Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:there is no conflict between science and religi (Score 1) 268

I was simply pointing out that there are things which science has so far been unable to explain.

- and you were implying that this somehow has a bearing on the veracity of your faith. That's OK with me - each individual has the responsibility for their own conscience and therefore the freedom to choose their own reasons. To me, the fact that science doesn't know everything is comforting - the joy of science lies in the discovery, not in the knowing.

I have studied the article about 'Our Lady of Akita'; but again, it does not offer anything for a scientist to work on. There is no coherent, logical hypothesis that leads to predictions which can be tested. Why would God or any other supernatural entity choose to make a statue produce tears? Why would he choose to cure one person om disease and not somebody else? It is not difficult to think of many, natural explanations - the church or monastry that own a weeping statue can make loads of money from the increased number of visitors, for example, and it is not difficult to make a statuse produce 'tears' by fitting thin tubes in the right place, and as the many revelations about child sex abuse by Catholic priests all over the world show, the Catholic church is not above such things.

You can try to attribute that I am somehow blinded by religion,...

Not necessarily - mabye you see something that I can't. But if you start to talk about science to a scientist, then you will be met with the arguments of a scientist.

Comment Re:there is no conflict between science and religi (Score 1) 268

I'm not the guy to which you replied. This may explain why your reply seems so confused.

Whatever - the same observation holds. After comparing this reply to your previous one, I can see that you are simply repeating the same statis arguments combined with the same attempts at spinning mine as ill-conceived. In short, you argue like a Jehovah's Witness and it seems disingenious. I'm willing to discuss subjects in both science and religion, but a discussion is not what we are having, and there is no point in continuing.

Comment Re:there is no conflict between science and religi (Score 1) 268

You're not going to get anywhere.

I knew already when I replied, that I wouldn't be able to convince you - but I think even a futile discussion can have a wider impact. If your well-meaning, but false ideas are not countered, some might think you have a point, which you don't.

What I'd like you to do is try to find an example or two written up in a proper peer-reviewed journal. You'll find it incredibly difficult.

Nope - it doesn't work like that. If you want you hypotheses to be taken serious, you work out the logic, design experiments, predict the outcome etc. No religious thinker has, as far as I know, ever done that and got a reliable result. Don't expect scientists to go and do your work for you; we have our own projects - that we are getting paid for doing.

Science, as it happens, is not the end of epistemology. Neither is it some static and unchanging thing necessarily beyond question.

Well, that is rather the point of science, isn't it? Scientific method is a tool by which we can improve our knowledge, false as it inevitably is, by cipping away the falsehoods and hopefully getting closer to some form of truth, that can actually be relied upon independently of whether any given individual actually believes in it or not. It is search for reality, if you will - as real as a brickwall.

I'm concerned that you've elevated science the same way a religious zealot would elevate some sacred texts.

I don't think you sincerely feel any concern about that, if I'm honest. You just trying to see if you can find a crack in my conviction, that you can pry open. But why don't you propose a better way of testing a hypothesis than the process known as the scientific method? Scientists are practical people - the Method is a tool, and we would all welcome one that is better.

Comment Re:there is no conflict between science and religi (Score 1) 268

There are things that no one can explain. Science doesn't have all the answers.

The link you give points to an advert for one of the many collections of miracle anecdotes that evangelical Christians like to read (and the Muslims, Jews, etc have their own versions, of course). The problem with such stories, nice as they are, is that they are not consistently reproducible. Every attempt at reproducing them fails - so, science has to conclude that the reasoning behind the story was wrong. There's no shame in that - scientists are proven wrong all the time, and usually don't mind too much. That is the thing about science and the scientific method: it can't prove that something is absolutely true, but it can definitely prove that something is false with absolute certainty. If your predictions based on your hypothesis fail, then your hypothesis is wrong in the absolute sense.

And of course there are lots of things nobody can ever explain - why did a lightning follow one rather than another of many equally possible paths? Science doesn't know, and nobody thinks they have all the answers - except the religious. It isn't desperately important for us to have absolute certainty about anything, except perhaps the scientific method; and even that one we only accept because there is no alternative. Scientists are doubters through and through, who positively revel in asking probing questions.

Comment Re:there is no conflict between science and religi (Score 1) 268

science and religion simply do not conflict. they examine entirely different realms that do not interact. if you think the realms do interact, you are simply announcing you don't understand what you are talking about

Well, up to a point. Science has no opinion to offer about whether there is a god or God, but science can and must offer input on any testable claims made by any religion. So far all statements saying that God does something real have tested false. Now, as a very open minded scientist, you still have to say "we don't know if God exists", but I think it is a very reasonable position to take, as a scientist, that since all positive statements about God's reality have been disproven, then he probably doesn't exist in any real sense.

