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Is there something that explains the "watching thoughts/mind" that you hear in meditation a lot[edit]

Warning icon orange.svg Warning: Meditation conversation ahead may rot your brain!

Man photographing himself in cornered mirror to generate illusion cropped.jpg

The implication I often hear from people who say this is that there is something separate or some kind of watcher that is observing everything in the mind, implying that consciousness isn't a product of the brain (even though it is). I just want to know if there is some neuroscience behind it. When I try looking it up I get lots of spiritual sites.47.5.66.54 (talk) 03:01, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

This is beginning to sound a lot like a certain editor who has a solipsism problem and was banned from the Saloon. Am I watching your thoughts/mind? Bongolian (talk) 03:28, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
Now that you mention it, there does seem to be a similar trend.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:23, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm not saying I believe it, I'm just trying to wonder if there is a naturalistic explanation for what is going on. I tend to end up in a lot of "spiritual" forums and they tend to use this to imply that consciousness isn't a product of the brain and that some weird dualism is the case. I don't buy it but I don't know how to argue against it, which happens a lot for me in those places. I have this notion in my head that something doesn't track but can't put it into words.47.5.66.54 (talk) 04:22, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
Firstly, why would you argue against it? Secondly, believing something that can't be demonstrated doesn't make an idiot out of them, but it isn't smart either; one must wait and see. Why think you can convince other people that their unfalsifiable beliefs can be falsified with your arguments? UncleKrampus (talk) 16:36, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
I guess you have a point.47.5.66.54 (talk) 21:38, 6 February 2024 (UTC)
The most charitable interpretation is that this is a metaphorical description of some subjective experience had while meditating (for instance, perhaps there is a sensation that conscious thoughts proceed spontaneously, unbidden or even undesired, and not subject to immediate control, so that the meditator perceives themself as merely watching their own stream of thought). Taken literally, the suggestion raises the question what is responsible for the consciousness of the watcher. If they have a watcher of their own in their mind, and this repeats ad infinitum, then the suggestion does nothing to explain consciousness. If their consciousness is explained in some other way, it seems that the watcher merely pushes the explanation of consciousness back a step.
If you frequently find yourself skeptical of certain views, but unable to articulate why you find them objectionable, it's always worth considering the possibilities (i) that the view you're skeptical of isn't precisely described in your own mind, or that you are unsure which view among several possibilities you are confronting, (ii) that you haven't yet understood the view, and need to look into it more carefully; ideally, you can find a thorough defense of the view, but this is not something you're likely to find on "spiritual forums" (generally, no idea's best defense is found on a forum), (iii) that you are not actually justified in your skepticism, and rather than trying to determine what's true are merely looking for a rationalization to maintain your pre-existing position. I suspect that something like (i) applies to your situation here, because a spiritual forum is a place where I would be unsurprised to find people expressing their views in vague, ambiguous, or otherwise unclear ways. My advice would be to stop spending time in such places; even if you get somebody to offer an argument for something, it's unlikely that the argument they proffer will be the best that could be given for their view, and quite likely that you could find better ones by examining more serious sources. Successfully refuting the worst arguments for a position is not a good reason to reject that position. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 01:26, 7 February 2024 (UTC)

It's more like I don't usually think in words if that makes any sense. Like I always have trouble putting my thoughts on paper because I'm not too versed in argumentation. In the past I would normally just take their claims as a given or as true with no pushback because it would be close-minded not to.

But to answer your question I'm afraid you won't get an argument for this watcher sensation. I have asked this everywhere and they all say it's a "truth" the you have to experience and that can't be explained in words. The reasoning is that words are just a reference to a thing and not the thing itself, like the finger pointing at the moon. To truly know it you have to do it, which to me doesn't explain anything as to the how and why. All it would possibly prove is that if I do X then Y happens but it doesn't tell me anything about the world or greater reality. What I do know though is that they all assume consciousness isn't a product of the brain, which means a sort dualism. Hence this sort of "watcher" observing thoughts. But like you said where is this watcher coming from? The answer I get is that consciousness is akin to some kinda magic that doesn't need a first cause to precede it, it stands alone. The serious sources you ask for pretty much say the same thing but in different words, they appeal to experience. It's only recently that I began to question their claims rather than assume it's just some deep and mystic wisdom that "I Don't get".

You are right that it's not precisely described, because they all claim you have to experience it. But that would just show an experience it wouldn't reveal the truth of it. It also explains why none of them are able to answer questions about it and just assert me as trying to "intellectualize" it. But believe me when I say it doesn't get much better than that. IT's also why I always hit a dead end with people who talk about it. They swear by personal experience and claim nothing will shake what they experienced, do with that what you will but I know where that leads.47.5.66.54 (talk) 01:05, 8 February 2024 (UTC)

Knowledge by acquaintance is a thing; it often comes up in the context of knowledge about color (one imagines the difficulties of explaining what the color green looks like to a blind person). Nonetheless, sophisticated dualists accept that the brain has a causal connection to the mind, so the position you describe would likely face harsh criticism even in contemporary dualist circles. The short answer to your original question is no, this has no apparent link to neuroscience. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 01:48, 8 February 2024 (UTC)
Well they frequently assert that consciousness isn't a process of the brain. My guess is that there is something going on in the brain that leads to such an experience but without testing them I can't say. Though even though they have such an experience of a watcher observing their thoughts and mind I'm not entirely sure if it means what they think it means. To me all that shows me is that something is happening, not what it means or what it says.

But to give you an example of the mindset I was working with with them:

You can change the beliefs you want to change, and leave the others alone if you wish. If you want to eliminate the negative self talk, then change those beliefs, and you will have a quieter mind, and probably better feeling emotions. The beliefs that we are "good enough" "right" or "better" are also narrative stories, and therefore not Truth. If you want to move closer to the Truth, and humility, you can dissolve these as well.

Their notion of "truth" seems to be something outside of concepts or stories, which is HIGHLY ironic to me.47.5.66.54 (talk) 01:26, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

There's a sense in which you can change your beliefs, but you can't do it at will, which they seem to suggest you can. I'm not sure what's going on in the second bit. Presumably, they believe that they are right with respect to beliefs and emotions; do they also believe that this is merely a narrative story that they ought to "dissolve"? Definitely some irony here. 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 18:38, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
There isn't a way to confirm anything they say because they don't explain it and just assert they can, which is...well what it is. I don't think that if you can't outright explain what's wrong it means you don't get it. IT's more like a sense you develop for telling what is BS.47.5.66.54 (talk) 02:42, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

Super Bowl time![edit]

Who you picking? Chiefs or 49ers? I got chiefs and I need Taylor swift to win a Super Bowl.2600:387:F:5A18:0:0:0:3 (talk) 23:29, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

Happy Superb Owl Sunday to all you Yankee Doodle Dandies. Spud (talk) 03:43, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Kansasbro here. The game was a nail-biter, but the Chiefs got it! Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 04:30, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Longtime Chiefs' fan, was born in KCK, greatest moment was when Mecole Hardman caught the game winning pass, removed his helmet to reveal he was actually a transgender woman and then got down on one knee to propose to Joe Biden. To be honest, I've watched almost every Chiefs game the past four season, my family is all fans, and the only thing that I think actually won the game was a punt that landed on the back foot of a 49s player trying to protect the punt return. Touching the ball in any way by the returning team, even if incidental, makes it a ball that is eligible for the kicking team to gain possession of, and I really don't know how you could fake that. My brother and I were cracking jokes with each other before the game. My dad came over and said 'So they're gonna play the national anthem and then the black national anthem.'. My brother said 'No, they're going to do Lift Every Voice Up, the national anthem is always the last thing they play. I said 'every time 'Montreal plays a hockey game in the US, they sing the Canadian national anthem. In FRENCH. It's disgusting.'. It went over well, both laughed and just stopped. As an uncle and a little brother, being funnier than the division is very useful. Torrent (talk) 07:36, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Not a sportsball person personally. But while neither celebrity conspiracy theories nor populist conservative pearl clutching at the culture meme du jour is nothing new, it still was rather weird seeing ex-Republican presidential candidates and other grifters of "the right" latch onto weird Super Bowl / Taylor Swift conspiracy theories, seemingly (cough) tailored to be repulsive to women. BobJohnson (talk) 14:08, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Outside the US, the Taylor Swift angle seems to be a lot bigger then whatever the sport is about.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:23, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm not a huge sportsball fan myself, but when it comes to watching a thing, I really appreciate that the rules are set, so if I have to explain something to my ma, it's just there. the 'hate the refs' sportsball fans are the ones who really, you don't want to engage with. Torrent (talk) 06:57, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Also, a majority sports betting apps and sites are scams, they want you to convert your real money into funbucks, and do not pay out in anything but funbucks. As much as I'm not a personal fan of casinos, if you are going to bet on a sport, do it at a casino. Torrent (talk) 07:22, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

Dr Strangelove[edit]

I just watched Dr. Strangelove for the first time. Fantastic movie. I found the unintended forewarning of incel sentiment by General Ripper especially hilarious ("I deny women my essence.") Carthage (talk) 07:23, 12 February 2024 (UTC)

Pay close attention to the crew of the bomber. Notice the Black guy? That's James Earl Jones. This was his first movie. CorruptUser 07:28, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
It's a classic. I was fortunate to have first seen it on the big screen. Bongolian (talk) 08:13, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
That's awesome. What was the reaction of the crowd around you like? Carthage (talk) 08:22, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
I loved seeing James Earl Jones in Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 13:12, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
The scarier thing is that RL was closer to that film than you'd like to think. 'Turgidson' was Curtis LeMay [the USAF general behind the Bay of Pigs and tried to get JFK to allow him to bomb the Soviet missiles in Cuba afterward] while 'Strangelove' was John von Neumann [the guy who argued that his 'game theory' meant logically, the USA needs to pound the USSR flat with nukes while the Soviets had limited ability to retalitate]. It was perhaps also the first popular media which suggested that a war/crisis can errupt by accident, not design. KarmaPolice (talk) 13:37, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
The character of Dr. Strangelove was actually based on an amalgam of people, including von Braun, as documented in footnote 3 of Dr. Strangelove. Bongolian (talk) 19:22, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
I don't remember how the audience reacted. It was long after the premier (late 1980s or early 1990s probably), so most audience members would have had some idea what it was about, that it was dark humor. The war room scenes were particularly impressive on the big screen. The large and bleak room made the 'big men' sitting at the table look particularly small and foolish. Bongolian (talk) 03:12, 13 February 2024 (UTC)

First Past the Post: Extraterrestrial Terror[edit]

Well, I think my mind jumped to a horrifying theory as to the Fermi paradox and the growth of extraterrestrials. There was already the Dark Forest, but now I have one I call the First Past the Post Theory, and it is really terrifying.

In this case, the first civilization of a galaxy arises alone, uncontested, and past all the hurdles to become spacefaring, disease-proof, and downright hidden would have the galaxy all to themselves, successfully cloaking and hiding their scouting probes and ships in methods impossible to detect by other civilizations before rapidly striking to conquer and subjugate every other civilization in the galaxy before they even know or realize their existence, turning all other civilizations into mere slaves to helplessly serve their captors without any autonomy or freedom.

The fear and dread of that hypothesis is palpable if it were the case, and I wonder if the Milky Way is doomed to such a scenario. And whether it's us or another planet is unknown either. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 08:40, 12 February 2024 (UTC)

I think this is the hungry alien idea. Which is a weird imperialist beyond capitalist thought experiment, but probably dorky and an economic libertarian defense of ownership. Torrent (talk) 09:27, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Let's ask a question. If an alien Beyond our comprehension needed our resources to travel, what incentive would it have to ask? Torrent (talk) 09:33, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
It won't politely ask, it would just show up unannounced and conquer with blinding speed, the victim unable to respond. Though its reasoning to why it would do it to a planet with civilization compared to a planet without civilization is probably either hubristic gloating, sadistic pleasure, schadenfreude, or the sweet satisfaction of power, subjugation, dominance, and being in complete control of others. Whether aliens would exhibit certain character flaws is also in consideration, since nobody is ever perfect, and that could apply to aliens as well. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 09:40, 12 February 2024 (UTC) Updated 04:22, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
Space is empty, planets like ours are rare. What if it is the only 'gas station' on the way? Torrent (talk) 10:11, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
1. It would mean they needed us as a skipping stone or 2. Bejeezum they are about to DIE here. There is a lot more space to die in than coincidentally earth. Torrent (talk) 10:38, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
The Inner Solar System is DEEP in Sol's gravity well. There's nothing of value on Earth that can't more easily be found on some asteroids. CorruptUser 14:20, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Nothing except Earth's biosphere and resident intelligent civilization. Carthage (talk) 14:23, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
And if alien species wishes to colonise elsewhere in the galaxy (whether or not with equivalent term to terraforming) it is probably best to go for planets which do not have resident sentient Nimbies [and 'dinosaurs and other eat-yous') Anna Livia (talk) 14:29, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
The aliens are already amongst us disguised as (insert your favorite hate-figure here). They use their advanced mind-control techniques and terrifying technology to hide their spaceships from our primitive radar. Obviously they are here to take our women/men/children/brains/gold/bitcoins (delete as appropriate) as there is a shortage in their own galaxy.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 16:15, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Easier to mine asteroids for resources and gas giants for fuel. There are plenty of resources further out in the gravity well, and our plant is not a particularly rich one when you look at whole solar systems - the whole idea that Earth is the only valuable resources in the solar system is ignorant and pompous hubris.Aloysius the Gaul (talk) 19:36, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
You're assuming without basis that aliens would not be interested in the only valuable things Earth has: its biosphere, and by extension, us. Carthage (talk) 19:49, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Firstly the initial premise is itself without evidence, so can be refuted at that same level (thank you Mr Hitchens! :p) But after that...... it is logically less likely to be an error than assuming the biosphere IS useful as a resource. Earth's biosphere is a miniscule proportion of the physical resources of the solar system, and is reproduceable. Even if plants and fungi and bacteria and insects and fish are a valuable resource (which is most of the biosphere!!) a bit of sampling and you can rebuild it anywhere - if you have sufficient technology to come here, and to be incomprehensible to us why do you assume they can't just make earth-like conditions wherever they want? Your counter-point is naught but adding more ignorant hubris on what is already a fetid steaming pile of the same. Aloysius the Gaul (talk) 23:43, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
For what, though? Chances are good they'd like to observe and gather information from it. From Earth, information would be the main resource -- since all the rest in the biosphere is likely made redundant or useless by advanced-enough technology. There's no reason to enslave humans when much better laborers can be built, for example, and almost certainly were built long ago. And if they wanted a bunch of humans, they could take DNA samples (and cultural records) and produce them. They could sneakily sample much of the varieties of DNA on Earth and be gone soon after. (If they only want human DNA, they could abduct a mailbox from each of a number of major cities.) If on the other hand they were paranoid and wanted to exterminate all possible competition, chances are they'd just send an unstoppable killer weapon without prior warning. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 20:25, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
@ApooftGnegiol Notice I only said interested. I don't believe aliens would come here to harvest the biosphere when they could just sample some specimens and use those for whatever purposes they had in mind. Carthage (talk) 21:14, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
It was more in response to the general idea of the thread and OP. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 21:31, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Stealth in space is also a big question -- is it possible? It seems more difficult than stealth anywhere else, unless hiding in well-chosen places and remaining there. Cloaking devices and shielding forcefields are two of the most unrealistic tech cliches in sci-fi. Unless new discoveries in physics almost literally make anything possible. Use of a lot of energy to do work always radiates a "loud" signature if what's done is travel through space or transforming materials in space. (With space travel, friction against molecules of the super-thin gas in the "vacuum" makes all very fast craft very visible.) Everyone doing that in space is center-stage, well-visible to the whole audience (anyone with half-decent sensors). --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 20:25, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
No need for a superweapon; just send an asteroid or two and call it a day. It worked for Marco Inaros. CorruptUser 21:41, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
For warfare, depends on the goal. If the aim is a safe victory (and the attacker wants to rule alone), then the smart thing to do is to knock out life on the targeted planet (or in an area surrounding it), not do something smaller leading to a response. Hence the idea of something "super", by which I just meant the amount of energy. A relativistic speed projectile counts as a simple super-weapon. Generally, if space propulsion develops further, then offensive firepower can be expected to scale up with that power, as related technology will also be usable for that. When it becomes easy to accelerate large crafts to relativistic speeds, it also becomes equally easy to send something that can wipe the surface of a planet sterile. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 22:01, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Of course, this limits the sensible contexts for war. If there are powerful interstellar civilizations, then if there's more than one, it's mutually assured destruction in terms of what happens to worlds within them. But maybe there's so many worlds this is brushed aside. Otherwise, either wars are limited to more peripheral territories, or there's peace, or there's cold war rather than hot war, unless it's all-consuming destruction to the last survivor. But if like the fiction you mentioned, it's instead a more primitive interplanetary civilization fragmented into competing powers, then it may be different. Then war could happen on many scales. Given gaps in technological capabilities, there could also be room for stealth, piracy and much more that wouldn't work well in a later age. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 22:43, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Call me when the Covenant comes. 🇷🇸 Serbian Arbiter (What would you have your arbiter do?) 01:38, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
'Reversing the polarity' - assuming that at least some of the practical resources can be obtained elsewhere in the universe (mineral and other resources etc) where there is a smaller gravity well/no nimbies and 'eat yous' etc - surely it would be easier to learn the languages and negotiate what you want ('So in exchange for the various "Journals of Science and Technology", a number of [streaming service equivalent] back catalogues and a collection of baubles you will give us...'
Will also mention this (and similar lists variously available). There will also be any number of people who decide to 'creatively rearrange computer programming', and take other interventions as necessary. Anna Livia (talk) 13:27, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
Just to touch back on Bejeezum, Not the aliens, what if we were a relatively safe place (planet) to land in an emergency?Torrent (talk) 07:38, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

California Republican says they "like climate change because our enemies live in hot places"[edit]

This is from 2016, but I just... it's mind bogglingly stupid. The sheer stupidity on display here is beyond human comprehension. It's almost divine, in a way. Carthage (talk) 14:05, 13 February 2024 (UTC)

"Fun" factoid: That's a grandfather of the perpetrator Colorado Springs nightclub shooting.Wikipedia Extremist dumbfuckery runs in the family.
Basically, the California Republican party as a whole these days has become: A) irrelevant; B) more prone to extremist whackdoodles like the above. At one point, California was more mixed politically, but in the 1990s (as symbolized by Pete Wilson's Proposition 187Wikipedia) they went heavily into an anti-"illegal immigrant" (some would say "pro-white nationalism") path. Long term, this ended up shooing the Republican party into the political "wilderness", so to speak, as California as a whole became more diverse.
So basically, whenever Fox News rants about the supposed hellscape of liberal California cities (to an audience that doesn't know they are completely full of shit), ironically, it is the racist antics of older Republican politics (that shares similarities with the racism of Fox News) that ended up making California "uber-liberal" instead of "purple". I have wondered, given the demographics and white nationalism of Trumpism, if "history will rhyme" in at least some similar manner in the future. Who knows... BobJohnson (talk) 14:45, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
I find it funny that an anti-immigration politician cheers on climate apocalypse because it will get the other guy first. Doesn't he realize what happens after that? You can want lower immigration rates or no significant action on climate change, not both.-Flandres (talk) 15:57, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
You seem to assume that bigots have the brainpower to consider anything other than their own immediate self-interest (or to even take that into consideration without being completely derailed by their hatred). Luigifan18 (talk) 18:29, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
I didn't say it was unexpected, I said it was funny.-Flandres (talk) 19:04, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
One has to wonder why Randy Voepel, the ding-a-ling in question, wasn't thinking about his fascistic buddies in Florida (soon to be less America's wang[1] and more America's wee-wee[2]) and Texas ("everthing is bigger").[3] Bongolian (talk) 19:16, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
They want to shoot them all at the border. Glad I could clear that one up. Is it stupid? Yes. But that's the plan. Chillpilled (talk) 06:10, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

Old Cranks: Where Are They Now?[edit]

There's a lot of articles on RationalWiki that were written up to and over a decade ago talking about old faces and/or folks that don't seem to pop up as much as of writing, and that got me wondering. Where are they now? TheEternalOutsider (talk) 21:18, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

You mean the articles are about people who are no longer in sight but are still on site? Yes, it's the problem of writing about individuals rather then about ideas. I make the same point about politicians above, but it's the same issue.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:18, 7 February 2024 (UTC)
I take it they were mostly internet cranks. Which means they'd have the same multiple reasons for being less active on the internet than they used to be as plenty of non-cranks. Those would include suddenly being busier at work, suddenly getting a sex life, having children, falling ill and just getting bored of what they were doing online. Some would have given up their cranky ideas (but without feeling the need to correct any misinformation they used to spread). I'd also say that some would have given up the amount of time and energy they put into their online activities when they failed to achieve the level of fame or notoriety they wanted in the time they expected. Spud (talk) 14:13, 7 February 2024 (UTC)
I think 'RL got busier' and 'I got bored and moved on' would be the two most frequent. But to follow Bob's point, it suggests that it may be more productive to work on improving 'issue'/'viewpoint' pages rather than 'personal' ones. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:46, 8 February 2024 (UTC)
So what would it take to archive their profiles once the threat is neutralized? They're still bad people after all. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 05:55, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
But - are they still "bad people"? They certainly were when the articles were created. But people change. Unless someone is obsessively updating their pages we might be holding historic information about people who have simply moved on or changed views.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:25, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
In cases like this, I would argue that the pages should be kept for posterity. In some cases, it might be an idea for folks to put a little postscript at the bottom reading 'Loony McLoonFace pulled their YT videos and social media accounts in late 2018 and has not been knowingly seen or heard from since'. For there's always the chance that a) they return to their antics one day and/or b) turns out they are operating under a new name etc and we can one day link the two.
I personally say if Loony McLoon has renounced their lunacy and gets pissy about our coverage of previous, let them say this in public and we can mention it in their RW page. That while we won't scrub their history, but will note they have now disavowed the views etc. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:06, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
@KarmaPolice Well said. Spud (talk) 14:53, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

Chechens in Ukraine[edit]

Chechens have been fighting on both sides of the Ukraine conflict. How likely is it that at least some of these fighters are using this experience as a training ground for a revitalized insurgency in Chechnya? Carthage (talk) 16:47, 9 February 2024 (UTC)

Veterans of the Chechen war(s) made up a couple of the 9/11 hijackers. Not loving this news. CorruptUser 20:31, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
That's going to be another "citation needed". As far as I can see there were: Saudi Arabia 15, United Arab Emirates 2, Egypt 1, Lebanon 1. No Chechens.
Or do you mean they were foreign nationals who had previously fought in Chechnya? But I can't seem to find any solid back up for that either.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 21:00, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
There are still plenty of them who are still pissed about the fact that the Russian military decimated their homes and killed their loved ones. The ones fighting for the Ukrainian side (from what I seen in interviews) want revenge against Putin (can't blame them). --Trans Fem Agenda 21:36, 9 February 2024 (UTC)
Chechens have two borders, to even get to Ukraine as a sovereign country is wild. If they are outsourced as militias, I don't think Chechen militias are expecting to expand their own borders. Torrent (talk) 06:39, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
Do you know what a "non-state actor" is, Torrent? Carthage (talk) 06:46, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm saying the population is not an exportable military. Torrent (talk) 08:16, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
That's what the Russians seem to be using them as. As for the dissident Chechen militants, they clearly exist too. What's your point? That it's impossible for fighters from one country to use a conflict in another country as a proxy war for training and revenge? Carthage (talk) 08:20, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm saying Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan aren't exactly stable countries that don't press borders either. But maybe yeah, they are training for a southern push. Torrent (talk) 08:42, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm talking about a renewed insurgency inside Chechnya, not whatever it is you're talking about. Carthage (talk) 08:43, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
Pull up a map for me, please. Torrent (talk) 08:55, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
let's go on langitude and longitude exactly where we're talking about. Torrent (talk) 09:06, 12 February 2024 (UTC)

To answer OP's point; my answer is 'yes, but an insurgency within Chechnya, against Kadyrov'.

Kadyrov has staked a lot of his own power/clout on backing his overlord, Czar Putin. That's why his militia units are in Ukraine; it bulks out the Russian order of battle without having to conscript more ethnic Russians. But; if the war is a bloody stalemate or even a defeat, Kadyrov's power-base and face will weaken. If his 'volunteers' don't return at all, the internal grumbling will rise and his ability to suppress dissent/resistance will be less.

Thus for anti-Kadyrov Chechens, a Ukranian victory makes a Kadyrov overthrow more likely and with that, true Chechen independence. Others are in it [as commented above] simply to have another chance to 'kill more Russians'. I suspect a few are there in 'solidarity' with the Crimean Tartars, who are fellow-Muslims enduring under Putin's boot. And a few will just be there for mercenary reasons - they're folks who have been fighting [in some way] since the 90s and don't really have any other marketable skill than killing. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:15, 12 February 2024 (UTC)

Yes. I largely agree. Furthermore, I'm a little surprised that Putin has not already had some more unrest in his client-states. They have been dying disproportionately in the war, and this must represent a risk for him. Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:10, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
I think he is. However, a combination of Western reporting bias, Russian masking of dissent and a traditional Soviet method of 'evading' authority than resisting them is making it effectively non-visible. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:57, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
There is an active anti-Putinist insurgency going on inside Russia right now. Carthage (talk) 17:01, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

Money used for Super Bowl ads- $7 million each year[edit]

https://sports.yahoo.com/much-does-super-bowl-commercial-111220124.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall

$7 million a year could get employees at said companies good health insurance or pay raises for employees so they can better provide for themselves and their families. --Trans Fem Agenda 22:01, 11 February 2024 (UTC)

I mean, advertising is a major thing that keeps a company relevant.-Ryan1257 (talk) 23:22, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
You can still ethically object to relentless consumerism and how companies value profit over their own workers. Also, how much gets spent on Superbowl ads in particular compared to the average spending on advertisements? Carthage (talk) 06:06, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
I didn't say she couldn't have those thoughts, I was just providing a reason why companies are more than willing to spend massive amounts of money on what are essentially short films. It's about doing everything they can to instill brand loyalty.-Ryan1257 (talk) 20:37, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
There have apparently been ads for the ads, which is slightly unsettling. Chillpilled (talk) 23:58, 11 February 2024 (UTC)
That's been going on for years too. Last year it was for planters peanuts. This year it was for NFL outreach to... Ghana? Like, cool, better source that next generation from children who have not heard of concussion protocols. Otherwise, State Farm insurance was all over it, which is strange but always present. Temu bought a lot of ad time to sell a song that isn't exactly a jingle or an ear worm. I think advertising was the least interested in this Superbowl than it's ever been. Torrent (talk) 08:02, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
RFK got a spot to advocate for birthright or neoptism or something. Torrent (talk) 08:08, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
There was a case study of two rival eyeglass stores who mutually agreed to cut their advertising and just pocket the money instead, assuming everyone would still need to see. Both stores made less profit, not more, because the advertising had caused people to get their eyes checked more regularly instead of waiting until they were basically blind.
As super-brilliant teens, we all think it's something we can do away with, but in the Real World, it turns out to be a necessary part of the system even if it seems like a waste of time/resources. Kind of like social graces and manners. CorruptUser 21:52, 12 February 2024 (UTC)
WTF is a Temu? This is the first I've heard of it. Luigifan18 (talk) 05:04, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
You can still make normative criticisms of reckless consumerism and the in-built feature of capital to value profit maximization over the lives of labor. That advertising is "necessary" does not make it immune to normative critique. Carthage (talk) 08:03, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
An important thing to remember is that 'public information campaigns' are still advertising, even if not motivated to shift more product. What's more, the sort of advert which sticks to facts ('Bob's opticians provide prescription glasses for £29') can be viewed as 'informational' in nature, and thus welcomed by some % of the population. KarmaPolice (talk) 14:00, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
With social media, I doubt that anyone would need to spend that much. --Trans Fem Agenda 19:54, 13 February 2024 (UTC)
Look at value, not price. Superbowls normally get between 90-110m viewers per year, so $7m for a ad slot works out to paying a little under $8k per 100k of viewers [theoretical, obviously]. However, this is still 'overpriced'; a slot on Thursday Night Football gets about $4k/100k, while top-rated non-sports TV seem to range between $1.8-$1.3k/100k. So in this case, the advertisers are paying for the kudos of being a 'Superbowl Ad', perhaps also hoping said ad might generate some secondary plugging by other media folks talking about it etc. All surveys show that folks generally seem to trust TV ads a lot higher than social meda ones, and lastly chances are the Superbowl ad-makers normally use said ad as a centrepiece of a new campaign which will include social media. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:39, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
There's also the fact that the people involved in creating the ads want their chance to shine, so they can move into big-money Hollywood projects. Michael Bay and Ridley Scott both got their start making ads, after all. CorruptUser 15:56, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
I have never understood why the majority of campaign funds aren't used on public works. I had a friend working with a local campaign and he was like 'are you stupid? You think just going out and filling some potholes is going to win a campaign?' And I was like '...I guess not?' Torrent (talk) 09:38, 15 February 2024 (UTC}
It takes a million dollars to even be considered as a candidate above the level of School Board, that's not hyperbole. The US as an oligarchy is not hyperbole. Torrent (talk) 09:53, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

A Satirical Thought Experiment: "Gospel, LLC."[edit]

The name says it all. What would a hypothetical American conservative corporation based completely on the religion of Christianity look like if cranked up to a crazy 110, where Christianity permeates every aspect of this company, and how would this firm operate on a business standpoint as a private company? I'll call that company "Gospel, LLC.". We can compile the ideas. here. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 04:44, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

First and foremost, they would only hire children. Torrent (talk) 06:24, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
From a business perspective, forming an LLC is a very bad idea since it would require paying taxes. As a straight-up religious organization, one can sell snake oil in most instances without being bothered by the IRS or FDA. Bongolian (talk) 07:13, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Thanks for that note. They'll find every exemption they can and milk it for the money. So their LLC label is a misnomer then, right? TheEternalOutsider (talk) 07:22, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
If it was under 50 employees in most states it wouldn't be regulated at the same level https://www.integrity-data.com/blog/50-employees-the-magic-number-that-triggers-more-burden-for-employers/ Cool(Ironic) that the source is called 'Integrity'Torrent (talk) 08:08, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
It really depends on what "Christianity" you are talking about. There's already examples of corporations that significantly are influenced by what they feel to be Christian ethos.
Whether this fits the current political "conservative" movement, that's another story. Chick-Fil-A is significantly Christian, significantly leans conservative, and has gotten flack in the past for supporting homophobic groups. However, they have also gotten flack recently from "conservative" online mobs for not being as racist as some would like (eg they have a diversity department, oh noez!).
In the past, there are companies that were intertwined with Christian ethos but also definitely did not completely lean conservative. Historically, I would say that the "green" product company Tom's of Maine would have qualified for this, if only for their staunch commitment to environmentalism.[4] (However, they were bought out in 2006 by Colgate.)
Now, if we are talking the modern political "conservative" "Christian" mob? Well, we already have examples of this in the "alt-tech" world. Take companies like Gab and Epik: run by "conservative" "Christian" zealots / weirdos, with the following characteristics: very small, questionable security, poor performance, and mostly notable for propping up extremist nuts. That's probably what the hypothetical "cranked to crazy conservative Christian company" would indeed look like. BobJohnson (talk) 14:50, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
So, like Elon Musk's Twitter, but a hundred times worse. Luigifan18 (talk) 04:38, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
The Company you describe sounds a lot like the Roman Catholic Church.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:05, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
Whose top leadership, of course, is massively feuding right now over the very question of what "Christianity" should look like. So I guess that would be something any "Gospel, LLC" of any size would have too. :) BobJohnson (talk) 14:37, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

Gaza and the Holodomor[edit]

I've seen some people comparing what Netanyahu and his cronis are doing in Gaza with the Holocaust, but I think it actually resembles the Holodomor. The Nazis had a clear goal: destroy ever Jewish person in Europe. Meanwhile, the Israeli government doesn't want to kill everyone on Gaza: it just thinks it's a fair price as long as they can destroy Hamas (though a very inefficient method since most of the Hamas leaders aren't even in Gaza, and violence will only make the population there more radical). That being said, the situation does reminds me of the Holodomor: while there is no defining evidence that Stalin wanted to starve the Ukrainians, he just didn't care. He also thought it was a fair price to pay, as long as he could industrialize the USSR. I haven't seen anyone making this comparison though, so maybe there's something I'm missing. Thoughts? GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 18:20, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

For one thing, people tend to rush for the comparisons that give the most...I don't quite know how to word it...moral high.(?) It's very convenient when something the speaker doesn't like is compared to something Hitler did because the bulk of people would call Hitler evil incarnate. That's why Godwin's law exists-people delight in the moral high of "my opponent is Hitler and I am fighting pure evil." Since the Holodomor , through much of the world, occupies a "secondary rung" of infamy compared to the Holocaust people find the Holocaust comparison more relevant/easy to exploit. Even if the Holodomor comparison would be more accurate it doesn't have the same rhetorical flash.
I'm not saying that's the whole reason though. That's just one piece of it.-Flandres (talk) 18:27, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
The Holodomor was less about rapid-industrialization at any cost and more that Russia was ruled by a politician who had surrounding himself with a cult-of-personality that'd never tell him why his policies were a mistake, and the system overall was run by people who who genuinely believed they were doing the right thing and couldn't be convinced otherwise in spite of the evidence smacking them in the face.
Pro-tip, if you ever get to choose your oppressor, make sure it's one that does not think they are helping you. CorruptUser 19:19, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
I don’t know how accurate that is to the holodomor. I am aware of ukrainian non-profits that argue that Stalin had a list of families within the region he wanted eliminated, and the red army did things like confiscate food and utensils from locals. They argue that is evidence that the holodomor was an intentional extermination campaign. Hence the push to have it classified as a genocide. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 21:58, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
The Red Army did what they did because they were given orders from above to seize all the surplus grain, any soldier not finding anything was presumed to be insubordinate and so they seized the "surplus" grain, and those orders came down because Soviet leadership refused to believe that there wasn't a surplus. It was a genocide, but a genocide born of incompetence and bureaucracy, not malice. CorruptUser 22:06, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
I think there's more than a passing resemblence for Gee's analogy and I agree with it. Said analogy is 'you made your bed, now lie in it'.
This was Stalin's argument about the Great Famine [which happened in all parts of the then-USSR]; that the peasants had basically 'gone on strike' and deprived food from the workers and Red Army. This [according to him] was treason, and decided to make it backfire by making them take the loss, by siezing the 'surplus' anyway.
This argument is seen in the most pro-Bibi commentariat; that as the civilian population elected Hamas and since then has supported/enrolled in it, they are getting nothing more than 'just deserts' after the mass terrorist strikes on Oct 7th. That sympathy should be for the victims and the IDF soldiers dealing with the menace, not the people on the other side who 'should' have stopped Hamas... somehow.
There's some faux outrage / victim blaming in common too; that in the former propagandists argued that the collective farms had plenty of kit to grow lots of food with [lies] and so it's all the peasant's fault for the shortages, while I have heard it argued that Israel had left Gaza 'lots of infrastructre etc' when they pulled out [2005?] so it's the Gazan population's own fault for their woeful SoL, if only they had accepted their lot and worked to make Gaza work better... etc.
KarmaPolice (talk) 19:39, 15 February 2024 (UTC)


This has got to be one of the most western-brained takes ever. Let me explain. #1 The Holodomor isn't seen as a genocide by any reputable Sovietologists. Even Robert Conquest(an MI6 counterpropaganda officer), the author of Stalin's Great Famine has recanted his views, saying it was a horrible tragedy caused by incompetence (which I agree with). The key distinction between genocide and mass killings is intent. There is no evidence to support that any of the officials responsible for collectivization expressed genocidal sentiment against Ukrainians. Conversely, most of them, Stanislav Kosior, Lazar Kaganovich and Nikita Khrushchev were themselves Ukrainian. Israel has clearly demonstrated intent to wipe Palestinians off the face of the planet, with particular emphasis toward the Benjamin Netanyahu government and his war cabinet. Here is an article listing 500 such statements by Israeli government officials, not to mention the thousands of statements made by allies of Israel in dehumanizing Palestinians. https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2024/1/14/intent-in-the-genocide-case-against-israel-is-not-hard-to-prove. I don't know how hard this is for people to knock into their brains but Israel is the aggressor here. October 7th did not happen in a vacuum. Settling the West Bank, firing thousands of rockets into Gaza every day, actively blockading it and the infant mortality rate for Gaza is enough to prove that. Israel intends to wipe Palestinians of the face of this earth, and if you don't support the Palestinian people, you are complicit in condoning and abetting a genocide.
CaliML (talk) 5:13, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
I do tend to seek middle ground, and from my perspective, vigilantism is disorder that is never justified, because we have trust in the system. What is nuts, from my perspective, is how quickly and vigorously vigilantism is pardoned and post-hoc justified. Being said, when you have no opportunities take part in the legal structure, if violence is part of the system keeping a party within but not a part of the legal structure, violence is PART OF THE SYSTEM, and not something to high horse about. I mean, when does somebody have to come in and say 'I don't care who started it, stop it.' Torrent (talk) 10:53, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

There is a case to answer that Gaza might involve war crimes and West Bank being a form of ethnic cleansing, but I don't think the current phase constitutes 'genocide'.

What's more, Stalin and Co knew what the net results of their policies, and as said above did not care (a lot of the local secretaries etc who spelt it out in letters to The Boss perished in the Great Purge three years later). However, I accept it was not genocide on the technicality that 'Soviet peasantry' is not a religious, ethnic or cultural group (going on the UN definition) and thus it was impossible to commit 'genocide' on them. (Not like this gives any comfort to the victims, though). KarmaPolice (talk) 11:18, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

There is a strong case to be made that what's currently happening in Gaza is genocide. Something the ICJ recognized. We have statements of intent from some of the highest echelons of power in the Israeli government, we have actions directly linked to those statements of intent. Israel's actions in this "war" are fully consistent with the UN definition on genocide, which I provided here. Carthage (talk) 19:24, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
The ICJ has just rejected South Africa's request for urgent measures to safeguard Gaza actually. [5] 2804:14C:5B72:84FC:4988:10F3:BC28:1B7B (talk) 21:51, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
Does that affect the initial ruling in anyway? ICJ justices commonly vote in the interests of their countries. How they vote does not change the situation on the ground, which, again, we have both the statements of intent and the actions on the ground, which are fully concordant with the UN's definition of genocide. What's so hard to understand about this? Carthage (talk) 22:01, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

With all the horrible crap going on in the world, why not relax and listen to music[edit]

https://youtu.be/qgaRVvAKoqQ?si=GsJZz05-twpF5-Ep

Time to jam with Pearl Jam? --Trans Fem Agenda 02:06, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

Torrent (talk) 08:15, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

https://youtu.be/sezekVRmxYY

I'm glad you like Pearl Jam. My favorite era and genre of music is still mid 90s 'alternative' rock. I think Beyonce is channeling that challenge with her 'country renaissance' but pop/country is not a fusion I've ever generally enjoyed, even from Garth Brooks era pop country. I've said for years, it's for fans of pop who are afraid of listening to a black artist. I have clearly not relaxed. Beyonce's Texas Hold 'Em is fine, it's not my country jam. Torrent (talk) 08:12, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
I know this is a tangent, but a few comments on this:
A) I think there is a clear difference between merging influences and "culturally appropriating" them. While such distinction cannot be easily defined, I offer early rock history. The rockabilly of Elvis Presley (and others who were similar) is more the former, a convergence of "hillbilly" country music and R&B. Wheras Pat Boone really did made smoothed-out pop for people who were afraid of listening to a black artist.
(Incidentally, this is one of the fun things about people like Ron DeSantis who want to sanitize and whitewash American history into a hagiography. Some topics just can't be whitewashed away. How in the world *would* you talk about the history of rock and roll without talking about race relations, when the f'n origins of rock and roll are so deeply ingrained in such? The "racism factor" is a *huge* part of rock and roll history.)
B) Most "country" music in America has moved far away from any "hillbilly" roots. To my ears, of older styles, modern country tends to sound closet to the old AOR/arena rock styles, updated with the sort of modern computerized techniques that also fuel hip-hop and EDM, with a few banjos and pedal steels thrown in for "color".
It wasn't surprising, in other words, when 80s pop metal rocker Jon Bon Jovi went country - there is more sonic similarities between modern country and Bon Jovi then there is with, say, modern country and Hank Williams. I haven't heard the Beyonce country track yet, but given how modern country is computerized just like the modern R&B, I would not be surprised if her production team pulled it off as well. BobJohnson (talk) 15:30, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

https://youtu.be/-KACt6YhOyY

Torrent (talk) 11:36, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

Hello[edit]

I just created an account here, and I was about to make a userbox for one of my favorite bands Bloc Party when I got a message saying that I don't have permission to create the page. What's happening, and what should I do? Just being curious. -Snappy710 (talk) 18:20, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

You need to have more than ten edits to be able to make a page. Carthage (talk) 18:40, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
Is the group RW-missional: there may be some appropriate wiki elsewhere (I presume refers to something else - but there may be something suitable on Fandom.com (or you can create your own). Anna Livia (talk) 18:46, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
Well, as far as I know, userboxes do not need to be strictly missional IluzalsipalStone them! 19:10, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
No they don't need to be missional. A userbox gives information about you, nothing more.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:25, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
Helicopter is a banger. Torrent (talk) 10:25, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

David Gerard in Foreign Policy[edit]

Our very own User:David Gerard has just published a book review in Foreign Policy, "The Crypto Con Years Aren’t Over Yet: Three books explore the failures of regulators—and sometimes journalists." It reviews Michael Lewis' Going Infinite, Zeke Faux's Number Go Up and Peter Howson's Let Them Eat Crypto. Bongolian (talk) 18:15, 18 February 2024 (UTC)

That’s really cool! Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 18:57, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
It's surprisingly not paywalled, so here's the web link: [6] BobJohnson (talk) 22:01, 18 February 2024 (UTC)

In case anyone's been wondering where I've been[edit]

I've been busy replaying Desktop Dungeons. That game has a goat obsession rivaling ours — which is saying a lot. Luigifan18 (talk) 05:09, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

Navalny dies in prison[edit]

Suprised it took Putin this long truth be told. From what I can tell, it seems the FSB decided to poison him (not the first time they've done something like that.) -- Techpriest (talk) 11:49, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

Putin most likely took out Prigozhin when he proved to be a potential threat to his power. I wonder if Putin is paranoid about Navalny somehow posing a threat. He's ruthless and brutal, but not stupid. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 13:18, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm sorta surprised that that Putin took so long to assassinate an opponent he had in his power. I'm waiting to see his supporters in the west to drag up excuses. (I'm looking at you American Republicans).Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 16:20, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
The west needs to understand that they shouldn't have helped Navalny when he was poisoned since they only prolonged the conflict and bloodshed of the "Killing Navalny War". Instead, the west should have respected Putin's security concerns of having a serious political opponent alive and should have let him peacefully be assassinated the first time./s-Ryan1257 (talk) 16:42, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
Spoken in the spirit of a true Tankie! Sadly, I expect we will see something along those lines uttered non-ironically in the future.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 21:03, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
Russian prisons are hell. While admittedly suspicious, it also (assuming we're going along with this conspiracy theory) took Putin four years to off Navalny. I think we're automatically jumping to conclusions when it's also possible Navalny died because of the hellish conditions of the Russian penal system (a crime against humanity in and of itself.) Of course, his death is Putin's responsibility either way. Carthage (talk) 17:31, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
True. The conditions in a prison above the Arctic Circle are ostensibly intended to be unkind, to say the least. And you are right that Putin is responsible either way. Navalny was a fool for returning to Russia, but he was a beautiful fool who made an ineradicable mark in his country's history. On the other hand, Putin has nothing to show for his brutal regime. He does not deserve the benefit of any doubt. UncleKrampus (talk) 22:37, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
You should not mourn Navalny. In many ways he was a worse leader than Putin and is only adored by the West because of his opposition. He was a staunch Russian nationalist who wished to rid the Caucuses of their ethnic populations, and participated in the far-right Russian Marches, waged war on “illegal immigration,” and even launched campaign “Stop Feeding the Caucasus” directed against government subsidies to poor, ethnic minority-populated autonomous regions in the south of the country. Not only he is a virulent racist, he's also an opportunist who openly adopted several leftist slogans and co-opted leftist groups when it was convenient and then left them to rot in Putin's prisons when he no longer needed them. I respect him for his anti-corruption measures and I also despise Putin, but Navalny was not a good hope for Russia, unless you preferred a much more nationalist, irredentist Russia over the the thing it is now. You can read more here. CaliML (talk)
https://jacobin.com/2021/01/alexei-navalny-russia-protests-putin
https://www.euronews.com/2023/07/07/racist-or-revolutionary-is-alexei-navalny-who-many-westerners-think-he-is
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-56181084
Of course we should mourn Navalny! He was one of the very few people in Russia brave enough to stand up to the bastard Putin. He was actually prepared to return to Russia and and face almost certain death for his beliefs. I wonder of many of his critics would do the same? As for the rest, like most politicians, he was far from perfect - but any attempt to compare him to the murderous Vladimir Putin is frankly grotesque! Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:33, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
This is a problem on the extremes of political culture. I understand why the horseshoe theory is advanced when leftists can get so extreme that they think there is no big difference between a common thug like Putin and a man who demonstrated such courage as to endure the end he has come to in an attempt to improve the future of Russia. To call a man racist who so lately has been assassinated after so clearly demonstrating his integrity is less than small-minded. It is despicable.UncleKrampus (talk) 17:02, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
Would you support a fascist if he was against Putin? Just because someone is opposed to something you don't like doesn't mean that they are aligned with your own interests. No doubt Russia would be better off without Putin at the helm, but you can also criticize his opposition. Navalny was a despicable human being who held even more irredentist views that Putin. His allies were all part of the far-right, especially Russian fascist groups and contemporary Neo-Nazis in Russia. I repeat, Putin is a despicable person, but his opposition was not any better and in some regards, they were worse. Here is some more reading. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_march http://eastbook.eu/en/2012/02/uncategorized-en/ukraine-in-big-time-politics-of-alexey-navalny/ CaliML (talk) 07:42, 17th February 2024 (UTC)
LOL, this eastbook.eu front page is casino ad spam crap, wut?
There's no doubt that Navalny had some questionable racism, particularly in his early nationalism days. But these screed honestly reads like whataboutism from a tankie. You're comparing someone who said some racist things in the past (but is better known for standing up to Putin's thuggery) to a mob state leader who has no qualms killing his opponents. One does not compare to the other, and it really is grotesque for you to insinuate otherwise. BobJohnson (talk) 20:08, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm still withholding judgement until concrete evidence is given that Navalny was killed by Putin. Why would they kill Navalny during an election year? That would only make him a martyr. This death is suspicious, don't get me wrong, but I think there's some double standards at play here when conspiracy theories about, say, the death of Malcolm X are called conspiracy theories and not conspiracy theories about the death of Alexei Navalny. The evidence in favor seems pretty circumstantial so far. As for whether or not Navalny was a piece of shit, I think you can ethically object to someone being a racist POS while still acknowledging the fact they were the figurehead of the liberal opposition (a racist being the figurehead of the liberal opposition says more about Russian politics than it does about Navalny IMO) to a literal dictator. However, if I'm reading this conversation right, Navalny's fascist ties are pretty questionable, and I don't think we should so quickly dismiss them. That said, that's not an excuse for assassination, if Navalny was actually assassinated. Carthage (talk) 20:16, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
My "skim read" impression is that his 2010s ties with neo-Nazis weren't that deep, but they were there. Can't really dismiss that, no. However, I don't really see a whole lot of caustic right-wing stuff since he joined / formed what is now known as the Russia of the Future party. In fact, such leads to my conclusion that this poster is a tankie troll, since this shift clearly was omitted. Russia of the Future is considered centrist, and even the Jacobin article the troll linked to described him moving left (though true to Jacobin style, not left enough for them :) ).
Yes, I agree that there is a lot we don't know about this particular event at the moment, so assigning blame to Putin (or his thugs) at the moment is perhaps premature, albeit the "Occam's Razor" bet I would say. This assassination does seem a bit strange and rash in some ways, but Putin's been behaving strange and rash for a few years now. What we can say is that there's a good deal of certainty that Russian higher ups have been involved in numerous assassinations / assassination attempts of Putin opponents. The best documented one I found on a quick search was the Novichok poisonings in the UK, of which Bellingcat (with others) found much evidence that Russia's military agency, the GRU, was responsible. [7] BobJohnson (talk) 20:39, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
This is false. Navalny has never decried his support for Neo-Nazis, who were a major part of his support base pre-2010 nor has he moved past racist politics. His party, Russia of the Future has no ideological platform, and most of the ideology section on the Wikipedia page comes from a magazine analysis. In the Jacobin article, it denounces him for leaving the leftist parts of his coalition out to dry. I'm begging you, find other Russian opposition leaders to look up to. Ones that are actually popular too. Navalny lost the only election he participated in by quite a wide margin, where the results were declared free and fair by many international observers, the 2013 Moscow Mayoral election. Western support for Navalny tracks a long line of supporting seemingly "popular, liberal democratic" opposition figures in countries that they deem "authoritarian" when these opposition figures are bankrolled entirely by the NED and NGOs. I want regime change in Russia. I do not like Putin. I don't support Navalny and consider him a far-right POS. None of these positions are contradictory. Please don't jump to a purely realpolitik analysis of the situation and worship him simply because someone tells you to. Employ some critical thinking. CaliML (talk) 09:16, 17th February 2024 (UTC)

┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘ The archaeology of fascism can be quite tiresome. It seems to me that Putin is a de facto fascist. The Late era Soviets were generally indistinguishable from fascist type governments. Typically classical fascism entails one central or main father/leader figure acting as a dictator. The people are expected to devote themselves to the state. They are expected to have no greater desire than to die for the fatherland. The potential for War is central to the modus operandi of the government. Wealth can be distributed through a plutocracy but typically the economy is not ordinary capitalism, but designed to bleed off the wealth of the nation to special interests, also known as party members. Also but not necessary, there is a racial-identity component similar to that found in Russia today. Putin is an obvious fascist. The country is lousy with fascists. You can't swing a dead cat overhead there without hitting one. Holy shit man, you say Navalny was once known to talk to fascists? Well well well. Not impressed.UncleKrampus (talk) 21:01, 17 February 2024 (UTC)

You're bringing this thread off topic by bringing in the Soviets, but by no means were the late era Soviets fascist. Ever since the 60s, the Soviet Union operated on a policy of collective leadership, where most decisions had to be approved by the Politburo and Central Committee before they could be implemented. Your other two statements are simply not true, the only time those sentiments were employed was during the Second World War. How many wars was the USSR in after 1945? How many times did they declare war? The Soviet Union was not a plutocracy either. The Gini coefficient at its highest in the Soviet Union was lower than contemporary Scandinavian countries at their lowest. There was no racial-identity component to the Soviet Union. Russian nationalism and orthodox christian values were employed during the Second World War, but that was to boost morale and served as propaganda. Brezhnev and Khrushcev were both ethnic Ukranians and many Soviet top brass came from a myriad of Soviet republics. Say what you will about contemporary Russia but in no way can the Soviet Union or any other Communist country be classified as fascist. CaliML (talk) 09:25, 17th February 2024 (UTC)
I'd also like to know how the USSR at any point met the 14 characteristics of fascism. Trumpism fits far more closely than Marxism-Leninism. Carthage (talk) 21:32, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
Fascism can be found characterized by Russell in his essay, Ancestry of Fascism which will give you a better idea of what fascism really amounts to. Putin is a fascist. He has been a fascist since he became president. He is the richest man in Russia. Also, one of the most evil. Most fascists are better sorts of people than Putin. Stalin acted similarly as Hitler with respect to his foreign policy and they did quite a bit of business until Hitler got greedy. And there you have it. Let's just agree Putin is an evil fuck and Navalny was not as far as we know, and let's not reify the label "fascism" more than is needed.UncleKrampus (talk) 21:42, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
LeninismWikipedia and StalinismWikipedia (applied in various ways over the USSR's lifespan) define Soviet Union policy, methinks. It is the later that has been compared to fascism, particularly the Nazis, and a few characteristics do match. Though I think it is quite a stretch to say that Stalinism *is* fascism (a lot of characteristics do not), and as Wikipedia notes,Wikipedia such a comparison has been used for controversial purposes, notably when some German intellectuals applied their own whataboutism regarding the Holocaust (HistorikerstreitWikipedia). OTOH I think there is no question that Russia under Putin is a unique "flavor" of fascism, branded ruscism these days. BobJohnson (talk) 22:00, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
There is a world of difference between saying Stalin ran a fascist government and Stalin behaved like a fascist, which is my thinking. The Katyn Massacres sure look a lot like Nazi atrocities don't they? A person acts like a fascist if they have similar modes of behavior. They may not control their form of government. Who cares how the lower classes were cared for? UncleKrampus (talk) 22:21, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
The ignorance you display is quite astounding. The fact that the lower classes were cared for at all indicates that Stalin was not a fascist. Your claim that Stalin acted like a fascist makes no sense. Did he collude with big business? Was he an ethnonationalist? Was he a corporatist? Was he a militarist? Please learn how politics and ideology work. CaliML (talk) 12:07, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
Stalin definitely was a militarist and he definitely did commit atrocities against certain minority groups within the Soviet Union. Not to say he was a fascist, but you do kinda mischaracterize him there. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 00:28, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
Stalin was such a militarist that he invaded a total of 1 country during the 30 years he was in power? This is such a stupid argument. Plus claims of being Russian ethnonationalist is kinda nonsensical when he was a Georgian himself. He even professed to be a Georgian nationalist in his early political days. But yeah, the Polish operation and other population transfers are certainly indefensible, for any sane communist, but Stalin wasn't an ethnonationalist, not in any meaningful sense of the word. CaliML (talk)05:26 18 February 2024 (UTC)
I don't think Stalin was a fascist either, but as far as my memory goes, between 1939 and 1941, Stalin invaded Poland, Finland, and the three Baltic countries.Not that you need to invade countries to be a warmonger (see North Korea). GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 12:15, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
Stalin wasn't a fascist, yes, but he was still a fucking dictator responsible for countless atrocities. That said, whether or not Stalin was fascist is irrelevant to the contention that Navalny was. Carthage (talk) 00:13, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
FYI @UncleKrampus, I don’t think historians of fascism are particularly in favour of Russell’s account. Having read Kevin Passmore, I think applying such a label so radically divorced from fascisms protagonists runs the risk of getting into semantic disputes that often direct attention away from the actual moral consequences we are trying to avoid. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 00:38, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
That may be OSD, but I don't think any of them were philosophers of Russell's stature. You should know better than most, that philosophy is mostly a lonely trade. Russell's account is based in the idea that philosophy has an impact on later generations. I imagine that students of fascism do not generally read Fichte, as German Idealism is beyond the capacity for most to swallow. I cannot say I have a rounded knowledge of his work. But he was a father of German Nationalism. His ideas supported eventual popular movements resulting in fascism. Fichte, for example, championed militaristic national ideals, and the race myth of the Germans and, by the way, anti-Semitism. The Muslims weren't much around in the European 18th century. "Fascism" is a worn out term that still means something yet is called out as indiscriminately as "pedophile." That is an awful thing to call someone without substantiation.UncleKrampus (talk) 01:20, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
Why are you assuming that a philosopher is more reliable here on this matter than academic historians? Also, as a philosophy student, Russell was incredibly influential on the tradition of analytical philosophy, but like Frege before him, he is widely regarded as being wrong about many of the things he wrote about. Like most folks don’t buy into logical atomism anymore, his knowledge by description and knowledge by acquaintance distinction runs into problems with the “myth of the given”, and his descriptive theory of language is considered refuted by Kripke. Like even his intended project of grounding mathematics in logic has been considered a dead end in the advent of Godel’s incompleteness theorems. Appealing to his status as a philosopher, is kind of an appeal to irrelevant authority fallacy anyways. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 02:23, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
I don't make that assumption. I assume that Russell is better because I have studied his opinions. The nature of fascism is explored in his essay on fascism as a a philosophical consequence of anti-rationalism. Anti-rationalism reifies as the kind of atavism one would expect to see in primitive societies. It leads to factitious narrative, similar in the way they oppose reason in praise of the worst tendencies of human nature. It is no surprise, on the other hand, that he blamed continental idealism for anti-rational movements. I don't think he was wrong. Post Modernism is an example of an anti-rational category of intellectual movements. As to the disagreements about some of Russell's more arcane ideas, that was to be expected. Most philosophers are idealists. What else is new?UncleKrampus (talk) 14:40, 18 February 2024 (UTC)

It looks like Russian government attempts to smear Navalny go back to at least 2017. It is not surprising to see their campaign ramp back up.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:19, 18 February 2024 (UTC)

The reason it "took so long" is that it had to at least LOOK like Navalny died due to crap prison conditions, and not actual poison. Plausible deniability and all that rubbish also applies when you are a dictator who wants to be seen as not a dictator of course. Don't hold your breath waiting for the relies to get a body (not THE body - just any body....)! Aloysius the Gaul (talk) 09:05, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
That could be the case. But now, having finished with him, they really need to get their stooges damaging his reputation. Bizarre, desperate nonsense claims like "he was a worse leader than Putin" will no doubt be pushed hard.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:55, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
If the Russian Government does not release the body of Navalny for examination by neutral medical examiners, that would be all the evidence a competent jurist would need to conclude Navalny was, more likely than not, murdered by extra-judicial orders of the Russian authorities. Maybe the guards just got over zealous following an order to give him rough treatment and he was beaten to death. That does not mitigate anyone's responsibilities (Putin). Ariel31459 (talk) 14:47, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
The Bellingcat investigation got one of Putin's people explicitly admitting to trying to murder Navalny in 2020. At that moment Navalny was not completely under their control. In prison they could murder him at their leisure. So we know they tried to murder him previously - and failed. Did they explicitly kill him in prison or did they simply simply let him succumb to the conditions?
Does it really make any difference? Putin wanted him dead, undoubtedly tried to murder him previously - and Navalny then died under when he was completely their control. There is no way for the Putin's mad regime to avoid responsibility.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:19, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
There is 'the deed' and 'the intent', along with someone at a lower rank 'assuming what the intent is' (with Thomas a Becket being where the assumption was wrong) - and whether they are punished or not punished for making this assumption. And - given that Putin has form with 'unalived opponents' other people will make assumptions as to his actual guilt.
Is mention of the essay 'The power of the powerless' appropriate here? Anna Livia (talk) 16:01, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

And Donald drops the other shoe. Kind of.[edit]

He's selling sneakers. Gold sneakers. Kencolt (talk) 05:57, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

Grifters gotta grift, and be the gaudiest of them all to boot.
(It's not like Joe Biden doesn't sell the merchandise on his campaign site to help finance things, but at least there, it's more like $22 coffee mugs amusingly promoting the Dark Brandon meme.) BobJohnson (talk) 03:54, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
To paraphrase 'a gold plated [whatever] is nothing more than a gold plated [whatever].
How much will they be worth 'this time next year' - and the (as yet theoretical) NFT version? Anna Livia (talk) 15:51, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

Random thought I just had[edit]

Moved to Conservapedia talk:What is going on at CP? Keep your fucking Conservapedia shit out of the fucking Saloon Bar. Spud (talk) 15:59, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

Still getting nowhere in life.[edit]

Not much has changed in a while, yet I still feel like the cruel arrow of time is sapping away any productivity I could have had and leading to fatigue. OCD doesn't help either, as my mind can't seem to behave, generating completely involuntary thoughts that bother me a lot. I'm bound in a situation where if I did work, external deadlines and the arrow of time would push against me and cause undue stress combined with my OCD, and if I don't work, I feel like I get nowhere. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 22:12, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

I don't remember if you said whether you have you sought out medical therapy for OCD? Bongolian (talk) 09:07, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
I am using clomipramine, but I am unsure if the effect is still a placebo or not. My autism makes finding help even harder. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 15:55, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
You might want to advise your doctor that you're not sure if this medicine is working for you. I know that with antidepressants, for example, it sometimes take some switching of pharmaceuticals before the patient finds one that works for them. Bongolian (talk) 20:43, 20 February 2024 (UTC)

The Use and Abuse of Tier Lists[edit]

Well, I think it's about that time I bring this topic up. It all started with competitive gaming and e-sports to codify and rank in-game assets based on viability (often with numerical data as well, something that the following examples don't have.), but ever since then, many uninformed idiots have used tier list after tier list to shove opinions down other people's throats and in extreme cases, whitewash racism and hate speech via the format, attempting to justify their false narratives and mental delusions as fact. Anything else to say about this? TheEternalOutsider (talk) 18:40, 20 February 2024 (UTC)

And here's a few offenders of this kind of content. That site in question has no moderation and thus does absolutely nothing to stop such racist content from being produced and uploaded onto their site and eventually onto search engines. Not going to hyperlink them directly as a result of the racism. Plug them into archive.is instead. "https://www.tierlists.com/cover_img/based-30c7e449-cc2c-42a2-a0cd-679f4a07d01e.png". "https://tierlists.com/cover_img/cool-9b4b6e52-c359-4e27-a039-2c92450bdea4.png"
Sorry about that. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 20:19, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
I mean, assholes will use anything they can get their hands on to be assholes. I don't think tier lists are anything special in that regard. 68.2.135.33 (talk) 23:13, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
You're talking about something generally used by the gaming community, well known for its racist Internet tough guy edgelords in certain quarters (eg notorious in online FPS games). If these kids were actually raised right, their mothers should drag them out of the basement and wash their mouth out with LifebuoyWikipedia for having such a nasty potty mouth. Alas, some gamer children never grow up. It's why Gamergate happened. BobJohnson (talk) 23:58, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
Funny to mention that. Gabriel Newell, president of Valve, actually got a letter from a US senator back in 2022 for failing to moderate and remove neo-Nazi content from Steam. I still haven't heard back on that ordeal as it seems to have been swept under the rug by Newell. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 00:37, 21 February 2024 (UTC)
So, what are "Tier Lists"?Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 07:03, 21 February 2024 (UTC)
There's a wiki article on it.Wikipedia The Google also seemed to show a site solely dedicated to "tier list". I admit that this is the limit of my knowledge on them since, while I play some video games every now and then, I am in no way in very deep in Video Game Culture, nor do I want to be. Basically it sounds like a fancy term for a list for ranking things (in this case in various "tiers"), which is hardly a new concept. BobJohnson (talk) 13:14, 21 February 2024 (UTC)
I sort of got that far before asking here. I'm still not sure what the issue is.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 17:48, 21 February 2024 (UTC)
I hate to say it, but I can definitely see why racists and fascists would be drawn to tier lists like moths to a flame; just one more way to scream "my tribe rules, everyone else drools!" into a metaphorical bullhorn at the top of one's metaphorical lungs. Luigifan18 (talk) 16:09, 21 February 2024 (UTC)
But yeah, like the BoN said earlier, assholes will use anything they can as an excuse to be assholes. Which is why you've gotta eliminate, say, the fundamentalists and not the religion they're bastardizing. Removing the latter from existence won't. Solve. Anything. The people who actually need religion will just be sad, and the assholes will just latch on to something else to use as an excuse to persecute people, like nationalism or communism. Luigifan18 (talk) 16:14, 21 February 2024 (UTC)
That, I disagree with. Getting rid of religion wouldn't solve the problem, but taking away a tool from fundie assholes would mean they could cause less harm to the world. If someone believes in divine command theory, how do you possibly shake it? It's inherently anti-empiricist. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 18:02, 21 February 2024 (UTC)

Wrote an essay explaining how to use Wikipedia to format sources here on RW[edit]

Tired of spending half an hour to find the perfect synthax to your source? Check my new Essay:How to use Wikipedia to add beautiful sources, perfect sources to your articles. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 21:38, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

You've got a typo on the page name ("do" -> "to"). Bongolian (talk) 09:01, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
Thanks. Spud already moved it for me. GeeJayKWhere all evil dwells Where every lie is true 23:19, 21 February 2024 (UTC)

Institutional Science Communication as a Fundamental Injustice: thoughts?[edit]

Please, please, please read the paper before commenting as it is very likely you will be running with false assumptions about what the argument in this paper entails: https://institutesymposium.dmns.org/media/hb4bxmtq/s11948-017-9977-0.pdf

That being said, I’ll paraphrase the argument. The author argues that science communication as a public funded enterprise is epistemically unjust because it unfairly elevates the seriousness of science communication (here meaning bio-physical sciences), over and above other disciplines like history, law, politics, economics, etc. The author affirms that science has a special relationship to producing reliable knowledge, and that science misinformation results in certain harms. The argument essentially boils down to, as bad as pseudoscience is, so to is, psuedo-history, pseudo-law, and cultural misinformation. The author thinks that the process of elevating the expertise of some members of certain disciplines over others as worthy of public funding and attention necessarily requires decisions be made on which evidence and testimony ought to get distributed to the public which itself is often based in unfair distributions of education, knowledge, and training, etc.

I think what is interesting though is how communities like Rationalwiki, or even wikipedia, or even grassroots skeptical movements as whole, can be framed as a more just alternative. Given that to contribute to such communities it does not rely on personal clout, but quality of contribution. Giving serious considerations of all forms misinformation.

I wondering what folks here think about this? I think I may do my masters research on related topics. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 23:53, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

I only read through the article quickly, but quite a few good points. I agree that there is a problem with science communicators being drawn on beyond their field of expertise, and I would say that this constitutes both a credibility excess for the communicator and an epistemic injustice against their audience, insofar as they may be deceived about the status of the topic at hand. Dawkins strikes me as an apt example. With regard to the technicality of science, I wonder if there's an argument to made that there's something objectionable in trying to communicate, via substantial simplification, ideas to a general audience which they cannot be expected to understand fully fleshed out; it seems to me that pop-sci is often oversimplified to the point of being misleading. The points about the danger of misinformation and importance to our lives were good ones, and I imagine a lot more could be said about either point. I think one could also take the angle that it's objectionable for audiences to be cut off from the process of deciding what topics are important for them to learn about (how could they be integrated, given that they likely don't know what is important/influential in expert knowledge fields?), but at a glance I'm not sure whether that's an epistemic injustice. I'm not sure that the argument really establishes that institutional science communication is fundamentally unjust; I imagine that somebody like Nozick might make some objections that aren't addressed here. Taking for granted that there is epistemic injustice here, do you think that some group is blameworthy for the injustice? One concern about moving to a broader concept: given that we already have issues with credibility excess within the relatively narrow science communication, shouldn't we expect that broadening the scope to something like "complex issues communication", as opposed to developing new narrow-scope communication bodies for other fields, and without other accompanying changes, will lead to a greater problem of credibility excess (since the communicators will be drawn to communicate knowledge from even more fields)? The funding for the broader scope version would also have to be structured carefully; as opposed to having separate communication bodies (and hence, funding) for various fields, combining things into an overarching "complex issues communication" potentially creates opportunities to continue directing funding in a heavily biased way while gaining a veneer of greater openness.
With respect to online communities, do you think there are any special problems that might confront such communities? What distinguishes a place like RationalWiki or Wikipedia from one like Conservapedia (perhaps, before they cracked down hard on account creation), or Citizendium (which developed problems with alt-med promotion despite having a system that aimed to favor expert contributors). Also, some Wikipedia articles are virtually (or actually) incomprehensible to somebody who does not already have a background in the relevant field; at some point, doesn't this constitute its own form of injustice, whereby the most convenient knowledge sources are most accessible to those who already have the most knowledge? Does Wikipedia do better to provide as much detail as possible, or to preserve readability for a general audience? Do Wikipedia editors have an obligation to reorganize highly detailed articles so as to maximize readability while preserving detail (e.g. by keeping the lead non-technical and allowing technical details to filter in only as the article goes on)? (Sorry if this seems like an interrogation; it's not meant to be!) 𝒮𝑒𝓇𝑒𝓃𝑒 talk 01:09, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
From my perspective: I don't disagree with many of the issues of science communication that this paper points out, but I'm not quite sure what the aim of this paper is? Inherently, a central issue with research-level science is that it is extremely narrow and very technical by design. There seems to be a conflicting dual argument that the author believes that this narrow focus and purported science self-importance (not sure about that?) is "epistemically unjust", and also a disparagement of popular science communicators for speaking beyond their knowledge on a topic. Regarding pop-science, certainly there are issues, but I think it's fine to have both "broad overview, easily understood technical" as a stepping stone personally. I see the point that some complex university level topics do *not* have a "lie-to-childrenWikipedia" popular distillation as more of a communication fault of that discipline, not of science for having pop-sci. Of the argument that science communication should be more interdisciplinary in its communications... to be honest, I thought that many of the great popular science communicators in history already did that?
I will add a note and say that to look at one of the papers this paper referenced, I put on my yo-ho-yo-ho-pirate's-life-for-me hat on and headed to sci-hub. :p I personally consider the "university publisher paywall" to be a more important topic to debate on regarding scholarly communication at this point (although this was touched on in the paper).
The "who judges the experts?" question is indeed an issue in sciences and *many* other fields, but one that I don't think there's a great answer for at this point. BobJohnson (talk) 01:14, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
I wonder if the very concept of "epistemic justice" is coherent. Indeed, I imagine that some would say it doesn't need to be. Certainly it is not a scientific concept. Justice as a systemic ruler determining and adjusting the equality of distributions of anything is understandable. But calling that justice seems more like a factitious proposition rather than a scientific one. Knowledge is not like music, which anyone can hear and appreciate. But that, I admit, is not the point, it is the the idea of "reliable knowledge." How do our societal shot-callers get reliability out of the philosophical constructs? I wonder at the audacity of "Science communication is epistemically unjust in the way it implies (through omission) that concerted efforts to communicate reliable knowledge from non-science disciplines is less worthy or unnecessary." I should think the austere difficulty of generally applying that conclusion would be apparent.UncleKrampus (talk) 15:51, 21 February 2024 (UTC)

@Serene Sorry for the late reply. I think your reaction is very similar to my own, where I agree with the individual points which I think are really well made but I am not convinced that the overall thesis is sufficiently supported. I think, even though I claim they have the potential of being more just alternatives, there is still no doubt an issue of testimonial injustice that occurs on Wiki platforms — especially in regards to cultural inclusivity that makes people willing to contribute. Accessibility, no doubt, also relates to this, so I appreciate your point about technical jargon. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 01:23, 22 February 2024 (UTC)

@UncleKrampus It helps to have some familiarity with the literature in this case. I would recommend looking into Fricker (2007), Dotson (2012), and/or Werkheiser (2020). The notion of epistemic justice is more specifically about the distribution and access of information/evidence, and one’s ability to engage with and contribute to knowledge making practices. There is also a component of “testimonial justice” which is specifically conceived as unjust when testimony is discounted for epistemically irrelevant reasons (i.e. it is dismissed because the testimony comes a member of an indigenous community, or a punk rock fan, a Mexican, or gay person, etc.), or alternatively, the testimony is given inappropriate weight, (i.e. the young children’s testimony about daycare during the satanic panic, a chiropractor on the medical appropriateness of vaccines, an evangelical christian beliefs about the tenets of islam, etc). Also, keep in mind, when talking about “coherency” you’re already brushing up against certain epistemic norms to which the meaning of which is hotly contested. If we are simply meaning logically consistent, then I don’t see why prima facie one would suspect that the notion of epistemic justice is incoherent. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 08:23, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
Yes. Thank you OSD. "...epistemic norms...the meaning of which is hotly contested," is exactly the intractable sort of problem that I see here. I am not inclined to do extensive research in an area I have assumed is problematic. But if you can recommend an article of no more than, say 20-30 pages reviewing or outlining the main arguments on the subject I would give it a read.
The problem with incoherence may not be logical at all, but due to a necessary lack of clarity involving cultural or even biological causes. The problem is obviously that we cannot agree upon general rules for deciding when the division of resources is just. If we pretend we can, then, of course, the problem vanishes.
This type of philosophical question reminds me of a student's story about economic theory: A physicist, a chemist, and an economist were lost on an island and starving when they found a crate of canned beans. The physicist tried to open the cans with impact tools with poor results. The chemist tried to use heat to burst open the cans and only made a mess. The economist then said, "gentlemen, I think we need to assume we have a can opener." UncleKrampus (talk) 16:20, 22 February 2024 (UTC)

Netanyahu saying that "a Palestinian state would reward terrorism"[edit]

https://www.jns.org/netanyahu-doubles-down-on-opposition-to-any-recognition-of-palestinian-state/

The Israeli government has no qualms about rewarding Settler terrorists/colonialists in attacking Palestinian villagers. The Israeli government has a guy who was convicted of terrorism in their government.

I seriously doubt that the issue is "rewarding terrorists"; more along the lines of the Israeli government being complete racists who are in favor of ethnic cleansing. --Trans Fem Agenda 22:03, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

Yeah, a lot of governments like to pick and choose what terrorism they take umbrage with. Hence the saying "your terrorists are our freedom fighters". Luigifan18 (talk) 22:32, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
Why not just stick to one definition? If you are going to frame people for terrorism to silence dissent then you don't need multiple definitions. --Trans Fem Agenda 23:02, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
Seems fair - much like the expansion of Israeli territory has rewarded war. Aloysius the Gaul (talk) 20:04, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
Someone remind me how exactly Israel was founded again? The Zionist movement didn't get their ethnically cleansed state through holding up hands singing "Kumbaya". Carthage (talk) 04:07, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
OK - here you go......Palestine was a League of Nations mandate post WW1 as a territory taken from the Ottoman Empire. It was transferred to a UN Mandate post WW2, and it was pretty obvious that ther needed to be differetnt ethnic/religious communities, so the UN partitioned it and gave it legitimacy. Then the various neighbors of the Jewish state promised to wipe it out before it formed - so the Jewish state attacked first, and won. You can argue about Zionist violence, but the first violence in the area was British with the Balfour Declaration, and then Arab violence against increasing numbers of Jewish settlers - perfectly legitimate at that time - and especially their buying land and tossing off the long-term tenant farming families who had been on it for generations. But you an also blame Arab/Moslem landlords for that! From 1948 on you have a state existing with every single one of its neighbors avowing to destroy it....plus a few others as well! Hope that helps. Aloysius the Gaul (talk) 20:46, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
So Zionist political violence had nothing to do with the establishment of Israel? That smells like bullshit to me. Carthage (talk) 17:10, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
Yeah there are a lot of omissions above that distort history. There were various Jewish militia groups which formed during that period, the most infamous being Irgun, known for bombing the King David Hotel and committing the Deir Yassin massacre. One of its famous leaders was Menachim Begin, who founded Likud and served as PM of Israel. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 20:07, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
Too add to that, It gives an account that ignores Labour Zionist settlements that started within the 19th century, and the violent conflict between indigenous Palestinians and Zionist groups that were sprinkled throughout the decades, both under the presence of the Ottoman Empire, and the subsequent British mandate of Palestine. To act as if the project of Israel started at the time of the UN’s official establishment following WWII, kind of erases almost an entire century of Zionist political mobilization, and leaves out why a state was argued to be needed in that region to begin with. A history of ethnic displacement by Zionist groups, and anti-settler violence by indigenous Palestinians as reaction to that was already a well-established issue decades before Israel was officially established as a country. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 19:10, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Rewarding imperialism doesn't ring the same or something. BumblingBuffoon (talk) 20:50, 26 February 2024 (UTC)

Search Engine Algorithms are Fucked Up: Volume 2[edit]

It's time to bring more to this topic of the nonsense that search engines churn out, as the trouble only continues to brew. I'll keep respectfully silent after this initial post. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 02:13, 24 February 2024 (UTC)

EnshittificationWikipedia is everywhere. Bongolian (talk) 20:43, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

'Thrown to the wind' -- are wind farms really killing whales?[edit]

For those of you who are feeling a bit bored, the auld potholer54 uploaded a 25 minute long video essay today, debunking the claim that offshore wind turbines are harmful to the environment. It's pretty funny and well referenced (as per usual). Would highly recommend. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 18:49, 24 February 2024 (UTC)

Yeah, kill the whales. Knowing that there is sonar harm, we are also very interested in and aware of whales and their migratory behavior. How difficult would it be to bang out this deep section noise when the whales would be elsewhere? Torrent (talk) 07:09, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
Not to discount the obvious world of noise that permeates these areas. Just, as a motion to steel the endeavor against criticism. Torrent (talk) 07:15, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
Wind turbines do take a LOT of concrete to make, and given that the concrete is really there for mass to prevent the thing tipping over, I'm surprised they can't just used gravel for both reduced carbon and to reduce the cost. Furthermore, there's engineers looking into using solar furnaces for concrete, so in theory the carbon emissions from concrete can be reduced by a third or more. However, once built the turbine produces a lot of energy, enough that after a couple months it displaces the carbon used to make the concrete. And those things last for decades. The problems really lay with maintenance/repair as the turbine isn't easy to get to, and replaces the blades every 10-20 years. CorruptUser 19:29, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
Putting them inland has its own issues. They can be large enough that in northwestern CT, an area with hills of 1000+ foot prominence, you can see them for 20+ miles (though this just about saved my life once, on a 15 degree day I was hiking in Mount Washington MA and couldn't find the right trail down; the light was fading, so I used the flashing lights from the two turbines in Colebrook CT to get my sense of direction back). The ones in Colebrook are almost 500 feet tall and the blades are a little more than 135 feet long, and the sorts of people who can keep them operational don't grow on trees and don't necessarily live near there. Also, and I'm sure there are drawbacks to this, if they would paint these things anything besides stark white (I've never seen a turbine any other color) or at least make some minimal effort to try to make them fit with their surroundings, it would go a long way; everyone pokes fun at cell tower tree decorations, but that and even the muted colors of transmission line towers (around here they're typically a shade of brown, occasionally a muted gray) are aesthetically better. Still support the concept, always important to understand the knock-on effects of any proposed solution. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:08, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
I always chuckle at the 'visual pollution' complaint from folks, normally because I rarely see them bitching about say, electricity pylons or radio/TV transmitters. Truth is, some 85% of complaints about the turbines is just 'new things bad!' NINBYism, best dealt with by offering folks in the locality discounted electricity from said turbines. KarmaPolice (talk) 11:17, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be all or nothing, as the aforementioned cell tower tree decorations make clear. A small thing, but it looks better without decreasing functionality. And yeah, in my hometown people fought a cell tower for aesthetic reasons, it can happen; thankfully it's not nearly as common. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 13:31, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

Creationism and expansion of the Universe[edit]

The last creationist BS, picked from sites as AiG I guess, that I have picked up is that the Universe could have been created in, say, just a couple thousands of years then expanded so fast that it would seem to have an age of 13.7 billion years.

Basically, redshift does not work such way and the Universe in such case would look very differently besides stars with ages seemingly nearly as old as it are known to exist. Am I right, debunking such claim?. Panzerfaust (talk) 15:58, 25 February 2024 (UTC)

This seems like they're basically arguing "God set up the universe in precisely this way so as to appear as though it's much older than it actually is. If they're arguing that God falsified evidence, that, of itself, isn't falsifiable without falsifying God. And as the burden of proof is on the theist to prove God rather than the atheist to disprove God, I don't see this as much of an argument. Unless you either argue for old-earth creationism or, somehow, some way, shake them from their theism, I don't know how else you could debunk this belief. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 21:34, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
I mean it would also go against the claim that god is all good as god creating the universe in precisely this way so as to appear as though it's much older than it actually is would be deceitful. Lavalizard101 (talk) 21:37, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
Some sort of Omphalos hypothesis then. I dunno why I expect something logical from someone who despite accepting to be ignorant about science has claimed in the past physical laws were different, so radioactive marking and other methods would be off and has accepted the Big Bang theory but of course mixing in Genesis (ie, every time such man says something different), and this before going on with Flood-related BS. Panzerfaust (talk) 23:16, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
It's part of a spectrum of Christian ideas trying to reconcile The Bible with science. Starting with simple rejection of science with Flat Earth/Young Earth stuff; followed by ideas like the one above trying to make science fit The Bible; then Omphalos hypothesis stuff saying they are both true; then adjustment of The Bible along the lines of Day-age creationism and ending with the simple rejection of The Bible with "it's all some kind of metaphor for something or other".Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 08:13, 26 February 2024 (UTC)

Russia wanting to back Texas independence[edit]

https://www.newsweek.com/dmitry-medvedev-putin-texas-independence-texit-1872326

Knowing that it would be like Russia backing separatists in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia it would be labeled as a Military occupation.

Is Russia that determined to cause an Article 5 response from NATO? --Trans Fem Agenda 22:43, 25 February 2024 (UTC)

It is pretty obvious that Russia's top leadership pretends to lack access to Google and Wikipedia, since it's pretty easy to Google how Texas (and many other states) have had a whack-a-doodle segment that has loudly proclaimed independence, secession, blah blah blah, for a very long time. See: the nearly 30 year old attempt of the "Republic of Texas"Wikipedia as reported in the New York Times. [8] Yes, they were thought of as nuts back in the Clinton 1990s. But obviously black president made certain types very mad, allowing the nuts to creep into Republican politics. So even Rick Perry was egging on the "Texit" crowd in 2009, as I recall, years before Brexit was even a name.[9]
Now obviously, in Putin Russia, the state shitposts you, and the shitposts are even paid for by the state to boot. So I'm fairly certain Medvedev knows better. There are just too many useful idiot Republicans, sadly, who should know better as well, but end up pandering towards Russia interests. (Frankly, I'm sure some of them actually do know better, but too many are (for some reason) too scared of the Orange One to do anything about it.) BobJohnson (talk) 00:41, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
Russia's breathing new propaganda into the old, failed astroturf campaigns of circa 2017: Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia. Bongolian (talk) 04:23, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
No doubt the Texan Independence Movement has been further inspired by the enormous "success" of Brexit.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 08:04, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
If the 2021 US Capital Terrorist Attack (it was terrorism hands down) is anything to go by, many people would likely be charged with seditious conspiracy. Many separatists would likely get 20 years in the slammer for such a crime. Knowing that US military personnel and state and federal officials would be killed, there would be plenty of criminal charges that would result in the death penalty or life in prison if convicted. If Russia involved itself in a conflict like that then they would get an Article 5 response.

If they want to try, Russian soldiers and separatists would likely end up in body bags. Would it be worth it? No. --Trans Fem Agenda 23:57, 26 February 2024 (UTC)

Russia is doing a bit of shit-stirring, nothing more. They want 'us' to fight each other as much as possible, with zero intention of actually helping in any way past bots and perhaps a bit of cash. KarmaPolice (talk) 11:22, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

On Mental Health, Societal Dysfunction, The Need for Therapy, and More[edit]

Here's something I thought out just now (memory can be weird at times). I think I have another unanswered question in the back of my head again. This concerns mental health, mental care, and more stuff related to psychology. How often do you think the reason why people do rash things and cause trouble is due to a lack of proper care for their mental health? Therapy is in short supply and is woefully short-staffed, and it costs quite a bit to seek help outside of the worst cases and emergency (which only hurts the latter, as emergency care would have a lower burden if preliminary therapy prevented it). Furthermore, some folks live in areas that lack any mental help outside of online communication, which is not many options to choose from. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 13:13, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

And not having a private therapist to vent frustrations out to leads to people bottling up those awful feelings, which in turn has a detrimental effect societally, as it leads to things that would have been safely contained via therapy being released into society like a pathogen, especially on social media. These negative effects include marginalized folks saying rash things like promoting reverse discrimination or reversing societal roles, none of which would benefit society and just lead to an inverted status quo, where the oppressed becomes the oppressor. Even majorities suffer from this too, as words about entrenching their power is only going to lead to similar illiberal situations where one group lets that power get to their heads. And worst of all, the camps bouncing rhetoric off each other leads to a feedback loop of division. There's no idea if anyone's planning to put their words into action. If they had therapists to talk to, this stuff won't be out there causing trouble. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 13:13, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
Furthermore, social skills is another massive desert and void in terms of teaching methods and how it is completely bungled up in execution. I've had social skills shoved down my throat through negative reinforcement from guardian figures and school staff alike for years before. They think that subjecting me to boredom and/or emotional distress would cause me to change and become better. It's only short-term, and long-term PTSD is a likely possibility if that mindset was applied. I'm already suffering from intrusive thoughts and OCD because of this mistreatment, causing me to constantly feel concerns over what the future has in store and whether a worse case scenario would play out, stripping me of time I could have used to rest. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 13:13, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
Now some people are stubborn and/or unwilling to seek mental help, and some people don't bother because of hubris and/or power (the latter is ultimately self-harming in the end. Power in particular can have a knock-on effect on mental health.), which is another major issue. There really needs to be less social stigma on folks seeking help or therapy for ailing mental health. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 13:13, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

If your theory is correct, how come previous generations in the Anglo world didn't have this issue? I have my own theory, but want to hear others first... KarmaPolice (talk) 22:26, 15 February 2024 (UTC)

Most likely to do with ableist prejudice and a hostile environment that forced the topic to the back burner. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 05:34, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
I was medicated in middle school for anxiety with Paxil. My mom didn't like my behavior and took me. I didn't like being taken to a doctor , got interviewed and diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and prescribed Paxil. I protested enough that my mom, for months, as I'm a full 13 year old human, made me swallow the pill in front of her. Nothing changed, nothing felt better, First chance I got, I stopped taking it in secret and went through the worst withdrawal of my life. I have no interest in meth, heroin, or cocaine, because I will never forget that withdrawal. According to my mom we went back to see the doctor, she described my symptoms and he said 'so when did you stop taking it' and I froze up and she never asked me to take it again. I don't remember it that way. Unmedicated, I did fine in high school, made a lot of friends, got some scholarships. Torrent (talk) 10:06, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

Reporting bias? Clearly yes, but that doesn't explain everything. And while some conditions etc shall always exist, my personal theory is that we in the Anglosphere [with the USA at the forefront] are suffering from the psychological effects of social atomisation on a generational basis.

I subscribe to the 'Bowling Alone' theory, which tells of the decline of American social capital due to a myriad of factors from television to suburbs. I shall draw this line a little further; that a decline of social capital equals a decline in social connections, of interactions with our fellow human beings.

That we as a species need these interactions. They teach us social skills, grant us 'emotional intelligence'; giving us the tools to become part of 'the collective' when needs be. They widen our own Overton Window by reminding us of Others which aren't us. And we are a social species; we simply like being in the amiable company of others [even though some of us might have relatively low demands for this]. I firmly believe that a good % of personality disorders are created/worsened due to the lack of general social interactions that keep us grounded.

You talk about the need for 'more therapists' – I kinda disagree. For a lot of folks, I believe what they need is simply counseling. And in our pre-Bowling world, this was filled by a myriad of informal people; be it the local vicar, an member of your extended family, a Scout leader, your old school buddy or work collegue. 'Tea and sympathy', a vent over a pint in the pub, one of those heart-to-hearts at an emotionally weak moment which if the other party is tactful, shall never mention happening again. Clearly, you can't have this if you don't actually know anyone well enough to have these conversations.

Even more importantly, social connections act as a kind of community safety net. In a pre-Bowling 'town', it shall be spotted much quicker if an individual is 'going off the rails' in some manner simply because there's more regular eyes on each other. School shootings are a classic example here; there's a lot of 'red flags' in common [peer ostracisation, little/no emotional avaliablity from adult caregivers, dysfunctional/unstable home lives] which strongly suggests if only if someone was paying attention they'd spot it before it is on the evening news. KarmaPolice (talk) 23:57, 19 February 2024 (UTC)

I think that is worth it's weight. I made an appointment to see Dune 2 with a friend I go see movies with like, a year ago. He hit me up recently, we're still on for it. I am a pretty reclusive adult, but when it comes to lunches, dinners, movies, weddings, home projects, and general favors, I'll always show up. I am working on asking others if they want to come to things with me and also going to things alone. It's uncomfortable. I haven't paid a dime to experience that, just constant horrid introspection.
Being said, I don't really have a suggestion for counsel if you don't have any. There have been stressful moments in my life where I have thought, as best I can describe it, 'I need an adult,' looked around, and realized 'oh, wait, that's me.' I've survived all of them. Just a little flavor for those bowling alone. Torrent (talk) 05:27, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
Don't forget the myriad of shallow/one-off social interactions we also have; work collegues, shop assistants, the 'friend-of-a-friend' met at an event and so on. Not only does this help us keep our social skills sharp, it also unconsciously tugs us towards the Overton Window of 'socially acceptable behaviours'. In this respect, Covid was a grand social experiment - what the hell happens with people when they have months of physical social isolation. No amount of pre-pandemic 'experiments' on The Sims would have told me that I'd miss little chats with retail clerks, find the lack of the background 'hum of life' disconcerting or what the hell would happen to my appearance when released from the pressures of social conformity. KarmaPolice (talk) 18:09, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
People tend to get more 'rash' as unmanageable stress increases and their living circumstances become more desperate. Even things as simple as a heatwave can cause increases in crime for the simple reason that it probably pisses them off. More pain, more fear, more anger, worse ability to cope after you get into problems that make your mental health worse, then you can start spiralling, where one problem leads you to be more easily susceptible to another, you know, a kind of negative feedback loop of decreasing mental health, capacity to cope, and ever-increasing stress leading to even worse outcomes. I can probably find studies to substantiate the idea. But then I'd ask, how much can a therapist really help? If the problem is the environment in which someone lives that is causing mental problems to arise, what can the therapist do about the living conditions that would help the mental health issues at their source? What if 100 dollars might be more substantial for someone's well-being so they can stop worrying about paying a late rent payment that week? You can't therapy bills away. BumblingBuffoon (talk) 21:07, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Yes, and the fact you had so spell it out shows that a lot of 'therapists' and hangers-on live in a classist world where you simply don't have this 'baseload of stress/anxiety' sitting on your back; the burdens of unpaid carer duties, insecure/substandard/overcrowded housing, poor diet, long-term lack of sleep, excess workloads and so on which is already taking some of your emotional bandwidth even before the obvious 'lack of cash' one. They say money cannot buy you happiness [which I suspect is true] but sure as bloody hell it can eliminate a lot of the things which make you unhappy. KarmaPolice (talk) 22:00, 28 February 2024 (UTC)

Police brutality: Got to love it[edit]

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-february-24-2024/amp/

Does Israeli authorities really believe that police brutality is the best way to deal with a protest? Using excessive force will certainly make anti-war/government protests will turn violent. Like I said previously and I stand by it, this is a modern incarnation of the Vietnam War. The police response to the protest is like when American police used water cannons against protesters. --Trans Fem Agenda 22:23, 24 February 2024 (UTC)

Israel is an outright imperialist state that wants the eradication of the Palestine natives of the area, none of this looks new or surprising if you go back a hundred years or so to the origins of the conflict. Which have always been explicitly imperialist, and it's why it remains so today. Israel's done way worse than water blasting protesters, they've invaded areas to chase down Palestine in the past to kill them en masse. Israel is fully prepared, always has been, to commit genocide against Palestine. BumblingBuffoon (talk) 20:54, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
Thank you for the extremely self-aware username. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:40, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Thank you for the ad hominem. Carthage (talk) 05:05, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
If someone admits up front to being a bumbling buffoon, am I supposed to disbelieve it? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:50, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Are you going to make a point or just admire me? BumblingBuffoon (talk) 09:15, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Blade exemplifying the real commitment to skepticism I see on this site, equating insult with counter-argument. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 18:57, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
It's insults all the way down. That's the internetz. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:20, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
Thanks for establishing you're the heel of this discussion. Troll Carthage (talk) 18:57, 28 February 2024 (UTC)

Iowa[edit]

Even to non-Iowans, Iowa is obviously becoming infested with EXTREMELY right-wing ideology. For anyone unaware, the formerly great state, which used to have the BEST education in the country, now has one of the worst. Books are being banned left and right, mostly because of blatant homophobia. Kim Reynolds rejected federal funding for hungry children because "childhood obesity is already a big problem". Abortion policies are getting more and more restrictive. Since I, a native Iowan, hate Iowa, this post is just to shit on them. Please help me make a full list of every stupid thing Iowa has done. IDK why I am doing this, I'm just very bored

-K — Unsigned, by: AzuraSilver / talk / contribs

Its the same in Nebraska. Jim Pillen did the same thing because he "doesn't believe in welfare". Ψ (talk) 04:18, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. Bongolian (talk) 05:16, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
Why blame Iowans completely (other than for being a sucker vote for the Republicans)? Iowan public education definitely has slipped,[10][11] albeit more like from top tier to mid pack. But the Heritage Foundation loves Iowa for its current "academic freedom" (we know what that means).[12]
It is certain rich dumbass billionaires pushing the things like "charter schools" that are the core of what is hurting public education overall in the "red" states that have embraced it. (And I mean "dumbass", because anyone with a brain knows that this classist shit will dampen national brainpower in the long run. It's pretty clear more than ever that you don't have to be smart to be rich.) BobJohnson (talk) 14:16, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
Iowa and Kansas, as I remember, were always paragons of public education. I went to elementary school in a couple schools in Kansas in the 90s. I took the bus and got to school in time for everyone to get breakfast. Breakfast same as every other kid, after breakfast everyone would move to the halls and sit outside their class until school started. Moved to Nebraska, elementary school did not have a bus, didn't have breakfast. Middle school had a bus that you literally had to buy tickets for, no breakfast. Torrent (talk) 06:42, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
It's crazy because Iowa was a swing state in till quite recently. I remember when it voted for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012! I wonder what happened? Ψ (talk) 01:23, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
it sucks, I still HAVE to vote. It's a purple city in a state that went ruby red. It was the NRA and the church coffee circles. Obama was going to take the guns, that was it, and that's that whether it was true or makes sense. Obama's invented gun grab was the start of it. Remember when Obama tried to take our guns? It never happened, but some people do remember it. Torrent (talk) 07:28, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
Fox News propaganda (or worse, the Facebook boomer meme / algorithmic fake news push) unfortunately works on too many of the core demographic that Iowa has (white, rural), in spite of the Midwest rural being quite a different flavor than, say, the Southern evangelical-fried rural. (It probably didn't help that the "mainstream media" in the Trump era turned out zillions of "Cletus safari" stories focusing on Why Those Gosh Darn Rurals Voted Trump; these stories were honestly laughable to anyone who has even *visited* some of these same locales, in the same way that Fox News' California scare stories are.) However, I don't see the "ruby red" being *quite* as inevitable as a result; my perception is that the evangelical is not as strong in the rural Midwest, so the evangelical shit (or other crap like pure libertarian dreams) trying to ride the Trump wave will not work so well. Such was seen in Kansas, where Sam Brownback enshitified the budget with supply side economics so badly, a Democrat (Laura Kelly) was elected governor in 2018, and again in 2022. Kansas also solidly rejected an attempt to prohibit abortion in 2022. BobJohnson (talk) 17:45, 25 February 2024 (UTC)

I think Iowa is a good example of what a modern brain drain and economic shrinkage does for politics. They skew ever rightwards because of the continued loss of the 'rural middle class' (store-owners, the bank manager, doctor etc) which is increasing the brain drain of graduates, which means they are becoming an ever-stronger 'Other' to ruralites. Generational brain-drain can be even worse, because you can end up with a constant hum of 'seething resentment' against Those Who Left And Did Well (and we did not).

