26 July 2009

Storm the Beaches!

The crew of COTEB has been working hard since the first installment hosted by Dana way back in June 2008. They've traveled from port to port, island to island wielding intelligence, wit, and common sense everywhere they go. It's not easy--there is a lot of stupidity and closed-mindedness in this world that simply must be combated by someone!

After all the work they've put in over the past year or so, I think it's high time for a vacation! So our dear crew will be celebrating intelligence from their comfortable places on the beautiful sands of Florida, sun overhead, rum in hand (with little decorative umbrellas included, of course). [Photo source]

So rather than hopping from port to port, we'll be hopping from lounger to lounger, towel to towel, taking in the relaxed, rum-drunk rhetoric of our crew, giving them a bit of a break before they take back to the choppy waters that will be sure to meet them next month.

As hostess, I'll open the floor with a discussion about writing and publication. I'm sure you've all taken books to the beach that deserved to be chucked to Davey Jones's bookshelf. What makes something worthy of publication? And what is the ease of self-publication doing to the industry? [Photo source]

Relaxing on a lounger nearby, fellow scribbler Stephanie takes on the importance of factual accuracy. She says, "Every time we flub or cheat a detail, we're making our audience, at least part of which will catch any inaccuracy, do more work. In writerly terms, it's called throwing our audience out of the story. [...] In order to get back to the point where the story is a world that the audience is visiting, the process of suspending disbelief has to start all over again."

Of course, the same is true in Hollywood and science, as is pointed out by Peggy of Biology in Science Fiction, who tells us, "...[T]he way that Hollywood portrays science is often egregiously bad and the way it portrays scientists is almost always negative. Because most of the public has little exposure to either quality discussions of science or interaction with actual scientists, what people see on the big or little screen negatively influences their perception."

Our esteemed Admiral Dana, who has been discussing pirates, as usual, takes the conversation down a statistician's path, bringing up the correlation between pirate populations and global warming. She warns, "Statistics will bite your butt if you don't use 'em wisely."

Don of Done and Progress tells us, "I've been trying to write about a complex topic from philosophy of science, drawing on the work of multiple authors and expanding the subject to interdisciplinary heights." [Quote taken from email] He then heads a discussion on functional explanation.

Under the umbrella of a Holocene Hominoid, anyone who passes will hear a discussion about the arguments used in justification of Faith, using a discussion between a Christian student and Atheistic philosophy professor as a foundation.

A few beach towels down, Last Hussar continues the religious-based discussion, using Ireland's new blasphemy law to address religion/spirituality in public. As is so aptly stated, "It is wrong to hate someone because of a belief in something that isn't your belief."

Thony C. truly earns the title of Elitist Bastard in response to a comment by Mr. Mann which says, "Please note, science arose within a Christian context." Thony says, "If you are going to pontificate on the origins and historical development of science then do yourself and us a favour and learn something about the subject before making ridiculous statements."

John Pieret brought his Thoughts in a Haystack to the beach with him, bringing up the ever-popular debate between creationism and evolution, bringing up the question about what is considered "good," according to creationists. He says, "But what is the Bible but just stories -- often silly ones at that -- that only the naive could take, given the genocide, casual cruelty, hateful bigotry, murder, et al., it details, as representing 'very good'?"

When faced with the enormity of the beach and ocean, even on vacation, many elitist bastards can't help but think about the beauty of science. Our Admiral Dana, now quite drunk on sun and rum, brings up the geology of Sunset Crater. Ian chimes in with his take on Pluto's "demotion" from the status of planet, and the surrounding uproar of people against it. At this mention of idiocy in the general public, Last Hussar brings brings up an incident during which someone who believes the moon landing was a conspiracy met Buzz Aldrin. [Photo source]

Picking up the thread of the cosmos, Cujo is reminded of the phrase "If we can put men on the moon..." and applies it to universal health care. He says, "...[W]e know that it's possible for an advanced country to provide medical care to all its citizens. Canada and most of the countries of western Europe have managed this feat for at least a generation. [...] Yet to hear members of Congress and the President tell you, it's a feat comparable to turning lead into gold."

Efrique responds continues the dicussion on health care by responding to a recent discussion on health care (by our own Admiral, no less!) by saying, quite plainly, "The one constant then, is that under any form of health care, under any form of public and private expenditure, people die. It is a nonsense to pretend otherwise."

At the tiki bar (which is really just an elitist way of saying "tub of rum"), Webster69 explains the difference between misinformation and disinformation, and the dangers of the latter, specifically through the lens of Fox News. [Photo source]

Where would elitism be without some politics, as well? Woozle responds to a piece about what makes people vote Republican, with proper snark and rationality included, of course. Even the introduction sets the stage: "From a rational perspective, this is a truly awful piece of writing. I count at least eight straw men, two appeals to guilt, three counts of demonizing (albeit subtle), four usupported claims, and five counts of what I can only think of as 'shell gaming'."

Shaking his head and reminding us all that our beach vacation must, eventually come to an end, the Decrepit Old Fool explains that there will always be "fail." We are told, "I really believe, on a deep, intuitive level, that as humans we are capable of screwing things up on a gigantic scale. But I also believe the situation isn't hopeless. We can learn strategies for avoiding Fail." (I decided not to point out that by using a beach towel as blanket rather than to keep sand from getting in his decrepit shorts is a bit of an "un-mindfulness driven Fail.") [Photo source]

The discussions on this private beach show that elitist bastards of this world can't stop thinking about the stupidity, closed-mindedness, and general irrationality they encounter every day of their lives.

Enjoy this time off, mateys. Clearly stupidity does not take vacations, so I fear yours will be short-lived.


  1. Glorious! I feel rested, refreshed, and thoroughly rummed!

    Thankee kindly for the beach party, Captain!

  2. (Adding rationalization-driven Fail to un-mindfulness-driven Fail) Hey! Maybe I like sand in my shorts! And, um, I'm sensitive to sunlight. Yeah, that's it...

    Awesome lineup. I'l just shut off the ol' cell phone, order another frozen drink, kick back an' enjoy reading 'em. All the better to be ready to smack down the stupidity the next day.

  3. @Dana: You're very welcome! It's a private beach, so you're welcome any time!

    @george.w: LOL Thanks for the clarification. Glad I didn't mention it, then!

  4. This is making me thirsty for mai tais and margaritas. Thanks for hosting COTEB, NP.

  5. Of course! I'm glad there were so many to join our little vacation this month!


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