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Comment: Re:In lost the will to live ... (Score 1) 674

by Pfhorrest (#47970747) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Why should you even care about your own personal survival and comfort? Obviously most people do, but that's a far cry from should.

Even if God exists, why should you do what he commands? Even if the answer is back to "because he will punish you if you don't", why should I avoid punishment? That is, come back to the first question up there: why should I care about my own personal survival and comfort?

Most people do care about their own personal survival and comfort, sure. But then a lot of people just do have empathy for others too. Then again, a lot of people do get sadistic pleasure from hurting others too —sometimes the same people as have empathy for others too, just in different circumstances. And a lot of people probably would obey the commands of something they considered God, if not just to avoid punishment, then just because a lot of people just do obey supposed authorities, whether they should or not. (Look at the Stanford Prison Experiment. Or the Nazis who were "just following orders").

Asking what people do do isn't going to tell us anything about what they should do, and when you start asking what people should do and why, "God says so" doesn't really add much to the conversation. Maybe we'd better take a few steps back and start asked what exactly "should" even means, and how the heck we're supposed to assess the truth or falsity of "should" propositions in the first place.

Comment: Re:In lost the will to live ... (Score 1) 674

by Pfhorrest (#47970693) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

I lost it as soon as he got to "by definition" and making room for God. As soon as you get into arguing about things from definitions you're doing analytic philosophy and if you're just saying "by definition" without offering support for why that is the right definition, you're probably doing it wrong.

Comment: The true Liberal Arts are mostly math (Score 1) 391

by Pfhorrest (#47924307) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Any Place For Liberal Arts Degrees In Tech?

The original Liberal Arts (a term which literally means, more idiomatically translated from ars liberalis, "skills [needed] of free men") were, funny enough, mostly things that we would consider branches of mathematics today, and thus STEM fields.

First there was the "trivium" (from whence our word "trivial", because these skills were considered so basic and elementary):
- Grammar
- Logic (now considered a branch of mathematics)
- Rhetoric

But then there was the "quadrivium" which followed that:
- Arithmetic (obviously a branch of mathematics)
- Geometry (obviously a branch of mathematics)
- "Music"
- "Astronomy"

The last two are the most interesting ones, because "music" was not about playing instruments or singing, it was essentially harmonics, the study of "number in time"; and likewise, "astronomy" was not about the actual particulars of celestial bodies, but was essentially dynamics, the study of "number in space and time". These complemented geometry as the study of "number in space" and arithmetic as "number in itself".

In short, the quadrivium, which was over half of the original Liberal Arts, was entirely things we'd now consider mathematics; and a third of the remaining portion in the trivium, logic, would also be considered mathematics today. Five sevenths or over 71% of the Liberal Arts were all math subjects.

These were all intended to prepare one for the study of philosophy, which at that time encompassed what would become the natural sciences of today. (In the middle ages philosophy was in turn considered to be essentially in a support role to theology, but of course you'd get that kind of attitude in the continent-wide theocracy that was old Christendom.)

The Liberal Arts were to teach people how to communicate their thoughts coherently, rigorously, and persuasively, and to be able to think quantitatively about things in themselves and also their relations in space and time, all of that for the purpose of conducting the kind of broad and deep critical thinking about of the world we live necessary to live life as a free individual and to preserve the freedom of one's society.

Dismissing all of that for "science lol stem envy much" is the start of the road to serfdom.

Comment: Re: Mecial Cannabis companies (Score 1) 275

by Pfhorrest (#47877495) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

I would think, if the stuff kept flying off the shelf like that (even is only due to one customer), you would just stock more of it and then sell more of it. Stock enough to let her buy all she wants and still have enough left over for everyone else who wants to buy it to get theirs too.

Comment: Re:Some help, please... (Score 1) 226

Reference frame is irrelevant to this question. If you, in whatever reference frame, measure travel distance as 80 mile and speed as 80mph, you will measure travel time as 1 hour. Others in other reference frames may measure different travel times, but they will also measure correspondingly different distances and speeds; and whatever they measure as 80 miles will still take what they measure as 1 hour to traverse at what they measure as 80mph.

Comment: Re:That's not how science works (Score 1) 141

by Pfhorrest (#47772161) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

Etymologically, to prove means to test. Hence phrases like "proving grounds" and, more tellingly, "the exception that proves the rule" -- an apparent exception, an anomaly, which puts the rule to the test.

So a well-tested theory is "proven" in an etymologically sound way, just a way that doesn't mean "demonstrated to be true with absolute certainty".

Comment: Re:Argument by Assertion (Score 2) 141

by Pfhorrest (#47770885) Attached to: Underground Experiment Confirms Fusion Powers the Sun

To be completely accurate, the sun doesn't produce any energy, it converts energy from one form (rest mass) to another form (electromagnetic radiation), increasing entropy in the process in keeping with the second law. That conversion process itself requires an input of energy (though one less than the energy output by said process) to initialize and sustain, and that energy is in turn supplied, in the form of kinetic energy, by conversion from yet another form (gravitational potential energy) spontaneously, precisely because of the second law of thermodynamics.

At one time in the history of science, it was thought that all of the energy of the sun was converted more or less directly from gravitational potential energy: a cloud of hydrogen collapses under gravity, converting its potential energy into kinetic energy, rendered macroscopically as temperature, causing the ball of collapsing gas to glow incandescently. The problem was that that process can't last for very long, so the sun (and consequently the whole solar system) would have to be pretty young, relatively (still massively old on a human scale) if that's what's making the sun glow. When we discovered that the Earth itself, and space rocks, are much older than the sun would have to be according to that theory, it required that something else be powering the sun on a longer scale. The introduction of nuclear fusion to the model solved that problem, and nowadays almost nobody even remembers that we once thought the sun was just, in effect, gravity-powered.

Comment: Re:It's not arrogance if... (Score 2) 262

by Pfhorrest (#47652427) Attached to: Silicon Valley Doesn't Have an Attitude Problem, OK?

Except that another place, even another comparable place, would now cost a lot more than $249,999 more than what he paid for his current place.

So if he wants to move to a different but comparable house in a different but comparably priced location, he has to lose a whole lot of money in the process. Meanwhile, people moving frequently to slightly more valuable places continuously over the time he's lived in this one place don't lose anything.

Comment: Re:Nerd Blackface (Score 1) 442

by Pfhorrest (#47611551) Attached to: Big Bang Actors To Earn $1M Per Episode

As the kids these days say, "This."

Early Sheldon was a character I really liked, for all the reasons E-Rock pointed out. Other characters had friction with him mostly just because he was an insufferable genius who was always technically correct and looked down on everyone else for not living up to his standards of perfection, and ordinary fallible people find that kind of person hard to get along with because it such a person uncompromisingly highlights their own foibles.

But over the years Sheldon has morphed into a socially retarded asshole -- not just someone who awkwardly doesn't understand how best to interact with other people, but someone who thinks he does and yet is constantly wrong and will never hear anyone who tries to tell him so. He is no longer an insufferable genius who is always technically correct. He is an insufferable idiot who arrogantly insists that he is correct even when he is clearly, blatantly not.

And when a person starts to run roughshod over other people because of their own wrongly self-assessed "superiority", it goes from harmless "shamelessly ability to like himself" to dangerous borderline sociopathy as the AC I'm replying to said.

Although the moon is smaller than the earth, it is farther away.