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Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1074 1074

Except when the argument is actually right. But I guess you already knew that right?

Really? the article you linked says the opposite of what you claim:

Today many Christian denominations regard marriage as a sacrament, a sacred institution, or a covenant, but this wasn't the case before marriage was officially recognized as a sacrament at the 1184 Council of Verona. Before then, no specific ritual was prescribed for celebrating a marriage: "Marriage vows did not have to be exchanged in a church, nor was a priest's presence required. A couple could exchange consent anywhere, anytime."

Jewish and Muslim Marriages are fine, they are all the same religion.

I'm not sure a lot of Jews and Muslims would agree to that classification, but sure, they're all descended from the same god. But I guess that means Buddhists and Hindu are barred from marriage, instead?

Atheists don't need to get married as they can get a civil union, and that is what you get when you stand in front of a judge and say I do.

Actually, it doesn't actually matter who you stand in front of, what you get is a marriage when you sign the piece of paper that the government issued you. You can go in front of a priest and say your vows, but if you don't sign the paper you're not married. Priests get no say in who marries and who doesn't, they can only choose to perform or refuse to perform a ceremony (of course, in so far as they own private property they are also allowed to deny use of such space for the same purposes).

The government needs to stop trying to control every damn thing.

Frankly, maintaining the registry of people who are legally married seems like exactly what the government should be doing. Maybe you want the damn government to keep it's hands off the legal system too?

Marriage comes from religion, the word originated in Latin, the language of the Catholic church to describe a ceremony that they performed called Holy Matrimony. If you don't like that it originates in the Catholic church, invent your own damn word for it.

Except you are 100% wrong, marriage predates the concept of Holy Matrimony which was introduced as a Catholic sacrament in 1184, we know that the earliest recorded marriage contracts are from around 660 BC. So that's over 1,800 years before it was associated with Christianity.

If another religious denomination wants to marry a homosexual couple, good on them.

Then we are agreed, the government should not be enforcing a ban on same-sex marriages. Whether it's because you believe that everyone should be treated equally or because you don't think the government should be preventing the Episcopalians, the Unitarians, the Anglicans, and the Presbyterians (among many others) from performing same sex marriages, the end result is the same.

Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1074 1074

Fixing the disparity between marriage and civil union would have been the proper path, rather than taking a religious ceremony and perverting it to no longer have a religious element.

We've been down this road before, while you can take a civil institution (marriage), hang your religion on it, and claim you own it, it doesn't make it true.

Frankly, it's astonishing how often this profoundly ignorant line of argument comes up. What? Are you going to also declare that Jewish, Muslim and Atheist marriages shouldn't be allowed either? What about the other branches of Christianity that don't agree with you? Are you going to allow Catholics to get marriage? Protestants? What about the Christian churches that want to marry gay couples? Would you bar them because you disagree with their interpretation of the Bible? Why should we limit marriages to only the ones you specifically approve of, because some marriages don't confirm to your particular interpretation of a 2000 year old book?

Comment: Re:the battle of the selfless (Score 2) 305 305

According to Jared Diamond in Guns, Germs and Steel, that is most likely a consequence of Native Americans not having access to any arable staple crops. Once the option to grow corn for food became available, the Native Americans began settling down into cities. Unfortunately for the Native Americans the difficulty in acquiring a staple crop left them thousands of years behind the Europeans in their development and the subsequent exposure to European Germs wiped out the Native American cities. Somewhere around 95% of the city dwellers were wiped out during the initial contact with Europeans.

So that means that Native Americans had already discovered "economic development" when Europeans arrived, but the vast majority of those practising it were killed by simultaneous epidemics of smallpox, typhus, measles, influenza, bubonic plague, cholera, malaria, tuberculosis, mumps, yellow fever, and pertussis all introduced (at about the same time) to North America by Europeans.

Comment: Re:Yeah, fuck Harper (Score 3, Informative) 79 79

Oh give it up for crying out loud. Regardless whether you're talking about the Cons majority Federally, or the NDP's new majority in Alberta I'm sick and tired of hearing whiners bitch and complain about how the combined power of all the other voters should trump the number of elected representatives who garnered the most votes in their ridings.

Can you explain why you think the government should not be representative of the combined will of the voters?

I guarantee you that when your particular party of choice gets in power you'll be rolling your eyes at anyone who uses the same argument.

Potentially, but that doesn't mean that's actually the proper reaction.

You also act like past regimes, Trudeau (PET) and Chretien, weren't just as much dictatorial as Harper's.

