough inland that the worst things are downed trees and power outages. And there is no tree near enough my home to hurt me.

  117. 617
    chigau (違う)


    I’m happy to see you.
    I haven’t seen SC today but I’m still in catch-up mode.

  118. 618
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ A.R

    Yes, I have been hogging all the cycles on teh interwebz. But for a good cause. Link here. It is costing a lot of energy, but we are going to need lots of special effects for the Great Pharyngula Movie.

    @ Owlmirror

    If only Blender ™ made fruit juice!

    For every 2 steps I move forward, it drags me back 1.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999….steps. WTF,call it “2″, I don’t seem to be getting anywhere fast. There should be a warning on the packaging: “Do not try to learn this from scratch!”

    @ cm’s

    Guanxi.

    What I really need is a render farm …

    HEY! … you are onto something there…. {a devious smile starts to filter into the tardigrades evil stare.}

    [prepares hecatomb to the Boltzmann Brontosaurus]

  119. 619
    John Morales

    theophontes,

    For every 2 steps I move forward, it drags me back 1.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999….steps.

    Since ‘move forward’ must implies a change of position in a particular direction, it must refer to a position vector change, however infinitesimal.

    Since ‘drags me back’ clearly denotes an opposite change to the same position vector but can only apply after the original change, you must be engaged in oscillatory motion — further, your quantisation into two steps means your oscillatory amplitude is one step to other side.

    (Looks like a rather simplistic dance to me)

  120. 620
    A. R

    theophontes: Very impressive! [Diverts moar power to teh tardigrade's quarters]

  121. 621
    md

    Pharyngulites, please have a read. Its a polite invitation to a spirited conversation that so many of you feel strongly about. Please, id love to see you all extend that conversation out of the echo chamber (nothing wrong with echo chambers, mind you. they have their place) that is pharyngula. Id love to read the back and forth, here or over there.

    cheers,
    md

  122. 622
    strange gods before me ॐ

    *dons Pope hat*

    *dons second Pope hat, Matryoshka style*

    *prays sends magic packet to Low Orbit Brontosaurus Cannon*

  123. 623
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ John Morales

    Looks like a rather simplistic dance to me.

    No worse than the merengue!

    @ A.R

    Diverts moar power to teh tardigrade’s quarters.

    That’s the stuff, get me some! (I am now learning to texture the surfaces. There is potential here. Linky.)

    @ SGBM

    Hehe. But not (only) that.

    (Hint: Guanxi —> render farm…)

  124. 624
    Rutee Katreya

    *dons Pope hat*

    *dons second Pope hat, Matryoshka style*

    This should actually be a thing. It’d be an improvement.

    I hate the church for its asshattery, but I love hats.

    @md: Why don’t you just bring your jackassery over here? Disrupt the echo chamber and all. I don’t go out of my way to meet bigots.

  125. 625
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ A.R

    Storm clouds on the horizon: Linky

    @ md

    What Rutee said.

  126. 626
    A. R

    theophontes: The LOLstar’s power grids are currently having some issues due to the stupid shielding subsystem nearly being destroyed by a comment by former FEMA director Brown. Thus You may experience interruptions in power while the system recovers (this is day two of the attempt to bring the shield power above 25%, and we can’t take another hit like that one.)

  127. 627
    erikthebassist

    I read your bigoted blog post MD, you’re not worth having a discussion with until you understand the difference between being critical of someone’s beliefs and being prejudiced against the way people are born.

    Kindly go fuck off.

  128. 628
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    render farm

    Er, this laptop overheats at the mere typing of youtube.com.

    I’d be honoured to, but unfortunately [etc.] …

  129. 629
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Cloudy with a chance of sauropods.

  130. 630
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Geolocating target person of interest.

  131. 631
    A. R

    SG: Have you considered integrating the LOBC into the LOLstar? We offer all of your superweapon needs, including a large power source, reflective stupid shielding, remote command and control, and comfortable quarters with internet, cable, and rather nice beds. Also an open bar on the promenade.

  132. 632
    John Morales

    md:

    Please, id love to see you all extend that conversation out of the echo chamber (nothing wrong with echo chambers, mind you. they have their place) that is pharyngula.

    You would, would you?

    Tough shit.

    As for this place being an echo chamber, you do realise how utterly foolish that contention is, no?

    (Hotbeds of disputation are not echo chambers)

  133. 633
    chigau (違う)

    John Morales
    but We™ all agree about md.
    therefore
    herefor
    erefo
    ref
    e

  134. 634
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Weird. Quiet neighbourhood in a low-crime area. Car pulls up in the road, two 20-somethings get out, start wandering (maybe drunk?) into people’s driveways. As I’m taking out the garbage, the one wandering into mine says “sorry mate, wrong house”, and re-routes to next door.

    A few minutes pass, a few more security lights come on, then they re-enter the car and drive off.

