Err, no, really, just no

Now, there’s plenty of reasons why that might be the case, and a lot of them probably have something to do with “patriarchy” and “gross Hollywood”, but that doesn’t mean that our current obsession with leagues isn’t utter bullshit. There is no Premier League of people, despite what model agencies, magazines, dating apps and the rest would tell you. Human desire is an illusive, idiosyncratic thing. What I find attractive, you might find repulsive.

Absolutely anyone who has spent more than half an hour trying to get a legover knows this is nonsense.

It’s entirely true that love is a many splendoured thing and that Mel Brooks ended up with a complete hottie called Anne Bancroft. But it’s also true, as one piece of fascinating research showed, that fat birds have more anal herpes.

It’s always a trade and those with greater endowments get more from such trade than those with lower.

62 thoughts on “Err, no, really, just no”

  1. Bancroft may not have been that much of a catch. She was the bitch who went on the “Wogan” talk show and gave one word answers ( bet she didn’t send the cheque back either).

    According to one account Wogan tried to talk about her hubby and she was far from complimentary about him also.

    Beauty is often skin deep.

  2. Tinder know exactly this. I’d love to know my left/right ratio, and also see the scale of lady eights who swipe right on me.

    For what it’s worth, I think I’m about a seven, and can predict a match with almost uncanny accuracy (although I don’t get that many).

  3. I assume that the editors at the Guardian allow blatant shite like this to be published at least partly in order to keep the munters and the lezzas with faces like half sucked mangos onside and generating income?

  4. Jacobs, with her TV star good looks, is much more physically attractive than any of the men she’s involved with. She’s “out of their league”. This remains unacknowledged throughout the series.

    This was also true on Seinfeld, where Jerry dated a string of startlingly attractive girls despite himself looking like Alanis Morissette in drag.

    Though he was funny, so there’s that.

    What I find attractive, you might find repulsive.

    The Guardianista knows his own tastes best, but generally speaking this is nonsense. There is a widely-agreed standard for physical attractiveness, which is why actors like Gerald Butler and Natalie Portman keep getting cast as love interests, while those who look like a bin lorry do not.

    That attraction is conditioned by society to varying degrees – and of course there is something very sinister here relating to power dynamics, with certain racial characteristics being championed over others.

    Translation: the evil cishet conservative white men who run Hollywood hypnotised you into thinking Gabourey Sidibe looks like one of the Gelf people from Red Dwarf.

    Seems legit.

    But however loud the voice of mass consumer society is in our ears, there is still another voice – our own voice, whispering persuasively beneath the din – that says: this is the person you want, go ahead and tell them, whatever society might think.

    But society is probably right. It would have saved Paul McCartney a lot of grief if he’d listened.

    But conventional wisdom doesn’t stand a chance in matters of the heart.

    Which is why svelte young underwear models are often seen sashaying down a red carpet with their mincing Guardian columnist boyfriends. Oh, wait…

    But as love and sex become more and more commodified

    Does the Guardian even know what a commodity is? They seem to think it’s a general purpose swear word for capitalism.

    Mainstream dating apps encourage their users to pick potential partners like they’d pick brands of cereal off a supermarket shelf.

    As opposed to what? Gaining a deep connection with a stranger’s soul from a couple of grainy headshots and a few paragraphs about how they like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain?

    Black and mixed-race users of dating apps have talked about the latent racism the apps bring out: in a space that strongly conforms to the conventional concept of the league, difference isn’t accepted.

    It’s now officially racist to want to go out with someone from your own tribe. Evolution is one of those patriarchal conspiracies, y’see.

    This market philosophy has perhaps reached its most extreme level in the rise and rise of the sugar daddy-sugar baby relationship. Websites like SeekingArrangement connect ever growing numbers of rich older men with ever growing numbers of poorer younger women. The equation is simple: the men will pay for things like tuition fees and rent, the women will earn these things with their bodies. This used to be called, more honestly, prostitution.

    Acktchually, it used to be called “marriage”. But then telling young lasses to keep their legs shut till they landed a husband went out of style, so what are you gonna do? Women still want to trade their natural assets for the resources a successful man can provide.

