Skepticism

Afternoon Inquisition 11.17

Flying Spaghetti Monster has come down from the heavens and touched you with his noodly appendage. He has granted you three wishes. The catch is that all three wishes can be anything at all, as long as they’re skeptically-themed and no wishing for more wishes.

What are your three wishes?

Elyse

Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. Do i have to do the world peace/ cure disease thing first? Those tend to eat up wishes. But at least i don’t have to worry about setting anyone free at the end.

    So my selfish list would be:

    1) the ability to control peoples’ minds.

    2) to be able to live for as long as i want

    and

    3) Save the 3rd one in case of an emergency

  2. 1) Wish to become a Skeptical Warrior with the power to debunk claims in a single bound

    2) Wish that Occam’s Razor was also the name of a mythical razor-edged sword which could be used as a weapon in my new career (see wish 1)

    3) Instead of an afterlife with 72 virgins, I wish for a “during life” with 72 skepchicks to come home to after a hard day in my new job (see wish 1)

  3. 1) Humanity’s capacity for logic & reasoning should actually be put to good use, i.e., turned on all claims made by religion

    2) Religion overall should become as risible as certain tiny minorities’ refusal to use electricity is.

    3) I should check under my bed tomorrow morning for those four dozen 100-oz. gold bars I knew I misplaced last year. They will be there.

  4. To discover the key to gene and DNA manipulation process such that diseases can be prevented or cured.

    Discover a method of converting sea water into fresh on a large scale with minimal cost or energy consumption.

    Come up with the perfect safe and efficient method of neutralizing and storing nuclear waste.

    Of course I’d hold the respective patients and licensing contracts for all three of the above.

  5. 1) Have cash to live comfortably for life (sure you can’t buy happiness but you can rent it)

    2) Something else selfish to be named later

    3) All of humanity use their capacity to live peacefully with eachother.

  6. 1) People will stop being so sensitive.
    2) Public school will be a (safe) place of *learning*.
    3) My kids will not become fundies.

    I was going to put something pragmatic like paying loans, but I’m ok being poor the rest of my life if those 3 things could come true.

  7. for everyone ever where to open their eyes to lies that they have been told when it comes to religion

    to learn how to manipulate dna to build what ever i want

    for peaple to be able to get along with each other

  8. I would wish for:

    A vaccine against wooey thinking

    A tranquilizer rifle

    An instantaneous transporter

    Oh, yeah, I suppose I could just wish for enough of the vaccine to treat the world’s fresh water supply, but where’s the fun in that?

  9. 1. The ability to have whatever I ever want to eat magically appear before me whenever I want it to.

    2. An infinite supply of the latest and greatest artistic tools.

    3. A penthouse that with a big porch overlooking the downtown of a major futuristic metropolis with a giant library stocked with every book ever written and a big cozy fourpost bed in which to read right in the centre of it.

    The ideal state of the intellectual is indolence, if I remember correctly. x3

  10. 1) I want to know a lot (but not everything) so that I don’t get quite so much wrong. The list of things I don’t know is really long.
    2) I want to be able to explain anything I know in simple terms so that no-one will misinterpret what I say.
    3) I want to have an awful long time to find out all the stuff I don’t know, not quite forever but several hundred thousand years.
    4) I want more wishes.

    I plan to use 1) to build an perpetual youth machine to extend the lives of those I want to. I could charge for this but I won’t. I shall use 2) to explain why. 3) is just for fun and I need 4) because 1) will help me to understand how I’ve ballsed up these wishes.

    Phew!

  11. 1. A law requiring every person in the United States to take and pass 12 college-level courses – grammar/writing, logic, statistics, biology, chemistry, law, world history, algebra (II), geometry, economics, sociology, and psychology. (And if they don’t pass, they have to keep on taking it until they do!)

    2. An A+ grade in all of those courses (see #2).

    3. A media that reports at a level which assumes we can all actually process more than soundbites.

  12. 1. No pain and soreness from all the wear and tear I’ve visited upon my body over the years.

    2. That everyone is happy and healthy, and never annoyingly stupid.

    3. That no one would ever again, as long as humans walk the Earth, refer to the worn out, trite, and tediously childish “Flying Spaghetti Monster” meme. I mean, come on. How is that thing still hanging around? It should have gone away about a week after it was first uttered into existence. The person who dreamed up the Flying Spaghetti Monster must have made a deal with the devil, or the Crawling Fusilli Kitten, or whatever the hell is the opposite of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. How the hell did that catch on?

    Alternate wish: Not to get riled up over silly things.

  13. The first wish would have to be to wish for knowledge of the mechanism by which these supernatural wishes are being granted. Once we understand that then it’s possible that there will be no way you could restrict me to just 3 wishes. So there!

    Otherwise I would also wish that I could download any information or skill a la The Matrix, but ‘cept without the need for a big frackig spike in my head.

    The third wish would be for media literacy and critical thinking to be a part of the K-12 curriculum.

  14. 1) I wish people were more sensitive.

    2) I wish that the Crawling Fusilli Kitten meme would catch on.

    3) I would really, really, really like to be loved and accepted for who I am. This bitter loneliness shit is getting tedious.

  15. @Cola:

    3. A penthouse that with a big porch overlooking the downtown of a major futuristic metropolis with a giant library stocked with every book ever written and a big cozy fourpost bed in which to read right in the centre of it.

    Damn. Can I live with you?

  16. 1) Remove all intoxicants (including “second life” type computer games) from the world/make all intoxicating medicines only have their intended effect e.g. Heroin that only removes pain if your actually in pain.

    2) Create Special Body (with power to make it happen) to ensure the whole human race has a minimum daily ration of food and fresh water, along with housing, sanitation, education and birth control. [probably cost less than the bail out in real life]

    3) Remove nuclear and fossil fuel power generation, coal fired power plants, cars, buses, trains, planes. (With the possible exception of Rockets) And any waste they generated.

    Of course I only get three but 4) would be Stop Genital mutilation of girls AND boys and 5) would be to make the world more understanding of people with Asperger’s

  17. 1) I would wish for a list of women within a, say, 25-mile radius, who are single, attractive, and would be easily attracted to me, ranked by some function of those attributes.
    2) The ability to not get frustrated at stupid small stuff like losing my keys and stupid drivers.
    3) Super-duper speed reading and comprehension. There are so many books I want to read, I just wish it wasn’t such a time commitment to finish even a substantial fraction of them all.

  18. Fantasy:
    1. Willful control of any matter or energy
    2. The ability to quickly heal from any wound
    3. The ability to live, without aging, until such time as I will my own death.

    Stuff that could actually happen:
    1. The death of organized religion by the mechanism of either apathy or reason (I’m not picky).

    2. The majority of people in the world, including the majority of people who are wealthy, discover Enlightened Self Interest and thus work to end poverty and ensure basic human rights for every person.

    3. The discovery of a reasonably-cheap way to make interstellar travel possible. This could be FTL, if that turns out to be possible (I can dream), or it could be reliable tech that would allow near-light travel in stasis, or anything else — like I said, I’m not picky.

    Explanations of the Latter Three:
    1. Groupthink is the worst thing that ever happened to religion. While I think all religion is bunk, personal religion (beliefs) don’t bother me nearly as much. I’d be entirely content if either no one cared enough about religion to organize it (apathy), or if most people were so reasonable that there weren’t any group of religious people large enough to effectively organize.

    2. Don’t think this needs an explanation; I want to live in that world.

    3. I’m a total nerd.

  19. 1) To make a living from my skeptical one-man show about being in recovery form having been raised fundamentalist.

    2) To have lots of people love my skeptical stand up comedy and buy lots of DVDs and CDs of it.

    3) To live forever and ever.

  20. 4) would be Stop Genital mutilation of girls AND boys

    I agree WRT girls, not so much WRT boys. I like my mutilated dick, and if I woke up one day with a foreskin, I would immediately make an appointment to get it cut off. No offense, uncut guys.

  21. 1) To wish for ultimate understanding of the universe (if that’s even possible);
    2) To live a very healthy life (for me and my family).
    3) Some cool ability to manipulate the laws of physics (duh!).

    (Can I wish for the ability to grant wishes?)

  22. 1) Immortality (with a lengthy addendum explaining how that includes eternal youthfulness, eternal health, the ability to feel pleasure, but that I could live without air, without food, in space or at the center of the sun, etc…)
    2) The ability to confer that same power on others through my semen.
    3) The ability to make my first and second wish “skeptically themed.”

  23. My wishes

    1. That my oldest niece survives having a toddler in the house.

    2. That all hateful (so-called) Christians reread the Bible and realize that (a) there are many contridictions in the book so HELLO it’s not to be taken literally and (b) there’s verses in there about loving your neighbor maybe read those and think about it)

    3. I was going to wish that hir noodliness touch my mother-in-law and teach her not to overcook hir likeness, but instead I’m going to wish for

    3. Limoncello – specifically Limoncello at Bapi’s.

  24. 1) A united humanity (world peace, effectively)

    2)The power to grant wishes (but not a genie-like obligation to do so). Or just be able to do magic aka whatever I want.

    3) My own immortality and invulnerability and the power to grant these traits to others, and also take these traits. (see number 2)

    As number two effectively circumvents the “no wishing for more wishes” clause and assuming it were denied I’d wish for an incredibly power of persuasion.

  25. 1. A visible pink unicorn that actually farts rainbows. Just to screw with the creationists…

    2. A gaggle of minions who do nothing but sneer condescendingly as people so I don’t have to waste the energy doing it myself.

    3. Oh, and a hooker made of blow.

  26. Just 1 wish:

    Just 1:

    That those who are threatened by evolution can somehow be made to understand that it doesn’t actually matter whether or not we teach it to their kids in public schools – their faith actually remains as uncorrupted as they want it to be.

    (Sorry Eugenie Scott – I know that would put you out of a job.)

    And @Sam ?:

    The FSM will be around as long as ID is around. Plain and simple.

  27. 1. Long distance (say ~1000 lightyears) space travel within reasonable increments of the human life span (weeks at most) and available to anyone who wants it [read as: free spaceship clause].

    2. Even the most hard line supporter of any notion must yield in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence [read as: rational people clause].

    3. There always be some difficulty to overcome or something to learn [read as: something to do clause].

  28. Blast, I forgot a clause for preventing abuse and curing life threatening illnesses. *sigh* I guess I’ll have to trade in the free spaceship clause for the good of mankind if the FSM allows that.

    Now I’m sad. I really wanted that spaceship.

  29. 1. Reduce the world’s population 2/3 (there’s way too many of us) by allowing massive space colonization. Be sure to keep a Telephone Sanitizer though.

    2. Create a cheap and efficient photovoltaic substance that can be embedded in paint so that all surfaces collect energy.

    3. The ability to stop time for just Humanity, so that the Earth can recover for a million years or so, then we start right back up where we left off but on a healthy world.

  30. “Flying Spaghetti Monster has come down from the heavens and touched you with his noodly appendage. He has granted you three wishes. ”

    Okay, I would suggest that anyone that this did happen to would have a PROFOUND impact psychologically, so answering in truth I believe is nearly impossible, but . . .

    2) Ability to spend time in any universe of my choosing (fictional or this one.)
    1) A Hitchhikers’s Guide to the Galaxy
    3) A Babel fish

    I can provide my own towel (as should all of you.)

  31. Oh, all right. Sceptically themed:

    1. For all of humanity to start thinking rationally.

    That ought to do it, yes? *wink*
    I hope that if humanity started actually thinking, problems would be solved; i.e. no more wars, more funding for science/education, end of hunger/overpopulation/disease/religion etc.

    Of course, I’d still have two more wishes for purely selfish purposes. *grin*

  32. @ flib: I agree
    @ Kimbo Jones:
    I always find it interesting that when I’m at a party and male circumcision comes up it’s always women leading the charge against it and cut men who are defending it. Honestly, I’m happy my parents had mutilated my genitals and helped me statically avoid many UTI’s, reducing my chances of receiving and transferring STD’s, and lasting longer than 2 minutes during sex (my wife appreciates the extra 30 seconds). To top it all off I’m glad that they did it when I was an infant and had the memory of a goldfish, saving me the trauma and complications I would have experienced if it was done later in life.
    Also female mutilation is horrible and should be ended where it is practiced.

  33. @skepticalhippy:

    It’s not like uncut men are writhing in pain every time they pee due to UTIs and STDs… and there’s actually no evidence to prove that cut men last longer than uncut.

    My husband, who was born at the time of routine circumcisions and is a man, is actually firmly against it.

    If you want it done, more power to you… but it seems a bit silly for parents to force their babies to undergo what is essentially cosmetic surgery for their genitals.

  34. but it seems a bit silly for parents to force their babies to undergo what is essentially cosmetic surgery for their genitals.

    Cosmetic surgery? I thought it was mutilation. Can’t you guys get your emotional appeals straight?

  35. @Elyse: I’ve always found the equating of male circumcision to FGM appalling. They don’t remove the glans when they remove the foreskin. FGM is not circumcision. It’s about completely removing a woman’s control of her own body. It’s all well and good to be opposed to male circumcision, and I agree with all the reasons mentioned here, but it’s not the same thing as FGM, and equating them minimizes and spreads misconceptions about FGM.

  36. @skepticalhippy: I’m aware that lowered chance of HIV transmission is a possible point favoring circumcision, but where do you get the data about lasting longer if you’re uncut cut? Speaking purely from personal experience, duration has had absolutely no correlation with whether or not my partner was circumcised.

    (edited the uncut/cut bit)

  37. @Solitas: You ask and you shall receive:

    “There is now strong evidence from three randomised controlled trials undertaken in Kisumu, Kenya, Rakai District, Uganda (funded by the US National Institutes of Health) and Orange Farm, South Africa (funded by the French National Agency for Research on AIDS) that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.

    It has also been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission from HIV-positive men to their uninfected female partners by around one-third.”

    http://www.aidsmap.org/en/news/5CB1DACF-6D08-48DD-A3C9-A10CBB6A5EED.asp

  38. As far as UTIs go I did find one study at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia with the title ”Uncircumcised at greater UTI risk.” And some numbers “Overall, 52% of the 291 boys were uncircumcised, and 21% of these had UTIs, compared with UTI rates of 2% among circumcised boys and 5% among girls.” This is just one study though. I’m going to retract my UTI comment because I don’t think it’s necessary to prove my point.

    Also I’m going to retract my cut men last longer argument because all men are different. It was antidotal from the show “Bullshit” in which a gentleman “regrows” his foreskin and his wife made the comment that he doesn’t have to thrust as hard anymore, or something to that effect. Also there is an implied mechanism that less surface area/ less nerve endings equal fewer stimuli and therefore last longer. I shouldn’t have inferred/implied, and for that I am sorry.

    However I feel my point still stands. Men who are cut as infants are none the worse for it, and may actually benefit from it. I have trouble with the idea that I was someway victimized as an infant, or that I am in someway missing out on something by missing my foreskin. And having talked to my other cut male friends about this none of them have ever had an issue with it either, or are anti-circumcision. As my friend once stated somewhat crassly “I never busted a nut and then thought to myself, damn that could have been so much better if I had a foreskin”.

  39. @Solitas:
    I’ve written way to much about this, I don’t mean any malice toward anybody, just a passionate subject for me. I do have to say though, and this can be a point to agree to disagree, if a baby was just squeezed through a vagina, what’s a little nick of the prick? : )

  40. I used to think that I would ask for eternal, youthful life. (Unless you want to end up in a Greek tragedy, don’t forget the “youthful” part!) I no longer believe that is a worthwhile goal, because it is my hypothesis that the human brain can only go on so long without succumbing from exposure to the amount of evil and hatred in our world, as well as the endless accumulation of memories.

    So, I would wish for:
    1) For Humanity to grow up to the point where we can be trusted to use our scientific wisdom, skepticism and knowledge wisely for the benefit of all,

    2) For practical high-speed interstellar travel (trans-warp drive or a similar technology) to become commonplace once Number 1 is accomplished, so Humanity can spread out and grow, and for,
    3) Sufficient, but not unlimited, life extension for all to have the chance to reach their true potential and capabilities.

    P.S. I have no opinion about circumcision, as I was cut long before I had any say in the matter. Since I have no way of knowing what NOT being cut is like, I can’t honestly have any preference.

  41. @skepticalhippy: Good for you, some men would disagree and not appreciate their genitals being cut up as babies. I tend to err on the side that doesn’t involve surgical procedures that carry their own risks, such as infection.

    I’m not “championing” anything, by the way. And if I was, why does being a woman have to do with anything? Pay attention to the facts, please, not my vagina and/or breasts.

    I’m not victimizing anyone by pointing out that an adult has a choice whereas a baby does not. My opinion is that unless there’s concrete scientific evidence to warrant a surgery (and so far the evidence is not strong enough in the general population), it probably shouldn’t be standard like it is now particularly if the adult could grow up to resent the procedure.

    I don’t see “victimization” being involved in that view at all, so please don’t put opinions in my mouth. FGM = victim, circumcision = potentially unnecessary surgery in a population with a low AIDS risk and with hygiene practices that help prevent UTIs.

    Forgive me, I guess I’m just a very pragmatic person.

  42. A word on male circumcision: it always makes me think of that scene in 3001 when Frank has the dragonrider in his bed and she freaks out because he doesn’t have a foreskin and they pretty much never speak again. Poor Frank Poole.

    Also, I had a friend who had to have his foreskin removed later in life and, this is just an anecdote, not an argument, he reported becoming much, much more sensitive. He said pretty much every sensation aroused him after he’d healed from his surgery. I’m not sure what that means, but it was a fascinating learning experience.

  43. 1. For my loved ones’, especially my children’s , maximum happiness and good health.
    2. To have the ability to always evolve, to be open minded, forever scientifically and artistically curious, and to discover more and more about myself, others, this world and this universe, past and present, through serendipity, intent, hard work, and play.
    3. Since this is a WISH list … to be capable of controlling number one and two. Short of that – to be capable of effecting positive change, no matter how small that change may be perceived.

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