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#125387 Science Forums Etiquette

Posted by Cap'n Refsmmat on 30 January 2005 - 10:18 PM

This is intended to be a thread that is a guide for folks on how to act and post on SFN.

i. General Information
ii. Replying to Threads
iii. Posting New Threads

I. General Information

Know the Rules
Read the rules before you post.

Grammar and Punctuation
Please try to use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation when you post. It is much easier to understand a post when it is not full of run-on sentences and such. Sure, this may add a few seconds to the time it takes to post, but are you in that much of a hurry?
If English is not your native language, and you don't have good grammar, that's fine; we don't bite. Just try to do your best.

Spell Check
Eloquence can be severely hampered by words that don't exist. If you are on the Internet, use spell-checkers or reread your posts to make sure you don't have errors. You can also use the Preview Post function to see what your post will look like, before you submit it.

Emphasis Features
The different fonts, sizes, colors, bold, italic, underline and CAPITALIZATION features are there for EMPHASIS. Please avoid using them for entire posts. Let your ideas make you stand out instead of these features. Whole posts using different fonts and colors are very annoying and may decrease the likelihood of it being read. The Emphasis Features can also imply emotions you may not want, such as angry shouting from ALL CAPS. Remember that emphasis is best when used sparingly.

Don't know how to use the features? There's a tutorial.

Contact Information
Need to talk to a moderator? Private message them if it is something important. If you want to report a post that is against the forum rules, use the Report This Post function, which is visible as "Report" with a small warning icon in the bottom left of each post.

II. Replying to Threads

Don't Flame
Just because someone doesn't agree with you, doesn't mean you need to insult them. They may be ignorant, but try not to flame them out of the forum. If they're intentionally insulting people, don't reply--just use the Report Post function to let the moderators know about it. They can deal with insult wars and rule-breakers more efficiently than regular users.

Be Coherent
When you reply, try to make as much sense as possible. Organize your post into paragraphs or sections as to make it easier to understand. If nobody knows what you're saying, they aren't going to learn anything from it, or try to reply to it.
If you are going to say "it" or "one" or "they" then make sure we know what you are talking about. "It" is not a very descriptive word and people may get confused as to what you are trying to say.

Don't Spam
Make your replies relevant to the topic. If there is a side conversation going on that is not related to the original post, don't reply to it. Keep everything spam-free.
If you see someone spamming, don't try to deal with it yourself: you can't. Instead, click the "Report This Post" icon (an exclamation mark in a triangle) in the bottom left of their post and let the moderators know what the problem is.

Give Sources
If you're telling us about a study or a theory that you've heard of, try to give links to a web site about it. If you're the only person saying it, not many people are going to believe you (many scientists are skeptics). Try to provide good links which support your point, and remember, dictionary.com is not a technical resource.

When you link to another website, don't do the "Click Here" gimmick. It gives people no idea what you're linking to. Rather, you should make the link text descriptive of what the link actually is about.

Use Quotes
If you want to reply to a specific post, press the "Quote" button on that post. This will make your reply include the quoted text, so users will know who you are replying to.

Don't Strawman
Don't strawman. It is quite annoying and you will lose your credibility, and seriously undermines any argument.

Read Links
If a user provides a link for more information, and you don't believe them, read the link. It may provide better information for you; if you ignore it, you may be missing vital information that supports their point. Purposefully ignoring it is strawmanning, and nobody likes that.

Don't be Mean
If you don't agree with someone, don't attack them. Tell them politely why you think they're wrong, and give them evidence. Insulting people won't get you anywhere but suspended.

I Hate You
Not everyone will agree with you, no matter how supergreat you are. Understand this, plus the difficulties involved in altering someone's deep-felt views over a text-only forum, and accept it. Don't try to force them into other beliefs.

One Source Arguments
If you can't provide more than one source, don't try to argue that position. Substantiating an event/opinion/theory requires more than just one source, even if the source happens to be the President/Prime Minister.

Me So Great
You may be intending to become a moderator by impressing the forum staff your superb skills, impressive vocabulary, witty sense of humor and ability to make derogatory comments to newbies. That's all fine and good, but do it quietly and don't annoy the rest of the forum members.

Try not to hijack a thread and bend the topic to your will. Nobody likes a megalomaniac. Try to stay on topic and keep to what the original poster said.

Converting the Heathens
Don't try to convert people to your religion. Leave them alone. If you try, you'll find yourself banned.

Pointing Out the Obvious
If you don't think anyone will care, why not keep it to yourself? Posting just for the postcount and not for actual content annoys people.

