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Comment Re:Litigious Much (Score 1) 749

I don't want to get into an argument about biblical exegesis (reading ancient texts with our post-Enlightenment mindset is fraught with difficulty at the best of times). My point is that what Ussher did wasn't at all stupid. Actually it was remarkably smart and scientific by the standards of his day, and given what little he had to work with.

Comment Re:Litigious Much (Score 1) 749

Some bishop interpreting the old testament came to that conclusion, [...]

James Ussher gets a lot of crap for this, and I think it's quite unfair. He didn't just use the Hebrew sacred texts, he actually used all ancient texts at his disposal, such as Greek mythological texts, and found that they all stopped at around the same point. When you consider the constraints that he was working with, this is actually quite a scientific approach. Moreover, 4000 BCE is probably close to the limit of human cultural memory, given that writing wasn't developed until about 3000 BCE.

Ussher was neither the first nor the last person to try this and come up with a similar figure. We probably wouldn't remember Ussher's chronology today if it weren't for some idiot adding it to annotations in the King James Bible.

Comment Re:Yeah, that's the problem (Score 1) 135

Well I don't know about the Republican plan, but a Republican plan was much like Obamacare, only less watered-down. RomneyCare was, of course, based on Nixon's health care plan which was never passed.

Oh, you mean the current crowd of what-passes-for-Republicans? Yeah, pretty much what you said.

Comment Re:Quicker (Score 1) 488

Specifically, there are Syrian rebels who have nothing to do with Daesh, and the Russians have been attacking them along with Daesh in their support of Assad.

That is true. It is also true that some of the rebels joined ISIS.

Syria is a big goddamn mess right now, and there are no "good guys".

Comment Re:Quicker (Score 1) 488

Whether or not the survey response means they support Daesh, I would still be concerned that they even have a somewhat positive view of that bunch of evil motherfuckers. Someone that has an even slightly positive view of Daesh is not someone I want to be around.

I agree with you, but you and I are not running for our lives, so we might have a different perspective on the world than they do.

In the Western world of the 1930s, many intellectuals were communists. It seems kind of stupid to us today, but there was a large body of thinking that liberal democracy was fragile, and wouldn't survive the economic crisis. Many European countries, in particular, were losing their new republican democracies, and were either going fascist or communist. If you honestly believed that this was going to happen, and you had to pick one of the two sides, communism was an understandable choice.

Suppose you're fleeing the Ba'athist regime. The alternative, staying, may mean that you will probably get drafted to drop barrel bombs on your fellow citizens, flattening entire city blocks in the vain hope of killing a few rebels who are probably underground. (Even Syrians who don't mind Assad that much generally don't want to do that.) Russia is on Assad's side, and the US isn't doing anything. The only group opposing Assad is ISIS.

Is it so unreasonable for you, in that situation, to say "well, I don't like ISIS, but at least they're actually doing something about the brutal dictatorship"? Remember, when pressed on why they have a mildly positive view towards ISIS, the number one cited reason by Syrian refugees isn't their religious ideology or their humanitarian policy, but their "military achievements".

History is full of instances of bad regimes being overthrown only to be replaced by bad regimes. Hell, it happened in France; Paris gave the world the word "terror" to refer to this kind of political violence. It rarely turns out well in the near term. Nonetheless, you don't know what you'd do in that situation and neither do I, because neither of us have done it.

ISIS are sick, evil bastards, who would be a bad joke if they weren't slaughtering, raping, and enslaving so many people. They are also fighting equally brutal dictators. Many of the people who have tried to escape that world are finding themselves in countries which have a racist level of distrust towards them. If you had nothing, and honestly felt that nobody in the world was on your side, you might have a mildly positive attitude towards some bad people too.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg