• posted a message on What Book Are you reading right now?
    Don Quixote. I know I'm hardly the first person to say this, but... it's pretty good, guys.

    Quote from Rodyle »
    I read those and it didn't really do much for me. Does it get better after book 1?
    Rather the reverse. I do think there's potential in a movie adaptation though. Filter out some of McCaffrey's weird hangups and just focus on the intrinsic badassitude of the premise.

    Quote from Rodyle »
    As for me: I'm reading the Culture series at the moment. At 'Use of Weapons' at the moment.
    Great series, and Use of Weapons is probably my favorite of them.

    Quote from Rodyle »
    To be honest: I stopped taking anything in it seriously after the 'chicken that was not a chicken', but kept on reading just to see how it would go on. I started hating the series by the time Richard made a statue so beautiful people stopped being evil, the writer by the time an enemy of an army could just walk in because she hadn't had her blouse on, and myself for not stopping reading earlier by the time he was recreating potions, down to the amounts needed in it, from taste. It was, frankly, the worse love-letter to Ayn Rand I've ever read.
    Read them as a teenager. A couple years back, I picked one up again and started reading... couldn't get through the first chapter. Forget the contentious politics or the implausible plotting, the prose was just plain excruciating. I feel kind of bad saying that, since Goodkind apparently overcame severe dyslexia to write, but... yeah.
    Posted in: Printed Media
  • posted a message on Remove Andrew Jackson from the $20?
    Quote from Amadi »
    Assuming that we make it for the next 2000 years, what are the chances of people thinking of Hitler the same way we think of Alexander the Great today? There are some striking similarities.
    The big historiographical difference is that the popular primary sources are sympathetic to Alexander and hostile to Hitler. Obviously the sheer magnitude of loathing for Hitler is not going to last forever, but I think it's still going to color the way he's remembered. At "best", he'll be like Genghis Khan rather than Alexander: possessing a vaguely villainous reputation, which some historians will attempt to rehabilitate in order to appear edgy and contrarian. (I am reminded of the epilogue of The Handmaid's Tale.)

    But the big historical difference is that Hitler lost the war and died in abject shame as his empire collapsed around him. Unlike Alexander and Genghis Khan, his future defenders will not be able to say, "At least he got this-and-that done", because the only one of his goals he actually accomplished was killing a lot of people he didn't like. The other long-term effects of World War II are all diametrically opposed to what Hitler wanted: the democratization of Germany, the expansion of Soviet communist influence in Europe, the establishment of a Jewish state... So even setting aside the moral dimension of his actions, as we do for many of these earlier warlords, the man was a complete failure as a leader.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on League of Legends Season IV
    Oh, god, I can't wait for the Caitlyn buffs. I don't even care about the passive - the ult change is just going to be such an amazing quality-of-life improvement. I've lost people at the edge of vision so many times.
    Posted in: Video Games
  • posted a message on Remove Andrew Jackson from the $20?
    Quote from Amadi »
    Is the function of minting/printing historical characters on money to honor or to simply commemorate? There are characters that should be remembered but not honored. It goes without saying that military leaders often make important characters that in their time shaped history in a significant way, desirable or not, and sometimes the most horrible people and actions are the ones we need to remember the most.
    Should I ask whether Hitler ought to be on the German euro, then, or would that be too obvious a riposte?
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Would we be better off if gender didn't exist?
    Quote from Crashing00 »
    A person wanting to use evolutionary theory to support something like more men in nursing or more women in science...
    I don't think anyone here is doing that. Jay was pretty clearly supporting more men in nursing and more women in science on the basis that it sucks to want to something and be excluded from doing it or looked down upon for it.

    Quote from Stairc »
    2a) The women are the reason (i.e. women are choosing not to apply for those jobs or not enter those career paths or some other choice that leads to this).
    It is kind of a stretch mapping this to "There's some sort of cultural or prejudicial force that is... discouraging women..." For all we know at this point in the analysis, it could be practical, biological, or (why not?) supernatural.

    @ Blinkingspirit But do raccoons have a secret Jewish male raccoon Illuminati that ensure they get the meatloaf?
    Don't be silly. There are no Jewish racoons; Jewish identity is only passed down matrilineally.

    They're Mormons.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Is Heterophobia becoming a real deal? Or are we hypersensitive?
    Quote from Highroller »
    As for the sentence after that, you need to actually connect the dots. You're saying it's dehumanizing? Demonstrate this. Especially since you later undermine that very assertion in this very post.
    If actual-factual gay people saying "When I hear this I feel dehumanized" does not constitute a demonstration that the term is dehumanizing, then what on earth are you expecting?

    Quote from Highroller »
    Except that's a blanket generalization. There are plenty of gay people who do not react negatively to homosexual. Moreover, you state later that just because something sounds clinical does not make it dehumanizing. So clearly, "Clinical, therefore dehumanizing" doesn't follow.
    That's not what I said. What I said was that some words are used clinically but do not carry a negative connotation. That is to say, they do not "sound clinical" when used in other contexts. "Homosexual", however, does.

    Quote from Highroller »
    It is amazing to me that you can make a paragraph saying what is essentially, "**** logic, there is no reason, you're just wrong," and then attack me for not being rational or open-minded.
    You: I don't believe humans have ten fingers! There's no reason for it. If humans had ten fingers, why wouldn't all these other animals have ten fingers? The idea is just stupid!
    Me: The evolutionary process is inconsistent. The same path taken by one species might not be taken by another. Our job as biologists is to describe what we see. If we rely on abstract generalizations and let that override what we see, we're not being good biologists. And when we look, we see that humans do have ten fingers.
    You: That's not scientific at all!

    Quote from Highroller »
    I think it's pretty clear it's not popular consensus. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe if an actual argument were provided that it is, in fact, popular consensus that might advance the discussion some?
    Read the article SSJRanulf linked. The prof interviewed is kind of pompous, but when it gets into observed usage it's rather telling.

    Quote from Highroller »
    So is "redskin" a slur or isn't it? Is "homosexual" a slur or not a slur? Because if one is and the other isn't, you cannot affirm this and simultaneously say there's no meaningful distinction between the two, can you?
    I explicitly said there are meaningful distinctions between the two - you seem to have read a negation somewhere into your first "gotcha" quote, but you'll find there isn't one. One distinction between the words is that "redskin" is a straight-up slur while "homosexual" is in this context-based grey zone. However, one trait the words do share - with each other and with every word whatsoever - is that their meaning is defined by social consensus. So if you think social consensus is no grounds to object to the use of "homosexual", then you yourself have no grounds to object to the use of "redskin".

    Quote from Highroller »
    Except it wouldn't matter. Even if such objectors were commonplace, it would not make their arguments any less absurd. I'm not sure why I would need to even say this to a proponent of linguistics. You're now saying that if a bunch of people were to claim, erroneously, that despite the fact that a black hole is not a derogatory slang term against black people but a neutral term regarding an astronomical body, that "black hole" is an offensive term against black people, that they're correct?
    First of all, please understand that when you come out with stuff like "I'm not sure why I would need to even say this to a proponent of linguistics", you are only embarrassing yourself. It's as if you're in a discussion of infectious diseases and you're scoffing at germ theory. What I have said and am about to say is absolutely 100% mainstream linguistics. I'll try to explain why, but it would help a lot if you first acknowledged that you are not an expert and may not know as much about the subject as you think you do.

    Okay. Now, please notice that your question is riddled with assumptions: you say that these hypothetical people are "erroneous" and that it is a "fact that a black hole is not a derogatory slang term against black people". But this definition you are assuming as "fact" is precisely what we're trying to determine the truth of. Obviously, you can't do that. So let's cut those question-begging assumptions out to get a question we can actually answer: "Are you saying that if a bunch of people were to claim that 'black hole' is an offensive term against black people, that they're correct?" And yes. That's precisely what I'm saying. It sounds crazy to you because there aren't a bunch of people claiming that, and thus the few people who are claiming it aren't correct. It's a claim with a highly counterfactual premise, against which the intuitions can revolt. (Similarly, it may sound crazy, but nevertheless is true, that if James Holmes were elected President of the United States, he would be allowed to walk into the White House. Big freaking "if".)

    Imagine we lived in a reversed world where "black hole" was commonly thought to be a racial slur and only a very few people used it for an astronomical phenomenon. It would sound just as crazy to reverse-you that if a bunch of people used the astronomical definition, that would make it correct. And a hyperintelligent alien who visited both our world and the reverse-world could not find a single criterion to declare one "correcter" than the other. (And then it visits France where they have different words for everything...) A definition if correct if and only if it lines up with general usage in the language-speaking community, and a definition is erroneous if and only if it contradicts general usage in the language-speaking community. There's simply no other way to do linguistics. So when you ask about a bunch of people who "erroneously" claim that a word means something, what you're actually saying to a linguist is that a bunch of people claim that a word means something, but actually, no, a bunch of people don't claim the word means that. It's oxymoronic.

