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Dan Manthey
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Sorry I didn't see all the comments. I'd like to come back long enough to say that I'm sorry to Nick Kiddle for the effect that parts of this discussion have had. Recognizing that this doesn't reverse that harm, I'd like to say that that was certainly not my intent, and I'm reasonably certain that that was not the intent of the commenter who made the "bit harsh" comment. It's unfortunate that that can be the result of communication failures, and it's why it's so disappointing how poorly this board handles communication.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on The Problem of Proselytizing at The Slacktiverse
"when you are in my house, sitting on my couch and drinking my tea* you abide by my rules of behaviour and language" while I make wild accusations about your friends and your beliefs. Time to stick the flounce, assholes.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on The Problem of Proselytizing at The Slacktiverse
Look, I'm sorry I used reference material to put labels on the things I was talking about. I'll try not to make that mistake again. Especially seeing as it clearly hasn't helped. You seem to think that the interpretations of the word are "being unable to understand reality" and "being unable to understand reality and therefore not worth listening to". That's not right. Those are one of its interpretations, first with only the denotation and then with both denotation and connotation. There's a second denotation, "being incompatible with observed reality", and it has the same connotation of "and therefore not worth listening to". The cutesy "seems a bit harsh" comment was certainly disrespectful, and I guess you could call that trolling, but that disrespect was in fact contentful communication. You ascribing meaning that wasn't there, and thereby adding the imputation of mental illness to the description of theism, seems to be exactly the sort of connotation you were objecting to. The so-called troll then said something disrespectful about what seemed like hypocrisy.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on The Problem of Proselytizing at The Slacktiverse
It's really amazing how infuriating trying to communicate here is. Thanks a whole bunch for assuming that I don't know the difference between denotation and connotation, assuming that I think the dictionary is authoritative rather than descriptive, and that I've never done feminism. Never mind the bullshit thrown in about free speech. At least there's finally been some tacit admission that the mean 2a exists, even if continued to refusal to consider that it could have been what was intended. @08:20 "[I]f you're using a single word which can mean radically different things within the very context in which you are using it, the fault for any misunderstanding lies in you. People cannot read your mind, only your words. If you choose your words poorly, that's your problem not theirs." In most places, communication is considered cooperative. In the context of a usage that has two interpretations, insisting that the interpretation that entails bigotry on the part of the speaker is an act of bad faith. Having one's words twisted to mean something other than intended, when there's a whole body of context available, is not "choos[ing] words poorly", it's being insulted. Now, a good portion of that body of context is on the Freethought Blogs site, not here. But when your site publishes a hit piece on one of their denizens, you can expect folks to come by to have a word about it.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on The Problem of Proselytizing at The Slacktiverse
Can I link to an individual comment this way? In case not, this is in re Page 17's trigger warning notice by tBAT about ableism. I find it amazing that this needs to be explained, but if you look here (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/delusion) you'll find that there is more than one meaning for "delusional". Considering in hurtful or offensive to conflate religious beliefs and mental illness makes perfect sense. But that's not what's going on every time a theist is called delusional; a lot of those who consider theism (or at least the kinds of theism they're talking about) to be claims about reality, and consider those claims (as they understand them) to be firmly proven wrong by evidence, call theism delusional, in the sense of 2a. 2a, not 2b. And before anybody quips that intent isn't magic, note that that works both ways. The intended meaning of the speaker doesn't change any hurt or offense felt by the hearer, but conversely the hearer's wrong guess as to what the speaker meant doesn't make the speaker bigoted. Accusations of ableism here are entirely unwarranted. When a transient commenter came here and used one of the perfectly ordinary meanings of an everyday word, and got accused of bigotry for it, and that accusation was only plausible by choosing to interpret their words other than they were intended, they understandably found the accusations obtuse, and replied to one of them quite snarkily. Now, if they'd been regular lurkers, maybe they have known that this community has a long history of completely ignoring the 2b usage of that word. That might at least have not thought the obtuse accusation was itself making light of mental illness, and therefore not chosen to also make light of it with a rather snappy rejoinder. You're absolutely right, words have meanings. You folks don't always get to choose what they are.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on The Problem of Proselytizing at The Slacktiverse
It seems entirely wrong to say that "=" has less of a referent than does "m", let alone "e" or "c**2". In what sense does "m" mean a real thing? In the sense that the concept "mass" picks out a subset of the aspects of the tangible world, and that those aspects have some coherence over a wide body of possible experiences we have with the world. That is to say, mass is operationally defined. You can't very well take the mass out of something in the same way that you can take the tiger out of the jungle. But "=" has exactly the same correspondence to the world; it picks out a set of aspects that are useful to think about together. It is real in the same way that mass is, though the set of operations that you need to consider to tell whether you've found an instance of equality are rather more complicated than those needed to detect an instance of mass. But if "m" has a referent "mass", and mass is deemed real because things in the world can be observed to behave in the set of ways we call "having mass", then "=", which has a referent "equality", must also be deemed real because we can find things that behave in ways that fit what we call "being equal". (We can of course decide that fitting a highly abstract set of operations doesn't count as "real" or that the set of operations don't constitute a referent, but then "m" is just as much to a reference as is "=".)
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2011 on What is Language About? at Babel's Dawn
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May 18, 2011