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Comment: Re:A few too many zeros (Score 1) 170

by Doctorer (#36278788) Attached to: Discovery of Water In Moon May Alter Origin Theory

Why do you assume "irrational" and "ignorance"?

I made no assumptions, your claims conclusively demonstrate ignorance of the subject matter, and your hostility is objectively based on this ignorance.

Do you assume that everyone who sees the Church as an oppressive institution is "irrational" and "ignorant"?

No, only those who demonstrate their ignorance and irrationality, as you have.

I sincerely encourage you, purely in the interest of holding an informed opinion, to look again at your claims. In Science we are expected to assess a suspect theory from an objective basis, which includes considering arguments in the context of the advocate's stated premises. Why should our opinions in any other field be handled differently? If you want to use history as a stick with which to beat Christianity then you need to make sure you're using solid, objective history (and not just the one-sided ramblings of a historian with pre-determined outcomes).

Comment: Re:A few too many zeros (Score 1) 170

by Doctorer (#36277720) Attached to: Discovery of Water In Moon May Alter Origin Theory
You've gone from merely displaying arrogant ignorance to abject bigotry. At least, if you are willing to accept "irrational hostility to a group or individual on the basis of ignorance" as a valid definition of bigotry.

That aside, Slashdot is not the place to explain that everything ever written, built or said is subject to interpretation, nor that an "image" is utterly different to a clone (unless your mirror produces a fully functional copy of you every morning while you shave), or even that your refusal to admit any cultural assumption is evidence of those cultural assumptions (ie refusal to recognise that you are a man formed by your times).

Then there's the fact that your last claim is dismissed by anyone who has seen Pope Benedict on television in the UK last year, or Australia and before that the US in 2008, or all over continental Europe - and he was only elected in 2005. If anything, one could construct a comparable argument about the "first world" powers (such as the US and the European Union) wielding science as a "tool... to keep the [third world] rabble in bondage"... but that would be too far off topic.

Comment: Re:A few too many zeros (Score 1) 170

by Doctorer (#36277330) Attached to: Discovery of Water In Moon May Alter Origin Theory
I am afraid you are horribly mistaken and woefully ignorant. Allegory is one of the four classical modes of biblical interpretation dating from antiquity, and was employed by the Church Fathers (such as St Augustine in the IV century).

The real issue is when Protestantism arose, and in order to discredit the teaching authority of a continuing, hierarchical Church turned the Bible into a book that dropped out of heaven and had to be understood literally by anyone who could read.

Since America is the first (and only) nation in the world to have been Protestant from the beginning (rather than Catholic/Orthodox and then becoming Protestant) your cultural assumptions about the treatment of Scripture are so out of whack with the rest of the world.

Comment: Re:So Why USA? (Score 1) 92

by Doctorer (#36224290) Attached to: Human Astrocytes Developed From Stem Cells
Misleading initial claim. The funding restrictions apply to embryonic stem cells (ie lines sourced from aborted human fetuses) - no such restrictions hinder research involving "adult stem cells" (human pluripotent stem cells). hPSCs have proven far more effective in terms of positive results, but attracts very little attention compared to the far less successful embryonic stem cell research.

Comment: hPSCs in the abstract, but not the article? (Score 1) 92

by Doctorer (#36224260) Attached to: Human Astrocytes Developed From Stem Cells
I found it interesting that while the article (second link) claims that these can be induced from both "embryonic and induced human" stem cells, the abstract of the paper itself (first link) names only "human pluripotent stem cells" (ie "adult stem cells") and makes no mention of embryonic cells.

Both links refer to the one study, by the same people, so why does the second mention embryonic stem cells when the paper itself (or at least, the abstract) does not?

Sounds like dirty scientific politics to me.

Comment: Re:Distorted idea of the University (Score 1) 741

by Doctorer (#35778452) Attached to: Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?

I respond that they have no idea what a university education was for over its thousand year history.

I respond that neither do you - because for most of their history, universities were job training schools intended to produce lawyers, judges, priests, government functionaries, etc..., etc... That they produced 'cultured' and 'well rounded' graduates was a happy accident, not an intended result.

You appear to understand neither the history of the university nor my own claims. I didn't claim to define the object of a university (though my last comment about Dante and Shakespeare may have implied it). The object of the university was not "to produce lawyers, judges [etc]" but doctors of law, masters of theology, teachers of philosophy. The university is the place for the advancement of all knowledge - the fact that men who are so well trained in the substance, theory and history of law (cf Jurisprudence) also tend to be excellent practitioners of the law is the happy accident.

Priests were not trained for priesthood at universities but seminaries (for the last five centuries, before then privately by the bishop or his canons at the cathedral chapter). The study of medicine grew naturally from the academic study of science (which is perhaps the faculty closest to its origins in philosophy). Government functionaries, until very recently, hardly studied at university at all - they were privately tutored in the classics, arithmetic etc being examined by this paper.

Perhaps I should just refer people to Bl John Henry Newman's "The Idea of a University", published just forty years before the exam we're discussing was given - already this wrong-headed idea of the university as an expensive finishing school had cropped up.

