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raft2

Currently reading A Manual for Creating Atheists.



Discussion (101)¬

  1. Necessary+Evil says:

    Non est ad astra mollis e terris via. – Seneca the Younger.

  2. Necessary+Evil says:

    Non est ad astra mollis e terris via. – Seneca the Younger. (The road to the stars is a hard one).

  3. John B. Hodges says:

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur. (Anything said in Latin sounds profound.)

  4. HaggisForBrains says:

    Show-off! Noli illegitimi carborundum (don’t let the bastards grind you down).

  5. FreeFox says:

    “Quotationes non translati sunt” – F.F. Illegitimi

  6. arensb says:

    “Aio, quantitas magna frumentorum est” (“Yes, that is a very large amount of corn”)

  7. Brother Daniel says:

    “Si hoc adfixum in obice legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis popinquus ades.” (If you can read this bumper sticker, you are both very well educated and much too close.)

  8. So I take it there’s a section about Plantinga in Boghossian’s book?

  9. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Reason and logic don’t support religion?
    The financial industry is supported by many a pigeon.
    Sensus Divinitatis dispensed by scholars.
    Bankers buy and sell American dollars.
    Religion and banking require faith to cash in.

  10. two cents' worth says:

    Ophelia, I don’t know about Boghossian’s book, but when I Googled Plantinga, I saw that he wrote a book (Warranted Christian Belief) in which he discusses the sensus divinitatis.

    This discussion of the sensus divinitatis reminds me of the book Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science & the Biology of Belief, about the possible neurophysiological mechanisms associated with religious and spiritual experiences. I haven’t been able to get myself to read the whole book, so I’m not qualified to comment, but it’s not clear to me how those mechanisms differ from the mechanisms involved in hallucinations. That point reminds me of discussions on “What is reality, and can we perceive it accurately?”–which can get too “meta” for me.

    Getting back to reality, it’s time for me to get some work done. I’ll drop by the pub again later.

  11. Chris+Phoenix says:

    Why do we adopt complicated religious rules?

    If you like evolutionary psychology, here’s a possible answer: Cooking detoxifies many foods – but only if you follow the recipe.

    Between the time we discovered fire and the time we discovered science, there were hundreds of thousands of years of natural selection for people who would adopt seemingly-arbitrary recipes and follow them… religiously. Those who tried to bend the rules would be slowly poisoning their families.

  12. Author says:

    @OB – Not really a section, just a couple of paragraphs where the sens-div is raised and quickly dismissed as a “Great Pumpkin fallacy” (ie anyone can claim to sense the existence of anything, with equal validity).

  13. Pliny the in Between says:

    Simply brilliant. It isn’t all bad though, I believe that functioning sensus divinitatis suppresses the sensus ironycus.

  14. Griff says:

    I just understand why apparently intelligent adults make such such ridiculous claims, which can be condensed down to “It’s true, because I say it’s true. So nah”.

    Oh, and “Caecilius et Metella in villa. Grumio est in horto”

    In your face Latin speakers!

  15. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    And the winner is….

    Brother Daniel says:

    January 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    “Si hoc adfixum in obice legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis popinquus ades.” (If you can read this bumper sticker, you are both very well educated and much too close.)

  16. JohnM says:

    Lapidem corvos, Hyacintho – there’s a lot of fancy learning being tossed around the C & B today. On balance, I have to say I go for: A) reality and B) living languages.. That’s what got me to where I am today – which is: A) nowhere and B) the back-of-beyond

  17. Michael says:

    Carthago delenda est. “Carthage must be destroyed.” Cato the Elder (234-149 BCE) would always end his speeches in the Roman Senate with this phrase, even if the speech had nothing to do with Carthage.

  18. JohnM says:

    This will surely amuse most denizens of the C & B, but not safe for work, or in front of the children

  19. Mary2 says:

    Author, Fabulous cartoon.
    Folks, the Latin really made me laugh.
    Nassar, ooh. I like that one.
    Pliny the in-between, “I believe that functioning s.d. suppresses the sensus ironycus” – beautiful
    “On balance, I have to say I go for: A) reality and B) living languages.. That’s what got me to where I am today – which is: A) nowhere and B) the back-of-beyond”. JohnM, I hear you buddy! I’m feeling very unlearned among such company.

