0764: "One Two"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Wnderer
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Wnderer » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:41 pm UTC

And numerolinguists don't think Babylonians counted on their fingers.
Babylonian.jpg

supermario
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:46 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby supermario » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:15 am UTC

I liked the comic and agree with Damien. The joke might have been in bad taste (although I'm guilty of laughing at it :P), but I doubt it was meant to offend. I see it as just playing on the seriousness of all the inter-major banter going on in lots of forums (and presumably campuses, but I have yet to encounter it there). Troll successful :twisted:

kenzie137 wrote:wow, all of you people must have a lot of time on your hands.


LOL, very true.

User avatar
styrofoam
Posts: 256
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 3:28 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby styrofoam » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:41 am UTC

Not funny. Anything like THAT again and xkcd leaves my RSS reader. No, I don't consider it particularly important to Randall whether xkcd is in my RSS reader, but it's important to me, and I don't want to read this sort of thing or vouch for a guy who writes it.

Seriously, this isn't funny. The comic catches one off guard, but doesn't make sense until after you read the alt text. And the alt text follows obviously from the comic. There's also a distinct lack of subtlety in the insult. (the insult isn't funny)
aadams wrote:I am a very nice whatever it is I am.

Penthesilea
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:03 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Penthesilea » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:16 am UTC

Gee, I really miss innovative humor that doesn't rely on bringing people down. Anthropology majors, History majors, Philosophy majors, yeah, they're the real enemy of intellectualism in this day and age. Does anyone else get the impression that Randal is having some insecurities about his intellect? Could they possibly stem from his success as an artist rather than a scientist? To bad his commentary implies a low level of understanding these subjects, other wise his pleas for intellectual respect could at least be humorous.

reduviid
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby reduviid » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:17 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
reduviid wrote:A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.


You philosophers think that you are important, therefore you are? But in reality, I can only think that you think that you are important, and I have no proof. Since science is based on proof, and I have no proof that you think, I can not think that you think you are important, so a contradiction exists, and the only way to solve this contradiction is to ignore philosophy majors altogether. No harm done.


Read this: http://www.amazon.com/Scientific-Method-Historical-Philosophical-Introduction/dp/0415122813 and then read this: http://www.jstor.org/pss/3748272 and get back to me.

User avatar
BioTube
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:11 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:22 am UTC

bmonk wrote:On the other hand, Economics apparently has no falsifiable methods, since anything can be explained, and any theory can be used to explain it. I often wonder how they choose the theory of the year...
Whatever gets them the biggest growth of pay and power - most economists are just cranks anyways(the idea that breaking windows could grow the economy was debunked hundreds of years ago and it's still treated as if it'll work).
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

User avatar
sugarhyped
Posts: 548
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:16 am UTC
Location: california

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby sugarhyped » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:30 am UTC

ubikuberalles wrote:
spriteless wrote:Man, it is amazing how adding "Zing!" lightens the tone of anything.


Personally I prefer the term "Bazinga!"


I was gonna say...
I wanted a signature. I don't know what to put here yet.

marmiiite
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:28 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby marmiiite » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:30 am UTC

As an anthropology/biology double major, I approve of the alt-text.

Durin
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 11:31 pm UTC
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Durin » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:05 am UTC

I'm getting tired of the elitism of my fellow Engineering/Science majors and I'm not even a freshman yet.

Edit:
I should say that there is a general view held by some of my future-engineering friends and it's just kind of grating. Whether Randall meant the title-text as a joke or not OR whether xkcd has a streak of perpetuating the stereotype doesn't mean much to me. It just brought the attitude to my head and left a poor taste in my mouth, but I've gotten over it mostly.

Furthermore, I can appreciate jokes at my expense and other people's expense but I didn't find the joke to be that well-done.
Last edited by Durin on Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

metaphysicist
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:15 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby metaphysicist » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:10 am UTC

marmiiite wrote:As an anthropology/biology double major, I approve of the alt-text.

I wish I could "like" this post.

kenzie137 wrote:wow, all of you people must have a lot of time on your hands.

They have a lot of free time, because they aren't getting real science majors. Bazinga!

And just to set the record straight, I meant this in a good-natured albeit ironic fashion. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Oompa-Loompas of science. Bazinga again.
<a href="http://www.nerdtests.com/ft_nt2.php">
<img src="http://www.nerdtests.com/images/badge/nt2/c0bb546d1852be0b.png" alt="NerdTests.com">
</a>

User avatar
ZLVT
Posts: 1448
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 3:56 pm UTC
Location: Canberra, Australia
Contact:

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby ZLVT » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:26 am UTC

Minthulf wrote:
ZLVT wrote:
phantomb wrote:
ZLVT wrote:I also disagree with the common line that there's no such thing as a primitive culture/language


Depends on what you mean by primitive, which is a pretty loaded word. What do you mean by primitive?


Exactly. I mean if we say that a cultures should be ranked based on how many achievements common to most cultures they themselves have achieved, I'm sure we'll find many cultures we can call primitive.

For instance, if we look at things like the invention of hierarchical society, specialised craftsmen, making complex tools (like bows and arrows), ability to build shelters, ability to make fire, development of written language, economy, representative government, domestication of animals, mining, cultivation of crops, etc. giving each advancement a value based on how wide spread it is and how long ago cultures discovered it (on average), we should be able to say that one culture is less advanced, or more primitive, than another culture.

Or we could simply look at the rate of advancement in the culture on social and technological fronts. If a culture stagnates as most of the australian aboriginal cultures did then given that other cultures were still advancing we could that that culture is primitive.

I'm mainly opposed to it when lecturers stress that all cultures are equal. If you can't build a hut or start a fire and are consequently at the mercy of the temperature in winter you clearly aren't on the same level as a culture which can.


The australian aborigines are hardly stagnated. They might not have a very complex material culture, but they have an immensely nuanced worldview, the intelectual complexity of which surpasses most mythological systems. Also are the technological advancements you mention necesary? Would you want to cultivate when there is allready a reliable pattern for food gathering? or need to create a hierarchal society? After all the more "civilized" of contemporary nations try to reduce the hierarchies. Dude think a bit before you open your mouth, there is a reason why we say cultures are equal, and that is because we cannot measure or even observe how they would rank. One feels inclined to put one's system at the top, but as long as a way of life is tenable and provides its participants with psychological, affective and physical sustenance it's just as good as any other.


sigh, something being primitive does not make it bad you're arguing a point I never made. I said that we can measure the advancement/primitiveness of cultures, not how good or bad they are. Although you might say not being able to keep warm in winter any more efficiently than curling up with a pack of dogs is a bad thing, particularly if someone falls ill and needs to be kept warm. So I would argue that some cultures are worse than others if those cultures cannot offer the same amount of protection from nature or rally around and work as a group to achieve something the individual can't.You don't need to build monuments, but rallying around a sick tribe member and caring of them as a group is going to ensure a higher chance of survival for any given tribe member (assuming there is enough food around for the healthy to hunt extra).

In either case, the point I was originally arguing that there is such a thing as a primitive culture. In the same way that techniques and tools used by early man to perform the tasks early man was wont to do are considered primitive a culture can be primitive, none the less, those tools and methods often turn out to be the most efficient way to get the job done, or very close to.

I checked wiki and primitive means:
Of or pertaining to the beginning or origin, or to early times; original; primordial; primeval; first; as, primitive innocence; the primitive church.
Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.
Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar.
(biology) Occurring in or characteristic of an early stage of development or evolution.

which basically means original, simple, or old. I think that a culture which doesn't change how it does things, the tools it uses, or its basic way of life, then it is primitive. They live the way they lived a long time ago, using their original techniques for cooking, hunting, building, tailoring, etc therefore they are primitive. In some cases they didn't construct anything, tailor anything, or cook when they couldn't harness a natural fire.

I'm not saying they aren't good, I'm just saying they're primitive.
22/♂/hetero/atheist/★☭/Image

Originator of the DIY ASL tags

User avatar
RockoTDF
Posts: 582
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 6:08 am UTC
Location: Tucson, AZ, US
Contact:

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby RockoTDF » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:01 am UTC

phantomb wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:I agree that we can't rank cultures or civilizations. And because we can't rank them it is absurd to say that they are necessarily equal. It is like saying that we have two numbers we can't measure, so let's assume they are equal.


Not really. In the case with the numbers, if we could measure them and find their value, we would then absolutely be able to rank them because in numbers, we have terms like "equal to", "greater than", and "less than" that have strict definitions. In the case of two cultures, even if we knew absolutely every fact about both cultures, we still wouldn't be able to rank them because there is simply no objective way to do so.


You aren't getting what I mean. I totally understand that we can't rank cultures. But that doesn't mean that we have to assume that they are all equal. For example, there is no way to objectively measure intelligence. There are many kinds of intelligence (mathematical, linguistic, artistic, etc), just like there are many aspects of a culture/civilization that one can consider (technology, religion, life expectancy, women's rights, etc). Do we assume that all people are of equal intelligence? Definitely not.
Just because it is not physics doesn't mean it is not science.
http://www.iomalfunction.blogspot.com <---- A collection of humorous one liners and science jokes.

Yossarian
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:19 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Yossarian » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:15 am UTC

Wow; it's been awhile since I've been in the fora...correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't people use to recognize and appreciate cheesy, over-played jokes for their shtick appeal and move on with their lives? After all the bad recycled puns Randall's made over the years, all of a sudden he actually intends a very common joke about a group of intellectuals to be a serious, elitist, mean-spirited insult? Really?

And did someone use a formula for humor to prove that this comic isn't funny?

I'm, um, going to bed.

mross
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:05 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby mross » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:54 am UTC

next time you troll, make sure your comic is at least interesting or important or funny or relevant or useful or well-drawn or well-written or... something.

we get it dude. you like science. you're supposedly afraid of raptors (HAHA SO QUIRKY). you enjoy pleasuring women orally, or at least fetishize doing so, or pretend to fetishize doing so because you believe that this will make you more attractive to women, who of course you spend lots of time around, even though, based on what little evidence is available, you seem to have no idea how they think, feel, speak, or act, which is strange considering that women are human, just like you; you'd think that you could at least believably extrapolate from this knowledge.

gotta say though, it's neat how so many nerds, who supposedly pride themselves on their critical thinking skills (which make them far superior to the UNWASHED MASSES ('cause racism is embarrassing and out of style, so us privileged white people will just have to settle for classism, never mind that the "unwashed" masses typically have better hygiene than the types of people who think it's okay to use the term "unwashed masses" to refer to their fellow human beings)) can't apply a tiny bit of basic reasoning and figure out that every single comic is designed to make them go "HOLY CRAP HE IS TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT BASICALLY ALL HOPELESS LOSERS WHO ARE WHITE AND 18 - 25 AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRESS THEMSELVES ARE INTERESTED IN OR AT LEAST HAVE HEARD OF. WHAT A GIANT COINCIDENCE THAT I AM ALSO AWARE OF THIS THING. ALSO WHY DON'T WOMEN LIKE IT WHEN I TALK TO THEM ON PUBLIC TRANSIT? DON'T THEY UNDERSTAND THAT I AM ENTITLED TO THEIR TIME AND ATTENTION AND POSITIVE REGARD REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT I AM ATTRACTIVE TO THEM, EVEN THOUGH I WOULD NEVER CONSIDER SPEAKING TO A WOMAN I DON'T FIND ATTRACTIVE?". never let it be said you don't know your market.

Minthulf
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:14 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby Minthulf » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:25 am UTC

ZLVT wrote:
sigh, something being primitive does not make it bad you're arguing a point I never made. I said that we can measure the advancement/primitiveness of cultures, not how good or bad they are. Although you might say not being able to keep warm in winter any more efficiently than curling up with a pack of dogs is a bad thing, particularly if someone falls ill and needs to be kept warm. So I would argue that some cultures are worse than others if those cultures cannot offer the same amount of protection from nature or rally around and work as a group to achieve something the individual can't.You don't need to build monuments, but rallying around a sick tribe member and caring of them as a group is going to ensure a higher chance of survival for any given tribe member (assuming there is enough food around for the healthy to hunt extra).

In either case, the point I was originally arguing that there is such a thing as a primitive culture. In the same way that techniques and tools used by early man to perform the tasks early man was wont to do are considered primitive a culture can be primitive, none the less, those tools and methods often turn out to be the most efficient way to get the job done, or very close to.

I checked wiki and primitive means:
Of or pertaining to the beginning or origin, or to early times; original; primordial; primeval; first; as, primitive innocence; the primitive church.
Of or pertaining to a former time; old-fashioned; characterized by simplicity; as, a primitive style of dress.
Original; primary; radical; not derived; as, primitive verb in grammar.
(biology) Occurring in or characteristic of an early stage of development or evolution.

which basically means original, simple, or old. I think that a culture which doesn't change how it does things, the tools it uses, or its basic way of life, then it is primitive. They live the way they lived a long time ago, using their original techniques for cooking, hunting, building, tailoring, etc therefore they are primitive. In some cases they didn't construct anything, tailor anything, or cook when they couldn't harness a natural fire.

I'm not saying they aren't good, I'm just saying they're primitive.

But on what are you basing your understanding of early or primeval?
The culture is contemporaneous with ours, it has changed. That it looks similar is not evidence for its primitivism. Rather that "primitivism" is a result of our belief in what a modern or developed society looks like. The development within one culture depends on the factors around it. Just as you would not call a group primitive because they never invented the fork (if all their food-sources are liquid), you should not call a group primitive because they haven't developed the same technology as your culture.
Furthermore the change needn't be in material culture, but ideology affects culture just as much. You can describe them as having a simpler material culture, but primitive is hardly an adequate term, as they are as derived from the first member of our species as are we in the "civilized" world.

davidvitaletheamazin
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:21 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby davidvitaletheamazin » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:28 am UTC

You can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people all of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

I registered to say this, but I think that's all that's needed to be said.

Durin
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 11:31 pm UTC
Location: Champaign, IL

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Durin » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:20 am UTC

mross wrote:next time you troll, make sure your comic is at least interesting or important or funny or relevant or useful or well-drawn or well-written or... something.

we get it dude. you like science. you're supposedly afraid of raptors (HAHA SO QUIRKY). you enjoy pleasuring women orally, or at least fetishize doing so, or pretend to fetishize doing so because you believe that this will make you more attractive to women, who of course you spend lots of time around, even though, based on what little evidence is available, you seem to have no idea how they think, feel, speak, or act, which is strange considering that women are human, just like you; you'd think that you could at least believably extrapolate from this knowledge.

gotta say though, it's neat how so many nerds, who supposedly pride themselves on their critical thinking skills (which make them far superior to the UNWASHED MASSES ('cause racism is embarrassing and out of style, so us privileged white people will just have to settle for classism, never mind that the "unwashed" masses typically have better hygiene than the types of people who think it's okay to use the term "unwashed masses" to refer to their fellow human beings)) can't apply a tiny bit of basic reasoning and figure out that every single comic is designed to make them go "HOLY CRAP HE IS TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT BASICALLY ALL HOPELESS LOSERS WHO ARE WHITE AND 18 - 25 AND DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRESS THEMSELVES ARE INTERESTED IN OR AT LEAST HAVE HEARD OF. WHAT A GIANT COINCIDENCE THAT I AM ALSO AWARE OF THIS THING. ALSO WHY DON'T WOMEN LIKE IT WHEN I TALK TO THEM ON PUBLIC TRANSIT? DON'T THEY UNDERSTAND THAT I AM ENTITLED TO THEIR TIME AND ATTENTION AND POSITIVE REGARD REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT I AM ATTRACTIVE TO THEM, EVEN THOUGH I WOULD NEVER CONSIDER SPEAKING TO A WOMAN I DON'T FIND ATTRACTIVE?". never let it be said you don't know your market.


Is it okay if I say your argument is the tiniest bit convoluted?

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5447
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:20 am UTC

I think ZLVT's proposed system is something like this:

Say there are four different evaluable aspects of culture; let say material, spiritual, intellectual, and social. It doesn't really matter for my purposes what they are or how many there are, I'm just picking a number and some names out of the air for illustration. All that matters is that we agree, as is not hard to argue, that some things are in fact better than others: efficient food production and effective medicine are materially valuable (better than starvation and sickness), peace and freedom are socially valuable (better than war and tyranny), knowledge and wisdom are intellectually valuable (better than ignorance), etc.

Hypothesize that all human groups began at in a common state of being "uncultured", which is however we were when we first became properly human and started to develop culture at all. (This is a forgone conclusion given the presumption that there actually is something called culture that humans have and at least some other animals don't). That state is the origin point of a phase-space of possible cultural evaluations. (But not possible cultures in their entirety, since we haven't ruled out the possibility that two different types of culture might evaluate the same in a given aspect; by analogy, two beams of light of different frequency might have the same luminosity, or in layman's terms, two different colors might be equally bright).

With all that established: the level of advancement of a society is its distance from that origin point: a civilization at (50,25,25,25) is more advanced overall than a civilization at (5,5,5,30), even though the latter is more advanced than the former in that last aspect. Since there are multiple axes of this phase-space, two cultures may be equally advanced but in different ways: one may be materially advanced but socially primitive, another may be socially advanced but materially primitive, whatever. (And one may be materially advanced in one area more so than in another, socially advanced in one area more so than another, etc).

By "primitive" here, all we mean is that their present state is more similar to that of humans as they were the moment culture first came into being. Of course they have all been around and changing in some way or another the same amount of time, but time is not one of the axes in the phase-space of possible cultural evaluations; you don't get points just for existing, and even if you did, we'd all have the same score in that department anyway. And all that changing they've been doing may or may not have been making any headway in any evaluable aspect: to use that analogy again, they might have just been shifting hues without getting any brighter.

Basically: if you allow that there was a point when something ancestral to present humans did not have culture and thus some point at which culture first came into being somewhere, and you allow that there are evaluable aspects of cultures (possibly, probably, several different ones), then you necessarily have a notion of progress (how much things have improved since the initial culture) and a corresponding notion of primitivism.

Of course, something I don't see much of anyone talking about is the possibility of regress from a primitive state: the idea that, maybe, things have gotten worse in some ways than they were when we all first started on with this culture thing. Three are (2^n)-1 quadrants (octants, etc) with negative values in them in an n-dimensional phase space, after all, and only one with all positive values...
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

Raijinili
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:17 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Raijinili » Sat Jul 10, 2010 7:29 am UTC

jc wrote:That's easy to explain. The math students read through them once or twice, understand them, and have no need of further explanation.

In other fields, including apparently philosophy but also most of the social sciences, people usually don't read the actual publications; they read "interpretations" that try to explain them to non-mathematicians. The result is complete misunderstanding of Russel's and Gödel's work. The misunderstanding is usually so egregious that further explanations are needed, but these are equally off the mark. This leads to even more (attempts at) explanation.

Among people with real math training, you often only need mention some relevant phrases, such as "set of all sets" or "true but unprovable" to get understanding looks and appropriate replies. In other fields, such unsubtle hints tend to either be ignored because their relevance isn't understood, or they lead to long, rambling discussion that avoid the points that brought up such comments.

Misuse of Gödel's famous theorem is so common that it's a meme/trope among the more knowledgeable. Such misuse ranks up there with the number of Eskimo words for snow as common examples of how people can get things so utterly wrong.

Is your bigotry ironical?

So math students don't talk about it as much because they understand it right away? I don't think that's it at all.

A math student might have less trouble with the language, but to say that they understand it so much more easily that they only need to talk about it once? Ha. You're vastly overestimating the level of math majors. Metalogic like the theory of theories of math is hard whether you're a philosophy student or a math student. In fact, some philosophy students might have an advantage, since they MIGHT be more used to thinking through things in a rationalist way, while a math major is used to having pictures and examples to get an intuitive idea. I'd bet if you ask math majors and philosophy majors about the Incompleteness theorem, the philosophy major would have a more in-depth understanding of it, while the math major would just be able to tell you the statement and the proof. Assuming that they're actually good at what they do, of course.

I propose an alternative explanation. Math doesn't talk about it because it's NOT THAT INTERESTING as math at the school level. It's over, done. You wouldn't really care about it until you're talking about, say, Model Theory, or doing research in that field. There's not much more you can do with it unless you're really really specializing in it.

On the other hand, philosophy wants to think about the implications of such a statement. What does it mean for our ability to know? Is it possible to make a different logical system in which we CAN know everything? Metalogic is interesting to rationalist epistemologists and model/proof theorists, and the first category makes up a much bigger portion of philosophers than the second category makes up in mathematicians.
Simetrical wrote:You take it as self-evident. If you really don't believe that such a clear tautology is true, there's no helping it. The truth of such simple statements needs to be accepted a priori before you can have any communication at all about anything. Trying to justify a sentence like that using language is essentially circular.

What was that quip about mathematicians? "When someone uses words like 'clearly' and 'obviously' as part of their proof, it means they don't know why it's true." So to say that it's a clear tautology, you're just avoiding the question of why it's true.

But let's take your third sentence at face value. You need to ACCEPT certain things to be true. A little like having faith. So at the root of it, math is based on faith? That's where epistemology comes in. We want to distinguish math from faith. We want to be able to say that there is a good reason to believe that logic is "real", that it's a source of true knowledge.
Simetrical wrote:Okay, I realized after I posted that that someone would come up with a math program where no one was asked to prove anything. Yes, there's a lot of variety in colleges, and I'm sure there are logic courses in some universities targeted toward philosophy majors that are more rigorous than logic courses in some other universities targeted toward math majors. But the overall point is still true.

Model theory isn't really mainline math. My school touches upon it in the graduate logic class, but to go further than that you would take specialist classes at the PhD program. The problem isn't the algebra, it's that you're taking the example from a hardcore-proof topic, way off the main road.

And I don't know much about the philosophy major, but I'm assuming it's sort of like the situation with math. Most philosophy majors would not have to deal with proofs, while a small subset which wishes to specialize in rational knowledge would go into hardcore proofs. Though it's also probably true that mainline philosophy majors have no experience in proofs at all, the applied math majors (those looking for a job in applying math rather than making math, I mean) are probably only a little better.
Simetrical wrote:(Don't try to weasel out of it by saying that you might die and find out that you have a soul which is physically detectable, or anything like that. You get my point.)

But that's exactly how it can be falsified. If someone built a machine that detects the soul, they would prove that your statement is false. It's perfectly valid, and the reason why it would be hard, if not impossible, to come up with an unfalsifiable statement is because you're tempted to say something like "it's unfalsifiable" in the statement, which is also falsifiable.
SirMustapha wrote:You are well within your rights to declare that one field of study is not interesting to you, but trying to declare it "not real science" because its "Realness Level" is below that of the "Real Science" as measured by your personal Geek-o-Meter is just plain arrogant.

You're making a rather stupid assumption about both the definition of real science and the value of real science.

1) What does it mean to not be real science? If it means that you don't spend time in a lab, then you can argue that anthropology isn't a real science.
2) Why is it bad to not be real science, under that definition?

Realize that you're not being insulted, you're being trolled. There's a difference in how you deal with that. Expressing anger, and talking about how your feelings were hurt, just encourages the troll.
Pfhorrest wrote:You do read a lot of old works, and the essays are usually about the issues discussed in those works, but rarely about interpretation of the works themselves ("did Plato mean this or that...") but rather about the validity of the arguments presented therein and the cogency of the premises of those arguments.
Thank you for your input as a philosophy major. My exposure to the major came in the form of an intro class, and years later an ethics class. The ethics class disillusioned me about academic philosophy. The professor said right away that he didn't care what we thought about the arguments and interpretations of The Republic, only that we understood what he (the professor) thought. I'm glad to see that it's not the same at the higher level, at least for analytic philosophy.

977XdRSZ
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:08 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby 977XdRSZ » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:46 am UTC

Simetrical wrote:
Raijinili wrote:Somewhat off-topic but... can you tell me for sure that a factual statement is either true or untrue? Or "A set is a set." How do you argue that that's true?

You take it as self-evident. If you really don't believe that such a clear tautology is true, there's no helping it. The truth of such simple statements needs to be accepted a priori before you can have any communication at all about anything. Trying to justify a sentence like that using language is essentially circular.
..
..
Black wrote:I don't know what point you are trying to make, I don't understand it.

Well, this whole subthread was a tangent spawned by someone saying that Godel's work was more likely to be seen in philosophy courses than math courses. I dunno if it has an actual point anymore, it seems to have taken on a life of its own (as such tangents are wont to do).
jc wrote:Misuse of Gödel's famous theorem is so common that it's a meme/trope among the more knowledgeable. Such misuse ranks up there with the number of Eskimo words for snow as common examples of how people can get things so utterly wrong.

