Author Topic: Oh no. Oh God no.  (Read 27086 times)

Radical_Dreamer

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #210 on: May 02, 2008, 11:55:42 pm »
Quota? No, that isn't what I am meaning, unless one would say that 1 counts as a quota. When important decisions are to be made, I propose that a single human needs to make those decisions. But... I am also stating that a single human is comprised of a man and a woman. When one is missing, or when the relationship between the two is not proper, one doesn’t have a human being.

Are we to understand, based on this statement, that you don't think of homosexuals as even being capable of being human beings? Because I can't help but draw that conclusion from this statement. It also seems that you are asserting that individuals are incapable of making decisions on their own, and the biological sex is in of itself a form of merit in the decision making process.

Am I incorrect in any of that?

Lord J Esq

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #211 on: May 03, 2008, 12:39:53 am »
Quote from: Thought
Our dispute over logic is one such example; I think your arguments in the matter are horribly flawed, barely deserving to be considered such, while mine are steadfast, accurate, and well constructed. You think mine are the same as I yours, and yours as I mine. It would seem that at least one of us does not judge rightly (of course, it is quite possible that neither of us judge rightly).

It is curious, isn’t it? I doubt that you’re just toying with everybody here, and so I have to conclude you mean what you say…through and through, every time. I was wrong about your age when you first came here—provided you were telling the truth—and that was proof enough for me that you are a special character. So despite our differences we have upheld amity and yet, even now, you find nothing to cede to me, and neither do I to you. Thus you are right: At least one of us, and possibly both, is not judging well. I know what I think, and also what you think…and that tells me more about each of us in turn than it does logic or biology.

I think something we have neglected to do is, while in asserting our critiques, make an effort to better understand the other’s motivations. For my part, I think my efforts to correct you for the benefit of the assembly have cost me the opportunity to actually get through to you in particular. If we had wanted to, I think, we could have found a lot more common ground than we did, without either of us sacrificing anything of importance. Indeed, I could go back and do that right now, at which you would read my new “tack” and probably decide that either I was not being serious before or am not being serious now. Thought, so much of this stuff is gobbledegook in the first place, because many of the issues we have discussed are made up as much of interpretation as fact, and thus in a sense it’s like we’re arguing about whose favorite color is prettier. Of course, there is still the other part of it…the real part…which makes the game not silly but really rather important—just as Radical_Dreamer mentioned with his passive objection to you in the above post. I know that I have not discussed a single thing thus far that is not of concern to me for real-world reasons. Nevertheless, if “gobbledegook” means anything to you, then our adversarial relationship was as much by choice as necessity.

Yet…what about that “real” stuff? I suppose a word on academic rigor is appropriate here. Not once, this whole time, have I written any of my arguments with academic rigor. Neither has anybody else. Not a single person, not once. The only time anybody ever tried it here was in the Chrono series analysis boards, and not only did that kill analysis, but I personally was so disgusted by what resulted…that I stopped participating. As for the casual boards like this one, I’m not an idiot. I don’t do academic rigor in a place like this for two very important reasons: First, it is splendidly laborious! Research and citation, original sources, strenuous argument…rough stuff! To do it when a grade isn’t on the line is a labor of love, which brings me to reason number two: If I made such an effort, most people here would ignore it away! Whether or not they agreed or disagreed, they would ignore it. They are not fit to do better. Incompetence, informality, insincerity, and ingratitude all prevail here! Just for one minuscule example, the period at the end of the sentence, already we are getting complaints about the length of the topic and the substance of the posts in them—even while I consider what has been written thus far to be insignificant compared to the real work that would be necessary for all of this to be structured academically. Or perhaps for an exclamation point instead; this thread has seen noted name-dropper Danial Krispin trying to wax wise about philosophers who I studied eight years ago. Causality! Ontology! Hah! If only he knew. But maybe we should end this with a question mark? Burning Zeppelin, then, instigated our little non-debate on logic by offering the sort of 101-level knowledge—and a corresponding understanding of it—that is years behind both of us. Yet you thanked him and proceeded to fashion the dumbest argument I’ve ever seen you make. What the deuce?

For most people, for various reasons, no amount of evidence presented in an argument is likely to be persuasive. We simply do not learn, as children, what to pay attention to and what to dismiss as smoke. Instead, we are much more likely to be persuaded based upon the source presenting the evidence, or, occasionally, the style with which it is so presented. Poor us: We often make no distinction at all between a very well-supported argument and an absurd one that is shouted from the rafters by some crazy. We’ll only listen to what we care about, and we’ll only hear what we already know.

I understand this so well that other people attribute those qualities to me! That makes academic rigor in a place like this impossible. Myself aside, only Radical_Dreamer stands apart from the rabble. As for me, I’m not surprised: Nobody here would have any reason to group me out of the rabble either, because in this place I have not presented myself like a studious academic. Not once. And so, here, I am not. Perhaps ZeaLitY has an inkling of what I truly am. Do you? You, who style yourself a historian…and perhaps you deserve that title, but at the Compendium it doesn’t show. And of course Krispin is calling himself all sorts of wonderful things that he’s not, and ZeaLitY is styling himself as some sort of god figure, and Zeppelin has suddenly in a very short space of time developed an arrogance to match his budding knowledge that reminds me of me at that age. Holy moly, I’m surrounded by gods and scholars and geniuses! Hah! I’ve given up trying to compete with all of that.

Academic rigor, Thought. Here is a question to which I do not want you to give me an answer: If I had given you academic rigor, would it have changed a thing?

This is where judgment comes back into the story. What do you think it tells me every time you call yourself a historian? When ZeaLitY calls himself an elitist? When Krispin calls himself a philosopher? When Hadriel calls himself a scientist? What do you think it tells me when everybody then follows up the pomp of their own circumstances by making flimshod arguments? You, Thought—you, and ZeaLitY, and Zeppy, and Krispin, and Hadriel, and many of the others…you’re all fine people. I mean that. But I happen to know a little something about elitism, logic, philosophy, literature, science, history. Maybe more than a little. But only enough to know, Thought, how much I don’t know, and how much all the rest of you don’t know! That’s the thing!

Whose judgment, then, prevails? That of the person who freely admits he doesn’t know enough about the sentience of other species to offer an opinion on the degree of their civilization, even though he may well know more on that one subject than everybody else assembled? Or that of the person who lauds his own credentials, quotes historical figures ad nauseam, prattles about going to synagogue, brags of other people’s experience, and then immediately flops around like a dry fish?

Trick question. We’re at that impasse you mentioned before. Nobody prevails.

Or do they?

The judgment continues. I know a little about quotations for our time, about the religions, about borrowing the work of other people, and about presentation, style, and delivery…and I know a little about psychology too.

Your modesty, Thought, is very slick…but I have always seen right through it. It loses its effectiveness on anybody reading past the 20th grade level. You see…I also know something about modesty. I happen to know a little bit about a great deal. But! What I do know, is often not apparent, and I am aware of this too. This is why I consider your remark about me being less trustworthy to you than the others to be such a high compliment—even though I know damn well that you didn’t intend it that way. If you find me hard to follow, and of dubious credibility and poor judgment in particular, then it’s because, whether or not you think so, you have understood very little of what I have said, but enough to be troubled by it. Now, my desire is not to be obfuscatory; I regret whenever I am that. But to challenge people’s worldview…this I relish. Your lack of esteem for me is the incipient marker of just such an experience. Who knows what ideas I have seeded in you, that will later take root and produce…who knows what?

Not a single person on the Compendium regularly agrees with me. I take fire from all sides, because I give it to all sides. The whole world is my theater. I don’t need allies because I have nothing to lose, and in any case I’m not going to lose because I won’t fight where I don’t already know that victory, in the objective view, is all but assured. All of this, especially in the absence of academic rigor, tends to have a rather exhausting effect on others. I’m not sure that a single person here actually likes me. And yet…and yet…so many of you keep on writing to me, or at least reading me. Even the local idiots come out from their upside-down houses to complain that I’m taking up too much of their precious masturbation time with my lengthy, sharp posts. What does that mean? If I were a troll I would have been banned. If I were a dunce I would have been ignored. Instead I persisted, until the day I left on my own volition. Blame ZeaLitY for it, but I do pop back in from time to time, such as now, and always do I give everybody something interesting to do…and, if I am fortunate, perhaps I’ll challenge a few worldviews along the way, raise a few questions, hint at a few answers, and all that other stuff I love so dearly.

Don’t you see any of this? If my flashy side distracts somebody, then that gives them the opportunity to work on their own ego—always the first hurdle to self-awareness and the understand of art, literature, philosophy, science, and technology. If my logic baffles, that provides the opportunity for questions, or at least for refinement of one’s own positions. And if my viewpoints raise objections, that offers the opportunity of engagement and, more importantly, the opportunity for world-changing growth. It doesn’t matter what I am. Forsooth! Even if I am altogether, completely, utterly, entirely, wholly, absolutely, unequivocally WRONG about everything I say, I provide other people with enough substance to, if they should so desire it, improve upon themselves!

