Mike Dunford posted Entry 1227 on July 17, 2005 09:18 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1225

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having
the ability to learn from the experience of others,
are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”
—Douglas Adams
Last Chance to See

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Comment #38449

Posted by steve on July 18, 2005 12:02 AM (e)

While the H2G2 movie was a decent, if not spectacular, adaptation of the book, I think my biggest complaint was that Zaphod was made outrageous and stupid. In the book, he’s outrageous and a little mean, but not an idiot. He was a more interesting character.

Comment #38462

Posted by Boronx on July 18, 2005 4:31 AM (e)

He didn’t strike me as being mean in the book, or stupid in the movie. You have to understand that he’s an alien from the vicinity of Betleguese, so if he comes off as callous or a little dense, it’s just that he doesn’t see things in quite the same way you and I are used to.

Comment #38481

Posted by Andrew on July 18, 2005 11:52 AM (e)

Zaphod was definitely played as an idiot in the movie (he was played as a slightly-more-intelligent G.W. Bush, as far as I could tell), and both Zaphod’s characterization and the bizarre treatment of his second head were downers.

That being said, I thought the H2G2 movie was a quality adaptation – particularly in the amount of narration from the Guide that survived, something rare in a Hollywood ‘blockbuster – and I wish it’d had more success, so that we might have had the privilege of seeing the other sequels brought to life.

Comment #38505

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on July 18, 2005 2:58 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'url'

Comment #38506

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on July 18, 2005 3:01 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'url'

Comment #38510

Posted by Alan on July 18, 2005 3:25 PM (e)

Paul wrote “despite the twisting and turning of Richard Dawkins.”

You seem a nice guy. What,s your problem with Dawkins?

Comment #38513

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 3:50 PM (e)

You seem a nice guy. What,s your problem with Dawkins?

It looks like standard-issue conceptual confusion about the possibility of ethics without absolutes. Paul’s statement “We are still no more than our genes” is radically false – we aren’t our genes at all; that’s a category mistake or two. “Some people can live with this” – yes, some people can live with what is true being true, while others are scared so crapless by it that they have to invent fantasies and then assert the fantasies as reality.

Comment #38516

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 4:28 PM (e)

Here’s more from Paul, aka “a Creationist Troll, apparently”, that indicates that he’s just as dim-witted and “nice” as the rest of the creationist crowd:

http://exilefromgroggs.blogspot.com/2005/06/arguments-against-creationism-and-id.html

Comment #38518

Posted by harold on July 18, 2005 4:37 PM (e)

t.s. -

As an advocate of “reason” and “rationality”, why do you make use of insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, “dim-witted”, and so on? How does this reflect the use of reason?

From my perspective, it would seem irrational.

Comment #38519

Posted by Flint on July 18, 2005 4:40 PM (e)

I suspect “rational” is generally defined as “agrees with me.” After all, if there were a superior opinion to mine, I would already hold it.

Comment #38521

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on July 18, 2005 5:11 PM (e)

:) Oh dear, my aliases are gradually unravelling!

Comment #38522

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 5:14 PM (e)

harold wrote:

How does this reflect the use of reason?

These characterizations are the consequence of observation and reasoning.

From my perspective, it would seem irrational.

And yet you provided no reasoned support for your perspective.

Flint wrote:

I suspect “rational” is generally defined as “agrees with me.”

You’re probably right, in regard to Harold’s use of it.

Comment #38524

Posted by Paul Flocken on July 18, 2005 5:27 PM (e)

Troll,

I don’t know what is up with your website or my computer or the synergy between them, but everytime I try to load it, it crashes every single window and tab I have open.
Paul

Comment #38525

Posted by harold on July 18, 2005 5:35 PM (e)

t.s. -

I asked -

“As an advocate of “reason” and “rationality”, why do you make use of insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, “dim-witted”, and so on? How does this reflect the use of reason?”

But your answer is superficial and circular -

“These characterizations are the consequence of observation and reasoning”

How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”? Also, are all others who don’t use similar terms lacking in “reason”?

From my perspective, it does indeed seem irrational on many levels. But all you need to do to change that is answer my question.

Comment #38528

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 5:45 PM (e)

How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

Well, in the case of “dim-witted”, I think it’s clear enough to any rational person who read the troll’s page in regard to which I made the comment. Or perhaps you think that what Paul offers there really are “the best arguments against Intelligent Design and in favor of neo-darwinism”.

Also, are all others who don’t use similar terms lacking in “reason”?

No, you silly goose. The use or failure to use such terms has no bearing on whether people possess or are lacking in reason. That simple fact makes it clear enough that your claim about irrationality is irrational.

From my perspective, it does indeed seem irrational on many levels.

And yet you are quite unable to articulate any of them.

But all you need to do to change that is answer my question.

Not so, because your belief isn’t rationally held. I don’t have the power to turn you into the sort of person you aren’t, no matter how many questions I answer.

Comment #38529

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on July 18, 2005 5:46 PM (e)

As an advocate of “reason” and “rationality”, why do you make use of insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, “dim-witted”, and so on? How does this reflect the use of reason?

Perhaps his privates are just bigger than everyone else’s. (shrug)

It’s why I skip over all his posts. They are all content-free.

Comment #38530

Posted by Alan on July 18, 2005 5:49 PM (e)

Q? How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”? Also, are all others who don’t use similar terms lacking in “reason”?

A: It’s an ego thing

Comment #38531

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 5:54 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #38532

Posted by Alan on July 18, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

Hey, that’s not fair.

Hey, that’s not fair.

No, actually it is. I’ll go back to lurking!

Comment #38533

Posted by harold on July 18, 2005 6:11 PM (e)

t.s. -

Well, technically, what I said was that if you put up an insulting reply to a primary post of mine, THAT was what I wouldn’t respond to. But perhaps I was unclear.

I’m going to be gone for the rest of the evening. My question remains unanswered. I’m not the most frequent poster here most of the time (albeit on a roll recently), but I’ll certainly be back. I’ll be interested to see if it ever gets an answer.

Comment #38535

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 6:14 PM (e)

Well, technically, what I said was that if you put up an insulting reply to a primary post of mine, THAT was what I wouldn’t respond to. But perhaps I was unclear.

That’s a lie. “technically”, as in “truthfully and factually”, what you said was “You’ll get no more responses from me”.

My question remains unanswered.

That too is a lie. You should learn from Alan, who displayed some honesty.

Comment #38536

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 6:22 PM (e)

I’d be fascinated to see how someone would answer a question like “How does reasoning and reason lead you to the theory of evolution”, other than pointing to (some of) the evidence supporting the claim. The question itself, and the motivation for it, is anything but rational. Imagine, being taken to task for calling an IDist “dim-witted” on PT. People outside Harold’s brigade of intellectually dishonest clowns must wonder what all the fuss is about.

Comment #38541

Posted by steve on July 18, 2005 7:18 PM (e)

Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on July 18, 2005 05:46 PM (e) (s)

It’s why I skip over all his posts. They are all content-free.

True dat. His posts are so low-content and numerous, I wondered if I was dry-drunk or something. I don’t even know if I agree or disagree with him, because he can’t seem to say anything before I lose interest.

Comment #38545

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 7:29 PM (e)

It’s amusing, in a way, to see such insubstantial and hypocritical posts, responding to other insubstantial and hypocritical posts, complaining about low content. (Good for Alan that he got it.)

Comment #38548

Posted by Alan on July 18, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

[quote}Good for Alan[unquote]

JAD patronised me with the same phrase once. But at least he was amusing. Content is great. No need to be polite or rude, just make it intelligible and concise.

I am just the audience, unable to contain the odd cheer or hiss.

Comment #38550

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 7:50 PM (e)

I didn’t intend to patronize you. And I do try to be intelligible, and usually concise.

Comment #38551

Posted by Alan on July 18, 2005 7:56 PM (e)

Fair enough

Comment #38553

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on July 18, 2005 8:24 PM (e)

Speaking of the apparently disinclined…

I just received a Christian Wire Service press release rejoicing in the presence of M. Behe *and* J. Wells at a conference to be celebrated Aug 4-6 in balmy Greenville, South Carolina.

“Uncommon Dissent Forum, Scientists Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing” coordinator Lewis Young proudly notes that the Disco Institute is being consulted for the festivities.

The last two grafs of the release (pasted below) offer a tantalizing taste of the promised proceedings.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Scientists to Challenge Darwinism at Public Forum in South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C., July 18 /http://www.christianwireservice.com/>Christian Wire Service/ – People interested in hearing firsthand from scientists who question Darwin’s theory of evolution will soon have the opportunity at a conference in Greenville, S.C., to be held on Aug. 4, 5 and 6.

The conference, entitled “Uncommon Dissent Forum, Scientists Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing,” will convene a panel of nine presenters including biochemist Dr. Michael Behe, author of Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, reviewed by the New York Times and more than 100 other periodicals, and Dr. Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution: Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong.

“Since the science behind Darwin’s speculations is questionable, we’re making available to the public an accomplished panel of thinkers and researchers in the scientific community who have an open mind toward the evidence and who want to stimulate debate,” said Lewis Young, conference coordinator. “This conference will benefit anyone interested in free inquiry regarding theories and facts about evolution and the origins of life.”

The Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle has served as consultant for the conference, said Young. In its “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism,” signed by 350+ scientists, the institute purports, “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.” Director of the institute, Stephen Meyer, was quoted in Newsweek (Feb. 7, 2005), “‘There is ambiguity about the evidence for evolution. We think students should know that.’”

In National Geographic (November 2004), the cover article on Darwinism stated that “the fossil record is like a film of evolution from which 999 of every 1,000 frames have been lost on the cutting room floor.”

“Since Darwin’s theory asks people to accept a premise for which 99.9 percent of the data is missing, the presentation of statistical evidence through a conference such as this one is significant and timely,” Young added.

Comment #38557

Posted by ts on July 18, 2005 8:31 PM (e)

I just received a Christian Wire Service press release

Repeat after me: ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion. ID is not religion….

Comment #38600

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on July 19, 2005 4:04 AM (e)

“Will this sort of thing happen every time we use the Infinite Improbability Drive?”

“Very probably.”

Comment #38601

Posted by a Creationist Troll, apparently on July 19, 2005 4:06 AM (e)

Paul Flocken: It works on both IE and Netscape running on XP on my machine - though I had to tweak it a bit to get IE to work. Sorry, without taking over your computer (buwah hah hah hah hah!!!!!) I can’t help any more …

Comment #38602

Posted by SEF on July 19, 2005 4:41 AM (e)

Following a DisCo link to Eunoia (is that like paranoia but newer/rebranded/bigger-tent or simply a misnomer from sick minds?), from the conference registration form:

Early Registration:

Standard Conference Fee: $125
Teacher or Student Conference Fee: $95

After June 30, 2005:

Standard Conference Fee: $145
Teacher or Student Conference Fee: $115

So it’s “free inquiry” (and it isn’t religion neither!) …

Comment #38605

Posted by Schmitt. on July 19, 2005 5:53 AM (e)

‘Last Chance to See’ is an excellent book. Adams got a wee bit of the science wrong, but gets across so much more that is good in a fantastically penetrating and entertaining fashion. The way he and Carwardine discussed the animals and their behaviour emphasised the wonderful curiosity in and bemusement at the world which characterised so much of Adam’s writing.

Very great pity that he is no longer with us.

-Schmitt.

Comment #38607

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on July 19, 2005 7:00 AM (e)

I just received a Christian Wire Service press release rejoicing in the presence of M. Behe *and* J. Wells at a conference to be celebrated Aug 4-6 in balmy Greenville, South Carolina.

So much for that whole “ID has nothing to do with religion” thingie, huh ….

“Uncommon Dissent Forum, Scientists Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing” coordinator Lewis Young proudly notes that the Disco Institute is being consulted for the festivities.

Do any of them have a scientific theory of ID to offer?

Why not?

Comment #38628

Posted by Pierce R. Butler on July 19, 2005 12:20 PM (e)

So much for that whole “ID has nothing to do with religion” thingie, huh … .

Aren’t all scientific conferences publicized through Christian Wire Service?

Do any of them have a scientific theory of ID to offer?

Why not?

Gee, they’ve got *statistical evidence* - sounds like science to me, Mr. Wizard!

Comment #38642

Posted by harold on July 19, 2005 2:12 PM (e)

t.s. -

Still no answer to my question. I asked -

“How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

You wrote -

“Well, in the case of “dim-witted”, I think it’s clear enough to any rational person who read the troll’s page in regard to which I made the comment. Or perhaps you think that what Paul offers there really are “the best arguments against Intelligent Design and in favor of neo-darwinism”.”

But this has nothing to with what I asked. I know that you disagree with the people you insult (and in this case, so do I).

But I asked “How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

My question remains unanswered.

Comment #38660

Posted by ts on July 19, 2005 5:03 PM (e)

But this has nothing to with what I asked. I know that you disagree with the people you insult (and in this case, so do I).

If the answer doesn’t amount to giving reasons in support for my claim – that the fellow is dim-witted – then I have no idea what sort of answer would do; your question seems to embody an unfalisfiable theory. But it really doesn’t matter, since it’s *your* claim that the use of such terms is “irrational”, and the burden is on your to support your claim – which you have repeatedly refused to do. This is remarkably similar to how IDists operate.

Comment #38662

Posted by ts on July 19, 2005 5:18 PM (e)

Here’s how it goes, Harold. I claim P (after noting the facts that led me to claim it). You claim, without support, that it is irrational to claim P, or rather to claim it using the words that I did. This is a bizarre claim, since the choice of words one uses to express a claim is not generally subject judgments of rationality or irrationality, which normally pertain to the claims themselves. You have provided no reason to think that I have done anything irrational – you simply asserted it, and reasserted it when asked for your reasons for the claim – just like an IDist does.

Comment #38668

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on July 19, 2005 5:45 PM (e)

Gee, they’ve got *statistical evidence* - sounds like science to me, Mr. Wizard!

Ahhh, “statistics”. That comes right after “lies” and “damned lies”, doesn’t it …?

;>

Comment #38723

Posted by harold on July 20, 2005 8:24 AM (e)

t.s. -

Nope. Sorry. You still haven’t answered the question, have you? I guess you just can’t or won’t understand a very simple question.

“How does “reason” or “reasoning” lead you to use insulting terms like “clown”, “nutjob”, and “dimwitted”?

You just keep repeating that you disagree with one of the people you’ve insulted. I disagree with that particular one too. But that isn’t what I asked.

You’re absolutely right that I haven’t told you WHY I think it’s irrational to behave as you do. I may even try to explain it some day, if I have time.

But you still haven’t answered the question.

Comment #38779

Posted by ts on July 20, 2005 8:08 PM (e)

I’ve answered it several ways, and have asked you to explain what sort of answer would do, if mine won’t. So all I’m getting from you is bad faith.

> You’re absolutely right that I haven’t told you WHY I think it’s irrational to behave as you do. I may even try to explain it some day, if I have time.

The burden is on those who make claims to support their claims. If you don’t have time to take on your burden, there’s certainly no reason why I should take the time to provide yet more answers to your ill-begotten questions. Jackass.

Comment #38820

Posted by Dave Harmon on July 21, 2005 8:47 AM (e)

(1) Folks, don’t feed the trolls, they just multiply and crap on everything.

(2) About the actual quote: DNA was being a bit blurry:

We’re *not* the only creature that can learn from the experience of others, various ape experiments involving firehoses come to mind. We’re certainly the best at it, but even so, I’d say we’re not very good at it,
rather than “disinclined”. The business of telling others about our experiences is pretty new, I think it’s just not fully developed yet.

Comment #38823

Posted by Flint on July 21, 2005 9:22 AM (e)

A standard undergraduate experiment in psychology involves placing a trained rat in a wire cage (trained to get food by pressing a bar) adjacent to an untrained rat in another wire cage. The object of the experiment is to determine whether the untrained rat figures out how to get food faster than control rats who are not exposed to the example the trained rat provides. The “right answer” (i.e. supported by a very large body of similar experiments) is that rats do indeed learn by lateral transfer. Similarly, rats who witness other rats eating something and suffering immediate convulsions and death, are far less likely to experiment with eating the same stuff, than a rat that didn’t watch.

People may be unique in learning the lesson vicariously, but being disinclined to follow it. But it’s hard to tell; maybe the rat that watched but never pressed the bar just wasn’t hungry. A rat’s motivations aren’t well articulated.

Comment #38851

Posted by ts on July 21, 2005 3:37 PM (e)

We’re *not* the only creature that can learn from the experience of others,

That would explain the use of the word “almost”.

Comment #38852

Posted by ts on July 21, 2005 3:42 PM (e)

I’d say we’re not very good at it, rather than “disinclined”.

And that might explain the word “apparently”. It’s striking that, even in a humorous aphorism not meant to be take literally, Adams hedged his assertions more than, well, almost everyone is, well, apparently inclined to do.

Comment #38853

Posted by Flint on July 21, 2005 4:07 PM (e)

It’s striking that, even in a humorous aphorism not meant to be take literally, Adams hedged his assertions more than, well, almost everyone is, well, apparently inclined to do.

An aficionado of plausible deniability, maybe. Adams has said something quite distinct, without quite having said exactly what he said for the most part.

I’m going to declare that Adams regarded the human mind as a dichotomizing machine, and even our language is ill-adapted to continua and spectra. We don’t deal well with trends, probabilities, percentages, exceptions, and the like. So says Adams (just ask him if I’m wrong).

Comment #38862

Posted by Alan on July 21, 2005 6:54 PM (e)

Adams?

Who he?

Comment #38863

Posted by SEF on July 21, 2005 6:56 PM (e)

Did you somehow miss the opening post or was that sarcasm?

Comment #38865

Posted by Alan on July 21, 2005 7:21 PM (e)

I did google and wondered how bryan adams had become involved.

Mea Culpa

Comment #38886

Posted by ts on July 22, 2005 1:15 AM (e)

> An aficionado of plausible deniability, maybe.

An aficionado of intellectual honesty, maybe.