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Comment: Told before? (Score 0) 589

by J_Omega (#31017450) Attached to: Dune Remake Could Mean 3D Sandworms

I like the idea of exploring the rise and fall of a messiah and how his life and teachings become twisted by his followers. I'm sure this sort of tale has been told before but Dune is the first time I encountered it.

The oldest version of this story that I know of is in a book called the "New Testament." The tale is STILL being twisted by its adherents, 2000 years after its 1st edition. FWIW, I still prefer the Dune stories, though I can't say I am much of a follower there either.

Comment: "us" = the human race (Score 1) 233

by J_Omega (#30683416) Attached to: Aboriginal Folklore Leads To Meteorite Crater
I'm guessing that is what the parent meant.

There really is not much GENETIC difference between all of those tribes of people.

From what I understand (citation needed,) homo-sapiens grew out of a very small breeding population - only several hundred individuals - while still on the plains of Africa. The exodus ~70k years ago did cause certain physical traits to come into dominance or fade for the various tribes, but the genetics didn't really change that much over those 70k years. It seems that today's chimpanzees are *much* more genetically diverse than today's humans are. (Chimps all look the same to me, but I am a known specie-ist.)

Point being - "us" is Berber, Inuit, Norwegian, Ainu, Zulu, /.-er, etc. We are VERY CLOSE to being identical to each other - individually AND collectively.

Comment: Re:"Playing Nice" is Not Considered a Virtue (Score 5, Insightful) 736

by J_Omega (#30593972) Attached to: Why Do So Many Terrorists Have Engineering Degrees
I hate to say the following for two reasons. 1) it is a stereotype of my own design, and 2) I am an engineer.

Engineers are ALWAYS right. ALWAYS. Even when (especially when?) something is clearly opinion based.

Ask a non-eng what their favorite color is, you get a simple answer.
Ask an eng the same, you get an answer PLUS reasons why it is superior to other colors.

As I said, I am an engineer. It was only after I noticed behavior like this in other engs that I noticed it in myself as well.
I don't like having that trait (flaw?) and have had to make a conscious effort to be less judgmental. (Yet remaining critical.)

So, yeah, as RobotRunAmok pointed out - engs tend to think/say "Right is right - AND I'M RIGHT" even when it isn't a correct/incorrect discussion, sometimes when they are clearly incorrect (they defend what they've said, clearly wrong.)

Also, and again this is something that I've caught myself doing, is that these personality types can and do play the Devil's Advocate rather well - up to a point. There is a difference between seeing the other side of a discussion and being contrarian for the sake of "being right."

The above may not be worded all that well, but I need my morning coffee. Besides, it hardly matters if you disagree with me, since I KNOW that I am correct.

Comment: Not faith - belief (Score 3, Informative) 575

by J_Omega (#30220548) Attached to: New Theory of Gravity Decouples Space & Time
Faith is belief in something for which there is no proof or even strong evidence. Faith is generally applied only to spirituality, and it should be so according to the definition. For example, I don't need faith to believe that the Yankees won the World Series this year - there IS evidence for that. I do believe that they won BECAUSE of the evidence.

You do NOT need faith to believe that the universe is anything. Ordered, structured, causal, etc. A good scientist believes these things because there is evidence of order, causality, etc.

To not have faith is to not believe in something for which there is no evidence.

One does not need faith to look forward to the future doing something chaotic because of the belief (through prior observation) that those kind of things (earth turning into a carnivore butterfly) just does not happen.

Science and faith are NOT intrinsically linked. Science and belief ARE. Science and faith are two completely separate things.

Comment: Re:Keep It Simple (Score 1) 721

by J_Omega (#30098076) Attached to: Vatican Debates Possibility of Alien Life

Can any of us imagine a Holy book being delivered two thousand years ago that babbled about relativity, the Higg"s Boson or multi dimensional universes?

I can. True, no one would have a clue as to what it meant at the time, but if the bible stated (as YouTube user FA quipped:)
"Verily, I say unto thee, that thine energy is as thine mass times the speed of light multiplied unto itself."
... well, I'd find THAT pretty impressive.

I'd much rather that Moses (or Aaron, whatever,) gave us the "Book of Circles" which contained 3.14159....... out to one million places. Or e. Or Newtonian physics. ANYTHING of that sort, that had nothing prior like it yet could be later shown to be (close enough to) correct and pragmatically useful would instill some faith in me.

Comment: Re:The problem with religion (Score 1) 721

by J_Omega (#30097978) Attached to: Vatican Debates Possibility of Alien Life

A biblical reference to the "four corners of the earth" doesn't mean that the earth literally has four corners (i.e. it's flat). A biblical reference to God making man in his own image doesn't mean that the god they worship literally looks like we do.

Generally, yes it does - see the previous issues with Gaileo, Darwin, etc. Literal interpretation is THE biggest issue for religious thought. When you start to question "holy" scripture (7 days, four corners, Adam/Eve in god's image, flood, etc.,) you open the possibility that the OTHER stuff might also not be literal.

Well, what stuff is that and who gets to decide? Perhaps "son of god" and "saviour of all mankind" isn't literal anymore. Nor is "god's kindom" or "hell" or ...

(which I'm fine with. I think it all to be spiritual snake-oil.)

Comment: Re:Ah, Uracil! (Score 1) 264

by J_Omega (#30041740) Attached to: NASA Reproduces a Building Block of Life In the Lab
It seems that evolution is, in fact, a fact.
Much like: the sky is blue, the sun gives off light/heat, gravity keeps us planted to the earth.

The theory of evolution - the process by which evolution occurs - is a theory.
(much like we have theories for how gravity works.)

That evolution occurs is factual - we've seen it happen both naturally and in the lab.
The exact processes that cause it are somewhat (but not very) debatable.

Make it right before you make it faster.