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guts, I would prefer butter to a slap in the face anyday. I'm sure you would, too.

The point I was making about the paintings, (in the tradition of the late Mr. Vonnegut,) is that Hitler was a person. Being a person, he should've stuck to painting, rather than violence. We should encourage more video games where people make art rather than shooting things. We should be less upset about children seeing naked people and more upset about them seeing dead ones.

In terms of a punch in the jaw:

We'd all agree that beating a child is wrong, and that Mike Tyson isn't a rationalist, on any level. You don't win an argument with a punch in the jaw, you end discussion. I've taken a beating or two for refusing to alter my beliefs, and it didn't influence my idea any. I'm sure the arm chair theorist took the punch in the jaw as confirmation that Mr. Aldrin was a mongoloid, incapable of operation of anything more complex than a tricycle.

A punch in the jaw is a reaction, and I'm sure Mr. Aldrin didn't debate the instinct. His greatest accomplishment was being questioned by an arm chair theorist. A punch in the jaw was, in hindsight, not a great action worthy of applause, but certainly understandable.

Again, Eliezer's original point was talking about large groups, (Catholics, Nazi's, Communists, Puritans, Islamic extremists... etc) committing violence, not a sock in the jaw, but a gas chamber. I still agree with him that if you have to kill and torture to defend your idea, it's probably not a good idea in the first place, or the execution isn't working out well.

JT, I think someone who's wrong, stupid, and rude deserves more sympathy than someone who's calm, open-minded, and polite. The nice person probably has more friends, and a better relationship with his family. The arrogant tend to be terribly unsatisfied, and feel inferior, so they overcompensate.

A punch in the jaw? How about a hug? Or a respectful handshake? Are you any better than the rude and uninformed if your first reaction is to wonder if you should hit them in the face?

dutz, as paintings, yes, they weren't any good. But still, much better than genocide.

Violence may convince your opponent it isn't worth arguing with you. But it will convince your audience that you're an emotional, impulsive, irrational person, no matter how right you were.

People can see someone as less than human. Until they see the getting beaten with fire hoses, and then pity sinks in.

I think in the original context, Eliezer was talking about violence commited by a society/sect/police force against an individual.

I happen to believe a swift punch in the jaw is justified in rare cases. But I can show you a few people who think beating an uppity woman is the best way to put her in her place.

You have to draw the line somewhere, and I think Buzz would agree. Sometimes, you're going to have to step over that line, so let's put it as far back as we can.

Let me rephrase: Hitler's action (suicide) was for the good. Not he as a human being, or pretty much anything else he did. (With the exception of painting, those weren't bad.) I really should proofread this before I come off as saying something completely different.

You can think of reasons to be violent, you can think of the good that violence might create, but consider this:

The only human being who is remembered as being completely good because he shot someone was Hitler, when he shot himself.

The list of possitive changes accomplished in the REFUSAL to shoot anyone is much longer.

I don't believe violence can ever have a positive effect, except when used to defend against greater violence.

In argument, short of the entirely impossible situation where an abominable idea is irrestable to everyone else, (and assuming that you are the one person capable of resisting it...) having a 99.9999999999% probability assigned that non-violence is preferrable by a vast margin, in almost every possible situation, would be a good guide line for even the strictest rationalist.

Tom makes an excellent point.

eats a baby and fornicates with a goat.

Thank Satan for my moral guidelines.

(Doesn't Leviticus condemn eaters of shellfish and wearers of polycotton blends right next to homosexuals? Why aren't there picket lines at Red Lobster and Ralph Lauren? Doesn't it also outline that having sex with your slaves is ok, as long as you compensate the buyer for any depreciation you caused by doing so?)

"I'm sorry, Morman was the correct answer."

~South Park

Jacob, cannibalism isn't a religion, per se, and I don't know of any modern religions that include it. Satanism is a worship of self, despite the shocking name, and doesn't have any belief in any diety. Perhaps if you spent half the time reading up on other beliefs that you spend on denouncing them, you'd be slightly more informed.

"You know, in some ways your post boils down to the same silly thing you hear when Christians, say, oppose marriage for homosexuals. "You're anti-gay, you're probably afraid you ARE gay." You're saying, "You're afraid without God everybody would commit murder. You probably think YOU would commit murder." Yawn."

Darin, if being gay is a choice for you, and you enjoy sex with men, but choose to abstain only because God says it's not OK, you're not just afraid you're gay, you are, in fact, at least bisexual.

Which is OK, man, it's ok. Jesus still loves you. Stop fighting it, it's unhealthy.

I couldn't choose to not be attracted to women, no matter how much God dissapproved, which makes me straight. Unfortunately. Purely on a financial level, gay is fantastic. Then I could hook up with rich men, and live on my good looks.


Which aetheist societies are these? Aren't you forgetting about the crusades, the inquisition, and the witch hunts? Aren't religious societies, historically, at least as likely to commit murder?

Jannia, the poison-delivery-method is pretty complex, too. It's amazing they didn't develop a stinger, or legs, as well. They had to have a gland to produce the poison, a sac to store it, and the hypodermic needle-like teeth to inject it.

I can't imagine any of them serving a function alone.

Perhaps the rattles started appearing, and snakes started shaking them. Or perhaps they started using a shaking tail to distract predators and prey, and then those wierd mutant rattles came in handy.

We still see genetic mutations, and should one of them prove more useful, eventually, it will become dominant and more pronounced.

Reading "The Evolution Of Desire" was a huge turning point in my thought process.

Either way, it's fascinating.

P.S. I've been lost on this blog at work for the last week or two. Great work, even the commentors have more interesting thunks to think than most blog authors.

First: The argument wasn't the author being an a$$hole. He was stating the nature of his business, which is a very normal thing to do at a social gathering. (We are, to a disturbing extend, defined by our income.) Godboy dismissed his profession as quixotic, leading the author to the notion that if he created a working AI, that it would disprove God, in the mind of his coparticipant in discussion. This was a logical inferrence, based on the statement that inspired it.

Second: The only winner in a conversation is the person who learns something. I believe, that in being forced to examine his beliefs, and how he expresses them in polite company, Godboy was the clear winner.

Unless you're in the habit of giving out cookies to any sophists who gives you a pimp slap with the logical vernacular.

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