1173: "Steroids"

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nowhereman
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1173: "Steroids"

Postby nowhereman » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:25 am UTC

Image

title text:"A human is a system for converting dust billions of years ago into dust billions of years from now via a roundabout process which involves checking email a lot."

A human is a way to increase entropy of a system by way of air conditioners and radios to make the humans feel good.

Also, I think the steroid thing is stupid. I frankly don't care. However, seeing as I don't care about sports in general, I doubt my opinion matters.
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rhomboidal
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:26 am UTC

That reminds me, I really need to stop using "sack of chemicals" on my CV. And Match.com profile.

(And I have a nagging suspicion about the real conspiracy behind steroid abuse.)

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Editer » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:44 am UTC

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby niky » Wed Feb 13, 2013 5:45 am UTC

I've always thought they should just have two contests... one for regular athletes, and one for "all natural" athletes... just like in body-building.

Next thing you know, they'll be banning surgical modification.

Of course, if that prevents tennis players from getting breast reductions, I'm all for it.
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Eutychus » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:00 am UTC

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Eff Five » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:03 am UTC

Am I the only one who thinks the floating thing is NSFW

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Djehutynakht » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:11 am UTC

Let's have some philosophical debate on what the floating thing is.

Or mindless internet trolling. But I prefer the former.
_____________

Interesting perspective to put on it.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Primis » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:25 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:Let's have some philosophical debate on what the floating thing is.

I think the floating thing is a sentient being that exists merely as energy within our dimension. It has no body, just a pinhole in the space-time fabric that can communicate with us through some means (I'm betting on manipulation of the size of the hole, causing sound waves) and is obviously never heard of Barry Bonds
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Zenning » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:48 am UTC

Hey, New poster here, But I've been following the comic for a long time, and normally I'm fine with his comics, or find it silly, or fun, or what ever, with the Instagram one being the only one that really bugged me, but I have to say, this one is pretty damn terrible.

See, as someone who's seen this kind of thing first hand, let me go ahead and say that the problem with Steroids isn't that it makes people too good, its that its horribly bad for you. Now, I can see people saying that "Well, if you're willing to take the risk...", and I can see where you're coming from, but the main problem is that since it does improve performance by a noticeable amount (and in high level sports every tiny performance boost matters), it will eventually mean that everybody will have to take it to keep up. And frankly, that is complete and utter bullshit, and people should not have to fall to that level.

Feel free to disagree (I'd love to hear why of course), but I'm afraid that I think this comic was terrible it what it was trying to say.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby sehkzychic » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:53 am UTC

While I do agree that the steroid scandal is a rather uninteresting issue for a lot of people, there really is a practical reason for it. Professional sports is a multi-billion dollar industry (in fact, even collegiate American football by itself has revenues in the billions). Athletes in these sports accept huge amounts of money to perform and showcase their abilities. (Whether or not sports and athletes should be so highly valued is moot, since the fact is that they already are, financially. That ethical debate would be...well, a whole different ballgame, so to speak.) They also agree that they will hold no truck with those aforementioned chemicals they eat (I'm a little skeptical about how many modern performance-enhancing drugs are actually ingested rather than injected/transfused, but I digress). It's not simply that they eat stuff that makes them run faster and that's bad; it's that they eat particular stuffs that they vowed not to eat and accept huge sums of money for secretly breaking those vows. That's why the government gets involved: people (players, trainers, coaches, etc.) are making a lot of money through fraudulent means.

(Oh, and my first thought was that the floaty-ball-thing was the Shame Orb from Questionable Content.)

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Re: 1173: Steroids

Postby VectorZero » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:12 am UTC

s/steroid/peptide

And you've got 90% of Australian sports reporting for the last fortnight.
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najodleglejszy
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby najodleglejszy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:12 am UTC

topic title should be "Steroids" instead of "Steriods", steriod.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby jadoth » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:14 am UTC

sehkzychic wrote:While I do agree that the steroid scandal is a rather uninteresting issue for a lot of people, there really is a practical reason for it. Professional sports is a multi-billion dollar industry (in fact, even collegiate American football by itself has revenues in the billions). Athletes in these sports accept huge amounts of money to perform and showcase their abilities. (Whether or not sports and athletes should be so highly valued is moot, since the fact is that they already are, financially. That ethical debate would be...well, a whole different ballgame, so to speak.) They also agree that they will hold no truck with those aforementioned chemicals they eat (I'm a little skeptical about how many modern performance-enhancing drugs are actually ingested rather than injected/transfused, but I digress). It's not simply that they eat stuff that makes them run faster and that's bad; it's that they eat particular stuffs that they vowed not to eat and accept huge sums of money for secretly breaking those vows. That's why the government gets involved: people (players, trainers, coaches, etc.) are making a lot of money through fraudulent means.

