Hey languagehat, are you reading the comment I wrote? October 5, 2006 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Hey languagehat, are you reading the comment I wrote? [more inside]
posted by davy to Etiquette/Policy at 1:39 PM (208 comments total)

I was answering anonymous' personal and detailed question personally and in detail, giving my advice and where it's coming from, based on my personal views and experiences. Not "studies show," not some doctrinare website, not even a Wikipedia article, and nothing I just pulled from my ass for the occasion. And I'd rather kill myself than present my views on this subject as normative (in public with a straight face anyway), because I sincerely hope my "reality testing" is at least better than that: as far as I've ever been able to tell most people regard my take on this stuff as "from outer space" (regardless of whether they have any religious beliefs or practices of any kind themselves), and I don't want to have to live being completely frigging wacky.

And grumblebee, I'm not sure we're on the same page either: it's learning how to coexist with people who are not so very different from me that I'm not so good at. (E.g., my difficulties with languagehat.) Like, rather than "wait for Mr. or Ms. Right" I've had quite a lot of experience with women of more "normal" views, including a bright young woman who I sat down on our third "date" to explain my views against ever having kids and that that won't ever change, who spent four months with me practicing "safer sex" and hearing my say things reinforcing my initial warning, who in the fifth month of our "relationship" blurted out "You'll change your tune when I'm pregnant." (I think that's rather different from me, eh?)

As for anonymous' wife, she strikes me as rather typical (or do I mean "normative"): I've found that most women want children and a husband, or failing that children and child support, and (as my experience has reiterated a few times) some women will say and do almost anything to achieve that. Even hook up with an arrogant atheist. It's not necessarily a matter of malice, conscious manipulation, lying, stupidity, or even being "blinded by the biological drive to reproduce"; rather it's a matter of "as the twig is bent, so shall the tree incline." And 'Mrs. anonymous' seems like she was bent very hard from a very young age, so hard I don't think she'll ever really get over it — especially not when her atheist husband is "enabling" that by "try[ing] churches together" and having an "idealized, optimistic view of the children going to church with her on Sunday." Rather than urge anonymous to buck what I'm sure are long odds, I'm advising him to cut his losses and spare them all the trouble I foresee. My prophecy might well be incorrect, but in all good conscience I can give no other advice.

Speaking of advice, my "SO", reading over my shoulder, advised me not to post this in the Green, but (if I must continue) put it in the Gray. Tah-dah! (Hence too "etiquette/policy".)
posted by davy at 1:39 PM on October 5, 2006


Oh, this will end well.
posted by klangklangston at 1:45 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I like to stay informed, but I can't bear to read all that. Can someone sum up what this dude is saying in like eight words?
posted by ND¢ at 1:51 PM on October 5, 2006


Man, if only the internet had some sort of system wherein you could privately send a message to another person... like a pen and paper letter, you know?

Yeah, like mail! Electronic mail!

I wonder what they'd call it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:53 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sum up in eight words? No.
Most. Longwinded. Callout. Evar.
posted by Floydd at 1:54 PM on October 5, 2006


You'd rather kill yourself than do a lot of things, it seems.
posted by saladin at 1:56 PM on October 5, 2006


Can someone sum up what this dude is saying in like eight words?

'I like quote marks, colons, brackets, and attention.'
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:59 PM on October 5, 2006 [7 favorites]


You are taking things way too personally davy.
That's the nutshell.
Nuts...mm....hungry......must e a t.
posted by peacay at 2:03 PM on October 5, 2006


cut off your hand... cut off your hand...
posted by klangklangston at 2:03 PM on October 5, 2006


*starts fire, whittles stick, assembles ingredients for s'mores*
posted by scody at 2:06 PM on October 5, 2006


Most. Longwinded. Callout. Evar.

Is that a challenge? That sounds like a challenge

You do know it'd be but a mere trifle for me to take on davy, languagehat and Ethereal_Bligh combined with one hand tied behind my back on a Dvorak Tagalog keyboard, no?
posted by loquacious at 2:08 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


(Damn, you really ARE loquacious.)
posted by davy at 2:11 PM on October 5, 2006


*makes puppy-dog eyes at scody*
posted by deborah at 2:11 PM on October 5, 2006


s'mores for everyone! It's going to be a long post, folks, and we'll need the sugar and carcinogens to sustain us!
posted by scody at 2:13 PM on October 5, 2006


er, a long thread. damn sparks in my eyes. Everybody sing! "And the cat came back / the very next day..."
posted by scody at 2:13 PM on October 5, 2006


Bros before hoes dude.
posted by bardic at 2:13 PM on October 5, 2006


actually, i have to agree that languagehat's entry doesn't answer the question ... it just picks on davy.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 2:14 PM on October 5, 2006


You'd rather kill yourself than do a lot of things, it seems.

And yet.....
posted by phearlez at 2:14 PM on October 5, 2006


s'mores ???
posted by peacay at 2:16 PM on October 5, 2006


By the way, I didn't intent this as a callout but a clarification of what I apparently didn't put well enough the first time. And see my added take on Mrs. anonymous and her bending: I could've legitimately put that in the Green but felt I'd contributed enough there.

(And thanks, lester's sock puppet.)
posted by davy at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2006


it's a good thing that we have so many atheists here, because otherwise we'd always be listening to people preach ...
posted by pyramid termite at 2:23 PM on October 5, 2006 [5 favorites]


I'd rather be killing myself. My other peripheral is a razor blade. My child is an honor student at Worsham College of Mortuary Science. If you can read this comment, you're on the expressway to Hell.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:24 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, this will end well.

*starts fire, whittles stick, assembles ingredients for s'mores*


I wish people would stop posting crap like this.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:26 PM on October 5, 2006


it's a good thing that we have so many atheists here, because otherwise we'd always be listening to people preach ...

Yes. Yes. Yes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:26 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


AAAAND....pyramid termite for the win!!!
posted by felix betachat at 2:27 PM on October 5, 2006


Your favorite pissing contest sucks.
posted by Mister_A at 2:27 PM on October 5, 2006


ATTENTION K-MART SHOPPERS:

Let's please not have another pile-on. I have no dog in this fight, indeed I have no idea what it's about. And maybe davy could have emailed languagehat.

Regardless, davy's clearly not happy about something. Let's NOT take that as an opportunity to egg him on, or denigrate the sincerity of his feelings. Whether his feeling are justified or not, they're his and so valid. and they're certainly not, or should not be, fodder for our amusement.

Please, please, please: let's stop with the kibitzing and mocking. It's unseemly, it's like a bunch or bored bar-flies encouraging a bar brawl.

We can do better and should; other people's hurt feelings should NOT be an occasion for amusement. You wouldn't like it if it was your feelings that were hurt.

JUST STOP. Please?
posted by orthogonality at 2:28 PM on October 5, 2006 [7 favorites]


but davy, others here are right: you are presenting your athiesm with more faith then a lot of born again christians i know. relax, dude ... it's just a theology.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 2:31 PM on October 5, 2006


Whether his feeling are justified or not, they're his and so valid. and they're certainly not, or should not be, fodder for our amusement.

I thought that was the whole point of Metatalk?

Yuk, yuk, yuk. Only kidding! Carry on, davy!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:32 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


... it's like a bunch or bored bar-flies encouraging a bar brawl.

"Like"?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:32 PM on October 5, 2006


ortho, I have to say that that was the closest thing I've seen to a rousing, crowd-pacifying end-of-a-John-Hughes-film speech I've seen in a while. Good on you. And it's a near certainty that folks won't play ball.

davy, this probably wasn't a great idea.
posted by cortex at 2:33 PM on October 5, 2006


cortex writes "a rousing, crowd-pacifying end-of-a-John-Hughes-film speech "


Thanks cortex. (But this is one of those pop-culture references totally lost on me, right?)
posted by orthogonality at 2:35 PM on October 5, 2006


"I wish people would stop posting crap like this."

Are you gonna get that Indian Tear thing going, like you've just seen a buncha litter?
posted by klangklangston at 2:37 PM on October 5, 2006


seen seen I've seen seen seen
posted by cortex at 2:38 PM on October 5, 2006


"ATTENTION K-MART SHOPPERS"

K-Mart sucks!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:40 PM on October 5, 2006



posted by Rhomboid at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


To succintly answer the original question "In marriage, what is more powerful: Love or God?", I say probably God. E.g., 2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (New International Version; emphasis mine.) That is I think she's thinking "He'll come around eventually, and I'll make sure the kids are raised in Christ." [Maybe I should've said this this way first?]

And orthogonality, I'm pretty much ignoring the kibitzing and mocking; I'm concentrating now on how to improve my presentation of my case (for future reference if nothing else). What I'm not happy about is how some of my fellow Mefites manage to misread what I said so thoroughly though I strain so hard to be clear. Maybe it's something like the "message" in Prince of Darkness that because of interference must be sent like a dream?
posted by davy at 2:42 PM on October 5, 2006


metatalk is for your atheism vs religion discussions not here
posted by empath at 2:44 PM on October 5, 2006


can i get a flameout or two in this thread? otherwise i'm not reading it.

wait. animated gifs please. tia.
posted by Stynxno at 2:46 PM on October 5, 2006



posted by pyramid termite at 2:49 PM on October 5, 2006


You wouldn't like it if it was your feelings that were hurt.

Eh, momentarily. I've always gotten over it before.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:00 PM on October 5, 2006


And here I was hoping this day would go by without any Metatalk threads...
posted by vacapinta at 3:02 PM on October 5, 2006


loquacious : "You do know it'd be but a mere trifle for me to take on davy, languagehat and Ethereal_Bligh combined with one hand tied behind my back on a Dvorak Tagalog keyboard, no?"

I'm almost disappointed you left me off that list.
posted by Bugbread at 3:09 PM on October 5, 2006


I wish people would stop posting crap like this.

I agree.

Oh, wait. By "crap," I thought you meant the near-daily event of posting personal grievances or disagreements as MeTa callouts, instead of taking them to email or -- even better! But not nearly as public and drama-y! -- simply coping with the inevitability of of grievances or disagreements in the first place.
posted by scody at 3:10 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Did somebody mention catgirls?

posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:20 PM on October 5, 2006


scody is, as usual, right on target.

I think of the kibitzy banter in these OTT gripersniper threads serves an important gentle finger wagging function. It's much nicer than simply writing: "This is completely stupid!!!! No one cares!!! Write a fucking email!!" Although those are fine, too.

Now, on with smores. Bourbon, anyone?
posted by kosem at 3:22 PM on October 5, 2006




no, steve, we're doing dogs in cowgirl costumes this week
posted by pyramid termite at 3:27 PM on October 5, 2006


Hello, is this the thread with the burning tanks and hands cut off?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:27 PM on October 5, 2006


cut off your hand... cut off your hand...

Naw, not davy, even I wouldn't want to see a davy flameout.

That said, I think you're taking this way too personally. But if I misread your comments, you have my apology, for what that's worth.
posted by languagehat at 3:28 PM on October 5, 2006


Dear Mr. Davy, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Thursday afternoon in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. And what we did was wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain.....and a languagehat.....an animated gif....a princess.....and anonymous. Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, Metafilter
posted by mattbucher at 3:30 PM on October 5, 2006 [5 favorites]


I've not posted in the thread, but I can't believe there's even controversy about this. It's like "hay guys my wife believes in all sorts of stupid shit that i don't. should we have kids????" The answer is obviously WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING!?
posted by reklaw at 3:30 PM on October 5, 2006 [3 favorites]


But I do think all posts on all sections of MeFi should begin "Hey languagehat..." Gives me that feeling of participation, y'know?

Also, I think loquacious should totally take up the challenge.
posted by languagehat at 3:31 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


posted by ludwig_van I wish people would stop posting crap like this.

I wish people would stop posting crap about how they wish people would stop posting crap.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:42 PM on October 5, 2006


But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are.



I AAAAMMM IRRRRRRON MAAAAAN
posted by pyramid termite at 3:43 PM on October 5, 2006


cut off your hand... cut off your hand...

It's the MeTaliban.
posted by fandango_matt at 3:44 PM on October 5, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste writes "Did somebody mention catgirls?"


No! NOBODY did.

Jesus. Are all you Republicans perverts? ;)
posted by orthogonality at 3:47 PM on October 5, 2006


It's like "hay guys my wife believes in all sorts of stupid shit that i don't. should we have kids????" The answer is obviously WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING!?

Ever been married, reklaw?
posted by timeistight at 3:50 PM on October 5, 2006


Wasn't LH just the other day wistfully mentioning how long it had been since we had seen a good flame-out in the grey?
posted by jokeefe at 3:51 PM on October 5, 2006


Is this the part where the people in zombie outfits sell out to the Republican Hollywood Machine?
posted by hototogisu at 3:59 PM on October 5, 2006


She might not look it, but that catgirl just turned 18.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 3:59 PM on October 5, 2006


The answer is obviously WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING!?

I don't think one's belief system requires that answer. Just look at some MeFi comments for examples...
posted by jmd82 at 4:12 PM on October 5, 2006



posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:34 PM on October 5, 2006


Wasn't LH just the other day wistfully mentioning how long it had been since we had seen a good flame-out in the grey?

Oh yeah, I'm dying for a good flameout, but if davy flames out, who's gonna slap down the South-bashers when I'm not around? No, davy's got to stay. Now, if you want candidates for flaming out, I've got a little list...

*rubs hands, cackles, looks for pitchfork*
posted by languagehat at 4:50 PM on October 5, 2006


Ever been married, reklaw?

No. Obviously when I'm married I will suddenly become COMPLETELY FREAKING INSANE and realise that the true path to maturity is having children with people who don't share my values. Because there's no way that could ever be A REALLY FUCKING BAD IDEA AND INCREDIBLY UNFAIR ON THE CHILDREN. I mean, hey, I can just get divorced and have more, amirite?

I'll also get an unfulfilling job, vote conservative, all that jazz. I think we all learned something here today.
posted by reklaw at 4:52 PM on October 5, 2006


:) (at reklaw)
posted by bardic at 5:01 PM on October 5, 2006


(but you forgot the part where your incompatible spouse ties a string around your balls and the other end to a heavy, rotting coconut and throws it out the window of your two-story shanty. duh.)
posted by bardic at 5:02 PM on October 5, 2006


ortho: I've been waiting years to read that in a MeTa thread. (Yes, I spent a couple years lurking before getting an account.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:05 PM on October 5, 2006


*backs away slowly*
posted by liquorice at 5:06 PM on October 5, 2006


*Begins to clap slowly*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:10 PM on October 5, 2006


*Embraces token black character*
posted by cortex at 5:12 PM on October 5, 2006


jokeefe : "Wasn't LH just the other day wistfully mentioning how long it had been since we had seen a good flame-out in the grey?"

LH mentions that wistfully every day. So, yeah, unless his internet connection was down, whatever day you were referring to, he was probably mentioning that he was pining for a flameout.
posted by Bugbread at 5:14 PM on October 5, 2006



posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:14 PM on October 5, 2006


*wishes he was tokin'*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:14 PM on October 5, 2006


I'm telling you people, it's going to be the man himself who flames out, as his mad obsession comes full circle and becomes a self-fulfilling dream of MetaImmolation.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:18 PM on October 5, 2006




hey, the popcorn's burning!
posted by pyramid termite at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2006


Davy, you mention the use of condoms because a vasectomy is too expensive for you.

FYI, my friend got his vasectomy for the price of a regular office visit copay --- $10.

Of course, I understand if you don't have health insurance or bad insurance, etc.

However, it may make things easier for you while dating if you had a vasectomy, then you wouldn't have to get into any conversations with girlfriends who believe they're going to convince you that you'll just *love* fatherhood.

(Or don't have the conversation, and have an even more interesting one if she comes up pregnant.)
posted by Pocahontas at 5:24 PM on October 5, 2006


She might not look it, but that catgirl just turned 18.

I don't think Puchiko is quite that old...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:32 PM on October 5, 2006


Pocahontas writes "FYI, my friend got his vasectomy for the price of a regular office visit copay --- $10."


Vasectomies are a bad idea; the unexpressed sperm may provoke attacks by the man's immune system.
posted by orthogonality at 5:35 PM on October 5, 2006


Could we knock it off with the goddamned anime catgirl screencaps already?

I don't post my wank fodder on MeFi, and neither should you.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:41 PM on October 5, 2006 [2 favorites]


Vasectomies are a bad idea; the unexpressed sperm may provoke attacks by the man's immune system.

For the helluva it, I searched pubmed "vasectomies (vascectomy) immune system" and my first result's summary:
"Antisperm antibodies develop in a significant proportion of men post-vasectomy, but do not increase the risk of immune-complex or atherosclerotic heart disease." (Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2005 Nov;87(6):406-10.)
From glancing at other headings, it appears the production of extra antibodies is a known phenomenom though this article attempts to directly find out the consequence of extra antibodies.
posted by jmd82 at 5:46 PM on October 5, 2006


Oops, I didn't quote that correctly: I took it from a full paragraph summary with other information, but pulled out just that sentence.
posted by jmd82 at 5:48 PM on October 5, 2006


bugbread wrote: I'm almost disappointed you left me off that list.

I left you and a few others off the list with the intention of goading the you and the others into complaining that you weren't included in my proclamation of an unavoidable street-style polyloquent beat down. Because you know I like arguing. And typing. God I love typing.

I'm very glad that my bait did not go nibbled.

Now if you'll just step this way the first few volumes of my rantingly incomprehensible callout are contained on the shelves in this specially-designed reading room. Parts two and three can be found in the adjacent rooms. Part four is stored in a vast underground salt cave somewhere far beneath the frozen wastes of Siberia. It's a little personal joke, you see. No one ever makes it through part two. The last fellow somehow managed to chew out his own eyes. Terrible. I can only assume he willfully dislocated his jaw to accomplish the topologically improbable feat.

However do not be disheartened. I have high hopes that you will be the first to crack the fresh, stiff spines of part three.

Please do call if you need anything - a spot of tea, some sandwiches, an eyeshade or perhaps even a first aid kit or competent surgeon. You may find the latter to be indispensible.
posted by loquacious at 5:49 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Alvy Ampersand writes "Could we knock it off with the goddamned anime catgirl screencaps already? I don't post my wank fodder on MeFi, and neither should you."

Maf54 (7:58:37 PM): well I have aa totally stiff wood now
Maf54 (7:58:44 PM): i bet..taht would hurt
Maf54 (7:58:59 PM): but it must feel great spirting on the towel
Maf54 (7:59:29 PM): wow
Maf54 (7:59:48 PM): is your little guy limp…or growing
Maf54 (8:00:00 PM): hmm
Maf54 (8:00:12 PM): so you got a stiff one now
Maf54 (8:00:53 PM): i like steamroom
Maf54 (8:01:04 PM): whats yours
Maf54 (8:01:21 PM): i am hard as a rock..so tell me when your reaches rock
posted by orthogonality at 5:51 PM on October 5, 2006


Please don't denigrate the sincerity of my feelings, ortho...

fapfapfapfapfapfap
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:53 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's times like these when MetaFilter reminds me of my mother. Mostly a bitch but you still gotta love her.
posted by liquorice at 5:54 PM on October 5, 2006


Hey, geniuses, if davy had responded any further in AskMeFi you'd all be smashing the flag button so fucking hard your hands would vaporize. So, like a good guy, he takes it to MetaTalk, which is encouraged, and in return, he gets a trillion fucking gay-ass posts about flame suits and Worst. Callout. Evers. and Steven C. Den Beste's fucking lolicon collection for the hundreth fucking time - by the way, Steve, it is weird and disturbing that you always have instant access to drawings of five year-olds in little outfits - and it's the same shit, every day: every fucking time someone takes it to MetaTalk - even when they have a legitimate point to make - that you unfunny, "I only pile on someone when it's safe," MeFi-starfuckers decide to queer it up.

Yeah, languagehat is a cool guy, and while it's unusual to have to call him out, this response

Of course it's fine to offer personal views and experiences, but you're presenting yours as normative and suggesting the poster run his life by them, which is silly

is so fucking dumb I can't believe his account hasn't been hacked by a fifty year-old beanie baby collector. "Help me with my relationship" questions have always been answered by people representing their experiences as normative. It's not a question like "hey how do I integrate this function," where the right answers are obvious. And what makes "well I, languagehat, and all my friends grew up in a household where my mother was actually the Blessed Virgin and my father was half-demon half-Hubbard so it's no big deal" so fucking normative anyway?

Languagehat, et al: if you would fucking let up on the atheists for two fucking seconds you would notice that we don't give a shit unless one of you pops up and defends agnosticism or deism or whatthefuckever like if you don't convert us right there to your wishy-washy brand of "everything is cool; being anything but a fierce advocate of The Reasonable Middle Ground makes you a nut and a bad person" then the planet will explode. The guy wanted advice. Davy gave it. It was languagehat who broke the rules - and I, having had more AskMe answers deleted than Steven has pictures of children being raped by octopodes, know for a fact that if it were anyone other than a well-liked poster you'll all be clamoring for the callout-ee's head.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:55 PM on October 5, 2006 [11 favorites]


nibbled

un-nibbled. Is there a word, phrase or other idiom for that thing that happens when you try to get all up on a high linguistic horse and you end up mis-spelling or typoing with (usually more) hilarious results?

No, it's not "pulling a loquacious", that's already taken by something unspeakable.

On preview: Fucking normative MeFi-starfuckers being raped by octopodes queer it up
posted by loquacious at 6:02 PM on October 5, 2006


Ten bucks a vasectomy? Shit, I'll take two.
posted by horsewithnoname at 6:02 PM on October 5, 2006


What Optimus said--and this is some ugly thread.
posted by amberglow at 6:03 PM on October 5, 2006


I was about to respond here, but read Optimus Chyme's response and can't think of any way to put it more succinctly. (And I love that the this-is-a-bullshit-callout crowd alternatively believes that this should have been handled in email and that all the snarky quips are appropriate ways to discourage so-called bullshit callouts. Why wouldn't this very callout serve as an equally-appropriate way to discourage no-answer-responses like languagehats in the original thread?)
posted by delfuego at 6:13 PM on October 5, 2006


Did you see that guy? He was hung like a horse with no name... Twice!
posted by loquacious at 6:18 PM on October 5, 2006


Ten bucks a vasectomy? Shit, I'll take two.

Needs more diphallus joke...
posted by Rhomboid at 6:23 PM on October 5, 2006




"i showed up here with my giant rooster and, damn it, i want a fight!"
posted by pyramid termite at 6:31 PM on October 5, 2006


orthogonality for hall monitor!
posted by oxford blue at 6:37 PM on October 5, 2006


Metatalk: tell me when yours reaches rock.
posted by Mid at 6:44 PM on October 5, 2006


Pttf. If you look up and strain your eyes real hard, you'd be lucky to even see rock.
posted by oxford blue at 6:48 PM on October 5, 2006


you unfunny, "I only pile on someone when it's safe" MeFi-starfuckers

That's my favorite part. Because it's true. But "gay-ass" was a close second.
posted by mediareport at 6:51 PM on October 5, 2006


maybe davy could have emailed languagehat

He's a helluva guy on email. I'm nicer too, believe it or not. Going with email is usually a good thing to do when you're at the "TWO MEN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVES" level of calling someone out.

There's just one time I regret taking it to email, and that was dash_slot-
posted by scarabic at 6:57 PM on October 5, 2006


By the way, I didn't intent this as a callout

I believe you. For future reference, "Hey languagehat" is already a callout ;)
posted by scarabic at 7:02 PM on October 5, 2006


I snark on the snarkers.
posted by liquorice at 7:09 PM on October 5, 2006


I agree.

Oh, wait. By "crap," I thought you meant the near-daily event of posting personal grievances or disagreements as MeTa callouts, instead of taking them to email or -- even better! But not nearly as public and drama-y! -- simply coping with the inevitability of of grievances or disagreements in the first place.


Yeah, well, that's what they call the Tu Quoque fallacy. Nothing against you, scody, but that pre-emptive flameout-cheering stuff is awfully cliched and dull. If you don't think something's going to end well, you might consider not contributing to it. Or at least try to maintain a modicum of cleverness in your snark.

Anyway, it's just a pet peeve of mine. Feel free to ignore me, but in my own subjective opinion, you're better than that.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:11 PM on October 5, 2006


By the way, I didn't intent this as a callout but a clarification of what I apparently didn't put well enough the first time.
-davy

languagehat is a cool guy, and while it's unusual to have to call him out...
-Optimus Chyme

So is this a callout or not?
If it is, then, like most callouts, it's unneccessary and mostly ego-driven.
If not, then it would be best done via e-mail, since it's between two members and doesn't need to be flaunted in front of the entire community.

I could give a shit that it was languagehat who made the innapropriate comment, which should be deleted as derail, IMO. Recently the same thing happenned to one of my comments in an advice thread, and I think it's classless and damaging to the entire AskMe-type concept where the only true currency is people's willingness to share their thoughts and invest their time.
In my case, I clarified my previous comment, asked the member not to denigrate my contributions further, and let it go. If I had been more pissed, I probably would have e-mailed the person and discussed it further. If that didn't work and I had my really pissy hat on, I would have contacted an admin. I don't see how taking off a dueling glove and smacking someone in the town square can lead to anything productive.

I'm curious, how would this have turned out if us unfunny "I only pile on someone when it's safe," MeFi-starfuckers hadn't queered it up?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:11 PM on October 5, 2006


I didn't think that this was that ugly of a thread. Davy seems to be taking the good-natured ribbing well in stride, and I doubt anyone else was all that serious about the "LOL dumb callout!" type comments.

But, yeah, we're probably overdue for a self-linker, flameout or other such pile on. And this wasn't it.
posted by loquacious at 7:11 PM on October 5, 2006


I can't believe that I'm agreeing with Optimus Chyme. Seriously. I'm shocked. WTF.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:16 PM on October 5, 2006


Shoot, the last sentence of the middle paragraph should have been "I don't see how taking off a dueling glove and smacking someone in the town square over an already discussed breach of ettiquette can lead to anything productive."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:16 PM on October 5, 2006


Optimus— I guess it's just that those of us who see the same fucking rant about "Hurf durf communion eaters" every fucking time, and seeing that fucking rant every fucking time presented as if it's the white light of pure reason get a little het up when some douchebag comes stompin' in to say "Hell no, no atheist and believin' folk can ever have a relationship! That's miscegenation!"
And I know that you're poor an' oppressed by the big bad God man all the time, but that's not here, so you can get off your fucking high horse. Davy's position was extreme. Tony's position was fucking insulting. And if someone can't see that, atheist or believer, they're a fucking moron.
So stick your high dudgeon up your fucking ass. We've all got things that we'll pick a fight over, but for 95% of us religion ain't worth it.
And you're just as much a jackass if you can't get that as you are if you yell at fatties in a supermarket over the amount of bacon they're buying. It IS immature, and that's not some slight against the fervor or correctness of the belief, and if you can't get that through your skull at your fucking age, enjoy your elite little echo chamber.
posted by klangklangston at 7:18 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


every fucking time someone takes it to MetaTalk - even when they have a legitimate point to make - that you unfunny, "I only pile on someone when it's safe," MeFi-starfuckers decide to queer it up.

Yeah. That deserves to be repeated. The cognitive dissonace surrounding metatalk is deafening. It exists to improve the community through feedback, right? Unless you don't like the person, or more likely see an opportunity to score points by piling on someone.
posted by bardic at 7:22 PM on October 5, 2006


I love you all.
posted by dame at 7:59 PM on October 5, 2006


Klangklangston: Tony's position was fucking insulting.

Yeah I could see that. I didn't mean it to be insulting, so I'm sorry that everyone seems to have taken it that way. It was definitely certain, but that's different.

To recap for those who were working when I was slacking off and posting: I said something along the lines of "religious people are either fooled or stupid". And y'know, that's what I think (although I am taking here specifically about Christians, as that is the group with which I am most familiar).

If you beleive in things that are demonstrably false (say: the creation by god, making the dead rise again, homeopathy), then either you are too stupid to question or re not stupid, but have been conditioned/fooled into not questioning and thinking about things.

I can certainly understand why these people may hold these absurd views, but for anyone with a critical faculty who has been taught to us it, believing in such nonsense without evidence is abhorrent. I think most (if not all) atheists would agree with this. I suspect the orginial poster did, that was why he didn't want any kids of his taught that such stories were true, rather than outmoded (but historically very important) myths.
posted by tonylord at 8:08 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


So did Mark Foley. Just sayin'. /happyfaceemoticonhere
posted by bardic at 8:12 PM on October 5, 2006


Just me, or are any other atheists sick of people speaking for me and expressing my positions and views?

If I wanted that shit, I'd join a cult.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:14 PM on October 5, 2006


in my own subjective opinion, you're better than that.

damn, I knew I should have been more careful than to get a good reputation around here!
posted by scody at 8:32 PM on October 5, 2006


tonylord: believing in such nonsense without evidence is abhorrent. I think most (if not all) atheists would agree with this.

I think most, if not all, readers of metafilter do not believe your casual assertion that you have concrete evidence that the Universe was not created by any God. I think most (though maybe not all) of the people who've represented atheism here are considerably less reasonable than the average atheist.

Very sad that even some atheists have the same kind of views on "interfaith marriage" as the more crazy religious types.
posted by sfenders at 8:52 PM on October 5, 2006




"it's still cold ... more heretics!"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:02 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Alvy Ampersand writes "Just me, or are any other atheists sick of people speaking for me and expressing my positions and views?"


