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Holy mother of fuck...[edit]

...did Eric S Raymond just publish an essay called "Those Who Can't Build, Talk" in which he accuses others of being all opinionating, no substance? Good thing Andy made me switch to irony meters with overpressure valves. Mountain Blue (talk) 14:19, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

I think I can summarize that essay with three words: "Fuck the user." Tetronian you're clueless 00:41, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Considering the last, and possibly the only, useful thing ESR did was fetchmail I don't think he should be saying that. Does anyone give a shit about what ESR has to say these days? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 05:18, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I had to use fetchmail for a while in the early noughties. I remember it as buggy and unreliable and having a puerile rc file syntax. I think the most useful thing ESR did was mark the end of the warblogging movement by claiming Obama had stolen the election. Back before there were birthers this was almost unprecedentedly bananas. Mountain Blue (talk) 11:36, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

American Atheists getting death threats[edit]

cause they asked to have a 9-11 monument that represents EVERYONE, not just christians. http://www.examiner.com/humanist-in-national/atheists-face-death-threats-on-fox-facebook-page-re-9-11-cross sick.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 04:49, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

It's weird, but at some point I stopped caring very much when famous people and organizations get death threats. I mean, obviously if some woman with an organic garden or whatever is threatened, that bothers me. But politicians, advocacy groups, etc... I guess I'm just burnt out on how often it happens. Maybe I'm just becoming jaded.--ADtalkModerator 05:21, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Death threats are to be expected for any public figure, I would think. My inner New Yawker wants it to stay up just because it's WTC steel, though I know the wingnuts would surely be throwing a shit fit if the steel had somehow bent into a crescent shape instead of a cross. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:36, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
In general I rather think that death threats are a "bad thing". I'm a little surprised by "so what?" reactions to them.--BobSpring is sprung! 16:06, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Many of the wangled wires look like the FSM, but they'd definitely not like that to be mentioned. ADK...I'll write your bat! 16:28, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
@Bob, espeically when, as i read it, the death threats are not against famous people. they are against atheists, in the way the are against "blacks" or "women who have abortions" or "muslims". they are against people who look different, talk differently think differently. They are against me. Simply becasue I sit here and think "a religious memorial is inappropriate".Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:31, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Here's more economic wingnut claims...[edit]

"Mr. Bush [in comparison to Obama's negotiation skills] actually had the courage to compromise with the Democrats to pass the tax cuts back in 2001 - this helped pull America out of the dot-com bubble."

Seriously?— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Link?--ADtalkModerator 11:48, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Google Search "dot com bubble bush tax cuts" and you get a crapload of anti-Kenyesian diatribe (a lot from from the Heritage Foundation) about how Clinton (through the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997) & Bush used supply-side to "positive" results.
ie. http://holykaw.alltop.com/what-a-difference-a-decade-makes-effects-of-t (see comments, the evil leftist "revisionist history bias"!)
You can always spot vulgar supply-side-ism when they start arguing that tax cuts are somehow opposed to Keynesian theory. Of course, any idiot now knows most of the "growth" of the 2000s was in the form of a housing bubble. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:29, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Justice for Christopher Jefferies[edit]

This is good news. (((Zack Martin))) 23:03, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

This is why names shouldn't be released until after convictions.--User:Brxbrx/sig 23:30, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, at least that £68,000 will seriously teach them... ADK...I'll plagiarize your racket! 00:17, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
The way I read it was that the £68,000 was in fines on top of Jeffries receiving a settlement which is said to be substantial. AMassiveGay (talk) 02:54, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
In light of this story and others like it (there was a similar situation occured during the Ipswich Serial Murders), plus the on going hacking thing, how can you regulate the press to prevent this kind of blatent libel and intrusion of privacy without stifling a free press? AMassiveGay (talk) 03:02, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Well, the hacking was clearly illegal. For the rest, keep suspects secret until they are convicted. Imagine being wrongfully accused of pedophilia and to have your name and face plastered all over the front page. Half the world won't care if you're exonerated, they'll already have made up their mind. Your life would be ruined.--User:Brxbrx/sig 03:04, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I've never considered monetary damages to be a sufficient punishment for this type of thing. What I'd like to see is the papers being forced to publish a few things instead.
1) Explain what they did, and why it was wrong
2) Explain why they went ahead and did it anyway, despite knowing that they didn't have sufficient proof to support the claims they were making
3) Publish a full and detailed apology. Not a "we're happy to correct this error" 3 line "apology" on page 15, under an advert for new windows.
The money the papers have made from the frenzy they created over this will have outweighed any damages they've had to pay out over it. And even if they didn't, the publicity and general brand-naming (i.e. "This paper is publishing stuff that makes interesting reading") helps them maintain and even expand their readership, giving them a long term advantage. The number of people who read and were affected by the original articles far, far outweighs the number of people who are aware of the court case ruling, or any apologies issued by the papers.
As for what can be done about the press, I've been thinking of some kind of ACLU-like organisation that takes action against the press when they publish factually wrong information (which is... always, generally). I have no idea how legal that is, or how possible it is. Basically I'd envision it (in simple terms): 1) Paper publishes something wrong, 2) Organisation points out error and demands retraction, 3) takes legal action if the papers refuse to do something. Even if they lose the case the point would be made, and if this organisation did it for every example, eventually the papers would start self-vetting themselves a little better out of sheer pragmatism.
Ultimately though, the main problem with the press as it stands is that any major reform needs the support of the public. And the press controls access to the public. If they don't report on issues, then not enough people are going to know about them to take action on them. And there aren't many newspapers, or media outlets in general, who push for stronger regulation of themselves. X Stickman (talk) 03:14, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
An apology taking up the whole of the front page perhps? A PCC with some teeth to enforce it. I am equally uncomfortable with the virtual stalking of celebrities that goes on. As side from having no interest in celebrity, some can't leave their homes with out being followed by hordes of papparazzi. As an example, Heat used to (still does for all I know) have a section where it was just photos of celebs out shopping, going for a walk, or horror of horrors - eatting a burger. There is something unsavoury about this level of coverage, and it saddens me to think what this means about the society we live in that people buy that shit. Its no wonder the likes of britney spears go bat shit insane. AMassiveGay (talk) 03:26, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
An apology to me, in this scenario, isn't as important as an explanation of why they did it in the first place. It's easy, for example, to say "We're sorry we accused Chris Jefferies of being a killer :(", and people will read that and think "maybe they got some false information or something". It's a lot harder for them to print, and would have a lot more impact to read, something along the lines of "we didn't have enough information to support Chris Jefferies being a killer, but we reported that he was anyway, and trawled through his personal history to dig up anything we could in order to feed our inaccurate conclusion, ruining his life for nothing in the process". Apologies simply aren't enough in cases like this because it leaves out the malice part; a newspaper apologising implies that they had received bad information, rather than them actively seeking and promoting bad information for their own gain. X Stickman (talk) 03:44, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't regulate or stiffle free press etc. I'd simply make them pay lots when they are wrong. See that number up there? It would have another three 0s attached after it. Simples. Sen (talk) 17:39, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Oh fuck... (another debt ceiling topic)[edit]

I've been pooh-poohing default for some time, but I've officially been bitch-slapped by the invisible hand. We'z all doomed!! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:39, 31 July 2011 (UTC)


Anybody here going to DEFCON 19? (talk) 04:42, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

American Exceptionalism[edit]

I've been thinking about American Exceptionalism a bit lately and I realized there might just be a positive side to it after all. I wrote the following on the talk page because I thought this idea deserves inclusion into the article...

"I think American exceptionalism can have another, more positive, interpretation if we look at the definition if "American." Take China for instance. If you're not Chinese, but you move to China, live there for a long time, and absorb its culture, you're still not really considered Chinese. Same with Japan, Nicaragua, Egypt, France, Brazil, Pakistan, or pretty much any other country out there. Unless you're ethnically Chinese, Japanese, Nicaraguan, etc, you're not really considered of that country's demonym (it's a real word - look it up). But if you become an American citizen, you're American. Sure you could be called Can othinese-American, Japanese-American, etc, but you're American. Take Bernard Lagat for example. He was totally Kenyan by ethnicity, was born there, and competed internationally for them in track but when he became a US citizen, he was considered as American as Alan Webb or Matt Tegenkamp or any other "naturally" American distance runner and there's no second thoughts about his American records. I think if you look at American exceptionalism this way then it becomes a positive thing instead of an arrogant thing (of course this doesn't mean it's the only interpretation). So basically that's my take on American exceptionalism and if anyone else likes it then maybe we can put it into the article."

No one will probably get the track references but you get the point. Just wanted to get some opinions on it before adding (or not adding) a whole new interpretation to American exceptionalism. SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 04:35, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

That's not what the term is used to mean. You're thinking of melting pot. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:38, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Ohhh ok. Gotcha. Wrong interpretation of "exceptionalism" I guess... SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 04:46, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I think Australia is the same as America in this regard, also Canada and New Zealand. I think part of it comes from being a settler society, where no one can claim to really be a native (other than the indigenous peoples, of course), just that some have been there a bit longer than others. A lot of South American countries are similar "melting pots". So, I don't think this is really an example of "American exceptionalism". I think a lot of European countries are moving in this direction, with the increase in immigration. Just have to give it time, for people to adjust to the new way of looking at things. Australia's current Prime Minister was born in Wales, and America's President is the son of a Kenyan father; I think the day will come when say Britain has a Prime Minister whose ancestry is Caribbean or South Asian, or France has a President of North African descent, or Germany a Chancellor of Turkish descent, or so on. (((Zack Martin))) 08:43, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Might happen sooner than we think. --ʤɱ soviet 11:36, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

The hilarious thing about American Exceptionalism is that of course all the other countries believe this too, particularly those which are old enough for tales of their founding to be more folk tale than recorded history. Everybody secretly believes they're a fairytale princess, that one day their true nature as the world's most powerful wizard will be revealed, and so on. No country thinks it's the next Yugoslavia. There is no nation on Earth where people say "Well, our country is far worse than any other, frankly I can't see any reason to stay". Even the countries so war torn, starved and disease ridden that their people flee in great numbers to neighbouring countries attract considerable nostalgia. Sure, back in the old country we were near death, but the sunsets were so beautiful... Some day we'll go back. (talk) 09:20, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

