Monday, March 7, 2011

On Burning Strawmen!

Here's a question I have to every person who's ever denounced another person for burning a strawman: Have you ever actually tried burning a strawman before?

It's fun!

There's a reason every protest that gets out of control usually pulls out the effigies and gasoline, and I'm convinced it has little to do with making a point. Fire's fun. Setting things on fire is fun. Setting things that look human on fire? Well, it's often said that there's little difference between comedy and cruelty - and I'm willing to bet the inventor of the flamethrower had a great sense of humor.

The point is that burning strawmen is an enjoyable activity, and I see no reason to deny this, nor to abstain from it entirely. Stay tuned.


Neil B said...

Er, no not literally but I do complain about them a lot ... I do it figuratively. People seem to love deploying them, that metaphorical sort. I'm sure, burning a straw man is more fun than burning (or frying?) a red herring.

BTW I left a belated answer to the question you asked at Paradoxer. Sorry for the wait, but in thinking it over I found a way to improve a paradox from S. Afshar about which-way information. Keep up the good work, and I see so many of my own sort of reactions and notions when I read your stuff. I'm wondering, who is the best professional critic of the sort of scientism and arrogance you and I (but more often on other people's blogs) like to decry?

BTW Crude, I could use a good vote at that FQXi site of my essay. The forces of scientific hackery have dragged down my score ...

Crude said...

Voted. I'm out of my league, but I'd like to see your ideas get more notoriety (and thus responses, etc.) Plus getting voted down just for not mentioning Bohm is silly.

As for scientism, you may want to check out Ed Feser's recent scientism roundup. He's pretty damn good about this sort of thing.