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Comments by Corylus

Go to: living in the watchtower

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Corylus

Comment 16 by Roger Belmar :

I agree with the first comment. One of my favourite places in London is the Natural History Museum and it's wonderful to see how many parents bring their children along.

It is a lovely place. It can also be an entertaining place to take a child to. On a recent visit with No1. Niece I pointed out a statue of an old guy with a beard sitting in a chair...

"Who is that?" I said.

"Dunno" she said.

"A clue." I said, "His initials are CD".

"Oh duh!" she said, "Charles Dickens"

We went to the gift shop to look at the purdy rocks after this.

Thu, 02 Aug 2012 23:04:31 UTC | #950375

Go to: Why Jehovah's Witnesses won't mourn the Aurora victims

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Corylus

What I want to know is what you - the the non-Jehovah's Witness - feels like when you hear things like this being said.

It is the 'whistling past a graveyard' response that often comes out after dreadful events. "Well, me and mine are safe" people like to say. In actually of course no-one is safe, the universe is a random place and shows no fear or favour.

This is not restricted to JW's either. For example with Catholics you get the argument that no-one would contract HIV if every one only had one sexual partner. Well, technically, yes (baring other methods of transmission), but then those who do not eat will not contract salmonella either. Life involves risk, and a life well lived - aka a life open to friendship, experience and artistic shock is at increased susceptibility of risk.

In fact, this is not even restricted to religion, we see this type of thinking with anti-vaccine types, extreme 'helicopter' parents and those terrified of their own shadows.

This 'Elder' is a frightened man. Not an appropriate role for a grown-up.

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 19:56:59 UTC | #950181

Go to: Effect of the concept of hell on children

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Corylus

Anxiety can be lowered not only by calming, but by diversion.

For example, for the hypochondriacs amongst us, if you ever find yourself imagining that a part of your body is swelling/shrinking/changing colour/ dropping off etc... just look at a different body part and ask yourself if it is doing the same.

Go on, get yourself all worried about it. Right, now look back at the original body part and compare and contrast. Not seem so bad now? Great!*

It is the same with hell. Worried about Catholic hell? Spend some time looking at Islamic Hell... Now look back at Catholic hell - doesn't seem so worrying does it?

* In the unlikely event it still looks like it is dropping off, a visit to the doctor might actually be a plan.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 21:59:03 UTC | #949925

Go to: Religious Olympics

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Corylus

No forgetting the equestrian event of the gish-gallop.

Mon, 23 Jul 2012 20:25:55 UTC | #949916

Go to: 2012 Project Reason Video Contest

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Corylus

Work gone into all of these. Well done to all contestants.

If I had to pick, then I would say Conflict demonstrates a high level of skill and technical achievement.

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 19:45:41 UTC | #949519

Go to: A past Muslim . . . now an atheist in Pakistan

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Corylus

Stay safe.

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 18:43:06 UTC | #948912

Go to: Religious Doctor Denies Medicine for HIV Positive Gay Man

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Corylus

Interesting how those Doctors who have such conflicts of conscience over treating the side effects of intercourse never seem to go into areas like gerontology.

One might almost wonder if they actually enjoy the occasional chance to show their judgemental side.

Wed, 04 Jul 2012 20:48:26 UTC | #948578

Go to: A Religious Military? Spiritual Fitness Test or Rationality Fitness Test?

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by Corylus

Comment 22 by Foxhole Atheist :

Thank you! I dislike having super patriots being the only ones who stick up for us.

You are quite welcome :)

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 20:10:40 UTC | #947869

Go to: A Religious Military? Spiritual Fitness Test or Rationality Fitness Test?

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Corylus

Comment 16 by mmurray :

Dammit. I think me and Muscardinus avellanarius got sock puppeted. Is that a verb ?


Dunno - it was a very unpleasant comment though. Sigh, threads about the military seem to bring out those with empathy bypasses.

Members of the military are just like the rest of us - some nicer than others: all with a range of reasons for actions.

Sun, 17 Jun 2012 18:33:01 UTC | #947752

Go to: Cleric says polio vaccination 'un-islamic', warns of jihad against docs

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 35 by Corylus

So, not smart enough to look with suspicion at those monopolizing the means of production: stupid enough, heartless enough, and healthy enough, to foster suspicions of those with the expertise to administer the means of health promotion.

This is deliberately worded to include both this vile cleric and the western anti-vaccine crowd.

Sat, 16 Jun 2012 19:35:02 UTC | #947718

Go to: Why smart people are stupid

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 98 by Corylus

I see that the flip side of Dunning-Kruger has come out: smart people underestimating themselves.

Sat, 16 Jun 2012 19:27:53 UTC | #947717

Go to: Search for truth leads to rejection of religion

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Corylus

However, one must consider all of the difficulties of their situations before passing judgment, as well as remember that such major changes in life are the result of lengthy processes rather than snap decisions.

Yes, the noggin can spend some time mulling things over before it even "comes out" to its owner - let along the general public.


Comment 18 by joshuaeverett : These are regrets we all bear, along with the regret of so many wasted years of our own short lives.

Wasted employment hours might be a better way of looking at it rather than wasted years. After all, none of us spend the entirety of our time in our jobs.

I would hope that - along the way - you have all also spent some time accumulating family, friends, life experience, books read, recipes learnt etc. These things you would have done whatever your choice of job. Yes, due to circumstances, these might well have been different, but I very much doubt that they would have been absent either way.

In fact, I don't know anyone who does not have some wasted employment hours in their past. Yes, I have less than yourself, but I have still had to learn that life is way too short to spend any time whatsoever in a job that requires the wearing of either a polyester uniform or latex gloves.

I would strongly advise bearing this in mind when you are looking for a new career. Just sayin'.

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 20:56:14 UTC | #947237

Go to: Sins of Memory

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 15 by Corylus

Comment 14 by VrijVlinder :

Can't say it affects me adversely besides not forgetting everything that happens to me or that someone says.

That's great news.

The down side is that those who are part of my memories do not remember their own.

Experience is not the same thing as memory. This means that these people are part of your collective experience if not your collective recall. Also we process (those of us doing so in a standard way anyway) much more than we realise.

You could do an experiment to test this. How about plotting a fun day full of learning and enjoyment with someone close? You could enjoy the day in all its glory and then do something similar (but not the same) a few months later. Does the person that you are with react to the stimuli given as completely novel, or instead has the experience that you shared coloured their reactions? I think you will find that it has, well, barring concussion or adverse events in the interim. We do not have to pay absolute direct attention to take things in.

You are definitely not alone in the experience, and I am hoping that you might find that you are less alone than it seems with the recall.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 21:10:08 UTC | #946424

Go to: Sins of Memory

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Corylus

Not doubting your experience, Vrij, but this is very unusual condition.

I can't recall thinking that you demonstated any cognitive problems when reading you, so if you do have an unusual memory ... well then it does not seem to be affecting your life in a restricting fashion :)

Any worries or health concerns you have must be taken up with a professional.

I would advise doing this after looking up a completely different condition that you cannot possibily have and checking yourself against the symptoms. Heh! I tend to look up symptoms for prostate problems myself and - if finding myself still worrying about such things - take stock of any other reasons why I might be feeling a bit on edge.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 20:01:03 UTC | #946402

Go to: How religion promotes confidence about paternity

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Corylus

I could not see any mention of a comparison of cuckoldry rates of males who are beaten to the post by men who are strangers, and those who are beaten to the post by relatives. Simple enough to check when running the DNA test I would have thought.

I mention this because there are traditional strategies of preferring cuckoldry by kin which can be either religious in origin i.e. the various forms of levirate marriage or tribal, i.e. the distinctly unpleasant practise of a new bride being forced to have sex with her father-in-law first on her wedding night.

Of course, the distinction between tribal and religious will be almost impossible to tease out in many cases, but the data would have been interesting.

P.S. Uncomfortable menstrual huts? Oh, that's nice: just to make such things extra, super fun.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:48:58 UTC | #946301

Go to: Sins of Memory

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Corylus

Comment 6 by VrijVlinder :

Is photographic memory a sin? How can I stop remembering everything besides a lobotomy ? There are instances where it is useful but most of the time it is useless information stored.

It least you don't have hyperthymesia, that one really gives a meaning to wanting to forget.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:05:47 UTC | #946297

Go to: Nun's sex talk raises the Vatican's ire

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 37 by Corylus

Comment 36 by Agrajag :

Comment 29 by Corylus

Incidentally, I would not site (sic)

Groan. My kingdom for better proof-reading skillz.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 09:59:19 UTC | #946296

Go to: Sarah Outen in a typhoon

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Corylus

Looks like the coastguards have picked her up. Good news.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 09:56:47 UTC | #946295

Go to: Nun's sex talk raises the Vatican's ire

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by Corylus

Comment 31 by strangebrew :

I think the point is that even if the good sister has the most modern and practical view of sexuality and the ethics involved she would have a difficult choice of publishing as her vocational activities would presumably be at threat from the kick back by the truly sexually ignorant in the Vatican.

Yes, that is a fair point.

It is more a reflection of her integrity that she integrity that seems out of place in katolik' fundy circles.

I appreciate the point that if her work is a balanced and properly informative text then she has performed a service for those where Catholic teaching seems somewhat contradictory if not actually ridiculous.

Of course.

Not sure the Vatican whining to Catholic institutions not to stock or refer to the book will help them out of the doctrinal hole they are could conclude that if the book is adopted as a reference elsewhere and the 'advice' in it is more or less in line with the sexual ethics of contemporary secular sources then I would imagine she will be the target of some katolik' internal revenge politics.

What does the Vatican think they will achieve?

I don't think it is about achievement. I think it is instead about protection: protection of their view of themselves as uniquely qualified. They are above it all you see. Objective. Purer. Better.

Someone from their own organisation actually caring about people and empathising would indeed attract revenge politics. I suspect that this might not necessarily be about what she says, but instead about what she is willing to consider. Her work is (whether she means it to be or not) a deep threat to their self-image. They have good reasons for holding onto their rarefied view of themselves.

Even more alienated from the modern world and disengaged from reality...they are seemingly on the downward spiral to oblivion and this is just the death ticks and jerks of the body ecclesiastical.

They impress no one...least of all their victims that basically ignore their more onerous nonsense anyway.

Not impressed, no. But I am neither impressed nor repelled by their lack of engagement with standard relationships. It would be hypocritical for me to be so. Heh! I am traditionally English enough to consider the possibility that many (but not all!) coital relationships would be better managed via the postal system :P

However, I do get sad when I see people turning onto themselves: and then I get angry when I see them turning upon others.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 22:03:53 UTC | #945963

Go to: Unsung Heroes, Obscure Scientists

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Corylus

No mention of Lise Meitner yet?

Admittedly that is more about "overlooked" than "obscure" though.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 20:37:37 UTC | #945954

Go to: Nun's sex talk raises the Vatican's ire

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 29 by Corylus

Some more detail on what she actually said here...

... it is surely the case that many women have found great good in self-pleasuring—perhaps especially in the discovery of their own possibilities for pleasure—something many had not experienced or even known about in their ordinary sexual relations with husbands or lovers. In this way, it could be said that masturbation actually serves relationships rather than hindering them.

Needless to say this speculation caused particular ire ...

The Vatican handily disagrees on both points, and said so in the notification sent to Sister Farley. “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose... "

The interesting thing is that this one "rang a bell" with me (no sniggering in the back please, children) in that I did remember reading about a study on this. After some googling (and later furtive clearing of internet history) I track down the reference. Apparently Thomsen and Chang, 2000 found a history of masturbation is a very significant predictor indeed of later female orgasm ... when one manages to have company, as it were. So it looks like Sister Farley's instincts - and the science - trump the 'fruits of a lifetime of scholarship' that the Vatican priests have to offer.

Incidentally, I would not site her sexual history as evidence against her theories. Firstly, because I don't know for sure what this is; secondly because there is a history of books on sexuality written by the non-engaged (Marie Stopes wrote the informative Married Love while still a virgin); thirdly, because there is no direct logical link between 'experienced in' and 'correct about'; fourthly because there is a very real possibility that the hideous lack that many clerics seem to demonstrate when talking about sexuality is not lack of experience but instead lack of compassion, and fifthly because it really is absolutely none of my beeswax.

All I will say is that if she has managed to demonstrate both care about and a desire for those who experience things that she cannot to nevertheless enjoy themselves ... well ... then this shows a laudable lack of jealously and true generosity.

Wed, 06 Jun 2012 20:21:58 UTC | #945951

Go to: Nobel laureate joins anti-vaccination crowd at Autism One

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 33 by Corylus

Comment 32 by EvN :

Sorry, Bluebird. As a mom of two sons, I feel NO empathy for Jenny McC's campaign whatsoever. You see, my dad had polio and I will not expose my children to that. Never. Ever.

It's all about protection from harm, isn't it? The narrowing of focus onto one's own babies. This can work with both avoiding a possible reaction to a substance (as scaremongered as that reaction might me) and with avoiding a specific disease. It is the same instinct.

We are all very, very lucky at the moment. There are reduced opportunities to see the effects of awful diseases up-close-and-personal and some people (like McCarthy) thus underestimate risk and end up messing with herd immunity ... whilst at the same time relying on it. I am afraid that this situation might change soon though, when certain critical points are reached.

