Quote of the Day - 17 July 2005

| 50 Comments

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” –Douglas Adams Last Chance to See

50 Comments

While the H2G2 movie was a decent, if not spectacular, adaptation of the book, I think my biggest complaint was that Zaphod was made outrageous and stupid. In the book, he’s outrageous and a little mean, but not an idiot. He was a more interesting character.

He didn’t strike me as being mean in the book, or stupid in the movie. You have to understand that he’s an alien from the vicinity of Betleguese, so if he comes off as callous or a little dense, it’s just that he doesn’t see things in quite the same way you and I are used to.

Zaphod was definitely played as an idiot in the movie (he was played as a slightly-more-intelligent G.W. Bush, as far as I could tell), and both Zaphod’s characterization and the bizarre treatment of his second head were downers.

That being said, I thought the H2G2 movie was a quality adaptation – particularly in the amount of narration from the Guide that survived, something rare in a Hollywood ‘blockbuster – and I wish it’d had more success, so that we might have had the privilege of seeing the other sequels brought to life.

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Paul wrote “despite the twisting and turning of Richard Dawkins.”

You seem a nice guy. What,s your problem with Dawkins?

You seem a nice guy. What,s your problem with Dawkins?

It looks like standard-issue conceptual confusion about the possibility of ethics without absolutes. Paul’s statement “We are still no more than our genes” is radically false – we aren’t our genes at all; that’s a category mistake or two. “Some people can live with this” – yes, some people can live with what is true being true, while others are scared so crapless by it that they have to invent fantasies and then assert the fantasies as reality.

Here’s more from Paul, aka “a Creationist Troll, apparently”, that indicates that he’s just as dim-witted and “nice” as the rest of the creationist crowd:

http://exilefromgroggs.blogspot.com[…]-and-id.html

t.s. -

As an advocate of “reason” and “rationality”, why do you make use of insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, “dim-witted”, and so on? How does this reflect the use of reason?

From my perspective, it would seem irrational.

I suspect “rational” is generally defined as “agrees with me.” After all, if there were a superior opinion to mine, I would already hold it.

:) Oh dear, my aliases are gradually unravelling!

harold Wrote:

How does this reflect the use of reason?

These characterizations are the consequence of observation and reasoning.

From my perspective, it would seem irrational.

And yet you provided no reasoned support for your perspective.

Flint Wrote:

I suspect “rational” is generally defined as “agrees with me.”

You’re probably right, in regard to Harold’s use of it.

Troll,

I don’t know what is up with your website or my computer or the synergy between them, but everytime I try to load it, it crashes every single window and tab I have open. Paul

t.s. -

I asked -

“As an advocate of “reason” and “rationality”, why do you make use of insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, “dim-witted”, and so on? How does this reflect the use of reason?”

But your answer is superficial and circular -

“These characterizations are the consequence of observation and reasoning”

How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”? Also, are all others who don’t use similar terms lacking in “reason”?

From my perspective, it does indeed seem irrational on many levels. But all you need to do to change that is answer my question.

How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

Well, in the case of “dim-witted”, I think it’s clear enough to any rational person who read the troll’s page in regard to which I made the comment. Or perhaps you think that what Paul offers there really are “the best arguments against Intelligent Design and in favor of neo-darwinism”.

Also, are all others who don’t use similar terms lacking in “reason”?

No, you silly goose. The use or failure to use such terms has no bearing on whether people possess or are lacking in reason. That simple fact makes it clear enough that your claim about irrationality is irrational.

From my perspective, it does indeed seem irrational on many levels.

And yet you are quite unable to articulate any of them.

But all you need to do to change that is answer my question.

Not so, because your belief isn’t rationally held. I don’t have the power to turn you into the sort of person you aren’t, no matter how many questions I answer.

As an advocate of “reason” and “rationality”, why do you make use of insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, “dim-witted”, and so on? How does this reflect the use of reason?

Perhaps his privates are just bigger than everyone else’s. (shrug)

It’s why I skip over all his posts. They are all content-free.

Q? How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”? Also, are all others who don’t use similar terms lacking in “reason”?

A: It’s an ego thing

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Hey, that’s not fair.

Hey, that’s not fair.

No, actually it is. I’ll go back to lurking!

t.s. -

Well, technically, what I said was that if you put up an insulting reply to a primary post of mine, THAT was what I wouldn’t respond to. But perhaps I was unclear.

I’m going to be gone for the rest of the evening. My question remains unanswered. I’m not the most frequent poster here most of the time (albeit on a roll recently), but I’ll certainly be back. I’ll be interested to see if it ever gets an answer.

Well, technically, what I said was that if you put up an insulting reply to a primary post of mine, THAT was what I wouldn’t respond to. But perhaps I was unclear.

That’s a lie. “technically”, as in “truthfully and factually”, what you said was “You’ll get no more responses from me”.

My question remains unanswered.

That too is a lie. You should learn from Alan, who displayed some honesty.

I’d be fascinated to see how someone would answer a question like “How does reasoning and reason lead you to the theory of evolution”, other than pointing to (some of) the evidence supporting the claim. The question itself, and the motivation for it, is anything but rational. Imagine, being taken to task for calling an IDist “dim-witted” on PT. People outside Harold’s brigade of intellectually dishonest clowns must wonder what all the fuss is about.

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on July 18, 2005 05:46 PM (e) (s)

It’s why I skip over all his posts. They are all content-free.

True dat. His posts are so low-content and numerous, I wondered if I was dry-drunk or something. I don’t even know if I agree or disagree with him, because he can’t seem to say anything before I lose interest.

It’s amusing, in a way, to see such insubstantial and hypocritical posts, responding to other insubstantial and hypocritical posts, complaining about low content. (Good for Alan that he got it.)

[quote}Good for Alan[unquote]

JAD patronised me with the same phrase once. But at least he was amusing. Content is great. No need to be polite or rude, just make it intelligible and concise.

I am just the audience, unable to contain the odd cheer or hiss.

I didn’t intend to patronize you. And I do try to be intelligible, and usually concise.

Fair enough

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I just received a Christian Wire Service press release

Repeat after me: ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion.…

“Will this sort of thing happen every time we use the Infinite Improbability Drive?”

“Very probably.”

Paul Flocken: It works on both IE and Netscape running on XP on my machine - though I had to tweak it a bit to get IE to work. Sorry, without taking over your computer (buwah hah hah hah hah!!!!!) I can’t help any more …

Following a DisCo link to Eunoia (is that like paranoia but newer/rebranded/bigger-tent or simply a misnomer from sick minds?), from the conference registration form:

Early Registration:

Standard Conference Fee: $125 Teacher or Student Conference Fee: $95

After June 30, 2005:

Standard Conference Fee: $145 Teacher or Student Conference Fee: $115

So it’s “free inquiry” (and it isn’t religion neither!) …

‘Last Chance to See’ is an excellent book. Adams got a wee bit of the science wrong, but gets across so much more that is good in a fantastically penetrating and entertaining fashion. The way he and Carwardine discussed the animals and their behaviour emphasised the wonderful curiosity in and bemusement at the world which characterised so much of Adam’s writing.

Very great pity that he is no longer with us. -Schmitt.

I just received a Christian Wire Service press release rejoicing in the presence of M. Behe *and* J. Wells at a conference to be celebrated Aug 4-6 in balmy Greenville, South Carolina.

So much for that whole “ID has nothing to do with religion” thingie, huh . …

“Uncommon Dissent Forum, Scientists Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing” coordinator Lewis Young proudly notes that the Disco Institute is being consulted for the festivities.

Do any of them have a scientific theory of ID to offer?

Why not?

So much for that whole “ID has nothing to do with religion” thingie, huh .…

Aren’t all scientific conferences publicized through Christian Wire Service?

Do any of them have a scientific theory of ID to offer?

Why not?

Gee, they’ve got *statistical evidence* - sounds like science to me, Mr. Wizard!

t.s. -

Still no answer to my question. I asked -

“How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

You wrote -

“Well, in the case of “dim-witted”, I think it’s clear enough to any rational person who read the troll’s page in regard to which I made the comment. Or perhaps you think that what Paul offers there really are “the best arguments against Intelligent Design and in favor of neo-darwinism”.”

But this has nothing to with what I asked. I know that you disagree with the people you insult (and in this case, so do I).

But I asked “How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

My question remains unanswered.

But this has nothing to with what I asked. I know that you disagree with the people you insult (and in this case, so do I).

If the answer doesn’t amount to giving reasons in support for my claim – that the fellow is dim-witted – then I have no idea what sort of answer would do; your question seems to embody an unfalisfiable theory. But it really doesn’t matter, since it’s *your* claim that the use of such terms is “irrational”, and the burden is on your to support your claim – which you have repeatedly refused to do. This is remarkably similar to how IDists operate.

Here’s how it goes, Harold. I claim P (after noting the facts that led me to claim it). You claim, without support, that it is irrational to claim P, or rather to claim it using the words that I did. This is a bizarre claim, since the choice of words one uses to express a claim is not generally subject judgments of rationality or irrationality, which normally pertain to the claims themselves. You have provided no reason to think that I have done anything irrational – you simply asserted it, and reasserted it when asked for your reasons for the claim – just like an IDist does.

Gee, they’ve got *statistical evidence* - sounds like science to me, Mr. Wizard!

Ahhh, “statistics”. That comes right after “lies” and “damned lies”, doesn’t it …?

;>

t.s. -

Nope. Sorry. You still haven’t answered the question, have you? I guess you just can’t or won’t understand a very simple question.

“How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

You just keep repeating that you disagree with one of the people you’ve insulted. I disagree with that particular one too. But that isn’t what I asked.

You’re absolutely right that I haven’t told you WHY I think it’s irrational to behave as you do. I may even try to explain it some day, if I have time.

But you still haven’t answered the question.

I’ve answered it several ways, and have asked you to explain what sort of answer would do, if mine won’t. So all I’m getting from you is bad faith.

> You’re absolutely right that I haven’t told you WHY I think it’s irrational to behave as you do. I may even try to explain it some day, if I have time.

The burden is on those who make claims to support their claims. If you don’t have time to take on your burden, there’s certainly no reason why I should take the time to provide yet more answers to your ill-begotten questions. Jackass.

(1) Folks, don’t feed the trolls, they just multiply and crap on everything.

(2) About the actual quote: DNA was being a bit blurry:

We’re *not* the only creature that can learn from the experience of others, various ape experiments involving firehoses come to mind. We’re certainly the best at it, but even so, I’d say we’re not very good at it, rather than “disinclined”. The business of telling others about our experiences is pretty new, I think it’s just not fully developed yet.

A standard undergraduate experiment in psychology involves placing a trained rat in a wire cage (trained to get food by pressing a bar) adjacent to an untrained rat in another wire cage. The object of the experiment is to determine whether the untrained rat figures out how to get food faster than control rats who are not exposed to the example the trained rat provides. The “right answer” (i.e. supported by a very large body of similar experiments) is that rats do indeed learn by lateral transfer. Similarly, rats who witness other rats eating something and suffering immediate convulsions and death, are far less likely to experiment with eating the same stuff, than a rat that didn’t watch.

People may be unique in learning the lesson vicariously, but being disinclined to follow it. But it’s hard to tell; maybe the rat that watched but never pressed the bar just wasn’t hungry. A rat’s motivations aren’t well articulated.

We’re *not* the only creature that can learn from the experience of others,

That would explain the use of the word “almost”.

I’d say we’re not very good at it, rather than “disinclined”.

And that might explain the word “apparently”. It’s striking that, even in a humorous aphorism not meant to be take literally, Adams hedged his assertions more than, well, almost everyone is, well, apparently inclined to do.

It’s striking that, even in a humorous aphorism not meant to be take literally, Adams hedged his assertions more than, well, almost everyone is, well, apparently inclined to do.

An aficionado of plausible deniability, maybe. Adams has said something quite distinct, without quite having said exactly what he said for the most part.

I’m going to declare that Adams regarded the human mind as a dichotomizing machine, and even our language is ill-adapted to continua and spectra. We don’t deal well with trends, probabilities, percentages, exceptions, and the like. So says Adams (just ask him if I’m wrong).

Adams?

Who he?

Did you somehow miss the opening post or was that sarcasm?

I did google and wondered how bryan adams had become involved.

Mea Culpa

> An aficionado of plausible deniability, maybe.

An aficionado of intellectual honesty, maybe.

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on July 17, 2005 9:18 PM.

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