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Posted: 15 February 2007 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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I do know: Mousebatt, Folicle, Goosecreature, Ampazone, Spong, Wapcaplett, Looseliver, Vendetter and Prang; is a fictional advertising group in a Monty Python sketch about string…washing powder…what’s the difference.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 11:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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I see nothing wrong with his comments. He was trying to point out that Americans are not used to being the victims of terrorism while many other peoples ARE… and THEIR terrorism is often American born - wars, invasions, bombings, occupation, etc. 

He was specifically talking about the American bombing of the Sudan aspirin factory, which (if I recall correctly) was done at night to minimize causalities.  He said it was worse then terrorists flying planes full of people into buildings in such a way to maximize civilian causalities. 

And you can’t see anything wrong with those comments? 

Have you read any of his work or heard him speak other than from the criticism sites - which are notorious for taking him out of context or downright lying? 

I have read from both pro and anti Chomsky sites, including Chomsky’s own site, and remain unimpressed.  He seems deeply in love with his own voice.  He seems madly in love with Chavez and Venezuela.  He doesn’t like Capitalism, (using the fact that it’s always impure to pretend it doesn’t really exist), which, despite its flaws, works far better than any other economic system ever devised.  None of that strikes me as very smart. 

And he seems unaware of a lot of rather simple facts.  This interview from P&Ts; “Bullshit!” not only shows his ignorance of the political make up of his own ivory towers, but his distain for free speech as well: http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20050530.htm

Chomsky gets in trouble because he attempts to point out that we have blood our hands. Who? Is he pointing fingers at so-called “conservatives” or “liberals”? No. U.S. citizens. 

He’s wrong about that too. 

I didn’t put Bush in office.  Or Clinton.  Or the first Bush.  I haven’t voted for democrat or a republican in national elections since the Carter administration.  I had nothing to do with bad decisions made by those in power, so I’m not responsible for them. There is blood on their hands, but not on mine. 

By the way, I do feel that he sometimes oversimplifies or gets things wrong. He’s a human being. Nobody’s worshipping the guy. 

I disagree.  A lot of people treat him like a god.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Hitmann:

He was specifically talking about the American bombing of the Sudan aspirin factory, which (if I recall correctly) was done at night to minimize causalities. He said it was worse then terrorists flying planes full of people into buildings in such a way to maximize civilian causalities.

And you can’t see anything wrong with those comments?


Read just how many people were killed by this bombing and it’s after effects, and come back to us.


Hittman:

He doesn’t like Capitalism, (using the fact that it’s always impure to pretend it doesn’t really exist), which, despite its flaws, works far better than any other economic system ever devised. None of that strikes me as very smart.

Um, Chomsky is correct about capitalism and therefore is VERY SMART.  And what do you mean by “capitalism works?”  For whom and at what cost to individuals and societies? 

To assume capitalism is better than any other system is to leave out whole systems! 

What are you comparing capitalism to, Feudualism?  Remember, dictatorhips of any kind are political and not economic.  Also recall that the USSR got rid of capitalism but not the markets themselves.  Also they ignored the ‘coordinator class’ which took over for the capitalists and became the new dictators.

Hittman:

I didn’t put Bush in office. Or Clinton. Or the first Bush. I haven’t voted for democrat or a republican in national elections since the Carter administration. I had nothing to do with bad decisions made by those in power, so I’m not responsible for them. There is blood on their hands, but not on mine.

Many folks might not have voted for Hitler either, does that mean they were not respiosnable for what Hitler did in their name?  Were they moral if they did nothing to change things under the Nazis?

You live in a representiave democracy and these folks represent YOU, whether or not you voted for them. The blood in Iraq is indeed on all of our hand… just some of us might be a bit more concerned as to do something about it.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Seems to me Hittman has made some good points about Chomsky’s rhetorical overstatements. There is certainly a moral difference between an attack which is designed to minimize casualties and one which is designed to maximize casualties. Particularly if those casualties are known to be innocents.

Chomsky is the prime example of a brilliant professor in one subject who believes he knows everything. He’s one of the greatest linguists of all time, no doubt, but a lot of the rest of his oevre is hot air.

