Pharyngula

I’d wear that on a t-shirt

Simple, clean, direct, forceful:

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Comments

  1. #1 danley
    January 21, 2008

    Priceless.

  2. #2 No One of Consequence
    January 21, 2008

    As if by supernatural powers, somehow when I read the comic at XKCD this morning I knew I would find it here.

  3. #3 Sparky
    January 21, 2008

    The scary part about these people is that they ABSOLUTELY believe it.
    In college I roomed with a guy who claimed that he and his family hunted daemons. He’d get called away on weekends occasionally he’d get called away for an emergency de-daemoning. (I never asked too much about the specifics because it was hard enough to keep from laughing the entire time.)
    Yet he was absolutely resolute in his ‘faith’. 100% convinced this was real and he was always seeking an excuse to go hunt his next daemon.

  4. #4 Moggie
    January 21, 2008

    Sparky, I played D&D in college too.

  5. #5 vjack
    January 21, 2008

    Yep, that would be great on a t-shirt. I’d wear it too.

  6. #6 Matt Heath
    January 21, 2008

    If a few people write to Randall Munroe he’ll probably make a T-shirt. He has with others. Or you could take advantage of Creative Commons and make your own.

  7. #7 maxi
    January 21, 2008

    There needs to be a third column labelled: Morons who still believe it anyway. Then it would be really true.

    Ah, nothing like the “But we don’t really *know*” argument!

  8. #8 Blaise Pascal
    January 21, 2008

    I’m not sure I believe it. Isn’t it more accurate to say that no controlled experiment to date has been able to eliminate the null hypothesis (that the supposed supernatural power has a mundane explanation)? And there are plenty of sloppy, poorly controlled experiments which have confirmed supernatural powers.

  9. #9 petrilli
    January 21, 2008

    I have to admit, I always wear an XKCD t-shirt to anti-stupidity events. I prefer the “Science. It works, bitches”. Subtlety is rarely my strong point.

  10. #10 Ed Darrell
    January 21, 2008

    Can we get a Texas version that limits it to creationism? We need a surgical strike on the State Board of Education right now. All other efforts to get the demons out of the SBOE have proven not wholly effective.

  11. #11 Sergeant Zim
    January 21, 2008

    Maxi, (#7) maybe it’s just the times in which we live, but I read your suggestion as “MORMONS” who still believe it anyway. Sheepish grin when I re-read your post, then I wondered if the one is more or less just a subset of the other…

  12. #12 Tony Popple
    January 21, 2008

    Sometimes strange ideas jump the barrier and are found to be real. Of course, they stop being “supernatural” at that point and become part of science.

    Unfortunately, the “Aluminum-foil-hat” crowd has a way of transferring validity from one area to another. If one idea is found to be true, it is seen as support for every goofy belief they ever held.

    If a supplement is proven to help headaches, it will be touted as cure for everything from cancer to the common cold.

  13. #13 notthedroids
    January 21, 2008

    The one I’ve seen cited most often is Byrd:
    [url]http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/smj1.html[/url]
    which shows that the rate of a “bad” severity score among coronary patients was roughly 8% higher among un-prayed-for controls.

    Wow.

  14. #14 jimvj
    January 21, 2008

    Re #7:
    It’s the “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” argument!

    Works every time; but adherents of any one superstition think it should be applicable only to their’s.

  15. #15 maxi
    January 21, 2008

    Sergeant Zim @11, I read it as Mormons too when it appeared on the thread. Had to look at it again to make sure I hadn’t commited a typo (not that anyone would have noticed!).

    jimvj @14, You’ve put it perfectly. I lived with a woman last year who knew of a lady that could tell you what was wrong with your horse if you sent her a piece of its tail hair. Not physically wrong, but any psychological problems it was having. It didn’t take me long to shoot it down but her response was, “Well it must work if she’s getting it right.” Ummm yeah… because it’s not like all domesticated horses have similar behavioural problems!

  16. #16 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Good Morning

    Im just curious, what if you have a sense of something “supernatural”. Like the feeling that there is something evil around you. Yet there is no way to “verify” your sense. Does that mean it does not exist? I would like to use my radio example. I hear music coming from my radio but I have no clue how it happens. I dont understand the “science” behind it. Does that mean it does not exist. I think not.

  17. #17 Wandapec
    January 21, 2008

    Simple, clean, direct, forceful:

    … And true?

  18. #18 Les Lane
    January 21, 2008

    Suggetion:

    Label the vertical axis “log n”

  19. #19 fuzzyblue
    January 21, 2008

    maxi, if only you could have somehow procured a piece of tail hair from a dead horse to provide her for her “diagnosis.” I’d love to know what she determined was wrong with that animal.

  20. #20 Anon
    January 21, 2008

    John T.

    There is a word for that. Not “paranormal”, but “ignorance”. You don’t know how your radio works, but others actually do, and could show it to you. If they claimed it worked via psychic energy, the burden of proof would be on them, because we do have a more mundane explanation. As for your “feeling”… try this: keep a chart on your wall, of all the times you feel this way. Note when the feeling is or is not followed (within a standard unit of time) by a bad event. If your feeling goes the way all (every single one) of my students who have described the same thing, you will see that it is not predictive. It is… a feeling. Nothing more.

  21. #21 JVC
    January 21, 2008

    Shame the Y-axis is not labeled.

  22. #22 Olaf Davis
    January 21, 2008

    John T @ #16: “Im just curious, what if you have a sense of something “supernatural”. Like the feeling that there is something evil around you. Yet there is no way to “verify” your sense. Does that mean it does not exist? I would like to use my radio example. I hear music coming from my radio but I have no clue how it happens. I dont understand the “science” behind it. Does that mean it does not exist. I think not.”

    Good question. Here are a few answers:

    First off, the trouble is that humans have a well-observed habit of feeling very strongly that something is present, or about to happen, when it isn’t. Very often I have strong ‘premonitions’ that today’s going to be a bad day, or a particular person is going to ring me or is in trouble – and they very often turn out to be false. Of course sometimes the answer is unverifiable: if I feel there is an evil presence in the room no-one can prove there isn’t, can they? But I have to think about it rationally and say “well, I often have these feelings which turn out to be false, so in this case where I can’t prove it one way or the other I’m inclined to doubt my feeling until other evidence shows up.”

    As for the radio example, there are several answers to that. The first is the question of repeatability: feelings of presences or premonitions of events can come and go, and it’s hard to say for certain that they weren’t caused by half-remembering the dream I had last night, an upset stomach, my tired mind playing tricks on me, or one of many other factors which affect human thoughts. Music from the radio, on the other hand, is far less ephemeral: if I turn the radio on and tune it so, I will always get reception. The radio never starts playing by itself, never fails to play when I operate it correctly (or if it does it does so rarely, and there turns out to be some mechanical fault), and doesn’t change station of its own whim. These things mean that I can build up a body of observations, and say with great confidence that my turning the knobs is what causes the music to come. With premonitions and feelings there are too many possible factors and not enough data to be sure.

    Also, although you or I may not understand the science well enough to explain the radio’s behavior in detail, there are people who do. It’s a shame that we have to defer to experts on things like this – it would be nice to see how everything works oneself – but the field of human knowledge is just too broad for that. Sometimes we have to be content knowing that someone understands how it works, and, most importantly, that there is a system in place for checking that person is right. Physicists who study radio waves and the properties of electrical components publish their results publicly and have them reviewed by their peers: so, we trust that if they were wrong or lying it would be picked up on by the system of scientific peer review. Thus it’s not just a case of saying “well, some guy in a white coat probably knows how it works”; the knowledge is public and is constantly subjected to review and testing.

    Does that make sense?

  23. #23 Mold
    January 21, 2008

    I would also like to add that radio transmission is measurable and reproducible.

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    January 21, 2008

    First thing in the morning, certain vision issues, glasses dirty, whatever, can’t distinguish closely spaced vertical lines…..

    So I saw this and said “Clams with super natural powers … why is that funny?”

  25. #25 Hank Fox
    January 21, 2008

    Re: radio transmission is measurable and reproducible

    For a lot of us, every time we put something in the microwave and set the timer, we’re doing just that.

    Just curious about the general attitude:

    Would it be a good thing, or a bad thing, if “psychics” and palm readers were made illegal?

  26. #26 monyNH
    January 21, 2008

    I would be curious if anyone here differentiates between supernatural and paranormal. I trouble over the question myself because, while I am convinced there is no afterlife or alternate plane of existence, I find it hard to dismiss every claim out there of “ghostly” or paranormal experiences. I imagine there is much out in nature and within the human brain that we haven’t met up with yet, but at what point do we say something may, possibly, be more than just bunk? Please keep in mind that I’m not a scientist, but to take UFOs for example–they are (most likely) not alien ships, but does it stand to reason that they aren’t more than mere airplanes?

  27. #27 Hugo
    January 21, 2008

    Another suggestions: break the natural claims column and add an inset with the Y-scale numbered 0, 1, 2, … We can be pretty accurate with the number of supernatural claims demonstrated.

  28. #28 Mold
    January 21, 2008

    Since psychics and palm readers are really good observers of humans and are pretty decent armchair psychologists, I’d have to say no. Besides, illegal does not mean gone—ref drugs.

  29. #29 Hugo
    January 21, 2008

    I mean, break the column of refuted claims.

  30. #30 One Eyed Jack
    January 21, 2008

    In response to monyNH # 26:

    “take UFOs for example–they are (most likely) not alien ships, but does it stand to reason that they aren’t more than mere airplanes?”

    When discussing this topic I always come to two simple points. 1) Why would an alien race travel from distant stars and not make their presence known to us? If we assume for some reason they do not wish to be known, then 2) Any alien race possessing technology that could cross the vast distances of interstellar space should be capable of keeping their presence hidden.

    However, I agree that these “sightings” are UFOs. That is to say they are Unidentified, Flying, and Objects, but not of alien origin. They are much more likely hallucinations, optical illusions, artifacts, misunderstood natural events, man made objects, or outright hoaxes. And if they aren’t alien in nature, then UFOs quickly lose their mystique and become rather mundane.

    Finally, an often overlooked fact about UFO sightings is that they never occurred until the advent of science fiction literature. It was after science fiction popularized the image of a flying saucer that sightings became common. So, it becomes a chicken and egg issue. Were they always there, but people didn’t understand what they were seeing, or are the sightings an outgrowth of the introduction of science fiction into modern culture?

    My money is on the latter.

    -OEJ

  31. #31 Dianne
    January 21, 2008

    I want to know the scale on the Y-axis. Has one claim been refuted? 10? 100? 1000? Perhaps a log scale would be best.

    A clam with supernatural powers, on the other hand, would be highly amusing if demonstrated or even if the clam were examined and refuted.

  32. #32 j.t.delaney
    January 21, 2008

    I would suggest that, in practical terms, trying to distinguish “paranormal” and “supernatural” is to make a distinction without a difference. Certainly there are plenty of thrilling, unexplained phenomena in this world waiting to be discovered that will make us rethink our world, and maybe even some things we may never understand. However, Sasquatch, Bat Boy, and the Bermuda Triangle… well, those belong in a different category altogether. ;)

  33. #33 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    A clam with supernatural powers, on the other hand, would be highly amusing if demonstrated or even if the clam were examined and refuted

    If it had the right kind of supernatural powers, a never ending supply of clam chowder awaits you. That’s eternal bliss.

  34. #34 dogmeatib
    January 21, 2008

    However, I agree that these “sightings” are UFOs. That is to say they are Unidentified, Flying, and Objects, but not of alien origin. They are much more likely hallucinations, optical illusions, artifacts, misunderstood natural events, man made objects, or outright hoaxes. And if they aren’t alien in nature, then UFOs quickly lose their mystique and become rather mundane.

    Or it could be, as Douglas Adams suggests, kids having fun with the locals. ;o)

  35. #35 Arnaud
    January 21, 2008

    But PZ, you can’t deny your blogging Nemesis has superpowers!

    (Very cool ones at that, even if totally useless!)

  36. #36 JimC
    January 21, 2008

    #16 Wow, I hate to say it but your analogy is really, really bad. Are people this clueless?

  37. #37 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    I would also like to add that radio transmission is measurable and reproducible.

    So is evil. There’s still a Mussolini in Italian politics, and the Bushes continue to breed here.

    Well, reproducible at least.

  38. #38 Robert S.
    January 21, 2008

    Guys – the y axis is obviously % from 0-100 with refuted claims at 100. ;)

    *Great* cartoon, too.

  39. #39 Charles Barnard
    January 21, 2008

    The real problem is that both the ID people and you folks misuse the word ‘science.’

    It’s not a ‘thing.’ It’s a process used to confirm ideas about how things work.

    I’ve been a witch for quite a while now, but I take it just about a seriously as I did when I was a Methodist.

    Any religion with dancing naked women is fine with me.

    However, my ex was attempting to do ‘scientific’ witchcraft, by actually recording what was done, and what the result was. Unfortunately there were no clear results.

    That said, I have seen and experienced some very interesting things which I couldn’t find an explanation for, and some that I did find an explanation for.

    An example of the first is that I have worked with people who’s computers seemed to be constantly in need of cleaning & repair, who eventually told me that they thought their place might be haunted. In each case, a quick exorcism, “You’re dead. Get on with it.” Seemed to end the problems. Do I know why? No. Do I care? Well, a bit, but I’m oriented to engineering, and engineering doesn’t care as much _why_ something works, just so long as it does. Will exorcism fix your computer? I don’t know, perhaps, it takes little to try, and costs nothing if it fails.

    There are far more cases of the second type, my favorite is the evening we were out walking and saw a ring of fire on the ground under some trees in the park a about a block away. The ring was on the close order of 25′ in diameter and appeared to be a perfect circle. By the time we got to the circle, the flames were gone. upon closer examination I found that the ring smelled slightly of smoke, and that outside the ring the ground was covered with cottonwood seeds.

    A quick experiment with my lighter found that you could indeed get a perfect circle of fire in the cottonwood seek fluff when their was no wind.

    The only mystery is who started the fire? No one ever came forward, but I’m pretty certain that it wasn’t God…

    re #30
    “Finally, an often overlooked fact about UFO sightings is that they never occurred until the advent of science fiction literature. It was after science fiction popularized the image of a flying saucer that sightings became common.”

    First of alll, UFO sightings have been reported for many cneturies, although the ‘saucer-shape’ became much more common after the 1920’s–given that most recorded photos of UFO’s are kinda shapeless blobs, anyone observing should be likely to see what they expect to see.

    Second, there are many reasons which could be given as to why aliens might come all this way and not wish to be seen. And those are just OUR reasons: true aliens will have their own reasons.

    Best is that interstellar flight capability automatically translates as “powerful enough to destroy us.” Not a good thing to just drop on someone.

    As far as spooks and strange feeling in the air, ultra-sound can do really marvelous things to your mind….

  40. #40 Kesh
    January 21, 2008

    The only mystery is who started the fire?

    I’ll take “Random idiot who tossed their cigarette away” for $100, Alex!

  41. #41 HP
    January 21, 2008

    I think the better analogy is not to broadcast radio, but to radar. Radar is a very low-resolution sensory-processing system, and there’s a lot of noise out there. Occasionally, some of that noise shows up as an artifact in your signal processing, and you get false positives. For example, if you look at a satellite weather map, you’ll see areas with well-defined fronts and storms centers, but there will be a small number of little lit-up pixels randomly scattered across the map. Some of them might be highly localized weather phenomena, but for the most part it’s just noise in the signal.

    Human beings have a fairly high-resolution sensory-processing system, but occasional meaningless noise does get through as artifacts. When that happens, the conscious brain tries to interpret these artifacts in light of personal and cultural experience. That’s why periods of random neural activity — neural noise — during sleep are remembered the next day as stories and images.

    Sometimes there is random noise actually in the environment that shows up as a bogey on the radar screen of consciousness. We try to process this noise as though it were a signal (like we do with dreams), and we describe it as presences, ghosts, demons, UFOs, Sasquatch, etc.

    My point is that the experience of these kinds of presences is very, very real to the person having the experience. There is no outside observer to verify the signal while it’s happening. I like to put it this way: There’s no such thing as ghosts, but hauntings are real.

    I think rationalists and skeptics don’t do themselves any favors by insulting people who’ve had experiences they cannot explain.

  42. #42 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    Im just curious, what if you have a sense of something “supernatural”. Like the feeling that there is something evil around you. Yet there is no way to “verify” your sense. Does that mean it does not exist? I would like to use my radio example. I hear music coming from my radio but I have no clue how it happens. I dont understand the “science” behind it. Does that mean it does not exist. I think not.

    Don’t you mean you’re just stupid? That’s got to be one of the world’s worst analogies. We can verify that there is music coming out of your radio, just by listening to it, or watching the speaker vibrating, or any number of other ways — your understanding of the science is irrelevant. OTOH, while we can verify that there is evil around you for various definitions of evil (e.g., you’re probably surrounded by Christians and other foul creatures), there’s nothing “supernatural” about that.

    Beyond that, “does that mean it doesn’t exist” misses a fundamental point — the burden isn’t on us to show that something exists, the burden is on you to show that it does. Your question is the question of idiots; the answer is always “no, it doesn’t mean that, but the question is irrelevant and you’re a cretin for asking”.

  43. #43 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Thanks to Olaf and Anon

    I understand you two completely when I use my rational mind. Unfortunately as a human I have another aspect to my brain that no one can completely tell me how it works. I truly believe that the world has an aspect that leaves us with mystery. We will not be able to verify or rationalize it while we exist in this temporal form. Whether we will at a later date is still up for debate :).

    There was a time when religion thought it could explain the world, then came science, they both come up short.

  44. #44 syntyche
    January 21, 2008

    XKCD is the best thing to happen to the internet in like… forever.

  45. #45 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    “the burden isn’t on us to show that something exists”

    Make that “the burden isn’t on us to show that something doesn’t exist”

    P.S. Looking really hard for something and not finding it is strong evidence that it doesn’t exist (the “refuted” column), making the burden even heavier on those who claim it does.