The other part of your claim is also dubious, I think. You seem to claim that morality comes from God: "religion tells you how to live in the world". It is the other way around, actually: we have evolved certain moral behavious, because it gave us better chances of surviving as a social species, and our ideas of God are likely to spring from that as the ultimate 'because'. In a sense, God didn't create us, we created Him.

Comment Invented languages (Score 1) 90

From the list of languages I suspect that the ones he design are built largely around Indo-European (all of the languages are from that family, except Arabic), which is a little disappointing. It was the same even in LotR - you would hope a linguist would be better placed than most to look around in to world of languages, of which there are apparently some 7000+, and find some inspiration.

Comment Re:Nothing to see here, move on (Score 1) 348

We've had an anti-government undertone basically since the nation was founded.

Interesting. I read an article a few days agout some research about this - it seems that this increasing polarisation in the US has coincided with the deregulation of the press some time in the 90es; you probably know a lot more about it than I do. But it seems quite plausible to me that since it sells more papers/attracts more viewers, the media see their advantage in stoking the fires of controversy, which would explain why there seems to be such a lot of vitriolic idiots on American tv.

I could see Trump getting elected on name appeal alone.

Scary. I suppose I shouldn't mind, living in UK, because a primitive schoolyard bully like Trump will make the Chinese less interested in dealing with the US, and hence more interested in cultivating relations with UK; but it really pains me to see how America is sinking further and further down into this quagmire. Americans are good people, in general, and deserve better.

Comment Re:Nothing to see here, move on (Score 1) 348

What's wrong with voting for a self-confessed ex-drunk?

Perhaps nothing - but it illustrates how little American voters actually care about real issues. Alcoholism, or any other form of drug addiction, is not something that simply goes away, nor is it something that you can easily shrug off. I think, if people cared about what kind of person became president, they would have taken an interest, since it strikes as important to know whether the guy has actually kicked the habit, or just replaced it with something else. I don't mean this in a hostile sense - but the US would not be well served by a Yeltsin-type of president.

Comment Re:Nothing to see here, move on (Score 4, Interesting) 348

Dear me, what is actually wrong with Americans and their politics? Maybe you guys need a Jeremy Corbyn to change the tone - somebody who has the temerity to shuffle along in slippers and speak plainly, but politely about things that actually matter to people. I thought it was amazing to watch him during the first PMQ - no jeering, no cheap point scoring. You can respect a guy like that.

How much does it actually matter that she sent some emails from her home server? And before you get into hysterical overdrive, remember that the people of America actually elected a self-confessed ex-drunk like GWB into that office, and got perilously close to letting Sarah Palin into power. And there are people right now who seriously consider voting for a windbag like mr Trump. So, how much of this email hype is actually about the seriousness of having been a bit lax with her emails, and how much is about trying to paint her in a bad light no matter what the objective reality is?

It is no wonder that all your politicians seem to be somewhat out of contact with the real world, because nobody in possession of their full, mental capabilities would voluntarily subject themselves to the sort of treatment they get from the press and the lobbies - with the willing, not to say eager participation of You the People. As a side note, next time anybody from the US suggests that 'Democracy' should be introduced in country X, remember that the way you do those things does not look all that attractive to foreigners.

Comment Re: the work he has put in does warrant appreciati (Score 1) 146

Oh, come on - it is just a bit of fun, of course it is silly. They guy isn't suggesting it was anything else. And in the process of making it all work, he has probably learned a lot of useful stuff, such as developing an idea, persisting with a project that was probably quite tedious at times, not to mention having to understand how keyboards work and how their data are transmitted and processed at the receiving end. There is a lot of this project that I find positive; don't be such a wet blanket.

As for 'Eastern languages' - what is normally called CJK (China, Japan and Korea) character sets: they are all input into computers using input methods. Off the top of my head, I can only recall one that I think is derived from strokes, plus a small number of handwriting recognition systems; the rest are based on transcription into ASCII. Popular input methods systems on the Linux desktop are SCIM, XIM and fcitx; have a look at them if you're interested.

Comment Re:Pointless (Score 4, Insightful) 162

Any company with the capacity to profitably mine the moon, or asteroids, isn't going to give a shit about the quaint laws of an individual nation state.

Unless said companies are able to base themselves outside the territories of all nations on the planet, they will have to pay attention to the laws of some country. And of course, since a large company requires to trade in many nations to survive, they will have to follow the rules in those nations. And so on.

But there is an interesting twist to this line of thought: if individual companies become, in effect, their own nation states, should we require that they are run more like nations - with all it entails, including citizenship, democracy, social security, infrastructure paid for by themselves etc?

And, if the difference between nations and businesses become ever smaller, why is it actually that nations are not allowed to compete in the market like businesses do? In the past, the argument was that the state would have an unfair advantage over national businesses both because of their size and the fact that they decide the laws etc, but if that national laws are now powerless against transnationals, there is no longer a good reason for states not to compete with business.

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL." -- Dave Bowman, 2001