I can imagine meeting another Vance aficionado in person: we just nod politely, in silent agreement, or talk in cryptic sentences like vorlons.
H. R. Giger is an excellent painter and sculptor, anyone can see that, but for most people his sculptures are just too... alien. I discoved that I really like Giger and Vance, but I can see that others would have to acquire the taste.
When I had a job behind a counter, one of the rules was: "We don't sell 'I don't know'". We were encouraged to look things up as hard as possible, but it's easy to see how this turns into making things up. I'm going to use the term Counter man syndrome from now on.
As a martial arts enthusiast I have to concur that the practical survivability impact of my training is somewhat limited. In fact, I would go as far as to say that my martial art training is far less likely to save my life than is my previous sporting hobby, running.
My krav maga instructor (a bouncer) used to emphasize that 90% of realistic self-defense is about avoiding trouble, and running is a battle-tested survival technique. I think running was the best way to keep your sanity in the Cthulhu role-playing too. So, the first line of self-defense: don't open that old book, run away and read what people at LW are saying.
What we need is a rationality equivalent of a katana or a machine gun. One for each student, some basic training and even ninja masters go down pretty quickly (unless they really can dodge bullets). Occupatio "weapon of mass rationality".
If I were talking to a Muslim (on this level) about evolution, my next questions would probably be: "Are you aware that humans give birth to deformed babies?" and "Do you think a monkey could give birth to a deformed baby that looks like a human baby?"
Do I think that a snake could produce sounds that can be interpreted as words? Well, yeah. "Can I eat this apple?" "Sssss..." "Sounded like yessss to me, let's eat."
Thanks for this! I recently tried to find this story, but couldn't remember who wrote it or what the title was.