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Comments by j.mills

Go to: An Apology

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 192 by j.mills

ophelia, diocletian, et al:

"When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly half way between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong."
- Richard Dawkins

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 01:20:00 UTC | #445139

Go to: An Apology

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 185 by j.mills

It's very telling that you haven't noticed those who did.

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 01:09:00 UTC | #445131

Go to: An Apology

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 115 by j.mills

EDIT: Comment deleted as beneath me.

Sun, 28 Feb 2010 22:20:00 UTC | #445047

Go to: An Apology

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 79 by j.mills

I would feel churlish if I did not thank Richard for this gracious apology. So long had passed, with uproar in the media and enforced silence on the matter here, that I had little hope of such a gesture. I am delighted to be wrong on that score.

However, like others above, I have reservations: about the small value attached to the forum's history and activity; about the reckless deletion of posts, both here and on the forum, and of user accounts; about the petty 'rick-rolling', the alleged airbrushing of admin logs, the announcement of a sudden imposition of a new system rather than a gradual and genuine consultation... All of these things the site owners are free to do. But boy were they ill-advised. And that leaves me uneasy about the site's management, and generally feeling sour about the place.

(I have also had my eyes opened like never before to the laziness of the British media!)

I wish the best for Richard and the site and I expect I'll be popping by. But at the moment I'm finding the air a little freer over at RatSkep.

Sun, 28 Feb 2010 21:35:00 UTC | #445004

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 184 by j.mills

A 'free market' in nationality ought to level the playing field eventually. Although that's just economic theory, so it's anybody's guess.

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 19:06:00 UTC | #443884

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 183 by j.mills

Ah, there we are. Alternated at last.

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 19:04:00 UTC | #443882

Go to: Atheists claim bias over rejection of 'No God' ads

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by j.mills

Jos, re the wording, see the caption under the picture.

I thought NZ was kinda laid back. It seems there are always people determined to make themselves look pathetic.

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 18:47:00 UTC | #443875

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 181 by j.mills


Whether a couple save money or not by living together is not, after all, relevant to state funding. It doesn't fund child-rearing out of the goodness of its heart: it funds child-rearing because it, the State, wants and needs those children.
It funds it, to my mind, because it has an obligation towards those growing citizens. And whether they save money is relevant, because if they do (and they do), they have more available than do the single people whose taxes will subsidise them.

EDIT: clarification: I might be persuaded that every citizen's taxes should help support our growing fellow citizens. I see no reason why a single person's taxes should fund the married (childless, child-rearing, or pre- or post-child-rearing). If it is true (which I doubt) that there is something 'magical' about marriage (rather than stable relationships in general) that increases the likelihood of a healthy childhood, then that 'magic' will work regardless of whether it is subsidised; and if child-rearing is adequately subsidised, there could be no need to subsidise marriage.

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 18:14:00 UTC | #443860

Go to: Judge ‘baffled’ by Simon Singh chiropractic case

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by j.mills

The McLibel Trial went on for years, two unemployed campaigners against the might of McDonalds, who used every squalid trick in the book. (Watch the documentary.) Follow-up appeals went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. SFAIK, no change in the libel laws resulted.

We need there to be some votes in it somehow.

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 23:19:00 UTC | #443582

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 172 by j.mills


On the other hand, I can't feel sorry about the demise of that horrid, stuffy place. I really can't sympathize with the few refugees from the forum...

Forum stats:
Total posts 2416841 • Total topics 86475 • Total members 84562
Most users ever online was 1053 on Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:58 pm
Don't underestimate what's being lost here. The front page has been only the tip of the iceberg of what goes on at

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 22:50:00 UTC | #443569

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 170 by j.mills

I will go further:

Woo woo woo.

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 22:46:00 UTC | #443567

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 169 by j.mills

Having learned about the forum demise only after the event (no prominent front-page announcement, as usual), I've just been catching up on some of the depressed posts about the matter thereon. Many of you front-pagers don't delve in there, but the diversity and sheer seething quantity of posters and discussions back there has been uniquely valuable. To see all that thrown away dismays me, and the 30-day moribund period is bound to make members drift away. With the gradual tightening up even on the front pages too, I feel I'm watching the 'free-thinking oasis' dry up utterly.

It wasn't broke. This free-wheeling site has been what one would desire to achieve, not to dispose of.


