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Comment: Re:Accepted the challenge, nice. One more interest (Score 1) 408

by mrchaotica (#47769635) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Most of what you said is so full of weasel words "essentially, close enough" that I think you realize how weak that line of argument is.

I thought about that as I was writing them, and I apologize. Let me clarify:

First, on the use of "essentially:"

My claim that science is the opposite of religion depends on the context, which I explained in my previous posts (and which I go into further detail about below). In some other context, perhaps atheism would be the opposite of religion (but not in this context -- when comparing to science as I'm doing, atheism is every bit as religious as Christianity).

These things are complicated concepts, and if you're going to make a claim that complicated concepts are opposites of each other then you have to clarify what aspect of them, or in what sense, they are opposite. I'd like to think I've done a decent job of that, but I included the word "essentially" to try to prevent the rebuttal that science and religion weren't opposite in some context other than the one to which I was referring.

Second, on the use of "close enough:"

If a law prohibits teaching the Scientific Method, then it establishes religion. Absolutely. No weasel words about it.

However, this law doesn't quite do that. Instead it "merely" removes the "focus" on the Scientific Method -- it uses weasel words itself to attempt to effectively prohibit teaching the Scientific Method without explicitly doing so; i.e., it's "close enough."

You said "the Scientific Method (P) is (essentially) the opposite of religion (Q): P". From my perspective, such an idea indicates a rather bizarre understanding of either science or religion. Let's look at each. [Followed by a list of bible quotes]

You seem to think that just because an idea happens to be written in the Bible, that that makes it a "religious idea." That is a fallacy. If an idea is similar to that of the Scientific Method, then it is scientific, even if it as a quote by Jesus.

I liked that quote about "false prophets," by the way -- I would expect it to surprise and upset creationists (or at least the less well-read ones, who haven't already incorporated it into their cognitive dissonance). If "Intelligent Design" were able to produce "fruits" (i.e., falsifiable hypotheses), then it would become legitimately scientific. But it doesn't, so it isn't.

The way I see and use religion is very, very similar to any science. Chemistry tries to figure out how atoms and molecules work, in order to build good molecules for important purposes. Biology tries to figure out how cells and organisms work, to do things like build replacement organs. Religion tries to figure how how relationships and lifestyles work, to build good relationships and fulfilling lives.

Those things aren't similar at all. The differences are the tools that are allowed to be used to evaluate and accomplish those goals, and indeed what kinds of goals are valid.

Science is concerned with understanding how and why things do work (using rigorous logical and mathematical models). In contrast, your statement about what religion tries to do is all about making rules to enforce how things should work. Science is strictly objective and descriptive; religion is inherently subjective and prescriptive.

If you're a chemist, for example, and you decide to disregard the results of your experiment because they aren't "good," then you are no longer practicing proper science.

Incidentally, it's possible for an idea to become more or less scientific over time. Who knows; maybe some Babylonian sociologist did a comprehensive, well-researched study of adultery and that passage you quoted ("Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman...") was the conclusion of his scholarly journal. That would be scientific! (Well, sort of, anyway -- sociology is kind of "iffy" as a science to begin with.)

But when you replace "a survey of N Babylonian men showed that the ones who committed adultery were X% less happy, on average, than the ones who didn't" with "thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife, or else God will smite thee down!" -- that is, when you become proscriptive instead of descriptive and stop caring about having a rigorous answer to the question "why?" -- then the idea stops being scientific and becomes religious.

Conversely, a religious idea, like the Great Flood, can become scientific over time. Geologic evidence has been found that the Mediterranean flooded through the Bosporus into the Black Sea suddenly in about 5600 BC. It didn't literally flood the entire world, but it could have seemed that way to somebody living on the (previous) shore of the Black Sea at the time. (So far, the existence of the Ark -- and particularly, the idea that Noah was commanded by God to build it instead of some more mundane explanation -- would still be outside the scope of the scientific theory.)

Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 1) 425

by drinkypoo (#47769471) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

The problem with this is that if all cops feel like they're being audited all of the time, they're less likely to let you off the hook for a minor violation.

That's not a problem. Selective enforcement, or IOW cops letting people off the hook for minor violations, leads to a lack of respect for the law, and the proliferation of bad laws which always end up used to punish some classes and not others on the basis of prejudice.

If rich mofos were prosecuted for bullshit crimes, you'd see those crimes fall off the books.

