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Author Topic: What is with the trolling?
LetterRip
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In the 'Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees' thread,

TomD and others have made the argument that symbols that might ordinarily have a neutral or positive connotation can be used in such a way as to have a confrontational or negative connotation in certain contexts.

Grant and others seem to imply that this is an impossibility.

Grant, do you specifically not understand the above paragraph, and that that is in fact the argument that TomD and others are making?

You and others repeatedly seem to imply that you are confused or somehow are failing to grasp that argument.

I think it is impossible that you haven't grasped that that is the core of the argument, and thus your responses claiming a failure to understand and/or deliberately misunderstanding it are in fact 'trolling'.

So are you in fact trolling? If so, why are you being so disrespectful to your fellow ornerians and wasting their time?

[ May 12, 2010, 02:23 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Grant
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I understand the argument. I believe that the argument is incorrect. My intent is to try and show where fallacies are inherent in the argument through questioning.

It seems to me that the debate was fairly civil. I never made anything personal, but stuck to the issue and question at hand.

While TomD is in fact making an argument, I am indeed questioning that argument. I had no idea that was trolling.

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DonaldD
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There's a difference between acknowledging an argument for what it is and disputing it on its merits vs seemingly ignoring the argument itself and pretending the basis of the argument is beyond your comprehension.

This is dishonest. Whether it meets the definition of trolling is another question, but it is, as LetterRip points out, disrespectful.

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Grant
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[Smile]

So the Socratic method is now dishonest and disrespectful?

This is a perfect case in point concerning the crux of the flag argument. You believe the method is dishonest and disrespectful, I do not. By your definition, because you believe it is disrespectful and dishonest, it is, simply because you believe it is and you are offended. I argue that it is possible for an individual to become offended when in fact they were not disrespected and no dishonesty was present.

[Smile]

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OpsanusTau
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LR:
quote:
TomD and others have made the argument that symbols that might ordinarily have a neutral or positive connotation can be used in such a way as to have a confrontational or negative connotation in certain contexts.
Grant:
quote:
I understand the argument. I believe that the argument is incorrect.
Whoa.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
LR:
quote:
TomD and others have made the argument that symbols that might ordinarily have a neutral or positive connotation can be used in such a way as to have a confrontational or negative connotation in certain contexts.
Grant:
quote:
I understand the argument. I believe that the argument is incorrect.
Whoa.

LOL

I guess I was not being trollish there [Big Grin]

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DonaldD
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Grant, I doubt anyone was offended. I think many people were questioning whether you were as dumb as a doorknob, or simply pretending to be as dumb as a doorknob.

BTW, the socratic method does not require that you pretend to be as dumb as a doorknob. It also does not require you to pretend to ignore your interlocutor's argument. In fact, since your methodology had everyone questioning your intellect, it actually distracted from any point you might have been trying to make as everyone focused on your seeming inability to understand some pretty basic concepts; see OT's post above - was that you trying to be socratic, or, you know...

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Grant
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LOL

It's ok if you want to question my intellect. I'm quite secure with it. In fact, I would appreciate it if when responding to any post I make, you treat me as the dumbest child ever born. [Smile]

Simply questioning an argument is not ignoring it. I'm glad the topic was asked. I completely understand that the method is maddening and probably ended up frustrating poor TomD. It's not cause I'm stupid, just simple.

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DonaldD
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"questioning an argument" - is that what you were trying to do? [Smile]
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scifibum
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quote:
I argue that it is possible for an individual to become offended when in fact they were not disrespected and no dishonesty was present.
Certainly. Very much possible. This is because miscommunication is possible.

You also seem to insist that in the specific case under discussion in that thread, that it is basically impossible for wearing the flag to constitute an insult, or a threat, or whatever. But that point of view seems to vacate pretty much ALL symbolic communication, unless it is a special rule about getting offended, like "getting offended is always the offended party's fault". Even the latter is quite problematic as it seems to constitute a license for any kind of provocation.

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scifibum
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Afterthought: do you really think that the subjectivity of meaning invalidates it?
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Grant
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By saying trying I suspect you are implying that I was unsuccessful in questioning the argument. In fact, the simple act of asking the questions made this a success.

