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Comment Re:Why animals can't be given human rights. (Score 1) 168 168

everybody that can have offspring with us so no goats, no horses, no rabits, and also no apes, pretty easy definition of same specie animal

Only creationists cling to that definition. Evolution killed it dead.
The problem is that change occurs gradually. The common ancestors of you and a cat could certainly interbreed. And so could their offspring, for a long while, until at first you had individuals that were different enough that they couldn't, although most could, and then twogroups that were incompatible, although both could interbreed with a third one, and eventually, all individuals that could interbreed had died off. But what's the exact point where there were two species?

To get the pre-evolution "interbreed" criterion to work, you have to define a proto-species. One individual that is who everyone else is measured against. Otherwise, you wlll run into the problem where your Nth cousin on one side can breed with individuals that you cannot. Where does the line go then?
But by defining a proto-species, you also end up with individuals and groups that will belong to multiple species, because they're midway between the two.

Look at lions and tigers. One variety of tiger can interbreed with lions and create viable offspring, while others cannot. Yet the different types of tigers can interbreed. So our division into species for lions and tigers is not based on breeding.

Your biological parents certainly could breed - there's sad evidence for that. So could their parents. And so on, back through time, back to the common ancestor of you and a chimp. It's a gradual change. Making pigeonholes you can place each individual in is pretty much impossible unless you're prepared to say that your parents were a different species.

We are not good at thinking gradually, alas. We want to classify and group things, to make things simpler. But it's as futile as trying to define where one cloud ends and another one begins. It will always be arbitrary, and subject to change over time.

Comment Re:Why animals can't be given human rights. (Score 1) 168 168

Look, we have one distinct species we consider human.

But the question is how do you define it?

"Species" is a construct to make it easier for us. We like to classify things. We probably have a brain that favors classifying things. We certainly have brains that favor "us" versus "them". But there really is no such thing as "species" - it's just a convenient lie.

The old rule, "can breed with and produce viable offspring" does not work - evolution killed it. Species that cannot interbreed have a common ancestor, That logically kills that definition (and most others, like your attempt to define humans using human as part of the definition - a classic begging the question).

All living things on earth are related. There are no precise boundaries between "species". Our parents differs slightly from us, and our grandparents even more We may classify our great-N-grandparent or Nth cousin a different species, but we have no rules for saying that our great-N-grandparent was a different species while our great-N-1-grandparent wasn't.

There is currently no objective rule that can say whether someone is or was human or not. Any such rule will either include what we consider other species or exclude some who we consider people. And most certainly, it won't stand the test of time, as we evolve into something we of today surely would call a different species.

I think we need to move beyond our propensity for pigeon-holing, and accept a gradient way of thinking, without boundaries, but degrees of similarity.
I'm very similar to my father, but less so to my ancestor 10,000 years ago, and very dissimilar to my ancestor a million years ago. There's no point in saying who was "human" - it was mostly a gradual change, with a little bit of hybridization throw in at times. I can't point to one of my ancestors and declare that he wasn't human, but his son was. But I can say how much they differed from me. That's useful. Making rules we cannot logically defend isn't.

Comment Re:French cowards (Score 1) 289 289

Where the hell do you get your history "knowledge" from?

Where does that "US invests in Germany" story come from? The US propped its economy up for another ten years with the money flowing in from Europe and the shit hit the fan a decade belatedly, but investment certainly was not the name of the game of the time. The money was mostly used to fund the bubble that popped in 1929 because there was simply nobody abroad that could actually serve as a demand for all the junk the US pumped out (in case this sounds familiar, well, history repeats itself).

But that was not even the main reason for the rise of the national socialists. The economy crisis itself (that started pretty much right after the war in Germany and most of the rest of Europe to a lesser degree) was even a minor reason. The main reason was the feeling of unfair treatment and the thirst for revenge.

George Clemeceau was the driving force behind the "crippling" of Germany. His idea was that a Germany that cannot wage war will secure France's eastern border. So his goal for the peace between Germany and France after WW1 was to ruin Germany. On the outside, that plan is solid: A country with no money, no political power and no military power is no threat.

What he didn't take into account was that a country that you abuse to the point of breaking will resist this treatment. Especially when the general feeling is that this treatment is not deserved.

The first reason for this was the front line at the end of WW1. When you look at the front line between Germany and France, you will notice that by the time the armistice was called, the front line was actually well within the territory of France. From the point of view of a German soldier, there was no obvious reason that they lost. Hell, we won territory! We ain't the losers here! And certainly not losers that deserve to be crippled in such a way!

