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Comment: Re:Tokyo is tiny by comparison (Score 1) 77

I wonder if, in time, we will see a regression back to city-states once urban populations get big enough. Tokyo is basically its own country, and the same goes for SF, LA, and NYC.

I believe the limiting factor on country size is 1) communication ability, and 2) transportation (force projection) ability.

Roads were a major factor in the size of the Roman Empire, for example. City-states were common when there was no force regionally large enough to conquer the city. City states also needed to maintain farmland surrounding them, so they could remain fed.

Comment: Re:It's OK to attack mythology and superstition... (Score 1) 253

You have to distinguish between what people more-or-less believe and how much they believe it

Thats a pretty good point, and Id note that theres a difference between the sort of christian that would die by lions in the colosseum and those who would offer incense to the emperor. Lots of people are "christian", but the question is how many are Christian; Im operating on enemy turf here so to speak when I link to that poll, because I would somewhat dispute the fact that people accurately report things in such a poll-- there are a great number of people that I know personally who claim a religion despite it having no practical impact on their life or beliefs, which is pretty relevant to GP's claims about religions being passed on to children.

I would agree that tradition passes on to children easily, and in fact when a large number of people say "I am christian / catholic / jewish" what theyre really saying is "these are my traditions"-- not "these are my beliefs". Sadly, polls on THAT are going to be awfully hard to find; but its sort of hard to argue that people are reliable in reporting what they believe when asked about their religion, because theyre not (which we CAN prove with polls-- see gallup polls where "christians" doubted the accuracy of the bible, the divinity of Christ, and the existence of a personal God).

Did Stephen Hawkings say the Universe created itself? It would seem very odd that a physicist would say something about the creation of the Universe.

He did, and it was. I remember doing a report on the man when I was much younger, and recall both how smart he seemed and how he remarked on the necessity of a deity. Fast forward ~20 years, and he made the remark,
Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.
And, as has been noted, its not only an odd remark, its a circular and nonsensical one. Hawking is a smart man in his domain, but he either misspoke, or was misquoted, or created a massive logic problem.

Comment: Re:I dont get it (Score 1) 42

by 0123456 (#47787819) Attached to: Mozilla To Support Public Key Pinning In Firefox 32

If you ask google.com for a certificate and it sends you one that's not for google.com, your browser will already warn you.

But...if the government of Mitmistan signs a certificate that claims to be google.com, your browser will accept that, even though it's actually being used by the government to hijack your browser session.

The whole CA thing worked OK when there were only a few CAs, but it's a disaster today when there are about a bazillion of them and any of them can sign a certificate pretending to be any site in the world.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 200

by ShakaUVM (#47787239) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Long discredited?

Yep. There's no inherent conflict, and the conflicts that did take place, are usually portrayed in a way that would make historians cry.

For example -

Galileo was opposed by other scientists (if we can use the term), who basically took Aristotle to be an indisputable authority. Galileo's model of the world required there to be only one tide a day, and when he measured two tides a day, he forged the data so that there'd only be one. It was what Einstein called his "greatest mistake" - forging data to match a mathematical model, instead of matching a model to the data.

But he wasn't prohibited from researching or teaching his model at first. The result of his first trial was simply to rule that he couldn't hold it out as indisputable fact, since the evidence was in appearance and reality against his model.

It was only when he deliberately flaunted that ruling and called the Pope an idiot that he really got into trouble. Good luck saying that to any ruler in Europe at the time - it had nothing to do with the science, and everything to do with Galileo being an asshole to a (former) friend of his who happened to also be the temporal authority in the area he was in.

But when this gets spun by Conflict Thesisers to be "The Church hates science! They threw him in jail and tortured him because he disagreed with the Bible!" (He wasn't thrown in jail, or tortured, incidentally.)

>Finally most religions require one to accept truths on faith, that is without objective reproducible proof. That's the anti-thesis of the scientific method.

That's not a proper definition of faith, which means trust, but in any event, no it is not the antithesis of the scientific method. The opposite of science is pseudoscience, or believing in things despite empirical evidence to the contrary (which no mainstream Christian church I'm aware of does). Science is simply one method of finding truth. (For a definition of truth that doesn't actually mean truth.) It does not have a monopoly on it. To claim such is the case would make you guilty of the fallacy of Scientism.

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 200

by ShakaUVM (#47787179) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

Does the sun go around the earth or does the earth go around the sun?

I'm guessing you're Canadian by your name.

The fact that neither you nor the authors of the study know that in a relativistic framework this question is meaningless, makes their conclusion not just meaningless but paradoxical.

I strongly suspect the science museum "scientist" who wrote the study never got past Newtonian physics.

It's like giving all the OECD a math test, and then only marking right the students who define Pi to be exactly 3. And then announcing that fundamentalist Christians "Rank #1 in mathematical literacy!"

Comment: Re:Biased (Score 1) 200

by ShakaUVM (#47787137) Attached to: Canada Tops List of Most Science-Literate Countries

>Is when he misrepresented a stastic favorable to the authors point by not providing context, then following it with a fully qualified negative statistic in context.

I didn't misrepresent any statistic. 58% of people not being able to understand science out of a fucking newspaper (which is written for 5th graders) does not make Canada a, quote, "Nation of Science Geeks".

The fact that this terrible number is not more terrible than other countries still doesn't let you claim it's a country of geeks when the stats show the majority of the population are scientifically illiterate.

The fact that the authors of the study don't even understand relativity - when they ask the question of which object rotates around the other as if there was a right answer - in conjunction with a highly biased study with terrible methodology tells us all we need to know about them.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

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