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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.

Comment: Re:Reason (Score 1) 674

by Empiric (#45667643) Attached to: New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

And, retraction: The evidence I stated was presented to you without challenge or acknowledgement, was actually presented via links to Black Parrot as the next respondent to my original post.

I suppose this calls for refinement of my stance of empirical perception being the absolute bedrock of all knowledge...

Comment: Re:Reason (Score 1) 674

by Empiric (#45667487) Attached to: New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason
I'm asking *you* to tell me why the God hypothesis is worthwhile, when infinitely many other hypotheses that are equally (un)supported are not. (I presume you'd agree that it's not worth seriously considering the existence of a teapot orbiting the sun).

Because it is simply not the case they are equally supported. The "Solar Teapot" has no track record of successfully predicting any future events whatsoever. People who die do not see the Solar Teapot appearing before them, or if you do not accept the validity of this perception, we are not left to wonder why human neurology is such that we see the Solar Teapot upon brain failure--because we don't. There are no records of people willingly being put to death rather than recant their claimed experiences during the (non)visit to Earth of the Solar Teapot. It is simply not the case that all religions are equally plausible--and, I might add, as someone who has studied nearly all of them, it strikes me as the height of intellectual laziness to simply declare equivalency of plausibility by default.

There are infinitely many potentially true things, and you only have finite time to consider them. How do you distinguish between the potentially true things you consider, and the ones that you don't?

I would say that this has been driven by my perception of plausibility and relative significance of the subject matter. Many people have an interest in philosophical issues per se, given their scope of applicability, thus their potential "significance". Religion overlaps to a high degree with this domain of inquiry. There may indeed be an unbridgeable gap in terms of focus selection here between us, though, in that I have had what I would consider "compelling spiritual events", so that from my perspective, I -am- "following the evidence". To be fair, I did not have any until some 15 years into my participation in my religion, and previous to that, one could fairly say my selection was largely driven by cultural influence, rather than experience. As you have not had such an experience as those that have formed my degree of certainty, I cannot fault your focus being elsewhere based on your personal experience. What I can say is that, since you mention "limited time", I suggest that you consider the possibility that that factor is self-imposed, and that by default your worldview will make that time limited. If at a given point in time you wish to continue consideration, it by definition my be done in a context that allows continued consideration.

Relativity was prompted by the observation that the speed of light is constant in all directions. String theory was prompted by the observation that two extremely well supported models produce nonsensical results when combined.

Observations "prompt" a great number of possible explanations. What I'd like to know is how you know a hypothesis is testable before it is conceptualized, so that we know (per your apparent criteria) whether it should not even be conceptualized in the first place--because it's not testable by definition before tests are determined, and tests cannot be determined for a hypothesis before it exists. If Einstein "followed the evidence" (in some sort of abstractly pure sense) from the start, he would not have made any revisions to the model--as he did. Also, the predominate scope of evidence would lead one to staying with the Newtonian system. If he "followed the testable evidence", the theory would not have taken the form it did, as aspects of Relativity were still being tested decades after it was proposed. You seem to be glossing over a lot of missteps in the history of science and inferential conjectures that end up being fruitful, to present a hyper-simplified systematic model that doesn't represent the reality of the actual process of science, but does (hopefully) meet your actual overarching objective--exclusion of "religion" at any cost. I would suggest Thomas Kuhn for a more encompassing, real-world appraisal of what science "is" and how it proceeds.

Sure, but until you have something testable, it's just speculation.

Which of the Interpretations of QM (Copenhagen, Everett, etc.), then, are "speculation"? Are they science?

But they were all still wrong! What kind of hubris does it take to make you think that your eyes don't lie, when everyone else's eyes do?

I think you may misunderstand my argument here. If my sense data is unreliable, then so is my perception of people around me saying they saw something else. If I do not have a basis to think my original perception was correct, I do not have a basis to think there are actually-existing people around me forming the challenge to my perception. Direct empirical perception to me is the bedrock of knowledge. If one cannot rely on that being true, one can rely on nothing being true. In fact, I would say it is, for all practical purposes, impossible for multiple people to directly observe an event and hold different stances as to what basically (perceptually) happened, without one side of the question simply lying. If this is not the case, there is no "truth", and certainly no functional science, if "observe the results of the test" is a fundamentally unreliable step in the experimental process.

Happiness is a positive cash flow.