Karl Marx
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03-09-2010, 09:14 AM
RE: Karl Marx
Hey, 2buckchuck.

Quote:Most moderate christians don't endorse the murder of abortion doctors but they also don't publicly repudiate it, either.

That's utterly unsupportable.

That being said, I think that the idea of interpretation is being overlooked. All religions interpret their holy books. If they didn't then there wouldn't be sects. There would only be a single interpretation. Even the fundamentalists that say they are taking these books literally are interpreting thees books. So the idea that there is one interpretation and the fundamentalists have it is just bad theology.

I read your article. I have a few issues.

The idea that they're "taking a position that's not fully in accordance with the supposed wishes of their chosen deity," again, assumes that the fundamentalist interpretation is the correct interpretation.

Also, since this is a thread about economics, I think that there is a war not between Islam and Judeo-Christianity, but a war between Islam and Neo-Conservatism. The 911 bombers hit a financial building, not a church. There is no Christian church occupying Arab countries, just American soldiers. Many Evangelical Christians are also feverishly patriotic Americans and are at war with Islam by default.

Quote:Your montheistic religious faith contains barbaric elements which, if put into practice, will require that you either participate or stand aside and watch as others carry out repulsive actions, or perhaps suffer punishment (even including your death) for your opposition. Is that what you want from your faith?

I don't understand this line of thought. If fundamentalist ANYTHING takes over, they put a lot of energy into crushing hosts of non-aligned memes. Stalin did it, Mao did it, Pol Pot did it, MacCarthy tried to do it. But you're making some link between... it's like you're saying the fanatics are the real face of the religion while the vast majority who are not at the extreme will become extremists as a matter of course if the extremists take over or just let the extremists run amok. Is it not possible that they, like the rest of us, might, oh I don't know, fight oppression?

And as for those who toe the line, again, anytime totalitarian anything takes over, many people play the game out of fear because by definition, totalitarian rulers use their power with impunity.

Quote:But where are the moderate muslims, giving loud voice to their repudiation of the murderous acts of islamic extremists? Their voices are mostly absent.

Any Muslim I speak to denounces the hijacking of their religion. Any Muslim pundit I see on television denounces the hijacking of their religion. I just... I don't see where this idea is coming from.

Granted, many Muslims resent the idea that they have to defend their religion because of the actions of a few extremists. And they should resent that. But saying "I'm not going to apologise for who I am" is different than refusing to denounce terrorist acts. If an Atheist blew up a church and someone said you had to defend Atheism because of it, would you not tell them to stuff it?

Quote:The extremists of all monotheistic religions constitute the greatest threat to freedom around the world today!

Extremist anything constitutes the greatest threat to freedom. Extremist Neo-Conservatism offers the same threat to freedom and frankly has a better shot at taking over the planet.

The division of church and state wasn't born from the idea that religion was bad, but from the idea that a government should be representative of its constituency and that allowing a single special interest group to control the government was necessarily anathema to that idea.

OK, that was just a bunch of reactions. Man, I hate defending religion, because I am no fan. But I just can't see this as anything more than an unsupported attack.

You know what, I'm not going to defend this post. It is what it is. I had some sort of visceral reaction to this. It upset me. Not angry upset, upset upset. So it is what it is.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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03-09-2010, 11:00 AM
RE: Karl Marx
It pains me to say this (you have no idea how much) but I have to confess that Ghost makes several valid points here.

I know you said that you were not going to defend the post, but I'm hoping you're willing to respond to some questions.

First, your point on Muslims being asked to defend their religion is, in my view, very valid. I don't think your comparison to defending atheism really makes sense, since it's not a belief system, but I understand the point you are making here and I think it's a fair one.

My question, then, is this: how do you react to Muslims (or, in the case of the killing of abortion doctors - Christians) who will make apologies or the "yes, but..." type of response? It may not be the role of the ordinary Muslim or the ordinary Christian to defend their faith in the face of terrorist acts (and I have no problem saying there are Christian terrorists) but many of them do. And, many will renounce these acts with one statement but then excuse them and explain them in the next. How is that not tacit approval for these actions?