And I don’t believe in collective punishment for any moral reason. If Chomsky’s ethics depends on it, so much the worse for his ethics.

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Posted: 18 February 2007 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Doug said:

Seems to me Hittman has made some good points about Chomsky’s rhetorical overstatements. There is certainly a moral difference between an attack which is designed to minimize casualties and one which is designed to maximize casualties. Particularly if those casualties are known to be innocents.

How do you know what the attack was designed to do?  Who told you this? The Government? The embedded American press? The U.S. uses Cluster Bombs and says they are not bombing civilians!  Clinton rushed to wag the tail and did far more than kill some people.. he destroyed the only factory which was suppling meds to the entire country!  How many lives do you think were lost?  Just how bad do you think U.S. “intellegence” is?  And if it is that bad, and we still bomb away, then how is that morally different than any other murder?

Doug said:

Chomsky is the prime example of a brilliant professor in one subject who believes he knows everything. He’s one of the greatest linguists of all time, no doubt, but a lot of the rest of his oevre is hot air.

I have come to learn that folks who can’t stomach the truths Chomsky brings to the foreground of the debate say just what you (and Hittman) and David Horrowitz (Neocon and Zionist Supreme), say.  The same was said about Carl Sagan when he spoke to abortion and nuclear winter.  I do not think Chomsky thinks he knows everything.  He has said in many cases that there are many things he won’t talk to because he does not know enough of - like about human nature, for instance.  But a blanket statement from you that most of what he says political is “hot air” shows your true colors.  Let’s see you debate Chomsky on, say, the Middle East or Latin America raspberry

Doug:

And I don’t believe in collective punishment for any moral reason. If Chomsky’s ethics depends on it, so much the worse for his ethics.

Of course Chomsky’s ethics do not depend on one thing!  That was a silly thought.  And Chomsky is not talking about collective punishment!  I do not even think he believes in punishment (which is only a minantropic, revenge-based idea anyway.)  Anyway, what he meant (and I agree with this completely) that all Americans have blood on their hands with Iraq like all Germans of the time had blood on their hands with Hitler.

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Posted: 19 February 2007 12:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Doug (and Hittman), since you have not read any Chomsky, let me summarize a type of argument that Chomsky might make. In fact, let me just make something up so it’s real easy - and not personal.

Country A (no, you don’t know who A is - just play along) has what is referred to as a functioning democracy. It elects its leaders every few years, etc. Internally, the country has a large amount of freedom.  Internationally, however, A is quite brutal. It invades countries, interferes with elections, militarily and financially supports coups, repeatedly supports repressive anti-democratic governments that are friendly to corporate interests vital to A.  While the rest of the world looks upon country A with fear and resentment because of country A’s actions, the citizens of country A sleep well at night.

Country A has a citizen, Norm Chunky, that takes a deep look at country A’s actions. He also is wondering how the citizens can sleep at night, convinced they are morally superior to the rest of the world. He does some brilliant analysis of A’s media, that reveals the apparent disconnect between the perceptions the citizens of A have of their country vs. their country’s actions.  And when Mr. Chunky states his country’s actions without the flowery ideological language of the corporate media, he is called all kinds of names.

Anyway, one day some religious zealots from countries T, U, and V get the confidence from their superstition to give up their lives in order to make some difference. These idiots decide that killing a bunch of civilians will bring them closer to god, or bring honor to their family, or make up for past wrongs, etc. Whatever the reason, most of the world can see with absolute clarity that these zealots were wrong. They were wrong, however, just as the actions of A have been wrong. 

The citizens of A are shocked. They ask, “why would they do such a thing to us? We never did anything to anyone.”  Mr. Chunky starts to explain what he’s been telling everyone for 40 years, but is called an apologist - or he’s accused of justifying the actions.

If it is wrong for religious zealots to kill a few thousand civilians of country A, it is also wrong for country A to kill countless thousands of civilians of countries B through Z.  That’s how a moral philosophy works.

got to get back to work. sorry for the crappy story. start the bashing.

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Posted: 19 February 2007 04:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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[quote author=“tom_g”]If it is wrong for religious zealots to kill a few thousand civilians of country A, it is also wrong for country A to kill countless thousands of civilians of countries B through Z.  That’s how a moral philosophy works.

Agreed, but as they say, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

I actually have read (some) of Chomsky, and heard him speak on a couple of occasions. Some of the stuff he says is right on, but some of the stuff he says is hothouse conspiracy-mongering. And his tone throughout is one of real arrogance. I would put him in the same league as people like Hitchens. He’s definitely right some of the time, but you should check all his claims against better informed sources to be sure he’s not leading you down a garden path.

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Posted: 19 February 2007 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]Agreed, but as they say, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

Correct. That’s one of Chomsky’s points.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]I actually have read (some) of Chomsky, and heard him speak on a couple of occasions. Some of the stuff he says is right on, but some of the stuff he says is hothouse conspiracy-mongering.

I’d have to strongly disagree. He’s so hated by many on the “left” because he rejects conspiracy theory crap. There is nothing at all that Chomsky talks about that resembles conspiracy theory. I’d be interested to hear an example or two.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]And his tone throughout is one of real arrogance.

agreed. I don’t reject arrogance outright though. Justified arrogance is ok in my book, but it’s a subjective thing. Same goes for Dawkins.

[quote author=“dougsmith”]I would put him in the same league as people like Hitchens. He’s definitely right some of the time, but you should check all his claims against better informed sources to be sure he’s not leading you down a garden path.

I completely agree - so does Chomsky. He repeats over and over again that you should not trust him. We should do the research ourselves.

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Posted: 19 February 2007 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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[quote author=“tom_g”]I’d have to strongly disagree. He’s so hated by many on the “left” because he rejects conspiracy theory crap. There is nothing at all that Chomsky talks about that resembles conspiracy theory. I’d be interested to hear an example or two.

I can only recall my impression of hearing/reading things he said awhile back. I am willing to take your word for it that perhaps I misinterpreted what he was saying, but will keep an ear out in the future.

I note, however, that the Wikipedia entry for the pharmaceutical factory strike supports Hittman’s argument. It does not provide any additional evidence for Chomsky’s extravagant claims. The evidence presented there is of an apparent mistake that killed one and injured ten, and that was done because the US government believed—probably incorrectly—that chemical weapons were being produced there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Shifa_pharmaceutical_factory

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Posted: 19 February 2007 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Tom said:

That’s how a moral philosophy works.

got to get back to work. sorry for the crappy story. start the bashing.



Yes, for those who have humanistic morals, at least!  Good job Tom, the story was not crappy, it was correct.. but I don’t know that ‘Noam’ is very chunky LOL 

And though your imaginary country is clearly the US, England and France are not that far behind…

And only the American apologists among us will do any “bashing,” I am sure.

Doug said:

I would put him in the same league as people like Hitchens. He’s definitely right some of the time, but you should check all his claims against better informed sources to be sure he’s not leading you down a garden path.


That is quite laughable!  Hitchens IS arrogant and rude as well, and has not been correct about much of anything since 2001! 

Chomsky only APPEARS arrogant (and is never rude) to those who don’t know what he knows and simply can’t believe he may be right (no matter the evidence)!

Tom said:

Justified arrogance is ok in my book, but it’s a subjective thing. Same goes for Dawkins. 

I agree, but I really do not think it is arrogance with Chomsky… but I do see him get frustrated at times (even with folks who mainly agree), and I think that is because he is so often ignored and bashed that he has to repeat what he says over and over again… and that can get very annoying (even when what he says is mainy correct and important). 

As for Dawkins, his arrogance in defending naturalism is justified, I suppose; but since a good deal of his methods and ideas on how to rid ourselves of religious fundementalism takes aim at the wrong persons and wrong reasons for religion itself - and since he has such a misanthropic attitude about human nature - I am not sure he is correct enough on religion/human nature to justify his arrogance. 

