Ready to lose a few brain cells? You won’t need them, apparently


Michael Egnor, neurosurgeon, has made a bizarre post in which he reveals that he knows nothing about how the brains he cuts up work. Egnor claims that it is impossible for the brain to store memories. Yes, he knows that neural damage can cause loss of memory, that certain delicate areas of the brain, if harmed, can destroy the ability to make new memories, and he waves those awkward facts away to announce that there is simply no way memory or information of any kind can be stored in a meat-organ like a brain. He doesn’t say where memories are kept, then, nor does he account for any of the physiological correlates of memory, nor does he seem to give a damn about any of the neuroscience experiments that have teased apart the underlying molecular mechanism. By pure reason alone, if we can call his argument a product of reason at all, he deduces that the brain could not possibly have any way of storing memories.

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The inverted ethics of the internet

It seems to me that there is a significant difference between maintaining internet anonymity to prevent being harassed, vs. anonymity used to enable harassment. But this distinction is routinely ignored, especially by the harassers, who just lump violating either into the category of the most sacrilegious of all internet violations, the total desecration of the holiest principle of all communication, doxxing. I suspect the only reason that “doxxing” has been elevated to such a sacred level of knee-jerk abhorrence is not out of some virtuous desire to protect the innocent, but entirely to protect the guilty.

So we now have a situation where there is a hierarchy of crimes, with “revealing the identity of a troll” at the very top of the list, followed by “giving a damn about social justice” just below that, and somewhere near the bottom, “threatening to rape and murder a woman and her family”. It’s upside down. It needs a polarity reversal.

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No, rape is wrong even if there is a wizard with a nuke

Jamie Bernstein had to deal with a hypothetical, one that’s even better than the ticking time bomb scenario. This gentleman was wondering when it would be OK to rape someone, in response to this article on Skepchick, and he was straining hard to plop out a possible situation, and he came up with this one:

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Answers In Genesis scuttled their big boat: it just became too obvious that the Ark Park was going to be a sectarian religious establishment to proselytize their weird little sect, so Kentucky will not grant tax incentives to the Ark Encounter. There goes $18 million!

“As you know, since the filing of the original incentive application in 2010, we have strongly supported this project, believing it to be a tourism attraction based on biblical themes that would create significant jobs for the community,” wrote Stewart in a letter to Ark Encounter’s attorney. “However, based on various postings on the Answers in Genesis (AIG) and Ark Encounter websites, reports from Ark Encounter investor meetings and our correspondence, it is readily apparent that the project has evolved from a tourism attraction to an extension of AIG’s ministry that will no longer permit the Commonwealth to grant the project tourism development incentives.”

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Brandenburg is back

In case you’re curious, JE Brandenburg, the fellow who claims to have evidence of nuclear war between intelligent aliens on Mars, is commenting at length on my article criticizing his silly hypothesis. His arguments so far are 1) he’s a physicist, 2) there are radioactive deposits on Mars, 3) there was once lots of water and oxygen on Mars, 4) the mediocrity principle and the Fermi paradox, therefore…aliens.

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New Age rape-blaming

I really can’t help it — when astrology is mentioned, my lip curls into a sneer, my gorge rises, my vision is clouded over with red, and I start snarling out profanity. But you can’t even imagine how outraged I can be when astrologers start predicting and blaming rape on the stars. Seriously. I think I cut my tongue on my newly erupting fangs, which is why I started spitting blood.

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Troll logic

Alanah Pierce has been responding to trolls who harass her with threats, abuse, and sexual slurs in what I would have thought was an effective way: she retweets their comments to their mothers. Does your mother know what you’re saying with that mouth?

I thought it was brilliant. But I’ve never understood the mind of a troll, and now some of these boys, with their mothers’ approval, are suing her for defamation. That’s nuts — the only defamation is exposing their own public words to another member of the public. But look how they rationalize it:

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Let’s point and laugh at the libertarian!

They really are the dumbest people in America, and most obnoxious, too. Here’s an example: police in Texas set up a DUI checkpoint, where cars were stopped and drivers quickly checked to make sure they weren’t driving with a blood alcohol over the legal limit. That’s a nuisance, I’m sure, but a minor inconvenience compared to sharing the road with drunk drivers.

Kory Watkins, a Texas libertarian and open carry proponent (so you already know he’s an idiot) objected to the police doing this job, so he was protesting at the check point, and apparently also somehow warning drivers approaching the check point so any drunkards could avoid it (a truly civic-minded fellow), when irony struck.

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