I'm am genuinely under the impression that they weren't, feel free to prove me wrong, but all of the credible commentary and discussion I've heard from experts on the topic indicate that Harper is running the most dictatorial and partisan government in living memory. Additionally, Stephen Harper is infamous for his micro-managing, his stage managed appearances and his defiance of the experts on virtually every topic. It's why this conservative government is just 2 for 45 on court challenges to their laws and has picked fights with just about every group that's not a conservative lobby group (and some that are).

Personally, I think you're using a false generalisation to dismiss valid criticism of Harper.

Go ahead and vote for your favorite future dictator next election, but step back a bit and be objective about what you're going to get.

It seems like the problem with people like you is that you can't even imagine there being anything between two polarizing options. Either someone acts like a dictator or they do not. Is there no room for someone who only acts like a dictator some of the time? And shouldn't we prefer a politician who, when elected, spends as little time acting the dictator as possible?

I had high hopes for Harper when he was chosen to lead the Alliance party back in the day, but he's disappointed me at every turn since then.

Comment: Re:No, she didn't (Score 1) 851 851

She got way more than she paid in.

Why does that matter?

Because it's a betrayal of the principles she claimed to stand for, in more ways than one. One of Ayn Rand's positions was that the government shouldn't be looking after anyone because people who can't care for themselves and who don't have friends who are both rich enough and care enough to support them are useless parasites who don't actually deserve to live. Yet when she found herself in the exact same position where she dismissed others as not worthy of life, she chose to sacrifice her principles and live a bit longer.

It's not only the betrayal of her own principles that is at issue here, it's also her failure, with access to opportunities that many Americans never had, to plan for her own future to the extent where she wouldn't have needed government assistance. If Ayn Rand, who had the motive, the means and the opportunity to care for herself on her own dime was not able to do so, then why should we expect everyone else (including those who lack the means the opportunities) to do what she could not do? Why should we accept the Rand libertarian’s view that those who find themselves in the exact same situation as Ayn Rand should be dismissed as "takers" or "parasites"?

The point is popular, because it is a textbook example of an ironic fate, though people may not recognize that that is why this fact about Ayn Rand final years provides so much amusement.

Comment: Re: Difference between Warmists and Rapturists (Score 1) 639 639

You shouldn't have stopped reading with Mann et al's reply, go ahead and read McShane and Wyner's rebuttal [].

The rebuttal is reasonably long (27 pages, not including the details), and I admit I only read some of it. However, I did read that part, and also some commentary on the rebuttal. The commentary seems to affirm that Mann's criticism on that issue was valid and the rebuttal's characterisation was inaccurate.

Regardless of whether it was reasonable for Mann et al 2008 (M08) to exclude those data sets, they did. Any attempt to criticize the statistical method used in M08 would benefit from separating the concerns of what data to include and how the data should be analysed, so the analysis should use the original input data and focus on the difference in the results produced by the methods. Unfortunately for McShane and Wyner, it seems that if you only change the methods or only change the input data, the results are less significant.

Comment: Re: Difference between Warmists and Rapturists (Score 1) 639 639

I did read the discussion, it seems McShane and Wyner have contributed some useful analysis and some not very useful analysis. Unfortunately, some of their conclusions are tainted by failure to follow the same procedures as Mann et al 2008 when claiming that they (effectively) did. For example, they chose to use tree ring proxies that were excluded by M08 and claimed that their exclusion was ad hoc and thus unsupportable. However, the major exclusive criteria seems to be fairly simple: proxies that contain fewer than 8 individual trees are too unreliable for inclusion (individual trees exert too much influence over the proxy average and can produce significant anomalous results). Re-running their analysis with that one change seems to flip their results on their head. Instead of reducing the confidence in anomalous warming in the late 20th century to 80% certainty, it increases the confidence to 99% certainty.

I think that shows a basic problem with the methodology of the McShane and Wyner analysis. They changed the input data at the same time as they changed the analysis method, thus conflating the two different changes together. We all know that in an experiment you want to change only one variable at time, right? Similarly, I think that they should have used the exact same data when they challenged the analysis method and challenged the data selection methods in a separate paper if they felt that issue was important enough to warrant a challenge.

Comment: Re: Difference between Warmists and Rapturists (Score 2) 639 639

Those claims would be more interesting if some references were provided. For example, I seem to remember some people who are often referred to as statisticians (actually a minerals prospector and an economist) doing something similar, but it turns out instead of "proving" that the hockey stick wasn't real, they proved that they couldn't follow the documented procedures.

Comment: Re:Good thing climate change isn't real! (Score 1) 293 293

Didn't you criticize me earlier for "smear attempts" and "ad hominems", saying it was a "dick move"?

