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Comments by ChadSmith1452

Go to: No blood on the carpet. How disappointing. [Also in Polish]

ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 66 by ChadSmith1452

  • four years
  • Mon, 27 Feb 2012 05:50:30 UTC | #922342

    Go to: No blood on the carpet. How disappointing. [Also in Polish]

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 65 by ChadSmith1452

    "Wilberforce asked the Brave New World writer..."

    Oh sweet Jesus, is it possible to spend years in any kind of university and still manage to avoid learning that T.H. and Aldous Huxley are not the same man?
    This is as deliciously ignominious as "George Orwell's turnspeak".

    Mon, 27 Feb 2012 05:48:45 UTC | #922341

    Go to: No blood on the carpet. How disappointing. [Also in Polish]

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 64 by ChadSmith1452

    "No ideas and the ability to express them, that's a journalist."

    -Karl Kraus

    Mon, 27 Feb 2012 05:40:35 UTC | #922340

    Go to: Attacks paid for by big business are 'driving science into a dark era'

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by ChadSmith1452

    @Border Collie

    You've been observing the wrong planet. There is absolutely nothing punitive in the stolid, impersonal, self-interested machinations of corporations, and most do not by any strtetch have any problem with Obama. You need to familiarize yourself with Thomas Ferguson's investment theory of politics in a frantic hurry.

    Tue, 21 Feb 2012 06:31:30 UTC | #920236

    Go to: Attacks paid for by big business are 'driving science into a dark era'

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by ChadSmith1452

    Human affairs are making it ever more grimly plausible to me that much the most likely explanation for the Fermi paradox is that the vast majority of prospective type 2 civilizations simply destroy themselves.

    Plato was right about democracy. If only there were some way to successfully perpetrate mass voter fraud in all the world's (ostensibly) democratic elections whereby the vote of every person with an IQ below 160 were expunged (or simply converted to avoid a suspiciously small tally.

    A totalitarian state ruled by the extreme intellectual elite would, of course, be a utopia by any remotely reasonable definition of that word.

    Pipe dreams both, but splendid ones.

    Tue, 21 Feb 2012 06:26:26 UTC | #920233

    Go to: The Devil, the internet, Richard Dawkins and God

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 133 by ChadSmith1452

    I don't believe for one second that this article is in earnest until see a large sampling of the author's past writings. None of the Brits whose comments I've read seem to recognize him, but this article literally has to be satire -or a cynical hoax Not only is its content of genuinely implausible idiocy, the phrasing is conspicuously, scrutably satirical, in much the same way you can often plainly see bad poets struggling for the rhyme.

    Even if the piece is putatively serious, it damn sure isn't ingenuous. In the states we have Ann Coulter, and, notwithstanding the assurance of Richard's American colleagues* to the contrary, she's exactly as real as a professional wrestling match.

  • In 'The God Delusion' there's a phrase something like, "...Ann Coulter, who American colleagues assure me is real, and not a hoax perpetrated by 'The Onion'..."
  • Mon, 20 Feb 2012 04:46:20 UTC | #919883

    Go to: Dawkins’s Theory of God

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by ChadSmith1452

    @ Steve Zara I'd bet what Dawkins meant is that he finds those things unspeakably kitschy. (I'd be willing to bet real money he'd confirm this with gusto on the off chance were he to pop into thread again).

    I know I detest the holiday season for no other reason than that It becomes nigh impossible to avoid exposure to saccharine Christmas specials (not insuperably difficult, I don't watch TV) and excruciatingly insipid music (flatly impossible; I do shop for my own groceries).

    Come to think of it, I'm almost certain I once heard Dawkins employ the phrase, "...the appalling 'Jingle Bells'...".

    Fri, 27 Jan 2012 12:04:46 UTC | #911977

    Go to: Every scientists-versus-journalists debate ever, in one diagram

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by ChadSmith1452

    "Bad journalists" is a veritable tautology (the only one I ever saw who could even read and write was Hitchens) and the title of this diagram is a misnomer. It should read: "every scientists versus advertisers debate ever".

    Journalists do not, as some un valu'd persons do, carve for themselves.

    Wed, 18 Jan 2012 18:02:12 UTC | #909594

    Go to: Christopher Hitchens obituaries

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 64 by ChadSmith1452


    "Christopher Hitchens is the most formidable debater in the English-speaking world; and the second, is Christopher Hitchens, drunk."

    raises glass

    Fri, 16 Dec 2011 13:58:38 UTC | #899786

    Go to: Rick Perry, our Radiant Pope, & Faircloth's Law of Political Conversion

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by ChadSmith1452

    To most AI researchers, the frame problem is the challenge of representing the effects of action in logic without having to represent explicitly a large number of intuitively obvious non-effects. But to many philosophers, the AI researchers' frame problem is suggestive of wider epistemological issues. Is it possible, in principle, to limit the scope of the reasoning required to derive the consequences of an action? And, more generally, how do we account for our apparent ability to make decisions on the basis only of what is relevant to an ongoing situation without having explicitly to consider all that is not relevant?

    I saw the moderator's admonition that read:

    "A reminder that our Terms of Use require users to remain on topic, please."

    And I just couldn't resist posting this as an assay of what the moderators might or might not consider on topic (will it stay up?).


    Sun, 11 Dec 2011 21:49:18 UTC | #897985

    Go to: Epilogue - The Case of the Pope

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 27 by ChadSmith1452

    "he is too old, too academic"

    I heartily agree with Alan4dDiscussion that this is an inapposite, wince-worthy, dribblingly thoughtless insult to academia

    Worse, it's a very puerile, psychologically obtuse misreading of Ratzinger's character. He is not anything that resembles an essentially principled man of essentially normal conscience, grown recalcitrantly sessile upon his moral ground, the avenues of his moral thought walled off and diverted by the screens erected by motivated reasoning.

    He is plainly [edited by moderator to bring within terms of use], as conspicuously aware of what he has done (and prescinded from doing) as a person nonchalantly walking past a drowning toddler in Singer's "shallow pond" thought experiment.

    This should be excruciatingly manifest to anyone of modest psychological acuity.

    Wed, 23 Nov 2011 23:52:07 UTC | #892690

    Go to: BBC tests morality

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by ChadSmith1452

    Fucking Fluff. Is anybody screening these articles for substance?

    Tue, 22 Nov 2011 05:26:27 UTC | #892199

    Go to: The 50 Most Brilliant Atheists of All Time

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 68 by ChadSmith1452

    @caseyjoepender Perhaps it is largely because I have taken a cognitive science class (who knows, perhaps a few of them) that I don't think Searle belongs on the list. Searle is a buffoon. Why? Well to begin, his idiotic "Chinese room" is one of the most conspicuously boneheaded, transparently flawed, most readily refuted -and "refuted" is the correct word- thought experiments in all of modern philosophy of mind.

    Ask me how. Call my bluff.

    Mon, 14 Nov 2011 23:27:09 UTC | #890213

    Go to: The 50 Most Brilliant Atheists of All Time

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by ChadSmith1452


    This is a pretty fucking risible list. John Searle? Andrew Carnegie?? Katherine Hepburn???

    Congratulations on at least including Russell, Chomsky and Feynman, but for God's sake they're complete no-brainers (so to speak).

    Mon, 14 Nov 2011 00:52:18 UTC | #889926

    Go to: Booting Dawkins from a Country Club: Why it Matters.

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by ChadSmith1452

    Alright, I came back and gave it second skim, and it gets considerably better. But the schlock about America (I'm American) being the greatest country there ever was, and the maudlin bit about the nation mourning Kennedy's death, is hard to forgive.

    I've got a scotch in hand, and never lack self restraint so much as when experiencing the urge to become vituperative at what I perceive to be nonsense; so, an apology of sorts to Sean Faircloth on the off chance he should see this (or give a damn).

    Tue, 01 Nov 2011 23:26:58 UTC | #886191

    Go to: Booting Dawkins from a Country Club: Why it Matters.

