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Comment: Re:Trolololo (Score 1) 491

by Zontar The Mindless (#48033973) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

No, the Jesuit concluded that the aliens and their world must be the product of Satan because they had what appeared to be a perfectly moral society but without any knowledge of God. This directly contradicts the view that all knowledge of right and wrong comes only from knowing God.

(He was later disabused of this notion by none other than the Pope, who pointed out that this reeked of the Manichaean Heresy.)

The Lithians did not merely cease to exist: their planet exploded. Most likely due to human mining efforts, but the priest was conducting an exorcism at the time, so it's perhaps a bit ambiguous.

I don't remember the second book very well--I should really order copies of the whole tetralogy--but the last 2 books, Black Easter and The Day After Judgement, are also very thought-provoking.

Comment: Re:Trolololo (Score 2) 491

by Zontar The Mindless (#48033463) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

And now, in an effort to steer this thread towards something resembling topicality, I offer up the James Blish classic sci-fi series After Such Knowledge, in particular, the first volume, A Case of Conscience .

In which the aliens feel sorry for us because they know our religions are bunk, but feel ethically constrained from telling us so. Turns out they have perfect ethics and no religion, which represents something of a problem, if you're a Jesuit...

Comment: Re: they will defeat themselves (Score 1) 981

by Zontar The Mindless (#48017431) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Imagine what Europe would be like if some foreign powers came in, colonised big chunks of it for a century or three, then drew borders for new countries that had nothing to do with ethnicity or language. So Milan is now the capital of the Styrian Republic, which comprises Lombardy, Styria, and most of Slovenia; the mix of languages shouldn't be a problem since we're going to educate all their kids in Korean, anyway, right? Then let's draw a nice straight line at an angle across France, and combine the part to the south of that with Catalonia. Let's call it "Franconia"--nevermind the locals already using that name for a different region of the continent--what do they know? And wouldn't it make things more convenient for us to administer if the Rhineland, the Netherlands, and peninsular Denmark were a single entity? And so on... and so on...

Now you know where the most of the national borders in the Mideast and Africa came from. And now maybe you're beginning to see why most if not all of these states are doomed to failure.

Assembly language experience is [important] for the maturity and understanding of how computers work that it provides. -- D. Gries