I thought it was football that caused the brain damage

So what’s with all the nutty baseball players? First there was Curt Schilling, raving creationist, and now it’s Jose Canseco, space cadet. Fresh off the embarrassment of shooting off one of his own fingers in an accident while cleaning his gun, he’s now twittering about taking over the entire galaxy by riding on comets, and Galactic Beings have used comets as star taxis for eons.

I don’t think he knows much about comets.

I get email

Do you ever get that kind of email that makes you want to compulsively wash your hands? The kind that makes you think, “Well, this computer is completely soiled, time to get a new one”? I do. Here’s an example, and this is how it starts:

Rape is a controversial topic, i get that. But we need to keep a sober mind and try to analyze rape in a way that is rational and objective.

A lot of people are against rape and the reason why they are, are well-known to almost anybody. But i have to offer a different perspective on this controversial topic

You’re probably done already. Just that announcement that they’re going to “analyze rape in a way that is rational and objective” is puke-inducing…you know they’re not, but are instead going to try rationalizing abusing human beings. You are excused if you have no desire to read further, because I guarantee you, it gets worse. Much worse.

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Quackery in my back yard!

Oh, great. Orac just has to tell me that the University of Minnesota is going to host an anti-vaccine conference on 24 January.

First, let me say this, though: they get to do that. Presumably they’ve rented out (or possibly obtained student or faculty sponsorship) Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and just about anyone can do that. They may be fraggin’ morons, but they’re part of the public, and it’s a public university.

Still, this is painfully stupid and a disservice to the public trust. It’s a conference in which a train of pseudo-experts will lie, lie, lie in order to sell books — in fact, I suspect it’s a bit of a con to peddle their books, since the $99 admission fee includes dumping a pile of crap, the garbage these guys have written, in your lap. That $99 is also one reason I won’t be attending, much as I’d like to document the dishonesty; of course, another reason I won’t be going is that I doubt this gang of propagandists will be entertaining, much less informative.

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Two white dudes spend an hour talking about how racist and sexist it is to criticize other white dudes

It was a painful 50 minutes, but I listened to the entirety of Peter Boghossian and Stefan Molyneux patting each other on the back, in this video, Feminists vs. Atheists: The Death of Rational Discourse. I think you can tell from the title that there is not much hope for rational discussion here, and from the two speakers, you know it’s going to be awful. What I did was listen while I was engaged in some other work, and just extract a few paraphrases of the conversation now and then, when they said something particularly tiresome.

And really, that’s what it’s all about: reciting cliches at each other without thought, repeating bogus accusations we’ve all heard a thousand times before. These are not people who think very deeply about much of anything.

So what I’ve done below is scribble down the general tenor of the discussion. This is not a transcript. I’ve included some time points so if you really want to, you can go back and check on all the context.

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Your daily dose of irony

Jordan Owen and Davis Aurini claim to be making a full length feature film, a documentary about the wickedness of Anita Sarkeesian called The Sarkeesian Effect. Dave Futrelle asks whether this isn’t all just an elaborate practical joke, because the two are hilariously incompetent at making simple videos. Their latest is a poorly lit, static video of the two of them justifying donations to their Patreon account, in which they used a directional microphone that only picked up Owen’s voice, so every time Aurini speaks, there is no sound, just his face flapping.

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If they don’t know journalism, and they don’t understand ethics, what is it about?

Tauriq does a marvelous job raking #gamergate over the coals on the issue of ethics — which they know nothing about. We already know it’s not about journalism, or they’d be targeting journalists and ‘zine publishers that have a cozy relationship with game publishers, and we can also see that the foaming-at-the-mouth GG advocates haven’t got even a passing acquaintance with the content of a first year philosophy of ethics course, so what can we conclude?

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The end of the @micknugent saga

There has been a rather one-sided ‘conversation’ going on with Michael Nugent for the past month or so. It’s a little bit disturbing, and I provide here a chronology. If it’s too long for you, I’ll understand — I’ve found it hopelessly tedious — and the bottom line is that I won’t be talking to him again, and it ends here, as far as I’m concerned.

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