Comment: Re: Not the PSUs? The actual cables? (Score 1) 123

by drinkypoo (#47769445) Attached to: HP Recalls 6 Million Power Cables Over Fire Hazard

And, once again, Martin demonstrates his learned discourse and debating skills.

You don't get to insult me and then bitch, piss and moan when I return the favor.

Are you really this much of an asshole, or is it just on Slashdot?

I usually only encounter people willing to act like as much of a lame as you have been in this conversation on slashdot, so it's pretty much just here.

Comment: Re:just because the dept of ed.... (Score 1) 408

by mrchaotica (#47767201) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Which of course explains away why a steadily increasing number of incoming college freshman have to take remedial courses.

The fraction of people who choose to go to college has been steadily increasing, too. The real question is, which is increasing faster?

(In other words, it could be that the students needing remedial classes are the same kind who would previously not have gone to college in the first place. If that's the case, it might not be a real problem.)

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 408

by mrchaotica (#47766919) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

I disagree. ID is a valid theory, in terms of a possible explanation. After all, Monsanto is doing ID (and some DD - Dumbass Design), so we know it can happen to some degree. Old-fashioned breeding is also ID.

What Monsanto does and what the "Intelligent Design Theory" proposes are not at all the same thing. The latter proposes that there is some intelligent force setting and/or manipulating the laws of the universe (which could pretty much only be a god (if not "The" God) by definition).

An interesting side discussion for students is if complexity alone is evidence for ID. In other words, if a natural explanation is not currently known, is that strong evidence for a creator, or merely evidence of humanity's knowledge gaps?

That's not a side discussion; that's the entire point. According to the Scientific Method, that kind of "evidence" (i.e., "we don't know, therefore X" or even "it is unknowable, therefore X") is categorically excluded from being valid. In other words, if you're even considering that idea then you've already failed to understand what science is.

If you want to have that kind of discussion, you need to do it in a philosophy class, not a science class. I suppose maybe you could mention it in a science class in order to point out what I wrote in the previous paragraph, but that's about it.

Comment: Re:Thing is, we know what we have to do (Score 1) 136

by JWW (#47766569) Attached to: Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

When you put it that way it sounds much more sensible, and tint as simple.

I do not disagree that technological advances will save us. I do disagree that carbon taxes and regulations will.

When these things you advocate outperform the old fossil fuel based variants, they will take over completely. Oh and those subsidies won't eventually matter. The new industries will get some of their own, and, this it the key part, if they outcompte fossil fuels on efficiency, there will be no way, subsidy or not, fossil fuels will win.

This just takes patience. Time will march on and in 30 years there will be no more gas automobiles. That process will not be simple, though. It will be a complicated evolution of both the technologies and the marketplaces they operate in.

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 2) 408

by mrchaotica (#47766557) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

I see the part about focusing on knowledge rather than scientific processes, but in no way can one read 'forbidding the scientific method to be taught' in there.

That's strange; if there's no way that someone could interpret "scientific processes" as referring to the Scientific Method, then how did Ars and I (and so many others here) manage it? I think you're the one who's mistaken on this point.

Not only that, but I could see a good reason for it: they have around 160 hours, total, to teach a year of science. Maybe they want to cram as many facts in as possible, and save the science for it's own sake stuff for those in advanced classes considering a scientific career. If they had a history of wasting precious school time teaching bunsen burner techniques to second graders, then we would all be asking for language like that to be added.

First, I have a hard time believing anybody could honestly interpret the law's usage of "scientific processes" to refer to things like how to use Bunsen burners.

Second, without the Scientific Method, "cram[ming] as many facts in as possible" is an entirely worthless endeavour -- less useful than Bunsen burner techniques, even! (At least learning how to use a Bunsen burner might make the students less likely to injure themselves the next time they use a gas cooking stove...)

Comment: Re:prohibit == require is a dot you need to connec (Score 0) 408

by mrchaotica (#47766417) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

(Sigh) Fine, I'll prove it for you.

  1. As I asserted in my previous post (and you didn't object, so I assume you agree with the axiom), the Scientific Method (P) is (essentially) the opposite of religion (Q): P -> (not)Q, and Q -> (not)P.
  2. This law requires that schools de-emphasize the Scientific Method, which is "close enough" to prohibiting it: (not)P
  3. Since Q -> (not)P and (not)P, therefore Q. QED.

In other words, if science is prohibited -- and this law does do that, despite claiming not to -- then religion is required (since those are the only two relevant possibilities). Rejecting the scientific method is itself an inherently religious choice.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A black panther is really a leopard that has a solid black coat rather then a spotted one.