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Comment: Re:Great Book (Score 1) 52

by PHPNerd (#46861977) Attached to: Book Review: Designing With the Mind In Mind
I teach HCI at a college in Texas. I have used this book to provide background information for my lectures, but I've never had them read it. Frankly, we just don't have time in an undergrad class to read Design of Everyday Things (Norman) and Don't Make Me Think (Krug) and discuss and apply in a single undergrad semester. However, next year I'm going to teach a second semester of the course for the first time, and I think I'll finally get to dig into DWMIM (especially now that there's a second edition).

Comment: Re:Knowledge (Score 1) 1037

by PHPNerd (#46689603) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion
No one said anything about proof of "god." Obviously, you have never encountered the academic study of religion. I shall educate you.

We don't deal in unreliable facts. We don't attempt to figure out "god's wants, plans, etc." Rather, we use history (as in real, verifiable evidence from outside of the sacred texts), archaeology, paleography, sociology, and textual criticism (the same that medieval scholars use when looking at manuscripts of Chaucer) in order to get at a best guess for the author's original intent. Perhaps it may surprise you, but we can actually arrive at some meaningful and verifiable conclusions with regard to how people perceived their world, their neighbors, their gods, and the rituals they performed. It's an invaluable window into the past. However, this does not in any way require proof of "god." It only requires people who believed in that particular deity and their texts (or artifacts) about him/her.

Comment: Re:Knowledge (Score 4, Informative) 1037

by PHPNerd (#46680095) Attached to: How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion
Hi there. I happen to have multiple graduate degrees in the field of Hebrew Bible. I'm an academic. Hopefully I can shed some light on this.

At first glance, it does indeed seem like the God in the text is a giant a-hole. Why put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden in the first place? To answer that, we need to lay some ground work to properly interpret the story:

1) Remember that the ancients did not have a scientific worldview. Today we understand that things I drop to the ground fall because of gravity. Gravity works because the Earth is a huge sphere with an enormous amount of mass. The sun sets and rises because the Earth rotates. Seasons progress at the rate they do because the Earth rotates around the Sun. In other words, life is orderly and predictable because the laws of Physics, Chemistry, etc, are orderly and predictable. But the ancients had no knowledge of this. Instead, they explained the world through mythology. So, in the Ancient Near East, the reason the world is orderly is because a long time ago, the "good gods" came in and beat up/killed/banished the "bad gods" and then set up order in the universe (e.g. the Marduk/Tiamat myth of Babylon, or the Baal/Mot myth of Caanan).

2) Genesis is written in the form of Ancient Near Eastern creation myths. Those ancient creation myths wanted to explain this fundamental question: "Why does the world work the way it does?" Genesis answers that question: A long time ago, God (YHWH) came upon pure chaos (the Hebrew of the passage makes that very clear. Google: "Genesis tohu vevohu"). He then systematically pushes it back to create perfect order. This is why the world works the way it does...because God set it up in order.

3) The Bible never claims that God is omniscient. In fact, good Jewish/Christian theology claims that he's not. Does God have all power? If he does, then (low hanging fruit) he could make a rock so big that he couldn't lift it. But then that's a logical impossibility. Here's a better question: could the God of the Bible create a being with free will and force that being to love God? The answer is no. So by definition, there is at least one thing (maybe two, if you count the rock example) that God cannot do. So, a better formulation of God's state is that (according to the Hebrew Bible) "God has all the power that can be had, but some things cannot be accomplished by power."

So now we're ready to talk about the garden (which is, remember, more like a story or a parable). God creates these two beings and puts them into paradise. Imagine a world where there is nothing bad and you KNOW that God exists (because you talk to him frequently). So now how exactly does God let them choose to love God or not? (Because remember: there must be a choice) The answer (at least, the ancient Hebrews) was to place a clear choice before Adam and Eve. The Tree represents free will. And the Tree represents the choice that everyone makes in whether or not they will love God or turn their backs. To the ancient Hebrews who wrote this story (probably finalized from earlier oral tradition around 500 BCE), the clear choice between following God or not had been made when the people of Judah chose to follow other gods. Thus, God kicked them out of the garden (the "promised land") and sent them into exile into a hurting world. The garden story is not just one which orients the reader to the world, but specifically to the present world (the one they lived in at the time).

Let me know if you have any questions. This isn't a sacred cow to me. Cheers.

Comment: Yes, but only on older devices (Score 1) 488

by PHPNerd (#44915441) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 7 Slow?
I had an iPhone 4S and I upgraded to iOS7. I noticed the slower animations and choppier UI right away. It was one of the things that made me very happy that I was ready for an upgrade. My new iPhone 5S performs perfectly, with the smooth UI and animations that I have come to expect from Apple. It seems like the older hardware just can't support it.

Comment: This is a terrible idea (Score 1) 625

by PHPNerd (#44591519) Attached to: Aging Is a Disease; Treat It Like One
Everyone wants to live forever, but death is the natural way of selection within the species. If death was "cured" then the species would stagnate. Leadership would not change. Younger generations would continuously be stuck at the bottom of the heap (or, at least, in their place within the heap). Imagine working at the same job forever, never getting promoted or increased in pay. Now that wouldn't be eternal life. It'd be Hell.

+ - College Textbook Recommendation for Web Dev Class?->

Submitted by PHPNerd
PHPNerd (1039992) writes "I'm a college computer science professor. Next semester I'll be teaching Web Development 2. Due to how quickly the web is changing, every year I have to find a new book (though some years I don't even use one). Last year I used HTML5 For Web Designers by the good people at A List Apart. I used it because it's short, easy to understand, and covers essential pieces of HTML5. Any suggestions on good textbooks or web resources focusing on bleeding-edge HTML5 and CSS3?"
Link to Original Source
Earth

+ - Coral Reefs Could Be Decimated by 2100->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Nearly every coral reef could be dying by 2100 if current carbon dioxide emission trends continue, according to a new review of major climate models from around the world. The only way to maintain the current chemical environment in which reefs now live, the study suggests, would be to deeply cut emissions as soon as possible. It may even become necessary to actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, say with massive tree-planting efforts or machines."
Link to Original Source

Comment: This article commits the same error (Score 2) 1128

by PHPNerd (#39509595) Attached to: Conservatives' Trust In Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s
This study laments that conservatives reject liberal culture and turn it into an "us" vs "them" mentality. However, this is exactly what this study is saying on the liberal side, e.g. Those conservatives don't believe in science. This conveniently lumps them all into a science-hating group and furthers the "us" vs "them" rhetoric. The comments so far on this page show a circle-jerk consisting of "Only stupid people don't believe in science!" in which they lap this study up as further proof that all conservatives are religiously extreme and don't believe in science. It's sad that the very article which points out the vitriolic conservative rhetoric against science (a truly lamentable thing) only furthers the rhetoric from the other side.

"Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." -- Bertrand Russell

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