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Comment: Re:They won't (Score 2) 121

by mrchaotica (#47777249) Attached to: Microsoft Dumps 1,500 Apps From Its Windows Store

Does Debian count as solid and robust? I installed it on my HTPC the other day, and (after installing the non-free Radeon firmware and then changing the sound output from speakers to HDMI in settings), the sound works for the non-root user I created during installation, but not for the other non-root user I created afterward.

I've used Linux (on and off) for a long time. I'm a sustaining member of both the EFF and FSF. I'm a really big fan of Free Software in general. But I still have to admit that my immediate thought was "WTF, Windows wouldn't screw up this kind of thing."

Comment: Re:Meanwhile, Firefox is dying off. (Score 1) 82

by mrchaotica (#47772963) Attached to: $33 Firefox Phone Launched In India

Um, they are doing all they can: making their own mobile platform out of their product. What else can they do? Any bright ideas?

They could fix the bloat, bugs and crashes instead of trying to add new features that nobody wants (except maybe Chrome users, but they'd just use Chrome anyway).

As a Firefox user since way back when it was called Phoenix, all I really want is Phoenix 0.5 with complete and optimized support for modern HTML/CSS/etc.

Comment: Re:No device necessary (Score 1) 163

the kind of emulation bugs still getting reported are literally "on the Super Game Boy player for the SNES..."

What kind of lunatic plays his Game Boy games on an emulated adapter for a different console entirely instead of just using a Game Boy emulator?!

For more recent systems, yeah, I haven't found any truly good low-level emulators, but those are also not the ones you'd be breaking out the CRT display for.

I don't know about that; I think anything up to and including the PS2, GameCube/Wii and (for all I know) Xbox probably looks better on a CRT.

Comment: Re:Accepted the challenge, nice. One more interest (Score 1) 512

by mrchaotica (#47769635) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

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.

I thought about that as I was writing them, and I apologize. Let me clarify:

First, on the use of "essentially:"

My claim that science is the opposite of religion depends on the context, which I explained in my previous posts (and which I go into further detail about below). In some other context, perhaps atheism would be the opposite of religion (but not in this context -- when comparing to science as I'm doing, atheism is every bit as religious as Christianity).

These things are complicated concepts, and if you're going to make a claim that complicated concepts are opposites of each other then you have to clarify what aspect of them, or in what sense, they are opposite. I'd like to think I've done a decent job of that, but I included the word "essentially" to try to prevent the rebuttal that science and religion weren't opposite in some context other than the one to which I was referring.

Second, on the use of "close enough:"

If a law prohibits teaching the Scientific Method, then it establishes religion. Absolutely. No weasel words about it.

However, this law doesn't quite do that. Instead it "merely" removes the "focus" on the Scientific Method -- it uses weasel words itself to attempt to effectively prohibit teaching the Scientific Method without explicitly doing so; i.e., it's "close enough."

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. [Followed by a list of bible quotes]

You seem to think that just because an idea happens to be written in the Bible, that that makes it a "religious idea." That is a fallacy. If an idea is similar to that of the Scientific Method, then it is scientific, even if it as a quote by Jesus.

I liked that quote about "false prophets," by the way -- I would expect it to surprise and upset creationists (or at least the less well-read ones, who haven't already incorporated it into their cognitive dissonance). If "Intelligent Design" were able to produce "fruits" (i.e., falsifiable hypotheses), then it would become legitimately scientific. But it doesn't, so it isn't.

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.

Those things aren't similar at all. The differences are the tools that are allowed to be used to evaluate and accomplish those goals, and indeed what kinds of goals are valid.

Science is concerned with understanding how and why things do work (using rigorous logical and mathematical models). In contrast, your statement about what religion tries to do is all about making rules to enforce how things should work. Science is strictly objective and descriptive; religion is inherently subjective and prescriptive.

If you're a chemist, for example, and you decide to disregard the results of your experiment because they aren't "good," then you are no longer practicing proper science.

Incidentally, it's possible for an idea to become more or less scientific over time. Who knows; maybe some Babylonian sociologist did a comprehensive, well-researched study of adultery and that passage you quoted ("Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman...") was the conclusion of his scholarly journal. That would be scientific! (Well, sort of, anyway -- sociology is kind of "iffy" as a science to begin with.)

But when you replace "a survey of N Babylonian men showed that the ones who committed adultery were X% less happy, on average, than the ones who didn't" with "thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife, or else God will smite thee down!" -- that is, when you become proscriptive instead of descriptive and stop caring about having a rigorous answer to the question "why?" -- then the idea stops being scientific and becomes religious.

Conversely, a religious idea, like the Great Flood, can become scientific over time. Geologic evidence has been found that the Mediterranean flooded through the Bosporus into the Black Sea suddenly in about 5600 BC. It didn't literally flood the entire world, but it could have seemed that way to somebody living on the (previous) shore of the Black Sea at the time. (So far, the existence of the Ark -- and particularly, the idea that Noah was commanded by God to build it instead of some more mundane explanation -- would still be outside the scope of the scientific theory.)

Comment: Re:just because the dept of ed.... (Score 1) 512

by mrchaotica (#47767201) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

Which of course explains away why a steadily increasing number of incoming college freshman have to take remedial courses.

The fraction of people who choose to go to college has been steadily increasing, too. The real question is, which is increasing faster?

(In other words, it could be that the students needing remedial classes are the same kind who would previously not have gone to college in the first place. If that's the case, it might not be a real problem.)

Comment: Re:This is good! (Score 1) 512

by mrchaotica (#47766919) Attached to: Limiting the Teaching of the Scientific Process In Ohio

I disagree. ID is a valid theory, in terms of a possible explanation. After all, Monsanto is doing ID (and some DD - Dumbass Design), so we know it can happen to some degree. Old-fashioned breeding is also ID.

What Monsanto does and what the "Intelligent Design Theory" proposes are not at all the same thing. The latter proposes that there is some intelligent force setting and/or manipulating the laws of the universe (which could pretty much only be a god (if not "The" God) by definition).

An interesting side discussion for students is if complexity alone is evidence for ID. In other words, if a natural explanation is not currently known, is that strong evidence for a creator, or merely evidence of humanity's knowledge gaps?

That's not a side discussion; that's the entire point. According to the Scientific Method, that kind of "evidence" (i.e., "we don't know, therefore X" or even "it is unknowable, therefore X") is categorically excluded from being valid. In other words, if you're even considering that idea then you've already failed to understand what science is.

If you want to have that kind of discussion, you need to do it in a philosophy class, not a science class. I suppose maybe you could mention it in a science class in order to point out what I wrote in the previous paragraph, but that's about it.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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