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Blondin's Avatar Joined over 6 years ago
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Go to: Scientists buzz Simon Cowell for promoting pseudoscience

Blondin's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Blondin

"... Unfortunately this is not the case with many celebrities who give advice based on their personal opinions rather than being evidence-based, or recycle poor advice given to them by unqualified self-styled 'gurus'."

Like Dr. Oz.

Thu, 29 Dec 2011 22:00:44 UTC | #903626

Go to: BBC - Everything and Nothing

Blondin's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by Blondin

Al-Khalili always reminds me of Alexei Sayle.

Sat, 04 Jun 2011 02:35:25 UTC | #633843

Go to: Why Dawkins disappoints

Blondin's Avatar Jump to comment 97 by Blondin

My impression of this article was that the author was saying that winning or losing a debate about the existence of God has as much to do with the existence of God as winning or losing a hand of poker or a game of chess for Jesus. Debates are about making convincing arguments, they have nothing to do with determining what is true.

Wed, 25 May 2011 16:00:30 UTC | #630811

Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

Blondin's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by Blondin


stop trying to get Sam Harris to defend a dishonestly constructed strawman of what he said.

I wasn't constructing a straw man. I'm saying the only time torture will turn out to have been the right/ethical action to take will be when it really does save a dire situation - you had the right guy, he had the right information, you got the information and saved the day. I'm not saying that could never happen, but I'm damn sure it doesn't happen anywhere near as often as it's depicted on TV. The science of forensic investigation is nowhere near as precise as it's depicted on TV, either.

Ultimately, if authorities thought they really had a ticking bomb situation and a perp with vital information, I doubt if any set or rules or ethical guidelines would stop them from threatening or doing whatever they thought would work. But they should be prepared to take the consequences afterward.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:48:04 UTC | #620793

Go to: Why I’d Rather Not Speak About Torture

Blondin's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Blondin


My problem with Sam's position is that I don't understand how you can ever be sure that you actually have a genuine 'ticking bomb' situation where the victim of the torture really does have information that needs to be revealed immediately to prevent an atrocity yadda yadda... until after the fact.

I understand that he is only proposing that it would be ethical in the most extreme circumstances but whose judgement would you trust to decide when that is the case? If an interrogator decided to torture information out of a terrorist and that information turned out to be false who do you punish - the terrorist or the interrogator? What if it turns out there was no ticking bomb? What if it turns out the terrorist was not who or what you thought he was?

It's all very well to discuss scenarios where, with hindsight, we can know that a disaster could have been prevented had somebody been tortured, but how often is that likely to be genuinely foreseeable and who do you trust to make that call?

If you're going to allow anybody to make that call then, when enemy interrogators apply the exact same logic, I guess you just have to consider your tortured operatives collateral damage.

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 18:33:31 UTC | #620750

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