Try not to use too many acronyms in your posts. Not all of us know what they mean, so be sure to provide the full text the first time, to avoid confusing people.
Also, you can use BBCode tags such as the following
[acr=Laughing Out Loud]LOL[/acr]
to get
[acr=Laughing Out Loud]LOL[/acr]
Hover your mouse over it to see the effect.
There is also a list of common acronyms pinned in the general discussion forum.

III. Posting New Threads

Use the Search Function
Before you post a thread, use the search function to see if anyone else has posted the same topic. It's better to post in an existing thread than to start a new one.

Give Sources
If you are asking a question or making a point, give references and links so users can see what you are talking about. If they have context, they can better understand you.

Give Details
When you're asking a question, give plenty of details. Don't just say "my computer crashed, what do I do?" Give use details about what you're asking that will help us answer the question well.

Use a Descriptive Title
When you title your thread, give it a good title that will catch users' eyes and give them an idea of what it is about.
Bad title:
Good title:
"Computer virus. Help!"

Allow Comment
If you're posting an idea, be receptive to comments. If someone criticizes you, don't get mad at them. Take the comment well and, if necessary, reply to them to defend yourself (without being mean or nasty).

We will not do it for you. If you have someone else do it for you, you're not learning anything, and it's not fair that a lazy person with an Internet connection gets a better mark than someone who put the effort in himself.
Disguising your homework as a curiosity-based question doesn't work. We will probably figure it out, and we don't like people trying to fool us into doing their work.
Of course, we'd be glad to help you to finish your homework. Just not do it entirely.

Einstein is Wrong!
If you're going to try to disprove a major theory, or at least propose something that most people would never believe (there are a lot of sceptics on this forum), try to provide large amounts of evidence. Just because it "makes sense" doesn't mean it has to be right--much of science doesn't "make sense" to some people, but it has proved accurate.

I'm welcome to suggestions as to what else to add.
  • 22

#663997 Defining God

Posted by DrRocket on 9 March 2012 - 08:48 PM

I think you hit the nail on the head with "we have not defined God" and when you say "interpreted as Pontius does". Doesn't that highlight the highly subjective nature of it all? That's why I can confidently say I am a hard atheist and still claim to have given the "god hypothesis" a fair chance. If you give the existence of god a hard unbiased, objective analysis of any kind, be it experimental, logic, or whatever; it will fail consistently.

You have identified the major problem with the "Does God Exist ?" debates -- there are at least as many unstated concepts of God as there are debaters. I strongly doubt that any consensus on a definition could be reached. Ergo, the debate is pointless.

When you address the question on a personal level you are free to formulate your own definition of God. It is on that definition that the outcome of your personal decision process hinges.

If you define God as some sort of entity that not only can but with some regularity does intercede in natural physical processes, then there is a great deal of objective evidence that no such God exists. In fact, the existence of anything that regularly upsets what we have come to expect as the orderly processes of nature is antithetical to science, which seeks to uncover and explain that natural order in terms of predictive models. Without that order there can be no science.

Science seems to work rather well. So any concept of God or any religious tenets that directly contradict science as buttressed by experimental evidence is clearly indistinguishable from superstition. Superstition is, essentially by definition, wrong.

If you define God as some sort of entity that exists outside of the natural universe and does not regularly disrupt the operation of that universe according to the principles discovered by science, then science and religion are disconnected, and neither has anything to say about the other. In this situation neither science nor logic can be brought to bear on the question of the existence of God. The order of the universe could be mere happenstance or it could be the result of God. The question is logically undecidable.

You are free to reach your own conclusion, or forego a final conclusion. But do not deceive yourself that whatever conclusion you reach is based on rigorous logic, unless you formulate a sufficiently narrow definition of God to be able to apply empirical data. In any case you should recognize that, despite the marvelous progress of science, there is a lot that we don't know. If we knew everything the satisfaction and outright fun of scientific discovery would be lost.
  • 18

#582255 why aliens not contacting us properly

Posted by Cap'n Refsmmat on 9 January 2011 - 05:57 PM

I think this answers the question:

Posted Image

  • 18

#829155 Why the Prevalence of Crackpots in Physics?

Posted by CaptainPanic on 2 October 2014 - 06:55 AM

Crackpots focus on physics.

Religious people focus on biology (and sometimes physics but most now accept that we go around the sun, not the other way around).

Terrorists and drug dealers focus on chemistry (but you don't see those here since that is against our rules). I guess that the alchemists are out of fashion nowadays.


What these poorly chosen examples are supposed to show is that all fields have their nut cases.


Anyway, it could be worse: in Economics, the nut cases are in charge!

  • 15

#859953 Earth - What is the real age?

