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Comment Re:Not only NASA. (Score 1) 132

Before I type another word, I just want to make it clear that I'm 100% on your side. However, I do have a mild quibble about your mild quibble.

Mild quibble regarding faith. I don't have "faith" in anything. I believe things. I believe that if I hold up a ball and let go, it will drop. I believe this because I have evidence of balls I've dropped before, the mathematics behind it bears out that prediction, and there's all manner of demonstrations we can do to prove that it will, indeed, drop.

Faith is belief that the ball will fall up despite evidence, and if it doesn't, you smile, shrug and say, "God moves in mysterious ways, doesn't he?"

Faith is about the belief in an outcome that cannot be determined absolutely from evidence. It does not necessarily mean the belief in an outcome that is contrary to evidence. A few illustrations, with varying degrees of faith required...

(1) I can understand a great deal about how the earth rotates, and have strong evidence that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. There is a miniscule chance that something could happen to the earth in the meantime (e.g., an asteroid hits it and changes its rotation axis) and the sun will rise somewhere other than the east. Yet I will plan my day with the assumption that the sun will rise from the east. My reason says that I'm almost, but not entirely certain of this. My faith lets me overlook the miniscule chance that it could be otherwise.

(2) When I prepare to cross a street at a crosswalk, and a car approaches and stops, my reason says that it is safe to cross because the car has stopped. However, my faith must fill in what's missing. Specifically, my faith in a fellow human who I assume will obey traffic laws and who has the same compassion for humanity as I do, and therefore would not run me over.

(3) When I hear a family member, spouse or friend say "I love you", there is little that my reason can do to support my acceptance of what they say. They are describing how they feel, and it is up to me if I can truly accept what they say is true. I can consider past actions if I have known the person for some time, but for the most part, I have to rely on faith, based on how I feel, not on how I think. Yet I must rely on some small amount of rational observation in order to accept the idea that someone loves me.

The point, I think, is that faith and reason are two sides of a coin known as The Human Condition. One cannot survive with just one. Each fills in what the other cannot supply. Faith uninformed by reason is foolishness. But reason uninspired by faith is paralyzing. With only faith, I would be blind to reality. With only reason, I would never cross the street.

Comment Re:Not only NASA. (Score 4, Insightful) 132

For some reason, science accepts certain theories as fact, even without real proof.

Mod this minus infinity, Bullshit. You seriously misunderstand and misrepresent science.

In science, the facts are experimental results, not the theories. If the results support a theory, then the theory is accepted. A theory can be overthrown or modified by any single contrary experimental result. If two theories explain the same result, then typically the simpler theory wins (Occam's Razor.)

The concept of "real proof" is more mathematical than scientific. One can speak of "scientific proof" as a high degree of confidence, arising from a mass of supporting evidence, that a certain theory or law is correct and is unlikely to be overthrown (e.g., the laws of thermodynamics, the kinetic molecular theory of matter.) But neither mathematicians nor scientists accept anything as established without proof.

Comment Re:So Proud of Gun Ownership (Score 5, Insightful) 1232

He has a good point since GP committed the initial fallacy of saying that an inanimate object is a risk to others.

Chemical and nuclear weapons are inanimate objects too. So are poorly-designed bridges and childrens' toys.

Inanimate objects can be a risk to others. The risk may depend on context but that is not a fallacy.

Comment USB Turkey Oven? (Score 1) 447

Hey, if someone can get 2.5 watts to power a fondue, then why not cook a turkey? Build a turkey-sized low-voltage electric oven, insulate it with space-shuttle tiles, and fire it up.

Yeah yeah, I know, pre-heating and cooking could take awhile, but when it comes to the special moment when you bring out a USB-cooked turkey to your geek loved-ones, is that too great a price to pay? I think not, my friends, I think not.

ThinkGeek, hear my prayer...

Comment Re:India (Score 5, Insightful) 409

Oh man, where to begin with a post like this...

First of all, it has been my experience that, as ESL speakers, Indians are among the most fluent in the world. It seems to me that they take great care to learn and use English well, unlike the stumbling parody you provided. No doubt a consequence of British colonialism, but perhaps a happy one.

Second, it is my opinion that the English language is very much enriched by hearing it spoken in so many fascinating accents. Let's face it: every one of us has an accent that sounds "funny" to more than one other culture in the world. We can giggle now and then about how weird we sound to each other, but let's keep it at a good-natured level.

Third, learning a second language is difficult. Those who speak something other than English as a second language are all-too-well aware of the challenge. Just imagine how you would sound trying to order a meal in a foreign land. Probably much worse than the example you gave. And yet you just might find that the server is pleased at your effort.

Comment Re:This was explained in 1911 (Score 1) 183

in the Theory of Harmony by (guess who)... Arnold Schoenberg, before he started experimenting with atonal composition.

I don't think it was a particularly new idea, even then.

I would be surprised if Helmholtz didn't mention it in his 1863 book On The Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music. I don't have my copy handy right now, so I can't check for sure.

Comment Re:Why mention Schoenberg? (Score 2) 183

And then on the flip side of dissonance, you have Charles Ives, whose music often has a tonal center. In fact, quite often, it has three or four.

And sometimes none. For example, see (well, hear) several of his piano studies.

I don't think you could describe Ives' music as the "flip side" of dissonance. A good deal of his music could in fact be considered dissonant, but just in a different way than the music of Schoenberg. (BTW, I greatly admire the music of both men.)

Obligatory Ives quote:

Beauty in music is too often confused with something that lets the ears lie back in an easy chair.
- Charles Ives

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