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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

$15M Lawsuit claims ex-Met Roberto Alomar had sex knowing he had AIDS

Baseball great Roberto Alomar has full-blown AIDS but insisted on having unprotected sex, his ex-girlfriend charged Tuesday in a bombshell lawsuit.

The shocking claim was leveled by Ilya Dall, 31, who said she lived with the ex-Met for three years and watched in horror as his health worsened.

In papers filed in state and federal court, Dall said Alomar finally got tested in January 2006 while suffering from a cough, fatigue and shingles. “The test results of him being HIV-positive was given to him and the plaintiff on or about Feb.6, 2006,” the $15 million negligence suit says.

Nine days later, the couple went to see a disease specialist who discovered a mass in the retired second baseman’s chest, the court papers say. Alomar’s skin had turned purple, he was foaming at the mouth and a spinal tap “showed he had full-blown AIDS,” the suit says.

Alomar, 41, who quit baseball over health issues in 2005, could not be reached for comment.

His lawyer, Charles Bach, would not say whether Alomar is HIV-positive. “We believe this is a totally frivolous lawsuit. These allegations are baseless,” Bach said. “He’s healthy and would like to keep his health status private. We’ll do our talking in court.”

Repoz Posted: February 11, 2009 at 12:04 PM | 293 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:23 PM (#3074804)
Nieporent,
As a lifelong Jew, I've seen more than enough misogyny in Orthodox and Hasidic culture to justify my own disdain for it. I wouldn't want my daughter to marry a Hasidic Jew.
   202. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:24 PM (#3074809)
Basically, AIDS virus is transmitted through bodily fluids, mostly blood. There is theoretical risk of virus being transmitted through saliva while kissing, but I don't think there is single proven case (spitting into eye or at wound / scratch is dangerous).

Has anyone tested John Hirschbeck's eye?
   203. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:25 PM (#3074813)
But do Catholics believe that it's the duty of a husband to give a wife sexual pleasure?

Well, my wife is Catholic, and she certainly seems to think I have that duty. Not that I'm complaining.

That sex is not just for procreation, but for the purpose of bringing husband and wife together?

The Catholic Church clearly teaches that sex within marriage exists for the purpose of bringing husband and wife together. OTOH, they also have this wacky notion that every ejaculate must be given an opportunity to cause a pregnancy.
   204. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3074817)
"I don't pay much attention to what they think -- except what they think about people like me "

Wow, you have no interest in other cultures? That's awesome.
   205. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:35 PM (#3074832)
I'm sure that if the charges are true (WHICH I DOUBT IMMENSELY), Alomar can be a cause celebre for the hall for a few reasons.

When I saw this headline, I was pretty sure it was a lawsuit by this guy
   206. bunyon Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:36 PM (#3074835)
The Catholic Church clearly teaches that sex within marriage exists for the purpose of bringing husband and wife together. OTOH, they also have this wacky notion that every ejaculate must be given an opportunity to cause a pregnancy.

If that little sperm wanted to break through the latex bad enough, it would.
   207. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:37 PM (#3074840)
Wow, you have no interest in other cultures? That's awesome.

Oh, please. Like you try to understand Bostonians. ;-)

Dry vajayjays are WHAT? Better?? Why aren't those guys banging the elderly, then?
   208. Mike Green Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:40 PM (#3074845)
Shouldn't "Yankee Clapper" be barred from STD threads, as a matter of principle?
   209. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:51 PM (#3074870)
I did not RTFA, but is she claiming he raped her? If she isn't, it seems like she bears some of the blame here. She could have insisted that he wore a condom, stalemating his insistence that he would not. But (again, without RTFA) it seems from the blurb that she did not make him wear one.
   210. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:54 PM (#3074873)
Bivens,
I moved to rural Maine. Talk about another culture. I saw a dog sled race this past weekend,and I'm not kidding.

http://www.desdc.org/farmington_race_info.html
   211. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:56 PM (#3074879)
Rural Maine. Heh. Karma, dude. That's all I can say.
   212. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:58 PM (#3074884)
Shouldn't "Yankee Clapper" be barred from STD threads, as a matter of principle?

To the contrary, it's outdated, bigoted notions like this that kill civility in STD threads. All those myths you hear about catching the clap from reading someone's BBTF posts are just that. Have some compassion, man!
   213. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:58 PM (#3074886)
It was for a job. I like it. Shrimp season now. Delicious.
   214. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: February 11, 2009 at 09:59 PM (#3074888)
Oh, and in all my years as an FBI Regional Bureau Chief, this woman's lawsuit is the most poorly-drafted complaint I've ever seen. It's appalling on multiple levels. I was disappointed the Smoking Gun post didn't include a signature page like they usually do; I'd love to know what "attorney" wrote this.
   215. RJ in TO Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:03 PM (#3074892)
I was disappointed the Smoking Gun post didn't include a signature page like they usually do; I'd love to know what "attorney" wrote this.


Admit it. You just wanted to see if their signature was in crayon.
   216. jmurph Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:06 PM (#3074897)
Weekly Journalist-

Do you live in Farmington? I spent a few years as a kid in Wilton. Farmington was practically a city compared to Wilton.
   217. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:07 PM (#3074898)
Yup, right in "downtown" Farmington. We go to Wilton because it's the only place that has passable chinese food.
   218. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:10 PM (#3074902)
Admit it. You just wanted to see if their signature was in crayon.

That didn't occur to me, but now that you mention it...

Actually, I wanted to see if she was a young female attorney with a nice-looking profile pic on her firm's site. I figure anyone dumb enough to write that badly might go for the likes of me.
   219. PreservedFish Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:15 PM (#3074908)
Farmington has a nice baseball stadium IIRC, right on whatever road runs through town
   220. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:18 PM (#3074914)
Fair enough; I don't pay much attention to what they think -- except what they think about people like me -- so if there are nuances I've missed, so be it. But do Catholics believe that it's the duty of a husband to give a wife sexual pleasure? That sex is not just for procreation, but for the purpose of bringing husband and wife together? Given the Catholic view of contraception, I assume not, but those are part of Orthodox Judaism.

Yes. The Catholic Church teaches that all sex must be both unitive and open to procreation. Neither alone is sufficient, both are necessary. That is why both contraception and IVF are not allowed.

JPII actually wrote a book, before he was Pope, saying it was a husband's duty to bring his wife to orgasm.

BTW, congrats on the little one!
   221. Randy Jones Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:19 PM (#3074915)
Actually, I wanted to see if she was a young female attorney with a nice-looking profile pic on her firm's site. I figure anyone dumb enough to write that badly might go for the likes of me.

and would pretty much have to be attractive to have the job
   222. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:20 PM (#3074919)
I was disappointed the Smoking Gun post didn't include a signature page like they usually do; I'd love to know what "attorney" wrote this.
Once again taking the radical step of RTFA, we see:
She referred inquiries to her lawyer, Anthony Piacentini, who declined to comment.
   223. jmurph Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:23 PM (#3074922)
Yup, right in "downtown" Farmington. We go to Wilton because it's the only place that has passable chinese food.


That's funny. We used to go to Farmington for... well, really, everything. Movie theater, grocery store, doctor's office, etc.
   224. Rocco's Not-so Malfunctioning Mitochondria Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:26 PM (#3074927)
Evidently, besides writing an offensively bad complaint, the lawyer also hates the Hindus.

http://www.becketfund.org/index.php/case/87.html
   225. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:26 PM (#3074928)
Once again taking the radical step of RTFA, we see: She referred inquiries to her lawyer, Anthony Piacentini, who declined to comment.

Sorry, I just read the complaint, not the linked article. Figured the signature page on the pleading was the most obvious place to look for the name.

Now that we've cleared that up: Sorry, Anthony, you don't sound like my type. And you write like a third-grader.
   226. Morty Causa Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:29 PM (#3074929)
As for Sapir-Whorf, Steven Pinker in The Language Instinct is devastating. He notes first that we all have the sense and inkling when it comes to language that it doesn’t express exactly what we feel and think (we are always left at least a little wanting). He also asks, how could a child learn that first word if S-W was right, how could a new word come into being? He is harsh: “People who can remember little else from their college education can rattle off the factoids: the languages that carve the spectrum into color words at different places, the fundamentally different Hopi concept of time, the dozens of Eskimo words for snow. The implication is heavy; the foundational categories of reality are not ‘in’ the world but are imposed by one’s culture (and hence can be challenged, perhaps accounting for the perennial appeal of the hypothesis to undergraduate sensibilities).”

Pinker continues:

“But it is wrong, all wrong. The idea that thought is the same thing as language is an example of what can be called a conventional absurdity: a statement that goes against all common sense but that everyone believes because they dimly recall having heard it somewhere and because it is so pregnant with implications.” The Language Instinct, p. 57. See also pages 59-64 for the complete demolishment.

And:

“No one is really sure how Whorf came up with his outlandish claims, but his limited, badly analysed sample of Hopi speech and his long-term leanings towards mysticism must have helped” Pinker, TLI.

“Pinker also debunks Whorf’s claims about time in the Hopi language. He points out that the anthropologist Malotki (1983) has found that the Hopi do have a concept of time very similar to ours – and in fact have units of time, and a sophisticated calendar. In addition, Whorf’s arguments on Hopi character are based on Hopi language, making his argument circular, and therefore useless.

“Pinker’s killing blow to linguistic determinism is found in the references to languageless adults. He cites the example of Idlefonso, who was observed by Schaller (1991). Idlefonso was an immigrant completely without language, who was still intelligent, numerate, and once shown sign language was able to fully recount experiences and converse with Schaller. If language completely determines thought, then this man would not have been able to think, which he clearly did.”

http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/njp0001.html

Related to this, Pinker also discusses the fact that infants think before they speak, as noted above, and he has also discussed how, contrary to knee-jerk popular belief, we wouldn’t do away with, say, racism or sexism if we could somehow magically do away with racist terms such as “n---ger” or “c—t”. As long as the feeling/thinking exists, instead we would simply give birth to new epithets and opprobrious terms. He’s really pretty contemptuous of Sapir-Whorf.
   227. RJ in TO Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:32 PM (#3074932)
That was next on my pile of books to read. Thanks for spoiling the ending.

EDIT: I'm serious about it being next on the list of books to read. I'm really looking forward to it.
   228. Morty Causa Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:36 PM (#3074938)
That's Pinker, a combination of Ellery Queen and Margaret Mead. The Butthead (or was it the Beavis) did it.
   229. E., Hinske Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:40 PM (#3074943)
C'mon David, you're telling me that you figure he wrote the pleading? I'm looking forward to being a senior lawyer so that I can ditch that stuff.
   230. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:47 PM (#3074953)
He’s really pretty contemptuous of Sapir-Whorf.

Not even the progenitors the theory take the "strong" stance he appears to be arguing against.

EDIT: He is directly addressing their own analyses which underlie the theory. This bit goes too far: "He also asks, how could a child learn that first word if S-W was right."

Now maybe I'm wrong but I thought S-W dealt mostly with grammatical construction to which this objection would be totally unresponsive.
   231. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:48 PM (#3074955)
C'mon David, you're telling me that you figure he wrote the pleading? I'm looking forward to being a senior lawyer so that I can ditch that stuff.

Guy's apparently been practicing law for almost 40 years, so perhaps that was the case here...
   232. RJ in TO Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:52 PM (#3074960)
Guy's apparently been practicing law for almost 40 years, so perhaps that was the case here...


If he's been practicing it for 40 years, and he's still this bad, perhaps it's time to just give it up.
   233. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:56 PM (#3074965)
Dry sex is a traditional practice currently found (mostly) in Africa of using herbs, leaves, or even household detergent to minimize a woman's vaginal secretions.

That's hot.

OTOH, they also have this wacky notion that every ejaculate must be given an opportunity to cause a pregnancy.

Not even an occasional effort at composition?
   234. Morty Causa Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:56 PM (#3074966)
Maybe a student clerk or a paralegal drew that up. Maybe time constraints, procedural or having to do with statute of limitations, were involved. Not that there aren't inept and linguistically club-footed attorneys. Or scientists, doctors, baseball writers. Anyway, that's why there's the "amendment" process.
   235. Morty Causa Posted: February 11, 2009 at 10:59 PM (#3074968)
EDIT: I'm serious about it being next on the list of books to read. I'm really looking forward to it.

I think you'll like it. Pinker, like his cohort in spirit, Dawkins, is a vivid prose stylist, a great explainer, and his enthusiasm for thinking about a subject is contagious.
   236. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:00 PM (#3074970)
IANAL (heh) but it seems to me that the most likely situation is that the woman has something on Alomar and is overfiling essentially as a threat to get him to pay her off. If there was nothing going on under the covers (so to speak), Alomar could just countersue for slander, reveal everything, etc.., but in the process obviously things would come out about his personal life. I think the most likely situations are:

1) Alomar is gay/bisexual,
2) Alomar used steroids.

Ex-gf knows this, and told Alomar that she would come up with this crazy claim unless Alomar paid her off. Alomar called her bluff, and can't really defend/countersue without the truth coming out, so he's in a bit of a pickle.
   237. nycfan Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:04 PM (#3074972)
this woman's lawsuit is the most poorly-drafted complaint I've ever seen. It's appalling on multiple levels


Did you not read dioguardi v. durning in law school?
   238. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:07 PM (#3074976)
Did you not read dioguardi v. durning in law school?

Not a lawyer, so no. Worked with plenty of lawyers and paralegals, though.
   239. Morty Causa Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:16 PM (#3074983)
Re The Language Instinct, Ryan: it's worth the price just for his expert skewering of the "language mavens."

http://ling.kgw.tu-berlin.de/lexicography/data/MAVENS.html
   240. PreservedFish Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:24 PM (#3074989)
I thought we were going with Indo-European language shifts? I hoped that perhaps that one of our experts would try and trace the history of men preferring dry vaginas through linguistic evidence.

(Did you know that the word "dessicant" appears in much the same form in Tocharian, Old Church Slavonic, and all of the Indo-Aryan languages?)
   241. Morty Causa Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:30 PM (#3074996)
Or at least through "cunnilinguistic" ones?
   242. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:39 PM (#3074999)
That was next on my pile of books to read. Thanks for spoiling the ending.


Damn, there's a lot of academics hanging out here.
So, uh, who wants to talk about military technology in the Mughal Empire?
   243. Morty Causa Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:45 PM (#3075001)
East or West Mughal? Lower or Upper? Little or Big? Over or under? The Red or the Blue? Dry or Wet?
   244. RJ in TO Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:00 AM (#3075011)
Re The Language Instinct, Ryan: it's worth the price just for his expert skewering of the "language mavens."


Any opinions on The Stuff of Thought? I've also got that one on the pile of things to read. I've been informed that his chapter on swearing is a thing of beauty.
   245. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:16 AM (#3075015)
Oep, you've found me out. I've not read The Stuff of Thought yet. I've read TLI, The Blank Slate, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules even, but not that one. I've heard the same about it as you wrt the swearing. He knows language, that I can say, and I've been highly impressed with everything he's done.

You can also get a lot of his most recent stuff in smaller bits here at the Edge, whether it's on the mapping his genome, giving "oaf" Chief Justice Roberts the back of his hand for muffing the swearing-in (it was because he's a grammar mawmaw), or adding an important bit to the chorus in support of Jerry Coyne's fine essay against the reconciliation of science and religious belief. (To check out all of them you have to scroll down a ways.)

http://www.edge.org/

Note how he neatly sums up the essential problem Coyne's adversaries are stuck with (right between the ribs into the heart of their mealy-mouth objections):

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/coyne09/coyne09_index.html#pinker

Coyne's initial essay, btw, is first-rate. He more or less left the otherwise estimable Kenneth Miller gibbering in a dither, and that means he hit home, for Miller is a mean polemicist himself (usually in a very affable and unflappable way, though).

EDITED FOR CLARITY
   246. Repoz Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:31 AM (#3075021)
Bump Jim

Bump Mr. Man
   247. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:36 AM (#3075024)
Ummm ... I know a lot about comics & horror movies & punk rock & even baseball, as well as several other subjects, but I'm starting to embrace the possibility that I was lobotomized as a child & just didn't realize it.
   248. FBI Regional Bureau Chief GORDON COLE!!! Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:38 AM (#3075027)
Or at least through "cunnilinguistic" ones?

I pride myself on being a cunning linguist.
   249. PreservedFish Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:46 AM (#3075036)
You just repeated the same pun
   250. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:49 AM (#3075040)
Yeah, you should go to jail for failed humor.
   251. PreservedFish Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:56 AM (#3075050)
Unless, UNLESS, it was self-deprecating humor. The fact that the pun was just lazily repeated shows that he is not, in fact, cunning at all.
   252. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:57 AM (#3075053)
I'm talking about something like Indo-European language change...a subject I keep conspicuously dropping around here like a $20 bill in the street in the hopes that someone will want to talk about it.


Tell us what you think of The Horse, the Wheel and Language then. I read it recently and it seemed pretty convincing, but the author's not a linguist and the archeological stuff got to be pretty heavy going, so I wonder what the more expert community has to say about it.
   253. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 12, 2009 at 12:59 AM (#3075056)
You can also get a lot of his most recent stuff in smaller bits here at the Edge, whether it's on the mapping his genome, giving "oaf" Chief Justice Roberts the back of his hand for muffing the swearing-in (it was because he's a grammar mawmaw)
The problem is that there's no evidence for his theory, but hey.
   254. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 01:09 AM (#3075063)
I'm not clear as to what you refer to. What "theory"? That Roberts is a grammar schoolmarm who got hoisted, psychically speaking, by his own petard?
   255. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 12, 2009 at 01:35 AM (#3075075)
I'm not clear as to what you refer to. What "theory"? That Roberts is a grammar schoolmarm who got hoisted, psychically speaking, by his own petard?
Yes. His claim for how and why Roberts got tripped up is lacking in evidence. It's possible, sure. But if it were written by Joe Schmoe rather than Steven Pinker, nobody would have printed such a fact-free hypothesis searching for support.
   256. Elston Gunn Posted: February 12, 2009 at 01:56 AM (#3075089)
I know the discussion seems to have passed, but I'd guess that the early church's and (especially) Augustine's embracing of asceticism is just one of those many conclusions they come to that have more to do with Plato/Plotinus and Aristotle than they do with scripture. So, if you're looking for someone to blame, look at Plato, not Augustine.

More broadly, I think Christianity is at least as Platonic as it is Biblical, and this is just one indication of that. One doesn't find any evidence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, impassable God in the Bible, or at least not unless one looks really hard for it. I don't find this to be much of problem--Plato is one of my favorite philosophers, and Augustine's Confessions is one of my five or so favorite books--I just think it's interesting to see where Christian doctrine came from. Unfortunately, while I don't think it's fair to say Plato hated the body (though Socrates always speaks against it, his actions like drinking all night at the Symposium, or admiring the beauty of young boys, suggest otherwise), he certainly considered it secondary to the spirit, and so does nearly every major thinker after him for a long long time.

Edit: Aristotle didn't affect Augustine because they hadn't re-discovered most of his great works then (Metaphysics, Physics, Ethics etc.). I was thinking more of Aquinas when I said that.
   257. BarrettsHiddenBall Posted: February 12, 2009 at 02:07 AM (#3075096)
But do Catholics believe that it's the duty of a husband to give a wife sexual pleasure?


Once again taking the radical step of RTFT, we see:


John Paul II (before he was Pope) actually wrote a book in which he stated that it was a husband's duty to see to his wife's pleasure during sex.


Linguists- is there a (meta) word combining laziness, hypocrisy and solipsism?
   258. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 03:22 AM (#3075141)
First, this isn’t a court of law, and neither was the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. Many opinions are rendered, even here, that aren’t top-heavy with evidence, but are based on a few facts and some assumptions about the meaning of those facts based on character and past actions. Sort of just furthering a discussion along. I doubt that Pinker’s little piece was much more than that.

Second, just because he’s a famous scientist and the Edge is a hole in the wall for brainiacs, and the NYT is what it is, doesn’t mean he, and they, can’t f__k around a little now and then just like people do here. Maybe not as much. It wasn’t meant to be a peer-review monograph for a scientific journal. Indeed, it really had more to do with his bete-noire, language snobs, than with the deep merits of Roberts’s gaffe. But, even so, before you have a theory, you moot hypotheses, and then you play around with them. This was more in the nature of academician playfulness with a hypothetical point. No need for us to take it so seriously. Yet.

Third. But he did cite some facts. Moreover, he coordinated those facts with both what is known about the type in question (the grammar nitpicker) and the particular phenomenon that is an example of the type (one CJ Roberts).

Do grammar nits pick the adverb out so verbs aren’t split, no matter how awkward that might sound? Yes. Did he give examples of this? Yes. Did Roberts do that? Yes. (Fact.) Does Roberts have a reputation for being a grammar cop? Yes. See the Bob Dylan example (Fact).

Furthermore, you have the testimony of at least one expert on the meaning of those facts.

Now, let’s say that the question is whether Roberts violated a law, or some binding rule for which he can be held accountable in. Would what is alleged here, argued here be sufficient for criminal conviction or for a civil judgment? Of course not. Is it enough for probable cause or to proceed? I think so. But, really, is that even the standard here?

Too bad that you are disappointed. I only cited it because it demonstrates some of Pinker’s attributes and qualities, especially as to style and argument, as a writer. Try some of his other longer stuff. If you think it trivial, go straight to the books, or check out some of his more serious work on the internet. There’s even the aforementioned defense of Coyne, or the long article on his genome on the Edge—in which I learned a lot about genetics explained in clear terms and compelling language.

BTW, I wonder if you read the entire piece? It’s short, but you still have to click at the end of the material linked to in order to go to a second page. The Edge is tricky until you get used to it. The entire thing is here:

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/pinker09/pinker09_index.html
   259. Srul Itza Posted: February 12, 2009 at 03:34 AM (#3075151)
Linguists- is there a (meta) word combining laziness, hypocrisy and solipsism?


Mariotti
   260. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 12, 2009 at 03:38 AM (#3075155)
Mariotti is just Italian for Baylis.
   261. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:15 AM (#3075239)
Do grammar nits pick the adverb out so verbs aren’t split, no matter how awkward that might sound? Yes. Did he give examples of this? Yes. Did Roberts do that? Yes. (Fact.) Does Roberts have a reputation for being a grammar cop? Yes. See the Bob Dylan example (Fact).
Maybe. Sort of. Assumes the conclusion. No. The notion that Roberts changed a lyric from Bob Dylan because of grammar is fiction; the notion that Roberts is a "grammar cop" is unsupported. The claim that Roberts endorses the split-verb "rule" is false, as Ed Whelan pointed out. The notion that Roberts somehow unconsciously changed the oath because he was trying to avoid the split verb is completely unsupported. Look, there's a much simpler explanation that doesn't depend on ascribing to Roberts some deep-seated psychological need to play grmmar cop: Obama interrupted Roberts (because Roberts broke the oath in a strange place), and Roberts lost his train of thought and misquoted the oath.

BTW, I wonder if you read the entire piece? It’s short, but you still have to click at the end of the material linked to in order to go to a second page. The Edge is tricky until you get used to it. The entire thing is here:
1) I actually read it originally in the Times.
2) Believe it or not, I actually know how to use the internet.
   262. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:38 AM (#3075257)
"I will revert to my former statement [post]", as a former President was prone to say. Read it.

What you argue now is exactly that: an argument. That is neither here nor there, as it goes between you and I. Take that up with Pinker. You said he alleged no facts. He did. And that's a fact. That you dispute that they are facts doesn't change that he made factual allegations. That's what makes court cases. Sue him, counselor. As Bill James noted somewhere, nothing in America dies without a court case. But, you're not going to resolve that here with me.
   263. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:48 AM (#3075262)
1) I actually read it originally in the Times.
2) Believe it or not, I actually know how to use the internet.


I was, believe or not, trying to give you a way to save face. Instead, you insist making an argument out of nothing but trivia. But, at least, now we know definitively that you don't know what an allegation of fact is.
   264. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:59 AM (#3075268)
Geez, it HAS been a weird week for baseball news.

I'm fully expecting stories about Ted William's spying on behalf of the Nazis and the Communists and Babe Ruth's role in creating the Great Depression.
It's been a weird week for political news, too. The latest Republican talking point is that New Deal spending did nothing to alleviate the Depression while the latest Democratic congressional pose is that they're SHOCKED that the TARP money is being badly spent by financial institutions.

Roberto Petagine is married to a woman 20 years older than him?

Yeah, his best friend's mom.
I'm sure there's no awkwardness at all.
   265. Gaelan Posted: February 12, 2009 at 08:32 AM (#3075300)
More broadly, I think Christianity is at least as Platonic as it is Biblical, and this is just one indication of that. One doesn't find any evidence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, impassable God in the Bible, or at least not unless one looks really hard for it. I don't find this to be much of problem--Plato is one of my favorite philosophers, and Augustine's Confessions is one of my five or so favorite books--I just think it's interesting to see where Christian doctrine came from. Unfortunately, while I don't think it's fair to say Plato hated the body (though Socrates always speaks against it, his actions like drinking all night at the Symposium, or admiring the beauty of young boys, suggest otherwise), he certainly considered it secondary to the spirit, and so does nearly every major thinker after him for a long long time.


The notion that Christian asceticism comes from Plato is simply false. First, as you noted the Symposium is a dialogue about eros and Socrates' speech in the Symposium does not advocate anything resembling asceticism. Diotima's ladder is a description of the movement from the love of individual bodies (which are particular and temporal) to the love of what might be called universals (the whole, the Good, etc.). This movement does not involve a suppresion of erotic desire but a channeling of it towards a more pleasurable end--philosophy. Hence the philosopher is the lover of (or desirer of) wisdom (philia--sophia). The philosopher is, first and foremost, an erotic man--which is explicitly how Plato describes himself in his letters.

In that vein in the Republic the tripartite division of the soul does not involve the preference of the "spirit" over the body but rather a hierachical relationship between our appetitive desires (gain-loving), our thymos usually translated as spiritedness (honour loving) and reasoning (wisdom loving) aspects. In the well ordered soul the reasoning seduces the spirited in order to control the appetitive. Once again, however, this control over the appetitive aspects of the body isn't ascetic (that is based upon a denial of this world) but based upon the greater pleasures of philosophy. Thus for Plato the philosopher and the Tyrant are the most erotic men there are. The difference is that the tyrant is ruled by his "sleeping desires" while the philosopher, because he desires wisdom above all else, is able to understand the difference between good and bad pleasure, and live accordingly.

Finally the conflation of Plato and Christianity is misleading concerning the fundamental nature of each. For instance there is no "omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, impassable God" in Plato either. In Plato there is no original sin--the divine spark is within us. While in Augustine we are wretched and because of our wretchedness we need to be saved by something external to us that we cannot compel. That is why salvation requires grace.

Finally, while the cardinal virtues (moderation, courage, prudence, justice) come from Plato what is meant by them is quite different. Plato gives an "aristocratic" interpretation that emphasizes the pride of the "noble and the good" while Augustine emphasizes a very unaristocratic humility. In this vein the ancient Greek word of virtue, arete means the specific excellence of the thing and the concept of virtue in Plato always implies worldly excellence. For Augustine that kind of virtue is a form of hubris.

Anyway it's late and I don't know why I went on so long in a dying thread.
   266. Gaelan Posted: February 12, 2009 at 08:55 AM (#3075312)
You can also get a lot of his most recent stuff in smaller bits here at the Edge, whether it's on the mapping his genome, giving "oaf" Chief Justice Roberts the back of his hand for muffing the swearing-in (it was because he's a grammar mawmaw), or adding an important bit to the chorus in support of Jerry Coyne's fine essay against the reconciliation of science and religious belief. (To check out all of them you have to scroll down a ways.)

http://www.edge.org/

Note how he neatly sums up the essential problem Coyne's adversaries are stuck with (right between the ribs into the heart of their mealy-mouth objections):

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/coyne09/coyne09_index.html#pinker

Coyne's initial essay, btw, is first-rate. He more or less left the otherwise estimable Kenneth Miller gibbering in a dither, and that means he hit home, for Miller is a mean polemicist himself (usually in a very affable and unflappable way, though).


So I went and checked these out. All I can say is that these so-called rationalist scientists make bad philosophers. They don't understand religion, they don't understand philsophy and, dare I say it, they don't understand the science they claim to practice.
   267. Jeff K. Posted: February 12, 2009 at 11:24 AM (#3075332)
The bunch of lawsuits guy, who I remember hearing about with the Belicheck/Patriots case, that's some funny stuff on Wikipedia. This:

One lawsuit, which includes George Bush, also includes another 783 defendants that cover 56 pages. They include Plato, Nostradamus, Che Guevara, James Hoffa, "Various Buddhist Monks", the Lincoln Memorial, the Eiffel Tower, the USS Cole, the book Mein Kampf, the Garden of Eden, the Roman Empire, the Appalachian Trail, and the entire Three Mile Island.

made me laugh as loud as anything intended to be humorous has in quite a while. 'Various Buddhist Monks' started it (and what a good band name*), the Eiffel Tower kept it going, and the entire Three Mile Island just closed the deal.

-------

* Speaking of language and its effect on society... I often joke about my "contributions" or what I'm known for. There's the Gotham Baseball thing, the 'working for Bobby V. and hence intense distaste for him' thing, the (over?)use of parentheticals, being the person behind an apparently (and bizarrely) beloved character poster, the post on TR Sullivan's blog recently, etc**. but perhaps the most pervasive is the "WTF HOFer" thing.

Along those lines, is "X would make a great band name" Dave Barry's most pervasive influence? Do most of the people who use the phrase even know where it started? Given how pervasive it has become, is that an acceptable legacy for a writer of his caliber and level of output, whatever you may think of him?

** I didn't say "large penis" out of decorum's sake, but for those of you who were thinking it, yeah. And stop thinking about my penis, unless you are a foxy lady or a man who can keep a secret.
   268. Hector Moreda & The Generalissimo Posted: February 12, 2009 at 03:25 PM (#3075411)
Any opinions on The Stuff of Thought? I've also got that one on the pile of things to read. I've been informed that his chapter on swearing is a thing of beauty.


Weeeeird - Pinker was just on Colbert last night.
   269. The Good Face Posted: February 12, 2009 at 04:58 PM (#3075518)
being the person behind an apparently (and bizarrely) beloved character poster


Did you just out yourself as Jack Keefe?
   270. Jeff K. Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3075540)
Unlike Roberto Alomar (cheap shot for the amusement of those reading the other thread), I will be categorical:

I am not Jack Keefe, nor have I ever posted as Jack Keefe, nor am I aware of who posts as Jack Keefe, though I am aware of people who claim to have that knowledge. I will not dignify the question with any further response.
   271. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:45 PM (#3075565)
is "X would make a great band name" Dave Barry's most pervasive influence?


I always liked "Ask Mr. Language Person" myself.
   272. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:45 PM (#3075566)
Let's do a Spartacus thing. I'll start it: "I am Jack Keefe."
   273. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: February 12, 2009 at 05:49 PM (#3075569)
I am Jack Hussein Keefe and I am a gay baseball player on steroids.

(I'm multi-tasking! That's how you get ahead in business.)
   274. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 06:01 PM (#3075579)
So I went and checked these out. All I can say is that these so-called rationalist scientists make bad philosophers. They don't understand religion, they don't understand philsophy and, dare I say it, they don't understand the science they claim to practice.

I, other hand, feel the same about philosphy and philosphers. Especially as to those sub-specialties dealing with metaphysics and theology. It's a bogus trade practiced by intellectual Roswellians. It's tennis without the net.

Perhaps I could be persuaded to admit the caveat, "unless modified by some sort of Neo-Darwinian synthesis," but as has been noted, this is a dying thread, so I won't waste my breath and efforts with pursuit along those lines. For those interested in pursuing philosophy along those lines, however, see Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Amazon has quite a number of comments on the book, for those who want a foretaste. Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene has something to say about this on the first page of the book proper: "Is there a meaning to life? What are we for? What is man?" He then quotes "the eminent zoologist G. G. Simpson [who] put it thus: 'The point I want to make now is that all attempts to answer that question before 1859 are worthless and that we will be better off if we ignore them completely." Happy Darwin's Day.
   275. Sexy Lizard Posted: February 12, 2009 at 06:06 PM (#3075583)
I am Jacques Keefe, French-Canadian comedian et un lanceur pour les Chaussettes Blanches de Chicago.
   276. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 06:13 PM (#3075593)
This is not to say that there aren't most learned and intelligent people here, not to mention Plato, Augustine et al., who make very fine arguments given their parameters of consideration. But, so do a lot of conspiracy theorists and alchemists. There's just a lot they're not considering, mostly because (in the case of Plato, Augustine. . . ) they don't know, but as to many present metaphysicians and theologists, they don't want to know.

"I have yet to see any good reason to suppose that theology (as opposed to blibical history, literature, etc.) is a subject at all." Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

"To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings." Thomas Jefferson
   277. Gaelan Posted: February 12, 2009 at 06:55 PM (#3075645)
I, other hand, feel the same about philosphy and philosphers. Especially as to those sub-specialties dealing with metaphysics and theology. It's a bogus trade practiced by intellectual Roswellians. It's tennis without the net.


I'll take the bait since I don't feel like working. First, I'll make a distinction. What I'm going to say is philosophical not theological. Which is to say nothing of what I say will depend upon the authority of revelation or any kind of relationship with the divine. I, like you, will depend upon the authority of reason communicated through discursive words (i.e. logos. If your issue is with theology that is a different debate. If some of what I say is suggestive, supportive, or consistent with theology that is because theology is also based in reason.

The general problem with empiricism is that the denial/rejection of metaphysics is an ontological claim concerning the nature of Being that is never supported, defended, explained, or acknowledged. Which is to say that the fundamental claim of empiricism is that the empirical=the real. Now not only is there no reason to believe this is true it makes nonsense of our experience because our experience is composed of not only of empirical things but also of non-things. We have concrete experience of both somethingness and nothingness. Or, if you prefer, on the basis of experience I know that nothingness is part of reality and hence empiricism, as a matter of reason, cannot equal the real.

The result is that any scientific claim made upon the basis of empiricism is always, at best, a partial description of reality because empiricism, as a matter of principle, can only see a portion of the Real and this limitation is one of principle not of practice and hence cannot be remedied through technical, or scientific progress. The fact that these scientists don't know this about themselves is an indication of their own ignorance since it is clear that other scientists (Heisenberg, Schrodinger, for instance) have been philosophically aware.

Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene has something to say about this on the first page of the book proper: "Is there a meaning to life? What are we for? What is man?" He then quotes "the eminent zoologist G. G. Simpson [who] put it thus: 'The point I want to make now is that all attempts to answer that question before 1859 are worthless and that we will be better off if we ignore them completely." Happy Darwin's Day.


This actually presents a nice point of contact since Augustine speaks to this very issue and demonstrates, unequivocally how Darwin's discoveries (which I endorse) do not change the philosophical issues. Augustine makes the explicit distinction between the question Who am I and What am I?

The first is directed by us at ourselves. "And I directed myself at myself and said to me: You, who are you? And I answered: A man--whatever that may be." The second is addressed by man to God. "What then am I, my God? What is my nature?" What is interesting is that science attempts to answer the divine question of what is our nature without answering the human question of who we are. The result is the substitution of science for God does nothing to address the fundamental existential dilemma of Augustine. "I have become a problem to myself" and hence the notion that all thought prior to 1859 is better off being ignored is willful ignorance. If the problem isn't any different then the decision to ignore old answers on the basis of a prejudice against the old is just willful ignorance.

"To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings." Thomas Jefferson


"And words whereby we conceive nothing but the sound are those we call absurd, insignificant, and nonsense. And therefore if a man should talk to me of a round quadrangle, or accidents of breac in cheese, or immaterial substance, or of a free subject, a free will, or any free but free from being hindered by opposition, I hsould not say he were in error, but that his words were without meaning, that is to say, absurd." -- Thomas Hobbes

Of course Leviathan was published in 1651 which my reason tells me was before 1859 and hence should be ignored.
   278. Morty Causa Posted: February 12, 2009 at 08:14 PM (#3075733)
Good post. Well written. I'm really strapped for time, but I'm going to try to find some to give it the attention it deserves. Let me just say that I disagree with everything you've said, from premises to conclusion, including every the "a", "an", and "the"--just kidding.
   279. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: February 12, 2009 at 08:22 PM (#3075739)
Without getting to deep into it--I actually have a bit of work today, dammit all--I'll just say that I would be loathe to live in a society without science or without philosophy.
   280. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 12, 2009 at 08:33 PM (#3075748)
The general problem with empiricism is that the denial/rejection of metaphysics is an ontological claim concerning the nature of Being that is never supported, defended, explained, or acknowledged.

Are you talking about logical empiricism here? E.g: Wittgenstein & the Vienna Circle?

EDIT: because it sounds like you are. And if you are attacking it then all you have to say is, "Kurt Godel, #######."
   281. Gaelan Posted: February 13, 2009 at 04:04 AM (#3076158)
Good post. Well written. I'm really strapped for time, but I'm going to try to find some to give it the attention it deserves. Let me just say that I disagree with everything you've said, from premises to conclusion, including every the "a", "an", and "the"--just kidding.


I just figured out that you are what I think of as "The Magus" guy. I have to admit I'm a little devastated.
   282. Morty Causa Posted: February 13, 2009 at 05:09 AM (#3076182)
Why?
   283. Gaelan Posted: February 13, 2009 at 05:39 AM (#3076196)
Why?


Because everyone knows that scientists have no souls.
   284. RJ in TO Posted: February 13, 2009 at 05:40 AM (#3076197)
Because everyone knows that scientists have no souls.


Please don't exaggerate.

We just have tiny souls, filled with dark and evil thoughts.
   285. Jeff K. Posted: February 13, 2009 at 06:00 AM (#3076206)
That's just because you're Canadian.
   286. Morty Causa Posted: February 13, 2009 at 06:16 AM (#3076216)
Because everyone knows that scientists have no souls.

Well, I’m not a scientist, drat it. But, I’ll anyway take that as a compliment.

And you certainly can be disappointed in me. If not for this, I’m sure other pretexts will present themselves to you.

I remember you also. With that in mind, I’m inclined to say, let’s call the whole thing off. (Won’t dance, don’t ask me.) Because this will very probably end badly. In an attempt to forestall that almost foregone conclusion, I’m going to say upfront that I’m simply gong to state my take as simply, straightforwardly, even baldly, as I can. Please don’t be offended if I come across as brusque. I don’t have time to be politic. And remember, it’s just a discussion.

First, I find that every time I reference that bit about Dawkins’s quoting and commenting on Simpson’s ditty, someone gets terribly offended. It never fails to ruffle feathers. Darwin didn’t change nature or human nature, but he most certainly changed our view of them—our view of how it is formed, constituted, develops, interacts, and what arises from those interactions. See the nascent disciplines of Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology. Yet, in the minds of these people, this should somehow not make any difference when it comes to the past expatiations of the various venerable humanities. Consider, as a starter, Darwin’s view of life and of man, of creation and development, is the only one that is a bottom up rather than a top down one, and every artist, poet, storyteller, and philosopher before him constructed their worldview without considering Darwinism and its implications. Yet, somehow, this is supposed to be utterly immaterial. Well, it’s self-serving, yes, but it’s that with an added palliative: it’s whistling past the graveyard. It’s so comforting to believe those ancients are resting comfortably, if not placidly.
   287. Morty Causa Posted: February 13, 2009 at 06:31 AM (#3076225)
I'll take the bait since I don't feel like working. First, I'll make a distinction. What I'm going to say is philosophical not theological. Which is to say nothing of what I say will depend upon the authority of revelation or any kind of relationship with the divine. I, like you, will depend upon the authority of reason communicated through discursive words (i.e. logos. If your issue is with theology that is a different debate. If some of what I say is suggestive, supportive, or consistent with theology that is because theology is also based in reason.


Okay. But, everything is based on reason. See that Pinker essay in support of Coyne. Let’s not confuse reason with the quality of reasoning. It’s just that some of the reasons, and the reasoning, are pretty poor. Reason alone is not enough. Reason without reference to evidence and facts is probably just glorified rank speculation, and that’s a mug’s game. But, I congratulate you for not falling back on the refrain of many (see those criticizing Coyne) who wail that reason doesn’t apply to some things, like God or religion.

This doesn’t mean that art and literature doesn’t have its place. The Magus is a reasoned argument in narrative and dramaturgy. What art says about psychology and sociology through storytelling is one thing. But, it has nothing, or little, to say about the issues science addresses. James Watson: “Everything is molecules; everything else is sociology.” I like that. I like, too, the wry ambiguity of that “everything else”. (People also get pxxxed at this pronouncement.)

But, reasoning in a vacuum, which is what theology and metaphysics do (and maybe philosophy in general—it’s yours to make the argument in support of, as you made the claim) is like playing poker with a deck of 52 wild cards. Its only justification is if it is a beginning as, say, with a thought experiment, but without more it is pointless and futile and waste of time and effort.
   288. Gaelan Posted: February 13, 2009 at 06:38 AM (#3076228)
And you certainly can be disappointed in me. If not for this, I’m sure other pretexts will present themselves to you.


I was joking. I won't be disappointed.

I remember you also. With that in mind, I’m inclined to say, let’s call the whole thing off. (Won’t dance, don’t ask me.) Because this will very probably end badly.



I don't think it will end badly.
   289. Morty Causa Posted: February 13, 2009 at 06:50 AM (#3076232)
The general problem with empiricism is that the denial/rejection of metaphysics is an ontological claim concerning the nature of Being that is never supported, defended, explained, or acknowledged.


Yes, it does. Moreover, that inverts the burden of proof and/or persuasion. Empiricism is very much concerned with the nature of being. It fully supports, defends, and explains to the extent it does. If scientific empiricism falls short at some point, metaphysics is still not the default. There’s always simple reasoning according to facts and evidence. That you think it lacking is for you to explain how so, with supporting facts and evidence. If there’s more, something that empiricism doesn’t comprehend, but something else does, then the ball is in the court of the proponents, the metaphysicians. Be my guest. Empiricism does not have to concern itself with disproving a negative. Neither do the lower probative indicia, forms, and protocols. If there is a case for supposing that metaphysics has any content, it is for its proponents to demonstrate this, not for empiricism to demonstrate it doesn’t.

Which is to say that the fundamental claim of empiricism is that the empirical=the real. Now not only is there no reason to believe this is true it makes nonsense of our experience because our experience is composed of not only of empirical things but also of non-things.


There’s every reason, there’s all good reason to believe that this is so. And it doesn’t make nonsense of our experience, and I don’t know what you mean by our experiencing “non-things.” What are these non-things that are separate and apart from materiality and from the effects and constructs of materiality?

We have concrete experience of both somethingness and nothingness. Or, if you prefer, on the basis of experience I know that nothingness is part of reality and hence empiricism, as a matter of reason, cannot equal the real.


I don’t know what this means. Again, what is this “nothingness” that you have in mind?
   290. Morty Causa Posted: February 13, 2009 at 06:51 AM (#3076233)
I was joking. I won't be disappointed.


Okay. Good.

I don't think it will end badly.


I hope you're right.
   291. Morty Causa Posted: February 13, 2009 at 07:14 AM (#3076241)
The result is that any scientific claim made upon the basis of empiricism is always, at best, a partial description of reality because empiricism, as a matter of principle, can only see a portion of the Real and this limitation is one of principle not of practice and hence cannot be remedied through technical, or scientific progress.


That may be. That, however, does not validate metaphysics, or make a philosophy true or meaningful.

Let me interject here: it's not, in my mind, a question of either science strictly applies or anything goes. There are other methods and ways of proving things, too, that are steps above rank specualtion. Reason, facts, evidence, are the sine qua non, though. Just because science, at this time, may not answer a question doesn’t mean there aren’t lesser but still more valid (than voodoo) ways of deciding what’s more likely to be so.

The fact that these scientists don't know this about themselves is an indication of their own ignorance since it is clear that other scientists (Heisenberg, Schrodinger, for instance) have been philosophically aware.


That remains to be shown.

Augustine makes the explicit distinction between the question Who am I and What am I?


I don’t think that scans. What you are has everything to do with who you are? And vice versa, I suppose. Moreover, it seems to be a favored semantic ploy of those who play the top-down game. They like to play as if one is not part and parcel of the other; that the two are distinct and discrete. They aren’t.

What is interesting is that science attempts to answer the divine question of what is our nature without answering the human question of who we are.


I’m sorry but all this is mere question-begging. We are on a treadmill to circularity. What makes you think that there is a there there? Ante up.
   292. Gaelan Posted: February 13, 2009 at 07:46 AM (#3076250)
Empiricism is very much concerned with the nature of being. It fully supports, defends, and explains to the extent it does. If scientific empiricism falls short at some point, metaphysics is still not the default. There’s always simple reasoning according to facts and evidence. That you think it lacking is for you to explain how so, with supporting facts and evidence. If there’s more, something that empiricism doesn’t comprehend, but something else does, then the ball is in the court of the proponents, the metaphysicians. Be my guest. Empiricism does not have to concern itself with disproving a negative. Neither do the lower probative indicia, forms, and protocols. If there is a case for supposing that metaphysics has any content, it is for its proponents to demonstrate this, not for empiricism to demonstrate it doesn’t.


It's too late for a proper response. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow. In the meantime a quick comment.

Empiricism can't be the default position because we know that there are things we can know in advance of empirical experience. Two come immediately to mind that are directly relevant. Both mathematics and the rules of logic are not things that are proven empirically. Rather they are the basis by which we conduct empirical proof. Hence the default position of empiricism begs the deeper question upon which the reliability of empiricism rests. In Kant's words how are synthetic a priori propositions possible? Or in lay terms how is it possible that we can know things, like mathematics, without the benefit of experience.
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