Clueless

clueless

I just wrapped up the finals for the cg course I teach. Students present several renderings of environments they’ve created which contain models they’ve built. The models and the environment require surfacing (the art of conveying what a surface is made of, like metal, glass, plastic, etc), texturing (the process of painting objects or applying images to them like applying decals as in a label on a jar), and everything needs to be lit. Now one could argue that as artworks, to judge them is a subjective exercise and indeed there is some truth to that; however, the works should demonstrate an understanding of what was covered throughout the course, and checking for that is not subjective. In fact, even for the subjective aspect of judging quality, there are standards which you can hold a work up against.

Unfortunately, not every student exhibited a full grasp of the subject matter, nor the ability to use that knowledge. By that I mean, for instance, I understand the game of football but I certainly lack the ability to play the game well (plus I probably would not recover from a solid hit by a 300+ pounder). In most cases, the students either were aware of their shortcomings or accepted them after having them pointed out. Some were generally interested in learning how they fell short in hopes of improving themselves. Some merely accepted their lack of ability, as I sadly accept mine in regards to the NFL. Some seemingly didn’t care one way or another. Then there were the (thankfully) few who either couldn’t accept that they had made any errors or adamantly insisted their way was better.

So why am I bringing this up here? Well I think no matter what field of study or what environment you’re in, you always come across those latter few and the question becomes, what to do about them? How do you explain things to someone who can’t or won’t grasp what you’re saying? Probably worse is figuring out how to reach those who, despite overwhelming evidence against them, just insist that they’re right. Generally I’d say we try to avoid these people. Why add more grief to your life? The problem, however, is they’re going to be somebody’s problem eventually and very well could be a problem for you at a later date, so what do you do about them?

delusional_super_dude

I honestly am not sure. If the situation is one where their stubbornness or delusion isn’t potentially harmful to anyone other than themselves, then we can let them be. Sometimes even, it might seem nice to just let someone be with their misguided beliefs. If it makes them feel good and it doesn’t hurt anyone, then so be it, but how can we be sure they won’t harm someone else? What if Superman here thinks he can fly out a window and lands on somebody or tries to stop a robbery and gets people shot? Likewise, what if he believes his little book is the inerrant word of a god and since in there it condemns homosexuality, he votes to make sure gays don’t get equal rights? What if esteeming faith inspires using it for things like investing your money, buying a house or helping the nice prince from Nigeria who emailed you? What if a seemingly harmless belief prompts one to oppose funding of stem cells or disrupt science education? What if it means thousands of children are home schooled to “protect” them from dangerous ideas like evolution and these poor kids enter the adult world as ignorant apes?

Buzz_sawReality

I don’t know what the answer is, either on the small scale of internet idiots or a grander scale like evolution denial, but avoidance might not be suitable, especially if it’s really unattainable. Sure, many of these people will run into the buzzsaws of reality (and I’m happy to be one of those buzzsaws as an educator), but perhaps not, especially when they have support by both like minded folk and those who are sympathetic to them.

Atheist Spot Bookmark and Share

372 Responses to “Clueless”

  1. comment6,

  2. comment4,

  3. comment4, www

  4. comment2,

  5. comment5,

  6. comment1,

  7. comment6,

  8. Well, I guess everybody is innocent until proven guilty though, and thankfully we have the freedom in this country to have a false hypothesis about reality, of which most religions are a subset (except mine which is based on objective reality and logical reasoning).

    Anyhow, to ripcut other people's beliefs with reality, well, that is also a freedom that we have in this country as well.

  9. comment4,

  10. comment6,

  11. comment5,

  12. comment6,

  13. comment6,

  14. Since avoidance is not possible, it is not suitable. It's probably going to take a long time for humankind to discard the varied woos to which it has become accustomed. As long as free speech rights are maintained, the process of chipping away at the woos a bit at a time can and likely will continue. Will the world ever go through another Dark Age, in which those who hold non-religious views are persecuted and executed on a wide scale? I hope not, but, if certain theistic extremists have their way, it could happen. If it did, some re-inventing of the enlightenment wheel would have to be repeated. Depressing thought.

  15. Your hypothesis about reality is a joke right? Looks totally arbitrary too me, the way you try to make math equations about morality.

  16. Oops, made a typo. too => to

  17. No joking. The math equation for morality works (a drastic improvement on Scientology Morality)

    Survival and the Dynamics-
    Dynamic one is the urge towards survival as an individual (no self destructive behaviours)
    Dynamic two is the urge towards survival through procreation; it includes both the act of sex and the raising and care of children (families within the species)
    Dynamic three is the urge towards survival for the group (species of animal)
    Dynamic four is the urge of the individual toward survival for Mankind (our particular civilization)
    Dynamic five is the urge to survive as a life organism and embraces all life forms (type 1 civilization)
    Dynamic six is the urge to survive as part of the physical universe and includes the survival of the physical universe (type 2 civilization)
    Dynamic seven is the urge toward survival as a spirit (type 2 civilization)
    Dynamic eight is the urge toward survival as a part of the Supreme Being (type 3 civilization)

  18. There is a 1000 page book you can read on the subject matter of Reality written by Objectivist and Mathematician Roger Penrose.

  19. Heh, if scientology is your yardstick for success, I think you're doomed.

  20. Scientology is much closer to reality than any Monotheistic religion is….although I never said it was my "yardstick for success" though. Reality is my yardstick for reality, and success (a goal specific endeavor) is my yardstick for success.

  21. That is one sad-ass superman!

  22. LOL! The scowl, potbelly and slumping shoulders evince strength and confidence.

  23. Not sure what the shoulder bag belies, however.

  24. Lack of pockets in Supersuit.

  25. Lack of pockets in Supersuit.
    I would have thought that Supeman could have expanded one of his own orifices to hold anything he needed. But what's that flat patch above Supey's belt buckle. Is he wearing a girdle? To work, wouldn't that have to be made out of kryptonite?

  26. Perhaps he's delivering something. Would you want something after it's been in one of Superman's orifices? Hell, maybe he's got his lunch or a 6-pack staying cold in there.

    I'm not sure what he's go under the suit. It almost looks like he's got a binder in his underpants. Maybe they're his memoirs.

  27. Chief, I'm actually worried about you. Seriously. Here's why:

    Then there were the (thankfully) few who either couldn’t accept that they had made any errors or adamantly insisted their way was better.

    No matter how hard someone else tries, they seemingly can't get you to see that that is you! Honest: point me to one thread or comment where you've conceded to being wrong about some point. Even John Evo *implied* such, in our discussion about prayer studies:

    "Philly, I like you a lot. But if we going to speak frankly about each other here, then the difference between you and me is that I find no shame in admitting to being wrong or adjusting an opinion in the middle of a discussion." (John Evo, to Philly)

    Really though:

    How do you explain things to someone who can’t or won’t grasp what you’re saying?

    Why not just try talking to them, without insulting them or assuming they're incapable of honest discussion? After all, it could be *you* that's wrong, right? For example, you *could* answer the latest in a series of questions you started with me: if I say food is cheap, especially meat, does that mean only meat is cheap? Or, does that mean both food and meat are cheap?

    Why not get back over there, try an honest answer, and give it a shot? Show me where I'm wrong. Avoidance is a bunk strategy.

  28. Chief, I'm actually worried about you. Seriously. Here's why:

    Then there were the (thankfully) few who either couldn’t accept that they had made any errors or adamantly insisted their way was better.

    No matter how hard someone else tries, they seemingly can't get you to see that that is you! Honest: point me to one thread or comment where you've conceded to being wrong about some point. Even John Evo *implied* such, in our discussion about prayer studies:

    "Philly, I like you a lot. But if we going to speak frankly about each other here, then the difference between you and me is that I find no shame in admitting to being wrong or adjusting an opinion in the middle of a discussion." (John Evo, to Philly)

    Really though:

    How do you explain things to someone who can’t or won’t grasp what you’re saying?

    Why not just try talking to them, without insulting them or assuming they're incapable of honest discussion? After all, it could be *you* that's wrong, right? For example, you *could* answer the latest in a series of questions you started with me: if I say food is cheap, especially meat, does that mean only meat is cheap? Or, does that mean both food and meat are cheap?

    Why not get back over there, try an honest answer, and give it a shot? Show me where I'm wrong. Avoidance is a bunk strategy.