    Desire is about individuals. It is not about leagues of people. Before a relationship can start, this sort of thinking might stop us from going after what we want for fear of rejection or embarrassment.

    Ha. Nah.

    If people only went after their super duper fantasy dream dates, all the men would be chasing Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely and all the girls would be after David Beckham.

    Demand for these top shelf specimens of phwoooar vastly outstrips supply, so it saves a lot of loneliness that most people settle for more realistic goals.

    But we are the keepers of our own value. Not other people, and certainly not the market.

    Nope. When it comes to consensual woo-woo, other people really do get to determine your value. Doesn’t mean you can’t improve your appeal, but ultimately you have to convince the object of your affections that you’re hot stuff.

    In other news, Guardian Dating is still a thing. Hook up with delusional leftwing scolds you’d like to know better!

  5. Nice comment in there:

    “Not too sure about the league, but I’ve had a few decent cup runs.”

    by bealfeirstecoiscuain

  6. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Steve, an excellent fisk. On that account, I forgive you for upsetting the readers here as you regularly do a Vox’s gaff.

  7. “You are the keeper of your own value”.

    This is what happens when you don’t have a proper theory of value. Value is always subjectively judged by other people. True of economics, and true of choosing mates.

    I can say I’m the most desirable man on the planet until I’m blue in the face, but what matters is not what I think of me, but what other people think of me. And they disagree.

    As economists have known for a very long time, the value of anything is what value is ascribed to it by potential buyers.

    Not something that most lefties accept, of course.

  8. Before a relationship can start, this sort of thinking might stop us from going after what we want for fear of rejection or embarrassment.

    It’s also worth noting that a failure to recognise one’s own league is what causes undesirable men to go after hotties, which is why creepy exists as a category.

  9. I echo TOBII’s applause for Steve’s fisk. Although I can tell you this: a good looking person isn’t necessarily attractive, and an attractive person isn’t necessarily good looking.

    Granted, this distinction may be missed in the world of Tinder etc, but that’s got to be the McDonald’s of the dating world. Quick sustenance, but nothing els

  10. Good looking is a consensus on what is attractive, which is literally that which attracts mates. Personality is important too, at least if you want a partner rather than just a shag. And some people have non-standard tastes.

    But overall attractive is that which attracts, which is why the word exists at all.

  11. IanB

    Value is always subjectively judged by other people. 

    If the value of anything is what value is ascribed to it by potential buyers , then ‘subjectively’ is redundant in the above sentence.

  12. Theo,

    No it isn’t. It is a reminder that those judgements of value by others are personal and subjective rather than being objective. If 100 people think you are various degrees of ugly and 1 thinks you are sex on a stick, the one’s view is as valid for them as the views of the others.

  13. “Value is always subjectively judged by other people.”

    Taking into account Ian B’s refutation, yet another example (comments here passim) of a potential tortoiseology iin this blog’s comments.

  14. …fat birds have more anal herpes.

    I believe there is a type of anal/genital herpes that is not sexually transmitted. If so, we’d also need to know the incidence of anal warts and anal gonorrhea in fat birds to be reasonably certain of your conclusion. Even then, though, there might be alternative explanations – eg the lack of space between the thighs of fat birds might make vaginal sex less appealing and/or achievable, so that fat birds have less vaginal sex than fit birds.

  15. Taking into account Ian B’s refutation, yet another example (comments here passim) of a potential tortoiseology iin this blog’s comments.

    ?

  16. IanB

    It is a reminder that those judgements of value by others are personal and subjective rather than being objective.7

    You place too much emphasis on the ‘subjective’. Judgements of value are partly ‘subjective’ in that they are usually partly ‘inner’ – though they can be purely conventional or habitual and without any ‘inner’ value judgement. Also, judgements of value depend on (perceived) facts: many people will value the taste of a wine highly because they were charged £50 for it or their friends say it is fine.

    If 100 people think you are various degrees of ugly and 1 thinks you are sex on a stick, the one’s view is as valid for them as the views of the others.

    But ‘value-for-me’ is not the same as ‘generally valued’. You might wipe your arse on sheets of gold leaf and flush it away because you do not value gold; but that does not alter the fact that ‘objectively’ gold is a store of value, and that your action is irrational.

  17. Theo,

    No. Subjective value has been standard economics since the Marginal Revolution in the 19th century. Gold is only a store of value if somebody thinks it is. This really is Econ 101 stuff. Your “generally valued” is just an observation that at this moment in time, many or most people ascribe some price expectation to some thing. It does not mean that value is objective.

    You’re also confusing prices and values. The price of a tin of beans is 30p. I subjectively value them at 20p. Therefore, I don’t buy the beans. And so on.

    If you don’t get this, you don’t get anything about markets. The reason that people trade is that they value the goods they are trading differently, which means that both people can subjectively gain from the trade. It is the very basis of market economics.

  18. Acktchually, it used to be called “marriage”. But then telling young lasses to keep their legs shut till they landed a husband went out of style, so what are you gonna do? Women still want to trade their natural assets for the resources a successful man can provide.

    There’s more truth and sense in that excerpt than a year’s worth of Guardian articles.

  19. There’s no point maintaining virginity when contraception is available. This is one of the problems with grandfathering morality from different eras. There used to be a rational reason to value virginity. There isn’t any more.

    Which by the way kind of dovetails with what I wrote above. The thing about female sexual reluctance as a policy is that it raises the price of sex, but not the value. In the same way that a baked beans shortage might raise the price of a tin of beans to £5.00, but it’s not going to change my opinion that I’m not paying more than 20p.

    Back with the grandfathering, it’s interesting to note why males try to protect the virginity of their daughters (up to and including murder of disobedient ones). It’s economic again. Humans, like chimps and gorillas, have a system in which females leave their home group (family) to mate with other groups. In chimps, they just wander off into the forest to find another chimp group, for instance.

    So to human parents, daughters are an economic liability. It costs you resources to raise them, then they just fuck off. You benefit from other people raising their daughters who will come to your family/band, not from raising your own. Hence, once humans got better brains and thought this through, they realised that the only way to moderate this situation was trading their daughters. Which means carefully controlling them to ensure they maintain their pristine sexual status.

    Hence, “traditional” values.

  20. “I can say I’m the most desirable man on the planet until I’m blue in the face, but what matters is not what I think of me, but what other people think of me. And they disagree.”

    Thing is, there’s an element of truth in the ‘if I think I’m hot stuff then I am’ idea. It only really works for men, because women have a relatively higher propensity to find ‘character’ attractive than men do.

    Thus a man who really does think he’s the bees knees will walk around acting like he is, and that very confidence and way of behaving will result in women being attracted to him, more than his mere looks would suggest. But you can’t fake it, you have to really believe you are the bees knees for it to work.

    And the corollary is true also – highly physically attractive men (or ones with great wealth etc) can make themselves very unattractive by being unconfident in themselves. Their objective physical attributes are outweighed by their own subjective view of themselves, which is then mirrored by women viewing them.

  21. IanB

    As usual, you are equivocating. ‘Subjective’ and ‘objective’ are slippery terms and ( outside of the hard sciences) are usually used with reference to background assumptions and social conventions. In a society that values gold, wiping your arse on gold leaf and flushing it away is ‘objectively’ irrational (or conspicuous consumption). More generally, human life itself is generally valued; and most people would agree that ‘human life is valuable’ is ‘objectively’ true and remains so regardless of the feelings of suicidal individuals.

    In economics, it is not helpful to describe individual preferences as subjective values, because an individual’s preferences can be shaped and influenced by many ‘objective’ factors – eg group pressure, habit, upbringing, social conventions and by facts. Value and valuations are not detached from the world. Nor are they supplied in isolation by the arbitrary choice of some Existentialist ego. They are related to our goals and purposes. Values and valuations are, like language and its meanings, largely social and public – and not hidden away like a beetle in a box.

  22. Theo,

    Go and argue with all the economics of the past 150 years if you like, since you seem to be trapped with Adam Smith puzzling over why diamonds cost more than water.

    Honestly, I am just described the standard modern theory of value, the same theory that explains why governments cannot set a “just price” and socialism doesn’t work. To say that something is subjective is not to say it is disconnected from the rest of reality, merely that it is unique to the individual. Every person assigns a unique ordinal set of values to (in economics) goods and services. That is what subjective means. Not “completely disconnected”. You’re somewhere between a straw man and just not understanding.

  23. IanB

    In your evolutionary fairytale above, you have derived ‘ought’ from ‘is’.

    But never mind, Hume never “demonstrated” that deriving ‘ought’ from ‘is’. Here is what he says in the Treatise at 3.1.1:-

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.

  24. IanB

    I am familiar with the water and diamonds ‘problem’, and with what you are saying about economics, but this discussion started with value in general, not just economic value. You are steering the discussion into economics, though in ethical matters you often seem to take an extreme subjectivist, even relativist, position.

  25. I haven’t derived any ought from is. I merely showed how conditions led to certain behaviours. I derived “what they did” not “what they ought to have done”. Why exactly commonplace human activities become a “fairytale” I don’t know. Oh yes I do, it conflicts with your preferences, to which you think facts are subordinate, so therefore you just get annoyed.

    You cannot dervive “ought” from “is”. But it is doubly wrong to fit the “is” to your “ought”.

  26. Theo-

    Values are values, facts are facts. Economic values are a subset of values in general.

    The Earth orbits the Sun is a fact. Star Wars is better than Star Trek is a value. The arguments used in economics generally apply.

    I am not being “extreme” about anything. Just saying that values are subjective. Which of course it is transparently obvious that they are.

  27. IanB

    The separation between fact and value is not as sharp as you simplistically imagine. There are few brute facts, because human cognition is, as the jargon goes, theory- and value-laden. Which is one reason why economics isn’t a hard science.

    Economic value is quite separate from moral value, unless you are a coarse utilitarian or a relativist. And you cannot plausibly reduce all moral behaviour to economics.

    Your story is a fairytale because it is unverifiable. You’ve selected some questionable snippets of primate behaviour, thrown in some questionable economic assumptions about daughters, and,hey presto!, you’ve got an ‘explanation’ of traditional morality. It must be very reassuring for you to believe that life and the world are so simple and uncomplicated.

    You go on asserting that values cannot be derived from facts, even though I’ve referred you to ethicists who disagree. You claim that Hume demonstrated that ought couldn’t be derived from is, even when I have shown that he only suggested that one proceeds with caution.

    And when I have explained that ‘subjective’ is a slippery term, you dogmatically assert that it is “transparently obvious” that values are subjective – when the question is ‘in what sense of subjective?’ Your sole attempt at explicating ‘subjective’ is to say it means “unique to the individual”, which tells us zilch. A handmade shirt is unique to the individual; but a belief that ‘incest is wrong’ is not unique to the individual, because many people believe it.

  28. Economic value is quite separate from moral value, unless you are a coarse utilitarian or a relativist. And you cannot plausibly reduce all moral behaviour to economics.

    No. Economic values just express a subset of our values when we trade. Trade is part of general human social behaviour. Why we buy A rather than B comes down to our personal preferences, how we value A and B.

    Subjectivity means that we have different value sets. It may be that many people agree that “incest is wrong”, but you will find them ranking the (negative) value of incest differently. In the same way that many people take the view that brussels sprouts taste horrible, but how horrible varies from person to person.

    But what you are doing here is an old trick of taking something you think most everyone will agree with, then pretending that that makes it objective. It’s an argument from icky. 50 years ago, most everyone would agree that homosexuality is a vile perversion, which the law must be used to suppress and punish. Not now though.

    As to Hume, you’re not reading his 18th century prose with an 18th century mind. That flowery wording is actually a very powerful statement, if you read it as it would have been read all those years ago. His point was absolute; that one cannot derive vice and virtue (morals) from reasoning from facts, as he says in the last sentence. He then proffered the explanation that morals come not from reason, but from sentiment, which was his central assertion, which is why he upset so many people like you who dislike the resulting demolition of their certainties in “vulgar systems of morality”.

    Brother-sister marriage was commonplace in Ancient Egypt by the way.

    The key point here is that everyone wants their own moral preferences (and often economic and other social preferences) to be objectively justifiable; by the simple logic that if they are, that justifies imposing them on everyone else by force. Nobody likes to think that their deepest beliefs are just personal preferences. But that is what they are. To reiterate- we do not just differ in what is right and wrong, but in how we order these rights and wrongs; the values attached to them.

    Is rape worse than murder, or murder worse than rape? Where do you rank burglary, fraud or mugging? Is it worse for a man to punch a woman than for a woman to stab a man with a kitchen knife? Is it worse than any of these to be that despicable thing, a “moral relativist”?

    Discuss.

  29. Quite….the solar system as a whole obits the galactic centre, which itself is moving against the universe and….

    Earth orbits the Sun is useful Newton, Newton gets us around most of the solar system. But Sir Pterry: lies to children, eh?

  30. IanB

    I don’t disagree with what you say about trade and economics. My point is that a set (moral values) is not reducible to a sub-set (economic values), just as raptors aren’t reducible to kestrels.

    I fail to see how subjectivity “means” we have different value sets. Sure, we have different value sets, different priorities, but these are dependent on facts about the world, social conventions, etc. The way we assess other people’s values and priorities is by observing their behaviour: we do not need privileged access to their subjective consciousness.

    I am not using the argument from icky. If you recall, you (bizarrely) said that ‘subjective’ meant “unique to the individual”. My point is many values are shared, so they can’t be unique to the individual. You and I probably share the value judgement that R Murphy is vicious, so that value is not unique to either of us.

    Faced with textual evidence that you were wrong that Hume “demonstrated” that the is-ought transition is fallacious, you now claim to be an expert in 18th century prose. I can’t claim that, but I have read every one of Hume’s works and several commentaries, and I know of no-one who supports your interpretation of that passage.

    I have, by the way, no great desire to impose my moral views on others, unless their behaviour damages my interests. I disapprove of abortion, for example, but I cannot find satisfactory rational arguments against it in all circumstances. So I leave it to the individual conscience, unlike many on here.

    To summarise, you have no clear or consistent idea of what ‘subjective’ means or how it is used. You are deeply confused about the whole matter, and you try to cover this up with non sequiturs, ad hominems, red herrings, equivocations and bluster – rather like Richard Murphy….

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Good looking is a consensus on what is attractive, which is literally that which attracts mates. Personality is important too, at least if you want a partner rather than just a shag. And some people have non-standard tastes.”

    Some people do have non-standard tastes. Hence the genital herpes. I would say that we would all be shagging Victoria Secrets models if we could. The biological response that results in an erection is pretty much standard across the male heterosexual population. But not all of us are in with a chance. So instead we settle for what we can get – and then rationalise it. We find reasons for why we should be happy with what we have. Hence personality. Some times these rationalisations are pretty damn thin. You know what the boyfriend is going to be like if a woman says, defensively, that he has a good sense of humour. And no, he won’t have a good sense of humour. But they make people happy so that is nice.

  32. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Worstall – “Quite….the solar system as a whole obits the galactic centre, which itself is moving against the universe and…. Earth orbits the Sun is useful Newton, Newton gets us around most of the solar system. But Sir Pterry: lies to children, eh?”

    I may be a little slow today but I don’t see how the fact that the sun is orbiting the galactic core which is moving away from the assumed location of the Big Bang changes the fact that the earth orbits the sun. It does. That is not a lie for children. The earth actually does orbit the sun. It is not just useful Newton, it is actually true. It is true for Newton, it is true for Einstein.

    So what am I missing here?

    Don’t tell me Uklib is going to quibble that the Sun is also moving in an ellipse and so that is not an orbit? Because I think Kepler kind of noticed that.

  33. So instead we settle for what we can get – and then rationalise it. We find reasons for why we should be happy with what we have. Hence personality.

    I dunno. Personality goes a long way to making an average looking girl fuckable in the way that her incredibly dull but better looking counterpart isn’t. Of course, there comes a level of beauty where the personality wouldn’t matter a damn, but personality in a woman can level the field a lot.