Now that is definitely true. I know some philosophers know as much math as mathematicians on certain topics, but some philosophers (like others) also grossly misuse mathematics.


I find rather interesting, at least, to read in the same time things like "self-evident", "needs to be accepted a priori",
and statements about the misuse of Godel's theorem by philosophers.
Sometimes I think all you mathematicians are the true Parmenides and/or Plato's disciples..
Last edited by 977XdRSZ on Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:59 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Singulaire
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 10:05 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Singulaire » Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:01 am UTC

Allow me to summarize please:

1) XKCD is a webcomic. It is a comical piece. The contents of the comic are intended as jokes, not railing against this or that field. Has Randall really ever attempted to seriously discredit any science, real or no?
2) Our main problem seems to be that the reader base that stands to be offended by this humor refuses to so much as entertain the notion the title text might be a joke. It must be serious, Mr. Munroe cannot possibly be kidding, this has to be a cheap shot that attempts to discredit Anthropology by leveraging the power of online culture.
3) The readers whose feelings have been hurt, unable to accept the idea that they haven't actually been attacked, launch a counterattack by openly mocking the comic and claiming it to be objectively unfunny. It's fine if you don't think the comic is good, but we don't seem to have a wide consensus that it isn't, so please don't pretend that we do.
4) By extension of 3, the same readers also lash at anyone who calls them out on their behavior. Guys, this deficiency is perfectly normal and human to have. Your value is not lessened for having it. You don't need to defend your honor if someone points it out, especially not by way of glib arguments that go on saying something like "I'm not butthurt, this is just objectively bad, unfunny and stupid, and so are you".

SirMustafa, I'd be inclined to find the change you introduced to your post extremely funny, actually, if I could be convinced it is sincere.

P.S. I guess I'm also an idiot for treating this thread like Serious BSNS

graatz
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:24 pm UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby graatz » Sat Jul 10, 2010 12:56 pm UTC

reduviid wrote:A slam against anthropologists in the mouse-over, eh? But anyway it seems to bring good news. As "real science" is based on philosophy, I'll go ahead and assume that Randall will bow to our superiority.


If no one pointed out, http://xkcd.com/435/ :mrgreen:

User avatar
SirMustapha
Posts: 1302
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:07 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:34 pm UTC

Singulaire wrote:1) XKCD is a webcomic. It is a comical piece. The contents of the comic are intended as jokes, not railing against this or that field.


Look at this:
Image

Do you think, for a moment, that Randall didn't MEAN this?
Time and time again xkcd has worked as a vehicle of Randall's sincere thoughts -- like in that Idiocracy comic, in which one character serves as the paragon of common sense and sayer of correct things, while the other is a strawman who is there just to be discredited. Do you really think that a comic like that is just a joke, and not deliberate propaganda?

Come on. If Randall takes his business seriously (remember -- he makes money off the thing), it's HIS problem, not mine.

Singulaire wrote:2) Our main problem seems to be that the reader base that stands to be offended by this humor refuses to so much as entertain the notion the title text might be a joke. It must be serious, Mr. Munroe cannot possibly be kidding, this has to be a cheap shot that attempts to discredit Anthropology by leveraging the power of online culture.


That is an opinion that is confirmed by several other webcomics, as well as blog posts, YouTube videos and assorted comments by Randall himself that show he really takes his "science" business seriously. Besides, the actual alt-text itself was worded in a way that doesn't suggest a mere joke. It's odd but it's true: jokes have to be told as a joke. For example, if you're playing with a stereotype, you exaggerate that stereotype to make it clear that it has no parallel in real life; when you're playing around with misconceptions to make wrong claims, you have to make the point that the misconceptions are as bad as what you're trying to claim, and that the misconceptions are deliberate. That's exactly the problem: when Randall claims that anthropology is not a "real science degree", that opinion is echoed all over his older comics, and it sounds genuine; and the only claim Randall is making here is "anthropologists have it WAY easier than me, therefore as worth less than me, and only talk bullshit". THAT is the joke. Even if we take it as "just a joke", it's a braindead, shallow and vicious joke. And what are the responses we get here? "Oh, haha, those 'hard science' folks can be so silly with their misconceptions"? No, we get that "oh yeah, those 'humanities' folks who don't wear lab coats!". I have a hard time believing Randall would never imagine that happening.

Singulaire wrote:3) The readers whose feelings have been hurt, unable to accept the idea that they haven't actually been attacked, launch a counterattack by openly mocking the comic and claiming it to be objectively unfunny. It's fine if you don't think the comic is good, but we don't seem to have a wide consensus that it isn't, so please don't pretend that we do.


But aren't you pretending a consensus as well, with that talk of "Nooooo, you're completely wrong, Randall is JUST JOKING and if you disagree with that then you're clearly and absolutely wrong"? You're in no better position to judge your peers; maybe those folks have a bit of a point?

I, for one, am considering the opinion that "it's just a joke", and I'm explicitly disagreeing with it. I'm not blindly ignoring "The Facts" and hammering on my point. That thing of "you just don't get it", "you don't have to defend your honor" is just too easy.

Singulaire wrote:SirMustafa, I'd be inclined to find the change you introduced to your post extremely funny, actually, if I could be convinced it is sincere.


It was exactly the opposite of sincere! I did that exactly to show that appending a lame, affected "It's just a joke!" suffix AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT to a very clear and direct message is incredibly dishonest, and one cannot think that it will magically fix things. The damage has been done; it's too late for Randall to act as a victim. Think about it: I, at least, reposted my original comment with that little change; the original is still there. The original alt-text, though, isn't there anymore, so the later readers will understand the backlash even less.

User avatar
styrofoam
Posts: 256
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 3:28 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby styrofoam » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:42 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote:The original alt-text, though, isn't there anymore, so the later readers will understand the backlash even less.

Unless, of course, you look at the Alt-text on the first entry of this thread.
aadams wrote:I am a very nice whatever it is I am.

phantomb
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:40 am UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby phantomb » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:49 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:You aren't getting what I mean. I totally understand that we can't rank cultures. But that doesn't mean that we have to assume that they are all equal.


Yeah, it sort of does, in that if there is no objective way to rank something, the term equal is meaningless. This is what anthropologists mean when they say that cultures are equal. They don't mean that the cultures in question are equivalent in every possible way, they just mean that there's no objective way to say that one is better than another, and that to try and do so is to invite ethnocentrism into your perspective.

RockoTDF wrote:For example, there is no way to objectively measure intelligence. There are many kinds of intelligence (mathematical, linguistic, artistic, etc), just like there are many aspects of a culture/civilization that one can consider (technology, religion, life expectancy, women's rights, etc). Do we assume that all people are of equal intelligence? Definitely not.


Yes, we do (or should), and for the same reason. I can look at an artist and say that I'm more intelligent because my mathematical skill is better than his, and he can look at me and say that he's more intelligent because he has superior visual-spatial skills, but ultimately no one person is better than another at everything, and lacking an objective way to decide which kinds of intelligence are better than others, it becomes meaningless to try and rank people by intelligence. Right now our society tends to say that the mathematician is more intelligent than the artist, but this is a bias. In another society or at a different time, the majority of people might agree that the opposite is true.

xic
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:04 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby xic » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:07 pm UTC

Cue letters from anthropology majors complaining that this view of numerolinguistic development perpetuates a widespread myth. They get to write letters like that because when you're not getting a real science degree you have a lot of free time. Zing!


I'm turned around on this. Originally, all the title text did was remind me of this horrible attitude many people in my end of college seem to have. Now I think it's a joke. Randall is himself perpetuating a widespread myth. To not give him the benefit of the doubt here is a strange thing, considering we know well his attitudes and him hating anthropology doesn't seem to fit.

User avatar
il biggo
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:23 am UTC
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby il biggo » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:55 pm UTC

SirMustapha wrote: (remember -- he makes money off the thing)


Randall: stop making money, OK? Making money is EVIL.
Go back to school and live off your parents' allowance like everybody.
†wo heads are better than none.

Wheeler
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:49 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Wheeler » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:02 pm UTC

The alt-text has distracted everyone from the real issue, which is that the comic itself is ethnocentric tripe. Let's ask ourselves, what does Randall think is funny about this situation? The joke is at the expense of so-called 'primitive' peoples who haven't even developed real numbers, ha ha! Even if they had a children's television program like us, they would still only be able to count to two! HAHAHAHAHAHA. I bet they wish they could be as advanced as us, we who can count all the way up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

Also, re: primitive culture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_affluent_society

PeterWimsey
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:41 pm UTC

Re: " One Two" Discussion

Postby PeterWimsey » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:09 pm UTC

GyRo567 wrote:There are plenty of non-sciences that are useful. :]


I completely agree with this. Engineering, math, and CS, for example, have very practical applications despite the fact that they are not sciences.

(I registered for this because I found the alt-quote to be disturbing anti-intellectual.)

And if you want an example of a *hard* major, try Dance.

User avatar
styrofoam
Posts: 256
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 3:28 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby styrofoam » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

il biggo wrote:Go back to school and live off your parents' allowance like everybody.

I hope you're being sarcastic, since your parents have to make money for this to work.
aadams wrote:I am a very nice whatever it is I am.

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:23 pm UTC

Of course he's being sarcastic.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
il biggo
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:23 am UTC
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby il biggo » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:50 pm UTC

styrofoam wrote:
il biggo wrote:Go back to school and live off your parents' allowance like everybody.

I hope you're being sarcastic, since your parents have to make money for this to work.


Of course they would live off THEIR parents' allowance. Sheesh, it's so obvious. You don't even need a CS major to understand the inheritance of properties. :mrgreen:
†wo heads are better than none.

ShamelessRinger
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:53 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby ShamelessRinger » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

Blah blah blah debate anger stuff.

Whatever, all I know is that xkcd used to make me laugh. It hasn't in a while.

highlyverbal
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:43 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby highlyverbal » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

I thought the count said: Ah Ha Ha Ha

User avatar
BioTube
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:11 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby BioTube » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:16 pm UTC

Wheeler wrote:Also, re: primitive culture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_affluent_society
Primitive societies desiring less has more to do with being able to imagine less: thirty years ago, few people thought personal computers would become powerful enough that people would keep them casually and even fewer cared(Dyson's an even better example: half their innovations were to fix things nobody thought of as problems!). A hundred years ago, people were fine with outhouses and chamberpots(even kings, if we go back but a little further), but few would willingly give up indoor plumbing(even among those who weren't born with it). If we can paint a single point as the dividing line between a primitive and advanced culture, it'd be that were the majority worked mostly for what they wanted, instead of needed(a test a hunter-gatherer society fails hard).
Frédéric Bastiat wrote:Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.

RogueCynic
Posts: 404
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:23 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby RogueCynic » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

A B C D E F G. All the rest are beyond me. Those of us who play musical instruments are chuckling now. Sam Kinneson had a joke. If you wanted to perform oral sex on a woman, lick the alphabet.
Last edited by RogueCynic on Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:32 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
I am Lord Titanius Englesmith, Fancyman of Cornwood.
See 1 Kings 7:23 for pi.
If you put a prune in a juicer, what would you get?

the hamid
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:38 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby the hamid » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

Reminds me of this.

Turing Machine
Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:48 am UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby Turing Machine » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

Simetrical wrote:I'm aware that there are some philosophers who also deal with rigorous formal logic. However, an undergraduate course on logic (we were not talking about doctoral research or anything) targeted at philosophy majors will not require anywhere the same level of rigor as an undergraduate course on logic targeted at math majors. I'm quite sure of this, but if you have evidence to the contrary, I'd be interested to know.


At Harvard, Goldfarb's teaching out of his book Deductive Logic, as far as I know. When philosophy departments have "soft" logic courses that deal informally with arguments and fallacies, they usually call those courses "Critical Thinking". "Symbolic Logic" is still taught, and there's nothing informal about it - it's, well, symbolic logic. These are undergrad courses. Here are some undergrad philosophy course descriptions from MIT:

Logic I

Introduction to the aims and techniques of formal logic. The logic of truth functions and quantifiers. The concepts of validity and truth and their relation to formal deduction. Applications of logic and the place of logic in philosophy.

Logic II

The central results of modern logic: the completeness of predicate logic, recursive functions, the incompleteness of arithmetic, the unprovability of consistency, the indefinability of truth, Skolem-Löwenheim theorems, and nonstandard models.

Classical Set Theory

Introduction to the basic concepts and results of standard, i.e., Zermelo-Fraenkel, set theory, the axioms of ZF, ordinal and cardinal arithmetic, the structure of the set-theoretic universe, the axiom of choice, the (generalized) continuum hypothesis, inaccessibles, and beyond.

Theory of Models

Studies fundamental results in the model theory of the first-order predicate calculus. Includes completeness, compactness, Löwenheim-Skolem, omitting types, ultraproducts, and categoricity in a cardinal, starting with Tarski's definition of logical consequence, in terms of truth in a model.

So, yeah, undergrads are doing mathematical logic.

"Practically no one" is relative. But it's safe to say that there are a lot fewer people in pure math (I did make it clear from context I was talking about pure math) working on logic than on the other subjects I mentioned (analysis, algebra, topology, number theory). In absolute terms there are probably a fairly large number of people working on logic, of course.


But logic is interdisciplinary. Of course few people in pure math work on logic, because those working on logic are going to be spread among math departments, philosophy departments, and interdisciplinary programs like the one at Berkeley. This says nothing about logic and everything about essentially arbitrary departmental classifications. Logic is part math and part philosophy. Wherever heavily mathematical logic is being done, it's occupying "math people" in the study of logic. That study has had a rebirth in recent decades.

You could extend your fallacy. You could say that practically no one in pure philosophy is doing natural philosophy. Well, what is natural philosophy? It's science.

User avatar
3rdTex
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:58 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby 3rdTex » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:37 pm UTC

il biggo wrote:
SirMustapha wrote: (remember -- he makes money off the thing)


Randall: stop making money, OK? Making money is EVIL.
Go back to school and live off your parents' allowance like everybody.


I understand if you disagree with his point, but don't distort it by quoting totally off-context and mocking an idea SirMustapha didn't express. Nobody said money is evil, just that making money out of something means you take it seriously. Those are quite clearly different, and you deliberatelly ignoring that means to me you either didn't read his post at all or that you are trolling. Don't be obtuse.

RogueCynic
Posts: 404
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:23 pm UTC

Re: "One Two" Discussion

Postby RogueCynic » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:34 pm UTC

il biggo wrote:
SirMustapha wrote:
(remember -- he makes money off the thing)


Randall: stop making money, OK? Making money is EVIL.
Go back to school and live off your parents' allowance like everybody.


This is the second math joke Randall made in about two weeks, IIRC. Maybe he has gone back to school. When is he going to do a joke about the BP spill?
I am Lord Titanius Englesmith, Fancyman of Cornwood.
See 1 Kings 7:23 for pi.
If you put a prune in a juicer, what would you get?


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CharonPDX and 53 guests