After all, I would be very disappointed if more people do not join me up here.

Despite my every effort, nobody seems to be able to put their finger on me. It amuses and horrifies me at the same time, but it does one thing more: It tests my own judgment, and that of everybody who parlays with me. Before I left this place I had forum chat and PM discussion with a number of people. I was insightful about Krispin, Hadriel, ZeaLitY, Zeppelin, and others over time. How? Smarts is part of it, but the greater part is your own performances. People don’t seem to understand me when I say that we give ourselves away by writing anything with any conviction. That’s why people like Cup of Noodles are such an unknown quantity to me: They reveal very little. Conversely, people like you and me reveal a great deal. All that remains is the ability to translate those revelations.

You are magnificently mistaken that we are not our own best judges. Oh, it’s true for the teeming millions, to varying degrees each of them, and it’s potentially true every time we encounter a superior person. Beyond here, the truth of your idea stops. You are right that sometimes we are wrong about ourselves, but your conclusion doesn’t follow from that. Rather: Anyone who develops in themselves the mark of excellence may yet achieve what no one else can: self-awareness. Outsiders may poke and poke, but only we ourselves have the full story. All that we need is the smarts to read the symbols on the page, and the presence of mind to put ego second to curiosity.

I am a fairly competent judge. Now, that doesn’t mean you are not, but it does mean that either you have been wrong often enough here, or that there is something more on your side which you have not yet shown to me. Either answer is possible, and with you I truly appreciate how uncertain I am of which answer it is.

Now, the big question: How much of that is just so much gobbledegook…and how much of it means something to you?

Let me conclude with just one last visitation to something of little consequence to either of us: ranking systems.

You said:

Quote from: Thought
Ranking systems are meaningless without context (and if we have the context, we don't really need ranking except as, say, an alternative to ordering things alphabetically).

I said:

Quote from: Josh
I’d like to talk about this more, but then I would have to think about it first, and time does not permit. Suffice it to say that the essential use of ranking, which no other method can provide, goes back to prehistory itself. Ranking is merely a formalized institution of judging value. When you’re picking onions or melons at the store, don’t you “rank” them to yourself? Don’t you feel through several of them, or look for the prettiest ones, or check for defects, or use whatever other ranking rubric is relevant to you? Or do you just throw into your cart the first ones you can reach?

And you replied:

Quote from: Thought
Ah, but see, there you are applying context (and remember, I only said that ranking is useless without context... but with context, it is unnecessary, which is essentially the same thing). When looking for fruit, I can say "yes, this meets an acceptable standard" or "no, that does not meet an acceptable standard." If all the fruits are of an acceptable standard, then I do not waste time looking for the prettiest. And if all the fruits are below an acceptable standard, I do not waste my time with them. Looking for the least rotten tomato is pointless if what I am looking for is a tomato that isn't rotten at all. The difference is that I have a standard and judge if things meet that standard. If they do, great, if not, too bad. I don't need to know if a tomato is the 24th worst tomato or the 180th, I'm not buying it (of course... I don't like tomatoes, so I wouldn't really buy any, but that is besides the point).

If I may simplify:

~~~
Thought: Ranking systems are meaningless without context, and with context we don’t need them
.
Josh: Ranking is a formal way of determining value. How about picking melons?

Thought: That is a pass-fail evaluation, not a ranking system.

~~~
Do you see what you did there? You seized upon my example as flawed, and indeed it was (which I didn’t intend), because it turned out to be a sort of degenerate case. Yet, in showing that my example was poor, you ignored entirely the main point: “Ranking is merely a formalized institution of judging value.”

You didn’t address that at all.

The first thing anybody needs to understand about me is that I choose my words very carefully. This is good advice for anybody, of anybody, but it applies especially to me. I try to speak as generally as possible. I anticipate counterarguments, and provide for them. I deal with a lot of substance in a very short space. Indeed, this is one of the reasons that I can be so hard to follow: My writing can be extremely dense. In style, only Krispin comes close to it. But I have to do it that way. If I were to decompress everything, I would go crazy—and nobody would read it anyway. However, let’s decompress this one bit:

Ranking is
That’s the first half of the equation. Everything on the other side, means this.

merely
The concept of ranking is a very simplistic and old one: Nothing special, fancy, or complex.

a
That’s an indefinite article. =)

formalized
Humans have been ranking things since before the concept itself was understood. Once we did develop the idea, though, we began using it with greater precision and sophistication. Of particular importance here is the concept of multi-tiered divisions. Even the pass-fail test itself is a form of ranking. It just happens to be a degenerate case with only two tiers. “Formalization” describes this gathering capacity for complexity.

institution
This refers to the prevalence and normality in our society of the process of ranking things.

of
The preposition. We’re using ranking systems everywhere; what do we use them for?

judging value.
Ah! Ranking is for judging value.

