Pharyngula

Survivor: Pharyngula! Day Four.

Today we have to judge whether any of our contestants have met their immunity challenge. The challenge was this:

The challenge for the seven surviving candidates is to write a short comment, 200 words or less, that reveals that they actually understand why their attitudes and pattern of expression have so exasperated readers here, and explains what they will do to change their behavior in the future. This will be a tough one for this crowd, I’m sure. Let’s see if they can wake up enough to do some honest self-assessment.

The purpose of this challenge isn’t to force people to change or defend their ideas, of course, but to see whether they can honestly recognize why other people might find them so irritating that they are asking me to ban them. So your job in the comments here is to tell me who you think did the best job of actually being briefly self-aware.

Here are the attempts:

  • Africangenesis, who explains that far left progressives don’t like being shown to be shallow, destructive, and vindictive by someone who is more comfortable with himself.

  • John Kwok apologizes for name-dropping and talking about his high school…and then tells us that he should be talking about it. And then he tells us about his high school again and

    again and

    again and

    again and

    again. And makes a new threat.

  • Pete Rooke talks at length about beliefs. You tell me if he makes it, because I couldn’t read it all without nodding off.

  • Facilis has one that I missed first time through.

Vote for who you think meets the immunity challenge. Considering the quality of the entries, “None” is also a legitimate vote.

Comments

  1. #1 Randy Keating
    March 19, 2009

    Kwok, the constant high school talk is the worst! Get over it man! HS isn’t very cool, sad but true.

    http://www.thenewatheist.com

  2. #2 Elliott
    March 19, 2009

    NONE!

    Get rif off all three of theses dozy buggers as the English would say.

  3. #3 Randy Keating
    March 19, 2009

    Kwok, the constant high school talk is the worst! Get over it man! HS isn’t very cool, sad but true.

    http://www.thenewatheist.com

  4. #4 Procyon
    March 19, 2009

    Where did Kwok say he got his GED?

  5. #5 speedwell
    March 19, 2009

    Nobody won. In fact, it looked very much as if they all demonstrated the unamiable quirks they’re best known for in the very course of attempting to answer.

  6. #6 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 19, 2009

    NONE! No introspection whatsoever.

  7. #7 Alex
    March 19, 2009

    Ah the spectacle of fools on parade.

  8. #8 Ryan Cunningham
    March 19, 2009

    They all won the immunity challenge! Well done, you guys. That was spectacular. We all underestimated your wit and creative writing abilities. Really. My hat is off to all three of you!

    Oh, wait. The challenge was to explain why I’m exasperated, not exasperate me? Nevermind then.

    I vote NONE!

  9. #9 Dustin
    March 19, 2009

    None. Each one of those attempts exemplified everything which annoyed me about those posters in the first place.

  10. #10 dNorrisM
    March 19, 2009

    I read the first 201 words of Rooke’s post. Enough to know its disqualified.

  11. #11 LanceR, JSG
    March 19, 2009

    None. They all failed the challenge.

    However, Pete Rooke IMNSHO made the best attempt. I’m starting to think there may be hope for that boy.

    Kwok and Facilis need to just get over themselves.

  12. #12 Aaron
    March 19, 2009

    None.

    By analysis:
    1. 200 words or less : Rooke out.

    2. that reveals that they actually understand why their attitudes and pattern of expression have so exasperated readers here : Kwok out.

    3. explains what they will do to change their behavior in the future. : Africangenesis out.

    Whether they should be kicked out is secondary, but technically, none met the immunity challenge.

  13. #13 The Science Pundit
    March 19, 2009

    Pete Rooke violated the rules at 476 words. Africangenesis was condescending and didn’t fulfill the challenge. John Kwok violated the rules so many times that I lost count.

    NONE!

  14. #14 firemancarl
    March 19, 2009

    Pete needs to be thrown off. Just for using the word (?) scientism

  15. #15 Jaycubed
    March 19, 2009

    “They don’t like being shown shallow, destructive and vindictive by someone more nihilistic and yet more comfortable in his own skin than they are.”
    Africangenesis

    I gotta give him an immunity vote for this part. Not sure why . . . but . . . there’s something about his gibberish . . . sorta like Gabby Johnson in Blazing Saddles . . . rarbit!

  16. #16 Fraud Guy
    March 19, 2009

    Except for failing the 200 word test, I vote for Rooke

  17. #17 meloniesch
    March 19, 2009

    No one has met the immunity challenge. Can we vote for whom we’d like to keep, instead? I’d like to keep Pete, as I think he’ll learn more the longer he’s here.

  18. #18 Lowell
    March 19, 2009

    None of them even attempted to explain the reasons why readers here are exasperated with them.

    AG basically said, “you’re exasperated with me because I’m so much smarter than you.”

    Kwok issued a not-pology (even though an apology was not part of the challenge).

    Pastor Pete basically said, “you’re exasperated with me because you’re closed-minded.”

    A total failure all around.

  19. #19 Captain Mike
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  20. #20 mothra
    March 19, 2009

    While all three failed to meet the immunity challenge, Rooke appears to have made an effort- now if he could only master simple math. I presume that Simon (?) is no more after round three.

  21. #21 Stephen Wells
    March 19, 2009

    None. Facilis made a late attempt in-thread (day 3) but displayed the same narcissistic blindness as the others.

  22. #22 Teleprompter
    March 19, 2009

    Sure, technically Pete Rooke failed the immunity challenge.

    However, it was more or less an effort. I think he deserves a pass.

  23. #23 Badjuggler
    March 19, 2009

    I like Aaron’s analysis. None!

  24. #24 Sid
    March 19, 2009

    None offered any explaination beyond, “well, just because I disagree with PZ!” Nor did they explain how they were going to change their behavior in the future.

    And Rooke apparently lacks the ability to use word count.

  25. #25 Queue33
    March 19, 2009

    I liked the Survivor: Pharyngula idea at first, but now I realize that it means I have to intentionally seek out the worst comments on the page. I say ban them all and be done with it.

  26. #26 Barklikeadog
    March 19, 2009

    NONE: They all fail! None of them made any sense and apparently introspection is definitely not on their agenda.

  27. #27 EternalCritic
    March 19, 2009

    A resounding None from me.

  28. #28 Shelly
    March 19, 2009

    I’m starting to look at Pete fondly, kinda like your cute dog-except it ate your socks, peed on your rugs, and bit your kids for touching it. He might have potential if he could only read instructions and learn how to behave in polite society. Oh and stay away from women. Forever.
    So I think we can keep Pete.

  29. #29 Michael Fugate
    March 19, 2009

    They are all annoying and delusional, but I just skip their posts.
    I do think all libertarians should put on an island without any benefits of society and maybe they would finally realize we are all in this together. A good ecology course might also be beneficial.
    I quit reading Kwok when it became clear he was writing reviews on Amazon without ever reading the books. He is just sad.
    Anyone who believes all biologists practice scientism is someone who needs a dictionary.

  30. #30 Sastra
    March 19, 2009

    You missed Facilis, at post #581:

    Why is there so much Facilis hate on Pharyngula?? Hmm.
    I guess I ask difficult question. It’s not every day a theist asks an atheist to solve the problem of induction or account for the metaphysical foundations of morality nd logic, but back during my presup phase I did that a lot. It did not help that I repeated myself a lot. many people just do not have the patience.I also hold strong views on topics like sin, sex and abortion that most posters disagree with.People hate it when there worldviews are challenged
    I probaly won’t bring up my presuppositional arguments here any more. I think anyone who looks at one of the previous threads will be able to get the essence of it.

    I think this answers the challenge well enough. He points out that most of the people don’t like his views (which has indeed come up again and again when people vote for him), he admits that he’s been repetitive, and he agrees to drop the presuppositional argument.

    In his defense, I’ve argued that many of the annoying aspoects of his “Logic assumes God” argument are well-known problems with that particular form of apologetics, and not necessarily reflective of Facilis himself. He could only work with what he had to work with. In any case, he’s no longer going to play TAG, he says.

  31. #31 AnthonyK
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis did provide a short account:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/survivor_pharyngula_day_three.php#comment-1484668
    I will personally be upset not to see any more pre-suppositional aplogetics, as it is much my favourite form of suppositional apologetics.

  32. #32 T_U_T
    March 19, 2009

    The bar is pretty low, I see, well bellow the ground level.

    I think rooke should be rewarded for the progress he made. Let him pass.

  33. #33 Sid
    March 19, 2009

    Wow! Africangenesis weighed in at exactly 200 words! What talent! Too bad he couldn’t follow the other directions in the challenge.

    I still vote none.

  34. #34 Dustin is Wearing a Turtleneck
    March 19, 2009

    “Scientism” is so a word! It’s a label used to expose you dogmatic archpositivists for what you really are! Who are you to say that scientific knowledge is the only meaningful kind of knowledge, or even knowledge at all? It’s discriminatory — everyone knows that Newton’s laws are a phallogocentric prescription for rape, and that western science is just another way of exerting teh epistemology of power through hegemony!1ones! Gaia hypothesis! Astrology is SOOOOO a science! ZZOMG FEYERABEND!! Mary Midgley!! *sputter* Hegelian postmarxist Baudrillardism!

  35. #35 ShadowWalkyr
    March 19, 2009

    None.

    Also: “Scientism”?

  36. #36 the other Adam
    March 19, 2009

    I’ll arbitrarily pick Pete for immunity. Obviously none of them met the challenge but as others have noted, he at least shows some capacity for change, “Why are there clouds” was funny, and I think I’m actually starting to like him.

  37. #37 Stanton
    March 19, 2009

    I vote for John Kwok to stay: I find him relatively pleasant and civil most of the time, and the way he rips into creationists is thrilling.
    As for the rest? They’re smarmy, unctuous vermin. Get rid of them and salt the earth they walked in on.

  38. #38 vinraith
    March 19, 2009

    Rooke made a good faith attempt, length issues aside.

  39. #39 epsilon
    March 19, 2009

    None

  40. #40 H.H.
    March 19, 2009

    Kwok keeps saying that mentioning his high school isn’t an attempt to puff up his ego, but to point out the fact that it released a statement saying they would never teach ID. That’s great and all. Really. But what Kwok doesn’t seem to comprehend is that nobody cares what his high school teaches, at least no more than any other high school in America. Probably less if it’s a private school.

    So, if we’re judging who failed most spectacularly, I’d have to vote for Kwok. Not only did he not attempt the challenge afaik, but his posts demonstrate an ability to see himself from another person’s viewpoint. He’s incapable of modifying his behavior. As I’ve said before, I have a sneaking suspicion that something more is going on with him than just a large ego. I think he might actually be suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome or something similar, a condition which means that he literally cannot empathize with other people’s points of view. So I feel somewhat bad about my vote, but on the other hand I don’t see Kwok changing anytime soon.

  41. #41 Lowell
    March 19, 2009

    T_U_T:

    I think rooke should be rewarded for the progress he made.

    I don’t want Pastor Pete banned either, but what “progress” are you talking about, exactly? Rooke’s attempt gave two reasons for why readers here are exasperated with him:

    1. Because when “Creationists come into contact with advocates for Scientism . . . the result is a situation in which neither side is willing to accept even the most reasonable set of premises that their opponent sets out lest they make a logical leap in their next move that is unwarranted or disliked.”

    2. Because the “anonymity of commenters” “leads to conflict.”

    Neither rationale demonstrates any progress to me, certainly not in terms of introspection, which was the point of the challenge.

  42. #42 Michelle
    March 19, 2009

    Um, I’m going for none. They have to work harder than that, really.

  43. #43 RichVR
    March 19, 2009

    As per Aaron @ 12: None.

  44. #44 firemancarl
    March 19, 2009

    Dustin, that was pretty funny!

  45. #45 uppity cracka
    March 19, 2009

    I couldn’t read pete rooke’s post either. I got to the word “scientism” and started thinking about something else. Africangenesisererist doesn’t seem mean-spirited, at least. The guy with the hometown who went to a school doesn’t even make sense. I think he thinks the internet is a daydream and we’re all imaginary. I guess I didn’t vote at all, did I?

  46. #46 Paul wilson
    March 19, 2009

    None deserve immunity. Kwok definately needs to be cast into the pit. He is a waste of space on this blog. Rooke should follow Kwok, he is booooorrrrrriiiinnnnggggg.

  47. #47 Kat
    March 19, 2009

    I don’t think any of them passed the immunity challenge, but Pete came closest. Plus, I find his views on sex hilarious. Me and my boyfriend laughed for hours over the oral sex discussion. (if he thinks a penis evolved only to fit in a vagina, where does the clit fit? and does he use his dick to pee?) So I say keep him for entertainment value.

  48. #48 Bob L
    March 19, 2009

    Africangenesis: Chest thumping braggart. Proof that you don’t need to believe in magical talking snakes to be in denial. I rate his post a Clear Failure.

    John Work: gets it but still can’t help himself. John Work; kid, grow up, it an?t about you and the other adults could careless. I?ll give him Pass, with an asterisk on it.

    Pete Rooke: Long and unreadable post earns Pete an Epic Failure rating from me.

    I vote for immunity to John Work since technically he meet the challenge.

  49. #49 Mystyk
    March 19, 2009

    I have to agree that of the original three, none of them properly answered the challenge. I would note that this challenge didn’t state that John Kwok couldn’t mention his school, but he still failed on the grounds of “people just don’t understand my logic”. Africangenesis simply stroked his own ego. Pete Rooke came closest, almost grasping the thread, but then let go again (plus he went way over).

    I third Sastra and AnthonyK (@ #30 & #31) on nominating Facilis. His entry was a bit late, but it bordered reasonably closely on answering the challenge such that I would let it in.

  50. Hegelian postmarxist Baudrillardism!

    Splitter!

  51. #51 rob
    March 19, 2009

    Dustin is Wearing a Turtleneck: lol

    i vote keep Pete. sure he can’t follow directions, but he actually wrote something. i think.

  52. #52 T_U_T
    March 19, 2009

    Astrology is SOOOOO a science! ZZOMG FEYERABEND!! Mary Midgley!! *sputter* Hegelian postmarxist Baudrillardism!

    !!!11eleven!!!ZOMG ROFLMAO If I had not special overload protection on my neural circuitry, I would drop dead instantaneously after reading thKERNEL Panic – neurotransmitter level depleted at 0.61 Automated defibrillation at 140 J in 3.2.1.0 @#1324 FAIL1 150 J in 3.2.1.0 SUCCES … BOOT SEQ CNS BIOS.20 …… what ? what is going on ?

  53. #53 Doc Bill
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  54. #54 Matt
    March 19, 2009

    None. They all fail to understand why we are at this place, having even doing this.

  55. #55 Stanton
    March 19, 2009

    I vote for John Kwok to stay: I find him relatively pleasant and civil most of the time, and the way he rips into creationists is thrilling.
    As for the rest? They’re smarmy, unctuous vermin. Get rid of them and salt the earth they walked in on.

  56. #56 LanceR, JSG
    March 19, 2009

    T_U_T for the win!

  57. #57 Steve_C
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  58. #58 Knockgoats
    March 19, 2009

    Clearly, none met the challenge – but of the three, Kwok is the only one I’d like dungeoned. Africangenesis might like to consider that it’s not just us “far left progressives” who find him obnoxious: so does his fellow-libertarian, speedwell (who in turn I don’t find obnoxious, although I profoundly disagree with her, because she doesn’t come across as sharing the callousness and smugness of most of the “libertarians” who hang out here). But maybe (sorry, speedwell) she’s really a “far left progressive” who just hasn’t realised it yet?

  59. #59 Stanton
    March 19, 2009

    I vote for John Kwok to stay: I find him relatively pleasant and civil most of the time, and the way he rips into creationists is thrilling.
    As for the rest? They’re smarmy, unctuous vermin. Get rid of them and salt the earth they walked in on.

  60. #60 Sammywol
    March 19, 2009

    I agree with Queue33 at #25. There is a serious downside to this Survivor ‘fun’. Oh the nausea!

    I am stunned by Facilis’s attempt though – thanks Sastra #30 I think. They actually seem to have thought about it and uniquely have even offered up some change of behaviour which I did not expect from any of them. Oh but it is very painful to admit it though, especially after the Pope and condoms comment. Sadly, I think I have to say he made it through. *spits*
    Rook did bury something sensible in the heap of self indulgent drivel but should get an automatic fail for the use of the word ‘scientism’, plus it is not up to us to filter the useful 200 words from the dross.
    Africangenesis has done nothing to make me regret voting for him except add ‘ponderous’ to my list of adjectives for him.
    And seriously wondering whether Kwok ever went to High School at all.

  61. #61 cactusren
    March 19, 2009

    Thanks to Sastra for posting Facilis’s attempt at the immunity chanllenge; I wasn’t able to wade through that many comments. I was going to vote none, but Facilis seems to have made a reasonable attempt at answering the challenge. He’s even promised to change his behavior, so I think he deserves the chance to do so.

  62. #62 Chris
    March 19, 2009

    I vote for Kwok.

    He answered correctly in less than 200 words even though he didn’t change his ways. The other two didn’t even try.

  63. #63 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    Queue33 @25

    I liked the Survivor: Pharyngula idea at first, but now I realize that it means I have to intentionally seek out the worst comments on the page

    Yah, Ive read a lot of crap I’d normally skip. Like the worthless challenge posts.

    AG: Blaming is no apology. FAIL

    Rooke: Had to scroll to read the entire post. FAIL

    Kwok: Just pathetic. Just pathetic. Just pathetic… FAIL

    Facilis: I’m with Sastra on this one. PASS

  64. #64 JackC
    March 19, 2009

    It is at least in the (a) dictionary

    None met the criteria. but I vote that Rooke made the least lame attempt. Kwok a close second.

    I vote Rooke. But then, I am still giggling about the “Preying…” thread.

    JC

  65. #65 AdamK
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis came closest, but his passive-agressive attempt to turn his essay into an accusation was annoying, so I’ll grade even a pass as a fail. (There’s a deeply spiritual paradox hidden in there for you, Facile.) (Go and meditate about it. To obtain the most spiritual value from your meditation, it is strongly suggested that you shut the fuck up.)

    My vote for Kwok stands. (In order to make sure it’s counted, I will repeat it ad nauseam, in post after repetitive post.)

  66. #66 Stu
    March 19, 2009

    Pete’s attempt was train-wreckishly endearing, but I don’t recall a clause for that quality in the challenge. If anyone, I’d vote for him.

  67. #67 Lowell
    March 19, 2009

    (In order to make sure it’s counted, I will repeat it ad nauseam, in post after repetitive post.)

    Fine, but don’t expect it to sink in unless you also parenthetically mention your prestigious alma mater and a famous acquaintance or two.

  68. #68 speedwell
    March 19, 2009

    But maybe (sorry, speedwell) she’s really a “far left progressive” who just hasn’t realised it yet?

    LOL. I’ll take that as a compliment. :D

    See, I deconverted when Christianity quite suddenly stopped making sense. It happened one Easter morning as I was reading the Bible. Seriously, I just kind of looked up and said, “Know what? This is utter nonsense.”

    I’m not saying this could never happen to my political outlook. I don’t feel that there is any consistent position, though. Being raised by a man who left Hungary to escape Communism and a woman who was distantly related to (COVER YOUR EARS!!!1!) Ayn Rand kind of makes it hard to settle for anything not based on individualism, though.

  69. #69 Lledowyn
    March 19, 2009

    None. All of the entries were dismal, and they obviously missed the point.

  70. #70 Michael
    March 19, 2009

    I vote None.

  71. #71 Steve in MI
    March 19, 2009

    Pete Rooke FAILS the immunity challenge by using the word “Scientism” as a diminutive synonym for “belief in reality”.

  72. #72 George
    March 19, 2009

    None make the grade. No immunity for you!

    Africangenesis: clearly does understand the concept of self aware remotely. Kinda reminds of Dr. Egnor.

    John Kwok: missed the point. Actually not sure what got him on this list to start.

    Peter Rooke: clearly fits in camp with AG above, but I will grant that he may have tried. Only he could not understand his behavior separately from the social dynamic and all the blame falls to the nature of the dynamic. Rather than noting that his behavior inflamed the dynamic.

  73. #73 bassmanpete
    March 19, 2009

    John Kwok to stay providing he neither name drops nor mentions his high school again.

  74. #74 damnedyankee
    March 19, 2009

    Omnifail. My vote is for none.

  75. #75 Lord Zero
    March 19, 2009

    My vote goes to John Kwok.
    At least he was close to meet the criteria.
    Even if he fell into the same hole again.

    I wonder if this event is fun enough to become
    another section for Pharyngula along
    with “hate mail” and “friday cephalopod” ?

  76. #76 Lowell
    March 19, 2009

    Rather than noting that his behavior inflamed the dynamic.

    The funny thing is, he didn’t even have to go that far. All he had to do was explain our position. He didn’t have to agree with it, just demonstrate that he understood it.

  77. #77 Steve in MI
    March 19, 2009

    Wait… I spoke too soon. Africangenesis also FAILS with this gem:

    I disagree without demonizing, so it is embarrassing to have your own boorish behavior put to shame.

    AG simultaneously fails the irony self-awareness test.

    And John Kwok FAILS on principle. So my vote is for “none”. And I’m guessing that there will be no more than three dissenting votes.

  78. #78 Saint Pudalia
    March 19, 2009

    Mr. High School couldn’t even follow the instructions to a simple writing assignment. FAIL.

  79. #79 jasonk
    March 19, 2009

    None of them. I was going to say “maybe Kwok, it looks like he tried for a couple minutes before violating his own new rules.”

    But then I realized Lowell was more accurate than I:

    AG basically said, “you’re exasperated with me because I’m so much smarter than you.”

    Kwok issued a not-pology (even though an apology was not part of the challenge).

    Pastor Pete basically said, “you’re exasperated with me because you’re closed-minded.”

    Kwok didn’t really apologize, instead, he said we were wrong for wanting an apology.

  80. #80 CJM
    March 19, 2009

    I vote none.

    Although I think John Kwok deserves an “oh, it hurts” irony award for totally and completely demonstrating why we want him gone without even realizing that he did so.

  81. #81 Watchman
    March 19, 2009

    Just to be clear: The way I understand it, when a contestant fails the immunity test, it does not mean he’s gone. It only means he has lost a chance to become temporarily immune to being voted off the island. Right?

    None of the attempts were very good. Facilis came closest to meeting the challenge, but I wouldn’t give him a pass, either.

  82. #82 Stephen Wells
    March 19, 2009

    @68: last time I read a post of yours, speedwell, you were saying that in order to achieve a society of happy individuals we would all have to work together to reduce inequalities and give everyone a chance (I paraphrase). I too am baffled as to why you think you’re a libertarian :) It’s okay to be a radical liberal!

  83. #83 anataboga
    March 19, 2009

    None (or should that be Nun?)

  84. #84 AnthonyK
    March 19, 2009

    This contest must be really fucking with these guys’ minds!
    It strikes me that we may all be participating in some cosmic afterlife experience. One of the contestants has just died, and rather than St Peter and the Choir Invisible at the pearly gates, it is PZ Myers and the drooling Pharygulite Hordes who guard the entrance to Heaven.
    Which of ye are worthy? Who will live forever?
    I understand that this explanation falls foul of Occam’s Razor, but heck who is in constant need of an Ontological shave anyway?
    Of course, this does seem like an unlikely explanation but it worries me. Can anyone reassure me that my whole existence is not predicated on, say, Facilis’s death?
    At least if it’s Africagenesis seeing the last ray of light, we can be sure that heaven won’t be that oppressive socialist hellhole some of us expected.

