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Submission + - Why Science Should Better Understand Religion (

thefinite writes: When science is put at odds with religion, the common complaint is that religion doesn't understand science. But science, in its own right, has a long way to go in understanding religion. Scott Attran's Foreign Policy magazine article, God and the Ivory Tower, summarizes the current scientific insights into how religion works in the mind and in society. He also explains that many atheist arguments against religion like, "Religion causes most wars," don't withstand scrutiny. (Only 7% of wars in history had religious causes.) If science is to be used by atheists as an argument against religion, how long can atheists be unscientific about religion?

Comment A legal explanation of the judge's decision (Score 5, Insightful) 354

In civil trials, you have a pre-trial period called discovery. In big, complex trials like these, discovery lasts for many months. During the discovery process, each side is entitled to ask for, and required to provide, evidence from the other side. In addition to this, each side is required to provide to the opposing counsel all of the evidence they might bring up at trial. This is intended to allow both sides plenty of time to investigate the opposing evidence and prepare their responses.

Samsung's attorneys failed to produce the evidence about the design of the F700 during the discovery period. This is in spite of it being around for several years before the lawsuit was even filed by Apple. By holding it back until just before the trial, Apple's counsel didn't get the time to investigate the evidence and prepare their responses. Because we have an adversarial legal system, one in which two parties fighting over the truth before an independent jury, it's important that the rules guarantee both parties a fair fight.

Judge Koh decided that holding back that evidence until after discovery broke the rules required for a fair fight, especially considering that 1) Samsung had the evidence available for years, and 2) if the evidence is actually the smoking gun that they claim, it should have been presented during discovery to give Apple the right to examine it and prepare a response. I think this was a reasonable decision by the judge. To be fair, consider how you would have reacted if the roles had been reversed and Apple had tried to introduce such important evidence so late.

All that said, and knowing how some lawyers can be, I suspect the evidence is being overblown by the Samsung attorney because he wants a path to appeal. Improperly denied evidence could give rise to an entire retrial. But I suspect:
  1. someone on Samsung's legal team screwed up and didn't include the evidence in discovery
  2. the Samsung attorneys realized the screw up and are now trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear
  3. the evidence is actually quite weak (See this excellent takedown of how the F700 is not much like the iPhone at all.)
  4. by releasing the evidence in a press release, the attorney is trying to manipulate the judge, not get a fair outcome.

Combined with the evidence destruction by Samsung, they've really been screwing this one up.

Comment Re:Ooh an AC Apple fanboy (Score 1) 354

In the US, it is up to the jury to decide who is right. Not the judge.

I think it would help for you to understand the law better. In jury trials, judges determine issues of law and juries determine issues of fact. Whether or not evidence should be barred because Samsung failed to produce it (their own design they had for years) during a months-long discovery period is an issue of law determined soley by the judge.

Comment Re:USB, people ... USB (Score 1) 656

Apple doesn't own any portion of my computer. the USB-IF doesn't own any portion of my computer. It's 100% owned by me, and should behave the way I want it to behave.

Not if you're using their software in ways that violate the license agreement. You agreed to this license when you first launched iTunes. The hardware may belong to you, but the software copy you have is subject to the terms you agreed to abide by.

Comment Re:USB, people ... USB (Score 5, Insightful) 656

Good grief. Educate yourself. There have been dozens of comments already pointing out that Apple provides a simple way to access its iTunes library that is free to third-party developers. RIM uses this method for its Blackberry devices.

Palm for whatever reason doesn't want to write its own software to access the iTunes library. (I think it's because they recognize how bad they've been at writing desktop software for their devices.) Palm instead has decided to improperly copy the USB Vendor ID in a way that violates agreements it's already made as a USB IF member and also violates Apple's iPod trademark. And they aren't doing it out of nobility or commitment to open access principles. At this point they're doing it because they know a big, fat class action lawsuit is coming from all the clients who bought Pres knowing Palm promised (stupidly) they could sync with iTunes.

Comment Re:Such as? (Score 5, Insightful) 300

Actually, irrationality in finance is not only prominent, it's rampant. It was certainly at play in this latest bubble and burst. For example, most bankers peddling the toxic CDOs were using a model that relied on only about ten years of economic data. This is the byproduct of the Availability Heuristic. Additionally, their models often excluded the possibility of such a huge decline in housing prices because there had never been one like it before. The Representativeness Heuristic induces this kind of behavior, in spite of the warnings from others.

None of this is rational behavior. The idea you proposed that this is some sort of Prisoner's Dilemma situation ignores the fact that there are two sides to every transaction. Any of the people who rationally cashed out did it with the money of the irrational people buying their toxic instruments. The Prisoner's Dilemma falls short as an analogue because it doesn't require a buyer for the players to make their decisions. No one has to take the other side of their decisions, which is the case in a market.

For a great review of the hundreds of ways we behave irrationally in financial markets, I highly recommend

Comment O'Reilly, of course (Score 4, Informative) 271

I had an awesome experience with O'Reilly for my book iMovie '09 & iDVD: The Missing Manual. (Working with David Pogue was obviously super cool.) My editor, Pete Meyers was great: helpful, responsive, and professional. The publishing deal was good, especially considering it was my first book. O'Reilly also has excellent resources once the book is out, including a web site for authors that has promotion tools and up-to-date information on book sales. It's hard to imagine a publisher reasonably doing more than O'Reilly does.

Comment Re:What about spam? (Score 1) 197

Worse - with Wave *entire conversations* will be converted to chinese link spam, because it lets anyone edit anyone elses posts

Actually, users can only edit waves they've been invited to. This means you'd need to invite a spammer to the discussion before they could make changes to it.

If they convert blogger to this (which I expect they will at some point) I'll give it 24 hours before there's no an unmodified posts on it.

Personally, I doubt this will happen. The Blogger functionality was just a Wave extension you could use if you wanted to. To replace Blogger, they'd have to do all the other stuff Blogger does in the Wave interface (elements management, rights management, templates, etc.). I just can't see all of that working in a Wave client.

Comment Churches have already argued this and lost (Score 1) 426

Isn't that abridging the freedom of the presses that want to make political statements endorsing candidates? It basically says, "Don't make political endorsements, or else we'll tax you."

The same basic argument has already been made by churches many times. The answer by the Supreme Court has always been, "Endorse anyone you want, just don't expect the Federal government to subsidize it with a tax expenditure." Seems like a reasonable outcome to me.

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