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User talk:Ajkgordon

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Erm... what's the template called... uh...

New logo large.png Welcome to RationalWiki, Ajkgordon!

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Yes, that's the one! Hi, if I recall correctly, we ran into each other on WP a while ago. Hope you stay around! :) --Sid 13:38, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

Hello and welcome.--Bob's your uncle 13:43, 10 October 2007 (EDT)

Welcome to RW. Oh BTW, I suspect that TK's mysterious comments on your CP talk page about your initials mean that he thinks you are actually me pretending to be you. If that's the case, consider yourself a member of a very select group of people. :D --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 15:06, 10 October 2007 (EDT)


Rob unblocked you! Canned rats! Quite a delay in the unblocking for some time. Selective forgetfulness? NorsemanWassail! 20:15, 7 December 2007 (EST)

Yeah, I asked him to unblock me due to a misunderstanding he had of something I posted here. Took a bit of persuading but reason prevailed. Because I post a little bit on RW, he was (understandably) suspicious! Ajkgordon 14:35, 8 December 2007 (EST)

Mc Cain[edit]

Really? Don't mean to pry, but am sorta curious... MarcusCicero 12:26, 29 March 2008 (EDT)

Curious about what? Why would I, if I was an American citizen, vote for McCain?
I'm unsure really. If I had to vote right now, my gut would take the safe option and put my cross next to his name. But I'm afraid it would be a negative vote. It's more to do with my aversion to the other two candidates. Clinton is a vote for the past - lots of good things on paper but in reality probably more talk than action - and suspicion over her integrity is too much for me. Obama just doesn't have the experience and his lack of international "wordliness" - his declaration that he would never use nuclear weapons, for example - is too risky in this current environment.
McCain seems to have the only clarity of thought necessary for the presidency at this crucial time. I don't agree with a lot of his stuff but at least he takes the most fundamental challenges seriously. He has a clear idea of the most pressing issues, doesn't appear dogged by ideology, and is susceptible to persuasion by the opposition.
But, at the end of the day, I know as little about it as most other people. My opinions are formed based on what little information is afforded me by the media and their motives and the manipulation of that information by the candidates themselves. The level of debate is puerile and insubstantial and has all the hallmarks of fiddling while Rome burns, as well as highlighting the egotism of politicians generally and the self-interested obsession with ratings by the media.
While I'm not especially pessimistic for the future, I do feel that we, as the human race, are at a bottleneck. To survive bottlenecks, we need either steady hands or positive radicalism. The only trait I can identify in the three candidates is the former in McCain. Ajkgordon 14:35, 29 March 2008 (EDT)

Thanks for your answer MarcusCicero 06:13, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

If you could tell me what I meant, could you let me know? Ajkgordon 08:15, 2 April 2008 (EDT)
Think it boils down to: "Best of a bad lot":) SusanG 08:24, 2 April 2008 (EDT)

Your marrying Andy[edit]

I've no idea why I typed that. Oh well, it made me giggle. Sorry for any inconvenience or gagging it may have caused Exasperate me!Sheesh!Not the most impressive contributor here 17:04, 21 July 2008 (EDT)

So now I can't seem to stop referencing your fictional impending nuptials. It is like some sort of nervous tick. I think I might be delirious from the heat. Exasperate me!Sheesh!Not the most impressive contributor here 18:58, 21 July 2008 (EDT)
I can't help it. It's the voice. Ajkgordon 03:52, 22 July 2008 (EDT)

Urgent message![edit]

Are your parents behaving in an odd manner? Do you find them going to a house of worship on Saturday instead of Sunday? Do they light a strange little candelabra every December instead of decorating a Christmas tree? Your parents may be guilty of a Jew Crime! Here is what you should do. Download the ‘Jew Crime’ cards and use them to search your home to make sure that none are happening under your own roof! Then build your ‘Jew Crime Case File’ and report back to your family to make sure they don’t commit those crimes again (or else)! You may need to keep a watchful eye over them by revisiting the case every week or two to make sure they don’t slip back into any of their old habits. Good luck and Godspeed. DickTurpis 11:01, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

HAHAHAHA! Ajkgordon 11:58, 29 July 2008 (EDT)

Why you not sysop?[edit]

Do you want to be one? It is just you have been here along time and you might have a good reason not to be one. - User 04:19, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

I'm not sure I know what being a sysop entails. I'm not very wiki-literate and I'm only marginally active on here. Are you inviting me to be one or asking for reasons why I shouldn't be? Ajkgordon 04:23, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Don't know what it entails, don't know how to work a wiki and are only marginally interested in the project, your perfect. You now Sysop. - User 04:30, 7 October 2008 (EDT)
Thanks! I think? Ajkgordon 04:37, 7 October 2008 (EDT)