(Oh, and my first thought was that the floaty-ball-thing was the Shame Orb from Questionable Content.)


I think the bigger more important reason and reason that the bans are there in the first place is that many (most?all?) performance enhancing drugs have long term negative health effects. We don't allow performance enhancing drugs in sports or even performance enhancing drug only leagues for the same reasons we would not allow a company to pay people to work with mercury with there bare hands.

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Re: 1173: Steroids

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:23 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:s/steroid/peptide

And you've got 90% of Australian sports reporting for the last fortnight.
and the other 10% is about AFL during the off season.

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Samik
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Samik » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:10 am UTC

When it comes to the 'steroid scandal', it's one of those cases where I often feel like either I'm missing something or everyone else is. I never hear anyone talk about what, to me, is the most obvious and significant reason for banning their use.

Forget for a minute the Lebron James's and Barry Bonds's and other such superstars - players that would certainly have been good enough to make the majors without steroids, and where the only question is whether they would have been an all-time great without them. Instead, consider the overwhelming majority of athletes in the world who are somewhat closer to that cusp of being able to make a living off of their sport. The tens of thousands or more around the world who aspire to make the majors, and are somewhere between falling a bit short to making it by a bit. In other words, all of the non-star role players who make it as long as everything goes right, but have little margin for error, and their counterparts on the other side that don't quite make it.

Imagine that you are one of these players, perhaps, for example, in the NBA's developmental league, making maybe 25k a year and working your tail off for that, knowing that you don't have many other prospects if this thing doesn't pan out for you. Imagine that you know that you're right on the cusp, and that any little thing could be the difference between making it and not making it - an injury, a little bit of networking, one good/bad game in front of a scout, etc.

Now imagine knowing that a bunch of your colleagues are using steroids. How would you feel if someone else right about at your level beats you out for the spot on some big league team's roster, and you knew s/he was a user? Maybe the steroids made the difference and maybe they didn't, but the thought would fester in your mind. You'd feel tremendous pressure to take every possible step to give yourself every possible advantage to succeed. Imagine failing, and knowing that you were right on the cusp, and you didn't do everything you could do. You didn't exploit every advantage you could, when others were. You stuck to your guns and didn't take steroids when many others were, and it maybe made the difference and cost you your shot.

No matter what you felt about steroids personally, you'd fell immense, immense pressure to use. Tell me you wouldn't, if you were one of these on-the-cusp guys/gals.

As long as there is any reasonable concern about health risks or long term physiological changes due to steroids, it is not fair to allow an environment to develop where athletes feel that tremendous pressure to use them.

And even if it were absolutely known without doubt that certain steroid regimens could be used safely and with no long term effects, it would only shift the nature of the quandary slightly - the athletes that are on safe, sustainable regimens would always feel at a disadvantage (rightly or wrongly) against the ones that pushed the envelope and used greater quantities and more exotic varieties.


If you allow steroids, whether de facto or de jure, you're putting anyone who personally truly wants to stay clean in an awful, awful situation.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Kit. » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:37 am UTC

The goal of the professional sports industry is not to discover the winners, but to make money on entertaining the public. There is a plenty of reasons why allowing steroids goes against this goal.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Klear » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:25 am UTC

sehkzychic wrote:While I do agree that the steroid scandal is a rather uninteresting issue for a lot of people, there really is a practical reason for it. Professional sports is a multi-billion dollar industry (in fact, even collegiate American football by itself has revenues in the billions). Athletes in these sports accept huge amounts of money to perform and showcase their abilities. (Whether or not sports and athletes should be so highly valued is moot, since the fact is that they already are, financially. That ethical debate would be...well, a whole different ballgame, so to speak.) They also agree that they will hold no truck with those aforementioned chemicals they eat (I'm a little skeptical about how many modern performance-enhancing drugs are actually ingested rather than injected/transfused, but I digress). It's not simply that they eat stuff that makes them run faster and that's bad; it's that they eat particular stuffs that they vowed not to eat and accept huge sums of money for secretly breaking those vows. That's why the government gets involved: people (players, trainers, coaches, etc.) are making a lot of money through fraudulent means.


You're overlooking the whole "steroids will destroy their bodies and if you legalize them everybody in sports will be forced to use them.

Nicely said by Samik above.

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Totally Guy
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Totally Guy » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:10 am UTC

I hear rumours that some musicians have taken creativity enhancing drugs. I think that the anti-doping agency ought to target those gold records they have on their walls and any awards won for works made under the the influence of banned substances.

Gargravarr
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Gargravarr » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:55 am UTC

This comic hinges on a faulty premise. Sports is not about who's fastest and strongest. It's about who performs best under a given set of rules. A sport is fully defined by its rules. Players who ignore them aren't allowed to play, because they spoil the sport.

The rules are often arbitrary. Some exist only for the sake of internal consistency, but some have external reasons also. Doping isn't allowed for the same reason a soccer player can't pick up the ball and run with it. But it's also disallowed because it occasionally makes players sick or injured or dead. Which is not the intended result of most sports.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby drazen » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:43 am UTC

You're overlooking the whole "steroids will destroy their bodies and if you legalize them everybody in sports will be forced to use them


Or mentally unstable, in some instances, right?

Take the NFL, just for one example. They're already 300+ lbs and handing out concussions like Halloween candy. Dude from KC went nuts and killed his girlfriend and himself this year.

The poster above said it best: all sports have rules, some arbitrary. Golf is a terrific example: it has a rule for just about everything. Even Jack Nicklaus has come out against some of them (such as the out of bounds and lost ball penalty of "stroke plus distance" being too severe at the amateur level, and suggesting that amateurs be able to treat these situations as de facto lateral hazards, for speed and enjoyment).

If steroids are legal, what about equipment bans? If chicks dig the long ball, let's just cork every bat! Golf can bring back grooved wedges and I guess they shouldn't get rid of the anchored putter, either. How about springs on the feet of basketball players? Let soccer players punch the ball, it's just as good as a header and less painful.

Also, lots of kids look up to athletes. If the athletes are all on steroids, a lot of kids will want to do them too. It's a terrible example to set and leads to bad consequences for everyone.

I don't think steroids should be legally banned, but I am fine with a private sports league enforcing a no-steroids policy. It's sensible and no more unfair than anything else they do. Frankly, I find the ideas of having the whole team get off the plane in suits, or having to share rooms in a hotel, or pretty much any other rule NOT about player health and safety, to be far more ridiculous than a sport banning steroids.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:48 am UTC

niky wrote:I've always thought they should just have two contests... one for regular athletes, and one for "all natural" athletes... just like in body-building.

Next thing you know, they'll be banning surgical modification.


You should read The Science Fictional Olympics (http://www.asimovreviews.net/Books/Book301.html). A collection of short stories where anything and everything goes in competition.

And yes. The health concerns of steroids should be the driving force behind their ban. Use of such enhancements are already rampant. Once they become the standard, our atheletes are going to start dropping like flies.

Plus it'll open a world where money dictates the top performers. Whoever feeds the most cash into their programs will have all the wins. Even more so than it already is now...

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby hordriss » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:14 pm UTC

Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.
Nice Ash Wednesday reference, Randall!

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby IntadtRaptor » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:15 pm UTC

Hover text is eerily appropriate for Ash Wednesday.

Edit: Ninja'd by hordriss

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby mward » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:27 pm UTC

Gargravarr wrote:Doping isn't allowed for the same reason a soccer player can't pick up the ball and run with it. But it's also disallowed because it occasionally makes players sick or injured or dead. Which is not the intended result of most sports.
Most, but not all:
http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2778

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby bobthegreat0112 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:06 pm UTC

Regardless of the intention of the sports institutions, the ban on anabolic steroids is justified on the matters of health and finance. The side effect profile at prescription dose is ugly enough that docs avoid prescribing it where possible, but at abused doses you see things like children failing to ever gain their full height, infertility, psychiatric manifestations, and severe liver and heart disease. It doesn't behoove the sports teams to have their highly valuable players keeling over part way through the contracts.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Gargravarr » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:11 pm UTC

mward wrote:
Gargravarr wrote:Doping isn't allowed for the same reason a soccer player can't pick up the ball and run with it. But it's also disallowed because it occasionally makes players sick or injured or dead. Which is not the intended result of most sports.
Most, but not all:
http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2778

Almost makes me want to write Headbricking the video game. Like Bloodbowl, but with more brains.

relaxing
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby relaxing » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:11 pm UTC

Klear wrote:You're overlooking the whole "steroids will destroy their bodies and if you legalize them everybody in sports will be forced to use them.

Came here to say this.

Also it was disappointing to see such active ignorance coming from xkcd.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby metatron5369 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:14 pm UTC

It's not just the players, it's the kids who want to be these players.

We already see it trickling down into college sports, what's next? High school?

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby MenacingBanjo » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:21 pm UTC

You guys are ignoring the root question that this comic raises, and that is: "What the heck is that weird, shiny, floating spot?"

The only clues we have are its visual appearance and the fact that it only speaks in italics. The very website designed to explain xkcd comics currently names this apparently sentient speck as "Something".

The fact that we have a comic with a floating talking dot in it would indicate that Randall is eating chemicals that make him too high.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Don Calvus » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:28 pm UTC

drazen wrote:Let soccer players punch the ball, it's just as good as a header and less painful.


It's actually a lot more painful (and stupid: your fingers are less solid than your skull). Actually a header is not supposed to be painful. If it is, you hit it poorly; or the ball is not a football. Maybe a basketball: in case you're stupid.

It is true, however, and rather obvious, that headshots actually destroy braincells. But, hey, what doesn't?

drazen wrote:Also, lots of kids look up to athletes. If the athletes are all on steroids, a lot of kids will want to do them too. It's a terrible example to set and leads to bad consequences for everyone.


Lots of kids look up to rockstars, too. And most of them are alcoholics, not to mention their use of illegal drugs. (And I wouldn't listen to a band whose members never drank a glass. (Well, I did. It's terrible.) And I wouldn't read a line by an Apollinaire who didn't drink absinthe.) The problem starts when you want public figures to become symbols or models for kids. Teach kids how to use a brain and a freewill, it's fucking wiser. And not that difficult, I'm sure.

All about education, as very often.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Barstro » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:56 pm UTC

Samik wrote:As long as there is any reasonable concern about health risks or long term physiological changes due to steroids, it is not fair to allow an environment to develop where athletes feel that tremendous pressure to use them....

If you allow steroids, whether de facto or de jure, you're putting anyone who personally truly wants to stay clean in an awful, awful situation.


Even without the pressure, steroids need to be kept "illegal". There are known bad side-effects. If steroids are allowed, then the sporting world (based on all of Samik's prior reasoning) would be encouraging their use. One step further; encouraging people to harm themselves. There was (maybe still is) a lawsuit by former NFL players against the league for long-term injuries because the league should have known there were health risks involved in the sport and done more to protect the players. I guess that the players had no reasonable way to know that what they were doing could injure them. :?

At any rate; fans and owners want better, more exciting games, and want to win. In essence, they want the players (well, their players at any rate) to do whatever it takes to win. But they have to say that steroids are illegal or else risk many lawsuits for encouraging overly dangerous environments.

I'm sure most of us remember the horrible accident during the weight lifting competition at the All Drug Olympics.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby gerv » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:08 pm UTC

Awesome, and absolutely true. So many of Randall's comics unintentionally point out the inconsistencies of those who believe in evolutionary abiogenesis.

"We humans are sacks of chemicals which stay alive by finding other chemicals and putting them inside us."

* If humans are just "sacks of chemicals", what is this "alive" of which you speak? Is it just a slightly more vigorous reaction during a certain period of the sack's existence?

* What is this "us" of which you speak? Why the arbitrary distinction between the solid/liquid block of chemicals you like to refer to as "you" and the gaseous ones you like to refer to as "air"?

* Also, what is the purpose of these contests? How is it praiseworthy for your set of chemicals to react to achieve one particular entirely arbitrary change a little faster than other sets? Why is "slower" not equally commendable?

And so on.

