The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse prophesies again »« [Lounge #402]

Comments

  1. joey says

    strange gods:

    Do you recognize that this can be true even without the existence of God?

    I recognize that this cannot be true without the existence of the metaphysical (I’m using #2 in the linked definition), since human dignity is something that cannot be observed in the laboratory, and yet we all have it.

    Do you recognize that dignity could be intrinsic to the human animal, and the moral implications of that existing dignity would therefore follow, and so you could believe all this just as coherently if you become an atheist?

    I asked a couple of Thunderdome’s ago (too lazy right now to look it up) whether one can still be an atheist while still believing in the metaphysical. I believe you answered that one cannot.

  2. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I recognize that this cannot be true without the existence of the metaphysical (I’m using #2 in the linked definition), since human dignity is something that cannot be observed in the laboratory, and yet we all have it.

    If it cannot be measured in a laboratory, it is supernatural. Gotcha, youbetcha.

  3. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I have to ask this question. Is sneering also metaphysical? It also cannot be observed in the hypothetical laboratory.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I recognize that this cannot be true without the existence of the metaphysical (I’m using #2 in the linked definition), since human dignity is something that cannot be observed in the laboratory, and yet we all have it.

    Gee, the stupornatural without your imaginary deity. Actually, human dignity is a human construct, and with the help of sociologists, can be measured. Poor Joey, he seems to be devoid of real learning.

  5. Portia, who will be okay. says

    Janine
    Thanks for pointing me to the blog post. You weren’t kidding, that’s great writing.

  6. says

    Hey everyone! Thanks so much — glad you enjoy it. I’ve been reading here regularly for several months now, but I figure it’s time to start participating. @Janine, definitely planning to stick around. :)

  7. joey says

    Janine:

    If it cannot be measured in a laboratory, it is supernatural. Gotcha, youbetcha.

    So do you think human dignity exists? If so, then what exactly is it? If not, then I’m guess we’re back at the arbitrariness/subjectiveness of morality.

    ———————-
    Nerd:

    Actually, human dignity is a human construct, and with the help of sociologists, can be measured.

    Really? What units is human dignity measured in?

    If you don’t believe in the the absoluteness of human dignity, or that you think it’s merely an illusion, then just say so.

  8. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Joey, it is not that fucking difficult. It is how you treat someone. It is a physical thing, not supernatural.

  9. Dhorvath, OM says

    If you don’t believe in the the absoluteness of human dignity, or that you think it’s merely an illusion, then just say so.

    Because there is no ground between absolute and illusion. Right.

    Unless you aim to quibble your way out of any semblance of reason, it is absolutely a fact that humans have feelings. There is no illusion about the interplay between people’s actions and the feelings of those they interact with. These things are amenable to study, even to having a metric or thirteen applied to them. This is not controversial.

  10. Ogvorbis: Now with Boltcutters! says

    Dignity is treating someone like a human being, not like a thing.

    Have fun twisting that into your own interpretation.

  11. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Really? What units is human dignity measured in?

    What units do you want? Joeytheidjits? Like all tests devised by man (your deity is imaginary, your babble is a book of mythology fiction, and moral absolutes don’t exist), whatever the people making up the test/methodology decide. Boy, are you an educated presuppositionalist or what?

  12. Amphiox says

    From joey’s own link, the definition of metaphysical (the second one) is “of or relating to a reality beyond what is perceptible to the human senses”.

    And in one fell swoop joey destroys his own argument.

    Human dignity IS PERCEPTIBLE to the human senses. We couldn’t have a name for it we cannot perceive it!

    It also belongs to a class of things that include pain and suffering and happiness and contentment that can be quantified in a variety of scientifically validated ways, such as with visual analog scales.

    There is a vast body of scientific literature that quantifies those related entities (especially pain and suffering). It would be quite feasible to design an experiment to measure human dignity using that same template, though I am not aware of anyone who has actually tried or why anyone would want to (or be able to get funding for doing so.)

  13. joey says

    Janine:

    Joey, it is not that fucking difficult. It is how you treat someone. It is a physical thing, not supernatural.

    I’m specifically talking about human dignity, or the intrinsic worth/value of each human being. Not just “how you treat someone”. If you don’t believe that each and every human being has this inherent dignity just for being a human person, then simply say so.

    ———————
    Dhorvath:
    “Feelings” is not equivalent to the concept of human dignity. I’m focusing on the latter. I’m sure most Nazis felt the Jews had feelings. Whether the Nazis thought the Jews had any dignity is another matter.

  14. says

    joey, what the fuck are you even talking about.

    dig·ni·ty [dig-ni-tee] Show IPA
    noun, plural dig·ni·ties.
    1.
    bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
    2.
    nobility or elevation of character; worthiness: dignity of sentiments.
    3.
    elevated rank, office, station, etc.
    4.
    relative standing; rank.
    5.
    a sign or token of respect:

    Dignity is something exists only in social contexts among humans. Therefore it’s inherent to precisely nobody.

  15. joey says

    Ogvorbis:

    Dignity is treating someone like a human being, not like a thing.

    Have fun twisting that into your own interpretation.

    Dignity is a noun, not a verb. And dignity is why one should “treat someone like a human being”.

    —————–
    Amphiox:
    Please point me to a link that describes “human dignity” in the manner that you’re describing.

  16. Ogvorbis: Now with Boltcutters! says

    So if I treat you like a thing, rather than a human being, am I denying you dignity? Am I failing to treat you with dignity?

  17. joey says

    Sally:

    Dignity is something exists only in social contexts among humans. Therefore it’s inherent to precisely nobody.

    Alright, so you don’t believe in the inherent value of human beings (definition of human dignity) and I do.

    ———————–
    Ogvorbis:

    So if I treat you like a thing, rather than a human being, am I denying you dignity? Am I failing to treat you with dignity?

    As a human being I have inherent value, which is common to all human beings. That is human dignity. If you treat me like a thing, then you are treating me as if I do not possess this dignity.

  18. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’m specifically talking about human dignity, or the intrinsic worth/value of each human being. Not just “how you treat someone”. If you don’t believe that each and every human being has this inherent dignity just for being a human person, then simply say so.

    Lets be honest here. Everyone here, AKAICT, believes that all humans have intrinsic value. But that is a social construct that has “evolved”. It is not some magical universal law that is automatically apparent to all who are born or walk this earth. It is a construct of thinking people who understand the value of each other. It came out of the need to work with people to survive and has grown to something deeper valuing more than what they can do you you but valuing their personal worth as individuals and humans.

    It’s not some metaphysical law.

    The universe doesn’t give a shit about you Joey.

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Please point me to a link that describes “human dignity” in the manner that you’re describing.

    Please point me to a link showing conclusive physical evidence your imaginary deity really exists. Something like the eternally burning bush. Or shut the fuck up about absolutes.

  20. Ogvorbis: Now with Boltcutters! says

    If you treat me like a thing, then you are treating me as if I do not possess this dignity.

    But what if god tells me to treat you as a thing? To deny your humanity? To deny your dignity? What if god tells me to kill all the men and the women who have lain with a man but save all the virgins as sexual slaves? What if god tells me to sacrifice my own son? What if god tells me it is fine for me to have multiple wives? Or concubines? What if god kills some children because they laugh at a bald man? Are all of these expressions of the intrinsic and unchanging dignity of human beings? Or is dignity an idea that has evolved as human culture has evolved?

  21. joey says

    Rev BigDumbChimp:

    Everyone here, AKAICT, believes that all humans have intrinsic value.

    Don’t be so sure.

    But that is a social construct that has “evolved”.

    Something that is intrinsic cannot be “a social construct that has evolved”.

  22. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Something that is intrinsic cannot be “a social construct that has evolved”.

    Oh horseshit. The belief that people have intrinsic value can.

  23. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Tell me joey, what about that universe makes you think it gives a flying fuck what happens to you? Tell me about this value you are talking about? Is this a value that you think that has a value outside of human interaction?

    Does the universe pay heed to your value when an earthquake happens?

    Does it when a meteorite smashes into your apartment building?

    Does it when you get cancer?

    Does it matter when humans enslave other humans? Why didn’t the universe stop that if there is intrinsic value on the metaphysical level?

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Don’t be so sure.

    Waiting for evidence from evidenceless Joey. Nothing but presupposition on his part. Typical lack of cogent thinking.

    Something that is intrinsic cannot be “a social construct that has evolved”.

    Intrinic is your presupposition Joey. All human behavior and attitudes came from humans/evolution. There is nothing from your imaginary deity. Which is why it is imaginary. And why you aren’t making a rational argument. Lose the presups.

  25. says

    theophontes (åè)

    What is it that gets some peoples’ goat up with the pitbull tenaciousness?

    Not to prolong that bit of unpleasantness, but was that rhetorical or not? For me, I find “pitbull tenaciousness” triggering as it harkens back to bullying that I received in K-12 schools. Reminiscent of the “no, we’re not going let you come up for air”, never-back-off attacks (even if it was only verbal abuse most of the time). Hectoring, that’s how it comes across as. Because when some (I often notice SGBM, but I’m not going to say xe is the only one) keep going for the jugular (or so it seems, perhaps it is only the “last word”, but in the heat of things it comes across as otherwise) then I see myself backed into a corner and being harassed by bullies. That might not be the intent (but intent isn’t magic), but I find there is a line that gets crossed between forceful and tenacious.

    And that is why I generally have learned to skip or at least only skim certain individual’s posts.

  26. says

    mythbri

    Is Dan Fincke making a gender assumption in this link?

    AFAIK: yes

    I don’t know Mellow Monkey’s gender identity

    AFAIK: female

    , and if Fincke doesn’t specifically know it either that’s kind of a huge – dare I say, uncivil? – assumption on his part.

    Nooo, you’re getting it wrong. It would only be uncivil if he called a guy “she”. Also “he” is not a bad word. You don’t understand that it’s just a difference in opinion [/snark]

  27. Dhorvath, OM says

    Joey,
    Dignity is a feeling that people can have, not have, or have violated and it pertains to how they are treated by others. It is a sense of worth and value, that others care for one rather than just caring how one can be used. There have been inumerable cultures and clashes between cultures which have exploited or destroyed the dignity of people to lift others up, but sometimes, when we are at our best, we manage to improve while lifting others as well. Do you dispute that people can better the lot of other people? What is that if not working towards increasing dignity?

  28. says

    @joey

    On the flip side you can say that there is no such things as wrong and what’s “wrong” is strictly meaningless

    Well, yes, I thought that was obvious.

    Going back to the Nazi example, do you think there is nothing intrinsically wrong about the Nazis’ attitudes toward the Jewish people? Or do you think such genocidal thoughts are merely subjective opinions that are only “wrong” with respect to someone else’s subjective opinions?

    I think asking about whether it’s wrong is meaningless. It’s simply not a full question. It’s like asking “under what circumstances would?”
    Something’s missing. It only works if you at least imply a standard by which you evaluate right and wrong. Such standards are necessarily subjective.

    I think this whole thing is largely a matter of a confusion of categories. For example, you’ve gone on to talk about intrinsic worth of human beings. No such thing. Worth is defined by how we relate to things. Nothing has worth. It has worth to somebody. It simply isn’t possible for worth to exist without the subjective evaluation of a conscious entity. That doesn’t make it any less real. It’s exactly as real as it has always been.

    Luckily, for practical purposes, we can side-step much of this by simply acknowledging that most people in fact share a core set of values. From that, we can easily come to some general consensus. We can have discussions about morality by appealing to such generally shared principles. We can even investigate moral systems objectively, provided we first agree on some basic criteria, such as maximizing happiness.
    When we run into an example where people are doing things we consider wrong, we can try to get them to stop by arguing from shared principles, or we can try to force them. Just like we do in every other area of life.
    If somebody is simply refusing to acknowledge what we consider to be a fundamental moral principle, there really isn’t much we can do (aside from pulling out our hair and screaming a lot). You might want to look into a few of the discussions about abortion, where you’ll find people denying what I consider a pretty basic principle; the right to bodily autonomy.

    My position is that there is an absolute morality which is centered around the dignity of the human person, and that most people believe in such a thing even if they won’t admit it

    What a neatly unfalsifiable position. My position is that you don’t actually believe that, even if you’ve convinced yourself so thoroughly that you’ve forgotten. Deep down, you really agree with me. If you deny this, this only demonstrates how much you’re in denial.

    I don’t see your position as particularly helpful. I see it simply as you trying to trump through your own standard by calling it objective. If it’s objective, we should be able to, independently of each other, examine it and come to the same conclusions. Can we do that?
    We both know we can’t. That’s why you’ve already prepared the excuse; if we disagree, it’s because I’m denying the true truth of truthiness that you, naturally, perceive with perfect clarity.

    I’m also wondering about this bit about how “most people believe” in human dignity. I think the fact that you’re appealing to what people believe is a big problem. If it’s objective, then it would be true, even if everybody disagreed with it.
    In fact, if it’s objective, then what human beings think about it is not relevant at all. How do you know that the correct moral standard isn’t to be as much of an asshole as you can? Are you going to appeal to some supernatural way of knowing?

    Look, we both agree that there’s a subjective component to morality; it’s something that occurs in our brains; we can disagree about it; etc. The question is whether there’s an objective reality that this subjective part is referring to.
    As I see it, the burden on proof is on you. The fact that you’ve already fallen back on unexaminable supernaturalism (AKA, the “I’m right, because I said so” position) doesn’t give me great hopes in this regard.

  29. consciousness razor says

    I asked a couple of Thunderdome’s ago (too lazy right now to look it up) whether one can still be an atheist while still believing in the metaphysical. I believe you answered that one cannot.

    So you believe the opposite of what SGBM actually said.

    And that’s what I also said. It’s obviously wrong just on a factual level. Yes, scientologists and raelians do exist. Just to give one example.

    It doesn’t even make sense as a question. Gods aren’t the only “metaphysical” thing according to you (you just mentioned “dignity”), so according to you non-belief in gods would not imply non-belief in other “metaphysical” stuff. (But I’ll say again that this is also a complete distortion of what the term “metaphysical” means in philosophy).

    -Believe the opposite of the truth, when it wouldn’t even make sense to you.
    -Because Laziness.
    -Therefore, time for more nonsense!

    I shouldn’t be surprised.

  30. consciousness razor says

    Just to give one example.

    Well, now I’m a liar who can’t count. That was two examples.

  31. John Morales says

    joey:

    I recognize that this cannot be true without the existence of the metaphysical (I’m using #2 in the linked definition), since human dignity is something that cannot be observed in the laboratory, and yet we all have it.

    IOW, you’re using it as synonymous with ‘supernatural’ — that is, equivocating via a semantic shift, since you’re making a philosophical claim and you should therefore be using it in the philosophical sense.

    Bah.

  32. says

    @joey:

    I think a lot of the disconnect here stems from the use of the word “intrinsic.” I hate citing dictionaries, so let’s just talk about how we, in this discussion, are using the word. We’re using two definitions:

    1. You use “intrinsic” to mean “part of our Essence,” in, I assume, a sort of Neoplatonic sense. Right? Dignity is part of the human soul.
    2. We’re using intrinsic to mean “a nearly universal part of the human experience,” like language, love, sex, and morality.

    Every species has species-intrinsic traits, and humans are no exception; we’re social, working in cooperative groups, and so we have evolved “intrinsic” traits that make that particular strategy work better. One of those traits is an inherent respect (grant of dignity) to humans within our social group, the potential for respect of humans outside our group, and the ability to abandon respect in the event of a hostile group.

    So, yes. We have “dignity” as a concept, because we’re social animals that cooperate to survive. Unfortunately, we’re not yet at the stage where conditional respect (aka intrinsic human dignity) has been replaced by universal respect (aka the ideal of Intrinsic Human Dignity) in most individuals.

    Now, we also get to evolve culturally. It’s kind of the human superpower. Which means that we can actually socially reconstruct our definitions of things like intrinsic, human, dignity, value, et al, as Nerd pointed out. Whether our view (that all humans should be valued) will succeed is yet to be seen.

    Which brings us to the next point; “value” alone is meaningless. Gold is just a rock, and foie gras is just goose guts. What you’re looking for is “value to.” So the only way you get cross-universe “intrinsic value” is if you have a cross-universe entity capable of valuing, aka, God. So without God, you have to restrict value to specific individuals. And there you arrive at our conclusion; humans have value to humans. Needing more than that is unsupportable.

  33. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    joey at #518 blurted:

    I’m specifically talking about human dignity, or the intrinsic worth/value of each human being. Not just “how you treat someone”. If you don’t believe that each and every human being has this inherent dignity just for being a human person, then simply say so.

    I see that putting words in some one’s mouth does not go against your idea of human dignity.

    Cannot say I am surprised.

    Yet again, you show yourself to be a vile person.

  34. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic,

    I was bullied for hours last night by Improbable Joe.

    It’s shameful that you use my mistreatment as an opportunity to complain about me, to complain about things I wasn’t even doing.

    He called me a liar.

    He claimed that I had a grudge against him.

    He accused me of hating him, despising him, having contempt for him.

    He called me a piece of shit.

    He called me pathetic.

    He either called me evil or said that I was doing something evil.

    He said I am a terrible person and I therefore deserve to be hurt.

    He told me to roll over and beg.

    I did nothing like any of that. (And again, to be perfectly clear, I never called him a liar.)

    I apologized unreservedly for my misunderstanding, which was my fault. In response he began harassing me for hours.

    You are now joining in and contributing to the bullying. It’s shameful, dontpanic, and you should stop. I don’t deserve to be treated this way.

  35. Amphiox says

    Something that is intrinsic cannot be “a social construct that has evolved”.

    The BELIEF that all humans have intrinsic value is the social construct that has evolved.

  36. John Morales says

    tsraveling,

    Now, we also get to evolve culturally. It’s kind of the human superpower.

    Korzybski’s ‘time-binding’ concept.

    (Are you familiar with General Semantics? I was influenced by it in my youth)

    PS I’ve read portions of your blog. Very interesting, and I take this opportunity to tell you that I find you a very good writer.

  37. says

    Yes! I’m fascinated with it — though I don’t know nearly as much about it as I’d like. I’m a programmer, and a lot of the concepts cross-pollinate quite well. Do you have any books you’d recommend on the topic?

    And thanks so much re: the blog!

  38. says

    SGBM,
    My last word to you here on this topic: whatever. Seriously, I’m just going to ignore you and I suggest you do the same to me. I had a responses to many of those complaints, but I erased them … it’s not worth my well being (even now I’m shaking as you are attempting to accuse me of bullying) to argue with you. I find you to be a bully, who hectors people aggressively and relentlessly (even now in that ‘response’ to me — hell, your aggressive badgering style makes me even have sympathy for StevoR, and I hate that) and I’m not going to buy into it (“The only winning move is not to play”). I was answering the question that theophontes asked: What is it that gets some peoples’ goat up with the pitbull tenaciousness? I told him why; and you respond in exactly the triggering fashion that I was decrying. So….

    I’ll let you have the last word since you always do… Always.

  39. Amphiox says

    As a human being I have inherent value,

    ONLY to other humans. To a lion you are dinner.

    Point of fact, human dignity is not actually inherent in the individual. It is distributed in the group. YOUR human dignity does not exist in you. It exists in ME, and other humans who choose to interact with you, and vice versa. MY human dignity does not exist in me, it exists in YOU. In your brain. And the brains of the other human beings who interact with me.

    What actually happened is that human beings DECIDED that they will GIVE human dignity to their fellow humans. And those human beings who so decided FOUGHT a f*cking bitter battle with those human beings who decided that they did NOT want to GIVE human dignity to their fellow humans, and the first group of humans WON THE FIGHT. (We are still fighting it).

    Human dignity is a GIFT that society gives to individuals. When we say it is “inherent”, we are using that word METAPHORICALLY. What it actually means is that we have DECIDED that we will give it to everyone automatically, all the time, and that we have DECIDED that we will FIGHT anyone who refuses to give it automatically to everyone all the time.

    It exists only because we, human beings, have created it and have chosen to sustain it.

    But just because it is something which WE created does not mean it does not exist.

  40. John Morales says

    tsraveling, sorry, nothing I can really recommend outside the seminal works, since you’re already familiar with it.

  41. Amphiox says

    Amphiox:
    Please point me to a link that describes “human dignity” in the manner that you’re describing.

