Okay, here goes.
Hi RationalWikians, even though I made a small number of edits previously and anonymously, I was animated to actually join the wiki through the interesting discussion here. As becomes obvious there, I self-identify as a socialist because I remain unconvinced that blindly relying on the invisible hand of the market is generally as good an idea as most people seem to think at the moment. Notabene, that does not mean that I would claim to have the ultimate, perfect solution to end poverty, economic crises and environmental destruction here in my head, and I would be deeply skeptical of anybody making such a claim. It merely seems to me that the opposite idea of subjecting everything to cost-benefit calculations and profiteering is just as primitive and empirically irreconcilable with human nature as a command economy.
More importantly, I am a plant scientist, second generation atheist, a fan of the works of Shakespeare and Marlowe, and a friend of Mediterranean food; also a male, and a German citizen. I very much enjoy debates and discussions, even if they get snarky or heated, because I like to test arguments and ideas, they keep me on my toes, and hopefully they help to increase my empathy for those with a different perspective. (I even try to understand the worldview of believers, but have failed so far.) I enjoy the WIGO pages, but am interested in contributing especially to the science angle of RationalWiki. Unfortunately, I currently have to rationalize my time due to novel parental responsibilities.
This user is much too lazy to put fancy boxes and images on his user page. Pity. But at least here are...
Some nice quotations for your enjoyment
Asserting that science and faith are merely different ways of finding “truth” debases our very notion of what “truth” is.
The failure of science to answer questions about first and last things does not in any way entail the acceptability of answers of other kinds; nor can it be taken for granted that because these questions can be put they can be answered. So far as our understanding goes, they can not.
Sir Peter Medawar
I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.
Stephen H. Roberts
The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people — and this is true whether or not they are well-educated — is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations — in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.
Neil Stephenson, "Diamond Age"
In my entire life I’ve never met a drug dealer who would even think about trying half the shit that banks like Goldman Sachs and Citibank pulled during these years. Well, that’s not true — okay, I did once try to buy weed from a guy I didn’t know in Washington Square, and got ripped off. I was young and stupid. The guy sold me a bag of oregano and immediately, I mean immediately, took off running and disappeared down 8th street. Guys like that usually have a life expectancy of about ten minutes, because eventually they pick someone who isn’t some lily-livered white college student to sell oregano to and they get their heads beat in with lead pipes. That’s what happens in the actual world. In the world of high finance, what happens when they catch you pulling that kind of stunt is they give you fifty billion taxpayer dollars.
Economics is not quite a pseudoscience, but its ability to make reliable predictions is so abysmal that one wonders why we bother seeking the advice of economists over that of astrologers.
An imbalance between the rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.
I can subscribe to a philosophy that demands that the fruits of those who produce should belong to those who produce. The diggers, the smelters, the planters and reapers, the craftspeople and the teachers, the nurses and phone repairers. Sign me up any time Ayn. Oh. Not what she thought then. How interesting that she can hate the worker but so love the products.
"Deep Dark", commenter on DailyKos
When I give food to the poor they call me a Saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.
Dom Helder Camara
Bribery is legal in this country — we call it campaign finance.
I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.
John Stuart Mill
It is all very nice to come up with complex analyses of what is going on. As is often the case, the real answer is quite simple: Most people can't think very well.
Nothing says "I have a tiny penis" like a douchebag taking pictures of himself with a gun.
Allan Uthman, Ian Murphy, Paul Jones & Tyler Bass
When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.
A blow to the head will confuse a man's thinking, a blow to the foot has no such effect; this cannot be the result of an immaterial soul.
A reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20: Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals… Now did the Lord say, "First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.
Monty Python's Flying Circus