Print Story Spin is the new bias
Diary
By Idempotent (Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 01:55:05 AM EST) (all tags)
Your views please as long as you're not one of those people who Hates Freedom.


I mean, what is the point?

My constant question again: What can we actually do to make the world better? Anything, just anything, will do, as long as it has at least some chance of working.

< Quicky Jota diary | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Spin is the new bias | 53 comments (53 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
That is stunning by gazbo (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 01:59:39 AM EST
I mean, just amazing.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

I was kind of speechless. by Idempotent (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 02:08:25 AM EST
Answer yes, they think you think they're wonderful and get confirmation they should keep on building that shiny police state.

Answer no, and they get confirmation that there are mad people out there who need stopping, and add your name to the MI5 watch list.

[ Parent ]
Ha ha by komet (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 03:39:14 AM EST
I thought "Yes Prime Minister" was fiction, but apparently not.

--
<ni> komet: You are functionally illiterate as regards trashy erotica.
I know how to fix things by theboz (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 04:07:26 AM EST
I just can't do them, or tell you about them, because it's illegal and difficult.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
I know what you mean by joh3n (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 06:18:49 AM EST
it's like I'm just not trying hard enough to seperate the U235 from the 238 or something, oh well, at least the anthr[carrier blocked]

----

[ Parent ]
That's child's play by theboz (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 06:24:12 AM EST
Or, at least it is Boy Scout's play. What kind of merit badge do you think that would earn you?
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
[ Parent ]
I'll answer that in a second by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 06:22:49 AM EST
But first I have to stop beating my wife.

-
Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Are you still annoyed by that trolling incident? by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #8 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 06:25:18 AM EST
Come on, let bygones be bygones and forgive her for her security lapse.

[ Parent ]
Correct me if I'm wrong by lm (2.00 / 0) #9 Sat Nov 05, 2005 at 06:27:52 AM EST
But isn't part of the problem with the world today all of the groups that are trying to make it a better place?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Interesting. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #10 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 02:36:06 AM EST
There is no obvious "but it's not like that" answer to the question.

I think something along the lines of "these groups want to control how other people behave or are acting in their own self-interest" might approach an answer, but still doesn't help in working out what should be done.

See, that's my problem. I see an awful lot in the world I don't like, yet can't see any way to do anything about it.

[ Parent ]
My favorite answer by lm (2.00 / 0) #11 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 03:45:54 AM EST
Saint Seraphim of Sarov once said ``Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.''

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but he was a religious type. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #12 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 05:37:53 AM EST
Personally, I'd like to help people before they die.

[ Parent ]
that's what the Saint was talking about as well. = by nathan (2.00 / 0) #13 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 06:59:51 AM EST


[ Parent ]
Really? by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #14 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 08:18:44 AM EST
The church's message is all about accepting your lot for rewards in heaven. That kind of message is what helps the likes of Mr Bush pull their stunts. Meek inheriting the earth, my arse.

[ Parent ]
You've misconstrued the message of the Gospel by lm (2.00 / 0) #15 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 08:47:12 AM EST
Heaven and hell are both present in this world.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
OK, fair point. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #16 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 09:25:51 AM EST
But the misconstruers are in the majority, and hellbent on taking everyone else with them to hell.

That's the great thing about religious texts, they can mean whatever you want them to mean.

That's also the worst thing about religious texts, they can be used to persuade people to do bad things because they can mean whatever the Bad Guys want them to mean.

Aren't mistranslated myths of ancient desert tribes a positive force in the world?

[ Parent ]
I would disagree by lm (2.00 / 0) #20 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 10:53:23 AM EST
That's the great thing about religious texts, they can mean whatever you want them to mean.

The same is true of any text if one takes a post-modern approach to interpretation. IMO, the texts aren't the problem, but human nature. People in general tend to grab whatever tools they need to further their own ends. This was the essence of my first post, that the problem with the world in general is all the groups hell-bent on making it a better place (for their interpretation of better).

But then you asked if there wasn't perhaps something one could do. My reply was to bring up Saint Seraphim of Sarov who opined that the first step to saving others was to save oneself. It seems to me that this thought is echoed throughout a variety of religious and non-religious movements. First train yourself to find peace, and the consequences will be cosmic.

Aren't mistranslated myths of ancient desert tribes a positive force in the world?

Absolutely! The mistranslation of Zoroasterism gave us Nietzsche.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Post-modernism is as much mumbo jumbo as faith. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #22 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 12:07:09 PM EST
I do like a good provocative headline.

Seriously though, we ban guns in this country because they are unnecessary for life in a civilised society, and they are a lethal tool. Why should we not take a similar stance towards (any) religion?

What exactly is this inner peace? And how does it practically help? How does becoming at peace within a broken world actually move towards solving the problem?

Yes, if everyone was at peace, things would be great. But isn't that the flaw with socialism? That everyone needed to be a socialist, otherwise noone could be a socialist.

I have a lot of respect for people who take religion seriously, study it, and apply it to themselves and the world around them with the aim of bringing out the best in themselves and everyone they are in contact with. It's not people like you I have a problem with; if everyone was like you things would be at least acceptable. But it's the critical mass thing; you only need one group of power-crazed nutters to start a war.

[ Parent ]
I object by lm (2.00 / 0) #23 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 12:29:04 PM EST
Seriously though, we ban guns in this country because they are unnecessary for life in a civilised society, and they are a lethal tool.

Guns aren't banned where I live and I do think that the US is a most civilized society. Further, I think that a well armed populace is essential to liberal democracy.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Apropos of nothing... by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #25 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 11:40:33 PM EST
I note that most Christians are exposed to the doctrine of the Church, from birth. And I note that most American's are exposed to the doctrine of "guns are good", from birth.

Personally, I would find it difficult to call a society "civilized" if it did not have universal healthcare free at the point of delivery. Isn't ensuring the basic well-being of your fellow men kind of important?

[ Parent ]
Tribalism at its best by lm (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 01:55:48 AM EST
You're arguing that there were no civilized nations prior to the advent of nationalized health care. I think that's ludicrous.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
You're taking me wonderfully literally. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #28 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 02:30:37 AM EST
Maybe the careful addition of the words "in this day and age" would have made my comment closer to what I was thinking.

[ Parent ]
Could be by lm (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 04:43:32 AM EST
But I think my snide remark about tribalism is closer to the mark. Ethnocentrism at its best!

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Hmmm. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #30 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 05:20:13 AM EST
Well you see, the problem with your tribe is that they won't just keep to their own country, and insist of taking their guns to other places and using them against the occupants.

My standards include not killing people who aren't threatening you. I don't see why it is unreasonable to judge you on this criteria.

What does your Holy Book say on the matter?

[ Parent ]
Shifting goal posts by lm (2.00 / 0) #31 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 05:41:59 AM EST
One moment we're talking about health care and the next we're talking about moving guns globally. I also think that moving guns globally is a bad idea. You do realize that the EU ships almost as many guns as the US does, don't you? Canada also ships its fair share. I also seem to recall Britain being an ally of the US invasion of Iraq.

I do think that if your standards include not killing people who aren't threatening you and that you don't see why it is unreasonable to judge you on this criteria, then you should use the same criteria to judge all nations across the board. It just so happens that my standards are similar, if not identical, to yours on the subject. The difference is that I'm not going around saying anyone that disagrees with my standards isn't civilized.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
You are taking this very seriously. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #34 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 06:53:38 AM EST
Is a nerve being touched somewhere?

The public mood was against the endeavour when Britain was dragged into the US's ugly war. (And since we only get a vote once every four years, there was nothing we could do about it). Yet the USian people were all for it.

I don't feel it wrong to suggest that warmongering religious nutcases are uncivilised. You may not agree with my position, but it is only the nutcases I am accusing of being savages.

[ Parent ]
You're wrong on multiple counts by lm (2.00 / 0) #38 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 08:05:55 AM EST
I am, in fact, not taking this very seriously at all.

Further, you seem to forget that what started the civilization thread was your remark that implied that all present natiosn without nationalized health care were uncivilized. I'm having a hard time getting from that assertion to the assertion that you were only speaking of warmongering religious nutcases.

And I think that history shows the opposite, that many (perhaps even most) civilizations were comprised of (or at least run by) warmongering religious nutcases. IMO, civilization is marked by technology, specifically by a technical division of labor, rather than by specific religious and political values.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Thanks. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #44 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 10:41:14 AM EST
I can't decide whether you're a Christian Fundamentalist scared of admitting he might be wrong, an ignorant USian, or a troll.

Luckily, I don't care.

[ Parent ]
luckily you've made it clear exactly what you are. by nathan (2.00 / 0) #45 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 10:50:55 AM EST
enn tee

[ Parent ]
Which is? by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #47 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 11:19:42 AM EST
Disappointed with the outcome of religion? Or just offensive to religious people?

[ Parent ]
The answer lies within by lm (2.00 / 0) #50 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 12:06:27 PM EST
1/2 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 175 degrees

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir into the creamed mixture.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
The pedant in me would like to point out ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #46 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 10:59:46 AM EST
... that the options you've given are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive.

I'll also concede that if mere pedantry is what passes for trolling these days, I will gladly plead `guilty as charged.'


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
No, they are not mutually exclusive. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #48 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 11:21:03 AM EST
That's because like most things in the world, it's all shades of gray. Religion is not all good, just as it is not all bad. I just happen to believe it's more towards the bad end than the good end, and you disagree.

[ Parent ]
That's closer by lm (2.00 / 0) #49 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 12:01:46 PM EST
I believe that most religions are neutral tools (regardless of their truth value or lack thereof). In the hands of a person with a mind filled with hate, religion becomes a weapon of hate. In the hands of a person with a mind filled with peace, religion becomes a force for good. I also believe that the same is true of logic, technology, and most other things. Every argument you make about religion with regard to causing more harm than good can be applied to metal-working and agriculture. It isn't so much that these things move society in one direction or the other so much as that what lies in the collective heart of humanity is expressed through these things.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Interesting. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #17 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 09:54:03 AM EST
Obviously you've thought about it a lot more than lm and nathan, so it's good you're telling them how much they've got it wrong.

Insightful, even.

[ Parent ]
They are far more well informed than I. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #18 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 10:03:57 AM EST
Even though I was a Christian until going through confirmation made me think about it seriously and decide it wasn't for me. So I'm not completely ignorant, but I am no scholar.

I am, however, well aware of the thoughts and attitudes of your typical Christian. If all were like lm and nathan, I would be arguing that the Church was a good thing. As it is, Christians make it something which is less than desirable. And really, shouldn't something like the Church be judged on the impact of it's members and leaders?

[ Parent ]
'members and leaders' by nathan (2.00 / 0) #19 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 10:22:08 AM EST
The world is not America and the Church is not some suburban monstrosity with 85,000 lobotomized zombies for members. (Even if that were a fair characterization of the fundamentalist megachurch movement.) I'm a Christian in part thanks to the witnesses of St Maria Skobtsova, the elder Cleopa of Romania, Fr Alexander Schmemann, and so forth, and they don't deserve your slurs.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience with the Church, but really, reading about Dr Mengele didn't make me give up on medicine, and the nuclear arms race didn't make me give up on science.

[ Parent ]
giving up on it... by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #21 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 11:59:50 AM EST
It's a question of balance. Medicine has given us lots of good things (and I could make a cheap shot here about the Catholic Church taking them away in Africa) and science's contributions far outweigh the harm.

But religions? I find it difficult to justify their existence on the basis that the good they do outweighs the harm they enable.

[ Parent ]
arghh by nathan (2.00 / 0) #24 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 12:52:40 PM EST
I'm not telling to to convert to Christianity. But you seem to have written it off before really understanding it. If all I knew of medicine was Mengele, etc.

I would say that international capitalism has caused far more suffering in Africa (by destroying African subsistence peasantry and replacing it with nothing) than Catholicism has. I suppose it's hared to blame any particular person for the former, though.

[ Parent ]
I didn't bring the Church into this. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #26 Sun Nov 06, 2005 at 11:47:28 PM EST
My original question was "how can we stop the bad things in the world?". The bad thing in particular was actions of a government, but the bad things in general are essentially the results of capitalism and a selfish ruling elite in boardrooms and governments with no long-term vision.

If someone says "be at peace with yourself through the Church", then surely in that context it's legitimate to disagree that that would be the action most likely to succeed? And I hope that noone would read that disagreement as an attack on the Church.

You are right; international capitalism is the root cause of the African problems. But I find it hard to believe that a god would find that sex before marriage is a greater sin than helping to spread AIDS through misguided religious teaching.

[ Parent ]
Interesting assertion by lm (2.00 / 0) #32 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 05:48:13 AM EST
``be at peace with yourself through the Church''

Who brought that into the discussion? I do think it was you.

I do recall some ignoramous bringing in a quotation from some religious guy about the implications of making oneself peaceful in general, but I don't recall anyone tying that to the Church before you did so.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Dude, he's a saint. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #35 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 06:54:21 AM EST
Isn't that intrinsically linked to the Church? Along with the propagation of his sayings?

[ Parent ]
I can see how you might think that by lm (2.00 / 0) #37 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 07:59:51 AM EST
But that begs the question of whether I was offering up his view only because he was a saint. As it happens, the view he expressed could as easily been expressed by an atheist or a member of many non-Christian faiths. It seems to me that the value of Saint Seraphim's insight doesn't rest on who my Church thinks he is, but on the value of his insight unto itself.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
But an opinion cannot be evaluated without... by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #39 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 08:06:29 AM EST
... a context.

[ Parent ]
So in other words by lm (2.00 / 0) #40 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 09:07:37 AM EST
You would argue that when Thomas Aquinas opined that the principle of non-contradiction was self-evident, we can only consider that opinion in light of the Roman Catholic understanding of the Gospel. Further, you would argue we are unable to evaluate whether or not his statement is meaningful in any other context.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
where are you getting your arguments from? by nathan (2.00 / 0) #33 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 05:52:52 AM EST
Your characterization of the Catholic position is a patchwork of offensive misunderstandings.

[ Parent ]
I don't know about you... by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #36 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 06:57:56 AM EST
... but I'm interested enough in the world to find out about things by getting as close as possible to first hand sources documenting the end effect of various policies.

Personally, when I see an African churchman from a small village saying that he tells his congregation not to use condoms, and then goes on to say that the reason they are all dying is because the men go away to work and while they are away visit prostitutes, then come home and infect their wives.

Now tell me that the Catholic position on this matter is not offensive to any human being with a conscience and a care for fellow human beings.

[ Parent ]
you're right by nathan (2.00 / 0) #41 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 10:05:47 AM EST
Because it he told them to wear condoms when they fucked prostitutes, a) they would and b) that would be a good direction for their society to go.

[ Parent ]
not to mention by nathan (2.00 / 0) #42 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 10:07:01 AM EST
I suppose that if they didn't listen to him about cheating on their wives, they did about not wearing condoms.

[ Parent ]
Let's compare these messages. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #43 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 10:39:18 AM EST
  1. Don't cheat on your wife, because eventually after you're dead you'll be judged for it.
  2. Use a condom, because if you don't you'll die horribly in a couple of years from AIDS, which is incurable and you can't afford the drugs which might prolong your life. BTW, you can get the condoms for free from those nice foreigners.
Note the difference between the two messages. One is about a vague happening sometime in the future, maybe. The other is rather more direct and pragmatically relevant to life right now.

Are you Catholic, by any chance?

[ Parent ]
oh, my aching back by nathan (2.00 / 0) #52 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 06:40:26 PM EST
So what you're saying is that if these guys don't use condoms, it's the Church's fault. But if they screw prostitutes, it's not their fault. If their wives get AIDS, it's the Church's fault for insisting that you have to act Catholic to be Catholic, not the husband's fault.

Who exactly is forcing these people to be Catholics in the first place? If they don't like being Catholics, they can just quit. But going to Mass means that you also have to listen to the sermon. And no, I'm not Catholic, but I certainly don't think that the way to deal with a continent wracked with an STD crisis is to encourage sexual promiscuity.

But whatever, impeach Pope Hitler, religion is for sheeple, arf arf gnaar.

[ Parent ]
and you're surprised? by garlic (2.00 / 0) #51 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 01:48:04 PM EST
most people argue against religion from a point of ignorance of the religion.


[ Parent ]
it's weird by nathan (2.00 / 0) #53 Mon Nov 07, 2005 at 06:42:36 PM EST
Smart people turn into drooling morons as soon as you say God. (People on both sides of the fence, as far as I can tell.)

[ Parent ]
Spin is the new bias | 53 comments (53 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback