You don't need to believe in a higher being, it is true; but you must believe in something.
Well, what are you going to replace it with? Advocates of what some call "scientism" think that science can replace value systems, like religion, when it comes to making decisions about how one should act. In the aftermath of 20th-century megalomania, Eric Hoffer called out the True Believer who, although godless, was nevertheless anything but irreligious.
Will there ever be evidence that anything at all is "good" or meaningful? There are self-styled rational people who want to help others live lives that are free of "delusion" and contribute to the "well-being" of humanity, as if those things were somehow valuable. Yet, when pressed on what exactly well-being consists of, or whether people ought to have it or not, or the point of humanity in the first place, I get the sort of make-believe these people are trying to save me from.
There is no meaning in the universe that isn't utterly make-believe. Our existence is an absurdity; nothing can be proved beyond its physical nature, and there is even a certain tenuousness about that. Perhaps the most dangerous and deluded people of all are the ones who think they are free from delusion because they haven't got religion.
Is this related to the work that Arkani Hamed and Trnka are doing with Ampletuhedrons? They have discovered a geometry that simplifies calculations and that suggests space and time might not be fundamental to physics.
I punched in TI BASIC code from the magazine pages and saved my programs on a cassette tape. I also learned some TI LOGO. That was in 1983. In '84, I remember programming in Atari BASIC in a school club.
Raptor is my favorite. Rapier seems like a downgrade for all that it's hyped as the best ship in the game...
Yeah, I just finished playing through WC 1 again. I think you're right. The game seemed so great back in the day... it got old real quick this time around, though. I finally put it into cheat mode a little over half way through so that I could pretty much read through the cut-scenes and see how it ended. Not much of an ending. Oh well, those games are a bit of history, I guess. The kids got a kick out of the "pew-pew" laser sounds at least.
I played the first Deponia. It was OK. "The Whispered World" was not bad either. Machinarium was also good. "To The Moon" was different and worth the few hours it takes to get through it.
Here's hoping GOG or Steam can get their hands on some of these old titles and re-release them.
My replacement ended up being Google Reader.
I tried Protopage. It was OK, but not as good as iGoogle.
how is wanting small, constitutionally limited government == goosestepping?
That's just something conservatives say. In reality, a government is only so limited as its military might. A powerful military is a cornerstone of American conservatism.
You are talking some fantasy world where we have billions, probably trillions of dollars to spend building out and maintaining a brand new decentralized power grid.
I concede this: That such an economy cannot be "done" to people. This would come about as an emergent system and not as some big program.
That seems like a lot of words to describe the economy that we DO have, one that responds to incentives. How could you possible incentivize spending a ton of money just to get the same thing we have now? You sound like a guy I once talked to that truly believed that the Star Trek universe, one where a monetized economy no longer exists and people do things just because it's altruistic, could actually exist.
There are more incentives in this world besides money or altruism. How about this? Imagine some catastrophe; I don't know, maybe something far-fetched like a super-storm hitting the east coast of the U.S. and knocking out power to a few million people for an extended period of time. Let's say some of these people possess some level of ingenuity and are rather inconvenienced by waiting for some utility company to restore power for them. They determine not to be caught in such a helpless condition in the future and invest considerable expense building out their own contingencies. Sure, their solution can't provide them with continuous, uninterrupted service, but at least they have some capability to take the edge off the suffering and make a bad situation more tolerable. And while they are waiting for the next rainy day, they are putting power back onto the grid.
Oh, it doesn't make a big impact at first; but suppose we take the scenario a little further along and imagine a future in which the climate regularly produces extreme weather of this nature. Who knows? It might happen in this pipe-dream fantasy world of mine. Soon enough, more and more people are wising up to this strange notion that self-sufficiency in some critical things is superior to dependency on remote systems run by experts. Madness, I know. There is a tipping point somewhere in which emergent complexity develops and your trillion-dollar problem has taken care of itself without the help of any money-pushing elites who have all the answers. It doesn't happen over night.
So you're saying you don't mind lowing power on windless days or when the sun goes down? and you don't mind having giant wind turbines in your yard or paying $15k for solar panels on your roof?
No, I'm saying small, localized generators could augment base load ubiquitously. It has nothing to do with giant wind turbines in your yard. $15k solar panels is a moot point since I am talking about a speculative economy in which such things become commodities because of their pervasiveness.
Mega-sources? You mean 'power plants'? This isn't organic farming for christ's sake. Power plants ARE local sources. You probably have one within 30 miles of where you live. I guarantee that your power is more local than the food you eat.
We have a wind farm within 30 miles, which is supplemental power, and a gas fired plant within 10 miles that is also supplemental. "Base load" comes from a coal plant some 200 miles away. When I am talking "local," I mean more local than that. Anyway, local gas and wind is already the direction I am talking about. The next step is to get more generators in homes and businesses. We could replace the coal fired plant with something more friendly to the environment since we would not require the output it provides.
Until we find a solution for base load energy like fusion or invent god-like batteries or power lines made of superconductors that cost $100 per mile, everything else is a pipe dream.
Or change the economic infrastructure to a more sensible one where areas of production and consumption are as close to coterminous as possible. That is to say, supplement with local sources and rely less on centralized mega-sources. If most people had access to ubiquitous local wind and solar generators, base load would be supplemented everywhere. It might then be possible to utilize a "new-wave" source on a larger scale for the base load that isn't so much of a base load anymore.
Ok everyone, pay attention. Here is a fine example of one kind of tactic: Reduce this day's work to a statistic and compare it to other numbers that make it look insignificant by comparison. Yes, choose things that are ridiculous (like box cutters) or that we can't do much about (like lightning or shark attacks). Break other violent statistics into smaller buckets so they look less significant and wholly unrelated to the violence at hand. Finally, fail to mention other statistics altogether. This is how you abuse statistics to support your position. It's a great for that, I guess.
Actually, unlike the cold, irrational psychopathy of those who resort to such tactics (and of those who shoot kids), most of us aren't heartless bastards.
Today, someone has left a scar on America that is unrivaled by any ever inflicted by a fool and his box cutter. This was the work of violence and hatred directed toward the innocent and defenseless and should be counted as such. People are bereaved and some of them have lost their children, friends, and relatives in a senseless massacre. At this moment, and tomorrow, and through the Holidays, and for the rest of newly saddened and darkened lives, uncounted living individuals will now suffer in ways you and I will likely never comprehend. Our statistics simply don't account for those things, and it is a mistake of the highest stupidity or most deplorable callousness to even attempt to make such trivial arguments.
Whatever one's feelings are about this very alienable right to own and carry guns, on a day such as this one it does us credit that we wish to have never invented such things.
I think you misunderstand. I do not claim that values arise from any "religiously constructed ethics frame." I understand your use of the word, "religiously," to correspond with theism. Your own arbitrary definition of the good, and your claim of "relative and interchangeable ethics," is exactly what I mean. The subjectivity of good and evil signifies that all value judgments belong in a class of make-believe and imaginary things that are not universal nor provable; the same sort of things that Mr. Dawkins, paradoxically, thinks are bad.
My point is that the quality of being religious does not necessarily entail theism. What it certainly entails is a dogmatic faith in made-up stuff, such as the insistence that something is good or bad. Mr. Dawkins might prove that religion is irrational, but then he famously marches about telling us that the world would be better off without it. He's preaching his values and envisioning a world predicated upon them. That's what religious people do.