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Bloggingheads 09-05-2009 01:53 AM

Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made (Robert Wright & George Johnson)
 
Note from Robert Wright:

My apologies to viewers who were hoping for a classic Science Saturday, complete with discussion of actual science. But I felt that, given the controversy involving two recent diavlogs that featured either a creationist or an adherent of intelligent design, I should try to explain (a) how those diavlogs came to be and (b) what our policy on discussing creationism and intelligent design will be going forward. I’m not sure how successful this diavlog was in that regard, and I’m not sure how many viewers want to hear as much of the inside story as I presented. For the benefit of those who would just as soon skip the director’s cut, and those who watched it but found it lacking in pith, let me try to provide something like a bottom line:

1) Prior to this controversy I had failed to clearly articulate an editorial policy that would cover diavlogs of this sort. This became particularly problematic as I delegated more authority to staffers who arrange diavlogs, and ceased to personally approve all pairings involving newcomers to the site. One result was this controversy, which has prompted me to clarify our editorial policy and take measures to ensure adherence to it.

2) I don’t have any intellectual sympathy for creationism or intelligent design, as this piece I wrote for Slate in 2001 shows. But I don’t exclude the possibility of featuring creationists and/or adherents of intelligent design on the site--though perhaps not under the Science Saturday rubric--in the future. At the same time, if the conversation they’re involved in is a discussion of the scientific merits of their position, then the diavlog would have to meet strict criteria. For one thing, the person they’re conversing with would have to be expert in relevant subject areas. And since these areas tend to be arcane, the person they’re conversing with would have to be a superb communicator, lest the conversation be inaccessible to our mainly lay audience. In addition, we’d prefer that the conversation involve genuinely new and unresolved issues, not a rehashing of issues that have already been effectively addressed in other venues, including the academic literature. These guidelines (with which the Behe-McWhorter diavlog, in particular, was inconsistent) make it unlikely that diavlogs on the merits of intelligent design will appear with much frequency in the future.

3) If, on the other hand, the discussion is about something other than the scientific merits of intelligent design, the criteria would be less hard to meet. For example, I personally have an interest in theology, and I can imagine interviewing an intelligent design proponent who believes that evolution happened but with some sort of divine assistance; the interview would be not about the scientific merits of this belief but about its theological aspects. (Obviously, this diavlog wouldn’t appear on Science Saturday.) Bloggingheads.tv, while generally focusing on politics and policy, also covers intellectual discourse broadly, and theology is part of intellectual discourse.

For a more general statement of our philosophy regarding diavlogs that appear on BhTV, click here.

One nagging afterthought: My offhand reference in this diavlog to "humanizing" creationists didn't, of course, mean that I consider them inhuman. The reference was to depicting them in a way that would make them seem more acceptable to their intellectual opponents.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, George Johnson and John Horgan will be here next week for a real Science Saturday.

claymisher 09-05-2009 02:15 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
I gotta get a copy of George's conspiracy theory book, Architects Of Fear ... hey, it's out of print! Arrg.

AemJeff 09-05-2009 02:16 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 128673)
I gotta get a copy of George's conspiracy theory book, Architects Of Fear ... hey, it's out of print! Arrg.

17 used from $25.41.

claymisher 09-05-2009 02:42 AM

second edition!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 128674)

I ain't paying $25 for a used book! I'm checking it out from the library. :)

Come to think of it, given the sudden Republican/Tea-Party/Obama-Hitler/LaRouche convergence, George ought to write a new chapter and get that back into print.

Wonderment 09-05-2009 02:45 AM

Kumbaya
 
How could you guys NOT name this diavlog Kumbaya in honor of Joan Baez, who is John Baez's first cousin?


Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya

claymisher 09-05-2009 02:53 AM

Re: Kumbaya
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 128681)
How could you guys NOT name this diavlog Kumbaya in honor of Joan Baez, who is John Baez's first cousin?


Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone’s laughing, Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya

Heheh. At least George and Bob are getting some laughs out of this. It is pretty funny.

I'm 45 minutes into this and I don't think Bob's mentioned the Templeton deal, his book, or his recent NYT op-ed, which together with Nelson and Behe add up to a lot of something.

