JJRJR wrote:An additional point -- I'm of the school of thought that believes the human mind is ultimately capable of being fully understood, but until that day, the so-called soft sciences are faced with the far more difficult job, in my opinion, of studying something that is, to this point, beyond our grasp, the mind, while the 'hard' sciences are allowed to deal, more or less, in absolutes.
Quantum Physics would like to have a chat with you. But joking aside, I will grant that students and practitioners of the social sciences have a harder time of it because it's more difficult to show to the general, non-scientific public that you're doing solid, productive, rigorous science.
Domovoi wrote:The thing is, insulting people can be really funny, even to the ones being insulted, if you pull off the insults in an amusing way. For examples of this, see SMBC, South Park, Bill Hicks and many others. For an example of how it doesn't work when you leave out the funny, see the alt text of the latest comic. It also works better when people cannot instantly turn your joke around and use it against you.
I figured that this would not have to be spelled out to people of higher than average intellect, but I now know that the acumen of XKCD's readership has no bearing on their discernment of the more basic aspects of comedy.
Now that gets us into an interesting debate. I would contend that the comedies you've mentioned are considered widely amusing because there's no uncertainty that what they say is meant as a joke. An outrageous parody is clearly not meant to be taken seriously, and thus no one gets uppity that their favorite field of study or practice has been insulted. The problem in this instance is, quite notably, that people refuse to accept something said in the title text of a webcomic
as a joke, instead insisting that their honor is at stake and must therefore make an attack directed at the writers emotions to be certain it remains intact.
Moreover, I would expect that a joke of this sort, similar to a jab among friends, actually works better when it is completely reversible- That way it's clearer the words are meant to be humorous, rather than injurious.
Finally, I see you find my speech ways amusing. That's all well and good, it's comforting to mock someone you feel has offended you (this very thread provides ample proof). Take note however, that "acumen" and "discernment" are synonyms, and as such It is ponderous why one should affect the other. If you're going to insult my insanity, I prefer you do it well.
On a more general note, I find the irony at play amusing. Mr. Munroe managed to (perhaps by accident) troll the forum with a paragraph of text beginning with "Cue angry letters from..." proving you CAN troll people by simply saying "I am a troll, I think you suck".
P.S. I just remembered about an approach of cataloguing sciences into two categories:
1) Real sciences- meaning sciences based on measurement and computation. I'm probably not giving a proper definition, but these are generally that sciences that require labs. It's easier actually to just think of these as sciences not including in the other category.
2) Human sciences- Philosophy, Psychology, and all other social sciences. Generally sciences that study the human "spirit".
In fact, my high school's name was (translated) "The Gymnasium of Real Sciences". This distinction doesn't append any lesser value to the non-real sciences.