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Comment A reason to beware (Score 1) 275

The invasion scenario is ridiculous.

Sure, they need nothing from us; but being much more highly evolved than humans, perhaps they find us revolting and/or hideous. Some humans, who are much more technologically advanced than spiders, will cheerfully spray a can of Raid to exterminate a nest of harmless spiders.

Until that scenario can be ruled out, beware.

Comment Re:Same reason we're looking for earth-like life (Score 1) 275

messages transmitted across an SQ gap of 10 points or more cannot be very meaningful.

Let's not sell ourselves short. We're capable of transmitting, say, the entire contents of Wikipedia, and that's a much bigger accomplishment than the bleating of a sheep. While a Superbeing may not be interested in receiving that transmission, it's still pretty impressive.

Comment Re:Another possibility (Score 1) 622

we usually perform experiments to learn something where we don't know the outcome. But God is omniscient

From the available evidence, I've concluded that God is likely not omniscient about future events.

It doesn't make sense that you ascribe the property of omniscience, with such certainty, to an entity that you don't even believe exists. Therefore, your lengthy post is fundamentally flawed nearly from the beginning.

then he could sit there blaming the lifeforms that emerge for being precisely what the dice he used plus the ruleset he used produced

So you believe we don't have free will; that we're merely biological billiard balls, inevitably careening down whatever path was determined by the Initial Conditions? That's depressing and demotivating.

More later, perhaps.

Comment Destiny of human remains (Score 1) 622

If our decomposed remains remain on Earth, they'll be vaporized when the sun becomes a red giant.

As far as I know, that prediction is compatible with all religions.

I choose to believe that my atoms will return and be the substance known as stars eventually.

That long-term view is a more pleasant way to put it than the short-term outlook some atheists state: "We're going to be nothing more than food for worms."

Comment Another possibility (Score 1) 622


* Jesus is God, but is evil...
* Jesus is God, but is not all powerful...
* Jesus existed but was just a man...
* Jesus is a syncretic myth...

There are some possibilities that you missed. This one, for example:

* God is a good experimentalist, and like all good experimentalists, he rarely intervenes with the way things play out in his creation/experimental system. He sits back and passively observes, for hundreds or thousands of years at a time, and Jesus is the product of "Ok, I'm tired of the dynamic that the most intelligent carbon units have gotten into; let's see what happens if I have one of them teach some ethical principles to the others."

Comment Wrong (Score 1) 492

Rational investment decisions are made on the basis of whether the risk/reward ratio is low enough. Higher capital gains taxes reduce the reward (the denominator in that ratio) as a first-order effect, and increase the risk as a second-order effect.

Buffett's folksy aphorisms are irrelevant (and in this case, wrong). There are sometimes good reasons to raise tax rates, but stimulating investment is never one of them.

Comment Rising CO2 (Score 1) 663

Given the following facts, how can you can argue that rising CO2 is bad for the environment?

* During the vast majority of Earth's history, there were no polar ice caps at all. The only reason our planet currently has ice caps is because we are still emerging from the most recent ice age. When the earth is in its "more normal" state of having no permanent ice, sea level is about 610 feet (186 meters) higher than it was 20,000 years ago, and 210 feet (64 meters) higher than it is today.

* When Antarctica iced up there was a large-scale extinction event. The creation of the Antarctic ice cap was NOT good for life.

* "Millions of years ago, Antarctica was warmer and much wetter, and supported the Antarctic flora, including forests of podocarps and southern beech." ( ) "During the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event about 34 million years ago, CO2 levels have been found to be about 760 ppm and had been decreasing from earlier levels in the thousands of ppm." ( )

* So there you have it: when life was thriving, the CO2 level was thousands of parts per million. The CO2 level in June 2015 (as humans are well along in the process of transitioning away from fossil fuels): 402 parts per million

* Also keep in mind that every species that's alive today, including polar bears, survived the comings and goings of dozens of ice ages.

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