Okay, so far so good. Now, what you (unknowingly?) meant when you said that, with context, ranking systems are irrelevant, is that ranking systems are not, in fact, suitable for judging value. If I may, your rationale for this position is that ranks are simply glorified lists, and do not provide any real information. You used the example of two classrooms, one where the worst student is still a genius and another where the best student is still a failure. One class should be commended, you said, and the other reprimanded.

How easily you could have taken your logic one step further: What information enabled you to prescribe commendations and reprimands? Aha…yes. You cited raw performance numbers—a classroom where everybody is hovering around full points, and the other where everybody is hovering around zero. You ranked them. Academic performance is something you hold as valuable (or at least you held it so for this example), and so you determined—by looking at the numbers—how the two classes were performing academically, and, using their scores, you prescribed a course of action for each. You ranked them! You said, in effect, “Class A is doing well and deserves praise; Class B is doing poorly and deserves rebuke.” And the irony is that you used this example of ranking, to delegitimize ranking.

So, we’re even now. Almost even, that is: My melon example wasn’t complete enough, whereas your classroom example was actively self-defeating. That puts me ahead on the sum, but I can’t really stop here, now can I, because then I would be guilty of your mistake. If I’m going to decompress my thinking, I’d better do it all the way.

Your example aside, what about your main claim that ranking is useless without context and unnecessary with context?

The first half of that claim is a simple logical fallacy. The “without context” to which you refer is “relative” ranking, and the fallacy is this faulty premise: No relative situation is representative of the general case.

Let’s consider a medical scenario in your future. Suppose…“the best cardiologist in town.” That’s relative: She may be a quack, but she’s the best in town. The underlying idea of your opposition to this sort of relativist ranking is the aforementioned fallacy that what is true situationally is not useful information in the general case, because it is not representative. Oh?

Suppose that you are a citizen in this town, and that you fall ill. It’s a baffling and rather nasty sickness, perhaps the result of an angry god. Thankfully, they have health clinics in the future and not just church mystics. Whatever it is that’s wrong with you, you’re miserable and you’re not getting any better, and so you go to your general practitioner to get a referral. “Ah!” says he. “You have unstable angina! Probably the result of a lifetime of committing logical fallacies! You immediately need to see Dr. Getwell…the best cardiologist in town!”

What are you going to do at this point? Stay home on the fear that she might be an incompetent? Of course you’re not. You’re two beats away from a heart attack! At the most you’ll get a second opinion from another doctor, but you don’t have time to research everybody and rank them absolutely. You will definitely end up seeing somebody…very soon. And let’s say that Dr. Getwell is the one, the universally-recognized best cardiologist in town! She has the highest success rates of all cardiologists in town, the highest customer satisfaction, the lowest patient death rate, the fewest complications, the works!

Sure, she still may be a quack. Perhaps her success rate is just one percent. Perhaps she has performed only a few dozen heart surgeries ever, and had serious complications with most of them. Your GP may even have told you all this. But she’s still the best in town…so you’ll take your chances. It’s relative. All you know is that your ticker has badly decayed, and you need help soon.

The problem, Thought, is that you—you, the you I am writing to now and not the one in this hypothetical scenario of the future—you don’t know whether Dr. Getwell is good or bad in absolute terms. She may be a quack, aye, but she may also be a perfectly fine cardiologist, and in all probability she is—because not just anybody can get a license. Indeed, she may even be, by supreme chance, one of the best cardiologists in the world. You just don’t know enough. You don’t know if she was at the top of her class or the bottom of it, and you don’t know if her class was the school’s best or its worst. You don’t even know if the school is good or bad.

In a relative situation—that is, where you do not have the full context, there is still a use for ranking. In this case, your hypothetical future self wants the best doctor…or at the very least…the best he can get. He would, supposedly, do better under Dr. Getwell than under any other cardiologist in town. Supposedly. The unknown quantity that is inherent to a relativist ranking system does indeed increase the risk for you, but would your future self really have done any better to ask his doctor for the second-best cardiologist in town? The third? The worst cardiologist in town?

