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Old 19th July 2017, 03:42 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
I guess I just don't understand you guys.
Agreed.

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And this has not much to do with a complete and accurate understanding of the underlying issues.
Agreed.
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Old 19th July 2017, 05:41 PM   #122
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While I still think your argument is without merit, I just have to admire your virtuosity in ridiculing people.
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Old 19th July 2017, 10:36 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
I guess I just don't understand you guys.

Or maybe you just don't understand the difference between a power law and an exponential law?

I mean every time we read of an exponential growth rate in the news paper (and we do from time to time, though it is quite often misapplied), it could just mean a square law, right?

And this has not much to do with a complete and accurate understanding of the underlying issues.
Should we then crucify everyone that made mistakes in an attempt to interest people in science?

Because that Carl Sagan heretic with his 'pale blue dot' quote, made lots of mistakes in that one bit too. Sunbeam? There are no sunbeams in space, it was an artefact of the camera. He should have clearly mentioned that. And the earth is not a mote of dust, he should have clearly mentioned relative sizes, preferably by comparing square kilometers and parts per billion.

Or those Mythbusters. Gods, they make SO many mistakes and simplifications, how can anyone every consider that true scientific rigor. Each episode should be 10 times as long with tons of math and statistical analysis.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that what Neild deGrasse Tyson is doing in these talks is a combination of entertaiment, teaching and instilling wonder.
Yes, he says things that might not be completely accurate, but his audience is not a group of astrophysicists but rather total laymen. He is using terms that people are likely to be familiar with to explain concepts that otherwise would require months of learning mathematics. Nearly everyone has at least a concept of what exponential means. Inverse squared law, not so much.

Sure, it might be technically wrong, but there are two types of person that can see this. First are those already in the various fields, who are not his audience. And second are those that have listened to his talks, thought "This is cool, I wish to know more!" and actually start developing an interest in science.

If we had applied the rigor the OP requires to all science communication I would never have started my interest and career. Because as a child inverse square laws, quantum physics, statistical analysis etc etc are boring. But a clearly passionate man explaining these things in layman's terms IS what got me interested.

But by all means, if you think you can do better, go for it! Explain science in a correcter way to the greater public. After all, the more people that do so, the better it is in the long run.
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Old 19th July 2017, 10:56 PM   #124
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No one should be bothered by trivial mistakes.

We should, however, be bothered by bad science. Morgan Freeman's god series annoyed me the other day. Some guy does an experiment with kids and when they believe an invisible princess is in the room watching them, they don't cheat at some task. From there Freeman declares we must behave better when we believe an invisible god is watching us.

That conclusion is not supported by the evidence and it represents really crap science. The conclusion is easy to disprove and stages of child development explain the behavior quite well thank you.

If Tyson were spouting bad science, I would complain. But trivial errors? No, just no.
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Old 19th July 2017, 11:00 PM   #125
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Instilling wonder.
"Shiny."
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Old 19th July 2017, 11:42 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
It does! Religion is an anathema to science.
It is, but that does not excuse using fictional examples to support it.

"Okay, so my supporting arguments were all BS, but the point still stands!" Well, no it doesn't - not until you support it with non-BS arguments.
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Old 20th July 2017, 12:12 AM   #127
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If I have to choose between HopDavid or Neil, I think Neil wins every time. How many entertaining lectures has HopDavid presented?
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Old 20th July 2017, 01:10 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Should we then crucify everyone that made mistakes in an attempt to interest people in science?

Because that Carl Sagan heretic with his 'pale blue dot' quote, made lots of mistakes in that one bit too. Sunbeam? There are no sunbeams in space, it was an artefact of the camera. He should have clearly mentioned that. And the earth is not a mote of dust, he should have clearly mentioned relative sizes, preferably by comparing square kilometers and parts per billion.

Or those Mythbusters. Gods, they make SO many mistakes and simplifications, how can anyone every consider that true scientific rigor. Each episode should be 10 times as long with tons of math and statistical analysis.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that what Neild deGrasse Tyson is doing in these talks is a combination of entertaiment, teaching and instilling wonder.
Yes, he says things that might not be completely accurate, but his audience is not a group of astrophysicists but rather total laymen. He is using terms that people are likely to be familiar with to explain concepts that otherwise would require months of learning mathematics. Nearly everyone has at least a concept of what exponential means. Inverse squared law, not so much.

Sure, it might be technically wrong, but there are two types of person that can see this. First are those already in the various fields, who are not his audience. And second are those that have listened to his talks, thought "This is cool, I wish to know more!" and actually start developing an interest in science.

If we had applied the rigor the OP requires to all science communication I would never have started my interest and career. Because as a child inverse square laws, quantum physics, statistical analysis etc etc are boring. But a clearly passionate man explaining these things in layman's terms IS what got me interested.

