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Whatever happened to the freemasons?[edit]

The masons seem to be out of fashion these days as one of the big bads in conspiracy theories. Does these mean that they never were trying to take over the world or, just the opposite, that their evil plan is working? --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:28, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

  • I'd be willing to guess the fact that they've actually been putting out TV and radio ads to recruit members might have something to do with it. Or maybe they are just out of fashion with the tinfoil hat crowd. EVDebs (talk) 00:31, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
There is a guy in london often loitering round parliament square with signs blaming masons for kinds of beastly behaviour AMassiveGay (talk) 00:34, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Also, as secret societies go, they sure do have the biggest fanciest building in Covent Garden for their HQ AMassiveGay (talk) 00:36, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Nothing says secret society quite like a big sign. Bonus points if it's backlit. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:39, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I've never seen the anti mason chap picketing it, so I guess it works AMassiveGay (talk) 00:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
They played a big role in Dan Brown's most recent conspiracy-fuelled opus.--BobSpring is sprung! 07:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
A woman who my wife used to work with's husband was a freemason. When he died, she couldn't afford to keep her son in public school (private school, if you're a yank) and so she contacted one of her husband's mason friends and explained the situation. The freemasons straight away paid for her son's tuition until he finished A-Levels. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 08:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Ditto. It's not exactly as if we're hiding away. Oh yes, Jeeves, some "friends" will be "visiting" you soon, to help "answer" your questions. --Ψ GremlinRunāt! 11:00, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, jeez, if the Masons are employing the Quakers to do their beatings and killings now it's not wonder their evil plans aren't working out too well. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 12:38, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It just shows how clever their schemes are! After all, if you pass a bunch of Quakers on the street, you certainly don't think, "wow, that's probably some of the Masons' thugs", now do you? Just be careful what you have for breakfast... MDB (talk) 17:08, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I was once on the DC Metro, and the train passed by the George Washington Masonic Memorial. I mentioned it to my companion, and another rider asked who the Masons are. I said, "they're either a group of old men who like to dress up funny, or they secretly run the world. No one is sure which." MDB (talk) 14:09, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

And these are mutually exclusive how? Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 14:17, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Don't interrupt my snark with your so-called "logic". MDB (talk) 14:32, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

All in all, though[edit]

I'd rather be a Stonecutter.

After all, they

  • Control the British Crown
  • Keep the metric system down
  • Leave Atlantis off the maps
  • Keep the Martians under wraps
  • Hold back the electric car
  • Make Steve Gutenberg a star
  • Rob cavefish of their sight
  • Rig every Oscar night.

MDB (talk) 14:32, 26 January 2011 (UTC)


Anyone watching the State of the Union....interesting. A good to see Obama with his spark back. Ace McAwesome 02:40, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I'm watching it. And me and my friends were just commenting about him being nervous about the orange boner behind him. The Goonie 1 What's this button do? Uh oh.... 02:43, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
yeah he is coming across a little odd looking (Boehner I mean). Ace McAwesome 02:45, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
He's likely drunk (again). Not that there's anything wrong with that.... AnarchoGoon Swatting Assflys is how I earn my living 02:57, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
That last comment about trading places with any other nation was pretty fucking classy. Ace McAwesome 03:09, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
WINNING THE FUTURE!!!! WINNING THE FUTURE!!!! WINNING THE FUTURE!!!! Seriously? Not his best work. P-Foster (talk) 03:36, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
One of his campaign speeches was his high point, can't remember which one. It's gone mostly downhill since his inauguration. Blue (is useful) 03:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Funny thing is, as big a disappointment as he's been I'd vote for him again because nothing reasonable has been presented in the alternative. Boo ya dems for your mediocrity. Where's Rob Smith? !!!! oh ~~~~ Nutty Roux100x100 anarchy symbol.svgUser:Nutty Roux/sigtalk 03:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
The thing is, he does have star power, and if he is defeated in the primaries (unlikely anyway) I doubt the Democrats could win. Unless the GOP runs Palin or Bachman. Blue (is useful) 03:50, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Had to DVR it, I was in rehearsal tonight, but I loved it. I think Obama is back in his element, IE, talking to people. As to P-Foster. State of the Union addresses are always more practical than inspirational. I don't know of any President who is remembered for their strong State of the Union address. PS, Boehner still looks like a carrot. SirChuckBCall the FBI 05:28, 26 January 2011 (UTC)


Watching Bachmann now - a real change of tone. She has no charisma, refuses to look into the camera, sounds like a robot and looks like a fucking banshee. Ace McAwesome 04:34, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

To be fair, if she looked into the camera we would probably turn to stone, so I'd say she's been very considerate. Blue (pester) 04:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Goodpost.gif The Goonie Punk Can't sleep, clowns will eat me! 14:49, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Do I live in Shrewsbury?[edit]

Living in the country we are often plagued with critters during the winter. Normally it's the common house mouse, so little bowls of Tomcat rodent poison are secreted in bathrooms and cupboards. Having noticed that the poison in Mrs. K's bathroom keeps disappearing I put down one of our small humane traps. About 00:30 I heard a click and found the trap shut, so I took it down stairs and released a pygmy shrew (about the size of my thumb) back into the garden. An hour or so later I heard the trap click shut again so once again I released another pygmy shrew into the garden. This happened twice more during the night. Now checking Wikipedia and some nature books I see that shrews are very territorial and, except during the breeding season, will not tolerate another shrew in their domain. So is this the same little fellah repeatedly coming back in and stupidly getting caught? I don't want to kill it as I don't believe they are such a pest as mice - they largely eat beetles and grubs rather than electrical insulation. When we had cats they would often catch shrews but never eat them as they are distasteful. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 09:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Dab it with a bit of paint. If every shrew you catch is bright pink, it's probably the same one. If the trap stops springing, check your local birds for suspiciously pink beaks. ONE / TALK 10:17, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
As any real gentleman knows, it's pronounced 'Shrowsbury', so no. Webbtje (talk) 11:35, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Arizona House Bill - "Birther Bill"[edit]

So a bill has been introduced into the Arizona State Legislature which looks likely to pass, and WND is hailing it as a, "game-changer." The bill would require that, to stand as President of the United States, and to appear on the ballot in Arizona, one would be required to submit proof of eligibility. I realise a similar bill has previously been introduced, but this one looks a lot more likely to pass.

Firstly, what do people think? If passed, would Obama simply end up submitting the information, or would a court battle ensue?

Secondly, what right do states have in this respect? One COULD argue that given that the Federal government or judiciary has refused to do anything about this alleged 'issue,' and yet the constitution requires that the President meet certain requirements, this is every state's right. But I'd disagree that it is wholly the state's right and responsibility to settle this matter, without any capacity for Federal involvement. What if, say, Arizona decided to interpret the requirement to have lived in the United States as having to provide daily proof that you were in the country for the last fourteen years? Obviously the framers did not mean to give each state the ability to make it so difficult to stand for President. At what point, and under what justification, would the Federal courts/government get involved? Any ideas? DalekEXTERMINATE 20:12, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

The question I'd want to know is whether it would come around to bite the Birthers on the arse when it turns out one of their favourite candidates aren't eligible. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 20:16, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think they'd actually require whatever sooper seekrit version the birthers are demanding. He'd probably submit the short form he already posted, which would be delicious. Occasionaluse (talk) 20:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
As I understand it, "full faith and credit" means that each state has to respect documents (and other stuff but that's not important right now) from the others. That means if Hawaii accepts his short form certification, Arizona would have to do so. IANAL, though. I'm not American either for that matter. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:49, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I like how such bills essentially recognize that a foreigner might be elected/electable president by the majority, yet he is somehow supposed to be disqualified because of "things", preferably intangible things he can't alter. Don't forget to start examining the family tree as well, and if the house has a proper coat of arms. American conservatives from the land of opportunity and "what you can do", are behaving more like "old Europe" day by day. Sen (talk) 22:29, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Psychic gets one right![edit]


She told distraught relatives that Melissa Barthelemy, 24, was in a shallow grave near water and close to a sign containing the letter "G". But cops ignored the lead - until four women's bodies were discovered in bags at Gilgo Beach on New York's Long Island.

Just think, if only they'd listened to her vague lead and searched every part of the country near a lake, river, and the ocean beginning with 'G' they would have found her. Stupid cops. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 13:35, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Possibly the most misleading headline at least of this year so far. By "found", they mean made an extremely vague prediction that didn't help in the slightest to narrow the search area. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 13:43, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Wasn't there a case years ago, where somebody claimed to have a vision of where a missing body was, and they ended up being arrested for murder? --Ψ GremlinParlez! 14:10, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I suppose any rational cop will decide what to do based on the specificity of the claim. If they hear something like the above they just think "oh fuck off" and ignore it. If a 'psychic' says something like "they were stabbed in the chest 3 times and burried in x forest near y landmark", then they would have a look and arrest them if it's true. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:29, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Police used to have a "what's the harm?" attitude, until they realised they really were wasting their time with these people. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 17:04, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Snow storm shuts everybody down[edit]

So we had a snow storm last night here in New York, and it's always incredible to me how the North East shuts down. My sister in New Jersey - her kids' Catholic school closing was announced yesterday. When I was a kid in New Jersey in the last 70's, early 80's, I remember listening to the AM radio praying that my Catholic school would be closed. But it would take a real snow dump for that to happen! Even here on Wall Street--if the stock exchange is open, we're open--about 70% of the employees at my company didn't show up. Hmph! In my day... --Leotardo (talk) 15:03, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Spent a pleasant half hour this forenoon in sunshine and thaw, clearing the front steps and path to them. Soft snow, not quite heavy enough to qualify as heart-attack snow. There's been enough snow previous to this that drivers have had their yearly initiation, roads are plowed, and this is a part of the world where morons who fail at traction-awareness get weeded out post-haste, so all in all it is nice.
I once worked at a company that had what we called a "first-flake" policy, which seemed odd for the US northeast. No matter, full advantage was taken in the form of time off playing in the white stuff. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 16:55, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
It seems like all of NJ has shut down this week, although it's not too surprising because 18+ inches basically appeared overnight. I wonder when we'll finally learn to deal with these heavy winters seeing as we get them every freaking year. Tetronian you're clueless 19:38, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I enjoy the outrage of NYC residents who don't understand the infeasibility of rapid snow removal across such a large, densely populated area. Good lols on facebook. Occasionaluse (talk) 19:56, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, we've already had that sort of thing across the UK for a couple of weeks. You're welcome to it! Although it amuses me that people do complain like little whiny bitches because, usually, the complaint is something like "why isn't something being done?" or "why isn't the money there for this?" and so on. Consider:
  1. We only ever notice things when they become a problem
  2. People notice the snow, the disruption and complain about it
  3. We therefore shall spend an ungodly amount of money clearing snow
  4. Snow ceases to be a problem!
  5. We're now spending an ungodly amount of money on something that isn't a problem
  6. People complain about spending money on something that isn't a problem
And so on. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 20:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
In related news, NY Tea Party Councillor is Crackpot, film at 11. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:55, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Out here in Minnesota we think you're all a bunch of pansies. And we mean that in the nicest possible way. Doctor Dark (talk) 01:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I was living in Halifax when White Juan blew through. Shut the city down for days. Didn't lose power though, which was surprising. --Kels (talk) 02:40, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Gods Xians & Atheists don't believe in.[edit]

Just one teeny difference between them. [2] --Ψ GremlinTala! 13:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Misleading list. For example, it lists 'Aesir' and 'Odin'. But Odin is one of the Aesir.--

Kriss AkabusiAAAWOOOGAAAR!!1 15:01, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Also, I think we have an article on this already. Тиранесcomplaints 15:03, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Yep. But it seems shorter than theirs, damn. Röstigraben (talk) 15:18, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually atheists are ahead by two gods. You forgot Flying Spaghetti Monster, Teapot, and Invisible Pink Unicorn. <snark snark> ~ Lumenos (talk) 01:18, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Choose your eternity[edit]

"Choose your future. Choose life."

Had to be done... SJ Debaser 13:02, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Apparently, if you're in the US army and some nasty a-rab blows you up with roadside bomb, you can choose one of these symbols to appear on your gravestone. Which ones do you prefer? Me personally, I think the atheist one is pretty nice, but there are some better choices. The Sufi one is pretty bad arse, as is the wiccan pentangle, but I think the prize has to go to the Sikhs. You could change your name to Kahless with your dying breath then everyone'd think you're a Klingon. There's some stiff competition for worst, the Mormon one looks like some guy chugging a yard of ale and the Eastern Orthodox one looks like a signpost. However, I think that it's got to be Christian Scientists by a nose. Plus, who'd want to go through eternity remembered as a fucking Christian Scientist? At a pinch I suppose RWians could go for the Agnus Dei one and tell people it was a goat. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 00:44, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Who made the atheist symbol anyway? I appreciate it's retrofuturistic jetpackiness but my inner rebel rebels with all this branding. Sen (talk) 01:18, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Why is atheism listed as a religion? P-Foster (talk) 01:25, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
It probably took a small miracle to even get the Department of Veterans Affairs to accept a symbol for atheism at all, don't start dragging them into a discussion of semantic. If you tell them it is not a religion they probably will revert back to the position that they don't then require a religious marking on their headstones. I think if I were conscripted today I would tick the humanist one. - π 01:56, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I want to be Seicho-No-Ie. That's a pretty rad logo. DogP (I buggered up my sig) (talk) 02:31, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd pick the Crundysoft logo. Ace McAwesome 02:37, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd go with United Moravian. Looks cool, and it would confuse people who know me. That being said, I think we need a petition to get an image of Bob Dobbs' head as a choice. Also, is anyone else a bit surprised there's no Scientology option? Perhaps if they were a more litigious group... DickTurpis (talk) 02:55, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Tsk. You know no true scientologist has ever died. Once you get to OT-15 you're immortal. I think you can fly too. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 03:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I would have to choose between the Buddhist dharma-wheel and the Lutheran cross. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:39, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
The atheism symbol is actually the symbol of the American Atheists with an added A in the middle.--ZooGuard (talk) 08:07, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
As I have covenanted to donate my body to medical science when I snuff it, the idea of a gravestone is anathema to me. There seems to be a plethora of Christian symbols there, if you need to proclaim a faith what's wrong with a plain cross rather than a specific sect? For some people their sports team allegiance is actually a bigger identity than their religion so shouldn't they be able to put their sports team logo on instead? Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 10:12, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Waste of space! 10:26, 28 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Oh dear Susan, your pedantic credentials are slipping! "Cemetary"?  Lily Inspirate me. 12:13, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Heh! Not guilty: posted by Him in my absence. I'll be having words! 12:16, 28 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Corrected, I see.  Lily Inspirate me. 12:31, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I want to go with this idea. Real first name and last initial (talk) 11:00, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd have Paul Simonon smashing my dead body up with his bass guitar. SJ Debaser 11:12, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
You can keep all your symbols. I fully intend not to die. ever. AMassiveGay (talk) 11:52, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Bollocks to that. To quote Hunter S. Thompson, I would feel trapped if I didn't know I could commit suicide at any moment. SJ Debaser 12:55, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
That choice is still there, I just choose not to make it AMassiveGay (talk) 18:51, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I quite like the Unitarian Universalist Association logo. Most kick-ass is the Seicho-No-Ie. As a trance-hippie, I'd happily settle for the Om. Worst has to be United Church of Religious Science, which looks like graffiti promoting a certain TV show. --Ψ GremlinParla! 13:15, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

On a purely aesthetic level, the emblems for Buddhism, Judaism, Konko-Kyo, Sufism, Sikhism, & Wicca are my favourites of those. The Community of Christ one would be apt for somebody who was mauled by death by deformed animals. I've always hated that atheism logo. The humanist emblem is OK if you like that sort of thing. But really what should make most sense for atheists is to leave a blank space where others would have their religious emblem. Maybe agnostics could get a big question mark? WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:07, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
They have Eckankar, but not Scientology. HA! HA! - David Gerard (talk) 20:56, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Dropped my Tower[edit]

Needless to say, I won't be around for a while.--Thanatos (talk) 01:20, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Why were you juggling your computer? Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments. 06:51, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Dear older UK voters,[edit]

I'm so very much into politics. Follow it religiously. And all of a sudden, it's all very depressing, and we just get to watch while this vicious coalition tears public services to pieces. For those of you that remember the Thatcher years, is the answer just anger and drinking? Seriously? Five years of watching a government go against everything I believe, and knowing that I voted them into power as much as anyone, voting Lib Dem? Wow. DalekEXTERMINATE 09:08, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

The Lib Dems were on a hiding to nothing from the moment they got the hung parliament which they had prayed for for so long.--BobSpring is sprung! 09:14, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Thing about all the Lid Dem and Nick Clegg bashing is that people seem to have forgotten that WE DO NOT HAVE A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT GOVERNMENT! Although not "outright", it is a Tory majority. The Lid Dems are there to make up the numbers and it is not was never and will never going to be an equal partnership regardless of what political rhetoric they spewed when forming it. Did people honestly think that a coalition like this would have turned the country into a socialist paradise? The fact is, the Tories didn't so much win as Labour lost. With a fucked up economy causing issues, the incumbent government was always going to have a hard time of it (we'll see the same thing in 2012 when Palin ousts Obama from the White House) and their record on civil liberties gave the Lib-Con pairing enough common ground to make some equal progress before they moved on with tackling the deficit hard and early as the Tory manifesto promised to do. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:04, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I voted Liberal Democrat (or Lideral Democrat according to AKD), and thought to myself that I wouldn't even mind if the Conservatives got into power because I thought their promised policies were tame. I take it all back. My only saving grace is that my vote made no difference at all - my constituency is a labour stronghold. ONE / TALK 10:14, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
(EC)I voted Lib Dem, but only because I wanted a coalition between Labour and Lib Dem. Sadly it didn't happen. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 10:16, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I voted Lib Dem, despite knowing that my vote would be wasted in a Labour stronghold, but using my vote to lend support to the idea of electoral reform by increasing the Lib Dem's overall share of the vote. What we've ended up with is a coalition that, while the cuts are bad, would have been much, much worse than if the Tories had won outright. The Tories are having to reign in a lot of their policies for the sake of a stable government. Who'd have thought that after nearly a year, we've not even heard a squeek from the usually vocal Euro-skeptic flank of the Tory party? Bondurant (talk) 10:25, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

