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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

intellectual condescension

so i posted mr. ed's response to a response of mine. the post is long, and if you pay attention, you will see why there is such dismay in the ranks of the dem party. pay attention to the comments, and the tone. the condescension is almost palpable.
please let me relate a story from the pumpkin patch. no, i'm not veering of on some disjointed tangent. please bare with me.

it was early evening. a young gent came up to the counter, and remarked that the romanesque cauliflower we had picked and brought in looked pretty funky.
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i agreed, and said it looked like a vegetable fractal. his next remark showed his inexperience. "wow, i wouldn't think that you would even know what a fractal is".

i let that sit for a minute, trying to figure out exactly how to respond, or even if i wanted to respond. my response: "fractal? well, let's see. i'm a senior nuclear reactor operator, working at a major research facility. i also carry a level II neutron radiographer qualification. i've written programs that require a solid knowledge of fuzzy logic, chaos theory, and mandelbrott recursions which are necessary to formulate fractals, in determining minimim and maximum defect locations. perhaps you might like to reconsider your comment. you CANNOT judge by outward appearances." to which he apologized for jumping to conclusions, and left in a highly embarrassed state.

so don't think that because i do not subscribe to YOUR belief system that MINE has not been thought out and analyzed to death by ME. i'm comfortable in my beliefs, and i would like to stack my education (I maintained a 3.98 gpa through 160 semester hours of engineering, science, computer science, and liberal arts classes, while working full time, with a family, and didn't start getting B's until i took my masters classes in environmental engineering at UC Davis), travels (i was a military brat, and a sailor myself for 8 1/2 years), life experiences ( i lived in france for 4 1/2 years during the algerian uprising, where neighbors of mine were killed every week in orleans just so the algerians could make the newspapers, and my school bus was armored against grenade attacks, and we were guarded by two heavily armed soldiers), i've been a nuclear submariner, a nuclear test engineer, chief test engineer, a manufacturing company production manager, an environmental remediation supervisor, and now i'm comfortably ensconced in a research facility that is working on cutting edge nuclear medicine, geological classifications, radiography, and a whole host of other stuff that probably wouldn't mean anything to you unless you read the most current and up to date scientific journals (how's THAT for condescension?), spawned two kids, one a special education teacher, and the other studying to be a biology teacher. care for me to continue? i've been certified as an international open water scuba diver for 30 years, i've piloted an ultralite airplane, and if i'd had an extra 2 grand, it would have been mine, i've gone sky diving, with enough time in freefall to warrant sprouting wings, i've raced motorcycles at laguna seca and sears point raceway, and i have climbed mt. shasta with a crew of drunken sailors, and we all made it back. i've dived thru the remains of the japanese fleet on a decompression dive in truk lagoon, and i've seen the midnight sun from the north pole. i've been chased halfway across the ocean by russian submarines, and i died, and was brought back using the 110 volt cord from a halogen lamp, while underway by a submarine corpsman (thanks again, doc). my grandfather ran for chairman of the democratic party in the state of washington, and had a cross burned on his lawn by the KKK when he worked in the sugar beet fields during the depression.
but i digress.

just let me finish by stating that because my value system isn't yours, it does not follow that it is not as valid (or in my case, more valid), or as well thought out.

3 Comments:

Blogger Macbeau said...

But what have you done lately? Seriously, I love it. Once again, youth and agility is mastered by age and treachery. You tell 'em Bo.

11/10/04, 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your site on a search for the origins of the romanesque cauliflower. I'd never seen one before, and my first reaction upon seeing one today was, "I know all cauliflower is fractal in nature - but this puppy is really fractal".

But then I got sucked into your rantings and couldn't help but share my observations.

1) Validity is a binary thing. Something is either valid or not valid.
2) Having made point 1): Value systems cannot be more or less valid. In fact they cannot even be valid or not valid. There is no way of quantify, measure or test validity of a value system - let alone the individual values that make up the system.
3) I have no doubt that your views are thought out - but one can question how 'well' thought out they are. Given your life experiences one can immediately see where your bias stems from (exposure to external violence/war at a young age, military service, constant exposure to world 'hot zones', rigorous academic and professional stress in the nuclear sciences etc etc etc). Your opinions are based on a lifetime of anecdotal evidence - your own lifetime and your own anecdotes. You seem to ignore some truths because they are in conflict with your experiences. You find comfort in the policies and practices of an administration/party that you feel best address your own personal insecurities about the world we live in (even if they exacerbate situations at home and abroad and making the world less safe).

Yes your views may be thought out. And I am sure in your opinion they are 'well' thought out. But, its that part about ignoring truths that are in conflict with your experience that makes me question your claim.

You are a man of science. An educated man. A man of many experiences. Apply a little more rigour to your thought. Don't assume that just because you are smart or just because you have a wealth of experiences to draw upon that you are, by default, right. Question everything and even more importantly question yourself. I don't mean to imply that you don't question most things, but I do feel you need to question a few things a little bit more.

I personally feel that everyone is entitled to their own opinion - and I wouldn't hope to suggest that you change yours. That is not the point of my rant. I was just peeved by the tone of your post - which seems to come off as "I know a lot of things, I put thought into my position, I know I'm right and that's good enough for me, and to hell with the rest of you."

That's my rant.

I also noticed a lot of recipes - so since I was drawn here by the cauliflower I thought I would share a simple dish.

Ingredients:
Take one half of an average sized cauliflower (regular or romanesque)
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tspn of salt (or more to taste)

Steam the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375.

While steaming mix the sour cream, mayonnaise and salt

After the cauliflower has been steamed, place it into a baking dish and pour the sour cream mixture over top of the cauliflower.
Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until the sauce is golden brown.

Serve hot either as a side dish or first course.

p.s.
Do you have any information on the origins of the romanesque cauliflower? Was this creation tweeked in the lab or in the field.

11/17/04, 4:44 PM  
Blogger bothenook said...

regarding romaneque cauliflower: don't have the faintest idea where/how it came about. i'm sure it's like most things in agriculture, cross-pollenization with other stuff, probably broccoli, and the farmer was smart enough to recognize it for how cool it is. whether it happened 10 years ago, or 4 centuries ago, i can't answer. and your recipe looks tasty, too.
regarding the tone of my rant: it stemmed from several exchanges with an individual. the basic tone of the exchange was that since i was not a "free thinking democrat", i was either stupid or inexperienced. his tone was certainly one of superiority, and my response was in a similar vein, i'm afraid. my values stem from antecdotal evidence, yes, but in this modern world, i see many many parallels to my experience that bolsters MY take on events. there are many things i hold as values that are diametrically opposed to those espoused by the current administration. but my overriding concern is my family's and YOUR's safety in this crazy world. i've seen and been subjected to enough of the grit in the world to have no illusions regarding all of us getting together and holding hands, singing inspirational songs well into the night. it hasn't happened, it isn't happening, and i don't see it happening anytime in the near future. there are sufficient information sources beyond my own meager experiences to support that thesis.

11/17/04, 8:22 PM  

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