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Comment: Re:freedom 2 b a moron (Score 1) 1051

by Millennium (#48587627) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Not wrong. Many if not most faiths include a strong element of extra-scriptural traditions of one form or another. Within Christianity, this was one of the original issues behind the schism between Protestantism and Catholicism, though nowadays many Protestant faiths have added on to their scriptural interpretations with tradition-based de facto doctrines of their own. Similar phenomena can be seen in most other faiths, and the scripture+tradition-based sects tend strongly toward being more popular than the scripture-only sects.

Why does this matter? Because for faiths like these, pointing out that there aren't find any anti-vaccination passages in scripture isn't a very compelling argument. They already get their doctrine partly (if not entirely) from other sources too, so there's plenty of room for antivax crap to slip in.

Comment: Re:Time for another Big Project (Score 1) 1051

by Millennium (#48585701) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

The problem is you are dealing with people who already refuse to participate in logical discussions.

I'm aware of that. I'm proposing a project like this precisely because we're dealing with people who refuse to use abstract logic. Give them something concrete -"we know X doesn't cause autism, because we know Y causes autism"- and most of them should cave. Even most fundamentalists will admit that the sky is not green, when you can take them outside and show them with their own eyes that it's blue.

Comment: Re:freedom 2 b a moron (Score 1) 1051

by Millennium (#48585605) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Fraudulent, eh?

Tell that to the parent of a dead child.

OK. Find me the parent of a child they claim died from the effects of a vaccine, and I'll tell them. I'll even say it to their face, if it can be arranged.

I don't think most antivaxxers are deliberately lying. I don't even think most of them are stupid or crazy (though their chosen spokesfolk certainly are). But they are mistaken: the sane ones have been duped, and the crazy ones are, well crazy. Even that wouldn't be so bad, except that it is leading them down a path that is beginning to constitute a clear and present threat to the public health. This cannot be ignored.

Comment: Re:freedom 2 b a moron (Score 4, Informative) 1051

by Millennium (#48582801) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

I don't believe it is controversial to consider vaccination 14 shots at 2 years old extreme.

Why? Excluding religion, there is no reason to believe that vaccines cause any harm: literally every study attempting to find otherwise has either failed or been proven fraudulent.

Comment: Time for another Big Project (Score 1) 1051

by Millennium (#48582759) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

I'm starting to wonder if perhaps the best thing we could do for the public health is to start a project analogous to Apollo, but for autism: massively fund studies to nail down what causes autism (and, ideally, how to cure it) within ten years.

My reasoning here has very little to do with autism itself, though finding the cause and (if possible) a cure would certainly be nice. My reasoning is that even though most antivaxxers don't find the no-proof argument ("there is literally no reason to believe that vaccines cause autism") to be compelling, most of them should find a counter-proof argument ("vaccines don't cause autism, because this other thing causes it") satisfying enough.

The nice version of the consequences of this is that most antivaxxers should finally accept that they have been duped, which should boost the voluntary vaccination rate. The not-so-nice version is that with a counter-proof in hand, it should be possible to take those parents who still believe, deem them incompetent to decide on this issue, and administer the vaccinations anyway. Either way, the vaccination rate goes back up.

Comment: Re:Four Co-workers w/ Autistic Kids from MMR Vacci (Score 2) 1051

by Millennium (#48582657) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

No, they didn't. At our current level of understanding, you can't even test for autism at the ages when the MMR vaccine is typically administered, so there is frankly no way to trace the date that quickly.

But even if you could trace the date, it wouldn't matter, because autism simply does not develop that quickly. If these children did indeed "turn autistic" within a day of receiving MMR, then the cause must have occurred weeks or even months prior: in other words, long before MMR was ever administered. There is no link here.

Comment: Re:Religious is better than philosophical? (Score 1) 1051

by Millennium (#48582533) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

The religious communities which object to vaccination also tend very strongly to isolate themselves from the public at large. For that reason, they do not present the same sort of threat to the public health that your typical antivaxxer (who typically still wants to mingle with the general public) presents. Without that threat, there is no compelling interest to violate religious freedom.

It seems to me that the real solution here is to require that if someone wishes to present a philosophical objection, they must also present a defense of the philosophy on which that objection depends. A discredited objection is not allowed to stand, and the state steps in.

Comment: Re:Old saying (Score 1) 249

by Millennium (#48308451) Attached to: New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping

Because you'd have to do it in realtime, or whatever passes for it when dealing with relativistic effects on this scale. Otherwise, microscopic shifts in the Earth's crust will soon change the slew rate, and then you're back to square one. But calculating the slew rate will inevitably take longer than one tick of the clock, so you can't do it in realtime either.

Though this property isn't entirely useless. For example, you could use two of these clocks to build extremely sensitive seismometers: first you would need to calculate their slew rate at rest, but then whenever that changed, you'd know that their relative position had changed. Then you'd have to calculate the new slew rate, to establish the new baseline, but the temporal resolution of such a device would depend only on how quickly you could do that.

Comment: Re:Tip of the iceberg (Score 1) 669

by Millennium (#48274565) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

The Bible, and even the Old Testament, paints for us a God with many sides to His personality. We see him cracking puns, playing games, quoting references, and occasionally straight-up trolling people: a far cry from the solemn graybeard that many people, believers and otherwise, like to paint Him. In some aspects, the God of the Bible isn't so different from a modern geek.

I bring this up because the verse you mention is one of the very first times that He swipes a reference, and from the serpent, no less (see Genesis 3:5). I take this to be a note of bitter sarcasm, more than anything else. He had been painted into a corner by the very system He had set up (and the work of yet another master of trolling), and the only way out was straight through. But that meant doing some things that He clearly was not happy about doing.

Comment: "GNU C compiler" versus "GNU Compiler Collection" (Score 4, Informative) 240

by Millennium (#48139983) Attached to: Fighting the Culture of 'Worse Is Better'

I don't see what a compiler's ability to do with other formats/languages has to do with a different format/language.

Ordinarily, it doesn't. But the thing is, there are two things called GCC: the GNU C compiler (which handles C) and the GNU Compiler Collection (a set of compilers which, though they share the same backend, are still separate entities).

GCC, the C compiler, cannot handle Fortran. GCC, the set of compilers, can handle it via g77 (the old compiler) or gfortran (the new one), but the C compiler can't. This is considered the traditional way of doing things.

What makes C++ different from many languages is that its maintainers insist that C++ compilers must be able to handle C code. It's not enough to have a different compiler in the set, the way GCC does: it must be doable with the C++ compiler itself, in the same application. And so g++ can do it too, because that's what the standard requires of it.

That's what makes the difference. Ordinarily, as you say, a compiler's ability to handle multiple languages shouldn't affect any of the languages in it. But C++ was defined in a way that not only makes those effects possible: it makes them mandatory.

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.