Comments

  1. overmann says

    Obviously she and Dawkins have a history (for the record I think they were both wrong in Elevatorgate) but Dawkins is right here. When it comes to political movements (like “progressivism”), most liberal faculty (even in the sciences) have seemingly abandoned objectivity or giving the benefit of the doubt. Has she tried contacting Dawkins to work out what his views are or why he endorsed “Speaking Truth to Social Justice”? I don’t get the impression she did.

    [BYE. Equating “guys, don’t do that” with years of harassment gets your ass booted right out of here. –pzm]

  2. Aoife_b says

    @1
    So it’ll be really easy for you to post an example of liberal faculty abandoning objectivity.
    I mean since most faculty have done it, right? You aren’t just making shit up?

  3. starskeptic says

    To be fair Rebecca is so scary, she’s known to eat babies rather than throw rocks at them….

  4. gruebleen says

    @overmann #1

    Hmm. And did you contact Rebecca to find out what her views are or why she doesn’t endorse Dawkins’ rant ? I don’t get the impression that you did.

  5. gijoel says

    @1 Why is it always the progressive left who always has to reach out to the fascist shit-Gibbons. Why doesn’t Dawkins reach out to progressives? Oh wait he did.

  6. gruebleen says

    One thing that Rebecca says that I disagree with; she says: ” I, for instance, will agree with someone on a specific point though I disagree with them on other issues.”

    What I personally prefer to say is: “I can concur with, or accept, the proposition that somebody (even Dawkins) has expressed.” My problem is that simply not possessing another person’s internal dictionary, I don’t know how to deconstruct what they’ve said to know if what they mean by a string of words is the same as I mean. Especially Dawkins. Memes and “selfish genes” anybody ?

    Though I do come really close when contemplating somebody saying: “Considering the Pythagoras Equation, a^n + b^n = c^n, given positive integers a, b, and c, there is no integer n greater that 2 for which this holds. That I can agree with (thank you Andrew Wiles). But then, I concur with Goedel’s Theorems, so what can I say ? (Thank you, Bertrand Russell).

  7. John Morales says

    gruebleen, perhaps I am obtuse, but I don’t see any semantic difference between your supposed discrepant phrases other than the one uses “will” and the other uses “can”.

    If there is no more to it, then sure, they differ. Is there?

    (the “specific point” = the “propositon”)

  8. says

    @9, John Morales

    gruebleen, perhaps I am obtuse, but I don’t see any semantic difference between your supposed discrepant phrases other than the one uses “will” and the other uses “can”.

    The difference wasn’t that “will” changed to “can”. It was that “agree with someone” changed to “accept the proposition”.

  9. says

    oh, I see:

    (the “specific point” = the “propositon”)

    No, gruebleen just pointed out the difference between symbols and interpretation of those symbols. The “proposition” was meant to refer to the symbols, the “specific point” is some fact about the world, and “agree with someone” would require “possessing another person’s internal dictionary”.

  10. John Morales says

    Brian, in reverse order:
    The end of my post (the parenthetical) should have had an ‘etc’ appended, to indicate a generality. In short, an insinuation that most of the rephrasing was just that.

    Perhaps, but I doubt it. After all, the preface at hand is “What I personally prefer to say isL”, which suggests the sentiment is better phrased in that manner, not that it’s a different sentiment.

    The difference wasn’t that “will” changed to “can”. It was that “agree with someone” changed to “accept the proposition”.

    So, accepting someone’s proposition does not entail that they agree with that someone in regards to some proposed proposition, nor does agreeing with someone regarding some proposition entail one agrees with that proposed proposition, in your estimation.

    BTW, I suspect you didn’t intend to imply that there is no difference between “will” and “can”. :)

    (Kinda out of topic, I was rather hoping to hear from the source)

  11. says

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    It is quite telling that Dawkins would ally with Talibangelicals against progressives rather than with progressives against Talibangelicals.

  12. pilgham says

    Off topic, but about living to 1000, can you imagine if Dawkins had another 922 years to live? What is the point of living to 1000 if you spend it being a misery to everyone else?

  13. KG says

    grubleen@8, etc.

    What a load of hair-splitting piffle. And in context, Rebeccas Watson had a specific reason for focusing on her agreement on a particular point with the individual making it. The reason she gives for not citing the article concerned, although she agreed with it, is explicitly that the writer is a “piece of shit”.

  14. lotharloo says

    People like Dawkins and Coyne are examples of radicalized white old men. It is very clear from the language they use that they feel threatened by this “new woke” left movement, they feel they will be “censored” or “ousted” and thus, they started to mingle and mix with rightwing trolls. Ultimately, they absorbed and rationalized right-wing talking points, and their weak arguments. E.g., they cannot deal with the actual arguments, so instead they find examples of bad logic or crazy talk from the supposed “regressive left” and they think that counts as counter argument.

  15. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Dawkins cannot abide the irrational idea of gods. Sacred cows are entirely another matter. He has no problems with the patriarchy, because he is a patriarch.

    “Woke” means realizing that we liberate all of us when we fight to liberate the most downtrodden among us. Who that may be in any particular room might vary, but my bet is that whoever it is, it will be a woman unless no women are present in the room–an that in itself is a problem.

  16. says

    @13, John Morales

    The end of my post (the parenthetical) should have had an ‘etc’ appended, to indicate a generality. In short, an insinuation that most of the rephrasing was just that.

    and that would have been hard to parse by still drawing no logical lines to any premises or conclusions.

    So, accepting someone’s proposition does not entail that they agree with that someone in regards to some proposed proposition, nor does agreeing with someone regarding some proposition entail one agrees with that proposed proposition, in your estimation.

    I think the word “proposition” was meant to refer to the symbols, the phrase “specific point” was taken to refer to some fact about the world, and the ability to “agree with someone” was implied to require “possessing another person’s internal dictionary”.

    As in:

    symbols + internal dictionary 1 gives Person A idea 1 about the external world

    symbols + internal dictionary 2 gives Person B idea 2 about the external world

    If Person A agrees with idea 1, and Person B agrees with idea 2, they may both seem to “agree” with the same symbols, but (due to differing internal dictionaries) Person A does not agree with Person B (if idea 1 is different from idea 2).

    (Kinda out of topic, I was rather hoping to hear from the source)

    same

  17. gruebleen says

    KG @16

    Oh delightful, KG. Like the man said: “Ignore the trolls, they’re a sign of your success.” So piffle on by all means.

    Brian Pansky and John Morales:

    I was just trying to say that I endeavour not to agree with people, largely because I’m never sure that what I understand from what they said is what they meant. Especially the likes of Dawkins.

    So when somebody enunciates a proposition then I try to evaluate that proposition independently of the originator by the usual techniques of logical reason and (if possible) empirical research and then I conclude as to whether I either accept (as in Fermat’s Last Theorem) or concur (as in Goedel’s Theorems) what I understand that proposition to mean. I do not evaluate the person as to whether I accept or concur with their proposition(s), though I frequently evaluate the person as to whether I should bother spending my time in attempting to evaluate their proposition(s).

    I think trying to “agree with” the likes of Dawkins is at best a waste of otherwise possibly useful lifetime.

  18. John Morales says

    Fair enough, gruebleen.

    So you don’t agree with Dawkins that God is a silly concept.

  19. gruebleen says

    John Morales @21

    No, I don’t. Do you ?

    But just to be clear, neither you, nor I, nor anybody has to “agree with Dawkins” about anything in order to accept that God is a pointless – or even “silly” if you prefer – proposition. That particular proposition is vastly older than Dawkins and I personally accepted it years before I ever became aware of Dawkins existence. How about you ?

  20. John Morales says

    gruebleen, indeed I do.

    That particular proposition is vastly older than Dawkins and I personally accepted it years before I ever became aware of Dawkins existence. How about you ?

    So, you don’t agree with Dawkins about that particular proposition, which you accepted years before you became aware of Dawkins, though Dawkins also accepts it. OK.

    (Clearly then, you don’t agree with me that we’re all gonna die, someday)

  21. gruebleen says

    John Morales,

    What is it about the clear and obvious difference between “agree with X” and “agree with a proposition that appears to bear significant similarity to a proposition separately and independently espoused by X” that is so hard to grasp ?

    I’ll try to put it as simply as I can: I don’t “agree with Dawkins” about anything because I never consult Dawkins in any way about anything. And even if Dawkins used exactly the same words as me to articulate a proposition, I would not “agree with Dawkins” because I can’t know if he means exactly, or even approximately, the same as I do.

    With, BOC, exceptions such as the proposition that: For positive integers a, b, c and n, there is no value of n greater that 2 for which the relationship a^n + b^n = c^n holds. I’d be willing to accept that if both I and Dawkins espoused that proposition in exactly that way then there’s a fair chance that we mean very close to exactly the same thing.

    As usual, it is mathematics that makes the world spin. And incidentally, do you really know for sure that we’re all gonna die, someday ? You have either logical reason and/or empirical research to demonstrate that proposition ?

  22. John Morales says

    gruebleen:

    What is it about the clear and obvious difference between “agree with X” and “agree with a proposition that appears to bear significant similarity to a proposition separately and independently espoused by X” that is so hard to grasp ?

    Ahem.
    I quote verbatim from the video (my transcription and punctuation):
    “I, for instance, might agree with someone about a specific point, even though I disagree with them about other issues”.

    I’ll try to put it as simply as I can: I don’t “agree with Dawkins” about anything because I never consult Dawkins in any way about anything.

    And therefore you and Dawkins share no beliefs whatsoever. Heh.
    So, the concept at hand (what Rebecca expressed) was not “agree with X”, but “agree with X about Y and not about Z”. Natural language, how does it work? ;)

    And incidentally, do you really know for sure that we’re all gonna die, someday ?

    Appeal to epistemic uncertainty, eh?

    All beliefs outside analytic truths are provisional, but that doesn’t entail that one should not therefore hold beliefs, even though provisional.

    (Do I know for sure that when I get up from my seat I shan’t trip and break a limb? No, but I believe that I shan’t)

  23. John Morales says

    [Oh, hey. I didn’t! My belief was proven true, though I could not prove it at the time]

  24. John Morales says

    [gruebleen is not a rapid responder. I sure thought #27 would elicit a quick, triumphant response.
    (I miss tm. Gettier cases and all that stuff)]

  25. gruebleen says

    No, I’m not a rapid responder usually. It’s all just a matter of how much time is available in every 24 hours. But I do try to meet my commitments.

    a=b=c=0 – yeah, ok, though it depends on whether 0 is actually considered to be a (positive) integer. Alright then, limit the expression to the ‘natural numbers’ since a Pythagorean triangle cannot have a zero length side.

    And so on with the show. It was Rebecca’s use of ‘natural language’ that I was raising. How does ‘natural language’ work ? I find it works very badly almost all of the time which is why the human race perennially and invariably fails to understand itself. How does it work for you ?

    I did read both The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion and I do like the idea of memes, (though the concept is a bit vague in many ways) however I haven’t bothered with any of his many other published works. Those two were more than enough.

    So no, Dawkins and I do not share any beliefs, and I seriously doubt that he and Rebecca “share” any beliefs either. Do you think that you “share beliefs” with Dawkins ? Are you sure that what he and you state and deliniate as your beliefs are, in fact, identical ? Ot do you have a weaker, more permissive, definition of “shared belief”.

    Epistemic uncertainty ? No, there’s no uncertainty involved, just ‘unknowability’. I’m basically a natural born ‘logical positivist’ myself – how about you ?

    But I’ve not previously encountered Gettier, so thanks for that. However, since I have adopted Nathaniel David Mermin’s view of ‘descriptions and explanations’ I’m not concerned with inventions such as TJB.

  26. gruebleen says

    Oh, and I’m glad you didn’t actually break a leg just to prove how thorough your research into TJBs is.

    Personally, I have no problem with probabilistic interpretations and I have no need to further degrade the precision of ‘natural language’ by calling them ‘beliefs’.

  27. John Morales says

    gruebleen,

    Do you think that you “share beliefs” with Dawkins ? Are you sure that what he and you state and deliniate as your beliefs are, in fact, identical ? Ot do you have a weaker, more permissive, definition of “shared belief”.

    Yes, close enough, and depends on the granularity/specificity.

    Anyway, we’re at an impasse. But you have clarified your objection to what Rebecca stated, and I have clarified my objection to your objection. So there we go, all good.

  28. gruebleen says

    John Morales @31

    I guess so, but then everything human always ends up as “impasse” in the absence of genuinely shared belief, doesn’t it.

    Otherwise, .my closing proposition re Dawkins (et al) is along the lines that one must separate the art from the artist, if possible. Though I am very reluctant to call Dawkins an artist of any recognisable kind.

  29. John Morales says

    gruebleen,

    my closing proposition re Dawkins (et al) is along the lines that one must separate the art from the artist, if possible.

    I (ahem) share that belief, given the two are categorically different. But then, approvingly endorsing a particular artist’s art gives prominence to that artist and is therefore tantamount to endorsing the artist too.

    I think Rebecca was noting that, in his haste to attack SJWism, he endorsed people who perform that art activity but who are being hosted by the religious nutters against whom he ostensibly fulminates, without doing due diligence, whereas he could have endorsed other people who weren’t thus hosted.

    (At least he got what he’d done, after the fact)

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