Burn the heretic!
-- The Pope of Athiests
posted by orthogonality at 9:21 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Call out or not, lame or not, davy and languagehat have been nothing but well behaved. If there has been any "this will not end well" kind of behavior it has been on the part of those criticizing the post. At least I learned from tonylord that homeopathy was a Christian belief (???). I always though that was something those damned dirty hippies were in to. (And what happened to spell check? I had to paste into Word to discover there is no S in criticizing).
posted by Carbolic at 9:30 PM on October 5, 2006


Me, I absolutely believe in god, and I absolutely hate the motherfucker.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:33 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


And what happened to spell check?

Paging Matt: would it be possible to put up the explanation on the sidebar in the blue? (Carbolic: it's been disabled across the board, for technical reasons that escape me now.)
posted by scody at 10:03 PM on October 5, 2006


Very sad that even some atheists have the same kind of views on "interfaith marriage" as the more crazy religious types.
posted by sfenders at 8:52 PM PST on October 5


Sfenders, I - and many other atheists - work for Christians, have family members who are Christians, and love and care for Christians. But I will not raise my children as Christians. This is non-negotiable. They are more than welcome to attend church, and I will make sure that they have the opportunity to read and study any books they want, including religious texts. Hell, I'd even take them to church if they ask. But I will not, under any circumstances, force them to attend a church, nor will I demand that they adhere to any faith or lack thereof. And that is why I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, marry a theist.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:00 PM on October 5, 2006


... in a related story, the world's churches have suddenly been overrun by women desperate to get religion in their lives.

Any religion, according to baffled authorities.

"It's like a tidal wave," one pastor was quoted as saying. "I'm not complaining, mind you, but it just seemed to happen overnight, for no rhyme or reason."
-Reuters


Oh, us atheists are such kidders!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:14 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Just me, or are any other atheists sick of people speaking for me and expressing my positions and views?"

It's not just you.

I didn't read the AskMe thread, but I find it a bit interesting that, apparently, I side a bit more on davy's and Chyme's side than (apparently) languagehat's. Or maybe not. Conflicts about religion and money are the two chief indicators for likelihood of divorce. Anyone wearing rose-colored glasses about marrying someone who disagrees more than moderately about those issues is looking for trouble. Already in the marriage? Well, step carefully. I'd think twice about having kids. And about the kids? Well, I wouldn't "raise" them to believe any particular thing about theism. I'd encourage them, just as I did my sister, to take the question seriously, think carefully, and form a sincere belief. She turned out to be a strong theist. Partly that happened, I believe, because I pushed skepticism too hard on her and she grew up unmoored from any comforting beliefs about anything at all. At any rate, if I had kids, I'm not going to tell them what to believe. My own beliefs and actions will have enough of that effect. I think theism is irrational. Mostly. (I'm undecided, now that I'm middle-aged, on the question of whether or not it might be a legitmate Noble Lie.)

But, what Alvy said. Atheists like myself and languagehat wouldn't criticize atheists like Chyme and davy and others if they weren't so extravagant and, well, dumb, in their frequent complaints against theists. It reminds me of nothing so much as it does Objectivists and their insufferable arrogance in believing that they're the only rational people on the planet when, if you talk to them for five minutes, they're fucking children who know almost nothing about philosophy and reason. They're just another variety of dogmatic—a really boring variety, at that. Just so with far too many outspoken atheists. It's like they never got past that stage at fifteen, as teenage boys, thinking they're the only rational and informed person in their class. I grew up in the fucking Bible-belt. I was one of the only rational and informed people in my class. But I learned quickly that the world was a lot more complicated, and people deserved more empathy and consideration, than the smug bespectacled pimply-faced guy with the pocket-protector in my gifted class seemed to think. I don't understand how someone can grow to be thirtysomething and still be that guy.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:36 PM on October 5, 2006 [4 favorites]


The story so far: The poster was looking for advice about how to stay in his marriage and make it work. Davy, unmarried, jumped in with a derail about how he would never put up with a marriage like that, or any marriage really, because he is such a wicked smart atheist and churches are evil. Languagehat called him on it. Then Davy posted this pouty little call out.

When another hundred comments have been posted I will come back and recap again.
posted by LarryC at 1:23 AM on October 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


Thanks, LarryC, my head was spinning trying to understand this monster of a MetaTalk post.
posted by grouse at 1:55 AM on October 6, 2006


And that is why I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, marry a theist.

next weeks episode: optimus falls in love with a bonnie lassie from church.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:22 AM on October 6, 2006


lolicon. Lol.
posted by delmoi at 2:52 AM on October 6, 2006


LarryC, that's a bit slanted. The other, topic-neutral way to look at it: the poster asked for advice, davy posted a personal and heartfelt reply, and languagehat posted a derail reply to davy that hadn't the slightest of a hint of trying to answer the original poster's question. davy brought it here, as the guidelines ask people to do (rather than crap up threads in the green or blue, which fundamentally was what languagehat's post was doing), and now he's getting shit on by people who still want to engage in the whole theism/atheism debate and/or lament this post as a use of MeTa.
posted by delfuego at 4:25 AM on October 6, 2006


Hey I'm still confused by the atheists who go on about karma when some dude finds a $20 on the floor.
posted by Captaintripps at 4:31 AM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Delfuego: A lot of people seem in this thread seem to agree with you. And I do think Davy is a valuable member of this site, outside of threads dealing with religion.
posted by LarryC at 5:23 AM on October 6, 2006


Isn't anybody going to express some contempt for the "spiritual but not religious" bozoes? There's at least one thrown stone unturned here.
posted by bukvich at 5:57 AM on October 6, 2006


bukvich writes "Isn't anybody going to express some contempt for the 'spiritual but not religious' bozoes? "


You mean people who want oranges for the orange's peel, while throwing out the fruit?
posted by orthogonality at 6:16 AM on October 6, 2006


He's a helluva guy on email. I'm nicer too, believe it or not. Going with email is usually a good thing to do when you're at the "TWO MEN ENTER, ONE MAN LEAVES" level of calling someone out.

Yeah, I've found that to be the case as well (and I've corresponded with both those gentlemen).

As for the (non-)callout, sure, my response to davy in the AskMe thread was a derail, and I'm fine with such things being deleted. I'm not perfect, and I'm as likely as any other MeFite to forget the rules and sound off when my dander is up. I think it's a little much to start a MeTa post about it (if we all did that every time we saw a derail, this place would be unusable), but like I said, I was tickled to see a post start off "Hey languagehat," so I have no complaints.

And, as usual, what EB said (except that before you start deciding whose side you might be on in a thread it might make sense to actually read the thread).
posted by languagehat at 6:27 AM on October 6, 2006


You mean people who want oranges for the orange's peel

Mmm, orange peel.
posted by mediareport at 6:57 AM on October 6, 2006


You mean people who want oranges for the orange's peel, while throwing out the fruit?

How the fuck else am I supposed to make really good lemon bars?
posted by loquacious at 7:03 AM on October 6, 2006


Not with oranges, of course.
posted by loquacious at 7:03 AM on October 6, 2006


I'd rather be a dogmatic atheist than a hall monitor.
posted by dydecker at 7:19 AM on October 6, 2006


I'd rather be a hall monitor than a dogmatic atheist.
posted by Bugbread at 7:28 AM on October 6, 2006


Carbolic: At least I learned from tonylord that homeopathy was a Christian belief (???).

Nah of course not, I just threw it in there as another example of something that people willfuly believ in the face of overhwleming evidence that it is false.
posted by tonylord at 7:29 AM on October 6, 2006


Sometimes you get nasty oranges that are all dried up inside, and the only thing they are good for is the peels.

But what I don't understand is: are you guys all on proscribed bed rest, too? What happens to MeTa when we all get well?

Derpy derpy do.

posted by DenOfSizer at 7:30 AM on October 6, 2006


ha ha, bugbread I knew you'd say that!
posted by dydecker at 7:32 AM on October 6, 2006


It's settled, then. dydecker, you get to be the dogmatic athiest. bugbread is the hall monitor. The part of Caesar will be played by dios, and Migs will be Vampire Amelia Earhart.
posted by cortex at 7:38 AM on October 6, 2006


What can I be, cortex? Something evil?
posted by dame at 7:41 AM on October 6, 2006


Also, I'm still waiting for my hoodie.
posted by dame at 7:41 AM on October 6, 2006


You get to play all three witches.

I'm not entirely sure whether that's a zing or a compliment or what.

And there have BEEN no further hoodies, dammit. You'll be the first to know.

posted by cortex at 7:45 AM on October 6, 2006


Slurs so far: I'm an extreme atheist (not a nice milquetoast one like "normative" Mefites) and I'm "afraid of commitment" because churches are evil. Sheesh.

I'm surprised nobody's picked up on the substance of what I said enough to call me a misogynist, but then that would require at least a small brief attempt to read my remarks for content.

[This ought to keep this thread going for another 200 inanities, as like Patrick Bateman y'all have luxurious jobs require no work.]
posted by davy at 7:52 AM on October 6, 2006


davy writes "Slurs so far: I'm an extreme atheist"

That's not a slur, it's a typo. It's supposed to say "xtr3m3 atheist", which means you're radical, cutting-edge, and totally over-the-top. Translation for folks on the other side of the pond: "Wicked. And wizard."
posted by Bugbread at 7:59 AM on October 6, 2006




i think davy's the one in the smiley shirt
posted by pyramid termite at 8:11 AM on October 6, 2006


Yea I was pretty shocked at the lack of righteous anger at your characterization of women as these Venus flytrap-type things, wherein the vagina is the trap, natch, swallowing your manhood and digesting it to make a kiddo out of it. "Normative women" want a husband and kids or at least child support and kids... that seems kind of jaded, which is code for "never got over getting dumped in high school".

It's not a bad thing to want kids. My wife and I both wanted kids so we had 'em. I am stuck with these kids 'til I die, and I'm OK with that. No one trapped me. Perhaps I'm not normative. Davy, you might even want kids someday. Believe it or not, that is our biological purpose - having kids. We have evolved opposable thumbs and cool-ass cerebral cortices to make us more successful at making babies.

When and if that day comes, davy, you will look back on these days with a chuckle. The days of black and white, of moral certainty, the days of righteous anger and intolerance, will be a distant memory, a half-remembered dream. Or maybe you'll have a stroke, I dunno.
posted by Mister_A at 8:27 AM on October 6, 2006


cool-ass cerebral cortices

Hey, man, I'm, like, one of a kind.
posted by cortex at 8:40 AM on October 6, 2006


Mister_A writes "Believe it or not, that is our biological purpose - having kids. We have evolved opposable thumbs and cool-ass cerebral cortices to make us more successful at making babies. "

We don't have a "biological purpose", we are not designed by anyone, and without a creator/designer, the word "purpose" doesn't really make a lot of sense. And we certainly didn't evolve opposable thumbs or cerebral cortices in order to do anything whatsoever. We evolved opposable thumbs because the people who had the mutations that culminated in opposable thumbs reproduced and survived more successfully than those who didn't. There is no "purpose" or "in order to" in evolution.
posted by Bugbread at 8:59 AM on October 6, 2006


[See what I mean?]
posted by davy at 9:12 AM on October 6, 2006


I thought that propagation was the goal of any species, meself.

That and using archaic Brit slang.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:29 AM on October 6, 2006


bugbread: "There is no "purpose" or "in order to" in evolution."

And that goes double for emolution.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:29 AM on October 6, 2006


Sorry bugbread, we are baby-making machines. That is all there is to it. We have evolved FOR THE PURPOSE of passing on our genes. That is our purpose. THat is our raison d'etre - to make more of us.

We don't have to have been designed by anyone or anything to have this purpose. It just is. Reproduction is a biological imperative. Everything about us has been shaped over the aeons by environment and competition with other organisms, and a strong dose of chance, in order to increase our probability of success in passing our genes on to the next generation. The opposable thumb translates into a survival advantage, and that survival advantage translates into more oppottunities to reproduce. That is life. That is all there is to life, and it's a lot.
posted by Mister_A at 9:30 AM on October 6, 2006


The really interesting questions are ones like, "What's so great about passing on genes to the next generation?" and "How did the first life forms reproduce, and why?"

Also: "what did the transition from non-life to life look like? How did it happen? Why did it happen? What do I mean by why?"

Or: "What is life anyway? Are viruses alive? Is the capability to reproduce an essential part of the definition of life (on the species level, not on the level of the individual organism)? And what is up with those drone bees?"
posted by Mister_A at 9:37 AM on October 6, 2006


Dear Cortex: Yay.
posted by dame at 9:38 AM on October 6, 2006


Alvy Ampersand: "I thought that propagation was the goal of any species, meself."

The theory of evolution doesn't relate to concepts like "goals." Just successful survival. So to the extent that propagation aids survival (and forms the basis of evolution through incremental mutation), it is obviously a requirement of evolution, by definition. But species don't have goals.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:38 AM on October 6, 2006


Mister_A: "We have evolved FOR THE PURPOSE of passing on our genes. That is our purpose."

We have evolved by the process of passing on our genes. That is our process.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:49 AM on October 6, 2006


Nope. Built for making and protecting babies - or to take it one step further - built for making and protecting copies of our genes.

It's incorrect to suggest that reproduction, sexual or otherwise, aids the survival of an individual. It may in fact hurt the individual's short-term survival. But reproduction helps increase the likelihood of the survival of an individual's genes.

It's a bit of a tautology to state that we have evolved by the process by which we have evolved (ie, via passing on our genes, with slight variations, to the next generation). Genes are the vehicles of evolution, the basic units, and so that much is true. But your statement omits something important - what are these organisms doing passing on their genes in the first place?

It's controversial to this day, but Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene provides a useful framework to help understand the complexities. Naturally, the genes aren't really "selfish", but it is a useful model that explains some things like the drone bees I mentioned above.

So I do think that the human body (and the beetle body, and the carrot, etc.) have evolved in such a way as to maximize the probability of passing on genetic material to the next generation, or if you prefer, of increasing the chances of your genes' survival. That's the survival of the genes, not the individual. The short way of stating that is that we humans exist/are "made" to make babies.
posted by Mister_A at 10:20 AM on October 6, 2006


Mister_A, "correlation is not causation."
posted by davy at 10:22 AM on October 6, 2006


No kidding???

Cuz I have this magic rock that I was told would prevent tiger attacks, and so far, no tiger attacks...
posted by Mister_A at 10:23 AM on October 6, 2006


Perhaps I'm not normative... Believe it or not, that is our biological purpose - having kids.

Uh, it doesn't get any more normative than that. And biologists don't believe organisms have a "purpose." They just exist. And reproduce or not.

We have evolved FOR THE PURPOSE of passing on our genes.

That's not what the Flying Spaghetti Monster told me yesterday. He told me we have been INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED (by His Noodly Majesty) for the purpose of passing on our alfredo recipes. Which doesn't require having kids.
posted by grouse at 10:25 AM on October 6, 2006


Mister_A writes "We have evolved FOR THE PURPOSE of passing on our genes."

Maybe it's a deist/agnostic/atheist thing. I'm an atheist, so, for me, evolution is not intentional, it's just something that happens. If you're a deist who believes in guided evolution or the like, I guess I can understand your position, but I happen to disagree.

Mister_A writes "what are these organisms doing passing on their genes in the first place? "

What do you mean by "what are they doing"? You mean "why are they doing it"? There is no reason. You've read the Selfish Gene, you should understand that this is not an intentional process. The genes that cause traits in the host organism which prevents/hinders those genes from propagating, naturally, don't propagate. The genes that cause traits in the host organism which causes those genes to propagate, propagate. There is no "goal", "purpose", "directive", any more than the "goal" of hydrogen molecules is to be converted into helium in the middle of stars, or the "goal" of rocks is to be polished and put on mantlepieces.
posted by Bugbread at 10:29 AM on October 6, 2006


I do think that the human body (and the beetle body, and the carrot, etc.) have evolved in such a way as to maximize the probability of passing on genetic material to the next generation

As an evolutionary biologist I can tell you that this is wrong. The human body has evolved in a way that allowed its ancestors to survive in the past. All this meant is that they had to outcompete others in the same evolutionary niche. There is always going to be a certain amount of randomness in this. Genes that would generally improve the fitness of the species may be lost due to chance. Deleterious mutations will accumulate. Even selective pressure will push the genes to a local maximum rather than a global maximum.
posted by grouse at 10:38 AM on October 6, 2006


Bugbread - well put! But that does not invalidate the assertion that the human body is - let's say constructed? - for the express purpose of creating more human bodies.

The difference between phenomena like the stars and the evolution of life is that the stars are the inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, whereas life is not. It is governed by the same laws, but is not an inevitable consequence of them. The human body is the mechanism by which genes protect and propagate themselves. Sexual reproduction is the indispensible function of the human body, and in that sense, its purpose.

All these wonderful adaptations that promote the survival of the individual are just nature's way of giving us more chances to get laid. Let's not get all hung up on semantics though - I'm not suggesting some supernatural "purpose" - maybe mission-critical function is a better way of putting it. I mean purpose in the sense of "the reason this thing exists", not "divine purpose". And in the case of the human body, the reason this thing exists is to create more human bodies.
posted by Mister_A at 10:39 AM on October 6, 2006


Grouse - I should have said "increase the probability". Thanks. And of course I am talking big-picture, development of the species time lines here, rather than since the industrial revolution or something.
posted by Mister_A at 10:42 AM on October 6, 2006


Curious, Mister_A used the term 'biological imperative', and when I was typing my comment it was in my head as well, but I don't know where I first heard it.

Where did the concept of 'biological imperative as the reason for existence' come from?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:44 AM on October 6, 2006


One more thing, grouse - the human body did not evolve strictly to allow survival of individuals - individuals who survived long enough to reproduce are the ones represented in the next generation. If you are a hale and hearty mule, you will not be part of the big game of evolution.
posted by Mister_A at 10:44 AM on October 6, 2006


there is no S in criticizing

Ah -- but in Britain there is: 'Ministers break taboo of criticising Bush.' ; )

I know, I know you probably meant *critisizing*
posted by ericb at 10:52 AM on October 6, 2006


But that does not invalidate the assertion that the human body is - let's say constructed? - for the express purpose of creating more human bodies.

Who is doing the constructing? If you want to posit some supernatural force, then the purpose can be whatever you want, and science won't have anything to say about it. Looks like that's not what you mean though. If you are talking about the parents, well, then it is up to them to decide what the purpose of "constructing" another human is. For some this might be further reproduction, but for others it might be just because they wanted to have kids, or because they didn't use birth control yet still wanted to enjoy sex.

I mean purpose in the sense of "the reason this thing exists", not "divine purpose". And in the case of the human body, the reason this thing exists is to create more human bodies.

No, you have it backwards. The reason a human body exists is because its ancestors have created more human bodies.

the human body did not evolve strictly to allow survival of individuals

Since evolutionary biologists don't believe that the human body evolved for a purpose whatsoever, we certainly didn't believe it evolved for that purpose either.
posted by grouse at 10:52 AM on October 6, 2006


"It's incorrect to suggest that reproduction, sexual or otherwise, aids the survival of an individual."

Who here suggested that? Certainly not me.

As for Dawkins, I suggest you might want to read him a little more carefully. You are mixing up cause and effect. We are not built for making and protecting copies of our genes. Making and protecting copies of our genes is simply the process through which we survive and evolve. We have not evolved to procreate successfully, we have evolved because we procreate successfully. These may seem like minor symantical distinctions, but they are not. Evolution is a process, not a plan. A boulder does not tumble down the hill because it wants to get to the bottom. It tumbles down the hill because the coyote pushed it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:54 AM on October 6, 2006


Let me put this another way. An apple is falling approximately 1 meter above your head. You can posit that it is there because it broke from the tree another meter up (although there are other unlikely possiblities). You can posit that it will probably fall another meter and hit you (although a gust of wind might sweep it away or you might catch it instead). It is very likely that it will hit you. But that is not its purpose.
posted by grouse at 10:57 AM on October 6, 2006


we are baby-making machines

Yeah -- and us gays "reproduce sexually by molesting children."
posted by ericb at 10:59 AM on October 6, 2006


Hey eb, gays?
posted by davy at 11:04 AM on October 6, 2006


Hairsplitting for the win grouse. Of course the body did not evolve to achieve some teleological end. I'm sorry if you got that from what I wrote. I don't think you did though. As to who or what is doing the constructing - well it's constructing itself in a sense, but with a lot of help from the mommy. I said "constructed", not designed.

Forgive me for using some shorthand in the previous post - I understand that the body doesn't adapt to changing conditions or competition "on purpose" or by design, but rather, through chance, some individuals will carry alleles of some genes that may make them more likely to compete successfully for resources or overcome a new environmental challenge, and that these individuals' genes will likely be disproportionately represented in the next generation when compared with those of individuals that do not carry these variations.

And finally, that all adds up to - humans are made to make more humans. You are picking on technicalities in order to avoid addressing my central thesis.
posted by Mister_A at 11:07 AM on October 6, 2006


Mister_A,

Well phrased, and now I understand you're not coming from a deist position, but you have a much more encompassing definition of "reason" (as in "goal / purpose") than I do. There are things which I will definitely say "That's for reproduction, no doubt", such as sperm, the automatic lowering and raising of the testes to keep them the right temperature, etc., etc., but there are a lot of things whose connection is more tenuous.

I'm thinking, for example...I dunno...fingernails. I hear arguments like "The whole body is made to reproduce. For example, fingernails! Fingernails come from claws, and claws were used to catch food, and food is needed to produce sperm, and sperm is for reproduction." And my problem is always, "Yes, and food is also needed to produce feces, but nobody argues that the purpose of humans is to excrete. The argument that our entire bodies are made for reproduction seems to hinge on assuming that in the first place and then using that assumption as proof'".

I'm not saying you're doing this. It's just that it comes up often enough that I've become very strict about words like "purpose" or "reason" in discussion of evolution, because I've seen comments from far, far too many people who think that "self-replication" is actually the purpose of genes, and not just something they do which we use "purpose" as shorthand for.

As Dawkins says:
...I have emphasized that we must not think of genes as conscious, purposeful agents...it has been convenient, as a shorthand, to refer to genes in the language of purpose...the idea of purpose is only a metaphor..."
So when you tell Davy:

Mister_A writes "you might even want kids someday. Believe it or not, that is our biological purpose - having kids. We have evolved opposable thumbs and cool-ass cerebral cortices to make us more successful at making babies. "

I can't help but think that you're using "purpose" and "in order to" as something other than shorthand.

From a strict biological sense, I think your quote to Davy would be this (probably too damn long):
you might even want kids someday. Believe it or not, humans are full of genes which have been very successful at replicating, and a small fraction of those are responsible for the way humans are actually shaped and function. We have evolved opposable thumbs and cool-ass cerebral cortices, and those have played a part in making us successful at making babies.
Which isn't remotely the type of chiding you had intended, because it removes the obscuring "are they metaphors or does he mean it" words.
posted by Bugbread at 11:11 AM on October 6, 2006


Well I can certainly see how you would come away with that impression, given the content of this thread. What I'm dealing with here is that the biological/scientific half of my brain knows that it's a bad idea to use words like "purpose" in this context, while the copywriter half of my brain wants to say it quickly and concisely. Anyway, pretty interesting topic for all that.
posted by Mister_A at 11:16 AM on October 6, 2006


Whoops, shoulda previewed. Lotsa movement while I was typing that last comment.

Mister_A writes "And finally, that all adds up to - humans are made to make more humans."

I don't see how or why. What you say up to that point makes sense, but that last jump reminds me of the
  1) X
  2) Y
  3) ?
  4) Profit!
logic. Why do those add up to "humans are made to make more humans"?
posted by Bugbread at 11:19 AM on October 6, 2006


Yeah, I don't want to come off as if I'm all angry or anything. It has been an interesting convo. But now, I realize, it's beyond time for me to go to bed.
posted by Bugbread at 11:20 AM on October 6, 2006


And finally, that all adds up to - humans are made to make more humans. You are picking on technicalities in order to avoid addressing my central thesis.

Sorry, Mister_A, but I disagree even with the premise that humans can have a purpose, scientifically speaking. But on the other hand you say that you don't mean to be teleological, and probably shouldn't use the word "purpose" (and in this context I don't think you can use the word "purpose" without engaging in teleology).

If what you are, in fact, meaning to say is that davy may want kids today because humans have evolved such that most have a strong reproductive drive and the wherewithal to provide for offspring, then I would agree with you. But I don't think that makes reproducing our "purpose" anymore than the facts that we have a strong drive to eat, and opposable thumbs + complex brains that make eating easier makes eating our "purpose."
posted by grouse at 11:29 AM on October 6, 2006


Someone should find some nice links so we can take it to the blue. I don't think this level of discourse is appropriate for the grey. Where are all of those elephant photos?
posted by grouse at 11:30 AM on October 6, 2006


A boulder does not tumble down the hill because it wants to get to the bottom.

Yeah, but people do. The purpose of gravity is to attract massive objects to each other. The purpose of the boulder is to keep moving in a straight line until some force acts on it. The purpose of gravity is to keep the universe from falling apart.
posted by sfenders at 11:30 AM on October 6, 2006


...davy may want kids today in the future...
posted by grouse at 11:31 AM on October 6, 2006


Excuse me, but you guys have wandered way off topic. Can we get back to davy's indignation, please?

And davy, I hope you're satisfied now that you've been attacked for misogyny and pictured in a smiley shirt.
posted by languagehat at 11:37 AM on October 6, 2006


Sorry, languagehat. The conversation evolved.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:40 AM on October 6, 2006


The point of a conversation is to propagate bon mots, no?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:49 AM on October 6, 2006


Certainly for me, it is!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:53 AM on October 6, 2006


I'm optimistic about this thread.
posted by clevershark at 12:06 PM on October 6, 2006


The difference between phenomena like the stars and the evolution of life is that the stars are the inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, whereas life is not. It is governed by the same laws, but is not an inevitable consequence of them.

This is plainly and simply incorrect. Life as we know it is the result of a set of starting conditions within a system of rules. Likewise, stars. That the agency of, say, living tissue is more complex than that of great big scads of hydrogen and helium pooling in space has nothing to do with it:

Life exists because circumstances were such the the system progressed to a state in which life existed, and has not yet progressed to a state in which life does not. Human sentience and self-awareness is a hell of a genetic advantage (details like potential nuclear self-annhiliation aside) for avoiding the end of life as we know it, but even we clever apes are operating under precisely the same constraints, and within precisely the same unknowning and purposeless system as stars and nebulea and dirt and rocks and the so-called empty void of space.

You can say that, insofar as a lifeform acts in a way that leads to offspring, that lifeform is "built for" reproduction, but that's a very, very specific non-agent sense. As has been said, a rock is by the same token built for hitting, and an apple is built for rotting, and a blind man is built for bumping into shit when he can't find his cane. Unless one believes there is some great invisible agent controlling or designing the universe, there's no such thing as purpose or intention. Things exhibit behavior with consequences defined by the system. Period.
posted by cortex at 12:09 PM on October 6, 2006


Mister_A really, really wants some teleology in there somewhere even if he knows better. But in this he's just expressing a sort of imperative of human cognition. I've yet to read even any rigorous evolutionist that doesn't occasionally slip into teleological language. At any rate, Mister_A would probably do better by translating his thesis into the language and analysis of EP.

But, as always, whether it's EP or something older and more primitive, arguments for normative behavior from biology are self-evidently faulty even if you just barely scratch the surface: an awful lot of violent behavior we now do not find acceptable (or productive) is hardwired into human behavior. Just because something comes naturally doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. So, so what if the reproductive imperative is probably the most essential behavioral characteristic of any species? Eating is up there, too, and does that mean one's life should be organized around gastronomy?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:09 PM on October 6, 2006


...does that mean one's life should be organized around gastronomy?

Well, that and fucking, sleeping, moving one's bowels and counting coup, perhaps an occasional evening with a good book or a long playing record, but not to excess.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:04 PM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


God, it's like fucking Aristotle all up in this bitch. The acorn doesn't intend to be an oak, dudes.

"And that goes double for emolution."

The emolution should not be televised.
posted by klangklangston at 6:00 AM on October 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


You're just pissed because it ended well and you thought it wouldn't.
posted by grouse at 6:18 AM on October 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think you need to reread my comment.
posted by klangklangston at 6:48 PM on October 7, 2006


Hell, it's worse than Aristotle. Aristotle actually thought about teleology enough to avoid mistaking it for a kind of effecient cause.
posted by moss at 9:24 PM on October 7, 2006


MAN'S PURPOSE IS TO BLOVIATE
posted by cortex at 9:59 PM on October 7, 2006 [1 favorite]




I stand by my statement.
posted by grouse at 10:23 AM on October 8, 2006


The Daleks where right.

We are inferior.
posted by oxford blue at 5:57 PM on October 8, 2006


So is this thread over yet?
posted by davy at 8:43 AM on October 13, 2006


Not hardly.

So how's things?
posted by cortex at 9:05 AM on October 13, 2006


Tugging on this thread makes the Baby Jesus's sweater unravel.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:11 AM on October 13, 2006


Oh, for fuck's sake.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:46 AM on October 13, 2006


Alvy!
posted by cortex at 9:53 AM on October 13, 2006


How can it be over? There aren't nearly enough gifs!
posted by deborah at 1:31 PM on October 13, 2006



posted by moss at 8:50 PM on October 15, 2006


whip that thing around, boy
posted by cortex at 9:24 PM on October 15, 2006


Cortex!


Is that bacon?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:34 PM on October 15, 2006


It's actually French Fry and his magical Hebrew National.
posted by cortex at 6:32 AM on October 16, 2006


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