RationalWiki:Saloon bar/Archive450

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is an archive page, last updated 17 February 2024. Please do not make edits to this page.
Archives for this talk page:
<1>, <2>, <3>, <4>, <5>, <6>, <7>, <8>, <9>, <10>, <11>, <12>, <13>, <14>, <15>, <16>, <17>, <18>, <19>, <20>, <21>, <22>, <23>, <24>, <25>, <26>, <27>, <28>, <29>, <30>, <31>, <32>, <33>, <34>, <35>, <36>, <37>, <38>, <39>, <40>, <41>, <42>, <43>, <44>, <45>, <46>, <47>, <48>, <49>, <50>, <51>, <52>, <53>, <54>, <55>, <56>, <57>, <58>, <59>, <60>, <61>, <62>, <63>, <64>, <65>, <66>, <67>, <68>, <69>, <70>, <71>, <72>, <73>, <74>, <75>, <76>, <77>, <78>, <79>, <80>, <81>, <82>, <83>, <84>, <85>, <86>, <87>, <88>, <89>, <90>, <91>, <92>, <93>, <94>, <95>, <96>, <97>, <98>, <99>, <100>, <101>, <102>, <103>, <104>, <105>, <106>, <107>, <108>, <109>, <110>, <111>, <112>, <113>, <114>, <115>, <116>, <117>, <118>, <119>, <120>, <121>, <122>, <123>, <124>, <125>, <126>, <127>, <128>, <129>, <130>, <131>, <132>, <133>, <134>, <135>, <136>, <137>, <138>, <139>, <140>, <141>, <142>, <143>, <144>, <145>, <146>, <147>, <148>, <149>, <150>, <151>, <152>, <153>, <154>, <155>, <156>, <157>, <158>, <159>, <160>, <161>, <162>, <163>, <164>, <165>, <166>, <167>, <168>, <169>, <170>, <171>, <172>, <173>, <174>, <175>, <176>, <177>, <178>, <179>, <180>, <181>, <182>, <183>, <184>, <185>, <186>, <187>, <188>, <189>, <190>, <191>, <192>, <193>, <194>, <195>, <196>, <197>, <198>, <199>, <200>, <201>, <202>, <203>, <204>, <205>, <206>, <207>, <208>, <209>, <210>, <211>, <212>, <213>, <214>, <215>, <216>, <217>, <218>, <219>, <220>, <221>, <222>, <223>, <224>, <224½>, <225>, <226>, <227>, <228>, <229>, <230>, <231>, <232>, <233>, <234>, <235>, <236>, <237>, <238>, <239>, <240>, <241>, <242>, <243>, <244>, <245>, <246>, <247>, <248>, <249>, <250>, <251>, <252>, <253>, <254>, <255>, <256>, <257>, <258>, <259>, <260>, <261>, <262>, <263>, <264>, <265>, <266>, <267>, <268>, <269>, <270>, <271>, <272>, <273>, <274>, <275>, <276>, <277>, <278>, <279>, <280>, <281>, <282>, <283>, <284>, <285>, <286>, <287>, <288>, <289>, <290>, <291>, <292>, <293>, <294>, <295>, <296>, <297>, <298>, <299>, <300>, <301>, <302>, <303>, <304>, <305>, <306>, <307>, <308>, <309>, <310>, <311>, <312>, <313>, <314>, <315>, <316>, <317>, <318>, <319>, <320>, <321>, <322>, <323>, <324>, <325>, <326>, <327>, <328>, <329>, <330>, <331>, <332>, <333>, <334>, <335>, <336>, <337>, <338>, <339>, <340>, <341>, <342>, <343>, <344>, <345>, <346>, <347>, <348>, <349>, <350>, <351>, <352>, <353>, <354>, <355>, <356>, <357>, <358>, <359>, <360>, <361>, <362>, <363>, <364>, <365>, <366>, <367>, <368>, <369>, <370>, <371>, <372>, <373>, <374>, <375>, <376>, <377>, <378>, <379>, <380>, <381>, <382>, <383>, <384>, <385>, <386>, <387>, <388>, <389>, <390>, <391>, <392>, <393>, <394>, <395>, <396>, <397>, <398>, <399>, <400>, <401>, <402>, <403>, <404>, <405>, <406>, <407>, <408>, <409>, <410>, <411>, <412>, <413>, <414>, <415>, <416>, <417>, <418>, <419>, <420>, <421>, <422>, <423>, <424>, <425>, <426>, <427>, <428>, <429>, <430>, <431>, <432>, <433>, <434>, <435>, <436>, <437>, <438>, <439>, <440>, <441>, <442>, <443>, <444>, <445>, <446>, <447>, <448>, <449>, <451>, <452>, <453>
, (new)(back)

How to neutralize Hamas without destroying Gaza along it?[edit]

Now, don't get me wrong, I want Hamas to be destroyed as much as the next guy, and I'm of course I know that the only reason why Israel is not facing the same atrocities that Gazans are is the fact that Hamas simply doesn't have the power to perpetrate a genocide. I also agree that a strong response was needed after what happened in October. But much of the support of the current operation in Gaza is basically "Hamas delenda est and fuck it if we're going kill thousands along with". The remedy is clearly worse than the disease in this case. To make matters worse, most of their leaders aren't even in Gaza right now, so I feel like this operation is just a waste of lives and resources from both sides. Now, of course, the answer to the question in the headline, the Israeli government should have listened to one his intelligence agency instead of making the same mistake Stalin did in 1941. But how about now? Is there anything that can be done to nulify a terrorist dictatorship that brutalize its own people[1] that doesn't involve a genocide? Ans yes, we may extend this discussion to other dictatorships if you guys want to. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 14:15, 3 January 2024 (UTC)

The British were never able to take out the IRA until the USSR stopped funding them, and they weren't able to directly go after all the cells in Ireland. With infinite money, you'll always be able to find a bunch of knuckleheads willing to blow people up, and if you can't stop the funding you need the police to do their jobs. So there are two good solutions; Iran (and Qatar) stop funding Hamas and related terrorist groups, or Gaza has a police force taking out the terrorist groups. But those two good solutions aren't on the table, because Iran (and Qatar) are not going to either run out of oil-money or cease funding terrorist groups any time in the near future, and Hamas is the police force in Gaza. So your only options are nasty ones, and the least-worst solution might very well be re-occupying Gaza so you can be the police force a la pre-2005. CorruptUser 14:36, 3 January 2024 (UTC)
The British never "took out" the IRA. The loyalists and the nationalists just got tired of killing each other. And they both had various ways of getting money wikipedia:Paramilitary finances in the Troubles . Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 12:31, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
I don't like this solution. You're going to kill tens of thousands and occupy a territory and then say to the people living there that it's from their own good? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 14:40, 3 January 2024 (UTC)
I said it was one of the nasty solutions. CorruptUser 14:56, 3 January 2024 (UTC)
Killing a lot of civilians is a good why to get a rebellion. This war will not be the last over the holy lands. maybe we could have no-one live there ("we take it away because you can't stop fighting over it"). Or not. people would probably be mad about that idea. Koafox (talk) 17:42, 3 January 2024 (UTC)
It's also not a very good solution. This assumes that a) you'll be able to reduce Hamas' combat effectiveness enough to even get a police force in and b) that the local population would support or at best be neutral towards an Israeli security force (which is obviously not gonna happen if you've been paying any attention). Also, IIRC wasn't it Gadaffi who was funding the IRA? Not the USSR? Carthage (talk) 18:50, 3 January 2024 (UTC)
Not that I love these as blueprints, but warfare can certainly be the primary way to take down terrorists. That's basically how Hun Sen (who's even more corrupt than anyone in Israel) ultimately defeated the Khmer Rouge despite longstanding Thai support. And to cite another terrorist organization claiming to stand up for an oppressed people, it took sustained fighting to finally stamp out the Tamil Tigers; if there was some better option, no one seemed to be able to find it. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:15, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
A RAND manual has found that attempts to "crush" insurgencies fail more often than they succeed by a large margin: [2]
At least try to inform yourself before spouting shit about something you lack knowledge or understanding of. Carthage (talk) 02:19, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
So... pay no attention to the data points that contradict your sweeping statement. Very solid argumentation there. Now, were you going to attempt some apologia for the Tamil Tigers while you were at it? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:20, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
What do you not get about "attempts to crush insurgencies fail more often than they succeed"? That implies there are a few successes. A few counterexamples do not buck the larger trend. This same manual also identifies collective punishment and repression of the population as bad counterinsurgency practice. What do you think Israel has been doing? Collective punishment and repression of the population. At least try to inform yourself before spouting off about shit you have no real understanding of. Carthage (talk) 02:23, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
Also nice way to invoke argumentum ad terrorum. "If you're a humanitarian or support human rights without exception you must be a terrorist apologist!" Carthage (talk) 02:26, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
You have reading comprehension issues. "Not that I love these as blueprints" should've been the rather obvious tell that it's not what I want to happen here. Since the Tamil Tigers are the closest example I can think of, as with Hamas the peace talks went absolutely nowhere multiple times; if I thought Hamas had any chance of going differently I'd support that. I don't pretend to have the answer here, reality can be brutal. Intransigent terrorist organization, a history of serious oppression... sometimes there's not a good resolution. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:28, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
That's followed up with "but warfare can certainly be the primary way to take down terrorists." When I cited an actual military-industrial complex manual on why using collective punishment and repressive measures are bad counterinsurgency practice that fails more often than not, you accuse me of first "ignoring solid data points" and then that I "lack reading comprehension skills." Which is it? That I ignore solid data points that do not buck a larger trend, or that I lack reading comprehension skills? Oh, and while we're at it, Hamas fights more like the Viet Cong than, say, ISIS. The city is also not neutral. Urban warfare is a different beast than jungle warfare. Every apartment building and mosque Israel destroys just creates more uneven ground for Hamas fighters to either set up nests in or cover to pop out of tunnels from, and makes it that much more of a slog for IDF ground forces to operate in. Carthage (talk) 02:35, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
It's rather simple if, unlike Cory, you bother to read anything on the subject of insurgency. Step one, stop brutalizing a civilian population. You're basically walking into the first major blunder, which has been known since the 1500s. As in I literally have a book with translations of a guy in the 1500s explaining that excessive brutalities against civilian populations poisons them against the side doing said brutalities and empowers the insurgents, who promise protection and revenge against said brutalities. Step two, "public diplomacy". This is known in the COIN world and has had good results historically. Step three, negotiations and concessions. If the cause is reasonable, such as group self determination (the historical goal of the Palestinian nationalists across the board for centuries now), then concessions can be made which defang radical elements by empowering moderate elements. This has historically worked, and we know this because Imperial Prussia did this with early socialists and it worked. Step four, accountability. Throw the worst offenders from your side under the bus. I'm not going to mince words, throw the most brutal and disliked leaders from the side engaging in COIN under the bus. This would be Netanyahu if anyone is wondering. Plus a number of the top brass at the IDF. Final step, having done all of this, ensure that the civilian population, now separated from the insurgents, is granted protections and rights. This program has been brought to you by my multiple books on the subject, and Cory shutting the fuck up. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 04:01, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
"If the cause is reasonable, such as group self determination (the historical goal of the Palestinian nationalists across the board for centuries now)" Well, "From the River to the Sea" doesn't really indicate a goal of peacefull coexistence with Israel... Neither does the Article 6 of the original Hamas Charter. The revendications for peace have always included a return of all the palestinian refugees in Israel, which is unacceptable by Israel if it want to stay jewish-majority. (talk) 10:22, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
Thank you for talking out of your ass and conflating Palestinian nationalism, which includes groups like Fatah and the PLO, with Hamas. Brilliant, I'm sure it's not racist at all and does not feed into genocidal actions. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 17:59, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
I also note that you fixated on that in isolation, rather than the broader case being made, you absolute hack. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 18:03, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
Well, Fatah and the PLO didn't execute the latest genocidal attack on Israel, and the West Bank isn't being targetted by massive retaliatory strikes not caring about collateral damage. So, yeah, I feel legitimate pointing out that it's the Hamas that Israel is supposed to be negociating with.2A02:8429:2E9:4101:1414:2D8F:5BF4:49ED (talk) 23:26, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
The West Bank has also seen an accelerated rate of illegal land grabs and "genocidal attacks" on Palestinians by settler militias. In a way, this current.... crisis has been a boon for settlers, as less attention is paid to the West Bank because of the crisis going on in Gaza. See here: [3] Carthage (talk) 23:42, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
@2A02:8429:2E9:4101:1414:2D8F:5BF4:49ED If you weren't an illiterate hack, you would note that in the step you yourself quoted, I made the point of playing the moderate and the radical off each other, so as to defang the radical. Now, if you want to continue being moronic, you can bomb Gaza. Bomb it to kingdom come. Burn it all. And for every insurgent you kill, you will create at least five more. This is called "the terrorist trap" in contemporary counter-insurgency circles, and is literally something Hamas will be banking on. Because for numerous reasons, including your stupid kneejerk jingoism and racism, you are too stupid to recognize a trap when you see it. So you commit brutality after brutality, desperately thinking that the insurgents will be pacified by the very thing that gave birth to them. The brutality you inflict is their very life essence, their very soul. It confirms to them that there is no other option but bloodshed and war, for of course one does not negotiate with terrorists. So the solution for them becomes simple. They seek to kill their attacker. And you, jingoistic shitheel, cheer on this carnage like a lobotomized monkey. Meanwhile in the world of people who have actually read up on this subject, secret negotiations, careful political maneuvers, and empathy for the civilian population have proven to work against insurgencies. But I understand your reluctance. You can't masturbate the the snuff of children being bombed to bits if the problem is solved intelligently. So this farce results. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 00:37, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
@GeeJayK I'm sure you can see now why this discussion is pointless.UncleKrampus (talk) 01:41, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
Concern Troll Carthage (talk) 01:43, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
TrollUncleKrampus (talk) 02:01, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
As I was saying, Gee, these guys are way beyond civil discussions. Stings, don't it?UncleKrampus (talk) 02:03, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
There is no civility when one side is supporting genocidal actions in petulant response to a proposal, which was asked for which would minimize civilian causalities and still achieve war aims. If you want me to bite my tongue at such, your priorities are more about feeling good and than achieving anything of worth. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 03:54, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
((ec) I haven't seen you add anything constructive. Anyway, it is infuriating that we're arguing over the definition of genocide while the people of Gaza continue to suffer and die. It does not matter to them what label you use to describe this catastrophe, they just want the senseless violence to stop. The fact we can't even agree on this on pure humanitarian grounds is maddening. This is decidedly un-liberal. Carthage (talk) 03:57, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
@Carthage I at least can recognize the practical and moral insanity of this shitshow. The civilian population will not turn on Hamas if they are bombed to bits, and bombing them to bits is inhumane and inexcusable. The facts are clear, a ceasefire should be called and an armistice negotiated. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 04:44, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
I see you’re still as spiteful as you were last year when you LANCB’d. The first thing you do after unlurking is antagonize people over political disagreements smh. --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 04:51, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
Y'all talk as if politics is not literally life or death...all the stranger when talking about the context of war. Our entire website here is founded on antagonization, and when it comes to shit that has a bit higher stakes than debunking creationism suddenly the discourse requires civility or suffer the wrath of bad faith tone policing. How unreasonable is it to expect the conversation about mass murder and ethnic displacement to run emotions high? Y'all get mad at human beings for acting human. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 05:28, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
I meant being unhelpful, caustic and holier-than-thou about it, without actually contributing to the discussion. And he’s gotten in plenty of trouble here for very similar shit, and his behavior evidently hasn’t changed one bit other than obviously getting a lot more spiteful and “I’m right, everyone who disagrees is not only wrong but literally Bibi!!!!!!111!!!SHIFT1!!SHIFToneeleventyone11!!!1!” Heck, he’s even screeching at someone with similar positions to his. And why should we, a minor wiki with like 40 active people, try and guilt everyone into having passionate, full-throated opinions that turn and historically have turned us against each other on every evil of the world? --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 06:42, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
@CircularReasoning I literally layed out a general program of how to defeat Hamas without brutalizing Gaza. Would you like me to cite my sources as well? I did not compare anyone to Netanyahu. I did not "screech" at Carthage, I tried to shift from a rather annoyed explanation of how batshit Cory and Co's position is to being nice to someone who seemed to be in a similar boat. I'm not "unlurking", I haven't touched this website for months, due precisely this "civility" over substance crap, as well as my time being occupied with others matters, and only did so due to needing to check an article and checking the saloon on a lark. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 14:28, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
Civility is the only real thing you can accomplish here. Nothing that is said here can affect the state of world affairs. We can inform one another, learn ourselves, and understand that no one has all necessary answers. People will, in general refuse to accept their limitations, hence the eruptions seen above. A person's got to know their limitations to succeed in life. Whether you, in particular, agree with these very general metaphysical assumptions is unimportant. Get mad if you like. Hit your head against the nearest wall until you see stars. Grab a rock and mash your gonads. I do not advise any of this.UncleKrampus (talk) 18:04, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
You still haven't added anything constructive. Just more of your usual "holier-than-thou" posturing. Concern Troll Carthage (talk) 18:07, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
You really didn't read the comment, I think. The argument is futile, that's why people erupt. That is the evaluation of the discussion. What do you expect? Shall I decide who insults the other most deftly? It is very natural for you to conflate disinterest with an expression of superiority or being holier-than-thou. Of course I can be a pretty rotten person, maybe worse than yourself. Your argument is still unsound.UncleKrampus (talk) 18:17, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
@UncleKrampus If nothing here affects world affairs, then you might as well nuke the site because it is a waste of time. However, if you believe that, in a limited sense, what happens in any given site trickles out into the rest of the world, do engage with my original post instead of espousing nihilism. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 18:23, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
I do not believe that I ever espoused nihilism. But, I will not be pedantic about the definition. I will leave it to the readers to decide about that. Neither will I criticize your prescription for dealing with insurgencies, except to say it would be wonderful if deontological methods would work in real life. I suppose they would if a mutual understanding could be reached. The idea of right moral action was understood by Socrates as simply knowing the right actions to take. He did not doubt that a civilized person would then do the right thing. UncleKrampus (talk) 18:33, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
This isn't "merely" deontological. There is empirical data which shows that collective punishment is bad COIN, and that winning hearts and minds works. It's good COIN. I linked the data in question above. It's the RAND Institute study. Give it a read, or don't. Up to you. But I would rather be actually informed about these issues. I don't think you care enough to actually inform yourself, you've expressed disinterest in the topic yourself. Why are you engaging in this thread then if you don't care? Carthage (talk) 18:44, 6 January 2024 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I may change my name to the "dictionCommie". "Disinterested" as I take it, means not personally involved. The "disinterested party" has one requirement for making a judgment. All idiots can be disinterested I suppose, but they do tend to wonder off eventually.. But anyway, I will look at the link you mentioned, and decide if it is bogus (bad coin) or not.UncleKrampus (talk) 18:59, 6 January 2024 (UTC)

@UncleKrampus I'm not a Kantian, and am infamously distrustful of arguments on moral grounds, if you will recall in the past. Let me put this in terms that even a child can understand. If you shoot people, they will want to shoot back. If you want peace in the region, stop shooting the civilians, you utter moron. Now, if what you want is more insurgency and more terrorism, well, carry on. I'm sure if Hamas survives this they will have droves of recruits. This is because such has happened in; Ireland, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Cyprus, Algeria, Iran, the American colonies, the Congo, Brazil, Peru, Cambodia, Korea, China, Sri Lanka, and literally almost every other insurgency that has ever been fought. This is because in insurgency, the insurgents attach themselves to a portion of the civilian population they believe to be potentially sympathetic to their cause. This is usually symbiotic, but can also be parasitic, though the latter is less common. Brutalities committed by the counter-insurgency against the civilian population therefore literally make the insurgents more palatable and radicalize the civilian population, making them more prone to militancy and cooperation with said insurgents. This means that when you brutalize those civilians, you strengthen the insurgents. In simpler terms, bombing Gaza strengthens Hamas, because the civilians are left with two options, join Hamas and fight back, or die. Which do you think they will choose? You want to weaken Hamas? Give the civilians another option. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 19:04, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
I take it that you agree with this report "Unlike the iron fist counterinsurgencies, the motive-focused efforts, though primarily on the motivefocused side of the equation, were often balanced with kinetic efforts to kill, capture, or constrain active insurgents...We return to these two paths, iron fist and motive-focused, when we describe how we divided the cases into subpopulations for further analysis in Chapter Three. These analyses found that primarily motive-focused and balanced COIN campaigns are much more likely to be successful than strictly iron fist efforts." This report is quite long and It would be some days before I could reasonably discuss it.UncleKrampus (talk) 20:16, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
Paths to Victory, derived from research in "Victory has a Thousand Fathers" by RAND, which in turn corresponds with research by Robert W. White on insurgencies using the IRA as case study, (with specific focus on the Provisional IRA) which itself engages in theoretical and experimental data derived from multiple theorists of insurgency, counter-insurgency, and military theory, as well as histories of insurgency more broadly. Yes, I am conversant in this subject. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:36, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
First posts in months and it just has to include swearing at me. Good to see you too, bro. CorruptUser 04:26, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
TBF the very page on tone policing seems almost tailored made with you in mind. You say some pretty egregious shit, and like....you know you do. You have almost proudly taken on that roll of a crass semi-troll who is only not a full-on troll because you are for the most part sincere about your opinions. But you definitely do not give a shit about the delivery or implications of what you say, or even care if it can be construed as harmful. Can we please drop this offended granny act? Oh no, the user said the f-word to me! - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 02:46, 8 January 2024 (UTC)

How to create new article (Fun article)[edit]

Hello. I want to write a fun article because I am in the mood. How do I do it? Thanks; Cthulhuis2cool (talk) 17:30, 3 January 2024 (UTC)

Preface the intended title with "Fun:" in the search box. After the search there will be a red link that will allow you to create the page. Bongolian (talk) 20:27, 3 January 2024 (UTC)

As for that poll.[edit]

The poll about which statement was the truth was "Homer Simpson was in the Baseball Hall of Fame".The Krusty Krab (talk) 21:27, 3 January 2024 (UTC)

A high... or an epiphany[edit]

Given the rotten state of our politics right now, I just had some crazy thoughts about what if we abolished all parties, reduced Parliament to a strictly lawmaking body, and handed absolute power to King Charles. How would it play out? MeowPurr 05:11, 4 January 2024 (UTC)

For us to determine whether you are high or having an epiphany we would need to know what you have been smoking. If anything. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 05:13, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
I am not sure why this would seem to be a good idea. I don’t think you “solve” various people’s political concerns by making the state less democratic. It effectively “solves” problems by refusing to acknowledge them. Also I am pretty confident the King himself wouldn’t be on board for that. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 05:22, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
I can't comment on how much this applies to the UK (though I suspect similar issues are there), but a big part of the problem with the current state of American politics is the sheer vast amount of influence the "ruling class" has over here, above and beyond the democratic process. And by "ruling class", I do not mean the politicians by and large; instead, I mean the plutocrats behind the scenes. It's seen most directly through the obvious Republican rot (see the money sloshing towards Clarence Thomas, all the better to buy opinions favorable to the ruling class; or how much of the recent "college campus! antisemitism!" witch hunts against college heads have been fueled by a personal vendetta of hedge fund billionaire Bill AckmanWikipedia and the politician he is pulling the strings of, Elise Stefanik.Wikipedia) But, as Democratic Senator Bob MenendezWikipedia (aka "the Qatar/Egypt ass-kisser, and more") shows, the rot is plenty there on the other side as well.
Politicians in a democracy at least are in theory able to be held accountable; if they fuck up somehow, in theory, they can be thrown out of office. Plutocrats and monarchs are, by definition, not accountable at all. Imagine if Prince Andrew was the current king of the UK and the one with all the power... what with the Jeffrey Epstein stories swirling around him and all. In a monarchy, those stories wouldn't matter one iota. Unless the "royal family" did something unusual, you are stuck with who you got. BobJohnson (talk) 16:42, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
Giving all authority to some idiot with massive inherited privilege, who has no idea how normal people live and who thinks that homeopathy works does not sound like a good idea to me.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:32, 5 January 2024 (UTC)

How to not be a "mark" when it comes to things on the internet?[edit]


I'd like to think I have at least some level of a BS meter when it comes to things on the internet. Usually low views, stuff about spirituality and psychedelics, and anything that claims to rewrite what you know, all that good stuff. Like the above, something in my head went off as I was watching it that warned me it was BS. But then part of me wonders if I am being unfair, dismissive, you get the rest. Sadly that part is rather loud and I find it hard to win against it. I guess I'm wondering what the "balance" (if you can call it that) is between recognizing something as BS or being "open-minded" and giving it a shot. My reaction is usually having to figure out how someone is wrong before I can dismiss what they say, which I'll admit is a terrible way to do things. (talk) 07:26, 4 January 2024 (UTC)

This is what a critical thinking tool kit is meant for. When it comes to someone forwarding a particular conclusion, identify the premises they use to support it. Ask yourself, do I have grounds to accept these premises are true? Are they plausible? Do they contradict something I already know? Can I test them? Are there relevant experts on the subject, and what do they say about it? Does what they say contradict these premises? You can engage in a more explicit thought process by asking yourself these sorts of guiding questions, and you should be able to identify how you are developing reasons for doubt. You aren't being dismissive if you approach any set of claims with a certain degree of curiosity, and openness to engage in critical inquiry.
The other important thing to ask is, even if the premises were true, is it conceivable that the premises could be true while the conclusion being forwarded is false? Which is to say, is the argument being presented logically valid? If it is an invalid argument then whatever the conclusion may be, the supporting statements do not necessarily imply the conclusion, and so there isn't a direct logical justification as to why you should accept it. Arguably for vague spiritualistic claims, the sort of relations being appealed to rarely have any strict logical connection to the reasons one gives for their spiritual belief. As a matter of practicality it is also worth asking how you could even tell if a given claim were true or not. Which is to say, is it even testable? If not, then what possible difference could it make to your lived experiences? If you are not asking yourself these sort of questions you aren't really critically engaging with the subject, you are simply going with your gut intuition. But going with your gut intuition isn't always unreliable. Sometimes a gut intuition is all you have energy for, and in some instances it is just the more efficient instinct to rely on. Even if you are being "unfair" I would argue it does not really matter unless such a dismissal can turn out to be genuinely harmful. There is only so many hours in a day, and so many calories available to burn, you don't have to critically reflect upon every extraordinary claim you come across. You can cut yourself some slack. Still, if you want to maintain a "rational" open-mind, it always good to ask yourself questions that are productive towards "fact-checking" a given set of statements. Doing so does not always result in rejection, sometimes the evidence will result in changing your mind. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 08:31, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
This seems like good and standard advice for practicing the "craft" of a skeptic. I don't mean to dismiss your advice here, but I think it should be complemented by pointing out how it works best for those who are already skeptics and reasonably well-educated and with time to examine things more completely. It works much worse for those more at risk, for people who start off knowing less and so almost never able to firmly deduce much -- and they go with things anyway, as people do, while perhaps being introduced to a series of authorities who establish "alternative facts" which reasoning can then proceed according to, resulting in increasingly good thinking leading to bad conclusions, the usual story when a person becomes enveloped in a cult with some level of intellectual sophistication. That inner "BS detector" that warns quickly and easily develops with broader learning and psychological experience, and if missing, the attention may be misplaced and the best of advice thus not put into practice. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 09:15, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
[EC] I have long had a similar problem, and still do to some extent. When you have less knowledge in general, as I like most had in my younger years, that makes it much easier to become a mark (in my case, that was about cult-like esoteric teachings). A more broad and comprehensive knowledge, and experience built over time, builds a better inner "BS detector". Eventually I learned enough that I couldn't believe in the same kinds of things in the same way, and then a drawn-out inner upheaval followed, like a psychological immune system reaction perhaps, and thereafter I was more resistant to such BS.
But unlike many believers, in my earlier years I also had this thing where I couldn't just fully dismiss what skeptics said, as even when I believed otherwise I didn't know enough to firmly conclude the skeptical explanation was false. (I think this is quite unusual among those who get deep into crank teachings, but have no statistics or such. It may be part of why I was lucky enough to snap out of a cult, when others didn't.) So nowadays I'm somewhat on the other side of that.
It's helped for me to zoom out, and consider larger patterns of things (thought, language, argumentation, fields), including the psychology of problematic ones. In understanding related matters at a larger scale better, my mind becomes less cluttered with the endless doubts and counter-doubts when dealing with things at the smaller scale, or more specific instances of things I can see in relation to the larger scale. But this takes time and such learning proceeds unpredictably and at very varying rates as I encounter and look into things, in my experience. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 08:53, 4 January 2024 (UTC)

I'll admit the issue I run into is that I am often magnetic when it comes to vaguely spiritual stuff like this: https://pathwaytohappiness.com/blog/respect-in-relationships/ Where you are given what seems to be a chain of reasoning, but I am not really sure if it is right or not. It sounds like it is, and like I mentioned above I have to find how it's wrong before dismissing it. I do agree with the above, I don't really have a lot of knowledge of the world. The things I know are fairly limited in scope and when it comes to abstract things like philosophy, spirituality, and some parts of psychology (like the link) I don't know if it's right or not so I often have to ask other people about it. The issue that arises though is that I come to be dependent on other people to solve my problems and I don't often trust my own versions of things as a result even if I say the same thing someone else does. It usually devolves into a pattern of finding something that challenges me and then needing someone else to prove it wrong before I move on. It's not healthy I know, and I know the problem is with me. (talk) 22:03, 4 January 2024 (UTC)

Chances of a Trump presidency[edit]

How likely is it that Trump wins the White House? Like, genuinely? It's 2024 now. Both candidates are historically unpopular. I guess it comes down to so-called "strategic voting," who is the piece of shit who'll make your life, or the lives of people you know and care about, more of a living hell than it already is? And then vote against that. Carthage (talk) 09:08, 4 January 2024 (UTC)

it also depends on who turns out on election day. it's looking increasingly likely that democrats are gonna stay home in november. that low turnout could be the boost that republicans need to win. it'll be 2016 all over again. The G (talk) 18:33, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
The shennanigans with Maine and Colorado will only help to boost Trump. Fingers crossed, Trump will be forced to step down for health reasons and Nikki Haley instead gets the nom, but that's me. CorruptUser 19:58, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
Basically the "horse race" polling is even. Even that doesn't mean much, since electoral vote oriented polling hasn't come out. It is essentially a turnout question, sure... so we don't know much, because potential "turnout topics" really only start mattering in late summer 2024. Certainly Trump could win, but having said that, I wouldn't rule any Democrat out in any closely contested election as long as people are still pissed about the repeal of Roe v. Wade. BobJohnson (talk) 20:15, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
Be sure to go out and vote. We cannot have far right idiots in office again. Hell, I would take a moderate Republican (not many of those anymore). --Trans Fem Agenda 00:13, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
Polling doesn't mean much at this point for the general election. He will win the primary and not select any of the other candidates as VP as discussed above. Lots of shit will be coming down on his head in the coming months, but leave nothing to chance: register to vote, vote, work for Democratic campaigns and donate to Democratic campaigns that look close. The GOP has gone full fascist. Bongolian (talk) 01:31, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
I agree with BobJ on this; from where I'm sitting it could go either way. My gut is telling me that if it's a genuinely fair election, turnout is high and there's no black swans Biden will win. But you cannot bet there won't be enough vote suppression in MAGA-controlled states to swing it in the Orange's favour. And I laugh at you still peddling the 'legal stuff makes Trump more popular' shite with zero evidence that is not polling firm 'republican' voters, Corrupt. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:35, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
I know this will sound like a frivolous truism...but I think, since we are headed for a rematch of 2020 the election will resemble 2020-a very close contest in which the winner won't be obvious until days after voting starts. If you forced me to choose a favored candidate I would lean toward Biden-Trump is very good at scaring non-MAGA voters into thinking his presidency would be the literal end of them-but I wouldn't be terribly confident in my answer.-Flandres (talk) 18:11, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
To what extent are the US election and the UK election moving to 'None of the above/NOTA' candidates and parties as being the preferred options? Anna Livia (talk) 14:17, 8 January 2024 (UTC)
I can only speak for the USA but I don't think protest voting of any sort will pick up too much steam. Most voters are either A) MAGAS who think Biden winning would represent the death of true American culture and the establishment of the antichrist or B) Biden supporters who think Trump winning would represent the death of enlightenment values and the establishment of the fourth Reich. Sure, you might not like one but you are TERRIFIED of the other.-Flandres (talk) 16:33, 8 January 2024 (UTC)
I hear a lot from the activist, chatter class proclaiming and encouraging people to either not vote or vote third party because of the IP conflict since in their mind, "Biden and Trump are the same!", but I'm not sure how much that attitude will translate to their minority audience. I feel like for them, they may not like Biden and may even say they'll follow the activists' lead in the way they approach voting, but come closer to election day, when a Trump victory feels more realistic and they're staring down the barrel of a potentially vengeful, uninhibited Trump presidency with the man saying in no uncertain terms that he will come after you and make your life hell, they may decide to hold their nose while they vote for Biden. Trump just seems that much more openly scary and cruel this round.-Ryan1257 (talk) 05:29, 9 January 2024 (UTC)
You have to realize that a lot of these people are young. It is a lot different seeing the horrors of war firsthand than reading about it in the history books. Also, no one I'm aware of is saying that "Biden and Trump are the same." They're saying that they can't in good conscience vote for someone enabling one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century. Voting, in principle, is supposed to be about conscience. How likely is it that, if Biden does win, you'll be crowing that Biden didn't need the left to win? Likewise, if Biden loses, how likely is it that you'll be crowing that the left let a fascist win? Carthage (talk) 05:34, 9 January 2024 (UTC)
Okay, first off Carthage, knock it off and stop caricaturing me. I would never "crow" that Biden didn't need the left or anyone to win considering the fact that even a relatively small amount of voters can tip the scales in a battleground state and I will always appreciate it when people come together to vote against fascism. And if you want one example, [here]. I know it's only one example, but I'm not going to back and cite every redditor or twitterer who I've encountered with the worst takes to convince you that it's happening, but if you haven't encountered anything like I have, then I'm willing to chalk it up to the fact you don't visit those two sites (or aren't directed to them as much as I get directed to them) which good for you if you don't. And lastly, I'm not sympathetic to the idea of voting with your conscience since you should also be voting strategically to not let something worse occur. The current strategy of letting The Republicans win to make some sort of statement reeks of both naivete, that your "perfect candidate" is just waiting behind the curtains to come out and win the next election, and accelerationism, where you hope all your political ideas will come about by the revolution which will surely come because your political enemies will inevitably kick it off with their actions.-Ryan1257 (talk) 16:36, 9 January 2024 (UTC)
I actually made a mistake in a previous comment. Apparently the efforts to kick him off the ballot are about the Republican primaries, or at least Colorado was. This would be more effective but then you'd have to contend with someone like Nikki Haley. Chillpilled (talk) 14:55, 8 January 2024 (UTC)

In the British case, I'm picking up some fairly strong 'mood music' that a lot of folks are at least open to the idea of an anti-Tory tactical vote. It's important to note that here it's not always a straight Tory/Labour fight; in many rural seats the Lib-Dems are the main anti-Tory party while seats in Wales/Scotland have another Union/Independence axis which the electorate have to measure up before doing the X. The main question [I guess] is how much the parties are willing to go along with this; in 1997 part of the Tory wipeout was due to Labour/LDs unofficially officially trying to keep 'red/yellow' fire to the minimum and giving the stronger party a free run to hoover up the anti-Tory vote. Now, folks aren't enamoured one bit with Starmer but the only people who really seem to fear/hate a new Starmer Ministry are hard-right Faragist/vulgar libertarians who are in fact rather small in population % and if they left the Tories, they'd go for Reform UK. To be honest, our politics are simply less polarised, our media is less biased and our system less corrupted than in the USA [though it's not really in a healthy state]. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:36, 8 January 2024 (UTC)

I’ve said it before and I'll say it again; a vote for red kills morality dead. We need to scrounge up as many votes for Biden as possible. Luigifan18 (talk) 14:01, 11 January 2024 (UTC)
I'd estimate 30/70 Trump/Biden. Bear in mind that November is ten months away and a lot can change in that time. I intend to vote and get as many people as possible to vote, too, because it being this close makes me very nervous. Biden is such a shit candidate, but he is far better. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 09:54, 12 January 2024 (UTC)
I do agree that as bad as Biden has been on the situation in Palestine, a Trump presidency would be catastrophically worse. Carthage (talk) 10:01, 12 January 2024 (UTC)

really warm winter[edit]

Has any one else had a really hot winter this year. Of is that a northern U.S. and southern Canada thing? And should I blame this on global warming? Koafox (talk) 23:26, 4 January 2024 (UTC)

We're in a very probable strong "El Niño"Wikipedia pattern.[4] This normally does mean a warmer winter for that area.[5] Less so for the southern US, however (particularly the southeast, which typically is a lot wetter in an El Niño pattern).
According to the Wiki article, the main thing scientists are decently confident about is that climate change does increase the frequency of extreme/strong El Niño events. From other articles[6], it seems really difficult to model the impact of climate change on the entire cycle (known as the El Niño–Southern OscillationWikipedia (ENSO)). So from my "quick scan" it's hard to say 100% that "yes, this strong El Niño is influenced by climate change". Sometimes weather is weather. But since ENSO is related to ocean temperatures, it would hardly surprise me if at least part of it is. BobJohnson (talk) 23:57, 4 January 2024 (UTC)
I can attest to a warmer winter. No snow on Christmas. --Trans Fem Agenda 00:11, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
Supposed to snow this weekend here in New England... and then immediately warm up. The fools who celebrate deer ticks are thrilled about that. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:23, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
This has been one of the coldest winters I can remember in my 20 years in Taiwan. It got down to 9oC in December, which is about as cold as it ever gets here and then not usually until February. Mind you, last winter was even colder. I had to put on a coat in the daytime before 10 October 2022. I usually don't have to start wearing a coat at night until late November. Spud (talk) 13:38, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
I was just in the Canary Islands - which were really warm. I'm now back home and it's quite cool. What does this tell us about global warming? Obviously nothing at all. What with global warming being a sort of "global" and all. No individual experience of any particular weather event tells us anything. Bizarre "once in a hundred year" events occur about once in a hundred years.
What does tell us something is the global temperature rise and "once in a hundred years" events occurring every decade.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:38, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
It has kinda snowed, the big blizz is east of the heartland and very wet. Reminder we here North of the equator are past the equinox, sun has more time out. Torrent (talk) 03:40, 7 January 2024 (UTC)

My cat was put to sleep today[edit]

Today was a completely rotten day. At least she is no longer in pain. The vet said that she had an aneurysm in her leg and a massive bladder infection. She would have been dead in two weeks. It was more humane to put her to sleep. I have been hurting all day. --Trans Fem Agenda 00:11, 5 January 2024 (UTC)

Sorry to hear that. Some things are just hard, I know I'm just a random guy on the internet but if there was something more I could do to make you feel better I would. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:21, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
I feel your pain, Rationalzombie ;-; I've had to go through the death of a few beloved pets myself, and it always hurts so bad when you see them suffering in their final days and know that it's time for it to end. You may never be able to replace her, but hopefully you'll at least be able to find something (or somebody) that will be able to mend the hole this has torn in your heart. Postuhenin (talk) 01:35, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
Sorry to hear that, Rationalzombie. I've been with a few cats and a dog in their final hours. We're luck to have caring vets who can make the end as painless as possible. Bongolian (talk) 02:24, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss, RZ. Carthage (talk) 06:45, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
@Rationalzombie94 Speaking as a cat person, I am also very sorry for your loss. I hope you can focus on the good times you spent with her. Spud (talk) 13:30, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
I hope you feel better soon. Koafox (talk) 15:15, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
That's a really bad experience. You have my sympathies.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:19, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
I’m so sorry RZ. --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 17:16, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
Hard to hear, I get that it doeSn't add up. It doesn't add up, years and friendship. Few living things on this earth get a quiet death surrounded. You were a good cat.. 'owner' Torrent (talk) 04:08, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
Definitely the hardest part about being a pet-lover, loving something knowing they will only be part of your life for a short time. But, understanding that life is only temporary and that we have to move on is part of what allows us to be human. CorruptUser 21:39, 8 January 2024 (UTC)

Jeffery Epstein Court Documents have been unsealed.[edit]

It’s blowing up on various breaking news sites as of now. I am curious about how we as a community should respond to the information, and if a series of new edits on various pages from Clinton, to Stephen Hawking have to be made in light of the new information. We’d have to be really careful about what gets included, and be careful not to speculate or include allegations as facts without appropriate verification. A lot of this feels distressing as fuck. A number of figures will be seen a new light if they haven’t already. Of course various details about allegations of sexual abuse including CSA will be brought to attention. All really disgusting stuff. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 01:43, 5 January 2024 (UTC)

From what I have seen it's currently almost all "person X was mentioned in some context by person Y". The only exceptions being people we already knew about. I guess that could change though.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 10:20, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
Yeah, I think it is telling that the news stories died pretty quickly (except for the rumor mill bullshit, of course), so from what I can tell, nothing too new so far. There's a few new tidbits, but from what I recall, many of them are brief, and might have potential "telephone game" issues (eg, a lot of them are emails from one person to another based on what someone else said, or testimony passed on by what someone remembered another briefly saying).
The Stephen Hawking thing is probably the only kind of new thing I've heard, and yet... it's kind of odd. The new revelation is that, in 2015, Epstein mailed Ghislaine MaxwellWikipedia to "issue a reward" to disprove allegations by Virginia GiuffreWikipedia that Hawking participated in an "underage orgy". However, since this is the first time I've ever even heard of this allegation, despite it being 9 years old... given that all we have to go on is a short email, I'm cautious doing anything with it... yet. That being said, it's been known for a while that Hawking had an association with Epstein, and hardly the only major scientist. A 2019 Daily Beast article [7] mentions Hawking along with Marvin MinskyWikipedia (which notably got Richard Stallman in a bit of trouble due to his rather creepy defense of Minsky's potential misdeeds) and Lawrence Krauss (who eventually was forced out of his professorship due to sexual misconduct allegations). BobJohnson (talk) 16:59, 5 January 2024 (UTC)
At the end of the day there is little to say really. What transpires in courts of law can be relied upon. Everything else is plain gossip. Does anyone today deny that Epstein's objective was to associate with as many distinguished individuals as possible? That was probably for purposes of blackmail. Got evidence? Publish it. I'm more interested in who Epstein was working for than who he wanted to blackmail; a list of names being little better than a psychological association test. Given the deleterious circumstance of Hawking's existence, I can not intuit motives to his attendance at Epstein's exotic tropical isle. Ariel31459 (talk) 16:45, 7 January 2024 (UTC)

Women's studies course[edit]

I am thinking of taking a women's studies course in college. I can take a first-year introductory course to women's studies, or a second-year course on feminist epistemology and research methodologies. Which should I pick, given that I'm a STEM student? Also, I'm a dude and have no prior experience with this type of course. Are these courses generally taken mostly by women, or is there more of an equal gender balance? HashtagFeminism (talk) 07:15, 6 January 2024 (UTC)

I'm not sure why one would hop past the introductory course. You can expect more women will attend these sorts of courses, yes. Although I'm sure there are places where there'd be a more equal ratio, but generally. Chillpilled (talk) 08:08, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
It's because I don't plan on minoring or majoring in women's studies, but taking one course would help me satisfy a degree requirement. I wonder if it's a good idea to take the second-year course and just study the first-year stuff on my own. HashtagFeminism (talk) 15:13, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
I suspect the gender balance would be a lot less lop-sided for the intro course; I can imagine a lot of management/business/politics types taking the module to help their later employment chances. The second-year sounds more niche-y; but suspect you'd still find a fair amount of guy social science students doing it. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:30, 6 January 2024 (UTC)
I would recommend the second year course if you are already deeply familiar with the very basics of the gender vs. sex distinction, already understand what intersectionalism is, and if you already have engaged with feminist literature already. Intro courses in Gender studies are sort of designed around people who have no familiarity with feminist literature and are kind of targeted towards folks confused about this whole gender thing. Feminist Epistemology will be a lot more technical, and specifically focus on “knowledge-making” practices — feminist philosophy of science, feminist notions of objectivity, etc. I say this as a masters student in philosophy that the second year course will probably be more fruitful to having applications within STEM. But if you are new to academic feminism, take the first year course. Just know it will covering really elementary stuff, which may seem overly basic or trivial to you. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 02:47, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
@OnlySortaDumb Thank you for the advice!
I have some familiarity with feminism and gender from watching Philosophy Tube and ContraPoints, and reading Wikipedia and RationalWiki. I also took a philosophy course, where I read the paper "A Defense of AbortionWikipedia" by Judith Jarvis Thomson. Would that be enough knowledge for the second-year course? HashtagFeminism (talk) 04:33, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
I get it, I don't think you care. I signed up for Cross Training as my physical ed freshman highschool year thinking it would be a stamina deal. Turned out it was all girls save me. I wonder what your point is. Torrent (talk) 05:28, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
I do TA for second-year courses and if the course itself has no prerequisites then there are no real particular expectations about what sort of knowledge you should have going in. Second-year courses are still considered intro courses, just keep in mind that a class like that is going to focus pretty narrowly on a subset of feminist issues specific to the philosophy of knowledge, and certain methodological issues. It would not be covering broader social or ethical problems beyond that. Something like "if trans women belong in women's sports" may get covered by an Intro to gender studies course, but not so much in a course on feminist epistemology. The feminist epistemology course will probably focus more so on stuff like Helen Longino's social theory of objectivity, how patriarchal power structures can bias research design and outcomes, and stuff related to standpoint epistemology. So it all depends on how "specialized" your interests are in feminism. I personally like the more technically applied stuff personally, but the broad strokes theory and issues are of immense value on their own.
When I took Intro to gender studies as an undergrad I was told my knowledge of the topics was way too advanced for such a course and that I should have taken a higher-level class. Regardless I still very much learned a lot from it, as we covered everything from sex segregation in sports, the rights and concerns of intersex people, racialized exploitation, and intersectionality as it was originally conceived. You may touch upon these sorts of things in a feminist epistemology course, but they probably won't be the focus. Keep in mind too that at universities the class syllabus is up to the discretion of the instructor. What you get taught really comes down to whatever your prof thinks is important, so you may want to figure out ahead of time what the syllabus for these courses look like depending on who is teaching them. Where you are being taught also matters. The attitudes regarding what constitutes "proper feminism" is vastly different between the US and the UK. UK universities are more partial to keeping "gender-critical" instructors on staff, and there is a known beef between feminist philosophers in NA with those in the UK. At least this is what the faculty members who specialize in feminist philosophy in my department tell me. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 05:36, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
so, in what way does it damage you? Torrent (talk) 06:09, 7 January 2024 (UTC)
wat? - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 08:57, 7 January 2024 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @OnlySortaDumbWow, that is actually really interesting. Helen Longino sounds cool, hopefully I'll get to learn about her. Fortunately, I go to a North American school, so probably no "gender-critical" stuff. I think I'll take the epistemology course. I like the technical stuff too, and I think it would be very useful for STEM research. The class size is also smaller, ~50 compared to ~150 for the intro course, so I think I'll get more out of the in-class setting. There are indeed no prerequisites, so thanks for letting me know about those types of courses. @Chillpilled and KarmaPolice Thank you as well for your thoughts. @TorrentWhat the fuck are you on about? HashtagFeminism (talk) 16:23, 7 January 2024 (UTC)


Welp, interesting times.

Texas has basically flipped the bird to the US government over the border dispute; Abbott issued a letter basically saying that the US government is failing its duties to protect its people from invasion. A bunch of states have supported Texas. All because nobody wants to actually have the hard conversations about immigration reform. CorruptUser 06:13, 25 January 2024 (UTC)

It's basically a $10 billion project in grandstanding. 30 miles of razor wire of a 1,200 mile border won't do diddly shit to stop illegal immigration, but it serves as an excellent dog and pony show for the white nationalists. (A waste of money, too, but hey.)
No one wants to actually have the "hard conversations" about immigration reform, because too many businesses are dependent on cheap immigrant labor. Strictly enforce employment of illegal immigrants, and the illegal immigrants will go away... but so will the relatively cheap veggies and hotel rooms. So "dumb symbolic shit" like this is par for the course for the future, methinks. BobJohnson (talk) 14:50, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
"Who will clean our hotels and pick our crops for indentured-servitude wages" is one of those hard conversations. Especially when we get to the topic of which labor is actually productive. For instance, if we have the option of butchering animals in the US for underpaid wages or exporting animals and importing the meat, it's not ideal but it's better to have the migrant labor here. The same goes for factories in general; if your choice is "exploit immigrants" or "move the entire factory to another country where the exploitation is even worse", illegal immigrant labor is the lesser of two evils. If the migrant labor is "mowing the lawns of rich people", that does not actually improve the economy as far as I'm concerned, and even if the migrants were to just disappear into some infinite void whenever they were done cleaning and all the American workers found equivalent jobs, the lowering of cleaning/maintenance costs for only the rich people who hire maids and gardeners acts as a "subsidy" for the wealthy when it comes to buying multiple homes and screwing over the middle class from home ownership. CorruptUser 15:49, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
Except for the times it's not a binary choice. There's several traditionally poor pay/condition sectors of the American economy in which productivity per head could be hugely raised [thus using less labour], but as [illegal] labour is no-risk, cheap and seemingly limitless, companies do not invest in such productivity-raising capital goods. Case in point; slaughterhouses - the 'SlaughterBot' has been more used as a threat to humans to not unionise and not demand improvements in conditions/pay than actually be installed and increase productivity.
In fact, this was one of the reasons for the 'white goods' boom in the post-war Western nations; things like washing machines, vacuum cleaners and microwaves became hugely more attractive for middle-class homes because there was no longer a large pool of cheap [often female] labour sitting around waiting to be hired for peanuts as domestic servants. However, go to low-wage nations such as India, you'll still find the domestics in common existence but few appliances - why bother with a vacuum cleaner when you can simply tell your 'Auntie' to get onto her knees and do it with a dustpan and brush?
But you are perfectly correct; illegal labour is a subsidy for the wealthy, capital-holding class. Similar can be said of in-work benefits, similar to the millions of workers who get their income topped-up by welfare [it is subsidising occupations which are too poor to literally live on]. KarmaPolice (talk) 19:06, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
So let's say we could roll out a new set of "White Goods" that would replace much of illegal labor, to the point where not only illegal unskilled and semiskilled labor is gone, but all of the legal unskilled and semiskilled labor as well;
Roombas make homes somewhat self-cleaning, reduce need for maids, self-driving cars reduce need for taxi, truck and delivery drivers, roomba-like mowers reduce need for lawncare workers, 3d printing or similar large-scale construction projects build homes for a fraction of the cost, in addition to your "SlaughterBot" and all else. Illegal unskilled or semi-skilled labor effectively ceases to subsidize the wealthy, since they no longer provide anything.
Now what? Is it then right for the country to deny immigrants since they aren't "needed" by anyone anymore? Let's say we vote to tax the wealthy such that the unskilled members of society have a decent social safety net; should the unskilled members of the country deny immigration so that they can keep a larger chunk of the welfare-pie for themselves, instead of splitting it with millions of people who simply can't meaningfully contribute to the economy? CorruptUser 21:20, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
So, Abbott is threatening to start a civil war because he can't force immigrants to crawl through razor wire? Is that correct? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 11:59, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Pretty much (though I personally take any hyperbole from the Texas government in that direction about as seriously as all the other silly "secessionist" movements). But the funny thing about this (and something few of the headlines seem to mention, preferring to point the finger at Joe Biden... so fuck you, mainstream media) is that Abbott is really flipping the bird at the very conservative Supreme Court. As they were the ones who merely vacated an injunction issued by the Fifth Circuit Court, which was preventing the federal government from, y'know, actually managing the border and stuff (which the razor wire political theater prevented them from doing) while the full case on the razor wire political theater plays out.
At least the New Republic acknowledged [8] that this whole bruhaha is just a bunch of political theater designed to attract votes of the racists via Constitutionally questionable assertions. Practically, I can't imagine Abbot's end game personally -- every state having its own border policy and guard? But from my perspective, they aren't even thinking that far; the lone brain cell controlling the entirety of Texas government is merely thinking about the votes. BobJohnson (talk) 14:59, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
I'm sure they'd be happy with the idea "states rights" on immigration policy if California were to hypothetically make border crossing more generous (while putting them on buses to Texas).-Ryan1257 (talk) 15:04, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Something I also wanted to mention, yeah, the craziest part of this story is that it's a conservative governor that chose to ignore a supreme court ruling. It's almost as if they believe the court should serve as a weapon against their opponents, not a check on their power which is why they feel more comfortable ignoring court rulings that go "against" them.-Ryan1257 (talk) 15:07, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
I mean, another headline today is Donald Trump strong-arming Mitch McConnell into scuttling a bi-partisan border deal in order for help Trump run an anti-immigration presidential campaign. Not that politicians aren't by and large empty suits in the first place, but it's pretty obvious that the Republicans need the racist vote, and they need them to be angry, which means they will never do anything about illegal immigration that isn't superficial. (Of course, perhaps like abortion, this could turn into a "dog catches car" moment for the Republicans, but that's a topic for another day...) BobJohnson (talk) 15:51, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Creating problems specifically to pretend to be the only one who can solve them is pretty much standard politics for the past few decades. CorruptUser 16:43, 26 January 2024 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── On a mostly unrelated notice, I find ironic how these people complaining about an "invasion" of these "hordes of Mordor" are the same that don't care about the actual invasion happening right now in Ukraine. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 15:15, 26 January 2024 (UTC)

Not really; Ukraine is a foreign country, Texas is not. Otherwise we'd have to be consistent and demand people get up in arms over that invasion by Azerbaijan a few months ago.CorruptUser 15:25, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Both the the US and Ukraine are foreign countries. It's all a matter of perspective.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 16:41, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
I'll conceed I wasn't clear enough, but wasn't necessarily talking about Americans. This might surprise you, but the Putin/Trump/Abbott fanboyism does not have borders (unlike Texas). And yes, we invasion of Armenia was awful. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 15:29, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
I think a better argument is that right-wing types tend to have a huge fetish for "sovereignty" and the myth that right-wing regimes are more respectful of it.-Ryan1257 (talk) 15:39, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Wait, which non-Americans are complaining about the "hordes of Mordor" invading the US? There's plenty of Europeans complaining about immigration, which is why Geert Wilders, AfD, and National Vichy Rally are getting a disconcerning level of support, obviously, but I don't get the sense that the average AfD goon is pro-US. CorruptUser 15:40, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Erm... Corrupt, almost all advanced nations have restrictive legal immigration policies, which almost forbid 'low value' occupations unless they've been explicitly excempted otherwise. And these rules have been in place for decades, and in the USA's case, a whole century. This is part of the two-faced nature of right-wing populists like Trump; they are hard-on for having 'performative cruelty' towards all types of 'foreigners' [be it a refugee, illegal migrant or legal one] but then have a totally toothless system for stopping the forces of cheapskate capital from exploiting them.
Lastly, I have explained why 'tax the rich and give more welfare' is a bad move; it is merely a pallative for low-wage shit jobs and removes the incentive to work to eliminate their jobs through use of capital goods. KarmaPolice (talk) 18:52, 26 January 2024 (UTC)

Stay away from drugs kids[edit]


"The Truth Behind It" Facebook page. The person who started it must be smoking some good weed. This is Q Anon level stupidity. --Trans Fem Agenda 18:23, 25 January 2024 (UTC)

Generally speaking, conspiratorial thinking is linked to anxiety, alienation, and feeling powerless. Many drugs certainly are good at making those feelings worse... but people have those feelings without drugs.
This definitely runs in the QAnon line of conspiratorial thinking, though: surface level "Christian" themes (mainly holier-than-thou banter on sexual matters and some moralizing on various shallow symbolism), unified conspiracy theories, the usual conspiratorial traits of over-interpreting data and falling for fake news, and a peculiar over-focus on celebrity gossip and pop culture. BobJohnson (talk) 19:32, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
Those peddling conspiracy theories are certainly out for money and nothing more. They don't care if they swindle vulnerable populations such as people with mental disabilities and the elderly. Unethical and immoral. No difference between that and evangelicals swindling people to donate to their churches. --Trans Fem Agenda 01:13, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
It's not anxiety, alienations, powerlessness. An anxious person wouldn't be actively promoting such garbage. It's just a hateful contrarian agenda made by a bunch of pseudorebellious morons who are losing their monopoly and hold on then world. They want the everyone to live like in the good old age, without vacciness, technology etc. They do have points about the concerns of things such as technology, but their only solution is to just go backwards. Stop trying to give these fools sympathy.🇷🇸 Serbian Arbiter (What would you have your arbiter do?) 20:36, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
Generally, I reserve the bulk of my ire for those at the top of the "conspiracy chain" who are stoking this shit for grifting purposes. This includes low-grade content generators like this Facebook account who are trying to jump on the (way overloaded) conspiracy gravy train. In the Facebook account's case, it's impossible to tell whether or not this account is a True Believer or not. But certainly when you get to the level of, say, a Fox News, they don't believe a whole lot of the bullshit they promote (except the stuff that helps the rich and/or makes them money, of course). Even someone like an Alex Jones (who does seem to genuinely be an angry asshole constantly yelling at clouds at minimum) is largely all about the grift; it's hard to tell how much of the bullshit he spouts out is his genuine opinion. BobJohnson (talk) 21:23, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

Getting a Relative off of WeChat[edit]

Let's reboot this shall we? Last time, we encountered some "technical difficulties" should we say, but now, I've got my topic ready and clear. I have a relative who constantly binges WeChat to dangerous degrees, while uncritically believing anything that comes off of that platform. Whenever I try to get them off of it, they just stubbornly refuse and double down on it, falsely claiming to be apolitical (despite evidence of WeChat being censored). What can I do to stop that nonsense once in for all? (Side note: This can also be helpful in getting people off of TikTok as well) TheEternalOutsider (talk) 09:52, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

A reaction I found to an idiot T*ktoker making CHLORINE GAS with their stupidity --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 18:41, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

Help needed: Joshua Wong article is now in draftspace[edit]

Due to having been ruined by a bunch of drive-by CCP pinkies at some point, I have just successfully had this page AFDem’d into draftspace. Help is needed, I haven’t the time. --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 19:15, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

Electric Universe pseud[edit]

I haven't posted here in a while but I thought everyone could get a laugh out of this electric universe crank who uses pseudophilosophy to try to claim that the "mainstream scientific establishment" are just "dogmatists" suppressing pseudoscientific "theories" like how stars are actually just big space batteries. I think the crowning moment is at around 50:11 when he responds to ProfessorDave explaining how scientists use the equation for universal gravitation to accurately predict the motion and position of various objects by simply putting up a black screen with text reading "No it doesn't." and offering zero explanation or justification in claiming that. 'Legionwhat do you want from me 20:27, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

Incentives for Independent Scientific Research[edit]


This place got lively. --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 17:14, 29 January 2024 (UTC)

Introducing Bugs into the Human Agricultural Chain[edit]

i haven't heard anyone scream about Cockroach milk in a while, so this is kinda the Goldilocks zone to reintroduce "eating bugs." I promise you don't have to do it. If grasshoppers are cultivated as feed, the same way as corn and soybeans are, it is likely livestock feed will be quickly more nutritious, even for cattle, and we can move cropping away from excess corn and soybeans without having to lower livestock Torrent (talk) 05:55, 25 January 2024 (UTC)

People eat insects all the time in their food unintentionally and unknowingly. It would not be introducing or reintroducing them, it would be intentionally increasing them in commercial food. Bongolian (talk) 07:52, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
Humanity should really be transitioning to a vegan, or at least vegetarian, diet as soon as possible, anyway. There's just so many benefits from it. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 14:39, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
The fun thing about the "eating bugs" conspiracy theory from an "animal feed" perspective is that, at the moment, soybean meal is the dominate source of protein in many animal feeds. And there's certainly no shortage of conspiracy theories with soybeans... BobJohnson (talk) 14:40, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
@IntrepidSkeptic omniverism is so important to survival. humans can live on just about anything, school lunches in America prove that. Would vegan be minus insects or arthropods? And I don't mean this this as a gotcha mice and grasshoppers are torn up in the harvest of any large scale grain operation. I mean, do you consider, limiting to insects so no crab or lobster, insect, cricket or mealworm, protein to be acceptable as part of a vegan diet? I wouldn't ask you to speak for all vegans, so it's pinged you but it's open. Torrent (talk) 05:02, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Humans can and, in my opinion, should survive without consuming animal products. Meat and dairy are heavily subsidized in the US, no less, which indirectly makes non-animal foods more expensive. (Save corn, that's also subsidized to hell and back, though that's another matter.) Achieving a diet which is 100% without cruelty is pretty much impossible, especially in a capitalist system. However, in a consequentialist sense, I think it is certainly meaningful to achieve a percentage as close to 100% as possible.
Obviously, I only speak for myself and no one else. Nor am I always 100% vegan - I need to be able to personally survive, first and foremost, and part of that is finding pleasure where I can. That said, human industrialization and agriculture have been a massive harm to ecosystems worldwide and caused a gargantuan amount of suffering. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 17:11, 26 January 2024 (UTC)
Agreed on a lot of that, but I don't think that answered my question. Do insects, if farmed, count as animal products? I don't personally think it would be against vegan principles to eat a farmed cricket. I am not a vegan, though, so I am not talking from any experience other than I ate cricket cookies with a vegan one time. Torrent (talk) 04:46, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
I'm not vegan though I find myself sympathetic to their cause. It is my understanding that while veganism is often portrayed as a diet-centered thing, this is actually an oversimplification. Vegans generally are against any animal exploitation or suffering, and the "not eating animals" is simply a consequence of this. Another result of this is that most don't eat honey as it involves exploiting the bees. My guess would be that many vegans wouldn't be into deliberately eating insects. But if there are any actual vegans here I am sure they would know better then me.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 18:27, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
The thing about vegans actually having higher T in one of those studies, was hilarious. Chillpilled (talk) 01:21, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
caring about testosterone is a tell. Which study? Torrent (talk) 04:49, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
From the page BobJohnson linked. I could have added a disclaimer that I don't know if the difference is too small for anyone to care about in the results. Chillpilled (talk) 15:22, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
As the soy boy page noted in that study, the difference was insignificant after adjusting for BMI. Essentially, my takeaway after a bit of a Google is that there's a pretty strong link between obesity and low testosterone levels, found in multiple studies. Multiple studies have also found that vegan / vegetarian diets tend to help you maintain a healthy weight. So.... BobJohnson (talk) 19:12, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
alright, it's fine, nobody is accusing anyone of having low T, be confident in your testosterone levels, Sam Sulek is not the natural end to your self improvement. But I still would like to know where the insect lands on a vegan diet spectrum. Torrent (talk) 08:12, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
(As reading doesn't seem to your strong suit I have repeated my post above) I'm not vegan though I find myself sympathetic to their cause. It is my understanding that while veganism is often portrayed as a diet-centered thing, this is actually an oversimplification. Vegans generally are against any animal exploitation or suffering, and the "not eating animals" is simply a consequence of this. Another result of this is that most don't eat honey as it involves exploiting the bees. My guess would be that many vegans wouldn't be into deliberately eating insects. But if there are any actual vegans here I am sure they would know better then me.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:20, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Great answer. If you thought I was asking you specifically, I musta missed something. I do agree with your points. We'll both be OK not being vegan here, right? Torrent (talk) 06:41, 30 January 2024 (UTC)

Russians unite… at night![edit]

I was reading a Daily article titled, "Putin Has Finally United Russians Around the World—Against Himself" by Anna Nemtsova,[9] which was interesting in and of itself for the recent Russian diaspora's possible banding together against Putin. But there was also an interesting nugget about Russian reticence to band together:

In many cases, Russians abroad say they feel insecure around their former countrymen. And, in any case, neighborliness is not a famously Russian trait; there is even a well-known saying about getting even with the neighbors you hate: “Do nasty things at night,” which suggests you take revenge on the people next door under cover of darkness.

The "Do nasty things at night" phrase links to a Russian-language article from 2018 published in Lenta.ru.[10] Google translation here:[11] The Lenta article explains "Do nasty things at night" with methods used to take revenge on neighbors whom one doesn't like and which parts of Russia are the most and least neighborly. Rather oddly, the once bombed-out capital of Chechnya (Grozny) was considered the most neighborly.

I don't think Russians are necessarily unique about unneighborliness, but perhaps they are unique in having a saying that justifies it. Bongolian (talk) 08:18, 30 January 2024 (UTC)

I wonder if there are analogies.

[Mystikal - Murderer | https://youtu.be/s1paqLihFNg?feature=shared] close enough Torrent (talk) 10:22, 30 January 2024 (UTC)

When cranks use RationalWiki for publicity[edit]

Last year, I discovered a network of blogs which call themselves "The Pragmatosphere" by interacting with one of their member bloggers on Reddit. I noticed lots of false or dubious information on genetics, race, and other topics. They promoted some racialist beliefs that were already covered on RationalWiki.

Because I had discovered a network of misinformation-promoting blogs that hadn't been documented by skeptics so far, I decided to write a RationalWiki article on the most prominent blogger; Blithering Genius. He appeared to be the one that inspired the others, and I didn't want more people to go down his rabbit hole. The article I did of him immediately became the fourth Google search result for "Blithering Genius". I also wrote a draft article on The Pragmatosphere, with brief descriptions of other Pragmatosphere blogs, but I later decided to abandon it. My reason was that I figured that the Pragmatosphere blogs, other than those of Blithering Genius, were so obscure that even a RationalWiki article critical of them would probably help them (in terms of attention) more than harm them. On their Discord server, I've seen one of them note that being linked to from RationalWiki may make them more prominent on search results.

While I was away from RationalWiki, one of these bloggers (Felix) came over to put some edits to the page on the Pragmatosphere. While he didn't erase the critical writing in the article, in my view he prettied-up the impression that the opening paragraph gives to the Pragmatosphere. You can compare what was written before to after. On the talk page he asked if his edits were acceptable. I didn't respond as I hadn't been checking RationalWiki, but someone else (presumably unfamiliar with the Pragmatosphere) commented and approved of the edits. Felix then requested that the draft be promoted to mainspace, and his request was granted.

So what do all of you think of this? Given that this guy wanted to publish an article critical of him, he probably thought that he had something to gain from it. Has this ever happened on RationalWiki before; where small-time cranks deem it desirable to have an article on them? Should this be accepted?

I should note that the article in question is gentler on Felix than it is on his fellow bloggers, which means that he may have thought it more beneficial for himself than the others for the article to be published. But I think this is probably not an important point, as from what I've seen on the Discord server (last time I was there) he never seemed to notice that the article was gentler on him than the others. --LiamM32 (talk) 21:39, 13 January 2024 (UTC)

We generally disalllow people from contributing to mainspace pages that are about themselves. People are allowed to make comments, complaints or requests for changes on talk pages about themselves. That said, the changes made by Felix do not seem to me to be particularly partisan (@Felix John). Bongolian (talk) 21:56, 14 January 2024 (UTC)
If you don't think that should be its own page you can open an articles for deletion entry, possibly to merge rather than purge, if that's preferable. If the notability is especially questionable it may succeed. Chillpilled (talk) 07:55, 15 January 2024 (UTC)
Hello there @LiamM32. I forgot to answer your post on the talk page of the pragmatosphere article, my bad. I'll do it over there. Regarding your other questions, you are of course right: I don't mind negative criticism - as you said, it might prevent some people from going down the "rabbit hole", but from my point of view if someone is turned off by an article saying I'm wrong and evil without engaging with the arguments, then I don't want to talk to them or have them exposed to those ideas to begin with. As far as the tone is concerned, I tried to keep my edits as matter-of-fact as possible, but I won't engage in self-flagellation so it certainly dilutes the vitriol. You can add some more if you want, of course. You are also right that you portrayed me in an embarrassingly positive light compared to the others, so please, do your worst!
I've thought about the publicity/SEO angle but those pages on rationalwiki get negligible traffic compared to the pragmatosphere as a whole, so I don't think you have much to worry about on that end.
As an aside, I used to be a fairly active member on French rational/skeptic/lefty communities in my early 20s. I posted a lot on a forum called "Les sceptiques du Québec" and on our equivalent of snopes.com. That will not surprise you, but I don't see myself as a crank - I see myself as continuing that entreprise, having expanded the scope of my inquiry to include a handful of topics too sensitive for people from that subculture to seriously consider (biological realism, morality, land taxes). This is relevant because I don't see my work, or that of the pragmatosphere, as diametrically opposed to that of rationalist communities. They have more in common than people in either community would like to admit. Felix John (talk) 10:34, 19 January 2024 (UTC)
@Felix John I suppose that's fair (regarding the tone you wrote in). I might make an edit some time soon, though I'm not in a rush. I'm curious in what metric you used to estimate the web traffic.
It's interesting, and surprising that you used to participate in a skeptic community and fact-checking website. If you really are trying to continue that, than that's certainly a better attitude than anything from Blithering Genius. But I don't think it's accurate to say that your writing on biological stuff is just a continuation of rational skepticism but for ideas that some people are too sensitive to consider. There's just too much that's contrary to scientific knowledge, without a sufficient reason to go against scientific knowledge. Linking to Emil Kirkegaard is particularly problematic to this claim. It is very hypocritical to be distrustful of mainstream academia because of supposed ideological bias and perverse incentives, but then trust Emil Kirkegaard, who is specifically known to do bad research with bad methodology and a team of ideologically-motivated allies to fake a peer review process. To trust him but not most others is just so strongly contrary to reason, and diametrically opposed to what the rational community is all about. This would apply even if it was about something less culturally sensitive than race. RationalWiki has many articles on medical crankery too, which probably involves some similar techniques to what Kirkegaard does. Not everything written on the Pragmatosphere is terrible; some of it I have no strong feeling on (such as your most recent article), and there is actually some good stuff that ZC links to, but there is also significant crankery and bad/inconsistent reasoning, and pointing it out is very much justified.
Anyway, it's strange to see land taxes mentioned as something too sensitive for rationalists to consider. Is this based on personal experience? Are you sure that any lack of interest you ran into was due to sensitivity, and not just a general disinterest in economics? To me, one of the great things about discovering Georgism was that it seems like something that many people can potentially get behind. LiamM32 (talk) 09:12, 24 January 2024 (UTC)
What's this about land taxes? Chillpilled (talk) 10:41, 19 January 2024 (UTC)
An idea that left-leaning people tend to disagree with: we should not have any income or inheritance tax, but instead only tax the use of natural resources. Not usually the main reason why we get chastised, but being seen as some crazy ancap complements being called a racist or a WEF shill fairly well. Felix John (talk) 11:38, 19 January 2024 (UTC)
The land value tax is considered to be the best form of tax by many economists (and others) because it has zero deadweight loss, is very strongly progressive (as people who don't own land pay nothing), stops speculation, leads to better land use, raises a huge amount of money, and has many other benefits. Despite who you heard it from, this one is genuinely a very good idea. A huge chunk of wealth inequality is the result of unequal land ownership. A land value tax can eliminate this unjust inequality without any negative consequences. Of course, the reason why few countries have it, and zero have a very large one, is because the land-owning class have a vested interest in preventing it, as it's introduction would immediately reduce their net worth substantially.
Ancaps are actually extremely opposed to taxes on land value and natural resources, but yeah, those are some of the only taxes that the Pragmatosphere supports (as well as reproduction taxes and head taxes). @LiamM32 would agree with us on natural resource taxation. Zero Contradictions (talk) 12:00, 19 January 2024 (UTC)
I find it quite bizarre that anyone would think to associate it with anarcho-capitalism. In my mind ancaps seem like the natural arch-enemy of Georgists, at least as far as the relatively liberal ideologies go. LiamM32 (talk) 09:12, 24 January 2024 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I support LVT, but I do think it does make some sense, or at least more sense than property taxes. In a LVT system with a tax rate of 1.5%, an empty lot that worths 500k pays 7.5k, while a house that worths 500k built in a lot worthing 500k will pay the same value. Meanwhile, ceteris paribus, in a property tax system with a rate of 1%, the empty lot will pay 5k, while the house will pay 10k. So, both will end up with the same revenue, but it isn’t hard to see the problem with property taxes: a property tax is an incentive to leave the the land idle, it penalizes development. I think it's possible that we would have more, and better housing if LVT was more popular. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 12:19, 19 January 2024 (UTC)
You should try looking further into Georgism. You've already began to understand it, but once you understand the full implications of LVT, you're likely to be in favour of it. LiamM32 (talk) 22:16, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
It's strange and misleading that he said that it's "opposed by left-leaning people", as the economic ideology associated with it; Georgism, is quite left-of-centre at it's core (though some centre-right people support it). I have significant experience with people having a knee-jerk negative reaction to it, but it's not primarily a left-of-centre phenomenon. The ones that Felix may be referring to are specifically socialists who complain that it's "not enough" or "just do socialism already". LiamM32 (talk) 09:12, 24 January 2024 (UTC)

A strange family experience in the land down south[edit]

Late last yer in December, I visited my lovely family in Texas. While there, I stayed with my aunt and learned some strange beliefs of hers. For openers, the prior time I had visited, I found an "auntie" grocery board on display. While obviously racist, my aunt didn't seem to "get it". She removed it after I pointed out that it wouldn't look good to potential buyers (at the time she was thinking about selling it). While there, I discovered that she believed in "Obama deep-state conspiracy theories" (this is the only way I know how to phrase or describe it) and was getting all of her information from Youtube and podcasts. Furthermore, she was deeply rooted in "Trumpism", following the individual rather that his beliefs. Ironically, she would probably be a democrat if it wasn't for the fact that she is so attached to Trump's image. I tried to discuss it with her, and was promptly met with "you're just a liberal" and other assorted demeaning statements (I am not a liberal and she knew that). I love her, but I honestly have to shake my head with this one. I want to steer her away from the Youtube "rabbit hole" on shoddy information, but I also don't want to ruin the family gatherings. Thoughts? Gang O' Shadow Wizards 🧙‍♂️Bore me 16:22, 29 January 2024 (UTC)

If she's up for it then you you need to start with, "How do we know anything is true?" (Really epistemology but I wouldn't use that word). But work on something obvious and non-controversial. (Hopefully you will agree on "evidence") Then, when you have a basis for establishing how to establish some simple truth, go onto something more challenging. But this is not a five-minute or even a five-month conversation. And if she's not prepared to consider the basics then you may not have a way forward.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 17:41, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Except the appeal of 'Trumpism' is not logical. If Brexit taught me anything, it's that you cannot talk people out of feels with facts. If being in a religious cult has taught me anything, is that cults basically become 'self-sealing' by defining anything not supportive as being in the pay of 'Them' [Deep state woke globalist libruls, I assume in this case] and thus you become very suseptable to further cultish indoctrination due to lack of outside sources of information or human contact. And if scams have taught me anything, is that a lot of people suffer from 'sunk cost fallacy'; that they have 'invested' so much in a position, support etc that they feel it humiliating to climb down from it, so they don't. KarmaPolice (talk) 18:10, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Yes, as I said: "if she's not prepared to consider the basics then you may not have a way forward".Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 20:33, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Is she also an evangelistic x-ian, as so many seem to be? If so you could go through revelations noting the only person the bible predicts coming to earth apart from JC II is the antichrist, then highlight all the points Trump ticks for being the anti-christ and ask her if she really supports the devil! Should be fun! :) Aloysius the Gaul (talk) 19:44, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
For those of us with at most peripheral involvement with The South, what is an "auntie grocery board"? Bongolian (talk) 21:18, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Was about to ask the same. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 00:59, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
I'm going to guess that the OP actually means the Mammy stereotype?Wikipedia "Auntie grocery board" shows nothing on Google, but Googling "mammy grocery board" brings up several vintage photo examples of old wood peg grocery checklists with a "mammy" stereotype on it and some African-American English type phrasing (eg: "Reckon Ah Needds?").
(Since one of the more prominent holdouts, until recently, of the "mammy" stereotype was Aunt JemimaWikipedia products, I can see why one would call it "auntie".) BobJohnson (talk) 01:22, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
As an actual Southerner (A lifelong resident of the state of Georgia) I was a bit puzzled at first by this myself. I'm going to guess that Gang there isn't from the same themselves, as I've never heard the phrase "Auntie" grocery board fown here (Although in my youth I may have heard less savory descriptions). And, of course I am familiar with the Aunt Jemima brand, as I have eaten pancakes from time to time. Kencolt (talk) 02:59, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
Beau of the Fifth Column has actually done a video on broaching politics during family gatherings. He's a journalist from the South. Carthage (talk) 03:03, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
There has to be a reason other than the political dichotomy. You can't just want your aunt to drop any beliefs. It definitely won't be on rhetorical terms. Live confidently and kindly in your political persuasions, most of the wild stuff requires a brainwashed and untenable other. Like the scariest thing, both sides, is a person who would put their politics first. Nobody is doing that. The first thing is you're already together and talking. Don't lose that. Torrent (talk) 06:33, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
@bongolian The "auntie grocery board" is a racist depiction of a black woman with exaggerated lips and bleached eyes. It had the words writtten "I've gotta git" next to it. The thing was old. I used to have a photo of it, but I deleted it upon her request. I believe that I meant "Mammy" as in that racial stereotype. On an unrelated note, my younger brother ironically used "liberal sissy boy" to insult me in an argument this morning that had nothing to do with politics. It's weird how people in my lovely deep red state of residence bring politics into everything these days. Gang O' Shadow Wizards 🧙‍♂️Bore me 18:11, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
"Liberal" has a long history of being used in the United States as an insult by a certain sort of person who most likely couldn't tell you who wrote The Wealth of NationsWikipedia but listened to way too much Rush Limbaugh. I consider this "word twisting" all a part of the Southern Strategy to get racists angry at Democrats for, oh, actually caring about civil rights or something. The Southern Strategy, of course, is also something "dittoheads" and their modern Trumpism equivalents either don't know much about (or deliberately ignore). This "strategy" sadly works on too many people (especially, though not exclusively, in the South), but as seen with the muted impact of the "woke" snarl word, I don't think it's quite as effective as it used to be. BobJohnson (talk) 19:24, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
It is strange that Critical Race Theory was demonized and then slowly understood as a rhetorical tool and not really about anything, and now nobody talks about it because it's kinda in the memories, which works well enough. I had a friend, to my face, say 'don't you think it's wrong to teach critical race theory to 6 year olds?' ' Yeah, that would be an insane thing for a first grade teacher to do. Critical race theory is difficult and wasn't there a guy who claimed it was his idea?' Let's agree on that. Wokeism is scarier, because it's an infection that has already spread. Like Ebola or Corona virus before we all decided it's a mean cold, the hard American right is really never going to admit they were scared of ghosts. But they are terrified of everything. Torrent (talk) 05:39, 31 January 2024 (UTC)

Anti-trans laws targeting adults.[edit]


Is this something we should worry about? Or is this not very many people? And what can I do to stop this? Koafox (talk) 23:23, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

The LA Blade has some soul searching to do after the Wi Spa fiasco, and there's no evidence that's happened, so consider the source. That said, this sounds alarming but more in a "last ditch effort" way than a "we're taking this issue over" way. If you reside in a state where such measures come up, write your local representative and/or senator and lay out why such prohibitions would be horrifically damaging. And do some research on the people you write to so you can tailor the message. If you're not in such a state (as is the case with me), it's still worth writing a letter to a representative/senator affirming your position. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 06:05, 28 January 2024 (UTC)
What they did during the Wi Spa thing was point out that the public evidence at that point in time for what happened was a conservative activist on Instagram took a video of herself shouting. They were also told by both the spa and multiple police sources that there was no corroborating evidence as yet. Seems reasonable enough they would have figured it was staged. Little known fact about the alleged perpetrator's sex offender status by the way, the original "sex offense" in question was in fact a result of a plea deal to prevent going to jail for prostitution and resisting arrest.
(You'd be surprised how many ways the legal systems of different places have of screwing over sex workers and their romantic partners — I've even heard rumblings of prostitutes having their boyfriends arrested in Sweden on accusation of being johns.)
Though that's a distraction. The original source of this information is the leaked Twitter Space recording, not the LA Blade, who are just relaying it. And we know this is what they're working towards because Florida already started going after care for adults to an extent, probably other states have too. Trump himself was talking about at the least defunding it at a federal level, though then again he'd probably defund publicly-subsidized health insurance for anyone at all if he could. Chillpilled (talk) 07:18, 28 January 2024 (UTC)
The only poll that I've found on this seems to indicate that most Americans, while squeamish about gender-affirming care for minors, don't really give a crap about gender-affirming care for adults one way or another (except that government should stay out of the way). This matches my "hunch" on the matter. Now, I would not be surprised if some of the fundies in the Republican party overreach in this manner; some fundies seem to have misinterpreted Trumpism as "onward Christian theocracy!", and that's a really bad read on what Trumpism actually is. We have seen what's happened with the overreach on abortion, and yes, we've seen Ron DeSantis fall flat on his face by over-emphasizing "woke" in his run for presidency (and screwing up Florida in several ways by legislating his one-note national campaign here). At a state level, there's been a lot of chaos as extremists (either fundies or white nationalists) have battled with less extreme Republicans. I haven't heard much from Ohio (other than repeated attempts to deny that their state wants abortion relatively legal), but the Michigan GOP is a clusterfuck at the moment.
From a personal perspective, all you can do is vote; just know that on this particular issue, you are likely in the majority. BobJohnson (talk) 17:22, 28 January 2024 (UTC)
If push comes to shove, there is no way to effectively ban a hormone that widely used (in the case of estrogen, this was once the single most common prescription in the United States because of menopause, though it's now been overtaken by things like antidepressants). They clamped down on testosterone and bodybuilders still manage to get it. The government cares more about things like meth, which they also fail to control. The more jackbooted-thug they want to go about it, the more "collateral damage" and unintended consequences they impose on everyone else (cisgender people being accused of being transgender in bathrooms are but the tip of the iceberg).
Nick Fuentes (who, in response to Michael Knowles's proposal to "eradicate" transgenderism, proposed an addition: "Judaism, too!") was one of the ones mad at Alex Jones over this topic, because Jones was on the side of leaving transgender adults alone (coming from a nominally anti-government movement, Rusty Shackleford should have told Jones that restrictions on personal government-issued IDs, restrictions on personal autonomy, etc. being mainstays of the anti-trans backlash was a red flag in the first place). Chillpilled (talk) 19:26, 28 January 2024 (UTC)
There is no question that there are many politicians who would come out on the popular side of any wedge issue. Gender-related minorities having to do with parades, sporting competition, prison segregation, public toilet accessibility, are subjects for tenable political arguments. Medical care is different, I think. People don't want to prevent others from receiving medical care. The phrase "gender-affirming care" has travelled a rough road. "Medical care (including GAC)" should be available to all is all that needs be said. Zatoichi (talk) 19:32, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
It's a pity that "gender affirming care" like boob jobs, lip filler, brazilian butt lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, leg extensions, botox, etc etc always seems to get a pass from these legislations. CorruptUser 23:20, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
They often add a carve-out to allow for surgeries on intersex newborns, which I'm told are rarely medically necessary compared to how often they're done. Chillpilled (talk) 00:32, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Sometimes, when the moral panic on certain personalities reaches a certain tizzy, I step back and wonder what these "ThInK oF ThE ChIlDrEn!" anti-trans hysterics type think about something like, say, circumcision. My guess is that it never crosses their mind even once. Oh, well. BobJohnson (talk) 01:50, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
What, you want Matt Walsh's opinion on it for instance? Here's a video where he responds to this exact question. His argument: "but the left says the same thing" (so what?) and "there's a difference between removing the sex organ and the foreskin". So now we're debating how much should be allowable. In actuality the instances of transgender bottom surgery on minors are so excessively rare that they only seem to appear in statistics gathered by Reuters that one time (the specific examples right-wingers bring up are usually ~15/16 year olds getting chest surgery which is probably about 20-30 times more common). We're talking like fifteen to twenty people per year here or something like that as I recall, it's going to be edge cases, perhaps even ironically enough transgender minors who are actually intersex and thus because of the allowance of surgery on intersex newborns, doctors might feel more comfortable performing that. Now, how common is circumcision? Probably a hundred million times more common. Chillpilled (talk) 19:44, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Heh. I figured it would not be terribly coherent.
And yes, gender change surgery is extremely uncommon for minors. Most "gender affirming care" for minors is psychological oriented, as I recall. The actual lack of OMG! Things Happening ! has never stopped a moral panic before, though. BobJohnson (talk) 21:43, 31 January 2024 (UTC)

I had not heard this put to words and It will be hard to translate[edit]

I'm gonna whittle it down, so forgive me for that. Commandment number 6, colloquially 'Thou shall not kill' Is important. Like, by God don't do that. Except for the fact that we, as humans, actually don't casually do that. It's done causally. There are exceptions, most of which have interpersonal, legal, or institutional justifications , but people actually do not just murder other people for the sole sake that nobody told them thou shall not. When that happens, it is rare, it is notable, there is a name for it. Psychopathy. I fundamentally believe that without the Abrahamic 10 commandments there would be exactly the same amount of human on human violence. Torrent (talk) 07:27, 30 January 2024 (UTC)

I fundamentally believe that without the Abrahamic 10 commandments there would be exactly the same amount of human on human violence. Well, yes. But only 30% percent of the world is nominally Christian, and Muslims (nominally 25%) don't have the "Ten commandments" as such. Though the Muslim holy book does have instructions against killing people. But both the Bible and the Quran also have sections where they say you should kill people.
And, in fact, Christians, Muslims and Jews seem quite prepared to kill people all the time for all sorts of reasons. Often because they have a different version of a holy book. So yes, the sixth commandment (along with all the rest - including the mad ones) is not recognized by most people and not actually followed by those that do recognize it. But why should we care about the Ten Commandments anyway?Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:09, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
I mean, I'm not coming from the position that the Ten Commandments are functional or necessary. But it is important because a lot of people do. We shouldn't care about the words as necessary or prescriptive because we all already, yes, kinda just do that. But it is necessary, especially where I am, in proto Christian Nationalist country America to try to get it on a level that requires pause. Just saying it's not globally important is ass. Maybe I'm not trying to convince you of something we both get. Torrent (talk) 03:12, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Well, Ten Commandments are" globally important" to the 30% of the world's population who are nominally Christian and who might actually pay them lip-service. But is it more than lip-service? A survey in USA today established that even in the hyper-religious USA, 60% of Americans cannot name even five of the things they claim to be so important! So most of the world doesn't doesn't care and the rest, it seems, hardly know them. Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:19, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Of course, there are also significant pacifistic trends in these religions. It would be inaccurate, offensively so even, to pretend that there are no significant pacifistic trends in the big three Abrahamic religions. Senegal alone saw a pacifistic resistance to French colonialism led by devout Sufis. Carthage (talk) 03:37, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Sure there are pacifists in religions. There are also the KKK, the Lords Resistance Army, ISIS and Al-Qaeda. It's a mix. That's one of the problems with these holy books - you can go for the "golden rule" type stuff or the "kill the infidel". Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:22, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
I do not discount that. to further my point, I simply do not believe anything like that is caused by the text. I think, without a 'God given' text, humans would generally behave exactly how we currently behave. To the point that, I saw a funny joke, if you cut a cake into thirds, where does the .0 to infinity and then 1 end up? On the knife. That is an example of organized collective pacifism, and it was probably conflict justified somehow, but not anything that requires a SPECIFIC holy book.Torrent (talk) 07:06, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Can I have some of what you're smoking?Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:44, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
I mean, if you want, but I don't think you'd like it. It would require you to be friendly and open with a group of people whose percentages don't match your statistics. Torrent (talk) 06:23, 1 February 2024 (UTC)

American Football and the Influence of God, Jesus, Upon the Outcome[edit]

There is a strange psyop theory that Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are pulling a brainwash. Nobody is addressing the conspiracy that maybe the athletes, staff, and owners are coached to OR required to toss it up to God during a Post win media interview. In my opinion it is old school polite, to say 'God (a.k.a. luck, a.k.a. no real fault of the other team) is the first reason we won.' It's not literally saying 'hey losing team, God weren't with you.' Could you imagine if people playing sports actually believed that God picked the outcome of every game? Torrent (talk) 03:30, 31 January 2024 (UTC)

Some people do. I don't understand what you're trying to get at here. Are you saying football fans aren't superstitious? That's obvious bullshit. Carthage (talk) 03:39, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
I have no idea what that paragraph is supposed to mean, but I remember in 2008, when both Tony Dungy or Lovie Smith (yes, that was actually the name he went by) both proclaimed that "God is with us". No one went ahead and asked the obvious follow-up, "So what is he, against the other guys?" The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:02, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Back around 2002 or so, I caught this sports show on HBO that had an episode on religion in the NFL. I do remember a bit of an interview with a non-religious player who had a few arguments with his more outspokenly Christian teammates. There was one anecdote about how one teammate insisted that a particularly impressive play was the work of divine intervention which prompted the player being interviewed to ask why God would be more concerned about the outcome of a football game over the safety of kids in a warzone. I'm sure one can find the show with the right keywords. Paul S (talk) 06:26, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Hey, I just added this KFAT classic to Fun:RationalWiki: The Musical, Bobby Bare's "Drop Kick Me Jesus"[13] a few hours before this post. Bongolian (talk) 06:13, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Torrent's post are becoming increasingly disjointed (that is the politest word I can think of). I don't think I'm going to engage with any more of them.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:13, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
It's hard to envy the position of being asked to endorse both sides of a zero-sum contest. Luigifan18 (talk) 14:28, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
it kinda sucks to reply to this, because I am a big strong man, and maybe this hurt my feelings. Maybe I'm asking the wrong the people, but I do generally trust the discourse here. Maybe if you don't want to speak on something, you don't have to. Don't wait on me and I won't wait on you. I still appreciate you. Torrent (talk) 04:49, 2 February 2024 (UTC)

The problem with the reliability of historical sources and skepticism[edit]

When it comes to constructing a narrative of history, we often have to rely on sources that are incomplete or unreliable even. History is very much a process of active interpretation and debate as much as it is the sum of past events and processes leading up to the present. You can't just take a given piece of history and take it at face value. I mean, you can, but to do proper historiography you have to take other factors into account, like conflicts of interest and completeness. IIRC the only real source on the Gallic Wars we have is De Belle Gallico by Caesar, who is obviously a biased source. It's like trying to gain an accurate and unbiased picture of events when the only source you have for the past half a decade is Trump's Twitter feed. De Belle Gallico is as much a piece of propaganda designed to justify Caesar's unsanctioned conquest of Gaul as it is a record of history. So right off the bat for the Gallic Wars we have an eyewitness testimony, which is admittedly very valuable, from the instigator of the conflict trying to portray himself in as positive of a light as possible to a Roman audience.

I bring this up because we should encourage critical thinking about not only pseudoscience, but areas we traditionally hold sacred and unquestionable. It is the work of a healthy thinker to critically examine all beliefs and doctrines held by yourself and others to come to a more sound conclusion. Skepticism shouldn't have limits. Of course, I must make a distinction between proper skepticism and what is really denialism. Analysis of conflicts of interest and other biases to see how that can affect a conclusion presented is a separate concept from what is basically denialism. We should encourage skepticism and critical thinking more broadly, but even here that seems to be in short abundance. Carthage (talk) 08:27, 31 January 2024 (UTC)

Skepticism alone is insufficient, since that can lead to denialist or conspiracist thinking. The tools of applying logic (including looking for fallacious arguments and bias), and the scientific method can be helpful. For looking at history, contemporaneous accounts can be more accurate. Archaeology can also be useful to verify accounts. Bongolian (talk) 08:58, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
That's true. As for history, I was specifically referring to the problems associated with contemporaneous accounts. Especially if we only have a few sources, while better than nothing, that's a minimal corpus size which will affect historiography. You have to take into account who wrote these sources, what conflicts of interests did they have, what things did they leave out or embellish upon et cetera.
Norse historiography is a good example of this. Most of the surviving Norse literature, especially for mythology, we possess was written by Christians for Christians. Of course that doesn't cover all the material we have, we have a Runic corpus, but AFAIK most of the Runic corpus we have is short and graffiti-like. How can we be certain that Christian influence hasn't seeped into the corpus of material we have for Norse mythology strictly and Norse religion more broadly?
For another example of this, I have read the Popol Vuh of the Maya. It's sort of like their Iliad or Enuma elish. The Popol Vuh takes pains to point out how the Christian god is the only "real" god. Of course, that could be a genuine statement of belief, but because this was written, IIRC, with a tinge of bitterness, it may also be a cautionary note in case any clergymen came prowling around. There is also the problem of how Mayanists have tended to overuse the Popol Vuh as an interpretory tool. This has been changing in recent years, but overusage of sources in historiography is definitely a problem. Carthage (talk) 09:08, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Education systems in the UK/USA are not really geared to teach critical thinking or even general 'skepticism'. Personally, I did get some basic lessons in historiography [such as looking at biased sources, the weakness of primary evidence/reports and so on] but that was at GCSE level [15-16] and thus, an optional subject. More critical, I suspect is the plethora of outdated teaching materials which are particulary an issue with American schools - I suspect many history teachers suffer in particular because the school bosses etc have the 'history is facts and facts get written' view therefore, textbooks printed in 1987 are perfectly fine, while they appreciate that a science textbook or atlas from this time isn't. KarmaPolice (talk) 09:31, 31 January 2024 (UTC)

This problem is always going to be with us, that is, the problem of reliability. We must proceed with the knowledge that our understanding is only a model built from a series of empirically obtained facts. The rabbit-duck illusion is a good example of the human mental ability to integrate the same set of data into different pictures. There is dispute as to whether critical thinking is really a skill, that is, can be taught. If it can be taught, is it like musical talent where most people can do little more than clap their hands and stamp their feet? I tend to align with left-leaning people, because they seem to me to be more empathetic than others groups, rather than any clear superiority in critical thinking. The remote austerity of this ability, at least at this time, is perhaps under estimated.UncleKrampus (talk) 16:16, 31 January 2024 (UTC)

With regard to skepticism and history it obviously can be problematic. Because the further back you go the scarcer your sources become and the less able you are to assess their veracity.
For something like The Holocaust in relatively recent history we have archives, first hand accounts and even some existing survivor testimony. But Roman or, even worse, Greek history - things are going to be substantially more difficult.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 20:28, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
This problem is compounded with the Maya, because of the cultural genocide the Spaniards inflicted on them. We have only four surviving prehispanic codices, but that is alleviated somewhat by the number of inscriptions on pottery and official monuments. Not all the way, of course, a significant chunk of the available Maya corpus is either official royal propaganda or declarations of ownership on pottery vases. The royal propaganda in particular falls victim to the usual conflict of interests (how unbiased is a work of officially commissioned writing gonna be when you have a king breathing down your neck with every word you write and inscription you carve?), and is also frustratingly vague on a lot of accounts. We also have the post-conquest sources like the Popol Vuh and The Ritual of the Bacabs, but these too also have their own problems. Carthage (talk) 20:44, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
The problem that "history Is written by the victors" is also a meta-problem insofar as it's not really clear who came up with that statement other than that there's no evidence that Churchill actually said it.[14] Bongolian (talk) 04:01, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
This is a slight tangent, but perhaps a more accurate analogy for the Gallic Wars situation is that only having access to Caesar's account is like trying to get a clear and unbiased narrative of the Israel-Hamas war when all you have available to you is Netanyahu's feed. Carthage (talk) 04:47, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
History is lost when at least one of two conflicting nations is, generally, illiterate. The Gallic, German and British people were almost completely illiterate. The Germans used runes only and had no literary tradition; "the Gauls had some writing for trade purposes, but also were basically illiterate, not least because the Druids forbade writing down their knowledge;" and some celts were literate from about the sixth century. The Maya had the only Mesoamerican language that has been substantially deciphered. The Maya script is difficult to translate and was used primarily by the religious caste. "Modern experts find it difficult to translate some parts of the Mayan language because the reliefs the Maya used to document their language have been damaged by wind and rain." The utility of written languages to perpetuate societies is, I think undeniable. Our native Americans maintained their societies with stone-age technologies for at least ten thousand years without developing common written languages, until the Columbian invasion of European tongues.UncleKrampus (talk) 16:59, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
All of the topics brought up here are useful, which is why historians train extensively in the historical method of triangulation between written sources, their qualities and biases, and the various types physical evidence and have done so for more than a century. Courses in these methods are at the heart of any serious academic programme in history.
It is also why historians tend to critically revisit earlier studies on topics from time to time. But it is also why “we can’t say” or “we don’t know” are valid answers, though that doesn’t mean that “anything goes”. The same goes for other academic disciplines that actually start from a critical/sceptical foundation.
Contrast this with the type of fundamentalist bible studies (and their associated “academish” programmes) that start from a set of axiomatic truths (usually in the guise of a “statement of faith”) that ring fences both the kind of inquiries that should and should not be made and the categories of “allowable conclusions”. Note, however, that some university theology departments are more willing than others to look critically at sources and interpretations. ScepticWombat (talk) 06:16, 2 February 2024 (UTC)
As for such critical perspectives in lower education, I see no reason why a basic introduction to methodology as in “how historians know what they know” would be any less feasible than basic introduction to (other) scientific methods, such as those in the natural sciences.
However, I agree that there is a particular problem for history, as it tends to be tied up into national and other important sociological narratives and thus faces particular pressure to conform to “accepted” (and “acceptable”) narratives. A particularly egregious example is the demands in many countries that a key purpose of history classes is to instil some form of “national pride” into the pupils. ScepticWombat (talk) 06:30, 2 February 2024 (UTC)
One may assume that such narratives are bad when used to instill national pride. But that such narratives are necessary is a metaphysical assumption that often reappears in human history. The idea is formalized in Plato's Republic where the myth of the gold, silver and bronze human archetypes are first mentioned. In much of philosophy it is supposed that the common people should be misled for the common good. You can say we are better off without myths and legends. But that is a metaphysical claim.UncleKrampus (talk) 22:23, 2 February 2024 (UTC)

I Just Witnessed the Pettiest Crime of My Life[edit]

This is not a joke. I went to my favorite gas station, they have a big coffee selection, I wasn't there for coffee, but 3 or 4 people there, I'm kinda always paying attention. An older man, legit with a cane was getting himself some coffee. Probably 3 other people in the very small store at this point. He got up to the register, at the same time a lady asked for 4 pints of the cheapest vodka. He then spilled his coffee everywhere. The attendant more or less ignored this, continued with the lady. The older man went back to the coffee bar and started making himself another. The attendant went to the liquor closet, the lady looked at me, I Looked straight back at her and shrugged. The lady paid for four pints of Bartons (just under 22 usd) and the man disappeared with his coffee (probably 1.29). I was thinking the coffee theft was strange, and the 4 pints of 'whatever is cheapest' vodka order was strange, but I think I just witnessed a wacky heist fail in the face of normal people. They made off with the coffee. partial success. Torrent (talk) 04:08, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

I've done things like pour out a soda to get another, or fill a water cup with soda before. Gas station workers seriously aren't paid enough to care. It's not like it comes out of their paychecks. (This was also my attitude towards customers stealing. I don't care if you do, I just wish you were better at it because if you fail, I have to put all that shit back.) IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 18:06, 27 January 2024 (UTC)
I also prefer it when shoplifters are more honest ("I didn't want to pay for it", "I could make money selling it"). The ones who act like they're making a political statement and "striking a blow against the capitalists" are the most insufferable. /r/Shoplifting used to be a clown car filled with these types of individuals before it was closed.-Ryan1257 (talk) 09:21, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
In cases like this, there's a genuine possibility that they just forgot to pay. I once skipped out on paying for a coffee; I was killing ten mins before a fairly important appointement and 'shit, gonna be late' kicked in and I hurried off to make sure I wasn't. It was only later on, on the train home that I realised I'd never paid that two and a bit quid for that coffee [and was not going to be in the area to pay up later for ages]. KarmaPolice (talk) 18:26, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Or, you know, they can't afford it. Ever considered that? Carthage (talk) 18:30, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
No, as I've never heard of poverty or simply being 'short of cash' at that particular moment. KarmaPolice (talk) 18:47, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
@KarmaPolice I was responding to Ryan, not you. Carthage (talk) 19:30, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
Eh, I didn't read it right anyway. But truth is there's many possible reasons here, including the woman with the vodka buying the cheapest stuff because they run it through a water filter before consuming. KarmaPolice (talk) 19:33, 29 January 2024 (UTC)
That would be bonkers. I've heard of running rubbing alcohol through a loaf of bread and even that would cost more than 5 dollars a pint. this is turn your stomach, pro gag reflex control needed vodka, but people do drink it. I think the plan was to have the vodka unattended just to grab. Torrent (talk) 06:20, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
Actually, no. Cheap sprits often have the 'tastes of burning' and 'hit in head with mallet' hangovers due to impurities and byproducts in it, not the alcohol itself - more expensive stuff has more stages of filtration [thus cheap spirit hangovers is also a mild level of byproduct poisoning]. What do distilleries use to do filtration? Activated carbon. Guess what's inside that water filter cart? Yep, activated carbon. Naturally, this is not really cost-effective unless a) you've already got the gear on-hand and b) you're running enough booze through the cart to warrant ruining said cart [as you won't be able to use it for water afterwards]. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:23, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
Okay, so it was a TikTok trend, and an old man who really wanted a coffee, but would rather just leave than admit he spilled bad. Actually I'm fine calling this case closed. Torrent (talk) 02:34, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
The 'filtration hack' existed before TikTok, and that was only a possible answer to 'who buys four bottles of the cheapest vodka?'. A more obvious answer is clearly 'I am an alcoholic', closely followed by 'I want the cheapest method of getting hammered', though to be honest I grew out of that around 19. And the coffee might have been purely coincidence. KarmaPolice (talk) 08:46, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
There is also the chance that the woman was not buying the alcohol for herself. But to plan to buy four pints specifically was odd. There is a Wal-Mart very close that has the cheapest handle of the same brand if the goal was simply "lemme drink all that." Torrent (talk) 06:33, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
I really don't want to call my proximity to and knowledge of local drug use in to account. I think, and I allege, it was a wacky methamphetamine induced plan, from everything I saw and what I've considered after. I think in real time the cashier saw it as well, I am happy you guys don't know what that looks like. Torrent (talk) 07:11, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
I just find it stranger that you can buy pints of vodka in the USA. I then have to remember that it's American pints, which is smaller than the Imperial one. KarmaPolice (talk) 11:25, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
A "pint" of liquor in the US is a 375ml bottle.[15] Why a "pint", I have no idea and couldn't quickly find an explanation online. It isn't even the same thing as a US standard pint, which is 16 US fluid ounces (or in metric terms, roughly 473ml). The most common sized bottle of liquor sold is called a "fifth" due to some history covered in Wikipedia [16], but it's now a 750ml bottle, the same size as a standard wine bottle. Just skimming UK liquor stores, it looks like over the typical bottles in the UK are 50cL or 70cL (with the occasional 1L and 1.5L bottles, which you also find over here). BobJohnson (talk) 14:25, 1 February 2024 (UTC)in
375 is a pint. Around 200 is a half pint, usually standard at 175. 750 is a full bottle. 1.75 is a handle. I have no clue why America measures liquor differently from everything else. Torrent (talk) 11:47, 3 February 2024 (UTC)

When adults don't want to do their own dirty work[edit]


Adults encourage kids to enter an active warzone to plant an Israeli flag in the Gaza Strip. If these settlers wanted to plant their flag in Gaza, the adults should do their own dirty work. Then again, Settler Colonialists have no regard for humanitarian law nor the law of their own country. --Trans Fem Agenda 21:50, 27 January 2024 (UTC)

Sounds like the usual reason for putting kids in war zones — people are less likely to shoot at them. (Still reprehensible on account of risking children's lives and almost certainly fucking them up on a psychological level, mind you…) Luigifan18 (talk) 14:31, 1 February 2024 (UTC)
If the adults want to put themselves in danger for their nationalistic ideology then I won't lose sleep if they get shot or caught up in an explosion. They knew what they would get themselves into. When it comes to kids, that is different. The kids don't know what they would have got into had the IDF not rescued those kids. Lock those adults behind bars for their crime. --Trans Fem Agenda 23:40, 2 February 2024 (UTC)

Wim Hoff[edit]

I'm talking about the dude who could survive freezing temps, or something like that. I'm not sure if this is entirely true or not. He credits being able to do this to his meditation method but didn't it come out later that the reason he could do it was because of his unique physiology (something about brown fat or whatever)? (talk) 00:52, 2 February 2024 (UTC)

The wiki article on himWikipedia mentions that his identical twin brother has similar tolerance to cold. The studies [17] did note that they both practiced tummoWikipedia breathing techniques, which a few small studies indicate that it might raise body temperature a little. However, there are indeed multiple genetic / physiological adaptations to colder weather that are probably much better explanations for this person's cold tolerance. (This BBC article notes that indeed "brown fat", along with muscle composition and enzyme differences, explains some of the differing tolerances to cold in humans, for instance).
The Wiki article also notes that multiple people have died practicing this "Wim Hof" breathing method (by hyperventilating and blacking out in water). "Buyer beware" as Hoff's (of course) selling shit, and of course it's repackaged and tweaked old breathing techniques. Methinks the true reality is that Wim Hof just won the genetic lottery on this "skill". BobJohnson (talk) 01:38, 2 February 2024 (UTC)
That's certainly interesting, but there are always extremes. Some people are extremely tall, some people live an extraordinarily long time and some can run very fast. But I'm not sure if the OP want's to make some greater point.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 20:18, 2 February 2024 (UTC)
The basic deal is, Wim Hof is taking his unusual tolerance to cold and using that to sell €100-€400 videos that promise to unlock the "power of the breath", give you a "natural path to strength, health and happiness", and other sorts of New Ageish/motivational stuff.
I think the OP wants to know, is his unusual tolerance to cold due to the breathing techniques and other stuff (like "cold showers") he is selling, or due to genetics and other physiological stuff?
I'd say it is way more the later. BobJohnson (talk) 21:03, 2 February 2024 (UTC)

My main point is wondering whether this was the technique he mentioned or just a wild set of circumstances that came together, and from what I've read it just seems like he won the genetic lottery like other people. (talk) 20:52, 3 February 2024 (UTC)

Cope seethe mald, You-Know-Who.[edit]


Has anyone tried mewing? It's like put the tounge on the top of your mouth and doing something so that you have a stronger jawline. Is there any scientific basis for it or is mewing just another pseudoscience bullshit? While my front is alright, my head looks like someone tried to grab my nose in the side view. 🇷🇸 Serbian Arbiter (What would you have your arbiter do?) 10:42, 4 February 2024 (UTC)

It certainly sounds like utter unadulterated bullshit. But if you want to post a video of you doing it I would watch it for the giggles.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 13:33, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
It takes months of wearing metal braces glued/bolted to your skull just to straighten your teeth. I don't think manually pushing your tongue against your mouth will have the consistency or force to reshape your even more deeply rooted jawbone. Sounds like an unfounded rumor that happened to gain popularity (talk) 15:17, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
Until gen alpha brought up their hunks of shit i only heard mewing from incel spheres+ the inventor and his son had both of their orthodontic licenses revoked — Unsigned, by: 2600:387:f:4714::1 / talk / contribs
The article on the first of the license revocations (the father, John Mew): How Two British Orthodontists Became Celebrities to Incels. The father actually tried the Galileo gambit ("And yet it moves") trying to be funny about orthodontic movement, I guess. The son's revocation (Mike Mew) came later. — Unsigned, by: Bongolian / talk / contribs
I'd rather have it in the archive. It begs me to subscribe. 🇷🇸 Serbian Arbiter (What would you have your arbiter do?) 01:14, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
There's also a free Guardian article from 2022 about Mike Mew[18] Bongolian (talk) 01:16, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
If you mean imitating the adorable infant-like sound felines used to tame humanity by becoming the infants (much like the cavemen made wolves our “best friends” by becoming the alphas), only when alone since I cannot yet care for a cat till I start grad school to become a therapist, as I’ll be moving into fraternity housing next year. I’ve made my aunt and uncle’s cats tilt their heads a few times with this skill, hopefully I wasn’t ignorantly insulting their progenitors. --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 02:05, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
Isn't that the sound my cat makes? I doubt it actually does anything. I mostly hear mewing being discussed in a sarcastic manner. Gang O' Shadow Wizards 🧙‍♂️Bore me 16:03, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

Your feedback would be much appreciated...[edit]

...for a shitty new article I put in Main space.

Regards. (Also, go watch the film if you have the time. It's not supposed to be a comedy, but it's still very funny.) - Rairyu75 (Talk) 20:27, 2 February 2024 (UTC)

Seems like a very good job to me :) JumboWhales (talk) 22:04, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
Looks good. Steven Greer could also be worth an article on him covering other stuff, since he's among the more prominent UFO and aliens woo-meisters. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 22:25, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
@JumboWhales Cheers dude. 'Preciate it. @ApooftGnegiol Yeah, the thought crossed my mind as well. I'm watching his newest film at the moment, Close Encounters of the 5th Kind. Might do a debunk of that and then go through his back-catalogue, like that 2001 press conference he keeps banging on about. He was also on the Joe Rogan podcast once, many years ago (the episode seems to have been "retracted" but copies are floating around on YouTube). A lot of trash to wade through, but it might be fun in a way. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 22:47, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
@Rairyu75 on some more related topics. Loosely, there's two "UFOs and aliens" camps who each regard the other as part of an evil conspiracy. I haven't followed the Greer-ish camp too closely -- the camp which believes in good aliens and an evil government -- but more the other, which believes in evil aliens and a government partly duped and partly conspiring with them. A very different "documentary" is "UFOs, Aliens, and the Question of Contact" by Bernhard Guenther (script, voice) and Humberto Braga (video editing), which also promotes the work of alien abduction "researchers" and others with a much more grim take like Laura Knight-Jadczyk. There you have the equally crank but anti-Greer message in a nutshell. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 13:55, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

Revenge of history[edit]

An example here. Anna Livia (talk) 10:48, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

@Anna Livia Ha! A hundred years in the making. "Before the violent Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, even many constitutional lawyers rarely thought about Section 3, a provision that isn’t taught at most law schools and hadn’t been used in court for more than 100 years. Legal scholars believe the only time it was cited in the 20th century was to deny a seat in Congress to a socialist on the grounds that he opposed U.S. involvement in World War I." Though I suppose we can't really say that history has come back to exact revenge on the Donald if the courts still let him run on the ballot. Not just yet. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 04:56, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
'Revenge is a dish best served cold.'
Probably more in the category of 'Ashford v Thornton' and similar - legislation effectively in abeyance until someone finds it serves a use that was not necessarily intended. (I think there are other cases where people get tripped up, inconvenienced or even benefitted by forgotten legislation and bylaws etc.) Anna Livia (talk) 19:32, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
There is also the 2022 New Mexico case that prevented Couy Griffin from serving in a county-level office based on him being a J6 insurrectionist. Briffin lost the case on appeal.[19] Bongolian (talk) 20:50, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

Search Engine Algorithms are Fucked Up![edit]

The title says it all. It's frustrating whenever I try to search for content online. Take YouTube for instance, where sound healing bullshit (see 432 or 528 Hz as the most common offenders, and the many false claims of detoxing, spiritual, and/or mental growth) spreads high on search results and even the homepage with almost complete impunity. Or when I try to make searches on various topics on a regular engine like Google or DuckDuckGo, where I encounter false narratives that the CCP uses to praise itself akin to Narcissus, religious (and YEC) narratives involving the Bible, and more. Anything else to corroborate? TheEternalOutsider (talk) 19:43, 30 January 2024 (UTC)

And one time when I tried searching for TED-ED on YouTube, I instead ran into the bullshit Rupert Sheldrake churned out. Furthermore, the channels of the many cultists of Jordan Peterson continue to show up on irrelevant political searches on that site. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 19:49, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
The main thing I notice is that Google search returns a lot more really bad auto-generated garbage than in the "old days". Appending "reddit" to a Google search query can help a little (as Reddit isn't *quite* as far along in its enshitification process as Google / YouTube are); better still if you have a more focused site of your choice. Strange, YouTube does seem to be a kick on pushing music livestreams to the homepage (as viewed incognito) at this time. Including a few sound healing crap links, of course. I suppose such is a great marketing strategy for producers of sleepy ambient music (as long as you don't mind the "you're gonna attract the New Age nuts" factor...) BobJohnson (talk) 20:44, 30 January 2024 (UTC)
There is also basic scientific fact misinformation, even of the non-politicised nature. Search "mercury resistivity", and the top result claims that Mercury has the lowest resistivity of all metals. That is false: silver has the lowest. Mercury isn't even in the lowest 10. MirrorIrorriM (talk) 13:16, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
Ha! Google decided that a bunch of webpages written by physics high school students as a class assignment in the 2000s is the ultimate authority for this question. *headdesk* BobJohnson (talk) 14:08, 31 January 2024 (UTC)
As for me, I’m constantly getting spammed with prayer-app ads despite having some of the few atheist channels that haven’t sold their souls to the Zionist or transphobia rabbit-holes for views in my list of subscriptions. (Because for many, it’s only okay to oppose faith-based violence or science denial respectively if doing so doesn’t go against their sentiments and/or, in transphobia’s case, anger a lot more people with a lot more power.) --Goatspeed. See what I'm up toCircularREmail2.gifasoningSee what I'm planning 05:45, 2 February 2024 (UTC)
I got an ad for real human hair wigs... Do I have cancer? Torrent (talk) 07:59, 3 February 2024 (UTC)
Not only that, AI art keeps being pushed by Google Images, Bing etc. 🇷🇸 Serbian Arbiter (What would you have your arbiter do?) 11:45, 4 February 2024 (UTC)
I've once again stumbled upon a bunch of nobodies pushing pseudoscientific bunk and conspiracy theories from Amazon and Amazon alone (They never appear outside of Amazon, sneak into data voids and irrelevant searches to cause trouble, and author information of these folks is lacking, severely impugning their credibility.) TheEternalOutsider (talk) 23:55, 7 February 2024 (UTC)
And further unhelpful searches resulted in me finding low-quality meme generator sites (such as Imgflip) that have absolutely no moderation and unethically farm SEO to rank high, and thus gives a free platform for cranks and their supporters to anonymously push out bunk to search engines with complete impunity and no reprecussions. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 00:38, 8 February 2024 (UTC)

Still experimenting with story ideas[edit]

Sasha Marzano sat at his school desk. His attention to the history teacher, Craig Moss, was minimal at best. Mr. Moss acted more like a preacher than a history teacher. That alone was enough to annoy Sasha; what made the situation worse was the fact that he was stuck in a Christian school. Every class had something about Christianity shoehorned into each subject. History class was weirdly more preachy than actual church. Go figure.

“The Kingdom of Israel was blessed by God! The Jews are the chosen people who laid the foundations of Christianity and western civilization! Now class, what does this foundation have to do with the American War of Independence” shouted Mr. Moss. Anybody with a brain would know that the foundation of the modern world was a result of interconnected events. It had nothing to do with a Godly being blessing a single ethnic group. Sasha just wanted to shout that but he lacked the nerve. He always lacked the nerve for anything.

Paying attention in class was always a huge chore. When everything in school was close to a church sermon Sasha was always bored. Physical education was the only real break from preaching. At least sports was fun; well fun to a degree. The locker room was a nightmare. Sasha always was made fun of for his body structure. All in all, school was straight up miserable.

Mr. Moss continued his rambling on how the Bible being the foundation of the American War of independence. His teaching had hardly anything to do with American history. Thankfully the public library was still running strong. At least he got an actual education there. Sasha’s thoughts were interrupted when Mr. Moss shouted, “Sasha! What Bible passage inspired George Washington to rebel against the British”?!

Sasha froze for a long second; unsure of what to say. The teacher shouted much louder, “Sasha! What is the answer”! On the fly Sasha had said something about the Book of Revelations. That appeared to satisfy the preachy teacher. Mr. Moss talked about how George Washington led the Siege of Boston and how it related to Bible prophecy. Once that part was done Sasha’s mind went somewhere else; namely the boys he liked.

This is party a reboot of an older idea. My main character is intersex and trans. I am also going to slowly change the pronouns as they story progresses. Yes there are zombies from a mutant form of chickenpox. --Trans Fem Agenda 16:13, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

If you are going to have Sasha quote Revelations, or Craig quote the Bible, give said quotes and how they relate. Otherwise you could have Craig quoting "The Communist Manifesto" with Sasha responding with a quote from "Atlas Shrugged" and the story remains unchanged. CorruptUser 18:51, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
CorruptUser - there is both 'Atlas Shrugged' and 'Communist Manifesto' fanfic if you are so inclined. (None of it mine btw.) Anna Livia (talk) 19:12, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
Also, give a physical description of Craig, even if through Sasha's eyes.
E.g., "Craig should have been any other diminutive, middle-aged man, but his brown eyes were always filled with the kind of rage that radiated enough energy it could be detected with a Geiger counter. Someone had long ago convinced this wretched excuse of a male homo sapien that fresh necktie was all it took to convey an air of authority, and Craig always wore his too tight, causing his jugulars to bulge out like vicious snakes slithering up to his large ears. "...and thus did the snake tempt Eve with the apple" Craig continued. Oh, yes, his ever-present Adam's apple, waggling as he talked. CorruptUser 18:51, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
I like those ideas. --Trans Fem Agenda 20:46, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
Sasha Marzano sat at his school desk. His attention to the history teacher, Craig Moss, was minimal at best. Mr. Moss acted more like a preacher than a history teacher. His stature was of an old, fat and short man. High blood pressure made veins all over his body bulged. That alone was enough to annoy Sasha; what made the situation worse was the fact that he was stuck in a Christian school. Every class had something about Christianity shoehorned into each subject. History class was weirdly more preachy than actual church. Go figure.

“The Kingdom of Israel was blessed by God! The Jews are the chosen people who laid the foundations of Christianity and western civilization! Now class, what does this foundation have to do with the American War of Independence” shouted Craig Moss. Craig’s voice was like a serpent. His words were toxic. Anybody with a brain would know that the foundation of the modern world was a result of interconnected events. It had nothing to do with a Godly being blessing a single ethnic group. Sasha just wanted to shout that but he lacked the nerve. He always lacked the nerve for anything.

Paying attention in class was always a huge chore. When everything in school was close to a church sermon Sasha was always bored. Physical education was the only real break from preaching. At least sports was fun; well fun to a degree. The locker room was a nightmare. Sasha always was made fun of for his body structure. All in all, school was straight up miserable.

Mr. Moss continued his rambling on how the Bible being the foundation of the American War of independence. His teaching had hardly anything to do with American history. Thankfully the public library was still running strong. At least he got an actual education there. Sasha’s thoughts were interrupted when Mr. Moss shouted, “Sasha! What Bible passage inspired George Washington to rebel against the British”?!

Sasha froze for a long second; unsure of what to say. The teacher shouted much louder, “Sasha! What is the answer”! On the fly Sasha had said Exodus 15:3 “The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name.”. That appeared to satisfy the preachy teacher. Mr. Moss talked about how George Washington led the Siege of Boston and how it related to Bible prophecy. Once that part was done Sasha’s mind went somewhere else; namely the boys he liked.

The bell rang, history class was finally over. Next was gym class. Before that Sasha had to go to the principal's office for his daily dose of medication. He took it daily but he was never told what it was for though. All he knew was that it made him feel more depressed after he took it. He was always depressed but the medicine made it a whole lot worse. What on Earth was that medication? Today Sasha would find out.

I edited the original. --Trans Fem Agenda 22:30, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

Yup, better. CorruptUser 15:51, 7 February 2024 (UTC)

Plan on making fun of the far right support for natural "medicine" and anti-vaccine ideology[edit]

Namely, the character Sasha gets sent to straight camp after they is caught kissing their love interest. Sasha's love interest is a bisexual boy their age (I used gender neutral pronouns as Sasha will attempt to transition through the events of the story). As for the straight camp, the administration there uses naturopathic physicians to give hormone treatment on LGBTQ kids and teens. As the fictional Chickenpox virus strain "A-07662" spreads, a modified vaccine will be developed to prevent people from becoming zombies. The far right religious fanatics refuse to take the vaccine and are willing to put their kids in mortal danger. I might even use the concept of pox parties as part of what the fictional fundamentalist Baptist church wants to create "natural immunity" despite it being a completely different Chickenpox strain. --Trans Fem Agenda 22:01, 7 February 2024 (UTC)

British National Party[edit]

I think the British National Party page is getting very close to silver. I cleaned up a lot of it. It's rather overly detailed with election results. Maybe someone from Britain can review it? Bongolian (talk) 05:43, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

Well @Bongolian, I myself am not British, but do you know what I think is needed to improve this article? More strikethrough humour. (Hahahahaha! I'm only joking. Unless...)
I was actually thinking to myself that "X dude got 2% in South Snot-shire" ad nauseum was getting pretty damn repetitive, but on the other hand, it's historically relevant, isn't it? Does a really good job of illustrating their ups and downs, and it's well reffed (though not exactly riveting, I grant you.) - Rairyu75 (Talk) 06:55, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
Well - I'm not sure that we actually need to spend much time on the history of their by-election results. It seems to me that, for us, the question is what do they believe/promote now and what is the smart refutation. The article starts to get into this way down in the "policies" section but I would suggest it should lead with this.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:04, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
I agree with Bob - in fact I shall go further and say while the RW page is good, WP's is better on every front [they have an exhaustive history page which talks about all the byelections and so on]. What is needed here [in my opinion] is not simply a cleanup/update, but a complete rewrite, mainly in adding analysis to something which is mainly of historical interest now. For example, a stronger linkage of how UKIP stole their clothes and those then were swiped by the Conservatives, or how they rose on the backs of the anti-Muslim feelings after 9/11, and how a lot of the 'boot and brick' brigade drifted into the EDL.
As I'm a Brit, 'do' politics and literally personally remember a lot of this stuff from the time [for example, C4 dispatches did a very good hit-piece documentry c2006[?] which revealed that under Griffin's 'moderate' visage beat the old NF black heart] I suspect I'm one of the better placed to do this. So some time this week or next, RL dependent. KarmaPolice (talk) 08:27, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
We have a similar problem with many of our "political" articles. They tend to be written from the left wing/religiously skeptical perspective which we generally share - along with some other associated assumptions.
In consequence, we often don't really explain exactly what a particular Conservative/Republican/individual/theistic group believes followed by a rational deconstruction. Instead we try to some kind of left-wing Wikipedia in which give information and assume that our readers will draw the appropriate conclusions. But Wikipedia will always do this better than us, and they are hardly a bastion of right-wing opinion. This is why we decided a long time ago that "we are not an encyclopedia" - because we can't compete in that space.
We had a debate about this many years ago when the wiki was founded. The questions were: "Who is our audience?" "Who are we writing for?" "Are we trying to supply support for those who already share our skeptical worldview - or are we trying to persuade the undecided?"
The questions were never really resolved and, even if they had been, I suspect that I am the only person who would remember the conclusion.
Obviously the composition of the Wiki authorship changes every few years and what people thought ten or twenty years ago cannot bind the current editors, but I would personally be inclined to delete the majority of our political stuff and go back to being a skeptical resource. I understand this may be a minority position. :-) Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:53, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
You're not going to be able to avoid politics with the current mission. :) One of the mission statements (authoritarianism and fundamentalism) is extremely intertwined in politics. In America, fundamentalism and a certain sort of "conservative" politics practically go hand in hand -- essentially, a significant portion of American evangelicalism is God-wrapped white nationalism, and has been for a long time. The "Moral Majority" involved certain GOP political figures like Paul WeyrichWikipedia deliberately blending the Southern Strategy-oriented racist policy alignments to appease the fundies with certain things like staunch anti-abortion policies to appease the hard-line Catholics etc.; it's ultimately accumulated in the populist mess you see in the GOP today.
Anti-science and crank movements also dip into politics. Even "back in the day" there was a lot of politically motivated (generally bad for business or moral panic related) denialism such as the hooplah around "global warming" (née climate change) and other things such as AIDS and tobacco. However, what's kind of new these days is greater integration of not even wrong crankery like QAnon and the anti-vaccination movement into mainstream politics. I remember when only kooks, weirdos, and humorist columnists took folks like Lyndon LaRouche seriously.
From my perspective, the more important thing is to keep it mission-oriented (politicians or political articles that don't tick any mission checkboxes shouldn't be covered) and recognize that anti-science / authoritarianism / etc. isn't just a "right-wing" thing.
Old Rationalwiki was never a great "skeptical Wiki" anyways IMHO, back in the "good old days" it essentially was a troll Wiki written in direct response to Conservapedia. BobJohnson (talk) 16:24, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
It depends on which version of RW you are talking about. When we created RW1 back in 2007 we were a group of CP exiles and the whole thing was a secret. (In fact, it was infiltrated early on but we didn't know that at the time.). It was really more of a weird chat-group than a wiki.
We cleaned up our act to create RW2 but it was massively CP centric. Later we really tried to make it more serious and skeptical but, as you say, with the missions we have it's difficult to stay away from politics.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 19:03, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
I don't think Bob was arguing that we shouldn't 'do' politics, BobJ, more that we shouldn't fall into the trap that Conservapedia, Citizenium etc fell into - ie trying to compete article-for-article with WP doing WP-style articles minus their aggressive NPOV. Frankly put, there's no real point; WP shall almost always win because of the sheer size disparity, even if on occasion we might produce a superior example.
That unless I'm wrong, they're arguing that instead we should focus RW articles on where we can do things better; such as a lower 'notability' standards, places where a bit of 'original research' is required to join the dots or on occasion, to produce something actually intelligable to a layperson. Even more critical is to recall that RW is in it's seventeenth year, and it's not uncommon to find mainspace articles which the bulk was written a decade previous and made assumptions regarding reader's background knowledge which don't really apply now [and might have not applied even then]. KarmaPolice (talk) 21:46, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm making a number of points - not that I actually expect to get much momentum.
On politics. (A) I don't think that our political articles are going to change any minds. They are written for and by a community which already shares the views they present. So what is their purpose? It is unlikely (though not entirely impossible) that someone who does not already have a particular view is actually going to read through them.
On politics (B) (I have made this point before though not above) Politics changes pretty rapidly and politicians come and go, even change their views or die. We have a lot of articles on politicians - sometimes generated by people who had a special interest in them years ago. Keeping all the political articles up to date would be a tremendous task and it's not happening. Look at the category of "American politicians" and consider the task of keeping it up to date.
On skepticism. (A) There really are people who might be surfing the net and looking for information on flat earth, moon landings age of the earth or whatever. For them our articles would really provide useful information which they would take on board.
On skepticism (B) Skeptical arguments actually age quite well. As pseudoscience isn't really science it doesn't do research or develop new ideas- it just rehashes old stuff. An article on homeopathy, ear candling or aromatherapy explaining why they are bullshit will be about as relevant today as ten years ago.
On WP. Trying to outdo WP an any mainstream subject is usually a waste of time.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:14, 7 February 2024 (UTC)
On politics A, I partly disagree; I suspect a decent % of hits we get [particulary for 'live' politicians, movements etc] will be folks doing a background check on stuff they've seen on YouTube, Twitter etc - thus a good quick/dirty 'who/what/how' description and a 'rational deconstruction' of the previous will be useful and missional.
Politics B is a perennial general issue and ultimately unsolvable. Not to re-open an old debate, it was the main reason I supported the use of AIs for 'backend functions' for RW; that it could be used to draft updated articles on individuals and generally improve per editor productivity.
I fully agree with both Skepticism points; I myself have argued that for large chunks of these sections our job now is a 'care and maintence' one, and we might be best served as a community to instead of continuing to apply more polish to 'already-complete' articles [fussing over layout/punctuation, re-doing individual sentences for minimal gain etc] that we focus on doing sorting out problem pages, filling out stubs and so on - ie where editor hours have better bang/buck ratio. Though to be honest, I have no idea how much editor time is spent on such 'polishing' articles in the first place.
One thing I do wonder is this; is there any function to collect a list of 'outdated pages' or something? For example, a list of all mainspace articles which have not had an edit in say, since 2018? KarmaPolice (talk) 16:58, 7 February 2024 (UTC)
I have noticed on the Reddits that RW is occasionally a sort of particular reference point for "crackpots". So, for instance, when Scott Adams had his big Racist Moment (which made it to r/all), someone referenced Rationalwiki to point out his 2011 "women are akin to children and the mentally handicapped" comment along with the Streisand Effect snark.
So, as far as "political" articles go, I would hazard a guess that the Big Political Names aren't going to be quite as referenced compared to less notable subjects. In other words, probably the article on, say, Joe Biden actually might get less "notice" than something like, say, a few sample articles that popped up on a search of Reddit: the article on StoneToss (which doesn't even have a Wiki page) and the article on the LGB Alliance (where the Redditor posted the RW article specifically for its more snarky, less WP-dry angle).
Such material tends to be used as "preaching to the choir", but that's kind of typical of life. I mean, people even get tied up in knots over Wikipedia being supposedly biased, "neutral point of view" aside. BobJohnson (talk) 18:39, 7 February 2024 (UTC)
Thanks for the responses - though I have taken the subject a long way from the OP's point.
I'll think about creating an essay which expands somewhat on my opinions above so that at least they are date-stamped. It would be useful if any current editors were to respond to it. In the worst case it might be of historical interest in ten-year's time!Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:15, 8 February 2024 (UTC)
BobJ, my point exactly. RW is fairly well-regarded by the search engine starting with G; often we're only behind WP and usually, in the top five. Thus if we have an article on something WP does not [normally, it does not meet WP notability], we shall be #1. And I've long had issues with the fact that sometimes, particular WP articles are utterly unreadable. Now, if one of our goals is to get 'more eyes on articles', I would suggest focusing on these two gaps in the wiki market, so to speak. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:51, 8 February 2024 (UTC)

Unserious question[edit]

Do beliefs create emotions (or rather if they do then HOW)?[edit]

It's sort of a follow up to a follow up to what they guy I posted about said on emotions, that it's not the object or event that makes us feel a way about it but our beliefs about it. But to me this just begs the question of how do beliefs make us feel anything (assuming they do), so far no answer from him. It's a long post so I won't past it here (wouldn't fit either) but beliefs just have the power we give them right? Like...they're just words, empty of meaning (the value kind not the communication kind). Yes I know language is just made up and we assign meaning to these "grunts" and all that jazz but that gets us nowhere.

How does a belief about something affect the emotion behind it. Aren't beliefs rooted in emotion, in which case aren't we putting the cart before the horse on this one? In life we do respond to varies events with various emotions, and there are circuits in the brain that do it too. There also seems to be universal emotional responses to certain events. But nowhere can I find anything on how beliefs create emotions, especially since beliefs hold no inherent meaning. Meaning is IMO clearly emotional soooooo.........

The more questions I ask that forum the more dodges I get. "I could tell you but you'd have to practice it, you'd just have an intellectual understanding of it. It's like learning to swim you have to practice" which just tells me they don't really know. It reminds of the "question everything unless you get a different answer than me in which case you're wrong" or just using the "diversity of perspectives" line to avoid admitting that maybe their own is flawed.

But I digress. They also mention they can create emotions at will but won't tell me how, and I can't really take their word for it. Though I have no way to test their claims. (talk) 23:54, 4 February 2024 (UTC)

I mentioned before that one is unlikely to create a predetermined emotion when reacting to an immediate experience; especially one disparate with those typical to the experience. We are are no more able to choose an immediate emotional response to an experience than we would be able to taste chocolate when we eat vanilla ice cream. Determinism is a real thing. Now the senses can be deceived, but I don't think that's what you are describing. What I claim is, your emotional responses are characteristics of your experience of phenomena because your brain creates them. I claim emotions are determined by the brain as a consequence of sensory data. People who can control, and even dictate the variety of their emotions would be capable of being happy whenever they care to be. See if you can irritate these people by arguing with them. UncleKrampus (talk) 02:05, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
What you believe might influence your emotional response to some event. If a conservative relative and I learn the results of the 2024 US presidential election while watching the same news program, our emotional responses are almost certainly going to differ, regardless of the winner. If somebody observing us said, "your emotional responses are different because of the difference in your political beliefs," they wouldn't be saying anything wrong. Based on what you say about "practicing," I suspect that your interlocutor believes they can change their beliefs at will; that is deeply suspect. I cannot, at will, make myself belief that I am somebody else, or somewhere else, or that I have radically different values than I in fact have, etc., in order to reap some emotional benefit. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 03:08, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
Some New Agers have such an attitude towards belief, including perhaps my mom. It can tie into activities of "positive thinking", and the belief that believing things makes it so. It can also more generally be a very shallow, subjectivist idea of what reality is, where everyone has "their own truth" -- while the person claiming so simultaneously believes that those who disagree on anything are wrong. Self-hypnosis and a gradual overall loss of sense of reality becomes a way of life, such people losing trust in all outside authorities while they practice tricking themselves into feeling the way they want to feel until it becomes an unshakeable habit. Such self-calming and rationalization however doesn't get rid of negative emotions, it just adds a feel-good factor into the mix, the self often becoming engrossed in its imagination while losing track of where it ends and reality begins. A little like being on drugs without needing any, perhaps, but not in a better way (mystics can do better, depending on what they're about). --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 12:58, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

I can't really test if they are right about creating emotions at will, I don't have that sort of equipment. But how does a belief affect emotion? Like it's just words? Even if meaning is the result of this how does that...well do anything? I'm having a hard time putting my arguments down but something just doesn't track with what they're saying. They said that objects and people don't "make" you feel but beliefs about something do, yet they refuse to explain why. They said that if you assume that you are the mind then they can't explain it and I call bullshit. If you knew how it works it wouldn't require these a priori beliefs to make it happen. (talk) 04:09, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

Trying to make more something more sensible out of it, at the core it seems similar to the very old stoic ideas you'll find in Enchiridion.Wikipedia You can make sense of the stoic philosophy in that, for example, belief and ambitions go hand in hand, and contentedness vs. disappointment is tied to that. Various emotions come from how you perceive yourself in relation to your social surroundings and environments, how you perceive that you are treated by people and fortune, and here beliefs and expectations determine a whole lot. Being emotionally invested vs. divested in something can change through choices in how people regard and relate to things. People can also try to avoid feeling even the most terrible losses by telling themselves that they haven't really lost anything (they never had anything in the first place, or a brother who died was "just a human"), and the stoics actually recommended that -- quite unlike modern psychologists. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 12:58, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
Stoic philosophy is filled with too many internal contradictions to be useful. Though the part about avoiding pain has been found to be a bad thing so it's no wonder that philosophy didn't last long. A brother or a friend isn't just a human, in fact that would contradict the stoic's own teachings on the importance of friendship. Acknowledging the pain of loss and working through it is the key to better health, not downplaying it. (talk) 21:38, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
I completely disagree. While emotions are obviously generated by external events (for most people), the question of how to deal with these emotions (especially negative emotions) is somewhat under our control. In consequence, stoic philosophy has had a tremendous impact on modern, effective cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:11, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

I honestly fail to understand the point of the question. Both beliefs and emotions occur in the mind which is (probably) an emergent property of activity within the brain. Beliefs are things which we hold to be largely or always true (until we are persuaded otherwise) and emotions are (generally) produced produced by some transient stimuli.

So why would you (or anyone) think that beliefs are creating emotions? When my cat died (many years ago) I was sad - but that sadness was not the result of a belief system.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:24, 5 February 2024 (UTC)

@BoN Beliefs are presumably able to exert influence over emotions as a result of the structure of the mind, and by extension the structure of the brain. The fine details of this, as far as concerns the brain, are for neuroscience to sort out. I'm not sure why you say beliefs are just words. Although beliefs are often expressed verbally, and may be phrased verbally within a person's inner monologue, beliefs are not themselves words.
To me, it seems like you don't have an entirely clear idea about what your interlocutor's stance actually is. This might be because, as you already mentioned, they're reluctant to explain themselves. It could also be that they don't actually have a clear stance, but are merely vacillating between plausible, but also broad and vague generalities, and implausible but more precise specifics. Based on your description, it could be that they're merely making the point that we don't have immediate access to the external world. A stimulus that might ordinarily frighten you might have little effect, for instance, if before you encounter it I administer to you a powerful sedative drug, and thereby manipulate the condition of your brain (and, by extension, your mind). In that sense, it's true that your emotions are not dependent just on the objects or people you encounter, but also on the particular state of mind in which you encounter them; your beliefs are a part of this state of mind, and hence have some influence over your emotions. On the other hand, it could be that they're making kind of claim according to which you can, under ordinary circumstances, change your emotions sheerly by will, or, even more extreme, change what's true about the world by sheer will (via a change in your beliefs). Both of these are implausible; and it's possible that they mistakenly belief that they can defend them, or something similar, by an argument that actually only justifies the former, plausible claim. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 00:55, 7 February 2024 (UTC)
But they are just words though. Isn't that what they are formed of primarily? Also his argument is that it's not anything outside but your beliefs about it, meaning that you create your own emotions. But all they got is personal experience and their own claims. Just to give you an example:

THAT is the secret. There is no great secret. Humans create emotions through stories and remembering all the time. That’s how music movies and stories work! They trigger memories that create emotions. Emotions are exactly as real as they feel. The source is not what matters to the feelings.

The feelings, the emotions have their own value apart from, in addition to, or independent from the source. Then that amazing device just behind our foreheads, the pre-frontal cortex, gets to ascribe meaning to it and start the next cycle by generating even more emotion, this time coloured or even determined by the story we tell.

NOW you are starting to see! It’s that simple. And it works. And in the middle of looming unemployment, very high levels of uncertainty and fixed expenses I do not control, I can function and be happy. It works. (talk) 01:26, 8 February 2024 (UTC)

Beliefs are propositional attitudes, which we describe and reason about linguistically. Likewise, propositions are denoted by declarative sentences, but are not themselves sentences, or any other type of linguistic expression. 'The sky is blue' and 'el cielo es azul' are distinct sentences, but they both express the same proposition.
The excerpt seems to be describing catharsis; if I want to feel sad, I can deliberately trigger that feeling by listening to sad music, or watching a tragic play, or something like that. In ancient Greece, it was believed that such activities could be used to purge negative emotions, leaving one feeling better afterward ('catharsis' translates as 'purification'). I have no idea what contemporary psychology has to say about catharsis, but it certainly is the case that you can make yourself feel sadder by doing things like listening to sad music. It's not obvious to me that this necessarily involves any triggering of memories, or even any particular belief (especially in the case of music). There's a bit of a leap going into their last paragraph; I'm not sure what it is that works in the middle of looming unemployment. Are they saying that they can function and be happy by purging their negative feelings through engagement with tragic drama or some such thing, or that they can do so by focusing on happy, feel-good stories? Either way, nothing here is especially profound, and nothing here lends support to the notion that events in daily life exert no influence over emotions. There may be an underlying confusion here, that since the brain mediates our experience of the external world, the brain has unbounded capacity to alter our experience, but I'd need to see more of what they have to say to be sure. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 02:27, 8 February 2024 (UTC)

Catharsis is proven to be wrong as it turns out the brain isn't some sort of pressurized system where releasing steam vents the pressure inside of it. Instead what you get is just reinforcing patterns of behavior. It's why punching a pillow, while better than a person, is a good outlet for anger since you are using violence and reinforcing that.

Also good luck trying to get anything more out of what there is here. They don't answer questions about the process or anything like it, you're just told to do it and "it works because my personal experience says so". Which isn't saying anything. (talk) 01:22, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

Backend/503 issues[edit]

What was the problem which resulted in the above message earlier today (GMT)? Anna Livia (talk) 15:45, 8 February 2024 (UTC)

Probably a DDos, like the other ones we've had recently. Bongolian (talk) 02:45, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

An explanation for Biblical homophobia?[edit]

I've recently been spending a lot of time watching a Let's Player named Abe Clancy. This has recently included his playthrough of a game called Bloody Hell, in which the player, as the angel Azrael, is tasked by God with invading Hell to kill Satan. (Also, all of the angels are birds for some reason.) There's a mid-game plot twist that leads into the point I want to discuss, but it's a spoiler for the game, so I'll have to collapse it. (I wanted to white out the text so I could put it in the same paragraph as this intro, but explaining the twist turned out to take up enough space to be another paragraph in and of itself. (Is there a better way to do spoiler tags on RationalWiki?))

Personally, I don't think God would have any reason to hate gay people; unlike, say, sociopathy or narcissism, homosexuality doesn't cause any harm. The homophobic content of the Bible is in all likelihood just a reflection of the prevailing homophobic attitudes of society when it was written. But let's say for the sake of argument that the Bible as it's written is true and God does have a bone to pick with gay people. Could it be that the reason for God's dislike of homosexuality isn't because of anything that's wrong with it in and of itself, but because it reminds him of love that He once had and lost? As someone who finds homophobia repugnant, this explanation for the apparent homophobia expressed by the character of God in the Bible amuses me, because it makes it look less like a case of homosexuality being disgusting and more like God is jealous of homosexuals with healthy relationships. If anything, I'd like to plant this idea in the heads of some homophobic Christians (especially fundies) and let the thought that God Himself is gay and was doing the nasty with Satan keep them up at night. Maybe it'll get them to re-examine their perspective on homosexuality. Any comments? Luigifan18 (talk) 15:22, 21 January 2024 (UTC)

It should be ostensibly obvious, without thinking too much about it, that if god exists, and gets pissed if you do something, then maybe you really shouldn't do it unless you want to get in trouble later on. Let's face it, if there is a supreme being and they want something from me, I'm going to do my best to give it to them, that includes who I fuck around with. Thing is, we don't believe any of that. There are fundies and there are anti-fundies. It is a simple idea that the more women a man impregnates, the more children will come and the more men Israel would have to defend their faith. Those were warlike times and those fuckers were constantly at war with the Assyrians, Babylonians, the Persians, and Greeks. I imagine, if they wanted fewer babies, they would have suggested other pass-times for their people. It is no better than a factitious diversion to think of the bible as anything other than the best guesses, opinions and oral histories then available to an uneducated society just stepping out of the bronze age.UncleKrampus (talk) 17:35, 21 January 2024 (UTC)
Like many gods, the God of Abraham wants more worshipers. A great way-arguably the easiest way-to do that is to have his existing worshippers have several kids, and exploit the massive influence a parent has on how the personality of a child forms to indoctrinate them into worshipping this god before they can really question religious dogma. Gay sex gets in the way.-Flandres (talk) 18:09, 21 January 2024 (UTC)
…I think you missed my point. I agree that the Bible was the best guesses, opinions, and oral histories of an uneducated Bronze Age society that frequently found itself facing devastation of some kind or another and was therefore a bit desperate to keep its population stable. I'm talking about planting an idea in the heads of people who take the Bible way too seriously and use it as an excuse to hate people who aren't like themselves. Specifically, the idea that the God they claim to love and trust above all else is gay, and maybe is lashing out at gay people because his own gay lover turned against him. It's the ultimate expression of Haggard's Law — a thought exercise in making the fundies squirm, moan, and cry. How can they hate gays in the name of their God if their God is gay? Luigifan18 (talk) 18:13, 21 January 2024 (UTC)
With the exception of an infinitesimal few cases you can't "plant an idea" in the minds of religious bigots. One of the most important points of religious bigotry is that you have a monopoly on truth and anybody who suggests you are wrong automatically has their opinions discounted. This is especially true if you are trying to do it with a plot twist from a video game.-Flandres (talk) 18:26, 21 January 2024 (UTC)
Literally the second most important commandment in Christianity, as plainly written down (Matthew 22:36-40), is "love thy neighbor". If fundamentalist bigots can't even follow their own religious text, there's no way a plot twist in a gory "metroidvania" style game would change any minds. BobJohnson (talk) 18:41, 21 January 2024 (UTC)
As a baseline here, I'll mention that when it says to put someone to death for something, this often isn't to be taken literally. It was almost never enforced especially for a matter that minor. Often there would be a weirdly high amount of witnesses required for something, or some other regulation like this which effectively would have kept a death penalty from being enacted even if someone did bother to try and press the issue. So from a non-literalist standpoint even if the Bible did forbid homosexuality (I think there are some at least half decent arguments to the contrary but), it possibly wouldn't have sanctioned a death penalty in actuality for that in specific. The talk of stoning people to death is frequent throughout the Old Testament and this is often used as a way to criticize Christianity, but this line of argument may be at least partly malformed. Chillpilled (talk) 20:44, 21 January 2024 (UTC)
I'm not sure where you are getting that from. There are plenty pf people in the world today getting killed today for getting something religious wrong, and there were even more in (for example) the Middle ages. I can't imagine it was any better in the bronze age.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:12, 22 January 2024 (UTC)
Biblical literalism has been around for a long time. I'm arguing for basically biblical originalism (at least in terms of understanding what it's saying). What I said is something I was told by a scholar who studies these books at least. Chillpilled (talk) 21:10, 22 January 2024 (UTC)
Well, there are places in the world today where they burn witches and homosexuality carries the death penalty in various countries (I can give links if you like). But if your scholar friend says thing were better in the Bronze Age, who am I to argue? :-) Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 20:07, 24 January 2024 (UTC)
FYI, though Wikipedia is never the final word in scholarly research, the Wikipedia article on Capital punishment in JudaismWikipedia essentially confirms Chillpilled for at least Rabbinic Judaism. According to this article, in part because there were so many punishments that carry the death penalty in Leviticus, the requirements for capital punishment that ended up being developed the Talmud were strict and "the death penalty is more of a principle than a practice". The BBC seems to confirm this. BobJohnson (talk) 23:04, 24 January 2024 (UTC)
I was studying Judaism at the time I learned about this so I may have inquired to him about the Jewish position, I don't recall. If it is peculiar to Jewish interpretation, I'm not sure that it ought to be. That is, after all, who these books were originally written to govern: Jewish people. It was the New Testament what brought the universalism in (well, except the laws of Noah). I've found it strange that Christians don't seem to evaluate the Jewish interpretation of the exact same scripture they both hold to be holy quite so much. You'd think they may have come to some useful conclusions independently of each other by now, maybe something to teach each other. Though many Jews have already lived in Christian-dominated societies, so I'd imagine they've picked up on what the Christian interpretations are much more than vice versa. Chillpilled (talk) 00:23, 25 January 2024 (UTC)
There is another non-religious reason for prohibiting homosexuality, but it's important to also acknowledge that 1) it's an archaic reason that isn't quite as applicable today, and 2) it doesn't even reach the ideal solution available at the time. Long story short, sex didn't just spread the parasites known as "babies", but spread chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, etc, and unlike today the ancients did NOT have access to vaccines nor antibiotics. And STDs tended to spread faster in the gay community for a couple of reasons. So to slow the spread of disease, they would ban gay sex.
The obvious problem is that male-male sex is hardly the sole risky behavior. While the Bible of course encourages virginity until marriage and bans adultery (for the wife anyway) and all that, it doesn't outright ban prostitution and so forth.
But the bigger problem is that the entire riskiness of homosexuality can be eliminated entirely through enforced monogamy of gay men; if one were creating the "ultimate" code of law for all time, it would include gay marriage. CorruptUser 03:13, 22 January 2024 (UTC)
This is a little disjointed, but I'll try to help. Sexual Promiscuity is what I think would lead to any sexually transmissible conditions. Keeping the women 'pure' but turning a blind eye to the men, I think is also Biblical. It certainly causes trouble in any all-male institution. No sex, but specially not to damage the purity of a woman, well. What is a libido to do? Not to discount homosexuality as biological, but any attempt to corral that biological urge to hump is doomed to cause more problems than just admitting 'hey, at a certain point, we all wanna hump.' Pushing that libido to a fringe is how we get Boy Scout den moms who have HPV convinced their sons don't need an HPV vaccine because it only affects women and their boy is smarter than that. Torrent (talk) 07:27, 24 January 2024 (UTC)
Promiscuity isn't the sole factor. Generally speaking, the receptive partner has a much easier acquiring a disease from an infected penetrative partner, than a penetrative partner has from an infected receptive partner (though HPV is a notable exception). CorruptUser 16:02, 24 January 2024 (UTC)
I will just quickly note we've entirely lost the thread, which I think is pointing out 'the first person to try and clock a gay man is the most thirsty to find one.' It's a common trope in media lately, Iunno, American Beauty maybe was the first. So on ancient avoidance of disease, that's also something I've heard about pork and shellfish. Wild boar would be trichinosis and any bottom or filter feeding Water life, not properly gutted would probably still have the same poo as the people shitting in the water, so I kinda get it. There are animals that are generally safe to eat raw. I cannot stress enough Oysters are not one of them. so, A biblical ban on homosexuality, I dunno, I think it was more a structure that was intended to make more boys to fight. Torrent (talk) 05:08, 25 January 2024 (UTC)

What do you wanna fight about? Torrent (talk) 07:11, 3 February 2024 (UTC) Make me look angry strange stupid, I'm ok with that. Torrent (talk) 07:14, 3 February 2024 (UTC)

The original point of the thread was the feasibility of making Christian fundie homophobes squirm with the idea of hot God-on-Satan action. Luigifan18 (talk) 22:29, 3 February 2024 (UTC)
that's pretty easy with Job. 'I dare you to hurt your best boy' 'oh yeah? Watch me' 'uhn do it again' 'I'll do it, watch him, not me' 'uhhn, get the family' 'you wanna see the family die?' I mean, it's weird if you consider God and Satan as both literal men. And Job is covered in sores hearing 'I think everybody is saying the big guys are getting off on this?' Biblical coward, the good lord and his adversary were so close to the nut. But God had to show up and be like 'nuh uh, wasn't a sex thing, here's a new family you idiot. Never letting that man ring my doorbell again, I swear.' Torrent (talk) 12:12, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
can you imagine if Job had actually heard about the premise of Job, when God started on Job for asking why God did all the shit, Job just said 'wait a minute. Are you f***ing this guy?' Torrent (talk) 13:05, 5 February 2024 (UTC)
Oh, and back to Bloody HellGod's the final boss. Killing Satan only makes his depression worse, so he goes insane and Azrael has to put him down. I wonder what kind of anti-homophobic symbolism we'd be able to drag out of that. Luigifan18 (talk) 16:47, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

Writing update[edit]

I have gave part of the story to introduce George's character. Any thoughts? --Trans Fem Agenda 21:45, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

@Rationalzombie94 So, see in the first paragraph "George was walking home from school hours after his precious Sasha was taken to the hospital. Yesterday he had a fight with him and they said strong words to each other. Those words were painful words that George completely regretted. Sasha said strong words that George was sure was regrettable. Guilt erupted in his soul." you are kinda repeating yourself. If you are trying to establish that they had a fight and George feels guilty, you could make it a bit more streamlined to generate a bit of momentum (the more words there in a sentence the longer it takes to read, like this one right now which I very deliberately made super long and I will now reiterate that while it is not bad to repeat yourself it might be unnecessary). I'm not a pro writer or anything though. Just my personal preference when I read. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 22:18, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
Similar in the second paragraph, there is no need to emphasise the tension. You can establish it once and let the reader fill in the blanks: "Four days earlier George and Sasha were at the library studying for a science test. They were completely quiet for several minutes as the tension between them was massive. One could cut the tension with a knife. Anybody could see the tension just by looking at them. Normally things between them were good. That out of the way, what Sasha brought up was a shock to George. Specifically Sasha whispered to him, “George, I can trust you with this: I don’t really feel like a boy. Most of the time I want to be a girl”. What George said broke Sasha’s heart, “You are a boy and you will always be a boy. Nothing changes that”. White hot anger erupted in Sasha, he was so angry."
Also I don't ACTUALLY know what is and isn't considered proper writing convention, but I have noticed when I'm reading books that there is an indent to signal the start of a new paragraph (which I can't seem to do in wiki markup...) and dialogue is mostly started in a new paragraph as opposed to in the middle of the paragraph. When a new character speaks, a new paragraph is started.
Then why bother to torture me? thought Winston, with a momentary bitterness. O'Brien checked his step as though Winston had uttered the thought aloud. His large ugly face came nearer, with the eyes a little narrowed.
"You are thinking" he said, "that since we intend to destroy you utterly, so that nothing that you say or do can make the smallest difference - in that case, why do we go to the trouble of interrogating you first? That is what you were thinking, was it not?"
"Yes," said Winston.

