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320 thoughts on “Question of the Day

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  • Clark

    Angrysoba, yes, the corporate media pisses me off immensely. They seem to love to support wars, with all the death, destruction and suffering that entails.

  • bonifacegoncourt

    @Craig Murray

    Great blog Craig, and I hope it becomes the #1 comment forum. Lack of censorship is good, also freedom to roam off topic. However to keep things looking serious I think you should “close comments” sooner rather than later; otherwise you are left with endless bickering of the obsessive neds and teuchters.

  • Nextus

    Angrysoba, did you know Sheldrake has endured more extreme critical attacks than a gentle ribbing from Dicky Dawkins? A few years ago, he was giving a keynote address on “Memory and Morphic Resonance” when he was stabbed in the leg by a Japanese delegate who didn’t agree with his theory:
    .
    http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Local%20News/Man-accused-of-stabbing-speaker-at-La-Fonda
    .
    That’s extreme debating for you. I’m sure if us blogmenters were all arguing in a crowded chamber, some of us would resort to taking chunks out of the others. Praise be for the remoteness and anonymity of the internet!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    In 1833 when the British forcibly removed the Agentines living on Las Malvinas, the historical problem of 1492 to 1830s Spanish domination of South America – into British colonialism – kicked off a process of conflict that continues.

  • angrysoba

    Angrysoba, did you know Sheldrake has endured more extreme critical attacks than a gentle ribbing from Dicky Dawkins?
    .
    I did hear something about that. I remember thinking how insane that was. I hope the guy was prosecuted for it and I think it is alarming how heated these academic debates can get. Of course, it is a bit of a cliche that I hear often, “Who would have thought in the placid ivory towers of academe, a violent row could erupt?” or words to that effect and yet vituperative and intemperate tantrums are actually quite common. Recently there was a spat between a group of historians of Stalin, Orlando Figes and Robert Service included, which ended in major embarrassment for Figes after he finally owned up to writing scathing reviews of his opponents and favourable reviews of his own work on Amazon.
    .
    Your mention of Boden reminded me of a recent spat between her and Noam Chomsky. I read some review he had written of one of her books and it didn’t look like your typical “academic” prose. Similarly, you might know of the squabble between Colin McGinn and Ted Honderich about some new book of his on a similar subject to what we are talking about now. (I feel like I may have said this before). That said, physical assault is way over the line.
    .
    Yeah, whatever Angry. I’m leaving. Bye.

    .
    I’m saying you’re lying, Clark. I’m saying you’re emotionally invested in what should be a dispassionate or disinterested investigation. I also think that bringing up Sheldrake again is only going to lead to a further digression from an off-topic that is already unfocused as it is.

  • angrysoba

    In 1833 when the British forcibly removed the Agentines living on Las Malvinas, the historical problem of 1492 to 1830s Spanish domination of South America – into British colonialism – kicked off a process of conflict that continues.

    .
    1833 was a long time ago. Is there really anyone alive still claiming that their home is occupied by English settlers?

  • Njegos

    Some final obervations:

    Why are we seeing the revival of militant atheism?

    The last big “outbreak” followed the Russian Revolution which was, in part, a reaction to the obscurantism and superstition of the Russian Orthodox Church. But it was more than that. Communism, of course, was all about eliminating dissent and atheism became a tool for crushing power outside of the control of the communists. Indeed, communism was declared not only to be morally superior to all political systems but to be scientific. The communists were constantly “proving” the non-existence of God. Faith in communism was faith in science. True science was gagged and bound while an impostor science took its place with devastating economic consequences (eg. Lysenko). How ironic that communism turned out to be, forgive the pun, God’s gift to religion in Russia.

    There are some similarities with atheism’s present offensive which is in large part a reaction to the rise of religious fundamentalism of various stripes. This is not a bad thing because the creation of the universe and our role in it is a topic far too important to be left in the hands of fire-breathing born again lunatics. George Bush revelation that God told him to attack Iraq is proof of that. But we mustn’t fool ourselves into thinking that this is a simple struggle between blind faith and science.

    Science may slowly be replacing religion but it seems it is also creating a new faith. The faith that science will one day explain everything. Faith, not proof. Why is this faith so much more acceptable than belief in a God? Or is it that we are just around the corner from explaining the universe? Is the atheist horse really one furlong ahead of the competition ready to cross the finish line? Furthermore, why do some atheists feel that a world of “non-believers” is superior to a world of “believers”? I see prejudice on both sides; militant atheists believe that a “believer” cannot truly be happy and that atheism is a form of liberation. Fundamentalism “believers”, on the other hand, feel that atheists are essentially sinful. But we all know this is rubbish and, as we have seen historically, politically extremely dangerous.

    Aren’t we all prejudiced and skeptical? Isn’t that an essential component of our humanity? I rejoice in the fact that there are atheists and believers. It is the best hope for mankind. May neither gain the complete upper hand.

    Thanks for bearing with me. Sorry for the lack of scientific terminology and links.

    PS. Nextus – I promise to read your earlier link. Clark – Thanks for your excellent contributions. Atheists – Thanks for bringing out the brilliance in Clark.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, I am excited and inspired by the possibilities suggested by quantum physics. Do you think I should be ashamed about that? As Ingo said, spirituality and honesty can light a flame like a bright torch. If you’d rather our world lacked those possibilities I have to wonder about your motivations. Nextus has pointed out where I overstated my case.
    .
    I was actually disappointed in Dawkins when I read of his dishonest treatment of Sheldrake. I thought Dawkins was honest. I had more emotionally invested in Dawkins’ arguments than I did in Sheldrake’s. I’ve read several of Dawkins’ books, but none of Sheldrake’s.
    .
    You, too, are being judged, Angrysoba.
    .
    Pigs on the Wing, Part 1…

  • angrysoba

    Clark: Angrysoba, I am excited and inspired by the possibilities suggested by quantum physics. Do you think I should be ashamed about that?
    .
    Not at all. Why do you suggest that?
    .
    As Ingo said, spirituality and honesty can light a flame like a bright torch. If you’d rather our world lacked those possibilities I have to wonder about your motivations.
    .
    Well, I see that as question-begging and an innuendo-laden. Again, I can only ask that you try to distinguish between judgements of fact and judgments of value. It is dishonest, IMHO, to put yourself on a moral high horse when discussing the nature of what there is by saying that your motives are pure and mine are not.
    .
    I was actually disappointed in Dawkins when I read of his dishonest treatment of Sheldrake. I thought Dawkins was honest. I had more emotionally invested in Dawkins’ arguments than I did in Sheldrake’s. I’ve read several of Dawkins’ books, but none of Sheldrake’s.

    .
    I don’t have emotional investment in either. I just find that Dawkins is plausible when it comes to evolution while I don’t really know enough about Sheldrake to say either way.
    .
    You, too, are being judged, Angrysoba.

    .
    I can see that. Although I am being judged largely for positions and motives which I don’t hold. I would think it is fairer if you judged what I say rather than what you think I think.

  • angrysoba

    Wow! Massive typo error there!
    .
    I’m saying you’re lying, Clark. should read I’m not saying you’re lying, Clark.
    .
    Mea Culpa!

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Angry,

    Thanks for your response:-
    “1833 was a long time ago. Is there really anyone alive still claiming that their home is occupied by English settlers?”
    There are two(2) enduring aspects of the dispute:-
    1. The history of the South Atlantic conflict; and
    2. The Argentine vis-à-vis the British perspective
    One point is that under international law, a self-determination claim has its own problems, because the population was not indigenous, but inserted. Argentina has consistently maintained its claim. Now, the problem ratchets up because of issues of territoriality and claims under international law to surrounding oil and other resources. Argentina’s position is that for some 140 plus years the Malvinas population is not a colonised native populace.
    Argentina says that the Malvinas are Argentinean – and – Britain says that the Falklands are British. And the struggle goes on.

  • bonifacegoncourt

    @Courtenay Barnett

    The socio-sexual Malouines problem is that all Argentinean rulers want a big penis. The generals, in one way; the widow Kirchner, in another. The Bennies are doing no harm. Leave them alone.

    @Clark

    Old son you are quite mad. If you are in UK, dial 08457 90 90 90 [Samaritans] NOW.

  • Njegos

    Clark:

    Ignore Bonkerface. Poor fellow is so sexually desperate all he can think about is getting into bed with Cristina.

  • Iain Orr

    Courtenay (at 3.21 am on 2 March): The Argentine claim is considerably weaker than is often supposed. One reason is the willingness of the FCO before 1982 to discuss the possibility of shared sovereignty. That reflected concern about the effect of the Falklands dispute on UK trade with South America – and probably also an appreciation of the cost of defending the islands – rather than doubt about the solidity of the UK position. I’m not sure if I am being unduly cynical if I speculate that for some of my former FCO colleagues any apparent strengths in the Argentine position were worth exploiting as a way of coercing the uncooperative islanders (who were probably called “Bennies” and other derogatory terms in informal discussions within the FCO). It’s worth looking at the 27 January 2012 letter on the dispute circulated by the Head of the UK Mission to the UN – see http://tinyurl.com/7l97qm6

  • nuid

    “I may be mad, but that’s better than being a shit, thanks.”
    Well said, Clark. But you’re not mad. You’re just honest.
    And you’re not out to impress, either, which some others appear to be when they comment here.

  • Ingo

    And the result of this metaphysical debate was/is? zilch!

    Science, without approving/disproving minds is a mere shell, as empty as the universe is expanding. I value the expansion of the universe, the further away it takes us from other, possibly inhabitable planets we can also exploit, the better. It will focus our minds, oops, on the here and now, our own clalmityu as we create it, no clean break and new start possible, we will have to shovel our own crap, evolve/learn sustainable practises,fast, or die out, the most likely best possible option for the survival of other species on earth.

    To see science for science sake, in isolation from humane emotions and spirituality is like seeking ever more sweeter honey, without appreciating that its the bees that create the chemistry.

    The debate, as much as it exercised brains, has added an amount of CO2 to the overall athmospheric mix, which might, or might not be the start towards the end of our demise, its only consequence, bar the increase of reading lists.
    Theorems of fusion power have wasted much time, money and brains on something we are scientifically unable to control in practise, but just as with a weak claim to an island that was uninhabited for 140 years and is in close proximity to Argentina, we carry on deluding ourselves that one day we will control the immense heat, regardless of the benign alternative power resources that stare us in the face.
    Humanity and science have parted, despite the facts known that evolution itself was haphazard, violent at times and by chance, an anathema to orderly science.
    Once science is done by human computers who eradicate the mind part, with all its emotional mistakes, sprituality and intuition, we will have arrived at the point of no return, slaves to a well deserved armageddon.

    That said, its time for a cuppa and more CO2 expenditure.

  • Clark

    Bonifacegoncourt isn’t a shit. I take it back. He’s just thinks like Dawkins and Angrysoba, that it is acceptable to be offensive to people, and if they retaliate then it proves they deserved to be offended in the first place. I don’t see what is so special about the second act of offence; why not the third, fourth or penultimate? The only logical place for responsibility is every action. Respect should be the default setting, whether belief is religious, spiritual, scientific or just plain random.

  • Njegos

    Iain Orr:

    Thanks for the document.

    2 points:

    1) If self-determination is such a cherished principle for the British, then why did they not back self-determination for the Serbs and Croats during the Bosnian civil war?

    2) Argentina’s claim may be weak but they feel strongly about it. It beats me therefore why the Argentines should make life easy for the Falkland Islanders. Shouldn’t Britain just grin and bear the cost?

  • Clark

    I’m coming out and declaring that I have been “Other Mod”. I’m changing my identity here. I suspect that I have been under attack because my position as a moderator, which has been known to some contributors here, is perceived as a position of power. It may surprise them that the major tasks are the constant chore of removing spam, and approving (as opposed to deleting or censoring) comments.
    .
    Clearing spam is a service to the blog and its contributors. A “Captcha” could be installed, and comments would decrease because commenting would become less convenient. Registration could be implemented, which would also decrease comments, and it would impede anonymous comments, which are often valuable.
    .
    For my new identity, I considered “Janitor”, but rejected it because I resist the creeping Americanisation of the English language. I considered the English equivalent, “Caretaker”, but it seems unduly self-complimentary. I rejected “Womble” because these characters are well liked, and I do not deserve to be.
    .
    Bonifacegoncourt inadvertently suggested my choice, “Slug”. Common slugs are widely disliked, most people find them disgusting. But they dispose of dead leaves and rotting vegetation, and they are good food for higher organisms. Slugs also don’t have much to say.
    .
    “Slug” can also mean “Bullet”. I will continue to delete offensive remarks and hate-speech, as necessary. Don’t expect any attribution:
    .
    “Doctor, doctor, I’ve been stung by an ant; shall I put cream on it?”
    .
    “Don’t be silly, how will you know which one did it?”

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Good luck, Slug! Your decent and tireless work in this garden is much valued by many, I am certain. May your world be replete with leaves and stalks and may you continue periodically to raise up your antennae and gaze at the stars. Perhaps, from time-to-time, somewhere beneath the garden hedge, you will be able to partake of a chat with Crab.

  • angrysoba

    Iain Orr, thanks for the interesting background on the Falklands.
    .
    I would be interested to know more about the Chagos Islands (or Diego Garcia) and what could be done to help the former inhabitants. I think that this issue is a genuine running sore of the British Empire and I think it would be instructive to some of the more posturing commenters here to understand that in regards to the Chagos Islands, the UK is in the wrong and, in regards to the Falkland Islands, the UK is in the right. Some of these silly billies can only pull out their flagellation rods and go *thwack* *thwack* *thwack* *thwack* *thwack* at all times. It looks like a genuine act of contrition but not an act of cognition. 😛

  • angrysoba

    By the way, Clark, I just want to remind you that I made a typo earlier. I didn’t mean to say you were lying and when I read it back later I was shocked at how those words looked.
    .
    I just want to say sorry about that. And I repeat that it was an accident.

  • Clark

    Angrysoba, I have no way to confirm or falsify your assertion, apart from trust, which is a meaningless, unscientific term. In an anonymous environment you only get one chance to apply another meaningless thing, care.
    .
    Slugs have no ability to speak. You won’t see much from “Clark” around here from now on.

  • angrysoba

    Grow up, Clark. Moping about hoping to earn sympathy will only earn my contempt. I said I am sorry, and I am earnest about that, but I am not going to start believing in pixies and shit just to stop you having hurt feelings.

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