But by all means, if you think you can do better, go for it! Explain science in a correcter way to the greater public. After all, the more people that do so, the better it is in the long run.
Ok, I think this is getting ridiculous.

In my first post in this thread, I was pointing out a simple misconception of CORed. Not of NDGT, of CORed. I could care less about NDGT, but not by much. All I know about him I know from this thread and another one like this.

I have said several times that I don't think this was a huge mistake of his but I get increasingly attacked by Tyson apologetics. By quite a few people who don't seem to know the difference between a power law and an exponential law. I mean, quick, what are they?

I do not know the exact definition of a strawman but I have the feeling that there have been a lot of them around.
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Old 20th July 2017, 04:06 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
No one should be bothered by trivial mistakes.

We should, however, be bothered by bad science. Morgan Freeman's god series annoyed me the other day. Some guy does an experiment with kids and when they believe an invisible princess is in the room watching them, they don't cheat at some task. From there Freeman declares we must behave better when we believe an invisible god is watching us.

That conclusion is not supported by the evidence and it represents really crap science. The conclusion is easy to disprove and stages of child development explain the behavior quite well thank you.

If Tyson were spouting bad science, I would complain. But trivial errors? No, just no.
Fantastic voice for, but not of, authority. Putting his voice to bad science is even more underhanded on the part of producers.
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Old 20th July 2017, 04:14 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
Ok, I think this is getting ridiculous....
In the role cited, NGT is acting in the gist business, not that of nits, which can be picked later by those in the know, but do not aid in that particular endeavor. I could look it up, but I do believe you are correct about an important nit, however.
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Old 20th July 2017, 09:17 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
While I still think your argument is without merit, I just have to admire your virtuosity in ridiculing people.
I can follow you up to the comma. You lose me after that.
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Old 20th July 2017, 09:19 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post


What do you base that on? Just because Tyson, like Carl Sagan, moved into the field of popularizing cosmology doesn't mean he didn't earn his position. He has a doctorate in astrophysics for heaven's sake.

From Wiki: Tyson's research publications
Of course, I'm aware he knows his stuff when it comes to astrophysics. But, outside his area of expertise? Yes, what I've seen is someone who is far from a consistent critical thinker. Very, very far, in fact.

Is that (being a consistent critical thinker), to be expected from someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson? I would hope so, but maybe other people are more than ok with him making cringeworthy statements and rationalizations about things outside his area of expertise, as long as he keeps being good (and entertaining as well) at what he is good at.

I was baffled and very disappointed about how he rationalized not wanting to be described as an atheist some time ago. I wasn't expecting that level of anti-intellectual drivel from someone like him. This was not the occasional factual mistake every human (including the most brilliant) does: it highlighted a thinking process that left a lot to be desired. And that is the opposite of what I expect from a worthy intellectual. That, among other reasons (like his generalizations about the medical profession or philosophers, which prompted responses from Novella and Pigliucci, respectively), prevent me from putting him in the same group as Novella, Pigliucci, Dennett or Carroll, who despite their occasional shortcomings (like any human being, I insist), have demonstrated a more solid and consistent intellectual stature. Being a good intellectual, to me, demands being extra careful when one is speaking about things they don't know so much about. That's a good start, if you ask me.

Quote:
Think he got where he is now based on his looks and public speaking? Affirmative action?
No, and irrelevant anyway.

Quote:
Do you even know anything about this man?
Enough to be far from impressed by him as an intellectual.

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Old 20th July 2017, 09:28 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Should we then crucify everyone that made mistakes in an attempt to interest people in science?
Or my AC guy who was trying to explain why one of his technicians misdiagnosed a problem with my unit? He simplified the problem to the point of slightly misrepresenting what was actually happening. I guess I could have told him I did pretty well in my thermo classes and have actually done a fair bit of work in the filed so he could be more precise with me than he is with most of his clients. Instead, I understood what he was trying to say and appreciated his willingness to simplify it to a point where a lay person could actually understand what was happening.
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Old 20th July 2017, 09:33 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Dani View Post
Of course, I'm aware he knows his stuff when it comes to astrophysics. But, outside his area of expertise? Yes, what I've seen is someone who is far from a consistent critical thinker. Very, very far, in fact.

Is that (being a consistent critical thinker), to be expected from someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson? I would hope so, but maybe other people are more than ok with him making cringeworthy statements and rationalizations about things outside his area of expertise, as long as he keeps being good (and entertaining as well) at what he is good at.

I was baffled and very disappointed about how he rationalized not wanting to be described as an atheist some time ago. I wasn't expecting that level of anti-intellectual drivel from someone like him. This was not the occasional factual mistake every human (including the most brilliant) does: it highlighted a thinking process that left a lot to be desired. And that is the opposite of what I expect from a worthy intellectual. That, among other reasons (like his generalizations about the medical profession or philosophers, which prompted responses from Novella and Pigliucci, respectively), prevent me from putting him in the same group as Novella, Pigliucci, Dennett or Carroll, who despite their occasional shortcomings (like any human being, I insist), have demonstrated a more solid and consistent intellectual stature. Being a good intellectual, to me, demands being extra careful when one is speaking about things they don't know so much about. That's a good start, if you ask me.

No, and irrelevant anyway.

Enough to be far from impressed by him as an intellectual.
So your argument is he's agnostic and not atheist enough for you and he professed "generalizations about the medical profession or philosophers" that you disagree with?

I need a link on the last one to know what you are referring to.
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Old 20th July 2017, 09:51 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
So your argument is he's agnostic and not atheist enough for you and he professed "generalizations about the medical profession or philosophers" that you disagree with?
Nope. It's the way he argued that, not the conclusion. Wasn't I clear enough that I have to clarify that?

And yes, unless we are talking about something which is demonstrably at odds with science and reason, I tend to be wary of generalizations of entire fields of inquiry. Especially when it's made by people outside that field, more so when I've read the responses by experts on those fields who give a much more nuanced account of it.

Quote:
I need a link on the last one to know what you are referring to.
https://scientiasalon.wordpress.com/...of-philosophy/
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Old 20th July 2017, 10:44 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
No one should be bothered by trivial mistakes.

We should, however, be bothered by bad science. Morgan Freeman's god series annoyed me the other day. Some guy does an experiment with kids and when they believe an invisible princess is in the room watching them, they don't cheat at some task. From there Freeman declares we must behave better when we believe an invisible god is watching us.
We also behave better when we know for a fact that a real person is watching us.
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Old 20th July 2017, 10:52 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
We also behave better when we know for a fact that a real person is watching us.
Are you equating God to a fake person?
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Old 20th July 2017, 11:30 AM   #138
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Oh, no! Most fake persons are a lot more believable, interesting and inspiring. Making such a comparison would be a disservice to most fictional characters.
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Old 20th July 2017, 11:46 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Oh, no! Most fake persons are a lot more believable, interesting and inspiring. Making such a comparison would be a disservice to most fictional characters.
Haha! I see what you did there.

Oh. What about a fictional character named God? Now I have you.
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Old 20th July 2017, 11:48 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by Dani View Post
I agree with him.
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Old 20th July 2017, 11:52 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
Haha! I see what you did there.

Oh. What about a fictional character named God? Now I have you.
No, I did mention "most" fictional characters. That leaves out the really badly written ones, like God. It's like using Mitch McConnel as a shining example of a conservative.
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Old 20th July 2017, 12:58 PM   #142
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Saying "most", "usually", etc. is a very good habit. Nice escape there.
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Old 20th July 2017, 01:36 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I agree with him.
Whoever you agree with, good for you.
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Old 20th July 2017, 01:44 PM   #144
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Agreed
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Old 20th July 2017, 02:11 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by Lurch View Post
I'm rather forgiving of a *popularizer's* mistakes, simplifications and even warping of some facts if the principal goal of inspiring the audience is realized. At several points during the episodes I did see of the Cosmos remake there were groaners. But at least 9 out of 10 in the audience would miss most or all of these. I think NGT's audience--or at least the most important part thereof--is the all too common scientifically illiterate. Getting across to them the rudiments in a way that's engaging is job number one. If that's achieved, mission accomplished! Sins forgiven.

While that is true there is no reason it cannot be both.

Strive for both.
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Old 21st July 2017, 11:55 AM   #146
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We are make mistakes, but IMHO Tyson makes a few too many for my taste. I think the fame has gone to his head,and he feels compelled to offer opinions on things he knows nothing about. Sagan did not have foot in mouth disease the way that Tyson does.
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Old 21st July 2017, 11:57 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
We are all make mistakes, but IMHO Tyson makes a few too many for my taste. I think the fame has gone to his head,and he feels compelled to offer opinions on things he knows nothing about. Sagan did not have foot in mouth disease the way that Tyson does.
FTFY
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Old 21st July 2017, 01:04 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
We are make mistakes, but IMHO Tyson makes a few too many for my taste. I think the fame has gone to his head,and he feels compelled to offer opinions on things he knows nothing about. Sagan did not have foot in mouth disease the way that Tyson does.
And I think it is a feature, not a bug.

See event that is popular.
Push out science related thought or claim on said topic via social media.
Sit back and watch the **** storm of people correcting and nit picking.
Engage on a superficial level.
Watch people learn about science.
Smile.
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Old 25th July 2017, 12:59 AM   #149
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The Mongols also had a hand in destroying a possible intellectual Renaissance in the western Muslim world by completely devastating Baghdad in 1258.

