Pharyngula Fail

After taking some time on the weekend, I noticed today that the recent poll I posted regarding evidence for an afterlife suddenly had a lot more votes, and nearly all of them apparently clicked “There is no evidence”. Hmmm, I thought to myself, I wonder what obnoxious atheist blogger with nothing better to do than crashing polls could have linked to us? Sure enough, the only one I could think of: P.Z. Myers, of the biggest science blog this side of Charles Darwin: Pharyngula.

While I appreciate the attention from this Big Fish of the Intarwebs (and I thought Randi and the Bad Astronomer were big), I did find a bit of perverse irony in the situation. The biggest science blog on the planet, home site of one of the foremost ‘defenders of reason’, telling readers to go and vote on a topic which most of them have not read on at all?

Fail.

Now that the thousands of ‘voices of reason’ have departed, in search of some other deep and meaningful activity, I’ve restored the poll to it’s pre-vandalism figures.

Editor
  1. I wouldn’t be so sure most
    I wouldn’t be so sure most of them haven’t read about the subject. Similarly to the way outspoken atheists tend to have read the bible, skeptics often read quite a lot about the subject—just with a different attitude.

    1. The problem is…
      ….that if you read with the preconceived notion that what you are reading is fake, bogus, bologna, etc., then cognitive filtering is occuring. That kind of filtering obscures the percipient’s ability to acknowledge that his or her beliefs might be erroneous.

      alevangel

    2. Perhaps not
      [quote=Sinter]I wouldn’t be so sure most of them haven’t read about the subject. Similarly to the way outspoken atheists tend to have read the bible, skeptics often read quite a lot about the subject—just with a different attitude.[/quote]

      Having taken the time to read through the 150 comments to the story on Pharyngula (the goggles, they do narthing!), I’m taking a stab in the dark and saying that you’re wrong on that one.

      Kind regards,
      Greg
      ——————————————-
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

      1. Exhibit (A)
        [quote=Myers]I have no idea what “crisis apparitions” are. I don’t care to know either.[/quote]

        Truly he’s qualified to write about the subject 😛

        —–
        It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
        It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

        Red Pill Junkie

  2. What, no comment?
    What bothers me is not that Myer’s readers decided to go along with his game of voting ‘There is no evidence’ in our poll—apparently, Myers thought the entire fate of the internet rested on our little polling exercise, if they consider us so important, who am I to disagree?

    What does bother me, is that none of these 4000+ voters cared to write ONE SINGLE COMMENT re. their decision. Why don’t they bother to explain to us little gullible retards the reason why they are so right in thinking there’s no evidence of an after life? Why didn’t they save us from our own ignorance?

    It would have sparked a very interesting debate between them and the TDG community, is all I’m saying… or maybe they were afraid of performing a little exchange of ideas outside the haven of a community filled with like-minded peers?

    —–
    It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
    It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

    Red Pill Junkie

    1. Rational people make decisions based on evidence.
      [quote=red pill junkie] Myers thought the entire fate of the internet rested on our little polling exercise, if they consider us so important, who am I to disagree? [/quote]

      Ha, The reason he always posts links to polls for people to vote on is simply because its a way of showing that online polls cannot be trusted to give an representative view of peoples opinions. But a lot of people think they do!

      [quote=Greg]
      vote on a topic which most of them have not read on at all?
      [/quote]

      Surely you cannot believe this!
      A lot of the people who read his blog are atheists or at the very least rational. Anyone who can call themselves an atheist (or rational theists! if such a person exists) would have thought deeply about the existence of God and the possibility of their being some form of afterlife, and they would have formed their opinion based on evidence.

      1. Poll position
        Well, firstly: Welcome to the Grail.

        [quote]Ha, The reason he always posts links to polls for people to vote on is simply because its a way of showing that online polls cannot be trusted to give an representative view of peoples opinions. But a lot of people think they do![/quote]

        I cannot speak for Greg, but I think the reason He routinely conducts polls around this site is to learn about the viewpoints of the TDG community. If we were a Catholic blog conducting a poll about the alleged dangers of onanism, and some porn site hijacked the poll, then it definitely would get a skewed result. Just as the ‘Life-after-death evidence’ poll, thanks to Myers.

        TDG is a comparatively small community compared to Pharyngula; the only thing shown with Myer’s little exercise is that bullying is a phenomenon that persists beyond the High-school cafeteria.

        —–
        It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
        It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

        Red Pill Junkie

      2. on-line polls
        [quote=luke01]

        Ha, The reason he always posts links to polls for people to vote on is simply because its a way of showing that online polls cannot be trusted to give an representative view of peoples opinions. But a lot of people think they do!
        [/quote]

        luke01 – if you have a link to these people who think on-line polls can be trusted, I’d be interested in reading more. This incident with Pharyngula is exactly why those of us who do this for a living treat these polls with considerable distrust – a single event can completely skew your population. Another reason PZ links to polls is that many of them are badly designed and one has to question why the poll is there in the first place.

    2. yes, no comment
      “What does bother me, is that none of these 4000+ voters cared to write ONE SINGLE COMMENT re. their decision. Why don’t they bother to explain to us little gullible retards the reason why they are so right in thinking there’s no evidence of an after life?”

      I am here by way of Pharyngula. I didn’t take part in the original poll crash (although I have voted during this visit). I think there are 2 reasons that there were no comments from anyone else:

      1. This site requires registration to vote. That’s not too convenient, and if I didn’t have an email address set up for the purpose of receiving spam I wouldn’t have left a comment either.

      2. The vote option sums up my opinion enough that I wouldn’t have felt the need to leave a comment. I haven’t seen any evidence for the afterlife that I would consider credible. That’s about it. Were you expecting a list of things I think are not evidence for the afterlife (which is everything I have ever seen) and a corresponding reason for each thing?

      Just out of curiosity, do you think that it was fair to exclude every vote from Pharyngula given the explanation that “most of them have not read [about the afterlife] at all”?
      How does the pollster know that is true?
      How does the pollster know that most other voters have studied the afterlife?
      Why didn’t the pollster include instructions on the poll telling people not to vote unless they are well read on the subject?

      1. That’s better
        Greetings StealthDonkey, and welcome to the Grail.

        [quote]1. This site requires registration to vote. That’s not too convenient, and if I didn’t have an email address set up for the purpose of receiving spam I wouldn’t have left a comment either.[/quote]

        Maybe the reason the poll is ‘not too convenient’ is precisely to prevent the kind of prank perpetrated by those thousands of Pharyngulates who came here just to follow Myer’s advise

        Also, Greg has explained in another comment that registration is a spam-filtering measure (y ‘spam’ I mean people who seek to advertise something here).

        [quote]2. The vote option sums up my opinion enough that I wouldn’t have felt the need to leave a comment. I haven’t seen any evidence for the afterlife that I would consider credible. That’s about it. Were you expecting a list of things I think are not evidence for the afterlife (which is everything I have ever seen) and a corresponding reason for each thing?[/quote]

        Yes, why not? If you have indeed given it a lot of thougt to this topic—as it is implied by your response—then briefly summing up those reasons wouldn’t have been much of a trouble. In any case, it would have shown you weren’t voting ‘just for kicks’

        If you want to know, I think that one of the reasons that started all this was Greg’s choice of the word ‘evidence’. IMO there is still no irrefutable evidence that proves the existence of an after-life. But I do think there is compelling data out there that should deserve further scrutiny, if only to find out more about the nature of death; something that sooner or later we’re ALL destined to experience—yes, I’m talking to you Kurzweill! 😉

        [quote]Just out of curiosity, do you think that it was fair to exclude every vote from Pharyngula given the explanation that “most of them have not read [about the afterlife] at all”?[/quote]

        Since you ask, I will be completely honest and answer No. You see, even if this is Greg’s site—and so He can do what he bloody pleases around here— He however is sufficiently open-minded to allow the members and even his admins to dissent from him.

        So No, maybe erasing those votes wasn’t the best thing to do, specially since that was exactly what Myers was looking for all along. So I’d probably would have closed the poll and leave a note explaining the situation for posterity.

        But, considering Greg has been managing this site for many years and therefore has ample more experience than me, I would trust on his best judgement.

