Saturday, September 12, 2009

CiF belief bingo

Andrew Brown has created CommentIsFree-Belief bingo. This is an important achievement, as it will permit a suitably gifted programmer to create an ELIZA-style comment-bot. Will we be able to distinguish between the remarkably facile comments produced by - allegedly - real live CiFers, and an automated alternative?

This will certainly prove something, unless it proves something else.


pj said...

You read CiF Belief? I thought the whole point of it was to provide a sink for the most moronic of the CiF threads?

Political Scientist said...

I made a new years resolution not to read any CiF threads. I did not keep it.

[My former flatmate wouldn't let me watch Question Time "for your own good". I have much the same reaction to QT as CiF]

pj said...

Question Time is mostly about marvelling about the stupidity of the audience's questions (and betting on when the inevitable Iraq rant will occur) - but Any Answers is surely the very pinnacle of the art.

Political Scientist said...

Any Answers is a national treasure indeed. Far superior to Have Your Say on the BBC (perhaps because you can hear the self-righteousness, rather than having to imagine it).

If you want to lose faith in your fellow man, read the comments on death penaly/somalia/kenya article...

pj said...

I'd like to play along with this article, but I utterly unable to read past the first few lines.

Surely an automated 'New Atheist' article generator is the next step. I don't know about anyone else but the 'New Atheists' seem to have created something of a monster, something for those of a religious or [spit]'spritual' persuasion to write an infinite number of articles on like monkeys at a typewriter. There might have been some point to pointing out that Dawkins was not making the most sophisticated or novel of arguments, but the shit slinging barrage of straw men and ad hominems that have flown in the opposite direction have not done religious aplogoetics any favours at all.

It is a sort of white noise to me now, I'm surprised I was even able to notice that article, it seems to have formed something of a background buzz that I can't even hear any more.

I guess it just confirms that while I already knew most people were stupid (Any Answers, Have Your Say, and the CiF comments nicely iillstrating that fact), even those people you'd think wouldn't be (such as Guardian journalists) are still pretty stupid too.

Political Scientist said...

That is poor; both the heresiarch and andrew brown (both in my blogroll) are usually much better than that. I got through to the end: you're not missing much.

I think an "oh noes! teh New Atheists are coming" generator should be on (tarot?) cards. ["Arrogant", "Stringent" "Fundamentalist"]. etc.

Part of the problem is an unwillingness for the media to commision serious articles on religion (or science. or politics. or [your team here]): we get the same old rot from the same old rotters. We could do with a moratorium on the armstrong/eagleton/bunting stuff; it would be great to have a serious Evangelical like John Stott to write an article in the Guardian giving a coherent view of the Atonement, or NT Wright on the history of the new testament, or the Shade of CS Lewis on naturalism and supernaturalism. Now, I expect many (perhaps most) atheists would not agree with a word of the above articles, but at least it would lead to interesting discussions about what people actually believe, rather than whatever Eagleton thinks they believe (I do not understand in what sense he could be described as a christian, much less a catholic).

Remember that apologetics covers a multitude of sins, from that banana designer video on the youtubes (which i am convinced is a hoax) to CS Lewis "The Abolition of Man" (which is one of my favourite books). If i were going to post at length about this I would call it "apologetics means never having to say you're sorry"

This is interesting, but it's 11pm in tokyo and i am knackered. I'll write a bit more tomorrow.

pj said...

Cool - Tokyo - is it as expensive as they say?

I think the problem is that with religion, as with science and many other areas, newspaper editors think that the opinions of rent-a-gob nobodies like Bunting, Jenkins or whoever, are more interesting and 'accessible' than people who, you know, actually know something about the topic.

Basically journalists think we'd much rather hear what they have to say on any issue than what those 'so called experts' think.

Political Scientist said...

Tokyo rocks - I'm having a great time. Some things are expensive (e.g. cereal) but i think my costs will fall once i move out of hotel into flat (provisionally mid-october, if exchange of contracts goes ahead as planned). i hate living out of a suitcase. may also do post on alarmingly racist attitudes of tokyo landlords. Weather has been excellent until today, i have forced to buy an umberella. I'm over here for about 18 months, tho' it may be possible to apply for another fellowship after this one. I don't want to get ahead of myself tho' - I'm not sure how i will like it in a years time. It's exciting to be over here at the moment, with the change of government and everything.

Completely agree with you re: the media. there whole gatekeeper function is going to go away. I am interested to see if the religious* (specifically Christian) blogosphere is going to develop into something like the badscience blogs, with rapid reaction to stupid stuff.

OT: lying at the intersection between the media and science (specifically fMRI) is this article:

my view is coloured by a firmly held belief that Gerrans is a bit of an arse, but YMMV.

* what do people mean when they describe themselves as "spiritual"? I really have no idea.