Indeed. The US may think they're exceptional. My country knows it is. As for assimilating immigrants and making them your own - well, the UK has been doing that since... since forever. Those damn Celts, they come over here, take all the jobs, live off social securtity, have far too many babies. It's only we true Picts who are really British. Jack Hughes (talk) 10:00, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Study any nation in sufficient detail, and you'll find a few ways in which each and every one is unique. Take a more abstract and essentialist approach, and you'll find none of them are. Exceptionalism of any national flavor is useless as an analytical concept, and its strong normative content often leads to manifestly irrational behavior. That's especially dangerous when you're invoking exceptionalism to justify some kind of privilege or mission when it comes to foreign policy. World history is replete with former empires who once believed that they possessed some kind of special virtue that set them apart from lesser nations and explained their success. Unfortunately, all of them had to eventually find out that they weren't blessed, destined to rule or invincible after all. Röstigraben (talk) 10:15, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I find myself agreeing with Röstigraben - strange. "Success" is always relative to the others and to the environment your in. If some of those variables change and ythe empire in question doesn't the empire will decline and/or cease to exist. --ʤɱ sinner 11:36, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
America is exceptional. Not just because it's unique, since you're right that every country can find things that make it unique, and even uniquely good. But America is not just unique or uniquely good, it stands out as exceptional.
My country has a lot of problems. Our healthcare system is only slowly being reformed from its skewed dedication to the bottom line over individual health. The powerful capitalist engine at its heart has been increasing an already-devastating class gap. Foreign policy ranges from heroic to homicidal. Religious influences wield too much power, and only the corporations seem ready to seize it - which may be even worse. And there have been inexpressibly ugly things in American history, from the treatment of native peoples to slavery.
But at its heart, America is exceptional. We're incredibly fortunate geographically speaking, sitting mostly in temperate zones but stretching a large distance both east to west and north to south, and encompassing wintry Alaska and sultry Hawaii. This has given us immense natural resources, both of the usable kind as well as the staggering beauty of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the Rockies, the Mississippi, and the sweeping emptiness of the plains in big sky country. And the people who came to this land have matched it: the nation of immigrants status that we have held for so long is of a parcel with the frontier spirit that tamed a wilderness. Americans have never been afraid to strike out into the bold unknown, be it exploring an unknown river or launching out into the chilly darkness of space.
I'm not saying that other countries aren't immigrants or explorers - but there is a spirit to being American that is proud and fierce and dedicated to improving the future. It's the same spirit that is ferocious in its pursuit and defense of liberty. America was founded on a fight for freedom and justice, constructed deliberately to sustain the soul of that fight in its political system of checks and balances, and has ever since tried to live up to the promise of that bold statue given us by the French.
For all that we spend a lot of time mocking the ignorance of Conservapedia or the stupidity of the political right, most Americans continue to believe in the words that promise freedom for the oppressed within our broad shores. Give us your huddled masses yearning to breath free, we have said, and most still believe it. We'll take them, and they'll join in that fierce striving for freedom from tyranny and from want.
I am an American and my country is exceptional.--ADtalkModerator 00:19, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
That's beautifully said, and I agree with you. But the thing is that almost every other nation has a similar belief in a certain kind of spirit that is theirs alone, and makes them who they are. Exceptionalism is itself not exceptional - I think Obama put it well when he said that he believes in American exceptionalism in the same way that the Brits and Greeks believe in theirs. It can be a powerful tool to build a common identity, especially in a highly diverse immigrant society like the US. But the problem is that it gives rise to a sentiment that certain rules and constraints do not apply to a country, because it's supposedly exceptional. In turn, that can lead to disastrously misguided policies and endeavors. Take the most destructive conflict in human history as an example: the Germans were told that they were an invincible master race, and the Japanese were infused with the belief that yamato damashii would be all that was needed to overcome all odds. Both marched off facing vastly superior enemies, were soundly beaten, and saw their whole countries fall to ruins. Not to mention the genocidal policies that they thought were justified, because their national mission put them above the law and would even override basic empathy. Of course, that's an extreme example, but it goes to show what these kinds of beliefs can result in. Idealism is always a double-edged sword, and for every Wilson there's a Bush. It tends to prevent a clear-headed assessment of a country's position, settling on a realistic strategy and pursuing a clearly defined interest. All of these cornerstones of rational policy were lost during Bush's post-9/11 campaign, sacrificed in favor of an megalomaniacal project to transform a whole region of the world. Back in 2003, both the strategic aim of this project and the rejection of international constraints were justified with invoking America's exceptionalism. In the end, it left America tied down in two unnecessary wars, at a huge cost of blood and treasure, massively harmed the country's international reputation, and left it much less able to exercise positive leadership. And that's just the more salient international dimension, I'd say you can see the same thing in US domestic politics, where it's the Tea Party that's arguing that economic rules don't apply to America. So, I see that these kinds of myths are probably necessary to construct a positive national identity, but one has to be very, very cautious about their consequences in times of crisis. Röstigraben (talk) 06:37, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you're right about a lot of that. It's true that many other countries believe that their country is exceptional. While there are some people with national outlooks like the Czech, who tend to have a very cynical view of things and see themselves as being doomed to a rough time of it forever, or the Mongols, who are optimistic but humble, there are also countries like England or France or Japan who believe themselves to have special destinies (I am generalizing here, of course, but then you can't talk about generalities, else). For the most part I tend to think they're a bit wrong, just because I believe in America's particular exceptionalism. But just like Obama, I recognize that such is a provincial view, and that other countries have the right to their own.
You're also right that this sort of ideology can lead to bad results, but that's pretty much true of any ideology. I'm not sure that American exceptionalism necessarily has more danger to it, though. It's true that it contributed to ill-considered wars of choice, but it also leads to American search-and-rescue teams working in Japan for two days without rest. It's all in how you approach it, and sometimes it goes sour. At those times, it is especially sad and angering for someone like me.
I believe that America's principles are not always met, followed, or even understood. But I think that America's special dedication to freedom should guide my country in a Wilsonian fight against worldwide hunger, poverty, and oppression. On the other hand, it also means we should respect the freedom of other countries to make their own choices.
A lot of it is myth, and I will frankly and immediately admit that. The Revolution was really supported by perhaps a third of the people. Cowboys were never anything like John Wayne. The sacrifice of Russia at Stalingrad may have had more to do with the defeat of Hitler than Omaha Beach. But when you get down to it, there are few stories from history that hold up under scrutiny - Gandhi was creepy and weird about sex and became obsessed by it in his declining years, for example, sleeping in the same bed with his nubile teenage relatives to "test" himself.
It's all about the stories we tell, cobbled together from the stones of the past. The rocks might be scorched and cracked, but America has built a tall tower from them. From that tower, we can and should try to see into the distance and lead into the future.--ADtalkModerator 07:53, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry AD, America isn't exceptional. It has its good points, it has its bad points. It's good points aren't unique, and it's bad points aren't unique either. It's already seen its glory days, it's future going forward is likely one of slow relative decline. A bit like the collapse of the British Empire, there is no single moment, it is only visible looking backward, and what's left afterwards is still pretty good, but people will look back in awe at once they once were. (((Zack Martin))) 07:30, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry you feel that way, but I am impressed at your confidence in your ability to predict the broad geopolitical trends of the future.--ADtalkModerator 07:57, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
No special ability, just an ability to see the way the world is going. Look at the growth rates in China, India, etc. The gap between America and its competitors is shrinking, and that process is unlikely to stop. The unusual position of world dominance which the US has had in the second half of the 20th century, is fading, and will continue to fade. Can't you see the same things? (((Zack Martin))) 08:55, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
No. China has been artificially inflating their GDP to sustain its impressive growth rate by forcing huge infrastructure developments while at the same time soaking their banks with bond purchases. But even if I am wrong - and I'm not really interested in an argument on the topic, especially not with you - my view of American exceptionalism does not depend on an American global dominance in an economic, military, or social sense. America did not assume its status as a great power until shortly after the start of the twentieth century, yet even before then it was exceptional. Ideals are not dependent on gross domestic product.--ADtalkModerator 09:40, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
(EC)It's also important to note that this trend is exclusively about international power shifts, but not a decline as far as the living standards of most people are concerned. Britain, Germany and Japan are nowadays far more prosperous and secure than back when they still were great powers. Empires are overrated, the vast majority of the profits that are drawn from them are hogged by a small elite, while the average citizen ends up paying for the outsized militaries and bureacracies that are required for their protection and maintenance, respectively. America still has its vast resources, a steady stream of skilled immigrants, and the world's best universities and leading technology companies. When China eventually takes the #1 spot, its per capita GDP will still be a mere quarter of America's. To be sure, there are some very worrying trends in US domestic politics that might undermine these advantages as well, but that's a different story and definitely not something inevitable like the relative decline in international power. Röstigraben (talk) 09:44, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
What the heck does "exceptional" even mean? Norway, Australia and New Zealand all beat the US in HDI. And in inequality-adjusted HDI, US comes twelfth and is falling. The UN predicts the US HDI ranking will decline to 19th by 2030. In nominal GDP per capita, US is around 9th-12th place; PPP is a bit better, but still around 6-9th. In the Economist quality of life ranking, US comes 13th. And 10th in the Legatum prosperity index. The only thing in which the US really comes out on top in any measure is military power and military spending, and a lot of the US military spending is an absolute waste (you can build all the high-tech drones and soldier exoskeletons and laser guns you want, doesn't help you when insurgents and civilians look identical, and you feel too civilised for the "kill them all" solution). Add to that, their maintenance of the death penalty when the rest of the Western world has abolished it shows America's national moral character, to be not particularly good. (((Zack Martin))) 10:09, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Let me first note that I am not interested in this debate, because these sorts of things inevitably turn into pissing contests over whose country is "better" and because I have a deep personal dislike for you.
America is the first and greatest of the immigrant nations, the countries free from the long burden and rich history of Europe. Springing from colonialism and rising out from under a foreign yoke, Americans built our nation acre by acre, tearing it from the wild and from the rightful inhabitants in fitful spurts of hard-won growth. Free from feudalism and sectarian wars, America had scarcely any aristocracy worthy of the name, split up only into the perhaps-inevitable class distinctions. America has been famously practical in its joining of ideals to action, something that comes from the frontier spirit: men who take on a hard reality the best way they know how, but for reasons that come from their noblest qualities - the yearning for liberty, a desire to make a better life for their children, and the visceral thrill of discovery.
At one point in her history, the people of America rose up in their discontent with colonial rule. They fought for democratic rule and their rights, and in explicit and glorious pursuit of what was due them by justice. And by years of fire and blood, they won the freedom to make their own destiny.
And make it they did. For the first time, men used their reason and their learning to create a republic, a great experiment in democracy. In true Enlightenment style, they first tried the Articles of Confederation and had poor results, then re-worked their grand charter with what they learned, making the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution put the practical interests of men to the service of a greater ideal of representational government, pitting fallible individuals against each other in a system of checks and balances that assumed the worst to achieve the best. Whittled by careful and difficult changes into a better and better version of itself, it remains the greatest legal document of all the world: the first agreement among free men on how they will make their nation.
And the titans who have walked the earth and led my country! George Washington, whose leadership was unmatched and who set an example for virtue. Benjamin Franklin, ribald and brilliant and rascally. Thomas Jefferson, erudite beyond measure and clear-eyed in ideals. Abraham Lincoln, who cleaved to the truth but governed with grit. Teddy Roosevelt, imperialist and bloody and thunderous and so courageous that his adventures will rattle your teeth in your jaw. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, unremitting in his pursuit of a better life for his countrymen and everyone in the world. And so many more...
In don't want to diminish other countries or their accomplishments. Australia is also a welcoming nation of immigrants; India also fought for their freedom gloriously; Great Britain also has a marvelous legal document that is first and unique in its own way; Mexico has much of the same frontier heritage; and all countries have had their great men. I hope no one will be insulted.
I also know that my country has had its flaws and its sins, and is imperfect. But then, America has never claimed to be perfect. We only strive towards a more perfect union.
I don't know what statistic or combination of numbers expresses these things. But I know that no rating or scale of attributes could capture what makes my country exceptional. If you want to capture that quality and bottle it, it would require one part of a pilgrim's footprint, sinking into new sand, two parts of the shiver of a soldier at Valley Forge, held together with a few crumbs of hardtack and sheer grit, and one part of the scratch of a pen on the Bill of Rights, affirming the natural provisions of freedom for every man.
Beyond that, I can't help you understand.--ADtalkModerator 11:43, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you are confusing "unique" and "exceptional" here. Every country is unique in it's very own mixture of cultural attributes, history, traditions and ideological background - but no country (yet) is exceptional - that means that it is stronger, more powerfull and through the best of mixtures the best of countries. America is indeed unique with it's woven in ideology, pathos, it's (un-)identity and it's will to make the world a better place. But "exceptional" also means "better than the others", which I don't see for all the reasons I can think off: Quality of Life is not that much better under American banners, it's history is as colorfull as all other countries histories are a.s.o.
In short: Unique? Yes, I don't think anybody denies that. Exceptional? No, America is not better because it's America. --ʤɱ libertarian 12:30, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
As I said first:
America is exceptional. Not just because it's unique, since you're right that every country can find things that make it unique, and even uniquely good. But America is not just unique or uniquely good, it stands out as exceptional.
Again, it's not a matter of being "better" than other countries or unique in some ways. At some point in the recent past, the perception through poor Republican use and understanding of the concept seems to have turned, and this has influenced how other people see the term. But "American exceptionalism" is not about America being "better than the others." It means that America is an exception. Those blends of traits I listed above, and that spirit that pulses in the heart of my country, they have helped America defy the arc of history and will allow it to continue to do so. America is exceptional because it stands first and strongest behind a set of ideals that I hold to be precious, and for all that it occasionally wavers in that position it remains there.
I'm probably not explaining this well, and maybe I am just confused. Perhaps Captain America said it best.
"It doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, you move.'"--ADtalkModerator 12:59, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Your concept of "exceptionalism" is so vague and incoherent as to be meaningless. It is just a bit of pointless patriotic puffery. (((Zack Martin))) 00:17, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for your opinion. I disagree.--ADtalkModerator 00:23, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

America was a great idea. Ronald Reagan killed it. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:26, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

I dunno, according to this recent Whirled Nut post, the Constitution killed it. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:37, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
The thing about American exceptionalism is that it's exactly the way we Brits thought around the tail end of the 19th Century when we ran the empire on which the sun would never set. I'm sure the Romans thought the same way round about 400AD. OK, I guess that, in their time, each was/is exceptional but the US is not exceptional in being exceptional - it's just the current version. Given that we survive long enough the US will join the "we used to be great" club along with so many others. Jack Hughes (talk) 09:06, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

I must get out more[edit]

Every time I see this (Sara Payne's phone hacked?) referred to, I always think of Sarah Palin first. Would that Murdochs Marauders had hacked Sarah Palin's phone. Pippa (talk) 11:05, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