Well, you also should take into account that a century ago, waging war was not an "evil" thing. War was, quite literally, just politics with other means. And it was seen as such. Wars also never had that kind of dimension before. War was something where two countries fight, after a while they settle, some territory changes hands and everyone moves on. That's what wars were like 'til then. The idea that wars end governments was pretty new then. But this just as a side note.

The army still standing rather deep in enemy territory when the armistice was signed and the "unfair" treatment by the French quickly led to the Dolchstosslegende, the myth that the German army was not really beaten but that it was assassinated by a stab in the back by ... well, insert you favorite internal enemy here. Jews, socialists, old government, pick your favorite scapegoat.

Combine this now with a peace that doesn't aim at peace but at crippling the country losing the battle and you probably find out why this is a breeding ground for radical ideologies. And we learned our lesson here. Any country you try to neutralize by ruining it will do anything to shake off those shackles. No matter the cost.

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 1) 100 100

So you're saying that even with uber-militarized police nothing can be done about gangs?

Of course something can be done. But it's politically incorrect to do so. The most violent gangs are thick with illegal aliens from Central America. The leftier side of US politics really wants to be able to take legal Latino votes for granted. So they angle for policies that do everything possible to avoid ruffling feathers in that area ... including giving sanctuary to people who end up being enforcers for MS13, etc.

To deal with gangs like that, you have to actually arrest people and then once they're in prison, actually keep them there. We don't do nearly enough of that - the revolving door has those guys right back in action after short terms, and their habits of recruiting minors for a lot of their dirty work means little or no jail time for a big part of their operations. If they're deported, they just show right back up because we have a completely porous, unenforced border. That's only true because the federal government isn't bothering to do one of its main missions (controlling the border), and that is a 100% political problem. The existence and violent toxicity of powerful, organized, nation-wide gangs (like MS13) in the US is then left to local law enforcement to deal with.

So yes, when they move to deal with a place known to be protected by a bunch of MS13 soldiers, you better believe they want to show up with heavy equipment. Would you bring a nightstick to arrest a bunch of MS13 enforcers who consider killing police officers, cartel-style, to be a sport and a point of pride?

But none of that has to happen. Controlling the border and not tolerating tens of millions of illegals in a shadowy cash economy rife with internal, organized crime - it's a matter of political will. But because there are politicians who are too timid to talk plainly about it, and who would rather play identity politics in a craven hunt for votes, we have a system that perpetuates rather than addresses the problem. And the local cops get to risk their necks as a result. If I were in that line of work, yeah, I'd want an armored car when serving warrants, too.

Comment Re:If I could abort child, I can do ANYTHING (Score 1) 316 316

What's the harm of sending them in to buy booze and smokes? Letting them partake would be harmful, and just smoking around them has proven to be harmful, but just buying them? If you're going to take kids away from their parents I want good solid reasons why the behavior is harming the kids.

Comment Re:Here's a thought... (Score 1) 316 316

Freedom of association, to the extreme you make it, has been proven to cause great unfairness and social problems. If you're running a business, you are legally prohibited from not hiring a person or not serving a person because of race.

Also, in the real world (i.e., ground level and up), you do not get a chance to convince landlords and employers that your Internet record is misleading. They discard your application and/or resume without talking to you.

Comment Re:Why Fight It? (Score 1) 132 132

Yeah, but I found the urban legend offensive. The fact that GGP thought I might be influenced by a stupid made-up story that would be obviously irrelevant anyway is an insult to my intelligence. If you're going to lie to try to convince me of something, give me a little credit and make it a plausible lie.

Comment Re:awkward! (Score 1) 180 180

So? I referred to people who are crucial in Linux development. You are referring to people like you. I can refer to my work in enabling efficient small-scale manufacturing, but the blunt truth is that, if I were to retire tomorrow, it would have an extremely minor effect on that or the world as a whole.

Computing in general would be a lot worse off without Linux in many ways. Even if you don't use Linux, you benefit from the general raising of the bar that happens when people try to do better than Linux. You probably wouldn't be as effective without Linus and the rest.

Comment Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense. (Score 1) 168 168

I'm an old math major, with a year of probability and a year of statistics under my belt. I have no misconceptions about the mathematics of coin flipping.

Given a fair coin, the chance of heads on each toss is 0.5, regardless of what has come before. You didn't specify a "fair coin", but rather a "coin". In that case, nine heads out of ten is statistical evidence that the coin isn't fair. (Realistically, we don't have fair coins. We can have coins pretty darn close to fair, but I think you'll find that getting a coin that lands on heads 0.5 +/- 0.000001 of the time is difficult.)

You exactly demonstrated the problem with overabstract reasoning and an unthinking belief in theoretical correctness.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten