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Comment Re:What are you typing on? (Score 1) 279

Now I have to chip in here because I work for HP and HP have famously designed some of their stuff in California. Hell, they designed Silicon Valley, while we're at it. Didn't Steve Jobs learn a thing or two at HP and Xerox, back in the day? HP still designs some stuff in California, but then a lot of it in Houston as well, funnily enough. And all over the planet. That's not the point though.

California didn't become one of the largest economies in the world because Jobs launched the iPod, you know. It was pretty much already there.

This is a good illustration of what Obama meant when he said "You didn't build that yourself". The infrastructure, technology, educational system, time and circumstances have to be available for people to come up with the things they come up with.

This is why a dirt-poor coffee farmer in Guatemala without electricity didn't come up with the iPod.

Apart from that, I buy Apple products because the interface is spiffy, they mostly just work, they are silent across the board and they look good. Alternatives that are equally silent and good looking have only become available recently, and then still at a price point that is not far off. You might say I don't care where my electronics are designed or assembled, I care about look, feel and functionality.

Now I'm pretty sure this goes for most Apple consumers. Quite frankly, I had an iAudio X5L MP3 player back in the day for some of the reasons you mention. However, the interface was so sucky that when it broke, I played with an iPod Classic for about five seconds and realised why this was a superior product in every way. It's got nothing to do with fanboys, it's just good design.

If however another company becomes better, I have no qualms in ditching them.

Comment Re:City of USA (Score 0) 279

Why that big a reaction? It is an urban myth, and he believed that urban myth. The whole key point about an urban myth is that quite a few people know and believe it.

His overall point isn't bad though, so I don't understand why you had to tell him to go fuck himself.

You come across as a cantankerous asshole, so maybe it's good you're an AC.

Comment Re:But... (Score 2) 279

This is why we should have a political system in place that would include minimum wages and inflation correction on those minimum wages. The fact of the matter is that the government of a country has a duty to define what it thinks is a decent minimum standard of living for its citizens, and the accompanying infrastructure needed to uphold that.

In my view people should see their pay, at the very least if it's minimum wage, increase at the same rate as inflation across the board. This is the only way you can keep substantial portions of your citizenry from slipping into the crushing poverty you see. The US is a very uncivilised country from that perspective. There are a lot of very poor people. These poor people are, by and large, under educated. Furthermore, since the only affordable food is junk, these people are open to risk of obesity, diabetes and other health related issues. This is all the more an issue when you consider that universal health care is actually still a topic that seems to be controversial in the US. Nobody on this planet understands why it's a controversial topic, so you're very much alone in that.

Now many people in the US and in Europe seem to believe in the trickle down model of wealth distribution. Any idiot can see this is really not the case. The reason everyone knows Buffett, Gates and Carnegie is because they were / are exceptions. Most people we classify as Rich (R) are only out after becoming Wealthy or More Rich (TM). Having said that, I do believe that if the bottom of society is well off enough to consume, this will spark increased demand, which is good for the layers above it.

To cut a long story short, a worker's pay shouldn't increase only because he / she is more productive, a workers pay should increase because it's the civilised thing to do. Furthermore, the economy develops best from the bottom, not the top.

The latter point I made is actually seen in economic growth indices for countries when you correlate that with the average income gap between poor and rich. Statistically speaking economic growth increases as that income gap decreases.

Comment Re:But... (Score 1) 279

When do you see anyone from any content refer to Chile, Brazil, Argentina or Suriname as "America" because it's in South America? I'm not trying to slag you off (unlike some others) but I am really curious about the answer.

Thing is I have never come across *anyone* from this side of the pond or from South America that doesn't see "America" as being the USA. Moreover, people from South America don't say they're from South America, they mention weird stuff like Venezuela, Colombia or Guyana. ;)

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

If you do not teach the fundamental underlying concepts of life, you do not teach people to contemplate the question.

So, telling a kid a liver breaks down certain poisons for you and it's bad to lose it doesn't inherently equip the kid to discover more about the nature of the human body.

Hence, starting with the basis of electronics and teaching fundamentals would be important in my view. But then my school period was an endless cliched period of regurgitation and blandness, and we even have relatively OK schools here.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

Something tells me you come from a country with a really shitty educational system.

I only had chemistry for one year before I dropped it, but we definitely went through the underpinnings of the science including the periodic table. Biology, same thing. DNA was explained, which gives rise to evolution.

So I don't tend to agree with you here.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783


Killing the city of Jericho, Sodom and Gomorra because they don't agree with you is a good thing, while having a wank is a mortal sin. Burning oxes before the sabbath because the odor pleases the lord is good, but putting a dick up one's bottom is a mortal sin. If two people have sex outside of a narrowly defined set of circumstances, it is OK to stone them to death in the village square, but it is a horrible sin to show someone a breast.

These examples just serve to illustrate the complete moral bankruptcy of many religious writings. These books were not exactly written during the renaissance. As such, in a renaissance view, religion does foster a system where people can't tell the difference between right and wrong.

Now religion does not cause schizophrenia, but it has been proven that schizophrenia and epilepsia do cause religious visions, and hence religious beliefs. There is a researcher called Dick Swaab in the Netherlands that has done interesting work on simulating certain attacks by use of electrodes in humans and has thus been able to conjure up end-of-life visions, out-of-body experiences and religious epiphanies with the flick of a switch.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

Again, you are being very ignorant about the motivation of atheists. You take all form of nuance out of the discussion.

Firstly, if you look at the bodies of law that exist around the world, you will find a huge religious influence. Many countries' laws forbid euthanasia, abhor abortion, even have things to say about one's consensual sex life, say things about which beverages or substances one is allowed to consume and get in your face about the clothes one wants to wear. Holland, for all it's liberalism, still has religious schools that teach discrimination of the LGBT community and still has laws against blaspheming. Go figure. We're trying to get rid of those though, but that's another story.

Atheists may take offense to certain aspects of these legislations because not having a god simply makes it silly to subscribe to certain notions. If I am terminally ill or old without any shadow of dignity or life quality, why should I not be able to end my life? The other day in Ireland a dentist died because she didn't get an abortion. She had correctly judged and diagnosed herself, asked for an abortion for two weeks knowing she was in danger, and when the foetus finally did have no pulse anymore and it was removed, she slipped into a coma and died. This happened in the EU. In 2012. The Irish should be ashamed of themselves.

Your "drinking alcohol" analogy is, again, poppycock. All atheists ever say is that god does not exist. This might have implications on their political views, and in a democracy we get to seek representation for our political views, not so? So yes, many secularists might have an agenda. This agenda might boil down to seeking a more humane and liberal body of legislation and diminishing the harmful influence of religion on our society.

Having said that, Freedom of Faculty and Freedom of Enterprise are enshrined in my Constitution. The Unie van Utrecht has had freedom of religion enshrined in it since 1579 and served as an inspiration for Thomas Jefferson et al when they were contemplating the US Constitution.

So your freedom to believe in what you will is enshrined in the Constitution. The functional separation of Church and State should become a fact, but that does not in any way infringe on your right to adopt a religion of choice or talk to your kids about that in the privacy of your own home or even the town square.

Your reasoning is so devoid of nuance I don't even know where to begin on the last question you asked.

Comment Re:good (Score 3, Insightful) 783

Your view on atheist morality is dangerous and disturbing at best. Firstly you confuse the notion of atheism and evolution in your mind. Atheism does not teach anything, certainly not that survival of the fittest is the rule. Atheism simply means that one does not believe in any deity, no more no less.

Evolution theories of today don't even teach survival of the fittest. It has been proven that in many species altruistic behavior is an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy as it's called, so helping one's neighbors and even members of other species is definitely wired into our system.

As far as Evolution not being a fact because of lack of proof, that is simply not true. We have fossil records that are becoming ever more complete, both in the plant- as well as in the animal side of things. This fossil record amounts to a mountain of proof on which to base the hypothesis that evolution occurred and how it occurred.

Now if you add to that the real-time observations and experiments that were carried out, you can argue that evolution as a concept has been proven in an ironclad way, and the only thing that remains is the figuring out of the details.

