Saturday, September 29, 2007

health update: Deadly Disease Targets Atheists

I am the unfortunate bearer of some rather horrifying information.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has issued a health advisory warning to all atheists in or visiting America. They are urged to avoid the southern states, and specifically places with warm water lakes, hot springs, and even dirty swimming pools

The reason for the warning is the unexpected peek in occurences this year. Between 1995 and 2004 there were 23 known cases, an average of a little more than 2 per year. This year, though there have been six cases reported already and more anticipated. The first symptom is a headache that will not go away. Typically misdiagnosed as meningitis, further symptoms include a stiff neck and fever. As the disease progresses hallucinations and behavior changes are typical.

The best way to prevent infection is to wear nose clips when swimming or playing in shallow water.

The disease, Logos Cephalis is caused by an amoeba that enters the body through the nasal passages and slowly eats its way into brain tissue. It is always fatal and no measures taken have slowed its progress in humans. From time of exposure, the disease runs its course in two weeks, leaving families bereft of their loved ones.

The cause is an ameoba, Naegleria fowleri, which lives in fresh water lakes and enters the body through the nasal passages and feeds on brain tissue.

Christians, especially fundamentalist and evangelical types are particularly resistant to this amoeba as they do not have sufficient grey matter to sustain the amoebas. Fanatical Muslims and other extreme religious people also show shocking resistance to this microscopic brain sucker.

The CDC is calling for all fundies to volunteer to help with warm water testing and various cleanup efforts as their unique brain make-up renders them almost perfectly invulnerable to this new threat. Scientists and rational atheists are urged to steer clear of any water teeming with believers as the amoeba become frenzied by the lack of functioning brain tissue.

For a full report, please see this AP article for full details.

Again- this ia health advisory from the U.S., to all atheists and rational people (but i repeat myself), swim with noseplugs!
_________________

47 comments:

Poodles said...

Gross! I knew there were reasons, besides lake monsters that I didn't swim in them.

Xavier Onassis said...

That was good!

Fiery said...

:-D

Richard said...

Gee Fiery,

At first I thought your post was pretty funny.

Then I read the AP story, and thought that you were making light of a damnably nasty amoebic invasion of a poor child's brain death. Quite inappropriate for a lovely mother of two young children. Sheesh, I would not have thought that of you.

My heart goes out to Aaron's parents... one of the worst things in life is to be predeceased by your own child!

Then, in another few seconds reflection, I remembered Terry Schiavo. Those right-to-lifer's did not consider the loss of her brain such a big deal for them. In their view there was nothing there to lose, not really. Somehow, in their view, her mystical mind still exists. Better yet, God still thinks the watery mass that was her brain still fits with his idea of life!

But wait they go further than that...

Aaron, in the religious view, is not dead. His parents can truly dance joyfully. Death is just a change of scenery. Aaron now floats about with his Maker in a world of endless perfection.

Except, endless perfection is bloody boring. As the song called Heaven, by The Talking Heads, puts it:

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens

Death is just what the religious ultimately wish for, if they had the guts to take themselves seriously.

And they think atheists are the lost souls. They gave up the only soul they'll ever have the moment they accepted their Baptism.

Speaking of sole, I rather like breaded sole, and it has Omega-3 fats, so I have a better heart too!

(I readily accept responsibility for all puns, confusing allusions and unassailably insulting --but well deserved-- remarks in the above comment :-p )

Maggie Rosethorn said...

LOL, Fiery!!

Like Poodles, I KNEW there was a reason I much preferred swimming pools with lots of chlorine.

Fiery said...

The loss of a child is indeed a tragedy Richard and I was not attempting to make light of the situation for the family of people who have lost a loved one to this horrific microscopic creature.

I was attempting a tongue in cheek warning about a truly bizaare possibility for people who love swimming in freshwater lakes, while at the same time taking a shot at fundies.

Cannot a post serve multiple purposes?

The shortening of a child's life is a tragedy. Frankly the shortening of anyone's life is sad as this is the only one we have.

People are more apt to remember something presented in a memorable way then if I'd just said,

"Fatal fresh water amoeba enters body through nasal passages, CDC recommends nasal plugs."

Harry Nads said...

I got your sense of humor and thought it was a good chuckle.

BTW: **wink**

Richard said...

Please don't take my first remarks out of context. I was relating my quick reactions as I worked through the full story.

If one examines my comment in toto, I think I make it clear that, as fast as I was reading, I saw further reasons to justify fiery's post than to question its intentions. That shift begins when I say, "Then in another few seconds reflection, ..."

OAO

Crazyman Bob said...

Gee Richard,

At first I thought your comment was pretty thoughtful.

Then I read it again and realized that you were being damnably insulting to a clever and entertaining post on an excellent blog. Quite inappropriate for a normally intelligent visitor.

My heart goes out to Fiery, who works harder then the rest of us to create from scratch entertaining and thoughtful posts for us.

Then, in another few seconds reflection, I realize the rest of your post is filled with vague integrations, silly tangents and strange attempts at humor. All making this post even more insulting to our host.

Then to cap it off, you end your post with a redundant disclaimer about accepting responsibility. Richard, you say that as if you can avoid responsibility for a post with your name on it! It's called mouth responsibility, you are ALWAYS responsible for what goes in and out of your mouth. And please don't bring up that you are typing.

Sheesh Richard, I would not have thought of a post like this from you.

Crazyman

Crazyman Bob said...

I see my last post arrived at the same time as Richards justification above.

Unfortunately Richard, your post was not taken out of context by Fiery. She responded to exactly what you wrote. Maybe not to your intentions but to what you wrote.

Your comment "in toto" was insulting. If such was not your intention, you needed more revisions.

Crazyman

Harry Nads said...

My comment was directed to Fiery and not Richard. (No offense, Richard.)

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

It was funny Fiery. And maybe that was your way of dealing with the tragic situation, to turn to to comedy. I am not offended.

Now if you want to see a real joke ask Johnny about the Port Adelaide football team.

Starhawk said...

That gave me a hearty chuckle, a good break from the drudgery of my day. Also it made an AP report interesting (a feat in and of itself).
Aaron's parents have my sympathy and well wishes, but that wasn't the focus of Fiery's post. I believe brain eating microscopic creatures were. I don't expect anybody to pick over their referance's, looking for something that has no tragic side to it what so ever. That's unrealistic.
At the very least if I take any trips south I now know to bring noseplugs :)

Fiery said...

Poodles- as for lake monsters, I hear ya. Those creepy, lurky depths with who knows what is in them and just enough jokesters in the water who think swimming up from down below and grabbing your ankle is so funny.


Maggie- isn't that just awful? I have the most tenderest of feet so I've never enjoyed lake swimming, harsh sand, rocks, pebbles, prickly plants. Water teeming with fish all doin' there business in it- livin', pooin', peein' (do fish pee?), lovin', dyin'.

Nope, this makes the perfect excuse to stay clear of lakes. My kids like to go swiming though, I wonder if they've spread as far as MN. Fears for next summer. It's just what I needed another thing to be paranoid about.

Fiery said...

Harry Nads.

MWHAHAAHAHAHA!!! It takes balls to comment with a name like that, love it!

Welcome to my blog, you take the cake for cheekiest name to ever post here.

Stick around, learn a bit, ask questions. Some of my posts that have gotten the best responses are religious debates.

Come back, bring questions. In spite of the cheek, there are lots of caring people hear who don't mind sharing their thoughts and knowledge with true seekers*.

Again, your Hairy Nads.... sorry... You, Harry Nads, are welcome here!

*a B5 reference for those who remember the series well.

Fiery said...

Richard- what does OAO stand for? My first thought was Objectivists are Obfusticators. But then I checked my dictionary and realized that the word would be Obfuscatory.

Then I googled OAO and it says Opticians Association of Ohio, nah that can't be it, you're canook! Hmmmmmmm

;-)

Sean, in times of tragedy, trouble, sadness, and heartwrenching, I often pull out my sense of humor to cope. Sometimes it is a bit dark, but crying and bewailing is debilitating, if you can find a laugh in a situation, at least you can move forward.

Fiery said...

Crazyman, thank you for your kind thoughts and an interesting study in parallel replies. I get e-mail announcements of comments and when opened side by side, you did a remarkable matchup of Richard's first comment.

Starhawk- *happy whirl*
tra-la-la-la-la, thank you!!!!

*ahem* (attempted serious voice) I am gratified to know that my humble post, may save the life of a man with a great phone voice who is often mistaken for jeebus!

Reg Golb said...

Richard trying to by intelligent again?
"Death is just what the religious ultimately wish for, if they had the guts to take themselves seriously."
What does this mean? It means nothing. If i have the guts? The guts to do what? Think? Is that what you are suggesting?
Again with the "Richard is an atheist, so it must be right" Apparently Richard, you are the only thinker to consider our origins, forget any of the real geniuses that have come before you.

Reg Golb said...

crazybob,
finally an atheist, unlike johnny, who will call out another atheist. refreshing

Richard said...

To Crazyman Bob and those who see my post as dis'ing fiery,

You could argue I did not make my intentions clear, but only if the reader registered the first 77 words and failed to register the remaining 172!

My comment (down to "Baptism") is 249 words. The first 31% described my initial reactions, but then in the next 69%(!) I entirely supported fiery as having made a humorously appropriate conclusion!

That is, in toto I supported fiery in humor and in fact.

I began that 172 word support with:
"Then in another few seconds reflection..." What else could that indicate but that I rejected my initial thought? It literally means that I had a second thought about my initial judgment.

I did not stop there, I proceeded to ridicule religionists as much as fiery, but I did so by being more specific, by identifying the very things she used to make fun of religionists.

The article fiery linked to explained that the amoebas in question ate along olfactory neurons until they literally began eating out the brain of their victims. I purposely likened those victims to Terry Schiavo.

I then supported fiery's approach by observing that the Terry-Schiavo-right-to-lifers consider one's brain as nothing to lose! Surely one cannot doubt that I am heading into the same territory as fiery when she wrote:

"Fanatical Muslims and other extreme religious people also show shocking resistance to this microscopic brain sucker."

As if that wasn't enough, I went on, following the same basic argument that fiery was making, by adding in the utter absurdity of the religionists' life-after-death contradiction. The religionists are the very people her amusing post says are impervious to the amoeba. I took her point further by referring to their belief that they are impervious to death. On that view "His parents [ought to] dance joyfully.". Aaron must be in Heaven.

Of course, they create this fiction by redefining the meaning of death. I expressed the religionists definition of death in a way I have often heard them put it, as "a change of scenery".

Only then do I divert from directly supporting the main thrust of fiery's post, by emphasizing the obvious: that the "change of scenery" religionists hope for is a stunning absurdity:

They have given up...
"the only soul they'll ever have"
for
"a place where nothing ever happens."

I think the more interesting issue is raised, as a smear, by Reg Golb.

Richard said...

Reg Golb wrote,
"The guts to do what? Think? Is that what you are suggesting?"

Three words: "Yes, try it".

For those of us who are trying:

Having been thoroughly indoctrinated as a child, to the point of becoming an altar boy, I am not without some understanding of what being a religionist involves.

Fundamentally, the biblical and church service message is that obedience to God, through belief in Him and slavish adherence to the biblical morality of altruism, is "rewarded" with that final 'change of scenery' into heaven. Every act of the true believer is their personal attempt to balance living in this world with doing so in a way that they hope will bring them a 'death' in heaven. Go to nearly any church service and you will hear at least one reference, of some sort, to that absurd ideal.

I say "some sort" because there are so many ways church services reference death. Just one: "Jesus died on the cross for our sins". He was our whipping boy for 'our' sins. If we believe in Jesus fully, then we can go to Heaven. Of course, you get there by dying.

Every Sunday every churchgoer joins in that focus on death. Then they walk out in the glorious sunlight, resolved to a profoundly dark commitment. They came to church to reinforce their notion that they must subordinate their souls, minds and lives to a shockingly vicious & petty, imaginary being so that they can die 'right'.

They never name their focus for what it is, but living one's life on principles pursuing death is my idea of evil. As I say, they have given up...
"the only soul they'll ever have"
for
"a place where nothing ever happens."

Richard said...

Reg,

What did you mean by. "Apparently Richard, you are the only thinker to consider our origins, forget any of the real geniuses that have come before you." Obviously I am not the only "thinker to consider our origins". I never suggested I was.

I don't care about your sneering tone, can you clarify exactly what you mean by
1) "consider our origins" and
2) "real geniuses that have come before you"?

There may be some nifty food for Atheist-Homeschooler-discussion in those questions.

Reg Golb said...

Hmm, what could I mean?

Well Richard, it is quite obvious if you would have taken time to read what I wrote, instead of attempting to lecture me.

1. consider our origins - origins, deals with the beginning. Like a painting, or everything ever observed by humans, everything has to come from something or someone. No exceptions. So, while you have concluded that life was an accident, and you are the only true thinker in this community of people, you MUST be right.

2. You are CLEARLY the only real genius ever to walk the earth. People like Newton, Einstein, forget about it, Richard is THE MAN.

That is what I meant.
The previous comment was serious, the following is an attempt at humor.
Thanks for the lecture. As you are the first person to actually think of this view, you have now created a totally new line of discussion. Thanks.

Harry Nads said...

Reg Golb,

I haven't been around here long, but it doesn't take long to see an asshole in the bunch. And you, sir, are an asshole.

Harry Nads said...

Fiery,

Sorry... I think I just fed your troll. :)

Reg Golb said...

Well, I am not an atheist, so obviously. I am also, not a sir, that is Richard's title.

By the way, I am not a troll. I am a homeschool dad.

I am sure that some liberal out there will discover another immunization to force on every youngster.

Fiery said...

reg golb (attention whore) your profile originally had you bragging and enjoying the fact that you are a troll. It also listed you as a volleyball coach.

Never have you presented as a homeschooling dad.

*shudders*

At least you didn't deny the asshole part of Harry's comment. And you are right, you do not deserve the respect inherent in a "sir".

Richard said...

So Reg's first point is that because most things we see have an explanation for their origin, then the Universe must have an explanation for its origin.

Religionists conjure up a God to create the Universe --after all, men create paintings, seeds lead to plants and so forth. [There is something absurdly arrogant in the religionist notion that their God must function the way Men do!]

All that argument does is produce a recursive series: "So who made God so God could make the Universe?" Then, "Who made whoever made God, so God could make the Universe?".

Fantasy makes up such explanations. Reason says, "Well there clearly is something that exists, let's look at it." Intellectual honesty behooves one to only say there is Matter and Space (which is not truly nothing) and that matter interacts with other matter.

With knowledge of the subatomic levels of matter, science now makes it possible to grasp that the Universe is made of some kind of incredibly tiny particles or 'puffs'. These 'puffs' most likely come in certain forms that interact to produce atoms, molecules, stars, planets and life. The 'puffs' are eternal, and no explanation for their cause is necessary. Something cannot be created from Nothing, not even by Whoever made Whoever made God, so God could 'make' the Universe. The puffs are what they are, period.

Your second 'point' is just an insult. I can suggest that some of the great writers are great in one area of knowledge but when they presume to speak on another subject their reasoning skills collapse. Some geniuses make enormous mistakes.

Aristotle placed bats with birds; he supported an altruist ethics without grasping the errors that entails, etc. That does not mean that his Law of Identity, "A is A", is wrong. Another thoughtful person (perhaps a genius) may see the good in a genius's work and perhaps see an error. Either way, it must be done rationally.

Smears and insults in any reasonably serious discussion get one (you) nowhere.

Johnny said...

Smears and insults in any reasonably serious discussion get one (you) nowhere. unfortunately I don't think your ever going to get any form of serious discussion from a troll like golb so.....I am more than happy to be snide with you golb

crazybob,
finally an atheist, unlike johnny, who will call out another atheist. refreshing


I will address this first because by naming me, you stupid snide cunt (you want proper snide
you got it), it sounds like you want a fight... I can think of nothing better at the moment
than squashing an inconsistent fundy bug like you!!
What a tool you really are golb...why would I call Richard out when he clearly is not
dissing Fiery in his post...
I will tell you like I have told your doppleganger,tellmeimwrong(you're wrong shithead!), it's english we are speaking. Learn how to read!!

I'll call out an atheist if you want...crazyman bob read shit properly before you go off
It's called mouth responsibility, you are ALWAYS responsible for what goes in and out of your mouth. even if you misinterprit someones post!!

To start with how is in toto insulting?? It simply means in total or are you pissed off that you had to look it up! And if you read it in total he explains that at first he thought the post was funny then startled at the possibility of Fiery being simply crass about an innocent child's death but then after contemplation (and reading shit properly) he realised that wasn't her aim (belittling someone for their loss) and went on to agree in his own unique (however wierd) way by lambasting the ridiculous beliefs of you fundy jerks golb not you Bob.

I can understand Bob's reaction if he feels a half the way towards Fiery that I do then of course he is going to jump to her defense at a percieved slight but in this case that is all it is percieved...Read it like this At first it was funny then I wasn't sure you weren't being crass but then I realised you weren't.
Bob wrote Unfortunately Richard, your post was not taken out of context by Fiery. She responded to exactly what you wrote. Maybe not to your intentions but to what you wrote. sorry Bob but if Richard is saying his post was not meant to be offensive especially if it is read and understood properly in it's entirety then her being insulted by the start can only be taking it out of context.

This line could have done you in Richard-
and unassailably insulting --but well deserved-- remarks in the above comment
looks for all the world to an uncritical reader that you are admitting insulting Fiery and
that she deserves it......read properly I am sure it means that making light of Fundy beliefs on death and the soul is insulting to them...to you golb......dickhead couldn't even pick up on that could you? Your stupid, not thought through properly, beliefs are what Richard is saying deserves insult!!

"Death is just what the religious ultimately wish for, if they had the guts to take themselves seriously."
What does this mean? It means nothing. If i have the guts? The guts to do what? Think? Is that what you are suggesting?

Kill yourself now and avoid the rush Golb that's what it fucking means you troll. Richard is too nice to be openly offensive to you I however don't give a shit about offending you you bigot.

Well, I am not an atheist, so obviously. I am also, not a sir, that is Richard's title. I think you are trying to say here that we think what makes you an asshole is not being an atheist? If so once again you have got it so wrong dumbass behaving like an asshole is exactly what makes you an asshole golb you asshole!! You have no real idea about atheists and atheism at all do you dunce?


Stop being an asshole and talk intelligently and you might get a different response...until then you deserve nothing less than what I give you........oh and better address me as Bossman Johnny just like your stupid doppleganger made up.

Crazyman Bob said...

Dear Johnny, (my first dear john letter!)

Thank you for pointing out an error in my comment, although indirectly.

My statement: Your comment "in toto" was insulting.

The way I meant it was: all of the comment was insulting. The quotes around in toto were there because I was using the same words Richard used as an insult back to him.

But my statement can also be read the way that you interpreted it. That the use of the words in toto are in and of themselves insulting. Not what I meant.

This brings us to the problem. I used an amphibolous statement. That is (for those who do not have a dictionary handy) a statement that can mean two different things.

This is similar to Richard’s original comment above. It is also being taken two ways. I maintain that without adding positive mental emphasis, it is insulting. On the other hand, I most likely added negative mental emphasis to it when I first read it. So it too is amphibolous .

So what is the answer? Intention wise, we would have to go to Richard’s explanation as no one but he knows what he intended. I am glad his intentions were good! But the problem is the amphibolous nature of his comment and that is the author’s error. It is my error to have written my amphibolous statement and it is Richard’s error in writing his amphibolous comment.

(Hey, if you are going to use a 50 cent word like amphibolous , ya might as well use it a lot!)

So, in retrospect, I should have noticed the (here it is again!) amphibolous nature of his statement before I ridiculed Richard and I should have commented on that instead. But hey, what do you expect from a crazyman?

Johnny said...

What do I expect from a crazy man? Bloody less sense than that dude....great reply. Amphibolous....nice.
Hear you loud and clear Bob. You are right about positive and negative interpretations I guess I also had the advantage of comming in late and actually seeing Richard's explanation post before posting also. It can be a hell of a medium...text.
I was reading for the bit in your reply telling me that our relationship was over!!! Hang on what sort of dear John letter is this?!? hahahaha

Johnny said...

Ha ha didn't see your comment Sean...unfortunately I can't comment on Port seeing as my feelings lie with the great Richmond Footy club who were absolute shite this year...ah well always 1980 to remember
And we've got the best club song

♪Oh we're from♪ Tigerland
A fighting fury♪
We're from Tigerland
In any weather you will see us with a grin♪
♪Risking head and shin
If we're behind then never mind
We'll fight♪ and fight and win
For we're from Tigerland♪
We never weaken till the final siren's gone♪
Like the Tiger of old
We're strong and we're bold
For we're from Tiger♪
♪(YELLOW AND BLACK)
We're from Tigerland♪

Richard said...

First, thanks Johnny, you did the thinking 'homework'! (see below) Well put.

Crazyman Bob,

My comment was not amphibolous (I have known and used the term for decades) in the slightest.

Just as one might be told, "Your shoelace is undone" when he's tripped on it, I am saying those people who read my comment without my subsequent explanation, were not really reading properly. They read emotionally rather than intellectually, the latter being the only way to read, and therefore did not see the words for what they meant.

I taught highschool sciences for ten years, and found that I had to teach the graduating classes to read, because they did not know how to take the actual, author-intended usage of his written words properly.

Few change that approach to reading even as they complete English Literature courses through four years of University study. Few change that approach to reading over the rest of their lives.

I regretfully suggest that your implication that my wording was amphibolous is a rationalization to justify your own emotional interpretationa. All rationalizations are an effort to justify emotionally held wishes, and are the antithesis of reason.

Richard said...

I would like to comment to thinking individuals visiting the Atheist Homeschooler, that the title "sir" has two senses.

The first is one of respect to anyone, as a store clerk may say, "May I help you, sir?" Star Trek used it for lower ranked crew to refer to higher ranked female officers. As a term of respect, that usage is valid, and non-authoritarian.

The second usage is, in a rational and free society, despicable. It suggests an imposed authority over others conferred by a still higher authority.

Reg Globs decision to use it implies more about mental weakness, as it represents his way of 'thinking' when faced with an argument that might disintegrate his own. That is to say, he sees a better reason as an authoritarian attack on his 'reason', rather than a discussion as to whether one idea is better than another. The former is precisely that kind of intellectual backwardness that led to the decline of early Greek civilization, leading to two millennia of religious Dark Ages of disease, torture and death. The latter is what brought mankind out of the Dark Ages, and that Reg sneers at.

Any mind that can live in a time when the benefits of the tremendously benevolent society the Founders created, and who benefits from that society, while opposing the very things that made it possible is dishonest, wicked, and/or fundamentally anti-conceptual. To see the good, and to speak and act against it, is "hatred of The Good, for being good, where Good is that which makes human life on Earth better.

Richard said...

SORRY
With three kids talking to me at once, I misdirected my focus (the root mistake is mine) and clicked Publish when I meant to click Preview.

That last paragraph should read:

"Any mind that can live among the self-evident benefits of the tremendously benevolent society the Founders created, and who profits in any way from that society, while actively arguing against it, is dishonest, wicked, and/or fundamentally anti-conceptual. To see the good, and to speak and act against it, is "hatred of The Good, for being good, where Good is that which makes human life on Earth better. It is a cry for a return to a new religious Dark Ages of disease, torture and death! To the real Hell only they deserve.

Richard said...

I just experienced a great and simple example of what it means to read in toto!

My nine year old daughter and her ten year old friend wanted to make Kraft macaroni for lunch. I chose to use it as an exercise in reading and following written instructions, as well as an opportunity for them to learn some simple aspects of cooking.

The first instruction on the box was as follows:

***
STOVE TOP (BOIL):
1. Add pasta to 9 cups of rapidly boiling salted water (1 tsp salt). Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes until tender. Drain.
***

Well, they put the water into a pot, put the pot on the stove and were not sure what to do next!

In reading the instructions they both lost the main point... get the pasta into boiling water! The reason for their confusion? The instructions were, effectively, out of order. The instructions began with adding the pasta, and then spoke of bringing water (without pasta) to a boil.

Intellectually, neither child successfully retained the main point of the instruction. Had the instructions been written for children, they might better have said:

***
1. Place 6 cups of water into a pot. Place pot on the stove burner or element. Turn stove burner to high.
2. When the water boils (it seems to bubble) add the macaroni noodles to the water, then stir.
3. Turn stove burner to low...
Etc.
***

Now each point stands alone, so that the first point does not occur in reverse order, and therefore does not have to be retained while subsequently grasping the prior actions needed to get to that point.

That box instruction requires full understanding based on the entire sentence:tThe sentence in toto. Doing so requires mental retention and re-structuring of its phrases to grasp the full meaning. The child's orderly and stepwise instructions do not require such mental responsibility.

The same principle of reading and thought applies to understanding the full meaning of paragraphs, groups of paragraphs, chapters and entire books. Doing so requires practice, and a concomitant growth in intellectual
skill.

The above event and its meaning, clearly demonstrates a profoundly important aspect of teaching: retention of the proper order and hierarchical development of ideas, at the appropriate level, for each step of a child's intellectual development. A child must learn to skate if s/he is to learn ice-hockey.

Failure to attend to that intellectual imperative is the ultimate wrong committed by educators; home-schoolers too. I have reason to believe there are only two or three schools world wide who do it properly, followed closely by the better Montessori schools. That failure serves to hobble every mind it touches. That, in turn, hobbles hope for a rational mature, life-inspiring culture, a proper progress in the arts & sciences, a rational politics, and the sensible management of individual lives and relationships.

We need a Second Enlightenment that makes the same leap from present day (skeptical, leftist subjectivist) standards, in scale, as the first Enlightenment made from (mystical, rightist religious) medieval standards. Fortunately the groundwork for such a leap has already been laid.

Crazyman Bob said...

Richard,

The phrase “Then, in another few seconds reflection, I remembered Terry Schiavo” does not clearly indicate that you have reversed your opinion. It says that a few seconds later you remembered Terry Schiavo. That’s it. Nothing in your post clearly states that you changed your mind about thinking less of Fiery. You should have written more clearly to avoid this misunderstanding.

Instead of recognizing this, you are blaming everyone else for the problem. How petty. How childlike. Fine Richard, we are all wrong and you are absolutely correct. Your comment was perfectly written and it is just an odd coincidence that many readers of this blog didn’t see it that way.

Richard, I realize you are in the mental clutches of fundamentalist A.R.I. Objectivism and therefore you have a tendency to share their flaws so I will try to have patience with you.

That you are a party line A.R.I. objectivist is understandable. The complete base philosophy of Ayn Rand laid out in "Objectivism, The Philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Leonard Peikoff is absolutely correct. That leads one to follow their reasoning on other issues like foreign policy and such. Unfortunately, that is an application of Ayn's philosophy and not always correct.

A.R.I. is always right. Just ask them. They will never admit an error. You seem to have absorbed this rather obnoxious quality.

What is my evidence that you are caught in the A.R.I. web? Other than the distinct attitude that comes with it, you seem to be in lockstep with every issue. I don’t know if you check with A.R.I. or Cap Mag. for every issue or not, but it sure looks like you do.

Take for instance your comment a while back on foreign policy.

You said: “The only proper response for America, to terrorists' acts, is to go after the governments that protect and support them.” Very much in line with A.R.I.

But then I ask you, what do we do about America? We funded and trained Al Qaeda to fight the soviets in the 1980’s. Is it all right to protect and support terrorists if they only attack our enemies? How about when America supported and funded Saddam Hussein? Was that ok? Or how about Iran? The CIA is supplying money and weapons to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan. Is this not supporting terrorism just as Iran has?

The CIA on their own website admits to terrorist acts on many other Countries. Kermit Roosevelt admitted on NPR radio that in 1953 the CIA and British intelligence carried out a wave of bombings and shootings in Iran. Roosevelt then went on to brag about how they subsequently blamed the bombings on Iran's President, Mossadegh. Was this not terrorism?

In 1993, the bomb used in the first WTC attack was cooked by the FBI and the driver was under their instruction. It was the same story in 1995 with the destruction of the Alfred P Murrah Building in Oklahoma, again the Feds were implicated, the stooges were under their control. And we know for a fact that Bin Laden was a protected CIA asset, he even had the codename Tim Osman.

Google ‘operation northwoods’ and read about our government’s plans to use terrorism on Americans. Also google ‘operation gladio' for more interesting reading.

As long as A.R.I. and others continue to take the governments official stories for facts, they will continue to be blind to what is really happening.

You say: “Now America has many anthills that must be destroyed: the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq (for tactical reasons), Iran. (Syria and Saudi Arabia probably should be in there too.) The governments and military of each should virtually obliterated in a few days of surprise bombing, without a single American foot touching ground.”

For what? Supporting terrorists and terrorism? Should the government and military of America then be obliterated too? For the same reason?

Knowing objectivism does not make one infallible Richard. Learn to own your mistakes. It will make you a better person and a better writer.

The key to writing is clarity. That too comes from Ayn Rand, in case you forgot that one.

Crazyman

PS I did not include links to the above claims about our government. They are not that hard to find if one expends but little effort.

Richard said...

Crazyman Bob,

An important step is to not take sentences out of context. Let's see, the first 1/3 of my comment began with "At first thought". That indicates that a "Second" is coming, wouldn't you think? That second thought was "Then I read the AP story. Two points that started a trend line.

Then came the reinforcement of that trend line: "Then, in another few seconds reflection" Hmmm, he is reflecting further, so he must still be thinking over what is going on with fiery's post. After that the remaining 2/3rds(!) of my post were clearly in support of the very same ideas and issues Fiery made. Two-thirds, Bob, and you ignored all that on the basis of a mere ten words. Did you read my comment about kids reading the directions to make Kraft Dinner?

I have little interest in entertaining your conspiracy theories, unprincipled interpretations of equally unprincipled modern US foreign policies, uninformed smears of people who respect the second most influential book after the Bah-bull, the author of its ideas (extensively detailed in non-fiction, and me. None of them constitute an argument. Being in "lockstep" with that which is correct is a good thing. Is 2+2=4 incorrect if Hitler says it?

FYI there are now 30 university positions occupied by the Objectivist types you scorn, many in philosophy departments and supported by millions of dollars. A number of them have published books that are receiving serious academic attention. Recently
one of several books by Tara Smith has been printed by Cambridge University Press of London, because it is eminently rational.

[I had trouble with the a href= tag so, if it doesn't work, here is the URL to Tara's Cambridge Press book page: www.tinyurl.com/2pnmwp]

Crazyman Bob said...

An important step is to not take sentences out of context. Let's see, the first 1/3 of my comment began with "At first thought".

You began with "At first I thought your post was pretty funny"

That indicates that a "Second" is coming, wouldn't you think? That second thought was "Then I read the AP story. Two points that started a trend line.

Yes, and in that second thought was the insult. "Quite inappropriate..." and "Sheesh, I would not have thought that of you."

Then came the reinforcement of that trend line: "Then, in another few seconds reflection"

So you were reinforcing the insult?

I know, I know, you reflected further. About similar issues.
And you reflected strangely, meandering around religious points and making puns and allusions.

Some of what you said indeed backed up Fiery's post. But you did not clearly reverse or take back the insults in your first third as you put it.

Wake up and read your post objectively.

Crazyman

PS I am out of time for now, so I will respond to the objectivist stuff later.

Tattooed & Atheist (T&A) said...

A little late, but thanks for the warning! I make to the southern states once in a while, so I'll use extra caution!

Fiery said...

Another life saved!

Yay me! Doing my job to make the world a better place.

*snerk*

Richard said...

Crazyman,

When one mind cannot follow the path and keeps wandering across the the trail of the mind that can, it is easy for the wanderer to presume the one on the trail is just as lost.

You are still conveniently ignoring the 2/3rds of the comment that slammed the fundies, completely in line with Fiery's original post. I quite wonder how you view Roark's first sexual act with Dominique in The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

"Knowing objectivism [sic] does not make one infallible Richard.

I constantly cease to be amazed how those who don't 'get it' use such smears without grasping what it actually says about them. To spell it out: through their own unnamed presumption of infallibility, they believe they can arbitrarily accuse someone else of presuming infallibility. In psychology it's called "projection" --another form of subjectivism.

But that is nothing compared to your method of argument, which consists of prolific use of smears, of wild misdirection into unrelated topics (you devoted more than half your comment to a bar-room level conversation about US foreign policy), sneering use of the first name of the person you disagree with, and half truths...

E.g., you say, "The key to writing is clarity". There is also the possibility that the key to reading is careful consideration of the full meaning of abstractions, of idea development and so forth. The responsibility for communication cuts both ways. I had to learn that one the hard way myself, but it is a long explanation for a blog comment.

On a blog, one can expect some visitors to fit the intended audience, and some to not fit. That the the latter might miss a point does not automatically mean the text was unclear.

Crazyman Bob said...

I stand accused by Richard of a prolific use of smears. Smears of people who like Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Smears of Ayn Rand. Smears of Richard. Oh, and also sneers, wild misdirection, and bar-room level conversations.

That’s a lot of accusations. But lets start with “smears”

Smear: A usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization -- often used attributively (a smear campaign) (a smear job)

A smear campaign is an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual's or group's reputation, credibility, and character.

The key point in the first definition would then seem to be the word unsubstantiated. The key in the second definition would seem to be attacking reputation, credibility, and character.

What did I say about people who like Atlas Shrugged? I don’t believe I said ANYTHING about people who like Atlas Shrugged. I commented on the Ayn Rand Institute (A.R.I.), which I shall cover shortly, but many more people like Atlas than just those at A.R.I.! Ironically, I give out copies of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead to get people to read them and then hopefully get interested in Objectivism. So, where is the smear?

What did I say about Ayn Rand? Well, the first thing I said about Ayn Rand was that her base philosophy (the five branches: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and esthetics) is absolutely correct. That is all I said about Ayn Rand. Not exactly a smear. In fact, it strikes me more as a compliment.

I did criticize the Ayn Rand Institute (A.R.I.). I said that their reasoning on applying objectivism to other issues like foreign policy is not always correct. I called them fundamentalist. I said they never admit an error. I claimed they always take official American government versions of events as fact.

I stand by these statements and can back them up. But it is still not a smear. They are not unsubstantiated.

They are fundamentalist objectivists. Fundamentalism means a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles. If that doesn’t describe A.R.I., you are talking about a different A.R.I. than I am.

I have never seen them admit to an error and I have read a lot on their site for a long time. I have not said they always make errors. I was very specific. I said they were not always correct and I said that very clearly about ONLY applications of objectivism. I then gave a lengthy example. (Doing so is why I have been accused of “wild misdirection” and having “bar-room level conversations”.)

I have seen A.R.I. write absolutely brilliant commentaries on current events over and over again. But they need to check their premises. They just take the official government story and run with it. As long as the reader accepts the official story, the logic in the commentary is flawless. But when the official story is a lie, that lie undermines the whole commentary that is based on it. When the premises are correct, they are inevitably correct in their commentary. They just need to check the facts. Sometimes the facts used are not wrong but incomplete. This also affects the accuracy of the commentary. These are flaws. But this is NOT a smear.

Enough about A.R.I. for now. Let’s move on to my “smears” of Richard.

About Richard I have said: His comment was damnable insulting. I said he was a normally intelligent visitor of this blog. I stated that I was glad his intentions were good. I said he was petty and childlike for blaming everyone else for misunderstanding his comment. I said that he had a tendency to share the obnoxious flaws of the Ayn Rand Institute.

I said many other things but this sums up what I think are the major statements made about Richard directly. I spent time backing up my claims. And considering the fact that I gave examples to substantiate my claims and also Richard while criticizing him, I don’t see how this can be made into a smear.

I do not, in fact, see any smears in my above comments. Much less prolific smears. But perhaps Richard was not clear on the meaning of the word.

By the way, I do not deny sneering at people I disagree with as evidenced above. Ah well, my bad.

As far as my bar-room level conversations about foreign policy, I am afraid I don’t quite understand the charge. There is evidence for every claim I made. In most cases, the parties involved have admitted it. The admissions are in most cases on official government websites!

Richard, my questions were relevant to your post on the subject. If you have no knowledge of or answers for the questions raised does that make it bar-room level?

Richard, you said: I have little interest in entertaining your conspiracy theories, unprincipled interpretations of equally unprincipled modern US foreign policies, uninformed smears of people who respect the second most influential book after the Bah-bull, the author of its ideas (extensively detailed in non-fiction), and me. None of them constitute an argument. Being in "lockstep" with that which is correct is a good thing. Is 2+2=4 incorrect if Hitler says it?

I am surprised by your disinterest in facts and questions that relate to your stated opinions. I stated no conspiracy theories; only facts dug up in years of research, interviews, and freedom of information act requests. I don’t see how my interpretations are unprincipled. I already covered the smears. I answer that being in lockstep is never a good thing; you need to think for yourself and validate for yourself all ideas including the correct ones. I recommend the Objectivism Through Induction course by Leonard Peikoff for more info and help on this idea. I also answer back: is 2+3=4 correct if A.R.I. says it?

Crazyman

P.S. My belated apologies for all those attempting to scroll to the bottom after this comment.

Crazyman Bob said...

A quick side note on Tara Smith.

She tends to stick to the fundamental five branches of objectivism and in that she and many others at A.R.I. are brilliant.

I sincerely hope that objectivists take over the field of education and hope to see the number of university positions filled by objectivists to grow.

Crazyman

Richard said...

Crazyman,

[Could this be any longer... sheesh. Maybe we are the last ones on this thread now.]

First, let me say I am glad you appreciate so much of Objectivism. It does take a special character to recognize and appreciate right ideas when cultural pressure makes it socially difficult to do such a thing. Keep at it, it is great!

With that context in mind, I will address key points you have made,

This first is one of errors of approach you have made:
What did I say about people who like Atlas Shrugged? I don’t believe I said ANYTHING about people who like Atlas Shrugged.

Comments such as "you are caught in the A.R.I. web? are smears. What else could "web" mean, when used that way, but an unsubstantiated accusation? "Web" can only be used that way as an implication of entrapment, as a foolish fly! And, you knew that when you wrote it... now you are caught by your own web. :-)

You have used the same methods in your latest post.

You then say and ask, I give out copies of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead to get people to read them and then hopefully get interested in Objectivism. So, where is the smear?

Again, it was in your method, however automatized and subconscious it may be. Note that the definition of smear you provided included (a smear job), which is the appropriate connotation I was using.

As another example, you said, "That leads one to follow their reasoning on other issues like foreign policy and such. Unfortunately, that is an application of Ayn's philosophy and not always correct.

You presume my "application of Ayn's philosophy" was incorrect, without explanation. I contest that such an approach is no argument, but that it is a smear, of me.

Though the rest of fiery's readers may not be interested, I have been following many of the criticisms against ARI with considerable interest for a long time. Invariably, as I think things through, I grasp why the decisions they make are indeed correct. Often those decisions demonstrate an understanding that is much deeper than I could readily see until I had re-examined a lot of my own premises. I had to ask myself, "Which facts mean what with respect to what principles? It required grasping the proper hierarchical importance of the relevant principles." The splits with Kelley and Reisman, the scathing criticisms of Reisman's wife (I was troubled by her writings at the outset) and their utter rejection of Kelley's new TOC. I watched people I knew personally, such as Richard Sanford, George Walsh, or through their writings (Linda Reardan and others) choose the wrong point of view.

You wrote,
"Fundamentalism means a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles. If that doesn’t describe A.R.I., you are talking about a different A.R.I. than I am.

When it comes to breathing and eating, I am a fundamentalist. There is a very strict sense of principles to those things. There are very strict sets of principles by which men can guide their lives to advantage. Criticizing those who adhere to correct principles, because they adhere to them fundamentally, is wrong. There is considerable injustice and moral relativism inherent in that remark's equating of rational fundamentalism with religious fundamentalism.

Your discussion of the stand taken on terrorism and the Iraq war is a terrible muddle of incomplete thoughts, out of hierarchy principles and factoids (out of context facts) --i.e. bar-room level. They do not apply to the context of this thread nor to fiery's present direction of her blog. ARI has very good reasons for their positions; positions I have understood for years. I have heard your arguments in a hundred different ways and styles, and I think you will find they are way off base if you take a more integrated and principled approach to examining them. I don't think it appropriate to elaborate further here, so on this I've made the claim, the rest is up to you. Remember, however, you brought it up, not me.

On general principle: often the facts that you say are lies are not germane in the way you think, and they know it.

You also said,
"I said many other things but this sums up what I think are the major statements made about Richard directly. I spent time backing up my claims.

Well actually, and this is really important, you did not back up your claims. Your 'back up' consisted of further accusations about me, every last one of them. You simply made a longer list of assumptions concerning how I came to make the statements I made. Further accusations do not constitute the "backing up" of an argument. I am afraid your argument was that badly done. Level a good argument against me, as fiery did on the thread concerning abortion and you will see me acquiesce immediately.

You wrote,
"I recommend the Objectivism Through Induction course by Leonard Peikoff for more info and help on this idea. I also answer back: is 2+3=4 correct if A.R.I. says it?"

LOL! The very means by which I recognized your method of argument was by induction, and subsequent integration of the instances you provided to form the general principle that enabled me to name the problem.

Fundamentally, induction is concept formation writ large. Sometimes a lot of instances are needed to form the concept or principle, sometimes only a few. You have provided a great many instances.

I quite hope you will recognize your methodological problem for yourself, but it is a hard thing to do. I can slam too hard when confronted with an horrendous remark. However, as I have said elsewhere, it is the remark that is slammed not necessarily everything about the person making it. That applies to you too, Bob.

Crazyman Bob said...

Richard,

Your rebuttal above is wrong on almost every point! I wonder if you even really read what I wrote?

(QUOTE) “This first is one of errors of approach you have made:
What did I say about people who like Atlas Shrugged? I don’t believe I said ANYTHING about people who like Atlas Shrugged.” (UNQUOTE)

How is this an error of approach? You claim I smeared people who like the book Atlas Shrugged. I didn’t say anything about people who like that book. Here you claim this as one of errors of approach I have made and then do not even say what that error is. You just quote me answering your accusation with a fact.

“This first is one of errors of approach you have made” What the hell kind of sentence is that anyway?

(QUOTE) Comments such as "you are caught in the A.R.I. web? are smears.(UNQUOTE)

(QUOTE) Again, it was in your method, however automatized and subconscious it may be. Note that the definition of smear you provided included (a smear job), which is the appropriate connotation I was using. (UNQUOTE)

You can jump up and down and say, “Smear! Smear!” and “Unsubstantiated” as much as you want. That doesn’t make it so.

You are accusing me of an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual's or group's reputation, credibility, and character. No Richard, I am not guilty of that. You are in lockstep with them on every issue. You even admitted that yourself. You say yourself that you think about every issue of theirs until you agree with them. That is the web I am speaking of. Thinking they are smarter and more philosophically grounded than you and therefore right. Because of this both you and A.R.I. are both making similar specific errors.

If pointing out errors is all it takes to be guilty of a smear job, then the term is effectively useless. Even if I am wrong about the errors I am pointing out (which I do not think is the case) it would still not be a smear job.

Words have meanings, Richard. You need to be more careful of how you use them.

(QUOTE) You presume my "application of Ayn's philosophy" was incorrect, without explanation. I contest that such an approach is no argument, but that it is a smear, of me. (UNQUOTE)

Without explanation!?! Are you high? Most of the rest of that comment WAS explanation! A long one! On the example of foreign policy. And though it was not the topic of this thread, it was relevant to the point as it serves as both an example of you being in lockstep with ARI because your comment on that subject was an exact match to their views and as an example of when both you and ARI are wrong.

Even Peikoff himself said that two objectivists could properly disagree when the subject was an application of philosophy.

(QUOTE) Though the rest of fiery's readers may not be interested, I have been following many of the criticisms against ARI with considerable interest for a long time. Invariably, as I think things through, I grasp why the decisions they make are indeed correct. (UNQUOTE)

I tend to agree with you when it comes to the various splits in the history of ARI. Remember, I did not say they were always wrong and I was not referring to splits with ARI. I was and am referring to when their conclusions in fields of applied philosophy are incorrect. Usually they are incorrect because they are not integrating in all of the relevant facts that apply. If anyone draws conclusions based on insufficient facts, the conclusions are bound to be wrong.

(QUOTE) There is considerable injustice and moral relativism inherent in that remark's equating of rational fundamentalism with religious fundamentalism. (UNQUOTE)

The similarities are closer than you think. If you were truly following those principles you would think just as hard about ideas you hear from other sources as you do those from ARI. Plus your admission that you are in lockstep with ARI because they are always correct also shows that the comparison was relevant.

(QUOTE) ARI has very good reasons for their positions; positions I have understood for years. I have heard your arguments in a hundred different ways and styles, and I think you will find they are way off base if you take a more integrated and principled approach to examining them. (UNQUOTE)

I have also understood the reasons for ARI’s position on foreign policy. The policy would be correct if it were based on the correct facts. But it is horribly hypocritical when you look at it all the relevant facts.

I am taking an integrated approach. I am aware of hierarchy. Your condescension would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

You have not even heard my arguments on foreign policy. I was asking you about the hypocrisy of going after countries that sponsor terrorism when our country has long been a big sponsor of terrorism (and admits it).

If we were the country that our founding fathers founded instead of what we have turned into, then we would have the right to take that stand on terrorism. We are not the country that ARI wishes us to be. I wish we were, but we are not.

(QUOTE) Level a good argument against me, as fiery did on the thread concerning abortion and you will see me acquiesce immediately. (UNQUOTE)

Well, that’s a bold lie. I have given you a good argument for the issue of your original insulting comment that started all this. I used your description of what you did and plugged in your comments from that original post. Which pretty much proved my point. I noticed that you were suddenly silent on that issue after that. Hung on your own words.

(QUOTE) LOL! The very means by which I recognized your method of argument was by induction, and subsequent integration of the instances you provided to form the general principle that enabled me to name the problem. (UNQUOTE)

Well, then you better brush up on the skills cause you aren’t doing it right yet.

I am sure we are going to have to agree to disagree on a lot of points.

I am glad that you are an objectivist. But I sincerely hope you eventually wake up to the reality of what is going on in the world. Look out at the world and what is really going on and not just at commentary of the world by ARI. Don’t be so quick to form your principles and conclusions when you do not have all the data you need. Look deeper. Look broader. Don’t be so quick to dismiss things without looking into them first. You have great potential. Explore it.

As far as continuing this particular argument, I doubt that it will be worth it. You are too blinded by your own certainty to really learn anything. If you want the final comment on this post for all its future readers, feel free to comment and point out all the smears and unprincipled arguments you want. I have learned what I wanted to learn about you.

Crazyman Bob

Richard said...

Well Bob,

To repeat: "Comments such as "you are caught in the A.R.I. web? ARE smears." (Caps are emphasis, not shouting, bolding did not stand out.) A is A, Bob.

"I have given you a good argument for the issue of your original insulting comment that started all this.
Sorry Bob, not even close. In fact, shockingly far off.*

"...rational fundamentalism with religious fundamentalism. (UNQUOTE)

The similarities are closer than you think.
"

You soooooo, missed that point. Yes, there are 'blind believers' in Objectivism but there are also legitimate f-u-n-d-a-m-e-n-t-a-l-s and agreement with them does not imply "lockstep", but you conveniently skipped my response to that smear, and continued with it, to pretend it wasn't a smear, in an effort to further smear me. Do you win a lot of arguments that way? Academics do, and they think they are really smart... at least they keep telling us they are.

*When one encounters a folly, such as a man who uses smears while pretending they are reason, one should not examine it, but ask what it accomplishes.

I'm not examining it further.