        Hopefully, as some other people who came here via Pharyngula, you’ll have enough curiosity to stick around. Maybe you’ll like it here, maybe you won’t. But provided you show us the same respect we always show to any commenter, we’ll be moe than happy to engage with you in further discussions.

        Saludos

        —–
        It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
        It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

        Red Pill Junkie

        1. “Maybe the reason the poll
          “Maybe the reason the poll is ‘not too convenient’ is precisely to prevent the kind of prank perpetrated by those thousands of Pharyngulates who came here just to follow Myer’s advise.”

          So expressing your opinion by voting, and encouraging others to do the same, is a prank?
          But fair enough about the spam filter.

          “If you have indeed given it a lot of thougt to this topic—as it is implied by your response—then briefly summing up those reasons wouldn’t have been much of a trouble.”

          I don’t believe in the afterlife for the same reason you don’t (presumably) believe in the Abominable Snowman. I haven’t seen any good evidence for it. If you know of any, please direct me to it.

          1. Repeating
            [quote=StealthDonkey]So expressing your opinion by voting, and encouraging others to do the same, is a prank?[/quote]

            Come on now, let’s not be disingenuous…we’re intelligent people here (and at Pharyngula), so there’s no need to make up fairy tales about the P.Z.’s motivation for linking.

            As I’ve posted in the comments over there:

            “To be more explicit: P.Z. and various commenters are stuck in a conundrum. If you think the poll was pointless, you were freeping when you visited to vote, and so you have no right to whine about polls being manipulated.

            If on the other hand, you were genuinely interested in contributing your vote to see what the poll result would turn out to be, then you must view with disdain/disgust the manipulation of the poll…not only by myself, but by P.Z. and a large number of voters as well. My apologies to you if you did genuinely want to offer a point of view – but as I pointed out earlier, you had to know what you were taking part in, given P.Z.’s remarks.”

            Kind regards,
            Greg
            ——————————————-
            You monkeys only think you’re running things

          2. “Come on now, let’s not be
            “Come on now, let’s not be disingenuous…we’re intelligent people here (and at Pharyngula), so there’s no need to make up fairy tales about the P.Z.’s motivation for linking.”

            Yes, it was to get some representation for groups outside of the polling website. Unless there was a rule against this, and the poll was only made for regulars at this site, I see nothing wrong with this.
            Did this skew the results? Yes. But this poll was always going to be skewed. It was not a fair sample of the population, which is what make internet polls so pointless in the first place.

          3. Repeating myself
            [quote=StealthDonkey]”Come on now, let’s not be disingenuous…we’re intelligent people here (and at Pharyngula), so there’s no need to make up fairy tales about the P.Z.’s motivation for linking.”

            Yes, it was to get some representation for groups outside of the polling website. Unless there was a rule against this, and the poll was only made for regulars at this site, I see nothing wrong with this.[/quote]

            Well, I said let’s not be disingenuous, but either (a) you don’t agree, or (b) you’re innocently naive to P.Z.’s motivations. P.Z. has explicitly stated previously that “the point is to show that these are highly prejudicial polls, they’re sampling unscientifically, and they’re really kind of worthless. And you can’t use those results to say anything at all.”

            When you see a poll which has a few hundred votes, and Pharyngula links to it – which normally sends 5000 to 20000 voters to the poll – it is not to “get some representation”. You may believe that if you wish, but you’re wrong.

            It’s childish behaviour. Simple.

            [quote]Did this skew the results? Yes. But this poll was always going to be skewed. It was not a fair sample of the population, which is what make internet polls so pointless in the first place.[/quote]

            As I’ve said quite a few times now, it is not meant to be a “fair sample of the population”. It’s a poll of a certain community, to get an idea of what that community is thinking. Sure, it’s on the Internet, so anybody can access it…but sometimes I like to dream and think that people are mature and respectful.

            Kind regards,
            Greg
            ——————————————-
            You monkeys only think you’re running things

          4. “As I’ve said quite a few
            “As I’ve said quite a few times now, it is not meant to be a “fair sample of the population”. It’s a poll of a certain community, to get an idea of what that community is thinking.”

            If your poll was only intended to gather results from within your community then PZ probably shouldn’t have linked to it, and if he had I doubt that you would have recieved many votes from Pharyngulites. But I saw no indication that this was the case though, and unlike commenting no registration was necessary to vote.

          5. Me neither
            [quote]I don’t believe in the afterlife for the same reason you don’t (presumably) believe in the Abominable Snowman. I haven’t seen any good evidence for it. If you know of any, please direct me to it.[/quote]

            This reminds me of something my fiend Loren Coleman—the world’s most famous Cryptozoologist— is fond of saying: that He doesn’t believe in Bigfoot, Nessie or the Yeti.

            For He & I, belief is accepting without question. The moment you believe you know something, is the moment you stop questioning things. It’s the moment you stop thinking.

            So, I’m trying to have as few beliefs as I humanly can. This of course is an impossible task, for we humans do need a few beliefs to propperly function in our daily lives. In a few hours I will go to bed, and even though I don’t have the absolute certainty that I will wake up in the morning, I nevertheless will try to delude myself to have good night’s rest 😉

            So no, I haven’t found solid evidence that confirms the suvival of the mind after the decay of the body. But I’m open to the possibility, and in this openness I keep searching, and so I read about weird cases when people are clinically dead and after several hours they ‘come back’ to the amazement of medical doctors. And they describe with detail events that occurred while they were believed to be totally unresponsive. Maybe this is proof that the mind is independent of the physical brain, maybe not; but to me it is interesting enough to keep reading about it, and thinking ‘what if’—without arriving to a full certainty though.

            That’s what I’m trying to explain: Here at TDG we do not profess any certainty re. these topics. We just think they are really cool and interesting, and that’s why we discuss them.

            —–
            It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
            It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

            Red Pill Junkie

          6. “For He & I, belief is
            “For He & I, belief is accepting without question.”

            Well then confussion between us may arise as we are operating with different definitions of belief. What you describe is closer to what I would call faith. To me belief is just a best guess. I believe I will get up and go to university tomorrow. I might not, but it’s likely.

            “no, I haven’t found solid evidence that confirms the suvival of the mind after the decay of the body. But I’m open to the possibility”

            I too am open to the possibility. But, like the abominable snowman, I will stay in a state of disbelief until shown evidence to the contrary. Disbelief is my natural state to any positive claim, and I will stay in that state until good evidence is introduced.

            “Here at TDG we do not profess any certainty re. these topics. We just think they are really cool and interesting, and that’s why we discuss them.”

            And that’s my kind of attitude.

        2. The Logic Trap
          [quote=red pill junkie][quote]Just out of curiosity, do you think that it was fair to exclude every vote from Pharyngula given the explanation that “most of them have not read [about the afterlife] at all”?[/quote]

          Since you ask, I will be completely honest and answer No. You see, even if this is Greg’s site—and so He can do what he bloody pleases around here— He however is sufficiently open-minded to allow the members and even his admins to dissent from him.

          So No, maybe erasing those votes wasn’t the best thing to do, specially since that was exactly what Myers was looking for all along. So I’d probably would have closed the poll and leave a note explaining the situation for posterity.

          But, considering Greg has been managing this site for many years and therefore has ample more experience than me, I would trust on his best judgement.[/quote]

          Hi RPJ,

          As some old folk I know might say, it’s a shit sandwich which has to be eaten. The whole poll-crashing idea is – theoretically – a win-win for P.Z. Myers – either he crashes the poll, or the site concerned does something and thus proves his point about polls. Either (a) I do nothing about the deliberate manipulation of a poll, and allow those doing so to revel in their ‘genius’, or (b) I do something about the deliberate manipulation of a poll, and allow those doing so to revel in their ‘genius’.

          The ‘theoretical’ part though is based on the poll being (in the eyes of Myers) *scientifically* meaningless due to various factors. What he doesn’t consider – and seems incapable of considering – is that the poll is meaningful within a community (as you yourself mentioned) as a way of gauging current opinion, being a starting point for discussion between members of that community etc (rather allegorical actually, for how rationalist hard-liners like P.Z. Myers miss the point about people’s ‘irrational’ behaviour). So, in a practical sense, it’s just plain rude and childish behaviour on P.Z. Myers’ part, and he deserves every bit of disdain he gets. As I mentioned originally, this is the approach of the biggest science blogger on the planet. And supporters of science wonder why they don’t get respect…

          My course of action was decided by the ‘logic trap’ that presented itself. To not do anything allows the poll crashers to carry on their merry way without any reflection. Doing something – ie. removing their votes – allows me to challenge their thinking, and specifically point out the conundrum they face if they consider what they do ‘rational’ or ‘logical’. That is:

          If the poll crasher thinks the poll is pointless, they are ‘freeping’ (ie. deliberately manipulating a poll through power of numbers). They therefore have no leg to stand on if they want to whine about me subsequently manipulating poll numbers myself. After all, they consider it meaningless anyhow. They may subsequently try to say that there is therefore no point in holding the poll, if it is meaningless, but as I’ve pointed out above there are various shades of ‘meaning’ which they don’t seem to consider.

          If on the other hand, some of those who came from Pharyngula to vote were genuinely interested in contributing their vote to see what the poll result would turn out to be, then they must necessarily view with disdain/disgust the manipulation of the poll by P.Z. and a large number of Pharyngula voters as well (and me as well, but I’ll take my licks for that). As a caveat in my defence, I’d add that – considering P.Z.’s inflammatory introduction to the poll – those ‘genuine’ voters had to know what they were taking part in, and should not be too surprised at the end result.

          So it is kind of cool, that the defenders of rationality are caught in a logic trap…
          😉

          Kind regards,
          Greg
          ——————————————-
          You monkeys only think you’re running things

          1. From my perspective at
            From my perspective at least, its about expressing truth. The vast majority of the things used to describe and make claims about the things you listed are either a) opinion, b) anecdote, or c) someone trying to sell a book, with full awareness that people will believe it, even if they substantiate nothing, provide no reasonable explanations for how any of it works (and by reasonable I mean both “makes sense”, and, “doesn’t defy every other theory on the subject, and the laws of physics, often at the same time”). If one uses such works as source material, and ignores all research, explanations, and theories that are based on “known” and “describable” phenomena, its easy to come to the conclusion that some of all of it is possibly real, and evidence of something. I am greatly embarrassed to say that, despite a strong interest in science, and an open mind about it, I once found myself considering the possibility that some of it was real. But, being open minded, I was confronted with the simple reality that most of the phenomena in question where simply not even provable as real phenomena, and those that where either failed to meet up to the standards of evidence needed to justify them as what people wished them to be, or where far more readily explained by other phenomena, which showed not spirits, the after life, or psychic effects, but merely the flawed, easily confused, far to simply interfered with, and far to prone to finding patterns where there are none, or getting them entirely wrong, even when they find a real one, human brain. In other words, all of these things have one thing in common, they are all things you can get when what we “want” to see matches in some vague fashion someone we think, imagine, or even do see, but don’t comprehend properly.

            Those of us that have read the relevant explanations and accepted them are confronted with the realization that there is both a face and a glass in the picture, and that both are valid results, not because grandma chose to show up in a profile of a glass, but because our minds can’t “avoid” seeing the face, even when its not there. We also accept that, **because of this limitation**, we can only be sure of phenomena we can measure, that everyone, taken separately, and without opportunity to talk themselves into a common story, agree they saw, and which is sufficiently precise that we can predict what the next person will see in the same situation. All these phenomena fail in at least two, if not all three, cases, and often, when examined critically, do so in ways that are spectacular in their inability to describe something tangible, in, or by, and sense one might imagine.

            To presume that we came here “solely” to undermine your pole, and not to express, in large numbers, unequivocally, that we consider all your options to be invalid, is insulting.

            And as for claims that you want to know the views of a community… OK, but it fails to consider if the community has reasoned views in the first place. One may as well be doing the equivalent of polling rabbits as too their opinion of coyotes should dine on them, for all that the perspective that will result from it will be inclusive (or if you prefer holistic) of the bigger picture.