Nonsense! Yet that is exactly what your argument claimed: That the ranking doesn’t matter, because it is relative, and therefore there are still unknown quantities, and those unknowns cause the relative case to not be representative of the general case.

This assumption requires you to know information about the specifics and particulars of a given instance of ranking. But in the general case, that information isn’t available. So how could you possibly delegitimize the whole concept of relative ranking based upon an example that requires you to stack the deck? By presuming to know about something you don’t, you are committing a logical fallacy…which is the thing I set out to show you.

Again, I admit, this Dr. Getwell business was something of a poor example, because it was essentially just another pass-fail test: Which cardiologist is the best in town. Let’s now, briefly, go over an example of multi-tiered relativist ranking: chess pieces.

In chess, the queen is the most powerful piece, and the knight is, ever so marginally beneath the bishop, the least powerful piece. In between is the rook, and that makes four. Add another rook, bishop, and knight, and you have your seven expendable chess pieces.

If you were to sit down and play a game with me, when devising your tactics you would undoubtedly have moments such as, “Oh, if I move there, I will lose my knight,” and “But if I were to secure my knight like so, I would be putting my rook in danger—and my rook is holding up my entire left flank!”

In chess there is always a wealth of bad moves. The good moves available are often smaller in number, and more deceptive to boot—because they prolong the game whereas a bad move will trigger its conclusion (at your expense). Every single move in the game is fraught with risk and requires you to evaluate your position on the board. This requires that you rank your pieces. Now, like I just said, they already have an inherent point ranking based upon statistical mathematics, but, once a game gets started, this ranking fluctuates—and you have to determine which pieces need to do what, when.

This is a relativist ranking scheme because the most powerful piece, the queen, when placed in the hands of an inexperienced player, will usually fail against the inferior power of the smallest pieces…or even a well-placed pawn…of a highly-skilled opponent. In the general case, we can’t say what the skill level is of the two players, because that too is a variable, and so this scheme is variable. What is not variable is that each player who engages in chess and wants to win must develop a strategy in real-time and rank his or her pieces accordingly—which is why the ranking scheme is important in the first place.

Generally speaking, would you give up your queen for an opponent’s knight? No, that gambit would require very special circumstances for you to make. But would you give up your queen for an opponent’s rook? Probably not, but it does legitimately happen sometimes. Okay, would you give up your rook for an opponent’s bishop? Probably not, but that one happens a fair bit. Well, then…would you give up your knight for an opponent’s bishop? Ah! Now that one has no general answer. This demonstrates more specifically the importance of ranking, even under relative conditions.

Now, on to the other half of your main claim: That ranking systems which do have a context are unnecessary. This one is a lot easier to disprove: It isn’t fallacious; simply wrong—and a single, credible example will show it.

Consider these three statements:

I value justice.
I value peace.
I value progress.

Three principles, picked out of the air—three so that I needn’t bother with a degenerate case first, yet not so many that the permutations become overwhelming. Consider how different a person or society would be, were it to rank those three statements in any of six main orders, and, in each case, with whatever degree of relative separation between them. Consider that, and be amazed.

But if a priori rankings aren’t your thing, then how about a more empirical example? Consider that statistic I mentioned earlier: The United States has a higher incarceration rate, both per capita and in absolute numbers, than any other country on Earth. One full percent of our citizens are in jail at this time.

Does that tell you nothing? Do you really think that national incarceration rates may as well be listed alphabetically? Is there nothing to be learned from our ranking on that list? From Spain’s? From ours with respect to Spain’s? From ours with respect to India’s? From India’s with respect to Spain’s?

There used to be a time when Europeans came here to learn how we ran our prisons so well. Now, they are mostly horrified at us. Is this fact unremarkable to you?

There used to be a time when justice in America worked. Now we have become the joke of the Earth. Is that unnecessary information in your eyes?

Do you truly, honestly, mind-bogglingly derive no benefit whatsoever, at all, from this ordered comparison of the respective performances of various entities on a given criterion?

What about classrooms—the same example you yourself cited? Does it tell you nothing that Class A is performing at full points while Class B is academically deceased? Do you look at that and say…“Well, comparing them isn’t useful.”

And if you do, then why? Why are these comparisons not useful? What about them is extraneous?

What you are saying is something like this: Given Class A, performing at full points, it makes no difference at all whether a Class B even exists and, if it does, what its performance is.

Yet how wrong that is! If Class B does exist, in the same academic environment as Class A, but is not performing identically to Class A, then there is something different between them. Perhaps it’s in the students, or the instructor, or the classroom itself…or in something else entirely…or any combination thereof. Wherever it comes from, though, there is a difference where, all else being equal, there should not be, and that gives us new information. It tells us: There is something here we do not fully understand.