I'll ignore the fanatics who turn these terrorists into rock stars, but focus for a minute on the people who are horrified by these events but still find a means of justifying not the act but the intent in the name of religion. There is no shortage of that the world over, and it's not limited to any one faith. We are all part of a society and at some point if we are not part of the solution then we are part of the problem. If we shrug our shoulders at the atrocities of pedophile priests, calls for death or violence against "others" (there is no shortage of people who fit this mold) or even the predatory lending practices that lead to the housing crash aren't we all somewhat culpable by not standing up to it?

That's the point you and I have gone head-to-head over several times now. That is the point of the Edmond Burke quote I posted that you dismissed. You may not believe in evil people, and I understand your point, but surely you would agree that certain actions, in and of themselves, are "evil". Murder, for example, is evil. The murderer himself is obviously more than that one act but the act itself can be described as evil. The slave trade is something else that fits this description in my view. This is the type of evil that Burke referred to. By not standing up to the slave trade when they knew it was wrong many people in the early US and Europe were, in my view, somewhat culpable.

Anyway, that's the point we've been dancing around. It i not limited to religion, obviously, but my view, as I've said several times, is that religion seems to get a lot more deference on these types of things, which makes it all the more dangerous.

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03-09-2010, 11:22 AM
 
RE: Karl Marx
(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:Most moderate christians don't endorse the murder of abortion doctors but they also don't publicly repudiate it, either.

That's utterly unsupportable.

In what sense are you making this assertion of utter unsupportability? Do you think I said that ALL christians don't repudiate murder of abortion doctors? Read it again ...

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  That being said, I think that the idea of interpretation is being overlooked. All religions interpret their holy books. If they didn't then there wouldn't be sects. There would only be a single interpretation. Even the fundamentalists that say they are taking these books literally are interpreting thees books. So the idea that there is one interpretation and the fundamentalists have it is just bad theology.

The division of all religion into sects on the basis of "interpretation" of their sacred texts is precisely why I find it so easy to reject them ALL. Trying to figure out which interpretation is correct is ludicrous. The most logical choice, advocated in "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, is to consider them ALL incorrect. The only thing the fundies have going for them is that they're NOT trying to interpret their holy scriptures. They simply take them literally. I'm certainly not trying to say that the fundies have the correct interpretation!

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I read your article. I have a few issues.

The idea that they're "taking a position that's not fully in accordance with the supposed wishes of their chosen deity," again, assumes that the fundamentalist interpretation is the correct interpretation.

No, that's your misinterpretation of what I said.

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Also, since this is a thread about economics, I think that there is a war not between Islam and Judeo-Christianity, but a war between Islam and Neo-Conservatism. The 911 bombers hit a financial building, not a church. There is no Christian church occupying Arab countries, just American soldiers. Many Evangelical Christians are also feverishly patriotic Americans and are at war with Islam by default.

Fine. The islamists are not monolithic, any more than the christians are. There are many facets here, but the fact that religion is becoming convolved with all the other factors is extremely destabilizing, given that religious fanatics will stop at nothing, including suicide. The extremists are pushing for theocracies (and have succeeded in some muslim states), which can be pretty damned dangerous.

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:Your montheistic religious faith contains barbaric elements which, if put into practice, will require that you either participate or stand aside and watch as others carry out repulsive actions, or perhaps suffer punishment (even including your death) for your opposition. Is that what you want from your faith?

I don't understand this line of thought. If fundamentalist ANYTHING takes over, they put a lot of energy into crushing hosts of non-aligned memes. Stalin did it, Mao did it, Pol Pot did it, MacCarthy tried to do it. But you're making some link between... it's like you're saying the fanatics are the real face of the religion while the vast majority who are not at the extreme will become extremists as a matter of course if the extremists take over or just let the extremists run amok. Is it not possible that they, like the rest of us, might, oh I don't know, fight oppression?

You seem prone to misinterpretation of the words of others ... I'm simply saying that IF you accept the divine nature of the scriptures that are the foundation of religions, the fundies are the closest in spirit to the doctrines expressed within those documents, because they are doing little or no 'interpretation'. Those holy documents brook no opposition, or even passive resistance - if you're not with us, you're against us. History has shown repeatedly that in civil war, extremists tend to squeeze out the moderates, forcing them to choose one side or the other. Extremists might fight oppression by some other belief system, but they're going to oppress any viewpoints other than their own as vigorously as possible, up to and including murder of non-converts. BTW ... I've asserted elsewhere that virtually all autocratic "personality cults" (including Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot - I exclude McCarthy because he never became an all-powerful autocrat, except perhaps in his own deranged mind) develop religion-like systems, replacing the deity with themselves, co-opting the mechanisms of religion but making themselves the object of worship.


(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  And as for those who toe the line, again, anytime totalitarian anything takes over, many people play the game out of fear because by definition, totalitarian rulers use their power with impunity.

No, they use their power with the tacit approval of most of the population, either owing to fear or indifference to the fate of others - there were "moderate communists" during the Mao/Stalin eras, "moderate Nazis", and there are "moderate muslims". In any group, moderates are always the majority, more or less by definition.

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:But where are the moderate muslims, giving loud voice to their repudiation of the murderous acts of islamic extremists? Their voices are mostly absent.

Any Muslim I speak to denounces the hijacking of their religion. Any Muslim pundit I see on television denounces the hijacking of their religion. I just... I don't see where this idea is coming from.

You must be watching different channels from mine, although I admit I don't watch the news all that much. If the majority of muslim moderates are indeed vigorously repudiating the extremists, then the extremists must be on pretty shaky ground right now. Perhaps muslims in the US are more vocal than those in, say, the Arab world ... but this is only a small part of the world's muslim population. I don't see muslims in the USA (or anywhere else) taking to the streets to protest muslim extremists.

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Granted, many Muslims resent the idea that they have to defend their religion because of the actions of a few extremists. And they should resent that. But saying "I'm not going to apologise for who I am" is different than refusing to denounce terrorist acts. If an Atheist blew up a church and someone said you had to defend Atheism because of it, would you not tell them to stuff it?

Your argument here escapes me. I said nothing about having muslims apologize for being muslims. So your counterfactual hypothetical is irrelevant. It's been said, and I agree, that moderate muslims are being victimized by reactions to the actions the terrorists, so it seems to me that it's in their best interests to be very, very adamant about repudiating those terrorist acts. I don't see any muslims marching in the streets, burning the flags of hamas and hezbollah to protest the use of terrorism. They're more than happy to do so when someone criticizes Islam, though.

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:The extremists of all monotheistic religions constitute the greatest threat to freedom around the world today!

Extremist anything constitutes the greatest threat to freedom. Extremist Neo-Conservatism offers the same threat to freedom and frankly has a better shot at taking over the planet.

The division of church and state wasn't born from the idea that religion was bad, but from the idea that a government should be representative of its constituency and that allowing a single special interest group to control the government was necessarily anathema to that idea.

As noted above, the coupling of religion with politics is particularly dangerous. If you don't see it that way, that's your right, of course.

(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  OK, that was just a bunch of reactions. Man, I hate defending religion, because I am no fan. But I just can't see this as anything more than an unsupported attack.

You know what, I'm not going to defend this post. It is what it is. I had some sort of visceral reaction to this. It upset me. Not angry upset, upset upset. So it is what it is.

Why would you choose not to defend this? It suggests that you yourself are acknowledging that your visceral reactions to my postings are not worth defending.

C'mon, Ghost ... bring it on!! Disagreement is how we learn!!
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03-09-2010, 01:40 PM
 
RE: Karl Marx
(03-09-2010 09:14 AM)Ghost Wrote:  There is no Christian church occupying Arab countries, just American soldiers. Many Evangelical Christians are also feverishly patriotic Americans and are at war with Islam by default.


So Afghanistan is now an Arab country? I'm sure that's news to them.

I miss the days when Evangelicals just writhed on the floor drooling dribble in other tongues and charming snakes.
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03-09-2010, 04:04 PM
RE: Karl Marx
Hey, Bnw.

Thank you. That was very big of you. Straight up. It means a lot to me.

Quote:My question, then, is this: how do you react to Muslims (or, in the case of the killing of abortion doctors - Christians) who will make apologies or the "yes, but..." type of response? It may not be the role of the ordinary Muslim or the ordinary Christian to defend their faith in the face of terrorist acts (and I have no problem saying there are Christian terrorists) but many of them do. And, many will renounce these acts with one statement but then excuse them and explain them in the next. How is that not tacit approval for these actions?

It is tacit approval. The question is, is it unique to religion?

500 000 Iraqi children died as the direct result of American sanctions on Iraq. How many Americans are going to say, "That's right. We acted horribly and essentially committed genocide on children." And how many of them are going to justify it with, "yeah but terrorism, and Saddam Hussein, and dirty bombs, and WMDs, and they used mustard gas, and we have the right to protect our borders, and well then they shouldn't have picked a fight with us"?

If the members of any group, any, believe that the ends justify the means then they will offer support and/or justify tactics. They might also say, "I don't like their tactics but their hearts were in the right place." If certain Christians believe that abortion is murder, they might grudgingly be all right with someone offing a murderer. I'm against murder. One time I heard a case from the Maritimes where a father found out that some guy had raped his child. The dad calmly went into his shed, grabbed his bat, went over to the guys house and beat him to death. He got 6 months (might have even been probation). I'm kinda OK with that. Should I be publicly denouncing him? Maybe. Am I gonna? Nope.

There are millions of Muslims in the world watching their children die through occupation and economic sanctions and foreign ownership of resources and even due to cultural genocide. How can we expect them to just be big about it? Don't you think that just a handful of them might look at the Twin Towers burn and think, they got what they deserved?

For me the only issue is, is this behaviour a special property of religions or is this a typical reaction of ANY organisation that is under fire?

Quote:If we shrug our shoulders at the atrocities of pedophile priests, calls for death or violence against "others" (there is no shortage of people who fit this mold) or even the predatory lending practices that lead to the housing crash aren't we all somewhat culpable by not standing up to it?

You and I have no stake in the Catholic church. My only link to it is that I have one, very nice, friend who is a devout Catholic. So you and I will look at that and say, "this is bullshit!" Do I think that you and I have the right to tell Catholics how to do their thing? No I do not, but that's another argument. We are, at the very least, in a position to because neither of us fear reprisals from the Church. But people who are a part of the Catholic church have a different political reality than you and me. There are serious ramifications, religious, familial, financial and maybe even imprisonment or death (in darker times), if they act in defiance of the will of the organisation. Some people might think ill of these rapes but feel that the Church has the authority to deal with it as it has, or be too afraid of speaking out. This is beyond doubt a question of power. In any hierarchical organisation the leadership has it. So to go against their decrees is to go against their power in whatever form they might enforce it. Again, this has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with power. Can we call these silent people cowards or immoral? Sure we can.

Quote:That's the point you and I have gone head-to-head over several times now. That is the point of the Edmond Burke quote I posted that you dismissed. You may not believe in evil people, and I understand your point, but surely you would agree that certain actions, in and of themselves, are "evil". Murder, for example, is evil. The murderer himself is obviously more than that one act but the act itself can be described as evil. The slave trade is something else that fits this description in my view. This is the type of evil that Burke referred to. By not standing up to the slave trade when they knew it was wrong many people in the early US and Europe were, in my view, somewhat culpable.

I didn't dismiss Burke out of hand. I just sincerely disbelieve in the idea of evil. So his thoughts are incompatible with mine.

Do I think that Robert Latimer was evil for gassing his severely retarded, constantly-in-pain daughter? No. I don't. The idea that there is never any reason for murder is too simplistic to me to be of any use. Is it something that has an impact on any given society? Of course. That's why there is a near universal moratorium on murder in all societies. But every single society has its exceptions.

