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Comment: Re:Sad, and not black and white either (Score 1) 351

by hoggoth (#46706247) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

Yes, actually I did. I pointed out that he could get off the canoe right there and live in a hut and it wouldn't cost him a dime. His savings would most likely be enough to pay for whatever logistics he needed (plane tickets to visit home once a year, food, some clothes, etc). But he would be giving up the "normal" life he was used to. He thought about it for a moment and said he really wants to retire "in style" and not in a hut, and that he would have to "work his ass off" for a few more years to do that. At least he acknowledged what his priorities and trade-offs are.

Comment: Re:Sad, and not black and white either (Score 1) 351

by hoggoth (#46704953) Attached to: Isolated Tribes Die Shortly After We Meet Them

I was on vacation on a remote island in Fiji, taking a canoe ride with some other American tourists. A man in his 50's sighed and said 'I hope I can afford to live like this one day'. The irony was totally lost on him that the people who's life he was jealous of woke up in their huts, had a little food, then played soccer and fished all day without owning a single penny.

Comment: Re:Alternative (Score 1) 914

What a ridiculous idea. What condition do you think the convict will be in after 30 years equivalent of solitary confinement in a sensory deprivation tank? They will be completely psychotic

Guard: "Here's your cell phone and wallet, you are free. go enjoy life"
Prisoner: drool...drool...drool... whimper...

Comment: Why? (Score 2) 914

Why would we do this?

What does anyone gain by making the convict experience 1,000 years of mental torture? It doesn't improve the victim's life. It doesn't stop others from committing crimes. It doesn't do anything productive or helpful. It is just torture for the sake of revenge. It is stupid and sadistic.

Comment: Re:"Religious Activities" not Religion per se (Score 4, Insightful) 529

by hoggoth (#46492353) Attached to: Religion Is Good For Your Brain

Organized religion is a package of beliefs and behaviors that have been honed over tens of thousands of years to provide people with things they need both psychologically and socially. Until recently religious behavior couldn't really have been separated from the rest of tradition and society. It was one "package". Having all of these things wrapped up in one package makes it easier to teach and train people to follow good ideas, like "don't eat food that spoils quickly" and "don't spread STDs with promiscuous sex". Now that we have better understand of which behaviors are helpful we may not need all of the extra baggage that traditionally came with religion. But where is the new "package" of useful behaviors to replace the old ones? Often if you discard religious tradition you also discard good guidelines for living, and instead rely on random trends or worse profit-motive marketing for your guidelines.

I suspect religious people will get angry at this line of reasoning, thinking I am missing the entire "point" of religion. From one point of view I am discounting the whole purpose of their religion. But regardless of the supernatural truths of the universe, it is certainly true that religions carry a great deal of traditions and guidelines for living beyond the purely spiritual.

Comment: Re:Religion... (Score 4, Insightful) 529

by hoggoth (#46492267) Attached to: Religion Is Good For Your Brain

But, as someone who was not indoctrinated in religion when I was young and impressionable, how do I determine which of the following ideas to believe and follow:

1) Organized religion
2) Unicorns
3) Astrology

From my point of view these all share equal likelihood of being true, have equally convincing evidence, and all have proponents. Not being totally facetious here, from inside the "group" this may seem obvious to you, but from outside it doesn't. Why Jesus? Why not Buddha? Why not Zeus? Why not Wicca? Why not Xenu? And if I decide all but one of these ideas are poppycock, then how does one of them stand the same test of scrutiny?

Comment: Guilty or not? The argument. (Score 1) 1431

by hoggoth (#45955805) Attached to: Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

Slashdot: All right, Did the shooter commit murder? The battle of wits has begun.
Me: But it's so simple. Someone shot someone else to death over an argument. So clearly he will fry for this!
Slashdot: You've made your decision, then?
Me: Not remotely. The shooter is a cop, so as a general rule he will be declared innocent and 'just doing what is right'.
Slashdot: Truly you have a dizzying intellect.
Me: Wait till I get going! Now, where was I?
Slashdot: A Cop.
Me: Yes, a cop. But he is an EX copy, so clearly he will be found guilty.
Slashdot: You're just stalling now.
Me: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? He is an ex-cop, but this is FLORIDA. As everyone knows, Florida is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people shoot each other in the movie theater, so clearly he will get off.
Slashdot: You're trying to trick me into giving away something. It won't work.
Slashdot: Then make your choice.
Me: I will, and I choose - Look! Miley Rae Cyrus is twerking!

The person who's taking you to lunch has no intention of paying.