Skepticism

Skepchick Quickies, Weekend Edition – 7.27

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

Related Articles

49 Comments

  1. yeah, what Gabriel said, but hey, didja check out HOW they came to be married? The girl’s father taunted the old guy for not having another wife, and then challenged him to pay 100,000 whatevers (Dinar?) for his daugter’s ass. Um, nice. What kind of fucking society do people have when they sell their own ten year old daughters (and I’msayinfg society because this seems like a fairly common practice…I mean the fucking law puts age of marriage at 9 for girls..)

    I spit in the direction of Mecca.

  2. Did Randy Pausch think that we humans could evolve to control the death process? Do you think he was prolonging the dying process? Prolonging the dying process is not a good thing for everyone, I’m thinking. I was told that “normal” life is ended with only about 2 weeks of illness as the body shuts itself down, followed by death.
    ThinkerBelle

  3. An opinion from whitebird is requested…

    Having eliminated the ownership of one person by another person (slavery) from the culture long ago, do you think that any of the lessons or the methods of the abolitionists would transfer to another culture?

    ThinkerBelle

  4. I really enjoyed Pausch’s lecture. It was inspiring.

    And ThinkerBelle, he lived as long as he did because of a combination of modern medicine and good old fashioned luck. I have no idea what your talk of the ‘dying process’ is about.

  5. Well, different agencies may call it by different names. I have also heard it called the patient’s journey to death.’ I think Pausch goal to inspire was successfully met, big time, but my point would be, is keeping the moment of death at bay by whatever means the same as controlling the process.
    ThinkerBelle

  6. Thinkerbelle,

    “Having eliminated the ownership of one person by another person (slavery) from the culture long ago, do you think that any of the lessons or the methods of the abolitionists would transfer to another culture?”

    I *think* what you’re asking is “after irrational ideologies have been abandoned in a dominant and technologically advanced culture , can other cultures who currently hold irrational ideologies in less dominant and technologically backwards milieu learn – via inevitable media transmission like the internet, radio, and newspaper – that abandoning irrational ideologies is better for their society than holding on to them, and in realizing this,they abandon them”?

    Well, I would have to say no. Although I , as a woman living on the West Coast of America can enjoy reading the newspapers, perusing the internets, listening to a wide array of radio stations, and being able to not only walk around, drive, and go where I like (here), but have uncensored discussions about ANYTHING with both females and males (unchaperoned, even!), I know that my experience is not typical of the majority of women on earth.

    Basically, I am living in a totally secular situation, in a country that (on paper) values my right to do so. Part of my freedom is related to the fact that I can access many sources of information. Ok, enough about me.

    The fact that people have access to information that is overwhelmingly sound and convincing (hey, did you know that abstinence only education doesn’t work? Did you know that autism is not caused by vaccines? Did you know that witches are not responsible for nightmares?),yet continue to hold onto what, in your metaphor(?) would be slavery (I think you mean to equate slavery with uncritical thinking?), demonstrates that even in a free society, people will hold onto that slavery and not learn a damn thing from the “abolitionists”.

    So, just think about how impossible it is for osmotic transmission of humanist values to occur in a state that doesn’t even allow for the fluid transmission of information and ideas is.

    It occurs to me that you might have been asking whether, say, nations with less than stellar human rights records could learn from, I don’t know, Sweden. Well, the leaders of those nations are fully aware of what could be. But they wouldn’t be able to be dictator warlords who eat foie gras and have their pick of the countryside poon if they sped their societies up to human rights speed…

  7. So, if I get your drift, you are saying that, to correct the problem of one person owning another person, we need
    sound information, proven, reliable etc.
    and that information needs to circulate
    which requires a fluid medium in which to circulate.

    Does this fit for you?
    Did I miss anything?

    ThinkerBelle

  8. I watched the whole final lecture. I think it’s definitely a life-event to leave something like this as a legacy.
    For myself, I think I might have to edit an anthology instead of offering up something original. I don’t have very many good ideas. On the other hand, I would have to read to do an anthology… Maybe I’ll just look forward to footbally season. He did say football is good. Awesome. … of to ESPN.

  9. @Thinkerbelle:” So, if I get your drift, you are saying that, to correct the problem of one person owning another person, we need
    sound information, proven, reliable etc.
    and that information needs to circulate
    which requires a fluid medium in which to circulate.

    Does this fit for you?”

    Hey, mama, I was attempting to understand what the hell YOU were positing. So, since I clearly could not delineate what you were talking about, perhaps you’d do us a solid and ask the original question in more, uh, clear language? Here are your words:

    “Having eliminated the ownership of one person by another person (slavery) from the culture long ago, do you think that any of the lessons or the methods of the abolitionists would transfer to another culture?”

    What do you mean?

    Who are the slaves?

    Who are the abolitionists?

    Instead of “close…closer would be slavery continues in the absence of critical thinking”, howzabout telling us retards what you’re talking about?

    kaythankxbaiye

  10. What do you mean?

    There are cultures which have abolished slavery.
    There are cultures which have not.
    Can the cultures which have not, learn from the one which have done so already?……… to which you replied, ‘no’

    You said the barrier to that ever happening was
    1. lack of high quality information.
    2. lack of circulation of that quality information.
    3. lack of a medium in which circulation can happen.

    I wanted to know if I had captured the essence of what you were saying.

    Who are the slaves? Anyone who is owned by someone else.

    Who are the abolitionists? Anyone who has valued the idea that we own ourselves, and who has worked towards making that idea a reality.

    “…what you’re talking about?”
    In the broadest sense, I am asking whether or not sceptics think that the methods successfully used by cultures that have abolished slavery already, could be used now.
    In the narrowest sense, I am asking, “Do we have a method already that would put an end to the sale of 10 year old female children?”
    Macrocosm to microcosm
    General to specific.

    Is that any better?
    ThinkerBelle

  11. Thinkerbelle, since two other people have already expressed confusion as to what you were talking about, you might want to rethink how you write things. I didn’t even know if you literally or metaphorically meant slaves and abolitionists…

    I don’t mean to be harsh, but if you’re literally asking, “can places that still practice slavery learn from places that no longer do today”, well, obviously not, since, you know, THEY STILL PRACTICE SLAVERY.

    The more equality a society has in regards to class and gender, the more freedom there is, and everyone is better off. It has a lot to do with the leadership of the nation, and how corrupt it is, too. I guess some of us are having a hard time understanding your question because it’s kind of like asking “can a vicious murderer learn not to be a murderer by knowing that other people out there don’t murder?” or something.

  12. so to answer: ““Do we have a method already that would put an end to the sale of 10 year old female children?” (and I’m not sure why I’m being asked this, was it because I expressed disdain for the practice? I think we all do here)

    I can’t think of one other either1) than putting sanctions on a country until they stopped their pedo ways,2) invading and taking over, 3)or somehow giving amnesty and refugee status to every woman and child and let them live somewhere where laws will protect them…

    1) can’t really truly be enforced…what, are we going to keep a “don’t sell you daughters” brigade in every town in every place that this occurs in?

    2) that’s just insane

    3) even when immigrants live in, say, Sweden, they still often practice the customs of their homeland, so who knows is if Egyptians, say aren’t keeping slaves in the 1st world – oh wait, they do! I read an article about some couple in the valley a few years ago…

  13. Agreed, Jen. I know, I’m sure you CAN get a slave in Sweden,even. I’m sure there are plenty of sex slaves right here in L.A….

    of course, the more freedom and lack of government corruption there is in a place,the better off everyone (except maybe would-be dictators, oligarchs and their cronies).

    And the less reliant on religious laws, the better. Check out some of Theo Van Gogh’s, “Submission”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnKxefgI15A

    Why can’t Europe and us do something radical, like not allow immigration from any country that does that shit? I’m not allowed to move to Saudi Arabia and walk around without a male chaperone…why the fuck should these assholes be allowed to come to Holland and kill filmmakers because they don’t like the film?

    It would punish a lot of good people who would like to immigrate and assimilate,but then there would be motivation and pressure to change from within..

  14. It may turn out that you are right and there is no method/answer for the continuing problem of slavery/selling 10 year old children.
    Some humans have conquered the problems of slavery before, and I thought that if we examined how they did it then, their methods would be revealed to us now. After that I wondered if those successful methods would be transferrable to another but different specific situation such as selling young girls.

    So, now to follow up with your specific points…
    I don’t mean to be harsh, but if you’re literally asking, “can places that still practice slavery learn from places that no longer do today”, well, obviously not, since, you know, THEY STILL PRACTICE SLAVERY.

    I don’t see this as harsh, I see it as you clarifying a point I made, using your own language. Good on you, I say. your clarification is very close to my meaning actually. I would make only one change and it is this…

    “can places that still practice slavery DECIDE TO learn from places that no longer do today”, well, obviously not, since, you know, THEY STILL PRACTICE SLAVERY.