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by ChadSmith1452

    sandman67's comment is letter-perfect, but for the fact that he leaves unremarked the exceptional American capacity to murder hundreds of thousands of people in Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, Chile, Timor, Indochina, Libya and Iraq thorough pointless wars and proxy regimes.
    I began skimming Faircloth's folderol after "American exceptionalism", scanned each successive line with mounting rapidity, and reached escape velocity less than two paragraphs later. Trite drivel.
    This is the first time I've read (skimmed) anything by Faircloth, and barring any peculiarly compelling contextual circumstances it will be the last. Such brainless, forceless platitudes do little to hold the skimmer's interest, and indeed make for potent rocket fuel.

    I'll expect now some morally parochial, quasi-literate jackass to take me to task for stating the bald truth of American war crimes. Arguing with these sorts who subscribe to American exceptionalism is quite a different exercise from composing sentences that will hold the intelligent skimmer's attention; it's rather like waving semaphore to a goldfish.

    Tue, 01 Nov 2011 22:14:41 UTC | #886152

    Go to: Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by ChadSmith1452

    @Neodarwinian "Your answer strikes me as profoundly ill informed from an evolutionary perspective"


    Would you be so good as to delineate the precise path of that strike? Exactly which sentence or phrase would I be unlikely to have composed from a more informed "evolutionary perspective"?

    How does the short sound I've made here resemble that of a "human exceptionalist"?

    Now, finding myself unable to resist the urge to ape your act of demanding a definition with an expletive, I must ask, what the fuck is a "human exceptionalist" in this context?

    Lastly, are the English words "will" and "should" interchangeable? If so I apologize for such an obtuse misreading.

    Mon, 24 Oct 2011 04:38:35 UTC | #883611

    Go to: Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by ChadSmith1452



    Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:50:23 UTC | #883597

    Go to: Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by ChadSmith1452

    @ Quine "our species will be listed as one of those "transitionals"

    I've no doubt your right (granting the rather shaky proviso e don't destroy ourselves before reaching a Kurzweilian singularity) but transhumanism isn't really the same as extinction, and very much doubt it will be genetic engineering that gets us there. AI technology will very likely render genetic engineering pitifully otiose before the latter becomes significantly practicable.

    Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:49:48 UTC | #883596

    Go to: Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by ChadSmith1452

    @Neodarwinian "Should our species escape destruction?"

    Uh, yes. Are you some sort of antinatalist? This normative question seems to me a profoundly uninteresting one.

    Mon, 24 Oct 2011 02:41:36 UTC | #883593

    Go to: Can Our Species Escape Destruction?

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by ChadSmith1452

    @ Rtambree

    Yeah right, it is patent to any moderately intelligent person that nothing resolves the prisoner's dilemma and the tragedy of commons like the trusty free market. I wish all homo sapiens were sufficiently sapient to see that absolutely all large scale human problems can be handily solved by giving free reign to the free market.

    This applies most especially to science. Why should these dour, humorless, lab-coated eggheads be free to study fruit flies on my dime? I say privatize all research and let the consumer decide how old the Earth is, whether it's warming, how efficacious various drugs are, and whether it's worthwhile to point orbiting telescopes the size of a city bus at galaxies with no discernable resources, and which no taxpayer will ever visit.

    Mon, 24 Oct 2011 01:43:18 UTC | #883572

    Go to: Don’t Let This Become a Texas License Plate

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by ChadSmith1452

    Is lead poisoning endemic with especial severity in the southern U.S.? What on Earth makes that population so goddamn snot-bubble-blowingly stupid -or least so recalcitrantly ignorant?

    Mon, 24 Oct 2011 00:54:53 UTC | #883558

    Go to: Fox News and Bill O'Reilly Accused of Airing "Distorted" Re-Creation of Florida Man's Email

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by ChadSmith1452

    Sorry, but this item is almost a waste of space on this site. Is anyone's views of Fox news or Bill O'Reilly modified in even the most sublte way by this? I suppose the prospect of a libel or false light suit raises interesting legal questions, but, in the long tapestry of Fox news distortions, this is much the mildest I've ever seen anyone bother to mention.

