Archive for January, 2015
Would anyone care to send me to this event? I’d much appreciate it!
What do you believe?
- Do you believe that the world’s climate is being radically altered in large measure because of human activity?
- Do you believe that climate change is a very significant issue?
- Do you believe that vaccinations for serious diseases such as measles and mumps do not cause autism?
- Do you believe that every child (barring extraordinary medical reasons for not doing so) should be vaccinated against chickenpox, diptheria, measles, mumps, polio, rubella, tetanus, etc.?
- Do you believe that there is no evidence that tax cuts for the wealthy result in job creation?
- Do you believe that the earth revolves around the sun?
- Do you believe that the theory of evolution in its most current articulation is our best explanation for the origin and diversity of species?
- Do you believe that the recent rapid expansion of the gap between the wealth possessed by the world’s 80 richest people, on the one hand, and the other 7+ billion people, on the other, is a sign of a sick and unjust economic/political system?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, you can help me with my efforts to use my time more efficiently and, thus, to be more productive. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, please note that I will no longer spend any time considering any of your views about these issues – or any others issues, for that matter. Your judgment is so suspect that it is extremely unlikely that any of your views will be credible or justifiable, and so I need not waste my time on them. Thank you for your assistance.
P.s., this arrangment is mutually beneficial. As your “no” answers demonstrate your unwillingness to listen to reason, weigh evidence, or think clearly, you do not need to waste any of your valuable time considering my views. They will be pearls before swine.
Please also note, lest you think you detect a degree of arrogance here, that by “my” views I do not mean anything idiosyncratic or particular to me, nor do I mean that I, myself, am responsible for discovering all the insights that make up my considred views. I simply mean that my views on these key matters are consistent with those that are held by the overwhelming majority of sane, intelligent, honest, and objective persons. The endorsement of such persons is to a significant degree a very good reason for holding the views I do. They are very good reasons for anyone to hold such views.
Of course I realize that a majority’s holding a view does not constitute proof of that view, not even if that majority consists purely of sane, intelligent, honest, and objective persons. But because the majority I have in mind (for the key issues I’ve enumerated here) is sane, intelligent, honest, and objective, they, themselves, have come to their views as a result of examining evidence, considering alternatives, weighing arguments, and then committing themselves to the best explanations for the issue at hand. This is a very good way for anyone to come to their views. The alternative would be to…I don’t know…believe that anything that comes into your head, simply because it came into your head, is GOOD, TRUE, and BEAUTIFUL. This, obviously (to any sane, intelligent, honest, and objective person), is utter nonsense for which there is no justification.
So, please answer the questions to see whether we can save each other some precious time. Thank you.
We live by the unspoken creed that teaching is, well, not really what one is supposed to be doing. Conversely, doing a lot of teaching is construed as a sign that one is not doing well. This perverse reasoning leads scholars to conjure up all manner of strategies geared to evading the lectern and maximizing undisturbed research time. In their ingenuity and inventiveness, these tactics have the quality of grift.
Wow! Judging from my Facebook stream, yesterday everybody was Charlie Hebdo. Today, nobody is Charlie Hebdo. Today’s line goes like this: “These killings were terrible, of course. But those cartoons were disgusting! They are racist, sexist, anti-religious, and generally obnoxious. I cannot associate myself with that.” But the “that” that we were associating ourselves with yesterday was not the content – most people didn’t know the content, I’m sure – but the freedom to express your opinion, whatever it might be, without fear of being murdered for it. Back-pedaling today suggests you think that maybe just a little bit they had it coming.
In this world, with those kind of people in it, if you have a view at all, you are Charlie Hebdo to someone.
Yet again, an epic fail by extremists. Now we all know about Charlie Hebdo. Now we all have seen their cartoons (and sometimes even laughed at them). Now we are less circumspect about how the authorities deal with these murderers and their ilk. As I write this, two of the perpetrators (at least) remain at large. They will be caught and probably killed. Lots of other people will likely be injured or killed as well. Muslims, largely unfairly, will be mocked by cartoonists and humorists and a sea of wanna-be comedians at an increasing rate. And when they are not, they will be increasingly objects of suspicion and even hatred.
How is any of this anything other than complete failure?
I looked at some of the cartoons in Charlie Hebdo, a publication about which I was previously unaware. I have to say that a lot of the cartoons I saw were fairly disgusting. I can easily see how many people would be offended by them. But however little I like vulgar, offensive, juvenile attempts at humor, I like humorless, violent, extremist, willfully-ignorant ideologues even less. Much, much less. How many of the world’s crises are due, in the end, to a lack of a sense of humor? Seriousness kills.
Well, a lot of the time, anyway.
My condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this senseless attack. I am so sorry for your loss.