0635: "Locke and Demosthenes"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

User avatar
Simon17
Posts: 63
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:45 am UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Simon17 » Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:06 pm UTC

The funny part about this comic is how shitty the blog looks.

Nice style sheets, asshole!
Randall, get out of my trunk!

AlexanderRM
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:45 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby AlexanderRM » Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:08 am UTC

Jamaican Castle wrote:
AlexanderRM wrote:
Comic JK wrote:All of Ender's Game is a little dated--the "Russia takes over the world" bit is a lot more of a sticking point for me than a simplified idea of the internet.


Actually, I think that at least in the later Shadow books China was the main villain. Still, what I notice is the whole World War stuff with no mention of nukes (even if they did get united under a world government for awhile...).


In Ender's Game somebody (Peter?) notes that their shield tech makes nukes and other long-range missiles essentially worthless. Plus, at least during the short civil war after the bugger homeworld was destroyed, there was widespread unease as to who, exactly, should be shot at...


Ah, okay... I was pretty sure the lack of nukes didn't seem odd to me at the time.



And to people talking about OSC... wait, I'm suddenly wondering if that "HUMANS are the ones who have tried to wipe out every intelligent race we encounter" thing in whatsit (last ender book) was actually something he disagreed with? It definitely didn't seem like that, though. And judging by the other books I've read... apart from Empire (which was odd, the story was a very very conservative viewpoint while the afterward and such talked about the dangers of political polarization... it should be noted that apparently it was made as the plot for a video game, so black/white morality was probably needed) nothing really seemed... whatever. There's one short story in Maps in a Mirror which has a moral about not getting into destructive wars (actually, it delivers a direct aesop, by the character, about not getting involved in an antimatter war, using the bio-warfare that made Earth uninhabitable as proof), and portraying the last Americans as complete and utter loonies. There's also Pastwatch, which has a lot of stuff about environmental damage.

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6197
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Jorpho » Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:40 am UTC

hoffmanj wrote:So... that Anton character? The first time I read it, I just thought, "huh, what an interesting little anecdote about an old gay man who decides to marry a woman and help her raise her kids." Then I re-read it, and I went, "HOLY SHIT, this is ACTUALLY what OSC expects all gay people to do!"
Gosh, I completely forgot that Anton was supposed to be gay. I guess I thought that Anton didn't seem to be much of a character at all, though his means of "imprisonment" was kind of nifty.

RaenirSalazar
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:04 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby RaenirSalazar » Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:22 pm UTC

Okay I had to register to answer some things here.

A) I personally enjoyed Ender in Exile, the Shadow Series and EVERY book in the Ender Quartet.

-The philosophical series
-The geopolitical series

You will of course be more likely to enjoy the later as being more spiritually inline with Ender's Game but the former is still a very beautiful masterpiece of a series, very emotional and lots of depth.

B) It is the sign of a mature individual to be able to differentiate between someone whose views you disagree with and his writing that has to my mind aside from a few jarring moments is completely independent of his work and is more in line with his Mormon beliefs then his more infamous ones, which until I found out I would never have even noticed.

C) "1 - This is a society with very controlled nets - recall that Peter and Valentine had to get their father's access to start, cause kids couldn't post in mainstream political fora"

Remember people ALL scifi writers including Isaac Effing Asimov make mistakes, big ones at that, remember early in the Foundation trilogy how they talked about the center of the galaxy of just being a collection of stars? And how WRONG he was then? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M ... eMarchesOn He wrote this when? The Early 80's? Late 70's? When the Soviet Union they felt would last forever? How COULD the idea of an independent and free internet possibly exist in a Society that is all too willing to throw away freedom and liberty if it can be seen to deny a weapon to the Soviets? Had the Soviet Union still been around I think its entirely possible the Western World would have established their own "Great Internet Firewall".

And here's where the JustifiedTrope comes into play, the West is in a NEW Cold War with a ressurgant Russian dominated Second Warsaw Pact (I have the first edition copy of Ender's Game and no reference to the Soviet Union btw) its entirely possible that the US and Co. reorganized the internet and took control in order to fight the Russians indirectly.

D) The essay claiming OSC's Ender's Game is an apologia to Hitler is bs.

E) I should point out Isaac Asimov gave reason for the possible stagnation of technology, just because it takes place 2000 years in the future doesn't mean EVERYTHING and our understanding in such also has to increase exponentially.

Joneleth
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:59 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Joneleth » Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:11 pm UTC

I wanted to point out that I believe the concept of technology increasing exponentially is false. I think rather it speeds up and slows down and goes sideways. Sure, the 20th century had a ridiculous increase in technology level, but I think that'll level off in a few years, if it hasn't started to already. The 14th and 15th century likewise had a HUGE increase in technology and politics, and the world changed drastically then as well. And then they spent 5 centuries refining whatever changes had been made.

That's because IMO there's always a catalyst behind that change. The catalyst behind the technological and sociological change in the 1400s and 1500s was the Renaissance and protestant reformation - i.e, the catholic church lost it's deathgrip on "truth" (thanks to the reformation), and the widespread revival of ancient knowledge began. in the 19th century, we had the industrial revolution and the birth of manufacturing - which is at the heart of most of the big changes. (cars, planes, computers, air conditioners, robots, freezers, etc. all depend on many precisely manufactured parts) I think we'll probably spend 5 centuries or so refining all the things we've invented until the next big catalyst comes along and causes change. (alien invasion? Environmental damage forcing us into space? artificial intelligence? genetic engineering? nanorobots?)

BeskarKomrk
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:44 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby BeskarKomrk » Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:44 pm UTC

I'm not going to claim that OSC is a perfect human being. He does have some very extreme opinions, most of which I disagree with. However, he does also have some very good ideas, or at least ideas that could be refined or restated to be very good.

Besides all that, on the actual book: it literally is my favorite book, out of all I've ever read (and I read a lot). I think it's a really good combination of disparate elements that can all be the base for interesting discussion, as evidenced by this thread. How many completely different and serious things have been talked about here? I personally really like military strategy, so the whole series has some good food for thought. I also think it has some interesting ideas about personal relationships, as well as leadership/parenting and life in general (can't be a classic unless it makes some generic statement about the human condition, am I right?).

