Imagine living back when these things were part of the mainstream understanding of world history.
As another interesting option, I would actually recommend Crunchbang Linux for enterprise desktops. It's based on Debian Stable, so the support period is very long, its rock solid and you know it will stay that way through any security updates. But its a lot more out-of-the-box functional than straight-up Debian. Many of the post-install chores typical to desktop installations (like installing multimedia codecs, configuring a nice desktop, etc) are done for you. It's clean, fast and there's also an XFCE version (I think XFCE is better for newbies than Openbox, because there are integrated GUI tools for things that should be simple - like setting keyboard shortcuts, adding panel items, etc).
Trying to have more complexity in the remote is a move in the wrong direction.
* Philosophy of Communication: translations exist on a sliding scale between "formal equivalence" (word-for-word) and "dynamic equivalence" (thought-for-thought). This is the reason that the ESV and KJV (more formal-equivalence) use the technical theological word "propitiation" in Romans 3:25, whereas the NIV (more dynamic-equivalence) uses the phrase "sacrifice of atonement". Both have their place, and are preferred in different contexts.
* Evolution of Language Usage: as great as the KJV was for its time (1611), it may confuse many people if modern English translations rendered James 2:3 as "And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing". The ESV instead says "and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing".
* Disagreement over Manuscript Significance: Some people regard what has been called the "majority text" as the true critical text of the original new testament. Therefore, they prefer English translations based on this text (generally the KJV, but also including the WEB and EMT) rather than translations based on other critical greek texts (e.g. Wescott-Hort, Nestle-Aland). The reasons for this dispute are fairly involved. A good book, summarising academia on the topic for the lay person, is D.A. Carson's The King James Version Debate
* Ideological Preference: Some people do seem to stand by the KJV through thick and thin, as though it were a matter of faithfulness to God, without much in the way of actual rational arguments why it is a better translation. This may also include a sentimental desire to remain connected to the history of christendom.
These are generally not bad reasons to create a new translation. Now, some of the arguments do become petty (particularly under the Ideological Preference heading). But generally, translators have good reasons for thinking that more people will understand the content of the Bible much better, because another translation is made available that attempts to communicate the same ideas to a slightly different demographic.
Claiming that atheism is not a metaphysical belief is very much like claiming "pro-life" is not a belief about abortion, but rather the absence of belief that abortion is acceptable. Such claims involve assuming the a priori correctness of the position in question, so as to frame the opposing position as a perversion of natural or self-evident logic. It's circular reasoning, assuming the conclusion in the premise.
To put it another way, when an otherwise articulate person defends their position by saying it is "just obvious", it is probably because they lack any legitimate arguments to defend it.
As insane and counter-intuitive as it may sound, sometimes the majority rejects things because they are false. I'm just sayin'. Not to defend the ensuing behaviour of said majority in the slightest. I'm a christian, but I'm entirely in favour of freedom of religion (and I include the freedom to be an atheist, even a proselytising atheist, in that statement).
A belief that is true should welcome critical analysis. If christianity is true, then it should welcome the scrutiny of a Richard Dawkins or a Michael Shermer. But by the same token, if atheism is true, it should welcome the scrutiny of a Michael Behe or a William Lane Craig.
Oh, how I wish my mod points hadn't just expired. Mod^^^^^. Listen up slashdot nerds, we're doing symbolic logic. Let's call "god does not exist" proposition P.
* Atheism: the value of P is "true"
* Agnosticism: the value of P is "unknown"
Thus "atheism" is by definition a metaphysical belief system (or at least a component of one), because it affirms at least one particular propositional statement about metaphysics. Defining atheism as a lack of a belief system is merely a convenient way of using weasel-words to avoid having to defend the propositional statements contained in one's position.
"The misuse of language induces evil in the soul" -Socrates
vanilla doesn't suit everyone. I've used Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu and Arch (and several of their derivatives) full-time. From that experience I've learned two things:
* Arch is my favourite distro.
* My life is better when I use Ubuntu full time.
Arch has a simpler init, a better config structure, a better filesystem layout, a simpler packaging format that's easy to create build scripts for and amazingly good documentation. Also, all the points people make about AUR are valid, its marvellous. Much to love there. And that would be enough to outweigh the initial time investment of a day or two to get the system up and running how I want. But the vanilla packages are what kills the experience for me.
That's sort-of a sad realisation to come to, but it is a practical reality for many. It's not that I don't have the skills to maintain an Arch system well (I used to do sysadmin for Debian and CentOS systems), it's just that I don't have the time. Nowadays, I genuinely appreciate the Debian packaging philosophy where the package maintainers go out of their way to make sure the package is compatible and well-integrated with the rest of the distribution. With Arch, installing a new package also often requires me to spend half an hour or so configuring it or figuring out some little compatibility issue with another application. The pain is ongoing.
Rolling release doesn't help me either. I used to think it was a great idea. "Never need to reinstall again!", not like Ubuntu where I tend to reinstall every 6 months when there's a new release. However, in practice the releases give packagers some idea of the environment they are creating packages for and actually result in less time spent tinkering with the system.
Arch is a magnificent vision for what a distro could be, but it is geared a little too strongly to hobby purposes for my needs. I have work to do. Maybe Slackware would fill in the niche I've been describing, but it seems to be even less up-to-date than Debian stable.
I think parent's question may be somewhat rhetorical, but I think it could be an interesting discussion, so here's one non-American's idea (having said that, we face a similar issue in Australia, we voted in Rudd to spend our surplus without providing any *new* services. But I can't think of a truly unbiased way to measure who's voting population is "dumber" on average).
This problem took significant time to develop, and it will take time to resolve. I feel that neglecting the subject of formal logic in modern education is near the root of the problem. I am strongly reminded of Professor Diggory's furrowed-brow wondering "what do they teach them in these schools?" What then can we do? I would love to see a twofold solution.
- Training in formal logic in schools. Teach children (maybe as part of the mathematics curriculum, since I suppose this is applied mathematics) to recognize and reject common logical fallacies like false equivocation, affirming the consequent, denying the antecedent and the non-sequitur.
- Reference to these principles in political debate(s). If a politician gives a speech or presentation where they use flagrantly poor logic, their opponent could (should) point these out and force the presenter to attempt to persuade the public of their position on more rational grounds.
Would this fix every problem even if executed perfectly? No. Evidence could still be fabricated to support false premises, while maintaining logical validity. But it would be better than the current situation where flawed logic and emotive non-answers are consistently employed to sway an uncritical public. Is this a pipe dream that will never happen? Maybe. But if we have a goal we can at least work towards it.