    I’m digging for, I’m inviting comments on and I’m seeking flashes of genius about a successful process to shut down any residual slavery, in general, (and the selling of 10 year old female childen as one of many specific instances of ownership of a person)
    Does it all start with a decision?
    What does it start with?
    What did the successful processes start with before?
    ThinkerBelle

  15. 1- putting sanctions on a country until they stopped their pedo ways
    2- invading and taking over
    3- or somehow giving amnesty and refugee status to every woman and child and let them live somewhere where laws will protect them
    4- When people stop being assholes and
    5- taking care of one another.
    6- decide to learn from other’s success
    7- And maybe, in the meantime, other people speaking out and
    8- pointing fingers.
    9- more freedom and lack of government corruption
    10- less reliant on religious laws, the better.
    11- something radical, like not allow immigration from any country that does that
    12- motivation and pressure to change from within..

    This is a great list of ideas! The last one, #12 “CHANGE FROM WITHIN,” would have to come before my step of deciding to learn from other countries, wouldn’t you say? If we have lucked out and brainstormed the Decisive Dozen for the Overthrow Of Oppression, then all we have to do is put them in some kind of order……..
    ThinkerBelle

  16. Talking about the process of ending slavery in any culture, I think it’s important to note that, historically, nearly all slave cultures have had to rise up and free themselves by force. This is highly unlikely to ever happen in the case of ten-year old girls.

  17. So, Rystefn, if we accept as true, (for the purposes of furthering this interesting discussion) that 10 year old girls cannot free themselves, then it becomes obvious, does it not, that they must be set free by agency of someone outside of themselves.
    Who?
    Well, logically it would have to be the oppressors (perhaps by way of decision and/or pressure to change from within) or it would have to be a third side (by way of one of the other ideas in our list) or it would have to be both these groups . Does this hold up logically?
    ThinkerBelle

  18. @Rystefn: “Talking about the process of ending slavery in any culture, I think it’s important to note that, historically, nearly all slave cultures have had to rise up and free themselves by force.”

    yeah, I was thinking about that, too – like all the peasant revolts and such…the situation in the Middle East and Africa is compounded, though, by not just being Patriarchies and in some cases Monarchies, but Theocracy…if you watch the clip from “Submission”, you’ll see that it’s a culture where fathers will tell their own daughters to shut up and take it fromtheir brothers (weird that was mentioned…must be extremely common…my friend from Afghanistan’s uncle raped her when she was 8,and the parents told HER to shut up…)

    See, in the European feudal situations, or in the American slave situation, it was the elite landowners who caused havoc…not the very fathers of each family…I blame Islam and the middle eastern “women-as-chattel” deal.

    Guys – anyone here have a dughter? Can any of you FATHOM selling her, even if you were destiitute, or letting your brother rape her? I just can’t even get behind that kind of thinking. It’s like mass psychosis…maybe due to that kind of culture, they’ve evolved to be more violent? Because might is right?

    Who knows. It all just makes me wanna go cut off some swarthy balls.

  19. Ah, WhiteBird, thank you for digging a little deeper into the issue and coming up with…

    Would Richard Dawkins rate that as a robust meme or a weak meme?

    How do you solve a problem like Maria, (oops, sorry) I mean a problem like “women-as-chattel”

    How do you kill a meme?
    ThinkerBelle

  20. Hi Thinkerbelle,

    “Would Richard Dawkins rate that as a robust meme or a weak meme?

    How do you solve a problem like Maria, (oops, sorry) I mean a problem like “women-as-chattel”

    How do you kill a meme?”

    Here, I’ll demonstrate how this is hard to understand: you jump in and ask whether or not something is a robust meme..and you don’t even say what it is that the meme would be.

    I don’t know what I dug up,but then you mention “women-as-chattel”. Is that the meme? It’s been a while since I was at school, thinking about semiotics and stuff (I think that the best lessons eventually become part of one’s worldview, and the technical discussion of things like semiotics or..wait, what? I’m just trying to say that you ask questions or posit ideas in an inordinately obfuscate and sort of academic manner. And I don’t know what you’re trying to say.), but I can’t talk about memes without knowing what the subject is. I wouldn’tknow how to answer “Would Richard Dawkins rate that as a robust signifier….how do you kill a signifier?” without knowing what the heck is being signified.

    Or are you saying that memes are what we have to launch, virally, into unenlightened, slave-selling societies?

    – confused –

  21. Whitebird – I’ve been dealing with this on the ‘astronut’ thread from Sam’s post. It seems that ThinkerBelle here likes to post pseudo-intellectual-sounding comments which are ALWAYS vague and RARELY even have much to do with the topic at hand. Any responses you get from him/her are likely to be equally obscure and misdirected…

    ThinkerBelle – Just say what you mean instead of throwing out meaningless, unrelated questions. It just makes you look like a freshman-level philosophy student trying to sound deep.

  22. Honestly, I didn’t get that kind of impression at all… I kind of got the impression of a non-native English speaker trying to get out complex ideas in a foreign tongue. Maybe I’m way off-base here, though.

  23. Foreign speakers to English would likely not know the word “meme” unless they were studying certain disciplines; and if that were the case, they would be at least fluent enough in English to participate in a forum that is 100% in English.

    However, fluent English speakers who frequent the wild world of the internet might throw a term that they don’t understand around without content because, well, I don’t know why,but I think that’s what is the case here.

    Clearly Thinkerbelle is having an idea that they want to discuss, but the very content is getting lost on more than a couple of people here who are otherwise capable of very clear discussion because there are out of context terms…aw, never mind.

    Thinkerbelle: to avoid further confusion, just talk in the plainest English possible. Right now you’re like someone wanking on an expensive guitar in guitar center who probably couldn’t play a major scale at 70 bpm.

  24. Actually, in recent years, the word “meme” has become something of a common usage word on the internet… although most foreign speakers would quickly point out that they’re not quite fluent at the first instance of a person failing to understand, I’ll give you that.

    Either way, I’m sure ThinkerBelle could easily clear things up for us. I freely admit to the possibility of being very, very wrong on this.

  25. I have been told that I do not give enough concrete examples for my ideas.

    I justify this by explaining that it has been my experience that as soon as I give a concrete example people run with the example and neglect to explore the idea.

    Rystefn is right in that I am exceedingly ‘language- careful.’ The goal is always to leave ideas free and open for interpretation and exploration. I drives some people crazy (which they then project back onto me, BTW.) Rystefn’s mind works differently. He was able to gather up all the ideas that were being entertained and put them in the simple phrase package – “Talking about the process of ending slavery in any culture…”
    So, Rystefn, are you and I both “Process People” with you being more adept at summarizing? I think I would have eventually stopped trying to pull forth more ideas and summarized in a similar way to you. Thank you, you were right on.

    whiteBIRD and Jen’s posts were more stream of consciousness posts. Their gift is the fountain of ideas they give forth, related to the subject at hand. From there came 11 ways to deal with slavery. Thanx. I will admit to using hyperbole when I suggested that it was the definitive list, though.

    Detroitus, I don’t think of myself as deep. I do want to GET deep. Deeper and deeper. Because I think that is where the answers are, I guess.

    So, WhItEbIrD dug deeper and came up with women-as-chattel belief and I pounced on it as THE ANSWER.

    (You know, folks, there may be something deeper still, but I really liked the definition of the problem being ‘the continuation of the belief that women are chattels.’ I liked it so much, that I was willing to to stop looking for more ideas.)

    So, next we linked the idea of memes to what had gone before. Is our problem definition a meme? What kind of meme is it? Do we need a counter-meme? What would that be? Should we launch that meme? ( I think there are more contributions to be made to this thought cluster/line of thinking, though. I do not want these summarizing questions to be the end of the discussion!)

    I have to get ready for work, so I cannot do justice to WHITEbird’s point of “out of context terms”

    BFN
    ThinkerBelle

  26. “Rystefn is right in that I am exceedingly ‘language- careful.’ The goal is always to leave ideas free and open for interpretation and exploration. I drives some people crazy”

    …yeah, we’vehad the discussion about “this meaning that” before…to be fair, Rystefn came into the conversation way after lots of stuff was extrapolated (via about four or five leading questions on other posters’ parts) from your originally almost indecipherable post, so I don’t know that he necessarily is on some kind of “same- wavelength”and able to “get you”better. Seriously…look back at the comments.

    As for the word “meme” – like most words, (and let’s not have another linguistic theoretical kerfuffle) , it means something. When you first used it, you didn’t say what it was that was havingthe quality of being a meme…things and ideas are memetic, memes are not things – like elderberries or cats (although lolcats are memetic) – that are described by the word alone.