  85. #85 jasonk
    March 19, 2009

    Just to be clear: The way I understand it, when a contestant fails the immunity test, it does not mean he’s gone. It only means he has lost a chance to become temporarily immune to being voted off the island. Right?

    Right.

  86. #86 jimmiraybob
    March 19, 2009

    Africangenesis ? “Is this a good place to do that?”

    Votes self off island.

    John kwok ? “I apologize to all for name-dropping, and for mentioning my high school alma mater (which, on second thought…”

    Votes self and high school off island

    Pete Rooke – “In the light of even a stranger’s gaze the propensity to be cruel is greatly diminished.”

    Surely this statement alone is worth something. I?m thinking a novel. “It was a dark and stormy night and in the flickering light of even the stranger?s gaze the propensity to be cruel was greatly diminished. But alas, the deed was done.” I?d read the third sentence. I’d keep this one, at least there was some effort……unless of course this would focus attention on voting me off the island.

  87. #87 DragonIV
    March 19, 2009

    AG: that was pathetic.
    Kwok: that was trying?
    Rooke: more is only better in grade schools and some high schools

    I vote none.

  88. #88 ShaggyManiac
    March 19, 2009

    /delurking
    So when does the discussion return to lesbianism and oral sex?
    /delurking

  89. #89 Zar
    March 19, 2009

    None. No mercy for AG, either. Libertardians like him are a cancer on any kind of forum.

  90. #90 Menyambal
    March 19, 2009

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.

    Erm, has anybody called “dibs” on him yet?

  91. #91 NewEnglandBob
    March 19, 2009

    NONE

    None even attempted to answer the challenge.

    Africangenesis is a legend only in his own mind.

    Kwok is an eccentric blow hard.

    Rook does not even make sense. word salad.

  92. #92 Benjamin
    March 19, 2009

    None of the above.

  93. #93 the other Adam
    March 19, 2009

    I think more is also better in postmodernism and homeopathy.

  94. #94 Inky
    March 19, 2009

    JESUS *CHRIST* ONNA *STICK* NONE!!

    AG: Takes a question requiring self-assessment and answers with a defensive laundry list of why everyone else sucks. And then puts that little simpering closing statement about how all he’s ever wanted was a place to learn. Seriously, like the guy that you just wanted one little apology from but all he does is list his opinions of you, and why you’re not even in a position to ask an apology from him.

    Kwok: Had the easiest writing assignment simply because the rest of us told him, repeatedly, why we were getting so annoyed. So he apologizes for name-dropping but *in the same post* retracts the apology because he feels the name-dropping was justified. And THEN, in subsequent posts, continues to name-drop, and even gets distracted from the actual reason he’s even on the list to tout how great he is and how great his high school is for keeping ID out of schools. All this despite the fact that his high school is in the one place where ID is not at all likely to be forced into the curriculum. It would be like a vegetarian being proud that he didn’t eat bacon in his own fucking house. Kwok definitely played “My Dad can beat up Your Dad” as a kid. “I have more Friends than you do.”

    PR: Long, meandering piece with fuzzy philosophical musing about the nature of beliefs and belief systems and sdf aaaaazzzzzzzzzz
    Oh, I’m sorry. I couldn’t actually read through his entire thing; had to skim through each time.
    Not as bad as the first two, but completed missed the point of the essay. Tangentially related, but still F minus.

    I would like to see both AG and Kwok gone.

  95. #95 Feshy
    March 19, 2009

    It looks like Facilis passes. He made a clear attempt, and didn’t turn it into an excuse to bash people. He even (and this surprised me) stated a possible improvement (that he said he would probably go with.) That meets the challenge.

  96. #96 Phineas
    March 19, 2009

    None.

    Just ban all of them and have done with it. Their responses (or lack thereof) to the challenges, with the truly weird exception of Facilis, are clearly not made in good faith and just continue the same pattern of behavior that makes them candidates for banning in the first place.

    It may be Spring Break, but surely we all have better uses for our time, like enjoying the increasingly nice weather, socializing with our friends and loved ones, or simply getting repeatedly struck in the face.

  97. #97 Dustin
    March 19, 2009

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.

    Erm, has anybody called “dibs” on him yet?

    *sigh*
    I guess I can, if I have to. I’d better get some oral sex, bacon, and lesbians out of this.

  98. #98 abb3w
    March 19, 2009

    Disqualify Pete Rooke from the Immunity challenge for use of the word “Scientism”, for projecting the source of exasperation onto others, and for exceeding the word limit.

    AfricanGenesis is correct (from what I can tell) that he is loathed in part for his conservative position. However, characterizing “conservatism and libertarianism” as “not easy to dismiss” indicates his failure to grasp that evolutionary selection operates at levels both smaller and larger than the individual. He also fails to understand that it is not his arrogance per se that is objectionable, but his failure to match that arrogance with a correspondingly epic level of competence. While as Sherlock Holmes notes in The Greek Interpreter, “I cannot agree with those who rank modesty among the virtues. To the logician all things should be seen exactly as they are”, AfricanGenesis fails to grasp that the continuation “to underestimate one’s self is as much a departure from truth as to exaggerate one’s own powers” implies such exaggeration conveyed via arrogance is a vice. I consider him of benefit to the Pharyngula, in that where wrong he tends to be wrong in a fashion that is interesting and potentially educational, and would not vote for his removal. However, he fails to muster the needed marginal effort for an immunity vote.

    John Kwok at least seems to understand harping on his high school is annoying… even if he doesn’t learn much, nor seem to change all that much. However, the technical wording of the immunity challenge does not actually require exhibiting change behavior; and with the apology, actually comes close enough to scape over the threshold like Night Owl’s Archie onto a glacier.

    I vote that Kwok be granted Immunity for this challenge.

    And for this round, I again vote for Simon, since he managed to survive the prior round.

  99. #99 jasonk
    March 19, 2009

    I saw Facilis’s attempt now.

    He came closer than any of the others. He succeeded at the second half of the challenge, by identifying his presuppositional apologetics as a harm that he could reduce. But he failed at the first half, by blaming everyone else instead of himself: “you don’t like me because I challenge you.”

    No Facilis, the problem is that you don’t challenge us. You stand guilty of insipidity.

    If half the challenge counts for anything, then I vote for Facilis. If it’s all or nothing, then I vote for None.

  100. #100 catgirl
    March 19, 2009

    Pete Rook should be disqualified for his inability to follow the simplest direction, which was the 200 word limit. Half of success in life is just following directions, which he completely failed at. PZ should disqualify him even if he wins the vote. None of the contestants followed all the directions, but the word limit was the easiest to follow.

    I think that Facilis should get immunity this time. His response wasn’t great, but it was pretty good relative to the other entries, and actually better than I expected of him. As much as I would love to see him go, I have to be fair and admit that he is most deserving of immunity this round. Or, I guess you could give immunity to nobody.

  101. #101 Ranson
    March 19, 2009

    None.

    Also, I repeat my comment on what the next challenge should be.

  102. #102 Janus
    March 19, 2009

    Actually, laughs aside, there’s a serious problem with ‘scientism’. It’s looking to ‘science’ as ‘men in white coats who read off clipboards in fancy language’ instead of a specific fallibilist epistemology and its attempts to overcome the problems of human ‘certainty’ passing off as knowledge through peer review, tentative scientific theories, falsification, etc. blah blah blah dry talk on philosophy of science blah blah blah

  103. #103 Paul Lundgren
    March 19, 2009

    Please get rid of that Kwok crock.

  104. #104 Newfie
    March 19, 2009

    John Kwok said:

    The author had a rather hilarious means of contending with a NYC-based critic – who was writing book reviews for my hometown’s august newspaper – by lampooning him as a fictional character. I think I’ll follow in that author’s lead after I am finished revising a novel-in-progress.

    My High School is the Greatest
    and PZ Myers is a Big Doo Doo Head!

    a self published book by John Kwok
    forward by Don McLeroy

  105. #105 squall25
    March 19, 2009

    Wow. They are all worthy entries. I will have to vote for africangenesis because if I am correct, this is the same illogical troll who infects Steve Schafersman’s blog with idiotic comments. I know I am biased. Guess I am only human.

  106. #106 Paper Hand
    March 19, 2009

    What do you call a believer in “scientism”?

  107. #107 JeffreyD
    March 19, 2009

    None passed. All were failures answering the challenge and Petie posted an additional failure on technical grounds.

    Still voting for Kwok to hit the memory hole. Maybe I should get on Facebook first.

    Ciao y’all

  108. #108 AdamK
    March 19, 2009

    Unless Rookie’s a lesbian or made of bacon, I see no hope for him, since he’s already a gigantic repulsive fail in the oral sex dept.

  109. #109 badrescher
    March 19, 2009

    None. Not one looked in the mirror, and none, IMO, are capable.

  110. #110 Christopher
    March 19, 2009

    None of the three met the requirements. Let them all lay prone to the votes!

  111. #111 Stu
    March 19, 2009

    Pete’s attempt was train-wreckishly endearing, but I don’t recall a clause for that quality in the challenge. If anyone, I’d vote for him.

  112. #112 jasonk
    March 19, 2009

    Wow. They are all worthy entries. I will have to vote for africangenesis because if I am correct, this is the same illogical troll who infects Steve Schafersman’s blog with idiotic comments. I know I am biased. Guess I am only human.

    This thread isn’t voting for who should be banned. This is for who should be immune to banning.

  113. #113 squall25
    March 19, 2009

    Wow. They are all worthy entries. I will have to vote for africangenesis because if I am correct, this is the same illogical troll who infects Steve Schafersman’s blog with idiotic comments. I know I am biased. Guess I am only human.

  114. #114 Alex
    March 19, 2009

    @ #106

    That’s easy. Christian.

  115. #115 catgirl
    March 19, 2009

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.

    Erm, has anybody called “dibs” on him yet?

    I just did. I have some experience in this area.

  116. #116 Sioux Laris
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  117. #118 Stephen Wells
    March 19, 2009

    Does “Scientism” mean anything other than “no fair asking me to justify my beliefs with evidence?”

  118. #119 Glen Davidson
    March 19, 2009

    Truth is, I probably wouldn’t get rid of any of them either. I probably should have voted Simon yesterday, but I’ve seen almost nothing of his–or I just skimmed it and decided it wasn’t worth reading.

    The remainders have all been pains in the ass in various ways, and Kwok’s endless repeats are rather amusing. But he still is the best at actually saying something, when he chooses to do so. AG thinks he does, but his “objections” are either trivial or sophomoric. Rookey’s a bore, yet it’s not all bad to have a token trolling theist.

    If pressed, I’d go AG again. Count it or don’t, it doesn’t matter to me.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/6mb592

  119. #120 jasonk
    March 19, 2009

    What do you call a believer in “scientism”?

    A “journalist.”

  120. #121 Tark
    March 19, 2009

    Smells like a trifecta to me. Or maybe a disinfecta …

    Tax Religion. Boot the lot, none prevailed.
    Tark

  121. #122 Dustin
    March 19, 2009

    Does “Scientism” mean anything other than “no fair asking me to justify my beliefs with evidence?”

    If my experience with philosophy professors is any indicator, it can also mean, “you’ve justified your beliefs with evidence, and I resent that.”

  122. #123 Theo
    March 19, 2009

    Facillis for immunity. *violent shudder*

    After reading the immunity entries I almost want to change my vote, but I’m sticking with Kwok.

  123. #124 Spyderkl
    March 19, 2009

    Well. Technically, nobody should get immunity; two were just annoying, and the third didn’t understand the rules (no, no, honey – it’s 200 words).

    However, I feel sort of badly for Pete. Not that I would in any way help him with his obvious problem, but badly enough to let him have immunity.

  124. #125 Cyberguy
    March 19, 2009

    None of them answered the challenge within the (very simple) rules. The fact that they are unable to follow basic guidelines even when they attempted to do so, clearly demonstrates their damaged neural processes.

    So, I vote for “None”.

  125. #126 Victor W
    March 19, 2009

    None meet the requirements for your immunity challenge, PZ.

  126. #127 CrypticLife
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis passes, despite the lateness of the entry. None of the others are even close.

    Still voting for Simon to be offed.

  127. #128 Alex
    March 19, 2009

    I would add that scientism can also mean:

    “You believe in science?”

  128. #129 Fred Mounts
    March 19, 2009

    None! Can we include Walton on the next one, pretty please?

  129. #130 Susan
    March 19, 2009

    I think Facilis passed. He probably did as well as anyone on that list could be expected to (and my expectations are not high).

  130. #131 Steve in MI
    March 19, 2009

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.
    Erm, has anybody called “dibs” on him yet?

    Tempting, but… no. Although if Dustin (#97) is describing the going rate correctly, I might be able to save you 33%…

  131. #132 NFPendleton
    March 19, 2009

    I comment infrequently but read the blog daily, and I must say Africangenesis had me at the first hint of leftwinger smearing. He gets extra points for the irony of complaining about ad homenim attacks against him, also.

    Africangenesis is a douchebag. Flush him/her. Please.

  132. #133 Phineas
    March 19, 2009

    None.

    Just ban all of them and have done with it. Their responses (or lack thereof) to the challenges, with the truly weird exception of Facilis, are clearly not made in good faith and just continue the same pattern of behavior that makes them candidates for banning in the first place.

    It may be Spring Break, but surely we all have better uses for our time, like enjoying the increasingly nice weather, socializing with our friends and loved ones, or simply getting repeatedly struck in the face.

  133. #134 Brian
    March 19, 2009

    None! NONE I SAY!

  134. #135 Stephen Wells
    March 19, 2009

    Maybe the next immunity challenge can be for the contenders to make at least three responsive posts which do not include their favourite tropes; no high school for Kwok, no “left anarchists” for AG and so on.

  135. #136 Diane
    March 19, 2009

    Keep Rooke for now. He has a chance of passing for a sentient being if trained properly. Kwok, getting tired of hearing about your high school. It may have been the best seven years of your life, but to quote evil Willow before she skinned the leader of the Triumvirate, whose name I can’t remember, “bored now”.

  136. #137 youaretigerbait
    March 19, 2009

    if “none” is a legit vote, is “all” legit as well? because thats what I vote. axe them all.

  137. #138 NFPendleton
    March 19, 2009

    Oh, and in response to AG’s contention that he/she’s shown that the cave conservative POV on science issues is valid:

    BULLSHIT.

    Your ilk had eight years and an entire media machine to let the entire earth know just what they think of global warming, stem cell research, etc. – and they even went all effin’ nuts about Hadron the Collider.

    You guys dug your own holes – go live in them already.

  138. #139 jimmiraybob
    March 19, 2009

    …oral sex, bacon, and lesbians…

    Wait a minute, is this sweeps week?

  139. #140 CG
    March 19, 2009

    to ShaggyManiac@88 Actually I’d say the overarching theme from the day three thread was more polyamory than lesbians or bacon, a topic I personally find much more interesting than either of those!

    As far as who won the challenge… hmmm that’s pretty tough. I think the nature of these things suggests that we HAVE to pick a winner even if they all did a piss poor job. In that case I’d have to pick AfricanGenesis as the winner for the following reasons:
    1) he stayed under the allowed words
    2) he did address what he thinks the issue is for why people are upset with him and touched on parts of it, I think
    3) he’s not a godbot
    4) he doesn’t actually annoy me

    My vote for ousting still goes to Simon (but I did vote on the day 3 thread already), he’s by far the worst of what’s on the list. Let’s purge the homophobes!

  140. #141 Feynmaniac
    March 19, 2009

    As has been mentioned facilis also made an attempt. It’s pathetic that all of them used the opportunity for self-assessment to blame everyone else. I don’t think any of their attempts met the criteria of the challenge.

    I vote none.

  141. #142 donna
    March 19, 2009

    Eh. Nuke ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out. ;^)

  142. #143 Timebender13
    March 19, 2009

    John Kwok. He is just so entertaining!

  143. #144 NFPendleton
    March 19, 2009

    …And now that I’ve calmed down and re-read the rules, my vote on who should get immunity: NONE. None of them add anything but pointless conflict.

  144. #145 DuckPhup
    March 19, 2009

    NONE wins the immunity challenge. But I’d like to cast a belated vote for Pete Rooke to be ejected… he said ‘scientism’ in his immunity challenge submission.

  145. #146 donna
    March 19, 2009

    Oh, and polyamorous lesbian bacon hentai? I like that even more!

  146. #147 Yoritomo
    March 19, 2009

    I comment very rarely, and my vote thus probably carries little weight. But Facilis clearly met the technical specifications of the challenge, and he has demonstrated by far the greatest amount of self-awareness, making his contribution by far the best.

  147. #148 Erasmus
    March 19, 2009

    I don’t understand Kwok’s attempted justification of his behaviour. He implies that the lack of ID in his old, prestigious high school represents some kind of dagger-blow to the heart of creationism. But why on Earth would we expect ID to be taught in a school of that reputation? We wouldn’t; we’d actually be very surprised indeed if ID got half a toe over that school’s threshold. As far as I can tell, bragging is the only possible motivation for Kwok to expend so much energy, droning on so persistently.

    Why is Africangenesis on the list? I hope being a conservative libertarianism isn’t a sufficient condition for being kicked Surely he’s guilty of something else?

  148. #149 adobedragon
    March 19, 2009

    Petey, because if he’d turn his sick mind to horror writing and give up the god bothering, he might be an asset to the horror genre.

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.

    Erm, has anybody called “dibs” on him yet?

    This reminded me of a line from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander: “…male virginity might be a highly underrated commodity.”

  149. #150 vespera
    March 19, 2009

    Oops, I posted my vote to the old thread by accident. Get rid of African Genesis because he is a true ass. John Kwok is annoying but pathetic — no one’s ego should hinge on where he spent four years as a teenager, especially in a forum where I’m sure many people attended advanced high schools. (Yes, Kwok, I know your school is just so much better in every way than our schools, so feel free not to point it out. Or mention Stuyvesant HS ever again)

  150. #151 brandon
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  151. #152 Jadehawk
    March 19, 2009

    i have to reluctantly admit that facilis passed. it wasn’t a perfect score, but if any of them were capable of a perfect score, they probably wouldn’t be on the list in the first place

  152. #153 the pro from dover
    March 19, 2009

    I was always under the impression that scientism was a philosophical belief that everything could be explained scientifically, and a denial of the limited scope of science to those subjects that could be empirically investigated (repeatable, peer reviewable and publishable). To my knowledge there is no descriptive term for a person who believes in scientism beyond the adjective of “scientistic”. By the way wasn’t it the famous athiest/communist Billy Bragg who said “if you’ve got a blacklist I want to be on it?”

  153. #154 jimmiraybob
    March 19, 2009

    Upon further review I see that there are severe technical difficulties with Mr. Rooks entry. Sorry, but no immunities vote for you.

    Although maybe Mr. Kwok and Mr. Rook could team up on writing that novel.

  154. #155 Sioux Laris
    March 19, 2009

    None. (Pardon me if this is a double – I DID wait and check!)

  155. #156 'Tis Himself
    March 19, 2009

    Since none of them mentioned oral sex, bacon or lesbians, they all failed.

    Oh wait, that wasn’t the challenge.

    Facilis showed that he has some clue about why people find him tedious. PASS.

    Rooke tried too hard (about 400 words too hard) but he made an effort (about 400 words worth of too much effort). Just barely scraping by PASS.

    AG thinks it’s everyone elses’ fault that he’s disliked. If only we’d stop being leftist anarchists and become anarcho-capitalist libertarians then everything would be peaches and cream, the sun would shine, and the darkies would sing in the fields all live-long day. FAIL

    Kwok can’t understand why nobody cares that he went to a world famous high school that few people outside of New York City have ever heard of. It’s all our fault that we don’t realize how important it is that the high school that Kwok went to doesn’t teach ID and won’t as long as the principal is still in charge. So there, nyah. FAIL.

  156. #157 blueelm
    March 19, 2009

    No one met the challenge, in a way that seems almost pathological.

    I still vote for Simon though.

  157. #158 Lowell
    March 19, 2009

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.

    Okay, now I’m totally confused. Could someone please direct me to where Pastor Pete discusses his age and virginity?

    Last I checked, Pete had a family, presumably consisting of a woman and/or children (I don’t think there’s much difference to him).

    For example, here’s Pete last September at #192:

    I have never allowed anyone else in my family to use any of the internet unless supervised, but many people foolishly sign the release forms demanded by the school authorities that will allow your children to use the internet (without even notifying the parent when the internet is accessed).

    That strongly implies to me that there are children for whom Rookie has refused to sign release forms.

    I suppose he could be a 22-year-old virgin with children through adoption or something.

  158. #159 Logicel
    March 19, 2009

    Immunity vote goes to Facilis as he mustered a passing grade on the challenge.

  159. #160 Dahan
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  160. #161 Stu
    March 19, 2009

    Wow, another Stuyvesant grad talking about how awesome his school is, and indirectly, how awesome he is for having gone there.

    There isn’t nearly enough of those condescending pricks on the internet or in real life here in NYC.

    Kwok’s attempts to defend himself are a good argument AGAINST granting him immunity, and FOR voting him off the website.

  161. #162 SomeGuy
    March 19, 2009

    Keep AfricanGenesis. He adds entertainment value of a sort not provided by grunting ID trolls. We need at least one dissenting voice.

  162. #163 Stu
    March 19, 2009

    Why is Africangenesis on the list? I hope being a conservative libertarianism isn’t a sufficient condition for being kicked Surely he’s guilty of something else?

    From the dungeon:

    Insipidity
    A great crime. Being tedious, repetitive, and completely boring; putting the blogger to sleep by going on and on about the same thing all the time.

    Slagging
    Making only disparaging comments about a group; while some of this is understandable, if your only contribution is consistently “X is bad”, even in threads that aren’t about X, then you’re simply slagging, not discussing.

    Stupidity
    Some people will just stun you with the outrageous foolishness of their comments; those who seem to say nothing but stupid things get the axe.

    Wanking
    Making self-congratulary comments intended only to give an impression of your importance or intelligence.

  163. #164 blueelm
    March 19, 2009

    Lowell– I am really hoping Rooke will clarify this. I thought I was confused until you brought those posts up. Rooke, what are you pretending to be?

  164. #165 ctenotrish
    March 19, 2009

    Oh, these I’ve read so this is a legit vote! None.

    Patricia, OM, glad Sven is off (actually, back on) the couch. :)

  165. #166 IST
    March 19, 2009

    Rooke tried… he didn’t do well, but he did try.

    Facilis may have actually managed immunity.

  166. #167 Ghost of Minnesota
    March 19, 2009

    All three failed spectacularly. No immunity for anyone.

  167. #168 BeamStalk
    March 19, 2009

    None, none of them fulfilled the rules of the challenge.

  168. #169 chancelikely
    March 19, 2009

    I’d say Facilis responded in a way that approaches having answered the question asked. Given a certain generousness in grading, I’d grant him immunity.

    None of the other three came even close.

  169. #170 Jon
    March 19, 2009

    Afric is obviously clueless.

    Kwok apologized, when an apology was not what was requested. Though, the things he apologized for were part of the reason he’s on the list, I still feel as though an apology does not necessarily convey understanding of annoying behavior.

    Rooke went way beyond the stated maximum. This should disqualify him, I feel.

    So, I vote for NONE. Though, Kwok did, I think, come the closer than the other two.

  170. #171 Ken S
    March 19, 2009

    None of those qualified as per the complete terms of the challenge. Institute an ERV type rule or tell them STFU.

