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Comment: ISIS (Score 0) 376

by benjfowler (#48153973) Attached to: Pentagon Reportedly Hushed Up Chemical Weapons Finds In Iraq

I could imagine the US being keen not to openly advertise the presence of these horrible weapons to the terrorists overrunning the place.

The reasons for wanting to keep it quiet are very pragmatic and sensible.

Iraq is already in a bad situation, with us having to wipe the arabs' stupid, corrupt and inept backsides for them as it is, without having to worry about additional complication of ISIS getting any more ideas, and trying to get their hands on Sarin and mustard gas.

The evil motherfuckers have already been experimenting with chemical and germ agents. Why push our luck any further?

Common sense, really.

Comment: Re:Pretty Much Sums it Up (Score 1) 795

by benjfowler (#47964899) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

It doesn't matter. There is no such thing as absolute truth; only increasingly (and sometimes, as in the case of QM, extremely) accurate approximations of the truth. "Truth" is the ability of an idea to explain or predict. Now the meaning of the models concerns philosophy, not science, and has little bearing on how (say), the band gap in a transistor works. Here, we're discussing science, not philosophy. Let the philosophers wank themselves in public about the various interpretations of QM, as they have been for the last 50 years. It does *NOT* invalidate science, as weirdos and cranks would have us all believe.

Our best guess of how QM works, is that the world is inherently nondeterministic and random; it *doesn't* mean that the large-scale statistical behaviour of QM systems can't be modelled very, very accurately. So are far as we're concerned, it's "true", in the sense it's our best guess about how the real world works.

Comment: Re:Pretty Much Sums it Up (Score 3, Insightful) 795

by benjfowler (#47964521) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Not every opinion is of equal worth. Not every opinion is informed. Not every opinion is distinguishable from a feeling or hunch.

Democracy pertains to politics, where there is no objective reality -- only competing sets of values and subjective opinion.

In more objective areas of life, you live and die based on whether or not your ideas are objectively defensible. Science is a way of knowing: and the worth of an idea is usually based on its ability to explain or predict. That's the key ingredient that most people don't understand.

Comment: Re: they will defeat themselves (Score 0) 981

by benjfowler (#47929605) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Then explain how white colonies in Africa became rich after settling with nothing but the clothes on their backs -- before Africans kicked them out penniless?

And explain how Spain ended up an impoverished basketcase for centuries, only a few short years after the colossal amount of gold and silver they looted from South America ran out?

Explain how Japan is so rich, despite having no natural resources, and despite being left utterly penniless and broken after WW2?

No -- you can't -- because you can't admit even to yourself that culture matters, and that our worth as human beings hinges on our culture and education, or lack thereof. CULTURE is real wealth. Money and resources are a fleeting, insignificant thing in comparison.

Comment: Re: they will defeat themselves (Score 3, Insightful) 981

by benjfowler (#47929389) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

The last time people from 'rich' countries moved en masse to 'poor' countries, it was decried as colonialism, and rightly so.

(I suppose the fact that Western colonies full of actual Westerners thrive everywhere they go is awfully inconvenient for the 'blame-white-people-first' crowd. Contrast the Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nigerian, Turkish, Moroccan colonies in Europe, which are invariably dysfunctional and dirt-poor, despite massive amounts of welfare spending.)

Comment: Re: they will defeat themselves (Score 2) 981

by benjfowler (#47928759) Attached to: ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

Plenty of ex-colonies are doing just fine. Plenty of shit countries are awash with guns. And there are places that do just fine even with the influence of the RC church -- I know some Irish and Catalans that'd like to have a word with you.

Your sneering attitude to Western culture marks _you_ out as the bigot. Not all cultures are made equal. And I don't care if you think I'm racist (if anything, you're outed yourself as a cultural Marxist). Name-calling your opponents doesn't change reality -- it all boils down to culture, and there's nothing to gain from denying that some cultures are simply better at fostering human wellbeing than others, and you're a fool if you think otherwise.

I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)

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