#182 Acts of God

#182 Acts of God

Of all the defenses of BP that have been offered since the disaster in the Gulf began, it’s this one that irks me the most. And the fact that the ‘natural disaster’ line has been put forth by high ranking politicians is even more outrageous. Sorry fellas, but this is not a ‘natural disaster’ or an ‘act of God’. This is an industrial accident caused by people, and the fact is that most of the damage could have been prevented if BP had acted responsibly and had a relief well already in place.

And speaking of BP, this photo of a sign taken at a BP gas station is just priceless.


Discussion (11)¬

  1. Emil says:

    The only thing worse than insane people are insane people with power.

  2. essbee says:

    Talk about outrageous claims being made regarding the oil spill, I’m sure you’ve heard what Rush Limbaugh had to say:

    “You do survive these things. I’m not advocating don’t care about it hitting the shore or coast and whatever you can do to keep it out of there is fine and dandy, but the ocean will take care of this on its own if it was left alone and was left out there. It’s natural. It’s as natural as the ocean water is.”

    I don’t usually pay attention to what the talking heads say (except the band, I love David Byrne!) but holy hell, this is too priceless. Know what else is natural? Hemlock. Maybe Rush should try some, since ‘you do survive these things’ being natural and all.

    P-Zombie Pete is affected far less than all the marine life down in the gulf, I bet, so at least that’s good!


  3. chaospet says:

    Emil, even worse – insane morons with power.

    Essbee, leave it to Rush to say the most lunatic thing possible. Although, oil IS totally natural. I guess we can’t deny that. And that thousands of meters deep hole in the ocean floor spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, also totally natural. I mean, if we hadn’t dug the well I’m sure some fish or dolphins or something would have gotten around to it eventually.

  4. Emil says:

    Maybe an earthquake could result in oil leakages?

  5. chaospet says:

    Well, the hole BP dug is something like 15000 ft deep (4 – 5 km), which is what you need to get that volume of oil to be spewing out at the rate it is… so maybe it’s possible, I don’t really know, but it seems very unlikely that an underwater earthquake would produce something similar. And if it did, the leaking oil would probably be the least of our concerns.

  6. Emil says:

    Well, it’s not impossible is it? Therefore, it is natural. I win.

  7. hallogallo says:

    Oil does seep out of the ground fairly regularly. I learned about this recently due to this spill. Apparently it actually reaches a substantial volume in the oceans off of california. Of course, natural oil seeps by no means release anything remotely near the amount of the oil coming out of this well & even if this amount of oil spilled due to some sort of natural disaster… well, “disaster” is implied right in the name of the event.

    Also nature “taking care of things” tends to imply bad things in the short term, just like how “natural” market correction is no fun. The gulf might recover eventually but “eventually” can be a long time & the marsh and underwater ecosystems might look a lot different after nature has “recovered”.

    P.S. Write a 3-4 page paper discussing whether the implicature of “this doesn’t hurt as much as you might think” is inconsistent with Pete’s lack of phenomenal experience. Does Pete intend to imply that he is experiencing some pain or does he intend to convey that he is experiencing no pain? If you choose the former, explain the purpose of Pete’s statement and whether it is coherently interpreted as true or false. If you choose the latter, explain how Pete can choose to violate the typical implication of “this doesn’t hurt as much as you might think” [remember that P-zombies’ behaviors, including their verbal reports, are supposedly identical to normal persons].

  8. chaospet says:

    Hallo: Interesting to know that oil does sometimes seep out naturally. But as you say, appeals to nature don’t mitigate the fact that this particular leak is a disaster.

    Regarding Pete, from the beginning he has not acted the way p-zombies are supposed to. That’s part of the fun. But that doesn’t rule out his being a genuine p-zombie; as Emil once pointed out (see the comments here), Pete could be a p-zombie version of an ordinary person who mistakenly thinks that he’s a p-zombie.

  9. wm tanksley says:

    hallogallo, does Pete intend anything at all, or does he simply behave?

    chaospet: I agree with all except Rush. This could have happened as a natural disaster; it’s possible, by any number of different means. But this isn’t a natural disaster; it’s a man-made one, brought about by negligence. So we have a liable party, and that party isn’t God. Except to the extent that he’s always liable.


  10. Emil says:

    I forgot that I had once pointed that out, but yeah. :p There is nothing impossible about a p-zombie who thinks he is a p-zombie, being a p-zombie version of a human that thinks he is a p-zombie. 🙂

  11. hallogallo says:

    chaospet & Emil: Haha, oh my. I suppose there really isn’t anything stopping Pete from being a p-zombie version of a person who thinks he is a p-zombie. Actually it would make sense for him to acquire that belief [behavioral conditioning?] given everyone else treating him as a p-zombie.

    wm tanksley: Yeah, I guess that’s what I was thinking, because even if Pete’s verbal behavior implies that he is in a state of pain [due to his being the aforementioned p-zombie who acts like a person who thinks he is a p-zombie] I’m not sure what the mental states of a p-zombie are like and so I don’t know if he can properly intend anyone to be taking his words to mean anything [either in the conventional or ironic or whatever sense]. I suppose if you take an instrumentalist view of the mind, you can properly attribute intentions to Pete, but I’m not sure that’s a strong enough notion because for the relevant interchange of meaning to take place Pete has to be doing the right sort of thing on his side. [But maybe instrumentalist “intention” could cover that? I’m not an instrumentalist and I’m too lazy to think about it.] My intuitions are such that I think a being without phenomenal consciousness would also be lacking the relevant sort of mental states to have any sort of semantic understanding [Gricean or otherwise]; Pete would act like he did but he actually doesn’t. He’s probably Chinese roomin’ it up there in that murderous brain of his.

    I guess this is what makes it interesting about what Pete means by his statement. You could ask him, but he’d give a behaviorally-based response which may not *actually* be referring to any phenomenal state/purported phenomenal state. And if Pete does mean something by his statement, does that automatically give him the sort of consciousness that would contradict his status as a p-zombie? I haven’t read any of the p-zombie literature so I don’t know what Real Philosophers [TM] say about this. Someone’s probably written a paper somewhere…

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