Wonderment 09-05-2009 03:00 AM

Re: Kumbaya
 
Quote:

I'm 45 minutes into this and I don't think Bob's mentioned the Templeton deal, his book, or his recent NYT op-ed, which together with Nelson and Behe add up to a lot of something.
Just you wait! He's about to cover that AND play the Daniel Dennett card (Jesus, Bob, give that a rest, por favor!)

AemJeff 09-05-2009 03:30 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
The sidebar link to Bob's response to Coyne is bad.

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 06:22 AM

Re: Kumbaya
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 128684)
... AND play the Daniel Dennett card (Jesus, Bob, give that a rest, por favor!)

Second that.

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 06:26 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 128688)
The sidebar link to Bob's response to Coyne is bad.

Yes. It looks like it's missing an http:// at the beginning.

Here is the correct URL.

Also: the link in Bob's response to Coyne's piece in TNR is broken (I think TNR recently did a(nother) site redesign). Here is an updated link to Coyne's piece.

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 07:02 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
First, thanks for Bob for making such a sincere effort to clear the air/inform the audience/call it what you like, and thanks to George for sitting there and helping to move things along. Kudos and more thanks to George for not budging on creationism = ID.

Second, I said in another thread, probably the Behe one, that I thought McWhorter -- and by extension, any single diavlogger -- should have the right to ask to have a diavlog pulled. Bob convinced me in this diavlog to change my mind on that. I now agree that it is in principle unfair to the other person. (I suppose it would be different if both asked to have a diavlog pulled, but that's not at issue here.)

On a related note, I still think it would be good for John McWhorter to write something up, describing everything that went through his mind from the time he first got the idea to do a diavlog with Behe up through his asking to have it pulled. (So far, there's nothing here.) To my mind, his credibility has taken a fairly severe hit in connection with all this, and staying silent and hoping it will go away (which is what it looks like, anyway) is just making matters worse. Bob and George: I urge you to urge John to come clean.

Third, Bob made a point when talking about not wanting to promise a zero crackpot policy from here on out that sounded pretty good; e.g., that certain people think neocons have been so discredited that they shouldn't be given a platform. (There were other examples that didn't stick in my memory.) I don't have a good crisp rebuttal, but for the record, as much as that idea of one person's controversial figure is another person's thoroughly discredited bundle of noise sounds good, I don't agree with it. I tried to sketch this out, again, probably in the Behe thread, that there is something fundamentally different about a political position compared to creationism. Loosely speaking -- since I don't want to get into what it means to prove something strictly speaking -- creationism can be said to be provably not science. (And for those who insist on making a distinction, ditto ID.) These people have been thoroughly exposed by scientists and the legal system as purveyors of nonsense, and in many cases, as charlatans who are not honest about their real agenda, and on every point where science could weigh in, their claims have been shown to be incorrect. Often, laughably so.

The best that can be said for a guy like Behe, which Bob did more or less say, is that his attempt to find examples to support his "irreducible complexity" nonsense is that he has stimulated others to do some useful work in real biology. Now, were Behe to portray himself as a self-appointed gadfly, and make some statement along the lines of "I think people are embracing evolutionary theory too much too soon, so I'm going to make it my business to hold up loose ends for the sake of tightening up the science," that would be one thing. But that's not his approach. He takes money from the Discovery Institute, he abets and encourages the whole religious persecution complex, and he at best silently stands by while the real foamers at the mouth hurl out everything they can think of, not least of which equates Darwin with Hitler.

Point is, Bob, there actually are crackpots where near-unanimity about the labeling obtains, and if you consider only the opinions of those who actually have a decent amount of scientific training, this is the view of Behe. For this reason, and for the "provability" one mentioned above, I believe there is a qualitative difference between someone holding political views that a majority view as discredited, and someone holding pseudoscientific views that virtually everyone qualified to say views as nonsense. And indeed, lies. So, while I can understand your reluctance to make too sweeping a No Crackpots policy, I'd like you to bear this particular kind in mind.

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 07:14 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Oh, and on the diavlog title? I can't let it go by without sharing one of my favorite neologisms of all time. William Schneider called "mistakes were made" an example of a new grammatical tense: the past exonerative.

==========

[Added] It just occurred to me that I got another new (to me) piece of information from this diavlog. I did not know that the Templeton Foundation had made a clear statement about ID. Here's an excerpt from their page on it, for anyone who's interested:

Quote:

Does the Foundation support I.D.?

No. We do not support the political movement known as “Intelligent Design.” This is for three reasons 1) we do not believe the science underpinning the “Intelligent Design” movement is sound, 2) we do not support research or programs that deny large areas of well-documented scientific knowledge, and 3) the Foundation is a non-political entity and does not engage in, or support, political movements.

It is important to note that in the past we have given grants to scientists who have gone on to identify themselves as members of the Intelligent Design community. We understand that this could be misconstrued by some to suggest that we implicitly support the Intelligent Design movement, but, as outlined above, this was not our intention at the time nor is it today.
Here's the Wikipedia entry on the controversy that likely caused the above policy to be published.

maximus444 09-05-2009 07:33 AM

Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
I missed the Behe diavlog, I'll be going back to watch it but I can't understand why he was paired with John McWhorter??
I'm surprised at Sean Carroll for leaving in protest, not that I'm criticizing him for doing it, I fully understand his reasons for doing so.

themightypuck 09-05-2009 09:49 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Since when is dope weed? Talk about old.

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/223...8:54&out=29:28

thprop 09-05-2009 09:54 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by themightypuck (Post 128709)
Since when is dope weed? Talk about old.

http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/223...8:54&out=29:28

I also believe the correct phrase is "Don't harsh my mellow". But dope is and always will be weed in addition to whatever else you young people call it. Time for my glaucoma treatment.

Ocean 09-05-2009 10:08 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Brendan,

I think you are the right person to answer this totally unrelated to the diavlog question: where does the word "provability" come from?

Here is the reason I ask: "to prove", as far as I know, comes from the Latin word "probare". Note that the English version substitutes the "b" for a "v". However, another word also derived from the same root is "probability". In this case, for some odd reason, the "b" was kept the same. But now there is this other spelling "provability". I do understand that it may have a different connotation as a result of making each of the meanings more specific, but does the word exist? or are we (you) making it up?

Wonderment may also know about this (?).

I apologize in advance for my OCD attack... :)

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 10:21 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 128711)
Brendan,

I think you are the right person to answer this totally unrelated to the diavlog question: where does the word "provability" come from?

Nothing as sophisticated as you go on to hypothesize, unless my nether region can be said to be sophisticated.

I never knew any of this ...

Quote:

Here is the reason I ask: "to prove", as far as I know, comes from the Latin word "probare". Note that the English version substitutes the "b" for a "v". However, another word also derived from the same root is "probability". In this case, for some odd reason, the "b" was kept the same.
... so, thanks.

Quote:

But now there is this other spelling "provability". I do understand that it may have a different connotation as a result of making each of the meanings more specific, but does the word exist? or are we (you) making it up?
I would say that I extrapolated it (prove + ability, and then dropping the e), and then noted with surprise that the spell-checker did not give me the red underline.

Quote:

Wonderment may also know about this (?).
Let's hope.

Quote:

I apologize in advance for my OCD attack... :)
Nothing to apologize for, but wouldn't you say this was more of an OED attack?

graz 09-05-2009 10:23 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Forget Waldo... Where's McWhorter?

Thanks for the explication. Mistakes were made, traffic was lost after attempting to be gained.

Content generators are responsible... but excused because it's all your fault Bob... except you did nothing wrong. I got it.

It's still a big happy mess at bhtv.

My mellow is less harshed than my incredulity is expanded.
Of course your an honest guy Bob, but your truth is nothing if not self-serving. Self-deprecation notwithstanding.

DenvilleSteve 09-05-2009 10:24 AM

Establishment scientists not deserving of respect
 
Consider that Zimmer, George and Carroll take the same "don't discuss this" approach to questions about global warming as they do questions about how bio chemistry of cells and micro organisms came to be. I am reading a book by Sahotra Sarkar which refutes the IC arguments. Behe does a much better job than Sahotra of informing the reader as to the marvels of the bio chemical inner workings of cells. For that alone I am grateful that he is in the mix, educating the public in his area of scientific expertise. It is very upsetting that these democrat scientists, always with the condescending attitude, are actively working to limit the dissemination of alternate scientific ideas and approaches.

It appears that little progress has been made in science in recent decades as democrats have come to dominate large institutions. NASA is seemingly doing nothing. We should be sending fleets of robots to Mars and the Moon. No super collider is active or planned in the US. Nuclear power, fusion reactors - nothing. Science is not developing new antibiotics, people are defenseless against a flu outbreak. Cancer still kills with certainty. The Earth is defenseless against asteroids and extreme solar events. People are increasingly illiterate in the sciences. I think the fault derives from the mindset of control freak democrats.

