A new dark ages and a parting shot
Posted: 06 May 2005 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Reading from two of the threads below it occurs to me that this is a possibility. It happened before and for much the same reason, ideological zealots gaining control of the "organization" of church and state.  People in Europe didn't just forget knowledge, it was actively purged from the only sources of information available.

Today we are under seige by the same forces of ignorance, now in the guise of the christian and muslim extreamists.  The former have effectively made their causes synonomous with conservatism (which used to have some valid points to make).  And now they want to infiltrate the schools.  People like Wot are going to open the castle gate for them.  I read the thread re: the Florida bill and what did stand out was this fellow's claims to be reasoning, when in fact he is just hollow of facts. Me thinks he protests too much.

Well folks. Bad money drives out good.  I've been scanning for new posts from some old worthies and there seem to be very few.  I can't claim to be worthy of attention, but I will say goodbye as well.  Leave the forum to the Wots and the TCs and wish luck to the psiconoclasts if they want to carry on the "good" fight.  For myself I will carry on the battle in the classroom where I might be able to actually do some good.

And thanks for all the fish.

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Posted: 06 May 2005 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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#2, before leaving for good, I hope you’ll tell us why you no longer feel comfortable posting here. Do your entries get misinterpreted? If so, you should realize that more than 400 people are members and potential readers of your efforts. Only a relative few post their opinions, but many more might get what you’re saying. Please reconsider.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 06 May 2005 06:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Guest #2, if you’re still around, please reconsider.  Your excellent posts have been thoughtful and insightful.  Your knowledge base is extensive, and needed in this forum.

I agree completely with homunculus… the true value of this forum is for the hundreds of people (both registered and guests) who find their way here in search of answers to difficult questions.  I understand your frustration, but we’ve already lost many other voices who have had meaningful impact here. 

This forum is much more of a classroom than you might imagine, and all who participate lend value.  Even ignorant and biased comments certainly help readers toward evaluation of evidence and lead to a better development of critical thinking abilities.

“If we wish to make a new world we have the material ready. The first one, too, was made out of chaos.” —Robert Quillen

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Posted: 11 May 2005 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Peregrine, Homunculus,

Thanks.  I’ve been working a lot lately and just got a break.  Thought I’d see if there was any follow up.

Here is my take on this board.  Actually I saw someone else mentioned this as a reason another person left the discussion: That is the signal to noise ratio is so low.

Homunculus, it isn’t that I felt slighted or misunderstood.  I expect to have to debate some issues (e.g. with ConservativeAthiest).  But look what happens.  I provided a reading list.  Someone else did something similar.  I asked for earnest discourse.  Some of you responded, but in general, the discussions just go off in some unstructured direction and there is never any followthrough.  I went back to the science topic to see what happened with my debate with CA re: climate change. Nothing, no further comments, no rebuttal or admission of a change of view. Nothing.

To me these just haven’t been productive.  I want to learn new stuff too.  And, frankly Peregrine, I just can’t get much out of TC’s idiotic posts, or out of many of the others.  There have been a few people that seemed, at first, to be not only rational but intelligent and knowledgable but later proved to be just as ideological as the religious zealots. I followed a thread once that was about the academic freedom bills that are being foisted on state legislatures by a religious group out of Colorado.  I followed this because I am a professor and our professional organization has been tracking the development of this movement.  The thread I followed sickened me.  Someone from Florida - Wotonsson - who made such a noise about being rational savagely attacked the person who started the thread and accused him/her of being the worst kind of elitest professor. As I followed the thread it became clear that this rational individual must have had some kind of issue with higher education.

Anyway, lest I ramble, I just haven’t seen much in the way of collaborative discussions of the sort that might actually result in some kind of consensus on action.  There were several attempts to tackle intelligent design being taught in school, but no real followup.

So, I guess I’ll hang around in the background and check in from time to time to see if there is any real intellectual effort here.  For example, if someone actually got one of the books/papers I recommended, read it, and offered a perspective for discussion.  Or, better yet, offered a reference of their own - something I could get my hands on to study - that would be a que that this might be worth the effort.

Hope I don’t offend (at least those I have thought offered serious comments).  But that is my thinking about this board right now.

And I’m still greatful for all the fish (anyone see the new version?)

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Posted: 11 May 2005 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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g2,

Glad you’re still hanging out, even if only in the wings.  I will make an effort to address your reading list, but I must admit that I don’t have all that much free bandwidth these days (I tend to read and post here in between system updates).

I did see HGTTG the other day, and I enjoyed it.  I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about some of the changes that they introduced, but it was good.

Keep fighting the good fight, and I’ll see you ‘round the ridges.

-Matt

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Posted: 11 May 2005 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375433082/qid=1115879855/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-6889344-0603317?v=glance&s=books


Noise is the problem, we aren’t winning elections based on honest debate of facts.

I live in a state where we are passing a law against overtly sexual cheerleading on the grounds it promotes herpes.  This law was sponsored by a Democrat.

Basically you are saying you are too smart to be bothered to engage and its hopeless.

Myself, I know I am not so smart, but to give up is to lose.  This battle isn’t just in your classrooms, it’s in every school board in every state across the country.

This site has helped me alot, both with reading material, seeing how the other side “thinks”, and getting moral support in the face of what seems at times to be overwhelming odds.

It also makes me laugh from time to time.

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Posted: 12 May 2005 01:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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g2 wrote:

There have been a few people that seemed, at first, to be not only rational but intelligent and knowledgable but later proved to be just as ideological as the religious zealots. I followed a thread once that was about the academic freedom bills that are being foisted on state legislatures by a religious group out of Colorado. I followed this because I am a professor and our professional organization has been tracking the development of this movement. The thread I followed sickened me. Someone from Florida - Wotonsson - who made such a noise about being rational savagely attacked the person who started the thread and accused him/her of being the worst kind of elitest professor. As I followed the thread it became clear that this rational individual must have had some kind of issue with higher education.

I am sorry if I bruised the inflated egos of some in the academic community with the direct and factual nature of my comments. How insensitive of me to not respect the fragile nature of these folks and not recognize finality of their authority in all matters, both political and intellectual. I promise to not engage in any more “savage attacks” on the academics and further promise not to challenge any of their parochial and self-serving views, even those not based on reason, fact, or even common sense. If they will simply identify themselves, I will give deference to their views.  I tried to review all your post so that I might offer further apologies and promises, but since you did not choose to become a member, this forum does not facilitate such a review. I will try to always remember that, as one poster asserted, academic professionalism, faculty committee meetings and faculity club meetings, supercede any need for accountability in state-supported institutions.
If you have indeed offered you parting shots at this forum and me specifically, I offer the above comments for your review.

Stay Well
Wot

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Posted: 12 May 2005 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Iisbliss wrote:

Noise is the problem, we aren’t winning elections based on honest debate of facts.

I live in a state where we are passing a law against overtly sexual cheerleading on the grounds it promotes herpes. This law was sponsored by a Democrat.

Basically you are saying you are too smart to be bothered to engage and its hopeless.

Myself, I know I am not so smart, but to give up is to lose. This battle isn’t just in your classrooms, it’s in every school board in every state across the country.

I wish that elections could be won on the basis of honest debate of facts but the reality is that elections are won based on emotions and issues.  I viewed with great dismay the impending resignation from Congress of Bill Frist, who is resigning to devote full time to his presidential campaign for 2008. Winning individual battles in the trenches will not win the war and only serve as a holding actions. The war will be won from the top down with a strategy , not the bottom up. I can only imagine the damage done by 16 years of Christian fundamentalists in the Presidency - 8 years of Bush II followed by potentially 8 years of Frist. This can only be avoided by moderates gaining contol of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Toward this end I am disappointed in the thinking of my good, self-described Democratic friends who have yet to develop some issues and a candidate for 2008. When I ask them about issues, I get mostly blank stares. Some are basking in the image of a Hillary candidacy but I don’t see her as a winner for lots of reasons. Not wishing to fall victim to a gender specific (male) view of Hillary, I asked my apolitical significant other (female) for her views and got some unexpected comments: 1. She was shown to be a criminal in the Whitewater matter. 2. She does not have the respect of women for her behavior over Billy’s chronic infidelities which date way back.

Encouraging our political parties to move toward moderation is (my view) the only hope. In the matter of the 2008 elections, I have to subscribe to the Lombardi philosophy - winning is not everything - it’s the only thing.  Don’t give up quest for moderation. Support and encourage moderates in both parties. The consequences are way too severe.

Stay Well
Wot

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