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Creationism: God's gift to the ignorant
June 3, 2005 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Creationism: God's gift to the ignorant - Richard Dawkins talks about how the Fundamentalists distort science.
posted by bshort (58 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Now you've done it!

(Seriously, good article, and thank you.)
posted by LarryC at 12:20 PM on June 3, 2005


Paging bevets. Cleanup in Aisle 5.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:23 PM on June 3, 2005


Summoning bevets.
posted by ericb at 12:25 PM on June 3, 2005


I am a firm believer in science and evolution but Richard Dawkins rubs me the wrong way.
posted by trey at 12:26 PM on June 3, 2005


but Richard Dawkins rubs me the wrong way.

But he married Romana from Doctor Who!
posted by unreason at 12:27 PM on June 3, 2005


previously linked.
posted by docpops at 12:27 PM on June 3, 2005


Don’t squander precious ignorance by researching it away.

I love that line.
posted by jikel_morten at 12:31 PM on June 3, 2005


I'm usually not a fan of Dawkin's abrasive polemicism, but this is a pretty spot-on critique of creationism's God-of-the-Gaps pseudo-theology. Also see Internet Monk's "Why I am Not a Young Earth Creationist".
posted by brownpau at 12:35 PM on June 3, 2005


I don't imagine Kansans are going to like this too much.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:36 PM on June 3, 2005


fantastic link brownpau! thanks, I had not seen that article before
posted by cbjg at 12:55 PM on June 3, 2005


Even if you don't like Dawkins, this article makes interesting points.
Science feeds on mystery. As my colleague Matt Ridley has put it: “Most scientists are bored by what they have already discovered. It is ignorance that drives them on.” Science mines ignorance. Mystery — that which we don’t yet know; that which we don’t yet understand — is the mother lode that scientists seek out. Mystics exult in mystery and want it to stay mysterious. Scientists exult in mystery for a very different reason: it gives them something to do.

Admissions of ignorance and mystification are vital to good science. It is therefore galling, to say the least, when enemies of science turn those constructive admissions around and abuse them for political advantage... It isn’t even safe for a scientist to express temporary doubt as a rhetorical device before going on to dispel it.
In general though, I think with his evangelical atheism, Dawkins isn't a particularly good advocate for evolution. He tends to reinforce the view that atheism and evolutionism are strongly linked.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:55 PM on June 3, 2005


I think you nailed it when you said "evangelical." Even though I agree with many of Dawkins' viewpoints, his method of presentation strikes me as just as off-putting as any evangelical preacher. His smugness in being correct, his quickness to malign those who disagree with him, etc.
posted by trey at 12:59 PM on June 3, 2005


Bear in mind that Dawkins is a Fundmantalist Darwinian.

You get the feeling that half the Evolutionary Biologists out there are practically Creationists in his book, due to their belief in things like optimal adaptation and so forth.
posted by freebird at 1:06 PM on June 3, 2005


Fundamentalist
posted by freebird at 1:20 PM on June 3, 2005


"his method of presentation strikes me as just as off-putting as any evangelical preacher"
Well I disagree. He aggressively attacks the sin, not the sinner... er, ignorance, not the ignorant. Cobb County, Ga., is just to my north. They're scraping anti-evolution stickers out of books up there. The more confident creationist bashing, the better...
posted by micropublishery at 1:21 PM on June 3, 2005


[[SUMMON]]
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:25 PM on June 3, 2005


It's interesting how similiar conversations about Richard Dawkins, Peter Singer and Michael Moore sound after a while.
posted by VulcanMike at 1:38 PM on June 3, 2005


Matt Taibbi column in New York Press
"The topic for my column this week is religious
conservatives. There are a few reasons for this. The
80th anniversary of the Scopes Monkey trial is
approaching, for one. For another, the city of Dover, Pennsylvania, has just approved the teaching of "intelligent design"—the latest semantic end-around for use in questioning Darwinism. But the real reason to talk about religious conservatives is because the last few months have been something of a coming-out party for them as a mainstream political force...."
posted by micropublishery at 1:59 PM on June 3, 2005


He tends to reinforce the view that atheism and evolutionism are strongly linked.
You mean they aren't? *ducks*

Seriously, though, I don't understand how one can avoid the fact that the reality of evolution (not "evolutionism") is incompatible with the most popular forms of theism. One can reconcile it with a Deist conception of "God" perhaps, but certainly not with one of a benevolent and all-wise deity who is concerned about the suffering of his handiwork. All that needless suffering of creatures great and small, all those evolutionary branches which end in extinction (which is 99% of them), all to what conceivable purpose which is reconcilable with traditional notions of "God" as kind father in the sky?

Perhaps what rubs a lot of people the wrong way about Richard Dawkins is that they'd like to have their cake and eat it too, by proclaiming their support for evolution while retaining their traditional religious beliefs unaltered, and yet Dawkins insists on rubbing their noses in the logical consequences of their claimed acknowledgement of the truth of evolution.
posted by Goedel at 3:10 PM on June 3, 2005


christians believe God cares about human suffering, not animal suffering. and even then, they believe that human suffering is positively necessary for humans to fulfill God's plan. that might be a little hard to believe for you, but it wouldn't be inconsistent with evolution.
posted by es_de_bah at 4:50 PM on June 3, 2005


I don't know who Dawkins is, but this is pretty spot-on.
posted by angry modem at 4:58 PM on June 3, 2005


I don't endorse any religious beliefs and am an atheist. I don't want to cling to any traditional religious beliefs. I just think that, most of the time, Richard Dawkins comes off as a pompous asshole and not that differently from asshole evangelical preachers.

Getting people to agree with your viewpoint is more complicated than simply knowing you're right and stating it as such over and over. No one likes to be talked down to or lectured to -- Dawkins would do well to take an approach other than, "Of course I'm right, you idiot. How could you possibly be so dumb as to believe otherwise? I'm Richard fucking Dawkins!"
posted by trey at 4:58 PM on June 3, 2005


You know, if I had to argue with a blind man over whether the sky is blue, I'd probably come across as a pompous asshole, too.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 5:17 PM on June 3, 2005


I loved him on Family Feud.
posted by Kibbutz at 6:16 PM on June 3, 2005


"Seriously, though, I don't understand how one can avoid the fact that the reality of evolution (not "evolutionism") is incompatible with the most popular forms of theism."

im a pretty devout positive atheist, but just to edify you -

the bible states something like - a day to god is 10,000 years and 10,000 is a day - meaning gods time is not our time. (2nd peter?) The 7 'days' of creation could easily have been EONS.

Second - when the bible says 'in his own image' it just says that when god was 'done' creating man, he looked like god. Doesn't say anything about the creation process. Cakes don't look like cakes in the cook book until they are out of the oven and frosted.

there are some things that blatantly contradict evolution (weren't all animals herbivorous to begin with? wouldn't make sense for lions to evolve those huge teeth and claws in order to hunt down shoots and leaves.) however, if you take the bible literally, you're an idiot anyway.

my father is a devout christian who also believes in evolution and perceives no contradiction.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 7:57 PM on June 3, 2005


He tends to reinforce the view that atheism and evolutionism are strongly linked.

I'm sorry, but -- in the way that there are weak and strong versions of theism -- I call this the weak version of rationality (rationality minus Occam's Razor).

Yes, your Sky God is compatible with evolution. The Sky God is compatible with everything. That's why he's the Sky God.

Why do we need him again?
posted by dreamsign at 8:18 PM on June 3, 2005


Getting people to agree with your viewpoint is more complicated than simply knowing you're right and stating it as such over and over.

Which is what religionists must always do, because they ultimately have nothing to back their opinions with.

Dawkins is an asshole, no doubt of that. His social graces aren't well-developed.

But, shit, when he says he's right, he's damn well right. His particular ideas may not be exactly right, but he sure as hell isn't wrong about evolution.

There is no debate: there is fact and truth (evolution) and there is bullshit that should be ignored (creationism/ID).
posted by five fresh fish at 8:21 PM on June 3, 2005


http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/95

http://www.evolutionnews.org/index.php?title=dawkins_eye_con_of_evolution_unravels_1&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

TheophileEscargot

In general though, I think with his evangelical atheism, Dawkins isn't a particularly good advocate for evolution. He tends to reinforce the view that atheism and evolutionism are strongly linked.

I suspect there is a lot of intellectual dishonesty on this issue. Consider the following fantasy: the National Academy of Sciences publishes a position paper on science and religion stating that modern science leads directly to atheism. What would happen to its funding? To any federal funding of science? Every member of the Congress of the United States of America, even the two current members who are unaffiliated with any organized religion, profess to be deeply religious. I suspect that scientific leaders tread very warily on the issue of the religious implications of science for fear of jeopardizing the funding for scientific research. And I think that many scientist feel some sympathy with the need for moral education and recognize the role that religion plays in this endeavor. These rationalizations are politic but intellectually dishonest. ~ William Provine

posted by bevets at 8:39 PM on June 3, 2005


'Does God exist?' ...the answer is so complicated that there is no practical reason to pursue it...
I submit that all human beliefs are founded on a starting point that employs circular reasoning. ~ bevets
posted by Bort at 9:37 PM on June 3, 2005


Personally I'm all in favor of letting the bevets of this world believe whatever their book wants them to believe.
posted by clevershark at 12:00 AM on June 4, 2005


christians believe God cares about human suffering, not animal suffering.
That seems rather speciesist to me. Didn't God create the animals too? Why give them the ability to feel pain and then only concern himself with the affairs of one particular species? Does it mean this "God" didn't give a damn about what went on here on Earth during the 3.5 billion years before we came along? That reads to me like a "God" invented by men in their own image.
they believe that human suffering is positively necessary for humans to fulfill God's plan
Which raises the question of why "God" should have been unable to think of a better plan than one any half-competent engineer would have cast aside - assuming he is benevolent, of course. If this "God" is a cruel monster, his incredibly harsh and wasteful "plan" starts to seem a lot less absurd.
the bible states something like - a day to god is 10,000 years and 10,000 is a day - meaning gods time is not our time. (2nd peter?) The 7 'days' of creation could easily have been EONS.
Who's talking about literal interpretations of the tale of Genesis? The issue is the existence of widespread, gratuitous suffering in a universe supposedly created by a benevolent deity, a universe in which evolutionary change occurs through billions of animals leading lives of fear and privation cut short in all sorts of horrible ways. Whether a day means 10,000 years or 10 seconds to the deity of the Bible has no bearing on that.
posted by Goedel at 1:24 AM on June 4, 2005


Dawkins insists on rubbing their noses in the logical consequences of their claimed acknowledgement of the truth of evolution.
posted by Goedel at 3:10 PM PST on June 3 [!]


I don't see any problem with that. It's like a physicist throwing you to the floor when you question gravity.

Or a physicist throwing an apple at your nose when you claim that guardian angels are protecting you.
posted by Balisong at 2:22 AM on June 4, 2005


This evolution vs. creation hoo-haa, and especially the inclusion of 'intelligent design' in public school curriculums, is making the US the laughing stock of the world.

I bet India, China and Europe are rubbing their hands with glee because of the US' decision to teach their younglings religious dogma instead of scientific inquiry.
posted by spazzm at 2:34 AM on June 4, 2005


Could someone (trey or brownpau?) point me at a reference to Dawkins' abrasive polemicism? Or his saying something like (or even that implies) "Of course I'm right, you idiot. How could you possibly be so dumb as to believe otherwise? I'm Richard fucking Dawkins!" From what I've read of him so far, he takes the time to write down clear (and entertaining), step-by-step explanations of his claims.

Whether he's a jerk or not, the swell thing about his arguments for the theory of evolution is that you can test them, unlike any of ID/creationism, which you are supposed to just take on faith as The Word of God, as interpreted by bevets and friends. "Of course I'm right, you idiot. How could you possibly be so dumb as to believe otherwise? I'm bevets, The Mouthpiece of God!"

The Blind Watchmaker and The Selfish Gene both lay out pretty clear arguments that I, anyway, found enlightening. Or maybe I just liked them because the NY Times said it was "the sort of popular science writing that makes the reader feel like a genius."

I love the first paragraph of SG: ". . . Living organisms had existed on Earth, without ever knowing why, for over three thousand million years before the truth dawned on one of them. His name was Charles Darwin." It might be a little over-dramatic, but he supports his claim with the rest of the book (and goes on to say, "to be fair, others had inklings of the truth. . . .")
posted by surlycat at 4:17 AM on June 4, 2005


surlycat: As I've said several times in this thread, I'm a believer in evolution, I am an athiest, and I am enrolled in a scientific graduate program. Many of Dawkins' followers have this irritating habit of taking on an arrogant stance towards everyone (even people who agree with them!), I've noticed. There is a large contingent of evolutionary psychologists in my program and they're eager to explain everything in the world through evolution.

I find Dawkins' arguments to be compelling ones -- I really do! So far, everyone in this thread has taken a dislike of Dawkins to be a sign of disavowing evolution. It's not! I merely don't think that he's the best spokesman for the evolution "movement." His research is solid but (as many academics seem to do) his attempts to spread the word to the public is fraught with arrogance and a lack of basic social skills. He has taken on the typical stance of the academic who knows he's right.

I believe in evolution, I don't believe in God, but I don't believe that evolution is the end-all be-all answer to everything. I'm not going to go cite specific examples of Dawkins' polemicism right now but a small example is when he refused to shake the hand of a priest with the comment, "You, sir, are a bigot." I am no friend of religion, make no mistake, but I am also not the first one to notice that Dawkins' style of "teaching" is often more like scolding.
posted by trey at 5:17 AM on June 4, 2005


Here are some good discussions of Dawkins, based on an article in Salon found here. [Watch a short ad or use the Salon Day-Pass hack found here.]
posted by trey at 5:28 AM on June 4, 2005


surlycat

From what I've read of him so far, he takes the time to write down clear (and entertaining), step-by-step explanations of his claims.

Whether he's a jerk or not, the swell thing about his arguments for the theory of evolution is that you can test them
My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of Darwinian theory... we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.

One way to dramatize this point is to make a prediction. I predict that, if a form of life is ever discovered in another part of the universe, however outlandish and weirdly alien that form of life may be in detail, it will be found to resemble life on earth in one key respect: it will have evolved by some kind of Darwinian natural selection. The Blind Watchmaker (1996) pp.287-288
Here is a simple test that I have never seen Dawkins address:

Explain how the scientific method applys to evolutionism. i.e. observe, predict, experiment, repeat -- how do we repeat ANCIENT (pre human) history? For example, repeat the transition from reptile to bird in a lab (that would be fascinating!) After you have repeated this transition, explain why your lab experiment proves that this is EXACTLY how it happened historically.
posted by bevets at 5:40 AM on June 4, 2005


Explain how the scientific method applys to evolutionism. i.e. observe, predict, experiment, repeat -- how do we repeat ANCIENT (pre human) history?

You don't need a time machine to study the past. You don't need to repeat ancient history in order to analyze it. You can learn much about history by studying its remains and seeing if they match with the predictions of the theory of evolution. This article discusses in detail the evidence found by studying the remains of history and how it confirms the predictions of the theory of evolution.
posted by jsonic at 7:05 AM on June 4, 2005


It is easy to test the truth of the Bible. Simply look for a few dead Christians. If they are in Heaven, then the Bible is unquestionably true.

So far as I know, no one has conducted this simple experiment. I wonder why.
posted by kindall at 7:32 AM on June 4, 2005


Explain how the scientific method applys to evolutionism. i.e. observe, predict, experiment, repeat -- how do we repeat ANCIENT (pre human) history? For example, repeat the transition from reptile to bird in a lab (that would be fascinating!) After you have repeated this transition, explain why your lab experiment proves that this is EXACTLY how it happened historically.

jsonic

You don't need a time machine to study the past. You don't need to repeat ancient history in order to analyze it. You can learn much about history by studying its remains and seeing if they match with the predictions of the theory of evolution. This article discusses in detail the evidence found by studying the remains of history and how it confirms the predictions of the theory of evolution.

We have rocks. Evolutionists make up stories that attempt to explain how the rocks fit their metaphysical assumptions. Creationists also make up stories to explain how the rocks fit their metaphysical assumptions. This has nothing to do with the scientific method. Neither side has observed the historic process. Evolutionists insist that their stories are better, but at the end of the day they are ONLY stories.

This article discusses in detail the evidence found by studying the remains of history and how it confirms the predictions of the theory of evolution.

This article discusses in detail your article.
posted by bevets at 7:49 AM on June 4, 2005


You sucked at innebandy btw.
posted by mr.marx at 9:23 AM on June 4, 2005


One should have thought the by now, bevets, you would have realized that each and every time you enter one of these discussions, you are thoroughly spanked.

The inevitable outcome is that informed and intelligent people will comprehensively demonstrate the fundamental lies, flaws, and stupidity of your inane counter-arguments.

Unless you are some sort of weird pro-evolutionary mole, you harm your cause endlessly more than if you were to remain silent.

The only other explanation for this insane behaviour is that you are a JW seeking brownie points by reaping abuse for proselytizing.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:37 AM on June 4, 2005


Evolutionists make up stories that attempt to explain how the rocks fit their metaphysical assumptions. Creationists also make up stories to explain how the rocks fit their metaphysical assumptions.

False equivalency. The theory of evolution makes testable predictions and is falsifiable. Creationism is simply an assertion that is untestable.
posted by jsonic at 10:17 AM on June 4, 2005


Brevets: Creationists also make up stories

Wait, I thought these stories were in a historically-accurate best-selling divinely-inspired book! Now you're telling me they're just made up by creationists? I don't know what to believe anymore.
posted by Hlewagast at 10:47 AM on June 4, 2005


Explain how the scientific method applys to evolutionism. i.e. observe, predict, experiment, repeat -- how do we repeat ANCIENT (pre human) history? For example, repeat the transition from reptile to bird in a lab (that would be fascinating!) After you have repeated this transition, explain why your lab experiment proves that this is EXACTLY how it happened historically.

Another big error in creationist thinking. Although the controlled lab experiment is considered the gold standard in many fields of science, entire branches of science are dependent on correlation and triangulation. For example, it is extremely difficult to recreate the deflection of light by strong gravitational fields as predicted by general relativity. But, you can predict that the observed positions of stars within a minute fraction of a degree of a solar eclipse will be different from their positions not affected by the sun's gravity, and you can predict that galaxies will produce effects similar to optical lenses.

A practical example of how we have benefitted from this application of the scientific method, is the prediction of weather. We can't create weather in the lab. But we have been able to develop theories that can predict the weather with reasonable precision, and identify the warning signs of flash flooding and tornadoes before they are actually observed.

In terms of evolution, it works like this. Someone creates a theory: birds were related to dinosaurs and develops a hypothesis: we expect to find new examples of fossil species with dinosaur-like and bird-like characteristics. Reports from fossil beds in China claim dozens of new feathered dinosaur species. Repeat this type of prediction and verification hundreds of times, and you end up with one of the more robust theories in science.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:20 AM on June 4, 2005


Another example.

It is impossible to produce the geologic effects of an impact crater in the lab. When Shoemaker propsed that the crater between Winslow and Flagstaff AZ was created by the impact of a meteor, it was a radical suggestion. However, he made a theory: meteor craters produce circular formations and shocked quartz and a hypothesis: new impact sites will be found on earth with circular formations and shocked quartz. Since then, more than 100 impact sites have been confirmed.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:30 AM on June 4, 2005


Neither side has observed the historic process.

Have you even read the back cover of Guns, Germs, and Steel? Put down the Bible for a second, boy!
posted by NickDouglas at 12:20 PM on June 4, 2005


See, bevets? You've been spanked. You gave us a lie (that creationism and evolutionary theory are equally unscientific) and it was comprehensively denounced (with two examples provided within an hour of your lying).
posted by five fresh fish at 1:24 PM on June 4, 2005


trey, good pointer to that Salon article. Sure enough, Dr. Dawkins was rude. (The quote was "You, sir, are an ignorant bigot.") He could use a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People. The reporter goes on to note that he was gracious later.

We humans seem to have a hard time with the idea of being intolerant of intolerance. (For example, in the debate over the death penalty -- if someone kills, then aren't we killers for killing him?)

I don't think you'd blame a black person for refusing to shake the hand of a KKK grand dragon before a debate, but I suppose that's more excusable because the grand dragon is advocating harm directly (or nearly so) to the black person.

P.S. I think I win on summoning bevets, and thank you all for squashing his argument.
posted by surlycat at 3:18 PM on June 4, 2005


I'm not entirely convinced that what bevets presents can be called an "argument." Should an argument not have some semblence of logic and fact behind it? If we grant bevets' textual vomit the quality of "argument", we might as well grant the TimeCube dude and that raving lunatic in my town who rides the Jesus-bike the same validity.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:07 PM on June 4, 2005


five fresh fish: See, bevets? You've been spanked. You gave us a lie (that creationism and evolutionary theory are equally unscientific) and it was comprehensively denounced (with two examples provided within an hour of your lying).

Well, actually I wasn't addressing him. However, there are other people lurking who might be interested in this question.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:08 PM on June 4, 2005


One should have thought the by now, five fresh fish , you would have realized that each and every time you enter one of these discussions, you are thoroughly spanked.

The inevitable outcome is that I will comprehensively demonstrate the fundamental lies, flaws, and stupidity of your inane counter-arguments.

Unless you are some sort of weird YEC mole, you harm your cause endlessly more than if you were to remain silent.

Here is a simple test that I have never seen Dawkins address:

Explain how the scientific method applys to evolutionism. i.e. observe, predict, experiment, repeat -- how do we repeat ANCIENT (pre human) history? For example, repeat the transition from reptile to bird in a lab (that would be fascinating!) After you have repeated this transition, explain why your lab experiment proves that this is EXACTLY how it happened historically.

We have rocks. Evolutionists make up stories that attempt to explain how the rocks fit their metaphysical assumptions. Creationists also make up stories to explain how the rocks fit their metaphysical assumptions. This has nothing to do with the scientific method. Neither side has observed the historic process. Evolutionists insist that their stories are better, but at the end of the day they are ONLY stories.


KirkJobSluder

A practical example of how we have benefitted from this application of the scientific method, is the prediction of weather. We can't create weather in the lab. But we have been able to develop theories that can predict the weather with reasonable precision, and identify the warning signs of flash flooding and tornadoes before they are actually observed.

Does this involve real time observations and experiments that can be repeated by others?

In terms of evolution, it works like this. Someone creates a theory: birds were related to dinosaurs and develops a hypothesis: we expect to find new examples of fossil species with dinosaur-like and bird-like characteristics. Reports from fossil beds in China claim dozens of new feathered dinosaur species. Repeat this type of prediction and verification hundreds of times, and you end up with one of the more robust theories in science.

Fossils may tell us many things, but one thing they can never disclose is whether they were ancestors of anything else. ~ Colin Patterson

Does this involve real time observations and experiments that can be repeated by others?
posted by bevets at 9:00 PM on June 4, 2005


You can't reason with someone whose first line of argument is that reason doesn't count.
--Isaac Asimov
posted by spazzm at 9:48 PM on June 4, 2005


To sum up some other contributions to this thread:
"Sure, Dawkins is one of the leading scientists of our time, and has spent his life working hard to make sure he's got all the facts right, and now he's telling us what the facts are - to general booing from the ignorant plebs. But he should be nicer about it."

When did ignorance become the new black?
posted by spazzm at 11:05 PM on June 4, 2005


These days we also have something called DNA evidence that the YECs haven't heard of.
posted by madman at 11:13 PM on June 4, 2005


Bevets, repetition of your lies does not make them true. The remainder of your latest post is reminscent of the Monty Python sketch:
MeFi: Look this isn't an argument.
bevets: Yes it is.
MeFi: No it isn't, it's just contradiction.
bevets: No it isn't.
MeFi: Yes it is.
bevets: It is not.
MeFi: It is. You just contradicted me.
bevets: No I didn't.
MeFi: Ooh, you did!
bevets: No, no, no, no, no.
MeFi: You did, just then.
bevets: No, nonsense!
MeFi: Oh, look this is futile.
bevets: No it isn't.
MeFi: I came here for a good argument.
bevets: No you didn't, you came here for an argument.
MeFi: Well, an argument's not the same as contradiction.
bevets: It can be.
MeFi: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition.
bevets: No it isn't.
MeFi: Yes it is. It isn't just contradiction.
bevets: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
MeFi: But it isn't just saying "No it isn't".
bevets: Yes it is.
MeFi: No it isn't, an argument is an intellectual process... contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
bevets: No it isn't.
MeFi: Yes it is.
bevets: Not at all.
MeFi: Now look!
bevets:(pressing the bell on his desk) Thank you, good morning.
You are a very, very foolish loon, bevets.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:54 AM on June 5, 2005


Oh, and bevets, what does this have to do with anything: "Does this involve real time observations and experiments that can be repeated by others?"

Did you not read the response to your lies the first time? This is one of the bits of idiocy for which you were comprehensively spanked.

You are worse than the ordinary ignorant person, bevets, because you persist in maintaining your ignorance by deliberately ignoring and distorting the truth. What a waste of grey matter.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:01 AM on June 5, 2005


What a waste of grey matter.

Not necessarily so. Bevets is, I suspect, a shell script set up to be contrarian. There is no gray matter involved.
This shell script cannot under any circumstances change its mind, or even shut up - this would conflict with the axioms selected by the programmer.

Expecting Bevets to be reasonable is like expecting fulfilling conversations with Eliza or helpful advice from Clippy.

P.S.: I love how the spellcheck tries to correct 'Bevets' and I get to click on 'ignore'.
posted by spazzm at 4:57 PM on June 5, 2005


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