          2. Breakfast anyone?
            [quote=Kagehi] I am greatly embarrassed to say that, despite a strong interest in science, and an open mind about it, I once found myself considering the possibility that some of it was real. [/quote]

            Why would you be greatly embarrassed about “considering the possibility” of something? We live for that here on TDG – it doesn’t necessarily mean we believe it (or wish it to be the case…rectal probes by aliens, hello?). I encourage you to let your brain breathe, and consider at least six impossible things before breakfast (just don’t believe them like that silly Queen).

            Kind regards,
            Greg
            ——————————————-
            You monkeys only think you’re running things

    3. comment
      “Why don’t they bother to explain to us little gullible retards the reason why they are so right in thinking there’s no evidence of an after life? ”
      Because as you are the one is proposing something which is improbable, the burden of proof is on you.
      It’s the whole Russell’s teapot argument. If I said there was a teapot orbiting the earth, it would be up to me to prove it, not you to disprove it.
      Also, if you have so much evidence and are so confident in your beliefs, why do you not give this evidence to a science journal and get it published? I’m sure if you have valid points based on sound evidence many people would be happy to be the first to publish material which supports the view that an “afterlife” is highly probable to be in existence.
      Don’t complain about people not providing evidence to you, when you obviously have not shared with the scientific community and the general public valuable knowledge which proves your beliefs. Think of the reassurance you could be giving people right now! Not to mention the fame of being the first to provide conclusive evidence.

      1. further
        Further to this, I feel I ought to point out that the concept of an “afterlife” can neither be proved or disproved. We can only say that based on evidence it is either probable or improbable.

        1. Greetings
          Welcome to the Grail, elliholmes. Have you got your official TDG Tinfoil Hat(TM)? Just kidding 😛

          [quote]Because as you are the one is proposing something which is improbable, the burden of proof is on you.[/quote]

          The purpose of the poll was not to provide proof of an afterlife. It was never Greg’s intention to use it as a scientific poll that would later serve for some peer-reviewed parapsychology journal or whatever—that’s something that BTW eluded many of the Pharyngula commenters who addressed Greg with charming epithets worthy of any fratboy Bar brawl—The polls are meant to learn how one’s opinion differs or concur with other members’, and to promote further dialogue or discussion. If some member goes and write that He thinks re-incarnation gives evidence that might indicate the survival of consciousness after decay of the physical body, then that member might recommend me some book or blog where He has found information from which He formed his opinion. I might then come to agree with Him, or not; and it might provoke me to respond accordingly, which might provoke more comments from others.

          And that’s it.

          [quote]Also, if you have so much evidence and are so confident in your beliefs, why do you not give this evidence to a science journal and get it published? I’m sure if you have valid points based on sound evidence many people would be happy to be the first to publish material which supports the view that an “afterlife” is highly probable to be in existence.[/quote]

          Again, nobody here claims to have the answers to Life, the Universe & all that. We’re just interested in many topics, some of which right now are relegated to the fringe by the majority consensus.

          We like to discuss things, to read and learn about others. What we don’t like is when people come and insist in indoctrinating people into their particular belief system. We do not reject Science or the Scientific method around here (we dig Science, dude!); but we might have a problem with people who go and proclaim the current Scientific consensus as the new Ten Commandments, and sneer & belittle anyone who might disagree with ad hominem attacks.

          We like to observe things from a dispassionate distance(at least I do), and we acknowledge that paradigm shifts spring from time to time & force the Scientific consensus to evolve or rectify itself. 30 years ago the Scientific consensus was that Mars was a dead planet; now thanks to new exciting developments the consensus is slowly shifting to the point that many in the Scientific community are pretty sure that Mars had the right requirements to harbor life. 100 years from now school children might laugh at our current preconceptions.

          [quote]Don’t complain about people not providing evidence to you, when you obviously have not shared with the scientific community and the general public valuable knowledge which proves your beliefs.[/quote]

          My concern was not about people not providing evidence; it was about the majority of Pharyngulates coming to crash the poll without making the little extra effort you just did: leaving a comment.

          [quote]Further to this, I feel I ought to point out that the concept of an “afterlife” can neither be proved or disproved. We can only say that based on evidence it is either probable or improbable.[/quote]

          I agree with you.
          —–
          It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
          It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

          Red Pill Junkie

  3. I wonder if…
    …someone spoofed IPs and was able to pretend 3500 people actually voted when really one person did all the voting? If so, I guess they really believe that they don’t believe.

    In any case, it would have been a lot more interesting to have a discussion along with the voting. Then again when someone breaks out the “woo” verbage I lose interest pretty fast.

  4. Greg
    Perhaps you could prevent idle poll-crashing in the future by making polls available to members only – then all these pests would have to log in first before voting. That might put them off the idea!

    Regards, Kathrinn

  5. ‘Voices’
    Hi Everyone,
    Nice to meet you all. I came over from PZ’s site and liked alot of the posts here so joined. I have still voted for the ‘no evidence’ section of the poll as it is what i believe, but if i open my mind a little then i’d have to go with all similarly equal, but that i personally like mediumship or EVP best because they are easily tested.
    I am currently highly atheistic (although obviously you can still have ghosts and an afterlife without God). Obviously there is more to the universe than is currently in a text book, but before i die i’d like to have a fair chance of finding out what is going on. To this end i have turned my back on alot of whats floating around to try and figure out what has a valid backing.
    I have a scientific upbringing and ended up at university studying geology (to me the study of the planet and solar system, from its beginning, all its chemical, nuclear and physical development, plus the evolution and development of life is the most interesting thing i could study). I dont really come from a scientific family though, my mother is spiritualist, father more agnostic, and i have several biblical literalists in my family and friends.
    I have also studied quantum mechanics and had a huge interest in space as a teenager, reading everything i could on black holes, Einsteinian gravity, time dilation etc, although it should be noted that string theory hurt my brain. It took me 10 years to wrap my head around popular physics (my physics at college was never all that good, but who finds calculating how far cannon balls fly fun). Geology has taken me all over the world so i have been lucky to see many cultures and religions.
    I guess i am here to be educated a bit. I have read a bit about these subjects, but i confess that much of it is from an evolutionary perspective or neuropsychological perspective. You’ll all know alot more about it than me thats for sure.
    Really i am looking for a way to incorporate our natural spirituality with my scientific outlook. How to incorporate our emotional spirituality or experience of being human with my understanding of the world. I know from experience that the term ‘spiritual’ often gets stolen. I see it more as a human quality than an outcome of belief. People would keep their spirit if they moved from one God to another, or from theism to deism or even pantheism, or even atheism. Also my atheism extends only so far as most of what has been presented to me so far and only as far as i have read, but obviously your beliefs must tie up with your understanding of the world, some do this by adjusting their understanding, i am trying to do it the other way round. I dont know where i will land yet.

    Hopefully i will be welcomed here.

    Ben

    1. Yes you will!
      Hello daydreamer, and welcome to TDG!

      As you’ll find here in the links we bring, and the comments of our members, we are a pretty eclectic community; and that’s precisely our best trait, because NONE OF US pretend to know all the answers, or feel compelled to indoctrinate others into our personal belief system.

      We encourage diversity and dissent, because that opens us to viewing things from a different perspective.

      So thank you for sticking around, and enjoy the ride 🙂

      —–
      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

    2. Hi Ben
      Hi Ben, and welcome. I would echo Red Pill’s comments above – not too many regular TDGers would claim to have any particular answer (though there’s always a few in every crowd), so we can’t offer too much there. We do have fun speculating and discussing though. I would imagine your field of speciality would allow you to help us all out as well, such as topics like the Sphinx and Mars.

      Look forward to hearing more from you.

      Kind regards,
      Greg
      ——————————————-
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

    1. LOL
      I’m sure Mr. Myers would be so proud of how eloquently & convincing you are when expressing your opinions 😉

      —–
      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

        1. Teh logic, it burns.
          [quote=bobxxxx]One more thing, shithead. Since when is reality an opinion?[/quote]

          Thank you, voice of reason.

          Kind regards,
          Greg
          ——————————————-
          You monkeys only think you’re running things

        2. Opinion?
          Really, whats the point of being rude. Just makes you look like a monkey. Even to us material evolutionists. I have a lot of respect for science, evolutionary theory and the proper use of the scientific method, but i have little respect for you right now. You are lowering yourself when you behave like this and undermining any point you may have. I am sure you were raised better than this. Civilisation should not be allowed to break down just because you feel you can do whatever you like.