Thinkpieces;

https://www.thegazette.com/state-government/iowas-brain-drain-among-worst-in-u-s-analysis-shows/

https://www.thegazette.com/news/rural-iowa-continues-to-lose-population-how-some-small-towns-are-working-to-shrink-smart/#:~:text=Most%20small%20towns%20will%20never,over%20the%20last%20110%20years.

KarmaPolice (talk) 11:07, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

Meanwhile the Midwestern church circles drum up hate for higher education, and Midwestern lawmakers loosen regulations on child labor, thinking 'well, my kids aren't going to these bullshit woke marxist colleges, they'll learn real work like my parents.' Their fathers were drafted in wars and made a good living fixing small engines or being a carpenter in an expanding suburb, or hauling cross country. Colleges raising acceptance and tuition didn't help the American dream, but overcorrecting to child labor in positions that need to be filled by adults isn't a solution. Legal child labor is cheap, but also just child labor. The narrative that a kid can learn more working at McDonalds than they can in an American high school is stupid. If you want your kid to know how to mop, teach them to mop. Torrent (talk) 08:08, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
I can understand some of their gripes; the Anglo education system is far too geared towards 'academic success' and getting students into attending higher education so they can be turned into some kind of academic, using metrics which are geared heavily towards your ability to remember facts and spit them out on command. Vocational skills have long been neglected and yes, there is a stigma in educated middle-class circles about folks who 'work with their hands'; even if they are well-paid/skilled people in grey-collar occupations. Lastly, there's a strong element of 'utility' view about education amongst some of them; the 'learning for the sake of learning' view which educators often have leaves them cold - what the hell is the point of learning stuff which [apparently] has no 'real life' use, when that time/effort could have been put into practical skills or subjects instead?
This view can harden if you're in a community which has few highly educated white-collar occupations in it. It means when Timmy tells his parents he wants to study English and Tammy tells hers her goal is Sociology, they're unable to fathom what the hell you can do with this $100k sheepskin afterwards. That is something which isn't being an English/Sociology teacher at school. KarmaPolice (talk) 21:40, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
I actually know two people in real life that did the "rural to urban" thing once getting their degree. One (who got a degree in biology and anthropology) now resides in Atlanta Georgia (Emory). Another (who got an IT degree) went to Los Angeles via a defense company. The opportunities for these types of fields, simply put, are in the city. More than ever, actually -- while politics messes with careers less than some would think, it certainly is the case when it comes to certain things. Women's reproductive health / obstetrician careers for instance is simply going to suffer in any state that implements regressive post-Roe policies.
There's an attitude I've seen in some of "the rural class", confirmed in a study,[13] of something that IMHO seems to be getting worse - a knee-jerk anti-intellectual rejection of "elites" and "experts", no matter what. Obviously this attitude is nothing new, people have been wary of "the Ivory Towers" for a while. But it seems worse now, strangely hyper-partisan and binary for some, something that's reflected in some polls. [14] Now, I'm not bothered about anyone being wary about "elites" and "experts". There's plenty of charlatans, scams, and frauds that claim expertise (while knowing nothing). Heck, sometimes the "common sense" approach certainly has merits. However... more and more in the Trump era, experts are outright rejected simply for being Others to them. And that's not good... not only is it close-minded, but it leads to one being open to things like QAnon, where what feels true is more important than what is true. I mean, when I edited the Rod Dreher article, no matter what I think of his punditry, his depiction of the isolation he felt being bookish growing up in small-town Louisiana really was sad in many ways. Even the mere act of reading I suppose is an Other in some parts these days. BobJohnson (talk) 00:55, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Which locks back to rural brain-drain; Dreher et al felt isolated because he lived in a town where 'folks with book smarts' left and never returned. And why I find the growth of remote working and the digital realms in general interesting; that it might help staunch the bleed-out by allowing more folks to live in these small towns etc and still have a job which their education utilises. And this, hopefully will help reduce the level of Othering. Though much of this promise relies on decent service provision and infrastructure, which can be a serious ask at the best of times. KarmaPolice (talk) 02:22, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

Ghana bans LGBTQ+ identification[edit]

Ghana passes bill making identifying as LGBTQ+ illegal Ain't that lovely? 2401:7000:CA51:8100:15CB:DEB8:7070:D1D6 (talk) 08:02, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

Getting out of the way as a practical decision[edit]

Today, I was in traffic, deadlocked on a 3 lane road. I got closer to the stoplight and saw an accident had happened. Rear ender, A man was rolling around on the ground, crawling, then stopping, then crawling again. There was about 10 people surrounding. Three lanes of traffic not moving, I saw in my rearview mirror the driver behind me take a pic on their phone. A turning lane adjacent to the main road funneled into a single clear lane, my lane, I was one car back. The people helping got him stabilized in the center lane, the dinged cars were in the left lane, I was at the intersection in the right lane. A fire truck was running up, sirens blazing from the north. Great, the experts are on it, and I took my position and just drove home. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I was moving to a new apartment once in a rental box truck. Came up on a big intersection, and my buddy who was helping me goes 'there's a guy lying in the street...' A fire truck arrived and I said 'I don't think there's anything we can do' and tore out of there. Turned out the kid died, car was struck by a drunk driver. Before that I was once riding a bicycle to work because I had lost my license to a DUI. I rode into a news crew filming an empty street. Something felt off, it looked as if a tragedy had struck. Found out later I was right a man had woken up drunk and tried to take his kid to school only to get himself killed on a really difficult no light left in early morning traffic.

The point I'm trying to make, other than obviously do not under any circumstances drink if you even might have to drive, is that a lot of times, in the real world, the only thing you can do is get out of the way. It's not exactly inspiring, but as much as any first aid class or big ideals work in your head, there is a time to just make space. Torrent (talk) 08:36, 23 February 2024 (UTC)

So your argument is the bystander effect has utility? I recognize that generally leaving the situation to the experts is a good idea, but sometimes there are no experts. I suppose if the negative consequences of interfering outweigh the benefits, then the bystander effect can be ethically justified. Carthage (talk) 11:38, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
As far as I understand the Bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon, not an ethical one. The need for intervention and the "correctness" of intervening are not dependent on the number of bystanders (ie. a bleeding person needs to be taken to the hospital, whether it's just you or 20 people. However, if YOU need to intervene does depend on the number of bystanders/whether other people are intervening already). Can the bystander effect help us make utile decision? Sure, depending on the context, but otherwise these two concepts have little to do with each other and, in the case that you do find yourself withheld from intervening in a situation where you should intervene, you are to overcome the bystander effect. Hint: Singling out individuals by addressing them directly and giving precise instructions ("You, the dude in the blue shirt, call paramedics.") helps overcome the bystander effect. ULTRACOMFY (talk) 17:28, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
In my undergrad, the bystander effect was explained as a diffusion of responsbilityWikipedia. It seems that it is more a statistical effect that suggests a measurably greater degree of hesitancy to help when more people are around, but it is not this full fledged extreme phenomena of no body helping at all when many other witnesses are present. The infamous case of Kitty Genovese has been grossly exaggerated in pop culture. People did call emergency services in that case, they almost always do. People then use that to say the “bystander effect” is not real — because people always intervene. The effect as described in the literature (at least at the time I was studying undergrad social psychology) doesn’t actually make such a bold of a claim. If participants are measurably more hesitant to help while others are present, compared to the condition of participants are the only witness; I think you can say the bystander effect is real, if not a little uninteresting. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 00:01, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
I am talking about the opposite. I once was outside my apartment late at night and watched a guy rip out a screen. I called out to him, 'hey, my guy, you can't do that' he was somehow drunker than me, and he needed to get back in to get his watch and his sunglasses. I said that was fine, but he had to go in the door not the window. He showed me a tattoo and asked if I knew what that meant. I didn't so I said no. He got in my face and said 'so you're gonna call the cops?' and I said 'no, if I was gonna call the cops, I'd have done it by now.' And repeated if he wanted to get into that apartment, he had to go through the door, not the window. Now the dumbest thing that could have occured. At the window of the break-in, a woman leaned out and shouted 'get in here!' The guy climbed in the exact window I was challenging him to not climb in to. My point is closer to life is absurd, knowing when to get out of the way isn't bystander, it's active. Torrent (talk) 08:24, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

Climate Change in Real Time: Volume 2[edit]

Just got through a tornado warning the night before where I lived. No tornado hit, but it was quite close with thunderstorms and high winds. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 12:24, 28 February 2024 (UTC)

Also, where I live, I noticed that this winter has been a lot milder but way more sporadic in its cold spikes and snow cover. This seems like climate change taking its toll here. Any updates on freak weather? TheEternalOutsider (talk) 12:24, 28 February 2024 (UTC)

Personal local observations are probably not really the best way to evaluate long-term global climate change.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 15:00, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
People noticing what havoc it's wreaking can help increase the sense of urgency to do something. This is the second straight dud of a winter in New England, and the fools celebrating it notwithstanding it's made people here much more aware of how bad it's gotten and how rapidly it needs to be attacked. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:40, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
I am really pissed at the people who complain about 2°C in winter. Like, guys, this is HOT for this season. We didn't have any snow either, which used to be normal. When catastrophes like floods happen in places where there have never been floods before, when winter temperatures are already like 5 degrees hotter than what I grew up with (and I am young), this requires no discussion that we are literally personally, locally observing the effects of climate change. ULTRACOMFY (talk) 19:07, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
If I recorded how much less snow my area gets from my childhood, till now, I bet it could be published. 154.5.228.234 (talk) 21:29, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
The Atlantic actually did write about New England a little more than a year ago. It's fucking depressing. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:44, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
Since I'm from the Texas DFW area, I feel the most difference during the summer. I remember as bad as the day could be, nights were still tolerable less than a decade ago. These past two summers though, the night feels almost as bad as the day with the humidity helping to retain more heat for longer and it feels like we never get a break from the heat. Yes, the sun isn't beating on our backs, but now, the air feels like I'm in a convection oven. The worst nights are close to 100°F at around 11 PM.-Ryan1257 (talk) 00:05, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
New England (and surrounding areas) is at the opposite end. For now at least the ocean ensures the summers are still relatively more moderated (100+ remains very unusual), but the winters have gotten disgustingly warm. This area has a long and storied relationship with snow (one of the most famous English language poems is about a New England winter, and it was the camera of a Vermont farmboy which demonstrated snowflakes are unique), but it's almost entirely ruined. Plus the mild winters fools around here are celebrating have the knock-on effect of allowing ticks to flourish, to the point that it's now necessary to cull moose so ticks don't suck them to death (and, as a bonus, give us humans that quintessential New England ailment Lyme disease). And I'll take the cold over heat any day; if it's cold I can put another layer on, if it's hot I can only take them off to a point before the police get involved. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 06:08, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
By the way, I'm from the US Midwest just west of Lake Michigan. Usually, winter here is bitter cold and lasts from December to March, but December this year was near-snowless and mild, while most of February has been on and off with snow. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 16:14, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
I predicted it would get wet,didn't really think it would be west of the rockies. That California flood kinda portends a dust bowl, the ogallala aquifer is going to be critically important, I think the Missouri river will be high but hopefully the army Corps of engineers learned from the last time and will let it go before it floods homes. Torrent (talk) 06:25, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

Should Creole languages be taught in US public schools (I am American and it is what I know)[edit]

Haitian Creole is significantly easier than learning regular French. That is one example though. I am sure that Hawaiian Creole could be a good option; it is English based and it could help preserve the language. I cannot speak for other creole languages though. --Trans Fem Agenda 20:23, 26 February 2024 (UTC)

This is a really bad idea. How are you going to find and train teachers? What resources will teachers have access to? How are you going to test students? Are students going to be motivated? You know that racism is a problem in the US, right? Do you think, realistically, that white Americans are going to be motivated to learn a language spoken by black foreigners? The racists don't like Spanish in schools, but they usually tolerate it. At least with Spanish, they can speak a few words to José the pool cleaner. Learning a language is not difficult (it is time-consuming), and the degree of difficulty of the language is not the biggest factor in learners' success at learning languages; time-on-task and motivation are far more important.
The one thing I can say in your favour is that AI chatbots are soon going to be able to both teach and test obscure languages. In that case, Haitian creole would be one of many that a student might choose from. But given the choice, most won't choose it. Duncan from Teflpedia (talk) 03:00, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Hi Duncan. I agree with everything you say in your first paragraph, but I'm not persuaded by the second.
AI's are prone to "model collapse where AI generated output on the net starts to become input for new generations of AI. And the smaller the language the greater the danger of AI hallucinations building on each other and ending in utter nonsense.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:57, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
The one example I know of that is a demonstration of the "social nature of things" is Louisiana Creole.Wikipedia It is a critically endangered language. The problem with Louisiana Creole is that (regardless of race in this case, although the language was associated with Blacks and this definitely hurt) Louisiana Creole never had a "high social status", so to speak, even "back in the day". There is a dialect of French called Louisiana FrenchWikipedia that is more widely spoken in the state these days; unlike the creole language, this language had enough "social status" to survive various teaching bans etc. over the years. Although the language has considerably declined from its heyday, it is not endangered, and there is now is some effort to revive the language even institutionally (eg through some school immersion programs). Not so with the Creole, unfortunately. BobJohnson (talk) 03:51, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Essentially, no creole had high status "back in the day". They start out languages of intercommunication between speech communities, they are initially they are minimalist languages used for trading, not literacy. The problem with teaching them in public school is that they are not useful for most people. Haitian Creole is really only useful in Haiti, Tok Pisin is only useful in Papua New Guinea, etc. English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and even Russian are useful in multiple countries, and so are more applicable to public schools. Languages of narrower use are occasionally taught at some colleges; for Haitian Creole, the University of Florida has courses.[15] Bongolian (talk) 04:36, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
I imagine one additional factor is that creole / pidgin languages have a "root", and as per above, it is more useful to formally educate on the "root". My understanding is that if you know Louisiana French (which is not too different from standard French), you can understand a significant portion of Louisiana Creole. This matches my experience with English-based creole / pidgin languages (for example, the BBC News website written in West African Pidgin English is quite readable to me). BobJohnson (talk) 14:28, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
You can learn a language without a human teacher - to some extent. Back in the 90s I was put through mandatory Welsh lessons weekly; as neither of our teachers could teach it themselves (which is not surprising as a lot of Welsh aren't proficient in Welsh), we basically relied on videos, audio cassettes and workbooks. My second school was large enough to have a 'Welsh form' (ie a class which was taught only in Welsh) which meant we could occasionally 'borrow' their teacher when it came to improving spoken Welsh.
I generally thought doing this was a total waste of time then, and my view of it has not improved much since. Welsh is of little utility these days, as almost all Welsh-speakers also speak English (might be good re. employability in the civil service, mind). More importantly, Welsh lessons were taking up 4% of our lesson-time which meant the were things that had to be dropped to make room - and this would be higher for teenagers. On an purely utilitarian angle, if you are gonna whip kids through a foreign language, you might as well pick one which is widely spoken in the world (and by people who don't all speak English too). KarmaPolice (talk) 20:48, 27 February 2024 (UTC)
Interesting to hear your experience. When I was a child in Wales I also had to sit through incomprehensible Welsh lessons. Kind of sorry I didn't pick some up. I can still really nail Welsh pronunciation though. It's quite funny listening to most English speakers attempt to pronounce the Welsh town "Llanelli".
Now I live in the Basque Country in Northern Spain - and the situation is incredibly similar. Kids being forced to learn Basque when they have really no interest in it. And everyone speaks Spanish anyway which is another big international language. To be fair, they are also obliged to learn English - which has obvious utility. But what they are finding is that academic standards in all subjects are dropping - almost certainly because they are not focusing things properly.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 20:12, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
big idea into the pot, Sign Language instead. I know there's not a universal, but I took six years of French and the most I've used it for is kinda understanding Mexican Spanish with a lot of context and a lot of body/emotional language. Torrent (talk) 08:44, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
However, Welsh/Basque language lessons have a non-utilitarian strand; that of 'cultural identity'. It's the tongue of their fathers and learning that can rolled into a kind of 'regional identity' lessons [which is why the Prod NI parties collaped Stornmont over Irish Gaelic lessons in schools] - like Bob, my little bit of Welsh has long since evaporated but I can still pronounce places like 'Machynlleth' correctly [or at least 'less wrong'] and the lessons I remember were more about the history/culture of Wales. In this case, that 4% of lesson-time wasn't a total waste, and perhaps English schools should also have a 4% teaching [in a non-propagandist/racist/political/supremicist manner] how being English is also great.
Speaking sign language lessons in schools, well the Welsh Government is ahead of you... KarmaPolice (talk) 21:09, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
I want to be tongue in cheek here, but I've never met a Welsh person, I don't think. I have seen a guy 'speaking in tongues' and I guess there's no proof it wasn't. But honestly, on reflection, it still makes a lot of sense, which is rare for my ideas. Good on the Welsh to just want to be understood in a corner store. Torrent (talk) 06:22, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

State of Freedom on Earth: Still declining[edit]

Well, it's about time I bring this up. [16] TheEternalOutsider (talk) 23:39, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

For some information, violence and organized crime in Ecuador led to it falling from Free to Partly Free, while a new election in Thailand goes relatively smoothly allowing it to rise from Not Free to Partly Free. (Somehow, Niger barely remains Partly Free at 33 points after the coup last year, but it did lose 18 entire points.)

The US remained the same score but with two changes (The lost point had to do with Roe v. Wade being overturned) (83/100) [17], Israel lost three points due to Netanyahu both stacking the courts as well as invoke legislation to evade scrutiny, causing it to drop from 77 points to 74 points. [18]. Palestine's Gaza Strip lost three points too from 11 to 8 points [19] (Palestine's West Bank remains at 25/100 Not Free) TheEternalOutsider (talk) 23:39, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

There is something kind of bizarre in the idea of quantifying freedom like it’s a tangible thing. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 23:48, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Other groups have attempted to quantify freedom as well. See RSF for instance, who annually publish a report on media freedom in various countries as well as the pecking order in terms of how friendly a country is to journalists. TheEternalOutsider (talk) 23:53, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Still doesn’t make any less bizarre, in that, the very notion seems to be a conceptually confused reification. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 00:05, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
That's the case with any numerical rating reduction, but it still can provide some sort of framework for discussion if you know how the numbers came about. Broadly speaking, Freedom House's "Freedom of the World" index attempts to quantify an assessment of civil liberties and public political rights in a nation, with this concept of freedom (as they claim) derived from the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can find the questions they asked for 2024 here: [20] BobJohnson (talk) 00:49, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
"That's the case with any numerical rating reduction" I think that in part depends on the measure and what is being measured. There are some thing that seemingly can only be verified by self-report, and placing that upon a likert scale does not necessarily portray itself as being any sort of direct measure about what is being indirectly inferred about. I can ask subjects to rank their current mood from 1 to 7, with 1 being very unhappy, and 7 being very happy. There is an implicit recognition that what is being done in such a context is somewhat arbitrary, but it is still only working to establish an explicit judgement that only the subject can make about themselves. Even then, such means of measure are deeply controversial. Within the bio-physical sciences, measures are taken as abstract representations of something that exists concretely and thus is not a reification. The individual electron really does have an individual electric charge which exists (presumably) objectively. At the end of the day, the means to measure the electric charge relies on the physical interaction between the property and the means of measurement. Mercury expands with rising temperature, there is a physical connection between the means of measure and property-being-measured. Even in the likert scale case, part of the whole conceit is that something like "happiness" is something that exists subjectively. I don't really see any analogies to "freedom" here. It really seems we'd be running against Goodhart's LawWikipedia here and the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Hence it being kind of bizarre. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 04:47, 2 March 2024 (UTC)

David Goggins[edit]

Anyone familiar with this dude and what he does? From what I gather he’s the definition of survivorship bias as he thinks having a gritty mindset is what led to his success and I’m tired of arguing with people using him as an example for others not trying hard enough. Also he gives me the vibes that he’s MAJORLY compensating for something. 47.5.66.54 (talk) 19:20, 28 February 2024 (UTC)

Don't know the chap - but perhaps comparisons to UK children's TV series Postman Pat's Mrs Goggins? Anna Livia (talk) 00:29, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Don't know him either, the WikiWikipedia suggests that he's a former Navy SEAL and ultramarathon runner who got into the self-help book selling / motivational speaker business. Further Googling suggests that he came there from being quite out of shape, and he quite probably *did* accomplish a lot through a single-minded focus on fitness.
For groups that Accomplish Something, there's always going to be a set of some people who Brag to the point where they become Asshole. No different in physical fitness; some fitness communities in fact (eg Crossfit) seem to have a reputation for producing people who can't stop bragging and are obnoxious about it. However, at this point, I don't have enough information to say whether or not Goggings falls into this category. (Actually, my first impression of his self-help stuff is "I've seen worse...") BobJohnson (talk) 14:42, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

I guess the group the listens to him think that hard work and this level of pushing yourself is how you succeed at anything in life. But what they fail to understand is that stories like his are the exception, not the rule. But people like him take being lucky for being right and as a result you end up with a whole crowd of people arguing that people don't achieve anything in life because they "give up" which is far from the truth. The fact is many work hard as hell and end up nowhere, it's not a lack of drive that prevents people from succeeding but rather luck. Though that doesn't sell books or make for a good message because people don't like to think their lives are out of their hands. Literally anyone who has taken a sociology course can see messages like Goggins aren't just wrong but damaging as well.47.5.66.54 (talk) 03:47, 5 March 2024 (UTC)

Putin's nuclear dick waving. Got to love it[edit]

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.the-sun.com/news/10546592/putin-hiroshima-blast-land-grab-europe-russia-moldova-transnistria/amp/

I guess Putin wants to up the ante using his puppet state of Transnistria. --Trans Fem Agenda 23:45, 1 March 2024 (UTC)

Putin threatening to use nukes is one of the most ignorable things ever. He won't use them because he isn't committed to suicide. BumblingBuffoon (talk) 03:56, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
Considering Russia has to import munitions from North Korea and the sorry state of its army, it's understandable such dick waving as Putin knows no one is going to test if they're in a state as bad as Russian armed forces. Panzerfaust (talk) 10:30, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
This is good news; every time the Czar talks of nuclear fireballs, anti-war sentiment within Russia goes up. KarmaPolice (talk) 11:48, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
And there will be a certain 'anti-war sentiment' in the leaderships of the Beijing, Mongolia and the Stans. (How far would the US and Putin take 'If you are not with us you are against us.' line?) Anna Livia (talk) 13:38, 3 March 2024 (UTC)

Another portion of my novel[edit]

“”Sasha went into the Apple Creek Gas Station nonchalantly. He looked around just to make sure that nobody familiar saw him. Moving through the building Sasha grabbed a hoodie and sunglasses. Then he grabbed some drinks, snack foods and bubble gum. Nobody in the building gave no mind to him; perfect. Sasha did not want anybody to recognize him. What made it better was the fact that this was not his neighborhood.