  46. #46 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Hey Truth machine

    Why so angry? You dont even know me, yet you seem fit to call me names. Whats with that? By the way im just asking questions. Im not looking for a fight. If I was id go watch some UFC. lol. My wife wants to pick a fight with you though, so here goes. shes wondering why your mommy lets you play on the computer all by yourself? :P

  47. #47 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    I understand you two completely when I use my rational mind.

    I doubt that. And what makes you think your mind is rational?

    Unfortunately as a human I have another aspect to my brain that no one can completely tell me how it works.

    No one can tell you completely how any part of your brain works — so fucking what? But if you’re saying that you have another aspect of your brain that isn’t rational — why should anyone credit its conclusions?

    . I truly believe that the world has an aspect that leaves us with mystery.

    Why should anyone care what you “truly” believe, especially when you’re so obviously stupid? In any case, the world has many aspects that are mysterious — that’s what drives scientists, solving mysteries.

    We will not be able to verify or rationalize it while we exist in this temporal form. Whether we will at a later date is still up for debate :).

    Like there’s a debate about whether a fan still whirs after it’s turned off.

    There was a time when religion thought it could explain the world, then came science, they both come up short.

    Only the stupidest of morons would consider “fails utterly” and “has not completely succeeded yet” to be equivalent.

  48. #48 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    Why so angry?

    Why not?

    You dont even know me, yet you seem fit to call me names.

    I call the persona you express here what it is.

    By the way im just asking questions. Im not looking for a fight.

    Lying troll.

  49. #49 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Thanks TM

    Have a better day. I hope.

  50. #50 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    Have a better day. I hope.

    My day’s great, and kicking your troll ass is just gravy.

  51. #51 Brownian, OM
    January 21, 2008

    I’m going to interpret John T’s comment as non-trolling, and suggest that HP’s comment is a pretty good explanation for the experiences he asks about.

    Our minds are generally resistant (sans training) to making us aware of sensory data without creating some sort of narrative to explain it. Generally, the perception of sound or movement outside of or in conflict with the context in which it is experienced is interpreted as a potential threats. Further, our minds filter out and eliminate from our awareness sensory data it considers extranneous.

    From this is should be taken that our minds are less than perfect recorders and interpretators of stimuli (optical or audio illusions are good examples of this, as are experiences under the influence of hallucigens or high fevers.)

    So, no. Just because you think it or think you’ve experienced it doesn’t mean it exists.

  52. #52 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    I truly believe that the world has an aspect that leaves us with mystery.

    Why the elevation of ignorance via the fetishization of mystery? I just don’t get that.

  53. #53 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Hey guys

    Thanks for the discussion. I take it you get a lot of Trolls on here. If my memory serves me well, a troll is a rather ugly looking creature under a bridge lol. I dont live under a bridge :) Question?

    Do you think it incompatible to believe in God and evolution?

  54. #54 Anon
    January 21, 2008

    Note that there are people here who speak of the way “the mind” works. It is every bit as irrational to speak of the mind as of god; both are “evidenced” only circularly, by the presence of things we presuppose that are caused by the very thing we are trying to prove. You may look around and see god’s handiwork; another person thinks, and sees that as evidence of a mind. (yes, some speak of both mind and god metaphorically; I am not addressing them.)

    Can one believe in god and evolution? Certainly; people do it all the time. But evolution does not require a god, just as thinking does not require a mind. Both get along just fine without the fictional cause in addition to the various natural causes.

    My point is… Intelligent people are brought up believing in lots of things, some of which are supported by evidence, some of which are not. We do not question everything we believe, and what we do question is often determined by social factors (many people here question the existence of a god, but rather fewer question the existence of a mind). None of us are immune to irrational belief… but we do have a method for testing these beliefs, and that is what is important.

  55. #55 Marcus Ranum
    January 21, 2008

    I would like to use my radio example. I hear music coming from my radio but I have no clue how it happens. I dont understand the “science” behind it. Does that mean it does not exist. I think not.

    Fuckwit.

  56. #56 robbrown
    January 21, 2008

    The comic is actually a lot funnier if you read it’s title prior to seeing the comic: “The data so far”

    Well, funnier to me.

  57. #57 Brownian, OM
    January 21, 2008

    Actually, John T., trolling is what one does when one dangles a baited line behind a boat in the hopes that something will bite.

    That is the etymology of the expression.

    On teh intarwebs, posting a lot of questions and then refusing to acknowledge the responses is also considered trolling.

    What you are doing here is not discussion, but trolling. Unless you actually stick around to defend your claims, you won’t be tolerated much longer (and we hate it when truth machine is right.)

  58. #58 Will E.
    January 21, 2008

    RE #26: There is no such thing as the supernatural or the paranormal. If it exists, it’s natural. You can’t go above or beyond the normal or the natural.

    RE John T: “im just asking questions.” Ha, I love it. That’s the classic disingenuousness of a troll.

  59. #59 negentropyeater
    January 21, 2008

    Strangely, I don’t believe in supernatural powers, in astrology, ghosts, new agy stuff, woo-woo and other spiritual things.
    But I do find myself caught with this famous story:

    – a physicist visits a colleague and notices a horseshoe hanging on the wall above the entrance to his office
    – do you really believe that a horseshoe brings luck ? He asks
    – no, replies the colleague, but I’ve been told that it works even if you don’t believe in it

    (not sure if it was Niels Bohr or Albert Einstein, anybody remember ?)

  60. #60 HP
    January 21, 2008

    Do you think it incompatible to believe in God and evolution?

    John, if you can believe in God, you can believe in anything.* So sure, why not believe in God and evolution?

    I say, go for it.

    ——

    * With God all things are possible. Matt. 19:26

  61. #61 Stogoe
    January 21, 2008

    So much fucking doggerel from the troll. Ugh.

  62. #62 Jennifer A. Burdoo
    January 21, 2008

    It was Neils Bohr who had the horseshoe on his wall. Found it in an Isaac Asimov joke-book.

    Once upon a time…

    I was camping on the Baja Peninsula, and my Dad wanted to fly a kite. Unfortunately, it was dark, but he had a bright idea — he grabbed a toy plastic glowstick, the kind you “crack” to light up. Then he tied it to the kitestring, right below the kite. Then he let out the kite until it was a hundred feet high or so. Couldn’t see the kite, but the glowstick was easily visible, bouncing around in the wind.

    So I wandered around the campground, and started running into knots of confused and gullible people staring at the strange light dangling in midair. It was a UFO! In the sense of actually identifiable as, say, a flying saucer. Yeah right.

    Now it wasn’t those people’s fault that they didn’t know it was a glowstick — but it was their fault for thinking that just because they couldn’t identify it, it was automatically supernatural.

  63. #63 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    I’m going to interpret John T’s comment as non-trolling

    Anyone who comes here to claim that science and religion are equal as explanatory systems is trolling. His #16 was the lead-in, and from experience was good evidence that something like #43 would follow.

    HP’s comment is a pretty good explanation for the experiences he asks about.

    He didn’t ask about his experiences.

  64. #64 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    So, no. Just because you think it or think you’ve experienced it doesn’t mean it exists.

    Sigh. That’s not what he asked:

    Yet there is no way to “verify” your sense. Does that mean it does not exist? I would like to use my radio example. I hear music coming from my radio but I have no clue how it happens. I dont understand the “science” behind it. Does that mean it does not exist. I think not.

    He did not claim that his experiencing something meant that it exists, or ask whether his experiencing something meant that it exists. Rather, he inverted the burden. And, while I called him a troll, I also, responded to what he actually wrote. Sheesh.

  65. #65 Anon
    January 21, 2008

    Jen Burdoo–

    Nice story! Reminds me of one I heard a couple of years ago on the radio. A local professor of ocean chemistry was on the radio because he was the science advisor for “the disclosure project”, which collects eyewitness accounts of UFO encounters (so his expertise in ocean chemistry came in really handy). He gave some of his own accounts (watching the impossible speed and maneuverability of UFOs through night-vision binoculars… yes, anyone familiar with visual perception research would tell him he was watching birds or insects much closer, not UFOs much further away), and listeners called in to give their own accounts. Two calls in particular were memorable. The first told of a UFO sighting near an army base; the caller was quite distraught, and remembered the incident vividly. She gave lots of details, and was quite convincing. Except for the later call, which was from the pilot of an ultralight airplane, who had (with a handful of friends who also piloted ultralights) flown in formation in that approximate area on that night. She recounts that one of the friends broke off for a bit, flew back to check whether they were being watched, and rejoined the formation; the newspapers the next day had eyewitnesses talking about a baby ship leaving then re-docking with the mother ship.

    The ocean chemist did not have a lot to say about that.

  66. #66 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    It is every bit as irrational to speak of the mind as of god

    No it isn’t, but thanks for playing.

  67. #67 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    Do you think it incompatible to believe in God and evolution?

    Obviously not, since there are people who both believe in God and accept the reality of evolution.

    There is a theoretical sense in which believing in God and doing science are incompatible: science yields provisional acceptance of claims to the degree that they have survived scrutiny under the scientific method, and “God exists” has not survived that scrutiny. But beliefs are held by persons, and no person’s beliefs are entirely scientific, so this “incompatibility” doesn’t really say very much; it depends on the degree to which theistic thinking pollutes one’s thoughts.

  68. #68 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    (not sure if it was Niels Bohr or Albert Einstein, anybody remember ?)

    Is your google key broken?

  69. #69 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    Do you think it incompatible to believe in God and evolution?

    no more incompatible than to be in sports and have a physical handicap.

    so far, the evidence, based on all the scientists that have publicly spoken out about their religious beliefs, and tried to explain how they “reconcile” them with science, supports the idea that compartmentalization only works to a limited extent.

    see for example: Francis Collins

    Of course the fact that obvious compartmentalization is necessary suggests a handicap to begin with.

    Would one want to start a career in sports while wearing a ball and chain around your ankle?

    This of course, does not mean that there is no benefit to helping people be able to compartmentalize the mental handicaps they are already dealing with (like getting a creobot to finally realize their kids won’t go to hell if they learn about the ToE). However, obviously the long term goal should be to help prevent them from being handicapped to begin with; to help them avoid a situation where they have to compartmentalize.

    so, I can’t argue with the tactical results (see Ohio dept. of education) that have been gained by encouraging compartmentalization (by for example, applying the false concept of NOMA) in the insanely religious, but still argue that strategically, we need to keep working to make it not even necessary.

    so far, the only stable bit of compartmentalization I have seen result from trying to reconcile evolutionary theory (and the surrounding evidences for it) with religion has been the “Theistic Evolutionist” construct.

    It can still be easily picked apart logically, for example:

    http://bioinfo.med.utoronto.ca/Evolution_by_Accident/Theistic_Evolution.html

    but it does at least appear to be psychologically stable among scientists that have adopted it.

  70. #70 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    So I wandered around the campground, and started running into knots of confused and gullible people staring at the strange light dangling in midair. It was a UFO! In the sense of actually identifiable as, say, a flying saucer. Yeah right.

    Here’s another, related, story: Dennis Kucinich has been attacked for saying he saw a UFO. But what did he mean by that? In response to the question “Did you see a UFO?” he responded:
    “I did. And the rest of the account — I didn’t — I — it was unidentified flying object, okay. It’s like — it’s unidentified. I saw something.”

  71. #71 negentropyeater
    January 21, 2008

    And the most incredible thing about supernatural belief is, whenever you try to explain to people, how it works, whenever you try to rationalize it, then you get into trouble.

    I had dinner the other day with some colleagues, and I don’t know why, we ended up discussing about Astrology.
    Now you would have thought that religious belief could be a touchy subject, well not with this group, most were atheists or agnostics (I’m living in Spain), but then holy cow, I didn’t know where I was putting myself into with trying to discredit Astrology.
    I’m not sufficiently open minded they were saying… You’re to much of a cartesian (what an insult !) I was told.

    Then I said, let me show you something. I went to my PC, printed a text I had with a superb generic personality description (you know the kind with those wishy washy sentences like : “you value sincerity and honesty above all”) and made as many copies as the number of guests.
    Then I asked them to tell me their Astrological signs, which I wrote on the back of the identical personality descriptions, folded them, and distributed them to each one.
    Then I asked them to read it, and score how well they thought it fit : from 1 (not at all) to 10 (perfect). Then I collected the scores, asking them to keep the copy in front of them.
    We measured the scores, and the average was 8 (very good). So my friends said, you see, this shows how well Astrology works.
    Then I asked to pass their folded copy to their neighbour. You should have seen the grin on their faces when they realised they had received the identical descriptions !

    Oh no but you can’t, that’s not fair, well that just doesn’t prove anything…
    No way they would accept my point. No way. And this was supposedly a group of well educated rational thinkers.

    Since then, I’ve come to believe that E.O.Wilson is probably right, we’ve evolved with Superstitious beliefs, it must have been an adaptive benefit.

  72. #72 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    Do you think it incompatible to believe in God and evolution?
    no more incompatible than to be in sports and have a physical handicap.

    Not the best comparison. After the Beijing Olympics this year, watch the paralympics the following weeks. Hell, the wheelchair marathoners here at boston may not be able to run 26 miles, but I couldn’t either, and I also couldn’t make my arms do what theirs do for 26 miles. They are fantastic athletes and sportsmen and -women. (hell, watch the docu “Murderball” some time)….

  73. #73 Brigit
    January 21, 2008

    John T. @ #16:

    I remember thinking like that before I knew anything about neurobio. And yes, I’ve had the feeling of “presence”, “out-of-body” experiences, sleep paralysis (when you feel awakened by a feeling of a “scary” presence and you can’t move.)
    They’ve all been replicated in laboratories by stimulating different areas of the brain, studying sleep patterns in people, and by messing up with their senses.
    Some really cool neuro-stuff for you to get to know how your brain perceives things are usually up in The Neurocritic, as well as a lot of other neuroscientists’ blogs.
    Happy hunting, I find that searching for how things work a lot more fulfilling that finding them mysterious.

  74. #74 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    Ichthyic, Jim Abbott would like a word with you.

  75. #75 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    I think rationalists and skeptics don’t do themselves any favors by insulting people who’ve had experiences they cannot explain.

    Hey now, I don’t insult people with experiences they can’t explain.

    I insult people who attempt to explain experiences by references to their personal superstitions.

    big difference.

  76. #76 Brigit
    January 21, 2008

    John T. @ #16:

    I remember thinking like that before I knew anything about neurobio. And yes, I’ve had the feeling of “presence”, “out-of-body” experiences, sleep paralysis (when you feel awakened by a feeling of a “scary” presence and you can’t move.)
    They’ve been replicated in laboratories by stimulating different areas of the brain, studying sleep patterns in people, and by messing up with their senses.
    If you are truly curious of learning how your brain processes information, there are several good blogs around written by neuroscientists for laypeople. I tried adding some more links, but the spamblocker gets grumpy if I add too much. I personally find it more rewarding to learn how things work than finding them perpetually mysterious.

  77. #77 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    “out-of-body” experiences,

    I can explain mine: a combination of marijuana, Day-quil, beer, and a very excellent dance club.

  78. #78 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    After the Beijing Olympics this year, watch the paralympics the following weeks. Hell, the wheelchair marathoners here at boston may not be able to run 26 miles, but I couldn’t either, and I also couldn’t make my arms do what theirs do for 26 miles.

    I think you missed my point, Jeff.
    You must have concluded from what I wrote that I meant it was impossible to overcome a handicap to perform well in sports?

    did you not consider, in reading the rest of my post, that what i was in fact talking about was having to overcome a handicap to begin with?

    nobody would question Miller has done some good things in Science, nor would most deny Collins has done so as well.

    at the same time, they make their religious handicaps pretty obvious as well.

    going back to your example, would you think it a GOOD thing to saddle someone with a handicap so they could then try and overcome it?

  79. #79 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    After the Beijing Olympics this year, watch the paralympics the following weeks. Hell, the wheelchair marathoners here at boston may not be able to run 26 miles, but I couldn’t either, and I also couldn’t make my arms do what theirs do for 26 miles. They are fantastic athletes and sportsmen and -women.

    in fact, this is exactly what I meant, Jeff, you just detailed it by specific example.

    clearer?

  80. #80 Brownian, OM
    January 21, 2008

    @ Truth Machine, RE: 63, 64.

    I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and obviously interpreted his comment in a way favourable to my non-troll hypothesis.

    His #16 was the lead-in, and from experience was good evidence that something like #43 would follow.

    You called it, all right. I owe you twenty bucks.

  81. #81 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    no more incompatible than to be in sports and have a physical handicap.

    That looks like a nice analogy on the surface, but I think it breaks down under scrutiny, since the whole issue is about the relationship between the handicap and the task to be performed, and its not immediately obvious how mere belief in God conflicts with accepting evolution. Also, he asked about incompatibility between believing God and evolution, not incompatibility between believing in God and being a world class evolutionary biologist; having a physical handicap doesn’t prevent one from playing sports, even if it may tend to limit the levels to which one may rise.

  82. #82 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    btw, if you want to compare someone untrained to run a marathon with someone who is handicapped, but trained to run/wheel a marathon (your example of you vs. the wheelchair marathoners).

    why wouldn’t it be the same thing as comparing someone utterly untrained in science, to someone with a handicap like Collins, who IS highly trained in science?

  83. #83 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    , and its not immediately obvious how mere belief in God conflicts with accepting evolution

    then you must have failed to see all the examples that have tried to explain so pathetically how they reconcile science with faith?

    like Miller?

    like Collins?

    I’m working from actual published examples here, not suppositions about what might or might not be possible to do.

  84. #84 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    P.S. When I wrote #80 I hadn’t seen the exchange between MAJeff and Ichthyic — although, having done so, I think what I wrote stands (and I tend to agree with MAJeff, while agreeing with much of Ichthyic’s substance — I just don’t think the analogy does the work it’s meant to do).

  85. #85 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    then you must have failed to see all the examples that have tried to explain so pathetically how they reconcile science with faith?

    I have trouble imagining why you would infer such a failure. First, I said “mere belief in God”, not “acceptance of full blown Christian dogma”. And, regardless of their pathetic attempts at explanation, Miller and Collins clearly do accept evolution, and have no trouble doing so. What they do have trouble with is justifying their faith beliefs — but so much the worse for those.

  86. #86 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    P.S. I’m aware that Collins (and perhaps Miller) have plenty of trouble accepting other scientific findings; but the question was specifically about evolution.

  87. #87 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    If anyone wants to continue this, let’s start back at square one:

    stated in its most basic form, my contention is that religion functions as a mental handicap to the pursuit of a career in science.

    -a handicap that must be either compartmentalized or entirely overcome in order to be productive in science.

    -when the compartmentalization breaks down, we inevitably see some very bizarre things resulting (Collins’ “Moral Law” being an excellent case on point).

    as a counter, I would like to see examples of where religious thought was actually conducive in contributing to our scientific understanding of any particular set of observations. I’m 43, been involved with science since I was 5 (yeah, I’m not kidding), and still have yet to see an example anywhere in the literature, or see where people like Miller or Collins have made the case that their religion contributes to their scientific understanding of anything.

    or, if you feel I am putting forward a false construction, I’d like to see that explained too.

  88. #88 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    but the question was specifically about evolution.

    have you so quickly forgotten Collins Moral Law argument of altruism and cooperative behavior?

    “mere belief in God”

    is there such a thing?

    show me.

  89. #89 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    regardless of their pathetic attempts at explanation

    = the failure I was referring to, specifically.

  90. #90 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    I’m working from actual published examples here, not suppositions about what might or might not be possible to do.

    Excuse me, but I’m working from well known facts about very large numbers of people who both believe in God and accept evolution, including such people as Jesuits and their students, not suppositions about possibilities. Your “actual published examples”, aside from being cherry picking, are addressed to a different question: can one provide a coherent, reasoned, justification for Christianity given the facts of evolution.

  91. #91 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    January 21, 2008

    This skeptic’s mantra: Follow the wishful thinking. Not that many con artists haven’t found out how to make money off of the self-deceived.

    For every one of these ideas that persist in spite of their lack of evidence, ask if some, many or most humans might be pleased if it turned out to be possible.

    Gods, aliens, ghosts, faeries, telepathy, teleportation, heaven, and all the countless other categories are instructive in what they reveal about us and how we react to the limitations of the real world.

    I’m going to suggest there isn’t a single person on this most skeptical of blogs that wouldn’t be thrilled to experience at least a few of these items.

    No? How about a mind link with a cephalopod? Wouldn’t it be great to see what it sees, feel how it feels to move, understand the way its brain solves problems and forms intent? Maybe even note what it makes of those complicated tetrapods it sometimes observes?

    The problem would seem to be that so many of us are naive about our mental limitations and assume that our wishful thinking cannot deceive our self-assessed powerful intellects.

    I could wish that an organisation like NCSE would run TV ads explaining why double blind experiments, independent review and verification are so essential when examining an aspect of the natural world, for scientists and laymen alike.

    Something like a clip that explains pareidolia and equates the man/rabbit in the moon with faces in clouds and burned toast might be an example.

  92. #92 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    have you so quickly forgotten Collins Moral Law argument of altruism and cooperative behavior?

    I have not forgotten that, nor what a dick you are.

    show me.

    Fuck off.

  93. #93 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    If anyone wants to continue this, let’s start back at square one:

    stated in its most basic form, my contention is that religion functions as a mental handicap to the pursuit of a career in science.

    No, “square one” is not your strawman.

  94. #94 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    Jesuits and their students

    how is that relevant?

    aside from being cherry picking

    cherry picking?

    do give the many other counter examples that make picking Miller and Collins an example of me “cherrypicking”. In fact, that would be on point to what I requested in #86.

    btw, before you say anything else about Collins, suggest maybe doing some review, so we don’t have to cover old ground:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/08/harris_on_collins.php

    http://www.talkreason.org/articles/Theistic.cfm

    in addition to The Language of God itself, of course.

  95. #95 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    Fuck off.

    No, “square one” is not your strawman.

    what is it a strawman of, exactly?

    i see you’re not serious about discussing this right now.
    that’s fine.

    maybe later?

  96. #96 Chris
    January 21, 2008

    Here’s another, related, story: Dennis Kucinich has been attacked for saying he saw a UFO. But what did he mean by that? In response to the question “Did you see a UFO?” he responded:
    “I did. And the rest of the account — I didn’t — I — it was unidentified flying object, okay. It’s like — it’s unidentified. I saw something.”

    Wait… you mean he knows what “UFO” *actually means*? And was using it to mean that?

    For a while I thought he just wasn’t any crazier than any of the other candidates with imaginary friends up in the sky (i.e. all of them), but that’s actually not crazy at all! He’s just more knowledgeable than the media goon that was interviewing him, who promptly screwed up the interpretation and broadcast the screwup.

  97. #97 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    …are addressed to a different question: can one provide a coherent, reasoned, justification for Christianity given the facts of evolution.

    just to be clear, you aren’t saying the examples I “cherry picked” ARE coherent, reasoned, justifications for xianity given the facts of evolution, are you?

    Because in fact, I specifically chose them (cherry picked being an incorrect label) as being examples of NOT being coherent, well reasoned justifications for xianity.

    seriously, if you have examples of scientists that have published such, I’d like to see them.

  98. #98 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 21, 2008

    Im just curious, what if you have a sense of something “supernatural”. Like the feeling that there is something evil around you. Yet there is no way to “verify” your sense. Does that mean it does not exist?

    If there is a way to falsify your feeling, then yes.

    In case you’re interested, certain kinds of low-frequency sound have been found to induce such experiences in people.

    I would like to use my radio example. I hear music coming from my radio but I have no clue how it happens. I dont understand the “science” behind it. Does that mean it does not exist. I think not.

    Of course not, but you can’t simply reason backwards.

    There was a time when religion thought it could explain the world, then came science, they both come up short.

    “Yes, but we’re working on it.”
    — Richard Dawkins

    Hey Truth machine

    Why so angry?

    He’s always that angry. Just ignore how he says things. But do pay attention to what he says — he tends to be right…

    (and we hate it when truth machine is right.)

    LOL! Good cop, bad cop… :-)

  99. #99 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 21, 2008

    Im just curious, what if you have a sense of something “supernatural”. Like the feeling that there is something evil around you. Yet there is no way to “verify” your sense. Does that mean it does not exist?

    If there is a way to falsify your feeling, then yes.

    In case you’re interested, certain kinds of low-frequency sound have been found to induce such experiences in people.

    I would like to use my radio example. I hear music coming from my radio but I have no clue how it happens. I dont understand the “science” behind it. Does that mean it does not exist. I think not.

    Of course not, but you can’t simply reason backwards.

    There was a time when religion thought it could explain the world, then came science, they both come up short.

    “Yes, but we’re working on it.”
    — Richard Dawkins

    Hey Truth machine

    Why so angry?

    He’s always that angry. Just ignore how he says things. But do pay attention to what he says — he tends to be right…

    (and we hate it when truth machine is right.)

    LOL! Good cop, bad cop… :-)

  100. #100 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    He’s always that angry.

    it’s not anger.

  101. #101 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    in fact, this is exactly what I meant, Jeff, you just detailed it by specific example.
    clearer?

    I can see where you were going, but the wording of what you said, still doesn’t work quite so well for me.

  102. #102 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    After my first day on here, which is today. I have found all the talk quite interesting and amusing to say the least. As the day progressed though, a thought came to mind. Im curious if any of you have children? And if you do, what do you say to them when they are scared and confused about life. Do you say to them ” dont worry thats just a bunch of neurons firing creating your experience”. I like the fact that I can tell my young daughter that we believe there is something greater than us, looking out for our best interest. With love of course. It may not be “rational”, but I will take my “irrationality” over your science any day of the week. God bless everyone and have a good sleep.

  103. #103 Anon
    January 21, 2008

    @66

    TM, I’d never have taken you for a Cartesian dualist. Unless you missed the “metaphor” bit, both are fictional.

  104. #104 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Oh yeah

    We love to use the science also. :)

  105. #105 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    I can see where you were going, but the wording of what you said, still doesn’t work quite so well for me.

    since it was misunderstood, you make a good case that it was poorly worded.

    suggestions?

    using your reference to Jim Abbott, for example, the reason Abbott was remarkable was because he was able to overcome a very obvious handicap to be a great ball player.

    what I was trying to say was that having a handicap doesn’t PREVENT one from doing well in any given career, but we don’t think we should deliberately straddle someone with a handicap to begin with, yes?

    In my mind, pursuing a career in science while maintaining a religious worldview simultaneously, is indeed very much like deliberately saddling (actually, we could argue that it was unintentionally inflicted on them by peers) someone with a handicap they have to deal with.

    If you can think of a better way of wording that, I’m all ears.

  106. #106 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    I’ve been thinking about my discomfort, too, and I think it was the all-encompassing way of putting it. I guess what my objection is, and I think the wheelchair marathoners are a good example, the physical disability (whatever kind it may be) presents an obstacle for becoming a certain type of athlete, but not from being an athlete, indeed a world-class athlete. Wheelchair marathoners won’t run. However, they have developed skills in another area that has allowed them to excel as world-class athletes. When you look at the development of their upper-body musculature, their coordination and technical skill with their aparatus, their cardio-vascular conditioning, etc., there’s no doubt that they are quite simply world class athletes. The language seemed to imply other.

    Jim Abbott–a specific handicap fitting into an existing sport–might fit the analogy you were trying to draw with Collins, etc. a little better. Particularly as the techniques he used to have of holding and manipulating the glove might fit better with the sorts of ideational melding and bracketing strategies you were talking about?

  107. #107 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    As the day progressed though, a thought came to mind. Im curious if any of you have children? And if you do, what do you say to them when they are scared and confused about life. Do you say to them ” dont worry thats just a bunch of neurons firing creating your experience”. I like the fact that I can tell my young daughter that we believe there is something greater than us, looking out for our best interest. With love of course. It may not be “rational”, but I will take my “irrationality” over your science any day of the week.

    And there we have a troll. And an idiot. And a willfully ignorant git.

  108. #108 Mondo
    January 21, 2008

    “And if you do, what do you say to them when they are scared and confused about life”

    Hmm, lets see troll. I am guessing anyone with a brain gives comfort and then explains what is confusing.
    Although I can see how instead saying “There is a supernatural being who is looking out for you” might be a correct answer if
    the person answering the child is also A) scared, and B) confused about life.

  109. #109 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Hey MAjeff

    Did you see how they banned the sprinter with the artificial leg from the able bodied olympics in China. They said he had an unfair advantage. So much for his handicap eh. lmao

  110. #110 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    Jim Abbott–a specific handicap fitting into an existing sport–might fit the analogy you were trying to draw with Collins, etc. a little better. Particularly as the techniques he used to have of holding and manipulating the glove might fit better with the sorts of ideational melding and bracketing strategies you were talking about?

    I considering the specifics, I’d have to say that seems to fit.

    I keep thinking back to how abusive parents can affect childhood development.

    if you had abusive parents as a child, that most certainly does NOT prevent you from becoming anything you wish, but it is a handicap that has to be dealt with from a psychological perspective.

    I’m thinking of religion in a similar capacity.

    did you ever get a chance to read the study that came out in Science last year:

    Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/316/5827/996

    I think it was that paper that spawned the idea in my mind that exposure to religious ideology from peers kind of acts as a handicap.

  111. #111 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    I like the fact that I can tell my young daughter that we believe there is something greater than us, looking out for our best interest.

    good thing you didn’t tell her YOU were looking out for her best interest, huh?

  112. #112 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    TM, I’d never have taken you for a Cartesian dualist.

    Minds are material processes; no Cartesian dualism there.

    Unless you missed the “metaphor” bit, both are fictional.

    The mind is no more fictional than any other control system. Even if you have a naively reductionist epistemology in which minds are fictional, they aren’t fictional the way God is.

  113. #113 Brigit
    January 21, 2008

    John T,
    Parents could probably say things like these to their children to answer those sorts of questions. ;)
    And dude, honestly, drop the troll vibe.

  114. #114 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Explain something to me? What the heck is a Troll???

  115. #115 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    Explain something to me? What the heck is a Troll???

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

    it actually originates from the fishing term “trolling”, which means you are drawing a bait through the water in order to try and get fish to hit on it.

    that’s the standard definition, others might have their own personal definitions, and there are other common usage definitions as well.

  116. #116 Marcus Ranum
    January 21, 2008

    Im curious if any of you have children? And if you do, what do you say to them when they are scared and confused about life.

    “Just hang on. It gets worse from here.”

  117. #117 John T.
    January 21, 2008

    Ah I see. And here I thought you knew where I lived. under a bridge. :)

  118. #118 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    And there we have a troll. And an idiot. And a willfully ignorant git.

    I’m just surprised anyone didn’t see it coming back at #16, what with talk of “supernatural”, “evil”, having no clue of how radios produce music, “verify” and “science” in scare quotes, our supposed inability to scientifically verify that radios produce music, a false analogy between music and “supernatural evil”, and the inversion of the burden of proof: just as the fact (heh heh) that we can’t scientifically verify that radios produce music doesn’t mean there’s no music, the fact that we can’t scientifically verify that there is supernatural evil doesn’t mean there isn’t supernatural evil.

    P.S. Willful ignorance underlies a lot of belief in God and the supernatural and other sorts of woo. Willful ignorance also underlies a lot of denial of evolution. It’s the willful ignorance that’s the handicap, not the belief in God per se.

  119. #119 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    Ah I see. And here I thought you knew where I lived. under a bridge. :)

    well, see now, that’s where the common usage thing comes in, as commonly most trolls appear rather dense, so are often labeled “troll” (just like you imagined) as their arguments are usually rather dull-witted or full of nothing but sound and fury, rather like an under-the-bridge type of troll.

    so, it has multiple connotations.

    for example, one could be a moron (under the bridge troll), and still “troll” (as in the verb) an internet forum for kicks.

  120. #120 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    “Just hang on. It gets worse from here.”

    As mother-grandma would say, “have a shot of whiskey.”

  121. #121 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    Speaking of t-shirts, support positive web-based sexuality education:

    http://www.printfection.com/MidwestTeenSexShow/Thanks-T-Shirt/_p_1372371

  122. #122 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    We’re dealing with the big-bridge species here.

  123. #123 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    the physical disability (whatever kind it may be) presents an obstacle for becoming a certain type of athlete, but not from being an athlete, indeed a world-class athlete.

    I thought I captured this idea rather succinctly (and I know how you value that :-) with “the whole issue is about the relationship between the handicap and the task to be performed”. And then I pointed out that “its not immediately obvious how mere belief in God conflicts with accepting evolution”, and just above I noted the common element that often underlies rejection of evolution and that belief in God is a symptom of. And that common element is a handicap for, if not exactly in conflict with, doing good science. (However, it isn’t only the religious who suffer from the handicap; in fact we all do to some degree, with our selective perception and confirmation biases.)

  124. #124 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    “its not immediately obvious how mere belief in God conflicts with accepting evolution”

    but the problem with that is, there is an awful lot that goes along with that “mere belief”.

    it’s hardly like saying “I believe in pink unicorns”, unless you have located some who have trivialized their own religion to such a point?

    there are series of assumptions and structures that go with a belief in God.

    and just above I noted the common element that often underlies rejection of evolution and that belief in God is a symptom of

    just to be clear, are you saying that belief in God is symptomatic of an underlying psychology that might be the same source as the rejection of evolution?

    if so, then so am I.

  125. #125 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    Did you see how they banned the sprinter with the artificial leg from the able bodied olympics in China. They said he had an unfair advantage. So much for his handicap eh. lmao

    So what sort of prosthetic can we fit you with to make up for your handicap?

  126. #126 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    So what sort of prosthetic can we fit you with to make up for your handicap?

    this one is pretty.

  127. #127 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    it isn’t only the religious who suffer from the handicap; in fact we all do to some degree, with our selective perception and confirmation biases.

    just so. It’s just that it appears to be very difficult to even broach the idea of religion being a handicap just like any other selective perception or confirmation bias.

    evidently, a lot of that is likely due to misunderstanding of what is meant by “handicap” to begin with.

  128. #128 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    this one is pretty.

    LOL

  129. #129 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    are you saying that belief in God is symptomatic of an underlying psychology that might be the same source as the rejection of evolution?

    Since that’s what I just said, yes.

    if so, then so am I.

    This seems difficult for you to comprehend, but when I disagree with you I don’t disagree with you about everything. I objected to specifics, such as the force of your analogy, the conflation of “accepts evolution” with “is a good scientist”, and the confusion between arguments for Christianity (given the facts of evolution) and arguments against evolution and other science [including scientific findings about altruism] (given Christian dogma).

  130. #130 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    I objected to specifics, such as the force of your analogy,

    the level I still feel is adequate, if the wording was poor.
    it was a misinterpretation (based on poor wording) that lead to it being thought of as too strong.

    the conflation of “accepts evolution” with “is a good scientist”

    I didn’t do that.

    and the confusion between arguments for Christianity (given the facts of evolution) and arguments against evolution and other science [including scientific findings about altruism] (given Christian dogma).

    which do you classify Collins’ Moral Law argument as, then?

    I’m just trying to get on the same page.

  131. #131 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    it’s not anger.

    “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!”

  132. #132 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    heh, if I ever thought the level of profanity used in conversation was a direct indicator level of anger, I think a great many people I know would have become serial killers by now.

  133. #133 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    the level I still feel is adequate

    I feel otherwise, and I explained why.

    I didn’t do that.

    I disagree, and I’ve explained why.

    Look, we’re just repeating ourselves. My point was that my disagreements were specific; that they remain disagreements doesn’t change that. When you say “so am I” about one point it doesn’t dissolve the disagreements about other points.

    which do you classify Collins’ Moral Law argument as, then?

    Rejection of scientific findings about altruism deriving from muddled theistic thinking. Nevertheless, Collins accepts evolution, certainly enough to serve as an example for John T.’s initial question — an example that shows that believing in God is not incompatible with accepting evolution, while it also shows that such belief (or the underlying psychological condition) is a handicap against doing good science — including good evolutionary science.

  134. #134 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    what is it a strawman of, exactly?

    Your “square one” was “religion functions as a mental handicap to the pursuit of a career in science”, but the original question was “Do you think it incompatible to believe in God and evolution?” These are very different, and one can argue for the former and against the latter, as I have. You claim you didn’t conflate “accepts evolution” with “is a good scientist”, but you quite explicitly did with your “square one” comment. You can either buck up and admit it, or be the sort of dick I referred to.

  135. #135 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    I disagree, and I’ve explained why.

    uh, actually you didn’t.

    When you say “so am I” about one point it doesn’t dissolve the disagreements about other points.

    I never said it did, which is why i asked you to clarify.

    Rejection of scientific findings about altruism deriving from muddled theistic thinking. Nevertheless, Collins accepts evolution,

    up until the point where he rejects evolution as an explanation for altruism.

    which is why I used it as an example.

    an example that shows that believing in God is not incompatible with accepting evolution,

    cycling back to the very first comment I made on it, this is exacly why i called it a HANDICAP, and not a complete impediment.

    again, I guess there is some disagreement over what the definition of a handicap is?

  136. #136 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    but the original question was “Do you think it incompatible to believe in God and evolution?”

    my response was not a strawman of that, but rather an attempt to analyze it from a specific viewpoint. In fact the analogy was in agreement that it ISN’T incompatible, but IS a handicap. much like not having a right hand isn’t “incompatible” with playing baseball, but it IS a handicap.

    You can either buck up and admit it, or be the sort of dick I referred to.

    false dichotomy.

    go ahead, call me a dick. as you yourself are so fond of saying, it’s irrelevant.

  137. #137 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    if I ever thought the level of profanity used in conversation was a direct indicator level of anger

    It’s even less of an indicator in written communication, specifically semi-anonymous blog comments. It’s amusing that a number of people haved asked if I’m “like that in real life”, implicitly recognizing that it’s a crafted persona while seemingly ignoring many of the implications.

    Anyway, when John T. asked why I was angry, I hadn’t used any profanity, I simply called him stupid, an idiot, and a cretin. As the dictionary confirms, these are various ways of calling people foolish and obtuse; I don’t see anything that says “expression of anger”.

  138. #138 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    You can either buck up and admit it, or be the sort of dick I referred to.

    false dichotomy.

    You’re right; even if you had been honest enough to admit it, you would still be a dick.

  139. #139 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    You’re right; even if you had been honest enough to admit it [BS], you would still be a dick.

    damn straight, asshead! I never claimed the “not dick” position. Like you, I am very often a dick.

    got anything intelligent left to say on topic?

    seriously, I’m curious if you have perused any writings that “provide a coherent, reasoned, justification for Christianity given the facts of evolution.”

    perhaps I have read some and forgotten about them, or missed them entirely.

  140. #140 negentropyeater
    January 21, 2008

    Ichtyic,

    I’m going to try something re. your post #86 :

    I think it depends very much on how you define religion. For instance you have people from Muslims like Ibn Al Haytham to Jesuits like Lemaître who consider the quest for the truth as a quasi religious undertaking. They admit that they will take the truth as it comes, as it is discovered by Science and reason. They make no assumptions, in their practice of Science they remain agnostic but they compare the dedication which is required for this quest as a religious one. They consider that it gives them strength, it motivates them, for a similar idea think of Einstein “I want to know how God dit it”, which doesn’t mean that he really believes that God dit it, but it is a image, one that he felt the need to qualify as true religiosity, the right blend of Science and the humanities which he was thinking about in order to explain the world.
    You also have people like E.O.Wilson, a provisional deist, who despite all the criticism, and all the rethorical mistakes, have brought up some interesting ideas with regards to the role played by Superstitious beliefs in man’s evolution.
    Of course when religion equates belief in some sacred scriptures, or the re-interpretation thereof to fit some of science’s discoveries (such as is the case with Collins, who see the need to fit theistic evolution with the belief in the sacred Christian trinity) I do agree that it is a Handicap for the practice of Science (he ends up messing up things with his God given Moral Law).

  141. #141 Anon
    January 21, 2008

    @110–

    This is the metaphorical use I was speaking of. You are speaking of the mind as a process, rather than as a causal entity. Look at the way we use “mind” in everyday language, and you will find the use I was objecting to. Mind as original cause is as faulty as god as original cause. The control system responds to changes in the environment; it is not a causal agent itself. “Because I wanted to–my mind chose” is no better than “goddiddit” as an explanation; both are made-up reasons better admitted as ignorance. That it feels like we are freely choosing is not evidence (as, for instance, Libet shows).

  142. #142 grendelkhan
    January 21, 2008

    If I can step in the middle of the pointless dick-waving here (honestly, it took me a while to figure out what the insults were instigated by–a good indicator that some folks are just here to cuss at people), there’s some much better pointless dick-waving over at the Livejournal feed. It’ll all vanish in a few weeks (looks like about fourteen days), but until then, you can bask in the glow of smug agnostics blasting people for their “faith in science”, angry references to James Randi, citations of the PEAR experiments, obviously false anecdotes (look for the one where the judge agrees to kill everyone in the courtroom!), and the wonderful quote: “Cue the pleas for epistemological relativism in the face of insurmountable pwnage.”

  143. #143 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    I think it depends very much on how you define religion.

    sure, and I do have a tendency to generalize religions based on my own preconceptions arising out of the fact I was raised in a protestant household, but I’m also thinking it depends on how religion is taught.

    a point that the Science paper I cited was making as well.

    so yes, I’d say there is a tendency on my part to lump “religion” as a whole into the category of “impediment” where perhaps that is too general of a statement.

    at the same time, we can also broaden the idea of handicap to include all sorts of woo (not just religion, even in the broadest sense) that also can be taught to children.

    as TM pointed out, we all have a great many handicaps of perception that have arisen from various sources.

  144. #144 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    You also have people like E.O.Wilson, a provisional deist, who despite all the criticism, and all the rethorical mistakes, have brought up some interesting ideas with regards to the role played by Superstitious beliefs in man’s evolution.

    Exactly. this is attempt to provide an ultimate explanation for the existence of superstition as a behavior, not an attempt to justify the rational nature of the superstitions themselves. Exactly what we would expect from Wilson.

    In fact, one might argue that the entire field of sociobiology that one could say was “sparked” by Wilson is in direct counter to much of Collins argument.

    that said, I don’t see Wilson’s argument as being of the same type as Collins at all.

    To the best of my knowledge, he, unlike Miller or Collins, has spent no time trying to justify his own personal beliefs as exceptions to science.

    that said, it is often quite a bit easier to compartmentalize when one is a “deist”, or a theistic evolutionist, than if one is a catholic or a baptist, I would conclude, based on the writings of the very people mentioned so far.

    They consider that it gives them strength, it motivates them, for a similar idea think of Einstein “I want to know how God dit it”, which doesn’t mean that he really believes that God dit it,

    ok, maybe you can clarify this a bit for me, since I’m not as familiar with Jesuit thinking.

    WHAT exactly, do they think is motivating them? define it for me. Is it that they are motivated to find some elusive evidence of divine presence in the results of their work?

    like you say, if Einstein says he wants to know how god did it, without believing there even is one, how is it not just pure curiosity that drives him?

    this might get back to how “religion” is defined again, and if it is defined so loosely as to be interpreted as “natural curiosity” it makes the classification itself rather meaningless, doesn’t it?

  145. #145 negentropyeater
    January 21, 2008

    “WHAT exactly, do they think is motivating them?”

    Well, Einstein wasn’t exactly a Jesuit, Lemaître is a better example.

    Abstinence, dedication, no-thrills life, … it’s all quite helpful for a life dedicated to Scientific research. Don’t tell me you know many scientists who make tons of money, have sex all the time, go out to party every weekend, shop for the latest fashion…

  146. #146 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    Well, Einstein wasn’t exactly a Jesuit, Lemaître is a better example.

    I was referring to both Einstein and the Jesuits you mentioned in your first paragraph with that; sorry if it wasn’t clear.

    Abstinence, dedication, no-thrills life

    so boredom as motivator? I’m confused.

    here, let me reiterate:

    They consider that it gives them strength, it motivates them,

    what is it, specifically, that gives them the motivation that you ascribe?

    take your time, I won’t be able to get back to this until tomorrow afternoon.

  147. #147 MAJeff
    January 21, 2008

    Abstinence,

    I thought we were talking about Jesuits.

  148. #148 negentropyeater
    January 21, 2008

    BTW, most Jesuit scientists I know of (I received such an education, very common in France in higher education) are not really preoccupied with the idea that Jesus was the son of God (?) and all that bull**** They just want to follow Jesus’ example, not Christ.
    And believe me, if you have never met any (probably not that frequent on your side of the Atlantic), they can make brilliant scientists and Science educators, and very tolerant towards homosexuality, abortion, and all the things that make the Evangelicals so crazy.
    And you know what, most I’ve met you’d probably call agnostics, but they are deeply religious.

    I didn’t follow that route, because when I was younger, I wanted to make money. But if I had dediced to go into research, which I could have done at the end my Grande Ecole (we don’t have the same system in France as the Masters and PhD) I think it would have been helpful to stick to that.

  149. #149 Ichthyic
    January 21, 2008

    are not really preoccupied with the idea that Jesus was the son of God (?) and all that bull**** They just want to follow Jesus’ example, not Christ.

    this would get back to the definition of ‘religion’, yes?

    now i really gotta go.

    I’ll check back tomorrow.

  150. #150 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    I’m curious if you have perused any writings that “provide a coherent, reasoned, justification for Christianity given the facts of evolution.”

    I can’t imagine why you are curious about that, since I didn’t imply there were any such writings or that I had ever encountered any. All the attempts I’m aware of (offered, I might note, by people who both believe in God and accept evolution) fail IMO.

  151. #151 negentropyeater
    January 21, 2008

    “so boredom as motivator? I’m confused.”

    That’s the point, they don’t feel bored, that’s why I’m saying, their religiosity keeps them motivated.

    Hard to believe, but trust me it works. With some people. Not everybody. Just try to meet some, you’ll be surprised. And when talking rational, skeptical minds, you’ll also be surprised.

  152. #152 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    Mind as original cause is as faulty as god as original cause

    No one here (you: “there are people here who speak of the way ‘the mind’ works”) said anything about it being “original cause”. As I said, thanks for playing.

  153. #153 truth machine
    January 21, 2008

    honestly, it took me a while to figure out what the insults were instigated by–a good indicator that some folks are just here to cuss at people

    Your difficulty in figuring something out is a good indicator of something that is patently false?

    there’s some much better pointless dick-waving over at the Livejournal feed.

    Nice blog whoring.

    you can bask in the glow of smug agnostics blasting people for their “faith in science”, angry references to James Randi, citations of the PEAR experiments, obviously false anecdotes (look for the one where the judge agrees to kill everyone in the courtroom!), and the wonderful quote: “Cue the pleas for epistemological relativism in the face of insurmountable pwnage.”

    Why would we want to do that?

  154. #154 truth machine
    January 22, 2008

    You’re right; even if you had been honest enough to admit it [BS], you would still be a dick.

    It’s not BS, and the point wasn’t that you’re a dick, but the sort of dick you are — the sort who isn’t honest even about what is spelled out in black and white. While belief in God may be a handicap for being a good scientist, it could be a positive factor for accepting evolution if that’s what your preacher tells you to believe. Accepting evolution and being a good scientist are very different things, and accepting evolution “up until the point where he rejects evolution as an explanation for altruism” is still accepting evolution. It’s a dick-headed argument; if that’s all it took to be someone who doesn’t accept evolution, then we would also have to say that all the mysterians who don’t accept consciousness as a physical process resulting from evolution also don’t accept evolution. One can be confused and infused with mystical thinking and reject all sorts of mechanistic explanations involving evolution and still accept evolution.

  155. #155 grendelkhan
    January 22, 2008

    truth machine: Your difficulty in figuring something out is a good indicator of something that is patently false?

    I’m just saying that it looks like you’re more interested in being tetchy than in actually saying anything, given the relative amounts of time you’ve spent on each.

    Nice blog whoring.

    The feed is automatically updated. Nobody actually owns it, least of all me. I can’t be “whoring” for a blog that nobody runs. If I linked to a comment I’d made over there, then maybe that would be accurate… but I didn’t. Unless you’re declaring “blog whoring” to encompass the posting of any and all links whatsoever, you’re wrong.

    Why would we want to do that?

    Because it’s more fun than watching you fling pointless insults.

  156. #156 truth machine
    January 22, 2008

    I’m just saying that it looks like you’re more interested in being tetchy than in actually saying anything, given the relative amounts of time you’ve spent on each.

    Why should anyone care what things look like to someone as stupid as you? What not so stupid people say about me are things like “do pay attention to what he says — he tends to be right…”.

  157. #157 grendelkhan
    January 22, 2008

    truth machine: While belief in God may be a handicap for being a good scientist, it could be a positive factor for accepting evolution if that’s what your preacher tells you to believe.

    I’d think the real goal would be critical thinking and evaluation of the evidence at hand. If people are just going to believe whatever their preacher tells them to, I don’t think we should be cheering if said preacher happens to be right. Denying evolution isn’t the cause; it’s a symptom–and the cause is taking it on an authority figure’s word.

  158. #158 grendelkhan
    January 22, 2008

    truth machine: Why should anyone care what things look like to someone as stupid as you?

    See what I mean? You spend half the thread slinging mud at John T., and when I mention this, you start calling me names. May I suggest switching to decaf?

  159. #159 truth machine
    January 22, 2008

    I’d think the real goal would be critical thinking and evaluation of the evidence at hand.

    Of course that’s our goal, dummy, but it’s not relevant to the point.

    If people are just going to believe whatever their preacher tells them to, I don’t think we should be cheering if said preacher happens to be right.

    I wasn’t cheering anything, fool, I was only addressing the empirical question of whether belief in God and evolution are incompatible.

    Denying evolution isn’t the cause; it’s a symptom–and the cause is taking it on an authority figure’s word.

    Yes, I have already made the point that denying evolution is a symptom; nice that you’ve caught up.

  160. #160 truth machine
    January 22, 2008

    See what I mean? You spend half the thread slinging mud at John T.

    I see that you are a stupid liar.

    and when I mention this, you start calling me names

    I call you what you deserve. You might notice that I didn’t say that the people who didn’t tell your stupid lies are stupid.

  161. #161 Alan Kellogg
    January 22, 2008

    Three Matters

    1. The cartoon in the original post is incomplete in that it doesn’t show the expanded chart. This shows—as best I can recreate it here, “. |” where the . is the number of claims refuted, while | shows the number of claims that never got tested because the claimants knew damn well submitting them to testing would never work to their benefit.

    2. Any supernatural ability that actually worked would have an impact on the world. It would change the world and be a common, accepted part of life. For example, were it possible for people to learn how to levitate it would change the moving business.

    3. Is it me, or is Truth Machine even grouchier than usual on Mondays?

  162. #162 grendelkhan
    January 22, 2008

    truth machine: I wasn’t cheering anything, fool, I was only addressing the empirical question of whether belief in God and evolution are incompatible.

    But how can you say that acceptance of evolution for good, skeptical reasons is the same as acceptance of evolution out of simple deference to authority? It’s practically tautological–sure, you can believe in God and anything, if you’re willing to accept your local authority figure’s word for things, but it’s not a very interesting question to ask. Given that there is an interesting question next to it (how do people reconcile belief-from-authority in God and belief-from-reason in evolution?), I’m at a loss as to why you picked the first one to address.

    I call you what you deserve. You might notice that I didn’t say that the people who didn’t tell your stupid lies are stupid.

    I point out that you spend so much time spitting insults that it’s difficult to uncover your point, and you respond by… firing more insults, and claiming that because you didn’t fire insults at people who didn’t call you on your little bile problem… well, I’m not sure what your point there is.

  163. #163 grendelkhan
    January 22, 2008

    Alan Kellogg: Is it me, or is Truth Machine even grouchier than usual on Mondays?

    Given that it’s now Tuesday (in the US, at least), I suppose we can test this one empirically.

    And there are instances in which supernatural things can’t be reduced to our current understanding of “natural”–xkcd covered this, actually.

  164. #164 truth machine
    January 22, 2008

    But how can you say that acceptance of evolution for good, skeptical reasons is the same as acceptance of evolution out of simple deference to authority?

    I didn’t say any such thing, you stupid fucking moron. Again, “I was only addressing the empirical question of whether belief in God and evolution are incompatible”.

  165. #165 Anon
    January 22, 2008

    @150

    *sigh*… which puts its usage right where we see the usage of “god”, as used in this thread in, e.g., an Einstein quote, or in other similar (“spinoza’s god”) uses. The analogy holds, and is a legitimate answer to the question it was attached to. I am a bit surprised at you, TM, but I am grateful to you for so eloquently illustrating my point.

    Thank you for playing.

  166. #166 Stephen Wells
    January 22, 2008

    truth machine, please take some deep breaths or have a nice cup of tea or do SOMETHING other than snarling at people. You once had a point, but I think it got lost somewhere. Icthyic’s analogy was fine.

  167. #167 Kseniya
    January 22, 2008

    The Machine needs oiling.

    Someone fetch the Glenfiddich! Quickly!

  168. #168 MAJeff
    January 22, 2008

    Someone fetch the Glenfiddich! Quickly!

    I’m waiting for some Old Fitzgerald’s to arrive in the mail (tomorrow). I haven’t been able to find that shit in years. I remember it being pretty decent, but that may have been because of the amount. My Diet Coke shall no longer keep me awake :)

  169. #169 Kseniya
    January 22, 2008

    I, too, have been abusing the Diet Coke of late. Sigh.

  170. #170 truth machine
    January 22, 2008

    Icthyic’s analogy was fine.

    Hey, cogent argument there, you stupid fucking intellectually dishonest moron. MAJeff didn’t think so, and gave his reasons; I didn’t think so, and gave my reasons.

  171. #171 Stephen Wells
    January 23, 2008

    See, your claims to be rational take a bit of a ding if your immediate response to my expression of opinion is to call me a “stupid fucking intellectually dishonest moron.”

    I think what you meant was “I disagree, for the reasons stated above. Why do you think the metaphor was fine?”

    Icthyic @ comment 104 explained himself pretty clearly.

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