Monday, January 28, 2008

Las Vegas

Here is a couple of shots of the kids:

My daughter:



My boy at the bellagio:

Here is a snippet of the Bellagio water show:

video

My daughter placed first in: uneven bars, vault, and all-around. The weather wasn't "great", but it was warmer than the deep-freeze we call home.

I did end the weekend up 120.00! Craps works for me.



Mikayla says "thanks" to uncle Shane.

HH =)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Gone... for a few

Happy is headed to "sin city." Yes, he will throw away about 50 bucks gambling. HE will be spending time watching his daughter at a Gymnastics meet. Further, the 40 degree warm up will be VERY appreciated. Crap I hate Cache Valley inversions, and deep freeze winters. Bleeech.

Have a great weekend all!

HH =)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Postmodernism discussion

It all started with this e-mail to Shane and Ron:


Subject: postmodernism disrobed. Book review by
> Dawkins.

> I would love to hear your responses to this article:
>
>
Postmodernism Disrobed
by Richard Dawkins, Nature

Richard Dawkins' review of Intellectual Impostures

You can read the article Here.

Here is the back and forth thus far. Starting with Ron:

--- Ron (CI)
wrote:


> I don't have the time nor intelligence to give a
> detailed meta type
> response...I mean what do I know. But I can say that
> the first time I read
> a piece by Deleuze and Guttari I was blown away. It
> was beautiful because
> it pushed me to reimagine the world, to erase
> boundaries, to be, to use one
> of their terms, rhizomatic (roots growing in all
> directions) in my
> thinking, imagining new possibilities, instead of
> only "logical,"
> chronological, step by step.
>
> I think Dawkins and these authors oversimplify yet
> still offer an necessary
> critique. I want others to question whether all the
> pm stuff means anything
> and at times it doesn't. But to merely dismiss it
> all as blathering is
> silly.
>
> As you may know, Travis, this all goes right back to
> the debate we had
> about science. I think science needs a critque
> through language--which is
> what pm can do--because science however much it
> wants to be purely
> objective is held up by and through LANGUAGE. And,
> duh!!!, to critique it
> will mean to take language to its extreme, to its
> outer boundaries. Sure it
> will be convoluted and nonsensical at times because
> that's exactly what it
> is trying (sense, common sense, "reality") to
> dislode and disturb.
>
> Ron


Here is Shane's first response:

Interesting article. But I'm curious to know why
you're interested in my response--why you thought
of me when reading it. Are you insinuating that I'm
an intellectual imposture?

I'm also curious about why someone would go to the
lengths that the authors of "Intellectual Impostures"
did to prove that intellectual impostures exist.Of
course they do. And not all impostures are postmodernists.
Some of them are even scientists.

Even scholars who proudly adopt the postmodernist
label are aware that impostures exist. In fact,they
have a contest every year to see who can produce
the most jargon-ridden post-modernist writing samples.
And the writing looks a lot like the stuff quoted in
this review. But I hardly think that postmodernism as a
concept is "disrobed" because a few impostures have
been discovered. Just because some scientists are
still claiming that men are smarter than women
because men have larger brains (a claim that most
scientists once considered a proven fact) doesn't mean
that science has been "disrobed". Further, the whole
concept of "moral relativism" that this review really
takes aim at has nothing to do with"postmodernism" as
explained by Sartre or Derrida, the primary founders
of the "postmodernist movement" (neither of whom called
themselves "postmodernists", btw).

But Dawkins makes a few good points. For example,he
writes: "No doubt there exist
thoughts so profound that
most of us will not understand the language in
which they are expressed. And no doubt there is
also language designed to be unintelligible in
order to conceal an absence of honest thought.
But how will we know the difference?"

It isn't easy. But, to reiterate, I think it's
important not to throw out everything resembling
postmodernism just because of a few or even a vast
number of bad eggs. Let's face it, most conspiracy
theorists are quacks. But, just as true, a lot of
conspiracy theories are now proven facts.

Not only that, but I think Dawkins incorrectly
characterizes the notion of "play" in postmodern
writing. What a lot of postmodernists are trying
to dois to redefine language. In other words, they're
refuting familiar depictions of reality; they're
"playing" with concepts of what's real and unreal
in order to question the status quo version of
history--saying that reality is not totalitarian;
it isn't absolute and it can be changed. That's a
political and revolutionary stance. If you're trying
to report and define reality, there is no need for
'play'--but if you don't believe language, any language
including mathematics, can report and define all the
subtleties of experience, then you need to treat lang-
uage in a very non-reverential and playful manner--in
a way that expands rather than clarifies understanding.
Moreover, I don't think most postmodernist
writers deliberately try to be unclear. But they
do, by virtue of the nature of their ideas, try to be
unfamiliar--and that makes them difficult. The Situa-
tionists, for example, advocated a deliberately
obscure style of writing, because they saw how
effectively capitalism co-opted all forms of
resistance--how it pigeon-holed all forms of expression
into convenient categories that accommodated mainstream
viewpoints. In response, they took familiar ideas and
sources and subverted them so that the viewer could
experience the work as something new--as something
without "purpose", meaning something autonomous in its
own right rather than as an instrument to be exploited.

Dawkins is also correct in exposing the way concepts
originating in the physical sciences are co-opted,
often wrongly, by philosophers and new agers the
world over. I think people do this because of the
privileged position that science has in our culture.
It's a way to give yourself credibility. It has the
opposite effect on me, though.

Okay, I'd better stop. I feel like I could go on
and on here. Maybe I should develop my thoughts more
and post on my blog.

At any rate, thanks for the link! Got my juices
going this morning for sure.

Talk to ya soon, amigo!
Shane

-------------------
HH:
Shane,

I did not think of you as a post-modernest. Your
erudition is clear, concise, and (often) biting. Yet,
I do think that, at times, (as Dawkins rightly points
out) there are postmodernists who use babble as a
substitute for substance. The focus on language and
its use has delved into an ethereal world in which
ONLY language matters. Sounds very Wittgenstein-like
to me (when he wrote, "the limits of my language are
the limits of my world." He was, of course wrong on
SOOO many levels.

When those who do espouse themselves as
postmordernists, are shown reasonably to be frauds,
its seems that it is SOME data towards whether the
whole system, istelf, need be put under scrutiny.?

In my view, we use words to convey meaning. When
that meaning is diluted and changed through
postmodernist rhetoric (rather than substance), it
seems that language is short-shrifted, and
communication becomes impossible (taken to its
extremes).

You wrote, "Moreover, I don't think most
postmodernist
writers deliberately try to be unclear. But they do,
by virtue of the nature of their ideas, try to be
unfamiliar--and that makes them difficult." Where,
then, is the line between babbling inanely attempting
to appear lucid, and foggying the boundaries of the
"known" in order to teach others to reach for new
thoughts and ideas? To deliberately obscure, seems to
be equivalent to deliberately trying NOT to
communicate at all.

I do hope you post on this.

(other stuff was here, but only time will tell if it
rang true or not -- (Go Kucinich!)

------------------

Welcome to the discussion...

HH =)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Looks like Americans may have finally starting drinking coffee..

America may be waking up. I love Bill Maher's show "Real Time." Poor poor Tony Snow. Gets his ass handed to him. How do you tell your kids you worked for the worst President in History? Watch This:::




Gotta admit a little schadenfreude here.
HH =)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bulletin Boards are fun.

Over the years I have posted on chat-boards. Here is a sampling of some of my better retorts (most are about atheism v theism, so read at your own risk:

This first post is a response to the typical- god is a mystical "force" that is my "higher power" argument.


Subject: Re: My definition of God
Date: Jun 22 13:29
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
Which cosmic force are you alluding to? Gravity, weak nuclear force, Electro-magnetic? Or are you just making up a new force (invisible, untestable, unverifiable, non-existent) that explains to your satisfaction why the universe exists at all (read question-begging, and argument-from-ignorance to the nth degree).

I think my invisible birds did it. They collectively and consciously produced the universe, life, and all things. They did it with a spell book they found hidden under a supernatural rock. They decoded it using the urin and thummim they found taped to the back of a tapir. They had a huge war with the invisible supernatural crystal people. IT was a huge war with lots of pecking. The birds won and their plan to create the universe was set into motion. They require that you chant oogie noogie I like to boogie 3 times a day while facing south as worhip and gratitude. They like checks too. They don't hanlde money well, so they ask you, via me, to make the checks out for as large amounts as possible. You can make them out to:
Happy_Heretic
P.O. box 666
Goofytown, South Dakota,
zip 42.

They don't ask much and they don't give much, (just the privilege of adhering to earth's surface). Pay or fly away- thats our article of faith.



HH

This one is in response to somone who stated that god is some "ineffible" force that mankind can't understand. This is supposedly why we have to accept the concept on faith.

Subject: Wrong.
Date: Jun 22 13:08
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
When you assert there is a god then you have to accept that the term god has meaning. You are asserting that god can be differentiated from not-god. Therefore god has qualities, and thus definition. When you believe in god then you are accepting all those qualities and corollaries that come with that definition. However, when the atheist refrains from accepting a god belief then nothing further can be inferred from their rejection. If you reject my invisible bird belief, what does that entail for you? NOTHING. Same with atheism.

If you infer that god belief carries no baggage then argue your claims. Otherwise what you use the term god it is a meaningless term, like perfnick. I believe in perfinick. It doesn't mean anything therefore I am just babbling (like you about god).
I am asking you to articulate what YOU mean when you use the term god. Define it so it has some meaning other than your vacuous support for believing in it. I will wait here.

HH =)

This post was in response to an assertion that god is equivalent, in probability, with "universe."
Subject: Re: Fair enough.
Date: Jun 21 22:17
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
You wrote: I agree. For me Universe is clearly the better term than God because it is more neutral. Perhaps, there is an even better word. Regardless of our actual beliefs, a good theoretical mindset would be for everyone to treat the other side as if there was a 50%-50% chance of god(s)/no god(s). (Not necessarily in books, forums of debate, discussion, etc. - although even then in terms of civility of treatment.)

HH responds:
Lets put your thoughts into a non-emotionally evoking equivocation. Let's pretend that you say that gravity keeps us from flying off the earth into outer space. I will say that invisible all-knowing birds attach themselves to each object and flap their invisible wings (which make no sound and dont disturb the air) and hold us to the earth.

Now, based on your argument we should treat each possibility (so as not to hurt each other's tender graces) with a 50/50 probability. Forget facts, physics, experimentation, replicability, and data (and the fact that one is absolutly falsifiable)... just give each theory (invisible omniscient birds hold us down) a 50% change of being true. If you agreed to this you would have no credibility and even less integrity. IF I could get you to agree with this then I have already proven that you are unworthy of debate at all since you would be willing to throw logic and reason right out the old window.

This is where I am, as an atheist, with the god issue. I would have to be completely medicated (very heavily) and borderline psychotic before I would assent to the possibility that god is a significant finding at the .50 level.

YOu wrote: You're right, atheism is not defined by the behavior of its accepters. However, I do not agree that theism presupposes any specific behavioral requirements any more than being an atheist does. You have to look at what is claimed by the specific theist believer. Everyone, including atheists, absolutely should be defined by their behaviors and moral codes. Their beliefs are irrelevant. For that matter, in the spirit of Dennett, society should absolutely care about what being a theist or an atheist (or a whatever) does to behavior. Everybody's interpersonal interactions are fair game for judgment, regardless of their beliefs. We need one standard for everyone.

HH responds: We agree that we, as humans, make judgments about people's moral/ethical behavior all the time. Does it effect the veracity of their claims? NO. A complete turd could be completely correct, and a peachy gal may be completely wrong. You seem to disagree. We actually agree that religions differ in their moral codes. We should listen to a fellows claims about which particular religious moral code he /she professes before measuring him against them (looking for hypocrisy). I agree with Dennett on how one's beliefs effect their behavior. But Deists (Christian, Muslim, etc.) have holy writs. Given to them by god, which tell them how to act. And all I am suggesting is that when a Christian argues his claims, that his moral behavior with respect to these moral dictates can be adjudicated as to integrity, and hypocrisy. On the other hand, there is no such thing as and Atheist bible/Koran, etc. So it is to be expected that atheists will differ in their morality from on another, as much as they will differ from their thiestic counterparts.

Finally, we should avoid judging the veracity of either belief system. Athiesm has no system of belief. Atheism is the answer to one question, and one question only, Does/Do god/gods exist. No. That is atheism. If you claim there is more then argue your case. Theism has baggage, Atheism travels with a smile and thats all.

Best,

HH

This one speaks for itself:
Crystal Song wrote:
> If we could drop the idea that God and the Universe are different things, and civilly discuss our ideas about the characteristics of this unnamed entity, we could reduce the fighting.

>



God and the Universe are different things. Denying this does NOT make it true.


> God has emotion attached. And...although you may not be >aware of it, universe also has emotion attached. The >word implies that there is no possibility that it is a >conscious entity.


I am quite aware of many things. I attach emotions to things and ideas, and am aware when I do so. Since I am a part of the universe and I am conscious entity there is a grain of truth to your wishful thinking. But, I don't think that the term universe implies anything other than the vastness of the physical space, energy, and matter (which is energy) that we can access. If you wish to suggest there is more then I am delighted to hear you argue for your claims. But, until you justify that the universe is a conscious entity then you won't mind if I honestly refrain from belief I hope?.

> I believe in the possibility that a different word could >start the thinking fresh. Then each side could civilly >approach with ideas untainted by old thinking and >semantics.


I know this is not going to go over well, but my thinking is quite clear and fresh. Civility is part of an honest exchange and I know few who post on this board who are not honest in portraying their thoughts and ideas. I read responses that seem emotionally driven, but that is the writers issue, not the readers.
I also think that semantics are important. After all semantics is about meaning. If our writings convey no agreed meaning then there is nothing of cognitive value exchanged at all. We might as well be writing gibberish. I am arguing that the only context in which information may be exchanged is within a common nomenclature.

In the end, I am becoming more and more convinced that as some peoples arguments fail time and time again, that the only way to hold onto belief is to change the definitions of terms to eventually mean the same thing as the oppositions. That is just plain dishonest. If GOD = Universe then there is no argument to be had. There is no consistent meaning to those terms. We might as well call the universe the Invisible Pink Unicorn and dispense with either old term. Is entropy a part of the Invisible Pink Unicorn?? This could lead to a whole new field of Para-Physics. You may be on to something.... Perhaps not.

HH


This post is about the fallacy that being emotional is equal to being wrong.
Subject: Close but not quite...
Date: Jun 20 23:49
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
I wrote of the exceptions (about my own jerkiness). There are times when it is better to act nicely, rather than to be right.

What Dagny, (if I am wrong here just butt in) and I see is that we control our own behavior. We don't control others. IF the interaction with another person is about anything other than establishing a relationship, then it is irrelevant as long as they can perform their purpose with skill and integrity (for example see onundagus' response to me in this Joseph Smith is NOT a pedophile thread). I really appreciated his facts and arguments. Even though he was rude and personal at the end. I was rude and personal in my response as well. So what??? I learned from him. Good for me. If I drop dead tomorrow he shouldn't give a tinker's damn, he isn't here looking for a personal relationship with me. And good for him IF i passed him on the street I wouldn't know it. Cyberspace is impersonal. That is its benefit and its weakness. Anyone who gets weepy over a strangers comment in here is really a little irrational. For all we know half of us are psychotic, and the other half are criminals.

HH

This response is in the same vein.
Subject: Tell me the truth. Be a complete... (swearing)
Date: Jun 20 21:39
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
jerk. Just, demonstrate competency and I could care less if you have aspergers, refuse to make eye contact, act grumpy, and answer my questions in a condescending manner. Just give me the truth. You know why people act like assholes? Because people pay them off for it. If a physician cures the painful sinus infection that three other physicians couldn't touch. He is allowed to be a complete prick Just as long as he is a competent prick. IF anyone could make a rational case for a deity, that person may use all the profanity he/she wants, and smell like a shit-covered stocking. I would thank that person for entering my life

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The search for truth shouldn't give a shit about your personal need for warm fuzzies. I perceive a person giving me the truth as the ultimate gift of kindness. I am indifferent as to how that gift is wrapped.

Are there times when being right is not as important as being happy? I think so. But I have yet to have happiness outweigh correctness at any time other than with my beloved family (the wife and kids have a way of making themselves a priority over truth... YOu know what I mean.).

HH

This was in response to someone who tried to make the "its just a theory" argument. Like non-theories are valid by simple contrast.
Subject: A short retort and then a nap.
Date: Jun 18 12:05
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
Steve,
You cite theories (e.g., Newtonian Gravity) that have been discredited as an argument that science is limited. Funny how those theories were replaced by other scientific theories. Science progresses by replacement. You have only cited theories which have been discredited by scientists. Perhaps you provide ONE example of a theory which was discredited by non-scientists.

Your fear over annihilation is driving your belief system for an afterlife. I have read many of the works you cited. You share the same logical fallacies that they do. In short you straw-man the opposition (e.g., HH is a nihilist) and then argue your parody of your own fallacies. Sad really.

I am open for public debate any time. If you would like to schedule a public debate over the merits of science I would be happy to make time for a face-to-face discourse. Would be fun. Just let me know when and where (I will pay my own expenses to make it easy for you).
Regarding epistemology and metaphysics... my epistemology is reason , and my metaphysics follows as scientific realism (empiricism) . Is that articulate enough for you?

By the way you refer to non-physical perception. Would you please articulate how this is possible? Thanks. If there is something outside the natural universe (that we can see, measure, etc., then you have the onus propandi to justify that assertion. Just because something can be imagined (mostly by you and other wishful thinkers) doesn't make it probable or even possible.

You are the one who comes off as sad and angry. You can't accept the truth with peace and understanding. I am quite content with my current understanding, no matter how wrong (in the end) I may be. It seems that you are the one loaded with fear of death, annihilation (another of your straw-men about my understanding-- how dishonest of you), etc. It seems to me that you are making your world-view fit your fears. Therefore, I conclude that I am NOT the one who has an underdeveloped epistemology.
I wish you peace and knowledge my fellow homo-sapien.

HH =)

This is a response to a person who wrote that the term "god" did not have to have definition.

Subject: Wrong. God IS the assertion being made.
Date: Jul 11 15:53
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
God can't be considered before it is an assertion. Just like you never considered AGNEHAHA before I just asserted it. Now it is open to debate. Now that AGNEHAHA is out there you may say you believe, don't have a belief, or disbelieve. Is AGNEHAHA knowable?

1. If not, there is no reason to believe and you refrain from belief (agnostic& negative a-AGNEHAHA-ist).
2. If reasons are given to believe you may adopt a belief and be a AGNEHAHA-ist.

3. If you deny the existence of the almighty AGNEHAHA (which I don't recommend because in the next life he will turn you into a donut and put you in front of Dan Peterson) you are a positive A-AGNEHAHA-ist.

4. If you don't know but believe anyway you are an agnostic & AGNEHAHA-ist (buying in to pascal's wager just to play it safe).

Best,

HH


"you can't prove god doesn't exist." "You can't prove a negative." What a canard.

Subject: Zeke, I agree with you... kind of.
Date: Jul 11 16:27
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
I don't claim that god doesn't exist because it is silly (although it is). I claim that the Christian god can NOT exist.

I have one axiom: The law of identity (a thing is itself). Given this axiom there are two corollaries: Law of non-contradiction (a thing can not be itself and not-itself w/caveats), and the law of excluded middle (a thing can not be kind-of-itself and kind-of-not-itself /w caveats).

Given this one axiom I assert that the Christian God concept(and Mormon god concept as well) require inherent contradictions. Contradictions can not exist (see above) based upon my accepted axiom. Therefore since God is contradictory it can NOT exist.

My argument is much more loaded than this because it would take me quite a lot of writing to articulate/explain why the God described by the bible, BOM, PoGP, etc. is self-contradictory. But this is the gist of proving a negative.

As a simple lay example of proving a negative I could assert that, I am , rightnow, swinging on a swingset.
Since I am typing at my computer located on my table, My assertion is not true. But, I go one step further and state that it is, in fact false. In other words, it may be denied that I am swinging on my swingset. We logically prove negatives all the time.

Best,

HH =)

This sums up my education.

Subject: I am with you.
Date: Jul 12 08:59
Author: Happy_Heretic
Mail Address:
Religion taught me what to think. Primary and secondary education did the same. It was when I learned how to think that real independent thought and curiosity began. It was like breathing for the first time.


HH =)


This was just today. I used a different Name, but I hope the humor and irony are clear.
Subject: FOA's Thor. Duh! ;)
Date: Jan 10 15:58
Author: FoA
Mail Address:
I am his representative on earth. He speaks through me. I am transcribing his book right now. Just ignore the parts that appear to be copied right out of the Koran, Bible, and Bhagavad Gita. He condemns all those who use condoms, drink mulberry juice, use the word "awesome", and worship other gods! He doesn't much care for people who eat quiche either, but he says he could go either way on them.

You must wear a horn-adorned helmet and meet at a bar every Wednesday after sundown. You must partake in his sacred sacraments (beer and buffalo wings (spicy... none of that honey lemon BBQ shit)).

You must live your life with honor by defeating terrorists and lowering taxes. You must take the life of any who deny Thor's existence! For they are fooled by false prophets and the "secularists." It is not demanded, but if you want to be a Thorist you should vote Libertarian. We agree that Thorists may vote for whom they wish, but Anyone who does not vote for Michael Badnerick is probably sinning, passing social diseased, using IV drugs, or dancing on Saturday before sunrise (a big sin in Thorism).

We demand that you support our beliefs or, at least, don't question them in public! For if you do you are being a meanie meanie bo beanie! Its just bad manners!

Thor is all knowing and all-kind! HE forgives you right after he bashes you with his hammer. You can have his forgiveness for just 199.99 a month! That's 45% of the regular tithing price! Just imagine an eternity in Valhalla (white sandy beaches, in their eternal presence of God!, all the ale you can pound, half naked chicks by the dozens worshipping you, etc)!

But wait... if you start paying your tithing by credit card immediately you will get a free bonus gift! You get an amazing "koosh ball!" You have seen them on TV! You have seen mentally disabled people, and people with Autism having hours of fun squishing them in their hands, and Dangling them for hours! All this for just 199.99 a month! NO other religion is even willing to come close to such a bargain! How do we do it, you ask? Easy! We co-opt our dogma from other sources! We pay nothing for biblical statements. Zero is our overhead cost!

Sound too good to be true? Here is your payment information:

Thor Special Offer
c/o FoA
666 Heretic (under the bridge)
SLC, Utah 85564

Or, you can visit our website ministry:
ThorIsGod.com
We accept Paypal! ;)

So... save your soul today by joining the fastest growing religion in the world (I joined today and that is a daily increase of 100 %)! Know any religion that can make that claim?! Its all true!!

FoA (HH) =)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My offspring...

My son has two new blog-posts. Here and Here.

IT is obvious where he gets his genius from (yes... its Angie... damnit!). Lisa, please read my reply on his latest post (a little ribbing there).

HH =)