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Comment: Re:Atheism offers no values - you have to add them (Score 1) 855

by david_thornley (#47911387) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Some theists believe that good and evil are simply what God says they are, but a large number think that God commands things because they are good, not that they are good because it's what God commands. Therefore, a lot of theists have a value system that is independent of God, and there's no reason why atheists can't have similar value systems. (FWIW, I'm a utilitarian, which is a moral belief that's completely independent of any God.)

As an example, suppose God commanded that you get some children and torture and violate them in all sorts of ways until they were physically crippled and emotionally ruined, then throw them into the gutter. Is this something you could understand happening? You can say God would never do that, but why do you say that?

Comment: Re:Great idea! Let's alienate Science even more! (Score 1) 855

by david_thornley (#47911297) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

What struck me about Dawkins is that he seems to have just adopted the Christian fundamentalist extremist view that evolution is incompatible with Christianity. The largest Christian denomination (the Catholics) formally recognizes that evolution is how species were created, and a whole lot of Protestants have no problem with evolution (I suspect Orthodox in general have no problem either, but I really don't know enough to judge.)

Comment: Re:illogical captain (Score 1) 855

by david_thornley (#47911209) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

Science can't prove religion is invalid (or valid). There are certain things that we simply can't find objective evidence for or against, such as God, the soul, survival in some form after death, ethics, etc. Without objective evidence, the scientific method simply doesn't work.

What science can do is explain things that used to require religion to explain. Lightning, for example, has a perfectly natural explanation, whether or not it's controlled by Zeus.

Comment: Re:No, no. Let's not go there. Please. (Score 1) 855

by david_thornley (#47911135) Attached to: Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

The reason that US atheists are weird is that US Christians are weird. If nobody really cares about my religious beliefs, I can be an atheist or a Pastafarian or whatever and that's OK. If there's pressure to be Christian, then if I decide I'm an atheist I'm to some extent under siege. If I object to my tax money going to something Christian, lots of Christians will think I'm being unreasonable. If I object to laws that just codify specific Christian ideas (like businesses being legally unable to operate on Sundays), again I'm seen as unreasonable. Since I'm feeling excluded and mildly oppressed, I will seek out people in the same condition, and view them as allies.

There's a difference in US public perception between an atheist (not Christian) and people who aren't religious or don't believe in God (seen as Christians who are potentially struggling with their beliefs, no problem). I have way insufficient experience with other countries, but if Christianity isn't expected it's presumably no big deal to be an atheist.

Comment: Re:What about other devices? (Score 1) 413

by david_thornley (#47909123) Attached to: Windows Tax Shot Down In Italy

What does MS Windows or Linux have to do with CNC mills? I don't know what they run internally (Linux would probably be the best choice, but nobody tells me), but they get programs in a specialized language (usually called gcode) downloaded into them and run that. Anything that will send the program and receive the output on the serial cable or Ethernet will do.

Comment: Re:solution (Score 1) 287

by david_thornley (#47908809) Attached to: German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

A budget is a statement of what's important. (A more-or-less clerical friend of mine said that the most important theological document a church has is its budget.) If a company is required by law to do something, then that something will be held to be important, and an unwillingness to devote the resources to doing it will not necessarily fly with the judge.

Comment: Re:Personalized medicine... and nutrition (Score 1) 290

by david_thornley (#47908791) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

It's not a moral issue (well, it could easily be, but that's not how I'm approaching it). It's a question of why the science is so undeveloped. It seems that we really know very little nutrition (other than things like sugars being bad), and that puzzles me.

I know there's a lot of ignorance, and that's reasonable. After my heart attack, my cardiologist said that he knew some of the drugs he was prescribing would help, and others were his best guess. This is, I believe, reasonable. It's more than I've been able to reliably figure out about nutrition.

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 1) 257

by david_thornley (#47897075) Attached to: Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

I see a problem with arguing as you do.

I don't like laws against victimless crimes. I want them repealed. I'm not saying that people who commit victimless crimes should be immune from certain punishments, but rather that there should not have been a law to violate that way. Complain about the law and the conviction, not the form of punishment. It's not disproportionate to the legal penalties, and so isn't worth arguing about by itself.

The reward of a thing well done is to have done it. -- Emerson