And as for things like the slave trade, the US doesn't have a leg to stand on in denouncing something like that as evil because the entire country was literally built by slaves. Every single American benefits from their labour every day. So in the case of the US, the evil of slavery is not something past, but something present. Is the US filled with evil people? Growing up in Canada, I was raised to believe so. But now that I know actual Americans, I understand that they're just people.

We live in civilisation. Civilisation is hierarchical and it crushes people. That is an inescapable fact of hierarchy. There is not a single hierarchy in existence, nor will there ever be one, in which there is not exclusivity and oppression. So for one to say another is doing evil when they themselves are doing the exact same thing in a different form (Sharia law is terrible, but incarcerating millions of blacks for petty crimes, some of which were reclassified to hold stronger sentences due to the efforts of lobbyists that work for for-profit prisons is how it should be) seems disingenuous to me. Every hierarchical society is in a state of constant evolution and one of the things that is in a constant state of evolution is how many or how few rights segments of the population have and how impudently or how prudently the leadership wield their power. That is an evolution that all hierarchical societies go through every minute of every day. There is literally no intervention that will end this process in a hierarchy unless that intervention is the removal of hierarchy itself. And generally speaking, every example we have on record of intervention in cultural affairs ends horribly. We shouldn't play God with organisms nor should we do it with cultures, not because it's immoral but because we're terrible at it.

(The solution, for me, is to abandon hierarchy, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.)

Hey, 2buckchuck.

Quote:C'mon, Ghost ... bring it on!!

What are you, six? Am I to meet you in the school yard at 3? Who's Casey Siemaszko? You or me? (3 O'Clock High reference? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? 80s movies?)

Quote:In what sense are you making this assertion of utter unsupportability? Do you think I said that ALL christians don't repudiate murder of abortion doctors? Read it again ...

I didn't suggest you said all. You said most. That's what I had issue with.

What do you base this assertion on? Was there a study showing that 51% of Christians would not or did not publicly denounce abortionist murderers? Was that study done on a local, national or international level? But most normal people don't hold press conferences so we can't really consider them as the people who publicly denounce it, so maybe you mean on an organisational level. There is no global Christian organisation that lumps together all 2.1 billion of them, so perhaps you mean some US national Evangelical organisation? Or the United Church of Canada? Or the Church of England? Or the Vatican? Or the Zimbabwe Council of Churches? Did they simply not hold press conferences? I happen to know some of the people who run and set policy for the United Church of Canada and not one of them, not one, would ever refuse to denounce the murder of abortionists. So tell me, on what do you substantiate this claim of "most".

Your claim is about as credible as "most blacks are criminals" and as meaningful as "most blacks don't publicly denounce other blacks for being criminals".

I agree with you. If there is objective truth then by definition, only one, if that, religious sect can have it right. I just don't believe there is objective truth.

As for the fundies, you're saying that because they take it literally, they are the only ones who are fully realising the instructions of their chosen deity. But like I said, that's bad theology. They are interpreting the text too.

Quote:Fine. The islamists are not monolithic, any more than the christians are. There are many facets here, but the fact that religion is becoming convolved with all the other factors is extremely destabilizing, given that religious fanatics will stop at nothing, including suicide. The extremists are pushing for theocracies (and have succeeded in some muslim states), which can be pretty damned dangerous.

What does extremely destabalising mean?

Do you think that Muslims are the first and last practitioners of guerrilla or asymmetric warfare that have used suicide in the attempt to achieve an objective?

Quote:Those holy documents brook no opposition, or even passive resistance - if you're not with us, you're against us.

This simply isn't true. Are you going to sit there and tell me with a straight face that the messages of Jesus and Buddha were to go forth and wipe out anyone who is a disbeliever?

I know people who work for church organisations. I know people who set national policy. Everyone of them would look at that statement and laugh.

Quote:History has shown repeatedly that in civil war, extremists tend to squeeze out the moderates, forcing them to choose one side or the other. Extremists might fight oppression by some other belief system, but they're going to oppress any viewpoints other than their own as vigorously as possible, up to and including murder of non-converts.

