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Comment Re:"Screaming, Mindless Christians" ?? (Score 1) 688

The reason is that there are too many different brands of Christians. Each particular subset of Christians feels attacked because they see all the churches, television networks, mega-churches and voters who claim to be Christian but are really just going to hell like the rest of us and frankly give the real Christians a bad name.

That is a very confusing thing to those of us who see "Christians" as a giant homogeneous group.

There's also this idea that even though Christians are in control of just about everything in our country, we still have free speech. Unfortunately (from their perspective), our biggest pop-cultural influences are secular at best and downright anti-Christian at worst. When you watch TV and see casual sex, drug use, violence and other decidedly non-Christian behavior portrayed as no big deal or even encouraged as positive behavior, it's easy to feel like your way of life is under attack. Take a quick look at the TV shows out there (on mainstream TV, not on the Christian channels). There are a handful of shows (7th Heaven, etc) that have a Christian theme. But in most shows and movies any character that's Christian is only there to be an obnoxious zealot and is just a caricature of how most Christians truly act. This, too, causes them to feel under attack.

I think that looking at the entertainment industry as their main source to see how Christianity is portrayed is flawed analysis. You only need to take one look at everything outside of the entertainment industry to see that the points you make are true. But at least it makes a little more sense in this way.

Comment Re:Way too high (Score 1) 445

Well, shit. I haven't actually been paying too close attention. I suppose the last eBook I bought was the same price as the paperback, now that I think about it. Sometimes I check out paper books from the library, download the ebooks illegally, read them electronically, and return the paper book, just so I don't feel like I'm stealing (my library doesn't have e-lending). I can't tell if that implies there's something wrong with me or the system.

Comment Re:Sex (Score 1) 703

That's a good point, but I think if you explain the distinction even the most hard-core pro-lifer will acknowledge that stem cell harvested from skin cells or whatever are fine (unless maybe they're part of one of those denominations that thinks all science is bad). I do agree that it's a problem when people think all stem cell research is embryonic (like I obviously just did :-) )

Comment Re:Sex (Score 1) 703

Where exactly does it say in the Bible "thou shalt not perform experiments involving genetics or stem cells"?

It doesn't, exactly, but it does say "Thou shalt not murder". There are many annoying ways in which Christians attempt to shove religion down our throat, but their beliefs on stem cell research and abortion are pretty fair.

As an analogy, if someone came and murdered your tall neighbors and said, "Look, it's OK, because in my belief system, people over 6'2" are not human, so it's not murder", would you stand by and let it happen, just because you don't want to "force your beliefs down others' throats"? This is kind of what you are asking Christians to do.

A pro-choice person (maybe not all of them) might argue that a 6-week old embryo is not human and so it is not murder. To a Christian, it is a human from the moment of conception, and by doing scientific research on him or aborting him, you are murdering him. Please try to understand that fact when arguing with pro-lifers, it will lead to much more productive discussions.

Also, if more people understood that it might lead to me not having to spend so much time defending pro-life Christians even though I am an atheist and find most of them to be nutjobs.

Comment Re:Sex (Score 1) 703

I would agree, at least in some respects. However I would go further and say that I think the real issue is that people find it easier to believe there is no God than to change their behavior to match the morals taught by whichever god in whom they would otherwise believe.

I appreciate your points about why a good God can allow an evil world. However, I take some offense to the idea put forth in the quote above. Consider the following points:

1. I do not kill, steal or commit adultery. I respect my parents. I try to love my neighbor as myself. I give to charity, I am respectful. Yet I do not believe in God. The main thing I find hard about living a "good Christian life" is the actual believing in God part.
2. There are plenty of things that many (not all) Christians and people of other religious believe that I find morally wrong (ie, withholding information about sex from children). In this sense, yes, it would be harder for me to be a Christian because I would have to do things that go against my own morals.
3. To some of us, the existence of God does NOT seem to be the most logical explanation for the world around us. Despite the protestations of many religious scholars, the fact that we don't yet understand the transition from amino acids to cells doesn't imply there is no natural explanation. If you insist that I guess I will be able to come up with a few, but "God decreed it so" will not be one of them. Both sides of this debate like to appeal to Occam's Razor. But that really is never going to work, because the concept of a "simplest explanation" is itself subjective. We both look at the evidence and are asked to guess the answer to a question that is inherently unasnwerable. You have decided that, given the evidence, God is the simplest explanation. I think that "very unlikely things become likely on a timespan of billions of years" is better. For all I know we're both wrong, But I certainly don't feel like I have to do mental gymnastics to avoid God.
4. You don't need to be an atheist to ignore the morals taught by your religion. If I was really an atheist simply to avoid the commitments religion heaps on you, I would simply join a religion that didn't expect me to do anything and say I believed in THAT god.

God may be so obvious to you that you cannot conceive that a person does not believe in him, but there are those of us that genuinely do not (although I concede we can't REALLY know and it's possible God does exist, I just find it unlikely). If you really want to find a group that is closer to what you're suggesting, look for people who claim to be "spiritual, but not religious".

Comment Re:SQL, SQL and more SQL (Score 1) 396

Well that's exactly my point. I am a good programmer, even great when I'm in my element. But you have (almost creepily) described exactly my knowledge about databases and exactly my gaps. Everything I know about SQL I learned from hacking around with web programming and Android using SQLite on my own time.

But in the real world, how much software DOESN'T use a database in some form as its backend, if you look at it as a percentage of all the software being written? How many jobs are out there that require C++ and Linux (like I and all my college-educated CS buddies know), vs. how ones that require Java, ASP .NET or C#, and 3-5 years experience administering a SQL or Oracle database?

I wish I would've learned databases at school, so at least I could plausibly CLAIM I knew something about databases. Now I'm just screwed unless I start writing my own websites or something, which I really just don't have time for.

Comment SQL, SQL and more SQL (Score 1) 396

I am about half self-taught and half college-taught. I am currently looking for jobs, and despite having 10 years programming experience and knowing more than a handful of languages, understanding OO and algorithms, I don't have the minimum requirements for most jobs I'm looking at. Why? I don't know SQL well. It's one thing if you're looking to work at a major, kickass place like Google or Microsoft, but a lot of the smaller shops are looking for people who can write client-server code in Java and SQL. If you don't have that, 80% of the jobs on Monster are off the table.

Comment Re:I half agree with him (Score 1) 749

But as the swashbuckling anti-copyright types are always quick to point out, theft is when you have something, someone takes it, and now you no longer have it. These works were never in the public domain to begin with, so preventing them from ever becoming public domain can't really be theft.

How's that pirates? Doesn't feel so good when your own rebuttal rebuts you, does it? \sarcasm

Comment Re:Learn to dance (Score 1) 1354

I hate to be one of the "me too" posters, but I have to second this. Dancing is perfect for shy, socially inept dudes. You start by mechanically learning the moves, which should be OK, it's all about muscle memory, much like playing video games. When you're a crappy dancer then girls find it cute that you try. Then after awhile you start to get better and they find it hot that you're good. You can be the shittiest flirter/small talker in the world and it doesn't matter, because the dancing is the focus. Also, most ballroom clubs have way more girls than guys, and in all the places I've been it's considered extremely rude to turn someone down unless you have a good reason, so you don't have to worry as much about rejection.

Comment Re:Xlink (Score 1) 635

I'm disconnected from the phone company as well, so this should work for me. Did you need to do anything special to power the signal, or did the Xlink provide enough power? (in other words, does "drive the wall jack backwards" mean I have to flip some wires or something, or is it just a figure of speech?)

Also, thanks for replying!

Comment Re:greedy (Score 1) 293

The coupons were payed for by the sale of freed-up pieces of the spectrum, and actually the coupon money was only a fraction of the sale price (1.34 billion out of 20 billion). The real thing you should be objecting to here is that they sold a natural resource that should be owned by the people, then paid us back in the form of $40 coupons that basically raised the price of the converters by $40 apiece. In any case, the coupons were not paid for by taxes.

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