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Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 1) 627

You are correct that I cannot list my source. Since I learned that as a fact before 1960, I've also learned that it was a rare grammatical rule that is only known because it was used a few (two?) places in the Bible. If you want to believe that, OK. I believe, however, that if you search through comparisons between the texts of Genesis and those of Babylonia you could probably turn up the source I mentioned, if it ever got put on the web.

If you're going to claim that the Mosaic Jews believed in the trinity, I'm just going to consider you an idiot.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 1) 627

Unfortunately, that's not true. It's often possible to create a consensus that's based on emotional drives, and no particular evidence at all. So the parent was correct in asserting that consensus is not necessarily a mark even of consistency with known and accepted facts.

My point was, in fact, that using the idea that something is accepted by a consensus (of a group) as evidence that it's correct is not a valid means of reasoning. It *is* a convenient short-hand that people often use, and it often works out "well-enough", but it's not a sound basis of argument. This is as true of "scientific consensus" as of any other. Usually, however, claims of "scientific consensus" are made by those who don't care to look carefully into the issues, or are explicitly arguing to people whom they presume would not be willing to look carefully at the evidence. You'll find that in blog posts more often than in popular science articles, and you'll just about never find "consensus" used as an argument in a serious scientific paper. It the people who look at the evidence agree, then many other people will be willing to take their word without looking into the evidence. E.g., I am quite willing to believe that a random line of code from the Linux kernel is doing it's job correctly, even though I'm certain that there are bugs present, and even that some people have identified some of them. And I *COULD*, in principle, study every line in the Linux kernel. Nobody does, not even Linus. Some people study proposed changes. Some people study apparent errors, etc. If you want to see what actual scientific discussion look like, look at the Linux kernel mailing list. It ends up with something that almost all people are willing to accept...but which some don't. You never get a real consensus in the strong meaning of the term. And that's true of science, too. The term consensus is used by those so distant from the actual work that they don't even know what's being done. And it's also a lie, even in the case of the most accepted principles. There are people who seriously deny the conservation of mattergy (matter + energy as related by E = mc^2). There are people who deny the big bang. There are people...well, name a believed rule and there are those who believe it isn't correct. And this is good, because very occasionally one of the wilder ones will be proven correct, but you can never predict ahead of time which one it will be.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 3, Insightful) 627

Have you seen any sign that the Roman Catholics don't believe in birth control? They may consider it a sin to practice it, but they believe in it as a fact.

You need to distinguish between what someone believes to be a fact and what they consider to be a moral or ethical good (or evil). The two can be nearly orthogonal. If the church didn't believe in birth control, they would probably be less active in arguing against it.

Thus, the Roman Catholic church not having the attitude towards the practice of birth control that you believe proper is not a sign that they have an unscientific disbelief in it. Until Ethics, Psychology, and Sociology become real sciences the church's current attitude is not unscientific. If they do, perhaps it will be able to adapt to them, also.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 1) 627

IIUC, there was a group in Egypt that used that as an act of worship, so this is a decree against that group. Is this the reason? That's hard to determine. Certainly the early Exodusees were reported to be willing to follow Apis, the golden calf god. Most of the other gods were less strictly suppressed, and in fact the rule against having an image of the god is probably to allow various sects that worshiped different gods to merge their beliefs.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 2) 627

Speaking as a statistician, that's not logic and certainly not statistics. It also doesn't fit elementary probability theory. You might be able to craft a plausible argument that had that as an element, but it would need to be encircled by rules of deduction that aren't validiateable. There's no valid rule of deduction that says "a lot of people believe this, therefore it's probably true". It's easy to come up with historical counter examples.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 1) 627

Having reread much of the series recently, I don't think it is truer than the Bible. You need to read them both as a certain metaphysical argument on which truth isn't even present. The problem with the Bible is that even as a metaphysical argument it's incoherent, much more so than the Dune series, even though in the Dune series the nature of the argument changes with each book.

Comment Re:No they aren't denying it (Score 1) 627

You overstate your case. They may have been "ignorant, desert-dwelling sheep herders 20 centuries ago", but they knew a lot of practical biology, some botany, some meteorology and climatology, a bit of hydrodynamics, and a small amount of hygenics. O, and some geology. They may not have been academics, but their life required a lot of applied science knowledge. They theories may have been a combination of unintelligible and ludicrous, but they had a lot of practical matters down cold.

Comment Re:Deforestation (Score 2) 164

If you're including recent figures, then you need to figure in that oceanic pollution is disrupting the life of plankton, which produce most of the oxygen in the atmosphere. I doubt that the figures are recent enough to reflect the recent plankton die-offs, but expect the Oxygen levels of the atmosphere to take a sharp dip over the next few centuries. (it's a pretty slow cycle.)

Comment Re:Cheaper to get hacked than do security maintena (Score 1) 56

PHP? It's been my impression that right there you have identified one of the main security problems with your system.

FWIW, any rapid changeover is going to introduce its own costs and problems, but it is possible to write secure software which will generally pay for itself over time. Just not in the next quarter, or probably the next year. And you need to do decent Q/A testing before releasing the software. You still won't catch everything, but with the right design exploits won't propagate from module to module.

The real problem is trying to change too much too quickly and without sufficient Q/A. Doing that will save you money over the long term, but not over the short term, and it will mean that you don't adopt the latest glitz very quickly...and often not at all. So your image, as well as your actuality, won't be "cutting edge" but rather "solid and reliable". There are reasons the "cutting edge" is frequently called the "bleeding edge".

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