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Comment: Re:It's also nonscience because it leads nowhere (Score 1) 989

by JDSalinger (#33035054) Attached to: Louisiana, Intelligent Design, and Science Classes
You claim that "if you want morals, then you have to include religion." but you provide no logical backing for this grand statement. You ask "But whose ethics and morality?" Adding religion to the mix does not help you figure out "whose ethics and morality". Each religion and each denomination of religion will give differing views of morality.

You try to make a plea to authority by bringing the "founding fathers" into the discussion. Fortunately we have made great moral progress since their times. Do you realize that women have only had the right to vote for less than less 100 years in America? WOW. This is contrary to the line of morale thinking in 1 Corinthians Chapter 14, "As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." Thank goodness we have transcended religious morality in favor of a more righteous and intuitively humanistic one. These types of examples are near endless.

It's true that some things one can't help but be ambivalent about. Intellectual honesty demands that we see both sides of the abortion, euthenasia, capital punishment, and health care debates (etc...). But we don't consult ancient books full of superstition to get towards a better world. We get there through the hard-fought extrapolation of compassion and love.

Comment: Re:It's also nonscience because it leads nowhere (Score 1) 989

by JDSalinger (#33034628) Attached to: Louisiana, Intelligent Design, and Science Classes
Great post. I agree with your points for the most part, though I do think the "there's not enough time to teach religion" point is valid to a degree. I guess what we are arguing is where in the middle ground things actually fall. Do you teach people about Christianity strictly by discussing their traditions and the history of their actions or do you study the New and Old Testaments thoroughly? For me, the details of this discussion matter, because I can agree with your point that it is practically important to understand other cultures and beliefs, but I think it is an atrocious use of tax money and a misleading waste of time to spend more than minimal time on each of the (theoretically) infinite number of religions.

Comment: Re:It's also nonscience because it leads nowhere (Score 4, Insightful) 989

by JDSalinger (#33031894) Attached to: Louisiana, Intelligent Design, and Science Classes
Why should we have classes on religions? Discussing ethics and morality is obviously of paramount importance, while adding dogma to this discourse is not. Should there be entire classes on Scientology and ancient religions or just the ones you personally think contain validity? The graveyard of dead deities we call mythology are gods and religions that people once took as seriously as you do in your religion. It is 2010. The majority of intelligent people are just being polite and trying to not to hurt religious peoples' feelings at this point.

Comment: Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

by JDSalinger (#32462114) Attached to: J. P. Barlow — Internet Has Broken the Political System
We need scientists analyzing data from space and designing lab experiments, not because they are superior human beings, but because they are well-informed and contained in their jurisdiction. Likewise, anyone making a decision that affects global economics, should be well-informed about global economics. The same goes with alternative energy and the need for scientists/engineers to be tightly knitted into the decision making process of this realm.

For the record, I do not consider myself informed enough to make almost any of the necessarily scrutable decisions we are tasked to make as a society. Utilizing our people's strengths is wise. Making uninformed people powerful, the opposite.

Comment: Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 1) 773

by JDSalinger (#32460904) Attached to: J. P. Barlow — Internet Has Broken the Political System
It is far from aristocracy.

We need scientists analyzing data from space and designing lab experiments, not because they are superior human beings, but because they are well-informed and contained in their jurisdiction. Likewise, anyone making a decision that affects global economics, should be well-informed about global economics. The same goes with alternative energy and the need for scientists/engineers to be tightly knitted into the decision making process of this realm.

For the record, I do not consider myself informed enough to make almost any of the necessarily scrutable decisions we are tasked to make as a society. Utilizing our people's strengths is wise. Making uninformed people powerful is unwise.

Comment: Re:Broken? More like fixed. (Score 4, Insightful) 773

by JDSalinger (#32460530) Attached to: J. P. Barlow — Internet Has Broken the Political System
I mostly agree, but local positions can vary unnacceptably. People of all sorts of dogma take over areas and try to handle their local "issues". There needs to be accounting for local variation and their needs/desires, but overarching, fair rules need to be handed down through the monolith that we call government.

How do we make sure the monolith is moral and fair to all? We need smart people making decisions. We need as much transparency as possible. The internet helps with transparency, but the plethora of info creates a burdensomely low signal to noise ratio. There are too many charlatans and agenda-driven salesmen telling us what the news is. What is the solution? Having smart, well-informed people make the important, big decisions. How do we make that happen?

Comment: Go technology go! (Score 3, Insightful) 61

by JDSalinger (#32297646) Attached to: Mars Rover Opportunity Sets Longevity Record
Feats like the Mars Rovers show us that our space-engineering prowess is not only continuing to mature, but indeed getting quite robust. From this one mission alone, how much have we learned about vehicle design for dealing with the Martian environment?

And with yesterday's announcement of the creation of synthetic life, we are obviously on the edge of new breath-taking scientific ability. When will we be able to start creating custom bacteria to begin terra-forming mars? I know there is no way to predict the future, but the potential for change in our life-times is mind-blowing. As an anxious futurist, all I can say is "Go technology go!"

Comment: Progress!!! (Score 1) 468

by JDSalinger (#32267150) Attached to: UC Berkeley Asking Incoming Students For DNA
I disagree strongly. I think we need a more open approach to genetic data-mining. People should be cautious with their private information, but we have a ridiculous amount of progress to be had in the world of understanding our genetics. Giving, ostensibly, a knee-jerk reaction to any sort of use of genetic understanding and widespread data collaboration is the opposite of help.

Privacy is important. Voluntary sharing is important as well.

Comment: This research is phenomal! (Score 5, Informative) 145

by JDSalinger (#32258742) Attached to: Researchers Restore Youthful Memory In Aging Mice
My grandmother slowly died of Alzheimer's and it could not have been a sadder thing to witness. Bias fully admitted, I can't help but say... Alzheimer's is the 7th leading cause of death and it afflicts 19% of people aged 75-84 and over 40% of people over 84. If we care about our elders and we care about the shoes we will one day fill, we should all help raise awareness and put our spare money and time to good use.

The toll of Alzheimer's on America is estimated at about $100 billion per year. If only we could convince Congress of the simple truth, that this sort of basic research will completely pay for itself in the long run and do wonders for humanity. Unfortunately, we can't depend on someone else to pay for this knowledge and progress. We must all pitch in what we can and help keep this sort of research as well funded as possible.

www.alz.org is a great organization if you have money to donate. Or you can easily start a "Memory Walk" team to go out for a charity walk to raise money and awareness. Plus, can't we all use a good excuse to enjoy a nice day in the sun and have fun with friends and family?

Comment: Government has nothing to do with Christianity... (Score 1) 857

by JDSalinger (#32241226) Attached to: California Moves To Block Texas' Textbook Changes
To try to find connections between the Bible and modern government is ludicrous. Take this moment and read a random page out of Leviticus. Try not to laugh out of discomfort. Old Testament not your thing? The New Testament never condemns slavery and actually tells you how to keep slaves. The South was on the winning side of the theological argument for slavery.

Furthermore, to quote Sam Harris... "I've read the books. God is not a moderate. There's no place in the books where God says, 'You know, when you get to the New World and you develop your three branches of government and you have a civil society, you can just jettison all the barbarism I recommended in the first books.'"

Why do people still believe in Christianity? It is 2010. Must we propagate this insanity any further? All the sane people need to keep standing up and being heard.

Comment: Scary indeed! (Score 4, Informative) 140

by JDSalinger (#32075456) Attached to: St. Louis Museum Offers Thrills, Chills, and Lawsuits
I have climbed through their jungle gym and I must say it is quite scary. You definitely feel right on the edge of safe. Yet it stands out like no other "museum" I've been to. As such, it is quite provocative and truly unique, but contains minimal content and only satiates perhaps an hour of curiosity.

Comment: Philosophical Dilemma (Score 2, Interesting) 543

by JDSalinger (#32072604) Attached to: How Old Is the Oldest Computer You Regularly Use?
This reminds me of the philosophical dilemmas with the question of identity.

Consider a boat that is sailing around the world. Each time something on the boat needs replacing, it gets replaced, over a long period of time. Imagine that someone was following the boat around, collecting each and every piece that had gotten replaced. Now, that person rebuilds the entire boat out of all the old pieces. Which boat is THE boat?

All along, you would consider the real boat to be the one that had its parts slowly replaced, but is it? If you change even one thing about an item, is it something new and original? Does it have a new identity and starting point in time?

Comment: We don't need any more priests!! (Score 2, Insightful) 286

by JDSalinger (#32072400) Attached to: Church Turns To Facebook To Find Priests
I like this quote from Sam Harris... "I've read the books. God is not a moderate. There's no place in the books where God says, 'You know, when you get to the New World and you develop your three branches of government and you have a civil society, you can just jettison all the barbarism I recommended in the first books.'"

Why do people still believe in Christianity? It is 2010. Must we propagate this insanity any further?

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