This morning I was having a discussion with one of my children about the wisdom and consequences of future actions. The way the conversation evolved cracked me up.
YHN: “No, you can’t put the horsie in the bathtub, because it has batteries.”
Child: “Yes, I can.”
YHN: “No, see it will get wet and eventually corroded and ruined.”
Child: “No, it won’t.”
YHN: “Yes, it will. Whatever gives you the idea that you can put this horsie in the bathtub?”
Child: “[Elder Sibling] said it was okay.”
Right. This would be the [Elder Sibling] who Child opposes at just about every turn, particularly when it comes to [Elder Sibling] informing Child what Child may or may not do. With toys, generally.
Our conversation ran aimlessly for a good while after that with Child sticking firmly to the assertion that throwing a horsie in the bathtub was okay under the aegis of [Elder Sibling]’s authoritative permission*. The discussion was more or less amicable and The Man did not have to break out the tools of repression. I.e., Child was eventually distracted by something shiny.
Deploying a cherry-picked authority in support of what you already believe or want to do, to avoid engaging evidence and rationale (and yes, opposing authority) which you fear might contradict your pre-existing position or desire is apparently an early-formed trait.
No wonder we have such difficulty maturing past it.
*note that it is entirely possible that Child misunderstood what [Elder Sibling] had to say on the topic or that [Elder Sibling] had never ventured an opinion on the topic.

Internet Beef and Civility

January 21, 2010

“Where men congregate and mix their testosterone with other intoxicants”.
HAHHAAHA, don’t take what you read on the Intertoobz too seriously people.

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January 19, 2010

Do you trust me?
or, Why Not?
Under what circumstances?
Within which limits?
Is it conditional?
or, Do you never think of it in terms of ‘trust’ exactly?

A musical interlude

January 7, 2010

Pause. Take a breath. Listen.

BikeMonkey Post
I have been enjoying the protestations of those who don’t like my conceptualization of “redneck” as a pejorative directed against bigoted attitudes. You can read them here as well as in the thread following Isis’ graphical depiction provided for those with reading comprehension difficulties. There are a few more comments at Adventures in Ethics and Science. In this fine discussion, commenters D. C. Sessions and Isabel have been maintaining that “redneck” is really not much different than “nigger”. Furthermore they’ve been trying to establish that, historically speaking, those who maintain the real power in the US have treated those they consider to be rednecks and niggers more or less equally badly.
I have some additional readings for your consideration of these assertions.

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November 30, 2009

“Your pumpkin pie slice skin, your caramel corn nice skin, your toffee wrapped, ginger snapped, cinnamon spice skin!”

A Twitt from occasional commenter @szvan alerted me to this blog post pointing to an AP story about the recent State Dinner hosted by the President and First Lady. The blog post was updated to say the AP story had been subsequently edited to redact the offending bit [ edited version ] but I was able to screen capture what seems to be the original version. Anybody spot the problem?


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In case you are just entering the discussion I’m following up on points I’ve made on shifting the intrapersonal Overton window and communicating unmistakeably to your opponent that they are not in your camp. This series on How to Argue more or less in response to Ethan Siegel and Isis the Scientist, kinda taking a Ladenesque or UncertainChadian approach of being unable to relinquish the bone…except without the initial pronouncements of disinterest.
Personal confession after the jump.

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Many of you been following the weekend’s discussion on how to properly argue a point. Ethan Siegel originated the discussion and Isis provided an alternate perspective (Janet wondered about graphical interpretation).
I wrote a bit on the intrapersonal Overton window and how difficult it can be with staid logic and ration to move people’s opinions, even those who claim to be subject to logical discussion. In this discussion I argued that frequently people seek to claim they have been called a nasty name, when they have not, as a cognitive defensive strategy to avoid being swayed by the aforementioned logic and rational argument.
Given this, we must seek at all times not to give even the whiff of name-calling so as to defuse this tendency in others, right?
Hell, no.

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Sometimes, things happen. Such as:

  • Someone is wrong on the Internet
  • Someone is being a dumbass on the Internet
  • Something is wrong with the world
  • I’m bored

…and that’s when it is time to argue. Sometimes (sigh), there’s simply no way around it and I am forced (forced, I tell you) to put myself out there and make the best argument that I can to make what I want to happen actually happen.
Let me start with this lighthearted conciliatory air

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