  171. #172 MPM
    March 19, 2009

    Kwok succeeds^-1

    LOL

  172. #173 wildlifer
    March 19, 2009

    NONE

  173. #174 Ben
    March 19, 2009

    Despite the fact that I can think of about a hundred negative adjectives (smug, condescending, arrogant, humorless, etc) I’d toss at Africangenesis, I don’t think he should be banned. I enjoy watching him and KnockGoats (and others) go at it. But I wish he’d learn to quit repeating himself, and for the love of FSM, lighten up.

  174. #175 Ragutis
    March 19, 2009

    None satisfied the criteria, IMO.

    I’d give Petey a minor amount of partial credit for making an attempt without being a complete ass at the same time.

  175. #176 BeamStalk
    March 19, 2009

    Whoops just saw Facilis’ response, it does pass.

  176. #177 Pete Rooke
    March 19, 2009

    blueelm,

    It is a hypothetical. I should have prefaced it with a “would never”…

  177. #178 Rhysz
    March 19, 2009

    I vote ‘none of the above’, they must all stay for my amusement! Seriously, who doesn’t get a kick out of reading what these guys claim……….falsely……..?

    Regards,
    Rhysz

  178. #179 AdamK
    March 19, 2009

    Rooke: “lie” =/= “hypothetical.”

    You sinner you.

  179. #180 squall25
    March 19, 2009

    Wow. They are all worthy entries. I will have to vote for africangenesis because if I am correct, this is the same illogical troll who infects Steve Schafersman’s blog with idiotic comments. I know I am biased. Guess I am only human.

  180. #181 Sven DiMIlo
    March 19, 2009

    *shrug*
    None of the entrants really needs immunity, I think, because my gestalt-tally of the last thread suggests that it’s sImOn who gets plonked anyway.

    [On the topic of Kwok's threat of revenge-by-fiction, I happen to know of a good example of the genre with a biology setting. Check out Mojave Fringe. No, I am not the author, but I am a thinly disguised character in the story. Also, I went to a nondescript suburban public high school that's neither famous nor celebrated.]

  181. #182 Not that Louis
    March 19, 2009

    Do trolls go away after a while if you just ignore them? I don’t know because I’ve never seen a thread where it’s been tried. Trolls never seem to be short of enablers.

  182. #183 Raiko
    March 19, 2009

    None!
    Africangenesis apparently hasn’t even bothered to change course, Kwok – ironically – thinks himself the coolest, and Rooke, well Rooke…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

  183. #184 AdamK
    March 19, 2009

    I used to respect Sven, until he confessed about his high school. What a disappointment!

    (I used to know his Aunt Venus. Her charm was utterly disarming.)

  184. #185 blueelm
    March 19, 2009

    “It is a hypothetical. I should have prefaced it with a ‘would never’…”

    Ok, but what the church?

  185. #186 LKL
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  186. #187 Victor
    March 19, 2009

    NONE!

    I have seen any so blatantly unaware since I worked with middle school students.

  187. #188 Mauve
    March 19, 2009

    Vote for who you think meets the immunity challenge. Considering the quality of the entries, “None” is also a legitimate vote.

    Are you prompting us to pharyngulate a Pharyngula poll?

    None, nevertheless.

  188. #189 Kitty'sBitch
    March 19, 2009

    I don’t know that any of them really passed the challenge, but it did seem as though Simon was getting quite a bit of the vote yesterday, so perhaps his non-attempt says what needs to be said.
    The only opinion I have on the attempts for immunity is the one I stated yesterday.
    Using the term “scientism” in your defense is just ADORABLE!!
    Keep Pete.

  189. #190 Spiro Keat
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  190. #191 GreyRogue
    March 19, 2009

    I think that Facilis may have met the technical requirements for immunity, so she/he/it gets my vote for immunity for this round. However, when determining who should be banned, I think that Prof. Myers should consider that Pete Rooke appears to be educable and has demonstrated at least the ability to have civil discussions.

  191. #192 AnthonyK
    March 19, 2009

    For those confused: “Scientism” is an imaginary religion created by Beliefists.

  192. #193 CatBallou
    March 19, 2009

    I vote for immunity for Pete Rooke, despite his going over the word limit. I thought he was quite even-handed when he talked about how difficult it is to change one’s beliefs. As we see in so many conflicts—at the personal or political level—it’s frightening to accept even one of your opponent’s arguments, for fear of becoming vulnerable.
    Of course he didn’t talk about why he in particular is irritating, but he was at least rational.

  193. #194 Marshall Nelson
    March 19, 2009

    we have to judge whether any of our contestants have met their immunity challenge. The challenge was this:”

    The only way to win is not to play. – “War games”

  194. #195 Faith's A Sin Of Pride
    March 19, 2009

    Delurking…..like the others, to join the fun.

    Facilis should win immunity. Simon should go.

    Hey all, thanks for the great read all these years!
    PZ and Pharyngula have beome Net icons, and helped a world-wide community develop. This site is simply a must-read – for scientists, atheists, skeptics, free thinkers and other reality-based sorts.
    But enough fawning and sucking up. Someone may notice.
    Hmmmm. Maybe now I’ll be brave enough to become more of a wall flower, rather than a mere lurker…..

  195. #196 Thomas Winwood
    March 19, 2009

    Kwok bored me to death with his rambling. Africangenesis is incoherent. The other guy speaks volumes without saying anything.

    I vote none.

  196. #197 Inoculated Mind
    March 19, 2009

    I vote NONE.

    I read Pete Rooke’s explanation up until I saw the word “Scientism”. My eyes rolled off the screen, and fell on the floor. Please count this as a vote against Rooke as well in case I miss the voting round.

  197. #198 j.t.delaney
    March 19, 2009

    Immunity? For any of these guys? No sir, I don’t think so. If it wasn’t so much goddam fun to watch them dance for our amusement, I’d say drop them all immediately.

  198. #199 David
    March 19, 2009

    Pete Rooke is trying, just not hard enough.

    I have to vote for NONE. Let them all face a vote on whether or not they should stay.

  199. #200 Lowell
    March 19, 2009

    Just to recap that lie. Pastor Pete Rooke said:

    I have never allowed anyone else in my family to use any of the internet unless supervised, but many people foolishly sign the release forms demanded by the school authorities that will allow your children to use the internet (without even notifying the parent when the internet is accessed).

    Now, when confronted with the fact that he apparently does not have family members under his supervision (thank god), he says:

    It is a hypothetical. I should have prefaced it with a “would never”…

    That’s a lie. It was not “a hypothetical.” It was an anecdote about how Pastor Pete, supposedly, supervises his family (which apparently does not exist). It was comment #192 on this thread: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/i_am_a_very_naughty_boy.php

    So, there are two lies: (1) the initial lie that Pete doesn’t allow his family members on the internet unsupervised and (2) the lie in this thread that he intended the anecdote as “a hypothetical.”

  200. #201 Stwriley
    March 19, 2009

    I’m going to have to cast my immunity vote for Pete Rooke. I don’t normally penalize my students excessively for writing too much, so I can’t really do it here. He did otherwise make the best run at actually answering the challenge, no question.

  201. #202 Wes
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  202. #203 Kobra
    March 19, 2009

    I say they don’t deserve immunity since most of the trolls don’t believe in the evolution of the nervous system. :P

    Seriously, Nobody wins! Here’s why:

    AfricanGenesis just took the opportunity to blobiate about how he can’t understand why we all don’t agree with him and accused PZ of ignorance.

    I can’t tell if John Kwok’s posts are even an attempt to answer the challenge.

    Pete Rooke far exceeded the 200 word word count. My word count script counted 475 words, not counting the first line. http://www.kobrascorner.com/tech/wordcount.php – Test it yourself.

    Nobody put forth a legitimate answer to the challenge. Therefore, nobody gets immunity.

  203. #204 David Lee
    March 19, 2009

    None passed. But I think we ought to keep them all for a monthly “Idol” contest. I do enjoy a good singing contest. Plus Barb counted for two or three and she’s joined the choir invisible.

  204. #205 Longstreet63
    March 19, 2009

    I really was hoping that someone who have the self-awareness to write “You all think I’m a deluded wanker and wish I would stop bringing it to your attention.”

    But that would probably count as proof of the existence of God.

    I say Facilis managed the only non-failing grade, which is ironic, since he’s actually the stupidest one.

    Just goes to show that you can train a monkey unless the monkey thinks it’s training you.

  205. #206 AdamK
    March 19, 2009

    All the Rookie apologists who think he’s cute and educable should note that he is a filthy liar. Lying is a sin. Not unlike failing to wash under your foreskin.

    Shame on you!

  206. #207 Geomancer
    March 19, 2009

    I think, as Sastra points on (#30) that Facilis appears to have met the requirements, so I vote that he wins the immunity requirements.

    That said, if you’re going to ignore him, none of the rest have met the requirements…so no immunity (or soup, for that matter) for them!

  207. #208 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    My, my, aren’t we figuring out some interesting stuff about these screwballs.

    AG’s brain strain immunity challenge. Kwok reviewing unread books. Right Reverend Rookie the big fibber.

    Hahaha, this is fun.

  208. #209 CrypticLife
    March 19, 2009

    I think Rooke’s going for insta-banning for not being able to keep his internet deceptions straight.

    I’m mad at all you, though. Barb did indeed come to visit another blog I go to regularly and started posting, this time on why it’s moral for the church to keep expensive works of art while thousands of adherents starve to death.

  209. #210 DTdNav
    March 19, 2009

    Faith’s a Sin: I’ve posted like maybe twice here. Does that make me a lurker or a wallflower?

    Keep Pete Rooke (this time), ban John Kwok.

    Pete shows promise if his response was actually self-composed. Life is too short to endure any more Bandcamp(TM) stories from Kwok.

  210. #211 Moses
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  211. #212 Dianne
    March 19, 2009

    I think that “none” is probably the best answer, but if someone has to be picked, I say that facilis should win because this line “It did not help that I repeated myself a lot. ” is the only one that I saw that involved actual self criticism.

  212. #213 Jazmin
    March 19, 2009

    None

  213. #214 Moses
    March 19, 2009

    Oh, and how do we get “Scott From Oregon” on this list? I’ve seen other libertarians dungeoned for constantly thread-jacking with their crazy world-view.

  214. #215 Watchman
    March 19, 2009

    I don’t supposed any details of Peter Rooke’s life should matter a whit when it comes to determining whether or not he has committed plonkable offenses above and beyond the call of tolerance, but… Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! What’s going on?

  215. #216 echidna
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis.

    “It did not help that I repeated myself a lot”.

    PZ, that post was Facilis, wasn’t it?

  216. #217 EricLR
    March 19, 2009

    None meet the immunity challenge.

    They all fail with either “I’m not liked because I’m too wonderful and make you question yourself”, proving they won’t change by continuing their attitude or straight TL;DR.

  217. #218 Menyambal
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis did best at writing a proper response to the challenge. But that ain’t saying much. Sure, give him immunity this round.

  218. #219 Wowbagger, OM
    March 19, 2009

    I think the original Pete Rooke (who turned up in after the cracker incident) and the current Pete Rooke are two different people. The former disappeared at the end of last year and this new one has only been around for a few weeks.

  219. #220 Xplodyncow
    March 19, 2009

    “Scientism”? What the hell is that? Now you’re just making up wordulars.

  220. #221 Cyberguy
    March 19, 2009

    I have re-examined the contribution from Facilis based on the rules of the challenge:

    1. 200 words or less
    Pass.

    2. Reveals that they actually understand why their attitudes and pattern of expression have so exasperated readers here

    Facilis – “I guess I ask difficult question. It’s not every day a theist asks an atheist to solve the problem of induction or account for the metaphysical foundations of morality nd logic, but back during my presup phase I did that a lot. It did not help that I repeated myself a lot. many people just do not have the patience.I also hold strong views on topics like sin, sex and abortion that most posters disagree with.People hate it when there worldviews are challenged.”

    Shows some (incomplete) self-awareness. Pass, just.

    3. Explains what they will do to change their behavior in the future.

    Facilis – “I probaly won’t bring up my presuppositional arguments here any more. I think anyone who looks at one of the previous threads will be able to get the essence of it.”

    Pass.

    Consequently I will withdraw my vote for “None” and will have to give it to Facilis by default, as the only person to have met the challenge conditions.

  221. #222 Feynmaniac
    March 19, 2009

    Oh no, Petey might have lied about who he is!? Has that ever happened in the whole history of the internet!

    Honestly, I don’t give two shits whether or not he lied. His personal life has no bearings on his arguments, well except maybe the ones on sex but his inexperience is quite self-evident there.

  222. #223 Qwerty
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis for his Notpology.

  223. #224 AdamK
    March 19, 2009

    I bet Petey didn’t go to a prestigious high school, either.

  224. #225 Jefrir
    March 19, 2009

    Pete Rooke. He gave the closest to an honest answer, and at least seems to have made an effort.

  225. #226 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    Wowbagger @220

    I think the original Pete Rooke (who turned up in after the cracker incident) and the current Pete Rooke are two different people. The former disappeared at the end of last year and this new one has only been around for a few weeks.

    Yah, this guy could definitely be doing an identity theft, being as he lies so. Or perhaps he just has the same name and found himself with a history.

    I’m not so good with the computer, but there’s got to be a couple of ways to figure this out, yes?

  226. #227 DavidD
    March 19, 2009

    No immunity. Bad answers all around. Remove John. We’ve heard enough squawk from Kwok.

  227. #228 KevinGreene
    March 19, 2009

    None met the challenge.

    Rooke obviously went over the word count but when you correct AGs post for spelling errors so did he (201 words).

  228. #229 Kaessa
    March 19, 2009

    Pete came the closest, and I give him points for actually trying, but nobody followed the rules.

    Winner of the immunity challenge: Nobody.

  229. #230 Wowbagger, OM
    March 19, 2009

    Kamaka wrote:

    I’m not so good with the computer, but there’s got to be a couple of ways to figure this out, yes?

    I would imagine that PZ has the capacity – but that makes me wonder that he he himself hasn’t compared the two email and/or IP addresses during the last few days. I’d have thought he’d have noticed the difference in tone between the two and double-checked. But he is a busy man cephalopod, and he’s only got one pair of hands set of tentacles.

    What’s with all the subterfuge in recent weeks? We’ve got truth machine posting as nothing’s sacred as well – it’s all a little strange.

  230. #231 The MadPanda
    March 19, 2009

    Given the criteria set forth and the responses made, none of the supplicants are worthy of immunity. None.

    Facilis gets partial credit for getting close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

    The MadPanda, FCD

  231. #232 Lowell
    March 19, 2009

    Wowbagger:

    I think the original Pete Rooke (who turned up in after the cracker incident) and the current Pete Rooke are two different people. The former disappeared at the end of last year and this new one has only been around for a few weeks.

    Maybe. I suppose PZ could compare the e-mail addresses from the Pete Rooke in the Crackergate threads to the Pete Rooke here lately.

    Is assuming a former poster’s name a Dungeonable offense? It doesn’t appear to fit the strict definition of Sockpuppetry or Morphing.

  232. #233 Vic
    March 19, 2009

    None. They are all painfully not self aware.

  233. #234 Science Avenger
    March 19, 2009

    A few months ago I was alone on Pandas Thumb in confronting Sr. Kwok on his incessant name-dropping, so it’s nice to see I’m not alone. His response then was as it was here: to name drop some more and make the lame claim that all his Stuy references have to do with the principal’s supposed stance against ID, when a cursory reading of his posts shows no such thing. The poor guy lives in his own little world.

    The really funny thing is if you check the USNews rankings, Stuyvesant ranks an unspectacular 23rd, behind even my neighbors over at the School of Science & Engineering in Dallas.

    How the mighty have fallen.

  234. #235 Kobra
    March 19, 2009

    @228: I read the first line of your post as “Pete came out of the closet.” Hahaha.

  235. #236 Mu
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis has again met the challenge, what’s scary in itself (as in showing he’s bright enough to see the writing on the wall).
    Kwok reminds me of something I saw at a recent funeral in Germany. A 21st century grave, marked with “Leutnant a. D, Ritterkreuztraeger”. While it’s sure impressive to gotten that rank and medal as a very young man (by his birth date he was barely in his twenties at the end of the war), it also indicated that he lived for another 60 years afterward not achieving anything he considered more important to be memorized for. And that’s sad in and by itself.

  236. #237 Murray
    March 19, 2009

    None.

  237. #238 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    Wowbagger,

    Yah, though maybe one of the more skilled can set up some links to posts from Crackergate days for us to read. I assume it would be obvious if it was a different person or not.

    So Rookie, you got anything to say/confess about this??

    PS Wow, speaking of not so good, how do I do the line-through thingy?

  238. #239 jufulu, FCD
    March 19, 2009

    I don’t know if any one else has said it,

    Nuke them all, let God decide.

    Seems fair to me.

  239. #240 the pro from dover
    March 19, 2009

    Could someone please clarify why the term “scientism” is objectionable in relation to a philosophical viewpoint? This is certainly not a “made up” term, and I can remember this all the way back to college philosophy classes in the early 60′s. Does it have some perjorative meaning I’m unaware of?

  240. #241 Kaessa
    March 19, 2009

    I’d actually like to change my vote (since I didn’t see Facilis’ entry). As much as I hate to say it, I’d have to give Facilis a pass for this round.

  241. #242 TheBlackCat
    March 19, 2009

    Kwok is the only one who showed even a remote understanding of his faults, and is also the only one who did not blame everyone else for his treatment. So I would say he wins immunity this time.

  242. #243 RockitQueen
    March 19, 2009

    Coming out of lurkerdom to vote for Facilis for his incredibly bizarre condom distribution comments.

  243. #244 AnthonyK
    March 19, 2009

    I sense an almost theological parsing of the unwilling contestants’ every word.
    In time to come, the facilis “declaration” may be more argued over than Marin Luther’s.
    Pete’s pronouncements – following the famous “overlong” justification – are even now the subject of an authenticity debate.
    While Africangenesis, though undoubtedly a real person, is felt to be insufficiently divine.
    Silver fox has fainted and is being revived with smelling salts.
    “John Kwok’s Little Book of Arguments” seems set to be a comic bestseller.
    History will be the ultimate arbiter of their repuations..but I feel humbled to walk the internet at the same time as these future saints..

  244. #245 Zetetic
    March 19, 2009

    Changing my vote from flacidis…sorry I meant Facilis back to kicking out…

    Simon

    Sorry about the change PZ… I just had to change my vote when Simon made a comment about AIDS in Africa that was just as repugnant as Facilis’, but less coherent.

    here

  245. #246 Rey Fox
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis, Facilis, Facilis. He’s too boring to live.

    Also, anyone else who comes around here with “presuppositionalism”. It’s bullshit and a complete non-starter, people. Stop it.

  246. #247 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    AnthonyK @245

    LOL, great call.

  247. #248 Dave
    March 19, 2009

    all his [Kwok's] Stuy references have to do with the principal’s supposed stance against ID

    My question, as I expect everyone else’s is as well, is who cares? The principal of Stuyvesant took a stand against ID/cretinism; In related news, the President of Notre Dame has taken a stance against abortion.

  248. #249 Felix
    March 19, 2009

    #241,
    in The Panda’s Black Box, the author Daniel J. Kevles in the introduction determines that Intelligent Desing is a scientistic movement, for the claim that supernatural design activity would be scientifically detectable (given a broadening of scientific methodology and standards).
    Daniel Dennett points out (Breaking the Spell) that ‘Scientism’ is often a reproach against those who criticise religion from a scientific viewpoint, used to immunize the belief system against criticism instead of conceding the argument.
    In discussions, it ‘always’ comes to the point where you’re going to be accused of ‘scientism’ (implying that you believe that science has always and will always find all the useful answers and lay the groundwork for all other disciplines, i.e. Geisteswissenschaften). As Dennett, Kutschera and many others have argued rather compellingly, this is not an invalid stance. However, the person throwing out ‘scientism’ in an intent of devaluation of the opposing position does so in relying on the comfortable tradition that it is conversationally ‘unfair’ to demand any sort of rigorous evidential standard for claims about souls, spirit, transcendent entities, love etc. It’s a rhetorical knockout tactic; precisely the thing ‘new atheism’ tries to break up by conversationally pursuing substantiation of claims.

  249. #250 Lee Picton
    March 19, 2009

    Oohh! Oohh! Oohh! I know what you should do. Give each candidate a vote on the other candidates. A vote means banishment. However, along with the vote must be a statement on why the other person should be banished instead of you.

  250. #251 Wowbagger, OM
    March 19, 2009

    Lee Picton wrote:

    I know what you should do. Give each candidate a vote on the other candidates.

    Oh, you’re wicked. That’s an excellent idea. I once tried to get facilis and Piltdown at each other’s throat’s but they refused to play along.

    So, with that in mind, I vote we implement Lee’s idea and make them fight each other for survival. No holds barred and so forth. May the best least offensively stupid religious belief win!

    And before anyone else can says it – I wager three hundred quatloos on the newcomer…

  251. #252 JennyAnyDots
    March 19, 2009

    For what it’s worth, I’m not sure that any of them really met the challenge for immunity this time, but at least these 4 had a go. The others on the list have failed even more for not trying, and maybe all 4 here could be given a chance to try the next challenge. As per my comment on the other thread, I’d still vote for Simon.

  252. #253 Stanton
    March 19, 2009

    After reading simon’s latest post on the pope quackery thread, I’d like to see him banned IMMEDIATELY. Simon’s malign stupidity is the kind of stupidity that deserves absolutely no ceremony beyond a second and final lobotomy, and, thanks to his various genitalia and erotic fantasies, maybe castration.

    As for the people voting for Facilis receiving immunity, well, can someone point out the post he made where he was able to successfully “challenge (our) world belief” by demonstrating specifically how “GOD = LOGIC”?

    Nerd of Redhead, you remember when and where he said that, hmmmm?

  253. #254 Inky
    March 19, 2009

    I can do without Facilis’s defensive notapology, too. F minus.

  254. #255 Kobra
    March 19, 2009

    I voted for Facilis in the other thread, but I’d like to change my vote to Simon.

  255. #256 Feynmaniac
    March 19, 2009

    Lee Picton @251,

    I made a similar suggestion,

    Choose one of your fellow 5 contestants. Give one compliment to that contestant, one criticisms, and one way that contestant can improve their posts, all in under 200 words.

    I’d like to see them compete with one another. It would be fun to watch, in a “cripple fight” sort of way.

  256. #257 Qwerty
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis for his Notpology.

  257. #258 Wowbagger, OM
    March 19, 2009

    Oh, and I’m still voting for Simon to go. He has no redeeming features. The others manage to evoke a laugh or two when they try to argue that they’re consistent and logical, or that their belief system, if implemented, wouldn’t lead to the collapse of society into a nightmarish dystopian feudal system.

  258. #259 MoxieHart
    March 19, 2009

    I vote goes unenthusiastically to Facilis.
    Do any of you on the chopping block even want immunity? Where’s the begging and pleading? Where are the fights to the death with the other contestants? LAME!

  259. #260 MoxieHart
    March 19, 2009

    Ugh, that should be “My vote.”

  260. #261 KarlHungus
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis. If none wins, the contestants may stop attempting the immunity challenges. That would be a shame because their attempts are amusing.

  261. #262 KarlHungus
    March 19, 2009

    Also, this method of choosing an immunity winner (votes from the same people voting for elimination) seems to make it unlikely that a contestant high in the running for elimination would also be chosen for immunity. I think PZ should judge for immunity. And now I realize I’m a survivor geek.

  262. #263 Marc Buhler
    March 19, 2009

    In the previous thread, somewhere after Pete Rooke’s “effort”, it was pointed out that he has copied sections into his reply.

    **** PLAGIARISM ALERT ****

    I took a couple of passages and Googled them, easily getting hits. Doesn’t anyone suspect his writing in that reply was of a somewhat different style? Admittedly it was in the latter part of his post and the “tl;dr” effect may mask it, but….

    If you can’t write your own reply in a Live-and-Death Immunity Challenge, you have just writ your reply for real.

    I say remove him for cheating of the highest degree, and then we can vote from the remaining ones for Kwok to leave next!

  263. #264 tripwire
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis deserves immunity.

    He does a decent effort at self-reflection, without getting condescending and dropping the his kindergarden teacher’s name. Which is surely a win in my book.

  264. #265 nick nick bobick
    March 19, 2009

    re the libertarians

    Perhaps after this round of eliminations finishes (however far it goes), we should have a Survivor Pharyngula: Libertarian Island Edition. Ther are enough of them it might be worthwhile.

  265. #266 John Phillips, FCD
    March 19, 2009

    None have succeeded. In fact, generally they seem intent on digging themselves in deeper. What’s that saying about digging and holes, or is it digging and assholes.

  266. #267 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 19, 2009

    Stanton, somewhere in this long thread. I didn’t see anything in late December (24th) except us asking for physical evidence, which I believe preceded his presupposition.

  267. #268 Dustin
    March 19, 2009

    This is certainly not a “made up” term, and I can remember this all the way back to college philosophy classes in the early 60′s. Does it have some perjorative meaning I’m unaware of?

    Universities became infected with postmodernism, and it made everyone stupid. Now just mumbling, “Humph! Positivism!” or “Harumph! Scientism!” or “Huff! Reductionism!” is enough to dispel any argument whether that argument depends on any of those three things or not.

  268. #269 BadMA
    March 19, 2009

    I have to agree. None of them made an honest attempt to answer. There should be no winner!

  269. #270 nmcvaugh
    March 19, 2009

    Just had a chance to start watching this weekend’s Family Guy, and got up to the part where Brian ‘interviews’ Stewie, ala this clip. Anybody else notice a similarity between Stewie’s answers and some of the survivor contestants?

  270. #271 jasonk
    March 19, 2009

    Keep AfricanGenesis. He adds entertainment value of a sort not provided by grunting ID trolls. We need at least one dissenting voice.

    Walton brings everything that Africangenesis brings, but with more introspection and without the crazed bloodlust.

  271. #272 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 19, 2009

    Africangenesis did not even try.

    John Kwok wanted to try, but he’s just not capable of even trying.

    Pete Rooke tried… and then he got carried away… <sigh> …has yet to learn that the very word “scientism” is an argument from ignorance…

    facilis tried, and at the same time tried to accuse us of being cowardishly dogmatic.

    Well, how strict are you, PZ? If you’re strict enough, all four fail — yes, even facilis, who is completely unaware that the one single thing which annoys us most about him is that he still hasn’t grasped the difference between an argument and a naked assertion; we keep asking him to support his assertions with evidence, logic, anything, and he just keeps ignoring that. If you’re lenient enough, Pete Rooke and facilis pass. If you’re somewhere in between, it’s possible that the one passes and the other doesn’t, or the other way around.

    ————————

    The only way to win is not to play. – “War games”

    No, no, no, Charlie the Already Banned:

    “Win first, then go to battle.”
    – Sunzi

    how do I do the line-through thingy?

    The tag is <s&gt. Yes, this is not the standard HTML strikethrough tag — that would be <strike>, and, amazingly, it does not work here.

  272. #273 Vertalio
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis I suppose wins immunity, and slagging Rooke seems like kicking a puppy. So I let him be. Lying is a traditional Christian value, after all.
    Kwok? Kind of like gum on the sole of your shoe…annoying but you could always scrape it off and sugar it up and after all it was once chewed by a student at the most prestigious high school in the land. Although it tastes like pigeon shit.

    Another vote to ostacize Simon.

  273. #274 Stwriley
    March 19, 2009

    Marc @ #264,

    Thanks for the update on Rooke’s immunity entry; I hadn’t paid too much attention to his previous comments and didn’t spot the change of style. In light of that, I must retract my vote for Rooke to receive immunity. Plagiarism is far too great an intellectual sin to be allowed to pass.

  274. #275 Vertalio
    March 19, 2009

    Can I buy an “r” ?

  275. #276 Alan Kellogg
    March 19, 2009

    Immunity -> Facilis. He made an honest effort in my estimation.

    Grand failure -> AfricanGenesis. Failed to comprehend the challenge. In which shortcoming he has been joined by certain other commenters on this thread. (“Immunity Challenge”; see, “Immunity Challenge”.)

    Clue immune -> Kwok. I was famous once. In a very narrow field in a limited way for a short period of time. Even wrote a column in a magazine, until it had to fold after the 6th issue (an out of court settlement between the respective parties). My friendships and the people I’ve met have no relevance to matters discussed here, so I don’t mention them. Would that Kwok understood that.

  276. #277 Aquaria
    March 19, 2009

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.

    Erm, has anybody called “dibs” on him yet?

    Shit. I hadn’t thought of Pete Rooke as fresh meat, and I do like ‘em young and inexp–er, trainable.

    Unfortunately for the Rookie (snicker), but perhaps fortunately for me, he is in England, and I am in Texas.

    Also, there’s room in the Aquaria dungeon for only one slave, and that spot is currently filled by Mr. Aquaria.

    Of course, I suspect the Rookie might do perfectly well in a BDSM relationship that doesn’t involve penetration or oral sex. In that case…

  277. #278 DominEditrix
    March 19, 2009

    Disemvowel them all and let the FSM sort them out. Epic fail, every one. But that git Simon has to go.

  278. #279 Godfrey
    March 19, 2009

    Policce verso to all three… them being xtians and all.

  279. #280 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 19, 2009

    DominEditrix

    Disemvowel them all and let the FSM sort them out.

    Ooh, lovely idea.

  280. #281 AJ Milne
    March 19, 2009

    I like how Pete Rooke’s popularity has picked up since everybody found out that he’s a confused young virgin.

    Do keep in mind this is the net. And that said alleged 22-year old virgin seems to have made some rather contradictory claims in older threads–a church he was apparently running, dependents he did seem to imply he had. And that he has a–I’m just gonna call it ‘picturesque’–way with metaphor, now and then…

    And now I’m reading allegations of plagiarism, too, am I?

    Let’s just say my ‘creep’ radar is pinging rather loudly, right now. You may call me paranoid if you wish.

  281. #282 TheFryingFIsh
    March 19, 2009

    NONE! and although I’ve been reading the blog for years this is the first time I’ve ever commented because of how bad they all answered. and my vote for the next ban, Africangenesis for being an arrogant condesending prick

  282. #283 «bųnez_brigade»
    March 19, 2009


    NONE_

    I was actually leaning toward voting Africangenesis for immunity, but his/her “conservatism” comment killed that.

  283. #284 WTFinterrobang
    March 19, 2009

    I really like the idea of the contestants competing against each other. It would likely increase the effort of the competitors if we voted for the best effort with the prize being the power to vote off one of the remaining competitors.

  284. #285 Aquaria
    March 19, 2009

    Oh–and my vote is….

    None.

    Not even Facilis. It was a piss-poor effort, full of backhanded insults and pettiness.

    Pete, I was starting to warm up to the idea of your becoming the Pharyngula gimp, but that plagiarism thing… Not cool. Sorry, you’re shark meat.

  285. #286 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    Thanks, DM. Hardly something that could be intuited.

    >strike>

  286. #287 David Jay
    March 19, 2009

    NONE

  287. #288 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    try again

  288. #289 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 19, 2009

    Where is this plagiarism by Rooke, i missed it.

  289. #290 «bųnez_brigade»
    March 19, 2009

    @David M. and kamaka,

    strike
    using: <strike>strike</strike>

    s
    using: <s>strike</s>

    (they work in the preview, but we’ll see how they perform in the big post-game…)

  290. #291 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 19, 2009

    Rev. BDC, First Report.

  291. #292 Discombobulated
    March 19, 2009

    Marc@264: Thanks, I missed ennui’s comment yesterday about plagiarism.

    Fuck you, Pete. You win. Or fail, however you want to see it.

    PZ: Vote change:

    REMOVE: John Kwok ?
    ADD: Pete Rooke ?

  292. #293 «bųnez_brigade»
    March 19, 2009

    D’oh, that second one had an extra “trike” in it…

  293. #294 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    strike

  294. #295 AJ Milne
    March 19, 2009

    Where is this plagiarism by Rooke, i missed it.

    I see one allegation here… I’d give the direct ref to the Springer pub it references, too, but y’know how the spam filter starts freaking on multiple links in a post. So follow to assess, I guess. Does look pretty likely he was borrowing from that abstract, at least.

  295. #296 AJ Milne
    March 19, 2009

    (…also, yeah, what NoR said. Same link.)

  296. #297 Eric Saveau
    March 19, 2009

    I once again echo the call for banning Africangenocide. He’s as smug, arrogant, self-righteous, pompous, dishonest and hateful as the worst of the creotards, a complete shit-stain of an excuse for a human being.

  297. #298 Kendo
    March 19, 2009

    I also vote none for immunity, although facilis almost made it.

    And to Kamika or anybody else with inquiries about, HTML tags. You can see how something was done by right-clicking on the the page and selecting “View Source” or something similar. Then just do a search on the name of the poster.

  298. #299 Kendo
    March 19, 2009

    My apologies Kamaka, for misspelling your name.

  299. #300 'Tis Himself
    March 19, 2009

    Rooke’s plagiarism is an automatic fail.

  300. #301 Rowan
    March 19, 2009

    @Kendo #299 You can see how something was done by right-clicking on the the page and selecting “View Source” or something similar. Then just do a search on the name of the poster.

    Actually, it is much easier to simply highlight the text in question, then right-clicking to “View Source”. You then have the immediate answer rather than having to comb through multiple lines or doing a search for the name of the poster or the comment number.

  301. #302 TheThomas
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis. It seems he actually tried. Blind and stumbling, he tried.

  302. #303 WTFinterrobang
    March 19, 2009

    It’s also possible to view the source for just a selection by highlighting it then right click to “View Selection Source.”

    Easier than the whole page.

  303. #304 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    This whole survivor thing is starting to work on my conscience.

    The bitches Stupid Barb and Nasty Simon well deserve to be sent to the pit. Too bad it’s but the cyber-pit, it would be so cool to lock them up together.

    But I’m starting to LMAO feel bad about this deconstruction of essentially harmless wackos like AG, Kwok and Rookie-Poo. Annoying is not evil.

  304. #305 TheThomas
    March 19, 2009

    Facilis. It seems he actually tried. Blind and stumbling, he tried.

  305. #306 Kendo
    March 19, 2009

    #302 & 303
    That’s what I do, but I’m using Firefox and I wasn’t sure if Internet Explorer has that option, assuming that most people still use IE.

  306. #307 kamaka
    March 19, 2009

    Is OK, Kindo

  307. #308 Owen
    March 19, 2009

    Well, facilis (I almost typed faecalis there!) sort of got it. So I guess I’m going to count him as immune for this round.
    I was going to vote off Kwok this round, but since AG is now in the running, I’m changing my mind to vote for him. If ever the term libtard was appropriate, it is for him (and the insufferable Scott from Oregon, of course – can he be next? Please?)

  308. #309 «bųnez_brigade»
    March 19, 2009

    @ WTFinterrobang [#285],
    I also favor that idea as an easy way to get rid of them. Troll-vs-Troll (TvT) would be fine entertainment, indeed.

    ———-

    @ Kendo [#307],
    Sadly, that seems to be the case (from this source, at least):
    http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=3

  309. #310 Greg Laden
    March 19, 2009

    I would give Kwok immunity because that will give him more time to negotiate a deal with his agent for the book.

  310. #311 Ragutis
    March 19, 2009

    Pete Rooke:

    Explain yourself. If you want to stay here and participate, I suggest you hop to it and make it good. Be honest, come clean, and answer these accusations. Because otherwise, I expect many are likely to stop being so optimistic and generous towards you and will vote your butt out of here.

  311. #312 blueelm
    March 19, 2009

    I agree with Ragutis. There are aspects of Pete that I find interesting, and aspects I find quite funny and strange. Some of his more recent posts have warmed me a bit, but why the lies and stolen words? What else is stolen Pete? Maybe it’s time to be here as yourself or leave!

  312. #313 David Utidjian
    March 19, 2009

    Science Avenger @ #235:

    I think I remember reading that bit on PT. I was gonna jump in but you seemed to be doing fine. In fact that was what twigged me to John Kwok’s odd view of his place in the world. I say ‘his place in the world’ because that seems to be a full third (or more) of the subject matter of his posts.

    It is strange in a sense… I lived in a lot of places as I grew up and went to as many different schools. Eventually I graduated from high school and even though my high school was quite a good one I didn’t make the best use of all it had to offer. I went on to a very good university and again failed to make the best use of my time there. I did have one heckuvalot of fun though. I have even met some pretty famous people, including PZ Myers (is that name dropping when it is on his blog?) who may not even remember me. I can assure you that we did not discuss John Kwok and barely talked about the college where I work.

    Anyhow… as tempting as it is sometimes to blab on about places I have been, people I have met, schools I went to, and whatnot… I have noticed that it bores other people as much as it bores me to hear about all their places, people, and schools. It can be interesting to hear about what someone has actually done or is doing or what some famous person is like or some sort of interesting activity at a school but John delivers on none of those. Whenever he does talk about his past or present activities it always seems to be exclusive rather than inclusive. He never brings me in to his world. From what I can see of it I wouldn’t want to go there.

    Sometimes I fear I might have a touch of the Aspbergers myself.

    Even with his stance on ID as a plus he really hasn’t done much for ‘the cause’ that I can see. I have read some of his posts on Amazon, Pandas Thumb and here and he has lost my interest in anything he has to say by being such a bore. To sum it all up… John Kwok creeps me out.

    Oh! This was about voting or something…

    Boot the lot of them.

    -DU-

  313. #314 Hideki
    March 19, 2009

    Hihi

    Immunity vote for John Kwok

    He might be a bit of an arse but I just don’t think we should be booting people out who are not theists / creationists / liars, it’s certainly possible to educate that one…

    Additionally, saying he issued another threat is a bit disingenuous, he effectively ‘threatened’ to fictionalise PZ or someone in a book he’s writing, that’s surely the right of any author.

    Anyway, not wasting more time on this, you have my 2p/worth and my vote -.o;

  314. #315 Stu
    March 19, 2009

    Aspbergers

    By spelling that incorrectly, I pronounce you safe!

    I kid, I kid.

  315. #316 EagleAZ4
    March 19, 2009

    I recognize this should be a vote for who best won the Immunity Challenge, but I choose to vote for who (whom?) best annoys the hell out of me, now that Barb has been dispatched to the dungeon.

    And I can’t say thanks for the visuals that were presented, as much as I may have liked whips and chains in a former life.

    Kwok must go. As one of the old farts around here, I have no patience for anyone that continues to worship anything or anyone associated with one’s high school. Especially when used to justify trolling.

    Although, having been relegated to occasionally living vicariously through others, the thought of Barb and Kwok stuck with each other for “eternity” gives me pause…

  316. #317 Cosmas
    March 19, 2009

    My votes:

    Immunity for Facilis

    Teh Ax for Simon

  317. #318 mayhempix
    March 19, 2009

    All things considered, I vote immunity for Facilis because he really seems to believe he’s trying and really seems to want to stay. In some ways we may the only real social network he has. (And yes, I’m a bit of a sentimental sucker for the socially inept.)

    Rooke comes in second because he too seems to really want to stay even though he won’t come out say it while saying way too much of everything else.

    Kwok is too self involved to get it at all but is quirky enough to be interesting at times.

    (Of course there is always the possibility that one or more of the above are Poesters, but if that is the case, they definitely pull it off in grand style.)

    AG has to go.

  318. #319 Lou FCD
    March 19, 2009

    None.

    The boot for Kwok.

  319. #320 Sabre
    March 19, 2009

    As with so many others, delurking just to vote.

    Facilis came closest to the immunity challenge, so the vote is for him. Pete might have if he stayed within the word count limit and not swiped content from off the interwebz. However, I suspect he has Intertubez Induced Multiple Personality Disorder, and while that creeps me out, it also causes many giggles. I suspect the truth of his identity lies somewhere in between both assumed lives. He’s a fairly literate college educated virgin with a propensity to spout religious fairy tales to ease the pain of his loneliness. Other than his annoying godbotting in his older incarnation, I can’t see any reason to really bust him out on his ass.

    Well, unless he starts waxing on about mini-skirts that is.

  320. #321 Longstreet63
    March 19, 2009

    Is there any way we can change the contest from “Survivor” to “Battle Royale”? Who would win that?

    The Japanese have such brilliant ideas.

  321. #322 Leigh Williams
    March 20, 2009

    Hang on a minute, here, folks. I’m looking at Pete Rooke’s last paragraph, and I’m looking at the Springerlink abstract.

    The thrust and meaning of Pete’s paragraph DO NOT match the abstract. What he stole (or more charitably, used without attribution) was a phrase — and he changed some words in that:

    Barbara Becker’s abstract:

    “the expression of the eyes, gestures and body posture, or the rhythm and sound of the voice”

    Pete:

    “Eye contact, gestures and body posture, or the rhythm and sound of the voice are forsaken.”

    I googled five other phrases from that last paragraph and got no hits. Marc, can you tell us which phrases you looked for, and where you found duplicates?

    Unless I’m missing something, it seems to me that Pete did some research to support his essay and lifted a phrase from an academic article he found. I’ve seen many undergraduates make that mistake; it should be corrected, but in my classroom, where plagiarism was a death sentence and an automatic “F”, I wouldn’t have called up the firing squad. Not for this, if the rest of the paragraph was his.

    My immediate reaction to the plagiarism charge is “hang ‘em high”; intellectual dishonesty is contemptible. But on the evidence I see so far, Pete’s not guilty.

    I’m open to correction if an admittedly somewhat cursory look at this doesn’t tell the whole story.

  322. #323 Feynmaniac
    March 20, 2009

    Is there any way we can change the contest from “Survivor” to “Battle Royale”? Who would win that?

    Since this should should be educational I say we take a page from the Dallas system on how to settle who gets immunity:

    Dallas school accused of staging fights

    DALLAS ? The Dallas school system was rocked by allegations Thursday that staff members at an inner-city high school made students settle their differences by fighting bare-knuckle brawls inside a steel cage.

  323. #324 Leigh Williams
    March 20, 2009

    Also, damn, what’s with the blockquote function? I’m not intentionally “white spacing” the thread. All I’m doing is blockquote, slash blockquote. Is there some magical way to prevent random extra cr+lf’s from being thrown in?

  324. #325 James F
    March 20, 2009

    Hasn’t Simon accumulated enough votes to be thrown off the island already? The immunity challenge is likely a moot point, but John K. and Facilis were the only ones who addressed the question, and John was first to do so.

  325. #326 Dust
    March 20, 2009

    Facilis gets my vote for immunity challenge.

    Plonk AG.

  326. #327 Fallsaturdays
    March 20, 2009

    NONE!

    And I think if Kwok didn’t receive the most votes, he earned an automatic berth in the dungeon for his boorish behavior while “defending” himself.

  327. #328 Rahne
    March 20, 2009

    Facilis. Simply Facilis

  328. #329 DB
    March 20, 2009

    No one deserves immunity, especially not the douche (Kwok) who keeps talking about high school as if it matters after graduation. I typically just read the posts, but that clown has encouraged me to speak.

  329. #330 Ciaphas
    March 20, 2009

    I think Facilis passed and Kwok failed in a funny enough way to count as a pass. As for my vote to get tossed, I’ve got to go with Simon for being incoherent and evil.

    I would also like to note that this whole “survivor” thing strikes me as a gigantic blog wank: both entertaining and healthy.

  330. #331 Holydust
    March 20, 2009

    I honestly gave it an open-minded look, but I say none. All the attempts were bitter hand-bitings.

    NONE.

  331. #332 adina
    March 20, 2009

    I am not sure why Africangenesis is up for vote. His comment wasn’t particulalrly disrespectful. Additionally, his disagreements concern politics, not science. He doesn’t seem to be a denialist, and I thought this was about getting rid of people who advocate fiction over science, rather than people who maintain some political disagreements.
    Even reasonable people with a shared political outlook will disagree on some issues, so I don’t see anything particularly offensive about his post. If you equate political belief with scientific evidence, this could further mislead the public into thinking that science is based on ideology, rather than evidence.

  332. #333 adina
    March 20, 2009

    I am not sure why Africangenesis is up for vote. His comment wasn’t particulalrly disrespectful. Additionally, his disagreements concern politics, not science. He doesn’t seem to be a denialist, and I thought this was about getting rid of people who advocate fiction over science, rather than people who maintain some political disagreements.
    Even reasonable people with a shared political outlook will disagree on some issues, so I don’t see anything particularly offensive about his post. If you equate political belief with scientific evidence, this could further mislead the public into thinking that science is based on ideology, rather than evidence.

  333. #334 Zetetic
    March 20, 2009

    voting for …

    NONE

  334. #335 LordYoukai
    March 20, 2009

    I vote Pete Rooke – the content was less annoying and not outwardly unapologetic or pathetic. Just dogmatic.

  335. #336 LordYoukai
    March 20, 2009

    Wait – strike that. Plagiarism is right out.

    Vote NONE

  336. #337 druidbros
    March 20, 2009

    Well lets review… Africangenesis and Facilis both think they are sent here to ‘enlighten’ us yet they refuse to debate honestly or admit when they have failed both logic and presuppositions. Kwok continually talks about high school which makes me doubt he/she has actually experienced it yet. Pete can’t count…

    I vote NONE. We can only hope for a better class of trolls.

  337. #338 clinteas
    March 20, 2009

    *YAWN*

    facilis in,at least tried to meet the challenge

    AG in,because disagreement is not a reason for banning

    Kwok in,for having NPD is no reason for banning

    Simon out,he’s just a troll

  338. #339 Philip1978
    March 20, 2009

    So let me get this straight.

    A load of religious nutbars and one self opinionated atheist nutbar come to this site on a regular basis – which, correct me if I am wrong, indicates they actually WANT to be here to either convert the heathens or to bore the shit out of poor folk.

    They are busy annoying the crap out of people in their own special way which results in people asking for their banishment.

    If I was in this predicament, if I really still wanted to post here I would do my ultimate best to find a way to do that.

    PZ provides a little bit of fun into the equation but ultimately gives them the chance to redeem themselves

    What do they do?

    Everything that has provoked calls for their banishment in the first place!

    EPIC FAIL!

    I vote for None in the immunity challenge, they did not even attempt to confront the task with even the slightest cup of Tea and therefore deserve no protection.

  339. #340 John Morales
    March 20, 2009

    IMO, Facilis met the terms of the challenge, and Pete Rooke tried to, but failed.

    Re this whole Survivor: Pharyngula issue:
    I see it as an applied version of that saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”.

    Please remember that the candidate list was chosen by popular vote, after many requests for plonking by exasperated regulars and others. All the candidates have earnt their status by the consensus of commenters.

    Most internet forums dread trolls, both deliberate and functional, because of the disruption and threadjacking they cause, and the normal dictum is to try to starve them by ignoring them, and then just ban them if they persist.
    Typically, banning after a first warning and draconian rules are the norm.

    Pharyngula is different.

    PZ, instead, has chosen to use them to generate threads and let commenters vent.
    PZ gets cheap posts, commenters get to have fun, disruptive posters get to dance for our amusement.

    I like it! :)

  340. #341 clinteas
    March 20, 2009

    John,

    PZ gets cheap posts a new Plasma TV, commenters get to have fun, disruptive posters get to dance for our amusement.

    Fixed.
    LOL

  341. #342 Flea
    March 20, 2009

    None.

  342. #343 SEF
    March 20, 2009

    what’s with the blockquote function?

    It and the processing/display of line-breaks and paragraphs are very buggy round here. Approximately speaking, pairs of typed line-breaks (not explicit BR tags) are deleted and interpreted as a change of paragraph (which hardly shows as any gap at all). Single line-breaks, ie merely starting on a new line, are kept and added to a change of paragraph. Putting the blockquote inline with the text before and afterwards still results in displayed gaps.

    I performed a series of 4 tests (across several posts) on the gapping behaviour here. In summary: the smallest gap before a blockquote is achieved by leaving a completely blank line before it (ie two return key presses rather than one or none or an explicit paragraph end); the smallest gap after a blockquote is achieved by any of a blank line (ie two return key presses), explicit HTML paragraphs and no returns or merely no returns (ie continuing typing inline with the end of the blockquote). The worst possible thing you can do is to start and end the blockquote on its own line (ie single return) – which is of course the most natural thing to do.

    The other notable blockquote problem is the way it breaks if it contains more than one implied paragraph of text. If you can’t reduce the source text you want to quote down to a single paragraph (with ellipsis if necessary), use explicit p tags and no return key presses within the blockquote.

  343. #344 Peter Ashby
    March 20, 2009

    NONE

    What a load of self serving claptrap. Nary a mention of evidential bases for our ideas and how incredibly useful such approaches have been to us. No, presuppositions and beliefs should rule. I’m actually not sure such people should be allowed to live, such is the misuse of the wetware between their ears. They can take your driver’s license away, how about your brain owners license for repeated misuse? After a decent age of course, which might excuse Kwok since his school fetish indicates he has no other life experiences to talk about.

  344. #345 clinteas
    March 20, 2009

    I’m actually not sure such people should be allowed to live, such is the misuse of the wetware between their ears. They can take your driver’s license away, how about your brain owners license for repeated misuse?

    Peter Ashby,

    do not post when intoxicated ! I hope you are,anyway.

  345. #346 The Chimp's Raging Id
    March 20, 2009

    I think Facilis came closest, but unfortunately I have to vote

    NONE

  346. #347 Ruana
    March 20, 2009

    None. Not a single one of them shows any sign of having considered that the problem may lie with themselves, and would rather put the blame for other people’s annoyance on our supposedly closed minds.

  347. #348 Peter Ashby
    March 20, 2009

    @Clinteas, why sir the sun is not over the yardarm here. I did have a dram of Highland Park prior to retiring, but that was nearly 12 hours ago. I often think people who don’t exercise and should do so should have their limbs confiscated and those people who sit outside the local limb fitting centre in wheelchairs puffing away in their grey skins should have their lungs confiscated until they can show they will look after them. While I’m at it, people who obsessively read their bibles should be forced to wear TMS helmets that inhibit their ability to read until they read something decent.

    Must go, a sixth sense tells me one of the local bairns is playing on a playstation despite there being no reason why they aren’t outside. Toodle pip.

  348. #349 True Bob
    March 20, 2009

    None

  349. #350 One Eyed Jack
    March 20, 2009

    Am I the only one that is tired of this silly “Survivor” parody/process?

    If you want to ban someone, ban them. Maybe then we can get on with something interesting.

  350. #351 Tassie Devil
    March 20, 2009

    AG – one long ‘if only you understood me’ whinge. FAIL

    Facilis – Some insight; aware that repeating the same drivel is deeply annoying, and a promise (!) to do less of same – BARE PASS (with instant dump if he reverts to type)

    Kwok – zero comprehension or insight, and tedious repetition of faults that have been clearly flagged – EPIC FAIL

    Rooke – a decent attempt to explain; over the word count, but if the subject enthused him enough to make that degree of effort, then that is something to be encouraged. Unless there is clear evidence of plagiarism (and again, internet research for the answer could be a good thing, as long as there is evidence of cerebral filtering of data) I’d say – PASS

    Oh – outside of the challenge section, silverfox has done a kwok, returning to bore us with more of the same, without humour or insight. Plus it annoys me that he uses a descriptor that is suposed to apply to an older man who is intelligent, humorous and sexy and I am absolutely certain he is none of these.

    Simon is distracting us from the more worthy contestants. I vote we remove him from the contest, take him outside, slap him around a bit and ban him anyway. He should have been banned long ago as pretty much every one of his posts breaks the rules. And a dodgy grasp of written english is OK if you’re trying to make an effort in the discussion, but otherwise…

  351. #352 John Morales
    March 20, 2009

    One Eyed Jack @351, since you don’t like it, why not skip these posts?

    Pretty easy, really.

    BTW, have you noted how many have delurked in the course of this little “parody/process”?

  352. #353 cap
    March 20, 2009

    none. jeez.

  353. #354 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 20, 2009

    Oh, so strike now works, too… must be the software update.

    Actually, it is much easier to simply highlight the text in question, then right-clicking to “View Source”.

    This option doesn’t exist in the IE, where you can only view the source of a whole page at once.

    Also, damn, what’s with the blockquote function? I’m not intentionally “white spacing” the thread. All I’m doing is blockquote, slash blockquote. Is there some magical way to prevent random extra cr+lf’s from being thrown in?

    Insert one empty line both before and after the blockquote. That’s what I do; it still doesn’t look intelligent, but better than what you got.

    The worst possible thing you can do is to start and end the blockquote on its own line (ie single return) – which is of course the most natural thing to do.

    What? Natural? This being the Internet, where the tab key doesn’t work, the natural thing is to separate paragraphs with empty lines ( = hitting Enter twice), and to treat each blockquote as a paragraph. ~:-|

    The other notable blockquote problem is the way it breaks if it contains more than one implied paragraph of text. If you can’t reduce the source text you want to quote down to a single paragraph (with ellipsis if necessary), use explicit p tags and no return key presses within the blockquote.

    This depends on your browser or something! Or maybe on if you previewed (preview screws up a lot of things).

    I never get a problem with empty lines in blockquotes, except that the first (and only the first) paragraph has a smaller font size and is stripped of all paragraph breaks it might have contained (so I have to use <br&gt — just within that first paragraph).

    After a decent age of course, which might excuse Kwok since his school fetish indicates he has no other life experiences to talk about.

    Apparently he sometimes mentions he has graduated from the apparently prestigious Brown U, where lots of famous people have apparently also graduated from. Just smaller lots than from Stuyvesant High, apparently.

  354. #355 cap
    March 20, 2009

    @ john morales #353
    hehehehe yeah. i took off my creepy lurker jacket for this little exercise.

  355. #356 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    I’m not saying this could never happen to my political outlook. I don’t feel that there is any consistent position, though. Being raised by a man who left Hungary to escape Communism and a woman who was distantly related to (COVER YOUR EARS!!!1!) Ayn Rand kind of makes it hard to settle for anything not based on individualism, though. – speedwell

    I dunno: while a lot of people take their views from parents and their social milieu, a significant minority switch to some kind of opposite (my much-loved and respected father was a conservative in British terms – he’d have been a moderate in the US), and teenage arguments with him probably helped form my leftist views.

    More fundamentally, “individualism” has multiple meanings, in some of which I’m an individualist. Only individuals are capable of suffering and enjoyment, so their interests and preferences are fundamental when considering moral and political choices. I support individual freedom where it does not unduly impinge on the interests of others – neither the state nor any other collective entity should interfere in private consensual sex, dangerous sports, drug use (assuming the user does not drive under the influence or whatever), or freedom of expression (with possible exceptions for libel, and hate speech that actually endangers others). The question remains: what achievable political changes will best protect and advance freedom for all – not just for the privileged or fortunate, and taking into account that poverty and lack of economic security are major limitations on freedom – while also ensuring (as far as possible) socio-economic and environmental sustainability.

  356. #357 Eidolon
    March 20, 2009

    Ya know – I think perhaps Jack @351 might be right. Enough of this silly shit. O.K. we have successfully identified people who we don’t like. Piss or get off the pot.

  357. #358 SEF
    March 20, 2009

    the natural thing is to separate paragraphs with empty lines

    Which, with the local display settings, gives you hardly any difference from no gap at all between paragraphs. You need 3 return/enter key presses, ie 2 blank lines, to get a decent space between displayed paragraphs (the first two are parsed into the close and open paragraph tags and the last is left as a genuine break).

    NB If you started the post with a blockquote the first paragraph gap after that is messed up in gap anyway because its text doesn’t get counted as having an end paragraph tag before the opening paragraph tag of the next one. (I tried and inspected the source.)

    I disagree that its natural to treat a blockquote as a separate paragraph to be given double-return/enter spacing, because elsewhere that gives the most enormous gap. Indeed in many other places, anything other than putting a blockquote inline with the surrounding text gives you huge gaps. It’s not at all obvious what the appropriate gap should be on Sb – especially since bigger gaps in the text entry box end up being smaller ones in the actual thread!

  358. #359 SEF
    March 20, 2009

    Aarrgghh! An apostrophe escaped again. (“I disagree that it’s natural …”)

  359. #360 A lurker
    March 20, 2009

    have you noted how many have delurked in the course of this

    .
    I came for the lesbian sex and stayed for the presuppositionalism…..

  360. #361 A lurker
    March 20, 2009

    gives you huge gaps

    Ha! So you admit it! There are gaps, and Darwinism just can’t fill them!

  361. #362 CosmicTeapot
    March 20, 2009

    With Karol Karolak on the other thread, you want me to vote for one of these 4?

    OK, John Kwok I can, and do ignore.

    I have hope for Peter Rooke; like Walton, I think he just needs to mature a little lot.

    Africagenesis makes me want to killfile half the time but is capable of making valid arguments.

    For me, it is definitely Facilis, who has obstinately and repeatedly insisted his house built on sand is sound, but it is also a good investment.

  362. #363 mattb
    March 20, 2009

    None. Africangenesis is such a pompous ass. The sooner they’re all gone, the better.

  363. #364 speedwell
    March 20, 2009

    The question remains: what achievable political changes will best protect and advance freedom for all – not just for the privileged or fortunate, and taking into account that poverty and lack of economic security are major limitations on freedom – while also ensuring (as far as possible) socio-economic and environmental sustainability.

    Yes, naturally; what thinking person could be against that? You and I just disagree, for now, on what mechanisms and approaches will bring that about. I’m all for redistribution of resources, so long as those who have the resources are voluntary contributors.

    I just sent, through the Society of Friends website (www.warisnottheanswer.com) a letter to my Congresscritters, Republicans all of them, in which I asked them how a real conservative could possibly support a disastrously expensive war policy instead of pursuing the diplomatic course of respect and reason. It makes me think of an abusive man beating his wife because “that’s the only way I can get her to listen.” I asked them, too, how they could call themselves supporters of capitalism if they can imagine justifying the spending of huge amounts of taxpayer money we can’t afford anymore on these immense “corporate welfare” bailouts. (Most libertarians have it backward. Individual people need to be helped and supported and respected. Businesses should be left alone to rise and fall based on market conditions. Not the other way around. I digress…)

    My point was that I perceive the relationship between the US government and its citizens to be abusive. Politicians don’t think we’ll behave properly unless we’re coerced into it (all as if they were experts on behaving properly), and then they act all surprised and angry when we tell them to fuck off. If there was adequate communication between those who contribute and those who distribute, I think we might go a long way toward solving the problems we’re facing.

    And I want my very own pony. (sigh) Back to work…

  364. #365 Ale
    March 20, 2009

    My plonking vote is still firmly with Simon. Regarding the immunity challenge, I vote for Facilis to be immune. Of course, he will only remain safe from the dungeon as long as he delivers on his offer not to endlessly repeat his usual non-arguments.

  365. #366 AJ Milne
    March 20, 2009

    Unless I’m missing something, it seems to me that Pete did some research to support his essay and lifted a phrase from an academic article he found. I’ve seen many undergraduates make that mistake; it should be corrected, but in my classroom, where plagiarism was a death sentence and an automatic “F”, I wouldn’t have called up the firing squad. Not for this, if the rest of the paragraph was his.

    Since I did refer to this myself, I will give my assessment, for what it’s worth (I’m not a teacher nor a peer reviewer nor in academia in any capacity–so I haven’t really had to make this judgement myself, ever, previously, even on these very mild stakes, but anyway)–

    a) In addition to the phrase you noted, there’s also ‘corporal-sensual presence’, immediately preceding it.

    b) It’s a short pair of passages, tho’, as you note. Indicates pretty clearly that he took ideas and text specifically from this abstract, but doesn’t reference it.

    c) But it does look to me like he got the gist of the idea well enough to use it more or less appropriately in the context of his own work.

    So I’d say it’s pretty penny ante stuff, in my ever so humble opinion. Definitely shifty not to reference the article, even casually/informally, however. Even in this very informal forum, it woulda just been polite to say ‘I’m borrowing this idea/phrase from one Barbara Becker’, or somesuch.

    I’d obviously defer to your judgement, too, since you have apparently had to make these calls: I buy that it’s not a firing offense in an undergrad paper. But adding it to the other stuff noted, again, it’s ethically iffy, at best. And does not impress.

    (Incidentally, I’m not registering a vote for who passed the immunity challenge. Attempts did all seem a bit lame too me; I’ll go that far. Just in terms of content, I actually woulda given a pass to Rooke’s as fair comment, without that ‘scientism’ BS he seemed to feel compelled to throw in. With that, it really just becomes a bit too infected with brain-dead pamphleteering, again, for my taste. And I think we’ve had just about enough of that, already.)

  366. #367 SC, OM
    March 20, 2009

    I’m all for redistribution of resources, so long as those who have the resources are voluntary contributors.

    *headdesk*

  367. #368 SC, OM
    March 20, 2009

    *headdesk*

    Sorry – that was snide and not at all called for. Try this:

    I’m all for redistribution of resources, so long as those who have the resources are voluntary contributors.

    Think about – and study – it historically and globally.

  368. #369 JBlilie
    March 20, 2009

    None of them meet it in the latest installment. Mr. Kwok did in the first installment, so I think he wins by default.

    All most of them seem to be able to say, I’m right, you’re wrong, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! You just don’t like that, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! I’m a better philosopher than you are, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! You just don’t like criticism, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah!

    None of them gets it (except maybe Kwok; but he has that very annoying high school fixation …) None of them deserves a soapbox here.

    Troll is not a protected class.

    Refrain from trolling you want to remain.

    Or, (roll the rap noises in the background):

    Eshew the TROLL!
    or you must GO!

  369. #370 Sven DiMIlo
    March 20, 2009

    I thought this was about getting rid of people who advocate fiction over science, rather than people who maintain some political disagreements

    Neither. It’s about getting rid of people who are consistently, exasperatingly annoying.

  370. #371 Louis
    March 20, 2009

    None passed the challenge set.

    I reckon make them all immune in the interest of good, old fashioned, christian charity.

    ARGH!!! WHY ARE YOU THROWING THINGS?????

    Ok I was not entirely serious. I will say this, I like dissent, debate, disagreement, discussion IF (and this is quite a big if) it’s logical, rational, you know, all the good stuff. If these guys cannot manage the first hurdle of reasonable discourse and discussion then, with the best will in the world, fuck ‘em. Good and hard. In the ear.

    The thing about trolls is there will always be another one along tomorrow.

    However, just to be “fair and balanced” banning dissent is never a good thing. So in eradicating the Rookes and Facilises and AGs of this world from a blog, I think it behooves us all to stop and consider our own motives and biases for a bit. We are human too (shock horror) and vulnerable to all the foibles that condition comes with. It’s easy to give in to them (and I know I have done…a LOT!) so why not have Survivor day 5 where instead of looking for ways to condemn, or make these people justify their existence here, we try to think of some positives about their presence. Day 6 could be thinking about our own positive contributions. Then Day 7 could be back to business as usual. Periodic self analysis is not a bad idea.

    Mind you, it sound a lot less fun than a witch hunt and a good old fashioned troll lynching.

    Cheers

    Louis

  371. #372 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    I’m all for redistribution of resources, so long as those who have the resources are voluntary contributors.

    Yeah, ehm, good luck with that.

    Come on, nobody can be THIS naive and stupid.

  372. #373 Longstreet63
    March 20, 2009

    More Thunderdome, less After School Special.

  373. #374 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    We are human too (shock horror) and vulnerable to all the foibles that condition comes with

    Whoa, whoa, whoa! Speak for yourself, will ya?

  374. #375 Ray Ladbury
    March 20, 2009

    So, is it possible to score negative points on an immunity challenge–rather like dying from a bad reaction to a vaccine? None of ‘em get it. Then again, I suppose if the learning curve had a positive slope, they wouldn’t be the special people they are.
    Guys, it’s possible to disagree, to dissent and not to be a PRICK about it. It’s possible to say something smart and then not say, “See how smart I was,” and it has the added advantage that if what you said wasn’t that smart, you don’t look like a complete PRICK. It’s possible that those who disagree with you are doing so out of their own moral principles and not because they are moral cretins. It’s possible that the experiences of others may give them insight that you are lacking. Think about it. You guys are on this list because you have managed to piss off a large swath of folks who enjoy this blog. Maybe, just maybe it’s got more to do with you than with them.

  375. #376 Endor
    March 20, 2009

    “However, just to be “fair and balanced” banning dissent is never a good thing.”

    As others have already said (8 zillion times), its not about “banning dissent”.

    #371 – “It’s about getting rid of people who are consistently, exasperatingly annoying.”

  376. #377 Longstreet63
    March 20, 2009

    Stu:

    We could always use the Christian definition of ‘voluntary.’

    Contribute your stuff voluntarily or very bad things will happen to you.

    It’s your choice.

  377. #378 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    Yes, naturally; what thinking person could be against that?

    Well, this might depend what you mean by “thinking person”, but anyone who bases their politics on deontological rather than consequential morality – as many “libertarians” do – could do so. If, for example, you regard property rights as absolute, then whatever the consequences, you would see a political system requiring compulsory taxation as wrong. In practice, many “libertarians” react to both non-state forms of oppression, and threats to sustainability, by denying or minimising them, because these issues undermine their ideology (see Africangenesis for a prime example).

    I asked them how a real conservative could possibly support a disastrously expensive war policy instead of pursuing the diplomatic course of respect and reason… I asked them, too, how they could call themselves supporters of capitalism if they can imagine justifying the spending of huge amounts of taxpayer money we can’t afford anymore on these immense “corporate welfare” bailouts.

    I can only think you’ve never read much history. Conservatives have frequently launched aggressive wars (as have others – I’m not claiming this is specific to conservatives). Capitalism has always been inclined to “privatize the profits, socialize the losses” – as the very idea of limited liability shows. It has always involved extensive collusion between state and corporate elites. Your “capitalism” in which big business has no hold over government is a figment of the “libertarian” imagination – it has never existed (if you dispute this, please identify when and where it has). Democracy acts as a check on this collusion, through politicians being answerable to the electorate (although to far too limited an extent); but has certainly never eliminated it.

    Incidentally, although this has no necessary connection to the issues above, I do think some form of financial business bailout was necessary – allowing AIG to collapse, for example, would probably have crashed the entire global financial system, leading in turn to an economic collapse killing many millions.

  378. #379 Ray Ladbury
    March 20, 2009

    So, is it possible to score negative points on an immunity challenge–rather like dying from a bad reaction to a vaccine? None of ‘em get it. Then again, I suppose if the learning curve had a positive slope, they wouldn’t be the special people they are.
    Guys, it’s possible to disagree, to dissent and not to be a PRICK about it. It’s possible to say something smart and then not say, “See how smart I was,” and it has the added advantage that if what you said wasn’t that smart, you don’t look like a complete PRICK. It’s possible that those who disagree with you are doing so out of their own moral principles and not because they are moral cretins. It’s possible that the experiences of others may give them insight that you are lacking. Think about it. You guys are on this list because you have managed to piss off a large swath of folks who enjoy this blog. Maybe, just maybe it’s got more to do with you than with them.

  379. #380 Edward Lark
    March 20, 2009

    More Thunderdome, less After School Special.

    Who runs BartertownPharyngula?

  380. #381 Walton
    March 20, 2009

    I think this is a rather silly exercise, but I vote to save Africangenesis, as s/he makes many interesting posts with which I frequently agree. Africangenesis seems to be a rather more extreme libertarian than I am (I’m something of a milquetoast libertarian, indeed I prefer to think of myself as a classical liberal) but s/he is eloquent, makes reasoned and interesting points, and provides a point of view which is drastically under-represented on Pharyngula.

  381. #382 Leigh Williams
    March 20, 2009

    “Corporeal sensory” (also “corporeal-sensory” and even corporealsensory”) seems to be a common term in theology, philosophy, and several other disciplines. It is one of the terms I googled because I had the idea I’d run across it before (I had: Swedenborg; don’t ask). That one looks to be public domain. He may have gotten it from the abstract, but heck, given his fields of interest, he might have known it already.

    Yes, what he should have done is to recast his sentence to attribute the phrase, e.g., “In Barbara Beck’s memorable words, ‘the expression in the eyes, gestures and body posture, and the rhythm and sound of the voice’ are forsaken.” Please note that I don’t in fact think these are memorable words! But there is nothing earthshaking in the IDEA expressed here; I daresay all of us have occasionally noted as much.

    So I would have ditched it altogether in favor of: “All the subtle dance of body language and eye contact, even the patterns and tone of speech are largely lost in this most denatured of all forms of communication” or some such drivel.

    I haven’t set foot in a classroom in twenty years, but my heart is still in academia; a charge of plagiarism is the kiss of death in our world, and it’s not a word we should toss around with abandon.

    p.s. Thanks to SEF and David Marjanovi? for helping with the blockquote issue. It may be a browser issue; I’ll do more experimentation based on your suggestions. I use preview all the time, which may be making things worse instead of better. Oddly, I don’t remember having the problem before this week.

  382. #383 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    I’m all for redistribution of resources, so long as those who have the resources are voluntary contributors. – speedwell

    Just think about the social dynamics of this. Let’s suppose we make all taxation voluntary (at present, it’s only voluntary for large corporations and the very rich!). The compassionate will pay up, the greedy and selfish won’t. Result, a redistribution of wealth (and hence power) in favour of the greedy and selfish. Is that a good idea?

  383. #384 dogmeatib
    March 20, 2009

    I have to go with “none.”

    I find it rather amusing that, for the most part, in their “defense” they tend to continue, if not expand, the very behavior that got them on the list in the first place.

  384. #385 Louis
    March 20, 2009

    Endor,

    I know it’s not about banning dissent, read the above and you’ll discover that I am being mildly tongue in cheek. Honestly do I need a sarcasm/humour smiley for EVERYTHING nowadays?

    The serious point to extract is that our motives can be just as vile as those of others, in our rush to throw out the bathwater isn’t it prudent to check if there’s a baby in it first? Even rational, lovely, intelligent people are just as capable of being swayed by the power of crowds as anyone else. Keep an eye on ourselves and we never turn into THEM. That’s not concern, it’s a fucking FACT. Start with the Stanford Prisoner Experiment and work from there.

    The more comedy point is that in this case there is no baby in the bathwater. The trolls under question have failed to manage the basics of rational discourse, ergo they go (i.e. it’s not about dissent). Before you leap, PARSE.

    Louis

  385. #386 AnthonyK
    March 20, 2009

    Walton – careful now, you might get yourself – Kwok like – immersed in this, and then also Kwok like, make it worse with everything you say.
    But you certainly aren’t good of digging your way out of a hole ;0

  386. #387 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    Just think about the social dynamics of this. Let’s suppose we make all taxation voluntary (at present, it’s only voluntary for large corporations and the very rich!). The compassionate will pay up, the greedy and selfish won’t. Result, a redistribution of wealth (and hence power) in favour of the greedy and selfish. Is that a good idea?

    yes it is. freeriding destroys the state for good and the long desired hobbesian war of everyone against everyone ensues.

    Their commitment to absolute volunteerism is just a pretense. Position picked ad hoc because it indirectly leads to the social-darwinistic ‘each for oneself’ dystopia they all want.

  387. #388 Badger3k
    March 20, 2009

    Boy, I’m gonna have a lot of comments to read to get the whole thing. I did think of one thing, though – is John Kwok the Al Bundy of Pharyngula? The whole “Polk High” thing does get old, but I keep waiting for Kelly to walk through the door. What are the chances of that?

  388. #389 Africangenesis
    March 20, 2009

    Stu#373,

    “Come on, nobody can be THIS naive and stupid.”

    And I’m accused of being repetitive. 8-)

    Most redistribution of resources in a capitalist society (except taxes, fines, theft and fraud) is voluntary. It is called trade, employment, charitable giving, etc. There is a reason that all parties to a transaction traditionally say “thank you”.

  389. #390 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    Most redistribution of resources in a capitalist society (except taxes, fines, theft and fraud) is voluntary.

    Does not follow that all can be. Most of the non voluntary redistribution of resources is critical to survival of the society as a whole and would be destroyed by freeriding if not compulsory. Just look at the pathetic excuse of a health care you americans got.

  390. #391 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    Most redistribution of resources in a capitalist society (except taxes, fines, theft and fraud) is voluntary.

    And what the fuck does that have to do with anything?

  391. #392 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    is John Kwok the Al Bundy of Pharyngula?

    He wishes. At least Al had four touchdowns in one game.

  392. #393 Bernard Bumner
    March 20, 2009

    is John Kwok the Al Bundy of Pharyngula?

    Creepy enough to be the Ted Bundy of Pharyngula…

  393. #394 John Kwok
    March 20, 2009

    @ Science Avenger -

    That ranking of premier American public high schools is misleading for two reasons:

    1) It relies primarily on the number of students who take and passs College Board Advanced Placement examinations

    2) It does not adjust for vast differences in student population between the schools on the list (If you’re going to compare Stuyvesant, then compare it with schools of similar size, such as San Francisco’s Lowell High School, for example.).

    3) None of the schools in question have – to the best of my knowledge – as many Nobel Prize laureate alumni (four) as does Stuyvesant. Only the Bronx High School of Science has more (seven in physics).

  394. #395 blueelm
    March 20, 2009

    “Most redistribution of resources in a capitalist society (except taxes, fines, theft and fraud) is voluntary. It is called trade, employment, charitable giving, etc. ”

    This is not really true. A capitalist society puts little to no weight on how voluntary the labor was, or how voluntary the primary resource was. For instance, it is better in terms of profit to outsource labor to a large country which uses near-slaves or even outright slaves to get materials. The people who own the land from which those materials come may have an equally small say in how that needed material is taken. While the invisible hand may correct that problem through warfare and violence, in the meantime people will die and the society may not be able to sustain itself or may shift into constant conflict in order to keep attaining resources, even though the conflict consumes even more resources. None of these things will be controlled through pure capitalism.

    Similarly, a capitalist society profits for a bit from high unemployment, for instance one can have workers who will work for sustenance only (sometimes less) if there is enough desperation. For instance, many people during the dust bowl employed migrant workers in this way. So long as it doesn’t go on too long because high death rates will impact the economy, there is nothing in capitalism that will prevent this. It is dangerously easy for business to shoot itself in the foot this way.

    You seem to assume that people will actually be able to surmise what their self-interest is. Most people are not that good at surmising consequences from a seemingly profitable action. I reference the financial crisis.

  395. #396 Bernard Bumner
    March 20, 2009

    Fucking formatting shite!

  396. #397 Kelly
    March 20, 2009

    I didn’t see where any of the fulfilled:

    explains what they will do to change their behavior in the future.

  397. #398 Africangenesis
    March 20, 2009

    Knockgoats#357,

    “a significant minority switch to some kind of opposite (my much-loved and respected father was a conservative in British terms – he’d have been a moderate in the US), and teenage arguments with him probably helped form my leftist views.”

    This does make me wonder about the birth order in your family. “Born to Rebel” argued that younger siblings rebel because the older siblings have already occupied the more conformist niches. I remain skeptical of the hypothesis despite the entertainingly written book, but it does give anecdotes of siblings taking quite different directions. It is illustrative of the mutability of human nature, and also suggestive of a possible genetic basis for multiple offspring to spread out to different niches. How little we really know.

  398. #399 blueelm
    March 20, 2009

    Walton is back!! I thought he’d gone away.

  399. #400 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 20, 2009

    Kwok seems to be the closest to an actual answer. It doesn’t mean he followed through with it but he still answered the challenge.

  400. #401 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 20, 2009

    You need 3 return/enter key presses, ie 2 blank lines, to get a decent space between displayed paragraphs

    For my taste, the ones in your comment are way too big?

    Your “capitalism” in which big business has no hold over government is a figment of the “libertarian” imagination – it has never existed (if you dispute this, please identify when and where it has).

    Somalia! :-)

    OK, there’s no big business in Somalia, is there?

    I vote to save Africangenesis, as s/he makes many interesting posts with which I frequently agree.

    This is of course the worst possible reason for keeping someone.

    Africangenesis [?] is eloquent, makes reasoned and interesting points, and provides a point of view which is drastically under-represented on Pharyngula.

    Well, yes, but they’re all intermingled with egnorance: a lack of knowledge coupled with a lack of imagination. This can sometimes get annoying.

  401. #402 Kelly
    March 20, 2009

    argh teach me not to use preview! typing and formatting issues!
    I don’t see where any of them fulfilled the requirement:

    explains what they will do to change their behavior in the future.

  402. #403 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    Ah, interesting: human nature in relation to social planning. I would like to say that you assuredly can have a scientifically informed conversation about this subject. Steven Pinker proves as much in The Blank Slate. I’ve found that many lefties like to paint the impression that the data is all ambiguous, and therefore the terrain is best suited to tactics from “traditional philosophy” and/or “humanities scholarship”.

    Chomsky is perhaps the prime example. His work on politics is strikingly innocent of scientific methodology. He doesn’t demonstrate a willingness to use any statistical techniques beyond the crudest (e.g. raw body count). Many of his central convictions seem to boil down to boring semantics and subjective opinion. (Thus “the US is itself a leading terrorist state”.) He doesn’t seem to be enthusiastic about using the toolkit of cognitive psychology to shed light on the question of how we should structure society, which is very curious for an academic in his field. Some of his causal models are so ridiculously primitive that they honestly remind me of tribal superstition. Everything bad is imputed to a malignant conscious agent (“the United States”, or “the West”); more prosaic, “naturalistic” causes, such as chance, religion, and the universally dark side of human nature, are overlooked entirely.

  403. #404 Bernard Bumner
    March 20, 2009

    That ranking of premier American public high schools is misleading for two reasons: 1)… 2)… 3)…

    Congratulations, John. Todd Wood is on the phone; he says he’d like to talk to you about the four components of Creationist Biology…

  404. #405 SC, OM
    March 20, 2009

    Oh – before I go – Whatever Knockgoats has to say, I’m sure I’ll agree with 99 point whatever % of it, so he speaks for me* (though more knowledgeably and fully – and Britishly – than I would for myself).

    *No pressure. :)

    And again: Happy weekend everyone!

  405. #406 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    OK, there’s no big business in Somalia, is there?

    what about pirates ? is their business not big enough ( compared to the rest of somalian GDP ) ?

  406. #407 John Kwok
    March 20, 2009

    @ Bernard Bummer -

    I forgot not to hit the “Post” button before proofreading my previous comment. I meant to say “three reasons”, not “two”.

  407. #408 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    John Asperger Kwok , We are STILL not talking about your high school.

  408. #409 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 20, 2009

    None of the schools in question have – to the best of my knowledge – as many Nobel Prize laureate alumni (four) as does Stuyvesant. Only the Bronx High School of Science has more (seven in physics).

    I understand it when universities boast about the number of Nobel Prize winners they’ve brought forth. But highschools?

    That’s just pathetic. Embarrassing, outright.

    And researching these numbers, Mr Kwok, makes you even more embarrassing.

    This does make me wonder about the birth order in your family. “Born to Rebel” argued that younger siblings rebel because the older siblings have already occupied the more conformist niches.

    I’m the oldest, followed by my brother who is much more conformist than I. But then, I’m a nerd, so I’m unlikely to fit any scheme anyway?

    (This is not to say my brother and I never quarreled. We did, a lot.)

    suggestive of a possible genetic basis for multiple offspring to spread out to different niches.

    If so, then yes, except I really wouldn’t say “niches” — an ecological niche is something different?

  409. #410 CG
    March 20, 2009

    to Philip1978@340

    Another way to think about this is that they failed in slightly amusing, and certainly conversation provoking ways (look at all the posts this has generated). To me a troll is someone who offers nothing at all to the conversation and just uses their posts to repeat over and over how terrible everything is. Barb and Simon are classic examples of useless trolls that should be squashed with impunity, but most of the other posters on this list while certainly annoying at times are at least capable of offering something worthwhile.

  410. #411 dogmeatib
    March 20, 2009

    I’m all for redistribution of resources, so long as those who have the resources are voluntary contributors.

    Speedwell, are you talking about a “voluntary” tax system?

  411. #412 John Kwok
    March 20, 2009

    @ David Marjanovi?, OM -

    The New York City Department of Education may note on its website that it has three schools which has more than one Nobel Prize laureate alumnus. If it doesn’t, then the respective websites of the schools in question do.

    For the record, these schools are (Number of Nobel Prize laureate alumni in parenthesis):

    Bronx High School of Science (7)
    Brooklyn Technical High School (2)
    Stuyvesant High School (4)

  412. #413 Brian G
    March 20, 2009

    without reading them I’m gonna go with Facilis for the immunity

  413. #414 speedwell
    March 20, 2009

    Thanks, all. You’re raising legitimate points about whether greed and selfishness ruin a system based on individual right to property. My question about that is, if you claim that no individual has an absolute right to property, on what grounds do you claim that an individual with less has an absolute right to some amount of the property of an individual who has more? Does ownership of property vest itself in the group? Then on what grounds does the group decide who gets what? “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” only works if everyone is generous and unselfish, which is exactly what you are saying everyone is not.

    I also think there’s a disconnect between what “conservative” means and people who call themselves “Conservatives.” It’s probably proper to say that “Conservatives” have been seen to do things that are not consistent with conservatism. The confusion is understandable. But any group of people who insist on imposing high confiscatory taxes to fund foreign wars and who bog themselves down in central planning to bail out companies engaging in fraud, on the grounds that they’re “too big to fail,” can’t really be called legitimately “conservative.” Not, you understand, that I’m calling them “liberal.” “Liberalism” is a legitimate political stance held by lots of decent well-meaning people, and I don’t appreciate the word being turned into a sneer by paranoid morons. The word I would use for them instead is “criminals.”

    As far as the use of slave labor is concerned, capitalism is certainly possible in a society where some people own the labor of others. But again I don’t understand from where you get the idea that the ownership of the life and person of others would even be thinkable in a society in which individual liberty was upheld.

    I have the political out look I do because I think that on the whole, people are better rather than worse. That “on the whole” may get me in trouble with AG for “using the language of collectivism,” but in his case I’ll be happy to make an exception, if he insists.

  414. #415 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    This does make me wonder about the birth order in your family. – Africangenesis

    Why? What would a single case show?

    I would like to say that you assuredly can have a scientifically informed conversation about this subject. Steven Pinker proves as much in The Blank Slate. I’ve found that many lefties like to paint the impression that the data is all ambiguous, and therefore the terrain is best suited to tactics from “traditional philosophy” and/or “humanities scholarship”.

    Chomsky is perhaps the prime example. Erasmus

    As someone who’s been involved in the human sciences for decades, I know that Pinker’s central contention – that they are dominated by a “blank slate” view – is utter crap. I suspect he just saw an opportunity to cash in. Chomsky, of course, is about as far from being a “blank slatist” as you can get, and never AFAIK took much note of cognitive psychology. While I wouldn’t describe his political works as scientific, many of his statements, such as “the US is itself a leading terrorist state” are simple empirical observations, obvious to anyone who doesn’t have a prior commitment to the virtue of US foreign policy. Consider for example the bombing of Falluja and the invasion of Iraq more generally, the long record of murderous interventions in Latin America, the support for a variety of highly unpleasant dictators during the Cold War, and for recent Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza…

  415. #416 Carlie
    March 20, 2009

    Just realized I hadn’t thrown in yet – NONE.

    And this is not a request from the Word Police Offensiveness Squad (although I am a member), just from the mother of a kid with Asperger’s – can we all not use that as a part of the Kwok descriptor? I don’t want him giving Aspies a bad name, ’cause my kid can run social circles around whatever he’s got going on.

  416. #417 Sven DiMilo
    March 20, 2009

    *stares, in slack-jawed wonder, in the direction of New York City, because that’s where J*hn Kw*k is*

  417. #418 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    I have the political out look I do because I think that on the whole, people are better rather than worse.

    As cute as that is, how the current financial crisis came about should be more than enough to disabuse you of that notion.

  418. #419 speedwell
    March 20, 2009

    Speedwell, are you talking about a “voluntary” tax system?

    Well, it says it’s voluntary. I suppose it is, in the same sense that I voluntarily go inside when it’s raining, or voluntarily go to the hospital if I think I’m having a kidney infection, or voluntarily cooperate with a man with a gun who’s trying to clean out my cash register drawer. I could, obviously, “choose” to stand in the rain, or to sustain damage to my remaining kidney, or to risk getting shot. We pay taxes because we fear the consequences of not paying them. Otherwise we would voluntarily spend the money on things that we thought were worth it.

    I like to support Kiva, and a battered women’s shelter, and my bright three-year-old nephew’s Montessori school that my sister-in-law can’t afford on her own because she works in a grocery store, and my brother’s family now that his wife got laid off. I am glad that my taxes support roads and schools and libraries and medicine for poor children and homes for the homeless, but I would much rather be able to evaluate the efforts before I invested my money, just like you do when you make any other informed and responsible purchase. I would not want to give money to AIG (I fired them as my insurance company years ago) or to fund foreign wars. I think that’s natural and respectable, but I don’t have the choice of making sure, as far as possible, that my investment in my country is being used efficiently and with full accountability. Voting for a politician who is supposedly accountable, and having to put up with them until the next election if they aren’t, is just too inefficient.

    Folks, I’m not trying to convert anyone here… and I do appreciate your questions and arguments. But I don’t want to be seen as a libertarian troll. I’m learning a lot about science and atheism here and I don’t want to ruin it. If you think this discussion of politics is too much in the way, let’s agree on when to stop.

  419. #420 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    speedwell,
    My question about that is, if you claim that no individual has an absolute right to property, on what grounds do you claim that an individual with less has an absolute right to some amount of the property of an individual who has more?

    The idea that there are “absolute rights” only makes sense within a deontological framework, which I reject. As a consequentialist, I look at the likely outcomes of adopting particular moral norms or political arrangements.

    on what grounds does the group decide who gets what?

    Democratically.

    I also think there’s a disconnect between what “conservative” means and people who call themselves “Conservatives.”

    They call themselves conservatives, other people call them conservatives. Meaning is derived from use; on what basis do you claim the right to determine what words mean?

    But again I don’t understand from where you get the idea that the ownership of the life and person of others would even be thinkable in a society in which individual liberty was upheld.

    Quite, but of what relevance is this to capitalism? Capitalism long depended on outright slavery, and still depends on giving vast numbers of people the choice between starvation, and labour for long hours in dreadful conditions for a pittance.

  420. #421 dogmeatib
    March 20, 2009

    Speedwell,

    I don’t know if you realize this, but all tax systems, really all economic systems are redistributive. The difference for conservatives and conservative libertarians is the fact that most western 20th century systems, ie ‘progressive’ systems, are redistributive in a non-traditional way. Conservative or traditional, in this sense, is in effect longing for the “good old days” in which the wealthy were allowed to manipulate the political system all they wanted, pay little or no taxes, utilize resources and capital as they saw fit, all the while ignoring the realities of the labor class.

    Libertarianism is just as fatally flawed as Communism in that neither of them will work in the real world. Libertarians (especially conservative libertarians) dream of the old days when individuals took care of themselves, government was small and stayed out of business matters and the economy, etc. Such a time never existed. I could point to any country in the world, but simply sticking with the United States, from colonial times through the current financial fiasco, we have a long history of business manipulating the political system in order to gain benefits. From government granting of monopolies, through the subsidization of industry and railroad construction, from the use of state militia troops to put down labor unrest to the bailout, business has manipulated government to gain advantages at all levels.

    What that means is really quite simple. Just like Utopian Communism, Utopian Libertarianism isn’t possible. What most libertarians call for, government inaction, small, limited government, etc., are major causes for the problems we have today. The deregulation of the financial market and ideology driven inaction by the Bush administration, coupled with greed and irresponsible behavior, caused our current economic collapse.

    Cutting back on government oversight and government involvement caused this mess. Cutting back more will only make it worse. Cutting back on government spending now will turn this recession/depression (debatable) into a full fledged depression that will last at least a decade. That might happen anyway, the economy is in that bad a situation, but it will definitely happen if small government libertarians and conservatives get what they want.

  421. #422 Steven Schultz
    March 20, 2009

    None.

  422. #423 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    I am glad that my taxes support roads and schools and libraries and medicine for poor children and homes for the homeless, but I would much rather be able to evaluate the efforts before I invested my money, just like you do when you make any other informed and responsible purchase.

    Please, please tell me you’re kidding.

  423. #424 Edward Lark
    March 20, 2009

    As far as the use of slave labor is concerned, capitalism is certainly possible in a society where some people own the labor of others. But again I don’t understand from where you get the idea that the ownership of the life and person of others would even be thinkable in a society in which individual liberty was upheld.

    Let us just set aside the fact of slavery in the early United States (founded under theories of classic liberalism/individualism). The problem being that it all depends on who is defined as an “individual” and how “individual liberty” is “upheld.” I have seen arguments for “voluntary slavery” based on the supposed liberty of the individual to dispense with the fruit of his/her labor as they see fit. More common, however, is simply not acknowledging that certain classes of persons are protected by a society’s stated principles of individual liberty. This can be seen in the modern discussions over immigration and, and has its corollary in the civil rights struggles of the past.

    The history of the U.S. can be cast as an ongoing struggle to conform and uphold the ideals of individual liberty to which we have always claimed to adhere. This struggle has produced many gains, but can in no way be said to be won as opponents to (others) individual liberty have become much more sophisticated and the tactics employed much more subtle. The idea that capitalism naturally leads to increases in individual liberty becomes less and less a viable position in the face of modern evidence to the contrary. Unregulated capitalism seems to have the exact opposite effect – e.g., “free market zones.”

  424. #425 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    Kwok, #413:
    Wow. Even after all this, you still won’t shut the fuck up about high schools.

    Kwok, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The education in every high school, everywhere in the world, is horrendous. The science taught there in fact consists of little babyish anecdotes, which most students — even the best ones — typically forget in a surprisingly short length of time. Details dominate, while concepts are relegated to the periphery. Calculus is King, despite that almost everyone learning it will never have to put it to practical use. Etc. And no, I don’t care how many “AP classes” your stupid high school teaches. It’s all total nonsense, with completely screwed up priorities.

    (And, incidentally, yes I went to a bloody good school — by conventional measures — myself. Of course this is the only time you’ll see me mentioning such a silly and pointless little piece of irrelevancy.)

  425. #426 dogmeatib
    March 20, 2009

    Well, it says it’s voluntary. … Otherwise we would voluntarily spend the money on things that we thought were worth it.

    This doesn’t really answer the question. Are you literally advocating for a voluntary tax system? And, to cut to the chase, do you recognize how utterly ridiculous that position is?

    Your objection to where the money is spent from your taxes is equally naive and silly. Each of those expenditures, schools, roads, emergency services, etc., have been shown to be critical to society at the same time that economic reality has shown them to be public goods that have to be involuntarily funded.

    You can object to AIG and the rest of the bailout, hell, it infuriates me. The problem is the economic impact of allowing those companies to fail will cost far more in the long run through reduced revenue, increased need for services, etc. The flaw in the bailout was, yet again, ideological. The Bush administration signed off on the plan including bonuses for executives. TARP was modified by the former chairman of the Fed to basically eliminate all of the oversight that Congress intended.

    Feel free to be frustrated by political incompetence, but personally I’ll take it, with the associated checks and balances of the system, over being reliant upon the “better human nature” of corporate executives.

  426. #427 speedwell
    March 20, 2009

    Well… there’s no such thing as Utopia. And people are shitty to each other. You’re right. I guess I’m not a capital-L “Libertarian” just because I think that people should, in general, be left alone with what they have earned to enjoy it peacefully. I dabbled in Hayek and Von Mises; I own a gun (and keep it clean and know how to shoot straight) in case someone breaks into my apartment; I’m a little clever than average but I don’t claim to be able to save the world. Any rights I claim for myself I would give you, too. I don’t feel entitled to your stuff just because I have less than you, even if I’m in trouble and wish very much that you would help me out. Naive? Yeah, OK, I can live with that for the moment. There are worse things to be.

    So, if I’m looking to be a little less naive… if I’m, say, looking for political ideas that are fair, respectful, effective, realistic, and good… no, I haven’t been able to find objective teachers and textbooks, much less websites and blog comments. I’m open to interesting ideas.

    For now I’m not able to understand “you don’t own anything, and I don’t own anything; some group of politicians owns everything for us and decides where it should go; but if you come to my house intending to do a little amateur property equalization, prepare to get your nose punched in.” I can’t make sense of that.

  427. #428 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    We pay taxes because we fear the consequences of not paying them. – speedwell

    You’re making an unwarranted generalisation from your own feelings. I’m quite willing to pay taxes as long as the tax system is reasonably fair, the way they are to be used has been democratically decided, and as long as everyone else does too. There are many circumstances in which I am willing to be subject to coercion, given that this is fairly applied to all. (Would it be a good idea to allow people to drive whatever their state of intoxication? To release any organism they felt inclined into the environment wherever they wanted? To build and own any kind of weapon they wanted?)

    BTW, in arguing with “libertarians”, I often find myself defending current arrangements – because I am convinced that what they are advocating would be a great deal worse, simply amounting to completely unfettered bullying of the weak by the strong; while at present, in many countries, this bullying is limited by (among other factors) the existing, partially democratised state institutions. However, I actually favour radical change in the direction of direct rather than representative democracy, and of democratising economic arrangements and decisions.

  428. #429 Carlie
    March 20, 2009

    I think that people should, in general, be left alone with what they have earned to enjoy it peacefully.

    My big beef with libertarianism is with that statement right there – no one has earned their money entirely themselves. They’ve benefited from public dollars spent on education (even if attended a private school, likely their teachers got their own educations in public), from safe neighborhoods supported by police and fire departments, from getting nutritious and affordable food thanks to farm subsidies, their business they currently work at probably has tax breaks and laws to support them (copyright enforcement etc.), and so on and so on. Like it or not, living in a society provides a lot of perks, and nobody can claim that their current status in life wasn’t at least nudged there a little bit by those perks. No one can claim that the money they make is entirely of their own labor.

  429. #430 dogmeatib
    March 20, 2009

    So, if I’m looking to be a little less naive… if I’m, say, looking for political ideas that are fair, respectful, effective, realistic, and good… no, I haven’t been able to find objective teachers and textbooks, much less websites and blog comments. I’m open to interesting ideas.

    Well from a socio-political/economic standpoint, mixed-market socialism appears to be the direction that most of the world is heading. Because it deals with people, no, it isn’t perfect, but the countries that have employed these systems have higher standards of living, lower infant mortality rates, greater longevity, lower poverty rates, greater political and social opportunity, greater protections for civil liberties, lower crime rates, etc.

    I don’t know that you can really argue against what works…

  430. #431 Sven DiMilo
    March 20, 2009

    THREADJACK ALERT

  431. #432 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    Because it deals with people, no, it isn’t perfect, but the countries that have employed these systems have higher standards of living, lower infant mortality rates, greater longevity, lower poverty rates, greater political and social opportunity, greater protections for civil liberties, lower crime rates, etc.

    One libertarian I argued with suggested that these countries are carried on the technological back of the United States. I think he was probably exaggerating, but it does seem clear that Europe has been over the last sixty years, and continued to be, far less technologically innovative than the United States. This might be a factor we shouldn’t forget.

  432. #433 AnthonyK
    March 20, 2009

    Can anyone give me any point of difference between Libertarianism and old-fashioned, selfish, paranoid, Conservatism?

    But once again I note that we are parsing the slim testimonials of the contestants with all the fervor of medieval monks planning a schism. Is this the end of classical Myersism? Say it ain’t so!

    I note that John Kwok’s follow up his riotously successful “Little Book of Arguments” it to be “John Kwok’s Little Book of High Schools”. It promises to be a riveting read.
    And what of Pete Rook and the “overlong” testimony, and the accusations of plagiarism and forgery surrounding his later pronouncements – even the testimony itself?
    Could someone at least sum up the controversy – I would hate to deviate from orthodoxy here, while the stakes are so high?

    And please, people, let us not get into quarrels over formatting – apart from anything else, that way Pictorialism lies.

    Please, everyone, a little moderation here!

  433. #434 The Chimp's Raging Id
    March 20, 2009

    @John Kwok @ 395 & 413

    Would you please STFU about your high school?!? You were nominated for eviction from Pharyngula by PZ precisely because you insist on wanking on about your educational history and your famous and important “friends”. You then have dozens if not hundreds of comments reinforcing this point across multiple threads and yet here you still are exhibiting the same exasperating behaviour.

    John, you’ve got a problem and you need professional help.

  434. #435 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    I am glad that my taxes support roads and schools and libraries and medicine for poor children and homes for the homeless – speedwell

    Fine, but you must know that your taxes, on their own, make an insignificant contribution to these things. So, if the system’s voluntary, it won’t make any real difference if you don’t pay. And of course, everyone else can say the same. Some of them, at least, will then choose not to contribute, leaving a bigger burden on the rest. Some of those will then make the same decision – because the burden got bigger, and they resent being played for suckers by the “free-riders”. Then some more will follow, and some more – and pretty soon, the road network, education system etc. will cease to function. This is just the (misnamed) “Tragedy of the Commons” in a slightly different setting. It seems to me you are quite systematically failing to think about the systemic effects of what you are proposing – which would be, across a wide range of cases, to place ever greater wealth and power in the hands of the greedy and selfish. I think many “libertarians” – but not you – are fully aware of this, and as greedy and selfish people, it is exactly what they want.

  435. #436 Tezcatlipoca
    March 20, 2009

    None!

  436. #437 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    “you don’t own anything, and I don’t own anything; some group of politicians owns everything for us and decides where it should go; but if you come to my house intending to do a little amateur property equalization, prepare to get your nose punched in.” I can’t make sense of that. – speedwell

    Sorry, but that’s just libertard rubbish; no-one has said anything remotely resembling it.

  437. #438 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    it does seem clear that Europe has been over the last sixty years, and continued to be, far less technologically innovative than the United States

    [Citation needed]

  438. #439 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    If, this being Survivor, the goal is to let just one of these eight trolls stay, perhaps this round PZ could eliminate two or more of the highest voted trolls.

    I’m enjoying this but it might be less exciting by the end of five more rounds.

    If he eliminates several there would even be room to include popularly requested Scott from Oregon in the next round.

  439. #440 Dahan
    March 20, 2009

    Kwok @ 413,

    Perhaps you don’t understand that it doesn’t matter one bit what school attended. We can all group ourselves together in various ways. I’m an American. Americans have won 325 Nobel prizes. I must be special. I’m a decendent of one of the people aboard the Mayflower. I must be special. The college where I was granted my Masters from is exclusive and only graduated 13 people with advanced degrees that year. I must be special. The high school I attended was a private school which only graduated 21 people my senior year. Many of them are very successful. I must be special. I’ve met and hung out with more than a few “A” list celebrities. I must be special.

    Right?

    No!

    None of that means shit. What I’ve accomplished myself matters. It goes the same for you. What have YOU accomplished and under what types of adversity and what circumstances in general that you believe is worthy of mentioning?

    Tell us that and maybe we’ll listen. Anything else is bullshit. Why the hell would you care about who I know or where I’ve gone to school or anything like that? Especially back as far as high school(!). You wouldn’t, and you’d be right not to. Yet you somehow think that everyone here should give a rat’s ass about you because of this.

    You’re a sad, pathetic little man.

  440. #441 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    it does seem clear that Europe has been over the last sixty years, and continued to be, far less technologically innovative than the United States. – Erasmus

    That’s probably true; but suggests a series of further questions, such as:
    How far does this depend on those features of the US system “libertarians” like?
    How far does it depend on “military Keynesianism” (I recall in my time working in AI, perhaps a majority of US work in the field appeared to be DARPA-funded or similar).
    How far does it depend on sucking in foreign scientific and technological talent by offering salaries and facilities other countries cannot afford?

  441. #442 AnthonyK
    March 20, 2009

    I’ve been making the best of all possible uses of my time machine. I inserted a few questions in earlier threads asking John to provide a full list of his high school alumni and its relative ranking, and betting he couldn’t post it more than a hundred times.
    I did do the right thing, didn’t I?

  442. #443 Africangenesis
    March 20, 2009

    It is interesting that I am the one accused of being repetitive, hijacking threads, and failing to concede “logical” points. Voluntary relationships are really not voluntary, the US is a terrorist nation is an “empircal observation”, and Pinker’s writings are distorted by greed, and of course there is the unquestioned assumption that there is collective intergenerational responsibility rather than individual responsibility, and BTW this isn’t racism. Perhaps this thread will serve as proof that it takes more than one to tangle.

    I admit that I don’t shrink from confronting such unsupported, distortions and judgements. I can do so by critically exposing the assumptions, tautalogies and leaps in the rhetoric, or also my using analogous rhetoric and assmptions to show that alternative interpretations are plausible.

    I actually believe what we learn from evolution about human nature should inform our attempts at social organization of mass societies as animals that spent much of our evolutionary history in a much different environment. The rapid human evolution of the last 10000 years may mean that our nature is being molded by mass societies already. Have these societies selected for conformance, submission, snitching, groveling, fanaticism, back stabbing, malleability, sharing, unconditional love, teamwork, shyness, deceit, secrecy, cheating, suspicion, etc? Most of us have ancesters that were slaves. Has that left a signature in our genome?

  443. #444 dogmeatib
    March 20, 2009

    I think both Stu and knockgoats make legitimate arguments regarding the state of technology in Europe. One could also argue that we build a lot of our “innovation” on Asian technology.

  444. #445 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    Whatever Knockgoats has to say, I’m sure I’ll agree with 99 point whatever % of it, so he speaks for me* – SC, OM

    Hah! Now is the time to tear off the mask and reveal myself as a fanatical Anglican monarchist! Return to your rightful allegiance, you rebellious colonists! Bow the knee to Her Britannic Majesty and sue for pardon ;-)

    Enjoy your weekend, SC!

  445. #446 Stephen Wells
    March 20, 2009

    @433: yeah, CERN isn’t even slightly innovative and that “www” thing they started playing with there hasn’t had any major impact in the world. Yoo-Ess-Ay Number 1 etc.

    @speedwell: I pay my taxes because that’s the membership fee for living in a civilised society. All my life I’ve enjoyed the benefits of publicly-funded institutions and infrastructure- I got a good education from kindergarten to PhD, I don’t have to build my own roads or railways, I don’t have to make my house a fortress because I live in a pretty stable society where howling mobs don’t turn up to plunder me, I can get medical treatment from the NHS (I have lived in the US, I have seen the state of the US medical system, I love the NHS)… I could go on. I’m coughing up a fair proportion of my income to pay for all this, and I’m not complaining, because in exchange for my money I get all these services which otherwise I couldn’t get at all. Sure, I may not always like every little detail of how the money’s spent, but we have this neat thing where every few years we can all vote on which direction to go in. If I do some work or make something and I get some money for it, it’s _fundamentally dishonest_ to claim that all that money is mine alone and it’s not fair for me to be taxed on it; absent the social context that my taxes help to fund I wouldn’t be in a position to make any money at all. And that’s why I’m a liberal, not a libertarian.

  446. #447 threadjacker
    March 20, 2009

    Listen up! I got a boxknife here and I ain’t afraid to use it. Turn this thread around right now and take it to Cuba Somalia or the flight attendant gets it and so no drink service!

  447. #448 Bernard Bumner
    March 20, 2009

    it does seem clear that Europe has been over the last sixty years, and continued to be, far less technologically innovative than the United States. – Erasmus

    That’s probably true…

    By what measure?

    The only useful measure I could think of, and find, was scientific publishing. In which case, the US and Europe may well be quite similar. Some of the best figures I can find date back to the 90′s (A global snapshot of scientific trends – Tibor Braun, Wolfgang Glänzel, Andrįs Schubert; The UNESCO Courier) and show that the output of EU nations overtook the US in the period 1990-95, compared to 1984-89, but that the figures were broadly consistent over both periods. Moreover, this report* suggests that US scientific output stalled up to 2002, whereas the EU continues to dominate (although US authors are still more greatly cited).

    Defining any useful direct metric of technological innovation is going to be very difficult, is it not?

    The US may well register more international patents (actually, I have no idea), but that doesn’t necessary offer any useful insight into productive innovative output.

    *SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING: U.S. Output Flattens, and NSF Wonders Why, Jeffrey Mervis (3 August 2007) Science 317 (5838), 582.

  448. #449 Menyambal
    March 20, 2009

    Will someone *please* go to John frakking Kwok’s frakking high school, and burn the frakking place to the frakking ground?!? Frak! Frak! Frak!

    Frak!

  449. #450 AnthonyK
    March 20, 2009

    I agree with you 100% Stephen. I’d just add that what pisses me off most about these Libertarians is that they claim to be persecuted for their views.
    To me, that trivialises the struggle of so many across the world who risk death and torture for speaking out against real injustice.

  450. #451 CG
    March 20, 2009

    If you’re going to jack this thread do it for something cool and interesting like polyamory and not libertarianism *snore*

  451. #452 phantomreader42
    March 20, 2009

    I don’t think any of them passed the challenge. Pete “Diseased Milkman” Rooke was over the length limit, tedious, and completely devoid of substance. Africangenesis used the whole thing as an excuse to spew insults. John Wilkes Kwok contradicts his notpology in the very next sentence, then goes back to his usual irritating name dropping. Facilis probably came closest, but he showed no self-awareness whatsoever, still hiding from the total failure of his presuppositionalist bullshit. Fuck them all.

  452. #453 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    Most of us have ancesters that were slaves. Has that left a signature in our genome?

    Crazed racist Africangenesis declares that you’re all slaves. It’s inevitable, it’s genetic, it’s your place, know your place.

    Thanks, Africangenesis! Thanks for being insane!

  453. #454 dogmeatib
    March 20, 2009

    Will someone *please* go to John frakking Kwok’s frakking high school, and burn the frakking place to the frakking ground?!? Frak! Frak! Frak!

    Of course then we would hear about how jealous arsonists burned down the best school in the world, and while he was there…

    [primal scream]

  454. #455 Knockgoats
    March 20, 2009

    Voluntary relationships are really not voluntary, the US is a terrorist nation is an “empircal observation”, and Pinker’s writings are distorted by greed, and of course there is the unquestioned assumption that there is collective intergenerational responsibility rather than individual responsibility, and BTW this isn’t racism. – Africangenesis

    The first two of these were supported by specific arguments. The third was voiced explicitly only as a suspicion, based on my assessment that Pinker’s central claim is obvious bilge. No-one has stated the fourth – it’s simply your claim that this is an “unquestioned assumption”. To the contrary, it is my view that those individuals who find themselves in a privileged position through no effort or achievement of their own do have an individual responsibility first to recognise that fact, and second to work to end such privilege. As for “racism” – your definition of this varies wildly in accordance with convenience, and who is supposedly the victim. You were very ready to accuse me of racism for describing the large-scale seizure of land by Europeans as “the great European land-grab”, on the entirely spurious grounds that this implied that all Europeans were involved. When it came to a large proportion of Israeli Jewish students sampled calling Arabs as a group dirty, uneducated and violent, however, you somehow couldn’t see anything racist about it. You stinking hypocrite.

    BTW, how do you account for the fact that your fellow-”libertarian”, speedwell, finds you obnoxious just as we “far-left progressives” do?

  455. #456 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    I admit that I don’t shrink from confronting such unsupported, distortions and judgements. I can do so by critically exposing the assumptions, tautalogies and leaps in the rhetoric, or also my using analogous rhetoric and assmptions to show that alternative interpretations are plausible.

    Wanking
    Making self-congratulary comments intended only to give an impression of your importance or intelligence.

    wind·bag (wndbg)
    n.
    1. The flexible air-filled chamber of a bagpipe or similar instrument.
    2. Slang A talkative person who communicates nothing of substance or interest.

    What a tedious, conceited douche you’ve turned out to be, AG. Unbelievable.

  456. #457 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    I’d just add that what pisses me off most about these Libertarians is that they claim to be persecuted for their views.

    I’m interested in the direction of causation here. It may be that libertarianism appeals to people who already have feelings of persecution.

    Those who feel that governments are synonymous with conspiracies, and who feel that they have been unfairly targeted, may quickly respond “get off my back!”

  457. #458 Kagehi
    March 20, 2009

    If, this being Survivor, the goal is to let just one of these eight trolls stay, perhaps this round PZ could eliminate two or more of the highest voted trolls.

    Yeah, I am confused here. Is this “survivor”, or like.., “biggest dipshit”? If its the former, then lets kick the buggers off the island, until who ever is left is someone that actually has some hope of not being a total and completely idiot.

    As for this bunch, they read the clues, then:

    Kwok wandered off to the his old high school cave again the gaze at the obscene cave paintings he made.

    Africangenesis wandered around in circles mumbling that the immunity idol must have been picked up by someone else already.

    Pete made some effort, but it was marred by the fact that he kept staring at the trees, when the fracking clues clearly suggested it wasn’t in the trees (i.e., he walked past it 53 times, but never found it).

    Facilis.. Picked up a fake immunity idol on day one, and still insists its “the real one”, despite attempts by the show host to state that, “it hasn’t been found yet.”

    Sadly, unlike the show, we don’t hand out immunity to who ever completes the course, *despite* falling in the river with the Parana a hundred times and solving the puzzle by accident. If we did, we would be here for months waiting for them to get past the first obstacle. No one found/won it.

  458. #459 Stephen Wells
    March 20, 2009

    Remember, if you call it “shock and awe” it doesn’t count as terrorism. Details matter, people!

    All of us have ancestors that weren’t slaves. Most of us have ancestors that were. WTF is the genetic signature of slavery supposed to be? Some of my ancestors were even _French_ and you don’t see me complaining*.

    *though I kind of wish we’d inherited the vineyard.

  459. #460 aratina
    March 20, 2009

    Is it even worth voting None anymore? Maybe instead of banning the rest of them (except Simon, he really does need to go), we should create a list of “trolls” to watch out for and their pet topics right under the scarlet letter A. :)

    Barb really deserved the banning and Simon does, too, but the more I think about it, the more I like how Kwok, like Jindal, equitably represents Republicans from Brown University.

  460. #461 Bernard Bumner
    March 20, 2009

    *though I kind of wish we’d inherited the vineyard.

    I’d be looking more towards getting yourself a complex, heavy, Spanish ancestor, or an easy-drinking, Australian one instead…

  461. #462 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    [Citation needed]

    It’s not easy, given that “technological innovativity” is very hard to measure. Here are a few rough measures, though. In science (admittedly distinct from technology, but closely related) the US has won more Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry and Physiology since WW2 than the whole of Europe combined. A recent study says the US is top in share of citations and number of papers produced. Another puts the US “share of world” science at 31.5%, compared with the EU’s 37.3%. Pretty good considering that (a) US science was in much better shape (speaking comparatively) 30 years ago, and (b) the EU has a population that’s about 1.6 times that of the US.

    In the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index, the US is consistently among the top nations (a pretty impressive feat given its size). In number of patents per million people, the US again fares mighty well. (You can ignore “patents per capita, which commits the highly questionable step of dividing number of patents per million people by the population of the nation. )

    But I was speaking mainly from personal experience, as a technology buff. Most of the cool technologies I hear about seem to come from the US. And consider that in 1945, with most of the developed world battered to a pulp, US relative performance was even better.

  462. #463 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    I think this is a rather silly exercise, but I vote to save Africangenesis, as s/he makes many interesting posts with which I frequently agree.

    Walton,

    See WP:ILIKEIT.

  463. #464 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    But I was speaking mainly from personal experience, as a technology buff. Most of the cool technologies I hear about seem to come from the US.

    Define “cool”. Define “most”. Define “buff”. Define “come from”.

  464. #465 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    Another puts the US “share of world” science at 31.5%, compared with the EU’s 37.3%

    Whoops, I didn’t provide a link for said study. Here it is.

  465. #466 Bernard Bumner
    March 20, 2009

    A recent study says the US is top in share of citations and number of papers produced.

    Actually, it says that the US is top as a nation. The EU outperforms the US. Still, the original study is a good reference: PSA target metrics for the UK research base (Department for Trade and Industry).

    In number of patents per million people, the US again fares mighty well.

    Except that patents only have a weak relationship to actual innovation; different standards are applied to the granting of patents in different countries, and they don’t necessarily reflect viable technology. Also, the country in which a patent is registered is not necessarily the same as the country where the technology was developed. (And Japan wins that particular contest, hands down. Is the US riding on the coat-tails of Japan?)

    But I was speaking mainly from personal experience, as a technology buff.

    That is a bit of lame evidence for your original claim that it is clear that Europe has been over the last sixty years, and continued to be, far less technologically innovative than the United States.

    …far less? Does that stand up?

  466. #467 abrhm17@googlemail.com
    March 20, 2009

    Define “cool”. Define “most”. Define “buff”. Define “come from”.

    What, are you kidding me? You can piss off, if you’re serious.

  467. #468 Longstreet63
    March 20, 2009

    I’m a recovering Libertarian.

    I became that way by realizing that, in human history, anarchy doesn’t last, and somebody somewhere always ends up on top, usually by means of a willingness to be more successfully violent than everybody else, coupled with the willingness to submit in order to finally escape depredation.

    Speedwell may reasonably resist when redistributors come to take her stuff, but what if there are ten of them, all equally well-armed? Die for our stuff? It only costs the attackers a few bullets to get it, and bullets are as cheap as hungry henchmen.

    Somalia isn’t really an anarchy, you know. It’s a collection of tiny warring kingdoms fighting to get each others’ stuff.

    That’s were a lack of government regulation leads.

  468. #469 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    What, are you kidding me? You can piss off, if you’re serious.

    The original statement was “Europe has been over the last sixty years, and continued to be, far less technologically innovative than the United States.”

    My point was that we’re now talking about “most cool things”, as defined by a “buff”. A looooooooong way down.

  469. #470 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    Wow, looks like I’ve inadvertently stepped on some toes.

    Actually, it says that the US is top as a nation. The EU outperforms the US. Still, the original study is a good reference: PSA target metrics for the UK research base (Department for Trade and Industry).

    Yes, that’s what I said, explicitly. I even quoted a statistic supporting it. Then I said:

    “Pretty good considering that (a) US science was in much better shape (speaking comparatively) 30 years ago, and (b) the EU has a population that’s about 1.6 times that of the US.

    How could you POSSIBLY have missed this?

    Except that patents only have a weak relationship to actual innovation; different standards are applied to the granting of patents in different countries, and they don’t necessarily reflect viable technology.

    Doesn’t matter. I didn’t claim I was providing a rigorous proof, only a rough, handwaving indication.

    That is a bit of lame evidence for your original claim that it is clear that Europe has been over the last sixty years, and continued to be, far less technologically innovative than the United States.

    I stand by that claim, apart from the “and continues to” part, which was overstated. Big deal. Just semantics. Why on Earth would you care so deeply over a few little overstated words?

  470. #471 John Kwok
    March 20, 2009

    @ Dahan # 441 -

    You’re suffering from a really bad case of reading comprehension. I’ve observed that the “famous people” I know are actually far more humble and less conceited than either the moderator of this thread or most of those posting who have been critical of me. I don’t spend my day wondering how I rate with some “famous person” I know. I’m more concerned with what I am trying to accomplish.

    I have also stressed that it is relevant that the principal of my high school alma mater has banned the teaching of ID creationism there, and that it is the only position for him to take since he has taught physics there for years (including many prior to the start of his tenure as the school’s principal) and because the school itself is widely regarded as America’s best high school devoted to the sciences, mathematics and engineering (It is, along with its rivals, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, the “crown jewels” in the NYC public school system.).

    Someone else couldn’t believe that high schools would boast about their Nobel Prize laureate alumni, which is why I provided the list, which I am noting again for your benefit:

    Bronx High School of Science (7)
    Brooklyn Technical High School (2)
    Stuyvesant High School (4)

    No other private or public secondary school has these distinctions as those I’ve just cited.

  471. #472 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    Jesus fucking Christ. High school high school high school. Some people have bees in their bonnets, but this guy has a hive in his dunce hat.

  472. #473 Sven DiMilo
    March 20, 2009

    *glances again, eyebrows raised, in the direction of NYC*

  473. #474 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    Many of his central convictions seem to boil down to boring semantics and subjective opinion. (Thus “the US is itself a leading terrorist state”.)

    For those who are unfamiliar with Chomsky’s argument, and who suspect that Erasmus’s argument from personal incredulity might be insufficient, here’s Chomsky speaking for himself, on an objective definition — provided by the US Army — and examples:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xpOscuv2S4

  474. #475 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    March 20, 2009

    Kwok, you are an insufferable ass and have serious issues with your social skills. No one gives a shit about your high school.

    Seek help.

  475. #476 CG
    March 20, 2009

    You guys bored me so hard over here that I had to go read the Canadian politics thread instead. I found an all new troll to have fun with: I formally nominate Karol the Kreotard from the Gary Goodyear thread for the next round.

  476. #477 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    Kwok, Which part of the “!!!! WE DONT WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SO STOP RANTING ABOUt IT !!!!” you failed to comprehend ?

  477. #478 Longstreet63
    March 20, 2009

    yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap yap

    I’m beginning to think Silverfox isn’t the only brain-damaged pekingese up for consideration here.

    You dropped the ball again, Kwok.  AGAIN.

    No, you don’t get a treat.

  478. #479 Klokwurk
    March 20, 2009

    Wait, so what’s this about a high school? :P

  479. #480 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 20, 2009

    Kwok won’t shut the kwok up about his high school (get over it like any mature adult). The libertards almost hijacked a thread. Things are back to normal.

  480. #481 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    For those who are unfamiliar with Chomsky’s argument, and who suspect that Erasmus’s argument from personal incredulity might be insufficient, here’s Chomsky speaking for himself, on an objective definition — provided by the US Army — and examples:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xpOscuv2S4

    Fuck.

    With the caveat that at the end of that video, an idiot 9-11 truther has edited in some conspiracy footage.

    But that doesn’t reflect Chomsky’s beliefs.

  481. #482 Kaessa
    March 20, 2009

    John Kwok @ #472 –

    This man is the poster child for “people unclear on the concept”.

    Nice work, John.

  482. #483 blueelm
    March 20, 2009

    JK: I think most people here would agree that you went to a very good high school. They just don’t see the need to talk about it any more. I, for one, would never have known you if it weren’t for this series of threads. You had never posted anything that bothered me and never caught my attention in a negative way.

    This is one of those social situations where the more you try to defend yourself the worse you end up looking.

    It’s never too late to stop!

  483. #484 Alan Kellogg
    March 20, 2009

    Since we’re talking about this stuff…

    The first question is, “Is it necessary?” The second being, “Is there a private party ready and able to provide it?” If the answer to the first is, “Yes.”, but the answer to the second is, “No.”, then there is a role for government.

    But, sometimes we’re talking about things, not a thing. We, for example, tend to speak of roads as a thing, we forget that a road can be a thing in and of itself. One road in a country may be profitable for a private company to construct and maintain, while the rest are not. So the private road handles the traffic willing to pay for its use, while the public roads handle the the rest of the traffic. All the roads are necessary for the functioning of the nation in question, but only one road can be run at a profit.

    However, there is a fundamental divide between two parties. Both parties are fighting over control, control of resources and their distribution. One party says that control lies rightfully in the hands of the individual. They are known as Libertarians, and they are extreme conservatives. The other party believes that control lies rightfully in the hands of authorities. They are known as Statists, and they are extreme conservatives. Neither group will accept compromise.

    What both ignore is the fact that often people need to adapt to prevailing conditions. Most people can afford basic medical care. A few can’t. With stores such as Wal-Mart and various groceries around the country providing $4.00 generic prescription drugs, it would be cheaper all around if people like me -who have health assurance coverage- bought the generics they use themselves (I use two generics myself). The problem is, that would mean the government would lose some control they have over what medication some people take. It’s not how much they have to pay for assuring health care, it’s controlling what people get in the way of health care.

    That is the consequence of an absolute monopoly, by denying alternatives you make it possible to provide the worst in service. That is what you get with Microsoft and their virtual monopoly in operating systems. It is what you get in any government funded health assurance system, when the participants have no pride in what they are doing.

    Considering what I get every month from the Feds and the state of California I could afford my generics and the basic care I receive from my physician. Anything more is beyond my means, and so government assistance is called for. Overall it would be cheaper for everybody concerned if I paid for some of my health care, but that means the government would lose that degree of control over my life.

    And let’s not forget the inconvenience of paying for things yourself. When the government pays for it you’re not reminded of how much it costs. It’s some agency paying $50 to take your kid to see the doctor, not you paying $20.00 yourself. It’s not really your money, but money your government magically conjures out of thin air. Taxes? Taxes have nothing to do with it. Your taxes go to pay for things like waste and fraud and corruption and useless crap. The useful stuff the government provides is paid for by magic money that appears out of nowhere. As long as you avoid the hassle, all is copacetic.

    I expect most here have gotten my point. I expect some of you are going to disagree, a few vehemently (“How dare you blaspheme the holy state?”). But since extremists on both sides of the divide have begun bloviating on the questin, I felt it time to speak out in favor of workable courses of action.

  484. #485 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    That is the consequence of an absolute monopoly, by denying alternatives you make it possible to provide the worst in service. That is what you get with Microsoft and their virtual monopoly in operating systems. It is what you get in any government funded health assurance system, when the participants have no pride in what they are doing.

    British doctors have no pride in their work.

    That was a constructive addition to the discussion.

  485. #486 Stephen Wells
    March 20, 2009

    Kellogg: too long; didn’t care.

  486. #487 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    alan. In a country where 15% lack any insurance, 40% have problem to pay it, and tens of thousands die each year because of lack of medical care, you dare spout nonsense like “Most people can afford basic medical care” ? You are SO full of shit that you look like one big fecal balloon.

  487. #488 Stephen Wells
    March 20, 2009

    Oh, and Kwok: I went to the same college as Dirac. So what? Shut up about your high school.

  488. #489 Erasmus
    March 20, 2009

    My above tirade against Chomsky was posted in the wrong thread. Should have been Survivor Day Three, not Day Four. Sorry if that appeared confusingly random.

  489. #490 Michael Fonda
    March 20, 2009

    I should probably put on my aesbestos pants before writing this, but I really don’t see what’s so bad about John Kwok (of course I don’t spend a lot of time in these here precincts). Near as I can tell, he doesn’t like the Discovery Institute and supports his high-school principal for refusing to teach ID/Creationism. His critics haven’t exactly charmed me to death, either. So he drops a few names. If that’s so bad they would have lynched Dick Cavett when I was nothing but a beardless youth.

  490. #491 Longstreet63
    March 20, 2009

    As an example of Alan’s health care scenario, which seems largely to be the one we have, I had a small cyst removed from my back last year at the recommendation of my doctor.

    I have good corporate insurance. The process took eight minutes.

    The total bill was $2500. My insurance discounted this to $1200.

    My responsibility was $1100. The insurance company paid the last hundred.

    It seems clear from this example that the current system is designed to benefit the insurance company, since both I and the hospital ended up down a grand, while they lost less than a month’s premium.

  491. #492 'Tis Himself
    March 20, 2009

    I will not post about libertarianism…I will not post about libertarianism…I will not post about libertarianism…I will not post about libertarianism….

  492. #493 Medusa
    March 20, 2009

    None.

    I really can’t make up my mind on this one.

  493. #494 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    Michael, I believe, that the reason is, that vogon prose is even worse than vogon poetry. And John Kwok produces almost nothing else than vogon prose about his high school.

  494. #495 Menyambal
    March 20, 2009

    Geezus Gawd. I just went to the Stuy school site, clicked on alumni and then searched “Kwok”. John Kwok appears to be quite active. “Mr. Kwok, SHS ’78, is Social Chairperson of the Metrocats”.

    I graduated in 1977, myself, and can go for frakking years without mentioning my high school. If Kwok can’t, he hasn’t done anything since.

    Supporting one’s school is fine, being proud of it is okay, but thirty years later it is time to move on. Especially if one lives in New York City.

    Honest, I’d been thinking Kwok was, like, 22 years old or something. This is getting really strange.

  495. #496 Stephen Wells
    March 20, 2009

    …Kwok is fifty-ish?

    Damn.

  496. #497 CG
    March 20, 2009

    to Michael Fonda@491

    I’m with ya, I’m about twice as tired of hearing people yell at him about talking about his high school as I am about him mentioning it. *shrug* To each his own I guess.

  497. #498 Britomart
    March 20, 2009

    Plonk Kwok

    I have used a kill filter here for ages but there comes a time when the responses to the dummy overwhelm the conversation and ignoring his posts just isn’t helping.

    I am channel manager of undernet #Atheism. We boot for unresponsive preaching. I would love a good argument, but this fellow is hopeless.

    Enough already.

    Thank you kindly

  498. #499 JeffreyD
    March 20, 2009

    Shorter John Kwok – well I can dream, can’t I?

    And no, people, I refuse to tell you where I went to High School with the Algonquin Club.

    Ciao y’all

  499. #500 E.V.
    March 20, 2009

    Stuy is a premier HS, we get that. Not all graduates of Stuy become Nobel or Pulitzer prize winners. Frank McCourt was just an Irish emigre who became an English teacher there, his prize winning book came after Kwok graduated. If Frank had never published, none of his former students could parasitize him on demand.

    I know a few famous and semi famous people, I knew some of them before they were famous at University and the rest through TV/Film/Theater/opera gigs. I even knew a very famous actor who is recently deceased (No, not Patricia Richardson), whoopteedoo! We weren’t friends and were only colleagues in the sense that we were a part of the same union (of which, he was president for a time), just because we had a conversation a couple of times means nada. I can tell everyone I met so&so but there is no clout with that statement. I can truthfully say my College roommate has starred in Films,TV and on Broadway but who the hell cares? We haven’t spoken in years, just an exchange of pleasantries through mutual friends. I changed careers to support a family in ’94. I never achieved any fame even though I did grace some TV shows, commercials and Playbills for a short time ( under a stage name I no longer use). That and a$6.50 will get you a latte, especially on a science/non-theist blog.
    Years after the fact, I doubt I could get more than 3 of those famous people to return my call even if I had their number (which I don’t) and the conversation would probably be banal and abbreviated and awkward once “How are you? It’s so good to hear from you!” has been uttered.
    Name dropping only underlines what wasn’t achieved and gives off that desperate wannabe vibe. (are you listening Kwok?)
    There are tons of people who have achieved high levels of celebrity or notoriety and thousands of people who knew them when. Unless you can take some credit for their success or be treated as a functioning peer by them, knowing them is, for all intents and purposes, simply a boring anecdote… unless you can spill some dirt.

  500. #501 E.V.
    March 20, 2009

    JeffreyD:
    You knew Dorothy Parker?!!! That explains the rejoinders.

  501. #502 Ward S. Denker
    March 20, 2009

    For what it’s worth, AfricanGenesis, I like you, and I completely agree with your assessment of the predicament you find yourself in now. People use your statements as a means to wedge open the thread and derail it to argue with you, and if you don’t say anything they simply propagate their lies about libertarianism unabated. There’s no way to win. Speak up, and you’re called a thread-jacking troll (and subject to removal from the blog by mob rule), remain silent and they’ll just keep repeating whatever lies best suit their instinctive need to insulate themselves from any facts whatsoever that don’t confirm their world view.

    I’ve not been back to this blog in a long time, and seeing what has recently taken place here in recent days confirms my decision to remove Pharyngula from my RSS reader. The rare science article found here is simply not worth subjecting myself to what passes for “reasoning” from the far left. If I wanted a sermon, I’d go to church. At least they wear funny costumes when they put on a show.

    The only reason I stopped by here today is that same reason I might pause to examine roadkill. It’s a fascinating look at internal anatomy I may otherwise never see up close, but at the same time I am revolted at observing a decaying corpse covered in its own excrement.

  502. #503 T_U_T
    March 20, 2009

    far left : anyone who dares to speak up against libertarian demagogy and dogma

  503. #504 Sven DiMilo
    March 20, 2009

    Ward, don’t forget to defriend PZ on Facebook too.

  504. #505 JeffreyD
    March 20, 2009

    E.V. at #502, well Dorothy (Dot) and I were lovers, but she stopped talking to me after she lost a fight to Jean Harlow over me. Plus, she never forgave me for teaching both Fred Astaire and Nureyev our secret dance routines. Ah, I miss them all. Did I mention we all went to day care together?

    Ciao and good night.

  505. #506 Sven DiMilo
    March 20, 2009

    hey, pass one of those rejoinders over here, man

  506. #507 'Tis Himself
    March 20, 2009

    Bye, Ward. Don’t forget to forget to write.

  507. #508 E.V.
    March 20, 2009

    I would if you’d stop bogartin’ it. * deep toke* …’ere

  508. #509 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 20, 2009

    Bye, Ward. Can you take Kwok and AG with you?

  509. #510 Marie the Bookwyrm
    March 20, 2009

    PLEEEESE keep John Kwok; his posts are hilarious!!!

    He didn’t meet the challenge, though. Nor did Rooke or AG. Facilis did promise to change his behavior somewhat, but his post doesn’t seem to show that he understands why his behavior ticks off (to put it nicely) the Pharyngulites. So, I’d have to say: None.

  510. #511 jasonk
    March 20, 2009

    I’d be pleased if Ward Denker would actually leave.

    But I predict he will show himself a liar. He’ll be back.

    I’d be happy for him to prove his honor and stay gone, though. I’d love to be wrong.

  511. #512 AnthonyK
    March 20, 2009

    When a respected commentator like Ward tells us that we are all far-lefties and that we spend our term sermonising, I do shed a tear.
    Please Ward – don’t leave us!
    Your name was synonymous with…so many good anagrams with “wanker” in them..and…and…
    Need I go on?
    You know, I personally find that I am stupider since he left.
    *sniffle*

  512. #513 Inky
    March 20, 2009

    #472.
    Holy crap. There is no end to this, is there?

    Shut
    the
    FUCK
    up
    about
    your
    goddamn
    high school!!

    We don’t care!! It’s a good school! So what? Yale is a good school, too! Bush went there! So what? I didn’t go to Stuyvesant! So what? So fucking what?

    Please talk about something more interesting!! What color socks are you wearing? Whole wheat or white? What brand of toilet paper do you use? Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend? Did (s)he fall for you because you’re a Sty Alumni? Do your parents introduce you as, “Our son, John, who went to Stuyvesant,”?? ANYTHING but your ceaseless pontifications about a school you graduated from years and years ago!

  513. #514 aratina
    March 20, 2009

    They’ll just keep repeating whatever lies best suit their instinctive need… – Denker

    No we won’t.

    I really don’t see what’s so bad about John Kwok… – Fonda

    For me it is this:

    I advocated a military coup d’etat if Obama decided to rule as a Marxist – Leninist president. -Kwok

    Apparently he was even more direct on Amazon.com.

  514. #515 Stu
    March 20, 2009

    There’s no way to win.

    Nope. And that might have something to do with you being FUCKING WRONG all the time.

    Oh dear, we will miss you so!

  515. #516 marc buhler
    March 20, 2009

    ***** SELF-PLAGIARISM ALERT *****

    John “Should-Have-Home-Schooled” Kwok has repeatedly copied text *from his earlier posts* as if it had not been said before! Worse than ‘normal’ plagiarism – plagiarism of your own posts is only learned in the *very* best NYC High Schools!

  516. #517 fatherdaddy
    March 20, 2009

    I guess I would give immunity to the political prisoner, AG. More because I feel that, if I commented more, I would be on the block, myself. Cockgagger and Nerd of Dickhead, as well as others, have pretty much asked for my banning in the past. It shows a pretty intolerant attitude to those who don’t accept their emotional view of economics. While I don’t hold most of the views that they have associated the L word, I feel I must defend small l ideals, however imperfect. I prefer to bitch and moan about the lack of science in the world. As much as I would like to limit my comments to those topics, I feel like I am being personally attacked by the intolerant, and I can’t let it go. I mean really, L’s are considered rabidly right wing to you people. That is more ignorant than I am. I realize this is the kind of thing that would get me on the list, if someone actually read what I typed, but, I refuse to shut up. I would prefer to not see anyone banned. I like to see the completely irrational ideas that get posted. I like it even more when 20 people show how irrational the post is. If you get rid of the “creotards” and “libtards” and reduce this site to an echo chamber than Pharyngula would lose a lot of the appeal that drove me and thousands of others to read it every day. So, ban who you must. Just don’t get so full of yourselves that you make this site boring.

  517. #518 Cath the Canberra Cook
    March 20, 2009

    Holy crap, Kwok is banging on about his famous college buddies at facebook, too!

    Not sure if this link will work, but it’s in a recent PZ status update.
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13937490&ref=mf#/profile.php?id=13937490&v=feed&story_fbid=71761513392

  518. #519 Kel
    March 20, 2009

    John Kwok gave Dempski shivers down his spine? lol. Does anyone have a link to this?

  519. #520 'Tis Himself
    March 20, 2009

    L’s are considered rabidly right wing to you people.

    Many of them are. Africangenesis certainly qualifies.

    That is more ignorant than I am.

    That’s impossible. Nobody could be more ignorant than you.

  520. #521 Kagehi
    March 21, 2009

    For what it is worth, fatherdaddy, the vast majority of Libertarians I have seen show up here are not interested in supporting the “small l” ideas. They are, instead, of the sort that defend the “big L” ones, then refuse to see why those ideas don’t work most of the time, or why. They are the equivalent of all the jokers on the “financial news” who not only failed to predict the current situation, they actually helped create it, by suggesting that deregulating things that make no fracking sense to deregulate, was a good thing. Case in point, deregulation of FCC controlled bandwidth = good, it allows people to invent new technologies, and make money from them, while deregulation of loan systems, which **must** remain stable, and which **do not** add anything to tangible, other than fake money, into the mix = BAD.

    Why? If you need to ask, you don’t get it. But, lets put it this way, one is a barrier to a small number of very talented people that “have the means” to invent something with it. The later, is not a barrier to the majority of people that could invent anything in the first place. All it really does is drop money in the laps of **huge** numbers of people that spend 95% of their money buying donuts, than they ever spend inventing “anything”. So.., a ten fold increase, lets say, in a **real thing**, versus a 10 fold increase in something that only exists on paper…

    The problem isn’t belief in deregulation, its the fact that nearly **all** Libertarians that show up here say, “Less government is a good thing.” Not, “Its a good thing most of the time.”, “Its a good thing when their involvement just creates problems.”, but, “Less government is **always** a good thing.” No qualifiers, no clear perspective on the difference between what promotes actual progress, and what just promotes making more money. They often “equate” the two. And, that has been the whole fracking problem all along. More money is **not** the same as progress. Someone that spends every dime they have, to build something that will feed them for the rest of their life, is still *making progress*. Someone that makes 50 times as much money as they need to feed themselves has, 50 times as much money. If some disaster happens and they can’t spend any of it, they have made **no progress at all**, in fact, they just lost absolutely everything.

    There are a few that show up here that seem to be aware of the distinction, but even then, they often seem to fail to grasp why, just possibly, what ever it is they are defending, seems to fall in the “I have 50 times as much toilet paper”, and not, “I have enough to feed myself forever.”

    In fact, its similar to a joke I see come up, “Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, teach him to fish, he will feed himself for a lifetime, but teach him to deregulate the fishing industry, and everyone starves to death.” If you plan to kick the rule book out, you better be damn sure that the result will be beneficial, and not just “lucrative”. And, too many of them are so tied up in the idea of “small government”, they seem to be total idiots when figure out which is which.

  521. #522 Kagehi
    March 21, 2009

    Sigh.. Really wish some days that this sights posting system included “edit” as an option. Managed to make a few goofs there, due to losing track of what I was trying to finish. Guess I need some sleep. lol

  522. #523 Bernard Bumner
    March 21, 2009

    Why on Earth would you care so deeply over a few little overstated words?

    You’re a contributor to comments on a blog, and you have to ask that question?

  523. #524 fatherdaddy
    March 21, 2009

    Kagehi,

    I don’t believe that less government is a panacea for all that is bad in the world. I personally benefit from several government programs, health care for my children being one of them. However, the problem comes with deciding what is to be free and what is to be regulated and to what degree. While deregulation of the bandwidth was good, some believe it just threw more money into the telecommunication industries pockets and is therefore bad. Regulation of the food production in this country has been said to aid farmers and hurt the poor and hungry through rules regarding size and aesthetic quality of what may be sold. The question of regulation is more complex than people are willing to admit and I favor caution when it comes to regulation. The deregulation of the banks has caused problems, to say the least. I wonder how many of these problems could be “fixed” with more agressive investigation and prosecution of fraud. Not being an economist I don’t have a firm grasp of these things, but, could the deregulated money supply have contributed to the innovations of the telecommunications revolution by providing the creative and intelligent people with the cash to start production of their new technologies? I don’t see the regulators as having a huge logical advantage over the deregulators, and vice versa. Being someone who was raised to believe that freedom is very important, I naturally tend to be willing to take the risks of more deregulation.

    Are the devout Libertarians any more dogmatic than the devout Socialists on this site? I don’t think so. Just smaller in number and less popular. I think too many associate all libertarians with the Republicans, and even most Libertarians and Objectivists think the Republicans, and their cronies, are just as economically corrupt as you do, just from a different perspective.

    As for the 50 rolls of toilet paper, somebody got a job because someone wanted that toilet paper, and now that person can feed their family. I have a job because people want something that is completely unnecessary for survival. I am more than willing to feed and shelter my family with their excess cash. The person with more money than they know what to do with is at the very least putting that money in the bank, Bill Gates isn’t stuffing that money under his bed. Now that bank has more money to loan to you for your house, or to loan to Apple to make the iPod I have, or to loan the fisherman enough money to buy a new boat and more selective nets.

  524. #525 Alan Kellogg
    March 22, 2009

    TUT, #488

    60% isn’t most people?

  525. #526 Alan Kellogg
    March 22, 2009

    Longstreet, #492

    How deep was the cyst? How much effort was needed to remove it?

  526. #527 Alan Kellogg
    March 22, 2009

    Name Drop #1: I knew Gary Gygax. Even worked with him on the DJ system, and got paid for it. It was fun while it lasted.

    Name Drop #2: For some dang reason author Tad Williams enjoys seeing me again every time we meet. He’s never told me why.

    Not really a name drop, because Sergio Aragones is friendly to everybody he meets. That’s just the way Sergio is.

    That’s my glory hounding for this thread.

  527. #528 SC, OM
    March 22, 2009

    My confession:

    I want people to claim that they know/knew me.

  528. #529 Wowbagger, OM
    March 22, 2009

    fatherdaddy squealed:

    More because I feel that, if I commented more, I would be on the block, myself. Cockgagger and Nerd of Dickhead, as well as others, have pretty much asked for my banning in the past.

    I’m assuming that by ‘Cockgagger’ you’re referring to me; would you care to cite the post/thread where I’ve called for you to be banned? I’m pretty sparing when it comes to banning people, so I’d like to know exactly what it was you did to provoke such a reaction from me, if indeed that is the case. Your handle doesn’t instantly evoke revulsion so it this did happen it was a while back.

    But since you use the term ‘cockgagger’ to be insulting I’m going to guess it was homophobia, and if that’s so then I’ll call for you to be banned every time you turn up and paste your ignorant hate-filled blather amongst people who don’t tolerate such pathetic behaviour.

  529. #530 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 22, 2009

    Fatherdaddy, (I’m presuming I’m Nerd of Dickhead) there is no need to feel threatened simply because you have libertarian sympathies. In some areas (some social policies), I do too. AG was only “attacked” because 1) he repeatedly hijacked threads to promote his political vision, 2) repeated himself ad nauseum while doing so, and 3) would not acknowledge refutation when his ass was handed to him on a platter, which happened often. If you stick to political and open threads, and avoid hijacking threads, you will be welcomed as an independent voice. Have fun, and express yourself.
    By the way, the Redhead, who is ultrafeminine in some respects, would skewer you with several knitting needles for you calling her a dickhead. Maybe you need to back off a couple of notches on your language (see Wowbagger above) unless you want to find yourself at the bottom of a “dog pile”.

  530. #531 Wowbagger, OM
    March 22, 2009

    Nerd, do you remember anywhere else this particular character has appeared?

    I had a bit of a search through the old posts and the only dialogue I could find between myself and fatherdaddy was in this link where Eric Atkinson went on a homophobic violence bender and I was amongst the many tearing him a new one because of it; fatherdaddy showed up a little after this and defended him.

    Nowhere in that post did I call for fatherdaddy to be banned; I did, however, call for Eric Atkinson to be banned – which makes me wonder if fatherdaddy is Eric Atkinson and was sockpuppeting to make it appear as if someone was defending him.

    Feel free to correct me, fatherdaddy – oh, and please cite the post and thread where I called for you to be banned. If it is true then I’d like to see the context.