Yeah, it does pander to nerds a little. Ok, a lot, but I just didn't really see it that way. I consider it an argument for "brains over brawn", which is a standard nerd cry, but also holds true in some situations. In any case, I didn't like it just because it made me feel special.

I did read it when I was fairly young (probably about 12), but I've reread it, and all the others, many times since, and love them even more now. I've also tried to introduce them to as many people as possible, and many of them, adults in their 40's-80's, love them.

Also, on the subject of Anton: I never thought of his whole "not interested in women" thing as being a homosexual character. I thought of it more as in 1984, where the people are encouraged not to have sex except for the purpose of reproduction. And since there are problems with overpopulation in the books, I took the logical step: the government encouraged it's scientists not to have sex/get married/find love at all.

Pers
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:07 am UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Pers » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:28 am UTC

This is slightly off-topic, but some may find it amusing: a week or so before this comic was posted, I published this short story, which mocks the same thing.

Now I'm plagued on another board by conspiracy theories that I'm Randall Munroe in disguise.

User avatar
troacctid
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:13 am UTC
Location: California

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby troacctid » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:55 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:
hoffmanj wrote:So... that Anton character? The first time I read it, I just thought, "huh, what an interesting little anecdote about an old gay man who decides to marry a woman and help her raise her kids." Then I re-read it, and I went, "HOLY SHIT, this is ACTUALLY what OSC expects all gay people to do!"
Gosh, I completely forgot that Anton was supposed to be gay. I guess I thought that Anton didn't seem to be much of a character at all, though his means of "imprisonment" was kind of nifty.

I read the book twice and barely even noticed it. Just some boring old guy's life story--who cares, right? I suppose now that I think about it, he probably was gay, wasn't he?

AlexRose
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:37 am UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby AlexRose » Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:00 am UTC

Registered just to clarify this.... Anton was NOT gay. Just because you don't marry young doesn't mean you're gay. He was pre-occupied in his studies of making super-intelligent gaints for most of his life (it says that somewhere in the book). Also, the squirrel isn't in trouble; Peter had stopped torturing squirrels by that point in the novel.

Card's interpetation of the internet is pretty amusing; I love how he assumes being anonymous would actually promote intelligent discussion. He basically got the structure of the internet right, but was off by about eighty thousand Porn websites and seventy I.Q points. ^^

User avatar
markfiend
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:59 am UTC
Location: UK (Leeds)

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby markfiend » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:52 am UTC

Pi is exactly three wrote:OK, we'll be able to dump this lot next year but I don't believe things will be any better under their replacements. It's not Labour v. Conservative any more, it's Red Tory v. Blue Tory.

Fixed that for ya.

Oh and people trying to defend Ender's morality:
Ender wrote:if I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing. We thought they wanted to kill us.
advanced, forthright, signifficant
pronouns: he/him

User avatar
Eikinkloster
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:07 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:31 am UTC

markfiend wrote:
Pi is exactly three wrote:OK, we'll be able to dump this lot next year but I don't believe things will be any better under their replacements. It's not Labour v. Conservative any more, it's Red Tory v. Blue Tory.

Fixed that for ya.

Oh and people trying to defend Ender's morality:
Ender wrote:if I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing. We thought they wanted to kill us.


Oh yeah... Elaine Radford's ender and hitler: sympathy for the superman article. She ends it this way:

Elaine Radford wrote:As long as people are struggling against anti-Semitism, misogyny, and all the other ways of oppressing the different, it seems inappropriate to focus overmuch on the delicate feelings of the oppressor. Look at the fact that the Fuhrer was sincere and re-define his life as dedicated rather than evil? Forgive Hitler? Card, from your privileged position as a white male American Christian, you have no right to ask us that.


In her review of her own article she praises John Kessel's article as being superior. John Kessel quotes her article on his, but, most interestingly, he goes for the best source I know for how the oppressor is born out of the oppressed: Alice Miller. Curiously though, her quotes on Kessel's article seem totally irrelevant to his line of thought. It is almost as if he used them to warn us against the threat of the oppressed. Radford's point is a lot more clear: it's inappropriate to try to understand the "delicate feelings" of the oppressor. Specially when you are white and male.

In my understanding of Alice Miller, this is tragic. Miller's scenario is of widespread oppression. It explodes here and there on Hitlers and whatnot, but it is everywhere, and people will do anything possible to preserve it. One of the surest ways to preserve it, as I see it, is to focus overmuch on the overt oppressors, as if there was something intrinsically wrong with the people who break under pressure and relay it overtly instead of quietly like everybody.

I say, for instance, if Americans want to break the cycle of school shootings, forget about going after the nerds who might snap. Go after the jocks who bully them. And then go after their parents who bullied them in the first place. The cycle has to be broken somewhere, and the psychotic is just too down the line to be of any use for breaking the cycle. The psychotic spree killer is outside of the cycle already. He is not creating new oppressors. Often he is actually putting down some old ones. This message is clear on Gus Van Sant's Elephant. I'm pretty sure Americans simply ignored the very explicit dialog lines on this point.

The whole focus on Hitler and the Holocaust is also a mistake. As much as the extermination of a whole people such as the Jews is disturbing, the point is that the madness had started long before, in the World War I: 16 million people killed. Mankind lost something forever in that war. In the next the madness was upped. 60 million people dead. It sure must have felt like the End of the World for a lot of people. You can't expect people to act reasonably in such scenarios. Hitler is only picked upon because he was defeated. Stalin had many times as much blood on his hands, and neither he or his Soviet Union became a taboo.

So yes. Maybe consciously, or even unconsciously, Ender was indeed Scot Card's apology of Hitler. If so, I'd have to say it was well done, and deserved. Hitler was many unspeakable things... but he was still a human, not a bug. If Kessel feels so worried about the dehumanization of the buggers, he should extend the concern to Hitler and other monstruosities born out of extreme abuse. Hitler should be stopped, just as any psychotic killer. Just like Ender too, before he blew up the bugger planet. But he shouldn't be demonized. No one should.
Chaos Reigns!

User avatar
markfiend
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:59 am UTC
Location: UK (Leeds)

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby markfiend » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:18 pm UTC

Great post. Just one quibble:
Eikinkloster wrote:16 million people killed. Mankind lost something forever in that war. In the next the madness was upped. 60 million people dead. It sure must have felt like the End of the World for a lot of people.

...it was the end of the world for those 76 million people. :|
advanced, forthright, signifficant
pronouns: he/him

ooloi
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:06 pm UTC
Location: North Carolina, USA

The Squirrel

Postby ooloi » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:49 pm UTC

I can't believe I read 5 pages of discussion and no one has referenced the crucial dialogue regarding the squirrel:

(excerpt from Ender's Game:)

"Peter tortures squirrels. He stakes them out on the ground and skins them alive and sits and watches them until they die. He did that, he doesn't do it now. But he did it. If Ender knew that, if Ender saw him, I think that he'd--"

"He'd what? Rescue the squirrels? Try to heal them?"

"No, in those days you didn't--undo what Peter did. You didn't cross him. But Ender would be kind to squirrels. Do you understand? He'd feed them."

"But if he fed them, they'd become tame, and that much easier for Peter to catch."

(end excerpt, dialogue continues)

I suspect Randall didn't forget this conversation or the context in which it occurs.

User avatar
Eikinkloster
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:07 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:15 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:Great post. Just one quibble:
Eikinkloster wrote:16 million people killed. Mankind lost something forever in that war. In the next the madness was upped. 60 million people dead. It sure must have felt like the End of the World for a lot of people.

...it was the end of the world for those 76 million people. :|



Agreed. I took the numbers from Wikipedia, and the entry is interestingly "casualties of world war I". They counted the wounded too, and they naturally far outnumber the dead. Personally, the wounded worry me far more than the dead. The people who had to drag for life without lower jaws, genitals, parts of the brain. Most of them were precisely these white males Radford is so prompt to deny a voice. White male soldiers whom, in such a context, were no less than slaves, marching under threat of death for desertion coming from Scott Card's "grown ups" up on the power line.

After having read Ender's Game, I believe Scott Card sensed this horror and spoke about it. He does unfortunatelly chose the path of justification of the rearing oppressor. As much as the grown ups teared Ender apart, Card seems to feel "it was for his own good". The grown ups were justified in their abuse of Ender, because it was necessary to build Ender's character. To turn him into a functional adult. One that could perform the tasks his elders felt (wrongly - the bugs had ceased being a threat forever for generations) were so crucial. This is what goes in Miller's first quote by Kessel:

The scorn and abuse directed at the helpless child as well as the suppression of vitality, creativity, and feeling in the child and in oneself permeate so many areas of our life that we hardly notice it anymore. Almost everywhere we find the effort, marked by varying degrees of intensity and by the use of various coercive measures, to rid ourselves as quickly as possible of the child within us—i.e., the weak, helpless, dependent creature—in order to become an independent, competent adult deserving of respect.1
—Alice Miller, For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence


Even more ironically, this is the very book in which Miller sets to propose that Hitler was a product of this very widespread process. Kessel fails to read there that for Miller, we are all creating the next Hitler, whenever we, as grown ups, reproduce the way we were maimed by our parents and other instances of rearing authority onto our own children. The subtitle of the book itself already points in this direction: "Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence".

So yes, if I were to condemn Card, I wouldn't go for his apology of the directly violent behavior of Ender. For him killing the bullies who threatened his physical integrity. I would go for his apology of the people who would let this happen to Ender, to turn him in this killing machine. I don't know how he handles this subject in the sequels though. The rearing oppressors are in fact in turn victims of their rearing oppressors... but the cycle has to be broken at some point, and I believe this is the point. To tell the oppressor "yes, I understand you were oppressed, but contrary to what they told you, it wasn't for your own good. It was just an unfortunate and primitive cycle, which none, including you, have a right to carry on". That's what we need, awareness, not condemnation. Because deep inside, we are all, in some level, unconscious victims and clueless aggressors.
Chaos Reigns!

Heron
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:38 pm UTC
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Heron » Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:22 pm UTC

I don't really understand how people are drawing a connection between Ender and Hitler. The similarity is superficial at best: they're both responsible for a genocide (for different values of "responsible").

However, Hitler's was intentional, and targeted at a group who had not harmed him or his people in any tangible way and, to make it worse, could not fight back.

Ender's, on the other hand, was unintentional - I believe that's sort of the point of the whole fleet-command-behind-a-video-game thing they've got going. The Buggers had certainly harmed Earth, and they could certainly fight back (ignoring for the moment that they didn't intend to continue their attack).

I do not believe OSC was trying to excuse Hitler's actions in any way. One of the biggest problems Ender has with himself is that he can't forgive himself for what he did, even knowing that he didn't know. I think that is a more important point to focus on. His dilemma is a much more drastic version of everyday dilemmas we might face, and that's the idea behind addressing moral issues in fiction - to examine issues that are normal on a grand scale.

Regarding Anton, I never got the impression that he was gay, only that he was not interested in relationships or procreation. "Relationships" would include both hetero- and homosexual relationships.

STACL
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:47 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby STACL » Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:35 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
Pi is exactly three wrote:OK, we'll be able to dump this lot next year but I don't believe things will be any better under their replacements. It's not Labour v. Conservative any more, it's Red Tory v. Blue Tory.

Fixed that for ya.

Oh and people trying to defend Ender's morality:
Ender wrote:if I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing. We thought they wanted to kill us.


If memory serves (and I just reread the original quartet a few months ago), Ender was responding to Olhado asking him why he did what he did; Ender tells him he thought it was a game, and then goes on to say that he would have done the same thing even if he had known it was a game. However, you have to take into mind Ender's mindset after the xenocide. That event wracks him with guilt the rest of his life, and I don't think it's unreasonable to suppose that he believes he would have killed the buggers anyway in part because he feels so guilty over the event and this helps justify his guilt. Whether Ender would in fact have killed the buggers had he known what was going on, I don't know, but I doubt the elder Ender did either. (And anyway, even if Ender was guilty--personally I agree with Card that he wasn't, though I think, and I don't know if Card would agree, that Graff et. al certainly were--that doesn't mean he shouldn't be forgiven or can't repent, which seems to be what he was trying to do for the rest of his life. I certainly agree with Card on the importance of forgiveness and the possibility of redemption.)

While I understand where people who say that the books are an apology for (e.g.) the foreign policy of George Bush are coming from (especially given Card's own views), I think that when it comes down to it, that's just an oversimplification. The books are, like many great pieces of writing, ambivalent about what moral really should be drawn from them. I think it's clear that Card thought Ender wasn't himself guilty for the xenocide, but as to whether the xenocide was itself a good thing, the books are much less clear about that:

Spoiler:
Recall that in the last book, Children of the Mind, the general who wants to blow up Lusitania explicitly sees himself as a "second Ender," and believes that Ender has been terribly misunderstood by history, and that he will too, but thinks that's worth it in order to save humankind. This, of course, sounds a lot like what many people, commenting on Card's books, have said seems to be his views on Bush. Now recall that Peter stops the general's madness and, if Peter's impassioned speech at the end of the book is taken as any indication of Card's own views (which seems reasonable), argues that not only would this particular genocidal act have been wrong (duh), but humanity should not even have the capacity to commit such acts in the future (e.g., against the descoladores, who were just as alien now as the buggers in the original book were then), because it's just too much power for us to have. That's hardly an obvious apology for any extreme act of warfare or violence which at the moment seems reasonable to the aggressor. If I had to guess, I'd say that Card sees Peter's ideal as the aim for which humanity should strive, but doesn't believe we're there yet, and that at the current point in our evolution, warfare, even especially brutal warfare, is still necessary--although still not good. You might not agree with that (and, more to the point, you might disagree with Card over which particular wars are necessary), but it's hardly the thinly-veiled attempt to justify genocide that some commentators make the series out to be.


All that being said, I agree with those that say Ender's Game isn't the amazing book many of us thought when we were 12. I loved it when I first read it, and rereading it a couple of months ago, largely agreed with Someursault's analysis:

Spoiler:
The smarter-than-anyone-else-ever protagonist starts out as a misunderstood bored genius being tormented by mindless cartoon bullies at school. He finally lashes out violently at a drooling bully, actually beating him to death if I'm not mistaken (like many Mary Sues, Ender is the kind of skinny weakling who suddenly has the strength to overpower larger and more athletic children by virtue of his pure inconquerable willpower). As a six-year-old prodigy who's just viciously murdered a boy, naturally he is rewarded by the government with a trip to Smart Kid Camp (in space!!!), where he's given the opportunity to save the world from aliens singlehandedly by playing a violent videogame remarkably well! Hooray!


It's still a page-turner, mind you, but yeah, it is a tad ridiculous (and the Locke and Demosthenes bit is too). Speaker for the Dead, however, I absolutely loved when I read again. It is far deeper than Ender's Game, contains many very fascinating ideas and themes, and is brilliantly written. I really don't know where Iridos gets off calling Speaker through Children space opera, and not Ender's Game--the piggies anthropomorphic a la the klingons? Did we read the same books? I like Star Trek, but the aliens aren't really alien--as for Card's books, though, I thought Card did an absolutely brilliant job with the pequeninos in creating an alien species the audience was able to emphasize with that was still well, really alien in many, many ways (not at all like the klingons!). The sexual dimorphism? The life cycle? The philotic connections between the trees? The descolada? The effect of evolution and the descolada on pequenino culture and morality? Card put a lot of thought into creating that very non-anthropomorphic species, and if you ask me, he did a damn good job.

(Xenocide and Children of the Mind are also good, but they get a little more ridiculous when Card starts fleshing out the philotes stuff and then starts trying to actually do stuff with it, scientifically. It's like trying to take Plato's forms and have us manipulate them through technology. It just doesn't work that way.)

RaenirSalazar
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:04 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby RaenirSalazar » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:10 pm UTC

You know people it would only be fair if wtake a chance to read Mr Card's response to Elaine Radford's essay.

http://www.hatrack.com/research/questions/q0085.shtml

OSC REPLIES: - March 12, 2001

Nothing that she says makes sense. Ender is in no way modeled after Hitler. Her "parallels" are absurd. Do you have any idea how many "third children" there are in the world? I, for one, am one of them. Radford wanted to write a hate-filled attack on Ender's Game, and in that effort she succeeded. But not one of her analyses make even the tiniest bit of sense, and none of them hold up for even a moment as any kind of serious literary analysis.

In the original publication, I published my refutation of her absurd and mean-spirited piece immediately following it. If you have your hands on her original essay, surely you also have access to the answer I gave at the time. If someone is circulating her piece alone, then you can be sure their purpose is to continue her slander, because if they were even remotely fair-minded, they would have included my refutation along with it.



Still trying to find the full rebuttal.

RaenirSalazar
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 4:04 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby RaenirSalazar » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:14 pm UTC

Ender had steel toe shoes and was fighting other children at the beginning with the fight with Stilson, against Bonzo he had muscled up and had intermediate understanding of hand to hand combat for self defence and if you read the passage in question essentially headbuts Bonzo's nose into his skull, its not so much that he physically beat them up its that he found the right weakpoint of the human body to strike with as much force as possible to "win".

Grimm
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:01 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Grimm » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:03 pm UTC

Ah, I do love it, I love it indeed. Funny how blogs are completely useless for anything other than mindless blather...

BTW Am I the only one who sees that Peter's feeding the squirrel?

trag
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby trag » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:what I've never gotten: How/why is Enders Game somehow a nerd/geek-essential?

It will be a cold day in hell before I give any of my reading-money to that rabid foaming-at-the-mouth homophobe warmonger named Orson Scott Card. Guy's a complete lunatic.


Back in the late 70s/early 80s when Card started writing, he was brilliant, if depressing and his propensities either didn't exist or did not show.

Also, Ender's Game was based on the novella (or novellete) first published in Analog, "Ender's War". At that time reading it was a nerd/geek essential.

Also, back then, while numerous authors and pundits saw the world wide web coming in some form, it was unclear how it was going to be funded. In several of Card's stories, which appear to take place in the same setting, the web was very much a pay as you go kind of environment. Folks publishing were usually the equivalent of magazines/newspapers. So Locke and Demosthenes would likely get their start with letters to the editor. Their letters would be so brilliant, they would be offered editorial jobs. This would lead to the equivalent of syndication, etc.

Really, the progression to power was based on the paper publishing industry and the only difference the 'net provided was anonymity for the writers. So Card got one thing right. You can (more or less) remain anonymous on the 'net.

trag
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby trag » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:31 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:[well, I could, in theory, seek out a pirated ebook version and read that in order to judge the book without regard to the man who wrote it, but any legal way of me reading the book moves money out of my pocket towards him.


Library. Only sends money to him very indirectly, in the sense that you've increased wear on a book that they might some day replace.

User avatar
Iridos
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:58 am UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Iridos » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:04 pm UTC

Eikinkloster wrote:
Iridos wrote:Oh - yes and I remember being a bit annoyed of the religious undertones - the idea of converting an alien race to a human religion is also ridiculous - but the piggies are just humans with porky faces and a weird reproduction cycle anyway.... there we go again with the space opera like qualities, where klingons are men with thick black beards.


The idea of a human converted to a Martian religion is pretty well developed by Heinlein in Strange in a Strange Land. I don't see how an alien converting to a human religion would be ridiculous.


That's not actually true - he is raised by the Martians, then later founds a religion on earth which tries to make some of their alien concepts available to other humans... and which isn't really a religion at all (people could still keep their previous religion when joining this new "religion" iirc).
Religion is a human concept (and one of the less rational ones) so it's not at all surprising/unbelievable that contact with an alien race would spawn a religion in between humans... a lot of other things have over the centuries... hell, even the science fiction author Hubbard finally founded one to raise some money in order to finance a lifestyle that writing second-rate science fiction couldn't provide him. But Ist start digressing.

Here, we have a human religion that is just 1:1 spread onto the aliens - and of course it's ridiculous as far as Christianity goes - even supposing they're so near-human that a weird concept as religion would work on them (which I found highly suspicious anyway), why should they care that a) some guy told some people they were the the Chosen and b) some guy about 2000 years ago was the Messiah of a prophecy of these people?

STACL wrote: I really don't know where Iridos gets off calling Speaker through Children space opera, and not Ender's Game--the piggies anthropomorphic a la the klingons? [...] The sexual dimorphism? The life cycle? The philotic connections between the trees? The descolada? The effect of evolution and the descolada on pequenino culture and morality? Card put a lot of thought into creating that very non-anthropomorphic species, and if you ask me, he did a damn good job.

(Xenocide and Children of the Mind are also good, but they get a little more ridiculous when Card starts fleshing out the philotes stuff and then starts trying to actually do stuff with it, scientifically. It's like trying to take Plato's forms and have us manipulate them through technology. It just doesn't work that way.)


Perhaps space-opera is a bit too harsh - or it's a bit too lenient saying Ender's game doesn't have the same space-opera elements at all.
The harsh criticism might be caused by my disappointment about the alien races - the buggers are pretty ok as they go, but communication just seems too effortless - or so it occurs to me. I'd think if you tried communication with an alien species you would never really understand them, there would always be some barrier that would prevent full understanding - and this would lead to a lot of miscommunication along the way.
Hell, take women... lots of specimen around (about 50% of the population, last I looked), they got pretty much exactly the same genes, the same cultural environment, very nearly the same everything... and how many men ever claimed to understand women? ;)

Ok, so these misunderstandings actually do happen with the piggies, but only until their reproductive cycle is unmasked. After that everything seems more or less crystal clear... where I'd think there are some of our concepts they could never grasp and some of theirs we never would.

Also, I didn't like the piggies, because they really are so very human - just look at that bit of earth evolution that we know of - bipedal brainy animals haven't been a very successful species in that (yet) - we'll have to wait a million years to figure out if they are or not... until then, the dinosaurs were the only vastly successful species on earth and we ourselves as a species are not even sure to make a footnote in the long story of earth evolution. So how come that in those books we have intelligent bipeds that are so damn human, they can even learn human speech and [i]talk[/]? Now how likely does that sound?

You're right to say that he did put some effort into it with the sexual dimorphism/the life cycle/the philotic connections between the trees and the descolada... perhaps I unjustly feel this is just not going far enough and too much is carbon-copied from humans in too simple away... still, that's the disappointment I felt when reading the books and guess I still do.

trag wrote:Also, back then, while numerous authors and pundits saw the world wide web coming in some form, it was unclear how it was going to be funded. In several of Card's stories, which appear to take place in the same setting, the web was very much a pay as you go kind of environment. Folks publishing were usually the equivalent of magazines/newspapers. So Locke and Demosthenes would likely get their start with letters to the editor. Their letters would be so brilliant, they would be offered editorial jobs. This would lead to the equivalent of syndication, etc.


Hm, true - the way the net developed was quite amazing and in many ways rather unpredictable. Just thinking of the way things happened with Google makes your head spin... I remember there were all those search engines around there were all kind of equal and you'd always use a couple of them in a go to get good results in a search ... and then Google turned up with their type of page ranking, their kind of geeky spartan search page and within perhaps 3 years you didn't search the net, you "googled". So lots of points for him for seeing it coming, still it's funny the way he also got things wrong - and I think we're all allowed a good chuckle on that.

I.
Last edited by Iridos on Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:44 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

illxkcdthat
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 9:16 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby illxkcdthat » Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:27 pm UTC

So wierd.... i was writing a paper on enders game in school the next day and i was reading this comic... wierdest coincidence ever sorry for spelling weird wrong
Life is good.
But life is also Beyond Great (always)

I should patent that.

Greenygal
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:12 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Greenygal » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:07 am UTC

With regard to Anton, it seems pretty obvious to me that yeah, he's gay. He claims he is "of a disposition not to look upon women with desire," and then he says he indulged himself in meaningless affairs. If he doesn't desire women, with whom would he been having these affairs if he wasn't gay? That was certainly the way I took it at the time, and hearing a wise old gay character solemnly lecture the protagonist on how the meaning of life is to find a member of the opposite sex and raise kids with them...well, it factored into my not reading any more in the series.

User avatar
Eugo
Posts: 272
Joined: Sat May 31, 2008 5:38 am UTC
Location: here
Contact:

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eugo » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:24 am UTC

Eikinkloster wrote:I say, for instance, if Americans want to break the cycle of school shootings, forget about going after the nerds who might snap. Go after the jocks who bully them. And then go after their parents who bullied them in the first place. The cycle has to be broken somewhere, and the psychotic is just too down the line to be of any use for breaking the cycle.


Exactly. I was amazed, in the few cases where the bullying occurred that I knew of, that the school authorities somehow never touch the bully much - they seem to be so worried of his mental state and whatnot, whereas the victim's motives are questioned (!). Had it happened once, I'd chalk it off to the staff at that particular school, but no, it wasn't one school. It almost seems they think they can't raise proper nerds unless they expose them to a healthy amount of bullying. Get them ready for corporate world on time, I guess. Being bullied by corporate HQ or a PHB is easier if one underwent proper training early. If they snap and kill a few meanwhile, well, too bad, but that's how evolution works (in their corporate minds).

In my eyes there's a Graff in everyone who sells tough love.
United we stand politically corrected, divided we fall in love

User avatar
Eikinkloster
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:07 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:36 am UTC

Eugo wrote:It almost seems they think they can't raise proper nerds unless they expose them to a healthy amount of bullying. Get them ready for corporate world on time, I guess. Being bullied by corporate HQ or a PHB is easier if one underwent proper training early. If they snap and kill a few meanwhile, well, too bad, but that's how evolution works (in their corporate minds).


Wow!
I hadn't thought of that.
Chaos Reigns!

trag
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:05 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby trag » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:22 pm UTC

Pi is exactly three wrote:I mourn the triumph of forums over Usenet. Usenet was specifically designed to facilitate distributed conversations. I find the forum paradigm much less user-friendly.


I too mourn the decline of Usenet. In addition to facilitating distributed conversations, it was organizationally superior. If I wanted to find a discussion group on a particular topic, I simply followed the naming hierarchy of Usenet down to the relevant groups. With fora I must trust in Google and hope. Additionally, I could expect to be able to find all the discussion on a particular topic in one or two or at most three groups with Usenet. With fora, there may be dozens of overlapping fora which must all be visited to get the ongoing discussion.

A large practicle beef is specifically targeted at Ebay. Back in the day, one could buy and sell in the relevant News Group. It was free. You could post comments on other's sales and did I mention that it was free? The Ebay came along. And at first, they kept it pretty similar to News Groups except for minor fees. But now that they've captured the bulk of the buyers, if you want to sell something, you pretty much must go to Ebay, and those fees are not minor any more. Sellers go to Ebay becuase that's where the buyers are. Buyers go to Ebay because that's where the sellers are. We'd all be better off if we went back to the New Groups and ditched their outrageous fees.

AdamW
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:34 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby AdamW » Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:43 pm UTC

Well, on the OSC / homophobia issue, possibly interesting perspective from a gay OSC fan:

Honestly I find the fact that OSC is entirely sincere in his beliefs makes them a lot easier to live with. It's much harder to stomach rhetoric from people who clearly don't really believe (or at least care about) what they're saying but are happy to embrace any position to make some political capital. Or, worse, money. I think OSC is mostly wrong, from both objective and subjective positions (I've never been molested by anyone of any gender, for instance...), but I can respect his honestly-held beliefs, especially since he has never - AFAICT - advocated enforcing them in any kind of confrontational way. (Edit: he's rather strident about opposing gay marriage laws, yes. I should clarify I mean _personally_ confrontational.) He's opposed to gay marriage; so are lots of people. I don't think they're all evil.

(When I say 'mostly' wrong - I suspect the 'causes of homosexuality' argument is a lot less clear-cut than many people want it to be. There's nearly as many charlatans on the side I'd recognize as 'good' as on the side I'd recognize as 'evil', and I suspect a lot of people profess to be deeply convinced that there are STRAIGHT PEOPLE and GAY PEOPLE and it's inevitably dictated by their genes not because they really are, but because it's convenient to their argument. I suspect there's genetic and environmental components, of varying degrees in varying cases, and the artificial chasm between STRAIGHT PEOPLE and GAY PEOPLE is a fairly serious misrepresentation of what's much more like a continuum. Where I'd differ from OSC is I think that's perfectly fine, and not hurting anyone. I think OSC's most significant intellectual weakness is he tends to work from a very old-fashioned sociological viewpoint; notice that many of his books and stories tend to be set in sort of Biblical communities, (very) small village scenarios where questions of reproductive efficiency are actually important. I'm not sure he's entirely fundamentally grasped that the fact that some people of one gender prefer to play with the genitals of other people of the same gender has very little chance of harming the future of the race. I suspect OSC would much like to live in a very different world from the present one - one which has little chance of existing - which is why he writes about them so often. But, again, that doesn't make him a bad person).

On the Anton debate - OSC wrote a five-book series called the Homecoming series (which I've heard is something of a retelling of the Book of Mormon, though I've never read that so I don't know) which had a much more explicit and drawn-out rendering of the same type of character. I've forgotten the guy's name, but he was gay, and he had a fairly long story arc in which he did exactly the same thing as discussed in this thread - married a woman out of social obligation, and helped her raise a family. This isn't oblique, the whole thing is explicitly stated.

What I find interesting is there's no implication that the character 'becomes' straight. He's never portrayed as enjoying bonking his wife. He's strictly portrayed as recognizing a moral/social imperative to act as he does. Obviously I don't think OSC is right to suggest this is what gay people ought to do, or that it would benefit society if they did, but it's interesting and illustrative that he doesn't take the easy way out. After all, he's not exactly sweetness and light to all his straight characters, either.

I've never been to an OSC signing or anything, but if I did, and we talked about the topic, I suspect he'd treat me with respect and recognize my right to my own ethical beliefs, as I'd hope to treat him with respect and recognize his right to his moral/religious ones. Which is all anyone can really ask for, after all.

Heron
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:38 pm UTC
Location: Seattle, WA
Contact:

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Heron » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:02 pm UTC

AdamW wrote:the Homecoming series (which I've heard is something of a retelling of the Book of Mormon, though I've never read that so I don't know)


I've read both, and yes, the first book in the Homecoming series is largely a point-for-point copy of the events portrayed in the Book of Mormon. (Even the name of the main character of Homecoming, Nafai, is "the same" as the first narrator in the Book of Mormon, Nephi, pronouced almost exactly the same.) As a member of the LDS Church, I'm not amused by that particular Orson Scott Card decision. I get the feeling that when people read Homecoming first, and the Book of Mormon second, they'll think "I've read this before..." and stop reading, which I think is the opposite of what OSC intended (if he had any intention at all, beyond "oh look I can copy this story and make money").

STACL
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:47 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby STACL » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:59 am UTC

Iridos wrote:
Eikinkloster wrote:
Iridos wrote:
STACL wrote: I really don't know where Iridos gets off calling Speaker through Children space opera, and not Ender's Game--the piggies anthropomorphic a la the klingons? [...] The sexual dimorphism? The life cycle? The philotic connections between the trees? The descolada? The effect of evolution and the descolada on pequenino culture and morality? Card put a lot of thought into creating that very non-anthropomorphic species, and if you ask me, he did a damn good job.

(Xenocide and Children of the Mind are also good, but they get a little more ridiculous when Card starts fleshing out the philotes stuff and then starts trying to actually do stuff with it, scientifically. It's like trying to take Plato's forms and have us manipulate them through technology. It just doesn't work that way.)


Perhaps space-opera is a bit too harsh - or it's a bit too lenient saying Ender's game doesn't have the same space-opera elements at all.
The harsh criticism might be caused by my disappointment about the alien races - the buggers are pretty ok as they go, but communication just seems too effortless - or so it occurs to me. I'd think if you tried communication with an alien species you would never really understand them, there would always be some barrier that would prevent full understanding - and this would lead to a lot of miscommunication along the way.
Hell, take women... lots of specimen around (about 50% of the population, last I looked), they got pretty much exactly the same genes, the same cultural environment, very nearly the same everything... and how many men ever claimed to understand women? ;)

Ok, so these misunderstandings actually do happen with the piggies, but only until their reproductive cycle is unmasked. After that everything seems more or less crystal clear... where I'd think there are some of our concepts they could never grasp and some of theirs we never would.

Also, I didn't like the piggies, because they really are so very human - just look at that bit of earth evolution that we know of - bipedal brainy animals haven't been a very successful species in that (yet) - we'll have to wait a million years to figure out if they are or not... until then, the dinosaurs were the only vastly successful species on earth and we ourselves as a species are not even sure to make a footnote in the long story of earth evolution. So how come that in those books we have intelligent bipeds that are so damn human, they can even learn human speech and talk? Now how likely does that sound?

You're right to say that he did put some effort into it with the sexual dimorphism/the life cycle/the philotic connections between the trees and the descolada... perhaps I unjustly feel this is just not going far enough and too much is carbon-copied from humans in too simple away... still, that's the disappointment I felt when reading the books and guess I still do.


Well, to be fair, we really have absolutely no idea what any alien species we might encounter would be like (we have no idea whether there are even are any such species). Perhaps they'd be completely uncommunicatable with (if I may make up a word), perhaps not. It's really not possible to say. And while it's perhaps less likely than not that an intelligent alien species would speak a language theoretically decipherable by humans/be able to eventually pick up human languages, it's not wildly implausible--at least, I don't think it is. I'm no expert on biology, but it's my understanding that animals with significantly different evolutionary pasts than humans (e.g., dolphins) show the roots of language. Why wouldn't some aliens have something similar?

And although this is a bit off-topic, I really don't understand where the idea that humans aren't that "significant," evolutionarily speaking, comes from. Sure, our total span of existence is rather less than, say, the dinosaurs, but does the fact that we're an intelligent species capable of language, rational thought, and morality mean nothing? I mean, really? If I were an alien writing the history of Earth, and if all humans killed themselves in a nuclear holocaust next year, I think I'd still find the existence of humans far more interesting than the existence of the dinosaurs, even if we were around for a lot less.

At any rate, while many, maybe most, alien species might not be anywhere close to like us, it seems reasonable that some would be, and I think it's reasonable that we'd be capable of some form of meaningful interaction with some of those. Remember that the piggies aren't the only alien species in the series. The buggers are very different from humans, both evolutionarily and practically--at least as different as is possible while still making them intelligible (and sympathetic--and that's a key point, as so much of the books are centered around empathy) to the human reader. And if you want the completely incomprehensible aliens, I'd say the descoladores--the creators of the descolada--fit the bill pretty well. (And then there's also Jane, of course, if you want to include her.) It's wholly possible that there's other aliens in the Enderverse completely incapable of communicating with humans; odds are we wouldn't even be able to recognize them as intelligent if they're that different (hence the debate about whether the descolada was intelligent).

All that being said, of course some elements of the books, including the pequeninos' linguistic abilities, were convenient plot elements, and perhaps not incredibly likely on their own. But all science fiction writers have to take some potentially questionable things for granted in order to tell their story, and I'd say positing an intelligent linguistically capable alien species is a lot more reasonable than positing, say, faster-than-light travel. (Yeah, I know, they then achieve that by the end of the third book, but like I said, I wasn't a huge fan of that development.) At least Card provided a plausible explanation as to why humans and pequeninos could communicate (rather than, say, a "universal translator"), and put a lot of work into figuring exactly how that communication occurred and where it went wrong.

I could go on to defend Card's inclusion of religion in his books--while I certainly didn't think everything he did with religion was realistic, I thought it was a hell of a lot more realistic than those science fiction authors who seem to assume that in a couple thousand years humans will all be secular humanists--but I think I've probably already expended more energy than I ought to defending my view of some science fiction books on the Internet. I think I have some homework to do...

User avatar
Babam
the Nearly Deleted
Posts: 1170
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:05 am UTC
Location: A multiverse, wandering the couch
Contact:

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Babam » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:38 am UTC

Can't all of you just enjoy, or not enjoy the damn book?
Spoiler:
crucialityfactor wrote:I KNEW he could club bitches!

SecondTalon wrote:Reality - More fucked up than Photoshop.

s/notwittysig/wittysig

Jamaican Castle
Posts: 151
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 9:10 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Jamaican Castle » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:03 am UTC

Babamthegrunt wrote:Can't all of you just enjoy, or not enjoy the damn book?

Sure, but if you don't have some deep mystical literary criticism of it, there doesn't seem to be much point in posting.

User avatar
Babam
the Nearly Deleted
Posts: 1170
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:05 am UTC
Location: A multiverse, wandering the couch
Contact:

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Babam » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:11 am UTC

Jamaican Castle wrote:
Babamthegrunt wrote:Can't all of you just enjoy, or not enjoy the damn book?

Sure, but if you don't have some deep mystical literary criticism of it, there doesn't seem to be much point in posting.

True, it was a fine book though. Good ending, I quite enjoyed the descriptions of the Battle School games.
Spoiler:
crucialityfactor wrote:I KNEW he could club bitches!

SecondTalon wrote:Reality - More fucked up than Photoshop.

s/notwittysig/wittysig

User avatar
Iridos
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:58 am UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Iridos » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:45 pm UTC

STACL wrote:
And although this is a bit off-topic, I really don't understand where the idea that humans aren't that "significant," evolutionarily speaking, comes from. Sure, our total span of existence is rather less than, say, the dinosaurs, but does the fact that we're an intelligent species capable of language, rational thought, and morality mean nothing? I mean, really? If I were an alien writing the history of Earth, and if all humans killed themselves in a nuclear holocaust next year, I think I'd still find the existence of humans far more interesting than the existence of the dinosaurs, even if we were around for a lot less.



My guess is... they wouldn't even *know* about humans - say we'd get extinct now, wait a million years and even with lots of digging around - what would you find? Perhaps some of the Pyramids would survive? They do show some wear and tear after a couple of thousand years already, though...

There's only so many dinosaur bones dug in, because those chaps have been around for millions of years and there were plenty of them around for some of them to hit the unlikely conditions that would preserve them over such a long time. Likely, there won't be as many human bones spread out... or anything.

Also - evolution is all about survival, isn't it? Perhaps you can gain some extra-points for being "more interesting", but the main objective is rather clear. If humanity nukes itself to hell , you'll only only be able to call us a failed experiment from an evolutionary point of view.
(Actually you won't, because you'll be dead, but I guess you figured that already)

STACL wrote:At any rate, while many, maybe most, alien species might not be anywhere close to like us, it seems reasonable that some would be,


Nah, they wouldn't. The hairless ape was a bit of a freak accident... only came up because all those bloody huge lizards were finally wiped out and a bunch of unlikely events let him come out at top.... for a while.

STACL wrote:and I think it's reasonable that we'd be capable of some form of meaningful interaction with some of those.


Seeing how much meaningful interactions there is between humans for the most part, that seems unlikely.
But kidding aside - the cultural (for want of a better word) differences between us and such a species should be unsurmountable. Just look at differences between human cultures... it's a different world - and that although we're all pretty much the same.


As for the religious part - you'd also expect any church to claim that the new-found aliens have no soul... there's precedence for that, no? :)

And as for the Descolada... well, that's a whole new can of worms in itself, starting with the proposed compatibility on a molecular level between species on different worlds... you could make a whole new sci-fi triology just speculating on this :)

I.

User avatar
markfiend
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2007 9:59 am UTC
Location: UK (Leeds)

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby markfiend » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:35 pm UTC

Iridos wrote:say we'd get extinct now, wait a million years and even with lots of digging around - what would you find? Perhaps some of the Pyramids would survive? They do show some wear and tear after a couple of thousand years already, though...

Cut diamonds?

"look on my works ye mighty and despair" :lol:
advanced, forthright, signifficant
pronouns: he/him

User avatar
Eikinkloster
Posts: 211
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:07 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:58 pm UTC

Iridos wrote:My guess is... they wouldn't even *know* about humans - say we'd get extinct now, wait a million years and even with lots of digging around - what would you find? Perhaps some of the Pyramids would survive? They do show some wear and tear after a couple of thousand years already, though...

There's only so many dinosaur bones dug in, because those chaps have been around for millions of years and there were plenty of them around for some of them to hit the unlikely conditions that would preserve them over such a long time. Likely, there won't be as many human bones spread out... or anything.


I don't know how cement, glass, metal and plastic behave, but the fact that we still come around remains of thousands of years old cities made basically of clay suggests me that in a million years we will still find plenty of remains of our monstrous cities around.

But then again this is feeling. I actually find the idea that there was already a technological civilization on Earth before that left no traces quite interesting.

Also - evolution is all about survival, isn't it? Perhaps you can gain some extra-points for being "more interesting", but the main objective is rather clear. If humanity nukes itself to hell , you'll only only be able to call us a failed experiment from an evolutionary point of view.


There is no "evolutionary point of view" other than that you choose to see. Evolution by itself is neutral. It doesn't think, feel, differ between good and bad. From a neutral point of view of gratifying "remaining", rocks are as much winners as any living thing, since they remain around. In my point of view Evolution is about bringing about cool stuff, because that's what I value. In this sense, sabertooth cats are much more successful than house cats. They've had a long life anyway. The genus Smilodon lasted for nearly 2 million years.

In a sense too, as far as there is any living creature on Earth, nothing has really died. Individual specimens or whole species are just hair threads that Life sheds and goes on. Species are just arbitrary collections of DNA organized material we chose to group together.
Chaos Reigns!

User avatar
Arancaytar
Posts: 1642
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 12:54 am UTC
Location: 52.44°N, 13.55°E
Contact:

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Arancaytar » Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:49 am UTC

Simon17 wrote:The funny part about this comic is how shitty the blog looks.

Nice style sheets, asshole!


But, but, rounded corners! :)
"You cannot dual-wield the sharks. One is enough." -Our DM.
Image

nkrinsky
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:15 pm UTC

Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby nkrinsky » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:18 pm UTC

I had read this comic multiple times, but I didn't notice the squirrel until recently. It's a nice little easter egg, reminds me of http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/485797 where Rorschach is petting the dogs.

Pipcard
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:33 pm UTC

Re: 0635: "Locke and Demosthenes"

Postby Pipcard » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:35 pm UTC

I just finished reading "Ender's Game" for my summer reading assignment, and I believe this is a nice supplement. Thanks. xkcd!

User avatar
dr pepper
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:28 pm UTC

Re: 0635: "Locke and Demosthenes"

Postby dr pepper » Fri Aug 19, 2011 6:54 am UTC

Hmm. I read a short story called "Ender's Game" back in the 70's, in Analog. When i first heard about the novel, i assumed that the author had made that story longer. But everytime i hear something about it, it sounds less and less like what i read back then. Now i wonder if the author didn't just jack up the title and swap out theplot under it.


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Mikeski and 39 guests