  29. Everybody has always just assumed that Superman would keep his buff bod into middle age. This is sad, cynical, aging, Shatner-girdled Superman running his second job as a courier because of the recession.

  30. "There is no 1a" doesn't cut it, either, unless of course you answer "only meat" to the question you've been deflecting for, oh, four days now?

    Careful though, Ex knows words well, and I imagine he'd book you if you tried to claim that "food is cheap, especially meat" means only meat is cheap.

  31. Actually, there's no reason he should have a buff body in the first place. The sun makes him strong somehow, but there's nothing that says it makes him buff. We naturally associate strong with buff since you need muscle to be strong, but his strength isn't from muscle. In fact, his muscles probably don't get that much of a workout ever, so he should be a sack of shit.

    Now perhaps at the ol' Fortress of Solitude he's got a workout room where he exposes himself to low doses of kryptonite, thus weakening him to normal human strength so that he could work his body into buffness, or perhaps the effects of the sun can be blocked there.

  32. Whatever I or anyone else says doesn't change the fact that there's no "1a" on this page.

    Now please try to stay at least remotely OT or else I'll have to assume your refusal is a deliberate attempt to derail this discussion.

  33. I almost went and checked to see if there was a 1a on that page, but then I would be no better than Tim the Shrubber, who wouldn't believe that the Black Knight's limbs were gone unless he stuck his hand in the wounds, and what kind of faith is that if you actually needed evidence before you believed… silly rabbit.

  34. Well, I did check. Oh me of little faith. ;)

  35. I read the reviews on Amazon, and most of the reviewers say that this is not a text written at the level of the educated layperson, no matter that it is being marketed as such. One of the kinder negative reviews said: I can only conclude that he is so familiar with this material that he has completely lost touch with its difficulty.

    Also, I'm curious; what makes you think he is an Objectivist in addition to being a mathematical physicist? I skimmed several online biographies, as well as the ubiquitious wikipedia, and didn't see any mention of any Randian tendencies.

  36. wap

  37. The compression strength of steel is far greater than that of bone. I wonder what Superman has instead of muscles and tendons though, I'd imagine he has a complicated system of hydraulic actuators like seen on hydraulic jacks or power steering or disk/drum breaks and I'd imagine he has a rather complicated system of ball and hinge joints. I'd imagine that being made of steel would make superman a very inefficient flyer as opposed to being made of lightweight aluminum or titanium alloys, but since Superman seems to fly faster than a speeding bullet with relative ease I'd imagine that he runs on either fusion or fission powered energy and would be too hot to touch.

  38. Also, watch out for the X-rays emitting from his eyes or you might get cancer.

  39. Could you imagine all the women he might have given cancer to peeking through their clothes? Imagine the lawsuits!

  40. (1) Superman probably caused cancer in both men and women.
    (2) X-rays penetrate through clothes and skin and then they reflect off denser material such as bones or metal.
    (3) Nobody could prove that Superman caused their cancer, Superman's wealthy lawyer could just as well blame it on cell phones or power lines or smoking or any other myriad of carcinogenic things (gasoline vapors from the gas stations, cooked meats, asbestos, talcum powder, etc etc etc).

  41. PhillyChief,

    I am on topic sugarplum. Your post is about those select hardheads who can't fathom the possibility that they might be wrong. That's you.

    Chaplain,

    Then, maybe you can answer the question Philly's avoiding like the plague: if I say "food is cheap, especially meat," does that mean only meat is cheap? Or that both food and meat are cheap?

    Philly's defense here is to claim that only the "gods" part of the definition Merriam Webster gave applies. Are you really going to pretend that's a valid argument?

  42. …or cheap meat.

  43. CL:
    You've probably noticed that I've not taken part in this discussion of your hypothesis, definitions, etc., as related to SI's question. I'm not going to start now; you've already got enough cooks stirring this broth (which may be the root of your problem). If you, Philly and NAL (I can't recall if anyone else has been involved in this part of the discussion) can't reach a consensus, you may just have to come up with definitions on your own.

    I will say this much. If you end up devising definitions on your own, you could (probably should, actually) incorporate an explanation of why you chose one option rather than another. You can then explain why your selection is better than, for example, Philly's preference.

  44. let ssex

  45. www

  46. www

  47. That is one sad-ass superman!

Leave a Reply