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “I dunno. Personality goes a long way to making an average looking girl fuckable in the way that her incredibly dull but better looking counterpart isn’t. Of course, there comes a level of beauty where the personality wouldn’t matter a damn, but personality in a woman can level the field a lot.”

    But when does that kick in? No one looks across the room and goes “Look at the personality on that”. On the other hand I am sure we have all had moments where we have picked up our glass and moved on regardless of the chances of success because of some girl’s personality. Myself, I can’t stand stupidity. Not in the annoying sense that I don’t like Leftists, but in the penis-draining sense of something being utterly unattractive.

    And to further support my point, whatever it was, Britain’s Greatest Unsung National Treasure, Brain Blessed:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3475462/Veteran-actor-Brian-Blessed-79-says-s-asked-doctors-fit-penis-20-year-old-getting-27-000-pacemaker.html

    Veteran actor Brian Blessed has asked doctors to fit him with the penis of a ’20-year-old’ after getting a £27,000 pacemaker fitted.

    The 79-year-old actor – who turns 80 in October – recently splashed out £27,000 on a pacemaker which he says has made him feel like a ‘million dollar man’.

    He said he now feels as young as someone in their twenties, and has set his sights on purchasing a new penis to give him an additional lease of life.

    He said: ‘Now I can do anything. I just wish they’d given me another c***. That’s what I said to the doctors.

    ‘They said, ‘How are you feeling Brian?’ I said, ‘Great! Now I’d just like a 20-year-old c***!’.’

    I am pretty sure that the phrase “because I really like that nurse’s personality” did not arise in the conversation.

  35. So Much For Subtlety

    ‘They said, ‘How are you feeling Brian?’ I said, ‘Great! Now I’d just like a 20-year-old c***!’.’

    Actually it just occurs to me that they are taking the p!ss and he did not ask for a new penis.

  36. Surreptitious Evil

    The earth actually does orbit the sun.

    Actually, they both orbit their mutual barycenter. Or would do if this was only a two body system. Reality is more complicated.

    As said above “lies to children”. And was mentioned in the books every year of physics education you learn that more of what your learned before was so.

  37. In the heliocentric model the Earth orbits the Sun. The Earth’s orbit is a circle with the Sun at its centre.
    In the classical model the Earth and Sun orbit their barycentre, or common centre of mass – the barycentre is at a focus of the ellipses describing their orbits. An observer outside the solar system would detect the Sun wobbling.
    In general relativity the Earth and Sun are in free fall through curved space-time.

  38. But when does that kick in? No one looks across the room and goes “Look at the personality on that”.

    No, but you could find yourself introduced to a girl about which you initially think “meh!” but whose personality makes you think “definitely”, possibly to the detriment of a dull girl who is slightly better looking. It kicks in somewhere between Dianne Abbot and Maria Sharapova.

  39. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “Actually, they both orbit their mutual barycenter. Or would do if this was only a two body system. Reality is more complicated. As said above “lies to children”. And was mentioned in the books every year of physics education you learn that more of what your learned before was so.”

    The Sun has 330,000 times the mass of the Earth. It is 99.9% of the mass of the solar system. Where do you think their mutual barycenter is? The barycenter for the Earth and the Moon is within the Earth’s crust. That for the Earth and the Sun is well within the Sun’s surface. I am a little surprised that the barycenter for the Sun and Jupiter is not.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barycenter

    Which is a good thing otherwise we would not be able to detect all those extra-solar planets. But to put it another way, if we did not have the theoretical models of Kepler and Newton we probably wouldn’t notice the Sun’s wobble due to the Earth at all.

    As I said, Kepler noticed this. It isn’t Einstein. It is Newton. And for all intents and purposes, according to any sane definition of “orbit”, the Earth orbits the Sun.

  40. So Much For Subtlety

    ukliberty – “In the classical model the Earth and Sun orbit their barycentre, or common centre of mass – the barycentre is at a focus of the ellipses describing their orbits. An observer outside the solar system would detect the Sun wobbling.”

