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Semiformalishmaybe

Plurality of Fingers

National Geographic has an interesting special on solitary confinement, one where they both explore the background and issues and have volunteers (right now) undergoing a week of it.

Been pondering the degree to which television and now comic act as elements of creative cultural segregation. The Qur'an, in arab culture, is often used as a reference point for intuitions and stories - "don't be like X" or "you're making the same fallacy as Y" is the form I imagine it takes (I have heard this described by several different people who grew up in that culture, even Arab Christians). If we ever had that in western society it's been diluted down to short proverbs (e.g. "ox before the cart"). Do the proverbs shape the person? If we imagined educating people with two different sets of them in youth, if/when they took the steps to deeper reasoning, would they likely actually reason differently? To what extent does the endless repetition of some set of these underly the way we actually reason about the world even once we've developed past that stage (and do we ever?) - when I read the collected works of Mao Tse-Tung (brilliant author, by the way even as my agreement factor with his ideas isn't that high), the stress he placed on slogans struck me as odd, but I've come to reflect more about how intuitions work as I've thought more about 「Brave New World」, 「Animal Farm」, and 「1984」's treatment of language. The treatment of framing as a mature concept distant from simple language in several works I've read is either my misreading or a false distinction. Do we frame things in our society and have those kinds of mnemonics and slogans? Of course we do. Is the implicit criticism of other societies (fictional or not) for doing so valid? Of course not... well, maybe people would be right to be concerned to see too much of this come from any one source (although I don't think they should condemn it out of hand, they certainly should take notice). Can we ever really escape these intuitions, even if we're terribly introspective and enjoy digging around at the roots of how we think? I'm not sure.

I may have gotten a bit off track - was in theory going to talk about how nice it would be to share the vast body of jokes, humour style, and the like that MST3k provided with people one knows. Snarky riffing of movies is pretty awesome. Alas, got a bit distracted on my way to saying that.

Dear Australian Bishops and other religious people, if you're going to break Godwin's law and cherry-pick the worst secular philosophies as representative of atheism, understand that:

  • That's a really poor way to judge real-world effects from positions, and people might decide that the failings of particular parts of particular religious movements, from the pedophilia instances in the Catholic churches to vice squads (the world today knows all three main Abrahamic faiths to have members doing this) assaulting women over their dress code, apply to theism in general and that religion naturally leads to that. That's obviously stupid, so look in the mirror and see that you're being that stupid too. On the other hand, if you really want to take on responsibility for everything people of all faiths do, as vigilantes, as corrupted movements, or as people of other particular faiths, then maybe you can expect atheists to take responsibility for all atheist movements.
  • There are loud trolls on both sides. They represent the opinions and discussion style of only part of whatever faction beyond that they belong to.
  • There are secular philosophies. There have long been secular philosophies that address morality. These are not new.
  • If you were to actually talk to the more philosophically-minded among us, you could get answers to your questions about how our world fits together. We may be more scattered than the religious folk, many of us don't organise things into churches, we lack Jesuit orders, Rabbis, and the like, so it may take some more legwork to find someone who can talk intelligibly on the matters, but this mirrors your societal structures as well - how many people in your faith can intelligently discuss theology? There's a reason you have Rabbinical schools, Seminaries, that not all Muslims are considered qualified to practice Ijtihad. Many of us have stretched our mind to try to understand your perspective, doing us the favour of seriously trying to understand ours would speak well of you if you're going to talk about us.
  • We are as diverse as theists are, roughly speaking.
  • If you are a moral absolutist, trying to understand moral relativism will be a big stumbling block for you and it might seem utterly daft. The converse is true (although you will find some moral absolutist atheists and moral relativist theists if you seek the right flavour). Do your best (having a philosophical bent of the non-logician type will help (logicians tend to fall flat on their faces in philosophy unless they're really willing to use a new mode of thinking))
  • For goodness sakes, follow Godwin's law. If you bring up the Holocaust, you lose the argument (with no judgement on merits but very heavy shame on you specifically).

Recently have been looking at my old Iguana pictures a lot - they still strike me as incredibly cute - warm fuzzies.

Kinda bummed that, lacking a suitable gaming system, I've been missing out on Disgaea 2 and Disgaea 3.

Oh, these guys are getting some airplay for having warned several state governors to leave office or be removed. Rubber room is on standby...

Comments

those iguanas look super cute and also make me glad that none of my pets have legs or feet. they look so indignant and displeased all the time.

how did they get along with the cat? my python and the housemate's kitten have been carefully introduced a few times, but the kitten is still too playful and into batting at string-like objects to be trusted to interact with the snake without at least one hand on either animal.
Cats and Iguanas - cats have a lesson to learn and once they learn it (it's a fairly fast lesson), there's no problem. Snakes can't really do this (they lack the leverage ever since their ancestors ditched their legs), but Iguanas will whip anything that threatens them. Good-natured iguanas will do this with a warning whip only causing pain (some cats catch on at the warning hiss), but if they have to or if they get really mad, they'll draw blood and on rare occasion have broken cat legs.

My cats never had problems with the Igs after the whip lesson, in time they were pretty friendly with each other (eventually they became comfortable with occasional snuggling).

It's probably a good thing Iguanas prefer whipping over biting - I don't think a biting match would end well (Igs hold on like pit bulls and have an incredibly strong jaw).