RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive172

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This is an archive page, last updated 2 September 2012. Please do not make edits to this page.
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Would someone make an article explaining the difference between...[edit]

the different levels of craziness? I have seen terms like "Batshit crazy" being used on RW which is supposedly different from the "regular" kind of crazy. Since I didn't put the bat feces up, I would like someone to explain the quantifier a bit. [[User:K61824|]][[User_talk:K61824|]] 23:21, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

How about this grading:
  1. Crazy: sort of coherent reasoning with fatal flaws, e.g. gold bugs
  2. Batshit crazy: partially coherent reasoning showing extreme delusions or paranoia, e.g. Debbie Schlussel or Michelle Bachmann
  3. Frothing lunacy: completely incoherent rambling such as Time Cube
--Tweenk (talk) 00:03, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
How about no. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:07, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
But then you have to convert between Imperial units of crazy and Metric units of crazy... Scarlet A.pngtheist 10:48, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
That's easy. 1 looney (Imperial) is equivalent to 0.538 nutcases (metric). If there's ever any doubt, compare it to the platinum-iridium nutcase kept in a sealed, padded room at the NIST in Bethesda, MD. MDB (the MD is for Maryland, the B is for Bear) 12:06, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Bear in mind that the standard nutcase has been decreasing in craziness over time compared to the backup nutcases, proving.... what, exactly? Probably the inevitable triumph of worldwide Conservatism and the decrease in intelligence, or something.--Martin Arrowsmith (talk) 14:16, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Without getting too technical I think the batshit level and the crazy level are different parameter. The 'crazy' parameter measures how far from the norm the thinking is. The batshit parameter measures the intensity of the thinking. Take some of the loons that pass through here from time to time. Naming no names but there are those who are convinced that cold fusion has been demonstrated (high, but not necessarily extreme craziness). However, this is limited to tl;dr screeds which are reasonably coherent and lack massive persecution complexes (low batshit level). On the other hand you have TimeCube who's ideas are way, way out there (crazy level extreme) and, furthermore, well, have you seen the website (high batshit level). However, to counter this, I find it hard to think of an example of low level crazy with high level batshit. Bad Faith (talk) 13:53, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Ah, a two-axis measurement. Batshit crazy, fucknut crazy, batshit insane, fucknut insane... Scarlet A.pngnarchist 13:58, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
There's also the problem of trans-Atlantic exchange rates, because what many consider outright crazy is often the norm on the other side of the pond. Redchuck.gif ГенгисGum diseaseModerator 17:03, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
Meh, there should be some numeric value to this stuff. Number of fallacies, woo and BS mentions, non sequitors, paranoid language, black and white thinking, Godwins and so on and so forth. Could be some kind of average. I propose we call it a Schlafly. "he has reached 58.3 on the Schlafly-scale with this text". Or a batting average counting the relatively sane things crazies say, although that would be hard to get over .100 for most of 'em.
And now seriously, when I read "batshit crazy" for me that means "this person is arguing beyond logic" or "this one is gone" meaning that it doesn't matter how much evidence you bring to the table, he or she will quickly pull out something of his or her ass making it all allright again. While normal crazy is pretty much there in everyone, homophobia, racism, a irrational dislike of blond women (to name a less popular option), supply-side economics, command economy and so on and so forth. So in this "crazy" means "illogical, yet persistent" and "batshit crazy" means "a waste of time to argue with [except for comical value]". I don't think a lot of people here will agree with that. --K. (talk) 10:39, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
One schlafly (Sf) would be a very large unit of crazy, so in practice we would need to use microschlaflies (µSf) and millischlaflies (mSf) --Tweenk (talk) 17:48, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Moon Landing Hoax[edit]

So with Neil A dying, i've been reading and (worse) watching vids on the hoax, including stuff we link to. I just sit there and say "huh? you really think that killing someone a week AFTER they testified to Congress about how bad the Apollo program, is proof that we needed to shut him up. wouldn't you shut him up BEFORE he testifies?" and "ok, so you claim they just spun around in space orbit for 8 days. woudln't someone in europe, UK, or our evil enemies, Russia have said "gosh, look at that strange satalight that is spinning in orbit". it's just scary stuff. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 04:54, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

"...wouldn't you shut him up BEFORE he testifies?" Limited hangout. Proof of the conspiracy. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:56, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I've just been given compelling proof that the landings were faked. (Merkins and others who never watched The Clangers really, really missed out). rpeh •TCE 11:27, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

RIP Neil Armstrong[edit]

First man on the Moon has taken that final giant leap. PsyGremlinSprich! 20:03, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

Here. rpeh •TCE 20:17, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
So long, Neil, and we thank you. Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 17:19, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Yah, and he was an American, too. nobsCorporations are people, too 21:09, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Who gives a fuck where he came from. You Amercian's are fat, pasty and slovenly. If I was Neil Armstrong I would have died of embarrassment long ago - or renounced my citzenship. Acei9 21:24, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Yah maybe in the year 3050 C.E. you guys will have advanced to the level where you can duplicate the U.S. effort. nobsCorporations are people, too 21:39, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
you guys will have advanced to the level where you can duplicate the U.S. effort Why would we want to duplicate fat pasty stupid slobbering yanks with shit for brains? Acei9 21:43, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
And Americans aren't obese, we are doing heart disease research for the benefit of the human race with a couple hundred million volunteer participants. nobsCorporations are people, too 21:46, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
You're no fun to troll anymore. Acei9 21:53, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
At the rate we are going, the first woman on the moon will probably be Chinese. Zack Martin HolyMaratreanSigil.png 21:48, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Even that wouldn't be possible for China without the self-indulgent consumer spending of Americans at Wal-Mart or Dollar General. nobsCorporations are people, too 21:58, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Also not possible without the oh-so great American capitalist system that makes your country commit economical suicide with every single product your great nation buys from the cheapest place instead of buying at the best company. You know on the other side in 3050 CE you'll be hailing the mighty king again, while Ace's great-grandchildren live on Mars. --K. (talk) 00:42, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
That's what Freedom's all about. If people wanna buy a gun to blow their brains out that's their God-given Right to do so. nobsCorporations are people, too 00:53, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
With the exception of "God-given" and the "gun"-part I'd repeat that statement wholheardedly. I'm not completely certain though what a conscious and able consumerate able to make intelligent decisions for it's own existence have to to with gun control and god. --K. (talk) 12:30, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Comments on censorship[edit]

An essay I wrote. I do appreciate that at least RationalWiki offered the ability to get the deleted essay back, so that I was able to retain it for my records. Tisane (talk) 01:57, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Note: the user above made an essay that defended pedophilia, which was deleted as a "troll" essay. Later people offered other rationalizations for deleting the essay on its talk page, as well accused the user of being a horrible person (along with other insults).
Here is my proposition. Either we allow voicing extremely unpopular opinions on a subject in the essayspace, or we decide that RW does not deal with that subject and ban it completely. If we want to delete this "pedophile apologetic" essay we should also delete the articles about child sexual abuse and child predators on the Internet. To make leaving the essay in place more palatable, we can have a 'warning page' that would spell out why a given essay can be considered offensive and show the text only when the user confirms he wants to read it. --Tweenk (talk) 19:01, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
We've been dealing with "unpopular opinions" for 5 years now and everyone tends to agree that we're not offering free hosting for someone wanting to drop their shit on us. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 19:32, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Armondikov. Well said. Refugeetalk page 20:54, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
If we have an essayspace at all, then we are already giving free hosting to people's personal opinions. As far as I can tell, your main consideration is that essayspace may accumulate 'troll' content which is intentionally as offensive as possible, inserted there by people who want to harm the reputation of the site. I don't think this is very likely, but let's go with it. What about at least specifying what opinions are forbidden? --Tweenk (talk) 01:55, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm going to go with those who wanted to include the 9th Amendment to the Constitution, on this one. If you specific a list, then everyone and their dog will say "oh, look, you didn't specify X (cause you didn't think about it, didn't know about it, or just forgot) therefore it's ok for me to add it". Seems to me we are pretty lax on essay space, till someone tries to justify things that the majority feels are not just "counter to how we roll" but truly abhorrent. Racism, especially vile pieces; suggestions the President is a Nigger. Suggestions rape is a good form of procreation. etc. Suggestions that children are not harmed by adults using them for sexual pleasure - ranks right up there.Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 14:54, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Worse than the Great Depression? (Help needed)[edit]

So here is a scare-mongering article recently posted to Zero Hedge (not surprising). It claims velocity of money is currently worse than it was during the Great Depression, but the number is calculated using monetary base as the divisor. (See FRED graph.) However, the numbers come out differently if M2 or M3 is used, of course. I also found a totally different-looking graph in a report from an investment co., see p. 17. Which is the correct calculation? And are we doomed to Weimar-style collapse? (Okay, don't answer that second one.) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:47, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

So velocity is related to consumer spending. In a stable environment, people can decide between spending and saving. With interest rates so low (we have been in the classic Keynesian wp:liquidity trap for mare than 4 years now) there is little incentive to hoard cash, yet consumer spending has not responded either. This is why confidence is such an important indicator, be Business Confidence, Purchasing Managers confidence, Consumer Confidence indicators, or the Right Track/Wrong Track polls that are such an important guide. Inflation is the sure way to force people off the dime and stop hoarding cash.
However, because of the U.S. is so heavily dependent on foreign oil to fuel its economy, and the U.S. government so heavily dependent on foreign borrowing to keep Social Security, Disability, and VA pension checks flowing, there is little room for velocity to have any effect in circulation cause all the cash gets exported as crude oil prices and interest rates rise.
Several RW articles need to explain better the role confidence and future expectations play in spending, hoarding, and investing decisions. None of these happen in a vacuum. nobsCorporations are people, too 21:26, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Best Todd Akin Pwnage Ever[edit]

Just watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EcEMwxdLzw&feature=plcp --Mustex (talk) 14:21, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

One thing I don't get about blogers/vlogers is their perception that they are saying something somehow "unique". As if this all hasn't been said 10,000 times by the women who were first reporting on this, and complaining about him. On a personal note - dude, learn to look at the camera. Your movements are really distracting. :-)--Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 18:08, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
"One thing I don't get about blogers/vlogers is their perception that they are saying something somehow "unique"." That's one thing I don't get about humans in general. "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." -Alfred North Whitehead. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:14, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I hate that quote, it's such a leap and mind-bogglingly wrong, that one wonders how it ever could be uttered. Much like Akin.
When I was in my late odds and early teens, I was very silent and almost never said anything. Even then I noticed that most people felt uncomfortable with that or forgot I was there at all. A teacher once asked me why, and said I didn't need to be that shy - the others wouldn't laugh at me. I responded that I was not shy, but rather that I had nothing new to add and that me repeating what has already been said would just waste everybody's time. She gave me an odd look. A few years later I stopped keeping back/started to say more and I noticed that people seemed to be more comfortable around me. Since then I'm weirded out by the rest of humanity. --K. (talk) 21:14, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, general conversation and/or class doesn't come with a "like" button, so you can't really solve that problem. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 00:17, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Todd Akin's fuckstupid statement seems to be honestly leading to good. A lot more people are seriously talking about rape, and rape culture now with the nutters ranting about "Proper rape" and all that. Perhaps we should thank him? --Revolverman (talk) 18:17, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
In a warped way, yes. (and "best pwnage" would involve saying something meaningful to Akin's face on live television, not on PooTube chatting to a camera. This is practically by definition.) Scarlet A.pngbomination 19:25, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Bill Nye[edit]

Is awesome.

That is all. --PsyGremlinPraat! 15:27, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Seeing the section header 'Bill Nye' above one about Neil Armstrong scared the hell out of me. DalekEXTERMINATE 23:25, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Heard he was getting a show on Youtube. I'm going to subscribe. Too bad the most media coverage he gets is when he visits Faux News and tries to actually teach the viewers.--Thanatos (talk) 03:18, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Neil Armstrong and the tides of history[edit]

Today the consensus is that Armstrong was an American hero, which glosses over the strain of anti-space program sentiment in the US at the time of the moon landing. It seems quaint today -- check out, for example:

(NB: This thread is not intended to piss on Armstrong's grave, but to collect historical curiosities.) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:22, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

There's an obscure Jefferson Airplane song called "Have You Seen the Saucers?" with a line "Tranquility Base - there goes the neighborhood." I always liked that for some reason, despite that I'm a fan of space exploration. Doctor Dark (talk) 20:54, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
"Whitey on the Moon" is quite a magnet for YouTube racism, but at least there's comments from whites explaining Heron's context to the idiots.
Choosing between funding space exploration and the disadvantaged in society should never have become a false dilemma; in fact, considering the economic advantages of NASA they should go hand in hand. Also, were there any visible minority astronauts in the Apollo program? Osaka Sun (talk) 21:43, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
There were not any minority astronauts till 1983. There are few today. it's very much a white world. If you noticed the mars landing, there were no black faces in the room. though the head of NASA is black. --Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 21:58, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
In a 1967 speech Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth”. According to Democratic Presidential Nominee George McGovern it would cost only $5 billion annually to end poverty in America ... less than a third of the NASA budget. ... The space race must've been some right-wing plot to starve children. nobsCorporations are people, too 22:25, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
"Choosing between funding space exploration and the disadvantaged in society should never have become a false dilemma; in fact, considering the economic advantages of NASA they should go hand in hand." Neil deGrasse Tyson would agree. I would also say that this disaster was a far greater waste of money than the space program. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 23:17, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I have no clue why people want to slash NASA's budget whenever talking about small government or social justice, but shittyPlanes built for the express reason of scoring military contracts that have costs TRILLIONS (with a T), oh thats just the cost of doing business. --Revolverman (talk) 23:23, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Agree wholeheartedly. Which was a bigger waste, the failed Ken Starr probe or the simultaneous failed Mars landing probe? nobsCorporations are people, too 23:49, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Cool Story, bro. --Revolverman (talk) 23:57, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Fun fact: the Mars Climate Orbiter was a part of an effort to make space exploration "cheaper". Look up Dan Goldin.--ZooGuard (talk) 09:59, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
There's actually "harder" evidence: the public opinion polls of the time: http://launiusr.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/exploding-the-myth-of-popular-support-for-project-apollo/ --ZooGuard (talk) 09:59, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Andy's voice[edit]

Has anyone seen youtube vids of Andy? Him getting schooled by Justice Albin and his laugh. I showed those to my friend (on another site) and she said that she found Andy's voice/laugh "charming." I told her who he was...and she was like "Ewwww" But yeah, he does have a weird voice, doesn't he? --Andynot Schlafly 00:05, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Who? Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:07, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
What ADK said. ТyBored 00:08, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Who what? --Andynot Schlafly 00:09, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Who he? Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:10, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
He means Schlafly. --Andynot Schlafly 00:11, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Why give fuck? ТyBored 00:15, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
OK sorry. :I Just thought it was funny, but I suppose you guys have seen it before. --Andynot Schlafly 00:16, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
sigh, what page is this? ТyBored 00:18, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
What, the saloon bar?? --Andynot Schlafly 00:18, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
And does useless CP stuff go in the saloon bar? ТyBored 00:20, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Just a general running joke that we pretend not to know who Andrew Schlafly is so we can just wipe it from our minds. Occasionally it works. Most of the time it leaves us sat in the corner, alone, crying. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 00:19, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh...sorry...I didn't know that...sorry... --00:20, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry...Sig didn't work...--Andynot Schlafly 00:21, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Nice 'rolling out the welcome' mat there, Ty. Acei9 00:23, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, should've just skipped to the penis pictures. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 00:28, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Armondikov, you talking to me or to Ty? Or to Ace? (Sorry...it's unclear to me...perhaps I'm just being an idiot...) --Andynot Schlafly 00:31, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
The dick pics are reserved for people we like or dislike. There is no middle ground. Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svg 01:07, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
We had had middle Earth ground at one time but we ended up building the chicken coop on it, then the goats had nowhere to frolic so they shat on it and then something something and a funny line [goes here]! 02:21, 27 August 2012 (UTC) C®ackeЯ
Hmm? ТyBored 12:01, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I was struck today by an irony (and boy did it hurt)![edit]

So I was reading the political news today, when something finally hit me (my apologies if this has been covered elsewhere): The GOP convention is being postponed by (soon to be Hurricane) Issac hitting the area. IN 2008, the opening day was cut short by Hurricane Gustav hitting during the opening. I don't really believe in an active, hurricane throwing God.... But why is it when Hurricanes, Earthquakes and other national disasters hit, it's always wrath of God, God's Vengeance, etc etc, but two straight conventions being interrupted by Hurricanes isn't cause for reflection? To quote one of my comedy heroes: "Must be one of those miracles." SirChuckBCall the FBI 05:59, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Jennifer Granholm beat you to this one. It's already generating shitloads of faux outrage in the wingnutosphere. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 06:58, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of these sort of soundbites, 10 people are already dead from Isaac. Don't stoop down to their level. Osaka Sun (talk) 07:19, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Well if you hold your convention during the hurricane season... SophieWilder 07:24, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
glares at weather map Aw fuck. ТyBored 11:58, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
What soundbite? I'm not saying I agree, but if this were two Democratic conventions delayed by Hurricanes, the crazy right wingers would be shitting themselves to talk about God's anger with the Democrat platform. My question was why would they completely overlook that story for themselves. SirChuckBGo Naked, Hitler Wore Clothes 18:17, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Obligatory "Because liberals" comment. -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:20, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Let the speculation begin! -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:22, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Dear American "Christians"... THIS is a Christian[edit]

you should try it sometime. --PsyGremlinParlez! 14:32, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Why would I try to be a Christian? -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:14, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah... I could've worded that a bit better. Hopefully the new heading meets your approval. --PsyGremlinSiarad! 15:24, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Cracked's 6 True Stories That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity[edit]

http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-true-stories-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity/ Is it wrong that I still feel utter contempt for humanity after reading this?Ryantherebel (talk) 15:31, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

The end of Russell Howard's Good News always helps with that. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 16:28, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

From the producers of Toddlers and Tiaras...[edit]

[1] --Revolverman (talk) 05:38, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Osaka Sun (talk) 05:47, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Seconded. Let's GTFO. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 16:02, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
"I've seen the life on this planet, and that is exactly why I'm looking elsewhere." -- (talk) 19:38, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Age math! Mama there was 15 when the first was born, and assuming the guy is the father... he was 23. --Revolverman (talk) 21:05, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
That's...sad. I have nothing against people living their own lives in privacy; as long as they're not affecting anyone else. That's their business. But...this, gives me shudders. BAD SHUDDERS. PEOPLE WATCH THIS. WHY!?--Dumpling (talk) 03:52, 23 August 2012 (UTC)
Facepalm.png When will TLC network finally be put out of their misery? Reckless Noise Symphony (talk) 12:10, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
The funny thing is people forget tat TLC stands for "The Learning Channel". Unfortunately, the learning portion has been lost a long time ago. And The History Channel has programming loosely based on history, but mostly based on pawn shops, auctions, and storage bins. It is no wonder that I no longer watch non-sporting events on the tube anymore. Aboriginal Noise Punkrock 13:32, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Piling on. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 13:39, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
They seem like nice enough people, although I worry for their health and still wouldn't want to hang out with them--"Shut up, Brx." 16:39, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I think we can find the culprit somewhere... -- Seth Peck (talk) 14:29, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm guessing that abstinence only sex ed doesn't cover the pitfalls of inbreeding </stereotype-based joke>--"Shut up, Brx." 03:01, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Archaeopteryx was probably not an ancestor of modern birds - Response inaccuracies?[edit]

I'm not sure response #3, is factual. I mention this because I was trying to track down the scientific research that supports this (and related claims). Over at skeptics.stackexchange.com I started a question that asked if experiments have shown birds can be born with scales instead of feathers and reptiles with feathers instead of scales. I provided an answer at that same site with the results of my own research on the matter. I could not find anything to fully substantiate these claims. Instead such claims, like the one on EvoWiki seem to have a small measure of truth mixed with a large helping of inaccuracies, exaggerations, and over generalization. Additionally, the reptile born with feathers instead of scales seems to have been modified from the same claim about chicks being born with scales instead of feathers. For example:

Experiments show that the same protein (when missing before birth) that causes bird feet to stay webbed, causes bird scutes and scales to become feathers - New World Encyclopedia


Scientists have actually discovered that the same protein (when missing at birth) that keeps bird feet webbed causes reptile scales to become feathers. EvoWiki page

Can someone either remove or correct this response, if it can't be substantiated in it's current state, or provide references to support it. Perhaps, an experiment was preformed that supports this, but if so, I'm not aware of it. --Nelmr1 (talk) 13:38, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

It might not be of pressing concern. Once Evowiki is incorporated into this project you'll be able to have at it at will. C®ackeЯ 14:46, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
'Once'? I don't think anything is changing on that front fast. Much of Evowiki is out of date at this point - if this is particularly pressing then User:Tmtoulouse is who you need to talk to. Peter Rapidly running out of marmite 07:30, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

AIUI they're still arguing over whether Archaeopteryx is an avian (classed with the modern birds, even if it did have teeth) or an avialan (not quite classed with the modern birds) or not even an avialan. Dinosaur research is a hot and heavy area, and anything over a couple of years old is just not current. I'd stick with whatever's in Wikipedia, the dinosaur obsessives there keep the pages up-to-date and pedantic -David Gerard (talk) 11:58, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

So driving through the Bible Belt again...[edit]

I've been off RW because I took a trip to Cincinnati (yes, saw the giant Effingham Cross again), and despite all the normal BS I see on the highways (such as the "Jesus Saves/Pornography Destroys" and anti-abortion billboards through KS and MO, e.g., "Thank Mom for Choosing Life"; yes, thanks Mama for not aborting me after having your IUD removed in a very deliberate, planned and documented attempt to become pregnant with me by your husband of eight years), the one WTF I managed to see were electronic signs through Missouri that read:




I'll give you a minute to let the bad math in the message sink in.

Incidentally, a week later on the way back, the stats were updated to read 513 deaths/63% unbuckled. -- Seth Peck (talk) 14:27, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

What bad math? It's called rounding. They didn't want to write 63.967611336% UNBUCKLED -- Nx / talk 14:59, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I guess this sign would have appealed to you then, Nx, as you missed the point entirely. The problem is that the sign only says how many people died and nothing to the effectiveness of seatbelts in accidents. The "64% unbuckled" statistic is essentially meaningless. -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:13, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Uh... wouldn't mean that of those 494 deaths, 64% of them were people who were not buckled into the car...? --Revolverman (talk) 15:15, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Not sure I get the joke either. I was guessing a double entendre, as in masturbating while driving :" Secret Squirrel (talk) 15:30, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Or since it's the Bible Belt, Pi = 3.0. Teach teh controversy !!!!111!1! Secret Squirrel (talk) 15:32, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
The sign is only talking about deaths, not rate of survival or rate of effectiveness. Sure, 64% of the deaths were among the unbuckled, but that still left 36% (~180 people) who either were buckled or, possibly, not even in a vehicle who still died. -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:36, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
So your complaint is really that they're posting non-sequitors on MO highways and not that they're bad at math(s). Redchuck.gif ГенгисGum diseaseModerator 15:54, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Sure, I guess. Really, my complaint is that the sign is fucking stupid. -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:03, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
The respective piece of maths you need to look at is here. However, it's not that meaningless unless you assume people wearing seatbelts are close to being a minority, at least below 50% or so. If you implicitly assume that wearing seatbelts is the norm and the message is targeted at, say, 10% who are stubborn libertarians who think the physics of car crashes are somehow optional, then the message works out mathematically correct and meaningful. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 16:40, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Completely off topic, when I start arguing with people about the "war on terrorism", especially the costs and privacy concerns and how people think it's all worth it, I like to bring up the fact that if the DOT required 5-point racing harnesses and full helmets, we could save more lives in 3 months than terrorism has taken in 10 years. But you don't want to get your hair messed up... Occasionaluse (talk) 19:22, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

While another school of thought points out that you could save even more lives by scrapping seat belts and replacing them with a foot-long razor sharp spike on the steering wheel, because then no one would drive irresponsibly - whereas a five-point harness and a crash helmet on a public highway would suggest that people can drive as recklessly as they would on a racetrack. Scarlet A.pngmoral 21:16, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I've heard that exact same argument used by Hardcore Austrian schoolers about savings insurance and banks. Is there a name for that faclicy? --Revolverman (talk) 21:21, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it's a "typo". Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 21:47, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
It's not that fallacious. I can't find the study but they found out in the 80s (90s?) that Volvo drivers were actually driving more dangerously than others. It's because we drive to a given perception of danger. Wrapped up in that big strong box that was the 80s Volvo there was no perception of danger at all until you were driving like a maniac and leaving behind a trail of scattered pedestrians, cyclists, lampposts, etc. Well, I exaggerate, of course, but the principle still stands. On the other hand, if you drive a Citroen 2CV (yes, I'm showing my age) then you drive safely because you know that even if you hit a cotton wool bud you'll end up worse off.
I don't know whether it's real or just my perception as a cyclist but I see the same thing nowadays with SUV drivers. They're the ones driving big strong boxes guaranteed to come of better in an accident. As such they are fearless which scares the shit out of us cyclists. Or maybe I just hate the bastards because that's the way I am! Bad Faith (talk) 15:33, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Another drive-through-the-country related topic...[edit]

One thing I was thinking of during my drive across the country, as well as my drive into work today (being stuck in traffic, dead stop on the highway for absolutely no reason) was that the automatic transmission is the worst thing to ever happen to driving (with the possible exception of the Scion xB). The problem is that the automatic transmission frees up people's hands (and minds) to engage in distractions (such as food, makeup, shaving, newspapers, cellphones, etc) and not keep their eyes on the fucking road. I recalled seeing a TV ad from the 1950s about how the automatic transmission made it possible for women to drive with ease and comfort (because, apparently, they're not smart enough to figure out what the clutch and shifter are for). Did a Google search, found this article interesting, wanted to know what RW thought (especially WfG/Knight/Refugee's, et al, opinions). -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:13, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I've seen plenty of people with manuals doing the exact same thing you accuse automatic transmission of causing. I really doubt it matters. --Revolverman (talk) 17:13, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
While that first statement is certainly accurate (I do think it matters somewhat, though I'd need to find a study about it), I was more concerned about the misogyny of the advertising from the 50s. -- Seth Peck (talk) 17:17, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, ya. I don't think there was a single thing in the 50s that was marketed to women that wasn't obscenely sexist, or racist, or... hell anything stereotypical. --Revolverman (talk) 17:20, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Having a partial disability my wife would no longer be able to drive without automatic transmission but your argument really only applies to internal combustion engines in contrast with electric cars that have direct drive. Personally I find cruise control to be more of a hazard as I tend to brake much later rather than automatically easing off the accelerator when I find the car in front slowing down. But really it's about good driver training, I did some defensive driving courses as part of an multi-national team and the instructors remarked that most of the British were actually much better at keeping both hands on the wheel than many other Europeans. I also find that bucket seats which offer better support encourage a better driving posture rather than lounging with one arm out of the window. Road design also plays a part as long straight roads contribute to boredom. As vehicle accidents are still one of the major sources of fatalities in my industry there is a lot of focus on road safety; no mobile phones nor anything else which distracts you while driving, stopping every two hours for a rest break, and never reversing out of minor road or parking space into a busier thoroughfare without assistance. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 17:21, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the perspective, GK. Interestingly, I'm (so far) not finding any studies about safety of automatic vs. manual, just lots of opinions on car forums (which, I find, are slightly above 9gag on the agreeability scale) that suggest that "driving a manual makes you a smarter driver", which might be true in only that it requires more training to drive a manual (or, as remarked on one forum, like learning to fly a 747 makes you a better pilot than only learning to fly a Cessna). I also found one blog that suggested that automatics reduce stress, though among experienced drivers I can't see how.
Interestingly, because you touched on this GK, I have a manual that has cruise control...and yeah, having used it over 2500 miles in the last week, I can see where you're coming from re: late braking. -- Seth Peck (talk) 17:30, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Glad I had time to skim the topics in Saloon Bar, I usually don't, and so normally wouldn't have noticed that you mentioned me (now I'm all egotistical with a swelled head because someone actually wants my opinion! yay!) lol. I thought it was an interesting article. I've driven both manual and automatical transmission cars and since I'm lazy and like things easier and like to talk on cellphone/eat-drink/change the music, etc., while driving, of course I like auto transmission better. I'm not sure about the gender aspect of marketing, I'll have to think about it more. There's likely some validity to it. One thing I do know is that some time in my life, and hopefully sooner than later, I would for once, like to own a brand new car. Or at least be able to afford one that has a 20 - instead of a 19 - in front of the year of make. Along with windows that roll all the way up and good brakes and tires. Refugeetalk page 06:08, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Freethought's thoughts on "censorship"[edit]

Probably something worth our time to read and comment on. We have this deep pull from our "troll site" days, that actually often limits us. When anyone talks about it, it tends to just devolve into "you don't get the idea of free speech" or "you are just rule hounds". In no small mesure, how we choose to police ourselves impacts who wants to be part of the game. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 17:07, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Already linked above :P ТyCurmudgeon 17:08, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
WEll hell then! ;-) i think i stole it from one of you, "disguised" as a real person on Facebook, anyhow. shiiitttt...Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 17:09, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
You know very well I do not have a facebook. Still, needs its own heading :P ТyCurmudgeon 17:11, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
It's an interesting point, actually, but widely applicable. When you have absolute unlimited freedom, as in "you're free to do whatever the hell you like with no consequences" then you immediately get the most assertive, dickish, boorish people dominating over the rest. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 18:04, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Yep. ТyCurmudgeon 18:05, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
The flip side, as i mentioned above, is this idea that you can somehow define all the things you can't do. "we don't allow discussions that support child abuse, rape, racism, or wife beating". as soon as you list specific things people can't do, they will find loopholes and say "ok, i'm not talking rape, but incest!" To me, there really is an acceptable way of saying "community standards will apply, which in general cover X, Y and Z, but also anything the community finds offensive over time". I am going to ask a blatantly sexist question, though. Why in so-called 'western society" is it usually guys who do this? what are we teaching them that makes them think being dicks is fun, and/or what is in their "social-biology" (made up term to say, i don't know if it's bio or soci) that makes them think this is fun? and blow things up! ;-) Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 18:30, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Possibly, because in the past guys have had the power without the responsibility, and may now feel their power-support-structure threatened. May possibly not be a complete explanation, but a start.--WickerGuy (talk) 18:40, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't agree that it has usually been guys. If you look around a bit, you may easily find female displays of gratuitous dominance. If you've seen Angela's Ashes, consider the matron of the messenger service, who always needs to have the last word. That character didn't come out of thin air... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 19:22, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Women do this sort of thing too except we aren't dicks, when we do it we're called bitchy or something. Proxima Centauri (talk) 19:35, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Well that's something that needs to change, isn't it? (If it hasn't already done...) It has been a few decades since I was surprised by hearing a male call another one a bitch. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 20:21, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I think it would be a bit of a red herring to ask why it's a "male" trait. While you're right that this sort of behaviour is your macho-male thing, correlation does not equal causation must apply. Some people will naturally find that they're charismatic, dominant and can easily speak over others with their boorish behaviour. That's all, really. Scarlet A.pngpathetic 21:14, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm reminded of a Royal Canadian Air Farce radio skit from years and years ago that at one point addresed the gender-inspecificity of "bastard" in the context of a male character being called a bastard, but a female character being called a bitch -- it was helpfully added, in a funnier way than I'm explaining now, that women can be bastards too. (It was implied that "bitch" didn't have this bi-directional application.) Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 21:45, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
In more positive terms, proactive risk-taking, when exhibited by a male, is termed "balls." When a female shows a similar attitude, it is called "clitzpah." Now, please, back to the benign effects of dictatorial "don't be a dick" censorship on the tone of an online community. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 02:25, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

So just what are Jerry DeWitt's "five stages of disbelief"?[edit]

There's been much Internet traffic over the Sunday New York Times article on pastor-turned-atheist Jerry DeWitt who has given talks evidently on the "five stages of disbelief". I can't find any indicator of what they are, though I'm guessing video may tell me. Anyone know? He's evidently the first member of Dennett and Barker's wp:the Clergy Project to come "out of the closet", and I, for one, am glad he's around. He's now President of Recovering from Religion.--WickerGuy (talk) 23:48, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Question answered
1) God loves everybody (but damns a lot)(Classical Christianity)
2) God saves everybody (Universalism and several schools of liberal Christianity [my own upbringing])
3) God is within everybody (Paul Tillich's Ground of Being [ditto])
4) God is your internal dialogue (Joseph Campbell)
5) God is a delusion (Richard Dawkins).--WickerGuy (talk) 00:22, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Here are mine:
  1. Ask father if god exists, he says no
  2. Use atheism to cultivate a smug sense of superiority
  3. Get into futile discussions with creationists
  4. Give up, adopt live and let live attitude
  5. Transfer smug sense of superiority from outspoken antagonistic atheism to accomodationism
--"Shut up, Brx." 02:59, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I did write this a while back which covers a similar cycle. For me if you're going to go through "stages" it implies some degree of development, from merely asserting to reasoning - BUT we have a very human problem of firstly figuring out what we believe and then figuring out why. This is unfortunate, but until doxastic voluntarism is a reality we're stuck with that. So any "stages" you care to think of aren't really going to be evolutions of belief but more evolutions of rationalisation. Of the five posted just above, 1-4 are just attempting to maintain "God is real" as a trope, but shuffling around the details to get around facts that you can't quite reconcile with it. Even with no.5, where someone admits that "God is a delusion" merely provides an excuse for believing something despite evidence to the contrary. Scarlet A.pngmoral 11:04, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Islamophobes all up in my grills[edit]

Geller and Spencer return! I miss last year when all the billboard spam was end times stuff. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:38, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Java Update is a security risk[edit]

From huff po, from cnet. I'm sure you are all aware of this. I'm not a geek so i'm behind on my news. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 16:58, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Men, who needs them?[edit]

Nice little essay on how we could do without the half of the species that seems to start most of the wars/perpetrate most of the mass-shootings/hoard most of the wealth and power. Written by a man. Theory of Practice Haters gonna hate. 19:49, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