Gerv

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby cellocgw » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:11 pm UTC

niky wrote:I've always thought they should just have two contests... one for regular athletes, and one for "all natural" athletes... just like in body-building.

Next thing you know, they'll be banning surgical modification.

Of course, if that prevents tennis players from getting breast reductions, I'm all for it.
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby cellocgw » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:15 pm UTC

Gargravarr wrote: But [doping is] also disallowed because it occasionally makes players sick or injured or dead. Which is not the intended result of most sports.


Hey, I'm a major Rollerball fan, you insenstive clod!
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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby wumpus » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:18 pm UTC

Anyone notice that most of the accusations in this year's super bowl centered around players healing something like 2-5 times faster than normal?

I'm assuming that any drug research on the topic is banned in the US. Can't reduce medical costs now, can we.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Harry Voyager » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:20 pm UTC

Yea. The big problem with Steroids is, they will kill you. Even those of us who are kept alive by them are slowly being killed by them; it's more a question of, would you rather drop dead in the next few weeks, or would you rather lose a decade or two off of your otherwise natural life.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby dp2 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:23 pm UTC

It looks like Randall is using the Doonesbury method of using a floating object to represent a President. Funny, I would have guessed that he liked Obama.

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby J L » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:55 pm UTC

The alt text was very Douglas Adams. The email is the digital watch of our decade :)

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Ken_g6 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:52 pm UTC

dp2 wrote:It looks like Randall is using the Doonesbury method of using a floating object to represent a President. Funny, I would have guessed that he liked Obama.

That was my first thought too. But then I thought, this is XKCD, it must be a nerd thing. Now I figure it must be this.

The problem I see with drugs is in people being forced to take them. This should hit home with this crowd: there are existing brain enhancement drugs and people are working on more. Imagine if your boss gave you an absurd workload, that practically required you to take an amphetamine. I've never taken such a drug and never want to have to start. But if they were more legalized it could happen. I hear a lot of college kids take them already.

As for peptides, I'm more confused. What's the difference between injecting peptides and eating a nice, tender, juicy steak? Though I can certainly understand not wanting to eat a cellular peptide cake with mint frosting. :wink:

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Re: 1173: Steriods

Postby Draconaes » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:55 pm UTC

gerv wrote:Awesome, and absolutely true. So many of Randall's comics unintentionally point out the inconsistencies of those who believe in evolutionary abiogenesis.

"We humans are sacks of chemicals which stay alive by finding other chemicals and putting them inside us."

1)* If humans are just "sacks of chemicals", what is this "alive" of which you speak? Is it just a slightly more vigorous reaction during a certain period of the sack's existence?

2)* What is this "us" of which you speak? Why the arbitrary distinction between the solid/liquid block of chemicals you like to refer to as "you" and the gaseous ones you like to refer to as "air"?

3)* Also, what is the purpose of these contests? How is it praiseworthy for your set of chemicals to react to achieve one particular entirely arbitrary change a little faster than other sets? Why is "slower" not equally commendable?

And so on.

Gerv


Numbered responses:

1) If you are really interested in how living things are defined, it shouldn't be too hard to find it yourself. According to Wikipedia, Life vs Non-life is "a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not". You can find other more detailed definitions, and there's some disagreement over the exact criteria. Of course, there's some grey areas (Is a virus alive or not? It meets some criteria I've seen but not others, and changing the criteria only seems to shift the grey areas), but it's not very hard at all to distinguish rocks from humans.

2) This really isn't separate from 1. It's a bit disingenuous of you to pretend there isn't a physical distinction (however fuzzy it may be at edge cases) between a random clump of matter and an organism.

3) Faster, in general, means the ability to move more quickly than something that is slower. It does not mean the lack of ability to move less quickly than it otherwise would. Therefore, regardless of other concerns, something that is faster is capable of more things than something that is slower. Is this praiseworthy? Apparently, since people praise it.

I also fail to see the relevance of any of this to abiogenesis (which is a separate thing from evolution), since none of your questions seems to pose any sort of challenge to it. I'm not sure what evolutionary abiogenesis is; evolution doesn't require abiogenesis, and abiogenesis doesn't require evolution. Can you define evolutionary abiogenesis?

edit: I'd actually love to see your answer to your "what is this "alive" of which you speak?" question. How do you define "Alive"?
Last edited by Draconaes on Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:01 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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