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Way to deny the existence of free will. Saying that everything we do is just a function of nature vs. nurture doesn't account for the idea of volition. And if we don't have a choice over what we do, the entire concept of ethics and justice becomes nonexistent. You don't put asteroid into jail for killing someone(as unlikely as it may be) because an asteroid doesn't have a choice. We put people in jail for murder because, at some point, they made a decision to murder another person. If murder is simply a function of nature and/or nurture, the person can't be held accountable for their crime, and thus they cannot be justly punished.
Sure, there is a lot than can be accounted for by nature/nurture, but that view of humanity is incomplete. Accounting for the ability to choose is what completes it, and we need to keep that in mind in order to not throw meteorites in jail and otherwise maintain the possibility of order and sanity in society.
Three-dimensional screen! Impressive, even if the Z-axis only has a two pixel depth.
Japan/Germany - they couldn't REACH us to do much damage, even if they'd wanted to.
That's just not true. The German u-boats in particular were very much able to reach us, and cause significant damage. Operation Drumbeat in particular was able to do a surprising amount of damage. With only 5 u-boats, they were able to sink 25 American ships, many of them within sight of major US cities such as New York and Boston, all in the span of a single month.
Over the next few months, they managed to sink 22% of our tanker capacity, and well more than 2 million tons of cargo shiping.
It got to the point where the u-boat commanders were calling the time from January to August in 1942 the "American Shooting Season," and east coast cities and towns had to be blacked out after dark for most of the remainder of the war.
They couldn't invade, but Germans could certainly reach us all right.
I agree completely that determinism is a terrible philosophy to have. But any view of the world based entirely on the premise of "matter in motion" is necessarily purely deterministic due to this little pesky thing we call logic(which the copenhagen interpretation was content to largely disregard). Matter in motion is logical. People are not logical due to the fact that we have free will. Therefore, people have this thing called consciousness, which is not matter in motion.
To illustrate this, assume that a neurobiologist is able to perfectly map out a model of the human brain, and generates a set of rules for each node(neuron). Under a given set of conditions, it sends a signal(in our brain it is electrical, but so long as it is a signal, it doesn't matter. Likewise with the neurons. In our brains, they are cells, but so long as they are a node that can perform I/O, it doesn't matter what it materially is) to the next node. Suppose the neurobiologist sets a few trillion or so people in a vast field, and gives each of them a set of rules corresponding to a specific neuron, and when a certain condition is fulfilled, they send a signal to another person in the form of a thrown ball.
This gives us a seemingly perfect model of the human brain. It is obvious that the model is purely deterministic. Yet all the observable data we have is in favor of our free will. Therefore, this thought experiment must be missing something, not accounting for some unknown factor. Yet it accounts for all the materialistic factors. We can only conclude that there is necessarily a nonmaterial consciousness involved somewhere in the process. Material determinism in no way infringes upon our free will.
What is engineering but applied math and physics?
Obligatory XKCD: http://xkcd.com/435/
The difference is that Russia, the US, and China don't want to go to war.
Russia doesn't want to go to war? Think you may have entirely missed the keyword "Ukraine" is recent events.
Link to Original Source
Politicians interjecting themselves into what subjects teachers are allowed to introduce in the classroom and how such subjects must be discussed does _nothing_ to produce an educated population. It is nothing more than blowing at windmills to gain votes on whatever educational topic is popular for the day. The farther education decisions get removed from the parent, the more students become trained to become regurgitators of approved politically correct information rather than becoming adults with adapative minds capable of of grasping subtle connections and knowing truth from falsehood.
The entire purpose of the public school system is to systematically pump out batches of "good citizens" who don't question anything, particularly not the government. Did you actually think that the government running these schools was acting out of benevolence and desire for rational people instead of only looking out for its own power and self-interest?