Cordial Deconstruction

Observations from our shared single objective reality in a materialistic, naturalistic, & macro-deterministic universe.

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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

A Very Incendiary Post on Another Blog

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 25, 2010

This is a post to point out a very incendiary post on another blog.

The comments section is particularly worthwhile.  (Search for comments by Karl Withakay)

Posted in Heads Up, Internet | Leave a Comment »

OK, EHarmony Sucks…

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 5, 2010

Susan, 39 of Ellis Grove, IL, I guess we’ll never know what might have been.

A few months ago, I signed up for EHarmony, for the same reasons anybody does: I’m single and not seeing anyone (something I’d like to change), and don’t really have any outlets to meet anyone.

Before I describe my experience so far, I need to explain the EHarmony process since most people won’t be familiar with it.

On Eharmony, you use a directed communication process where you receive a match, and if you are interested in the match, you send the match a series of multiple choice questions. If the match is interested in you, they reply to your questions and send their own questions. The next step is where you exchange a list of must haves/can’t stands. After that comes an exchange of short answer questions. The last step is open communication between you and your match, essentially mail messages using EHarmony’s message system. At any time, you can close the match if you are no longer interested, or you can just stop responding if you are either rude or if you aren’t really interested but don’t want to permanently close the match in case you can’t find anything better.

My experience so far hasn’t been very productive.

On EHarmony, I have only had two matches respond to my first round of questions, and as time has gone by, I have gotten less and less selective about sending the initial round of communication. One match got all the way to open communication before she decided their wasn’t any chemistry (which there wasn’t really, yet) and closed the match. The other match has been sitting at the “Waiting for her Must Haves/ Can’t Stands” phase since November 22nd.

I have also very recently had one match initiate the communications process herself, and that got all the way to open communication, where she sent me a message that she liked all my answers to her questions and was interested in communicating further with me, but she was using the free New Year’s weekend promotion from EHarmony, which was going to expire at the end of the day. She provided me her email address and asked me to contact her via email if I was also interested. I was interested, but didn’t have time to send her a well composed email at the time, and planned to do it the next day.

The next day when I logged back into EHarmony to get her email address from the message, I found that the match was closed because the user’s account was closed, and I could not view my past communication with the user because the user’s profile is no longer available, which is where her email address is, which sucks.

Hey, EHarmony, I am still a paying customer, why can’t I review my past communications with people who are no longer on the system? What if I want to review my answers and communication to help me answer and communicate better for the next match? What kind of free service is it if you erase it at the end of the free trial? Here’s a coupon for a free car wash, but on Monday, we’re going to come and throw a bucket of the muddy wash water on your car unless you pay us for the car wash. That’s not a trial, that’s a demonstration.

Posted in Internet, Online Dating | 17 Comments »

Ask a Stupid Question…

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 29, 2009

I like to read skeptic and critical thinking blogs partly because I like to see how others have gone about the process of Deconstructing fallacious logic and bogus claims.  I came across a post today on The Gotham Skeptic, Official blog of NYC Skeptics, titled, “Thank You, Mrs. Walkman: OR How I Won a Drunken Argument with Seventh Grade Logic” about a discussion that the post author, The Quixotic Man got into while in a bar, and while reading it, it occurred to me there was a small problem with the chain of reasoning used in the discussion.

Here’s the part of the post that is the subject of my Deconstruction,

“Let’s say I ask a stupid question,” he says to me. “What do I get?”

I initially fight just falling into a commonly used expression, but eventually I relent.  “A stupid answer,” I say.

“Okay,” responds Mr. Euro-Twit. “So if I ask a smart question…”

He pauses, waiting for me to fill in the rest of the statement. “That’s not mathematically valid,” I reply. This throws him. I continue, “Well…. You’re negating an if->then statement. According to mathematical logic, you need to reverse the terms.” A quizzical look back, “When you negate ‘If you ask a stupid question, you get a stupid answer’ you get ‘If you get a smart answer, you asked a smart question,’ not vice-versa.”

Quixotic Man’s logic is basically sound, except that he and the other man were both operating from an erroneous assumed premise, that if you ask a stupid question, that you necessarily receive a stupid answer.

It is possible to reply to a stupid question with an intelligent, well thought out answer or response. The online skeptic community routinely answers stupid questions with intelligent answers every day, often ones intentionally designed to illustrate exactly how stupid the question was in the first place.

The assumption that a reply or answer to a stupid question must itself be stupid is false.  From a strictly Boolean perspective,  the possible outcomes from asking a stupid question are:

A.)  You receive a stupid answer

B.)  You do not receive a stupid answer

Both possible outcomes are equally possible and valid.  Possibility B includes a whole subset of potential outcomes including no answer, an intelligent reply, a punch in the face, etc.

I think it’s important when engaging in logical arguments to remember to examine all initial premises and assumptions to ensure they are valid.  If your initial premise is false, all the logic and reasoning in the world after that won’t really matter.

This is not a negative criticism of The Quixotic Man or his post.  I don’t have enough patience to read blogs I don’t enjoy.  The flaw in the discussion detailed caught my eye, and I needed something worthy of Cordially Deconstructing this week since Fringe is not on due to the World Series.

Posted in Critical Thinking, Internet | Leave a Comment »

Attention Women Seeking Men On Line:

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 19, 2009

If you are a woman looking for a man on an online dating service like Match or EHarmony, here’s a few words of advice on crafting your profile.  This list applies specifically to things that catch my eye or turn me away, but I think it probably applies just as well to a good portion of the guys out there on the services.

Things to Mention to Generate Interest.

-You like watching movies and TV, especially Sci-Fi, horror, and action flicks.
-You like playing video games, especially Xbox360.  (Mentioning the Wii will only get you half credit.)
-You like watching sports.
-You enjoy a good drink now and then.
-You’re OK with sometimes staying at home and watching a video instead of  going out.

Things that will cause guys to look at your profile and pictures, but might not generate as many contacts as you think they will.

-Mentioning you’re bisexual.
-Saying you’re sexually adventuresome.
-Talking about how big your boobs are.
-Mentioning that you’re not looking for a serious or long term relationship.  Hint, if he’s looking on Match or EHarmony, he probably is looking for a long term relationship, and not scared off by a woman who says she’s looking for the same .  (OKCupid is another story.)

Things that will cause a guy to loose interest instantly.

-Mentioning that your divorce is not yet final.
-Mentioning health problems.
-Mentioning that you’re broke or don’t have enough money to complete school.
-Mentioning how fervently religious you are and how important God is in your life.  (Why are you even winking at me; did you just look at my picture without reading my profile?)

Things that will have no impact whatsoever.

-Saying you are funny, sarcastic, optimistic, intelligent caring, and interested in having fun or are interested in a match that is funny, sarcastic, optimistic, intelligent, caring, and interested in having fun.
-Saying you are looking for someone who is confident and knows what they want in life.

OK, now that we’ve established you are exactly the same as everyone else on Match and EHarmony, how about saying something to differentiate yourself? (Has anyone ever said they had no sense of humor and were a pessimist, stupid, indifferent or cruel, and hated having fun when looking for a match?)

Other things to keep in mind

Don’t mention anything you don’t like unless it’s a deal breaker.  He’s probably got dozens of matches that have been delivered to him, and he’s looking for anything to use to shrink the list to a more manageable size.

Right or wrong, this is the way I translate the answers to the question, “Do you want children?” on Match.

Definitely:

Yes, as soon as possible; I’m baby desperate.

Someday:

Yes, when the time is right.

Note sure:

Maybe, (Likely leaning towards
yes, but it’s a big choice, and wants to make sure the situation is right.

Probably not:

No, but I don’t want to look
like a child hater.

No, but it’s OK if my partner
has kids:

Lots of different potential
meanings to this one that all boil down to, “Read my lips, No new
children in our lives.”

No, I don’t want kids:

Straight forward and self
explanatory

(This table came out a little weird, but I know about jack squat about HTML, and reversed-engineered a table as best as I could.)

That is all for now.

Posted in Deadpan, Humor, Internet, Online Dating, Thoughtful/Random Observation | 1 Comment »

Peter Anspach: A Modern Machiavelli?

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 21, 2009

If you are not familiar with the Evil Overlord List, I encourage you to check it out.  It’s basically a list of all the mistakes made by evil rulers in the movies and on television that lead to their downfall, presented as a what to do/ not to do list.

It struck out of the blue this past weekend that this list is essentially a modern version of Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince.   The Prince is basically a practical treatise on how a prince might gain and keep power including what pitfalls to avoid and what actions to take, and this is exactly what the Evil Overlord List is.

Link to a simpler summary of The Prince

Both works espouse rule by force rather than law, both dispassionately advocate  cold and ruthless actions to keep and maintain power, as well as offering advice on on what actions to avoid.  Both offer advice as to the types of forces used to seize and maintain power, how to fortify strongholds, what to look for in henchmen/advisers/ministers, etc.

I just wanted to share this insight on these two greats works regarding maintaining power.  That is all.

Posted in Deadpan, History, Humor, Internet, Literature, Thoughtful/Random Observation | 1 Comment »

 
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