From the viewpoint of a Brit who rejoyces at every iota of the Murdoch empire's suffering this is a 'good thing'. Where the NotW overstepped the bounds was not going after the celebs, they're considered fair game, but going after young female victims. These 'little saints' are sacrosanct and, even at the remove of the mother, hacking their phones is a step too far. As for hacking Palin's phone, they're already involved in hacking Gordon Brown's and, quite frankly, that raised little more than a 'meh'. Jack Hughes (talk) 12:03, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
It wasn't hacking, it was calling someone's voicemail and entering the default PIN. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 15:02, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Why wasn't that hacking - in the (broadest modern sense).--BobSpring is sprung! 16:11, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I know, but you tell the press that. They're all referring to "The Hacking Scandal". Pippa (talk) 16:08, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
Jack Hughes, you sound like you're defending them--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:51, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
People are desperate for news and "juicy" stories about celebrities and papers are happy to oblige. Breaking into people's phones - call it hacking, call it entering the PIN, whatever, it's still illegitimate - is one way to help sate that. Watch one of the early interviews on 10 O'Clock Live with John Prescott and McMullin where Prescott asks where the line for this magic "fair game" is. Is there one? No, because what the fuck is a "celebrity"? Is my friend who's been in the paper a few times for their projects a "celebrity"? Do they have to go on Big Brother? Is someone who is relatively well-known but otherwise just paid for a regular working job, e.g., Ben Goldacre or Brian Cox, a "celebrity"? Would I end up a "celebrity" if I published something? It's bullshit to defend an illegitimate and illegal act because of some arbitrary suggestion that people are considered "fair game". Indeed, the very fact that it is so arbitrary has lead to it moving to things that people would disagree with. If you've encouraged newspapers to hack into the phones of celebrities by buying their shit or agreeing with this bullshit "fair game" thing, you are directly responsible for the hacking of everyone else's phones - whether that be a victim or politician - by encouraging this unscrupulous behaviour. You've told them "this is cool, so continue" and you have no right to then turn around and say "Group X is fair game, Group Y is not" because no one ever set that definition in advance, only after the event when they realised that, perhaps, some innocent people might get wound up in it all. Fucking bullshit. ADK...I'll soak your calculator! 22:59, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
The point I was trying to make, rather badly as it turns out, was that, according to the great British public going after celebs is 'fair game' - I'm not debating the actual morality - just the perceived morality. Once the NotW went after Sara Paine's mum - and "our brave lads" - they had, in the eyes of the British public, finally overstepped the bounds of what is acceptable. This is why I consider it a 'good thing' - I loath and despise Murdoch and all he stands for. I hate his gutter press with it's long history of muck raking and very dubious journalistic practices. Now they have finally been caught out doing something that the public sees as so vile that, at the very least, it will hurt his empire. Yay!!!!. Jack Hughes (talk) 10:09, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, the NotW did run some excellent exposés, they would tread where other papers wouldn't. Corrupt politicians were genuinely scared of them, that's why so many of them have responded with such glee at the paper's demise. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 14:28, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Consider the "you" of that comment to be the Great British Public in general. :) ADK...I'll discombobulate your wizard! 21:40, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Debt Ceiling[edit]

Would it be a good idea to make a well-informed post about the current crisis (considering the fact by Tuesday if nothing happens in Congress the world might be in recession countdown)?— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

It's always a good idea to make a well-informed post about things.--ADtalkModerator 23:56, 29 July 2011 (UTC)
I am also in favour of our IP editor making a well-informed post.--BobSpring is sprung! 16:08, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I for one would be wholeheartedly in favour of our BoN making a well-informed post regarding the US debt ceiling issue. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 21:55, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

I had a dream that I'm going to share for some reason.[edit]

So a asteroid is set to hit the earth and everybody is panicking. It hits, causes much less mayhem than was anticipated, but also introduces a mysterious pathogen. First it infects fruits and vegetables, leaving a filmy white fungal substance. It soon moves on to humans (producing the same symptom). After some analysis, scientists are mystified as to what it is. It seems to be harmless but is also manipulating our bodies to crave more vegetables, which aid it in its growth. It is discovered that the mystery pathogen is also discouraging us to eat food that might contain more bacteria than normal. So yogurt is off. Meat is too, for some reason. Apparently in my dream world nobody cooks their meat.
Also, in the beginning was the asteroid was hitting, I was in a car with PZ Myers and I think he ended up killing himself by jumping into traffic. And there was some sort of weird food additive called "butter-cide" that I had and decided to donate to charity because I figured that all the people flipping out could use something to dissolve their butter.--User:Brxbrx/sig 12:56, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Most of my dreams involve me wearing the wrong shoes. AMassiveGay (talk) 14:21, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
This is why you should never eat cheese before bedtime. --PsyGremlin말하십시오 14:35, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm a vegan. Though I did have extra helpings of frozen peas...--User:Brxbrx/sig 14:36, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Are you sure you didn't just fall asleep while watching a really bad science fiction movie? --ʤɱ digital native 15:59, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Cool. Here's one of mine. A couple of days ago I had a dream a where I was in a random typical ground floor room somewhere. Suddenly typical x-files sound/visual effects of imminent Alien abduction (moving strong light outside etc), and sure enough. I see a Grey alien peaking through the window. Naturally, I do what everyone nowdays does, which is grab my smartphone to snap some pictures. Later on, I wake up in my room thinking "that was a funny dream". Just for giggles I grab my phone from the side of the bed and go through the pictures and, sure enough, there's a little alien mug there. I naturally go "wait, WTF!!!?" and that shocked me so much... that I woke up. Aka, the previous thing was actually a "false awaking" still inside a dream :P Sen (talk) 19:14, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Oooh, I hate those. It's so confusing.--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:39, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Can anyone lucid dream by their own volition? SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 21:01, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
The moment that I understand that I'm dreaming it's "game on". It's a cool sensation. But you've got to be able to understand the clues and checks which tell you that it's a dream.--BobSpring is sprung! 21:06, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I keep meaning to practice the little tricks that will help induce lucid dreams. I've only had maybe a couple of them that I can remember. SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 22:05, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Dreaming is not my specialty, but considering the never-ending Solms-Hobson debate over the basic nature of dreams (in addition to the evo psych hypotheses, which are mostly pretty cranky, IMO), I'm inclined to say that most statements about dreams are speculative or preliminary at best and blatherskite at worst. Not that I don't think lucid dreaming is possible (I've had them myself), just that the "tricks" are likely just ass-pulls. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:48, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
One of the lucid dreams I had was after really reading into it right before going to bed. If you go to sleep with it in your mind then I think it increases the likelihood of having one. The techniques I've seen I take with a grain of salt, but they do seem plausible, as wooish as that may sound. SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 04:55, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Can't hurt to try, I guess. If I tried to Concentrate on something while going to sleep, I would never get to sleep though. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:06, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

You don't exactly have to concentrate on lucid dreaming while you're trying to go to sleep (otherwise I'd never get to sleep either). Just read into it a bunch right before you turn in and then go to bed.

Most of the "tricks" usually seem to involve reality checks like counting your fingers to make sure you have 5 to a hand (because you could have more or less in a dream), pinching yourself, looking at a clock then looking away and looking back to make sure it's not totally different, etc. If you make these things into a habit then they will apparently become habit in dreams. There're other tricks like keeping a diary of dreams or something like that. SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 05:15, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

What works for me is this. In the dream I think "Is this a dream?" So I read something. Then read it again. If it changes the second time then it's a dream. Once you are in control of the dream don't try to hard or you'll wake up.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:25, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
It just seems to be happening randomly to be honest. Vitamin B6 totally works tho', if only for more vivid & interesting dreams, even if they aren't lucid. Sen (talk) 21:01, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
When I'm dreaming though, I can't just decide to ask myself "Am I dreaming?" I don't really have that kind of free will for some reason. I'll have to look up what foods and stuff contain vitamin b6 SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 03:13, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

RULE ONE: Never fly out of upper story windows. Always take off from the ground. Just in case you might actually be awake. And watch out for power lines. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:14, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

I rarely if ever remember my nightmares, they distress me somehow though. Also I once had a dream of all my teeth falling out from my mouth in a torrent of blood, except new teeth kept growing in and falling out in the blood. I was steadily getting taller too. When I woke up, I had a phantom of a metallic taste on my tongue. HollowWorld (talk) 22:39, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Damn Copyright[edit]

I'd love to add this to Acupuncture but it's copyright. Pippa (talk) 23:12, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Ask the author. He may well let you use it with attribution. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 23:36, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Democracy is GANG RAPE![edit]

Anyone who's debated (g)libertarians should enjoy this video I happened across. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 00:16, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Ah, the "democracy is an evil collectivist conspiracy" bullshit. Whenever you hear someone complain about democratic process (and that it should be replaced with a "different" system) all of his/her arguments should be invalidated. A new Internet law, maybe?
Well, I do agree with them on the point that democracy can easily be authoritarian in nature -- currently, enough Americans have deliberately voted to deprive gays of equal rights and before that, women, blacks, etc. The ease with which fundamental rights could be voted away is part of the reason the founding fathers created the US as a representative democracy/constitutional republic/whatever you want to call it instead of a direct democracy. Where they get into crazy territory is when they start equating that sort of thing with a 2% tax hike, because then, OMGZ TAXES IS THEFT! DEMOCRACY IS GANG RAPE! (Funny that I should find that video too, because people think I'm just bullshitting when I say that that's not an uncommon argument made by the glibertarian set.) Much like Norquist equating the estate tax to the Holocaust. (I'd love to see him spout that nonsense in front of my grandparents who escaped from Nazi Germany.) It's not just idiotic, it's downright insulting and I have to think, indicative of some truly warped values. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:58, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

A day at the zoo[edit]

While visiting my family in Knoxvile, TN, I took my nieces and nephew to the zoo. Which was fun -- my eldest niece is reading Harry Potter, so we went to the reptile house to check to see if she's a parselmouth (someone who can speak the language of snakes.)

She's not.

I'm not sure which of us was more disappointed.

Anyway, there was a church group visiting the zoo, too. Which is fine, except this was apparently some uber-fundamentalist group. All of the women were in below the knees denim dresses, which I assume means they're from one of the sects that believe women shouldn't wear pants. Ugh. Even my mom, who usually is pretty forgiving of fundamentalists, pitied them. MDB (talk) 13:03, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

We have something similar here - the Blou Rokkies (Blue dresses) - some weird Xian ultra-right wing sect. Of course, it's only the women who have to dress that way.PsyGremlinRunāt! 14:19, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I like a girl in denim, me... DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 14:24, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I do always find it rather amusing that men in these fanatical groups often get to dress somewhat normally and comfortably (magic underwear being the exception), but women get to wear hot skirts in the heat of the summer, and veils over their hair, and long sleves, and if you are really "modest" many layers so men cant even see a hint at your figure. I mean, why did we ever decide that men are such fuck-tards they can't resist when they see boobs (even covered boobs), ankles, or god forbid, mouths? hello - i don't know any men who can't say no. sheesh.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:33, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
All the adults, and many of the kids, were wearing matching t-shirts for whatever church it was. And now that I think of it, one woman was wearing rather skimpy shorts. MDB (talk) 14:44, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
No special guided tour about how all the animals were on the ark? ADK...I'll xerox your Toyota! 20:03, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I was wondering how much propaganda they were feeding the kids, but I didn't get close enough to overhear anything. MDB (talk) 23:29, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
'Round these parts it's the Hasidic Jews and the occasional Jehovah's Witness with the dress codes. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:53, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
The Jehovah's Witlnesses have a dress code? MDB (talk) 10:06, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
To my mind covering up often only enhances the mystique. On a nudist beach most people don't take one iota of notice of other naked people, in fact it makes nakedness mundane and boring. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 02:08, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Anyone coming to the London Olympics?[edit]

Because if so my girlfriend has a spare room in a nice flat with excellent transportation links. So if you find yourself wanting somewhere to stay that's slightly less horrendously extortionate than all the hotels (yet just as pleasant!) then let me know ;) ONE / TALK 15:52, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

2012 Olympics? Pffftt. I'm saving myself for the biggie, the 2013 Public Enquiry in to the "Olympic Disaster". DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 17:42, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Good post! Good post! Blue (pester) 18:03, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm toying with the idea of visiting London in the next year or so, but after the Olympics. MDB (talk) 17:59, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
I have TV, so I can watch the women's beach volleyball without suffering the indignity of tube during super-mega-rush-hour. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 18:07, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
The 2012 Olympics will be, as it is always, the most tedious 2 weeks in any 4 year period and will be made worse for filling my local streets full pesky tourists. Bah humbug. AMassiveGay (talk) 19:17, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
That's strange, because I'm going to be offering some friends a couch to get away from London for two weeks. ADK...I'll dry your houseplant! 19:57, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to the 82 million people nation of Germany desperately hoping to get more medals than America (320+ right?) or China (don't need to say that, right?) because they got their dick cut of 68 years ago. Well once again two weeks not to turn on the TV, the radio or and go straight to the politics section in the newspapers. --ʤɱ secularist 22:29, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Miserable bastards. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:48, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Lol, I see I'm not going to find any customers here ;) (funnily enough though, I do agree with most of that) ONE / TALK 11:39, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Jerry Coyne, Gnu Atheist[edit]