That's honestly how I felt until a couple of months ago. Nick Clegg was making the best of a bad situation: Labour weren't very credible, the Tories had more seats, and we needed a comprehensive austerity package. But now? It all leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth. I've got to say that pre-May, I felt that the Tory plan to cut the deficit in the term of one Parliament was political, not economical. After all, if they did all of these cuts, and had a fair bit to show for it, then the election could be up in the air. But the only way they could have a -good- chance of winning, after the suffering of the cuts, was to be able to say, "Hey, we had one of the worst deficits in the developed world, and we're the first to sort it out!" But that's purely political: The economic justification for doing it in that time scale was weak, and the Lib Dems knew that stood for election on that. So jumping on board with that? Perhaps I can accept that. Perhaps I can say, "Okay, so the Tories want to do -this- with the economy? Well they got the most votes, and the Lib Dems aren't doing anything wrong in supporting them on that." They got their concessions in the coalition agreement, but I've got two MAJOR problems:
1. The actual concessions were nice and all, but voting reform and house of lords reform? These are things which matter to Lib Dem voters, sure... but social and political reform are topics for times of prosperity. By taking the whole Tory economic policy, with a couple of changes here and there, and accepting things which don't matter in the slightest to a man who loses his home/can't feed his family etc, they're going to struggle to claim the mantle of a progressive party in my eyes.
2. This is the big thing for me. By choosing the Conservatives as their bed partners, it's not just control of the Commons they're giving: They're giving them control of the majority of the Departments. And everything which those ministers do, the Lib Dems are responsible for in my eyes. Anything they do which Labour would've done differently, is done by choice of the Lib Dems. The debate about tuition fees was looking at the wrong topic: We barely heard anything about the 80% cut in teaching funds for universities. I mean, what the fuck? I totally get that they can say, "We're in a coalition. We couldn't stick to that pledge." But when they fought for the student vote in the way they did - to allow the single thing which is cut the most to be university teaching, they've failed. Then the NHS? That wasn't in the coalition agreement, or either manifesto. "No top-down reforms of the NHS." "You can trust us on the NHS." Well the Lib Dems were right: "You can't trust the Tories on the NHS." And so after the coalition agreement, after the deficit reduction plan.... when the Lib Dems are propping up an ill-guided reform of the NHS which would be so incredibly difficult to undo, which every major healthcare specialist body seems to think is a bad idea... I think they're betraying the majority of people who voted for them.
I understand that this was a brewing problem. The Lib Dems have always been two parties in one, the Liberals and the Social Democrats. But it's the Liberals who have won out, and the seats like Burnley who voted in a Liberal Democrat and got a right-wing Liberal who's all about free market reforms, they've sort of been betrayed. The Liberal Democrat manifesto and election campaign were DISTINCTLY anti-Tory, deliberately courting a vote who would NEVER vote Tory, and then they took our votes, and propped up a Tory government. DalekEXTERMINATE 10:26, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
What he said! Double! and Double again. 10:37, 28 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Thank you :) Also, have you noticed how they keep saying we'll have more "freedom and choice" when they talk about schools reform and healthcare reform. They keep parroting it, like we have to believe it. Because freedom and choice are both good things, right? Well I don't want more freedom and choice in schools and healthcare. I want year-on-year, incremental improvements in results, with better performance in mathematics and higher cancer survival rates. No biggie... DalekEXTERMINATE 10:41, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
There just isn't the money to follow a Lib Dem style plan for higher education, there just isn't. They probably knew that and had no intention of getting into power (I recall Andy Parsons on Mock The Week basically saying how Clegg could say whatever the hell he wanted) where that could be shown. Taxpayer funded education to age 21 and beyond just isn't compatible with the idea of 50% of the population going to university. You have to have one or the other, and as heartless and "right wing" or "elitist" as that sounds I've been through that system and that's how it has to be. 50% of the population can't be highly paid CEOs and we end up in a situation where we'll have MA graduates flipping burgers because too many people have the qualification for it to be meaningful. And then how do we recoup the cost of financing that higher education apart from an 99% tax on those graduates lucky enough to land a City job that pays them more money than sense? Merely insisting that it's free (and the new system does make it free at the point of entry compared to the £1200 a year you had to pay up front 6 years ago) is great rhetoric but the fact is that less than half of graduates will get jobs highly paid enough to repay the student debt generated by lifting the fee cap - but that's not because the fee is too high but because half of graduates won't get jobs to justify their 3-4 years of extra "education". And I see that nearly every day when my friends who graduated with their MAs in History and English Literature ending up doing data entry jobs that you could waltz into with 5 GCSEs - or worse, doing a PGCE and teaching. And "80%" is quite a misleading figure, because it's touted as if that's 80% of every university budget, when it isn't. My university is weathering it quite nicely. Private and external investment, particularly from scientific research, makes that 80% cut look like a rounding error when it comes to the overall investment. Other universities are similarly placed, maybe not as well placed, but shouting "80% CUT!!!" is just a plain dishonest way of putting it. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:47, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying, but I think my point has been skipped over somewhat. Yes, it is just the teaching budget cut by 80%, and that to universities that's not a huge cut. And I certainly feel that Higher Education is totally messed up. 50% going to university isn't the right approach, and we've ended up with lots of polytechnics-cum-crap-universities, with nothing to replace the polytechnics. If you want to do anything after your A Levels, you're pretty much forced into University, or self-funded study. Try becoming an accountant without spending a grand or so of your own money, maybe being lucky enough to get a heavily-oversubscribed apprenticeship? So if you're from a poor background, with no cash to pay up front, you're stuck between an accountancy degree, and tens of thousands of pounds of debt, or not becoming an accountant. So yeah, it'd be nice if they reformed that - but I understand it'd be politically difficult to say that less people should go to university. Sorry, I've digressed from the point... Yes, it's just the 80% of the teaching budget cut, and most universities won't notice that too much. But they won't be throwing their huge research funds at teaching, it'll mean students paying much more towards their education. I guess what I mean to say is that the Lib Dems courted that vote specifically, stated their principle on it clearly, and now we've ended up with higher education teaching being publically funded to a fifth of the degree it currently is. When a few chemistry departments, a biology department... maybe a maths or physics department starts to realise it's just not financially viable to actually take on students, perhaps we'll all feel differently. Also, I accept the, "Lib Dems could have said anything!" argument, but to talk so much about 'new politics' and 'trust in politicians' and then launch a whole campaign on tuition fees and go the other way, it's pretty shady. NOBODY realistically expected free higher education, we even thought they would go up... but to the degree that they have, with Liberal Democrats in government? Leaves a bitter taste. Sorry for rantyness. DalekEXTERMINATE 11:01, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
(EC) I think people have been unreasonable in expecting too much of the Lib-Dems. As a nation we couldn't make a consensus on what sort of government we wanted so the options were limited: go back for another General Election leaving the country in limbo and which the parties could not afford, create a weak Lab/Lib-Dem coalition with no overall majority, or go for a Con/Lib-Dem coalition with a working majority. None of these were ideal choices. For years the Lib-Dems have been under-represented in parliament because of our first-past-the-post voting system, Labour has never won an outright majority of the votes and never shown any inclination to legislate for some sort of proportional representation even though they have had years of opportunity. I believe that many of our national problems have been caused by polarised two-party ideologies rather than a proper consensus of what is good for the country. In fact proper proportional representation would have delivered a clear majority for a Lab/Lib-Dem coalition. Manifestos are declarations of what a party will do if they win an election, in a coalition two parties have to work together with the junior partner having to accept a large-part of the larger party's plans in return for some concessions. The Lib-Dems garnered less than a quarter of the national vote and less than 9% of the total seats, they clearly have no mandate/obligation/power to insist that all their pledges be carried out. Politics is about power; the Liberal-Democrats need a change in the voting system if they are to have a fair say in the running of the country, at least the Conservatives gave the pledge of a referendum on the first step to a fairer voting system. Blaming the Lib-Dems for everything you don't like which is being done by the coalition is like bullying the weakest member of an opposing team. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 11:51, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I still have no answer to the question on the NHS, which is one of the main reasons I've gone from (reluctantly being in) the, "Best of a bad situation," to, "betrayal" camp. So, the country needed a coalition to prevent a crisis of confidence? Ok. So the Liberal Democrats had to sign up to the Tory deficit stratedy? Ok. So they got some concessions and signed a coalition agreement? Ok. Then the Tory Health Minister seems to go wild, with the Prime Minister not seeming sure of what's going on for a while, and we're getting the biggest reform of the NHS since its creation. Where's the mandate? The Tories stood on, "no top-down reorganisations of the NHS" and thousands of billboards saying you could trust them on the NHS. No mention of it in the election. No mention in the debates. No mention at the formation of the coalition. So why should or would the Lib Dems support it? They made their deal with the Conservatives, in return for concessions, in the Coalition Agreement? Or are we to just accept the the Tory health/education/international development/defence/foreign affairs minister is welcome to just go ahead and do whatever the hell they like, and the Lib Dems should leave them to it? DalekEXTERMINATE 13:11, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
The Lib Dems have made concession after concession, but let's not forget that they got something in return. If the referendum on Alternative Vote is passed, it will all arguably be worth it. And Labour were pretty terrible in their way as well.--

Kriss AkabusiAAAWOOOGAAAR!!1 13:52, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

It won't be worth it for anyone if the LibDems get fuck-all votes next election. I don't know how likely that is but they've pretty much lost the student vote I'm sure. ONE / TALK 14:08, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
They'll do fine. Four years is plenty of time for them to sack Clegg, bring Simon Hughes in riding a white horse and show people a completely different party from this sorry band of compromised non-figures.--

Kriss AkabusiAAAWOOOGAAAR!!1 15:29, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Part of me thinks that. But remember that in four years, the entire undergraduate body will be paying £6000 to £9000, and Students' Unions will make it clear to all whose fault they think it is. DalekEXTERMINATE 15:57, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Except that they won't actually be paying these massive amounts. As bad as they are philosophically, the only really bad immediate consequence of the higher fees is that they're likely to scare off people whose parents didn't go to university. Those that do choose to go won't feel the bite until long after they graduate, if ever. I have a year 2000-level student loan that I pay off out of my earnings, and to be honest it wouldn't make much difference to me if the amount I notionally owed was ten times as high - I just treat it as a tax.--

Kriss AkabusiAAAWOOOGAAAR!!1 16:07, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Ditto, really. My SLC letters are depressing reading, but I haven't started paying it back yet. Indeed, it is managed by the HM Revenue & Customs so it's effectively no different to a tax. However, the way to put it is that it's a tax you eventually you stop paying... if you have a high enough earning job! This is what the student loans system was like and this is what the new fees system is like. The only difference is the magnitude of the debt and that they've swapped around what you're granted and what you're loaned (living expenses and fees). By the government's own admission, the raised fees are going to be repaid by only ~50% of graduates. The ones without the great jobs will be taxed until they retire, while the lucky rich ones will eventually pay it off and be freed from it. As it is effectively a tax, I can't see why they can't just make it a graduate tax and have it level across everyone. Revenue would be higher (or you could compensate by making the payments proportionally smaller), the ones who underpay won't actually underpay and those who overpay would just be giving a minute personal contribution to the continuing education of others. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 17:27, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Is America Exceptional in 2011?[edit]

Speaker Boehner was interviewed about Obama's SOTU, and that he should have talked about "American exceptionalism", and that "You can't get the left to talk about it. They don't -- they reject that notion." That's absolutely right. Conservatives are one of the first to say the "self esteem" movement with children is creating a nation of under-achievers who are told they are great, so they see little reason to improve. I agree - and I think the same thing when Americans constantly need to be reassured that we are so special, too. "[T]he country was built on an idea that ordinary people could decide what their government looked like and ordinary people could elect their own leaders. And 235 years ago that was a pretty novel idea. And so we are different." Right - we were novel and different 235 years ago. Not so much today. --Leotardo (talk) 15:43, 28 January 2011 (UTC) By the way, the term "American exceptionalism" was first used by the American Communist Party in the 1920s.

America is a declining country, a trend that began 30-40 years ago. Nobody will do anything about it because it's a slow evolution instead of a sudden crisis. Doctor Dark (talk) 15:52, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
In 10 years I predict that the US will be like Soviet Russia in the 1980s: A shambles with a massive military that prevents others from mentioning just what a shambles it is. Тиранесcomplaints 15:57, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
(ec)More likely in 20 years we will be like the United Kingdom is today. --Leotardo (talk) 16:02, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Could you describe that for me please? Тиранесcomplaints 16:05, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
An exceptional healthcare system, world class education, a decent minimum wage, no cheaply available guns for the mentally unstable, gay rights, employment and holiday rights, practically a non-religious majority and a wonderful sense of humour for all? You should be so lucky. DalekEXTERMINATE 16:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
So, what happens to all the fundamentalists, survivalists, neocons, etc. ? Are we hoping they all die without brainwashing their children? Тиранес

complaints 16:12, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Oh yeah. Hmm. Well keep the cheaply available guns for the mentally unstable, we'll keep the gay rights and the non-religious majority. Healthcare & Healthcare you can probably achieve? DalekEXTERMINATE 16:43, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Ok. Maybe they'll declare war on each other or something. Тиранесcomplaints 16:51, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I think that the 'separation of powers' and political system which America is so proud of could be its own undoing. At some point, America needs SERIOUS austerity measures. In Britain, a party with control of the lower house with something of a majority can basically do what they want of course - with the upper house being overridden on finance bills, and 'signing into law' guaranteed. So getting enough votes in a single election, then having 5 rough years of austerity isn't too difficult. In America, you'd only get that kind of spending cutting and/or tax rising if one party controlled the House, Senate & Presidency. And after 2 years of heavy cutting, they'd lose control of the House. Or so I fear. DalekEXTERMINATE 16:00, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I just means the US system is geared to resist change as heavily as possible. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 17:16, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
American exceptionalism isn't really exceptional. Throughout history, nations that established great empires and sometimes even rose to the undisputed #1 spot have always attributed their success to some special quality of their national character. They usually don't acknowledge the role of geography, endowment with resources, sudden technological advances, the incompetence of others and last but definitely not least completely random events and outcomes. Instead, they like to engage in self-congratulatory back-patting and imagine that their achievements are due to their supreme valor, boldness, entrepreneurship, sophistication, and of course the grace of god. Culture does play a role in shaping a nation's outlook, but culture can change and hinder or assist the establishment of systems that turn out to be advantageous at a certain point in time. Still, that is just one element, and a variable one, in deciding a nation's fortunes. Leaders who bet that the exceptional character of their people will ensure success will make failure more likely, and if Boehner in particular believes that the US economy is "20 times the size of China's", he needs to be slapped hard. Numbers don't seem to be the Republicans' strong suit. Röstigraben (talk) 17:53, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Let me be the heretic here and say that America is exceptional in one major way: it is a nation of immigrants, and that has always been a tremendous strength. Even today many (most?) of our innovations are made by immigrants. Likewise (closer to home) university science departments often are dominated by foreign-born graduate students because so many of the native-born kids are either too lazy to go into a field where they actually have to work and think, or deride technically competent people as "nerds" and "geeks." Doctor Dark (talk) 18:06, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but nowadays, it's no longer a given that the most highly skilled immigrants will stay in the country. Many Chinese come to the USA to earn their Ph.D., but then return afterwards. In their case, it's often not so much about finding a job in research, but about earning a title that will give them access to venture capital for setting up their own company back home. And if you take the much lower prices in China into account, a highly skilled worker may be able to affort a relatively higher living standard there, even though in absolute numbers, he earns less than someone in the same position in the US. Immigration is necessary to replenish the usually dwindling populations of highly developed countries, but it's not something you can take for granted or that's a one-way road. Röstigraben (talk) 18:20, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Canada, Australia, Israel and Argentina are all nations of immigrants, too, so that can't be what makes America exceptional. --Leotardo (talk) 18:27, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
And the UK population descends from people who have emigrated from France and Scandinavia (I bet I have a "Bjorn the Hairy" back there somewhere). Scarlet A.pngd hominem 18:35, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Right, quite a few European countries have also become nations of immigrants, though their success at this is questionable. If we are to keep the narrow criterion, at least five countries have begun as nations of immigrants, and all are relatively successful by most measures. --Leotardo (talk) 18:43, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
In the ultimate analysis all nations began as nations of immigrants. (OK, you could argue that there may be an African group somewhere in the rift valley who are an exception.) --BobSpring is sprung! 22:01, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
This lot, perhaps? Real first name and last initial (talk) 22:08, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Errrruuup. I saw that. See but that was way back when. Now the nerds and geeks have taken our derogatory term and made it all cool. Not as cool as the n-word but pretty dang cool. Now everybody wants to be a nerd or a geek. You have nerdcore music and uuum "Nerds" the candy. I'm sorry. It is because I am a useless dork who is programed to claw my way "up" the social ladder by any means necessary. ~ Lumenos (talk) 22:59, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, it's cool only if you are nerdy in the right way. People like me are still dorky. Vulpius (talk) 23:21, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

The best translation of Genesis yet[edit]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4NuAS2H-es (some NSFW words) --AmazingTechnicolorCheeseWedge (talk) 21:33, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm a big fan of this one. P-Foster (talk) 21:42, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Shome mishtake shurley[edit]

Death records are one of the most important vital records. Surely by definition death records can't be vital?

first 5 definitions:
  • Of, relating to, or characteristic of life.
  • Necessary to the continuation of life; life-sustaining: a vital organ; vital nutrients.
  • Full of life; animated: "The population of the teeming, vital slum . . . declined” ( Rick Hampson).
  • Imparting life or animation; invigorating: the sun's vital rays.
  • Necessary to continued existence or effectiveness; essential
21:45, 28 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
If birth records are vital, then why not the records of the terminus at other end? Very first definition applies without cavil.
Seriously, language itself is alive, and not always usefully parsed by means of dicdefs. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 22:26, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
"Of, relating to, or characteristic of life" - I think that applies. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 22:57, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
critical: urgently needed; absolutely necessary; "a critical element of the plan"; "critical medical supplies"; "vital for a healthy society"; "of vital interest":P Scarlet A.pngd hominem 01:34, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Vodka, porn stars and a briefcase full of cocaine[edit]

"A day after being admitted to a Los Angeles hospital amid a reported two-day bender featuring vodka, a "briefcase full of cocaine" and more porn stars than one would find on a Ron Jeremy Welcome Wagon Committee, [Charlie] Sheen was enrolled in an undisclosed rehabilitation program and CBS shut down production on his hit sitcom, "Two and a Half Men."[3]. I know it's sorta tragic, but this insane description is insanely cliché that I can't help but laugh. Talk about Andy Schlafly's "Exhibit A: Hollywood Values" hee --Leotardo (talk) 04:02, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Charlie Sheen's greatest moment on film:
Jeanie Bueller: "Thank you, no, I'm straight."
Sheen:"I meant, are you here for drugs?"
Jeanie Bueller: "No. Why are you here?"
Sheen:"Drugs." Secret Squirrel (talk) 04:15, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

First Tunisia, now Egypt?[edit]

Not sure if this is true or not, but it seems as if the Egyptians are telling their government "Enough!" --Ψ GremlinZungumza! 13:32, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Lots of conflicting information coming out at the moment, but it's worth keeping an eye on Al-Jazeera's twitter feed, which has a subsidiary list feed dealing exclusively with developments in the protests.
Most interesting thing to date is Baradei offering himself as an interim president, after he said Mubarak should quit. lolwut?! It'd be good, but I don't see any of the factions being happy with that one. I suspect Badie (not Baradei, confusing I know) wants that job for himself, and he is going to get his people out into the protests to try and sideline Baradei's faction as much as possible before the intelligentsia can corner the protesters for themselves. He's already been wrongfooted twice in the last few months, and he is going to be desperate not to let it happen again. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 16:11, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I am watching this with a tinge of cautious curiosity. I'm hopeful that, unlike the Iranian revolution, this one has more than enough moderate voices to balance out those radical Muslims that might try to grab power. As for Mubarak, his days are finished. The Spikey Punk I'm punking my punk! 23:39, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Jordan too. and Yeman. PolarBear (talk) 23:43, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Take back my earliest statement. The military seems poised to play at least a transitional role in affairs, and it seems Baradei may be wanted in such an arrangement as the civilian face that is acceptable to the international community. The MB once again seems a bit shafted, and a bit too slow of the mark it would seem. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 16:10, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Nominate Thunderkatz for 'Crat.[edit]

Thunderkatz (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · block user · vandal log · block log)

Class of 2007. Does good work. might not be TK. P-Foster (talk) 21:53, 27 January 2011 (UTC)



Can I be the perennial "too many 'crats" person? I do support Thunderkatz for crat but there are several current crats who are, shall we say, less than active. Blue (pester) 02:29, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Do we have a list? Тиранесcomplaints 03:04, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
There's Special:ListUsers/bureaucrat for a list of bureaucrats.
DLerner made a grand total of two edits in 2010, and has been inactive since August; Edgerunner76 has been inactive since April of last year; Mei II has been inactive since May of last year; Pinto's5150 made a grand total of 14 edits in 2010, and has been inactive since October; Researcher has been inactive since August last year. Blue (pester) 03:11, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
As I lack crat ship on this wiki, I cannot say, but If you aren't here, why do you have them? Тиранесcomplaints 03:19, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
It appears that Researcher is retired. De-cratting Mei would set off a major HCM, so I, if I were dictator, would decrat Researcher. Тиранесcomplaints 03:21, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Mei was popular, but that wouldn't stop me from supporting a de-'crat. Inactivity with no indication of return should be grounds for promotion. The triangle! It must be preserved! Blue (pester) 03:25, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Why would decratting Mei - without prejudice, cause a HCM? Ace McAwesome 03:33, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
It wouldn't. The fact that many people subscribed to an RW-only meme, and one that even here was only understood by a few, wouldn't cause HCM. I join Blue on the perennial "too many 'crats" side. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that only the elected officials should have 'crat status. There's simply no reason for more people than that to have the 'crat bit. Trent and Nx will need some kind of special access for hardware stuff, but that's a different matter. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 03:37, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
During the late part of the destruction of RW 2, it was made clear(by certain people who shall remain nameless) that Mei was off limits for wandalisms. Тиранесcomplaints 03:46, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't go as far as that, Suspected. Those who actively use the 'crat abilities should keep them; those who don't, shouldn't. But I do agree with you as far as there should be far fewer bureaucrats than there are now. Blue (pester) 04:40, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Crats get the user rename ability and access to user rights management. They can also hide edits from sysops. In the case of the former, it wouldn't matter how many there were unless everyone went on a mass vandalism spree. In the case of the latter, if we have too few we can't use those oversight abilities effectively and if we have too many they become pointless - because we're not actually restricting the information that's supposed to be restricted! (which is why oversighting personal details from non-sysops is pointless, as anyone can come along, do fuck all effort and get the ability to see that info) Apart from that, the "too many crats" idea only applies if we give it symbolic status. While we sort of do (hence the nominations here, otherwise this thread wouldn't exist) it isn't followed up. It's coveted when you're not a crat, it's "meh" when you are. It's often difficult to find the crats because the crat category is mostly empty, we often retain inactive users and the main way we view and interact with users is signatures, which do not convey the status at all. We also don't give crats the ability to make decisions over the mob in cases of dispute management or content creation/removal, and we don't give them any responsibilities to do, well, anything. Obviously, there is a problem here because we have it as a pseudo-status that people take more seriously than being demoted to sysop, but doesn't really have anything to back it up at the end. It's like qualifying from the police academy only to be told to never wear the uniform, leave your badge hidden and never attempt to make an arrest. It makes the whole rigmarole we apply to it (and, IIRC, this discussion comes up almost every time a nomination has been put forward in the last 18 months or so) completely and utterly redundant. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:19, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I really don't understand the the "too many crats" position, have never seen a problem caused by having too many, & especially don't see why having inactive crats should be an argument against active users being demoted to crat. I also really disagree with the "use it or lose it" attitude to user rights. Part of the deal with having these abilities is having the discretion to judge when to use them, so making crats feel obliged to be seen to be using their powers, or risk losing them, is not a great idea. Taking users' rights away when they haven't done anything wrong is an insult, & may cause users to leave or deter inactive users from returning. WeaseloidWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:42, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Dunno why I wrote that. Perhaps I was thinking about something entirely unrelated. I don't have a 'use it or lose it' attitude with user rights. It't only logical, however, that inactivity in general (or, in the case of Researcher, explicit retirement) would be grounds for promotion, if only to not confuse those who might think 'crats actually have some sort of active role in the site. None of this should stop this user's demotion, and as I said, I do support Thunderkatz for 'crat. Blue (pester) 20:15, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Blue is right here. If there is any hierarchy of responsibility and ability here - even unofficial or subconscious - it starts with crats as even though they aren't "better" users they are certainly more experienced users. Having inactive users on that list could mislead and confuse anyone who needs to find someone who knows what they're talking about. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 23:48, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
It's more likely a noob will ask someone they see on a talk page who has a fancy signature (a sure sign of wiki experience), they're unlikely to go look for a list of bureaucrats because that's buried on some special page. -- Nx / talk 02:45, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Also, IMHO we should at least ask the nominee if they want to be a crat and why. Before you scream "OMG then we'll be just liek WP", I'm not thinking about anything complicated like an RFA, just a simple question. -- Nx / talk 02:54, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Yea for more crats, but is the bar the proper place for this? ~ Lumenos (talk) 01:22, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

No. -- Nx / talk 02:45, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand why every time this comes up there is always talk of there being too many crats. It's not like the crat user category is a finite resource. Although I do rather love that someone took the time to look up my edit count for the year, as well as last edit date. But I'll end this comment before I go off on a 'Cranky old-time user' rant. Pinto's5150 Talk 10:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


Okay, let's look at this from a different perspective. What is to be gained from having another 'crat at this point? Is 'crat-ship a reward for long service (which might be inferred from the original "Class of 2007" comment)? Is it a reward for good edits? Is it a reward for something else? Is it given out on a whim?

I have absolutely nothing against Thunderkatz, but there is no reason why this entity should be demoted at this point. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 03:02, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


So I've been quiet about most of this, but since I've been indirectly asked by Nx to give a mini-speech, and SuspectedReplicant has voted against, I figured it's time to talk a little. (Also, I know this isn't really the place, but all the discussion's happened here, so here goes.)

So first of all, I'd like to say that I truly am honored to be nominated for this position - it's hard to express in words how much this site means to me. It's the reason I went from Jewish to atheist Jewish. It made me passionate about science and fighting pseudoscience. It's made me a skeptic, and changed how I look at the world. I've learned more about evolution and creationism then anything I learned from ninth grade bio. What I've learned from researching topics for articles and citations has taught me stuff I'd never learn in school. Maybe more importantly, I discovered an online community, made friends, and became someone whose contributions were valued (at least, I hope), all of which mean more to me than I can hope to describe - things like seeing SusanG mention me in the shrine, Armondikov's comments on my citation work, and P-Foster's nomination all made me tear up a little. Like I said, this site means a lot to me. I mean it when I say this site has seriously affected who I am.

My views on Crat-ship might be a little weird, since I was sysop-ed back when it still meant at least something (not that I think there's anything wrong with our current state of sysop-ing for everyone - on the contrary, I think it's brilliant). First, I'd say that part of being crat is an acknowledgement of experience, expertise, and work done (especially since sysop is no longer that - once again, not complaining), all of which I'd like to think I have. In terms of work done on this wiki, if you look at the 50 most-prolific users, I'm one of three users who make more than 50% of their edits to the mainspace. I'd also agree that crat-ship is a way to show n00bs that the user is someone you can go to with questions.

Also, I'm not an idiot, so I could figure out how to use the special features that come with crat-ship.

I don't think powers are a "use it or lose it" thing - I think they're a "be active or lose it" thing. This is very true in the case of sysops, and it was even true before "the everyone's a sysop" rule was made - you didn't have to be blocking trolls and vaping pages left and right to stay a sysop. I think that crat-ship is the new sysop-ship, in that it's also an expression of responsibility - if you need me to do crat related stuff, I am available to do it, and I will know what to do, or figure it out quickly. Not doing it all the time doesn't mean I shouldn't be a crat.

I think I've also demonstrated a generally calm demeanor. I have yet to be involved in a HCM. If you look at the UncleHo thing, instead of just swearing at his trollishness, I went through every one of his posted sources and found quotes either directly or indirectly arguing against his claim. In the encyclopaedia dramatica thing, I looked at the post in question and pointed out specifically to Unicow what was wrong with the edit. I would not use my powers-willy nilly (except maybe for lulz), but only when needed.

I'm also a computer science major at Johns Hopkins (for all that credentials are worth, i.e. not much), which means I could probably work on technical stuff if needed.

In conclusion, I ramble sometimes (it's like 5:30 in the morning). But I think I should be a 'crat. ThunderkatzHo! 10:47, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Atheists, theists, anyone...[edit]

If you had to construct your religion - not if you were forced to pick an existing one, which I believe has been hashed out before - what features would your faith have? (Of course, atheism/apatheism/agnosticism is not a religion. This would have to involve some actual "faith.") Personally I would go with something polytheist, it seems less boring than just one god. Blue (is useful) 00:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Friends. That can include family if you like. I'm afraid that's all I'm prepared to put faith in. Everything else needs proof. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 00:50, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
This could be a very interesting extended challenge: If you were to construct a religion, which a significant number were to believe, what would you come up with? Hmm. I'm very tired, and so will be brief and come back to this. I'd certainly base my religion on principles, not commandments. No strict commands, no statements to be taken literally, no statements which seem revolutionary but could well be backwards in 2000 years. Tolerance, Respect, Rejection of hatred, Equality, Peace, Rejection of Violence... No, "THOU SHALT NOT X" DalekEXTERMINATE 01:42, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
A pantheon of Ozzy, Slash, Lemmy... Scarlet A.pngd hominem 01:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
The problem with principles is that they might be easier to abuse than doctrines. I mean, which is easier to abuse, "thou shalt not kill" or "act only on a maxim whereby you can will it should become a universal law?" Brgn (talk) 02:36, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
If I designed it myself, from, scratch, with myself as head? Catholicism. --The Emperor Kneel before Zod! 02:58, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh boy, this question again! I think we did this a week ago but I was late. Mine is based on the possible evidences of the supernatural and a moral code that is without the usual theistic hangups. ~ Lumenos (talk) 04:02, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I think we need to get our motivations clear. If it's a "religion" for me then I just wouldn't do it. The idea of imagining a god exists and then deciding to believe that god exists is just too weird.

On the other hand if it's my religion with me in charge and making the rules and receiving the money then it's a different ball game.--BobSpring is sprung! 11:12, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I'd copy Simon Munnery, and have three simple commands. 1. Wash, 2. Talk to people, not about them, 3. Love One Another. Webbtje (talk) 11:18, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I rather like my current religion, but as far as newly-minted religions go this one hits the mark. It disguises wisdom as bullshit, when so many religions do the opposite. Contrast with e.g., $cientology or any of the New Age (Woo Age?) stuff. Doctor Dark (talk) 16:07, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

If Hawaii start offering Obama's birth certificate for $100...[edit]

... 10000 internets to the man (or woman) who can start a right-wing meme that it's your patriotic duty to spend that money and see for yourself, not to trust others! DalekEXTERMINATE 01:45, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I think this is a perfect bluff-caller. Raise taxes in a way that hurts only blatant fucking idiots. Win/win. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 01:54, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
We have a tax on stupid people in the UK: The National Lottery! :D DalekEXTERMINATE 01:56, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Hey, the lotto is the only thing that will enable to own my own house AMassiveGay (talk) 10:01, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
(e/c)Incidentally, if you don't get this, see WIGO:World 2570. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 01:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Dream skeptical website[edit]

Hi guys, I'm wondering what your dream skeptical website would be? Besides this one I mean. Specifically, it seems to me that there are a lot of paranormalists and others who have constituted a backlash against the skeptical movement, often attacking it on grounds of its methodology. Some are kooky, others are harder cases to refute and use the language of science well. There's a need to formulate consistent and point-by-point rebuttals of the better cases, but such are difficult to do. There's also a need to get these people to engage with skeptics directly and leave a public record. So keeping these things in mind, what is or would be your dream site or venue to accomplish a more precise rendering of the skeptical position on various subjects? [4] Brgn (talk) 03:03, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Fuck 'em. I used to try and reason with them but life is too short to waste your time arguing with an idiot. These people cannot be reached. Doctor Dark (talk)
Why apart from this one? Also I'm not quite sure of your point. You maintain that there is a need to engage with the the wooers but I'm not sure why. We tell it like it is here, our mainpage says that people are welcome to come and debate us. Most woo sites that I am aware of have no such invitation - indeed they tend to be hostile to scientific fact. So we present the facts and if people want to come and talk about them we'd be most happy to see them.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:35, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
See Yudkowsky quote below for a hypothesis on where this stuff comes from. "If the laws of thought contradict my belief, then I must fight the laws of thought" - David Gerard (talk) 13:34, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

An explanation of anti-science stupidity[edit]

Eliezer Yudkowsky phrases it very well in, of all things, his Harry Potter fanfic, speaking through his author avatar:

"No. Just an example. Lies propagate, that's what I'm saying. You've got to tell more lies to cover them up, lie about every fact that's connected to the first lie. And if you kept on lying, and you kept on trying to cover it up, sooner or later you'd even have to start lying about the general laws of thought. Like, someone is selling you some kind of alternative medicine that doesn't work, and any double-blind experimental study will confirm that it doesn't work. So if someone wants to go on defending the lie, they've got to get you to disbelieve in the experimental method. Like, the experimental method is just for merely scientific kinds of medicine, not amazing alternative medicine like theirs. Or a good and virtuous person should believe as strongly as they can, no matter what the evidence says. Or truth doesn't exist and there's no such thing as objective reality. A lot of common wisdom like that isn't just mistaken, it's anti-epistemology, it's systematically wrong. Every rule of rationality that tells you how to find the truth, there's someone out there who needs you to believe the opposite. If you once tell a lie, the truth is ever after your enemy; and there's a lot of people out there telling lies ..."

Is there a good key article to put this quote in? War on Science isn't quite it, though close - David Gerard (talk) 13:30, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

It's also discussed here. Tetronian you're clueless 17:33, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, but the fanfic version's by far the most succinct in describing the Fountain of Irrationality: "If the laws of thought contradict my belief, I must destroy them!" Where to put it on RW? - David Gerard (talk) 19:53, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Homeopaths claim "told you so" in 5 ... 4 ... 3 ...[edit]

Quantum water! (HT Neatorama) 14:22, 29 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast

It's already happening in the comments on that post. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 14:36, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Lumenos' droppings[edit]


  • Excuse me. I thought we were voting on whether to have a headless chicken mode. Phoney (talk) 18:05, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Sterile and NX retired ? what the hell happened now ?[edit]

wut ? Hamster (talk) 17:43, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Psy made a mountain out of a molehill, Nx did something in accordance with our privacy policy and got attacked for it, and Sterile seems to have died of old age. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 17:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Cf. the thread above this one. Blue (pester) 17:48, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Can somebody who's at least read the Cliffs Notes for law school[edit]

...explain to me how someone can sue P.Diddy for a trillion dollars and claim he caused 9-11? Surely there must be some sort of "stink test" that would keep this sort of insanity from even getting into a court room? P-Foster (talk) 03:11, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

One of the principles, hundreds of years ago, like trial by jury, which grew up and became part of the English, Canadian and American legal systems was that people should generally have wide access to the law. People cannot be treated fairly, governments cannot be held to account... if you can't always access the courts. However, then bullshit like this happens. Once you're INTO the courtroom, the judge can generally dismiss it simply for being stupid. In most jurisdictions, after doing this a few times, you'll fall foul of 'Frivilous litigation' or 'Vexatious litigation' laws. The first means you start silly lawsuits, the second means you start lawsuits to harass somebody. In different ways, in different jurisdictions, you'll find that you need a body's APPROVAL to begin a lawsuit. For example, in England & Wales, Civil Restraint Orders can be issued against you the High Court. This prevents you to begin any civil proceedings without permission. They also put your name on a list for all to see on the interwebs. DalekEXTERMINATE 03:33, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
P.S. I can't say the same for Canada/US, but since the UK's Libel laws are way stricter, and their courts were once based on ours, I'll guess it might apply. Libel doesn't apply in a court claim. So if I said, "You, P-Foster, are solely reliable for 9/11." then I could have slandered you, but if I sued you for it, I have not slandered you. DalekEXTERMINATE 03:39, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Why does America have such a high murder rate?[edit]

I was just wondering about, given that different nations have such hugely different murder rates, how can we explain these differences?

