House Rules Re: [FoRK] The drum beat continues

Stephen D. Williams < sdw at > on > Thu Nov 16 13:03:39 PST 2006

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar wrote:
> Hey Stephen,
> On Nov 16, 2006, at 11:55 AM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>>> Much as I love the show House, and admire Hugh Laurie's character, I 
>>> think you're pushing it a bit to call him "likable." :-)
>> Well, I like him! You have to look through the gruffness. I'd rather 
>> have someone plainly combative but all up front than sugary but 
>> stabbing you in the back.
> Actually, if I've been keeping track, House is both combative *and* 
> will stab you in the back. Just ask Wilson. :-)
It's precisely because it is Wilson that it isn't really stabbing in the 
back. All friendships and loving relationships revolve around a mutual 
exchange. In a young relationship, this will be (or should be if it is 
to grow) a give-accept economy. A more firm relationship, like a 
marriage, will get to the level of take - give back, sometimes going 
deep into debt. Sometimes this debt is OK and sometimes it isn't, both 
in the reasons for it and the level. House makes mistakes in judgment, 
and they often show him quietly realizing this, but often he is being 
playful or exhibiting a semi-hidden need that causes him to impose on 

Many people operate on a strictly shallow, no-debt basis friendship 
economy. This is attractive because there is less emotional bookkeeping, 
less risk of mistakes or misunderstanding, and less effort. Depending on 
how adversity is handled, the inability to deal with complex issues can 
make these people "fair weather friends".

House has issues and he is going to sometimes cause damage, but most of 
his meanness is bluster that cuts through shallow feelings to real 
facts. Most of what he says has a real purpose beyond managing polite 
niceties. Contrast this with the politeness required with tribe or 
gangmembers (or police or a judge) where you might get shot (or 
arrested) for "disrespectin" completely orthogonal to content or meaning.
> I do agree that he's a lovable character, but I think the show does an 
> excellent job of questioning his dark side (as when Wilson mocked his 
> atheism as self-serving) as well as highlighting his overriding 
> virtues. When watching the show, I find myself both rooting for _and_ 
> against him, which is what makes it such great television.
Against him because of his rudeness? I think I always subtract 
"directness" and "diagnostic manipulation" which leaves less that can be 
classified as rudeness.

Anyway, those are just some possible explanations of House's behavior. 
We'll find out more definitively in the future I suppose.
>>> <blockquote type=cite>Time this week has a cover of: "God Vs. 
>>> Science" which is a dueling interview of Richard Dawkins and Francis 
>>> Collins.
>>> </blockquote>
>>> I really enjoyed that, and thought Dr. Collins (if occasionally a 
>>> bit stuffier than I would like) did an excellent job of representing 
>>> "my" side of the issue.&nbsp; Do you feel Dawkins captured your 
>>> perspective appropriately?
>> I didn't disagree with Dawkins at all and I did with Collins, if that 
>> is what you mean. I have additional arguments to those presented.
> Actually, I meant something different. The vibe I got from Dawkins is 
> that he really despised religious people, like with his "clowns" 
> comment. At the very least, this seems deeply ironic for someone who's 
> condemning *religious* folk for being intolerant and irrational.
Hate the irrational thought, not the irrational thinker. ;-)
I feel sad for extremely religious people. I am also sometimes 
frustrated, scared, cautious, wary, etc. about fundamentalists of all 
religious types.
In the heat of argument, you feel aggressive toward your opponents, as 
Dawkins does, but after the argument dissipates to success or draw, that 
fades. (I generally switch sides before hitting failure.)

A little religion is probably like a little pot: It's OK if it doesn't 
take over your life. I've chosen never to partake in either, but many 
people do in moderation for many decades without much affect.

The ones that I might come closest to despising are those that secretly 
are Atheists but find themselves promulgating religion for their own or 
their group's own gain. Being a hypocrite is just a sign of weakness. 
Being a hypocrite that forces a known error on others is one of the 
ultimate sins.
>>> If, on the other hand, you're just trying to convince people that 
>>> the leadership of the religious right is hypocritical, homophobic, 
>>> self-righteous, self-serving and untrustworthy -- well, then I 
>>> completely agree with you, and I suspect Jesus would too:
>> Amen!
>>> Even though I'm one of them.
>> Good luck with that. ;-)
> Thanks. :-)
> See, from where I sit the immorality and narcissism of religious 
> leaders is indistinguishable from that of Dawkins and his ilk. I'm 
> sure it is very comforting for him -- or them -- to think that all the 
> evil in the world is because of "those other people".
I can't see that Dawkins benefits like religious leaders benefit. I 
can't really see them as equal but opposite.
> The terms Narcissism, Narcissistic and Narcissist are often used as 
> pejoratives <>, denoting 
> vanity, conceit, egotism or simple selfishness. Applied to a social 
> group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to 
> the plight of others.
I fail to see how Dawkins is displaying immorality or narcissism. He's 
speaking out precisely to help people by freeing them from one belief 
through understanding of his belief and the scientific method itself.

> I know better.
> Love,
> Ernie "the self-righteous, self-serving, narcissistic hypocrite" 
> Prabhakar


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