Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: The Up-Front Guides: The Weasel Translator

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  • Moz, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    they don’t know any awful hoe-mow-sackuals are the strongest opponents?

    I dunno. My racist workmate (cue TMBG song) is quite upfront that his asian-ancestry coworkers are inherently inferior and Australia would be a better place if they all went back where they came from. And I dislike him intensely after his crack about "black New Zealanders" being lazy and useless. I can't imagine he'd be any happier about teh gayz, only in this case he's much quieter due to the sexuality of his employer.

    My impression is that there's a core of opponents who are quite genuine and often a little naive. They really do think that all children should have a mummy and a daddy and live in a nice suburban house where daddy works and mummy looks after the children and everyone goes to church on Sunday. Since allowing those other people to marry would not be this, we should ban it. They haven't, and won't, think through what that means for them. Thinking is for their church leader to do and they simply follow instructions have faith. They're not called a flock for nothing. But they often dislike being told what to do by those unfortunates who have not been saved and that quiet resistance helps them not think.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 294 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to DexterX,

    Most metaphors don’t bear close examination

    What my jokey tone didnt convey that! bugger

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1149 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to andin,

    I must be in an agreeable mood these days. I just don’t feel the urge, despite my own agnosticism, to characterise Christians as rabid fascists or idiots devoid of intellectual sophistication.

    Thus Jesus,

    As I understand it, more liberal Christians use the example of Jesus – not necessarily the objective historical person or the mythical divinity as a fulcrum of a strategy to comprehend the relation of parochial, mundane existence, with all the requirements and obligations or morality, empathy, beauty and so forth with the seemingly impersonal cosmos.

    I can’t say that I accept that strategy or it’s philosophical results, but I appreciate the attempt. Generally, the existentialists have had the best go at it, tho I see Kierkegaard veered most into an exclusively Christian paradigm.

    And he wasnt referring to GOD just his sense of the divine.

    I’m perfectly well aware of that, thank you.

    You would be referring to the Einstein who

    No, actually. I was referring to the Einstein who referred to Spinoza.

    Believe me, I strongly resist anthropomorphism, even as a metaphor, but I’m one with, say, Stanislaw Lem, who thinks that brains evolved to comprehend an African veldt far enough to enable survival and no more are not on their own able to comprehend a universe that is far broader than that. Inevitably much is going to be incomprehensible, and description will appear to be superficial at best. Note that I make a distinction between comprehension and description – comprehension may not be truer, but it is existentially more easy to integrate with our cognition.

    On the “sense of the divine” thing, some aspects of classical Greek philosophy and language made no distinction between the sense and presence of the divine. I find that simplicity quite elegant.

    I do regard any of the anthropomorphic elements of religion as inadequate, and science as the best available contingent means of describing how the universe works. It’ll do in that role until something better comes along, and so far nothing has. Very likely, nothing that fits our brains in their current configuration will. Change the configuration however… well, in a couple of centuries, ask me again if I’m still around (I won’t be).

    And there aint no unseen order it’s chaos out there.

    What do you mean by “chaos” exactly? Chaos in the scientific sense has now been more often referred to as “emergent order.” Your phrasing implies nihilism. Is that correct?

    Actually, the integral paradox of absolute atheism is that it is itself a statement of faith - faith that there is nothing. It is in fact logically impossible to prove a negative, thus belief in nothing is untenable on its own terms. I can say that I feel no faith honestly, but I cannot prove that there is nothing.

    Tho scientists working on the Higgs Boson say its properties are godlike. Oh shit perhaps we are all zombies controlled from the subatomic world.

    ????? Does not compute.

    Who needs heaven or Blake.

    Oh dear.

    You dont understand tribalism.

    Without you offering a definition, that makes no sense, or thank the Great Green Arkleseizure that I don’t. Assume that I took "tribalism" to mean a kind of Manichaeism combined with "You're with us or against us."

    DexterX

    Physicists generally resent the “God Particle” tag as sub atomic particle theory has nothing to do with “God”

    Indeed, it pisses them off no end, especially as it has been appropriated by fundies lately.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    And there aint no unseen order it’s chaos out there.