    This statement pretty much demonstrates that you did not bother to read my entire post, did not bother to even notice the last paragraph, and are just playing dishonest quote-mining gotcha games.

    You can f*ck yourself, gooey.

  42. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic,

    I’m just going to ignore you and I suggest you do the same to me.

    And then you go on to make affirmative claims about me, while suggesting I ignore your attacks on me. That’s also a form of bullying.

    I find you to be a bully, who hectors people aggressively and relentlessly

    You’re wrong, and you picked a particularly bad time to be wrong — using my time of vulnerability to harass me is exceptionally hurtful of you.

    I told him why; and you respond

    Yes, how dare I respond to personal attacks against me while I’m vulnerable.

    in exactly the triggering fashion that I was decrying.

    Explain what was actually wrong with what I said. It is a fact that Joe harassed me for hours last night. It is a fact that he said all those horrible things. It is a fact that you are now contributing to the bullying.

    Why am I not supposed to say these things?

    Why am I not supposed to point out when I am being treated unfairly?

    (even now I’m shaking as you are attempting to accuse me of bullying)

    You are contributing to the bullying me!

    But why don’t you stop and think? Think how it makes me feel when you say these things about me, or when Joe says all those horrible things about me?

    I was shaking last night, but I wasn’t just shaking. I was crying and I kept feeling like I was going to throw up. I couldn’t get to sleep because I knew that he would keep on bullying me while I was sleeping.

    And yes, your aggression against me now is making me shake. That’s about the least of my concerns right now, but it is upsetting. Why don’t you stop to think about my feelings before you lay into me?

  43. The Mellow Monkey says

    My poorly written, rant-y comment on someone else’s blog got the Fincke treatment? And I’ve been gendered male now?

    Sigh.

    My impulse to just cease communicating grows by leaps and bounds.

  44. John Morales says

    The Mellow Monkey, I’d have thought your impulse to communicate would be strengthened by that; after all, you have been held as an exemplar of a particular view-point.

    (Lead singer in the chorus!)

  45. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Thanks to everyone who has said something kind to me.

    I keep worrying that if I acknowledge you by nym, it’ll be used against you or me or both of us later.

    I wish I could say that’s an irrational worry, but other people who have been kind to me have been attacked for it.

  46. says

    For what it’s worth, SGBM, I admire your tenacity. You often leave me awe stricken. You never back down, and that is fucking difficult to do. So, yeah. That.

  47. mythbri says

    @Mellow Monkey #550

    My poorly written, rant-y comment on someone else’s blog got the Fincke treatment? And I’ve been gendered male now?

    Sigh.

    My impulse to just cease communicating grows by leaps and bounds.

    MM, I thought that the comment – YOUR comment – that Fincke decided to focus on was very well-written, well-reasoned, and an extremely valid point. I find his assertion that he makes his writing as accessible as possible to be hilarious. It takes a lot of effort for me to muscle through his posts to try to glean what his meaning is behind all those words.

    As soon as Fincke’s post was linked here, I headed over to challenge his assumption of your gender, and my comment is currently still stuck in moderation. His post remains uncorrected.

    That’s hardly civil.

    Please don’t stop commenting.

  48. mythbri says

    Just for the record, in case neither of my comments ever show up at Fincke’s place:

    Comment 1, earlier today

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Dan, do you specifically know Mellow Monkey’s gender? I don’t recall ever reading one of their comments where they were explicitly candid about their gender identity.

    Because if you do not, that’s a huge assumption that you’ve just made.

    Comment 2, just now

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Dan:

    I posted a comment earlier pointing out that you made an assumption when you referred to Mellow Monkey here as male. This comment is apparently still in moderation, even though I was perfectly civil in pointing out this error.

    I would appreciate it if you addressed this.

  49. John Morales says

    mythbri:

    I find his assertion that he makes his writing as accessible as possible to be hilarious. It takes a lot of effort for me to muscle through his posts to try to glean what his meaning is behind all those words.

    I am tempted to quote Yoda.

    As soon as Fincke’s post was linked here, I headed over to challenge his assumption of your gender, and my comment is currently still stuck in moderation. His post remains uncorrected.

    That’s hardly civil.

    It’s also hardly uncivil.

  50. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Oh, I do back down, even run away. Sometimes by unconscious avoidance, sometimes deliberately. I shan’t spoil my reputation by linking specific instances, but I remember most of them just as well as I remember standing up.

  51. mythbri says

    Okay, Dan just acknowledged his assumption. I made a suggestion that he correct his post to include gender-neutral pronouns, but I don’t know if he will.

    @John Morales #556

    I refer specifically to Dan’s assumption that the Mellow Monkey is male to be the part that was uncivil – I apologize if that was unclear. Regarding my comments, I could care less whether he posted them or not. It’s his blog. It was just such a common, easily-avoidable mistake to make, that feeds into the trope of the “male as default”, and that bothers me a lot. Dan’s verbose, but he’s not stupid by any stretch, and the mistake is unworthy of him.

    And as far as Fincke’s writing goes, I’m not sure what Yoda has to do with my struggle to understand what he’s trying to say in his posts. Are you saying that Yoda was inscrutable and wise, and that Fincke is akin to Yoda?

    Yoda was at least brief.

  52. John Morales says

    mythbri,

    I refer specifically to Dan’s assumption that the Mellow Monkey is male to be the part that was uncivil – I apologize if that was unclear. Regarding my comments, I could care less whether he posted them or not.

    Ah. I indeed interpreted you to mean it was not civil for him to enable moderation and to be tardy in vetting and releasing your comment.

    Are you saying that Yoda was inscrutable and wise, and that Fincke is akin to Yoda?

    “Do or do not… there is no try.”

  53. says

    Occam’s razor,
    Best at what? Hypocrisy? Lying? Scamming people out of money? Loving America “too much” (which apparently causes one to cheat on one’s wives)?

  54. strange gods before me ॐ says

    joey,

    I asked a couple of Thunderdome’s ago (too lazy right now to look it up) whether one can still be an atheist while still believing in the metaphysical. I believe you answered that one cannot.

    That is not what I said.

    I recognized at the time that you were using too broad a word, and what you were really referencing with it was supernatural. I therefore answered specifically about the supernatural, and I said atheists can and do believe in the supernatural, but it makes them bad at being atheists.

    Atheists can be good at being atheists while believing in some things metaphysical — including, as consciousness razor said, everything which is physical, since all physical things are also metaphysical — and even some non-physical metaphysical things.

    joey, I think you are making the discussion needlessly complicated by trying to claim that dignity is supernatural. What good does it do you to say things like dignity is supernatural and atheists are not supposed to believe in the supernatural? It doesn’t move you any closer to understanding our viewpoints. It evidently doesn’t help us understand your viewpoint. It’s really a distraction, then.

    Maybe instead of getting distracted by the need to categorize everything, you could try brainstorming for yourself how dignity could be inherent, or how other values could be inherent, without God. If you can’t figure it out, then maybe you could ask those of us who believe that dignity is inherent, or that other values are inherent, how we figure that. That is, if your goal is to understand those of us who are closer to you re belief about inherent values. If not, then you could ask corresponding questions to those who are farther away from you re belief about inherent values.

    But at least try understanding while resisting the impulse to categorize. Not because categorization is wrong, but because if you attempt it prematurely or you don’t fully grok the scope of a category, it’ll be a barrier to understanding rather than an aid.

  55. cm's changeable moniker says

    Yoda was at least brief.

    Brief at least Yoda was!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    @tsraveling, I only had time to read Past is Prologue parts 1 and 2, but your writing is awesome. And I loved this:

    I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart when I was four years old, again at five, and twice at six. I guess I wanted to make sure it would stick.

    ;-)

    Welcome to the un-fold!

  56. says

    Hey, when you’re nine hundred and however many years old, you don’t have time for long speeches. You cut to the chase.

  57. mythbri says

    @LyleX #567

    Are you saying that I have to wait 900 years for Dan Fincke to cut to the chase? ;)

  58. says

    Yes, but it’s going to be so worth it when he starts levitating shit off the ground.

    I’ll be in my bunk. Playing Lego Star Wars 2, of course.

  59. consciousness razor says

    Atheists can be good at being atheists while believing in some things metaphysical — including, as consciousness razor said, everything which is physical, since all physical things are also metaphysical — and even some non-physical metaphysical things.

    “Metaphysical things” just sounds so weirdly redundant. I guess it could be a really awful name for a Christian Rock band.

    What is it like to be a metaphysical thing?

    Well, first, the thing has to be. Obviously. If it isn’t being, then it isn’t going to be like anything, because that’s the same as saying that it isn’t being anything to be like. And since metaphysics is about what is, we’ve got that pretty much covered already, since we can be pretty confident that if it’s being (or was or will be) then being about that being is what being about it is. So good news! We get “to be metaphysical” for free right off the bat, no matter what, even if we’re talking utter nonsense about it. Remember: this is all assuming that there is an it to be, and not just that there could be one, of course. (Wake up, Plantinga! Pay attention!) Unfortunately, the only information you can really get out of this is that it’s a “thing,” whatever that means to you. It could be there are … uh … beings … which are not “things,” strictly speaking, yet are still being in some other way which isn’t being a thing. Still, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to admit “things” for now, at least for the sake of argument.

    So I guess that’s a start, joey. I accept that there are things — Metaphysical Things™ no less — which can Be™ something. Perhaps they even have inherent thingness. I don’t really know, but I’m willing to consider it. Anyway, I’m sure this could be a significant part of your Argument from Convolutedness for the existence of your specific god. If only you would tell us more about it.

  60. says

    @ dontpanic

    but was that rhetorical or not?

    Yes, but it is perfectly fine to comment on any idea presented here.

    Ideas (and opinions) are very personal – so much so that we often feel personally attacked when they are tackled without remorse. Indeed, as I know from my own experience, we can feel bullied when this happens. And this is generally the case that gets the goats up.

    As for the personal attacks that sometimes occure here… why should any of us not defend ourselves from the unjustified? (/rhetorical)

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ever since my undergraduate days and the guru infestations in the late ’60s early ’70s, whenever I hear metaphysical and/or quantum used incorrectly by those pretending to be deep (like Joey), I get a reflexive action to grab both my wallet and head to keep the contents therein from falling out.

  62. strange gods before me ॐ says

    theophontes,

    And this is generally the case that gets the goats up.

    And since that is not even what happened, maybe you should educate yourself about what did happen this time, instead of months past. Your hypotheticals will become a segue for opportunists to bully me about shit that didn’t even happen.

  63. strange gods before me ॐ says

    The first thing that came to my mind was cartoonist and CGI artist Neal Adams [...] IIRC, he uses large sauropods as a supporting point for his Theory of Everything.

    Trademark infringement!

  64. chigau (違う) says

    I hate having a regular office-hour job.
    I get so far behind on Pharyngula.
    .
    awesome (ahsOM), have a bunch of hugs

  65. says

    I was shaking last night, but I wasn’t just shaking. I was crying and I kept feeling like I was going to throw up. I couldn’t get to sleep [...]

    And yes, your aggression against me now is making me shake.

    *shoves birthday cake through USB port*

  66. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I believe I have some cake around here, in fact. Maybe I’ll become one with it.

  67. says

    30! Pfftttt, youngling…

    I’m going grey in places you don’t even want to know about! Fortunately I have a good friend who is a hairdresser, and am preparing to enlist her assistance in regaining some color, if you must know.

  68. says

    over 30; increasingly so.

    Sure, and I commiserate you. However, strange gods and I will soon be able to pass as ancestor spirits, especially if the hair situation keeps escalating.

  69. Lofty says

    30 is old?
    Grey hair is worrying you?
    I’ve admired grey haired people since I’ve been a young’un, married a much older woman, hang around with a bunch of mature age cyclists, the oldest being 89. Grey hair is HOT The greyer my hair gets the more at ease with myself I become. Under 30 was an awful age. 40 was much better. 50+ and I finally look as old as I have always imagined myself, prematurely middle aged in spirit.

  70. casus fortuitus says

    sgbm – I’m a relative stranger here (although long-time lurker), so I’m loath to get involved in such a personal disagreement between regulars, but I want to offer what meagre support I can.

    I think you’ve been treated very unfairly: you have every right to defend yourself against the misrepresentations to which you’ve been subject, and it’s especially low for others to characterise that defence as harassment or bullying.

    I’ve never seen you engage with anything other than integrity, good faith and solid reasoning, so I find it mystifying that you are often the target of generalised animosity. I very much appreciate your astute, well-written and argued posts, and I admire the tenacity which others apparently find so threatening.

    So, yeah. There’s that. For what it’s worth.

  71. chigau (違う) says

    I am increasingly over 50 and my hair seems to be going white.
    White is cooler than grey.

  72. casus fortuitus says

    Apropos of PZ’s article about the Hawkeye Initiative and the subsequent discussion, there’s an interesting article about a comic that defies the usual conventions:

    While many mainstream comics are still producing the kind of material that gets sent up on Escher Girls and The Hawkeye Initiative, Gillen and McKelvie actively reject the kind of objectification that gives the genre such a bad reputation amongst feminists. In contrast to the stereotypical tits-and-ass fare, the opening sequence of Young Avengers provides the reader with a three-page essay on the (straight/bi) female gaze. In a medium that overwhelmingly caters for straight male desires, this is a rare demonstration of how to do a sexy scene with decent gender politics.

    I wish rustybrown were around to appreciate the differences in how men and women are portrayed when the focus is not on straight male gratification.

  73. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I am increasingly over 50 and my hair seems to be going white.
    White is cooler than grey.

    I am increasingly over 40 and hair, what’s that?

  74. Ogvorbis says

    I am increasingly over 50 and my hair seems to be going white.
    White is cooler than grey.

    I am approaching 50 (still a third of a decade to go) and am currently in the ‘a little bit of greying which shows that I am older but still not old, respectable, knowledgeable, experienced and competent.’ Which just goes to show that hair colour means nothing. Nothing.

  75. says

    …you have every right to defend yourself against the misrepresentations to which you’ve been subject…

    And I never said xe didn’t have such a right. So I’d appreciate you dropping the implication that I said otherwise. Oh, wait, so you’re not going to object to his mischaracterizing what I said. Seems a bit unfair. I answered a question asked by a third party. Then xe wrongly claims I was bullying him. What I objected to is how xe approaches many arguments. It was my opinion that it often exceeds simple fierce or even aggressive and crosses over into hectoring and bullying. But apparently I’m not allow an opinion without people dog piling on me and making untrue implications.

    …admire the tenacity which others apparently find so threatening

    So, no consideration for why I find “pitbull tenaciousness” problematic (remember that’s what I was responding to)? Yes, I find it threatening … I pretty much said as such when I used the word triggering. Oh, but go ahead and praise it to high heaven. Because relentless aggression is a good thing in this society.

    And … fuck, I got sucked into replying, which I told myself I was going to try to avoid even peripherally.

  76. ChasCPeterson says

    relentless aggression

    not what’s been going on here, at least from sg wrt Joe.

    (now from sg wrt Stevo, maybe.)

  77. says

    And, hell,

    What I objected to is how xe approaches many arguments

    was meant to be

    What I objected to is how xe and others approaches many arguments

    since the point was to argue against the approach, not the individual. But since SGBM reframed my point into all about themself — distorting my objection — I wrongly let myself respond in that frame. I hated that style back when it was Truth Machine doing it and I hate it now. It isn’t specifically SGBM that I’m objecting to, it is the overaggressive, unrelentless hectoring. There’s a point when tenacious ceases to be a GoodThing™. A pitbull shaking a rabbit in its mouth to snap its neck and then continuing is not a pleasant image … but it is tenacious. So, go ahead sing all the praises to the glory that is “tenaciousness”.

  78. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Every time I’m being bullied, someone comes along opportunistically kick me while I’m down.

    Why aren’t they ashamed of themselves?

    Why do they think they should get to treat me like I don’t have feelings?

  79. strange gods before me ॐ says

    (now from sg wrt Stevo, maybe.)

    To be clear, I’m not happy about the dynamic we have with StevoR. But I fail to see a better one, as long as he keeps making racist comments, and claiming he never said things he said or claiming those statements weren’t racist or xenophobic.

    And if anyone cares to compare my comments to StevoR with others’, I’m not anywhere near his harshest critic. Not to say that the harsher critics are wrong; I just shouldn’t be incorrectly labeled the harshest.

  80. says

    not what’s been going on here, at least from sg wrt Joe.

    Ah, don’t think I mentioned Joe. I commented on “pitbull tenaciousness” (and actually referenced StevoR).

  81. casus fortuitus says

    dontpanic: this isn’t all about you. There’s a pattern of sgbm being criticised for his style and his insistence on fair representation, of himself and others. My intent wasn’t to address individual criticisms – least of all yours – but to note the existence of that pattern so that my support of sgbm, who’s a poster whose contributions I value and who’s obviously having a hard time of it at the moment, had some substance.

    I can’t deny that your comments were something of a prompt for me making that post (and I still think you’re being unfair), but I didn’t want to draw you back into a discussion you wanted out of, so I’m not going to respond to your specific comments unless you indicate you’d appreciate that.

  82. ChasCPeterson says

    I just shouldn’t be incorrectly labeled the harshest.

    Sorry, I did not intend to do so. You’ve been relentless, but the ‘maybe’ was for the ‘aggressive’. (Not, imo.)

  83. says

    I’ll respond because the implied lie:

    Why do they think they should get to treat me like I don’t have feelings?

    What in particular in what I wrote says that I don’t think you have feelings? So, you’re allowed to make scurrilous claims, now?

    And,

    I just shouldn’t be incorrectly labeled the harshest.

    Did I label you the harshest? No, I think I was commenting on the style of your (and others) overaggressive approach … repeatedly asking the same questions over and over because you don’t like his (StevoR’s) answers for instance … pitbull tenacious hectoring. It’s the fucking way you go about your inquisition, not that you’re harsh. Damn, sometimes you’re thick.

  84. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic,

    Oh, wait, so you’re not going to object to his mischaracterizing what I said. Seems a bit unfair. I answered a question asked by a third party. Then xe wrongly claims I was bullying him.

    Well, let me be clearer for you then.

    Yes, you were answering a question asked by a third party. A question with a premise that was irrelevant to this recent round of Joe bullying me.

    And yes, you were (and are now) bullying me by doing so. You were jumping in and making personal attacks against me while I was (and still am) vulnerable from being recently bullied, and you were using the aftermath of me being bullied as an opportunity to begin personally attacking me for something I wasn’t even doing.

    You don’t like to think of yourself as bullying? Too bad; you were (and are now) bullying me; but let’s see if another phrasing can get through to you:

    You were (and are) opportunistically kicking me while I was (and am) down.

    You don’t like to think of yourself as an opportunistic attacker? Too bad; you are opportunistically attacking me while I am vulnerable. But let’s see if another phrasing can get through to you:

    You are dog piling on me.

    There, that’s one of your own phrases. A phrase you apply when several people disagree with you. Think how much worse it is from my perspective, after I’ve been recently bullied by Joe and further piled on by Azkyroth (to Azkyroth’s credit, he backed off and apologized, and I am not still upset at him, but it still hurts).

    Why aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

    Why do you think you should get to treat me like I don’t have feelings?

    +++++
    Chas,

    I’m pretty well attuned to what it’s like when ‘Tis bullies me, and I’m confident that’s not him.

  85. Ogvorbis says

    I think I was commenting on the style of your (and others) overaggressive approach … repeatedly asking the same questions over and over because you don’t like his (StevoR’s) answers for instance … pitbull tenacious hectoring.

    I disagree with your portrayal of this tactic as being ‘pitbull tenacious hectoring.’ I, and others, will sometimes adopt this tactic when dealing with a commenter who Gish gallops, moves goalposts, or flat out denies what they have written, often in the same thread. I have found that, for me, finding a clear question to pose to a difficult commenter is a very good litmus test for honesty in the discussion. In the case of StevoR, he has yet to explicitly disown any of his racist comments, preferring, instead, to define the problem away in such a way as to show that every commenter here but StevoR is too willfully ignorant to understand just why nuking Iran back to the stone age is not racist and/or bigoted. Holding a dishonest commenter up for all to see is not tenacious hectoring (in my opinion (and mine only!)). It is an effective tactic against dishonesty.

  86. says

    Chas,

    dontpanic: are you ‘Tis HImself and/or Rodney Nelson?

    Fuck no I’m not, and have never been. I predate PZ moving to SB before FTB (though I only comment occassionally); I my own person. But, though I hadn’t originally had that in mind, that’s another instance of why I fucking hate that “pitbull tenaciousness” approach. Yes, he screwed up and misrepresented himself. And rather than let him take his licks and be chastised, he got hounded away and hardly ever comments (and when he does he gets hounded some more). Even though he did bring useful views to the table. No, gott’a keep shaking him until his neck breaks. Grovel at our feet in abject apology… or there’ll be no relenting.

    Again, my **vegan warning*** beef isn’t with SGBM (though xe wants to make it about themselves) it is with the whole pitbull mentality. Ooooh, should I say that one more time? Will it sink in this time? I was commenting on: What is it that gets some peoples’ goat up with the pitbull tenaciousness?

    And casus fortuitus, no I’m not making it “all about me”. Well, no more than SGBM is making it all about themself.

    So, no doubt I’ve drawn a target on my back too.

  87. Beatrice says

    I’ve done “asking the same question over and over again” when a commenter is deliberately ignoring the issue and/or lying and changing hir opinion every three posts.
    The difference between that and what sgbm is doing with StevoR, is that I (and others who sometimes use the same method) usually talk to a one-timer who fills a thread never to appear again. Related to that, the question-asking can’t go as long as in this situation, simply because the person being questioned disappears or the thread dies a natural death.

    The situation with StevoR is pretty exceptional in its longevity, but that is not something sgbm is at fault for.

  88. ChasCPeterson says

    Sorry I just wondered.
    One thing that might be leading people to think you’re attacking sgbm is that he used to use a nym that included the word ‘pitbull’.

    Grovel at our feet in abject apology… or there’ll be no relenting.

    please. Some acknowledgment of any kind ≠ grovelling in abject apology.
    (and the charges are more serious than ‘misrepresentation’.)

  89. Beatrice says

    One thing that might be leading people to think you’re attacking sgbm is that he used to use a nym that included the word ‘pitbull’.

    *raises hand*

    Although, I think it was theophontes who used it first, and dontpanic responded to that and continued using that word in further comments.

  90. says

    Again with the lie: Why do you think you should get to treat me like I don’t have feelings?.
    A lie and blatant emotional manipulation. Mean ol’ dontpanic is an abuser who doesn’t think other people have feelings…

    Ogvorbis, as an occasional tactic against a Glish Gallop, fine. But repeatedly against the admonition of the blinky red light … hectoring (in my opinion).

    Fuck. Since Giliell and Ogvorbis both think I should quit, I’ll walk away (again) from this.

  91. casus fortuitus says

    dontpanic:

    And casus fortuitus, no I’m not making it “all about me”. Well, no more than SGBM is making it all about themself.

    My post was all about sgbm.

  92. strange gods before me ॐ says

    What I objected to is how xe approaches many arguments.

    You objected to this out of the blue, when it was not happening and therefore was not relevant. That would always be gratuitous.

    And you did it in the aftermath of Joe bullying me, which was opportunistic and thereby further contributed to the bullying of me.

    But apparently I’m not allow an opinion without people dog piling on me and making untrue implications.

    I dogpiled on you by defending myself against your personal attacks?

    casus fortuitus dogpiled on you by pointing out that it’s unfair for you to characterize my actions in this episode as harassment or bullying?

    Please. You are being disagreed with.

    So, no consideration for why I find “pitbull tenaciousness” problematic (remember that’s what I was responding to)? Yes, I find it threatening … I pretty much said as such when I used the word triggering. Oh, but go ahead and praise it to high heaven. Because relentless aggression is a good thing in this society.

    You’ve certainly made it sound terrible! Now let’s see which comments exactly you’re characterizing that way.

    You say that my comment 539 was “in exactly the triggering fashion that [you were] decrying.”

    But what is actually wrong with that comment?

    Explain what was actually wrong with what I said. It is a fact that Joe harassed me for hours last night. It is a fact that he said all those horrible things. It is a fact that you are now contributing to the bullying. Am I not supposed to say these things? Am I not supposed to point out when I am being treated unfairly?

    Doesn’t it occur to you that I might find being attacked out of the blue, for something I’m not even doing, a bit hurtful? Am I not supposed to talk about what’s happening? Are you supposed to get to say hurtful things about me and not have your statements challenged?

    the point was to argue against the approach, not the individual.

    And yet I was the only person you mentioned by nym.

    But since SGBM reframed my point into all about themself — distorting my objection

    What the fuck? I haven’t reframed it; I’ve simply responded to the parts that are about me. I don’t have time to defend not only myself but everyone else.

    It isn’t specifically SGBM that I’m objecting to, it is the overaggressive, unrelentless hectoring.

    This is not a true statement. It is specifically me, if perhaps others as well. You did in fact specify me.

    Ah, don’t think I mentioned Joe.

    Okay, but you’re using the aftermath of me being bullied by Joe as your segue.

    If you want to talk about some method of argumentation that you find triggering, why do you mention me, when the most recently available example if of Joe harassing me?

    And if you really, really just want to talk about some method of argumentation, why don’t you wait for like a week after this and then talk about the method of argumentation rather than talking about sgbm and unnamed others who act like sgbm but this is totes not personal.

  93. says

    he used to use a nym that included the word ‘pitbull’.

    Fuck, I’d forgotten that. Again, I was commenting on: What is it that gets some peoples’ goat up with the pitbull tenaciousness? My mind’s image was the rabbit in the pitbull’s mouth being shaken until its neck snaps.

  94. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Excuse my copy&paste error:

    It is a fact that Joe harassed me for hours last the other night.

  95. says

    I went from a goatee to a full beard this winter, which makes me look a lot greyer. Suddenly I’m getting a lot of people rushing forward to offer me assistance. It’s a little odd.

  96. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Why do they think they should get to treat me like I don’t have feelings?

    What in particular in what I wrote says that I don’t think you have feelings?

    I didn’t say you actually think I don’t have feelings. I don’t know what you actually think.

    What I said is that you think you should get to treat me like I don’t have feelings.

    And I think that is evident from your behavior here. I tell you all this about my feelings:

    But why don’t you stop and think? Think how it makes me feel when you say these things about me, or when Joe says all those horrible things about me?

    I was shaking last night, but I wasn’t just shaking. I was crying and I kept feeling like I was going to throw up. I couldn’t get to sleep because I knew that he would keep on bullying me while I was sleeping.

    And yes, your aggression against me now is making me shake. That’s about the least of my concerns right now, but it is upsetting. Why don’t you stop to think about my feelings before you lay into me?

    But I see no acknowledgement.

    Not of how I said I feel, not of you thinking about how I might feel about another round this morning. Nothing.

    I’ll be honest: I believe that some people here at least subconsciously interpret my tendency to not show or talk about my feelings — which is partly an effect of being cognitively different, and partly an automatic defense mechanism resulting from having been a boy who cried easily, a gay boy who was bullied for displays of affection, and just generally a boy in this culture who was told to “be a man” — as indicating that I don’t actually have feelings to hurt.

    When people talk about everyone else’s feelings but mine, I wonder. When people even ignore me openly talking about my feelings, I wonder more.

    I do think that, for some combination of ridiculous reasons, you feel like there’s no need here to take my feelings into account — and I don’t know how else to interpret your behavior, when I’ve pointed out repeatedly that you are opportunistically attacking me in the aftermath of Joe bullying me.

  97. Portia, who will be okay. says

    I think you’re right, sg, it is easy to forget that you are not a robot. You are so good at reciting sources and making solid arguments. That’s no excuse for treating you as if you don’t have feelings. Your expression of your feelings before made me feel for you and hurt for you. I hope that you are not discouraged from expressing that. You have a right to have your feelings heard like anyone else.

  98. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Oh and by the way. I’m not lying. If I’m saying something that isn’t true, then I’d appreciate being corrected, because I want to be accurate. But I am not lying.

  99. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I think you’re right, sg, it is easy to forget that you are not a robot.

    Yes! Let it be known that I am a cyborg.

  100. Ogvorbis says

    Ogvorbis, as an occasional tactic against a Glish Gallop, fine. But repeatedly against the admonition of the blinky red light … hectoring (in my opinion).

    StevoR is, and has been, lying about his comments, redifining words in ways that are bizarre in order to deflect all blame away from him, been denying — or excusing his racism and/or bigotry for so long that my, and others, use of The Question is an appropriate tactic. Nothing else has worked. Convincing someone to examine his (or her) privilege is damn near impossible (though it can be done). So, sorry, I’m not going to give up a tactic which has worked in the past on other commenters.

  101. says

    Okay, since the tenacious pitbull won’t let it drop:

    But I see no acknowledgement.

    I wasn’t ignoring your feelings, I was ignoring you. Like I said I would. But, okay, fine, you need it explicitly. Yes, I acknowledge that you have feelings and they were hurt. I’m sorry that you felt upset and put upon — though I disagree that the abuse was solely Joe towards you. I think it was quite mutual (and started by you taking Joe’s perfectly normal discussion of food as a personal attack).

    But I wasn’t commenting on you as an individual. I was commenting on a behavior I see which you recently illustrated (thus the reference how you deal to StevoR). And I didn’t wait weeks because the question was right there and I wanted to comment on it … here in, [lookup up to page title], the Thunderdome. The “Are you or have you ever been a communistracist” approach isn’t working … its just fucking annoying, nay, beyond annoying. Having scrolled past pages of the same recently it was in my mind when the term “pit bull tenaciousness” was questioned. You interpreted it as opportunistic bullying, but that was your mischaracterizing what I was saying. Reading into it things that weren’t there. Uncharitably.

  102. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Did I label you the harshest?

    I didn’t say you did. And I was responding to Chas, who also didn’t. I nevertheless have to point out that I’m not the harshest, because when the discussion is about sgbm and unnamed others who act like sgbm but this is totes not personal, there will be a common misreading by others that I am the harshest. That is how brains work. I have to protect myself against accidental implications, not only deliberate ones.

    No, I think I was commenting on the style of your (and others) overaggressive approach … repeatedly asking the same questions over and over because you don’t like his (StevoR’s) answers for instance

    But that’s not what I’m doing. He answered other questions and so I stopped asking those. He hasn’t answered the current questions: “were you a racist when you said that? was it a racist comment?” When he does answer them then I will move on.

    +++++
    Skipping a few comments, will return to them …

    Okay, since the tenacious pitbull won’t let it drop:

    See, this is also a form of bullying. You make a series of claims about me and personal attacks against me, and then you call me names because I respond to these attacks.

    What the hell is wrong with you? Stop bullying me!

  103. Ogvorbis says

    The “Are you or have you ever been a communistracist” approach isn’t working … its just fucking annoying, nay, beyond annoying.

    How would you suggest I, and, possibly, others, deal with a commenter who (a) denies that what he has written is racist or bigoted because definition, (b) claims he wrote the racist/bigoted comments while drunk and is better now but still makes racist/bigoted comments, (c) explaining that we, none of us here, understand what racism or bigotry really is so how dare we claim his writings are racist or bigoted, (d) claims that bombing a state back to the stone age is not genocide because religion is not a race, etc.? Many of us, me included, have tried discussion, have tried argument, have tried understanding, and have failed (well, I definitely have (can’t (and won’t) speak for others)) to even make a dent in his idea that Iran/Islam is an existential threat to the Great Western Culture and thus must be destroyed. Since asking if he still holds to his previous writings, and asking if he still agrees with his previous writings, is annoying you, what should I do? I am not going to ignore him because ignoring hate speech makes hate speech appear acceptable. So what should I do?

  104. says

    .It isn’t specifically SGBM that I’m objecting to, it is the overaggressive, unrelentless hectoring.

    This is not a true statement. It is specifically me, if perhaps others as well. You did in fact specify me.

    It is true — that is unless you do, in fact, read minds (do you actually “know” what I was objecting to?). I was objecting to “pitbull tenaciousness”. And I acknowledge that I used your behavior as an example, but the objection wasn’t to you as anything more than an example. Wordsmithing to twist my meaning… You can quite clearly, if you were to take a step back and listen for a minute, see that you’re using a different spin on specifically than was my intent. Here, I’m not the greatest writer ever, let me re-phrase that, perhaps to clarify my meaning:

    It isn’t about SGBM, as SGBM the individual, that I’m objecting to but [StevoR example here] strikes me as overaggressive, unrelentless hectoring when it spans multiple blog posts. This is the kind of putbull tenaciousness that I find triggering.

    Illustrative example, not an ad hominem.

  105. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Yes, you were answering a question asked by a third party. A question with a premise that was irrelevant to this recent round of Joe bullying me.

    And yes, you were (and are now) bullying me by doing so. You were jumping in and making personal attacks against me while I was (and still am) vulnerable from being recently bullied, and you were using the aftermath of me being bullied as an opportunity to begin personally attacking me for something I wasn’t even doing.

    You don’t like to think of yourself as bullying? Too bad; you were (and are now) bullying me; but let’s see if another phrasing can get through to you:

    You were (and are) opportunistically kicking me while I was (and am) down.

    You don’t like to think of yourself as an opportunistic attacker? Too bad; you are opportunistically attacking me while I am vulnerable. But let’s see if another phrasing can get through to you:

    You are dog piling on me.

    There, that’s one of your own phrases. A phrase you apply when several people disagree with you. Think how much worse it is from my perspective, after I’ve been recently bullied by Joe and further piled on by Azkyroth (to Azkyroth’s credit, he backed off and apologized, and I am not still upset at him, but it still hurts).

    Why aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

    Why do you [...] treat me like I don’t have feelings?

  106. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Okay, if demanding that StevoR (etc) answer for their crap at every turn isn’t appropriate, what is?

    Seriously.

    Suggest an alternative.

  107. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Joe,

    The problem here is that I’m being bullied by dontpanic now in the aftermath of you bullying me.

    That problem cannot be understood except in context.

    So no, I’m not going to stop referring to the problem. If you’d like for me to refer to it as “the bullying by Joe which he has now acknowledged and worked to undo some damage from”, here’s how that can happen.

  108. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m not in it.

    Why, because you unilaterally “dropped it”?
    How convenient for you.
    You’ve got unfinished business here imo.

  109. says

    I am not going to ignore him because ignoring hate speech makes hate speech appear acceptable. So what should I do?

    I’m not asking that you ignore new instances of racism, or other -ism. I’m asking that each re-appearance of the hated individual (be it StevoR, or ‘Tis) be met with something other than an instance of are you a X dragging up previous, sometime ancient, history. Its too much like being met at the schoolyard entrance by the bully with the threatening menace, each and every frigg’n day. Even if it’s only a minor growl, its still bullying behavior in the relentlessness. Let the blinky red light work until he again says something stupid; then, fine, pounce on his words and pummel the stupidity. Then, a reference that this ground has been covered before might be appropriate. But the tenacious dragging in of yesterday’s dog vomit is beyond the pale (in my opinion … at least I think I’m allowed an opinion here in the Thunderdome… perhaps not in my case).

  110. Beatrice says

    dontpanic,

    I’m sorry that this method people use triggers you, but I can’t promise that I won’t use it again. It is useful, and I don’t think it is bad. I can only promise not to use it with you, since it would upset you. But I don’t agree with you that it shouldn’t be used.

    Regarding forgetting StevoR’s numerous previous instances of racism. Yeah, sorry, life doesn’t work that way. People generally don’t work that way, at least we won’t until you invent a real flashy thingy that erases memories.

  111. Beatrice says

    And the gold goes to the commenter who used some derivative of the word “use” most times in one paragraph!

    (hint: me)

  112. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Maybe this is just me, but I’ll be willing to forgive and forget about StevoR’s racist utterances when he stops making new ones and defending/downplaying his old ones.

  113. mythbri says

    @dontpanic #632

    I’m asking that each re-appearance of the hated individual (be it StevoR, or ‘Tis) be met with something other than an instance of are you a X dragging up previous, sometime ancient, history.

    But this isn’t an accurate application of the red blinky light rule. The three-post rule (according to my understanding) is in effect at the start of each thread, not at the start of each appearance of a commentor who hasn’t answered pertinent questions.

    And with the Lounge and the Thunderdome, which are essentially endless threads with no specific topic at hand, this is an entirely appropriate place to press for answers on questions that haven not been resolved. StevoR is hardly the only person to be challenged repeatedly in Thunderdome, and sgbm is hardly the only person making those kinds of challenges in the Thunderdome.

    Does that make sense? Otherwise, the red blinky light rule would prevent anyone from being held accountable for what they say.

  114. Ogvorbis says

    I’m asking that each re-appearance of the hated individual (be it StevoR, or ‘Tis) be met with something other than an instance of are you a X dragging up previous, sometime ancient, history.

    If the person in question will not acknowledge that their writings in the past were racist/bigoted/whatever, and attempt to explain it away through alcohol, definitions, or denial, then any further engagement, until that individual recognizes that yes, those writings were racist/bigoted/whatever, is rather pointless.

    And please note, no one, I repeat NO ONE is using “Are you now, or have you ever been, a racist/bigot?” None of us. I won’t because my answer to that would be yes. What is being asked is, “Is this example of your writing from the past racist/bigoted/whatever? Do you still agree with that writing?” That is very different.

    (in my opinion … at least I think I’m allowed an opinion here in the Thunderdome… perhaps not in my case).

    We all have our opinions. Including someone who disagrees with you. Your right* to post here does not cancel out the right of others to disagree with you.

    *That is not the word I am looking for, I am not aiming for a free speech/freeze peach analogy but my mind is elsewhere. Sorry.

  115. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I am sure that many people who were around twenty years ago were aware of the Smashing Pumpkins. After the suicide of Kurt Cobain and the demise of Nirvana, they were probably the biggest rock band in the world. When Homer Simpson spends an episode of the Simpsons, chance are, you were everywhere.

    You might have heard that Billy Corgan keeps himself busy still, starting a pro wrestling league, a new SP band with him as the only original member, born again christian (How Bob Dylan).

    Now he is selling furniture.

    Yet again, I am feeling grateful that I never was much of a fan.

  116. strange gods before me ॐ says

    And with the Lounge and the Thunderdome, which are essentially endless threads with no specific topic at hand, this is an entirely appropriate place to press for answers on questions that haven not been resolved.

    Eh, not the Lounge. The Reset rule is in super-effect in the Lounge. Regardless of whether it’s multiple threads or one long thread, it’s not even “Pharyngula polite” to press someone in the Lounge.

    Definitely the Thunderdome, though, where the Reset rule is not in effect.

  117. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But this isn’t an accurate application of the red blinky light rule. The three-post rule (according to my understanding) is in effect at the start of each thread, not at the start of each appearance of a commentor who hasn’t answered pertinent questions.

    I think PZ also indicated the Thunderdome and Lounge are considered superlong threads with various numbers for administrative/loading convenience only. StevoR is long past the three-post rule either place.

  118. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Yet again, I am feeling grateful that I never was much of a fan.

    I’ve heard a few interviews with him over the last few years and he comes off as an over important ass.

    These new choices are making me revise that to ass clown.

  119. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    IMO, the more-or-less constant rebuttal of StevoR makes for tedious reading, but also IMO, that’s entirely StevoR’s fault, as his more-or-less constant defense of bigotry is what makes such rebuttal necessary.
     
    Entirely meta on a topic that is already meta: I think that escalation here often results from the careless use of words. 
    “Lying” isn’t simply saying something that isn’t true, but saying something that one believes is not true.
     
    “Triggering” isn’t simply upsetting someone. I may be wrong about this, but it seems to imply that what is triggered is an emotional state owing to some external experience.
     
    “Dogpiling” requires more than one agent.
     
    “Bullying” is a tough one, but seems to require more than just persistent disagreement…maybe an intention to dehumanize or disempower. I think its fair to say that one feels bullied, but unless the motive of the bully is entirely clear, it may not be accurate to use it as an active, like, transitive verb.
     
    “Doubling down” is of course entirely subjective. One who is defending themselves from an unprovoked attack may just be defending themselves. “Doubling down” indicates not only is the person being attacked defending themselves, but that they are wrong.
     
    I can’t really judge easily if people who are using these words are intentionally being inflammatory or are trying to score some kind of rhetorical point*. However, they seem to be almost universally effective at obtaining these results, which may explain their increased usage ’round these parts.
     
    *Except for “dogpiling” (which always indicates a group of agents likened metaphorically to a pile of dogs) used in reference to a single commenter. That’s just objectively wrong.

  120. ChasCPeterson says

    um, you don’t think Corgan’s always been on the self-important side?
    He’s no Bob Dylan, that’s for sure.

  121. ChasCPeterson says

    I’ve known some dogs that could be a pile all by thereselves.
    But clear terminology is a must for clear communication, I agree. [get the fuck out of here, hobbyhorse]

  122. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Chimpy, I first heard of the Pumpkins back in 1988 when Billy Corgan was putting the band together using ads in a regional publication, The Illinois Entertainer. Even at that time, he was a self important ass.

  123. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I saw Smashing Pumpkins open for RHCP in 1990* in Cleveland, OH, like, the same week that Gish was released…I don’t remember having ever been turned so much due to the antics of the singer. Corgan was an ASS. I don’t know if I would have liked them or not had Corgan behaved any differently. Anyway, the bullshit kind of colored my opinion of SP’s music.

    OTOH…Pearl Jam played before SP to a ~30% capacity crowd (before or just concurrently to the release of Ten)…I didn’t think a lot of their music, but I liked their energy. Plus, they were just super happy guys at the bar later on.

    Chas: “thereselves” is as fun as a pile-type dog.

    *Or 1991. I don’t remember.

  124. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    um, you don’t think Corgan’s always been on the self-important side?

    Never really paid much attention to him back in the day. Just recently while he’s been promoting himself I’ve been in earshot of his interviews.

  125. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Gish came out in 1991. Funny thing, that was released on Caroline Records, a one record deal. That was so the Pumpkins could claim to have indy cred. At that point, bands like Hüsker Dü and Sonic Youth were given shit for singing with a major label. And this was just before Smells Like Teen Spirit changed everything.

  126. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    So I googled it. Both Ten and Gish were released before that show, which was in the fall of 1991, but I hadn’t heard of either band at that time, and I think its safe to say that most of the people at the show hadn’t either.

  127. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Janine beat me to it. Thanks.

    RBDC: I prefer my dogs more neatly piled. Like, a dog stack.

  128. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    Chimpy, I was in Chicago. I could not escape it. When the Pumpkins hit, things got very weird in Wicker Park. The strange silent woman who drew pictures in bars released an album that was acclaimed by many. A punk band that dressed like Rat Pack era swingers had delusions of world domination. A band that played not even ten shows has a hit that cannot be escaped. Strange things happen when the place you are hanging out in become the center of the universe.

  129. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    AE, I remember when PJ was the band where refugees from Mother Love Bone gathered.

  130. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I actually saw them at the 40 Watt in Athens GA a back in maybe 1990 or 91 but was way to high to remember much and way to high to care. In fact i might have even left early from the show.

    A friend dragged me there because his date or whatever bailed on him. Wasn’t the style of music I was into at the time.

  131. says

    I’m pretty sure that “red blinky light rule” is separate from the “3 post rule”. The first is meant to deal with perennial commenters and not dragging in history that isn’t in the current thread while the later is to do with giving new commenters some leeway when they say stupid things to allow them to clarify what they mean. That is, my reading of the “blinky light” is one is to not bring up StevoR’s racism in a thread wherein he hasn’t yet exhibited any new outbreaks. Or press ‘Tis for some abject groveling unless there is some semblance of an attempt to speak authoritatively on economics. I don’t think there was an exemption for either in the Lounge, and can’t rightly remember one for the Thunderdome either.

    Lets not conflate the two separate rules.

  132. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    RBDC: That’s more like it. They’re just easier to transport and store that way.

  133. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    The only time I saw Ministry live was after the release of Psalm 69. Helmet and Sepultura opened.

    That was a fucking great show.

  134. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    That was the first time I heard Sepultura. It has to be said, Igor Cavalera is a fucking monster on drums.

  135. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    no it’s not god damn it

    second guessing self grammar nazi!

    self destruct in 5…4…3…2…1…

  136. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I also invited my then sixteen year old brother along. It was his first concert.

    How fucking cool is it that, to be able to call that your first show.

  137. says

    Dog piling/stacking. None of our animals ever piled. When we had two dogs they never slept next to each other; now with two cats they don’t either. Occasionally the one cat will throw herself down in front of the current dog’s face while he’s resting, as in “no one else with pet me at the present, so it’s your turn”. Either that or she’s trying to suffocate the dog.

  138. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic

    Yes, [‘Tis HImself] screwed up and misrepresented himself.

    If all he’d done was lie about being an economist, I don’t think people would be this bothered about it. It would be weird, but it might be shrugged off by now. But he plagiarized, over and over for years, he ignored others’ attempts to talk to him about his habit of plagiarism, and he explicitly accepted praise for “writing” other people’s words.

    And rather than let him take his licks and be chastised, he got hounded away

    Not true, dontpanic. He commented in that very same thread where the plagiarism was finally noticed by everyone. He hasn’t been hounded away. He’s stayed here and ignored the matter of his plagiarism, and he’s even continued to plagiarize!

    (and when he does he gets hounded some more).

    He is commented about for continuing to plagiarize. He is commented about for continuing to lie.

    Nevertheless, some lies have gone unmentioned until now.

    I watched him almost certainly lie about being in the infantry (come on, he wasn’t in both the Army and the Navy). He contributed what is almost certainly a false data point to that discussion, and it’s an important discussion, so it’s important that people don’t lie about it. But I didn’t say anything, because I know I’ll be blamed for pointing out a lie.

    I watched him blatantly lie on Chris Clarke’s civility pledge. (Look at the HTML source; notice “comment-author-rodneynelson”.) He’d commented two days earlier — he wasn’t “delurking” — he was just changing his nym to Ulysses without saying so, which is against the rules. And he made it look like here’s a new commenter who was moved to delurk by this post. But I didn’t say anything, because I know I’ll be blamed for pointing out a lie.

    Grovel at our feet in abject apology… or there’ll be no relenting.

    He could acknowledge the plagiarism and lies at any time. I haven’t seen anyone say they’d only relent after an apology.

    Again, my **vegan warning*** beef

    If you’re serious, I wasn’t upset about metaphor. I was initially upset by visceral description of the dismembering of a murdered corpse.

    If you’re joking, that’s a mean-spirited joke.

    isn’t with SGBM (though xe wants to make it about themselves)

    What the fuck? I haven’t reframed it; I’ve simply responded to the parts that are about me. I don’t have time to defend not only myself but everyone else.

    Ooooh, should I say that one more time? Will it sink in this time? I was commenting on: What is it that gets some peoples’ goat up with the pitbull tenaciousness?

    Okay, but you’re using the aftermath of me being bullied by Joe as your segue.

    If you want to talk about some method of argumentation that you find triggering, why do you mention me, when the most recently available example is of Joe harassing me?

    And if you really, really just want to talk about some method of argumentation, why don’t you wait for like a week after this and then talk about the method of argumentation rather than talking about sgbm and unnamed others who act like sgbm but this is totes not personal.

    SGBM is making it all about themself.

    What the fuck? I haven’t reframed it; I’ve simply responded to the parts that are about me. I don’t have time to defend not only myself but everyone else.

    Again with the lie: Why do you think you should get to treat me like I don’t have feelings?. A lie and blatant emotional manipulation.

    I am not lying. You should stop claiming that I’m lying. I am rather desperately trying to make you look at my feelings and consider what you are doing. You’re treating me unfairly and it hurts. If you want to call that emotional manipulation, I don’t know what to say. I would prefer to have my feelings understood, and I don’t know of a perfect way to do this.

    Mean ol’ dontpanic is an abuser who doesn’t think other people have feelings…

    I did not say you’re an abuser. I said you are bullying me. I think those are different things; bullying happens via a collaborative social dynamic where the victim is agreed to be fair game.

    I wasn’t ignoring your feelings, I was ignoring you. Like I said I would.

    That is not true. It is an objective fact that you were not ignoring me: “Oh, wait, so you’re not going to object to his mischaracterizing what I said.” You kept on commenting about me and making complaints about my last comments to you; that is not ignoring me.

    I disagree that the abuse was solely Joe towards you. I think it was quite mutual

    What the fuck?

    He called me a liar.

    He claimed that I had a grudge against him.

    He accused me of hating him, despising him, having contempt for him.

    He called me a piece of shit.

    He called me pathetic.

    He either called me evil or said that I was doing something evil.

    He said I am a terrible person and I therefore deserve to be hurt.

    He told me to roll over and beg.

    I did nothing like any of that. (And again, to be perfectly clear, I never called him a liar.)

    Point out where I did anything like that. Stop making vague accusations.

    (and started by you taking Joe’s perfectly normal discussion of food as a personal attack).

    Which I apologized for and admitted was my error. Very quickly. After which he proceeded to bully me for hours.

    If that’s what you consider “mutual” abuse, your priorities are broken.

    But I wasn’t commenting on you as an individual.

    But you were commenting on me, since you explicitly mentioned me: “I often notice SGBM”.

    I was commenting on a behavior I see which you recently illustrated

    But you’re using the aftermath of me being bullied by Joe as your segue.

    If you want to talk about some method of argumentation that you find triggering, why do you mention me, when the most recently available example is of Joe harassing me?

    And I didn’t wait weeks because the question was right there and I wanted to comment on it

    But you used the aftermath of me being bullied by Joe as your segue. You were (and are now) bullying me by doing so. You were jumping in and making personal attacks against me while I was (and still am) vulnerable from being recently bullied, and you were using the aftermath of me being bullied as an opportunity to begin personally attacking me for something I wasn’t even doing.

    … here in, [lookup up to page title], the Thunderdome.

    Thunderdome is like the rest of the world, offline or away from Pharyngula. It isn’t outside of society, and it doesn’t mean it’s morally okay to treat people as badly as you’d like to. It just means there is not much oversight by the blogger.

    You interpreted it as opportunistic bullying, but that was your mischaracterizing what I was saying. Reading into it things that weren’t there. Uncharitably.

    No, I’m not reading anything about your intent. It is a fact that you are opportunistically bullying me, regardless of your intent, and you should stop.

    It is true — that is unless you do, in fact, read minds (do you actually “know” what I was objecting to?).

    I read words, which is how I know what you did in fact object to. You mentioned me in your objection, therefore you were objecting to me. I never said you were only objecting to me. But I only have time to defend myself.

    And I acknowledge that I used your behavior as an example, but the objection wasn’t to you as anything more than an example.

    So what? I object to being personally attacked as an example. I’m not okay with being treated unfairly, especially while I’m vulnerable.

    Wordsmithing to twist my meaning…

    That’s an uncharitable accusation, especially considering that you immediately afterwards indicate that you don’t really think I was deliberately misreading you; therefore I cannot have been “wordsmithing to” do anything. If there is no intent then there is no goal and so there is no to.

    Illustrative example, not an ad hominem.

    I didn’t say anything about ad hominems. I assume you mean a personal attack. It is both an illustrative example and a personal attack, since I am the one being attacked in the example.

    For illustrative purposes, I will now refer to your bullying of me as “bullying like by dontpanic and others.” That should be acceptable by your standards.

    (in my opinion … at least I think I’m allowed an opinion here in the Thunderdome… perhaps not in my case).

    What was it you said about emotional manipulation, dontpanic?

  139. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Jesus tapdancing Christ!

    SGBM, I enthusiastically rescind any previous needling/mocking/insulting I’ve done of your tenacity and stubbornness, and hope you’ll accept my apology for the same. I gotta admire your perseverance here. :)

    In general: calling someone who is spewing shit (racist shit, lies, etc) and has not retracted previous shit is, and should be, acceptable. Especially here in the Dome. If we allow ourselves to “forgive and forget” about hellacious bullshit, we open ourselves up to (justified) criticism that we tolerate it. Amongst other problems.

  140. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic,

    Or press ‘Tis for some abject groveling unless there is some semblance of an attempt to speak authoritatively on economics.

    As Chas already pointed out, “Some acknowledgment of any kind ≠ grovelling in abject apology.”

    You should stop accusing people of looking for abject groveling, since it isn’t true.

    I don’t think there was an exemption for either in the Lounge, and can’t rightly remember one for the Thunderdome either.

    You could look it up. I quote:

    I will be restarting TET and TZT under new names.

    TET will become [Lounge]. It is still the same: an open thread, talk about what you want, but I’m going to be specific: it is a safe space. Discussion and polite disagreement are allowed, but you will respect all the commenters, damn you. No personal attacks allowed at all. If you’re feeling angry at someone in the thread, back off and leave: there is no shortage of rage threads on Pharyngula, but this one isn’t it. These threads will be heavily moderated…which means that if you break any of the rules, they will be promptly and strongly enforced.

    TZT will become [Thunderdome]. Like it says: open brawling permitted and encouraged. Say what you want, be as vicious and personal as you want, make people bleed metaphorically. Vent here. This thread will be unmoderated; the only restraint will be the unmitigated attacks of other participants in the thread. That means I’ll look the other way at behavior that goes on here, but do be warned: I may eventually decide that you’re too nasty to be allowed to wander elsewhere on the site, and may be condemned to Thunderdome and only Thunderdome forever. And confinement to the Thunderdome is often a preliminary step before being tossed into the Dungeon.

    Normal threads will be moderated by the rules listed below.

    [...] Reset.

    Thunderdome is not one of the normal threads; Thunderdome has no Reset rule.

    You are correct that Reset is a separate rule from Everyone gets three chances.

  141. Beatrice says

    re: Ulysses

    *blink*
    Wow.

    re. dontpanic’s thoughts on ‘Tis Himself
    If I am correct, some regulars have grown fond of ‘Tis Himself, in his years of commenting. Finding out that he has been lying all along must have hurt them. Are they supposed to just get over that?

    I have not been personally hurt, but I don’t like his actions and that he had probably hurt others. We’re real people, betrayal is no less bad here than in “real world”.

  142. mythbri says

    @dontpanic #658

    You’re right, I was conflating the two separate rules. Here’s the Reset Rule quoted in its entirety:

    Reset. One persistent problem here is that the regulars develop a history, and at times, it is utterly stultifying. You don’t let grudges go, you resurrect long-dead arguments, you start citing passages from year-old comment threads. Stop it. It inhibits people from changing, and it poisons every discussion with ancient irritations that most people don’t know anything about. Every time I start a new thread, pretend I asked you to look into a little red light, and poof, everything is reset. Treat each comment as an argument unto itself. Linking to old comments to demonstrate the perfidy of a commenter, rather than linking to evidence to refute the commenter’s claims, will be regarded as an abuse of the principle of charity. I am aware that this rule could be abused by repetitious jackholes who make the same claims in every thread and then run away from your answers, but let me do the enforcement.

    Point of clarification: Of course you aren’t going to forget everything: a known creationist should be remembered as a known creationist on a new thread. But you can try to approach their arguments from a new angle, and let go of acrimony from any previous thread.

    PZ doesn’t say that this rule does NOT apply specifically to the Thunderdome, it’s true.

    And if we take StevoR’s case as an example, StevoR himself is the one who is asserting that he is no longer saying racist things. However, StevoR has a pattern of showing up in threads at Pharyngula trying to prove this – I remember one comment (and I apologize for not being able to cite it – I can’t remember where it is) in which he provided a list of his favorite black people as a “See? I like these black people, therefore I cannot be racist.” He also used the term “melanin-enriched” to describe people of color, in what I suspect was a joke but one that he later doubled-down on and tried to justify.

    In my opinion (and of course this is PZ’s blog, not mine), sgbm is bringing up StevoR’s previous comments as evidence to counter StevoR’s claim that he is no longer saying racist things. I’m not quite sure where sgbm is going (you’d have to ask him), but I imagine it’s an exercise in trying to get StevoR to demonstrate that he can, in fact, recognize racist statements.

    I have yet to see StevoR demonstrate this. StevoR cannot claim to no longer say racist things when he can’t even recognize the racism in his own comments.

    (Link for the Rules post)

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/08/06/the-new-rules/

  143. strange gods before me ॐ says

    It is oddly worded, in that it seems to suggest that Reset for instance does not apply to the Lounge either, but I think in context we should understand that the Lounge is supposed to be nicer and more polite than all the normal threads. So anything you shouldn’t do in a normal thread, you also shouldn’t do in the Lounge.

    Leaving the Lounge out of the normal listed rules also means people shouldn’t try to argue in the Lounge that Rule X implicitly permits some apparent exemption.

    And obviously people will be banned even in the Thunderdome for making threats; even though the wording doesn’t suggest this, it’s just common sense.

    +++++
    Thanks, Esteleth.

  144. Nightjar says

    Gah. When I have some time to come here I spend it catching up and then I don’t have time to say anything, then I have some more time and come back, catch up, no time to say anything. That’s how it has been for the last few weeks. So, lurking.

    Anyway, sgbm, just wanted to say I’m sorry this is happening again. *hugs*

  145. John Morales says

    ॐ,

    I watched him blatantly lie on Chris Clarke’s civility pledge. (Look at the HTML source; notice “comment-author-rodneynelson”.)

    I find that despicable. There is no justifying such a lie.

    (Well spotted, BTW)

  146. says

    so apparently my antidepressants only work properly in conjunction with small (compared to pre-antidepressant levels of consumption) amounts of coffee. This should probably tell me something about the antidepressants. It feels like they’re really working more like painkillers than something that’s actually correcting a problem, since the only thing they “fixed” is that persistent chest-pain that occasionally radiates out to the rest of my body. I’m still feeling listless and tired, unless I’m revved up on caffeine.

  147. says

    wait, no, they seem to also have cured me of most of my anxiety; in combination with tiredness and listlessness that’s resultied in me being even less able to get shit done, tho. Because now there’s no feeling-of-doom for missing deadlines.

  148. says

    Oh, yes, take that ‘Tis rabbit in your mouth and shake him hard. Shake him again. His neck isn’t yet broken. John, really? An unacknowledged ‘nym change is “despicable”, with no possible justification? Please. You make my original point. Can I join you in your world where such things are worthy of the word “despicable”; in mine that qualifies as a bit of naughtiness or minor social convention breaking (is it even one of PZ’s rules).

  149. ChasCPeterson says

    Jadehawk:
    weird, I’m currently experiencing similar…perceived effects (c*l*xa, plus recently some other shit too)(also I, uh, self-medicate a lot). I’ve tried most of ‘em over the years, with various effects and side effects. Sometimes combinations. The truth is they don’t know; it’s hit or (more often) miss. I’ve moved around and had various docs too; if you say ‘it’s not working the way I want’ after a month or 2 they’ll just try something else on you.
    good luck.

  150. John Morales says

    dontpanic, what part of “There is no justifying such a lie.” was confusing to you?

    Here is the blatant lie: I am delurking to sign this pledge.

    The person sometimes using the nym “Rodney Nelson” is not a lurker, but a regular commenter who has been posting comments for years.

    Can I join you in your world where such things are worthy of the word “despicable”; in mine that qualifies as a bit of naughtiness or minor social convention breaking (is it even one of PZ’s rules).

    It’s a clear and unambiguous form of sock-puppeting.

  151. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Thanks again to everyone who has said something kind to me.

    +++++

    (what tipped you off, the navy-blue quilt-square?)

    Chas, I might notice one of those quilt squares and know that I’d seen it before, without knowing whose it is. But in this case I was surfing without images. What happened was I saw comment 149 and then comment 153, and I thought that was weird, so I looked at the html to see if there were signs of a blockquote failure.

    +++++

    (is it even one of PZ’s rules).

    Why ask others what’s in the rules? They’ve already been linked in this thread. Why not read them yourself?

    I encourage and will protect pseudonyms, as long as you maintain a constant identity. Your online persona is accountable for your actions; I expect you to cultivate that identity, and maintain a recognizable and consistent pseudonym. One pseudonym; sockpuppetry will get you sent to the Dungeon.

  152. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    dontpanic
    I see your

    Oh, yes, take that ‘Tis rabbit in your mouth and shake him hard. Shake him again. His neck isn’t yet broken.

    and raise you a *slowclap*.

  153. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Said the overlord,

    Changing a bunch of adjectives associated with your name: no problem. Changing your name while keeping a minor descriptor: big problem.

    Just ask, if a newbie to pharyngula sees your old name on an old thread, and your new name on a new thread, would they be likely to think it’s the same person?

  154. says

    weird, I’m currently experiencing similar…perceived effects (c*l*xa, plus recently some other shit too)(also I, uh, self-medicate a lot). I’ve tried most of ‘em over the years, with various effects and side effects. Sometimes combinations.

    that sounds incredibly tedious in and of itself. add to this that i’ll only have access to healthcare as long as I’m a student, and it gets even worse *sigh*
    Anyway, I’m currently on s*rtr*line, which is the first thing tried so far. I really want it to work, because it has no negative side effects AFAICT; but if all it’s going to do is make me feel excessively mellow, that’s not helping either. we’ll see

  155. cm's changeable moniker says

    @JM, the Pffft says:

    a member of an internet community who spoke to, or about himself while pretending to be another person

    It’s dishonest whichever way, but *dammit* Interneeeet Definitiiiiiooons!

    strange gods, I’m not sure what to say other than that you should listen to the soothing Ministry that Janine linked upthread. I know I shall.

  156. John Morales says

    cm, interesting selective quoting.

    I here emphasise your selection, in context:

    The term—a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock—originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an internet community who spoke to, or about himself while pretending to be another person.[1] The term now includes other uses of misleading online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a third party or organization,[2] or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym[3] and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer.

    (I further note your emphasis was not in the original, but you did not disclose that)

  157. says

    Sorry, John, but I disagree. I don’t think “lurking” is consistently used to mean “coming in from the cold” having never shown one’s face before. For instance here’s Crudely Wrott referring to themselves as having neither been lurking or commenting. I can easily see two days without commenting as “lurking” — as in reading but not participating in the conversation. Again, I think it is another uncharitable reading of what is actually written; a framing in the worst possible light.

    I don’t see anything in the :

    I am delurking to sign this pledge.

    If you’re civil to me then I’ll be civil to you. However I’m the one who decides if you’re civil or not. I don’t care if you use foul language at me. I do care if you use fallacious arguments or indulge in invincible ignorance. I certainly care if people go out of their way to harass others. I’ve seen Ophelia Benson beg to be left alone by the professional misogynists and their refusal to do so. That’s uncivil. I’ve seen people usurp threads about serious topics and turn the threads into discussions of the usurper. That’s uncivil. There’s more to civility than being polite. Daniel Fincke doesn’t appear to appreciate this.

    Back to lurking.

    Nothing in that particularly implies that this is a first time commenter. I read that as … I haven’t participated in this conversation (nor been particularly active on the site lately), but here my thoughts, and now I’m bowing out to simply read some more so don’t expect any particular debate with me. I’m pretty sure regulars use the phrases like “I’ve been lurking lately” without getting called out on it. The morphing (not sockpuppet) is again, mildly against the rules. But given the reception this simple agreement with Chris got him I’d try to fly under certain people’s radar as well.

    If I am correct, some regulars have grown fond of ‘Tis Himself, in his years of commenting. Finding out that he has been lying all along must have hurt them. Are they supposed to just get over that?

    Ah, yes. Seriously.

    I just don’t see the serious harm that was inflicted. Yes, misrepresentation of self. Yes, plagiarism. Both are Bad™. Hurt feelings for those here, sure — me too. Disappointment, hell yes. Harm? Who actually suffered harm? Some economists that publish online. Are they a oppressed group who we must go to bat for? A group for whom we must track this plagiarist’s every movement on this site, laying in wait to pounce upon him. Hound ‘Tis ’til he relents and gives an acceptable apology for some peoples’ hurt feelings? NO. Move on. You know what: get the fuck over it. You’re probably not going to get the apology you’re looking for, so why make everyone’s (including your own) life miserable. It looks like a grudge held by a few Javert-types. Just leave him be. Stop taking note of him. Don’t look up his frequency of posting. Stop hectoring. Ease off the pit bull attitude.

  158. says

    For instance here’s Crudely Wrott referring to themselves as having neither been lurking or commenting.

    except that Crudely didn’t change his handle, and then claim to have been a lurker.

    also, what the fuck is “mildly against the rules”, especially given that there are a number of dungeon-residents specifically banned for sockpuppeting/morphing?

  159. John Morales says

    dontpanic, there’s charity, and there’s stupidity.

    (Why you advocate the latter is unknown to me, but I can speculate)

    I can easily see two days without commenting as “lurking” — as in reading but not participating in the conversation.

    <snicker>

    Again, I think it is another uncharitable reading of what is actually written; a framing in the worst possible light.

    You think that was uncharitable?

    This is uncharitable: I am confident that you are bullshitting and you don’t believe one word of what you have written; it is a purely rhetorical if futile attempt to justify your bullshit.

    (Also, what social capital you had with me (your ‘face’) has been foolishly squandered by this little effort you have made to defend the indefensible)

  160. strange gods before me ॐ says

    But given the reception this simple agreement with Chris got him I’d try to fly under certain people’s radar as well.

    That’s backwards.

    When “Rodney Nelson” has not been attacking me, or plagiarizing or otherwise being deceitful, I have left him to his bizarre devices.

    Indeed if “Rodney Nelson” had made that comment instead of “Ulysses”, there would be no complaint.

  161. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I agree that ‘Tis dishonesty did little harm to anything but his own reputation.

    But SGBM is making everyone’s life miserable?

    Could your assessment of the sitch be any more lopsidedly hyperbolic?

    (Jadehawk: I offer you a chuck to the shoulder or like a sympathetic nod.)

  162. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Here I am commenting in threads with “Rodney Nelson”, observing the Reset rule.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/25/jean-paul-sartre-has-a-blog/

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/11/who-cares-if-the-pope-retires/

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/29/i-think-i-got-an-a/

    I even resisted the urge to congratulate him for finally giving proper attribution to Mike Huben.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/01/23/shermers-false-equivalencies/

    And by the way, Huben is no economist. He is just a liberal blogger against libertarianism. Some other people ‘Tis plagiarized, like Iain MacSaorsa, were anarchist activists. Others like f_rushingr were just regular folks writing about everyday stuff like how to control poison ivy.

    These are not all fundamentally privileged people. They may not have been directly economically harmed but they all deserved to be treated fairly with at least an acknowledgement of their hard work.

  163. cm's changeable moniker says

    *Zzzzzzzzz*

    cm, interesting selective quoting.

    Hmphwhat?

    No, morphing is keeping the same login, but changing the screen-name to appear as a different person. Sockpuppeting is creating multiple logins to say “actually that {person} is totes right” when it’s the same person doing the original commenting, and the comments on the comments. *plmfh*

    *zzzzzz*

  164. John Morales says

    cm:

    Hmphwhat?

    What I wrote: you extracted the section pertaining to its original meaning (carefully eliding the portion reading “originally referred to…”.

    *zzzzzz*

    Your mental torpor is duly acknowledged.

  165. says

    Okay, apparently I’m stupid, John. I actually do believe that ‘Tis sin of plagiarism and morphing isn’t worth all the effort that goes into hounding him. Sorry to hear that I’ve spent my social capital with you — I’ve generally respected you and found you to be a straight shooter, even if I didn’t agree with you.

  166. strange gods before me ॐ says

    “Hey you dogs should stop hounding ‘Tis!”

    Uh, nobody’s been hounding ‘Tis. That was like a hundred years ago.

    “OMFG why do you put so much effort into this!”

  167. John Morales says

    dontpanic:

    Okay, apparently I’m stupid, John.

    Indeed, if you honestly imagine that changing one’s nym to a new one and claiming to be delurking is anything other than an attempt to pretend to be a new commenter — and especially when that someone is a known morpher and plagiarist.

    I actually do believe that ‘Tis sin of plagiarism and morphing isn’t worth all the effort that goes into hounding him.

    You are a naive type, ain’t ya?

    (You imagine that what has been noticed is other than the tip of the iceberg?)

    Sorry to hear that I’ve spent my social capital with you — I’ve generally respected you and found you to be a straight shooter, even if I didn’t agree with you.

    Thank you. And the same goes for ॐ.

    Why do you think we’re so exercised when we consider someone claims we’re lying or otherwise being dishonest?

    I’ll tell you why: because it’s how it works; you can have a reputation for honesty that stretches back years and years, but one single incidence of dishonesty blows it out of the water, and that reputation, once gone, is gone forever.

    (It’s worth defending)

  168. cm's changeable moniker says

    @JM, let me try again without the rhetorical flourishes.

    No, morphing is keeping the same login, but changing the screen-name to appear as a different person. Sockpuppeting is creating multiple logins to say “actually that {person} is totes right” when it’s the same person doing the original commenting, and the comments on the comments.

    The login was the same, the screen-name was varied. So: “morphing”.

  169. John Morales says

    cm, pretending to be a new commenter (a third party), but being slack about it so that examining the source could show that it was the same login. So: sockpuppeting.

  170. says

    @ SGBM

    Your hypotheticals will become a segue for opportunists to bully me about shit that didn’t even happen.

    Sorry about that. I reacted out of irritation without looking into things properly.

    {proffers hugs instead}

  171. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Thanks.

    But look, I have demonstrated my powers of prophesy.

    I am the Kwisatz Diplodoc.

  172. cm's changeable moniker says

    I’m not sure I want to agree to disagree.

    I think I disagree with agreeing to disagree.

    But I held down the shift key while trying to compose this sentence so long that Windows suggested I turn on Filter Keys. I don’t think I want that either.

    Help?

  173. says

    John, I guess I had the ability to hold a grudge beat out of me in grade/middle school by other kids — I’d be a total wreck if I tried to keep track of everyone who’d done me wrong — along with the ability to retain most long term memory involving people beyond a year or so. Okay, I’ll cop to the character flaw of naivety and being overly charitable in my overall outlook.

    … one single incidence of dishonesty blows it out of the water, and that reputation, once gone, is gone forever.

    Yes, reputation is important but I think boxing people in to only a narrow or no avenue for the restoration of such after they screw up is counterproductive. This “no way out”, is sort of how GOP views ex-convicts. One chance, screw it up and your life is forever ruined. Then the subject feels they have no alternative then to continue to make bad choices.

    And yes, looking back I’ve probably not said everything here the way I should have said it. And I’m sorry to those I’ve hurt, both by intent (a few of the smaller jabs were (i.e. *vegan warning*) intended to be snarky hurtful) and when it wasn’t intended (basically the core of my original response and followup from there).

    I’ll try to to move on and give up on this particular discussion. I’ve had my say; some have chosen to interpret what I’ve said in ways that I didn’t intend (some perhaps because I’m not a great writer, some for what I think are less charitable reasons). I’ll continue to not interact here at FTB w/ those I don’t respect, and I’ll try to make my own viewpoint heard to those that I do.

  174. says

    If anything, I’m glad this time that someone other than me discovered Rodney had morphed his display name to become Ulysses, as I didn’t especially want to have to point out his dishonesty again, in the same way that I felt obliged to once he had lied about having never posted under a different name.

    For me it was visual recognition of the gravatar coupled with non-recognition of the name, and Ulysses’ appearance on several FTB blogs strongly suggested morphing had taken place. So I looked at the html, which revealed Rodney hadn’t gone to the trouble of creating a new FTB account and had merely changed the display name. I assumed, as I was threadrupt at the time, that there had been a post where he’d announced the change of pseudonym but if it existed I hadn’t had time to chase it down: I think I know SGBM well enough to presume that had such a post been made it would have been found. I’d also forgotten how precise the morphing rule was. Bad Xanthë.

    Anyway, the upshot is that this is really dishonest of ’Tis/Rodney/Ulysses again — and I think dontpanic should drop defending the indefensible with respect to this poster.

  175. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Yes, reputation is important but I think boxing people in to only a narrow or no avenue for the restoration of such after they screw up is counterproductive.

    Who has done this to ‘Tis Himself? How have they done it? Be specific.

    Again, the whole reason we’re talking about this right now is because you wanted to talk about it.

    some for what I think are less charitable reasons

    ? Again, I was not reading anything about your intent. What I said was that you were opportunistically bullying me, regardless of your intent. I also explained how this happens: via a collaborative social dynamic where the victim is [implicitly] agreed to be fair game.

    You don’t have to think about it; all you have to do is recognize the social cues that tell your ape brain I’m someone who can be used as a scapegoat.

    I’ll continue to not interact here at FTB w/ those I don’t respect

    Yeah, be sure to get in one last snipe about how certain people are beneath you. No truce would be complete without it.

  176. says

    By the way, there is an avenue open for ’Tis/Rodney/Ulysses to improve his standing, if not thereby to entirely restore his previous reputation here which I think he is entirely at fault for having tarnished, and that is to at the very least give some honest account of himself by way of explanation for the long-continued plagiarism, and the couple of failed attempts at dissociating his current commenting identity from his past blemishes. This he has so far not shown the slightest inclination at doing.

  177. joey says

    Rev. BigDumbChimp:

    Something that is intrinsic cannot be “a social construct that has evolved”.

    Oh horseshit. The belief that people have intrinsic value can.

    Alright, if that’s what you mean. But you said here that you think “everyone here” believes that all humans have intrinsic value. And yet here you criticize the entire notion of intrinsic value. So you’re obviously not using “intrinsic” the same way I’m using it.

    —————————
    LykeX:

    Going back to the Nazi example, do you think there is nothing intrinsically wrong about the Nazis’ attitudes toward the Jewish people? Or do you think such genocidal thoughts are merely subjective opinions that are only “wrong” with respect to someone else’s subjective opinions?

    I think asking about whether it’s wrong is meaningless. It’s simply not a full question. It’s like asking “under what circumstances would?”
    Something’s missing. It only works if you at least imply a standard by which you evaluate right and wrong. Such standards are necessarily subjective.

    So in other words, you don’t think the genocidal thoughts/actions of the Nazis were intrinsically wrong (in and of itself).

    For example, you’ve gone on to talk about intrinsic worth of human beings. No such thing.

    Well, here lies our fundamental disagreement. I believe there is such a thing as intrinsic worth of human beings, and that you don’t need other people to value another human being for that human being to possess value. Otherwise a Jew among ten genocidal Nazis ultimately has no real worth, other than what the Jew values himself/herself. But he is outnumbered.

    ———————
    tsraveling:

    1. You use “intrinsic” to mean “part of our Essence,”

    Yes, this is what “intrinsic” means. I’ve linked to its definition earlier. Here it is again.

    2. We’re using intrinsic to mean “a nearly universal part of the human experience,” like language, love, sex, and morality.

    No, I am not using intrinsic in this sense.

    Which brings us to the next point; “value” alone is meaningless. Gold is just a rock, and foie gras is just goose guts.

    Again, this is where we fundamentally disagree. “Value” as it pertains to a human being is not meaningless. A human being has value/worth simply because it is a human being. I may agree with you that gold or any other object doesn’t have similar intrinsic value, but I don’t consider a human being a mere object.

    And there you arrive at our conclusion; humans have value to humans.

    And what happens when humans don’t value certain humans?

    —————————–
    Janine:

    I’m specifically talking about human dignity, or the intrinsic worth/value of each human being. Not just “how you treat someone”. If you don’t believe that each and every human being has this inherent dignity just for being a human person, then simply say so.

    I see that putting words in some one’s mouth does not go against your idea of human dignity.

    How am I putting words in your mouth? I genuinely don’t know your position, and I’d like to find out. If you don’t believe that human beings have intrinsic value (I still don’t know if you do or not), then simply say so. Others have said so, clearly.

    Yet again, you show yourself to be a vile person.

    Thanks.

    —————————-
    Amphiox:

    Point of fact, human dignity is not actually inherent in the individual. It is distributed in the group. YOUR human dignity does not exist in you. It exists in ME, and other humans who choose to interact with you, and vice versa. MY human dignity does not exist in me, it exists in YOU. In your brain. And the brains of the other human beings who interact with me.

    This new description of “human dignity” contradicts what you described here.

    Human dignity is a GIFT that society gives to individuals.

    So a certain group of people is only as human as what society “gifts” on that group of people? Do you honestly believe that?

    You can f*ck yourself, gooey.

    Does it really make you feel better when you cuss and call me names? I thought such kicks cease after leaving elementary school.

    —————————-
    strange gods:

    I asked a couple of Thunderdome’s ago (too lazy right now to look it up) whether one can still be an atheist while still believing in the metaphysical. I believe you answered that one cannot.

    That is not what I said.

    You’re correct, I misremembered…and I apologize for being too lazy to look it up myself.

    joey, I think you are making the discussion needlessly complicated by trying to claim that dignity is supernatural.

    First of all, I’ve been focusing solely on human dignity.

    Secondly, I claim that human dignity, since it’s intrinsic to all human beings, actually exists but can’t be observed/detected through scientific means. I’d rather use the term “metaphysical” rather than “supernatural” because the latter has built-in connotations linking it to deities. I’d rather not have the subject of gods enter the discussion at this point, since all that does is derail the flow of the discussion (as it already has) and inhibit genuinely honest answers.

    Thirdly, it was you who initially complicated things by introducing deities into the discussion. I simply claimed that inherent value in humans existed, which serves as the basis for the existence of an absolute morality. If there are some here who agree with me that intrinsic value exists, then we could move on to discuss more precisely the nature of this intrinsic value and where it can come from (if anywhere at all).

    Maybe instead of getting distracted by the need to categorize everything, you could try brainstorming for yourself how dignity could be inherent, or how other values could be inherent, without God. If you can’t figure it out, then maybe you could ask those of us who believe that dignity is inherent, or that other values are inherent, how we figure that.

    That’s what I’ve been trying to do. So far, zero people have admitted that they believe human beings actually have intrinsic value (or at least what I consider intrinsic value). I think the problem is that many here are presupposing that intrinsic value simply cannot exist without gods, and hence they give disingenuous denials on the intrinsic value of humans. Or…they all really don’t believe humans beings have intrinsic value. That’s depressing.

  178. John Morales says

    joey:

    Or…they all really don’t believe humans beings have intrinsic value. That’s depressing.

    Value to whom?

    (Once you unpack the semantics, you’re left with a relationship between what is valued and that which values it; accordingly, “intrinsic value” is a nonsensical phrase without a specific referent)

    FWIW: My dog has more value to me than many humans.

  179. John Morales says

    joey:

    Does it really make you feel better when you cuss and call me names? I thought such kicks cease after leaving elementary school.

    You thought wrong.

  180. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And yet here you criticize the entire notion of intrinsic value.

    Right, it is presuppositional. Your presuppositions are exposed and *floosh* dismissed as fuckwittery. What part of that do you have trouble with? Oh, that’s right, actually thinking past your fallacious presuppositions….

  181. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I thought such kicks cease after leaving elementary school.

    We thought after leaving elementary school, you could think. Too bad…

  182. says

    I believe there is such a thing as intrinsic worth of human beings, and that you don’t need other people to value another human being for that human being to possess value.

    To who? Value to who? Presumably they have value to themselves, but besides that, you very much do need me to value someone for them to have value to me.

    You simply cannot talk about value without a reference to who gives value. It simply makes no sense. There’s no such thing as “value”. The term, in isolation, is simply meaningless. When you ask about right and wrong “in and of itself”, it’s like asking about up and down without reference to gravity. It makes no sense. It explicitly contradicts the actual meaning of the words.

    Otherwise a Jew among ten genocidal Nazis ultimately has no real worth, other than what the Jew values himself/herself.

    That IS real worth. What other kind is there? Worth isn’t a fucking majority decision. If something has worth to me, then it has worth to me, regardless of what anybody else thinks; just like in every other case.
    I’ve got a small plastic figure standing on my shelf. It has value to me because it reminds me of certain events and friends. I don’t expect it to have value to anyone else and the fact that nobody else cares doesn’t mean that it has lost “real worth”.
    It might cause a problem if I was trying to sell it, just like the fact that the Nazis devaluing the Jew might very well lead to some unpleasant results, but that’s a separate matter. The value is what it is, to each person.
    Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept that there’s some objective value to human life, separate from our feelings and thoughts about it, what practical difference does it make? Since people are apparently perfectly free to ignore this objective value and routinely act instead from their own subjective point of view, how will this change anything?
    I mean, if there’s objective value now, there was also value during each and every genocide in history. That doesn’t seem to have stopped anybody. In fact, genocides, wars and other injustices seem only to stop once people’s subjective opinions change.

    Do you have some method by which we can analyze this objective value, measure it and come to a consensus? A method qualitatively different from simply trying to convince other people of our subjective opinion?
    If you do, why didn’t you start with that? And if not, aren’t we just going to end up going from a subjective opinion about value to a subjective opinion about what the objective value is?

    What if the Nazis in your example claimed that the Jew is objectively of less value and therefore, it’s OK to kill him (which, given the pseudo-scientific race-doctrines of the day, is not an unrealistic scenario)? Aside from you just disagreeing, how could you demonstrate that they were wrong?

    I’m left with the impression here that your position is indistinguishable from a subjective opinion, makes no practical difference and relies on using words in contradiction with their definitions. That’s not a good sales pitch.

  183. chigau (違う) says

    awesome
    Sorry I missed you this evening portion of the diurnal cycle.
    Here is a glass of cold tea from, maybe, yesterday.
    (it contains rum)
    —-
    Rev.
    Although ‘dogpiling’ is a serious accusation, I feel I will never be able to remove those images.

  184. John Morales says

    chigau, when I was on holiday in Africa, I beheld a pack of wild dogs tearing the carcass of an impala.

    (That’s what a real dogpile looks like)

  185. Amphiox says

    I believe there is such a thing as intrinsic worth of human beings, and that you don’t need other people to value another human being for that human being to possess value.

    And this statement betrays the simple fact that you do not even understand the meaning of the word “value”.

    Value only exists when there is someone out there doing the valuing.

    Otherwise a Jew among ten genocidal Nazis ultimately has no real worth, other than what the Jew values himself/herself.

    And again you miss the point. That value other than what the Jew values himself is what YOU the observer and describer of the situation have chosen to give to the Jew. YOU who are describing this hypothetical situation. If YOU (and us) did not exist to consider the scenario and pass judgement upon it, then the only worth the Jew possesses is indeed what he/she gives to himself/herself (assuming those hypothetical Nazis don’t actually give any value to the Jew, which is a hypothetical abstraction that does not exist in reality. Real people generally ignore the things they assign no value to. They do not go into genocidal rage unless they DO give value).

    Value is created by human beings in human brains and given by human beings. And it is brought into practical existence only when human beings are willing to fight to make it so.

    Also, the way you so glibly dismiss the value that the Jew gives to himself/herself, such dismissal without which your entire argument falls completely apart, is appalling.

    And telling.

  186. Amphiox says

    This new description of “human dignity” contradicts what you described here.

    No it doesn’t, you pathetic liar. And anyone who is half-way honest and a quarter-way literate can tell that at a glance.

    Your intellectual dishonesty is absolutely pitiful.

  187. says

    I think the problem is that many here are presupposing that intrinsic value simply cannot exist without gods

    Umm, if there’s intrinsic value to human beings, then that value must exist in isolation from any god. If it requires a god, then it’s not intrinsic to humans, in the sense of a truly essential, inseparable part.

  188. chigau (違う) says

    John Morales
    I once watched a wolf hunting/killing lemmings.
    for about an hour
    a lemming is about a tablespoon

  189. Amphiox says

    Umm, if there’s intrinsic value to human beings, then that value must exist in isolation from any god. If it requires a god, then it’s not intrinsic to humans, in the sense of a truly essential, inseparable part.

    Exactly. If it is granted to humans by god, then it is EXTRINSIC to humans, created by god, and given to humans by god.

    If humans always had it, then there is no need for a god to grant it.

    And if it does need to be given and grant, there is no need for a god because humans can and do give it and grant it to each other.

  190. Janine: Hallucinating Liar says

    I’m specifically talking about human dignity, or the intrinsic worth/value of each human being. Not just “how you treat someone”. If you don’t believe that each and every human being has this inherent dignity just for being a human person, then simply say so.

    I see that putting words in some one’s mouth does not go against your idea of human dignity.

    How am I putting words in your mouth? I genuinely don’t know your position, and I’d like to find out. If you don’t believe that human beings have intrinsic value (I still don’t know if you do or not), then simply say so. Others have said so, clearly.

    Fine. How about this? You poisoned the well, implying that just perhaps I do think that some people should be treated as less than human.

    Also, how fucking dare you ask for clarity from me when you are willing to lie.

    Yet again, you show yourself to be a vile person.

    Thanks.

    You are the one who lied about what you believed in when you first appeared here. Or are you really pro-choice like you claimed when you first presented your unrealistic thought experiment.

    You are dishonest. You do not argue in good faith. And you imply that you are more ethical than a person in opposition to you.

    I stand by my statement that you are vile. And you are welcome.

  191. Dhorvath, OM says

    So in other words, you don’t think the genocidal thoughts/actions of the Nazis were intrinsically wrong (in and of itself).

    No, they horrify me to contemplate because I value human self worth and individual opportunities more than social inertia and adherence, but this horror is an attribute that bigoted authoritarian societies generate in me, not one they possess.

  192. John Morales says

    Dhorvath quotes joey:

    So in other words, you don’t think the genocidal thoughts/actions of the Nazis were intrinsically wrong (in and of itself).

    Clearly not, according to the Bible.

  193. cubist says

    “Worth” and “value” are social constructs—things that only exist because we humans say they exist—rather than being objective features of the Universe. To my way of thinking, other examples of social constructs are languages, political parties, and economic systems. You say that a Jew in Nazi Germany had an “intrinsic value”, unrelated to what anyone else may happen to think of that Jew? I’d agree with you, because “everybody has intrinsic value” is part of my personal moral/ethical standards. Alas, the Nazis didn’t agree with either of us.

  194. casus fortuitus says

    joey:

    Perhaps it’ll help to think of the way we use the word “value” when we’re describing the ideals that people hold – things like equality, liberty and solidarity. I feel sure you’d agree that these values are in no sense intrinsic – they don’t arise as a consequence of human nature; otherwise, we wouldn’t have to write them into the constitutions of our governments, and fight so hard to achieve them. The principle that all people have human dignity is just another value that people can hold.

    It’s trite that different people can hold different values. You say that all people have human dignity (and I happen to agree with you): that’s a value that you (and I) hold. Others don’t hold that value – an especially odious colleague of mine insisted yesterday that a particular criminal who had killed two police officers had forfeited his right to human dignity, and should be strung up by the balls and stoned to death. My colleague believes that a majority of people would agree with him, and I have a depressing suspicion he might just be right about that. But who’s right about the universality of human dignity? You? Him? The majority? How can you tell?

    The reason that people infer that your belief in the intrinsicness (notwithstanding LykeX’s comment above, with which I agree) of human dignity is informed by your belief in a god is because you must appeal to some uber-authority in order to insist that some particular value is correct. If your omniscient and omnipotent god holds the value of universal human dignity then, since your god is always right by definition, all people have human dignity. QED, yeah? Without that basis in unique authority, you have no reason to say that your value of universal human dignity is any more legitimate than my colleague’s value of qualified human dignity. You can disagree vehemently with a particular set of values – as I did with my colleague’s – and you can work to ensure that the wider society accepts certain values over others (I’m fortunate in living in a country where the death penalty has been outlawed), but you can’t insist that your values are more correct in some objective sense than others.

  195. says

    I don’t even know wtf intrinsic value means.

    That’s part of the problem. To my mind, value is something that’s, by definition, not intrinsic. The idea of intrinsic value is a contradiction in terms.

  196. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I thought you did a good job of it in 731, LykeX. I’d be curious why you wouldn’t say the-valuing-that-a-brain-does is intrinsic to the brain.

    I do consider it such; I’m more cautious about the term dignity because it’s just more complicated and I haven’t thought much about it because it’s not a fundamental part of my ethical system (it might be a complicated bundle of some fundamentals).

  197. Ogvorbis says

    I don’t even know wtf intrinsic value means.

    Well, gold has intrinsic value.

    Except when it doesn’t.

    Just like human dignity.

  198. strange gods before me ॐ says

    So at the very least, there is one type of intrinsic value: the valuing of the self by the self.

  199. consciousness razor says

    Antiochus Epiphanes:

    It means the value’s in a person, somewhere. You’ll need a really good microscope.

    But seriously… For joey, it’s apparently just a way of saying people are valuable because they’re people.

    Question: Why are they valuable because they’re people?
    Answer: Because they’re people.

    Thus, all your problems are over.

    Be warned: if you give some reason why you think they’re valuable, you’re like the Nazis. Because you know how reasonable they were about that sort of thing.

  200. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I see the intrinsic value as the value a person has in them self. As thinking humans we should recognize that and value it as well. Hence, all humans have intrinsic value.

    This intrinsic value isn’t something bestowed on them by a higher power.

    joey just oh so wants it to be a gotcha but it’s just not.

  201. says

    I’d be curious why you wouldn’t say the-valuing-that-a-brain-does is intrinsic to the brain.

    I’m not 100% sure what you mean. Are you talking about the act of valuing things being intrinsic? If so, I’d agree, it is. We can’t effectively make any decisions without valuing one situation or outcome more than another.

    So at the very least, there is one type of intrinsic value: the valuing of the self by the self.

    That’s an interesting angle. Still, I don’t think it works. The moment you’re talking about the valuing of the self by the self, you’re no longer talking about something intrinsic. If A values B, then the value is not intrinsic to B, even if A and B are the same object. I would draw a sharp line between assigning value and being assigned value.
    The fact that a brain will typically value itself does not make the value intrinsic to the brain, it makes the assignment of value intrinsic to the brain. While this evaluation would presumably hold true for as long as the brain exists and functions, I still wouldn’t consider that intrinsic value, since it’s still reliant on the subjective perspective of that brain.

    For the value, not merely the valuing, of the self to be intrinsic, it would have to exist in absence of the valuing by the self.

  202. says

    I see the intrinsic value as the value a person has in them self

    Has in or has to? Those aren’t the same.
    Intrinsic, in the sense used by joey, is an essential part of something. I.e. it would have to exist in complete isolation of all other factors, including self-evaluation.

    If we relax the definition of intrinsic a bit, I’ll be happy to agree with you. The self-assignment of worth is pretty much universal and thus forms a reasonable basis for agreement and compromise between people, as well as a basis for empathy.

  203. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I think the idea that people are valuable, like, intrinsically is falsified by seeing how people live and have lived. Human life is abundant and cheap. It seems to me that the base of moral action is the decision to value others* despite their lack of intrinsic value. Humans as social animals are often inclined to make this decision.

    I don’t think I’m saying anything that hasn’t already been written in this thread, though.

    *Non humans as well.

  204. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Are you talking about the act of valuing things being intrinsic?

    Yes, and also the values themselves (the outputs of the act), which are affective valences stored in the brain.

    If A values B, then the value is not intrinsic to B, even if A and B are the same object.

    Huh? If A and B are the same object, then B is A, and A is B, and so B is valuing B, and so it’s still intrinsic.

    The fact that a brain will typically value itself does not make the value intrinsic to the brain,

    It does though, because the value (the affective valence which is the outcome of the valuing) is stored in the brain, and that’s exactly where it has to be for it to be intrinsic.

    While this evaluation would presumably hold true for as long as the brain exists and functions,

    Agreed that that’s how long the value exists.

    I still wouldn’t consider that intrinsic value, since it’s still reliant on the subjective perspective of that brain.

    Intrinsic ≠ objective.

    For the value, not merely the valuing, of the self to be intrinsic, it would have to exist in absence of the valuing by the self.

    There’s no reason to posit that. Values happen when valuing happens. That’s where they come from. I don’t see anything in the meaning of intrinsic which requires that values ought to exist in the absence of valuing.

  205. Ogvorbis says

    So at the very least, there is one type of intrinsic value: the valuing of the self by the self.

    And this is why, to me, it cannot be an intrinsic value. For it to be intrinsic, all humans would value themselves equally. Some feel that they are useful, whole, good, valuable, as if they have dignity. Some of us feel useless, broken, damaged, valueless, as if we have no dignity. How can something be intrinsic when it is fully variable both internally and externally?

  206. consciousness razor says

    If it requires a god, then it’s not intrinsic to humans, in the sense of a truly essential, inseparable part.

    The way you put it there doesn’t really clarify things. You could claim a god made a rock, for example, then flew off to another universe and left the rock alone for the rest of its days. Okay, so now let’s say there’s a property which is intrinsic to the rock. If you don’t have that property anymore, no more rock, or at least not the same rock as it was. That sort of property doesn’t “require a god,” because you could also have a rock with an intrinsic property which wasn’t made by a god. But that sort of rock which was made by a god (in the original example), does “require a god,” yet I see no reason why it couldn’t also have that kind of property.

  207. strange gods before me ॐ says

    AE,

    Human life is abundant and cheap.

    Ah, but if it’s cheap then it has value. Just not much. :)

  208. strange gods before me ॐ says

    And this is why, to me, it cannot be an intrinsic value. For it to be intrinsic, all humans would value themselves equally.

    Intrinsic does not mean objective, nor agreed-upon.

    All it means is that if X is intrinsic to Y, then X inheres in Y.

    How can something be intrinsic when it is fully variable both internally and externally?

    Because being variable just isn’t contrary to the meaning of intrinsic.

    I would add that the values consciously available to the narrative self, like everything else consciously available to the narrative self, are only a small minority of all the values actually existing within the whole self. So even if your narrative self-valuing is low and another person’s is high, your total self-valuing is likely to be very close to the other person’s total self-valuing.

  209. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Alright, if that’s what you mean. But you said here that you think “everyone here” believes that all humans have intrinsic value. And yet here you criticize the entire notion of intrinsic value. So you’re obviously not using “intrinsic” the same way I’m using it.

    Correct, I’m criticizing your unsubstantiated notion that intrinsic value has to come from some “higher” place.

  210. consciousness razor says

    I’d be curious why you wouldn’t say the-valuing-that-a-brain-does is intrinsic to the brain.

    Hmmm… the valuing of what that a brain does? Of itself or of the person whose brain it is, or just anything in values at all?

    I’d probably say that’s (partly?) still extrinsic, because you get a lot of those evaluations from the ‘outside’ world. You look at a painting, say, and the whole process isn’t all in your head. Your brain’s doing a lot of the work obviously, but it also depends on the painting, your past experiences of other stuff, what other people think of the painting (including the painter, perhaps) if they make an impression on you, and so on. So could we really say the value is all there in that one person’s brain? I don’t know.

  211. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Of itself or of the person whose brain it is,

    Definitely of itself. And at a layer of abstraction, of the person by the person.

    or just anything in values at all?

    Agreed that the value in the brain of a painting is not intrinsic to the painting, and so the value of the painting is not intrinsic.

    (The value is real, because it exists, and even has a physical location, but it does not inhere in the painting.)

  212. strange gods before me ॐ says

    is not intrinsic to the painting, and so the value of the painting is not intrinsic.

    Lol. This was slightly less redundant during an earlier editing.

  213. consciousness razor says

    Agreed that the value in the brain of a painting is not intrinsic to the painting, and so the value of the painting is not intrinsic.

    My question was whether it it’s intrinsic to the brain, not the painting.

    I already know it’s not intrinsic to the painting. :)

  214. consciousness razor says

    Definitely of itself.

    What sorts of things do you have in mind when you’re talking about brains evaluating themselves? I mean, there’s a lot going on under the hood… Are you talking about conscious processes, unconscious ones, both?

  215. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Missed something from LykeX earlier:

    I would draw a sharp line between assigning value and being assigned value.

    That’s fine, but since A is B, they’re both happening in B, and so both assigning and being assigned are intrinsic to B.

    +++++

    I already know it’s not intrinsic to the painting. :)

    Of course; I just thought you were asking me if I’m terribly confused.

    My question was whether it it’s intrinsic to the brain, not the painting.

    The value itself, the affective valence which is the outcome of the valuing function, would inhere in the brain. I’m not sure what follows from that. I will say that I don’t see anything in here:

    “Your brain’s doing a lot of the work obviously, but it also depends on the painting, your past experiences of other stuff, what other people think of the painting (including the painter, perhaps) if they make an impression on you, and so on”

    which indicates that the whole process is not inside the head. Inputs including the visual stimulus and others’ opinions come from outside, but each person’s process of valuing happens inside each head, where the preference engine is physically located.

    So I guess I’d say, yes the valuing of the painting is intrinsic to the brain, since it inheres in the brain and because I haven’t seen any argument to suggest it’s not therefore intrinsic.

  216. says

    @sgbm
    You know, I think you might be on to something. If the self values the self, and the valuing is intrinsic and the state of being valued necessarily follows from the valuing, then the state of being valued is a necessary quality. It’s intrinsic and subjective. Far out :)

    However, I’m not sure if the valuing actually is intrinsic. What about suicides? Doesn’t that imply a devaluing of one’s own existence? Or does the fact that you might be suicidal due to a desire to escape an unpleasant situation mean that it’s actually an act of protection (in some weird roundabout way)?

    I think we might run into some problems concerning exactly what it means to “value the self”. When the self values the self, what exactly is being valued? The body? The brain? The current personality? Specific ideals and self-perceptions? Outside causes that the person identifies with?
    I have a feeling this is quickly going to get muddled.

    And of course, joey, if you’re reading, I m not at all sure that this is the kind of “intrinsic value” that you’re looking for.

  217. strange gods before me ॐ says

    cr,

    I mean, damned if I know exactly how it happens, but if the self values the self, that must be a function of the brain valuing the brain.

    +++++
    LykeX,

    However, I’m not sure if the valuing actually is intrinsic. What about suicides? Doesn’t that imply a devaluing of one’s own existence?

    I think it does imply a partial devaluing, especially by the conscious self. I don’t think the value has to drop to zero for suicide to result; it might be a result of a large drop in value, or maintaining a critically low value (below an experientially tolerable level) for a length of time.

    Or does the fact that you might be suicidal due to a desire to escape an unpleasant situation mean that it’s actually an act of protection

    Usually, I think that’s what it is, an attempt to prevent further intolerably low states.

    I think we might run into some problems concerning exactly what it means to “value the self”. When the self values the self, what exactly is being valued? [list]?

    Yes. :)

    And of course, joey, if you’re reading, I m not at all sure that this is the kind of “intrinsic value” that you’re looking for.

    *puts on Dennett beard*

    Ahem. Sure it is, since joey doesn’t quite know what kind of intrinsic value he’s looking for, but as this kind here is the kind that exists, it must be the kind worth having.

  218. consciousness razor says

    I will say that I don’t see anything in here:

    “Your brain’s doing a lot of the work obviously, but it also depends on the painting, your past experiences of other stuff, what other people think of the painting (including the painter, perhaps) if they make an impression on you, and so on”

    which indicates that the whole process is not inside the head.

    Reading back on it, that does seem awfully muddled, but it’s not that important anyway. I’ll leave that issue aside for now.

    Alright, so there’s a painting. When we say it’s valuable, our brains are doing the evaluation, obviously. The value isn’t intrinsic to the painting, for reasons I won’t explain right now. But it’s not intrinsic to the brain because we’re still talking about the value of the painting. We can say what the value is, for this person to compare it with the value for that person; but in either case it’s the painting’s value, not each person’s (or brain’s) value.

    So if we said that is intrinsic to the brain, it would lead me think that we could be talking about the representation of the painting in the brain, not the painting itself (since the painting’s out there just being a boring old painting, which doesn’t evaluate itself). You following this? If we’re talking about that representation, then I don’t think I’d call that “intrinsic,” because it’s for this person or that one. You don’t get your identity from that kind of representation, so you’re still relating it to something “external” to itself. On the other hand, if you were talking about a self-representation (and evaluation), then I guess I’d agree that it’s “intrinsic,” because in that case it’s for the same thing that it is. Does that make sense?

  219. strange gods before me ॐ says

    But it’s not intrinsic to the brain because we’re still talking about the value of the painting.

    Yeah, that’s fine. I hadn’t ever thought about it before you asked. The value of the self to the self, I have plenty of practice thinking and talking about, because it’s related to one of my basics (good is the positively valenced affects).

  220. consciousness razor says

    What about suicides? Doesn’t that imply a devaluing of one’s own existence? Or does the fact that you might be suicidal due to a desire to escape an unpleasant situation mean that it’s actually an act of protection (in some weird roundabout way)?

    Some suicides are accidental, of course. Besides that, I doubt most really think that in some deep sense they have no value at all. Imputing such abstract concepts to people who exhibit a particular behavior usually never gets past the speculation stage. (And we can’t very well interview these subjects about it afterward, can we?)

    I wouldn’t use the word “weird” there, but I’m trying not to take offense at that right now, since the subject really hits home for me. Anyway, it can be a way they think they can stop their own suffering.

  221. says

    No offense intended. I did not mean to bash people with suicidal thoughts. I imagine they have enough to deal with as it is. I’ll be happy to leave off the “weird” bit.

  222. consciousness razor says

    It’s okay. It can be hard to comprehend that people could think ending their lives would be good for them. And “weird” or bizarre things are hard to comprehend. So I think I understand what you meant.

  223. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    I will admit – when I hear “humans have intrinsic worth,” my brain hops straightaway to religion – specifically, the religion I practiced before becoming an atheist. To wit, I am reminded of the doctrine of the Inner Light of the Society of Friends, which teaches that all persons have “that-which-is-of-god” inside them, and while people look different from the outside, their “share” of this light is equivalent. Ergo, all persons are of equal “value” and treating two people unequally because of something intrinsic to them is an (inherently invalid) assertion that they do not have equal shares of that-which-is-of-god. This doctrine was first articulated in 1660, which is rather shockingly old for so, uh, modern a statement. Whatever.

    (Full disclosure: like a non-insignificant number of people of said religion, I still consider myself part of that tradition, even though I flatly disbelieve in the supernatural or any deity. This can be roughly summed up as “humanism.”)

    When it comes to discussion of people’s “intrinsic worth” I struggle to define it in any way that does not circle back to either the supernatural or humanism. Which is to say:

    As far as the universe is concerned, people are equal in worth – we are clumps of stardust that are (in the grand scheme of things) more-or-less worthless. The value of a person is in how others see them. Value and worth are in the eye of the beholder. They are social traits. Human rights is not a statement of is but should. Humans should be treated as if we are all equal, because that is fair and is the right thing to do.

  224. strange gods before me ॐ says

    The value of a person is in how others see them.

    While that might indeed be an additional source of value, the last thirty or so comments had a coherent argument that it isn’t the only value; and there is an intrinsic value to all animals which have preferences, not granted nor reciprocal nor dependent upon anything else social.

  225. Amphiox says

    What about suicides? Doesn’t that imply a devaluing of one’s own existence?

    Not really, when you think about it. It is actually assigning a negative value to one’s own existence. And the absolute magnitude of that value must actually be pretty high in order to motivate action as extreme as suicide.

    Things people give no value to are things people ignore. To actually do something about it, to expend effort in the doing, whether it is to approve or disapprove or love or hate or promote or fight or whatever, means that you actually are giving it a value high enough to motivate such action/expenditure of effort.

  226. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    Hmm. I see “humans have value” and “humans have self-worth” as two different statements.

    We do, of course, have both, but they are not the same thing – and in many cases are not terribly connected to each other.

  227. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    The suicide is the classic example (as is, to the opposite extreme, the egoist): the self-worth of the person in question is out of proportion to their worth to others.

    Of course, a person’s “worth to society” is a utilitarian statement. And is not one I like, because it devalues people who do not “meaningfully contribute” to society, and is vulnerable to being used to perpetrate human rights abuses.

  228. strange gods before me ॐ says

    They are different statements because one thing is a subset of the other; self-worth is one kind of value, and all animals which have preferences value that which they prefer (which includes their own positive feelings), therefore all animals which have preferences have intrinsic value.

    Social valuing of others might be an additional source of value. But it evidently is not the only source.

  229. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Of course, a person’s “worth to society” is a utilitarian statement.

    What what? Stop right there!

    No it is not. Read some utilitarianism. The source of value is exactly what I’ve been talking about — each individual’s own feelings.

    You are blatantly misrepresenting utilitarianism.

  230. thumper1990 says

    @Strange God’s Before Me #784

    Agreed. Bentham’s famous statement in regards to Utilitarianism, “the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people”, would rather seem to preclude Esteleth’s judgement of a person’s “worth to society” to be a utilitarian principle. Utilitarianism is defined as a reductionist ethical system which holds that the morality of any decision can be judged on it’s “utility”, Bentham defining the utility of an ethical decision to be “the maximisation of happiness and the reduction of suffering”. In other words, if it increases happiness and/or reduces misery, it is ethical; if not, then it is not.

    It’s a very misunderstood philosophy, due mainly I think to Bentham’s choice of words. That said, I think I would regard myself as a Utilitarian, based on my above definition and my admittedly limited knowledge of the philosophy.

  231. strange gods before me ॐ says

    The most accessible modern introduction to utilitarianism is supposed to be The Life You Can Save.

    Now, I haven’t read this particular book — this is the apparent opinion of the folks over at http://www.felicifia.org/ and they’d know what they’re talking about if anyone would.

    It is about the moral necessity to raise the standard of living of the poorest people in the world, and includes some advice on how to do so; the website is an updated extension of this advice.

    Note that these are people who have largely been overlooked by the rest of the world. If their value to utilitarians was supposed only to reflect the way that they are treated by the rest of society, such a book could not have been written, as it would be obviously self-contradictory.

  232. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    I probably am misunderstanding utilitarianism then. My apologies.

    In any case, I do think that discussions of human “worth to society” that is predicated on any belief other than equality and a firm commitment to the same is potentially prey to “[x] does not contribute to society, therefore they have no value,” which is the door through which human rights abuses and devaluation and the like get in.

  233. strange gods before me ॐ says

    I haven’t read all the responses to joey; did someone talk about worth to society?

    Anyway, I’ll explain why I’m bothered about “The value of a person is in how others see them.”

    Besides that it’s incorrect, which I already explained. I mean, it could be incorrect and relatively harmless, and I wouldn’t be very bothered by it.

    Consider Chris. Everybody hates Chris. Except that Chris doesn’t hate Chris. Literally everybody else hates Chris though, because Chris is just extremely hateable. Even people with the best of intentions, who don’t want to hate Chris, nevertheless do. If the value of a person is in how others see them, then Chris actually has zero value, or negative value.

    Maybe that reductio seems too absurd; it’s unlikely that everybody hates Chris. But consider how such a belief could play out in the real world. If someone believes that no one else values them, and if they believe that value must comes from being valued by others, then this person has fewer threads to hold onto in a time of crisis, fewer than someone else who can believe that “if I want to live then that’s sufficient and it doesn’t matter what they think about me.”

    So I don’t like this talk about how value is supposedly not intrinsic and it can only come from other people. Not only is it incorrect, it’s dangerous.

  234. Esteleth, Ficus Putsch Knits says

    SGBM, I think you and I are talking past each other somewhat.

    I believe these three things simultaneously:
    1. People have self-worth, defined internally
    2. People have worth to society, defined by others, and
    3. Making value judgements as to a person’s worth to society is a dangerous thing, due to the very high risk of a conclusion of little or no worth. For that reason, the urge to classify a person’s “worth” should be avoided. People should be treated as equal – this should be the standard, and urges to deviate from this standard should be avoided.

  235. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Okay. When you said “The value of a person is in how others see them. Value and worth are in the eye of the beholder. They are social traits”, you might not have noticed, but

    you were leaving out self-value, which is not in how others see you and is not a social trait.

    That’s what worried me. Thanks for clearing it up.

  236. Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity says

    So. I criticized someone for making out that trans people are just deluding themselves and that if you’re physically a man then your gender is male etc.

    His response was to ask how it was different from other-kin. As it was on youtube and he had also spouted a bunch of guff in response to other commenter’s I called him names and left.

    But I didn’t actually have a response for him because I’d never thought about or looked into it. So I fixed that and found a couple of articles, like this one.

    My question is this: Are the any reasons that are missed by that article. I’ve now got things that I can point out to anyone who brings it up again but I find you can never have too many different arguments to throw at people.

  237. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Steven Brown,

    I’ve no new arguments to add, since the piece you linked covers something we discussed already, but I do have a couple of caveats.

    Your link effectively declares that all trans people are trans because they have intersex brains. Such a broad statement is just extremely unlikely to turn out to be true, and it will be unfortunate if/when those trans people who don’t have intersex brains are declared to be therefore “not really trans”.

    The wording of your question suggests the person you were arguing with was not otherkin, but was just stirring shit. Your link addresses the matter of otherkin claiming to be oppressed like trans people. While there are surely some who have, it’s possible that most people who are regularly bringing up such comparisons are outright trolls, or shit-stirrers who have a problem with either trans people or otherkin or both. I haven’t tried to quantify this, but I have read one perspective saying much of the discord is due to the social magnifying glass being directed at a small minority of otherkin plus lying trolls:

    And this idea got started, I don’t know how it got started, I think it was from a minority of people taking some kind of simplistic model of privilege and oppression, and trying to apply it sledgehammerishly to every form of human difference ever, like it worked the same for every single group. But anyway, suddenly it seemed like almost everyone talking about them in the SJ community was convinced that Otherkin, fictives, etc were all claiming to be persecuted on the same level and in the same way as trans people and people of color and disabled people and so on. And that they believed transgender experiences were perfect mirrors of their experience, you just replaced “gender” with the name of some species or something. That every single one of “them” believed this, without exception, and that “their” communities were entirely based around these beliefs.

  238. Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity says

    Thanks for that strange gods before me ॐ. (btw is there any particular way you like your nym used? Do you mind acronyms? I can type out the whole thing each time if you want.)

    Glad I asked now as the intersex brain thing came up in a couple of the links I read and I obviously did a bad and just accepted it without really paying attention. (BAD STEVE)

    I suppose I’d better go read some more about the issue and familiarize myself with Other-kin stuff as well since I don’t know a huge amount about them either.

    And from what I remember he may well have been a straight up troll.

    Thanks for the link to the other discussion as well.

  239. says

    Just had the displeasure of watching a video by The Amazing Atheist. Ugh. Dude is the Rush Limbaugh of Youtube atheists. Even does the flailing and guttural vocalizations. I’d ask if he was for real, but I suspect I know the answer to that already.

  240. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Steven Brown,

    sgbm is great because when I ctrl-f for it I find only references to me. sg is okay but it is a substring of some fairly common English words, as well the SpokesGay’s nym. strange gods is great.

  241. Dhorvath, OM says

    SGBM,

    If the value of a person is in how others see them, then Chris actually has zero value, or negative value.

    This is tricky and I suspect I tripped over it in my phrasing. I do not follow that line of thought myself, although it may be that how I feel would look as dismal to others as how I feel when contemplating such a point of view.

    It is a sense of worth and value, that others care for one rather than just caring how one can be used.

    I would like to clarify that how I view someone’s life and/or how it specifically intersects with mine is part of how they are useful to me, and as such I don’t think that liking someone is sufficient to grant them dignity nor disliking another cause to impinge on the dignity they ought to have. I value that they have their own feelings and impulses at least in part because it is something they, and only they, can do. I expect that people feel a similar value about their own feelings, and I hope that they feel similar about mine and those of others we share this world with.

  242. says

    [(intrinsic) value of a painting]

    Pierre Bourdieu has gone into this question in great depth. I have an article which lays it out in very clear fashion but alas not here. The closest I can find on the Internet is an excerpt from “The Field of Cultural Production”. (Link to PDF, see the part marked on page 37). We all work towards creating the “value”.

  243. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Dhorvath,

    I’m not sure if we’re agreeing or disagreeing, so let me restate a couple things and you can tell me.

    I’m not talking about dignity because I consider it orders of magnitude more complicated than value, and unlike value it’s not a fundamental part of my ethical system so I don’t tend to think deeply about it and I don’t have prepared thoughts about it. What I told joey amounted to “if dignity, then dignity without God”; I’m not trying to be tricksy; I’m just ignorant.

    While I am stressing the existence of intrinsic value not granted nor reciprocal nor dependent upon anything else social, this does not preclude the additional existence of extrinsic value as can arise by social care. The latter is highly desirable.

    What I have been whinging about is that some people are not mentioning intrinsic value, and some people are even explicitly denying it. Them denying it are factually incorrect. But the discussion has been complicated by the fact that intrinsic dignity is not necessarily the same thing as intrinsic value.

    So here’s a thing I’m not sure about; you tell me:

    I value that they have their own feelings and impulses at least in part because it is something they, and only they, can do.

    It is good that you do this, and by valuing their feelings you create even more value (which exists inside you rather than them), but the fact that another critter has feelings in the first place is a fundamental source of value which would exist independently even if they were the only sentient critter in the universe.

    If I had to guess, my impression is that we are on the same page.

    Purely as an possibly interesting aside, I’ll propose a shift of subject. Though I think I disagree with anti-foundationalism, there may be a tactical necessity of sentimentalism: https://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/richard-rorty-on-human-rights-and-sympathy/

  244. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Or don’t tell me, depending on how much time you have. Like I said, my impression is we’re on the same page.

  245. strange gods before me ॐ says

    theophontes,

    You do realize that as a US American, I am not allowed to read things written by a Pierre?

  246. strange gods before me ॐ says

    evilisgood,

    I never understood why that guy got popular. I mean I didn’t understand it back in 2007, when I watched him a few times. I remember him standing in his garage, but nothing he said stuck with me.

    If you make the mistake of going off to read more about him, know that everything should come with an assumed trigger warning for extreme misogyny.

  247. says

    [dignity]

    It is my constitutional right, so I’d better start reading up on it (South African Constitution):

    10. Human dignity

    Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.

    and (Universal Declaration of Human Rights … 1st sentence.):

    Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

    also:

    Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    (emphasis mine)

    In the above it is treated as intrinsic, rather than something (humanistically) ordained. I am not sure Pierre would approve. I am not sure that I understand what they mean.

  248. says

    evilisgood:

    Just had the displeasure of watching a video by The Amazing Atheist. Ugh. Dude is the Rush Limbaugh of Youtube atheists. Even does the flailing and guttural vocalizations. I’d ask if he was for real, but I suspect I know the answer to that already.

    I have a pile of sympathies that could fill up the Grand Canyon right over —->
    Yuck. Listening to that shitstain.

  249. Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity says

    I think I watched an AA video once. Then I did the only responsible thing and drank enough to erase it from my brain.

    Sadly I over estimated and lost an entire week including what may have been a solution to all the worlds problems. CURSE YOU AMAZING ATHEIST!

  250. John Morales says

    StevoR, one aspect of your writing that irritates me is your frequent use of the Americanism “y’all”. Why you can’t use Strine is beyond me.

    (“folks” is another, but less egregious)

  251. John Morales says

    ॐ:

    sg is okay but it is a substring of some fairly common English words, as well the SpokesGay’s nym.

    It’s pretty easy to search for “sg ” and avoid that issue.

  252. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    SteveoR: Nice link. Yet another of your barely-veiled, passive-aggressive whines about how misunderstood you are, of course. I’m tempted to go line by line through that article and turn every word into an indictment against you but It seems so obviously a set-up that I can only assume that’s what you want. I don’t know what weird kick you get out of winding people up here (maybe you just like the abuse?) but I’m not going to bite that hook today. Just so as you don’t starve: fuck off you racist piece of shit

    SGBM: Allow me to offer my belated support, and reaffirm that I find you to be one of the most valuable commenters here.

  253. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @677. mythbri – 20 February 2013 at 2:24 pm here :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/02/14/thunderdome-20/comment-page-2/#comment-566666

    And if we take StevoR’s case as an example, StevoR himself is the one who is asserting that he is no longer saying racist things.

    I’ve admitted some things I said in the distant past were wrong and I now regret saying them – not that they were actually racist.

    However, StevoR has a pattern of showing up in threads at Pharyngula trying to prove this – I remember one comment (and I apologize for not being able to cite it – I can’t remember where it is) in which he provided a list of his favorite black people as a “See? I like these black people, therefore I cannot be racist.”

    That logic fails how exactly? Were I really genuinely racist why would I be a fan of any melanin-enriched non-Caucasian folks? Doesn’t the fact that I *do* admire and respect many people of “races” (a concept I don’t even believe in or consider valid) disprove the idea that I’m somehow bigoted against people based on their skin colour or inherited traits? What possible logic would say otherwise?

    He also used the term “melanin-enriched” to describe people of color , in what I suspect was a joke but one that he later doubled-down on and tried to justify.

    No joke. A different novel terminology. Because, apart from anything else, “African American” doesn’t apply to people incl. the specific individual I was discussing who aren’t y’know from Africa or the USA /American land-masses. Whatever’s wrong with using ‘melanin-enriched’ as a new technically accurate and positive term btw?

    In my opinion (and of course this is PZ’s blog, not mine), sgbm is bringing up StevoR’s previous comments as evidence to counter StevoR’s claim that he is no longer saying racist things. I’m not quite sure where sgbm is going (you’d have to ask him),

    Is SGBM actually a ‘him” or is Strange Gods gender otherwise to that? Not that it matters either way.

    but I imagine it’s an exercise in trying to get StevoR to demonstrate that he can, in fact, recognize racist statements.

    Do you even know what the word “racist” thrown around so freely here actually means?
    I do. It is someone who considers “race” – usually seen as skin colour (i.e. melanin level) plus a few other inherited adaptive traits – to be an important and real factor in judging other people.
    I do NOT think this.
    Therefore as someone who strongly disagrees with the notion that there is even such a thing as “race” in terms of actual human sub-species or varieties I cannot be racist.
    I think that humans are humans regardless of skin colour, DNA specific inherited traits et cetera. I think the whole notion of sperate human “races” existing oustdie of cultural conditioning is bullshit. Don’t you?

    I have yet to see StevoR demonstrate this. StevoR cannot claim to no longer say racist things when he can’t even recognize the racism in his own comments.

    Has it occurred to you at all that the reason for that might be because it simply is not there?
    You are presupposing that a particularly nasty and offensive accusation made against me by some who have misread my comments here is true. It is NOT.
    Note that a religion or /and political ideology or even culture is NOT the same as “race” which is a biological idea misapplied to cultural and a few inherited familial / meta-tribal differences.
    How about you consider seriously the idea that – at the very least – you have been using a very different and I’d say an inaccurate definition for “racism” and rethink and maybe apologise to me accordingly?

    PS. Have only read a very few of the comments so far. Might reply to others later – tho’ maybe not for a day or so.

  254. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @808. John Morales

    StevoR, one aspect of your writing that irritates me is your frequent use of the Americanism “y’all”. Why you can’t use Strine is beyond me.(“folks” is another, but less egregious)

    Meh, its how I think and speak and commonly used here in Oz.

    “Y’all” is a handy one word contraction / abbreviation for the otherwise less succinct two words ‘you all’ saving space and clarifying meaning and being conversational. I like it and have no idea why anyone wouldn’t? Unless ya got summin’ against the southern US of A accent?

    As for “folks” again I really do not see your problem with the word. Its casual, non-gender specific, inclusive, and conversational / casual / friendly. Same applies to y’all too. (Shrug.)

    @810. dysomniak, darwinian socialist : Oh for fucks sake.

    Has it ever, remotely, occurred to you that you could be wrong about me?

    That sometimes a link is just a link which I figured y’might be interested in – even if it does incidentally contradict your fallacious straw caricature of me?

    Oh well, glad you liked that article anyhow.

    As for the factually inaccurate personal abuse you resorted to – how about you just lay off me for a bit and try to muse, think, and reconsider things in light of the fact that you’ve got me completely wrong even done to mispelling my username?

    (Hint you can always cut’n’paste y’know.)

  255. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    If somone wants the spare ‘casual” its theirs.

  256. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    That’s :

    … reconsider things in light of the fact that you’ve got me completely wrong even done down to mis-spelling my username?

    Yeah, already too drunk and tired to type. Which I suck at even sober. (Sigh.)

    Remember, yes, I could be wrong but youc ould be wrong too – and maybe even the truth is somewheer in-between also?

    Calling it a night now. Back t’morra my time. Maybe.

  257. dysomniak, darwinian socialist says

    maybe even the truth is somewheer in-between also?

    Aww crikey! Maybay yore ahnta sumin’ they-AH. Wait, no you’re still full of shit.

    Fuck the middle. Confucius says “The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up.”

    (I notice you are still declining to confront any specific criticisms and instead fall back on more of your usual “NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME” routine. We are not amused.

  258. John Morales says

    StevoR:

    Meh, its how I think and speak and commonly used here in Oz.

    What a load of rubbish. I’ve been living in Adelaide and environs since 1972, and never heard that idiom other than when TV and movies.

    “Y’all” is a handy one word contraction / abbreviation for the otherwise less succinct two words ‘you all’ saving space and clarifying meaning and being conversational.

    You’re ignorant of the plural ‘you’, eh?

    As for “folks” again I really do not see your problem with the word. Its casual, non-gender specific, inclusive, and conversational / casual / friendly.

    “Folk” is already a plural, you ignoramus, and you do not address a collection of populations.

    (Shrug.)

    Fine, you don’t care you sound like a wannabe septic.

    (Bah)

    That sometimes a link is just a link which I figured y’might be interested in – even if it does incidentally contradict your fallacious straw caricature of me?

    I quote from that piece: “Yet the very same survey showed that almost half of Australians have negative tendencies toward Muslims and almost a quarter have anti-Semitic tendencies.

    Go figure.

    Maybe what those results are saying reflects that most disingenuous of expressions; “I’m not racist, but …””

    (That’s you to whom he refers)

  259. casus fortuitus says

    sgbm:

    I’m not talking about dignity because I consider it orders of magnitude more complicated than value, and unlike value it’s not a fundamental part of my ethical system so I don’t tend to think deeply about it and I don’t have prepared thoughts about it.

    You’re not alone in this. Well, obviously, but even people who have thought deeply about it don’t have very good answers (specifically in a legal context, here):

    In his recent book Harvard philosopher Michael Rosen poses the question: what is dignity, exactly, and do we know it when we see it? We are all familiar with the mantra that all humans are endowed with equal dignity, but do we really understand what it means? Since it is a formulation that is increasingly advanced in justifying universal human rights, we should try to get to grips with it, rather than reversing into circularities such as defining it as an intrinsic quality from birth. What makes it intrinsic? And at what point is it acquired? And why do we owe the dead a duty of dignity when they have no rationality and make no choices, autonomous or otherwise?

    ( Bonus link about Stephen Pinker’s claim that the development of human dignity has illiberal consequences.)

  260. John Morales says

    Enter The Dialectizer!

    Meh, its how ah reckon an’ speak an’ commonly used hyar in Oz.

    “Y’all” is a han’y one wo’d corntrackshun / abbreviashun fo’ t’otherwise less succinck two wo’ds ‘yo’ all’ savin’ space an’ clarifyin’ meanin’ an’ bein’ cornvahsashunal, ah reckon. ah like it an’ haf no idea whuffo’ ennyone’dn’t? Unless ya got summin’ aginst th’ southern US of A accent?

    As fo’ “folks” agin ah pow’ful does not see yer problem wif th’ wo’d, cuss it all t’ tarnation. Its casual, non-junder specific, inclusive, an’ cornvahsashunal / casual / friendly. Same applies t’y’all too. (Shrug, acco’din’ t’ th’ code o’ th’ heells!)

  261. consciousness razor says

    Do you even know what the word “racist” thrown around so freely here actually means?

    I have an idea. Let’s ask a racist. Haven’t heard from one of those in a while….

    I do. It is someone who considers “race” – usually seen as skin colour (i.e. melanin level) plus a few other inherited adaptive traits – to be an important and real factor in judging other people.
    I do NOT think this.

    So are there no people who judge others according to what those people (the ones doing the judging, not necessarily you or anyone else) think of as a race? That is to say, can there be such a thing as a “racist” or “racism,” or is that possibility somehow excluded by your “logic”?

    Therefore as someone who strongly disagrees with the notion that there is even such a thing as “race” in terms of actual human sub-species or varieties I cannot be racist.

    That’s convenient. You disagree with a very specific version of the concept it’s about, therefore you cannot be a racist? Why doesn’t this make any sense to me? This has been discussed at length by lots of people here, so if you’ve been paying attention, you should be able to explain why we think this is not a valid argument. So, that’s not just a rhetorical question. You tell me: why do I think this makes no sense? Put it somewhere in one of your rants, whenever you find the time.

    I think that humans are humans regardless of skin colour, DNA specific inherited traits et cetera. I think the whole notion of sperate human “races” existing oustdie of cultural conditioning is bullshit.

    It’s interesting that you qualify that with “[outside] of cultural conditioning.” Do you think that might have any relevance to the question of whether or not there are or can be racists/racism? Does someone need to have specific beliefs about biology (DNA, species, etc.) to be a racist? We’re talking about negative beliefs about groups of people. If they don’t come in that particular form, yet they’re still negative beliefs about a group of people, exactly what would you call it? And would it somehow be less repugnant because the person doesn’t have those particular beliefs about fucking biology?

    You are presupposing that a particularly nasty and offensive accusation made against me by some who have misread my comments here is true. It is NOT.

    What do you think is so particularly nasty and offensive about being accused of something which doesn’t exist? If someone sincerely accused me of being a unicorn or a witch or Satan himself, I don’t think I’d respond quite same the way you have. I’d probably respond with a lot of ridicule, even if they were being quite sincere, not by sounding like a fucking witch and acting so fucking defensive. I certainly wouldn’t have a very hard time explaining what makes me not a witch.

    Unless ya got summin’ against the southern US of A accent?

    Well, it does have a rather disproportionate number of racists, but other than that…. it can be awfully hot and humid in the summer.

    “Y’all” is also used in the midwest and elsewhere, generally with a different accent, but vocabularies aren’t accents.

    Has it ever, remotely, occurred to you that you could be wrong about me?

    Has it occurred to you that you could be wrong about what other people here mean by “racist,” “racism” and “race”? What do you think that would be like, assuming you started listening to anyone other than yourself?

  262. says

    @ casus fortuitus

    [ethics]

    One way around this: Instead of considering ethics, consider “pathics”, ie: what (behaviours, if tolerated) will guarantee a fuck-up.

    What does it mean to treat someone without dignity? (Abu-ghraib raised a whole host of examples for consideration.)

  263. consciousness razor says

    Oh look, a cat jumped on John’s keyboard.

    Now that you mention it, it bears a striking resemblance to LOLspeak.

    John, I don’t want to encourage you, but just this once, you can has cheezburger.

  264. casus fortuitus says

    theophontes:

    One way around this: Instead of considering ethics, consider “pathics”, ie: what (behaviours, if tolerated) will guarantee a fuck-up.

    That’s an interesting way of thinking about it. I have to confess to being a complete naïf in the ways of philosophy and ethics, and some cursory googling isn’t turning much up: any chance you could direct me towards some reading on the point?

  265. vaiyt says

    It would be good of “Freedom is a Western thing” StevoR to read the fucking article he posted and think very hard about how it applies to himself.

    It is someone who considers “race” – usually seen as skin colour (i.e. melanin level) plus a few other inherited adaptive traits – to be an important and real factor in judging other people.
    I do NOT think this.

    No, you’re not a racist. Just a horribly ethnocentric, Anglo-Saxon supremacist, genocide advocate. Are you happy now?

  266. vaiyt says

    By the way, I still think you’re a racist, StevoR. I was just humoring your pretend-naïve act for a bit.

  267. lexie says

    StevoR,

    I have a question for you. Clearly you acknowledge the existence of different cultures in the world. Do you think it is reasonable to assume things about and judge people on the basis of their cultural background? If so what is it reasonable to assume about a person or what judgements can be made off the knowledge of a person’s cultural background?

  268. thumper1990 says

    @Steven Brown #793

    I suppose I’d better go read some more about the issue and familiarize myself with Other-kin stuff as well since I don’t know a huge amount about them either.

    They’re basically a bunch of crackpots who believe that they are not really human, in spirit if not in body; a belief mainly supported through a bunch of metaphysical woo revolving around reincarnation and transferrance of souls. I don’t know alot about them either, but the little I do know points to their beliefs being unsupported bollocks. They are often classified as a minority religion due to the metaphysical justification for their beliefs.

    They’re not really comparable to trans people, who are simply people who identify with a gender that does not match their physical sex. People who try to say the two are a similar condition are either ignorant or disingenuous.

  269. thumper1990 says

    Hmm, sorry, shouldn’t have used the word crackpot. That was thoughtless of me. I apologise.

  270. says

    @ casus fortuitus

    [ethics] any chance you could direct me towards some reading on the point?

    I rather rusty and weak on this topic, perhaps some of the more philosophic minions can give you some pointers. (I’ll be reading over your shoulder too.) If something pops up out of the woodwork I’ll post here.

    @ vaiyt

    By the way, I still think you’re a racist, StevoR.

    Aww, you are so mean! And here StevoR was trying to get promoted to the rank of xenophobe.

  271. ChasCPeterson says

    For what it’s worth, regular commenter rowanvt has said (s)he “still identifies as otherkin”.
    (but maybe you’re more comfortable with the whole they/them/woo/bollocks approach.)

    “Folk” is already a plural, you ignoramus

    what? No it”s not. Though he might be.

  272. says

    @ thumper 1990

    I’m not sure that’s a promotion; just spreading the hatred wider.

    It is the only sense that I could make of StevoR’s latest posts. They are in much need of criticism, but I simply cannot summon the energy to take all that on right now. My gast might have been irreparablyflabbered.

  273. thumper1990 says

    ::Threadrupt::

    [Copied from the lounge because I belatedly realised that was not the right venue for this comment]

    Just had someone tell me that Oscar Pistorius’ crime was worse because his girlfriend was fit.

    *rage*

  274. thumper1990 says

    @ChasCPeterson

    I assume #835 is directed at me?

    I’d have to hear rowanvt’s definition of otherkin before I could judge. From what I understand otherkin believe themselves to be non-human, generally mythical beings e.g. elves, dragons etc., sometimes aliens. This can range from merely recognising certain aspects of one’s own personality which coiincide with attributes stereotypically attributed to the “kin” you identify with, to playing out a [generally] harmless fantasy, to sincerely held delusion, to full blown clinical lycanthropy. Rowanvt could subscribe to any of these or a definition I haven’t heard of, or an individual definition all of his own. My first instinct, though, is to go with the woo/bollocks approach. Where “they/them” came from and what you mean by it, I’m not sure.

  275. strange gods before me ॐ says

    It’s pretty easy to search for “sg ” and avoid that issue.

    John, that misses “sg,” “sg:” and “sg.” If only Firefox’s basic search could do regex.

  276. glodson says

    Just some general rage.

    Fuck the anti-vaxxers.

    The most egregious was their exploitation of the death of 7-year-old Kaylynne Matten of Barton, Vt. The anti-vaccine community claimed her death was due to adverse effects of the flu vaccine. However, the coroner listed the cause of death as complications from parainfluenza virus, a different category of virus from influenza.

    Using lies to sell their fucking nonsense, nonsense that gets children killed. They spread these lies and get ignorant parents to buy into this bullshit. Just fuck.

  277. Vilém Saptar says

    Just wanted to let you people know that i have made some progress on my mistake. I have been able to repair some of the damage i caused to my friend, though i don’t think i’ll ever be able to wholly undo it. They’re still cut-off from me and i don’t expect that will change either, and i’m actively keeping myself as far away in all possible ways from them.

    Thanks to you all here who gave support and advice. I can’t be thankful enough. Though i was never in any real danger of harming myself (i think), my experience has been rough and really scary a few times. And has opened my eyes to how people who deal with this sort of stuff on a regular basis must feel, especially those who suffer through no fault of their own. It’s just so so painful and i now have some inkling of what it must be to suffer from depression and related illnesses.

    Belated *hugs* to SGBM and Ogvorbis and everyone else who’s had a rough time, if you need them. I haven’t been reading the lounge since it moves faster than i can catch up and i already have my plate full. I hope to get back to reading and commenting more here. So *hugs* to anyone who needs them in the lounge too.

  278. Dhorvath, OM says

    SGBM,
    I don’t think there is much in the way of difference, I replied more because your hypothetical made me nervous I was supporting that kind of thinking. Will check your link later, off to work am I.

  279. says

    dysomniak@811,
    Interesting link, don’t have time right now to immediately processes it all. But first impression was that I’m not saying the first “fallacy” (I’m not sure I’d call them fallacies anymore than say the Laffer Curve is a “fallacy” except in the case where one assumes one is always at the extreme) doesn’t exist, so much as where the cut is made (i.e. who gets voted off the island) and the social process used to determine who goes (does one persons just take it upon themselves and it’s okay if no one objects (for whatever reason, whether they agree or just feel there’d be blowback for speaking up)). But I’ll think some more on it….

  280. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic,

    does one persons just take it upon themselves and it’s okay if no one objects

    Since you haven’t identified any instance of “one person just tak[ing] it upon themselves”, your question is a diversion at best.

    Please try speaking more accurately.

    Yours sincerely,
    the scapegoat.

  281. Beatrice says

    Vilém Saptar,

    Hi!
    Whatever decision about you this person makes, whether it’s to keep it as it is and have no contact with you or something less final, I hope it will be something you can both deal with. If you feel troubled, feel free to share here. We’ll come up with something smart to tell you, I’m sure, all of us working together.

    Hoping to read you again, and don’t feel bad about dropping into the lounge while completely threadrupt. Send *hugs* to everyone, and then start talking about peas and horses,* and you’ll start a lively debate in no time. ;)

    * talking about misplaced commas should be able to start a debate too

  282. Beatrice says

    so much as where the cut is made

    That’s a tough one. How about at the person who advocates mass murder and war crimes?

    the social process used to determine who goes (does one persons just take it upon themselves and it’s okay if no one objects (for whatever reason, whether they agree or just feel there’d be blowback for speaking up))

    A lot of us have been begging him to leave, yelling at him to leave or asking him politely to leave. How about most of the commenters here wanting him to leave?

  283. John Morales says

    Chas, heh. ‘Folk’ is a collective noun referring to a group of people sharing some commonality; it is never used to refer to a single person.

    But yes, it’s a singular noun and can be pluralised to indicate more than one group.

  284. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Though I don’t much care how propa Strine is enforced, as someone whose dialect includes y’all and folks I don’t like to see the terms generally disparaged. Plural you is an inferior word, lending itself to unnecessary ambiguities. And folk without the s, it’s an adjective in my mind. I don’t believe I’ve ever used it as a noun except when reading aloud from someone else’s writing. I suppose it’s a fine noun; it just would never occur to me to say it.

    But I think it grates on me when StevoR says y’all for one of the same reasons it annoys John. Stevo doesn’t merely sound like someone who’s found a useful and cromulent word; we already know he has Yank envy.

    Fine, you don’t care you sound like a wannabe septic.

    For the uninitiated: seppo or septic tank is rhyming slang for Yank.

    +++++
    casus fortuitus,

    Thanks for the interesting links. The one about Pinker reminds me of an otherwise thoughtful book by Francis Fukuyama, Our Posthuman Future.

    Fukuyama tried to write a book about how transhumanism in market societies will ultimately destroy liberal democracy, replacing it with aristocratic feudalism or fascism and eventually speciation.

    And he’s right, and somebody should still write that book. But about two thirds of the way in, he gets mired in some utterly predictable and unnecessary mysterianism about dignity. Complete with the requisite whinges about Daniel Dennett’s approaches to consciousness, as well as Peter Singer and utilitarianism. (Fukuyama apparently never considers how a utilitarian could critique market-stratified transhumanism, on, hmmmm, maybe the grounds that feudalism or fascism will cause tremendous harm to a lot of people.)

    The reader will notice that Fukuyama’s motive in this section is a tangent, to assert that humans have an ineffable essence (he introduces this as “Factor X” and then blathers about Mozart) which makes us fundamentally deserve to harm other animals. Because dignity.

    +++++
    Vilém Saptar, it’s good to see you again.

    +++++
    New bull. The dogma that I am two popes, and I commune with brontosauruses in near Earth orbit, is hereby proclaimed the duplidiplodoctrine.

  285. says

    Beatrice,
    Valid points. My response to the link wasn’t intended to be only narrowly construed in the context of the recent unpleasantness, but a more general exploration of the issues raised by what I read there. So please keep that in mind. I’m fine with trying to eject those who deny other peoples’ humanity. Which advocating such war crimes, etc, certainly qualify.

    My thoughts were on how one handles the case where the person won’t leave. Let’s take the canonical example of a party (social event in the link’s parlance) with an obnoxious jerk. You can call the police (blog owner) and have them deal with it, but if they’re aren’t willing to eject the person then what are the options of the remaining people in the room? Well, one could keep trying that which hasn’t worked (yelling at them repeatedly)… hmmm, I think there’s a saying about that (Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. — attributed to Albert Einstein). But at some point that yelling, in and of itself, disrupts the party as much as the original jerk’s obnoxiousness.

    Or one could call them out succinctly (i.e. not a wall-o-text) every time they say something over the line, but not ever time they speak on any subject. Admittedly StevoR isn’t doing himself any favors by even approaching any topic having to do with race or “Western culture”. So in this case the line is a bit blurry.

    My impression was that he was getting jumped on no matter the subject, with people irrelevantly bringing it up. For instance, in Chris’ Tortoises w/ Boltcutters thread it don’t think StevoR’s first comment is all that controversial. But because who said it people started to diverge from the OP topic to spend time attacking him. One could have just let that sit unremarked upon. Take it at face value. Even if you don’t believe the person behind it is being completely honest and/or interpreting words in the same way as yourself, why not just ignore the obnoxious jerk hanging around the party? Letting him get a rise out of people might just be the positive reinforcement that he’s looking for.

    Don’t mistake my question of approach as not wanting such people to leave. I’d be happy for him to not darken Pharyngula’s comment threads again. But if he can ruin every thread just by commenting and other reacting, them people are going to start leaving the party.

  286. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic,

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    That’s certainly not what insanity is; and by identifying something you dislike and attributing it to “insanity”, you’re stigmatizing people who are diagnosed with mental illnesses.

    attributed to Albert Einstein

    Nope. It originates with a fucking Narcotics Anonymous pamphlet, circa 1980. You know, a cult.

    Well, one could keep trying that which hasn’t worked (yelling at them repeatedly)…

    So your whole criticism is based on a falsehood, as yelling at StevoR repeatedly has brought considerable progress. Compare his behavior a year ago to now.

  287. says

    Fuck, there are a lot of misspellings and typos in that.

    s/it don’t/I don’t/
    s/them people/then people/
    one can probably guess the bulk of them.

  288. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic

    My response to the link wasn’t intended to be only narrowly construed in the context of the recent unpleasantness,

    Yeah right. Give anyone some evidence to believe you.

    Identify any instance of “one person just tak[ing] it upon themselves”.

  289. John Morales says

    dontpanic:

    But if he can ruin every thread just by commenting and other reacting, them people are going to start leaving the party.

    Then there’s no problem; he can’t.

  290. says

    John, are you objecting to the word “ruin”? Would “disrupted” do instead? I mean, Chris had to jump in and intervene to keep things on topic. And, no, the blame for that disruption isn’t solely on StevoR’s shoulders. What if Chris hadn’t been able to pay the thread attention that day, how long would it have run down those alternative rails headed for “this thread is kaput and not worth it”? How many (real) delurkers (in even the strictest sense of the word) have just given up before signing on?

  291. says

    John, are you objecting to the word “ruin”?

    not being John, I don’t know which part of your statement he’s objecting to, but personally I’d object to “every”, as well as “just by commenting”, since neither is accurate

  292. strange gods before me ॐ says

    Or one could call them out succinctly (i.e. not a wall-o-text)

    It’s just amazing that you’re dictating to other people what level of detail they should use when objecting to racism.

  293. says

    Jadehawk,
    In context I think it’s clear that “just by commenting” follows on the line of people jumping at any comment by that person, independent of what they said, and “every” being any thread that the person comments on.

    I’m mean it’s classic troll behavior I’m talking about. The person X becomes disliked by the group as a whole (99.994%) and knows that there are individuals who will make a big stink, no matter what they say, every time they comment. So, every comment X makes essentially kills that thread. Its as old a scenario (on the interwebs) as Usenet news. While I’m not advocating “don’t feed the troll” as a universal, I think it should remain in the repertoire to be use occasionally. Just as sometimes dog trainers advocate ignoring certain behaviors.

    And for those playing at home who are confused: suggesting ≠ dictating. I don’t have the power to dictate anyone’s behavior here on this blog.

  294. says

    [long comment to Jadehawk/John got eated by the system; weird it gave me a #comment-5xxxx reference in the URL, but the comment didn't appear. Attempt to recover it lost the original. I don't have time to reconstruct it -- need to go home and make dinner for the family. I'll point out one this bit:]

    For those confused individuals playing at home: suggesting ≠ dictating. I don’t have the power to dictate how anyone on this blog comments. Only PZ and Chris do.

  295. strange gods before me ॐ says

    The objection makes little difference to the offensiveness of your presumptuousness.

    It’s just amazing that you’re telling other people what level of detail they should use when objecting to racism.

  296. strange gods before me ॐ says

    dontpanic,

    Identify any instance of “one person just tak[ing] it upon themselves”.

    Or admit that you were bullshitting.