Tue, 23 Feb 2010 22:44:00 UTC | #443564

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 163 by j.mills

I wonder if we'll enjoy the same robust exchanges of views when the new forum changes come into play. I'm afraid I'm not optimistic. :(

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 22:00:00 UTC | #443544

Go to: NHS money 'wasted' on homeopathy

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by j.mills

Tut! NHS money isn't wasted on homeopathy. It's merely diluted.

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 21:39:00 UTC | #443534

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 160 by j.mills

Colwyn: I dare say illegal brothels will be able to offer "services" that a legal brothel rightly could not. (Underage, for instance.)

ColdFusionLazarus et al: I'm surprised that in talking about child benefit no one has mentioned the interest of the child. The object of the exercise is to ensure the child has a decent standard of living and is not brought up in deprivation (however irresponsible their parents might have been in having so many unaffordable kids). Now, simply giving cash to parents will not, unfortunately, guarantee this; but the principle is admirable, even if the practical details are unsatisfactory. I'm all ears if you guys have better ways to achieve this.

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 21:26:00 UTC | #443529

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 114 by j.mills

badtemperedoldgit said:

a process of awareness... is not maybe helped by legalising an exploitative industry.
Even though we thereby make it less 'exploitative'? With the best will in the world, no amount of feminism is going to make this industry go away.

I would like to know, if prostitution were legal, how many people would want themselves - or their families - to be involved in it, from either side.
I would want people to do what they want to do, not direct their lives for them. How about yourself?

I wouldn't think much of a partner who indulged as a purchaser
Relevance? If that's what you feel, you're free to dump such a partner. What's that got to do with everybody's freedom to behave as they wish?

I guess some stigma will have to continue
There's some stigma associated with being a banker at the moment, or an arms trader at any time. People choose their work with their eyes open.

Tue, 23 Feb 2010 00:36:00 UTC | #443322

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 108 by j.mills

I wasn't binned, Diacanu - you can reply direct on the alternate thread these days, as I did.

badtemperedoldgit - porn and attitudes to (and of) women must be tackled (to whatever extent they respectively need tackling) through the medium of free speech. You can't legislate away men's sexual urges, or some women's compliance. I've little patience for the argument that women are 'pressured' to dress or behave in certain ways: there's no equivalence between the kind of weak cultural pressures that encourage some women to dress seductively (which many of them seem to like to do, and why shouldn't they?) and the kind of tacitly hardline pressure that will underlie the decision of some women to don the burka. Granted, culture encourages women to enlarge their breasts or get a nose job; they still make their own choices. The one part of their anatomy they should concentrate on enhancing is their backbone. Ditto for men feeling inferior for lacking a six-pack. I would feel more ashamed of blaming 'culture' for my own inadequacies than I would of the inadequacies themselves.

Legalisation does not help all prostitutes
Does it help some? Once again, improvement is worthwhile even if it is not perfection.

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 23:41:00 UTC | #443312

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 103 by j.mills

Miss ya, Diacanu! :(

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 22:02:00 UTC | #443286

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 48 by j.mills

Chaps, I think you're not getting that Steve is concerned here with the exploitation of prostitutes by pimps, as well as by johns. (Look at me with the street lingo! :) ) There are prostitutes actually held captive, particularly women who've been trafficked into the country with false promises. I don't agree with Steve that regulation is the wrong approach, but the transaction is not always (I'd guess rarely) between just two people, as you're suggesting.

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 01:10:00 UTC | #442976

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 44 by j.mills

Steve said:

Legality does not imply real acceptance, or remove stigma in some cases. Adultery is legal, for example.
Whether or not we can remove the stigma, we can certainly remove some of the dangers. Would we be any better off if adultery was both stigmatised and illegal? Just because we can't solve the whole problem is not a good enough reason to hold off solving part of it.

We can't have the kind of equivalent legal outlet for sex until society has changed, and prostitution is without stigma.
We can't have prostitution without stigma (if at all) until we have a legal outlet for selling sex. That's the bit that we can do something about.

No, what I am suggesting is the equivalent of making the buying of clothes from known sweat shops a legal problem. It should be up to the purchaser from the original provider to be able to provide proof that there was no exploitation.
Responsible purchasing requires point-of-sale information, like the FairTrade mark, the energy ratings on electrical appliances, etc. In your scheme, the joe would have to be a ballsy private investigator to establish the working arrangements of a prostitute before 'transaction'. Whereas, if the trade was regulated, it would be readily possible to choose to frequent only licensed services.

Incidentally, if somebody registers with, say, the Home Office as a prostitute, is there any reason that registration must be made public? They could perhaps be issued with a secure ID or some online code that could be used to verify their status, without their name being revealed to all and sundry. We should want to reach a point where selling sex is not stigmatised, but until then (and maybe even then) we should and surely could guarantee anonymity whilst still regulating the process for the good of all concerned.

Mon, 22 Feb 2010 01:02:00 UTC | #442968

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by j.mills

I'm for bringing it into the open where it can be regulated, policed and controlled. Prostitution is unextinguishable. It should be managed, not ignored. (Ditto drugs, though that's arguably a more difficult problem because it involves more lasting harm.) The way to protect those involved is to take them out of the hands of criminals and let them ply their trade in a safe environment with access to healthcare and security. With that in place, you can then come down heavy on any 'unauthorised' prostitution and pimping.

Question mark over whether this would supply a sufficiency of sex service to meet demand; but those famous market forces we hear about should see to that: lack of supply --> increased price --> more attractive salaries --> more prostitution. Finds its own level.

Not a perfect solution, but progress in the right direction.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 23:47:00 UTC | #442936

Go to: Essay of the week: The New Puritanism

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by j.mills

Is good stuff. AC for PM!

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 22:01:00 UTC | #442889

Go to: God botherers

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by j.mills

I liked his Radio 4 show, Mark Watson Makes The World Substantially Better; enjoyable fluff. However, this article reads, as louis14 notes, like a careless attempt to fill a column. Watson's dismissal of the 'need' for atheist activism suggests that he's never read any of the books he's disparaging vaguely. It's just bandwagon page-filling - not deserving of anyone's serious attention.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 21:50:00 UTC | #442884

Go to: How prayer can crack crime

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by j.mills

There is. The Framley Examiner. But even that isn't this potty.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 21:27:00 UTC | #442879

Go to: Panel approves Bible classes for public schools

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by j.mills

I demand the teaching of the koran! And the book of mormon! And the tibetan book of the dead! And the bhagavad gita! And the tao teh king! Teach the controversy! Until we have allllll these gods back in our households, there will be no social improvement!

Does this claim of literary merit extend to all translations, I wonder? How about this one?

Sat, 20 Feb 2010 19:16:00 UTC | #442637

Go to: Elton under fire for 'Jesus is gay' remark

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 64 by j.mills

It is clearly stated in Leviticus 18:22, 23; that Christ sees homosexuality as an abomination.
Quite apart from the eye-rolling anachronism, what has verse 23 got to do with anything?
Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
This is some insidious attempt to equate homosexuality with bestiality? That certainly is "confusion"!

Sat, 20 Feb 2010 14:50:00 UTC | #442595

Go to: Panel approves Bible classes for public schools

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by j.mills

It took me 6 months to read the damned thing. If students need to read the whole thing to pass, they will mostly fail. If they don't, then who does the cherry-picking? Perhaps the American Atheists could suggest a curriculum:

Talking snake; alleged "sin" prior to knowledge of good and evil, howzat work?
Flood, drunken Noah.
Lot screwing his daughters.
Hardening of Pharoah's heart.
Animal sacrifices (including that by jesus's step-dad).
Death to homos; death to adulterers.
Levite & concubine (love that one, so macabre!).
Punishing sons for sins of fathers (eg. David's).
The bears sent to kill the kids.
Jonah - inc. the little-known 3rd chapter that proves god a liar.
Job! Oh my. That one alone...
Numbers - to deaden the heart.
Discordance of the gospels.

Sat, 20 Feb 2010 13:59:00 UTC | #442589

Go to: Origin of the specious

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by j.mills

Well, this has been most edifying. I'm sure Mr Fodor would be delighted with the progress we've made. :)

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 22:49:00 UTC | #442485

Go to: 1000 Rabbis Warn: Open Homosexuality in the Military is a Disaster and May Cause Further Natural Disasters

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 73 by j.mills

Kudos to funkyderek for going straight to the horse's arse. Mouth.

Some industrial-strength sarcasm on this thread! Special commendations to evolve749 and Alternative Carpark ("prepuce-munchers" is a definite keeper!).

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 11:04:00 UTC | #442274

Go to: In Brookhaven Collider, Scientists Briefly Break a Law of Nature

j.mills's Avatar Jump to comment 50 by j.mills

Enough now. That one caused me physical pain.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 10:52:00 UTC | #442272