Hump day hilarity – missing in action

Josh seems to think that Sir Russell Muir went missing during the CRU Climategate email investigation. It was like he was never there…oh, wait.*

* For example, Muir Russell didn’t even bother attending the one interview (April 9) in which Jones and Briffa were supposed to be asked about paleoclimate.

See more here

About these ads

60 thoughts on “Hump day hilarity – missing in action

  1. As I seem to recall all three whitewashes stated that the science would be examined by the other, in the end none of them did! It was sheer showmanship & perfunctory a display, a gross waste of taxpayers money, again!

  2. Keith Briffa is the dullest speaker it has ever been my misfortune to listen to, while Phil Jones displays that air of smugness and arrogance which makes him impossible to look at without having to suppress a desire to slap him across the face.

    On a human level at least I can fully sympathise with Muir Russell, faced with the prospect of spending a day in the company of those two gentlemen, making his excuses.

  3. Excellent Josh! Thank you!
    juanslayton says: “Send it to the Heartland billboard. : > ) ” yes!

  4. Where’s Sir Liesalot?

    Oh! Of course Sir Missalot didn’t speak with Sir Liesalot, did he?

    My mistake

  5. juanslayton says:
    May 9, 2012 at 9:51 am
    Deserving of wide circulation. Send it to the Heartland billboard. : > )

    Excellent idea – far better to fight with humour than fall to the 10:10 type standards.

  6. Josh,

    I agree with other commenters here . . . send the cartoon to HI for use in one of their ads. The reason I suggest this is purely humanitarian . . . HI has not had much to laugh about in recent weeks.

    John

  7. As for sending it to Heartland, the optimum solution is for Heartland to put Josh on retainer. Josh will benefit from the the income (wouldn’t we all?) and Heartland can benefit from Josh’s high quality wit and sniper-like target acquisition.

  8. another cartoon gem from Josh!!

    p.s. I’m not one to mind all the “babe” ads that Google seems to be serving up (some of them I even enjoy), but did I do something in particular to merit frequent “Find a Russian Wife” ads when I visit WUWT? Was commenting on the Yamal thread somehow an indication to the Google algorithm that I have a fervent interest in all matters Russian? And that includes internet-order brides?? lol

  9. The truth was probably around 350 ppm in the rooms during the inquiries. Not enough to have any noticeable affect.

  10. Here’s a forward-looking idea for a Josh cartoon. If there’s a downtrend in temperatures for the next two or three years, then a translucent hockey stick could be superimposed on a temperature chart with the blade pointing downwards and the shaft lying horizontal over the current hiatus. No caption would be needed.

    Maybe the cartoon could be posted even now, with the caption, “What the future holds?” and the decline portion shown with dashed lines. It would be a good accompaniment to then next article predicting a major cooling trend.

  11. I’ve had a nagging idea in my head for a while now and after reading an article at PhysicsWorld about how Computer Models are going to save the planet,the penny finally dropped. ;-)
    Here’s the Eureka moment below.
    ” At the heart of climate models and weather forecasts lie the Navier–Stokes equations, a set of differential equations that allows us to model the dynamics of the atmosphere as a continuous, compressible fluid. By transforming the equations into a rotating frame of reference in spherical coordinates (the Earth), we arrive at the basic equations of motion for a “parcel” of air in each of the east– west, north–south and vertical directions. Additional equations describe the thermodynamic properties of the atmosphere (see figure 2).

    3 The causes of global warming
    Unfortunately, there is no known analytical solution to the Navier–Stokes equations; indeed, finding one is among the greatest challenges in mathematics. Instead, the equations are solved numerically on a 3D lattice of grid points that covers the globe.”

    That sound’s familiar to me,in fact nearly ALL the AGW nonsense seems to be straight out of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation Trilogy” . If you’ve read it then you should see what i’m getting at.
    Harry Sheldon,Sheldon Equations and PsychoHistory. Josh could have some FUN with this.

  12. itturnsoutreadingscifiwasnotatotalwasteoftimeafterall says: @May 9, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve had a nagging idea in my head for a while now and after reading an article at PhysicsWorld about how Computer Models are going to save the planet,the penny finally dropped….
    _____________________________
    Those of us with a science background and a library full of Science Fiction will get a real chuckle out of it, Unfortunately the rest of the USA has never even heard of Asimov much less made it past the first couple pages. (I had the rare treat of seeing Asimov and Hal Clement aka Harry Stubbs roast a friend during his fiftyith birthday celebration.)

  13. About all the PhysicsWorld crap regarding the Navier–Stokes equations, at 3:14 PM on 9 May itturnsoutreadingscifiwasnotatotalwasteoftimeafterall writes:

    That sound’s familiar to me,in fact nearly ALL the AGW nonsense seems to be straight out of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation Trilogy” . If you’ve read it then you should see what i’m getting at.
    Harry Sheldon,Sheldon Equations and PsychoHistory.

    Oh, it’s even funnier than you think. In autobiographical materials regarding his education, Asimov himself admitted that because he’d started out with the intention to become a physician, he’d taken an undergraduate major in Zoology before deciding that he simply couldn’t stomach the animal labs, especially the requirement that he capture a feral cat and kill it by smothering it with chloroform for dissection.

    He did it, but he admitted that even to the late day of his writing, he still had nightmares about it.

    So he decided to switch his major to another scientific discipline. But not Physics. Asimov informed that the moment he hit integral calculus, he bounced. He couldn’t handle complex equations, and thus he wound up – very much by default – in Chemistry, going on to take his doctorate in that field.

    But don’t you get it? The writer who attributed to his Hari Seldon character a quasi-magical ability to predict future history using complex mathematical models was quite effectively illiterate in mathematics.

    Dr. Asimov simply assumed that because he consorted with self-assured doubledomes making use of such arcane incantations, and he himself had a faculty for translating their bafflegab into language the lay reader could understand, that such constructs could someday genuinely yield puissant reliable prescriptions for purposeful human action centuries and even millenia henceforth.

    The joke’s on anybody – especially those who use the expression “sci-fi” instead of SF – who took that crap seriously.

  14. But Tucci, are you fun at a party? Anyway, I enjoyed Asimov’s stuff ( as well as many,many others). I don’t see anybody here who is “taking that crap seriously”. Sometimes, it is just entertainment.

    • At 9:10 PM on 9 May, David Ball cavils at my observation that the concept behind Asimov’s fictional plot device in “psychohistory” and the Seldon Equations propelling his Foundation stories was crap – and invidious crap, at that – whining:

      But Tucci, are you fun at a party? Anyway, I enjoyed Asimov’s stuff ( as well as many,many others). I don’t see anybody here who is “taking that crap seriously”. Sometimes, it is just entertainment.

      No, I’m not “fun at a party” (much as Dr. Asimov had been on those occasions during which I was at parties with him), but I don’t commonly roll that way. Never tried to, either, though I’d always gotten along well enough with him and most other Dirty Old Pros.

      In the process, I’ve discovered that there are speculative fiction writers who do damage to intellectual integrity and their readers’ abilities to reason with validity by way of the “entertainment” they produce – witness Ben Bova‘s exploitation of the glorious “Man-Made Global Warming” scare in his novels over the past decade or so. See his desperately weaseling editorializing in The Naples [Florida] News here and here and here to keep the local mundanes freaked out and vulnerable.

      Mr. Bova has tremendous pecuniary incentive to “keep up the skeer” about this bloody bogosity because it’s been the propelling MacGuffin in his most recent “science” fiction, including all the stuff he had in the publishing pipeline when Climategate exposed his beloved terror-mongers for the lying snake-oil peddlers they are.

      He’s been goddam lucky that I haven’t been able to drop in on the parties at SF conventions where he’s been attending, as had been my wont before my first grandchildren began to arrive.

      I should think, however, that I’d be all kinds of “fun” at those parties were Mr. Bova to surface within the sound of my voice.

  15. David Ball says:
    May 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm
    But Tucci, are you fun at a party? Anyway, I enjoyed Asimov’s stuff ( as well as many,many others). I don’t see anybody here who is “taking that crap seriously”. Sometimes, it is just entertainment.

    =============================================
    I always liked Harold Shea.

  16. If it was not for Issac Asimov I would have known nothing about mathematics when I was younger , I did not learn anything about mathematics at school only when I read a book by him after I left school did I understand it.

  17. Great cartoon of the farcical inquiry/ inquirer! Thank you, Josh.

    An admission of guilty pleasure on my part; I read the first book in a series that my son had received as a gift. As a concerned parent, one looks at these things. The book was incredible. Mysterious, but quirky storyline. Depth of characters. Beautiful, yet casually drawn panels. Read all 9 in the series.

    The series is called “Bone”, by Jeff Smith on Scholastic.

    My son is a voracious reader, and for that I am truly grateful. Entertainment once in a while is good for the mind and the heart.

  18. Gail Combs, I always enjoy your posts. I must confess that I do not always have the time to go to all links, but I hit the majority. Thank you for the time you take.

  19. Gunga Din says:
    May 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm
    I have to say it; You’re a better man than I, …..

  20. Tucci78, as bright as you seem to be, your intellect carried you right past my point, sir.

    Really Tucci, don’t be so touchy. Chill out, your grandchildren will like that much better.

  21. Tucci78, You are an UBERGEEK..RELAX,I know it’s just a story.The word FICTION told me that. You sound like the comic-book guy on The Simpsons.Are you a social-scientist by any chance?
    The joke’s on anybody – especially those who use the expression “sci-fi” instead of SF – who took that crap seriously.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!The joke IS people like you that throw a strop over calling it sci-fi and not SF. Go and polish your star wars models,maybe you’ll meet a nice green alien woman at your next StarTrek Convention.

  22. Proving that he’s just another goddam mundane, at 12:51 PM on 10 May, itturnsoutreadingscifi.etc.etc.etc.etc. flashes his hind cheeks at the world writing:

    Tucci78, You are an UBERGEEK..RELAX,I know it’s just a story.The word FICTION told me that. You sound like the comic-book guy on The Simpsons.Are you a social-scientist by any chance?
    The joke’s on anybody – especially those who use the expression “sci-fi” instead of SF – who took that crap seriously.
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!The joke IS people like you that throw a strop over calling it sci-fi and not SF. Go and polish your star wars models,maybe you’ll meet a nice green alien woman at your next StarTrek Convention.

    Putzie, I knew the guy who invented the expression “sci-fi” back in the ’50s, one Forrest J. Ackerman, who confessed his regret of that “credit” to his dying day. It’s never used by science fiction fen except – pronounced “skiffy” – to denote painfully bletcherous garbage written by incompetent mundanes to take on the seeming of speculative fiction by groping at the tropes without any of the substance.

    Think of those “Blaxploitation” movies of the ’70s that tried to cash in on the popularity of Shaft, but even more gormless.

    And who could doubt your mundanity?

    What kind of critter other than a mundane would try to use the expression “UBERGEEK” (in all caps, no less) as if it were a term of opprobrium?

    Purely pitiful, you are.

    (Little Note to the Moderator: If you’re going to let this specimen go completely off-topic – the subject of the AGW scam and the concept of mathematical formulae to model complex multivariant non-linear responses to inputs in a crippled conjecture being passed off as justification for violating the individual human rights of real people – to render nothing but insult, expunge his comment before you [snip] my response.)

    [REPLY: Aw, Cummon. I just got back on duty. Who is he? Don’t care. The few. The proud. The fen. And no more Sicilian in front of the infants. -REP]

    • At 4:45 PM on 10 May, halfway to wit, David Ball posts:

      I was telling the Queen the other day how much I hate name droppers, …..

      Feh. Somebody mentions I writer I met for the first time in 1971 (in a room party at the first Noreascon) and a series of his stories gathered into a fix-up trilogy that I’d read and re-read thoroughly before I got into high school, all of it in a genre – speculative fiction – which I take seriously despite its proud and stubborn “beer money” tradition.

      (“Let’s keep science fiction in the gutter, where it belongs!”)

      Frankly, it’s the only genre of modern literature that isn’t so pathologically fixated upon introspection that it’s got its figurative head shoved up to cecum-level.

      Ain’t name dropping if you’ve met the guys, corrected their manuscripts in galley, and otherwise wrangled with them.

      Published SF writers – both the professionals and those who get profitably into print in addition to handling their day jobs – have always been much more accessible to their readers (and to each other) than those working in other genres. Lots of them started as fen, and some of ‘em I got to know in fandom back when Nixon was about to close the gold window and unleash the Gadarene currency counterfeiting recently reaching ionospheric levels under the hands of Bernancke and our Kenyan Keynesian.

      Hm. Those who idiotically snerk about the “next StarTrek Convention” (and I helped some fannish friends of mine to put on the first few of those, before the commercial clowns came along to grind beaucoup bucks out of media-besotted mundanes who can barely read the label on a soup can) reveal reliably that they’ve never attended even a panel discussion at a regional gencon (a term for “general interest convention,” not to be confused with the more recent usage of “Gen Con” as the specific name of a recurring FRP gaming convention which began to be held back in 1968) much less any of the World SF Conventions at which the Hugo and other major fannish awards are presented.

      Like I said, mundanes. Useful as breeding stock and organ donors, but nothing much more should be expected of them.

  23. There, but for the grace of Tucci, go I,……

    Narcissus, Tucci be thy name, ……

    You have to be one of the biggest blow hards I have come across in a while. Yes we are all “mundane”, to your “superiority”. Get over yourself. You created this whole fiasco with your winning personality, and brought derision from your equals.
    Your insecurity is satiated with your smear of those who disagree with you. Your supposed intellect took you a long way from the starting point of this conversation, which was completely lost on you. Hilarious.

    I detest bullies of any sort. Physical or intellectual. I will always stand up to them. Always have. Bullying has to be one of the ugliest aspects of human nature. Seen here in full.

    • At 8:01 PM on 10 May, David Ball just can’t get over himself, confronting just another “old fan, and tired” to discover that he’s gotten his schwanzstucker caught in the meatgrinder, whining now that I’ve somehow got to be:

      “…one of the biggest blow hards I have come across in a while. Yes we are all “mundane”, to your “superiority”. Get over yourself. You created this whole fiasco with your winning personality, and brought derision from your equals.

      Jeez, what gives a mundane any illusion that he’s any trufan’s “equal”?

      Tsk. I know scientifiction. Over the decades I’ve gotten to know the people writing it, publishing it, reviewing it, teaching about it, and reading it. When I get crap from mundanes who think they know anything about the genre – emphasis on the ways in which the AGW bogosity has been considered, either properly hammered

      The way that good science works is that the scientist looks at something and says “What if?” He then develops a statement from that (a hypothesis) then tries to disprove his hypothesis. “The sky is yellow.” He first defines yellow. He then tests to see if the sky is yellow. If it turns out that the sky is actually blue, his hypothesis gets disproved. But he still publishes the paper and comes up with another hypothesis. Say that the world is really round. If he cannot disprove his hypothesis, it then and only then becomes a theory. This is Science 101. Man-induced global warming was an hypothesis that had been repeatedly disproven. Anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming proponents weren’t scientists, they were religious zealots.

      …or idiotically and flop-sweatily pushed in fiction and in expostulatory prose written for SF readers – I’ve simply asserted the supported contention that those involved in the genre are real, and that many of them had from time to time succumbed not only to the “crippled conjecture” of AGW but also to the error of assuming that all purposeful human action was calculable by way of complex mathematical formulae (a la John Maynard Keynes) and therefore dirigible by credentialed academicians and “expert” government thugs riding roughshod over the preferences and unalienable rights of the common citizen.

      Asimov’s Foundation stories were exemplary of that error as it had become popular in the 1950s. Ben Bova’s much more recent efforts to squeeze advances from his publishers for manuscripts scribbled to exploit the gaudy “global warming” hysteria fall into the same broad but well-defined category. Either way, it’s an excuse for dirigisme under the rubric of technocracy.

      We’ve been bruiting the subject of “man-made catastrophic climate change” in fandom for more than thirty years now, ever since the imaginary hobgoblin switched from The Coming Ice Age (“We’re All Gonna Freeze to Death!”) to The Ice Caps Melting to Drown Manhattan (“All Those Goddam Yankees Fans Are Gonna Die!”).

      Hrmph. All right, that last bit is still a nice thought, isn’t it?

      So where were you mundanes in the discussion back in the late ’70s, or after Hansen’s chicken-little-ing in 1981 was the first whiff of the overwhelming stench this Cargo Cult Science was to become?

      SF fen were talking about it, SF writers were centering story plots upon it, SF editors were writing commentary about it.

      If voicing those observations is supposed to be behaving like a “blow hard” (sic), then David Ball sure as hell hasn’t made the case for his tu quoque squealing about my supposedly offensive “personality.”

      Fans are slans. Mundanes?

      Oh, yeah. Great guys. Salt of the earth. “The common clay of the new West.

      Nice doggie. Now where’s a rock?

      [OK. That’s enough. Further comments on this by anyone will be deleted. ~dbs, mod.]

  24. Tucci78, you are the Samuel Johnson of our time.Asimov’s name is on your hat.

  25. Issac Asimov wrote a book on basic mathematics which I read therefore I don’t think he was a mathematical illiterate .I don’t think those with advanced mathematical training look to science fiction to understand mathematics. I think that the reason that certain people are pressing AGW is not because they misunderstand mathematics it is simply political dogma.

    • At 10:20 PM on 10 May, don penman had written:

      Issac Asimov wrote a book on basic mathematics which I read therefore I don’t think he was a mathematical illiterate .I don’t think those with advanced mathematical training look to science fiction to understand mathematics.

      The impression to be gotten in reading I, Asimov: A Memoir (1994, Bantam paperback edition 1995) – “Chapter 30, Graduate School,” page 90 – was that he considered himself so:

      With zoology eliminated, I had to choose either chemistry or physics. Physics was quickly eliminated, for it was far too mathematical. After years of finding mathematics easy, I finally reached integral calculus and came up against a barrier. I realized that that was as far as I could go, and to this day I have never successfully gone beyond it in any but the most superficial way.

      I remembered that line because pretty much the same thing had happened to me in high school; straight A’s in algebra, plane geometry, trig and suchlike, and then – wham! – the calculus of infinitesimals, which subject I was nonetheless required to take and pass in college in order to graduate with my baccalaureate in Biology.

      Why calculus? Who the hell knows? Forty-odd years ago, the only area of study in which you needed to know how to integrate under the curve was – I’d been told – neurophysiology, and that sure wasn’t a required course to get yourself a bachelor’s degree and thence into medical school. Indeed, it was never required in either medical school or clinical training. It would’ve been a whole helluva lot better instead to set the pre-med math requirement to encompass statistical analysis, which is massively useful both in biological research generally and in the assessment of clinical diagnostic and therapeutic validity.

      I don’t think that “those with advanced mathematical training” were even remotely induced to think about such effort by way of reading science fiction. Insofar as I recall, the only guy who persistently endorsed mathematics qua mathematics was Heinlein…

      (Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.)

      …and much as I have long delighted in the old guy’s writings, I can’t forget the fact that his devotion to the concept of calculability led him to years of political support for Upton Sinclair and his embarrassing econometric assertions appearing as a plot device in Beyond This Horizon (1942).

  26. Only a caveman would threaten someone with a rock. That is what his intellect can come up with? Love to leave this lie, but the man is a crashing bore. Mods?

  27. That sound’s familiar to me,in fact nearly ALL the AGW nonsense seems to be straight out of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation Trilogy” . If you’ve read it then you should see what i’m getting at.
    Harry Sheldon,Sheldon Equations and PsychoHistory. Josh could have some FUN with this.

    Actually it was Hari Seldon…

    • At 8:36 AM on 11 May, Jeff Alberts responds to itturnsouthedidn’treaditatall and his demonstration of unfamiliarity with the Foundation stories by writing:

      Actually it was Hari Seldon
      Careful, son, or you’ll be called a “blow hard” and accused of “Bullying.”

  28. Careful, son, or you’ll be called a “blow hard” and accused of “Bullying.”

    Only if you actually are a blowhard and a bully. If someone can’t take a gentle correction, screw ‘em.

    • In response to my caution that correcting mundanes’ inaccuracies on this thread might get him called a “blow hard” and accused of “Bullying,” at 12:08 PM on 11 May, Jeff Alberts responds:

      Only if you actually are a blowhard and a bully. If someone can’t take a gentle correction, screw ‘em.

      ‘Fraid I’m inadequate in terms of polymorphous perversity for that.

      =====
      “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

      — Will Rogers

  29. ” he’s gotten his schwanzstucker caught in the meatgrinder, ”
    “When I get crap from mundanes”

    Shall I go on? PFO

  30. Flinging nothing but one after another little dollop of crap, at 9:31 PM on 11 May, we’ve got David Ball poking his stub persistently into futility with:

    ” he’s gotten his schwanzstucker caught in the meatgrinder, ”
    “When I get crap from mundanes”

    Shall I go on? PFO

    Hey, why not? Pitifully pointless whining does seem to be all you’ve got.

  31. [SNIP! This thread has gotten too personal and nasty. Enough is enough. Further comments in this vein will be consigned to trash. -REP]

  32. I find Issac Asimov’s idea that we can create intelligent robots more disturbing than his fictional mathematics.I had to watch the film “blade runner” during a philosophy module that formed part of my degree,the science fiction is almost a fact to some,what real progress have we made in producing the robots portrayed in science fiction.This whole fiction is an atheist dream which I don’t think will ever happen not because I am religious but because I think life is far to complex to be reproduced in the way portrayed in science fiction movies.

    • At 12:42 PM on 14 May, don penman had written:

      I find Issac Asimov’s idea that we can create intelligent robots more disturbing than his fictional mathematics.I had to watch the film “blade runner” during a philosophy module that formed part of my degree,the science fiction is almost a fact to some,what real progress have we made in producing the robots portrayed in science fiction.This whole fiction is an atheist dream which I don’t think will ever happen not because I am religious but because I think life is far to complex to be reproduced in the way portrayed in science fiction movies.

      Hm. Asimov’s vision is “disturbing” and by comparison Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (the basis for the movie Blade Runner, though why the heck the film people had to rip off the title of an Alan E. Nourse novel I’ll never know) is fodder for “a philosophy module” aimed at getting a degree.

      Damn, but I find that last bit of business “disturbing.”

      The idea of engineering a simulacrum of sapience – “artificial intelligence” – in autonomous machines has been nothing particularly new in either modern (post-Gernsback) science fiction or its predecessor work in literature. That it’s emphatically not religious – refusing to invoke the ineffable in favor of seeking explicability in reasoned speculation predicated on what’s known and potentially discoverable – kinda goes without saying. Science fiction readers are a much different market from the people upon whom writers like Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (authors of the lucrative Left Behind novels) depend, seeking generally to find their first causes in secular phenomena which might be eventually subjected to validation.

      Thus science fiction.

      Heck, even the fantasy stuff to which SF fen are inclined tends overwhelmingly to impose lawfulness upon the consideration of the Judeochristian deity. A vision of God as a distant, omnipotent, capricious, senselessly arbitrary “Credo quia absurdum” entity gives no traction to the skeptically open-eyed individual but requires literally blind faith.

      Yeah, I know; Mr. penman writes “not because I am religious” – right after opining that “This whole fiction is an atheist dream.” Uh-huh. Not borne of “religious” prejudices and yet critical of a non-theistic approach to the issue. There’s an unsupported abnegation of the efficacy of the inquiring mind in there if I ever ran my eyes over one.

      Martin Luther (as one spectacularly articulate and well-recorded voice of religious True Believerdom) was intensely hostile to reliance upon ratiocination:

      “Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his Reason” and:

      “Reason is the enemy of faith” and:

      ““Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding” and:

      “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but – more frequently than not – struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God” and:

      Die verfluchte Huhre, Vernunft” (“The damned whore, Reason”).

      Before showing any willingness to accept any sort of “It can’t be done!” admonition (the movie version, I believe, runs something like “There are some things man was not meant to know!”), the kind of mind to whom science fiction largely appeals will demand such an extensive succession of failed efforts that all conceivable lines of attack have been exhausted, and with regard to artificial intelligence that’s just not so.

      Genuine sapience may be a longer time coming than Asimov and his contemporaries in the 1940s and ’50s had speculated, but there’s no reason to assert positively that the development of complex “expert systems” designed to emulate human decision-making won’t continue until we’ve got Turing-tested applications running on cell phones before our present Fraudulence-in-Chief finishes serving out all he can manage of the hundreds of sequential life sentences he’s earned in his career of criminality.

      Certainly, there’s nothing supported – or even credible – in any argument from complexity posited against this proposition.

  33. “How To Remove All Pleasure From A Genre”- By Tucci78

    One has to suspend disbelief in every form of fictional entertainment. If “reason” is applied, the story is lost. Sometimes, it is just entertainment. Tucci feels he has to tell you how you should experience the genre when it has NOTHING to do with him.

    His attack on me was for reasons other than “science fiction”.

    Now he will be back to tell you I am whining. It’s all he has.

  34. At 7:24 AM on 15 May, David Ball had whined (unsupportedly, please note) yet another uncritical assertion about science fiction as a genre to be enjoyed by the fannish cognoscenti:

    One has to suspend disbelief in every form of fictional entertainment. If “reason” is applied, the story is lost. Sometimes, it is just entertainment. Tucci feels he has to tell you how you should experience the genre when it has NOTHING to do with him.

    Unless the category “you” is comprised entirely of science fiction fen – as opposed to mundanes – then of course I’m not dictating “how you should experience the genre,” but rather how the genre best suits the exacting tastes of lucidly reasoning human beings interested in the entertainment value of possibilities explored by this genre and no other.

    There’s a reason for science fiction, and that’s the satisfaction of tastes among those of us who emphatically do not uncritically “suspend disbelief in every form of fictional entertainment.” Were that not the case, scrupulous SF readers would be satisfied with nothing more than mundane “mainstream” crap or flagrant wish-fulfillment fantasies along the lines of the Red Fairy Book and Tolkien’s elaborate Luddite philological masturbatory exercises in his Lord of the Rings obsessions.

    Yes, a lot of SF fen can and do read the “mainstream” stuff,and we even get enjoyment out of the various forms of fantasy. Lots of excellent SF writers indulge in such silliness, and plenty of less talented SF writers give up on the genre and make their careers in writing for mundanes exclusively. I’ve gotten to know a few of ‘em over the decades. Why not? It’s a boatload easier than writing “hard” speculative fiction (defined by Asimov as “stories that feature authentic scientific knowledge and depend upon it for plot development and plot resolution”), and it sells well among the undiscriminating and technologically illiterate. “Cha-ching!”

    But for SF itself, let’s quote Heinlein’s essay in Of Worlds Beyond (1947):

    Let’s gather up the bits and pieces and define the Simon-pure science fiction story: 1. The conditions must be, in some respect, different from here-and-now, although the difference may lie only in an invention made in the course of the story. 2. The new conditions must be an essential part of the story. 3. The problem itself — the “plot” — must be a human problem. 4. The human problem must be one which is created by, or indispensably affected by, the new conditions. 5. And lastly, no established fact shall be violated, and, furthermore, when the story requires that a theory contrary to present accepted theory be used, the new theory should be rendered reasonably plausible and it must include and explain established facts as satisfactorily as the one the author saw fit to junk. It may be far-fetched, it may seem fantastic, but it must not be at variance with observed facts, i.e., if you are going to assume that the human race descended from Martians, then you’ve got to explain our apparent close relationship to terrestrial anthropoid apes as well.

    There are plenty of other respected voices who’ve offered their own answers to “What is Science Fiction?” Wiki-bloody-pedia’s got a pageful of many such published thoughts.

    It will be noted, though, that none of those definitions requires that the reader “suspend disbelief” uncozened by the writer’s creative efforts to satisfy Heinlein’s requirement that the story’s premises:

    …should be rendered reasonably plausible and…must include and explain established facts as satisfactorily as [had those] the author saw fit to junk.

    If “reason” is not applied, then the story simply isn’t SF.

    Mr. Ball demonstrates his lack of thoughtful consideration about why science fiction is called science fiction, and thereby decouples himself intellectually from the subject at hand with fatal results.

  35. “Mr. Ball demonstrates his lack of thoughtful consideration about why science fiction is called science fiction, and thereby decouples himself intellectually from the subject at hand with fatal results.”
    Opinion, only. Also a demonstration of “How To Remove All Pleasure From A Genre”- By Tucci78

    Sci-fi is riddled with scientific inaccuracies. Do you even read the stuff? It has opened minds to the possibilities. Open doors to new ideas. Star Trek (the original series) is shlock, but what an influence on the general public and scientific endeavour. Once again, you fail to grasp the impact and influence, but put earth bound constraints to a genre that should have no rules. Fiction is the term being ignored by Tucci, fatally.

    If this was a “debate” Tucci failed in the resolution that I started with. Sometimes it is just entertainment.

    Judging by Tucci’s violent reaction, I must be right over the target.

    • In reaction to my earlier post founded upon education and experience beyond David Ball‘s capacity either to attain or to recognize, at 9:23 PM on 15 May, Mr. Ball unsupportedly (rather gormlessly, in fact) whined:

      If this was a “debate” Tucci failed in the resolution that I started with.

      Tsk. Not even a recapitulation of the alleged “resolution,” much less any simulacrum of a lucid response to what I’d posted in this thread.

      Well, heck. What else is to be expected from someone who demands that “reason” not be applied to the consideration of work in the genre of science fiction? He takes my regard of the subject – SF – as “How To Remove All Pleasure From A Genre” when it’s merely obvious that reading what I write here messes with Mr. Ball‘s subjective sense of satisfaction in his drunkard’s walk through scientifiction.

      That’s a pity, but then it is a self-inflicted wound from which Mr. Ball is suffering, isn’t it? He whimpers:

      Sci-fi is riddled with scientific inaccuracies. Do you even read the stuff? It has opened minds to the possibilities. Open doors to new ideas. Star Trek (the original series) is shlock, but what an influence on the general public and scientific endeavour. Once again, you fail to grasp the impact and influence, but put earth bound constraints to a genre that should have no rules. Fiction is the term being ignored by Tucci, fatally.

      Actually, the original Star Trek television series was a remarkable advance on precedent media SF, particularly as a reasoned and conscientious effort to foster viewers’ willing suspension of disbelief by hewing to the recommendations made by Heinlein and his fellow thoughtful professional writers and editors in the genre. In retrospect – from our present perspective as movie and television dramatic presentations in the genre have “stood on the shoulders” of Roddenberry and his collaborators – it can be lightly dismissed only by the illiterate and unthinking as “shlock,” for such an opinion is blatantly unsupported and worth less than nothing in any discussion of the show particularly or the subject at hand generally.

      Failing even to follow the link to Wikipedia’s “Definitions of science fiction” Web page (and thus demonstrating that his ignorance is willful and stubbornly impervious to opportunities for amelioration), Mr. Ball even hilariously tries to claim counterfactually that my address of his faults is somehow a “violent reaction.”

      This seems to go beyond fallacy in reasoning (Straw Man, perhaps?) and all the way to some sort of persecution reaction.

      That “scientific inaccuracies” are commonplace in even “hard” science fiction is not denied, and nobody is more sensitive to this potential for error than are the authors themselves. On the few occasions when I’ve been solicited for error-checking by professional SF writers, I’ve taken note of these “inaccuracies” and helped with corrections. Authors I’ve known have related to me (and others have published) their experiences with the people they’ve accumulated as their “bullsh-t detectors” on subjects technical, much as us primary care grunts accumulate the contact information of clinical specialists upon whom we can call when we’re not quite sure what we ought to do about a particular patient’s medical problems.

      Egregious examples of such “inaccuracies” draw fire vigorously from scientifically literate readers, and have done so since – at least! – the 1920s. Mr. Ball gives great reason to doubt that he’s ever so much as glanced through the letters column in an edition of any commercially published science fiction magazine, where such expert critiques are routinely printed, and an author who shows a persistent tendency toward “scientific inaccuracies” does well to avoid SF conventions and even general-access signings in bookstores.

      Real science fiction fen are scrupulous and persistent, as Mr. Ball is finding out to his extreme distress.

      To aver that science fiction is – or could ever be – “a genre that should have no rules” proves that Mr. Ball is as the beasts that perish when one considers the real roots and nature of the genre, which exerts its “influence on the general public and scientific endeavour” precisely because its writers, editors, publishers, and conscientious readers demand and abide by the “rules.”

      As one of the most influential figures in modern SF – arguably the single person most responsible for the genre in its present form – editor John W. Campbell once put it:

      Scientific methodology involves the proposition that a well-constructed theory will not only explain away known phenomena, but will also predict new and still undiscovered phenomena. Science fiction tries to do much the same — and write up, in story form, what the results look like when applied not only to machines, but to human society as well.

      Let Mr. Ball read and enjoy science fiction as his limitations give him capacity to do so, but by no means let anyone succumb to the notion that he qualifies in any way as able to perceive and value the qualities that make such writings different from any other work of fiction.

      It seems all to be the same to Mr. Ball, and I would not have him better educated for all the pearls one might fling before him.

  36. More opinion. Also more name calling!! Geez, pretty weak.

    Look, Tucci, over there!! Someone else is wrong on the internet!! You better get over there!!

  37. At 7:16 AM on 16 May, David Ball evades address of my observations utterly to grunt:

    More opinion. Also more name calling!! Geez, pretty weak.

    Yep. As in reasoned “opinion” supported by information available to any individual capable of reading and willing to think rationally.

    It appears that Mr. Ball has ceased even to give the appearance of an honest disputant, and has gone over completely to pointless fantastical insult for the sake of some purpose unmotivated by CNS activity above the level of Mr. Ball‘s thalamus.

    As long as Mr. Ball persists in this vein, there’s definitely “wrong on the internet,” and it’s pounding away on Mr. Ball‘s computer keyboard.

Comments are closed.