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Why I can’t take Sea Shepherd seriously pt. 2

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

endbSguLPaul Watson of Sea Shepherd is angry that some unnamed official representative of the Faroe Islands supposedly dropped out of a televised debate with him. He’s now issued a challenge to any Faroese whaler or whaling supporter to debate him in the alleged offical’s stead. He’s making out that Faroese people are scared to debate him.

If he wants to debate Faroese whalers and whaling supporters and if he’s interested in them seeing his challenge at all, however, he might want to consider revoking his ban, dating from 13/08/2015, prohibiting every single person with a Faroese IP from seeing his Facebook page.

Who’s scared to debate who again?

Look, by all means be against Faroese whaling, but for crying out loud stop supporting this manipulative and dishonest hypocrite. He doesn’t care about whales, he doesn’t care about truth, he only cares about your money.

He’s not even present here on the Faroe Islands. He hides behind a keyboard spreading lies and propaganda, while fleecing impressionable young idealogues and sending them to do his dirty work for him.

Post edit: Not to mention that maybe Faroese officials don’t have the time to debate Paul Watson what with the upcoming general election on September 1st and all.

What language do you think in?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Since I speak Faroese, Danish, and English fluently, people often ask me which language I think in. I tend to answer I don’t think in language, because I like the incredulous reaction and because I genuinely think it’s a silly question. The question is seemingly based on the assumption that thinking is inherently a constant stream of monologue; an incessant talking to oneself inside one’s own head in a specific language – and only in that language.

Now, I don’t know what everyone else’s inner life is like. Perhaps I really am special in that I vocalise internally less than everyone else. Who knows? However, I am fairly certain the single-language internal monologue model of cognition doesn’t really describe anyone’s mind. I don’t think in language and if you actually stop to take notice of what’s going on inside your mind, I think you’ll find that neither do you.

First of all, let’s get the (more…)

Why I can’t take Sea Shepherd seriously

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

The 29th of June the Facebook page of Sea Shepherd Denmark wrote about how Faroese police threatens tourists with fines and up to 2 years imprisonment for refusing to participate in Faroese whaling. It’s since been pointed out to them numerous times that this simply isn’t true. Yet they have to date never issued a correction let alone an apology for their false reporting as basic human decency, journalistic ethics, and intellectual integrity otherwise would demand.

Sea Shepherd also have proclaimed a list of rules for debating on their Facebook page, which include such choice items as “don’t use arguments that have already been rebutted” and “don’t keep repeating undocumented claims.” So I asked them, speaking of which, when were they going to issue a correction and/or apology for having reported something that wasn’t true? Their response? They deleted my comment and banned me from commenting on their page. This is fairly par for the course and representative of my experiences with debating Sea Shepherd in general. For instance, Paul Watson still hasn’t acknowledged or apologised for his lie that there are Minamata victims on the Faroe Islands.

Look, I get being riled up and disagreeing vehemently with people on certain issues. By all means, be angry, be passionate, be vocal about your point of view that Faroese whaling is wrong. However, if you’re unable to support this point of view without resorting to lying – which it is. Let’s be frank, if it were an honest mistake you wouldn’t mind correcting it – if you wilfully perpetuate falsehoods after it’s been pointed out to you they’re falsehoods, even if you believed it to be true when you initially shared it, you are a liar. And if you then systemically quash critical voices pointing out your mistake, you’ve graduated from liar to propagandist.

If you’re unable to argue your point of view without deceit, then no, you cannot be taken seriously.

And it doesn’t bode well for the merits of your point of view either.

Update: They just repeated their false claim less then an hour ago.

Update 2: This evening Jacob Vestergaard, Minster of Fisheries, contradicted the statement by the Faroese government in saying the new law would be enforced to the letter. It’s doubtful that’s even possible. How do you go about proving that someone saw a whale pod and didn’t report it?

Thoughts on #Shirtstorm

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

matt_taylor_esa_shirtDr. Matt Taylor recently landed a spacecraft on a comet. He also happened to wear a shirt depicting scantily clad women to an interview. He subsequently issued a teary apology for his choice of apparel. My Facebook feed has since split in two. One half (mostly men but with exceptions) is outraged at Taylor’s treatment. The other half (mostly women but with exceptions) sees his shirt as symptomatic of the scientific community’s treatment of women.

I don’t think there’s actually (more…)

One of these days

Friday, October 17th, 2014

…people will have to stop being wrong on the internet.


Freedom will be defended at the cost of civil liberties

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Why do the prominent people I like keep munching on their feet? I’d only just finished dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ignorant condescension toward philosophers, (basically philosophers are bad scientists because Neil doesn’t understand philosophy) and now I discover that Sam Harris is proposing that muslims are profiled at airport security screenings.

Sam HarrisWe should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it. And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?) But there are people who do not stand a chance of being jihadists, and TSA screeners can know this at a glance.

PZ Myers was, as is his habit, a little too fast on the draw and immediately jumped to the conclusion that (more…)

Neil deGrasse Tyson makes a bad philosopher

Friday, April 27th, 2012
Dr. at the November 29, 2005 meeting of the NA...

Dr. at the November 29, 2005 meeting of the NASA Advisory Council, in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of days ago there was a minor kerfuffle between Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, and Neil daGrasse Tyson, the equally friendly astrophysicist, over the correct usage of the term ‘atheist.’ It wasn’t very interesting to me. Neil can call or refrain from calling himself whatever he wants. To me anyone who lacks a belief in gods is an atheist, but that’s how I choose to use the word. Some people use it differently. That’s fine. If they object to be called an atheist, I will respect their wishes even if I personally happen to think they are one. I share Neil’s disdain for arguing semantics. If both parties have (more…)

A Majority of Gawkers are Unable to Comprehend Percentages

Sunday, September 25th, 2011
Logo of website gawker.com, for use in article...

Image via Wikipedia

There’s this post over at Gawker with the shocking headline “A Majority of Icelanders Believe in the Existence of Elves.” What is the basis for this outrageous claim? Why, this study reported on Iceland Review, of course, which found that only 8% of Icelanders believe that elves definitely exist.

I must have skipped one too many math-classes in school and missed the one about 8% constituting a majority. Even if you add the amount of people, who believe in the likelihood of elves to the ones believing they definitely exist, that still only makes 25%

Gawker must have misread, right? The following, however, is part of their direct quote:

Only 13 percent of participants in the study said it is impossible that elves exist, 19 percent found it unlikely, 37 percent said elves possibly exist, 17 percent found their existence likely and eight percent definite. Five percent did not have an opinion on the existence of elves.

What the Hell, Gawker? Didn’t you even read what you were quoting? Okay, let’s be charitable. It’s true that a majority of Icelanders (62% > 50%, see how that works?) believe the existence of elves is at the very least possible. That’s fine. So what? So do I. Since elves aren’t, to my knowledge, logically self-contradictory there is a possible world at which elves exist. It might even be very close to ours.

I don’t really understand the questionnaire placing “possibility” between “unlikelihood” and “likelihood.” Unless the likelihood of something is either zero or one, it has no bearing whatsoever on the possibility of said something. Perhaps the researchers intended “possibility” in a more colloquial sense, but if so then they can hardly lament ambiguity in their results. In any case a majority believing in the possibility (no matter the sense) of something isn’t exactly sensational.

Let’s Flog the Anthropic Mare!

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

I just found this magnificent case of bad philosophy on Youtube. (Yes, I know! Who would’ve thunk it, eh?) While I would flatter myself unjustly were I to fancy myself a philosophical equivalent of the Bad Astronomer, (I wish!) my website is hardly about debunking bad philosophy. However, it is a guilty pleasure of mine because it gives me something to talk about. Especially when it’s a topic I’ve written about before.

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I have no idea (more…)

A soap opera star is a better philosopher than you

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

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Where’s your God now, William Lane Craig?