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[P]
Politics: Can't We All Just Shut the Fuck Up?

By theboz in Op-Ed
Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:58:53 PM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

I admit; I'm a politic-discussion junkie. I love to argue, poke holes in people's logic, and spread my opinions. In fact, of all the articles I have written, about 1/3 were about politics. However, I have come to a realization. Winning an argument on the internet is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics -- even though you're the champ, you're still a retard. With that in mind, I'd like to point out a few things about the political discussions on Kuro5hin.org that I have noticed.


Middle East Stories
These discussions are completely useless. These stories bring out a few types of people. The first are Israelis and Zionist sympathizers. These people think that the nation of Israel is good and doing the right thing, and will listen to no questions otherwise. They tend to accuse others of anti-Semitism if you disagree. On the flip side of that, you have the wanna-be Palestinians. These people tend to call the suicide bombings justified, compare the Israelis to Hitler, and automatically assume the worst of Israelis. They are similar to the Zionist supporters because they refuse to question their side and spout off that anyone who disagrees is ignorant. Then, you have the extreme moderates. They are moderate in that they don't want to pick a side, but extreme because they call for the genocide of the Israelis and the Palestinians. Nuking the Middle East, replacing Israel with the Irish, etc. are all popular with these people. Altogether, these people can post quite a few comments, but nobody listens to any of them. It's ironic that the majority of people who argue about this have never done any research into it other than an occasional article on CNN or the Guardian.

Smoking
Smoking stories are also flameworthy. On one side, you have smokers that feel the fact that they put a fag in their mouth every now and them likens them to a modern day George Washington. To these people, the sight of a lit cigarette is just as awe inspiring as the raising of the American flag at Iwo-Jima. To them, it's just downright unAmerican to question smoking, and they feel they have the right to blow smoke in your face anywhere they go. On the other hand, you have non-smokers who think anyone addicted to cigarettes must be a weak-willed (and thus weak-minded) simpleton. They thumb their noses at smokers, even to the point of getting angry when someone is smoking outside in the open 10 feet away from them. They feel that they should have the right to walk up and stand within kissing distance of a smoker and not smell anything. These two groups tend to argue like madmen, but also to include the moderates of the opposing group in with the extremists.

Abortion
When does human life truly begin? Very few actually argue about this. However, the abortion debate does bring up some of the largest strawman arguments ever. You have anti-abortionists who claim that abortionists want to kill babies who have been in the womb 8.5 months. You have pro-choice who claim that all anti-abortionists are against birth control. Discussions of religion come into this frequently, but that topic is handled further down. The abortion debate is one where people talk past each other, not even really at each other. It's difficult to be a moderate here; if you are pro-choice but are against late-term abortions the anti-abortionists will still tear you a new one. If you're against abortion, but do support birth control and day-after pills, then you are still called a woman-hater. Nobody wins this argument, but everyone gets pissed off. The amusing thing is that the majority of people here are men, and have no real functional knowledge of the female body or the process of childbirth.

Gun Control
This debate can turn out to be very international. The standard supporter of the 2nd amendment of the U.S. constitution is a conservative from the U.S. That doesn't mean everyone is like that, but it provides a stereotype of a gun-toting redneck, which is picked up and used as a strawman by the other side religiously. The biggest supporters of gun control often come from big cities in the U.S. or from European nations. Rural life is alien to them, so they think that what applies in the big city applies to bumfuck Idaho. The people in bumfuck Idaho believe what applies to them would work in New York City. This argument usually is full of people comparing apples and oranges. It's difficult to take a moderate, reasonable approach to this debate without being lambasted by both sides, so very few people do think about it critically.

Religion
This is a topic that has been the cause of countless wars, murders, and other things throughout history. The arguments are just as heated online. Whether you're a bible thumping fundamentalist, or a bible burning atheist, you refuse to admit that the other person should be allowed to have their own point of view. The bible thumpers preach that anyone who doesn't love Jesus will go to Hell, and get offended at anything that doesn't line up with their narrow view of the world. These people support laws banning cursing on TV and teaching of evolution in schools. They feel that anything to the contrary of their beliefs doesn't deserve to exist. On the other hand, there are extreme atheists who get offended at the sight of a church on a street corner. They feel that those with beliefs in some sort of faith are mentally inferior and deserve to be locked up. The two groups of extremists ruin any chance of a decent discussion about religion on Kuro5hin.

Sins of the Politicians
This one is quite simple to be on one side, but more complex because it depends on a number of things. The types of arguments here are: right accuses left, left takes the defense or left accuses right, right takes the defense. It's not enough to just side with the right or left, it depends on who is doing the accusing as well. You will have people that lambast Clinton for getting a blowjob, but then make excuses when an article comes out about Bush's former cocaine addiction. On the other hand, you will see an article discussing how Clinton lied under oath and was caught, then the left will come up with dirt on Bush to compensate for it. Most people believe that either both sides are bad, or that the correct way is somewhere in the middle. However, that doesn't make for good discussion, so the centrists rarely post or get into arguments.

Conclusion
I could go on and on listing the futile arguments on this site. I'm as guilty as anyone for participating and perpetrating them. But it's getting old. Intelligent people have given up on having intelligent discussions while the flame warriors grow bolder with the lack of people keeping them in check. These arguments are had all the time here, topics come and go in cycles where people argue through a number of articles about the same thing until a new hot topic comes up for a while, then repeat the whole process again when new users come to replace the old ones that got tired of the arguing. All in all, it's worthless, annoying, and wasteful to have these arguments. Most of us are not capable of having a mature debate here, so why try? Let's try to go back to technology and culture, and leave the politics for the political websites. We've pretty much proven that we're incapable of having intelligent, rational debates about politics. We'd all be a lot happier and have better discussions if we just left politics alone here.

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Poll
Most annoying argument
o Middle East 17%
o Smoking 2%
o Abortion 8%
o Gun Control 5%
o Religion 9%
o Sins of the Politicians 6%
o Middle East politicians who smoke while performing abortions with guns in a religious ceremony 45%
o Other 5%

Votes: 251
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o all the articles I have written
o Winning an argument on the internet is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics -- even though you're the champ, you're still a retard
o Also by theboz


Display: Sort:
Politics: Can't We All Just Shut the Fuck Up? | 496 comments (429 topical, 67 editorial, 4 hidden)
Don't forget... (4.05 / 19) (#1)
by bobpence on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:46:26 AM EST

... rambling complaints about K5!
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
That's another topic (3.30 / 10) (#4)
by theboz on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:52:15 AM EST

This isn't a rambling rant about K5 itself, as much as some of the topics people choose to discuss. I think this story will have accomplished it's mission if at least one person reads it and realizes that they are stupid for participating in those arguments. Now if I posted, "K5 is dying, so I am crying, it is no good, people don't say what they should, K5 is gay, so I'm going away" then you could accuse me of that with no problem.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Using gay as an insult. (4.44 / 18) (#31)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:23:50 PM EST

Just. Say. No.

[ Parent ]
Gay. (NT) (1.26 / 15) (#86)
by steveftoth on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:55:30 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Why all of a sudden to you have a problem with (1.88 / 9) (#149)
by hovil on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:20:46 PM EST

homonyms, they occur all the time in english.

[ Parent ]
Seen on a t-shirt (4.28 / 7) (#152)
by Wah on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:46:41 PM EST

Homosexuals are Gay!

(I'm pretty sure the guy wearing it was a cock-smoker, but I could be wrong.)

((no, I'm not that heartless, and if you aren't laughing, I am that cynical))
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]

he found that at tshirthell.com [nt] (4.00 / 4) (#160)
by rasactive on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:24:11 PM EST

snoochie boochies!

[ Parent ]
he would be... (5.00 / 1) (#162)
by Wah on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:28:20 PM EST

..the guy who was wearing it in the picture I saw on his blog.  Pronouns can be so indistinct.
--
Where'd you get your information from, huh?
[ Parent ]
that's cute. <en tee> (3.00 / 3) (#180)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:04:52 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Hear hear [N/T] (2.90 / 10) (#3)
by dopefishdave on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:50:18 AM EST


We think we understand music until we try to compose it and what comes out of the piano scares the cat.
-- Robert McKee

He didn't invent that line (4.60 / 5) (#19)
by trhurler on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:13:45 PM EST

And actually, the original flowed better. "Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still a retard."

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
original picture (?) (4.00 / 3) (#58)
by ti on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:10:36 PM EST

I believe this is the original.

[ Parent ]
The original (none / 0) (#328)
by Lord13 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:06:00 AM EST

Was a photoshop done by a somethingawful.com forum member.
Growing half a tree, water it everyday.
[ Parent ]
Good one (3.72 / 11) (#8)
by Irobot on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:54:26 AM EST

Except that you've just taken away almost all the discussion I enjoy and moved it to the Linux vs Microsoft ranting (which I don't enjoy). I mean, I like seeing the technology oriented "Intro to Distributed Computing" articles - very informative, and I always read them. But for discussion purposes, I'll look for other topics, thank you very much.

Nice idea, but it won't work for reasons similar to why you post the criticism. However, taking your advice, I'd also like to point anyone who's interested in a diary entry I put up called Thoughts from a Smoker. I apologize for the self-advertisement, but given the time-sensitive nature of diary entries, I thought someone might've missed it who would find it interesting.

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn

I read that (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by theboz on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:27:49 PM EST

I thought you did a good job of promoting the smoker viewpoint without sounding like an asshole like the people that wrote those articles.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Thank you (3.75 / 4) (#52)
by Irobot on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:56:58 PM EST

Does that mean you'd like to see it as an article? (Just kidding...)

Irobot

The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous. -- Margot Fonteyn
[ Parent ]

+1FP (4.00 / 18) (#11)
by psychologist on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:55:54 AM EST

For pointing out that it takes 30000 people 3 years to recognize that they have been talking about the same 6 things over and over again. Have we not said all there is to say about these topics?

Since I left arguing the Israel-Palestine issue, I have tried to bring up various other things, such as my ill fated Africa Awareness Century, but nobody wanted to listen.

Facit? People want to talk about what they know about, and what they know about is what is available on the Guardian and Cnn.

How about voting up an "Introduction to African Music" story? (It ain't finished yet.)

No, not that please (2.50 / 4) (#34)
by eyeflare on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:27:35 PM EST

I'm sick of the "introduction"-type stories. Now if you could write something insightful on the development of Africa and its people, that'd be good. Then again, most people wouldn't understand it, or just not be interested. Sigh.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]
I'm not sick yet (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by khallow on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:48:08 PM EST

FWIW, I find the "intro" articles to be among the most interesting on this site. And the intro to African Music sounds a whole lot better than Psychologist's usual fare - or mine for that matter.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

The Tinwhistle one (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by eyeflare on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:12:10 PM EST

sort of did it for me. Really well written (the two paragraphs I did read at least) but so completely non-interesting to me. I guess I want more in-depth stuff that's new to me instead of broad coverage of a subject. One of the best articles I've seen on the site was the one describing the workings of a chemical production plant a few months? ago.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste. Go: www.eyeflare.com
[ Parent ]
touche (2.00 / 1) (#72)
by khallow on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:30:37 PM EST

I somehow avoided reading that. After reading your post, I'll continue to avoid reading that.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

more styles/artists (2.00 / 1) (#51)
by khallow on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:55:28 PM EST

As mentioned in comments to your article, you only mention one artist (ok, his dad too). Given the usual lengths of K5 articles, I think you need to cut. For example, drop the BBC fight scene and the "swooping in" intro. I like the style though. Perhaps there's a longer venue out there?

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

generalization (2.00 / 5) (#15)
by tps12 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:05:17 PM EST

The amusing thing is that the majority of people here are men, and have no real functional knowledge of the female body
Speak for yourself, sir.

It's true (3.66 / 3) (#20)
by theboz on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:13:48 PM EST

I said "the majority" not "everyone." The majority of people here are male, the majority are not involved with the medical industry, and the majority are not parents. I do agree there are people here who are not part of that "majority" but I have no reason to believe that I am wrong. If you think so, why not point out how I am wrong rather than just getting defensive about it?

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

YHBT? (4.50 / 4) (#36)
by tps12 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:28:03 PM EST

Sorry, I was trying to make a joke. Like, I have "functional knowledge of the female body," if you know what I mean.

[ Parent ]
Dunno... (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by br284 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:51:56 PM EST

Even taking your joke into account, I still think boz is right. Look at the diary section for chrissakes. Not that I've not posted enough chick-angst in my day...

-chris

[ Parent ]

Well, then what? (3.54 / 11) (#17)
by RyoCokey on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:12:05 PM EST

You mean this isn't a political website? Crap, has been as long as I've been reading it (Much longer than I had an account.) Seeing as you seem to object to just about every story that's posted, what exactly are we supposed to discuss?



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
Technology and culture. (4.62 / 8) (#24)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:20:56 PM EST

No, this is *not* a political discussion website. Most of the discussions before the 2000 US presidential election were not explicitly political in nature. Most of the stories since then have been --- those discussions went on for long enough that everyone who immigrated to K5 during those months drew the conclusion that this was a political site.

It's *supposed* to be a discussion site devoted to technology and culture. And there are occasionally articles devoted to those. It's just a bizarre accident of history, or perhaps of some perverse human desire to argue about politics, that it's morphed over time into a primarily political site.

[ Parent ]

Since when did culture (2.50 / 2) (#27)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:22:30 PM EST

not involve politics?

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
Culture isn't exclusively politics (4.40 / 5) (#33)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:26:45 PM EST

or even necessarily predominantly politics. I always took culture in the phrase 'technology and culture' to be something akin to the *feel* of microserfs --- the zeitgeist of the 90s geek age, of which politics was a part but only a small part.

Somewhere in there it changed so that politics is the *dominant* part, far out of proportion to the role it plays in most peoples' day-to-day lives. Which is fine. But it really irritates me when someone justifies something with "but this is a political discussion site"; it was never intended to be that.

[ Parent ]

I don't think (3.66 / 3) (#38)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:30:27 PM EST

this site is exclusively politics, take a look at the front page.

This site is about the users voting on and choosing what they want to see, so if users are voting for political topics(which many are but not all, that makes it a political discussion site.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
I never said it wasn't. (4.57 / 7) (#46)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:49:47 PM EST

Of *course* the site is about users voting on and choosing what they want to see. And *of course* it's ok to vote for political stories.

I'm merely pointing out that when someone complains about how there are so many political stories, responding with "but it's a political discussion site" ignores the entire history of the evolution of the site, what its intent was, and what many of the people here want to get out of it.

I may be more sensitive to this than most (and in truth i'm more sensitive to just about anything than I am usually, this week), but then again, i've got a better sense of the site's history than most; i've been reading and posting here regularly for more than two and a half years.

[ Parent ]

New users don't care (3.00 / 3) (#64)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:18:35 PM EST

about the history and blah blah of whatever... and why should they?  If it says technology and culture, that's a broad area of topics, one of which is politics.  

If you want to split hairs, you're correct, it's not a political discussion site, its an "everything" discussion site.  So is it wrong to say it's a political discussion site? No. It's also a liquor discussion site, an anime discussion site, etc.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
implication and connotation (4.40 / 5) (#67)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:24:44 PM EST

Maybe i'm reading things into it, but this post, which started the conversation, uses the term "political website" in such a way as to imply that the primary purpose of this website is politics.

The entire point of my responses to it, and my responses to you, has been to challenge the notion that the primary purpose is politics.

Your last post seems to agree that this is an "everything" discussion site. So i'm confused by the fact that you also seem to think that my objection is silly. *perplexed look*

[ Parent ]

Reading things (2.66 / 3) (#71)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:29:59 PM EST

You're response here, in the first sentence, says "this is not a political discussion site."

My point is that it IS a political discussion site, along with many other things.

You also say here:
It's supposed to be a discussion site devoted to technology and culture. And there are occasionally articles devoted to those.

Which leads me to believe, from reading that, that it is your opinion that politics does not fall under culture.  Which, my original point was, and still is, that it does fall under culture.

If there are "occasionly articles devoted" to culture, what are all the political articles? Not cultural?

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
Counterpoint (4.50 / 4) (#76)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:38:53 PM EST

*laugh*. I'm responding to a perception that people think this is a site exclusively devoted to politics (and that when someone says "but this is a political website" that's what they mean); i've seen editorial comments in response to non-political articles claiming that (as an example). You're responding to a perception that i'm saying that this is a place where political discussion is unwelcome.

It's a little bit like the difference between "this is not a [x = political website]" and "this is a [not x = political website]". :)

Which, my original point was, and still is, that it does fall under culture

Actually, for me, politics doesn't fall under culture; it's an academic subject closely related to history and sociology, and that's the way I think of it (and the way I approach most political discussion). But I can see the point that *active politics*, as opposed to *analytic politics*, is a subset of culture.

But it's only a small subset of culture; most of what falls into 'culture' is not politics. And there is no word for 'that part of culture which is not politics', at least not in English; i'm not sure how I could have phrased the sentence better.

[ Parent ]

I see (3.00 / 3) (#83)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:48:44 PM EST

So when someone says "this is a political website" they mean "this is a political website".

But, when you say "this is not a political website", you mean that it is a political website and is not a political website... Even though your original response stated that this was not a political website... I see.

Maybe you could have phrased the sentence to say this is a site to discuss everything, not just politics (but politics is a big part). That would have been the logical way to put it.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
*laugh* (3.75 / 4) (#85)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:53:13 PM EST

There is a difference between "this is not a political website" and "this is a non-political website". I admit, it's a subtle difference, and it depends a lot on understanding that what I was objecting to was the implication of exclusivity in "this is a political website". I probably could have made that more clear.

but politics is a big part

I don't know if i'd even agree with that statement. "Politics is *a* part" is about as far as I could go.

[ Parent ]

So k5 (3.00 / 4) (#89)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:00:19 PM EST

is technology, culture, and a non-political website that discusses political issues?

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
aha! (4.33 / 3) (#93)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:12:24 PM EST

see, there it is again.

I never said k5 was non-political. I said it was not "political". Again, drop the words, think in terms of symbolic logic: "A is not an [x]." "A is a [not-X]." If you can envision something that is neither an [x] nor a [not-x], but which has elements of both, then these two statements are *not* equivalent.

[ Parent ]

Maybe in your way of thinking (2.33 / 3) (#101)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:25:16 PM EST

But if you say the site is "not political" then it means it doesn't discuss politics.  If you say the site is "non-political" then it can discuss politics but that doesn't have to be the main focus.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
*blink* (3.66 / 3) (#104)
by aphrael on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:29:55 PM EST

ahhh, ok. i see where the problem is. :)

For me, the opposite of "political" is "non-political". Eg., a "political website" is a website devoted exclusively to politics, and a "non-political website" is a website where politics is frowned upon. The middle ground is not political, and it is not non-political. :)

[ Parent ]

I'm sorry already (5.00 / 3) (#157)
by RyoCokey on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:19:17 PM EST

I'm not sure what kind of mental short I triggered in you two, but I apologize for throwing it. Geesh.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
[ Parent ]
I think (2.83 / 6) (#25)
by roam on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:21:23 PM EST

we're supposed to go to the diaries and discuss how the cool people are cool and the lame people are lame, or do it here in the Edit Queue.

We're also supposed to post more stories like "Moo!" with the ascii cow, where only the k5 31337 vote for it, culminating in a k5-gasm.

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


[ Parent ]
It is absolutely true that any and every (3.94 / 18) (#23)
by eLuddite on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:20:02 PM EST

political argument between Republicans and Democrats will end in exactly the same way. For example:
  1. Republican: The First Amendment does not protect the purient right of pornographers to pervert the hearts and minds of young patriots.

  2. Democrat: Here's a yellow marker. Please hilight that portion of the Constitution that says pornography is not entitled to the same rights that protect your ceaseless war propaganda.

  3. Republican: Oh yeah? Please point out where in the Constitution it says gays are allowed to marry each other.

  4. Etc.

  5. Republican: But don't you see?? He got a blowjob!

---
God hates human rights.

and Nixon just wanted to get re-elected. (none / 0) (#245)
by /dev/trash on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:27:42 PM EST

But both broke laws unrelated to the main crimes.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
+1 (2.50 / 8) (#26)
by Chonguey on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:22:03 PM EST

...just so I can answer #1 on the poll

Sorry for dragging this down (3.00 / 4) (#29)
by Bob Dog on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:23:31 PM EST

But when did gun-control become a rural vs. urban issue?  European shitkickers don't seem to die without guns.


I think since the 60's (4.71 / 7) (#40)
by khallow on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:33:00 PM EST

Gun violence is a common artifact of the drug culture in the US and have been since the days of Prohibition (when alcohol was banned for a while). Since the urban areas are the places most effected by this type of violence, then they are the ones most likely to try to ban guns. Further, I think that it's a matter of control. You can't control a population as well if they have guns. The political control freaks seem to prefer urban areas.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

OT: The Gun Debate (4.50 / 4) (#42)
by theboz on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:38:55 PM EST

khallow hit a good portion of why I see it that way. The other thing is that in the country, you don't have police patrolling the area like you do in the city, so they're not looked at as who you would expect to help you in the case of a problem. People who live in urban areas aren't as fond of things such as hunting for you food as people in the country. You do have to worry about wild animals attacking in both places (although in the city it's usually people's pets who have escaped and gone crazy) and there's no animal control in the country so you have to shoot them yourself. I could list plenty of other reasons but I hope that helps explain it some. I see it as a completely different way of life, with different tools necessary to live.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

you're right (3.50 / 2) (#95)
by strlen on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:13:00 PM EST

it's an individualistic vs. socialistic (not necesserily Socialist as politican movement) spirit. cities vs. rural is not a cause and effect its merely a correlation, and an illogical one too. i wouldn't need a gun at a farm, there's no organized crime, no ghettoes, no thiefs running on rampages. but thing is the less individualistic city dwellers prefer to trust the society to fight crime, and surrender their right to bear arms for the benefit of society (lower crime). europe has a much more dense population, so individualistic feelings aren't very visible there, even in the country side.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Getting...sucked...in... (none / 0) (#356)
by farmgeek on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:21:50 AM EST

can't resist.

Actually a farm is exactly where you need a gun.  Not for crime (although that happens occasionally), but as a tool.

If you're farming, then you're going to have a lot of money tied up in your crop/livestock, and the last thing you want is a stray/wild animal ruining your investment.

I had to shoot a neighbor's dog last week as a matter of fact.  The stupid cur kept harassing the cows of the farmer across the street (the farmer actually lives several miles away).

Anyway, I warned him the last time I chased the mutt out of the pasture.

This time I shot the dog.

A semi-domesticated dog (usually a pack of them) is quite capable and all to willing to pull down a cow for sport.

With crops, it generally comes down to deer or an occasional loose cow (at least around here).  Most of the crop famers around here hunt religiously.  If the deer population gets out of control, as deer populations are prone to do, they face a very likely chance that a herd will come through and decimate their fields.

Finally, on the off chance that a crime is happening, you can rest assured that the deputys will not be showing up anytime soon.  Hell, they're probably on the other end of the county, and when they get the call, it'll take them at least 30 minutes to get to your house, and then another 10 or so trying to find it.  Out here, you pretty much have to deputize yourself and keep a lid on things until the paid folks show up. There's not much else you can do.  It would take the county's entire budget to put police on the roads with the density that you'd see in the city.

On the plus side, you probably won't get a speeding ticket around here either.

[ Parent ]

Ahh true (none / 0) (#389)
by strlen on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:33:31 PM EST

Well, I guess you're right. But the type of fun you'd need to shot rabid animals would be a different from a self-defense gun in the city. Even the Soviet Union, by the way, allowed the ownership of double-barrel hunting guns that shot pellets. What I'm talking about is the right to own more capable weapons, like a single-barrel, 12-gauge Rifle, or a Magnum 357. And I guess you're right about the cops being pretty far away. I didnt consider that myself. However, a gun would still be just at least as usefull in a city, due to much high chances of being assaulted, either on your home, or on the street, so I still stand by my theory that cities attract people who'd be likely to support gun control anyway, for the same reason they'd support gun control -- they prefer a more social environment.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
you do need a gun on a farm (none / 0) (#359)
by StackyMcRacky on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:29:04 AM EST

not to shoot the people, but to shoot various animals. if a rabid racoon is doing Bad Things on your land, do you think you can just call animal control?



[ Parent ]
Winning vs. fun (4.56 / 25) (#41)
by mech9t8 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:36:55 PM EST

I admit; I'm a politic-discussion junkie. I love to argue, poke holes in people's logic, and spread my opinions. In fact, of all the articles I have written, about 1/3 were about politics. However, I have come to a realization. Winning an argument on the internet is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics -- even though you're the champ, you're still a retard.

Well, do you like to "argue, poke holes in people's logic, and spread your opinions" or do you care about winning?  They're two completely separate things.

If you care about winning, it's a pointless exercise.  It's high unlikely you'll change your opponents' opinion (although it is rewarding when it does happen), and if you really care about winning, you're probably not going to be willing to compromise your position ('cause that would be "losing" and gosh knows you wouldn't want to that) or walk away without getting in the last word (even if all that's left is "you're a Nazi dumbass!").

If you really care about the back-and-forth of ideas, then participate in the discussions.  Enjoy the back-and-forth; concentrate on coming up with new and relevant facts and ideas, and if you're not interested in doing so, just walk away.  Be willing to change your opinion, and try to understand your opponents arguments so you can find common ground.  Treat it as an intellectual exercise, not a personal discussion; and if your opponent chooses to make it personal, just walk away.  Leave pride out of it, just enjoy the game while you can and then stop when you're bored.

Perhaps the simplest rule is if you really care about a topic, don't participate in its discussions: you're not going to enjoy it, you're just going to irritate yourself and others.  And if you're sick of Israeli-Palestine discussions or whatever, just don't read the articles.  Simple enough, really. ;)

Let's try to go back to technology and culture, and leave the politics for the political websites.

I like having them here, and I don't want them to go away.

Frankly, as annoying as debates can be here, I find them far less annoying and more civilized than any political website - there are a fair amount of reasonable well-rounded people here, whereas the audience of political websites consists entirely of annoying polarized people that want to win for "their side".

--
IMHO

And then there are (3.70 / 10) (#44)
by Pac on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:40:39 PM EST

The Meta/Op-Ed articles who want to tell people what they should and should not be discussing. While sometimes it may look like the author is using his/her large and hard-earned online experience to warn the newbies about the uselessness and dangers of certain topics, in a place like K5 it also comes across as "patronising the queue". In the rare event such an article survives the said queue, the discussion will soon degenerate in a duel between the "me toos" who will support the author call for self-restraint, maturity and a kinder, gentler world where these annoying topics do not exist and the "go to hell" who will accuse the author of patronising the community, calling for censorship and being a bore, eventually calling into question his/her (wo)manhood to bring the point home.

But then again you forgot another recent problematical (albeit meta) topic, the "thelizman article", which in the end will issue major flame and rating wars between basically two or three persons and their other accounts

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


Ha ha (3.33 / 3) (#48)
by Bob Dog on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:52:40 PM EST

thelizman articles.  Rusty should really make that a new category.


[ Parent ]
nah (2.00 / 2) (#94)
by infinitera on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:12:45 PM EST

What we need is a people with pink shades category, so thelizman and many others can post there and feel that they are indeed writing about reality. And then, I need a display prefs option to never see those articles in the queue or the site.

[ Parent ]
The only solution... (3.85 / 14) (#47)
by r00t on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:50:18 PM EST

The only solution is to try and teach people to be more liberal in their day to day lives. Teach them that they are free to believe whatever then want, and to be proud of who and what they are, but don't force those beliefs on anyone else as it will only result in conflict making things worse.

Issues like these will always exist... some may go away, but others will pop up to replace them. When you try and force your views on another person your asking for problems.

If we are all going "to shut the fuck up" then we all must first agree to disagree and go about our daily lives doing what we feel/know is best. Survival of the fittest will determine the rest...

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov

Isn't it slightly hypocritical (3.66 / 3) (#147)
by JChen on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:19:04 PM EST

to begin your otherwise excellent statement with "the only solution"? :p

Let us do as we say.
[ Parent ]
But don't you see (2.50 / 2) (#151)
by Pac on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:28:40 PM EST

ALL FANATICS MUST DIE!

We are sorry, you have reached an imaginary number. Please rotate your phone ninety degrees and try again.


[ Parent ]
STFU (nt) (none / 0) (#399)
by LilDebbie on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:30:19 PM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Kuro5hin: Freedom & Politics, From the Sidelin (3.61 / 13) (#54)
by pb on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 12:59:56 PM EST

More topics:

Pedophilia - do we have a NAMBLA following here, or what?  And why is it that no matter how many discussions people have about this crap, they still have to be reminded of the definition.

Drugs - yeah, yeah, most of K5 is in favor of legalizing them, and judging from the stories around here, I'm not surprised.  But K5 isn't the real world, and it never will be, so you won't see that many good counter-arguments, and few things will break the endless chains of navel-gazing and mutual dick-sucking.

Humor - I'd love to see some humor here, but anything that's actually funny just gets voted down, especially the most hilarious and thought provoking parodies. Apparently the average K5er thinks that what he heard yesterday from some 3rd grader is much funnier than George Carlin will ever be, and that parody is just a code-word for TROLL, and all trolls must be modded down no matter what, because trolls don't ever have opinions.  Remember, kids, Swift and Voltaire were horrible horrible trolls; try to get all of their books banned from your schools and libraries.

I was ranting about some of this last night, predictably in a story that I thought was pretty amusing, and therefore got voted out of the queue before you can say "well, shit".

So I'm definitely voting +1, FP when I get a chance; instead of inane Godwin's Law posts, when I see a moron who doesn't get it on K5, I'll just post a link to this story.  If it goes down, please put it in your diary, or repost the entire article after any stupid-ass "Freedom & Politics" article makes it to the Front Page.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

I'm a very funny guy (3.88 / 9) (#68)
by psychologist on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:25:15 PM EST

But sadly, many people could recognize satire if it was standing in a line-up wearing a t-shirt with "SATIRE" written on it.

My forays into humour left me a bitter and humourless man, and I had to turn to political radicalism to mend me after my traumatic experiences with people who just don't get it.

You think I WAS BORN THIS WAY? You think I ENJOY BEING THE WAY I AM? No! You made into this wreck of a man! YOU! YOU!

*Sob*

Is there no injustice in this? Am I to be considered the only criminal, when all mankind sinned against me?

[Red sunset scene. Bent back of psychologist walking off into the sunset, hunched in misery.]

[ Parent ]

That was kinda funny. (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by special ed on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:48:07 PM EST

Oh, please be reduced to a smoking shell of a man again!  It's amusing to see a somewhat coherent person reduced to a babbling wreck of flesh!

Meanwhile, the world turns foolishly on and ants tickle his butt.
[ Parent ]
No. (3.80 / 5) (#90)
by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:01:21 PM EST

I'm a very funny guy

No, I'm afraid you're not. Insert another quarter.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
We love you, psychologist... (4.00 / 4) (#106)
by pb on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:38:33 PM EST

That reminds me of when I started putting "FUNNY:" in the subject line of some of my /. posts; it actually got rid of a lot of confusion on the part of the slashbots.  (Originally it was "HUMOR:", but then stupid Brits would try to correct me; talk about not funny.)

I guess reading comprehension isn't enough; maybe people really need to have some social skills as well to comprehend satire.  At the least, people need to question the idea that everything is meant to be taken literally.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

Forgot one... (4.00 / 4) (#107)
by br284 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:43:37 PM EST

The not-ad.

This is one where someone publishes a story with a link to where someone can buy something mentioned in the article -- nevermind that there might be relevent information on the vendor's site -- and a horde of users jumps out of nowhere and argues about the story being an advertisement. Then they argue and argue and argue and pollute the discussion to the point it's almost as unreadable as anything that has Israel and Palestine printed on the same page.

Quite a shame, actually...

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Mr. pb, please disclose your interest. (3.60 / 5) (#108)
by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:45:43 PM EST

I think you should have disclosed the fact that the existence of a "Humor" section in k5 is all your fault.

--em
[ Parent ]

How many times must I? (none / 0) (#189)
by pb on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:33:49 PM EST

I think I mentioned that yesterday; although I'm not happy with how it turned out, I really have no one else to blame but the kurobots.

I guess we could also blame Rusty for creating a Freedom & Politics Section, but I'd rather chastise the users--it's about time they took some responsibility for this crap again.

But yeah the Humor topic shouldn't be used the way people forward "REALLY FUNNY" jokes in e-mail--that crap should be kept in diaries, if it is kept at all.  However, that IRC Quotes archive I keep seeing would make a great Humor MLP.  And there have been some great humorous stories here too, like "How To Get Really Really Fat".

But still, em, for the record, I apologize.  K5ers don't have a sense of humor.  I hoped that they would, but by and large, I was wrong; they're at least as bad as the slashdotters were, if not worse.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

I'm just way too f*cking picky (none / 0) (#187)
by Sir Rastus Bear on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:18:55 PM EST

But, in your sig I think you want the ^H erase key combo instead of the ^W ... although now that I actually try it in my IE browser it opens up the help pane. And ^W just shuts the whole damn thing down.

And now I realize that it's a quoted sig, so it's not even you who typed it.

I'll just stfu now.


"It's the dog's fault, but she irrationally yells at me that I shouldn't use the wood chipper when I'm drunk."
[ Parent ]

hahahah (none / 0) (#191)
by pb on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:36:20 PM EST

Maybe I should add "picky people" to my list of gripes.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Funny -With A Point (4.26 / 15) (#70)
by n8f8 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:29:29 PM EST

A few things to note:

The userbase of public discussion formus such as Kuro5hin are ever changing. So what you have seen rehashed many-times over may not be the same for many users.

Even though I've debated the things you mentioned over and over, I find myself reevaluating my ideas and refining them each time I approach the a subject. Reevaluaded due to things that life has placed in my path over the years and from evidense and arguments presented by other users.

I just love to argue, as do many people, and I would rather be flamed discussing a dead horse than stuck reading a bunch of boring or personally uninterresting stories.

 

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)

Troll. (2.37 / 16) (#73)
by Ken Arromdee on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:33:15 PM EST

This article is a troll. Or more specifically, it's the type of troll where the author makes a lot of controversial statements about a bunch of unrelated hot-button topics in a single article, figuring that if one controversial subject is likely to gather flames, ten controversial subjects will do even better.

The "flames about this is pointless" theme is a flimsy excuse that is contrary to the actual purpose of the article.

Right on (5.00 / 2) (#202)
by gidds on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:14:12 PM EST

I'm glad I'm not the only one to think so!  I've never seen so many straw men squeezed into such a small space – from a distance, you'd think a large haystack had been dumped here.

Summary:
    print ARROGANT_PREMISE
    for TOPIC in DELIBERATELY_DIVISIVE_TOPICS:
        print TOPIC
        for SIDE in LUDICROUSLY_OVERSTATED_EXTREMES(TOPIC):
            print SIDE
    print INCENDIARY_CONCLUSION

It certainly is possible to have in-depth, wide-ranging discussions on several of those subjects without any unpleasantness or polarisation – I do so every day on CIX.  Of course, there aren't as many trolls there...

Andy/
[ Parent ]

Who's that walking over MY bridge? (none / 0) (#210)
by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:36:26 PM EST

It's weird to me this use of the word troll and how casually people tend to throw it around on the 'net these days - throwing it at people who seem to hold a different viewpoint to themselves, even I have been accused of trolling in my time.

This article is too intelligent and well written to be a troll.

Troll definition

And what also always amazes me is how people routinely ignore the adage of 'NOT FEEDING THE TROLL' - if you think this is a troll post why reply to it, when, by replying you are, therefore, giving more ammunition to the so-called troll, so, therefore, the supposed troll replies and gives you another excuse to reply and the whole thing goes round in circles and the only person upset / annoyed / put out is you.

For me a troll is the one who calls someone an idiot just because their grammar isn't upto scratch, or lame brained because they put across an arguement which may seem naive or an opposing view to the general consensus.

Well thought out, humourus articles designed to promote discussion and debate, generally, are not trolls.

---
the internet: a global network of small minded people


[ Parent ]
pointless - but best article EVER on K5 (3.85 / 14) (#74)
by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:33:56 PM EST

'I love to argue, poke holes in people's logic, and spread my opinions.'

oh, me to..

' I have come to a realization. Winning an argument on the internet is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics -- even though you're the champ, you're still a retard.'

The thing is if people really wanted to 'change the world' or 'fight for a cause' or whatever - if they really believed in something - they wouldn't be wasting their time arguing on K5 but be out there fighting and changing, being pro-active, and, possibly, be creating the news rather than just copying the news from either a mainstream, corporate news-site or a, so called, alternative news site - both being the same thing just different sides of the coin, although alternative news sites do tend to be more heavily propagandidised. Arguing on the web is the equivalent of having a discussion in the local pub with a group of friends - the drunker you get the more the discussion degenerates into name calling and 'flaming'. No one backs down on the web because it's not a face to face confrontation - why back down when you're only metaphorically screaming at someone red in the face - which is why newsgroups and discussion sites tend to be just flame bait and troll feeding grounds.

And most of the arguments on K5 are easy to pick holes in anyway because they are usually somebody else's argument or barely thought through with no research and no proper background knowledge to the topic in question.

Middle East - Anyway, theoretically, racially speaking, Palestinians are Israelis and vice versa.

As for smoking, in the words of Bill Hicks, 'non-smokers die to'

Abortion - helping nature along

Gun Control - I don't give a fuck 'coz I ain't American

Religion - it is every man's right to worship and believe in what he wants. And hell I'm an agnostic. And Sartre says '..it takes more faith to be an atheist than to beleive in god because to beleive is the easy option because it's the mainstream..' - probably slightly mis-quoted but you get the idea.

Sins of the Politicians - yeah, and - show me a politician who hasn't done the dirty, and why does it always amaze people when a political scandal raises its head anyway - they are only human.

In conclusion - think out of the box, don't take society's view point, rules are there to be bent and broken, there is no black and white just a funny shade of gray, just because you learnt it in school, uni, college or wherever doesn't mean it's right and if you really want to change the world then step away from the computer now and log off.

Brilliant article - best i've ever read on K5

---
the internet: a global network of small minded people


Mainstream vs alternative news' propaganda content (none / 0) (#268)
by marinel on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:44:31 PM EST

> the news from either a mainstream, corporate news-site or a, so called, alternative news site - both being the same thing just different sides of the coin, although alternative news sites do tend to be more heavily propagandidised

That bit about propaganda content in alternative news being heavier is rather simplistic. The corporate media is usually more polished and serve propaganda just as well as the alternative media (FAUX news comes to mind), their major fault being that they distort the truth by ommission. The alternative media seems more propagandized because the people are usually ticked off and obviously subjective when reporting the news.

All in all, if you separate the facts from the punditry, the alternative media report far more on what's REALLY going on than the corporate media at the social level. Follow the money: who funds the mainstream media and who funds the alternative media? I think that, on the issue of funding, the corporate media is but the whore of the corporations, whereas the alternative media are the whores of leftist ideologies (and also of the rightist and the libertarian ones as well). You be the judge of which best serves the average Joe.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

all 'news' is propaganda (none / 0) (#310)
by dazzle on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:21:06 AM EST

'You be the judge of which best serves the average Joe.'

Neither.

---
the internet: a global network of small minded people


[ Parent ]
Importantly different from arguing in the pub/bar (none / 0) (#425)
by Alan Crowe on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:37:10 AM EST

Arguing on the web is the equivalent of having a discussion in the local pub with a group of friends

It is not real time. You get to read a post, make your lunch, do the washing up, spot the big flaw in the reasoning, and go back and point it out.

Hyper-links - government statistical websites can be particularly illuminating, and that is a very non-pub feature of web arguments.

Sobriety - argument quality is higher, and folk remember what was said.

Permanence - some replies are simply hyper-links to an especially telling rebuttal in a previouis debate of the same issue

Audience size - click on the 3.73/15 to see who has been rating your post - the usual suspects ofcourse, but there will also be unfamilar handles. Many more than 15 persons have read your post. If you score a hit in a debate, you don't change the mind of your opponent, so it can feel pretty pointless, but the curious passers by will mark their cards.

if they really believed in something - they wouldn't be wasting their time arguing on K5 but be out there fighting and changing, being pro-active

It would be ironic if you volunteered to fight for a political cause you believed in, and were assigned to astro-turfing the discussion boards.



[ Parent ]
so my views (2.33 / 3) (#87)
by strlen on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 01:57:41 PM EST

you know, you shouldn't pigeon hole people like that. for the record i'm moderately pro-Israeli (2 state solution, equal rights for arabs, but at the mean time preserving Israel and destroying Hamas/Al Aqsa martyrs), i don't smoke but I'll support to the degree of being called a 'nicotine addict' and a 'tobbaco corporate whore' _your_ right to smoke, and i live in a big city (in california too), and support gun ownership. and i also hate all politicians equally. as on cities vs. gun control, i think yu've made a logical falacy. gun would hardly be of any use in a village in alabama on a farm, other than to ward off occasional southern baptists. yet there's a need for self defense in a city. the real reason city-dwellers support gun-control is what drives them to the cities and away from rural villages is also what drives them to gun control: they're not individualists, and rather prefer a society and people, and would be willing to surrender their rights for the better of society (lower crime). i also support gun rights for the reason that if government understands that every law they make means endangering the lives of federal agents, they'd be less willing to pass more laws which infringe on their rights. would a government storm a poor neighborhood to mow the lawn, knowing that there's likely going to be a WACO in every house they go to? would a government support drug laws knowing that there's going to be a WACO every time the jack booted thugs swarm on someone simply growing weed in his garage for his own use? the fact that the populace is armed and ready to fight, is a great detterant to tyrrany. and as a comment on clinton and dubya, they're both lying scum. the whole marijuana incident with cliton provides the best display of it. the moral thing do was to say "yes i smoked marijuana, and i support legalization". however, he made the whole mess about inhaling vs. smoking. and yes, it is actually possible to smoke and not inhale -- and someoneone would do it to get the social acceptance of a weed-smoking clique without actually getting dirty. sounds very much like a clintoon thing to do. of course the fact that dubya wouldn't be the president if it weren't for his dad being one, matters quite a bit as well. so here's one lying/manipulative scumbag, and then there's the scumbag who's virtue is being born with a silver spoon up his ass.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
How about you really read what I wrote (4.00 / 2) (#121)
by theboz on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:08:30 PM EST

The article was not about your views. I really don't care about your opinions and beliefs. I was writing about the problems with how K5 is lacking rational debates on certain subjects, and the two extreme sides of it. Nowhere did I pigeonhole people to one side or the other, I actually discussed people who were moderates to some degree. I expect the readers to have the intelligence to understand that by talking about the sides that are extreme, there are more moderate positions in the middle.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

random issue comments (2.91 / 12) (#98)
by Shren on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:17:49 PM EST

Middle East Stories

I find it hard to hold any sort of opinion on what goes on there, other than the fact that it's all very sad.

Smoking

I just quit, and it feels right, this time. (I've resisted some hefty temptation.) Just goes to show that everyone needs thier own reason. Regardless. Public outdoors - smoke as much as you want. Public indoors - no smoking. Private indoors/outdoors - entirely the discretion of the owner, in my mind.

Abortion

Yet more raving with person A trying to control person B's life. Problem is, people on both sides intentionally destroy the possibility of compromise.

I find that the results of government intervention are generally worse than the consequences of government non-intervention when it comes to the child creation and raising issues. I understand the ramifications of this statement.

Gun Control

Can you really trust a government that wants to disarm you? Historically government disarmorment of citizens lead to something nasty. I just can't see this leading to good things. Besides, the other side of the issue is just so dirty. The things they do to statistics are just horrible. The scholarship does seem to be on the side of the guns, and you've got to respect that - anti-gun stuff tends to be fear-mongering crap.

If anybody has any sane anti-gun retoric, I'd love to read it. Everything I can find reads like "Violence is bad. If you like guns you like violence and hate children." Failing that, I'd love to hear suggestions on what kind of shotgun I should buy. I hear they are the best home-defense weapons and the time has come and gone. Melee with burglars is overrated, in my experience.

Religion

Religion, like automobiles and cigarettes, are one of those things that are legal just because they have history behind them. Close your eyes. Imagine a world without religion, cars, or ciggies. Now imagine trying to introduce them in today's society. Cigarettes would be pitched for liability and saftey reasons and cars would be pitched for saftey reasons.

Religion? You want to rent a big building and preach 'truths' you can't prove, and you want to lobby for laws based on these 'truths'. You want to 'worship' this 'god' that you swear exists but you also claim is immune to proof. Religion sounds absurd, like barely legal, when you reduce it to it's essentials. I can't see this getting real far in an era with so few mysteries to be explained away.

Sins of the Politicians

Once you split people into group A and group B, group B is going to try to score points off group A and vice-versa. Group C finds it hilarious and group D, who set it up in the first place, rakes in the green and the pink. Buisness as usual. People don't want to solve problems. They want to pick a side and prove that said side was right, is right, and always will be right, and that application of side foo's ideals will solve any conceivable problem. Thusly the light of reason spreads across our fair land.

Once you realize that the educational culture was regeared somewhere along the way to produce sheep instead of scholars, and that we are many generations into this trend, the world around you becomes more predictable, more tragic, and more hilarious, all at once.

Shotguns for home defense. (3.00 / 2) (#112)
by autonomous on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:55:52 PM EST

My advice, don't shoot someone with a shotgun. It is a very nasty disfiguring weapon to shoot someone with, it lowers the chances of survival. You might think that killing someone is what your shooting for, but you'll have to live with that the rest of your life, and if you ever fuck up, you've either got someone dead or grossly disfigured. You want a 9mm pistol, FMJ ammo, and you want to aim for the body mass. This will protect you because it is going to stop just about anybody (assuming you can actually hit them, but thats not the guns fault), you've got way more shots, it wieghs 1/10th as much, and you can shoot someone in a hallway or right up against you. If you fuck up, you at least have the chance of the person surviving with a single reasonably clean hole in them (thats why your using FMJ and not something that breaks up) and if you fuck up, or if you get sued (because you paniced and shot your neighbors kid while he was trying to sneak in to nail your daughter), you haven't peeled off 80% of someones face with shot. That and I don't think any intelligent person can justify saving their playstation from being stolen should cost the theif his life.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
Depends on what you're using. (3.00 / 1) (#120)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:04:05 PM EST

Bird shot isn't likely to kill anyone. Biggest risk is that you might blind them.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

I think you are misinformed. (none / 0) (#232)
by autonomous on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:00:18 PM EST

Having seen a hunting accident with bird shot, I can assure you that its a terrible disfiguring injury. Blindness is bad, but having 8 operations so that your mouth can function well enough to sip coffee is pretty bad too. Birdshot is ugly at the close range your likely to see in home defense.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
Plastic shot (none / 0) (#235)
by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:08:01 PM EST

is available in France. It's supposed to be safe, the only risk is, effectively, blinding.

But my experience is, very few people will argue with a Mossberg pump aimed at them. They'll raise their hands, get on the floor, and let you call the cops. Given the damage blood can do to a carpet, that's a very good thing, too. :)

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

Problem (none / 0) (#246)
by autonomous on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:31:56 PM EST

The only problem with having a shotgun for home defense is you can't dial a phone with one hand and keep the shotgun level with the other. I have a 2 glocks and 6 clips to protect my home thanks. I can also run with my glock through the house without catching it on corners and doors and railings.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
You're right (none / 0) (#248)
by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:36:57 PM EST

Although, given than both shotguns and pistols are forbidden in France, and that I would be arrested if I called the cops, the point is moot.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Ouch. (none / 0) (#331)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:15:29 AM EST

Well, getting hit in the face is always bad - your acquaintance has my sympathies.

Still, in the case we are speaking of (home defense) I still think that shot is a better alternative than a slug.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

Wrong Playstation Question (4.33 / 3) (#146)
by br284 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:13:23 PM EST

The question of whether "any intelligent person can justify saving their playstation from being stolen should cost the theif his life" is the wrong one. You should be asking whether "any intelligent theif can justify risking their life in order to steal a playstation".

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Um Hello, are you stupid? (none / 0) (#237)
by autonomous on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:11:03 PM EST

There are ALWAYS going to be stupid people who don't consider the consequences of their actions. If you think they're going to think it through long enough to realize they are likely to die, you're a special breed. Just because someone is stupid doesn't mean they deserve to die, as much as I sometimes think I might like to be the one killing.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
Maybe a few should be killed (none / 0) (#269)
by br284 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:47:35 PM EST

If a few more thieves were shot stealing stupid stuff, the rest of them would think about it before attempting the same.

However, you missed the obvious point of my comment which was to ask why blame the victim when it was the criminal who chose to commit the crime?

Really, it's not the large intellectual leap that you think it is.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

exactly. (none / 0) (#441)
by autonomous on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 01:05:27 PM EST

Why blame the guy who stole the playstation when the playstation owner murdered him?
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
Shotguns (none / 0) (#169)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:38:55 PM EST

Always shoot to kill. As a civilian, there's absolutely no other reason to shoot another human being than to kill them-- kneecaps are for police officers and military snipers.

 That being said, for a home-defense shotgun, buy the $120 special at Wal-Mart-- it's a black short-barrelled 12-gauge Mossberg. Under the barrel there's the magazine (where the shells are). Unscrew that and pull out the piece of wood. Keep the spring in the magazine. Your shotgun is now illegal to go hunting with, but has a comparable ammo capacity to most handguns.

 For the shot, I've been told that #7 buckshot is ideal, as it will knock someone down and kill them at home-defense ranges, but is more unlikely to pierce walls (endangering other peoples' lives)than other shot-- and especially less likely to go through a wall than an FMJ 9mm.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Killing. (none / 0) (#236)
by autonomous on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:08:12 PM EST

The problem with shooting to kill is that every year, thousands of people get shot by accident. If you shoot someone with a shotgun your likely to disfigure and most likely kill them, if you feel confident that your never going to shoot your kid, the neighbors kid, or your college buddys who got pissed and decided your place would be good to crash on the floor at. I have a pile more points, including an anecdote involving a hunting accident and a friend who shot someone during a robbery with a shotgun, but I honestly don't think I'll convince you anyways.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
Wounding (none / 0) (#301)
by Korimyr the Rat on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:20:21 AM EST

The problem with shooting to wound is that it encourages you to shoot when you're not sure of your target. And, whether you're wrong or right, they quite often die anyway.

The problem isn't shooting to kill-- the problem is shooting when you don't know what you're shooting at.

--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#290)
by Dragomire on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:05:56 AM EST

In many cases, just having a shotgun can reduce the need for the use of it.

If you have a classic pump-action (single or double barrel) shotgun, it can be successfully used without shooting.

Nobody mistakes the sound of a shotgun being pumped. If a thief is trying to be quiet, and suddenly hears the pumping of a shotgun, he's more likely to try and hightail it out of the home rather than risk getting his head blown off (litterally). The gun doesn't even need to be loaded to have the desired effect.

Worse comes to worse, and he does attmpt to be brave, and you don't have it loaded, you can beat him into unconsciousness or death with it.

[ Parent ]

Gun Control (none / 0) (#263)
by pipk01 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:24:42 PM EST

I dont know whether banning guns would decrease crime or not. However, some interesting statistics to facilitate the debate. The odds that you will use your gun to shoot an intruder are comfortably under one in a million. The odds that that gun will be used to shoot a member of your family, are at least twenty times that, around one in 50,000. Each year, 40,000 Americans die from gunshot wounds, the majority by accident. Thats a rate of 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people. In the UK the rate is .4 per 100,000 people. Given that, despite what the NRA and the Supreme Court say, gun ownership is no longer a Constitutional right, I say leave it up to the individual community to decide whether gun ownership would benefit the community. I believe this is the best way to safely control guns and adapt them to individual areas.

[ Parent ]
Another strawman. (4.00 / 1) (#343)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:37:22 AM EST

odds that that gun will be used to shoot a member of your family, are at least twenty times that, around one in 50,000.

And this is because most crimes are committed against family. Domestic abuse, murder, even basic burglary - you are much more likely to know your assailant than be victimized by a stranger. So it shouldn't be a suprise that most self-defense shootings involve people who know each other or are related.


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

Bitch, bitch, bitch. (3.94 / 19) (#100)
by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:22:05 PM EST

On one side, you have smokers that feel the fact that they put a fag in their mouth every now and them likens them to a modern day George Washington. To these people, the sight of a lit cigarette is just as awe inspiring as the raising of the American flag at Iwo-Jima.

This is nothing more than inane hyperbole. In the recent smoking stories I've seen, the smokers basically said "stfu and mind your own business, and secondhand smoke won't kill you." It was the nonsmokers who were teeing off like it was the invasion of Normandy beach with panic-stricken rhetoric about cancer and 'nobody should be allowed to smoke within 50 feet of me' and "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

You have anti-abortionists who claim that abortionists want to kill babies who have been in the womb 8.5 months.

Yup. They also believe that pro-choicers want abortions. Last time I checked, nobody wanted one - some of us just want the option to be available when it's needed.

You have pro-choice who claim that all anti-abortionists are against birth control.

I've never heard this except for maybe one or two paranoid ravings here on K5. I have not encountered this in any other source, including religious-oriented pro-life websites and books.

The amusing thing is that the majority of people here are men, and have no real functional knowledge of the female body or the process of childbirth.

More amusing is that the majority of the legislative body making laws about abortion are also men. I think the situation would be quite different if it were women in charge. There's a few pro-life women out there, sure, but pro-life men far, far outnumber them.

This is a topic that has been the cause of countless wars, murders, and other things throughout history.

Almost entirely from religions fighting with themselves or each other, I should add. I have yet to hear of atheists starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs.

you refuse to admit that the other person should be allowed to have their own point of view.

Why is it that virtually every controversial topic in this world is open for discussion, but when it comes to religion, we're all supposed to say "Oh, well, you have your belief, I respect that"?
I can argue all day long about tax cuts and welfare and military action in Iraq, and others will disagree, and we'll all bicker about it. But someone mentions that they can't flip a lightswitch on Saturday, and that's sacred and we shouldn't dream of crossing that line, no sir.

The bible thumpers preach that anyone who doesn't love Jesus will go to Hell, and get offended at anything that doesn't line up with their narrow view of the world. These people support laws banning cursing on TV and teaching of evolution in schools. They feel that anything to the contrary of their beliefs doesn't deserve to exist.

All true. Anyone who says this is false or an exaggeration needs to look at a newspaper once in a while.

On the other hand, there are extreme atheists who get offended at the sight of a church on a street corner.

Show me one. And "being offended" isn't the same as "trying to make it illegal" - not that I've ever heard an atheist, here or anywhere else, say they were "offended" at the sight of a church. Most of them either ignore it as they would a billboard or X10 ad, or quietly snicker and move along.

The point is, painting absurd characatures of the arguments espoused about these topics just so you can laugh at how silly they are is beyond ridiculous. You've proven nothing except your own lack of attention to the actual discussions being played out.

Let's try to go back to technology and culture, and leave the politics for the political websites.

Politics is part of culture. You can't divorce the two, unless you just want trite and tepid movie and book reviews where everyone can say "Me too!"
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
I think you miss the point. (3.20 / 5) (#102)
by Shren on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:26:12 PM EST

The article is about the bad arguments, not the good arguments. Writing about the good arguments would take at least an article per issue.

It was the nonsmokers who were teeing off like it was the invasion of Normandy beach with panic-stricken rhetoric about cancer and 'nobody should be allowed to smoke within 50 feet of me' and "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!"

Oh, I remember that. "Smoking is assault." Pathetic.

[ Parent ]

No, I got the point.. (4.00 / 4) (#103)
by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:28:43 PM EST

..which is why I pointed out that intelligent arguments can and do occur, and therefore the author's whining is just mindless bitching.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
oh, ok. (3.00 / 4) (#105)
by Shren on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:37:55 PM EST

Would we be here if there were no good arguments?

Don't answer that. It's funny that one of Rusty's favorite books discusses addiction in all it's forms. It's probably next to the Camel book by his computer.

[ Parent ]

I resent that. (4.00 / 4) (#117)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:01:09 PM EST

This is nothing more than inane hyperbole. In the recent smoking stories I've seen, the smokers basically said "stfu and mind your own business, and secondhand smoke won't kill you."

Ha! What I said is that I smoke to externalize my neurotic obsession with my penis. But for some reason, that post doesn't seem to be there anymore...


--
To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
[ Parent ]

You missed the 20th century? (3.50 / 8) (#123)
by RyoCokey on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:11:16 PM EST

Almost entirely from religions fighting with themselves or each other, I should add. I have yet to hear of atheists starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs.

This comment confuses me. Did you miss most of the history of the 20th century? Perhaps you forgot the 100 million people killed in the atheistic Soviet Union and Communist China. On a similiar note, what about China invading Tibet, and its persecution and torture of people for their religious beliefs there? That's torture and wars all in one.

If it helps any, I didn't find anything about burning people at the stake. Perhaps it's a western thing.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
[ Parent ]
You sir (3.60 / 5) (#161)
by Bob Dog on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:26:18 PM EST

Are an idiot and need to learn how to read.  He explicitly said that atheists haven't started war or slaughtered people due to their atheism.  And guess what, they haven't.  Communism isn't the same thing as atheism.  McCarthyism is long dead.


[ Parent ]
Communism is an atheist philosophy. (n/t) (3.00 / 3) (#164)
by Korimyr the Rat on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:32:48 PM EST



--
"Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
[ Parent ]
Okay there, McCarthy. (3.00 / 2) (#203)
by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:18:42 PM EST

"Communism is an atheist philosophy".. what kind of idiocy is this?

Please explain to me how there can be millions of atheists in the US who are not communists. And millions more around the globe, also not communists.

What tenant of atheism, O Learned One, automatically implies Communism?

Hell, by your rationale, I could say that Hitler's ideas were a theist philosophy. After all, Hitler was a theist, and it seems even a Christian, too. What grand and sweeping conclusions shall I draw from this?
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Come on, you're smarter than that... (4.00 / 1) (#205)
by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:29:18 PM EST

"Communism is an atheist philosophy".. what kind of idiocy is this?

Please explain to me how there can be millions of atheists in the US who are not communists. And millions more around the globe, also not communists.

Marxism-Leninism is an atheist philosophy: in the USSR a priest, rabbi or imam couldn't be a member of the Communist party (or even the Komsomol). You can't support Marxism-Leninism and be Christian or Muslim. That doesn't mean that if you're neither Christian nor Muslim you must be Marxist. You might be a religious Jew, for example.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
You've got it really backwards. (none / 0) (#242)
by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:20:49 PM EST

Marxism-Leninism is an atheist philosophy: in the USSR a priest, rabbi or imam couldn't be a member of the Communist party (or even the Komsomol).

Sounds to me like atheism is a Communist philosophy then, hmm?

There is nothing in the statement "I do not believe there is a God" that implies any other system of belief or politics. When one says he is an atheist, he is announcing one thing and one thing only: His disagreement with theism. All other considerations are secondary.

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
I think the problem is on your side. (none / 0) (#244)
by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:27:04 PM EST

Marxism-Leninism is a philosophy that, among other things, is atheist. As such, it is an atheist philosophy. One can't be Marxist-Leninist and Christian at the same time.

Nihilism is another such atheist philosophy. Same thing, one can't be nihilist and Christian.

When somebody says "I am Marxist" or "I am nihilist", de facto that person is also an atheist.

Saying that all cars have wheels is not saying that anything that has wheels must be a car.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

No. (none / 0) (#329)
by kitten on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:08:38 AM EST

One can't be Marxist-Leninist and Christian at the same time.

I'm sorry, I don't see your point. If all Marxists are atheists, but not all atheists are Marxists, then once again, it looks to me as though Marxism adopts the atheist viewpoint for whatever reason, not vice versa. Saying it is an "atheist philosophy" implies that atheism somehow leads to Marxism.

The above argument assumes, of course, that I even buy into this at all. Communism is an economic and political system and has nothing to do whatsoever with theology. The fact that some of it's most vehement supporters have been atheists is utterly irrelevant.

You act as though these two statements are mutually exclusive:

  • I believe in God.
  • I believe that private property should not exist, that all goods are the property of the people.

    There is no contradiction. Please explain how one must be atheist to be Communist - and the fact that certain regimes would rather have it that way doesn't count. We're talking about philosophies, not actual practice.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
  • That's easy to explain (none / 0) (#346)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:42:24 AM EST

    Marxism-Leninism's explanation of history is that three classes co-exist: a ruling class, an oppressed class, and a middle-class. Religion, any religion, is seen in historic materialism as just another oppression tool used by the ruling class ("Opium of the masses", you know...). As such, a good Marxist-Leninist wants all religions to be eradicated, to free the oppressed class.

    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    True but incomplete. (none / 0) (#258)
    by magney on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:03:27 PM EST

    Communism is indeed an atheist philosophy, inasmuch as it is a philosophical stance which denies the existence of gods. But it is far from the only one.

    Objectivism is another atheist philosophy, for example. One that has not yet resulted in genocides or pogroms or anything like that (but personally I suspect that that's only because it hasn't been adopted by a ruling party yet. :)

    And of course objectivists and Marxists have even less in common than, say, Southern Baptists and Wahabbi Muslims. Which just goes to prove the old saying that "atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color".

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Strawman. (4.00 / 2) (#342)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:35:10 AM EST

    Just because Communism is an athiest philosophy doesn't mean all athiests are communist - stop trying to confuse the discussion.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    That's arguable. (3.00 / 3) (#173)
    by magney on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:43:28 PM EST

    kitten's original quote was:
    Almost entirely from religions fighting with themselves or each other, I should add. I have yet to hear of atheists starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs.
    If you interpret "their" as referring to the people being warred with, tortured, or burnt at the stake, then RyoCokey is 100% correct. But even if you interpret "their" as referring to the atheists... just because the atheists didn't commit their atrocities in the name of atheism doesn't mean they didn't commit them in the name of some other belief.

    What kitten was trying to imply was that atheists are less prone to committing atrocity in the name of personal beliefs than theists are. And that just is not true. The fact is, there's a certain subset of humans who will find something to be genocidal about, even in the absence of religion as such. The danger is not religion, but fanaticism.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    And you... (3.00 / 2) (#174)
    by cr8dle2grave on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:53:09 PM EST

    ...dolt boy, need to learn a little before you chastise others in such an offensive manner. Atheism is fundamental to and irreducibly an aspect of Marxism and Maoism, the official state ideologies of the USSR and the PRC respectively. People were, most assuredly, persecuted and wars were, in fact, started by atheists seeking to impose their atheist ideology upon theists.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Try again. (5.00 / 1) (#201)
    by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:14:00 PM EST

    Perhaps you forgot the 100 million people killed in the atheistic Soviet Union and Communist China.

    The fact that Stalin and Mao adopted atheism has nothing to do with the atrocities commited in those countries, which were political in nature, not religious.

    My point was that atheists have never started any wars or commited crimes against humanity because of atheism. People will always find something to fight about - fanaticism is the danger.

    But my point was that religion causes the most - and most dangerous - fanaticism. I can think of no other idealogy that comes close.

    You take away religion, and what would the Palestinians and Isrealis be fighting about? A couple hundred square miles of sand?
    You give them religion, and suddenly they're fighting about holy land, and blowing each other to kingdom come.

    You take away religion, and science advances. You add religion, and suddenly evolution is held back for decades, astronomy for centuries, and Galileo is forced under torture to retract his heliocentric ideas which were contrary to Scripture.

    As I said, fanatics are the problem - but religion breeds fanaticism. There is absolutely no way to divorce the two.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    Wrong! (4.00 / 3) (#216)
    by cr8dle2grave on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:06:59 PM EST

    The fact that Stalin and Mao adopted atheism has nothing to do with the atrocities commited in those countries, which were political in nature, not religious.

    Nonsense, Stalin and Mao both persecuted others specifically because of their religious views.

    My point was that atheists have never started any wars or commited crimes against humanity because of atheism. People will always find something to fight about - fanaticism is the danger.

    There have been and no doubt there will continue to be fanatical atheists.

    You take away religion, and what would the Palestinians and Isrealis be fighting about? A couple hundred square miles of sand?
    You give them religion, and suddenly they're fighting about holy land, and blowing each other to kingdom come.

    I don't know. Why don't you ask the large number atheists currently fighting over those couple hundred miles of sand?

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    No. (none / 0) (#241)
    by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:18:33 PM EST

    Nonsense, Stalin and Mao both persecuted others specifically because of their religious views.

    I didn't say they didn't. I stated that their motives were political in nature. Religion just made a convenient scapegoat. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

    There have been and no doubt there will continue to be fanatical atheists.

    Heh. Sure, but you've got to ask yourself why. Is it because atheism breeds fantacism?
    I'd say it's because the atheists are constantly having religion shoved down their throats and have to put up a huge ruckus in order to even be heard - they're way too outnumbered.
    If all religions would completely keep to themselves and not try to legislate themselves into everyone's lives, atheists may continue to quietly snicker amongst themselves at the dumb theists, but they wouldn't do much else.

    Why don't you ask the large number atheists currently fighting over those couple hundred miles of sand?

    Woah, buddy. Why are there atheists fighting? Is it because they're concerned about their Holy Land or whatever other religiously oriented nonsense the Isrealis and Palestinians are bickering about?
    Or, is it because every time they turn around there's bombs going off and people shooting each other and the only method of survival is to pick up a gun and join them?
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    Bull (5.00 / 1) (#250)
    by cr8dle2grave on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:38:41 PM EST

    I didn't say they didn't. I stated that their motives were political in nature. Religion just made a convenient scapegoat. It's unfortunate, but it's true.

    Your distinction makes no sense. Theists were persecuted by Stalin and Mao specifically because they were theists. Religion was more than a scapegoat, it was the principle offense. The PRC is still throwing people in jail for practicing religion (Falun Gong and Catholics are the primary targets).

    Heh. Sure, but you've got to ask yourself why. Is it because atheism breeds fantacism?

    I think the historical evidence supports the position that both theism and atheism are equally subject to being abused by fanatics.

    I'd say it's because the atheists are constantly having religion shoved down their throats and have to put up a huge ruckus in order to even be heard - they're way too outnumbered.

    Kind of like minority religions taking a radical and dogmatic stance in response to being marginalized?

    Woah, buddy. Why are there atheists fighting? Is it because they're concerned about their Holy Land or whatever other religiously oriented nonsense the Isrealis and Palestinians are bickering about?
    Or, is it because every time they turn around there's bombs going off and people shooting each other and the only method of survival is to pick up a gun and join them?

    There are ardent nationalists on both sides who are fighting for reasons that do not include religion. Nationalism does not depend upon religion. In fact, many of the early militant Zionists were committed socialists and atheists. Portraying the Israeli/Palestinian dispute as exclusively or even primarily religious in nature is incorrect.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    and... (none / 0) (#286)
    by Dragomire on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:54:02 AM EST

    Your distinction makes no sense. Theists were persecuted by Stalin and Mao specifically because they were theists. Religion was more than a scapegoat, it was the principle offense. The PRC is still throwing people in jail for practicing religion (Falun Gong and Catholics are the primary targets). And that makes it different when fanatical theocratical regimes, like the Taliban for example, throw people in jail or execute them for practicing other religions within their country?

    The difference is that in athiestic regimes it is to ensure the religious people of the country (which is still a sizable portion, even if only practicing in secret) do not have leaders to follow and band behind. In theocratical regimes it is to ensure that the state religion is the only religion followed, with no exception.

    [ Parent ]

    Your distinction, isn't. (none / 0) (#291)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:12:10 AM EST

    In both cases it is about imposing an orthodox ideology for reasons of both social control as well as to further the cause of perceived individual and social betterment. Or do the Marxist and the Maoist not believe that the individual and the collective good are advanced by imposing "correct" thinking?

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Fanatics (5.00 / 1) (#292)
    by Dragomire on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:41:17 AM EST

    appear on every front. There's no getting around it. It doesn't matter if the person is a fanatic about religion, athiesim, the Bulls, or video game consoles. Fanatics are still fanatics.

    The only real question, however, is if the communist regimes are/were so anti-religious, why weren't all the places of worship destroyed? Moscow has that real big Orthodox church in it, and it's one of the main landmarks of Moscow. And there are many churches within what was once the USSR. There are still many Shinto and Bhuddist temples in China.

    Yet, if you try and find those old Bhuddist statues in Afghanastan, you will only find pieces of rubble, because the theocratical regime had them destroyed because they weren't Muslim. It didn't matter that they were 1000 years old, and had historical value, they weren't the state religion, and were thus improper to exist.

    So while the communists say that the state religion is athiesim, they don't go out of their way to destroy everything religious. Yet the theocratical regimes state their religion is the only religion allowed, and do go out of their way to destroy any and all semblances of other religions within their rule.

    The big difference is that communism is the epitome of separation of church and state, where they disavow all religion, politcally, to ensure no combining happens (theoretically). While theocracies, on the other hand, ensure that religion is a very active part of decision making and politics, and theocracies will go to great lengths to ensure that their particular religion is the only one followed.

    Fantical coomunists will probably go out of their way to destroy things they don't beleive in. But I think there are many more 'moderate' communists than fanatical ones. But most theocracies are comprised almost entirely of fanatics.

    [ Parent ]

    Branch clipped, see above [n/t] (none / 0) (#297)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:06:37 AM EST


    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    Incorrect. (none / 0) (#285)
    by Dragomire on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:50:13 AM EST

    Nonsense, Stalin and Mao both persecuted others specifically because of their religious views.

    Wrong. Stalin and Mao Ze Tung also persecuted people for being artists, writers, teachers, philophers, etc. The reason they would persecute priests/holy men would be because these people, like the artists/philosphpers/thinkers/etc. could persuade people around them. Perhaps persueding them that the athiestic policies of the governements were wrong, and thus possibly causing a revolt.

    It was not specifically because of their religious views, as much as it was because religious people can bring about religious frevor within other religious people. If a large section of the religious populace of the USSR or the PRC were to join together and revolt against the athiestic governments, then it's quite possible that the governements would be overthrown, especially if the religious people were also within the militaries of the countries.

    That is why religious leaders were persecuted within the PRC and the USSR.

    [ Parent ]

    So... (none / 0) (#289)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:04:45 AM EST

    ...how exactly does that absolve the atheist establishment of the USSR and the PRC of .kitten's original charge of "starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs?" It doesn't. You're attempting a disingenuous and artless dodge. Further, most 'religious' wars were conducted over the very same issues. Whether or not one was a Papist had as much to do with the validation of earthly authority as it had to do with dogma.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    No. (none / 0) (#293)
    by Dragomire on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:44:43 AM EST

    You're saying their reasons were totally to promote athiesm. They weren't. They had reasons that are quite obvious: get rid of those that can cause trouble, and we'll keep the people in line.

    The potential problems, to the communists, of those who preached/taught religion were the reasons they were persecuted.

    As to whether these potential problems would have arisen or not is a question we won't be able to answer, because Stalin was quite effective at removing any potential threats from his regime.

    [ Parent ]

    No I'm not... (none / 0) (#296)
    by cr8dle2grave on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:05:25 AM EST

    You're saying their reasons were totally to promote athiesm.

    Nope. I'm saying the promotion of atheism was an aspect of their ideology; one that was often imposed by force.

    I think, perhaps, we are are talking at cross purposes here. I'm not arguing that there aren't meaningful distinctions to be drawn between religious v. religious conflict and express atheist v. theist conflict. I'm also not arguing that there are not substantive differences between Marxist and Maoist regimes and theocracies. My line line of argumentation was intended to counter .kitten's assertion that atheists had never persecuted others for their theistic beliefs and his weaker assertion that religion is somehow intrinsically more susceptible to fanaticism than is theism.

    ---
    Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


    [ Parent ]
    I fail to see a difference... (none / 0) (#317)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:03:49 AM EST

    ...between promoting atheism and destroying theism.

    Disclaimer: I'm agnostic.

    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    Shut: fuck up == 0 (3.66 / 6) (#133)
    by The Amazing Idiot on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:32:42 PM EST

    ---"On one side, you have smokers that feel the fact that they put a fag in their mouth every now and them likens them to a modern day George Washington. To these people, the sight of a lit cigarette is just as awe inspiring as the raising of the American flag at Iwo-Jima."---

    +++"This is nothing more than inane hyperbole. In the recent smoking stories I've seen, the smokers basically said "stfu and mind your own business, and secondhand smoke won't kill you." It was the nonsmokers who were teeing off like it was the invasion of Normandy beach with panic-stricken rhetoric about cancer and 'nobody should be allowed to smoke within 50 feet of me' and "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!""+++

    I really don't care what somebody does to themselves, as long as they leave me (and those I care for) out. If they wish to smoke, get _drunk_ on alcohol, injest LSD, sniff crack... Fine. I want NO contact with thier habits. I dont want to smell the smoke, hear their incessant drunken behavior, or other obnoxious or dangerous things.

    ---"You have anti-abortionists who claim that abortionists want to kill babies who have been in the womb 8.5 months."---

    Do they not? Get truth, not sensationialism.

    +++"Yup. They also believe that pro-choicers want abortions. Last time I checked, nobody wanted one - some of us just want the option to be available when it's needed."+++

    Please explain the situation in when it's needed.

    ---"You have pro-choice who claim that all anti-abortionists are against birth control."---

    In some cases, that is correct, however, it's not constrained to K5. The Catholic faith believes that ALL contraceptives are evil, along with abortion, death penalty, and other situations that fall within determining life or death.

    I am Catholic (so I believe I can give an honest idea, however I do NOT believe in the Catholic edict banning contraceptives). Their idea is (in belif of a God) that humans have no jurisdiction on the decision of life or death, other than in natural death (old age, disease, ...). This idea that humans have no jurisdiction over (cause) of death had to be brought to an extreme as to express how much Catholics in general hated abortion and the Death Penalty.

    ---"I've never heard this except for maybe one or two paranoid ravings here on K5. I have not encountered this in any other source, including religious-oriented pro-life websites and books."---

    +++"The amusing thing is that the majority of people here are men, and have no real functional knowledge of the female body or the process of childbirth."+++

    That seems in jest. I can surely say that many of us have had relationships- intimate ones at that.

    ---"More amusing is that the majority of the legislative body making laws about abortion are also men. I think the situation would be quite different if it were women in charge. There's a few pro-life women out there, sure, but pro-life men far, far outnumber them."---

    Either way, I don't like the outcome. First is the 10'th Amendment. It states if a power is'nt held by the national government, it's held by the state. The second is life or liberty cannot be taken without due process. The argument now has "The definition of Life". That sure did'nt concern the framers. Many say that life is some religious definition.... Nope.

    +++"Almost entirely from religions fighting with themselves or each other, I should add. I have yet to hear of atheists starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs."+++

    I'm sure it has happened at least once somewhere.Jusy because you didn't hear about it does not make it "Not exist"

    +++"Why is it that virtually every controversial topic in this world is open for discussion, but when it comes to religion, we're all supposed to say "Oh, well, you have your belief, I respect that"?"

    Of course. It stops when you "Inflict" your religious belifs on other -possibly unwilling parties-. That's better than each religion seperation and killing each other again. COexisting and diversity is better than murder.

    ---"The bible thumpers preach that anyone who doesn't love Jesus will go to Hell, and get offended at anything that doesn't line up with their narrow view of the world. These people support laws banning cursing on TV and teaching of evolution in schools. They feel that anything to the contrary of their beliefs doesn't deserve to exist."---

    I've been thumped before. Those people are totally irrational, and hold no coherent thought. That's why they're busy thumping on street corners. Of course, telling them "If I go to your Hell, will I STILL have to listen to you?"

    Now THAT pisses them off.

    ---"On the other hand, there are extreme atheists who get offended at the sight of a church on a street corner."---

    Fine, let them. Why do I care if somebodyy is getting offended by the sight of a church?

    +++"Show me one. And "being offended" isn't the same as "trying to make it illegal" - not that I've ever heard an atheist, here or anywhere else, say they were "offended" at the sight of a church. Most of them either ignore it as they would a billboard or X10 ad, or quietly snicker and move along."+++

    I believe the recent case brought up by the atheist family is trying to remove the words "Under God" from the Pledge of Alligence

    +++"The point is, painting absurd characatures of the arguments espoused about these topics just so you can laugh at how silly they are is beyond ridiculous. You've proven nothing except your own lack of attention to the actual discussions being played out."+++

    If that's true, so have you.

    ---"Let's try to go back to technology and culture, and leave the politics for the political websites."---

    Very much agreed.

    [ Parent ]

    Ehhh (4.50 / 2) (#143)
    by TunkeyMicket on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:57:39 PM EST

    Your thoughts on abortion are thought of in a pro-life manner. By asking "when is it needed", you assume that there is no valid point to an abortion. While I do agree that the abuse of an abortion is wrong, I do not feel that an abortion itself is wrong. If the woman does not want to bring the child into the world, why is it anyone else's right to tell her she MUST. The old mother adage, "I brought you into this world; I can take you out of it!" is quite right. The mother bears the burden of childbirth. Its her right to decide to have the child or to not have the child. Next point.
    Of course. It stops when you "Inflict" your religious belifs on other -possibly unwilling parties-. That's better than each religion seperation and killing each other again. COexisting and diversity is better than murder.
    If you suggesting that "Inflicting" your religious beliefs on others is a good thing that promotes some sort of happy coexistance, then damn are you far off. However, if you meant that just accepting everyone for who they are equally [yeah like this will ever happen], then I agree with you. The point of the "under god" bit is that some (Atheists|Agnostics|et al) feel that saying this is infringing upon their right to NOT having a religion. I do agree that uttering "under god" as part of an oath could be seen as infringing upon someone's first ammendment rights. I don't think that he is taking the 1st ammendment out of its designed limits, but I do understand how people could view this as things getting out of control. I don't think there is much validity in religion and I really don't give a flying fuck, so saying something meaningless like "under god" has never bothered me. Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks eh?
    Fine, let them. Why do I care if somebodyy (sic) is getting offended by the sight of a church?
    Saying that you don't care that someone takes offense to your Church is getting up on a high horse and saying that your beliefs are more important than theirs [in a way]. Granted taking offense to a Church is outlandish and off the wall. I find it funny when schools deem shirts with pentagrams to be disruptive and offensive, but allow Jesus shirts. Double-standard? I think so, but I just don't care.

    On the Russia bit, I think he meant that Athiests have never actively attacked Churches or attacked religion specifically in history. Churches have actively attacked (Athiests|et al) many times in history. I believe the point he is trying to make is that being without a religion allows you to be much more open-armed towards other religions, but I can't be sure.

    Oh and I am soooo using the "If I go to your Hell, will I STILL have to listen to you?" line. That one fucking rocks :D I can recall more than 5 occasions where I have been publicly accosted for my beliefs. Once I was accosted infront of about 2000 other people. Talk about intolerance.
    --
    Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
    [ Parent ]
    You used to say, live and let live. (4.00 / 6) (#154)
    by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:04:19 PM EST

    Fine. I want NO contact with thier habits. I dont want to smell the smoke, hear their incessant drunken behavior, or other obnoxious or dangerous things.

    Sorry, but life doesn't work that way, as much as we all wish it did. Unless you can actually quantify the damage being done to you - which you cannot - you have no basis to complain.
    Well. Let me take that back. You can complain but don't expect anyone to care. Quite frankly I don't want anything to do with country music. Do I have any right to harrass lawmakers to make it illegal, so I'll never have to hear the guy in the car next to me enjoying a Garth Brooks song?
    You don't like the smell, that's just too bad for you. Living in society means dealing with other people, and most of them are going to annoy you in one way or another. Smoking just makes a convenient scapegoat because of the alleged health issues of secondhand smoke.

    ---"You have anti-abortionists who claim that abortionists want to kill babies who have been in the womb 8.5 months."---
    Do they not? Get truth, not sensationialism.


    No, they do not. Since you're interested in truth, let's look at the truth: Nobody wants an abortion. Everyone, pro-choice and pro-life alike, would be happy if somehow we could come up with a way to make every pregnancy one that was wanted by the parents.
    Most pro-choicers, however, still agree that abortion in the third-trimester is wrong.
    Why?-you ask. "Why is it wrong then and not in the second, or the first? Where do you draw the line?"

    Simple. You draw the line at when the fetus is human. Nobody makes this big a fuss out of killing animals, and the only thing I can think of that makes us different from animals is our ability to think.
    What lets us do that? I'm not entirely sure, but obviously it has something to do with our brains. And our brains, whether you like this information or not, do not begin large-scale neuron linkup until around the sixth month. Before that linkup occurs, the fetus cannot think - it lacks the necessary brain architechture to do so.

    +++"Yup. They also believe that pro-choicers want abortions. Last time I checked, nobody wanted one - some of us just want the option to be available when it's needed."+++
    Please explain the situation in when it's needed.


    Say, the mother's hips are not wide enough to bring a baby to term. Should she risk death to try to have this child - a child which will probably die in the womb anyway? Or should she spare agony all around and just abort it?
    Say, a woman who cannot afford a child. Should she bring a child up that she can't provide for? The orphanages are already crowded with literally thousands of unwanted children, so saying "put it up for adoption" isn't really a viable solution either.
    I can think of a number of other reasons.
    I realize that it's just a stupid slogan, but it has some merit: If you can't trust a woman to make a decision about her life, how can you possibly trust her to raise a child?

    Their idea is (in belif of a God) that humans have no jurisdiction on the decision of life or death,

    Quite frankly I don't care what the Catholics or any other religion has to say about it. You're really going to have to come up with something a little more universal than "My religion says.."

    +++"The amusing thing is that the majority of people here are men, and have no real functional knowledge of the female body or the process of childbirth."+++
    That seems in jest. I can surely say that many of us have had relationships- intimate ones at that.


    Please pay attention to who you're quoting. That was from the original article - not me. However, having intimate relations doesn't prove anything. A man may have to listen to his girlfriend whine and go through mood swings during her period, and he may have knowledge of the biological processes, but he'll never know what it's really like. And he'll never know, or really even be able to imagine with any degree of accuracy, what it's like to carry a child inside you for nine months.
    So, like I said in my reply, I think the abortion controversy would be much different if women were in charge. You don't have to take my word for it - go find some stats somewhere regarding the percentage of male vs female pro-lifers. I bet males outnumber the females 2:1 or more.

    I'm sure it [atheists starting a war] has happened at least once somewhere.Jusy because you didn't hear about it does not make it "Not exist"

    Haha. Right, buddy. If the religious right-wingers could get their hands on that kind of historical fact, they'd be all over it like lawyers on an ambulance, just so they could hold it up and say "See, we're not the only bad guys!"

    Of course. It stops when you "Inflict" your religious belifs on other -possibly unwilling parties-. That's better than each religion seperation and killing each other again. COexisting and diversity is better than murder.

    That isn't what I asked. What I asked is, why is it okay for us to argue about every other topic in the world, but when we start talking about religion, we're all supposed to tiptoe around and say "I respect you, I respect you."
    Let's say there's a guy named John. I don't respect his views on tax cuts, and we argue about that. He doesn't respect my view on health care, and we argue about that. He believes we should invade Iraq, and I believe we shouldn't, and we argue about that. And he belives in Jesus Christ, and-- oh, nevermind, Im' not allowed to argue about that. Anything else, sure, but that.. that's sacred.
    Forget it. I'll argue with it all I want, until the day they stop shoving it down everyone's throats. If the religious lunatics weren't trying to legislate their beliefs onto everyone, the atheists would still think they were deluded idiots, but they wouldn't say anything.

    ---"On the other hand, there are extreme atheists who get offended at the sight of a church on a street corner."---
    Fine, let them. Why do I care if somebodyy is getting offended by the sight of a church?


    Again, please be careful about who you're quoting. That was from the original author, not me.

    I believe the recent case brought up by the atheist family is trying to remove the words "Under God" from the Pledge of Alligence

    So? They weren't trying to make anything illegal. If you want to say "Under God", you still can and nobody will care. That family was only trying to make it so nobody would be required to say "under God", a phrase which was added in 1954 just to piss off atheists and Communists, I might add.


    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    Pro-choice, pro-life, or in between? (1.00 / 1) (#190)
    by dipierro on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:34:45 PM EST

    Most pro-choicers, however, still agree that abortion in the third-trimester is wrong.

    Are you sure? I wouldn't exactly call someone who supports a law against third-trimester abortion a pro-choicer.

    Personally I think that the federal government has no right getting involved at all. IOW, Roe v. Wade was a bad decision. As for state government, I guess I could see some regulation during the very late stages, but I don't really know enough about it to say. As for right or wrong, I think abortion is always wrong, except for a life-saving procedure. But then again, I think setting up a mousetrap in your attic is wrong as well. It's not like I'm going to judge someone else who chooses to do it.

    So what does that make me? I can't exactly say I'm pro-choice or pro-life.



    [ Parent ]
    Then learn some facts. (5.00 / 1) (#197)
    by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:00:30 PM EST

    Are you sure? I wouldn't exactly call someone who supports a law against third-trimester abortion a pro-choicer

    That's your issue, not mine. I already provided you the information by which a fetus's claim to being human can be reached - large scale neuron linkage in the brain. Before that the fetus is incapable of thinking, lacking the necessary brain architecture. This usually occurs in the seventh month, but sometimes as early as the sixth, and so to be safe, I'll just say "third trimester abortion is wrong" because at that point I consider the fetus human.

    That, and if you need more than six months to figure out whether or not to have this kid, you've already made up your mind.


    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    What are you getting at? (1.00 / 1) (#388)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:32:19 PM EST

    I wouldn't consider you a pro-choicer. According to dictionary.com, pro-choice means "Favoring or supporting the legal right of women and girls to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy to term." I don't see any stipulation about "unless the fetus is capable of thinking."

    That, and if you need more than six months to figure out whether or not to have this kid, you've already made up your mind.

    Obviously that's not true, or it wouldn't matter whether or not there was a law. The question is where do we draw the line between what is morally wrong, and what is criminal behavior. If you're going to go with a completely scientific approach to determine when "thinking" and hence "life" begins, then it seems you have to answer that question in a nihilistic way. And a completely nihilistic answer to the question of government would conclude that there is no victim, in fact, until you're old enough to vote, your rights don't matter. Now I don't personally take a completely nihilistic view of things, so it becomes a much more difficult question. And that goes back to the question of "where do we draw the line between what is morally wrong, and what is criminal behavior." I'm not sure I have enough facts to answer that, but I'm not a legislator, and I'm not a pregnant woman, so there's no need for me to "learn some facts" at this time.



    [ Parent ]
    Wait a second. (none / 0) (#402)
    by kitten on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:44:43 PM EST

    question is where do we draw the line between what is morally wrong, and what is criminal behavior. If you're going to go with a completely scientific approach to determine when "thinking" and hence "life" begins,

    Woah. I didn't say "thinking = life". Nobody is disputing that the fetus is alive. So were the sperm and egg that joined.

    The fact that it is alive is not what we're asking - merely being alive doesn't afford an organism the same rights we normally ascribe to humans. We must ask not if the fetus is alive, but if it is human. And as I said, the only thing that separates us from animals is our ability to think, and thus, I draw the line at the time when the fetus develops the necessary - human - brain architecture. (EEG's don't mean shit either. An earthworm registers on an EEG. There may be electrical activity in the brain, but until those neurons start linking, the fetus cannot think. Period.)

    I'm not sure I have enough facts to answer that, but I'm not a legislator, and I'm not a pregnant woman, so there's no need for me to "learn some facts" at this time.

    I don't know. I can think of some good reasons it might benefit you to know a few things about How Things Work in the world around you, even if it doesn't directly affect you.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    Sorry (1.00 / 1) (#406)
    by dipierro on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:15:36 PM EST

    Woah. I didn't say "thinking = life". Nobody is disputing that the fetus is alive. So were the sperm and egg that joined.

    Yes, you're right. I mispoke (typed). I should be more careful in such a technical discussion. Sorry.

    We must ask not if the fetus is alive, but if it is human.

    Clearly the fetus is human from conception as well.

    And as I said, the only thing that separates us from animals is our ability to think, and thus, I draw the line at the time when the fetus develops the necessary - human - brain architecture.

    Really what separates us from animals with regard to the law is our ability to enter into social contracts. But that wouldn't include rights for infants, either. But in any case, I think it's clear that some animals are capable of "thinking", if you define that as the ability to link neurons. And most importantly, I see no reason to believe that the law should protect the rights of beings that think, but not the rights of beings that don't. You're kind of taking that as a given, and it's really a religious question - what makes life sacred, and what types of life are sacred. Personally I think the law should be separated from religion, and even morality. As I said, I find it immoral to set up a mousetrap in your attic, but I don't think it should be illegal.

    I don't know. I can think of some good reasons it might benefit you to know a few things about How Things Work in the world around you, even if it doesn't directly affect you.

    Certainly, but there's only a finite amount of time in my life, and the exact moment that a fetus begins to "think" is not at the top of my list of things to learn about.

    It's somewhat up there though, which is why I'm taking the time to have this discussion with you. Of course I think the more interesting part of the discussion is the question over the purpose of law. I've researched a bit about social contract theory, but I'm by no means finished or convinced that it's a theory that makes sense.



    [ Parent ]
    Move 'zig'. (none / 0) (#414)
    by kitten on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:41:21 PM EST

    Clearly the fetus is human from conception as well.

    In what way is this 'clear'? If it was clear, there wouldn't be such a debate, would there?
    It is not clear at all. To me, a zygote is a clump of cells - alive, yes, but not human. A fetus that has not yet begun the development of necessary brain structure to think (I already discussed this) - how is this human? All humans I've met can think, or at least have the brain architecture required to do so (infants for example perhaps cannot 'think', or maybe they can, but in either case they do have the required brain architecture in place). The fetus is alive, but so are all the animals and plants that we slaughter wholesale.

    Really what separates us from animals with regard to the law is our ability to enter into social contracts.

    The law is not important here. The law also says that oral sex is wrong and should be punished by misdemeanor in most states.

    I think it's clear that some animals are capable of "thinking", if you define that as the ability to link neurons.

    That isn't how I defined it. I said that there's something different about the human brain vs the animal brain - I don't know what it is, but it is our brain that separates us from animals - that, and nothing else. Therefore, I conclude that until that brain is developed, the fetus is not human. It lacks the one thing humans have that no other entity on this planet does.

    I see no reason to believe that the law should protect the rights of beings that think, but not the rights of beings that don't.

    Me either, really. I'd just as soon see tougher laws protecting the rights of animals (one of very few things I think requires more laws than we already have).
    But that isn't the issue. Until every pro-lifer stops eating meat, stops using animal products, and reduces his diet to only the most simple plant life necessary to sustain himself, he has absolutely no grounds to claim "right to life". All those things are equally as alive as he is.

    There is no "right to life" on this planet nor has there ever been, except in the case of humans. All the pro-lifer can go on is "right to human life", and that is why the fetus' status as a human is the only focus of the debate.

    Certainly, but there's only a finite amount of time in my life, and the exact moment that a fetus begins to "think" is not at the top of my list of things to learn about.

    That's fine, because you already know, because I already told you. The large-scale neuron linkup that allows the human brain to actually work begins around the seventh month. Before that, the fetus is alive, but it ain't no way human. So to be safe, I pushed that limit back a month and said "third trimester" which, incidentially, is the decision made in Roe v Wade although for different reasons.


    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    begging the question (1.00 / 1) (#455)
    by dipierro on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 07:16:11 PM EST

    Clearly the fetus is human from conception as well.

    In what way is this 'clear'? If it was clear, there wouldn't be such a debate, would there?

    It's a human fetus. But, let's just drop that terminology.

    Let me try to restate your argument. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    First, you're asserting that killing of "humans" without a valid defense should be illegal. Then you're assuming that the non-lethal yet parasitic actions of the fetus are not a valid defense to the host's killing of that fetus. Then you're defining "human". I'm a little hazy here, but basically you're defining human as "something with a brain structure which is intended to develop into a brain capable of thinking"? In any case, because your definition of "human" does not fit with any accepted definition in the english language, it's best you collapse it into your first assumption, that killing of something with a brain structure which is intended to develop into a brain capable of thinking without a valid defense should be illegal.

    In essense, first you're getting me to agree that "all human life should be protected with laws", then you're defining human to mean what you want it to mean. I'm sorry, if you define "human" the way you did, then I can't agree with the statement that "all human life should be protected with laws".



    [ Parent ]
    Let's be practical (none / 0) (#457)
    by Caton on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 07:49:20 PM EST

    Disclaimer: I'm male.

    Instead of questioning the morality of allowing abortions, let's look at the practical effects.

    France legalized abortion 25 years ago. The average number of abortion per woman went from 0.67 in 1976 to 0.53 in 1993. The number of abortions relative to the number of births has gone from 34.8 abortions for 100 births in 1976 to 31.6 in 1993. The number of deaths during abortions? France went from one a day on average during the sixties to less that 2 a year in the last 10 years.

    So allowing abortions saved lifes, and reduced the number of abortions. You're pro-life? Want to see less abortions? Give women the right to choose.

    Source: Bulletin Mensuel d'Information de l'Institut national d'études démographiques, Le point sur l'avortement en France. And yes, there was a significant increase of the number of abortions from 1977 to 1987. Doesn't matter. It's going down.

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    Pass a Watermelon... (2.66 / 3) (#179)
    by Kintanon on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:03:11 PM EST

    You said:
    That seems in jest. I can surely say that many of us have had relationships- intimate ones at that.

    I say:
    When you've passed a watermelon out your ass you can come back at talk about the evils of abortion, when you've raised 6 kids while your husband worked 2 minimum wage jobs you can come talk about the evils of abortion, abortion is a personal issue. It is between the person who is pregnant, and whoever got them that way and God (Whichever one you believe in, or none at all). It's none of your damn business.
    In a perfect world abortion would never be necessary, the only people who became pregnant would be the people who desired children. But this isn't a perfect world. So people who DO NOT want children get pregnant, would you be so absolutely hateful and callous as to force a child to be raised by someone who was willing to have them aborted? And on't mention adoption unless you're lining up to welcome some premature crack-baby into your home, ok?

    Kintanon
    For the record, I call myself Anti-Abortion, but Pro-Choice. I wish Abortion was never needed, but I've seen first hand the situations where it is.

    [ Parent ]

    Doctors should be outlawed, then. (3.00 / 1) (#196)
    by januschr on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:59:51 PM EST

    Their idea is (in belif of a God) that humans have no jurisdiction on the decision of life or death, other than in natural death (old age, disease, ...). This idea that humans have no jurisdiction over (cause) of death had to be brought to an extreme as to express how much Catholics in general hated abortion and the Death Penalty.

    Under that logic doctors should be outlawed. Not to mention the parts of the farmaceutical industry that deals with life-saving and life-prolonging drugs.



    [ Parent ]
    it's all about belief... (3.00 / 1) (#134)
    by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:34:44 PM EST

    'Why is it that virtually every controversial topic in this world is open for discussion, but when it comes to religion, we're all supposed to say "Oh, well, you have your belief, I respect that"?'

    Because religion is about belief rather than just a government law which everyone hates and moans about. Belief is a much stronger governing force than taxes. And no one will ever agree on religion if they hold opposing religious views. On most things people can have their minds changed. Religion is a bit more set in stone - they ain't going to change their religion at a drop of a hat, no matter what anyone says, but nobody actually beleives in taxes.

    What you should do is respect everyone's ideas and beliefs and tolerate that other people will and can think differently to someone else.

    As for the other exaggerated generalisations and gross caricaturisations used in the article; its a technique in arguements and discussions used to make a point. Over exaggerate and people are more likely to listen and understand what you are talking about. Political cartooning thrives on this form of satire.

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    taxes (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by Bob Dog on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:22:09 PM EST

    So, if nobody believes in taxes how come we have them?


    [ Parent ]
    some people do (none / 0) (#218)
    by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:17:03 PM EST

    The only people who believe in taxes are the politicians but nobody actually has a belief in taxes like people have a belief in religion.

    Which is why you can argue about taxes with your friends and no one gets really upset because they are a non-important fact of life. You don't worship taxes. Taxes aren't going to help you out after you die.

    Taxes are believed but there is no belief in taxes.

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    Belief? No... (none / 0) (#167)
    by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:36:07 PM EST

    I've never, ever heard of a religion oppressing people. I've noticed it is the churches that do that -- and for the usual reasons, power and money. IMO, all religions are OK, all churches are evil.

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    not all religions have churches (none / 0) (#214)
    by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:01:05 PM EST

    But who controls the religions?

    And the religion of England is the Church of England - which is the actual religion as well as the type of building used and the general term used to describe the organisation of the religion.

    Belief goes beyond church. Belief is what causes the religious wars and persecutions.

    Good and evil do not exist. So something can't be evil if it doesn't exist.

    Many religions oppress people.

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    Ah. Language problem... (none / 0) (#221)
    by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:20:34 PM EST

    I'm not sure I have the correct vocabulary in English. What I meant is that most religions (by which I mean a comprehensive, all-encompassing system of beliefs) have a hierarchy of priests -- a Church with a capital C -- built on top of the religion. The only two exceptions I know of, by the way, are the Quakers and Shinto. Those hierarchies actually wield a secular power, not a religious one. Those hierarchies are dangerous and foster fanaticism. The average religious person is... mostly harmless. But easy to manipulate.

    Note also than, by my definition, Marxism-Leninism is a religion, whose Church is the Communist party. There must be something wrong here. Or right.

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    Not the usual definition of "church" (none / 0) (#341)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:33:55 AM EST

    While non-religious often use the word "church" to denote a building, and Catholics use it to denote the hierarchy (as you note), Protestants use it to refer to all members of the faith.

    For other religions, of course, YMMV, but they don't usually use the word "church" at all.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    So what's the English word for that? (NT) (none / 0) (#344)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:38:18 AM EST



    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    How about "hierarchy"? (none / 0) (#345)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:39:41 AM EST


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Religion and respect for disagreements (4.66 / 3) (#163)
    by bodrius on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:29:33 PM EST


    This is a topic that has been the cause of countless wars, murders, and other things throughout history.

    Almost entirely from religions fighting with themselves or each other, I should add. I have yet to hear of atheists starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs.

    Tibet. Enough said.


    Why is it that virtually every controversial topic in this world is open for discussion, but when it comes to religion, we're all supposed to say "Oh, well, you have your belief, I respect that"?
    I can argue all day long about tax cuts and welfare and military action in Iraq, and others will disagree, and we'll all bicker about it. But someone mentions that they can't flip a lightswitch on Saturday, and that's sacred and we shouldn't dream of crossing that line, no sir.

    I have to agree with that, but I don't know if you're arguing on the same kind of "respect for the others' opinion" as the author.

    Any intelligent conversation demands a certain level of "respect for the others opinion" or it will degenerate into name-calling. The respect does not indicate acceptance of the opinion itself, just respect for the logical process and the intention that convinced the opponent's of that opinion.

    This assumption is what lets us discuss in the first place, because we believe that (since we are right, of course) the opponent could be enlightened and convinced to embrace the truth. If we don't assume that minimum level of intelligence and insight, there's no point in arguing and we can start ignoring or killing each other.

    I believe that's what the author meant.

    On the other hand, whenever someone brings the topic of religion in "real life discussion", the "I respect your opinion" phrase is code for "I completely disrespect your opinion and consider it worthless of my attention".

    If I respected your opinion, I would be interested in hearing about it, arguing about it, discussing it, match that opinion with mine and learn something.

    If I avoid the subject by saying "you believe what you believe and I respect that", I'm implying you're a stubborn superstitious fanatic that believes in the fake deity A, and cannot see the light of the deity B or the truth of non-deityness because of your own mental/spiritual deficiencies. In some cases, I'm also implying I know you're going to "hell" and I find that perfectly acceptable.

    Of course, it can also be an euphemism for "I don't want to discuss that", but given in a context where other taboo subjects are discussed, I can't help but think the implications of the euphemism is a bit insulting.

    A particularly troublesome consequence of that situation is the general ignorance on the subject of religion in almost all parties. As they avoid discussion, except with those who agree with their respective positions, most people fail to question their own beliefs in even the most basic sense. They end up being completely ignorant of other belief-systems, and often quite ignorant of their own (as they find no need to research that which they do not question).

    This applies to atheists too, who often see every religion in the image of the one which disappointed them (if they were theists before) or the one that annoys them more often, and even that at the level of folk superstition, where contradictions are most evident.

    In short, I believe the main reason for the futility of most religion discussions is, ironically, the lack of religious discussion.
    Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
    [ Parent ]

    Nitpick. (3.00 / 1) (#165)
    by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:33:28 PM EST

    Almost entirely from religions fighting with themselves or each other, I should add. I have yet to hear of atheists starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs.
    Staline. Mao. 'nuff said.

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    I see (3.50 / 2) (#172)
    by Bob Dog on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:42:30 PM EST

    So Tim McVey was a christianian terrorist then?  Or William Calley slaughtered women and children in the name of christ?


    [ Parent ]
    Dunno... (3.00 / 1) (#176)
    by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:53:41 PM EST

    But Stalin killed orthodox priests because they were priests and communism preaches atheism.

    Now, can you explain your comment to me? I have the impression you are answering the wrong comment. That's a genuine question: I really don't understand.

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    Atheist person != Atheist action (5.00 / 1) (#321)
    by zakalwe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:26:04 AM EST

    He was arguing that being atheist was not the motivation behind Stalin's acts anymore than Christianity was the motives behind Tim McVey or William Calley's.  Stalin killed priests, and a hell of a lot of other people, not because of his Atheism, but because they were a threat to his power, or his vision of society.

    There are wars where the reason for conflict are religious, and more where religious conflict either contributes to, or is actually caused by the political factors.  There are a lot more where it is completely irrelevant to the real motives, but becomes the stated reason anyway.

    Its not really surprising that Atheism isn't the basis for wars.  Essentially, Atheism is morally neutral.  Any morality and beliefs must come from another source.  By contrast, most religions do proclaim a moral code, which can be used to justify war.  Its not that Atheists are more moral, its that their morality doesn't come from Atheism.

    On the other hand, I don't really agree with the "Religion causes conflict" argument.  Differences cause conflict, and Religion just happens to be one of them.  If everyone was Atheist, then perhaps there would be no more wars motivated by religious differences, but you could say the same thing if everyone was exactly the same denomination of Christian, or any other religion.  Even if such uniformity was achieved, people would still have wars over other differences.

    [ Parent ]

    Being an agnostic... (4.00 / 1) (#323)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:32:29 AM EST

    I personally find atheism and theism very alike. Both are unsupported, unproven belief systems. Both are kind of stupid, IMHO.

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    Some questions (4.00 / 1) (#324)
    by zakalwe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:35:58 AM EST

    How would you answer the following questions:
    • Do you believe the moon is made of cheese?
    • Do you believe I was abducted by aliens?
    • If you mail me a thousand dollars, I will send you the secret to eternal life.  Do you believe me?
    • Do you believe a God exists?

    As an Atheist, my answer to all these questions would be "No."  I can't prove that they are all false and if later observations or information comes in that shows they were true, I will change my mind. Nevertheless, on current evidence, I believe them to be false.

    And thats my fundamental problem with agnosticism.  It is drawing a distinction solely in the subject of religion, whereas the other infinite possibilities that could exist are given no such treatment.  I disbelieve in God in the exact same way that I disbelieve in fairies, and in which I live my life in the firm expectation that I will not turn into a bowl of petunias in the next second.

    In the absence of any evidence, the default position should be that a thing does not exist.  People do not live their lives remaining neutral to    all the things that could possibly exist, so why single God out for special treatment?

    [ Parent ]

    Stupid questions. (5.00 / 1) (#349)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:55:54 AM EST

    • Do you believe the moon is made of cheese?
    Samples of lunar rocks are... rock. This has been proven false. Too bad I didn't care.

    • Do you believe I was abducted by aliens?
    Nope. I don't believe you were not, either. I just don't know - and I don't care.

    • If you mail me a thousand dollars, I will send you the secret to eternal life. Do you believe me?
    Nope. I don't believe you won't, either. I just don't know - and who'd want to life forever? I don't care.

    • Do you believe a God exists?
    Nope. I don't believe it doesn't exist, either. I just don't know - and I don't care.

    As an Atheist, my answer to all these questions would be "No." I can't prove that they are all false and if later observations or information comes in that shows they were true, I will change my mind. Nevertheless, on current evidence, I believe them to be false.
    And here is the big difference between atheism and agnosticism. Saying I don't believe something is true doesn't mean I believe it is false. It just mean I don't believe it's true. Why stop here? see below...

    In the absence of any evidence, the default position should be that a thing does not exist. People do not live their lives remaining neutral to all the things that could possibly exist, so why single God out for special treatment?
    In the absence of evidence, the first step should be asking, "Do I care?" Most of the time, the answer is "No". Which means I don't need a default position. I just don't give a shit.

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    Your definition of belief is meaningless (5.00 / 1) (#351)
    by zakalwe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 10:26:32 AM EST

    Then surely by your definition there is nothing you don't believe in, since there is some possibility that anything may be true.  This is a definition of belief that seems at odds with all other usages of it, and one thats essentially useless.

    There are plenty of things that might exist that surely you would care very much about.  Substitute "vast wealth", "happiness", or whatever you most want into the offer above and surely it would be something that you'd care about.  For that matter, I'd find it very significant if there was a God, certainly not something I wouldn't care about.

    There are vast numbers of possibilitys without evidence that would affect your life very much so if they were true.  But examine the way you live your life and you'll see that you act under the assumption that they will not happen.  If I am trying to reach a shop, I will walk to the end of the street, because the evidence of multiple such trips tell me there is a shop there.  Even though there is a possibility that the shop will have vanished, or I'll get abducted by aliens, I believe I will reach the shop.  In every everyday tasks, I implicitely assume that the things I have evidence for (the existance of the world etc) are true, and those that I don't are false, and so won't affect me.  To that extent, my default position is to assume things are false if I have no evidence for them.

    [ Parent ]

    Care to switch to *my* native language? (3.00 / 1) (#353)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 10:38:50 AM EST

    Or to explain what is your definition of the English word "belief"?

    Croire, in French, is to have an opinion without supporting evidence. What is the difference between croire and believe?

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    Should have said "disbelief" (4.00 / 1) (#357)
    by zakalwe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:25:34 AM EST

    Sorry, that should really have read "definition of disbelief.", which I interpret to mean "not accepting something as true."  You seem to be saying that there's nothing which you disbelieve (maybe exclusing some fundamental axioms?), since there is really nothing that might not be true by some explanation without evidence.  This does seem at odds with general usage (as evidenced by the fact that people do use the word in making claims).  

    I'm not sure if, based on your definition, you may believe some things to be true.  (Can you say that you believe that 2+2 is 4 if you don't disbelieve that 2+2=5?)  I think theres some danger of falling into definition games here - possibly we agree but are using different meanings, so I'll try to rephrase my argument in different terms:

    I think that the default assumption for things that we have no evidence for is to assume they do not exist (disbelieve in them).  I think everyone does apply this in life - when carrying out tasks, we assume that the things we have sufficient evidence for will happen, and those that we do not have any evidence for will not happen.  I think we should (and for most things, people do) also apply this to other matters we have no, or insufficient, evidence, for: God, fairies, invisible pink unicorns etc.

    Why do you feel that neither believing or disbelieving is a better default assumption?  Do you act with the assumption that things which you have no evidence for won't happen?  If so, how does this differ from disbelief?

    [ Parent ]

    I don't assume without evidence (none / 0) (#369)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:22:00 PM EST

    What I am saying is that I don't assume anything to be right or wrong without any evidence. When I have to act without evidence, I try go with the odds. When odds are unknown, I abstain from action.

    To reuse one of your examples, when I walk to the store, I know the odds for the store closing down since last time I saw it open are low. Sometimes, stores do close without warning. That's life. But I abstain from wandering aimlessly in the hope of finding the kind of store I'm looking for.

    Proving that something is false is really a lot simpler than proving that something is right. I know that the moon is not made of cheese because there are lunar rock samples. Proving that the moon is made of rock, that's different. It's going to take a while to break all of it to pieces we can ascertain are rock. Find one piece of cheese, and suddenly the moon is not made of rock.

    Mathematics are different. You don't prove that 2 + 2 = 4. In most mathematics, it would be wrong anyway. You define operator +. You don't prove that two parallels never cross on a plane. It's an axiom of plane Euclidian geometry. And so on. Mathematical proof is just deduction from the initial axioms definitions.

    I think that in the absence of evidence and odds, not having a default assumption is a lot better than having one. Especially for things I don't care about. It makes life simpler. Typical example, Yehovah Witness on Sunday morning:

    "Wake up! The end of the world is coming."
    "I don't give a shit."
    Then slam the door. For things I do care about, "I don't know but the odds are..." is more honest that "I believe". And "I don't know and I don't see any way to even provide meaningful odds" is even more honest, and might provoke an informative answer (rarely).

    To summarize:

    You are not entitled to an opinion. An opinion is what you have when you don't have the facts. When you have the facts, you don't need an opinion: you know. And when you don't have the facts, you'd better shut the fuck up.

    You are not entitled to a belief. Beliefs are what you have when you don't have proof nor odds. When you have odds, you don't need to believe: you evaluate. When you have proof, you don't need to believe: you know. And when you have neither proof nor odds, you'd better shut the fuck up.

    (Note: misquotes from a forgotten author).

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    Evidence (none / 0) (#378)
    by zakalwe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:01:08 PM EST

    I know that the moon is not made of cheese because there are lunar rock samples.
    You don't *know* this is true because you can't rule out that its all a government conspiracy, that aliens didn't substitute cheese for rock, or that there's no strange property of the moon that causes a fault in the brain of anyone observing it that causes it to be mistaken for rock. If you don't discount such possibilities, then you can't know something is true anymore than you know something is false. Personally I discount all those theorys because theres no evidence for them - something I have evidence for is a more reasonable explanation than something I have none for.
    I think that in the absence of evidence and odds, not having a default assumption is a lot better than having one. Especially for things I don't care about. It makes life simpler. Typical example, Yehovah Witness on Sunday morning:
    I'm trying to argue that you *do* have a default assumption to not believe. The one which means you do not think the world will end (or that at least you will carry out your life as if there is no possibility of it happening.) "I don't know and I don't see any way to even provide meaningful odds" is not really honest, because in evaluating your actions, people generally act as if the possibility is false. You may not know the odds, but at a meta-level, you know that things that have never happened before rarely happen, unless you have evidence from another source that they will.

    [ Parent ]
    Wrong/Wrong/Wrong/OK (none / 0) (#390)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:36:42 PM EST

    You don't *know* this is true because you can't rule out that its all a government conspiracy, that aliens didn't substitute cheese for rock, or that there's no strange property of the moon that causes a fault in the brain of anyone observing it that causes it to be mistaken for rock. If you don't discount such possibilities, then you can't know something is true anymore than you know something is false. Personally I discount all those theorys because theres no evidence for them - something I have evidence for is a more reasonable explanation than something I have none for.
    Government conspiracy can be excluded -- Soviets were looking, too. Alien substitution, same thing. Everybody was watching for years, non-stop. Strange property, the Luna unmanned modules did in sito analysis of samples -- further excludes alien substitution, too. In addition, the average density of the samples is consistent with early estimates of the mass and size of the moon and its distance from earth. Your aliens would need to have been able to fake tides for 6,000 years and curve light as well. Forget it. At least one of those samples is genuine, even if one of those crackpot (i.e. absurdly low odds) theories is right. The moon might not be rock, but it's not cheese. And for the record: I still don't give a shit!

    I'm trying to argue that you *do* have a default assumption to not believe. The one which means you do not think the world will end (or that at least you will carry out your life as if there is no possibility of it happening.)
    Again, no. There's a don't-give-a-shit default check, then a no-action default rule. That is completely different. And I think I know my thought processes better than anybody else.

    "I don't know and I don't see any way to even provide meaningful odds" is not really honest, because in evaluating your actions, people generally act as if the possibility is false.
    Wrong. Most people come with their set of assumptions, presume I am misinformed (and interested), and start throwing their prejudice around, quoting at me the Torah/the Vedda/the Bible/the Quran/the Talmud/Nostradamus/the Kapital/Mein Kampf/Bakhunin works/Other Assorted BullshitTM and claiming it doesn't give odds, it proves their particular prejudice. Human nature. But I don't want to discard the possibility of meeting someone better informed than I am.
    Note to the reader: if I didn't include your particular source of prejudice, it's oversight. I wanted to offend you too.

    You may not know the odds, but at a meta-level, you know that things that have never happened before rarely happen, unless you have evidence from another source that they will.
    Things that have never happened have, without other evidence, very low odds of happening. And, of course, I act accordingly.

    You do have a point somewhere, though. I think you are trying to point out that I might have been lying to myself for years about how I function. I won't exclude that possibility either. But in that case, given that I can't even tell it to myself, do you think there's a chance I'll tell it to anybody else?

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    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    OK (none / 0) (#401)
    by zakalwe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:43:43 PM EST

    Forget it. At least one of those samples is genuine, even if one of those crackpot (i.e. absurdly low odds) theories is right.

    In other words you do reject the theorys without evidence.  I'd classify that as disbelieving them.  I don't really follow your "Don't give a shit check".  Surely the events you describe (End of the world, things being completely different etc) are things you would care about if they were true.  The only reason you don't care is because you assume they aren't.

    Wrong. Most people come with their set of assumptions, presume I am misinformed (and interested), and start throwing their prejudice around, quoting at me the Torah/the Vedda/the Bible/the Quran/the Talmud/Nostradamus/the Kapital/Mein Kampf/Bakhunin works/Other Assorted BullshitTM and claiming it doesn't give odds, it proves their particular prejudice.

    Yes, but for the 99.9999 other things without evidence (including other peoples Gods / beliefs), they'll tell you they disbelieve.

    Things that have never happened have, without other evidence, very low odds of happening. And, of course, I act accordingly.

    OK. I can agree with this.  Perhaps we are just arguing past each other here.  I'd define this (Giving very low odds for a possibility) as disbelieving in the event.  The odds I give to such an event are so low that I will assume it to be false until shown otherwise.

    [ Parent ]
    It's very simple (none / 0) (#408)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:31:36 PM EST

    The don't-give-a-shit check is two simple questions: does it change anything for me, and can I do something about it. If I can answer yes to any of those, then I do give a shit.

    I'm interested in the possibility of France becoming a police state because I can move. I'm interested in the possibility of raises in taxes because I can find a smart way to evade at least part of the taxes. I'm interested in the possibility of this particular building I live in not being sound because I can have it repaired. Those pass the don't-give-a-shit check.

    I'm not interested in the possibility of George W. Bush being so intelligent he has to actively hide his genius because I can't make him any smarter or dumber than he is and it won't change my life. I'm not interested in the possibility of the Sun becoming a supernova in the next 24 hours because there's nothing I can do about it, and it wouldn't change my life, only my death. I'm not interested in the existence of a god because I will keep respecting ethics and ignoring morality. And I'm not interested in the Moon being cheese because I won't be able to eat any of it anyway. Those fail the don't-give-a-shit check.

    So you see... there are things about which I just don't give a shit. Any time spent talking or thinking about those things is wasted.

    The existence of another intelligent life form in the Galaxy would change my life, at least philosophically. But there is no evidence, and no way to get odds. Until one of those things change, I am not interested in any discussion about it because it will mainly be nonsense, thus time wasted.

    Events with absurdly low odds, like the whole world deciding to stop levying taxes starting next week... huh. If you pay taxes you can't say that's "wrong". Bad example. Anyway, I don't assume it's not going to happen. Given the odds, I'm not going to change the way I live until it happen. I will act as if I assumed it won't happen.

    Hope it does happen, though.

    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    The reason I don't care is that I don't believe (none / 0) (#465)
    by zakalwe on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 09:20:40 AM EST

    The don't-give-a-shit check is two simple questions: does it change anything for me, and can I do something about it.

    But does this mean that if the guy preaching about the end of the world told you you could avert it by praying for five minutes it would now fail your check (since he claims you can do something about it)?

    And surely religion should fail your check too - its preaching something of high importance (salvation of your soul vs eternal damnation etc) and telling you what to do about it (Go to church, follow these laws etc).  If true these are things you would care about.  Surely the only reason you don't care about these things is because you don't consider the events to be likely (unlikely enought to discount)?

    Anyway, I don't assume it's not going to happen. Given the odds, I'm not going to change the way I live until it happen.

    I think you're using the words "assume" and "believe" more strictly than I am.  When I say I assume something will not happen, I mean I believe it will not happen, by which I mean that there is a sufficiently low probability of it happening for me to discount it from my plans.  ie - I assume the shops are still open, I assume the government is still taxing me.  Technically nothing in the real world can be absolutely certain, so if I defined it as being strictly certain of something, it would be a pretty useless word.  In other words, I do pretty much the same thing as you - I think there are sufficiently low odds about God existing to live my life assuming he doesn't.

    [ Parent ]
    God vs Pink Unicorns (none / 0) (#371)
    by codemonkey_uk on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:31:07 PM EST

    This is an apples / oranges argument often used in this debate.

    The point that you are missing is that agnostics typically see "God" not as a white beard sky dude, but as a hard to define unseen universal force, and while there is strong evolutionary evidence that pink unicorns did not and do not exist, the evidence, both physical and theoretical for and against the existence of "God" is equally balanced.

    Basically, your talking about creation theory, and big band may be popular, but it doesn't fall apart when it comes to explaining *why* the big bang happened. So, what do you believe? I believe that I don't know, so why pretend I do?
    ---
    Thad
    "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
    [ Parent ]

    Balanced because non-existant. (none / 0) (#380)
    by zakalwe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:22:37 PM EST

    the evidence, both physical and theoretical for and against the existence of "God" is equally balanced.

    True, but only because (IMHO) there is no valid evidence either for or against God.  I think that in such cases (God, unicorns, fairies etc) its best to assume such a thing does not exist, until proven otherwise.

    For creation theory, its true that any scientific theory of the creation of the universe can't show the reason it occurred (It can't even say whether there was a reason.)  But 'God did it' isn't any more satisfactory than any other theory in this regard (Whats the reason for God?)  You either end up with an eternal God (and if you're going to disregard any scientific evidence, why not just claim an eternal universe, and cut out the middleman), or a God that was created, just removing the question a further level.

    I think the best approach is to examine the evidence left behind and guess from that, as science does.

    [ Parent ]

    Can I join in? (none / 0) (#370)
    by codemonkey_uk on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:26:14 PM EST

    • Do you believe the moon is made of cheese?

      No. The evidence for this theory (if you can call it that) is non existent, and there is overwhelmingly evidence that NASA visited the moon and returned with rock.

    • Do you believe I was abducted by aliens?

      No. As I am unconvinced by evidence I have seen that alien abductions occur, I find it very unlikely that if aliens do abduct people that they would abduct you.

    • If you mail me a thousand dollars, I will send you the secret to eternal life. Do you believe me?

      No. The fact you are trying to sell such a valuable secret for $1000 would lead me to conclude you are a con-artist.

    • Do you believe a God exists?

      No. But that doesn't make me an atheist, because I don't believe that God doesn't exist either.


    ---
    Thad
    "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
    [ Parent ]
    Bad mojo. (5.00 / 1) (#431)
    by kitten on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 09:11:35 AM EST

    Do you believe a God exists? No. But that doesn't make me an atheist, because I don't believe that God doesn't exist either.

    Atheism is not a doctrine that states there is no god. Atheism (a-theism: "without theism") is not a belief - it is the absence of belief.

    Many atheists state that they believe there is no god, but this assertion is not part and parcel of atheism per se.

    The only thing an atheist must say is "I do not believe god exists." He is not required to say, "I believe god does not exist."

    Anyone who, for whatever reason, does not subscribe to a positive theistic belief, is without theism: Atheist.

    Consider the two statements:

  • I am not convinced that god exists.
  • I am convinced that god does not exist.

    The latter is what most people think of when they hear "atheist" and is what the majority of atheists themselves think. The first, however, is also atheist, and is the only required stipulation of being an atheist.

    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
  • Interesting (none / 0) (#432)
    by codemonkey_uk on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 09:16:00 AM EST

    In which case, what is the difference, in your opinion, between an agnostic, and an atheist?
    ---
    Thad
    "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
    [ Parent ]
    Heh. Exactly! (5.00 / 1) (#460)
    by kitten on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 12:08:04 AM EST

    In which case, what is the difference, in your opinion, between an agnostic, and an atheist?

    I think - and this will piss people off - I think that agnostics are a very wishy-washy sort of atheist.

    An atheist says, "I am not convinced God exists." He may do this for various reasons - he finds the definition of God impossible or ambiguous, he finds it logically unsound, he finds it morally irreconcilable.. whatever. There's millions of reasons someone may be unconvinced there is no god.

    An agnostic also says "I am not convinced God exists", but his reasons are different. He thinks that any knowledge of God is impossible to have - not because of human gaps in knowledge, but because such information is unknowable. (Which incidentially is what most Christians think, yet that doesn't stop them from going on and on about God.)

    Since an agnostic is, in point of fact, lacking any theistic belief, he is, whether he wants to admit it or not, a-theistic.

    (This is of course relying on the actual definitions, and not the popular meaning of "agnostic", which is a euphanism for "I don't know what to believe" or "I recently decided the Bible / Koran / whatever I was brought up with, is bullshit, and haven't figured out what to think about that.")
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    The dictionary is my friend. (none / 0) (#435)
    by Caton on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 10:19:41 AM EST

    a·the·ism
    n.

      1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
      2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.
    1. Godlessness; immorality.

    ag·nos·ti·cism
    n.

    1. The doctrine that certainty about first principles or absolute truth is unattainable and that only perceptual phenomena are objects of exact knowledge.
    2. The belief that there can be no proof either that God exists or that God does not exist.

    Source: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition



    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    The dictionary is no-ones friend (none / 0) (#464)
    by zakalwe on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 08:53:28 AM EST

    Dictionarys don't always reflect the general usage meaning of a word.  The definition of agnosticism in particular is not generally what people mean by the word (Although it is the original meaning).  By agnostisism, most people mean what is also called "weak atheism" - they don't believe in God, but don't actively state "God does not exist."

    By contrast, the statement that the truth is unknowable or that there can be no proof, is a very strong claim with no real basis.  If you don't know whether there is a God, how do you know it can't be proven?  In fact, in some ways its closer to strong Atheism, since if a God did exist, and did interact with the world, then we would have evidence for his existance.  The only way you can be sure there will be no evidence is to be sure there is either no God, or will never be interaction by God.

    Even by the above definition "Non-belief in God" is much closer to the definition of Atheism than to agnostisism as Huxley defined it.  Generally though, when someone says "agnostic", I assume they mean the same as "weak atheist", because in this case the dictionary is wrong.

    [ Parent ]

    I see your point... (none / 0) (#466)
    by Caton on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 10:00:24 AM EST

    ...but I disagree. When in doubt about the meaning of a word, checking the dictionary is the only reasonable thing to do. Especially in this kind of discussion. Otherwise, it's way too easy to end up arguing past each other.

    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    Descriptive vs Proscriptive (none / 0) (#468)
    by zakalwe on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 11:16:12 AM EST

    Dictionarys are a useful tool, but its important to keep in mind that they are an attempt to describe language, and may not always correspond with current usage. They often lag behind popular usage (by several decades), or don't cover all connotations. I think if you're in doubt about a word, the best thing is to establish what definition your using in advance, and ideally use several different dictionarys. Merriam-Webster for instance does give the general usage of agnosticism. while dictionary.com doesn't.

    [ Parent ]
    Because it's so important to people. (none / 0) (#427)
    by irrevenant on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 05:55:05 AM EST

    Basically, atheism (& agnosticism) need a name because "what religion are you?" is such an important question to so many people. All of your other sample questions are irrelevant to the vast majority of people, so haven't warranted development of their own terminology. Besides, the fact that someone is an atheist/agnostic hardly indicates that they _don't_ show similar healthy skepticism about other aspects of life. Somehow, I suspect that that's the one they'll be defending the most, however...

    [ Parent ]
    email me (none / 0) (#496)
    by vickyvix on Wed Oct 16, 2002 at 06:00:05 PM EST

    hey, if this is who i think it is, please email me! (you should know who i am from my nick!)

    [ Parent ]
    Nazis?? (3.00 / 1) (#243)
    by Man of 1000 cups on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:23:24 PM EST

       
            "I have yet to hear of atheists starting any wars, torturing anyone, or burning people at the stake for their beliefs."

    Forgive me if i'm incorrect, but weren't Nazis atheists, being that their idea of a super-race would have to do with evolution and natural selection, and at that time i don't know of any religions that supported either of those ideas.

    This is probably propaganda forced into me, but i believe i heard once that school teachers in Nazi Germany would tell there students to put there heads on their desks and pray to God for a cookie. And nothing happened, then they'd tell them to pray to Hilter for a cookie and they'd go through the rows and give each student a cookie.

    Well that last part was probably stupid B.S. i heard somewhere, but i'm kinda intrested if anyone has heard that story too.

    [ Parent ]

    Probably a true story (3.00 / 1) (#247)
    by Caton on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:32:59 PM EST

    You can find it in Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

    And yes, Nazism is atheistic.

    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    Thanks [nt] (3.00 / 1) (#256)
    by Man of 1000 cups on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:59:19 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Stalinists, too (n/t) (3.00 / 1) (#261)
    by pexatus on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:22:40 PM EST



    [ Parent ]
    Hitler was not an atheist. (4.00 / 1) (#272)
    by kitten on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:06:41 PM EST

    Hitler was most certainly not an atheist and neither were the Nazis. The whole point was that they were destined by God to become the master race.
    I also profess that I will never ally myself with the parties which destroy Christianity. If many wish today to take threatened Christianity under their protection, where, I would ask, was Christianity for them in these fourteen years when they went arm in arm with atheism? No, never and at no time was greater internal damage done to Christianity than in these fourteen years when a party, theoretically Christian, sat with those who denied God in one and the same Government.
    - Adolf Hitler, Stuttgart, Feb 15 1933

    Since that time it has never left me, and in all probability will accompany me to my end. How could a man shoulder the burden of this anxiety if he had not faith in his mission and the consent of Him who stands above us?
    - Hitler, Berlin, Jan 30 1937

    The list goes on. He constantly referenced God, blamed atheists-pretending-to-be-Christians for the sorry state of post WWI Germany, etc.

    Hitler was most assuredly a theist.

    Stalin was an atheist, but his atrocities were motivated by politics, not religion. Religion just made a convenient scapegoat.
    mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
    [ Parent ]
    You take Hitler talks too seriously (5.00 / 1) (#315)
    by Caton on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:01:31 AM EST

    Hitler's talks are always good for a laugh. Here's the funniest.

    I am myself a man of peace to the very depths of my soul. Armed conflict between nations is a nightmare to me.
    Adolf Hitler, Sept. 27th, 1938 Radio Berlin broadcast
    Source: Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reign.
    Great joke, huh?

    When words and actions contradict each other, I tend to trust actions. In the case of Nazi a/theism, the 1941 program of the National Reich Church is my reference, because it was acted upon by the Nazi.

    Out of the thirty articles of that program, here's the first and fifth.

    1. The National Reich Church of Germany categorically claims the exclusive right and the exclusive power to control all churches within the borders of the Reich; it declares these to be national churches of the German Reich.

    5. The National Church is determined to exterminate irrevocably the strange and foreign Christian faiths imported into Germany in the ill-omened year 800.

    Note the plural on faiths. English translation taken from Shirer, op. cit..

    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]
    Not the point (3.00 / 1) (#340)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:31:55 AM EST

    Whatever his personal beliefs were, Hitler didn't kill anyone in the name of religion - he did it for his "greater Germany".


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    just one thing for thought (4.00 / 1) (#270)
    by lytri on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:48:35 PM EST

    Why is it that virtually every controversial topic in this world is open for discussion, but when it comes to religion, we're all supposed to say "Oh, well, you have your belief, I respect that"? I can argue all day long about tax cuts and welfare and military action in Iraq, and others will disagree, and we'll all bicker about it. But someone mentions that they can't flip a lightswitch on Saturday, and that's sacred and we shouldn't dream of crossing that line, no sir.

    The topics that you meantion, tax cuts, welfare and military action in Iraq are debatable because we our directly affected by them. Well, I should say our money is directly affected by them. Anything that my money supports I should be able to debate. But peoples' religions, when practiced in ways that don't violate my personal space, should not be tampered with. There is absolutely no reason. None. That's why people don't need to debate it, it doesn't affect you, so just worry about something that does. There are far too many things in this world that do affect your personal life for you to be worried about which direction someone faces when they pray, or how they align their spiritual being.
    -lytri
    Rational anarchy is the way to be.
    -lytri

    Rational anarchy is the way to go.
    [ Parent ]
    What the fuck ever (1.00 / 2) (#275)
    by buck on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:22:22 PM EST

    Yup. They also believe that pro-choicers want abortions. Last time I checked, nobody wanted one - some of us just want the option to be available when it's needed.
    Especially if it's a boy, right?

    More amusing is that the majority of the legislative body making laws about abortion are also men. I think the situation would be quite different if it were women in charge. There's a few pro-life women out there, sure, but pro-life men far, far outnumber them.
    That's why we have elections every so often. Tell them to run for office and get elected. Can't be that fucking difficult.

    Politics is part of culture. You can't divorce the two, unless you just want trite and tepid movie and book reviews where everyone can say "Me too!"
    Actually, I'd rather not have movie and book reviews at all. I can make up my own mind, thank you.


    ---

    -----
    “You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
    [ Parent ]
    Yes! Yes! Yes! (3.14 / 7) (#113)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 02:58:12 PM EST

    I was all set to vote this down; but it's really the best political article I've ever seen on K5.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative

    Where has compromise gone? (3.80 / 10) (#119)
    by mmcc on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:03:49 PM EST

    It appears to me that people have lost the ability to compromise.

    So many people won't accept any deviation from their own world view. Consider the words Pro/Anti; labelling youself as Pro-this or Anti-that immediately polarizes other people's opinion of you, and impedes compromise and rational discussion.

    Unfortunately unless you are Pro-this or Anti-that you will be labelled as a hypocrit by one side or the other.

    To those who wish to argue like this, have fun in your binary world, without me.



    When did people have that ability??? (4.00 / 3) (#125)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:18:20 PM EST

    Back when Andy Jackson was shooting fellow congressmen? Or when Patrick Henry was shouting "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"?

    Seriously, do you think he would have settled for "Internal Passports and a Flesh Wound"?

    Politics has always been the most polarizing of human affairs because it combines the lust for power with the limits of human intelligence.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    You should ask yourself: (2.00 / 2) (#127)
    by mmcc on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:25:13 PM EST

    Where did people ever have that ability?

    There's no congress in my country.

    [ Parent ]

    does that have any bearing (3.75 / 4) (#129)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:27:25 PM EST

    On what I said?

    Andrew Jackson and Patrick Henry didn't exist in your time line? Or does your knowledge of history exclude all things American?


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Hardly unique (5.00 / 2) (#166)
    by RandomPeon on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:36:06 PM EST

    to the United States. The United Kingdom still has a law on the books that prohibits MPs from carrying arms or wearing armor in Parliment. The terms "left" and "right" come from the seating arrangements between competing radicals in the French National Assembly, where the middle was left empty. "Floor-fights" are fairly common in the legistlative bodies of Tawain, Indonesia and several other countries.

    I firmly believe people from all parts of the world are fundamentally more alike than different. This also means we're all stupid.

    [ Parent ]
    People only compromise... (3.50 / 2) (#150)
    by JahToasted on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:27:08 PM EST

    People only compromise when they have to. You compromise with your wife/girlfriend/inflatabledoll only because the relationship will end if you don't. The US and the Soviet Union compromised because the world would end if they didn't.

    On the net nobody knows who you are and nothing negative will happen if you don't compromise.
    ______
    "I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
    [ Parent ]

    USA and Soviet Union Compromised? (none / 0) (#186)
    by Argel on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:14:34 PM EST

    The US and the Soviet Union compromised because the world would end if they didn't.
    I'd say it differently. They felt so strongly about their belief in at least self-preservation (and perhaps world preservation) that they had to compromise other lesser beliefs in order to avoid compromising this more important one.

    I don't think that really qualifies as the type of compromise we are talking about.

    [ Parent ]

    Why not? (none / 0) (#220)
    by khallow on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:18:50 PM EST

    This is exactly why people compromise. The benefits of compromise (in this case survival) outweigh the costs. Note that self-preservation wasn't always the greater belief during the cold war. The world might be a far different place (for good or more likely bad) if it were.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Because compromise isn't always the best solution (none / 0) (#181)
    by Argel on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:07:42 PM EST

    For example, if you are Pro-Life you may have tactical reasons to compromise with the Pro-Choice crowd, but strategically you have no reason to. The stronger you believe in something the less room there is for compromise regarding that something.

    [ Parent ]
    Strategic compromise (none / 0) (#339)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:29:45 AM EST

    This is the one thing that drives me nuts about the pro-choice crowd - since they deny the validity of the basic argument that a fetus is a human being, they go digging for all sorts of "hidden motives" in the pro-lifers: they must be anti-women, anti-minority, whatever.

    The idea that pro-lifers could compromise is about as realistic as the idea that anti-death penalty people should compromise.

    (For the record - I think killing people for any reason is wrong and needs to be avoided whenever possible.)


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Because as Richard Dawkins has said, (none / 0) (#195)
    by Estanislao Martínez on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:47:08 PM EST

    sometimes when two people present diametrically opposite viewpoints, the truth doesn't lie in the middle, but one of those viewpoints is right.

    Note: Dawkins is dead wrong about the applicability of his principle to the the one infamous thing he applies it to, atheism vs. religion.

    --em
    [ Parent ]

    Hmm, Dawkins isn't batting real well (none / 0) (#217)
    by khallow on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:14:56 PM EST

    sometimes when two people present diametrically opposite viewpoints, the truth doesn't lie in the middle, but one of those viewpoints is right.

    Note: Dawkins is dead wrong about the applicability of his principle to the the one infamous thing he applies it to, atheism vs. religion.

    So we have a principle that flops in the one example it is applied to. Perhaps you have a better example in mind?

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Applies just fine to evolution v. creationism (nt) (none / 0) (#254)
    by magney on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:56:06 PM EST


    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    why? (none / 0) (#287)
    by khallow on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:58:34 AM EST

    The two theories aren't mutually exclusive. After all, what happens if evolution (and the usual cosmological model) happens to be the way that God decided to create life (and Man) on Earth? I believe that would be Darwin's viewpoint on the matter. Besides, the current theory of evolution really isn't some extreme of a dichotomy, but is itself a compromise unlike the comparison between atheism and religion.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    The problem with simple categories (none / 0) (#294)
    by magney on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:48:49 AM EST

    In a sense, you are right. In the generic sense, creationism merely states that God did it. I should have said evolution and "Scientific Creationism", which is wholly wrong both as science and as theology.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Interesting example (none / 0) (#295)
    by khallow on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:54:13 AM EST

    Ok, it does bring up an interesting point. That is belief systems that are deliberately engineered to be exclusive. So if you buy the complete scientific creationalism package, then you can't possibly be an evolutionist. However, having two or more of these exclusive views doesn't mean that one of them is right and the others wrong. A natural answer is that all are wrong. Of course, that's cold comfort if you gotta belong to a belief slot (say for reasons of health).

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    But... (none / 0) (#379)
    by magney on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:08:05 PM EST

    in this specific instance, it is the case that scientific creationism is far, far more wrong than evolution will ever be.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    true, but... (none / 0) (#421)
    by khallow on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 02:20:10 AM EST

    Long, long ago when this thread of amazing discovery started, we were considering dichotomy beliefs (or actions) where one or the other was more cost effective (or other desirable metric) than choosing a mixture of both. Darwinism versus "scientific" creationalism was chosen as an example.

    While I cannot dispute (nor will try) that Darwinism is the far better theory (it after having real, reproducible evidence in its favor), it still may be that a "better" theory will incorporate minor elements of scientific creationalism. Ie, mixing the two theories may still result in "better" metrics than mutual exclusiveness. Further, Darwinism itself is compromised from its original form, and in particular adjusted by repeated experiment and observation over many decades. So taking it as an extremum of a space of particular creation beliefs is flawed.

    However, I think a better solution would be the current one. Most people believe in Darwinism, while a few believe in scientific creationalism. Here the cost of attempting to convert the small number of creationalists outweighs the benefits of a few more Darwinists.

    Having said that, there is a simple example where a dichotomy occurs. Let's say you want to eat three hotdogs, minimize your caloric intake, and have a choice between eating low fat, low calorie hotdogs, and fatter, higher calorie normal hotdogs (these are bratwursts for Germans and other respectable people :-).

    The clear answer is eat three low calorie dogs. Even eating one high calorie hotdog raises your caloric intake so you eat low fat hotdogs exclusively. This is an example where you have a clear choice and it is one of the extrema (all hotdogs of the same type). The only time a mixture can achieve the lowest calories is when your two choices have the same number of calories.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Because god is a random postulation. (none / 0) (#330)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:15:22 AM EST

    God is a random postulation, a myth that millions wish flesh, and generations of bad scientists have wasted thier lives trying to prove that God exists. Trying to reconcile God and Science is futile - God is an inherantly unscientific idea based on crazed metaphysics.

    Scientists study the world and try to come up with theories that explain the world. Creation Scientists try to create theories that explain thier God and ignore the world around them. Creationism is shitty science. There is no middle ground. The creationists are a disgrace to science. They are the scientific equivellant of lobbyists. Evolution may not be complete or correct, but at least evolution is a result of scientific inquiry and not a perversion of it.

    [ Parent ]

    original problem (none / 0) (#422)
    by khallow on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 02:34:19 AM EST

    The original problem effectively was find two interesting beliefs such that one has to be right and the other wrong. God existing or not existing neither proves nor disproves evolution, and even creationalism might happen (say if God existed at the time of the creation but doesn't anymore or does so on a part-time basis). Further, is it really to the benefit of society that we convince (even if it takes several years of brain washing with serious drugs) every single person in the world that evolution is the better theory? There are diminishing returns in this racket, I think. So even if the choice (as above) is between a solid scientific theory and a lame one, it's still in the interests of society that people believe the lame theory simple because it's too much work (neglecting serious ethical and moral matters here) to get everyone on the band wagon. Besides, having odd viewpoints might help in an independent endevour (like art). That is all.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    but you just made the point of the discussion. (none / 0) (#430)
    by Shren on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 08:40:25 AM EST

    There isn't a middle ground here. There's truth and there's superstition. You have to pick. If you say "I believe that God kicked things off and then they evoloved" isn't a compromise. It's a different superstition, but just a superstition, and not somehow better because somebody draped some science over it like the emperor's new clothes.

    As for the lame theory being better than the true theory because it's easier - 1 hour of science has more utility than a lifetime of religion, because, well, science is predictave. Learn it and you understand your world better. Learn religion and you deny the evidence of your senses. (Unless, of course, your senses hear the voice of God. In that case, you're either blessed or crazy, and I know what my first hypothesis is.)

    [ Parent ]

    the bigot speaks the truth (none / 0) (#488)
    by adequate nathan on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 11:01:55 PM EST

    As for the lame theory being better than the true theory because it's easier - 1 hour of science has more utility than a lifetime of religion, because, well, science is predictave. Learn it and you understand your world better.

    I have incontrovertible evidence that Murray Gell-mann is a happier man than was Gandhi. For pity's sakes, the second man was a helpless thrall to superstition. His beliefs, insofar as they might have more merit than a flat-earther's, have it through the adoption of half-understood tatters of the Great Truth of Science, which not only predicts but explains.

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    Eh? (none / 0) (#424)
    by jig on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:15:45 AM EST

    Note: Dawkins is dead wrong about the applicability of his principle to the the one infamous thing he applies it to, atheism vs. religion.

    I think you mean atheism vs theism. You can be atheist and religious, if you believe in a religion that isn't theistic.

    And in the case of atheism vs theism, how is he wrong? God either exists, or doesn't. Can there be such things as half- or quarter-existence?

    -----
    And none of you stand so tall
    Pink moon gonna get ye all

    [ Parent ]

    This is K5, we are not trying to sign a treat (none / 0) (#322)
    by svampa on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:21:56 AM EST

    I don't want any k5 user to do anything, and no k5 user wants me to do anything.

    Perhaps somtimes we should be a more polite and leave always personal insults aside, but we don't need any compromise.



    [ Parent ]
    I can't believe this article has been up so long.. (4.13 / 15) (#122)
    by magney on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:10:05 PM EST

    without mentioning the shutupicrat. You may now downrate this post.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?

    Shut up (4.00 / 6) (#132)
    by theboz on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:30:32 PM EST

    No, just kidding. I realize that I fall into some of the categories I wrote about, and the shutupicrat as well. I think the ability to criticize one's self in order to improve is a good thing. I'm really suprised I haven't been accused of anything worse than a shutupicrat and a troll.

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    Moron (ot) (none / 0) (#412)
    by vile on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:27:20 PM EST

    <grin>

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    Everybody is Always Wrong About Everything (3.33 / 6) (#137)
    by CheeseburgerBrown on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:36:20 PM EST

    I promise.

    On the net people seem to forget this, acting as if they're two beers shy of holy. Otherwise reasonable people grunt and mew their approval for absolute morality, and become expert judges of the mental and emotional mechanics behind every blundering mistyped burp from trollphilic twelve year olds. Whee!

    I was just mentioning this fact to no one in particular a few days ago.


    This is an excellent example of a fairly dull but decently spelled signature.

    So what you're basically saying (2.87 / 8) (#138)
    by Rogerborg on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 03:37:29 PM EST

    Is that most people that post stories here are retards, and most people that vote those stories up are retards. The stories don't write or vote for themselves. You're talking about the people on K5.

    Given that, I can't understand why you still hang around here with us retards. Care to enlighten us?


    "Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

    Isn't that obvious? (5.00 / 3) (#171)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:41:22 PM EST

    To meet girls, of course!


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Of course (2.66 / 3) (#183)
    by theboz on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:13:17 PM EST

    People here are not being as open-minded as they should be, and not willing to have a decent discussion.

    As to your answer of why I hang out here with "you retards" it's because it makes me look like a genius in comparison. (This was a sarcastic statement.)

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    So (none / 0) (#483)
    by Rogerborg on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 10:33:37 AM EST

    You don't actually have an answer then? Are you just a masochist?

    "Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
    [ Parent ]

    lame comparison with special olympics (3.52 / 23) (#148)
    by tealeaf on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:20:00 PM EST

    The people who win special olympics are incredible.  There is no way you can compare yourself to them, or worse call them "retards" by association.

    I have a choice few words for you sonny, but I'd rather not say them here.

    Oh come on (1.85 / 7) (#159)
    by NDPTAL85 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:23:47 PM EST

    If we can't call retards retards, then what is there left to insult with?

    [ Parent ]
    STFU (nt) (1.57 / 1) (#168)
    by Zapata on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:38:31 PM EST


    "If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


    [ Parent ]
    Wow... (2.00 / 2) (#182)
    by lightcap on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:07:47 PM EST

    Speaking of useless Political (Correctness) debates... at least the bait's not being taken too seriously.

    Speaking of controversy over the use of retard...anyone catch the Howard Stern show when he apolgized for using retard so flippantly...now that was funny.
    Mommy, what were trees like?
    [ Parent ]

    Choice Tealeaf (1.50 / 2) (#215)
    by lightcap on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:04:46 PM EST

    Rate comments down that you don't like. I'd expect exactly that from a self-righteous defender of morality like yourself.

    I'd rate your original comment down, but I won't fuck the system to make it work for ME at the cost of the COMMUNITY.

    Lamer.

    Oh god, did I offend you and the rest of the disabled with that one too...

    How about, Loser.

    Good god! What if people that don't win very often, or otherwise have esteem problems, get offended!

    How about we just settle on dipshit.
    Mommy, what were trees like?
    [ Parent ]

    i don't mind this (none / 0) (#259)
    by tealeaf on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:05:54 PM EST

    Hey, I like you too.

    I don't mind what you have to say.  I may disagree with it, but I am not flipping a lid or anything.

    Why is that?  That's because you cursed me out in good taste, without bringing disabled into the picture by a way of an explicit association.

    Listen sonny, I don't mind whatever crap you have to say to me.  I do protest using special olympics in a derogatory context.  And f*ck if I won't mod all the scum down who supports using special olympics in derogatory context.

    Just to give you a hint, other things I will nail: racial, sexual, ethnic, religious and other slurs.  If you have a problem with that, blow me.

    [ Parent ]

    Story inaccurate too (4.00 / 1) (#226)
    by apokalypse on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:35:15 PM EST

    IIRC, the intellectual disabled category in the paralympics was removed because too many athletes were actually normal people who were pretending.

    It's not even funny calling people retards, so why do it? It doesn't even have shock value except to ten year olds.

    [ Parent ]

    if that was all... (none / 0) (#252)
    by tealeaf on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:44:42 PM EST

    See, I don't even mind people calling others "retard", because that word has lost much of its original meaning.  When used as a curse word, it just means "stupid," and that's how I understand it.  And sometimes a curse can really convey your feelings better than anything else.

    However, when you use a context such as special olympics to associate the word with actual people who have disabilities, then you are a f*cking idiot, jerk, nitwit, lamer, k3wl d00d, arrogant ass, crude, phony mensa wannabe (or could really BE a mensa member, now that I think about it), but most likely some narcissistic snot-eating geek.

    I wish people would choose their insults with more taste.  I'm not a stranger to some colorful speech and I don't mind a rude word here and there when appropriate, but this goes over the line.  It is especially over the line on the front page of www.kuro5hin.org!

    [ Parent ]

    You're not entirely alone... (4.75 / 4) (#264)
    by mr s on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:34:39 PM EST

    I don't usually make a habit of responding to stuff like this. But a few comments here got under my skin somehow. To be sure I find all uses of the word 'retard' personally insulting, probably because my son has serious mental retardation and I spent a m'f'n large amount of my personal time advocating for the basic human rights of people with diabillities at the local, state and federal level here in the USA.

    But it's probably futile to argue in a venue like this where so many people (like the author above) display a naked hatred of people with disabilities, and do so in passing as if it was nothing. I compare comments like this to those expressed by your typical southern white racists who think nothing of calling a black man 'a nigger' to his face. You'll have about as much luck trying to tell an Afrikaner from Johannesburg that 'kike' and 'nigger' are words that demean peoples basic humanity and wouldn't it be nice to use different words.

    To those cretins who replied to the effect that using the word 'retard' like this OK here, because 'you can't tell me what to do' and 'you don't understand that we brave, brave few at kuro5hin.org have a better standard of conduct that goes beyond the word' or whatever the hell other weak-assed justification you managed to come up with. Well, the lot of you are so full of shit that it makes me want to gag.

    I don't see too many people here using words like 'nigger' and 'kike' and 'slanty eyes' and 'wetback' in a pejorative context. So you DO have a standard of written conduct. You just choose not to apply it to people with disabilities because you're hypocrites and you're bigots.

    Bottom line is: Insults are great when used effectively. I love 'em. But not when you score points at the cost of degrading people more vulnerable that you. Shame on you.

    [ Parent ]

    my pet peeve. (none / 0) (#231)
    by /dev/trash on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:56:59 PM EST

    Are you saying that the retarded are : too extraordinary and improbable to be believed.

    I see what they do and I believe them.

    ---
    Updated 02/20/2004
    New Site
    [ Parent ]

    Special Olympics vs. Paralympics (4.66 / 3) (#262)
    by Eloquence on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:23:04 PM EST

    There might be some confusion here: The Special Olympics are specifically for people with mental retardation ("Special Olympics is an international organization dedicated to empowering individuals with mental retardation to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition." - from their website). Now I think it's acceptable to call people with retardation retards, although the term may be a bit derogatory ("Used as a disparaging term for a mentally retarded person", according to American Heritage Dictionary.) In the context in which it is used here, it is certainly in bad taste, but I would expect nothing less of theboz.

    There's another competition called the Paralympics which is a general contest for the disabled and has nothing to do with retardation (a recent gold medalist, for example, is also a Debian GNU/Linux developer).
    --
    Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
    spread the word!
    [ Parent ]

    good info (none / 0) (#352)
    by tealeaf on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 10:35:34 AM EST

    Thanks for clarifying this.  However, my point is, the word "retard," while already not a very good word to use, was explicitly associated with real people by a way of a very clear context.  That's what's been bugging me about it.  At that point it was clear that this word was used as a slur rather than just a normal curse.

    I still think that any participant in Special Olympics is smarter than theboz.  His post was just a waste of time, which is fine, but I detest the way he insulted people.

    [ Parent ]

    You're all retards (none / 0) (#363)
    by Moosechees on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:56:21 AM EST

    Most of you seem to think he came up with the special olympics quote. I've only seen one other person point out otherwise.

    I thought anyone who had used the internet for more than 15 minutes had seen that quote before.

    [ Parent ]

    You Win (4.14 / 14) (#153)
    by Sloppy on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 04:55:18 PM EST

    After reading a couple of paragraphs in, I became bor^H^H^H convinced that you're smarter than us all.

    You win the argument.

    But you're still a retard. ;-)
    "RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."

    Abstain from Commenting (3.87 / 8) (#155)
    by elzubeir on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:14:52 PM EST

    I second this call. Why can't we all just shut the fuck up? I am from today abstaining from making any comments on any political discussion involving the above 'hot' topics and other so-hot-can't-touch topics ;) ... for a week+ ;)

    That was a refreshing article. I feel the same way, I am pretty sick of those discussions by now. I would like to see more tech related news.. more TECH dammit!

    International (2.71 / 7) (#170)
    by bayankaran on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:39:36 PM EST

    K5 has to become more international. More international members and different perspectives.

    Most of the topics usually revolve around US based discussions. And that is very boring to say the least.

    But then most of Amriikans have a fundamental problem in understanding international issues other than 'Why people hate Amriika so much?'.

    And most of the brits and canucks behave like yank clones.

    How boring!

    More diverse posters (none / 0) (#299)
    by Korimyr the Rat on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:15:53 AM EST

    But, when we get people who post issues unrelated to either Canada, the United States, Britain, or Australia, they're typically voted down rather quickly as "too obscure".

    Hell of a way to encourage more viewpoints.

    --
    "Specialization is for insects." Robert Heinlein
    Founding Member of 'Retarded Monkeys Against the Restriction of Weapons Privileges'
    [ Parent ]

    Futility and goals. (4.77 / 9) (#175)
    by Znork on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:53:25 PM EST

    It becomes futile only if you expect to have intelligent discussion ending up with the solutions to the world problems.

    If you want that, I suggest you find a few friends, get very very drunk and talk until 4am, at which point you will have arrived at several brilliant solutions, go to sleep, wake up and realize you were idiots last night and wish you'd figured out a cure for hangovers instead.

    Most people are incapable of having intelligent, rational debates about politics, period. Especially politicians, as anyone with recent memory of any western-style election will realize. Most people dont even want to have debates about politics at all, and from pure self-preservation these are exceedingly good topics to stay away from in civilized company. Especially if you want to remain friendly with them and/or are dependent on them in a work related situation. Stick with the safe topics like work, the new house, the kids, TV, movies. In-your-face political discussion in real life isnt going to make you any friends.

    I dont expect to change anyones viewpoint on K5, nor do I really expect any solution or conclusion to issues, in many cases, debated since long before I was born. That's not why I frequent it.

    I do expect to be able to have my arguments crushed if I havent thought them through, and so my ability to express myself and my knowledge is hopefully something that improves with time.

    I do expect to get alternate viewpoints, and I do expect to occasionally change my own opinion or form a new one as I sift through those alternate points of view. It happens.

    And I do like to have a useful forum with people of a lot of differing opinions where I can go on arguing pointless arguments until blue in the face. Participation is voluntary. And that makes it far more polite than forcing poor co-workers, relatives or friends to participate in having their less than well-honed opinions devastatingly crushed during a dinner party.

    The post-political-discussion mortified silence is far more palatable on K5 than it is at the family christmas dinner.

    Yadda yadda yadda... (3.00 / 6) (#177)
    by Mulletproof on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 05:55:55 PM EST

    Here's a clue- YOU may think they're useless, but your obviously noticing an excessive volume of traffic concerning these "useless" disscussions. Why you suppose that is? Could it be, could it possibly be that there are a lot of people (besides yourself obviously) that don't find them entirely useless? And who says you don't learn anything from these "useless" topics and arguments? Even if I don't agree, i've learned something new more than once. And that's assuming I don't change my mind. And naturally, you're obviously the most qualified to deem a useless topic, right? God forbid they generate controversy! Hell, they've been disscussed so many times before they don't need talked about again, right? 9_9

    Here's a blanket statement for you: Topics talking about the supposed worthiness of other topics are pretty damn useless in their own right.

    And here's another: Opinions are like armpits; Everybody has two and they both stink.

    This sig owns you.

    Correct answers (2.50 / 8) (#178)
    by Oh Man on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:00:44 PM EST

    OK, these are the correct answers to the issues mentioned, so we can move on to other topics:

    Middle East Stories

    Two states. Both Palestinians and Jews have historic and moral right to their own state. All of West Bank and Gaza to form a Palestinian state, maybe some exchange of land where appropriate. Israeli settlements there to be gradually evacuated. Stop Sharon from seizing more land by force. Israel should compensate displaced Palestinians instead of allowing them to return to Israel. Send in a substantial international force to enforce this.

    Smoking

    If somebody wants to smoke thats just fine. Owners of indoor and outdoor public places (including those owned by the public itself) should decide whether smoking is ok or not on their property.

    Abortion

    Also ok, although I'm not sure about the late pregnancy as I'm not up to date with the science of the whole thing. Lets be realistic, fetus is not a human being and the objections are basically religious in nature and therefore should be dismissed.

    Gun Control

    Pros: Self protection. Government less likely to opress armed population. Cons: Banning gun ownership would reduce crime (?)

    Pros outweight the cons so gun ownership should be allowed.

    Religion

    Utter nonsense but may make stupid people feel better. Adult equivalent of scary stories used to make children eat asparagus. If you want to believe go right ahead, but do it in your own time and don't bother those who don't.

    Sins of the Politicians

    The issues of blowjobs, cocaine and such are merely for entertainement and should be ignored in any discussion of politics. As for issues of importance they should be discussed on their own merit instead of promoting the view of the politician/party/god or whatever you hapen to worship.

    Those sound good... (none / 0) (#185)
    by Idioteque on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:14:04 PM EST

    ...I think we should just consider these issues closed now. Apathy may not win wars, but it usually doesn't start any. :P


    I have seen too much; I haven't seen enough - Radiohead
    [ Parent ]
    Stupid wrong answers!! (5.00 / 1) (#228)
    by zap0d on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:36:32 PM EST

    You are exactly one of the people unable to discus properly. I probably can oppose every of your statments. You are prejudiced or without opinion for the statments here
    Middle East Stories
    No substantial international force can put peace in this area without opposing one or another party. Most people on both side are against the violence. Their political leader have to go a long way in talking to achive peace there.
    Smoking
    Maybe you are right, but you should never force innocent into consuming toxics. And this have nothing to do with property of the owner (smae for industrial plants/waste)
    Abortion
    This has nothing to do with sience. From where on do you know, when a fetus is human? You are right that has to do with religion, but are the religions right?
    Gun Control
    People killing other people, guns just make killing easylier. If you wield a gun you are more likely to get shot than without.
    Religion
    Because you have no proof. Look at the human history and see what people tought impossible to achieve or invent. Even now sience discover previosly impossible. Maybe got on thing wrong in religion, it has nothing to di with the holy church its the people believe in somthing.
    Sins of the Politicians
    Why should they be ignored. Politicans are just like other people, they are prone to do wrong things, to gain power and wealth.

    [ Parent ]
    You sound like.... (none / 0) (#233)
    by ThreadSafe on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:05:05 PM EST

    some sort of libertarian.

    Make a clone of me. And fucking listen to it! - Faik
    [ Parent ]

    I suppose (none / 0) (#375)
    by jesush on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:14:16 PM EST

    .. those sound as good as any I've heard around here. In my opinion though, a little too hard on religion. It does more then make stupid people feel good.

    [ Parent ]
    Do you want to win anything? (4.66 / 3) (#188)
    by svampa on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:29:45 PM EST

    Discussions are never (or seldom) won. One of the sides gives up, that's all.

    I want to get the other side give up when I argue with my wife/girl friend what movie we are going to watch. When I argue with my boss my fees, when I argue with a customer the prize of something.

    But here in Kuro5him I just have fun, and sometimes I learn about others points of view, even if I an against them.

    And better, I lurke discussions about topics I have very little information. Boths side release a lot of data, accurate data, wrong data, facts, misinformation... After the discussion I have a big picture, and I can have a weak opinion about something I didn't know anything before and look for data from other sources.

    A danger of weblogs is that you don't have to give up, you don't see the face of your opponent, so always it's worth to stick on, and normal people turn into some kind of implacable fighter. That's time to stop for a while and get a life.

    I don't want to win anything in this virtual world, just have fun and learn a little. If some thread becomes boring with always the same arguments, I just skip it.



    Nah (4.33 / 3) (#192)
    by carbon on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:41:01 PM EST

    Each of the topics has the exact same problem, and it isn't limited to those specific ones or even to politics at all. Both have the issue of where, in a given subject, you have several diametrically opposed groups, all of which argue their position forcefully, and all of which are ignorant.

    That last one is the source of the problems; people argue about what they don't understand. For instance, I know practically nothing about the Middle East, and that's why I don't argue about it in any but non-specific terms (for example, when I'm just arguing about warfare in general).

    Ignoramuses: Why can't you all just read up or shut the fuck up?


    Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA (3.00 / 4) (#194)
    by lightcap on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 06:45:19 PM EST

    Just look at the bulk of the comments (especially the very longwinded ones) following the story. More of the same tired debates...

    Kinda ironic, eh?

    Anyone want to bring something new to the party!?
    Mommy, what were trees like?

    adequate (2.66 / 3) (#198)
    by loteck on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:03:04 PM EST

    i was trying to figure out why this article seemed so de-ja-vu'ish, i was trying to place where i had seen it before. and then i put my finger on it.

    both the story and almost all the comments (moreso the comments) are something i would have expected to read on adequacy. one humungously long successful troll. i voted for it tho, so i guess its fun to let one by occassionaly.
    --
    "You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich
    "WHAT AN ETERNAL MOBIUS STRIP OF FELLATIATIC BANALITY THIS IS." -Harry B Otch

    actually... (none / 0) (#230)
    by ragabr on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:56:32 PM EST

    even if the author doesn't actually believe in it (though I think he does) there are tons of people who agree with the tone of the article.

    We miss the old K5.

    -------
    And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
    -rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Kuro5hin is a social revolution (4.65 / 23) (#199)
    by Alan Crowe on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:05:15 PM EST

    All 42 years of my life I've had a passive relation to the mass media. I've sat on the couch and television has talked at me and I've not been able to talk back. You can write letters to the editor of a newspaper. You can write letters to the BBC. But they act as gate keepers to the mass media and very little that they do not originate gets out.

    Usenet has have changed this, but Usenet has technical limitations. The unmoderated groups are prone to being flooded by crap. The moderation system doesn't scale, and submitting to it feels bad.

    Systems of moderation and meta-moderation, such as on Slashdot and Kuro5shin represent a major improvement on Usenet. They are mass media to which you can talk back. Better than that. The kuro5hin submission queue is a major social experiment. What precedents are there for the ability to publish in a mass medium being directly regulated by the votes of the readership?

    Persons who have never been able to talk back to the mass media suddenly find that there is a button labelled post. We can debate with our political opponents, person to person. We are no longer restricted to voting for representatives and watching as they do our arguing for us, on televsion or in Parliament.

    We can engage in nation wide debate. Americans who have spotted that I'm from the UK will realise that we are actually engaging in intercontinental debate. And guess what? We are crap at it. Our debates stink.

    When the Soviet Union fell, and Russia turned to capitalism, did they quickly master it? No. They came up with a version of crony capitalism so flawed it would make Kenneth Lay blush. It will take them many long years to get the hang of it.

    I see Rusty's creation of Scoop as being as world changing an event as the fall of the Berlin wall. It is the fall of the walls that keep ordinary persons out of the mass media and deny them a direct voice in politics. Obviously I see Kuro5hin as the acorn, not the oak, but running your own Scoop site is the lastest fashionable thing. In ten years time, Scoop sites, or something like them, will be a pervasive feature of modern life. Green papers (the UK governments consultation documents) will go on the cabinet office Scoop site and get hundreds of thousands of comments and detailed debate. When you buy shares you will get an account on the company's Scoop site.

    But our debates stink. Doesn't that destroy my thesis? No. I intend my analogy to the fall of the Berlin wall to be taken two ways. First, it is the fall of the walls surrounding mass media. Second, it is a social phenomenon and it will take us many long years to get the hang of our new found freedom.

    Take trolling. Trolling is a transitional phenomenon. Grownups are coming to the internet as newbies, and getting trolled. In ten years time, there will not be any more newbies to troll. Sure there will be a fresh crop of teenagers every year, but fresh from the cruelties of the play ground they will not be easy touches.

    .

    Take flaming. One of the features of the internet is users spending infeasible amounts of time online. One binges, then goes cold turkey, then comes back, somewhat more disciplined. In ten years time, only the mentally ill will be wasting their time flaming. Every-one else will have learnt to be more focussed in using their time on line. (OK flaming might persist as a recreation). As children, we learn maxims of behaviour. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Count to ten before responding. We are many years from developing a corresponding Internet culture.

    We don't even have words to describe some of the failings of our internet debates. I propose The Picky-diffuse Syndrome as the name for the following problem. Alice posts a diffuse comment, containing various side-issues in addition to her main point. Bob dodges Alice's main point by picking up one of the side-issues and making that the center of his reply. What will happen to Picky-diffuse Syndrome over the years. Perhaps every-one will take pains to strip down their posts and stay strictly to the point. Or perhaps internet ettiquette will evolve that you always confront your opponents main point first.

    There is a great deal of work to be done to lick our debates into shape, but we should not underestimate the importance of the social change in which we are participating. Perhaps it will take decades rather than years. We have spent decades as passive recipients of the mass media, it will take time and practise to rehabilitate our atrophied powers of debate.



    absolutely (4.00 / 3) (#208)
    by dTd on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:34:35 PM EST

    As a man just turned 40 I also believe kuro5hin and /. style news and discussion to be the next new media mainstream. I find television piggish and offensive since I've aquired a taste for peer reviewed news. This is where it's at and I'm staying. :) I will not submit myself to force feeding any longer, I just can't control the gag reflex anymore :)
    /dTd

    Perl 6 will give you the big knob - Larry Wall
    [ Parent ]

    new becomes old and old becomes new (3.00 / 2) (#213)
    by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:56:36 PM EST

    'I find television piggish and offensive'

    And I find television more interesting and inoffensive.

    Peer reviewed news is still news culled from the mass media. And if K5 becomes the new media mainstream then it will become the mass media and other people will be out there saying K5 is 'piggish and offensive ever since I discovered TV news'.

    TV is passive. The internet is passive. Real life is interactive.

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    ( real-life ( television internet )) (3.50 / 4) (#223)
    by Alan Crowe on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:22:44 PM EST

    The most important difference is between real life on the one hand, and media such as television and the internet on the other. Within the realm of media there are still important distinctions. If you were a TV journalist you could broadcast your slogan
    TV is passive. The internet is passive. Real life is interactive.
    and all that I could do, the poor passive viewer, would be to sit at home and fume. On K5 I can write a rebuttal. This is interactivity. It is great. I'm not going back to TV.



    [ Parent ]
    intelligent reply... (3.00 / 3) (#225)
    by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:32:22 PM EST

    'On K5 I can write a rebuttal. This is interactivity. It is great. I'm not going back to TV.'

    Valid point

    I like to keep my options open and so I watch TV, read the papers and check the web.

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    world changing? the world hasn't changed in years (4.33 / 6) (#212)
    by dazzle on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:52:29 PM EST

    Interesting post.

    But seriously.

    The world hasn't changed in years all that has changed is the medium of communication. The internet is no different to any other form of communication. Each step in the communication ladder has just allowed people to reach a wider audience. And even if the government had a Scoop site do you really think it would be as free a discussion group as K5 purports to be. And this site isn't even that free. I had a recent article of mine pulled by an 'editor' simply because I didn't conform to the standard practice of submitting an article to editing, then voting and allowing the general readership to decide - I meddled, tried to pervert the use of K5 to my own ends, tried to play the system. Now that's not a free system when you don't have movement in which to try a different approach but are almost 'forced' to conform to the 'agreed by consensus' approach.

    And the news articles re-produced on K5 are culled from the mainstream media anyway and anything different is produced from the alternative media - which relies upon more direct propaganda than the mainstream media.

    The web was heralded as the future many years ago, the internet has been around for about 40 years and the amazing thing is nothing has changed. I can live with the web or without it - either way it hasn't really impacted my life. It hasn't changed my habits. I want to read the news I goto the BBC website - but I prefer to watch the TV news or read a newspaper where you get more interesting points of view and debate.

    As for trolling, it's not a transitional element, it's a fact of the internet. In 5 years there will still be trolls, in 100 years there will still be trolls. Humans are creatures of habit and are less advanced than we like to believe we are. Our intelligence helps to create the illusion of us being a higher intelligence. We decieve ourselves into thinking we are supreme and moral and better.

    How dumb is that.

    And we are still passive recipients of the mass media - our arguements and discussions are as ineffectual and passive as an arguement in the playground. You want to debate and try to make a difference then get into politics. The internet / web is a passive environment with the illusion of interactivity. Just like computer games give the illusion of free movement and interactivity - they are still passive forms of entertainment. While we are glued to our VDU's debating about pointless subjects which we have no control over then we aren't trying to cause a revolution and take over the government. The web is just another form of mass media and passive entertainment. You want interactivity? Then step away from the computer NOW...

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    I tried to warn you against those books (4.00 / 2) (#239)
    by Alan Crowe on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:15:08 PM EST

    You went and read both American Psycho and Twelve, and they've turned you into an alienated nihilist :-(

    But seriously.

    You say that the internet is no different to any other form of communication. You are forgetting about speed and cost. If we were doing this using ink on paper printing, we simply wouldn't be able to afford the cost of making our discussion freely available to the casual eavesdropper. And turns in the conversation would take atleast a day, slowing it beyond human patience. I've tried participating in phone in political debates on BBC Radio Scotland. That is a very different medium.

    And the news articles re-produced on K5 are culled from the mainstream media anyway

    That is true today. If you want to start a political party you must grovel to the media for coverage. They can make or break you, e.g. portraying you as far right, even if your leader is gay and your duty-leader is a black immigrant. The main stream parties are also beholden to the media. In theory the internet permits the disintermediation of politics. Politicians can post their speeches on the party websites, and we can click on the link in the K5 news section and read their own words for ourselves. They wouldn't be constrained by providing sound bites for televsison. I looked at the Conservative and Labour websites to see how this was coming on, and found them way too clunky for this to happen. They need to get a clue, and clues about the internet are still in short supply. Give it ten years and much of the political news will be direct from the party websites to the discussion boards.

    While we are glued to our VDU's debating about pointless subjects which we have no control over then we aren't trying to cause a revolution and take over the government.

    We have our votes. But changing things depends on getting large numbers of votes, which requires mass media, to communicate with other voters on a large scale. When I'm sitting at my VDU propagandizing the disintermediation of politics I am trying to cause a revolution and take over the government.



    [ Parent ]
    alienated nihilism rocks ! (4.00 / 4) (#309)
    by dazzle on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:05:11 AM EST

    'You went and read both American Psycho and Twelve, and they've turned you into an alienated nihilist :-( '

    :) I was already an alienated nihilist which is why I read those books, they helped me to confirm my own beliefs, and 'Fight Club' was the cherry on the top, to use a cliched phrase.

    'I am trying to cause a revolution and take over the government.'

    Reminds me about 10 years ago of me and my friends sitting in the pub and planning on how to take down the local council. We didn't, but, we did have a good laugh.

    Whether what I say is right / wrong, or agreed upon I like to think that is has helped someone, somewhere to, perhaps, think out of the box for a few seconds or to encourage discussion of some things which we appear to take for granted.

    What I find interesting is how one man influenced society in such a way that we are still living within his ideas, and, his ideas where based upon Freud - who I believe has been discredited. Why has no one really come up with a way to challenge this? Or, perhaps the 'net / web is the challenge?

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    Pulled story (3.00 / 2) (#362)
    by br284 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:51:54 AM EST

    Can you post a few details about the pulled story? Was someone pissed that you didn't use the edit queue?

    For the record, I hate the edit queue. I will never use it, and if your story was pulled because you didn't use it, I'll be very disturbed.

    -Chris

    [ Parent ]

    details.. (3.50 / 2) (#374)
    by dazzle on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:12:55 PM EST

    I put the story into editing twice and kept on getting conflicting comments on how to 'improve' the writing - content, style, grammar, whatever. When the article went into voting it got down to -13, at this point I pulled it myself because I could just see it dropping to -20. I had made editorial changes to the article as well in line with suggestions given in the edit queue. I re-submitted the story into editing, having taken it back to the original content. I left it. Logged off the web. Came back and found the article had disappeared really quickly. I presumed it had dropped into voting and been voted off again. The strange thing was I hadn't received an e-mail telling me it had been hidden.

    A while later someone posted a comment pointing to a comment they'd made on the pulled article. Following the thread upwards I found a comment from an 'editor' saying they had pulled the article because there had been no substantial changes to it and I was just abusing the system.

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    a case of P-DS (none / 0) (#491)
    by invisiblemonki on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 01:16:08 PM EST

    on the side, who really thinks a republic (agreed by consensus) is freedom? you are governed by your peers. you are still governed. absolute freedom is autocracy. and here's my axiom for that: "communism only works in a commune. autocracy only works when you're alone (or functionally omnipotent)."
    ps. i'm NOT trolling. it's 7:14 am and i've been up for three hours already 'cause my stupid neighbor is a NOISY BITCH! -thanks for your time.

    --
    if at first you don't succeed, kill the rightful heir.


    [ Parent ]
    I disagree.. (4.00 / 2) (#280)
    by Wah on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:36:26 AM EST

    ..but only on your main thesis.  I am taking as a sample of the medium only the better discussions on this board (and those like it).  If you look at the top 10-15% of the posts it looks pretty good as a media resource.  This would be the more "revolutionary" aspect of it.  This tends to lesson the historical impact of the revolution, but it leads to other ones.  

    A couple of other things.

    We don't even have words to describe some of the failings of our internet debates. I propose The Picky-diffuse Syndrome as the name for the following problem. Alice posts a diffuse comment, containing various side-issues in addition to her main point. Bob dodges Alice's main point by picking up one of the side-issues and making that the center of his reply. What will happen to Picky-diffuse Syndrome over the years. Perhaps every-one will take pains to strip down their posts and stay strictly to the point. Or perhaps internet ettiquette will evolve that you always confront your opponents main point first.

    I don't see this as such a bad thing.  What is often the case is that a poster agrees with most of the other's point (because of the groupthink, for the cynical) but has some minor detail to work out.  The first person then over-reacts and the discussion either dissolves into chaos or they find a happy medium.  By taking only those threads that reach a happy medium, you once again have refined your media sample (if you will), and produced a rather worthy collection of bits.  So skimming is a big part of the deal.

    The nature of the medium also increases the general need for more "fact" based discussion and the ability to implement.  Many of the people who frequent this place are adept at searching the Internet for information.  And of course, everything on the Internet is true. So given the time and effort, more fact based discussion are possible.  I don't even try to post in such discussion without some evidence.  It helps to keep the responses short on rhetoric.

    Anyway, I was disagreeing with you somewhere.  Ah, yess.

    But our debates stink. Doesn't that destroy my thesis? No.

    No, the fact that you called Kuro5hin a "social" revolution rather than a "media" revolution destroyed your argument from the start.  And if you called it "part of" one, it would have been even more correct.

    --
    Where'd you get your information from, huh?
    [ Parent ]

    I don't understand "media resource" (3.50 / 2) (#306)
    by Alan Crowe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:35:44 AM EST

    If you look at the top 10-15% of the posts it looks pretty good as a media resource.

    I think of a "media resource" as somewhere the mainstream media go to get their stories. Reuters perhaps, or government press releases. Big companies have media centers, hoping that journalists will pick up the stories from them with a favourable spin.

    So what you've written conjures up an imagine in my mind of the BBC reporting on debates on K5, or getting its facts on Zimbabwe from posts by Psychologist.

    This makes me think that I have completely misunderstood your point. I would greatly appreciate it if you would remake your point at greater length.

    [ Parent ]

    Greater length (4.00 / 1) (#354)
    by Wah on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 10:40:50 AM EST

    Wow, being civil does have advantages.  I think that's the first time someone has asked me to remake a point at greater length.

    I think of a "media resource" as somewhere the mainstream media go to get their stories. Reuters perhaps, or government press releases.

    There can be more than one "media resource" in the chain of events that lead from something happening to eventual media consumption.  It can be Reuters, gov. press release, an informant, good research, etc.   The Net generally collapses (and expands) the chain, allowing one to get information directly from a source or two.  It can also be filtered through any number of very thin layers.  Basically it is changing the game, hence the appropriateness of the revolution appelation.

    I think "mainstream media" is becoming something of a misnomer, or will be in another 10-20 years.  Yes, there will still be those who are spoon fed all the information they gather about the outside world, but this latest generation is a bit more proactive about it.  Either in the consumption and/or creation of new media resources.  It doesn't mean that old resources will die, but they must adjust, and many have.

    The software that runs sites like this makes it all much easier and painless.  Another meta level that filters the good stuff to an even finer point would raise the value of it that much more (you listening Rusty?)

    So anyway, to keep my greater length lesser, a "media resource" would be any entity that brings you news or information about the outside world.  Usually in the form of direct human communication (aural, visual, written).
    --
    Where'd you get your information from, huh?
    [ Parent ]

    I think it is more exciting than that (5.00 / 1) (#391)
    by Alan Crowe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:38:01 PM EST

    I offer some examples of what I might say if I could annotate a BBC news report, in the way that I can reply to a story on K5

    BBC Today the Home secretary issued a report which decribed the nations prisons as an expensive way of making bad people worse

    me This is a choice that we, as a people, make. Prisoners are at our mercy. Do we further corrupt them, or do we reform them?

    meta When the "prison is an expensive way of making bad people worse" issue came up, the media chose to present as polarised along a particular dimension, either it was true and we rely more on alternative sentences, or it was false and no action was required. The sense that we might take responbility for running our prisons one way or another was bizarrely absent.

    The BBC reports re-offending rates with a straight face. Re-offending rates are ambiguous. Did prison act as a university of crime, teaching carreer criminals how to avoid detection, or are the non-returners going straight?

    A report that still sticks in my mind ten years later, said that a fuel shortage in Zimbabwe was continuing inspite of government price caps. That should have been: continuing because of government price caps. What is scary here is that most viewers have had their understanding of economics reduced to mush by listening respectfully to ignorant mainstream reporters. They never suspect that the issue is uncontroversial and the BBC just plain wrong.

    I could go on for ages about the presentation o f economics in the media. The influence of the capital markets on Brazil's election is uncritically presented as undemocratic. Awkward questions about the 117 billion reals of debt that Brazil must roll over in the remainder of this year as left unasked. Where did the money go? Who will put up the new loans? Your pension fund?

    Instead let us imagine a world in which the mainstream media use the word "drugs" to mean alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, amphetamine, heroin, etc. So when a politician says "We must have zero tolerance for drug use" the BBC then enquires what was meant and either reports

    In a stunning policy shift the Home Secretary committed the government to the prohition of alcohol.
    or, more likely, reports
    Today the Home Secretary upheld the special status of alcohol and tobacco with zero tolerance policy towards other recreational drugs.
    You take your bulging wallet into a rough part of town and try to buy cannabis. A poor person is tempted by easy money, and sells you some. In newspaper speak, he is the evil drug dealer and you are his innocent victim. Since cannabis is now class C, you cannot be arrested. Since the penalties for supply of class C drugs have been increased to 10 years, higher than for class B, he is risking serious trouble. Which is worse, to sin for pay, or to pay for sin? How can we think about this question, when our language of evil drug dealers and their innocent victims already answers it for us? Why are our debates on K5 so lame? I think much of the problem is that we come to the debates, already well trained in what Orwell called Newspeak.

    A key technique in the manufacturering of consent is the steady drip, drip, drip of twisted language. This technique depends on the top down control of language by mass media. If you simply aren't watching television news any more, you aren't picking up the language and the emotional postures. Traditional politicians cannot reach out to you in the emotional shorthand of "evil drug dealers will eat your children." If you are used to reading the edit queue and joining in the quarrels about which usages are OK, and which are unacceptable spin, you develop a sensitivity to language. The old tricks stop working.

    Whoops, I've rambled horribly. I hope I'm managing to communicate my excitement, and my intuition that we are in at the start of something really big.



    [ Parent ]
    My lack of incredulity... (3.00 / 1) (#400)
    by Wah on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:41:32 PM EST

    ...is based on a simple observation.

    Some of us are already on the other side.

    Whoops, I've rambled horribly. I hope I'm managing to communicate my excitement, and my intuition that we are in at the start of something really big.

    I don't disagree in the least, it's just going to be a long hard battle, without a noticeable conclusion.  The paradigm will simply shift and a new problem will present itself.
    --
    Where'd you get your information from, huh?
    [ Parent ]

    lol, really? (3.66 / 3) (#312)
    by mami on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:38:11 AM EST

    I see Rusty's creation of Scoop as being as world changing an event as the fall of the Berlin wall.

    Do you know that the fall of the Berlin wall is considered by insiders and researchers as an "accident"? (Source not available, but it was researched in Germany and it was published by sincere people. I wouldn't know where to start searching right now and I darn resent to do research for "theboz" and K5 ... :-))

    May be some insight from Rusty would reveal the same for the creation of Scoop?



    [ Parent ]

    May I quote you in my sig ? (3.50 / 2) (#325)
    by doru on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:42:13 AM EST


    I see Rusty's creation of Scoop as being as world changing an event as the fall of the Berl
    [
    Parent ]
    Yeah, ok :-) (2.00 / 1) (#337)
    by Alan Crowe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:25:10 AM EST

    But try and hyper link where ever you can. It makes a lot more sense when you can see the context.

    [ Parent ]
    Who supports the Palestinian terror groups? (4.00 / 2) (#200)
    by wji on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:07:16 PM EST

    You said there are people, presumably more than two or three, on here who support killing civillian Israelis. I can't remember ever reading (or writing!) a comment on here that said that. There are some apologists who try to take blame off the terrorists, but that's not the same as supporting the actions.

    In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
    psychologist, theboz, pac... (5.00 / 1) (#229)
    by Lode Runner on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:47:56 PM EST

    Here's a comment that calls for the wholesale murder of Israelis, soldiers or not.

    In fairness, K5ers generally seem to find such comments repugnant; but do note that the particular comment mentioned above was rated "5" by theboz, this article's author. And also please note the downthread post by wji, who now doesn't "remember ever reading..." such comments on K5.



    [ Parent ]

    Not in my reading, (none / 0) (#240)
    by marc987 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:17:56 PM EST

    It's a multilayered symetrical parody presented in a logical context and rising to a fanatical conclusion supported by the oppositions paradoxes. I would have been tempted to rate it a "5" for artistic merits but because i didn't feel it really helped advance the discussions I did not rate it.

    Desparate humour maybe, but not a call to mass murder.

    [ Parent ]

    That's usually (none / 0) (#271)
    by Lode Runner on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:55:28 PM EST

    the response people craft when they've just been stuck below the patella. Place the post in the context of his other comments on the subject, consider its timing, and you'll see what triggered the reaction.

    [ Parent ]
    Sarcasm... (none / 0) (#260)
    by PhillipW on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:17:06 PM EST

    and parody are completely lost on you.

    -Phil
    [ Parent ]
    ingenious (none / 0) (#265)
    by Lode Runner on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:39:10 PM EST

    But, Phil, be warned that the brand of sarcasm you just demonstrated will probably be lost to the more reactionary elements of our community. Also, they don't take kindly to being parodied.

    [ Parent ]
    Sorry (none / 0) (#300)
    by wji on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:16:09 AM EST

    I forgot psychologist, who obviously needs one (or is more likely a troll). Although I didn't think psychologist called for murder of Israelis, just that suicide bombers were the Israelis fault.

    And come to think of it, no, I never did read the upthreaded comment. I read the comment I replied to beacuse it was in the Hidden Comments section. It was rated sub-zero, and I didn't think I deserved that so I rated it highly. The comment claimed that the Israeli government was harassing him and might be planning to assault him in some way. I pointed out that k5's American right-libertarians take this as an article of faith at all times, so it seemed unfair to rate him zero.

    In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
    [ Parent ]

    Non-violence for Israel-Palastine (4.40 / 5) (#204)
    by madgeo on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:22:49 PM EST

    I was reading up on Ghandi the other day and had an interesting thought:

    What if a Ghandi-esque person pulled off a non-violent campaign against Israel?

    Prior to that, I saw no way to stop them from fighting...

    I later found out I did not have a new thought in that (someone else had proposed it too), but then what is new in the world really? And THAT is really what all the discussion is about, old ideas, become new solutions. Discussions foment both new ideas and revisiting of old ones....

    Rarely, someone might learn something. Look at me, I used to think I was a republican but now I know I am a libertarian! (see below)

    Not gonna happen. (5.00 / 1) (#207)
    by Apuleius on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:33:12 PM EST

    In Arab society, Jews are expected to be submissive and Muslims to lord it over them. For Muslims to engage in civil disobedience against people who rightly belong under a Muslim thumb, Just Ain't Gonna Happen.


    There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
    [ Parent ]
    Yeah, those arrogant bastards. (none / 0) (#255)
    by Khedak on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:59:15 PM EST

    Yeah, I know what you mean.

    Palestinian: Hey, you want to go back to my place and watch some football?

    Israeli: Sure, sounds great! Where do you live?

    Palestinian: Jenin. Me and my eight roommates pitched in and got a black-and-white TV second hand. It's pretty sweet, we even get Al-Jazeera.

    Israeli: Oh, I think you've mistaken me for someone else. You see, I'm a Jew.

    Palestinian: A Jew? Oh, well never mind, you inferior being. *crosses arms and looks away*

    Israeli: Well, darn you're mean! You sure you don't want to hang out, I've got a color TV and my home isn't infested with vermin...?

    Palestinian: Pfft. I like vermin.

    [ Parent ]
    For non-violence to work (4.00 / 1) (#355)
    by madgeo on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:12:56 AM EST

    Many Many things would have to happen. Basically they would have to have a Ghandi appear that the Palastinians would follow. He would have to have sincere love without bounds for his enemies (look at Ghandi's and MLK's positions if this is not clear). He would have to be prepared to die for the cause (not a problem with these Muslims).

    Hey, it could happen, if the right leader were to appear. Charismatic leaders have done amazing things before.

    [ Parent ]

    some ideas about "debates" (4.00 / 3) (#206)
    by jnemo131 on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 07:30:53 PM EST

    Daniel Quinn, in a book called My Ishmael, made an interesting observation about debates (I read it awhile ago, but I think I still remember his logic. If I'm wrong about something, sorry to any Daniel Quinn fans). He said that most debates that simply have no end, because, as morals are, by definition, not concrete, it simply depends upon the majority to see which is right. This is self-evident to everyone. What we do on k5 is demonstrate our viewpoint, the reasons behind it, and yell at those who don't agree, but in the end, as we read others opinions, its all just a measure of who is the majority. Basicaly, if a majority of people post a comment against a story or comment, they think that the argument was defeated, and vice-versa. But all that's fairly obvious. The second thing Quinn discussed, was that, eventually, when no majority appears, one side of the debate turns to religion of some kind, or a prophet, to solve the debate. For example, the abortion debate clearly has religion on one side. He said they do this to draw the majority to the "right" way, even if it does very little to back up the argument. The Jerusalites of Egypt that wanted to flee turned to Moses, a prophet, to win their side of the argument, and so fled (this is a pretty weak example, i know. I'll come up with another one eventually). It's funny that theboz cites religion itself as a useless argument, since it is this argument that is at the core of practicaly every argument that is not based on fact, or will be when one side gets desperate enough.

    "I heard the droning in the shrine of the sea-monkey"
    -The Pixies
    interesting points (4.00 / 1) (#227)
    by khallow on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:35:30 PM EST

    Actually, the abortion debate has religious tones on both sides. The "Woman's right to choose" is every bit a religion as well. I think that appeal to religion is a common tactic and often an unsuccessful one. It really only works when a party is accepted by both sides. In the example you cite, Moses was a highly respected prophet to all parties. Hence, when he said God told him to lead the Israelites back, everyone listened.

    In today's world, there isn't a dominant moral or religious authority that can make that kind of sea change. The problem is that people aren't sharing the same dogma (perhaps the Islamic world is different, but I suspect it has the same problems). So appeals to religion IMHO will generally fail since your whole audience most likely won't share your dogma.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    Momentous achievement. (4.23 / 13) (#219)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:17:45 PM EST

    You have multitrolled K5, been voted to the FP and generated the same discussion you are deriding (but which we know you love so much, otherwise, why the article in the first place) in your posting.

    You sir are a real artist and deserve to be commended.
    ---
    "Every duck should aspire to be crispy and aromatic." sleepyhel

    rofl (nt) (none / 0) (#410)
    by vile on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:08:44 PM EST

    n/t

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    I have an idea (3.00 / 3) (#222)
    by tokage on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:21:48 PM EST

    Why don't you shut the fuck up?

    Just kidding.

    Sorta.

    I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

    There is a purpose (4.00 / 3) (#224)
    by Fuzzwah on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 08:23:29 PM EST

    It's only recently that I've taken an interest in world politics, international relations and the other hot topics in the list contained in the article.

    I've formed opinions, even though some of them are strong opinions I'd like to consider that I haven't fallen into the trap of attempting to force them onto any one.

    I don't think an article on any of the topics listed could be posted with the hope of changing the views of someone who's already taken the opposite train of thought. However, I've read a great many articles on topics which I haven't previous had a good think about. Reading the article and the comments as a fresh sponge ready to lap up the information and attempt to come up with a position of my own I'm influenced by the thoughts of others.

    If someone can express their thoughts well, with out resorting to flaming or trolling, with out doing it in a pushy "I'm just right" kind of way, then I'll take their ideas seriously.

    Not a day goes by that I don't thank my parents for bringing me up drumming the idea that "there are always two sides to a story" into me.

    Stay subjective, stay open minded, see things from both sides and attempt to come up with a stance on topic X that fits into your personal view of the world. If you think you can express your ideas and thoughts well, post them in an article or comments so that just perhaps you'll give someone something to think about.

    That's what K5.org is all about for me.

    --
    The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris

    YOu would like adequacy.org then, (3.66 / 3) (#234)
    by Phillip Asheo on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:05:20 PM EST

    That seems to be a site that just rehashes every "Hot button" topic for the sake of controversy for its own sake.

    --
    "Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
    -Earl Long

    *Shudder* (OT) (none / 0) (#274)
    by pexatus on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:15:56 PM EST

    There's something that chills my blood when I read, "for the sake of controversy for its own sake." I don't know why. I think it reminds me of the principal of my high school, who, during speeches, would trip over himself trying not to end a sentence with a preposition, and then he'd do it anyway; e.g. "...the pride with which this school fills me with."

    [ Parent ]
    Speaking of retards,... (none / 0) (#276)
    by buck on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:44:06 PM EST

    how are all you damn fine people over at Addakwacee?

    ---

    -----
    “You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
    [ Parent ]

    Interesting Topic (4.33 / 3) (#238)
    by cybrcamper on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:13:18 PM EST

    And one likely to engender a lot of comments like the ones I just read. I think theboz is trying to make a point that is hard to express, and very complex to comprehend. I have seen the same type of behavior on /., and nearly every forum of this type; especially the ones that involve discussions of a political nature.

    If we could have a little more restraint about being judgemental, I think things would go a lot better. I don't see that happening anytime soon, partially due to the nature of political discussions in this day and age, and partially due to the nature of the forum.

    One tends to be more refined about what one says when participating in a face to face conversation with another person, and this seems to be a lot less so when posting to an online forum of any type. From Usenet, to Slashdot, nearly every forum of this type seems to degenerate into flame wars sooner or later. People come in here with an ax to grind, sooner or later they are going to start waving it around. If they did that in a room of people, they would probably wind up in jail or worse, but that's not what happens here.

    I don't think there's a tidy solution to this; and I couldn't truthfully say that I feel political discussion wasn't appropriate at K5. These days, technology is nearly impossible to divorce from politics, especially since so many politically powerful entities are seeking to control technologies in one way or another. I do think, however, that the best way to deal with this (for now) is to do our best to model the type of behavior we would like to see. Simply being careful about what we say on a habitual basis would go a long way. Remember we are all human beings here...we all have feelings, and we all make mistakes.
    You were born with Pandora's box in your lap... what are you going to do with it?

    Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#361)
    by br284 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:44:13 AM EST

    Here's my take on what theboz brought up and my own take on things recently:

    K5 is becoming a schizo Slashdot.

    Now before everyone throws tomatoes at me, let me explain. Take a topic, almost anything that is not clearcut morally or politically. More often than not, the people arguing are the same and it's pretty easy to pick out who will fall where. For instance, mention something criticizing the USA. You get folks like valeko and greenrd who are always on the anti-USA side, and you get folks like thelizman and a few others who are always on the pro-USA side. Same thing for other topics. It's almost boring because there's no surprise anymore.

    Now, back to the Slashdot analogy. Over the last few years, Slashdot has turned into a "me too" Linux / anti-Microsoft colony. You can mention Linux or MS, and the comments are pitifully predictable. K5 is starting to be the same. For instance, given a headline like "President Bush On the Palestinian Plight", the comments that follow will be pretty easy to predict.

    Now as for the fix: 1. We could talk about other things that haven't been beaten to death and maybe there'll be some variety once again in the opinions expressed. 2. Different people could contribute. Rather than see another Israel v. Palestine argument hashed out by the same old folks, maybe we should see one hashed out by some newbies with a different take.

    Moral of the story: Kuro5hin is getting to the point that no new ideas are presented and articles are soap boxes for rehashing something previously said. Instead of a single cult of ideas, there are generally two that fight back and forth without producing any new ideas.

    -Chris

    [ Parent ]

    Bumfuck Idaho - no such place (3.00 / 1) (#249)
    by gernika on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:38:11 PM EST

    There is no such town as Bumfuck, Idaho. There is a place called Bitch Creek, however, if you're looking for obscene place names.
    for(human i = me; i BSCS; i++) { drinkTequila(); }
    Actually, (none / 0) (#251)
    by gernika on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:42:13 PM EST

    sodomy is illegal in Idaho.
    for(human i = me; i BSCS; i++) { drinkTequila(); }
    [ Parent ]
    Other names (4.00 / 1) (#267)
    by benDOTc on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:43:08 PM EST

    There is a Bumpass, Virginia as well.  I know some people out there.

    And it's entirely deserving of the name.

    b.c

    [ Parent ]

    a subject (4.50 / 2) (#253)
    by HDwebdev on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 09:44:56 PM EST

    I've changed my mind on several very contraversial subjects after reading topics online.

    The responses on USENET/FORUMS that helped me see a different view had several things in common: a) They didn't try to use emotional appeal to make a point, and b) they included links to information that backed up their statistics.

    Interestingly enough, I haven't seen a dead tree editorial that satisfied both of those requirements in a VERY LONG time....yet USENET/FORUM editorials often have both of those features.

    I find myself right in the middle (2.50 / 2) (#257)
    by CrazyJub on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:03:03 PM EST

    with no representation. I don't know if I'm in the minority, but my political and social views don't seem to be all on one side, let me know if you are the same. I'll address the points listed in the story and a few others.

    1. Gun Control

    I believe that a citizen without a criminal record has a right to own a licensed and registered weapon, and to use it in self defence on thier own property.

    2. Abortion

    I believe that a woman has the right to determine whether or not to terminate her pregnancy on the one condition that at that moment the baby does not register on an EEG. (Brain activity < 20 weeks on average). That being said, I still think that this should be reduced even further to 3 months.

    3. Religion.

    I will defend the right of any person to practice and raise thier children in the religion of thier choice, however don't expect me to pay for it. ALso, just because I advocate religion, I do not beleive in having the laws of this or any country influenced by a book (or books) written by someone 2000 or 4000 years ago.

    The politicians we elect should be answerable to the electorate and population of the territory they were elected to govern, not the God they decide to worship.

    4. Social Assistance and Welfare

    As a free nation, we have the responsibility to take care of the less fortunate of the population. The welfare program should provide not only financial assitance, but education and training to those who could use the push in the right direction.....but only for a limited time. If you decide to spend the money on drugs and alchool, then you should expect to stop receiving assistance, and again, I'm not going to pay for it. Which brings me to point 5..

    5. Drugs

    This one is simple, legalize it. All of it. If you choose to kill yourself with cocaine and heroin, you're going to do it whether it's illegal or not. As for cannibus, pot, majiuana...I say legalize it, but not for the reasons you may think. Yes, it's a great replacement for cotton and wool. Yes, it has benefits for patients seeking alternative forms of treatment. Yes, it's a damn weed, and it grows naturally, so it's "supposed" to be here.

    No, I say legalize it because I'm SICK AND TIRED of paying my hard earned tax dollars to fighting an unwinnable war. Excuse me Mr. Ashcroft, you're going to "win" the drug war? People have been trying to escape reality by any means nessesary for the last 10,000 years and YOU are going to change all that by hiring more cops? Wow, that's pretentious.

    I'm not looking to change anyone's mind here, nor am I trying to point out the obvious to others. I'm just trying to see if there is a movement out there for what I believe in, and to see if there is anyone out there who believes in the same things?

    The closest I can get, is that I'm a social liberal, but a fiscal conservative.

    OK, I agree completely but... (none / 0) (#288)
    by Anymoose on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:59:12 AM EST

    I would have to append an addition requirement on the Abortion issue - consent of the father as well.

    Presently, we condemn, cease the assets of, and even jail fathers who don't financially contribute to the raising for their children. I support this, although there are extreme and unique cases where things can get a bit out of hand.

    However, although the mother has a choice regarding the birth vs. abortion of their children - the father has none. The father is essentially forced to be a father (at least in financial terms) when the mother chooses birth. He has absolutely no say, however, if the mother chooses abortion. I feel this is fundamentally wrong. If the father chooses birth, then the mother should not be allowed to have an abortion unless significant health risks are present.

    Most Pro-Choice supporters view the debate in terms of "A woman's choice regarding her body". It doesn't really address issue of parenting - simply of childbirth.

    Obviously, in cases of rape or incest the responsible male should have no say other than "Hi , I'm prisoner #2144568). But when consenting adults conceive a child, be it intentional or not, then both parents deserve to have a choice in the matter. If there is no unusual health risk to the women, and the father is prepared and willing to raise the child himself, she should have to respect his wishes and have the child. This matches the instance where he doesn't wish to be a parent, but she chooses to raise the child herself - he has to respect her wishes and contribute financially.

    I realize some will say that her being forced to go through childbirth is not equivalent to him being forced to write a monthly check - yes, I agree! But I said "consenting adults". If she went through the act of conception willingly, then she accepted the risks of childbirth - just as he accepted the risks of childbirth. The specific details of each's role differ, but they both agreed to that possible role when they had intercourse. Outside of unusual health risks, the child should be born if either parent chooses, and only aborted when both agree.


    I AM, Therefore I THINK
    [ Parent ]

    or... (none / 0) (#409)
    by vile on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:00:29 PM EST

    If the father chooses birth, then the mother should not be allowed to have an abortion unless significant health risks are present.

    or... The Father can choose not to claim responsibility for the child at that point. That's the better way to go. Freedom for all.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    right to abort. (none / 0) (#326)
    by Shren on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:54:14 AM EST

    You believe that the moment a baby shows up on an EEG, it has a right to live. That's a very nice-sounding, but, like most places to draw the magic "alive/notalive" line, it's seriously flawed. It's not like the baby's brain is an inert lump of flesh then one day switches on like a car engine and is puttering along. Before the EEG can detect brain wave activity, there is probably at least a period of time where there is brain activity that an EEG can't detect. When we invent a detector that can detect this activity, should the "alive/notalive" line move?

    [ Parent ]

    Good point (none / 0) (#419)
    by CrazyJub on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 10:17:44 PM EST

    I didn't think about that. Ok how about 3 months, that enough?


    [ Parent ]
    Laws influenced by old books (none / 0) (#360)
    by br284 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:33:43 AM EST

    You might want to reconsider your stance that you don't want laws influenced by books that are thousands of years old. If I'm not mistaken, much of modern democratic theory is a direct result of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

    I figure that being influenced by old ideas like republicanism and democracy is much better than some of the newer ideas such as Communism and Facism.

    -Chris

    [ Parent ]

    ha ha (3.66 / 3) (#266)
    by livus on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 10:41:11 PM EST

    I thought it was amusing as a tongue-in-cheek look. I doubt the auther really wants us to take it seriously though, or it wouldn't have a trollesque disability-bashing joke right in the middle of it. I guess that if you only want to voice your opinion so that other people will change their minds, agree with you, and treat you like the new Jesus Christ, there's no point in discussion on the net. But otherwise, why not?

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    Theboz is a Nazi. He's full of it. (2.20 / 5) (#273)
    by bigsexyjoe on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:11:07 PM EST

    Middle East Stories
    These discussions are completely useless. These stories bring out a few types of people.

    These discussions bring out a wide cross section of society.

    Smoking
    Smoking stories are also flameworthy.

    No, I have consistently found that people conduct themselves in mature manner in these stories.

    Abortion When does human life truly begin? Very few actually argue about this.
    This is exactly what everyone is arguing about.
    The amusing thing is that the majority of people here are men,
    It's pretty obvious that most of the posters are women. TheBoz is clearly sexist.

    Gun Control
    This argument usually is full of people comparing apples and oranges.

    Okay, find me one mention of fruit in a K5 gun control debate! Quit sliding your vegan agenda into your stories.

    Religion
    This is a topic that has been the cause of countless wars, murders, and other things throughout history.

    Seriously, religion has always been an excuse or at least something war must justified in terms of.
    The two groups of extremists ruin any chance of a decent discussion about religion on Kuro5hin.
    No, they are always the ones that make the good points, but I guess you want to send the secret police after them.

    Sins of the Politicians
    Okay, give me one example of a politican sinning! You are an anti-politician bigot.
    so the centrists rarely post or get into arguments.
    The centrists are the ones who are ruining the site with their flamebait. Constantly posting things like "Okay, both sides have a point, but isn't there some sort of comprimise..."

    Conclusion
    Most of us are not capable of having a mature debate here, so why try?
    Theboz is clearly a dangerous communist troll who is so extreme that he doesn't include capital letters in his login name. He will not be happy until he has silenced everyone so that he can make everyone worship Ronald Reagan. He hates the internet and he is constantly jerking off to pictures of Bill Gates. I'm sick of all his immature posts which are constantly riddled with lies, distortions and insults.

    Anarchist flip-out (none / 0) (#304)
    by drquick on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:08:41 AM EST

    Theboz is clearly a dangerous communist troll who is so extreme that he doesn't include capital letters in his login name. He will not be happy until he has silenced everyone so that he can make everyone worship Ronald Reagan. He hates the internet and he is constantly jerking off to pictures of Bill Gates. I'm sick of all his immature posts which are constantly riddled with lies, distortions and insults.
    bigsexyjoe clearly has no capital letters in his login name. That makes him a serious anarchist flip-out. And how does he think theboz can be both a nazi and a dangerous communist troll. That would make him like me and I have copyright on that. bigsexyjoe is a dangerous conformist bore who prudely giggles to speaches of that dickless brittish butt-licking torpedo-nose obedience-whore T. Blair.

    [ Parent ]
    Nah. This stuff serves a purpose. (4.83 / 12) (#277)
    by Fantastic Lad on Mon Aug 05, 2002 at 11:49:03 PM EST

    I have learned more information about more varied subjects by participating in these kinds of arguments than anywhere else. --Trying to form an opinion/argument/comment, having to find reliable sources to back up a claim, (often leading me to the bricks & mortar library), having to learn how to write intelligently and quickly. . . This is good stuff. These are useful skills.

    I also love watching the patterns unfold. There is a great deal to be learned about people and society from how everybody interacts in these kinds of forums. What ideas they bring, how they react to being shot down by wiser or dumber souls. --This very article you posted is just such an example of a social study you found worthy of examination, (albeit, with a somewhat vitriolic and bitter kind of interest.)

    Sure, many people seem to fall into one of two diametrically opposing camps of thought. A lot of people are dead set against altering their views, but that in itself creates a useful environment for testing different ideas. Internet discussions are rather like a crucible/furnace. You can test your mind, your level of openness, your ideas against a lot of different types of people; against the harshest dogma. And you can learn a lot about yourself by observing how you react to having a favorite argument shown up as false. --Do you accept new knowledge and modify your idea-structure, or do you bully your way on in denial? What a testing ground! I certainly have had enormous bags of shit knocked out of me over the last five years of on-line debate and discussion!

    My favored approach these days is to always look for the unexpected angle; always try to find the truth in between the two camps, which are often paradoxical in nature.

    The end result is that I have become less flighty in my ideas, more apt to research thoroughly before opening my mouth, less likely to be loose with insults. If you can learn all this stuff through the internet furnace, then you can emerge informed, skilled in communication, graceful in social etiquette, without an ego swimming in illusions of one's own grandeur, and with luck, no mean bones left in your body.

    Also, keep in mind that people are constantly moving into and out of these sorts of forums. New people who have not yet tested their ideas or learned how to function gracefully as human beings. These forums are constantly being replenished with new people, new grist for the mill. And hopefully, the mill turns out some decent human beings by the end of the process.

    Nah. This stuff serves a purpose.

    -Fantastic Lad

    I love you, theboz. (3.80 / 5) (#279)
    by BinaryTree on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:03:05 AM EST

    Seriously, you fucking rock.

    He is not a fucking rock. (4.60 / 5) (#283)
    by Steve Jobs on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:21:23 AM EST

    I have a feeling that your comment, "I love you, you fucking rock" might not be embraced by theboz.  Personally, I would be outraged if someone on a discussion forum said that I was a sex-addicted stone.

    [ Parent ]
    TheBoz fucks rocks? (none / 0) (#335)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:21:19 AM EST

    Ow! Doesn't that chaff?


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Political junkie here too (4.00 / 2) (#282)
    by platypus0 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:14:30 AM EST

    Hey, I agree with you that the vast majority of political discussions here devolve into shouting matches with no real dialogue. But that's true of the political discussions I've heard in bars, colleges, subways, and homes around the world. Kuro5hin political matches are no different than those that regular people (not employed as political "experts" in any capacity) engage in everywhere else. And it's important for everyone to engage in these discussions, in the hopes that they will learn something, anything. And, frankly, I'd put forward that the experts all fall for the same pitfalls; they cloak it in jargon and the tactics of debate.

    It's true that alot of posts have no facts to work with, no citations and no credibility. But occasionally, someone here says something (and hopefully provides a link) that teaches me another valuable tidbit about the issue. As a junkie, the entire fun of politics is when you learn another fact that changes the picture, however slightly or radically. I read Kuro5hin as well as reading alot of papers, blogs and boards. That's what we junkies do, and I get enough morsels from Kuro5hin to not only want to keep reading, but keeping posting when it comes to politics. In fact, I was thinking of posting "A Guide to Debating", on the finer points of civilized ideological confrontation. I don't think the Israel-nukers or the rabid anti-smokers or any of the other reactionaries would pay much attention to it, but what about the rest of you?



    A Guide to Debating (3.00 / 1) (#284)
    by Rduke on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:32:28 AM EST

    Sounds like a good idea. God knows I'm not above going to base extremes to make myself feel better. But then again, I never took debate classes in school.

    [ Parent ]
    re: guide to debate (5.00 / 1) (#364)
    by lonemarauder on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:57:32 AM EST

    I'm totally with you on that one. Let me contribute point one:

      The purpose of debate is to bring together opposing ideas in an adversarial situation in the hope of refining those ideas. Among the initial acknowledgements one must make in this situation is that one does not have cognitive and perceptive ability to formulate perfect ideas. The goal, therefore, is to have one's ideas questioned. Therefore, if one is unwilling to question one's ideas, one is unwilling to engage in debate.



    [ Parent ]
    1375 words of flamebait (3.80 / 5) (#302)
    by AKA10 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:29:39 AM EST

    How did this get on the front page? All the article does is draw silly black and white distinctions between bad stereotypes that are apparently perceived by the author to be the only people posting on K5.

    I hoped this was a joke when I started reading it but I lost hope of finding any humour by the 3rd or 4th paragraph. A group of people (even sharing similar opinions) can NEVER be generalized into a few neat little groups. Most people are way to complex for that (I hope).

    Ill give him credit for managing to insult a few dozen groups of likeminded people on K5 in one post...

    ah. (none / 0) (#382)
    by ph0rk on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:34:09 PM EST

    if they consider themselves likeminded enough to be insulted, was the poster that far off the mark?

    I really tend to agree with the author of the article, most people who bother to discuss issues like these at all are usually vehemently in favor of one side or the other.  

    There aren't a great deal of moderate zealots.
    [ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
    [ Parent ]

    my (2.80 / 5) (#303)
    by Angelic Upstart on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:36:41 AM EST

    views on anything that could be debated. I don't care anymore.

    This is why I don't get in boring... (4.00 / 2) (#305)
    by Stick on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:25:58 AM EST

    Debates about these things. If I really did care about these issues I would go do something about them instead.


    ---
    Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
    well said (none / 0) (#417)
    by dvchaos on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 08:16:05 PM EST

    Wooohooo, I won an argument !?! ... So what ?

    --
    RAR.to - anonymous proxy server!
    [ Parent ]
    What makes you think 'real politics' is better? (4.50 / 4) (#307)
    by thebrix on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:00:55 AM EST

    People from different countries participate in these 'completely useless' discussions. In the current situation that, on its own, makes them worthwhile, and I have to say that the perspective I have on events in America from here is an eye-opener - far different from that in the mass media.

    From my experience in local politics and campaigning the only real difference between there and K5 is that, here, the discussions are out in the open; 'real' political discussions are full of the fatuousness, spite, repetitiveness, grandstanding, irrelevancy and so on you note. Politicians do not come out with perfectly weighted arguments every time they open their mouths, and some cannot come out with them at all unless someone else writes them up for them ...

    Guide to posting comments (4.66 / 6) (#308)
    by Alan Crowe on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:01:04 AM EST

    theboz diagnoses a problem on K5
    Intelligent people have given up on having intelligent discussions...people argue through a number of articles about the same thing ...then repeat the whole process again when new users come to replace the old ones that got tired of the arguing
    and offers a counsel of despair
    Most of us are not capable of having a mature debate here, so why try?
    Posts should focus on dissecting his diagnosis, and offering alternative counsel.

    The Point (4.60 / 5) (#311)
    by Sethamin on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:29:32 AM EST

    I certainly can't disagree that most discussions of any controversial topic spawns heated, often irrational, and usually extremist dialogue. However, isn't that part of the point? It's far easier to form opinions and evaluate arguments when someone takes a stand, which I call the "Devil's Advocate" effect. If everyone is a moderate, it gets boring awfully fast as we all have a love-in and pat each other on the back as to our splendid, enlightened views.

    Sometimes I want venom! Often I want to see anger! Occasionally I want to see people degrading into name-calling! It makes for more interesting discussions, if nothing else. I mean, let's be honest; isn't that at least part of the reason we're all here reading this site? If we could only respond when we have something well researched, enlightened, significant, and meaningful to say, I believe the number of comments would quite significantly. But seriously, I do sometimes enjoy reading that stuff.

    However, there is a good point in this article; in real life we are far less likely to hold such extremist viewpoints and be as rude to each other. I think there are two things we can attribute this to (at least):

  • We will see these people again in person and don't want to leave a bad impression.
  • Even if we won't, we don't want to ruin our credibility in front of anyone else we may see again.
  • I don't think that we can solve the problem of people making asinine statements and arguments, because, after all, this is reality and it's just human nature. However, what we can do is to put in some mechanism to sift through the flame material when we don't want to see it. We already have comment ratings to help this, but I think that some sort of ranking of a user's "credibility" could also be useful to give some measure of the people in the discussion. That way what some people say could be taken more seriously than others, and it will also act as an demotivator to flaming behavior and ridiculous comments. This rating could be as simple as a average comment rating score, although there are probably lots of other criteria that could be included as well. I think this would go a long way towards getting people to cultivate their "credibility score" and not letting them flame out of control, although they could if they want to. Just a though, maybe it deserves a "Meta" article on it?

    A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman

    The problem with that... (3.50 / 2) (#384)
    by ragabr on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:10:35 PM EST

    is that most of, IMHO, the best k5ers post crap along with their good stuff. It's all part of the thing, sometimes you want to make a point sometimes you just want to have fun.

    -------
    And my tongue would be made of chocolate. Mmmmm. Chocolate.
    -rusty
    [ Parent ]
    Hey, I can't believe you forgot the biggest one (4.00 / 2) (#313)
    by salsaman on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:54:43 AM EST

    vi or emacs ? emacs or vi ?

    I'm a moderate. (none / 0) (#334)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:19:06 AM EST

    I can use both.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Fence sitter ! (none / 0) (#350)
    by salsaman on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 10:26:29 AM EST

    n/t

    [ Parent ]
    Beautifully put by somebody else... (3.00 / 1) (#314)
    by mirleid on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:55:02 AM EST

    ...that somebody else being Bruce Sterling

    Futility is freedom



    Chickens don't give milk
    Extremism is its own punishment (4.66 / 3) (#316)
    by Tatarigami on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:02:19 AM EST

    Think of it: the zealots are destined to spend the rest of their lives wondering why the world stubbornly continues in its failure to recognise the fundamental rightness of Cause X and the keen intelligence of its supporters.

    Just nod, and smile, and memorise a few Rammstein lyrics so when all else fails you can quote them and give the impression that you don't speak english.

    keep checking ... (4.00 / 2) (#318)
    by mami on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:05:30 AM EST

    Intelligent people have given up on having intelligent discussions while the flame warriors grow bolder with the lack of people keeping them in check.

    Hey, hey, don't say that. I am here to keep trhurler et al. in check. Can't believe that? You better do.

    We'd all be a lot happier and have better discussions if we just left politics alone here.

    What? You don't want to keep the politicians and their policies in check? Have you lost your best American democratic values? Just who do you think is not a wannabe politician here on K5? And if things go the way we want, they might be on the ballot next time around. Better keep checking ...

    Winning an argument on the internet is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics -- even though you're the champ, you're still a retard

    What an insult, those Special Olympic champs fight real obstacles and don't hide behind nicknames. How dare you call them retard, you coward anonymous retard, you !

    All in all, it's worthless, annoying, and wasteful to have these arguments.

    Broval, at least ONE argument, I don't have to argue with. Everything else is open for arguments, of course ...

    for the retarded: Broval = Bravo (nt) (none / 0) (#320)
    by mami on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:07:18 AM EST



    [ Parent ]
    The USian Debate (2.00 / 2) (#319)
    by bosk on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:06:15 AM EST

    The article's list would be incomplete without a good debate on the term USian.  I like the term, use it, and am indeed a USian myself.  My fellow USians should cast their objections to the term aside and realize it's true usefullness: now we are able to differentiate ourselves from the other Americans, the Uraguayians, whom our country just made a big loan to, their neighbors the Paraguayians, the Argentines, the Brazilians and everyone else from  Tierra del Feugo to the Great White North.

    Gah. (4.66 / 3) (#333)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:18:11 AM EST

    Just the effort of pronouncing "USian" makes it a non-starter. Given that (these days) we try to let people names themselves (Congolese, anyone?) I don't see why Americans shouldn't have that same privlege.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    USian (4.00 / 1) (#386)
    by J'raxis on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:20:01 PM EST

    How is /yü·'es·ē·ən/ hard to pronounce?

    — The Raxis

    [ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
    [ Parent ]

    ???? strikes again (none / 0) (#387)
    by J'raxis on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:21:47 PM EST

    (That’s /yoo-ESS-ee-uhn/ for you non-Unicode users.)

    — The Raxis

    [ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
    [ Parent ]

    Oh, yeah. (5.00 / 1) (#415)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:05:41 PM EST

    That's real melodius. I can hear people using it in patriotic songs, all over the continent, while protesters chant it. Uh - what rhymes with USian?


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    On Rhyming with USian (none / 0) (#437)
    by J'raxis on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 10:40:33 AM EST

    With the natural evolution of language, words pronounced like /yu-ESS-ee-un/ eventually get slurred into something more along the lines of /yu-ESH-un/. So we have, for example, all these words. Patriots may not enjoy the irony that aggression, recession, depression and oppression all rhyme with USian, but I’m sure protestors would.

    Anyway, it’s still no worse to pronounce than these actual names:

    • Paraguayan
    • Uruguayan
    • Estadounidense (Spanish word for American)
    • Liechtensteiner
    • Zimbabwean
    • Kyrgystani
    • Azerbaijani
    • Herzegovinian
    • Malawian
    • Niuean (no, I didn’t make this one up)
    — The Raxis

    [ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
    [ Parent ]

    Excellent! (5.00 / 1) (#440)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 12:03:27 PM EST

    I like it! I'll start working on the new anthem tonight.

    Oho say do you shun,
    the Usian?
    I'll have to work on it...


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Rhyme (5.00 / 1) (#442)
    by dipipanone on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 01:17:12 PM EST

    I knew a man who was a USian,
    Had a career as a rather bad thespian,
    Married a girl but found she was a lesbian,
    Poor old miserable thespian USian,

    Satisfied now?

    --
    Suck my .sig
    [ Parent ]

    Rhyme (5.00 / 1) (#443)
    by dipipanone on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 01:17:55 PM EST

    I knew a man who was a USian,
    Had a career as a rather bad thespian,
    Married a girl but found she was a lesbian,
    Poor old miserable thespian USian,

    Satisfied now?

    --
    Suck my .sig
    [ Parent ]

    Not good enough. (5.00 / 1) (#445)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 01:33:28 PM EST

    It lacks both patriotic fervor and protesterical passion.

    Of course, few songs manage to be patriotic protest songs, so you might want to focus on one or the other.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    The problem is (none / 0) (#395)
    by aphrael on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:59:12 PM EST

    that 'american' would logically refer to anyone from anywhere in the americas. people living elsewhere in the americas resent our stealing of the term and using it for our own purposes.

    [ Parent ]
    I don't cater to the stupid (4.33 / 6) (#338)
    by RyoCokey on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:29:06 AM EST

    Anyone who isn't aware that American refers to citizens of the US either doesn't speak english or is living under a rock. There is no "American" continent, there's a north america and a south america. People from south america are South Americans, not Americans. You can call us "Yankees" if that helps the issue any.

    "USian" is an unpronouncable word that solves a non-existant problem. USian is more about trying to make a smug statement about "American Imperialism." Oops, Usian imperialism. Whatever.



    The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
    [ Parent ]
    yanquis (none / 0) (#394)
    by aphrael on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:58:17 PM EST

    There is no "American" continent, there's a north america and a south america. People from south america are South Americans, not Americans.

    What about people from Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, etc, which are all technically in north america?

    Anyone who isn't aware that American refers to citizens of the US either doesn't speak english or is living under a rock.

    Possibly true, but this *really irritates* people from what we call Latin America --- in Spanish, 'americano' refers to anyone from any of the americas, while 'yanqui' refers to people from the US. The fact that we refer to ourselves as 'Americans' and the people of other countries by other names tends to irritate people who live in other countries which have *just as much logical right to the name*.

    "USian" is an unpronouncable word that solves a non-existant problem.

    It only looks like it is a non-existent problem to those who are from the US.

    [ Parent ]

    North Americans (none / 0) (#397)
    by RyoCokey on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:23:43 PM EST

    They would collectively be North Americans. Individually, they are Mexican, Costa Rican, Guatemalan, etc. As for them being irritated, that's very unfortunant, but our country is called the United States of America, hence the "American" term.

    There's no reason they can't keep their spanish terms, we merely insist that we designate our national people's name, in our own language, as American. Geesh. You sound like one of the Turks having a fit about the Kurds. Perhaps we can get them to speak Turkish and rename them the Turkisians.



    The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
    [ Parent ]
    ok. (none / 0) (#404)
    by aphrael on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:48:23 PM EST

    what were to happen if the austrians were to demand the right to designate their people's name, in their own language, as european? would it be reasonable for other people living in the continent of europe to object?

    this is a serious question. *as a us citizen*, born in texas, resident of california, i find the idea that we have appropriated the term 'american' to mean 'us', leaving every other resident of the continent unable to call themselves america, to be somehow rude. I think they have every bit as much right to the name American as we do.

    You sound like one of the Turks having a fit about the Kurds.

    *laugh* The Turks want to forcibly assimilate the Kurds and make them Turks. I want the people of the US to realize that 'America' is a geographic concept and that people of other countries are 'Americans', too. If you see parallels, it is clearly a misunderstanding.

    [ Parent ]

    Would they really want to be called Americans? (none / 0) (#416)
    by Insaa on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 07:18:57 PM EST

    Before you all become wonderfully considerate people, are you really sure that not, after you have adopted "American" to mean people only in the USA, that the rest of the countries on the American continent would want to be able to call themselves "American"

    There are so many connotations with the word "American" (eg Red Neck), that I am not entirely sure that even though the other countries should be able to call themselves "American", that they would actually want to.

    Ofcourse I could be completely wrong but isn't that for all people on the continent "America" to decide?

    Insaa

    [ Parent ]

    How many people refer to themselves by continent? (none / 0) (#420)
    by RyoCokey on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:25:43 PM EST

    Seriously. Don't you usually identify yourself by nation? While I must admit never having been to France, I imagine if you asked the average person on the street what he described himself as, he'd say "French." Not European.

    If a Mexican was travelling overseas, would he identify himself as "American" or "North American?" I personally doubt it. People identify themselves by their nation, at the very largest denominator. Without direct war, you can't very well dictate who lives on the same continent as you, much less claim they are your people.

    How many Canadians say they are American when people ask where they are from? I really don't see this as an issue. I'd also like to point out there is no "America" continent. So they want to identify themselves by some regional name we're suppose to understand? Give me a break. If I told a foreigner I was a "easterner" without even giving my country, I doubt they'd have a clue what I was referring to.



    The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
    [ Parent ]
    Europeans (none / 0) (#439)
    by Cro Magnon on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 11:55:26 AM EST

    I don't know, maybe with the growing importance of the EU, the French MIGHT be calling themselves Europeans these days. Though, maybe to avoid confusions, we should call them EUians. :)
    Information wants to be beer.
    [ Parent ]
    Is Europe still a continent? (none / 0) (#452)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 05:01:52 PM EST

    I thought it got downgraded and merged with Asia.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Since nobody gets the two confused (none / 0) (#451)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:29:07 PM EST

    It's a bullshit argument.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Mexico City (none / 0) (#458)
    by theboz on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 08:06:18 PM EST

    The futbol (soccer) team from Mexico City are known as America.

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    Fine (none / 0) (#471)
    by RyoCokey on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 02:48:47 PM EST

    Some of our teams are named the "Braves" and the "Redskins." I'm kinda flattered, really.



    The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
    [ Parent ]
    What does that have to do with anything? (none / 0) (#476)
    by theboz on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 05:22:38 PM EST

    There are no people outside of those teams that refer to themselves as the "braves" or "redskins." Mexico City's soccer team is called America because they feel they represent our continents I suppose. Of course, it is egotistical, but that's beside the point. I just wanted to provide proof that there are other "Americans" who call themselves that outside of U.S. citizens.

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    My point exactly (none / 0) (#481)
    by RyoCokey on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 10:05:29 AM EST

    ...and the name of their team is every bit as relevant as the Redskins and the Braves. We have the Yankees too, if that helps any.



    The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick." - John Dos Passos
    [ Parent ]
    You don't understand (none / 0) (#482)
    by theboz on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 10:22:55 AM EST

    It is relevant. If a bunch of Choctaws started a baseball team called the Choctaws, then it would be the same as the futbol team of Mexico City calling themselves America. Is the fact that NC State is located in North Carolina irrelevant?

    Stuff.
    [ Parent ]

    State Affiliations? (3.50 / 2) (#358)
    by br284 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:26:10 AM EST

    I wonder how many American people consider their primary affiliations not to be a function of the federal level, but more of a state level? I don't know about anyone else, but despite living in Illinois at the moment, New Jersey for the four years prior, I still consider myself a New Mexican more than a USian or American.

    Anyone else out there with the same views?

    -Chris

    [ Parent ]

    State affiliation. (none / 0) (#396)
    by DuckSauce on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:07:31 PM EST

    >I don't know about anyone else, but despite living
    >in Illinois at the moment, New Jersey for the four
    >years prior, I still consider myself a New Mexican
    >more than a USian or American.

    >Anyone else out there with the same views?

    For the past few years, i've lived in Arizona,
    Kentucky, Tennessee and now Florida, but
    I really consider myself a Virginian (where i'm from).

    .

    [ Parent ]
    Virginians and New South Welshmen (none / 0) (#418)
    by cam on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:29:18 PM EST

    Anyone else out there with the same views?

    Of the US States I found Arizona and Virginia the most inspirational. Since I moved to Virginia, I regularly fly a Virginia state flag from the front porch.

    I am a New South Welshmen originally, Australia has a great tradition of interstate sport at the State levels, in the case of Rugby League the players are chosen based on their State of Origin, ie where they were born. They bill it as, "Mate against Mate, State against State." The State of Origin Rugby League produces the best league games around, Rugby Union isnt far behind. Plus Australian cricket is strong when NSW Cricket is strong ;)

    I would like to see the US States do some professional sport along the same lines. A State of Origin in NFL or Baseball would be great. In Baseball make them play off in regions, NE, NW, SE, SW and the the southern finalists play each other, and have the finalist North state vs the finalist South state. I would watch it.

    Australians also divide across State borders when it comes to beer too. A Syndeysider wouldnt be caught dead with a XXXX or Swan Lager in hand. A Westralian would probably slit their wrists rather than drink Tooheys Red.

    cam
    Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
    [ Parent ]

    Don't think many americans have done that (none / 0) (#450)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:27:56 PM EST

    In a while. Other than Californians and Texans, of course.

    I was thinking about that the other day - Americans lobby Congress and they fight City Hall - but they generally don't pay much attention to the state governments anymore.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    A proud Virginian (Almost) born and raised! (none / 0) (#463)
    by InsaneHippie on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 04:48:37 AM EST

    I've been living in Virginia all of my life (a whole 21 years) and I feel stronger to my state than I do to the Nation as a whole, I guess it has to do with my Southern/East Coast upbringing. I have a VA State flag in my room, along with a US and Pirate flag. I also have painted my wallet with the US and VA flag. I recently went to Las Vegas, and Vegas itself was fun, but not very pretty (landscape-wise) it was a barren wasteland, with just a very bright oasis in the middle. After I came back to the wooded East Coast, I really noticed how nice everything was and my love for this beautiful state (Where else can you be within hours of so much history, beaches, mountains and scenery?). The 9/11 tragedies brought the country together, but most things you do are done on a local level. If you live in the West Coast, most things on the East Coast, or Mid West, etc are a world away. With such a large sized country it's natural for regionalism to develop. I also live in the VA Capital, Richmond, so I get to see the sausage and animal waste that spews from the State Capitol, and it aint pretty. Tho that "Illegal Radar Detectors" law is very stupid... Being a slight conservative I feel better in VA than just about anywhere else (tho Nevada is looking nice too, once they get more rain and landscaping there)


    -InsaneHippie
    InsaneHippie.net
    Apathy breeds Tyranny. 'Sic Semper Tyrannis'
    [ Parent ]
    re: (none / 0) (#377)
    by Raunchola on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:37:05 PM EST

    How about UKian for all you Brits?

    -
    I am an American, not a "USian." Get it right.
    [ Parent ]
    Briton (none / 0) (#398)
    by TheSleeper on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:26:39 PM EST

    What's wrong with 'Briton'?

    [ Parent ]
    Doesn't include Nothern Ireland [n/t] (none / 0) (#429)
    by Herring on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 07:45:04 AM EST



    Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
    [ Parent ]
    What about the welsh? (none / 0) (#449)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:26:50 PM EST


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    ha ha ha ha.. (none / 0) (#462)
    by dazzle on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 03:42:09 AM EST

    What's wrong with English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish.

    Try telling a Catholic in Northern Ireland that they will now be referred to as UKian.

    Why do some Americans want to be called USian - it's a damn stupid name.

    ---
    the internet: a global network of small minded people


    [ Parent ]
    A better solution is to... (none / 0) (#403)
    by biggs on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 04:45:36 PM EST

    Recognize that "United States of America" is a pretty damn uncreative and lame name for a country anyway. It's not unlike naming one of your cats "Mama Kitty" it's a description, not a name. Furthermore, it's a chore to say so we end up using an acronymn. We also started to realize that "of America" was a bit pointless because there are no "United States of Africa/Asia/Europe" with which to differentiate.. so "United States" or "US" is enough. And I guess "Americas from the states" is really the only simple and logical name to refer to us and that's why we shorten it to "American" which is a bit fuckin selfish... anybody that denies this is blinded by habbit and ignoring reason. So I don't know what the solution is "USian" just simply aint it because using an acronymn to describe your citizens just doesn't sit well with most.. the real obvious solution? Keep the description, sure... but fuckin a, get off our lazy asses and come up with a fuckin name already, shit.. we should come up with one before the 230'th birthday I say!

    --
    "Rockin my 'hell I made it' wetsuit stitch so I can swim in elevators crazy wet through piss" -Cannibal Ox
    [ Parent ]
    It's not as bad as: (none / 0) (#428)
    by Herring on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 07:44:20 AM EST

    The United Kingdom of Great Britian and Northern Ireland (abbrevaited to UKOGBANI ?).

    Signed:- a UKOGBANIan.


    Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
    [ Parent ]
    I named my cat "Tom" (none / 0) (#448)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:25:39 PM EST

    And when I'm angry I call him "Thomas J. Cat".

    Just thought you should know.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Oh give it a break... (none / 0) (#454)
    by fathomghost on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 06:59:22 PM EST

    What other English speaking country is there in the western hemisphere other than the U.S.?  Canada? They're already Canadians (and they don't seem to have a problem with it) So if someone walks up to me on the streets of Saint Jean-Luz and says "I'm an American" ... in english ... I think I'll know what they're talking about.

    How far does this PC horseshit have to go before I just give up and join the Republican party? I mean, come on already.  Besides, we're not Americans anymore.  We're 'merkins.  Ask G.W.Bush ;)

    ~fathomghost

    (ps: spare me the lecture on the non-english speaking citizens of the US, okay? I'm well aware the U.S. hasn't an official national language.)

    ------------------
    "May the source be with you." --The JBoss Group
    [ Parent ]

    retard (3.00 / 2) (#332)
    by turmeric on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:16:15 AM EST

    hey man, dont diss the special olympics. or i wont read the rest of your article

    Can't YOU Shut the Fuck Up? (1.30 / 10) (#347)
    by nikitodorito on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:48:37 AM EST

    Hey Assface: Maybe you should practice a little sensitivity before regurgitating a moronic quote like this. And give credit to the shithead who came up with it in the first place - otherwise it's plagiarism. Sincerely yours. -nd

    To quote: (none / 0) (#348)
    by nikitodorito on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 09:50:14 AM EST

    "Winning an argument on the internet is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics -- even though you're the champ, you're still a retard".

    [ Parent ]
    My Views (2.00 / 5) (#365)
    by asv108 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 11:59:27 AM EST

    Middle East

    The fundamental flaw with both the Israeli and Palestinian governments is a religious centered state. Religion has no place in government. Didn't we learn this 200 years ago?

    Abortion

    This topic is exhausted and is dominated by extremists on both sides. I believe women have a right to an abortion, especially if they can't afford to keep the child, at the same time there are many women who abuse this right as a form of birth control. The endless hours and money wasted on the abortion battle should be spent on more important topics.

    Smoking

    If people want to smoke, they can smoke. Smoking is not going to go away anytime soon so get used to it. Good luck opening up a smoke free bar. Stupid laws made to discourage smoking will be as effective as the "war on drugs."

    Gun Control

    I hate the NRA, I really do, but at the same time I LOVE shooting guns. The idea that the second amendment gives individuals a right to bear arms in this day and age is ludicrous. I feel that non-felons should be allowed to own ANY gun after taking an extensive training course and background tests that they pay for. It is ridiculous that any idiot can go pick up a gun with zero training or experience. You can be pro-gun and anti-nra.

    Religion

    Practice whatever religion you wish but keep it out of my government and don't go knocking door to door for converts. Any religion that needs to seek converts is a flawed religion.

    Sins of the Politicians

    Clinton's whoring and Bush's coke habit are just distractions which are completely political in nature and blind people from the real injustices going on in DC.

    Summary

    There is no way your going to stop seeing these topics on K5 because there is too much interest.

    Israel isn't really religious-centered (4.00 / 1) (#393)
    by aphrael on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:54:44 PM EST

    at least not in the way that, say, Iran is. It's a representative democracy; Arab citizens (which is to say, Moslem citizens) are allowed to vote and are quite active in political life.

    Now, granted, the majority of the citizens are Jewish, and the government is often explicitly Jewish in composure and refers to religion when justifying actions --- but how is that different from the US, where the majority of the citizens are Christians and politicians make a great show of being Christian?

    [ Parent ]

    Oh, really? (none / 0) (#426)
    by jonr on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:45:17 AM EST

    What about fundamentals who don't have to join the army? (Excuse my shitty grammar). Because they have to 'read and understand' the Tora, the Bible or whatever. Sounds like a lame excuse to me, If you haven't understood it after 2000+ years, then it is meaningless!!!!
    J.

    [ Parent ]
    Reality check (none / 0) (#484)
    by Caton on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 10:40:22 AM EST

    The reason Yeshiva students have been originally allowed to skip military service has nothing to do with religion, everything to do with health care: tuberculosis was very common among those people. Arthur Koestler's Analyse d'un miracle says that in 1947, 83% of the Yeshiva students screened for service in the Haganah had tuberculosis. But I can't find it on the net.

    The situation has changed, of course: tuberculosis is under control in Israel, even with multidrug-resistant TB strains from former Soviet block country still being a problem, and the number of Yeshiva students has increased quite a lot. That is why the draft exemption/deferment process is going to be changed. For more information, you can check Draft Deferment for Yeshiva Students - A Policy Proposal, which I found very informative.

    ---
    As long as there's hope...
    [ Parent ]

    $0.02 (none / 0) (#411)
    by eudas on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:16:43 PM EST

    "Middle East

    The fundamental flaw with both the Israeli and Palestinian governments is a religious centered state. Religion has no place in government. Didn't we learn this 200 years ago? "

    well, we might have, but they apparently haven't.

    eudas
    "We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
    [ Parent ]

    $0.04CR (none / 0) (#480)
    by phr34k on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 08:11:32 AM EST

    The US has a president that will not condone athiests. Is this an example of a non-religious government?

    [ Parent ]
    Oh, the irony... (5.00 / 1) (#490)
    by invisiblemonki on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 01:00:38 PM EST

    does anyone else see the irony in this comment? i mean, opinions on an itemized list of subjects in a response to an article on the futility of posting opinions on said itemized list of subjects?

    heres a comment that's actually on the article itself. i see it both ways.
    Yes it's futile to ARGUE, because everyone's interested in being heard. they are arguing because they already think they are right.
    Alternately, it's just dandy to DISCUSS, assuming that you are willing to consider an opposing view point assimilating the good bits and defeating the bad bits instead of dismissing it. But when does that happen?

    --
    if at first you don't succeed, kill the rightful heir.


    [ Parent ]
    Even worse! (none / 0) (#492)
    by epepke on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 07:00:29 PM EST

    does anyone else see the irony in this comment? i mean, opinions on an itemized list of subjects in a response to an article on the futility of posting opinions on said itemized list of subjects?

    And opinions on the futility of opinions, and opinions on the irony of opinions on the futility of opinions on the futility of opinions!

    Somebody call Douglas Hofstaedter. Quick!


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    [ Parent ]
    arrgh! ack! (none / 0) (#494)
    by invisiblemonki on Tue Aug 13, 2002 at 01:01:01 AM EST

    *cough cough*

    --
    if at first you don't succeed, kill the rightful heir.


    [ Parent ]
    great :) (2.33 / 3) (#366)
    by kipple on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:11:23 PM EST

    you know what's the best thing in such an article? that it will just spread other political opinions, raise discussions, make insults be thrown at you, and pour more fuel on the fire of the topics.

    funny! really.. I don't think so many people got the joke about all that ... that, on the long run, talking and talking and talking and talking HERE it's just pointless. Like making exercises to go to the Special Olympics.

    heh have fun :)


    --- There are two kind of sysadmins: Paranoids and Losers (adapted from D. Bach)

    this is demented... (3.42 / 7) (#367)
    by No0ne81 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 12:12:51 PM EST

    bad punctuation, spelling, and grammar, if you don't like that, don't read it.

    america should just leave the damn middle east alone, make smoking perfectly legal ONLY on smoking areas; which need seperate ventilation from the rest of the world, women should be able to abort whenever; and if the father wants it aborted ans she has it anyway, then she can pay for it. criminals have guns... how are we safer by not having them?Religion is made of evil; it takes away the choic e of children. it should be required by law that everyone be exposed to all religions equally since childbirth, or none at all. what politicians do on their own time doesn't affect you, stfu. as for drugs; you either leave it like it is, or you legalize it making tax revenue from it,  destroying illegal traffic of it, and cutting the death toll by a whole fucking lot... your choice

    Op-ed (1.66 / 3) (#376)
    by Sparkinator023 on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 01:36:40 PM EST

    Why are editorials like these posted? Don't we have more 'class' then to post editorials with the F word.

    why does it bother you? (none / 0) (#381)
    by ph0rk on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 02:28:26 PM EST

    are you so uncouth as to be upset or irritated over the choice of a word?

    A word taht, admittedly, has very little meaning in of itself.

    It is a verb, and adjective, and adverb, a noun, it may even be used as a suffix.

    I say fuck the fucking fuckers!
    [ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
    [ Parent ]

    See... (none / 0) (#407)
    by vile on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:21:27 PM EST

    above.. section titled Religion.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    One thing i wondered about... (none / 0) (#469)
    by Eccles on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 12:07:09 PM EST

    I wondered about having a language filter for Mozilla, so a Farscape fan could set up a filter that would process the text part of an HTML stream and modify the title of this page to be "shut the frell up", for example.

    [ Parent ]
    Replying to myself (none / 0) (#474)
    by Eccles on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 04:34:30 PM EST

    Turns out MozDev already has the securitas project that intends to do exactly the word filtering I suggested above.

    [ Parent ]
    why no threshholds here? (2.75 / 4) (#385)
    by waxmop on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:11:57 PM EST

    i like the /. threshhold option where i can only view comments above a certain ranking. i'm not interested in viewing 1 line throwaway posts most of the time. i'm new here, but can somebody tell me why this doesn't seem to be an option?
    --
    We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar

    -1 Flamebait. (1.00 / 2) (#405)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 05:13:20 PM EST

    RTFM.


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    i did rtfm -- i'm asking "why no threshholds? (5.00 / 1) (#434)
    by waxmop on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 09:58:58 AM EST

    i've read the section on comment rating. i'm aware of how to sort comments by ratings.

    sorting comments by rating is distinct from having a threshhold because poorly-rated replies to comments still show up.

    i want to understand the thinking behind the decision to not allow threshholds. perhaps i didn't make myself clear in the earlier post.
    --
    We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
    [ Parent ]

    the reason (none / 0) (#444)
    by infinitera on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 01:19:14 PM EST

    Thresholds don't exist because what you mention as examples of crap you don't want to see get zeroed by the trusted user population relatively quickly. You're already not seeing the crap.

    [ Parent ]
    thanks. (none / 0) (#446)
    by waxmop on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 02:50:15 PM EST

    i didn't pick that up from the FAQ i read. i must have missed it.
    --
    We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
    [ Parent ]
    Qualifications (4.12 / 8) (#392)
    by valency on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 03:53:00 PM EST

    The amusing thing is that the majority of people here are men, and have no real functional knowledge of the female body or the process of childbirth.

    I don't know how an atomic bomb works, but I don't think that disqualifies me from having a political opinion on the topic of arms races.



    ---
    If you disagree, and somebody has already posted the exact rebuttal that you would use: moderate, don't post.
    Abortion vs. Nukes (none / 0) (#453)
    by ekips on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 06:05:09 PM EST

    That's because arms races have the potential to directly affect you (eg. Bush and Iraq get pissed at eachother and decided to nuke one another -- no matter where on the planet you live, the fallout will most likely reach you with the weapons that we've got today). A woman in California having an abortion does not directly affect you, hence your gender greatly decreases the validity of your opinion.

    Leave it to the women, eh?

    -----------------

    This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
    [ Parent ]
    Yes but (none / 0) (#459)
    by rankor on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 08:50:19 PM EST

    my wife having an abortion definitely does have an impact on me.  Pregnancy and child birth are a shared responsibility for both the mother and father.  The idea that men should just "stay out" and have no opinion on any matter child bearing related is a bit irresponsible and certainly explains a fair amount of problems with this lovely society.

    Likewise, my wife certainly has the right to be educated, informed, and have opinions on things such as Selective Service and testicular cancer.  Which, by your definition, doesn't have any bearing on women at all.

    Cheers.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Yes but (none / 0) (#495)
    by ekips on Wed Aug 14, 2002 at 05:20:31 AM EST

    I said "greatly," not "completely."

    -----------------

    This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. If this had been an actual emergency, do you really think we'd stick around to tell you?
    [ Parent ]
    Sounds like you missed the point completely (2.00 / 2) (#413)
    by hbw on Tue Aug 06, 2002 at 06:40:16 PM EST

    There's more to politics than the arguing. You seem to imply that winning the argument per se is the focus of kuro5hin articles, well you're wrong!

    From what I have seen, when reading or participating in discussions, there are many serious debates going on, people are soliciting their opinions, and intelligent arguments from all sides are made.

    If you're simply reading these articles for the enjoyment of saying "Nyah, nyah!" then I can understand that you are getting bored.

    I have discovered a truly marvelous signature, which unfortunately the margin is not large enough to contain.

    Oh that dreary "moderation" stuff again (5.00 / 1) (#456)
    by jubilation on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 07:38:00 PM EST

    One thing that I have noticed is that too many people harp too much on "moderation" and respecting all viewpoints.  While there is room for lively discussion and empathy, don't forget that *if you really believe your convictions* you are not likely to stroke your chin and say "hmm, good point" when someone trashes your belief system.

    I do sympathise (heh heh) with the original poster; often in an argument, once you've gotten to the point where you realize you differ on bedrock, emotionally-held beliefs, the argument really is over.  The best you can do is muster up whatever tolerance you possess, shake hands, and disengage.

    That's part of the problem with people today.  They believe so much in moderation and relativism that they no longer really believe in anything.

    (As a side point here)  Imagine how *seriously* *different* all our ancestors were.  Until very, very recently people spent remarkably little time wondering about their inner state, and less about others'.  Think about the difference between Beowulf and some Joyce novel.  You never see
    lines like this from the long-ago:

    Bold Beowulf  Bringer of Battle
    Nearly crapped in his pants because he was afraid
    Grappled Grendel  ...


    [ Parent ]

    Sorry, You Lose The Gold Medal (1.50 / 8) (#436)
    by OmniGeek on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 10:26:52 AM EST

    Your Special Olympics reference is boorish and insulting, and detracts from the potential worth of the rest of your argument. (I know it has turned ME off from even reading the rest of your post.)

    Dismissing the physically or mentally handicapped as "retards" betrays a smug elitism you may well regret bitterly one day when YOU are old and frail, or if you suffer a physical or mental disability (beyond your obvious present psychological impairment). The physically and mentally "handicapped" people I know are no less worthy of respect than you or I. (YOU try navigating a major American city in a wheelchair every day; try to commute, get social services, eat at fancy restaurants, and go to the theater. THEN tell me who has reason to complain and who doesn't.)

    And your post is repetitive and unneeded. (none / 0) (#447)
    by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 04:23:06 PM EST

    About 50 people have already made this comment - were you too stupid to read them? Or are you attention disabled?


    --
    To understand American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservative
    [ Parent ]

    Slow down, dork. (5.00 / 2) (#489)
    by jonny 290 on Sat Aug 10, 2002 at 04:40:48 PM EST

    Your Special Olympics reference is boorish and insulting, and detracts from the potential worth of the rest of your argument. (I know it has turned ME off from even reading the rest of your post.)

    Well, then, you're a hypersensitive little shit. Roll your eyes and read the fucking article instead of pretending to be offended. To be quite honest, I read that entire paragraph in my head using the Comic Book Guy voice.

    Dismissing the physically or mentally handicapped as "retards" betrays a smug elitism you may well regret bitterly one day when YOU are old and frail, or if you suffer a physical or mental disability

    Carpe diem, I always say. I'll give up my functioning frontal lobe when they pry it from my cold, dead skull.

    And aren't at least some mentally handicapped people classified as "retarded"? That would make them retards.

    (beyond your obvious present psychological impairment).

    You weak-willed, sniveling, ad-homming piece of crap.

    (YOU try navigating a major American city in a wheelchair every day; try to commute, get social services, eat at fancy restaurants, and go to the theater. THEN tell me who has reason to complain and who doesn't.)

    I can't afford a fucking car, fancy restaurants, or goddamned theater trips, but I make too much to get social services.

    At least they have the opportunity to sit at the shitty table by the kitchen door at the Olive Garden.
    -- brojames@ductape.net ----here to flip the script and channel your aggression inside----
    [ Parent ]
    apparently not (4.50 / 4) (#438)
    by speek on Wed Aug 07, 2002 at 11:42:51 AM EST


    --
    what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck -

    Brilliant (5.00 / 1) (#477)
    by TH on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 06:52:28 PM EST

    The best story I've seen written here for a while (not that I read it very often). Kudos to you for writing it, made my evening.

    Why I debate (none / 0) (#478)
    by pseudostatic on Thu Aug 08, 2002 at 09:13:07 PM EST

    Personally, I argue about this sort of thing because I feel it's important to be heard. Also, arguing with somebody is often the only way to understand their views. There's also the entertainment value; there are some really stupid people out there.

    i like to go out and change (4.00 / 1) (#479)
    by littledriel on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 04:14:14 AM EST

    arguing lets you see another persons point of view, yes it's often an irrational emotional state, but aren't we all like that sometimes?

    what's important is that we find something that inspires us, motivates us, stirs about some compassion or empathy and we try in some small way to change the world for what we feel is better. I am personally very politically active in the outside world, but i understand not all people are capable of that. Maybe simply trolling your views on abortion is the best you can do, and you can inspire someone else to go lobby the gov't to make an actual change. Or maybe you're just a chump.


    without confrontation, there is no postation -Felixxxxxxxxxxx
    let's back to Plato / Socrates (none / 0) (#485)
    by Rhodes on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 02:33:41 PM EST

    And their dialetics (all senses of the word) with the Sophists (which is why we know Plato to this day). Most of the "reasoning" you describe is eristic- argumentative for the sake of argument, with no intent at reaching a conclusion that is any better than "winning" the arguement.

    Part of what I am saying is enclosed in the idiom "The more things change, the more they stay the same".

    Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#486)
    by aSkeptic on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 09:42:50 PM EST

    I enjoyed reading your artical. Its an enjoyable summery. Hope they put it on the next intersteller probe :)

    Well... (5.00 / 1) (#487)
    by thelizman on Fri Aug 09, 2002 at 10:16:43 PM EST

    I have found when you listen to another persons thoughts you can then begin to understand what they are saying....The problem with the world too much talking and not enough listening...Learning can only take place when you realize that you could be wrong about something(or everthing for that matter). So you have to decide which is more important being right or being wise. Written by:Danie...not thelizman
    --

    "Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
    The reason (none / 0) (#493)
    by epepke on Mon Aug 12, 2002 at 07:11:52 PM EST

    I've been arguing with idiots over computer networks for a quarter of a century. (No joke--PLATO system, Sarasota, Florida, 1977.) What I get out of it is a greater understanding of psychology. Every argument is a probe into the psyche of a bald monkey. Over time, I refine my models of said bald monkeys. Today, kuro5hin. Tomorrow, the world! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


    The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


    Politics: Can't We All Just Shut the Fuck Up? | 496 comments (429 topical, 67 editorial, 4 hidden)
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