I know this has been done in sci-fi before, but damned if I can remember where. The idea that other intelligent lifeforms wouldn't have necessarily evolved sexes (or would have evolved to eliminate the need for them) is even more common, though. Q0 (talk) 23:18, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
The whole MEN ARE THE MORE AWFUL SEX GO START LADYLAND meme that pervaded a bunch of sci-fi and some other places has always been lost on me. When they cite "Men have started all of the wars and do the most horrible things with money, violence and sex" it's technically true... but the thing is that it's true because men for most of our human history have been the ones in power, in the position to do those things. Blaming something inherently 'wrong' with them often comes with the implication that women are inherently 'weaker' than macho men and unable to stop them... when history depicts a world in which they were usually socially maneuvered out of the ability and awareness required to stop them. Eh. Blah. It's a good essay (one of the better ones for this silly topic) but the concept forever will be restricted to Golden Age of Science Fiction for me. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRcritical thinking is the key to success! 23:29, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
From Cordwainer Smith's The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal:
Since they did not have the rewards of family life, they became strutting cockerels, who mixed their love with murder, who blended their songs with duels, who sharpened their weapons and who earned the right to reproduce within a strange family system which no decent Earth-man would find comprehensible.
Sleep tight, kiddies... Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:36, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm with night on this one. The desire to get power - epsecially at all costs - is not common, and those who have that drive are generally fucking assholes and don't mind killing the plebes in wars. I think if women had been in a position to be in power, the same drive would create teh same assholes. They just might be more vicious every 28 days. hehe. I do think that today, socially, women are more gentile in general, but i don't think it's cause "women are women", just caues we tell them to be nice and take care of everyone.--Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 04:57, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
"...often comes with the implication that women are inherently 'weaker' than macho men and unable to stop them..." Right, but it reminds me more of the logic that leads to longing for the ancient matriarchy more than sci-fi. It's the same old essentialism except with its value judgments reversed. Also, Milk Snatcher. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:01, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
BTW, I think this is the book you guys are looking for: Herland. (Not Ladyland, and definitely not Electric LadylandWikipedia) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:07, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, Thatcher proved that being a dick (no pun intended) isn't restricted to the male gender. Still, should there be an approach that makes sure that women are in more places of power to balance out the incompetences of the opposite sex? I don't see why not. Osaka Sun (talk) 06:49, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Men, by the way, have also done almost all of scientific research, and are responsible for a huge fraction of technological innovation, I really wish we could quit the gender bashing... --Andynot Schlafly 13:39, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Let me clarify that: the only reason that has happened is because only men had the opportunity to. Unfortunately, women didn't have the opportunity to do those things. Men have started most wars because they have held power; women historically have (unfortunately) did not have power. --Andynot Schlafly 13:43, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
"All matriarchies anti-homosexual, conformist and prosaic. Find yourself in a matriarchy walk don't run to the nearest frontier. If you run, some frustrated latent queer cop will likely shoot you." Doc Benway, in Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:17, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Sci-fi? It's older than radio. Scarlet A.pngbomination 19:33, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I love men. :-) I'm female by the way. I like women too (as friends). Men and women can complement each other, as there's a certain energy that many men have and a certain vibe that a lot of women give off, and I like it when it meshes well. But anyway, I love men. :p Refugeetalk page 21:03, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I am a man and I like to have sex with woman. Then, when I am done woman realise they don't need men, just a man. Like me. So I guess what I am trying to say is I am dynamite in the sack. Acei9 21:05, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Either Refugee is drunk and just wanted to say "I love you so much guys!" or there's homophobic argument coming down the pipe. --K. (talk) 00:34, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
No drunk, Ref is just a strange person. Definitely not homophobic either. I love everyone. :-) I guess my comment was partly in response to Andy (above) who said "I really wish we could quit the gender bashing" and partly I was just thinking how awesome men are. :p Refugeetalk page 05:39, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
and women too. We are also awesome. Refugeetalk page 05:40, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and Ace too. Ace is awesome as well. Done now. Refugeetalk page 05:42, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Wait, when did women become awesome? I thought we were just there for Dishes, Procreation, and generalized Messy but Minor Mayhem?Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 14:56, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Wife - Washing, Ironing, Fucking, Et cetera... --PsyGremlinParlez! 15:05, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Relevant. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:51, 28 August 2012 (UTC) Here in the UK there are often stories in the papers decrying a rising number of women indulging in the tradtional male post pub/club pastimes of fighting and being sick over themselves AMassiveGay (talk) 21:10, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

demoting vs promoting[edit]

I wonder if it's time to stop using the backwards "demoting" to describe when someone is made a sysop or "promoting" when they have abilities taken away. It's always been a kind of funny unique to RW thing but can be confusing. Anyone? Refugeetalk page 05:46, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

No. Tielec01 (talk) 07:15, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I see what you mean, Refugee, but to switch would be even more confusing, some users would take up the new style and some would stick with the old one out of preference and habit. SophieWilder 07:21, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes. ТyBored 11:08, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
It's rather a forced meme, if people really thought that being a sysop or crat was a "demotion" there wouldn't be so much butt-hurt when the were "promoted" back. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 11:44, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
It's very forced, and it doesn't work. Renaming "administrative abuse" to "Chicken Coop" was supposed to remove the "Serious. Fucking. Business." aspect of it. That's failed. "Demotion" was supposed to reinforce the idea that sysops weren't "a better class of user". That's failed. What would be better would be not to refer to it by a matriarchal term but by "you're now in the sysop usergroup so you can do X, Y and Z". Neither up, nor down. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 16:50, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree. ТyCurmudgeon 16:57, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
I've never much cared for the demote/promote meme, & would support removing it from the relevant help/policy pages. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:41, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, it seems like some folks have had thoughts along the same lines. It's kind of a left-over from the brand new RW which had no *rules* or whatever, but it just seems like RW is becoming more of a "wants to be taken seriously" wiki, more "levels and guidelines" type of place, with a Board of Directors and moderators and all, and the backwards terminology is confusing to newbies (and me) sometimes. So, can we do a vote, or a proposal, or suggestion somewhere? And where should this suggestion be to get notice and more feedback? Refugeetalk page 05:56, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Nah, just take it out & see if anyone kicks up a fuss. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 07:07, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
If you make a point to use the words in the intuitive sense then half the battle will be over - other people will follow you or the words will be dropped from use altogether because of the confusion. Peter Rapidly running out of marmite 07:27, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, if no one else comments, I guess there isn't that much interest in changing it after all, so it will remain status quo and pibot will come in and archive this discussion in a day or two. It was worth a try. Refugeetalk page 15:08, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I'd be perfectly fine with it being changed on the official documentation, at least to remove the concept of "promotion" and "demotion" in any respect. Then it ceases to be official and anyone continuing to use the "old" way is just making an ironic joke that is liable to be misunderstood - and then "RationalWiki" isn't the one at fault. Sysop should be "if you've established yourself as someone who isn't going to cause problems, these tools will be useful for you". The only reason we strip them from people is because of the trust issue; if you're dicking around, then why should we trust you with the ability to delete pages at will? Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 15:16, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Done. Let the whiny past-worshiping kvetching begin. ТyJFBAA 15:27, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Un-done. Come off it Ty. You knew that was going to be controversial. This wasn't a proper discussion. rpeh •TCE 15:34, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
uh huh. Nope. ТyJFBAA 15:37, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Incidentally, I don't give a damn one way or the other, but you can't change the site's standards policy through a discussion in the bar in which a tiny number of people took part and where more than one disagreed with the suggestion. Good grief. rpeh •TCE 15:39, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I was about to say "Thanks Ty, that was a very rational thing to do" but got edit conflicted. Is the wording really such a big deal that we need a huge discussion? So I guess the next step is a vote? Where do we do one? Refugeetalk page 15:41, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
How about making a "Community Issues" page? In which we put all current discussions of site policy change, etc., votes and so forth? So that people know where to look for current issues under discussion on no one misses an important topic or vote. Refugeetalk page 16:07, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
It's a change to the Community Standards, so it should be on the Community Standards talk page. The standard way of proposing a change is to side-by-side the current and proposed policies, and it should be Intercommed. Yes, I'm making a fuss but if you're changing policy it needs to be done properly because otherwise you set a bad precedent. rpeh •TCE 16:48, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
It's not even changing policy, it's just ironing out and old in-joke that doesn't work any more. Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 16:50, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Totally agree with Armondikov. That sums up the situation well. So many large changes have been made here, why such a need for discussion of a minor point? A change for the better, more rational wording. Refugeetalk page 16:59, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
And the second point was a suggestion for a Community Issues page. Where all large type changes can be discussed, votes held, etc. Not just for this issue. There are often concurrent discussions & votes on issues in multiple places, Chicken Coop, Salloon Bar, talk pages & etc. If it's too hard to make improvments here it's demoralizing and people stop trying. Refugeetalk page 17:01, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I say keep it. It is a part of our history and who we are. We shouldn't just abandon everything that made us unique because some number of people get confused (for a small amount of time). DamoHi 05:09, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
  • I suspect that those who think the "in-joke" isn't working any more actually never got it in the first place. They think that having the tools is a mark of rank or honor. When I started hanging out on Wikipedia Review -- it was long before I was banned on Wikipedia -- I noticed that the smartest of the long-time users, those who actually understood how wikis worked -- and didn't work -- had been banned or had left Wikipedia. The "promoted/demoted" trope expresses something, but, hey, if RW doesn't want to use it any more, that actually won't change anything. A promotion will still be a promotion and a demotion will still be a demotion. Just the words will change. --Abd (talk) 00:46, 29 August 2012 (UTC)


Probably going to become a hurricane later on this evening. Will make landfall some time tomorrow evening. Will reach here Wednesday afternoon. Cheers. ТyJFBAA 03:32, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Stay safe Ty! Refugeetalk page 06:30, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Batten down the hatches, and good luck!--ADtalkModerator 19:50, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
So far just a lot of wind. ТyJFBAA 21:18, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Power flickering. Later guys. ТyJFBAA 00:43, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
But I thought they were cancelling the Republican convention? ZING! Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 12:19, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

I remember a year ago when tropical storm Irene went through my area. My house was fine (1-day-long blackout, & we had a generator), but down the street my neighbour (a farmer) got his farm literally turned into a river for the time being. Best wishes for you! The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 15:21, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Nude Revolution Calendar[edit]

I want to add this link, and the discussions about this calandar somewhere, but not sure where a good fit would be. I was thinking generic feminism, but not sure since it's atheist women doing it. Suggestions? Nede Revolutionary Calendar. It's probably "not safe for work". but it should be, which is, of course, the point.Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 16:20, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

I have a basic problem with this. The continued use of naked female bodies, even when they are "not conventionally beautiful", still says that a woman's worth is in her boobs. To continue on the problem, I also understand how it is tied to reclaiming sexuality, and the validity of sex-workers. In other words, things like this are incredibly hard to comment on, since they tie in to several often contradicting ideas. Sure there should be a right to your own body, including nude photos... But how much of that is tied to the patriarchal idea that a woman's worth is her body etc etc... My head, it hurts... Dendlai (talk) 17:46, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I could not disagree more. They're beautiful people who are nude because that's fine, not in order to titillate. I once got involved in a Spencer Tunnick installation and found the same thing. Getting undressed was uncomfortably embarassing but, once we were there, there was a liberation that had absolutely nothing to do with sex and everything to do with rejoicing in the beauty that is the human body.
No, my biggest criticism is it's all a bit western white middle class (as was the Tunnick). Bad Faith (talk) 18:00, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Amen, it's not about being sexy or titlating anyone. it's about saying "Just take a look. get over it. it's a body. the boobs are for baby food. look at me. see me." it's an amazingly powerful statement to take back the idea that our bodys are either dirty, or sexual. my boobs, the hair under my armpits, my lips, my hip, my fat, my skinny bones, what ever is just my body. and nothing more. women's bodies are titalating because they are covered. uncovered, freed, they become normal, like seeing a guy's naked chest on tv or at a beach. "and?" Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 18:08, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
If uptight individuals weren't so hung up on sex, it'd be less taboo as well. -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:10, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
The more that nudity is repressed the more titillating it becomes. Most nudity in the west is usually of attractive young people, if more ordinary and older people were routinely seen naked it would become much less sexual. Having visited nude beaches in continental Europe (it's usually too cold in the UK) you see a lot of not very attractive naked flesh and there is little sexual about it even when someone more attractive is present. Breasts have been so sexualised that breast-feeding mums have to be hidden away. Strangely, I was once on a train in Saudi Arabia sitting opposite an Arab woman wearing a niqab who quite casually started breastfeeding in plain sight and nobody in the carriage batted an eyelid. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 19:33, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Misunderstanding is fun. This idea of the human body (almost always female, funnily enough or whatcha say?) is beautiful no matter what is old, and had been done to death. Saying it's nothing sexual is laughable. Of course it is. The point, no matter what approach you take, is that "Female bodies are sexual and/or beautiful". As you've both agreed with me, essentially. "The beauty that is the human body"? Yeah, funny coincidence that it is always the female human body, eh? Dendlai (talk) 19:37, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
No, it isn't always the female body, most of the time, but not always. And now I will start mentally screaming at you: read the damn first page. It's a calendar in support for Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, a Egyptian atheist feminist liberal activist, who protested with a nude picture against the oppression of women in Egypt. If these women weren't nude, this wouldn't make a fuckin' lick of sense.
Women are used as symbols of this new freedom because traditionally in most societies around the world, the women are or were the ones oppresed, therefor a naked female body is a symbol of the last wall breaking down. Sexualized or not, horny men aren't the only reason why women get nude. --K. (talk) 20:13, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I get the idea, but I think I'm still correct in saying that the average dude-brain is going to translate the message as "Hurr, boobies." (See also BoobquakeWikipedia.) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:18, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
And here's a giant fat SO WHAT. it's got nothign to do with the boys. they will make it about them (see Greta's page at think progress), but they are not a part of it. The power comes from within a woman who is saying to herself "it stops here". I get that most men don't really "understand" what kind of powers we are talking about, cause you go through life and get told pretty much you can go where you want, do what you want, with only minor modifications like "but wear a tux here" "a suite there". The statement of saying "my body is mine", of staring at yourself in teh window and say "this is me", of saying "you cannot hide women's bodies, and art about women, because in doing so, you are trying to erase woman - and I won't stand for it", is powerful. it's not that it will change the world, neb. its' that it will change a woman. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 21:25, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Don't you people have Gok Wan over there? AMassiveGay (talk) 21:29, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I like that, but this isn't about body image, or "loving your body". It's about reclaiming control over it. Who can tell you how to dress, what to wear, how often to have sex, etc. It's hard to understand how dehumanized it feels to be told to hide yoruself, especially as it might corrupt other people. But that is the core of this movement. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 21:33, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the concept - stop treating female nudity as taboo. The downside? You're still going to get much less clicks to it if they were guys. The easiest way to disprove the whole "women are overly emotional and clouds their judgement" myth is to show off a boob - that's where us men turn into Chad Kroeger walking penises. Instant pr0n.

I don't know exactly what needs to be done to change this. It's a double-edged sword really. Osaka Sun (talk) 00:42, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

So, if my attitude is "they're naked, so fucking what?" is that the right attitude? I'm not exactly convulsing in horror because ermagherd-itz-da-devilz-dermplins but I'm also not exactly screaming "Good for you! You're so liberated! Fight the taboos! Go!!" either. I'm just "meh". Scarlet A.pngpatheticModerator 01:03, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
You're a middle class, highly educated, liberal, feminist western European heritage guy. I wouldn't expect otherwise from you. Would it surprise you, that even understanding the point of teh calendar, even being told why these women felt compelled to do it; that it wasn't about sex, or being sexy, or even being looked at - there were no small number of men who's only comments to Greta were that "you are too old and ugly to do this, why are you doing this", and degradations from there. sighs.... Anyhow. "Meh" is a pretty fucking evolved attitude, cause it really comes down to "ok, good for you if that makes your self feminist, i've got chicken in the oven that needs to be checked!" ;-)Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 03:34, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm really, really not middle-class. I have no idea where people get this from. Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 11:15, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Middle class to me means less about your income than your background. I get the idea from how well educated (in a 'well rounded' sense) and spoken you are, that you grew up the kid of a firefigther and a teacher; the kid of a banker and a vet; the kid of a geologist and a librarian - ie, a child who grew up knowing that education is important and that you would seek education outside of your public school years. Otherwise, if you grew up the kid of a farmer and a plumber, you've done good to make yourself! :-) Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 15:33, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
It mostly comes from hanging around on the internet (yes, this notoriously white, male, teenage, heteronormative environment is more diverse than my actual background). I'll spare the boring details. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 15:54, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh, Cool. :-) good on you then. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 15:59, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes, this was on Reddit. No, I don't understand.[edit]

WTF. -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:01, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Lame obvious parody is obvious & lame. WèàšèìòìďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:19, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree; it doesn't even qualify as a borderline Poe. Spongebob running around nekkid? Nope. He's usually got his famous square pants on. Failing that, he might appear in tighty whitey Y-fronts. Furthermore, most porifera are asexual, without gonads.
Patrick, on the other hand, is a pickle smoocher. He and Spongebob were having a picnic, and there was a quick sight gag, right over the kiddies' heads, I hope, of Patrick affectionately kissing a gherkin. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:23, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Rule 34 applies. Spongebob porn is out there, for those brave/sick/bored enough to look for it. WẽãšẽĩõĩďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:31, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
And you obviously have. Redchuck.gif ГенгисYou have the right to be offended; and I have the right to offend you.Moderator 19:08, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
If real, I wonder what would happen if she ever went to the New England coast. --Revolverman (talk) 19:37, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Bay Terrace is on Staten Island, so she's probably been close to there...-- Seth Peck (talk) 21:36, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Closer to Fire Island than Provincetown. Still, your basic Rhode Island guido is full of machismo, among other things. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:19, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Badly drawn Spongebob S&M porn, in fact. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 23:25, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
"Bay Terrace is on Staten Island..." And Staten Island is known for being a pocket of wingnuttery, so it wouldn't surprise me. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:57, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Samsung guilty of not being Apple first[edit]

Jury decides Samsung owes Apple one billion dollars because a foreman said so. The jury had 700 questions worth of instructions to follow that they somehow powered through in 2-3 days. A lawyer says it would take him that time just to read the instructions. The whole article bears reading, but here's a couple choice quotes from the foreman himself:

We wanted to make sure the message we sent was not just a slap on the wrist," Hogan said. "We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable."

Hogan said jurors were able to complete their deliberations in less than three days -- much faster than legal experts had predicted -- because a few had engineering and legal experience, which helped with the complex issues in play. Once they determined Apple's patents were valid, jurors evaluated every single device separately, he said.

“When I got in this case and I started looking at these patents I considered: ‘If this was my patent and I was accused, could I defend it?’” Hogan explained. On the night of Aug. 22, after closing arguments, “a light bulb went on in my head,” he said. “I thought, I need to do this for all of them.”

Behold, the United States, the only First World country that allows Trial by Jury for civil cases! I'll be very surprised if Samsung doesn't call for a mistrial. In fact, I think they've already started on that. --CoyoteSans (talk) 21:36, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

And Samsung won the case in its home county. Nationalism AND Arrogance. Wonderful. Got to love patent law. --Revolverman (talk) 21:41, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Neuromancer. Welcome to the age of cyberpunk. Only less sexy. And decided in law courts rather than net-running. And no fancy ICE, just home-field advantage. So maybe not cyberpunk. Close though.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 22:56, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
What exactly did they patent again? A rectangular box with a screen? Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 23:17, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
There goes the television market. Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 23:35, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
I hate to be the cynical socialist in the corner here, but it's hard to ignore the irony in "justice" when we're talking about how a billion dollars might change hands between two of the world's largest companies (each with an economy larger than the vast majority of actual states). Q0 (talk) 00:44, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Right, I should have been more clear: I think they're both terrible companies and a verdict either way would be bad since it doesn't address the core issue that the US Patent System is FUBAR and only going to become more so when the "first-to-invent" rules get replaced with "first-to-file" next year. I posted this primarily to draw attention to the legal bullshit of the jury deciding to award Apple the case due to the foreman (who seems to be heavily biased in favor of patent holders) dominating the jury discussion and fast-tracking the decision process to that end. It doesn't help that one member of the jury owned an iPhone and nobody owned a Samsung, so I strongly suspect there was also an undercurrent of Apple~ reality distortion field going on. --CoyoteSans (talk) 00:59, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
First-to-file vs first-to-invent is not a big deal. Patents are on the whole a bad deal for society regardless though. For patents to work, so far as I can tell, R&D has to be very, very expensive. I can think of one field (perhaps there are a handful of others?) where that's true, pharmaceuticals. If you spend fifteen years and ten million dollars developing a drug then I can see that a limited monopoly on sales of that drug is a powerful incentive for you to do that. I don't think patents were the right way to achieve that, but we have this world and not some hypothetical better world, so I should acknowledge that this seems to somewhat work. For everybody else they're just harmful because it will take more effort to search what has been patented than to invent something yourself, so the public gains no benefit from the supposed publication of patents and only takes on the cost of enforcing a monopoly until the patent runs out. (talk) 08:36, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Can secularism improve society?[edit]

I've started an article, Can secularism improve society? and would appreciate advice from readers who understand social science. Links to good websites would be very helpful. Proxima Centauri (talk) 12:12, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Probably one of those "questions to which the answer is no". Scarlet A.pngtheistModerator 12:15, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Your definition of "secularism" is a curious one when you point to countries with an established national church as secular, and the USA (which has an explicit separation of church & state) as non-secular. If you mean atheism rather than secularism, you could just say so. WěǎšěǐǒǐďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 12:49, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
A definition becomes problematic when there's a massive disparity between what is enshrined in writing, and what the reality actually is. Even though we have a monarchy ordained by God and an official state religion, the UK is pretty secular in practice and the CofE's escapades have been limited to desperate cries for relevance for nearly 20 years. Conversely, even though "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" is written right there for all to see in the US constitution, in reality you can't get away with being non-Christian in mainstream politics and those actually standing up for that secular clause are often vilified. Then you have another category of countries which enforce State Atheism, usually by replacing religion with a quasi-religious personality cult of the Dear Leader. In short, you can't even begin to answer the question without seriously deconstructing what you mean by "secularism" in the first place. Scarlet A.pngtheistModerator 12:58, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Generally that's what adjectives are for. Instead of having to narrow down "secular" to one meaning, one could use more clear cut concepts than that. For example secularism could be the basic tendency of seperating one's own religious beliefs from one's belief in how society should be organized, while theocratism (yes, I made that word up, sue me) would be the exact opposite of that. Than you can divide by "statist secular" which would be your basic secular state with freedom and protection of religion and "societal secularism" which would be the importance of religion, the religiosity of any society and a few other numerical values you can get from basic surveys. And of course you would have to divide between "de jure secular" and "de facto secular". For the effects of it, you can count political religions as religions. With these few words added you can describe most countries:
  • USA: state secular, societal theocratic, de jure secularist with heavy religional variations
  • UK: state theocratic, societal secular, de facto secularist without variation
  • Germany: state secular, societal secular. de facto secularist without variation
  • North Korea: state theocratic, societal theocratic, de facto theocratic
  • China: state theocratic, societal secular, de facto secular with extreme regional variations
  • India: state secular, societal theocratic, de facto secular
NO. India is NOT de facto secular. My father is over there for two years and there have been not one, not two, but THREE ENORMOUS RELIGIOUS PROCESSIONS that span THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, marching for MILES AND MILES along the roads passing by Pune where he works. It would not be safe there to declare that my mom is of jewish decent because of the huge muslim population there; in particular it is very angry at anyone remotely Jewish. The conflict there between Muslims and Hindus in part CREATED the Sikhs. The reason why it is state secular is because there are TOO MANY religions and variations of religions in the country; they had a hard enough time deciding on a national language, let alone a religion. Let alone enforcing such a choice: hindi is used primarily in government documents and only a few regions of the country. So NO, not secular. VERY not secular. It would not be safe there for me to say anything bad about any religion at all there, much less declare that I am an atheist.±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgarrulous en guerre 14:15, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Uh, clarifying. Not really arguing with you, but actually more agreeing with you: You CAN describe it as secular because it does not declade an official religion for the WHOLE country,, but it really really is not secular at all. Hence the flaw in describing countries as secular by saying they have no official religion: India should NOT be compared to the likes of Sweeden and Denmark whose populations are very secular. Most people in India are religious. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRjust shut up already 14:24, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Actually, changing my mind again. Neither disagreeing nor agreeing with you. I find your point somewhat OK but your way of expressing it inaccurate. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 14:25, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
India is really hard to put into these categories (as much as any other categories), mainly because the country really isn't as much a nation as much as a collection of nations that never really seperated. You said it above, way too many religions for anything to be dominating, no common language on a native level and different cultures. It's just a colorful mess. But just that makes it secular on a federal and state level, the very fact that there is no religion dominating the country parts the decision making process from religion. Now, that makes the state secular, but the people aren't. What you describe is what I meant with "societal theocratic", you can't really criticize the religion(s), the society is quite conservative because several big religions agree on issues, but that doesn't necessarily make the country (=the state + the society) as bad as say Saudi-Arabia. What I agree on with you is that these categories would need refinement, at best in a numerical fashion. Than the differences between India and Sweden could be highlighted properly. --K. (talk) 15:36, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Turkey: state secular, societal theocratic, de facto secular
  • Russia: state secular, scoietal theocratic, de facto theocratic
Now you take that data give a numerical value to every country and compare it to happiness, economic success, crime rates and so on while adjusting to preexisting conditions of all those factors and you'd actually get an answer. My guess would be that it matters slightly, but other factors far outweight it. Guess you'd need historian, a major of social sciences and a statistician to do this well. (I don't think this is deconstructing anything) --K. (talk) 14:07, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
How is the Chinese state theocratic? — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 14:14, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Cult of personality That surrounds Chairman Mao and the Gerontocracy, I'd assume. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 14:59, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
As I wrote above, I'd count political religions as religions, because they have the same meaning as normal/traditional religions to a society. Although China is a bit problematic as the freedom of press varies on the topic: newest fashion for the winter? You're as free as in Copenhagen. Latest economic policy? Human Rights? You better write what they dictate you. --K. (talk) 15:36, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
A secular society probably would not have the problems associated with religious issues, but without social support systems and other factors it certainly would have many of the same problems, simply with different factions. The countries you cited, in addition to having largely secular populations, also have some of the lowest rates of income inequality as well as some of the best health care and social support in the world. More than their atheism, these are probably why their populations are satisfied. However, in some cases a widespread religion and the values associated with some religions, can stand in the way of those factors. So it's a murky area to discuss. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlongissimus non legeri 13:02, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I know the whole subject is difficult and I doubt if I'll manage more than to suggest what looks likely. Still I'm going to try. I've copied Denmark and Sweden so I can study it on my computer without having to go online every time. I'll pay attention to the case against my viewpoint as well as the case for it. I'll do what I can and if I can't answer the question I'll give pointers that better social scientists can follow. Proxima Centauri (talk) 13:35, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You might want to consider the situation in the agressively-secular France with the controversies over the application of laïcitéWikipedia Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 13:36, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I've added a link to here in Can secularism improve society? but I'm not sure how to do a permanent link Do I need to wait till the last comment is added before the page is archived? Proxima Centauri (talk) 14:42, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that the title is appropriate for mainspace. It might be much better as an essay. Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 14:44, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
It's appropriate for mainspace in Atheism Wiki. I thought of doing it as an essay here but too many essays have been deleted recently. If the mob like it I may copy it here. Proxima Centauri (talk) 14:53, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'm reminded of a quote by Dawkins..."what expertise can theologians bring to deep cosmological questions that scientists cannot?" which would seem to be appropriate here in a slightly different context. -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:23, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

It's also very problamtic to write anything that says "such and such is BETTER". Cause that's not a measureable term. Is there less gun violence? Is there less rape? But what if there is less rape and more obesity? or what if, in a highly secular country such is japan, there is an extremely high susicide rate, dysfunctional ability to be creative there, such a restricted/repressed level of sexuality that there is abuse of women on trains, and an overly controlling corporate society to the point where your weddings are treated by corporations like stock options. I suspect any such article would be so filled with cherry picking that it would have nothing of any value in it. Now, you could make articles specifically about specific social ills. "God and suicide (or lack of, I suppose)", "Religious adherence and rape", ummm... "Number of terrorists who were religious" or something. But as always, be specific, do not generalize, do not cherry pick. Then you have articles that are not about personal opinion, but are grounded in real studies. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 15:25, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

If there were no religion I am sure we could find something else to fuck things up for everyone. ----


Anyone else have an account on there? Just figured I'd ask since I've recently uploaded a new picture. The Heidelberg Kid (talk) 01:43, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but I am not linking it because it has nothing to do with RationalWiki and this wiki is not my social network. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRsufficiently advanced argument still distinguishable from magic 02:24, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Other users here have deviant art accounts, and they share links to them openly. KoTLDR, there's no need to be mean--"Shut up, Brx." 02:55, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Bawwwwww, she doesn't want to mix her different social circles, she's meeeeaaaannnnnn. Only in the Brx-o-verse. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgoing galt: the literal crazy train 16:36, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, on the other hand, the saloon bar does give the friendly chat place feeling. (talk) 03:23, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Yep, just wish I had a decent camera to photograph with really...--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 10:25, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes. Scarlet A.pngtheist 10:57, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, PROTIP: when linking to a DeviantART image, click on the title so that you get a URL that reads something like username.deviantart.com/art/deviation-title-goes-here-12345678 as linking to the one that says username.deviatartm.com/#abc123 is to a gallery link. These take longer to load and parse, giving you the impression you've linked to a gallery or search result rather than an image, and are basically fucking annoying. Who the hell thought that was a good idea is beyond me. Scarlet A.pngbominationModerator 14:49, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Here's my Flickr photostream, which is similar enough to a DeviantArt account i figure. Nihilist 19:23, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Evangelicals and the US Presidential election[edit]

Will evangelicals vote for Romney and Ryan? They say they will, but is that just the Bradley effect at work? I see a lot of people getting defensive about Romney's Faith (Examples in the comments), but if it's just the filthy Liberal media, which True Christians never read, why should they care? I'm on the outside, looking in... and it looks to me like they're scared.

Maybe the GOP choosing a Mormon and a Catholic was pushing it too far... I was raised Catholic, so I don't have beef with Romney over his religion -I learned all about the absurd things the Protestants said of Al Smith and JFK, and I'm not scared by people with a couple of extra texts and funny clothing. And these days, all religions are equally absurd to me.

But the Romney-Ryan ticket might stick in the craw of Evangelicals. Would they vote for a third party in any significant numbers? Is there some data giving a more accurate picture of their opinions? Have any churchgoers here heard rumblings in their congregation? --TheLateGatsby (talk) 14:34, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Since the rise of the Religious Riht (which is post-JFK), evangelicals have been far more willing to suspend their criticisms of Catholics than was the case before. They seem to think that their common opposition to abortion, etc. is a stronger unifier than the separation over theological differences.--WickerGuy (talk) 17:08, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Hm... Santorum's primary successes do support the notion that Evangelicals have calmed down about "Mary-Worshippers". When you brought up abortion, you reminded me of this: An Atheist's Guide to the 2012 Election and Penn Jillette's ideas about the magic word "Christian". --TheLateGatsby (talk) 17:18, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
this bloke in Virginia could put a spanner in the works. SophieWilder 12:58, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Evangelical Christianity and the Republican Party specialize in the same thing: FEAR. As long as Evangelicals remain terrified of the scary man in the White House, and of the gays and of contraceptives and of science education, then they'll vote for whomever Rush Limbaugh tells them to. Apokalyps2547 (talk) 22:38, 29 August 2012 (UTC)


I've had this message from Dumpling on farcebook: There's no power at the current moment, but I still have my cellphone. My tree split in half, but so far no major damages. It rained like crazy during the night, but now it's being just windy again. School has been cancelled one more day until Thursday...Meh. Once the drizzling stops, our neighborhood is have a massive bar b que down the street to cook/grill all the cold food. And there's a cool photo of her tree literally split in half down to the ground. SophieWilder 20:03, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Update: [Ty] is doing alright at his apartment. So far he's been watching Game of Thrones and eating. He's had power the whole time. SophieWilder again 20:08, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
The apartment building is it's own little island. ТyJFBAA 20:28, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
view from my living room
I hope all those loose leaves don't trigger your OCD. All those leaves flying around... or lying on the ground. Surely they need to be put into categories? rpeh •TCE 21:25, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Those poor trees and their ability to feed themselves...±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRlavishly loquacious 21:36, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Ooh, should we categorize by shape, margin, or venation? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:41, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Just remember, that hurricane was prayed in your direction away from the RNC. Aboriginal Noise Punkrock 23:09, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Add new topic[edit]

Did the "Add new topic" feature disappear during the recent upgrade? SophieWilder 20:05, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

It's at the top of the page with the other buttons. Threw me for a loop, too. --CoyoteSans (talk) 20:18, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
It used to be at the bottom as well. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 20:37, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Something ELSE Trent fucked up. Sheesh. (talk) 20:45, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
ohhh, the TOP. gotcha.--Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 21:04, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

GOP endorses Agenda 21 conspiracy theory[edit]

More conspiracy-based policy from the GOP. I have to say, if there's a silver lining in the ascent of Teabaggery, it's the entertainment value of watching crankery from the fringes of the wingnut-osphere bubble up into official party policy. (In case anyone is not in the know...) Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 01:48, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Fitocracy group reminder[edit]

Our Fitocracy group has a challenge beginning tomorrow. You should all sign up, get on this, and get fit. Just saying. - π 10:14, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

An observation leading to a question[edit]

I was eating dinner with a large group of friends after a show tonight. As part of the conversation, I told an anecdote from a book I read about the Great Depression about how people were so poor, they were going into diners and restaurants, getting a glass of water and stirring in ketchup just to get some food, leading to those establishments removing ketchup from the table. While nearly everyone else replied to the anecdote in normal fashion, one guy, a deranged right winger (and I do mean deranged) said something along the lines of "Just reelect Obama and we'll have another great depression." When I pressed him on what kind of logic or rational thought could lead to such a prediction, he basically had nothing but "It's Obama and I don't like him." This got me thinking..... Right wingers love to throw around the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome," the belief that liberals hated George W. Bush on a personal level, so everything they said about him was the result of a mental disorder, but I have seen more irrational hatred of Obama at every turn than I ever saw for G.W. So what is it about Obama that leads to such visceral hatred of a politician? Especially when you consider that every major academic work has ranked Obama as either slightly left or slightly right of center President (there's some variance based on exactly how each paper balances domestic and foreign policy, but the general consensus has been: slightly LOC domestic, decidedly ROC foreign). SirChuckBPlease Excuse me, I have to go out and hunt giraffes 11:18, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

Honestly? The real deep-seated reason why so many of the rabid right hate him, without being able to describe a single thing he's done? It's because he's black. As simple as that. --PsyGremlinFale! 11:26, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Throw in intelligent, educated, articulate, rich and last, but not least, not Republican. But yeah, black pretty much sums it up for a lot of these arsehats.--Stunteddwarf Jabba de Chops 11:32, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Racism has a lot to do with it. & The Tea Party movement, + RW media & pundits have done a lot to popularise & perpetuate anti-Obama myths (birtherism, the Muslim canard, "socialism", death panels, etc.). This kind of populist opposition movement didn't really exist under previous presidencies. WēāŝēīōīďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 11:40, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
(ECx) I was going to use some more racist terminology but basically what Psy said and because he's uppity. Unlike so many presidents he actually comes from a humble background. Also tossing around snarl terms like socialist and communist is an easy ploy to win support of redneck voters who don't even know what the words mean. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 11:44, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
@Weaseloid - I assume you mean right-wing when you typed RW, and not RationalWiki? Redchuck.gif ГенгисIs the Pope a Catholic?Moderator 11:45, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes. I'm not sure why I abbreviated it to that. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 15:38, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
I keep wanting to believe that it's more than "he's black", and that such an accusation is a straw man. But frankly,it seems like the most coherent explanation. Well, perhaps not that he is black, more that he's not white - if you care to discern a difference. Scarlet A.pngpostate 14:14, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
I do my best to be... generous... and assume it's primarily because Obama's not a Republican. The ACA is an idea created by the Heritage Foundation, Obama has continued many of Bush's policies, and even made some more horrifying than under the Bush administration. The Republicans are only pissed off because they're not in control. If Romney wins, they'll be happy as clams, even if his presidency resembles the Bush and Obama administrations. --TheLateGatsby (talk) 14:42, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
I can well imagine that things look decidedly different from the inside and many of Obama's good intentions got derailed by the military and security services which have a life and raison d'etre of their own. Redchuck.gif ГенгисRationalWiki GOLD memberModerator 15:07, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
On top of that, the fringe elements have greater media access (see GOPravda) than they used to since the days of the "Clinton Crazies." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:34, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