According to the "United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2000) Report," the USA has a 7.55 (per 100,000 population) murders per year, while England & Wales has 1.45. Let's stick with well developed nations, where the statistics are probably highly reliable. At first I thought it could simply be put down to the easy access to guns, but the US has a 3.97 rate of firearm murders and a 4.58 rate of non-firearm murders. So even if we just compare all England/Wales murders to all non-firearm US murders, you're still looking at three times as many.

The best I can come up with is a terrible prison system. It seems that a minor crime in the US which would send you to prison would be less likely to see you end up in prison in the UK? And perhaps in US prisons, you're much more exposed to gang culture? Anybody have any thoughts? DalekEXTERMINATE 03:56, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Michael Moore thought it was because the U.S. lives in a "climate of fear." I think it might be partly because of our revolutionary tradition, that if one feels one's rights are being violated, one is entitled to pick up a gun or a knife or a fist and redress the grievance. There is also the issue of our frontier tradition, that people with a national mythos of huge wide-open spaces might be disproportionately discontented when crowding into cities. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:34, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
+`1 on what Listener says. That, and a "war on drugs" that turns people into criminals with too much at stake. Oh yeah, and the creation of a quasi-permanent class of people with diminished opportunities probably doesn't help very much. P-Foster (talk) 04:49, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Er, how many homicides do you know that have been because of perceived rights violations? It may not be a "culture of fear," but we do live in a culture of violence. Violence pervades Hollywood, video games, cable news, the Internet, and most media. We have a culture of violence and a deep culture of guns - not exactly a recipe for a happy ending. Blue (pester) 04:57, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
The chatter about a "culture of violence" is a pile of bunk, as is demonstrated by the example of Japan. As to "rights," I was not referring to the civil rights we all know and love, but to the sort alluded to in Huck Finn when Pap Finn says, "A man can't get his rights in a govment like this." Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:07, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
It's simple. Corperations and media want there to be high crime rates and American's to live in fear to make money. Companies ranging from monsanto to disney, to dove soap make money off of the prison system while the media is able to ruthelessly exploit even the most minor acts of violence on TV. This causes American's to become desensitized to violence which in turn makes violence more likely. The government participates by making almost anything an imprisobale sentence, ranging from drugs to prostitution to not filing your tax return properly, and forcing parinoia inducing programs like DARE onto the children and parents. Meanwhile Drug companies flood the market with legal yet dangerous drugs like Vicodin, Prozac, and Rittalin when someone has even the slightest complaint of pain or there kid can't sit still for 8 hours, while they opress safer and more natural treatments like medical marijuana, therapy, rehab, and herbal supplements. The high prison rate, combined with the culture of fear, and the general ignorance of americans in total creates a climate that is rich in causing a high crime rate. And hard on crime laws are only hard on criminals, they are actually soft on crime--BenB (talk) 05:08, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Frontier mentalities? Revolutionary tradition? What fucking bullshit - it's a lack of impulse control and a grandiose vision of the self. Combined with a media disease that on one hand deplores violence but on the other glorifies it as entertainment.</opinion> Ace McAwesome 05:25, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
(EC) So, to summarize, a conspiracy among Big Business, Big Media, Big Government, Big Pharma, and some undefined people who want to outlaw drug-rehab? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:29, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I have to agree with benB regarding drug companies pushing meds (Prozac and ritalin in particular) but I think that's a different argument for a different time and doesn't have bearing in this instance. Ace McAwesome 05:33, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Revolutionary Tradition and Frontier Mentality? With all due respect, I think these are woolly, difficult to define terms which don't really mean much. I also don't put much stock in ideas about being desensitised to violence. After all, it's not just a, "Hey, the US has a high murder rate, how can we explain it?" situation, it's about the relative difference. And I'd say that, if not in the same quantity, people in the UK are subjected to the same movies, video games and media in general, but have this significantly lower rate. The Big Pharma/Big Corporations thing doesn't work for me either. We can assign intentions, "Hey, we sell our soap more if the prison population is higher." But do we REALLY believe that the people at the top of these corporations - manufacturing, pharma or media - actually PLAN or INTEND to have a higher prison population? That's quite an extraordinary claim with no evidence to support it at all.
There is perhaps (a little) more credibility to the claim that the 'pushing' of drugs like Vicodin, Prozac and Ritalin adds to this, but honestly - the studies into Prozac causing people to go crazy have NEVER shown a meaningful increase which could explain something like this. And these drugs are often used in the UK, too.
Perhaps I'm being too sweeping, but I'm rejecting explanations based on conspiracies and prescription medications. Surely we have to look to culture? I get the impression that gang culture is FAR more prominent in American prisons than anything similar in British prisons? And people are much more likely to go to prison for non-violent crimes in America. Could it people of a certain group (young, no real prospects, likely to smoke a joint, fail to submit taxes, maybe steal a little?) are MUCH more likely to both end up in prison, and be radicalised in prison? And perhaps British people are more likely to be forced into rehab, where their addict counterparts on the other side of the pond are more likely to serve time? DalekEXTERMINATE 06:05, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Came across my RSS feeder recently. Relevant. P-Foster (talk) 06:34, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

A very good, if sobering, column. DalekEXTERMINATE 07:06, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Aren't convicted american criminals disproportionately black? If so, doesn't this tell us something?--BobSpring is sprung! 09:17, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm reluctant to comment on the black community of America, as I don't really know about the facts or statistics. But if you did release a huge number of people from slavery, segregate and abuse them, and never give the majority of them any prospects, doubled with massive police/judicial racism sending them into prisons, and you've got a strongly self-reinforcing cycle of poverty and crime. DalekEXTERMINATE 09:44, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
One theory I have seen is that there is a correlation between violence in society and income inequality. Even taking that into consideration, the US is still way ahead of the rest of the developed world in its homicide rate. Bondurant (talk) 10:17, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
That's nothing, according to Ali G, almost everyone in jail in Jamaica is black. We must stop this racism now! CrundyTalk nerdy to me 10:18, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Cheap alcohol must be a big booster. -- (talk) 10:21, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Bob, a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities are on death row compared to the ethnic make up of actual murderers. But the death penalty in the US is arbitrarily applied for by prosecutors, not by judges or encoded into law that says "this qualifies for that punishment, that doesn't". I think that tells you even more about what is causing the disproportionation on racial/ethnic grounds. And lets not forget that you can also get off being put to death by converting to Christianity or being a woman. Justice is indeed blind... Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:53, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
From what I can see, despite the big controversy over abortion, there is actually less respect for life. The death penalty still exists, people can use disproportionate violence to protect their property (wasn't a 15-year old kid shot for throwing stones not long ago and the guy who shot him was discharged), civilians killed in operations overseas are accepted as an unfortunate part of the war on terror (collateral damage), much of what we see on TV and movies seems to condone or glorify violence. The whole survivalist thing in the US usually involves having a well-stocked arsenal. Fear seems to dispose people to taking pre-emptive action and if you are afraid that the other person is armed then you are more likely to kill them first.  Lily Inspirate me. 12:27, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
The reason that blacks are disproportianatly represented in the prison system is because they are also disproportianate in the lower socio-economic status. Poorer people are unable to afford a decent defense when they are at trial and thus get sent to prison. Many cops also develop racist beliefs about black people because most of the criminals they arrest are black. This leads them to profile the black people leading them to arrest more black people which reinforces their idea that all black's are criminals which leds them to further profile black people...ad nauseum

Also, another reason for the murder rate in the US is the gangs. The US has more gangs than any other developed country and the street gang culture leads to a great deal of violence. This also accounts for the reason that, though the murder rate in the US is dropping, the solve rate is also dropping. This is because murders such as domestic murders and assult murders are relativly easy to solve while gang and drug related murders are damn near impossible. It has also been suggested by some sociologist that the whole concept of the American dream also causes higher crime rates. People come here looking for the so called American dream and when legitimate paths to attaining it are cut of they proceed to use illigitimate means to gain it--BenB (talk) 13:58, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Having lived in the US for a while, I don't think there's a big difference between the media, the economy or people's mentalities that would indicate where the difference in murder rate is coming from. I think the reason is just plain old gun availability. In my country you also got thugs, gangs or just plain assholes, and obviously there's crime and street violence sometimes too. But since guns are pretty rare, people normally aren't shot when this happens. GTac (talk) 14:54, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I would say it's more complex than gun availability because in some countries guns are even more available. I'm tempted to say it's the mentality that guns are a "right" or "cool" plays a part. I can't think of a US cop drama where they don't go in guns blazing looking all gung-ho. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 17:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Hmm. In Dick Wolf's Law & Order constellation of TV series, they may go in with guns drawn, and there are sometimes even serious beads drawn (aim taken, that is,) but a lot of that show is about exploring the fuzzy edges of complicated decisions. Application of deadly force, when and how it's used, and the human consequences of making the call, sometimes figures in the mix. That must be a show for old folks, though, since I watch it.
Regarding the original question, I suspect the "War" on Drugs and its sequelae is a big old exacerbating factor. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 17:19, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
As I said at the beginning, we can't just blame the guns... since even FORGOTTING all American gun murders, and comparing their non-gun murders to all British murders, they're still double the rate. You silly sausages with your persistent killing each other, eh? DalekEXTERMINATE 17:56, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Personally I think most of the explanations offered above are most likely complete bullshit rooted more in political turf war than fact. There are almost no conclusions you can draw from the statistics we know, anyone actually wanting to draw a well formed conclusion about the root cause of murder and violent crime would need much better reporting on things like the rates of murder carried out in the pursuit of other crime (and the nature of that crime), the incidence of premeditation and the length of that premeditation in each instance, and the background and medical histories of the offenders. It annoys me that politicians are always talking about crime without getting their ducks in a row in this fashion (though I suppose the promise to fund fundamental research in to the nature of crime isn't exactly a vote winner) and it annoys me even more to see RWians joining in the political dog and pony show on the topic. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 19:17, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Gangs, guns, drugs. Not bullshit. Even small cities have gangs. In a previous job, working around some jailbirds and junkies, I got to hear more about that. Drugs being illegal, the gangs' natural source of income is obvious to anyone who looks around. Guns being obtainable makes things a little worse. I happen to think the central pivot of all that is the irrational attitude towards drugs on the part of the US Federal gummint. Change those drug laws, send fewer citizens to jail, and the motivation for the rest of it decreases. You think that is a partisan axe to grind? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 19:35, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
There is probably no single cause but the availability of guns must surely underpin the overall attitude to violence. If you have a deadly weapon in your possession then there must be a predisposition to actually using it or to use severe force if you fear for your property. The other factor is the rather puritan nature of much US law; sex, alcohol and gambling have been subject to severe restrictions and just as with drugs nowadays, criminals have found ways to exploit them.  Lily Inspirate me. 19:47, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
"must surely underpin" seems conclusory. I have anecdotal evidence that heavily armed groups of people take care to be courteous to one another. When it's a meth chef defending his property, the game changes in several ways, and the surrounding countryside is a bit more dangerous, what with the customers staying up too long for their own good, and needing cash. __ Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 20:15, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
You'd be silly and naive to think the reasoning is easy - it's certainly not something I expect to be magically stumbled upon in this SB post! But it doesn't mean we can't make conjecture and propose how to test it. As stated there, if you could get more detail regarding specific motives you might find a more distant root cause - i.e., one that doesn't directly cause murders, but one that causes situations that could lead to murder to be more common. Gang culture and drug use being one example and a good contender, but something that would have to be weighed up against hundreds of other factors, such as the gun issue. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 23:56, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Touch deprivation[edit]

Touch deprivation resulting from "Judeo-Christian" phobias and their secular ancestors. These surround sexuality, nudity, and unexpected gender (behaviors). Man enters the world and has the end of his penis cut off in keeping with the Lorg's will, then is put in plastic box that will set the stage of the rest of his "individualist" existence. From there they may go to a child care facility so Mom can be a productive citizen worthy of funding. Next is schools that train the proletariat to sit still while they implant memories; do not speak to your peers and don't even dream of touching them until it is time to bear children and work is complete. Work "together" (for The Man).

Video of Dr. Prescott discussing how pleasure deprivation leads to violent insane people (or animals).

Certainly it requires other "causes" but I believe when people have an affectionate childhood and later have a choice between sex and violence, they will choose the former. Unicow (talk) 03:14, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I just watched that video and WOW! Thank you Unicow! You should also mention that Dr. Prescott is a neurologist and not some dreamy fairypist. "There is no other mammal that separates a newborn from it's mother at birth, or any extended period after that, except the human mammal. Yet we do that routinely." ~ Lumenos (talk) 03:27, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
He sure sounds like an expert. -- (talk) 10:53, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Worst case scenario, we all start making love for no reason. Unicow (talk) 00:21, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Internet Kill Switch[edit]

Somehow I don't think this will end well. Quackpack11! | Talk! Scream! Share! 07:52, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

It's not like the president can't already declare emergency and have the internet shut down. This would only make it happen faster. -- (talk) 09:22, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Reading the comments, do folk really believe that Obama (or Obummer someone hilariously put it) is a dictator? Have they forgotten they can still vote him out next election? AMassiveGay (talk) 10:08, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Like the word socialist, it has been bandied around so much in the last 24 months it no longer has meaning. It just a snarl word to throw around now. - π 13:23, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
"Internet kill switch" probably deserves an article somewhere, because it's become a popular yet meaningless idea.
  • First, the definition of "Internet" usually means "Web", not what an ISP engineer considers "Internet" -- the routing level
  • Second, there's an assumption that there are a limited number of points of control where the US government could act.
  • Third, and related to the second, there's an assumption that the transmission infrastructure is also controllable, including long-range radio links,principally satellite
  • Fourth, people do not understand how many services run over the Internet routing system, including Virtual Private Networks, Voice over IP telephony, telemedicine and other telemetry, etc. The US Government makes extensive use of the commercial routing system.
It's plausible to shut down servers, and it's plausible to shut down cable or fiber broadband distribution. I do not, as a routing engineer, consider it plausible to take out the routing system on a worldwide basis. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:17, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Most people would think "the internet is falling" if someone blocked port 80. Who still knows how to telnet, oldschool? If worse comes to worse I'm headed to IRC, freenode, #rationalwiki. C®ackeЯ
But wouldn't it be fun to try? Doctor Dark (talk) 21:13, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
It would really drive the public debate crazy to try to explain that a good many large ISPs treat the (public) Internet as just one more of their supported internets. The first time I saw the public Internet address space treated as one more BGP/MPLS VPN, my mind tilted -- and then it made perfect sense. The US government is pushing hard to start moving government applications to cloud computing, many of which will be private clouds interconnected by VPNs. Shut down the routing system; shut down a good deal of government. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:43, 30 January 2011 (UTC)


I put {{bronze}} onto Scat, I think it's good enough. If I haven't followed the correct procedure please tell me what I should do. Kirk Johnson (talk) 11:53, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

To be perfectly honest, but do we really need shit like "Scat" and "Goatse"? These are so far off mission it's scary and add absolutely nothing to the project. Also, given that the only articles you have worked on since you've been here are Scat and Goatse, I have the feeling you're just trolling your nipples off. I say both articles should be deleted. --Ψ GremlinFale! 11:58, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Agree, scat is a shit article. Ha ha ha ha! - π 12:04, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
This user seems to have made a number of what look like good-faith edits to various articles. But I'm unsure about scat. But I'd say that the article is the place to discuss it.--BobSpring is sprung! 12:20, 30 January 2011 (UTC)


...and what's happening there. Good? Bad? What does the mob think? DickTurpis (talk) 20:17, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

With any luck it could see the overthrow of the president. What they'll then end up with is something of a mystery, but the fall of the Egyptian government could be the spark to see the fall of the other North African governments as well.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 21:16, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
A good thing. It's clear that Egypt's president is only out for himself - the protesters are baying for him to step down but he's sacrificed his own government at the altar of survival instead. It'll do him no good and he'll have to step down or flee soon, he's only making it worse for himself and worse for Egypt. And as mentioned above, hopefully this will continue the knock-on effect and keep toppling undemocrativ governments, not just in the region, but around the world. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 21:23, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
The situation is extremely fluid at the moment, but it would seem that the military are current the single most powerful faction, and are likely to play at least a transition role in any new government. Baradei may be inlcuded in that as a civilian face, as the military are not fans of the MB. Mubarak needs to go as he was failing to act decisively about the succession issue, which was the cause of all this instability in the first place, and was not acting decisively in tackling problems with corruption and unequal growth which was further exacerbating the situation. I am not a fan of democracy for it's own sake, and these riots have caused huge harm. I personally feel that a simple palace-military coup would have been better, without the riots and prolonged power vacuum.
Right now the military need to make a move against looting, which appears to be being perpetuated by members of Central Security plain-clothes police, though wether or not this is a Mubarak-loyalist policy to blunt and undermine the protesters, or simply a case of individuals whose chain of command has broken down running amock is hard to tell. In either case the military forces need to deal with this situation, as it is undermining trust between them and the civilian population which has built up over the last 24hrs. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 21:48, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
My concern is that this seems in a way reminiscent of Iran in '79, which didn't work out too well for anyone. Likewise military coups (if this turns into one) are generally not steps forward. I don't know what's going to happen, and while I won't feel bad if Mubarak goes, until we know what will replace him the situation is quite delicate. Mobs are pretty easy for radicals to manipulate. Worse case scenario seems to me is that the Islamicists take over (I believe they are among the biggest opposition groups at the moment), and that could lead to a breakdown in the Egypt/Israel peace agreement, one of the few good things to come out of the region in the last 40+ years. DickTurpis (talk) 21:55, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Question re: Egypt; has anyone run across any analyses linking the uprising to the violence against Christians/Copts over the past couple of weeks or so? P-Foster (talk) 01:03, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Egypt will end up either like Iran 1979 or Libya 1969. The radical Islamists are the biggest unified opposition against Mubarark at the moment. Anyone notice that prior to this upheval there was a series of bomb threats made against Coptic christians and churches? FreeThought (talk) 01:12, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
The Muslim Brotherhood aren't playing an active role, presumably they're waiting to see what happens. The church bobmings were followed by what appeared at the time to be a welcome display of muslim/christian solidarity ("we're all Egyptians"). I see the army is holding back, they seem to be on the side of the protesters. Real first name and last initial (talk) 12:22, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think the MB are in control of this so it could go any way. The middle class Egyptians that I have met often expressed in private their dislike of the president so I think that his time is up and if he's got any sense he will go while he has some sort of chance. Outside of Cairo there are lots of brand new housing developments but inside the city there are millions of urban poor who have very little. Egypt has a lot of deprivation and some pretty rich families so the inequality factor might be significant although like Tunisia a lot of the rebellion seems to be coming from the educated middle classes. My main concern is how the West are seen because they have largely been complicit in supporting an undemocratic regime. I was caught up in riots in Alexandria back in January 77 when Sadat raised the price of bread and fuel and western type establishments (hotels, bars and restaurants) were attacked. In retrospect I was probably lucky to get out unscathed. We had been sitting in the hotel bar having a beer when we heard shouting outside and people started clambering onto the metal grille over the window and smashing the glass, a brick came through the restaurant window and broke an American's jaw, we grabbed our bottles and legged it to the upper floors. Our hotel on the Corniche was besieged for four hours by protestors who broke the main door down and were then held at bay by the hotel staff wielding brass stair rods - they eventually dispersed when it started to rain. The next day I was in a car that unexpectedly turned into a street where there was a large crowd who, upon noticing my blond hair, surrounded the vehicle and started banging on it with sticks - fortunately the Egyptian driver managed to reverse out of the situation before there were too many around us. (Exactly two years later I was evacuated from Iran by the Royal Navy when the Shah was overthrown.) It's impossible to predict what will happen when mob-rule takes over as events take on a life of their own. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 12:23, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
The really sad part of all this, is the looters trashing the national museum. I'm all in favour of a popular revolt to change the govt (look at Ukraine's orange revolution) but when the yobs start mindlessly trashing stuff, then I'm firmly behind the "shoot to kill" supporters. --Ψ GremlinSpeak! 12:35, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
History is Egypt's biggest asset, they have a little oil and grow some cotton but with a population of nearly 90 million (and growing) confined to a narrow strip along the Nile they need tourist dollars and euros. Destroying ancient artefacts is like cutting your own throat.  Lily Inspirate me. 15:43, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
You've certainly been around Genghis. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 15:51, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Whilst it is true that a military government might not be regarded as progress, it may well be that in the context which these changes are taking place. When we look at the political realities on the ground we see several possible scenarios that may play out in the coming days:

  • Mubarak Remains - Looking increasingly unlikely, as he has already sent his family out of the country, and many of his business "associates" have also fled. His cabinet reshuffle suggests a much more powerful role for the military, meaning that even in a Mubarak-remaining scenario we would be looking at a de-facto military government with Mubarak and some NDP remainders as the civilian face. The problem with this is that it is unlikely to stabilise the situation, and there is little to suggest that Mubarak will be willing to take the steps necessary to address the basic problems - which are less to do with a lack of democracy than they are with a mismanaged economy, corruption, crumbling infrastructure, chronic over-crowding and an agricultural sector that exists in a state of permanent crisis, amongst other "basket case" problems.
  • Muslim Brotherhood Epic Win - Feasible if they can find a way to sideline or marginalise the military, for example by inciting anger against the military for failing to protect people or control the loot-fest breaking out in Lower Egyptian cities and Cairo. The MB are extremely unlikely to support a democratic solution beyond that necessary to cement their role. The chances of a MB victory turning into a 1979 scenario are not just the crazed paranoias of the NDP and Taha Hassan acolytes. This could have serious reprecussions for Egypt's relations with Israel, the EU, Gulf States and, obviously, the US. The MB's willingness to work with Arab/Bedouin smuggling and guns-for-hire in the Sinai, as well as it's own militant offshoots such as Gamaa Islamiyya would likely further muddy the waters. The MB may well use Ghad or Baradei to help cement their power initially, but are extremely unlikely to tolerate them once established, and are highly likely to remove them from the political arena. It is sufficiently larger than them that doing so would pose negligible risk internally.
  • Ghad/Baradei/Secular-Democrat Win - Extremely unlikely. None of the secular opposition groups can command much power on the streets if in direct opposition to the MB, and would be unable to really act except as the secular democratic face to either a military or MB led government. I think it's really important here to stress the differences between Cairo and Alex, and the rest of the country. These two cities have the vast majority of the secular, progressive middle class, and after a month or two in the rural backwaters, going to Cairo is almost like going to Mars. It's a totally different world, moreso than comparing say, small town Wyoming, Idaho or Kansas with, say, the Bay Area, MA or CN. Whilst Cairo-Alex may be able to put some progressives on the ground, it's going to be a different story in other big industrial cities such as Asyut, Beni Suef, Helwan, and "scary places" such as Sinai and Faiyum, all of which have spawned their fair share of militant Islamists over the years.
  • Military Win - At present seemingly the most likely scenario, though the military has yet to formally state it's intentions. Interviews with low level officers on the street by correspondents suggest that they at least see the military as siding against the NDP/Mubarak government and "with" the protesters. It is entirely feasible (and IMHO quite likely) that the military will wind up seizing the crown (if only by default) and utilising Baradei as democratic face to a new military government. At present the protesters seem happy with a military solution, as the military is seen in a positive light by most Egyptians (perceived as guardians and protectors of the nation and as being less corrupt), in contrast the government itself, and much of the rhetoric yesterday focused on the idea of the military and protesters acting in alliance against the NDP/Mubarak. If the west could overlook the democratic aspect this could be a good scenario. The military regards itself in taking a role similar to the military in Turkey in acting sa guardians as of a secular nationalist republic. They favour secularism, and Egyptian nationalism over the idea of "Arab Unity" (which has cost Egypt dearly in the past) and regard peace with Israel as a strategic asset that insulates Egypt from the instabilities of the wider region, and allows the armed forces to keep resources available to face other issues.
The military may also be to bridge the divide with ancien regime technocrats outside of the NDP who can provide the expertise needed to get the country on track which MB and hard core democratic reformers are less likely to be willing to deal with.
  • National Headless Chicken Mode - Basically, no one faction is able to consolidate enough power to form a sustainable regime. The nation tips into prolonged instability as interim government come and go and the street factions form and fracture. This would be most likely if the military ceases to operate as a cohesive bloc and splinters into different factions, and if the conservative and reform elements within the MB (which have had more or less open divisions for sometime) splinter the group in two whilst making a grab at power. This is unlikely to lead to a full scale Lebanon-esque civil war, nor last for a very long time. The Geo-political landscape of Egypt favour a consolidation of forces, but it would muddy the waters, and make national reconciliation and rebuilding much more difficult.

Note on tourism: The military is certainly aware of this, and have sealed off the Pyramids, and have deployed forces in Sharm el Sheikh and Luxor. It has not been mentioned, but I imagine the same has been done in Hurghada and Aswan as well. To say the scenes of damage at the Antiquities Museum in Cairo disturbed me would be to somewhat understate the situation. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 17:08, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Poor King Tut. Never got an even break when living and after death still treated shabilly. FreeThought (talk) 23:43, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

HCM declaration[edit]

HCMs are going on here, here, here and here. In interest of making things even better, I am attempting to create a fifth one here. This war'll be over by Tuesday. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 15:22, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I am amazed at how volatile people around here can be. Some calming down of the fuck is in order. Would be a shame though - since I'm never involved, it's very entertaining. Webbtje (talk) 15:24, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I think they're all over already. This thread is about 10-11 hours too late. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 15:34, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, but I was asleep and had no idea what had happened, and I think it's the same for a fair few others. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 15:41, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Preliminary reports seem to indicate the casualty list as the following users: Nx, Psygremlin. Any adjustments? DickTurpis (talk) 16:47, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
PFoster is manfully administering emergency treatment to Psygremlin, and Nx has a long history of recovering from apparently fatal wounds, though I wish we didn't have to rely on that so much; it would help if certain users stopped shooting at him. EddyP Great King! Disaster! 16:49, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Has Nx left and never come back again? Fuxake. SJ Debaser 16:56, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Is it Loya Jirga time? Perhaps get them to work out what our privacy policy means? Broccoli (talk) 17:03, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I think. What are the magic words again? Blue (pester) 17:10, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I am informed that Psy was considering a break from RW and that "this was the straw that yada yada yada". The good news is that a return is planned for some point in the future. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 17:25, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

It's not LJ time for decoding the privacy policy IMHO. The privacy policy is pretty clear. It may be time to think about how to react to a violation of the privacy policy: while I respect his good intentions, I think Nx could maybe have paused to think through consequences before going deep into the archives and vaping 235 edits. Maybe we need to get some sort of quorum (three yesses?) before vaping X amount of edits where X > 3, or something? P-Foster (talk) 17:11, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

You're right. Let's have a poll to see if the LJ should become involved. Blue (pester) 17:38, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Question: Did Nx cross the line in any way?


  • Deleting that many posts, from a topic that old, with no discussion, is wrong. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 18:45, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Surely that's a technical problem, rather than a user one? --Kels (talk) 19:05, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
No. It was Nx's choice to do it. The original edit passed without comment. To decide, massively post hoc, that it was a violation, is out of order. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:51, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


  • Blue (is useful) 17:37, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • EddyP Great King! Disaster! 17:44, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Aboriginal Noise Theist, barely hanging by a nail 17:48, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 18:04, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Kels (talk) 18:09, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Given the rules as they are now, and his obvious good intentions. P-Foster (talk) 18:14, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The posts he deleted were already part of a larger privacy concern discussion, and he was just doing what the consensus (minus a user or two) seemed to be. He was absolutely in the right. Punky Your mental puke relief 01:49, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Assuming the material removed was in breach of the privacy policy, then of COURSE Nx was right to remove it. If somebody then objects to this, a clarification or debate on the Community Standards would have been appropriate, to see if the privacy policy should be changed. Reporting him to the Chicken Coop, while perhaps well intentioned, is just going to lead to the silly, teenage bitching HCM that we've come to expect. Problems like this, if someone's is acting within the policy, should be addressed through criticism of the policy, not the person. DalekEXTERMINATE 01:54, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • He had good intentions.InternetGoomba (talk) 18:53, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Conditional No[edit]

  • No, the rules are there for a reason, but with something that large maybe it's worth posting something here in The Bar (about the most public place to post it, except maybe in a message) about what is about to happen so that people who want to object can and list their reasons for doing so. It never hurts to explain why you're doing something first before doing it. Not that Nx crossed a line in not posting what he was planning to do here, but it might have soothed choppy waters if he had. stunteddwarf (gabbo) 22:05, 27 January 2011 (UTC)


  • Without knowing exactly what the hell happened, and apparently without being able to know what the hell happened without restoring a bunch of oversighted edits, and apparently without being able to discuss what happened in any detail without repeating a bunch of alleged personal information (thus starting HCM all over again) how the fuck can I say? I had the impression the alleged "personal information" revealed was very general and hardly damaging, so perhaps there was a bit of an overreaction to it, but of course I don't know what the fuck really happened. DickTurpis (talk) 19:45, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
    • "Oversighted" or directly beleted from database... well said fine sir. There are two votes here: Out the mo'fo'(s) or have conspiratorial email discussions. I'm electing you my representative for further elaborations on this topic. Unicow (talk) 22:42, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

What happened[edit]

As Dick asked and as I was editing when the original incident happened, and in the least revealing prose possible...

Psygremlin posted two comments about TK's personal life over at TWIGO CP yesterday (Friday 28th Jan) in response to someone commenting on his absence. Psy's comment was incredibly general, not harmful, and did not reveal anything about TK's whereabouts, but was in all fairness probably best left off a public website. P-Foster commented saying, "bit too much personal info there, Psy." Psy then removed his second comment and PFoster's comment, but left the original comment which then led to the commentary on Psy's talkpage. SuspectedReplicant then challenged PFoster on his talkpage, saying that a comment made by Psy several months earlier referring to TK's private life remained, which Nx then proceeded to burn, along with over 200 other revisions on the same page. SR has since taken Nx to the chicken coop over this where no more than 5 editors have yet commented.

Those are the events as I understand them. If there's anything I've missed out, please correct me. Otherwise, massive drama queening all round IMHO. SJ Debaser 20:04, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Drama queening is exactly what I was thinking (at one point I thought this site was above such things; silly old Dick). I think I saw the edits in question, and if they were what I think they were (I guess I can't say without stating it all up again) they were harmless and it does have the appearance of making a mountain out of a molehill. Haven't full emails from other CPers (Willminator) been posted here in their entirety? I don't see what the fuss was about, but I could be missing something. DickTurpis (talk) 20:14, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Josh has it pretty much right. I could have gone one way or the other about what was posted about TK (legal/family conjecture), and that's why I posted a mild comment and didn't haul off and delete anything. When I saw that Psy had deleted my comment but left the information that prompted said comment intact, I took that as a pretty big "Fuck You," but again, only posted on his talk page to ask why. Then Psy LANCB'ed. And then out of nowhere, Suspected Replicant started piling on me, insulting me and blaming me for viscously driving away a valuable editor without consulting a 10-month-old archive for context. That's the archive that Nx burned. P-Foster (talk) 20:32, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
P-Foster is doing his idiot-grin thing again. I'm ashamed of RW that so many other editors are falling for it. The fact is that a piece of information, easily found on the internet, was on this site for months. A second fact is that this information went unchallenged for months. A third fact is that when Psy reposted it, P-Foster decided it was wrong and started challenging Psy about it. A fourth fact is that Psy left after these remarks: at least partially because of them. A fifth fact is that Nx decided to delete over 200 comments on an archive.
Those are the facts. If anybody disputes them, please - explain why.
RW has consistently attacked CP for its attitude towards censoring controversial content. There's an entire article about it. In this case, Nx did exactly what we criticise CP for doing.
Should the original link have stayed? Probably not. But changing history to pretend that it was never there is utterly disgraceful behaviour. P-Foster decided to make an issue out of the whole thing, then Nx decided to be a hypocrite. That's what happened. Should I have have taken longer over my comments and not said some of the things I did? Probably. But I am fucking angry over this appalling double standard, and even angrier that it's being brushed under the carpet because people are wondering what to do about tech problems without Nx. There's a huge double standard going on here. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 23:54, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
"RW has consistently attacked CP for its attitude towards censoring controversial content. There's an entire article about it. In this case, Nx did exactly what we criticise CP for doing." First off, that is definitely not "exactly what we criticize CP" for. Nx removed personal information; we criticize CP for burning dissent. Second, I am sick of the whole "that's just like CP" poisoning the well argument. Third, there is a section in Community Standards explicitly condoning Nx' actions. Points to consider. Blue (pester) 00:23, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Your point one is utter nonsense. CP burns mistakes; it attacks dissent. Remember Terry Koeckritz burning Andy's talk page because Andy had told somebody that email wasn't necessary and TK was called out on it? Just look at Ken burning pages left, right and center to hide the fact that it takes him 20 edits to add a comma. I'm not saying RW is just like CP - you're putting words into my mouth there - but in this case, burning history to make it look like an "embarrassing" incident never took place is exactly what CP does. Third, I've pointed out before that RW has a huge double standard about this. If the Terry Koeckritz and Ken templates are allowed, why is other information easily found on the internet also now allowed?
I'm going to down a double scotch and then head to bed because I want to be up early enough to watch the tennis and the end of the cricket, so there are several hours in which somebody can try to come up with a coherent answer to that last question. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 00:36, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
"P-Foster is doing his idiot-grin thing again." Whatever happened to "assume good faith?" P-Foster (talk) 01:01, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I think it's fine to use Terry's real name. His identity was disclosed long ago in the L.A. Times article. Ken I'm not so sure about, but the cat is out of the bag. It's not worth trying to undo that - even if it was wrong to have disclosed his name here. The latter is a double-standard but we're not always going to be able to avoid that. For example, while investigating an article about some pseudo-scientific junk I had to research the identities of people involved in order to demonstrate conflicts of interest and some pretty iffy behaviour. We pretty much have to play it by ear and deal with the more egregious examples. Concernedresident omg!!! ponies!!! 10:52, 30 January 2011 (UTC)


Love and peace. Try in any combination. Special offer only for today. Don't knock it until you've tried it. Me, The First (talk) 01:56, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

This was not a great place to put this. Me, The First (talk) 02:10, 30 January 2011 (UTC)


I leave this place alone for 48 hours... Someone just stick the bloody tl;dr here for me. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 02:12, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Nx burned some personal info on an archive, which erased over 200 revisions along with it. He was hauled to the Coop and after a bit of HCM-1 LANCB'd right off. Blue (is useful) 02:17, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Sigh. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 02:41, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Don't buy this book.[edit]

I've been reading Susan Jacoby's "The Age of American Unreason." It's a book that at first sight may appeal to many RW users, but is in fact really fucking terrible. It's one long paen to a bygone era where people liked all the things that are now in fashion with snobs. It argues in vague terms against unreasonable people and their poor skills of discernment and argument, while managing to display exactly the same lack. Basically, the whole argument is "everything I believe is common sense and right, everyone else who may have some vague but not convincing evidence is wrong." I don't think I've ever had a more frustratingly terrible, maddening reading experience. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 04:36, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

On the bright side, reading through something that superficially agrees with you but you still hate the reasoning behind it is a sign that your brain is working at peak efficiency. IMHO, of course. And you also get the meta-experience of how not to do/write something. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 02:14, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
At last a book I don't have to read! I'll get on that immediately. Unicow (talk) 05:45, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
This book is ripe for an article on RW. FreeThought (talk) 10:05, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Zombie research[edit]

Way back when we had this, a paper on using dynamical systems equations to model zombie outbreak. I now have in front of me a paper called "How many zombies do you know?" Using indirect survey methods to measure alien attacks and outbreaks of the undead which looks at ways of trying to estimate the number of zombies during an outbreak. The abstract reads:

The zombie menace has so far been studied only qualitatively or through the use of mathematical models without empirical content. We propose to use a new tool in survey research to allow zombies to be studied without risk to the interviewers.

I realised how much my thesis sucks and why I am getting bored of it, it contains no zombies. - π 04:39, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

"We originally wrote this article in Word, but then we converted it to Latex to make it look more like science.". I'm not sure whether or not you were being serious... but if you were... oh dear. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 04:48, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
"Figure 1: From Lakeland (2010) and Messer (2010). There were other zombie graphs at these sites, but these were the coolest." I like this paper. ThunderkatzHo! 05:00, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm totally going to cite this in my thesis. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 14:21, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
A friend of mine looking into his third year project proposed an investigation into the Midi-chlorian levels of hamsters 'so to ascertain whether they can harness the Force.' It was deemed "not a suitable choice." SJ Debaser 14:40, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
In this universe, one must deal with our manifestation of the Force, not that of Star Wars. The essential requirement is that it have a light side, a dark side, and holds the universe together. It Should Be Obvious To The Reader that in our reality, that describes duct tape.
Remember "zombie" is a perfectly legitimate technical term, with associated epidemiology, in botnets. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 21:52, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
You're obsessed about Nazis and duct tape. I'm beginning to see a connection here. FreeThought (talk) 00:26, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Some sort of error[edit]

I have cleared the cache several times, tried multiple browsers, multiple computers, but RW is still using an old version of my custom CSS. Blue (is useful) 20:13, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

It might be cached on the server rather than the client. Try doing a hard refresh (shift-F5 in FFox). –SuspectedReplicant retire me 20:35, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Have you tried turning it off and on again? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 21:33, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Have you tried prayer? 21:36, 31 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Hit it with a hammer. Totnesmartin (talk) 21:41, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, the good old Birmingham screwdriver usually works for me. 21:45, 31 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Just for the record, I first read that as "tried multiple trousers". This somehow makes me giggly. Vulpius (talk) 22:23, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

It is still borked. Is there anything I can do but wait for something to magically happen with the server? Blue (is useful) 22:49, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

That magic something just happened. Took several hours though, is that normal? Blue (pester) 23:05, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
It is server side caching. Tmtoulouse (talk) 23:08, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

BBC class experiment[edit]

Just done this BBC survey/test thingy about class. I score significantly below the average on economic, social, and cultural factors. Yay for poverty and social marginalisation. AMassiveGay (talk) 13:57, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Interesting. I find that I am rather average except for a broader cultural capital.  Lily Inspirate me. 16:44, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
90% cultural capital. 40% social capital. 30% financial capital. In other words, I'm broke with no friends and read books and listen to jazz all day. Pretty much the case. P-Foster (talk) 17:08, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
70% cultural, 50% social and 56% financial, which might be skewed by the fact that I lived in a house owned collectively by me and three others in my family, so I'm hardly a "home owner". I think the cultural score is probabaly sewed too, but lower than it might otherwise be, as I consider myself to be cultured, but not at all interested in contemporary western culture, so I don't watch much TV except for news channels, and don't read many magazines or go to very many concerts, theatre and the like. Interesting though. Class does actually define virtually all modern cultures, only how we perceive it changes. Both the UK and USA are class based cultures, just in different ways.--TheEgyptiansig001.png 18:08, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I got 88% on economic capital, 100% on social capital and a very low 20% for cultural capital. Likely reasons include that I almost never attend concerts and other outside events (despite having broad interests in music, literature and the like), rarely watch TV and have no interest whatsoever in organized sports. Disclaimer: I'm not British. Doctor Dark (talk) 18:32, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Pfft, your all to affluent for my liking. You'll all be in trouble when the revolution comes. AMassiveGay (talk) 19:30, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but remember the revolution will not be televised. Doctor Dark (talk) 20:45, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
No, but it will be on twitter AMassiveGay (talk) 22:13, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Pretty amused by the "going to the opera" question... but I think that's just a personal injoke. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 02:19, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
100% on cultural capital! Heh. I knew that musical theatre work would come in useful sometime. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 02:35, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Bloody Chrome. Came to the end and refused to finish the thing. Told me to clear cookies to continue. Had no other option and that took me back to start screen.--BobSpring is sprung! 10:46, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
10% on cultural capital. Not watching suburban sitcoms and talent contests on telly, and hating indie & RnB makes me deprived somehow. Totnesmartin (talk) 12:11, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
70% Economic, 100% Social, 90% Cultural. er..yeah....whatever. Worm(t | c) 11:05, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I went up to page 5 and then got bored. 100% ADD Sen (talk) 20:30, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

More woo (hopefully!)[edit]

Received something on FB about Indonesia sinking, thousands dead, media blackout etc etc with this YouTube clip. Looking at the related vids down the right, we get things like 'Nibiru 2011: Indonesia sinking' 'Australia sinking - pole shift 2012, birds dying' 'Seismic activity tearing Africa in two.' All in all it looks likes a collection of 2012 wingnut activity. I'm not going to watch any of them, just thought you might be interested. ooh, I see HAARP gets a mention too. --Ψ GremlinRunāt! 10:53, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

On the International Society for Infectious Diseases mailing list, there was a straight-faced report of one of the bird die-offs in the US. Necropsies had found BBs (air gun bullets) in each bird.
Last year, as I remember, I was more concerned by a vulture die-off in India. After all, who eats dead vultures? Anyway, it had an unforeseen but logical cause. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, used for veterinary treatment of herd animals, were exceptionally toxic for these birds. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 21:50, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
In similar vein: dead cows ate toxic sweet potatoes 21:57, 31 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast
Yes, the sweet potatoes were also covered, in more detail, on the ISID "ProMED" mailing list -- I can forward if anyone wants, or I'll track down how to find it via web -- I read it as email so don't immediately have the URL. Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 23:34, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Have you got a link for that mailing list post? There's people I want to beat around the head with it - David Gerard (talk) 13:59, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
[5] Howard C. Berkowitz (talk) 14:28, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I meant the lead-assisted bird die-offs. But thanks for that too :-) - David Gerard (talk) 15:30, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Egypt (Redux)[edit]

You get the feeling that there are people out there who can't quite grasp why the average Arab doesn't seem particularly keen on the West's or Israel's attitude to them. Somehow I can't see myself being too impressed at being told that it was perfectly okay for me to live under a dictator with few or no human rights just so that you can live in stability.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:52, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Especially considering one of the rationales for the Iraq war was to encourage the spread of democracy is the Middle East. MDB (talk) 11:50, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Ohh, Google and Twitter play a blinder. Nice one lads and lasses.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:24, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
And the cartoon from Al-Jazeera. I don't think you need to read Arabic to understand the cartoon, but according to The Grauniad Mubarak is saying "We are determined to look after your interests."--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:37, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
And in further news the BBC just mentioned something, unsupported as yet, turning up on Twitter about a diplomat meeting with Mubarak and Mubarak saying that he isn't leaving. In addition (somewhat more reliable), the US ambassador to Egypt has spoken to Mohamed ElBaradei by phone today. Things are gathering apace.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:37, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
And even more cartoons about the upheavals in Africa the past few months.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 16:41, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I like this one. It sums up the uncertainty nicely. MDB (talk) 17:11, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
That's good. That's a keeper I think.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 17:36, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm currently reading Black Swan and this looks like a BS event. I'm sure other Arab governments are preparing for massive demonstrations in their own countries. And just as I'm typing this I hear that King Abdullah of Jordan has sacked his government. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 17:19, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
All I can think of is "Do you here the people sing, singing the song of angry men..." Scarlet A.pngd hominem 21:47, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Update: So Mubarak gave his rather self-pitying and childish speech, saying he'll step down in September, and he was going to do that all along. BBC News asked the question, 'Would this satisfy the protesters?' and immediately answered with the short answer, 'No.' Now Newsnight has just done an in depth examination of exactly that question and has come up with the long answer, 'Fuck no' .--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 23:01, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

The Plague continues to sweep through the BBC[edit]

…this time it's Jeremy Paxman. Most amusing to hear the snigger off camera.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:54, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I like that the Guardian actually just types "cunt" rather than "c***" and/or "foul four letter word" that the mail etc use. X Stickman (talk) 03:30, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
It's thinking about the government that does it, clearly. Whether you're introducing the culture secretary or talking about their spending cuts, all you're thinking is "what a bunch of cunts." --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 03:45, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
You have to wonder who would complain about this sort of thing. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 09:59, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I remember the Heil very strongly implying the Today slip-ups were A. intentional and B. if A was true, the BBC's fault (as opposed to being that of the presenters). The hack (Mr. Daily Mail Reporter, as I remember) either intended to do this, which wouldn't surprise me, or was just shit at phrasing things correctly - judging by the comments the article got, the pond scum who bother to read the thing all decided it was the BBC's fault and that it did it on purpose. Yay for critical thinking. Youcouldnmakeitup. Webbtje (talk) 10:28, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm rather tickled by the fact that the first Beeb presenter to drop the clanger was James Naughtie. Talk about nominative determinism. --Ψ GremlinTala! 11:53, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
A quick thinking sound engineer could have added a rimshot to it and it would be even better. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 19:51, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

And finally...[edit]

As an idea it's been proposed before, but still an interesting article. Sunstones and beardy blokes.--Stunteddwarf Spirit of the Cherry Blossom 01:56, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Some comments from an archeoastronomer that popped up in my RSS reader.--ZooGuard (talk) 11:36, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Pulman on Libraries[edit]

Just brilliant Jack Hughes (talk) 12:39, 1 February 2011 (UTC)


Wasn't someone complaining about "alot" t'other day? Try this for size. 16:25, 1 February 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast

Yeah me. Nice article :) CrundyTalk nerdy to me 16:28, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Mental Floss is a wonderful magazine, one of my favorites. It's been described as "a magazine for people who like Jeopardy, and that's accurate. (So much so Ken Jennings had a column there for a while.) MDB (talk) 16:47, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Someone should make one of those into a kind of candy. You know, an alot-mint. MDB (talk) 16:49, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I liked the spam alot. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 16:51, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Sixteen percent of US Americans believe that God played no role in the development of life on Earth.[edit]

The rest of you see the work of a deity in the process, be that through straight-up creationism or some sort of "evolution by God's hand" model. How exactly did you manage to get a man on the moon? P-Foster (talk) 16:01, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Dze Dzermans.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, these statistics are always a little flakey because of how they're worded. Some people have very wishy-washy views about "God's hand" in evolution and probably don't understand it enough to describe precisely how they think it differs from naturalism - this would make them, effectively, no different from naturalists. So I'd rather see the beliefs phrased positively, which is that 4 in 10 are essentially YEC. Even still, when put like that I don't know how the US still remembers to breath sometimes. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 16:11, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
My (British)Anthropology professor talked about creationism and how stupid it is the day before yesterday(with an emphasis on flood geology). Several people walked out of class. Тиранесcomplaints 16:16, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
That had to be fun. Occasionaluse (talk) 16:18, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I have the class again today, I wonder how many people will still be there. Тиранесcomplaints 16:19, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Nobody likes to be told that their beliefs are wrong, and the more irrational those beliefs are then the more stubborn people become[citation needed].  Lily Inspirate me. 17:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
At least the poll shows a positive trend. But I'd think the stats are far more informative when broken down into age groups. ONE / TALK 16:57, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Considering something like 90% of the country believes in some sort of god, these numbers make sense. How many people are going to believe in God, but then take the attitude that he had nothing to do with life on Earth? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. DickTurpis (talk) 18:09, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, DT, that pretty much describes most of the people that I know. (That's only data point, I know, but bear with me.) They will acknowledge the existence of a god when pressed because it's a way to explain the existence of the universe, but they don't buy into the idea of miracles. It's pretty much just deism. Tetronian you're clueless 18:34, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
As a Brit, I still find this absolutely (and literally) incredible. No matter what PJR and the like claim, Creationism is still seriously wacko on this side of the pond. Even more so in France and Portugal where my kids go to school/university. When I briefly mentioned Creationism to my eldest son (22, marine biology masters in Faro, Portugal) he had no idea what I was talking about. Likewise my daughter who attends a very conservative private Catholic school in France. Not so much wacko as almost completely unheard of. Of course PJR would claim that's because Creationism is being actively suppressed, rather than simply ignored because it's one of thousands of minor religious beliefs that nobody has the time or inclination to consider. Ajkgordon (talk) 18:37, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Speaking as one of the theists on here, my scientific philosophy comes pretty darn close to deism. I think the best way to describe my beliefs is "deist, but the Christians come closest to getting it right philosophically." MDB (talk) 18:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I've explained creationism a number of times in Spain. Very often people simply don't believe that anybody in the first world could accept it. And they simply think I'm nuts when I tell them that 40%+ of Americans believe it.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:55, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Do keep in mind there is a significant difference between "evolution is part of God's plan" and "God created Adam and Eve 6000 years ago". While I guess it's fair to call them both creationism, we should not equate the two. I really don't have a problem with the first as long as it's not passed off as science. To believe the second, however, you need to be pretty delusional. I don't know what the percentage is of people who believe there is a God who created the universe but did not create life, but I imagine it's pretty small; it seems counterintuitive to me. I guess there is the further argument that God created a single cell of life and then let it do its own thing, but isn't that creationism too? Deism isn't the sort of thing you hear about much these days, and I don't think there are a lot of them about, but I could be wrong, I guess. Seems rather vague to me. MDB, since you claim to be pretty close to a deist can you explain what you see God as being? And what role, if any, he/she/it has played in life on Earth? DickTurpis (talk) 19:24, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you can be further away from or closer to reality. But the link says that:
  • At the same time, the 40% of Americans who hold the "creationist" view that God created humans as is 10,000 years ago
That's 40% with full-on insane 10,000 year creationism. Not some vague "first cause" or woolly half-arsed directing evolution idea.--BobSpring is sprung! 19:36, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
We all agree that YEC is lunacy. Given that 40% or so believe that, and other 16% believe God played no role at all, that leaves 44% who believe something in between the two, and that's the group I'm concentrating on. While what that is isn't specified, and likely has a bit of variation, I don't really see much other likely conclusion. If you believe in an all-powerful supernatural being, you're probably going to think he had some hand in biology. Especially is you're Christian, as most of this country is, you presumably believe in a God that gets involved in human activities, so it almost makes no sense to believe that and then deny his role in their development. Of course, most believers aren't terribly consistent in their beliefs, but shoud they try to be they will likely conclude that God exists and played a role in the evolution of life. We shouldn't be surprised by this. DickTurpis (talk) 20:07, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It's precisely the huge variation in the views of that 44% that make it difficult to make a sweeping generalisation. You could probably be quite religious and functionally not have a problem with developing science and technology - or your view is that whatever God's intervention was it's "outside the realm of science" (which is fundamentally meaningless and a flawed position to have, but that won't affect the way someone functions) - or perhaps they're deists with a bit of wishful thinking about how much God intervenes in the world. On the other side of the scale, they could be old Earth or ID advocates, who's judgements on science and technology are affected by their religious beliefs. Regardless, that 44% would be an odd bunch to further classify. (And of course, the 16% aren't necessarily explicit atheists). Scarlet A.pngd hominem 20:13, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
So it's 40% outright weird and another 44% on a sliding scale from there!--BobSpring is sprung! 20:27, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
(EC) True, though I'm a little more skeptical than you are about the potential deistic tendencies of some of these folks. Statistically speaking, they're likely to be overwhelmingly Christian, which doesn't leave much room for a non-intervening God. It seems this thread was originally started as disbelief at the ignorance of the American populace, implying that we were 84% creationists. I'm simply arguing that this is not the case, and that this 84% is going to reflect most of the positively theistic members of society, and doesn't necessarily reflect their specific beliefs on scientific principles. It's not the 84% we should worry about, it's the 40%. DickTurpis (talk) 20:35, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
One way of putting it, I suppose! All I can say is that I sort-of reserve judgement on those 44% because beliefs are complex and often not 1-dimensional. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 20:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It is fascinating that Americans have come as far as they have while believing so much in mythology, but the figure who believe in Creationism is only about 30% (which is still abominable). But we don't have our government institutions releasing reports entitled "The Dangers of Creationism in Education." Could you just *imagine* a report like that coming out of Congress?! --Leotardo (talk) 19:32, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I have had a few holidays in Mexico and I didn't find any evidence of a creationist philosophy despite the strong Catholicism. Visiting the city museum in Chihuahua - a state where there are some major recent fossil deposits -it was all presented in terms of an old evolutionary Earth. There were many school classes and the teachers were all sticking to the scientific line. Joaquin Martinez at CP is a Mexican Catholic but I haven't seen him touch any of the YEC articles. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 19:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
That could describe the United States as well. DickTurpis (talk) 20:08, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, you're not going to find creationism in a city museum in the US. That 40% isn't distributed evenly - it's very negatively correlated with education. Tetronian you're clueless 22:49, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
No, but wasn't there something about creationism being addressed by the tour guides at Grand Canyon a few years back? MDB (talk) 23:09, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Since I was asked[edit]

Note: This is one of the very few times I've discussed my beliefs on here beyond just acknowledging I'm a theist on a largely atheist site. I'm a little hesitant to do this, because I don't want to get into flame war, and I don't want to appear that I'm proselytizing. You're welcome to ask me questions, but I ask that you respect my belief as I respect your non-belief.

I don't know if I can really put into words what I think God is, but as far as the role He (and I use that because I don't think "It" is appropriate, not because I necessarily perceive God as male; I think "beyond gender" is more appropriate) played in creating "everything", I think of God as the ultimate author of universal laws. I'm not really sure if I think of God as a "creator", per se, as in the Genesis account, but I do tend to think God "put things into motion", if you will. I also think of God as the reason humans are "special" among life on Earth. Perhaps He saw some neanderthals or cro-magnons and said "these critters have potential -- it's time to create something beyond physicality for them." Call it a soul, perhaps -- i think of it as even beyond the traditional idea of consciousness. (And as an aside, I'm willing to consider the possibility that humans are not the only life on Earth so gifted. Which life is so gifted, as they say, "above my pay grade.")

I'm not sure if I take the traditional Deist idea that God never intervenes in Earthly affairs, but I do tend to think God generally leaves mankind to its own devices.

And I'll confess, it's difficult, at times, to believe in both rationality, and the idea of a divine being that is ultimate unprovable. Honestly, I try not not to think about it too much.

Perhaps I'll expand this into an essay sometime, but I'm in the mood to play Civ V now. I just hope my power stays on -- we've got a snowstorm here. MDB (talk) 21:37, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

If you don't mind my asking (earnestly), what is your reason for believing this? Is it that you just can't fathom how else the universe came into being, and thus a deity is the best possible answer that you can fathom? Or is that you feel you see real evidence of this, regardless of whether others see it or not? Or something else? --Leotardo (talk) 22:02, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Partly, it's due to to how I was raised. (I was raised a Methodist.) And partly, yes, I do see the universe as so amazing that I think there's something behind it. I realize that's the argument from incredulity and I acknowledge it is not intellectually sound. I deal with that. MDB (talk) 22:21, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
OOOO OO ME!!!! I KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS I KNOW I KNOW well actually I don't know.
It is easy for me to believe that life, the universe, and everything form a distributed emergent "entity" which indulges in designs of which we know not. I purposely chose "designs" to be read with an ambiguous sense there. Just because we have sussed our way around what we think is a fair bit of natural law does NOT mean that we as a species know it all.
Of course none of the above entitles any one of us to claim ey knows the will of this gigasticous tangle of cosmic threads. Reification of abstract patterns or tendencies is a fire swamp fraught with pitfalls, be they real, imaginary, social, or psychological. Consider this an invitation to continue being rational, but without the foolish notion that it has all been mapped out by our own excellent selves. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
While I don't really agree with Sprocket, I do think that even if one of us did know the answer, it would be nearly impossible to bridge the enormous inferential gap required to explain it to anyone else. Tetronian you're clueless 00:15, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, I did leave myself the escape hatch: "easy for me to believe..." Didn't say I have any firm beliefs about it; for me it is more a matter of speculation during idle moments.
I think that ease of potential belief comes from the strain of East African Plains Ape from whence I descend, bred for thousands upon thousands of generations to benefit from seeing patterns. As a result, patterns pop out everywhere. I don't base serious choices on the existence/nonexistence of a cosmic being, but when coincidence forms in certain ways, I am amused. You're right about the obstacles to explanation, I think. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:49, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Given that there is no obvious way I know of to demonstrate the non-existence of a non-interventionist (or minimally interventionist) god, then people are welcome to believe in it I suppose. However, as it's equally impossible to offer any persuasive arguments in its favour I'm not sure why they should hold this belief. Personally I'm all for the teapot ..... --BobSpring is sprung! 12:05, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I think the interesting thing about the deist "God" is whether people are open to what "He" actually is. Are you open to the fact that He could be an exotic sub-atomic particle, that He is the programmer of our simulated reality, that He is in fact an old man with a beard. In principle, if the Creator has an effect on the universe it should have a completely naturalistic component from which we can infer its properties - if it didn't have such a naturalistic cross over its effect on the universe would be entirely null. Of course in practice, that might be forever beyond our reach, but the principle is that we may, eventually, find out what "started" the universe (I use "started" in quotes as it may be that the concept of the universe starting might be completely misleading). I say this because one of my main objections to specific theism (i.e., religion) is that believers often make grand sweeping statements about God's benevolence, kindness and justness (not to mention Biblical actions) with one hand and then with the other say how He is completely unknowable and beyond all human comprehension! Surely, this is either hypocrisy or paradox depending on your level of cynicism. But to me, an intellectually honest deist belief would be almost the opposite of this, and therefore perfectly open about the Creator being unknowable and us being unable to say anything about its properties at this time. So I suppose I'm wondering whether, as a deist, someone would be open to the possibility of God being eventually explained? Scarlet A.pngd hominem 19:48, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
The way some of us put it is "God wouldn't have given us a brain if he didn't want us to use it." I'll crawl back under my 4 Ga rock now. Doctor Dark (talk) 22:11, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I like that, as a clever saying. In reality, it may be none of our business who gives out brains, begging the question that there is a "who" to be the donor in the first place.
I do not expect to find God explained while I still draw breath. A lot of that has to do with Tetronian's "enormous inferential gap" which I see as a polite way of saying that we are all, without exception, too thick to get any valid explanation, if such were even possible. Could this be why religious types resort to parables, myth and mystery? Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:00, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
As threatenedpromised, I've started turning this into an essay. Read it at your peril. MDB (talk) 15:48, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Aliens silly![edit]

Certainly the metaverse must be teaming with aliens! On the top level of the simulation, containing the simulation, containing the... the aliens probably came about by some sort of evolution. Doesn't mean our univese did. Don't Brits have any imagination?

There is also the bed wetting, fence sitting, cowardly position of "I dunno". If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything. Unicow (talk) 23:32, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

The more paranoid version of don't-knowers is Pyrrhonism - they refuse to endorse anything. Tetronian you're clueless 00:12, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I think there are some gaps in evolutionary theory. I haven't seen absolutely convincing evidence that mutation/etc could result in all the complexity of organisms. The obvious question would be, then how did it happen? I don't know but if the theory is "verified" the evidence should stand by itself. What if we discovered an alien race who had the capability to create lifeforms? Then would many evolutionists begin to question whether we were not a product of their design? I think many would. This suggests that the theory of evolution rests on the lack of a better explanation. ~ Lumenos (talk) 01:05, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Then one might suggest you haven't seen much of the evidence. Ajkgordon (talk) 10:11, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
One often does. That is usually all they do. I got close one time. I almost found evidence of whale legs. Somebody might have that evidence somewhere. ~ Lumenos (talk) 22:25, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
So what? Even if evolution were totally flawed (which it clearly isn't) that would in no way be evidence for god, aliens or anything else.--BobSpring is sprung! 09:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Does it work the other way? Even if hypotheses/hypotheticals involving simulated realities, aliens, creator gods, are totally flawed that does not support the theory of evolution? I think it does actually. I guess the greatest danger is assuming that because some hypothesis is an evolutionary hypothesis, it must be the correct one. One would still have to verify any particular evolutionary mechanism. I don't know why no one wants to answer my question regarding if there were aliens who could have created life.
If I could see the verification of the legendary whale legs, that would be pretty good evidence that they evolved from land animals, or the designer was not omniscient/omnipotent and was reusing parts (genetic engineering). ~ Lumenos (talk) 22:23, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
One of the smartest guys I know spent a good part of his life as a geologist and archaeologist. He says that a lot of the doubters of evolution have scant understanding of deep time. Things change little by little, but once you stack up a few million years on top of another few million, interesting things can start to happen. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 01:57, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm a (sort of) geologist and even I find the time-scales mindboggling. When we look around us there is apparently not much change happening apart from a few cosmetic things - a bit of lava erupting here, some coastal erosion there - but when you read the rocks you can see how much has happened in Earth's history and the aeons required for it to take place. Transferring that understanding to biology makes the concept of evolution much easier to accept. Being of an enquiring nature and a scientific inclination I take an interest in astronomy and see that the sky is filled not only with the stars of our own galaxy but myriads of other galaxies, each containing billions of stars. The universe is huge beyond human comprehension yet most people don't have experience beyond a few tens of miles from their home. To imagine that we are unique creatures in the vastness of space and time and that some supposed creator takes an interest in what happens to us as individuals is the height of egocentricism. And to think that a creator of something so enormous and long-lasting requires insignificant transient mites such as we are to prostrate ourselves and worship "him" is totally preposterous and merely a projection of the petty human vanities of a feudal society. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 10:26, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Certainly the metaverse must be teaming with aliens. After all it happened here so easily. I was just wondering if we actually had anything beyond "philosophical" evidence of a highly advanced alien civilization, who were capable of creating lifeforms, how would we know they didn't create us? ~ Lumenos (talk) 22:25, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
It's a cool theory but completely useless and, like religion, in danger of making as lazy if we think that death is not that big a deal etc. Plus I never understood why we must never win anything, Even if the universe is to house billions of civilizations, why can't we be the first one? (someone has to be). Even if there are tons of simulated worlds, why can't we happen to the top, real one that got to create them? As a result, every time I hear that I just say, you go run some side channel timing attacks on that. (which technically is what science already does) Sen (talk) 22:07, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
This must be what it is like reading half of my posts. ~ Lumenos (talk) 22:25, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes someone must win the lottery, but the odds on it being us are very slim - most religions rely on this short of special pleading. And of course death is actually a very big thing for each and everyone of us. That's why we should make the most of our lives rather than saving ourselves for a hypothetical hereafter. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 22:39, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I think a multiverse is a better explanation than "creator gods" unless the phenomenal complexity is something that did not cause the observer to exist. If it caused us to exist, it would be observer selection bias to assume that it was an unlikely coincidence. ~ Lumenos (talk) 22:23, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

So what brings folk to atheism?[edit]

Since MDB has graciously explained his views, I am curious to know what has brought RWians to atheism. We can't all be science types who have objectively studied the world to come it. I certainly didn't AMassiveGay (talk) 00:24, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Short answer (for me): RationalWiki is a gateway drug. Тиранесcomplaints 00:29, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
What are you saying? You was a believer until until this wiki corrupted you? AMassiveGay (talk) 00:32, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
My parents, and my paternal grandfather were all atheists. I was raised without god, and have done just fine... DalekEXTERMINATE 00:41, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I believed in a god, heaven and a hell for a long time, but I was kind of a loose undefined theist than any religion. I'd rewrite the what heaven and hell actually were as well as what kind of person god was (basically updating their definitions and personality in my head as I got older) until one day it kinda clicked that I was just making stuff up and what kind of sense does that make. None, is the answer. X Stickman (talk) 00:45, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
For me personally, it was refusing to go to sunday school when I was 4ish. That was mainly due to it being boring. In my teens I properly came out as an atheist but my reasoning was muddled at best. I give it some thought once in a while, and the more I do the more I am disgusted with whole concept of a god. Every natural disaster, every war, everyone time tragedy befalls someone my disgust is fuelled. About a year ago, I saw the video to Soul Asylum's 'Runaway Train'. My friend was very shocked to recognise one of the missing in that video as one of the victims of serial killer Peter Tobin. I think my views on God and his existence really crystallised. If a god exists, and did not or could not prevent such awfulness, then they are no God at all. AMassiveGay (talk) 00:59, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Really long, sad, and creepy answer: in 5th grade I read a book on the vikings. I found them interesting. So in 6th grade, for the social studies fair, I did my project on the Battle of Stamford Bridge. I needed a diorama, and I wanted to reenact the battle with miniatures, so I stopped at the local wargaming store with my dad, and a Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Guard Codex caught my eye, so I flipped through it. In high school I started collecting an Imperial Guard army, but(being quite religious, but not YEC, I held the existence of God was Maxwell's equations and how nicely they fit together) I painted little crosses on them, as my Imperial Guard regiment were Christians(the vehicles have since been repainted). One day while my friend and I were playing he showed me the WH40K article on tvtropes(dunh dunh dunh....). In about a month, I had random articled on tvtropes to Conservapedia. I was a (very)conservative person at the time, who dreamed of being an inquisitor and roasting my classmates, but I did not like what I saw, as I associated the right with science and the left with the New Age. So I clicked the link to RationalWiki and began reading. I signed up at this site with the intention of "trolling the shit out of it" by building up a high minor edit count to acquire powers and trust. However, I began to read, and I found out that 3 of my 4 friends were atheists. So I followed some links to sites. Youtube channels. I bought and read The God Delusion and The Demon Haunted World. Then I downloaded and read the entire 1069 page "Ebon Musings" website(which is definitely worth checking out). I began to read biology articles and pay attention in Physics. I reread the bible to check that verses were not made up out of thin air. And now I am... well me. I have gone from Atheist to Deist(when I was little I had a concept of God, but other than the fact that he did not like lying ascribed little to him), to Episcopalian, to Presbyterian to Methodist, to "non-denominational", to Atheist. No-one except my closest only IRL friends, 2 of my professors, and a few guys in one of my classes knows I am, though my siblings have started to suspect. I have volunteered to give presentations on Atheism's place in society to my public speaking class. I keep my books(except Sagan) in a box of Star Wars cards. Since deconversion, I am happier, read more, and do better in classes(I used to pray profusely about tests, and would ritually abstain form thinking sexual thoughts for 24 hours before hand). I sleep better at night, not praying for 5 minutes before sleeping(one of my prayers I prayed at night was "please God let me never stop believing in you, and see your light). I would hum "One God, that's God, and he is the only one" during movies, video games, and while reading books which featured other beliefs in them. I tried "porting" Christianity to Dungeons and Dragons. As well as writing a outline for a fanfic in which the 40k verse is saved by the second coming(it never went through). My political opinions on nigh everything have done a complete 180 since coming here(which I think I wrote an essay about). So, in a nutshell, yeah, I was, and a pretty devout one at that. Тиранесcomplaints 03:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, that actually did a lot to reassure me that I've not been wasting my time here and that this site is really more than just a playground. Anyway, I'm curious, did Pascal's wager have anything to do with your beliefs? Blue (is useful) 03:31, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
No. I did not learn about Pascal's Wager until I read about it here. Тиранесcomplaints 03:33, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I was born. My parents took me to church every week, and I went to Sunday school and suchlike. Hell, this being Britain there was even classroom prayer. The Assfly would have been pleased. Then one day I got old enough to realise I could actually say no and stop going through with the charade that there really was a beardy man in the sky who grants wishes, and I suppose on that day I was out of the closet. The downside of never having believed but going through the ritual for years is I also find it extremely difficult to believe that anyone else actually believes that nonsense either. I'm still convinced about 95% of god botherers are going through the motions as well. Well, either that or they're really, really good at lying to themselves about what their scriptures actually say. --JeevesMkII The gentleman's gentleman at the other site 04:26, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I was sent to sunday school as a kid, although I dont remember much of it, and then my parents moved to australia. We didnt attend church there but schools had religeous instruction classes. I didnt like much of what I read in the Bible, it didnt fit with a kind and loving God that was being preached. Then in one class I had forgotton to bring a Bible , so I got one from the school library. The minister teaching the class had a small fit when I started reading because it wasnt the approved Lutheran Bible. After trying to explain to a group of 13 year olds why the word of God was different in different versions of the Holy Book he excused half the class from attending. I do like the idea of a very powerful being who is trying to take care of me and make my life better , but he doing a poor job of it. Definately athiest on science though. God-did-it is just to easy and not really an answer that helps me do anything. Hamster (talk) 04:41, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
When I was in my 20s and 30s I always attended church if I was located in small towns. It was suit and shoes, with a hint of aftershave and never flirt openly with anyone but old ladies. It was a social and business advantage at the time , and I suspect in small town America still is. Hamster (talk) 04:47, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Atheism was the religion (or lack-of-religion, if you prefer) of my youth. At that time I saw it as the only alternative to Christianity, and I saw that religion as represented by slimeball wingnut evangelists.
Given the interest in classical ethics and philosophy shown by many atheists (e.g., in the Secular Humanist Manifesto), I think that if the ancient Greek sort of paganism had a similar base of support to that currently enjoyed by Wicca, or by the several forms of New Age dreck, we would have a somewhat smaller number of atheists. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:10, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Douche bag. Occasionaluse (talk) 20:19, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I was raised in an Evangelical Christian home. Church on Wednesday and Sunday, and Sunday church was an all day affair. I saw how devoutly my family followed the teachings of our church, and we tithed our 10%. However, during my adolescence I noticed that we were dirt fucking poor. And my cousins were dumb as shit, as well. My brother and I were the only ones that attended public school. My cousins were home schooled, the Assfly way. I wondered why. If we were doing everything according to the instructions, why were our results so out of proportion to those of the other Christians I saw on TV? They had everything (including much of my families money), and we had nothing. I watched how my parents and grandparents spent their money. They paid their tithe first, then sent their "seed" money to whatever lame person was shouting at us on the TV, I never bothered to learn the names. I also found out why I wasn't allowed to spend a lot of time with my mother's side of the family. They were Catholic, and that's the wrong kind of Christian. Lucky for me, the strong Catholic upbringing made my mom question faith as well. She encouraged me to do well in school, and in doing so helped me learn how things worked. I saw that God was not necessary to explain how things worked. On top of all of this, a very close friend of mine admitted to me and a few other friends that he was gay. The way his family treated him when they found out was horrific. They went to the same church as my grandparents, so they had the same hard-right views on gays as WBC. That alone would have been enough to make me an atheist. As for my friend, he got into one little fight, and his mom scared and said, "you're moving in with your Auntie and Uncle in Bel-Aire." I whistled for the cab, and when it came near, I noticed that the license plate said "fresh," and had dice in the mirror. If anything, I could say this cab is rare, but I thought "man forget it, yo home to Bel-Aire!" I pulled up to the house around seven or eight, and yelled to the cabbie, "Yo, holmes. Smell ya later." I looked to my kingdom; I was finally there, to sit on my throne, as the Prince of Bel-Aire.