If you are implying that I was attempting to piss somebody off, I promise that it was never my intent, honest. Deliberately trying to piss somebody off I suppose would be considered trolling. This was never my intent. My method may be frustrating, but it is not my intent to frustrate. I don't like people who go around just trying to get a rise out of people, and I would never stoop to such actions. If anything, I try to evoke a laugh.

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MattP
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quote:
I don't like people who go around just trying to get a rise out of people, and I would never stoop to such actions.
What if they attempted to use a flag to get a rise out of people? [Wink]
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JoshCrow
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As someone not involved in the thread who just cased out the last page of it - I don't think Grant was "trolling". Denying that a certain context exists where the American flag can be used as a provocation strikes me as uninformed. But it's not trolling, it's just an inability to understand other people's reactions. I'd call it an absence of empathy (in a literal sense of being unable to understand the feelings of another person from another context).

[ May 12, 2010, 03:50 PM: Message edited by: JoshCrow ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
I don't like people who go around just trying to get a rise out of people, and I would never stoop to such actions.
What if they attempted to use a flag to get a rise out of people? [Wink]
I would question the validity of their chosen symbol. You can wear it all day with the intent to get a rise out of me, but if it does not provoke my ire, then they have failed in the first place.
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MattP
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quote:
I would question the validity of their chosen symbol.
Well sure, but you were originally speaking to intent. Now you're speaking to effectiveness.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Afterthought: do you really think that the subjectivity of meaning invalidates it?

With subjectivity there can be no truth, only versions of truths. 1+1 can mean anything I want it to subjectively.

With subjectivity we cannot have logic or science or engineering. We can only have beliefs. I completely believe that subjectivity has a place, but not between two people trying to discover truth.

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LetterRip
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Grant,

quote:
With subjectivity there can be no truth, only versions of truths. 1+1 can mean anything I want it to subjectively.

With subjectivity we cannot have logic or science or engineering. We can only have beliefs. I completely believe that subjectivity has a place, but not between two people trying to discover truth.

You appear to fundamentally misunderstand that nature of subjective.

We can agree to treat subjective as representative of objective - so you and I can agree to treat the meaning of the subjective symbols 1, +, 2 in a certain context as having some specific meaning. We can also agree to treat symbols as having different meanings in certain specificed contexts - ie x,y,z might be treated as letters in a word, or as variables in an equation.

Our ability to agree to treat things that are inherently subjective in such a way to convey objective truth (or approximations thereof) is part of the power of our flexible communications abilitys.

The fact that symbols only have subjective meaning can lead to problems where we don't have inherent agreement on the context and usage. One clear instance is crashing of one of our space projects - the rational numbers were used in one context and had a clearly defined meaning of imperial measurements; and numbers from another system had a clearly defined meaning of metric measurements in another system - a third party combined the numbers assuming a shared contextual understanding - the assumption was wrong, leading to a incorrect calculation resulting in a crash.

Similarly 9/6/10 is representative of what month, day, and year?

September 6th, 2010?
June, 9th, 2010?
September 6th, 1910?
June, 9th, 1910?

Without a shared context the actual date represented could plausibly be any of the above.

[ May 12, 2010, 04:21 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Grant,

quote:
With subjectivity there can be no truth, only versions of truths. 1+1 can mean anything I want it to subjectively.

With subjectivity we cannot have logic or science or engineering. We can only have beliefs. I completely believe that subjectivity has a place, but not between two people trying to discover truth.

You appear to fundamentally misunderstand that nature of subjective.

We can agree to treat subjective as representative of objective - so you and I can agree to treat the meaning of the subjective symbols 1, +, 2 in a certain context as having some specific meaning. We can also agree to treat symbols as having different meanings in certain specificed contexts - ie x,y,z might be treated as letters in a word, or as variables in an equation.

Our ability to agree to treat things that are inherently subjective in such a way to convey objective truth (or approximations thereof) is part of the power of our flexible communications abilitys.

As long as we agree that subjective is only representative of objective. Yes I agree with everything you said. I believe I may have misrepresented my take on subjectivity. My take was from a viewpoint of pure subjectivity, rather then subjectivity as a tool to communicate objectivity.
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MattP
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Similarly, one can designate the American flag to represent the objective truth that one has pride for their country OR the objective truth that one has disdain for a minority population. If both parties accept the same meaning for the communication (i.e. "screw you") of a certain contextual display of the flag, then it does become an offensive symbol in that context.

[ May 12, 2010, 04:24 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
I'd call it an absence of empathy (in a literal sense of being unable to understand the feelings of another person from another context).
I'd actually say it's not an absence of empathy, so much as an opinion that certain feelings are not valid / not justifiable. I think Grant is perfectly capable of appreciating why some people might take offence to an American flag in certain contexts; I just don't think he cares about their offence, or thinks that it's something we should be catering to.

Letterip's objection is without merit. He's taking the substance of the debate on the other thread and trying to re-argue the same point over again by framing it as some intentional obtuseness on the part of Grant (how dare you not agree with me) rather than just an honest disagreement.

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Pete at Home
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Looks to me like some folks are being pretty rude and personal to Grant over some remarks by him that were neither rude nor personal.
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TomDavidson
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I'm actually inclined to agree. Grant is being obtuse, but he's not being rude. He's hampered by the fact that he doesn't actually have anything but kneejerk reactionism to stand on, but there's nothing stopping him from politely being consistently and foolishly wrong without apology.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
I'd call it an absence of empathy (in a literal sense of being unable to understand the feelings of another person from another context).
I'd actually say it's not an absence of empathy, so much as an opinion that certain feelings are not valid / not justifiable. I think Grant is perfectly capable of appreciating why some people might take offence to an American flag in certain contexts; I just don't think he cares about their offence, or thinks that it's something we should be catering to.

Letterip's objection is without merit. He's taking the substance of the debate on the other thread and trying to re-argue the same point over again by framing it as some intentional obtuseness on the part of Grant (how dare you not agree with me) rather than just an honest disagreement.

Yes, I think that more accurately portrays my feelings and thoughts on the subject. I appreciate your clarity. I don't think I'm a great writer at times.

[Smile]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
So the Socratic method is now dishonest and disrespectful?

I think that much of what passes as "socratic method" (and at least one of the original Socratic dialogues) can be reasonably seen as dishonest as well as disrespectful, but what you did is hardly an eggregious example, compared to say what your detractor Donald here has pulled in a number of other arguments.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
So the Socratic method is now dishonest and disrespectful?

I think that much of what passes as "socratic method" (and at least one of the original Socratic dialogues) can be reasonably seen as dishonest as well as disrespectful, but what you did is hardly an eggregious example, compared to say what your detractor Donald here has pulled in a number of other arguments.
I'm intrigued. Could you clarify what you believe passes for "Socratic method," and a Socratic dialogue that can be seen as dishonest?

Please again note, questions are the way I discuss things, I am not trying to be obtuse, rude, or dishonest. I am merely curious about how and why you think the way you do.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
questions are the way I discuss things
While I sympathize very strongly with this approach, myself, I should note that it's not actually much of a "discussion" if information is only flowing in one direction.
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
Could you clarify what you believe passes for "Socratic method," and a Socratic dialogue that can be seen as dishonest?
I am a huge fan of the Socratic method. As to dishonest, it is possible to take a Socratic position as an uninformed mind ("as you know so much, please explain to me...") when really you are well-informed on a topic, but I do not see that as dishonest. As long as you are willing to listen to the answer, and are potentially willing to change your views if your questions are actually answered, then adopting a Socratic persona is not dishonest.

I find a Socratic approach to be the most polite way of probing the core premises of someone that you are debating. You give them the right to lay out the basis of their assertions, and then you give them the opportunity to defend the ones that seem weakest to you.

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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by jasonr:
quote:
I'd call it an absence of empathy (in a literal sense of being unable to understand the feelings of another person from another context).
I'd actually say it's not an absence of empathy, so much as an opinion that certain feelings are not valid / not justifiable. I think Grant is perfectly capable of appreciating why some people might take offence to an American flag in certain contexts; I just don't think he cares about their offence, or thinks that it's something we should be catering to.