    *worried*

    Not immensely, but …

  135. 635
    A. R

    cm: Most concerning.

  136. 636
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    I LOLed:

    Nate Silver @fivethirtyeight

    7 polls released in Ohio in past 48 hours: Obama +2, Obama +3, Obama +3, Obama +3, Obama +5, Obama +5, Obama +5. #notthatcomplicated

    David Ohman ‏@dpohman @RubenBolling @fivethirtyeight that adds up to +26..right?

  137. 637
    chigau (違う)

    re cm #136
    *takes off mittens*
    +2+3+3+3
    *takes off socks*
    +5+5…+5
    David Ohman is probably correct.

  138. 638
  139. 639
    John Morales

    Three Little Kittens

  140. 640
    chigau (違う)

    John Morales
    You are so weird!
    :)
    [c'mon, sing it with me... Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.]

  141. 641
    John Morales

    chigau, I admit I prefer Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons.

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

    I’m alive! And un-burgled. Phew.

  143. 643
    Fionnabhair

    Anyone wanna help turn a poll around? It’s from a Sun Media paper, which is Canada’s Fox News, so I didn’t have high expectations, but it’s still early and there’s plenty of time to send it in the right direction.

    Basically, a parent has complained about Gideon Bibles being distributed at a school in British Columbia. They’re only given to students who have permission slips signed by their parents (and most parents decline- there’s hope for the future yet), but bibles shouldn’t be given out in schools, period.

    Here’s the poll as it stands:

    POLL
    Is it okay to distribute Bibles in schools as long as permission slips are issued to parents?
    72%
    Yes.
    67 votes

    27%
    No.
    25 votes

    1%
    I don’t know.
    1 votes

    Here’s a link to the article, poll is at the end. I don’t recommend reading the comments, as they’re the typical privileged assholes you would expect to see commenting on something from Fox News North, complaining about Christian persecution and being racist and so on. Unless you like a bit of pain, in which case, jump right in.

  144. 644
    mildlymagnificent

    a spirited conversation that so many of you feel strongly about.

    Spirited? For pity’s sake.

    All that stuff about formation of stereotypes and prejudice is utterly standard. Completely routine content of staff training packages in equal opportunity/client sensitivity back when I was presenting them in the early 90s.

    If you want spirited, or interesting at least, you need to get something original from somewhere. Anywhere.

  145. 645
    strange gods before me ॐ

    SC returned my email. She’s fine!

  146. 646
    strange gods before me ॐ

    A. R,

    Surely you agree on the importance of separating church and state.

    While I am unwavering in my support for the Tardigradian Revolution, it is vital for the One Wholly Caffeinated Metabolic Church of Boltzmannbrontosaurusism to maintain its own sacred war machine.

    Come to think of it, the One Holey Cadaveric Vitriolic Church of Quantum Boltzmannbrontosaurusism needs its own military capacity. I shall have to commandeer the LOLstar. Don’t worry; we are a 501(c)(3)², so your generous tithe is tax deductible.

  147. 647
    chigau (違う)


    That’s good to know.

  148. 648
    chigau (違う)

    About SC, I mean.
    But sacred war machines are good, too.

  149. 649
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ SGBM

    Tardigradian Revolution

    A LUTA CONTINUA!

    (More specifically: with this damn propaganda movie. I have got the planet pretty much finished (Linky) and worked out some of the green-screening. X-wing to get textures and colourscheme this weekend. Then the big challenge: building and animating a tardigrade model.)


    We could adapt these lyrics?: Miriam Makeba

  150. 650
    A. R

    [A. R fires low-yield LOLbeam at SG]

    BOOM!

  151. 651
    A. R

    theophontes: Have you started on the LOLstar model yet? I would be happy to consult when you do. Especially for the firing and shield effects.

  152. 652
    anteprepro

    md, inviting us over to The American Conservative? That’s nice. I’m sure it will be a nice, fruitful discussion with people who are completely informed. Not miseducated or delusional or blinded by their own privileges…

    (Reads second fucking sentence of article)

    During the 2008 campaign, I was worked up over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and his flat-out racist theology and rhetoric.

    Holy shit. The REVEREND WRIGHT and the RACISM AGAINST WHITE PEOPLE series continues in the conservative brain, 4 years later? Serious business is serious.

    Oh, and gotta love the phrase “black folks” in the next fucking sentence. I think I read all I needed to in order to know that you are a waste of fucking time, md.

  153. 653
    md

    anteprepro,

    Too bad you couldnt get to the third sentence.

    …but the more I read about Wright’s life, the more sympathy I had for him in his prejudice. He was an older man, and had suffered all kinds of injustice and indignity under Jim Crow. Ideally, he would have come through that without prejudice in his heart. But painful experience had taught him to mistrust white people as a general category. To expect Wright to put the lessons of bitter experience — that is to say, his prejudice — aside for the sake of virtue would have been expecting an awful lot.

    It continues in a similar vein. I guess there wasnt enough venom to keep you entertained. Thanks for trying though.

  154. 654
    A. R

    md: If you want a dishonest debate go somewhere else.

  155. 655
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    md: If you want a dishonest debate go somewhere else.

    MD is too stupid and dishonest to admit most of us here know its prejudices and vapid/bankrupt ideology. And have no intention of paying any attention to what it says or links to, except to mock it and the site. Other than a chew toy, it has no function.

  156. 656
    Rutee Katreya

    MD, trusting white people not to be racist is not virtuous; you fools haven’t stopped anytime in the last century. It’s just stupid. You’re not helping yourself.

    But keep on trying, I’m sure you can redeem white people with your sterling example of not being a racist asshole. Or at least, possibly amuse.

  157. 657
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Laptop’s hard drive seems to be on the brink of failure.

    Doing monster backup now.

    md needs to read this (and TNC generally).

  158. 658
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    /rant, feel free to ignore

    I’m starting to consider “everyone is an asshole until proven otherwise” approach to online conversations. No more benefit of the doubt when someone’s first comment might be just clumsy and not intentionally trollish/derailing/assholish. It always turns out I was just wasting my time and good will.

    /end rant

  159. 659
    erikthebassist

    MD won’t read that CM, he’s too busy patting himself on the back for being above racism.

  160. 660
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    cm @157:
    So I clicked on your link. Interesting stuff there.
    I made the mistake of clicking one of the links in that article. It took me to a TakiMag article by John Derbyshire. http://takimag.com/article/the_talk_nonblack_version_john_derbyshire/print#axzz1rC3fsLMv

    I really want to scrub my brain right now. Along with drink a bottle of vodka. Along with break something.
    Excerpts:

    (10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

    (10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

    (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

    (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

    (10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

    (10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

    (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

    (11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. “Life is an IQ test.”

    Fucking racist scumbag this guy is. Of course I see that Pat Buchanan is a columnist for the same magazine. Ugh.

  161. 661
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ AR

    Have you started on the LOLstar model yet?

    I have dabbled a bit, but not started the real model yet. It is very dependent on textures to get right. Also, the LOLstar, other than in shape, looks quite different to a Deathstar. (There are two versions of LOLstar too, just to complicate matters.)

    The general ideas are there though. Shape, materials, power supply, basic weapons system though I could add more if you have any suggestions. I imagine it will grow incrementally. I have a shield for the tardigrades’ petri-dish, but none yet for the LOL-star.

    @ cm

    Laptop’s hard drive seems to be on the brink of failure.

    What are the specs? You might be able to run it without the hard drive.

    [voter supression]

    Here is a unique angle: Why Jimmy Wale’s (created Wikipedia) does not vote

  162. 662
    chigau (違う)

    theophontes and A. R and ॐ
    Where do I (2ICBDFL) fit into this new scheme?

  163. 663
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ chigau

    Where do I (2ICBDFL) fit into this new scheme?

    As 2ICBDFL you get to customise your intergalactic interwebz mode of transport. (You are not limited to flying petri-dishes, bamboo dumpling steamers, X-wings, LOLstars … or the like)

  164. 664
    chigau (違う)

    theophontes

    you get to customise your interwebz mode of transport

    hhmmm
    I wish to be coated in quantumn-kittens.
    (humanely, of course)
    (kittens to be treated well and sent to good homes as their cute-rating drops)
    (how this relates to ‘transport’, I’m not sure)
    (but, Kittens!)

  165. 665
    John Morales

    Kittons.

  166. 666
    chigau (違う)

    kittonnes

  167. 667
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @ chigau

    A Hello-kittehz X-wing? This can be arranged.

  168. 668
    chigau (違う)

    theophontes
    oooooh
    yes.
    (me bed)

  169. 669
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Arranged!

    (arrange … arrang …. arran … arra ….arr .. ar .a… My Brontosaurus… it IS an echo chamber!)

  170. 670
    Lofty

    Brontosaurus!!??
    http://xkcd.com/636/

  171. 671
    Nick Gotts

    Pharyngulites, please have a read. Its a polite invitation to a spirited conversation that so many of you feel strongly about. Please, id love to see you all extend that conversation out of the echo chamber (nothing wrong with echo chambers, mind you. they have their place) that is pharyngula. – md

    Md, please fuck off. A glance at any one of several recent threads would show anyone just a little less stupid than you how ridiculous your characterisation of Pharyngula is.

  172. 672
    PZ Myers

    md is asking us to read Rod Fucking Dreher? Are you kidding me? He’s an apologist for pedophiles; he’s blamed the Catholic child rape scandal on a secret network of gay priests that have infiltrated the holy church. His day job is as a shill for the Templeton Foundation. And the American Conservative is a racist evil rag.

    Oh, yeah: NEW THREAD.

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