On what grounds to you is that sort of information unnecessary? Who are you to predict in advance that this information is worthless and that there is nothing of value we might do with it?

It boggles the mind.

You’re being very selective in your formulations. You’re saying that every ranking system boils down to something arbitrary or redundant, like trying to award the gold, silver, and bronze medals onto the colors…well…gold, silver, and bronze. You’re saying that it is silly to say that gold is the best color of the three. Well, generally speaking that’s probably true! But when our country scores last on the Earth in incarceration statistics? That’s not arbitrary and it’s certainly not redundant. It has serious implications for our domestic policy, and for our culture generally—and for the rest of the world in relation to us.

What about literacy rates? What about comprehension rates? Numeracy? Debt? Wages? Pollution? Health coverage? Carbon footprints? Cancer rates? All meaningless? All, “Willy-nilly! Let’s just go through these lists alphabetically rather than deriving a relational perspective!”

Preposterous.

Consider industrial production by nation. This is important because several very important wars were won or lost because of the participants’ industrial base. Had wiser minds prevailed, some high-level bureaucrats in times past would have smartly added these numbers up and convinced their open-minded leaders that military victory would be difficult if not impossible. Useless?

Rubbish.

Ranking systems. That’s just one little topic in a grander scheme of many more where we have disagreed. But it’s also a taste of why, at least thus far, I have every reason to hold your judgment in doubt. For your consideration.

*hat tip*

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #212 on: May 03, 2008, 04:01:44 am »
In my opinion, the knight is one of the most powerful pieces in chess. But then again, ranking chess pieces may just be a subjective formalized process of judging values. Or maybe all assumptions on value may be wrong. Chess piece error theory? I see a best seller book idea coming up.

By the way, I know much more about logic than just 101-level. Also, I have every right to be arrogant...my release from the shackles of faith has made me see the universe, and myself, in a whole new, more positive light.

EDIT: Apologies to Thought and Josh for my short post...I seemed to have missed your entire debate and now feel as though I am left in the dust.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 04:11:39 am by Burning Zeppelin »

Lord J Esq

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #213 on: May 03, 2008, 05:04:12 am »
Quote from: Zeppy
Also, I have every right to be arrogant...my release from the shackles of faith has made me see the universe, and myself, in a whole new, more positive light.

Yes, you do have every right.

Nor is arrogance a bad thing, when the person carrying it is credible.

I was always very arrogant and still am. However, I have also grown over time. Thus, the older me looks back at the younger me and muses, "Well, he did have every right to be arrogant...but sometimes he was a bit silly for it."

=)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 05:05:52 am by Lord J esq »

ZeaLitY

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #214 on: May 03, 2008, 01:04:42 pm »
Quote
god figure

If the world had my impulses, ambitions, desires, and empathy...

I don't want to be lumped into the self-aggrandizing lot just because I romanticize my own humanity and potential.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2008, 04:56:21 pm by ZeaLitY »

Burning Zeppelin

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #215 on: May 03, 2008, 10:07:33 pm »
Why do I constantly see you as a Randian, Zeality?

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #216 on: May 03, 2008, 10:49:14 pm »
If I could just pop in for a moment, and also not having the slightest idea what a Randian is, ZealitY says that he "Romanticizes his own Humanity and Potential". Isn't that just a normal aspect of human behaviour?


... well I tried.

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #217 on: May 03, 2008, 11:08:22 pm »
*Removed personal attacks due to recent reflection.*
« Last Edit: May 29, 2008, 11:40:55 pm by BROJ »

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #218 on: May 03, 2008, 11:19:23 pm »
   In a sense I'd have to agree with you, BROJ, on the fact that this topic is compeltely biased and I think that's the reason why many chose to simply stay out of this thread.

On the other hand, perhaps you're being a little hard on Lord J Esquire. I don't know him very well, but in his "Lengthy, Sharp Posts" he tends to bring up a plethura of good points. Maybe he is somewhat condescending, but when in a heated debate it's pretty hard not to be condescending, don't you agree?

BROJ

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #219 on: May 03, 2008, 11:27:24 pm »
On the other hand, perhaps you're being a little hard on Lord J Esquire. I don't know him very well, but in his "Lengthy, Sharp Posts"
I was debasing his anticipatory mock self-insult:

Quote from: BROJ
I have learned much from your "lengthy, sharp posts", as you put it--I could care less how long your posts were, I read them and understood, or at least tried.

