[Lounge #422] »« Moms as an agent of change

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  1. consciousness razor says

    joey:

    The way I see it, assuming the natural laws of the universe is all there is, then “intent” and “purpose” don’t exist in the absolute sense and are merely illusions (same boat as free will).

    First of all, scientific laws are not all there is. There are states of the universe, and the scientific laws describing it are patterns we notice (and want to explain) about those states.

    But even if we can’t be clear on that (you’re hopelessly obtuse, but I try for the sake of other readers), what makes you think that? We have intentions and purposes because of how our brains work. The universe doesn’t have them. There is no contradiction there as far as I can tell, and your claim that they wouldn’t exist in a naturalistic world is just a bare assertion. Why do you think a naturalistic universe could not have conscious, intending, designing, purposeful beings in it? What, if anything, do you think makes that impossible?

    I know a fundamental difference between the two. The solar system lacks agency and free will, whereas a human has agency and free will. But don’t most atheists believe free will is only an illusion? So they can’t use that difference.

    There’s no illusion of free will. I don’t feel as if nothing whatsoever motivates me to make choices. You have a delusion about free will, because your head has been crammed with religious garbage, but this is not experiencing such an illusion.

    We are conscious agents. Nobody who would dispute that should be taken seriously as someone who knows what they’re talking about. The only issue with free will is that wills are not free from being caused. We’re not prime movers. You can make choices, but they don’t pop into existence out of nowhere. That’s it.

    The difference is that galaxies and the like have no wills at all. They do not have brains or computational systems or anything of the sort. They are not experiencing. They cannot remember or plan or imagine. They cannot act. They cannot will something to happen, and (like us) they cannot freely will it either. So they cannot intend or design.

  2. Amphiox says

    Technically, saying that the “laws of science make X happen” is a metaphor too.

    The laws of science don’t actually make anything happen. The describe the way things happen.

    Things just happen. There is no why, except that which we humans choose to create.

  3. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    The way I see it, assuming the natural laws of the universe is all there is, then “intent” and “purpose” don’t exist in the absolute sense and are merely illusions (same boat as free will).

    No, the universe doesn’t have intent and purpose. WE DO.

    Well, maybe not YOU, but…

  4. says

    Good news, everybody! PZM has ordered txpiper confined to the ‘dome, so now we can have TWO idiot godbots fluttering around in here. HOORAY!

  5. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Txpiper, idjit extradinaire:

    Some things just seem a little over the top for replication errors, even with the most prudent natural selector helping out, like this:

    Who gives a shit what you think, since you obviously are incapable of learning basic biology? Nothing that can’t be explained by evolution, and remembering it didn’t happen in one fell swoop, but something plausible, save, another plausible, save, etc. until what looks improbable happened by a series of very probable mutations.

    Example, if you need to win 20 games, and have a 1/3 chance each game, if you save every time you win on the first game past the save, each game with 1/3 chance, but the overall series looks like 0.33^20. Welcome to bio-statistics, where your ignorance fails to register anything other than an “F” on the first exam.

  6. Amphiox says

    texpip posted back on that thread, saying he won’t be posting in Thunderdome. Let’s see how long he keeps his oh-so-reliable word!

    Though technically, that second post could get him banned for good

  7. =8)-DX says

    Gawd, you’re having a free will argument in here? It may be just me, but I find other questions of consciousness much more interesting.. I mean why argue whether the particular part of our brain that is self-aware makes free choices when every bit of information, whether sensory, from memory, contemplation, etc. is compiled by other parts or systems in the brain, not to mention our spinal column and digestive system.

    I’d be more interested in a neuroscientists/psychologists take on the bag-o-tricks aspect of our brains, not whether a specific bit is magic/special.

  8. bortedwards says

    It seems inappropriate to have a beautiful little jumping spider as the thunderdome mascot for today. Unless it symbolises the agility and all round vision of PZ, but that sounds too self-aggrandising even for the thunder dome…

  9. consciousness razor says

    Gawd, you’re having a free will argument in here?

    I’m not sure I would call it an argument, but it’s one of joey’s obsessions. That and abortion. He’s not interested in learning or discussing anything.

    It may be just me, but I find other questions of consciousness much more interesting..

    Agreed. There are more interesting things to say about design too, if joey actually wanted to think about the concept for a minute, rather than flail ineptly in the direction of a teleological argument. We could ask whether, and in what sense, monkeys or birds or frogs can design, for example. We could look at the differences between their cognitive abilities, if they have some potential to design at all, and what humans can do. We might actually try observing the world and learning something about it, then make concepts which have some relationship to reality. But there’s no room for gray areas or non-loaded questions or learning in joey’s world. No, we go by the book: straight to bizarre shit like galaxies and eyes being designed, because all cognitive abilities are collapsed into some incoherent concept of free will. Human will is a soul, while everything else is God’s will, or else our lives are meaningless. Then we get to hear more of the same about abortion.

  10. Holms says

    Not really related to anything thunderdome-ish, but:

    I thought the thunderdome was supposed to have a warlike / fearsome / nasty / etc. picture as a sort of tone setting device. Why then would you use something as adorable as a jumping spider? HAS PZM GONE MAD ?!

  11. consciousness razor says

    I thought the thunderdome was supposed to have a warlike / fearsome / nasty / etc. picture as a sort of tone setting device. Why then would you use something as adorable as a jumping spider?

    I’m afraid of spiders. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Q.E.D.

    HAS PZM GONE MAD ?!

    The real question is this: for how long has PZ’s mind been a hideous, unspeakable mass of non-Euclidean nightmares lurking in an abyss of indifference?

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

    @ 11. consciousness razor :

    I’m afraid of spiders.

    Don’t be.

    Just imagine how many flies would overwhelm us if it weren’t for what I call “natural mortein”* i.e. our eight-legged mosaic-eyed friends.

    * An Aussie flyspray – you got that in the States?

  13. says

    But don’t most atheists believe free will is only an illusion?

    Most philosophers, who are mostly atheists, don’t:
    Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will?

    Accept or lean toward: compatibilism 550 / 931 (59.1%)
    Other 139 / 931 (14.9%)
    Accept or lean toward: libertarianism 128 / 931 (13.7%)
    Accept or lean toward: no free will 114 / 931 (12.2%)

    God: theism or atheism?

    Accept or lean toward: atheism 678 / 931 (72.8%)
    Accept or lean toward: theism 136 / 931 (14.6%)
    Other 117 / 931 (12.6%)

    Whether we have free will, or not, everything contained within the universe is natural. Natural doesn’t mean inevitable, inevitable doesn’t mean planned.

  14. says

    @ myeck

    PZM has ordered txpiper confined to the ‘dome, so now we can have TWO idiot godbots fluttering around in here.

    At last we get to conduct the experiment that TZT (now “Thunderdome”) was set up for: A cage match between two godbots.

    The point of contention, which should drive the battle along quite nicely, is the difference between the worldviews of joey and txpiper. They both fully understand the Mind of GAWD ™ , yet are at odds as to quite what this is – due to the differences in their underlying motivations. I posit that joey is a godbot through identifying with YHWH as the ultimate RWA-fantasy *LEADER*. Whereas txpiper is more the common-or-garden godbot: programmed from birth, dyed-in-the-wool and quite incapable of change.

    Which bot will win? Olde Skoole, or the more trendy neo-fascist model? Watch this space!

  15. says

    Except that txpiper has announced that he won’t post here, and therefore won’t post anywhere. I guess he’s chicken. Or kiwi. Or something fowl.

  16. =8)-DX says

    @theophontes
    Do we get to place bets, or is it a tournament format for godbot fighting (are 3000 rpm weapons, 3400 lbs of lifting force, 1/4 inch titanium armour or 80lb weapons any wayinvolved)?

  17. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Wooo new thunderdome! Cephalopods! Fundie Cage Matches!

    WOOOO!

    *attempts kegstand on watercooler, falls over*

  18. joey says

    Amphiox:

    So NO I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU. Your claim was that there was “no difference” between designed and natural objects.

    Actually, my main claim is that atheists must conclude that everything is natural. And this is where you’ve agreed with me, considering you said that “designed objects are natural objects”.

    —————
    consciousness razor:

    We have intentions and purposes because of how our brains work.

    First of all, what exactly is this “we”? There are human brains and the organic compounds that comprise those brains. Where exactly do intentions/purposes fit in within this conglomeration of organic material?

    Beavers and other animals also have brains, and they seemingly design things as well (dams, spiderwebs, nests). Do these animals have intentions and purposes? What about cockroaches or amoebas? What about bacteria, flowers, or galaxies?

    Why do you think a naturalistic universe could not have conscious, intending, designing, purposeful beings in it? What, if anything, do you think makes that impossible?

    It’s not impossible, as long as you remain consistent with your definitions. A naturalistic universe that contains “conscious, intending, designing, purposeful beings” must mean these beings are natural themselves, which means that “consciousness”, “intention”, “design” and “purpose” must be fundamentally natural phenomena as well.

    Now, it would be impossible to say that a naturalistic universe could have beings whose actions are fundamentally not natural. That’s poppycock. Either all human action is natural because we live in a naturalistic universe, or the universe isn’t entirely “naturalistic”. Can’t have it both ways.

    The difference is that galaxies and the like have no wills at all.

    This is delving into solipsism, but one cannot be sure that galaxies and other objects don’t have “wills”, whatever those may be.

    They do not have brains or computational systems or anything of the sort.

    Like I pointed out before, other animals have brains. Does that mean they all have wills? And computers have complex computational systems. Can they intend or design?

    They cannot act. They cannot will something to happen, and (like us) they cannot freely will it either. So they cannot intend or design.

    So what makes you think that “we” can act or will something to happen, if we are not free to do so? If all action (human and non-human) is the result of causal chains of natural events, where do intention and design fit in? Fundamentally they do not.

    One could argue that consciousness is the link to intention/design. Consciousness may be fundamental, but consciousness is NOT the same thing as intention/design. The computer on which I’m typing may spontaneously obtain self-consciousness, but obtaining consciousness doesn’t mean it has the ability to intend/design. The computer would still be slave to its wiring/programming and my key-pounding. No room for intention/design there.

  19. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Actually, my main claim is that atheists must conclude that everything is natural. And this is where you’ve agreed with me, considering you said that “designed objects are natural objects”.

    NO HE DIDN’T AGREE WITH YOU, ONLY A SUBSET. Your desire to be anything other than a dumbfuck is irrelevant, as a stopped clock is right even twice a day. And your average is much lower than that. Presume you are wrong…

    It’s not impossible, as long as you remain consistent with your definitions.

    Actually it is. Our consistency is only humans have the ability to design. You see, your deity is imaginary, therefore it can’t design shit. Only your unevidenced and fallacious presuppositions say otherwise.

    but one cannot be sure that galaxies and other objects don’t have “wills”, whatever those may be.

    Until you show conclusive physical evidence for the claim, it is nothing but bullshit. You know that by know. We accept no unevidenced assertion by you as anything other than lies and bullshit. Because that is all it is.

    Can they intend or design?

    Bullshit question, since they are programmed by humans. What a fuckwitted idjit.

    o what makes you think that “we” can act

    YOU HAVEN’T DEMONSTRATED WE CAN’T WITH SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. You philosophy and presuppositions are bullshit without a reality check. Which is provided by science. You fail reality once again with your bulllshit.

    One could argue that consciousness is the link to intention/design

    And one could argue you are a presuppositional bullshitter without any cogency or rational arguments. Except that is closer to the truth than any of your evidenced claims. Philosophy is nothing but mental masturbation without a reality check, and you a a master masturbater.

    Show us some evidence. Your mental wanking are and continue to be worthless bullshit.

  20. consciousness razor says

    First of all, what exactly is this “we”? There are human brains and the organic compounds that comprise those brains. Where exactly do intentions/purposes fit in within this conglomeration of organic material?

    “We,” meaning anyone who is reading this. What is this “we”? We’re organisms, and our nervous systems produce our intentions and purposes.

    Beavers and other animals also have brains, and they seemingly design things as well (dams, spiderwebs, nests). Do these animals have intentions and purposes? What about cockroaches or amoebas? What about bacteria, flowers, or galaxies?

    Yes, some non-human animals do act purposefully and design things. Other organisms don’t. Objects which aren’t organisms don’t. If we ever build sentient robots, they might be inorganic but would still able to act purposefully and design things because they’ll have systems which do the functional equivalent of what our brains do; but at this point, we can only talk about some animals.

    It’s not impossible, as long as you remain consistent with your definitions. A naturalistic universe that contains “conscious, intending, designing, purposeful beings” must mean these beings are natural themselves, which means that “consciousness”, “intention”, “design” and “purpose” must be fundamentally natural phenomena as well.

    Yes. Being natural here means that there’s nothing irreducibly “magical” or “mental” or “spiritual” about them or their origins. They can be explained by fundamentally non-mental physical phenomena.

    Now, it would be impossible to say that a naturalistic universe could have beings whose actions are fundamentally not natural. That’s poppycock. Either all human action is natural because we live in a naturalistic universe, or the universe isn’t entirely “naturalistic”. Can’t have it both ways.

    Who’s having what which way? I have no idea what you’re saying. If there’s a ghost or a soul or a god or a magic power, then naturalism is false. I’m not having it two ways, because I think it’s true that there are no ghosts, souls, gods, magic, etc. Give evidence for anything like that, and it will be shown false, so the rest of my views will change accordingly. That’s all you would have to do.

    This is delving into solipsism, but one cannot be sure that galaxies and other objects don’t have “wills”, whatever those may be.

    I certainly am sure of that. You are a sophist. Give evidence so that we should believe there is even the slightest chance that any galaxy has a will. You don’t deal in evidence, because you are a sophist. Your argument from ignorance is irrelevant, so the point stands that galaxies don’t have wills.

    (Also, you don’t know what “solipsism” means. It means that you only believe your own mind exists, so that there are no galaxies or anything else.)

  21. =8)-DX says

    One could argue that consciousness is the link to intention/design. Consciousness may be fundamental, but consciousness is NOT the same thing as intention/design. The computer on which I’m typing may spontaneously obtain self-consciousness, but obtaining consciousness doesn’t mean it has the ability to intend/design. The computer would still be slave to its wiring/programming and my key-pounding. No room for intention/design there.

    (emphasis added)

    And here is the obvious non sequitor. Joey, just because something behaves deterministically, doesn’t mean it can’t have consciousness, intention or design. It’s like saying “the bits in a computer memory unit are just differences in electromagnetic charge, the computer doesn’t actually remember anything!” Either that’s a non-sequitor, or at best you’d be confusing the experience of remembering with memory itself as a cognitive function (storing and retrieving information). To experience things, to have self-awareness, a complex computer would need to simulate consciousness, something we have yet to reach. But intent? Of course computer programs have intent – that is they are able to act independently based on a set of rules, evaluate situations and choose actions towards a given set of goals. Database and search-engine optimisers or parts of any operating system. This intent may be simpler than in humans (in us it is motivated by a host of factors, wants, needs, instinct, habit) and due to consciousness we humans are partially aware of this process, but computers can do functionally the same thing. And as for design – computer-assisted design programs can also functionally design – suggest building shapes for a given property size/family size and the newest procedural algorithms are capable of designing entire realistic computer worlds based on random input or design goals.

    Basically what you’re trying to do joey, is create an artificial need for a soul, which of course requires that things like intent, design and consciousness can’t naturally immerge from deterministic systems of sufficient complexity. Well sorry, they can and do, although of course not all to the same degree.

  22. John Morales says

    joey:

    Now, it would be impossible to say that a naturalistic universe could have beings whose actions are fundamentally not natural. That’s poppycock.

    Your philosophy is weak.

    First, whether or not it is veridical, it is certainly possible to be said, and it has been so said.

    (Clearly, it is not impossible!)

    Second, you are equivocating between senses of ‘natural’: not artificial vs not unnatural.

    Third, something may have properties which its parts do not — for example, a conscious brain is made of water, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and trace elements, yet none of those elements are conscious.

    For example, a car is not made of any moving parts (you can pile every single part of a car in a storage unit and there they will stay, immobile) yet a car is a moving object made of moving parts.

    (You find that remarkable? Welcome to the ideas of synergy and of emergence!)

  23. Ogvorbis: ArkRanger of Doom! says

    No txpiper? Our experiment is runed!

    True, but now we can begin the pre-planning pre-meeting to discuss the potential subjects which may, or may not, appear on the new business section of the programme for the 9th Meeting of the 5th Plenary Session of the 3rd Five Year Plan of the New (and IMPERVED) Socialist Peoples Anti-Reactionary Party of North Thunderdome!

  24. =8)-DX says

    begin the pre-planning pre-meeting

    I vote we create a commitee! We’ll need minutes. In triplicate.

  25. Ogvorbis: ArkRanger of Doom! says

    I vote we create a commitee! We’ll need minutes. In triplicate.

    We can discuss the planning for the selection of a committee to select an actual committee during the pre-planning pre-meeting.

  26. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    I would like to point out that, whatever progress you all make with the republic of Thunderdome, I still aspire to be Public Enemy Number Two.

    You may now search YouTube for the Austin Powers clip.

    *raspberry*

  27. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    I’ve been coding and debugging in both Perl and Python today. If anyone wants to know how many times pdb complained about “x somevariable” (old habits die hard), I am willing to explain at length. You have been warned!

  28. =8)-DX says

    Sorry cm, C# idiot here. Your outlandish and non-object-oriented, type-unsafe language and syntax fails to ruffle any feathers.

  29. =8)-DX says

    Also, I have a piece of information I need to leave for future generations. Don’t ever buy cheap bamboo cutting boards. They look fine, work well the first time. But cut a few tomatoes on it, and the bloody thing will warp into a horrible boomerang shape. So next time you want to cut something, you have to turn it round and wet the other side. Mine has been warped/settled in multiple directions, cracked, and every time I go in the kitchen it glares at me, defiant edges turned up.

    Don’t get a bamboo cutting board.

  30. =8)-DX says

    Believe me, this one manages to warp during cooking or by just washing a single side from meat or hot peppers..

  31. chigau (aaarrgh) says

    If We™ are have a Plenary Committee Thingy Whatever Meeting
    I want to be Serjeant-at-Arms.
    I’d like to “keep order during its meetings”, ye ken.

  32. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    40
    =8)-DX

    14 June 2013 at 12:43 am (UTC -5)

    41
    Ye Olde Blacksmith – Spocktopus cuddler

    14 June 2013 at 11:31 am (UTC -5)

    That’s weird.

  33. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Oh fuck. Am I stupid or what? (Don’t answer that!)

    Grrr. Midnight is 12pm. Noon is 12m. Morning is am. Is it so hard, WordPress?

  34. Amphiox says

    Actually, my main claim is that atheists must conclude that everything is natural. And this is where you’ve agreed with me, considering you said that “designed objects are natural objects”.

    My saying “designed objects are natural objects” DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AGREED with the statement that “atheists must conclude that everything is natural.”

    Because, once again, SUBSETS.

    And RELATIVE definitions of what it means to be “natural”.

    So, NO, I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU.

    Once again, joey, you are playing deliberately dishonest absolutist word games with what is intended to be relative word definitions.

  35. Amphiox says

    Beavers and other animals also have brains, and they seemingly design things as well (dams, spiderwebs, nests). Do these animals have intentions and purposes?

    Probably.

    What about cockroaches

    Maybe. What are you claiming that cockroaches design?

    or amoebas?

    Maybe. What are you claiming that amoebas design?

    What about bacteria

    Maybe. What are you claiming that bacteria design?

    flowers

    Maybe. What are you claiming that bacteria design?

    or galaxies?

    Unlikely. What are you claiming that bacteria design?

    Intention and purpose are RELATIVE.

    Also, please distinguish between “design” and “produce”.

  36. chigau (aaarrgh) says

    Midnight is 0000 and noon is 1200.

    Tool of the militaryindustrialcomplex!!1!!

  37. chigau (aaarrgh) says

    John Morales
    Here, in Edmonton, we have Two Seasons.
    Winter and Construction.
    Nothing Ever Runs On Time.
    ya go with the flow, man

  38. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    OK: midnight: 12pm.

    The hours after midnight: 0-11:xx am.

    Noon: 12m.

    The hour after noon: 12:xx pm (I prefer my inconsistencies around lunchtime rather than pub chucking out time!)

    The rest of the afternoon and evening: 1-12 pm

    Now I’m lost.
    because rum

    You can always lose yourself in “why is the rum gone”? It only lasts 10 hours.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU0X_cfDHdo

    .

  39. =8)-DX says

    14 June 2013 at 12:43 am (UTC -5)

    14 June 2013 at 11:31 am (UTC -5)

    12-hour clock doesn’t have any truck with absurd notions like 00 (hours have numbers!). Fourty three minutes past midnight is in the morning, so ante meridiem. The only real problem is 12:00. Some places use 12:00 am as midnight, with 12:00 pm as noon, but other places it is used the other way round. Theoretically noon is neither neither am nor pm, so the correct format would be 12:00 noon and 12:00 midnight without am/pm.

    But then to be more accurate it should be:

    14 June 2013 at 6:43 am (GMT +1)

    Don’t remember being up that early =S

  40. =8)-DX says

    Oh, it’s

    14 June 2013 at 7:43 am (GMT +1) DST
    =
    14 June 2013 at 6:43 am (UTC +1)

  41. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    Yes, some non-human animals do act purposefully and design things. Other organisms don’t.

    What yardstick are you’re using to determine what is “design” and what is not? Is a beaver’s dam designed? What about a honeycomb or an anthill? If the things beavers, honeybees, and ants create are designed, then what about the organisms themselves? Why can’t they be considered designed things?

    If we ever build sentient robots, they might be inorganic but would still able to act purposefully and design things because they’ll have systems which do the functional equivalent of what our brains do…

    Does a chess-playing computer act purposefully and design its moves? Would you consider a chess-playing computer to be rational?

    Yes. Being natural here means that there’s nothing irreducibly “magical” or “mental” or “spiritual” about them or their origins. They can be explained by fundamentally non-mental physical phenomena.

    Alright.

    Who’s having what which way? I have no idea what you’re saying.

    Given a purely naturalistic universe, everything is to be considered completely and fundamentally natural. The thought may seem straightforward and obvious at first, but if you stop to think about all that it entails/implies, things become quite absurd.

    For example, man-made global warming is a fundamentally natural phenomenon. Timepieces, machine guns, and atomic bombs are all fundamentally natural objects, no less natural than spiderwebs, honeycombs, trees, and rocks. Using your own words, the existence/origins of all these things can be “explained by fundamentally non-mental physical phenomena”.

    This is delving into solipsism, but one cannot be sure that galaxies and other objects don’t have “wills”, whatever those may be.

    I certainly am sure of that.

    No, you’re NOT “certainly sure” of that, just like how you can’t be “certainly sure” that a flying spaghetti monster isn’t hovering on the other side of the moon.

    Your argument from ignorance is irrelevant, so the point stands that galaxies don’t have wills.

    My point is that having a “will” is fundamentally meaningless unless it is free to act. Freedom is what makes “intent”, “design”, and “purpose” fundamentally meaningful. A galaxy may have a will, but it would still be meaningless to say it “designs” a solar system since it isn’t free to act on its will. Likewise, it’s gibberish to say a computer “intends” to run a program if that is what its wiring/programming and inputs compel it to do and it isn’t free to do anything other than to run the program.

    ————————-
    =8)-DX:

    But intent? Of course computer programs have intent – that is they are able to act independently based on a set of rules, evaluate situations and choose actions towards a given set of goals.

    You lost me here. Computers simply do what they’re supposed to do, given their physical makeup and the laws of physics. How can that be viewed as “intent”? Does a waterfall “intend” to drop its water off a cliff? If computers have intent, then so do waterfalls, and earthquakes, and tornadoes, and pretty much anything. What stops me from arguing that the galaxy “intended” to create our solar system and the earth “designed” living organisms?

    Let me reiterate my point. All these words, “design”, “intent”, “purpose”, are fundamentally meaningless unless there is agency and the agent is free to act. If there is no freedom, then all of existence is merely particles mindlessly banging into each other with no fundamental purpose or design. Sure these particles can form very complex things, but complexity doesn’t equate to design.

    Randomness (purposelessness) can only lead to more randomness.

    ——————
    John Morales:

    Third, something may have properties which its parts do not — for example, a conscious brain is made of water, lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and trace elements, yet none of those elements are conscious.

    Yeah, seems almost mystical, doesn’t it?

    For example, a car is not made of any moving parts (you can pile every single part of a car in a storage unit and there they will stay, immobile) yet a car is a moving object made of moving parts.

    Bad example. A car is simply the sum of its parts. There is no emergent property such as consciousness that arises once the parts of the car are assembled.*

    (You find that remarkable? Welcome to the ideas of synergy and of emergence!)

    I do find the concept of strong emergence quite remarkable. Don’t you?

    *Actually, we can’t be “certainly sure” of that.

  42. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The thought may seem straightforward and obvious at first, but if you stop to think about all that it entails/implies, things become quite absurd.

    Compared to the absurdity of your imaginary deity and fictional/mythical holy book? Gee, your presuppositions are showing. NOT DOING GOOD PHILOSOPHY WITH PRESUPPOSITIONS.

    I do find the concept of strong emergence quite remarkable. Don’t you?

    Who cares what a presuppositionalist finds remarkable. He isn’t thinking about thinks, but thinking how to force-fit reality to his imaginary deity. Won’t work here Joey. We know you lie and bullshit.

  43. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, meant to say in last paragraph #64

    He isn’t thinking about things, but thinking how to force-fit reality to his imaginary deity.

  44. ChasCPeterson says

    sorry, I need to test the spam filter. Is it tripped by the word ‘cunt’?

    [Yes it is. --pzm]

  45. =8)-DX says

    You lost me here. Computers simply do what they’re supposed to do, given their physical makeup and the laws of physics. How can that be viewed as “intent”? Does a waterfall “intend” to drop its water off a cliff? If computers have intent, then so do waterfalls, and earthquakes, and tornadoes, and pretty much anything. What stops me from arguing that the galaxy “intended” to create our solar system and the earth “designed” living organisms?

    Let me reiterate my point. All these words, “design”, “intent”, “purpose”, are fundamentally meaningless unless there is agency and the agent is free to act. If there is no freedom, then all of existence is merely particles mindlessly banging into each other with no fundamental purpose or design. Sure these particles can form very complex things, but complexity doesn’t equate to design.

    No, your point is absurd. Saying “Computers simply do what they’re supposed to do, given their physical makeup and the laws of physics” is trivial, since everything does what it’s supposed to do, given its physical makeup and the laws of physics. “Design”, “intent”, “purpose” are words that describe certain functional attributes of cognitive agents. It’s been said before, but you seem to have a big problem with assigning different properties to collections of smaller, more elemental units. Yes, “all of existence is merely particles mindlessly banging into each other”, or to put it more precisely, all existence is merely fundamental elementary particles interacting. Put a few of these together and you get an atom – the fundamental particles haven’t stopped interacting, but we talk about atoms since on a larger scale the fundamental particles’ behaviour is different when they interact together within the atom. The same goes for molecules, organic molecules and then for instance the DNA helix – it is a molecule which has the ability to self-replicate if in the right environment, but still: the fundamental particles haven’t stopped bashing into each other inside the DNA molecule. Go onto cells and you’ll see complex structures which interact with their environment in much more predictable ways than just a mere random vapour of their fundamental constituents, but the same could be said for ice crystals, the whole of chemistry, geology, astronomy. Things are more than just a sum of their parts.

    Now to get back to those words you used – “design”, “intent”, “purpose”. In a naturalistic world, these are words that describe properties of (mostly) conscious agents. Design – can be abstracted to mean the ability to produce a certain object based on a set of functional goals and a set of available materials. An artist designs her painting with a certain easthetic goal in mind, using the paints and techniques available to her. In a similar way a bird may design its nest with the goal of creating a home to raise its young. Aha! Now you may think you’ve caught me out – the bird may not be aware that it is designing something, the bird may just have instincts that cause it to like to carry twigs to one place and interweave them and another instinct that makes it like to sit on piles of twigs that smell of its own saliva. It is not self-aware design, but that does not matter – functionally what is happening is that an agent (the bird) is acting (gathering) apon material (wood) to create a nest. And that is what the word means.

    Not to jump to galaxies yet, I think it’s trivial to extrapolate this definition of design to actual organisms. A tree isn’t designed, because there was no cognitive process, no putting together of parts, no goal inherant in its existance, no intent, no purpose. The wind blows and an acorn falls from the tree. A squirrel buries it. Chemical and climactic processes occur, the acorn grows into a sapling. Neither the wind, the squirrel, the chemistry, the DNA, nor any part of the acorn where aware of this, nor was anyone’s goal to grow an oak-tree. The only agent in this proces was the squirrel, but the squirrel’s intent was to later eat the acorn, not to grow a tree. What’s more, no part of the oak tree or acorn was designed either – the leaves have the shape and chemical structure they do, because this kind of leaf happened to survive over millenia, collect the most sunlight, survive the best among active attempts to destroy it by other organisms. Conversely an oak-tree park may be designed by humans, who have goals of creating pleasant shaded areas to live in.

    Now to get back to galaxies. Galaxies aren’t agents. They don’t have goals. Galaxies don’t choose which star will go supernova (unlike the squirrel who chooses where to put his nut). Galaxies don’t evaluate which star-cluster within them should produce a life-capable planet. Yet within a galaxy there may be life-holding planets with organisms that do design things that do think about things, that have goals and intentions and design. And that’s another wonderful thing – collections of things may not have properties of their individual constituents! Saying a galaxy “designed” spaceships to send to other planets is like saying North America “designed” a spaceship to send to the moon. No, the continent, the place, does not have the properties of its constituent parts (i.e. humans).

    To end this segment joey: what you are essentially saying is that language is meaningless if we accept that all things are made of fundamental particles behaving according to fundamental processes. You are saying that in a naturalist world, things are never more (or different) than a sum of their parts on the one hand and on the other you are saying that things somehow automatically gain the property of each of their parts. This is demonstrably false on every level, from the atom to the galaxy, just as it is demonstrably true that “all things are made of fundamental particles behaving according to fundamental processes”.

    For example, man-made global warming is a fundamentally natural phenomenon. Timepieces, machine guns, and atomic bombs are all fundamentally natural objects, no less natural than spiderwebs, honeycombs, trees, and rocks.

    You are being disingenuous here joey. If you define “natural” as “fundamentally arising from natural physical processes”, then yes, everything there is natural. But people don’t mean that when they say “global warming is not natural”. They make an semi-arbitrary distinction between “man-made” and “made some other way: by natural/non-human processes”. Because we are humans, that distinction is important to us, but no one talking about a naturalistic world is talking about human/non-human, the question is “can this be explained by natural processes or is there something supernatural going on?” No one (I hope) is asking “did humans create the universe?”

  46. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Now u r just makin’ stuff up.

    Yeah. Sorry. I blame the wine …

    A car is simply the sum of its parts.

    Argh! Yet when you turn the key, put in in gear, and pop the clutch, it will move. Something none of its parts would do on their own …

    Personal news!

    Kid #1′s primary school leavers are doing a school play (it’s a tradition).

    This year, it’s Sister Act 2 (I know … *shakes head*). But!

    Kid #1′s taking Ryan Toby’s solo. And, yes, he can hit the high E flat at 2:51.

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

    High E, apparently. Not quite sure what happened there …

  48. Amphiox says

    Let me reiterate my point. All these words, “design”, “intent”, “purpose”, are fundamentally meaningless unless there is agency and the agent is free to act.

    And let me reiterate my point.

    Your second sentence is only true if the meanings of the words “design”, “intent”, “purpose”, “agency”, “free” and “act” are absolute, can only be absolute, and can never be anything but absolute.

    But there are not so. They can, and are, used and understood in RELATIVE contexts.

    Your whole line of argument is therefore worthless.

  49. Amphiox says

    No, you’re NOT “certainly sure” of that, just like how you can’t be “certainly sure” that a flying spaghetti monster isn’t hovering on the other side of the moon.

    We can send a satellite to orbit around the other side of the moon and take a picture. THEN we can be “certainly sure”.

    For a RELATIVE definition of the term “certainly”.

    A RELATIVE definition that translates as “certain enough that we don’t have to make special plans or change our choices in accordance with the potential existence for a flying spaghetti monster hovering on the other side of the moon”, which is the only definition of “certainty” that actually is practically meaningful in the real-world universe.

  50. Amphiox says

    There is no emergent property such as consciousness that arises once the parts of the car are assembled.*

    The emergent property of consciousness does not arise.

    But the emergent property of POWERED MOVEMENT most certainly does.

    What, you think that “consciousness” is something special and unique and is the only kind of emergent property that can exist?

  51. Amphiox says

    Unlike joey, so sadly straightjacketed into his absolutist thinking, atheists are free to use relative definitions for terms, and are free to vary the degree of relativeness depending on context. Some atheists may choose, in some contexts, to use the term “natural” to mean everything happens in accordance to the physical laws that govern the universe, and set that up in opposition to the term “supernatural”.

    Other atheists, at other times (could even be the same atheists), may choose to use the term “natural” to mean things that happen without the intentional intervention of human beings, and set that up in opposition to the term “artificial”.

    One could even say, if one wanted to, that the two words above are DIFFERENT WORDS, that just happen to, in the English language, be spelled the same, and pronounced the same. They have different meanings. Trying to conflate one with the other, as joey is trying to do, is an exercise in idiocy.

  52. John Morales says

    joey:

    Yeah, seems almost mystical, doesn’t it?

    Mysticism is a silly (and a cowardly) intellectual conceit, and not one in which I indulge.

    (This means I can accept reality as it is)

    I do find the concept of strong emergence quite remarkable. Don’t you?

    Since I remarked on it, obviously so.

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One could even say, if one wanted to, that the two words above are DIFFERENT WORDS, that just happen to, in the English language, be spelled the same, and pronounced the same. They have different meanings. Trying to conflate one with the other, as joey is trying to do, is an exercise in idiocy.

    Joey also needs to realize many of us have been posting here for several years, and have seen ALL the philosophical justifications for a deity. And he is presently trying inanely and futilely to get to that conclusion. But they invariably fall due to presuppositionalism, which Joey is engaged in at the present. Unless the deity is presumed, it can’t be shown to exist.

    That is why Joey needs to show physical evidence for his imaginary deity. Physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Something physical, but also stupornatural. Like an eternally burning bush. Joey’s philosophy won’t take him the final step to convince us ever, as everybody here is well aware of the shortcomings of all philosophy/theology on the point of existence of a deity. Showing the existence of a deity requires more than mental wanking and fast talking, it requires physical evidence. Funny how Joey never, ever, tries to go there.

  54. Owlmirror says

    What yardstick are you’re using to determine what is “design” and what is not? Is a beaver’s dam designed? What about a honeycomb or an anthill? If the things beavers, honeybees, and ants create are designed, then what about the organisms themselves? Why can’t they be considered designed things?

    You might describe them as being designed by the process of evolution by natural selection…

    Design and purpose are concepts argued over by biologists; there’s no reason to infer an intelligent agent with intent just because humans have trouble discussing concepts.

    My point is that having a “will” is fundamentally meaningless unless it is free to act.

    But then what does “free” mean?

    Likewise, it’s gibberish to say a computer “intends” to run a program if that is what its wiring/programming and inputs compel it to do and it isn’t free to do anything other than to run the program.

    So it’s gibberish for someone to say “I intend to beat you at chess”, since that someone’s pride in their skill compels them to boast, and they’re not free to do anything other than to play chess in order to satisfy that pride?

    Randomness (purposelessness) can only lead to more randomness.

    I disagree with your implication that randomness is synonymous with purposelessness. And I also disagree with the inevitability of “randomness”. You are ignoring the concept of contingency.

    Here’s some points to consider: Water freezes into flakes (or small spheres, or large spheres) in the sky; water freezes into sheets on a surface; water freezes into icicles when dripping down from something; water vapor freezes into fern-like patterns on flat cold glass.

    Would you say that water becomes those different forms of ice because of purposefulness? (I would say no)
    Would you say that water becomes those different forms of ice because of randomness? (I would still say no, or, not entirely)

    You need a new concept to explain why water becomes those different forms of ice in different ways.

    A car is simply the sum of its parts.

    You’re bad at understanding analogies. If a car were simply the sum of its parts, it would be a motionless, silent mass.

  55. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Let’s not overlook the fact that cringeworthy idiocy is also an emergent property of the human brain.

  56. consciousness razor says

    If the things beavers, honeybees, and ants create are designed, then what about the organisms themselves? Why can’t they be considered designed things?

    In addition to the things they may or may not design, we also have evidence of beavers, honeybees and ants, in case you haven’t noticed. We have no evidence of a god designing them.* And I’m not claiming there can’t be a god, much less that you can’t consider the existence of a god. I’m saying there isn’t a god. (Words mean things, fucker.)

    *Of course, people breed or genetically-engineer beavers, bees, etc. In those cases, the intelligent designers are human beings, not magic sky wizards, so this is beside the point. Or we could talk about Owlmirror’s/Dennett’s (metaphorical) sense of evolutionary processes “designing” them, but this is not what you mean when you’re tying it to awareness, agency or free will.

    Given a purely naturalistic universe, everything is to be considered completely and fundamentally natural. The thought may seem straightforward and obvious at first, but if you stop to think about all that it entails/implies, things become quite absurd.

    For example, man-made global warming is a fundamentally natural phenomenon. Timepieces, machine guns, and atomic bombs are all fundamentally natural objects, no less natural than spiderwebs, honeycombs, trees, and rocks. Using your own words, the existence/origins of all these things can be “explained by fundamentally non-mental physical phenomena”.

    Uh… okay? What’s your point here? Let me know if you ever get around to finding something which is “quite absurd.” Then explain why it’s absurd. You might have to define what “absurd” means to you too, because I get the impression it’s something like “I’m fucking clueless about it” rather than “this contradicts your premises.”

    No, you’re NOT “certainly sure” of that, just like how you can’t be “certainly sure” that a flying spaghetti monster isn’t hovering on the other side of the moon.

    No, I really am expressing to you my own level of certainty. You said I can’t be sure, and now you’re denying that I am sure. Well, fuck you, joey: I actually am sure galaxies don’t have wills. I can tell you what my own fucking reported belief is, because it’s fucking mine to report, not yours, dumbass. If I shouldn’t be so certain, explain why. But if it’s actually fucking impossible to be sure about that (or about anything), then explain what the fucking contradiction is supposed to be or else which fucking physical laws I’d be violating if it happened. Or just get a fucking clue about which words you’re using and what they mean, so you’ll stop mangling everything beyond recognition with your bullshit distortions and manipulations.

    My point is that having a “will” is fundamentally meaningless unless it is free to act. Freedom is what makes “intent”, “design”, and “purpose” fundamentally meaningful.

    That’s what you assert. But your confusion of being free with being uncaused is just confusion. It’s not the “fundamental meaning” of anything.

  57. says

    Joey, you’ve been called on equivocating, so any further ‘it’s possible’ shit without both reasons to think it is happening, plus proposed mechanisms for how it could happen, are bullshit. More in a bit later…
     
     

    What yardstick are you’re using to determine what is “design” and what is not? Is a beaver’s dam designed? What about a honeycomb or an anthill? If the things beavers, honeybees, and ants create are designed, then what about the organisms themselves? Why can’t they be considered designed things?

    Things can be natural, and be designed, for our environment designed life even though it wasn’t intentional, on the part of the environment, or the life that arose. Crystal lattices are a ‘design’ but for there to be ‘designs,’ there has to be something that decides what designs are. For simplicity, let’s just say purposefully created or assembled = designed.
     
     

    Does a chess-playing computer act purposefully and design its moves? Would you consider a chess-playing computer to be rational?

    No, it isn’t rational. For it to be rational or irrational, it must be making a conscious choice with full appreciation of intended consequences. The instructions can be logical, or rational, if they produce the intended outcomes. But that only speaks to the rationality of the designers and builders, not to non-sentient equipment. Even then, rationality is a subjective measure, so there is no certainty of classification.
     
     

    No, you’re NOT “certainly sure” of that, just like how you can’t be “certainly sure” that a flying spaghetti monster isn’t hovering on the other side of the moon.

    (Apologies to you, consciousness razor, for you more than explained what he can, and can’t, know about your certainty. I am trying a different thing that’s been bugging the fuck out of me, lol)
     

    Okay, how certain is certain, joey? Don’t forget being dressed down about equivocating, i.e. just because something isn’t 100% certain does not mean that it is possible beyond a REASONABLE doubt. So quit with the fucking moronic and insult5ing propositions. E-fucking-gads!
    Let me explain: Is it possible for galaxies to have free will? Show intent? Plan?
    NO, for fucks sake.
    - there is zero occurance of anything happening that would indicate this. We live in a galaxy, and we know what it is made up of. Rocks, and very rarefied gasses, and fields.
    - there is no proposed mechanism for how the fuck these intentions would be carried out. Rocks and very rarefied gases and dust do not contain any mechanism for carrying out actions except through transfer of inertia, and almost nothing is in close enough proximity to form cohesive mechanisms, nor to manipulate anything else. Nothing happens that isn’t almost entirely – if not virtually entirely – explainable through natural motion and laws of physics.
    “But,” says Jim dim Bulb, “there is so much we don’t know because all this shit is so far away, and big!!!!”
    “A-ha!” Nimble Rod retorts. “All that shit is the same shit that is near. We can tell by the way it moves, and by spectroscopy. It is the same rocks and gas and dust that we have here on Earth. Out of all the billions upon trillions of experiences we have had with the simple forms of matter and energy here, that are the same as the shit out there, we have had zero confirmed instances of any of it behaving of its own accord. ZERO!
    Zero over billions, or trillions. There is no sane reason to expect that the next few observations will be any different, and if they are not going to be any different here, then the same shit won’t be any different anywhere else either.”
     
     
    You see, joey, the odds are negligible that some strange shit, on the order that you suppose, is happening. The same with teapots and flying spaghetti creatures and aliens and gods hiding behind the moon, or anywhere. Every fucking planet, comet, moon, asteroid, boulder…. Any extraterrestrial object we have seen has never had anything unusual or sentient or creatively designed around it, or behind it, so that the odds of it happening somewhere are, again, negligible.
    Let’s keep things in perspective here, okay?

  58. =8)-DX says

    Does a chess-playing computer act purposefully and design its moves? Would you consider a chess-playing computer to be rational?

    No, it isn’t rational. For it to be rational or irrational, it must be making a conscious choice with full appreciation of intended consequences. The instructions can be logical, or rational, if they produce the intended outcomes. But that only speaks to the rationality of the designers and builders, not to non-sentient equipment. Even then, rationality is a subjective measure, so there is no certainty of classification.

    For joey: just remember here, the reason the chess computer isn’t “rational” is not because it’s parts are fundamentally behaving according to the laws of physics and in that way fundamentally different from brains, but because of the lack of consciousness or self-awareness of what is going on, which is something we associate with rationality. Programmers creating chess computers concentrate on algorithms to best calculate the correct move (including some randomness), for instance allowing the program to evaluate multiple moves, compare with past games and choose the strongest taking into account a host of possibilities. They aren’t interested in creating or simulating any self-awareness of its task in the computer, that would just be a waste of processing power.

    Computers like that are more rational-decision-evaluators than rational *minds*.

  59. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Theophontes: San ping pijiu. Haoji.

    Tomorrow, the largest herbarium in Asia! Kid in a candy shop. After Yunnan, I’m not going to enjoy eating in America anymore. This has been a lovely trip.

  60. says

    =8)-DX

    Computers like that are more rational-decision-evaluators than rational *minds*.

    If they have a learning algorithm, they may learn to not make a certain move when a specific situation occurs if their calculated move always turns out badly. In that case, adapting to a losing situation by trying innovative responses is indeed rational.
    Contrast this with the supposedly sentient Christian that, no matter how many times – thousands even – that they present an argument, and it gets shot down the same logically sound way, will still seek out similar situations in which to present the same losing arguments.
    In this pair of examples, the robot that possesses no self awareness can be said to be acting rationally, while the Christian unit is obviously acting without rationality.
    From this I conclude that the chess bot will totally kick the Christian bot in chess, and in matters metaphysical.

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

    Me, re the emergent properties of a car:

    it will move. Something none of its parts would do on their own …

    I stand corrected. I had forgotten until the Grauniad covered it today, that they will move, given impetus, fully-charged batteries, and enough screenwash.

    Honda: Cog.

  62. Owlmirror says

    Technically, the parts of a car could accelerate and decelerate “on their own” if you dropped them off a cliff — or put them in the bed of a pickup truck (which then accelerates and decelerates) — or put them in the bed of a truck and pushed the truck off a cliff — or whatever other bullshit pathological edge case we can come up with.

    But, really now. Do we need to go there?

  63. =8)-DX says

    The point is not what a pile of car parts can do, it’s what they can’t do unless assembled in a certain way. They can lose their potential energy by falling or rolling, but to transfer energy from petrol you need them assembled in an internal combustion engine, to provide seating and shade during the journey you need the body of the car, a steering wheel to chose direction, wheels to provide reduced friction at high speeds, the chassis.as a framework to hold everything together.

    And cm, the Honda: Cog video was actually a machine made out of car parts which was… wait for it… more than just a sum of its parts =P

    Oh, I’m being redundant.

  64. jonmilne says

    Hi, I’ve been sent a question related to the abortion debate. Can you help out with this one?

    I am not arguing that all or even most abortions should be considered murder (and by abortion, I do not mean miscarriage or the natural ending of a pregnancy by a woman’s body without any person’s deliberate action.)

    I would, though, like to introduce the analogy of two conjoined twins (already born, perhaps even adults) where one twin would survive an operation separating them but the other twin would not. Is this not similar to a pregnancy, especially, for those who are skeptical about an embryo or early fetus’ status as a person with all the accompanying rights, in the latter stages of pregnancy? In this case, one twin is using the resources of another twin’s body in order to survive. Like in a pregnancy, the twin dependent on being conjoined to its sibling for life did not choose to be that way. Does the twin that would survive an operation separating them have a right to demand the procedure?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jon

  65. =8)-DX says

    I’ll give it a go jonmilne.

    Bad analogy: your example is a situation where one born/adult human is biologically dependent on another, which is not the case with abortion. And secondly in cases of co-joined twins there will be mutually intergrown body parts, not the case with pregnancy (there the fetus is a foreign element invading on the bodily integrity of the woman, not a single fetal entity dividing into two consciousnesses). And thirdly, aren’t co-joined twins operated on as soon as possible? This seems more like a case that makes a very strong argument for abortion or fetal reduction to be available as a choice to the mother and her doctor with no restrictions – to attempt to minimise such cases where prenatal surgery is possible, to prevent such a dillema arising in the born human(s) and to allow for abortion in cases where it would be impossible for the twins to lead a meaninful life.

    I think it really gets down to:
    You’d have to specify how the twins are cojoined:
    1) Interwoven circulation, sharing multiple hearts/organs, interconnected nervous system – you can’t really create a case for each of the twins having a single body – they are parts of an interconnected body belonging to both.
    2) One twin only a skull and brain attached to the other twin with no control via the nervous system, dependent on the heart and circulation of the other: a clear case for early separative surgery, as soon as medically possible and also a case for a right to bodily autonomy, since the bodies of the two are mostly distinct.

    Something you’d have to evaluate on a case-by-case basis, but showing the importance of abortion and the necessity of allowing a woman freedom to decide, and with only a few select cases in any way comparable to abortion.

  66. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    @carlie, I thought that was going to be in response to my comment about Sister Act 2.

    Imagine my surprise!

    =8)-DX

    wheels to provide reduced friction at high speeds

    Coming from a part of the world that’s renowned for cars propped up on bricks (having been relieved of their wheels by thieves), my first thought is that they are also highly-effective at low speeds too, compared to the alternatives. ;-)

  67. =8)-DX says

    @cm

    Coming from a part of the world that’s renowned for cars propped up on bricks (having been relieved of their wheels by thieves)

    We used to have that, along with the “leave a bike unguarded, locked, chained, merely divided in parts, in the garage and it’s bound to get stolen”. It’s refreshing to see the difference that becoming post-blok and all capitalist-like has had over here.

  68. says

    The ‘Skeptic Women’ petition has garnered over 150 ‘signatures’. Some familiar names and nyms.

    Indeed. And surprisingly many from Australia, with some names coming as a bit of a surprise tbh.

  69. says

    Saw this on PET-

    EllenBeth Wachs –church/state separation activist and immediate past president of the Humanists of Florida Association –joins Karla Porter and Justin Vacula Saturday, July 6 at 8PM Eastern for discussion about current events, feminism, controversy in the atheist/skeptic community, and much more
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/bravehero/2013/07/07/ellenbeth-wachs

    I realize that appearing on the show does not mean she agrees with Porter and Vacula, but given the topics, as well as her reaction to the deserved criticism she received from some commenters in the Adria Richards thread, my spider sense is tingling.

  70. John Morales says

    In Australian news: Senior NSW police officer shredded documents from meetings with Catholic Church officials

    New South Wales Police has admitted all records of a senior officer’s involvement with a key Catholic Church body set up to deal with sexual abuse cases have been shredded.

    This includes briefing papers and all documentation over a five-year period from 1998 to 2003.

    [...]

    The state’s former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Nicholas Cowdery QC, also has serious concerns.

    “It is quite extraordinary because my experience has been that official police action is backed up by documents, reports and all the relevant material assembled during the official police activity,” he said.

    “So for someone involved in such activity to shred documents like this I think it quite unusual and indeed extraordinary.

    “There is something about shredding documents – it is to put the documents out of reach, but in the mind of the person doing it, to shred documents is to destroy them and to make them unavailable for others.”

    He says he cannot think of a time when it would be necessary or appropriate for a serving police officer to shred documents of their role on a civilian body.

  71. Owlmirror says

    Use •   :

    •   Bullet.
    •   List.
    •   Test.

    Is this a † † I see before me?

  72. =8)-DX says

    @John Morales

    Sounds like the “well all the documents are gone so we don’t know anything bad happened” defence. Or the defence from cluelessness. The RCC is well known for its cluelessness (on human sexuality, morality, and especially any evidence that any member of the hierarchy has ever done anything bad).

     • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
    Ah, html entities..

  73. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I realize that appearing on the show does not mean she agrees with Porter and Vacula, but given the topics, as well as her reaction to the deserved criticism she received from some commenters in the Adria Richards thread, my spider sense is tingling.

    Yeah, sadly, she’s gone to the other side now. I don’t get it. At all. They abused her for extended periods of time for no reason. We strongly disagreed with her in one thread. Now suddenly they’re all wonderful and we suck. I. Don’t. Get. It.

  74. says

    Threadrupt :(

    * soft fluffy hugs to anyone that wants them* oops, wrong thread.
    Poop on all y’all!

    ——————————————————————–

    Any DFW/north Texas Hordelings interested in meeting up for part of the FtBConcious IRL? I’m willing to host at my house which is centrally located in Grapevine.

    I can be reached by clicking my nym above. I think it could be fun, although I would have to insist on clothing (pj’s totally count) if it’s at my house.

  75. joey says

    =8)-DX:

    No, your point is absurd. Saying “Computers simply do what they’re supposed to do, given their physical makeup and the laws of physics” is trivial, since everything does what it’s supposed to do, given its physical makeup and the laws of physics.

    But that is exactly my point. You must also apply that to humans. Would you claim that a rapist “does what he’s supposed to do”, or that global warming is “supposed to happen”?

    Now to get back to galaxies. Galaxies aren’t agents. They don’t have goals. Galaxies don’t choose which star will go supernova (unlike the squirrel who chooses where to put his nut).

    I don’t see how one can fundamentally differentiate between the two (the galaxy and squirrel), especially if neither are to be considered self-aware (you didn’t describe the bird to be self-aware in your previous example). It may seem like the squirrel “chooses” where to put his nut, but why can’t the squirrel be viewed as a rather complex biological mechanism (computer) that does what “it’s supposed to given its physical makeup and the laws of physics”? Where does “choice” fit in there?

    To end this segment joey: what you are essentially saying is that language is meaningless if we accept that all things are made of fundamental particles behaving according to fundamental processes.

    How come you completely ignored what I said about freedom? “Design”, “intent”, “purpose” are meaningless unless you are free to act. Having freedom means that you can choose to act or not act, and that you act on your own responsibility. Freedom is what gives those words any meaning at all.

    Individual freedom is an entirely incoherent concept given a naturalistic universe. Are fundamental particles free to act? Do these particles become free once they assemble into atoms or molecules? Does freedom suddenly emerge once organic molecules combine to form a brain? Doesn’t make sense. Therefore “design”, “intent”, and “purpose”, since they are all contingent on individual freedom, are fundamentally meaningless concepts, given a purely naturalistic universe. These words are only useful for arbitrary abstraction.

    If you define “natural” as “fundamentally arising from natural physical processes”, then yes, everything there is natural. But people don’t mean that when they say “global warming is not natural”. They make an semi-arbitrary distinction between “man-made” and “made some other way: by natural/non-human processes”.

    I agree. And “design”, “intent”, and “purpose” are to be considered arbitrary, not fundamental, distinctions. That is my point.

    —————————–
    Owlmirror:

    What yardstick are you’re using to determine what is “design” and what is not? Is a beaver’s dam designed? What about a honeycomb or an anthill? If the things beavers, honeybees, and ants create are designed, then what about the organisms themselves? Why can’t they be considered designed things?

    You might describe them as being designed by the process of evolution by natural selection…

    Sure, you may describe them as being “designed” in that fashion. But that would merely be an arbitrary distinction.

    But then what does “free” mean?

    That you can choose to act or not act. IOW, you are in control of your actions.

    Likewise, it’s gibberish to say a computer “intends” to run a program if that is what its wiring/programming and inputs compel it to do and it isn’t free to do anything other than to run the program.

    So it’s gibberish for someone to say “I intend to beat you at chess”, since that someone’s pride in their skill compels them to boast, and they’re not free to do anything other than to play chess in order to satisfy that pride?

    What do you mean he/she is “not free” to do anything other than to play chess in order to satisfy that pride? Maybe this is precisely where our opinions differ. The person is free to play chess or not to play chess. If you’re talking about a computer, then I would say the computer is not free to do anything other than what it is wired/programmed to do.

    Randomness (purposelessness) can only lead to more randomness.

    I disagree with your implication that randomness is synonymous with purposelessness.

    Why? Is it not a definition of random to mean “without definite aim, direction, rule, or method”…i.e. without purpose?

    Here’s some points to consider: Water freezes into flakes (or small spheres, or large spheres) in the sky; water freezes into sheets on a surface; water freezes into icicles when dripping down from something; water vapor freezes into fern-like patterns on flat cold glass.

    Would you say that water becomes those different forms of ice because of purposefulness? (I would say no)

    It’s nonsensical to say that something happens because of purposelessness. If there is no purpose to something occurring, then the occurrence is simply purposeless. It does not occur because of purposelessness; the occurrence is simply purposeless.

    There is fundamentally no purpose for water to become those different forms of ice. IOW, it’s purposeless for water to become those different forms. Do you think there is a purpose for water to become ice?

    You need a new concept to explain why water becomes those different forms of ice in different ways.

    No I don’t. As I said, there is no purpose why water becomes any of those different forms of ice. Do you think there is a purpose? If so, whose purpose is it?

    ————————-
    consciousness razor:

    In addition to the things they may or may not design, we also have evidence of beavers, honeybees and ants, in case you haven’t noticed.

    And we have evidence of planets, solar systems, and galaxies.

    No, I really am expressing to you my own level of certainty. You said I can’t be sure, and now you’re denying that I am sure. Well, fuck you, joey: I actually am sure galaxies don’t have wills. I can tell you what my own fucking reported belief is, because it’s fucking mine to report, not yours, dumbass. If I shouldn’t be so certain, explain why.

    All I mean is that one can’t be absolutely certain of such things. That’s why I brought up solipsism earlier, because the only thing of which you can be certain is that your own mind exists. You can’t be absolutely certain other minds exist, and similarly you can’t be absolutely certain other minds don’t exist (and in places you don’t expect, such as rocks, trees, and galaxies). If you didn’t intend for “certainly sure” to mean “with absolutely certainty”, then my apologies. Just a somewhat pointless aside.

    My point is that having a “will” is fundamentally meaningless unless it is free to act. Freedom is what makes “intent”, “design”, and “purpose” fundamentally meaningful.

    That’s what you assert. But your confusion of being free with being uncaused is just confusion. It’s not the “fundamental meaning” of anything.

    How can “intent”, “design”, and “purpose” have fundamental meaning without freedom?

    ————————-
    mikmik:

    Things can be natural, and be designed, for our environment designed life even though it wasn’t intentional, on the part of the environment, or the life that arose. Crystal lattices are a ‘design’ but for there to be ‘designs,’ there has to be something that decides what designs are. For simplicity, let’s just say purposefully created or assembled = designed.

    Alright, so “design” is contingent with “intention” or “purpose”. I agree. But what does “intention” and “purpose” mean if you don’t have freedom?

    ————————–
    =8)-DX:

    For joey: just remember here, the reason the chess computer isn’t “rational” is not because it’s parts are fundamentally behaving according to the laws of physics and in that way fundamentally different from brains, but because of the lack of consciousness or self-awareness of what is going on, which is something we associate with rationality.

    And as I mentioned earlier, consciousness/self-awareness is insufficient in order to truly have the ability to design, intend, or even rationalize. My computer can suddenly become conscious but if it’s still entirely slave to its programming, wiring, and my key-pounding, how can one say that my computer can truly rationalize (or intend or design)? Again, freedom is an absolutely necessary requirement.

    My heart beats every second of every day that I’m alive. I’m conscious and aware of the fact that my heart beats. But does that mean that I intend for my heart to beat? Does that mean that I make a rational decision each time my heart beats? No, that’s absurd, because I don’t have the freedom to choose whether to have my heart continue beating or not (other than suicide). Being conscious of my own heart beating is insufficient for intention.

  76. Amphiox says

    I would, though, like to introduce the analogy of two conjoined twins (already born, perhaps even adults) where one twin would survive an operation separating them but the other twin would not. Is this not similar to a pregnancy, especially, for those who are skeptical about an embryo or early fetus’ status as a person with all the accompanying rights, in the latter stages of pregnancy?

    One aspect where the conjoined twin analogy does match that of late term viable fetus abortion is that it is incredibly rare and incredibly unusual. So rare and so unusual that generalities cannot be made, and each case must be examined individually. Blunt, broad laws should not be applied to such cases, and the humane resolution of these rare dilemmas is best achieved when maximum freedom and flexibility is provided to the individual people involved.

  77. consciousness razor says

    In addition to the things they may or may not design, we also have evidence of beavers, honeybees and ants, in case you haven’t noticed.

    And we have evidence of planets, solar systems, and galaxies.

    But we have no evidence, like I’ve already said, that those are designers. But like a broken fucking record, you go right back to where you were. All you gave before is an argument from ignorance, which you don’t even believe to be true. Remember? This is just how you’re working toward a magical god who’s a designer, for which you still haven’t given any evidence. You don’t believe galaxies are designers. You believe in a god and in human souls.

    You’re claiming that a naturalist (not you) can’t meaningfully distinguish between designers and non-designers, hence why you think we need your brand of supernaturalism. But this is false. It’s based only on your own ignorance. Naturalism doesn’t entail that there are no minds or wills or intentions or designs or purposes or freedom. The fact that it doesn’t have the nonsensical supernatural versions of them that you want is a feature not a bug.

    All I mean is that one can’t be absolutely certain of such things. That’s why I brought up solipsism earlier, because the only thing of which you can be certain is that your own mind exists.

    Who cares? Your argument from ignorance is still just that. We don’t need “absolute certainty” for anything. It is useless. It gives you no results. For example, you cannot claim galaxies have will because we’re not absolutely certain that they don’t. You need actual evidence to support such a premise, but you have none. (And in any case, you don’t believe it yourself. You really are awful about this devil’s advocate stuff.)

    I gave a naturalistic description above, of what conscious, intentional agents are like. Galaxies don’t fit that description. There is abundant evidence for all of this. So your argument is bullshit. Try making a real teleological argument. Or just give up. But please, for fuck’s sake, whatever you do, stop this tiring nonsense.

    How can “intent”, “design”, and “purpose” have fundamental meaning without freedom?

    We’ve been through all of this many times before. If nothing causes me to act, if my intentions aren’t motivated, then I would not intend at all. I would not be somehow more free with libertarian free will than with a naturalistic determined will. Any choice, assuming that’s even a coherent concept without a cause, would be completely arbitrary by definition. It would be undirected, unintentional and unpurposeful because it is unmotivated. I wouldn’t be responsible for my choices, because I would not be responding to what in the past makes them meaningful or what I expect will result from them.

    Purposefulness is future-directed for the most part: it’s about what’s going to happen. Causes, on the other hand, are about the past, so there’s nothing to suggest lacking causes in the past is the sort of freedom anyone needs in order to have and consider a variety of future-oriented goals. It’s just the opposite. When you take the past history out of a choice, there’s by definition nothing to base it on as a future-directed action. Your expectations from the past don’t frame your predictions for the future, so you could not make any choice at all in any meaningful sense. You would not be “free.” You’d be completely inert. And life would not be more meaningful, or ethics more ethical, if we had libertarian free will. It would just be more like the bullshit that theists dream up.

  78. says

    joey

    Alright, so “design” is contingent with “intention” or “purpose”. I agree. But what does “intention” and “purpose” mean if you don’t have freedom?

    Our universe is causal; cause and effect. Change accumulates through trial and error, although these would be purposeful changes. The other method would be by accident, but accident also implies intent – an accident is an unintended effect.
    That leaves chance. Change only occurs through chance events with certain probable outcomes. But what if chance produces intent?
    What is intent? An act with a wished for, or wanted, outcome. An action/cause with a desired outcome.
    Does DNA desire to reproduce? No. Do we? Of course! All the time, 24/7, rain, sleet, or dark of night! But I digress…
     
    Now, in order for something to be a desire, does it have to be free? No. Need creates a desire, and a need is a fact of nature. X needs to happen to produce Y, Y for Z. However, desire resides in consciousness. We need to breathe to stay alive, our desire is to stay alive.
    Let’s say a bee shows intent; we’ll call it Eric. No, a worm. Let’s say a worm struggles towards moisture and away from direct sunlight, which would dry it out and kill it. It responds to stimuli. Does it have a desire? I would say yes, but maybe it has an imperative, only. There is an imperative to stay alive in the worm.
     
    Imperative. Galaxies and inanimate matter/energy have no self generated imperative. We do, whether it is freely willed, or merely mechanically caused, we have a desire to create change.
    In our brain is a feedback mechanism that evaluates ideas against future scenarios. We get positive feelings, or feelings of imperative, upon which we act. These feelings are causes, and they are caused by ideas that occur to us.
    I have introduced no freedom so far.
    Ideas occur, be they intended, or most likely, caused, and this generates feedback which we detect as feelings and imperatives(which are feelings, in my book). Then we act with intent. Impelled, compelled, whatever.
     
    Short answer: no, we don’t need freedom to design, we just need feedback loops, to evaluate ideas, and which resolve to imperatives. Imperatives that do not have a guaranteed outcome, but a desired one. Imperatives that were not willed.
    Bees, they design hives, and so do we, whether we are free, or conscious, or not. (Now I am really not sure if we have free will, contrary to what I thought 6 mo. ago)
     
     
    Fuck, is philosophy ever navel gazing… but it’s fun!

    – - -

    So I guess that is the illusion of free will, the desire to do stuff. It just happens, but it happens to us, alone, and what we want to do is what we do. (Yeah, when we do stuff we don’t want to, we realistically still want to, compared to the alternatives.)

  79. says

    For you long time commenters, how long has joey been repeating the same tired, unevidenced “arguments” now?

    I’m reminded of his purpose for being here: to convince some (or all) of us that our worldview is incorrect. Yet the one thing he needs…the one thing he has been repeatedly asked to demonstrate…is sufficient evidence to prove the existence of the deity he worships.

    So joey, where is that evidence?
    (and you are not fooling anyone with your line of questioning. These evasive antics of yours are silly)

  80. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But that is exactly my point.

    A fuckwitted presuppositional point without any reality. Which is why your agurments are blather, not anything cogent. Lose the presuppositions that your imaginary deity exists, your babble is anything other than mythology/fiction, and your “sophistitimated theology” is anything other than bullshit because it is based on fallacious presuppositions.

    I don’t see how one can fundamentally differentiate between the two

    Of course not, you must get your head out of the asshole of presuppositonal thinking. But that will never happen, as you are to inane and delusional for that to happen.

    Individual freedom is an entirely incoherent concept given a naturalistic universe.

    Citation need fuckwitted presuppositionalist. Your axioms must be shown to be logical without the existence of your imaginary deity and mythical fictional babble. Until that is the case, your philosophy fails due to failure of your definitions.

    Why? Is it not a definition of random to mean “without definite aim, direction, rule, or method”…i.e. without purpose?

    Purpose is a presuppositional definition which requires you to show conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. Since you haven’t done that, random is what is described by quantum science, and biology as to where mutations occur. You haven’t shown otherwise with science. You fail.

    How can “intent”, “design”, and “purpose” have fundamental meaning without freedom?

    How can it have freedom if your presuppositional and imaginary deity is involved. Utter and total bullshit on your part.

    And as I mentioned earlier,

    You are a presuppositional liar and bullshitter. Anything you mention is presupposed to be lies and bullshit. Don’t like it when presupposition refutes your agruments before you make them, don’t make presuppositional arguments. CITE THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE TO BACK UP YOUR ASSERTIONS.

  81. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    But we have no evidence, like I’ve already said, that those are designers. But like a broken fucking record, you go right back to where you were. All you gave before is an argument from ignorance, which you don’t even believe to be true. Remember? This is just how you’re working toward a magical god who’s a designer, for which you still haven’t given any evidence. You don’t believe galaxies are designers. You believe in a god and in human souls.

    The entire point is that “design” becomes merely an arbitrary abstraction instead of a word that has a precise and fundamental meaning to it. If a honeybee can be a designer, then why can’t a galaxy also be a designer? In the latter case, I simply made “designer” to be a more encompassing abstraction. Just like the example Owlmirror gave of how evolution could also be considered a designer. Once design gets detached from freedom, the word loses its fundamentally meaning such that it could encompass essentially anything. Or nothing at all.

    Naturalism doesn’t entail that there are no minds or wills or intentions or designs or purposes or freedom.

    What does naturalism say about freedom?

    All I mean is that one can’t be absolutely certain of such things. That’s why I brought up solipsism earlier, because the only thing of which you can be certain is that your own mind exists.

    Who cares?

    You’re right. Who cares? Let’s move on…

    We’ve been through all of this many times before. If nothing causes me to act, if my intentions aren’t motivated, then I would not intend at all. I would not be somehow more free with libertarian free will than with a naturalistic determined will. Any choice, assuming that’s even a coherent concept without a cause, would be completely arbitrary by definition. It would be undirected, unintentional and unpurposeful because it is unmotivated.

    And as I have mentioned before (probably in our last free will discussion, several moons ago) I don’t completely subscribe to the contra-causal description of free will. Just because a choice has motivation doesn’t necessarily mean the choice is not made freely. I can use $100 to purchase a cool pair of sneakers, or I could donate that money to the poor. I have motivations for both choices. But just because I choose one or the other doesn’t mean that choice isn’t freely made.

    Personal freedom is fundamental and self-evident. I am free to act because I feel that I am free to act and I experience my freedom at essentially every moment. I do not feel like some marionette on strings in which I am conscious and self-aware but not in control of my thoughts and actions, such that some other force is pulling my strings. In general, I am in control of my thoughts and actions, and I feel responsible for my them. And I don’t think I’m the only human being who feels this way.

    Given naturalism, does it even make sense to say that I am in control? First of all, what exactly is this I? There are atoms, molecules, and compounds that make up what is considered my body. Exactly which group of these things comprise this me? Is it the atoms that form the entire body, including my hair, nails, and eyelashes? Is it the molecules that comprise my entire nervous system? Or maybe it’s the compounds that form only my brain?

    I believe PZ Myers would agree with me regarding this incoherence…

    My mind is a product of the physical properties of my brain; it is not above them or beyond them or somehow independent of them. It doesn’t even make sense to talk about “me”, which is ultimately simply yet another emergent property of the substrate of the brain, modifying the how the brain acts. It is how the brain acts.

    I think consciousness is a product of self-referential modeling of how decisions are made in the brain in the absence of any specific information about the mechanisms of decision-making — it’s an illusion generated by a high-level ‘theory of mind’ module that generates highly simplified, highly derived models of how brains work that also happens to be applied to our own brain. -PZ

    (emphasis mine)

    And even if we are able to nail down what this I in naturalism is, what does it mean to say that I am in control? Do the laws of physics change once an I is formed, such that this I can actually control the movement of these fundamental particles that encompass it?

    Again, given a naturalistic universe, saying that I am in control makes no sense. Yet, every single one of us lives every single day like it’s fundamental knowledge.

    ——————–
    mikmik:

    Bees, they design hives, and so do we, whether we are free, or conscious, or not.

    If you can abstract “design” such that freedom and consciousness are not requirements, then galaxies can “design” as well. The word loses concrete meaning such that anything is designed…or nothing is designed.

    ———————
    Tony:

    I’m reminded of his purpose for being here: to convince some (or all) of us that our worldview is incorrect. Yet the one thing he needs…the one thing he has been repeatedly asked to demonstrate…is sufficient evidence to prove the existence of the deity he worships.

    So joey, where is that evidence?

    Have you not even read my last few posts? Do you believe in human freedom? Do you believe in moral responsibility? If you do, then try your best to square that away with naturalism. If you can’t, and you still believe human freedom and responsibility exist, then there is your “evidence”.

    ————————-
    Nerd:

    Individual freedom is an entirely incoherent concept given a naturalistic universe.

    Citation need fuckwitted presuppositionalist.

    Here you go.

  82. says

    Joey:
    You really have learned nothing in your time here. The onus is not on me to demonstrate why I do or do not believe in human freedom and responsibility.
    The burden of proof is on you to present evidence that YOUR god exists. Thats a pretty extraordinary claim and those require extraordinary evidence. (debating freedom, morality, free will, intent, etc like you have attempting can be a nice philosophical distraction, but I have no interest in doing so).

    If you had actual proof, you would have presented it by now. For that matter, were any proof to exist, someone before you would have done so already (the level of arrogance you display is astonishing). You have no scientific evidence for “His” existence. All you have is ‘belief without evidence’ i.e. faith.

  83. consciousness razor says

    The entire point is that “design” becomes merely an arbitrary abstraction instead of a word that has a precise and fundamental meaning to it.

    Nope. Consciousness and intention and so on exist on a continuum. They are relative terms describing complex sets of abilities; they’re not one thing and only one thing, which isn’t composed of any parts/subprocesses. You can insist that your black-and-white thinking is right, that there really is a sharp line somewhere and somehow, but that doesn’t make it any more accurate or fundamental. It makes you a dogmatic, unthinking jackass. And the fact that we’re talking about a concept makes it an abstraction. If yours isn’t an abstraction, I’d ask what and where and how it is.

    Let’s see where your reasoning breaks down. (Probably several places.)

    How old is the universe? How old is the Earth? If life came from non-life, how did that happen? Once there was life, did it all evolve from a common ancestor?
    Whatever special thing you want to point out about humans (“consciousness,” “libertarian free will,” etc.), how did we come to have it? Are other apes, for example, semi-conscious or semi- “free” relative to us? Did this evolve naturally? Did a god give Adam and Eve souls, along with all other people but no other animals? Is that how we came to be special? What sort of story are you telling yourself about all of this?

    What does naturalism say about freedom?

    It is something people create for themselves. Do you mean legal or political freedom here? No, that can’t be it, because we can have legal and political concepts. Do you mean moral freedom, from being forced at gunpoint to do stuff against our wills? No, that can’t be it either, because we can have moral concepts.

    Or do you mean a sort of metaphysical freedom, in the sense of libertarian free will, such that there needs to be some new category of existence, which doesn’t fit in naturalistic metaphysics, in order to account for it? Yes, that is the sort of thing you have to mean, if you actually want to argue against naturalism and for supernatural gods or souls. Naturalism doesn’t have that. So there’s your answer. But you already knew that.

    And as I have mentioned before (probably in our last free will discussion, several moons ago) I don’t completely subscribe to the contra-causal description of free will.

    What the fuck does this mean? If that were the case, what the fuck would there be for you to argue about? How exactly are you sort-of-but-not-completely a libertarian about free will?

    The dribble following the quote above just indicates that you are a libertarian, so this is just another dishonest dodge from you. You’re not going to address the points I raised, much less refute anything about them. You’re going to ignore it so you can keep saying the same bullshit over and over.

  84. Amphiox says

    But what does “intention” and “purpose” mean if you don’t have freedom?

    Only in a random universe is freedom possible.

  85. Amphiox says

    The entire point is that “design” becomes merely an arbitrary abstraction instead of a word that has a precise and fundamental meaning to it.

    The word NEVER had a precise or fundamental meaning. It has ALWAYS been an abstraction. But there is nothing arbitrary about that abstraction. The abstraction is a reflection of the relative nature of reality.

    If a honeybee can be a designer, then why can’t a galaxy also be a designer?

    A honeybee has a brain, and therefore it can be a designer. (Whether it actually is one is a subject of continuing debate.*) We know of no galaxy that has a brain, nor have any evidence of any mechanism that could give a galaxy a brain. Thus we conclude that a galaxy probably is not a designer.

    Perhaps a galaxy can be a designer. Perhaps it can have some kind of Boltzman Brain in it. Perhaps it is a character in Futurama. But without evidence we have no reason to suppose such things are likely.

    The question of can it be x is a pointless and meaningless one. The important question is is it likely to be x?

    *The real world is relative. Human concepts and words are always fuzzy at their edges.

  86. Amphiox says

    Here you go

    That citation does not in any way, shape or form lend support to the statement for which Nerd demanded a citation.

    Citation STILL needed.

  87. Amphiox says

    There is no such thing as “fundamental” meaning in human languages.

    No human words have “precise” meanings. No human words have “fundamental” meanings.

    Except wherein the words “precise” and “fundamental” are metaphoric abstractions.

    ALL human words are abstractions. SOME are arbitrary abstractions. Some are not (relatively).

  88. says

    joey

    If you can abstract “design” such that freedom and consciousness are not requirements, then galaxies can “design” as well. The word loses concrete meaning such that anything is designed…or nothing is designed.

    You forgot “intent.” I abstracted design to “intent.” Intent, based on evaluating possibly random ideas(to an extent, but at least not purposely generated) and abstracting intended, but not necessarily certain, outcomes. I didn’t mention freedom, only intent, and I want to add ability, or means, to intent.
    Design, from flakey-pedia:

    “More formally design has been defined as follows –

    (noun) a specification of an object, manifested by an agent, intended to accomplish goals, in a particular environment, using a set of primitive components, satisfying a set of requirements, subject to constraints;
    (verb, transitive) to create a design, in an environment (where the designer operates)[2]

    Another definition for design is a roadmap or a strategic approach for someone to achieve a unique expectation. It defines the specifications, plans, parameters, costs, activities, processes and how and what to do within legal, political, social, environmental, safety and economic constraints in achieving that objective.[3]

    Here, a “specification” can be manifested as either a plan or a finished product, and “primitives” are the elements from which the design object is composed.”

    It takes the ability to pick up a piece of material, and intentionally place it in a place that it would not normally fall (or attach), that is where design begins.

    You, joey, are trying to force a concrete definition of what is at once, designed, at then next, not designed. That is like trying to force an exact definition of what life is, and what it isn’t. We don’t have an exact definition of life, nor of design. Same with consciousness.
    So: I may have inherited motivation, and have unintentionally realized various ideas, but only I have been able to evaluate, and then act on, an abstract preconception of what I wanted to say in this comment. I designed it as unique to my circumstances. A design is a unique solution, and I don’t think inanimate matter can do this. A designer has to be animated, and it has to have a plan unique unto itself.

    If you have a billion galaxies, how many of them will intentionally design a unique object, or situation. They couldn’t, even if they wanted to.
    A billion people will come up with untold intentions and plans, even in identical situations.

     

    (Anyways, I think I know what you mean, joey. I used the same arguments to (try to) prove nihilism in the absence of free will. I’ve been rethinking what freedom means, though. Feelings, that is the key, but whatever!)

     
     
    Round 2:

    If you can abstract “design” such that freedom and consciousness are not requirements, then galaxies can “design” as well. The word loses concrete meaning such that anything is designed…or nothing is designed.

    No. If A[freedom, consciousness], then B[design] therefore if B[design], then A[freedom, consciousness].
    Wrong.
    C can also cause B. C = intent. If B, then A or C.

     
    Here, further down the page at wikipedia, my position on design:

    The Action-Centric Model

    The Action-Centric Perspective is a label given to a collection of interrelated concepts, which are antithetical to The Rational Model.[12] It posits that:

    designers use creativity and emotion to generate design candidates,
    the design process is improvised,
    no universal sequence of stages is apparent – analysis, design and implementation are contemporary and inextricably linked[12]

    The Action-Centric Perspective is based on an empiricist philosophy and broadly consistent with the Agile approach[23] and amethodical development.[24] Substantial empirical evidence supports the veracity of this perspective in describing the actions of real designers.[21] Like the Rational Model, the Action-Centric model sees design as informed by research and knowledge. However, research and knowledge are brought into the design process through the judgment and common sense of designers – by designers “thinking on their feet” – more than through the predictable and controlled process stipulated by the Rational Model. Designers’ context-dependent experience and professional judgment take center stage more than technical rationality.[7]“

    I haven’t covered some shite with the robots, but neither have I covered elephants and art. Not to mention it’s 5 hours past my bed time ;) I haven’t even gotten to fuzzy logic and Bayesian modelling

  89. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Joey the irrelevant evidenceless loser:

    What a bunch of intellectual cowards!

    Here you go.

    Doesn’t prove your point at all as nothing but OPINION. Try a link to something found in places like libraries of science, found at institutions of higher learning world-wide.

  90. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, forgot to erase the copypasta in #125 from the sodden ape thread, the intellectual cowards quote.

  91. says

    @ chigau (Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!)

    [you have been promoted by several a's.]

    Are y’all still enjoying joey?

    joey. no. But the responses to the goddist clown are entertaining.

    @ Amphiox

    There is no such thing as “fundamental” meaning in human languages.

    Language is interesting in being pretty much the point at which religiosity infects the human psych. Where we generate our linguistic abilities, we generate also many of the latching points of the gods. It is not without reason that many of the toughest (so called) theological reasonings, when broken down, prove to benothing more than linguistic games. (Eg: The ontological argument is, as Bertrand Russel noted, little more than playing with words.)

    In the acquisition of language (and many of our basic ideas) we take many shortcuts. Categorisation is not necessarily as much by experience, or any form of direct knowledge, as by inference. Into this maelstrom are entrained also many false concepts. This labile process is particularly sensitive to the pernicious effects of religious indoctrination.

  92. Amphiox says

    To have intent and be capable of design, you must have a brain.

    We can broad with our definition of “brain” here. Let us allow that anything that can transmit and process information has the potential to be a brain.

    Could a galaxy have a brain? It contains things within it that can and do transmit information – things like stars, pulsars, etc. But does it have anything that can process information? Processing information requires receiving a transmission of information changing state in response to the information received and re-transmitted altered information as a result of that change of state.

    The information transmitted by stars and the like is in the form of photons. We do not know of any structures in a galaxy that process that information by receiving photons, changing state in response to that reception, and re-emitting photons altered specifically in response to the received photons (and this re-emission would need to be reproducible. Identical input must produce identical output.)

    Is there anything else in a galaxy that can serve as a transmission/processing mechanism for information? Maybe gravity. The objects in a galaxy orbit as a result of gravity. The orbits have frequencies, and things that oscillate with frequencies can store information encoded with their oscillations, and objects with gravity can, theoretically, affect other objects, changing their frequencies and oscillations.

    But these are things we can observe, and any hint of actual information processing in a galaxy leaves a signature that theoretically can be recognized. We have observed many galaxies, observed both the light they emit and the effects of the gravity of the objects within them. We have never seen any such signature.

    To design requires one more property. A designer needs “muscles”. By “muscles” I mean the ability to physically affect the external world. To translate intention, derived from the information processing of its “brain”, into action. To design a solar system, a galaxy has to have to ability to move the things that will make up that solar system, in response or as a consequence of information processing occurring in its “brain”.

    What mechanism could a galaxy possess that can move objects in response to information processing? The only thing we have is gravity. Gravity certainly can move objects, but can it do so in response to information processing?

    If the information is processed as photons, then we know of no mechanism that can translate that information into gravitational action.

    Furthermore, such intentional movement of objects using gravity would be readily detectable by direct observation here on earth. We have seen no such hint of any such thing in any of the galaxies we have observed.

    Perhaps we simply haven’t been observing long enough? If you were a bacterium in the human brain observing action potentials moving between neurons for a microsecond, you might be hard pressed to recognize that the sum of this activity produces information processing, too.

    But therein lies the problem, vis-a-vis the translation of information processing into action.

    If information is stored in orbital oscillations (and this is the only known way in which it is possible for a galaxy to store and process information in a way that can be translated into action a galaxy can initiate), then a single orbit would basically store one bit. A single orbit for an object in a galaxy may take hundreds of millions of years. Gravity waves move at the speed of light. The fastest possible transmission of this hypothetical information would therefore be the speed of light. But an orbit of an object in a galaxy may be hundreds of millions of light years in diameter.

    If a galaxy had a brain, then a single simple thought would take hundreds of millions of light years to complete. A complex thought even longer.

    How long does it take for a solar system to form? A few hundred million years at the most, based on what we know of solar system formation. So the time for a solar system to form is equivalent to the time it would take a galaxy, even if it had a brain and could have intention, to formulate a single thought.

    If a galaxy had a brain, the time it would take to formulate an intent to design a solar system and carry out its intention would be longer than the current age of the universe, by several orders of magnitude.

    So thus, galaxies CANNOT design solar systems. Not according to the currently known laws of physics. Even if were possible for a galaxy to have a brain that could produce intent. Even if it were possible that a galaxy could respond to its intention by actually acting, the laws of physics do not allow it to think fast enough or act fast enough to design solar systems.

  93. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My mom died this afternoon. Feeling quite numb right now.

    Sorry to hear about that. My deepest sympathies.

  94. Ogvorbis: Vitium hominis esse says

    Janine:

    You have my profound sympathy. Hugs to you and yours.

  95. opposablethumbs says

    Janine, I’m so very sorry. I hope you have plenty of support around you.

  96. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    Janine – I am so so sorry. I can’t even grasp how you must feel. My thoughts are with you and my heart is heavy for you.

  97. Owlmirror says

    What yardstick are you’re using to determine what is “design” and what is not? Is a beaver’s dam designed? What about a honeycomb or an anthill? If the things beavers, honeybees, and ants create are designed, then what about the organisms themselves? Why can’t they be considered designed things?

    You might describe them as being designed by the process of evolution by natural selection…

    Sure, you may describe them as being “designed” in that fashion. But that would merely be an arbitrary distinction.

    Not at all. It’s using the term “design” to refer to processes and mechanisms; perhaps more specifically as processes iterated over time. It’s metaphorical, but not arbitrary.

    Rivers are designed by the snowfall in the mountains they descend from melting in the spring; by the terrain they flow through; the minerals making up that terrain. The lower part of the river is designed by the sediment load from the upper parts of the main river and the tributaries that flow in.

    Galaxies do not design; they are designed by the interaction of the gravitational fields of their component masses.

    The design of the patterns of salt in this amazing resonance experiment is the result of the sheet vibrating in different ways at different frequencies.

    What do you mean he/she is “not free” to do anything other than to play chess in order to satisfy that pride? Maybe this is precisely where our opinions differ. The person is free to play chess or not to play chess. If you’re talking about a computer, then I would say the computer is not free to do anything other than what it is wired/programmed to do.

    People only demonstrate “freedom” by what they don’t do? So all the people playing chess in chess matches are unfree automatons? You are an unfree automaton because you are arguing here, rather than demonstrating your freedom by not arguing?

    It’s nonsensical to say that something happens because of purposelessness. If there is no purpose to something occurring, then the occurrence is simply purposeless. It does not occur because of purposelessness; the occurrence is simply purposeless.

    If so, it’s also nonsensical to say that purposelessness can only lead to more purposelessness. Purposelessness simply is.

    There is fundamentally no purpose for water to become those different forms of ice. IOW, it’s purposeless for water to become those different forms. Do you think there is a purpose for water to become ice?

    No. But given the metaphorical definition of design, I would say that each form of ice is designed by the processes involved in their formation.

    You need a new concept to explain why water becomes those different forms of ice in different ways.

    No I don’t

    Your original assertion was that: “Randomness (purposelessness) can only lead to more randomness.”

    This cannot be absolutely true.

    Going from the bottom up, physical processes can result in purposeless design.
    Going from the top down, purpose — human purpose; deliberate intelligent design — cannot be infinitely regressable, but must, at some point, result from something that does not have intelligent purpose; the processes of the physical operation of the brain itself.

    As I said, there is no purpose why water becomes any of those different forms of ice.

    I agree that there is no purpose, but there are still nevertheless different physical processes, which must be taken into account to describe what happens.

    If it were merely randomness, why would there be different forms of ice at all?

    ======

    The entire point is that “design” becomes merely an arbitrary abstraction instead of a word that has a precise and fundamental meaning to it. If a honeybee can be a designer, then why can’t a galaxy also be a designer?

    The galaxy is the result of physical processes; it isn’t a process itself. I might come up with processes that occur in galaxies, though. For example: The collecting and collapsing of gas in dense nebulae in galaxies designs new stars.

    In the latter case, I simply made “designer” to be a more encompassing abstraction. Just like the example Owlmirror gave of how evolution could also be considered a designer. Once design gets detached from freedom, the word loses its fundamentally meaning such that it could encompass essentially anything. Or nothing at all.

    I’ve tried to be fairly rigorous in limiting the metaphorical use of “design” to “resulting from physical processes”. That’s neither “essentially anything” nor “nothing at all”.

    ======

    And as I have mentioned before (probably in our last free will discussion, several moons ago)

    Nearly a year ago, actually. Time flies when you don’t have the free will to discuss free will.

    I don’t completely subscribe to the contra-causal description of free will. Just because a choice has motivation doesn’t necessarily mean the choice is not made freely. I can use $100 to purchase a cool pair of sneakers, or I could donate that money to the poor. I have motivations for both choices. But just because I choose one or the other doesn’t mean that choice isn’t freely made.

    It’s free in the sense that it is uncoerced; it isn’t free in the sense that you could have chosen other than you did in fact choose.

    Whatever motivation was most prominent when you chose was the internal driver of the choice. Did you choose to have that motivation? Did you choose for that motivation to be most prominent?

    Personal freedom is fundamental and self-evident.

    Only in the weakest sense of the term.

    I am free to act because I feel that I am free to act and I experience my freedom at essentially every moment. I do not feel like some marionette on strings in which I am conscious and self-aware but not in control of my thoughts and actions, such that some other force is pulling my strings. In general, I am in control of my thoughts and actions, and I feel responsible for my them. And I don’t think I’m the only human being who feels this way.

    There’s nothing unnatural in feeling that way, and I would generally agree that it’s probably healthy for your self to feel that way, and it’s probably good for our society and species that we generally feel that way, most of the time.

    But it’s ironic that you refer to feelings when it is your feelings you have the least control over. Do you choose to feel hungry? Do you choose to feel tired? Do you choose to feel pain when injured? If you heard your child scream in pain, would it be your choice to feel panicked?

    Given naturalism, does it even make sense to say that I am in control?

    Sure. It means you are feeling the emotion of being in control. You might not have control over the feeling of being in control, but there it is.

  98. Amphiox says

    Given naturalism, does it even make sense to say that I am in control?

    In naturalism, humans perceive reality with their brains, and only with their brains. There is no “soul” separate from the brain.

    In naturalism, events that are indistinguishable are considered to be the same, for practical purposes if nothing else.

    In naturalism, you perceive yourself to be in control. This is either real, or an illusion.

    But you, in your reference frame, with your brain, cannot perceive the difference between the two.

    In naturalism, alternatives for which differences cannot be perceived are considered to be the same.

    So yes, given naturalism, if you perceive yourself to be in control, and cannot tell the difference between being in control and not being in control, then it makes complete sense to say that you are in control.

    You simply have to accept that the concept of being “in control” is not absolute, and never was.

  99. Amphiox says

    In the latter case, I simply made “designer” to be a more encompassing abstraction. Just like the example Owlmirror gave of how evolution could also be considered a designer.

    No, you didn’t “simply” make the abstraction more encompassing. You completely changed the category to which the metaphor was applied.

    Evolution is a PROCESS. A designer is an object. Owlmirror used “designer” metaphorically to objectify a PROCESS.

    A galaxy in an object. You removed the metaphor completely and made it literal. That is why Owlmirror’s use of the term, as metaphor, was justifiable, but yours, literally, was incorrect.

  100. Owlmirror says

    Thinking about design as the result of processes reminded me of an episode of Nova I re-watched recently. Basically, it looks like many things in life have a fractal design that results from the processes of growth, development, and dispersal:

    BRIAN ENQUIST: We’re going to census this forest. We’re going to be measuring the diameter at the base of the trees, ranging all the way from the largest trees down to the smallest trees. And in that way we can then sample the distribution of sizes within the forest.

    [...]
    NARRATOR: Even though the forest may appear random and chaotic, the team believes it actually has a structure, one that, amazingly, is almost identical to the fractal structure of the tree they have just cut down.

    JAMES BROWN: The beautiful thing is that the distribution of the sizes of individual trees in the forest appears to exactly match the distribution of the sizes of individual branches within a single tree.

    NARRATOR: If they’re correct, studying a single tree will make it easier to predict how much carbon dioxide an entire forest can absorb.

    When they finish here, they take their measurements back to base camp, where they’ll see if their ideas hold up.

    BRIAN ENQUIST: So is this the, this is the tree plot, right?

    DREW KERKHOFF: Yeah. The cool thing is that, if you look at the tree, you see the same pattern amongst the branches as we see amongst the trunks in the forest.

    NARRATOR: Just as they predicted, the relative number of big and small trees closely matches the relative number of big and small branches.

    BRIAN ENQUIST: It’s actually phenomenal, that it is parallel. The slope of that line for the tree appears to be the same for the forest, as well.

    (Source)

    Looking up the names of the participants in the above television show in Google Scholar found that they have published in Science, among other places:

    West, GB; Brown, JH; Enquist, BJ. The fourth dimension of life: fractal geometry and allometric scaling of organisms. Science, Vol. 284, Iss. 5420, p. 1677 (1999)
    (PDF)

    West, GB; Enquist, BJ; Brown, JH. A general quantitative theory of forest structure and dynamics. PNAS April 28, 2009 vol. 106 no. 17 7040-7045
    (Full paper; PDF can be downloaded from there)

  101. Owlmirror says

    Another example that came to mind was the research into slime molds forming efficient networks:

    Tero, A et al., Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design. Science 327, 439 (2010). (PDF)

    Transport networks are ubiquitous in both social and biological systems. Robust network performance involves a complex trade-off involving cost, transport efficiency, and fault tolerance. Biological networks have been honed by many cycles of evolutionary selection pressure and are likely to yield reasonable solutions to such combinatorial optimization problems. Furthermore, they develop without centralized control and may represent a readily scalable solution for growing networks in general. We show that the slime mold Physarum polycephalum forms networks with comparable efficiency, fault tolerance, and cost to those of real-world infrastructure networks–in this case, the Tokyo rail system. The core mechanisms needed for adaptive network formation can be captured in a biologically inspired mathematical model that may be useful to guide network construction in other domains.

  102. Amphiox says

    The concept of “design” is self-referential. Humans are designers and designing is one of the things that humans do.

    We humans defined the word “design” in direct reference to what we humans do.

    When we apply the word “design” to anything else that is not human, we are actually doing a personification metaphor.

    When we say “A designed X” what we actually mean, underneath, is that A produced X through a process similar to or analogous to how a human being or a group of human beings would have produced X.

    The relative accuracy of the statement is predicated on how the actual real world process through which object or process A produced product X really is similar to how humans would have produced product X.

  103. says

    Janine, I will thinking about you, and I’ve seen you around enough that it matters to me how you are doing. I’m sure that applies to many people here.
    A lot.

  104. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Janine, I don’t know what to say, except to offer condolences.

  105. Amblebury says

    Janine I read far more than I comment, I always enjoy the music you post.

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your mother.

  106. =8)-DX says

    joey

    No, your point is absurd. Saying “Computers simply do what they’re supposed to do, given their physical makeup and the laws of physics” is trivial, since everything does what it’s supposed to do, given its physical makeup and the laws of physics.

    But that is exactly my point. You must also apply that to humans. Would you claim that a rapist “does what he’s supposed to do”, or that global warming is “supposed to happen”?

    Of course I would claim, because it’s trivial that rapists, global warming, humans, tsunamis, bananas, when I said everything, I meant everything does what it’s supposed to do, given its physical makeup and the laws of physics. A human’s brain deciding to commit violence on another human being doesn’t stop electrons interacting in that brain, doesn’t stop chemistry from creating and breaking neural pathways, sending neurological signals.

    Give me an example of one thing that behaves differently from what would be expected, given its makeup and the laws of physics. One thing.

    Personal freedom is fundamental and self-evident. I am free to act because I feel that I am free to act and I experience my freedom at essentially every moment. I do not feel like some marionette on strings in which I am conscious and self-aware but not in control of my thoughts and actions, such that some other force is pulling my strings. In general, I am in control of my thoughts and actions, and I feel responsible for my them. And I don’t think I’m the only human being who feels this way.

    How you feel about the matter doesn’t change that all these feelings, this awareness, these choices are the result of neurological interactions in your brain. Brains create awareness, motivation, intent, etc. But there is no “free choice” that can’t be explained as a weighted evaluation of different desires (including desires like “I don’t want to just go with the crowd”, “making silly choices makes me feel good”, “making choices is unpleasant” or “I don’t want to have to make a choice”).

    Describing what human feelings and perceptions you have is not an argument against the natural processes underlying these activities of human brains. No naturalist here is saying humans are marionettes on strings, but rather than brains are akin to machines full of strings and levers and pulleys, none of them defying chemistry or physics – and the naturalists have evidence – neuroscience has shown that things like memory, self-awareness, decision-making are patterns of neuronal activity, albeit loosely understood. For evidence that not everyone is consciously in control of their actions, ask a split-brain patient.

    If you want to argue that something other than neuronal firing is going on in your brain, please provide the evidence for it, otherwise you’re just making an argument from ignorance, as has been pointed out umpteen times.

    @Owlmirror
    Interesting links.. the things one learns..

  107. says

    =8)-DX

    Give me an example of one thing that behaves differently from what would be expected, given its makeup and the laws of physics. One thing.

    Sigh… I was a stubborn proponent of free will, but I sure can’t think of anything. There are things that we don’t know how they work, but that doesn’t mean anything goes. Everything I ever thought of, in defense of ‘free’ will was, and is, an appeal to complexity and/or ignorance. Some kind of free will is still possible, but that is the same as saying that the existence of a god is possible. (Doesn’t mean they are equally possible!)
    I am intrigued by what is called the illusion. The illusion of free will. Is it ever hard to shake. It seems simple, though, and that is that we feel like we do whatever we want, when we want to. And we do! Of course, that leads to trying to decipher why we want to do ‘x’ when we do, and that makes it easier, for me at least, to see that I don’t really have control over my desires the way I thought I did.
    Another thing that has bothered me is that I cannot say that I will thoughts to happen. I can only say that they occur to me, but, no matter how many thoughts may be randomly generated and evaluated, leading to new cascades of thoughts etc., I can never say that I generated a thought from nothing. They may seem to occur spontaneously, and maybe they do, but at no time can I say I chose a particular thought to happen. I mean, how can you choose something that you have no knowledge of?
     
    Just rambling here. I want to add that I think joey is getting at whether a design is meaningful, or not. Is that right, joey? I am guessing that you equate free with meaningful, much as I do.

  108. =8)-DX says

    #145 @Amphiox

    So yes, given naturalism, if you perceive yourself to be in control, and cannot tell the difference between being in control and not being in control, then it makes complete sense to say that you are in control.

    You simply have to accept that the concept of being “in control” is not absolute, and never was.

    I loved this comment! Except I’d argue that “You simply have to accept” includes “or you can also film entertaining psycho-thrillers that make a big thing of this as well as writing speculative fiction about mind-controlling aliens” ;)

  109. Dhorvath, OM says

    My mind is in control of me. Seriously, consciousness lags, it’s a passenger not a driver.

  110. =8)-DX says

    @theophontes @Dhorvath
    OMG, don’t say that you’re actually advocating that conciousness is like marionettes on strings, you’re breaking down my argument!

  111. says

    @ chigau

    I can’t see alt-text on my iPad :(

    Holy Moley! We are in trouble, 2IC! Just as I figured out the Ultimate Totalitarian State ™ to implement right here on TZT The Thunderdome. It will have pretty much all the appearance of Brave New World, with some cultural learnings from 1984 (Constant Surveillance and the incarceration (as opposed to release as in BNW) of people who do not fit in). Link here.

    @ =8)-DX

    marionettes on strings

    No, more like a totalitarian prime minister, locked up in hir bunker. Hir ministers run their portfolios with singleminded dedication, only passing on to the PM that which they, wrt their personal portfolios, regard to be salient. Everything is screened and processed to the nth degree. Who is actually in charge is anyone’s guess. The PM happens to think xe is. But it is anyone’s guess.

    (If you want to fuck with your own perceptions, click here and stair at the “+” in the centre of your screen for a while. What you see is actually NOT THERE.)

  112. =8)-DX says

    @theophontes

    Nice analogy. As for the totalitarian state, I would propose much more Brave New World, since I’d already get to be an alpha and a life of no worries, sexcapades, unbridled youth, free and perfect drugs. (Goes off to look at link) Hah! We’re not there yet! “Constant Surveillance and the incarceration”.. Oh right .. maybe we’re not far off after all.

    So does this mean that Thunderdome commenters will be socially pressured to swap sex-partners within the group (albeit shamefully and rebelliously) and those with children or showing signs of age will be freaks (or proles)?

  113. says

    @ =8)-DX

    IIRC, Huxley was actually Orwell’s teacher at one stage. I’m with you on the Brave New World model. It is easier to run our dictatorship with a carrot than with a stick. The subject really DOES want to create themself in the image we choose for them.

    Obviously this suits us far better than having a population of malcontents who must be constantly require repression. The cost of constant surveillance has come down in leaps and bounds thanks to new computer based espionage. The cost of PRISM systems is plummetting as governments around the world start to churn them out with abandon. The beauty of it is that it brings down the cost of repression, through targeting only those who think otherwise.

    Methinks the Pareto ratio of 80% Huxley : 20% Orwell will be ideal.

  114. Dhorvath, OM says

    Theophontes,
    My parsing code was broken while processing 162. I think it was the mosquitoes.

  115. Amphiox says

    We are as much in control of our minds as a tardigrade riding its battle-rat across the frozen tundra.

    If the tardigrade perceives that it is riding its battle-rat, and it cannot, under any circumstances perceive any difference between riding and not-riding that battle-rat, then, for practical purposes, the tardigrade can only act as if it really is riding that battle-rat.

    Even if, from another perspective of reference, the tardigrade isn’t, actually, riding that battle-rat.

    The tardigarde does not care, and indeed cannot care. Being unable to perceive the difference, it cannot ever know that there is a difference. For the tardigrade, there is no difference.

  116. chigau (違う) says

    Tomorrow I’m heading for the frozen tundra.
    Except it’s summer so not very frozen.
    If I see any battle-rats, I’ll take pictures.

  117. chigau (違う) says

    John Morales
    Where I spent my youth, we had gophers, AKARichardson’s ground squirrels.
    When I went to the Arctic, I saw Arctic ground squirrels (siksik or hikhik to the local people).
    The Wikipedia articles give the sizes of these two critters and they don’t seem much different.
    But, trust me, compared to gophers, siksik are fucking enormous!!!1!!
    So, ROUS, indeed.

  118. =8)-DX says

    You may be too late to be the first to take a picture of such a terrifying, yet awesome sight: Picture.

    Yey, I now have a topic for an art-project this weekend! (Determined glare.)

  119. Nick Gotts says

    Janine, I’m very sorry to learn of your sad loss. I do hope you’re getting the help and support you need.

  120. says

    @ Barack Obama #Senegal

    “I am not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker…”

    This is starting to creep me the hell out: You say this today, and tomorrow you are pandering to the hawks again. Dude, retain that perspective. Then get some backbone.

  121. =8)-DX says

    @theophontes
    Also creepy because belittling and ageism and whatever.

    abc His primary focus, he said, is fixing the NSA to be sure leaks like this do not happen again.

    Yes of course. The problem with the NSA is all the leaky leaks. The problem with secrete and illegal nation-wide surveillance, is (of course) the population being aware of it.

  122. says

    @ =8)-DX

    It is ridiculous how they give their game away themselves! And then turn round looking for a scapegoat.

    What is scary is how effectively their bullshit actually works. Even the (supposedly) respected *cough* ‘Merkin media are clamouring to scream “Traitor,traitor,traitor!”, right on cue.

    @ Tony

    Mouse-over Chris’s picture up in the sidebar at left. Tell me what you see. ;)

  123. =8)-DX says

    @voidhawk #188

    That is disgusting. I started reading and was “yes, yes, violence is bad”, and then the article turns into a nightmarish Kafkaesk scenario, of social pressure, religious pressure, and the woman’s entire life collapsing into violence and separation… just because she wanted to go out to talk to her friends.

    And it’s one more telling confession: Muslims like the author obviously *want* to have sex and drink and dance and *live*, but they’re mortally afraid of not being able to control their own behaviour, paranoid even of getting close. And they’re mortally afraid of letting women assume responsibility for their own lives =(.

  124. voidhawk says

    Yeah, that struck me too. The other thing which looked really unhealthy is that the default reaction of the man is to *forbid* his wife from living her life. It doesn’t even occur to her that the husband might ask her not to go because it makes him feel uncomfortable.

    The equivalent I suppose is if my mates were inviting me along to a strip club. I know this would make my other half uneasy but I know that she wouldn’t *forbid* me from going, just ask me not to. because we have a relationship of equality I might agree and compromise by re-arranging to go out with my friends on another night.

    Compassion and communication are ways to build a healthy relationship, not orders and obedience.

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

    What I miss about religion?

    The idea that somewhere somehow after everything there is fucking justice and people get what they deserve.

    Not hell because infinity of torture ..no.

    But some torture, some sort of purgatory or karma.

    FUCK YEAH.

    If only.

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

    This :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/forced-marriage-and-murder-in-turkey/

    And about a millon and fifty five other fucking cases.

    Shits me so much.

    Surely.

    Surely fucking surely.

    It ain’t too much, too wrong,

    To wish the fucken balance of ethical scales that aren’t in fuckeng existence.

    Would balance.

    Karma whatever, justice could be fucken done!

    And people get what they deserve?!?

    I do NOT believe in or want hell for evildoers

    But

    Fuck

    I wish

    There was

    something.

    Approximating

    JUSTICE!

  127. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Revenge and torture fantasies in a thread right before I left for a couple of days, and now again (by a different person) when I come back.
    If the condemnation wasn’t so loud, I’d be worried.

  128. =8)-DX says

    It’s interesting that in Egypt and Turkey, the conflicts seem to be fundamentalist religious vs secular liberal. Much better than Syria and others where the fight is Sunni vs. Alawite/Shiite, Al-Quaida sympathisers and Hesbollah in the mix and I don’t think it’s so easy to call it oppressed vs. oprressor.

    In Turkey and Egypt I can at least take a side.

  129. Dhorvath, OM says

    I want people to understand the harm they cause and through that want to do better. I fail to understand how torture promotes that.

  130. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    CC:

    fantasizes about torturing brown people.

    I think that’s excessively harsh. Also, kind of offensive to people who are differently brown.

  131. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Is there popcorn? *innocent look around*

    —-

    There’s been an eruption on the pavement (aka sidewalk) near my house. A golfball size protusion through the asphalt finally burst open, revealing (not, as I’d suspected, the omnipresent Equisetum arvense; dear Lord, if you geneticists could engineer an Equisetum munching worm, that would be awesome), but a goddamn mushroom.

    And today, another one erupted nearby. You have to love the fungi for their determination.

  132. says

    @ CM

    I think that’s excessively harsh.

    Actually, no. StevoR‘s comments are of a piece with those that he has made previously, where he quite clearly expresses such discrimination. The rule here is to let bye-gones be bye-gones. Yet what do we do when he, yet again, trots out his violent fantasies? Pharyngula is not a platform for such as this.

    @ =8)-DX

    It’s interesting that in Egypt and Turkey, the conflicts seem to be fundamentalist religious vs secular liberal.

    A major component of the conflict that might (will?) engulf Egypt is between the Islamists and the minority Copts. There is a lot of Othering going on right now, specifically of the Copts, by Islamists. And many are using the lack of proper policing as an opportunity to attack Coptic communities. A part of this is purely criminal, such as the kidnapping, but is very much an outcome of the current state of affairs between these two religions.

    @ StevoR

    There is an interesting show that has started up on AL-Jazeera, called “Head to Head”. I’m not quite happy how the interviewer puts words in his guest’s mouth, but at least things remain lively. Here is one by deeply religious, Islamic, lesbian, author, Irshad Manji, discussing Islamophobia and reform: What is wrong with Islam today? Perhaps by watching such debates, showing the diversity in Islam, you can get a clue.

  133. anteprepro says

    What I miss about religion?

    The idea that somewhere somehow after everything there is fucking justice and people get what they deserve.

    Translation: “I wish that I had a more solid irrational foundation for my Just World Bias! But sadly I have only my thirst for vengeance combined with unreflective hypocrisy and unwarranted paranoia that results in a pungent cocktail that some would dare to label Bigotry! Now, watch me literally salivate over the idea of somebody being tortured while still presuming myself to be One of The Good Guys.”

    StevoR, I know you are supposedly an actual person from real Australia, but are you absolutely certain that you aren’t just the personification of the American right-wing side of foreign policy debates?

  134. =8)-DX says

    What I miss about religion?

    This should be a sign, that similar to the gag reflex, one can expect a sudden surge of bitter smelliness.

    What I miss about religion?
    Having a Purpose™! (except I didn’t, felt existentially frustrated waiting for some divine purpose to manifest itself).
    Sexual morality being so simple! (except of the sexual frustration and guilt of a meaningless personal battle to not masturbate, the necessity of confession of one’s inner sexual thoughts and a skewed view of “courtship” and marital life, eventually leading to a painful divorce)
    Being assured of an Afterlife™! (except not being, having constant reminders that perfectly normal human behaviour is evil, that I’m a sinner and that devotion to a mind-numbing set of meaningless rituals is a prerequisite that should make me feel happy, despite it not actually changing my life)

    I could go on.. anyone else have some fond and whistful memories of religion?

  135. John Morales says

    Nah, I stopped being religious about the time I hit puberty, and I don’t miss having to try to believe such silly stuff one bit.

    (The Jesuits were wrong)

  136. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    What I miss about religion?

    The idea that somewhere somehow after everything there is fucking justice and people get what they deserve.

    Maybe you should consider some of those funny ideas religions have about justice and what people deserve, because I can’t think of a mainstream religion I would call just in its judgements.

  137. Krasnaya Koshka says

    Totally late but I wanted to also give condolences to Janine. Janine, you’ve always meant a lot to me as a commenter and I have a special fondness for you so I hope you’re doing okay. As usual, your musical choices are outstanding. My best to you.

  138. David Marjanović says

    What I miss about religion?

    The idea that somewhere somehow after everything there is fucking justice and people get what they deserve.

    “Justice exists only in hell. In heaven there’s mercy.”
    – on the wall of a room that belonged to my natal parish

  139. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    (Damn, I’m sorry, I skimmed the thread so I didn’t see before now.)

    Janine, I’m sorry for your loss.

  140. says

    Beatrice:
    Speaking of that thread, I learned that bad Jim’s use of ‘tit for tat’ in that thread was _not_ ‘an eye for an eye’:
    ” Tit for tat is an English saying meaning “equivalent retaliation”. It is also a highly effective strategy in game theory for the iterated prisoner’s dilemma. The strategy was first introduced by Anatol Rapoport in Robert Axelrod’s two tournaments, held around 1980. Notably, it was (on both occasions) both the simplest strategy and the most successful.

    An agent using this strategy will first cooperate, then subsequently replicate an opponent’s previous action. If the opponent previously was cooperative, the agent is cooperative. If not, the agent is not. This is similar to superrationality and reciprocal altruism in biology.”

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat

    He was talking about the game theory strategy. I apologized once I realized this. He did as well (and I believe he mentioned feeling the need to apologize to you).

  141. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Tony,

    I got angry at bad Jim because his first comment addressing me asked whether we should offer rapists and murderers ice cream, furthering it with more sarcasm about at least agreeing they shouldn’t be offered a medal.

    I read the rest of the thread yesterday and noticed no sign of him apologizing for that being out of line and a complete misinterpretation of my comments. He apologized to you and said he should “probably” apologize to me too, amid more snipes about viciousness here – while I wouldn’t call my comments vicious, they were angry and I stand by them still.

  142. Amphiox says

    What I miss about religion?

    The idea that somewhere somehow after everything there is fucking justice and people get what they deserve.

    Far better to stop wasting one’s time pining for religion and instead direct one’s efforts towards making this world, here and now, that somewhere where there is justice, as much as the laws of physical reality can allow for.

  143. =8)-DX says

    @ Tony
    The img name is “http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/files/2012/09/cimachristhumb.png”, just the title is a copy-paste from pz’s title pic.

    But there’s not PROOF that Chris isn’t a sock puppet!?

  144. David Marjanović says

    *fluffy hugs for Janine*

    Beavers and other animals also have brains, and they seemingly design things as well (dams, spiderwebs, nests). Do these animals have intentions and purposes? What about cockroaches or amoebas? What about bacteria, flowers, or galaxies?

    I don’t think such things are either-or. I think they’re gradual. A beaver probably has more than a bacterium…

    This is delving into solipsism, but one cannot be sure that galaxies and other objects don’t have “wills”, whatever those may be.

    One cannot be metaphysically certain of anything beyond maybe “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”; that’s simply beside the point. As several people have explained above, there’s simply no reason to think “that galaxies and other objects” have wills, and plenty of reason to think otherwise.

    Midnight is 0000 and noon is 1200.

    Midnight is 00:00 and also 24:00, noon is 12:00. Midnight is zero o’clock and also twenty-four o’clock, noon is twelve o’clock.

    “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
    – first sentence of 1984

    Bad example. A car is simply the sum of its parts. There is no emergent property such as consciousness that arises once the parts of the car are assembled.

    Like everything else, a car is the sum of its parts plus the sum of the interactions between these parts plus the sum of the interactions between the interactions plus the sum of the interactions between the interactions between the interactions…

    I see no reason you or I are any different.

    BTW, this is why reductionism is a thing: we first figure out the parts, then their interactions…

    Why? Is it not a definition of random to mean “without definite aim, direction, rule, or method”…i.e. without purpose?

    What, if anything, do you mean by “purpose”? As far as I can tell (I’m not a native speaker), this word has several very different meanings, and people usually mean several of them at once. So, please explain.

    dear Lord, if you geneticists could engineer an Equisetum munching worm, that would be awesome

    Well, all the relevant dinosaurs are extinct… sucks to be born in the wrong million centuries! :-)

    Methinks the whole “justice” bit is just to justify StevoR’s creepy need to inflict his hateful bigotry on others. He is starting his same old shit all over again.

    Oh no. I’m sure he actually means it. My sister and my brother once quarreled, as they always did; they ended up on different sides of the living-room door, with him holding it shut. She shouted “I must hit him”, and tried to open the door, for three hours.

    The desire for just punishment is deeply childish, but it can be very strong.

  145. =8)-DX says

    Midnight is 00:00 and also 24:00, noon is 12:00

    24:00 is not part of the 24 hour clock notation (the last minute is 23:59, at 00:00 the date flips over so in a full date time notation 2020-12-31 24:00 is invalid..). It’s just a moniker of convenience similar to “noon” and “midnight” that is separate from the notation.

    The justification for this would be that every point in time is just a multiple integer of Plank-time (physicists hit me over the head please), and the 24 hour clock is just a representation of that, in which 24:00 has no place.

    Darn it and I’ll fight to the death to defend my opinion on this!

  146. says

    @ DDFM

    Do these animals have intentions and purposes?

    I think they’re gradual.

    And for the best part subconscious. Even for humans, most of our mental workings are hidden from our consciousness. N’est–ce pas?

    I’m sure he actually means it.

    I’m sure he does. But his motivation, in my opinion, is to justify his vindictive bigotry.

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

    @ ^ theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) :

    Your opinion is wrong and reflects your own prejudice against me. I’m no bigot.

    Also I will check out that link in your cooment #204 – thanks.

    @195. Chris Clarke :

    StevoR fantasizes about torturing brown people.

    No. I do NOT. I merely wished there was some kind of cosmic justice for those who committ truly awful crimes against others. Seeing as I’m me, I’d actually know. Could you please stop making totally false, abusive and offensive statements about people who you do not know or understand?

    @207. anteprepro :

    StevoR, I know you are supposedly an actual person from real Australia, but are you absolutely certain that you aren’t just the personification of the American right-wing side of foreign policy debates?

    One hundred percent absolutely positively and also stop being fucking ridiculously wrong please.

    I strongly support and have argued for many times here :

    - A secular society where state and religion are kept separate,

    - equal marriage,

    - feminism,

    - taking action on & acknowledging the reality of Human-Induced Rapid Global Overheating,

    - welfare and compassionate treatment of the poor and disadvantaged,

    - treating other human beings fairly and well regardless of their ethnic or national background,gender, sexual orientation, religion,

    - Following science NOT superstition. I’;m no creationist, no anti-vaxxer and no slymepitter and hold those groups in utter contempt,

    - Choosing President Barack Obama over Romney and the Republican alternatives (yes, okay, I think Hilary Clinton would’ve been a better choice for the USA but still, moot point now.),

    Et cetera.

    Yeah that’s just so typical of right-wing douchebags ain’t it -NOT!

    You are doing me a complete injustice here and you should know it by now if you’ve actually read my comments on FTB. I’m no republican, no right winger, no Christian or Muslim.

    But disagree on just a few small issues like Israel and the West generally having the right to defend themselves and wow, just feel the hatred directed at you from some here who otherwise agree on almost everything. Yeesh.

  148. says

    @ StevoR

    Your opinion is wrong and reflects your own prejudice against me.

    Aah, “projection “…

    You are learning the linguistic mannerisms of the Horde, but sans the content.

    I’m no bigot.

    I beg to differ.

    Also I will check out that link in your cooment #204 – thanks.

    I am glad to help. IFAIK, this will be an ongoing series, so it is worth bookmarking.

  149. Amphiox says

    I merely wished there was some kind of cosmic justice for those who committ truly awful crimes against others.

    Here is what you said, StevoR:

    The idea that somewhere somehow after everything there is fucking justice and people get what they deserve.

    Not hell because infinity of torture ..no.

    But some torture, some sort of purgatory or karma.

    FUCK YEAH.

    The very idea that torture of any kind can count as “justice” is problematic enough on its own.

    But on the very next post you provided a link to an example, and it is of brown people.

    And every example you have ever given on this or any even remotely related and relevant subject, has been of brown people.

    Every time you have ever made any comment in support of the use of violence, the target of that violence has been brown people. Always brown people.

    Always.

    You claim not to be a bigot or a racist and yet time and time and time and time again, you say clearly bigoted and racist things.

    You have been on Pharyngula long enough to have been thoroughly exposed to the concept of unconscious racism and unrecognized bigotry, even if by some miracle you had been completely isolated from those concepts everywhere else in your life.

    But when people point this out to you, you do not pause to reflect. You do not try to learn, to consider, to grow. You just go all self-defensive and deny, deny, deny.

    You are like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar still claiming “I didn’t do it”.

    What is already not acceptable for a 5 year old is simply pathetic in a grown man.

    StevoR, YOU. ARE. RACIST.

    StevoR, YOU. ARE. BIGOTED.

    What is worse, you WILFULLY REFUSE TO CHANGE.

    Because we are all racist and bigoted to varying degrees. We all have our blind spots and our unrecognized privileges. But when such is pointed out, decent people DO NOT DENY. Decent people consider the criticism, learn from it, and change.

    But sadly, it would seem that you do not want to be a decent person. You would rather puff your own ego, and delude yourself into thinking yourself a good person, rather than do the necessary hard work of becoming, and remaining, one.

  150. Amphiox says

    But disagree on just a few small issues like Israel and the West generally having the right to defend themselves

    What you have called self-defence is not self-defence, but extra-judicial murder.

    Under the excuse of “self-defence” you always, consistently and without fail, jump immediately to the most extreme, most violent, most indiscriminate option. Never do you consider the possibility that less extreme, more measured responses would be sufficient for self-defence. When these are pointed out to you, you just ignore it completely.

    And always, always, always, always, the target on the other side are brown people.

    That fact that you seek to dismiss it as a “small issue” is disgusting in and of itself.

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

    @229. theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) :

    @ StevoR : “Your opinion is wrong and reflects your own prejudice against me.
    Aah, “projection “…

    No, fact.

    Projection could be if I was saying you are guilty of what you are accusing me of. Which I’;m not doing but rather simply stating as a fact that you are wrong which you are.

    “I beg to differ.”

    You are entitled to erroneous opinion I ‘spose. But not to your own facts.

    Fact is I’m not a bigot and accusing me of being such is an offensive, abusive lie on your part.

    @230. Amphiox :

    And every example you have ever given on this or any even remotely related and relevant subject, has been of brown people.

    Bullshit.

    I’ve mentioned David Hicks a white skinned Aussie among other examples I’m sure. I’ve stated consistently and, y’know I fucken well mean it, that skin colour is utterly irrelevant and for whatever little its worth, “brown” does NOT mean Muslim Jihadist extremist. Most brown people are Hindu or Catholic. To stereotype all brown skinned humans as Muslim is racist in itself -an error I’;m NOt committing but you oddly enough are – are you then a racist Amphiox? Do *you*see a brown person and think Muslim? I don’t.

    FWIW, Arabs are Semitic people and usually fall into the white skinned “class” as me. I don’t give a toss about this but its how that old rubbish “race” category works far as I’m aware.

    “You claim not to be a bigot or a racist and yet time and time and time and time again, you say clearly bigoted and racist things.”

    Rubbish – where’s your evidence? No I don’t. I attack those who are determined to try and kill innocent people to impose their own uber-right-wing misogynist worldview on the rest of us. Show us one quote – just one – where I’ve said otherwise. Put up or apologise for lying about and completely misjudging me.

    Because we are all racist and bigoted to varying degrees. We all have our blind spots and our unrecognized privileges. But when such is pointed out, decent people DO NOT DENY. Decent people consider the criticism, learn from it, and change.

    So you’re admitting you are exactly what you’ve accused me of being here then?

    How about the idea that someone falsely accused of a crime is automatically guilty despite their denials? You are doing the equivalent of asking me to plead guilty to a murder I did NOT commit. Well, fuck you, NO I won’t do that.

    If this is some metaphorical trial then I insist on my right to be considered innocent till proven guilty and insist on you presenting actual convincing evidence.

    To be guilty of racism first you have to accept that such a thing as “race” is even real.

    I do NOT think that.

    Then you have to think that “race” usually defined by skin colour actually matters.

    I do NOT think that.

    Finally, you have to judge people based on the colour of their skin as opposed to their beliefs and actions.

    I’ve never,never once fucking done that.

    Y’know I’d say Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, Hamas and Arabs generally qualify as “white” being “Semitic” in the old bullshit “race” categorisation. David Hicks, Walker Lind (sp?) and other terrorists certainly are the same “race” as me. Y’know what else? I couldn’t give a shit. It doesn’t matter. What does is that they are following an evil, fucked up set of hateful beliefs that they think gives them the right to murder me – and you and everyone else who doesn’t think as they do. I think that’s wrong and think they should be stopped before they kill more innocent civilians. You disagree – apparently?