It's funny, but when i first found Jerry Coyne (preparing a lecture on why evo is True, of course), I was frustrated at his "constant" reference of atheism, and his insistance that religion is the cause of much strife in the world. But then i sat back and wondered, "why does this bother me so much?" He is not advocating that we change laws to make religious beliefs illegal, he is not suggesting that his truth should be backed by money (well, his scientific truth should be), he's not suggesting that we should burn the bible or any other book, in fact he advocates that we should read it, and the qu'ran, and the tao. He's not even saying there is no value in some people's religion. He's just saying religion causes problem. He's being bashed for that, by people saying "religion isn't something you should touch -- especially as a scientist", and this thread has me wondering "why not?" The religious, the liberal, the moderate and the conservative like telling me all about god. some try to get towns not to show particular movies, or tell people not to read books, and most try to outlaw things that have nothing to do with them (gay marriage, abortion off the top of my head) just cause their particular book says so. His "book" says "prove it first, then i'll believe it". Why is that "fundamentalist" in ANYONE's eyes (correct use of the term aside). Why is that bothersome? It's hardly bashing, and it is his right as a person of science and logic to say "this is stupid and illogical". But we treat the gnus like they are virtually "almost terrorist" when you read about them. the vitriol the internet and main stream media has for them is strange. We really are a country that sees itself as christian. which is terribly sad.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 13:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Read the Ta-Nehisi Coates quote on the persecution complex page. Then you shall understand. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:33, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

European far-right[edit]

For those interested in this topic Time has a list of European far-right groups. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 02:22, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I am often surprised (well, not that surprised, people are pricks) that Neo nazi groups can exist in Europe. I can only assume that their hatred and paranoia overrides their grasp of the history of what the original Nazis did their countrys. AMassiveGay (talk) 08:37, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
No, I don't think that's right. Their grasp of Nazi history often matches their hatred very well. A lot of them really do believe that Hitler was right, that the Jew and the black and the gypsy and the homosexual are inferior and should be exterminated or only used as a resource. And they will, often as not, admit it when they are caught out in candid chats with undercover reporters. Even the relatively moderate (I can't believe I'm having to type that) BNP. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:43, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeh, I have come across that sentiment before (from my gran, sadly). Just how prevalent are these groups? I have come across many racist types in the UK, but I am yet to come into contact with anyone claiming membership to such groups. Even folk who say they would vote BNP say it out some kind of frustration and don't actually vote for them. AMassiveGay (talk) 08:52, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
The BNP isn't really neo-Nazi even though it has its fair share of them. My view is that most people who vote for them (and it's a surprisingly large number particularly in local and European elections) are, as you say, the frustrated types who don't really know what they're voting for beyond the media-savvy soundbites pumped out by the slick Nick Griffin. Much like voters for France's Front National. Actually much like most voters of any political party. Although the people who become members and activists for the BNP are often a pretty nasty bunch. Ajkgordon (talk) 10:04, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
We actually have a word for these people in Germany: "Protestwähler" ("protest votes"), people that want "to show the government were to stick it" because nothing changes for them. And then you get stuff like this.
I think that most of the "far-right" (because let's face it, they aren't what they used to be anymore) parties have to not appeal like racist, nationalist scumbags to the majority while at the same time they should appear to the other racist, nationalist scumbags like racist, nationalist scumbags. So we really never know what a party member of one of those parties actually thinks. They are like rare bacteria, they need to evolve and gain new ground because the old ground has become poisonous to them. But they aren't dead just yet because some old sentiments are still alive - like my grandmother for example. She grew up in Nazi Germany, was a member of the BDM and was indoctrinated with the Nazi ideology and still carries it with her, but after the war she was told that Germany did bad things and that all Germans alive at that time were guilty - and all Germans would forever carry that guilt. She has also expressed criticism of Israel while in the same sentence calling Jews "God's chosen people" (not at all in a sacastic way) and giving them free hand in everything. I think there is in the old generation that lived through WW2 a lot of such double thinking going on, on the one side you don't like foreigners on the other side you are not allowed to say anything and are unable to come up with any rational reason against them. The old guard and the very young guard, that gets agitated into these movements and parties through undereducation and a deep seeded frustration - and of course some dumb fucks that didn't get the message inbetween. --ʤɱ constructivist 12:26, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
It's funny because 'far right' is just a PC way to call people who don't believe in equality scum. -- (talk) 13:47, 2 August 2011 (UTC)


I have no idea what this means. "Webutation scan‘s[sic] websites against ongoing malware scripts and collects realtime user feedback and experience about a website. It‘ is free and open!" It says on its twitter profile. Scream!! (talk) 14:29, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

It's apparently a piece of software that tells you if a page you are going to visit (or have come from? not sure) is safe to visit per its guidelines and gives a review of the content as provided by readers. So it's like "google business review" only for webpages. --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:41, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Colin Campbell Ross[edit]

Colin Campbell RossWikipedia
Today I went to Old Melbourne Gaol, and learnt of this sorry tale. It makes me extremely angry. The State of Victoria should pay for its crime, the brutal murder of an innocent man. Yet, all they do is provide some easy "apology" or "pardon". They should not be allowed to get away with it so easily. One way the Government of Victoria could atone for its crimes is to erect a monument, "To the memory of the victims of the heinous crimes of the Government of Victoria", which should be very large and expensive, say of a similar scale and prominence to the Shrine of Remembrance. (((Zack Martin))) 09:12, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a case similar to Timothy EvansWikipedia. --PsyGremlinFale! 10:07, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
I can't believe how, in the light of cases such as these, some people can support capital punishment. People who support capital punishment have innocent blood on their hands—they are accomplices to murder. (((Zack Martin))) 10:20, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Let's not be overdramatic now. People who support the death penalty can hardly be considered accomplices to murder. Resorting to bullshit rhetoric like accusing people who support political policies you don't like of murder (cf. abortion) only shows that you utterly lack the ability to make a logical argument. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 16:16, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Bullshit. --ʤɱ pirate 19:54, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Maratrean, you are a complete and utter tube. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 16:25, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
If the death penalty is wrong, it is murder. If innocent people are executed, that is murder. The death penalty only happens because people support it. Hence, people who support the death penalty are accomplices before the fact to murder. If no one supported the death penalty in Ross' day, Ross would have lived. Hence, those who supported the death penalty were accomplices to his murder. (((Zack Martin))) 19:39, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Your first point is too vag, your second one is correct but irrelevant, and your third point is bullshit. Therefore your conclusion is wrong. Let's do a point-by-point breakdown.
  1. Not to get bogged down in semantics, but what do you mean by "wrong"? Morally wrong? A judgement in error? Against your personal sentiments? You can't begin with such a broad statement and hope to draw conclusions.
  2. I absolutely agree. However, he was not innocent. He was judged to be guilty by the State. As such, the State had every right to execute him if it so desired. He was not innocent, he was guilty of murder, and thus his execution was not murder. This is actually way, way, more important of a point than you probably will realize, since you'll probably go on about how he was actually innocent or whatever. People are not and have never been beholden to the truth. They are beholden to the law. This is the same reason that Casey Anthony has rightly cone free, despite the fact that she probably was guilty of murder- she was found not guilty by the State. Humans are imperfect creatures, we can't know truth, so we simply use he system that is the best approximation to truth that we can- the law.
  3. No, keep in mind that this is nearly century ago. The death penalty back then happened because it was cheaper, more expedient, and seen to be more effective in deterring crime than it is today, not because "people supported it". It was simply a fact of life that had been used by just about all prior countries and rulers, and most common people saw no reason to question that- not because they were stupid sheeple, but simply because they didn't really see any alternatives.
There's this really wonderful phrase I heard- "generational chauvinism"- that really perfectly describes your special type of arrogance. It's where you look back on the past and then try to impose modern sensibilities on the STUPID BARBARIANS that lived back then, because obviously people today know what's right and what's wrong better than we did back then. It's ridiculous, it makes you look stupid, and it's really quite pointless. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 20:11, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
"he was not innocent. He was judged to be guilty by the State." - There is a difference between factual innocence and being guilty as judged by the state. "Humans are imperfect creatures, we can't know truth, so we simply use he system that is the best approximation to truth that we can- the law." - that you seem to know, but still: "the State had every right to execute him if it so desired". If the State can be mistaken (which it was) how can the State be so bold to risk a mans life on the account of being sure about it?
ALL laws in a democratic society only exist because people either support them or don't care enough - if enough people were against the laws, most parties wouldn't push for them. And a factually wrong conviction might not be murder in judicial sense, but it is in an ethical sense - the same way a soldier that kills an enemy in battle is not a murder in a judicial sense, but in an ethical sense he absolutely is. I don't know if Maratrean thinks the same way, but I agree that a State that does a wrong (especially if this results in a death penalty) should pay in some way - and if they are really bright they abondon the law that let to the wrong. --ʤɱ structuralist 20:34, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
By wrong I mean ethically wrong. There are two basic attitudes one can take towards ethics (1) it has some objective reality, beyond our mere personal dislikes (but those who agree on this will often disagree on what exactly that objective reality is) or (2) it is just an expression of personal like/dislike. I adopt position (1), since it is only through position (1) that arguing about ethics makes any sense. If you instead choose position (2), that's your prerogative, but there is no point in arguing any further (I dislike X, you don't, so what).
So, you think the state has a right to kill innocent people, simply because it believes they are guilty of some crime. What if tomorrow the state came to the conclusion that you had committed some horrible crime, of which you are in fact innocent - would you still defend its right to kill you? I will grant the state no such right.
And, the idea of death penalty abolition was common knowledge in 1922. Venezuala abolished the death penalty in 1863, San Marino in 1865, Portugal in 1867. Michigan abolished the death penalty in 1846. So had the short-lived Roman Republic of 1849. The Lollards advocated its abolition in 1395, Cesare Beccaria in 1764; Grand Duke Leopold II abolished it throughout the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1769. One of the more unusual opponents of the death penalty was the Marquis de Sade (he was aroused by the idea of murder, but refused to partake in the practice of it, when made a judge during the Reign of Terror - to the point that he was eventually sentenced to death for refusing to sentence others to death, although in the chaos of the final days of the Terror he managed to escape execution due to bureaucratic ineptitude.) My point is - don't think that people in 1922 were ignorant of this history - the average person may have been, but were the educated politicans and judges who were ultimately responsible for it ignorant? Give them more credit than that. Rememeber that politicians, the media, etc., do not blindly follow public opinion; on the contrary, to a large degree they create it.
If anyone here is an intergenerational chauvinist, it is really you, for denying that prior generations are moral agents who should be held accountable for their choices; for treating them as too stupid to know any better, when they knew true well what they did, as they poured out the blood of others (even many innocents) upon their own heads. (((Zack Martin))) 10:22, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Just establish that wrong convictions ought to result in the death penalty of the entire judge panel. Simples. (As well as that cases are re-examinable at any point in the future). That should make people a little bit nervous in passing judgement based on circumstantial, non-absolute, evidence. On the other hand if you have been caught on the act going around an island for hours shooting people and then go around saying "I did it" as well, I don't think that there would be any problem to sort that one out... Sen (talk) 17:24, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't work when there is a strong political motive (on the part of all three branches of government) not to admit they did something wrong. They only admitted it with Ross because it had been so long since they made the mistake, no one was left alive to be embarassed. And repaying evil with evil only adds to evil. (((Zack Martin))) 19:39, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Ah evil, such a dangerous word FairyCupcake (talk) 19:50, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Two things: Embracing conspiracy theories about how the gub'ment is in cahoots to not reveal heir errors to the public makes you look even less reasonable than accusing your opponents of murder, if just by a hair, and second, repaying evil with evil often leads to a pretty sweet result in many cases. Do you think that the monarchs of Europe would just nicely step down and hand over democracy to the people if they weren't deposed? Do you think dictators would transition their countries to peace if they weren't invaded and forced to? Do you think that criminals and murderers would simply stop what they were doing if he police just asked nicely without using force? --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 20:11, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
Well you seem to be right on the whole, but er, "monarchs of Europe"? England had a monarchy, it tried getting rid of the monarch (specifically, executing the King, since we're talking about the death penalty) and in less than generation it discovered that republics don't solve anything and decided a new King would be better. The present system in which the monarch continues to exist but doesn't govern has been popular and successful in several countries. We might contrast it to a situation where the President is responsible for the economy but isn't allowed to raise taxes or borrow money... (talk) 23:10, 31 July 2011 (UTC)
It's not a "conspiracy theory" to point out that governments are very reticient to admit their past mistakes, although it is much easier to admit the mistakes of one's long dead predecessors than to admit one's own. That is not a conspiracy theory, that is obvious to anyone who knows anything about the world.
You present a false dichotomy between doing nothing to stop evil (murder, dictatorship), and capital punishment (which is to partake in the same evils). You can restrain people who you reasonably believe pose a threat to others. You may in doing so sometimes imprison the innocent, etc., but at least you haven't killed them. The answer to me, seems to be (1) to always keep in mind the possibility that those whom you think are guilty may actually be innocent, and treat them accordingly (e.g. impose on them only the absolutely minimum restrictions for their own safety and the safety of others), (2) rather than treating decisions as final, as the "justice" system is so eager to do, they should be regularly reviewed, to remain always open to the possibility they were mistaken, (3) where mistakes are made, the victim should be entitled to compensation as of right (e.g. here in Australia, the falsely imprisoned have no legal right to compensation, the government sometimes gives them money, but insists that it has no legal obligation, and is just doing so out of the "goodness" of its heart), and the compensation payments should be much more significant (I would suggest at least $1 million per a year of false imprisonment). (((Zack Martin))) 10:26, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
by definition innocent people are not executed. Its people who have been found guilty under the legal system and who have exhausted the mandatory appeals. If technology allows reexamination of the evidence it does not show the original court made a mistake. A court can not consider dna evidence if there was not the technology to process dna at the time the crime occured. Society owes people nothing if they received the proper treatment in the original trial. That the courts do allow additional appeals and presentation of evidence that did not exist at the time is a credit to the legal system but not a right of the convicted.
It is a huge cost to society to imprison someone for long periods. Is torturing an innocent person for say 40 years nicer than executing tthem, after all an innocent person would presumably go to heaven and thats a nicer place than most death rows by all accounts. There are mandatory appeals for death penalty cases. The imprisonment was not false if the person was properly convicted. Hamster (talk) 15:38, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Alas reality does not agree with you. Consider the famous case of Derek Bentley. He was duly convicted of murder under the principle of joint enterprise (he was handcuffed and subdued at the time the policeman was killed a short distance away). His appeals failed, and he was hanged. Many years later, Bentley's conviction was overturned. A key basis for overturning the previous trial at which he was found guilty and given a mandatory death sentence was that the judge in that trial had misdirected the jury. So the original court did in fact make a mistake, and a very serious one. Specifically the judge should have instructed the jury that it was essential they be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Bentley knew his accomplice had a gun before the shooting started. If not, he could not have considered the possibility that his accomplice would shoot a policeman, and so "joint enterprise" wasn't applicable to the charge of murder. (talk) 00:16, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
In the Ross case there were multiple witnesses that he was elsewhere, the hair when duly examined was corroborating evidence but held as incriminating evidence in the original trial. One should not forget that there are two components to the judicial system, the police and the courts. It is not unknown for the police to falsify or withhold evidence as they are often judged by their conviction rate while judges may be swayed by political pressure or popular opinion. Things might change over the course of time and the accused may only get a fair trial at a much later date. For example, the Birmingham Six would have been executed if the death penalty had still been in existence and they were all later cleared; you can't say sorry to a dead man. Also, the cost of keeping someone in prison against killing them should not be an issue in any society predicated on fairness, otherwise one might say that sometimes it is cheaper to let someone get away with a crime rather than commit massive resources to apprehending them. Ross was convinced that he would be found not guilty but ended up being hanged, circumstances could put any one of us in a similar situation, even if wrongly imprisoned you would hope that evidence would later be uncovered that exonerated you, not that you would be killed because that was the cheaper option. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 02:02, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
@Hamster - So, maybe you live in a country that still has the death penalty (or if not, suppose you went on a holiday/business trip to a country which still does). And you are arrested, and accused of murder, and you know you didn't do it. But let's say some supposed witnesses claim they saw you did it, or claim you confessed it to them, maybe there's no DNA, maybe the cops planted your DNA on the victim, etc. The court finds you guilty, and you have exhausted all your appeals, and been refused clemency. You will be hung/shot/gassed/beheaded/lethally injected/something far more painful/whatever tickles their fancy in five minutes time. A witness to the execution asks you, "Are you guilty or innocent?". What do you answer? I am guilty because I have been found guilty under the legal system and have exhausted the mandatory appeals. Or do you say I am innocent because I didn't do it. That's why I don't find that argument believable, because I very much doubt that those who make it would still agree with it if it was being applied to themselves.
I do believe in heaven as better than earth, but I don't think that justifies the death penalty in any way. If it did, then it would also justify serial killing and/or mass murder - couldn't Anders Behring Breivik or Timothy McVeigh or Osama bin Laden say they are all better off dead, they are in a much better place? Heaven is better than earth, but it is wrong to speed anyone's journey there. When you speed people there, you cause great anguish to them (especially when they know its coming, like with the death penalty), and to their family and friends. When you leave them to reach there at their own time, the anguish for themselves and others is far less. (((Zack Martin))) 09:38, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Think clean energy advocates are Luddites? What a crock![edit]

Great episode on renewable energy from Climate Denial Crock of the Week. Very similar to a recent Newsweek piece by Slick Willie himself. One of the deniers' favorite framing tactics is to imply that there is a zero-sum trade-off between the economy and environmental protection or to paint environmental advocates as hysterical Luddites trying to take us back to pre-industrial society. IMO, we should just move past AGW and harp on the economic benefits of energy efficiency and independence (hey, even the wingnuts want energy independence) and the fact that China is going to beat us out in the energy arena. /Enviro-nut rant. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:22, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

There are plenty of BANANAs and luddites among the renewable energy crowd. That doesn't make renewable energy a BANANA or luddite plot, but it does mean that when someone says "We object to energy generation scheme X" where X isn't renewable it's worth checking to see whether there are actually any practical alternatives they actually do support or whether they just collect reasons to oppose stuff. When "No coal power station here" turns out to also be "No wind farm", "No nuclear power", "No CHP waste incineration plant" you can bet they're NIMBYs or BANANAs and not a legitimate renewable energy advocate. BANANAs are actually easier to spot than NIMBYs because the NIMBYs always have some hypothetical alternative that would be OK by them but it happens by coincidence to be a long way away... I was disappointed recently to discover my mother supports her local area's NIMBY campaign team. (talk) 12:39, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Am I right in thinking that BANANA isn't a reference to fruit? AMassiveGay (talk) 13:34, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone. Suppose you need to build a sewage treatment plant. A NIMBY will offer you a dozen reasons why the plant mustn't be built anywhere near them. Uniquely beautiful surroundings, too much traffic, danger to wildlife, blah blah... but they suggest you try somewhere else. BANANAs just don't want the plant built. At all. (talk) 15:26, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
We should have articles on both acronyms. And yeah, I lost a little respect for T. Kennedy's NIMBYism over the Cape Wind project. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:41, 3 August 2011 (UTC)


In honor of the 30th anniversary of MTV, I'm remembering a favorite Bloom County strip.

Opus is speaking. "One of my favorite songs is John Lennon's 'Imagine'. And when I heard it, I'd think of porpoises frolicking in the North Sea."

Panel 2: "But today, I saw something called 'M-T-V', and they had a 'video' of 'Imagine', and it was full of fire and smoke and explosions."

Panel 3: "So do you know what I think of now when I hear John Lennon's 'Imagine'?"


And that pretty much sums up my attitude towards MTV.

For reference, a video of "Imagine". No fire, no smoke, no explosions (porpoises or otherwise). Though there is some fog.

MDB (talk) 10:26, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Ican remember a time when MTV had music on it. AMassiveGay (talk) 11:50, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I can remember when MTV was called "the radio". MDB (talk) 12:30, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I can remember when all this was fields. AMassiveGay (talk) 13:35, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Fields? LUXURY! When I were a lad, we had nowt but a sea o' molten lava, but we was 'appy! --PsyGremlinHable! 15:33, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Goddamn Prole. AMassiveGay (talk) 22:49, 2 August 2011 (UTC)


awesome mordant. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:38, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Abortion side bar catigory[edit]

We have all these great templates for "side bars" like human sexuality, The Bible, politics. What side bar template would anyone suggest for Abortion?--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:39, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

"All of the above." Or, better yet, why not let's make one for women's issues? P-FosterThe Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. Discuss. Moderator 15:11, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

PS, I put a proposed alternative to the current abortion page - up for discussion. It's linked on the abortion talk page.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 15:38, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Only if the icon can be a picture of a coathanger. ADK...I'll shove your baseball bat! 18:43, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure I like the idea of seeing an image evoking the painful thought of a clandestine abortion every time I see the template.--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:34, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
It's what I think of every time a law is passed restricting or trying to ban it. ADK...I'll affiliate your Toyota! 19:38, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I think of a bunch of lonely, confused, angry women unable to take control of their lives - but that's pretty obvious if you've read anything I've written here. hehe.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 19:48, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I second the coat hanger, good idea, ADK. Shut up, bricks. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:29, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

The Women's Issues thing sounds good, except for the name...--ADtalkModerator 10:42, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

What other "women's issues' are there, that aren't in some other place?Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 13:56, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Technically speaking, gender issues are separate to sexuality issues so they could be differentiated. Similarly, there would be many men's issues and women's issues. However, RW doesn't have the article base to justify that level of distinction so perhaps for the most part they could be covered by {{sex}} or other appropriate categories. Category:Abortion, on the other hand, might certainly be large enough to warrant it's own bar. ADK...I'll repair your Geiger counter! 14:01, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I actually think it really would be a good "bar" category. We have some good articles, and some excellent "opinion pieces".Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:11, 3 August 2011 (UTC)


...is demanding that the Norwegian government step down and that his psych evaluation be done by Japanese doctors, because only the the Japanese will understand his concept of honour. No truth to the rumour that he demanded that Penn Teller donate to a Christian charity before he would testify in a trial. P-FosterThe Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. Discuss. Moderator 15:13, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Furthermore his lawyer states his client had demanded complete political reform in which he wanted to be assigned a key role (along with) the complete overthrowing of both the Norwegian and European societies. Complete fruitcake.--BobSpring is sprung! 15:21, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
{ec}Bustin' out stereotypes. Man I dislike this guy even more, now.--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:21, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I know what you mean Brxbrx. At first he was just a bit of a playful mass murderer - I myself remember turning on the television and seeing that a man had run around Norway murdering scores of teenagers and thought "oh, he doesn't seem very nice", but now after these comments he's crossed the line, doing something to cause people REAL dislike. Garçon (talk) 15:40, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
It's the cherry on the {insert confection here. I'm drawing a blank}.--User:Brxbrx/sig 15:42, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, cause the Japanese are *so* into Mass Slaughter as a political statement. rolls eyes. What bothers me, if the article I read is at all correct, is that by Norway law, he can only get 21 years max? I'm not into death penality, but i'm sure as hell into punishment and vindication, and 21 years just doesn't seem fitting for walking onto an island and using teens and young adults as target practice. I'm just saying....Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 15:46, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

PS, it's cherry on the ice cream sunday.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 15:47, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

21 years is the max, but it can be extended if a prisoner still poses a threat to society. P-FosterThe Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. Discuss. Moderator 15:52, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
There are moments in my life that I am the perfect evidence for Foucault. I really do want to punish people, sometimes, (generally only when they kill youth/kids) just CAUSE. vindication. anger. it's petty, but it's a very real feeling for these types of people. --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:42, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
This would be why people oppose the death penalty and would impose a maximum sentence as in Norway. I'm reliably told it's The West Wing where they were discussing a rapist being imprisoned and a journalist asks "what if it was your daughter that was raped?" and the reply was "I would want that man flayed alive, which is why we don't allow grieving fathers to set punishments in this country". ADK...I'll redeem your ax murderer! 18:51, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Well I'm an uneducated boor with little knowledge of Foucault's philosophy, but I think you're describing what he called a sovereign power, rather than a biopower. He mostly complained about biopowers since sovereign powers were a thing of the past. Certainly, the desire to punish is not seen in Bentham's panopticon. Rather than punishment, this was meant as an efficient means of segregating the bad elements from society.--User:Brxbrx/sig 17:50, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, see i'm not wanting this for any ethically good reason. i'm not concerned that he'd do this again, I'm not trying to rehablitate him, i'm not worried about protecting society. I'm pissed, and want revenge for all the wrong reasons. There is a part of me that understands "eye for eye", though i woudl never espouse it. I **grok** that vengance feeling. I get wanting to take little slices out of his body and make him hurt for each life he took... sad and pathetic, but very human of me. Thankfully, i am NOT a judge. i'd have a very hard time being impartial about many things.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:02, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I believe that all souls were one in the beginning and will be one again in the end, and that in an ever-repeating circle of time. That means, I used to be Anders Breivik, and Anders Breivik used to be me; I will be Anders Breivik, and Anders Breivik will be me. If I hate him, I am only hating myself, because I am him and he is I. Victim and perpetrator are one and the same, and both are one with me, and I am one with them; I hurt myself through his misdeeds (my misdeeds, your misdeeds, our misdeeds), should I hurt myself some more by hurting him too? (((Zack Martin))) 10:07, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
He could be doing it to get people to talk about him. -- (talk) 15:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Where's Waldo Wally[edit]