Maybe he is somewhat condescending, but when in a heated debate it's pretty hard not to be condescending, don't you agree?
The difference is he claims to be 'above' such things.

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #220 on: May 03, 2008, 11:34:08 pm »
The difference is he claims to be 'above' such things.


Ah, I see. Well nevertheless I stand by my point that it is truly difficult not to be condescending in an argument, or at least that's just my opinion. The fact that that he claims to be above it is simply a defensive lie, stated as most others would.

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #221 on: May 04, 2008, 01:25:26 am »
If I could just pop in for a moment, and also not having the slightest idea what a Randian is, ZealitY says that he "Romanticizes his own Humanity and Potential". Isn't that just a normal aspect of human behaviour?


... well I tried.

Aha, but let's not forget how soon it was ago that Thought and Krispin declared humanity to be doomed to utter failure and, in the end, incapable of understanding the universe. How quickly religion imposes limits on humanity, regarded as fallen in sin and only redeemable through dependence on God.

BROJ

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #222 on: May 04, 2008, 02:21:41 am »
How quickly religion imposes limits on humanity, regarded as fallen in sin and only redeemable through dependence on God.
I, personally, believe in a 'God', but not one 'limited' to or by any religion's romanticized views of such an entity; in addition I believe that science is in no way in conflict with my view of 'God', but rather it is reverse engineering 'His' work.
Oh and by the way, I will regard all Occam's Razor comments=; so don't be an ass--just keep it to yourself.

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #223 on: May 04, 2008, 04:43:52 am »
If I could just pop in for a moment, and also not having the slightest idea what a Randian is, ZealitY says that he "Romanticizes his own Humanity and Potential". Isn't that just a normal aspect of human behaviour?


... well I tried.

Aha, but let's not forget how soon it was ago that Thought and Krispin declared humanity to be doomed to utter failure and, in the end, incapable of understanding the universe. How quickly religion imposes limits on humanity, regarded as fallen in sin and only redeemable through dependence on God.

ZeaLitY, science works by theory and observation. Note that the concept that humanity is doomed to failure is a religious belief only because it is born out of experience. People had this concept because they saw the failure within their own endeavours. As such, such an outlook is, in fact, rather scientific in form, whereas your 'we can do anything' is the romantic unscientific, because the former is something stated on the observed evidence. It might seem to set a limit, but it's no different than saying 'I'll not be able to put my hand through this wall because each time I've touched it before, I've not been able to.' It's a simple, rational, scientific, appraisal of the state of affairs. True enough, it does get entrenched into religion, but even apart from religion you can see it, say, manifest in the cynical world view of the Greeks, or the Mesopotamians. We are then prone to placing the cause either on the gods or on ourselves... the former allows for our own vindication, but makes our situation hopeless as we're then at the mercy of capricious gods (say, as the Iliad would show); the latter allows for god/gods better than us to save us from ourselves.

Anyway, the corruption of humanity is something that is observed manifold times in philosophy and by ethical preachers, and it usually has far less to do with religion, and more with society. Wasn't it Cato (or maybe Cicero), who said 'O tempora, o mores'? Cicero, actually, in his speech against Cataline, I think. Anyway, the point is, the appraisal that humanity is incorrupt, however that might be anathematic to your world view, is the natural conclusion based on the evidence we have, and our observation. Likewise that we are doomed to failure. The poem which admonishes 'the best laid plans...' is nothing religious, but simple stock wisdom. Now the point is, for all that you might call that anti-human, it is in fact taking the very rational approach to things. Your appraisal of humanity and optimism is, in light of the evidence, wishful thinking, which has only a very small chance of proving true. As such, your view is something born not in the least out of reason but out of a certain faith in humanity whereby you wish to see it prosper under it's own power.

Therefore, ZeaLitY, it is not religion, but simple, scientific, observation that imposes those limits. What we see in religion might only be a formalized representation of that observation. If you are unwilling to see it, you've put yourself into the position of disagreeing with the observed facts because they do not fit your world view. This is something I cannot be entirely difficult on you for, seeing as I have certain leaps of faith myself, but you must see it for what it is, and not think you're making it out of a justified claim. We've found ourselves a thousand more advances, but also a thousand more troubles. There's an old adage which says 'there is nothing new under the sun.' This is ever and again shown to be true, unless you wilfully ignore what we might observe in favour of our own dreams. Are you irrational? Yes. Are you unjustified? I would say, no. You set your bar for humanity at an unrealistic level, but good can come out of that. But do understand the impetus comes from your own desire to see the world as you wish it to be, and not out of the nature of how it is.