I believe that race has a lot to do with it, but that doesn't tell the whole story--the rabid right's hatred of Bill Clinton was pretty damn visceral, and often descended into the realm of grandiose nutjob conspiracy stuff too. Also, class and cultural capital are an important part of the equation. Obama is nowhere near as rich as Romney, but there's a lot about him that could make him seem aloof to a lot of Americans: he's worldly in a country where less than 20% of the people have a passport, he is unafraid to speak like a person with serious intellectual chops (as Ta-Nehisi Coates noted in this excellent essay, not only is Obama the first black president, "he is the first president who could credibly teach a black-studies class) which can only be intimidating to those people who chose who they vote by answering the question: "which of these guys would I most like to have a beer with?" Theory of Practice Haters gonna hate. 19:21, 25 August 2012 (UTC)

It has nothing to do with Obama, or Bush, or Clinton, or Reagan, Nixon, Johnson, or FDR. In 5 years, Democrats & Republicans alike will say, "Obama who?" Meanwhile, the incumbent is held responsible for every disease known to man. Rather than people own up to their responsibilities, or engage in studied debate about deeper issues, its simpler to adopt hard nosed partisanship to deal with stress and re-inforce the inclination we are all victims of an evil conspiracy rather than our own failings. nobsCorporations are people, too 19:32, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
That just broke my irony meters. A hard-wing idealogue like Rob saying it isn't all Obama's fault, didn't you blame the Aurora shootings on Obama economic policies?
I don't think all of them hate him because he is black, there are also those who hate him because he represents everything they hate about others. The actual fun is now that Dems are using the same shock-tactics in their campaign ads against Romney ("Watch out, Romney is rich!"), and seeing the Repubs all offended about it. --K. (talk) 21:34, 25 August 2012 (UTC)
It's complicated because there's likely a strong link between racism and conservatism. Before Rob gets all huffy I don't mean that conservatives are necessarily racist; rather, that racists are almost always very conservative. So even if Obama were white, those with racist tendencies probably would hate him anyway because of their extreme conservatism. Doctor Dark (talk) 00:00, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
That kind of vulgar stereotype -- that leftists think they are immune to racism, and racism is exclusively a right-wing phenomena, IMO will work against the pro-Obama types in 2012. Over playing the race card could have a backlash and bite you in the ass as people generally seem to be sick of it. nobsCorporations are people, too 21:02, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Name examples that don't involve the Nazis. --K. (talk) 12:42, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
How about the racist attacks on Herman Cain, for example. nobsCorporations are people, too 17:49, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Meh. Far away from equaling out "Obama doesn't know how America works because he's black not from here was raised for a few years outside of the United States!" You've gotta find something way more obvious than a vague criticism of a member of a party being the go-to ethnic dude. --K. (talk) 20:27, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Not to be on the same side as Rob, but the only way you could explain Dixiecrats is by spinning them as secretly Conservative. Racists come in all stripes; there is no logic or rationale in hatred. Ochotonaprincepsnot a pokémon 1013 points 21:50, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Wasn't that during that weird time between the thirties and '64 when conservatives and liberals where kind of in both parties because they were switching ideologies? --K. (talk) 20:27, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

American Politics seems to be very polarised at present. There is no middle graound. Everything the other side does or says is the worst thing ever, next to no issues where one side agrees with the other. That would appear to me to account for the vitriol spewed on both sides. Has american poltics always been like this, or was it once more civilised? AMassiveGay (talk) 20:39, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

There are many theories on this. One theory states that America's elected officials do not know each other, that's why they don't work together. Back in the day (before air travel) Congress met for x many months per year, and members resided in Washington. They ate, drank, and worshiped together, members of both parties. They were able to compromise because they lived together for much of the year away from home. They became close friends, regardless of party. Today, the Legislative Week lasts from noon on Tuesday until 3pm Thursday -- slightly more than 48 hours. All important votes only occur then. They other 5 days they are in transit or back in their district fundraising and organizing for the next two year cycle. Their families reside back in their home district. Members do not really know each other, and thus have no reason to even talk with each other. They spend all their time posturing in front of TV cameras for whatever important demographic controls their district. And the extreme elements of both parties are the only ones passionate and active, so members must tailor their positions to please them. nobsCorporations are people, too 02:55, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
To channel Jon Stewart here: they actually agree on at least one issue, that of defending Israel, if necessary with military force. Although one hears on the right that Obama is islamist that hates Israel (with no evidence whatsoever, except for racism against Obama), they are ither just lying for delusional. This is really funny because, not even Israelis are this militant over defending Israel. They probably would agree on a lot more once they stopped screaming at each other highlighting the things they don't agree on. They both will agree on capitalism with a to be determined amount of state influence, they both will agree on police, military, some social issues and what is even more important in the myth of America being special in some way and not just another country. The basis of both parties don't like big businesses.
But this whole circus of American politics is rather hilarious to watch from a European perspective. You have two parties who are ideologically so close to each other but they will call each other really awful things over the question whether the tax should be 13.5% or just 14%. There's more cooperation in Germany between the neoliberal FDP and democratic socialist (actual socialists mind you, they have rather large communist platform in the party and sing The Internationale) DIE LINKE, than between two parties, who basically have the same worldview. --K. (talk) 17:59, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
American Politics seems to be very polarised at present. There is no middle ground. What people don't talk about is that there actually *is* a very large middle ground in American politics, it just happens to be very quiet. When people talk about things that are reasonable or uncontroversial, they tend to be glossed over by the media. In Colorado, for example, water rights, wilderness protection and farm subsidies are big issues, but they don't ever make the news. As an email subscriber to both of my state's US senators, however, I get emails every couple of weeks regarding these issues, which most Coloradoans seem to find agreeable regardless of which side of the spectrum they stand on (e.g., "water rights are important for both small farmers and large corporate farm industries and a compromise must be met", "protecting the wilderness from development is important to our outdoor lifestyles, but that might mean increasing taxes or pursuing new lottery games", etc.). An issue like personhood might come up, and because of the controversy behind it and the fervousness (fervosity? Chrome spellcheck isn't coming up with a good word for me) of the loudest voices on both sides of the issue—that's all anyone ever hears. -- Seth Peck (talk) 18:08, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
What's frightening in US politics -- and you see it on both sides -- is when a position like refusing to compromise with the other side is raised to the status of an issue and becomes a position candidates run on. This is a mark of a regressing society. And I agree with what's been said about Germany. As a large, modern democratic society, Germany is probably the best model today others (India, Russia, China, etc.) could use as to how a modern democracy works. Germans, gone through so much shit, guard their democratic rights jealously beginning at the lowest level of responsible citizenship. nobsCorporations are people, too 19:03, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't get this kind of talk. Middle ground on what issues? Polarized in what spectrum? Like K. said, the parties are extremely close to each other in ideology (and nearly indistinguishable on economic and foreign policy). They only seem to maintain this illusion of being bitter and opposite rivals so that they can continue to hold their share of the political pie. If Americans as a whole understood better that their opinions weren't actually being represented, and we started all over again with 5-10 different parties instead, how many people would still identify with what 'Republican' and 'Democrat' mean right now? After all, they're minority positions when you actually have the benefit of proper representation, in a system that isn't built around money and PR games. Q0 (talk) 00:28, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

The overlap of Atheism and Skepticism[edit]

So, the local university atheist club seems to be in a bit of a tizz over the formation of - and subsequent rejection of - a skeptics society. It seems that some think that an atheism society has a remit of a skeptical society, especially considering that this is what people talk about at the meetings (they seem to have realised "Hi guys, I don't believe in God" "Wow, what a coincidence, neither do I!" is a short and boring conversation. Shocker). BUT, at the same time the argument is cropping up from the hardcore atheist crowd (probably the same people who applauded Richard Dawkins appearing on television) that you're No True Skeptic if you're not an atheist - ergo the skepticism society is redundant because a) the atheist society covers those topics already and b) skeptics should be atheists. I can see this turning into a massive flame war along the lines of how the two campus newspapers always slag each other off.

Now, I do have some sympathies for this position because I do believe that if you're going to identify as a skeptic then any religious beliefs shouldn't be put off limits - and let's be frank here, specific religious beliefs just don't stand up to empiricism. HOWEVER, from a position of inclusion and having productive discussion, effectively limiting your membership to explicit hardcore atheists only can only be a Bad Thing from the position of a skeptical society. Because otherwise you're going to take a massive chunk of the population who may just hold casual religious beliefs and tell them they're not Good Enough for you. Scarlet A.pngbominationModerator 14:28, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

I guess I've never understood that position. I do believe that a skeptic is one who does not take things without evidence and research, but i do not think a skeptic must be influenced ONLY by what can be proven scientifically - or no skeptic would wonder about things yet unknown. As "some kind of god", (Spinoza's god, Jane Goodall's God) is a common fundamental experience of humanity, as long as you are questioning it, thinking about it, pushing it, etc., you can still be skpetical. There is no way to know that a god does not exist, though in my mind there is a way to know that "the christian god" does not exist, since we have a platform what what it should be like, and it fails on every turn. But to say "if you do not find after your search, that there is no god, you are clearly not skeptical" is absurd. There is no one way of being skeptical, and no one conclusion (on almost anything) that all skeptics must draw, to be "a True Skeptic". --Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 15:03, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Both my parents would have to be called skeptics (or rather, sceptics, since they're English) but both are fairly strongly religious, old Earth types. My mum in particular gets quite cross at the idea that the UK is becoming more secular. Both of them are totally disdainful of woo and the rest of the non-sceptical world though. rpeh •TCE 15:15, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
This is definitely one of those topics that gets brought up in Reddit a lot..."Hey, I know you don't believe in God, what do you think about ghosts?", etc. The usual response is "Atheism only describes a lack of belief in deities, but many atheists are skeptical about anything supernatural/unproveable/unfalsifiable". -- Seth Peck (talk) 15:32, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps it's time to bite the bullet and embrace this atheism+ crap? Scarlet A.pngpostateModerator 15:42, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
This is perhaps the largest drawback of New Atheism, a mentality that if you're religious you're of no use to modern civilization (which, considering atheists are still the minority in much of the world, sounds quite elitist). The fact that believers are joining skeptical societies should speak wonders to these people - they're willing to discuss the fallacies of their beliefs openly.
The foundations of science (making the Enlightenment and subsequent skepticism possible) were made a reality by those who still had strong faith regardless of their so-called "heresies": Galileo, Mendel, Newton, Alhazen, etc. Darwin even said that it would be "absurd to doubt that a man might be an ardent theist and an evolutionist." And in regards to what Godot said, the very unknowns of the universe is why I can't fully subscribe to strong atheism myself. Osaka Sun (talk) 16:10, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
New Atheism is about intellectual elitism? Well I never!! Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 16:40, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
[2] Osaka Sun (talk) 16:49, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Both? Scarlet A.pngnarchistModerator 16:55, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
PARADOX Osaka Sun (talk) 17:15, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

"Skepticism" is a broad enough term to cover everything from climate change denial to 9/11 truthers to holocaust denialism, so I don't find the concept of a "skeptics movement" (which usually just means atheists &/or those opposing pseudoscience & the supernatural) to be very useful. It just seems like appropriating a universal concept (that of being skeptical about something) & claiming it belongs to one specific POV. WéáśéĺóíďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:02, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Start a PyrrhonismWikipedia club instead. That way, you'll get only true skeptics. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:33, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
And nutters. More so than usual. Scarlet A.pngd hominemModerator 18:40, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Hey, some of my best friends are nutters, er, Pyrrhonists. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:32, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Serious question for you on labels[edit]