You have a confusing name[edit]

Try not to post directly below AjKeldjsen - nearly did my head in trying to work out who was who! MarcusCicero 06:13, 24 November 2008 (EST)

I'll change it by deed poll immediately. Ajkgordon 07:16, 24 November 2008 (EST)


Well, since you ask - and I don't want to comment any more on that page - the unpleasant and irrational behaviour of SuspectedReplicant and NuttyRoux tire me. I do have some arguments, I have lots of versions of them written down in places, I'm not sure I could point to one which best expresses it all. But there are some basic first steps:

  1. There is no rational justification for rejecting objective ethics, yet accepting objective truth or objective rationality.
  2. Every argument which can be deployed against objective ethics can be deployed equally well against objectivity of truth or rationality; and many of the defences which are deployed to defend the objectivity of truth or rationality
  3. Belief is a type of behaviour (a tendency to perform internal mental or externally observable acts which assert a proposition)
  4. Both ethics and rationality are deeply similar, in that they both seek to value behaviours positively or negatively, commanding some and prohibiting others - just rationality seeks to do so for beliefs, ethics for action more generally
  5. Thus rationality can be seen as a subdivision of ethics; and it is rational to use ethical considerations to decide what to believe
  6. This is my definition of faith - using ethical considerations to choose what to believe (not just mine, it is similar to that of the Christian philosopher Robert Adams, e.g. in his book The Virtue of Faith) - and the argument above is an attempt to demonstrate the rationality of faith
  7. Idealism is just as reasonable a position in philosophy of mind as materialism.
  8. We don't have any clear evidence that one is more likely than the other, so we should treat them as equally likely possibilities to begin with
  9. Once we have a detailed understanding of the idealist position, we have good reasons - in terms of faith, pragmatism, ethics, aesthetics and intuitions - to prefer idealism over materialism
  10. Next, is to argue that the essence of the soul is one of being incapable of being created or destroyed, beginning or ending, but capable of merger or division
  11. Also, is to argue that the nature of the soul is of finitude
  12. From the beginninglessness/endlessness of the soul, combined with its finitude, and from idealism, we can conclude that time must be circular (as in Nietzsche's doctrine of eternal recurrence)
  13. Since from the above, all souls cycle, they must cycle either individually, in groups, or all through a single unity.
  14. By faith, the third option is to be believed - which is Maratrea.

Now, its a complicated argument, and the above really only scratches the surface of it. But that is the broad outline of it. I think, its better starting at the top, and worrying about that first, then worrying about whether you agree with the statements near the bottom - if you don't agree with the basic premises, then arguing about the later points of development is rather irrelevant. --(((Zack Martin))) 12:58, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but I asked for evidence of your beliefs, not just your beliefs. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:03, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
I am trying to sketch a philosophical argument for my beliefs. Tell me, what do you consider "evidence"? What standards do you use to evaluate what is or is not evidence? --(((Zack Martin))) 13:05, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
How about predictable and repeatable observation? That would be a good starting point. Ajkgordon (talk) 13:13, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
Right, you've identified - in very broad and vague terms - a standard of rationality, a definition of what counts as valid evidence for a viewpoint and what does not. Now tell me, if someone disagrees with your standard of rationality, how can that disagreement be resolved? Maybe they don't agree that predictable and repeatable observation is good evidence; maybe they agree it is good evidence, but not the only type of good evidence; maybe they agree at the high level with you on this, but then end up disagreeing about the precise definition of predictable and repeatable observation, or disagreeing about whether that label applies to a particular case. How can such a disagreement be resolved? How do we determine which is the correct standard of rationality? --(((Zack Martin))) 06:37, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Instead of asking yet more questions perhaps you would like to answer mine. I'll repeat it. Do you have any evidence for your beliefs? Let's take an easy one. You say (I forget where exactly) that you don't believe that the universe is billions of years old. You believe it more likely that it is between a few thousand and a million years old. What observations and research led to the evidence that supports this belief? Ajkgordon (talk) 07:56, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I can't offer what you would consider evidence, because I am sure that you and me differ on what actually counts as evidence and what does not. That is why I want to discuss - if people disagree about what is valid evidence, is there any way to resolve that disagreement? How can one decide which criterion of validity for evidence is correct? --(((Zack Martin))) 07:59, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
It's really not that difficult. Either you have evidence or you don't. If the former, present it. If the latter, you're simply bullshitting. Ajkgordon (talk) 08:18, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Nice job taking on this task, AjkG. ħumanUser talk:Human 10:07, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Somebody had to. Ajkgordon (talk) 14:00, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Why don't we put the question of evidence for my beliefs, or my own beliefs in general, to the side for one minute, and address a very important question - what actually is rationality? what actually is evidence? how does one even begin to go about determining what is the correct answer to those questions?
For a wiki which prides itself on its supposed rationality, there seems to be very little interest here in exploring the question of what rationality actually is. Maybe because, if that question was explored, people might discover that they have built their house on shaky foundations? This place seems founded on the assumption that there is one single correct standard of what is rational - without ever actually precisely exploring what that standard is, or considering the issue that maybe there are other competing standards of rationality, and that to be truly rational, one must not merely adhere to one's own standard, but acknowledge the existence of competitors and seek to justify one's own standard as better than theirs.
Let me propose the following definition of evidence: A is evidence for B if and only if it is true that if one is rationally justified in believing in A, then one is also rationally justified in believing in B. Do you agree or disagree with that definition? Because, I think it is clear, that if that is the correct definition of evidence, then evidence is actually defined in terms of rational justification for belief, and thus until we can agree on what constitutes rational justification for belief, we can't agree on what evidence is. (And we can't define rational justification for belief in terms of evidence, since to do so would be circular.)
What do you think? --(((Zack Martin))) 10:34, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I think you should present your evidence as requested way up there. Use the really simple one about the age of the universe. Ajkgordon (talk) 10:49, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
The claim that the universe is X billion years old only has any evidence if you adopt materialist assumptions. If you adopt idealist assumptions instead, then it doesn't have much evidence for it, and has a fair amount of evidence against. Both approaches are starting from the same observations, but different assumptions yield very different conclusions from those observations. What is the evidence for my idealist assumptions? I can't provide any, but you can't provide any for your materialist assumptions either. Which is a stalemate - but hey, I'm happy to have a stalemate acknowledged, rather than people who try to insist one isn't there. --(((Zack Martin))) 10:57, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
And your observations are? Ajkgordon (talk) 11:00, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I believe they are the same as yours. --(((Zack Martin))) 11:11, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Which are? Ajkgordon (talk) 11:14, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
speed of light, cosmic background radiation, redshift, parallax, radioactive decay, all of that...
I agree with all the astronomical/geological/whatnot observations, etc., which lead you to believe the earth is X billion years old and the universe as a whole is Y billion years old
However, you can only reach those conclusions from that evidence due to your materialist assumptions
I have very diferent assumptions, idealist ones instead, so I reach very different conclusions from the same assumptions
We don't disagree about the raw scientific evidence, we simply disagree about the metaphysical assumptions to use when drawing conclusions from that evidence --(((Zack Martin))) 11:20, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
This is material evidence therefore the only conclusions to draw are necessarily materialist. Science, fundamentally, is simple. In fact it insists on simplicity if simplicity works. Adding in "metaphysical" subjectivity is a nonsense and should be rejected as firmly as any other philosophy that doesn't help explain observations made of the universe.
And that, I'm afraid, is what I'm going to do with yours. I see no value in adding layers of subjective wishful thinking to straightforward observations that can be measured and repeated and explained by testable hypotheses and theories.
But thanks anyway. Ajkgordon (talk) 12:03, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
This is material evidence therefore the only conclusions to draw are necessarily materialist. You betray your materialist assumptions by that statement. And, I can't say your assumptions are wrong, just it would be better if you realized that they are as arbitrary as the alternative. I would suggest you read up on George Berkeley for a deeper understanding of the materialism-vs-idealism debate. Good places to start are Wikipedia and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. --(((Zack Martin))) 12:06, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Ah, immaterialism. The thing is, is it useful? No, of course it isn't. Thus I refute it.
Thanks for your time. Ajkgordon (talk) 12:22, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
Immaterialism and materialism - each of them is just as useless as the other. --(((Zack Martin))) 12:28, 20 April 2011 (UTC)
I'll say one thing for you - you don't give up. But you should. It's utter nonsense and I have no more time for it. Ajkgordon (talk) 12:35, 20 April 2011 (UTC)


You recently wrote "I'm a British Anglican and I call Him God.". Should I take that to mean that you're are a believing Anglican? Or do you just mean you are of an Anglican background? --(((Zack Martin))) 11:17, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Agnostic Christian, cultural Anglican, I suppose. Does it make any difference? Ajkgordon (talk) 12:01, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, you know, you refer to my views as "frankly, bizarre adherence to some fantasy reality where anything that's believed in exists (or similar unsupported drivel)". A lot of editors here would have similar feelings about Christianity. --(((Zack Martin))) 12:05, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. But history and legacy are very powerful. Ajkgordon (talk) 12:50, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, quite right. But is the power of history and legacy rational? --(((Zack Martin))) 19:15, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Power doesn't have to be rational. It just is.
I'm not claiming it's a rational argument for belief in Christianity. Only that it's a readily accepted one, e.g. most Christians' parents are Christians. Ajkgordon (talk) 19:27, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Let me put it this way: suppose you are entirely right about my beliefs. Doesn't the same description apply equally well to Anglicanism, or Christianity, or Hinduism, or Islam, or whatnot? But would you say the same about them? A lot of people seem to be willing to reject certain group's beliefs as wacky, bizarre, crazy, etc., yet other beliefs which may be from an objective viewpoint just as wacky, bizarre, crazy, they'll respect, simply because those other beliefs come from old, big groups rather than new small ones. Is that what you are doing? Is it rational to do that? --(((Zack Martin))) 09:05, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Actually no. I reject your beliefs based on your adherence to immaterialism. And I am not saying anything about old religions either. Only that most people accept them, initially at least, because of their legacy. Muslim children have Muslim parents, etc. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:19, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
To me, it's not about your rejection of my beliefs - you are free to accept or reject any beliefs you want. It's when you call my beliefs bizarre and drivel. If that is true of me, isn't it true of a lot of other beliefs as well? To be consistent, wouldn't you have to extend the same description to older, more established religions? You can talk about my immaterialism, well many older/established religions believe that matter is an illusion - e.g. many forms of Hinduism, claim that material reality is a delusion, and mind/God is the only thing that really exists. --(((Zack Martin))) 09:31, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Why should I? (And may be I do.) Why should your new religion be so precious that it cannot be ridiculed unless other religions are ridiculed to the same standards?
Look, if you have something to say about my comments I made on other pages, please respond to them there instead of spamming my talk page. I'm not trying to be unfriendly but I'm really not a good target for this sort of thing. It would be better to have a more open discussion where everyone can see it. Who knows, you might get some backers. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:40, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, it wasn't really on-topic for the original discussion. (In fact, it's stupid, but people will start attacking my religious beliefs in the midst of an unrelated discussion, like you did... and then other editors will complain if I try to defend myself, saying I'm spamming.) And I thought it funny, coming from someone who called themselves an Anglican, when a lot of people would say the exact same thing about Anglicanism. But fine, I'll leave at this, just suggest that there is something unreasonable about launching any attack on my religious beliefs (into an unrelated conversation), and then not wanting to engage in a discussion of whether the attack is warranted. --(((Zack Martin))) 09:45, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
No, that's true, it is unreasonable. There is also a certain amount of ad hom about it. I'm not sure I'm apologising - rather simply admitting that you have a valid point. Ajkgordon (talk) 09:56, 9 May 2011 (UTC)


I'm home! Check yo' email... DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 16:58, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Hey, need your help for something[edit]

When my great-grandmother died, my mother told me what she died of and had to explain to me what it was. Only it wasn't a disease or anything. What I heard from her at the time was "mort de tusure." She defined it to me as giving up on the will to live (my great-grandmother was in her 90's and had just lost a good part of her leg due to a blood clot, and had previously expressed the desire to die). I've since been curious as to that particular word I heard, "tusure," and after a google search I've come up with nothing. I was young, though, and I'm thinking that the near-homophone "d'usure" may be it. I've only come across a single instance of "mort d'usure" and I was wondering if you could confirm the definition for me and maybe explain it a little. And I'm not speaking to my mother BTW, otherwise I'd ask her. Thanks--User:Brxbrx/sig 20:41, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

I see that you're still active. Can you lend me a hand? Much appreciated--User:Brxbrx/sig 18:43, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, forgot about this. Sounds like it was probably "mort d'usure". The direct translation would be "died from being worn out" and the closet English expression would probably be "died of old age". You might say, "Oh, he'd had a hard life, he was worn out, and simply died of old age." Ajkgordon (talk) 18:56, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks--User:Brxbrx/sig 19:32, 19 January 2012 (UTC)


GoatsforSterile.svg sterileGoatsforSterile.svgno new information 05:37, 19 June 2012 (UTC)


...nearly two years is a long time to go without that big annoying orange banner. Also, I like what you said in WIGOCP about science and the beauty of God's creation. Yeah. TeenageWasteland (talk) 14:24, 22 March 2014 (UTC)