Skeptic populists are often quick to blame internal problems in religion when outside, largely secular factors often come into play too.
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Old 27th July 2017, 09:33 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I like this argument. Yes, for those who could even form that picture in their head completely and accurately, in other words, those intimately familiar with the subject, they would be mislead by his inaccurate terminology? Surely you jest.
I'm thin skinned. I don't handle conflict and ridicule well. Sometimes I perceive an insult when none exists.

So it took me some time to make this post. But I still feel it important (to me, not to you or anybody else) to once again reply to this post.

The inverse square law is quite a simple law. It can be explained easily, that way e.g.:
Double the distance --> a quarter the force.
I'm certain that can be understood by say a highschool student.

But you say, no, that is far to complicated. It's better to use a big word that said student probably has no clue what it means.

We have seen in this thread that even well educated people sometimes don't understand it. You yourself with your claimed familiarity with math didn't characterize it properly.

So I really think your argument has no merit.

Now if you feel like mocking me some more, well, as John Madison once said on his now defunct blog Nothing For Ungood: You Can Me One Time.
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Old 27th July 2017, 12:42 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
I'm thin skinned. I don't handle conflict and ridicule well. Sometimes I perceive an insult when none exists.
I am flippant and sometimes use sarcasm, but I have never intended to insult you. My reply is directed at your argument, not you. If there is no separation in you mind, then put me on ignore and don't read the rest of my reply. It will not bother me in the least.

Quote:
The inverse square law is quite a simple law. It can be explained easily, that way e.g.:
Double the distance --> a quarter the force.
I'm certain that can be understood by say a highschool student.
Agreed.

Quote:
But you say, no, that is far to complicated. It's better to use a big word that said student probably has no clue what it means.
I said that I don't see a problem with him mistakenly calling that an exponential relationship. To me, it was clarifying a non-linear relationship.

Just as I have no problem calling framing lumber two by fours when the actual dimensions are not two inches by four inches.

Quote:
We have seen in this thread that even well educated people sometimes don't understand it. You yourself with your claimed familiarity with math didn't characterize it properly.
Well educated people sitting in a lay talk by an astrophysicist are not taking notes to update the calculations in their latest experiment based on his words. They are talking about the big picture, the 30k foot view. I do not think his point was that it was not an inverse square relationship, but that it was not a simple linear relationship. Using the inaccurate phrase "exponential" gets that point across very succinctly to those who are familiar with math, but don't work with it every day.

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So I really think your argument has no merit.
That I have not been able to convince you of the merit of my argument does not mean it lacks merit. And your statement that it lacks merit adds nothing to your argument.

Whereas your argument is petty. I can't tell if you are arguing that NDGT is stupid or ineffective, but I would posit that the evidence is that he is very good at what he does. If you really disagree then go ahead and name ten people who are better at bringing attention to astrophysics and the people working in that field.

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Now if you feel like mocking me some more, well, as John Madison once said on his now defunct blog Nothing For Ungood: You Can Me One Time.
Again, you are seeing mocking in my disagreement with you. It is not there, but you see it. Your thin skin will not stop me from pressing my point if I so desire.

That we disagree is no grounds for personal animus. I disagree with many of my friends here. That is part of the attraction. Discussion on topics where there is no disagreement is pointless.
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Old 27th July 2017, 11:25 PM   #152
TheGnome
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Just a few points:

1) I actually like you, I like reading your posts. So I was quite surprised at my reaction to you in this thread. It kept nagging at me. So I had to do something about it.

2) The form of my post: Well, I was blowing off some steam. So it came out a bit angry. With my last line I was clumsily trying to show that I don't take it as seriously as it may appear.

3) I never intended to critisize NDGT. I don't know him, so how could I? I just disagree with some of the arguments that are used to justify his choice of words. But ultimately it's not very important to me. So you have a different opinion? Oh well then. And maybe I'm placing to much importance on certain technicalities because I'm quite familiar with them.

Thank you for replying to my rant in this well considered and measured way.

Oh and by the way, I'm feeling much better now.
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Old 28th July 2017, 12:34 PM   #153
Dr. Keith
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
Just a few points:

1) I actually like you, I like reading your posts. So I was quite surprised at my reaction to you in this thread. It kept nagging at me. So I had to do something about it.
I appreciate that. Scratching that nagging itch is important and I appreciated your candor in doing so.

Quote:
Thank you for replying to my rant in this well considered and measured way.
Its the least that we should expect from each other. Even if we don't always live up that minimum standard.

I probably addressed comments form others while attempting to address you and that may have colored my response. For that I'm sorry.

Quote:
Oh and by the way, I'm feeling much better now.
Good. I think I am, too.
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