    So…I have to insist that Rystefn is doing you no favors (and it looks unintentional, like he’s just throwing some ideas out there, but you’re running with them)by causing you to somehow believe that your very confusing style of writing (which, as someone who used to do psychedelics, looks exactly like someone tripping – not accusing you of that, just pointing out that you’re so stream of consciousness that you don’teven let us in on the subject in a non-obtuse way) is not confusing to others…

    before I dug in and asked a bunch of questions, there were at least two comments from others along the lines of “what the heck are you talking about?”

    “So, next we linked the idea of memes to what had gone before. Is our problem definition a meme? What kind of meme is it? Do we need a counter-meme? What would that be? Should we launch that meme? ( I think there are more contributions to be made to this thought cluster/line of thinking, though. I do not want these summarizing questions to be the end of the discussion!)”

    Well,since you used the word in a fashion that nobody readily understood, why don’t you go ahead and define “meme” – as you understand it. And if the problem is “the definition of meme”, asking whether the problem of the definition of “meme” is a meme itself isn’t very helpful…

    in the words of Inigo Montoya….

  27. ThinkerBelle, thanks for the attempt at clarification. I apologize if I come off as rude in my previous comments, as I’m actually usually a very nice person. But allow me to point out a couple examples of what is making your posts so frustrating…

    “Rystefn is right in that I am exceedingly ‘language- careful.’”
    Rystefn never said this. In fact, the only implication he made was that you might not be a native English speaker which would account for the confusing posts. You addressed his point by acting as if he said something different than he did.

    “whiteBIRD and Jen’s posts were more stream of consciousness posts. ”

    While thier posts do cover a range of topics, they are quite ordered and rational. In other words, there is nothing ‘stream of consciousness’ that I saw from whitebird or Jen.

    “I have been told that I do not give enough concrete examples for my ideas.”

    I appreciate that you are trying to spur discussion on a lot of ideas here. I really do. The problem is that when a question or issue occurs to you, you need to bring people to where you are before you can expect them to discuss it. Not everyone will make the same logical leap as you, and when you start asking questions assuming they have, it causes confusion. Making cognitive jumps from one thing to another without providing any sort of buffer or segway is far more ‘stream-of-consciousness’ than anything posted by Jen or Whitebird.

    I apologize if I’m being overly-critical, and if anyone feels that I’m off base here just let me know.

    “Detroitus, I don’t think of myself as deep. I do want to GET deep. Deeper and deeper. Because I think that is where the answers are, I guess.”

    That is very admirable.

  28. Leaping from thought to thought is something else I have been accused of many times.

    So, thanks for the heads up, folks

    “…out of context terms” I don’t know where to go with that observation. I think the best I can do is say that everyone’s context is different. We are different.

    Developing a definition of meme…
    A meme:
    is a unit of culture
    is transmissable
    can morph

    Are there better words than these? Have some important attributes of memes been left out?

    ThinkerBelle

  29. According to your definition, anything in the human experience could be a meme. What is a
    “unit of culture”? One person’s recipe that they share with just one person? A blog that never gets read? A scribbling of graffiti at the north pole?

    The whole deal with memes is not that they are transmissible, but that they are necessarily and usually widely transmitted,and NOT something that is anthropologically proven to be part of human nature (oh boy, I anticipate a shitstorm).

    It’s all about mass-spreading of and idea to cause mass-awareness of something…you know how in Amadeus, when Salieri is talking to the priest in the beginning and Salieri hums some of his own tunes to see if the priest knows them, then hums a Mozart joint and the priest immediately recognizes it? THAT’s a meme.

    I don’t know. It’s like, gender equality isn’t a meme, but the phrase “feminazi” is. Television is not a meme, but “Sunday, SUNday, SUNDAY!” is. Marylin Monroe is not a meme, but the action of wearing a white full-skirted dress and standing over a blasting air-grate is. Cigarettes aren’t a meme, but asking for one as your last request before you are faced with a firing squad is. There are lots of things that might be said to be memes, like circumcision…but the original religious practice for Jews and Muslims is not a meme – that it became popular in the USA in the ’50’s for non-religious reasons is.

    The idea of slavery is not a meme,and the idea of abolishing slavery isn’t either. Ideas,laws, actions and policies are not the same as memes.

  30. That sounds right on to me. So, we should modify the working definition using your contribution.

    A meme:
    is a unit of culture (whatever that is)(need help here)
    is widely transmissable
    can morph

    I would add…

    A meme:
    is a unit of culture (whatever that is)(need help here)
    is widely transmissable
    can morph, sometimes though imperfect transmission

    Does the fact that memes impress the receiver need to be in the definition?

    ThinkerBelle

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close