Now the creationist view and the view of non-evolution have never, ever had a shred of evidence to support those notions. It really reminds me of XKCD comic 373, The Data So Far. Google it.

Quite frankly, since altruistic behavior is pretty much wired into our system, we have an inherent sense of morality that really exists outside of any religious source. As a matter of fact, I think that the religious writings are an apt reflection of the human condition in its full breadth.

Actually, Humanism and Liberalism in this country was phrased by non-religious people. Baruch Spinoza even got kicked out of the Jewish congregation because he wrote humanist books. We could have the tedious exercise where I would put the religious wars and inquisition in the fray, and you'd come up with Stalin and Hitler (although they were also dogmatic), and that whole discussion with you is just a very tedious chess game in which I know all the moves you'll play but I also know we'll agree to disagree.

It's just very boring to have to deal with your kind of arguments, because we've seen 'm all before, they've been logically refuted a million times over and yet people with your line of reasoning crawl out of the woodwork wherever I turn.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

Now you're simply splitting hairs over the difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic. Quite frankly I call myself an Atheist because at this moment I have no reason to believe in any kind of supernatural beings.

There may be beings in this universe that are evolutionarily and technologically advanced to the point where we see them as omnipotent or godlike. The size of the universe and the amount of possibilities that would give us is just too staggering to exclude that option.

It doesn't mean I am agnostic. The Wiki definition of Agnostic is this:

"Agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious and metaphysical claims—are unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable."

Seriously, this is not what I am advocating or what I believe. I really do believe Pan the forest god does not exist because we have no empirical proof of his existence. The same goes for poltergeists and voodoo, if you will. And I lump the Christian/Hindu/Jewish/Islamic gods into that same category as poppycock.

My belief system hinges on the notion that any supernatural event is really just a natural event in a reality we don't fully comprehend.

To cut a long story short: We need more data.

Comment Re:good (Score 4, Insightful) 783

You are right about one thing. It is a psychological cliche to believe you are a better than average driver. Indeed.

However, as I argued above, I feel many atheists simply don't believe because they haven't seen anything to support the notion there is something to believe in.

Quite honestly, I don't understand your notion that atheism is truth. For all I know one day we can all be caught with our knickers down when we do discover there is a supreme being of some sort, even if it could be a wanker like Q from star trek.

The thing that most atheists would like is this:

- Quit trying to debunk factual phenomenon because they don't fit your antiquated book
- Quit trying to impose a system on morality on others based on what some dude with a beard wrote in Babylon 2500 years ago (talking about Torah here)

That's not so much debunking Christianity / Judaism / Islam as more trying to get the Christians / Jews / Muslims to shove it into our faces all the time with shitty and immoral legislation.

Comment Re:good (Score 1) 783

My belief is not a belief. I tend to only credit notions for which some kind of tangible proof or argument can be made. My atheism isn't because it is the cause that gives my life meaning, my atheism simply arose because all alternatives look silly.

Burden of proof, er?

Having said that, teaching about a known fact such as evolution doesn't necessarily push the atheist agenda, if there were one. Quite a few religious folks will happily accept a notion of a Creator that set everything in motion, including evolution.

As such, I really don't understand why you felt the need to come down on the previous poster like a tonne of bricks. While he or she phrased him- or herself clumsily, I fully agree with the point that teaching religion is bad for the morality of a people.

The reason is simple. I have my own set of morals, to which I hold myself accountable. I have developed those over time, and they are all mine. So when I try to do good, it comes from an internalized sense of what the right thing is.

Now a religious person has been bribed to do good with images of heaven, or intimidated to do good with images of hell. Hence, to a religious person the morality comes from an outside source. Moreover, most religions ask people to commit to a life-style that is inhumane, so they automatically, somehow, sometime will break that morality, and classify themselves as sinners. This just fosters bad behavior.

To cut a long story short, I tend to agree with the previous poster that raising kids religiously is bad, but on the other hand in this man's country your freedom of religion is constitutionally enshrined. Hence, it should be allowed.

Having said all that: evolution is a fact. Not teaching it is moronic and harmful.

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