Sisyphus

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Sisyphus last won the day on March 14 2011

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About Sisyphus

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  • Birthday 09/29/84

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  1. Is Race a Biologically Real Concept?

    I think the social categories of race - white, black, etc. - tend to confuse the issue more. Yes, there are genetic markers that vary widely in prevalence between populations. However, where one draws a line between "races" is very much a social artifact. For example, there is more genetic diversity in sub-Saharan Africa than the rest of the world combined. Yet we all lump all the (dark-skinned) people who live there together as "black," along with the descendents of African slaves living in America, most of whom are also descended from northern Europeans. And so on. So: is race biologically real, or is it a social construct? Both. Kind of. People who need things to be in simple categories will be frustrated.
  2. If men didn't exist would there be less wars?

    It's entirely speculative, obviously, but I would guess so, just because it's true on smaller scales. Something like 95% of murders are committed by men. Women just seem much less prone to use violence. (That's not to say that women get along more harmoniously, just that physical violence is a much less used "weapon" when they don't.) You could argue that wars aren't started for the same reasons that individuals murder each other, but perhaps more fundamentally they pretty much are.
  3. No, it's not relative to size. The orbitals of an atom don't really have a speed in the same sense that the Earth has a speed going around the sun. "Orbitals," despite the name, are very different from orbits.
  4. Planets are spherical because they are pulled that way by their own gravity. Spin has nothing to do with that, but it can make the sphere bulge around the equator. The Earth, like most planets, is a slightly flattened sphere called an oblate spheroid. Molecules are not spherical, generally, but if and when they are it is not because of the same forces. Only very massive objects get pulled into spheres by gravity. The Milky Way and a hurricane are formed by very different forces and have very different structures, and there's no particular reason to compare them. There is no "eye" in the Milky Way - in fact it is densest at the center. Different stars orbit the center at different speeds. Our solar system is currently orbiting the center at about 780,000 km/h (485,000 mph)
  5. The sun is giving birth to planets

    But note there that the origin point is already above the Earth's atmosphere. That ellipse of the orbit will intercept the origin point (the cannon on the mountaintop), as it must, unless some secondary force is applied to it while it's already in flight. There is no way to fire a cannonball from the Earth's surface such that it will neither escape Earth's gravity entirely nor intersect the surface again.
  6. How quickly are animals going to extinction?

    It's difficult to get precise figures on rates of extinction in the past and present, but yes, most estimates put the current extinction rate at much higher than background rates - perhaps even thousands of times higher. While global warming might contribute to that, it's much less of a factor (so far) than things like habitat loss, introduction of invasive species, and overhunting causing ripple effects through whole ecosystems. This has been going on for thousands of years, and continues to accelerate. Basically, you've got one species, humans, suddenly (in geological timespan) exploding in population, occupying every ecosystem on Earth, and modifying its environment to an extreme degree. Of course there is going to be tremendous disruption and mass extinction.
  7. Libyan civil war started by Western countries?

    The rebels have broad popular support throughout the Arab world. Are they all plants of Western governments? What about in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, etc.? I think you have a very unrealistic notion of how "happy, fed, and satisfied" the average Libyan is.
  8. Jewish Conspiracy Theories

    No, there's no credibility whatsoever. If you want to talk about the reasons for anti-semitic paranoia, that might be interesting, but I'm not sure it really belongs in Politics.
  9. atheists and religious holidays

    I don't know. But I do have several friends whose entire families are like that, and I see those views expressed incessantly on conservative talk shows every holiday season, with calls to boycott stores that say "happy holidays." I also know a lot of liberal Christians who don't care at all. My maternal grandparents were very liberal and very devout Catholics, for example. It's just puzzling to me that you apparently don't know any conservatives. Well that I find impossible to believe.
  10. Is this a rhetorical question?

    Someone trying to make a rhetorical point. Who doesn't know that?
  11. atheists and religious holidays

    Christmas is a holiday, no? "Happy holidays" obviously includes "merry Christmas." The only difference is that it also includes non-Christians holidays, so clearly that's what they have a problem with. That not everyone is a Christian is offensive. Or, according to you, what's offensive is that other Christians are willing to admit that not everyone is a Christian. Or at least, that other Christians want non-Christians to have a good holiday, despite their heretical beliefs, or something. (Though it's more than that, since a lot of the "outrage" is at stuff like corporate stores having signs that say "happy holidays.") While I understand that a Christian might object to implying some equivalency between the "true faith" and false, hellbound ones, that's not a concern that I am at all sympathetic to, and more importantly it's simply not feasible to be so intolerant in a diverse society, even if you are in the majority. And I also get that a lot of people are annoyed by what they perceive as "political correctness." They're told they're supposed to do something different than how they've always done it without being given a satisfactory explanation why, and that's annoying. However, if they thought about it at all on their own, they would see there's no actual reason to be upset.
  12. Why have pornography and government funded brothels?

    Government funded? You're thinking of Rome, and in that case it's pretty clear that the people forced to fight to the death are victims. Since I don't think anyone here is defending sex slavery, how is that related? What's at issue is whether it's evil in the first place. EDIT: Also, why is this in the religion forum?
  13. The answers to all of those questions depend on what sort of god we're talking about. This: doesn't mean much to me. What do we know about this god that has been proven to exist?
  14. Malevolent friends/co-workers

    Yes, I knew you were making a joke. I thought that was clear. Damn you, forum medium!