True story. Most of it. Majintahu (talk) 05:53, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Short answer: this site. I was raised with Conservative Judaism, but by the time I came here, I had devolved to a more Reform Judaism. Working on this wiki showed me the lack of need for supernatural causes for anything, which resulted in me downgrading once again to general Deistic Judaism. Continued thinking about burdens of proof, extraordinary claims, etc. shifted me once again to Agnostic Judaism. And finally, this site + reading in general made me understand that my Agnostic Judaism was really the same as Atheistic Judaism - there's probably not a god, and it's possible that I'm wrong, but I'm not gonna live my life by what someone in a false position of authority says. Also, latkes rule. ThunderkatzHo! 06:38, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't think anything brought me to atheism, I've always been there. I was fortunate enough that I wasn't indoctrinated as a child (I was raised in a post-socialist central european country where religion had not yet found its way into public schools, and my parents and most people around me were practical atheists or at least not overt believers thanks to socialism oppressing religion), so when I started thinking about this I didn't even consider God - the same way I don't think about Santa Claus and whether he might be real. Then I discovered humanism shortly after reading the Foundation series and reading about Asimov (but I was also influenced by Gene Roddenberry), and realized that it fit my existing beliefs almost perfectly. And recently I've stopped describing myself as an atheist (in favor of humanist), simply because it doesn't say what I am, only what I'm not. -- Nx / talk 07:20, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
The question is: "What brings people to theism?"--BobSpring is sprung! 07:57, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Easy reassuring answers and social activities. GTac (talk) 09:08, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
(EC) I grew up in a house that wasn't particularly religious, altho it was CoE. Really started to turn against religion in high school - first all the first years who attended the Methodist Church had to go to Sunday School (church attendance was compulsory - the easiest way to get something to stick in the craw of a teen), so I switched to the Anglican (hell, even served as an altar boy - and no, before the jokes start). We also had a compulsory school subject "religious instruction" - which should just been called 'Nationalist Calvinist Religious Indoctrination.' There, the standard answer to any question was "you must have faith," which I didn't. Started doing my own reading, and by the time I'd come across Barbara Theiring's (sp?) excellent 'Jesus the Man' and 'Jesus of the Apocalypse' I realised that it was all a load of bunkum, this Paulism that had been foisted on people and I had far better things to do on a Sunday morning. --Ψ GremlinSpeak! 09:16, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Like Jeeves & Psy I was brought up in the half-hearted but endemic Anglicanism that pervades British society. Religious indoctrination was part and parcel of the education system, being a member of the church choir, church parade with the scouts, christenings, weddings and funerals, harvest festival - religion was an intrinsic part of the social fabric yet I was never one to kneel down and pray before bedtime. Attending a secondary school with a headmaster who was a canon in the CofE and a handful of Revs (and a monk) as teachers it could have continued like that. But I was exposed to more atheist classmates and ended up being branded as a "nihilist" by one teacher. During my teens I gradually asserted my non-belief and called myself an agnostic - atheist was still a bit extreme at that time but the "don't know" of agnosticism was more socially acceptable. When I went to university my first girlfriend there was a nun-indoctrinated Catholic and persuaded me to accompany her to Sunday-evening mass. The first time I went the preacher was a visiting Irishman who gave a sermon with the whole fire and brimstone treatment. Being from a mild Anglican (even high-church) background I was shocked. I should point out that the Catholic church was in an area with a large number of Irish - most of the men would stand at the back; evening mass began at 6.30 pm and lasted 45 minutes but at 7.00 pm all the men would withdraw as that was when the pub opened. So the hypocrisy of paying lip-service to religion and craziness of the preacher is what probably made me publicly commit to being an atheist rather than saying I was agnostic. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 10:59, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
In some ways I envy Nx in not having been indoctrinated in the first place. I had a Ukrainian secretary who was in a similar position; by never learning of the church's teachings you don't have to fight the guilts which they fixate at an early age. However, I cannot deny that much of our culture and language is deeply rooted in religious tradition which cannot be appreciated unless you are told about it. The crucial difference of course is in the instruction, the gods of the Greeks and Romans, Celts and Norse were never presented as historical facts. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 11:06, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm like the others who've described that very British kind of religion. I remember going to church services and dutifully repeating the various phrases but it was a matter of rote, not thought. I can still recite large chunks of a typical Protestant church service from memory. I got confirmed - it was just expected that this is what would happen - and it was only then that I began to think about what these phrases really meant. For a while I was probably agnostic, but eventually decided I was a full atheist. It was only then I "came out" to my parents and stopped going to church. This was aged about 13-14 I think. –SuspectedReplicant retire me 11:18, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I grew up as an atheist by default, mostly because my family didn't feature any believers. Although neither of my parents were church members, I was baptized as a Protestant simply because it was still considered a social convention. We never went to church, but I was exposed to religious teachings in school - I wouldn't really call it indoctrination, because it was completely wishy-washy and quasi-secular in its morality. In Germany, religious education is compulsory for kids who are church members (until the middle school level, when you can switch to general classes on ethics), and so I sat through ten years of it without ever really believing in any of that stuff. It was a nice opportunity to score an easy high grade, and since we were mostly concerned with bible stories as children and moral questions as teenagers, a total lack of faith on my part and that of at least half of my classmates didn't really have much of an impact on our performance. Either nobody noticed, or (more likely) nobody cared. Back then, while I was already an atheist, I didn't have many qualms with religion in general - the few traces of religion around me came in the form of super-liberal Protestantism, nothing which I found really objectionable, and fundamentalism wasn't on my radar at all. I thought it was harmless nonsense, something which I couldn't share and found a little weird, but didn't really bother with. The main change since I was a kid hasn't been on the question of faith, but my stance on religion as a phenomenon, mostly as a result of 9/11 and the gradual realization that it's not just the Muslims, but that there's a very dark side to Christianity as well, one that is drastically different from the liberal variant I knew, even though it shares the same roots and core principles. Röstigraben (talk) 11:37, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
When I said "indoctrination" in regards to my own upbringing in liberal protestantism, I meant it more as an infusion into your life, it's like a benign parasite, it becomes part of you but not so burdensome that you need to desperately have it removed. By incorporating social aspects it has found a way to self-perpetuate in a rational society that a more extreme version might be actively rebelled against because it is not doing any great harm. While we have an established church in the UK and other European countries have very close ties with formal religion which gives them a financial advantage, I think that it is the USA's specific separation of church and state that has created a competitive market in religion and thereby created more extreme versions of what we know in Europe. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 12:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Somewhat unusually for a Brit I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian sect. When I was a teenager I believed. But gradually the contradictions between what was obvious reality and church teachings became apparent. Decided it was all baloney in my early twenties. Looked at a few other religions but decided they were, if anything, even less believable than Christianity. --BobSpring is sprung! 11:50, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Mother was a Lutheran, father was atheist. Religious subjects were never discussed at home. I did attend church's daycare and other activities when I was very young, but maybe because Lutheranism is about the most casual form of Christianity there is or because I was a thick kid I never really picked up on Jesus and God and stuff. I am not sure how I was introduced to atheism (a school book? TV?) but I do remember that was my stance when I got into teens. It was easy to hold those views because they never got challenged, if I ever was rebellious it was about much lamer issues. When mother told me I would go to a confirmation camp I resisted, but the counter-argument was "yes you are, and all your relatives are going to give you a pile gifts for that" and so I got confirmed. The camp was mostly about fun and the religious bits only made my beliefs firmer. I resigned from the church two days after I got 18. My family knew when a confirmation letter came in the post. They gave me a call because I wasn't home then, but didn't show much interest beyond an unpassionate "so you don't believe?". -- (talk) 12:57, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I gained weight, embraced effeminacy then developed dangerous and predatorial sexual tendencies. Atheism lit up my life after all that. Preliminary studies prove this.--Brendiggg (talk) 13:34, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Like a few of the above, I too was raised in a typically British culture with Anglicanism as simply part of the social fabric. My father was a British Army officer and there was never any question of him not attending the regimental chapel or camp church without his family. It wasn't an imposition, it was just part of what we, as an Army family, did. Sunday morning communion then probably drinks at either our house or somebody else's, then Sunday lunch, then a walk with the dog..... it was just part of the scenery. Likewise religious education at school including confirmation. It didn't really matter if you believed in it or not (except to the vicars who taught it) it just mattered that you did it. And no, it's not indoctrination any more than growing up speaking English is or holding your knife and fork properly. And it was and is very easy to shake it off if you didn't believe in it. I haven't suffered a "deconversion" as such and I'm not an atheist. But I recognise more and more how improbable it is that my particular brand of my particular religion is the TRUTH. What this site has done has opened my eyes to the fact the Creationism actually exists and that how many Americans are Creationists. And how frightening the whole "don't think, have faith" thing is - anathema to even our RE teachers 25 years ago. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:52, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and I like Genghis's point about the competitive religious market in the US. That's a nice idea and, if verified, would explain a lot. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:52, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
My father's family was very religious, English Protestant or Baptist or something, I'm not actually sure, but my dad never bought in to it. My mother's family were less so despite being Irish Catholic, and while both my parents were baptised/christened neither me nor my siblings were, and our household growing up was basically secular - as my brother said this Xmas; "Christmas (for my family) is basically a bunch of adults getting together and giving each other gifts to celebrate some guy 2000 years ago who none of us really believe in." I went to a Baptist Youth Group in my early teens but grew out of it a few years ago when I realised the only case for God was through the Bible. SJ Debaser 14:20, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Also, what Rostigraben said above - when I was learning about Christianity as a young teen 7/8 years ago, it was the nice, God's-looking-after-you kinda thing, very liberal, overlooking a lot of the nasty Old Testament stuff which I was obviously aware but never thought was to be taken literally. I basically grew out of it when I started learning about fundamentalist sects that actually believed that crap. Conservapedia particularly opened me up to this and was actually instrumental of pushing me from skeptical agnostic to atheist. So the very thing they're promoting is the thing they're destroying. SJ Debaser 20:28, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
My parents aren't theists, despite my mother's mother being very Christian. She hit the roof when my parents said they weren't going to bother baptising my brother, so in the end they just went along with it. I suppose I never really believed in any god properly (perhaps I was agnostic for most of my life) despite having to go to the school chapel every thurday morning, and when I started learning about skepticism, logical fallacies etc it all dropped into place so I now state conclusively that I'm an atheist. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:27, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I suppose I can just echo the sentiments about the general "meh" but all pervaisive attitude of the CofE in the UK. The only time I've came across anything a little more than "meh" was when I heard that apparently my grandmother-in-law would have been "extremely upset" (and borderline disowning, apparently, although I'm not sure how much of that was exaggeration) if I didn't get married in a church. That threw me a bit because it was the first time I knew anyone personally that would care that much. But because of that, almost sinister, pervaisiveness you do get a lot of strong atheists in the UK who just feel so dissatisfied with the situation they just have to be firm and clear about it - and there isn't a mechanism of social stigma against being non-religious (although there is against being religion bashing like Dawkins) to stop people from turning away from it if they want. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 19:57, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I grew up in NZ which has no religious overtones in it's primary schools so unless you have a religious family (or get sent to a private religious school) you don't get exposed to it (although - every child knows who Jesus is/was). It isn't until high school where there is some religious education so by that time you have tools and knowledge to decipher what you want to believe (or not to believe). Ace McAwesome 20:08, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
You are all extremely lucky, in my opinion. Тиранесcomplaints 20:30, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I was hauled off to Sunday school as a kid, and went to a private tin-soldier high school with a chapel that claimed to be non-denominational, but seemed pretty Anglican. It was unskippable, except for the RC ones who got bussed to mass in town. The Jewish guys sat through it with the rest of us. The Catholics had to sit through generic Protestant vespers twice during the week, and some years matins on alternating days meant we only had Saturday off from our obeisances.
I don't remember anyone getting hung for bellowing out their own words to the hymns, masked by the general hullabaloo, though. Imagine my astonishment when I heard my mom say, "Thank goodness the kids are all grown and we don't have to go to church."
Dad was the other side of that coin, getting more and more Calvinist in his advancing years, to the extent of being a proctor or a lictor or a presbyter or at least a lay reader in the little town he settled into. Myself, I fall solidly into the "meh" camp, and have done since my teens. I am truly thankful to dwell in a place and time where society has no established religion with which to oppress the masses, them asses. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 23:36, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

I was raised in a very casual Catholic household, i.e. Church visits for weddings, funerals and not much else. All the schools I attended though were Catholic, and that's probably what contributed a great-deal to my becoming an atheist. The hypocrisy helped. We had daily assemblies each morning, and the teachers would threaten to keep us in detention if we didn't sing; that I thought a bit odd. I did honestly believe there was a God, and used to pray for some kind of confirmation of his existence, but of course nothing was ever forthcoming. In my late 20s I began seriously the reading the Bible and came to the conclusion that it didn't make a great deal of sense, and the God of the Old Testament is a psychotic and insecure dictator. Concernedresident omg!!! ponies!!! 10:24, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Amen to the hypocrisy thing. No surprise that a person's attitudes get a lot of influence from their early role models. Seeing the faculty and my fellow students go through the motions because it was expected of them... there you go.
Though the school was in the US midwest, serious corn and beans country (maize and soybeans in rotation) one of the English teachers was in fact English, a captain in the RAF somehow. One Sunday morning, standing in for the chaplain, he asked us to stand and recite the creed of "our hallowed faith," and to me and every other kid in the sanctuary it sure sounded like "hollow faith." I suppose we were being trained to blend into society, whatever our inner thoughts and beliefs might be. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 14:41, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
One side of my family is a mix of Protestant and Catholic, the other side is Jewish, but my parents never practiced or went to church/synagogue outside of weddings and funerals. I was really into ancient history as a kid (well, I still am), and I read the Bible, as well as Greek, Norse, Egyptian, etc. mythology. They all seemed the same to me, though, just fairy tales. Actually, I think the polytheistic religions make more sense -- the world isn't perfect because it's run by a bureaucracy of petty and power-hungry gods (or am I talking about politicians?). I went to a Catholic high school (not for religious purposes, my local public school really sucked and the Catholic school gave me a scholarship) and we read a lot of apologetics. I started reading even more apologetics outside of class because I thought I was going to find The Answer(TM) in one of the books, i.e., an argument that would actually satisfy me that there was a god(s). Still haven't found it, but I don't waste my time reading apologetics anymore at least.Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:01, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Positive atheism[edit]

I like that Nx describes himself as a humanist rather than an atheist because I feel that for some who are non-religious it is just about excising the dogma and magic out of their lives without replacing it with anything positive. I am a member of the BHA because I feel it makes a positive statement that non-belief does not have to be amoral or anti-social. Redchuck.gif Генгисevolving 12:32, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Actually I don't like the label "atheist" very much either. Basically because it says so little about people. If people identified themselves by their non-belief in fairies, homoeopathy or father christmas it would tell you very little about them though you might be justified in making some assumptions - but not many. I rambled on along similar lines here..--BobSpring is sprung! 14:52, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I prefer "humanist" as well, for several reasons. 1. The reasons above. 2. You are much less likely to be screamed at or have stuff thrown at you if you call yourself a "humanist" where I live. Still happens though. But I am still basically in the metaphorical closet, as I am afraid of being disinherited. Тиранесcomplaints 15:00, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I am an atheist not a humanist. I have no faith in human nature at all. AMassiveGay (talk) 15:13, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I try to be optimistic. Тиранесcomplaints 15:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Thats just foolish AMassiveGay (talk) 15:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't mind "atheist" but humanist is more descriptive of the values I possess, which are Englightenment values, which makes me a liberal. --Leotardo (talk) 15:19, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
@AMAssiveGay Key word here being "try". I find my fellow humans to be more complacent and apathetic about anything that doesn't involve them. The main problem is the things that stir large amounts of people to action... well just look at the Tea Party. Тиранесcomplaints 15:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't mind the term because in the context of how widespread and normative (non-specific) religious belief is, the term makes a degree of sense. Although it is limited in its descriptive scope. So I suppose I agree with what Bob says in a literal sense; I don't like it as a label. It's kind of like labelling yourself as an "alternative music fan". I mean, really? You like all music that's alternative? As in, not in the so-called "mainstream". So you, in your goth pants like obscure country and western music and hardcore psytrance, really? If you get what I mean. It defines it as a negative and outside of the norm it has a use, but not something you can use without the context of what the norm actually is to start with. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 17:12, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Favourite quote: "What a piece of worke is a man! how Noble in Reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in Action, how like an Angel! in apprehension, how like a God? the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals; and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust!" I suspect this might make me a humanist. Sen (talk) 20:05, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
No, it makes you a Christian; that is a paraphrase of part of the 8th Psalm. Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 04:49, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Liking something paraphrased from the Bible no more makes you a Christian than thinking that the scene in Lord of the Rings where Legolas slides down some steps shooting his bow is cool makes you a fan of JRR Tolkein. Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:55, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I like this poem. It starts out,
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
I do not claim any label because of it, though. Sprocket J Cogswell (talk) 15:02, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I like the "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer..." quote too, clearly I am a Bene Gesserit. (Although come to think about it, I do like spicy foods). Speaking of general nerdiness, I must inform that the first time I heard the first quote, wasn't from a psalm (lolno) nor from Shakespeare from whom that particular stems. It was from Captain Picard (Star Trek captain extraordinaire but you all knew that). He was speaking with Q I believe (omnipotent being), Q answers "Surely you don't believe that" and Picard answers that he sees Humanity as one day becoming like that. I like that context a lot more than any "psalms" although having read the psalm as well I have to say the relationship is flimsy at best. Sen (talk) 00:05, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't like to hide behind the humanist label because then you put yourself right on the euphemism treadmill (like we went from "lame" to "crippled" to "handicapped" to "handi-capable!"). Humanism is already a smear in wingnut circles anyway -- I can recall hearing about at least a few court cases where some wingnuts tried to define humanism/secular humanism/secularism as a religion so they could push their own religion in schools or wherever. It's still fuzzy enough not to have the connotations of the a-word right now, but it will soon enough. My religious beliefs and ethical beliefs are separate. Religious beliefs: None - (agnostic) atheist. Okay, I'll also admit it's partly because it strokes the ol' ego when I turn on Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly to hear about how I'm part of a mass atheist/secular conspiracy to undermine our nation's Christian traditions and corrupt the youth and how I eat babies for breakfast, will burn in the fires of hell, etc. before I've even gotten out of bed in the morning. It's like going "Boo!" to a small child. Anyway, I wouldn't say my ethical beliefs are solely humanist either, more like a mixture of humanism, utilitarianism, existentialism, absurdism, nihilism, cynicism, and Buddhism.Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:05, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

"Atheism" as a subculture[edit]

Atheism does seem to have many associations with many other "liberal" ideas. These are becoming conservative/traditional ideas as things like evolution edumacation are mandated from on high. For example, the "spinoff theory" that we are nothing but gene propagation robots. Unicow (talk) 15:25, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

It makes sense for atheism to be associated with liberal ideas. In the US, at least, the Republican Party openly promotes bigotry against minorities of all stripes, including atheists. And if you take the dictionary definition of conservative (as opposed to the political party definition), it's goals are preserving the status quo and tradition. Religious institutions are part of tradition. Leftist ideologies like socialism, anarchism, etc. are opposed to centralized power as well. People with anti-authoritarian personalities probably don't like the idea of being the subject of divine power any more than political power. Some people say they're comforted by the fact that god is always watching over them. That sounds like some kind of cosmic CIA to me -- freaky.Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:05, 2 February 2011 (UTC)


Might I suggest that this thread be preserved somewhere other than Saloon Bar archive (essay space?). It's good & interesting & shows a lot of what RW is about. 09:41, 28 January 2011 (UTC) SusanG Toast

I agree. Maybe a RationalWiki:How I came to atheism page, where people could add a couple of paragraphs? DalekEXTERMINATE 10:04, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd concur with that. Paraphrasing, expanding or consolidating peoples contributions from the above would make for a good article (and putting this entire section in the forum space too). Scarlet A.pngd hominem 10:57, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
That would be a great idea. People here have such fascinating stories. (Much better than mine - just kind of realized it one day.) Blue (is useful) 00:48, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
So... Forum or article? Тиранесcomplaints 15:17, 31 January 2011 (UTC)