Posted by Ophiolite on 24 March 2015 - 06:27 PM


I want to understand the real age of Earth. Somehow, 4.6 Billion is not enough.

The age of the Earth has been very clearly and accurately established  through radioactive dating.[1] (Contrary to the deliberately ignorant views of Young Earth Creationists, those factors that can influence the apparent age of a sample are readily accounted for.)

The oldest whole rocks dated on the Earth are currently thought to be part of the Isua Greenstone Belt in Greenland. These are dated at between 3.7 and 3.8 Ga. [2] However, there is active research in other Pre-Cambrian cratons and older candidates may appear. (The Accasta Gneiss, a terrane in Australia, and another Greenland greenstone belt are all possibilities. See here.)

The oldest minerals on the planet are zircons from the Jack Hills in Australia. Zircons are very durable and these have been eroded from an igneous rock, then incorporated in a younger sediment. [3] The oldest of these zircons has been dated at 4.4 Ga.

But these post-date the actual formation of the Earth through accretion from the protoplanetary disc in the young solar system. The age of the solar system is often taken to be the time at which the first solid particles formed. This is around 4.567 to 4.568 Ga. These and the later particles accreted to form the proto-planets and planets in a relatively short time - millions, of years, not many tens of millions. [4]

If we date the formation of the Earth to the time of the giant impact that formed the moon, that would be around 30 million years after solar system formation. This is discussed, for example, by Jacobsen. [5].

The Earth has a radiogenic W-isotopic composition compared to chondrites, demonstrating that it formed while 182Hf (half-life 9 Myr) was extant in Earth and decaying to 182W. This implies that Earth underwent early and rapid accretion and core formation, with most of the accumulation occurring in ∼10 Myr, and concluding approximately 30 Myr after the origin of the Solar System. The Hf-W data for lunar samples can be reconciled with a major Moon-forming impact that terminated the terrestrial accretion process ∼30 Myr after the origin of the Solar System.

Keep in mind that this is an active area of research and that ages will be refined, but we should not expect any significant deviations from these numbers.


If the Earth was wholly molten at any point it cooled rapidly and a crust formed. (We call it a crust for a very good reason.) Thereafter surface temperature was maintained within a moderate range through the combination of solar radiation and the heat retaining properties of atmospheric gases. The contribution of heat from the interior of the Earth is miniscule in comparison.


What part of this do you not understand or accept? The universe has no interest in your personal incredulity.


1. http://www.geo.corne... ... ture04.pdf
2. Rollinson, H. The metamorphic history of the Isua Greenstone Belt, West Greenland Geological Society, London, Special Publications 2002 v. 199, p. 329-350
3. http://www.geology.w... ... Nature.pdf
4. Krot, A.N. et al Origin and chronology of chondritic components: A review Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73 (2009) 4963–4997
Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences Vol. 33: 531-570 May 2005 

  • 13

#825679 The Almighty ydoaPs Jr

Posted by ydoaPs on 10 September 2014 - 08:38 PM

As many of you know, it was the case that I was going to be a daddy. Well, that time has come! It's time to show off your kids.


My son is now two days old. He was born on September 8 at 4:48pm and he weighs in at 1lb 13oz. He made it to one day before 28 weeks before he had to come out.












If you've got kids, how many do you have? Any advice/tips/tricks?

  • 13

#804227 Banned/Suspended Users

Posted by hypervalent_iodine on 1 May 2014 - 06:48 AM

vampares` has been banned as a sockpuppet of vampares. I don't know how we figured it out, but we did.

  • 13

#786161 Banned/Suspended Users

Posted by hypervalent_iodine on 10 January 2014 - 08:34 AM

Earlier today, while I was in between making sandwiches, doing the dishes and pining over strong males that might make my abdomen swell and save me from predators,* I found myself here to observe the proud displays of the mighty SFN males in all of their glory. One particular post really caught my eye, but my poor, feeble female brain was too concerned with squawking at my fellow sandwich-makers to be able to make any sense of it. I reported it to some men to do the real thinking and basically, Dekan, oh dominant one, we think your attitude sucks and you're going on a forced holiday for a week.


tl;dr: Dekan just got himself suspended for a week by a girl. 



*Actually, I hate doing the dishes and I was much too busy doing science to bother with them anyway. 

  • 13

#777654 How to become mod?

Posted by Phi for All on 15 November 2013 - 03:45 PM

The number one rule for mod selection is we never ask someone who is asking to be a mod. This keeps those with an agenda out. For years we thought ydoaPs was a mole from the Creationist Museum because he kept yammering at us about being a mod while vehemently denying any affiliation, yet his Outlook calendar only goes back 6000 years. Very suspicious.
We've learned that great diversity makes for a well-rounded staff. CaptainPanic is your typical engineer, with mirrors on the toes of his shoes and a well-folded map in his glove-box. He's writing a book on razor-blade origami, which has taken him longer than expected with all the transfusions.
Our buddy imatfaal runs a one-man legal office/brothel/courier service from the back of his bicycle. When he's not juggling between gigoling and jurispruding, he literally pedals his services to most of London's most desperate housewives.
Hypervalent_iodine is finishing her Empress of Everything training, earning money on the side working as a guard in one of those women's bikini prisons you should hear so much about these days. Her perspective is captivating, as always. DON'T DRINK ANYTHING SHE GIVES YOU. Just sayin'.
swansont is, of course, who the movie character Doctor Evil is based on. He invented the frikkin' laser and helped develop techniques to minimize burst pressure in whoopee cushion teleportation. There's an enormous red button on the wall behind his desk with an equally enormous sign that reads, "Don't PUSH me!". We don't.
We asked mooeypoo to leave her job running Collections for some Israeli mental institution (Mysaab? Mosshead? Mossad?) and she was secretly overjoyed. She's extremely thorough and while some of the staff find her a bit over the top, I don't think frisking can ever be "excessive".
Klaynos is a member of The Rolling Stones, but I'm not allowed to say which one. A concert tour went to Cern and Mi Klaynos was hooked on the physics. He came for the concert but stayed for the collisions. Klaynos (wink.png ) continues to petition the scientific community to change the name "Big Bang" to "Jumpin' Jack Flash". I signed, what the hell.


I was asked to be a mod by blike, a plastic surgeon who makes more money selling celebrity fat on Ebay than he does with implants and facelifts. He told me he needed a "patsy" who could sign "some papers" and not be able to "figure out what he was really up to". I was flattered and said yes. It's been one long, drawn-out court battle after another ever since. I have no idea if blike is in the country anymore, or if that's even his real name.

  • 13

#772774 Christian vs Atheists

Posted by Arete on 17 October 2013 - 03:02 PM

I won't re-iterate the other posters which have pointed out that a number of your assertions about evoluiton and the fossil record are misconceived, aside from saying I am truly sorry that you have been misinformed. It is not fair to you, as a seemingly intellgent and articulate 14 year old to have been presented with flawed facts and strawman versions of science, and then be expected to come to an informed, well thought out conclusion.


I will however say that the major shortcoming of the fossil record is its imcompleteness. It is woefully incomplete. Imagine it's a jigsaw puzzle, from which you have lost most of the pieces - the picture you can see is far from complete, but of what we see of it, it fits evolutionary theory extraordinarily well. Fortunately , it is also far from the only "jigsaw" of information we have:


- We have direct observational evidence, like the Lenski experiment which has evolved E. coli populations for 25 years and shown how through evolutionary processes, they can develop new phenotypic traits. We also have instances where a population of organisms has diverged into two species during historical tiime, like the apple maggot fly and the yellow fever mosquito.


- We have biogeographical evidence that organisms share common ancestry. For example, many of the organisms which are found on the former continents which made up Gondwana are more related to each other than the places they are near to now, providing evidence of common ancestry.


- We have macro-morphological evidence, like vestigial organslike tail bones in humans and leg bones in whales, which support common ancestry with animals with tails and legs, respectively.


- On the cellular level, the evidence for common ancestry becomes even more compelling. Despite the obvious differences between say an dandelion and a horse, when you look at the the structural components of the cells, they are largely the same. This suggests that, despite the massive differences in external morphology you see today, they share common ancestry.


- Prehaps the most elegant (or maybe I'm just biased by working in genetics) evidence comes from genetics. All organisms on earth share the same basic structure and code for their blueprint. The study of genetics provides a comprehensive understanding of the mechanism by which phenotypic traits are inherited, how they can change, and provide the co-ordinates required to map the evolution of life.


This is not an exhaustive list of the lines of evidence we have for evolution - but when you "overlay" each of these "jigsaws" with each other, you can put together a more complete picture of the overall evidence, and the image we get is overwhelmingly consistent with evolutionary theory. As we look more, get more pieces fo each puzzle, learn how to reshuffle the pieces we have more accurately, we get a better overall picture, and it only keeps looking more and more like evolution is the right fit for the data.


As an ending, I don't believe that evolutionary theory is exclusive of religion - it would seem that the Pope strongly agrees, calling the argument "absurd". You can believe in evolution and God - I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Professor Francisco Ayala who is a former Dominican Priest, a Professor of Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine and former president of the AAAS. You might find some of his essays on religion and science interesting, especially, his book - "Am I a monkey?" which addresses the question of what evolution is and whether it is compatible with belief in God. http://www.washingto...0042603381.html


  • 13

#689378 Moderating a Forum

Posted by zapatos on 8 July 2012 - 05:38 PM

All of this mutual admiration and complaining is starting to make me ill. Starting your own forum would allow you to set up the rules you like.

Considering this forum is free to you, the moderators work for free, the rules were set up in good faith in order to make the use of this forum enjoyable and educational for the majority, you might want to consider backing off a wee bit.

Alternatively there is one action you can take which will guarantee you do not have to deal with the people here. I'm sure no one would object.
  • 13

#612639 Who here is a global warming skeptic?

Posted by Ophiolite on 15 June 2011 - 11:25 AM

I am a global warming skeptic. I think it is not only plausible to have doubts, but essential, especially if we wish to honour the memories of Bacon and Galileo and Newton. We should doubt the data gathering techniques, we should doubt the analytical processes, we should doubt the conclusions. We should doubt the researchers, we should doubt their motives, we should doubt the peer review process.

Doubt is a cornerstone of good science. Skepticism is an essential part of the scientific method.

Having doubted all of these things in relation to global warming I am left with the distinct impression that global warming is very real and very serious. However, as a good skeptic, there is one area in which I have no doubt. I do not doubt the possibility that new research could turn our current understanding on its head - its just that that possibility is, on the balance of the evidence, extremely remote. In the meantime we should proceed on the basis that global warming is a real and present danger.

Oh, and have a look in your dictionary. You will likely find that skepticism and denial are not synonyms. Skeptical? Just go ahead and check.
  • 13

#913806 Female vs Male OSF users...I'm disappointed.

Posted by Sirona on 30 March 2016 - 06:20 AM

This is very immature and has absolutely nothing to do with sexism but a strategic cover up of sour grapes by means of diversion. This offends me profoundly because you've made little attempt to be ambiguous in your accusation and yet you've not the valiance to even include my name; it's gutless and reflects poorly only on yourself.

Rest assured that I am not wanting to win a popularity contest and am indifferent to my rank. I've nothing to prove and you're right about one thing only, I'm inferior to most of you when it comes to scientific knowledge, but I am here to expand on my existing knowledge. I try my best to use evidence-based research when presenting my ideas and don't post unless I have some preliminary knowledge in the area. If you believe my posts are lacking, by all means give them a thumbs down; receiving preferential treatment would be degrading to anyone. I want to be here as an equal and should be able to without having to pretend I am someone I'm not to receive respect and recognition.

Why should I not have a profile picture of myself? Some like anonymity and I like transparency; I'd like to know what you all look like too, not because I am interested in any possible sexual pursuit but because I like familiarity. Interaction and connection with people has always been the most important thing for me and that extends to online relationships too. What upsets me most about this post is that you're undermining my integrity without knowing any information about me at all and you've attempted to humiliate me publicly further.

I'm not going to disappear with your passive-aggressive attempt at bulling, I'm not going to change my display picture or my mannerisms and I suggest if you have any further problems with me you put it in a PM.

  • 12

#794278 Russia, US, the West vs ??? WWIII! (Part I)

Posted by imatfaal on 2 March 2014 - 03:17 PM

For the past several years I have been studying the world political structure. It is quite different than the propaganda we receive in the U.S through the (control) party system in the U.S. What is happening in the Ukraine is to be expected. A flag, a action to start something bigger.  While many of you sit back and hope nothing comes of it. The reality is this is WORLD WAR III. In all aspects, both militarily, and economically.


Before I go into more detail about why this is WWIII. I have decided to bring up earlier studies from years past. One of my studies was to see how Russians view the rest of the world. I am curious about them as much as they are curious about us. I started reading the Pravda in 2010. I continue to do so. As it lets me see a different perspective besides what our bias, infomercial media shows us here in the states.




For someone slagging off the western style media in the USA you seem to have fallen hook line and sinker for a falsely-named woo-peddling "informercialized" rag.  Pravda.ru is a bottom-feeding tabloid that has queried the veracity of the moon-landings, is anti-evolution, and anti-science / just wrong about science. It's name, which perversely and wrongly means "truth", is the only thing that connects it with the august and very much faded old Soviet newspaper Pravda. 


This is the disgusting rags website http://english.pravda.ru/

This is the old communist organ's website http://www.gazeta-pravda.ru  (I don't believe they accept the need for a decadent English version)



A serious question with serious consequences. Where to start!  Well before any war goes military. There is a war economically. When did this war start? Why in 2008 of course! With the formation of four countries Brazil, Russia, India, China or BRIC with South Africa added later(BRICS) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRICS. The objective for this formation is to compete and win against the Wests economic structures. WBA, IMF ect. It has been highly successful!


As shown as example from the beginning of this group! http: http://triblive.com/...l#axzz2uoN03sH1

and http://www.economist...te/overview/257



The countries were very successful before 2008 and continue to be - emerging economies with vast natural resources, cheap labour, relaxed regulations, and massive internal growth potential are more often than not going to be growing quicker than established economies.  There is not a lot of ideological foundation nor agreement for the future.  It's not a conspiracy to unseat the west, nor to change the mood of international finance - let's face it they are all members of the G20 anyway.

...For the past 5 years the BRICS nations have produced most of the worlds overall GDP. Those countries in the west have been in decline!  One would wonder why a war militarily if a economic war is being won? Well, this year is where the Brics trend has grown stagnant, or has come to a standstill. You see, us in the west have been in decline for a while now. Austerity measures were incorporated to slow the decline down. I did say slow down, not stop! The U.S has been in austerity policy since last July. We are the last country in the west to go through such. That is also the last call before our own economic collapse....


Are you sure about that GDP figure?  I ask because I am pretty sure that the G7 account for about 50% alone.  I also seem to remember reading that if you add the EU, the US, and Japan you get to abut 55 percent.  I struggle to see how the BRICS could be as much as the EU or the US alone - let alone more than 50percent of Global GDP.  On the change in growth - figures for 2014 are going to be guesswork.  I haven't yet seen nice tabulated and compared figures for last year - could you direct me to the figures for this year?




So, what options are left? Only one? To boost a economy the country only needs to make war! As shown through history! Prescott Bush, founder of the First National Bank of NY held Nazi currency and assets til late 1942. Money from our own country was used to fund the Nazi war machine( http://www.theguardi....secondworldwar. ) How coincidental that Prescott Bush is George Bush's dad and G.W Bush's Grandfather!


As to the Japanese! In this case the U.S blockade of the Japanese in Indo-China played a significant role of why Japan went to war with us( http://www.independe...cle.asp?id=1930!)..


The original combatants of the world wars were very nearly, and in some cases actually, bankrupted by them; even the gains in territory did little to assuage the mountains of debt that were run up.  Austerity measures (and these were really biting austerity measures including the rationing of food, clothes, and fuel) continued in UK for many years after WW2



Cheers! I need to go to sleep!


I think that might be wise.

  • 12

#584497 What makes an atheist not believe in God?

Posted by Mr Skeptic on 20 January 2011 - 03:34 PM

For those who are atheists, what is it that makes you believe there is no God?

Same reason I don't believe in Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, leprechauns, unicorns, Thor, etc... there's no evidence for their existence, and so I assume they are irrelevant, which means they can be treated as non-existent. I can't prove they don't exist, sure, but believing in their existence provides no benefits, no predictive power, nothing.

If you are an atheist, what are your reasons for becoming one?

I used to believe in the Bible, used to be a Young Earth Creationist even. Then, I realized that that was a bunch of lies. Although I could have switched to considering the entire creation account metaphorical, I felt that this would make the whole Bible entirely worthless, especially considering that things like genealogies are not supposed to be metaphorical.

Since then I've also come to believe that the God of the Bible is immoral and unworthy of worship even if he did exist. Even I could do a better job morally, and also if I had enough time from an engineering standpoint.

If atheism is wrong however, you'd be risking your whole after-life in the Hell-fire, according to some religions, so my question is why take the risk in not believing in God? The rewards for believing in a God in some religions are infinite happiness (and other positive feelings that we are unable to comprehend in this life) and the punishment is infinite pain (and other negative feelings that we are unable to comprehend in this life). If atheism is right, then we all just die. In either case, the atheist is in a lose-lose situation. I think it's also rather pessimistic to not believe in an after-life. So, my question stands, why do atheists choose not to believe in God/s? And are you an atheist?

So then I take it that you believe in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, the Greek Pantheon, and all the other religions too, just in case they are right? Do you also believe that you have some very rich relative that you don't know about and that you'll inherit millions of dollars from him when he dies, because just think how cool that would be? Of course not! It makes no sense to believe things because it would be cool if it were true, and in any case most of those gods wouldn't accept you worshiping other gods so you're from a statistical standpoint almost certainly worshiping the wrong one.

As for the silly idea that there is nothing to lose by believing in any particular god if they don't exist, that is blatantly false. For one thing, many of the gods require some kind of worship or sacrifice or that you live your life a certain way. Some of the followers of the enemy of Christianity, Paul, believe that simple belief is enough for salvation, but this is repeatedly contradicted by the words of Jesus and the other apostles. Even if it were not, actually believing in that sort of thing entails certain actions, just like believing cars can kill you entails looking before crossing the street, wearing a seatbelt, etc... ask yourself, do you truly believe as Jesus said that giving even a glass of water to someone entails a reward in heaven? Because if you really believed that sort of thing, would you not give away all your stuff to help the poor, like Jesus asked a certain young man to do?

Oh, and for extra amusement, I'm an atheist that is going to heaven. The sect of Christianity that I used to believe in was that all that was required for salvation is believing and accepting Jesus Christ as my savior, which I did, and also that once saved you cannot lose your salvation. So I am a saved, born-again atheist who is going to a heaven I no longer believe in.

As for you, if you really believed the argument you just made, you should convert to Hinduism, that way you can worship the most gods without fear of going to hell in case you are wrong, to maximize your chances. Why stick with just one of the many gods, think of the risk you're taking! And as for your so-called belief, it is quite clear to anyone who's paying attention to your actions, and in particular to God, that you don't really believe. Think carefully about what your beliefs entail, and then consider -- your actions don't match those so-called beliefs you claim to have.
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#769830 US Government Shut Down - new elections for senate and house of rep.?

Posted by doG on 1 October 2013 - 11:58 AM

Just thinking out loud here.....


If people like soldiers and policeman can be legally charged with 'Dereliction Of Duty' for not performing the required responsibilities of their job then why can't congressmen? There should be more accountability for not doing their job than simply facing the possibility of not getting reelected. They are derelict of duty and they should be held legally accountable for that.

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#757966 The fallacies of speculations

Posted by swansont on 26 July 2013 - 11:13 PM

You may have seen some mention of this paper which came out recently in Phys. Rev Letters.


How Stable is the Photon?




Basically, the author assumed the photon had mass, which would allow it to decay to something less massive. He applied this to the CMB. If photons were decaying, it would affect the frequency distribution of the light we observe, which puts a constraint on the lifetime of the photon — 3 years in its rest frame (if it has mass, it has a rest frame) but owing to time dilation, it's 10^18 years in our frame. Which limits how much mass a photon could possibly have.


Contained within this one paper are some lessons for anyone posting a new theory or complaint about mainstream physics, in speculations.


Complaints that physics is dogma, or that anyone challenging the mainstream can't get published are falsified. The truth is that papers with test like this, that test the validity of mainstream physics, get published all the time. (I'm an author on one from earlier this year; we tested GR)


What the author did in this case, that speculations threads never seem to do, is he compared his model to data that already exists, and was able to constrain the scope of his model, as opposed to de rigueur of crackpottery which is to oblivious of any experiment that disagrees with the pet theory being proposed. You see, models have ramifications; you absolutely have to test what those ramification are, and you don't get to ignore ones that are inconvenient to your model.


Oh, and there's the fact that it contains a model, and math and all that. 



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#703083 Proof of God

Posted by Phi for All on 18 September 2012 - 02:42 PM

When you see blind eyes open, you see the cripples walk, you see the leprosy cleansed, and you see them with your own eyes, then it doesn't take a rocket science to figure out that Bible is true.

When you see hundreds of thousands of amputee's prayers go unanswered, and not a single limb is miraculously regrown, then it doesn't take a Christian Scientist to figure out that God isn't healing anybody.
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#928949 New job

Posted by ajb on 30 June 2016 - 06:52 AM

I have accepted a position as a research associate at the University of Luxembourg within the 'Unité de Recherche en Mathématiques'.  The position comes with more responsability such as some teaching duties and supervision of students - undergraduate, masters and hopefully I can jointly supervise a PhD student.


Exciting times ahead.

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#893537 Paris attacks

Posted by CharonY on 22 November 2015 - 05:26 AM



And so we backed Saddam against Iran.  He looked like a secular leader we could deal with.  Iran looked like a power that would align against us and threaten Israel.  If we had not backed Saddam we may have lost influence in the area.  Once he went rouge though, with the powerful army he had, he could have conquered the whole region.  So we did our duty and built a coalition to defeat him.  And did defeat him.


Urks, geez, no. That is an odd, jumbled misrepresentation of what happened and the interaction between Iraq and the US. I am not even sure where to begin. Well, first the US was complicit in the rise of power of the Ba'ath party in 1963. That was well before the Iran-US conflict and one of the key points there was the increasing influence of the Iraqi Communist Party (there may be more, but the background here is the cold war, religion played virtually no role). This was followed shortly by an internal power struggle leading to another coup, ultimately ending in a pro-Nasserist government.


Saddam came to power in 1968 in yet another coup (technically as the second in command). In this context it is often said that he ruled with an iron fist to keep the various Iraqi factions under control. What is not so often said (at least after the Gulf wars) is that he did it in conjunction with massive welfare programs (not unlike Germany under Hitler) as well as modernization of the economy. This was realized using Iraq's oil reserves.


Now that the stage is set, let us talk about the Iran conflict. You make it sound like a defensive action against a religious conflict (secular Iraq vs religious Iran), but if you know your history book, you will realize that at that time the big ally of the US was: the then secular Iran under Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (you know, after UK/US deposed the elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh).  So what actually happened is closer to the following:


Saddam started closer ties with the Soviet Union and following 1968 the relationship was rather bad with the US. Thus, in 1973-5 the CIA worked with the Shah (Iran) to finance Kurdish rebels resulting in the second Kurdish-Iraqi war. Also the thought that Iraq would be there to defend Israel from Iran is so mindblowingly wrong.. Just let me say that in 1977 the relationship between Iraq and Egypt went sour because Egypt started peace talks with Israel. 


Now the Iran-Iraq conflict proper. As we all known 1979 marks the time when Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was overthrown in the Islamic revolution. The resulting conflict had two elements. The first is indeed partially religious, but more specifically driven by revolutionary fears. The second is that the Arab states were wary of Iran, who, as we all know, are Persians. As the Western states now had lost their Iranian play-thing, they threw in their lot with Saddam in 1980. The funny bit is that the Soviet Union was pretty much the only one not chipping in, bringing him closer to the Western world. This is also the time when the US helped Saddam to use chemical weapons against the Iranians and then, also the Kurds. What I always found weird is that there was no regard for international law. This point is actually quite important.

What the war ultimately did, however, was to provide Khomeini with massive support from Iranians as he was seen as the successful defender of a massive Western-funded Arab invasion (note again that Iran was not the attacker and it also did not make a miraculous jump over Iraq in order to attack Israel).


Now let us talk the fall from grace: you said he was so powerful and because we did not want him to conquer the region we put him down. This ignores what I just mentioned, we gave him money to conquer a swath of the region first. And obviously, he largely failed. No the actual issues with Kuwait are different. In the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war Saddam wanted Kuwait to eliminate the debts Iraq made, which they refused. Saddam then tried to use oil to pay off his debts, and pushed for a raising oil prices, which was torpedoed. 

Saddam then reached out to the US and, among other things, complained that the Kuwaitis were slant drilling into contested oil reserves. As tensions rose Saddam seemingly  initially assumed that he could obtain support f(or at least non-involvement) from the US for a foray into Kuwait, similar to the support they received against Iran. After all, the US was providing heavy support to Iraq for a decade.and the tone was initially conciliatory.


However, it also became apparent that the US had no interest in rising oil prices and that the decision of OPEC not only not to curb oil production but instead increasing it, was supported by the US. Ironically, this situation resulted in an Iran-Iraq alliance to pressurize other Arab countries to limit oil production. Ultimately it resulted in the Iraq invasion of Kuwait (backed by the Soviets this time).


So instead of being all-powerful, Iraq was actually in a crisis and the move was a move to alleviate it. The attack by the US was unlikely to be exclusively due to the issues of international law, as they showed quite some disregard with respect to Iran. Moreover, Kuwait was a vocal enemy of Israel. What the ultimate reasons were can probably only be known once more information is declassified and analyzed by historians. But things that have been mentioned include stability of the region and especially the oil price (and thus, world economy) but potentially also due to heavy investments into Kuwait by a number of corporations (and again, it would not be the first time that large corporations were part of the decision making).


Finally, with regards to WMD, those that were delivered to him were found to be destroyed by UN inspectors. What the UK and US trumped up were false reports on new WMD programs that, as we know now for sure never existed. I should also add that I do profess to know the specific motivations of the parties involved, this is something for the historians to look at.


And since this is friggin long post for which I should not have invested any time I will let you keep all the grammar and spelling errors that you can find (heaps of them). 


I would like to close again with an appeal not to give in to simple narratives to justify actions that can or have resulted in massive amounts of death and suffering. Every time such a decision has been taken it must be put under the highest level of scrutiny. We should not take the easy way out and pretend that our actions or the actions of our representatives were just using feel-good stories. The resulting issues are real and ISIS is just a manifestation of a quagmire where short-sighted foreign policy was used to systematically destabilize regions by pitting forces against each other. And now that the lid has been blown off it is just hypocritical to pretend that we had nothing to do with it. Or that we were just doing our duty (whatever that means).

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