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This is a place for general chit-chat about virtually anything that doesn't fit anywhere else.
Invision-Board-France-355.gif For previous conversations see the automagic barchives. Invision-Board-France-355.gif

What is going on?

The Bar
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  1. What about interviews? (11:44, 24 Apr 2017)
  2. Climate news (16:11, 18 Apr 2017)
  3. GMO foods (04:28, 14 Apr 2017)
  4. Would human extinction be such a bad thing? (18:44, 27 Mar 2017)
  5. Argument for the existence of limited god (09:57, 26 Mar 2017)
  6. Is there any hope (00:48, 25 Mar 2017)
To do list


Conservapedia-space deletions discussions/voting (sticky)

There is a lengthy community-wide debate/discussion going on about which CP-space articles this site wants to keep and which ones it wants to delete as part of a massive clean-up of the Wiki. Please go here and join the discussion and voting. The Punk Symphony of Noise Your mental puke relief 13:14, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

This should be intercomed, esp. since it's not in recent changes, and, believe it or not, not everyone looks at the SB. steriletalk 16:50, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Jesus, this is the third Saloon Bar thread about it in as many days. I think anyone looking at this page already knows about the CP space deletions. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:14, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Not everyone goes to the Saloon bar, for fuck's sake. I often ignore it as it's largely boring and just skim Recent Changes, and it doesn't appear in recent changes. steriletalk 17:19, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
P-Foster intercommed it, to group "General site news". Which is arguably correct, just not effectively so, as most people (e.g. me until I changed it just now) are only in "Site wide (urgent)" by default. So it was announced in a way that most users won't see. Sterile could put up a "Site wide (urgent)" announcement too, if he feels it rates it. Using P-Foster's wording, of course - David Gerard (talk) 20:48, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
No, he can't. larronsicut fur in nocte 20:58, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
of for fucks sake. --Pink mowse.pngGodot What do cats dream about? 21:10, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm a new guy....just a troll at this point really...but the CP space thing i would talk about. Its what brought me here, and from what i've seen on these pages, it is the raison d'etre of this site. The site has moved on, of course(we all believe in evolution don't we? ;))but the fact remains that incredibly nonsensical things like this should be watched. And made public.

Traditionally the site wide messaging has been restricted to either technical issues or fundraising messages. Not sure about starting to use it for issues that are important to only a sub-section of the site. That is what the other groups are technically for. Perhaps we should think of a way to make it more obvious to users about how the intercom groups work. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:16, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

The only group that can presently be assumed to do anything at all is "Site wide (urgent)", unless we specifically set the other settings to "on" for anyone who's never touched them. Assuming we can tell who's never touched them - David Gerard (talk) 21:21, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
didnt even know such settings existed til today--il'Dictator Mikal 21:23, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
So we need to do a better job marketing it and disseminating information about it. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:29, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, despite being here since 2007 I can't post to urgent; I can't remember what was decided about that, but it isn't everyone. (There were too many at first...) Actually, leaving it in Recent Changes would have accomplished the same thing. The only reason I caught on was the "resolved" thing that came up. I don't always look at the Saloon Bar, honestly, as it tends to be irrelevant to me. Anyway, I might take a wikibreak for awhile, but thanks for doing this. steriletalk 21:33, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
At the moment it's reserved for tech and mod group members only. Perhaps we should rethink the whole intercom structure. I am not wedded to the current design. Perhaps this is a conversation the site can have once some of these other issues are resolved. Tmtoulouse (talk) 21:43, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
There's chalkboard and forums too, at the top, if anyone looks at those. And I don't suppose they do. Turpis 3:16 (talk) 22:22, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

"Why Do They Hate Us?" Women in Islam

A recent essay in Foreign Policy, on the endemic oppression of women in the Muslim world, has got me thinking about the matter again. I've written on the subject before, and how uncomfortable I am that two of my ideological impulses come into sharp conflict here. I believe in equality for women, yet I also believe in religious tolerance. There's several fuzzy lines here: I'd roll my eyes and consider it eccentric and stupid, if women were required to wear veils in public in a foreign country, but while it is somewhat misogynist it's something I think I'd have to tolerate in the face of their right to self-determine. But there's a line where I will start outright condemning them and become outraged at their barbarism: FGM, for example. But of course, it's very hard to say, "You can only oppress women a little!"

It's a problem.--ADtalkModerator 01:37, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't know that I've ever had an issue with this, cause you draw the line, here: consenting adults. If an adult woman wants to cut her girly parts, i'm fine with it. Whether it's for religion or kink. But a child has no say; no understanding of the religion they are in; no way to change his or her fate. They are being abused at the hands of adults. Contractual marriages, sacred markings, body modification - it's all wrong, regardless of the motivation, if the person having it done cannot give an informed consent.--Green mowse.pngGodot 03:13, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I also have a bit of a conflict here, but it's not the same as yours. I'm perfectly okay with doing away with barbaric practices that restrict the rights of others, irregardless of whether or not they are cultural or religious institutions. The problem I run into with this in the Muslim world is that these types of arguments are the very same used to gain favor in the west for support of aggressive wars. Wars which only drive other similar nations further into fundamentalism and overall repression. And when they're not being used for war specifically, they're used to justify latent racism and even just general animosity toward the Arab world as a whole (Muslim or not).
So it's for those reasons that I'm not as vocal about veils and hijabs as I am about contraceptive rights and abortion. Q0 (talk) 03:23, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
What right do you think you should have, to tell a GROWN woman that she is not smart enough, intelligent enough, or aware enough to make these choices for herself. Especially in secular states? I generally find it offensive when I see laws about what women should wear, regarding their religion - cause once again it's about controlling what a woman thinks or does.--Green mowse.pngGodot 03:27, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
It's not about banning the clothing itself, it's about banning its forced wearing. Some might overreact and ban, say, hijabs as a symbol of oppression, but I definitely wouldn't. Sorry you got that impression. Q0 (talk) 05:05, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
WfG, this is a genuine dilemma. It's not as black and white as restricting women's choices. While the laws in France, for example, are heavy-handed and counter-productive, there is a real problem with women being forced to wear or not to wear certain clothing by their patriarchal cultures and religions. What, if anything, should the state do about it? Ajkgordon (talk) 20:35, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Why should it be the state's responsibility to interfere with cultural norms? It's not like own cultures are completely free of sexist attitudes or traditions. Achieving gender equality, like all forms of social progression, is a gradual process; Islamic cultures are just (for the most part) a few steps behind western ones, but they are gradually changing. That change can only really come about by positive influences (from within & outside those cultures), not by state interference, which is only justified when there's a genuine human rights or civil rights issue. ЩєазєюіδWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:56, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Weasel. High heals, not wearing pants in a Court room if you are a woman, and just 100 years ago, not being able to wear anything that didn't go to your wrist and cover down to your ankels in public. Women can't go shirt less, but men can. These are all just cultural norms. I know 10 or 20 muslim women from my area who are all in healthy relationships, work at great jobs, including 2 who are at the University as professors. They choose the hajib. And one even chooses to wear a full covering "that time of hte month". To say "we know better than you, and this clothing is problematic" is to say women are not strong enough to know their choice. It is a fallacy that in the US, the UK, France or Germany a large number of women are forced to wear particular clothing. I see it sold that way, but that's really not a norm or a standard. But if you are concerned, then you make more accessible violence against women centers, you get to girls in teh highschools and let them know where safety is; you fine women (and men) in mosques to act as community assistance, to get women out of bad situations. It's the same as any violence against women. The women has to ask for help, though. And in this case, you don't make any law preventing an adults free expression for the sake of the few victims who really need your help. You find other ways to help them. (godot) (talk) 21:08, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Didn't we cover this already? It can be appropriate to forbid something even if it might be OK, when the risk from permitting it when it isn't OK significantly exceeds the benefit to those who get permission. Whatever you might desperately want to think Godot the UK for example does have a major problem with forced marriage and associated spousal abuse in some communities, full coverings are one of several "cultural norms" that help cover up the abuse. There are other things being done to improve this situation (for example, insisting on hiring third party contractors to translate fixes all the cases where the woman is saying "He did beat me, but I deserve it because I burned the food" but the translation provided by a "friend" is "No, she was never beaten, she doesn't understand why the police are here") but I can totally see why some authorities would consider forbidding covering as another measure.
It's all very well to say you can reach these women in high school. Most never attended high school, they were chosen for this life typically before they were old enough for primary school, in a country where even if women theoretically are equals the practice on the ground does not reflect that. Their parents contracted them for marriage, a guy they've never seen before shows up one day, there's a big ceremony, mum and dad weep and then they're on a plane far from anybody or anything they've ever known and the only people who speak their language are hostile. There is no reason why their limited education would have covered "laws against forced marriage and spousal abuse in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and so if the husband tells them they'll be beaten even worse if they run away, why shouldn't they believe that? (talk) 07:03, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

"Religious tolerance"?

I'm going to flat out say this: religions can be wrong. Of course, all religions are fundamentally incorrect, but religious tolerance should never be used as an excuse for oppression. Religion has historically been intertwined with bigotry and discrimination. Christianity was used by slaveholders to justify their cruelty. The Hindu caste system has created one of the most ugly social hierarchies in the world. Mr. Anon (talk) 21:27, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

Sure. The question is just: where do we draw the line?--ADtalkModerator 00:40, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Simple: the government should not enforce religious rules. I don't care if Muslim women want to oppress themselves by wearing veils or if Hindu men only want to marry women of the same caste. What I do care is when the government enforces these rules, forcing people outside of the religion to conform to them. In that sense, I disagree with France's banning of religious symbols. Of course, in certain cases, religious rules may interfere with secular laws, in which case the law must preside. For example, Sikhism makes it mandatory for men to carry knives with them all the time. If this presents a danger on an airplane, then the state has no reason to make an exception. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:57, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
The veil in Islam is not necessarily oppressive -- that's just a Western bias. Women can walk to the market without cat calls & oogling, or sneak off to a motel for an extra marital affair. Some women are very comfortable with the veil. nobsCorporations are people, too. 10:34, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
If you have to cover up because you're getting sexually harassed by men, then that's oppressive. If by Western bias you mean an acceptance of the idea of sexual equality, then fine, it's Western bias. Ajkgordon (talk) 11:35, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
If it's forced, it's oppression. If it makes a woman feel feminine, who outside that culture should criticize? nobsCorporations are people, too. 11:44, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Obligatory Scarlet A.pngbomination 11:49, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
The veil did exist before Islam existed. It is not per se a Muslim thing, but an Arabic thing. I don't know if it was forced upon women before Islam existed, but if you think how freaking fucking hot it is down there, I don't think there were a lot of women who didn't wear it (works like a hat). That the veil is forced upon women stems from the belief that the person who causes sinful thought in another person is also guilty of a sin. That's bullshit of course, but one shouldn't go judge something one doesn't understand. And this time, Rob is right, there are lots of women that weir the veil or burqua out of their own free will. (talk) 09:18, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
The Kirpan is worn only by the "orthodox" Sikhs, and the commandment to carry it as an article of faith is usually met with some practical flexibility - though as always it depends how orthodox they are. Scarlet A.pngbomination 10:52, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't give a shit whether some women want to cover themselves in veils (I admit my "oppressive" comment may have been too hasty - most cultures oppress women in some way), but I do care when the law forces them to. Moreover, if wearing a veil causes safety issues in some places, then the law, based on a secular reason, should take precedence. As an extreme example, imagine a religion told you that you needed to kill 5 people in order to get to heaven. Should that behavior be permitted under "religious tolerance"? Mr. Anon (talk) 01:12, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

It's like snake handling. Once the practice was outlawed in several states, some people who never practiced it became involved to protest religious intolerance on First Amendment grounds. In West Virginia where it's never been illegal, it's never been more than a few oddball sects and doesn't appear to be a problem. nobsCorporations are people, too. 02:52, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Free speech is not absolute. If I say "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater, and 5 people die as a result of the mob trampling them, that is not excusable under the 1st Amendment. There are times when public safety must be held higher than free speech/religion/expression. Mr. Anon (talk) 03:30, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
(1) In context, Justice Holmes's phrase was "falsely shouting fire in a theater."
(2) That particular interpretation of the First Amendment was rejected as overbroad in 1969.
(3) Being from Minnesota, where in wintertime most people wear more facial covering than is provided by most Islamic veils, the comparison between a veil and mob trampling strikes me as tenuous at best. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:41, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
  1. Yes, I meant in that context.
  2. Do you have a particular case example? I'm pretty sure that today doing something like that is still considered illegal.
  3. You miss my point. I was talking in circumstances where "freedom of religion" conflicts with important secular-based laws. A classic example is photo-IDs for women with veils. Photo-IDs are important for a means of identification, and veils may interfere with state or federal laws relating to the matter. Mr. Anon (talk) 03:49, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I meant that the quote was from the case that established the "clear and present danger" standard, which was later overturned by the "imminent lawless action" standard, which, as I understand it, would require that the false shout of "fire" have been made for the specific purpose of causing a riot. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:56, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Meh, probably a bad example. My main points stand. Mr. Anon (talk) 04:02, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Snake handling, religious veils on a driver license photo, or peyote use, fall under the establishment clause, or "prohibiting the free exercise thereof". nobsCorporations are people, too. 04:09, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Uh, Rob, that is the Free Exercise Clause, not the Establishment Clause. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:18, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
So what about the government saying that women can't wear veils. Is that in the same category of oppression as saying that they must wear them?--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 05:34, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
The word "oppression" is probably not the right word. But: Although it is a breach of the Western concept of freedom of religion to ban the veil by law, such bans are part and parcel of the Turkish model of secularism, which is the only one made specifically to handle Islam. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:43, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Banning veils altogether would almost always be an unnecessary restriction of religion. All I am referring to here is women being required to remove veils for certain events, such as obtaining a photo ID, or Sikhs needing to part with their knives in the specific event of boarding a plane. Mr. Anon (talk) 05:48, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Practical necessity does not interfere with the free exercise thereof. Or a Sikh kid carrying a knife to a public school. If the family feels strongly about it, they can go to a Sikh parochial school. As far as the veil on a driver license photo (unlike the Obamacare mandate) if they don't like it, they have other choices. nobsCorporations are people, too. 06:22, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't think we are talking about the same thing. I am saying religious practices can be limited by the government in specific circumstances, when there is a reasonable secular purpose. Sikhs can carry their knives with them in most cases, but if it presents a safety problem on an airplane or something, then public safety takes precedence. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:26, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


Interesting report that Chiropractic can kill you. (Ok, "may".)--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 19:24, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

I suppose if it were a real medical treatment, you'd call that a complication. I'll stick with the homeopathy. Water's good for you. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 20:57, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
And it can't do you any harm, right? Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 00:32, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
The chances are probably rather slim (unless you've got someone who's incompetent even by quack standards), but anything involving spinal manipulation can kill or injure you. The most common "side-effect" of chiropractic is lightness of the wallet. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:57, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
The main risk is when they try that shit on babies. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 23:03, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

More Rhetoric Error visualizations!

Wow, I got linked to two sites within a few weeks. Here's another one.. Also, it has an application of these fallacies and rhetorical errors we all know and love to Cardinal O'Brian's anti-same-sex-marriage speech.±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgoing galt: the literal crazy train 16:26, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, great, but why the hell is putlocker down?! I wasn't even going to watch porn tonight, but what else is there?! -- (talk) 20:20, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Huh? Тycommunications wire 23:09, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
The O'Brien example mis-uses ad hominem in section 21. He states that the government is arrogant because of whatever reason, this is merely expressing a colourful opinion. Scarlet A.pngpostate 18:54, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Come to think of it, it also misuses confirmation bias in section 20, as presenting an example that supports your assertion is not confirmation bias. Illustrating a point like this is part of rhetoric. Indeed, if one was obliged to provide an example and match it perfectly with a counter example it would be some manifestation of the balance fallacy. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 18:56, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
9 is more "JAQing off" than slippery slope, but I see where it's coming from at least. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 19:03, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Introduction to philosophy

Can any one suggest a decent book(s) that provide an introduction to philosophy? AMassiveGay (talk) 21:39, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

I've never read it, but I've heard people going on about Sophie's World. Then again, I've heard a few people say it was terrible. There are probably quite a few free on-line books (Google comes up with this on the first page). The generic intro-type texts aren't all that exciting, though -- to start off, I'd probably narrow it down to one branch (e.g., ethics, epistemology, etc.) or one time-period and focus on that. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:52, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Although Sophie's World was written for young adults this not so young adult - and his wife - read it aged 50+ and loved it. As for the accuracy of the philosophy, I'm not competent to judge but as a very readable book that makes you think I can strongly recommend it. Bad Faith (talk) 22:00, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Thing is, I don't think you can just have an "intro" to philosophy. At least not in the same way I could write an intro to chemistry, or even an "intro to science" in general. It's a very strange topic in that respect that ranges from talking about the finer points of what counts as morals and what counts as ethics, to how we learn, all the way to a ton of bullshitting and making up words that all end in "-ism". There is the ...And Philosophy series that looks interesting, providing you enjoy or know about the particular piece of pop-culture that comes before the "and". Scarlet A.pnggnostic 22:59, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Bertrand Russell is the name you want. His 1945 History of Western Philosophy approaches the subject chronologically and intelligently, and was one of the reasons they gave him the Nobel for Literature. It misses out on recent developments, of course, particularly with my favorite philosophers of late (Peter Singer and John Rawls) but it is the best grounding you can get.--ADtalkModerator 00:26, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
My Intro to Philosophy: Problems course I took when I was a freshman was mostly a debate course. The professor would provide the arguments for and against certain philosophical ideas (absolute vs relative morality, the existence of a God, historical arguments only) that have been debated in history and would ask us to discuss them. She'd basically make our lives heck by trying to shoot down every question we had or solution we proposed, though many things could be defeated with the knowledge and arguments we have today. It's where I learned a lot about rhetoric (a statement is true vs a statement is valid) and a lot of traditional thought-experiments like brains-in-jars, or the watchmaker problem, things that people STILL try and use as arguments today. Philosophy is a very... argue-y subject, and I think that learning it from a book would really miss out on the experience. Take a community college course in it, maybe?±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 00:39, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Hegel - History of Philosophy; you're not ready for wp:Malcolm Muggeridge. nobsCorporations are people, too. 01:01, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Rob, is there ever a time you DON'T try and red-bait? Is there anything else in your life other than a dull, lonely hatred of communists that certainly don't exist as the same threat plaguing your sad, diseased mind? Do you just go up to people in the supermarket or somewhere and go "Oh those darn reds that haven't really been important since the Cold War! I hate them with the burning passion of a thousand majestically waving flags, saluting veterans and crying bald eagles of truth, justice and the American way?"±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgarrulous en guerre 01:11, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Hey, Hegel's got everything you need under one roof -- one stop shopping. And it's at marxists.org. That's a lot to digest. Then, when you're about 35 and all grown up, you can advance to Muggeridge who was a repentant communist. Thus you get the best of all worlds, avoiding the traps of Marx-Lenin-Stalin, and following a path from Aristotle to Mother Theresa. nobsCorporations are people, too. 01:24, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Except that such a course of study would not include Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, Aquinas, More, Descartes... really, it wouldn't be much of an intro to philosophy at all. So your comment seems to be mostly trying to needle other folks into a disagreement by being deliberately inflammatory, which is disagreeable but expected.--ADtalkModerator 02:10, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Hegel is part bullshit though, so why recommend him to anybody? --il'Dictator Mikal 02:12, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
(EC)Karl Marx thought that Hegel had his head where the sun don't shine; that should say something, I think, about the quality of the man's philosophy. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:15, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Look at wp:Dialectic#Marxist_dialectics: "My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. "...exemplified by the works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin. In the USSR, under Joseph Stalin... We could throw Hitler & Mao in there as well. nobsCorporations are people, too. 03:06, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
User:Mikalos209/Nice--il'Dictator Mikal 03:43, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm going to sound crazy for saying this, and maybe it's just the amount of beer I've consumed tonight, but if you're looking at a link to philosophy and not individual philosophers, I'd recommend The Myth of Sisyphus by Camus. But then again, I'd recommend that for just about any situation. Omar (gibber) 02:14, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

This might be helpful. Theory of Practice "I never set out to hit anybody. It's just that a lot of people got hit." -- Andy Roberts 02:30, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't know how muchyou allready know, but Wikipedia articles are a good starting point if you don't really know much of anything at the start. The problem with going for the classic book is that one never gets an unbiased view of anything, therefor if Wikpedia isn't your style (too boring) go with several books on each topic and pick the authors so they have different views. One thing that helps enormously is discussing things in a group, so if you have some kind of college in your area and you really really are willing to invest 10 hours a week, try that. If you're at the level were you really want to read the original stuff a big help is if you summarize a chapter or book in an essay and try to find criticism of it by yourself and others. Don't start with Plato, most people I know just want to punch him in the face after reading him. -- (talk) 12:28, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
The trouble is that Wikipedia articles on philosophy are mostly shitty. Only obscurantists appear interested in working on them. Mind you, the SEP isn't much better for comprehensibility - David Gerard (talk) 14:31, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Or it might just be possible that summarizing a 1000 page work into 5 paragraphs is just so hard that not every detail can get mentioned. But, of course people are evil. -- (talk) 15:19, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I recommend Will Durant's "Story of Philosophy". A detailed but very clearly written history of philosophy is the 7-volume one (15 in paperback) by Frederick Coppleston (he's a Catholic priest but not horribly biased- some other books of his are bad, but largely because they came under church censorship- Bertrand Russell is better at explaining the British rationalists than Coppleston, but it's the other way around with Christian philosophers like Aquinas).--WickerGuy (talk) 18:40, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, this is a great help. I have plumped for Russell's 'History of Western Philosophy' and ordered on Amazon. If Bertrand Russell is good enough for Bagpuss, Hes good enough for me. It should arrive on my birthday. I've also ordered a beginners guide to existentialism, as I think that is the area I am interested in. AMassiveGay (talk) 21:45, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

This may sound simplistic but I found the 50 ideas series give a good taste of the subject without getting too deep. Also, you can often pick them up quite cheaply at The Works discount bookstore. Purists might knock them but if you got a few of them, you would have a reasonable grasp of quite a range subjects. My bookshelf has Philosophy, Physics, Maths, the Universe and Big Ideas. Enough to keep me up to date here without having to go back to uni. ;) Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 19:11, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Google DNS

I've just switched to it and I thought Firefox was fast before. Blimey…--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 13:14, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

I've been using it for a while, but I just recently got creeped out that google now sees not only my searches, but basically all my browsing. Occasionaluse (talk) 13:40, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
The safest option is to have all domain names and IP addresses in mind, so you can skip the lookup entirely. Just remember to manually add the appropriate HTTP header in the case of virtual hosts. -- (talk) 14:17, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
It used to be that the Evil Empire (TM) was Micro$oft who were out to destroy mankind by monopolising the world of computers. Then along came brave Google who were nerds and geeks and Good Guys (TM) and who would "do no evil". Why am I reminded of the last chapter of Animal Farm? Bad Faith (talk) 14:27, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Strange analogy. Google haven't been any sort of underdog for well over a decade. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:31, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
This does actually provide some solace: http://xkcd.com/792/ Occasionaluse (talk) 14:33, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
While "they see everything I do" is a legitimate concern, we should all before going into a hysteric fit look at what we actually do. If we search for the occacional book, check news sites and look up when our doctor's practice is open (only to then four hours later do some research on cough medicine), we should really ask ourselves what they could even do with that. Send the cough police? If you're not researching how to make bombs and the most populous places in the city, pretty much nothing we give them is of any use — other than for sorting out ads none of us look at anyway. -- (talk) 15:14, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I imagine some google guy sitting in cubicle saying to himself "man, that guy likes his porn weird". Occasionaluse (talk) 15:58, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Like the infosquito. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:33, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

" I just recently got creeped out that google now sees not only my searches, but basically all my browsing." Apparently, Chromium in Linux does not do this. Theory of Practice "I never set out to hit anybody. It's just that a lot of people got hit." -- Andy Roberts 14:44, 1 May 2012 (UTC) <---never mind, Google DNS is not what I was thinking about.

I've been using OpenDNS for a few years now. Very good and has some nice filtering tools. Ajkgordon (talk) 16:27, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Man, you have some weird tastes in porn. -- (talk) 18:40, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I didn't mean to click on donkey porn. I thought it said... er... monkey... er....... shit. Ajkgordon (talk) 20:42, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't recommend OpenDNS. Although they've been careful never to actually admit to it, it's pretty clear that they're opposed to DNSSEC and that's not good news. DNSSEC uses the same mathematical trick (public key cryptography) to protect DNS answers as is used to protect secure web pages, but instead of requiring expensive certificates granted by dozens of dubious for-profit corporations and foreign government agencies it relies on the same hierarchy that you see right there in DNS names. So the only people who could claim to be rationalwiki.org (if it was protected by DNSSEC) would be the bearded Unix people who run the root, the ORG registry, and the authorised contact for rationalwiki.org. As well as protecting everyone from outright criminality this means no more injecting advertisements into "not found" errors, which is one of the ways OpenDNS (and some ISPs) made their money in the past. The sooner this capability sees wider use, the safer the Internet is for everybody. (talk) 23:08, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
As far as I know, they're not opposed to DNSSEC per se, only that they are frustrated with how long it's taken to implement and the overheads associated with it. Haven't they signed up to something else - CurveDNS or something? As far as OpenDNS "not found pages" are concerned, they're pretty unobtrusive search suggestions from Yahoo (I think) and no ads. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:41, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
DNSCurve and DNSSEC do different things. DNSSEC verifies that the DNS answers you get are authentic. DNSCurve just ensures that you're really talking to your DNS server and not someone else but it has no way to know if the answers that DNS server provided are authentic. This matters to OpenDNS because their business makes its money by returning inauthentic answers. They return false "that doesn't exist" or "go here instead" answers to people whose business or government don't want them looking at some sites, for example. And for you they return some synthetic answer instead of "that doesn't exist" when you typo the name. DNSSEC is the kiss of death for that business, and they know it, but they'd rather their users don't think about that too hard. (talk) 17:59, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Jesus is mentioned specifcially in the Constution

I'm sure this is not at all new to most of you, but it's actually the first time I've heard the claim that "Clearly, the constitution is religious, since it is dated 'the year of our lord, 1787". This guy now has me convinced. I need to get to a church or I'll loose my status as an american citizen!Green mowse.pngGodot 20:09, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

"In the year of our lord" is a translation of "anno domini" (AD), which was and is the dating convention of the time. There was no well-known alternative. Even though it technically originated in Christianity, it's the date, for god's dake. The framers also misspelled Pennsylvania and used the wrong "its", but that doesn't mean they were prescribing grammatical rules for the nation. Seme Blue 20:32, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Seriously? (the its and the Penn) that's a riot, thanks! I think we all should start an "original intention" document so we spell Penn the "correct" way.Green mowse.pngGodot 21:10, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Godot you just need to READ BETWEEN THE LINES!.its all obviously there, but only if you accept christ in your heart and mind will the truth be self evident... --il'Dictator Mikal 21:42, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Besides, Washington's letter to his nephew was heartfelt. Vulpius (talk) 22:37, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

If one understands the historical context of the time, this as actually just a convention. Essentially, it's semantics. It's kinda like saying anyone who uses the Western system of year count is "acknowledging Christianity". The founders were at the very least secular; Madison and Washington were deists, for example. The constiution in other parts clearly indicates a separation of church and state, at least in the federal government (until the 14th Amendment states could be religious). Take, for example, the "no religious test" clause. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:58, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Just added this expansion to one section of Engineers and woo

THought I'd throw this open to the Saloon bar. The 2nd and 4th paragraph of the expanded version of this section are my new stuff.

How engineers think

Engineers are not scientists nor are they mathematicians.[2] They are engineers. Every other field of knowledge is interesting insofar as it is useful raw material for engineering. Engineers care about results in the real world, and get these results; other people are observably utterly delusional about technology and probably shouldn't be let near scissors.[3] This breeds a certain arrogance.

In Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet[4], Holmes makes a distinction between analytic reasoning and synthetic reasoning, claiming that the former is rarer but essential for a detective. The synthetic reasoner can reason from cause to effect, reasoning that if this condition occurs, that result will follow, but the analytic reasoner must reason from results to underlying causes. It has been argued that synthetic reasoning is essential to engineering professions. Caroline Whitbeck argues that "engineering design stands out among college subjects in giving sustained attention to the synthetic reasoning necessary to construct good responses to practical problems. Engineering appreciates the importance of practical as well as theoretical problems, of engineering designs as well as engineering theory, and of synthetic as well as analytic reasoning. Devising a good response requires synthetic reasoning."[5] However, deducing that evolution from the present state of nature is a clear case of what Holmes calls analytic thinking, which he calls "reasoning backward" from effect to cause, the opposite of what engineers spend the majority of their time doing.

The vast majority of engineers are perfectly reasonable geeks who are fans of science and mathematics, even though those fields are not at all what they do. But respecting science is not in any way a requirement of the job. Engineers can get away with all manner of gibbering delusion as long as the stuff they design still works.

"In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically....Most people, if you describe a train of events to them, will tell you what the result would be. They can put those events together in their minds, and argue from them that something will come to pass. There are few people, however, who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backwards, or analytically." —Sherlock Holmes, fictional character in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet Part 2, Chapter 7
Strikes me as too long for what explanatory power it provides - David Gerard (talk) 22:03, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I disagree with the assessment; in my view, engineers' thinking usually follows the analytic pattern: start with the effect (the task that a machine needs to do) and end with the cause (a machine that will do the task). Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX
Too long & rambling, with too many gross generalisations. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:12, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
I have just posted what I hope is a much-improved version with better sourcing. Diff is here [1]--WickerGuy (talk) 18:20, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Replies off-topic begin here.--WickerGuy (talk) 18:20, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Welcome to the Saloon Bar. This is a place for general chit-chat about virtually anything that doesn't fit anywhere else. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:27, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
For all the jokes about engineers all being antisocial/analytical people living on the moon, I don't really buy it. I've witnessed fierce bro-culture that would rival any frat house from engineers and programmers (brogrammers?) and a very tight-knit inner culture that actually has an impact on how many women go into engineering and programming (hint: not as many as if this culture was more open) ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 23:39, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Anyone who would be put off going into those fields because of a "tight-knit inner culture" (what does that even mean?) does not belong in them anyway.
Fun fact: The representation of women in programming took a nose-dive when the market flattened out and most programming started to be done by small software start-ups rather than large "patriarchal" institutions such as the U.S. military. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:44, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
... are you seriously suggesting that not being intimidated by a culture that regards you with horribly frat boy sexism is some sort of criteria to be an engineer or a programmer?! Imagine if you were a woman and walked into an office to not only be actively barred from the workplace culture as a foreign thing that doesn't belong? And a foreign thing that 'should shut up and get them a sandwich' at that? Boy, that was the least pleasant internship I ever was in. And don't say 'oh, that's only one case,' because it's pretty widespread in many areas. A friend of mine was even advised against going into the field by a backwards-but-ill-informed counselor even though she's amazing simply because there's a very Boys Only Club attitude simmering in the profession and she'd be denied things like promotions and even just being hired in the first place. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRcritical thinking is the key to success! 03:04, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, I am very sorry about your poor internship experience, but as a "STEM" person I am well aware that professional advancement in those fields has more to do with technical ability than participation in the "workplace culture." I would even go far as to say that many of the best scientists and engineers are on the periphery of the "workplace culture" on account of being focused on their work. Also, although I suppose my world of research (academic, military, and industrial, at different times) is somewhat different from that of the average engineer or programmer, I have worked with plenty of women who were very much accepted into the "workplace culture." I was, in fact, sometimes the one getting their sandwiches. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:33, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
You're just fucking wrong and generalising from a claimed personally ideal case. Here, have a clue. (And here's some templates for the response you're already thinking up.) - David Gerard (talk) 07:57, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That's hilarious. My wife dropped out of her engineering program at a major school because of rampant sexism, because she was constantly told that women "weren't smart enough" for STEM careers. There's an overwhelming culture of sexism in engineering and technology. Omar (gibber) 13:42, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

It turns out that young men in groups are as stupid and obnoxious as the stupidest and most obnoxious member of the group. Who'da thunk, eh? - David Gerard (talk) 14:46, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
As someone who just went through engineering school a few years ago, I can put my 2c in and say yes, the 'bro' culture is very heavy in engineering, particularly in civil and mechanical engineering. However, now that I'm in a good job, I don't see any sexism at all here. I'm not sure if my experiences are typical or if my school or job are anomalies. Cow...Hammertime! 15:48, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Wait, weren't we talking about programming rather than civil engineering a few indents back? Whence the change? I can't agree that there was a "bro culture" for Computer Science at my university. For a start we had a head of department who'd have torn people a new one if it was allowed to happen (She had as many failings as anyone, but you certainly couldn't say she wasn't doing enough to promote women in computer science). Of the women on my course, as far as I know, none of them at all went into programming. Some have careers in allied areas, e.g. they herd cats (that is, they manage programmers), but none of them write software for a living. It wouldn't surprise me at all if it turns out that in terms of aptitude + enthusiasm you just naturally get less women in some of these careers. Programming is a weird thing to do for a living, it's not for everyone. But that's less not none. I'd be immediately concerned if a large programming team has no women at all just as I would if I looked across a fifty person call centre floor and saw not a single guy. My current programming team consists of one woman and three men (including me), if we hired eight more people and none of them were women I'd start to wonder if there was a problem. (talk) 17:26, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Once again I only post when I have a geek question

Where the fucking fuck are my fucking files? I am running Ubuntu and trying to get a package called GPSIM (a microcontroller simulator) to run with a GUI, for which I need to install some other GTK shit as advised by Mr Goooogle. I've done sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev libpopt-dev libpopt0 libreadline6-dev which is successful, but where the fucking fuck are these GTK+Extra files now located on my computer so I can make and install the fucking fucker? I cannat find them anywhere, but they're there as apt-get says everything is up-to-date if I run the above command again. This is rather annoying. I must learn Linuxing better... Cheers.DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 08:19, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I believe apt-get does that kind of thing for you, right? I too need to learn Linuxing better. Peter is procrastinating. 08:29, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I thought/think that too, but the gadge on the Ubuntu forum in the link above says to configure/make/install them manually... DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 08:43, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
OK, so the the apt-get command there is getting dependencies, that is, things which you must have before you can make GTK+ Extra. Assuming that's all you have done, and that you didn't yet download GTK+ Extra source code, that's probably what you need to do next. [2] (talk) 10:12, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Apt-get doesn't get the sources, so you won't have anything to make/install even if you wanted to. It only downloads the binaries from the debian/ubuntu repository and installs them to the right directories. If someone is advising you to make/install manually, you'll have to download the source from the developer and do it the old-fashioned way, which now that I look at that link, is here. So I guess they want you to patch the source with their modified source files and recompile. I'd recommend uninstalling any version you have first. Let me know if you have any questions. I'm not terribly experienced, but I know my way around well enough. Cow...Hammertime! 15:37, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
P.S. Are you aware of slocate? I realize this won't really help in this case since you don't have any source files to find, but it's a very useful tool. Cow...Hammertime! 15:38, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Cow, the link you provided is about GTK+, which is available as a binary, I'm pretty sure Deltastar doesn't need to build that from source. GTK+ Extra isn't a replacement for, or a patch to GTK+, but rather an additional library of widgets to go with GTK+. Presumably GPSIM requires some widget that the GTK+ people didn't think was so essential that they needed to include it, I could investigate but I am pretty busy right now. (talk) 17:36, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Ah you're right. Your link is better. Cow...Hammertime! 19:19, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Where do we stand as using WP as a source? On inline-linking to WP articles?

Two seperate questions that go great together. Is WP a decent reference for a claim? How do we feel about WP links in articles? Theory of Practice "I never set out to hit anybody. It's just that a lot of people got hit." -- Andy Roberts 13:37, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

1. No 2. Don't care for them. ТyComplaints 13:43, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I use it for both a whole lot - David Gerard (talk) 14:47, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Linking to Wikipedia is useful as a way to provide a quick summary/more information on something instead of creating an off-mission article.
It shouldn't be used instead of proper references for a claim. If there is a claim in a Wikipedia article that you wish to reference here, link to the reference used in Wikipedia, not to the Wikipedia article.--ZooGuard (talk) 15:16, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
It's a great place to find good refs to nick - David Gerard (talk) 15:52, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I see it as a good general reference, but it should be avoided in most circumstances. Only when there's an enormous mass of information or context (example: we don't list all the chakras because every sect of Hinduism and some Buddhism seems to have at least thirty minor ones, sometimes hundreds) should WP be linked as a 'if you are really interested and you'd like to learn more, here's a place to maybe start...' But when sourcing statements WP is not a measure of truth. Find a paper or book, or if it's science, the corresponding study or other source.±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgarrulous en guerre 15:54, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes it's the right thing. It's the right thing in 101 evidences - that includes links to actual science, but it also includes Wikipedia links to give prospective fundie readers a view of what the mainstream world actually thinks - David Gerard (talk) 16:38, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Note that just "nicking references" is a bad practice that can cause you to come unstuck. Do it here, you'll look a little foolish. Do it in a class assignment and you may have to retake the class. Do it in your PhD thesis or a major research paper and you may end up destroying your reputation (if you have one) or ensuring you can't get a job. The reason is that without reading the source material in some depth you can't know whether it really supports the claim you're referencing. Ideally you'd write references by thinking back to an authoritative work with relevant material which you've read in full and finding the money quote. Often you can't do that, but you should try to at least "fake it" by reading around the material you're citing. Rule of thumb: If there was a picture of Jesus riding a dinosaur on the page just prior to the material you're citing, would you know about that? If not, you probably shouldn't use that cite anywhere you'd wish not to be called a fool. (talk) 17:00, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Can I make a comment as a reader, not editor? When we make inline links to WP, it is not generally obvious we are leaving the site to go to WP, and i have been caught many times thinking "wow, we wrote this?" If we link to off site references, can we make a way to more clearly note that you are about to leave the RW. While I realize there is a big ol' brain on our logo, and a something else on theirs, if you are really "into" what you are reading, you may just start reading, and not realize where you are till you are ready to go to Recent Changes or something. Green mowse.pngGodot 17:06, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I've been thinking the same thing for a while. If we could put a tiny WP logo next to WP links, I think it would be a nicer warning than what we currently have, which is "slightly brighter blue". Cow...Hammertime! 17:26, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I made Template:wpl some time ago, which does something like that. There's also Template:see-wp for the External links section.--ZooGuard (talk) 17:35, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Can I be really fussy and ask for the WP part of the Template:wpl template to be made a bit larger. Apart from that it's great and I'll use it from now on. Bad Faith (talk) 17:50, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh, i love the WPL. whoever wrote it, thanks! I'll use it from now on. It's obvious, easy to use, and very useful.Green mowse.pngGodot 19:04, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
We should use the WPA or WPL templates or wording that makes it clear we're linking to WP. It pisses me off when WP links are hidden in article text where they look like an internal link, especially as WP's layout & colour scheme are so similar to ours, so the reader may not immediately realise they've left RW when following a link. As for using WP as a source, it's best as something to refer the reader to for explanations of a subject that we wouldn't cover in depth, whereas if you want to cite something as a fact, it's better to refer to a relevant primary/secondary source (e.g. a newspaper article about a person or event) than just to a WP article. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:34, 2 May 2012 (UTC)


Anyone wanna watch CERN work in real time? Can anyone with Physics knowledge tell me what is going on? ĵ₳¥ášÇ♠ʘ the most colourful sig on RationalWiki! 14:04, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

I'll let Data explain it. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:46, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I've either watched too much Star Trek or have an unusually high attention span today, because that wasn't nearly a fraction as babbly as I'm sure it thinks it is... Scarlet A.pngbomination 19:00, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
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