At the checkout counter Sasha gave the cashier his things to be rung up. Behind the counter was a small TV playing the news. On that TV was a special report where riot police were facing off against a large mob. The mob showed absolutely no mercy. Riot police who went down were pinned by their assailants. A news reporter said, “This is Jack Zacharah with WCSA news in central Detroit. As you can see in the distance there is a massive riot. Police are failing to restore order. From my understanding there have been multiple casualties”. Sasha saw police cars flipped over and burning.

The reporter continued, “While unconfirmed there have been reports of the rioters being infected with the new Chickenpox strain. I have seen adults, the elderly, teens and even young children fighting against the police”. A loud explosion could be heard on the TV as a police car crashed into a gas station. The reporter went to talk until a police officer came up saying, “Please clear the area. The situation is out of control. I need you to get indoors…..”, a guy jumped up and chomped the cop on the back of the head. The reporter and camera guy ran, the station cut back to the news desk with the anchor saying, “We cannot show that. I hope that our crew is safe”. Then came an Emergency Alert System activation.

Sasha gave the clerk the money and took his stuff. He went outside to see several police cars and ambulances rush by with their sirens going. Right now he had one stop to make- going to George’s to give him the love letter. He knew that his love lived nearby in this neighborhood. The pain in his nose was causing major problems. A dribble of pus and blood came from the bandaged nose. Sasha knew that he should rest considering that he had just got out of the hospital but that was not an option.

Leaving the gas station Sasha saw a guy shambling towards him. This guy looked like a middle aged Romani man. His shirt, which would have looked nice before, was stained with blood splatter. A large bite wound was on the man’s neck. Pus and some other fluids discharged from the neck wound. Even being twenty feet away Sasha could smell the man. He stunk like roadkill. Sasha went to run past him but the sickly man grabbed him with intense force. Sasha hit the ground as the beast climbed on top of him. A loud scream erupted from him as teeth latched onto his ear. Sasha tried to fight him off but those teeth clenched harder. Blood poured down the side of his head. The beast, with one powerful pull, ripped off his ear. Sasha screamed in agony.

The beast chomped on Sasha’s head, causing him to scream more. Suddenly a loud blast could be heard; the beast slumped over. The gas station clerk used his gun to kill Sasha’s assailant. “Hey kid, are you okay?” asked the clerk. Sasha croaked, “I hurt”. The clerk brought Sasha back in and grabbed the first aid kit. A woman in the gas station called 911. Putting on some gloves the clerk began to bandage the wound. Sasha said, “Thanks man”. Unknown to Sasha and the clerk, they had both become infected with the new virus.

An ambulance and police car pulled up into the parking lot. Sasha watched as emergency crews wearing masks came in. The cop that came in looked a lot like George except that he was bigger and wore a police uniform. Sasha recognized the man, he was George’s dad. Neither of them were on good terms. Sasha was not looking forward to this encounter. Police chief Hyun wore an angry expression on his face, he could tell despite the face mask. Sasha was more terrified of the cop than the thing that had attacked him.

Chief Hyun said to Sasha, “It is the freak that corrupted my son”. Those words came out like cold venom. Sasha managed to say, “Being gay is natural. I did not corrupt anybody”. Chief Hyun responded, “I should kill you but I cannot legally do that”. Paramedics took over and began administering pain medicine. New bandages were put on. A crackle came over the chief’s radio, “We got a 150. A suspect named Sasha Marzano is wanted for theft”. A malicious smile erupted on Chief Hyun’s face, “Guess what you little shit? Once you get treated at the hospital, your dad will be having a word with you”. The paramedics loaded Sasha on to a stretcher and then to an ambulance. The store clerk was arrested for murder.

Sasha was out like a light as the pain medicine kicked in. A horrific nightmare took place. In the nightmare Sasha was being chased by people that hated him. However these people did not have human heads. These people’s heads looked like virus particles. Sasha fought them off although one of them who looked like Principal Kingston bit him on the leg. Sasha kicked the monster version of the principal in the head hundreds of times. Finally it let go. Sasha then found himself inside a warped version of his school. It was filled with the same monsters.

I will have my character be immune to the virus but unlike a lot of zombie fiction it will cause detrimental effects. The virus will cause my character to lose most of their vision and make them weaker. The concept of a zombie infection making people strong is overrated. --Trans Fem Agenda 16:52, 2 March 2024 (UTC)

I have to say, that was kinda riveting to read. Quite clunky at times, but I feel like you have a good nose for action packed scenes.
"This guy looked like a middle aged Romani man." Will he be a recurring character? Cause if not, I feel like you can leave that detail out, make the paragraph a bit more snappy. Kinda like, nameless NPC's in video games. Describing them too much just takes up time.
"Unknown to Sasha and the clerk, they had both become infected with the new virus." I feel like you can just cut that straight out. "Show, don't tell" and all that jazz. You can let the reader gradually figure out the fact that he is infected at the same pace that Sasha himself comes to the realisation. - Rairyu75 (Talk) 05:13, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
The guy who attacks Sasha was a random zombie. I will cut the part you mentioned. --Trans Fem Agenda 15:15, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
The zombie that attacks Sasha will have a backstory. --Trans Fem Agenda 19:00, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
Going to delay reading under I get back to proofreading from chapter 3 onward.
Your storyline seems solid. Main main criticisms are mostly just various combinations of "polish". CorruptUser 02:07, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/16QuX-g-GtLQQsyI_DTh6Rb3kkJnqy_BBy03n8UOEL5k/edit?usp=sharing Here is the whole document. --Trans Fem Agenda 16:34, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
If I may recommend, get yourself a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, read it, and take it to heart. Get a modern edition; the original was written about 100 years ago and some things have changed. Nowhere Man (talk) 19:39, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
There are better guides to fiction writing. Or better yet, sign up for a creative writing course where the tutor will guide you through what is expected in contemporary fiction writing. Aiming for good writing isn't going to be good enough to get published. You will have to strive for brilliant. Duncan from Teflpedia (talk) 04:11, 5 March 2024 (UTC)
pen to paper, as it were, is the most important step. Keep on, let the story get where it needs to go and then talk about finishing. Some of my favorite reads are plays. I have had a better time reading most Shakespeare than I have ever had while watching a stage production. Torrent (talk) 07:03, 5 March 2024 (UTC)

US Election: 8 months to go[edit]

It's almost the end of February 29 of a leap year. And years divisible by 4 are traditionally election years for US president. But there is some worrying trends out there involving the increasingly hostile atmosphere of the US elections. As Freedom House puts it:

“”In the United States, harassment and intimidation of federal, state, and local politicians, election administrators, and judges pose a serious challenge to the conduct of November’s presidential election. Threats of violence can have far-reaching, harmful effects, potentially undermining compliance with election rules or deterring participation entirely. Actual violence related to political disputes can and has cost people their lives. Still haunted by the January 2021 attack on the Capitol and related court cases, Americans are heading into a decisive election starkly divided, with some questioning the very utility of fundamental democratic institutions.

This is quite concerning for an event that notoriously sees copious amounts of verbal mudslinging, which itself will be even more severe in scope than it already is. Anything to corroborate on this? TheEternalOutsider (talk) 23:57, 29 February 2024 (UTC)

What's going to help here in 2024 is a few things. The first is that many states have passed various laws specifically designed to protect poll workers. This obviously doesn't include states trying to ride the Trumpism wave (hi, Ron DeSantis' Florida!) but it will help in the states where such has passed. The second is Rudy Giuliani getting slammed with an "expensive" defamation judgement against him regarding lies he pushed about poll workers, as well as the expensive defamation judgments concerning Dominion Voting Systems and others. At least some of the intimidation comes from rubes who believed key folks lying through their teeth and intentionally spinning up alternate universes. These lawsuit results might temper some of the direct attacks on poll workers etc. Lastly, my personal perception is that although Trumpism has swallowed the Republican party, "Trumpism", the source of much of the above "keyboard warrior" "thuggery", isn't quite what it used to be in, say, 2016. It's still around, of course, and I'm certain there will still be some threats in 2024, but it's very possible that the violence actually peaked with the shitty autocoup attempt on January 6 2021. (Maybe.) BobJohnson (talk) 01:34, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
I don't believe it for a second. Keep in mind I said things were about to get stupid before Jan 6, and a lot of people poo-pooed my prediction. Donald Trump is going to win the next election, it's not tea leaves, it's listening to people who cannot be spoken to. Torrent (talk) 05:12, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
The people who branded themselves as the silent majority when they were noisy, are now actually doing it. Republicans will vote Trump. It's nonsense to think democrats can win with Biden. I am still in a purple city, I voted Hilary, I voted Biden, I will tie a rubber band around my nuts and tuck my dick between my thighs and vote Biden, because it's a literal purple city count and as much as I'd love to protest vote, my vote actually matters. full support to any protest vote, wish I could do that, you're doing the real American work https://youtu.be/drr8e0BjT8M?feature=shared Torrent (talk) 07:08, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
From my keyboard on the other side of the Atlantic, my view is that the key factor in this election will be 'Biden's "dementia"'. I don't believe that Trump as a candidate is capable of reaching out past his previous voter-base [even he tries any 'getting down with the blacks/kids' tokenism] and voter suppression strategies will be partly nullified by demographic changes [I worked out a while back that demographic wise, the core Republican base will be about 1% smaller than it was in '20].
Thus, if you are in a situation where you cannot really gain new Trump voters and the current crop is being 'trimmed off the voting roll' by the Reaper, your only real hope is to convince '20 Biden voters to either go for a third party or stay at home because 'Old Joe is senile'.
My current concern is that the White House is stonewalling this topic; blaming 'the media' for bringing it up and so on [erm, isn't this important for a senior elected official, like when folks asked whether Fetterman was going to make a full recovery from his stroke to perform his duties as a Senator?]. When Biden went for his annual health-check at Walter Reed [was it yesterday?] it seemed a 'lost trick'; why couldn't he have a cognitive check as well as his physical, then release the results? Fine, his doctors felt he 'didn't need' one [let's take Biden's spokesperson at their word here] - but wouldn't the old politico know [or his political advisors] that if you're being slimed about 'being senile', one of the best ways to shut them up is to produce a document from respected doctors saying you're not?
This is the problem. The fact Biden did not do this could make more people suspect he's hiding something [or perhaps people are hiding it from him] in regard to his mental fitness. That he didn't have the check because he was worried he wouldn't pass it - or even worse, 'Biden's controllers' did not... KarmaPolice (talk) 13:53, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
The "Democrat marketing machine" at least seems to have woken up (a little) and started making (a few) noises about Trump's age and associated decline. I guess it's easier to sling shit than disprove a negative. (One factor here: I *do* think it's obvious that Biden has aged. He doesn't have anything *too* debilitating like dementia, but he's also not as sharp as he used to be. Of course, I can say these exact same words about Trump, too, with the addendum that Trump seems to be getting more unhinged and incoherent as he ages, IMHO.)
From my perspective, this is an election of "who stays home and who doesn't?". Trump has his Biggest Fans, but also a lot of conservatives or "conservative independents" who are repelled by him. How many will hold their nose and vote Republican anyways? No one is really enthused about Biden, either (least of all "liberal independents"). How many of these people will hold their nose and vote Biden anyways? Will various issues (like Trump's criminal cases, Biden's support of Israel, or the fact that they are both geriatrics that are obviously way past their "sell by" date) cause some people to stay home?
Trump obviously cannot be counted out. Just having a Biggest Fan base means that if enough people stay home, he'll be in. But one big reason not to count the Democrats out either is the very noticeable "post-Roe bump" in elections. A lot of young women aren't liking the political party that effectively nixed Roe and brings you the judges saying things like, well, God doesn't like in vitro fertilization and therefore it should be banned. (I mean, even Trump is actually smart enough to tiptoe around reproductive issues. For some reason, other Republicans aren't following his lead...) BobJohnson (talk) 15:30, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
Even if they're total assholes, I respect people slightly more if they're upfront about what they believe. Given the unpopularity of anti-choice legislation, I would very much prefer that Republicans are loud and clear about their desire to implement it. The Democrats suck, but they're so much better and this is one of their best talking points. IntrepidSkeptic (talk) 22:01, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
Unfortunately, BobJ I think the answer to 'will disgusted mainline Republicans vote Trump?' will be a resounding 'yes'. For the following reasons;
-Lots of them only object to Trump's 'rudeness', not his policies. Re tax cuts, 'stopping gives', scrapping green protections etc.
-Some only object to the bashing laws if they hurt them personally. Re abortion bans are fine for the plebs, but hit my daughter's right to have a 'short vacation' to a state where it's legal... This is what I call the 'Dick Cheney effect'; that the day his daughter came out was the day he became a selfish, silent (and limited) ally for American gays.
-Like in the UK with the 'moderate Conservative', the 'moderate Republican' has no balls. They mainly bitch and gripe, but vote Red anyway.
-The historical revisionism regarding Jan 6th has been in full swing; coupled with people's natural habit to try to 'rationalise' the event means that some folks who wouldn't vote for him in '22 might have forgotten enough to do so in '24. Similar goes for COVID; even for me, it takes a conscious effort to recall how shit he was. KarmaPolice (talk) 11:16, 2 March 2024 (UTC)
The Dick Cheney reference is wild, because rabid republicans do not even do the first step in mental gymnastics. It is really hard to figure out. The response to Trump being a multiple divorcee and talking about his daughter as a sex object is 'well, can you blame him?'. His whole rhetoric is, 'I've been listening to the people' and it's not true up until the point people start saying it. I've been struggling to understand what makes a Christian Nationalist love Trump. It has to be the idea of sin today, gone tomorrow. In the age of the internet, A lot of anti-sin leaders are easily outed. But most of them apologize, and say the devil made them do it. What they truly believe is the devil is in charge of the Democratic party. Not that they are accidentally under the influence, as may happen to any upstanding and outspoken leader, but that it is part and parcel to vote Satan if you vote democrat. And as much as it doesn't square, that's a line that a lot of God fearing 'my parents voted rep' voters will not cross. I don't think new independent voters will be much different from 2020, but I also don't think Mrs. Haley is a relevant statistic, as much as I appreciate her 'don't kiss the ring' rhetoric, what is she going to do, endorse Biden? In as much as Donald Trump's personal character was unimportant in 2016 or will be in November, if he's the lead, he gets the vote. Joe Biden won in 2020 because he wasn't Trump, but the fact remains he is now 4 years into office Joe Biden and Trump is four years out. I don't hold a lot of faith in the middle US turning out for Biden like they did 4 years ago. Biden WAS the viable protest vote. That is not a two term platform. Torrent (talk) 06:27, 5 March 2024 (UTC)
'I/them are being hurt, and that's bad' is hardly the most strenious of mental gymnastics. A butt-load of right-wingers don't give much of a toss about faceless Other people, but the day you hit someone they actually care about [including self]... whoa! Quote of the day; from a MAGA-supporter during the '19 govt shutdown; 'they're hurting the wrong people!' - I strongly suspect this 'wrong people' was them personally and/or in their immediate circle.
Anyway, the fundies love Trump mainly because their pastors etc have sold the Orange Idol to them. The narrative appears to roughly be that while he is 'a broken vessel', the LORD is working through Trump to do His will; that he is 'a new Cyrus', smashing through the resistance to their Dominionist dreams. And he has delivered; I mean, being a Dominionist was bascially the first qualification to be a Trump appointee to be a judge or other federal official, while Dominionist pastors/propagandists enjoyed a run of DC which they would never get even in part if it was down to their actual talents/competence alone.
Naturally, Trump is okay with this because these pastors etc don't deign to criticise his own freedoms to be a sin-ridden blue suited leather/toupee combo - he is not the first nor last leader who shall chall be deeply hypocritical, sampling the myriad of vices [in private] forbidden to his plebs. And the pastors etc are complicit in this, because they either gloss over or ignore entierly said hypocrisy to their flocks. KarmaPolice (talk) 09:55, 5 March 2024 (UTC)

┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘

If you keep in mind that "Christian nationalism" and "white nationalism" go hand in hand, and have historically done so for a long time, a lot of the evangelical capitulation to Trump makes sense. I mean, the largest fundie group in the US (Southern Baptist Convention) essentially was founded as a pro-slavery / pro-racism church. (Now, from my point of view, I think that any long-term seething at Others contradicts the very f'n text of the New Testament. But people will cherry pick any text to find what they want, I suppose.) What's somewhat relatively new is the politics -- the deep alignment of the church with the Republican party and the capitulation towards certain issues as a result. Notably, for instance, evangelicals were more nuanced on abortion until Jerry Falwell etc. started promoting anti-abortion in the late 1970s. This not only aligned the evangelicals with the Catholics, but also gave a more "respectable" cover for the pro-segregation origins.[21] I would also say that Falwell's Moral Majority is when the evangelical political alignment truly began as well, which only got deeper over time. So yes, we're at the point where Donald Trump -- a sleazy con artist who has fucked porn stars while married multiple times -- is thoroughly worshiped by a considerable amount of the so called "moral majority" crowd. On the surface, this doesn't make sense, of course -- who would preach morality out of one mouth and preach someone as immoral as Trump out of the other? But when you recognize the shared racism etc. between Trump and this crowd, it does make sense.
At any rate, the net result of several decades of deep political ties, of which on some issues actually is contradictory to the text of their very own Bible IMHO, has been considerable long-term damage to the American Christian institution, damage that has been quite evident especially over the last 20 years. Which makes sense: if liberals, or even certain so-called "liberal" things like actually treating homosexuals as human beings, now makes you an unpardonable devil, you are effectively closing off the church to a huge portion of the population. (Such is covered in the Religious Right article; the rot even extends to American Catholic leaders these days, of whom Pope Francis seems especially pissed off at of late.) Obviously, the American church is not a monolith; not all churches are Trumpy, and there has certainly been some push-back from preachers / clergy who can see the damage being done from the Trumpy preacher crowd. For those who politicize the church, though, I hope they are happy that they are a big reason why a majority of the US are no longer a member of any church. BobJohnson (talk) 15:57, 5 March 2024 (UTC)
Yes... But who is in charge? I've come to the conclusion that when it comes down to it, the Religious Right is holding the whip, not MAGA - that Trump is basically 'their hire'. Thus the thing I wonder is how self-aware the fundie leadership is; whether (for starters) they appreciate their power-base is shrinking in both relative and absolute terms? (From the recent Baptist convention, my guess is 'not at all'). KarmaPolice (talk) 18:51, 5 March 2024 (UTC)

Gullible user spreading AI-generated shit[edit]

How do I contact or talk to someone on this site?[edit]

I can't find any way to do it. I updated the Electric Universe page this morning but it was deleted (it seems they want a citation, which can be provided), and no one contacted me to explain or anything. Thank you for your help.— Unsigned, by: Ethan Spinner / talk / contribs

Thanks to whoever messaged me, but I was asking for a way to talk to people, which I can't find. Can someone please explain how to communicate with other members/mods across this site please?— Unsigned, by: Ethan Spinner / talk / contribs
You can leave a note on Rairyu75's talk page as that account did the revert. If you have a citation and it fits, likely you can just revert the revert and add the citation.BobJohnson (talk) 21:12, 6 March 2024 (UTC)
Standard proceedure; raise the issue on the relevant Talk page. This case being Talk:Electric_Universe. If you have citation(s) for the wiped section in question, simply add it to the text ('ref' tags, under 'Wiki markup' box below) in question and re-do. like BobJ said. Hint; we also like names, not vageness like 'a student' 'an Australian university' or 'relevant experts'. Oh, we also like decent sources too - rando blogs of nobodies and similar don't really count here. KarmaPolice (talk) 21:14, 6 March 2024 (UTC)
Sorry to do this again, but I still need help. Someone called Rairyu75 messaged me and said: 'By clicking on "Recent changes" on the column to your left, you will see everyone's contributions. Everyone can see your edits. As a new account, sysops see a big red exclamation mark. Feel free to write here and we will respond.' How? I don't see any way to post anything on that page. If I click on a mods name, it takes me to a page that I also have no way to post on. It could be I'm dumb and missing something, I often find myself doing that, but a bit more explanation might help.— Unsigned, by: Ethan Spinner / talk / contribs
I believe the user is explaining how they noticed your edit and by 'write here and we will respond' I suspect they mean by opening a topic on the relevant Talk page [ie the link I provided above] or on the user's own talk page [as the link BobJ provided above]. KarmaPolice (talk) 21:47, 6 March 2024 (UTC)

The Israeli-Hamas War reminds me of the Vietnam War (hear me out)[edit]

In nearly five months the IDF has failed to bring down the Hamas government in Gaza, the IDF has flattened buildings, the IDF has displaced over a million people, the IDF has killed some of the Israeli hostages and there is nothing to show for it. Hamas keeps recruiting new fighters due to not having many standards for fighters. The Hamas military is fluid in nature where fighters and even commanders can be replaced with ease. Hamas can easily rebuild itself. Many people around the world oppose the war.

During the Vietnam War, the South Vietnamese government and western forces killed a bunch of people, flattened buildings, got civilians killed and they still couldn't bring down the Vietcong. The Vietcong could easily replace fighters and have the backing of Soviet countries. Many people worldwide opposed the war.

Israel will not be able to defeat Hamas when it functions both as a government that has some international backing and a terrorist organization in which fighters could be replaced with ease. Israeli civilians will increasingly oppose the conflict.