Can anyone spot our favorite Harvard Law Review colleague of President Obama?? SoCal 212 I can't find my talk page 20:42, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Pippa (talk) 20:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I *think* second row second man? We should find the author of the page, and have him insert something like "currently host of the rabidly insane "conservapedia". Successes include giving an otherwise unknown biologist 15 minutes of fame. Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 21:03, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Third row, first man. Or what Estrangelo Edessa said, if you squint and cock your head 45 degrees to the left. Senator Harrison (talk) 21:54, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Old news, but still interesting. Someone should ask Schlafly if he knew Obama personally.--User:Brxbrx/sig 22:00, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Well there has been speculation here that Andy resents Obama because he got elected as president of the HLR ahead of Andy and holds a grudge to this day. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 23:22, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Heeeeey! Schlafly does look like Waldo! Picture him in a striped polo, srsly!--User:Brxbrx/sig 04:39, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, just speculation, of course... anyway, anyone else surprised that there's a "Journal of Blacks in Higher Education"? ADK...I'll ruminate your aviator! 15:12, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

I am a fanperson[edit]

I... I think I'm in love with Jon Stewart. GUYS, WHAT DO I DO? MY PROGRAMMING IS NOT DESIGNED TO HANDLE LOVE ADEQUATELY. HollowWorld (talk) 01:41, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Because of todays episode or because of yesterdays? Because todays (although it's already Wednesday over here) I haven't seen yet. --ʤɱ pervert 01:48, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Because of yesterday's. And every other episode. Ever. HollowWorld (talk) 01:57, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
He's usually very funny. I prefer him to Colbert because with Colbert you can always expect the same thing, but the Daily Show mixes it up--User:Brxbrx/sig 02:07, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
He's also kind of good looking for someone near what, 52? HollowWorld (talk) 02:50, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
This was a good recent segment. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:46, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Good is an understatement. ThunderkatzHo! 04:28, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Even speaking as a straight guy, yeah, he ain't that bad looking... --ʤɱ pirate 15:47, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
The clinical name for your condition is, I believe, Jewbilation; If John Stweart was a WASP he'd be utterly boring and passe. C®ackeЯ
He is a fine looking jew. Even with his hair all gray. We need a Jon Stewart appreciation topic. HollowWorld (talk) 22:00, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
You should propose to him~ :D--Dumpling (talk) 04:35, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Hopefully I will grow up to be just like Mr. Leibowitz...sigh. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:44, 4 August 2011 (UTC)


So I was listening to some lame Shock of God thing on the utubes, but then I noticed Tosh.0 was on the tv screen. It was such a perfect Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz moment! Watching Tosh deadpan in sync - by accident of course - with that guy who sleeps with Kendoll in his dreams was too perfect. So I wanted to share. Sorry if this should have gone on talk wigo cp. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:13, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

No, I think that this is something exceedingly personal and suitable for here. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 08:35, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

This Week's e-Skeptic[edit]

Has a nice little cartoon about ESP. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 07:58, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Now that's a nice concept to bring up. How bizarre is it that the percentage of people with ESP just so happens to be the same as the percentage of people who would guess right! ADK...I'll edify your cuddly toy! 12:44, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I read it yesterday. Real first name and last initialTalk, talk, talk skim my contributions 12:58, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Funny I had a dream last week that this would be in this week's e-Skeptic. Weird. C®ackeЯ

This one's going to hurt[edit]

But Internet Explorer users have a lower IQ. Should we demand to see the browser analysis from Fox News server logs? Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 08:47, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

If you're using Internet Explorer, this is called a 'website' - David Gerard (talk) 10:04, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Note the quote from the article

The findings have been treated with scepticism by Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University's Statistical Laboratory: "They've got IE6 users with an IQ of around eighty. That's borderline deficient, marginally able to cope with the adult world.

Something about the data smells rotten. And my spidersoftware engineer senses make me wonder if it's a flaw in the browser and how it interacted with the test. MDB (talk) 10:15, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
This must be crap wrong. That would make the average user "dull". But that's the average user. So a large proportion of the IE users will be below this mark and into mentally deficient (obviously some will be above too).
But if they are that intellectually challenged I somehow doubt they are doing much on the net.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:28, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
...finally explaining to us why they didn't switch. But, yeah the data smells rotten - although you would think that 100,000 would be a big enough sample size. --ʤɱ socialist 10:34, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I had another thought... IE users are likely to be the least computer literate (as I think of my Mom and Dad who are not stupid, but have virtually no understanding of computers.) It's possible they just didn't understand how to take the test. MDB (talk) 10:55, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
The BBC are reporting it as a possible hoax. Worm (talk) 11:27, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not surprised, web nerds are suckers for stories that make them seem superior as much as the next person. ADK...I'll scratch your t-shirt! 11:54, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Speaking as a professional computer programmer: nerds are extremely easy to successfully suck up to like this. Quite a few tech careers have been based on telling nerds they are the only truly conscious, fully realized human beings on the planet and everyone else is a remote-controlled vegetable. High-profile examples would include Paul Graham and Joel Spolsky; Eric S Raymond may be considered a crude early prototype. Mountain Blue (talk) 12:43, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Certainly explains some of Yudkowsky's moments. ADK...I'll abandon your tapioca! 12:48, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

in related news[edit]

Chrome passes Firefox in the UK Pippa (talk) 12:01, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Jesus loves nukes[edit]

Has anyone mentioned this anywhere? ("Air Force Cites New Testament, Ex-Nazi, to Train Officers on Ethics of Launching Nuclear Weapons") Pippa (talk) 18:41, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

There was something like that on Pharyngula recently. I haven't seen the presentation itself yet, but based on what the MRFF is reporting, I think they're going way overboard with this. While the Catholic Just War Theory is rather outdated and leaves much to be desired, it is strongly opposed not only to nuclear warfare, but also the mere threat of it. And it's disingenuous to simply dismiss von Braun as an Ex-Nazi without even mentioning what he actually said on the topic. Röstigraben (talk) 18:55, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
But until last Friday all the Augustinian stuff & W von Braun's words were still being used: "Go to https://www.efoia.af.mil and click on the “FOIA Reading Room” link on the left side of the page. Select “Miscellaneous” in the drop down menu, and hit “Search.” (Just leave the default asterisk for “Document Name.”) The documents, titled “ICBM Training Material,” will show up on the first page of the list, and you can download them as a PDF. The nearly 40-slide “Ethics” training PowerPoint begins on page 4 of the PDF." [1] Pippa (talk) 19:04, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I've had a look at it now. Their main objective is not to mold the cadets into holy warriors, but to convince them that faith and fighting are compatible (well, Duh). It's hard to infer the actual content from a bunch of cue cards, but they're apparently not using the strictly anti-nuke JWT which the US Catholic bishops published in 1983 (OK, that would admittedly have been a strange curriculum for nuclear officers). And here's the von Braun quote:
"We knew that we had created a new means of warfare and the question as to what nation, to what victorious nation we were willing to entrust this brainchild of ours was a moral decision. We wanted to see the world spared another conflict such as Germany had just been through and we felt that only by surrendering such a weapon to people who are guided by the Bible could such an assurance to the world be best secured."
Not exactly earth-shattering or Nazi propaganda. Overall, I don't see what's wrong with discussing the ethics of (nuclear) warfare with cadets, instead of just telling them to do whatever they're being ordered to do. Röstigraben (talk) 19:19, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

So you're MAD about something on the internet....[edit]

via Bad Astronomy. [2] steriletalk 20:41, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

That has won the internet. ADK...I'll explicate your clock! 21:00, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Now I'm hungry for a sandwich.--User:Brxbrx/sig 22:23, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
That definitely needs to be linked to in an article...somewhere. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:31, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm so shy and don't know how to ask hehe (*blush*)[edit]

Is it true that a man of my age (102) should be... should be ... eh, how embarrassing that all is.... should be, you know, dating women? --Idiot number 59 (talk) 21:40, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

No. AMassiveGay (talk) 22:16, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
RWing while stoned? C'mon, order some Chinese or something. You'll enjoy it more. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:24, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Is that what was going on there? I read it like four times and did not understand.--ADtalkModerator 02:58, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
It was the only thing that made sense to me, anyway. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:23, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Agnostic/Atheism Fundamentalism[edit]

I think just like how Christians don't want to admit they too have terrorists, not madmen, some atheists and agnostics don't want to admit that they as well have fundamentalists within them. Fundamentalism is not restricted to just religious people, fundamentalism is in itself the concept that ones beliefs are fundamental to the the world, its very foundation and only by embracing this can humanity become all it can be. Or something like that. Maybe I don't know what I'm saying. What do you guys think? Is this fundamentalism a problem? Nonexistent? A solution to all our woes? Casting a bad name on the rest? HollowWorld (talk) 22:34, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

Fundemantalism is not what you defined it, it is the believe that everything should be ordered around or after one or two doctrines, while one of those is the prime doctrine and the other a secondary doctrine. Atheist fundemantalism is of course possible but has yet to appear seperated from other fundemantalist attitude such as Marxism or Nazism. And while I do not deny that there have atheists that were also fundemantalists a straight out fundemantalist who purely justifies all of this with the atheist thought he or she takes to be the absolute truth is still missing. This has the root that most atheist built the basis of their thinking around logic, reason and science - which are contradictory with any form of fundemantalism, because fundemantalism encourages a delusional approach to any new evidence that goes against the prime or the secondary doctrine. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it is highly unlikely that a rationally thinking atheistic person will set off bombs in churches, call for the imprisonment of religious people or worse for the killing of these people. --ʤɱ netlabelist 22:52, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
And that is the exact sort of thinking Christians have towards terrorists. "Because of X and B, a person cannot be Y." HollowWorld (talk) 23:06, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
The worst abuses in the name of religion (or lack thereof) come from its incorporation into national mysticism and similar authoritarian movements and philosophies. For atheism, communism is/was the most notable and worst case of this (though if you want to be semantically correct, that would be "antitheism" and not "atheism"). When there's a Society of the Godless running around terrorizing churches in the US, then I'll take the whingeing about "militant/fundamentalist atheism" seriously. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:31, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Nope. There is no such thing as a fundamentalist atheist, and nor can there be, as there are no fundamentals to atheism. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods. I think what some people term 'fundamentalist atheism' is actually anti-theism. DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 23:32, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Wow really guys? Any belief can have fundamentalists. Even the lack of belief is in itself a belief, because you believe/know there is no god. Just like how Christians know/believe there is a god and Jesus. I'm not saying Dawkins is a baby eating atheist fundamentalist, what I'm saying is that there are atheist fundamentalists. "Because of X, B, C, and AP, there can be no Y" is a fallacy. You don't even need to be blowing up abortion clinics to be a fundamentalist. Nevermind, why bother arguing, right? Because of X, B, C, and AP, there are no atheist fundamentalists since they are clearly more enlightened than the violent masses of Christians/Muslims/etc. HollowWorld (talk) 23:45, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Are you not an atheist? Because you're making the same fallacy common to theist arguments by conflating weak and strong atheism. Now quit being such an a-Leprechaun fundamentalist! Why do you believe that you are so much better than the violent masses of Leprechaun believers?! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:56, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
(EC) What are the tenets of atheist fundamentalists? I understand your argument, but it also seems to me that there is a basic problem of a false equivalency: the lack of an ideology is not an ideology. Really, I think the issue is semantics. I don't think anyone denies that there are "fundamentalist atheists," but only in a colloquial sense - really, the fundamentalist ideology held by such individuals is not "atheism" per se, but rather anti-theism or similar. It's a problem with how we commonly refer to people whose ideals move them to oppose religion as "atheist" when they're really "anti-theists."--ADtalkModerator 00:01, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Fundamentalism is strict adherence to specific theological doctrines typically in reaction against Modernist theology.[1][2][3] The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the Protestant community of the United States in the early part of the 20th century, and that had its roots in the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy of that time. The term usually has a religious connotation indicating unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.[4] "Fundamentalism" is sometimes used as a pejorative term, particularly when combined with other epithets (as in the phrase "right-wing fundamentalists").[5][6] --- that's wiki. i've got to go with the others that you can't just redefine terms. are there dogmatic (to their own ideas) jackasses, sure. but that doesn't make them "fundimentialist"(edit conflict)
In an act of sheer irony, one Creationist showed one of my friends this link to mock the fact that "militant atheists aren't that militant - you're hippie wimps."
Yeah! I like that pic! I'm an anti-theist and I am often seen in the pub wearing a daft hat! DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 00:22, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
If you have atheist groups actively organizing to harm others of faith, then yeah, it would make sense to call them fundamentalists, but there aren't. The term is just thrown around when Richard Dawkins gets in heated debates with other religious people. He wouldn't even hurt a fly.
@Hollow: I said unlikely, not impossible. --{{Use
Pippa (talk) 21:03, 2 August 2011 (UTC)r:Ullhateme/sig|}} 00:23, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
hollow " Even the lack of belief is in itself a belief, because you believe/know there is no god." I really have to disagree with that statement. I don't believe there is no god nor know there is no god. I just see no evidence for one so i don't give credence to any god. Yes, i suppose it is a belief the same way not believing in the tooth fairy is a "belief".... but really, rather than not believing actively something does not exist, i DO NOT have a belief that is does. it's subtle but very important. I would never kill anyone to prove there was no god; i would never go into a church and say "i demand to see your god" (though i've wanted to now and then, to US congress), I would not try to convince anyone out of their belief in god -- cause i don't really give a shit if you believe in something. I would not care if you believed in Zeus, or the easter bunny. i'd roll my eyes, but that's it.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 00:30, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Largely what WfG said. My atheism is only defined by someone else's theism. I am can only be an atheist because some loonies came up with the idea of a powerful invisible conscious entity for me not to believe in - just like invisible pink unicorns, celestial teapots, fairies and leprechauns. I cannot disprove these concepts any more than they can be scientifically proven, so without any evidence I think that they can be dismissed as inconsequential. Where my atheism strays into anti-theism is when the theists try to (or do) impose their ideology on the rest of us. So any militancy on my behalf would be purely defensive rather than offensive. When atheists have committed acts of violence against religious targets I think that this has largely been a specific issue between an individual and a particular religious institution or individual and not against all religions/religious people. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 01:25, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
"Atheism fundamentalism is impossible." "Yr:Ullhateme/sig|}} 00:23, 2 August 2011 (UTCou're a leprechaun". ERRR. Yeah you guys areou're a leprechaun". ERRR. Yeah you guys are right. It is impossible for there to be atheist fundamentalists. If we're going to say there are atheist fundamentalist, I would probably say they're someone who condemns religion loudly and labels all of them as weak minded thralls, and that only atheism is correct and only they know the way out of a murky time to liberation/knowledge/rationality/etc. That sounds a lot like fundamentalism to me. Or are you guys just going to call it "the truth" or "anti-theism". Isn't atheism and anti-theism sort of linked together, or just slightly? Anti-theism probably doesn't always mean you believe in a god to hate, that'd be misotheism. So only when someone starts saying "NO, RELIGION IS BAD AND WRONG AND YOU'RE ALL STUPID FOR BELIEVING IT", they are no longer atheists, they are anti-theists? That's disassociation, guys. Just because no one is blowing anything up or getting on a megaphone on the corner of the street doesn't mean they don't exist. I'm sure given enough time and patience, we'll find one or two blogs that would demonstrate those qualities, but... they'd only be anti-theists, right? Even if they say they are atheists and proud of it, they're just anti-theists who aren't 'true' to what atheism is, the rationality of the world and the nonexistence of anything supernatural at all. What I have gotten from this conversation is that atheists can never be fundamentalist like in their rationality, because they have the rational high ground. HollowWorld (talk) 02:16, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
There actually is a term "anti-theist" which is exactly what it sounds like. Again, we are not disagreeing that there are massive jerks out there.... just that you can't toss outou're a leprechaun". ERRR. Yeah you guys are the "fundimentalist" term, which is in fact the "fundimentalist" term, which is in fact a technincal term.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 03:17, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Whoa shit some of you guys probably thinking I'm attacking atheism, don't you? That's disheartening. I'm using fundamentalist because anti-theism just doesn't really sum it up. HollowWorld (talk) 03:23, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't think you are attacking atheism (though i don't know about the others), I just think that words have technical meanings. a fundimentliast has to have a belief. there is no belief behind atheism. again, there are jerk ass atheists. but they are not basing their reactions on fundamental beliefs, or on the idea that there are laws that are fundamental to their world.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 03:32, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Not attacking atheism so much as taking napalm to a roomful of straw men there. The lack of belief in something cannot be fundamentalist by definition. Antitheism, however, is a positive belief (that religion is bad or harmful) in addition to atheism, which can be "fundamentalist" or not. And claiming that we are denying this is particularly amusing since I specifically pointed out the atrocities committed by the Soviets in the name of atheism. This caricature is exactly what Jerry Coyne was parodying with the term gnu atheism. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:32, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
As Genghis said above, atheism is defined by theism, and is such a lack of it. That's it, no more and no less. If belief didn't exist, then the lack of belief doesn't exist - much like the lack of belief in the god I'm about to make up doesn't exist until I name him at the very end of this sentence (note that I've typed up to this point while having no idea of what this god is called), we'll call him Butulioch, who believes asexuality is an abomination but taking it up the bum is fine. Before, we were atheists for this made up god, now we (almost certainly) still are. But what was the dogma of this disbelief that has to be adhered to fundamentally? There is none. And this applies in all circumstances regarding a lack of something, you can't be a fundamentalist not stamp collector, you can't be fundamentalist about the fact you don't play D&D or Warhammer. It's this lack of the "fundimentalist" term, which is in fact prescriptive dogma that means you can't be a fundamentalist - because you can't be fundamental about a belief that isn't prescribed! Now, for the other possible definitions. Recently, Andrew Schlafly was saying atheists hate God and therefore believe in him. It's not right to mix up terms for the sake of provoking emotion, which is what you'd be doing when you want to start applying certain terms to people. In the case of Schlafly's point, the term he was looking for was misotheism - we have a term for people who hate God. Similarly, we have a term for those who decry religion and hate it, it's antitheism. A When you start hating God, you're a misotheist, when you hate religion you're an anti-theist. These aren't entirely mutually exclusive with atheism, however, but this doesn't mean that these are fundamentalist versions of atheism. Going back to the hobby analogy, "refusing to play any role-playing games" is not the fundamentalist version of "not playing D&D", it's something else entirely. ADK...I'll terrorize your Hyundai! 12:07, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe in the existence of Father Christmas or faeries. Does that make me some kind of fundamentalist? Why?--BobSpring is sprung! 15:03, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Do you hate Christmas? ADK...I'll complement your daffodil! 18:54, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
No - in fact I follow the original true spirit of Christmas. The one with gift giving, sexual excess and alcohol. Not this new-found Christian version.--BobSpring is sprung! 20:58, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
The other analogy to think about is whether you have a broken bone or not. Obviously, if you do have a broken bone there are degrees of severity. You can have a slight fracture, you can have a full break, you can have most of your lower body crushed and pulverised with shards of bone and globules of flesh everywhere... but you can't have more of no broken bones. Sure, you can have harder bones that are more difficult to break but that prevents you from breaking them, but that's not more no broken bones, it's a different property entirely. For a mathematical analogy, are there positive numbers that are less than zero? ADK...I'll anglicise your operating system! 19:01, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Here's another one. We are quite outspoken about Homoeopathy. It's the classic fake medicine that all rationalists despise, talk about at length and criticize. We obviously don't believe in it. That's all fine and rational because the default rational position is the belief comes after evidence.
But does our lack of faith in homoeopathy and our insistence of evidence before belief somehow make us fundamentalists? We are certainly a-homoeopaths but does not-believing in something and being clearly able to explain your position make you a fundamentalist? --BobSpring is sprung! 20:58, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I will repeat my objection to the terminology of "weak" and "strong" atheism. To me, an atheist has a positive disbelief in God's existence. If one has a mere lack of belief, one is not an atheist, one is an agnostic. The bogus weak/strong distinction is just a rhetorical muddying of the waters. (((Zack Martin))) 10:11, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

OK. Thanks for sharing your opinion.:-)--BobSpring is sprung! 10:19, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. F**ksake... agnosticism has a set definition that expresses an admission of a lack of knowledge of the existence of God and not a lack of belief. It is not a weaker form of atheism. If anything, mistaking the weak/strong definition of atheism as the same as agnosticism/atheism muddies the waters even more. In order to have an active belief against something, one must profess knowledge of that belief in the first place, but you can still be an atheist without professing knowledge about every god ever proposed. Indeed, if you lack the knowledge of that belief's existence, you certainly don't and can't hold that belief. ADK...I'll execrate your hadron! 12:41, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Theism = I know that God exists (or at least is likely to exist); Atheism = I know that God does not exist (or at least is unlikely to exist); Agnosticism = I don't know whether God exists
In Bayesian terms, Theism is defined as P(God exists) nearing 1.0, Agnosticism as P(God exists) nearing 0.5, Atheism as P(God exists) nearing 0.0.
Knowledge is justified true belief (+ maybe something additional to get over the Gettier cases, but let's ignore that for now). Since belief is a necessary condition of knowledge, lack of knowledge implies a lack of belief. To claim to believe that God does not exist, but not to know that, one has to deny either truth or justification - but to deny truth commits the Moorean paradox, and to deny justification commits a similar sort of folly. So "I believe it but don't know it" implies either "I believe it but it is false" (Moore's paradox) or "I believe it but lack epistemic justification for that belief" (i.e. similar to Moore's paradox, a willing admission of irrationality). That is why your "I believe it but don't know it" position is incoherent. (((Zack Martin))) 13:01, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with Bayes. They're positions of belief and acknowledgement of knowledge or lack of it. ADK...I'll shake your cow! 13:14, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
How does: "I see no reason whatsoever to give credence to the existence of a 'divine being'. I see no evidence for a 'divine being'" grab you? No probabilities, no paradox, no Bayes, just no reason, no evidence. Pippa (talk) 13:24, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
@ADK: Bayesianism is relevant because one of its chief ideas is that rather than a simple dichotomy of believing or not, or a trichotomy of believing, disbelieving or neither, we should have a continuum of degrees of confidence in an idea, ranging from 0.0 (certain it is false) to 0.5 (no information) to 1.0 (certain it is true). We can apply the same idea to belief in God.
Part of the problem here, is a failure to define knowledge and belief. To me, belief is a disposition to assert a proposition (both internally and externally), and to act as if it were true. Knowledge is justified true belief. As I have argued, given these definitions, "I believe X but I don't know X" reduces to the non-sensical positions of either Moore's paradox, or else the very similar claim "I believe X but am not rationally justified in doing so". So "I believe X but I don't know X" is incoherent.
@Pippa: So, what do you believe? Do you believe God does not exist? Or do you neither believe nor disbelieve in God's existence? How certain are you in your belief? Do you claim knowledge? If so, what do you claim to know? (((Zack Martin))) 09:30, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

The thing is that I agree with M to an extent about the lack of use of the strong/weak atheism thing. Though not for the same reasons.

Let's imagine that I don't believe in the existence of Father Christmas (please replace with the magical/mythical/supernatural/divine being of your choice). Should there be a name for not believing in this particular weirdness? No? Why then do we have one for not believing in a particular set of gods or god? Would it be reasonable to unpick our lack of belief in the Loch Ness Monster in order to explain that we feel that we have evidence for its non-existence as opposed to the fact that we are skeptical in the face of poor evidence?

The result is the same - we don't believe in faeries because there is no evidence for faeries--BobSpring is sprung! 14:03, 3 August 2011 (UTC).

