The Magic of Meaning

Get yourself a tea, and some biscuits. You happened upon Scarlet Letters, Part II. Given the time that has passed, it’s only loosely connected to the previous entry and will montage again a lot of interesting things, you’ll see… It turned out pretty big and perhaps compensates for the long wait.

Part of the fun of writing is that I have to look closer into my own thoughts and order them  – a little – in ways that are hopefully intelligible to other humans. I was searching for some way to convey that humans inhabit two different “realms” with a continuum of intermediary states between them. To sidestep unintentional connotations I will simply call them Out There™ and In Here™. 


Out There™

The realm on one end of the continuum is the physical reality “out there”, which is entirely unknowable und indescribable to us and which seems to be some sort of fuzzy field. I could as well claim it was populated by machine elves singing intertwined rainbows into existence. We have no idea how it is like. Then again it is not entirely arbitrary, we know for sure what it isn’t. It is not made of cheese, for example. And there we are in the middle of the problem: this reality “out there” is so far outside of our senses that it it is really not a cozy place where we dwell on. Conciousness altering substances or meditation may change perception by shaking our biochemistry up a little, but we do not come closer to it, as we still rely on our senses and faculties that interpret the information.

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Scarlet Letters

The “Scarlet Letter” is an old pointy hat. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his magnum opus in 1850 and not too much later, in 2007, the Richard Dawkins Foundation came around with the idea that Atheists shall “out”  themselves, too, with a scarlet A on their chest like the unfortunate characters of Hawthorne’s novel.


“Good evening, […] I thought it time we had a little talk. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…”
— V in “V for Vendetta”

For those who bunked the English lessons, or who didn’t enjoy English literature education in some foreign country, I found this video illustrating the plot. It is quite worth your time.

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Blaming Helen

The Shmeargate incident started by PZ Myers I discussed in epic length is coming to its final chapter, for now. The big picture was covered in “The Golden Apple Grenade”, specific details were addressed in “Choose Wisely”. “Blaming Helen” is about the final “wine story” of his infamous Grenade Post (you may want to re-read that part) and some of the arguments presented later by its supporters. And of course, another epic is continued, too.

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The lights go out. A blanket of silence falls softly over the audience. Timid rustles fill the air as everyone fumbles with their snacks. The silver screen flickers, the large opening title appears. A bombastic sound fulminates out of the surround boxes and presses everyone deeper into their seats as the final part of the saga begins 

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Choose Wisely

Previously on Shmeargate, I discussed how “strife and discord” (taken from the Eris myth) is good for the community, and in line with free-thought or “herding cats”. And how “with us or against us”, as convincing it may seem, was a false dilemma; a converse more like “flock of sheep” that shows already “thought-police” like tendencies. I have described some larger contexts, and hinted at conflicts between humanities and natural science that are echoed in the community (the opposing ends are perhaps postmodernism vs. empiricism/positivism).

This instalment looks further into the infamous Grenade post and the conference issues that are mentioned in it. And we have to continue a myth…

Athena, Hera and Aphrodite were still arguing which one was the fairest of them, when Zeus announced how they were going to settle the matter once and for all. For it is very neat when issues aren’t just being brought up, but also some method is devised that solves them to general satisfaction. Zeus nominated a young man with the curious nickname “Pouch” to choose which of the three goddesses should win. After all, the wedding party was still in full swing.

“[A]t the post-speech party, Shermer chatted with me at great length while refilling my wine glass repeatedly.”
— Anonymous woman

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The Golden Apple Grenade

It’s finally here.
My first blog post, ever! It had to be 23. it seems. It turned out to be a double triple feature (“still shorter than JT and Carrier™”), as I didn’t like to split up my first article already. It’s a bit wonky at times, and since I had nothing to build on, I had to provide some context that ripped it apart a bit, I guess. But what do you expect on a topic about Grenades? If you liked it by any chance, please leave some feedback, comment, tweet, write “moar”, like, share, or get the word out. I would especially love to see comments and feedback down in the comment section. It’s still all experimental so let’s see where this goes…

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Eris wasn’t invited to the wedding party. She showed up anyway. And with her she brought a special present: a Golden Apple with the inscription “for the fairest” (τη καλλίστη, “ti kallisti”) which she quickly threw between the guests. Aha! In an instant, the three goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite fought over it. “It is mine!” all three exclaimed.

“So I’ve been given this rather…explosive…information”
—PZ Myers

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