This war is Israel's version of the Vietnam War. --Trans Fem Agenda 00:21, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

If Israel holds back from full-scale war in southern Gaza and where refugees are gathered, then it may very well end up like that. It seems Netanyahu wants to drag out the war over time and use it as a means to staying in power throughout a time of deep unpopularity. However, there's also the possibility that Israel ends up going full steam ahead and steam-rolling all the refugees in exactly the way that Biden now apparently fears. If they do that, they thereby cross the threshold to genocide in a way that irrevocably changes their relation to the international community. It is still possible for Israel to truly crush Hamas and win militarily, but only at the cost of killing a large portion of the Palestinian people (deaths increasing many times). What path will they take, which bad end to it all? --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 00:39, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Even if Hamas is defeated, new terrorist groups like Hamas will replace them. There are also current groups allied with Hamas such as Hezbollah. Israel is pouring fuel on the fire. --Trans Fem Agenda 00:54, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Yes, such a victory would bring great risk of war with other groups. If no such group can grow out of Gaza any longer, it may grow out of a radicalized (post-destruction of Gaza) West Bank. There'd also be other players in neighboring countries ready to join the fray in such a future. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 01:40, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
It's quite a thing to foretell the future as an adumbration of the past. In fact, what else can one do, knowing as little as we do of these matters but tell one another stories of the past? Peoples can be conquered. There are some similarities between the war in Gaza and the Viet Nam war, yet not so many that I would accept a close analogy. To begin with, Israel is not engaged in fighting someone else's civil war, as were the Americans in Viet Nam. They regard Hamas as an existential threat. The Domino theory was a poor rationalization for defeating the spread of Communism in Indochina. The war was intended to reify a battle of wills between Chinese communism and western capitalism.Ariel31459 (talk) 01:57, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Minus the Civil War, there are similarities. I could argue that the United States is acting similarly like in Vietnam by backing Israel in "The fight against terrorism" while Iran backing Hamas and Hezbollah in "the fight against western powers". --Trans Fem Agenda 02:57, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
5 months isn't really much time in the context of a war. Come back to me when this has been going on for 5 years, maybe. And I'm not buying the argument that destroying Hamas necessarily means another group will form; no one has replaced the Tamil Tigers or the ETA, and the groups who claimed to replace the IRA haven't (we may be thankful) carried out anything meaningful since Omagh in 1999. Making that happen will absolutely require someone besides Netanyahu and his hard-right cabinet, but it doesn't follow that Israel therefore should do nothing. Also, disband the UNRWA. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:03, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
I see you still haven't read any of the counterinsurgency manuals I linked to you. The way Israel is conducted this war is bad counterinsurgency. Collective punishment is bad counterinsurgency. This is basic insurgency theory. Carthage (talk) 08:56, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Thing is, I don't think Bibi and his cabinet are aiming for a "good" counterinsurgency. I don't really think they believe what they are doing is working either, if the goal is to ultimately find peace. It's about keeping power and about fulfilling the sadistic fantasies of his supporters for whom cruelty IS the point. It's not about actually finding a solution. Having an an enemy is good for Bibi, and looking like you're showing no mercy to them is also good for him. NastyNugget (talk) 09:35, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

The OP's point can [and my opinion, should] be filed under 'reasonable comment'. For example, @The Blade of the Northern Lights the Gaza War can [and again, should] be seen in through the prism of being yet another part of the 'Israeli-Palestinian War' which has been going on since 1945, just like the 'Vietnam War' was just a later stage of the 'Indochina War' which ran from 1945 to 1989 [starting with the Viet Minh declaring independence from France at the end of WW2 and ending with the final withdrawral of Vietmamese troops in Cambodia].

The critical issue for American failure can be said the same as repeated Israeli failure; that of lack of 'joined up thinking'. General Westmoreland failed in Vietnam for a good part because he and his staff had 'professional blinders' on; they only thought in military terms, not the socio-politico-economic sphere which was creating/sustaining the continued popular resistance against the corrupt Saigon regime and by extension, the Americans. It was only being held up by the continued presence of overwelming military force; the moment it was removed the state fell over.

Israel is suffering the same problem; that it is attempting to find a 'military solution' to the Palestinians minus any socio-politico-economic reforms, mainly because the domestic political calculus makes any reining-back of the ultra-Zionists/fascists/settler/Islamaphobic communities impossible. I suspect much of the security/military brass knows this truth and unable/unwilling to 'solve' the problem by committing ethnic cleansing, so they do the best they can - which is to transform Isreal into a kind of 'garrison state' where the population lives in a state of paranoia, the military and civilian realms become increasingly fused and the weary forces are constantly watching, suppressing, bombing or building ever-more intricate fixed defences. This is a war with no end, because, like the Vietnamese, the Palestinians have nowhere to go and not much to lose. KarmaPolice (talk) 15:12, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

I have no doubt that Israel is behaving in a relentless and cold-hearted manner. The arrogant desire to go on fighting no matter what the cost has its limits, but they are not trivial. If you think your life is worthless, then you may believe you have little to lose. The one thing that is never going to happen, in our life time, is Israeli defeat at the hands of Palestinian militias. Unlike the Viet Nam war, which did temporarily end America's influence in Indochina, this conflict ends when Palestinians tire of dying for what they believe is their just end, and negotiate the best deal they can get. The situation is much more like the British conflict in Ireland than America vs North Viet Nam. And, as you know, the former dispute went on for centuries. Expect that. Ariel31459 (talk) 16:18, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
It'll end when the oil-money runs dry. Once Iran is incapable of funding Hamas, or whichever group replaces them, there'll be no money for the constant warfare.
I don't like that US taxdollars are funding Israel's military, but the harsh reality is that if Israel doesn't have smart-bombs they'll use cheap mortars instead, and mortars are... inaccurate. The iron dome too is expensive, but the whole point of the 'dome was that it enabled Israel to delay this war, and if were to be delayed long enough, a generation of Gazans to grow up without seeing family members die in the war, and eventually Hamas et al find it harder and harder to recruit. But Hamas forced Israel's hand, and here we are. Israel can take out the low-level fighters and the mid-level organizers, but the high-level heads of Hamas are all living a life of luxury in Qatar; Mossad's ability to perform "wetwork" is nowhere near what the internet will have you believe, and so Hamas will still be around. CorruptUser 16:35, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Why does that matter when Israel is deliberately being indiscriminate in their razing of Gaza? They're doing this with "smart" technology. Israel demonstrably doesn't give a fuck about civilian casualties. Carthage (talk) 16:40, 14 February 2024 (UTC)
Which is why I described it as a 'garrison state', the best solution they can come up with is effectively, an Israeli boot on the Palestinian neck forever, because of the reasonable suspicions the moment they loosen the pressure a shiv will be in their stomach.
The critical issue is that for the Palestinians right now, the 'best offer' is to simply accept all Israeli demands - for carved-up 'Bantustans' in which Israel still operates suzerainty over all of the Bantustan's affairs. We saw what happened when the PLO accepted a better variant of this deal a generation back; a PA which is incredibly weak capability-wise and has little internal legitimacy as they appear to be nothing more than Israeli collaborators in it for the material kickbacks.
And while I do think the IDF et al do care about civilian casulties, the fundimental problem is that Hamas have been planning 15 years for this war and part of this strategy was to get the IDF to kill/maim lots of civilians so to make 'peace' even further away than before because the Palestinian pepole et al will be in uproar. But the IDF does care a lot more about their own losses [and is clearly the only number Bibi cares of], so prefer to bomb Gaza into ruins rather than sending in infantry to clear out the fighters at close range. KarmaPolice (talk) 16:51, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

Here is the problem: Hamas is not limited to Gaza Strip. It exists in the West Bank, Lebanon and Iran. You might as well reduce Palestinian cities in the West Bank to rubble too. Guess what that will do? Create angry survivors out for revenge. Violence breeds violence. Diplomacy is the answer; the Israeli government needs to get it's head out of its ass for once. --Trans Fem Agenda 19:32, 14 February 2024 (UTC)

At least as of now, Hamas isn't running the West Bank. I'm hardly a fan of Abbas, but the quality of life in the West Bank on average is a lot higher than Gaza. Dealing with the Jewish settlements is related, but even if there were none in the West Bank it doesn't seem likely Hamas would just flicker out of existence. Not that Netanyahu is inclined to do anything intelligent on that front... The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:28, 15 February 2024 (UTC)
I do wonder what will happen post-war for Netanyahu and his gaggle of crooks? Knowing that they could have taken the diplomatic route that would have freed the hostages but Netanyahu is more worried about holding on to power. He knows that his government is doomed regardless. Netanyahu cannot keep the war going on forever as he will lose support of the people and I doubt that Israeli soldiers would want to continue entering the meat grinder. Which will it be: Netanyahu ending the war diplomatically this ending his reign sooner or drag out the collapse of his government? Either way he is screwed. --Trans Fem Agenda 22:45, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
So far there have been remarkably few IDF casualties, so I'm not sure how much of a meat grinder this is. Netanyahu is historically unpopular, and should be, but that's not the reason why; Benny Gantz and his supporters are pretty much entirely in line with supporting the ongoing military action. Also, I have to double down on disbanding UNRWA; if (to go back to the example I know best, which spawned the tactics Hamas uses) there was a UN organization discovered to be actively supporting the Tamil Tigers, they'd be disbanded in minutes. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:42, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
That has not yet been proven. Israel is hardly a honest actor in this, and we need to be careful to work out whether it's 'bad apples' or 'systemetic infiltration'. I listened to the Israeli ambassador recently talking about it and their line was basically 'yeah, we have so much evidence but no, we can't show any of it to you or anything' but then made it clear they hated UNRWA anyway. KarmaPolice (talk) 09:59, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
12 members allegedly participated in October 7th, out of an organization that employs thirty thousand people. How many IDF soldiers have partaken in violent settler terrorism in the West Bank? Why isn't the IDF as a whole being sanctioned for the actions of a few of its soldiers? This is patently absurd. UNRWA isn't even a miliary organization, it is the sole thing providing aid (food, water, shelter) to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (aid which Israel is largely blocking). Without UNRWA, a lot more Palestinians would die. Carthage (talk) 12:31, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
Right-wing Israelis hate UNRWA, and the 'why' requires an understanding of what it is.
Normally, the go-to UN org for refugee/displaced/stateless persons is the UNHCR. It has zero desire to run 'forever' refugee camps; if it becomes clear that the population getting emergency aid cannot return to their home nations/regions, they will then settle for host nation integration and/or third country resettlement [and at that stage, ceasing to be refugee/DP/stateless and thus, ending the UNHCRs job].
UNRWA is a stand-alone org, founded after the '48 war to basically 'try to provide for the needs of the displaced Palestinians and their descendants - and as decades have passed, UNWRA has become more and more a wholesale overseas-funded 'welfare state' for the Palestinians outside of Israel itself. By accident or design it was never given the remit to work for ways to 'end' Palestinians refugee status.
It's this which pisses off the likes of Bibi. How can the Palestinians 'accept their lot' and quit resisting Israeli ownership of their ancestoral homes if the damn UNRWA continues to [sic] 'continue the refugee narrative alive over generations' by continuing to do their remit? For fuck's sake, if it had been the UNHCR they would have been 'resettled' elsewhere [ideally, a very far away elsewhere] decades ago and thus, no problem for us! This was something which the Trump White House agreed with; in '18 they ended UNRWA funding and demanded it only catered to Palestinians directly displaced by the '48 war [which I guess by this point would only be a few tens of thou persons, as by that point the youngest 'direct refugee' would be 70].
Now, anyone gonna say now that the Israeli state has zero bias in reportage on UNRWA? KarmaPolice (talk) 21:04, 19 February 2024 (UTC)
I doubt this is going to get any substantial acknowledgement, but Channel 4 has found that the evidentiary support of Israel's accusations have threadbare evidentiary support. Given Israel's... spotty track record with the truth, I don't know why anyone gives them the benefit of the doubt. Carthage (talk) 17:47, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
One of the legitimate issues/questions raised is the apparent fact that UNRWA hiring didn't formally screen out Hamas members, so the idea that there were UNRWA staff who were also Hamas members isn't implausable. In fact, with the numbers of Gazan UNRWA staff hired locally it's almost a dead-curt this has happened. The claims that Hamas bunkers etc being located under UNRWA buildings doesn't mean the latter's complicity either; another narrative is that Hamas put them there with the UNRWA unawares on the belief the IDF as less likely to bomb UN buildings. KarmaPolice (talk) 19:13, 20 February 2024 (UTC)
I think everyone agrees that someone needs to be performing the functions UNRWA was art least supposed to. For an analogous, if much less of a lightning rod situation; I think everyone agrees states need to have a police organization of some kind. In my home state, in the late 1990s the state (under John Rowland of all people, the tri-state area went 0 for 3 on governors) discovered absolutely massive corruption in the state sheriff's department, a lot of which involved covering up for dirty police officers. The state disbanded it and replaced it with a state marshal system, and while some of the same people were involved they fundamentally restructured the chain of command. It was very effective at stamping out corruption (and has the side benefit of confusing the hell out of sovereign citizens who try to pull that here), and has proven to be even more effective at its stated purpose. Something of that nature would make sense, disbanding UNRWA and replacing it with an organization that can be set up for success and be definitively set apart from Hamas. And yes, the obvious problem being Netanyahu doesn't want that; if I had any great ideas on how to make it happen I'd say them. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 03:43, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
Any attempt to deal with UNRWA will have to come after this catastrophe is ended. Carthage (talk) 03:54, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
If UNRWA was disbanded, it won't be replaced due to the political logjam at the UN. What's more, there is the risk that folks will think that the successor org will need to be full of foreign workers (instead of locals) to 'ensure political reliability' (which will remove a major/decent employer). Next, we need to remember that UNRWA is a lot more than it's Gaza operation - why punish the other arms for this? Lastly, much of the 'Hamas infiltration' revolves around the fact they ruled Gaza since 2006 and like it or not, UNRWA had to co-operate with them (to some extent and grudgingly) simply so they could continue to operate. A Gaza minus Hamas ruling it immediately removes that reason (and hopefully, the problem). KarmaPolice (talk) 13:42, 24 February 2024 (UTC)
Good post! Not to mention that any substantial interruption in UNWRA’s work risks (further) seriously destabilising several of Israel’s neighbouring states, which is why I consider these Israeli PR attacks on the organisation as yet another example of the current Israeli government’s shortsightedness due to its radical ideology. ScepticWombat (talk) 09:23, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
I disagree; I believe the right-wingers do have an 'endgame' in mind, but it is rarely voiced.
UNRWA is the 'sticking plaster' of the Palestinian problem. We must rip it off to deal with the festered wound, and while we will get pus over our face, the wound will then heal. Without UNWRA, it can be assumed that the UNHCR will take over their role, which means as 'returning' is impossible, the task moves to either 'foreign resettlement' and/or 'host nation integration'. Within a decade, the 'Palestinian refugee problem' will no longer exist at all because they have all been 'sorted' - we no longer have [for example] 'Palestinian refugees in Jordan', we have 'Jordanians of Palestinian decent' and so on.
UNRWA's 'welfare state' operations within Gaza/West Bank can be taken over by other NGOs - that is ones which have been vetted by the Israeli state and exist at their pleasure. UNRWA must die because not only does it 'continue the refugee narrative' but it is an independent force within the planned Bantustans. The final endgame here is that said Bantustans will be one where the only external voice of weight will be Israeli. KarmaPolice (talk) 10:09, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

The Changes laid against the UNRWA by Israel are almost certainly bullshit. Of course, the media has to pay attention and take Israel's changes seriously every time Israel comes up with new bullshit. A somebody. (talk) 23:07, 27 February 2024 (UTC)

Sure, the Israeli right wing has long claimed that the Palestinian refugees should just integrate into the neighbouring countries, but why should those countries accept that?
Especially considering several of these neighbours already have their hands full dealing with a lot of Syrian refugees as well, not to mention the ethnic/demographic disruption it might create, particularly in Jordan and Lebanon. Hence, this fantasy scenario is not only implausible, but even if it was somehow to be realised, it would run a serious risk of opening up several other cans of worms.
While I agree that some form of Bantustan “solution” is likely, why would that suddenly make the vast majority of Palestinians acquiesce to Israeli overlordship (as the Israeli right wing seemingly insist on believing)? Hence, it’s not actually a solution, but merely a new and different dysfunctional kind of “normality”.
Unless Israel and the US prepare for a transition/handover from UNWRA to UNHCR or some other entity, they still very much risk tipping several neighbouring states over the edge. Somehow, I don’t see such preparatory organisation and logistics being likely. It’s more likely that we’ll see something akin to the shit show in Iraq after the invasion when no one had apparently considered what to do, once the major military opposition had been smashed.
My line of argument was not that certain aspects of these right wing Israeli fever dreams might not come to fruition, but that, even were they to be realised, the results wouldn’t actually solve any of the problems. I mean, sure, Israel might be able to make UNWRA a casualty of the war, but unless it is handed off in a controlled and timely manner (hardly a certainty in the middle of a war…), the result might very well be a “cut of your nose to spite your face” scenario. ScepticWombat (talk) 20:04, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
In as much as we can call this a "war" and not what it actually is, anyway. There is also no guarantee that Palestinian refugees will just acquiesce to this, as you said. Palestinians will not just magically forget what has been done to them, nor will they forget their national identity. To pretend that such a thing is possible is to believe the bullshit lies spread by Zionists that Palestinians are somehow different from every other nation on the planet. We expect things from Palestine we don't expect from any other nation on this planet. We expect Palestinians to roll over and let themselves be brutalized, but we don't expect the same for Israel (which, keep in mind, is the belligerent occupying power that controls Palestinian water, air, and land)? We don't expect Jews to forget the Holocaust, why should we expect Palestinians to forget the Naqba, Naksa, decades of apartheid, over a century of settler colonialism, and now a full on genocide? That's simply not realistic. Carthage (talk) 20:11, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
I think the right-wing Israeli dream plan can be easily refuted by asking for a single historical example where a particular group of people accepted 'their lot' and never bothered their overlords again. That is, without resorting ultimately to genocide, mass deportations or continious heavy suppression? KarmaPolice (talk) 22:04, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
No country would accept an entity doing what Hamas does. Again, most people would agree the Sinhala treatment of Tamil people in Sri Lanka was atrocious. Who, in the United States or Europe, ever supported the Tamil Tigers? No one who knows anything about that would dispute the Sri Lankan army wreaked havoc where they went, and yet no one howls in protest over their overreaction to regular car bombings, hostage taking, and massacres. No one ever called for Sinhala people (who undeniably got to Sri Lanka later) to just up and leave, and no one ever called their fight against the Tamil Tigers a "genocide". What's the difference? The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 06:45, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Did Sri Lanka ever openly declare genocidal intent? Did their actions be directly linked to those statements of intent? Did they ever declare there were no "uninvolved civilians" in the Tamil areas? Did the Sinhala block 70% of humanitarian aid and deliberately inflict a famine on the Tamil? Did they openly declare intent to rid Sri Lanka of the Tamil? Carthage (talk) 06:53, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
Yeah, pretty much. This was the start of mass deportations, and for decades Sinhalese mobs openly attacked Tamil people and cultural sites in an attempt at ethnic cleansing. Black JulyWikipedia and the burning of Jaffna Public LibraryWikipedia were two of the largest. A brief summary is here; even people who've called it an attempted genocide (The Tamil Genocide by Sri LankaWikipedia) have not called for Sinhalese people to be removed from Sri Lanka en masse, the idea is to prosecute the ones who actually committed war crimes. And I consider myself pro-Palestinian, the conditions Hamas created there cannot be what the overwhelming majority of Gazans want. Netanyahu is a corrupt slug monster and appointed fringe lunatics to power, they need a massive overhaul in government. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:19, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
The case in Sri Lanka is taken as especially relevant to the notion of transitional justice, and rights to truth, remedy, and reparation. The recognition of humans rights violations is not taken as a recognition that the actions of any faction within the context of conflict classed as human rights violations is taken to have been morally acceptable retroactively. The Tamil people is still recognized as being owed reparations. What are Gazans owed in your opinion, and how do we ensure that there are Gazans still around post-conflict to make such claims? I can only see this as all the more of an argument that Isreal has an ethical obligation to de-escalate the conflict and act in preservation of Gazan lives. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 19:12, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
So Blade's mentioning of Sri Lankan events is basically just a whataboutism and not even a defence of the atrocities that Israelites are dancing on their borders for. BumblingBuffoon (talk) 19:15, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm on board with reparations of some kind for them. Obviously right now Sri Lanka is a total basket case and needs to stabilize itself, but Tamil civilians absolutely deserve something; I couldn't put a rupee amount on it, but something significantly life altering is in order. Would also extend something to the families of Sinhalese who the Tamil Tigers displaced or murdered. Same principle would apply to Gaza when the fighting stops; I absolutely think that, once there's not a (quite explicitly genocidal) terrorist organization running it, Israel should absolutely be footing a lot of the bill and sending its own manpower in to rebuild it. Again, putting a price tag on it isn't in my league, but I'd support that. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:51, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
I suppose an answer to your question of what's the difference between the Tamils and Gaza is that the Tamil genocide occurred before the advent of social media. We are seeing a genocide in real time, and that offers much less of an opportunity for narratives to become normalized. Propaganda can't do its job when people are seeing the truth right before their eyes. Carthage (talk) 19:17, 29 February 2024 (UTC)
That's clearly part of it, along with Sri Lanka not being as geopolitically important. I'm more than a bit perturbed at how many people have fallen for Hamas propaganda during this as well, which has led to some really bad faceplants (the initial reports of "shelling a hospital" comes to mind). Everyone can be wrong, I can only think of it as harm reduction at this point and the greatest harm I can see is allowing Hamas to continue to exist; if I had some grand strategy to make it happen I'd say it, and I totally support holding IDF soldiers who commit any kind of misconduct to account. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 01:51, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
Given Israel's track record of dealing with hospitals, that hospital was almost certainly shelled by the IDF. A somebody. (talk) 21:33, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
I mean, Israel has ruthlessly destroyed the entire healthcare system in Gaza, so they've kind of given those claims a sort of retroactive legitimacy. Anyway, do you really think the way to conduct harm reduction here is to conduct collective punishment, which is regarded as bad counterinsurgency by actual insurgency experts? There is also sentiment in Israel to ethnically cleanse the Gaza Strip. (Which is, uh, not only a crime against humanity but also, you know, bad counterinsurgency.) Do you think Palestinians will forget what's being done to them? Look at it from the Palestinian perspective, who are facing an oppressive colonizing force taking their land, subjecting them to apartheid, and now genociding them. They are economically crippled, subject to a brutal military occupation, and left with little real recourse to change this. And now they are being genocided. Do you think this campaign of literal genocide is going to win hearts and minds? Carthage (talk) 06:37, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
I'm an American in part due to the Irish potato famine. The British committed atrocity after atrocity in Ireland for hundreds of years, and the IRA and its offshoots were the predictable response, but both of them eventually finally realized it wasn't worth it anymore. That was the whole point of Sunday Bloody Sunday and Peace on Earth. There's still a lot of entirely justifiable resentment, and it's still not open warfare. A serious truth and reconciliation commission would be in order for Israel and Palestine as well, with the threat of criminal charges for not engaging, it didn't exactly turn South Africa into paradise but it was clearly helpful; certainly a better solution than this. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 15:45, 1 March 2024 (UTC)
The awkward aspect about truth and reconciliation commissions as a related to the right to truth, is that they are predicated on the assumption of gross human rights violations have already been committed. Acknowledging the need of that doesn't address the relevant aspect of the prevention of gross human rights violations from occurring to begin with. I feel like that should have a higher priority over the consideration of how reperations can be made after what might very well constitute a genocide has occurred. -Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 05:26, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
In this immediate situation, Hamas can release all hostages. The IDF isn't doing anything equivalent, so once that's done everything else can proceed. Not until that first step, and once it's taken both sides need to fess up. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:19, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
The IDF and Netanyahu don't really seem to give a shit about the hostages, though. Enough to the point that the families of the hostages are fed up with Netanyahu. This genocide, which in no way is justifiable regardless of the initial circumstances, will continue. Israel has also taken hostages, and has even used human shields in the West Bank. Israel has the power to end their apartheid regime and stop the cycle of violence. They won't. Carthage (talk) 05:46, 4 March 2024 (UTC)

┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘ So Hamas has no agency, they just can't help but keep people hostage? I'm no fan of the IDF, they're also not the ones actively holding hostages. This is where I have to get back to the Troubles and Sri Lanka, as unequal as the past has been it's the present; of all people Def Leppard made the point in Paper Sun (at the same time U2 wrote Peace on Earth), at some point this can't go on and there's not a good enough cause to justify murdering each other. You (generic you) will also note the latest ceasefire proposals fell through due to lack of Hamas cooperation, so... now what? For a group claiming to defend against genocide, they certainly seem to be awfully genocidal themselves; as with the Troubles, it may not be equal responsibility but if they both stop it's to everyone's immediate interest. If I knew how to finagle Israeli politics I'd say so, people smarter than me have discusses paths forward that don't involve Netanyahu; basically all of them look better than the status quo. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 06:30, 4 March 2024 (UTC)