Now you're misunderstanding. I explained above why moderates face difficulty when extremists take over. But it's due to power dynamics and not religion. Ask anyone who lived in occupied France or was a German in WWII. I didn't say extremists would fight oppression I said that they'd be oppressive. The moderates will either fall in line or fight oppression.

Quote:BTW ... I've asserted elsewhere that virtually all autocratic "personality cults" (including Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot - I exclude McCarthy because he never became an all-powerful autocrat, except perhaps in his own deranged mind) develop religion-like systems, replacing the deity with themselves, co-opting the mechanisms of religion but making themselves the object of worship.

This is just... religion-like systems? They aren't co-opting the mechanisms of religion, religion's power mechanisms are shared by EVERY hierarchical system.

I just cannot get past this notion that religion is somehow special. That it magically possesses qualities that no other organisation could possibly have.

I'm bereft.

Quote:No, they use their power with the tacit approval of most of the population, either owing to fear or indifference to the fate of others - there were "moderate communists" during the Mao/Stalin eras, "moderate Nazis", and there are "moderate muslims". In any group, moderates are always the majority, more or less by definition.

I have no idea what you are disagreeing with. It's not out of fear it's out of fear? It's not any moderate it's any moderate?

Quote:I don't see any muslims marching in the streets, burning the flags of hamas and hezbollah to protest the use of terrorism.

Funny. I don't remember anyone demanding that Irish the world over burn IRA flags for 80 years.

Quote:Why would you choose not to defend this? It suggests that you yourself are acknowledging that your visceral reactions to my postings are not worth defending.

I was lamenting the fact that your post was so outrageous that it made me upset. I didn't formulate a coherent position I just responded to what you were saying. I tried to formulate one at the end and then just decided to leave what I wrote as I wrote it. I didn't want to defend the tone and structure of the post, not the content. I stand by the content.

Hey, dtwpuck.

Quote:So Afghanistan is now an Arab country? I'm sure that's news to them.

You're absolutely right. I used the term Arab as a global term when I should have used Islamic. That being said, there is no church occupying an Islamic country. Just NATO and her allies. Even Canada is occupying Afghanistan. I have a friend there right now.

Quote:I miss the days when Evangelicals just writhed on the floor drooling dribble in other tongues and charming snakes.

That shit is kinda wacky.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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03-09-2010, 06:15 PM
 
RE: Karl Marx
(03-09-2010 04:04 PM)Ghost Wrote:  
Quote:C'mon, Ghost ... bring it on!!

What are you, six? Am I to meet you in the school yard at 3? Who's Casey Siemaszko? You or me? (3 O'Clock High reference? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? 80s movies?)

This response suggests to me that for all your posturing about empathy and peace, you've taken this far too seriously. You failed to quote the following sentence, which apparently you missed in your 'reaction'. In fact, I now withdraw my challenge for us to learn by disagreement. I now believe that I'm wasting my time and considerable bandwidth with this point-by-point. We're just talking past each other. And I don't have time to waste trying to convince an unconvinceable.
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03-09-2010, 06:33 PM
 
RE: Karl Marx
Wasn't this originally a thread on Marxism?
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03-09-2010, 08:36 PM
 
RE: Karl Marx
In another group I was active in, we called this "thread derailment" and there, thread derailment became a sort of art form ... it was actually amusing. It's a fact of such groups that threads often wander off-topic. Where a thread starts may be poorly correlated with where it ends.
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03-09-2010, 08:43 PM
RE: Karl Marx
I prefer "thread evolution". And isn't it really how any real world conversation goes? Love it!

So many cats, so few good recipes.
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03-09-2010, 08:53 PM
 
RE: Karl Marx
(03-09-2010 08:36 PM)2buckchuck Wrote:  In another group I was active in, we called this "thread derailment" and there, thread derailment became a sort of art form ... it was actually amusing. It's a fact of such groups that threads often wander off-topic. Where a thread starts may be poorly correlated with where it ends.

(03-09-2010 08:43 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  I prefer "thread evolution". And isn't it really how any real world conversation goes? Love it!

@ Chuck and Stark:

That was more of my gentle reminder to try and get back on track before people started getting angry.
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