    Here's where my aspie obsessiveness kicks in. Inevitably, anything governed by physical law potentially reveals a basic orderliness. The purpose of science is to describe the expression of natural law into perceptible manifestation, so this statement makes no sense except as some vague statement of nihilism. Of course that which is not yet known is unseen. Do you mean currently unseen or unseeable? Please elaborate.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Kracklite,

    science as the best available contingent means of describing how the universe works.

    Science is great at describing the physical workings off the universe - the processes by which we came to be here and still (despite our best efforts to bugger it all up) exist, by which all that we can see spins around us apparently quite indifferent to whether we continue to exist or not.

    Extending the courtesy to the social sciences: Sociology, anthropology, history, linguistics, etc, all do a great job of describing how societies, cultures and languages function and what happened before we popped up for our little spin on the stage.

    The above two statements both need an 'at least, so far as we can tell through our really quite limited ability to perceive the world' added.

    But none of these things tell us how to live, let alone why. We still face these pesky little questions of belonging, morality, ethics, and meaning. That is why art, philosophy, law and religion persist. They speak to a different aspect of the human experience, an aspect that raises questions that can't be answered by experiment or observation and quantification of the results. Your more liberal Christians, existentialists and Kierkegaard, as well as the myriad other philosophers and theologians, aren't trying to figure out the mechanics of the universe, cultures, societies or languages or what has happened throughout history, they're trying to find answers to all those other questions.

    But I suspect you know that already. I just sensed a mixing of the two kinds of knowledge. I think we need and should equally value both. If I get sick, I'll go to a doctor who'll use science to diagnose and fix (well, hopefully) the problem. If I have a question of ethics or purpose, a philosopher or theologian is going to be more useful.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    If I have a question of ethics or purpose, a philosopher or theologian is going to be more useful..

    So whilst one is ill would they be mowing your lawns, doing the dishes, cooking the meals , washing your clothes and changiong the bed?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Which had me reaching back to Larkin (whose birthday is tomorrow, btw)

    What are days for?
    Days are where we live.
    They come, they wake us
    Time and time over.
    They are to be happy in:
    Where can we live but days?

    Ah, solving that question
    Brings the priest and the doctor
    In their long coats
    Running over the fields.

    The doctor, in this, is perhaps of philosophy, and/or an idealogue of some description, rather than a doctor of medicine.

    I love the mental image of the last three lines: there's an air of a frantic and fruitless flailing at meaning.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to andin,

    Tho scientists working on the Higgs Boson say its properties are godlike.

    The "God Particle" name came because the editor of a journal was not happy with the author referring to it the "God-damned particle" (a fair reflection on the difficulty of observing it).

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 824 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Does not compute.

    It was a joke

    Assume that I took “tribalism” to mean a kind of Manichaeism combined with “You’re with us or against us.”

    OK Thank you Tribalism seems to me to be misused in just about all cases.
    Atheism cannot be described as a tribe there are just too many conflicting points of view. So it is misused by critics as a way of dismissing one as part of a whole, so differences are easily glossed over. Differences make us. And no I dont lump all spiritual/religious people in the same box.

    Oh dear.

    Sorry you feel that way.

    Very likely, nothing that fits our brains in their current configuration will. Change the configuration however… well, in a couple of centuries,

    Shit do "we" have to wait that long? Is there a couple of centuries to spare somewhere? Can we go back and replay the past twiddle a few knobs push a couple of buttons and hey presto, there ya go 2 centuries to play around with.

    Do you mean currently unseen or unseeable?

    Will we ever see? Or is it for future generations to find out. I hope so.
    You seem keen to stick a label on me. If you want to label me something Cheerful Stoic probably not Nihilist seems more appropriate if you dont mind.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1149 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to David Hood,

    The "God Particle" name came because the editor of a journal was not happy with the author referring to it the "God-damned particle"

    bless the puritans

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15706 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Hosking,

    Brings the priest and the doctor
    In their long coats
    Running over the fields.