  20. Mary2 says:

    I definitely think I should adopt one of your Latin phrases as a motto – one of the more ridiculous ones. I’m guessing few Australians other than lawyers and those educated at the posher few private schools speak Latin. With permission, I might go for: “Aio, quantitas magna frumentorum est” (“Yes, that is a very large amount of corn”)

  21. Alastair says:

    Mea navis volitans anguillis plena est.

  22. Dan says:

    So a belief in something with no basis in fact (his Sensus Divinitatis) legitimizes his other beliefs with no basis in fact. And the pro-godders see now flaw in this?

    For the second time this week I find myself wishing theologians wouldn’t embarrass themselves by trying to do philosophy.

  23. A “Great Pumpkin fallacy”. Heh heh heh heh. I like that.

  24. Mary2, as a motto to live by I highly recommend: Semper ubi sub ubi. (Always wear underwear.)

    I wish I could remember more Latin.

  25. Chiefy says:

    Slightly off topic. Did you see that the “atheist church” movement has experienced its first schism? http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/04/after-a-schism-a-question-can-atheist-churches-last/?hpt=hp_t3
    It’s tricky trying to organize a pseudoreligion around a nonbelief.

  26. JoJo says:

    DH- kindly refrain from oppressing Mary- we must respect the right of others to wear no underwear.
    As for Latin mottos I always thought Tacitus had well anticipated claims that Islam is a religion of peace: “solitudinum faceunt et pacem appellant”
    They made a desert and called it peace…

  27. Chiefy, the very idea of an atheist church puts my teeth on edge. Seems to me that’s what we are all trying to get away from.

  28. Paddy Roberts says:

    “Alea iacta est.” Always quoted by the elderly pirate in the Asterix stories, but apparently J. Caesar… “The dye is cast.” Bring on the end of days…

  29. Won't Use My Real Name says:

    I got a screen that made me wait 5 seconds before I could access the content. A message from CloudFlare said it was to do with preventing DDoS attacks. It also said it “checking my browser”. You know what? I don’t want things “checking my browser” these days. Never heard of a browser that needed “checking” before this.

    So we have a problem (DDoD attacks) that can bothers everyone but most especially the targeted website owners, and the solution bothers everyone too, BUT more equally! A “Distributed Dishing Out of Dumbness” to prevent a possible (but not actual?) Distributed Denial of Service. I have to say, I am not a great fan of this CloudFlare. It also made me turn on my Javascript. I prefer not to turn on my javascript in order to look at images rendered with pure html/css; it’s an annoying requirement

    What good is security for a website that forces users to turn off THEIR OWN personal security measures? I am trying to avoid Javascript because security gurus everywhere tell me I should. I happen to believe them! I’m supposed to, aren’t I?

    This is making me pretty unhappy. I suppose it’s mostly the NSA’s fault for getting everyone, including myself, into a giant and increasing tizzy. Now sites like J&M, a comic site if you can believe it!, needs special security that inconveniences me and makes me turn down my security measures. It’s so depressing. Not sure if it’s worth it.

    I tried submitting this comment before but I think CloudFlare got in the way again. This is my last attempt. I’m feeling more and more defeated by the internet. We’ve only had it for 20 years and it’s dying already.

    Mr. Author, tear down this wall!

  30. Terry Collmann says:

    Caesar adsum iam forte. Pompey aderat.

  31. More to the point:
    “Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate”–Ocky Bill

  32. FreeFox says:

    Michael: Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam ;)

  33. HaggisForBrains says:

    Terry C – I remember the next lines as “Caesar sic in omnibus, Brutus (not Pompey) sic in at”. For those of you who haven’t got it yet, it’s not Latin, just try saying it out aloud.

  34. Undeluded says:

    I’m with Darwin Harmless re an “atheist church” (oxymoronic) concept. It might have been considered a joke – maybe even satire – like having a demonstration to ban demonstrations or publishing a book (empty) named “Burn Me!” Unfortunately (and I sadly add “as usual”) this has apparently got into the hands of the, ahem, less-informed and therefore, abused! I pray (!) for its quick demise.

    And, oh yes: Satis ego ex hoc ridiculum Latin filo!

  35. Author says:

    @WUMRN – The Cloudflare ‘browser checking’ screen you saw for 5 seconds is a temporary measure which is only active during an actual DDoS attack on this site. If you come back during a time when we are not being attacked, you will get directly to the site. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I think it’s better than not being able to access the site at all.

  36. foundationist says:

    JohnM: Another nice one from the same comic:

    http://oglaf.com/assorted-fruits/

    (This time even Safe for work)

  37. LindaR says:

    Griff, my favourite bit of the Cambridge Latin course was the story that ended ‘Centurion erat lycanthrope!’ – Or something like that.
    Meanwhile, Popoculus nautae sum.

  38. Chiefy says:

    DH, Undeluded, to be fair, “atheist church” is an epithet applied to the Sunday Assembly, which the founders then started using light-heartedly. But I am uncomfortable with the whole concept as well. If the only thing you have in common is a negative, it’s bound to splinter. The Cock and Bull, on the other hand, has ridicule to bind us together.

    The only Latin I remember: Se vile se ergo, fortibus es inero. No vile deus trux. Vatis innum causen dux.

  39. HaggisForBrains says:

    Chiefy, I remember the Spanish (or perhaps Portuguese) translation of that one: Si Senor Derdago, forte lorez inaro. Demno lorez demar trux, fullo cuzan ensan dux.

  40. Jerryw says:

    If you attached a GPS to an Irony Meter, could it help lead you to Christianity before it went all Sproing on you?

  41. jb says:

    My go-to argument against religion starts this way: “Do you believe everything you read in the newspapers?”

    Because if you don’t even believe that your local newspaper — where you can in principle actually knock on the door of the guy who reported a story and talk to him — is reliable enough to warrant total trust (keep in mind that most people, including most religionists, proudly consider a certainly level of skepticism about the news to be a mark of intellectual sophistication), then why would you ever give total trust to a handful of anonymous pamphlets written thousands of years ago?

  42. Kevin Alexander says:

    “non curro sed serpo” testudo dixit
    The only latin I remember after fifty years.
    Any way, I took leave of my sensus some time ago.

  43. Mark S. says:

    Das Google Translate kann die lateinische Sprache nicht verstehen. Es gibt der Abfall.

    HaggisForBrains: Say “Caesar adsum iam forte. Pompey aderat.” aloud, right? It sounds like a random foreign words. What does it sound like to you?

  44. Dan says:

    Supposing God exists he definitely gave us the ability to develop and engage in rational thought (for at least some of us some of the time).
    Yet he gave us no way to find him using that ability.

    There seems however to be no clear evidence that he gave us a Sensus Divinitatis and even if he did we can see that it is extraordinarily unreliable by the totally different and mutually contradicting beliefs it leads its users to.

    It’s therefore very arguable that if God exists he is determined not to be found and anyone who believes in him is probably as a great a disappointment to God as they are to the rest of us.

  45. AlexanderTheGoodEnough says:

    “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

  46. Will Not Use My Real Name says:

    In response to Author:

    That there was an ongoing DDoS I had guessed at, but I strongly prefer not to be made to guess at such things. CloudFlare obviously has a different viewpoint. I wouldn’t be so annoyed if CloudFlare was contactable, but they are not. My one attempt forced me to open an account with them, but their submission form was completely broken – not very competent web people at CloudFlare, it seems. Too bad it’s a web-services company.

    Also note I’d said I’d already tried and failed to get my comment posted. I was connected via Tor when it failed, again because CloudFlare got weird and gave an impression it had been posted when it had not. Now I’m not on Tor, and I’m not happy that this is the only way I can submit a comment here.

    I am not upset with the website’s author, but he should appreciate he’s the only person I can complain to about how his site/host interacts with other web companies, so complain is what I am doing, in the only place I can do it (albeit insecurely).

    Posting, closing browser window, going back to Tor. Thanks for reading.

  47. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Will Not Use, as you atr a new contributor here your first comment will have gone to moderation, which is why you couldn’t re-post it. Now that Author has published your first post you are no longer in moderation so should be free to post at will (makes a nice change from firing at the poor bugger).
    Now stop being such a grumpy-pants and make with some humour. :-)

  48. beechnut says:

    Our old Latin teacher gave us this version:

    Caesar et sum iam forti, Brutus aderat:
    Brutus sic in omnibus, Caesar sic in at.

    I always thought he’d made it up.

    quod attinet ad Plantingam, Boghossian Sensum breve disputat Cucurbitae Magnae quae ab horto cucurbitarum oritur ut liberos bene moratos remuneretur. Araches picturae, ut videtur, sunt fons et origo!

    As to Plantinga, Bogossian briefly discusses the Sense of the Great Pumpkin which rises from the pumpkin patch to reward good children. Apparently, the idea first appeared in Peanuts!

  49. Mary2 says:

    Dan, True Dat!!! If everyone has a Sensus Divintatis but they lead most of us in different directions, how do we know whose SD is accurate and whose is faulty? I know, go to the priests, ministers and pastors! If this is the answer, what is the difference between having a SD and not?

    AOS, I had exactly the same issues as WillNotUseEtc. – minus all the tech talk. I opened up the site, got the same warning s/he did, wrote and posted a comment, got the warning again and my comment disappeared into the either. Opened the site the next day and have had no issues since. Definitely not a first time commenter.

    Latin typers, translations would be nice for those of us living in the 90% of the world who didn’t get Latin lessons. I had more luck deciphering MarkS’ German and I don’t speak Deutsche either. (Yes, I could ‘google translate’ but that’s not going to happen).

  50. JohnM says:

    @Mary2
    I posted a phrase couched in Latin just before your request for one you could use, though I omitted say at the time it was intended for Antipodeans (mea culpa). It said, if Google translate is to be believed,”Stone the crows, Blue”

  51. hotrats says:

    Mark S:
    HaggisForBrains: Say “Caesar adsum iam forte. Pompey aderat.” aloud, right? It sounds like a random foreign words. What does it sound like to you?

    “Caesar had some jam for tea, Pompey had a rat.”

    Mary2:
    I quite agree; isti sunt dies, Latino utens simpliciter ambitiosior est.

    My school motto was ‘I hear, I see, I learn’ – ‘Audio, Video, Disco’.

  52. HaggisForBrains says:

    Hotrats – yes, then “Caesar sick in (omni)bus, Pompey (or Brutus) sick in hat”. That was some cool school motto – were the discos with video any good? Ours used to be “Haec summa est” “This is the best”, but when some wags started to translate it as “This is the limit!” it was changed to “Sursum Semper”, “Upward always”.

    Google translates beechnut’s Latin as follows: “With regard to Plantingam, Boghossian argues Squash very little sense of what comes from the garden of melons reward their children good morals. Erech, of a picture, as it seems, they are the source and origin!” So much for the Sensus Googlius.

  53. I had to make up my own Latin… but then, sic biscuitus disintegratus (that’s the way the cookie crumbles).

    Mind you, I’m now learning Koine Greek and some Arabic, so ymmv. Are three/four letter acronyms the New Latin?

  54. two cents' worth says:

    AlexanderTheGoodEnough, have you read any of the books in the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde? Your quotation reminds me of the book where Thursday’s son, a toddler, starts speaking, and his language is not English, but Lorem Ipsum :-) .

    Cephas Atheos, I don’t know about New Latin, but some old Latin acronyms you may see are:
    SVBE (Si Vale Bene Est – literally, “If you are well, it’s good” – the typical sign off at the end of a letter, the way we use “Sincerely yours” today.)
    SPQR (Senatus Populusque Roma – “The Senate and People of Rome” – refers to both of the old houses of their government)

  55. two cents' worth says:

    Why should J have all the fun? Cephas Atheos, now that you’re learning some Arabic, maybe you can suggest an epistemic life raft for Mo that’s built in his native language (or, at least, the modern version of it) ;-) . Do you happen to know how to say “sense of divinity” in Arabic?

    I haven’t studied Koine, but I’ve studied ancient Greek a bit, and Latin, as well. Which do you find is easier to learn: Koine, or Arabic? Just curious. (If and when I ever retire, one of the things I’d like to do is to learn one or more living languages, but I haven’t decided which one(s).)

  56. Mark S. says:

    hotrats: Thanks for the translation. My US accent would never get there.

    two cents: Since your icon is US money, I assume you are also American. If you learn a foreign language, will you have anybody to talk to? I suggest the language of a place you like to visit.

  57. hotrats says:

    Cephas Aheos:
    but the ‘crumbles’ phrase is direct from Latin –
    ‘solum pendentes quomodo de manibus cadit / quod suus via paxamatius arescit’ - Horace, ‘Odes’, Book IV.

  58. two cents' worth says:

    Mark S, you’re right–I’m American. I don’t travel much, but I think I might start with Spanish. One of my friends is a fluent speaker, and I can easily find other speakers living near me. I might even look up my distant relatives in Mexico (descendants of my grandfather’s sister) so I can talk to them on the phone and/or write to them. Since I’ve studied Latin, Spanish should be relatively easy for me to learn. After that, in an effort to ward off Alzheimer’s, I might try Chinese. (Which variety would depend on what my possible conversation partners speak.) Chinese would certainly give my brain a real workout! Arabic, I think, is another language that would be very challenging for me.

    Speaking of Spanish, I grew up in the southwestern part of America, where there are many native Spanish speakers, so I know a few Spanish phrases, and I know how it should sound. When I was an adult, I lived in Boston for a time. I remember how I laughed when I was at a subway station (a T stop, in the local lingo), and heard the no smoking announcement given in English (with a Bah-stin accent), and in Spanish (again with a Bah-stin accent). “Po-ah favo-ah no fumah. Gracias po-ah su cooperacion.”

  59. Mary2 says:

    JohnM, racist stereotypes! ;) No one outside of 1950s movies (or Steve Urwin) has ever actually said ‘stone the crows’ or called anyone ‘cobber’. We do actually say ‘Fair Dinkum’, though ….

    MarkS, I think I had similar accent difficulties – I rather blame that for my own failures than slow thought processes. ;)

    My school mottos were always in English – and tedius.

  60. two cents' worth says:

    hotrats, you got me trying to translate Latin when I ought to have been doing something else ;-) ! You even threw in a Latinized Greek word (paxamatius, from ?? ??????????) just to make me work harder! I’m not sure what part of Book IV of Horace’s Odes you’ve tweaked, and I’m not sure how solum (“the only thing”, nominative or accusative case) and pendentes (“things hanging down”, nominative or accusative case) fit in with the rest of the sentence, but I read the rest as “[that is] how it falls from the hands / the way that the biscuit (cookie) dries itself up.”

    Instead, since ?? ?????????? is neuter, how about “illa est via quod paxamatium dilabitur” (“that is the way that the cookie falls apart”)?

    You also reminded me that SVBE stands for si vales bene est.

    Errare est humanum. (To err is human :-) .)

  61. two cents' worth says:

    Ah, I thought I had underlined the s in vales. Also, the comment box apparently can’t handle the Greek alphabet. For the question marks, read to paksamadion, where o stands for the Greek letter omicron, and ks stands for the Greek letter xi. There’s an acute accent over the o in to and over the third a (alpha) in paksamadion. Which reminds me–should paxamatium be paxamadium?

    Or, if we’re talking madeleines, instead of paxamatium, how about libacunculus (“a little cake”)?

    My mother always warned me that hanging around in pubs would make me go astray ;-) . Thanks for the fun! Time for me to get back to work now.

  62. AlexanderTheGoodEnough says:

    two cents’ worth, I’m afraid I can claim no familiarity with Jasper Fforde. But I do recall the first time I encountered “Lorem ipsum.” I was flummoxed by it and could make no sense of it. Still can’t, but that’s apparently the point of it I guess.

    Latina mortua est! First it killed the Romans, now it’s killing me!

  63. JohnM says:

    @Mary2 How about,”Et stercore aestuarium” or”ne rudis squilla ad me” which should have been favourites of that famous Aussie diplomat, Sir Les Patterson. Ooer…How’s that for a racist stereotype? :-)

  64. JohnM says:

    @2cw
    The comment box can handle html however. So here is the answer to all your diacritical woes.

  65. ThickAsABrick says:

    ROMANES EUNT DOMUS – this was the only Latin lesson I ever got during all my years of education: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbI-fDzUJXI.

    I’m really enjoying A Manual For Creating Atheists…

  66. Second Thought says:

    two cents: If you take up Mandarin Chinese I would be willing to chat with you. I am not fluent, but I speak enough Mandarin to have conversations with native speakers who are cooperating. I have found that generally it is easier to talk with other second language speakers as they tend to have a similar limited vocabulary and make similar grammatical mistakes.

  67. Chiefy says:

    Is there a unit of measurement that describes a larger amount when you’re excited? http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3228#comic

  68. omg says:

    Just an interesting site to browse, so I share it with you:
    http://www.livingwithoutreligion.org

  69. two cents' worth says:

    JohnM, thanks for the link to the complete list of HTML escape characters. I’ve bookmarked it for future use.

    Did I get these right?
    ”Et stercore aestuarium” = “And muck out the bog”
    ”ne rudis squilla ad me” = “no raw shrimp to me”

  70. two cents' worth says:

    AlexanderTheGoodEnough, Greek gave me more grief than Latin did, but Latin was definitely a challenge. Did you ever see the movie called The Life of Brian? There’s a scene where a Roman soldier catches a Jew trying to paint “Romans go home” on a wall, but what he’s painted is full of grammatical mistakes. The soldier quizzes the graffiti writer at sword point, asking things like, “What’s the second person plural imperative of go?” I was practically rolling on the floor laughing, because my “baby Greek” professor used to quiz us in class, and I felt just like the hapless graffiti writer.

  71. two cents' worth says:

    Second Thought, I’m impressed that you know Mandarin, and I appreciate your kind offer to be my conversation partner! Unfortunately, it will probably be years before I get around to studying Chinese. When I do, if we’re both still frequenting the Cock & Bull, I may ask if you’re still willing to help a newbie practice her Mandarin :-) .

  72. JohnM says:

    @2cw
    The Latin phrases I constructed using Google translate – I was a maths/science student at school, which meant only English and one foreign language taught to us. The phrases are reputedly,” up shit creek” and “don’t come the raw prawn with me”.

    The Python’s take on learning Latin stems from their, and others, private school experiences, where wizened pedagogues used to adopt bullying tactics as a teaching aid. Happily this style is now obsolete in UK, apart from private ‘madrassas’ where it is likely applied in an even more severe form than depicted in LoB. Beating children who cannot remember the Koran by heart is evident in many places, so I suspect the UK is no different.

  73. AlexanderTheGoodEnough says:

    2cw, it’s ALL Greek to me! But that Monty Python bit “ROMANES EUNT DOMUS” brings on an episode of PTSD, AND I’ll usually wet myself as well. For anyone else who hasn’t suffered through it, here:
    http://youtu.be/IIAdHEwiAy8

  74. HaggisForBrains says:

    ATGE – Always a good one that, especially for those of us who were forced to learn Latin. The link led me to another clip which, as a founder member of UPOTWA, I feel compelled to share: Grammar Nazis.

  75. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Author, I’ve just attempted two posts. Both have vanished without trace – no ‘captcha’ or suchlike, just gone!
    What the blazes is going on?

  76. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    My third attempt to post a question also failed, and directly after posting the above comment at that! I’ve given it a couple of hours and – against the best advice I’ve ever been given* – I’ll try again for the fourth time.

    I saw a TV advert for a laser eye surgery company this afternoon which claimed that ‘99% of our customers achieved 20/20 vision or better‘ (emph. mine).
    My question is, is it even possible to have better-than 20/20 vision (without going into hypothetical implants of telescopic lenses or suchlike)?

    *If at first you don’t succeed, destroy the evidence. :-)

  77. Author says:

    I’m sorry about your posting problems, AoS. I really have no idea why that happens.

  78. Pliny the in Between says:

    AoS

    Yes, it is possible to have vision better than 20/20. People with exceptional vision may have 20/10 vision for example.

  79. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Thanks, Author.
    Ah well, I suppose there’s bigger things to worry about than a little inconvenience in posting here.
    By the way, Author, did you happen to see The Big Question on BBC1 on Sunday morning? Chris and Abhishek, the chaps from the LSE were on and revealed their J&M t-shirts. Purely coincidentally (yeah, right!) there was a simultaneous switch of camera so the image wasn’t actually broadcast. Should Auntie Beeb have been a little braver, do you think. But to be fair, the host was heard to ask (paraphrasing here) ‘What’s the problem? It’s just a bloke with a beard, isn’t it?’

    See the whole thing here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LZ5X_lPXnvU Abhishek and Chris are involved from around the 50-min mark. If anybody watches it, tell me what you think of the burka-clad woman during that section when the host presses her to elaborate on a point she makes, and rather than answer she claims that he’s ‘oppressing’ her.

    Pliny the in Between, thanks for that. I’d always assumed that 20/20 meant perfect vision in both eyes, and 20/10 meant that one eye had perfect vision and the other was at 50% effectiveness.

  80. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    By the way, Sunday’s big question was: Should human rights always outweigh religious rights?

  81. Mary2 says:

    AOS, Jesus Christ! Somebody asked that as a serious question? Should an idea, a philosophy etc. have more rights than a living, feeling, sentient being?

  82. Mary2 says:

    I suppose that corporations are often considered to have ‘rights'; sometimes over those of humans. I always assumed this was a form of utilitarianism – we give corporations rights because (somehow) this ensures the greater good for more people.

  83. Mike N says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbI-fDzUJXI
    Anyone else think that John Cleese (or one of the others) had problems with a latin teacher?

  84. Author says:

    @AoS – Yes, I saw it. It’s here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ5X_lPXnvU&feature=youtu.be

    The t-shirt incident appears at about 50mins. I was just glad they didn’t pixelate them!

  85. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Author, they might not have pixelated it but they certainly switched camera angle rather swiftly. Still, a shout out for your site on the BBC can’t be all bad.

    Mike N, that obvious, eh? (see John M’s comment 11 posts up)

    Mary, yes, that was the theme of Sunday’s The Big Question. I’m hoping that a lot of people watching might not have considered religious versus human rights in such a fundamental (sic) way before, and that seeing the whole issue boiled down to such a simple question might have given some of them food for thought.
    I don’t know whether the BBC carefully selected the guests, but if so then it deserves some credit; virtually every single defender of religion on the programme managed to shoot themselves in the foot in some way.
    And I’m sure that the host (Nicky Campbell) was taking the piss quite a bit, too.

  86. JohnM says:

    @AoS
    Could your posting problem be the result of the “+” signs in your revised ‘nym? When I went from being John+M to JohnM, I got immediate responses from the page (well, as far as my erratic Internet connection allowed)

  87. Mike N says:

    Hi AoS, yes I missed John’s comment, that’s what comes of being asleep at work. :-)

  88. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    JohnM, I don’t think so, it just seems to be a random glitch that’s affecting a lot of us, even those without spacing in their names.
    Either Author’s computer defences have developed a cruel sense of humour or the NSA is getting sloppy.

  89. hotrats says:

    ‘The Big Questions’ is always good value – it is part of the BBC’s obligation to provide ‘religious’ broadcasting. This means that whatever issue they discuss, every week the invited guests have to include the pushier kind of religious spokesman, who don’t let a little thing like a lack of public speaking skills – for many English is evidently a second language – dissuade them fom quoting their scripture and intolerant dogma onscreen, often with hilarious consequences.

    There is no more heartwarming sight than seeing one of these pompous, self-righteous windbags, dissolving live on TV into a barely-articulate froth of ranting gibberish when confronted with commonsense humanism (these days, balanced ‘religious’ broadcasting has to include the viewpoints of atheists and agnostics). There is an almost palpable gulf of at least 50 IQ points between the secular/atheist guests and their religious counterparts. Encourage your religious friends* to watch it, there’s no better advert for the benefits of secular humanism.

    This week, responding to a woman in a burkha who insisted that ‘relious rights’ were more important than human rights, one speaker nailed it by pointing out that what they were demanding was the ‘right’ to discriminate against gays, atheists and women, and freedom from discrimination is a basic human right. As this represents the monopoly of common sense on the subject, everyone who had spoken for ‘religious rights’ was left looking foolish and intolerant.

    *“My disk jockey friends, of whom I have none…” - Tom Lehrer

  90. FreeFox says:

    I agree with Mary. Surprisingly sophisticated for Nassar. ^_^

  91. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, did you see Nassar’s two excellent contributions to the Dec. 25th comic? The second is the most impressive, coming as it did just five or six minutes after his first one temporariliy vanished.
    The last line of that second one (so nice please do play) reminded me of Winston Churchill’s response to a memo that went round the War Office during the last World War telling staff to ensure that all written communications were grammatically correct.
    Before sending his copy of the memo back to its originator he wrote on it ‘This is the type of nonsense up with which I shall not put’.

  92. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, I swear you’re getting as pedantic as the rest of us miscreants. ;-)
    And how do you find these ancient websites? That one was last updated in 2008.

  93. FreeFox says:

    I only like to see people live up to their own ideals. And I found it through the power of my google fu! (Or would that be duckduck fu?) ^_^

  94. 2cw, I’m finding Arabic a lot easier to learn, since I don’t have all the linguistic and letter recognition baggage that tells me stupid things like a u (Greek mu) isn’t an ‘m’ and so forth. I’m also finding that my super-duper reading speed is a real drawback – by the time I realise I’ve made another schoolboy mistake, I’ve reached the end of the sentence! If I was still sounding out my syllabubbles, I’d be far better off. (That’s a fascinating idea, btw!)

    I’m still stumbling through the ‘Dick asked Dora to hump the camel’ phase of Arabic writing. However, philosophically speaking, there’s the state of al-sa‘âdah, or a kind of fusion or felicity with the divine will. The soul, or nafs, is viewed more or less as the animating entity of the physical body, and intelligence and striving are driven not by the brain, but by the nafs. I think that’s close to the sense of divinity Mo would have.

    Of course, ever since Mo, every Arabic philosopher and his Familiar have talked the dust out of Aristotle, Avicenna (or, as he was known down at his local, Abû ‘Alî al-Husayn bin ‘Abd Allah Ibn Sînâ) and the rest of the classical wonderers.

  95. hotrats, thanks so much for the traditional pointer, it’s wonderful to learn these things!

    I personally prefer the more literal ‘loss of integrity’ – but by all means, please correct me if I’m treading the thin edge of the language!

  96. Hmm. Lost two posts so far… let’s see if this works.

    2cw, SPQR is on my left outer bicep. It is a fantastic reminder when I’m arguing Australian (or Roman, for that matter) politics. Mind you, I’ve also got the structural diagrams for morphine, fentanyl, and sufentanyl on my right traps. And pethedine and penicillin n my left, both with a big red ‘X’ through them, since I’m hypersensitised to both of them. They’re so the next bastard who works on my back doesn’t dose me up on them in recovery. I’m just one of those helpful chaps, y’know? :-)

  97. OK, let’s try again, without the ‘+’ in my name…

    2cw, I’m finding Arabic a lot easier to learn, since I don’t have all the linguistic and letter recognition baggage that tells me stupid things like a u (Greek mu) isn’t an ‘m’ and so forth. I’m also finding that my super-duper reading speed is a real drawback – by the time I realise I’ve made another schoolboy mistake, I’ve reached the end of the sentence! If I was still sounding out my syllabubbles, I’d be far better off. (That’s a fascinating idea, btw!)

    I’m still stumbling through the ‘Dick asked Dora to hump the camel’ phase of Arabic writing. However, philosophically speaking, there’s the state of al-sa‘âdah, or a kind of fusion or felicity with the divine will. The soul, or nafs, is viewed more or less as the animating entity of the physical body, and intelligence and striving are driven not by the brain, but by the nafs. I think that’s close to the sense of divinity Mo would have.

    Of course, ever since Mo, every Arabic philosopher and his Familiar have talked the dust out of Aristotle, Avicenna (or, as he was known down at his local, Abû ‘Alî al-Husayn bin ‘Abd Allah Ibn Sînâ) and the rest of the classical wonderers.

  98. hotrats, thanks so much for the traditional pointer, it’s wonderful to learn these things!

    I personally prefer the more literal ‘loss of integrity’ – but by all means, please correct me if I’m treading the thin edge of the language!

    Nota bene: my apologies for so many posts. Seems that the default replacement of a space in my memorised name is freaking out the comment script. Or they may be blocking up the moderation queue…

  99. Yelinna says:

    The “Sensus Divinitatis” make us feel maybe there is a good. But it doesn’t tell us how to worship him/her. Maybe with some human sacrifices?

  100. Randhir says:

    Nolia e moria e seriapromico (The divine is not to be understood)

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