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Comment: Re:Paging Arthur C. Clarke... (Score 1) 497

by Pfhorrest (#48039833) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

Mormonism isn't orthodox Christianity.

If you ask the people who call themselves Orthodox Christians (yes I know you intentionally didn't capitalize it), neither are Catholics or any denomination of Protestants. If you ask Catholics, the so-called "Orthodox" Christians are unorthodox, and of course all the Protestant denominations as well. Both Catholics and Orthodox consider the other an unorthodox heresy which they excommunicated from their one true holy and apostolic church. Protestants meanwhile consider the Catholicism from which they descend to be a corruption of the original teachings of Christ and thus not truly Christianity at all, and it's very common (and just as annoying to me as GP's "Mormons and Christians" comment) to hear some denominations of Protestants speak of "Christians" and "Catholics" like they are non-intersecting sets.

And all those groups (and subgroups within them) dispute all many of points of theology, including some of the ones you list. Take for example the doctrine of the trinity: to copy from Wikipedia for ease, "Modern nontrinitarian groups or denominations include Christadelphians, Christian Scientists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dawn Bible Students, Friends General Conference, Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, Living Church of God, Oneness Pentecostals, Members Church of God International, Unitarian Universalist Christians, the United Church of God and the Church of God (Seventh Day)."

Comment: Re:Are scientists ready? (Score 1) 497

by Pfhorrest (#48033277) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

We have had plenty of speculation on the possibility of inorganic life, but to my knowledge (link me if I'm wrong here) there has been no scientific treatise on how a form of life could exist without carbon. It's one thing to say "maybe it's possible", and another thing to say "this is how it would work", and yet another entirely to say "look, here it is!", and without at least one example of the third or a complete explanation of the second, we still just in "maybe" territory, and science treats "maybe" as "assume not until shown otherwise".

Comment: Re:Are scientists ready? (Score 1) 497

by Pfhorrest (#48032959) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

The scientific community would LOVE to discover proof of inorganic life. It would be a huge new field for biologists to explore! Right now we assume life will be carbon-based because that's the only kind of life we know is possible; we haven't yet conceived of how inorganic life might be possible, and we haven't seen empirical evidence that it is, so in absence of that we proceed as though it's not. But if we found empirical evidence that it was, scientists would jump at the research opportunities to figure out how it was. Science hates to be anthropomorphized, but it loves radical new observations that force us to rebuild all new models from scratch, because that's where all the fun is!

Comment: Re:In lost the will to live ... (Score 1) 794

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) 794

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) 392

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.

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley