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Comment Re:Gotta love... (Score 1) 1131

A fetus that early is alive in sense that it is composed of living cells. It is more alive than a virus (in that fetal cells can self-reproduce), and about equally alive with single-celled organisms (in that in the ideal environment it can sustain its functions). A coral is more capable of self-sustenance, though.

It's not an individual. At that stage of development, identical twins are almost never going to be distinguishable. It has a heretofore unique genetic sequence, but that has no basis in individuality (see identical twins). In the normal course of development it'd be indistinguishable from an arbitrary clone grown in an ideal environment. Basically any (non-hominin, fully developed) animal has a higher claim to individuality than that

I'm supposed to feel compassion for that? I'm supposed to think murder is ok to protect that? At that stage, when it's not even an individual *in principle*, all my support is for the fully developed human beings around. Whether those considerations are financial, practical, or whimsy, the fully developed individuals whose lives are impacted are the ones with the right to decide, regardless of anyone's appeal-to-emotion.

Comment Re:Gotta love... (Score 1) 1131

Christianity also drowned women they thought were witches, put Galileo under house arrest for saying something contrary to dogma, started several wars in the name of their deity, had brutal fighting because of internal schisms, tells people that using condoms increases HIV transmission, and covers up child molesting.

But hey! They forgave Galileo in the 1990s!

Christianity is just as intolerant, abhorrent, and murdering as Islam.

Comment Re:Gotta love... (Score 1) 1131

Please. An abortion is as murderous as killing viruses or bacteria if it doesn't have a fully developed nervous system, with the most generous definition of that being at 27 weeks. Any other definition runs into problems with individualism in identical twins, so you've got to pick brain development. And, if you go with brain development, before 27 weeks you have a vaguely humanoid clump of cells incapable of controllable movement,feeding itself, oxygenating itself, and not dessicating.

This is aside from the irresponsibility of bringing a child into the world when you are incapable of caring for it, or the financial burdens imposed in the process of bringing it to term healthily.

People like you who in any way condone or absolve the murder of a fully functional, contributing member of society in defense of a partially developed clump of cells is utterly indefensible.

Comment Re:How does he know it's unique? (Score 1) 544

Interesting though ... perhaps privacy concerns would be reduced if, instead of the actual dna "fingerprint", a hash value of it is stored. Then, it could only be used for identification purposes

I think the more important point is that while DNA is great, it should not be made trivial to use as evidence. We all leave DNA everywhere, but it would be bad if mere presence was used as evidence for crime.

Comment Re:Why Texas? (Score 1) 999

I like the CA school curriculum -- it's pretty good. The problem really is that it's hard to hold those who don't do well, back. How's that, Johnny? You didn't want to do homework and failed math? Take fourth grade again. And again. And again ...

Oh, and I certainly like the smoking ban. Smoking is not only gross, the smoke affects me strongly enough that my eyes water so hard it is hard to see. Keep that poison in your own home. Away from children and things that can't tell you to stop. Maybe an epic "sin tax", on the order of dollars per cigarette ... then at least while you commit slow, noxious, polluting suicide you can help other people.


Half-Male, Half-Female Fowl Explain Birds' Sex Determination 117

Kanan excerpts from a BBC report out of Scotland: "A study of sexually scrambled chickens suggests that sex in birds is determined in a radically different way from that in mammals. Researchers studied three chickens that appeared to be literally half-male and half-female, and found that nearly every cell in their bodies — from wattle to toe — has an inherent sex identity. This cell-by-cell sex orientation contrasts sharply with the situation in mammals, in which organism-wide sex identity is established through hormones." Kanan also supplies this link to some pictures of the mixed-cell birds.

Comment Re:Dumbass users.. (Score 1) 199

With several different anti-malware solutions. (Including but not limited to ESET, NOD32, MS, Symantec, and occassionally Spybot/Hijackthis/etc), nor shown entries in autoruns/procexp/etc, or the ocassional outbound-traffic-analysis.

They can be pretty hard to detect, but one that evades all of that is kinda magical.

Comment Re:Dumbass users.. (Score 1) 199

Really? I run mostly windows systems and haven't gotten a virus, rootkit, or other miscellaneous malware in years. It really is their own damn fault. But then, they're the same people who complain about having to give their programs permissions as administrators on Windows, but not OSX or Linux ...

Comment Re:Xfinity equals... (Score 1) 356

Having moved from Comcast to Time Warner (Berkeley to San Diego) in the past 9 months, I've got to say that Time Warner spends less time crapping out on me and I've not noticed throttling nearly as much (though both still happen). It's kinda like moving from radioactive diarrheal turd to a kinda funky smelling plant. I'd switch in a heartbeat to a better option, but they don't compare at all.

Comment Re:Expected (Score 1) 214

And ice can be a blistering 273 Kelvin! Wow, that's a huge number!

The AP has ~4k fact checkers. So you're looking at about 0.25% of the total AP fact-checking force to look at a new release political book. Whadda ya know, context means something.

Also, various news programs and reports from members in the McCain campaign, including John McCain himself, has criticized the veracity of several comments in the book. There are also email records directly at odds with her statements regarding the Tina Fey skits.

Finally, here's an AP fact check from yesterday, and a direct check on a speech in September. Took me 15 seconds on Google to prove you wrong. I somehow suspect you get all your news from Glenn Beck and O'Reilly. It has that familiar evangelical pundit feel of "translate every criticism into an attack on Obama, warranted or not, because OMGZOBAMASSOCIALIST and eats Christian babies".

In other words, pwnd.

Comment Re:Of course, there is another solution (Score 1) 721

How could I not? Sometimes I feel like it is a responsibility bestowed upon those of us who have a practiced hand in debunking fallacies to keep those fallacies from perpetuating! The education system of the US has failed too many people, and somehow spat out a lot of them with an anti-intellectual bent (beyond just misinformation or under-information).

In other words, any time!

Comment Re:Of course, there is another solution (Score 1) 721

Witness testimony IS a justification for belief. Witness testimony may be the end of our verifiability, for instance, if the murder weapon is destroyed we may have to rely solely on witness testimony. The witness testimony IS the verification. So it may be fuzzily verifiable, but it is verifiable. Similarly, if many witnesses have written about what you might call a "religious" event, your reason for assuming they are lying is simply that you've already decided they are lying, not because you have some other evidence to the contrary. Their testimony IS the verifiability. Your job is to say why you would disbelieve witness testimony. Either they are telling the truth or they aren't, and the general assumption for a disparate group of witnesses telling roughly the same story is that they are probably telling the truth. I say roughly because if they told exactly the same story you might be able to assume that they made it up and are got their stories straight before hand. Regardless of whether you believe them or not, anyway, they are a source of authority on the subject in that they claim to have been their and are reporting on what they saw.

Except psychologists and other experts have known for years that witness testimony is not very reliable, and should only be used as a last resort in lieu of other facts. It's trivial to prove this. Consider magic tricks, or this popular test. Reality and what a witness would swear to are vastly different. This is even neglecting the idea of mass hallucination or suggestibility.

This is not to say that the witnesses are necessarily lying — just that they are, instead, fundamentally unreliable for reasons that has nothing to do with the personal attitude of a witness and instead has to do with basic human psychology and attention.

Thus, because extraordinary claims must require extraordinary evidence, claims of the supernatural require evidence that is extremely compelling. Citing a single reference that compiled a set of stories of questionable authorship spread over decades or centuries following an event at such a time that the common writing down of mundane records was uncommon, and thus subject to decades or centuries of the telephone effects, is absurd.

If you accept such cherry-picked witness testimony, there is no reason to deny the witness testimony of priests of Thor, Horus, or Zeus. There are hundreds of them, also in historical records, and many of their contemporaries claimed direct observation of the deities or their effects. I apply the same standard to modern religions as I do to the ancient ones. Anything else is hardly a consistent position.

Unless you're planning on sacrificing a lamb to Zeus today?

Validation does not come from verifiability, a valid argument is one where the conclusion follows from the premises. I can make valid arguments that are completely unverifiable if I just assume crazy unverifiable premises.

In which case, you may have a "valid argument" but the whole construct is still not verifiable and thus, in a greater sense, the whole construct is invalid. My point still holds.

I've been told by authority that I consider reliable that it is true, and the original point of my post stands, this is often enough.

This might fly as long as you never actually have to discuss the subject or things related to it. As soon as you do, it's really just intellectual laziness to rely on another's conclusion of third-party data. But if the topic must be considered in any fashion, really, the onus is on you to research your position and verify it. Otherwise, you get things like this intellecutal laziness which plagues public opinion. It's the same reason "Electromagnetic Radiation" is scary to the "common man" and there can be an uproar over WiFi causing cancer. They take "radiation" from loose discussions among non-experts and apply a bad connotation to it, and use that information as "good enough" to extrapolate further information.

It's intellectual negligence, plain and simple.

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