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Comment: Re:Why fear designer babies? (Score 1) 153

The assumption here is that there is no set of genes that are guaranteed to be purely negative for humankind. That's just false. There's just no reason we'd want to let somebody grow up with cystic fibrosis, for instance. The sickle-cell anemia vs. malaria case is actually unusual, and a population high in sickle-cell anemic individuals is not actually a desirable outcome.

Also, if we can prevent genetic engineering, then surely we can prevent choosing the gender of children. If you can't prevent choosing the children's gender, then how do you think we can prevent other genetic engineering?

Comment: Re:GMO (Score 1) 153

Why on Earth would you assume that he's opposed to GMO for other animals, once it's safe enough for humans?

What a bizarre assertion. I certainly would have no problems with that. In fact, if you can modify the animal to grow up without a brain, so that it's no longer an ethical concern for a certain subset of vegetarians and vegans, that's even better.

Comment: Re:Designer babies (Score 2) 153

I don't necessarily disagree with you about genetic engineering being within a lifetime. But...15 years ago, seriously? Most of those things were considered plausible, not sci-fi. Hell, in 1999 we *assumed* we'd have incredibly powerful computers in our pockets and we often see articles disappointed that we haven't met 1999's expectations. Remember, it was 2001 when the infamous stem cell research funding ban came into effect. Drones were used in the first Gulf War in 1991, and it was big news when they were first used in a targeted killing in 2002.

I think if you asked the average educated person 15 years ago about these things, they'd call them all either plausible or obvious developments. You'd have to be stunningly ignorant to disbelieve some of those.

Mind you I still see people on slashdot arguing that self-driving cars are ridiculous sci-fi even though we have licensed robot cars *today*, so maybe you are right in a sense.

Comment: Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (Score 1) 253

by Your.Master (#46789165) Attached to: Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

I'm not sure who you're talking about with media regulation and drug rehab etc. I can pretty much tell you that porno restrictions aren't some universally agreed-upon principle of feminists, and not all liberals consider themselves feminists in the first place.

For abortion, nobody disputes that a new organism was formed at conception. They dispute that the new organism's right to survive supercedes the mother's right to autonomy.

I don't actually disagree about the marriage thing, but I disagree that it had anything to do with Eich. Eich was fighting for discrimination, by donating to the cause of keeping certain rights arbitrarily designated to one class. A fight to get government out of marriage is a different fight entirely, and not one that many people seem to be seriously fighting.

Comment: Re:Left-Wing Propoganda (Score 1) 253

by Your.Master (#46789083) Attached to: Criminals Using Drones To Find Cannabis Farms and Steal Crops

There are a couple problems with your argument.

First, in the abstract I can agree with definition one and definition two, but only by using a slightly different definition of "human being" each time. If you insist on having a consistent definition, then you have to display it and I'm sure I'll disagree with one or the other of those statements. Your #2 definition involves genetics. Your #1 definition involves moral culpability and is unrelated to genetics.

The second problem is that just because the unborn have the right to live which should be protected by law, it does not imply that abortions should be illegal. Otherwise this logic would hold:

IF: 1. Every human being has the right to live, which should be protected by law,

AND: 2. The person brutally assaulting your family is a human being.

THEN: 3. The person brutally assaulting your family has the right to live, which should be protected by law.

I agree with both premises and even the conclusion, but if you kill somebody in self defense or in the defense of another, it's not murder.

Likewise, nobody ever argues that any human being *other than a fetus* gets to attach themselves in a biologically parasitical fashion to another human being for months at a time. Why do the unborn get this special right that nobody else gets?

Call me when you make a Star Trek transporter that can zap a fetus out of the womb and into an incubator and we can ban abortions at that time, since then the fetus doesn't need a special right to remain inside somebody else's body.

Comment: Re:NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin o (Score 1) 112

by Your.Master (#46788819) Attached to: NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life

The short answer is we don't know for sure "why now?", but we do know that unless humans were generated with seed-technology, they would inevitably ask "why now?" when they reach this point because there's a start to civilization *somewhere*.

But one point is that living in large groups is impractical without scaling agriculture, which at minimal technology is impractical to bootstrap in much of the world. The most low-tech-civilization-friendly places on Earth are the ones where we find the first evidence of civilization, and there's some evidence that some of those places had local climate change coinciding with the dawn of civilization.

Note that we *do* have human remains and artifacts from 30-40k years ago. That's when the first bow & arrows seem to have been produced. The evidence of wild grains being cultivated is more recent.

Comment: Re:NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin o (Score 2) 112

by Your.Master (#46788625) Attached to: NASA Proposes "Water World" Theory For Origin of Life

He wasn't using it wrong.

The structure of this thread is:

Premise 1: The Universe exists.
Premise 2: Either something came from nothing, or something always existed.
Hypothesis: That something is God.
Counterargument: The Universe is also an internally consistent "something" to fit the premise. The Universe necessarily exists due to premise 1. God does not necessarily exist given the premises, and does not better fulfill either premise. Therefore the hypothesis is unsupported.

You need to introduce new premises or arguments in order to endow God with extra attributes so that the God hypothesis passes Occam's Razor.

Comment: Re:Not a market back then (Score 1) 266

by Your.Master (#46772229) Attached to: Nokia Had a Production-Ready Web Tablet 13 Years Ago

But marketing can turn a bunch of common rocks into precious diamonds.

Furthermore, it isn't hard to fail at marketing to the point where nobody wants your gold since they're convinced it's probably pyrite, or perhaps you coated the gold in shit so everyone assumes it's a solid lump of shit.

Comment: Re:I prefer to browse real bookstores (Score 1) 83

by Your.Master (#46744273) Attached to: Seattle Bookstores Embrace Amazon.com

I preferred the large Canadian bookstores.

Small bookstores typically just don't have the selection, and American big bookstores seemed...standoffish? It can be really hard to describe just in what way it was less pleasant. Part of it is a structure that encourages you to read lengthy passages in the store back home that I haven't seen in a larger bookstore in the US. I fully admit I haven't travelled the length and breadth of either country; I'm just going with the places I've been.

I go to Amazon for something that I knew I wanted ahead of time, which is relatively rare but if I accidentally start reading an unfinished book series it will happen and Amazon tends to be clearly the best option. And with the stores I like closing down, I now go to Amazon also because it's the best available.

The "World's Biggest Bookstore" (that's a name, not a description) in Toronto, as seen on the movie Short Circuit 2, just recently closed and that is probably the thing that will shift me over to using Amazon near-exclusively.

Although interestingly a lot of the long tail books aren't directly available from Amazon itself, but are available on Amazon.com via its partner re-seller programs, some of which are also big warehouses but some seem like smaller businesses that are just supplementing their incomes. Usually these are out-of-print books with "used - like new" tags as I try to complete things that I read as a kid from the school library, which was incomplete either because they didn't buy the full series, or they did buy it and a kid wrecked one, or the series wasn't completed ~15 years ago when I would have read them.

Comment: Re:If you make this a proof of God... (Score 1) 595

He's referring to sentient creatures. Sentient, I believe, should be understood to mean approximately human-like levels of intelligence and communication. It is reasonable to suppose such creatures will generate similar phenomena as humans -- abstract syntactic language, superstitions, science, etc.. Provided they don't go extinct first, anyway.

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