RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive111

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This is an archive page, last updated 21 July 2011. Please do not make edits to this page.
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, (new)(back)


Every topic needs a catchy headline, as anyone in media or blogging would know. So now that I have your attention... I'm doing this as a favour to Maratrean and my own sanity. Clearly we have a terrible bias against homosexuals and transgendered people when THEY are given uncomfortable sexual advances. This is a terrible thing, yes. Also we should feel REALLY BAD because we have been paying no attention to it at all. We are all adopted ginger children in the Victorian era. That is how terrible we are. Now take your five minutes to feel bad and twiddle your thumbs. Done? Alright. So now people can discuss it here without needing to use other topics to trumpet their cause. Go ahead and discuss. HollowWorld (talk) 07:04, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Actually, that wasn't my point at all. People in general feel uncomfortable when they receive unwanted sexual advances. Why bring gender into it? And the heteronormativity is the excessive focus on the problems of relationships or attraction between men and women to the exclusion of focus on the very similar problems found in relationships or attraction between men and men or women and women. (((Zack Martin))) 08:03, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
...So it was your point. HollowWorld (talk) 08:16, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Why are you so intent on excluding GLBT people from a discussion, and insisting on making it exclusively heterosexual? Do you think GLBT people and their experiences should be excluded from discourse? Because it isn't relevant? Of course, non-heterosexual and non-cisgendered people aren't relevant. Because, of course, you started the conversation, you have the exclusive right to decide where it goes, and you think the concerns and situations of non-heterosexual and non-cisgendered people are not worthy of being included in it. (((Zack Martin))) 08:30, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
You know I don't think you're like, being very fair to immigrants dude. Like, if I go talk to someone and say "hey my parents are immigrants", and they beat them up. I think that would be like... sad. Also what am I going to do when I am in an elevator at 2 AM being asked into someone's room for tea. I could get deported or something. Think about all the poor immigrants, legal and illegal, who have to suffer in silence because no one will hear them in the Ameriocentric society. I think you need to remember our plight. HollowWorld (talk) 11:20, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
The topic was unwanted attention of a sexual and/or romantic nature. The presentation of the topic was framed in a way which totally excluded GLBT people and their concerns. It wasn't framed in a way which excluded immigrants and their concerns. Your analogy is bad. (((Zack Martin))) 11:24, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Stop marginalizing immigrants, it's awfully nationalist of you to do. HollowWorld (talk) 18:10, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not doing that. You however are behaving in a homophobic manner. (((Zack Martin))) 06:40, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


It's a really aggressive word that denigrates a particularly lovely part of the human anatomy by associating it with something we on't like; Aschafly, let's say, or <insert name here>. and some of us do it a lot 'round these parts. To use in such a context is pretty damn sexist. Anyone wanna join me in encouraging people not to use the word, and in pledging not to use it themselves? P-FosterCan't we talk about this, baby?Moderator 21:53, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

People who use the word cunt as a derogatory term are all pricks. Dendlai (talk) 22:02, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't say it. Period. --Dumpling (talk) 22:05, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Wait was that a pun on my name or do you really just not like me (undestandably so, if so)? I'll join the revision but also wanna point out that "dick" still goes then? --uhm, t! 22:08, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Damn this sucks with my username… --uhm, t! 22:27, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I'll worry more about "prick" and "dick" when there's something vaguely resembling a power balance between people with cunts and people with pricks. As it stands right now, that's hardly the case, is it? P-FosterCan't we talk about this, baby?Moderator 22:14, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I really need to learn how to use that template. every time i see somethign with my name on it, i fall for it, till i go to edit. :-)--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 22:18, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
User interface gadgets
Display a warning on usernames inserted by javascript.
. Pippa (talk) 22:25, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, people who call people cunts are fucking twats. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 22:21, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
So then I'll strike "cunt", "prick", "dick" and "asshole" out of my cursing vocabulary. Seriously, I'm noticing that right now, you people curse dirty. --uhm, t! 22:24, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I like "arse rape!" for all my general purpose swearing needs. It's a good atheistic substitute for "god damn it!" --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 22:29, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm gonna come off as totally PC, but that might be less funny if such a thing had happened to you. P-FosterCan't we talk about this, baby?Moderator 22:38, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, doubtless it'd hurt like buggery. That's also kind of the point. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 22:42, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Normalisation of rape culture is bad. Dendlai (talk) 23:30, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
It gets away from me at times. I'm from ED. Such words can be expected there.--User:Brxbrx/sig 22:42, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
ed?Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 22:43, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
ED. --uhm, t! 22:49, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
ED, which in its original form died. Though mirrors lurk somewhere or another.--Colonel Sanders (talk) 22:53, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
YES! Stop using these words! Then you won't have any more names to call me!--Lefty (talk) 15:17, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

This issue is irrelevant. People are out of work, there's a global caliphate in the waiting, soaring worldwide debt, and you worry about issues like this? Interesting indeed....--Colonel Sanders (talk) 22:53, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

It is a heckofa lot more releavant than people out of work, global caliphates, and world wide debt for me. I mean, when you all elect me to be president, i'll care about those things - but till now...Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 22:59, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Meh, different cultures I suppose.--Colonel Sanders (talk) 23:01, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Global Caliphate in the waiting...? Dendlai (talk) 23:16, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Iran...?--Colonel Sanders (talk) 23:19, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
You believe the return of the twelfth Imam is imminent...? Dendlai (talk) 23:25, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Iran? Seriously? P-FosterCan't we talk about this, baby?Moderator 23:26, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I'll agree not to use it. Apart from for this user, he's a massive cunt. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 23:28, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I don't believe that I have ever used the word, online or in real life, except to quote another's usage of the word. I don't find the word particularly offensive, but I know others do, so I use other words. On a side note, it is quite common usage in NZ to say in reference to a bunch of guys that you like or are indifferent to "those cunts did this or that". It isn't meant offensively in that case, although I still don't like it or feel the need to use it. DamoHi 09:21, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that I've ever used it here or elsewhere. I suspect that the frequency of its usage is a good indication of HCM level though.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:08, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Hey! Why will I be made an exception?--Lefty (talk) 15:22, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I don't think anything wrong with using the word cunt in the literal sense. It is a good old Anglo-Saxon word with a noble heritage. It is a much better word than Latin alternatives such as vagina or vulva or pudendum. I object strongly to using it in a non-literal sense though. If someone is a horrible person, why would you want to associate such a wonderful organ with them, or sully the good name of that organ with such bad associations? (((Zack Martin))) 06:47, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, although it's a tricky one, isn't it? Although they are spelt exactly the same, they are in practice two entirely different words. Sure, the origins of using the word in a derogatory way were probably misogynistic in nature. When I use the word (rarely) I don't for one moment think about the female anatomy. At least no more than I usually do. Other words have a similar duality - fuck, prick, dick, knob, pussy, arse, wanker - but are much less taboo. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:17, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure these two uses of "cunt" are actually two separate words. A good example of two separate words would be "fan" (a device for moving air) and "fan" (an enthusiast). We know these are separate words because they have different etymologies. Likewise "mull" (to heat certain beverages with spices) and "mull" (to think about or ponder) are separate words. A single word can have a variety of meanings, for example "note" is a single word which can function as everything from a verb meaning perceive to a noun for a musical sound or a form of paper currency. Personally I have no problem with the use of cunt either as a non-technical anatomical description ("I think there's something wrong with my cunt, I made a doctor's appointment") or a derogatory term for a specific but perhaps unknown individual ("So whichever cunt stole my milk better replace it") but I am uncomfortable seeing it used to address women as if their gender singles them out for abuse on its own, the same way I'm uncomfortable with "nigger" or "wop" or "raghead" in their roles as racial slurs. I probably wouldn't use it myself in any of these ways normally, but only the latter would be a problem when listening/ reading. (talk) 11:25, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Would you like to fill me in on.........[edit]

What happened to this place?

It seems that in my extended break, every topic in the Saloon Bar is about an encounter that Richard Dawkins had with a woman in an elevator.

My view is that he should have apologized, and this could have been over with. Unfortunately, he seems to be a natural at being a (insert better word here).

This is a clear case of unnecessary sexual harassment; he should have known better. Then again, what could we expect from a 70 year old white guy?--Lefty (talk) 15:06, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Are you sure you've read this right? ADK...I'll fill your rabbit! 16:00, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Positive. You don't ask someone to go to your hotel room (at 4 AM) on an elevator...........with good intentions in mind. --Lefty (talk) 16:04, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
This story is getting so far from its origins, it's hard to see if this is a misunderstanding of the case, or a satire of how stupid the whole thing is getting. Gomer (talk) 16:06, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
What he did was absolutely idiotic and was likely the result of slight intoxication. I do not think that it will follow him for the rest of his career, but couldn't he at least apologize? The incident looks too much like sexual harassment........--Lefty (talk) 16:12, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
PZ has the original story here, with a bit of slapping down Dawkins, who unwisely got involved in the argument, and has another go at calming things down. Move along, please... Gomer (talk) 16:25, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
...an encounter that Richard Dawkins had with a woman in an elevator.- Dawkins wasn't in the elevator, this is why we're assuming this is some sort of odd satire. Some random guy hit on Rebbecca Watson at 4 am in an elevator, she said no, then she blogged about it. Dawkins said to get some perspective because at least she wasn't in a backwards religious state where she wasn't allowed out of the house. Misunderstandings and missed points all round. Mount Molehill has been summited by everyone along all possible routes and faces. End of fucking story. ADK...I'll edit your lemon! 17:12, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Yeah........let's pretend that this was all sarcasm. I certainly did not get the story wrong, and I am a twisted comic genius. Moving along.......--Lefty (talk) 17:23, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Still, some of you are a bit too eager to stop talking about a hero in the skeptic movement going from universal acclaim to rejection so quickly.--Lefty (talk) 17:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Anyone who thinks that 1) dawkins is a "hero" in any sense of the word, or 2) that people are or should be vested in the personal lives (and dickheadedness) of others and think that somehow changes the CONTENT of their primary message, or 3) spends any time considering the lives of the "popular and famous", really needs to rethink skepticism as a life style. --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:34, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I really think you need to read more before speaking again, I'm not convinced you understood what actually happened. ADK...I'll edify your diet pill! 18:08, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
It seems like Rebbecca Watson's facebook page is being inundated with requests and threats to block anyone who dares say that Dawkins has a valid point, even if they disagree completely with his tone and respect the original elevator incident was was. Not sure if these blocks are being carried out, but if they are my respect for Watson is slowly dropping. Accusing someone of trolling for having a measured opinion? ADK...I'll enumerate your mitten! 01:08, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

So, I just heard Lefty tried to chat up Emma Watson in an elevator?[edit]

What a good thing we have the Internet these days so we can be sure that whatever we vaguely misunderstand third hand must be the honest truth! (talk) 21:18, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

And all this time I thought he was chatting up an elevator in Emma Watson. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:36, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Your attempt at double entendre fails massively.–--Lefty (talk) 22:56, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

In which I further my status as an old fart[edit]

I was out doing my grocery shopping Saturday morning, and, as I was entering my local supermarket, I noticed a young man in a Boy Scout uniform. Nothing unusual there, except he had a prominent tattoo on his arm.

Now, I was in the Boy Scouts probably about thirty years, and back then, tattoos were mostly sported by disreputable types -- biker gang members and the like. Plus former sailors, who aren't disreputable for being sailors. I certainly wasn't something you'd see on someone who recited an oath promising he'd be "clean-cut", among other things.

I know tattoos are hip and cool now and that plenty of young'uns have them. Heck, I've got one myself, but you only see it if I take off my shirt. (It's of classic (not Disney) Pooh-bear, in the "think think think" pose and his hunny pot -- I call it my tat-pooh.)

Still, though, the words "tattoo" and "Boy Scout" aren't words I usually associate together.

I'm getting old. Perhaps I should have invited him to walk on my lawn so I could yell at him to get off it. MDB (talk) 16:43, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Eh, the Boy Scouts are fine with a tatoo. Just so long as it's not an "A" or a rainbow flag...--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:46, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Okay, so, let's see if I get this straight.
Boy Scout Adam says, "I'm getting a tattoo." The official Scouting response is, "go right ahead, young man."
Boy Scout Bob says, "I think that tattoo makes Adam look hot." The official Scouting response is, "get out, homo!"
Right? MDB (talk) 16:55, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Tattoos certainly are for disreputable types. Former UK Prime Minister James "Sunny Jim" Callaghan was tattooed. Got them while a sailor in the Navy - always wore long sleeves in public in later life. Gomer (talk) 17:03, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Speaking of old age, and a slight thread steal, I found myself whining about "auto tune" music, and the "kid" said something like "god, what an old fart" (probably not that polite). --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:07, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
What's this "auto tune" music? (Didn't think I was that out of touch, but it has to happen sometime...) Gomer (talk) 17:16, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Stealing the thread back (get off my lawn, you young whipper-snapper!)
I think they've gone from being pretty much only for the disreputable, to becoming merely counter-cultural, to becoming a youth fad, and are becoming just another fashion accessory.
Of course, it reminds of a story of two little old ladies in a beauty parlor, when a young woman sporting a tattoo of a rose on her breast enters. One of the little old ladies looks at the other and quips, "the poor dear. She doesn't realize that in forty years, that will be a long-stemmed rose." MDB (talk) 17:09, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
(heh at mdb's joke). I think that to make them "counter culture" now, or show your rebellion, you have to have them everywhere. I see a trend of my college students who come in with art on every possible part of their bodies. Hope it's abstract, or like the rose turning long stemmed, these people will turn 40 and find themsleves with some strangely shaped images.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:12, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Tattoos are about as counter-cultural as a Che Guevara t-shirt these days. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:25, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
In the troop I hang out at, tattoos, gays, uttering "rough language", all card and dice based games, mentioning sex, mentioning the existence of gays, and mentioning any Christian denomination in a negative light are banned. At least, when the head scoutmaster is around. The others don't really care. Тyeh? 17:33, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, to some extent that depends on the troop. I think pretty much everything I know about swearing and card games I learned in the scouts. Our troop chaplains got a talking to if they mentioned "Jesus" instead of saying a non-denominational grace. I don't remember any tattoos, but I don't think anyone would have cared. I guess rules like interpreting "morally straight" as "no gays" come from the national council, but local troops have a lot of variation. I ran into scouts at local camporees and a natl Jamboree whose experience was more like you describe, and it was quite a shock to see the difference. --MarkGall (talk) 17:43, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
From my reading, it's my understanding that Boy Scout troops are increasingly sponsored by Mormon churches, and they're presumably heavily behind the "no gays" policy. A Scout troop sponsored by one of the somewhat gay-friendly Protestant denominations might be more willing to accept gays, though perhaps on a "don't ask don't tell" basis. And I think, though I'm not sure, the Unitarians have set up an alternative program that openly welcomes gays. MDB (talk) 17:55, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Frau Cogswell has a small tat in a spot she will not show her brother-in-law, and it has held up pretty well, with some blurring but no other distortion. That old lady of mine is one fine hide. In my ambulance-driving days, however, I got to see a lot of old sailors in the nursing homes with FUGLY black blotches on their arms. In a previous day job, I met a line cook with full sleeves, much of which had been done to obliterate previous bad ink. Why anyone would want to embark on a path that just about guarantees regret is beyond me.

That was the kitchen where I first noticed aggressive auto-tune on the radio, without knowing what it was. I thought of it as that thing that makes melisma sound like a boy's voice breaking. I suppose there are uses for it, when tastefully placed. I would rather hear a heavily processed, frankly autotuned voice than some of the mush that passes for singing (get off my lawn) these days, especially pop girl singers. who never seem to nail their notes the way they're paid to do. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:45, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Specifically Auto-Tune is a brand name for an application of a general software audio-processing technique which alters the pitch of something without altering its rate. This means that you can take a digital recording of someone who misses a note and "fix" it. Many studio recordings use it (perhaps not always with the singer's knowledge), because five minutes fiddling with auto-tune is cheaper than an hour of studio time trying to get the singer to nail that note in the second verse. In that sense it's no more fake than recorded music generally. Like any technology you can fuck around with it and annoy old folks, but in general it is used with subtlety and goes unnoticed. Using it to make talentless but physically attractive young people into rock stars is unreliable because at some point they need to appear live, and either they'll have to mime or their fans will hear their real voice, both of which can result in criticism that goes viral and destroys your investment. (talk) 21:03, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
There are also blatant unsubtle uses of autotune where it is used as an artistic effect, turning melismatic portamento into a sequence of quantized pitches. You know that when you hear it; it's the part that sounds like a boy's voice breaking. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:30, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
That is the auto tune that grates. I want to run nails down a black board to tune it out. Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 23:28, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I actually kind of like it that way, as a cute ornamental quelque chose. What grates my asiago is singers who sort of come close to their notes. It is worse if they snuggle up to a microphone and fill up a room with amplified husky intimate wimpy intonation and mushy arrhythmic articulation. It doesn't take electronic reinforcement for a free human voice to fill up the average-sized karaoke bar. I am also an obsessive picture-straightener, and have learned late in life not to think too much less of people who spell carelessly or hastily. SWMBO is fond of pointing out that there are many kinds of intelligence... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:47, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Or the way it's used on Glee that makes the cast sound like a MIDI sequencer... ADK...I'll stride your contradiction! 11:58, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

"What is the best way to stop your child becoming an athiest[sic]?"[edit]

Nice! Via Stumbleupon Scream!! (talk) 01:41, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

This was from Yahoo Answers? I thought that was great. But seriously, let your kid decide.--Colonel Sanders (talk) 01:51, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Smack'n'lol. --ʤɱ pervert 12:59, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

OK. I have some good shit here.[edit]

I have in my possession an Army manual available for unlimited distribution with an admission that lobbying groups are campaigning to keep CO2 out of the terminology of pollutant gasses in the Clean Air Act. Plain as fucking day. When I get back from class, where should I stick this extract? Global warming, for sure. Any other suggestions? The Foxhole Atheist (talk) 02:54, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Anti-environmentalism? Is it actually an admission from them? Because otherwise, the money behind what I like to call the "Repeal Reality Act" was no big secret. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:11, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Here it is:
The Context: Talking about the clean air act's six major pollutants...Blah, blah, PM-10, Lead...
The statement: "Carbon dioxide (CO2) was not placed on the list of criteria pollutants, even though it is a major air pollutant. Strong lobbying in the automobile industry and other industrial sources seeking to escape stronger regulation influenced the omission. CO2 is the main contributor to the Greenhouse Effect or Global Warming."
This is sourced from the USAG Humphreys Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division's Evironmental Compliance Officer Course Manual. I just about flipped my lid when I read that statement. The Foxhole Atheist (talk) 10:06, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I think I missed the part where it's relevant to an army manual... Though I should point out that the last sentence is wrong on two counts. 1) CO2 isn't the main contributor, water vapour is - but since the air is near saturated with water vapour and its lifetime is very short and well regulated CO2 is the main contributor to the enhanced greenhouse effect. 2) The "or" implies synonymy between global warming and greenhouse effect, this isn't the case. The rest about pressure from lobbying groups about reclassifying CO2 is as surprising as... well, let's just say I'd be more inclined to say "Wow, the sun just came up this morning! Didn't expect that!" ADK...I'll dance your paycheck! 11:53, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

The Ledge revisisted, or jumped off[edit]

I asked if any of you had seen the movie "the Ledge" which was supposed to be some atheist/christian thriller. DO NOT SEE THIS PEICE OF CRAP. you will waste 1.5 hours of your life that you can never get back. it is so sterotypical in every aspect. the dialogue reads like some self-help brochure for teaching people how to talk to their family about their atheism. and the atheist is so fucking angry at Christianity. There is no real dialogue, there are two stubborn people shouting out modern memes and slogans about their various positions. and the director thinks this is such a "deep" and intellectually compelling movie. Sure, if you are into that "i'm an atheist to piss off my mom and dad" stage of your atheism, or are into "Christians must kill non believers" idea of xianity. better, go see The Borrowers, by Miyazake--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:23, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

It sounded like crap. That's usually the way movies made to push an agenda turn out. BTW, I'm still not clear on that whole infidelity theme. How is that supposed to show atheists in a good light again? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:18, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
No idea. i figured it was some kind of comment that atheist make their own minds up about morality?????? I mean, i'm a fan of Savage and his view on the fact that monogamy is not necessarily the best choice for people, but lying and cheating are generally a bad way to go about life... mostly, they just needed a contrived reason for the "bad christian" to go all nutso and religiously sanctimonious on everyone.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 20:24, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
So, pretty much as expected. You need to take a good story, writing and acting and blot the deep stuff onto it, not the other way around. ADK...I'll feast your pool table! 01:14, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Conspiracy clearing house[edit]

Anyone seen this before? Looks like a massive crank magnet. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:07, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

I think I've seen it quoted on ATS. Or GLP. Or both. It's possible that I misremember, though, as there are many similar sites.--ZooGuard (talk) 20:10, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Technical question: MediaWiki/TikiWiki[edit]

Regardless of what happens with CZ, I'm working on some attempts for U.S. political reform, as well as some other projects, where closed or public-read-closed-edit wikis make sense. One of these is for the Coffee Party Movement, which, variously, will hold detailed references for backing up policy positions, general political references where the national group doesn't have a position, software documentation, etc.

The server I have available, for demonstration, runs TikiWiki. This doesn't appear to support the WP or CZ citation/bibliographic templates. Are they collected in one place, perhaps here?

FYI, the demo is at [1] Don't assume much about the content beyond the main page, and even that; the requirement will be refining over the weekend. Simply for testing, I uploaded some articles from CZ, commenting out the citation template references.

Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 00:22, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Skeptics in the pub[edit]

Went to a Skeptics in the Pub drinky session last night. Most enjoyable. The guest speaker spoke about homoeopathy - always a welcome target - but, frankly, they didn't cover anything I didn't already know. But it was fascinating talking to people who shared the same ideas. On the other hand a lot of the conversations contained phrases along the lines of "Yes, I agree completely." --BobSpring is sprung! 08:53, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

I am on the email list of my local chapter but I am yet to go. - π Moderator 08:57, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Hope you get to go soon. Here it's run by a local journalist here who is really on top of the issues. In fact, he's just finished making a series of ten television programmes which are going to be aired on the local TV station from September. All the usual targets - homoeopathy, moon landing denialism, vaccine denialism, God. It should stir things up nicely. --BobSpring is sprung! 10:28, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I have two SITP within range, but not easily convenient range. Apparently one was started a few years ago here, but it turned out to be the most awkward 2 hours of anyone's lives. ADK...I'll castigate your cockroach! 11:39, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
How strange. My experience was very positive.--BobSpring is sprung! 17:08, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it was because it was just four people and not very well thought out. ADK...I'll absorb your governor! 18:11, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah well, I can see how that would be a problem. We has about 30 people I'd guess. Began at 6pm. First off a guy gave a talk on his specialist subject then we asked him questions, then we asked each other questions. Then we went out to the street. Then to another bar. Then we went to eat at about 11:30. Of course people were dropping off all the time and there were only about ten of us in the restaurant. I had to call it a night at 12:30 so I don't know when it finally finished. --BobSpring is sprung! 18:51, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
There's a SITP near me, but I'm waiting for my friend Sid to come and stay before going, as he kinda started the whole SITP thingy and I thought he might like to nip along to another area's meeting. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 10:27, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Tell us how it went if went if you go. It's obviously a whole different experience from interacting with a computer screen.--BobSpring is sprung! 17:10, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

From WIGO talk :re the 14th amendment and the debt ceiling[edit]

There is no dispute among mainstream legal community (I.e. Any one not in the Senate Democratic caucus) that unlawfully borrowing funds that Congress has not authorized is a serious impeachable offense. Even Obama understands this, which is why he won't do it. For all the left wing bitched about the unitary executive during the Bush years, they now seem to think that the Constitution is only good for wiping their asses now. Talk about illegally borrowing money and callig bombing the shit out of Libya as not hostilities makes me wonder how averse this administration is to the constitution. ConservapediaEditor (talk) 19:10, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

wtf. we didn't bomb libia, NATO did. unlike our unilateral, unwarrented attack on iraq, this one was done by our treaty as part of nato, not a choice of the admi. the world doesn't stop at the US.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:45, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Um, who was doing most of the bombing until we switched to a "supporting" role? And if you're the prez, it doesn't matter what your legal advisers think. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:10, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
What does this have to do with CP? Move it to the bar. SirChuckBHITWIN FOR PRESIDENT! 03:53, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it was the French that did a massive amount of the first striking in Libya. In fact, they rather uncharacteristically seemed to be saying "it's okay guys, we got this one" for a few days. But it's politics, though, doesn't matter which country provided the actual weapons and people or even applied the most pressure to do it, if it was a NATO action it was a NATO action. ADK...I'll bust your hairball! 13:31, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Hey the Franch have a long history of kicking ass. - π Moderator 13:36, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Statistics be damned. As an Englander, I am obliged to hate a Frenchman as I hate the devil. ADK...I'll envision your air conditioner! 13:39, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

As to why this was on WiGO CP, I think it was in response to the WiGO about Obama using the 14th Amendment to borrow beyond the debt ceiling, so it was relevant. DickTurpis (talk) 13:37, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

I put it up on WIGO because it not only shows Conservapedias hypocrisy on the subject, but all of Conservatism. For all they're talk about Obama ignoring the constitution, they threaten with impeachment the moment he does use it.--Thunderstruck (talk) 17:00, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
If Obama decides to override congressional control of borrowing and spending, there is nothing anyone can do to stop him except impeachment. The Courts will not get involved (political question doctrine, justicability, Article III standing, and all that). And, the Democrats have the numbers in the Senate to stop any impeachment. So, in legal reality, Obama can do what he likes, and so long as none of the Senate Democrats fold, there is nothing anyone can do about it until November 2012. You can claim Obama doing so is unconstitional all you want, but an unenforceable law is not hardly a law; the same is true even if that law is part of the US Constitution. What Obama actually does, depends of course on his own political calculation as to whether such a gamble would be worth it. (((Zack Martin))) 10:26, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Hey Math Guys[edit]

I was wondering if one of y'all might know the answer to this one:

There is a large drawer filled with an infinite number of socks of which there are n different types of socks. The different varieties are evenly distributed thus there is an equal probability of pulling each type from the drawer. After pulling 332 socks from the drawer there are 171 unique varieties. What is the probability that this number (171) represents at least 90% of the total variety of socks in the drawer? I believe the question could also be phrased as "What is the probability that there are less than or equal to 188 different types of socks?" Jorge noes teh maths 00:41, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

The probability that at most m kinds of socks get drawn when n socks are drawn and there are k kinds of socks is . Since it's given we draw 332 socks and get 171 kinds let P(k) = p(171, 332, k) - p(170, 332, k). P(k) is the probability of the condition given there are k kinds of socks. The answer then is, since we know there are at least 171 kinds, . These kinds of things have never been a strength of mine so it's probably wrong. -- (talk) 02:06, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I would say 100%; since is finite, and there is a uniform distribution of the sorts of socks, it is impossible to pull all of a certain sort of sock out of the hypothetical drawer no matter how many you pull, which means that was equal to 171 in the first place. Or am I reading the problem wrong? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 02:18, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
When it says "there are 171 unique varieties" I assume it means that 171 varieties have been drawn. There may be kinds of socks in the box that have not been drawn. -- (talk) 02:30, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
My p is wrong above. The events overlap so you cannot just a slap a binomial coefficient to the front. -- (talk) 03:00, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Let A = (n = x). Let B = (picking 332 socks with 171 unique). Basically, we want to sum all the P(A|B)'s for x from 171 to 188 to find P(171 < n <= 188 | B). P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B). Remember P(A) = (n = x), but n has an infinite number of possible values (greater than 171), since there's an infinite number of socks in the drawer. Thus the probability that n is any one distinct value out of one those infinite possibilities is approximately 0. Thus P(A) is approximately 0 for any n = x, and thus P(A|B) is approximately 0. Thus the sum of P(A|B) for x = 171 to 188 is approximately 0. However, likewise, the sum of P(A|B) for x = 189 to infinity is approximately 0, so P( n > 188 | B) is approximately 0, and thus we can safely conclude that you never had socks in your drawer to begin with. Hope that helps. ThunderkatzHo! 03:16, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Can anyone spot the unstated assumption in Thunderkatz's answer? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 03:20, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the help, I think I can solve this now. Jorge Gave real $$ to support RW 02:16, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Netflix raising their rates AGAIN[edit]

Damn these mofos... they just raised their rates not long ago. And now they're unbundling their streaming and DVD rental packages so that the $14.99 plan we have now for 2 DVDs and streaming will become $11.99 for the 2 DVDs plus $7.99 for streaming, making a total of $19.98 (a 33% increase). Seriously thinking about dropping them. Are there any competitors to these slimy bastards? I know this has piss-all to do with missionality or woo or any of that stuff, but sometimes a fellow just has to get something off his chest. Doctor Dark (talk) 04:06, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

"Are there any competitors to these slimy bastards? P-FosterCan't we talk about this, baby?Moderator 04:12, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Here? Pippa (talk) 04:30, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Oddly enough, a few hours before they announced that, I switched to streaming only. MDB (talk) 10:28, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
It's the same with Love Film (not sure if that's a competitor to Netflix as I'm not sure LF is available in the us or if Netflix is available in the UK). Once you go beyond their flashy advert you'll find you get sweet fuck all for their £5.99-a-month (or whatever it is) deal. I'm not sure what the attraction is unless you're the sort of person with that sort of cash to burn, overlapped with the sort of person who wants an endless stream of shit and mediocre films (i.e., ones you wouldn't actually buy) to watch on a weekly basis. Once a DVD has been out for a while and it's in the reduced or special offer section, it's probably cheaper than these rental places. ADK...I'll yank your virus! 10:54, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

What is the best way to stop your child becoming a Christian?[edit]

Let me turn around the question from the section above. A couple good atheist nephews of mine went off to liberal colleges and came back fundies. Anyone else seen this? How to make sure this doesn't happen to my kids too? -- (talk) 14:34, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Convert them to the homosexual agenda. -- (talk) 14:48, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Preach to them the one true word of Allah and his prophet (PBUH) ADK...I'll hurt your osteoporosis! 14:50, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
All Glory to the Hypnotoad. More seriously the closest you can come is to teach them to be independent thinkers. If you're unlucky they'll still turn religious, but at least they'll probably be cult leaders and get rich. Teaching them how to find good answers for themselves is far more reliable than trying to indoctrinate them with (what you think are) correct answers. Don't try to avoid exposure to the religious, they need to be inoculated. If their first ever exposure to Christianity is a young attractive evangelical at college they'll be converted before you can say "Pre-marital sex is a sin". (talk) 15:20, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Send 'em to a European university. Tha theists have nothin' to say here. *smacks a theist on his knees next to him* --ʤɱ pervert 15:29, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I"m surprised they went to liberal colleges and become *more* fundi. That's not the usual pattern. I have to say, none of my kids in my New or Old Testament classes, nor my intro to world religions have ever become MORE religious. Course, I tell them right from the start that things we are likely to challenge their beliefs, and talk about how scholars read the bible, not how most american religious types read the bible... maybe we could require a Religions 101 class in highschools? ;-) --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 15:31, 12 July 2011 (UTC) (ec)
They became educated and turned into fundamental Christians? Weird. Which college did they go to? (I'm sure that thousands of kids go there and as you're an IP we don't know your identify so there are no real confidentiality issues.)--BobSpring is sprung! 18:57, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Supposedly something like this befell some relations of mine -- as a result my parents shipped me off to UU Sunday school when I was a kid so that I wouldn't convert in college. Not really sure what the thinking was, but it worked, I guess. --MarkGall (talk) 21:37, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I have no idea what college you all have been going to. WE have these "young republicans" who wander around and whine about how liberal our college is, and how they aren't offered a fair chance, and how courses like mine are "liberal and biggoted against religion"... Course, they didn't say a thing when my Theology prof (as an undergrad) walked in and say "DO YOU BELIEVE???? ARE YOU SAVED????" shudders.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 21:42, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
My experience at a "liberal" (in the CP sense anyway) school was that though most students never went to church, there were a handful of very active very Christian groups always hosting events and postering the campus. So I can see how someone could fall in with a "bad crowd" and end up religious, especially if he'd never given much thought to his beliefs before starting. --MarkGall (talk) 21:43, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Make them read this all the way through. Multiple times just in case. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:01, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
It occurs to me that we shouldn't be telling kids to be athiests. It's usually religions which tell their kids what to think and then become shocked if they think something else.
What we should be concerned with is teaching them how to think. How to evaluate arguments, use critical thinking and so forth. As a consequence they would presumably draw logical conclusions about the world - but if, instead, they became Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or whatever then that would be their choice. (though I can imagine that their explanations would be interesting.) --BobSpring is sprung! 11:18, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Just as atheism is the absence of belief then you don't actually teach children to be atheists you just don't teach them to be Christians believers. Of course the problem then is insulating from the indoctrination of the rest of society. I used to work with a Ukrainian teacher who grew up as an atheist but wasn't taught to be one; it's just that she was never exposed to religious ideas during her formative years. Now, in her mid-thirties she knows little of religion and has no interest in finding out. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 15:27, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
If you do not want your children to become Christian fundamentalists, please send them to me. (((Zack Martin))) 09:56, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


Only been on twitter for about a week & only tweeted 5 times so why is Angela Blossom "following" me? It appears to be a 6th Ave "Apothecary". According to Twitter similar Tweeters include: "DrHomeopath Dr Guillermo Zamora", "mutragya Műtrágya" and, not least, "SANDEEPDHAKA SANDEEP DHAKA" (BY QUALIFICATION I AM MA, MBA, LL.M.(app.) DNHE,DADWD,CHR,CHMS,PGDLL,DAFE, CES(APP.) ....and i practise homoeopathy). How in the name of Hades am I linked with these strange folk? I have not done anything as far as I know to attract such attention. Scream!! (talk) 21:19, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

You existed. It's called spam. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 22:57, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
People follow others for no apparent reason. I amassed several accounts for parody purposes in the early days which have barely made more than a handful of tweets (if any), yet each has a legion of followers. It just shows how most of twitter is cruft. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 01:09, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Strange. The only oddball followers I have are a massage parlor and the local news traffic guy. Everyone else is people I personally know. I should add, whilst on the subject, that you should seek out @almightygod (not literally). Whomever is in charge of that account is really good. Aboriginal Noise with 4 M's and a silent Q 01:23, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I should point out that my parody accounts were set to follow some other tweeters, so they did have some exposure. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 05:41, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Jesus M Christ is also very good. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 08:16, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

"The Five"[edit]

So I am in Korea and my news comes through the Armed Forces Network, so I haven't seen any commercials or anything lately. Is this "The Five" on Fox News supposed to be the replacement for the Glenn Beck show? It's still rampantly right-wing, but at least for the first show (that I have seen) there was a notable lack of conspiracy theory craziness. Although they did just end it with a eulogy for the lightbulb implicating Congress as being complicit in its "death"... The Foxhole Atheist (talk) 22:07, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

The Five basically replaces Beckian rants with more reasonable O'Rellian idiocy. This link should explain everything. If you want more goodness, I'm sure somebody's uploaded telling moments from the hit show to youtube.

Oh, jeez, I hope this message gets to you on time: Whatever you do, DON'T eat the Kimchi that smells like foot moisturizer. Trust me--Talpidae (talk) 22:47, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

O___o? Kimchi that tastes like foot moisturizer?--Dumpling (talk) 18:38, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

The Church is alive, and growing.[edit]

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14135523 +1 Sen (talk) 22:41, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Can we have the "possibly too insane to drive" test applied to everyone who professes a religion? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 01:25, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Well done, Austrian Pastafarianist. DogP (talk) 02:27, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Superb! So superb that I'm also going to post the exact same link again too! DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 15:30, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


Minnesotans are losing their booze. Let us all now have a moment to mourn the loss of bars and alcohol stores. HollowWorld (talk) 07:47, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Nothing to laugh about, really. I'll have to sober up for once. And know many good bars and bartenders that will be affected. The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 08:42, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, at least you aren't being sent to New Jersey. HollowWorld (talk) 09:19, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
This whole thing could've been avoided if the Republicants had just budged a little on a compromise budget, instead of giving Grover Norquist a political blowjob by not even wanting to raise non-income tax revenues. Fucking morons! Conservative columnist David Brooks was correct that the current CONservative batch is too insane to be elected. The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 09:23, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I must repeat and repeat how absolutely bizarre this government shutdown thing that Americans have is, state or federally. In a country with the Westminister system of government (UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc.), such a thing could never happen. If the government can't pass a budget on time, we have to call a new election straight away, and (in theory, it never happens) we keep on having them until we get a government elected that can get one passed. Much more sensible. And, in the absence of a budget, the government will just go on spending per the last one, safe in the assumption that the situation will be retroactively legalised by the next budget. (((Zack Martin))) 10:09, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Not only that... according to Olbermann last night, come September 1, they'll have to quit selling cigarettes in Minnesota, assuming the impasse is not resolved. MDB (talk) 10:19, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid that, the longer this goes on, the worse it will get. Already, food inspections and state parks are shut down. The longer the CONs hold out, the worse this'll get. In fact, one Repub already said "if it goes to the State Fair, it'll go until New Years." The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 10:26, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Food inspections down? Awesome. When the zombie apocalypse happens we can blame Minnesota's stupid state government. "SORRY WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT PEOPLE DYING FROM TAINTED FOOD, WE'RE BUSY TRYING TO LINE OUR POCKETS WITH SWEET SWEET CORPORATE CASH." HollowWorld (talk) 04:56, 15 July 2011 (UTC)


Even though I'm (technically, barely) a theist, it's still cool to learn one of my co-workers is a Pastafarian. MDB (talk) 10:39, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Ah, but do you know any trustafarians? The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 10:44, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, my spider-senses tell me that a friend of mine might have come close during his college days (which, like mine, were about two decades ago). MDB (talk) 10:49, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Ya, thur like, rully annoying. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 10:52, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
He must be celebrating their recent victory.--ADtalkModerator 12:00, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
He was -- he posted another story about that on his Facebook page, and hence I learned he's a Pastafarian. MDB (talk) 12:04, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Should fat kids be taken from their parents?[edit]

Making the rounds on the blogs. "Super-obese kids, like the 90 lb. 3-year-old who eventually became a 400 lb. 12-year-old [two Harvard researchers] describe in the Journal of the American Medical Association, should be taken from their homes and placed in foster care." --Phil Leotardo da Vinci (talk) 17:18, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

You would lose your kid for virtually any other pattern of parenting that placed the child's health/life in danger. I would, of course, rather see intervention guidance applied early on than just sending in the baby snatchers, but any pattern of basic neglect needs to be dealt with. P-FosterCan't we talk about this, baby?Moderator 18:08, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
What he said. But you have to remember that while prevention is better than cure, wouldn't certain types see that prevention as just government meddling? ADK...I'll tear your operating system! 18:49, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
What would happen if the child's health were at risk through malnutrition?--BobSpring is sprung! 19:11, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
The Republicans would hail them as a candidate for Next Top Model. --Phil Leotardo da Vinci (talk) 19:19, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Is it just me…[edit]

…or is FSTDT down for everyone?--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:31, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I think it's down for everyone.--Dumpling (talk) 18:35, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Weird, the address is alternating between a blank page and an advertising site. Wonder what happened. UPDATE:And their Twitter feed hasn't been updated since last month. Not looking good.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:40, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Facebook group is pretty active. Not sure what overlap happens between that and the website, since the FB group mostly reports on FB based fundies/creatards. Still worth a look. ADK...I'll prove your goose egg! 18:47, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Aha, mystery solved. They are now on http://www.fstdt.net/--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:52, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

For future quick reference: http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/--ADtalkModerator 21:32, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh, the site was responding, but it was one of those market-you've typed in a very similar address and we're going to take advantage of it-sites, which was a tad worrying, given that I was clicking on a bookmark that was working this morning. Unfortunately your website would have indicated FSTDT was up, but wouldn't have shown that the original owners had actually moved.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:42, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Rupert Murdoch[edit]

Rupert the Bear Rupert Murdoch could face trouble in the United States as well as the UK and other countries, see Rupert Murdoch: Could his US empire be affected?. The Murdoch Empire has behaved as if it’s above the law and has made enemies in very many places. It's too early to guess what's going to happen but Americans could end up glued to rival television channels as scandal unfolds there, stock up with popcorn. I'm not Jesus (talk) 14:49, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

What has made me laugh was today's relavation on The Daily Politics Show (BBC2 Midday, Monday to Thursday whenever Parliament is in session) that the New York Times has dubbed the MPs opprobrium towards Murdoch's empire as "The British Spring". Rather hilarious, in a rather dismissive way to the real Arab Spring.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:36, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
It looks like trouble's spreading to the US, see Phone-hacking: US senator calls for News Corp probe. Even the spoof Weekly World News has one on MURDOCH HACKED OBAMA and it shouldn't surprise me if that became real within a few weeks. I'm not Jesus (talk) 19:13, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I read the NYTimes article in paper (people still do that? wow.) a day or two ago. I didn't think it was terribly dismissive, it was just being used in an unusual way. Although we cannot make the mistake of writing of Murdoch as just any corporate executive; he is the corporate executive. He is, in my mind, a head of state, not to mention an evil dictator, whose spies have thoroughly infiltrated the US, UK, and Australia.--Talpidae (talk) 19:24, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
And yet, Murdoch doesn't actually employ state apparatus to spy on dissenters, abduct them, and torture them, which I'm guessing is the kind of abuse that the Arab Spring sought to stop. So, as a throw-away line, British Spring is rather amusing, and yet comes across as being somewhat dismissive of what the real Arab Spring is about.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:45, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Conservapedia took this up, RationalWiki is discussing it here
Rebekah Brooks: "I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation.... this time my resignation has been accepted" One down two to go. Pippa (talk) 09:05, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

New fallacy?[edit]

JimJast's posts made me think of something, we have a fallacy for when someone wants to brand something as evil by linking it to hitler or the nazis, but what about when someone wants to brand something as clever or correct by linking it to Einstein? Argument ad Einsteinum or something? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 12:44, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Doesn't that depend on the link? As it stands, it sounds like an appeal to authority. Fake edit: the appeal to authority page even lists Einstein as the first example. ONE / TALK 13:11, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I guess you're right, I thought this was more of a specific case though. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 13:15, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Well yes and no. The "appeal to authority" fallacy refers to using someone who is an authority on chemistry (for example) to justify your beliefs on necromancy (for example) because the chemistry expert's weird beliefs happen to be the same as yours.
But, on the other hand, if the question is about chemistry then quoting an expert on chemistry would be wholly justified and appropriate. If JJ is using Einstein to back up his claims on gravity then that would not be an appeal to authority fallacy.
Whether is is properly quoting or interpreting Einstein would be another question.--BobSpring is sprung! 17:07, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I thought JimJast was supporting Einstein and arguing that his theories disprove the Big Bang. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 17:10, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Note, Godwin's Law is about a discussion losing sense of proportion, so it's not really a fallacy as such. Generally it seems to be the Association fallacy. ADK...I'll fumble your virus! 00:48, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
If the argument is about Pol Pot, and one starts comparing him to Hitler, that is hardly fallacious, because Pol Pot and Hitler really are in the same league. On the other hand, if the argument is about Bush or Obama, then comparing them to Hitler is fallacious, because regardless of how bad both or either might be, there is no way either of them are anywhere near as bad as Hitler. (((Zack Martin))) 10:02, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
The only way to determine whether (and to what extent) subject A shares characteristics with Hitler is to do the comparison, regardless of who they are. It's not the comparison that's the fallacy, it's the association. ONE / TALK 14:29, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
And if we do the comparison, we find there are some people in history who are genuine contenders for Hitler-level evil - Pol Pot is a good example, there are others. Then, there are many other people, who may have done many wrong things, but they aren't in the same league, and it is wrong to suggest they are. Consider these three sentences: "Pol Pot is like Hitler", "Bush may have done many bad things, but saying he is like Hitler is to completely lose any sense of proprtion", and "Bush is the new Hitler". The first two don't commit this fallacy, the third one does. All involve comparing people to Hitler, but there is no problem with comparing people to Hitler, provided you find either (1) they genuinely are similar or (2) they aren't really alike. User 1, let me compare you to Hitler - based on the evidence before me, you and Hitler have very little in common. Although you are both human beings, that is one commonality. Did I just commit a Godwin by comparing you to Hitler, or by "associating" you with Hitler? Hardly. But if I said, "you are just like Hitler, because you don't agree with me!" that would be a Godwin. (((Zack Martin))) 19:46, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
If one does a comparison one looks for things that are equal in both things/people/phenomenon - one tries to determine the difference by looking at what is equal.
If one makes an argument one wants to proof a certain thing or defend it against a differing opinion.
Of course you can have an argument in a comparison and a comparison in an argument, but that doesn't change that they are different things. The first is called "differing opinion" or "reasoning" the latter is a "metaphor". Trying to make an argument by a comparisson is most often an "argumentum ad hominem" (with a certain probality that Godwin's Law is fullfiled). --ʤɱ pervert 14:56, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd still say that's an ad hominem argument, because, well, you're saying that something is true because somebody said it - if that works with false why shouldn't it work with true? --ʤɱ pervert 14:56, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
How on earth can it be an ad hominem if you are trying to use what somebody said to prove you are right? I'm afraid that I don't understand what the rest of your comment has to do with ad hominem.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:02, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Galileo gambit fits well, as does appeal to authority. Martin Gardner (author of one of the last books I've ever read) spoke a lot about people that claimed they were in line with Newton, and others that said they just wanted to hearken back to Einstein.--User:Brxbrx/sig 03:28, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Speaking of fallacies...[edit]

Sometimes I wonder if we should have a logical fallacy helpdesk, lol
I've often encountered people with crackpot theories who try to lend credibility to their rubbished theory by saying "[Famously clever person]'s ideas were laughed at too!". If this doesn't already fall into some sort of logical fallacy, I would like to call it Appeal to historical vindication. ONE / TALK 13:21, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Ignore that, turns out we have it as the "Galileo Gambit"! ONE / TALK 13:22, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
You should have checked the fallacy helpdesk first. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 15:33, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Fallacy Helpdesk sounds like a fun little project, actually. ADK...I'll ruminate your padlock! 18:51, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

News just in…[edit]

FBI to investigate Murdoch over allegations re:hacking of 9/11 victims phones. (19:32).--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:46, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Wonder if News Whateveritis has the same cozy realtionship with the FBI as it did with the Met? Now that would be a nasty can of worms to be opened. Probably guessing not though.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:49, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
"Probably guessing not though". Mmm, now that's a sentence that owes a lot to five pints of scrumpy downed in an hour-and-a-half yesterday.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:58, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I really only have one response to this. MDB (talk) 20:15, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
And in related news: Rebekah Brooks has resigned Bondurant (talk) 10:08, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Ding dong the witch is dead.jpg

Ding! dong! The witch is dead!

Huzzah! The wicked witch Rebekah Brooks is dead!
The denizens of Munchkinland Rationalwiki will be partying tonight!

Huff Post UK[edit]

Pardon me if I missed it somewhere, but how long has there been a UK edition of Huff Post? Pippa (talk) 06:18, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

about a week or two ONE / TALK 08:52, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Saint Swithun's day[edit]

So far the weather's good. Fingers crossed. :) Scream!! (talk) 06:34, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Did you have kippers for breakfast?
(Simpsons reference, if you're puzzled.) MDB (talk) 10:20, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Yea, more rational discourse. That's what I lurve about this site. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 06:07, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Creationist / chess analogy[edit]

New version:

Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is much like playing chess with a pigeon - it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, then flies back to it's flock loudly proclaiming victory. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 06:37, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Scott D. Weitzenhoffer , apparently ADK...I'll reward your alfalfa! 09:31, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
And the original review at Amazon. I'm not sure if he wasn't recycling something old, though.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:52, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

What if you gave a movie premiere, and nobody came?[edit]

Give it up, Palin supporters! P-FosterCan't we talk about this, baby?Moderator 15:29, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Ho ho. But better version here.--BobSpring is sprung! 19:13, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Visit Scotland...[edit]

...but only if you want the ending of The Wicker Man spoiled for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug83fGYm-YI Grumblejaws (talk) 20:54, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Heh! Eggsellent. UK TV Station "Yesterday" are carrying promos for a series about England. The only trouble is they're accompanying it with Walk on the Wild Side. Don't think they've listened to the lyrics. Pippa (talk) 21:57, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Reply to 5 things atheists have wrong[edit]

For those interested, Greta Christina has written a rebuttal to the "5 things atheists get wrong about religion" article from last week. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:22, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Fantastic response.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:15, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Better than my attempt since I got bored halfway through having noticed that none of them were really "myths" as such so there wasn't really anything to argue against, in that respect. ADK...I'll fill your mouse! 11:47, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
"The point is that liberal and moderate religion justifies religion. It justifies the whole idea of religious faith: the idea that it's entirely reasonable, and even virtuous, to believe in invisible supernatural entities or forces for which there is no good evidence." Which, being translated, means, "When religious people don't act as irrationally as I think their beliefs are, it really undermines atheists' arguments about religion."
"Plus, many of us strongly suspect that these abstract definitions only apply when nobody is looking, and that a more supernatural definition comes into play when the atheists go away." Clearly the lady is unfamiliar with the invective slung at these liberal theologians by the literalists.
And that is not to mention that in the first paragraphs of page 2 she makes a broad definition of "atheist" that includes a good deal of practitioners of religion, while in the last page she excludes these from the "atheist" camp so as to make the point about discrimination against atheists. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 16:02, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
This is my analogy for moderate religion. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 16:32, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
You could say the same thing about the people who are let loose of the clutches of obedience to divine law. At least one in 300,000 is going to be a moral wretch with no conscience who says, as Al Sharpton did, "There is nothing immoral if there is nothing in charge." We are dealing here with deeper issues than the mere window-dressing of theism, as is demonstrated by the antics of the communists. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 21:36, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
But it's not clear that this is worse (I'm not saying it's better, just I don't see it's necessarily worse). The "obedience to divine law" clearly permits indiscriminate slaughter, rape and torture, what exactly are hypothetical sociopaths going to do when "let loose" of it that's so much worse? Are they going to write badly spelled Mary Sue furry slash involving Republican presidential candidates? Because OK, yeah, if that's what happens when we let people off the moral leash of the Church then clearly we'd better all re-think our atheism. (talk) 10:14, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
The "obedience to divine law" clearly permits indiscriminate slaughter... Nope. But my point was that there will be a few nuts who only refrain from killing based on the Sixth Commandment, and a few nuts who disregard the Sixth Commandment and slaughter indiscriminately in the name of God.
...what exactly are hypothetical sociopaths going to do when "let loose" of it that's so much worse? I think you can furnish your own answer to this question by asking what would have happened if Stalin had become an Orthodox priest as he had planned. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:19, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
So, an ambitious Stalin becomes an Orthodox priest, and lends the authority of the Orthodox church to Lenin's revolution. Given the opportunity Stalin declares himself the direct successor to Peter and crowns himself Pope of one unified Holy Catholic Church, while Lenin tweaks the Soviet ideal to incorporate this new and compelling aspect. Large numbers of innocents are still killed by the revolutionaries, so I guess Dawkins is happy at least. Maybe this is just really tough to grasp: The Bible is just an excuse. It excuses wrong and right equally, so it is of no use as a moral compass. (talk) 08:43, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
The scenario was that he becomes an Orthodox priest instead of a Red. But even in your scenario, millions of lives would probably have been saved, even discounting the moderating influence of thousands of Orthodox priests.
Maybe this is just really tough to grasp... I agree that the Bible can be misinterpreted to serve as "just an excuse" for someone's underlying psychopathy. Trotskyists argue that the Communist Manifesto has been given the same treatment. Theism is not the essential factor there. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 16:56, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
It justifies the whole idea of religious faith: the idea that it's entirely reasonable, and even virtuous, to believe in invisible supernatural entities or forces for which there is no good evidence. - where is her evidence for her standards of what constitutes good or sufficient evidence? How does she know her standards are right and others are wrong? If religious people say faith is virtuous, and she says it is not - well, if there is no God, how can there be objective ethics? But if ethics is subjective, how can the religious people who say that be wrong? If ethics is just whatever I believe, then if I believe faith is ethical, faith is ethical. And if ethics is subjective, and she says "faith is wrong", all she is really saying is "I don't like faith", and the religious will respond "Too bad for you"... (((Zack Martin))) 11:59, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
And yet it moves. (talk) 12:39, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Indeed it does. It attempts to take the whole straw-man-beating first article apart line by line and, as such, this is a first-class response. Can the more religiously inclined quibble over details? Sure. But it's still very good.--BobSpring is sprung! 13:37, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Maratrean, in the absence of objective morality, two useful yardsticks are (1) how consistent a system of morals is, and (2) how well it can be kept by those who profess and promote it. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:19, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
ListenerX, meet Steve the serial killer. Steve believes murder is the best thing in the world; absolute moral perfection. Steve murders whenever he can; not too much though, he doesn't want to get caught, because then he might not be able to murder any more. So Steve tries for the slow and steady approach, not killing too many too quickly, but to maximize the body count in the long run. Now, judged against your yardsticks: (1) consistency - he's pretty consistent. He believes in murder. He practices murder. No signs of moral inconsistency there. (2) How well does he keep his morals? He keeps them pretty well. At least one victim a month. So, tell me, if objective morality is bullshit as you suggest, how can you really say that Steve's morality is wrong? If objective morality is bullshit, then your disagreement with Steve's morality is just an expression of differing personal preferences, no different than if he likes one type of music and you prefer another, or if one of you loves Stilton cheese and the other doesn't. (((Zack Martin))) 10:21, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I did not say that those were the only criteria that could be used, but they are still useful; comparatively few pathological cases slip by.
...how can you really say that Steve's morality is wrong? Surely it would be inconsistent and/or hypocritical for Steve to raise an objection if someone expressed his difference with Steve's personal preferences by pumping the slimeball full of lead. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 16:56, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
The problem with your criteria, is that if objective morality is bullshit, then your criteria to judge competing moralities are lacking in objective status, and just your own personal whims, and anyone else is free to reject them. If your criteria actually have some objective status, beyond just your personal acceptance of them, if they in some way bind others also, then we have an objective morality.
Maybe Steve doesn't object to being killed. If he really believes in the morality of murder, he probably expects it sooner or later. He just hopes to kill as many as he can before that day comes.
Alternatively, Steve is a reverse utilitarian - his principle of good is "the greatest pain for the greatest number of people". In general, killing people causes pain, both for the victims and their family/friends, so killing people is good. However, it is not so good to kill a serial killer, because although that causes pain for the serial killer and their family/friends, it saves many others from the same pain, and thus reduces the total misery overall. So, killing a normal person increases pain overall, but killing a serial killer may decrease it. Thus, Steve concludes, it is morally praiseworthy to kill everyone except for serial killers such as himself. (((Zack Martin))) 09:53, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Lx proposed a couple of basic rules of thumb for evaluating an irreligious system of morals. They're pretty good rules of thumb. To take them as some sort of rules is to miss the point. It's the equivalent of hearing a nutritional guideline like, "Eat large amount of dietary fiber" and saying, "Oh yeah, well if you only ate prunes you would die!"
Or in short: quit being a dick, dude.--ADtalkModerator 10:15, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
In the field of nutrition, we have a complex objective reality (the science of nutrition) and a few rules of thumb which are rough simplications of that reality. You are right, if we take those rules of thumb too far, we will reach absurdity. But, that is fine, because in those far out cases where the rules of thumb don't apply, we can go back to the science to derive what will applies to that situation. In Lx's approach, he has rules of thumb, but he denies the existence of any objective reality which they simplify. So, in the cases where they fail, he has nothing to turn to which is more accurate albeit more complex. Nutritional rules of thumb simplify the science of nutrition; yet moral rules of thumb can't simplify any "science" of morality, because he is denying that any such thing exists. That is why your analogy fails.
And, don't call people names simply because they have a different opinion from you. That is not good form. (((Zack Martin))) 19:36, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
He didn't appear to be trying to rigorously state the complete terms by which he evaluates a system, he was just giving some reasonable and easy ways to check. Those ways are, in fact, easier than more elaborate systems - and the rules of thumb are ones to which everyone can agree.
I called you a dick not because we have different opinions, but rather because I thought you were being extremely pedantic about something meant to be loose and convenient. Your habit of doubling-down into further pedantry ("Oh ho, your analogy is imperfect! Victory!") when someone disagrees with you is what makes you a dick, not our differing opinions.--ADtalkModerator 21:38, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
You miss the point, that if there is no objective morality, how can there possible be complete terms to evaluate an ethical system, capable of being rigorously stated? If such terms exist, that would imply there was an objective morality after all.
ListenerX raised his "rules of thumb" as part of an explanation of how he copes without objective morality. A common approach in philosophy is to take an idea and try to apply it to extreme/unlikely hypothetical circumstances, and use what happens to judge the idea. For an example of that in action, see e.g. Thomson's A Defense of Abortion. Calling someone a "dick" for using practices of argument widely accepted in serious philosophy is really uncalled for. I don't go around calling you the names of sexual organs, please refrain from doing the same to me. It is rude. (((Zack Martin))) 07:15, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I understand what you did. It was not a difficult thing to do, after all. He stated some loose general principles, and you formed a cuttingly insightful hypothetical to expose that his loose general principles were loose general principles. I am being rude, it's true, but that's because I think you were being equally rude, just in a priggish sort of verbose manner.--ADtalkModerator 09:44, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
The point remains - if a field has objective reality, then we can treat it in a detailed and rigorous way, and we can also create some rough rules of thumb which are useful simplifications. In some extreme cases, those rules of thumb won't work; but that's fine, then we can fall back on the detailed/rigorous treatment. And how do we know we've got the right rules of thumb? They can be justified in terms of the detailed/rigorous treatment. Nutrition, as you mentioned, is a good example of this. But, ListenerX is arguing that there is no objective morality. Hence, when his rules of thumb fail him, he has no detailed/rigorous treatment to fall back on; nor does he have any detailed/rigorous treatment to justify that his choice of rules of thumb is the right one. So, pointing out how his rules of thumb fail in extreme cases is relevant, because if morality is objective, he can rescue things with reference to a more detailed/rigorous theory, if morality is non-objective (as he claims) he can't. (((Zack Martin))) 23:36, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
No, seriously, I understand. You don't have to reiterate in an even more logorrheic way. You want him to provide you with a rigorous schema for assessing morality. I got it. No doubt he got it.--ADtalkModerator 00:28, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I am verbose at time. That is how my mind works. Being verbose isn't "being rude". You shouldn't label people rude just because you don't get their line of thought, or else you do but it isn't clear to them that you do. (((Zack Martin))) 05:52, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Never mind, I'm done. Words like Tribbles up in here.--ADtalkModerator 07:11, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Needless negativity. (((Zack Martin))) 08:42, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Maratrean, don't you have better ways to waste people's time with drivel? Note what the mods just did to a far more intelligent observer of this site... ħumanUser talk:Human 09:52, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Huh? (((Zack Martin))) 10:07, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Speaking of Dawkins[edit]

Anyone know enough about Quantum Mechanics to read this and comment. seems to me this priest is chastizing Dawkins for not knowing all of science, then goes off on a tear that totally misrepresents what science really does say. But if anyone would read this and comment, i'd be appreciative... irish times--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 20:20, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

This is what the phrase not even wrong was invented for. It seems like he's assuming the many-worlds interpretation must lead to idealism, which means evolution didn't happen and there is a god, or something. I can't really tell, it's like he just took some random quantum jargon and applied it to evolution for no reason, the added the words "scientists say..." in front. It reads like Deepak Chopra was hung over and had to crank out an article five minutes before the deadline. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:34, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Pure God of the Gaps, most evident in the last few paragraphs. Ajkgordon (talk) 20:36, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I had to admit reading it was reminiscent to listening to Palin's early interviews. total. Word. Salad. (hey we need an article on that, if we don't have one.) The only reason I wasn't sure, is that sometimes deep and "correct" QM actually DOES sound to my ears like word salad, since it's so theory laden. --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 20:37, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
It seemed pretty incomprehensible to me. Like somebody had a lot of words and was looking for a way to string them together.--BobSpring is sprung! 20:41, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Magnetic poetry theology set. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:47, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
The article is significantly improved by reading it in an horrendous Irish accent. ADK...I'll exterminate your tree! 01:11, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Garbles together subjective Copenhagen with many worlds. Subjective Copenhagen maybe does imply idealism; objective Copenhagen, many worlds, hidden variables, etc., don't. Fails to distinguish difference between quantum theory itself and interpretations of quantum theory. So, maybe I agree with where he is going, but not off to a good start. Then again, remember this is a newspaper editorial; quite possibly his original remarks made a bit more sense, until an army of subeditors hacked them down to the point of incoherence. (((Zack Martin))) 10:37, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Or more likely the author understands neither quantum theory nor evolution.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:43, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Probably a bit of both; I don't think the author really gets it, but I doubt the editing down to so few words is doing him any favours either. (((Zack Martin))) 10:46, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
The important thing to remember about QM is that it's most certainly incomplete. The phenomena are real, but you really need to know what you're talking about to discuss them with any accuracy or authority . But the interpretations are often cited by a lot of people as those end up being the take home message - and there are a lot of interpretations. On account that, trying to use quantum mechanics to discuss anything other than quantum mechanics (e.g., using certain interpretations to prrove/disprove God) is like trying to argue using the Four Elements or the Four Humors. The theory and interpretations are almost certainly wrong. This is why anyone claiming to know which interpretation is "right" (*cough*Yudkowsky*cough*) risks talking out of their ass and having egg all over their face when a future observations and more advanced science starts to tinker with what is observed fact and what theories are used to explain them. ADK...I'll refill your flan! 11:00, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Then again, there is a fair chance that no matter how far QM advances, innumerable interpretations will remain all the same. Especially since, interpretations of QM really aren't different scientific theories, they are different philosophical interpretations of a scientific theory, why should we expect further finessing of the theory to change its philosophical interpretations? It might; then again, it might not. And if the science changes, the philosophy can always be changed to fit. "Shut up and calculate" is science, the rest of it is nearer to philosophy. (((Zack Martin))) 11:54, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
But you could simply be wrong with your random bullshit guess there. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:40, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm very open about being an Instrumentalist, so to me this philosophical mumbo-jumbo is just that, mumbo-jumbo. But because the philosophy is reliant on science that is variable, it's also pointless' mumbo-jumbo. I'd bank on it changing rather that staying open to the same philosophical interpretations, though. I like the distinction that philosophy is the study of things that are necessarily true (e.g., maths is philosophy because 2 + 2 must equal 4, there's no way that we'd perform the experiment and find that it's 4.325) and science is the stuff that isn't necessarily true (e.g., the speed of light didn't need to be 299,792,458 m/s, it could happily have been 299,792,457 m/s). So basing your philosophical discussions on something that is grounded in science seems a bit wrong, because a new observation could just scrap all of your thinking. ADK...I'll write your bamboo! 16:07, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I realize this is a rather "Science 101" level question, but language and religion are my thing, not science. (but i'm trying to learn). what do you mean by "instrumentalist". And while we are on it, with people as well respected as Turk (sp?) from Canada, saying he doesn't really think the Background radiation is a sign of the same thing that most mainstream physicists think - are we really in an area that people can offer true "evidence?" (I'm just curious, sorry if this derails it. this aspect of deep theory science interests me, precisely because as a lay person, i cannot see or understand any of the "evidence" at any level.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:26, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────An "instrumentalist" is someone in the band who plays an instrument rather than singing. More seriously, instrumentalism is a tendency within science to focus on whether we can build models that explain what we see (and don't see) and predict what will happen when we try something. ie the instrumentalist doesn't regard it as important whether in some sense these models are "true". Which is handy because the philosophers can assure us that there's no way for us to reliably determine that anyway. If electrons somehow don't exist and instead it's all done by a vast number of tiny gnomes, the instrumentalists don't care unless this makes their model with electrons work differently from our actual universe. (talk) 19:06, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

So an instrumentalists is just a fancy name for a pragmatic. "if i can make cool ass toys that work with my model, i'm pretty darned happy till someone says it's all broked". Yes?--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:17, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Can the quantum experts tell us anything about Quantum Jump Woo? Proxima Centauri (talk) 10:53, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
No. Please go away. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:40, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Godamn fucking filthy students.[edit]

I live in a rather bohemian and unconventional type of neighbourhood which suits me just fine because my erratic behaviour often goes unnoticed. There are barefoot hippies everywhere, marijuana is smoked fairly openly and people are on the whole are rather friendly. I live up a fairly long path so often cut down the side of another house to get to the shops and they don't mind if I cross their backyard but after todays little "surprise" I think I'll take my path from now on. The flat in question is home to 7 or so neo-emo bogans, all students in their late teens/early twenties and they are the filthiest fuckers you could it imagine. I lived in my fair share of shitty flats but this is something else. They must be throwing shit out the windows because the entire house is encircled with garbage. Festering crap lines the walls and yard. Looking into their windows you can see the have filled the entire downstairs with heaped bags of trash. Lazy fucks, the kerb is a mere 10 feet away. Anyway, so was popping out to buy some cigarettes this morning and as I was heading down their path, avoiding rats etc, a window opened on the third floor and something came flying out. Landing at my feet, missing my head by inches, was a soiled, dripping red tampon.
I will take my own longer but cleaner path in future. Aceof SpadesSilverbrain.png 23:13, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

"Landing at my feet, missing my head by inches, was a soiled, dripping red tampon. I will take my own longer but cleaner path in future." Taken on its own, that sentence could very well be considered a koan.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:39, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
As could most of what Ace writes here. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:36, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
My apartment used to be like that (minus the tampons). How many people live there? Maybe they have some head disorder. Try giving them cocaine. That'll get them cleaning. Worked for me (although what I used wasn't quite as strong as cocaine)--User:Brxbrx/sig 00:10, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
The only thing they'll get from me is a sneer and a fist shake. Aceof SpadesSilverbrain.png 00:25, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if this saying is common amongst you New Zealand sheep fuckers, but to an American like me that evokes "Get off my lawn you young punks!"--User:Brxbrx/sig 00:28, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Bricks, have you ever considered making a useful comment? ħumanUser talk:Human 09:36, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
It's far more entertaining to annoy you by not interacting with you in any way shape or form and waiting for you to come along and flame me--User:Brxbrx/sig 17:35, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Is it a rich kids uni, perchance? Doctor Dark (talk) 02:25, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
O______O...Ick. Bloody Hell indeed. --Dumpling (talk) 03:34, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps they were sending you a message?--BobSpring is sprung! 15:19, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Anon is legion[edit]

pedobear was here — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Anonymous has no qualms with RationalWiki. Go back to bed, hatefag. Your parents will be mad at you otherwise. The lulz doesn't need twerps like you.--User:Brxbrx/sig 00:49, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
And RW has no need for your offensive use of "language", brx. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:32, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
"Anonymous has no qualms with RationalWiki." - What the hell does this mean?--BobSpring is sprung! 15:17, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Anonymous is a diverse group you newfag. Who are you trying to impress? Could it be some hotard named Kristen? (talk) 01:06, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Put the furry porn down and step away from the keyboard. ADK...I'll agree your TK! 01:10, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Wat. Kristen?--User:Brxbrx/sig 02:06, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Why do 15 year olds trolling always claim to be something like Annon, and then (giggles) say things like "I have a CONSTITUTIONAL right!" heheheh. --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 04:05, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

No. NOW Pedobear was here....15 year olds? O____O...Is this often?--Dumpling (talk) 04:08, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

We got stuck with a few ED refugees when the site went down and they haven't left yet. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:33, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
sighs I am the only "ED refugee" here, and I joined and was active before ED.com fell.--User:Brxbrx/sig 17:33, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Wondering when this one will make it to CP[edit]

Since it's apparently making the rounds on the right wing blog-o-sphere...

A former personal assistant to John Lennon and Yoko Ono is claiming Lennon was a Republican supporter and a Reagan fan.

The guy does have credibility issues, since he was convicted of stealing some of Lennon's personal belongings, including diaries, after he died. MDB (talk) 10:36, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Dunno. People do change their opinions over time though this one does sound a bit improbable. Maybe he was a secret Young Earth Creationist by the time of his death. Sort of doubt it though.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:49, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I could believe the part about him finding his earlier radicalism embarrassing, but I doubt that he would have actually reached Republican status by then. MDB (talk) 10:58, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
All we are saying, is give Star Wars a chance... Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 15:31, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
Close. All we are saying, is give Meese a chance... MDB (talk) 16:54, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
I know what you're saying but as a Brit it's not the first thing that popped into my mind. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 10:59, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
We have a talk page for CP-related gossip. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:30, 16 July 2011 (UTC)


Despite my fairly Christian stance, Chick-Fil-A's strong emphasis on faith in their company makes me wonder about their hiring and donation practices.

Have you heard anything suspicious about their activities?--Lefty (talk) 14:28, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Well, there's this --Danfly (talk) 14:52, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
My knowledge of, and interest in, the company is fully as extensive as my knowledge of their activities.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:14, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Homophobes with delicious chicken...sigh. I used to love their chicken morning biscuits when I was a teen working in a mall in Georgia. --Phil Leotardo da Vinci (talk) 17:19, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Funnily enough, my friend that is an assistant manager/teen leader, works at Chick-Fil-A. What it is that you're wondering?--Dumpling (talk) 17:45, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't care if they kicked me in the crotch for being an atheist, I'd still come back for a spicy chicken sandwich. Occasionaluse (talk) 18:00, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
-nomming on a spicy chicken sandwich-...Heh. I don't think they'd care. Well, at least the ones in Louisiana (Oddly enough...considering we're like..part of the Christian belt)--Dumpling (talk) 18:02, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
That's cause that one is part owned by LSU, IIRC. ТyTalk 19:18, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Haha. Well, yeaaah. But I'm talking about the Chik-Fil-A at the mall here and the one on Siegen. Apparently they're rather lax on the whole hiring processes.I have no idea on the donations.--Dumpling (talk) 20:49, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Maybe they just assume that everyone meets their standards. This is BR we are talking about. Тyrannosaurs 14:43, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I used to work at one back in high school. We held bi-weekly team meetings that involved a prayer, and of course the lame-ass corporate song ("Hey, hey, Chik-fil-A....etc." I was not asked about my faith in the job interview. And the store was closed on Sundays. Also, you were allowed any quantity of anything on the menu FOR FREE during your lunch break. Aboriginal Noise with 4 M's and a silent Q 14:59, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Need snartikle about these assholes! (linked first mention, to lazy to write). ħumanUser talk:Human 09:20, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Who will default first?[edit]

Who will default first? The US or Greece?--BobSpring is sprung! 21:02, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Ireland.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:07, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I think Iceland beat everybody long ago.--User:Brxbrx/sig 03:24, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Iceland. HollowWorld (talk) 04:52, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
A picture is worth a thousand words. Doctor Dark (talk) 05:17, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Heh, one of the commenters on that cartoon describes Obama as "far left". Do some people really think Obama that? (or is he indeed far left by US standards?) The UK isn't in great shape either... DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 10:30, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
By Louisiana standards, he's a gibbering moonbat. I can't speak for the rest of the nation. ТyNo 14:44, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't matter, both countries are going to New Jersey in a hand basket. HollowWorld (talk) 11:50, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Some people do think that of Obama. Some think he is a Marxist. I find that pretty funny as someone to his left who is not particularly far left myself. I'd probably be center-right in Sweden, to clarify what I mean by that. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:16, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

fissured tongue[edit]

What's the mechanism of action that causes this? I looked it up (this time) and found nothing on Wikipedia or through a google search. I'm very curious as to what causes the fissures (not what's associated with the fissures; I want to know what does it on a tissue level, you know? Is it like wrinkles?). Thanks, guise--User:Brxbrx/sig 06:00, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

The mechanism is not known. -- (talk) 06:05, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
No theories?--User:Brxbrx/sig 13:45, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

House of Lords debate[edit]

Listening to the current House of Lords debate and, given the Murdochs' stunning range of badly managed investments coupled with the recent allegations over phone hacking and the ethical standards of their employees and possibly even themselves, I'm beginning to ask myself if News Corpse and News Interscandalous are going to be able to continue under a Murdoch hegemony. Somehow, I can't see the Murdochs still in control of either company even in as little as 10 years time.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 13:37, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Okay, where did you get those two puns from, someone needs to pay dearly for them. ADK...I'll refill your blender! 08:36, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I doubt Murdoch will lose a single dime over this. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:13, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
It's already cost him (NI) over $8,000,000 in payoffs: £3.5million to Rebekkkkkaaaahhh alone. 11:20, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
The Dear Leader (Nick Clegg) 'accidentally' came up with News Corpse during a radio interview. News Interscandalous is entirely my own, as far as I know.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 10:26, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
And? ħumanUser talk:Human 10:37, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Fox reacts to News International Hacking scandal[edit]

Lets minimise the thing and divert attention to hackers. It's not about hacking, dummies. It's about fucking morals, and your boss is at fault. Wriggling, much! Pippa (talk) 18:45, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Also: 'Rupert Murdoch has made a "full and humble" apology to the family of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler at a private meeting held at a central London hotel.
The global head of News Corporation "held his head in his hands" and repeatedly told the family he was "very, very sorry", according to the Dowlers' lawyer Mark Lewis.' Course he's sorry- it might cost him! Pippa (talk) 18:49, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
"9.13pm: News is breaking that Les Hinton, chief executive of Dow Jones, is resigning. We are expecting a statement from Dow Jones" Guardian. Pippa (talk) 20:18, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh yeah, he's gone. News-fill-in-the-blank is looking more and more vulnerable by the day.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 20:54, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Actually, it makes me kind of wonder- 'Who's next under the bus?'--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 20:58, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Junior (James?) Murdoch? Pippa (talk) 21:31, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Could be. At this rate they might need another bus though.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 22:29, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Meh. Throw away NOTW and what is Murdoch left with... see the ticker on the Daily Show. Killing the NOTW is a media farce. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:01, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

This site is really weird[edit]

As you can see by my past contributions here, I used to be a pretty big deal around here. For the last number of years I've followed the WIGOCP page intermittently and sometimes followed the site politics, occasionally creating a sock to mix it up. Of all the most bizarre things that goes on here, I do not understand how and why you banned MarcusCicero. The guy is comedy gold! Every word he says is so funny and smart, I honestly don't know what the deal is and don't know why you banned him. I don't understand why you don't just accept his comments as tongue in cheek. Sure he was abusive and stuff, but in my opinion Americans are really silly when it comes to abusive behaviour. I think its funny and natural. And his critiques of this site are so spot on. There are plenty of flaws here and you seem to embrace them. The articles are more biased and laughable than conservapedia's because your articles pretend to be rational and hence come across as extremely superior and smug. In fact, of the two, I'd find you more dangerous than the group of fundamentalist homeschoolers over on conservapedia as you 'rationalists' are fundamentally more alienating to ordinary people than the bible thumping bigots I've pledged my life to oppose. Again I bring this back to Marcus. He was a dissident in the true, historical sense. He never fitted in here because he was so riotiously dysfunctional and cynical. He regarded you with contempt because he did so with himself, like all great men he thoroughly despised himself.

I kinda wanted to make this speech for a while. I haven't used this account in years but decided I had to because you people are so reactionary now you will ban any other account for being a 'sock of MarcusCicero' instantaneously. You'll probably even revert this message, thus proving Marcus' point. I don't know what to think really. Marcus was the only reason I followed this site, his abuse was always so inspired and he really went after the grimy backslapping impulses of this site.

Maybe I'm just loyal to my fellow countryman. The Anti-Conservapedia (talk) 20:07, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, calling a white Seffrican racist, calling people out for being fat aspie virgins, numerous violations of Godwin's law, calling everybody who disagrees with him a cunt, and socking up as his own brother to feign serious mental illness, all of this points to real intelligence and top-rate sense of humor. You sure got us there. P-FosterThe Grateful Dead were neither grateful nor dead. Discuss.Moderator 20:21, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
"He regarded you with contempt because he did so with himself, like all great men he thoroughly despised himself." This has to be parody because it made me laugh out loud. --Phil Leotardo da Vinci (talk) 20:23, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
Marcus, whom the user PFoster said was 'smarter than me for sure' (Without any obvious signs of irony) is without fail the single greatest attraction to this site. Its useful to have someone like him around as he prevents the inevitable backslapping and self congratulatory navel gazing that tends to grasp a site when inhabited by ideological bedfellows. And the man was very funny; come on, the gibes about the white South African were clearly tongue in cheek. You have to imagine the twinkle in his eye, the gasp of anticipation that overwhelms his senses, and the incorrigable fear that 'this might just push this thing over the edge'. You have to think of Da Vinci, Wilde and Mark Twain. You have to think of all those people who hated everything about the age that they lived in and the shafts of light and wisdom that peeped out, amid all the obscuritanism and the uniform and generic opinions espoused by the people of the zeitgeist. MarcusCicero is a genius. The Anti-Conservapedia (talk) 20:43, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
The thing about his brother is probably one of the funniest things ever to emerge on the internet, if you follow the context closely enough. Pure black comedy. Legendary. The Anti-Conservapedia (talk) 20:46, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
I like to think of Marcus as much more akin to Nelson Mandela or Ghandhi, liberating the repressed of RW and speaking truth to power. He is truly a visionary being and deserves his almost Godlike status. Hail Cicero! DogP (talk) 22:57, 15 July 2011 (UTC)
He wasn't blocked (for a month, remember) because he was disagreeable or challenged us or anything else like that. If those things bothered RW, we'd block RobS. He was blocked because he was doing his best to ruin RW, full on and explicitly.--ADtalkModerator 00:34, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh noes!!!! The scary nasty meany moo Marcus is going to RUIN RationalWiki! </sarcasm>. MC can't do anything to ruin RW, because he lacks a position of respect/authority to enable him to do that. The only people who can ruin RW are people who have that kind of respect/authority (e.g. moderators, board members.) I'd be much more worried about them than I would about MC. (((Zack Martin))) 00:43, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think he was succeeding in ruining our community. That was just his stated intention, your squealing aside.
As he said, "So many times you put me on the centre stage with a semi reasonable grievance and I made sure to maximise the fallout as much as possible."
It's totally awesome that yet again we're re-litigating the issue, with Maratrean even going into greatest hits.--ADtalkModerator 04:32, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
"Rational" and "worse than CP," I think that's three shots. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:54, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Every word he says is so funny and smart
I agree completely, as long as you replace "funny and smart" with "pathetic, whining, abusive and self-serving".--BobSpring is sprung! 06:32, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Wait, we banned MC? How and why? Hate to disagree with you BobM, but MC was harmless. We "BANNED" the user? That makes us losers. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:59, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Huw, there's a reason you're not a mod, and this kind of bullshit is exactly it. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 21:33, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
He was banned for a month. Here is the vote.--ADtalkModerator 09:34, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I have created a page where we can co-ordinate the campaign to release Marcus Cicero. It can be found here: User:The Anti-Conservapedia/Free Marcus Now!. Some members have expressed admiration for him, with one even comparing him to Nelson Mandela. I would second that comparison and would suggest his imprisonment is identical to Mandela's imprisonment in Robben Island. The mods are just bitter because Marcus called them out on their gradual accumulation of power. He has been making these liberal minded critiques of this site for many years, he is both a prophet and a hero. The Anti-Conservapedia (talk) 18:50, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Is this bullshit sufficient evidence that this is a sock of Marcus and can be banned or do we need to run checkuser on him? -- Nx / talk 18:53, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Oh my. It seems that the Gestapo think they have something on me! Oh dear. No, I am not a sock of Marcus, my contributions long predate his, stop being so paranoid. Run checkuser, it will confirm that I am of no relation to the MC account. The Anti-Conservapedia (talk) 18:55, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
It was pretty clear, I think. P-Foster took care of it.--ADtalkModerator 22:30, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Modern medical treatments for asthma symptoms[edit]

Hi! I'm new to Rationalwiki, hence the anonymous post, but I'm a big admirer of the site. As a fellow atheist/humanist/skeptic/jerk, I enjoy the discussions here, and I thought I'd ask a question. I'm 18, American, and I've suffered from moderate-to-severe asthma since birth. In the past few years, it's been terrible. I have a constant shortness of breath, and with terrible allergies to pollen and various weeds, I often feel stuffed and hazy. I know many members of the RW community are far more knowledgeable about modern medicine than I, and I wondered: how far along are we in the fight against asthma? It seems that the only methods we have now are control methods, most of which aren't even that effective. I've tried various surgeries, medicines, and treatments, and none seem to work. To tell you the truth, it really wears you down after a while. Not being able to breathe sucks, but never being able to breathe is hell. I've heard of theories in the field of nano-medicine on respirocytes, but as far as I can tell, they remain just theories. Any ideas, rationalists? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Do we look like the Mayo Clinic? HollowWorld (talk) 08:46, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
All I have is "don't breathe downwind of me when I am smoking". Sorry. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:51, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there is any magic pill to get rid of it available. Certainly some quacks may be saying to throw away your inhalers and snort their snake oil instead (and that probably goes for anyone shoehorning the word "nano" into their treatment idea too), but until we find one that works you're stuck with these control methods. Certainly at the moment the best modern medicine can do for you is to help you identify and then remove or control the causes of attacks. Keep your inhalers close by you so any first-aiders don't have to go rummaging around in the case of attacks. This looks like a fairly new and novel treatment, but as for a "cure", I think that may not be as straightforward. ADK...I'll prove your bomb! 12:44, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Mmmmm. respirocytes ... all looks a bit transhumanist to me. Could be worth an article though.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:56, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Pretty sure some of my friends get annual vaccinations against asthma. The University doing the research is in the city where I live, but I don't know any biologists or medics who still study there. Googling for "asthma vaccination" just gets you the usual vaccine denialist nonsense in which vaccines cause asthma, plus some studies suggesting MMR and influenza vaccination reduce asthma severity through some unexplained mechanism. Anyway, step one, see a doctor. Take their advice. That doesn't mean "try vaguely to obey the advice, then decide you can't be bothered, then go back to whining" by the way. (talk) 18:51, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Forget Intelligent Design[edit]

Meet super intelligent design, the new face of the YEC movement! - "...evidence of super-intelligent design..."img :D

I need a new hobby... Eyeonicr (talk) 09:01, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

"There is no innovation in such cases, but merely a shift in which strain of bacteria dominates the habitat. That’s not evolution." - Erm, actually... ADK...I'll untie your gun! 09:35, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Wait! Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is proof of Intelligent Design? So after humans came up with antibiotics to combat deadly bacteria the great designer had already designed them to evade our attempts at better medicine. Well fuck you, great designer; whose side are you supposed to be on? Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 11:32, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Very well put. ADK...I'll vote your yogurt! 12:33, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Sad, so sad. When will you smarten up and realise that you were born sinful, and none of your sulfa nor mycin nor cillin can change that? We are loved but not cuddled... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:00, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Personally I am still waiting for the answer regarding all those intelligently designed humans getting born without a face. Ie, the use of mutation overall. Sen (talk) 15:42, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Who is Brad Monton?[edit]

It seems he claims to be an atheist, and has written a book defending the scientific exploration of Intelligent Design, complete with glowing reviews from the usual suspects. I do not feel like reading what looks like an exercise in "arguing for a proposition in which one does not believe." Anybody got an opinion to share? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 10:22, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Fake atheist trying to discredit real ones? HollowWorld (talk) 11:17, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
That would be S. E. Cupp's job. This looks more like someone making an early bid for the Templeton Prize. ADK...I'll terrorize your sea bass! 12:52, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Based on naught but flimsy surmise, I see it as more of an example of "publish or perish" coming from a philosophy professor whose chief job description has to do with training pre-law students to argue for things they personally believe are false. Some concern troll on WP held him up as an example of a "leading proponent" of ID who was neither Christian nor affiliated with the Discovery Institute. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:30, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
He also wrote This Gem on the Dover trial Hamster (talk) 15:47, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
He has a stub now: Bradley Monton. Feel free to expand it when you find out more about him.--ZooGuard (talk) 15:54, 16 July 2011 (UTC)


Going to my first political activist meeting at a Denny's, apparently there are threats of potential teabagging, I'll take pictures for everyone here if it comes to pass. Kind of scared because it wouldn't be out of character for them to try and beat us I think. WHAT DO? HollowWorld (talk) 11:16, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Run. Now.--Lefty (talk) 12:30, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Just stay out of the toilets if you don't want to be teabagged. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 16:05, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Lighty Bulby[edit]

Hurray! More political defeats for those who admire Merkin inefficiency! DogP (talk) 22:55, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

I have to admit, even I didn't think they would go down the "gummint gonna take yer light bulbs away!" route. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:51, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
There's a whole lot of stupid and weird in that issue. So stupid I can't even figure out how to make a good RW article on it yet. ħumanUser talk:Human 08:53, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Let them pay it in their electricity bills. I mean, some people don't like money, there is no other explanation. It's not a case "I can afford it" either since in that case someone would go for LEDs. Sen (talk) 12:33, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

The final vote on the Better Use of Light Bulb (BULB) Act came to 233 in favor and 193 against. Thus, it won a majority, but it was brought to the floor in a manner that would have required a two-thirds majority to pass. Thus, the bill failed. I wonder if that was intentional? I mean, we'll support this bill in public, since it makes us look good to some voters; but in private we don't actually want it to pass, so we'll make sure it doesn't. This way they get to have their cake and eat it too, vote in favour of the bill and kill it at the same time. (((Zack Martin))) 12:38, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Huw that this is a discussion we could stand to have. In hte name of "green" and "efficiency" the legislature proposed a mandate that complicated expensive unreliable environmentally hazardous coiled fluorescent lamps be encouraged, and simple cheap Edison bulbs forbidden. I haven't seen any LED lamps with an A-type base at my local Ace hardware store.
Side note: Anyone who uses a word meaning "pubic rug" to describe my fellow-citizens is guilty of overgeneralization and gratuitous incivility, and risks being cut from my Christmas-card list. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:41, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
The legislation does not mandate CFLs. It mandates efficiency standards for some categories of device. You are welcome to buy (and manufacturers are welcome to sell) any device that meets those standards. I remember very clearly about ten years ago now, buying my first CFLs. I was living with several friends at the time, and on our whiteboard (what can I say, we're nerds) in the living room we did the calculation to figure out if CFLs were so much more efficient than filament bulbs that we'd save money by replacing them immediately rather than waiting for incandescent bulbs to fail. The math showed a clear advantage to the CFLs, so we walked to a nearby store and bought a dozen immediately. Still using them today, in fact I have a spare in case one fails some day. And yes of course allowing the bill to fail was deliberate, the remaining non-Tea Party Republicans are scared of how long it will take to rebuild their party when the Tea Party fad ends. They could be in the wilderness for 4 or more presidential terms! (talk) 19:16, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
"effectively forces manufacturers to phase out conventional 100-watt incandescent bulbs in 2012..." leaves us with CFLs and (hugely expensive) LEDs to replace them with, or sit in the dark. I have killed a CFL simply by switching on a band saw on the same circuit. Not every one is so fragile, but I see a fair amount of duds showing up over time. White LEDs amount to fluorescent lamps too, with a UV LED exciting some phosphors. Color balance is important to some folks... What really goes against my Luddite streak is that the gummint is heading towards effectively mandating public subsidy of a higher technology, without examining the total life-cycle costs of manufacturing these complex poisonous little items. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:02, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Say what you will about religion...[edit]

It gives us stuff like this. P-FosterThe Grateful Dead were neither grateful nor dead. Discuss.Moderator 01:26, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Needs moar slide. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:48, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
And this. Aboriginal Noise with 4 M's and a silent Q 04:09, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Jesus Christ. That sounds like street repairs. Or like someone is raping a cat. P-FosterThe Grateful Dead were neither grateful nor dead. Discuss.Moderator 04:27, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Here's the same song but slightly less roadworks and diggers if you prefer. ADK...I'll repair your rifle! 12:04, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
EmbedVideo received the bad id "ItZyaOlrb7E&feature=related Then there's this" for the service "youtube".
. Looks like it could be church too. DogP (talk) 18:57, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I keep forgetting how nuts that guy is... ADK...I'll repair your rifle! 12:04, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Something I found funny[edit]

I was looking through The Book of Lists 2 (published in 1980, I believe), which, for those who don't know, is a book full of trivial lists of all sorts of crap (Wikipedia article). Under "6 Outrageous Plans That Didn't Happen" I found this: "#6 - The Wired Nation: In his book The Shadow Presidents, author Michael Medved relates the extreme disappointment of H.R. Haldeman over his failure to implement his plan to link up all the homes in America by coaxial cable. In Haldeman's words, 'There would be two-way communication. Through computer, you could use your television set to order up whatever you wanted. The morning paper, entertainment services, shopping services, coverage of sporting events and public events... Just as Einsenhower linked up the nation's cities by highways so that you could get there, the Nixon legacy would have linked them by cable communications so you wouldn't have to go there.' One can almost see the dreamy eyes of Nixon and Haldeman as they sat around discussing a plan that would eliminate the need for newspapers, seemingly oblivious to its Big Brother aspects. Fortunately the Watergate scandal intervened, and Nixon was forced to resign before 'the Wired Nation' could be hooked up." Wow. Thank god that Orwellian nightmare never happened. DickTurpis (talk) 15:31, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, the world really never got all wired up - that would have been a nightmare. I'm of to check out a few Korean, then Australian and then maybe a few South Americans newspapers. See'ya! --ʤɱ pervert 15:38, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Ooh, snap! I've got the 90s edition of TBoL. Good reading, if you like things like how old Jimmi Hendrix would be if he hadn't popped his clogs (PS Lady Di would have been 50 this year!) Mine's got a good section on all the people misquoted by Ronald Reagan. maybe I'll dredge that up sometime. lol, good find there, Mr Turpentine - and prolly a good thing Nixon didn't implement it. --PsyGremlinTal! 15:44, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
The French pretty much got this technology (via the government monopoly telco) in the 1980s as [Minitel]. Like most government schemes prior to the widespread success of the Internet it was (is) centralised. Users could send one another messages, but the messages went via a central server operated by the French PTT (ie government monopoly telco). The US of course had outfits like Compuserve and AOL which, before being Internet Service Providers, each ran a "walled garden" network service in which subscribers could access online services all under the exclusive control of one company. So in that case the asymmetrical relationship is between customers and a private corporations rather than their government. (talk) 18:37, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Not too different nowadays. In our town we can get internet access through either our local cable TV monopoly or our local (wired) telephone monopoly. The former is rated dead last of all ISPs in the U.S., while the latter is close to the bottom in its sector. Doctor Dark (talk) 03:19, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Maybe to a non-technical person the difference isn't obvious. In the walled gardens the owner has absolute veto. Nothing happens without their consent. If there is a virtual newspaper stand, the newspapers on sale are their choice, and they take a cut. If there's an unfavourable headline in a newspaper one day, they can make it vanish from the garden. The Internet is a distributed system, your ISP can give you crappy service, they can be too slow or expensive, but they don't get much say in what you see and write. (And what say they do have you voluntarily gave them, albeit by default, and could take away again at a moment's notice). (talk) 09:17, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Creation (2009)[edit]

On tonight on bbc2. Worth watching? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 08:56, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

I enjoyed it. It is very slow in places, but it's a good telling of the story of how he came to write Origins. That said, I pretty sure it takes some poetic licence with the death of his child - I'm pretty sure it was his son that died, and not from having Freddy Kruger leap out of a closet at him. --PsyGremlinPraat! 09:50, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Question for the Fallacy Help Desk[edit]

It might be more of a rhetorical ploy than a fallacy, but it deserves a name nonetheless. Often, when someone has grown tired of defending their position, or has no position left to defend, they will come out with something like "who cares?" or "nobody cares about that." Sometimes the loser's endgame takes the form of "you are making a mountain out of a molehill" or "I'm not interested in silly semantic disputes." Is there a name for this class of nonsense? If not, there ought to be. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:24, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

In what sense is it specifically fallacious? "I'm not interested in silly semantic disputes" and related probably comes out of my mouth quite often. But that's because when arguments drag on for too long it's undoubtedly because it's just a silly smeantic dispute - "well I define it like this so I'm right", "no it's defined like this so I'm right". I don't think I've seen many people back out due to disinterest purely because they "lost", usually if someone's lost an argument they refuse to back out. ADK...I'll shave your nuke! 15:09, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm just gonna go ahead and call it the DeMyer rebutal. I know anti-CP people will give me shit for it but it's pretty much one of the two "defences" the man has. --ʤɱ pervert 15:15, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
If you wanted to make it an actual thing, I'd say it should really be about backpeddling on the importance of an issue. This does happen frequently. ADK...I'll dehydrate your deity of personal preference! 15:35, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
It's just sour grapes, isn't it? Real first name and last initialTalk, talk, talk skim my contributions 21:03, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Aye, a bit of sour grapes, and a tenuous relation to moving the goalposts with the backpedaling. What is one person's "silly semantic dispute" is often my "nebulous language needs to be tightened and focussed if we are to have a conversation at all." The "not caring" facet may be simple face-saving after having a bit of bullshit called what it is. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:32, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Needs an example. Really, at some points, that may be the only response. E.g. in debates with cranks of all stripes, you can pull out meta-analyses looking at massive amounts of literature and they will invariably respond by fishing out some flawed, 30 year old study and waving it around going "Look, significant p-values, man! Psi is serious business!" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:26, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

a) News of the World (cont.)[edit]

Rebekah Brooks arrested today, although there is some speculation that this was done as a ploy to avoid the parliamentary committee on Tuesday. This was then followed by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson announcing his resignation.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 19:13, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

How does getting arrested work out better than getting grilled by MPs? ADK...I'll coach your Pontiac! 22:46, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
Once she was arrested the case became official, so any questions the MPs ask could be seen as being prejudicial to either the case or any future prosecution. As far as I'm aware, Parliamentary Privilege extends to the committees, so the MPs themselves wouldn't land in the shit, but the wrong questions could very well see any future trial put into jeopardy. Oh, and of course, any interview she gives to the police whilst under caution would remain confidential until the point where it would be used in a possible case against her and a conviction was handed down, which means that the papers, especially the Guardian, couldn't investigate anything she said during interview to show whether what she was saying was untruthful, or even unlikely. Whereas appearing in front of the Parliamentary Committee without any restrictions on what questions could be asked would mean that she would have to give answers that were public and could be picked apart relatively easily.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 00:55, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
And, thinking about it whilst the bins went out, just as important as the answers are the questions being asked. We know from the original police enquiry that the right questions weren't being asked, either of the witnesses, the arrested or of the case itself, but we only know that now because the case has blown up so spectacularly. Whereas the committee's questions can be far more wide ranging than the police's can be in that situation and, more importantly, the questions are public so the media and the public get to see if the committee really is serious about this, or are looking for a quick whitewash.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:08, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
Clever. ADK...I'll repair your Furby! 13:21, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

If anyone is interested in this whole debacle there is http://talk.notthetalk.com/ which is the old Guardian talkboards (sort of). Sphincter (talk) 14:48, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Mmm, the saga continues, with both the commissioner and assistant commissioner of the Yard resigning (which is old news now, of course). However, the journalist that whistblew on the NOTW has just been found dead at his home. So far the police seem to be claiming that the death isn't suspicious, but then again they also tried to claim that after the original investigation into the whole phone-hacking affair. Right now, if I was the police, I wouldn't be saying, 'Death doesn't appear to be suspicious,' I'd be saying, 'We've handed this matter to an independent pathologist,' especially after the handling of both Jean Charles de Menzes' and Ian Tomlinson's death.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 18:12, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Speaking of NotDay, I'm sure you've all seen Fox's attempts to spin this whole thing by saying "what we need to focus on, about these hacking cases, is why are so many companies getting hacked". it's classic fox. http://www.boingboing.net/2011/07/17/fox-friends-lash-out.html--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:18, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

9.26pm: Standard and Poor's have put News Corp on negative credit watch, according to the AFP news agency. (Guardian) Dunno what that means but it don't sound good. Pippa (talk) 20:29, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm not 100% sure, but I think it means that Standard and Poor are warning potential investors that this is a company that might be facing a few problems, so any investments and loans to the company might not make any return for you. Indeed, they might make a loss. They might disappear altogether. Hell, there's even an outside chance that you might actually be able to make some money out of this, assuming that you're News Corp exec who's decided to retire, of course.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 00:40, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
A "credit watch" is simply notice of the prospect that a company's bond rating may change. Sometimes the credit watch is issued with "negative implications" meaning that any change is expected to be a downgrade. It doesn't necessarily say anything about the company's solvency. A company with a rating of AAA (tops) could be on "credit watch" for a downgrade to AA (still quite sound, but a notch below the top). In the grand scheme of things it's far more important that the U.S. government is now on "credit watch with negative implications."[2]Doctor Dark (talk) 01:38, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the credit watch only applies to the ability of a company to repay its debt obligations not the likely performance of its shares. The size and diversity of News Corp mean that it is unlikely to default on its bonds but share ownership may be less attractive because of short term effects on growth or dividends. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 02:00, 19 July 2011 (UTC)