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Comment: Re:Why at a place of learning? (Score 1) 972

by Ginger Unicorn (#48261759) Attached to: Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

There's a couple of hundred prophesies about Jesus, some obvious, some you'd never realise without it being pointed out.

If they were truly prophecies about Jesus, passed down from God, you would think it would be a matter of sufficient importance that he would ensure the prophecies were unambiguous and clear. In fact, being from God, you would expect them to stand out as a slamdunk of miraculous and inexplicable prescience.

Instead you have something that looks exactly like the handwaving after-the-fact postdiction of the likes of astrology and the quatrains of Nostradamus.

Why couldn't God do better than those deluded fallible humans? Because the bible was written by deluded fallible humans, and the God described in it is their invention. It's just so clear and obvious to someone without a pre-determined conclusion. Don't wheel in a load of special pleading and rationalisation. Don't load yourself up with all this cognitive dissonance.

We wouldn't have those expectations (omnipotent, omnisicient, loving) without the Bible telling us that's what God it like.

That's putting the cart before the horse. The only source material you have to base any of your expectations on is the Bible. If you're going to be reasonable and rational, you have to be able to trust what the Bible says. If the bible is demonstrably unreliable you just can't do that.

It goes double if the bible purports to be an expression of omniscience and infallible integrity. Any demonstrated shakiness or holes in the story immediately puts the lie to the entire premise. Given it's claims, the bible needs to be an awe-inspiring paragon of resplendent perfection. But it's not be any stretch. It's a mostly tedious and sketchy hodge podge of confusing inconsistent mythology, patched together over hundreds of years in several acts of historical revisionism aimed at wedding different religions together to maintain social stability.

God doesn't conform to our expectations or predetermined conclusions.

That shouldn't be used as a critical thinking ejector seat. Once you do that you're lost forever in the story, because then absolutely no amount of logical inconsistency, hypocrisy and self-contradiction can slap you in the face hard enough to wake you up to the fact that all of it is quite obviously the ad-hoc conglomeration of the imagination of several disparate groups of humans.

Say that I wrote a book about how I was the creator of the universe and I rebuffed any questioning of the veracity of claims by saying that it all makes sense, it's just that whenever it seems like doesn't, it means people aren't capable of understanding it, but that you should just trust me anyway. Given that situation, if you applied the level of rigour to which you hold the bible, you would be just a justified in believing my half-assed story as you would the bible.

Comment: Re:Why at a place of learning? (Score 1) 972

The "all the rules change when Jesus shows up" rationalisation does nothing to explain away why any of these ludicrous and ethically reprehensible rules were applied initially. It doesn't matter how you grease the cognitive dissonance. If you look at the bible with an open mind, asking the question "is this book the ineffable word of an omnipotent, omniscient and all loving supreme being?" you see that it's clearly not. Looked at with a genuinely neutral, open-mind and rational pair of eyes, it is so obviously an ad-hoc conglomeration of often unrelated and incompatible myths and folklore, about which there is fairly decent explanation of the history of where all the bits came from and how they were brought together.

If you look at the bible with a predetermined conclusion that is must be the word of that supreme being, and ask the question "what laundry list of post-hoc explanations do I need to memorise so that I can keep squinting at it in just the right way that I can convince myself none of the glaring inconsistencies are there?" you can, along with absolutely any other fantasy, keep yourself trapped in the delusion for as long as you like.

Comment: Re: Missing option (Score 1) 219

by Ginger Unicorn (#48167143) Attached to: When will the first successful manned Mars mission happen?

The only objective meaning of life is to procreate and continue one's own genetic legacy.

I would argue that that's not a meaning, but just a necessity of the process.

It seems to me that meaning is always subjective. It's an arbitrary value judgement based on the factors that feel significant to the person ascribing it. You could argue that the closest you could get to an objective meaning is if you got every conscious entity in the universe to all agree to something, but I don't think even that would be technically true.

If there were no conscious entities in the universe, there would be no meaning, because there would be no one for anything to mean anything to. Unconscious life could carry on indefinitely in a meaningless universe.

Comment: Re:It's always been a myth (Score 1) 239

by Ginger Unicorn (#48148673) Attached to: How Women Became Gamers Through D&D

This depends on what people mean when they says "gamers". Speaking as someone who owns a shop that sells Tabletop games like Warhammer, Magic the Gathering, D&D etc, men outnumber women about 20 to 1. But then the reverse is probably true for stuff like Candy Crush on facebook. But lumping all that stuff together under the umbrella term "gamers" paints a gigantic gloss stroke over some significant differences. There is a big divide between the stuff that involves "being a geek" and stuff like facebook games that don't. Anything that involves "being a geek" has a drastic preponderance of men. Obsessing over made-up fantasy worlds, and taking fanciful nonsense incredibly seriously, aggressively competing to establish prowess. That is apparently (whether it be cultural or not) mostly male behaviour.

I have no axe to grind, I would make twice as much money if more women were into this stuff too. But the reality is, in this large region under the umbrella group of "gamers" barely any of them are. I don't think it makes sense to lump all kinds of gaming together, as it is far from homogeneous.

Comment: Re:Snowden (Score 1) 228

by Ginger Unicorn (#48121781) Attached to: Core Secrets: NSA Saboteurs In China and Germany
but each time they are "revealed" after the first two or three just sounds like repetitive droning that no one pays attention to. If everyone let it slide as "the NSA need to be allowed to lie" after the first few, that isn't going to change after the thousandth muted bleat from the distant back-row of reported news 15 years later.

Comment: Re:Linux games (Score 1) 114

by Ginger Unicorn (#48071879) Attached to: Linux 3.17 Kernel Released With Xbox One Controller Support

There's another way of thinking about it. When people say there are "no games" for a system, they mean no games that they care about. If you had a system that only had the 200 top selling titles on it and nothing else, the feeling among the general population wouldn't really be that there were no games for it.

When linux has ports of the vast majority of the top selling PC titles, then people will stop saying there are no games for it, irrespective of the size of the long tail of guff no one cares about and creative/interesting indie games that the general population haven't heard of.

Personally I see more value in the creative/interesting indie games. Unfortunately if they're not in the public consciousness, their mean contribution drops off a cliff in terms of Linux adoption/perception as a gaming platform.

Comment: Re: Speaking for myself (Score 1) 320

by Ginger Unicorn (#48067311) Attached to: The Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons Is Dead
I remember watching those cartoons being re-aired in the 80s, I found them tedious. Likewise any hanna-barbera stuff. I loved all the warner bros stuff and tom & Jerry, etc from the 40s & 50s though. In retrospect the glorified action figure advertisements that I grew up on like he-man, transformers, thundercats, turtles were all probably crap. Mysterious Cities of Gold is probably still quite good.

Comment: Re: No alternative system is available ? (Score 1) 145

by Ginger Unicorn (#48045555) Attached to: UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure
you can't renew any earlier than two weeks in advance. I normally do it at the last minute and drive around without the disc for a couple of days. The police round here don't care, they can check to see if you've paid. Technically you can get fined for not displaying, but the police don't really care about the piddling crap - it's just more work for them.

Comment: Re:Just as long as it's not XK-class. (Score 4, Interesting) 145

by Ginger Unicorn (#47878743) Attached to: X-Class Solar Flare Coming Friday
There's a recent Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast where Phil Plait explained exactly what impact a big CME would have on the grid, and I think he said that there are some very large transformers that would be destroyed and would take 5 to 10 years to replace due to there being nowhere tooled up to replace them. I think he said this would mean large chunks of the grid without power for that timespan.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.