You do know, Mat, that you can be an agnostic atheist, right? "agnosticism" is specifically about the knowledge one has about something. I am an atheist. I see no evidence for any god's existence. I'm an a santa ist, and an a-leprichaunist. However, i remain agnostic about all of them. if you show me evidence of santa, then I will believe in it. When you posit that "non belief" in something, is some how a positive statement, then you necessarily are saying i hold belief of "not believing" in things i don't even know about. I realize you want to say "i do not believe in god/santa/elves" is the same thing as "I BELIEVE god/santa/elves do not exist", but logically they are not the same concept. we say both, out of convenience, but in the end my they have very different philosophical effects on how I conceive my world.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:10, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
The reason we specifically use the term "atheism" but not really anything like "Santa denier" is that religious belief is generally the "norm". That's it, really. If it wasn't ubiquitous we wouldn't be having this discussion. ADK...I'll admonish your flap! 14:11, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Amen. and the fact that some people are more outspoken actually doesn't make them these great "god attackers" that even some here would suggest. I've not seen Jerry c, or PZ M, or even Hitchens call for some jihad. they say "look around you, what do you see. i think what you see is stupid cause your book lies to you and here's how". That's hardly dangerous, though it might be a bit inflammatory. The other thing is i think that's it's *others* who have this hang up, and not us. I've really never had any desire to join "Atheists R Us" or sit in a room with other atheists discussing my atheism cause it's like "um, huh?" to me. I do get that people who have been religious and "woke up" do have something to share with eachother. but i don't think the club is really about non-belief, i think it's about a place to share the horrors of having been duped by mom and dad into a fairy Sky Daddy. The only time I bring up atheism, is generally when other people ask me what I believe. then they are all shocked and freak out saying "how can you not believe in GOODDDD?????" Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:16, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I have a morbid curiosity about the local atheist/agnostic club, but more about what exactly they'd actually do. ADK...I'll advocate your pen! 14:27, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I started one in highschool (to my methodist father's chagrin) but that's mostly cause i was an annoying little contrarian brat. I changed it to an "evo only" club, which was much more effective. this was 1980, in a small hick town in Colorado. both clubs slightly disoriented the assistant princpal who was in charge of these things. :-) "Hi. I"m John, I'm an atheist." "hi, john". "It all started when I figured out I hated god. he was just so mean to drown all those kittahs in his flood..."Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 14:37, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
An atheist club strikes me as an odd thing. Why should athiests have anything in common? Stalin, Ayn Rand, Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams were all athiests. So it's like having a club of people who don't believe in Santa. There is one particular belief they don't share, but there is no reason they should have anything else in common.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:49, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Again this comes down to the ubiquity of religion. When you're in a situation where you're effectively forced and emotionally blackmailed into attending church, it's difficult to leave. Essentially it's down to providing the same message as "It's Okay To Be Gay". As I've said before, when the death penalty for apostasy is consigned to the history books, we won't need societies to represent the non-religious. There is some religion-bashing component to it too, of course. ADK...I'll regurgitate your lint! 14:58, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
It's also similar to the "i've had an abortotion, and this is how I feel" pages online. It's not really about finding people who share experiences or views and values as much as it is to say - statically, in this room of 100 people, 10 of you are gay, 20 of you have had an abortion, and 3 of you are atheist... raise your hands!" I think that's important if only cause i hate that shocked look, and the next 20 minutes of "how can you think that about god" that i go through every time a friend / coworker / stranger finds out i'm an atheist. Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 16:15, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
@WaitingforGodot: you can be an agnostic atheist... I am an atheist... i remain agnostic about all of them - either you believe that God does not exist, or else you neither believe that nor its negation. In the first case (disbelief), how can you be an agnostic? You are saying "I believe X but I don't know X". If knowledge is justified true belief, that expands to "I believe X and not (X is true and I believe X and I am justified in believing X)", which becomes "I believe X and (X is false or I don't believe X or I am not justified in believing X)". So you are asserting one of the following three propositions is true: (a) "I believe X and X is false", (b) "I believe X and I don't believe X", (c) "I believe X and I am not justified in believing X". (b) is a blatant self-contradiction. (a) is Moore's paradox. (c) I would argue is, while not exactly the same as Moore's paradox, very similar. So your position "I believe X but I don't know X" is nonsensical, at least if we accept knowledge as justified true belief.
Alternatively, in the second case (lack of belief), you are saying "I neither believe that God exists, nor believe that God does not exist, nor know whether God exists". That is a perfectly sensible viewpoint, but I would argue we should call that agnosticism, not atheism.
I realize you want to say "i do not believe in god/santa/elves" is the same thing as "I BELIEVE god/santa/elves do not exist", but logically they are not the same concept - actually, the complete opposite. I want to make a clear distinction between B~p and ~Bp (i.e. believes not p v.s. not believes p). If p="God exists", then B~p is atheism, (~Bp & ~B~p) is agnosticism. (((Zack Martin))) 09:41, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Not racist but...[edit]

Just have to post this here too http://www.notracistbut.com

Now, I'm not intellectually elitist, but, these people are the dumbest fucks I've seen. ADK...I'll litigate your flap! 11:49, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Eh, I think that website needs to discriminate a bit more. Some of those posts are racist, some aren't. I think some of my personal opinions could make it on to that site. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 12:05, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Nothing can ever beat this one. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:02, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't know, I read some others while browsing through it today that made me stare at the wall for a very long time. ADK...I'll crinkle your rutabaga! 21:45, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I saw one on there that said the Asians tend to congregate in herds. My experience from the past year tells me this is true, and my only quibble in that 'flock' (of geese) might be a better descriptor. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 22:11, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Wut? Because whites never "congregated in herds?" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:13, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Spanish and mexicans? I would kill for Spanish and Mexicans. My problem is with the slave-keeping chinese hermit who we saw once a month at most having the red hordes around making shitloads of noise until 3AM five nights a week. The Asian Menace, we called it. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 22:20, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Facepalm.png Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:23, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Hey, even the other asians called them that. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 22:28, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
My favourite so far, "Saw a black man buy sushi today. Not trying to be racist, but that's weird, right?" Top draw... top draw... SJ Debaser 22:35, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I once met a Chinese guy from Jamaica. I'm not a racist but the juxtaposition of an oriental looking guy with a broad Jamaican accent was initially disconcerting. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 01:58, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
This made me giggle. One of my aunts is Korean and lives in England. She speaks Korean with a British Accent. Almost impossible to imitate. My parents speak Korspanglish, so there's that...weird mix up. Anyways, I do notice a lot of the Asian kids always in massive groups. Father always teases my mum about the Asian Invasion whenever he sees large groups of them. --Dumpling (talk) 04:41, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I know a Chinese guy with a strong scottish accent. That was strange at first. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 08:24, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
On occasion I've heard Indian people with Scottish accents. I'm so used to hearing them with English accents it makes me forget that there are Asian communities in the rest of the UK too, not just England. SJ Debaser 09:58, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Abortion Icons[edit]

abortion, bitches.

How do you all find Icons that can be used in the "templates". I'm dummying up an abortion template, as much to learn how to do it, as to make one for the abortion category. But i don't know how to find "icons".--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 17:57, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

As per Armondikov's suggestion, I downloaded one of the existing ones and adapted it. Röstigraben (talk) 18:04, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I'd like something like this with a gun in the guy's hand. Occasionaluse (talk) 18:10, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
um, whatever.Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:32, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

I was thinking more something like

Pro choice 2.png or this Pro choice.gif in the icon circle.--Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 18:30, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

I like the coathanger (but maybe not crossed out). Occasionaluse (talk) 18:32, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I find the pro-choice emblem is pretty cool, actually. ADK...I'll duel your hose! 20:29, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

World will come to an end. --Idiot number 59 (talk) 20:33, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Icon hanger.svg

If you think it's worthwhile. Colour is intentionally hideous. ADK...I'll burglarize your pie! 21:05, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Why so hideous? Occasionaluse (talk) 21:20, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Don't know how you people do this, fast or easily. I have no talent, clearly, and no skills. anyhow,

User:WaitingforGodot/Template:abort‎Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 21:51, 3 August 2011 (UTC) god I give up, i need to go home now.

Make it blood red rather than magenta. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 22:46, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Blood red is already taken for communism and atheism, not that I'm precious about reusing then. Anyway, to Godot, doing this sort of thing quickly and easily is all about knowledge and experience of the program you're using. If you know the keyboard short-cuts it takes you half a second to select a tool rather than two seconds, and that adds up to quite a lot over the course of a big job. Once you're settled into a workflow like that you can basically do anything you want at a fairly brisk pace. I would really say that time is the only factor you can improve on in CG. Because you can edit your mistakes and constantly tweak and improve far easier than with any non-digital medium, having the skill to get something right on your first and only try isn't a outright necessity (in fact, my caricature technique so far involves drawing any old shit and then pushing it into the right place with the liquefy tool afterwards). So anyone can sit down and make anything they like given enough time. Once you've got the workflow sorted and learned a few of your favourite tricks, you can start to do good stuff within your life expectancy, and then in an evening, and then only a few hours or minutes. But I also find myself rehearsing things in my head before I do it, so I know to build something in a certain way and then just do it. More generally, just keep going as it doesn't come overnight if only because the number tools available in most pieces of graphics software are quite daunting to look at. ADK...I'll exterminate your bear! 09:40, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Asian Horror[edit]

I'm a fan of Ring, A Tale of Two Sisters, Tetsuo: The Iron Man and pretty much any of Takashi Miike's stuff but want more dammit so I'm looking for recommendations. The scarier the better, I've been getting too much sleep lately. Grumblejaws (talk) 19:53, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is your friend. I can't recommend anything, though. I'm more of an art cinema kinda guy. --ʤɱ soviet 20:29, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Cinderella is okay, Suicide Club and Noriko's Dinner Table aren't essentially horror but deal with existential themes which could be horrific if you think about it. Shutter is alright if generic, and The Ghost. Good luck man. HollowWorld (talk) 21:56, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
My husband says try "One Missed Call". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0366292/ he says STAYAWAY from teh remake. :-) also Kwaidan (1963), Audition, and Cure. --Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 01:56, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh I don't think he'd like Audition with that vomit scene. Ewww. HollowWorld (talk) 02:45, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't know. I've not watched any of them. i sware nothing is as upsetting as asian psycho thrillers. the US has jason and a chain saw... and girls who trip when they run. Pink mowse.pngEn attendant Godot 03:46, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Asians have more to draw on, I guess. America didn't have many 'scary' legends that resonated throughout the entire country. Also a friend of mine joked the entire slasher film genre is one big PSA on pre-marital sex. HollowWorld (talk) 04:10, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't know about other cultures, but in Asian cultures, we were raised up to believe that everything we did would bring upon consequences of all levels. So many scary stories from when I was little, it's crazy. But hilarious now that I look back on them. XD--Dumpling (talk) 04:21, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Not really horror in the paranormal sense, but Oldboy. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:22, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Man that movie is old. I liked it though. There's actually a lot of Korean movies that are more along the line paranormal-thriller than pure Horror. I believe I have a list somewhere...--Dumpling (talk) 04:30, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
The Red Shoes, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance both good Korean movies. PsyGremlinПоговорите! 07:34, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'll check out the Vengeance trilogy. @HollowWorld, I've actually seen Audition, a favourite of mine in fact, but you're right, the vomit scene is as hard if not harder viewing than all the ultra-violence. Grumblejaws (talk) 17:36, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance was pretty good. I remember watching it when I was younger. :D I don't remember Red Shoes, but mum said I have.--Dumpling (talk) 00:11, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Mystery of the week 2[edit]

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say "I think i'll squeeze these dangly things here and drink what comes out"? --Idiot number 59 (talk) 20:35, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Meh. It was probably like this:"You know that women have two of those things that can make milk (men apparently too: http://www.cracked.com/article_19344_6-progressive-parenting-fads-you-wont-believe-are-legal.html)? This thing got 6!" What makes me wonder is how cooking started. "There is this plant. Let's harvest it, mill it and then add some uhm... eggs" (talk)
That's from Pratchett, isn't it...? But what book? Now I wont have peace of mind until I remember... Dendlai (talk) 21:08, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
It's from a Calvin and Hobbes comic.--ADtalkModerator 21:13, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Mmm. Have you seen people play with fire? Fire is cool. Once humans had fire as a tool (controlled burning, ability to start fires or transplant them) the usual level of fooling around is going to lead to cooking. Bored chimps could probably replicate this, except that nobody is going to give captive chimps fire because it's so obvious that would end badly. As to cow milk - baby cows drink it, any neolithic herdsman could see that, so where's the mystery? (talk) 22:25, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there is a big step between drinking human milk and animal milk. If a woman couldn't produce enough milk for her baby maybe they thought that the milk from a nearby goat or cow might do the trick, after all it works for baby goats and calves. Once you've started infants on it then "hey, here's a resource that we can harvest". No, I've always wondered whoever thought that eating wp:cassava was a good idea when it requires cooking for five days to remove the cyanide. Possibly because it was used as slave food but it's one of the things that makes Nigerian 'cuisine' so revolting. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 01:50, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Which brings us to Lutefisk. It's. It's complicated. Sen (talk) 02:17, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Or that puffin(?) thing that the Inuit make. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 04:22, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
You mean kiviak? PsyGremlinSiarad! 14:34, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, that's the stuff; auks not puffins. It was featured on the BBC series Human Planet. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 14:42, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Now I read further, that series is about the only reference for it in WP. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 14:43, 4 August 2011 (UTC)