Glossary of Terms

Several readers, particularly Todd Trimble, repeatedly challenge me to “systematize” my findings, and develop them into an actual language. I think this is quite wise, if not impossible. Sometimes I use terms that are idiosyncratic and/or have been explained in previous posts. However, the page will also constitute its own special resource. Where helpful, I have added example sentences that in some way illustrate the meaning of the word. There is a dash of humor throughout, in order to keep the technical stuff more lively.

0.999…: A number P smaller than 1. Example: “I am P close to smacking you!”

Albert Einstein: A plagiarist and fraud most notable for stealing his wife’s idea of special relativity. Example: “I hate that guy, he’s such an Einstein!”

Alvin Plantinga: An influential evolutionary biology scholar more notable for disproving it. Example: “Naturalism is silly. If naturalism is true, naturalism is inscrutably false. The previous sentence is possibly necessary.”

Amygdala: An Arabic term adopted by scientists to describe the part of the “brain” that enjoys pleasure registered elsewhere. Because of the advances of Brain Studies, we now know that other body parts are much more important for pleasure reception. “Example: That’s not my amygdala, but it sure feels good!”

Anderson Cooper: Influential journalist for CNN. Example: This story is being reported by Anderson Cooper. See diagram below.

anderson_cooper

Being-able-to-see-it: A somewhat cumbersome property held by all real objects.

The Bell Curve: An influential study showing the fallacies of Stephen Jay Gould’s screed, The Mismeasure of Man. Unfortunately, The Bell Curve, while groundbreaking, yielded certain absurd conclusions, most significantly that Asians are superior to any other race, which is both intuitively and demonstrably false.

Black: 1) The darkest color; 2) A designation of oppressed people. Example: “Racists claim that black is not a color.”

Brain: An elusive biological system (like the language faculty) present throughout the human body. Previously thought by Descartes to be present only in the skull, we now know, via Pain Studies, that the brain and consciousness is in fact present everywhere. The brain is the largest and heaviest organ of the human body. This is not the case for hamsters and other tiny animals, which are much smaller. Diagram:

brain

Brain Size: The size of the brain, correlated to the size of the body. See Brain.

Brian Greene: Chief temple whore to high priest of bad physics, Stephen Hawking.

Bullshit: A technical term coined by Professor Harry G. Frankfurt in his landmark study, Phenomenology On Bullshit. Someone is said to be “bullshitting” you if and when they are speaking to you without truth-relevant motivation. This is quite distinct from lying, where a person is consciously trying to contradict the truth. Example: “Jonathan Krohn is a bullshitter, whereas Stephen Hawking would be a liar, if he could speak.”

Charles Darwin’s Birthday: A blood-letting feast celebrated by NPR and other scientific venues every 100 years.

Chatterbox Syndrome: An interesting lingoneurological disorder discovered by Stephen Pinker that causes people who don’t know what they are talking about to talk a lot more than people who do. The most famous recent example of someone with Chatterbox Syndrome is Jonathan Krohn. Chatterbox Syndrome is sometimes called Cocktail Party Syndrome or Williams Syndrome. Example: “Conservatism is based on four principles: Goo, goo, ga, and ga.”

The Child/Physicist Analogy: A famous, ground- and path-breaking, and watershed argument I developed to show that the reasoning behind Dark Matter has no more explanatory credibility than the reasoning of a child who believes there are monsters under his bed, or in his closet.

Cognitive Dissonance: A psychological disorder whereby people believe stupid things. Example: “Stephen Hawking has many ailments; chief among them is cognitive dissonance.”

Conveyor Belt Model of the Human Life Span: A principle in cog-bio-phil-psych-religio human studies that analyzes the human life span in terms of its simplest and most fundamental features.

existence

The human life span is marked by three major and two sub-stages. Stage (1) consists in birth, with substage (1a) consisting in hopes/dreams. Stage (2) consists in material-acquisitions, including children, cars, houses, and some wealth. Stage (3) consists in maximum wealth achievement, accompanying substage (3a) which is death.

Countable Numbers: The set of real numbers, which are countable by human beings, and can describe actual states of affairs. The Countable Numbers are exhaustively contained within my modified number line. Diagram:

number-line

C.S. Lewis: Influential pantheist whose career was tarnished by several bestiality scandals involving J.R.R. Tolkein.

C-T Extinction Event: An extremely dubious theory stating that the Dinosaurs became extinct a long time ago. However, this theory is notable for being almost necessarily true, given the very noticeable absence of dinosaurs. Example: Dinosaurs.

Dark Matter: A dastardly notion invented by American novelists and later adopted by scientists whose theories couldn’t hold up without a moderately clever fiction. Example: “My theory doesn’t make any sense, so why don’t I just make something up to fix it.”

David Berlinski: Intelligent Design’s Adolf Hitler to Evolutionary Theory’s France.

Denise O’Leary: A class act quack.

Doublespeak: A more common term for “nomenclature,” the language scientists speak when not in the public eye. Example: “Black is not a color.”

Electrons: See Fairies. Example: Scientists claim there are no examples, because if we could see them, they wouldn’t exist. Yeah, right.

Entropy: Aka the Law of Thermo Dynamics. This law states that as things get older they also get simpler and more appealing. “Example: If Intelligent Design were true, the theory would get simpler over time.”

Explanandum: The thing you have to explain. Example: “Boy, I sure can’t make sense of that explanandum – I better invent Dark Matter, or Monsters, whichever.”

darkmatter1

Explanans: The thing you use to explain the Explanandum. See diagram in the entry Explanandum for details. Example: “Dark Matter is a terrible Explanans.”

Fairies: A more accurate description of what scientists claim binds the Universe together. Their essential properties are: invisibility, smallness, extreme importance. This has all the features of myth.

Gravity: Non-verifiable, non-falsifiable, yet useful myth with much explanatory force.

Intellectual Masturbation: Something scientists do when they speak, write, read, or think.

Jonathan Krohn: A moderately well-known child with Chatterbox Syndrome. Example: “Did you understand what Jonathan Krohn just muttered? Me neither.”

Kevin Trudeau: A controversial nutritionist involved in activism against totalitarian health practices sponsored by the government.

Language Game: A useful heuristic developed by Wittgenstein for understanding subtle deceptions promulgated by academics. Example: “Jonathan Krohn, who has chatterbox syndrome, plays lots of language games.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Probably the most influential human being. Example: “Wittgenstein played lots of language games.”

Mathematical Induction: A very useful method whereby you show via reductio ad absurdum that an argument is false. Mathematical induction is a rigorous and formal way of pursuing this method. Example: “If we keep on making war on countries, we’ll eventually make war on ourselves.”

Mormons: People who believe that 9/11 was an inside job, planned by Dick Cheney from an underground bunker. Example: Stephen E. Jones.

Mutations: Flaws that some creatures are born with. Generally speaking, mutations make finding a mate impossible. Example: “Did you see that mutant? He will never get a girlfriend or boyfriend, or if he’s a she, she will never get a boyfriend or girlfriend.”

Neat Things: Byproducts of good science. Not to be confused with Technology. Example: “Intelligent Design doesn’t produce any neat things; therefore, it isn’t science.”

Negative Numbers: A farcical idea invented by the Orient to trap the West in massive amounts of international debt. The idea would just be funny if the consequences weren’t so tragic. Example: “I have negative money, because I owe positive money to China.”

Neil Postman: Influential luddite whose obsession with children was matched only by his hatred for computers.

Nihilism: The logical consequence of Evolution.

Nima Arkani-Hamed: A fraud who publishes such idiotic pseudo-studies as “The Minimal Moose for a Little Higgs” and “”Ghost Condensation and a Consistent Infrared Modification of Gravity” and
“A Theory of Dark Matter”

Not Even False: A clever way to describe the propositions of quantum mechanics.

Occam’s Razor: A bizarrely named method for selecting the most parsimonious of explanations. Example: “According to Occam’s Razor, Bertrand Russell’s tea pot argument fails.”

Panda’s Thumb: A very nihilistic blog which is the equivalent of an AA meeting.

Paradigm Shift: A method described primarily by Hans Küng whereby scientists admit they are wrong. Example: “Stephen Hawking died today; cause of death: paradigm shift.”

Parsimony: Simplicity. Example: “Checkers is a very parsimonious game.”

Penultimate: The last and largest number in the series of countable numbers. Where Infinity once was, the Penultimate is now just before. Penultimate is denoted as P, not to be confused with p of propositional logic. Example: “In Brian Greene’s ludicrous metaphysics screed The Fabric of the Cosmos, there are approximately P errors.”

Peter Woit: The Ayatollah of anti-String Theory hate. Example: “I love Peter Woit, he is so smart.”

Probability: A now defunct idea that events will only partially happen or not happen. Example: “Probability theory is 100% incorrect.”

QUED: An abbreviation that stands for the Latin that translates to “It need not be argued any further.” Used primarily as a finale to obvious statements. Example: “The sky is blue; QUED.”

RationalWiki: A self-help group designed for Internet Users who are jealous of my pageviews. Example.

Reflective Equilibrium: A concept developed by R. Dahl and G. Habermas stating that two contradictory propositions must eventually resolve themselves. Example: “Let’s stop arguing and just wait for the reflective equilibrium to settle in.”

Rene Descartes: An influential ophthalmologist, most notable on this blog for going outside of his specialty to mock the idea of imaginary numbers. Ironically, contemporary mathematicians laud Descartes as the originator of a concept he despised.

Richard Dawkins: An influential Biblical Scholar and Philosopher of Science. Richard Dawkins is most famous for his deistic works on the existence of God.

Richard Swinburne: No relation to Richard Dawkins, Richard Swinburne is a cognitive scientist most famous for his empirical research into the soul and his defense of the Nazi Holocaust. Example: “The Holocaust happened so that Liam Neeson could have virtue.”

Stephen Hawking: High priest of the scientific elite.

Technobabble: A technique developed by Star Trek and adopted by the scientific community whereby the scholar mesmerizes his audience into a stupor via the use of nonsense language. Example: “Stephen Hawking technobabbles in more ways than one.”

Technocrats: The chief human slaves to technology. Most of them work at Google, but there are several in both the U.S. government and IBM. Example: “What a technocrat!”

Technology: The chief master of American culture.

Technopoly: A state of affairs found exclusively in the United States whereby technology, through technocrats, controls society. Work has been done on this by Neil Postman.

Thanksgiving: A celebration of genocide, exclusively promoted by Native American scholar Dinesh D’Souza.

Thought Experiments: Often called “science from below,” thought experiments are an excellent way for common people to test the claims of the scientific elite. Example: Nothing Stephen Hawking says makes any sense. I can barely understand what he’s saying anyway.

Time: Motion. Example: We will arrive in London at 3:00pm.

Transitive Property: The most axiomatic of axioms. Without the transitive property, nothing would make sense.  Example: Stephen Hawking is a fool; Brian Greene is a student of Stephen Hawking; probably, Brian Greene is a fool.

What the Bleep do we Know: A New Age documentary. Example: “Who directed What the Bleep do We Know? The Earth Mother?”

William Dembski: A very prominent molecular biologist at Liberty University. Dembski is most notable for being the first female advocate of Intelligent Design Theory.

William Lane Craig: A noted theoretical physicist at the University of Talbot. Craig is most notable for proving the existence of God, and disproving the existence of infinity.

Witches: An older (and, in my view, wiser) designation for scientists. However, this accurate descriptive term does not justify the torments visited upon scientists in past times. Example: “If it weren’t for witchcraft, Stephen Hawking wouldn’t even be able to speak.”

Zeno’s Paradox: The suggestion that because you can always cut things in half, there must be infinite things. Bertrand Russell defeated this paradox by showing that one cannot perpetually cut things in half, especially not abstractions like time and distance, which can’t even be cut once.

Zero Miles per Hour: A science fiction concept that could never be actualized because the Universe is in a constant state of flux and motion.

19 thoughts on “Glossary of Terms

  1. I like your summation of induction, but you forgot to mention that each proof has to have one syllogism, two lemmas, and two axioms, in that order. The mnemonic to remember the pattern is “shave and a haircut,” as in “syl, lem-lem, ax-ax…” two bits.

  2. Richard Dawkins: An influential Biblical Scholar and Philosopher of Science. Richard Dawkins is most famous for his deistic works on the existence of God.

    LOL WUT?

  3. Myrmidon,

    It is not clear what you find so objectionable about my biographical definition of Dawkins. Most of his writings are on exactly the topics I mention, and furthermore he understands himself to be an expert on both. In fact, his very position, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, is a function of the philosophy of science. As for deistic works, The Blind Watchmaker most readily comes to mind.

    So long,
    NS

  4. Deism=belief that some kind of deity created the universe and retired shortly afterward

    The Blind Watchmaker=No deity had any hand in the creation of anything.

  5. Excuse me but the very title of that book belies your curt, flippant summary. What The Blind Watchmaker shows (…to those of us who have actually read it) is that the world is mechanistic, not open to intervention from non-alien life forms. This is deism if by another name. The universe was set in motion. Hello.

    NS

  6. “Excuse me but the very title of that book belies your curt, flippant summary. What The Blind Watchmaker shows (…to those of us who have actually read it) is that the world is mechanistic, not open to intervention from non-alien life forms. This is deism if by another name. The universe was set in motion. Hello.”

  7. while i agree with your definition of ‘chatterbox syndrome’, i feel that the best example of it is Y-O-U.

  8. “FYI I don’t hide my identity.” Then why don’t you use your real name, or tell your readers any personal information?

  9. Oh my god, I just spent a bunch of time refuting one of your mathy whatevers and I just realised how obvious of a poe you are. Whatever, it was a good time anyways.

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