    Thu, 13 Oct 2011 03:02:17 UTC | #880373

    Go to: A History of Violence

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by ChadSmith1452

    I can't leave unremarked that Pinker takes an invidious dig at Chomsky, with the standard, pristinely vacuous, utterly brainless canard that Chomsky thinks the West is to blame for all the ills in the world, that the West can do no right. This is fathoms beneath Pinker, or should be. If you insist on traducing Chomsky with this ancient, nebulous reproach, please at least rub your temples and make the pretense of some psychokinetic effort to get it to coalesce to some state of solid specificity. Chomsky blames "the West" or "America" unfairly? Cite and closely paraphrase a specific argument or observation Chomsky has made; say precisely why you take issue with it; and aduce lucid reasons. Failing that, (which one very probably will) have the intellectal integrity to just hold your damn tongue.

    "Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes."

    Thu, 29 Sep 2011 16:59:00 UTC | #876371

    Go to: Trial of possible new commenting system on

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 7 by ChadSmith1452

    It's damn time. I rarely comment on this site because your format is so unwieldy. If no one is notified that you've replied to them, it's not worth the bother to even attempt a discussion.

    Fri, 23 Sep 2011 11:15:27 UTC | #874315

    Go to: Islamic Sharia Law Court Opens in Belgium

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by ChadSmith1452

    Fluff. Complete fluff.

    Does this court have any official legal power?


    Is there any plausible argument to made that this court has the faintest chance of acquiring any official legal power?

    Then frankly, who gives a damn?

    Tue, 20 Sep 2011 21:22:10 UTC | #873294

    Go to: Atheists are as big a threat as climate change deniers

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 76 by ChadSmith1452

    Wait a minute...this guy is serious?

    When I saw Skinner identified as a comedian, I had subsequently assumed, in reading the interview transcript, that he was a kind of British counterpart of Steven Colbert. Now I am absolutely serious in asking this: Is Skinner doing satire or not?

    Sun, 18 Sep 2011 05:36:43 UTC | #872165

    Go to: Transcendental artistry can unite even Dawkins and the pope

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 61 by ChadSmith1452

    It's worth mentioning that it is highly possible that Leonardo Da Vinci himself was irreligious. In all of the thousands of (extant) pages in his notebooks, he has something to say about virtually every observable phenomenon is nature. They reveal a mind intensely, even obsessively, curious about how things work.

    And yet scarcely a word about God, and absolutely never invoked either as an explanation or an explanandum. The man interested in and curious about everything appears to have had no interest in or curiosity about God.

    Fri, 09 Sep 2011 06:48:46 UTC | #868797

    Go to: Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by ChadSmith1452

    Whose invidiously dimwitted idea was it to include incontrovertible liar, plagiarist, demagogue, psychopath, and dazzlingly underwhelming intellectual mediocrity Alan Dershowitz? He's famous to be sure, but most definitely not for anything that resembles academic accomplishment.

    His tenure, like Niall Ferguson's, and (formerly) Cornel West's, is proof positive there is something quite apart from intelligence that (mightily) helps determine who will ascend to full professorship at Harvard.

    Mon, 15 Aug 2011 09:52:37 UTC | #861222

    Go to: Searching for Genius in the Brain

    ChadSmith1452's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by ChadSmith1452

    BlockquoteWithout a scientific definition of 'genius', looking for what causes it is a little like looking for what causes a person to be beautiful.

    The race sets the pace so dullness is required to give us geniuses just as slower runners are required to create a 100m gold medallist. If most genotypes had an IQ of 200, it would not be deemed special. Being human, social and competitive we can't help but judge ourselves and others in relation to the group but 'pecking order' is quite a limited yardstick

    I don't know that I can provide a definition of genius without merely rephrasing the intuitively obvious (or at least I can't do it concisely) but if I read your comment correctly you're implying that it is simply qualitative, in which case I heartily agree. One will frequently hear nitwits arguing for some kind of substance dualism, or against strong AI, demand to know how one explains a Mozart or a Rembrandt (John Lennox pulled out this chestnut in his debate with Richard). The simple answer is that Mozart and Rembrandt possessed cognitive faculties that are present in every developmentally normal human, only to a lesser degree, just as, say, David Beckham (Is he even still playing? I can't name any more recent big-name athletes) doesn't have any organs or muscles not present in every normal human. Consciousness, to be sure, is a maddeningly difficult problem, but J.S. Bach and JonVon Neumann are no more difficult to explain in principal than Sarah Palin.

    Thu, 11 Aug 2011 09:14:15 UTC | #860005