Caledonian: Yeah, you're right about what you said, but Holmes still represents an i/ideal/i of rationality, just like Spock, but he fits the role much better.
Kaj Sotala: I don't recall that particular Holmes' story, but Poe's Auguste Dupin performs almost the same feat you described in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (and this kind of reasoning is mocked by Holmes in "A Study is Scarlet", BTW).
What about Sherlock Holmes?
Once you get past his obvious shortcomings, he's a pretty decent rationalist. Although he's shown as sometimes being cold and distant, he has complex feelings and preferences (for instance, when he lets a thief go free, because he judges the guy is too scared to do it again). He's not a caricature, such as Mr. Spock.
Well, at least that' my view on the character...
Another rulebook reader here. Played D&D only a few times, but read the books A LOT (along with GURPS and Vampire: The Masquerade).
Anyway, I wasn't that sad about Gygax's death, but it affected me nonetheless. I always liked the effect his fantasy worlds had upon me... And I like the atheist eulogy - rings much more honestly in my ears.
Well, I'm an admirer of Eliezer's works, and I can safely say that some of his blog posts have changed my whole way of thinking.
To offer just a small example, I used to think that I understood gravity. I knew that gravity was the curvature of space-time. But now I know I don't really understand it - I can't do the math. Saying curvature of space time conveys the same information to me as "beyond man's knowledge": it doesn't allow me to make any predictions; it doesn't change my anticipations at all.
So, how can I claim to understand gravity? I shouldn't even be allowed to talk about curvature of space time until I know it at the technical level (at least so I can understand the math and do some calculations). And so I've bought two textbooks: one for general relativity and one for quantum physics (another branch of physics exhaustively explored in math-free popsci books).
This is just one small example. Many of his other posts have been real eye-openers.
Keep up the good work!
I know where your quote came from: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,954853,00.html?promoid
It's from "President Roberto Eduardo Viola, formerly Argentina's army commander in chief".
It's an answer to the first question in the interview:
"Q. How soon do you expect Argentina to be returned to democratic government?
A. We believe we are already within a democratic system. Some factors are still missing, like the expression of the people's will, but nevertheless we still think we are within a democracy. We say so because we believe these two fundamental values of democracy, freedom and justice, are in force in our country. There are, it is true, several conditioning aspects as regards political or union activity, but individual freedom is nowhere infringed in an outstanding manner."
BTW, I googled it. Apparently my Google-fu is better than yours ;) (But I do applaud your excellent memory, or ele I wouldn't be able to find it).
And keep up with the great posts. I'm a daly reader of this blog.