  6. Many of us indeed have thought about it

    Well, I registered with a spam email address — which, as implied earlier, is probably why more people didn’t comment when they voted. I voted again, via PZ’s blog, for no evidence.

    Why? Because there there is no evidence. Not one shred. Nothing reproducible or measurable. If something doesn’t exist reproducibly or measurably, it is functionally nonexistent (see logical positivism [wikipedia]). What evidence does point to is ‘conciousness’ being associated with electric activity in the brain. Cessation of brain activity is thus the end of things. Perhaps not comforting, and even somewhat frightening, but there you go. An intellectually honest person must ultimately reach this as their final conclusion. Anything else is an excercise in mental games and mental doublespeak.

    I’m sorry to be so blunt, but that is my honest opinion and I’m not sorry about that.

    Side note: your filtered HTML should probably include the <em> tag for italics (emphasis) or <span>, as <i> is formally deprecated.

    1. Blunt?
      [quote=tigerhawkvok]Why? Because there there is no evidence. Not one shred. Nothing reproducible or measurable. If something doesn’t exist reproducibly or measurably, it is functionally nonexistent (see logical positivism [wikipedia]). What evidence does point to is ‘conciousness’ being associated with electric activity in the brain. Cessation of brain activity is thus the end of things. Perhaps not comforting, and even somewhat frightening, but there you go. An intellectually honest person must ultimately reach this as their final conclusion. Anything else is an excercise in mental games and mental doublespeak.

      I’m sorry to be so blunt, but that is my honest opinion and I’m not sorry about that.

      [/quote]

      No need to be sorry at all. You gave your opinion, and backed it up with some content. That makes you a valued commenter.

      Kind regards,
      Greg
      ——————————————-
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

  7. Your opinion is valued unless you disagree with me
    Let me get this straight. You asked for opinions but when the opinion was different from what you expected you delete it?

    Then you go on saying that because the vote was given by a people reading other blogs they cannot have a right opinion of the matter?

    Would it not have been simpler to merely ask

    Do you agree with me or not?

    if opinions value is based on the fact if you agree with it or not?

    1. Read above pls? kbai
      Greetings jagganath.

      Please, read some of the comments above in this thread. I believe this incident has been explained to anyone’s satisfaction, as well as Greg’s decision to delete those votes.

      If you still want to participate, may I suggest you wait a while until the waters return to their normal course, so to speak—and if you care to comment on your voting decision, that would be even better 🙂

      —–
      It’s not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me…
      It’s all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

      Red Pill Junkie

      1. Read the above, Mkay?
        and by what account you presume I did not read it? I disagreed with your assessment of satisfactory conclusion?

        The vote culling and why it is done is offensive on two fronts.

        It was an open poll and thus open to all opinions as the presented options are opinions until someone can offer repeatable test-method for verifying the various evidences. Deleting the opinions of who disagree is the reason for the tenuous hold on existence the freedom of speech is having today. And if one is to delete votes based on their origin of the website the voter comes is segregation whether you like the term or not.

        Secondly, by deleting all the offending votes you also disparage the voters value. Deleting alone without explanation would be barely acceptable but adding assertions regarding the level of knowledge of the deleted votes is not. Discriminating based on assumed level of intellect and ability was/is/will be part of the justification for various forms of discrimination ranging from favoritism to outright ostracism.

        Online polls are as unscientific and as unreliable method as picking the winner from the hat but that does not make the perverting, openly and perhaps with even glee, of the poll result any less distasteful and is a clear sign of aversion towards the principles of fairness, equality and human rights.

        1. Have a think for a bit…
          [quote=jagannath]Online polls are as unscientific and as unreliable method as picking the winner from the hat but that does not make the perverting, openly and perhaps with even glee, of the poll result any less distasteful and is a clear sign of aversion towards the principles of fairness, equality and human rights.[/quote]

          LOL.

          Kind regards,
          Greg
          ——————————————-
          You monkeys only think you’re running things

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