    So, yeah. The meaning of words is arbitrary. I already told you what the first lesson of Linguistics 101 is; this is the second. And I'm not exaggerating here - "descriptive not prescriptive" and "language is arbitrary" were literally the first two things my prof wrote on the board on day one.

    Quote from Highroller »
    Should we then conclude that if the majority of people decide we're going to start calling black people "darkies" again and that's totally ok, that would make it ok?
    If the majority of people includes the people being addressed as such (because remember, communication is a two-way street), then yes, absolutely. Why wouldn't it be? Our culture already made pretty much exactly this decision with "negro" and then again with "black".
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Is Heterophobia becoming a real deal? Or are we hypersensitive?
    Quote from Highroller »
    Once again, I'm waiting for a logical reason why we should regard "homosexual" as offensive.
    Then reread the sentence you quoted, which does not contain the words "clunky" or "technical", plus the sentence immediately after it. Very much like "female", "homosexual" is not an actual slur, in that it there are some contexts in which it is unobjectionable. However, those contexts are clinical and scientific. And precisely because it is used in those contexts, it carries a connotation in other contexts of impersonal distance. The religious right are not being complimentary when they carry on about "the homosexuals" any more than Grumpy the Dwarf is being complimentary when he complains about "females". To the people so described, it is an indication that the speaker does not understand nor care to understand them socially and culturally, and accordingly is somewhere between offputting and mildly insulting.

    Yes, there other words that are used both clinically and socially with no negative connotations, like "American". And yes, there are words that are sometimes used insultingly that the community nevertheless embraces, like "gay". In other news, the plural of "duck" is "ducks" but the plural of "goose" is "geese". Congratulations, you have discovered that natural language is inconsistent. If this truly irritates you, I can point you in the direction of Lojban. But the first thing that is hammered into your head in Linguistics 101 is that the discipline is descriptive, not prescriptive. It is our task to observe and describe how language is actually used, not to scoff at that usage as "stupid" and "irrational". As I am describing to you, and as you have clearly observed yourself, the word "homosexual" is, in fact, commonly interpreted as objectionable in a social context. Other words are not, but that word is. So please stop trying to wrap yourself in the mantle of open-minded scientific rationality. By dismissing the empirical evidence, you're doing exactly the opposite of that.

    And no, it is not "their problem" that "they" are interpreting the term this way. Popular consensus is the only way that any word can have any meaning at all - it's the only reason why "redskin" is a slur. And communication is a two-way street: it is your responsibility to understand how the words you use will be understood precisely as much as it is your listener's responsibility to understand the words you're using. You may honestly use "homosexual" with no ill intent, but there are people out there who honestly use "redskin" with no ill intent: they are acting in ignorance, failing to live up to their side of the responsibility, and once they have been informed of the mistake they're making, their ignorance becomes willful.

    How is this different from the morons who object to "black hole"? Because they're rare. You can use the term "black hole" a thousand times and the odds are that you will never run into such an objector. Use the term "homosexual" in a social context and you're fairly likely for someone to be like, "Hey, not cool." In short, the "black hole" crazies are swimming against the current of consensus. In this regard, they're not like the "homosexual" objectors - they're like you.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Would we be better off if gender didn't exist?
    Gender studies are basically arguing that the raccoons are in cahoots to eat the trash, yes the raccoons will eat the trash but there is no organization involved.
    Actually, raccoons can demonstrate a remarkable level of cooperative behavior. Teach
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Is Heterophobia becoming a real deal? Or are we hypersensitive?
    Quote from Highroller »
    A reason that has sense as opposed to stupidity.
    Highroller, can you appreciate how repeatedly stating "That's stupid" is not a particularly productive line of argument? Anyone can say that about anything. It gets us nowhere. What would you say to a Redskins defender who just repeated that the reasons for the complaints have no sense to them - that "redskin" is not an offensive term, notwithstanding all the evidence that it is - that people who object to the team name are as stupid as people who object to "black hole"? I know you think there are relevant differences between "redskin" and "homosexual". I think there are too. But you're using exactly the same repetitive-denial tactics here. You have done precisely nothing to provide your position with any more substance than theirs.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Mad Max: Fury Road
    Was anyone else disproportionately bugged by all the skin the women show throughout the movie? I couldn't stop noticing it. Not for any prurient or prudish reason - my brain just kept nagging, "AHH SUNBURN".
    Posted in: Movies
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