Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Mar 17, 2016

Judgment-free Zone

I find the occasional requests I get from people to "not hate" or "not judge" on their comments when I disagree with them to be weirdly ironic.

I don't try to silence the opposition.  I fully support your right to say whatever you damn well please.  When you say "don't hate" or "don't judge", YOU are trying to silence ME.  You are telling me, flat out, that my opinion isn't welcome here and I should just SHUT UP.

I find that hateful in the extreme.  Disagreeing with you is not telling you to shut up.  I expect you to return the favor instead of being a disingenuous hypocrite.  The double standard involved here is huge, glaring, and ugly, and points out the enormous inherent contradiction in nihilist thought--otherwise known as "multiculturalism" or "egalitarianism".

The foundation of this view, epistemologically, is the belief that nobody can really KNOW what is true or false.  Thus, all ideas are equally valid.  Thus one "shouldn't judge" and disagreement is "hate".  "Tolerance" is the only virtue.  Tolerance, that is, of any viewpoint EXCEPT disagreement!  He who rejects disagreement as "intolerant" is BEING "intolerant".

How anyone could square this with themselves I do not know, but I see it everywhere.  "Nobody can know who's wrong or right--except I'm right and you're wrong so you should just shut up."  Well, if NOBODY can know, how do YOU know?

Feb 15, 2016

No, Obama Didn't "Off" Scalia, and Shut Up About It Already

I've seen some people speculating on this, so I just have to say this:

No.  No he did not.  And stop being a dumbass.

There's zero logic in even speculating about this.  "Oh, there could be a cover-up!"  Do you have any EVIDENCE that there was a cover-up?  Lack of information is not evidence FOR something.  It's just a lack of information, probably because Scalia's friends and family don't want a giant media circus over his death, which, from the very first report, was pretty evidently going to happen.

But, by speculating that there "might be a cover-up", you're declaring two mutually exclusive and thus stupid things.

1.) Obama (or his staff) is smart enough to have a major public figure assassinated AND cover it up, BUT . . .
2.) He was too stupid to do it at the beginning of his first term when he'd be guaranteed to be able to appoint Scalia's replacement.

THINK about that for a second.  If you're going to off someone and then cover it up, the DUMBEST POSSIBLE TIME to do that would be to time it during a hotly-contested election campaign when it's INEVITABLY going to be come the Story Of The Year.  The point of a cover up is that you DON'T want the entire friggin country breathing down your neck while you're trying to bury the evidence.

Use some friggin sense, people.

Feb 11, 2016

Are all anti-vaxxers this dumb?

Isn't there some sort of tenet that if you're going to write something intended to be convincing, you have to actually address the REAL arguments put forth by your opposition?  Ran across this today.

This is not a description of what "herd immunity" means or how it works.  The idea behind "herd immunity" is not that it'll prevent anyone from ever getting the disease.  The point is to prevent the disease from becoming an *epidemic* by spreading rampantly from one person to another.  And this is precisely what the article fails to address.  It is the limitation of vectors for contagion that is important, not whether any given individual will or will not come down with symptoms.

There are exceptions--there's no "herd immunity" to tetanus, for instance, because you get that from dirt.  Short of sterilizing all the dirt on the planet it's highly unlikely that any amount of tetanus vaccination would have any real effect on the vector of this disease.

But Influenza, Measles, Mumps . . . you get those from *other people* (or animals, some of them).  If you never come into contact with someone who has one of these illnesses, you don't get them.  That's what herd immunity is and how it works.  It doesn't make populations "immune" to the disease.  It simply strips away most disease vectors for crowd diseases.  If there is an outbreak, it's not going to sweep the country and kill 20 million people.

Not that I think everyone should just blindly vaccinate.  For instance, the latest CDC recommendations include giving Hepatitis B vaccinations to young children.  Why?  You don't really need a Hep B vaccination unless you're going to be dealing with other peoples' bodily fluids on a regular basis, like a nurse or other medical professional.  Most kids don't need this.  And, yes, reactions do happen.  Vaccines are incredibly safe, but this isn't much comfort if you're that 1 out of 120,000.