Indeed, I did. But an "ad hominem" is not always a dick move, and not always falacious. It is acceptable to offer valid, topical criticism of a person's character or skills when it is material to the argument and the person has been offered as an authority. In other words, when you offer Dr. Spencer as a scientific expert, you make his credentials as a scientist fair game for criticism. So, in this case, offering evidence that Spencer may be a poor scientist is not only acceptable, it is generally expected as a rebuttal. You, on the other hand, wrote "SkS is a really, really bad site." That's not valid or topical criticism, and therefore is actually a fallacious ad hominem. So because you failed to provide valid criticism, it is in fact a "dick move". Eventually, you provided some weak criticism of a highly acclaimed paper by some of the people at SkS as justification for this evaluation, but even if I accepted that the criticism were in good faith, which I do not, it would barely be relevant.

Frankly, you seem to have a problem with understanding context and circumstances.

Additionally, I linked to three non-SkS sites that detail gross errors in the construction of that graph or the similar graph it was originally based off of, and your response is an article that mistakenly criticizes an SkS article that criticizes Spencer for errors made in a completely different forum, and claims their response to a different event contains cherry-picked data because it does not start in the same year as a graph which they make no reference to. Frankly, the article you cited appears to be written by someone who takes very little care in his writing or his reasoning. For example, it really looks like couldn't even be bothered to read the title of the article he's criticizing because the title clearly says they are debunking mistakes that Spencer made in a public appearance. One can only assume the author is grossly incompetent or grossly negligent. Of course, none that really matters, because I didn't link to that article on Skeptical Science in the first, so his invalid criticism actually has nothing to do with any of the valid criticism I provided that explains how Dr. Spencer has (intentionally or not) manipulated the data in that graph to make his position look better, and in the process produced a very misleading graph.

And according to the article you linked, if you really believe it, you should believe that the new graph that you linked contains cherry picked data (and is therefore invalid) since it also does not begin in 1979, but expecting any sort of consistency from you is clearly expecting too much.

Comment: Re:Good thing climate change isn't real! (Score 1) 293 293

Unfortunately, Dr. Spencer has a history of getting these graphs wrong.

Additionally, it should be noted that Dr. Spencer is a signatory to An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, which states that "Earth and its ecosystems – created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting". His use as an expert on climate matters is significantly diminished by that public declaration that "god will fix it for us". If his signing of that declaration is sincere, he is no longer performing scientific research.

Comment: Re:Good thing climate change isn't real! (Score 1) 293 293

Lol. Your interpretation is baffling. If I say it is "extremely likely" that you will get more than half your money back, would you interpret that to mean you are likely to get 100% of your money back? Or that you are likely to get at least 50% of your money back?

If your lawyer tells you that is "exetrmely likely" that you get more than half your money back, and that his best estimate is that you'll get all of it. Do you then conclude that you'll only get half?

Your problem is you are applying informal English assumptions to a formal document, and then using that to try to discount the very next sentence in the same paragraph.

Comment: Re:Good thing climate change isn't real! (Score 1) 293 293

"More than half the warming" since 1950 is their official, quantified position. You are ignoring the words right there in front of your face.

Read it again:

The evidence for human influence on the climate system has grown since the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in GHG concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period (Figure SPM.3).

The words "Extremely likely" qualify that there is a between 90% to 100% certainty that the statement is accurate, and as you should be aware, 100% is more than half. You are merely pretending that there is a different meaning because you don't want to acknowledge that you are incredibly and spectacularly wrong and that you are embarrassing yourself in public.

"God-damned idiot"? Weren't you saying something about "smear attempts" and "ad hominems", and how those are "dick moves"? And I used to think right-wingers were inconsistent hypocrites...

That's not an ad hominem or a smear attempt, it's an insult, because you are a ridiculously stubborn moron. I can only imagine how much trouble you have typing due to the puddles forming on your keyboard. How anybody conclude that you are anything but an idiot? When you are presented with clear evidence of your error, you choose to pretend the words don't mean what they mean, instead of admitting that you made a mistake. Frankly, I'm giving you more respect that you deserve.

Comment: Re:Good thing climate change isn't real! (Score 1) 293 293

I find it amusing that you are still capable of defending Sks after the travesty they produced. Much of the content on their blog is the same - but at least it's not masquerading as a scientific study!

This is nothing more than vapid posturing. You don't like the site because it's regularly used to prove how wrong you are.

I do agree that there seems to be some ambiguity in the report.

The is absolutely no ambiguity in the report you complete and utter moron. It's right there in black and white. You just choose to ignore the words in front of your face because you are a god-damned idiot.

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake