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User Journal

Journal Journal: There's One Way to Get What You Want 17

So a friendly journal reader linked from a comment in my last JE to the JE of user Pudge: The title of the JE is "Mormonism is a Cult, and So is Radical Atheism". Obviously I had a problem with the premise. The main problems I had were:

1. "Cult" was never well-defined
2. Pudge claimed that scholars provided his definition, but when I criticized his choice of scholar (Walter Martin, look him up on wikipedia and decide for yourself) as being a non-scholar he claimed this was ad hominem. So, to recap, it's relevant to say "dude is a scholar" to back up your claim that he said x, but it is a logical fallacy to say "dude is not a scholar" to criticize. So I suppose scholarship is a one-way street.
3. He consistently denied making a value statement by claiming that Mormons are a cult and refused to answer the question that would have made that clear ("Do you consider Christianity superior to non-Christianity?")

Well he threatened to foe me so that I couldn't post to his journal, but I just kept posting anyway, and he continued to respond. So I figured he realized my comments were in good faith. Then this morning I found a long reply from him with (gues what!) no option to reply. I'd been Foe'd. (comment here:

Now partly I just want to respond here. It's my journal, so I can, and I'll feel a little relief even if no one reads it. But partially I also want to vent about how pathetically spineless I consider this. A journal is your turf. If you want to keep from being hassled, that's your perogative. But if you don't like someone just foe them and have done with it. Posting an incredibly long article (before or after the foe) that you know they will not be able to respond to is pathetic. It's like radio show hosts who mute their callers and go on rambling monologues as though the caller was incapable of finding any whole in the logic.

What's more pathetic, however, is that you have some sad soul wandering around who's been so completely and totally mind-f***ed by the evangelical anti-cultists. The poor guy things Walter Marin is a scholar! The dude has never published a single article, review, or book with a scholarly source (only with evangelical presses), he used the title "Doctor" for nearly a decade with no PhD, and then just paid cash for a PhD from a diploma mill. This is scholarship? And in the face of mounting evidence against his idol, Pudge simply turns the criticism off. That's beyond sad.

So - some jewels from his untouchable comment:

So it's not ad hominem to say he's not a scholar (me)

No, but it is ad hominem to imply it is relevant to this discussion.

Then, one ponders, why did you bring up scholars to defend your "definition" in the first place?

False. In fact, you demonstrated nothing of the sort. In fact, other uses were noted separate from Martin. In fact, you did not show anything about what "most scholars" think, only what one person said most scholars think, or some other similar nonsense.

So, for those who don't want to read the comments, Pudge has provided a vague and worthless definition of "cult" and claimed that many scholars backed it up, but only provided one name. An evangelical. I quoted to professors of sociology who argued the term "cult" had no meaning left. Oh well...

Then he just launches into the longest stream of calling things "ad hominem" I've ever seen. Including:

If you think Christianity is better than non-Christianity, then calling Mormons non-Christian is a value statement. (me)
Again, ad hominem. (pudge)

Here's more good times:

But you haven't actually removed the religious bias, you've just swept it under the rug. The bias creeps back in when you decide which religion to use as the basis. If a Mormon uses your definition of cult, then evangelicals are a cult. But you've only applied it one way. (me)

In fact, no. You could not be more wrong. The definition assumes that the parent religion is the one to use as the basis. So Judaism cannot possibly be a cult of Christianity, and Protestantism cannot possibly be a cult of Mormonism, because it gets the parent-child relationship backward. And of course, I stated this clearly up front. (pudge)

For our viewers at home, Mormonism claims to be the original Church of Christ. Thus, if Mormonism is true, it is the mainstream Christians who are the child religions and Mormonism = Church of Christ is parent religion. I'm not trying to argue my doctrine against his, I'm pointing out that you can't define the "parent/child" relationship without religious bias. Only by assuming that Mormon doctrine is false do you end up with "Mormonism must be the parent". An objective reading would say "from the perspective of Mormonism, they are the parent and from the perspective of mainstream Christianity, they are the parent".

Anyway... my dealings with Pudge make me yearn for a "Coward of the Week" award. Anyone else think that's a good idea?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot Really Likes Porn 16

So porn came up again on Slashdot. This is always fun for me. The first rule of Slashdot is "Don't question porn." The second rule of Slashdot is "Dont' question porn". You get the idea. So when you do question porn, the Slashdot mods (who, let's be honest, have about a 90 - 95% chance of having GBs of porn on their computers) get angry. In my last round I got modded one +5 informative or insightful or whatever, and sure enough - the angry slashdot gods sweep in. Next thing you know I've got something like 1 offtopic a couple flamebaits and a couple trolls. I know what it takes to get a flamebait or a troll on Slashdot, and under normal circumstances (e.g. on any other topic) this would not cut it. But when you have broken rule #1 (and #2!!!) any excuse will do.

I'm not whining that I deserve higher mods. I could care less what I get modded. I just think the pattern is very clear and interesting. Violators of rule #1 (and #2!!!) will be punished. Luckily, the only punishment available is a few downmods. Boohoo.

Check for yourself at my comments attached to "Germans Pursuing Kiddie Porn in Second Life."

United States

Journal Journal: Yes, Fire collapses steel structures 5

"9-11 Truthers" say that there is no possible way that fire could cause the support beams in The World Trade Center to weaken, causing the buildings to collapse. On April 29, 2007 in Oakland California, a tanker truck hauling gasoline wrecked and burst into flames. Fortunately, no one was killed, but the resulting fire weakened the support structure of an overpass causing it to collapse. This, according the the truther argument, is impossible.

Of course, jet fuel is not gasoline. Jet fuel is much like diesel, it burns much hotter and slower than gasoline. Also, the Boeing 767 has a capacity of up to 24,000 US gallons of jet fuel. The tanker that crashed in Oakland had 8,600 gallons capacity.

Any truthers (other than Rosie, of course) care to take a stab at this one? Is this enough to make them say, "Hey, maybe planes did take down the WTC", or did the government secretly blow up the overpass to prove the truthers wrong?


Journal Journal: Moderator Guidelines 10

From HERE:

Concentrate more on promoting than on demoting. The real goal here is to find the juicy good stuff and let others read it. Do not promote personal agendas. Do not let your opinions factor in. Try to be impartial about this. Simply disagreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it down. Likewise, agreeing with a comment is not a valid reason to mark it up. The goal here is to share ideas. To sift through the haystack and find needles. And to keep the children who like to spam Slashdot in check.

I only bring this up because it seems that SlashDot is turning into more of a DailyKOS than a TomsHardware or an Engadget.

User Journal

Journal Journal: After 12 Days: Story Submission Still Pending 7

Right so I submitted a story on March 2nd pondering whether there were more vista installs or uninstalls. Now I'm not whining that my story has not been posted. Of the 6 stories (other than this one) that I've submitted to Slasdhot 4 have been rejected 1 accepted as is and 1 accepted by clustered with other stories.

It's 12 days later, and the story is still "pending". Does this strike anyone else as odd? I did put it under the "Ask Slashdot" section - so maybe questions take longer than stories. Who knows. But I find it odd that I'm 2 days away from the 2 week mark and the story is still in submission limbo.

User Journal

Journal Journal: What are Foes For? 4

So I've been looking through my "Freaks" list today. I have 10 or 20. I got curious as to why these people decided to put me in their "Foes" categories, so I started looking through their entries. I was hoping to see either an out-and-out disagreement I'd had with them, or at least some kind of blatant example of an idea or political viewpoint they held that I didn't, or that I held and they disagreed with. The results: nada. One had a blog. Reading through I saw s/he seems to have a problem with anyone who's opinionated. So that one is explained. But some of these folks have very few comments (none of substance) and yet they mark me as "Foe".

I'm just bemused by it. I understand the "Friend" ranking. Or at least, I find it useful. I have my friends all modded up at +5 so I'm more likely to see comments they have. But I don't have any foes myself. What would be the point? I suppose if I ran into some poster again and again and we always got into an argument it would be fun to have an official "arch-rival" or something, but just lurking and labeling people "Foe"? Strikes me as cowardly, pointless, or both.

User Journal

Journal Journal: First (and last?) Entry

So, who the hell wants to read this scrawl of mine, or that of any other unknown netizen? Why on earth would I want to put my random thoughts down here? Is this space really just a blog for my amusement? And just exactly how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-Pop?...the world may never know! OOPS...

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