Comment: Re:Distorted idea of the University (Score 3, Insightful) 741

by Doctorer (#35778018) Attached to: Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?
The thing omitted in that observation however is that until only this very generation, being able to recall with precision what one has learned was a crucial skill in any kind of study. Moderns don't bother remembering anything (even their own phone number) because they can just "look it up". High school students unceasingly complain about having to learn the first principles of mathematics "because I can just do it with my calculator" - how much more in any other discipline (which is not so clearly procedural as mathematics) would students need a "specific education" if there is to be any hope of them learning further?

I do think that universities are mostly to blame here, having flocked to the fashion of generating money-spinning faculties (like "commerce" and "journalism") while abandoning the faculties that gave the university its identity for centuries (philosophy, history, theology).

There are some overlapping faculties (such as engineering) which both teach a mostly technical discipline while also requiring a more advanced theoretical foundation, and these probably do still belong at the university... but perhaps the time is coming when we will have to look more closely at the "BS/BA only candidates" and the "graduate studies material". Actually that's already happened, with a sharp divide between the undergrads who happily toddle off to their careers in industry and never darken the doors of the academy again, and the lifelong academics who seem never to leave at all.

Perhaps the thing I find most objectionable is the indignantly anachronistic egalitarianism on display in the comments here, for the most part by people who know nothing of education (or scholarship in general) beyond their own experiences as a one-time student. Latin and Greek are not "stupid shit" put up as a wall to keep the unwashed masses out, they were (and remain) an exceedingly useful foundation for any advanced study in any discipline with a European vocabulary. At the turn of the (last) century, French may well have taken a dominant role in European correspondence but it only worked because everyone worth writing to had a working knowledge of Latin and Greek.

Comment: Re:Educational standards (Score 1) 741

by Doctorer (#35777702) Attached to: Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?
You clearly haven't looked at the paper. This is for people who want to begin university studies, not end them.

Then there's the fact that the internal combustion engine (driving a car) is based upon entirely 19th century physical principles - unless you're using that new Mass Effect car from India.

Quite frankly, people of average intelligence back then look far more intelligent by our standards because they had to learn everything without the tools we have today - no typed essays, no wikipedia, no sound recording, no calculators. Just scroll down past the Latin, Greek and History sections to the mathematics and tell me if you can work all that out by hand. They hand-wrote and memorised everything, something I think nobody under 50 could do today (even with a doctorate).

Comment: Distorted idea of the University (Score 2) 741

by Doctorer (#35777558) Attached to: Could You Pass Harvard's Entrance Exam From 1869?
A lot of the comments so far are of the tack that "Greek and Latin are useless" or "CS majors don't need to quote Dante". I respond that they have no idea what a university education was for over its thousand year history. If you think you only go to university to learn how to write programmes and get a job in an industry, the 19th (and even 12th) century university man would tell you to get an apprenticeship - the early 20th century university man would tell you to go to a technical school.

Greek and Latin are still the most useful languages available for educated speakers of English because they allow you to decode almost any term in the English language, especially technical terms. Quoting Dante's Mediaeval Italian may make you as good a computer scientist as quoting Shakespeare's Elizabethan English, but the you will also be just as cultured - and I don't think anyone who understands what a university is for can claim that a cultured CS (all other things notwithstanding) is worse than an uncultured one.

Comment: Re:Not quite the same (Score 1) 1486

by Doctorer (#35767398) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?
Your dismissal of religious scholarship (specifically biblical scholarship) has, apparently unintentionally, also dismissed the scholarship of every non-technical (ie, not physical sciences or engineering) field. You seem not to realise that what you have described is exactly the same for archaeology, music, fine art, literature, philosophy. Your claim that "there is no evidence, no data, only opinion" demonstrates an ignorance of scholarship and standards of proof for the humanities.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1486

by Doctorer (#35767354) Attached to: Is Science Just a Matter of Faith?
It would appear that none of you have a working definition of Faith as someone who actually practices it would hold. Might I suggest you read St Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica? The relevant section is II-II Q4 (second part of the second part, question 4). "On the virtue of faith itself". St Thomas is difficult for the unfamiliar, but if you are genuinely interested in understanding that which you criticise do give it at least a second read through.

If you are open to St Thomas' reasoning within the scope of his premisses, you will see that faith is anything but "an idea with no evidence to back it up", "unearned and not subject to revision" (especially in the Christian context).

Of course for every one person willing to do the above there will be three "Sheldon Coopers" who are self-proclaimed experts in every field ready to dismiss all I've written as worthless drivel. Alas.

Comment: Re:No, no premises required (Score 1) 309

by Doctorer (#34255968) Attached to: Organs of UK Nuclear Workers Secretly Harvested; Energy Secretary Apologizes
Sorry, mystical crap still required. If "your body" is "your" property, do you still exist to own property when you are dead? If you have a soul, then your identity does not vanish (along with all your rights) at the moment of your death. If you don't, then your identity (the "you" to whom your body belongs) ceases to exist when the body dies, along with all rights.

Therefore, if you want to claim any kinds of rights at all (including the right to own property, though it's far from highest on the list) you really do need some "mystical crap".

Or, as I prefer to call it, metaphysics.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.

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