Now, as much as you might not think it, I am not anti-human. Not in the least. I think there is a certain level of corruption to us, that is true, but we are not all evil, and we bring about much that is good for the world as well. I do admit I have a slightly cynical and grim world-view, but this is in fact not for my faith (which actually would attempt to tell me the reverse), but from having read too much Greek literature, which seems to say 'we are made to suffer; if something goes well, beware, for something evil will come next.' Nevertheless... like the Greeks, there's a strong portion of tragedy in me, and indeed I see in tragedy the highest exaltation of the human spirit. That if we're made to suffer, it's in the bearing of suffering that we show forth the greatest glory of our race. Would that we all had Hamlet's godlike disposition to contemplate our own selves amidst our troubles! We do throw much of this upon ourselves, it's true... but that I do not see our world for one destined for a blissful existence in the future... does this make me anti-human... or do I better understand the nature of our race when I say that it is in the adversity and in the corruption that we show both our very worst, but also our very best?

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Re: Oh no. Oh God no.
« Reply #224 on: May 04, 2008, 08:22:48 pm »
I rather resent the implication that I'm somehow a pretender or a charlatan.  Pretentious?  Certainly.  Overreaching my field of experience?  Occasionally.  But every single poster here has been guilty of both of those at one time or another.  Those have nothing to do with whether or not one is capable of making logical deductions from observation and forming experiments to determine the veracity of one's thinking.  I have amply demonstrated these capabilities (insofar as the latter is possible on a forum, at any rate), perhaps more than any member of this forum aside from those here who are both professionals at a technical discipline and overshadow me in length of years.  As J mentioned, not once have any of us argued with truly academic rigor, as that would involve the citation of numerous sources and volumes of text far greater even than the unwieldy masses that some have derided here, and quite frankly none of us feel like doing that level of work unless a grade is on the line.  But the basic principles of clear thought apply regardless of the level of formality, and on the whole I would assess my showing of them as if not exemplary, then possessed of potential to be such.

However, it must be noted that J is right, as he most often is, about one thing: In the strictest sense of the word, no, I am not a scientist.  I do not have a laboratory, I do not (yet) have a degree, and I couldn't procure federal funding to save my life.  But this does not mean I am incapable of scientific thinking; far from it.  My major, in fact, holds itself to a higher standard of proof than even physics.  Mathematics, the exercise of pure logic, rests at the core of existence in a way that physics or chemistry or biology never can, as it forms the underpinning by which one makes conclusions in those disciplines in the first place.  It was the topology of Riemann which allowed Einstein to model the distortion of spacetime, Newton's calculus which allowed him to derive equations describing position, velocity, and momentum, and elliptic geometry by which Kepler divined the path of our world around its star.  Standing here in the present, knowing these things, understanding what I do about the concepts underlying the universe around us, I look back upon my life and see it anew, perhaps even for the first time, with eyes unclouded.  I am young yet, and impetuous; I have not merely heard of but felt the brutal efficacy of fear, anger, and aggression to tamper with one's logic circuits, and I assure you that I have been hurt in ways which most of you will never and indeed, can never truly understand.  I know what it is to live as in a waking nightmare, to feel sickness and futility clawing at the mind, sundering more of it with each passing day.  And I know, finally, that none of that matters anymore.  What others have done to me, or what I have done to myself, means nothing set against that which I might do for the world were I to shed the cloak of melancholy which so inured me into a system of living characterized by passive resistance more than active derivation, for the latter allows one to partake of the world's extant beauty by being willing to do the mental footwork to find it, not just in academic study but in every area of life.  It is here that I throw down the metaphorical gauntlet, not in anger or even desperation, indeed without a hint of hubris; given time and effort, the complexity of my thoughts will grow even more in magnitude than they have already.  At length, my knowledge and reason will rival, even surpass the best of those here.  But just as a theory, no matter how strongly grounded in inference, is empty conjecture without its body of supporting evidence, so too is such rhetoric devoid of substance without action behind it.  Thus it is here, where I began it a veritable lifetime ago, that I shall take my leave of the electronic blood sport of theological debate.  In terms of mental development, it has achieved nothing I could not have had by devoting more time to the complexities of my chosen field of study.  It has, however, allowed me to interact with some of the most interesting personages I will ever know, and for that I am grateful.  But we all have to grow up sometime, and now is as good a time as any.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2008, 08:31:41 pm by Hadriel »