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Comment: Re:US is next? (Score 1) 862

by Empiric (#47932069) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

"You can't have a fact unless it's falsifiable."

On this particular point, I disagree...

One of these propositions is true, and therefore a fact:

1. Mozart was a better composer than Bach.
2. Bach was a better composer than Mozart.
3. Either Mozart or Bach was a better composer than a given randomly-selected High School band student.

None of these are falsifiable. There is no objective test for them, as musical taste is (insofar as we are aware) not scientifically resolvable.

To be clear, though, outside of that, my post was -meant- to agree with and summarize the broader content of your post. You apparently understand the difference between "not scientific" and "anti-scientific" better than most "pro-science" people, including scientists, do, or are willing to be honest about. And you also have a much more real-world awareness of the fact that many subject domains aren't addressable by scientific method, yet people still validly hold that there are ultimately ideas that are true within them, regardless of formal testability--politics and economics, to name a couple.

The recent Dawkins/Hitchens/Tyson/etc. movement to cast every human endeavor within the context of scientific method, and judge everything on that basis, is really a rehash of the philosophically-dead Logical Positivism movement. It doesn't work, and it can't work. And I don't think we have any fundamental disagreement.

Comment: Re:Dang... (Score 0) 139

by Empiric (#47534545) Attached to: Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered

"The Bible, however, is immutable, and the literalists have to resort to increasingly contorted explanations for how the Genesis account could be factually correct."

Good parroting of the popular Dawkins-driven line, but simply vastly historically incorrect as the sequence of events. Origen of Alexandria (one of the "Fathers of the Church", that is, one shaping core positions at the very earliest foundation of Christianity) was arguing for allegorical interpretation of Genesis in the second century A.D.

The notion that science comes along and "shows religion incorrect" is fanciful nonsense. It may show particular interpretations to be so, but compatible ones have existed from the start. In fact, the majority of those founding all branches of the sciences were theists.

Here's a few. You probably will recognize quite a few of them, particularly starting with with the "1701-" section.


Scientists Solve Mystery of World-Traveling Plant 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the long-journey dept.
sciencehabit writes "By land or by sea? That's the question scientists have been pondering for decades when it comes to the bottle gourd, a plant with a hard-skinned fruit that's used by cultures all over the world to make lightweight containers and other tools. Archaeologists know that people were using domesticated bottle gourds in the Americas as early as 10,000 years ago. But how did the plant make the jump from its original home in Africa to the New World with an ocean in the way? A new study overturns previous evidence pointing to a human-assisted land migration and concludes that the bottle gourd floated across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas on its own."

Comment: Re:Oh America (Score 1) 108

by Empiric (#45750189) Attached to: How Astronauts Took the Most Important Photo In Space History

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom."


Comment: Re:Oh America (Score 1) 108

by Empiric (#45750151) Attached to: How Astronauts Took the Most Important Photo In Space History

For the more esoterically-oriented out there, more relevant would be that he realized he was indifferentiable from an animal, a situation for which adding clothing would be a natural attempt to differentiate oneself.

Which, with his newly acquired cognitive range, would have presented rather troubling implications for himself and his surroundings regarding things outside the garden.

Implications which, I might add, persist for some right through to the present day.

Comment: Re:We're all the same... (Score 1, Insightful) 109

by Empiric (#45733205) Attached to: Genome of Neandertals Reveals Inbreeding

I'm persistently surprised also by how often evolutionary biologists seem oblivious to the notion of a "birth defect".

Note that I am not saying that evolution didn't happen. I'm saying that species categorization and the "evidence" for them have become so scientifically loose that the claims are unfalsifiable.

Comment: Re:Rob Bell is missing a few things (Score 1) 109

by Empiric (#45730207) Attached to: The Software Inferno

It does speak of it, but it does not necessarily specify the "eternal hell if you don't believe" stance that some denominations have promulgated.

There are several possibilities that are not at all easily dismissed by reference to scripture itself...

1. That it is spoken of allegorically
2. That it references "destruction of the soul" rather than "suffering of the soul" (per Christ's use of "destroy the soul in hell")
3. That it is a temporary, not permanent state
4. That it is the final dispensation of the truly evil, not simply on the basis of non-belief (otherwise a review of one's actions from the "Book of Life" seems rather superfluous)

I would exercise extreme caution in stating that one -knows- what God will do, as this is in a sense us telling God what he has to do, on a judgment that is explicitly stated to be made by him in the future (the "Last Judgment"--not a "Show Trial"), but...

I'd suggest taking a look at Conditionalism and its associated Annihilationism as stances that are quite harmonious with scripture, and address some arguments regarding "fairness"--one could say that atheists in general ultimately get exactly what they expect (and demand), per their own worldview.

Comment: Re:They have *worse* to hide? (Score 1) 383

by Empiric (#45697867) Attached to: NSA Has No Clue As To Scope of Snowden's Data Trove
And even if he did use "higher-ups" logins, that doesn't demonstrate the had them illicitly. "Need this sooner than I can get you official access, here's my login, underling, get it done now" has to be in the Top 10 most-common management directives to IT in a bureaucratic (e.g. government) organization.

Comment: Re:Perhaps not (Score 1) 598

by Empiric (#45689933) Attached to: UK Men Arrested For Anti-Semitic Tweets After Football Game
Though I am neither Catholic nor do I want to defend the Inquisition in any way, it is not clear that atheism per se was much of a target. The Inquisition was apparently much more interested in suppressing -other forms of theism-, than direct non-belief.

In fact, when it did happen, people making anti-religion statements were typically accused as "Protestants"!

Most of them were in no sense Protestants...Irreligious sentiments, drunken mockery, anticlerical expressions, were all captiously classified by the inquisitors (or by those who denounced the cases) as 'Lutheran.'...

If looked at from the perspective of the Inquisition's political objectives rather than theological ones, this makes sense--a competing political party is a much more "dangerous" thing in all forms of politics than those not participating.

Your "get murdered" characterization is a bit of an oversimplification as well, there was opportunity to recant and only a very small percentage of times were the "crimes" considered to be worthy of the death penalty in the first place, but I'll leave that aside...

Comment: Re:Next up: Slashdot's lamest submissions (Score 1) 219

by Empiric (#45684213) Attached to: Wikipedia's Lamest Edit Wars

Curious, in that although I was made quite aware of the "correct" punctuation in school here in the U.S., I refuse to use it as it is the absolute antithesis of "logical".

The end-quote ends the sentence's subsection of the word or phrase quoted, the period indicates the end of the entire sentence.

The "correct" punctuation is the logical equivalent of doing this in code...

if (instances == 0) IncrementInstances(;)

Which is entirely illogical. Surely someone could throw together a formal argument for this on the basis of Set Theory. The small box goes inside the large box--it shouldn't be "correct" for it to need to protrude out one side.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982