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Comment Re:Ethics? (Score 3, Interesting) 190 190

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it assumes a linear progression in research, when by all measures it seems to be exponential.

From a certain perspective this might seem like the argument works against my point, because the earlier we do something would mean its result would be multiplied by orders of magnitude later on. However, that'd be a stochastic reasoning, because there's a point at which the result was achieved. Therefore, the distinction is between a linear delay vs. an exponential growth.

In other words, if we wait 50 years because we don't want to cause excessive suffering to animals, the trillions of human beings in our future light cone would most probably "feel" it as a delay of seconds, if that much.

IMHO then, reasoning from the perspective of extremely future benefits isn't useful. At most, only the near future is actually affected. And even that might be just a minor delay, since computation and simulated models are themselves advanced so much that in a few years they'll outpace anything doable by directly manipulating living beings.

Comment Re:Ethics? (Score 2, Informative) 190 190

The line the OP suggested isn't arbitrary, it's pretty objective. Beings with a nervous system and a brain suffer more than beings with just a nervous system, which in turn suffer more than being with mere nociception, which in turn suffer something, compared to being with none of those, who suffer nothing.

Not harming being who can feel excruciating pain would cause our scientific research to stop? No, it'd just advance at a slight slower speed.

So, why then do we harm them? For most people, because we can. And if "might makes right" is what most go with, all the power to them. When the ethics of might eventually bites them back, it's nothing but their own fault.

Comment Re:Your moderate christianity is a gateway (Score 1) 202 202

They aren't classifiable as Religion, though

Saying something like this is both absurd in light of 150 years of Comparative Religions research, and also extremely dangerous.

In the second half of the 19th century the Japanese government, seeing how Western (idiot) missionaries were all too happy to declare Shinto not a religion as a way to convince the Japanese people to convert to Christianity, adopted this "Shinto isn't a religion" definition to heart. As a result, when it came time to do the "turn into Fascism" that led to a brainwashed population, tons of war crimes and the disastrous Japanese campaign in WW2, they justified their manipulation and usage of Shinto for this purpose by arguing that, since Shinto wasn't a religion, imposing that all the population follow it didn't violate their constitutional right to freedom of religion. After all, any Japanese was still free to follow an "actual" religion, or to be an atheist, while forced to bow to the photo of the Emperor and being taught the marvels of suicide for the descendant of the Sun goddess, no contradiction there at all.

Definitions matter, and this attempt at trying to reduce the term "religion" to "faith-based belief system" is a double edged sword that cuts those who adopt it.

Comment Re:Your moderate christianity is a gateway (Score 1) 202 202

Because EVERY religion puts faith as the only proof required. The more unlikely the faith, the better it is, the more good you are.

Not true. This is mostly valid of semitic religions, which happened to spread over a huge chunk of the world, but several Eastern religions are belief-less.

For example, while there are some Buddhist sects that are belief-based, the older ones are all about experimenting, to the point Gautama told followers that if the techniques he was telling them didn't work, they should seek something that worked instead of losing time with it. In Japan, Shinto is so anti-doctrinal, anti-dogmatic, anti-theological and anti-moralistic, that it doesn't mind you not believing in anything at all and instead being a full-blown atheist who only takes part in its doctrine-less activities for cultural reasons.

As for other polytheisms, animisms etc., they also don't place that much importance in belief. Yes, they have it, but it isn't central. So much so, that when it comes to putting "belief" front and center, Christianity and Islam are really the exceptions to the rule.

Alas, the problem is that these minority of belief-based religions are the ones that are winning, so your argument has merit if we change the focus to saying that a religion becoming belief-based is a winning strategy on the long run. Why that's the case though, I have no idea. On the face of it, it doesn't seem to make sense, but maybe not making sense is actually the point...

Comment Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 293 293

There is no passive resistance in making two wedding cakes.

Actually, there is. If an abusing couple insists on getting a cake or whatever from a fundamentalist Christian shop just because it's a fundamentalist Christian shop, and they know the owners wouldn't like to do it, and they're doing it precisely because they want to make the owners angry, then receiving two cakes at their wedding would send a very clear message to the couple as well as to the guests: "Here's your cake/whatever. We also feel you're being abusive, so here's another one to commemorate it. Have a nice wedding."

Even though I think it's pure assholery from service providers to be bigots, this would actually be an effective form of passive-aggressive resistance, done in all the right ways and, more importantly, in the spirit of the original.

Comment Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 3, Interesting) 293 293

participating in a gay wedding ceremony is very much against many people's reasonable interpretation of religious commandments.

Not, it's a blatant refusal to obey Jesus' extremely clear commandment:

"(...) whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (...) Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (...) And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Matthew 5:39-47)

In other words, for the analogy-impaired, I'll rephrase the above:

"And whosoever shall compel thee to bake a cake, bake him twain."
"And whosoever shall compel thee to arrange them a bouquet, arrange them twain."
"And whosoever shall compel thee to take 100 photos, take 200."

And so on, and so forth.

Pretty clear, eh? Those refusing service to "sinners" aren't only breaking the law, and morals, and ethics, they are also themselves sinning against their God's will.

Comment Re:Tell me... (Score 1) 172 172

I still don't want Amazon keeping track of which and how many pages I read. Maybe they're already doing that, and I haven't been paying attention.

Amazon "adds value" to ebooks purchased / downloaded from them by allowing you to highlight sentences, bookmark pages, add annotations, and continue reading from your last viewed page on another device. Evidently they can only do any of that if what you do with and within a book is tracked and uploaded to their servers.

Comment Re: I'm going back to ASCII (Score 1) 164 164

That's called ideology, which is a useful distinction. You can have religion as ideology, and a-religion as ideology. Conversely, you can have non-ideological religions and a-religions.

About Japan, not really. The Japanese religion was forcefully changed by the state for the purposes of ideological indoctrination. Temples were closed, split, merged, priests reallocated and replaced, official doctrines for the specific purpose of mass submission developed, non-related philosophies (such as Bushido) reinterpreted and inserted into the mix etc. It was a religion constructed top-down for reasons of state. Ditto for Nazism. So, in both cases the use comes first, and the religious formulation later, as a byproduct.

Whether for this they use preexisting cultural elements is a matter of ease of manipulation. Reworking something is easier than developing something from scratch.

Comment Re: I'm going back to ASCII (Score 1) 164 164

You've confusing causation with correlation. Religion is a good way to make people do thing for you, but your actual reasons are different. From the current conflicting parties, only ISIS is really driven by religion first and foremost, so I'll concede on that one. As for the others, nope, the driving impetus is non-religious even though religion is used for gluing purposes.

Comment Re: I'm going back to ASCII (Score 1) 164 164

Which religions gave us WW1, WW2, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Korean war, and the Opium Wars again?

Monarchism (+Communism in Russia), Fascism+Capitalism+Communism, Communism+Capitalism, Communism+Capitalism, Communism+Capitalism, Merchantilism. You forgot: all the current Middle East wars (Fascism+Capitalism), all the current African wars (Tribalism+Communism+Capitalism), and all the many single-country revolutions of the 20th century (mostly Communism, with a few Fascism and Capitalism thrown into).

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten