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Robin Z
Mechanical engineering student with a side interest in philosophy.
Interests: philosophy, engineering, mathematics, webcomics
Recent Activity
"oh please dont give me the legalize talk. you're not a lawyer. I am not Catholic but I know some and TO THEM its sacred like RAPE--not 'flag burning'." And that's crazy. A logical conclusion from their belief system, but crazy. You have a terrific lot of empathy for your Catholic friends, and this reflects well on you - but you are allowing your sympathy for their position to blind you to the merits of positions which conflict with theirs. Which pretty well means that there is no particular reason to continue this conversation.
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Rape? Rape? PZ Myers solicited the provision of consecrated communion wafers, which he subsequently destroyed. At worst, that's conspiracy to commit larceny. Seriously, to prove a crime against a person you have to prove intent to cause injury to a human being. PZ Myers had no such intent. He sincerely believes that there is no human being there - that transubstantiation does not occur. If you want to compare what he did to flag-burning, you can, and such a comparison would be fair ... but there is not even a faint resemblance between throwing a communion wafer in the trash and committing physical assault. As for "Myers has said that if it was up to him he would make it punishable by DEATH if anybody believes in God" - prove it. Give me an exact quote in his writing. I'll stand right here and say that anyone who would enforce belief with the sword should be despised, but first prove he would.
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Oh, well done! It's worth noting, of course, that the pattern is still the God-of-the-Gaps one - what has transpired here is that they missed the gap. Which should, in a sane world, lead them to ask why this particular method so often leads to error...
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@Jesse | September 25, 2009 at 06:34 AM: ShorDurPerSav, mate - that was marvelously stated.
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(P.S. If you're on Livejournal, you may prefer my blog post on Livejournal - it's identical.)
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@Procrustes | September 24, 2009 at 06:03 PM: I 100% disbelieve that there can exist a square circle. It's logically impossible. Actually, that's not true. The definition of a circle is "all the points a fixed distance from the center." The definition of a square is "a polygon with four equal sides and four equal angles." If you take a chessboard and measure distance by the number of king-moves, all circles by that definition are squares. "Logical impossibility" is really hard to prove. The Christian God may well be impossible, but it suffices for me that He is empirically disproven. (Incidentally, Ms. Christina, you have inspired a blog post. Thank you.)
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Gary Farber: You're welcome! Actually, I'd probably add to the list of rules one about references: 1. When a reference is to a work available on the Internet (e.g. blog post, NY Times article), a link of the most permanent kind feasible should be included. 2. Whenever a reference is used, the text should describe it in sufficient detail for an average viewer to find it. Even when there is a link - URL formats get changed, articles are taken offline, web hosts get changed, etc.; just because a link works today doesn't mean it will continue working.
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2009 on Blogger Ethics at Obsidian Wings
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I think Eric Burns had a fair amount to say about general principles on Websnark - Channel Markers has a number of pieces of advice, with Sing a Song of Boing Boing: A Cautionary Tale expanding on a particular point. Nothing about time limits, though.
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2009 on Blogger Ethics at Obsidian Wings
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Mark: Actually, I think that all conclusions should be provisional. In the sense that conclusions may always be challenged, so do most of us. That doesn't keep them from being strong - I'm strongly confident that my name is Robin, but if one day everyone was calling me Kendall, all my IDs and credit cards said "Kendall", my email addresses had "kendall" in them instead of "robin", my online profiles listed my name as "Kendall", etc., etc., etc., I would strongly consider that I was mistaken. As for the argument that the filtering effect of the public discourse has failed: why would you believe that? It's not even required that all the best arguments float to the top - just one or two - to completely refute wiploc's Parable of the Pawnbroker. And when it comes to reality, there are always multiple ways to test an hypothesis - just look at all the different places my name shows up! If the only way a thing can be true involves extraordinarily improbable circumstances - and the idea that nobody, not even paid professionals, can identify the best in their field is extraordinarily improbable - than it's going to take extraordinary evidence to make considering that thing worthwhile. Such evidence is not forthcoming. Period.
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First off: you can be open-minded and still hold a strong opinion, Mark. More specifically, though, you're not taking into account the filtering effect of the popular discourse. However many bogus arguments people come up with, we should expect the ones that get circulated as the best to be a cut above those. There are a lot of rubbish videogames out there, but if you're looking at the pool of games that have widespread critical and popular support, you're going to find some of the best. And yet, we never see an argument that can compare to, say, the arguments for the existence of the Higgs boson. Why not?
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Okay, I see part of the problem, and wiploc's "The Parable of the Pawnbroker" addresses it. See, Mark, we're not averse to interpreting new evidence and changing our minds. Why, only a couple years ago, I was convinced that hypnosis was all a bunch of malarkey - but these days, I am decidedly agnostic on the point, simply due to the number of newspaper reports of scientific evidence. (If I did research, I might be more than agnostic.) But when it comes to supernatural phenomena, there are so many flat-out garbage arguments out there that we can't deal with them all - if we did, we'd never do anything else.
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Not to pile on, but does anyone else notice the similarity between "You atheists are just as close-minded as the hard-line religious believers you're criticizing" - a claim Mark distances himself from - and "[A] lot of atheists are just as dogmatic as the believers" - which Mark asserts?
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Rob @ June 26, 2009, 06:55 PM: You might want to read "How do you prove photography to a blind man?" on Skeptico. Demonstrating the existence of color is only slightly harder - anyone who knows their physics could come up with something, maybe involving diffraction gratings or prisms.
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