The solution is scientific education about pathogens,alongside an exposure to the emotional horror of them. More pictures of smallpox victims required. Make people listen to the sound of whopping cough.

I don't have children myself, so I feel a bit bad interrupting here. What I do know though is that - barring legitimate reasons for non-vaccination like chemotherapy - any child of mine that I ever produce will look like a pin-cushion before I am done. I couldn't live with them poorly, and I couldn't live with them making some other mother's children poorly.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 18:59:32 UTC | #945526

Go to: Indonesian atheist faces long jail sentence for posting "God doesn't exist" on Facebook

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 52 by Corylus

Comment 51 by Confident Christian :

Alex Aan has been treated with massive injustice, and I hope that he gains freedom and an apology for the way that he's been treated, and that others like them gain the government support, which they ought to have, to be able to hold atheist beliefs in a free society, which I certainly, fully and absolutely support.

I am sure we can all agree on that one. This is why secularism is not about persecution, but instead the prevention of unearned privilege: privilege with appears to increase in barbarity as the majority numbers increase.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:58:50 UTC | #945446

Go to: Stop female genital mutilation in the UK! - petition

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 6 by Corylus

Comment 4 by Robert Firth :

If this petition were to stop infant and child genital mutilation, I would sign it in a heartbeat. But a petition that ignores 95% of the victims of this barbaric practice is one that I will not sign. First, because it is sexist and morally wrong. Secondly, because it denies or diminishes the suffering of half of humanity. And finally, because it will be almost completely counterproductive: it will only confirm among the practitioners of FGM the disgusting hypocrisy of us Westerners, who condemn them for doing to girls what we routinely do to boys.

You might wish to consider supporting this group then.

Genital Autonomy is against all non-consensual, non-therapeutic surgery - including surgery on intersex children.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:32:45 UTC | #945440

Go to: Queen 'should remain Defender of the Faith' - BBC poll

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by Corylus

Comment 76 by mmurray :

Selective reporting anyone ?

Oh, yes :)

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:23:35 UTC | #945437

Go to: Turf wars expose the rot within Holy See

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Corylus

Last year, Bertone notably saw off Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who as secretary general of the Governatorate of the Vatican city state, had reportedly turned a $9.5m deficit into a $40m surplus, but whose reforming zeal had won him few friends. Instead of being given the top job when his boss died, he was shunted off to be apostolic nuncio in Washington.

What an astonishing statistic. Debt wiped out and $40m more for charitable deeds; you would think they would be pleased.

Good job I am not a catholic, for that sort of self-serving behaviour would depress me no end.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:20:26 UTC | #945436

Go to: Queen 'should remain Defender of the Faith' - BBC poll

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by Corylus

Comment 72 by katy Cordeth :

A little drug called Majesty Does Me Alright.

Can't say the monarchy fills me with ecstasy.

I personally have been catching up on my reading while this sycophantic charade has been playing out.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:09:45 UTC | #945432

Go to: Nobel laureate joins anti-vaccination crowd at Autism One

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Corylus

Thank you, Hume's Razor I had not heard that one before.

... there’s something about becoming a Nobel Laureate that has a tendency to lead people to becoming cranks. Either that, or maybe it’s because mavericks who make Nobel-worthy discoveries have a tendency not always to recognize that not all of their ideas are as brilliant as the ones that garnered the Nobel Prize for them, although certainly another possibility is that winning the Nobel Prize tends to give some scientists an inflated sense of their own expertise in fields of science not related to the ones for which they won their Nobel Prize in the first place. Maybe it’s a bit of all of these. [Emphasis mine]

It might also be that people are less likely to tell these laureates straight out when they being idiots. We all need people around us to provide this service from time to time - I am quite certain I do.

In the unlikely event that Mr Montagnier is reading this ...

Sir, you are being a idiot.

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 09:56:21 UTC | #945429

Go to: Why I watched a snake-handling pastor die for his faith

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 62 by Corylus

I have been reading up on human snake bite immunology and it is quite fascinating.

Using gradual exposure to build up resistance has apparently been attempted since ancient times (varying success with this - particularly when bitten by a new type of snake).

I now find myself wondering whether this was a practise engaged by ancient charlatans in order to impress the gullible. Maybe Matthew didn't get the memo that this was actually a trick?

Sigh, don't try this at home boys and girls.

Sat, 02 Jun 2012 17:37:37 UTC | #945207

Go to: Official: 160 girls poisoned at Afghan school

Corylus's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Corylus

Words fail.

Well, actually, they don't entirely, but I try hardest to maintain control when I am at my angriest.

Tue, 29 May 2012 19:34:01 UTC | #944297