You act like the IDF haven't taken innocent Palestinians as hostages, when anyone paying a slight modicum of attention will tell you they have. Or are you one of the people who takes IDF propaganda at face value? Keep in mind the IDF have been uploading dehumanizing videos of their "detainees" to social media quite frequently. Hamas also isn't an illegal colonial power subjecting an entire nation to apartheid. The two sides are not equal here. You bring up the Troubles. How were the Troubles solved again? Through diplomacy. Sorry to say it, but there's no military solution to this conflict. Only a political one. Anyone who possesses even a surface level understanding of insurgency theory would be able to tell you that. Carthage (talk) 06:48, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
Yes. The Normans conquered Ireland in 1169, so it only took 800 years or so for diplomacy to kick in. Theories work well in theory. Human nature is independent of such concepts.UncleKrampus (talk) 15:36, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
Humans don’t have “natures”, Aristotle. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 17:04, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
You'll need more than that. Aristotle did some stuff to hold up the development of natural science, like not using experiment to any extent. Heavy objects do not fall faster than lighter objects, though it seemed so to him. Language, art and science are typical of human nature. Also, the desire to read cheap romances.UncleKrampus (talk) 18:16, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
None of this genuinely suggest there exists anything coherent as “human nature”. Entirely philosophical movements were developed to cast doubt on such a concept (i.e. French existentialism), and the notion of a human nature is not a genuine consensus within the social and biological sciences. Its appeal (if geneticists like R. Lewontin is to be believed) is entirely ideological. The very idea of human nature is a strictly teleological concept associated with intelligent design. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 21:32, 4 March 2024 (UTC)
Our own article here about tabula rasa makes it rather clear that there is such a thing as human nature; I've been working through The Blank Slate and Lewontin is one of the people who Pinker singled out for being wildly wrong. Lewontin's arguments fundamentally rest on there being some ghost in the machine. Still, and entirely compatible, there's nothing about human nature that dictates the Israel-Palestine situation is inevitable, and the same human tendencies that are driving the violence can also be what stops it. That would take leadership that's certainly not in place now, but it certainly can be done and would greatly benefit the overwhelming majority of people there. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 05:41, 5 March 2024 (UTC)
There are numerous flaws with the Blank Slate, including the fact that Pinker fundamentally rests his argument upon a strawman. Citing the Blank Slate is not the hard argument you think it is. Carthage (talk) 06:19, 5 March 2024 (UTC)
(EC) Steven Pinker is widely criticized in academic circles for making up a strawman argument to fight against in that exact book. Dude thinks the Humanities is filled with closeted Lockeans. Also, Lewontin does not imply that there is a "ghost in the machine" by arguing that appealing to human nature often is ideologically motivated. There is no logic in that accusation it is a complete non sequitur. Taking that skepticism of human nature entails there being a tabula rasa is just completely wrong and based on a false dichotomy. There is way more to the claim about there being a "human nature" than simply negating Lockean empiricism. Y'all when you claim "human nature" you are making either a claim about there being some sort of final cause to being human (which carries with it associations of intelligent design), that there is something characteristically unique to human beings that defines them in some essential way, or that there is at least some universal set of properties in human behaviour that all human beings share. The entire notion is epistemically fraught, and pointing out that most babies are born with certain unlearned reflexes or cognitive capacities doesn't make any of these things true. - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 06:29, 5 March 2024 (UTC)
Good time for me to do this. This is getting way too chaotic, while I'm happy to have a discussion on human nature I'm not going to shoehorn it in here. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:05, 7 March 2024 (UTC)

People, language, and ethics: all rubbish[edit]

Something I've mulled over for years is the great gap between the language people use to describe everything about ideals, ethics, etc., and by contrast thought and mentality beyond words and actual actions. The gap has been central to shaping the lives of people as long as politics and sophistry have been big things in society, meaning at least half a dozen thousand years. Weaknesses of human intellect allow that gap to both grow big and remain big, in a way that probably can't be fixed within the limits of the species.

All manner of debates about ideals and ethics center around abstractions that are greatly cared about in the abstract, but only in the abstract; outside of such abstract concerns, these constructs which are debated play little if any role. The jarring contrast is smoothed over through the use of clever rhetoric, and various cultural narratives, and most of the time this works (is accepted) when the person doing the smoothing-out has a higher social status.

People can reason well about a lot of things in theory, but it generally has no bearing on how they are and live and act. The two are almost entirely separate (including in theory); sometimes something of the former however becomes codified in law, slightly reducing the gap. But the gap may also be widened by the former kind of thing being created or shaped to rationalize the latter, which happens at least as much.

The point here is that most of the great debates of the ages are all fluff and filler, having very little to do with life beyond games people play with words, concepts, and rhetoric. At times I'm torn on whether attempts to convince people otherwise are really good-natured and naive, or actually cynical deceptions. The disagreeable whole of this impression grows slowly over time, year after year.

Maybe this stuff could be sorted out in theory by some radical far-future sci-fi means, like genetically engineering a much more intelligent and wise species to replace humanity. One that can actually try to make something sensible out of life, unlike the human species. Otherwise, I don't really think there's any hope looking at the big picture. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 18:05, 16 February 2024 (UTC)

It sounds like whatever you have been doing is taking a lot out of you. I mean, if you are talking about the discovery that most people are only interested in their own personal concerns, I am afraid you got that right. It's hard for me to imagine a species that evolved on earth, developed intelligence, took a look at the world as it is and did not think it must look after itself before all others. I mean what else could you expect? Get some fresh air, and be sure to get enough sleep. UncleKrampus (talk) 22:46, 16 February 2024 (UTC)
It's not so much anything new, it's old stuff that remained indigestible for too long. While in part I soaked up too much naive idealism in earlier years, there's something else that's bigger. I already faced that people are mostly selfish in those years of peak naive idealism (though became galvanized to strive for something else, which didn't work -- it was a cult's trap). It's about all the things that mask that selfishness and present it as something else, using crazy-making language and thought. Cultural constructs (theories, language, and more) which makes things seem other than they are. That's what bothers me far more than anything else, this omnipresent mixture of psychological warfare and self-deception. There's so much of it, and everything seems to turn into it as soon as it is no longer abstract theory, and both ancient and modern theorizing and language usually denies that transition into the fake and that most in practice is such fake.
I recovered from being in a cult in earlier years. Of course, the cult tried to turn things around and say that the rest of society is the real cult. Stripping away all the conspiracy theory and other rubbish from that, the cult can then thereafter be given half credit for its descriptions of the worlds of business, politics, etc., and also, its descriptions of how meaningless nearly all philosophy is. The fake stuff suffusing everything means that most crank camps demonizing the mainstream can be given half-credit in that way (while themselves being worse in their fakery).
Nowadays I sleep too much and get too little done. I've dealt with a lingering depression and inertia for some years now, or maybe not really dealt with it. I'm looking to piece together and inwardly organize and describe something, but it takes very long. Maybe it'll help to do that, as I feel it does when something falls into place, or maybe much of my time simply slips away uselessly. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 02:01, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
In some sense all of our earliest experiences are cultlike--the cult of childhood. It took me a long time to learn that most people, of every political sort, hold untenable, incoherent or impossible beliefs. Language can express those beliefs, but it cannot make a random audience accept them. It is important to recognize, and many of us do, that language cannot explain everything to everybody. We are too disabled by the dogmatic content of our past experiences.
I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, and I do not pretend to understand the reason you are suffering from what may be called a disillusionment. One approach I can recommend is the further development your own philosophy. Philosophy, to be as basic as possible, must be personal. Philosophers of the past can serve as guides to bring you to where you can start work on your own ideas about the world. Other people will not agree with you about everything. A philosopher should be able to agree with himself, that is hold a coherent view of the world and of people. Some philosophers of the past have sought to arrange and sort abstract moral concepts so as to make a science of the methods by which we act the world. None of them have been effective.
Not to apologize for the inadequacies of philosophy, I claim that philosophy can never be complete. Some philosophers are awful teachers, proposing terrible solutions to human problems. The philosopher may not be able to explain the world so that the world we experience is generally understood by everyone in the same way. But, he should be able to explain it to himself, making allowances along the way that he may be, in some respects, mistaken. This is, I think, the enduring value of philosophy. UncleKrampus (talk) 15:40, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
It's more like finding words for something that's weighed me down for long, than any new disillusionment. (The ideas in mind are just a little more clear and cohesive now.) Sometimes it takes me a terribly long time to organize my thoughts about some area of concern, so that I can even attempt to express it well, even if I've already felt and fuzzily contemplated a lot connected to it for long.
There's not much new in your suggestion. Given the extent of all my thinking, it's long been clear to me that I'm some kind of philosopher. But not so good at it, by which I mean that most of my thinking is poorly organized for expression in words, and most even unexpressed. At this rate maybe I'll get what matters most in good order and written down in a book in a few decades, as I grow old.
My bigger intuitive thoughts don't mainly use words, nor images. It's large things that I mostly lack words for (as do I for their constituent parts), arranged and in large part given meaning by visuo-spatial relations, which can exist without any visual (though there's often a little shape and color). With abstract senses of texture, shape, and other attributes often part of the whole. Sometimes it makes for large thoughts in short time. Sometimes the whole remains a vague aggregate rather than a whole with clear structure and meaning. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 19:52, 17 February 2024 (UTC)

The funny thing about this whole rant is that the paradigm example of an abstract object are numbers. Do you feel similarly about the realm of pure mathematics? - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 05:32, 17 February 2024 (UTC)

No, but there the situation is not only different, but pretty much the opposite. The problem is not theory or abstraction, but its relation to life and the concrete world -- the presence or absence of confusion, a "gap" in understanding.
When dealing with pure and abstract maths and keeping the focus there, people know it and there's no category error confusing it for irrelevant attributes in the concrete world. When maths is applied to the world, in the result there is no "gap", instead it all truly works as in STEM. (It can be difficult to learn and teach, and people may need to slow down and double-check and triple-check as their minds are error-prone, etc., but that's another thing -- a challenge people face and deal with.)
By contrast, in politics, ethics, much philosophy and other cultural thought, and everything abstract of that nature, there's all-around confusion surrounding the theory, often bad results whenever anything is applied, and the work of the best and most sincere people floats in a curious limbo in-between the world of what works and the world of outright charlatanry. Observations are routinely discarded and bogus theory asserted to be true. And the mere existence of a hand-wavy theory is often treated as if it were proof of the purported concrete results as well (especially in politics, but often also in ethics and psychology), different schools of thought each treating their competing theories in that way. It's an ancient clown show that so far shows no sign of ending, as whatever learning may hypothetically lead to something better is maybe not possible or just doesn't happen. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 19:52, 17 February 2024 (UTC)
how do you determine what is a “bad result” without using an abstract theory about what is good/bad? You seem to be making explicitly ethical judgements about the inapplicability of ethics, and that seems like a performative contradiction akin to “there is no such thing as objective truth”. I don’t not see how you are not making evaluations from your own particular standpoint of cultural thought here. You are proposing your abstract theory about the nature of abstract theories on how they relate to the concrete world. Why is your theory not also bogus here? What is the similarity to the empirical success of applied mathematics to justify your particular abstraction/generalization that you propose? - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 00:31, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
I'm using the definition, "bad" = "didn't match", as in the theory was contradicted. It doesn't require any additional theory, it only requires that you recognize the basic idea that something may be correct vs. incorrect, which you seem to be taking as a given anyway (since you take objective truth as a given). So your objection doesn't make any sense, I have no idea what you mean. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 00:50, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
So you are assuming a philosophical theory of truth, namely a correspondence theory of truth? How do we even determine whether or not an ethical theory “matches” the moral facts? Are we even sure there are moral facts? Be wary of the fallacy of personal incredulity, and like, if such a notion was so obvious and “basic” there wouldn’t exist such disagreement about what constitutes making a statement “correct”. Certain mathematical statements (such as the mathematical definition of a straight line, or the mathematical definition of circle) are presented as counter-examples to correspondence theories of truth, btw. Unless you want to maintain something like Platonism. Regardless, no concrete particular examples of real world circles “matches” the definition of a circle in mathematics. Is that not a relevant “gap” in this instance? It looks like you need a different standard for what makes a statement “correct”. The law of non-contradiction is a abstract axiom about logic btw, a discipline of philosophy, one that some maintain do not “match” with the facts of the world (see: Graham Priest and the liars paradox). - Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 02:06, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
You don't get my overall angle, or what I was getting at in my rant. You seem to think I'm criticizing proposed goals as such, but I'm not. Rather what I ranted about is a gap between models of things in the world used in theories and the things. Such models, mainly abstractions or idealizations of people and how they work, are used in all kinds of arguments. Sometimes these models are found in nothing more than a few assumptions evident in how language is used, sometimes they're more elaborate. Things fail to correspond when such fictional humans do not work the way real humans do, and the theories therefore do not work, and proposed goals are therefore not reachable, or the intellectual constructs turn out to be about something completely other than about human life -- as in actual humans.
No, you don't get the basic point at all about maths. It is trivial. The difference between an ideal circle and an actual one can be measured. Such differences can be taken into account, giving a margin of error. Such things are routinely done in engineering. The theory in use includes all that. There is thus no confusion, and no problem. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 02:37, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
I don't think you understand fully how you are still subject to this exact problem. You are making a suggestions about what makes a particular model good/bad, using a particular theory that itself is one that is criticized for not reflecting how human beings actually use the concept. Not to mention, I don't think you realize the extent to which models in science and applied mathematics are idealizations that don't correspond to how the world "actually" works. Think about the assumptions about containers of infinite size that are built into our models of statistical mechanics for thermodynamics, look at how classical physics will model light as if it is a projectile that travels along a straight line, look at the ways classical economics assumes that economic systems are reducible to rational actors who make decisions to maximise their utility. If what makes the "gaps" of these things acceptable is how they can be measured from the concrete realities, how do we even come to understand that there is a "gap" to begin with? In some way, we need to some means of detection. If we can know that these social models have "gaps" to how concrete humans actually behave or "work", then we have already have establish a means of measuring the "gap". There is no reason why there can't be a "margin of error" in this case as well, or by some means we are only suggesting that these especially problematic gaps exist when he have no real evidence for them. Do you think engineers seriously measure every point of a round object, and give a set of all the total discrepancies between a concrete circular object and "ideal circle"? They don't do that because that's a waste of time and on a pragmatic basis completely unnecessary.- Only Sort of Dumb (talk) 04:59, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
Perhaps you're trying to laser-zoom in on the quick clarification I made earlier that when I use words like good/bad, I talk about how well stuff works, not moral values. I think you're zooming past the crux of the matter and into some vast, imaginary space filled with theories and controversy that doesn't actually exist. Here's an equally good way to rephrase how I use the words good/bad here: I'm using the word "good" as synonym for "it works out, or hasn't failed to work out" (the latter part is important in an empirical study), and "bad" as synonym for "it fails to work out". In science, saying something didn't work out implies saying something didn't match, so the two wordings are rather close. But there's countless things that could be focused on besides the real problem, shifting attention from it, and that's what you're doing with your talk of maths and models being idealized -- that they are is both obvious and irrelevant, as they do work out, i.e. can be used to make calculations or predictions with results that match.
However, you're (perhaps accidentally) approaching the crux of the matter with your mention of economics. Homo economicus is indeed a fictional type of human being which is kind of infamous for being a lousy model in many ways. It makes for a good example of what I meant, though it's a narrow one. "Homo economicus" has been applied and believed in, not only in the rather limited scope in which it may work out fine, but also in ways that are unwarranted, and plainly do not work. Game theory models based on homo economicus behavior may result in a stable order, while real human behavior in the same place may result in chaos; and it would unambiguously be an error to design for homo economicus when human behavior at odds with it must be accommodated by a system for it to function. See the categorical difference? You have taking that "gap" into account, vs. not doing so or even pretending it doesn't exist. (In engineering measurements of imperfection in shapes are indeed carried out for specific purposes, and not all the time. It is routine in the areas of concern, e.g. calibrating equipment which traces shapes so it behaves acceptably. More broadly there's a good track record of making things as precise and accurate as needed for whatever is to be done. In social or "softer" fields, the track record is in large part one of failing to do so, with less method and regard for accuracy and precision, with "physics envy" a substitute for the track record of physics.) --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 16:12, 18 February 2024 (UTC)
is it possible you learned to talk in riddles and grandiosity from this cult? If you are worried about it, whittle it down and try again. Torrent (talk) 05:38, 22 February 2024 (UTC)
I don't know what you read into my rant and later comments, but those things don't match my aim. Nor as far as I know (feedback welcome) my writing more generally. Here, I've tried to increase clarity on something where I lacked any clear expression at the outset, and to my mind, all I've read on the area on concern has either ignored the big thing or been somewhat muddled or confused too. I don't aim to make anything more of a riddle. Though this was not exactly long and careful work to make essay text.
I've felt ashamed to be human, and find it generally sucks to have a mind that only partially works, which is the only honest way to describe the human mind. While unrealistically dreaming of something better, and distant worlds I'll never see. Maybe it always sound grandiose if you criticize pretty much all of human culture, even if you include yourself in your criticism? --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 19:58, 22 February 2024 (UTC)

┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘ Actually @Torrent, maybe this will clarify the topic, for whoever wants to make sense of it. Cognitive bias is familiar to most here, but maybe my text makes little sense if you don't have it in mind. But what are the full implications of cognitive biases? That's where understanding becomes extremely sketchy and the problem hampers understanding of the problem. And then, how best to deal with it all, or what matters most? That too, becomes very "mysterious". (But better theory and vocabulary could help.) But some stuff is quite clear.

Various superstitions occurring in all or at least most cultures seem to be the direct result of cognitive bias. Misforming and misapplication of abstractions often result from various cognitive biases, in general ways that withstand progress and education for the most part. It in turn hampers further progress, both good research (meaning what maps reality better), and the public learning from it and life improving. How much better can things get? This is an open question, and there's probably outright depressing limits hardwired in human nature. If minimizing suffering and maximizing quality of conscious experience is a goal, then it's almost certainly best in the end if some other kind of life equipped with better minds takes over in the future. Humanity is hardwired to create misery for itself and to fuck up efforts to make things better, the only question is to which extent, how long until that becomes a wall that progress keeps smashing into and can't get over without humanity giving up its humanity altogether? --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 21:13, 22 February 2024 (UTC)

I mean, there is Marx, from each ability to each need need. And yes, if that ability was superior, it would be ideal if it was used to meet needs. I don't think humanity is hardwired to harm each other, specifically. It may be an evolutionary tick, but I don't think there is exactly a more or less evolved human on the playing field. We have out-competed the world around us, and have overthrown most survival filters with technology. A claim that we are hard wired to commit miseries upon each other is accepting that miseries are put on each other naturally. Tribalism is not new or unique to the human condition. I wonder if you are positing AI overlording, or if you really want an non-human intelligence. Torrent (talk) 09:25, 23 February 2024 (UTC)
let me put it together. An AI overlord would take all of human information into account, and then render a judgement. A nonhuman but higher intellect would take things we are not even aware of into account, and then render judgement. In both cases, I, myself, am less than assured the correct judgement has been rendered. So obviously I would prefer the ai, all human knowledge, as it can change and adapt over an unintelligible nonhuman power that has to be interpreted by humans if not placed upon us in a culling flood. In the end, it's humans delivering the message either way.Torrent (talk) 09:54, 23 February 2024 (UTC)
…You guys do realize that you've postulated a common argument for why God is necessary, right? God would meet the criteria of "nonhuman but higher intellect that takes things we are not even aware of into account and then renders judgment". Luigifan18 (talk) 22:52, 25 February 2024 (UTC)
A year ago there was a discussion on the idea of an AI-powered new communism. I whimsically suggested such a take-over wouldn't be so bad actually. Others cited stuff pointing to it not being so technically far-fetched to use computers to manage the economy, though this does not imply any super-intelligence at work (which is still a distant sci-fi dream) but rather in part systems similar to those used internally by megacorps.
I don't think people are hardwired to specifically aim to hurt people, but rather to do other things which necessarily result in people being hurt, which includes power-play and the social dynamics of status in combination with greed and hoarding behavior and tribalism and more. Some issues seem inevitable when people manage people, or people become dependent on people whom they do dealings with, on a large scale. Some types of problems could be eliminated (similarly to how historically there used to be worse things than in present society), but others would remain, the basic fabric of it all staying in place even though specifics become "nicer".
Hypothetically, some "God-like" super-intelligence could help people, but it's a very distant (and vague) sci-fi vision. I think your (Torrent) distinction between the "AI" and the "nonhuman intelligence" isn't so meaningful (unless you simply mean computer vs. biology), as an AI would be nonhuman. Unless the AI truly faithfully recreated a human mind, in which case it isn't so super-anything. It wouldn't be a good path to a super-intelligence to mainly aim to imitate human expression anyway, in my view, since that easily leads to duplicating and furthering human problems above all else. Instead it would make sense to try to make it the best whatever-it-is or can-be. That leads to many other questions, of course, and the need for some starting point including philosophy and ethics. Making the highest values quality of consciousness and an existential striving to be, learn, explore, etc., and to help others in that way, seems a way around most nightmares that AI doomers have. (Luigifan, the problem of course is that the God of religion doesn't really make things any better than they are. It has to be a real solution, not a historical way to mess up.)
What would people even do if they had perfect help to organize their lives better anyway, however? Some may be happy with it, some may try to work against it because they're simply driven to do that, yet others may try to go further and try to become more themselves and "grow up" instead of living under the care of some superhuman collective parent figure. Transhumanist dreams of immortal or mass-simulated humans are narrow and silly, as what's the point of doing that with such a starting point? It would make more sense to try to become something else in the end, if there existed such "limitless" sci-fi capabilities, rather than be trapped in eternal stagnation as a miserable species that has pondered how life sucks since it arose. Maybe a VHEMT 2.0 would see its day, different from the old in that there'd be something new to replace the old? --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 20:57, 26 February 2024 (UTC)
is this a part of your leaving a cult grieving process? Because I agree those questions are rough waters. Voluntary human extinction is not my idea of facing the issues, personally. AI is inherently human, in my view so much so that, I have said before, sending an AI on an interstellar mission, to me, would count as sending humanity on an interstellar mission. Torrent (talk) 06:56, 28 February 2024 (UTC)
It's actually quite rooted in old thoughts and feelings that go back before having anything to do with the cult. The middle years it was kind of plastered over with a misguided faith trip and then that cracked open again.
I don't agree with VHEMT either, though I can understand their position. The issue as I see it is that there still exists potential for something better -- and my personal ethics is that it would be wrong to throw away that potential. Above I imagined a hypothetical future in which that would be different, in which a "something better" has already arisen.
No idea how you define or envision AI, there's little point in arguing about that part without more clarity on that. --ApooftGnegiol (talk) 04:22, 3 March 2024 (UTC)
I don't want to get into that either. Would you rather talk about your main point of people, language, and ethics being rubbish? Because those are three things I'm not sure you're talking about either.Torrent (talk) 03:30, 7 March 2024 (UTC)
to combine them, you would have to understand the point, which I think is a rejection of human experience, which is absurd, like setting a goal to see yourself in the mirror with your eyes closed. You feel a way, you understand it, that's really good, then you have to weigh it against language, people and ethics, and it doesn't work. Keep the feeling, language ethics and people are all very interesting if you give them a fair shake. Torrent (talk) 03:40, 7 March 2024 (UTC)