    Anyone else seeing Pennsylvania?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15706 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kracklite,

    the integral paradox of absolute atheism is that it is itself a statement of faith – faith that there is nothing. It is in fact logically impossible to prove a negative, thus belief in nothing is untenable on its own terms. I can say that I feel no faith honestly, but I cannot prove that there is nothing.

    Atheism is not a faith, quite the opposite. It says that whatever we accept as true must be derived rationally, from evidence.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3298 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    I find myself unable not to quote from the HitchHiker's Guide:

    "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
    "But," said Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It proves you exist, and so therefore you don't. Q.E.D."
    "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
    "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore he proves that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3298 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Rob Hosking,

    solving that question
    Brings the priest and the doctor
    In their long coats
    Running over the fields.

    The doctor, in this, is perhaps of philosophy, and/or an idealogue of some description, rather than a doctor of medicine.

    Really? I read that as saying that to solve the problem "where to live but days?" is to die. The priest and the doctor are running to your deathbed, to administer the last rites and try to bleed you one more time.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Elsewhere, Sua William Sio (Labour - Mangere) goes concern-trolling:

    Labour MP Su'a William Sio says he will be voting against the same-sex marriage bill, which he says could cost the party the next election.

    The MP for Mangere said there was widespread opposition within his electorate, which has the highest population of Pacific Islanders in New Zealand, making up 58.8 per cent of voters.

    Some ministers in Pacific churches were preaching against the bill and against Labour.

    ''This issue cuts deep into fundamental beliefs,'' he told Radio New Zealand. ''It will divide the community.''

    Sio said the bill was causing unnecessary harm to Labour and should be withdrawn.

    ''There are more weightier and more pressing issues like holding (Prime Minister) John Key to account for the weakening economy and lack of jobs.

    ''That's where our priority ought to be, rather than an issue that has the potential to really derail our focus on winning election 2014.''

    Perhaps I'm too cynical for my own good, but it seems to me like the only distraction in here is Mr. Suo trying to mollify various special interests he pissed off earlier this year.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Sacha,

    My vote would be for it to be called the "Elvis Particle" - most sensible people agree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Roger, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    So a representative of immigrants who fights on their behalf against discrimination and bigotry, supports discrimination and bigotry. This is just sad and depressing.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DexterX,

    the "Elvis Particle"

    who ate all the pies? #mass

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15706 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Lilith __,

    I'm interested as to how the Babel Fish demonstrates the existence of God - I believe the Babel Fish evolved by process of natural selection and that the existence of Babel Fish proves neither existence or lack of existence of a God.

    I also don't, in the conversation you have quoted, feel God vanished in a puff of logic - it was a fart and he excused himself from the room, albeit in a divine manner, that may have suggested to some that he had ceased to exist – he was merely going out of the room to really let one rip – so to speak.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5690 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Lilith __,

    Atheism is not a faith, quite the opposite. It says that whatever we accept as true must be derived rationally, from evidence.

    A = without, theo = God

    Actually, that’s positivism. In it’s pragmatic form, it’s more or less “The burden of proof”.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to andin,

    Shit do “we” have to wait that long?

    That’s optimistic – if the Transhumanists/Singulatarians are right and the Rapture of the Nerds happens, that should about do it. Otherwise… ooh, a few million?

    You seem keen to stick a label on me.

    That's not such a bad thing - I'm trying to find a label. Labels are useful. They avoid having to clutter conversation with definitions and subclauses. People don't speak in hyperlinks to Wikipedia normally.

    Cheerful Stoic probably not Nihilist seems more appropriate if you dont mind.

    Fine, I’ll go with that. Cheers.

    Mine’s “pedant.”

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Kracklite,

    A = without, theo = God

    without/no /god/s

    As an atheist, I find the very idea that I have a faith stupid & repugnant – Lilith said it first & best-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Islander,

    But without mythology though? I don’t mean to denigrate “myth”, but to highlight it, and attempt to move the conversation onwards.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Kracklite,

    A = without, theo = God

    Actually, that’s positivism. In it’s pragmatic form, it’s more or less “The burden of proof”.

    Thanks, we can do the etymology. And yes, most of could be descirbed as logical-positivists. Without gods, like Islander says.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3298 posts Report Reply

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