Where is my crocoduck tie?

I own a crocoduck tie, somewhere. I was actually gifted this tie by Richard Dawkins himself, many years ago, and I thought I’d wear it as a talisman this afternoon, but now I can’t find it. I haven’t been at any events that warrant a tie for many years now, and honestly this past year I’ve barely left the house. Maybe if I went to church more, I’d have an excuse?

Anyway, the reason I was looking for it is that I’m supposed to have a livestream on youtube with Kevin Logan and Kristi Winters about science as a social construct, which it is, prompted by this other YouTuber going by the name of King Crocoduck, who claims to have something he calls a “naturalist nuke” that demolishes all those SJWs who don’t recognize the omnipotence of True Science. I guess it’s happening around 3:00, my time — it’s all very informal, since I don’t have a link yet. In which case I guess it’s just as well I’m not putting on a suit and tie for it.


  1. hemidactylus says

    Someone had posted one of his videos on the SE channel. After viewing it I thought it a bit over the top. Using Searle’s brute versus social fact dichotomy I can relate a little. IMO science is about finding an Archimedean lever to wedge yourself out of the morass of the socially constructed. Though that gets a bit into Baron von Munchhausen territory because the morass.

    Science itself falls short of exhausting the human experience. The perfect counter is in the matter of property, ownership, transfer/conveyance, contracts, civil law etc. I’m no legal scholar but all of it is social construction as is the intersubjective notion of money.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Since this evening is Valborgsafton (,Walpurgisnacht) the cat is out celebrating, stealing your tie for the occasion.
    If any English speaker wonders WTF Valborg is, it is obviously the anniversary of the valar defeating Morgoth (cats being cats, they celebrate the promise of Morgoth one day returning).

  3. Prax says

    The crocoduck has evolved into a manbearpig, and constructed a rocket to escape from your wretched hovel.

  4. blf says

    @3, Ah yes, Pálení čarodějnic (as Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge reminds me)… I was in Prague last millennium on a visit specifically timed to include The Burning of The Witches. Didn’t see much of anything burnt, nor — perhaps unsurprisingly in central(-ish) Prague — any large bonfires, mostly just several metric fecktons of drunk Czechs and even more broken glass. No obvious witches (of any gender) so it must have worked.

  5. unclefrogy says

    well for a internet meeting or streaming event surly a whole suit and tie would not be required only those parts above the waist.
    You looking for that misplaced tie reminds me that it has accrued a few times during this pandemic that I find myself excavating in some long neglected area of my realm looking for something or just wondering what is in there finding many long forgotten items ,parts of uncompleted projects that part has been fun!
    good luck! keep looking you will find something I can assure you.
    uncle frogy

  6. birgerjohansson says

    @4, nooo, don’t let him kill Satan this time! If he wants to fuck someone up, let it be Mecha Barbara Streisand.
    So, it is a naturalist nuke, not a naturist one…. I am glad I caught that potential dress code snafu in time. Last time this sort of thing happened the cops got involved.

  7. PaulBC says

    I thought I’d wear it as a talisman this afternoon, but now I can’t find it.

    It won’t help. Goblinization is nigh no matter what tie you wear.

  8. PaulBC says

    birgerjohansson@7 Naturist nuke? Indeed, that was the premise behind a long forgotten Get Smart movie: a bomb that destroys only clothing.

    I watched the TV series a lot in reruns but never saw the movie. I didn’t realize it came out as late as 1980. Wikipedia says Mel Brooks and Buck Henry were not involved. Probably not worth it.

  9. says

    It was agonizing. King Crocoduck is philosophically ignorant; his basic argument is that every living thing, from bacteria to slime molds to people, does science, therefore science can’t possibly be socially constructed.

    I am not exaggerating. That is his naturalist nuke.

    I am dumber for having listened to it.

    He is, according to his youtube profile, a physics graduate student.


  10. hemidactylus says

    I think there’s a buncha talking past each other going on (Hemi’s tentative preliminary). What Crocoduck was getting at was a semblance of Popper-Campbell evolutionary epistemology. Not quite a nuke, but just points at continuity with other species. Funny thing is that in my foggy memory EE is implicitly Kantian in its theory ladenness. Popper exploded Humean empiricism, induction and pure observation given theory is heavily built into everything. Sensation itself is loaded with “theory” as to what will be sensed. I think Popper had a joke where a professor tells a class to “Observe”. The punchline is “Observe what?” Exactly.

    Given Crocoduck is focused heavily on hard science I think he is focused on the brute facts aspects of stuff and not so much social facts. Sociology would perhaps be more invested in constructivism per subject matter than say physics or chemistry. Yeah he falls short of a nuke with well worn EE, but social construction can IMO get way out of hand. See my Archimedean lever above. But humans are mired in the mud trying to pull ourselves up by the pigtails. Haven’t we gotten better at that via science?

    Yes he’s grinding an axe which is unfortunate but his efforts don’t seem entirely off in left field. He does concede in Objection 1 (2nd video below roughly 26:45) that literary criticism and legal activity are largely outside his purview and science is not exhaustive of what humans do. Big sigh! So he’s not totally bonkers.

    I am interested in your video appearance and serious take on KC’s work, which I am not familiar with outside skimming these videos at 1.5-1.75X:



  11. hemidactylus says

    Oh snap, Crocoduck teases the performative contradiction superweapon at 33:14 in part 2. Now that hurts. Overdone social construction itself becomes a…

    That actually seems more damning than the kinda strained evolutionary epistemology reduction move. Let’s not overdo the idea of social construction then.

  12. hemidactylus says

    Watched a megavideo on Kevin Logan’s channel where Kristi and he take apart some of KC’s material. Trying to piece together the larger context of this kerfuffle. These two videos by Kristi Winters seem to be a point of origin. I started into the first one about 20 minutes but will try to get back at it tomorrow. Pretty informative stuff so far:



    After the one on Kevin Logan’s channel I need to attend to the good night sleep angle:


    Again someone had posted one of Crocoduck’s videos in another venue and I had no idea of the larger context involved. Interesting topic though quite heated at this point it would appear.

  13. says

    From Wikipedia: ” An illustration shows the Crocoduck Tie, designed by web designer Josh Timonen in commemoration of this misconception.[2] Dawkins has stated that “There are only two in existence. PZ Myers has one. I’m proud to say I have the other.”[3] Dawkins’ tie made a prominent appearance on an episode of The Colbert Report.[4]”

    If this is true, you have lost an irreplaceable and priceless artifact. You’d better damn well find it.

  14. hemidactylus says

    Well upon evaluating Winters’ arguments about pervasiveness of social construction in science I find it edifying mostly as science per se is largely an intersubjective endeavor replete with shared ways of world chopping, so yeah. I need to get at critiques of consensus seeking per Habermas and communicative action though in dissension and conflict are healthy and even if naive falsification of Popper is flawed he emphasized negativity over consensus.

    OK beyond social construction itself there is an actual world out there. So intersubjectivity provides a constructivist form of regulative notion, but for at least physics, chemistry, and much of biology there is an objective world that itself regulates in the process of testing against it. So we get leverage to step tentatively above the constructivist quicksand or morass (pigtails vs. Archimedean point). With social sciences though intersubjectivity and socially constructed components of reality are largely the point.

    I do think there can be a self-refuting (performative contradiction) aspect to social construction. Or it at least serves as a serious case of hammer-nail “law of the instrument”. Just some naive critiques on my part from my armchair.

  15. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    King Crocoduck’s basic content was standard stuff, but it’s fairly clear that he’s gone down the Thunderf00t route of assuming that being basically competent in his field and able to see through creationist bullshit means that his entire worldview, clearly unalloyed by actually having listened to a variety of philosophically-informed perspectives or actual social science, needs to be put up.

    He’s also being embarrassingly butthurt about the entire thing. It’s hilarious to see one of the rational raisins so unwilling to commit to even a formal debate, let alone just talking about ideas that he can then expose to a new audience. Like, these folks will debate against creationists and flat Earthers, but suddenly standard philosophy of science debate is too far. Pretty telling about the degree to which he is emotionally invested in having a transcendental pathway to truth, which also shows a deeply religious mindset.

  16. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @18: That’s like saying that because a hammer is very bad at cutting down trees, therefore there’s some contradiction in social constructionism.

    All social constructs have objective pushback. You actually can’t print unlimited paper money because there’s finite amounts of paper. You can’t paint a painting that requires people to be able to see in the infrared perspective unaided. You can’t construct an organization that hinges on having people fly unaided for its transportation. That doesn’t mean that money, paintings and organizations aren’t social constructs.

    Even narrowing down what “science” is should illustrate this point. Was what Aristotle was doing science? What about Bacon? Sean Carroll uses a very different definition from science than others do so that he can argue that God is indeed a theory, just not a good one. Others would say that “God did it” doesn’t count as a theory. Debates between positivists and others all show that what people are doing when they’re doing science is up for debate.

    Yes, in theory science as a tool converges upon being the best way of analyzing the world because it lets one most rigorously test hypotheses. That doesn’t make it not a tool any more than the fact that better designs of hammers make them a transcendental weapon handed down from the angels. We built science to be good at giving provisional but useful answers to questions about what we perceive which philosophically is likely to mean that we will actually get good answers about the external world. This isn’t surprising: we’re not shabby as tool builders.

    Indeed, one of the problems with Crocoduck’s analysis is that it hinges on an equivocation fallacy. If a slime mold is doing science, so too is a creationist. Or a flat Earther. The requirement that you do so with rigor, within the actual methodologies that science has discovered, disqualifies slime molds. So like most people trying to get away with really extreme scientism, KC is willfully conflating “Science as any form of hypothesis testing”, “Science as a rigorous methodology for hypothesis testing” and “Science as a set of practices done by actual scientists”. Until he can recognize that distinction, his arguments are a priori invalid.

  17. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    KC’s content was fine for basic counter-apologetics stuff. But he’s clearly gone down the same embarrassing rabbit hole as Thunderf00t, having become convinced that because he can dunk on creationists it therefore means it’s really smart to respond to what was actually pretty good-natured criticism with a movie trailer-style threat. He could just take the L here and learn, but he won’t because, well, he needs to believe he’s better than the mere social scientist and he needs to believe he has a transcendental pathway to truth, so he can’t be rational. Indeed, that zeal to defend some transcendental pathway to truth is astonishingly religious.

    KC’s butthurt is particularly fascinating because, for one of the rational raisin types, him being unwilling to debate Kristi is really telling. One would think that someone like him would see no problem with a formal debate or an informal discussion. From what I can see I cant find him having directly debated creationists, but he has definitely given their ideas a ton of free publicity. Yet he won’t debate a fellow atheist on a methodological and philosophical science matter. I find that very telling.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    PaulBC@10 You are 100% correct. That film is to humor what King Crocoduck is to science.