I'm arguing a semantic point here, but I still think this can be called an "absence of empathy", without making a judgement on whether empathy is merited. If Grant "empathized with" the feelings of the offended party, he might still feel those feelings were not significant, but would not be making claims as he did to not "understand" why the flag could cause offense.
If Grant does indeed understand the nature of the offense but simply doesn't care, it's a different story, but his language on the other thread implied non-comprehension.

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noel
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
questions are the way I discuss things
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While I sympathize very strongly with this approach, myself, I should note that it's not actually much of a "discussion" if information is only flowing in one direction.

Information always flows both ways.

quote:
With subjectivity we cannot have logic or science or engineering.
Subjective experience is the only tool we have to access an objective reality. Some of this is amenable to symbolic representation, the empirical sciences included. Language, and mathematics, are the currency of exchange.

Some of our experience is not representable, and this is the grist of true philisophy, and religion. It finds expression in things like flags on T-shirts. [Smile]

quote:
Grant is being obtuse, but he's not being rude.
Socrates actually got alot of mileage out of this. [Wink]
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DonaldD
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Pete, your obsession with past imagined insults is making you seem both stalkerish and more than a little paranoid.
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cherrypoptart
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I admit that I can completely understand how Grant doesn't see the offense in wearing the American flag.

Someone tells everyone that every time they meet someone they don't like they are going to smile pleasantly and be very friendly to that person and that's going to declare how deep their loathing is for that person.

So should it now be forbidden for that person to be pleasant because we know now they really mean to be hateful?

I guess I'll spell it out explicitly. People can say the American flag means this or that and can be insulting in some bizarre circumstance, but in the end it's still the American flag. Try to turn things upside down and inside out but that doesn't change the reality that it is what it is. Going into convoluted machinations about motivations doesn't change it.

The only trolling I see is the refusal to believe Grant's sincerity and instead questioning whether he really means what he says or if he really is that stupid, and by that I'm not insulting Grant because I think I understand him and agree with him completely.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
People can say the American flag means this or that and can be insulting in some bizarre circumstance, but in the end it's still the American flag. Try to turn things upside down and inside out but that doesn't change the reality that it is what it is.
It is what it is?
What is it?
Are you saying that a painting of Jesus is Jesus? Or is it a painting? Does it represent Christianity? What if Jesus is playing basketball?


quote:
Someone tells everyone that every time they meet someone they don't like they are going to smile pleasantly and be very friendly to that person and that's going to declare how deep their loathing is for that person.

So should it now be forbidden for that person to be pleasant because we know now they really mean to be hateful?

I don't think we (can) forbid loathing. But, yes, if you know that someone is smiling and complimenting you on your hairdo precisely to communicate to you and others how much they loathe you, it would not be improper to be upset by their behavior.

[ May 13, 2010, 10:06 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Colin JM0397
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"He's hampered by the fact that he doesn't actually have anything but kneejerk reactionism to stand on, but there's nothing stopping him from politely being consistently and foolishly wrong without apology."

Ahh, there's the Tom I know and love. Once again your opinion is gospel and anyone who disagrees is an idiot!
Hello pot, meet kettle!

But, like Grant, you do get points for consistency.

[LOL]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by noel:
Socrates actually got alot of mileage out of this. [Wink]

Asking leading questions to a plant in the audience to illustrate the your desired logic path is not the same at actively ignoring someones point and asking questions to try to dodge around it.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Once again your opinion is gospel and anyone who disagrees is an idiot!
I would say that anyone who does not recognize that symbolic meaning is situational and contextual is in fact an idiot, yes.

(Edited to add: or is severely socially maladapted. It would be very difficult to function in society without this instinctive understanding of human behavior, but I am sure that some very intelligent people manage to do so, albeit awkwardly.)

[ May 13, 2010, 10:08 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Colin JM0397
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"With subjectivity we cannot have logic or science or engineering."

Yet science has shown there is no objectivity even in "reality". Reality is not out there - it is 100% inside each of our heads.

The many double-slit experiments, Schrödinger’s cat, etc; they all show that there is no objective anything. The more objective you make one thing, the more subjective everything else gets (the old can’t know both location and direction at the same time, for example.)

Splitting hairs, but it makes the point that, even in simple conversation, you're always dealing with two subjective ideals of what is objective to each individual. There is no objective, there is only what each of us has rattling around in our own head… And language is a very crude, imperfect way to convey this.

The best way I see is what Grant was, more or less, trying: ask a lot of questions to understand the other person's foundation. Without that understanding there can be no agreement.

What does fair mean, what does it mean to be offended, etc, etc.

The problem comes when people - and we have several here - are overly enamored with their own subjective ideals and feel it gives them a trump card over another's subjective ideals. The old "I'm right and your an idiot" routine. It's a common pitfall of "smart" people.

When your run into such a personality, then what one person sees as simple questioning, the other sees as offensive.

[ May 13, 2010, 10:18 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Yet science has shown there is no objectivity even in "reality". Reality is not out there - it is 100% inside each of our heads.
I would say that science has not in fact shown any such thing. Things like wave/particle duality and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle do not mean that reality is fluid and subjective; it merely means that no model we can build of the universe can be perfectly predictive.

quote:
The best way I see is what Grant was, more or less, trying: ask a lot of questions to understand the other person's foundation.
I see no indication that any of Grant's questions were intended to do this. Which questions in particular do you think were designed to understand the foundation of my opinion?
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noel
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Pyrtolin,

quote:
Asking leading questions to a plant in the audience to illustrate the your desired logic path...
This is not a practice that I recognize as socratic.

Colin,

quote:
The more objective you make one thing, the more subjective everything else gets (the old can’t know both location and direction at the same time, for example.)
A "thing" cannot be "made" an object, it can only become the subject of an imperfect focus. "Knowing" is equivalent to accurate "objectification", which is impossible; not as an effect of narrowing subjective focus... but as a consequence of our incapacity to encompass the entirety of existence.

It is possible to "know" anything, only if everything is known.

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LetterRip
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Here are some examples of what would be trolling in my opinion by Grant,

quote:
Far from it for me to argue with the flag police. I have no doubt that the children were violating the mighty flag code, and should be brought to flag jail.
quote:
I think Tom was trying to say that the AMERICAN-AMERICAN children thought THEIR culture, the "dominant world culture" was under attack by cinco-de-mayo. This caused them to transform into Red State mini-hicks who hate Mexican culture and detest tacos and tequila. Because of their evil ways they were sent home. That's how I understood it.
quote:
Actually, from what I can gather, some of the kids wearing the flag were Mexican American. The crime was wearing a symbol of a culture that has oppressed the Mexican race, and the rest of the world, during a Hispanic-American themed holiday, with the intent to oppress the other Mexican-American kids who found the wearing of the flag on that particular day offensive.

Basically equating wearing the American flag on cinco-de-mayo to wearing the Nazi flag on passover.

quote:
hhhh, I understand now. Wearing the American flag is like wearing a shirt that says "cinco-de-mayo sucks", or "tequila and tacos taste like s#$%" on a Mexican-American holiday. Because after all, that is what the American flag represents, the oppression of Mexicans and the dominance of America over all other nations and races in the world.

Question: Does the American flag represent repression and oppression of the Mexican peoples only on cinco-de-mayo, or on every day? What if I wore the American flag on my chest during black history month? What if I wore an American flag to a native American tribal gathering?

If we can equate the American flag to wearing a picture of David Duke on Martin Luther King Day, does that make the American flag essentially the same as wearing a picture of Cortes? Because after all, doesn't the American flag and Cortes represent the same concept of oppression and hatred?

Is wearing a picture of David Duke or a swastika to school wrong only on certain days? I mean, can I wear my swastika on any day besides Rosh Hoshanna, Yom Kippur, or Passover? Can I wear my David Duke t-shirt on Easter? Just not on Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

He repeatedly and deliberately misstates the position of his opponents.

Regarding quantum uncertainty - there are major misunderstandings of the physics here - it has nothing to do with subjectivity. What can be known about position and momentum can be known by all interested parties to the same precision and can be agreed upon by those parties thus is entirely objective. Uncertainty and subjectivity are entirely different things.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

Objective is to quantitative as subjective is to qualitative.

Subjective - it is light red; it is dark pink
Objective - it emits a spectrum of 630+/- 10 nm.

LetterRip

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