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Comment: It's not pandering -- it's rejection. (Score 4, Insightful) 605

by fyngyrz (#48273705) Attached to: Tim Cook: "I'm Proud To Be Gay"

the 'proud' crap is just pandering to a demographic

You're entirely missing the point. There are many people who feel that gay == shameful, the direct implication being that they want gay folk to feel ashamed. Proud is an in-their-face declaration that they are not ashamed.

That's all it is.

It's the same for any aspect of life for which there are detractors; some people think geekery is a bad thing; hence "geek and proud." Some people think prostitution is a bad thing; hence "sex worker and proud", and so on for a long list of "your prejudices do not define me" issues.

It's a very natural -- and correct -- reaction to a society where people are encouraged to coerce others into specific behavioral channels without regard for the consent or interest of those others.

Comment: How? Hope n' Change, that's how. (Score 0, Troll) 173

by dfenstrate (#48268853) Attached to: Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records

How can the Americans allow their government to turn so rogue, so fast ?

We voted an incompetent, populist demagogue to be President. Then a sycophantic press covered for his failures & malfeasance for his entire first term, and called anyone who dared criticize the president 'racist.'

The republic can survive Obama. He is just one man. The republic cannot long survive a citizenry that would vote for Obama. He set his sights out to fundamentally change the United States, and he's doing that- but it's change for the worse. Hopefully our fellow citizens can learn from the experience.

\Cue angry responses from an unrepentant Obama voters and 'flame-bait' downmods.

Comment: Re:Haleluja ... (Score 1) 637

by ConceptJunkie (#48263093) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

The question was ignorant, as two minutes of Googling would show. However, to respond in such a brusque way without offering an explanation is just lazy and rude:

The Pope's proclamations are only considered infallible when speaking "ex cathedra", in other words from the Chair of St. Peter, in his role as the apostolic leader of the whole Church, in communion and in agreement with the bishops of the world, on matters of faith and morals.

Papal infallibility as described here has been invoked exactly twice in all of Church history, in both cases to officially declare doctrine that had already been universally agreed and believed by Catholics for centuries: The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Doctrine of the Assumption of Mary.

Other than in his official capacity as the Vicar of Christ, the Pope's pronouncements are no more "infallible" than anyone else's, although one should expect that when he's talking about Catholic Doctrine, he would (or at least should) know what he's talking about.

This declaration is not news to anyone who knows anything about Catholic teaching. Pope John-Paul II said much the same thing, and the idea of evolution of life was hypothesized as far back as St. Augustine (and probably earlier... I bet the Greeks considered it). The nature of a logical and objective universe being the creation of God has always been consistent with Catholic teaching. Just read Thomas Aquinas. However, given how poorly Catholic teaching is understood, even among Catholics, and how much the Bible literalists and other fundamentalists have distorted the "common wisdom" of what Christians actually believe (especially in the U.S.), it is useful for His Holiness to point this out.

Comment: Re:So "Truth" depends on popularity? (Score 1) 637

by ConceptJunkie (#48262965) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

I think the important point here is that the Pope is making clear that the theory of evolution and of the Big Bang as currently understood do not contradict Catholic teaching. In fact, LeMaitre was considering Einstein's equations with an eye towards the idea of how they jibe with the idea of God creating the universe when he figured out the new interpretation of what the equations could be saying about the origins of the universe. Einstein himself had always considered the Universe to be in a steady-state.

I agree that this is a non-story, but given the general ignorance of people about Catholic teaching, including most Catholics, and the way the debate has been grotesquely skewed because of the objectively anti-science Protestants (e.g., the Bible literalists and other fundamentalists), especially in the United States, while it is not news for the knowledgeable among us, it is likely to be news for the average person.

Comment: Re:Only YEC denies it (Score 1) 637

by Mr. Slippery (#48261853) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

The Big Bang states that the Universe gave birth to itself, and by implication gave birth to any gods or other form of Deity that may be around today.

No, it doesn't. You might want to read up on the origins of the Big Bang theory, and the Catholic guy who invented it. It's entirely possible to believe that a being outside the space-time continuum created our universe with a bang -- or laid an egg which hatched, or farted or sneezed out the Cosmos.

I don't accept any of these theories, mind, but there's nothing directly contradictory about believing in a creator outside the continuum created in the Big Bang; indeed that's what some multiverse theories (e.g., black hole cosmology) amount to, though of course they're not speaking of a conscious creator.

Comment: Re:Haleluja ... (Score 1) 637

by Mr. Slippery (#48261711) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

But physicalism is indeed far to limited a model for observable reality.

Howso? You speak of "intelligence" and "consciousness", but the behavior I see of humans and other animals is quite adequately explained by a physicalist, neurological explanation. Sensory transducers tickle certain nerves, via the network of the nervous system other nerves fire in a chain and eventually make muscles move (or gland secrete or whatever). That these muscle movements in a human being sometime hit keyboard keys to spell out "I am a conscious being!", or cause complex vocalizations, is fundamentally no more mysterious than any other observable behavior of an organism with a brain.

Does this objective account explain my own subjective internal experience of life? The question is meaningless -- no set of observations of the external, objective universe have bearing on my internal, subjective experience. And if other beings have internal, subjective experiences, they are by definition not part of the external, objective, observable universe, and it's a fallacy to seek explanations of the unobservable in the observable. Indeed it seems a fallacy to seek explanations (in the causal sense) of the unobservable at all...

Comment: The "atheism engenders murder" fallacy (Score 1) 976

by fyngyrz (#48255953) Attached to: Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Stalin and Mao found no ideas in atheism -- lack of belief in a god or gods -- that led them to kill anyone. This simply because there are no such ideas. Atheism has no dogma, no canon, no nothing. The state of atheism consists of a lack of belief in a god or gods, and nothing else. Consequently, ideas like "kill some number of people" by definition come from another source. And in particular:

Stalin and Mao were psychopaths (crackpots, frankly), and that is where you want to look to find out what drove them to kill. Whatever you find, it is an absolute certainty it won't be atheism.

However, the crusades were, in fact, driven to a significant extent specifically by theist reasoning, canon and dogma. As were the murders and tortures perpetrated during the inquisitions, the witch-hunts and subsequent burnings, blood libel, and pogroms, many events such as the 9/11 incidents, various wars, as well as the lesser but still despicable centuries of subjugation of women, repression of sexuality, interference with relationships and legislation, social ostracism, and so on.

I will also say that theist thought has also been the prime motivator for a massive amount of great art in many forms -- sculpture, paintings, architecture, music and a whole host of various other artifacts, and when charity and compassion are foremost and the compulsion to impose belief is absent or at least minimal, theism is at its absolute best at doing little to no harm while doing extensive good. This does not, in any way, say that we should forget, or forgive, or ignore, the many evils done in the past, being done now, and those impending, in the cause of theism.

So you want to be very careful before you go waving Stalin and Mao around as examples of atheism causing problems, or, as a counter to the historical fact of the murders committed directly for the (various) causes of religion . Atheism providing a rationale to harm others is not the reality. It's never been the reality. Claiming it is the reality is either disingenuous or ignorant.

Comment: Re:NSA Indexing (Score 1) 144

by Mr. Slippery (#48254207) Attached to: OneDrive Delivers Unlimited Cloud Storage To Office 365 Subscribers

I'm completely harmless. I'm a married middle class worker who pays his taxes and has no interest in harming anyone.

Same could be said of most of the Japanese-Americans whom the federal government put in concentration camps during WWII.

Innocence and harmlessness are no protection when governments go bad.

Comment: Re:Why would I use it? (Score 1) 629

by Mr. Slippery (#48252595) Attached to: Why CurrentC Will Beat Out Apple Pay

Why would I use it?

Because merchants are probably going to start charging you a fee to use your credit card. They may hide it by jacking up prices then offer a "CurrentC discount" or something (sort of like the so-called "cash discount" at the gas station), since it's still tricky to charge a CC fee, but merchants are getting reamed and are trying hard to find a way to stop it. Where do you think that cash back on your Visa card comes from?

Comment: Re:What are you talking about Willis? (Score 1) 232

by Mr. Slippery (#48247477) Attached to: Ex-CBS Reporter Claims Government Agency Bugged Her Computer

It's a prison where horrible things had to happen to prevent ever more horrible things from happening.

It's a prison where people did horrible things and tried to excuse them by saying they had to, in order to prevent ever more horrible things from happening, but in reality prompted yet more horrible things. See political martyr, and please stop believing that you put out a fire by pouring more fuel on it, or stop horrors by committing more horrors.

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.

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