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Comment: Re:And this is how we get to the more concrete har (Score 1) 412

by swillden (#47770487) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

I really appreciate the scientific method and I agree it's a major milestone but it's not our most important discovery, that would be rule of law. Without rule of law there can be no civilization and without civilization there wouldn't be much science going on.

I'd argue that the rule of law is a result of applying the scientific method to social structure and governance.

The scientific method really consists of making conjectures and analyzing them critically. Some of the criticism comes from experimentation and analysis, but most conjectures never reach that point because simple thought can identify reasons they should be discarded. This process is closely related to (but vastly more powerful than) the mutation and selection process of evolution. At bottom, both are about creating and testing ideas, and selecting the ones that are objectively better (for the relevant definition of "better"). The scientific method does the selection through a tradition of criticism, natural evolution does it via replication (favoring the gene that replicates itself better).

How does this apply to the rule of law? Three ways. First of all, applying the same principle of progress to social structure, trying new methods and keeping those which work well while discarding those which don't, will lead to rule of law because it clearly is a superior social structure "technology". Second, without the rule of law, you really can't apply the scientific method to social structures, because there is no defined structure beyond the whim of the ruler(s). You have to fix the rules firmly so you can see what the outcomes are, and you can observe how to vary them. So any attempt to apply scientific reasoning to governance demands rule of law.

Third, and most important, the tradition of criticism inherent in and necessary to scientific progress inevitably leads people to criticize their government and to demand, among other things, the ability to understand the rules by which they're governed. I don't believe it's possible for any society with a significant number of scientific thinkers with any sort of influence to remain governed by fiat.

I think history bolsters my argument, too, simply based on the sequence of events. The Enlightenment was all about scientific reasoning and learning how to apply it to nearly all areas of human endeavor, not just science, and the Enlightenment came before the spread of the rule of law, not after.

Oh, actually I think there's a fourth reason scientific thinking creates the rule of law. It's even deeper, and is probably the truly fundamental reason, though it's a harder argument to make. That is that moral values are scientifically determined (even if we don't realize it), and the rule of law is morally right. It would take me a few pages to detail how and why I think that moral rightness is a real, determinable thing, derivable from the laws of nature, and not merely an artifact of culture, so I won't bother. Note that I'm not arguing that correct morality is easy to derive. It's not, any more than it was easy to derive General Relativity by conjecturing about observations of reality. But it can be derived, and in the same method: by conjecturing moral positions and then criticizing them, both logically and experimentally, discarding positions that lead to undesirable outcomes.

Comment: Re:The death of leniency (Score 1) 431

by swillden (#47769257) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

That's a problem. But it's a smaller problem than the one we live with now, which is that there are so many obscure laws that if anyone in a position of authority has it in for you they can find something to nail you for. The rule of law matters.

And just-world-hypothesis believing assholes just go on without thinking they must've deserved it.

What an idiot. You kan't reed.

Comment: Not servers I hope? Not since 2007 (Score 1) 151

by raymorris (#47769145) Attached to: How Red Hat Can Recapture Developer Interest

> Everyone immediately disables SELinux

I hope you're talking about your personal desktop and not publicly accessible servers. Many years ago, many packages didn't have SELinux policies, and that was painful. Disabling it was rather tempting. With all the many Linux computers I manage, I haven't run into a single SELinux related issue in several years. If you're disabling it now based on your experience in 2007, it might be worth taking another look.

As to "everyone immediately disables", about 10% disable it these days. 90% don't.

Comment: Irony intended? (Score 1) 412

by raymorris (#47768371) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

I'm not sure if the irony in your post is intentional. The bill says the emphasis should be on scientific knowledge and facts, rather than spending most of their time on one person's idea of what process might result in those facts. Present the facts, the knowledge, and let the students analyze whether or not that proves a process in place which will have California underwater by 2010 (oops, I guess not). Your objection to presenting facts rather than potential processes is "they'll never learn to question your authority". You realize that's precisely what your advocating, that their time be spent hearing about Al Gore's guess as to the process, rather than hear the facts for themselves.

Comment: Facts, not Al Gore's theory of the process (Score 1) 412

by raymorris (#47768297) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

I call that an emphasis on teaching the scientific facts (average temperature increased by 0.02C, methane increased by 0.01%) rather than putting the emphasis on Al Gore's idea of what processes might lead to those facts (hair spray has CFCs, which causes butterflies to .... therefore California will be underwater by 2010).

I kind of prefer scientific knowledge myself.

Comment: Re:Federal vs. local decision (Re:I like...) (Score 4, Insightful) 431

by swillden (#47768263) Attached to: U.S. Senator: All Cops Should Wear Cameras

The federal government has acted as a check on the tyranny of state governments

Utter red herring.

The tyrannies to which you refer were fought by amending the federal constitution and enacting appropriate federal laws to curb the abuses. That's a Good Thing, both the process and the outcome. But it has nothing to do with mi's point. The things the federal government manipulates through funding are things that it has no authority to control, and for which there is no national political will sufficient to give the government that control. Hence this back door method.

If cop cameras are sufficiently important that the federal government should mandate them, then Congress should pass a law mandating them. If the courts knock the law down as unconstitutional (as they would), then we should amend the constitution to give the federal government the authority required. This sneaky backdoor manipulation of state policy via federal funding, though... it's a tool that has no essential limits and no constitutional controls. It's a bad idea, and we should stop it.

Comment: Accepted the challenge, nice. One more interesting (Score 1) 412

by raymorris (#47767847) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

You took up the challenge of trying to connect those dots. Nice. That requires more courage than many commenters on Slashdot have, and more thought than many put into their comments. I have one further challenge for you, one you might find rather interesting. I'll put the challenge at the bottom of this post.

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. So I'll address the one assertion that you may truly and fully believe. 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.

Science:
“Everything must be taken into account. If the fact will not fit the theory---let the theory go.”
A good scientific theory is "a coherent set of propositions that explain a class of phenomena, that are supported by extensive factual evidence, and that may be used for prediction of future observations."

So if one scientists proposes a theory which predicts that mixing sodium and chlorine will produce gold, while another says that it will produce salt, we can test each. The one that produces good, true results in the better theory. Do we agree so far?

Religion:
Asked about how to tell teachers of the truth from "false prophets": “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit." (Jesus, in Mathew 7).

A good pastor (teacher) is one whose teaching results in good fruits such as happy marriages, well-adjusted kids, and a fulfilling life.

Physics looks at what happens with objects (the apple falls from the tree), tries to come up with a set if rules that describe as accurately as possible what happens (Newton's law of universal gravitation), then applies those rules to make predictions about future situations (if you let go of THAT glass, it will fall).

Chemistry looks at what happens with molecules, tries to come up with a set if rules that describe as accurately as possible what happens, then applies those rules to make predictions about future situations.

Let's compare religion:
      "Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death."

Elsewhere repeated as:
        "keep you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life."

Someone noticed that in many cases they observed, adultery lead to trouble. They formulated a rule describing that "adultery leads to trouble", and suggest you use that to make predictions future situations - if you engage in adultery, that will probably lead to trouble.

The same observations led the same author to predict how an experiment could be conducted that would achieve the desired result:
        "may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?"

This is, in my opinion, not unlike a set of instructions for chemistry "use potassium nitrate, not potassium nitrite, for best results".

        "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’"

Again, observation (these major projects began without planning failed), a general rule (if you fail to plan, you plan to fail), with predictive use (if I don't plan this project, it may fail).

      "wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."

Observation: these men, who chose their wives carefully have confidence in their wife, and their marriages bring good things to them.
Rule: A trustworthy wife, of noble character, will bring good to a man.
Prediction: If you marry that woman, the one who has shown great character, she will bring good to your marriage and to you.

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.

After all that, the challenge. The challenge is simply this. Read one full page anywhere in the book of Proverbs, a book shared by most major religions. I recommend skipping the first several verses of a chapter if you're only going to read one page, because each chapter starts out with a preamble that gets redundant. Reading just one page (any page) from that book which is at the heart of the major religions may give you an entirely new perpective on what religion is (or can be) all about.

" fools despise wisdom and instruction."

Comment: 1. Read 2. Argue (Score 1) 412

by raymorris (#47766221) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

It helps to read the sentence you're arguing about, before you argue about it.

> No, it means you can't teach, you know science

Here's the full text of the science section of the bill:

      The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics;
        incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge
        rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.

So you're saying that "biology, chemistry, and physics", "academic and scientific knowledge" isn't "you know science". Hmm.

Comment: Re:just because the dept of ed.... (Score 1) 412

by plover (#47766213) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

But your quote specifically says, "principally through performance on a common statewide placement examination." It does not say the CSU system uses SAT or ACT for admissions standards. Perhaps if they based admissions on the SAT or ACT results, they'd need less remediation. Of course, that means rejecting a bunch of the little revenue-generating tykes instead of sending them over to the bursar's office to extract the maximum amount of Financial Aid money from them.

It would be interesting to compare the graduation rates to the remedial course attendance. Do the remedial students fail to graduate at a higher rate than the qualified students? Are we doing those younger, under-qualified students a disservice by allowing them to matriculate?

Comment: That's not in the bill, and he didn't say that (Score 1, Interesting) 412

by raymorris (#47766185) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

> Did you miss the part where the bills author finds that the bill would allow the teaching of intelligent design?

That's not in the article, and the bill doesn't say that. The bill PROHIBITS teaching any religious interpretation. That's the plain English text of the bill.

What IS in the article, is that when a reporter asked the clickbait question of whether school boards could consider addressing the topic of intelligent design, one of the sponsors said "“I think it would be good for them to consider the perspectives of people of faith." he didn't say the bill would allow it, which makes sense given that the bill explicitly and clearly prohibits it.

Comment: Re:Feedback loops (Score 1) 272

by argStyopa (#47766149) Attached to: Numerous Methane Leaks Found On Atlantic Sea Floor

...except that we just discovered a massive source of methane that we never suspected existed.

High level of CO2 is not true on the scales that I'm talking about - the last couple of million years.
Rate of change is relevant for biologicals, as it has to do with how fast they can evolve around the change, but irrelevant to the ultimate state of the climate. If I dump X amount of salt into water, does 'how fast it dissolves' matter at all to the final chemical composition? No.
State of Milankovich cycles: curious that you raise this. In terms of gross observation, we're in fact ON TARGET when it comes to the synchronicity of climate (temp, CO2 peaks) and M-cycles. Further, widely-recognized issues in Milankovich observations (divergent models, unplit-peak issues, etc) all suggest *error-bars* are still well in excess of the sorts of changes posited to be due to anthropogenic causes, meaning that all the sound and fury over AGW amounts to little more than arguing about static noise, in the big picture...

So to imply - as the IPCC has for years - that we have some sort of 'final, settled, authoritative' understanding of warming, the processes, and the methods is a little premature?

Comment: prohibit == require is a dot you need to connect (Score 1) 412

by raymorris (#47766079) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

> Connecting the dots is left as an exercise to the reader.

The bill explicitly prohibits teaching religious interpretations. You're claiming it REQUIRES what it in fact explicitly prohibits. If you're going to say "prohibit" really means "require" , that's a dot you need to connect, or just admit you were tricked the clickbait headline.

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.

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