Monday, December 31, 2012

AtheismPlus to save us from Apple

Ridiculous thread:

http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=3345

Titled: Richard Dawkins/PZ Myers/Jerry Coyne's blind spot: Apple
Hi everyone, first post here (and I admit, with a willingly provocative title). So, first let me say that I like the three guys mentioned above and agree with them on most issues, except one.
We may disagree on something! It's a crisis in Atheism+!

 He/she/genderless pronoun continues:
They happen to have a terrible blind spot when Apple is concerned. As some of you may not see this as a particularly worrying issue, let me remind you that Atheism+ is meant to strive for a better life for everyone, and that the use of free software is of prime importance to this goal. If you do not know what free software is, please research it. In fact, it is the only ethical choice if you value freedom.
In addition, that Apple is rotten for all sorts of reasons is well known, e.g. : http://stallman.org/apple.html.
Now, Richard/PZ/Jerry not only regularly and clearly display their preferences for locked-down Apple hardware and software, but they often "advertise" them in their blogs or even in the Guardian for Richard without thinking of the consequences. I have no objection to them using OSX, even though this is disappointing, but I would suggest they reflect on what this actually *means* to use this environment, and what kind of examples they set.
Plus, as scientists, they could easily switch from OSX to GNU/Linux with no loss (and even a gain) of functionalities.
Again, this could (and will, to some) appear as a minor issue. Yet, the kind of future society we're building partially rest on who is controlling the hardware/software being built today. I hope the Atheism+ movement will embrace free software as one of its goals. Let's see what you guys think. - Atheist++
 Responses:
choice of OS can't be boiled down to pure ethical concerns because the fact of the matter is that some people will find that some OSes work better for them than others, regardless of ethics.
Translation: ethics, well yes, but let's think about convenience!
and then of course there's the part where the computer itself was built by exploited labour. [...] high-tech applications have fucked up histories. honestly, for now, you've kinda gotta get used to it and let people use what works for them =/ - Setar
Translation: gender relations have a thousand year history, we're going to fix that, but computers?

Man, I like Linux too, but Linux zealots are really annoying. - Amadan   
As for the ethics of choosing an OS, I do agree that basing the choice wholly on ethical ends is a curious endeavour and one that I expect would not be at all trivial. That said, I'd be surprised if the ethical outcome on much closer inspection was "oh, actually, Apple is best!". - Xisor

Then, replying to the comment about labor:

Agreed, but it is a separate issue. Let's solve the problems one by one. - Atheist++
Continuing...

Your argument = you don't care, and you've already bought into the Apple environment.  :)
It's your choice, but Atheism+ is about social justice and humanism. - Atheist++

This is a gem, isn't it?

Let's solve problems one by one, and yet make sure we agree on the solutions to all of them.

Setar brings up - but this might create work for PZ! The horror!

was going to read your entire post but I just stopped here. you can't seriously be telling me that changing OSes is going to be just a "minor inconvenience" for a tenured professor.
 
I'm just going to give you a minute to think over the kind of things a professor might have on their hard drive, and how much of a hassle it might be for a professor who doesn't normally deal with changing OSes to change OSes. As a first step, try remembering the Zeroth Law of Tech Support: your client thinks that you're a wizard fiddling with a black box.

I'm thinking more along the lines of transferring over course notes, research notes, etc. research, in fact, is probably an area where someone like PZ would encounter problems with proprietary formats. -Setar
 When discussing issues, let's first think what they would do to Prof Myers!

Back to how many issues?

No, let's not. People have different resources, interests, and priorities, so we're quite capable of discussing more than one issue at a time. The problem of natural resources is a separate problem, so it might well merit its own thread, but to say "let's not talk about that issue because we're working on another one right now" is simply absurd.

Focus is one thing we can't afford to have in Atheism+!

A summary of the rest of the thread:
  • "I find Ubuntu hard to use"
  • "Perhaps we can give Ubuntu to poor people, and they can figure it out?"
  • "I make a living doing work on Windows"
Atheism+ on feminism: "I don't care who might make money out of our sexist economy, it needs to stop."

Atheism+ on Linux and other GPL software: "We're a forum full of nerds that will do what they want because we either are making money from the status quo or we're too stupid to figure it out."

Cheers, Atheism+, for being a shitty mashup of the FSF + EFF + NOW + JREF + FFRF + HRC.

Are the organizations you already contribute to a little too effective for your liking? Join Atheism+ Today!

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