    You’ve lied about me Amphiox. You have falsely accused me of being someone I’m not and thinking things I don’t.

    Prove otherwise. Or apologise.

  152. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    You’ve lied about me Amphiox. You have falsely accused me of being someone I’m not and thinking things I don’t.

    The thing is, only the most shameless claim the title of “racist” or “bigot.” I’m of the opinion that other people get to decide whether you’re one of those things based on your actions and words. I don’t hear anyone accusing you of certain thoughts, but rather making fair conclusions about your expressed sentiments.

    But you really are incorrigible, aren’t you?

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

    @231. Amphiox : “What you have called self-defence is not self-defence, but extra-judicial murder.”

    No, wrong again.

    It is preventing the extra-judicial murder of innocents by committed terrorist killers.

  154. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    “What you have called self-defence is not self-defence, but extra-judicial murder.”

    No, wrong again.

    It is preventing the extra-judicial murder of innocents by committed terrorist killers.

    Let me see if I have this straight. You object to being called a name on the internet (the horror!) because you believe the evidence for it is insufficient. Yet you advocate preemptive killing?

    wut.

  155. Amphiox says

    It is preventing the extra-judicial murder of innocents by committed terrorist killers.

    No it is not. And no they are not.

    Even if those actions really WERE targeting known and proven “terrorist killers” they would not be acceptable in their current form.

    This has been explained to you over and over and over and over again.

    Your continued obtuse denial of this simply only damns you more.

    Everything I have said about you StevoR, is demonstrated by your own words, posted here and on other threads.

    I don’t give a flying fuck what you THINK, StevoR, but I KNOW what you SAY, because I can READ.

    And unless someone is holding a gun to your head forcing you to write those things, what you SAY tells us what you ARE.

    And you are a BIGOT.

    And you are RACIST.

    And you have the nerve to ask for an apology?

    Disgusting.

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

    @ ^ Portia : If someone is about to murder a whole lot of other people who are completely innocent then taking them out before they do so certainly beats the alternative of NOT doing so doesn’t it?

    Drone strikes and previous methods of taking out ticking bombs terrorists saves innocent lives.

    That is enough justification for them. By definition government ordered airstrikes removing those about to kill civilians are legal and NOT otherwise.

    I do NOT believe that those in government in the United States or Israel or mostly elsewhere are evil or choose to kill on a whim without damn good reason for doing so.

    Or do you want innocent people dead and murderers free to continue committing atrocities?

  157. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Bah, go away already.
    I still don’t understand why PZ is letting you stick around, in all your bloodthirsty glory.

  158. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    I still don’t understand why PZ is letting you stick around, in all your bloodthirsty glory.

    Me neither.

    StevoR – All I can say is “citation needed.”

  159. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Portia,

    Are you hitting your head against the wall or are you already at the point of just staring stupidly at the screen?

  160. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    Hm, I think I’m alternating, Beatrice.
    Oh the head-beating note…

    Another thing. You want to kill people before they have committed crimes. You realize that makes them innocent, too, right? You complain of accusations of thought crimes, well, you are the worst offender. We just call you a racist. You advocate murder. And that is what it is, based on the evidence.

  161. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Amphiox:

    Your continued obtuse denial of this simply only damns you more.

    Everything I have said about you StevoR, is demonstrated by your own words, posted here and on other threads.

    I don’t give a flying fuck what you THINK, StevoR, but I KNOW what you SAY, because I can READ.

    And unless someone is holding a gun to your head forcing you to write those things, what you SAY tells us what you ARE.

    And you are a BIGOT.

    And you are RACIST.

    Yeah, he reminds of those obtuse males who describe raping women, but oh, no, don’t use the word rape to describe their actions. Same psychic disconnect.
    Any apology should be from StevoR to this blog for expressing his bigotry, just before he disappears forever.

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

    @237. Amphiox : Your unsupported and erroneous opinion is *floosh* given the dismissive treatement it deserves.

    And, yes, you damn well do owe me an apology for your lies and abuse even if you don’t acknowledge that reality.

    I’m a utilitarian when it comes to ethics. If you have one person X who is just about to kill a whole bunch of people Y (an indeterminate but potentially very high number) then taking out that person X before he commits mass murder is justified. That is the case whether X or Ys skins are black, yellow, blue or any fucking other colour.

    What matters is that X is out to committ an atrocity and group Y are just living their lives intendeing no such harm.

    The terrorist X has chosen by choosing to be a terrorist and not an innocent civilian. That means they forfeit their rights far as I’m concerned. Worried about that? Then don’t be a fucking terrorist – that’s an extra bonus deterrent effect far as I’m concerned.

    That’s modern warfare and, yes, war always sucks but that’s reality & I’m not the one who is waging war or thinking its a good idea. (As opposed to what happens whether I or you like it or not.)

    What would you prefer otherwise?

    So, no, it isn’t preemptive killing so much as preventing pre-emptive killing. It saves the lives of innocent people and stops the lives of guilty ones. Why is this seemingly hard for some to grasp?

  163. Amphiox says

    Your blanket assumption that all the targets for the extra-judicial killings are proven terrorists is itself proof of your bigotry, StevoR.

    And no, I do not owe you an apology, you pathetic piece of shit. Everything I have accused you of is true.

    YOU owe ME an apology, you pathetic piece of shit.

    Even if they were proven terrorists, targeting them in their own homes with a drone strike is not justifiable self-defence anymore than sniping a proven house robber in his bedroom through his window is justifiable self defence. Even if you suspected that he was planning to rob your house next week, you could not snipe him in his own bedroom and call it justifiable self-defence.

    And you trying to wave this off as “modern warfare” is just another example of your willful obtuseness.

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

    @ 243. Portia…are you ready boots? Start walkin’ :

    You want to kill people before they have committed crimes.

    Yes. I’d rather they were killed before they murdered innocent people instead of after if they are determined to kill which they are.

    You realize that makes them innocent, too, right?

    Wrong. If they are out to kill other humans they are guilty of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder usually on a mass scale NOT innocent. If you join a terrorist group you have chosen de facto to become a terrorist killer.

    So, y’know, don’t do that and there will be no problem.

    You advocate murder. And that is what it is, based on the evidence.

    No I fucken well do NOT. I advocate protecting people from murderers which is the exact opposite of what you claim. You have a problem reading and understanding it seems?

    @246. theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物) : For asking for evidence that you cannot provide because it doesn’t exist because I’m correct in what I’ve written?

    I respect your views on a number of things, I agree with you a lot. But because I think innocent people, should be saved from terrorism you lie about and abuse me and now start ranting and swearing wildly at me. Yeesh.

  165. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    If they are out to kill other humans they are guilty of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder usually on a mass scale NOT innocent.

    You realize you’re talking to someone who knows the technical definitions of the words you’re using, right? You’re using them wrong, and you’re a genocidal asshole. But hey, an ounce of genocide is worth a pound of cure, right?

  166. Amphiox says

    International law pretty explicitly defines what “war” is. Just because StevoR wants to call it “war” in order to allow for a looser set of rules on the use of lethal force to facilitate his sick revenge fantasies (what StevoR has tried to call “justice” in earlier posts is not justice at all, merely revenge) does not make it so. Just because certain leaders and politicians call it “war” in their rhetoric, to give themselves cover for authorizing the use of lethal force, does not make it so.

    And whenever StevoR talks of “terrorists”, the terrorists in question are almost always brown ones. How often has he ever commented similarly when the terrorists are white? How often has he be seen supporting vigorous acts of violence against the IRA, or Christian fundamentalists who murder abortion doctors?

    International terrorism is not war, it is crime. It is not justifiable to pre-emptively kill off suspected criminals merely on suspicion.

  167. says

    @ StevoR

    And, yes, you damn well do owe me an apology for your lies and abuse even if you don’t acknowledge that reality.

    Again: Fuck Off!

    Don’t understand English?

    Fokof!
    Va te faire foutre!
    اللعنة عليك! (especially this)
    Fuck tú!
    你他妈的!
    Mdidi! Bhebha wena!
    Knulla dig!
    Vai se foder!
    Kutomba wewe!

    StevoR, there are about 5000 other languages I could say the same in. What particular part of “fuck off” are you struggling with?

  168. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    if they are determined to kill which they are.

    CITATION FUCKING NEEDED.
    This is the evidence of your xenophobia and racism. “They” the amorphous “they” which seems to exclusively include people of Middle Eastern descent. “They” are murderous savages, regardless of their actual actions. You’re disgusting.

  169. Amphiox says

    If they are out to kill other humans they are guilty of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder usually on a mass scale NOT innocent.

    To make this assumption without affording the accused a chance to defend themselves is unjust.

    And when the people so accused are almost always brown, it is RACIST, just as racial profiling of African American youth for crimes is RACIST.

    You wanted your proof of your racism, StevoR. Here it is.

    Of course you’ve said the same bile many, many, many times in the past in other threads, so the proof was already there.

    I want that apology NOW, you pathetic piece of shit.

  170. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I’ll just add one to yours, theophontes:
    Odjebi!

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

    Also “bloodthirsty” ya think? (Beatrice – looking for a happy thought)

    No.

    I’m really not.

    I wish things weren’t what they were.

    The world wasn’t what it was and the choices not what they are.

    If only.

    Give me a world full of kittens and squidlets and wonders appreciated and loved and people behaving nicely to one another, really please. Go on! Can you do it?

    Wish you could.

    You can’t.

    World is what it is.

    Is as full of horrors and evil and fucked up scum out to kill those that haven’t and wouldn’t hurt them as it is.

    Fuck I wish it were otherwise. It ain’t.

    I do try to make the world better.

    Fuck knows I try.

    I do what I can.

    But I am fucked up.

    And so is the world.

    G’night and good wishes y’all.

  172. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    Ooooh, was that him finally fucking off? One can hope…

  173. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Is as full of horrors and evil and fucked up scum out to kill those that haven’t and wouldn’t hurt them as it is.

    Was that a moment of self-reflection?
    Nah.

  174. says

    @ StevoR

    I respect your views on a number of things, I agree with you a lot.

    What are you talking about? I tend to just blather on rather mindlessly.
    But OK, on this one thing I am absolutely certain, focussed and to the point: Fuck the Hell Off!

  175. Amphiox says

    re StevoR @257;

    He who fights monsters.

    That is the most charitable view that can be given.

  176. says

    StevoR:

    http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/05/22/304751/terror-drones-mostly-kill-civilians/

    “Pakistan’s tribal regions are often attacked by US assassination drones.

    According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the United States’ drone strikes in Pakistan have killed up to 3,587 people since 2004.

    Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants who cross the border into and out of Afghanistan.

    Pakistanis have held many demonstrations to condemn the United States’ violations of their national sovereignty.

    In September 2012, a report by the Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law gave an alarming account of the effect that assassination drone strikes have on ordinary people in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The report noted, “The number of ‘high-level’ targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — estimated at just 2%.”

    1- Portia is right about the label ‘racist’. You do not apply it to yourself. Just as other asshats felt they were justified in their beliefs SO DO YOU. The drone strikes are killing innocent people right now. How are more strikes supposed to stop that? Oh, wait, you don’t give a rat’s ass about brown skinned people. That you even uttered a statement about drones preventing innocent lives from dying is nauseating.

    2- The actions the US is engaged in, if you stop and think for a few seconds, may quite likely lead to MORE terrorists. We invaded their country. We are killing their citizens. We think we arr above the law. We think our actions are justified. What separates the current indidcriminate bombing the US is doing from other terrorist activities?

    3- Have you ever considered a better position for the US to take would involve a cessation of its terrorist activities an unequivocal apology, and a promise to never do so again? Stop the vicious cycle of attack/terrorize/retaliate.

    4- Neither the US nor Australia are in imminent danger of a terrorist attack from Islamic extremists. You keep touting that as the justification for preemptive strikes, but you NEVER offer evidence if it

  177. Ogvorbis says

    That means they forfeit their rights far as I’m concerned.

    That is why your philosophy is philosophically and morally bankrupt. All humans have rights. All of them. No matter what they have done, they are humans and are entitled to full human rights. Including the right to a trial. Including the right to not be killed because they might do something. Even the man who raped me is (or was) a human being and, had he been exposed in a milieu that made it possible for him to be arrested and tried, even though he did not respect my human rights, was entitled to his human rights.

    So, no, it isn’t preemptive killing so much as preventing pre-emptive killing. It saves the lives of innocent people and stops the lives of guilty ones. Why is this seemingly hard for some to grasp?

    How do you know who might, or might not, commit a crime? Would the English have been morally correct to kill all white males within the thirteen colonies because, at some time in the future, some of them might commit rebellious acts and terroristic acts?

    I’d rather they were killed before they murdered innocent people instead of after if they are determined to kill which they are.

    How do you know?

    If they are out to kill other humans they are guilty of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder usually on a mass scale NOT innocent. If you join a terrorist group you have chosen de facto to become a terrorist killer.

    Bullshit. The colonists fighting England during the American Revolution were, by modern definition, terrorists. And, by your example, would have included every person that supported said rebellion. About 2/3 of the population.

    o I fucken well do NOT. I advocate protecting people from murderers which is the exact opposite of what you claim. You have a problem reading and understanding it seems?

    You keep saying that we should kill them before they commit a crime. If they have not committed a crime, they are innocent. Extra judicial killing is murder. Pre-emptive killing is murder. You seem to have a problem understanding this.

    But because I think innocent people, should be saved from terrorism you lie about and abuse me and now start ranting and swearing wildly at me.

    Nice strawman, asshole. If the US kills people because they may become terrorists or may support terrorists, that makes the US a terrorist state. Which it is, by that definition.

    SteveO, you have repeatedly come out in favour of pre-emptive war, pre-emptive assassination, pre-emptive execution. You do know that there is now way of knowing for sure who will or will not do something, right? Should every member of the Stern Gang or the Irgun have been pre-emptively assassinated as terrorists? Hell, lets go back to 1948 and kill all the Jews in Palestine as they support the terrorists who are trying for an independent Jewish state. That work for you?

  178. Amphiox says

    I’m a utilitarian when it comes to ethics.

    This, StevoR, is either self-deception or a lie.

    If you were REALLY a utilitarian when it comes to ethics, then you would have paid more attention to the many arguments given to you in previous threads that actions like the drone strike program do not work in deterring terrorism or keeping the west more safe from Islamist terrorist actions.

    You would have paid more attention to the evidence that torture does not work for the extraction of useful intelligence.

    But you have not. You have barely addressed any of those arguments if at all.

    You are simply finding an excuse for your own moral laziness. You do not want to do the hard and painful task of questioning your own privileged assumptions. You do not want to look yourself in the mirror and face the fact that you have been a racist and a bigot, intentionally or not.

  179. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Don’t you worry guys, maybe they could throw some daisy cutter bombs on Pakistan too (right after dropping some over Gaza as suggested by our favorite bigot) so you wouldn’t have to worry about future terrorists coming from there.

  180. Amphiox says

    One more question for StevoR:

    If US intelligence tracks this man: http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/-/world/17654780/how-aussie-accountant-turned-to-al-qaeda/

    down to a suburb in Sydney, and finds the house where he is living with his brother’s family (with young children),

    and there was evidence that this man was in the process of participating in planning a terrorist attack on Seattle for some time in the next few months,

    would it be justifiable, in self-defence, for the United States to target that house, without knowledge or approval from the Australian government, and strike that house and that suburb, with a missile from a drone today?

    If no, then why do you think it is justifiable to do when the target is living in Pakistan instead of Australia?.

  181. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    (source, as linked many times already: http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2012/11/17/violence-again-in-gaza-and-israel/#comment-141476)

    [bigoted piece of shit:] Or a couple of Daisy Cutter bombs maybe? Quick, effective and if most of the Gazans don’t know what’s hit them, arguably even the most relatively humane solution giving the extremely limited options? Drawn out agonising deaths and extended suffering versus instant nothingness?

    That person. That fucking person.

    I know he said many other horrible things, in this thread too, but this one – I just can’t get it out of my head.

  182. Ogvorbis says

    Relax, folks. Remember about six months ago (or more (give or take)) when SteveO was distancing himself from this ‘kill all the bad ones and the ones that might be bad and the ones that get in the way are no big deal’ schtick? He claimed he was drunk. Or joking. Or we were putting words in his mouth. So not to worry, we are all just reading way to much into his drunk joking. Honest.

  183. ChasCPeterson says

    wait, one thing:

    To be guilty of racism first you have to accept that such a thing as “race” is even real….
    Then you have to think that “race” usually defined by skin colour actually matters.

    What? No you don’t. Intent is not fucking magic. Racism is as racism does. Life is like a box o’ chocolates.

    I do NOT think that.

    Then you are a stupid idiot for that reason alone.
    Come with me for a walk through, say, Penn Station, and then tell me with a straight face that race, defined as skin color, is not real and does not matter. Fucking dumbshit.

  184. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Yes. I’d rather they were killed before they murdered innocent people instead of after if they are determined to kill which they are.

    Ahh yes. Thankfully we have someone in possession of the ability to see into the future to determine each and every individual’s not yet committed crimes.

    Thank you SteveoR for being a stalwart defender against things that have not yet happened and knowing things that cannot be known.

    You are my hero.

  185. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    oh.
    Stev-o thread? No, thanks.

    …a couple of minutes later:

    wait, one thing:

    Hi hi

  186. David Marjanović says

    @ ^ Portia : If someone is about to murder a whole lot of other people who are completely innocent then taking them out before they do so certainly beats the alternative of NOT doing so doesn’t it?

    What do you mean by “about to”?

    If there’s time to send a drone after them, does it really make sense to count that as “about to”?

    The terrorist X has chosen by choosing to be a terrorist and not an innocent civilian. That means they forfeit their rights far as I’m concerned.

    The thing about human rights is that nobody ever forfeits them. By definition.

    Your blanket assumption that all the targets for the extra-judicial killings are proven terrorists is itself proof of your bigotry, StevoR.

    QFT.

    You are simply finding an excuse for your own moral laziness. You do not want to do the hard and painful task of questioning your own privileged assumptions. You do not want to look yourself in the mirror and face the fact that you have been a racist and a bigot, intentionally or not.

    QFT!

    Ahh yes. Thankfully we have someone in possession of the ability to see into the future to determine each and every individual’s not yet committed crimes.

    No Such Agency.

  187. David Marjanović says

    Crap. The alt-text didn’t work, probably because it contained quotation marks.

    I think the tiniest text says: “Trust us. Trust us. Trust us. Repeat.”

  188. John Morales says

    StevoR @191:

    What I miss about religion?

    The idea that somewhere somehow after everything there is fucking justice and people get what they deserve.

    Not hell because infinity of torture ..no.

    But some torture, some sort of purgatory or karma.

    FUCK YEAH.

    If only.

    StevoR @247:

    I’m a utilitarian when it comes to ethics.

    You are either lying or very (very!) confused.

  189. anteprepro says

    Entertaining: StevoR objects to my characterization that he is “the personification of the American right-wing side of foreign policy debates” by mentioning how different he is from the American right-wing with examples that are from everywhere except foreign policy debates. I suppose it holds up as much water as any other StevoR’s arguments. It surely isn’t any worse than his typical “I’m NOT, I’m NOT, I’m NOT” arguments,

    You are either lying or very (very!) confused.

    I’m placing my bets on “both of the above”. StevoR is very confused. StevoR lies. He lies to himself and to us and is confused so that he can’t keep track of what lies he has told and what he is actually supposed to believe on the subject. He just knows that he has to defend himself somehow, but goes into a blind frenzy of desperation in doing so, simply trying to Clear His Name without actually bothering to clarify his own vision, to understand what we think he did wrong. And I’m sure at some level he understands that he has made mistakes. And on another, he is so steeped in bigotry, denial, and paranoia that he cannot really see them, and even if he did, he wouldn’t want to. So he simply takes offense at our disgust regarding his views, and focuses on his own offense at being “inaccurately” labeled, and never bothers to really grapple with the reasons we are so disgusted. He expressly denies our reasoning in favor of his dogmatic assumptions about the “real” world, predominantly framed around “MUSLIMS GONNA KEEL US ALLLLLLL”. I suppose he is a “utilitarian” in “ethics” on that particular subject. But a utilitarian basing the utility of actions and principles on biases, assumptions, and falsehoods aren’t really the best of utilitarians. Kind of like a skeptic who believes in fairies.

  190. =8)-DX says

    To be guilty of racism first you have to accept that such a thing as “race” is even real.
    I do NOT think that.

    Odd. I thought it was a relatively well defined and studied cultural construct. Cultural constructs are just as real as genetics or hereditary ability (which have little-to-nothing to do with the cultural constructs). Unless StevoR doesn’t think cultural constructs are real and gladly taking sides with joey in the (its not real if its in the mind) camp.

    Then you have to think that “race” usually defined by skin colour actually matters.
    I do NOT think that.

    Apart from it mattering to the racists, the bigots, the people being discriminated against on that basis as well as the everyday thoughts and biases even of those trying to overcome their predjudice and be aware of their privilege.

    Finally, you have to judge people based on the colour of their skin as opposed to their beliefs and actions.
    I’ve never,never once fucking done that.

    Wow, we were dealing with exactly the same “its only predjudiced behaviour if targetted and actively motivated” nonsense in the you-mean-this-stuff-helps thread. No, StevoR, it’s also racist to ignore minority voices, pretend equality has been acheived, not notice one’s own unconscious biases, be silent to racist hatred, support stereotyping of people based on race or culture, deny human rights from certain groups.

    As Amphiox points out:

    Because we are all racist and bigoted to varying degrees. We all have our blind spots and our unrecognized privileges. But when such is pointed out, decent people DO NOT DENY. Decent people consider the criticism, learn from it, and change.

    Yeah. Decent people admit their biases, apologise for bigotted things they say, after having learnt that this is what it is. Intention is not magic.

  191. Lofty says

    When the Good Guys do it, it’s called Intelligence.
    When the Bad Guys do it, then it’s called Espionage.
    Guess who thinks they are the good guys? Stupid tribalism.

  192. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Money isn’t real. We just have a bunch of people who **say** that money has value. They write down on pieces of paper that we are required to accept that money has value. But it’s just people saying: Money has value, accept it or face social consequences.

    Meanwhile, government isn’t real. It’s not like there is some platonic government out there that’s really-really-real government and that it extends its shadow to this plane to manifest as X in Y jurisdiction. It’s not even like if the government really-really wants to be really-really-real that it can just make us love it enough for long enough and then, when the constitution gets scarlet fever and it looks like government is doomed, a fairy will come along and make that future government really-really-real.

    Government is just a bunch of people who say that they have authority and a larger bunch of people accepting that.

    And thus with race: It’s exactly as real and exactly as imaginary as government and money. Feel free to do the math on whether the real part or the imaginary part is more relevant to everyday life.

  193. =8)-DX says

    *slow clap*
    Crip Dyke.. nice show. Good point even. As with everything, value is something people define. And there’s the rub. Can’t just get rid of people. I’m not even sure if you managed to divide reality and imagination. No, still different views on parts of the human fuckin’ experience. But good try. Loved it.

  194. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Money isn’t real. … Meanwhile, government isn’t real.

    Is this incoming from another thread somewhere? Link?

  195. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    Feel free to do the math on whether the real part or the imaginary part is more relevant to everyday life.

    Beautiful.

  196. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Fireworks festival in Tultepec, Mexico.

    Aperitif

    Starter

    Main course

    Alt-Right (in Firefox) or clicking “next” will bring the event to its tumultuous conclusion!

  197. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Just for shits and giggles. The Vacuous One gets dismissed. And the slymestorm begins.

    I found this statement by Richard Sanderson to be very funny.

    What role did Stephanie Zvan, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers and others (the usual suspects!) have in influencing this decision?

    You really must think we were born yesterday, John. Broken guidelines? Bullshit.

    It looks like the FTBullies have succeeded in bullying another person out of the movement, and SIN is complicit in this scandal.

    What can’t FtB do?

  198. Nick Gotts says

    So, what do people think about the crisis in Egypt? I’m thinking aloud here…

    We appear to have secularist demonstrators calling for an army coup against the elected Islamist President. OK, Morsi’s failed to seriously address the country’s problems (not that anyone could have done much about them in one year), pushed through a badly flawed constitution, and made a clumsy attempt to grab extra power late last year – but he was fairly elected, the constitution was approved by referendum, and he doesn’t have the power, even if he has the inclination, to establish an Islamist dictatorship: to do that within the rest of his term, he’d need the support of the army, which he quite evidently lacks. So where’s the justification for forcing him out, rather than organizing for parliamentary elections, for the next Presidential ones, and for a campaign to amend the constitution? If a progressive secularist had won the Presidency, and now faced popular pressure to go and a threatened army coup, most of us here would have little doubt which side we were on. I’m not saying it would never be justified to overthrow freely elected leaders in the interests of democracy; but I think it needs to be very clear that those leaders are themselves acting in a grossly undemocratic way.

  199. Nick Gotts says

    Again from the BBC’s live coverage:

    Dr Imad el-Anis Middle East expert at Notting Trent University emails: A tipping point for the opposition to Mohammed Morsi may have come on June 15 when Morsi attended a rally held in Cairo by hard-line Islamists and Salafists calling for a holy war against the Assad regime in Syria. He openly called for foreign intervention in Syria to topple the government. The opposition and the military are equally unhappy with this level of attention on regional politics and disregard for getting Egypt itself back to business

  200. consciousness razor says

    So, what do people think about the crisis in Egypt?

    Needless to say, I’m not in Egypt, but it looks like a total clusterfuck.

    So where’s the justification for forcing him out, rather than organizing for parliamentary elections, for the next Presidential ones, and for a campaign to amend the constitution? If a progressive secularist had won the Presidency, and now faced popular pressure to go and a threatened army coup, most of us here would have little doubt which side we were on. I’m not saying it would never be justified to overthrow freely elected leaders in the interests of democracy; but I think it needs to be very clear that those leaders are themselves acting in a grossly undemocratic way.

    I think I’m with you there. I’m not sure there is any justification at this point.

    But there’s really no sense in talking about a “legitimate” government, just on the grounds of being democratically elected, if it’s not meeting its obligations to the citizens. They have to negotiate with the opposition and represent everyone’s interests, not just cite election results from days or months or years ago, if calling the system “democratic” is going to be worth anything. Elections are just the first necessary step, then you have to get down to business, and at that point the question is still whether you’re acting democratically. So the opposition can justifiably demand something less than forcing him out (thereby sending the country into chaos and not offering practical, immediate solutions anyway). I also don’t think it’ll work if they should just be limited to campaigning for some election in the distant future. That’s again putting a little too much emphasis on the election side of the It all depends on how the government responds, I guess. If they crack down and take an aggressive authoritarian position, assuming their own legitimacy without ever demonstrating it, what else can you do but overthrow them?

  201. consciousness razor says

    So, what do people think about the crisis in Egypt?

    Needless to say, I’m not in Egypt, but it looks like a total clusterfuck.

    So where’s the justification for forcing him out, rather than organizing for parliamentary elections, for the next Presidential ones, and for a campaign to amend the constitution? If a progressive secularist had won the Presidency, and now faced popular pressure to go and a threatened army coup, most of us here would have little doubt which side we were on. I’m not saying it would never be justified to overthrow freely elected leaders in the interests of democracy; but I think it needs to be very clear that those leaders are themselves acting in a grossly undemocratic way.

    I think I’m with you there. I’m not sure there is any justification at this point.

    But there’s really no sense in talking about a “legitimate” government, just on the grounds of being democratically elected, if it’s not meeting its obligations to the citizens. They have to negotiate with the opposition and represent everyone’s interests, not just cite election results from days or months or years ago, if calling the system “democratic” is going to be worth anything. Elections are just the first necessary step, then you have to get down to business, and at that point the question is still whether you’re acting democratically. So the opposition can justifiably demand something less than forcing him out (thereby sending the country into chaos and not offering practical, immediate solutions anyway). I also don’t think it’ll work if they should just be limited to campaigning for some election in the distant future. That’s again putting a little too much emphasis on the election side of the equation and not enough on the the messy negotiating-and-getting-stuff-done side. It all depends on how the government responds, I guess. If they crack down and take an aggressive authoritarian position, assuming their own legitimacy without ever demonstrating it, what else can you do, like you said, except overthrow them?

  202. consciousness razor says

    bah. Sorry, ignore the first one. I was worried I might have submitted that in mid-sentence before some editing. And I was right.

  203. Nick Gotts says

    But there’s really no sense in talking about a “legitimate” government, just on the grounds of being democratically elected, if it’s not meeting its obligations to the citizens. They have to negotiate with the opposition and represent everyone’s interests, not just cite election results from days or months or years ago, if calling the system “democratic” is going to be worth anything. Elections are just the first necessary step, then you have to get down to business, and at that point the question is still whether you’re acting democratically. – consciousness razor

    Yes that all sounds fine, but in the absence of capability (never mind intention) to seriously curtail democratic freedoms, who decides whether the government is “meeting its obligations to the citizens”? This “have to negotiate and represent everyone’s interests” line is routinely used whenever a progressive government starts taking action which might threaten the interests of the rich.

    I also don’t think it’ll work if they should just be limited to campaigning for some election in the distant future.

    I agree with you there – the opposition are fully entitled to demonstrate, strike, even use civil disobedience; but in fact, parliamentary elections should not be distant (the first assembly’s elections were declared null by the courts, the electoral law for the new ones has also been declared unconstitutional and are being rewritten…). If they are confident of public support, why don’t the opposition press for the amendment process to be completed and the elections held?

  204. consciousness razor says

    Yes that all sounds fine, but in the absence of capability (never mind intention) to seriously curtail democratic freedoms, who decides whether the government is “meeting its obligations to the citizens”? This “have to negotiate and represent everyone’s interests” line is routinely used whenever a progressive government starts taking action which might threaten the interests of the rich.

    Heh. Yes, I know that all too well as an American, but I didn’t mean the kind of interest which is applied to bank accounts. And I don’t accept that the government’s obligations can be reduced simply to securing our “freedoms,” especially given the Orwellian language people adopt here in ‘Murrica. People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on. (None of which is ultimately about freedom, and that’s not even getting to abstract things like equal treatment under the law.) The people shouldn’t necessarily revolt if one of those is lacking; but the government certainly isn’t doing its job and shouldn’t have a problem realizing it either needs to change or get out of the way. It has lots of options other than digging in even deeper, turning it into something adversarial and making things worse, if it’s at least trying to be any kind of decent government which has any hope of surviving in office for very long. They can afford to bend a little, find out what people in the opposition need and work with them. On the other hand, ordinary people don’t have the luxury of waiting it out while the government keeps fucking everything up, if they’re starving or homeless for example. There’s nothing to compromise with.

    Anyway, I agree that it’s not clear which side we should be rooting for, if any, even when it’s Islamists and secularists. I also don’t know in what sense most of them are “secularists” in this case, but that’s just my ignorance about a remote situation. If the tables were turned somehow, what would I say? I’m not sure. I’d probably still have more than a little doubt, but I haven’t been trying to defend a violent overthrow of their government as it is.

  205. Nick Gotts says

    And following US approval (see #296), the military coup in Egypt has now taken place.

  206. Nick Gotts says

    From the BBC:

    After Gen Sisi’s address, both Pope Tawadros II – the head of the Coptic Church – and leading opposition figure Mohammed ElBaradei made short statements. [emphasis added]

    The godblethering numbskull. This will now be seen among the Islamists – and among many not-particularly-Islamist-inclined Muslims – as a Coptic (or Coptic/Crusader) coup.

  207. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    OK, so yeah, dust not settled but.

    THE hounding from power of Egypt’s president, Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brother who was elected a year ago, leaves the most populous and influential country in the Arab world in a dangerous state of flux, and it will have sweeping implications for politics across the Arab world—Egypt has always been a bellwether for its region.

    On June 30th, when as many as 14m protesters poured into streets in towns and cities across the country, the Egyptian army issued an ultimatum calling on Mr Morsi to “meet the demands of the people” baying for his departure. Egypt’s Islamists, as well as columnists in Western newspapers, were quick to decry an impending military coup. As was the case with the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, Egypt’s large, disciplined and professional army was taking upon itself the duty of sweeping away a collapsing administration and stepping into the breach.

    This it did on July 3rd, when armoured vehicles started to roll out. In the evening the army announced a transition plan developed in consultation with opposition leaders and religious figures. The Brotherhood-crafted constitution passed by a referendum late last year has been suspended; a committee will revise it. The supreme court will issue a new electoral law for early parliamentary and presidential elections. Nearly all political parties, including Salafist former allies of the Brotherhood, have endorsed the road map. Adly Mansour, a supreme-court judge, will be interim president.

    The Tahrir-Square-filling tactics that took three weeks to topple Mr Mubarak two years ago did the same trick in just three days this time, and this swift, dramatic ouster was greeted by an even greater cacophony of joy than the previous one.

    One might have expected Egyptians to be especially wary of military intervention. The period of army rule between the fall of Mr Mubarak and Mr Morsi’s election was marked by hamfisted management, maladroit politics and vicious human-rights abuses. Before that, Egypt had suffered six decades of increasingly corrupt, army-dominated government behind a façade of civilian presidents, all of whom had previously been army officers. It should have seemed a dangerous precedent to have the army cut short Egypt’s barely-started first experiment with full-scale democracy.

    Yet judging by the ecstatic roars with which the crowds in Tahir square have greeted fly-pasts by army helicopters, the majority of Egyptians have decided to bury their doubts and ugly memories. Recent opinion polls suggest the army remains by far the most trusted institution in the country. Many believe the generals’ promise that they have no desire to linger in politics. Many also see them as or better equipped than squabbling politicians to get Egypt’s revolution back on track. These people yearn for a return to the stability that the military is seen as guaranteeing.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/07/egypts-coup

  208. John Morales says

    CR:

    People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on.

    Only the first-mentioned is a need; the others are optional.

  209. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    (That’s only the first half of the article, BTW. Click the link for the rest of it. If you’re tempted to say, well, that’s the Economist, they called it, accurately, two days ago.)

  210. anteprepro says

    Only the first-mentioned is a need; the others are optional.

    Biological/physiological need is not the only kind of need, because biology does not have exclusive dominion over the term. Even if it were the case that all needs were exclusively biological, you are probably still well aware of how lack of housing, education, transportation, and communication have economic and psychological impacts, and have a subsequent, ultimate, physical health impact on the person with or without them, i.e. they are things that affect the “real” needs. It seems callous to call such things optional, and pedantic/parochial to refuse to call them needs.

  211. John Morales says

    anteprepro, it seems callous and pedantic to you when I distinguish between needs and desires?

    (What, no ponies?)

  212. says

    No, John, it appears callous of you to ignore/dismiss things which are unquestionably needs (shelter from the elements is one in effectively all parts of the world; people routinely die or suffer severe health complications from the lack), and both callous and pedantic to make a meaningless distinction between “Needed to maintain basic bodily function” (Food, water, shelter, healthcare) and “Needed to function as a member of the society in which you live,” which covers the rest of the listed needs.

  213. consciousness razor says

    People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on.

    Only the first-mentioned is a need; the others are optional.

    I was talking about what’s a moral necessity, not simply a physical one for survival. I could’ve mentioned others.

    anteprepro, it seems callous and pedantic to you when I distinguish between needs and desires?

    It’s not pedantry. It was taken out of context. I could’ve spelled it out a little more, so it’s understandable, but I certainly don’t mean a simple “desire.”

    And when someone doesn’t have an “option” to have shelter or education, for example, it’s not just callous but downright incoherent to call it “optional.”

  214. John Morales says

    Dalillama, wherefore do you imagine that because I don’t consider housing (note: not “shelter from the elements”) a need that I don’t consider it desirable so that I ignore or dismiss it?

    (You imagine people need clothing?)

  215. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    How long before the slymies condemn John Scalzi?

    I did a quick recce. Not lately, not likely.

    I remain your obedient internet surfer at large.

  216. John Morales says

    CR:

    I was talking about what’s a moral necessity, not simply a physical one for survival.

    Bah. You’re speaking of ponies; nice to have, but hardly necessary.

    It’s not pedantry.

    Thus you repudiate your own claim.

    It was taken out of context.

    A ‘need’ is defininionally something that is necessary; accordingly, if it’s not necessary, it can’t be a need.

  217. anteprepro says

    anteprepro, it seems callous and pedantic to you when I distinguish between needs and desires?

    Why do you have to be like this? I already mentioned how the things you label “wants” and “desires” are clearly related to “needs” and that your incredibly narrow definition of “need” is not the only definition of “need”. If you are going to split hairs like that, show your fucking work. Because there is such a thing as “needs” in psychology and social sciences, and those “needs” include those things that you scoff at.

    because I don’t consider housing (note: not “shelter from the elements”) a need

    When the only significant source of “shelter from the elements” is “housing”, I fail to see how it isn’t “a need”.

    (You imagine people need clothing?)

    Insofar as clothing is required for social interactions and thus any involvement whatsoever in economic transactions, I fail to see how it isn’t “a need”.

  218. anteprepro says

    A ‘need’ is defininionally something that is necessary; accordingly, if it’s not necessary, it can’t be a need.

    You then don’t “need” food, shelter, or even good health. You can get by on glucose pills and poor health and can just try to tolerate bad weather and wild animals and all that shit. I mean, you don’t need it to live, it is just desirable and preferrable to the alternative, ergo an optional desire. It’s ponies all the way down.

  219. John Morales says

    anteprepro:

    You then don’t “need” food, shelter, or even good health. You can get by on glucose pills and poor health and can just try to tolerate bad weather and wild animals and all that shit.

    Precisely; you now understand me perfectly. :)

  220. consciousness razor says

    Dalillama, wherefore do you imagine that because I don’t consider housing (note: not “shelter from the elements”) a need that I don’t consider it desirable so that I ignore or dismiss it?

    Bah. You’re speaking of ponies; nice to have, but hardly necessary.

    Am I imagining this, or is that you ignoring or dismissing it, in plain English?

    Thus you repudiate your own claim.

    I have no idea what the fuck this means.

    A ‘need’ is defininionally something that is necessary; accordingly, if it’s not necessary, it can’t be a need.

    Definitionally for what, asshole? Did I say it’s necessary for survival? For logically consistency? For great justice? For what? What exactly do you believe you can do by asserting your fucking definition?

    Where are you going to take your sophistry next? It’s so fucking exciting, I just can’t wait.

  221. consciousness razor says

    You then don’t “need” food, shelter, or even good health. You can get by on glucose pills and poor health and can just try to tolerate bad weather and wild animals and all that shit.

    Precisely; you now understand me perfectly. :)

    You don’t need to live, John. You could die at any time, and I’m sure the universe would find a way to carry on. Ergo, it’s not a “need,” you bullshitting fucker.

  222. John Morales says

    CR:

    I have no idea what the fuck this means.

    <snicker>

    Do you need to know what it means? :)

    What exactly do you believe you can do by asserting your fucking definition?

    It’s not what I can do, it’s what I’ve done.

  223. consciousness razor says

    You don’t have anything interesting to say, so I recommend you keep trolling, John.

  224. John Morales says

    CR:

    You don’t need to live, John. You could die at any time, and I’m sure the universe would find a way to carry on. Ergo, it’s not a “need,” you bullshitting fucker.

    See, I’ve gotten you to admit there’s a difference between a need and a “need”.

    (Slow progress is still progress)

    You don’t have anything interesting to say, so I recommend you keep trolling, John.

    So, you’re an advocate of what you perceive as trolling.

    (Is that a moral necessity?)

  225. anteprepro says

    Meta:

    I think that if there were any legitimate debate on this, the disconnect is brought upon by the fact that “need” implies a goal. A physiological need has direct survival as the goal. Other needs are more indirect, or outright focus on what one needs to succeed, rather than what one needs to not wind up dead on the pavement.

    Meta meta:

    By god, the responses are like if a standard know-it-all wisecracking teenager merged with a Zen monk.

    Meta meta meta:

    If one said the above in front of a mirror, would it summon Meta?

    Meta meta meta meta:

    If colorless green ideas sleep furiously, and there is no one around to see it, do they have a flavor?

  226. John Morales says

    anteprepro:

    I think that if there were any legitimate debate on this, the disconnect is brought upon by the fact that “need” implies a goal. A physiological need has direct survival as the goal. Other needs are more indirect, or outright focus on what one needs to succeed, rather than what one needs to not wind up dead on the pavement.

    The claim was “People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on” without any specificity, so that the implication is that all those things are necessary for them to continue to remain people — yet, without being fed on an ongoing basis, people can’t exist; without the others, they can, though less than optimally. Clearly one of those things is not like the others.

    Again: there is a difference between what is necessary and what is desirable.

    As to whether pointing out the obvious constitutes trolling, that’s a matter of opinion.

  227. John Morales says

    chigau @328, that is true, but it’s not an universal claim.

    (There are also places where people need spacesuits to continue to live, yet to make a general claim that spacesuits are needful would be silly)

  228. anteprepro says

    “People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on”

    so that the implication is that all those things are necessary for them to continue to remain people

    lolwut. The implication is that they need those to stay healthy , you fucker.

    (There are also places where people need spacesuits to continue to live, yet to make a general claim that spacesuits are needful would be silly)

    I’m sure there are just as many people who live in fucking space as there are people living in cold climates. Because obviously.

    Congratulations on reminding me why I once wanted to see you banned, John. You rarely add anything but glibness and pretension. You spark unnecessary debates because you are must be the absolute arbiter of all language and logic, and can’t help but sneering and smirking if someone doesn’t debate using your exact narrow definitions. You are a blatant cherry picker and sidestepper, as unwilling to directly tackle the main points of others as any creationist. All you usually offer up is a mumbled sneer, an in-joke almost always exclusive to yourself, chuckling loudly at your own imagination while offering up little clue as to why anyone else should give a fuck. Because we all just fucking love us some word games. It is tiresome , John. For fuck’s sake, Nerd copying and pasting the same angry one-liners seemed less tedious and repetitious.

  229. anteprepro says

    Again: there is a difference between what is necessary and what is desirable.

    Thanks for repeating yourself without any actual acknowledgment of my actual points. Go fuck yourself, Algis-lite.

  230. John Morales says

    anteprepro:

    lolwut. The implication is that they need those to stay healthy , you fucker.

    But health is not a necessity, as the existence of unhealthy people demonstrates; it is merely desirable.

    I’m sure there are just as many people who live in fucking space as there are people living in cold climates.

    Are you aware that the Tasmanian aborigines startled their European invaders by their nakedness during what is a rather inclement winter?

    (Evidently, my point about universal claims was lost on you)

    Congratulations on reminding me why I once wanted to see you banned, John.

    It is nice to be congratulated, though it’s not needful any more than your desire for my banning is a need.

  231. anteprepro says

    But health is not a necessity, as the existence of unhealthy people demonstrates; it is merely desirable.

    Living is not a necessity, as the number of dead people demonstrates. It is merely desirable.

    But, yes, health is not a necessity from your point of view, because you don’t think anything is a necessity. Because, for whatever fucking reason or excuse, you can’t acknowledge that there is a different set of needs that people acknowledge the existence of other than the complete and utter bare fucking minimum needed to simply live.

    Because it seems to be in style, I repeat myself: Go fuck yourself.

  232. says

    @ Nick Gotts

    [Muslim Brotherhood]

    If ever there was an appropriate time to raise the old chestnut: “Democracy is where seven hungry wolves, and a lamb, decide what is for dinner.” I really cannot say anything nice about the Brotherhood. When they came to power in Egypt they caused a fuckup. When they came to power in Sudan, they caused a murderous fuckup. They are self-serving and reality-averse bigots. It is only their bungling incompetence that prevents them from inflicting more harm than they do.

    a Coptic (or Coptic/Crusader) coup.

    The Copts have played Lamb to the Brotherhood’s Wolf, for the last year. It is only appropriate that those trying to diffuse this iniquitous situation extend an olive branch at this juncture. The victims, and not the perpetrators, need some consideration here.

    @ John Morales

    Maslow.

  233. John Morales says

    anteprepro:

    But, yes, health is not a necessity from your point of view, because you don’t think anything is a necessity.

    You are mistaken; I refer you to my #307 where I state that food is a necessity.

    Because, for whatever fucking reason or excuse, you can’t acknowledge that there is a different set of needs that people acknowledge the existence of other than the complete and utter bare fucking minimum needed to simply live.

    You are (again) mistaken, since I have repeatedly noted that I hold that “the complete and utter bare fucking minimum needed to simply live” constitutes that which is needed, in contrast to that which is desirable but not needed.

    Because it seems to be in style, I repeat myself: Go fuck yourself.

    I’ll consider that, should you care to specify how this may be accomplished and what goal it will serve.

    (Are you game?)

  234. John Morales says

    theophontes, leaving aside that Maslow was generalising to populations, he too was sloppy by conflating needs with desires.

  235. anteprepro says

    You are mistaken; I refer you to my #307 where I state that food is a necessity.

    I refer to your 316, where your definition of “need” means that food isn’t a “need” if you can find an alternative to it. Which you can, therefore it isn’t. Live by the pedantry, die by the pedantry.

    You are (again) mistaken, since I have repeatedly noted that I hold that “the complete and utter bare fucking minimum needed to simply live” constitutes that which is needed, in contrast to that which is desirable but not needed.

    You are either just fucking clueless or just an asshole. Fucking seriously. Again, your definition is not the only definition of need. You continue to not acknowledge that when claiming I mistaken. It’s like talking to a poor chatbot.

    ( Mr. Spock, you are not.)

  236. anteprepro says

    theophontes, leaving aside that Maslow was generalising to populations, he too was sloppy by conflating needs with desires.

    And yet other sociologists and psychologists apparently made this same mistake because they use a similar definition of need as Maslow! Whooops!

    So this is what it comes to:

    John Morales’ definition of need is OH SO RIGHT, and the definition used by anyone else, including some versions of common usage and the definitions used by entire fucking fields of science , are WRONG. Because John Morales says it is so.

    Insert Slow Clap here. Well done, Mr. Morales. Well fucking done.

  237. says

    @ anteprepro

    Living is not a necessity, as the number of dead people demonstrates. It is merely desirable.

    It is lunchtime here. I could go and eat lunch, but I do not NEED to (even if I shall feel hungry). At some stage in the near future – if I continue not to eat- my life will be made shorter than it likely would have been otherwise.

    I did not NEED to study at a university. If I never studied at university, then at some time in the future I would more likely die sooner than I would do, for having studied.

  238. John Morales says

    anteprepro:

    Again, your definition is not the only definition of need.

    I’m not unaware that ‘need’ is often used to mean ‘desire’, but nonetheless the two concepts are qualitatively different, regardless of terminology.

    (A need may or may not be a desire, and a desire may or may not be a need)

    ( Mr. Spock, you are not.)

    You imagine I imagine I’m a fictional character?

  239. anteprepro says

    I’m not unaware that ‘need’ is often used to mean ‘desire,’ ’, but nonetheless

    I don’t even know what to say, in response to you continuing to just repeat yourself. I mean, really. All I can do is shake my head, roll my eyes, utter a little condescending chuckle, and admit that I might as well be attempting a conversation with a parrot.

  240. John Morales says

    anteprepro, do you deny that a need need not be a desire, nor a desire a need?

  241. anteprepro says

    anteprepro, do you deny that a need need not be a desire, nor a desire a need?

    Do you deny that the definitions in your own head don’t trump definitions actually established in the real world?

  242. vaiyt says

    because I don’t consider housing (note: not “shelter from the elements”) a need that I don’t consider it desirable so that I ignore or dismiss it?

    I know the answer: because the alternative is to imagine you’re being an utter fucking idiot, deciding that splitting hairs about your definition of one word has priority over the actual meaning of the argument.

  243. John Morales says

    anteprepro, I see that you don’t deny that a need need not be a desire, nor a desire a need; that implies that you no less than I hold that needs and desires are different things.

    Now it’s just a matter of examining each of (nutrition, health, housing, education, transportation and communication) to see under what circumstances each is a need or merely a desire for people to continue to be people.

    To save time, I put it to you that only nutrition is an universal need, and the others are only needs when specific additional outcomes are desired (for example, satisfaction).

    Do you dispute the claim I’ve just put to you?

  244. consciousness razor says

    Now it’s just a matter of examining each of (nutrition, health, housing, education, transportation and communication) to see under what circumstances each is a need or merely a desire for people to continue to be people.

    You’ve been really boring and irrelevant, but I just wanted to jump in again to say that it’s fucking hilarious that you think I was claiming what is needed for people to continue to be people.

  245. says

    @ John Morales

    [Maslow] by conflating needs with desires.

    We could rework Maslow to refer to short term needs (the base) to long term needs (the pinnacle). The whole pyramid is necessary for the fending off of mortality.

    You might call a university education unnecessary, a “desire”, but that is rather short term thinking as it literally increases life expectancy: Linkypooh.

  246. John Morales says

    vaiyt, you consider that distinguishing between needs and desires implies either one seems callous and pedantic or else an utter fucking idiot, eh?

    Fair enough.

    deciding that splitting hairs about your definition of one word has priority over the actual meaning of the argument.

    I made no claim about any argument regarding governance, I merely noted that of the listed things (nutrition, health, housing, education, transportation and communication) one is categorically unlike the others.

    As you can see, I am not averse to employing your quotation extraction technique. ;)

  247. John Morales says

    theophontes, it was implicit in the phrasing: “people need [blah]“.

    I merely conceded that by “people”, the author meant living people rather than dead people — and I did note to be a person one needs to eat (unlike needing housing or education).

    As far as Maslow goes, I can assure you that at least one of his purported universal needs of people don’t apply to me, though I concede that all of them are desirable to me.

  248. anteprepro says

    To save time, I put it to you that only nutrition is an universal need, and the others are only needs when specific additional outcomes are desired (for example, satisfaction).

    This. Is. The. Same. Fucking. Argument!

    And I also find it hilarious that you dismiss health as need, when health is the major metric by which we determine whether someone is successfully surviving! For fuck’s sake, food is only a need insofar as it negatively affects health when you are fucking starving to death!

    I would ask John Morales what he thinks is or is not a need (sleep and relationships come to mind) but I really don’t actually fucking care. I’m done. You win, Morales. You are the brickier and wallier than I could ever hope to be.

  249. John Morales says

    anteprepro:

    I would ask John Morales what he thinks is or is not a need (sleep and relationships come to mind) but I really don’t actually fucking care. I’m done.

    It’s not a matter of opinion — it’s a matter of empiricism.

    I’m done. You win, Morales. You are the brickier and wallier than I could ever hope to be.

    Bah.

    (It is reality which is brickier and wallier, not I; I merely acknowledge it)

    CR:

    You’ve been really boring and irrelevant, but I just wanted to jump in again to say that it’s fucking hilarious that you think I was claiming what is needed for people to continue to be people.

    Well yeah, you wanted to, though it wasn’t needful. :)

    Like it or not, nutrition (food) is the only thing that can be meaningfully considered a need — that is, something without which one cannot live.

    (How hard would it have been for you to concede you meant need for the purposes of a prosperous, successful society?)

  250. says

    You imagine I imagine I’m a fictional character?

    Seriously? Seriously why would you even ask that. You CAN’T be genuine. You’re not sincerely confused about that, right? You’re just pretending not to get it?

    UGHHH

  251. John Morales says

    [addendum to CR]

    … the only thing in your list.

    (Obviously, there are other things which you did not mention)

  252. says

    (How hard would it have been for you to concede you meant need for the purposes of a prosperous, successful society?)

    How hard would it be for you to concede that “need” can be applied, correctly, in more than one sense, and it’s not reality itself, but the symbols we use to refer to it, that is under dispute right now – utterly needlessly, except for your stubbornness?

  253. John Morales says

    SallyStrange:

    Seriously? Seriously why would you even ask that.

    Duh. Because anteprepro felt it needful (heh) to inform me that I am not Mr. Spock; the clear implication is that I was perceived by anteprepro to imagine (or pretend to be) Mr. Spock.

    You CAN’T be genuine. You’re not sincerely confused about that, right? You’re just pretending not to get it?

    Heh.

    You have not yet worked out that it amuses me provide straight responses to attempted rhetorical gotchas?

  254. consciousness razor says

    Like it or not, nutrition (food) is the only thing that can be meaningfully considered a need — that is, something without which one cannot live.

    (How hard would it have been for you to concede you meant need for the purposes of a prosperous, successful society?)

    Are you pretending to be illiterate now? That was in my first fucking response.

    Are you contradicting yourself here, or are you going to explain why the latter can’t be “meaningfully considered a need”?

  255. John Morales says

    SallyStrange:

    How hard would it be for you to concede that “need” can be applied, correctly, in more than one sense, and it’s not reality itself, but the symbols we use to refer to it, that is under dispute right now – utterly needlessly, except for your stubbornness?

    Not hard at all; the point is that food is a true universal need for people, unlike the other things listed.

    You do realise that, had the responses been otherwise, others’ frustration might have been avoided, right?

    (Because I’m not wrong)

    CR:

    Are you pretending to be illiterate now? That [for the purposes of a prosperous, successful society] was in my first fucking response.

    Actually, you referred to “a moral necessity”, and I was kind enough not to laugh at that little stupidity.

  256. says

    john Morales
    Since this is the stupid game you want to play, I give you, form Merriam Webster, a meaning of the word need which is legitimate in the English language, which this blog is conducted in, and which encompasses all of the points which have been made to you which you have ignored:

    2
    a : a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful

    Now how about you shut the fuck up until you’ve actually got a valid contribution to make to a conversation. This happens about twice a year on average, so I look forward to hardly ever hearing from you again.

  257. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    John Morales:

    I have been reading, and I can’t figure out any reason you have for doing this nitpicking besides your own amusement. It’s also really frustrating a lot of people, and disrupting a conversation that had been taking place. So…that’s kind of the definition trolling. Why? I mean really, why do you do this? Especially to this degree.

  258. John Morales says

    Dalillama, welcome to the fray! :)

    So… tell me: When CR used that term, in which specific sense was it employed — requisite, desirable or useful?

  259. John Morales says

    Portia, welcome to Thunderdome.

    Pray tell, how am I disrupting any conversation?

  260. consciousness razor says

    Actually, you referred to “a moral necessity”, and I was kind enough not to laugh at that little stupidity.

    As should have been (and evidently was) clear in context, I use it as synonymous with moral obligation. Laugh away at that little stupidity too, if you like. I sincerely don’t give a fuck if you find some humor amid all your pointless tedium.

    So to give you a straight answer to your stupid fucking question, it would have been exactly as hard to “concede” what I meant as it actually was: not at all.

  261. John Morales says

    Portia, though it is not a moral obligation, I here directly address your question: “Why? I mean really, why do you do this [doing this nitpicking]? Especially to this degree.”

    Why? Because CR’s claim was that housing, education etc. was necessary in a similar way to food, though it in fact is not; I dislike such demagogic rhetorical tactics and thus noted the false equivalence.

    Why to this degree? Because people’s responses merited responses; had people not responded, I’d not have responded to their responses.

    Your turn to answer mine. :)

    CR: “moral obligation” is also a risible conceit, absent a specific moral code.

    (The only moral obligations that exist are those which are self-imposed, and that is not one which I impose upon myself)

  262. vaiyt says

    vaiyt, you consider that distinguishing between needs and desires implies either one seems callous and pedantic or else an utter fucking idiot, eh?

    I do. I fucking do.

    I consider that nitpicking the definition of “need” to handwave things that ARE fucking essential in a moral sense away from the category of “need” to the one of “desire” (and you went as far as comparing the necessity of housing, health, transportation to ponies – your comparison, not mine) – that is callous and pedantic.

    I consider that, if you agree with the spirit of what was written, but you think that pointlessly nitpicking at a definition in a way that does not advance the discussion in the slightest – you are an utter fucking idiot, and annoying to boot.

    Christ, I’d sooner jam a knife in my ear than listen to something like this in meatspace.

  263. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    Well, one discussion was being had, now another is being had. And you seem to be the only one enjoying it.

    I dislike such demagogic rhetorical tactics

    I, for one, did not clearly get your point. As I think you yourself may have noted at some point, I’m not the dimmest bulb in the box. I, though I don’t have a moral obligation to do so, give you a little unsolicited advice: reform your tactics if you wish to be understood and foster productive dialogue. Otherwise, keep on keepin’ on, I suppose.

    (You remind me a little of my older brother at his most annoying when I was a kid. His favorite phrase (he was 8 years older…well still is) was “Not necessarily.” And I had to be ever more specific. He did it to be obnoxious. And condescending. He doesn’t do it anymore, because he has respect for me as an equal).

    No, I don’t care that that was too long for a parenthetical.

  264. John Morales says

    vaiyt:

    I do. I fucking do.

    Conveniently, I’ve pre-emptively responded to this: “Fair enough.”

    I consider that nitpicking the definition of “need” to handwave things that ARE fucking essential in a moral sense away from the category of “need” to the one of “desire” (and you went as far as comparing the necessity of housing, health, transportation to ponies – your comparison, not mine) – that is callous and pedantic.

    So is reality.

    I consider that, if you agree with the spirit of what was written, but you think that pointlessly nitpicking at a definition in a way that does not advance the discussion in the slightest – you are an utter fucking idiot, and annoying to boot.

    Leaving aside that if it’s not pointless then it isn’t nitpicking (heh), it advanced the discussion no less than your expression of dislike of my purported nitpicking.

    (But it’s fine if you don’t advance the discussion, right?)

    Christ, I’d sooner jam a knife in my ear than listen to something like this in meatspace

    Well, this ain’t meatspace, else I might ask you to prove your claim. :)

  265. Portia...are you ready boots? Start walkin' says

    Anyway, I’m heading to bed. Good thing non-substantive posts are allowed in here.

  266. vaiyt says

    Why? Because CR’s claim was that housing, education etc. was necessary in a similar way to food, though it in fact is not; I dislike such demagogic rhetorical tactics and thus noted the false equivalence.

    Oh, now it’s demagoguery to posit that people deserve something more than just food to live with a modicum of dignity in modern society. I know you don’t care about the dignity of people other than yourself, but it’s still intriguing how you get all fired up about abstract logical non-points while handwaving gross injustice away as “not my problem”.

    (The only moral obligations that exist are those which are self-imposed, and that is not one which I impose upon myself)

    Well, admitting up front that you’re a shitheel certainly makes things much easier :)

  267. John Morales says

    vaiyt:

    Oh, now it’s demagoguery to posit that people deserve something more than just food to live with a modicum of dignity in modern society.

    The claim was that people need such, not that they deserve such.

    (Is that nitpicking, too, in you estimation?)

    I know you don’t care about the dignity of people other than yourself, but it’s still intriguing how you get all fired up about abstract logical non-points while handwaving gross injustice away as “not my problem”.

    You are guessing incorrectly; in fact, I care about my dignity no more than I do about others’, nor am I fired-up, nor am I “handwaving gross injustice away as “not my problem””.

    Well, admitting up front that you’re a shitheel certainly makes things much easier :)

    There was no such admission outside your wishful thinking; do you seriously claim that what you hold to be your moral obligations are imposed by others, rather than chosen by you?

    (Because, if not, you are no different to me in that regard)

  268. says

    @ vaiyt

    (The only moral obligations that exist are those which are self-imposed, and that is not one which I impose upon myself)

    Well, admitting up front that you’re a shitheel certainly makes things much easier :)

    Do you feel that John¹ is “breaking ranks” with his statement? That by not adopting that which you (I’ll include myself here too) regard as the proper social norms and/or behaviour in this regard he is betraying our shared values?

    I think John is quite right here. It would be rather spiffing to have everyone on board, but there is actually no obligation to do as such. If we are going to win the day it will be with clear persuasion of the dissident party.

    To quote Mohammad:

    There is no compulsion…

    ¹ He is probably just making a technical point. I am not suggesting he is not clandestinely muy simpático.

  269. =8)-DX says

    Reading John’s first point I thought: “Wow, he forgot the </snark> or </nitpick> tags!”

    CR’s claim was that housing, education etc. was necessary in a similar way to food.

    Yes it is, you haven’t made a single argument as to why it is not.

    I’m not unaware that ‘need’ is often used to mean ‘desire’, but nonetheless the two concepts are qualitatively different, regardless of terminology.

    Yes, the concepts are different, by your definition. No one is arguing that they’re not. But all of the things mentioned (food, housing, education, healthcare) have a need component as well as a desire component. The difference is only in the magnitude of each component. For instance:

     •  having half the amount of food available means you are more likely to die at a younger age due to malnutrition, disease, etc.
     •  Double the amount of food may prolong your life by 10 years, or when talking about minimum amounts, by a week.
     •  In exactly the same way, an insulin injection may prolong your life by weeks to months.
     •  Similarly good education about diet would prolong your life with diabetes.
     •  If your heart stops, immediate resuscitation is a much more pressing need than nutrition, in that given situation resuscitation is prerequisite to life, food follows after.
     •  If x tons of food will keep me alive for 1 year, but lack of housing or shelter means I die within 6 months from infection, what is more of a pressing “need”?

    John, if you wish to talk about only the “need” aspect of different things (food, nutrition, water, clean water, shelter, housing, clothing, hygiene, healthcare, vaccination, education), fine. But you’re really being an ignorant dumbass to say this is a difference of category, not ultimately just quantity or degree.

    So no, all the things mentioned have a need component (prolonging life) and a desire component (eating tasty food, not having to drink my own urine, enjoying reading books), even by your definition.

  270. =8)-DX says

    Just to clarify, what’s wrong with this:

    People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on.

    Only the first-mentioned is a need; the others are optional.

    The others are less pressing needs. When talking about a 10-minute period, breathing is usually the most pressing need. When talking about days: water is the next most pressing. When talking about weeks, food becomes necessary. When talking about years, transportation, shelter and healthcare are suddenly necessary for survival. When talking about decades or generations, education is necessary and so on. On the level of centuries, democracy, civil liberty and the rule of law can be crucial to individual survival.

  271. =8)-DX says

    Also:

    How long before the slymies condemn John Scalzi? He is obviously being controlled by PZRebecca WatsonMyers.

    Requiring compliance with cultural/industry standards. Not too much to ask. Unless of course butt-touching, rude jokes and the oh-so-fun objectification game are what makes conferences …FAAAAABULOUS.

  272. Nick Gotts says

    cm’s changeable moniker,

    See, now, #296 was a tweet from a BBC journalist.

    Yes, but it’s a BBC journalist quoting a tweet from Richard Hass, Head of The (US) Council on Foreign Relations. This is an unofficial body, but it’s populated by highly influential people from politics, business (there are also many corporate members), the media and academia, and its head would have close contacts with the current administration – of whichever party. His tweet was a deniable but unmistakeable signal that Obama would not condemn a coup. Notice that the US has in fact accepted the coup: it has not called for Morsi to be reinstated, merely for a timely return to rule by an elected civilian. Notice also that I said “In effect, the US go-ahead for a military coup” (that was mine, not the BBC’s – sorry if that wasn’t clear): I didn’t and don’t attribute the genesis of the coup to the US, but to the Egyptian military leaders, who want a more pliable civilian front-man than Morsi. However, they are heavily dependent on the US for funding (to the tune of over $1bn a year), weaponry, spares, ammunition, training…, and so unlikely to launch a coup if the US made clear its disapproval. (They might do so in desperation, if they believed Egypt or the army itself was in existential peril – but clearly that’s not the case.) The coup is taking advantage of genuine popular anger, but it’s still a military coup against a democratically elected leader, given the go-ahead by the USA. Amusingly, the “west’s” current favourite Arab bogeyman, Bashar al-Assad, has welcomed the coup with glee – not surprising in view of #297.

    Obama did give himself some leverage over Sisi and his pals, by announcing a review of funding to the Egyptian military – the coup gives him an opportunity to stop it and indeed should lead him to do so according to previously announced policy. I’m pretty sure the review will find excuses for the funding to continue, but it may help keep the junta in line meanwhile.

  273. =8)-DX says

    @Nick Gotts
    Thnx for the insight. I was kinda thinking some of these things in light of the press, but you summarised things wonderfully.

  274. John Morales says

    =8)-DX:

    People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on.

    Only the first-mentioned is a need; the others are optional.

    The others are less pressing needs.

    (Emphasis added by =8)-DX)

    So, you hold that a person can live without food in the same way as they can live without being healthy, without having a house, without being educated, without having access to transportation or without communicating.

    When talking about a 10-minute period, breathing is usually the most pressing need. When talking about days: water is the next most pressing. When talking about weeks, food becomes necessary. When talking about years, transportation, shelter and healthcare are suddenly necessary for survival. When talking about decades or generations, education is necessary and so on. On the level of centuries, democracy, civil liberty and the rule of law can be crucial to individual survival.

    Therefore, you contend that before transportation, shelter, healthcare, education, democracy, civil liberty and the rule of law existed, there were no people — after all, they are as necessary as food. ;)

  275. Lofty says

    transportation, shelter, healthcare, education, democracy, civil liberty and the rule of law

    None of these are absolutes so can have existed in some form before fully modern people existed.

  276. John Morales says

    Lofty, good point; I got sucked into writing ‘shelter’ rather than ‘housing’, which was the claim to which I originally responded.

    :)

  277. =8)-DX says

    Therefore, you contend that before transportation, shelter, healthcare, education, democracy, civil liberty and the rule of law existed, there were no people — after all, they are as necessary as food. ;)

    No, they lived less longer. Just as other people who had less or worse food.

    So, you hold that a person can live without food in the same way as they can live without being healthy, without having a house, without being educated, without having access to transportation or without communicating.

    In the same way, yes: on average less longer.

  278. =8)-DX says

    Therefore, you contend that before transportation, shelter, healthcare, education, democracy, civil liberty and the rule of law existed, there were no people — after all, they are as necessary as food. ;)

    Unless of course you’re changing your definition of necessary from “ensuring survival of the individual” to “ensuring the continuation of the species/tribe”. But in that case “a standing army” could be deemed “necessary”, just as transportation and healthcare.

  279. John Morales says

    =8)-DX:

    No, they lived less longer. Just as other people who had less or worse food.

    But if they lived without those (which was what I predicated), then they could live without them.

    (Therefore: desirable, but not necessary)

    In the same way, yes: on average less longer.

    Without food means without food, not without additional food to that ingested earlier. :)

  280. =8)-DX says

    To clarify, at any given moment in an individual’s life, food, healthcare, education will be necessary elements of that individual’s survivial.

    Unless you don’t think individual survival merits marking something as having a degree of necessity, only survival of the species. In which case “cooking”, “agriculture”, “social cohesiveness” – all cultural, non-individually necessary things were necessary at certain given times, not just “food”.

    And in that case you were essentially saying: “only food is necessary, because without those other things, Egyptians would still be able to survive as a population of humans, albeit for shorter periods individually”, which is a nice thing to say, but ultimately obvious and irellevant to the point of utter inanity.

  281. =8)-DX says

    So, you hold that a person can live without food in the same way as they can live without being healthy, without having a house, without being educated, without having access to transportation or without communicating.

    In the same way, yes: on average less longer.

    Without food means without food, not without additional food to that ingested earlier. :)

    Without a life-saving insulin injections means, without a life-saving insulin injection, not without additional life-saving insulin injections, food ingested earlier notwhistanding.

  282. =8)-DX says

    But if they lived without those (which was what I predicated), then they could live without them.
    (Therefore: desirable, but not necessary)

    No, at certian points in those individual’s lives, they died due to lack of those things, or on average did so. Just as in any given week I may die due to a lack of food while some other more hardy human with thicker layers of subcutaneous fat would survive without food. The difference is in quantity / degree.

    To give an example: take a population of adult humans:
    Give the first group:
    20 years supply of grain.
    The second group
    19 years supply of grain.
    Necessary basic long-term healthcare supplies, and rationing plans.

    After 20 years, 25% of the first group dies of preventable disease, infection from cuts, bad food-management.
    5% of the second group die from malnutrition, but were saved from preventable diseases due to vaccination and disinfectant. The group is overall healthier.

    What is fuckin’ not “necessary” about the healthcare provided to the second group if it saved and prolonged lives? How was disinfectant not “necessary” for those in the first group whose legs were swollen, infected and died from gangrene?

  283. John Morales says

    =8)-DX:

    To clarify, at any given moment in an individual’s life, food, healthcare, education will be necessary elements of that individual’s survivial.

    Only one of those things is necessary for all people on a continuous basis.

    (That’s because all living people need to sustain metabolism on a continuous basis)

    Unless you don’t think individual survival merits marking something as having a degree of necessity, only survival of the species. In which case “cooking”, “agriculture”, “social cohesiveness” – all cultural, non-individually necessary things were necessary at certain given times, not just “food”.

    And in that case you were essentially saying: “only food is necessary, because without those other things, Egyptians would still be able to survive as a population of humans, albeit for shorter periods individually”, which is a nice thing to say, but ultimately obvious and irellevant to the point of utter inanity.

    Thought experiment: do you imagine it would be impossible to take a new-born baby and raise her to adulthood without healthcare or education?

    (Can the same thing be said about food?)

    Again, the original claim was about people — unqualified — and not about some people.

    And in that case you were essentially saying: “only food is necessary, because without those other things, Egyptians would still be able to survive as a population of humans, albeit for shorter periods individually”, which is a nice thing to say, but ultimately obvious and irellevant to the point of utter inanity.

    Precisely; it is ultimately obvious and irrelevant to the point of utter inanity because it’s an obvious truth.

    (So, why is it in dispute?)

    Without a life-saving insulin injections means, without a life-saving insulin injection, not without additional life-saving insulin injections, food ingested earlier notwhistanding.

    Fact: I’ve never had a life-saving insulin injection (or any sort of insulin injection), yet here I am.

    (If you concede you’re making claims about some people, I shan’t be able to dispute you!)

  284. John Morales says

    =8)-DX:

    To give an example: take a population of adult humans:
    Give the first group:
    20 years supply of grain.
    The second group
    19 years supply of grain.
    Necessary basic long-term healthcare supplies, and rationing plans.

    To give an example: take a population of adult humans:
    Give the first group:
    20 years supply of grain.
    The second group
    0 years supply of grain.
    Necessary basic long-term healthcare supplies, and rationing plans.

    Which group will outlive the other? ;)

    (It won’t take years to find out, starvation is quicker than that, and utterly certain)

  285. vaiyt says

    I think John is quite right here. It would be rather spiffing to have everyone on board, but there is actually no obligation to do as such. If we are going to win the day it will be with clear persuasion of the dissident party.

    Who’s talking about obligations? I can’t make him do anything. I can and will call him a shitheel for his fucked up priorities.

  286. John Morales says

    vaiyt:

    Who’s talking about obligations?

    consciousness razor.

    I can’t make him do anything.

    True, though you have attempted to influence me.

    I can and will call him a shitheel for his fucked up priorities.

    To what priorities do you refer?

    (If you mean that I hold necessities to have a higher priority than non-necessities, you should show how that is fucked-up)

    BTW, nice going on advancing the discussion!

  287. =8)-DX says

    Fact: I’ve never had a life-saving insulin injection (or any sort of insulin injection), yet here I am.
    (If you concede you’re making claims about some people, I shan’t be able to dispute you!)

    Of course, some people, on average (aren’t I using English here?). Individual needs are just that: individual. Healthcare is necessary because some people die sooner without it, and although a particular individual may not die sooner without a perticular treatment, when talking about populations, and the needs of a society, one of course algamates the individual (and often disparate) needs of the population in general.

    If I said “Babaland is suffering from famine”, I’m not saying “all the inhabitants of Babaland have run out of food”, just that there are a number of people who’s lives are threatened due to lack of food. There is still a need for food, dispite the Prime Minister having a full fridge.

    (So, why is it in dispute?)

    What is in dispute is your need to promote and point out this inane and obvious basic meaning of the words “need” and “necessity” in a discussion about less crucial, although also necessary (by many people’s definitions, and by yours, originally) needs of the Egyptian people.

    The sky is blue. When talking about “the blues”, this is misusing one meaning of that term, because not all blues singers are in any way blue. So what?

    on a continuous basis.

    Let’s all bow down to John Morales’s definition of “need” and “desire”:
    Need something every human being needs at all times and in all circumstances otherwise they die withing a few days.
    Desire Everything else.

    Can we add “Not being nuked” to the list of needs?

    (It won’t take years to find out, starvation is quicker than that, and utterly certain)
    Yeah of course, but none of that food saved that poor sod with the gangrene foot. Tell him “your needs are met!”

  288. =8)-DX says

    If you agree with:

    People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on.

    Only the first-mentioned is a universal, short-term need; the others are optional long-term, individual or general needs.

    (strikes mine, bold words mine)
    We can stop this stupid “discussion”. Unless you really feel that your distinction there had anything to add to the conversation.

  289. says

    Heh.

    You have not yet worked out that it amuses me provide straight responses to attempted rhetorical gotchas?

    Yes I have worked out that for some reason it amuses you to pretend to be less intelligent than you are. What I don’t understand is why anybody who’s not a fucking shithead would find that at all amusing.

    Oh right. You’re a fucking shithead, and proud of it.

  290. says

    @ Nick Gotts

    [from your linky]

    Obama: ” … in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve.” [my emphasis]

    After election, the Muslim Brotherhood proved to be dishonest, incapable and factional. They set about dividing society and undermining democracy. They have not rested in trying to turn Egypt into another Sudan.

    So good riddance. They are congenitally unable to deliver. Their incapacity is dyed-in-the-wool . One specific reason for this that they suffer incurably from magical thinking. Another is that their agenda is driven by bigotry. The reasons are easily multiplied.

    @ vaiyt

    for his fucked up priorities.

    ie: not making embarkation a priority?

  291. chigau (違う) says

    Sleep is also a “need”.
    I don’t know how you do it, John Morales, but you catch a few every time.

  292. says

    @ rorschach

    … nice outdoor cafe in Germany …

    We are going to go through life zooting past each other. I am in Germany (Frankfurt) next month. Drink all the OJ you want, but that keg of Weissbier in the corner has my name on it…

    (I am taking some sordidly wealthy clients on an architectural tour of Northern Europe.)

  293. Nick Gotts says

    After election, the Muslim Brotherhood proved to be dishonest, incapable and factional. They set about dividing society and undermining democracy. They have not rested in trying to turn Egypt into another Sudan.

    So good riddance. – theophontes

    Military juntas for democracy! Yeah!

  294. =8)-DX says

    Military juntas for democracy! Yeah!

    Without a constitution that ensures equal rights for all and a secular state, as well as a political culture of pragmatism and compromise, the door is still open for theocracy or totalitarianism. But you’re right – military juntas have about as bad a reputation as bloody revolutions in ensuring a peaceful rule of the people.

  295. Nick Gotts says

    =8)-DX,

    Without a constitution that ensures equal rights for all and a secular state, as well as a political culture of pragmatism and compromise, the door is still open for theocracy or totalitarianism.

    True. But in this case it’s far from clear that the constitution couldn’t be reformed without a military coup, by winning elections and then a referendum. As I’ve noted, Morsi didn’t have the capability to establish an Islamist tyranny because (as the coup proves) he lacked the support of the army.

    But you’re right – military juntas have about as bad a reputation as bloody revolutions in ensuring a peaceful rule of the people.

    You do occasionally get a military coup that leads to genuinely free elections and a voluntary return to barracks, but they’re not common. And it’s worth a glance at the record of the junta strongman, General Abdul Fattah “Virginity Tests” al-Sisi.

  296. says

    @ Nick Gotts

    Military juntas for democracy! Yeah!

    “Democracy” also tends to rely on magical thinking. Human rights must be upheld not merely a show of hands.

    Why should a majority grind a minority into the ground? This is exactly what has happened in Egypt. Once elected, the Brotherhood wasted not a second in dismantling that very democracy that got them elected in the first place. If a proper constitution had been put in place, if laws were decided in deference to such, Egypt might not have come to this current predicament.

    You say “junta” as if the army is even less committed to the people of Egypt than the Brotherhood. (hah! If that were even possible!) If the army had sided with the Brotherhood, then I would agree things had got very bad. But the opposite is the case. The leadership fucked the cat and were removed before they could do even more damage.

    If the army now stay in power without setting up a proper constitution, and/or calling elections, then I think you will be justified and I shall be wrong. This will play out quite rapidly.

  297. Amphiox says

    To give an example: take a population of adult humans:
    Give the first group:
    20 years supply of grain.
    The second group
    0 years supply of grain.
    Necessary basic long-term healthcare supplies, and rationing plans.

    Which group will outlive the other? ;)

    The depends entirely on where you put your two groups and what the local resources are like with respect to hunting and gathering.

  298. Amphiox says

    People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on.

    Without a form of shelter to protect them from the elements, human beings cannot survive long, not even in the original environment(s) in which they evolved. Housing is definitely a need. And a pretty immediate one too.

    Human beings depend on cultural transmission of survival skills between individuals to survive. Education is definitely a need.

    Barring the lucky accident of living in one of the very few completely self-sufficient environments on earth, humans need to move themselves to the places where they can get the resources they need to live, or have those resources moved to them. Transportation is definitely a need.

    Humans are a social species whose psychological health depends on regular interactions with others of their own kind. The development of children deprived on interaction with other humans is severely impaired, to the point where, without extensive help from others, they would not be able to survive on their own. Communication is definitely a need.

  299. Nick Gotts says

    Thanks theophontes@410: here’s the link.

    Once elected, the Brotherhood wasted not a second in dismantling that very democracy that got them elected in the first place. If a proper constitution had been put in place, if laws were decided in deference to such

    As I’ve twice pointed out, they clearly lacked the capability to dismantle democracy, since they did not have the support of the army – nor, indeed, most of the judiciary. A constitution was approved by referendum – a badly flawed one, but one allowing for amendment.

    You say “junta” as if the army is even less committed to the people of Egypt than the Brotherhood.

    Um, these are the people who supported the Mubarak dictatorship for decades. They own a large slice of the Egyptian economy. To believe they will act in anything but their own perceived interest is risibly naive.

    If the army now stay in power without setting up a proper constitution, and/or calling elections

    Oh, I’m sure they won’t – their American backers wouldn’t like it. But why should it be up to the army to devise a constitution and supervise elections? And what happens if the people get it wrong again, and vote once more for someone the army doesn’t like?

  300. =8)-DX says

    But Amphiox! Those things can’t be needs, they are not required on a continuous basis! (where continuous basis is defined as “at least once a week, erm day, erm every few minutes, youknow”).

  301. =8)-DX says

    And what happens if the people get it wrong again, and vote once more for someone the army doesn’t like?

    Don’t mass popular protests to some degree mandate the army’s actions here.. in a democratic fashion? Like any “popular mandate” however, it’s crucial on how this is implemented. Yes, the army chose now to act, but you can’t just call it completely non-democratic.

    Even in wonderful Modern Western Democracies, popular protests lead to direct government action or even government failure and premature elections.

  302. says

    @ Nick Gotts

    they clearly lacked the capability to dismantle democracy

    A bit of a moot point now (particularly as of last weekend).

    However, The Brotherhood has made various attempts, both in undertaking state roles itself and in co-opting the army.

    I realise we are playing the game of “if” here, but they did have the means and intention to undertake such an endeavour over the long term. Perhaps a longer game of attrition may have worked if they had not bungled everything else so badly. (As indicated, I think they were doomed to failure from the start.)

    They own a large slice of the Egyptian economy.

    Kinda keeps them on the straight and narrow right there. We can also point out Morsi aimed to turf the old guard. He endorsed Al-Sisi.

    .

    Sorry FIFM:

    without setting up

    should read:

    without creating the conditions that allow the setting up

    And what happens if the people get it wrong again, and vote once more for someone the army doesn’t like?

    I highly suspect (of course I cannot know) that this won’t happen. Egyptians have endured a lot under Morsi, who was only voted in on a slight majority as it is. In your opinion, could the Brotherhood really stand a chance to be voted in again after all this?

  303. says

    @ Nick Gotts

    From you linky:

    The cheering crowds responded with chants of “the people and the army are one hand”.

    Interestingly the same phrase was used earlier by the Brotherhood:

    A further, vivid, example of the undermining of political legitimacy took place in January 2012 – when Brotherhood members barricaded parliament’s lower house, in which the Brotherhood’s party constituted the majority of MPs, to “protect” a state institution from protesters – a job that, in reality, belongs to the interior ministry. Tellingly, when the protesters were demanding that the then-ruling military council handed power to the speaker of parliament, who was a Muslim Brotherhood member, the Brotherhood members confronting them chanted “the army and the people are one hand”. Fighting broke out, resulting in 20 injuries.

    [my emphasis, link to AlJazeera)

  304. says

    (I am taking some sordidly wealthy clients on an architectural tour of Northern Europe.)

    Frankfurt has architecture? News to me :-)

    I’m currently reading “Thinking fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman, and that’s one of the rare books where the hype is actually justified, totally awesome and illuminating read, much recommended.

  305. ChasCPeterson says

    classic Morales thread. The guy can evoke some remarkable responses.

    if a standard know-it-all wisecracking teenager merged with a Zen monk.

    that’s pretty good.

    Reading John’s first point I thought: “Wow, he forgot the /snark or /nitpick tags!”

    Mo. Ra. Les.

    Meta meta meta meta meta: A trolling troll trolls. (Quite trollingly)

    sez the catch from the creel

    It is tiresome , John. For fuck’s sake, Nerd copying and pasting the same angry one-liners seemed less tedious and repetitious.

    wow. I totally disagree. NoR’s streak as most annoying commenter by far is unparalleled, imo.

    I can’t figure out any reason you have for doing this nitpicking besides your own amusement.

    But that’s so obviously his only reason that it’s weird to try to figure out anything else.

    It’s also really frustrating a lot of people, and disrupting a conversation that had been taking place.

    oh look: Open Thread. And as you can see, previous discussions have resumed as if undisrupted.
    As for frustrating a lot of people–even to the level of “I’d sooner jam a knife in my ear than listen to something like this in meatspace” about which, wow–the easy and no-mess solution for everybody involved is the handy-dandy killfile script, available at:

    LINKhttp://pharyngula.wikia.com/wiki/Greasemonkey

    I recommend it!

  306. =8)-DX says

    wow. I totally disagree. NoR’s streak as most annoying commenter by far is unparalleled, imo.

    Shit, I still have to try REALLY hard to get the “most annoying commenter” status.

    Will it help if I say:
    I’ve been part of three discussions here, one on consciousness and reality, one on racism, one on basic human needs. I was on the right (or was on the winning side) of all of them!
    FUCK YEAH!

    (what more do I have to do to be a noteworthy abnoxious commenter?!) Do I have to individually and personally piss off everyone? Haven’t I done that yet? So much to worry about!

  307. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Jebus, I haven’t and don’t intend to comment on the present Egyptian crisis. Nothing to copy and paste. Anybody mentioning me in this discussion is attempting to deflect attention from the main topic. The only copy/paste material I have is for gobots. or other presuppositional ilk Carry on.

  308. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    I’m bungeeing ..!

    People need to be fed and healthy; they need housing, education, transportation, communication, and so on.

    Only the first-mentioned is a need; the others are optional.

    I understood that immediately. Am I weird?

    Tasmanian aborigines

    And that’s exactly why I understood it immediately. Because Walkabout.

    My secondary school reading list has ruined me apparently. :-)

    *Boing*

  309. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    *bounce*

    There should probably be a comma after ‘me’.

    *bounce*

    Could someone wind me back up now, please?

  310. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I am taking some sordidly wealthy clients on an architectural tour of Northern Europe.

    How I yearn for sordid wealthery.

  311. David Marjanović says

    John…

    Obsessive-compulsive pedantry is one thing (I’m on the autism spectrum myself).

    Finding it funny is another. It makes you evil.

    Just saying.

  312. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gobots? *headdesk, too many offerings to Tpyos this week*

  313. Nick Gotts says

    theophontes,

    I realise we are playing the game of “if” here

    Well, not really: what we have is an actual military junta, having actually overthrown the elected President, actually shooting demonstrators and actually imprisoning hundreds of its political opponents without trial: there’s nothing “if” about any of that.

    They own a large slice of the Egyptian economy.

    Kinda keeps them on the straight and narrow right there.

    So you advocate the armed forces of every country owning a large slice of the economy, right? Or just for primitives like the Egyptians?

    We can also point out Morsi aimed to turf the old guard. He endorsed Al-Sisi.

    Allende appointed Pinochet. And I think we know quite as much as we need about General “virginity tests” al-Sisi, former head of military intelligence under Mubarak.

  314. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    They own a large slice of the Egyptian economy.

    Out of interest, what does this mean? My CIA Factbook says military spending is ~2% of GDP, which is about the NATO norm.

    So you advocate the armed forces of every country owning a large slice of the economy, right? Or just for primitives like the Egyptians?

    See, now, that’s just an unprovoked escalation. No-one said “primitive”. (Well, except you.) All theophontes said was that if the military controlled a “large slice of the economy”, then (presumably) those involved in that slice would have some corrective power. *puzzled*

  315. says

    Well, not really: what we have is an actual military junta,

    Read again, I was referring to a hypothetical “if” Morsi and his Brotherhood had been allowed to continue with destroying the economy, demonising the Copts, shutting out alternative voices, bypassing state institutions and the like.

    You say “junta” and refer to Pinochet, asif the military will now set about creating a comparable regime. I very much doubt this and certainly would not endorse it. As the building said, this is just “game over” (for Morsi, for now at least) – press”restart” and start again. Yes it is a very unfortunate turn of events. It would have been wonderful if Egypt could have developed democracy far more smoothly. It would have been wonderful if Morsi hadn’t fucked up so badly that the people (not just the army) felt compelled to oust him.

    This was a false start. I just hope Egyptian politics does not start to look like “Groundhog Day”.

    So you advocate the armed forces of every country owning a large slice of the economy, right?

    No, Costa Rica’s armed forces would be my suggestion for a template.

    Armed forces generally receive inordinate amounts of public money, and own inordinate tracts of land. This is a pretty universal phenomenon. I would trust it is properly managed and invested.

    Or just for primitives like the Egyptians?

    I would say “fuck you!”, but would far rather you retract your loaded question.

    Nick, you forget where I come from. I grew up with this shit. I’ve watched a democracy grow. Also in the context of an army that was far to big for its boots. It is a tough process and full of ups and downs. And still has a very long way to go. Mount Democracy doesn’t get leapt in one bound.

    It is easy to get cynical. Don’t.

    keeps them on the straight and narrow

    Any major financial institution (even the financial arm of the military) has a great concern to grow the economy as opposed to driving it into the ground.

    The military stepped in and there was a major rebound on the stock exchange. That is a cold blooded financial reality. If the army are as heavily invested in the economy as you suggest (I don’t dispute this) their incentive is to ensure a stable economy. Unlike Morsi and his buffoons, they realise that this needs a stable democracy (Anyhow, the writing is on the wall; things are too far gone to impose a Pinochet style junta.).

    Have no fear, things have to move quite rapidly. We will see the direction this will take in the next few weeks. Bookmark me here and feel free to say “See, I told you so” if I am wrong.

    “virginity tests”

    That was rather a sordid idea – which he later retracted. The one glimmer of good news is that he can not get away with that shit any more.

    (A less primitive, yet analogous, example of such adaptive behaviour: Obama changed his position, from one of rank bigotry wrt gay marriage, to one that is more amenable to such. La politica, e pur si muove!)

  316. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    I am. Already looking for a way to get back. I’ve been a lot of places but the PRC is my favorite (other than Kirstenbosch).

  317. David Marjanović says

    harsh

    hyperbole

    The ability to enjoy trolling is an evil personality trait. I can’t see how else to put it.

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

    Wow.

    All this hatred towards me from the Horde because ,,well, now, how’d we get here again? ..Oh yeah. Because I dared to be emotionally moved to express my appalled horror and outrage and anger at what happened to Dilan an eighteen year old “brown”* Muslim woman.

    Really Horde? Seriously?

    Da fuck?!?

    Did any of you sanctimonious, holier than thou* fools even actually read the thread I linked and its story? Seems not :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/06/forced-marriage-and-murder-in-turkey/

    But, oh well, you are going to condemn me for be horrified and angry and wishing that somehow somewhere if only there was some justice done for what happened to a “brown”** Muslim woman.

    Yeesh. You vicious fucked up, ideological zealot fuckers.

    * Yeah, I know, its the metaphorical left wing equivalent I’m meaning here. You mob are judging and condeming me because I dare to disagree. Dare to offer another view on, fuck, all of a handful of issues. You think I’m intolerant and unreasonable perhaps? Well, right back at ya! I’m not the straw-monster that some of you have erroneously prejudged me to be. If you actually read and thought about what I’ve written you’d realise that. But, of course, you refuse to actually do that. Thus proving my case.

    ** Whatever the fuck that even means. Because I don’t see the recently deceased Dilan as a “brown” person. I see her as a fucking human being, an individual who had human rights and deserved so much fucking better than what she got. But I guess because it was her own fucken family who murdered her and they are “brown”* then that’s okay. Its only when “white” people do anything nasty that you folks give a shit so, aarrrrrrgh, do I laugh or cry at your stupid idea that *I’m* somehow the racist one, you racists?

    Note I’m the one who doesn’t even think “race” is real – I think its just a stupid pseudo-scientific “social construct” a.k.a. a lie. That should be demolishe dbyrefusing toaccept its premise that such a thingeven exists. We are all human individuals. Not races. Anyone really gonna argue otherwise?

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

    Typo fix :

    That should be demolished by refusing to accept its premise that such a fucking bullshit thing even exists. We are all human individuals. Not races. Anyone really gonna argue otherwise?

    Oh & I stumbled upon this today on a facebook page of all places. It sums up my thinking pretty well here ’tis :

    Race, Racism (and Islam)

    “Whoever resembles a people, he is of them”- Muhammad, Prophet of Islam

    Race is the arbitrary classification of individuals according to physical traits that presumably have a genetic basis. How many races there are and what characteristics are used to determine racial identity is entirely subjective, since there is no such thing as a “race gene” or a series of genes that define race in the absolute sense. Race is therefore a social construct and not a physical science, even it is grounded in genetics. It is no more meaningful to say that a person is of a certain race than it is to say that they were born in Indiana rather than Illinois.

    Categorizing people by race is also non-sensible and irrelevant. Consider the entirely feasible example of a girl born to parents who are a white European and a native African. Given the different races involved, which one would she be considered? More importantly, how could it possibly matter? Would being either “black” or “white” or something in between make her any different of a person?