So, Assuming you are an "Atheist, Skeptical, Humanist, Secularist, Democrat, Socialist Feminist", which is the label you all would wear most prominently, if you had to be "one". ADK wears an atheist A every post, is that more important that the humanist part? I only ask, cause i'm curious why it's Atheist+, and not say, "Secularist+" or "feminist+". And for myself, I'm not sure which label I'd chose, though probably the humanist one... maybe... if i understood it better.Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 15:51, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Probably a (secular) humanist. Osaka Sun (talk) 16:10, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, the A is just because I've been far too lazy to find a new signature for a while now. Scarlet A.pngtheistModerator 16:14, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
But, serious answer, I presume they choose "atheism+" because it started on Freethought Blogs. "Freethought" being one of those rebrandings of atheism, and also the one common and primordial factor that united the people who are embracing it - the "social feminism" aspect being a fairly late comer to the party, so "feminism+" makes less sense. "Skepticism+" might make more sense because it's more all-encompassing and suggests you'll start with skepticism but aren't against expanding out into social issues, or religious issues, that are often said to be off-limits to empirical methods. "Secularism+" makes less sense because secularism is already really a social movement. So you're left with a toss-up between "atheism+" and "skepticism+", but you find that a lot of it involves rallying against the Religious Right, and to do that you need to make your non-religious side quite clear. Ergo, "Atheism+" wins out as the most sensical (read least-nonsensical) option. At least that's my justification as to why Atheism+ seems to be sticking. Scarlet A.pngbominationModerator 16:20, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
This sort of rebrand, however, is nothing new. Freethinkers and Brights have been around some time now, Thunderf00t tried to make PEARL happen and so on. It's also kinda needed, because "atheism" is a piss-poor banner to unite people under. As I noted with the society hoo-har above, "so, last week we discussed how there isn't a god... well, little has changed since" doesn't get you very far. There is, however a major problem with generating new labels for groups. Scarlet A.pngpatheticModerator 16:25, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
How about "poly"? Hehe. I prefer the term "human". -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:30, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
The way I see it, this happens partially because Atheism is NOT a religion: being an atheist says nothing about what one does believe. And so forming groups of like-minded people, within the larger container community of atheists is expected and normal. To me, no one rebranding atheism/label lawyering so much as forming a smaller community under a larger header. ±Knightoftldrsig.pngKnightOfTL;DRgarrulous en guerre 16:37, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I like your point, Knight. and to adk, the whole re branding thing only makes context in the sense that people are looking for communities of like mined people to do... um... something, one supposes, but what? one small advantage to religion is that you all mostly know what you are in the church/temple/shrine to do. ;-) I see atheist groups in denver (along with skeptic groups, free thinkers, and mixes of all the labels) and they tend to be a drinking party at a bar, cause.. you know, what are you there to do. I don't fit into any of our local groups cause i don't want to drink, look at girls and guys, and generally be in my 20's. i did that alraedy. Why do we need/want this new group? what will atheist pluses do that isn't already being done on a blog, or in some bar?Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 16:48, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Where are these groups, and why am I not involved in them? -- Seth Peck (talk) 16:58, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
In Watching The English, Kate Fox makes the point that all social groups offer the same thing; a pretence just to hang around with other people. Doesn't matter if it's bikers or knitting enthusiasts. It's the same reason we talk about the weather, we're not talking about the weather it's a pretext for conversation. Or when we pass by someone we know and say "Hi, how are you?" it's not like you want an answer (I took to answering that genuinely rather than with the usual "fine, how are you?" response that's expected and it throws people). So, yeah, it's any excuse to go drinking in the bar, really. That's what it's all about, because it's next to impossible simply to go to the bar on your own and just insert yourself into a group at random - you need the pretext and excuse to do it. Even "hey, have you met Ted?" can't be done alone. Scarlet A.pngssholeModerator 16:53, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Vonnegutdiddit. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:16, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I have a question: If we are "rebranding" the labels to be more inclusive and "unite under one banner," how is that different than what the Religious Right did with the magic words "Christian" and "Judeo-Christian" in the wake of Roe v. Wade?
Back on topic, I'd say... anosmic and asexual. Being born without a sense of smell or sex drive has given me a rather unique worldview. --CoyoteSans (talk) 17:00, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
(e/c)I don't usually find the need to give myself a label in this way but when I do, I pick the one that seems most appropriate to the situation. Probably 95% of the time that's "Atheist" because the discussions tend to be more religious than anything else, and because terms like "secularist", "humanist", "rationalist" and so on aren't generally understood (or at least, that's my experience in the UK). If someone goes for the "Well what about ghosts?" reply, I'll come back with "rationalist" and explain what I mean by that. I'm sure describing myself that way would bring howls from the Less Wrong crowd, but they can go forth and... well, just go forth actually. rpeh •TCE 16:49, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I prefer to call myself a Secular Humanist and not Atheist in most situations, for the simple reason that i want to define myself by what i believe, not what i don't. If they ask me what it means, I will explain it to them. --Mikal Harass Follow 17:14, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I also avoid the atheist label if at all possible - secular humanist is probably the most apt label but I don't generally use that either. In fact, I typically dodge any personal questions that would involve naming a label like that. I usually only label myself facetiously ("How could you vote for Obama, he's a communist?" "Well, I'm an anarcho-syndicalist, so it's okay") with the exception of occasionally describing myself as a skeptic or freethinker (less so now, since freethoughtblogs is so explicitly associated with atheism). — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 17:38, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Personally I prefer "Godless, pinkco commie bastard" and then my American friends understand where I'm coming from. The "bastard" bit is optional. Bad Faith (talk) 17:46, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I dislike the term 'humanist'. It seems like a fancy way of saying 'not an arsehole' AMassiveGay (talk) 17:50, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
I've mentioned elsewhere that I (mostly) agree with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on labels, some people don't agree, though, but I think that's because they don't quite understand the hidden connotations thing that Tyson is getting at. Scarlet A.pngtheistModerator 17:59, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
As one of the only popular black scientists in the world, who has made it an explict goal of his to attract more black kids specifically, and minority kids in general to the sciences, Neil has a very careful road to walk. God matters to a whole lot of black people, and if parents who don't understand the science their child will hopefully be drawn to, are threatened by someone who is not religious, they may knee jerk react, like fundis, and say "No, you won't be teaching my child that science stuff. it's bad for him and his beliefs". I don't know, ADK if this is at all what you were getting at, but I think "how do I appear to the kids and the kid's parents" matters to him. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 18:14, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
That's exactly why I like the term humanist - it doesn't have all of the baggage associated with the other terms. — Unsigned, by: ORavenhurst / talkDo You Believe That? 18:17, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Absurdism is where it's at, which entails atheism on the god question -- no euphemism treadmill for me! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:21, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Oh words. What crimes are committed in your name! - ionesco. Green mowse.pngGodotRIP original "muahahahah". 1...2....3...4...muahahahahah 18:39, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
If I went into a meeting of analytic philosophers, some would probably call me a theological noncognitivist, which is considered to be an anti-atheist position by some. This seems to me to be a philosophically cutesy way of saying theists and atheists are both dumb! Suck on that!" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:12, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

I think I’d label myself an atheist. There are a great many other worthwhile causes but I have over 10 years’ experience exposing the irrationality in religion/Christianity and also 10 years’ experience exposing the harm religion/Christianity does. Therefore I feel that’s a worthwhile thing for me to do.

  1. The more extreme fundamentalist, cult like Christian groups do great harm. There are those who only allow members to be friends with other cult members, families to cut ties with close relatives who leave the cult etc. etc.
  2. Only a small minority of western Christians take exorcism seriously for example but that’s no protection for children or adults in that minority who risk having exorcism forced onto them.
  3. It is estimated only about 2% of Roman Catholic priests abuse children but that’s no protection for the victims of that 2%. Especially that’s no protection for those child victims who were/are pressured into silence through Crimen sollicitationis and bottle their pain up for a lifetime.

I could give more examples where Christianity clearly does harm but 3 examples show why I feel I'm justified in attacking religion. What about Liberal Christianity? Any type of religious faith encourages irrational thinking and I feel that’s bad. Liberal Christianity is less harmful than fundamentalism and I spend far less time attacking it but I speak out against all irrational religious beliefs and I also write exposing what’s wrong. Proxima Centauri (talk) 18:32, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Ten years experience exposing the irrationality in religion... Possibly the least valuable thing you can put on a CV. And have you thought about printing your exorcism and religion hobbyhorses on a t-shirt so people know to avoid you? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 18:44, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Liberal Christianity is less harmful than fundamentalism... -- Seth Peck (talk) 19:02, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

This goes back to the idea that in a completely secular society, "atheist" has no meaning. It's simply the default position. In going with that, it makes sense that depending on where you are in the world, labeling yourself as atheist can either mean a lot, or a little.
In America, there's a long history of atheism/agnosticism (where it could even exist, openly) being tied with progressive ideals, while religion plays the opposition figure, fighting change and backing repressive policies with the weight of holy decree. Look at someone like Robert Ingersoll, who was arguing for universal suffrage in the mid 19th century. Atheism today has similar 'meaning', thanks to the fact that religious fundamentalism is so strong in many areas of the country, still pushing for the same kind of authoritarian policies. In fact, having been raised in such an environment, I initially thought that atheism was the flat-out rejection of all of the ideals my family and their community held. It made perfect sense to me, until I discovered that vile breed of atheist libertarianism, which is, quite frankly, what causes me to identify with social and economic justice over atheism as a whole.
I still understand communities like /r/atheism though. Again, atheism is only identifiable as a reaction to religious surroundings, and, given that the community is largely American, it only makes sense that it acts as a support group rather than as some sort of bastion of rational thought. Q0 (talk) 21:13, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

With the very greatest respect, I've always thought this kind of argument is nonsense. It implies that at the moment someone says "What if there's...." then atheists come into existence.
In modern society there's a big difference between people who say "Dunno" getting classified as agnostic and those who have thought about the problem for some time and come to the decision that the existence of god can't be decided, who also get classified as agnostic. rpeh •TCE 21:20, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Frankly, the entire question of whether there is a god lacks any real importance outside of specific human religions and their impact on societies. No one is going to take such a strong stance on simple thought experiments, after all. "Shall I live my life believing I'm a brain in a jar, that I'm an actor in a complex dream, that I can't possibly know either of these things, or that they're certainly wrong?" It's just not that important unless: a) we find evidence of these things; or b) some religion pops up believing we're all brains in jars and advocates ritual suicide to piss off the figures running experiments on us.
Let's imagine, in the latter case, a society that is dominated by this 'brain in a jar' religion, whose adherents eventually killed themselves when they reached middle age. Their entire life is just a build up to that one final moment. As a twist, they officially embrace freedom of religion, though the customs and culture of the majority clearly pervade the society, and anyone who isn't planning for the fateful day in their lives is often shunned or openly mocked. It's not hard to imagine small groups forming, calling themselves by some name similar to 'atheist'. They might act as a support group for nonbelievers who have no other place to feel welcome, oppose the indoctrination of children into the predominant lifestyle, and argue against legislation based on irrational religious belief in general. It's not difficult to see why such a group would be important - and in fact necessary - to the health and general well being of many people.
Back in our world, there's no need to have a strong opinion one way or the other on if we're all just brains in jars. We all have the luxury of being "Dunno" agnostics about it. We might have run the thought through our minds once or twice, watched a movie or TV show with a similar theme, but when it comes down to it... it's just not that important. Q0 (talk) 01:29, 30 August 2012 (UTC)


I'd like to contest the claim that "secular humanism" doesn't come with the baggage of "atheism." Depending on the circles you travel in, at least. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:32, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Here, yes, you can get away with being a secular humanist sometimes. ТyJFBAA 23:22, 30 August 2012 (UTC)