Ocean 09-05-2009 10:29 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Thank you for your response.

Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 128712)

Nothing to apologize for, but wouldn't you say this was more of an OED attack?

As for this part, I thought you were Teh Official OED proxy...no?

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 10:30 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thprop (Post 128710)
I also believe the correct phrase is "Don't harsh my mellow". But dope is and always will be weed in addition to whatever else you young people call it. Time for my glaucoma treatment.

Agree with mellow over buzz as more common, but I have heard both. The latter would be called for, I would think, when one had ingested a particularly pleasant and hard to obtain controlled substance. Bob, if he is to be believed, had not (he is against killing weeds now, right?), so he should have preferred mellow.

I don't know how George lives in New Mexico and doesn't know this phrase.

Moving along ...

Also agree that several slang terms for marijuana seem never to go out of style; e.g., pot, dope, weed, herb, and maybe grass.

Just be glad no one says mary jane anymore. (If, in fact, anyone ever did -- I've always been suspicious that this term was made up by someone in the Nixon White House when writing anti-drug propaganda for school children.)

Me&theboys 09-05-2009 10:37 AM

I STIlLL don't understand what Bob is trying to say
 
I have tried and tried to understand what Bob is saying in a way that does not take him into non-materialist or illogical territory, and I can't do it (and seem to be in good company with George, John, Coyne, Myers, et al). I just get the sense that extrapolating from his point leads to very indefensible positions.

It seems to me he is saying something along the lines of:

Evolution has led to X and X and X, and since X and X and X are good, or are better than Y and Y and Y, (good and better are not the right words, maybe, but exactly what the words should be is part of, if not the crux of, my problem with this whole issue), it’s not beyond the realm of possiblility that some divinity is behind the creation of the system that has led to X and X and X (I also have problems with the leap to this conclusion).

Since I have a lot of problems with the implications of the above, I wonder if I have not got it right, since whatever Bob's point is, he seems not to have problems with its implications.

Can anyone here help explain Bob's point?

Francoamerican 09-05-2009 10:55 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Materialist teleology
 
re: materialist teleology. This is, as logicians like to say, a contradictio in adjecto. It will also shock anyone familiar with the history of philosophy.

I wonder why Bob thinks it is possible to combine a conception of reality as governed by mechanistic or efficient causality (materialism) with a conception of reality that encompasses purpose (teleology). Does he think that biology is different from physics? Natural selection, as Darwin and his successors understood it, is a mindless and purposeless process. It says (condensed version): The fittest individuals in a population will survive and leave the most offspring because surviving and reproducing are what the fittest individuals do. A perfect tautology, but also a perfect example of a purposeless process since survival and reproduction have been the characteristics of life since the most primeval bacteria. Why should we consider a process that culminates in us (if it does culminate in us) to be any more purposeful than a process that culminates in earthworms, if our only purpose is to survive and reproduce like the lowly earthworms that so fascinated to Darwin? So where lies the purpose? In the mutations of DNA molecules? No, because these are random and everyone knows that randomness and purposefulness can no more be reconciled than chance and necessity---at least if you know the meaning of words.

Let me state the obvious since there seems to be some confusion provoked by proponents of ID (whose conception of purpose is equally confused). The principle of purpose (teleology) can only be derived from our consciousness of it in the workings of our own minds. As far as we know, we are the only beings in the universe that can conceive of purposes. Even if there are others, we have no knowledge of them. If this is so--and how could anyone dispute it?--a science that excludes the self-knowledge of the human mind from its conception of the universe, cannot say anything about purpose.

Evolutionary biology excludes mind from the process of evolution. Therefore, it has nothing to say about purpose. QED

Unit 09-05-2009 10:59 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Bob,

you sound quite reasonable to me. Question: how do you call people (like me) that have the following reaction "wow evolution through natural selection is such an amazing and complex phenomenon that nobody could have possibly designed it". In other words, the beauty and high level of complexity makes design by a single mind even more implausible. Is there a word that describes this point of view? The "inhumanist" point of view?

ogieogie 09-05-2009 11:11 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Another "Science Saturday" wasted.

thprop 09-05-2009 11:18 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 128716)
Agree with mellow over buzz as more common, but I have heard both. The latter would be called for, I would think, when one had ingested a particularly pleasant and hard to obtain controlled substance. Bob, if he is to be believed, had not (he is against killing weeds now, right?), so he should have preferred mellow.

I don't know how George lives in New Mexico and doesn't know this phrase.

Moving along ...

Also agree that several slang terms for marijuana seem never to go out of style; e.g., pot, dope, weed, herb, and maybe grass.

Just be glad no one says mary jane anymore. (If, in fact, anyone ever did -- I've always been suspicious that this term was made up by someone in the Nixon White House when writing anti-drug propaganda for school children.)

As someone who has not gotten high since college (herb put me to sleep), I would tend to agree but my opinion is not worth much. Is "getting high" still used? I would not even know how to buy marijuana these days. I assume I could ask my nieces and nephews. Damn - I am such an old fogey.

I still know most of the words to "Don't Bogart that Joint My Friend." Does that make me cool or more of an old fogey?

My favorite doper song - "Henry" by the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

badhatharry 09-05-2009 11:29 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Bob must be a great husband. His wife doesn’t have to list his mistakes in excruciating detail, he does it himself.

George: “yeah, so anyway.”

Bob must have been raised Catholic. “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”

Apparently Bob doesn’t think there are any scientists out there who can go toe to toe with an IDer without being inaccessible to a lay audience, except Dawkins, who I presume won’t attend because of the Templeton connection.

As I said in a post a few months ago, any one who is not an atheist is by definition a creationist. I faced some criticism for this analysis, but after hearing this diavlog, I think it stands. Either one believes there is a purpose/creator/force or one believes this whole experience humans are having is an accident. In other words….it could have gone differently, but it didn’t.

themightypuck 09-05-2009 11:34 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Dope has a strong correlation to heroin around here. I guess it sounds weird to me because of that.

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 11:43 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thprop (Post 128725)
As someone who has not gotten high since college (herb put me to sleep), I would tend to agree but my opinion is not worth much. Is "getting high" still used?

As far as I know, but it's been some years for me, too.

Quote:

I would not even know how to buy marijuana these days.
I think you just move to California. ;^)

Quote:

I assume I could ask my nieces and nephews.
Don't do that. They would be horrified.

Quote:

Damn - I am such an old fogey.
Embrace it, as Bob and George have.

Quote:

I still know most of the words to "Don't Bogart that Joint My Friend." Does that make me cool or more of an old fogey?
I might have said the latter up until a few years ago, but I've become aware that there is no shortage of kids these days who like music from our hell-raisin' days. (There's something jarring about watching my nephew choose the classic rock station.) I have to say in the case of this particular song, though, that anyone who would call you an old fogey over it should be understood to be not yet hip. Little Feat will always be good. (Added: That's how I learned it -- I just noticed you linked to CJ & The Fish's version.)

Quote:

My favorite doper song - "Henry" by the New Riders of the Purple Sage.
Never heard that one before. Thanks. Back in the day, I liked another tune by the same band.

AemJeff 09-05-2009 11:47 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 128711)
Brendan,

I think you are the right person to answer this totally unrelated to the diavlog question: where does the word "provability" come from?

Here is the reason I ask: "to prove", as far as I know, comes from the Latin word "probare". Note that the English version substitutes the "b" for a "v". However, another word also derived from the same root is "probability". In this case, for some odd reason, the "b" was kept the same. But now there is this other spelling "provability". I do understand that it may have a different connotation as a result of making each of the meanings more specific, but does the word exist? or are we (you) making it up?

Wonderment may also know about this (?).

I apologize in advance for my OCD attack... :)

I had never heard that word until I took courses in formal logic and theory of computer science. It still only seems to come up in that context - my guess is that it was a bit of technical jargon invented by some mathematician, Frege or Boole or somebody like that.

thprop 09-05-2009 11:48 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by themightypuck (Post 128729)
Dope has a strong correlation to heroin around here. I guess it sounds weird to me because of that.

You get away from the drug culture for 30 years or so - and it just passes you by. From the Urban Dictionary -

Quote:

People who do not do drugs call Marajuanna Dope.
People who do Marajuanna call Heroin Dope.
Word has also been used to describe how good somthing is.
Don't you be somkin' dope! ( AKA Marajuanna )
Quote:

Is a "slang" word for Heroin. Since heroin is 'considered' the lowest form of drug addiction.

(& weed is not dope.)
Quote:

not weed but heroin. only dumbasses call weed dope.

AemJeff 09-05-2009 11:51 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 128728)
...
Apparently Bob doesn’t think there are any scientists out there who can go toe to toe with an IDer without being inaccessible to a lay audience, except Dawkins, who I presume won’t attend because of the Templeton connection.

...

Most of Behe's act is to play dazzle 'em with bullshit, such that the problems in what he describes are buried in the technical jargon. So yeah, that's pretty much inevitable.

SkepticDoc 09-05-2009 11:52 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
a "free" definition:

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/provability

bjkeefe 09-05-2009 11:52 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thprop (Post 128733)
You get away from the drug culture for 30 years or so - and it just passes you by. From the Urban Dictionary -

Heh. Back in the day, we called marijuana dope purely for the irony -- part in reaction to the scare tactics we'd grown up with, and partly in reaction to the hipsters of the day, who insisted, as do the UDers today, that "dope is unhip." (I had one friend who would always say, "Anybody wanna smoke a marijuana cigarette?")

'Course, dope (as an adjective) meant cool for a little while, a few years back, so you can see the problem just feeds on itself.

Ocean 09-05-2009 11:54 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mvantony (Post 128727)
I don't know where it comes from, but here's one context in which it's used.

Yes, thanks. I was wondering about its etymology...

SkepticDoc 09-05-2009 11:57 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
There is a book:

http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-Were-.../dp/0151010986

promotional podcast:

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/carol_...kes_were_made/

Ocean 09-05-2009 11:57 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AemJeff (Post 128732)
I had never heard that word until I took courses in formal logic and theory of computer science. It still only seems to come up in that context - my guess is that it was a bit of technical jargon invented by some mathematician, Frege or Boole or somebody like that.

Yes, again, I think it's one of those situations when a more subtle second meaning attached to a word deserves a different spelling. The alternative would have been "probability" but it doesn't capture the exact same meaning. Thanks.

badhatharry 09-05-2009 11:58 AM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 128720)
Bob,

you sound quite reasonable to me. Question: how do you call people (like me) that have the following reaction "wow evolution through natural selection is such an amazing and complex phenomenon that nobody could have possibly designed it". In other words, the beauty and high level of complexity makes design by a single mind even more implausible. Is there a word that describes this point of view? The "inhumanist" point of view?

I'm not sure if you consider yourself an athiest, but I think a lot of people think that atheism is a dark and dreary outlook to have. On the contrary, I think it awakens one to the amazing confluence of events which have created life and ultimately human beings.

I think what you describe would be called materialism.

badhatharry 09-05-2009 12:03 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
But a skilled and knowledgeable debater should be able to get passed that, certainly not by making Behe admit anything, but by standing strong and not allowing the debate to get away.
Tricky, yes, but certainly not entirely impossible.
It's those thought experiments that need to be disallowed. They go nowhere fast.

thprop 09-05-2009 12:08 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Mistakes Were Made
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 128730)
I might have said the latter up until a few years ago, but I've become aware that there is no shortage of kids these days who like music from our hell-raisin' days. (There's something jarring about watching my nephew choose the classic rock station.) I have to say in the case of this particular song, though, that anyone who would call you an old fogey over it should be understood to be not yet hip. Little Feat will always be good.

My nephew spent a good part of his summer ripping my music collection before heading off to college. I have a few post 1980 albums but he wanted the early stuff - Grateful Dead, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Hendrix, Kinks, etc. He did not know about Little Feat before I had him listen to Dixie Chicken. I also gave him recording of a few of my favorite Dead shows - the 10/29/77 show at Northern Illinois is a gem. Most of the best and worst concerts I have seen were by the Dead. Consistency was not their hallmark. My nephew has most of my tie dyed shirts now too - no way they would fit me in any case.

I have seen NRPS in concert (in their prime - on their own and opening for the Dead). I saw Little Feat with Lowell George. I saw Lowell George on his own about a month before he died. Now I go to the opera. Watching the Ted Kennedy funeral, I immediately knew it was Susan Graham singing Ave Maria. Not sure if that is sad or not.

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(Added: That's how I learned it -- I just noticed you linked to CJ & The Fish's version.)
Actually, I think that version is the original by The Fraternity of Man which appeared in Easy Rider.


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