    If they were really paying attention. The radius of the Sun is 696,00 kilometres. The barycenter is located 449 kilometres away from the centre of the Sun. You are seriously arguing that the Earth cannot orbit the Sun unless the barycenter aligns exactly with the centre of the larger body?

    “In general relativity the Earth and Sun are in free fall through curved space-time.”

    You know, I would ask. But I can’t be bothered.

  41. I am most amused that we now have a dispute about whether the Earth orbits the Sun. This is typical of the kind of vexatious argumentation that prevents useful discussions.

    And Theo, for the umpteenth time, I am not claiming that moral values are reducible to economic values. As I said, economic values are a subset of values in general.

    Values are unique to the individual. I have already explained that. Any two individuals will have different value sets. You seem to think that if lots of people like opera, even if they like it to different degrees, that somehow stops their liking of opera being subjective. So what you think subjective means, I have no idea.

    It’s not my fault if you don’t understand Hume’s writing. But we can show all this without arguing from (Hume’s) authority anyway. He was just the first philosopher to notice it, or at least to be noticed for noticing it.

  42. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “If Maria Sharapova was orbiting Dianne Abbott, where would the barycentre be? Internal to Abbott would be my guess.”

    If I said that would be because Dianne Abbott would eat Ms Sharapova, would Ironman accuse me of racism?

    Let me be clear about this. If I did say that, it wouldn’t be because I believe Ms Abbott is embracing the customs of her more recent (compared to mine) ancestors but because she is fat and greedy.

  43. SMFS

    If they were really paying attention.

    Well, *we* pay attention to other star systems – as you pointed out.

    You are seriously arguing that the Earth cannot orbit the Sun unless the barycenter aligns exactly with the centre of the larger body?

    I wrote what I meant. In only one of those three models – the model for young children and people from olden times – does the earth orbit the sun. In the classical model (GCSE Science) the bodies orbit their barycentre.

    You know, I would ask. But I can’t be bothered.

    I’m surprised you don’t already know it all.

  44. The Earth orbits the Sun, in that it goes around it. This is not in fact incompatible with the Sun and Earth orbiting the barycentre.

    If SMFS were sitting on a roundabout, and I were moving in an ellipse, or indeed any closed path, whose centre were not the centre of the roundabout but which encompassed SMFS, I would be orbiting SMFS.

    You are attempting to be pendantic but are actually wrong, UKLiberty. An orbital ring road doesn’t have to be precisely geometrically centred on the town it is orbiting either. It just has to go around the outside of the town.

  45. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “I am most amused that we now have a dispute about whether the Earth orbits the Sun. This is typical of the kind of vexatious argumentation that prevents useful discussions.”

    Well *I* am enjoying your multithread rancorous insult-fest with Theo over what David Hume really meant.

    Tim Newman – “If Maria Sharapova was orbiting Dianne Abbott, where would the barycentre be? Internal to Abbott would be my guess.”

    Trump and Hillary have had porn parodies made of them. If you ask the question, there must be a porn equivalent. So the question is if Maria Sharapova was orbiting Dianne Abbott in a porn version would anyone care where the barycentre was?

    ukliberty – “Well, *we* pay attention to other star systems – as you pointed out.”

    We do. And we can see the effect of something the size of Jupiter more or less. But for years we looked at them and did not notice. People went back over the data going back for decades and said “Doh!”

    “I wrote what I meant. In only one of those three models – the model for young children and people from olden times – does the earth orbit the sun. In the classical model (GCSE Science) the bodies orbit their barycentre.”

    Sure. You always do. But do you know what you mean? In all the models the Earth orbits the Sun. For any sane definition of orbit. Notice in precisely none of those models does the Earth revolve exactly around the centre of the Sun. Kepler’s laws and Newton’s laws involve a barycentre.

    “I’m surprised you don’t already know it all.”

    I am not surprised you do not. Free fall? Seriously? You think Newton thought the Sun was concreted in place?

  46. So Much For Subtlety

    ukliberty – “By your definition the Earth is orbiting Mercury and Venus, too.”

    Sorry but what the f**k? How do you figure that? Does the Earth ever complete a rotation around Venus?

  47. UKL-

    Congratulations, you’ve just discovered the definitions are fuzzy. Orbiting in this context normally refers to a primary. So you could say that the Earth orbits the Sun-Mercury-Venus system.

    But as I said, this is a classic example of where pendantry gets in the way of meaningful discussion. “The Earth orbits the Sun” was simply an example of something factual which I presented, that is, it is not an opinion. I should have said “The Oceans are made of water”, perhaps, but then you would have started banging on about salt and fish, no doubt.

    SMFS-

    Theo has tried to redirect the debate onto Hume rather than the issue, because he can’t win on the issue itself. Much like redirecting the issue of facts versus values onto orbital mechanics.

  48. you’ve just discovered the definitions are fuzzy.

    Your definition of “orbit” appears to be quite fuzzy, yes.

    I should have said “The Oceans are made of water”, perhaps, but then you would have started banging on about salt and fish, no doubt.

    Like saying a house is made of its occupants as well as building materials? Let doubt return.

  49. The point being that the precise definition of “orbits” doesn’t matter. It was a fucking example of something which is an observable fact rather than a personal opinion. For heaven’s sake.

  50. SMFS,

    In all the models the Earth orbits the Sun. For any sane definition of orbit. Notice in precisely none of those models does the Earth revolve exactly around the centre of the Sun. Kepler’s laws and Newton’s laws involve a barycentre.

    Kepler didn’t mention a barycentre or common centre of mass or gravity. Kepler’s laws describe planetary motions – they don’t explain them. Newton’s law of universal gravitation explains them (to an extent): any two bodies are mutually attracted by a force that is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. It follows that there is a common centre of mass. Near on in the Sun, certainly, but not bang on centre.

    By reason of this deviation of the Sun from the center of gravity the centripetal force does not always tend to that immobile center, and hence the planets neither move exactly in ellipses nor revolve twice in the same orbit. Each time a planet revolves it traces a fresh orbit, as happens also with the motion of the Moon, and each orbit depends upon the combined motions of all the planets, not to mention their actions upon each other.

    And the result is that Newton is more accurate than Kepler. Because he didn’t insist on the sanity of heliocentrism.

  51. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Scientific ‘facts’ are slippery. They always need the sort of caveats you see here, unless they’re really basic statements. Mathematics can provide a few good axiomatic statements. Here’s some:

    To every differentiable symmetry generated by local actions, there exists a conserved current.

    37 is the first irregular prime.

    The eigenvalues of a Hermitian matrix are real and distinct.

    So now you can use those as base cases for your philosophising.

  52. It’s amazing how thoroughly pedantry can derail a discussion. I really do not give a shit about the precise formulation of Kepler’s Laws. I could sit here reformulating the statement, “The Earth orbits the Solar System’s barycentre in the barycentre’s inertial frame” or something. But this is not the point. The point was that some statements are facts and some statements are values.

    Okay, forget celestial mechanics. Here is a statement of fact: all living human beings contain water. Are we happy that that is a statement of fact? May we proceed from there?

  53. Maybe I can support Ian B here.
    I think all he was doing back on March 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm was to say briefly what can be expressed slightly more carefully in two points:
    (1) There are such things as factual, value-free statements.
    (2) An example of such a statement is ‘The Earth orbits the Sun.’

    If you disagree with point 1, ie you think there are no such things as factual, value-free statements, OK let’s hear why.
    If you’re happy with point 1, but you don’t like his point-2 example, your distaste for it is irrelevant to the discussion. If you accept that there are such things as factual, value-free statements, then you will surely agree that there are many thousands of such statements that could be drawn from many fields of knowledge. Therefore it is pointless to quibble about the detail of any particular example.

    If for some reason you don’t like ‘The Earth orbits the Sun.’, take ‘Living human beings contain water’ as the example instead. If you don’t like that, will you take ‘Paris is the capital of France’? If you find fault with that, how about ‘Jersey is an island’? Still something wrong with all those examples so far? What about ‘King George V is no longer alive’ etc etc

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