Of course, when he goes after Creationism and ID, he can be as arrogant as he likes, because he is certainly right on target there!
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As for evidence backing Chomsky’s arguements about the meds factory, here is an except from Chris Hitchens himself (in 1998, before he lost his mind!):

“The administration said that no medical or commercial products were made at Al-Shifa. It added that the factory was directly related to bin Laden’s occult commercial empire. It further said that the traces of the chemical compound EMPTA had been found in the soil outside the plant. Within days, there was an amazingly swift climb-down from all these claims.
“Vials of medicine and other evidence of civilian pharmaceutical manufacture were visible in photographs of the first day’s debris. The German ambassador to Sudan, Werner Daum, sent a sarcastic cable to Bonn saying that he knew this all along. The British engineer who built the plant, Tom Carnaffin, attested that the plant had no space for the off-the-record experimental work. Other engineers and architects pointed out that the factory had no air-sealed doors, essential if poison gas is to be on the menu. The Sudanese government called loudly for an international inspection, which the Clinton administration—once so confident—declined to endorse. By the first week in September, Defense Secretary William Cohen admitted that he “should have known” that Al-Shifa made medical and agricultural products.

“Secretary Cohen also admitted in the same statement that there was no longer any “direct” financial connection to be asserted between bin Laden and the plant. But he was still pretty sure that there were indirect ones. That could be. There are also many straightforward connections between the turbanned one and Saudi Arabia. But does anyone believe that the United States would rocket a Saudi Arabian target and let the monarchs find out about it from CNN, or when the missiles fell?

“The presence of EMPTA (O-ethyl methyl phosphonothoic acid) proves nothing on its own, whether found in the soil near a factory or inside the factory itself. I spoke to Professor R.J.P. Williams, who is Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford and considered something of an authority on biological systems and on EMPTA. It can be an intermediate in the production of VX gas, he told me, but it can be an intermediate for dealing with agricultural pests and for myriad other purposes. “We must be told where the compound was found, and in what quantity it is known to have been produced, and whether there is any ascertainable link to nerve-gas production. ‘Trace’ elements in adjacent soil are of no use. Either the administration has something to hide, or for some reason is withholding the evidence.

“Well then, what was the hurry? A hurry that was panicky enough for the president and his advisors to pick the wrong objective and then, stained with embarrassment and retraction, to refuse the open inquiry that could have settled the question in the first place? There is really only one possible answer to that question. Clinton needed to look “presidential” for a day.”

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Posted: 21 February 2007 05:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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[quote author=“Hittman”]

Interview presidential candidates. Ask them to answer question about things skeptics want to know from them. 

Great idea. 

You could ask Chomsky how he can be so brilliant about linguistics and such a complete idiot about politics and the state of the world.

I’d reverse that and ask how he can be so wrong about linguistics and and why he doesn’t just give that up and focus more on the politics, etc.

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Posted: 21 February 2007 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I’d like to hear something on the evidence for the existence of Jesus. I’d volunteer, but I’m sure they can get a real expert, like Robert M. Price, etc.

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Posted: 05 March 2007 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Looks like I’m late to the party.  I hope the CFI guys are still reading this thread.

As much as I love Penn Jillette, I believe he has had many outlets to talk about his ideas already.  I would really like to have a one on one interview with just Teller.  He is just as smart and opinionated as Penn, and when given a chance to speak, is very well spoken.

J. D.

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Posted: 19 March 2007 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Journalist Robert Jensen! He writes and talks about the media and the journalism’s inability to tackle big issues head on. He writes about masculinity and the misogynistic treatment of women, and the pornography industry. (He’s an activist in the feminist movement.) And I always enjoy his writings and discussions on race. His compassion for humanity is evident in almost everything he writes or talks about.

Jensen’s also an Atheist who has joined the Presbyterian church and has written articles like Why I Am a Christian (Sort Of) .  I keep thinking, “Has he ever thought he just might be a Humanist (Sort of)?”

I think maybe he’s a little conflicted. Maybe DJ can get to the bottom of this.  smile

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Posted: 22 March 2007 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I’d like DJ to try to get Stephen Colbert and present him with the CFI Christian of the year award.

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