    Race also serves as the foundation for racism, which tries to emphasize distinctions between racial categories – arbitrary as they may be. Racism is the “science” of drawing broad conclusions from comparative studies, which are then assumed to apply to all members of a particular group who happen to share a genetic profile.

    Racism is deeply flawed because it is fundamentally irrational. Human beings are not groups, they are individuals.

    There is not one scientific or cultural fact that can be determined about an individual based on their race. For example, one cannot know what music another person enjoys, how they vote, or how high they are able to jump simply by knowing their race.

    In fact, all racial stereotypes dissolve at the individual level. No matter how fast one runs, how quick one thinks, or how moral one’s character, there can always be members of any other race found who better excel at each of these – or any other imaginable measure. There is simply no such thing as a meaningful racial stereotype. People are generally whoever they choose to be.

    This makes perfect sense to intelligent people. Since racial identity is arbitrary, it cannot be deterministic. Without determinism, there can be no science. Therefore, neither racism nor the study of race has anything factual to offer.

    In addition to being a false science, racism is morally wrong because it is the foundation for racial discrimination, in which different rules and standards are applied to individuals based on their presumed identity. In the past, people suffered tremendously (and unfairly, of course) because of this.

    Thus, the artificial system of race serves no positive purpose. Lending legitimacy to the flawed theory of racial distinction leads, almost inevitably, to racism and the justification of racial discrimination. This, along with the inherent absurdity of even classifying people by race, should be enough to merit junking racial identification altogether.

    Islam and “Racism”

    Those openly critical of Islam are sometimes dubiously slurred as racists, regardless of what their true views on race may be.

    In fact, Islam is not a race. Islam has nothing at all to do with genetics. It is an ideology – a voluntarily-held set of beliefs about individual behavior and the rules of society. People do not choose their race.

    Therefore Muslims not a race of people. In fact, there are Muslims of all races.

    Therefore criticizing Islam is not racism. There is no such thing as “anti-Muslim racism” any more than it makes sense to pretend that there is “anti-Christian racism,” “anti-Methodist racism,” or “anti-Capitalist racism.”

    So why would anyone claim differently?

    It is because the battle over Islam is being fought in the West, the only arena in which this religion can still be critically debated. It is also here that repugnance toward racism is strong and nearly universal. As politicians well know, if one can successfully paint the opposition as “racist,” then the battle for public opinion is all but decided. From high-risk mortgages to illegal immigration, fear of the race card is one of the strongest influences on public policy.

    At the same time, it is nearly impossible to defend Islam on its own merits – which is why Muslim societies usually rely on threat of violence to suppress intellectual critique of Islam and the freedom of other religion to fairly compete. According to its own texts, Islam was founded in terror, and its political and social code is deeply incompatible with Western liberal values. Frustrated advocates of Islam’s advance are therefore prone to taking the crude and easy path of trying to squash debate by mislabeling criticism of their religion as racism.

    Having to sling the worst of all slurs to compensate for deficiency of fact and logic is bad enough, but in this case there is terrible irony in that what is being defended in such cheap fashion is an ideology that is overtly supremacist in nature. In fact, those Muslims who do want to rely on the race card are not thinking very far ahead.

    On the surface it would seem that if Islam really were a race, or Muslims a race of people, then any criticism of the common tie which unites them – in this case the religion of Islam – could be dismissed out of hand as racism, thus effectively protecting the religion from tough examination. But everything is not as it seems.

    If Muslims are a race because of Islam, then it means that Islam is a racial ideology. Therefore, what this ideology has to say about its own and other “races” becomes very important.

    In fact, the Qur’an posits an enormous qualitative distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims that is hard to miss. Believers are loved by God, whereas infidels are hated to the extent that they are tortured for eternity (3:32, 4:56) merely for not believing. Muslims are told to shun unbelievers (3:118), who are called “helpers of evil” (25:55), “wicked” (4:160), “fond of lies” (5:42) and compared to the worst of animals (8:55, 7:176, 7:179). Members of Islam are told to be merciful to each other, but ruthless to those outside of the faith (48:29). Violence is also sanctioned against those who are obstinate against Islamic rule (8:12-13, 9:5).

    If Islam is a race, then Christianity and Judaism are races as well, meaning that if the Quran speaks ill of them, then it is a racist book. In truth, the Quran does more than that. In a stunning burst of religious bigotry Muslims are ordered to fight Jews and Christians “until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (9:29). There is no basis in the text for bringing Jew and Christians under the heel of Islamic rule except by virtue of their religion.

    No other religion filters perception through group identity to the extent that Islam does. Around the world Christians, Jews and other individuals are routinely brutalized merely because they are a member of a non-Muslim group, not because they have done anything to personally deserve having their lives taken, their children maimed or their property torched. Meanwhile, other Muslims are generally indifferent to this violence and reserve their true outrage for circumstances involving Muslim victims of non-Muslim acts, however unintentional or relatively slight.

    So, if Muslims are a race, Islam would not only be a racist ideology, but arguably the most hateful and destructive in history. It is bad enough that hundreds of millions of people have been killed in the last fourteen centuries by divinely sanctioned Jihad and slavery, but to retroactively supplant the stated motive of religious supremacy with that of racial superiority is hardly a step in the right direction for a religion seeking the acceptance of an increasingly skeptical audience.

    Conclusion

    Race is an arbitrary label that has no legitimacy. Therefore anything based on race, including racism and racial discrimination is unsound at best and immoral and inhumane at worst.

    Human beings are individuals and should only be judged as such.

    Islam is not a race. Muslims are not a race. Islam is an ideology that should be open to critical examination. Muslims, however, are individuals who should be protected from harm or harassment in the same way and for the same reasons as anyone else.

    Now, go on, tell me where the fuck you think the above piece has it wrong. If you can.

  320. chigau (違う) says

    No other religion filters perception through group identity to the extent that Islam does. Around the world Christians, Jews and other individuals are routinely brutalized merely because they are a member of a non-Muslim group, not because they have done anything to personally deserve having their lives taken, their children maimed or their property torched. Meanwhile, other Muslims are generally indifferent to this violence and reserve their true outrage for circumstances involving Muslim victims of non-Muslim acts, however unintentional or relatively slight.

    [citation needed]

  321. David Marjanović says

    if only there was some justice done

    Let me guess: by “justice” you mean “revenge”?

    Which thread are you talking about, though?

    Now, go on, tell me where the fuck you think the above piece has it wrong. If you can.

    You’ve completely missed the point. The point are all those idiots who treat Islam as a race, Harris for instance.

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

    @447.Portia :

    If we are so terrible, why do you insist on hanging out in our den of zealous ideology?

    Oh, a whole heap of reasons, Portia, in boots :

    I) Because PZ Myers and Chris Clarke are good bloggers who write and share some fascinating stuff and good articles. Pity their followers are so shit but, hey, so many religions have that same issue!

    II) Because I actually do mostly enjoy this blog despite the best efforts of some of the more brutal ideological zealot commentators on here.

    III) Because I’m not going to be give in to or be driven away by bullying and hatred from misguided fools who don’t know me and suffer severe reading comprehension problems of their own.

    IV) Because I have comments I want to contribute that I think y’all can benefit from reading and considering and learning from. Sure, YMMV but then others mileage may vary with yours incl. my mileage. (shrug) Is it really so fucking hard for you to tolerate reading or even glimpsing viewpoints that occassionally disagree with your own?

    V) Because why not? Why the fuck should I leave just because a few commenters here fail to comprehend me and dislike me because of their own lack of understanding about what I’m actually saying or personal prejudices against me?

    PS. I treat all human beings equally, I really do. I find suggestions tothe cntray offensive & I dothink I have the right to defend myself from unfair attack.

    Just like Israel and the USA do.

    I think there is a strong “vibe” of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism (ie anti-Israeli-ism) and anti-Westernism generally here.

    I think you mob are tough on Christianity but disproportionately and inconsistently soft on Islam and that baffles the fuck out of me. Why the fuck?!?

    Islam is,pretty fucken evidently the most horrible, cruel hateful uber-right-wing mainstream religion there is. It is oppresses women, covers them head to toe, denies them their rights to education, independence even their right to drive, abuses them and murders them and murders non-heteronormative human individuals and is just fuckeing evil.

    If you are “progressive”, “atheist”, “feminist” – how the fuck can you not notice this?

    Can you really not fucking see this or stand fellow humans who share most of your ideas pointing this out?

    Da fuck horde, what’s wrong with you!?!

    Oh & I am just fine with moderate peaceful Muslims (the majority I gather) who do others no harm. I just have a beef with those who are trying to kill me, you and all those other people mostly “brown”** and Muslims themselves. I kinda think Jihadists should be prevented from committing atrocities. Apparently here that’s seen as somehow wrong for reasons I cannot grasp.

    ** See double asterisks in comment #446.

  323. David Marjanović says

    [...] Meanwhile, other Muslims are generally indifferent to this violence [...]

    Ah, I completely overlooked that part. Go watch some discussions on Aljazeera.

  324. Ogvorbis says

    No other religion filters perception through group identity to the extent that Christianity does. Around the world Muslims, Jews, atheists and other individuals are routinely brutalized merely because they are a member of a non-Christian group, not because they have done anything to personally deserve having their lives taken, their children maimed or their property torched. Meanwhile, other Christians are generally indifferent to this violence and reserve their true outrage for circumstances involving Christian victims of non-Christian acts, however unintentional or relatively slight.

    Wow, StevoR, you are correct. No other religion in the world has anything at all in common with the xenophobia of that one religion. I agree with you now. Bomb ‘m all! Only way to get the ones who kill abortion doctors, beat and kill gays, and let people starve because they haven’t accepted Jesus!

  325. Portia, in boots says

    *puts chin in hand, soaks in the mansplaining*

    Tell me more about how I’m not a good feminist. Tell me more about what it means to be a feminist. Please, kind sir.

  326. David Marjanović says

    Is it really so fucking hard for you to tolerate reading or even glimpsing viewpoints that occassionally disagree with your own?

    o_O

    Nobody is banning you. WTF?

    We disagree, we disagree loudly, and nobody restricts your ability to comment here!

    I think there is a strong “vibe” of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism (ie anti-Israeli-ism) and anti-Westernism generally here.

    Then you need to work on your reading comprehension. I’m sorry, there’s no other way to put this without making a dissertation out of it.

    Also, do you know what it makes you when you accuse people of fucking antisemitism without providing really strong evidence? An asshole, that’s what.

    I think you mob are tough on Christianity but disproportionately and inconsistently soft on Islam and that baffles the fuck out of me. Why the fuck?!?

    That’s really easy to explain.

    First, you have very little experience of the worst of Christianity, while many people here grew up in it and have it shoved in their faces, or up their vaginas, every day. Islam, on the other hand, doesn’t figure in the daily life of most Pharyngula commenters.

    Second, you have very little experience of Islam in general. Just like Christianity, it’s a continuum with reasonable people on one end and bloodthirsty berserks + holy scripture at the other. Sure, that other end rules entire countries – and entire states of the US.

    Third, you have a really strong tendency to see groups of people as a monolith. That’s the exact same fallacy that lies behind sexism and racism.

    Fourth…

    I kinda think Jihadists should be prevented from committing atrocities.

    That’s a perfectly fine goal. I share it. The methods I’ve seen you propose so far, however, are childish, silly, and fucking totalitarian, which includes bloodthirsty.

    Instead of thinking things through, you just get angry!

  327. chigau (違う) says

    Israel is a country, a political entity.
    I find it quite easy to be anti-Israel without being anti-semitic.
    It is possible to disagree with Israeli foreign practice without being anti-semitic.
    P.S.
    Semite used to be a race.

  328. Portia, in boots says

    Wait wait wait.
    Chigau is right.

    How can he call us anti-Semites if race doesn’t exist?

    …yooguise.

    I found a logical inconsistency in Stevo’s argument.

    Can you believe it?

  329. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    theophontes: I did not get to Xixuangbanna, but most definitely next time. I was mostly along the border with Vietnam, which was crazy-beautiful, and all kinds of karsty. The botany kind of pinched out, but we were pretty successful in establishing a collabo with the institute at Kunming. I definitely plan to come back. I was blown away by how cheap it was to fly within China. Next time, I’ll definitely stop by your neck of the woods, if you’ll have me.

  330. Lysander says

    II) Because I actually do mostly enjoy this blog despite the best efforts of some of the more brutal ideological zealot commentators on here.

    That’s rich coming from you, man.

    III) Because I’m not going to be give in to or be driven away by bullying and hatred from misguided fools who don’t know me and suffer severe reading comprehension problems of their own.

    We know what you’ve written here, and we can read it perfectly clearly, thank you. It’s just that what you’ve written here is consistently repugnant, racist, and often genocidal.

    IV) Because I have comments I want to contribute that I think y’all can benefit from reading and considering and learning from. Sure, YMMV but then others mileage may vary with yours incl. my mileage. (shrug) Is it really so fucking hard for you to tolerate reading or even glimpsing viewpoints that occassionally disagree with your own?

    All that we’re learning from your comments is that you’re prone to corrosive bigotry. Your belief that you are adding to the conversation is no different from the likes of Joey, who also think that we would benefit from reading and considering the bullshit they spew.

    V) Because why not? Why the fuck should I leave just because a few commenters here fail to comprehend me and dislike me because of their own lack of understanding about what I’m actually saying or personal prejudices against me?

    Because it’s not just a few; AFAICT no one here actually likes you. I suppose that not everyone wants you banned, as such, but no one likes hearing from you.

    PS. I treat all human beings equally, I really do. I find suggestions tothe cntray offensive & I dothink I have the right to defend myself from unfair attack.

    No, you do not. You advocate wildly different treatment for Muslims and Arabs than you do for Israelis, Europeans, Americans, Australians etc. Therefore, the attacks on you are entirely fair.

    Just like Israel and the USA do.

    Nations haven’t got rights. That said, both Israel and the U.S. were founded on wars of aggression and continue to launch such wars on a routine basis. Fighting back against foreign invaders is not an “unfair attack.”

    I think there is a strong “vibe” of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism (ie anti-Israeli-ism) and anti-Westernism generally here.

    This shit is why people say that you are basically a caricature of the American Right’s foreign policy. Specifically, the accusation that opposing Israeli aggression constitutes anti-Semitism is one of their standard lines (Hint: The Israeli government neither constitutes nor represents all Jewish people.) As far as anti-Americanism, we’re simply being honest about the actions taken by the U.S. The U.S. has launched wars of aggression, comitted atrocities and war crimes, violated its own Constitution and laws on a routine basis, and has caused significant problems in the world. I oppose all of these things, which on your view makes me anti-American, I suppose. As far as ‘anti-westernism’ I really don’t know what you might mean by this, because you have your own idiosyncratic definition of ‘Western’ that matches nothing used by any political scientist, sociaologist, etc. I suspect, though, that what you mean is that we’re not frothing at the mouth with rabid Islamophobia the way you are, in which you are entirely correct. The rabid Islamophobia is one of the reasons no one here likes you at all.

    I think you mob are tough on Christianity but disproportionately and inconsistently soft on Islam and that baffles the fuck out of me. Why the fuck?!?

    As David Marjanović notes, you have no direct experience of the damage and danger caused by Christianity (of course you have no direct experience of the damage and danger caused by Islam either, which make your hatred of Muslims look even more bigoted than you did to start with). I’ll give you a hint, though: No Muslim has ever taken away my legal rights. No Muslim has ever threatened me personally with violence to my face. There are not huge Muslim organizations in my country devoted to making me a second class citizen and see me imprisoned or executed. Funny thing, though, Christians have done all that and more. There’s no meaningful difference between the fanatics, be they Christiam. Muslim, Hindu, or other, but the ones that have the most impact on the lives of most commenters here happen to be Christians, so we tend to gripe about them more.

    Islam is,pretty fucken evidently the most horrible, cruel hateful uber-right-wing mainstream religion there is. It is oppresses women, covers them head to toe, denies them their rights to education, independence even their right to drive, abuses them and murders them and murders non-heteronormative human individuals and is just fuckeing evil.

    As I said above, Christian fanatics seek all of those things as well, (And also Hindus, Orthodox Jews, many Buddhists, etc) and in places where they are not stopped by strong rule of law they do them. See, for example, the Lord’s Resistance Army

    If you are “progressive”, “atheist”, “feminist” – how the fuck can you not notice this?

    Because we’re paying attention to reality? Just guessing here, mind.

    Can you really not fucking see this or stand fellow humans who share most of your ideas pointing this out?

    Not to Godwin, but the Nazis instituted a national health care system. Just because I also want a national health care system does not mean I am willing to ally with Nazis to get it.

    I kinda think Jihadists should be prevented from committing atrocities. Apparently here that’s seen as somehow wrong for reasons I cannot grasp.

    The problem is that you advocate more atrocities to accomplish this. You have advocated for killing people who have committed no crime without a trial because you believe the may have intended to commit a crime. You have advocated carpet bombing civilian population centers to get the ebil terrists. You have advocated torture. This makes you no better than the Jihadists you hate so much.

  331. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    All this hatred towards me from the Horde because ,,well, now, how’d we get here again? ..Oh yeah. Because I dared to be emotionally moved to express my appalled horror and outrage and anger at what happened to Dilan an eighteen year old “brown”* Muslim woman.

    Yeah.That’s what happened. It was just that post…

    Horde? Seriously?

    Uh huh.

  332. Amphiox says

    All this hatred towards me from the Horde because ,,well, now, how’d we get here again? ..Oh yeah. Because I dared to be emotionally moved to express my appalled horror and outrage and anger at what happened to Dilan an eighteen year old “brown”* Muslim woman.

    Are you truly this pathetically clueless, StevoR, to think that this was the reason for the responses to you?

    You have learned nothing.

    You have demonstrated to desire to learn anything.

    You are not an honest interlocuter.

    You are disgusting.

  333. ChasCPeterson says

    hey, Stev-O, did anybody famous ever teach at or graduate from your highschool?

  334. ChasCPeterson says

    would you refer to Islamic clerics as “mendacious intellectual pornographers”, or no?

  335. John Morales says

    StevoR, how does your utilitarianism lead you to believe justice entails that those who cause suffering should suffer proportionately?

  336. anteprepro says

    Yeah, I know, its the metaphorical left wing equivalent I’m meaning here. You mob are judging and condeming me because I dare to disagree. Dare to offer another view on, fuck, all of a handful of issues.

    “You think I’m salivating over torture, I think I’m Just Disagreeing ™.”

    Note I’m the one who doesn’t even think “race” is real – I think its just a stupid pseudo-scientific “social construct” a.k.a. a lie. That should be demolishe dbyrefusing toaccept its premise that such a thingeven exists.

    Social construct =/= Lie.

    Social constructs exist. They exist socially . Within a society. Race exists and will continue to exist as long as people are treated differently based on the idea of race. Ignoring that while racists still exist, while racial inequality still exists, is simply faux egalitarianism.

    Because I’m not going to be give in to or be driven away by bullying and hatred from misguided fools who don’t know me and suffer severe reading comprehension problems of their own.

    Does anyone aside from StevoR himself believe the part in bold?

    I think there is a strong “vibe” of anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism (ie anti-Israeli-ism) and anti-Westernism generally here.

    Opposing American wars? Anti-American.
    Opposing Israel? Anti-Semitic.
    Not thinking that Western civilization is the bestest EVAR and therefore fuck everyone else’s culture?
    Anti-Western.

    And StevoR claims to not be the personification of the American right-wing foreign policy debate. Pshaw.

    I think you mob are tough on Christianity but disproportionately and inconsistently soft on Islam and that baffles the fuck out of me….

    Islam is,pretty fucken evidently the most horrible, cruel hateful uber-right-wing mainstream religion there is. It is oppresses women, covers them head to toe, denies them their rights to education, independence even their right to drive, abuses them and murders them and murders non-heteronormative human individuals and is just fuckeing evil.

    “You’re all disproportionately mean to Christianity because you don’t agree with my disproportionately negative view of Islam!”

    Oh & I am just fine with moderate peaceful Muslims (the majority I gather) who do others no harm. I just have a beef with those who are trying to kill me, you and all those other people mostly “brown”** and Muslims themselves.

    So, wait, we are soft on Islam, because we are supposed to meaner to Islam than Christianity, because Islam is super terrible, but you admit that the majority of Muslims aren’t evil, horrible, cruel, abusive murderers? If you really had a beef with people who were trying to kill other people, you wouldn’t be a cheerleader and apologist for America’s Endless War on Everyone. But, unfortunately, you only see the violence that you want to see. You are unwilling to imagine that America and its allies are anything but the pure forces of goodness and light. You are willing to excuse far too much under the assumption that the threats and enemies are far greater than they actually are. Maybe you aren’t actually racist. But your faulty assumptions, paranoia, disproportionate concern over Jihadists, disproportionate lack of concern over our own little Western Warriors, and subsequent excusing of excessive violence and outright fucking torture from the Good Guys? It adds up, and it makes you indistinguishable from a huge fucking bigot.

  337. cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming) says

    Not quite sure where Chas’s line of questioning is going, but a UK Prime Minister went to mine.

    /sharingiscaring

  338. Amphiox says

    Note I’m the one who doesn’t even think “race” is real – I think its just a stupid pseudo-scientific “social construct” a.k.a. a lie. That should be demolishe dbyrefusing toaccept its premise that such a thingeven exists.

    Did you read the comment on the social constructs of money and government, StevoR?

    Apparently not.

    Once again you show that you have learned nothing, that you do not want to learn anything, that you do not care to learn anything, that you are more interested in preserving in your own pathetic imagination your self-delusions of personal infallibility than in growing as a human being.

    Once again you demonstrate that you are NOT an honest interculator.

    You are a behaving no different than the standard intellectually dishonest creationist troll. The only difference between you and them is that they devote their dishonesty to defending an intellectual position which, ultimately, does not directly harm actual real people, while YOU devote your intellectual dishonesty in defending positions that DO.

    You are disgusting.

  339. Amphiox says

    Gender is also a social construct. StevoR is apparently happy to accept that misogyny is a real thing, but the moment HE gets accused of racism, suddenly race and racism are not real.

    Utterly pathetic hypocrisy.

  340. chigau (違う) says

    Amphiox #479

    Gender is also a social construct.

    Nonononono!!!11!!!
    XX
    XY
    That’s Real™.
    All the rest of it is ##waving hands## just made up*.
    —-
    *perscomm
    Some guy in a ber.

  341. says

    StevoR:
    How long do you intend to NOT address the substance of any argument against you?

    Yes, we know race is an artificial construct. No one is denying that. But it is not meaningless you stupid asshole. You get the benefit of not being a person affected by the perception of race, so what do you choose to do?
    Dismiss the lived experiences of countless people who have experienced racism.

    How about an answer as to why you think it is self defense when neither the US, nor Australia are in danger of attack from extremist Islamist terrorists? Whats being done is revenge and does nothing more than piss off other countries, and create more people who hate the US.

    How about an explanation as to why you condone drone killings that fail to succeed at accomplishing their stated goals? 2% is a pretty pathetic number, especially in the face of the innocent lives being lost.

    Oh, wait. I forgot that you do not consider the thousands of innocents who have been killed by these drones to be innocents. To you, innocents are only those people killed in the September 11 attacks. Newsflash you vile fucker, those who died in the 9/11 attacks are as innocent as the people killed in the drone attacks. You would know that if you would pull your racist, ignorant head out of your ass.

    You have been refuted over and over and over again and you never, NEVER leave and makr an attempt at self analysis.
    You refuse to accept that you are trying AND FAILING to justify yourself as a good person.

    Why you continue to even engage anyone here is beyond me.

    Fuck off until you understand why you are wrong.

  342. says

    When did ‘expressing the desire for preemptive strikes-that kill terrorist and innocents alike-against people who have not attacked us nor pose any significant threat to us”

    Equal

    ‘An opposing view’?

    It is like he thinks we cannot read the very racist, rah rah imperialistic, shit he spews.

  343. Amphiox says

    How about an explanation as to why you condone drone killings that fail to succeed at accomplishing their stated goals? 2% is a pretty pathetic number, especially in the face of the innocent lives being lost.

    And this should really matter to StevoR, since he claims to be utilitarian in his view of ethics.

  344. says

    The Wall Street Journal published an editorial saying:

    Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, who took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.

    So we’ve now got major media organs openly praising fascist dictators. Lovely.

  345. says

    @ chigau

    sithrak —> Michel Polnaref:

    On ira tous au paradis mêm’ moi
    Qu’on soit béni ou qu’on soit maudit, on ira
    Tout’ les bonn’ sœurs et tous les voleurs
    Tout’ les brebis et tous les bandits
    On ira tous au paradis
    On ira tous au paradis, mêm’ moi
    Qu’on soit béni ou qu’on soit maudit, on ira
    Avec les saints et les assassins
    Les femmes du monde et puis les putains
    On ira tous au paradis

    We all go to heaven, the kind hearted and the thieves, the sheep and the bandits, saints and assassins, women of the world, followed by prostitutes …. the list continues: theists, atheists, xtians , gentiles, dogs and even sharks.

  346. says

    @ Dalillama

    So we’ve now got major media organs openly praising fascist dictators. Lovely.

    The ‘Merkin media is horrific.

    .

    One of my professors in Delft was working as an urbanist for the housing ministry when Pinochet came to power. She was arrested and thrown into jail for having worked to improve the conditions of slum dwellers. That was more than enough to make her an enemy of the regime. Half her former varsity classmates was murdered by his thugs, the rest escaped and went into exile, like herself.

  347. kouras says

    Noob question: I’ve been trying to catch up on reading here, and there seem to be both people who have posted quoting content about users here, from the Slymepit, without apparent sanction, and people who have apparently been in trouble here as a result of spending time there. Is it safe to infer that people in the latter category posted in a bad place to discuss the matter, chose to discuss in a way which breached the rules, or had some direct involvement or participation there, or tried to excuse some of the more directly problematic conduct of people who willingly contribute there?

    I’ve not been there, but identified ‘pitters on social networking sites have been fairly obnoxious at best. The thought behind this post is somewhere between trying to figure out if there are unwritten rules on this topic, and wondering about the consequences of briefly indulging a sense of horrified fascination.

  348. says

    kouras:
    PZ has an insta-ban rule in place for Slymepitters. Not having read his mind, I surmise it is because of their hostility towards feminism, their use of gendered slurs, their tendency to derail conversations, their part in the ongoing harassment of atheoskeptical bloggers, their inability to be reasoned with in many regards, and their tacit support/approval of MRAs (if not outright MRAs themselves, such as-IMO- Justin Vacula).
    As for the regulars, I believe there is an understanding that we will not link to the Pit. No need to generate any traffic to that place. Also, I think PZ has filters in place for certain words or links that can send comments into moderation if they contain more than (5?) links, or if the links are to questionable sites such as the ‘Pit. There is no rule in place preventing anyone from venturing there in their own (such a rule would not be in character for PZ and even if it were, it would meet with great disapproval from many people). Some regulars have dipped into the Pit from time to time. I have been there twice and that was enough. Reading their comments at various new blogs here at FtB is also more than enough exposure to those toxic assholes.

  349. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Kouras,

    My observations:

    If you are member of the Slymepit, agree with their misogyny, and then bring that attitude here and preach your anti-women gospel, the banhammer will be applied swiftly and your posts likely deleted.

    If you lurk there for chuckles, or for information gathering purposes, you can report on some of the discussions there if the reports are on-topic.

    If you go there to try to talk sense into them, you aren’t penalized. Oolon tried that, and felt it was like talking to a brick wall, and eventually gave up.

    Incidental contact is ignored.

  350. kouras says

    Thank you both for the clarification.

    Not having read his mind, I surmise it is because of their hostility towards feminism, their use of gendered slurs, their tendency to derail conversations, their part in the ongoing harassment of atheoskeptical bloggers, their inability to be reasoned with in many regards, and their tacit support/approval of MRAs (if not outright MRAs themselves, such as-IMO- Justin Vacula).

    These were broadly the things I had in mind as “problematic conduct”, although I hadn’t given much thought to derailment when talking about how they act in locations where their activities don’t necessarily always reach the people they target. A total ban did seem unlikely, both from the posts and from the views which have previously been expressed here about some aspects of authoritarianism.

    If you are member of the Slymepit, agree with their misogyny, and then bring that attitude here and preach your anti-women gospel, the banhammer will be applied swiftly and your posts likely deleted.

    If you lurk there for chuckles, or for information gathering purposes, you can report on some of the discussions there if the reports are on-topic.

    If you go there to try to talk sense into them, you aren’t penalized. Oolon tried that, and felt it was like talking to a brick wall, and eventually gave up.

    It then seems that most of those references would come into the second category, and the others mainly in the first category.

  351. says

    Kouras:
    Keep in mind that PZs insta ban of Pitters is based in their history here and (I think) their actions elsewhere (their treatment of Rebecca Watson, comments about raping a Skepchick, the threats issued to Ophelia, Greta, Jen, Stephanie, and PZ himself). This is the main reason I see no point in engaging the assholes. There are insightful, intelligent bloggers like Crommunist who nonetheless cannot make any headway against the Pitters. All the logic and citations in the world mean nothing to them. If they ever contributed to any conversation, that time has since passed. Some bloggers choose to engage them, but given how much of their shit I have read, I would rather not hear from them again.

  352. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Kouras, I see the ‘pitters falling into certain categories

    Liberturds-Nobody can tell them what to do.
    MRA’s-Women are out to turn them into sub-human beings, steal their sperm, and take their money.
    Frat Boys-They think women are there only for their pleasure.
    Bozo’s who believe total equality has been achieved–nevermind the solid evidence to the contrary.

    Their complaints that PZ is authoritarian is very funny. Because when they come here, they preach from authoritarianism, since they are the authorities. Asking for evidence to back up their beliefs is futile.

  353. kouras says

    Asking for evidence to back up their beliefs is futile.

    Circular arguments on a Biblical Literalist scale?

  354. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Circular arguments on a Biblical Literalist scale?

    No arguments. Just “do as we tell you”, not even justifying it. Like ignore anything and everything RW says. Which is why I reflect that attitude back at them, not believing a word they say. They don’t like it, but don’t get the hint.