- Rairyu75 (Talk) 22:41, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

That makes sense. --Trans Fem Agenda 00:42, 10 February 2024 (UTC)
George was walking home from school hours after his precious Sasha was taken to the hospital. Yesterday he had a fight with him and they said strong words to each other. George completely regretted it after the ordeal. There was not much that could be done to deescalate the situation. George tried to think of what he could do to make things better; his thoughts were like knives in the back. Four days earlier George and Sasha were at the library studying for a science test. They were completely quiet for several minutes as the tension between them was massive. A small argument erupted between them over Sasha secretly putting on lipstick earlier in the day. Normally things between them were good. That out of the way, what Sasha brought up was a shock to George. Specifically Sasha whispered to him, “George, I can trust you with this: I don’t really feel like a boy. Most of the time I want to be a girl”. What George said broke Sasha’s heart, “You are a boy and you will always be a boy. Nothing changes that”. White hot anger erupted in Sasha, he was so angry.

Made some changes. --Trans Fem Agenda 00:49, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

This should be easier[edit]

Essay:Story Rough Draft --Trans Fem Agenda 00:54, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

Lula's draft[edit]

Hey, I was wondering on the reason Draft:Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been stuck in draftspace for so long? If I recall correctly, I believe that many people said it sounded like a hit piece. But, I've read it in its entirety, and I don't understand how one can really get that impression? (っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ Natsuki Marx ♥ (talk) 15:28, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

When the decision to move to draftspace was made (Draft talk:Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva#Not ready for mainspace, the page was almost half the size of the current page.[20] I haven't read it recently, so it may very well be ready to move back. Bongolian (talk) 20:08, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

Has anyone seen the Putin interview?[edit]

I read an article on Putin interview in Danas, a Serbian newspaper. In summary, Putin said that the war will end if US stops sending weapons to Ukraine, that Boris Johnson pushed Zelenskiy into cancelling peace agreements with Russia, that the US is responsible for blowing up Nord Stream pipeline, something about a whistleblower who was labelled as a spy etc. I wonder what are Putin's views on wokeness and liberalism, the things Tucker always rants about.

I've also read the comments and it's disappointing that a lot of people praised them. Many Serbs venerate Putin in general and also view Tucker as a freethinker who exposes the lies of corrupt Western elites. Also some comment said something about Slavic liberation. 🇷🇸 Serbian Arbiter (What would you have your arbiter do?) 12:31, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

I guess I must force myself to watch it at some point. But my understanding of Putin's argument is: "Everybody wants the war to end. If The West stops supporting Ukraine, Russia will quickly win and then the war will be over. So if The West wants the war to be over they should stop supporting Ukraine. An as a quite incidental benefit to me - I WOULD WIN FUCKERS - AND YOU WILL BE NEXT!"
With apologies to Godwin, The West could have resolved another unpleasant incident in the early part of the 20th centaury equally easily.
But I really should watch the interview first.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:01, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
I actually find it amazing that people view Tucker Carlson as an "anti-elite" by anyone considering his posh background and his SwansonWikipedia inheritance. It shows how some people pay very little attention. To me, Tucker Carlson has never been the smartest cookie in the jar, and the only reason he is pursuing this populist mouthpiece path is because his older Very Serious Journalist persona was completely blown apart by a silly comedian. (Plus the populist Murdoch-kiss-up gig probably paid better, at least until he went too far even for Fox News.)
A major characteristic of reactionary ruscism is projecting a paradigm where "be kind to each other" Jesus is shoved aside in favor of a "muscular Christianity", the kind where shirtless Grandpa Führer rides on horses, engages in unwarranted imperialism wars, and shits on whatever Other is fashionable to shit on at the time. Given that Tucker Carlson's programs once featured a segment consisting of hunky shirtless people "tanning" their balls with red light, I think it is easy to see why Carlson is infatuated with Putin -- though how much of this is genuine infatuation or a role he acts for the views, it's hard to say. OTOH it's pretty easy to see that Putin views Carlson as a seriously useful idiot, and you do really have to be an idiot (like Carlson is!) to play up to Putin this way. BobJohnson (talk) 14:46, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
Americans who unironically like Putin have this deluded belief that they have a lot in common with Putin, and that under a regime like his, they'd be more free. When Carlson said, "Has Putin ever called me a racist?", he was speaking to a disturbingly large portion of America who find a warmongering, nuclear armed, wannabe-genocidal dictator less of a threat to them than the possibility of someone calling them a racist.-Ryan1257 (talk) 21:28, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
The Russian projection of "be kind to each other" is belied by the Russian hatred of immediate neighbors, captured by the Russian saying, "Do nasty things at night."[21] Bongolian (talk) 02:13, 10 February 2024 (UTC)
Having watched a few clips, I see Putin said that Moscow had "no interest in invading Poland, Latvia or anywhere else". It put me in mind of another chap who, after invading Czechoslovakia, said that it was his "his last territorial claim in Northern Europe". He then invaded Poland. But obviously we can trust Putin.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:59, 10 February 2024 (UTC)
I am no fan of Tucker Carlson, being a little dog that will bark real loud then piss himself and roll over, disingenuous coward. But it is kinda useful to get the president of Russia to talk to him. Maybe he got that CIA job after all. Torrent (talk) 06:14, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
Is it? All it seems to me to do is allow Putin to air his bullshit propaganda to a Western audience. Carthage (talk) 06:19, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
Being said, in the toad's defense, it's not like you're just gonna be allowed to speak to Putin if you don't. Torrent (talk) 06:22, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

Views of this wiki?[edit]


KarmaPolice (talk) 16:23, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

The site has been down or partly-down for a large part of today. Bongolian (talk) 04:11, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
Checking their recent changes it seems they aren't all that active. An interesting idea though, I have to say. (I was kinda expecting a red-string map when I typed Pfizer into their search bar, like a big list of politicians and PR people who have taken money from them. Didn't quite get what I was hoping for. The refs are... well. They could use some tyding.) - Rairyu75 (Talk) 04:25, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
Yeah, I suspect 'lack of hands' is their most pressing issue, seconded with poor house style/ layout. Looked at a few of their pages, lots of stubs and quite out of date elsewhere. Sourcing does not seem too bad, though. Can't work out the copyright/use policies, though (though there is no way you stop anyone stealing sources). KarmaPolice (talk) 10:01, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

Fourth Way article[edit]

I kind of finished this recently -- meaning I think it's enough for mainspace, but there's a lot more that could be added still. I basically summarize the early teaching and Ouspensky's coverage. Gurdjieff also wrote books, and had some lasting and diverse cultural influence. (It also does not mention the enneagram yet, which has a separate article, because that's a smaller detail in the Fourth Way, beyond the overall level I've kept the new article at, at present with nearly 50K of text.) How it is, and anything to add or change? (Old SB thread before article here.) --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 21:14, 10 February 2024 (UTC)

At a first glance I assumed it would be super long to read cause of how meaty it looks, but it actually flows really well. Doesn't feel tedious or anything. That thing about the Moon eating people is bat-shit crazy, I put it in our Moon article so I could make a link back to the Fourth Way. (I'm trying to think where else we could link it from, so that even people that are not specifically looking for it can stumble across it). - Rairyu75 (Talk) 04:10, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
It looks pretty good to me so far. I'm still reading through it. Bongolian (talk) 05:11, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
Glad to hear that it's easy to read. I've tried to keep each thing short and focused, while covering many. With teachings like this, there's a whole lot of interconnected ideas and definitions, and without covering enough of them, everything becomes sketchy. I think skeptics usually don't map such ideas in enough detail to come across to believers as really addressing the topic.
Comparing to Wikipedia,Wikipedia our page lacks some factoids, but is more in-depth on Fourth Way theory. But WP has pages with more on sub-topics too -- some basically reasonable, at least oneWikipedia clearly pro-fringe.
I added a "magnetic center" reference in crank magnetism, which seemed fun.
On this wacky topic of the Moon, here's a quote rounding that idea out from Ouspensky's book (page 85), recounting what Gurdjieff explained.

In our system the end of the ray of creation, the growing end, so to speak, of the branch, is the moon. The energy for the growth, that is, for the development of the moon and for the formation of new shoots, goes to the moon from the earth, where it is created by the joint action of the sun, of all the other planets of the solar system, and of the earth itself. This energy is collected and preserved in a huge accumulator situated on the earth's surface. This accumulator is organic life on earth. Organic life on earth feeds the moon. Everything living on the earth, people, animals, plants, is food for the moon. The moon is a huge living being feeding upon all that lives and grows on the earth. The moon could not exist without organic life on earth, any more than organic life on earth could exist without the moon. Moreover, in relation to organic life the moon is a huge electromagnet. If the action of the electromagnet were suddenly to stop, organic life would crumble to nothing.

The process of the growth and the warming of the moon is connected with life and death on the earth. Everything living sets free at its death a certain amount of the energy that has 'animated' it; this energy, or the 'souls' of everything living—plants, animals, people—is attracted to the moon as though by a huge electromagnet, and brings to it the warmth and the life upon which its growth depends, that is, the growth of the ray of creation. In the economy of the universe nothing is lost, and a certain energy having finished its work on one plane goes to another.

The souls that go to the moon, possessing perhaps even a certain amount of consciousness and memory, find themselves there under ninety-six laws, in the conditions of mineral life, or to put it differently, in conditions from which there is no escape apart from a general evolution in immeasurably long planetary cycles. The moon is 'at the extremity,' at the end of the world; it is the 'outer darkness' of the Christian doctrine 'where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

The influence of the moon upon everything living manifests itself in all that happens on the earth. The moon is the chief, or rather, the nearest, the immediate, motive force of all that takes place in organic life on the earth. All movements, actions, and manifestations of people, animals, and plants depend upon the moon and are controlled by the moon. The sensitive film of organic life which covers the earthly globe is entirely dependent upon the influence of the huge electromagnet that is sucking out its vitality. Man, like every other living being, cannot, in the ordinary conditions of life, tear himself free from the moon. All his movements and consequently all his actions are controlled by the moon. If he kills another man, the moon does it; if he sacrifices himself for others, the moon does that also. All evil deeds, all crimes, all self-sacrificing actions, all heroic exploits, as well as all the actions of ordinary everyday life, are controlled by the moon.

The liberation which comes with the growth of mental powers and faculties is liberation from the moon. The mechanical part of our life depends upon the moon, is subject to the moon. If we develop in ourselves consciousness and will, and subject our mechanical life and all our mechanical manifestations to them, we shall escape from the power of the moon.

--ApooftGnegiol (talk) 19:10, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
"All his movements and consequently all his actions are controlled by the moon. If he kills another man, the moon does it;" OBJECTION!!! Your honour, my client CAN'T possibly be at fault, you see, because... - Rairyu75 (Talk) 19:23, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

The world without the West[edit]

Preface: I believe that the West is superior to Asia, despite the Asian achievements in technology, art etc, which kind of makes me racist. I admit that I have such skeletons in the closet. I see Asians as traditional people, despite the growing alt right, promote ideas that came from Asia, in the West. The big geopolitical players, such as Russia, China, Iran, etc have very trad governments and influence a lot of its people, and also have a not so nice human rights records, despite the Western countries having them too and, not only that, replacing progressive Asian governments with the fundamentalist ones. Sometimes when I see Asians, I expect them to be traditional or out of touch people. Some Asian governments, such as India, also push trad pseudoscience into their institutions. I know that Western countries have worse atrocities in their history and also mistreat people, but I favor them more. I view the West as more progressive than the East.

I sometimes see the anti-Western sentiment in my country, but at the same time, praises to anti-Western aligned countries. The West is seen as the SATAN OF THE WORLD! Russia is especially praised as the defender of "True Values", since we are both Orthodox, slavic and conservative countries. It's as if Russia or China or whatever did NOTHING WRONG. Now, what would be the world like without the West? There wouldn't be Western imperialism and Western backed wars, but would it still be worth it? There wouldn't be modern science. Anti-Western countries would still have their con policies. The pseudoscience will still be pushed into institutions. China is already on culturally right wing con path, despite the socialism, technological achievements and "lifting its people out of poverty". Without the West there would be nothing else to inspire resistance and these policies would be CEMENTED. Maybe I'm not that well educated and also a denialist that denies anything doesn't come from the West. But also, does everything that comes from the West have to be evil or imperialism??? I've seen stuff such as VACCINES being labeled as Western Satanic poison and push for it as Western imperialism. 🇷🇸 Serbian Arbiter (What would you have your arbiter do?) 12:29, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

You're racist and should have your internet taken away. A somebody. (talk) 19:16, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
So... how much of this is simply 'don't tread on us!' obstancy, the kicking back against a believed 'Western hegemony'? KarmaPolice (talk) 12:45, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
The "East" is not a monolithic bloc, it's a conglomerate of civilizations arbitrarily shoehorned together by European colonizers. This especially ignores and glosses over the subtle cultural ties between the, say, Islamic world and the Western world. The Islamic world can just as much lay claim to Hellenic civilization, perhaps even more so, than cultures and countries like England and France. Likewise, this glosses over just how diverse the West really is. The West isn't a monolithic bloc. Although.... how do you even define "West" and "East"? If Western civilization is "any civilization that can claim descent from Hellenic civilization," then that would include much of the Muslim world. What is the East? "Not Western civilization"? I think you're running into problems if your arbitrary definition is a negative one. Carthage (talk) 13:46, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
I've actually been to Malaysia a few times. It has "issues", but even though it is a majority Islam country, when it comes to respect for education systems, it is a far cry from Iran.
I suspect that the above relates most of all to governance. There probably is some sort of complex relationship between authoritarianism, the church, propaganda, and education / science, though a quick Google shows nothing really written on it. An "assumption" I have is that the more authoritarian the country, and the more state-tied the church system, the weaker an education system tends to be. This is not always the case though - China is very authoritarian, but their education system tends to be ranked very well. But this "seems to fit" elsewhere, though of course this is just a "gut feel" observation.
Governance does not necessarily reflect on the population per se trapped in an authoritarian country, either. As an anecdote, recall that one of the major mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 (BioNTechWikipedia) was founded by (among others) someone born in Turkey, but whose family moved to Germany at an early age. Another "gut feel" is that there is some "brain shuffling" in this manner, which sort of makes any claim comparing the West and East "fuzzier". There actually have been a number of articles in the United States describing a "rural brain drain", eg the effects of anyone who manages to get highly educated in a rural area (to the point where they have a college degree) moving out of the rural areas and staying in urban areas. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some similar things going on worldwide. People will tend to move to wherever the economic opportunities are, if they can.
Do not assume that "the West" will always be friendly to unfiltered education and science though. The United States, for instance, at the moment generally tops most rankings of the best universities in the world. However, there is a rather strong populist movement that does combine some degree of authoritarianism, some degree of state-tied church desires, and a deep suspicion of education institutions, particularly those gosh darn so-called "woke" universities. This could be a long term problem here if such continues on this path. BobJohnson (talk) 17:53, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

"I believe that the West is superior to Asia" This is an absurdly over-generalized claim.

What is "The West"? Your are comparing one continent with something like half the planet! Parts of Putins's Russia are west of Asia. Along with all of Europe and Africa. So is the US with all of its problems including its two geriatric politicians fighting for the presidency.

And what is "The East"? China, Japan and India are widely different countries with different histories, political systems and cultures.

And what does it mean to be "superior"? Some western governments are really ghastly. without considering European Russia think about Hungary for a moment. It's certainly part of the West but it has one of the most dumb reactionary governments imaginable.

There is no doubt that eastern pseudoscientific medicines are crap; but at the same time there can be no doubt that the cult of Trump is utter nuttiness.

It is far, far better to look at and criticize individual ideologies than it is to make sweeping statement about millions of people in vastly different circumstances.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 19:04, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

I actually question the 'best universities in the USA' claim, BobJ; I remember reading recently that part of this is a statistical bias towards them due to the simple fact what would be an 'attached research lab' in the USA is an independent 'research institute' in say, Germany which means it does not get counted in said rankings. But enough of that.
My personal theory is that a lot of 'non-Western' governments are publically 'anti-Western' mainly for domestic consumption. That in said countries, the word 'Western' means stuff like military interventions, colonialist economic exploitation, cultural domination, 'deep state' meddling and an overweening arrogance that 'their way' is always the One True Way. A lot of the time they do mean 'American', but from their POV the actions of British diplomats, French 'advisors' and German companies are effectively identical to the 'Yankee' so get thrown into the same box. This means this is something which can be brandished for populist support; fighting their own 'culture wars', mainly by claiming that their own traditions etc are under threat from 'the West'. And coming from a Brit who gets mildly pissed off when I see school proms, American football and shite lagers being strongly pushed onto us, I get that annoyance.
The other half is that a lot of the demagogues fan and use this anti-Western sentiment not just scapegoating, but to explain away issues. A good historical case-in-point is 'HIV/AIDs' denialism/pseudoscience seen esp in places like South Africa. That there is a huge incentive for these ruling classes to firstly claim it's not real, then if forced to accept otherwise to claim that alternative [ie locally made and cheap] 'treatments' would work than the horrid [and normally expensive] Western ones would, finally to blame them for sabotaging the efforts when they fail.
My last bit is the controversial one. It is that most non-Western states don't care about science/technology development. That for a non-advanced nation it is normally cheaper/quicker to simply buy-in the stuff overseas on an as/when basis, rather than going through the palaver of developing your own capacity to do it yourself [a good example shown by N Korea, Iran and now Russia of what 'doing it for yourself' can cost]. This leads to their populations becoming more susceptible to pseudoscience because there's a lot less science 'being done' in their countries, advanced education is a lot weaker and as BobJ notes, a good % of your top minds will end up in the advanced world due to a relative dearth of good postings at home. China [and to a lesser extent India] are exceptions to this rule because they have 'great power' dreams and they know they can hardly 'catch up' to America [let alone surpass] without developing a strong indigenous R&D sector, advanced tech capabilities etc. KarmaPolice (talk) 14:44, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Tech wise, aside from Asia and China, the other "exceptions" are (of course) Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. In fact, when it comes to the most advanced silicon, Taiwan's TSMC still towers over everything else. (Yet another data point why "the West" and "the rest" are too broad of a category)
In some cases, I think there is less motivation to be generally innovative simply because the nation can be quite well off thanks to what's in the ground. Countries like the UAE, Kuwait, and Saudia Arabia are essentially as rich as Japan, Taiwan and South Korea (for now), but have entirely different social structures, being extraction-based economies. It's not like extraction doesn't require technology as well, but it's more limited.
A few decades ago during the Cold War days, I recall that many of the Arab countries were strongly aligned with the Soviet Union. So some of that "West is Satan" shit was merely political propaganda, helped by the various geopolitical alignments, and enhanced by the strong links in many Middle Eastern governments with religion (eg Saudi Arabia being strongly linked with Wahhabism). From what I can tell, some of these Arab countries have backed off this a wee bit; at least, Saudi Arabia seems to see a touch of the "writing on the wall" and is trying to diversify a little (in a ham-fisted manner to me, but that's my view :) ). Others (like Iran) have not. BobJohnson (talk) 15:12, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Well, I did say 'non-advanced'; the three cited are clearly all advanced. And I can imagine there's a fair bit of anti Taiwanese/Korean/Japanese resentment around the poorer areas of Asia, what with a lot of them being used as sweatshop locations, resource dumps and landfills for them.
The main issue with extractive-based economies is [as you point out] it doesn't require a lot of 'tech' - be it oil rigs, mining gear or combine harvesters. This has been taken to an extreme example [as you point out too] to the Gulf states, which is basically, a place of oil-sodden sand which imports everything it needs from overseas - including the folks to build and run it.
I also think the Cold War is a critical element of this. Until perhaps the outbreak of WW2, I don't think any nation officially cared much about science/tech; I recall a quip by [I think] Sakharov saying Stalin only started to give a damn about science after Hiroshima [he'd cared about technology before, but that more about simply 'more of the same' mentality of modernisation a la Five Year Plans]. It was a 'paradigm shift'; the idea that it was vital for nations to actively engage with and support the growth of science, from giving healthy research grants to institutes to expanding science/tech education in schools. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:10, 12 February 2024 (UTC)